We arose in good time this morning and went to the station to receive Aunt Lenchen who is going to join us here and go around with us. She arrived at 10:30, and we were glad to see her again.
We lost no time and started at once across the old and very interesting Kapell Brucke, which is carried obliquely across the clear and emerald green Reuss River. It has a gable roof, and underneath are 154 painted scenes from the lives of Saint Leodegar and Saint Maritius, as well as the patron saints of Lucerne and from the history of the town. These paintings were made some 200 years ago.
Adjoining this bridge rises the old Wasserturm, which, according to tradition, was once a lighthouse (lucernea) and gave its name to the town. The river and the lake are enlivened with swans and flocks of half tame ducks and other waterfowl. We walked along the Quay, which is lined with chestnut trees and extends along the north bank of the lake in front of the large hotels and the handsome Kursaal.
This Quay is a great rendezvous of the visitors, and Aunt Lenchen tells us that you can see wonderful toilets [sic], when the season is at its height. The stores which we passed, or at least the show windows, are filled with the most wonderful and costly articles of ornamentation and luxury which I have seen anywhere.
Passing along from one window to another, you sometimes wonder whether you are in a museum or in front of the shop. An enormous wealth must be brought to this meeting place of the rich and idol from outside, else so many stores of that character could not possibly exist.
The view from the Quay is grand. On account of a cloud in the sky, we could see only part of it, but what we did see impressed us by its grandeur and beauty. Here, before you, in a half circle are stretched out a chain of mountains and mountain peaks. Below them, the hills with the pretty houses and chalets and, at the foot of the hills, the beautiful lake. It is a scene never to be forgotten. We passed the church of Saint Leodegar, said to have been founded in the eighth century. It is very prettily situated on a hill and has two rather slender towers. We will visit it tomorrow.
Walking along several other streets, all lined with shops, we came to the famous “Lion of Lucerne” reclining in a grotto hewn into the rock. It has been erected to the memory of the officers and soldiers of the Swiss guard, who fell in defending the Tuileries in 1792. It represents a dying lion, transfixed by a broken lance and sheltering the Bourbon lily with its paw. It is 28’ in length and hewn out of a natural sandstone rock after a model by Thorwaldsen. They say it is crumbling off in places. The expression of pain and passionate hate in the face of the lion is most wonderful and awe inspiring.We took our dinner at the Park Hotel and, as the weather, looked favorable, we boarded one of the pretty lake steamers for Kussnacht. The Lake of Lucerne, or “Vierwaldstatter See” (lake of the four forest cantons) is without any question unsurpassed in Switzerland in magnificence and variety of scenery. Its beautiful [illegible] ultimately associated with the traditions graphically depicted by my old friend and schoolmate Schiller in his “Wilhelm Tell.”
The lake is nearly cruciform. From the deck of the steamer, we had a strikingly picturesque view of Lucerne with its old towers and battlements, the Rigi on the left, the Pilatus on the right and, in front, the Burgenstock.
We rounded a small promontory, Meggenhorn, upon which is a pinnacled villa, whose owner has placed upon a rock at the extreme edge and, with a background of trees and shrubbery, the figure of Christ with outstretched arms (Come unto me), which is very impressive.
Entering the bay of Kussnacht, we could see, high above, the St. Gotthard Railway. A very picturesque château, now a hotel, was, once upon a time, a frequent resort of the Emperor Rudolf when Count of Habsburg.
Kussnacht itself is a village situated at the north end of this bay of the lake, from where we had a fine distant view above us. We saw the ruins of the so-called Château of Gessler. We left the Tante Lenchen and Mama to visit a friend, Dr. Vonboos, in the village, and Emily and I walked along the road leading to and through the Hohle Gasse (Hollow Lane) mentioned by Schiller in his “Wilhelm Tell.”
At the upper end of this narrow lane, which is shaded by lofty beeches, we came to Tell’s chapel, marking the spot where the tyrant Gessler is said to have been shot by Tell. It has, under a covered portico, a painting representing Gessler’s death, and, inside, another one showing Tell’s death in a rushing torrent.
We returned and took a cup of coffee in a very nice little tavern. I then called, with Lenchen, on Dr. Vonboos, where Wilhelm spent much of his time when sick. I found them a very nice family, and their home is a little paradise, with its beautiful flowers and shrubs.
We really dislike to part from this pretty spot after so short a stay, but we had to go to the boat landing where we could see Mama and Emily sitting on a bench waiting for us. Dr. and his wife accompanied us to the landing and we boarded our steamer and enjoyed our home trip.