A Tramp Abroad — Volume 05 eBook: Page1

Mark Twain (1994)




  Produced by Anonymous Volunteers, John Greenman and David Widger

  A TRAMP ABROAD, Part 5.

  By Mark Twain

  (Samuel L. Clemens)

  First published in 1880

  Illustrations taken from an 1880 First Edition

  * * * * * *

  ILLUSTRATIONS:

  1. PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHOR 2. TITIAN'S MOSES 3. THE AUTHOR'S MEMORIES 178. EXCEEDINGLY COMFORTABLE 179. THE SUNRISE 180. THE RIGI-KULM 181. AN OPTICAL ILLUSION 182. TAIL PIECE 183. RAILWAY DOWN THE MOUNTAIN 184. SOURCE OF THE RHONE 185. A GLACIER TABLE 186. GLACIER OF GRINDELWALD 187. DAWN ON THE MOUNTAINS 188. TAIL PIECE 189. NEW AND OLD STYLE 190. ST NICHOLAS, AS A HERMIT 191. A LANDSLIDE 192. GOLDAU VALLEY BEFORE AND AFTER THE LANDSLIDE 193. THE WAY THEY DO IT 194. OUR GALLANT DRIVER 195. A MOUNTAIN PASS 196. "I'M OFUL DRY" 197. IT'S THE FASHION 198. WHAT WE EXPECTED 199. WE MISSED THE SCENERY 200. THE TOURISTS 201. THE YOUNG BRIDE 202. "IT WAS A FAMOUS VICTORY 203. PROMENADE IN INTERLAKEN 204. THE JUNGFRAU BY M.T. 205. STREET IN INTERLAKEN 206. WITHOUT A COURIER 207. TRAVELING WITH A COURIER 208. TAIL PIECE 209. GRAPE AND WHEY PATIENTS 210. SOCIABLE DRIVERS 211. A MOUNTAIN CASCADE 212. THE GASTERNTHAL 213. EXHILARATING SPORT 214. FALLS 215. WHAT MIGHT BE 216. AN ALPINE BOUQUET 217. THE END OF THE WORLD 218. THE FORGET-ME-NOT 219. A NEEDLE OF ICE 220. CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN 221. SNOW CREVASSES 222. CUTTING STEPS 223. THE GUIDE 224. VIEW FROM THE CLIFF 225. GEMMI PASS AND LAKE DAUBENSEE 226. ALMOST A TRAGEDY 227. THE ALPINE LITTER 228. SOCIAL BATHERS 229. DEATH OF COUNTESS HERLINCOURT 230. THEY'VE GOT IT ALL 231. MODEL FOR AN EMPRESS 232. BATH HOUSES AT LEUKE 233. THE BATHERS AT LEUKE 234. RATTIER MIXED UP 235. TAIL PIECE

  CONTENTS:

  CHAPTER XXIX Everything Convenient--Looking for a WesternSunrise--Mutual Recrimination--View from the Summit--Down theMountain--Railroading--Confidence Wanted and Acquired

  CHAPTER XXX A Trip by Proxy--A Visit to the Furka Regions--Deadman'sLake--Source of the Rhone--Glacier Tables--Storm in the Mountains--AtGrindelwald--Dawn on the Mountains--An Explanation Required--DeadLanguage--Criticism of Harris's Report

  CHAPTER XXXI Preparations for a Tramp--From Lucerne to Interlaken--TheBrunig Pass--Modern and Ancient Chalets--Death of Pontius Pilate--HermitHome of St Nicholas--Landslides--Children Selling Refreshments--How theyHarness a Horse--A Great Man--Honors to a Hero--A Thirsty Bride--ForBetter or Worse--German Fashions--Anticipations--Solid Comfort--AnUnsatisfactory Awakening--What we had Lost--Our Surroundings

  CHAPTER XXXII The Jungfrau Hotel--A Whiskered Waitress--An ArkansasBride--Perfection in Discord--A Famous Victory--A Look from aWindow--About the Jungfrau

  CHAPTER XXXIII The Giesbach Falls--The Spirit of the Alps--Why PeopleVisit Them--Whey and Grapes as Medicines--The Kursaal--A FormidableUndertaking--From Interlaken to Zermatt on Foot--We Concluded to takea Buggy--A Pair of Jolly Drivers--We meet with Companions--A CheerfulRide--Kandersteg Valley--An Alpine Parlor--Exercise and Amusement--ARace with a Log

  CHAPTER XXXIV An Old Guide--Possible Accidents--DangerousHabitation--Mountain Flowers--Embryo Lions--Mountain Pigs--The Endof The World--Ghastly Desolation--Proposed Adventure--Reading-upAdventures--Ascent of Monte Rosa--Precipices and Crevasses--Amongthe Snows--Exciting Experiences--lee Ridges--The Summit--AdventuresPostponed

  CHAPTER XXXV A New Interest--Magnificent Views--A Mule'sPrefereoces--Turning Mountain Corners--Terror of a Horse--LadyTourists--Death of a young Countess--A Search for a Hat--What We DidFind--Harris's Opinion of Chamois--A Disappointed Man--A Giantess--Modelfor an Empress--Baths at Leuk--Sport in the Water--The GemmiPrecipices--A Palace for an Emperor--The Famous Ladders--ConsiderablyMixed Up--Sad Plight of a Minister

  CHAPTER XXIX

  [Looking West for Sunrise]

  He kept his word. We heard his horn and instantly got up. It was darkand cold and wretched. As I fumbled around for the matches, knockingthings down with my quaking hands, I wished the sun would rise in themiddle of the day, when it was warm and bright and cheerful, and onewasn't sleepy. We proceeded to dress by the gloom of a couple sicklycandles, but we could hardly button anything, our hands shook so.I thought of how many happy people there were in Europe, Asia, andAmerica, and everywhere, who were sleeping peacefully in their beds,and did not have to get up and see the Rigi sunrise--people who didnot appreciate their advantage, as like as not, but would get up in themorning wanting more boons of Providence. While thinking these thoughtsI yawned, in a rather ample way, and my upper teeth got hitched on anail over the door, and while I was mounting a chair to free myself,Harris drew the window-curtain, and said:

  "Oh, this is luck! We shan't have to go out at all--yonder are themountains, in full view."

  That was glad news, indeed. It made us cheerful right away. One couldsee the grand Alpine masses dimly outlined against the black firmament,and one or two faint stars blinking through rifts in the night. Fullyclothed, and wrapped in blankets, and huddled ourselves up, by thewindow, with lighted pipes, and fell into chat, while we waited inexceeding comfort to see how an Alpine sunrise was going to look bycandlelight. By and by a delicate, spiritual sort of effulgence spreaditself by imperceptible degrees over the loftiest altitudes of the snowywastes--but there the effort seemed to stop. I said, presently:

  "There is a hitch about this sunrise somewhere. It doesn't seem to go.What do you reckon is the matter with it?"

  "I don't know. It appears to hang fire somewhere. I never saw a sunriseact like that before. Can it be that the hotel is playing anything onus?"

  "Of course not. The hotel merely has a property interest in the sun, ithas nothing to do with the management of it. It is a precarious kind ofproperty, too; a succession of total eclipses would probably ruin thistavern. Now what can be the matter with this sunrise?"

  Harris jumped up and said:

  "I've got it! I know what's the matter with it! We've been looking atthe place where the sun SET last night!"

  "It is perfectly true! Why couldn't you have thought of that sooner? Nowwe've lost another one! And all through your blundering. It was exactlylike you to light a pipe and sit down to wait for the sun to rise in thewest."

  "It was exactly like me to find out the mistake, too. You never wouldhave found it out. I find out all the mistakes."

  "You make them all, too, else your most valuable faculty would be wastedon you. But don't stop to quarrel, now--maybe we are not too late yet."

  But we were. The sun was well up when we got to the exhibition-ground.

  On our way up we met the crowd returning--men and women dressed inall sorts of queer costumes, and exhibiting all degrees of cold andwretchedness in their gaits and countenances. A dozen still remained onthe ground when we reached there, huddled together about the scaffoldwith their backs to the bitter wind. They had their red guide-books openat the diagram of the view, and were painfully picking out the severalmountains and trying to impress their names and positions on theirmemories. It was one of the saddest sights I ever saw.

  Two sides of this place were guarded by railings, to keep people frombeing blown over the precipices. The view, looking sheer down intothe broad valley, eastward, from this great elevation--almost aperpendicular mile--was very quaint and curious. Counties, towns, hillyribs and ridges, wide stretches of green meadow, great forest tracts,winding streams, a dozen blue lakes, a block of busy steamboats--we sawall this little world in unique circumstantiality of detail--saw it justas the birds see it--and all reduced to the smallest of scales and assharply
worked out and finished as a steel engraving. The numerous toyvillages, with tiny spires projecting out of them, were just as thechildren might have left them when done with play the day before; theforest tracts were diminished to cushions of moss; one or two big lakeswere dwarfed to ponds, the smaller ones to puddles--though they did notlook like puddles, but like blue teardrops which had fallen and lodgedin slight depressions, conformable to their shapes, among the moss-bedsand the smooth levels of dainty green farm-land; the microscopicsteamboats glided along, as in a city reservoir, taking a mighty time tocover the distance between ports which seemed only a yard apart; and theisthmus which separated two lakes looked as if one might stretch out onit and lie with both elbows in the water, yet we knew invisible wagonswere toiling across it and finding the distance a tedious one. Thisbeautiful miniature world had exactly the appearance of those "reliefmaps" which reproduce nature precisely, with the heights and depressionsand other details graduated to a reduced scale, and with the rocks,trees, lakes, etc., colored after nature.

  I believed we could walk down to Waeggis or Vitznau in a day, but I knewwe could go down by rail in about an hour, so I chose the latter method.I wanted to see what it was like, anyway. The train came along about themiddle of the afternoon, and an odd thing it was. The locomotive-boilerstood on end, and it and the whole locomotive were tilted sharplybackward. There were two passenger-cars, roofed, but wide open allaround. These cars were not tilted back, but the seats were; thisenables the passenger to sit level while going down a steep incline.

  There are three railway-tracks; the central one is cogged; the "lanternwheel" of the engine grips its way along these cogs, and pulls thetrain up the hill or retards its motion on the down trip. About the samespeed--three miles an hour--is maintained both ways. Whether going up ordown, the locomotive is always at the lower end of the train. It pushesin the one case, braces back in the other. The passenger rides backwardgoing up, and faces forward going down.

  We got front seats, and while the train moved along about fifty yardson level ground, I was not the least frightened; but now it startedabruptly downstairs, and I caught my breath. And I, like my neighbors,unconsciously held back all I could, and threw my weight to the rear,but, of course, that did no particular good. I had slidden down thebalusters when I was a boy, and thought nothing of it, but to slide downthe balusters in a railway-train is a thing to make one's flesh creep.Sometimes we had as much as ten yards of almost level ground, and thisgave us a few full breaths in comfort; but straightway we would turn acorner and see a long steep line of rails stretching down below us, andthe comfort was at an end. One expected to see the locomotive pause,or slack up a little, and approach this plunge cautiously, but itdid nothing of the kind; it went calmly on, and went it reached thejumping-off place it made a sudden bow, and went gliding smoothlydownstairs, untroubled by the circumstances.

  It was wildly exhilarating to slide along the edge of the precipices,after this grisly fashion, and look straight down upon that far-offvalley which I was describing a while ago.

  There was no level ground at the Kaltbad station; the railbed was assteep as a roof; I was curious to see how the stop was going to bemanaged. But it was very simple; the train came sliding down, and whenit reached the right spot it just stopped--that was all there was "toit"--stopped on the steep incline, and when the exchange of passengersand baggage had been made, it moved off and went sliding down again. Thetrain can be stopped anywhere, at a moment's notice.

  There was one curious effect, which I need not take the trouble todescribe--because I can scissor a description of it out of the railwaycompany's advertising pamphlet, and save my ink:

  "On the whole tour, particularly at the Descent, we undergo an opticalillusion which often seems to be incredible. All the shrubs, fir trees,stables, houses, etc., seem to be bent in a slanting direction, as by animmense pressure of air. They are all standing awry, so much awry thatthe chalets and cottages of the peasants seem to be tumbling down. Itis the consequence of the steep inclination of the line. Those whoare seated in the carriage do not observe that they are going down adeclivity of twenty to twenty-five degrees (their seats being adaptedto this course of proceeding and being bent down at their backs). Theymistake their carriage and its horizontal lines for a proper measure ofthe normal plain, and therefore all the objects outside which reallyare in a horizontal position must show a disproportion of twenty totwenty-five degrees declivity, in regard to the mountain."

  By the time one reaches Kaltbad, he has acquired confidence in therailway, and he now ceases to try to ease the locomotive by holdingback. Thenceforth he smokes his pipe in serenity, and gazes out upon themagnificent picture below and about him with unfettered enjoyment. Thereis nothing to interrupt the view or the breeze; it is like inspectingthe world on the wing. However--to be exact--there is one place wherethe serenity lapses for a while; this is while one is crossing theSchnurrtobel Bridge, a frail structure which swings its gossamer framedown through the dizzy air, over a gorge, like a vagrant spider-strand.

  One has no difficulty in remembering his sins while the train iscreeping down this bridge; and he repents of them, too; though he sees,when he gets to Vitznau, that he need not have done it, the bridge wasperfectly safe.

  So ends the eventual trip which we made to the Rigi-Kulm to see anAlpine sunrise.

  CHAPTER XXX

  [Harris Climbs Mountains for Me]

  An hour's sail brought us to Lucerne again. I judged it best to go tobed and rest several days, for I knew that the man who undertakes tomake the tour of Europe on foot must take care of himself.

  Thinking over my plans, as mapped out, I perceived that they did nottake in the Furka Pass, the Rhone Glacier, the Finsteraarhorn, theWetterhorn, etc. I immediately examined the guide-book to see if thesewere important, and found they were; in fact, a pedestrian tour ofEurope could not be complete without them. Of course that decided me atonce to see them, for I never allow myself to do things by halves, or ina slurring, slipshod way.

  I called in my agent and instructed him to go without delay and make acareful examination of these noted places, on foot, and bring me back awritten report of the result, for insertion in my book. I instructedhim to go to Hospenthal as quickly as possible, and make his grand startfrom there; to extend his foot expedition as far as the Giesbach fall,and return to me from thence by diligence or mule. I told him to takethe courier with him.

  He objected to the courier, and with some show of reason, since he wasabout to venture upon new and untried ground; but I thought he mightas well learn how to take care of the courier now as later, therefore Ienforced my point. I said that the trouble, delay, and inconvenienceof traveling with a courier were balanced by the deep respect which acourier's presence commands, and I must insist that as much style bethrown into my journeys as possible.

  So the two assumed complete mountaineering costumes and departed. A weeklater they returned, pretty well used up, and my agent handed me thefollowing: Official Report

  OF A VISIT TO THE FURKA REGION.

  BY H. HARRIS, AGENT About seven o'clock in the morning, with perfectlyfine weather, we started from Hospenthal, and arrived at the MAISON onthe Furka in a little under QUATRE hours. The want of variety in thescenery from Hospenthal made the KAHKAHPONEEKA wearisome; but let nonebe discouraged; no one can fail to be completely R'ECOMPENS'EE for hisfatigue, when he sees, for the first time, the monarch of the Oberland,the tremendous Finsteraarhorn. A moment before all was dullness, buta PAS further has placed us on the summit of the Furka; and exactly infront of us, at a HOPOW of only fifteen miles, this magnificent mountainlifts its snow-wreathed precipices into the deep blue sky. The inferiormountains on each side of the pass form a sort of frame for the pictureof their dread lord, and close in the view so completely that no otherprominent feature in the Oberland is visible from this BONG-A-BONG;nothing withdraws the attention from the solitary grandeur of theFinsteraarhorn and the dependent spurs which form the abutments of thecentral
peak.

  With the addition of some others, who were also bound for the Grimsel,we formed a large XHVLOJ as we descended the STEG which winds round theshoulder of a mountain toward the Rhone Glacier. We soon left the pathand took to the ice; and after wandering amongst the crevices UN PEU, toadmire the wonders of these deep blue caverns, and hear the rushing ofwaters through their subglacial channels, we struck out a course towardL'AUTRE COTE and crossed the glacier successfully, a little above thecave from which the infant Rhone takes its first bound from under thegrand precipice of ice. Half a mile below this we began to climb theflowery side of the Meienwand. One of our party started before the rest,but the HITZE was so great, that we found IHM quite exhausted, and lyingat full length in the shade of a large GESTEIN. We sat down with himfor a time, for all felt the heat exceedingly in the climb up this verysteep BOLWOGGOLY, and then we set out again together, and arrived atlast near the Dead Man's Lake, at the foot of the Sidelhorn. This lonelyspot, once used for an extempore burying-place, after a sanguinaryBATTUE between the French and Austrians, is the perfection ofdesolation; there is nothing in sight to mark the hand of man, exceptthe line of weather-beaten whitened posts, set up to indicate thedirection of the pass in the OWDAWAKK of winter. Near this point thefootpath joins the wider track, which connects the Grimsel with the headof the Rhone SCHNAWP; this has been carefully constructed, and leadswith a tortuous course among and over LES PIERRES, down to the bank ofthe gloomy little SWOSH-SWOSH, which almost washes against the walls ofthe Grimsel Hospice. We arrived a little before four o'clock at the endof our day's journey, hot enough to justify the step, taking by most ofthe PARTIE, of plunging into the crystal water of the snow-fed lake.