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and I am sure that in all excursions out of the common run it is best to perform them alone ; that is to say, accompanied only by the necessary guides. Much time must be lost when the party is a large one; and it is evident that in dangerous places the fewer that have to cross them the better. With respect to passing the Col du Géant, I think, on the whole, it is better to go from Courmayeur to Chamonix, than from Chamonix to Courmayeur. It may be a question, in case of bad weather, which is the better place of the two to be detained at: but at Chamonix you are sure of getting good guides at a short notice; and if you intend starting from Courmayeur, you must send round to Chamonix for a guide to be the leader of the party, and must keep him with you till you start. Also, on the Chamonix side, in passing the glacier, you are going up hill all the way, whereby you obtain a better sight of your main difficulties; which also you thus encounter early in the day's work. But on the other hand, should the rocky precipice on the side of Courmayeur have any snow upon it, the ascent would probably be better than the descent; however, in such a case it would perhaps be the more prudent plan to defer the expedition altogether.
The next morning (Wednesday August 7) was fine after the rain and thunder of the night; but we observed that fresh snow had fallen on the heights, and that the precipitous rocky descent of the Col was now gray with snow; so that had we delayed our expedition a single day longer, it would in all probability have failed. At eight o'clock I left Courmayeur with my guides, and proceeded by the Col de la Seigne, to Chapuy,* our quarters for the night. We were scarcely housed, about dusk, before a thunderstorm came on; during which, I saw, by a blaze of lightning, three children of the hamlet sitting on the grassy slope of the mountain, not heeding the weather, and no one heeding them. The rain at last drove them in. One had a bowl of milk in his hand; and another a wreath of Alpine flowers. The next morning we went on by the Col du Bon Homme, to the baths of St. Gervais. Here I bade farewell to my trusty guides, shaking them all four cordially by the hand at parting. They were,
of course, going home to Chamonix. I went on to St. Martin ; and the next morning returned, by the Diligence, to Geneva.
Geneva, August, 1844.
* Orthography doubtful.
THE TABLE D'HOTE.
E travellers all in realms remote,
Give ear unto the doleful note
table.* And when you're served, the soup is cold; The wine is hot; the poultry old; Nay, whatsoe'er the meat you're picking, One truth is clear--it is no chicken. Not Pandemonium's strife surpasses The clang of dishes -clash of glassesAnd Babel seems let loose at once In new confusion of all tongues;
* “ Nos etiam mensas consumimus,” inquit Iulus.
And hurrying, pert, perspiring waiters
from meat and music,
Geneva, August, 1844.
LE PLAN DES DAMES."
OU see this natural platform, carpeted
With turf, close nibbled by the mountain sheep : Here rest a moment. Is it not a place Where musically-ankled damosels Might wear away a summer's day in mirth, Tripping it featly to the merry pipe Of hill-side shepherd ? Yet the mountaineer Who goes this way,
hushes his snatch of song, And with a thoughtful visage casts a stoneOne more
the mouldering pile you see.