Travel Letters: Hotel D’angleterre, Chamounix (1892)

DEAR WILLIAM, MARY, GERTRUDE, AGNES, AND TOOD, — This is the last letter I shall write to any of you on this journey, because next Sunday it will be within four days of the sailing of the Pavonia, and it will not be worth while to write. This fun is almost over. John and Hattie joined me last Monday at Interlaken.

Tuesday we went to Lauterbrunnen and the Trummelbach, and had a fine, bright, sunshiny day. Wednesday we loafed about Interlaken all the morning, and took the boat and train in the afternoon for Berne by Thun. It was not clear when we reached Berne, so we did not see the great view of the Alps, but saw the bears in their pit. I showed the old woman on the terrace the bear which I bought of her for fifty centimes two years ago and have carried in my pocket ever since, which pleased her simple soul very much indeed, and pleased mine more. She thought it very pretty of me to have taken such fond care of it, and she offered to make it brown and young again for nothing. But I did not want her to do that, and told her I would bring it back again in two years more to see her.

We went back to the Berner Hof for dinner, and in the evening to a Beer Garden and heard music. Thursday it rained hard, but we came to Martigny by rail, and after we reached there in the afternoon it was pleasant enough for us to take a drive and see the Gorge de Trient. Friday we drove over the Tête Noire. It was a beautiful day, and the views were prettiest and best. Saturday the mountains were as clear as clear could be, so we are lucky.

An Oxford professor tried to go up Mont Blanc Thursday in the storm, and died of exhaustion. Yesterday, through the telescope in the hotel yard, we could see them bringing his dead body down over the snow, and I suppose it arrived here late last night.

The only high ascent made by our party, and that was entirely successful, was John’s going with a mule and a guide to the Montanvert, crossing the Mer de Glace, and coming down by the Mauvais Pas. The journey was accomplished without any accident, and the climber reached the hotel about three o’clock in the afternoon, not much fatigued.

Tomorrow we go to Geneva (Hôtel de la Paix), and the next day shall take the long, tiresome ride to Paris ; after that you know about what will happen to us, until you find us in your arms again. . . I am very well indeed, thank you, and shall be glad to see you all again. Yours most affectionately, P.