A high cold wind, and the sea is rough. Many are not feeling well. Services were held in the dining room, but I did not leave the deck. At 5 o’clock we had a very touching Memorial service on deck, conducted by a Y.M.C.A. leader, Rev. Pierce and a Catholic priest. The sea had grown calm and the sun was low. We sang America, Rev. Pierce and the priest gave short addresses, and a beautiful wreath of roses and rhododendrons was cast out upon the waves by the Y.M.C.A. man in memory of our boys. Singing of the Star Spangled Banner completed the service.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Up early to write letters and complete preparations for leaving. Off for Cherbourg - an all day ride over not very interesting country - reaching there about 5 P.M. The train ran down to the pier and again we show passports etc. Some little irregularity is found and two of our party from Canada, who have been with us during all our tour are not allowed to leave France.
A small boat took our party of 30 and all baggage out of the harbor to where the Philadelphia was anchored and we were soon aboard, with our faces turned homeward.
Eight or ten of our original party, who had taken different tours had boarded the vessel at Southampton and were ready to welcome us as we came aboard.
It all seemed like a long, beautiful dream and we could scarcely believe that it was very real and that we had realized our life-dream. There was one regret. We did so much want to go to Italy!
We found our steamer chairs had all been engaged and our places at table. We had first sitting and our party all arranged together.
Friday, May 28, 2010
This morning we go to look for the grave [of] Lafayette. After a long ride and search we found it in such an out of the way place, with nothing to indicate that a cemetery lay behind those convent walls. An old fashioned grave, with a flat grave stone. Upon it was a wreath in bronze, with this autographic inscription “To this great Lafayette from a fellow servant of liberty, Woodrow Wilson” The parents of Lafayette and other members of the family also are buried here, and some family connections.
We went to a church on one of the highest points of Paris to get the view, but were five minutes too late to go up in the tower.
After lunch we packed and then went to the Magazin De Louvre, the largest store in Paris and finished my shopping. To-morrow we start for America and I will not be able to see one thing I was quite anxious to see, and that was the weaving of tapestry. We had hoped to visit the Gobelin weavers, but there is not time. Mrs. Richard recited the poem once since we came beginning -
“Let us take to our hearts a lesson - no lesson can braver be -
From the ways of the tapestry weavers on the other side of the sea.
Above their heads the pattern hangs, the study it with care;
The while their fingers deftly move, their eyes are fastened there.
They tell this curious thing besides of the patient plodding weaver
He works on the wrong side evermore, but works for the right side ever.
It is only when the weaving stops, and the web is loosed and turned
That he sees his real handiwork, that his marvelous skill has learned.
At the sight of its delicate beauty, how it pays him for all his cost!
No rarer, daintier work than his was ever done by the frost.
Then the master bringeth him golden hire, and giveth him praise as well,
And how happy the heart of the weaver, no tongue but his own can tell.
The years of man are the looms of God, let down from the place of the sun,
Therein we are weaving ever, till the mystic web is done.
Weaving blindly, but weaving surely, each for himself his fate -
We may not see how the right side looks, we can only weave and wait.
But looking above for the pattern, no weaver hath need to fear,
Only let him look clear into heaven, the Perfect Pattern is there.”
Thursday, May 27, 2010
To-day we have set apart to visit the Louvre. We wrote letters, ate breakfast of rolls, cocoa and unsalted butter, then more letters and Miss H. and I were off for the Louvre, and were the first there at 9A.M. We seemed to walk miles through the long hallways, lined with the finest of statuary, bronzes and paintings. A few of the noted ones were Raphael’s Holy Family, and the same by De Vinci, Mona Lisa, Reni’s Mary Magdalene, Murillo’s Immaculate Conception and the group Mary, Elizabeth, Jesus and John. Van Dyck’s King Charles let. - Ruben’s Triumph of Religion and Adoration of the Magi, Rembrandt’s pictures of himself, including his last which showed the dissipated face, Millet’s Angelus. Shepherdess and Little Shepherdess, and the Venus De Milo statue by Phidias the Greek sculptor.
Many students were sketching and painting. We watched one copying Mona Lisa, not that we care for Mona Lisa but was interested in the weird smile and story of the theft. We were told that some students had waited as long as 14 years, for the opportunity to copy some noted picture they loved, and often their hand had lost its cunning before the coveted opportunity came. We would like to spend days here and study, but to-day I grew very tired. Longed to go farther but was forced to go out in the Tuilleries and rest. We could look no more to-day.
After lunch a Chinese friend of Miss H. drove us to the American Express office to get some money changed. The place was crowded and a long line waiting. We found a friend in the person of an American soldier boy at the desk who favored his country women first and we were not obliged to stand in line, for which we were grateful.
Did some shopping before dinner. Paris is a city to be loved and admired. There is a strange charm about the place and enchantments of the past. Had a pleasant evening at our hotel.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
This morning we went to Versailles. Wish I could give a picture of the shady avenues of trees, and the smooth road for miles and miles. In fact all the way, paved with wood blocks. We saw our first double-decked steam cars on the way. The wonderful road from Paris to Versailles, together with the leveling of terraces etc. required the work of 30 000 men and 60 000 horses to build.
The great palaces erected here by Louis XIV is not as imposing on first approach as one might expect. The great court is paved with cobble-stones and one can easily imagine the great processions and mounted guards that used to be seen here. The palace cost over 1000 000 000 francs and was 15 years in building. We have no words to describe the grandeur of the interior. The finest of Gobelin tapestries, bronzes, marbles, paintings, and furniture inlaid with precious stones are here.
The Hall of Mirrors where the Peace Treaty was signed - the rooms of the Vanquished King, all gave evidence of the extravagant taste of the owner.
The grounds were even more interesting than the interior of the palace. The grotto, the fountains, the drives, the miniature lakes, the secluded wood (like fairy-land) intended for the King to wander and meditate when burdened by questions of State etc.
We visited the small palace erected for Marie Antoinette and the stables where she kept her cows etc. When she was tired of the pomp of royal life she would come here for awhile and enjoy the simple life. Visited also the Temple of Love where she served tea etc. No wonder the infuriated people resorted to beheading people in order to gain their liberty! In the afternoon we drove for hours over the beautiful city of Paris with its points of interest at every turn. We went to the church which was struck by the Big Bertha on Good Friday and over 100 men women and children killed. Visited Notre Dame and saw the wonderfully carved doors. There were beggars everywhere.
The tomb of Napoleon will always stand out in memory. The funeral carriage which brought his remains from St. Helena, the original stones which covers the grave there, the death mask, the graves of his generals, and many, many things that told of past glory.
How we wish we spoke French! One could get so much more out of everything. We remember the old lady who grew so confused over the babel of tongues she heard in Paris, that at length she heard a chicken crow and joyfully exclaimed “Thank Goodness! I have heard a little of my own English at last.”
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
To-day for the battle fields. Our usual early hour for rising and off in charabancs at 7-30. We left Paris by the Patin gate over the old Roman road leading from Paris to Metz. These Roman roads have lasted through the centuries because of their massive construction. The Romans built four successive layers, on an earth sub grade, carefully prepared and drained. The foundation and upper surface consisted of large flat stones, while the two intervening layers were built of smaller stone laid in a lime mortar or cement.
Beautiful trees, covered with mistletoe line the avenues. Many were cut down by the Germans for spite. At Manx we were shown the old cathedral that at one time had been the scene of a conflict between Protestants and Catholics where the former broke the heads off all statuary on the outside.
Passed a cemetery of English graves where no care had been taken and Lucy - Lo - Bogage, shelled by American army to get Germans out. A crucifix in a church stood unharmed while everything else was destroyed.
With great interest we approached Belleau Wood. The name has since been changed by the French government to Bois de Marine in honor of the American soldiers. We passed a German and French cemetery and at the latter our driver got out and went to it and stood with uncovered head.
At Belleau Wood 2800 Americans rest in a beautiful grassy plot on a sunny hillside with graveled walks, regular rows of white crosses, each carefully marked. Jewish boys had a star added to their cross.
We had such an indescribable sense of depression as we looked about and saw what a small section of country had been the scene of such a great conflict. A huge boulder just above the cemetery on the hillside, inscribed - “Second Division American, June 26 - 1918” marked the last stand of the Germans.
Below and around is a peaceful scene of field, forest and shadow leading down to the valley of the Aisne. The French caretaker, in his little hut near by had an alphabetical list of every grave, so that any one is easily located. Our party had no difficulty in finding any grave they knew to be here.
A little white cottage near was marked Hostess House and occupied by two bright faced American girls, one from Maine and one from Mass. The cottage was built last December by German prisoners and they came in, a month later. They will spend the summer and they know not how much longer. “Come in and look us over - was their greeting - we heard you were coming.” Everything was neat and carefully arranged and gave a suggestion of home.
There was barbed wire in every place and we crept in among some of it to pluck a poppy. Belleau Wood was all destroyed, although we do not see such wholesale destruction as we saw in Belgium a short time ago. We drove on to Chateau Thiery, which made a drive of 75 miles for the day.
Chateau Thiery was named from a royal chateau just above the town, on a height which was a very strategic position and one of immense importance. There were underground passages coming out under the river 10 kilometers away. It was a splendid site to repel attack and the Germans were in possession and it required hand to hand fighting to dislodge them. The German machine gun was planted in the tower of the town hall. We had luncheon in a wing (that had not been destroyed) of the Swan hotel, on the Main St., in what had been “No man’s Land.”
We entered the town on one side of the river, where the town hall stood and crossed to the other side on a temporary bridge to our hotel. This bridge was destroyed and a group of Americans cut off. They crept along the river to another bridge and just got over, when it too, was destroyed.
Not the least interesting was the Marne river. It looked very narrow to us. We remembered reading “A Hill top on the Marne” written by an American woman who but a short time before the war broke out, had taken a chateau to pursue her literary work, and refused to vacate. The story has new interest now, and I’ll read it again when I get home.
Great fields of yellow mustard and sweet wild roses on the hill-sides gave little evidence of the great conflict waged here so recently. Along the roads, French women were gathering brush-wood for fuel and to make brushes to sell.
Our Charabanc had double tires - that is 8 wheels instead of 4.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Beautiful day! Walked though the shopping district and enjoyed the windows. After lunch took taxi and drove to the Parthenon and to see the Panorama of the late war. Wonderfully realistic. The different countries engaged in the late war are represented in groups, showing the generals, King or Pres. A monument to the unknown dead, with a figure in black kneeling beside it was the most life-like. Edith Cavell and many noted figures are in the background. The whole section of the war is portrayed. The picture was 15 yds. high and was the work of two French artists, who worked 3 years to complete it.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
We had a long walk to the Arch of Triumph and then to the American church and heard Chauncy Goodrich preach a simple gospel sermon, with gospel songs, closing with one verse of America and with the American flag draped all about, we breathed an atmosphere of home.
The Arch of Triumph is said to have cost over $3000 000, is 150 ft. high, 150 ft. wide and 96 ft. from the ground to the top of the arch.
Met an American woman who lived in Paris during the war who told us about the air raids and how they suffered for want of fuel. Coal was $50 a ton. We walked to the Madeline church (named for Mary Magdalene) and saw the fine carving. The Column Vendome, erected to Napoleon and made of captured cannon, is inscribed with all kinds of war implements. It is 140 ft. high with figure of Napoleon on top. It was erected in memory of his victory over Russia and Austria in 1805. Great preparations are under way for the observance of Memorial day. 500 000 francs have been raised to buy American flags to use on the graves of our soldier boys. At Aix Les Bains we met a Col. Waugh whose business it was to see that the cemeteries were well cared for etc.
We can merely touch upon the beauties of Paris.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
We were called at 5- breakfast at 5-30 leave at 6. We had fresh fruit served at breakfast - stems left on, and we lift it out with our fingers. When they serve ice cream it is put in a large dish and passed around and each one helps himself and we eat with tablespoons. The milk for our coffee is hot. We had Charabanc to depot and we watched the French way of switching cars with a horse. Long chain and hook used, and the horse pulls the car, then a big engine drags the car side wise to the track needed. We pass through Macon, Chalon, Sur-Saone, Chagny, the department of Nievre etc., etc. Two American soldier boys are on the train, one from Penn., the other from Oklahoma and we enjoy the visit with them. A little French boy, with a good voice entertained us by going to the different compartments and singing the French National air.
The country is not so interesting as the other countries where we have been. Our train is late and we reached Paris at 4-P.M. instead of 2-30 as scheduled.
Our party is divided and sent to two hotels, Ours is the St. James. A hurried wash and brushing and Miss H. and I go out for our first view of Paris. Fortunately we are less than 5 minutes walk from the Louvre and the garden of the Tuilleries, and the latter we go first to see. We are impressed with the bigness and the magnificence of everything. There are shady trees, beautiful walks and drives, inviting seats, fountains, miniature lakes and the greatest display of statuary I ever saw in one place. The great arch at the Eastern side adorned with figures in memory of the battle of Austerlitz and the loss of Alsace Loraine, has always been kept draped in heavy black until since the recent war.
The Egyptian pyramid, companion to the one in New York and the one in London, stands in the place of the Guilotine, where Mary Antoinette, Charlotte Corday and 3000 others were beheaded. It is hard to believe that at that time women took their work and sat calmly by and witnessed the massacre.
The great arch on the west of the Champs Elysees was built by Napoleon to commemorate his victories and glories and called the Arch of Triumph. It is the largest in the world and shows him being crowned, and different scenes, and gives a list of his victories and names of his generals.
Miss H. and I have been capital traveling companions, although we are so unlike in many ways. It was such a comfort to have a companion that always put the best possible interpretation on what one said or did, and to be understood without carefully weighing one’s words. Together we viewed the statuary - nude of course - and I tried to look learned and wise and said little. Finally we came to a representation of the Good Samaritan, and all three figures were nude - so long as it was only Gods and Goddesses it did not seem so much - but to choose that favorite bible theme and portray it in that fashion proved to be the proverbial “last straw,” and when we reached our room a good natured discussion followed. I really thing Miss H. felt much as I did only she was quietly waiting for the explosion she knew would come and enjoyed the outburst.
It is easy to account for the laxity of French morals. I am frank to say if to be educated means to admire and appreciate the nude in art, then my education is sorely lacking. - but as Samantha would say, “Anon.”
And can this be France? The land of song and story and romance! And beautiful Paris! So different from somber London! Perhaps the weather may make a difference in our atmosphere. There it was continual rain and we were in a chronic chill. Here it is sunshine and brightness and there is a buoyancy in the air we have not had before.
Friday, May 21, 2010
This morning we were called at 4-30, breakfast 5-15 and left hotel at 5-45. We had a short ride back to Cutoz where we changed cars for Lyons. It was a cloudy morning. Scenery not very good. Passing fields and fields of real poppies in bloom - Miss Leyborne read us the poem written by the Canadian physician, Col. John McCrae, beginning - “In Flanders Fields the poppies blow etc.” This section of France seems very, very old and not up to date. Roofs ready to fall in and everything in a general run down condition. Only the crimson poppies seem to be in the present, and grow even between the ties of the R.R.
At Lyons we find French soldiers in their blue uniforms guarding the bridges and depot. The city seems to be large, and full of life. I think it is the second largest city in France. We attract much attention on the streets as we unload at hotel.
We visited the Museum De Tissue and were shown all kinds of fine fabrics from the early day. Costumes worn by Empress Josephine etc., etc. and the looms used to weave the silk. We walked down to the boats on the Rhone river, where the women were washing on flat boards with a brush and coarse soap, rinsing in the river and hanging the clothes on the rails to dry. The clothes were very coarse and a bad color. Women lifted the tubs of water with little or no effort.
We are shocked at the “Comfort Stations” on the street for men and the drinking of the people. We met people from Pittsburg at our hotel and also another group of men were speaking English and were Americans. To-morrow we leave for Paris.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
We have most gorgeous apartments here at the Villa Beau Site. The room is very large and furnished in crimson. 4 huge French windows, one of which opens on a balcony. There are two large wardrobes with plate glass mirrors in the doors, a marble mantle with another mirror above, a large marble-topped table with two toilet sets, another table, two stands, a couch, 4 upholstered easy chairs, a common chair or two and twin beds with big downy foot puffs, rich crimson carpet and draperies of tapestry and silk to correspond and real lace doilies. My bed had a new mattress and springs that seemed high in the middle and had the faculty of rolling me out whenever I turned over. Three times during the night I suddenly came to myself on the floor. I laughed so heartily that I woke Miss H. who informed me that we would have “no more of such performances” and that to-night she will try the tricky bed. I hope it rolls her out too!
The people here seem to have leisure and sit about drinking and loafing. I believe the people of Switzerland in their isolation among the mountains are more liberty-loving than the French where communication is easier. Some of our party are going for a lake trip. I prefer to visit the Baths, Casino and Shops. The Casino is said to be one of the finest buildings in all Europe. Mosaic ceiling, marble columns, wonderful windows and paintings - all supported by gambling devises. At one o’clock visited the baths for which the place is noted. Wonderful building of white marble, with all appliances for treating patients, wheel chairs, vapor baths, arrangements for treating one arm, or any small part of the body. The soldier boys who were here by the thousands during the war were given the baths - 600 of them in one forenoon. Miss H. and I walked out to the French Cemetery where 59 American boys were buried. It was a fine afternoon. There were white crosses, with the metal tag nailed on, and the name regiment etc., printed in English. Everything in splendid condition with flowers in bloom. Never saw more gorgeous roses than hung over the fence above the American graves. The French graves were decorated with bead work in many colors, strung on wire - many graves covered with them. Some of the American graves had been adopted by some French family and they had placed the beaded work on them. A sudden thunder shower came up and we took refuge in the home of the French care-taker near by. It was an interesting visit. The family spoke no English and we spoke no French but we carried out a very illuminating conversation. The children all gathered around us and felt our clothing. I think they decided we came from Mars. A young woman was cutting out a little dress for one of the children and she showed me where there were to be gathers and pleats etc., and how she meant to make it. A young man went out in the rain and brought back two beautiful bouquets of roses for us. I shall press a bud and take home. They were very kind. One of the children went to a cupboard in the room where we sat and took out an immense loaf of bread, baked in the shape of a big wheel, and broke off a piece and ate it without butter or any kind of a spread. When we started, the mother wanted to lend us an umbrella and motioned that a little girl could go with us and bring it back, but we had one with us and did not accept.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
We are up early to know about our Passports and the Custom House. The police charged us each 10 francs and 50 centimes for a permit to leave Switzerland. A bus took us to the Customs House and we had a long standing in line before we were allowed to board our train.
The one topic is the exchange of money when we get into France, how many towns there issue their own money which is not good elsewhere. The rules in Switzerland have been most trying. We were glad when the announcement was made that we had crossed into France. It is a case of “flying into perils that we know not of.”
We are settled in at Aix Les Bains, in the handsomest quarters we have had since leaving America. With more Customs and Passports trouble. We got over this to find ourselves up against no small French change. Coins were out of circulation. Five franc note the smallest to get, and some Chambers of Commerce issued one franc notes, which were not accepted elsewhere. For anything smaller we use postage stamps.
Aix Les Bains is a water resort and the location of the Monte Carlo of France - probably the greatest gambling casino in the world. During the war, the Y.M.C.A. took over this great casino and its magnificent theater, seating between 2000 and 3000 persons, a great moving picture theater, and smaller rooms for concerts and entertainments, and a splendidly equipped Caffeteria - all under one roof. Between 4000 and 5000 soldiers could be entertained here at one time. They were quartered in the magnificent hotel of this wonderful watering place. Mt. Blanc, the highest mountain peak in Europe was seen yesterday, and the “Cat’s Tooth” another peak is plainly visible from our balcony, opening out from our room.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
We were up early to see the sun rise over the Alps, and we were well repaid for the effort. We sat on the balcony and wrote letters and cards, then strolled by the lake before breakfast which was at 9, and then wrote again before leaving for Geneva.
Oh, for words to describe the entrancing and bewitching beauty of Switzerland. Miss H. remarked “It seems entirely too commonplace to think of eating in such a place as this.” It gives me pain to realize that I can never share any of this Edenic beauty with friends and comrades at home. I can feel it, but never express it, by word or pen.
There is a soft mist that covers everything, giving things an almost ethereal look, the snow capped mountains that seem to reach to heaven, the shadows, the green mountain sides, the picturesque chalets and chateaux that dot the mountain sides here and there and the blue waters of the lake at the base makes us realize that Switzerland is well named “The Playground of the World.” Truly we do not need to go to Spain to “build air-castles.”
Perhaps the lesson for us to learn from all this ethereal softness, is for us to become human moss and help brighten the lives of others.
The people of the mountains carry everything in huge baskets that are large at top and small at bottom, fastened on their backs, even women and children, and they climb the steep mountain paths. To-day I saw a woman loading and spreading fertilizer with a pitch fork, the wagon drawn by a cow. The husband walked and led the cow while the woman did the work.
There are vineyards through here, stone walls built in and the vines are in terraces. We just heard that Switzerland voted for the League of Nations two to one. We climbed the mountain yesterday to an elevation of over 7000 ft. and then descended and I was not affected by the altitude. Evidently my heart is all right. There are wonderful creepers over the walls and houses all laden with bloom.
We reached Geneva at 2-15. Here is where the Red Cross began its work and there is hope of locating the seat of the League of Nations. We are too early to attend the International Women’s Suffrage Congress on June 5th.
Miss H. and I studied Guide books and maps, then started to explore. Crossed the big bridge over the Rhone, and saw the big monument erected to commemorate the union of Geneva with the other Cantonments and flowers were lain at the feet of the figure. The gardens were attractive.
We remembered the fame of Swiss watches and visited the Phillips Jewelry store, the largest wholesale and manufacturer in the world. We were told that stem winding watches were invented by Mr. Phillips and that the watch industry was started originally by Voltaire. We were courteously shown some wonderful watches and jewels of all kinds. One or two more stops, then we started to find the old homes of Rosseau, Geo. Eliot and Calvin. We were well repaid for climbing the narrow, narrow streets in the search. We stopped at the little American church on our return. After dinner we had a fine boat ride of two hours on Lake Geneva - so restful and calm.
Monday, May 17, 2010
We had early showers but the promise is for a bright day. In this mountainous country it rains very easily and the sun seems to play hide and seek. We were off on schedule.
Our Italian guide (and I can scarcely pronounce his name, much less spell it) has a way of rushing through our rooms in hotels after we leave them in search of forgotten things. When we are all seated in the train he comes through in search of the rightful owners. It is perfectly marvelous the articles of women’s attire he can produce from the depths of his pockets. This morning he had a variety of things from pink bed-room slippers to wash cloths and soap. I am not sure that it is a good thing. Some of the women seem to feel if they do forget anything, that he will be sure to find it.
Yesterday was election day (Sunday) in Switzerland to decide whether or not they would enter the League of Nations. We are anxious to hear the result.
The wood here is cut so accurately and piled high under the projecting eaves of both house and out-houses. The mountain sheep and goats clamber over the rocks and scale almost perpendicular ascents. The goats are about the color of the deer, the cows larger than ours and the latter wear large bells. We are passing through valleys, in and around the mountains or through them and there are acres of wild narcissus, which is so fragrant. People bring it to the windows of our train an sell it and everybody wants some.
Such brilliant hued flowers, the grass so green, waterfalls on the mountain sides and all crowned by the snow capped mountains, forms an enchanting picture. We had our first glimpse of Lake Geneva through the mountains.
We reach Montreaux (which is made up of a number of small villages and we stop at the large one) and are taken to Hotel Eden, which is rightly named. After lunch we go to the Castle of Chillon, made famous by Byron. We strolled through the shops and streets and back to the hotel, to sit on the balcony opening off from our room and overlooking mountains and lake. It is a magnificent scene and we are speechless with delight! After dinner we listened to the orchestra and a Russian soloist who sang in the parlor below.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
We smile as we remind each other that we must be on our good behavior, for we are all registered with the police!
This was a perfect spring day. We walked and walked and drank in the beautiful scenery. As it neared time for church, wended my way to a little German Protestant church. We were early and sat on the porch, lost in thought. Big sleek cows were grazing about the church yard, each wearing a huge bell. - Everything was so peaceful and quiet - only the tinkling of the bells broke the silence.
The people were gathering and our party went in and filled several seats, although all did not go to this one church. The sermon seemed to be for the young people at least they were given front seats, and the minister seemed to be directing his discourse to them. Not one word of the bible reading could we understand, Songs, prayers or sermon, but the spirit of worship was there and we could feel that it was beautiful. We remarked upon the close attention and reverence of the young people - in fact we have noticed this in all foreign churches, and compared it with the restlessness in our own. We remembered the story of a little Catholic boy who went to one of the protestant churches for a service and was very anxious to go again. When asked why, answered, “because they let me wiggle.”
In the afternoon we went to the Kursaal and attended a Swiss Singing festival - their Sangerfest. This was indeed an unexpected pleasure. 5000 people were present and they gave the Bells by Schiller, as only Swiss Singers can interpret it. There were thirty singing societies represented and they were here for two days to test one’s ability, and contest for prizes - In all 1200 voices, 800 male and 400 female. The soloist came from Berne. Not a musical instrument was heard - every eye was fixed upon the leader who gave them the pitch. There were clear, bird like sopranos, deep, heavy basses and the alto and tenor blended perfectly. Each of the 22 Cantonments in Switzerland have their own costume, and their parades were full of color and quaint costumes. We had the good fortune to sit near a Swiss woman who spoke English and she told me many things in answer to my questions. The length of ribbons the girls wore indicated their wealth, which was computed in goats. Thus, if she wore a short ribbon, she owned one goat, if her ribbon reached near her waist line she owned two goats, if it reached below, she owned three etc. and to own 3 or 4 was to be wealthy. Some of the women wore bright colored kerchiefs on their heads, but the elderly women usually had on broad ugly brown hats and carried little brown baskets filled with dried apples and pears to give the children. They wore so much filagree silver especially chains. After dinner took a walk for a last view of Jungfrau by moonlight and we watched to see the chamois come down from the mountain side.
We are told that we must be up by 5-30 to-morrow, breakfast at 6-15 in order to make our train for Montreaux. We shut our ears and eyes to the music and the marching etc. and soon are in dreamland.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
We wake to find the same soft mist enveloping the mountains. It rained in the night. We are off early for Inter-Laken. A wonderful trip through Brunig Pass to our destination. Snow-capped mountains, with beautiful flowers and blooming trees at the base. After lunch we climbed the mountains, but we have no words to describe the scenery. Some one says -
“There is something of poetry born in us each,
Tho’ in many, perhaps, it is born without speech.”
One of the painful thoughts that comes to me so often, is, that I will never, never, be able, by tongue or pen, to give to my friends the beauties that have been ours to enjoy.
A thunder storm and heavy rain caught us in the mountains, but we had umbrellas. Coming down, we saw a mother (with children under a tree) who had been gathering fagots for fuel, and these she had bound together with a rope and the bundle was so large on her back, we could hardly see her.
Friday, May 14, 2010
After a good night’s rest we were awakened by the birds, to find it had rained during the night and that a soft mist was still hanging over the mountains.
At the table we had big envelopes made of pressed paper to hold our napkins, with blank space for name and more of the paper-covered toothpicks. We strolled through the streets, visited shops and looked at curies. The men tip their hats to each other here when they meet. We took another walk to see the Lion carved in the solid rock. It was a noble piece of work and one could scarcely look upon the face without tears. The noble beast in the throes of death, with one foot on the Coat of Arms of France!
Next we visited the Glacial Gardens, the Alpine museum, showing among other things, the Alpenstock used in climbing, the shoes, canteen, ropes, etc. which a young man once wore, who attempted to climb the mountain in search of edelweiss for his sweetheart - lost his way and fell into a crevasse and was killed. - a St. Bernard dog, used in finding travelers lost in the snow, etc., bits pressed edelweiss etc.
The Hall of Mirrors was quite amusing. Farther up on a lift was a place so arranged, that one person was reflected 1000 times.
The gardens, mountain scenery, ferns, wild flowers, birds, peculiar trees, waterfalls and miniature lakes made a wonderful beauty spot.
Lucerne is not far from the historic place where Wm. Tell shot the apple from off his son’s head to gain his liberty. We cannot be far from the scene of Napoleon’s crossing the Alps. When we get home, will have many things to look up and read. We call to mind the story of Arnold Winkelried who “made way for liberty and died” when he rushed upon the Austrian line freeing Switzerland, but that point must be a mountain pass farther east.
We noticed a poster printed on yellow paper and put up in a conspicuous place. One of our party translated it, and it proved to be a suffrage poster, signed by the Central organization for promotion of Women’s suffrage in Switzerland. Below is the translation.-
Election of 16 May, 1920, concerning the entrance of Switzerland into the League of Nations.
Whom does this concern?
The entire Swiss people.
Who decides it?
Only the men.
Why, since in our democracy the women fulfil the duties of citizenship well, do they not enjoy their rights?
Voters, recognize this injustice and take action to put it away.
After dinner we went to see the historic covered bridge, mentioned in Longfellow’s Golden Legend. We tried to find an open shop for ice-cream on our return, but everything shut tight, with long wooden shutters reaching to the ground in every instance.
One of our party, Mrs. Brinkhoff, is suffering from cold and bronchial trouble and went to a hospital for a few days.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
This was a splendid hotel and every attention was given to us, and we had running water, a luxury not often found in European hotels.
A bath - slept about one-half hour - then had breakfast of coffee, rolls butter and honey, then Mrs. Price and I took a walk to see the Rhine. We walked across it, noted buildings of note all about, which were closed, (it being Ascension Day) and the Cathedral, the distant mountains, etc.
There was a big parade of the Cantonal Corps of the Salvation Army, with high dignitaries from London present, and a sacred concert given in front of our hotel. A sleep of two hours, another bath and we are ready for lunch, which was good. We had quill tooth-picks sealed in little transparent envelopes, lace doilies under our bread and such big, downy bolsters on our beds to go over our feet.
At three o’clock we are on the train again for Lucerne. Much of the way we see the big horse-chesnuts laden with their pink and white bloom. Swiss Chalets nestling against the mountain sides, and for many miles we have fine views of the snow-capped Alps, and as we neared the station, the beautiful lake comes into view. The afternoon was very warm. We passed through one tunnel 16 miles long. We reached Lucerne on schedule, were taken to Hotel Europe, and in a half hour had dinner, and as usual, everybody was hungry.
After dinner our Italian guide took us to see the Lion, one of the most historical monuments of Lucerne. It commemorates the bravery of the Swiss Guards of Louis XVI who went to the help of France in her effort to defend the Tuilleries during the revolution in Paris in 1792. The model was made by the Danish sculptor Thorwalsden. - 26 officers were killed.
It was too early in the season for the electric lights to be turned on and the trip was unsatisfactory. We have a fine view of the distant Alps from our room, even from our beds.