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it was awful, where the Aiguilles rocks his body could not be seen. His fellows shoot up some thirteen thousand fect, brought up ropes the next day from and the deep valley between gives one the valley, and stood at the edge lookan idea of the infinite. What a chaos ing hopelessly down. No attempt was of rock-peaks and snow-domes! what a made, however, to descend; they did white waste of desolation! One feels not care to face the impossible, and his more humility than pride, up there body was left there to be embalmed by away from his kind, and if not face to the ice, for longer ages than the Orienface with the infinite, at least with that tals in their pyramids. Again, on the which partially reveals it.
Grand Plateau in 1866, an English capHow petty and far-away the moun- tain and his four guides were ascending tains round Chamouni looked, which energetically, hopefully, when they lookare formidable enough to climb. In- ed up and saw the beginning of an deed, every thing about us seemed so avalanche. What a moment! They were strangely far doun : even the Aiguilles all tied together. They snatched at and snow-domes, which from below had their knives, and cut the rope, two appeared of almost equal height with running in one direction, three in Mont Blanc itself, now seemed little another. The three, including the capmore than half as high. The white tain, were overwhelmed, lost; the two clouds, too, scattered about in small escaped, and men's memories engraved masses, were more curious still: while more names on the snow-monuments of from the valley they seemed to be high that huge graveyard. up in the heavens, from the summit they Again, in 1866, three brothers atappear to be a still greater distance tempted the ascent without guides. below one; they were motionless, for They had succeeded in reaching the there was no wind, and the sun shining Mur de la Côte-were ascending it; a few upon them gave them the appearance inches of light fresh snow lay on the of dense, heavy masses of snow. It surface of the frozen mountain ; an inseemed strange that they hung there, cautious step on this unfrozen snow-a and did not fall into the valley.
slip-and down they were all hurled, France, Italy, Savoy, Switzerland, with almost the speed of a lightningfrom Milan to Lyons, from Berne and flashı, over each other headlong to the further north to the mountains behind snow at the foot of the ascent; two Genoa, all was visible-Genoa and its of them stunned, and for a time insenlake, the Gemmi, the Oberland Alps sible, one gone to the judgment-seat. with their grand captain the Jungfrau, Jean Carriez, my guide, was partly up St. Gothard, the Matterhorn, and Mont the mountain, watching their moreRosa, besides the summits and glaciers ments through a telescope, and saw the more immediately about us.
accident. Hastening up to the rescue, The different ascents and precipices of course long hours in doing so, he of our route diminished to littleness as met the two brothers trying to find Tre looked down, down so far away to
down. see them. There were the snow moun- To all his offers of service they only tains, which separate the great glaciers; answered no! no! seemingly still stunover them is the old route to the sum- ned, morally if not physically. They mit, and there an avalanche swept the were cared for at the hut--in the mornthree guides of Dr. Hamel, the Russian, ing had recovered their moral balance, in 1820, to their ice-chasm grave, the and, with the guide, returned to the windis for mourners, and the snow moun- fatal spot, where they found the body tain for a monument.
of the dead one. Ilow to take it There is the Grand Plateau, where a down! Ah, it was a difficult question. porter in 1855 went on ahead of his Still, three were about as good for that party, in haste to reach his home. as thirty,-it could not be carried. Alas! he fell into a chasm so deep, that Carefully fastening it up in a wrapper,
they tied a rope, and drew it along the attribute this wholly to my habits and snow where that was possible, to the training, it may be interesting to some verge of those fearfully steep mountains, tourists to mention, that, eating but then placing it on the edge, let it slide, moderately of animal food, I take no or rather flash down to the snow-valley, coffee, tea, nor spirits, and during my while they turned their backs so as not training on the Swiss mountains, on to see its descent; and so he was borne rising I ate ripe fruit exclusively, then on towards his grave. The eternal si- climbed the mountain selected for the lences were eloquent about them, and day's amusement, taking a hearty midtheir hearts made the silent response. day meal, or déjeuner à la fourchette, at What a service! What a funeral! My the châlet, or little hotel at the top, and guide told me it was the most sicken- then, elastic and unfatigued, as the sun ing thing he ever did, or saw.
was sinking to his rest, went down to a And there, far away in another direc- hearty meal at the table d'hôte of the tion, is the pointed peak of the Matter- hotel. horn. Four out of a party of six were Well! I went down from my eyry destroyed in a similar manner there. and joined the guides, who were clusThe published accounts say the “ rope tered a little lower on the sunny side of broke," and two were saved. I had the dome, where it was warm and the always doubted that, still more so when air perfectly calm, although in ascendI saw the size of the ropes they use on ing it had blown fiercely, and with a the mountains, and inquired of the keen, cutting frostiness that would have guides. They told me it did not break done honor to January itself. We pullit was cut. One lost his foothold, and ed our chickens to pieces, --knives were slipped—a sudden struggle and jerk too heavy a luxury to carry up there, on the rope, the next lost his footing- and eat and drank heartily, and with a the weight of two, and the third lost good relish. Of course, the guides were his hold—the struggle of three, and the pleased we had succeeded, and their fourth went—all perhaps the work of premium was sure, to say nothing of three or four seconds, but it had given the enthusiasm which they always seem time to the fifth to draw his knife.
to feel in the success of those committhe jerk came and he was losing his ted to their charge, and our meal was footing, he cut the rope; and away they finished with toasts and congratulaflashed down some four thousand feet, tions. I then drew aside, and, seated on to a grave, where the attempt even the snow, tore leaves from my notecould not be made to recover their book, and wrote little pencil-notes to mortal remains. And so the catalogue the President of the Travellers' Club, of horrors goes on—we will end it here. and other friends in the lower world. I
I have said that the moment I reach- doubt if ever that was done before, or ed the summit my fatigue vanished. It if they will ever receive another missive was so all the way up the mountains; from that post-office-an office whose the moment I stopped, or threw myself postmaster is Almighty, and the avadown in the snow, there was no feeling lanches and hurricanes are the cariiers. of pain, nor sickness, nor bleeding at The guides called, it was time to the nose, which most people are trou- return: I wrote on unheeding. They bled with who attempt these heights; called again; but it was the third time, only a feeling of intense, lazy lassitude, and more earnestly, with the assurance a desire to be still; and at the time of that it would be death to be caught on the severest efforts, the most intense the mountain all night, before I could fatigue, there was no pain nor oppres- tear myself from my occupation, and sion of the lungs, only breathing rapidly then the sublime, wild, magic scene, had with the mouth wide open, to inhale to be looked at again, and again, before more of the rarified air than could be I could leave it. But it was after three taken in through the nostrils. As I o'clock; we had been over an hour on the summit, and it was absolutely nec- second, Carriez leading, and the three essary to look one's longing, lingering, other guides behind, to hold in case I last farewell. We were soon tied to- slipped, or fell. gether again, and, leaving our little The sun had been warm during the monument of bottles and bones, more day, the snow bad become softened, lightly loaded, and more light of heart, and many of the snow-bridges had started for the descent.
fallen in, so that there seemed to be The descent! I had hardly realized double the number of chasms to cross, that that was more serious, more dan- many of them, too, which we had crossgerous than coming up, but so it is. I ed unconscious of their existence. As looked down the steep, icy declivity we went down the lower part of the into the far-away valley with a certain Corridor, we seemed to be playing the moral depression, and a longing to be part of bacchanals; one foot would break at the end of it all. In fact, the thing through the crust of frozen snow, and had been done; the natural desire in all down went the limb its entire length, men to conquer difficulties had in this throwing one on his side; the crust at case, at least, been appeased; the am- the next step would perhaps be firm, bition was satisfied, and I wanted to be and you drew the other foot out to go away from it all, and safely in the lower down again at another step; and so we world again. But the work was before labored on, thrown from side to side us, and must be done; so down we went, like drunken men. Here also our only tramp, tramp, tramp, in the old foot- accident occurred, the entire trip otherholds which we had cut in ascending, wise having been made without a slip the alpenstocks braced tightly in the or a false step. As we were descending frozen snow, and so reached the foot of the Corridor gayly and rapidly, we came the dome safely, then briskly on over, to a crevasse covered with snow and or rather through, the snow to the Mur entirely hidden. The first guide passed de la Côte. To ascend this steep was over, I followed, the next crossed safely; dangerous work enough, but one looked three were thus on the lower or deat his footsteps and up only; in descend- scending side from the crevasse, with ing, one could not help looking down the rope stretched out between them, and seeing at a glance the whole of when the two last guides, gay and that wall-side, as it is not inaptly term- laughing, came together on the snow ed. To stand on Trinity Church spire over the chasm and broke through. A and hold by the cross would be baby- sudden wild struggle, a death-grapple play beside it, for then you would have at the snow-bank, a jerk on the rope, something to hold by, but here nothing; and they were out, and laughing at the while the little places we had cut in mishap. They did not laugh much the ice as footholds, at a little distance over it, however: had it been the two down seemed hardly large enough for first who had broken through while the footing of a kitten, and a little fur- coming down the steep mountain, we ther were invisible, while the abyss should all have been drawn in together, yawned hundreds of feet below. I felt and to inevitable death. Again we nervous as I stood for a moment at the went on with uneven, ungainly edge and looked down. However, cau- movements in the half-frozen snow, and tiously, quickly, step after step, we put now rose on our right the monstrous our feet into the little holes we had overhanging ice-cliffs, while from the made in the morning, the only words mountains on our left a huge avalanche uttered being “arritez! un moment ! ” as had fallen while we were on the sumI turned a sharp angle and changed my mit, and the debris had rolled down the alpenstock to the right or left, or got mountain-side, and spread along the the rope entangled between my legs; plain to within a few feet of our pathand so we reached the bottom, and on way. to the Corridor. In descending I was Of course, the incessant labor of our
descent at last became intensely weary- Many snow-bridges had also fallen in, ing, and I called on the guides to stop to make fathomless abysses visible, over and rest; but they were evidently a little which we before had walked. Of course, excited by the situation, the thaw, and it was more trying and dangerous. the state of things generally, and their At the hut we were joined by the pas ici ! pas ici! monsieur ! were em- porter, who brought up the provisions; phasized by their hurrying steps and and as he was most experienced on this furtive looks at the overhanging ice- part of the route, he took the lead. cliffs. “Where can we halt ?" I asked, As we went on and looked down at and a shadow on the snow, fully a mile our route, the rugged split-up ice away, was pointed out as the nearest masses seemed to end in a hopeless safe halting-place: indeed, we soon be- precipice; and as we approached the gan running instead of resting. Ar- edge and looked over again, it seemed rived at the shadow, we sat down in the just possible, and hardly possible, to snow for a few minutes, and went on descend; then another precipice seemed again.
to be before us, and so on for miles. Twilight was deepening rapidly into Turning to the right and to the left to night as we reached the little hut find a pathway, sometimes brought to a of the Grand Mulets, and that day's dead halt in front of a tremendous gulf, work was ended. I felt fatigued, of and skirting it to find a crossing, we course, but no pain then, nor afterwards; hurried on; for with the heat, the way in fact, I hardly ever remember to have was becoming more dangerous every felt as well as I did that evening. Hav- half hour. Of course, our route was all ing been troubled, more or less, for ten new, the old footprints and steps we years, with what the physicians call had cut in the ice having all melted nervous indigestion, I felt persuaded away. At one place, the only feasible that it had gone forever, and the crossing of a chasm was a wall of months which have passed since, only ice about a yard thick, standing erect prove the correctness of the impression. between two unmeasured The ascent, the previous training, the This crossing required a steady head, as diet, the enormous physical effort, had the wall-top was rounding, and each evidently brought life and activity to one, as he leaped over, had to land with some dormant vitality, and I was well. a firm footing, and no step forward or Still, it is not a medicint that I would backward, or he would have been advise people generally to take.
thrown down the chasm; then turning Late in the night there was a sharp to the right, he had to go a few steps frost, and when in the morning we forward on the rounding ice-wall, until breakfasted, and again put on our cos- the next sprang over.
At last we were tumes of the snow-regions, and stepped all on this frail-looking edge of ice. It out, I could hardly, even with my did look at that moment a little insane, spiked boots, stand on the steep, slip- that human beings should so peril their pery ice-declivity.
lives. On this wall we had to advance On descending-still, of course, tied some distance to a snow-bridge, and so together with our strong hempen rope, proceed. In many places the snowthe wild ice-chaos of three days before bridges had become so soft, that we ran had become more wild, more strangely our alpenstocks through them with weird, and more dangerous, from the ease; and in such cases each one as he effects of the sunshine of three hot crossed, or crept over, spread out his days. It may seem strange to speak so arms and legs, so as to press on as much often of hot and cold in the same para- surface as possible, for if he stood graph, but it is literally so on these wild upright he would sink through. heights, and at some places, as we were Unceasing and unresting, we went on in the sunshine, or the shade, we had and down to where the perpendicular Tanuary and July within the half hour. rock-mountain skirted our way, but no
boulder was thrown down at us as we lilies to the blush, as the lilies once did hurried on. Finally we reached the the glory of Solomon. first little opening, where the snow and My face was a picture to behold. the earth were fighting for mastery, and Two white spots where the spectacles there were a few miniature spears of had rested, a white place on my foregrass, a minute forget-me-not, and a head that the hat bad covered, and all field-daisy, perfect in form, but so small the rest of the face a deep purple red. as to measure hardly more than a quar- The skin soon began to crack, and ter of an inch in diameter. · How they peeled off in flakes, the chin became looked up their laughing welcome! At covered with fever-blisters, and for a that moment, and fresh as we were from week or ten days I was unpresentable. all we had gone through, they seemed Would I advise any one else to go? almost human. I shall certainly re- No, by no means. More than that, I member their smiles, after I forget many would not permit any one over whom I human ones. But on, on, and at last had any control to do so,-indeed, we arrive at the châlet of La Pierre would not repeat it myself for a fortune. Pointue, for a long pause, an admiring And yet-and yet, Paris with its courtoutlook over the beautiful scene, and a balls, Moscow and St. Petersburg with midday breakfast. About three o'clock their great bell, gold dome, and daywe started again, and after three hours' light all night, Athens with its antiquitrudging down the mountain-side, we ties wbich laugh at the passing cenreached the hotel, after being two turies, Constantinople with its Bosnights and part of three days above phorus and mosques, its dervishes, and the snow-line, and received the con- half-concealed beauties in their thin gratulations of the gentlemen who had yasmachs,— I would part with most of been watching us through their tele- them, and their memories, readily, willscopes, to say nothing of the smiles of ingly; sooner than not have succeeded approval from fair ones who put the in reaching the summit of Mont Blanc.
FAR-OFF a young State rises, full of might:
I paint its brave escutcheon. Near at hand
See the log-cabin in the rough clearing stand;
Some city's Apparition, weird and grand,
The haunting vision of a time to be,
By the low sun, bis gorgeous prophe