Early in October the family removed to Montreux, at the upper end of the lake of Geneva, where the next six months were passed in what was then known as the Maison des Bains. Montreux was at this time the centre of a group of pleasant villages, scattered along the shore of the lake, or lying back of it among the hills. One of these villages, Clarens, was rendered famous in the last century by the pen of Rousseau, and early in this by the pen of Byron. The grave of Vinet, the noble leader, and theologian of the Free Church of the canton of Vaud, now renders the spot sacred to the Christian scholar. Montreux was then a favorite resort of invalids in quest of a milder climate. At many points it commands fine views of the lake, and the whole region abounds in picturesque scenery. The Maison des Bains is said to have long since disappeared; but in 1858, it seemed to hang upon the side of the Montreux hill and was one of the most noticeable features of the landscape, as seen from the passing steamer.
To Mrs. Henry B. Smith, Montreux, October 31, 1858.
Your letter was a real comfort and I am so thankful to the man that invented letter-writing that I don’t know what to do. We feast on everything we hear from home, however sick, or weak; it is a sort of sea-air appetite. Your letters are not a thousandth part long enough, but if you wrote all the time I suppose they wouldn’t be.... You see I am experimenting with two kinds of ink, hoping my letters may be more easy to read. George tried it the other day by writing me a little note, telling me first how he loved me in black ink and then how he loved me in blue, after which he tore it up; wasn’t that a shame? Anna writes that you seemed miserable the day she was at your house. The fact is, people of such restless mental activity as you and I, my dear, never need expect to be well long at a time—for, as soon as we get a little health we consume it just as children do candy. George and I are both able, however, to take long walks, and the other day we went to see the castle of Chillon. I was much impressed with all I saw. Under Byron’s name, which I saw on one of the columns, there were the initials “H. B. S.”—“H. B. Smith,” says I. “You don’t say so!” cries George, “where? let me see—oh, I don’t think it can be his, for here are some more letters,” which I knew all the time, but for all that H. B. S. does stand for H. B. Smith. There are ever so many charming walks about here and from some points the scenery is wonderfully picturesque. I never was in the country so late as to see the trees after a frost, and although the foliage here is less brilliant, it is said, than that of American forests, I find it hard to believe that there can be anything more beautiful than the wooded mountains covered with the softest tints of every shade and coloring interspersed with snowcapped peaks and bare, gray rocks. The glory has departed somewhat within two days, as we