Imatges de pÓgina

hut, where we shall find good cheer for the night; and here is the bridge, which leads us to it.' This last consisted of rough timbers extended from either shore so as to rest upon some immense rocks that lay in the stream, around which the waters dashed and foamed until they plunged with a new fury down a craggy precipice and continued their course. I followed Macklorne across the narrow path, and reaching the other side, we saw, a little way up the bank, a small hut, at the door of which two peasants were dancing allemandes to the music of a rebec played by one of the party. They were surrounded by a number of shepherds and goatherds, who from time to time applauded the performances without stint. A more picturesque sight I had rarely seen, and I beckoned Macklorne to keep quiet to enable us to observe the sport.

The couple who were dancing soon gave place to others of the company, who struck out in a new measure, evidently delighting to astonish with fresh feats. The scene was hilarious and gay. Large numbers of cows were grazing around, and goats could be seen perched here and there upon the rocks, or nibbling at the short grass which grew between them, much more sweet than the prolific verdure of the valley; while a portion of the herd, obedient to the summons of the horn, were already beginning their march homeward, occasionally stopping to crop some tempting morsel, and then hastening on their way. How long we should have remained looking on in this manner I cannot tell; but presently two large dogs, who had been playing the part of patrol about the cottage, came snuffing toward us, with an air of doubtful import, which at least put in jeopardy the hope of a friendly reception. This was probably owing to our standing perdu so long; but when they saw us advance boldly to meet them, they appeared to be satisfied, and received us with as much cordiality as became dogs of their degree. We now joined the group, and were made welcome at once. At the same moment supper was announced, and we all went in to the meal. It consisted of cold chamois, an abundance of milk, hard bread, and very excellent cheese, concluding with a dessert of rich cream.

The company was composed of ten persons, of whom but six lived on the premises. There were two chasseurs, with rifle-barrelled guns, on a hunting adventure, who had stopped for the night only; a peasant from the lower valley, who was belated, and a young man from the village of Meyringen apparently on an excursion of pleasure and recreation. Although the hut was small, the addition of two new comers appeared in no way to embarrass the inmates; but stories were told, and jests were broken, and all joined in the laughter. Indeed, after so many days' rambling on the mountains, what wonder that, with a full board, and a prospect of a good night's rest, we should be as merry as any?

I was much amused at the efforts of the chasseurs, who entertained themselves during supper by making the peasant, who had chanced to stop at the hut for the night, a subject for their jokes. This individual, who went by the name of Dorpf, was apparently a harmless, goodnatured, broad-shouldered fellow, with rather a stubborn mien, and a look of stolid obstinacy, which however was relieved by a sly gleam of intelligent humor that from time to time escaped from him. The chasseur most forward in conversation was somewhat undersized, of a Bavarian cast of features, with dark hair, keen black eyes which had a roguish mischievous

twinkle, and swarthy countenance. He was called Nicholas Schwarzen, and he kept up an unmerciful attack on poor Dorpf; while his companion, a large, athletic, light-haired mountaineer, confined himself principally to assaults on the cold chamois, the cheese and milk.


So,' said Schwarzen, wiping his lips and looking up with his mouth half full, 'So, friend Dorpf, you concluded not to go through to-night; pray, what was the trouble? You were in time I am sure, for you were here idling about when we came up. A fine story I shall have to tell of you down yonder.'

'Dorpf did not like to cross too near the haunt of the wild shepherdess after nightfall; he feared the devil might claim his own!' said the other chasseur.

'I fear the devil less than such an imp of Satan as thou!' retorted Dorpf; but I care not who hears me say it, I'll not put myself in the way of the stollwurm after the sun sets; and when I came over yesterday, it was in the forest below, under a large poplar.'

And did you see it Dorpf, ?' cried both chasseurs at once, dropping their bantering tone, and assuming an earnest one, while the rest of the company involuntarily turned toward the peasant to hear the reply. Dorpf was not slow to perceive his advantage, and determining prudently to husband his resources, he held his peace. Why don't you answer?' shouted the first chasseur; then, lowering his voice, 'Come, that's an honest fellow; tell us, did you see it?'


Dorpf nodded his head. 'Jesu Maria!' exclaimed the Bavarian, 'speak.' 'What would you have more?' said the other, doggedly. 'I told you the 'stollwurm' lay under a large poplar when I came up, and that I was not the man to pass back that way to-night.' Schwarzen muttered a hard oath between his teeth, but immediately changing, he said in a coaxing tone, 'Tell us about the creature. I have coursed these forests and all the passes of the Wetterhorn and the upper and lower Alps, for many a year, and never yet have I seen the 'stollwurm: tell us, good Dorpf, how did the creature look? I was hurrying along,' replied the peasant, for it was late when I started yesterday, and having crossed below the bridge in order to save time, I ran through the woods until I was out of breath. I stopped to rest a moment, when, chancing to cast my eyes under this poplar, I saw a large cat's head raised about two feet from the ground, with eyes of a bright yellow, turned on me. Gracious Heaven! I never shall forget the eyes to my dying day: they were not savage, nor wild, nothing of the beast in them, but quite human-like—a serious, penetrating, tranquil sort of eye, but yellow, very yellow. I now saw that this strange head belonged to an immense serpent, and that its folds were circled round and round, forming a large ring from which the head rose as I tell you. I kept my eye fixed on the monster, and stepped cautiously backward till I lost sight of it; then I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, out of the woods, and up the bare side of the mountain. You have the whole. Augh! say not a word further to me about it! Do you wonder now that I do not care to trust myself back that way to-night?'

The chasseurs were silenced. At length one of them said to the other, in a low voice, 'Comrade, it would be a fortune for us to take this creature, dead or alive: you know the reward: no man yet has ever taken

a 'stollwurm.' The other shook his head. I will not meddle with it: it is the devil, and nothing else.' The conversation now flagged. Presently the chasseurs got up and prepared to extend themselves for the night: as they did so, Dorpf turned to us with a look of humorous significance, and made an expressive gesture of triumph as if he had fairly paid off an old score, and then resumed his former stolidity of countenance. The young man from Meyringen next prepared for repose. Macklorne and I followed the example, and were soon sound asleep.

When we woke in the morning we found most of the inmates of the hut already stirring. While breakfast was preparing, Macklorne and I walked out to view the scene. The hut was situated at the foot of one of those mountains which, like stepping-stones, border in a series the base of the higher Alps. Above and around, on three sides, summit after summit reared its head, disclosing every variety of soil, from the rich luxuriance of the meadow, to the eternal barrenness of the lofty peaks which glisten in perpetual snows. On the fourth side was an opening through which we passed. Involuntarily I uttered an exclamation of delight at the prospect. I beheld an exquisite little valley, covered with grass having precisely the appearance of a rich carpet, and which was studded all over with beech trees and the Spanish chestnut. Several little streams gushed from the upper part of the field and coursed along through it, like lines of silver upon a cloth of green. On every side the Alps rose in awful grandeur. All was peaceful and still. Not a sound of any kind broke upon the air. Away below us, as far as we could see, were numerous little villages or hamlets, their thatched roofs shaded by cherry trees, and surrounded with signs of life and animation. Still farther I directed my gaze. This way, over the Teufel's Brücke and the St. Gothard, lay the fair plains of Lombardy, and beyond these-Italy! while in the opposite direction, by the Hasli Valley and the Grimsel, one could come to the Rhone and presently enter Savoy.


Macklorne had advanced some distance before me: I seated myself upon a large broken crag of marble, to survey the scene more at leisure. Thus situated, cut off from all former interests and associations, have you never suddenly asked yourself, Where, at this moment, is such or such an one? of what are they now thinking? what are they doing?' and has it not sometimes seemed that there was a mutual recalling of the one by the other? I say this, not to develop any theory of spiritual agencies or affinities, but simply to refer to that sudden thrill of electricity by which we sometimes feel that the far-off is made present to us, and that another shares in our thoughts. Again, under such circumstances, do we not often wonder whether all the various occupations of life-the crowded mart, the bustling, driving multitude, the ships upon the waters sailing in and out, in short, the entire fashion of this world, as well in its life and activity as in its repose, continue, while we are away so far and so remote-as if the great machine required our presence!

I was seated upon the rock, my mind quite filled with what was before me, when in an instant, without previous warning or an associated link, I asked myself, Where, now, is my mother? What are they all doing at Bertold Castle?' The scene changed, and I saw Theresa Van Hofrath in her garden watering some flowers. How my

heart beat! For one little point of time it seemed that we were conscious of each other's presence. But the voice of Macklorne, who had approached unperceived, repeating with mock seriousness,

EVEN now where Alpine solitudes ascend,
I sit me down a pensive hour to spend,'

brought me back to myself. " 'What is the matter with you, Saint Leger? One would think you had seen the 'stollwurm' instead of honest Dorpf. Rouse yourself: this is the first sign of a relapse, and it alarms me. GOD grant you are not an incurable!'

'Cannot one think for a moment without being charged so severely? Would you have me live always with the exterior-without a single introverted thought?" 'Introverted fiddlestick!' cried Macklorne, goodhumoredly. What would become of me if I had any introverted thoughts as you call them? I ask you that. Have I not some excuse for a woful countenance and a moping mien, roaming about as I must hither and thither?

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'My destined miles I shall have gone,
By Thames or Mease, by Po, or Rhone,
And found no foot of earth my own.'

If I allowed myself to be carried away by such musings, how soon my face would lengthen into the similitude of thine. But look at those cheerful peasants boys and girls below in the field, near the village: see the healthful life stirring within them-how cheerful, how innocent, how happy!'

You know not that: it is the tout ensemble which carries you away. Seek out these same villagers, and you will find doubtless a chapter of jealousies and rivalries, of bad passions and bitter feelings.'

'You are perverse this morning,' interrupted my companion; to the devil, where it belongs, with all this gangrene. There may be two sides to the shield: the brightest side for me. Hark! there's the horn: the herd have been sent forth to the pasture, and our breakfast is ready; let us return. My friend,' continued Macklorne more seriously, 'strive against the evil spirit which threatens to subdue you. If you cannot exorcise it here—nay, I will never give you up! but, come - come.'

Returning, we found a stranger added to the company. He was a good-sized, stout, self-sufficient looking man, between forty and fifty, with very long brown hair, mixed with gray, which was parted in the middle of the head and thrown back on each side, falling carelessly over his shoulders. He carried a short gun, across which was slung a basket containing a hammer and numerous pieces of rock. The sides of his coat were distended with a curious assortment of things, judging from two or three birds' heads, several different kinds of plants, and an odd foot, here and there, of some small animal, which, for want of room inside, were protruding from the pockets. On his head he wore a droll woollen cap, and around his neck was slung an immense meerschaum, at which he was leisurely puffing when we came up.

'That is Doctor Paul Lindhorst, the naturalist,' said Macklorne: 'a most singular character. If he does not recognize me, do not call my name, but stand by and witness our meeting.' With that Macklorne approached and bowed very low to the Doctor, who, without taking his pipe from his mouth, saluted him in a friendly way. My friend shook his

head as if he could not comprehend what was said. The Doctor, nothing daunted, tried one language after another, but in vain Macklorne was insensible to every one, while he appeared exceedingly desirous to understand what was said. After trying all the living tongues, Doctor Paul commenced upon the dead ones; exhausting these, he seized my friend by the arm and bade him speak, when there was instant answer in this wise: Zthlymoplitêrusqlustèrnhibbrymntixsetl fislqnrèntzzöohshpfliesgintsürpitécumlitzhóérsatloztgozoehookphactulkep. Hold, Robertus! exclaimed the Doctor, catching Macklorne first by the throat, and then cordially by the hand. 'Where were my eyes that they did not recognize you?'


'Five years, most learned Doctor, should be a sufficient excuse for them, were they ever so discerning, to say nothing of our meeting being an unexpected one.'

'Aye, true enough: but pray how did you know me so readily?' 'As if you could change!' said Macklorne, laughing; by my word, I believe this is the self-same marmot that you bagged when I was last with you.' 'Do not speak of it, friend of my soul,' exclaimed the naturalist that marmot - alas, what a misfortune!- that marmot, after being preserved and stuffed and covered with glass, met an untimely fate. I will tell you all about it by-and-by; however' Here we were summoned to breakfast, and as we turned to go in, Macklorne managed to present me to the Doctor. 'An Englishman, eh! young man, I am just from your country an indifferent quarter, I may say, for my labors: to be sure the lias and oolite formations in Devonshire are curious, for their fossil remains of mammiferous animals, together with crocodiles, and many large reptiles, shells, corals, fishes, plants; indeed, a very great variety belonging to the Algae, Equisetaceae, Filices, Cycadea, Conifere, and Lilia. By the way, I should not forget to mention the tooth of an Anaplothenium which I found in a quarry in the Isle of Wight, which proves conclusively'- 'Breakfast, good Doctor,' called out Macklorne, in order to relieve me, for the naturalist had not stirred a step, while the company were already seated. 'Ah-breakfast: well, I am glad to get once more into a civilized region. Indeed civilization makes every nutritive substance minister to the gratification of the palate, while the savage and the barbarian know nothing of variety in food: witness the frugiverous, the carnivorous, and ichthyofagous tribes scattered over the globe: I say nothing of the Acridophagi-not being fully satisfied of their present existence or whereabouts: my next trip into Africa will I trust settle the question-but leaving out these I have sojourned among all the rest, from the Mongol and Tartar and Finn who devote themselves when hungry to horseflesh, to the thorough-bred Hindoo who will taste nothing but pure rice and water. Then as to Anthropophagism, which by-the'Breakfast by has been greatly misunderstood 'breakfast!' again shouted Macklorne: 'hasten, or you will lose the little that's left.' 'Well, well,' said Doctor Paul; ' another another time. Since the meal is provided we may as well partake of it; nevertheless as to the Anthropophagi'- The remainder of the sentence was lost upon me, for I had made my escape, and taking a seat next to Macklorne, put myself at a convenient distance from my new acquaintance.

'You do not thank me for the introduction,' whispered my associate,

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