Page images

to her giving up her time, plans, and pleasures, for my sake. I won't pretend to interfere with your métier of nurse. I am no use at all in a sick room---can't keep quiet---can't hold my tongue---am nothing but a nuisance---am sure to be turn'd out. But my nominally being here with you

is all that is necessary for appearances -for your sake ;---and I can amuse myself as well here as any where else---with rambling on the rocks, and the mountains, and the glaciers--taking special care, however, of my neck---for I am sure no chivalrous knight will save mine, for me, at the expense of his own. It is, I assure you, quite as pleasant to me to be here, as any where else; and when this interesting Unknown gets well, you and I will make our tour of the lakes and mountains together. It will be delightful! It will be romantic! I shall enjoy it far more with you alone, than if any one else were with us.'

Dinner was now ready, at which she joined the primitive trio of the good Pastor, his wife and his old mother, after arranging her dress, and taking possession of the little apartment which they gladly consented she should occupy. She insisted upon my lying down for a few hours, (as I had not been in bed for two nights)—which I did, in the little apartment which communicates with the poor invalid's room, leaving the nurse, who, by the way is, I find, the village midwife, to keep watch by his bed side, with orders to awaken me whenever he should stir.




Lady Hunlocke has been amusing herself this morning with assisting to transform me into & Swiss girl,—by attiring me for the first time, in the costume of a Paysanne of the canton of Berne. The dress to be sure is uncommonly grotesque, but although the same, in make, that is worn by the women, working in the fields, it is also the costume of all the rich farmers' and small landed proprietors' wives and daughters--and the holiday suit is composed of very handsome materials. It consists of a black velvet boddice, embroidered with minute coloured beads, and with gold, studded with gilt buttons, hung round with a long silver chain, and laced up in the front with red ribbon. Beneath this jacket appear the full white shift sleeves, and a habit shirt, terminated at the throat with an embroidered velvet collar, to correspond to the boddice. The petticoat, either plain or trimmed at the bottom, as fancy dictates, is worn very short by the Bernese girls, but I have taken the liberty to make mine cover my ancles. White stockings and shoes, with neat square buckles in front, which make the foot look remarkably small, complete the figure. But by far the most extraordinary part of the Bernese costume, is the head dress, which consists of an immensely broad sort of black frill, made of open horse hair, from the top of the back of the head to under the chin, standing out like the wings of an immense moth. It is set into a little flat piece of black velvet, which just covers a small patch on the back of the head, and beneath which the Bernese girls wear two immense long plaits of hair, like tails hanging down their back, which (admire the rustic simplicity of these unsophisticated mountaineers !) is generally chiefly made of false hair! I was rather refractory respecting these tails; but Lady Hunlocke was absolute; and as my own hair is sufficiently long and thick for the tails of any Bashaw, she plaited it herself into two long queues, which hang strait down my back, so that I cut the most ridiculous figure possible. But in this warm weather, this fashion is most agreeably cool, so that lam now perfectly reconciled to it. The silver chain I wear is lent me by the Pastor's wife, who assured me she received it from her great, great, great grandmother;-for this article of finery, and even the horse hair winged head piece, which seems to wear for ever, generally descend from generation to generation. The rest of the dress is new, and my own. Lady Hunlocke is so delighted with it, and thinks it so becoming, that she is determined to get one,

and try what execution she can do in it,' she says, at the first fancy dress ball or masquerade she goes to. My metamorphose, now that I am attired in this garb, is so complete, both in figure and face, that Lady Hunlocke declares she could scarcely have recognised me herself; and it has just been effected in time for this morning, to my unspeakable joy, our poor patient has spoken for the first time, and opened one of his eyes. Of course he was not allowed to talk, or to ask




any questions,—but he seemed soothed by the sounds of his native tongue, made me promise to stay by him, and then composed his head again upon the pillow, as if at ease and free from all pain or inquietude, excepting the weakness consequent on the fever, which is now gone, and the loss of blood. The surgeons—for we have got a famous practitioner from Berne, as well as his first attendant-seem to-day to entertain sànguine hopes of his recovery, but a relapse, of which there is still great danger, would, they say, probably prove fatal.




Grindelwald, Sept. 19. DEAR TOLL,

I have been tumbled over a huge precipice, have broken one of my two arms in two places

-and my only head in at least two hundred : am besides covered from head to foot with thumps, bumps, lumps, and bruises-am all over black and blue, and other colours, multifarious as the rainbow, but infinitely less lovely, have utterly spoiled at once my Manton and my beauty ;-have been shaved, bled, blistered, leeched, physicked, fomented, and tormented for a full fortnight, without ceasing--am shut up in a little bed room, in a little parson's house, in the midst of great inaccessible Swiss mountains, (which alas ! I can no longer scramble over) where not a soul (except one) can understand á single word I say—in short, there never was such an unfortunate fellow ;--and yet, Tolly--I am the happiest dog alive!

You who know me so well, will easily conceive that I am in love--and you are right, Toll; -I am ;-but, but I am ashamed to tell it-I am in love-desperately, irrecoverably in love with -with-a Swiss Paysanne-a sort of servant.--No! by heavens it is impossible! She cannot be and yet she is :--she is a sort of attendant, or humble companion, or fille de chambre of Lady Hunlocke’s,---she says so herself !---and what is worse---she is the second Abigail I have fallen in love with within this fortnight!

By heavens! this country is under witchcraft; and I have neither the use of my eyes, ears, nor understanding since I entered it! I saw in a night-cap--an elegant lovely young creature, blushing, trembling, beaming with mind and sensibility--yet full of dignity-her soft glance penetrating to the soul---her ecstatic voice winning the very heart---and lo!-in another hour -and without a night-cap, this angelic vision was transformed into a starched, prim, sharp old maid of a waiting woman-who accused me, forsooth, of having stolen her rings! And it actually was the same, for the rings were found upon the candlestick in my room, which I had taken away from hers by mistake, instead of my own, having gone to give her a light, allured by her syren voice while she called for one at

« PreviousContinue »