Travel Letters: Andermatt, Switzerland (1870)

DEAR WILLIAM, — I wonder what you have all been about at home since I left you at the Worcester station four weeks ago tomorrow morning. I have not heard a word yet, and shall not get letters till tomorrow night, when we reach Coire, to which place I have ordered letters sent. I hope you are all well and having a pleasant summer. Last Sunday I wrote to mother from Courmayeur in Italy. Since then we have had a week of splendid weather and constant movement.

First, we rode down the beautiful valley of Aosta to Chatillon through vineyards, Italian towns, and very hot Italian roads. Tuesday we climbed up the steep and ugly valley of Val Tournanche and slept at Breuil, under the shadow of the splendid Matterhorn. Wednesday we crossed from Italy to Switzerland again by the glacier pass of St. Theodule, between the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa, with great views of both and a hundred giants besides, and descended to Zermatt. Thursday we came down from Zermatt to the valley of the Rhone, and slept at Fiesch ; Friday we climbed the Eggishorn, one of the most magnificent points of view in all Switzerland, commanding the Jungfrau and its big neighbors and the great Aletsch Glacier (the longest in Switzerland), the Matterhorn, and Mont Blanc. Yesterday we came over the Furca Pass, close beside the great Rhone Glacier, out of which the mighty river starts, and reached this quiet little German-Swiss village on the St. Gotthard road yesterday evening.

It is a lovely day, and it is good to rest for twenty-four hours. Tomorrow we are off for a ramble through northeast Switzerland, and shall bring up next Sunday at Ober-Ammergau for the great Miracle Play. When that is over, I shall have five weeks still for a journey in the Tyrol before I go back to Paris to sail for home.

Meanwhile, there is war in Europe, the most unnecessary and wicked of wars that ever was made. France has been insolent and arrogant beyond herself. It probably will be short and severe. A troop of soldiers just passed by the hotel. Switzerland, of course, is neutral, but is arming her borders. We have been out of the way of the war as yet, and probably shall not see much of it.

Do write me how everything goes on at home and at the church. Give my love to Mary, and to all at home. Affectionately,

PHILL.