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calculable weight they are constructed to carry. Thus they form and hollow out between each separate ridge narrow beds, which soon become formidable ravines, expanding rapidly into valleys, basins, and extensive plains, at the extremities of which we perceive from the heights the sparkling of transparent lakes, from whence foaming rivers take their course, to seek a distant and a still lower level.
Upon the flanks of these diminishing Alps the traveler encounters here and there a scattered cottage or insulated habitation, resembling a tent constructed of wood, built solely for the summer season, to which the shepherds in following their flocks ascend with the spring, and from whence they depart on the approach of autumn. Below this elevation, villages are found grouped together at the foot of a cascade, and sheltered from the fury of the avalanche by forests of pine. The beams and planks which form the houses of these villages are furnished by the same tree which protects them from the melting snows. These houses, covered by a wooden roof, which overhangs the walls, like the brim of a hat widened to protect the face from the rain, seem as if they were shaped and sculptured by the knife with curious and patient skill; they resemble the toys of white wood which the shepherds carve for their children while they are watching the cattle. External staircases, ornamented by balusters carved in arabesque, lead from the ground-floor to the higher story. Doors, surmounted by hollow niches, containing statues of virgins, heroes, or saints, give admission to the upper apartments, which are lighted by windows in lattice-work, with lozenge-shaped panes of glass set in leaden frames. Long galleries with Gothic balustrades surround the entire building, under the open air, like a festooned girdle encircling the waist of a bride. Stems of May-trees or sprigs of nutritious plants, suspended from the roof by their roots, hang over the exterior gallery, and form a ceiling of colored mosaics. Through the windows of the kitchen we perceive the reflection of a large fire-place, which emits a perpetual
blaze. Branches and splinters of pine, artistically cleft and piled under the gallery (a certain sign of opulence), constitute a wood-house, well supplied to meet the exigencies of the winter. At the side of this pile are placed folding-doors, which open into extensive stables, floored with planks of pine, cleansed and shining, like the table of a careful housekeeper. The lukewarm and perfumed breath of heifers issues from these doors, mingled with the piteous lowing of young bulls, calling for their absent mothers. A movable wooden bridge, thrown over the entrance to the stables, with a long and gradual descent, conducts the carts loaded with hay to the granary for fodder. Dry forage and yellow straw issue from all the windows of this vegetable magazine; abundance is every where mingled with simplicity. In the middle of the court, a hollow trunk of pine drains through an iron pipe water from the mountainstreams into an enormous wooden trough, to satisfy the thirst of the cattle.
On whatever side you regard the flanks of the Alpine region, whether on the nearest eminences, the slope of the glacier, the roof of the dwelling-place, the walls of the building, the store of wood, the stable, or the fountain, the eye encounters nothing but pine, alive or dead. The Switzer and the pine-tree are brethren. It seems as if Providence had assigned to every distinct race of human beings a special tree, which accompanies them, or which they follow throughout their terrestrial peregrinations : a tree which affords them nourishment, heat, drink, shelter; which gathers them together under its branches, forms as it were a member of the domestic circle, and becomes in fact a household god, attached to every individual hearthstone. It is thus with the mulberry in China, the date in Africa, the fig in India, the oak in France, the orange in Italy, the vine in Spain and Burgundy, the pine in Switzerland, and the palm in Oceania.* The animal and vegetable world are bound together by invisible ties : annihilate trees, and man must perish.
* The fifth division of the habitable globe, comprising the islands of the Pacific, Australasia, the Philippine Islands, etc.--TRANSL.
After having traversed the villages on the declivities of the Alps, the towns present themselves at a distance, either on advanced promontories, or in hollow creeks on the borders of the great lakes. They are easily recognized by their dark walls, pointed roofs, and pewter balls, which faintly reflect a dim sun on the tops of the cathedrals and guildhalls; and also by the multitude of white sails crowded round the outlets or mouths of their small harbors, which hurry on to the blue waters of the lake, like sea-gulls driven by night to the rocks. These towns, with the exception of Geneva (which resembles a Hanseatic rather than a Helvetian city, and may be considered a sort of universal hotel in this western valley of Cashmere), are of small extent, and contain none of the monuments which mark the luxury of great nations. Municipalities rather than capitals, they present the ruins of an extinct feudality, or the limbs of
pastoral communities, to whom the nature of the country and the smallness of the population have denied the power of increase, or the faculty of absorbing other cantons. We are struck only by the majestic, simple, and patriarchal character of the human race. The men there are of a lofty stature, strongly framed, standing erect on their feet, calm in countenance, frank and open in expression, their mouths unwrinkled by deceit, their foreheads wide, high, and smooth, but without those prominences and furrows which the activity of thought raises or impresses on the fronts of races gifted with more cultivated intelligence. The women, light and active in figure, with expanded shoulders, supple arms, elastic limbs, bronzed hair, blue eyes, healthy complexions, oval cheeks, curved lips, and with the tones of their voices at once sonorous and tender, resemble Grecian statues placed upon pedestals of snow, and animated by the fresh, shivering air of the mountains. A mixture of manly dignity with feminine modesty is harmoniously blended in their physiognomy. We perceive at once by their aspect and habitual
familiarity, restrained and decent before strangers, that they inhabit a cold and chaste country, where they have no occasion to fear their own hearts: their innocence protects
their costume enhances their beauty without exposing it to danger. Long tresses of hair, twined with black velvet ribbons, descend on each side of the neck, almost to their heels; a broad hat of felt or straw covers the head; a narrow bodice of wool restrains the waist; the bosom is covered by a chemise, plaited in a thousand folds, and whiter than the snow; a short and ample woolen under-petticoat leaves the leg exposed considerably above the ankle.
Whether they are employed in spreading the litter on the floor of the stables, in carrying the pails of maple-wood foaming with the rich freshly-drawn milk of their cows, or in turning up with long wooden rakes the newly-mown hay of the hanging meadows on the borders of the pine-forests to windward of the cascades all their different labors resemble festivals. From one hill to another, above the bed of the mountain torrents, they reply to the songs of the young reapers by chanting national airs. These airs resemble modulated cries emitted by a superabundance of life and joy: their last vibrations are prolonged like the echoes of the mountain; musicians note them down without being able to imitate them: they are indigenous only on the waters, or on the green slopes of the Alps. Nature does not here suffer herself to be counterfeited by art. To sing thus, it is necessary to have acquired in infancy, and to have retained with indelible impression on the ear, the rippling of the waves against the sides of the vessel on the lakes, the murmur of the running streams, passing drop by drop through the resounding trough; the mournful sweep of the wind sighing through the dentated leaves of the pinetrees; the lowing of the heifers calling to their young from the hill-tops; the shrill or heavy-toned tinkling of the bells suspended to their necks in the grassy fields; the joyous cries of the infants who sport in the sun upon the haystacks under the eyes of their mothers; the gentle converse of the betrothed who walk hand-in-hand before the elders, whispering to each other of future happiness; the adieu of the young soldier who quits his native mountains for a long absence, venting his grief in sighs as he pursues his march, or his shout of joy on returning from foreign service, when he reaches the last cottage from whence he can once more . behold the steeple of his own village. The name given to these songs is Ranz. The sons and daughters of the Alps weep and pine whenever they accidentally hear them at a distance from their native country; a thousand apparitions rise up before them with a single inflexion of the voice. Thus their hearts are constructed, and thus is formed the heart of man in every clime and country: a voice brings back a memory, a moment retraces a life, a tear gushes to the eyelids, and in that single tear a whole universe is comprised. In proportion as man retains his natural simplicity, his inward thoughts revert more frequently to the source and origin of his being. It is with the human heart as with a building: the most empty repeats with intense distinctness the echo of a single sound.
The national character of these people has continued ancient in modern days. The Swiss always remains a peasant. He is religious, unaffected, laborious ; a shepherd, an agriculturist, a patriot, a soldier, an artisan, and above all, a freeman, he is ever ready to stake life against slavery. The limited size of his country reduces each canton to a single family. He has no ambition to make conquests, but he is ever apprehensive of being conquered. This suspicious jealousy lest one district should seek to assume undue authority over another, scarcely permits him to form an imperfect alliance or confederation with other branches of his own race; an alliance in which the union is wanting that constitutes force. A king would appear to him a tyrant ; even a republic with too much federal power he would consider insupportable. Municipal government is the only authority that he recognizes. He wishes to be ruled by habits rather than laws, Traditional customs form his code of