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

Between ten and eleven the fiddles and the party vanished, and I went up-stairs more determined than ever not to touch a bed, after my experience of the room below.  Three chairs were speedily arranged between the table and wall, and on these I lay and tried to sleep.  But the very chairs were populous, as I had found below, and sleep was impossible.  Moreover, soon after eleven, a soldier came into the room, to arrange about his breakfast with one of the maidens in the house.  He had heard me order fresh butter for six o’clock, and he was anxious to know, whether, by breakfasting at five o’clock, he could get my butter.  The chairs which formed my bed were under the lee of the table, so that the figure recumbent on them was invisible, and the gallant soldier, under the impression that there was no one in the room, enforced his arguments by other than conventional means.  But military lips, when applied personally, proved to be a rhetoric as unsuccessful as military words.  The maid was platonic, and something more than platonic; and the hero got so much the worst of it, that he gave up the battle, and changed the subject to a conscript in his charge, who had locked himself in his bed-room and would not answer.  How was he to know whether he had the conscript safe?  All this lasted some time; and when they were gone, one of the pensionnaires came in.  With him I had to fight the battle of the window, which I had opened to its farthest extent.  After he had got over the first surprise and shock of finding me on the chairs instead of in the bed, for whose comfort he vouched enthusiastically, he became confident that it was merely out of complaisance to him and his comrade that I had opened the window, and assured me that they really did not care for fresh air, even if they could feel the difference in the alcove, which he declared they could not.  As soon as that was arranged to my satisfaction, the other pensionnaire came in, and with him the battle was fought with only half success, for he peremptorily closed one side of the window.  He was a particularly noisy pensionnaire, and shied his boots into every corner of the room before they were posed to his satisfaction.  As far as I could tell, the removal of the boots was the only washing and undressing either of them did; and then they arranged their candles in the alcove, lighted cigars, and got into bed.  There the wretches sat up on end, smoking and talking vehemently, till sheer exhaustion came to my aid, and I fell asleep; but the edges of the rush-bottomed chairs speedily became so sharp that a recumbent posture ceased to be possible, and I sat dozing on one chair.  A little before four o’clock, the noisier man got up to look for his boots; and as the friends continued their discussion, I also turned out and made for the nearest stream, where I bathed in a rapid at half-past four, to wash away, if possible, the horrors of the night.

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