Imágenes de páginas

under the Lindens is enjoyable, however tiring the day may have been; for yonder are

“ The Alps,
The palaces of nature, whose vast walls
Have pinnacled in clouds their snowy scalps."

THE LAKE OF LUCERNE, With its waters of dreamy blue reflecting the snow-capped summits of the surrounding mountains, deserves special notice. Longfellow describes it as

“The Lake of the Four Forest Towns, apparelled

In light, and lingering, like a village maiden
Hid in the bosom of her native mountains,
Then pouring all her life into another's,

Changing her name and being !” Linger here as long as you can afford the time; for you will not see a more beautiful lake in your life. I question whether there is to be found in Europe any lake more complete and perfect in the grandeur of its mountain scenery, the quiet beauty of its banks, the poetry of its legendary associations, and the endless variety of its charms. It is between twenty-five and twenty-six miles long, and varies from one to four miles in breadth.

A recent visitor, making a steamboat tour of the lake, says: -“We left Lucerne early. Travellers were going to and fro under the lindens; porters were bringing luggage on board ; fishers played in the gulf with their boats-some with a sail, others without any ; maidens in the costume of the canton offered for sale luscious fruits and the wood-work of the shepherds. All was life. Soon we lost sight of the town and its towers, and passed near the Meggenhorn promontory, the only isle of the magic lake-it was a little marvel of verdure amongst the gigantic marvels that surrounded it. Then we sailed on the cross of the lake, which is formed by the gulfs of Lucerne, Küssnacht, and Alpnach, the channel of Brünnen, and the Gulf of Uri, which re-curves near Flüelen. The Lucerne Gulf is the summit of that cross; the Küssnacht and Alpnach Gulfs are its two arms, the Brünnen Channel is its rod, and the Uri Gulf is its foot. All along the way there were little farms; knots of cow and goat herds; small chapels reflected in the waters, deep grottos, floating tents, cottages with balconies opening on the promontories, fantastical volutions of horizons, capes, creeks, shades, and gleams. Woods and parks appeared and disappeared; meadows, mosses, and heaths succeeded each other. Cranes and plovers flew across the whirl-breeze, and swallows wetted the end of their wings in the silvery track of the steamer. All the promontories and bays, all the pasture lands, were enlivened with herds and herdsmen.”

If time permits, the tourist should not only make the steamboat journeys to the places of interest which will be hereafter described, but should indulge in a row in one of the quaint boats he will find on the quay. The method of rowing on the Lake of Lucerne differs from that on the Thames ; instead of pulling your oars towards you, you push them from you; instead of sitting, you stand; “feathering” is out of the question, as the oars are fastened in the rowlocks.

Whether we travel by steamer or rowing-boat, a thousand objects will interest us on every hand. "So clear is the lake, that you can in some deep places see to the bottom; it does not look like water, but a sheet of blue glass spread over deep caverns, and the fish look as if they were floating in air, and the weeds like uncultivated gardens. Enchantment gilds the scene ; now a castle on a hill, now à shrine with a richly decorated image of the Virgin reared upon some isolated piece of rock, now an arm of the lake

disclosing a world of wonders that we never dreamt were there.” These are some of the things for which we must keep our eyes open.

PILATUS Is one of the most interesting mountains in these parts; it is easy of access from Lucerne, and is not difficult of ascent, except just at the last. The name of the mountain has been the subject of much dispute, some alleging that it is merely a corruption of the Latin "pileatus,” capped, in allusion to the clouds which generally surround its summit. It has been, and is to this day, the weather guide to all this part, and the popular saying runs thus :

“If Pilatus wears his cap, serene will be the day;

If his collar he puts on, then mount the rugged way ;
But if his sword he wields, then stay at home, I say.”

Others aver that the name is derived from Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea, who, when he had committed the terrible sin which makes his name a reproach, filled with remorse fled from Judea, and took refuge in the fastnesses of this melancholy mountain ; there the wild crags and dark precipices were his lonely resorts ; upon these gloomy scenes his gloomy mind dwelt for many years, until at last, unable to bear his remorse, and filled with despair, he tried to put out the fire which raged in his breast by committing suicide in a lake near the summit of the mountain. But his spirit continued to haunt the place, and when travellers have gone up those dismal heights, they have seen him come up from the waters, and slowly and solemnly go through the ceremony of washing his hands. Then the tempest howled, the Infernal Lake heaved, dark clouds and heavy mists gathered round the mountain's head, and storm or hurricane always followed. And so, as the spirit showed such evident dislike to being disturbed, severe penalties were inflicted by the magistrates of Lucerne upon any one who might dare to visit the haunted place.

Such is the tradition, over which rivers of ink have been spilt. For an interesting account of the mountain and its traditions, see Sir W. Scott's “Anne of Gierstein.”

The original name of the mountain was Fracmont, from mons fractus-broken mountain.

Many other traditions appear to have sprung up as occasion required; such as its being the abode of other evil spirits—the Türst and the Bergmannlein; of dragons, of a colossal statue carved without hands in the black rock of a cavern, and so on, and so on. But these tales of horror and wonder have died out, and the tourist of weakest nerves need not fear an encounter with infernal spirits, as he wanders over the green pastures and beside the still waters of the mountain, and beholds a glorious panorama, superior, say some, to that from the Rigi.

It may be mentioned that carriages may be taken to Hergeswyl, at the east base of Pilatus; and the remainder of the journey, except the last steep pull, by mule.


(Hotel Kulm.) Whether we ascend Pilatus or not, it would never do for us not to ascend the Rigi. It would be like going to Rome and not seeing the Coliseum, or going to Naples and not seeing Pompeii.

It is so easy to ascend, that the poorest mountain climber need not fear his abilities; or if he does, there are half a dozen ways by which he may avoid the toil. It can be walked from Weggis in three hours and a half. Or there is now a railway from Vitznau (both Weggis and Vitznau are a short and pleasant steamboat journey from Lucerne), which will take you to the top ; or, if this is not desired, there are horses, or chaises (sedan chairs).

The Rigi Railway first demands consideration, as it is one of the most novel features in mountain climbing. It was completed in July, 1873. The trains run in correspondence with the steamers from Lucerne; and as a limited number only can be taken, each passenger has a “numbered and reserved seat." The rate of travelling is slow, not exceeding three miles an hour, and it is well it is so, as the gradient “over about one-third of the line is one in four, i.l., for every four feet of length the line rises one foot.” This is rather like going up the side of a house; but, notwithstanding, it is safer to go up the Rigi by rail than going up the side of a house. As no one need be alarmed at the prospect of fire because he insures his house, or of speedy decease because he makes his will, neither need the tourist feel scared because he inspects the appliances for guarding the train from accident. He will notice the toothed wheel working between the rails by which the train ascends, the breaks by which each carriage can be held fast to the rack-rail, and the various other appliances for insuring safety. The engine “has little resemblance to an ordinary locomotive, the boiler being upright; and, with a view to give it a vertical position when on the steep gradient, it slopes considerably when standing at the station, which has a very odd appearance." No one should miss inspecting the railway, and making a journey, either ascending or descending by it.

But it is a delightful walk if time permits, and the points of interest to note on the way are worth seeing. Starting from Weggis in a path which it is impossible to mistake, we pass a spot where, in 1795, a thick bed of mud descended

« AnteriorContinuar »