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.
after a quarter of an hour’s discussion he finally became immovable on the negative side.  A Frenchman would certainly have been polite enough to accommodate facts to my desires.  It was all the more annoying, because the Weissenstein stood overhead so engagingly, and I should have been only too glad to spend the night in the hotel there, if anyone had given me the slightest encouragement.  I specially pointed at the neighbourhood of this hotel to my doubtful friend, as being likely for caves; but he was not in the pay of the landlord, and so failed to take the hint.  There is a curious hole in which ice is found near Weissenstein in Carniola,[55] and it is not impossible that this may have originated the idea of a glaciere near Soleure.

The Schweizerhof at Berne is a very comfortable resting-place; but, in spite of its various excellences, if a tired traveller is told that No. 53 is to be his room, he will do well to seek a bed elsewhere.  No. 53 is a sort of closet to some other number, with a single window opening low on to the passage, and is adjudged to the unfortunate individual who arrives at that omnipresent crisis which raises the charge for bed-rooms, and silences all objections to their want of comfort—­namely, when there is only one bed left in the house.  In itself, No. 53 would be well enough; but the throne of the chambermaid is in the passage, by the side of the window, and the male attendant on that particular stage naturally gravitates to the same point, when the bells of the stage do not summon him elsewhere, and often enough when they do.  This combination leads of course to local disturbances of a somewhat noisy character, and however entirely a sleepy man may in principle sympathise with the causes of the noise, it becomes rather hard to bear after midnight.  The precise actors on the present occasion have, no doubt, quarrelled or set up a cafe before now, or perhaps have achieved both results by taking the latter first; but there is reason to believe that so long as the window of No. 53 is the seat of the chambermaid for the time being, so long will that room be—­as the landlord neatly expressed it when a protest was made—­etwas unruhig.

All Switzerland has been playing at soldiers for some time, and as we left Berne the next morning, we saw three or four hundred Federal men of war marching down the road which runs parallel with the rails.  The three officers at the head of the column were elderly and stout; moreover, they were mounted, and that fact was evidently due rather to the meekness of their chargers than to the grip of their own legs.  When they saw the train coming, they took prompt measures.  They halted the troops, and rode off down a side lane to be out of harm’s way; and when we had well passed, they rejoined the column, and the march was resumed.

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