I saw at that time in the museum a curious example of how in certain stages of civilisation the same customs prevail. They have there a large collection of curiosities taken from the remains of Lake villages; amongst other things, beautiful pins and brooches, like those found in Scotland and Ireland. My attention was attracted to a half moon-shaped piece of wood scooped out and delicately carved and ornamented. I asked the custodian what it was. He pointed to a small photograph placed beside it, which represented a Japanese woman lying on the floor with a piece of similar wood under her little head. Perhaps without this photograph from the Far East the use of this primitive pillow from the Lake villages might have remained an unexplained curiosity.

I spent a few days in the neighbourhood of Geneva to see some friends in one of the water-cure establishments so common now on the Continent - part hotel, part cure - very different from those primitive water-cures started in the early half of this century by Preissnitz at Graafenberg. I picked up on an old bookstall some years ago a curious little pamphlet by Bulwer Lytton, called 'Confessions of a Water Patient.' He described how he had found his faith in the system strengthen, but he shrank from the terrors of a long journey to Silesia, 'the rugged region in which the probable lodging was a labourer's cottage, where the sulky hypochondriac would murmur and growl over a public table spread with no tempting condiments.' It is the modern luxury of hotel life which, I think, now militates so much against all these cures. The patients have two large hotel dinners of doubtfully wholesome food, and lie about all day on luxurious chairs. This is very different from the return to primitive life, an essential part of the cure in the old system, and which in modern days has been better practised by l'Abbé Kneipp than by any other that I have heard of. Now luxury and self-indulgence hold the poor modern, civilised patients in their grip wherever they go, and often they return no better than they went, in spite of douches and baths innumerable.

I must confess I found it rather trying coming from Florence to a hydropathic establishment in Switzerland. Illnesses, and especially what for want of a better name are called nerve-illnesses, are from their very obscurity quite extraordinarily depressing, and bring prominently forward the eternal injustice of Nature. Looking out of my window at the gravelled yard and the heavy grove of trees gave me the feeling that I might be in a private lunatic asylum, or even in a prison, though I have never lived in either. The thought may have been specially presented to my mind from the remarkable poem which appeared last year, 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol,' for, looking up out of my window, I too could see over the opposite roof that little square of blue which suggested these two verses:

I never saw a man who looked

With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue

Which prisoners call the sky, And at every wandering cloud that trailed

Its ravelled fleeces by.

He did not wring his hands, as do

Those witless men who dare To try to rear the changeling Hope

In the cave of Black Despair: He only looked upon the sun,

And drank the morning air.

Looking down in the early morning I saw the patients in various quaint costumes hurrying to the morning douches. One, a middle-aged man, could not walk unless he pushed a large brown basket-work perambulator before him. He did not lean on it, and was very cheerful, but apparently it steadied his nerves, and with it his legs obeyed his wishes and he walked perfectly. Many people were, of course, quite well - merely accompanying the invalids. All these bathing-places strike me as being deadly dull and tiresome for those who are well, but foreigners seem to be much more patient about spending their holidays in health resorts than we are, for they look upon absolute idleness as the correct thing, and are content to spend their waking hours in talking. This can be noticed any day at seaside places in France. To my mind, the perfect holiday for people in health is change of scene and occupation and interest; certainly not what is called 'rest,' which means sitting out all day long, doing absolutely nothing but chattering to people you have never seen before and will never see again. Without the object of being a companion to those we love I can imagine no greater trial.

When I could stand the feeling of being surrounded by invalids no longer, I used to get outside the place and walk by the deep-cut cliffs, rather than banks, of the roaring, rushing river. The land was losing all its wildness, and was being built over; but nothing can ever alter those steep-cut sides, which in old days might have been the scene of the following poem:

By the hoof of the wild goat uptossed From the cliff where she lay in the sun

Fell the stone To the tarn where the daylight is lost - So she fell from the light of the sun,

And alone.

Now the fall was ordained from the first With the goat and the cliff and the tarn,

But the stone Knows only her life is accursed As she sinks in the depths of the tarn,

And alone.

Oh! Thou who hast builded the world, Oh! Thou who hast lighted the sun, Oh! Thou who hast darkened the tarn,

Judge Thou The sin of the stone that was hurled By the goat from the light of the sun As she sinks in the mire of the tarn Even now - even now - even now!

Beautiful, bright Geneva struck me as hard and ugly after the mellow softness of Florence. I had hoped to have seen many interesting places in the neighbourhood, the homes of those who are familiar to us as our own relatives. Ferney I have never seen, nor Coppet, nor the house on the south side of the lake where Byron lived, close to the one taken by the Shelleys and Clair that memorable summer after Byron's separation from his wife and before the birth of Allegra. Is it not all told in one of the best, most complete, and most interesting biographies of our day, Dowden's 'Life of Shelley'? George Eliot spent a happy time at Geneva as a girl, and I would gladly have seen 18 Rue des Chamoines, where she lived and rested and enjoyed herself with kind friends. And last of all, there is the quiet corner where Amiel worked and lived and wrote. Some time after his death a very interesting review (by Lucas Malet) of Mrs. Humphry Ward's translation of Amiel's 'Journal Intime' appeared in the 'Fortnightly Review' for May or June 1896. She alludes several times to the short biography of Professor Amiel by Mlle. Berthe Vadier, which was published in Paris, and thus describes the place where he lived: 'His windows overlooked a well-filled flower garden; the walls of it were draped with Ivy and Virginia Creeper, above which rises the ancient college of Calvin, while through a side opening he could see the trees on the Promenade Saint-Antoine, and the Russian church, its gilded cupolas backed by the purple hillside of the Grand Salève.' Amiel's biographer says: 'Il était toujours beau.' Lucas Malet adds: 'The dome of his head is very fine, reminding one in height and purity of curve of the head of Shakespeare, or of the modern writer who in looks so curiously resembles him - Dante Rossetti. But with the brow all likeness to the great or lesser poet ceases: the eyes and lower part of the face lacking the glorious audacity and robustness of the first - we accept the witness of the Stratford bust and picture, rather than that of the fancy portrait in Westminster Abbey - equally with the sensuous heaviness that so mars the beauty of the second. For Amiel's face and head belong to a type not infrequent in French Switzerland, combining a certain largeness of ground plan with an almost pinched delicacy of detail. Refinement rather than strength is its characteristic: a head in porcelain rather than a head in granite.' I copy this excellent description, as it exactly fits a large number of student men of our own day. Lucas Malet goes on to say: 'And truly - though perhaps at the risk of seeming a little fantastic - we may say that in Amiel's face there is more than a hint of that singular temper, the predominance of which in his printed utterances, whether in prose or verse, prevents their rising into the first rank of excellence. Both are a trifle artificial; marked by something of over-civilisation and over-intellectuality. He wants body, so to speak. He is utterly deficient in what Mr. Henry James has so delightfully called "the saving grace of coarseness." In his case there is too complete a severing of those cords which bind us to the lower creation. Not only ape and tiger, but song-bird and sea-wind have died in him, as they must always run the chance of dying in highly educated persons - of dying so effectually indeed that such persons forget the very alphabet of that mysterious, primitive language to speak in which is not only the instinct of external Nature but the highest achievement of art.' Do we not all know people whom this description fits as admirably and completely as it doubtless did the Geneva professor, though they may but partly share the intellectual gifts which made his journals so interesting a portrait, not only of himself, but of the type of human being whom he represents - always aspiring and never satisfied, always working and producing comparatively little result?