We eventually reached Gonten so soon, that there was time to cool and have a bath in the lake; and when that was nearly finished, Christian brought a plate of cherries and a detachment of the village, and I ate the cherries and held a levee in the boat—very literally a levee, as the dressing was by no means accomplished when the deputation arrived. My late guide, now, as he said, a friend for life, made a speech to the people, setting forth that he had done that day what he had never thought to do; for, often as he had been to the entrance of the Schafloch—five or six times at the least—he had never before reached the end of the cave. And to whom, he asked, did he owe it? All previous Herrschaft under his charge had cried Immer zurueck! but this present Herr had known but one cry, Immer vorwaerts! Luckily the steamer now approached, so the speech came to an end, and he shook hands affectionately, with a vigour that would certainly have transmitted some of the dye, if that material had not become a part of the skin which it coloured. Then the village also shook hands, having evidently understood what Christian said, notwithstanding the fact that it was intelligible German, and I returned to Thun and Berne.
No. 53 was still the only bed disengaged, for it was very late when I reached Berne; but on my vehement protestations against that unquiet chamber, the landlord most obligingly converted a sofa in his own sitting-room into a temporary bed, and made it over to me. This room was separated by a door of ground-glass from another sitting-room brilliantly lighted, in which a number of German young gentlemen were feting the return of a comrade after the national manner. The landlord said he thought it must soon be over, for he doubted whether they could last much longer; but their powers of endurance were greater than he had supposed. It will readily be imagined that German songs with a good chorus, the solo parts being very short, and received with the utmost impatience by the chorus, were even less soporific in their effect than the flirtations—though boisterous beyond all conventional propriety—of German housemaids and waiters.
[Footnote 55: See p. 258.]
[Footnote 56: Acta SS. Bolland. May 9.—If possessed of the characteristics of his race—’tall and proud’—his activity belies the first line of the old saying,
’Lang and lazy,
Little and loud;
Red and foolish,
Black and proud:’
though possibly the personal habits which a modern spirit loves to point out, as the great essential of hermit-life, united with the family characteristic of the early Seton to verify the last line of the saying.]
[Footnote 57: Bibl. Univ. de Geneve, First Series, xxi. 113. See also Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, viii. 290.]
[Footnote 58: Philosophical Magazine, Aug. 1829.]