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.
gorgeous carpet of the huge couched blue gentian (G. acaulis, Fr. Gentiane sans tige), with smaller patterns put in by the dazzling blue of the delicate little flower of the same species (G. verna ); while the white blossoms of the grass of Parnassus, and the frailer white of the dryade a huit petales, and the modest waxen flowers of the Azalea procumbens and the airelle ponctuee (Vaccineum vitis idaea), tempered and set off the prevailing blue.  There were groves, too, rather lower down, of Alpine roses (the first I had come across that year), not the fringed or the green-backed species which botanists love best, but the honest old rust-backed rhododendron, which every Swiss traveller has been pestered with in places where the children are one short step above mere mendicity, but, equally, which every Swiss traveller hails with Medean delight when he comes upon it on the mountain-side.  We were now, too, in the neighbourhood of the first created Alpen rose.  The story is, that a young peasant, who had climbed the precipices behind Oberhausen for rock-flowrets, as the price of some maiden’s love, fell at the moment when he had secured the flowers, and was killed.  From his blood the true Alpen rose sprang, and took its colour.

We were now passing along the summit of one of the lower spurs of the Rothhorn range, and making for the peak of the Ralligflue, which lay considerably below us.  In descending near the line of crest, we found a large number of very deep fissures, narrow and black, some of them extending to a great distance across the face of the hill; sometimes they appeared as mere holes, down which we despatched stones, sometimes as unpleasant crevasses almost hidden by flowers and the shrubs of rhododendron.  In many of these we dimly discovered accumulated snow at the bottom, and we observed that the Alpine roses which overhung the snow-holes were by far the deepest coloured and most beautiful we could find.

To reach the Ralligflue, we had to cross a smooth green lawn completely covered with the sweet vanilla orchis (O. nigra), which perfumed the air almost too powerfully.  No one can ever fully appreciate the grandeur of the lion-like Niesen till he has seen it from this verdant little paradise, on the slope near the Bergli Chalet, with a diminutive limpid lake in the meadow at his feet, and the blue lake of Thun below.  The Kanderthal and the Simmenthal lie exposed from their entrance at the foot of the Niesen; and when the winding Kanderthal is lost, the Adelbodenthal takes up the telescope, and guides the eye to the parent glaciers.  This view I was fortunately able to enjoy rather longer than that from the mouth of the Schafloch; for we had made such rapid way, that Christian found there was time for a meal of milk in the chalet, and meanwhile left me lying in perfect luxury on the sweet grass.

From the Ralligflue a long and remarkably steep zigzag leads to the lower ground, and down this Christian ran at full speed, jodeling in a most trying manner; indeed, at one of the sudden turns of the path he went off triumphantly into a falsetto so unearthly, that he lost his legs, and landed in a promiscuous sort of way on a lower part of the zigzag, after which he was slower and less vocal.

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