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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper

47.2692124, 11.4041024

Sun. 11. [11 August 1895] Up at 5 and at 6.20 off to the Kleine Solstein.
Mother walked with us the first piece through the wood - glorious
morning, very hot up to the Hungerburg. Fortunately we were still so
early that the shade was lying on the long valley up to the Senn H¸tte.
The last piece up was pretty hot. Arrived there at 8.20. Several men
there, the red faced Sch‰fer was busy preparing to made cheese - a
great caldron was simmering over the woodfire, and a little boy was
churning. We sat and drank milk - the Senn H¸tte was cool in spite of
the flickering wood fire. L'Amor finished our milk and was offered
some butter milk by the Sch‰fer which he refused. The Sch‰fer drank
a great tin full of it himself - I think however, judging by his complexion,
that buttermilk is not the only liquid he is accustomed to imbibe. We
went on steadily to the Sch‰fer H¸tte which we reached at 9.30. No
Rudolf! The Sch‰fer is a cheery florid gentleman, rather handsome,
with bright eyes and a loud and cheerful voice. He was much
pleased to see us - he seemed to have spent the last few days in
watching our movements on the mountain through an opera glass for
he knew all we had been doing. There was a pretty woman also who
had come up from the J‰ger H¸tte, she had stuck some Alpine Rose
into the back of her big Tyrolese hat among the feathers, and put on a
clean cotton gown - and not in vain, for the Sch‰fer seemed to hold
her in great esteem. There was also a man asleep in the shade and
a very ugly hobbledehoy boy with a long pipe in his mouth. We
breakfasted here on semels and chocolate and goats milk inside the
Sch‰fer's hut. It smelt very strong of goats, the goats' bedroom is only
separated from the Sch‰fer's by a few boards. At 10 we decided to
wait no longer but to take the Sch‰fer as guide. He agreed to this
though he had never been onto the Solstein - he said it didn't interest
him! So we started off along a beautiful path on top of the Austrian firs
which led us round the shoulder of the Alpe and lost itself on the very
steep and rocky side of the Brantjoch. For about an hour we made our
way along the face of the mountain across extremely steep
watercourses of pointed rock, where however no water ran, and over
a hard mass of snow until at last we saw the delinquent Rudolf sitting
on the mountain side waiting for us. So we parted from the Shepherd
with thanks and much friendship and went on our way guided by the
Wirth. He took us up a very steep grassy place, under a wall of rock
round which we had to creep, down an almost perpendicular face and
out onto the side of a great stony amphitheatre on top of which, but out
of sight, stood the little Solstein. We struggled half way round this -
very rough going it was, chiefly sliding heaps of stones - and then
turned upwards to the right and scrambled up the stones till we came
to a great overhanging rock under which we sat and eat apples and
pears. I went on after this and in about half an hour of very rough
going, I got to the top of the Kleine Solstein. Here I sat till Rudolf came
up with the news that my family was some way behind, whereupon
L'Amore and I started off along a stony saddle to another point, the
end of the Brandtjoch, still higher. The saddle was quite pointed - it
went steep down on either hand, a straight wall of rock and loose
stones. From the top one could see down into the valley into which
we looked from the top of the Frau H¸tt. When I got back to the Kleine
Solstein I found Papa and Rudolf looking at a herd of chamois far
below us. We then scrambled down and found the children some
quarter of an hour's climbing below us and it being then about 3.30 we
lunched. We had nothing to drink but a small half bottle of wine which
the good Rudolf had brought up with him, but we were not very thirsty,
lunch was more than acceptable. Our path led us some way down,
over the top of the overhanging rock and out onto the spurs of the
Grosse Solstein which we left to our right. We then got into the path
leading down to the H¸tte where we arrivad about 5.30 - L'Amor,
Rudolf and I half an hour earlier. Franz was in the H¸tte and the
woman who lives there and the Hirt, a stunted gentleman with a
straggly red beard who looks exactly like a gnome in a German fairy
story. He and I set out at once to the quelle and carried on an
animated conversation by the way - but it didn't come to much as he
talked gnome and I German. We met the others coming over the
shoulder and Elsa joined Rumplestilzkin and me. The quelle was
worth the quarter of an hour's walk - we drank gallons of icy water and
washed our faces - Rumplestilzkin was much interested. We returned
to the H¸tte and found Papa making chocolate. We drank the most
enormous glasses of milk, chocolate and tea and eat poached eggs
while Franz related with much gusto all the details of his accident. We
then begged him to sing - one of the guitar strings was broken but he
knotted it up and proceeded to draw from it discordant notes. Rudolf
came in, new washed and said contemptuously "Ach singen thuen
sie!" We begged him to join whereupon Franz remarked with equal
contempt "Der kann nicht singen!" We however were a very
enthusiastic audience, the woman listened too and even Rudolf lent
an unwilling ear. The sunlight streamed into the little wooden hut and
we felt very comfortable and happy. We didn't leave till 7; it was very
dark at the bottom of the Klamm, but we succeeded in finding our way
without difficulty; we caught the tram at Innbr¸cke, 9.19, arrived to find
supper awaiting us and Mother and Molly watching for us - and so to

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