FAR ACROSS the waters of the mighty Atlantic, in the heart of Europe, lies a land, small, but nevertheless very attractive,—the home of the hardy Swiss. Here peaks rise on peaks, crowned with the snows of perpetual winter, while far below them the valleys have all of summer's fresh greenness. The meadows are dotted over with bright flowers, and in their season are to be found large banks of wild strawberries, as large and sweet as any cultivated ones. Farther up on the mountain-side grow forests of pine and fir.

Nestled cozily at the foot of the mountains lies many a placid lake, whose clear cold waters reflect the images of the tall peaks above them.

Here and there a mountain torrent dashes over its rocky bed, or a little brook ripples and gurgles over the pebbles.

Perched far up on the mountainsides are rude cottages, or chalets, as they are called. To these the herdsman comes in the spring of the year from the valley below. All through the summer months he makes this his home, caring for his cattle while they find pasturage on the heights above him. They are oftentimes his only companions, and grow to know him as a friend. They learn to recognize the sound of his voice among all others, and love the very songs that he sings; and when the evening shadows fall over the mountaintops, they obediently return to the chalet at his call, and are safely sheltered for the night. Perhaps the herdsman in the picture is calling his cattle home, or he may be signaling for one of the rude ferry-boats that ply between the shores of the lake, to come and bear him and his charge over its bosom, to one of the homes on the opposite slope.

The chalets are not as comfortable as might be supposed; for through the rude log walls the keen wind blows, and the rain drives. These cottages contain little besides the utensils used by the herds-man in his work. Many of them are built simply to contain hay, which is so much valued that the poor people climb up dangerous rocks and paths, that even goats do not travel, in search of grass.

The herdsman has to work very hard, having oftentimes nearly a hundred cows to milk and the cheese to make. Some of these cheeses, made as long ago as 1660, are still to be seen. It was once the custom to give a huge cheese as a wedding present to the bride and groom. Some of these cheeses have been handed down from father to son, inscribed with the record of the births, deaths, and marriages of the family, thus forming a novel family register.

In some parts of the country, chamois hunting is followed for a living by father and sons for generations; and the hunter often incurs great danger in scaling the rocks over yawning chasms

and dark ravines, where a single misstep would L clash him to pieces on the rocks hundreds of feet below.

Lower down than the hunting grounds and the pasturelands lie the vineyards. This land is so dear that, we are told, "five hundred pounds an acre is given for the best vineyard land, which yet, when bought, needs constant labor at all times when it is not covered with snow. Many laborers, too, are needed, and they work for small wages; while, in order to make the property pay, every bit of the vine is used, the stalks and leaves serving as food for the cattle, and the husks, after being pressed and wedged into molds, and dried, are used for fuel, burning something as peat does. A busy, stirring scene is presented, when, in the springtime, the peasants go to their labor in the vineyards.

They are a hard-working yet happy class of people, passionately fond of music and dancing.

They are independent, resolute, and constant, being influenced perhaps by the grand display of the Creator's handiwork, which every day greets them.

No wonder is it, then, that amid such a class of people as the Swiss and their neighbors, the Germans, the Reformation should have taken such a strong hold and made its influence so far felt.




W. E. L.