“Jimmie has talked nothing but salt mines for a fortnight,” said Bee, finally, “yet by coming here we have left Salzburg behind us.”
“Let’s go back then,” he said. “It isn’t far, and it’s all through a beautiful country.”
For a wonder, we all agreed to this plan without the usual discussion of individual tastes which usually follows the most tentative suggestion on the part of any one of us who has the temerity to leap into the arena to be worried.
The whole Rhiner family, including the chambermaid, the shipmaster, and Bee’s friend the cowherd, were on the little pier, under some pretext or other, to see us off, and not only feeling but knowing that we left real friends behind us, we started on our way to Jenbach, down the same little cog-wheel road up which we had climbed, and, as Jimmie said: “literally getting back to earth again,” for the descent was like being dropped from the clouds.
The journey from Jenbach to Salzburg was indeed marvellously beautiful, but some little time before we arrived Jimmie emerged from his guide-book to say, somewhat timidly:
“Are you tired of lakes?”
“Tired of lakes? How could we be when we’ve only seen one this week?”
“And that the most exquisite spot we have found this summer!”
“Certainly we are not tired of the beautiful things!”
From this avalanche of replies Jimmie gathered an idea of our attitude.
“Thank you!” he said, politely. “I think I understand. Would you consent to turn aside to see the Koenigsee, another small lake which belongs more to the natives than to the tourists?”
For reply, we simply rose in concert. Mrs. Jimmie drew on her gloves and Bee pulled down her veil.
“When do we get off, Jimmie?”
“In ten minutes,” he said with a delighted grin. And in another ten minutes we were off, and Salzburg was removed another twenty-four hours from us.
But after the Achensee, the Koenigsee was something of an anticlimax, although the natives were perfectly satisfactory, and not an English word was spoken outside of our party. But as Jimmie speaks German-American, we got what we wanted in the way of a boat, and found that the Koenigsee is quite as green as the Achensee is blue. At least it was the day we were there. The tiny Tyrolese lad who went with us as guide, told us that it was sometimes as blue as the sky. But the black shadows cast upon its waters by the steep cliffs which rise sheerly from its sides, give back their darkness to the depths of the lake, and for the scene of a picturesque murder it would be perfect. There is a magnificent echo around certain parts of the Koenigsee, and swans sailing majestically on the breast of the lake remind one of the Lohengrin country.
We rested that night at a dear little inn and the next morning took up our interrupted journey to Salzburg.