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

[Footnote 16:  These ladders have at best but little stability, as they consist of two uprights, careless about the coincidence of the holes, with bars poked loosely through and left to fall out or stay in as they choose, the former being the prevailing choice.  One of the ladders happened to be firmer than the generality of its kind; but, unfortunately, its legs were of unequal lengths, and so it turned round with one of my sisters, leaving her clinging like a cat to the under side.  When the bars are sufficiently loose, a difference of a few inches in the lengths of the legs is not of so much importance.]

[Footnote 17:  M. Thury found this hole, and fathomed it to a depth of 6-1/2 metres.]

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CHAPTER III.

THE LOWER GLACIERE OF THE PRE DE S. LIVRES.

I had intended to walk on from S. Georges to Biere, after returning from the glaciere last described, and thence, the next morning, to the Pre de S. Livres, the mountain pasturage of the commune of S. Livres,[18] a village near Aubonne.  But Renaud advised a change of plan, and the result showed that his advice was good.  He said that the fermier of the Glaciere of S. Livres generally lived in S. Georges, and, if he were at home, would be the best guide to the glaciere; while the distance from S. Georges was, if anything, rather less than the distance from Biere; so that by remaining at the Cavalier for another night the walk to Biere would be saved, and the possibility of finding no competent guide there would be evaded.  Jules Mignot, the farmer in question, was at home, and promised to go to the glaciere in the morning, pledging his word and all that he was worth for the existence and soundness of the ladders; a matter of considerable importance, for M. Thury had been unable to reach the ice, as also my sisters, by reason of a failure in this respect.

In the course of the evening Mignot came in, and confidentially took the other chair.  He wished to state that he had three associes in working the glaciere, and that one of them knew of a similar cave, half an hour from the one more generally known; the associe had found it two years before, and had not seen it since, and he believed that no one else knew where it was to be found.  If I cared to visit it, the associe would accompany us, but there was some particular reason—­here he relapsed into patois—­why this other man could not by himself serve as guide to both glacieres.  As this meant that I must have two guides, and suggested that perhaps the right rendering of associe was ‘accomplice,’ the negotiation nearly came to a violent end; but the farmer was so extremely explanatory and convincing, that I gave him another chance, asking him how much the two meant to have, and telling him that, although I could not see the necessity for two guides, I only wished to do what was right.  He expressed his

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