Travel Letters: Giessbach, Switzerland (1866)

DEAR MOTHER, — Today, I am up here in the woods, with the famous Falls of Giessbach tumbling and roaring in front of my windows, spending Sunday in what, if it were not for the great hotel, would be the most retired nook of all creation.

At Interlaken, the other day, I received three weeks’ accumulation of letters ; a good feast after a long starvation. I must defer all accounts of my own minor travels to congratulate you on the great achievement of your Niagara. I am very thankful that you have been there. It is certainly the greatest wonder of Nature, which remark has been made about it before, perhaps, but I want to assure your complacency by letting you be confident that the Old World has nothing to show that will compare with it. Mont Blanc is pretty grand, and there is no reason why you should not see that, too, some day, but for the present you may rest well satisfied with Niagara.

It seems lucky, with such a houseful as you have had, that one of the boys was safely out of the way in Europe. This last week, I have been seeing the wonders and the beauties of the Bernese Oberland, as it is called, that part of Switzerland which lies about the lake of Thun. Then from Macugnaga, where I wrote last Sunday, I came down the valley of Anzasca to Domo d’ Ossola, then over the great Simplon Road to Brieg, over the Gemmi Pass to Thun, down the lake of Lucerne, over the mountains, close to the splendid Jungfrau to Meyringen, and from there to this mountain side on the lake of Brienz. It has all been splendid. The beauty of Switzerland is, that it has no dull places, and one is never tired, only sometimes bewildered a little with its endless attractions. Strong and I are still together.

The great interest of your letters was what you told me of Fred’s beginnings in the good work. Everything seems to be going splendidly with him, as everybody knew it would. I hear indirectly from parishioners, whom I meet here, of how great is the impression that he made in Philadelphia. I hope he will not be in such a hurry to settle far away, but that I shall see him somewhere in September.

This is a poor letter, still I am no less your loving son, and will tell you so by word of mouth in seven weeks and a half. Good-by, love to all.

PHILLIPS.