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.
league from the Lake of Les Rousses.  Unfortunately, no one could say what a common league was, beyond the vague definition of ‘an hour’s walk;’ so two men were started from the shore of the lake, the one a Burgundian and the other a Swiss, with directions to walk for an hour down the Orbe towards Chenit, the stone to be placed half-way between the points they should respectively reach at the end of the hour.  It was for the interest of the Franche Comte that the stone should be as near the lake as possible, and accordingly the Swiss champion made such walking as had never been seen before, and gained for Berne a considerable amount of territory.  There was no such tragic result in this case as that which induced the Carthaginians to pay divine honours to the brothers whose speed, on a like occasion, had added an appreciable amount to the possessions of the republic.

At length we reached the point where the roads for Gimel and S. Georges separate, and there, under a glorious sapin, we said our adieux, and wished our au revoirs, and settled those little matters which the best friends must settle, when one is of the nature of a monsieur, and the others are guides.  They burdened their souls with many politenesses, and so we parted.  The inclemency of the weather was such, that the people in the lower country asked, as they passed, whether snow had fallen in the mountains, and the cold rain continued unceasingly down to the large plain on which the Federal Camp of Biere[23] is placed.  Here for a few moments the sun showed itself, lighting up the white tents, and displaying to great advantage the masses of scented orchises, and the feathery reine-des-pres, which hemmed the road in on either side.  All through the earlier part of the day, flowers had forced themselves upon our notice as mere vehicles for collected rain, when we came in contact with them; but now, for a short time, they resumed their proper place,—­only for a short time, for the rain soon returned, and did not cease till midnight.  Not all the garden scenery about Aubonne and Allaman (ad Lemannum), nor all the vineyards which yield the choice white wine of the Cote, could counterbalance the united discomfort of the rain, and the cold which had got into the system in the two glacieres; and matters were not mended by the discovery that Bradshaw was treacherous, and that a junction with dry baggage at Neufchatel could not be effected before eleven at night.

There are some curious natural phenomena in this neighbourhood, due to the subterranean courses which the fissured limestone of the Jura affords to the meteoric waters.  Not far from Biere, the river Aubonne springs out at the bottom of an amphitheatre of rock, receiving additions soon after from a group of twenty natural pits, which the peasants call unfathomable—­an epithet freely applied to the strange holes found in the Jura.  It is remarkable that the way seems to stand at different levels in the various pits.[24]

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