Thursday, September 24, 2009

Swiss Hospitality

While traveling through Switzerland, English historian Edward Augustus Freeman (1823-92) was shown some unique Swiss hospitality by Albert de Büren (1791-1873). The following is a part of a letter he wrote home in 1864. It comes from The life and letters of Edward A. Freeman, D.C.L., LL. D. By William Richard Wood Stephens.

Lausanne, April 16, 1864.

Thank Gretchen for her letter; but I think it is your turn to have one now. I see my last letter was written at Neufchatel on Thursday, so I will tell you what I have been doing since. One thing will sound like something which you may read in a story-book. That same afternoon I was seized on by a certain Baron, who said to me, ' Vous etes mon prisonnier,' and shut me up in his castle till next morning. Don't think, however, that I was put in a dungeon among dead men's bones and what not, as I slept in a comfortable bed, and had tea and ham and breakfast. In short, the Baron is a very kind old gentleman, De Buren by name, who lives in Vauxmarcus Castle by the Lake of Neufchatel, a real castle let me tell you, and not a mere chateau. I was to call on him for him to show me his castle, and to show me where the battle of Grandson was fought. So we took a long walk that evening through most beautiful places, not very unlike some of our own places, but with the Jura just above us, and the great snowy Alps on the other side of the lake. But I did not know that I was to stay there all night till he said,' vous etes mon prisonnier.' The next day he took me in his carriage as far as Grandson, where I saw the castle and a very fine church, and went on by railway to Chavornay, thence by omnibus to Orbe, a curious old town on the top of a hill, looking on Jura one side and the Alps the other, with a church with its tower at the east end, which I never saw anywhere else. Then this morning I walked out to Romainmotier to see the church, which is a very wonderful one, and one of the oldest in Switzerland or anywhere else.

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