Ice-Caves of France and Switzerland eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 303 pages of information about Ice-Caves of France and Switzerland.

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CHAPTER II.

THE GLACIERE OF S. GEORGES, IN THE JURA.

The best way of reaching this glaciere from Geneva would be to take the steamer to Rolle, or the train to one of the neighbouring stations, between Geneva and Lausanne, and thence pass up the slope of the Jura by the road which leads through Gimel.  For the train, the Allaman station would be the most convenient, as an omnibus runs from Allaman to Aubonne, where the poste for Gimel may be caught.  But from Arzier there is a short cut of less than two hours along the side of the hills, leaving that village by a deep gorge not unfitly named L’Enfer, and a dark wood which retains an odour of more savage bygone times in its name of the ‘Bear’s Wood,’ as containing a cavern where an old bear was detected in the act of attempting to winter.[12]

The village of S. Georges has very respectable accommodation for a single traveller, au Cavalier.  The common day-room will be found untenable by most Englishmen, however largely they may delight in rough quarters; but there is a double-bedded room at the end of a bricked passage up-stairs, which serves well for bedroom and sitting-room in one.  The chief drawback in this arrangement is, that the landlady inexorably removes all washing apparatus during the day, holding that a pitcher and basin are unseemly ornaments for a sitting-room.  The deal table, of course, serves both for dressing and for feeding purposes, but it is fortunately so long that an end can be devoted to each; and on the whole it is possible to become considerably attached to the room, with its three airy windows, and the cool unceasing hum of a babbling fountain in the village-street below.  The Auberge is a large building, with a clock-tower of considerable height, containing the clock of the commune:  as soon as the candle is put out at night, it becomes painfully evident that a rectangular projection in one corner of the room is in connection with this tower, and in fact forms a part of the abode of the pendulum, which plods on with audible vigour, growing more and more audible as the hours pass on, and making a stealthy pervading noise, as if a couple of lazy ghosts were threshing phantom wheat.  The clocks of Vaud, too, are in the habit of striking the hour twice, with a short interval; so that if anyone is not sure what the clock meant the first time, he has a second chance of counting the strokes.  This is no doubt an admirable plan under ordinary circumstances, but it does certainly try the patience of a sleepless dyspeptic after a surfeit of cafe-au-lait and honey; and when he has counted carefully the first time, and is bristling with the consciousness that it is only midnight, it is aggravating in the extreme to have the long slow story told a second time within a few feet of his head.

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Ice-Caves of France and Switzerland from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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