Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

empty to Berne, while we prepar- the Hospice of the Grimsel. The ed for our excursion into the next day we descended to Meyrin-, mountains. We began by cross- gen and left our mules, thence ing the lake of Lucerne to Russ- across the lakes of Brienz and nacht, thence over a strip of land Thun to Thun, where we took a to Imisee on the lake of Zug ; carriage for Berne. At this capithence to Art at its southern ex- tal we found our empty voiture, tremity, and thence along the and our trunks safe, and set off the small lake of Lowertz to Boünner, next day for Lausanne. We paswhere we again embarked for Al- sed through Morat, Avenches, forf. In this day's tour we were Payerne, and Moudon, all Roman in three of the small cantons, Zug, cities and full of antiquities, and Schwitz, and Uri. At Altorf pro- arrived the 19th at Lausanne, perly commenced our passage into which was totally uninteresting to the mountains, along the road , us, except as the favourite resiwhich leads over the St. Gothard dence of Gibbon. The next day into Italy. The path lies near the we travelled over one of the most banks of the Reuss, which it fre- superb chaussées in the world to quently crosses, especially by the Geneva. Nothing remained now famous Pont du Diable. This but to visit Chamouni and the glaroad into Italy is passable only by ciers of Mont Blanc, which by the mules and pedestrians, to which blessing of heaven we have safely latter class we had the honour for accomplished in four days, and three days to belong. We trav

are ready to set off for Paris toelled on foot as far as Hopital, a morrow morning. From this small village in the valley of Ur- sketch of our wanderings, you will seren, at the foot of St. Gothard. see that we have made a pretty Here we took mules to .carry us complete tour through Switzerover the difficult passes of the land, by travelling less, probably, Furea and the Grimsel, two of the than four hundred miles. vast chain of Alps which laid be- Excuse the meagre aspect of tween us and Berne. The 14th this itinerary. You know it would September we crossed the Furea, be absurd to attempt to give in a letbeing obliged to descend from our ter a proper journal of one's travels; mults, and wade through snow and to pretend to describe any above our knees, because the cus- spot particularly interesting would tomary path was entirely conceal. be only to repeat what you may ed. We descended then to the easily find in books. All I mean source of the Rhone, and to the by this sketch is to let you know village of Oberyestelen in the Haut where your friend has been ; perValais, from which point we be- haps too it may refresh for a little gan to ascend the Grimsel. If you while your geographical recoihave a good map, you will see lection. that we here made a very devious There is an event, however, track, because the shortest route, which happened just before our which leads over the Mayenwund, arrival in Switzerland, of which no was rendered impassable by the particular account may have yet snow. At five o'clock we reached reached America, and which I the summit of the Grinsel, 7000 think cannot be uninteresting, esa feet above the sea, and the highest pecially to those of our friends point of our peregrinations ; we who have visited this charming - slept this right in what is called country. Indced it is too disastrous

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

to be related or read with indif- you will see two little islands markference.

ed in this lake, which have been If you have a large map of admired for their picturesqueness. Switzerland, I beg of you to One of them is famous for the relook for a spot in the canton of sidence of two hermits, and the Schweitz, situated between the other for the remains of an ancient lakes of Zug and Lowertz on two chateau, once belonging to the sides, and the mountains of Rigi house of Hapsburg. So large a and Rossberg on the others. Here, body of water was raised and pushbut three weeks ago, was one of ed forward by the falling of such the most delightfully fertile vallies a mass into the lake, that the two of all Switzerland ; green, and lux- islands, and the whole village of uriant, adorned with several little Seven, at the southern extremity, villages, full of secure and happy were, for a time, completely subfarmers. Now three of these vil- merged by the passing of the swell. lages are forever effaced from the A large house in this village was earth, and a broad waste of ruins, lifted off its foundations and carburying alive fourteen hundred ried half a mile beyond its place. peasants, overspreads the valley of The hermits were absent on a pilLowertz.

grimage to the abbey of Einsideln. About 5 o'clock in the evening The disastrous consequences of of the third of September a large this event extend further than the projection of the mountain of Ross- loss of such a number of inhabi. berg, on the north east, gave way, tants in a canton of little popula. and precipitated itself into this tion. A fertile plain is at once valley ; and in less than four min- converted into a barren tract of utes completely overwhelmed the rocks and calcareous earth, and three villages of Goldau, Busingen, the former marks and boundaries and Rathlen, with a part of Lowertz of property obliterated. The main and Oberart. The torrent of road from Art to Schweitz is com: earth and stones was far more rap- pletely filled up, so that another id than that of lava, and its effects must be opened with great labour as resistless and as terrible. The over the Rigi. The former chanmountain in its descent carried nel of a large stream is choked up, trees, rocks, houses, everything and its course altered ; and as the before it. The mass spread in outlets and passage of large bodies every direction, so as to bury com- of water must be affected by the pletely a space of charming coun- filling up of such a portion of the try, more than three miles square. lake, the neighbouring villages are The force of the earth must have still trembling with apprehension been prodigious, since it not only of some remote consequences, a. spread over the hollow of the val- gainst which they know not how ley, but even ascended far up the to provide. Several hundred men opposite side of the Rigi. The have been employed in opening quantity of earth, too, is enormous, passages for the stagnant waters, since it has left a considerable hill in forming a new road for foot in what was before the centre of passengers along the Rigi, and in the vale. A portion of the falling exploring the ruins. The differmass rolled into the lake of Lowertz, ent cantons have contributed to the and it is calculated that a fifth part relief of the suffering canton of is filled up. On a minute map Schweitz, and every head is.at

trork to contrive means to prevent the desolation came, is a plane further disasters.

inclined from north to south. Its The number of inhabitants buri- appearance, as it is now laid bare, ed alive under the ruins of this would lead one to suppose that the mountain, is scarcely less than fif-, mass, when first moved from its teen hundred. Some even esti- base, slid for some distance before mate it as high as two thousand. it precipitated itself into the valley. Of these, a woman and two chil- The height of the Spitsberg (the dren have been found alive, after name of the projection which fell) having been several days under above the lake and valley of Lowground. They affirm that while ertz, was little less than two thouthey were thus entombed, they sand feet. The composition of heard the cries of poor creatures the chain of the Rigi, of which the who were perishing around them, Rossberg makes a part, has alfor want of that succour which ways been an obstacle in the way they were so happy as to receive. of those system makers, who have Indeed it is the opinion of many built their hypotheses upon the well informed people, that a large structure of the Alps. It has nothnumber might still be recovered ; ing granitich in its whole mass, and a writer in the Publiciste goes and though nearly six thousand so far as to blame the inactivity of feet above the sea, is green and the neighbouring inhabitants; and even fertile to its summit. It is quotes many well-attested facts to composed of nothing but earth and prove that persons have lived a stone, combined in rude masses. long time, buried under snow and It is also remarkable that the strata earth. This at least is probable of which it is composed, are disin the present case, that many tinctly inclined from the north tohouses, exposed to a lighter weight ward the south, a character which than others, may have been mere- is common to all rocks of this ly a little crushed, while the lower kind through the whole range of story, which in this part of Swit- Alps, as well as to the greater part zerland is frequently of stone, may of calcareous, schistous, and pyrithave remained firm, and thus not ick rocks, and also to the whole a few of the inhabitants escaped chain of the Jura. -unhurt. The consternation into It was about a week after the which the neighbouring towns of fall of the mountain, that our route Art and Schweitz were thrown, through Switzerland led us to visit appears indeed to have left them this scene of desolation ; and never incapable of contriving and execut- can I forget the succession of meling those labours which an enlight- ancholy views, which presented ened compassion would dictate. themselves to our curiosity. In

The mountain of Rossberg, as our way to it, we landed at Art, a well as the Rigi, and other moun- town situated at the southern extains in its vicinity, are composed tremity of the lake of Zug ; and of a kind of brittle calcareous earth, we skirted along the western bounand pudding stone, or aggregated dary of the ruins, by the side of Tocks. Such a prodigious mass

Mount Rigi, toward the lake of as that which fell, would easily Lowertz. From various points on crumble by its own weight, and our passage, we had complete views spread over a wide surface. The of such a scene of destruction, as bed of the moontain, from which no words can ade quately describe. Picture to yourself a rude and the destroyer of all this life and mingled mass of earth and stones, beauty. On his right was the lake bristled with the shattered parts of of Lowertz, partly filled with the wooden cottages, and with thou- earth of the mountain. On the sands of heavy trees, torn up by

banks of this lake was all that rethe roots, and projecting in every mained of the town of Lowertz. direction. In one part you might Its church was demolished ; but see a range of peasants' huts, which the tower yet stood amid the ruins, the torrent of earth had reached shattered, but not thrown down. with just force enough to overthrow The figure, which animated this and tear in pieces, but without bring- part of the drawing, were a few ing soil enough to cover them. În miserable peasants, left to grope another were mills broken in pieces among the wrecks of one half their by huge rocks, transported from village.

village. The foreground of the the top of the mountain, which fell, picture was a wide desolate sweep and carried high up the opposite of earth and stones, relieved by the side of the Rigi. Large pools of shattered roof of a neighbouring water had formed themselves in cottage. On the left hand spread different parts of the ruins, and the blue and tranquil surface of the many little streams, whose usual lake of Zug, on the margin of channels had been filled up, were which yet stands the pleasant vilbursting out in various places. lage of Art, almost in contact with Birds of prey, attracted by the smell the ruins, and trembling even in of dead bodies, were hovering all

its

preservation. about the valley. But the general We proceeded, in our descent, impression made upon us by the along the side of the Rigi, toward sight of such an extent of desola- the half-buried village of Lowertz. tion, connected, too, with the idea Here we saw the poor curate, who that hundreds of wretched crea- is said to have been a spectator of tures were at that moment alive, the fall of the mountain. He saw buried. under a mass of earth, and the torrent of earth rushing toward inaccessible to the cries and la- his village, overwhelming half his bours of their friends, was too hor- people, and stopping just before rible to be described or understood. his door! What a situation! He As we travelled along the borders appeared, as we passed, to be superof the chaos of ruined buildings, a intending the labours of some of poor peasant, wearing a counten- the survivors, who were exploring ance ghastly with woe, came up to the ruins of the place. A number us to beg a piece of money. He of new made graves, marked with had three children buried in the a plain pine cross, showed where a ruins of a cottage, which he was few of the wretched victims of this endeavouring to clear away. A catastrophe had just been interred. little further on, we came to an Our course lay along the borders elevated spot, which overlooked the of the enchanting lake of Lowertz. whole scene. Here we found a The appearance of the slopes, on painter seated on a rock, and busy the eastern and southern sides, told in sketching its horrours. He had us what the valley of Goldau ,was chosen a most favourable point. a few days since, smiling with vaBefore him, at the distance of more ried vegetation, gay with villages than a league, rose the Rossberg, and cottages, and bright with profrom whose bare side had rusled mises of autumnal plenty. The

shores of this lake were covered pared only to the destruction made with ruins of huts, with hay, with by the tremendous eruptions of furniture and clothes, which the Etna and Vesuvius. Many per. vast swell of its waters had lodged sons suppose that the long and coon the banks. As we were walking pious rains, which they have latemournfully along toward Schweitz, ly had in this part of Switzerland, we met with the dead body of a may have swelled the mountains, woman, which had been just found. in the Rossberg sufficiently to push It was stretched out on a board, this part of the mountain of its and barely covered with a white inclined base. But we saw, no cloth. Two men, preceded by a marks of streams issuing from priest, were carrying it to a more

any part of the bed which is laid decent burial. We hoped that this bare. Perhaps the consistency of sight would have concluded the the earth in the interiour of the horrours of this day's scenery, and mountain was so much altered by that we should soon escape from the moisture which penetrated into every painful vestige of the calam- it, that the projection of the Spitzity of Schweitz. But we continued berg was no longer held by a sufto find relicks of ruined buildings ficiently strong cohesion, and its for a league along the whole ex- own weight carried it over. Pertent of the lake ; and a little be- haps as the earth is calcareous, a yond the two islands, mentioned kind of fermentation took place above, we saw, lying on the shore, sufficient to loosen its foundations. the stiff body of a peasant, which But there is no end to conjectures. bad been washed up by the waves, The mountain has fallen and the and which two men were examin. villages are no more. ing, to ascertain where he belong- I cannot but reflect upon wy ed. Our guide instantly knew weakness in complaining of our it to be one of the inhabitants of long delay at Strasburg. If we Goldau. But I will mention no had not been detained there ten more particulars. Some perhaps days, waiting for our passports, we that have been related to me are should have been in Switzerland not credible, and others which are the 3d of September, probably in credible are too painful.

the vicinity of the lake of Lowertz The immediate cause of this perhaps under the ruins of Golcalamitous event is not yet suffici. dag. Several travellers, or rather ently ascertained and probably ne- strangers, were destroyed; but ver will be. The fall of parts of whether they were there on busihills is not uncommon ; and in ness or for pleasure, I know not. Switzerland especially there are Among them are several respecseveral instances recorded of the table inhabitants of Berne, and a descent of large masses of earth young lady of fine accomplishand stones. But so sudden and ments and amiable character, whose extensive a ruin as this was, per- loss is much lamented. My dear baps, never produced by the fall friend, bless God that we are alive of a mountain. It can be com- and enjoying so many comforts.

Vol. IV. No. 1 C

« PředchozíPokračovat »