Lucerne, September 27, 1909

Lucerne. An Old House.

The quartet started out bright and early, and Emily and I walked over the Muhelm Brucke (bridge), which is built on the same order as the Kapell Brucke and has paintings of the Dance of Death, describing death coming to the men and women in different callings such as judge, painter, workmen, etc., and calling them away from their work to join him in a dance.

Dance of Death Bridge

We found our way through the narrow and crooked streets with their old, but well preserved, houses to the ancient Rathaus built in 1519. I went in to see some old stained glass including a fine series of armorial bearings of the 17th century. The coloring, as well as the details in these old glass paintings, is truly wonderful. I also saw a very pretty chased sword hilt called the Tell’s sword on account of its having incidents out of the life of Tell and chased work on the hilt. Right near this old Rathaus,  we saw another house with the genealogical tree of the house of Pfaeffli painted upon the front wall, covering it from the sidewalk to the roof.

Town Hall on the Quay.

From here, we went along the Quai, shop gazing as we went along, and up two flights of stairs to the church of St. Leodegar. They had firnmug (confirmation), and the church was filled with parents and their boys and girls, the former neatly attired in black, and the latter in white, dressed with a wreath on their head.

I had an opportunity to hear the fine organ and to admire the carved pulpit and stalls of the 16th century, also the stained glass windows and forged iron work. Mama and I promenaded in the old church yard and in the arcades enclosing it, where there are several paintings by Drescgwanden.

In order that Emily and I might have a chance to see the Glacier Garden, Tante and Mama made an arrangement with us to meet them at the station, and we went past the old Lion to the Glacier Garden.

These were discovered in 1872 by a gentleman having the cellar dug. After removing a stratum of earth, the workmen struck upon the firm, gray rock of the country, in which were sunk many deep excavations, cauldron shaped, at the bottom of which lay large, round blocks of Alpine rocks, which a professor of Geology of the Polytechnicum of this city pronounced to be glacier mills.

These mills owe their origin to the action of erosions at the foot of cascades. The round boulders, seen at the bottom of the mills, have been whirled about by water and have polished the mills by friction.

As there is no cliff nearby from which the water could fall, it is clear that the boulders have been dragged to the place by the glaciers of an epoch long passed, from the innermost parts of the Alps, and that these holes have hollowed out by the torrents of melted snow that dashed down the steep end of the formerly mighty glacier or rushed through the ice crevices down to the ground, and the now disappeared cliff was glacier ice.

We stand before a relic of time when these countries were not yet inhabited by men, a time when almost the whole of Switzerland, and, indeed, the greatest part of the northern hemisphere, were buried under immense masses of ice, with here and there an oasis inhabited by animals long ago extinct. We also saw rocks, found on the spot, abounding with fossils of seashells and others showing the petrification of a palm leaf, best presenting to us various aspects of the country in the history of our earth—the first when the ocean covered the land, second when tropical heat produced tropical forests, third when the ice covered this hemisphere.

Aside of these glacier mills, we saw a very interesting and prettily arranged exhibit of Alpine animals, all shot in Switzerland, and the panorama of the Rheinfalls as we saw it from our hotel.

Walking up some steps, we came to an Ice Grotto with a glacier mill working under the glacier. This gave us a good idea of how they originated. Through a crevice in the ice, the torrent of melted snow rushes down and whirls the huge rock, making it revolve in the rocky part, hollowing and grinding it, as it turns.

We next came to an Alpine Club Cottage giving us a true picture of these highland places of refuge. Through an opening in the wall of the room in this cottage, we saw the beautiful Alps. We seem to stand far above the glacier, which descends majestically from the land of eternal snow. It requires an attentive observation to realize that this is only a picture, an illusion, so wonderfully are all the characteristics of the world of glaciers rendered.

Passing on, we came to a wood cottage in Swiss style, so called chalet, and we entered it to see how they live up in these high mountains.

We had to rush in order to get to the station in time. Off for Zürich at 1 o’clock. Near Ebikon, we had another glimpse of the Rigi from the Kulm to the Rotstock. At Cham, we saw the extensive buildings of the Anglo Swiss condensed Milk Co. and, by 2 o’clock, the Zuricher See came interview again.

Alfred, the youngest son of Lenchen, received us at the depot. He has been serving for two weeks as a soldier, which the Swiss citizens have to do up to their 30th year. We all went shopping and took the train for Remismuhle at 6 o’clock and were received there by Maja.

The rooms have been decorated with flowers by her, and we all were glad to get home once more, well satisfied with our 13 days’ trip. At the table we found your nice letter of the 16th together with the new catalog, which I think is a beauty and does credit to the compiler.

We intend to leave for the Engadine in a few days. For this time, I must close. Soon I hope to be able to tell you more. Say, the girl at the Mercur in Interlaken sends regards. She said she remembers you. She is a nice looking, dark eyed Frenchy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.