Catalogue Finding NumberSH:7/ML/E/17/0052
Office record is held atCalderdale, West Yorkshire Archive Service
TitleDiary page
Description[Diary Transcription]

94
1834
July
reached the top of the Vauzaz (one chalet there — very swampy in places) a sort of col as called hereabouts or hollow ridge between the higher
mountains Parion [Prarion] and Forclaz? — that we had no sooner reached the top then we began the descent — at least we had
not much level ground — crossed the valley not far from the foot of the glacier of Bionnassei [Bionnassay], leaving the ville of that name at
a distance (left) on the other side — very fine view down the valley of Bionnassay and thence into the valley of Montjoie
down towards St. Gervais and up to Tresse, the good church and ville of St. Nicolas de Verosse being en face —
A- [Ann] better and we got down pretty well (walked down the steep parts) to Contamine at 5 10/..
just after beginning the descent Michel hailed Auguste Coutet baron de Müller’s guide who had
borrowed money for him (350 francs) and then been sent off with 5/. at Novara (not far from Turin) to wait for the baron
somewhere for a few hours in which time my gentleman got off leaving Auguste to pawn his saddle and get home
as he could — the 1st time any traveller had ever played such a swindling trick to any guide of Chamouni [Chamonix] —
the baron was to have gone to the top of Mont Blanc — had agreed with Joseph Coutet for 1200 francs — had
left 3000 francs of debt at Geneva — David and I would fain persuade ourselves it could not be, but that Monsieur
le baron would return — he told Auguste he had lost his purse with 350 francs in it in the mountains —
the Auberge du glacier à trois têtes at Contamine (a good little Alpine town, with good church) quite a ville auberge, but we were very
tolerably comfortable — no curtains — no dressing room — no foot pails — not more than a pint of water each
and small brown pie-dish like basins to wash in — sat over dinner from 6 1/2 to 7 3/4 — good roast veal and chicken etc. and vin d’asti blanc
1st time of our tasting it — sweetish, and moussu, and like cider, but so good we drank 2 bottles — fine
day till a few drops of rain soon after leaving Ouches and little bits of showers at intervals till after
3 — then fine till about 6 p.m. and afterwards rain — Fahrenheit 64 1/2° at 8 1/4 p.m. A- [Ann] went to bed at 7 3/4 — found her
fast asleep on the bed — Helped her to get her things off and put her to bed she was literally tipsy

Monday 7
4
10 5/..
.. not the better for my bottle of vin d’asti last night — fine morning Fahrenheit 60° at 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 a.m. — off from
Contamines at 6 40/.. — dismounted in 3 or 4 minutes and walked all the way to Nantbourant [Nant Borrant] —
at 7 25/.. the good road ceases (i.e. the road wide enough and good enough for a cart or char) and we began the ascent
just opposite to Notre Dame de la gorge (on the other side the water) with its sixteen chapels — at 7 50/.. at the
1st cascade (right — a little below the road — not seen from it) of the St. Gervais river — Nantbourant [Nant Borrant], the fall,
(nant signifies water fall) is in a fine cleft, the fall (158 feet) divided by a rock — about 50 yards lower down
the stream (left) there is another fall, a little stream gushing down from as great a height as the other — then 5
or 6 minutes farther on the road (slow walking up the hill) another fall, the 2nd cascade, or nantbourant [Nant Borrant],
(close to the road left) boiling through a fine natural cleft and tunnel in the rock, and then passing under the bridge — the guides guessed 50 feet of fall —
a little rainbow of spray here — none at the other fall — about 1/4 hour seeing the 2 falls — and at the neat
wood auberge with green gallery, at 8 1/4 — Found my cousin come felt the wet about half hour
ago at 7 3/4 but no harm done — breakfast at 8 1/2 — very good milk and good bread and honey — the honey among the mountains
excellent — off again at 9 3/4 — fine rather savage gorge — at the fine waterfall below the crête at 10 40/.. —
at 11 10/.. each throw a stone en passant (like other travellers) on the monticule monument des dames,
3 dames du pays who were lost here in a storm many years ago — and after then the little plain here called
le plan des dames — at 11 20/.. passed ten minutes of snow — Les blancs, small black and white birds (the snow-
-sparrow?) chirping and flying over the snow and among the high rocks — at the top at 11 46/.. and snow-bare


95
1834
July
U
slate mountain (right) almost smooth, steep slope — at 12 53/.. at the vrai sommet du col de bonhomme,
having passed 17 pieces of snow — George’s foot slipt on the 3rd and he honeypotted down 20 or 30 yards — might have gone
2 or 3 times as far but luckily stopt himself against a small piece of projecting rock — the 2 English gentlemen lost
just after passing the torrent — and here one turns, left, to motets/mottes [Mottets] (very fine) right, into the valley de Beaufort —
straight forward to Chapin — (down to Chapin and thence along the bottom of the valley to the oratoire du glacier,
and thence to motets [Mottets], would have been longer but much easier than passing the col des fours directly down upon motets [Mottets]) —
at the top of the col des fours at 1 1/4 almost all the way there from the vrai sommet du Bonhomme being on the snow —
the top of the cols des Fours a narrow ridge of snow, and a steep descent of 40 minutes on the snow from there — A- [Ann]
frightened at first while we tried going diagonally — but driving the mules straight before us and I then George sticking our heels
fearlessly in, A- [Ann] and David followed very well — at 2 10/.. very fine beautiful waterfall in 3 winding steps
80 to 90 feet down smooth blue slate rock — another small stream and series of falls 20 or 30 yards to the left —
looking down the stream — Almost trackless descent upon what they in ridicule call la ville de motets
2 or 3 shabby stone cots or huts — then in about 20 minutes at our Auberge at motets [Refuge les Mottets] at 3 35/.. — a
splendid chalet — A- [Ann] and I had a small double bedded low room between cellar cow house and hay loft and George slept in the next
room a large sort of between kitchen lighted from the door opening in upper and lower half — with mud floor, and up to the roof — at the other end (next to us) another place
where the guides slept and the kitchen they cooked and lived in — the glacier de motets very fine — just above us,
and beyond so as to have good view ¬¬— large, and not very crévassé — dinner at 5 in 3/4 hour — cold milk and
bread (instead of soup) did not touch that — boiled mutton good but done to rags and old potatoes full of eyes —
A- [Ann] had had cold fowl (we brought it with us from Contamine) an hour before, and lay down — she took the vin
d’asti we had brought and I a little very weak brandy and water — both of us lay down immediately after dinner
for 1 1/2 hour and slept — then got up and stood at the door talking to the people till 8, and I still later till 8 1/2
when had boiled milk and prepared for bed — the people, man and wife and 4 or 6 children and one little sick thing
in arms (at 6/. a month) belonging to somebody of Bourg Maurice [Bourg-Saint-Maurice] — and the man’s brother — they have only been
a week arrived and will go back in September — the pasturage belongs to the 2 brothers — was bought by their father —
and David thinks may be about 1000 quatrons (1 quatron = 312 1/2 toises carrés at Chamouni [Chamonix] — David
has about 60 toises carrés for winter fodder for his cow) — taxes very high here — 12,000 francs of property pays
3000 francs of taxes to government — a cow worth about 60 francs or more according to her goodness — a good calf worth
about 20/. — Coll myrtle growing wild in the fields about Contamine — gathered forget-me-nots (about 1 1/2 to 2
inches high) at the top of the col de bonhomme — daisies, large sort, or chamomile growing there and gentianella
frequent in the ascent — It is rhodendron [rhododendron] ferrugineum that covers the hills and that the people burn as they do box-wood at the
Pyrenees and Quercus coccifera or Kermes, about Mont pellier — A- [Ann] has borne today very well — a little frightened at the
last snow (thought her legs would have failed her) but got on following me and George, and hanging on David’s arm — Fromage de
Gruyère 2/3 cow’s milk and 1/3 goat’s — all the wood here from Bourg Maurice — 4 francs per mule-load + the
man 2/. + the mule 2/. — two days about bringing it — i.e. one day going and 1 returning — Just before dinner the woman
helped me to nail up my green cloth counterpane for a curtain to made [make] dressing room so that I had pri
vacy enough to prepare for my cousin come since morning but no harm very fine day — Fahrenheit 58° at
9 p.m. —
DateJul 1834
Extent1 page
LevelPiece
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