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A Mountain Adventure

A Mountain Adventure image
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In ]51 I made a tour with a party of friends through the picturesque and beau liful country of' Switzerland. We left Oeneva by boat, and proceeled to Villoneuve, situa'ed at the other extremity of the late, whore we took earriages to Martigay. The pass of tlie Teti' Noin1 is one of the most remarkable ia thi world. High precipitous mountains, covereil with firs, arise ou either hand, revealing a deep, chasm, uto whosedeptlis it is impossible lor a traveler to gaze without turuing dizzy. At ts bottotn wends along, over rocks and boulders, a little stream of' water, caused by the drippings from the lidaa of the niountains, and iu the wet scason, when Hwollen by rain, it assumes the pro portions of' a gigantic torrent, as it dances along in gidJy iwiftness and is lost in the val ley below. The road at tliis point is but a mere bridle-path, over whioh it is iniposnihle for wheelea véliicles to pass, and is hewn iu the solM rock on the mounta'm side. The sun never shines in the ravine, nor dries with it.s warm rays the rank and wet .side of tbo dcfile. From the Tete Noire it was a gradual descent until we reached the vally at the head of' which stands Mont ülanc, and whgre stands the pretty Ut te village of Chamouni. One morning, shortly after uur arrivul, Madame B., oue of our party, and niy.self started alom? to visit Mer de Clace, some uiteen miles distant. Passing several partios of excursionista, we hadaccomplished nearly half the dmtance when wc stopped at the door of a pretty little vine ciad cottage for a drink of the eool water which was gurgling along In a little streain ncar by. A stout, hard-looking man of about 50 was engaged in planting flowera in a neat little garden, and in answer to our request for a drink of the sparkling water, entered the cottage, and returned hearing a pitcher ofit, with which we allayed our thirst. W hile thus engaged, I noted that he kept eyeing iuy companion closely, and as we wtre about moving off, he said : "Are you not Madame B. , who twenty years ago visited Chamouni, and liad for yourguide Pierre Biancot?" "V.M,' r,.p]i,.,l IBy companion. "I ani the, aud in you I rueognize tny old faitht'ul Pierre, the preserver of my lío." "Ah, madame," said he, seizing her hand and holding it between his rough palms, while tears rolled down his cheeks, "1 have longed for years that this time might come when 1 should be ablc to thank my benefactress for the blessings she has heaped upon me. Come here, Marie," cried he to a matronly looking woujan who btood in tho door of tlie cottage, "'como here and kiss our benefac tres' hand. She is the good angel who bas been the cause of all our comforts, and for whose safety we have prayed for twen ty years." "Stop, Pierre," said the madame, euibarrarsed, but not displeased at his expression of gratitude ; "you must recollect it is I, not you, who am the obliged party. To you I owe my lift, for you preserved it once when in imminent danger, and my hu.iband merely bestowed on you a present for your faithfulness and devotion in the hour of trial." "But," oontinued Perrie, with waruith, "Monsieur's gilt enabled me to buy this little place, and to leave the perilous life ofaguide, and to marry my dear .Marie. wluiui before I could not wed, as 1 had no home for her." Amid the blessine of Pierre and his wife, we rode off. For some distanee we pursued lour way iu sileoce. At length .Madame B. said : "You must think the scène you have just witueed a very trango one; the pratitude of this simplehearted peasant and inv eoiotion at seeing him mu-it have struck yov as singular; and now that I have mastered my feeüngs 1 will relate to you, f you wish, the circumstances under whioh be saved my life." Kagerly signifying my asseot, and owning that tbe effeoting soene had greatly excited my curiosity, he continuad as follows: "Twenty-two ycaraago next spring I IM manied to Mansicur B. in Pari, and im mediately started on an extended wedding tour. Switzerland waa in our route, and having visited Berne, Constance and Geve eamc hore. My hu?band, on the recommendation of a friend, who wasabout returoing to Partis, engaged l'ierro 15lanoot as our guide, and a well informed one he proved to be. Nut only did he know allthe places of interest ia the neifhborhood, and take dellght in poiotiog out the wews in the lovely landsospe, but his strength was sueh that he would lift me n and out of the saddle and help me over the daogerous places, as though I were auiiifaut in his brawny arms. "One duy wo made the trip we vrero making togethrr, when an aueldent befen me. whicli ro-iiilted (uite teriously. "Alter walking a good distance on the tierde Glaet', we started to return to tho house, uud were obliged to cross several hugu Uock9 of ioe. Pierre was in front wkh a batchet, cuttiog little steps for ns to domend by, wben, in souie anaoooantalil ¦ maaner, 1 slipped and stmined my aukle most severely. T&8 pain w:is in tene, so that I could not walk, and was obliged to be carried back to L'hamuuui "For several weeks 1 kept my room, but at last, fceüng uiuch better, we started on an aiearaon to an old saw mili, f rom which a n et- odingly fiue view was to obtaioed. i'iiuable touiount a ui ule, uiy husband pruiured for me one of those curious vehidés we niet today, called a 'ehar-aliunc.' You notice how comfortably they ara made for rough roada, being notbing more than a long spring board extended froin the l'orward and bind wberU, on which is f'i-t' n-"l ;i ¦- ii in which lli sits siduwise. Well, i'. . ,. (¦ , down and .se ited lu in th uiounled a klad of box there i.s in front, and we started off. My h':sb:mJ with a stout Alpine slaff, walkedat ourside For a while, when, saying that he knew of a short cut over the mountain, he lef 't us, promising to arrive at the old uiill before us, and have our lunch in readiness. "Alai, he little dreamed of the danser 1 w.iuld be placed in, or the wonderful eaeape froiii death I sltoald eiperience bfore we again uiet. "After fulluning for several mitea tlie ulil led of a streani in the valley, we enteri d a dark gorjje, and comnienc'd the ascent The sceoery was most picturosque. On either side were heavy masses of fir aud the ground appaareJ Oarpeted with hcautif'ul mountain lowers, M Damcrous in that district. I have lorgotten the name of the mountaiu we were asoending, but I recollect we 1 the lovelioess of' the ïoad. At last we cro-sed i tu uning. augry torrent, and commenoed following it to its Miiirrc, tur it was on tfrii stream that the niill was situated. "The road was built ou the top of a cliff ovei'hD{iiig the water, and so narro that it impoHsible for two wh 'eled vehicli-s to paM. At ateríais a place was excavatêd in tlie lunk for partías going up to wait ¦ ii t il partiej dfisoendiog had paseed by. "The (i!d ftrtll was .-ftuated high above at the distanei! of aoout a mile, and Pierre had just puiir.ud out to me it.s site, when he utered an xolamation of surprise and jumping froni tin box., ran a few yard-i in front. Looking in the directioo he hád taken, 1 saw a sight which curdled the blood in my veins, mul iiipuared to freeie uiy hcart. "Coming arnund a curre in the road, and very neai to us, w:is a runaway mule, altached to a load of lamber, which strik ing hi heels as be bounded aloog, goaded hun ooward in his mad fiight. The danger of my situation flashed on my mind ia an instant. As 1 have said before, the road was only wide enough for one wagon to staml in, and I rcalied at once that one of us must g over the bank. Kven were I out of the 'cbar a-banc,' it would be very doubtf ui if 1 eticaped, for the wagon behiod the mule swnyw fearfully from one side to the other, ;is it kept increasing its frightful velocity each moment. L think I never suffen d more anguish of mind in a few moment! than 1 did at that time. All the eventa of my past life flashed through my braia iike lightniag, and miogled scones of years ago with those of the presen! time, 1 knew at the mili was my good husband, nnxiously looking out for uh, and I grieved to think how horrorstricken he would be when word was taken to him of my fearful death. "But all at once a ray of hope entered my heart, and l couiprehended why Pierre had lelt the box so suddenly. There be stood, firmly braced, iu the center of the road, a fewrods ui front of me, watching with tho most intense earnestness, every motion of the enraged mule who, with glaring eyn halls and distended nostriN, appareutly unconscious of all save bis extren.e terror, waa tearing down upon him with an altnost irresistible power. At tast i 1 say at last, for the few seconds that brief scène occupied seemed to me like ages), they met. Like an avalanche did the iniuriated mule come against Pierre, who, instead of' being overthrown, as I expected, by a skillful display of' his immense strengtb, hurled the mule from him, over the precipice, into the depths below. "I had, at the instant of the collision, closed my eyes. f heard the crashing aud tumbling of the mule and wagon as they went rolling down the steep bank into the water, 20Ofeet below, and reiilmng that I was saved, the revulsión of my feelings was such thït 1 fainted. "When I recovered my senses, which 1 did in a short time, 1 found myself in my liusband's arnis. II c liad, from a distance witnessed the event, and hurried to my side."


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News