Page images

the Kaiserstuhl, answered by another on the Laudenberg, give notice to the whole valley of what was about to happen, and a bold miner, named Spire, was despatched with two companions to fire the train. The length of the match was so regulated as to give them ample time to escape through the tunnel and their return to daylight was announced by the firing of a pistol. A multitude of spectators had collec ted on the surrounding hills to witness the result of the experiment which had cost so much time and money to execute, and in which many were so deeply interested-while considerable anxiety prevailed as to its happy result. Expectation was now at the utmost stretch; ten minutes had elapsed beyond the time allotted to the match, and nothing was heard. Some began to fear;-in a minute two dull explosions were heard; but they neither shook the ground above, nor even broke the ice which at that season covered the lake. No one doubted that the mine had failed, when, on a sudden, a joyful shout from below announced its success, as a black torrent of mud and water intermixed was seen by those stationed near the lower end of the tunnel to issue from its mouth. The winter season had been expressly chosen for the consummation of the undertaking because the waters are then lowest, and many of the tributary torrents are frozen or dried up.

The drainage of the Lake of Lungern was effected gradually and safely. In six days the water fell 14 feet, and in ten days more the lake had sunk to a level with the mouth of the tunnel. The lake of Gyswyl, indeed, was filled again, and lasted for a few days; during which it laid several houses under water, but it was soon drained off. On the shores of the lake of Lungern appearances were at first alarming. The steep banks, deprived on a sudden of the support of the water, began to crack; large masses broke off, and a very considerable fissure appeared near the village of Lungern, which threatened injury to it; so that the church and many of the houses were dismantled and abandoned, and the bells removed from the tower. A piece of ground, several acres in extent, did, in fact, separate, and slide into the water, just after a house and shed, which stood on it, had been pulled down and removed. Fortunately this was the extent of the mischief, and church and village are still safe. The uncovered land presented, for some months, only a blank surface of mud and sand to which the crows resorted in great numbers to feed on the worms and shell fish left dry by the receding waters. By the latter end of the year a scanty crop of potatoes was raised on part of it, but some time must elapse before it can become valuable for agricultural purposes. The aqueous deposits brought down into the lake by tributary brooks, and laid bare by this.

Lucerne to Berne, by Entlebuch. 85 drainage, will be remarked with interest by the geologist, as illustrating the progress of the formation of strata, and the variation of their dip. Much float wood was found in the bed of the lake; it had assumed the appearance of brown coal. The cost of this enterprise was 51,826f. (50007.), and 19,000 days' labour performed by the peasants.

3 Lungern (Inns: Sonne, better than that at Sarnen; Löwe), the last village in the valley, situated at the foot of the Brunig, and at the S. end of the lake, now removed by the drainage some distance from it. Here the char road ceases, and the rest of the way must be trav elled on foot, or on horses, which are kept here for hire. (8 and 10.)

From Lungern to Meyringen is a journey of between 3 and 4 hours. A steep path leads up to the summit of the Brunig; 3580 feet above the sea-level, where a

1 Toll-house (furnishing beds in case of need) marks the frontier of Canton Berne, and the culminating point of the pass. From a little chapel near this a charming and first-rate view is obtained along the entire valley of Nidwalden, backed by the Pilatus, with the Lungern See for a foreground, forming altogether" one of the most delicious scenes in Switzerland," to use the words of Latrobe, though destitute of the grandeur presented by snowy peaks. To survey these, however, the traveller has only to proceed a few yards farther, to the brow of the descent, where the valley of Hasli, with the Aar winding through the midst, opens out to view, backed by the gigantic and snow-white crests of the Wetterhorn, Eigher, and others of the Bernese Alps. Here the road separates, one branch leads to the lake of Brienz, on the rt.; the other to Meyringen, seated in the midst of the rich flat which forms the bottom of the valley. From the opposite precipices, two or three streaks of white may be discernedthese are the falls of the Reichenbach.

1 1/2 Meyringen. (Route 27.)



17 1/6 stunden, 56 Eng. miles.

A diligence goes daily in summer.

This is the best and shortest of the two carriage-roads to Berne.

3 At the village of Schachen the ascent of the Bramegg commences, and continues gradually upwards for about 5 miles. An excellent road, passing the baths of Farnbühl (a solitary inn), has been constructed within a few years over this mountain: its top commands a good view of the Pilatus and Righi. The slope of the Bramegg on the opposite side is

1. A seminary, for young gentlemen, about 80 in number, from all parts of Europe: there are some English. They receive here an education on very moderate terms; "but it is more than doubtful whether it be such as to fit them for English society, or for utility in their own country when they return."-P. Every summer, during the vacation, they make a pedestrian tour through Switzerland, under the guidance of their tutors. There is a separate school of instruction for schoolmasters.

2. A school for the poor, who are taught according to the system of M. Fellenberg, on an extensive scale, having the double object of instructing farmers and introducing agricultural improvements, not wholly free from a character of quackery.

3. An agricultural establishment, consisting of a model farm; an experimental farm; an extensive collection of agricultural implements, and a manufactory for making them.

The surrounding district was little better than a bog when M. Fellenberg settled here in 1799: he has since gradually brought it into cultivation. There is a direct road from Berne to Hofwyl by the Enghe, Reichenbach, and Buchsee, about 9 miles.

A little beyond the further extremity of the avenue of the Enghe, lies the old castle of Reichenbach, which belonged to Rudolph of Erlach, the hero of the battle of Laupen, who was murdered here, in his old age, by his son-in-law, Jost von Rudenz, with the very sword which he had wielded at that glorious victory. The assassin was pursued, as he fled from the scene of his crime, by the two blood hounds of the aged warrior, who broke loose at their master's cries. They tracked the murderer's footsteps of their own accord, and after some hours returned with gore-stained lips, and nothing more was heard or known of Jost von Rudenz.

3. BERN-(Inns, Falke, Faucon), one of the best inns in Switzerland. Charges-table d'hôte, at one, 3 fr.; at four, 4 fr.; breakfast, 1 fr. 10 sous; tea, ditto; beds, 2 fr. 10 sous.

Families and persons desiring to be quiet, may be accommodated in a separate house, called Petit Faucon, in a back street, from the roof of which there is a fine view;-Couronne, also good;-Cigogne (Storch). The Abbayes, or houses of the guilds, also, accommodate travellers: the best is the Distelzwang, or Abbaye aux Gentilshommes. Table d'hôte 2 fr. 5:


Berne, capital of the largest of the Swiss cantons, seat of the Swiss Diet (Vorort) alternately with Zurich and Lucerne, and residence of most of the foreign ministers, contained, in 1836, 22,751 inhabitants. It is built on a lofty sandstone promontory, formed by the winding course of the Aar, which

Berne-Fountains-Clock Tower. 89 nearly surrounds it, flowing at the bottom of a deep gully, with steep and in places precipitous sides (stalden). It is proposed to remedy the inconvenient ascent and descent by which the town can alone be reached from the E., by throwing a lofty bridge of stone or wire over this gully. The distant aspect of the town, planted on this elevated platform, 1600 feet above the sea, is imposing, and there is something striking in its interior, from the houses all being built of massive stone. It has this peculiarity, that almost all the houses rest upon arcades (Lauben), which furnish covered walks on cach side of the streets, and are lined with shops and stalls. The lowness of the arches, however, and the solidity of the buttresses supporting them, render these colonnades gloomy and close. Along the brow of the precipice, overhanging the Aar, and removed from the main streets, are the more aristocratic residences of the exclusive patricians.

Rills of water are carried through the streets to purify them, and they are abundantly furnished with Fountains, each surmounted by some quaint effigy. One of these, the Kinderfresser-Brunnen (Ogre's-fountain), on the Corn-house-square, receives its name from a figure (probably Saturn) devouring a child, with others stuck in his girdle and pockets ready for consumption. Some bear the figures of armed warriors, such as Sampson and David; another is surmounted by a female figure, probably Hebe; but the favourite device is the Bear, the armorial bearings of the canton, which is what the French heralds call an "armoirie parlante; " the word "Bern signifying a bear, in old German, or rather in the Suabian dialect. Indeed the animal is as great a favourite here as in the House of Bradwardine. Thus, the upper fountain in the principal street is surmounted by a bear in armour, with breast-plate, thigh-pieces, and helmet; a sword at his side and a banner in his paw. The Schützen Brunnen is the figure of a Swiss crossbowman of former days, attended by a young bear as squire.

[ocr errors]

Along the line of the principal street are three antique watch-towers. The Clock tower (Zeitglockenthurm) stands nearly in the centre of the town, though, when originally built, in 1191, by Berchtold V., of Zähringen, it guarded the outer wall. Its droll clock-work puppets are objects of wonder to an admiring crowd of gaping idlers. A minute before the hour strikes, a wooden cock appears, crows twice, and flaps his wings; then, while a puppet strikes the hour on a bell, a procession of bears issues out, passes in front of a figure on a throne, who marks the hour by gaping and by lowering his sceptre. Further on in the street stands the Küficht Thurm (cage tower), now used as a prison; and beyond it Christopher's tower, also called Goliath's, from

the figure of a giant upon it. The great charm of Berne is the view of the Bernese Alps, which the town and every eminence in its neighbourhood commands in clear weather. This is excellently seen from the Platform, a lofty terrace, planted with shady rows of trees, overlooking the Aar, behind the Minster. More than a dozen snowy peaks of the great chain are visible from hence; they appear in the following order, beginning from the E. :-1, Wetterhorn; 2, Schreckhorn; 3, Finster-Aarhorn; 4, Eigher; 5, Mönch; 6, Jungfrau; 8, Gletscher horn; 9, Mittaghorn; 10, Blumlis Alp; 11, In the middle distance, Niesen; 12, Stockhorn.

There cannot be a more sublime sight than this view at sunset; especially at times when, from a peculiar state of the atmosphere, the slanting rays are reflected from the Alpine snows in hues of glowing pink. It is hardly possible to gaze on these Alps and glaciers without desiring to explore their recesses which enclose some of the most magnificent scenery in Switzerland. The Platform itself, supported by a massive wall of masonry, rises 108 feet above the Aar; yet an inscription on the parapet records that a young student, mounted on a spirited horse, which had been frightened by some children, and leaped the precipice, reached the bottom with no other hurt than a few broken ribs, The horse was killed on the spot. The rider became minister of Kerzerz and lived to a good old age!

The Minster, a very beautiful gothic building, was begun 1421, and finished 1457. One of its architects was the son of Erwin of Steinbach, who built Strasburg; and many of the ornaments, such as the open parapet running round the roof, and varying in pattern between each buttress, are not inferior in design or execution to those of Strasburg. The chief ornament is the great W. portal, bearing sculptured reliefs of the Last Judgment, flanked by figures of the wise and foolish Virgins, etc The interior is not remarkable. In the windows are the coats of arms of the aristocratic burghers of Berne, in all the pomp of heraldry; along the walls are tablets, bearing the names of 18 officers and 683 soldiers, citizens of Berne, who fell fighting against the French 1798, There is also a monument erected by the town, in 1600, to Berchtold, of Zähringen, founder of Berne

The Museum contains one of the best collections of the natural productions of Switzerland to be found in the country. It is open to the public 3 times a-week: strangers may obtain admittance at all times by a small fee.

In the zoological department there are stuffed specimens of the bear at all ages. Two young cubs, about the size of kittens, respectively 8 and 21 days old-hideous and uncouth monsters-enable one easily to discover the origin of the

« PreviousContinue »