Where there was a rich collection of rustic dwellings of different nationalities, such as could be seen in the group of villages at the Exhibition, the chalet in the high mountains around Salzburg was certainly not to be missed. The building appears poor and unattractive in the midst of its surroundings of peasant houses, as befits a modest chalet. It is a sort of low thatched cottage, built of tree trunks, with a roof that protrudes very much in front and is reinforced with pieces of rock to resist the violence of the storm. This roof bears this inscription above the entrance: "This house is in the hand of God".
It has the sign "Au haut Göll" and indicates by this inscription the vicinity of the high mountain of rocks which rises to the sky, the proximity of the glaciers and the snowfields, which constitute the setting of this grandiose spectacle of nature, of which the small house which we reproduce forms one of the most interesting subjects.
And, now, do you like to enter this low hut which, at first glance, does not offer anything, we confess, very attractive? To know what it is worth, what it represents in terms of comfort, relative, it is true, you must have found yourself, on a dark night, without a guide, on the rocky and wooded slopes of the Wastmann or the Schafberg.
The wind whistles and bends the fir trees, throwing handfuls of rain in your face at times. The good road abandoned in the shadows, you have to climb ahead of you, at random, clinging to the branches, tearing at the stones, among the increasingly intense darkness. The lightning that strikes eight shows you the inextricable forest from all sides. When do we arrive? These solitudes may be visited by English tourists during the day, but at night they take on their sinister aspect. The gourd is already empty, so much did we need to regain courage! And always stones, branches, darkness. We try to laugh, to tell ourselves that we have undertaken an excursion recommended by the guide Joanne, but nothing helps. You feel lost in the dark, angry mountain! And so, with what joy, over there, beyond the fir trees, you see a ray of light. Where does it come from? From a little house like the one you despised earlier. Courage returns to the legs. You climb, you run out of breath, you arrive. You find yourself on a plateau with rocky knolls here and there. Five or six huts are scattered across this sort of plain. We run to the nearest one. It is very low, very puny, half sunk in the earth. We knock. The door opens. A young, fresh, fat mountain woman, with a piece of resinous candle in her hand, tells you to enter. A sort of gallery leads beyond the first entrance to the stable, where you hear the bell of a sleeping cow tinkling vaguely, as if in a dream. Here you are in the house. The house is a single room with no ceiling; the floor is a cellar floor. There is no fireplace. Your hostess throws some small pieces of wood on the large pine branches that serve as prams, and the smoke, after floating here and there in the house, finally finds its way out through an opening in the roof boards. The only furniture is a well-scrubbed fir shelf with bowls and milk spoons, and a board attached to the wall which serves as a table. The wood of the bed is very high, but the bed is very low, which produces a sort of dark cabinet where one undresses and dresses. Do not walk without covering your head; you will hit the floor of the second floor, or rather of the little loft where hay and straw are thrown for the children to sleep. It is all very poor, very dark, very squalid. Ah, the good, restful sleep, especially after the feast of milk and butter in the little hut on Gugleralp!
©L’Exposition Universelle de Vienne 1873