7. Aarburg – Reiden – Encounter with Thrineli

Reiden – Inn Mohren

So, the question arose whether we should stay here or continue marching. A good spirit made us decide to stay. Of the two inns in the village, we chose the “Mohren“, again a very lucky choice. We had scarcely made ourselves comfortable in the room allotted to us, when we heard tones of music that seemed to be coming nearer and nearer. I went to the window and saw a large procession of men moving from the road towards our inn. “I really think,” I said to Henninger, “they come in in the Mohren.” And that was indeed the case. The musicians stopped in front of the house, while the riflemen – because they were the ones – with their rifles over their shoulders, with the expression of warriors coming home from the battle, marched in rank and file through the large inn door. We were exchanging suppositions about what had happened when we were interrupted by a knock on our door. The person who entered was the innkeeper himself, who politely invited us to take part in the banquet that was to take place downstairs in the hall. First, we thanked him by saying that our presence as strangers might be unpleasant for the gentlemen and disturbing the cheerfulness and cosiness of the festival; but the friendly Herr Arnold – for that was the name of the innkeeper, as we found out later – was not misled by this. “I don’t come as an innkeeper,” he said, “but as an envoy of the whole rifle club, which, far from being disturbed by the presence of strangers, considers it an honour to entertain them so that they can return home be able to tell what it’s like at a Schwitzer Schützenfest.” Thereupon we accepted the invitation without hesitation and went down into the festively decorated hall. We were given our seats in the middle of the board. On the wall opposite us was hung the magnificent riflemen’s flag, on whose white silk background the words were emblazoned in gold lettering: “Schützengesellschaft vom Luzernische Wiggertale”.

                Our lively counterparts, on the other hand, were two strong, lively Swiss people and their spouses, who possessed the same virtues as their husbands. In general, the female sex was strongly represented, and we had the opportunity to admire the extremely nice national costume of the Swiss women. The most beautiful is the tight velvet bodice, adorned with buttons, string, cords and chains of all kinds.                 The banquet that was about to begin was extremely plentiful and excellently attended. Every fowl was represented there, from the smallest to the largest, almost every game that could be hunted. But what amazed us the most was the dessert, and we couldn’t understand at all how in such a small place, which is ten hours from Lucerne and even further from Basel, one could find the most exquisite cakes and confectionery of all kinds. Drinks were no less provided, and as the wine loosened tongues and the conversation grew livelier, Worth brought a large silver cup which he had won as first prize at the great Berne Shooting Festival in 1851, and which now, accompanied with toasts of all kinds, made the rounds. After the meal came the dance (see “The Swiss shooting festival” and “Longing for Thrineli“).

Although we had made a considerable march during the day and I could still feel the sharp stones of the Hauenstein on the soles of my feet, we held out bravely, especially since our friendly hosts would not have released us for any price. Only toward morning could we relax undisturbed; but scarcely did the waking sun send its first rays over the earth when we were up and about again, paid our bill, with which we had every reason to be satisfied, and then began our third day’s march.