It was now five o’clock, and the train left Pontarlier at half-past seven. We represented to M. Paget that he really ought to do the twenty kilometres in two hours and a quarter, which would leave us a quarter of an hour to arrange our knapsacks and pay the National. He promised to do his best, and certainly the black horse proved himself a most willing beast. There was one long hill which damped our spirits, and made us give up the idea of catching the train; and here our driver came to the rescue with what sounded at first like a promising story—the only one we extracted from him all through the day—a propos of a memorial-stone on the road-side, where a man had lately been killed by two bears; but, when we came to examine into it, the romance vanished, for the man was a brewer’s waggoner with a dray of beer, and the bears were tame bears, led in a string, which frightened the brewer’s horses, and so the man was killed. Contrary to our expectations and fears, we did catch the train, and arrived in a thankful frame of mind at comfortable quarters in Neufchatel.
[Footnote 54: Cruel comme a Morat was long a popular saying.]
* * * * *
THE SCHAFLOCH, OR TROU-AUX-MOUTONS, NEAR THE LAKE OF THUN.
The next morning, my sisters went one way and I another; they to a valley in the south-west of Vaud, where our head-quarters were to be established for some weeks, and I to Soleure, where a Swiss savant had vaguely told us he believed there was a glaciere to be seen. That town, however, denied the existence of any approach to such a thing, with a unanimity which in itself was suspicious, and with a want of imagination which I had not expected to find. One man I really thought might be persuaded to know of some cave where there was or might be ice, but