« ZurückWeiter »
whom he called Valentine. He had come to never yet beheld. From the coign of vantage the conclusion that the pleasantest excursion where she stood her eye took in the entire they could undertake would be to the Col de range of Mont Blanc, now white from base to Brévent. They might make the greater part summit, except where some dark pinnacle of the ascent on muleback; and though snow of rock pierced the sky or the ice of a glacier had fallen on the summit, they would be able, gleamed like an amethyst in the sun. thought Valentine, to reach it without diffi “So white, so still, and so solemn,” she culty, and the view it afforded of the chain said slowly, after a long pause. “It makes of Mont Blanc and the valley of the Sixt me think of death, Vernon dear.” was superb.
“Why—why of death?” stammered Corfe, In this proposal Esther acquiesced with who stood beside her leaning on his alpenalacrity. She would go anywhere Vernon stock. thought best, she said, only she should like “Because it seems to me that up yonder, to see the Mer de Glace before they went on those serene heights, there can be no life, back.
and the stillness must be as complete as that “Of course,” answered Corfe; "nobody of the grave.” comes to Chamouni without seeing the Mer “Come now, Esther, do let us discuss somede Glace. We will go to Montanvert to-mor- thing more cheerful than death and the row, and if you like, make an excursion to grave. You make me feel quite uncomfortthe Jardin or the Séracs du Géant.”
able." Esther said she should like very much, Why should mention of death make you and the mules being brought round they feel uncomfortable? When you left me and started for the Col de Brévent. When they I was in such sore trouble I often longed for reached a hut, near the top, they dismounted, death. And there may be more trouble in for the track had become impracticable store for me yet—who can tell ? I once heard even for mules, and snow lay thick in the Rabbi Simeon say that it may be a greater hollows.
misfortune to live than to die; and I have “Is that a glacier ?” asked Esther, pointing sometimes thought that it is best to die when to a wide stretch of snow which lay between you are happy, and before fresh troubles them and the summit.
come—if it please God to take you." “Not exactly,” returned Corfe rather “What strange ideas you have, Esther! loftily, for even in trifles he was never above Why should you have such gloomy thoughts? the vanity of showing his superior knowledge. You were cheerful enough just now.” “That is merely snow, which has probably “And shall be again presently. It was fallen during the last few days. The Brévent the sight of those mountains. How like is clear in summer. A glacier is ice, as you eternity they are !". will see to-morrow.”
“Eternity !” said Corfe with a half sneer. Esther was in great spirits.
“What will you be saying next, I wonder ? “This is really mountaineering,” she cried Let us change the subject. Do you see that to Corfe, as the guide stamped steps for her great mass of white streaked with blue ka with his feet and helped her up the snow little to the right, there, like a great frozen slope. “I do so enjoy it; don't you, Ver-cascade ?"
“Yes." “Very much, indeed. I like it immensely,” Well, about this time to-morrow we shall answered Corfe, ironically, and with a half not be far from the foot of that cascade," groan; for his game leg was troubling him said Corfe with a curious glance at Esther. a little, his wind had suffered from his life “I hope it won't tumble on us," returned in Geneva, and he had quite lost his taste for the girl pleasantly, for she was now as mountaineering. If he had yielded to im- cheerful as a little while before she had been pulse he would have been very cross; but he sad. kept his temper from policy, and Esther was “No fear of that. I have too great a too much occupied with her climbing to ob- regard for you—and myself, too, for that serve the shade on her companion's counte- matter to run into danger. And we shall nance.
take Valentine with us, of course.” "Voici/" exclaimed Valentine at length, Then they descended the mountain, pulling her on a ridge free from snow, we Vernon holding Esther's hand and paying are arrived at the summit."
her great attention. Once, however, she And then Esther looked round and saw slipped, to Corfe's dismay, and if the guide before her a sight the like of which she had had not been in front and stopped her by
running diagonally across the snow slope, she Glacier du Géant, like some mightier Niagara, might have gone over a precipice. Corfe's arrested in mid career and turned into ice anxiety on this occasion was quite touching by the touch of an almighty hand. Above He could not run very fast on account of the glacier stretches a wide expanse of his leg, but when he came up to Esther he glittering snow. Before them are splintered took her in his arms and kissed her. The peaks, wild ravines, and savage precipices; incident impressed Valentine greatly, and below them the icy sea crawls like a gigantic when he was talking matters over in the snake towards the valley. The wild scene evening with the guide-in-chief, he expressed is lighted up by a brilliant sunshine, and a the opinion that the English gentleman and cloud banner floats from the Aiguille du Dru wife were newly married, Monsieur seemed in a sky of clearest azure. so fond of Madame.
But hark! what is that? Before they separated it was agreed that It is the crash of a stone falling from the the guide should be at the hotel door with Aiguille Noire, followed by the thunder of an two mules at eight o'clock next morning. ice avalanche from the Glacier du Géant.
Valentine was true to the tryst, though And then Estherlearns that the serene heights he had not the least expectation that his of the Alpine world are neither so silent nor voyageurs would be, and nine o'clock had so devoid of life as she had thought, for she gone before Esther and Corfe appeared on hears the sound of running water, and Valenthe scene, alpenstocks in hand and ready tine points to an eagle #ying between the for a start. Corfe was in one of his taci- snow and the sun. turn humours and had very little to say; The guide holds Esther's hand to steady but even if he had been in a more genial her footsteps, sometimes lending a hand to mood, it would not have been easy to hold a Corfe as well, for they have many ugly ice conversation while riding up the steep ascent, hummocks to surmount, and some awkward several yards behind his companion. But crevices to double. After an unusually hard by the time they reached Montanvert he had scramble Corfe calls a halt, whereupon they grown quite amiable, and repeated sips from sit down on a boulder and eat some sandhis brandy-flask (furtively taken) so effec- wiches, and Corfe refreshes himself freely tually loosened his tongue that he became from his flask. both talkative and jocular.
“Are there any moulins about here?” he At Montanvert they leave the mules, and asks the guide while offering him a cigar. after a light repast, which Corfe washed “Yes, we shall pass a big one in a few down with the greater part of a bottle of minutes—don't you hear it ?" Bordeaux, they begin the second stage of "I think I do; not very distinctly though. their journey. Keeping the vast ice stream But it appears to come from under the to their left they follow its course along glacier.” the mountain side until a spot is reached “One can hear nothing under the glacier. where it is possible, though not very easy, It is too deep." to descend on the glacier. For the bank of "Those moulins go to the bottom of the the moraine, worn by the weather and under-glacier, I suppose ?” mined by the pressure of the ice stream, has “Of course, where else could they go ?" fallen in, and they have to climb over and "How deep are they?” double huge boulders, and Valentine has to “Who knows? Perhaps a hundred feet, stamp steps for them in the friable earth, just perhaps more." as he had done the day before in the soft “ What is it all about. What is a mousnow. At length the glacier is reached, but lin ?” asks Esther, its surface is so thickly covered with stones “Tell Madame what a moulin is, Valenand soil that if it were not for the occasional tine," says Corfe, as he takes another sip of crevasse they would not know they were brandy. walking on ice. But it is so rugged and the On this the guide explains that they are boulders are so big and so numerous that the coming to a part of the glacier which is climbers are compelled to take once more to almost unbroken, where driblets of water, the mountain side; yet only to go down a instead of disappearing in the rifts, form rills second time on the glacier, which is becoming which, joining together, form broad rivulets, gradually smoother, cleaner, and more ice- and cut deep channels in the ice. The stream like. Above them towers the dark and so formed sooner or later reaches a point majestic Aiguille Noire, before them rises where the ice is cracked, and the water, arrested the white and blue fissured crest of the in its course, finds its way to the bottom of the glacier. But as the stream runs with great fall. I clutched at her dress but it was too force it gradually shapes out a shaft, wide late! It tore; see, I have a bit of it in my almost as the mouth of a coal pit, and of hand! I should not have let go her hand. a tremendous depth, wherein the water Oh! I should not have let go her hand. plunges with a hollow and thunderlike roar. But can nothing be done ? cannot we get
“Now you hear it distinctly enough," ex- ropes ?' claimed Valentine, when they were once more " There are no ropes nearer than Chaafoot. “Listen !”
mouni, and if we had a thousand they would It is a heavy rumbling sound like distant be of no use. The poor lady is dead already, thunder, which grows louder as they ad- Monsieur. You will never see your wife vance.
again until you meet her in heaven." “How curious,” says Esther. “I should “But the body," said Corfe eagerly, "can like to see one of these moulins.”
we not recover the body? Oh, my poor, “We shall be at it directly. This is a poor Esther !” very large one."
“Impossible ! the body is at the bottom The sound grows louder and louder, and of the glacier, and will not reappear until more like real thunder, and then they hear the day of judgment. It is a great misforthe swish of the water and see in the smooth tune and I shall be much blamed, Monice a huge cavernous hole. They draw nearer sieur.” and look into its awful depths. It is a shaft “Why, why should any one blame you, bored through the blue ice, into which leaps Valentine ? You have done nothing wrong. wildly a cascade of white water.
“Yes, I have; I neglected my duty. I “I say, Valentine,” calls Corfe, who is a should not have left you alone at the mouth few yards in the rear, “I have left my flask of the moulin; but Monsieur asked me to down at the boulder there. I wish you fetch his flask and I could not well refuse. would fetch it for me, I am beginning to feel You will say so to the guide-en-chef, will you a little tired. We will wait for you here." not, Monsieur ?"
" Parfaitement, Monsieur. I shall not be “I do not think you are in the least to five minutes."
blame, Valentine. The fault is entirely “What an awesome sight it is !” says mine, and I shall say so to the chief guide Esther, “and what a wild scene all round ! and everybody else.” It almost makes me feel afraid.”
“A thousand thanks, Monsieur; I am “Nonsense! What is there to be afraid sorry to trouble Monsieur about myself at so of? Yes, these moulins are very curious. terrible a moment; but when a guide loses his Give me your hand and come a little closer.” character as guide he loses his living, and I “How
your hand trembles, Vernon! Are have a wife and children.” you afraid, too?"
And then Valentine led Corfe away from “Not a bit ; but I am cold with sitting on the fatal moulin, and they set their faces that confounded boulder. I will put my towards Montanvert. Corfe, who seemed to gloves on. You can stand alone half a be overcome with excitement and emotion, minute. But take care, the ice is very and was probably unnerved by the drink he slippery and—”
had taken, walked so unsteadily that the The next moment a piercing shriek rings guide had much difficulty in getting him through the air, and when Valentine, who is across the glacier and up the moraine. The hardly two hundred yards away, turns round, sun had set long before they reached Monthe sees only one figure standing by the anvert, and as they went down the mounmoulin.
tain, Valentine leading Corfe's mule, it was “The lady has fallen in," he says, and pitch dark. then he hurries back at full speed.
Long before the two men gained MontanCorfe was bending over the moulin in an vert the sun had set in a blood-red sky. As attitude of despair, his arms extended, and they descended the mountain in pitchy darkface as pale as death.
ness, Corfe spoke never a word, and when “She has gone!” he exclaimed wildly, they reached the Hôtel du Mont Blanc he “ fallen into that horrible hole. I let go was in such a state of mental and physical her hand to put on my gloves ; then she prostration that he had to be helped from moved a little forward_and—and the very his mule and led straightway to his bedsame moment I heard her shriek and saw her room.
PRIENDSHIP AND THE SPIRITUAL LIFE.
Niad x. 224-6.
THE FRIENDSHIPS OF BIBLE HISTORY.
SHORT SUNDAY READINGS FOR JUNE.
By E. H. PLUMPTRE, D.D., DEAN OF WELLS.
have borne it. .... But it was thou, a man
mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintRead Psalm cxxxiii.; Matthew v. 43-48.
ance. We took secret counsel together, and
walked unto the house of God in company." Nfactors in the life of man, as it (Ps.lv. 12–14). A later Jewish proverb gave
emerges out of the selfishness of bar- utterance to men's feelings as to the poverty barism into the higher developments of soul of a friendless life. "A man without friends and spirit, are of greater moment than the is like a left hand without the right." Still impulses which draw mind to mind and more striking in their resemblance to the heart to heart in what we know as friend teachings of Greek_thought are the words ship. That this was felt to be so in the race of the Preacher: "Two are better than one ; to which it was given to be the leader of the because they have a good reward for their world in intellect, and therefore in the dis-labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up cernment of the ethical relations which are the other; but woe to him that is alone when the groundwork of social life, the language he falleth ; for he hath not another to help of Greek poets and the teaching of Greek him up.” (Eccles. iv. 9, 10.). The highest philosophers bear sufficient witness. The sanction to this feeling of the blessing of words of Homer have become almost pro- companionshipverbial:
"United thoughts and counsels, equal hope
And hazard," “When two together go, each for the other Is first to think what best may help his brother, in their "glorious enterprise,” was given by But one who walks alone, though wise in mind, Of purpose slow and counsel weak we find."
the great Master when he sent forth His dis
ciples “two and two” before His face (Luke And these were condensed into the more x. 1). concise utterance of actual proverbs, such An analysis of the feelings in which this e.g. as “Hand claspeth hand, and finger fin- desire for companionship originates would ger helps," and the yet briefer form, “Friends carry us deep down to the fontal springs of have all things in common.” The traditions human actions. From the standpoint of of Theseus and Peirithöos, of Orestes and Py- one theory of ethics it might seem to be the lades, of Damon and Pythias, were among outcome of the needs of man in his early those dearest to the Greek mind. The great struggles with the elemental forces of nature, "Master of those who know,” Aristotle, with the brute creatures round him and with showed how he recognised the importance of his fellows. He shrank from the sense of this bond of union by dedicating two whole loneliness; he craved, as in the Homeric books (viii. and ix.) of his Ethics to an lines, for the strong arm and the wise foreinquiry into its nature, its conditions, and thought which could defend him from the its bearing upon man's happiness and good threatening danger. He felt a certain satis
faction in rendering services of a like nature, Not less prominent is the position given because he knew by experience that men to Friendship in the ethical teaching both of thought that “one good turn deserved the Old and New Testaments. So in Prov. another,” that the services so rendered were xvii. 17, we have "A friend loveth at all not wasted as regards his own interests. If times and is” (I give what I believe to be a man were helpful to his brother, it was that the true rendering,) “as a brother born for his brother might in turn help him. Friendadversity;" and again, in Prov. xxvij. 17, in ship had its birth, on this theory, in a calwords reminding us of one of the Greek culating and clear-sighted selfishness. proverbs just quoted, “Iron sharpeneth iron, The same view might be taken of some of so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his the more subtle manifestations of the feeling friend.” How men prized the blessedness of which leads to friendship. All experience a true friendship is seen in the bitterness of shows that a man delights in his friend's their complaint when the friend in whom esteem or praise ; that at first he shrinks they trusted proved unfaithful. “It was not from manifesting his own infirmities or an enemy that reproached me; then I could frailties to him : that afterwards, when he
gains more confidence, he is willing to make when he is poor or in prison, but that he him, as it were, his confessor or director, to may have one by whose bed he may sit, seek his advice and counsel in order that he whom he may rescue when attacked by foes." may attain his approval. Here also, as This holds good, if I mistake not, in a special might be expected, the theorist who makes manner, of the representative instance which self the centre of all things has an explana- I have selected from the history of the Old tion ready to his hand. A man desires the Testament. approval of his friend because praise is As the beginning of this friendship is repleasant to him. He will give that approval corded in the Old Testament, the affection in the hope of receiving payment in kind. seems to have sprung up at once, love, as it This
may work for good, in leading the man were, at first sight. "The soul of Jonathan to do right things, and to avoid evil and was knit with the soul of David, and Jonabaseness ; but it has no higher element. | than loved him as his own soul” (1 Sam. The stream of selfishness is, as it were, xviii. 1). He sees the young warrior fresh filtered, and flows clearer, but friendship, as from his victory over the giant champion of thus explained, is after all little more than the Philistines, and this is the result. His what has been called a “mutual admiration” | whole heart goes out to one in whom comesociety.
liness of form and feature was the outward Those who take a higher and, as I believe, symbol of a noble enthusiasm, a dauntless truer view of man's nature, will, on the other courage, an entire consecration. Reading hand, recognise in the emotions which we this narrative, however, in connexion with group together under the head of friendship, what precedes it, there seems reason to beaffections implanted by the Author of that lieve that it was not the first time that the two nature, the Father of the spirits of all flesh, had met. Some years or months before, for the education of mankind, individually when David was in yet earlier youth, Jonaand collectively, to a higher life. They take than may well have seen or heard him as he the man out of himself. The love of man stood with his harp before Saul, and soothed for man, like the true love of man for woman, the frenzied king to calmness and peace becomes a purifying and ennobling element; | (1 Sam. xvi. 23), and may have admired and it stimulates to brave and righteous deeds; loved the promise of a noble manhood and it helps in hours of weakness and distress ; of princely gifts, which were even then conit "blesses him that gives and him that spicuous. Anyhow, at this second meeting, takes ;” it is blest alike in the hopes of its the friendship, before nascent, sprang into first dawn, and in the long twilight of memory full maturity, and on the part of Jonathan after death or separation. Even in its im- (obviously the elder of the two), it was one perfections, in its failure to realise the ideal of the fullest self-surrender. All that was which it presents to the imagination, it fulfils, his, robe, sword, bow, and girdle, he translike other earthly failures, no ignoble mission. ferred to his friend. He rejoiced without It leads the seeker after that blessedness grudging in the fame of the young warrior which is found in friendship, through the as it came to surpass his own. He protected human friends who change and disappoint, his life, first by pleading his cause in words, to the eternal Friend in whom there is no afterwards at the risk of his own life variableness or shadow of turning.
(1 Sam. xix. 4, xx. 33). He prays, hoping against hope, that his father's heart might be
turned, so that he might not have to make SECOND SUNDAY.
his choice between the two, but when the Read 2 Samuel i. 17-27; John xi. 18-45.
time of decision came, he was faithful to the friend with whose soul his own soul was one.
For that friend he has nothing but the wish It lies in the nature of the case that the of a self-surrendering friendship. He sees friendships of which I purpose speaking in that the sun of David is rising, while that of these papers were of the old heroic, unselfish, his own house is setting, without a pang or disinterested type, in which alone the great murmur. All that he desires is that he may teachers of mankind have recognised a true be remembered in that not far-off day. “The affection worthy of the name. “The wise Lord be with thee, as he hath been with my man,” to use the words of one such teacher, father. And thou shalt not only, while yet I Seneca (Epist. ix. 8), “needs a friend, not as live, shew me the kindness of the Lord, that Epicurus taught, that he may have one to I die not: but also thou shalt not cut off sit by his bed when he is ill, or to help him thy kindness from my house for ever : no,
DAVID AND JONATHAN.