He slept barely ten minutes I was, however, perfectly easy, for Blacky began to inspire me with absolute confidence, and I was determined to obey him blindly. He got up, stretched himself, and threw me a glance that meant, “Come along, my friend, come along.” And, like two old friends, we set off slowly. Blacky was enjoying the silence and the sweetness of the place. On the road, previously, being in a hurry, he had walked with an abrupt, sturdy, hurried step—he was walking to get there; but now, refreshed and revived, Blacky was walking for the pleasure of a promenade in one of the prettiest paths in the Canton of Vaud.
Presently a side path appeared, leading off to the left; there was a short hesitation on the part of Blacky, who reflected, and then passed it, continuing on his way straight ahead, but not without some doubt and uncertainty in his manner. Then he stopped; he must have made some mistake. Yes; for he retraced his steps, and we took the turning to the left, which, at the end of a hundred feet, led into an open circular space, and Blacky, with his nose in the air, invited me to contemplate the highly respectable height of the lofty rocks which formed this circle. When Blacky thought I had seen sufficient, he turned around, and we went on again in the path through the woods. Blacky had forgotten to show me the circle of rocks—a slight error quickly repaired.
The road soon became very mountainous, broken, and difficult, and I advanced slowly and with many precautions. As to Blacky, he sprang lightly from rock to rock, but did not forsake me. He waited and fixed his eyes on me with the most touching solicitude. At last I began to hear a rushing of water; Blacky commenced barking joyously.
“Courage!” he said to me; “courage! We are nearly there; you will soon see the Caldron.”
It was in truth the Caldron. From a short height a modest stream fell, splashing and rebounding on a large rock slightly hollowed. I should never have been consoled for such a steep climb to see such a small sight if I had not had brave little Blacky for a companion. He, at least, was much more interesting and marvellous than the Caldron. On either side of the fall, in little Swiss chalets, were two dairy-maids; one was a blonde and the other a brunette; both were in their national dress, and were eagerly on the lookout for my coming, standing on the door-steps of their tiny houses—little wooden boxes, seemingly cut out by machine.
It seemed to me that the blonde had very pretty eyes, and I had already taken several steps towards her when Blacky began to bark emphatically, and resolutely barred the way. Could he have a preference for the dark one? I walked in the other direction. That was it; Blacky calmed down as though by enchantment when he saw me seated at a table in front of the house of his young protegee. I asked for a cup of milk; Blacky’s friend entered her little toy house,