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The Rhone Glacier--furca Pass Lake Lucerne

The Rhone Glacier--furca Pass Lake Lucerne image
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Lúceme, Sept. 30th, 1804. I ventured alone upou the Khouej glacier. I desired to explore, lo examine thu formation of its ice, and to look mto its erevices. I worked my way od to it with difficulty, froni the left, a part not jcnerally visited by voyagers. After utnping over little rivulets, formed from the melted ice, and ruastering slippery ce peaka, I stood upon the plaia of the glacier, and I advanced to cros3 itHero and there little fissurcs, knee deep, appeared ; then one deeper attracted my atteution, when suddenly I was brought to a staud-still by what seomed to me at first a little crevice in the ice, but which upon examination proved to be an abune. The little opening in the top gave me an imperfect view. I could uot see its extent, nor measure accurately its depth, but it seemed a eold obamber, with icy walls in the bosom of the glacier - a horrid prison, awaiting some unfortunate adveuturer. I shuddered to think of the poor guides and voyagers who hadoften by accident fuund a restiug phce in these icy-tombs. A misstep - a fall - a piiion of frozen bars - no escape - a slow, tenible death ! I was musing thua, when I huurd a low, murmuring noise beneath me, 88 if a part of tha glacier were giving way. I started with terror. Was I atandiug over onc of these bottomk'gs abunes, whioh make the glacit-r so awful ? Did it ueöd but a breaking of the upper crust to admit me iuto its horrid darkuess ? I sprang from the spot as if for life. Each step seemed to make the ioe beud be neath me. I expeoted eaoh moni; nt to break through ai d fall - heaven knows where ! " God save me ! ' I orieU, and ,my blood rau cold at the tho'jght of my dauger. 1 hastened, I ran, but with light etep, fearing my owu weiafht. I sprang aerons the rivule'a, [ scrambled down the ice peaks, I reaelml tbs khore, I was safe, and I breithed a hearty, " thank Heaven," as I stood once more on terra firma, dear, old Urra firma! At such a time, who wouldn't gi?e a world of glaciera for a square foot oí firui earth ? Was all this an hallucination of an overworked imagination ? ïhe effect pon me was the game as if it were the reality. However, I am inclined to think there wae cause for my feare. Por be it known, some of the glaciers have abuoes six hundred and even ttevon hundred feet iu depth, obscured to the eye by a thin coating of ioe - great spider webe, spun to catch the tuiierable adveuturer, Dd ofteu swallowing into their awful depthg the experieuced explorer or the Alpine guide. I dined at the hotel upon the Furca Pass, aed I took an after-diuner walk up the paved pathway wluci leade to the top of the Fürca Horn. The gun was setting when I reached the top, and wás gilding with gold the Hurrounding inountaing. lts deciining raye reeted thö loug est on the Galeu-stoek, lighting up itu snowwhite form s a lamp lights a iUtue In the vulley towards the west the great glacier of the Khonc wne yiíible Iinmediately all rny trannaotiong with lus honor entered my miad. " Oíd fel low," said I, " you seeoi Lefe formidable at a disUucc thuu uear at hand. WhoV ufraid of you now ?" and I waxed bold and upbraided it for iig iasult to me half degpising myself for being uo fright ened by ils threate. Lookiug cotuposedli around ma, feeliüg myvself plau'eii upon ihe firiu rock, whal wouder; if liku Young Aiuerica I ipplicd my thumb to iny'nose aud cried out to it, " you eau' coma it uow " Thus circumstaaeeg aut pluces antktó men brave. The Swiss goverument is making a wagon road ovor the Fuica lJas. stood a loug lime watohiug the workiuci as thoy toiled in gaugs, boriug thcir wa) slovvly here and there through (he solic rock. Blasting ocourg overy moment The powdor is sunk diep into the rook the fuses are arranged, a eignal iegivcn and the workmeu leave quiokly the spo where the match in to bo applied. Then one hasteiis to the firtt fuse aod touch ca it with the toich, likowise to a second and a on to the third, and theu hurries away lo a place of safety. All awai the explosión. Presently, a low-?ouud ing boom comes from the first, the seooud responde with its thuoder, while a tliird takes up tho musio and sends the echoes along down the valley, nnd against peak after peak afar, as if to ftrouae the mouutaine froro thiir slum bers. Ah ! theso raouu'ain eohoes re beautiful. How harmonioualy they res ;und from suinmit to summit ! With what waves of sound they roll on and on striking this mountain and then that, i at length sinking into the calm air, away d the distance ! Dowu the valley ol the Furea tü llo$ penthal, theri down the St. Gotiiard - wild, grand St. Gotliurd - and I arrivod in the charraing valley of the lleuss, sud in the very hcart of thb historio oeuery of Svviuerland. I passed tb )irthplaces of Furst and of Teil ; I pauid in Altorf to see the spot where th atter is siiid to have shot the uppie from lis child's head ; and then I found myelf aboard the uteamer that crossei ,liut most iuteresting of all Swiss lak&i - Lucerne. In ka beauty and solemn randeur, alone, it were worthy to tract the voyager from afar; but when one hero sees the birth-placo of Swis i iberty, when he looks upon the fhorei trod by the héroes of the three cantón, vhen he thinks that here was the origin of the oldest republic that the world ha ret seen, then bis interest dcepcus nd lis adiniration is aroused. The reyolution of the three cantona n 1307, was not the sudden outbreak of ambition. lts movers were not tha slaves of self interest. It was the Bolemn voico of an a-fflioted people, rchtarsing their wroags before hoaven. It was "o appeal frorh tyranny to God 1" Said the hree beroes at Gruth, as they raised one ïight their hands towards the starry fir, "We awear to defend our own iberty, but also to respect the righU and property of the House of Hapsburg, jocause God bas made kinge as well as subjeots." Like the American Kevoluiion, the Swiss communced with uo in teution to form a separate governinen. [t wae siiuply a reclamatiou of the rigkti of those who respected the rightg of others ; corrupted justice purified. Thoe men commeuced inerely by a demand of a principie ; God led theru on to iound natious. Who does not admire the purity of those roTolutions ? Who does aot respect the uieu who revolted uot agaimt goverumeut, but against oppression ; nat for au uucertain, indefinita, selfish idee, but to protect their narnes as fathor, and to viudioate their character as men f 1307 and 1847 are Swiss dates. Thej are what 1776 ud 1785 are to America. It was ages from th commencement of Swiss unity to i's completion ; in America it was but a day. The three eantom were the great oentre, the gret oradla, whence has come forth the republic Always faithful because pure, alwaji strong because united, they were glorioua representations of self-gOTercment, and the battle field of Morgaten, Lupen, and Sempach showed what blows they could strike for liberty. But the rest of Switzerland divided by internal dissensiont, and an easy prey to external eneraiei, never knew completely the glory and .-treugth of unity till in 1847, when, a government, Uelvetia, crushed the attauk, of her last foe - her own childreu- digt-olved the Sanderbund, andfound herialf strengthened, happy, free. Thege were my thoughts as the littl steánaer skipped gaily orer Laka Lucerne. .When I saw the tower of Kufinacht, I thought of tyranny ; sb I pasaed by the Gruth, it spoke of liberty. One lóves to walk amid the birth place of great men. He gsthers therefrom inipiration. But how much more irapreisible to s'and in the birth place oí s nution, and see pass in review before you its infaucy, it boyhood, aud lts manhood ! We had now reached Lucerne, at the extremity of the lke, and, amid thi hnrry of disembarking, I said good-bya to musing. So. frieud Arous, atirevoir.


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