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French waiter, immediately brought back word that Monsieur Thiers was at present engaged, and wished to know if we were stopping at the hôtel, and if we would not be good enough to call in the afternoon. We explained why it was not convenient to wait, and the messenger soon returned with a request for us to walk into Monsieur Thiers' private parlor, a large and handsomely furnished second-story room, looking out upon the lake. We took seats, and in a few moments the venerable ex-President entered from an adjoining front room and received us very cordially, taking a seat near us. We addressed him in English, when, raising one hand to his ear, he intimated that it was difficult for him to understand, and we then spoke to him in our broken French. He said he had been stopping some time at Vevay, but that he enjoyed better health at Ouchy. He complained of bronchitis, but his appearance was that of perfect health. He is a short, thick-set man, with a large head, gray eyes, hair nearly white, wears large- bowed spectacles, stands erect, and his expression, free from anything like hauteur, is altogether pleasant. Meeting him under such circum-, stances, we made our call, of course, very brief; but in the few moments' conversation we had with him, President Buchanan's name being mentioned, he remarked that he knew him, of course, but not personally. On our taking leave he accompanied us to the door, extending to us a pleasant good-bye, and we left highly gratified with our call — the result of one of those happy accidents which in the end turn out to be “blessings in disguise,” and which we shall ever look back upon with profound pleasure. He is beyond question one of the most remarkable men as well as one of the greatest statesmen of the
there is no person living whom we would have preferred to see and speak with.*
According to an authority before us, it was, while detained by stress of weather, at the Anchor Hôtel of Ouchy that Lord Byron composed his “Prisoner of Chillon," "and where, from his window, he could observe the Castle thus immortalized rising white on the eastern verge of the lake. He visited every locality,” in this part of Switzerland, “known in history or tradition; and in one of his published letters says: 'I inclose you a sprig of Gibbon's acacia, and some rose leaves from his garden, which, with part of his house, I have just seen.' Moore has well observed that this circumstance in the life of the immortal bard has added 'one more deathless association to the already immortalized localities of the lake'
'Rousseau, Voltaire, our Gibbon, and de Stael
Leman! these names are worthy of thy shore!'” In less than one hour after leaving Ouchy we found ourselves at Vevay, where we spent three hours-long enough to walk all through the little town and get a lunch at the Hôtel Monnet before the arrival of the next boat. At Vevay there is a very ancient and noted society called the “Abbaye des Vignerons,” whose object it is to encourage and superintend the culture of the grape vine with a view to the raising of the best grapes and the production of the finest qualities of wines. At certain periods they have a great fête, at which premiums are distributed to the most meritorious wine-growers; and on these occasions sometimes as many as sixteen thousand spectators, from all parts of Switzerland, are present; and they are entertained with processions, dances, songs, banquets, and dramatic exhibitions of a most unique character, embracing “a medley of heathen ceremony and scriptural scenes from the Old Testament, mixed up with customs still observed in the Canton.'
* The announcement of the sudden death of this great man, which occurred at Paris on the 3d of September, 1877, touched us the more deeply from this personal interview. It was with lively satisfaction that, on the day of his funeral, we observed the United States flags at half - mast over the Government Departments -a fitting recognition of his distinguished character and services, and of the cordial relations between the two countries.
“Clarens, sweet Clarens, birthplace of deep love,” is the next village southeast of Vevay, and then comes Montreux, both, like Lausanne and Vevay, beautifully situated on the east shore, or near the shore of the lake, with a southern exposure. Next is Chillon, which can hardly be called a village, as we remember to have seen little more than scattering dwellings along the road which leads by the Chateau. As we were now soon to cross the mountains to Chamouni, and thence to take the diligence to Geneva, on going aboard the boat at Lausanne, we had our baggage checked direct to Geneva. From Vevay we proceeded to Chillon, where we landed, and our party of four (Mr. Evans and daughter being still with us) were in about twenty minutes conveyed in a rowboat to the Castle of Chillon, too late, however, to be admitted that evening, although the boatmen, who were in for a job, assured us that we should be in time. Arranging for an early admission in the morning, as we desired to take the first boat for Villeneuve, we walked a short distance to the nearest public house-a small hôtel or pension built against the perpendicular side of a cliff,
the top of which, where there was a vineyard, being reached by long ladders from the side of the highway. Here we had comfortable accommodations in rooms fronting on the lake; and the charge therefor was so ridiculously low that we give it: For supper, lodging, and breakfast, our bill for each person was just three francs and a half — seventy cents! In the morning by seven o'clock we were at the Castle, which resembles some of the smaller castles on the Rhine, and which we entered over a bridge. Until the invention of gunpowder it is said this Castle was considered impregnable, being entirely surrounded by water, which is very deep against the walls on the lake side.
“ Lake Leman lies by Chillon's walls;
A thousand feet, in depths below,
We were conducted over nearly the entire structure, going first into the dungeon where Bonnivard, prior of St. Victor, the “Prisoner of Chillon," made immortal by Byron, was confined six years, about 1536, and where we saw the ring in the stone pillar to which Bonnivard was chained. The name of Byron, cut by his own hand, appears on this pillar, or on one near it, and in an adjoining dungeon we saw the stone bed on which prisoners had to sleep, if they slept at all, on the night preceding their execution. The rooms occupied six hundred years ago by the Duke and Duchess of Savoy are now uninhabitable, and the banquet room is filled with old flags and other ancient relics. Other rooms contain cannon and a variety of other war implements.
On our way by Villeneuve, a large village, at which we did not stop, at the end of the lake, to Bouveret, we passed in the steamer near a diminutive island, only about large enough to support one or two trees, and this was the only spot of land within sight of Bonnivard, through the narrow opening in his dun
We reached Bouveret, a woe-begone looking little village, at nine o'clock in the morning, where we had to wait until noon for the train to Martigny, arriving at the latter place about half past one. This is the point of starting up over the mountains for the valley of Chamouni, and we had the afternoon for preparation and rest. Between Bouveret and Martigny we passed near the Gorge du Trient and the Falls of Sallenche in plain sight. This cascade has a fall of one hundred and twenty feet, ending almost in spray, and is very beautiful. The Gorge, so far as the splitting of the mountain is concerned, is quite as wonderful, perhaps, as the Tamina Gorge at Ragatz. In 1867 the writer walked into the Gorge du Trient half a mile or more on a narrow suspension foot bridge over and along the rushing river Trient-a principal tributary of the Rhone-- the mountain opening just enough to allow the waters to pass between walls we should judge to be four hundred feet in height. In many places the space was so narrow and the walls so projecting that we could not see the sky above
It is this Gorge, no doubt, of which Byron wrote:
“Now where the swift Rhone cleaves his way between
Heights which appear as lovers who have parted