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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/552

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548
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

auctorum. Inter alia cujusdam docti et montium amœnitate capti observare licebat illud:

ʻΟ τῶν ὅρων ἕρως αριστος.ʼ

'The love of mountains is best.' In those five words some Swiss professor anticipated the doctrine of Ruskin and the creed of Leslie Stephen, and of all men who have found mountains the best companions in the vicissitudes of life.

In the annals of art it would be easy to find additional proof of the attention paid by men to mountains three to four hundred years ago. The late Josiah Gilbert, in a charming but too little-known volume, 'Landscape in Art,' has shown how many great painters depicted in their backgrounds their native hills. Titian is the most conspicuous example.

It will perhaps be answered that this love of mountains led to no practical result, bore no visible fruit, and therefore can have been but a sickly plant. Some of my hearers may feel inclined to point out that it was left to the latter half of the nineteenth century to found climbers' clubs. It would take too long to adduce all the practical reasons which delayed the appearance of these fine fruits of peace and an advanced civilization. I am content to remind you that the love of mountains and the desire to climb them are distinct tastes. They are often united, but their union is accidental not essential. A passion for golf does not necessarily argue a love of levels. I would suggest that more outward and visible signs than is generally imagined of the familiar relations between men and mountains in early times may be found. The choicest spots in the Alpine region—Chamonix, Engelberg, Disentis, Einsiedlen, Pesio, the Grande Chartreuse—were seized on by recluses; the Alpine baths were in full swing at quite an early date. I will not count the Swiss Baden, of which a geographer, who was also a Pope, Æneas Silvius (Pius II.) records the. attractions, for it is in the Jura, not the Alps; but Pfäfers, where wounded warriors went to be healed, was a scene of dissipation, and the waters of St. Moritz were vaunted as superseding wine. I may be excused, since I wrote this particular passage myself a good many years ago, for quoting a few sentences bearing on this point from 'Murray's Handbook to Switzerland.' In the sixteenth century fifty treatises dealing with twenty-one different resorts were published. St. Moritz, which had been brought into notice by Paracelsus (died 1541), was one of the most famous baths. In 1501 Matthew Schinner, the famous Prince Bishop of Sion, built 'a magnificent hotel' at Leukerbad, to which the wealthy were carried up in panniers on the back of mules. Brieg, Gurnigel, near Bern, the baths of Masino, Tarasp and Pfäfers were also pomilar in early times. Leonardo da Vinci mentions the baths of Bormio, and Gesner went there.