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A Little Swiss Sojourn

William Dean Howells

Book Overview: 

A charming brief account of a two months' autumnal stay on the shores of the Lake of Geneva. Howells, who was there with his family traveling from England to Italy, has a sharp eye not only for scenery and architecture, but for people and customs, both Swiss and foreign.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .eep out of the way and in the apprehensions he suffered he abandoned himself to moans and howls that sometimes drowned the piano.

Yet Poppi was an amiable invalid, and he was on terms of perfect friendship with the cats, of which there were three generations—Boulette, Boulette's mother, and Boulette's grandmother. They were not readily distinguishable from one another, and I really forget which it was that used to mount to the dining-room window without, and paw the glass till we let her in; but we all felt that it was a great accomplishment, and reflected credit upon us.


The vineyard began immediately behind the laurels that enclosed the house, and at a little distance, where the mountain began to lift from the narrow plateau, stood the farmer's stone cottage, with the stables and the wine-vaults under the same roof. Mademoiselle gave us grapes from her vines at dinner, and the walnut-trees seemed public property, though I think one was no. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I don’t know how I found this book but was attracted to it because many years ago I had travelled in this same region of Switzerland. It was interesting but had a soporific quality which I found useful when sleep eluded me at two in the morning.

The author is quite descriptive of landscapes and peop

To the review of the edition, I only add that the narrator reads the text (English and occasionally some French and German) with a good expressive voice.

A good description of Switzerland with a touch of humour.