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Monday, 16 December 2013

To Switzerland

Wednesday, December 16th., Hotel Belvedere, Mont Pelerin sur Vevey, Switzerland.

We left Fontainebleau on Monday and arrived at Dijon for dinner. Hotel de Bourgogne. Excellent steam-heated room 7 francs. Otherwise hotel not too well kept. It rained from the time of our advent till nearly 9 a.m. next morning. I walked out at night and saw a chemist make me a cachet of pyramidon. Mystery of cachets, for me, is now forever gone. genuine effect in the main street, of a town consisting chiefly of confectioners and ginger-bread makers.  Trams floating about rumblingly and ramblingly all the time. Witnessed an encounter between a young and attractive grue and a young man. They knew each other. After standing for a time under the glass marquise of the principal drapery shop, she shut up her own umbrella and they went off together under his. I got as far as the portals of an 'Alcazar' music-hall - all placards, and then came back to the hotel, and tried to read Huxley in bed. Couldn't.

Pyramidon was the registered trade name for an analgesic, aminopyrine, first prepared by Stolz in Hoechst in 1893.

It is only at night, when there is little of it, comparatively, that you appreciate how much light there is when there is supposed to be none. At 3 a.m. you can discover traces of it everywhere, and it has a very beautiful quality.

All very well to say that only a really strong nature can say "I was wrong", and that the inability to say it is proof of weakness. Most people who say it say it impulsively, and are undoubtedly not only weak but capricious also in their judgements. It has got to be said very rarely, and with complete absence of theatricality.

Our train for Switzerland was the Paris-Simplon day express. Very English. Chiefly Englishwomen. Their lack of charm was astounding, absolutely astounding. And their aristocratic self-absorbed voices made me laugh. The English consciousness of superiority is sublime in its profound instructiveness.

Vevey (quite dry rain everywhere else). A different climate. Mild, sec. I bought a Swiss cigar, and we got into a tiny Swiss tram. Had the Swiss feeling. feeling much intensified when, in the waiting room of the funicular, we found a vast musical box, which I caused to play for 10 centimes. Really rather a good device, especially when you have 45 minutes to wait.

I was so anxious to see the panorama this morning that I slept badly. I thought it wonderful, but I was disappointed because it seemed so small. I had expected something much bigger. Well, it has been "growing on" me all day. I thought the highest mountains on the opposite side of the lake were about 3,000 or 4,000 feet high. I found the Dent du Midi was about 10,000 feet high. I thought this Dent was 8 or 10 miles off. I found it was 24 miles off (38 kilometres). My opinion of the panorama is going up every minute. I can understand that it is one of the finest in Suisse. Sloppy snow everywhere underfoot. Not cold enough they say. Below us, cloud effects on lake continually changing. Really the scene is enchantingly beautiful. We see Vevey as though from a balloon. At night its lights are fairy-like - I wish there was another word. Can't find one instantly.

Additionally for December 16th., see 'Clayhanger's footsteps' -

Yesterday morning I did part of the walk that Clayhanger must do as he comes finally home form school in the first chapter of "Clayhanger".

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