tion for the arts, intangibles once knownrnas matters of soul, this by offering a traditionalrnspread—discourse, history, literature,rnphilosophy—in a classical ChristianrnAugustinian spirit (a “wising up”rnrather than a “dumbing down”) in thernhope of producing, for those who mavrnwant and need it, advanced standing atrnjust those “good” name schools whosernstandards have gone down for the countrnbut whose pride in various radicalisms isrnnotorious. Advanced standing may getrnone by the most obnoxious of the requiredrncourses in the introductory curriculum.rnDr. Acschliman radiates a sensernof solidarity with the giants of the traditionrnhe reveres—Augustine, Erasmus,rnNewman, among others, plus his ownrnone-time personal mentor the late MalcolmrnMuggeridge. So many turn out tornbe far less than what they give themselvesrnto be that I must bear witness tornthe Aeschlimans’ classical Christianrnmodesty, they and all their brood seemingrnnot just capable, not just purposive,rnnot just possessed of uncommon personalrndignity, but happy.rnIn my five days among them, it onlyrngot better the better I got to know them:rnthe blond quasi-princess who vacuumsrnaround all day is seeking refuge from thernhell of Bosnia, once her home. A gentlemanlyrnyoung man from northern Germany,rnhere for mountains and internationalrnlaw, sits tea-times at the libraryrnBeckstein and plays Bach or Chopin withrnrare mastery. A couple in sales, here forrnthe trade fair, listens with rare attention;rnlikewise, a charmer of high school yearsrnfrom a lovely bilingual town on the edgernof the Bierlersee seeks solace from thernpain of divorcing parents. My student-rnLIBERAL ARTSrnCRIME DOESN’T PAY?rn”Young offenders arc being paid uprnto £240 a year to buy themselvesrnChristmas and birthday presents,” reportedrnthe London Weekly Telegraphrnin March. “They are allowed tornspend the money through mail-orderrncatalogues, on supervised shoppingrntrips or by holding parties in theirrnsecure accommodation. The moneyrncan be spent on clothes or trainingrnshoes but not items such as alcohol orrncigarettes.”rnneighbor on the hall is playing his violarnrather well; two nice young women fromrnLuzern are perfecting their English; andrnthere are lively locals from the UniversiternPopulaire at the e’ening events and openrnlectures. All are relatively eady to bedrnand sleeping soundly in the elevated air.rnThen early up, into the van, off towardrnthe long high wide valley actually calledrn”le Vallais” and on toward the glacialrnsource of the Rhone, stopping for sungrnhigh mass (the intonation true) at Sionrncathedral, higher and higher into thernhigh Anniviers, on foot at last, gazing intornthose endless albino Alps of Italy,rnmass and vastness of the Matterhorn sornstartlingly “there” and going nowhere,rnthen down, down, afar the funny ridgeperchedrnscalloped tower where Rilkernspun his mastcrwork surrounded by whatrnthey call “La Noble Contree,” all itsrnvineyards like terraced knitting come tornfruition; and yet again beyond spreadsrnthat humped majesty of the BernesernOberland wherein my host’s father wasrnborn; back, past the site of “The Prisonerrnof Chillon” where Beethoven alsornconceived the so-called “Moonlight”rnSonata, past the lakeside resort where Byronrnwrote the poem, through the neighborhoodrnof the sanitarium where Eliotrngave birth to “The Waste Land” withinrnan afternoon’s lakeside stroll of wherernStravinsky composed “The Rite ofrnSpring,” then home to tea with the almostrnelderiy English portrait painter, hernthe picture of all our lost high courtesiesrnin the lost high manner of the Englishrnportrait, the talk slowly edging—throughrnapt, rollicking mimicries of his old friendrnT.S. Eliot and his high English mannerrn—back to the long war now a fullrnhalf-century behind us, wherein ourrnpainter worked at Counterintelligence,rnto memories of my old friend the Dutchrnresister, to our host’s telling of “thernstory.”rnAt a point in Michael Aeschliman’srnNew Hampshire boyhood, his Swissbornrnfather, a scholar of ordinary originsrnin the aforesaid Bernese Oberland, satrnhim down in his study and told him “thernstory.” It seems that right in the midst ofrna memorable moment in modern history,rnthe father, then a young man, foundrnhimself in the city of Bedin and thereforernin chance attendance at what was tornmany in those days an enviable occasion,rnthough none would admit so now: thernpublic apparition of the high commandrnof the Third Reich. All the applecheekedrnMddchen with astounding figuresrnwere wrapped in dirndls, all thernIcderhosen’d Siegfrieds with amethystrneyes sporting too much stage makeuprnunder blinding sweeps and kliegs, all thernfatherlandish songs, fireworks, and orchestratedrnmasses in hysteria. The fello^vrnfrom the Bernese Oberland might wellrnhave felt a little daunted amid these reincarnaternwarrior giants out of the Nibelungenlicder,rnbut all the manly Teutonicrnzest of all the singing had begun torntug at his heart and his own right armrnseemed of itself to want to extend itselfrnwith so many other right arms and thernchant, precise, deep-voiced, of “Sieg,rnheill Sieg, heil!” over and over in heroicrnunison as the Eiihrer himself and hisrnentourage swept on by. Something,rnthough—I’d like to think it might haernbeen the wraith of Wilhelm Tell, thernmen of Uri resolved and ready with winnowingrnflail and pitchfork, the RiatlirnOath, the Ranz des Veaux—held himrnback, a Swiss skepticism, a Swiss stubbornness,rna Swiss neutrality, Anywav, itrngot him noticed.rn”I see,” the challenge came fromrnone nearby, “you did not do thernsalute. What gives, eh? bu Redrnor something?” There appeared tornbe two of them, evidently drunkrnand sneering.rn”Not Red. I am Swiss.”rn”Aha,” came the ready reaction.rn”So, von are just a hill rube, then.rnThe land of cows, yes?”rn”Yes. lama rube. But even I amrnnot so badly educated that I dornnot know when I have lookedrnupon the face of the Prince ofrnDarkness!”rnThis might have ended badly, but therngiants were content with unmasking arnreligious nut and moved on, the truernimport of what was said fortunately lostrnon them. It was not lost on MichaelrnAeschliman, though, who continues torntry and get the world to take seriouslyrnBaudelaire’s overlooked remark on thisrncrucial subject, as to how Satan’s greatestrnachievement has lain in getting so manyrnright-thinking sorts to assert so blithelyrnthat he does not even exist.rnThis has sped Michael Aeschliman,rnsurel}’, all the way to his marvelous andrnnecessary refuge. May now it not be lostrnon any of us.rnPeter Laurie is a poet and scholar whornlives in upstate New York.rn54/CHRONICLESrnrnrn