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great forest tracts, winding streams, a dozen blue lakes, a flock of busy steamboats—we saw all this little world in unique circumstantiality of detail-saw it just as the birds see it and all reduced to the smallest of scales, and as sharply worked out and finished as a steel engraving. The numerous toy villages, with tiny spires projecting out of them, were just as the children might have left them when done with play the day before; the forest tracts were diminished to cushions of moss; one or two big lakes were dwarfed to ponds, the smaller ones to puddles—though they did not look like puddles but like blue ear-drops which had fallen and lodged in slight depressions, conformable to their shapes, among the moss-beds and the smooth levels of dainty green farm-land; the microscopic steamboats glided along as in a city reservoir, taking a mighty time to cover the distance between ports which seemed only a yard apart; and the isthmus which separated two lakes looked as if one might stretch out on it and lie with both elbows in the water, yet we knew invisible wagons were toiling across it and finding the distance a tedious one. This beautiful miniature world had exactly the appearance of those "relief maps” which reproduce nature precisely, with the heights and depressions and other details graduated to a reduced scale, and with the rocks, trees, lakes, &c., coloured after nature.
I believed we could walk down to Wäggis or Vitznau in a day, but I knew we could go down by rail in about an hour, so I chose the latter method. I wanted to see what it was like, anyway. The train came along about the middle of the forenoon, and an odd thing it was. The locomotive boiler stood on end, and it and the whole locomotive were tilted sharply backward. There were two passenger cars, roofed, but wide open all around. These cars were not tilted back, but the seats were; this enables the passenger to sit level while going down a steep incline.
There are three railway tracks; the central one is cogged; the "lantern wheel" of the engine grips its way along these clogs, and pulls the train up the hill or retards its motion on the down trip. About the same speed-three miles an hour-is maintained both ways. Whether going up or down, the locomotive is always at the lower end of the train. It pushes in the one case, braces back in the other. The passenger rides backwards going up, and faces forward going down.,
We got front seats, and while the train moved along about fifty yards on level ground, I was not the least frightened; but now it started abruptly down-stairs, and I caught my breath. And I, like my neighbours, unconsciously held back, all I could, and threw my weight to the rear, but of course that did no particular good. I had slidden down the balusters when I was a boy, and thought nothing of it, but to slide down the balusters in a railway train is a thing to make one's flesh creep. Sometimes we had as much as ten yards of almost level ground, and this gave us a few full breaths in comfort; but straightway we would turn a corner and see a long steep line of rails stretching down below us, and the comfort was at an end. One expected to see the locomotive pause, or slack up a little, and approach this plunge cautiously, but it did nothing of the kind; it went calmly on, and when it reached the jumping-off place it made a sudden bow, and went gliding smoothly down-stairs, untroubled by the circumstances.
It was wildly exhilarating to slide along the edge of the precipices after this grisly fashion, and look straight down upon that far-off valley which I was describing a while ago.
There was no level ground at the Kaltbad station; the rail-bed was as steep as a roof; I was curious to see how the stop was going to be managed. But it was very simple; the train came sliding down, and when it reached the right spot it just stoppedthat was all there was to it”_stopped on the steep incline, and when the exchange of passengers and baggage had been made, it moved off and went sliding down again. The train can be stopped anywhere, at a moment's notice.
There was one curious effect, which I need not take the trouble to describe, because I can scissor a description of it out of the railway company's advertising pamphlet, and save my
“On the whole tour, particularly at the Descent, we undergo an optical illusion which often seems to be incredible. All the shrubs, fir-trees, stables, houses, &c., seem to be bent in a slanting direction, as by an immense pressure of air. They are all standing awry, so much awry that the châlets and cottages of the peasants seem to be tumbling down. It is the consequence of the steep inclination of the line. Those who are seated in the carriage do not observe that they are going down a declivity of 20° to 25° (their seats being adapted to this course of proceeding and being bent down at their backs). They mistake their carriage and its horizontal lines for a proper measure of the normal plane, and therefore all the objects outside, which really are in a horizontal position, must show a disproportion of 20° to 25° declivity, in regard to the mountain.”
By the time one reaches Kaltbad he has acquired confidence in the railway, and he now ceases to try to ease the locomotive by holding back. Thenceforward he smokes his pipe in serenity, and gazes out upon the magnificent picture below and about him with unfettered enjoyment. There is nothing to interrupt the view of the breeze; it is like inspecting the world on the wing. However, to be exact, there is one place where the serenity lapses for a while; this is while one is crossing the Schnurrtobel Bridge : a frail structure which swings its gossamer frame down through the dizzy air, over a gorge, like a vagrant spider strand.
One has no difficulty in remembering his sins while the train is creeping down this bridge; and he repents of them, too; though he sees, when he gets to Vitznau, that he need not have done it—the bridge was perfectly safe.
So ends the eventful trip which we made to the Rigi-Kulm to see an Alpine sunrise.
Wize men laff every good chance they kan git. Laffing is only a weakness in phools.
I giv the world credit for a grate deal more honesty than it
Whenever i find a real handsum woman engaged in the " wimmins' rights bizzness," then i am going to take mi hat under mi arm and jine the procession.
(Mr. Leland, known chiefly by his poems written as “Hans Breitmann," is also the author
of some most interesting articles on gipsy lore, with which he is well acquainted.]
HANS BREITMANN'S * “BARTY."
HANS BREITMANN gif a barty;
Dey hat biano-blayin',
Her name vas Madilda Yane.
Her eyes vas himmel-plue, I
Dey shplit mine heart in doo.
I vent dere, you'll be pound;
Und vent shpinnen' roundt und roundt
She vayed 'pout doo hoondred poundt
She make der vinders sound.
(* BREITMANN, "broad (or huge) man," has the hint in it of a big swaggerer or burly boaster. Hans is the commonest of all Christian names in Germany, being equivalent to our John.]
+ "Brezel," or "Bretzel," a cracknel or bun in the shape of a letter B (or nearer still to the figure 8), flavoured with salt.
I“Himmel-blau :” heavenly, or sky-blue.
Hans Breitmann gif a barty;
Dere all vash Souse undt Brouse,*
Did make demsels to house;
Der Bratwurst und Braten vine, I
Mit vour parrels ov Neckarwein.
Hans Breitmann gif a barty ;
Ve all cot troonk as bigs.
Undt emptied it oop mit a schwigs;
Und she schlog me on der kop, T
Dill der coonshtable mate oos shtop.
Hans Breitmann gif a barty
Vhere ish dat barty now?
Dat float on der moundain's prow?
De shtar of de shpirit's light?
Afay in de ewigkeit !**
#" Saus und Braus :" Ger. Riot and Bustle.
t“ Das Brot und Gensy-broost :" Ger. "Das Brod und Gänsebrust" (bread and white meat of the goose, the latter cut from the breast, and cured by smoking).
"Der Bratwurst und Braten vine :" sausages and roast meats fine. 8“ Abendessen:" Ger. Supper.
q "Schlog me on der kop,” for “Schlug mich auf den Kopf:” struck me on the head.
1. " Himmelstrahlende stern :" Ger. “Heavenly-shining star." ** " Ewigkeit :" Ger. “Eternity;" " gone for ever.'