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.
conviction of the truth of this statement with such fervour, that I could only hope his moderation might be as great as his faith.  He took the usual five minutes to make up his mind what to say, going through abstruse calculations with a brow demonstratively bent, and, to all appearance, reckoning up exactly what was the least it could be done for, consistently with his duty to himself and his family.  Then he asked, with an air of resignation, as if he were throwing himself and his associe away, ’Fifteen francs, then, would monsieur consider too much?’ ’Certainly, far too much; twelve francs would be enormous.  But, for the pleasure of his company and that of his friend, I should be happy to give that sum for the two, and they must feed themselves.’  He jumped at the offer, with an alacrity which showed that I had much under-estimated his margin in putting it at three francs; and with many expressions of anticipatory gratitude, and promises of axes and ropes in case of emergency, he bowed himself out.  The event proved that both the men were really valuable, and they got something over the six francs a-piece.

The rain had been steadily increasing in intensity for the last twenty-four hours, from the insidious steeping of a Scotch mist to the violence of a chronic thunderstorm, and had about reached this crisis when we started in the morning for the Pre de S. Livres.  I had already tested its effects before breakfast, in a search for the Renaud of the day before, who had made statements regarding the ice at S. Georges, and the time of cutting it, which a night’s reflection showed to be false.  To search for Henri Renaud in the village of S. Georges, was something like making an enquiry of a certain porter for the rooms of Mr. John Jones.  The landlady of the Cavalier was responsible for the first stage of the journey, asserting that he lived two doors beyond the next auberge, evidently with a feeling that it was wrong so far to patronise the rival house as to live near it.  That, however, was not the same Henri Renaud; and a house a few yards off was recommended as a likely place, where, instead of Henri, a Louis Renaud turned up, shivering under the eaves in company with the fermier, who introduced Louis in due form as the accomplice.  They received conjointly and submissively a lecture on the absurdity of calling it a rainy morning, and the impossibility of staying at home, even if it came on much worse, and then pointed the way to the true Henri Renaud, half-way down the village.  When I arrived at the place indicated, and consulted a promiscuous Swiss as to the abode of the object of my search, he exclaimed, ‘Henri Renaud?  I am he.’  ‘But,’ it was objected, ’it is the marchand de bois who is wanted.’  ’Precisely, Henri Renaud, marchand de bois; it is I.’  ‘But, it is the cutter of ice in the glaciere.’  ’Ah, a different Henri.  That Henri is in bed in the house yonder,’ and so at last he was found.  When finally unearthed, Henri confessed that when he had said spring the day before, he ought to have said autumn, and that by autumn he meant November and December.  Enquiries elsewhere showed that the end of summer was what he really meant, if he meant to tell the truth.

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