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did in good earnest expect to find myself washed down the slope, for the water rushed in a perfect torrent under the floor, making an awful roar, amidst thunder and vivid flashes of lightning.
The rain, or more probably hail, pelted fiercely against the planks above and around, the wet finding its way through and moistening all my garments; the wind roared, howled, and whistled through the crannies, which every now and then were vividly lit up by the lightning; then all was again darkness visible.
It required no great stretch of imagination to fancy that the furies were let loose, and were come to pay me a visit with their lighted torches, or that Manfred was calling up
-the spirit of the place;
Could make the mountain bow
If there had been a companion in the other bed, it would have been a little more cheery; as it was, I shoved my head under the bed-clothes, and tried to make the best of my lonely position. I should have been better off if I had slept in the house, but it was very dirty, and proverbial for fleas. Better off still should I have been had I passed the night in a cavern under a huge rock, where no wind nor rain could possibly enter; the abode of two peasants who remain here during the summer months in charge of cattle. I had visited this primitive dwelling-place in the evening, and really envied the men-they seemed so snug.
The morning at last began to dawn, to my infinite delight. Although the storm was over, the wind was still blowing strong, and the clouds scudding over the mountain-tops at a great speed, accompanied with much rain. The prospect of a successful ascent was certainly not encouraging.
However, in two or three hours' time it became a little more hopeful, and we agreed to make the attempt at all events. I had with me Jean Marie Couttet and his two nephews, Mark and Ferdinand, who, it may be remembered, had accompanied me up Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, and across the Col du Géant. I wish it clearly to be understood that it is not by any means necessary to have more than one guide up the Buét in fine settled weather, provided he is a good guide and knows the mountain well, but I was desirous of giving these young men a turn, as they had been so much with me on the glaciers, and, moreover, I required the services of one of them for two or three weeks as porter.
We started soon after five A.M., the continued heavy rain having retarded our earlier departure.
There is not much to be said about the actual ascent, which is easy enough, although it rises precipitously. A great part of the route lies across long snow slopes and layers of calcareous deposit, in which the foot sinks and obtains a good hold, otherwise some of these slopes would be unpleasant, from their rapid inclination. On one occasion, on a steep slope of crisp snow, I was not sorry to avail myself of the services of Mark, and to assign to him the post of honour (being that of danger) on my right hand. I felt uncommonly likely to perform an involuntary glissade, and I should, in such case, have rolled down farther than would have been pleasant. I had no fear of Mark losing his footing, although he did so on Mont Blanc, as already stated, having been dragged down
by others. I have no great faith in the received opinion as to being able to stop oneself on a snow slope by throwing the weight on to the point of the bâton. In one place I tried it purposely, having told my guides to look out for me as I was going to do so. It certainly checked me, but had they not come instantaneously to my rescue, I should have had a good roll down the slope. As we advanced, we occasionally caught a glimpse of what we imagined might be the snow-capped summit; but the scud was flying fast over it, with a strong wind, promising us anything but a warm reception. "Allé toujours" is my mountain motto. No halting nor loitering on the route, but onwards and upwards, with a continuous slow and steady pace. It does not do to rush at it; "self-mettle
In about three hours' time the weather began to brighten up a little, and, as we advanced towards the summit, we encountered a nipping and an eager air." Another half hour brought us on to the last snow slope, which rises up with a long gradual incline to the overhanging cornice of snow which forms the actual summit. I advanced as close to the edge as was prudent, or as my guide Couttet would allow (but without sticking my alpinestock through it as Alfred Wills did), and hoisted my colours-my blue veil, now much tattered and torn-upon my bâton, drinking to the health of the fair lady who presented it to me, pleased to think that I could now add the Buét to the long list of peaks, passes, and glaciers upon which it had already proudly floated. Ten thousand two hundred and six feet (Murray) above the seaboard is a considerable elevation, and ought to command a superb panorama. It does so; but, alas! our view was limited to the range of Mont Blanc, some ten or twelve miles distant, I believe, to the south of us, though it looked so close that it was difficult to realise the extent of the intervening space.
How grandly it towered above all is difficult to describe. I would rather ask my reader to look at Bisson's splendid photograph, and to imagine the view from the summit.
In front lies the serrated chain of the Aiguilles Rouges and the Brévent, with many glaciers filling the interstices in the gaps in the rocks. These I hope yet to explore. Above this dark outline of bare and rugged rocks rises, in grandeur unsurpassed, the great monarch of mountains, who, as he was, I presume, from the creation of our globe, the highest mountain in Europe, will, I imagine, remain so until heaven and earth are rolled up as a scroll.
As regards the view of Mont Blanc, we could scarcely have been more favoured. The whole range was stretched out before us, with a few light clouds occasionally skimming the higher peaks, but not resting upon them, while the summit remained almost entirely free. It seemed to me like a dream to think that, on the 6th of August, 1861, now two years ago, after much suffering, I had made a successful ascent. Well might Mr. Wills say that, in contemplating the ascent of Mont Blanc, he felt something like dismay when he gazed upon the mountain from this spot, and that it seemed a boundless presumption that such creatures as they could ever scale that stupendous structure, or resist the searching intensity of the cold. I verily believe that if I had made the ascent of the Buét, as he did, previously, I would scarcely have ventured the ascent of Mont Blanc. Having thoroughly impressed upon my mind the magnificent view from the summit, I took my departure in about twenty minutes
after our arrival, and arranged to breakfast lower down on the summit of the Col de Salenton, as it was too cold for the toes up here, unless we wanted them frostbitten, which nearly happened to Alfred Wills, and to Couttet, when he made the ascent with a Polish colonel, who, he told me, remained three hours on the summit for the mist to clear away, during the whole of which time he kept in constant motion, running round in a circle!
On our way down, Mark and Ferdinand loitered to gather a yellow plant, which is found high up on the rocks, and is said to possess valuable medicinal properties. What it is I know not; but they were ever on the look-out for it on attaining high elevations, and told me they were paid handsomely for their trouble. It has always struck me as wonderful the altitude at which the flowers grow, and the beauty and variety of them. In some parts of the rocks we met with the loveliest, brightest green moss imaginable, studded with the tiniest purple flowers. I often grieve that I am not versed in botany, merely that I might make known to others what I meet with, not caring for the nomenclature for any other reason, for I can imagine nothing of so little interest.
On reaching the Col de Salenton, I called a halt. The weather was now fine, and we sat down with keen appetite to our morning repast, my standard flying as usual. The view from the Col is striking, but not to be compared with that from the Buét. My object, however, was to make the best of my way to revisit Zermatt and the Riffel, and to see once more Monte Rosa and the noble Matterhorn, which I afterwards did. Our breakfast over, we were not long in scrambling down the rocks, and made short work of the descent to the little châlet at Pierre à Bérard, where we arrived in good time, well pleased with our trip. After a short rest, we proceeded on to the "Cascade de Bérard," a little inn so named on the Tête Noire, where we passed the night, en route for the Riffel.
And now, for the present, I will say adieu, gentle reader, and may you one day ascend the Buét and enjoy the glorious view from its summit. Under ordinary circumstances it is attended with no difficulty whatever; but guard against being frostbitten, to which you are always liable.
Pledge the chief of Salamis,
Who dispersed like rain
Bones that rest triumphantly
Here's Timoleon the good—
He who wept to see The price must be a brother's blood For Corinth's liberty; And he who Aristippus slew, And that immortal laurell'd Two Who struck Hipparchus and his crew, And died for the deed exultingly! With, &c.
Cross the Adriatic wave
To fair Italy,
Pledge we Cæsar's enemy!
To where Morgarten tells its tale,
John the tyrant swayed;
A lesson gave for their freedom's aid.
Here are Hampden and his band,
Pledge Wallace, Scotland's favourite son!
To Argyle fill high!
He showed how freedom may be won,
Drink to the land the Russian slave
And where the noblest spirits are,
Be he subject, be he king,
Outstretch him on the groaning land, Where once he waved his blighting hand
To rot, the scoff of Freedom's band, The branded, scorned, the "accursed With, &c.
* This prince died in 1862, in Paris, at the age of ninety-two; one whose cha
racter would have adorned a Roman age.
THE National Association for the Promotion of Social Science has long held that whatever most conduces to the well-being and comfort of our sisters, forms an important branch of social science; and not contenting itself with a mere declaration to that effect, it has followed it up by the formation of a society "for promoting the industrial employment of women." The object held in view by this society, which we believe has received the sanction of the Queen's approval, is to provide employment for educated women, and the manner in which it has been proposed to carry this out, has been by the establishment of printing presses conducted entirely by women, employment in telegraphic offices, as governesses, amanuenses, secretaries, shopwomen, saleswomen, and hairdressers, by emigration, and by the proposed foundation of an institution similar to that of the Sisters of Charity.
Such propositions are not of a practical character. Supposing all such means of employment open to the sisterhood, and many of them have long been so, it is obvious that only a portion could avail themselves of such means, even if the field of employment were unlimited, which is very far from being the case, especially in printing and telegraph offices. There is not employment sufficient even for those who have served apprenticeship in the printing business, and if the cases of the applicants for relief to the Printers' Pension Society were studied, as they ought to be by the charitable, it would be found that the poor printer often becomes blind or paralysed at an early period of life. As to telegraphic offices, their number. is very limited, and as to emigration, if it has failed, it is well known that it has been mainly because the so-called ladies do not possess those requirements which are most needed by colonists-men who have to work, and to work hard, do not require toys. But even colonists are not inexhaustible, and many have their own sisters and daughters to establish in life. But that which is most objectionable of all is that any and all of these plans take females out of their especial sphere. Woman's place in nature is as the companion, the comfort, and the helpmate of man-the mother of future generations, the housekeeper of the present. In a natural state of society it is the duty of man to provide for the women and children, of the woman to see to the application of the means, to the wants and well-being of the family. All these proposed employments take her out of her natural and proper sphere-it may be sometimes only for a time-but many are objectionable, as not only removing her from the way of obtaining that education which best suits her for being a useful helpmate, but also as inducing habits which are totally opposed to her ever being such in after life.
It is the fate of all reformers to be met at first by opposition, if not also sometimes by a touch of ridicule, and if we cannot always coincide with
* The Gentlewoman. By the Author of "Dinners and Dinner Parties." Chapman and Hall. 1864.