Page images
PDF
EPUB

the cultivated scenery abroad, the enlivening and soothing accompaniment of animals ranging and selecting their food at will.”*.

The last four or five villages that we passed through in our journey to Thun, had each its manufactory for porringers, basins, and other common articles of earthenware.

The road nearly all the way from Berne, a distance of 18 miles, is lined with a double row of cherry trees, which were loaded with fruit, and from these every farmer makes his own substitute for brandy. The neighbourhood of Thun is celebrated for the best distillation of Kirch-wasser, or cherry-water. According to the recipe with which we were favoured, the fruit, when it has attained its full maturity, is stripped from the stalks, put into a cask made of oak-wood, and therein left to ferment for six weeks. In that state the cherries become completely rotten; the kernels detach themselves and fall to the bottom of the vessel. This marmalade is then distilled by the same process as other liqueurs. It is as potent as the strongest whiskey, which it resembles in colour, but without having tbe burnt flavour; and is esteemed very wholesome, taken in a small quantity, with tea and sugar, in an evening just before bed-time. . ..

The town of Thun is divided by the Aar into two unequal parts, one of which is built on the brow and sides, the other at the foot, of an eminence. The houses are strongly marked with the antique character, but the streets, though irregular, are perfectly clean,

• See “Memorials of a Tour on the Continent, 1820.”—The canton of Soleure, I am given to understand, offers an exception to this general rule. The cattle are there turned into the meadows to graze.

After dining at the excellent table-d'hote of the Freyhoff inn, we re-crossed the bridge and ascended by a covered flight of steps to the Church : the surrounding cemetery is filled with graves and the walls loaded with inscriptive tablets; displaying the same popular passion for gilding and ornament as the church-yards in the canton of Fribourg, but substituting quotations from Scripture in lieu of the cruci-form symbol of Romanism. The terrace commands one of the most magnificent and extensive as well as most delightful views in all Switzerland. The ancient castle groups picturesquely with its ecclesiastical neighbour and contemporary-the river, sprinkled with islands, glides rapidly through a vale of great breadth, extent, and beauty

“Fair in front the gleaming lake
“Rolls its waters bright and blue"-

a lofty vine-covered ridge bounds the prospect on one side-the mountain grandeurs rise in abrupt elevation on the other-and of that portion which lay nearest to us, we enjoyed the sight in perfection; for it was a lovely afternoon. Beyond them the snow-clothed masses, whose summits usually surpass the region of the clouds, were by those envious veils at that moment hid from our eager regards. Disappointments of this kind however the traveller learns to bear with becoming resignation.

Preparatory to an excursion among the Alps of Lauterbroun and Grindelwald, we made the indispensable arrangements for forwarding our carriage to that stage, where our half-aquatic and half-land journey was to terminate, viz. to Lucerne. In this business we were advised and assisted by the master of the Freyhoff, to whose information and civility it is the more pleasing to acknowledge ourselves indebted, because we bad established no claim on the trouble which be gave himself for us, but what an every-day sort of aubergist would have very lightly esteemed.

At balf-past five we took boat for Neubaüs on our way to Unterseen; accompanied by Jonathan Michel, a well known native of the latter place, whom on a recommendation that proved a just one for fidelity and expertness we had engaged as our guide.

The view of Thun from the Aar, at the point where that river flowing out of the lake widens into a basin with gently curved shores before it reaches the town, is fascinating in the extreme. There is a hoine-like tranquillity, a rural freshness, and a social charm in the spot, wbich impress themselves on my recollection with the most pleasing firmness. The houses and pavillions are of that form which in England we should call romantic. Over-topped by the massive walls and cone-roofed turrets of the feudal keep, and by the spiry pinnacles of the sacred structure, they form an assemblage of buildings whose bold though simple architecture well accords with the natural cbaracter of the surrounding scenery.

As, passing close by the garden walls of the castle of Schadau, we entered the Lake of Thun, our eyes were involuntarily turned towards its south-eastern extremity. But there alas! the tops of the nearest Alps were hid from us: and thick clouds totally concealed the Jungfrau and her hoary brethren in distance and altitude. Even the rugged bases of those enormous barriers were covered with collections of vapours so dense and dark, that we could have imagined the work of Vulcan's forges to be going on behind them. We contented ourselves therefore with surveying the borders of this fine expanse of water, which though its northern coast is mountainous, exhibits a softer appearance on the opposite side, and allowing on both an easy passage, is better suited for the residence of man than the rocky and precipitous shelvings of the lake of Como. As we passed close along the shore, Hilterfingen (to our left) with its modest white church, its snug parsonage, and neat village-cluster of comfortable dwellings literally embosomed in woods, looked delightfully in the cheering beams of the sinking sun. Oberhofen next presented itself: it has a small castle, and its closely built houses are prettily backed by vines that Aourish on a lofty hill. “Ailleurs (says a French writer speaking of a similar eminence) on nommeroit ceci une montagne; en Suisse ce n'est qu'une inégalité du sol.”

The southern bank (to our right hand) slopes gently down to the water's edge, offering a bright and plenteous succession of corn fields, pasturages, orchards, and woody heights, occasionally adorned with chateaus and hamlets that form with their beautiful accompaniments of lawns, groves, and inclosures, the most striking contrast to a back-ground composed .

“Of mountains that like giants stand
To centinel enchanted land.”

These fertile and verdant uplands 'extend five or six miles from the lake (as our guide informed us) and then touch the chain of the Adelboden, of which the Niesen is the nearest and highest point. Between this fine peak and another summit of the same chain, a valley opens upon us, and the lofty ridge of the Ober-Simmen-Thal appears. On the same side, but more to the south-east, we cauglit a glimpse of the snow's on the Gemmi.--About half the length of the lake, still on the south side, we pass the village of Spiez, where there is a chateau belonging to the noble family of Erlach, a name illustrious in the history of the Canton of Berne. The situation of this place, on the margin of the lake, wbere a wide opening between the mountains reveals the fertile valley of the Nieder Simmen-Tbal, is peculiarly fine. Bebind and considerably above it stands the castle of Wimmis, placed on a pineskirted rock, which looks like a huge stone blocking up the entrance of the narrow pass. Beyond both, rising majestically from the depth of the valley to a considerable elevation, we see the insulated mountain of the Niesen, * in the almost regular form of a quadrangular pyramid. Now taking a north-easterly course, our bark crossed over to the village of Merlinghen. We remarked various pretty white houses in every one of the different hamlets on the northern side, agreeably placed amidst well cul. tivated fields, or peeping through screens of foliage; and were assured by the boatmen, of what was indeed selfevident, that there were not a few wealthy persons among the inbabitants.

Nothing can be more deceptive than the impression as to distances, in such a country as this, whether we travel by land or by water. Sailing opposite the Beatenberg, where the lake is the broadest,+ we thought ourselves near

7340 feet above the sea. + The lake of Thun is 1780 feet above the sea, five leagues long and one broad. Between Leissinhen and the Nase it is about 240 yards deep; it abounds in fish, the most esteemed of which is the aalboch (salmo Maræna).

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »