« ElőzőTovább »
during the day, as we were anxious to avoid passing a second night on the mountain.
My feelings were very different when we began to descend, from the perfect apathy and indifference with which I had arrived at the top. The triumph of having succeeded in our attempt, the excitement of the guides as well as of myself, and the ease in descending compared with the fatigue we had previously felt, raised our spirits to the highest pitch, and we set uff with shouts of joy.
• At a very short distance from the summit, a butterfly flew past us: we had neither the power nor the inclination to catch it.
In ascending, the snow was hard and good, but by mid-day the sun had softened it, and in most places we trod knee deep, which was fatiguing and dangerous, as the “ Ponts de Neige" over the crevasses were insecure.
* The glissades were very amusing. Down an angle of 45 degrees, for instance, we slid on our heels, with the pole behind us in the snow, like a third leg. This requires great practice. And at first I never went more
ew yards without falling, which an excellent joke in soft snow. At the steeper places, we fairly sat down, and with our poles in the snow behind to guide us, lifted up our heels, and away we went like lightning. We had some excellent races in this manner, and I enjoyed them much. Small crevasses are passed in this way without danger, as the rapidity with which we went prevented our sinking.
“The excitement of our enterprise was so great, that I can affirm, without any idea of boasting, that I did not during the whole time feel the least degree of fear, or even nervousness, though I have frequently since shuddered at the remembrance of some of the places we passed. Once, in the beginning, as I looked down on a steep place from a narrow path, I fancied that I saw the rocks and the valley below slowly moving along, but I immediately stood still, and looked steadily at them, and never felt giddy afterwards.
Our greatest difficulties, at this period of the journey, were at that exceedingly steep place I noticed in the ascent, which required the greatest caution, and took us more time in descending than we had been in ascending it. No one, however, made even a false step here. The crevasse which I have before particularly alluded to, was crossed after many precautions, and without accident. In all probability, another week would have melted away the little “pont” that remained, and left the valley perfectly impassable. Had we been unable to cross this on our return, we must either have remained on the mountain, and, it is needless to add, have perished, or retraced our steps to near the summit, and descended by the dangerous pass of the “ Rochers Rouges.” I do not think, however, that we should have had strength to re-ascend, especially as the snow was so soft, and we should have been soon overtaken by night, and (as the next day proved) a storm. I was not aware of the extent of our danger till we had passed it, when I need not say how grateful we all felt for our safe deliverance. The coolness and intrepidity of my guides are beyond all praise. In descending, I did not feel the slightest difficulty in breathing, and the pains in my head gradually decreased. In some places the wind was high, and the light snow drifted along in sheets when disturbed by our tootsteps.
On our return to the Grands Mulets, in three hours and a half, we packed up the baggage we had left there, which, like Esop's load, had been considerably lightened, and arrived on the glacier, where we halted a few minutes to rest. It was exceedingly hot, and I never suffered so much from thirst as then, which nothing would quench, and which I did not get rid of till I put myself into a hot bath on my return to Chamouni.
• At the foot of the mountain, I found a mule waiting for me; and we returned to Chamouni about half-past eight, having been half the time descending that was occupied by the ascent. Though at so late an hour, I found crowds of people waiting to receive me in triumph, as from Chamouni they could with telescopes distinctly trace our progress. I did not feel much tired, and was too feverish to sleep well, but the next morning I was exceedingly stiff, and not sorry to remain quiet during most of the day. My face was much swelled, and the skin turned black and wrinkled, but, after a few days, peeled off. My eyes scarcely suffered, and that only for a day or two. Had I not worn green spectacles, I firmly believe I should have been blinded; for nothing can give an idea of the dazzling brilliancy of the snow above, when now and then for a moment took them off. Two of my guides, who had only worn green veils over their faces, could scarcely see for a day or two after their descent.
• It was amusing to see what a lion I became at Chamouni, during the two days I had remained there afterwards. The place was crowded with visitors, and some asked me the most absurd questions imaginable.
• I cannot pass over in silence the exceedingly liberal conduct of my host, who, though I was a perfect stranger to him, offered to lend me all the money requisite to pay my guides, and other expenses, without even asking for any security, as, having had no previous intention of ascending Mont Blanc, I had not brought enough with me for that purpose. I, however, preferred taking one of the guides with me, on my return to Geneva. The reasonable charges and great attention of my host induce me to recommend him most strongly to those who visit Chamouni.
• With regard to this expedition, I cannot do better than repeat Coutet's own words when I first applied to him for his assistance. If you succeed, you will think nothing of the fatigue and expense; but if you are compelled by weather, or any other circumstance, to abandon it, you will be exceedingly sorry that the idea ever entered your head.”
• In conclusion, I should most earnestly advise no one to attempt the ascent of Mont Blanc; for though I found myself amply repaid by my success for all my fatigue and troubles, the chances are very great indeed against any one having again a journey so prosperous in weather and every other respect as mine was. But to any one who does not care for a rough lodging, I strongly recommend to go to the Grands Mulets, which he may easily do with two or three guides, at a trifling expense, pass the night there, and return the following day. I should hardly think it possible to return from the Grands Mulets the same day, but, at all events, the night is the most interesting time of the whole. He will there see enough to give him an idea, though an imperfect one, of the awful scenery which is only to be found above. He will have a splendid view during day-light, (and if he times his visit well) a glorious sunset and moonlight afterwards, and plenty of avalanches during the whole of his stay there. He will experience little danger or fatigue, and, moreover, he will have the distinction
of being the first man who ever willingly halted at the Grands Mulets, or balf-way house, without the intention of proceeding further.”—The Keepsake, pp. 12—16.
Lord Dover, late Mr. Agar Ellis, is also one of the élite of his class, with whom the cultivation of literature is not new, and not taken up merely for the purpose of blazoning his name in the Annuals. Objections might be made to his verses on Human Life,' on the score of their want of originality, and of what may be called the true poetical temperament. They are, however, for a lord, sufficiently respectable. · Search all the paths of human life, examine ev'ry way, Through which 'tis given, while here on earth, for erring man to stray : Though varied each, though different all, they yet in this agreeTheir course is disappointed hope, their end is misery ! The soldier falls on battle-plain—they call it glory's grave! No friendly hand is there to soothe the death-pangs of the brave. Through a life of unrequited toil he rushes to his doom ; His wearied footstep finds no rest, save in the bloody tomb. The sailor wastes his prime of years upon the stormy main, Far from the home his childhood loved, which he ne'er may see again; Though he 'scape the wreck, the desert isle, and the cannon's deadly roar, Yet cold neglect and an age of pain await him still on shore. · The statesman no such danger knows, he dreads nor field nor flood, And his claim the world to govern gives the power of doing good ; But foes contemn his merits, anguish and shame are near; He sinks in death, and a people's curse deep murmurs o'er his bier. * By day, by night, the youth who seeks the paths of legal fame, Must toil for years midst doubts to raise a fortune or a name! But his anxious cares will fail, till his mind or health decays, While the blight of hope deferr’d on his fainting spirit prays. • But the grief wbich wears the soul is the ardent poet's fate
To whom fame comes not at all—or if ever, comes too late ;
The scholar by his midnight lamp is wasted with despair ;
The Keepsake, pr. 39, 40.
If we be not much mistaken, the following jeu d'esprit has already appeared in print. It will well bear repetition, for it has all the qualities of wit, brevity, pungency, and truth.
• ADVERTISEMENT EXTRAORDINARY.
* By Joseph Jekyll. * Mr. J. having frequently witnessed with regret, country gentlemen, in their country-houses, reduced to the dulness of a domestic circle, and thereby led to attempt suicide in the month of November, or what is more melancholy, to invite the ancient and neighbouring families of the Tags, the Rags, and the Bobtails—having also observed the facility with which job-horses and the books of a circulating library are supplied from London to any distance-has opened an office in Spring-garden, for the purpose of furnishing country gentlemen in their country-houses, with company and guests, on the most moderate terms.
• An annual subscriber of thirty guineas, will be entitled to receive four guests, changeable weekly, at the will of the country gentleman.
* An annual subscriber of fifteen guineas will be entitled to receive two guests, changeable once a fortnight.
• It will appear from the catalogue, that Mr. J. has a choice and elegant assortment of six hundred and seventeen guests, ready to set off at a moment's warning, to any country gentleman, at any country-house ; among whom will be found three Scotch peers, seven ditto Irish, fifteen decayed baronets, eight yellow admirals, forty-seven major-generals on halfpay, (who narrate the whole of the Peninsular war,) twenty-seven fuzzing do wagers, one hundred and eighty-seven old maids on small annuities, and several unbeneficed clergymen, who play a little on the fiddle.
'Deaf and dumb people, sportsmen, and gentlemen who describe tours to Paris and Fonthill, at half-price.
• All the above play at cards, and usually with success if partners. No objection to cards on Sunday evenings, or rainy mornings.
'The country gentleman to allow the guests four feeds a day, as in the case of jobs, and to produce claret, if a Scotch or Irish peer be present.
Should any guest be disapproved of, the country gentleman is desired to write the word “ Bore” against his name in the catalogue, or chalk it on his back as he leaves the country-house, and his place shall be immediately filled up by the return of the stage-coach. Society Office, Spring-garden, Oct. 26, 1822.'
The Keepsake, pp. 92, 93. The name of Lord Morpeth is already favourably known both in literature and politics. We need, therefore, make no apology for presenting the reader with the following stanzas from his lordship’s pen :
• Who has not felt, ’mid azure skies,
At glowing noon or golden even,
And tinge with earth the hues of heaven?
O’er every scene of fond desire,
And close each cadence of the lyre.
In the most radiant landscape's round,
Lurk the dim haunts of crime and care;
His sigh must load the perfum'd air.
The fields with hues unfading dress'd,
The Keepsake, p. 221. Lord John Russell is another name which is sure to go down to posterity upon the stream of honourable renown. It is surely delightful to find, that amidst the serious occupations of the past year, he was not unmindful of the muses. He takes care to remind us that his description of London in September was not for the year 1831, for it so happened that the metropolis was then, in consequence of the sitting of parliament, as crowded as it usually is in the month of June.
Remote, unfriendly, melancholy, slow,
The Keepsake, p. 238. We need hardly say a word with respect to the embellishments of the · Keepsake. Its character, in this respect, is so well established, and has been so uniformly maintained, in spite of all the bad writing by which the engravings have been accompanied, that we can but echo our former praises upon this essential point. The taste of the proprietor, Mr. Heath, is signally displayed in the presentation plate and vignette title. They are both representations of antique vases of the most elegant forms. We should imagine that there are few specimens of the chiaroscuro to be found, at least among
the embellishments of the Annuals, that can be compared for effect to Wallis's engraving of the Interior of Zwinger Palace, Dresden, from a drawing by Prout. The steps of its splendid portico, the galleries within, and even a glimpse of one of the