Ice-Caves of France and Switzerland eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 349 pages of information about Ice-Caves of France and Switzerland.
of his own cave, for he could see nothing but a network of lines, with unintelligible words written here and there, and after some hesitation he confessed that it was not the least like it.  A little explanation soon set that right, and then he began to plead vigorously for the wall which surrounded the trees at the mouth of the pit.  Why was it not put in?  He was told, because it could not be seen from below; but nevertheless he strongly urged its introduction, on the ground that he had built it himself, and it was such a well-built wall; facts which far more than balanced any little impossibility that might otherwise have prevented its appearance.  After we had reached the grass of the outer world again, he made me sketch the entrance to the pit, pointing to the containing wall with parental pride, and standing over the sketch-book and the sketcher with an umbrella which speedily turned inside out under the combined pressure of wind, and rain, and years; a feat which it had already performed des fois, he said, in the course of his acquaintance with it.

Before finally leaving the glaciere, I examined the structure of the great stream of ice, at different points near the top of the limiting wall.  From its outward appearance it might have been expected to be rough, but it was not so; it was knotty to the eye, but perfectly smooth to the foot, and, when cut, showed itself perfectly clear and limpid.  It did not separate under the axe into misshapen pieces, with faces of every possible variation from regularity, that is, with what is called vitreous fracture, but rather separated into a number of nuts of limpid ice, each being of a prismatic form, and of much regularity in shape and size.  It was smooth, dark-grey, and clear; free from air, and free from surface lines; very hard, and suggesting the idea of coarse internal granulation.  In the large ice-streams of some darker glacieres, this ice assumed a rather lighter colour by candle-light, but always presented the same granular appearance, and cut up into the same prismatic nuts, and was evidently free from constitutional opacity.


[Footnote 18:  Sancti Liberii locus, the Swiss Dryasdust explains.  There is nothing to connect any known S. Liberius with this neighbourhood, unless it be the Armenian prince who secretly left his father’s court for Jerusalem, and was sought for throughout Burgundy and other countries.  It seems that Saint Oliver is merely a corruption of S. Liberius, the Italian form of the latter, Santo Liverio, having become Sant-Oliverio, as S. Otho became in another country Sant Odo, and thence San Todo, thus creating a new Saint, S. Todus.—­Act SS.  May 27.]

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