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Unvisited Places Of Old Europe:
In The Scilly Islands
Where King George Is Still Duke Of Normandy
A Peninsula Of Patronymics
The Norman House Of Bruce
Unexpected Survivals In And Near Paris
In The Forest Of Arden
Free And Independent Luxembourg
Watertochtjes In Holland
The Old City Of Rothenburg
Liechtenstein: A Sovereign State
Through The Dolomites In Winter
A William Tell Of Unvisited Mountains
An Unfamiliar Naples
Along The Brenta
Finding The Strangest Corner In Europe
Gettings To Guernsey
The Passes Of The Alps In Snow And Ice
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
It was really preposterous that in spite of the many years during which the many, many thousands have been crossing the ocean to Europe, I should be the first of Americans to set foot within the boundaries of an independent principality in Europe's very heart! But the governor told me I was the first, and the innkeeper told me I was the first, and I assuredly had no desire to find them mistaken.
There are still existent several tiny and autonomous little countries in Europe. There is Monaco visited by a great many Americans. There is San Marino-visited by a few Americans. There is Andorra-visited rarely by an American. And there is Liechtenstein.
And Liechtenstein, in spite of its being so long a place by itself, is not tucked inaccessibly away. That is the marvel of it! Travelers going eastward to Innsbruck go under the shadow of the Drei Schwestern, not for a moment. thinking that on the other side of those mountains is this little
unvisited state, that the towering peaks look down upon Liechtenstein. Other travelers, on their way to Davos-Platz, have glanced at a distant little town at the foot of a castled rock, without suspecting that they were looking at an unvisited capital of Europe.
Liechtenstein is in the Eastern Alps, bordering the upper Rhine. Switzerland is its boundary on the other side of that river. On the side of the Drei Schwestern it is hemmed in by Austria. The frontier of Germany is only a few miles away. It has been independent for over two centuries, and was forgotten by Bismarck, so runs the local pleasantry, at the broad reorganization following the Prussian wars with Austria and France.
It is easily reached from any direction, for it is near the Lake of Constance. I went there from Southern Germany, from Nuremberg, by the way of Ulm; and at Ulm I saw a little river, the Donau, so blue as to call to mind those music-famed rivers, the "blue Juniata" and the "beautiful, blue Danube"-and this is really the Danube, masquerading thus under the name of Donau !-although, of course, its real name is the Donau, and we haven't any right to call it the Danube.
One often comes upon a new city or a new river in Europe, only to find that it is really a very old acquaintance. Vienna, for example, is really Wien; Florence, if given its own name, would always be called Firenze; the grotesque Leghorn ought really to be the soft Livorno; Hanover should have two "n's "-the English, in taking their kings thence, having dropped an "n" in the process instead of, as might have been expected, dropping an "h"; and the Danube, as has just been remarked, is really the Donau.
Passing Ulm and the Donau, it is not long before the Lake of Constance is reached; the lake of the Zeppelin air-ships; a lake that is somehow more American of aspect than Swiss-perhaps because there is a good deal of rather level land about it and that where mountains are seen they give no impression of great height; at any rate, it looks like the rounding end of one of our own Great Lakes. The train left me at Fried richshafen, and there I took a little steamer for Bregenz; there are many little steamers plying busily on the forty-mile-long lake; and at Bregenz, which I remember as a pleasant town with some charming tilleuls (fetching name!), I spent the night. I forget the name of the inn I chose, but it had a very obliging landlord, and I found it to be a cross between Swiss and Austrian in character. Had I known that I was to be really an explorer in Liechtenstein, I should not have been as patient as I was with the over-night stay in Bregenz, so near the goal; but, although I knew that Liechtenstein had not been written about, had not been exploited, in America, it had never occurred to me that at least some of our people had not been there.
Next morning, a fine, crisp, winter's morning, in February, I left Bregenz and by a typical leisurely train, with frequent stops, arrived after a journey of 25 miles, at Feldkirch. There I found a postwagon ready to start, as soon as the mail was handed over, for Vaduz, and a short drive of two miles, through a charming hill country, took me into the pleasant, cheerful town, the capital.
For an atmosphere of cheerfulness, of content, of simple happiness was everywhere. This was apparent when I first entered the principality and its capital, and it became more marked, more visible, as day by day I stayed there and went about among the people. And this I found to be owing to their simple and secluded life, for not many visitors of any nationality go there-that being the reason for its being so long overlooked by Americans-and still more owing to the mild and beneficent rule of their prince.
They are allowed great liberty, in a humble and whimsical way, and with seeming temerity can manage to tax their prince much to his amusement, doubtless, for he is an enormously wealthy man and sees to the upkeep of practically everything in the principality; although this does not mean that the people are not hard-working and frugal, for they are both.
The prince has various homes, for he is one of the wealthiest men in Europe, and owns great estates in Austria, Prussia, and Saxony, besides being hereditary ruler of this region beside the Rhine. His estates total more than two thousand square miles, whereas his principality of Liechtenstein is but 68 square miles!
A very earnest people are these subjects of his in Liechtenstein; a very earnest folk, who seem to feel that they are of quite as much value to their prince as he is to them; and probably they are quite right, for no possession could be better for a prince than loyal and hard-working and cheerful-hearted subjects.
Liechtenstein is a highly elongated principality, with its width squeezed to a minimum between the mountains and the Rhine. One thinks of Mark Twain's jibe in regard to the kingdoms of Palestine in the time of Joshua, when "people had to sleep with their knees pulled up because they couldn't stretch out without a passport." Well, he could have said that in Liechtenstein people have to sleep lengthwise of the country!
"Ah! It is a happy land!" an old man said to me.
And it is. There is no military service. There is no national debt. There is a tax, but it is merely nominal, being only a tenth the size of that of neighboring Austria. The ruling prince gives freely for the good of his people out of his private fortune.
So far from deriving any revenue from his principality, he pays heavily for the pleasure of holding it. But what a pleasure it must be!
There is a customs and fiscal agreement with Austria, but it is merely an arrangement, for mutual convenience, between two independent powers. And the money thus raised from customs, some thousands of dollars annually, is spent within the principality. The insignificant tax paid by the people themselves is mainly for the purpose of keeping up the dike which holds back the Rhine from the narrow stretch of tillable land which the country possesses; for when high winter is over, and the water comes down from the mountains in innumerable streams, the Rhine is no longer a quiet river flowing in wide meanderings over its gravelled bed, but is a great and dangerous torrent.
Liechtenstein-" bright stone"-and the whitebuilt capital, Vaduz, nestles confidingly at the foot of a great white cliff, and on the cliff stands the old white castle, and above the castle there are towering white-capped heights. Yet the whiteness of fact and of name is but a curious coincidence, for the name of Liechtenstein originated elsewhere, and came to the principality when it first secured independence, something over two hundred years ago.
"Vallis dulcis"-from this comes the name of Vaduz; and it is in truth a sweet and smiling valley in which it lies; a narrow stretch, yet, after all, of breadth sufficient for flax and maize, for apples and pears and plums, for homely vegetables. A valley as level as a floor, yet in Switzerland on the one side, and along the Austrian boundary on the other, tremendous mountains overshadowingly arise.
Like a page from a fairy-book is the story of Liechtenstein, past and present-this independent principality, whose ruler, from his castle above his capital, can see practically all of his domain in one great sweep: the solemn mountain walls, and the level stretch along the riverside, with here and there a spire, a ruined tower, or clustered homes.
The founder of the house of Liechtenstein is said to have been a Lombard who made his way northward from Italy in the twelfth century, and becoming rich through lending to princes and sovereigns, took pay in land by preference, and finally, securing a title, married a princess, and was thenceforth a prominent lord.
Some one has remarked on "how prudently most men creep into nameless graves," but the men of the Liechtenstein family have been of a kind to make themselves uniquely known. Ulric von Liechtenstein, the "Don Quixote of Germany," was of a branch of this house: the poet-knight, who, with suits of apparel of purest white, with twelve whiteclad attendants, with spears and helmets all of white, went through Italy and Germany, breaking lances with hundreds of knights for the glory of Venus, in whose name he fought.
With the branch that secured this principality the love of land rather than that of Venus seems to have held sway, for the present reigning Prince is well over sixty, and has never married, and his brother Franz, the heir apparent, is also a bachelor. Under such circumstances, other relatives become of importance, and it is interesting to note that a cousin married. Mary Fox, adopted daughter of the famous Lord and Lady Holland, and that another cousin married, in 1903, the Archduchess Margaretha, sister of the future Emperor of Austria.
The population of Liechtenstein, with few exceptions, are peasants, self-respecting, hard-working, and shrewd, and in the past they have been a restless folk, vigilantly looking for every opportunity to exact a new privilege.
To their Prince of three-quarters of a century ago they staidly represented that the expense connected with such illuminations and celebrations as were consequent on their having a ruler was very considerable; and he, hugely amused, agreed to pay them a certain annual concession on this account. Since then the reigning Prince's birthday is a principal fete-day of the year.
A predecessor, similarly impressed by their power of thrifty logicalness, had already relieved the people of the entire expense of the civil administration.
Following the close of the war between Austria and Prussia, in which Liechtenstein allied itself with Austria, there came another gravely presented protest. The citizens were weary of the expense of a standing army; an army which, consisting of eighty men, with a captain and a trumpeter, had bravely marched toward the scene of hostilities, but too late to arrive before the war had come to its swift end.
There could be but one outcome of this new representation. When the men of Liechtenstein proposed, it was not for their prince to dispose otherwise; and since then there has been no army. As a matter of fact, the prince had about decided to disband it in any case, and was glad of so plausible an excuse.
Not only is there no army, but there has been no formal treaty of peace, Liechtenstein having been quite overlooked in the negotiations; and a few old men, oncewhile soldiers, like to say, gleefully, that Liechtenstein and Prussia are therefore still in a state of war!
When Johann the Second, the present prince, came to the rulership he began to build a great new palace near Vienna, and the Liechtenstein folk, fearing that he would follow the example of his immediate predecessor and divide his time among his various estates instead of spending it in his principality, anxiously laid before him the consideration that if he would but spend more of his time at Vaduz there would be marked benefit to the local business of the country.
He was not prepared to promise definitely in regard to this; and, in fact, he has visited Liechtenstein only at irregular intervals, sometimes two or three years apart; but he gave them an intimation of a scheme which he was perfecting which would be of far greater advantage to them than his frequent personal presence. His desire was to make the government a constitutional monarchy, and he soon carried his plans into effect.
There is now a written constitution. There is a little Parliament of fifteen members. Three members are named by the Prince. Twelve are elected by the people, every man in Liechtenstein over twenty-four years of age having a vote. The little body meets once in every year and remains in session for several weeks, engaged in the very attenuation of discussion of petty things. And the Prince has succeeded in giving the people contentment and personal pride.
Above the Parliament is the Prince's personal representative, the Landesverweser or Governor, a man of standing and ability, chosen from outside the principality; and under his direction, as adjuncts in the practical administration, is an informal cabinet, consisting of the Secretary of State, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Chief Justice, the State Engineer, and the Director of Forests.
And yet, with all this pomp of title, one would look in vain for extravagance or display. On the contrary, there is an air of Spartan simplicity.
Practically speaking, although constitutional formalities are rigidly observed, the government is that of an admirable paternal despotism. The Prince is really the father of his people. The Parliament would never dream of going against his will further than could be expressed by respectful protest. And, as a means of control in case of need, there is far more than the power of the veto; for the Prince having given the constitution, the Prince can take it away.
There are only a few in Liechtenstein who are more than moderately well-to-do. Most of the members of Parliament saw their own wood. There are few men servants or maid servants. There are no poor, except such as are ill or decrepit, and they are kindly cared for. Crime is reduced to a minimum. There are few offenders against the law. "But there are cells for twenty!" says the Governor. The punitive imagination of the government can go no further.
There are kindergartens and admirable advanced schools. In one French is taught to peasant girls. The Prince, a devout Catholic, as is every one of his subjects, has built Gothic churches in the larger towns, that in Vaduz costing him a hundred thousand dollars. The roads are kept in perfect condition.
Scattered through every village are stone fountains, perpetually gushing, to which water is brought down from inexhaustible mountain springs.
As the knowledge of the manifold advantages sifted through near-by parts of other countries,,men began to flock to this as to a sort of Promised Land, and largely to avoid military service. But this movement was soon checked. The total population is now about ten thousand.
A cordial-hearted people these. As in parts of the Blue Ridge, men and women alike greet you, whether in village street or mountain path. Peasants though they are, they have a love for flowers, and their windows are filled with them. Meet a peasant woman on the road and pause to admire the rare and beautiful blossoms with which her hands are filled, and she will urge them all upon youfor you are a stranger in the land!-and will dislike to accept any silver in exchange. "No! No!" she will say, with a smile and a shake of the head.
But though all wish to please you, there is never any humbleness, never subservience. And the little kindergarten girls, scarcely more than able to walk, and quite unable to discriminate between the Prince, the cure, and the American, will shyly touch your hand or even softly kiss it.
Spring comes early in Liechtenstein. The valley is sheltered, and even in the brief winter but little snow falls below the mountain slopes. I have plucked the "starflower" (our hepatica) in February, and the delicate "bellflower" comes peeping through the snow like arbutus, tempted by the genial warmth. But with the coming of the February night a dry and bitter chill creeps down from the peaks, and you are glad of the heat from the enormous stove -a monument of stone blocks, five feet by five in every dimension. And you wake in the night and hear the wind go plunging through the fir woods, and you curl up under the great feather bed which Liechtenstein custom places upon you, and "drink deep of the pleasures of shelter."
There is a glory in climbing these delectable mountains through the snow, following devious trails through the cold clear air, and your blood tingles with the very joy of living. Cliffs plunge downward into darkling gorges, and the mist wavers there fantastically. Or, from a lofty height, you look off at the cool-shadowed valley, at the colorsuffused mountains, and a cloud folds itself silently about you, and all at once you see the world as through a-glass darkly.
You feel the solemn silence of the soundless winter woods; then the stillness is for an instant broken by an almost imperceptible sound, and you catch a glimpse of some soft-scurrying beast. The fox, the stag, the roebuck are still to be found in the Alps of Liechtenstein, and in the more inaccessible parts even the chamois and the seldomseen white hare.
When warmer weather comes, the country assumes a tender and regal splendor. The vineyards, rich and luscious in their greenery, the orchards, sweeping up to the very houses, the boxbordered gardens, the meadows, deep with grass, the rich-massed verdure of the mountain-side, unite in a soft sumptuousness of glory.
This stretch of valley, now sparsely settled and simply built, has an ancient history, for Roman towns and camps were here. The square tower of the white-perched Vaduz castle is believed to have been built by the Romans, and near where the village of Triesen now stands a Roman settlement was overwhelmed by a fall of rock from the tremendous overhanging cliffs. Somehow such things make one realize anew that this world is very old and gray.
But though there is a history of the Roman times and of the Middle Ages, the average Liechtensteiner interests himself but little in it, nor does he care in the least for the old in architecture. The general ambition is not only to have a new house, but to have a house of new and most modern design. There are a number of old houses here, but, with the exception of one which was anciently a little Benedictine monastery, the trail of the plaster is over them all, and it is hard to distinguish, by any outward and visible sign, the old from the new, no matter what inward and spiritual old-time grace there may be. And all this is sufficiently reasonable. These folk have never been taught to cater to the demand of the tourist for the crumbling, the ruinous, and the leakily picturesque.
One feels a curious sensation in this principality undiscovered by Americans, untouched by the American invasion, whether of tourist or of trade; one feels as he would if, reaching the moon, he were to find himself in the full tide of twentiethcentury improvement.
For in these anomalous country villages there are the telegraph and the telephone. A few of the better houses are heated by hot water. There are "gummi-schuhe." In the Governor's office there is a typewriter. There is electricity. The Vaduz streets are electric-lighted at night, and every house in the town, even the poorest, is supplied. And why not! For a single electric light costs for a year, in this country of unlimited water-power, only five crowns-less than a dollar and a quarter. There are two large "spinnereien" (spinneries), with several hundred operatives.
Modernity has almost destroyed the peasant dress, though still there are suggestions of it in the short, full-waisted skirts, the knitted stockings, the fringed silk aprons, brightly barred, and in the soft green hats and jackets of the men. At a funeral the body is still carried through the street by the bearers, with the village population straggling deviously behind, with candles flaming faintly in the sunlight. Ox-teams are a familiar sight. As sunset approaches, the cattle, all of black-touched dun, come saunteringly along the main street, stopping at the public fountains for leisurely and thoughtful drink, and placidly shouldering aside the children who may be puffing propulsive breath at diminutive boats. Each Saturday night the house and door-yards are swept and garnished. At Sunday breakfast every Liechtensteiner eats a sweetened coffee-cake. At the close of service the men gather in front of the church, and a wall-perched official reads notices of official action and of private sale.
Curiously sufficient unto itself is little Liechtenstein. Small though it is, its people could comfortably exist if cut off completely from the outside world. The dweller in this tiny principality has bread and cheese and milk, "honey of the mountain," "wine of Vaduz," wood for his fire, material for his clothes. "Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread, whose flocks supply him with attire"; and even, continuing, "whose trees in summer yield him shade, in winter, fire."
German is the tongue that is spoken here, but the people do not give the impression of having come of either Swiss or German stock. Their Ger man is peculiarly soft, and they still retain some words of Romance origin. One is tempted to ascribe to Southern influence the masculine wearing of earrings-a curious eccentricity for such simple and manly men. A great row of Lombardy poplars, stretching in highly pictorial fashion along the Rhine, is at least an indication of Italian influence of another kind.
Bravely situated is the old castle beetling above the town. Masses of fir and pine and beech rise beyond it, and many of the trees are of great girth and height.
An old sun-dial dominates the court, with a faded Time scything away the centuries. Thickrooted ivy clings to the ancient walls, and dungeons and subterranean passages tell of the grimness of the deeds of the past. There are walls of enormous thickness; but once, four hundred years ago, the Swiss-hereditary foes-swarmed irresistibly over them, and after burning and destroying, carried away the baron into captivity at Lucerne. Much of the interior is still ruinous, but one sees the line of the great hall of the castle, with window-seats from which high-born ladies looked off over plain and rock and river. And in one of the arched window-embrasures, from which the floor has long since fallen away, are centuries-old frescos, in charming Renaissance designs, bringing back the bright and happy side of that ancient life.
A sweet and noble view from this old pile, for the crenelated heights across the valley are superb, and the silver-flashing Rhine lies fair and peaceful-a noble view, of peaks sun-smitten or dimmed by cloud or mist, of rich-hued distances, of ancient castles niched in allurement or standing upon austere cliffs, of houses and orchards, of cattle and of smiling fields.
There is a charming enclosed old garden on the very edge of the cliff, where rosemary and box once grew, and glorious roses, yellow and red and white, and where stately ladies, silk-clad, stately walked. Not open to sight or to attack that garden, for at either end stood a little tower, round and domed, where guards stood watch. Walled about and curtailed was the life of the fine ladies of those bygone days, even as this garden was walled, and they must often have envied the freedom of the village maids whom they could watch, at work or at play, in the plain below.
An old bell still hangs in a tower, overlooking the perpendicular cliff, and one cannot but think of how it clangored its alarm when men-at-arms were seen approaching along the river or when the warlike Swiss descended from their defiles.
A diligence runs the length of Liechtenstein, and I especially remember a ride in it one day with an aged priest whose very look seemed a benediction. I remember how eager he was to explain his country to me, a stranger, and how proud he was of it.
People who live in large and powerful countries are too apt to think that those who live in small and weak ones cannot have national pride. Why, this priest was full of pride!-a charming, quiet, altogether likable pride.
And he took from his pocket a silver coin of Liechtenstein, bearing the Prince's head and his coat-of-arms, and almost shyly, but with a certain formality, presented it to me. "To remember Liechtenstein," he said. It was like my two friends of the diligence in the Cotentin. And he was pleased when I gave him, "to remember an American," a silver coin in exchange.
There are some half-dozen castled ruins within the confines of Liechtenstein, and some half-dozen other ruined piles frown back from the Swiss side of the river-ghosts of the passions of the past. One, on the Liechtenstein side, looms above the village of Balzers, and bears in the neighborhood the fame of never having been captured, although it has stood for a thousand years. It stands on the summit of a rocky mass, rising steeply on every side out of the level land. Never was a grimmer or dourer pile; for so narrowly did it escape capture in 1499, when the Swiss scarred it with a lumbering piece of artillery, that the baron built up all the windows and openings, reducing them to the narrowest of slits.
The "Watch on the Rhine" in the centuries past meant something very different from the present usage of the phrase. For every merchant with laden pack-horses, every . owner of a cargo going toward the Lake of Constance and thence toward the cities of Germany, was likely to have to pay toll to one or another, or to many, of the castle barons, predecessors of the customs-gatherers of today, and one is moved to admiration for the business sense of those hard-headed men, who went about their affairs in pot-hats of steel and jackets and trousers of iron, and with swords in their hands instead of umbrellas. For they refrained from taking, as a rule, more than should serve as a stimulating reminder, and so managed the affair as to seem to be giving protection, for a small proportional fee, instead of taking too much and thus putting an end to traffic and to the appearance of the golden eggs. It need not be minced that living upon their neighbors was the general law of life in those olden times.
Shrines are placed at frequent intervals throughout the villages and along the roads; and on a cliff not far from Vaduz castle is a black and weatherbeaten cross, bearing a simple little inscription, begging the passer-by to pause for a moment to offer a prayer for a "jungling"-a young man-who long since fell there and was killed. Well, thus his name is kept in lengthening remembrance, and with him has been satisfied that desire, felt by everybody, to be kept in mind, long and honorably, after death, for he fell suddenly into a degree of remembrance toward which most men climb in vain.
Although Vaduz is one of the capitals of Europe, there is little of life on the streets after the coming of nightfall. Here and there a dog barks. Here and there a man goes hurryingly homeward. Here and there shine lights from cottage windows. The street lights of electricity seem only a whimsical jest.
It is Lilliput ruled by its Gulliver. And although, on account of the fiscal arrangement, Austrian coins and stamps are generally used, the Prince's personal pride in his possession; has led him to have his own stamps and coins as well, bearing his name and face and title.
And there is another touch to add to the unreality of it all. Coming to Vaduz only at infrequent intervals, and busied as he is at his private estates or at Vienna-for, besides being Sovereign Prince of Liechtenstein, he bears an Austrian title, by virtue of which he is a member of the Austrian House of Lords-he can at any time call up his principality by long-distance telephone! Never was such a principality, even in the most capricious imagination.
And that one-time army! Following the war with Prussia, the unscarred veterans were not permitted to bear their arms and uniforms home, to be handed down in glory to their descendants. The trappings and equipment were taken up by the government, and are in a lofty room of the Vaduz castle, adjoining the Roman tower-mementos of the slightest military power in juxtaposition to a ruin of the greatest. There hangs the banner of Liechtenstein, in its colors of red and blue. There, stiffly arranged in rows, are the eighty helmets of leather, brass-embossed. There are the eighty muskets. There are the sword of the captain and the trumpeter's brass horn.
One day I crossed over into Switzerland, and went along the Rhine, and up steep heights to ruined castles-perched high as if to insure getting enemies out of breath before arriving at the castle walls!and past little mountain-villages and isolated homes. Almost every home, so I found, was a "stickerei"; a house with one or several embroidery frames, for the embroidering of fine linen; for this canton, Appenzell, and the neighboring canton of St. Gall are the center of the embroidery industry of Switzerland.
I went into several "stickereis," for they made the rare and unexpected visitor very welcome. And it is a most interesting feature, that it is not necessary for these embroiderers to be crowded into tight-built towns, but that they live, so many of them, in their own homes, and attend to their farms and herds; and I was particularly impressed with one mountain home, high up in a lonely valley far from a railroad or village, and even far from any other house except a centuries' old castle that frowned down from a neighboring height.
In this house a mountain farmer-grazier-embroiderer-I really do not know what he would consider the order of importance-sat in front of his frame, which had ten handkerchiefs, stretched by basting, upon it. Into the handkerchief directly in front of him he put a stitch with a needle attached to the machine; then he pushed a treadle, and at once a similar stitch was made in all the handkerchiefs. I don't pretend to understand just how it was done, but that is what the very interesting process, half hand-work and half machine-work, looked like.
The handkerchiefs, so the man told me, came from Belfast to be embroidered in Appenzell, and after being embroidered were to go back to Ireland to be bleached and hemstitched, and the particular order upon which he was working was destined in the end for Chicago! It seemed incredible, that shipments could thus be made back and forth on the Continent for work in preparation for America, especially considering that these particular handkerchiefs were of a kind which would sell in the United States for perhaps fifty or seventy-five cents apiece.
This Appenzell "stickerei" man had never before seen an American, and he knew of but four American names; he knew of New York and Chicago; he knew Marshalfield (pronounced as one word) and Zhonvannamakker!
It was dark when I crossed a long bridge over the Rhine and thus reentered Liechtenstein. In the middle of the bridge, the boundary line, was a great gate of heavy wooden beams, amply sufficient for the closing of the way, and on either side of this gate, with its great lock and enormous bolts, was stationed a customs' guard. The men were idly chatting with each other across the boundary in friendly fraternization, and it seemed as if the great gate was but a simulacrum of safeguard, that it was an obsolete survival from a hostile past. Yet as I paused on the Liechtenstein side of the barrier, one of the customs' guards said to me, naively echoing a long-inherited, ancient dread of mountaineers: "We lock the gate at midnight. There are bad men in Switzerland, and we keep the key on the Liechtenstein side!"