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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 173 pages of information about Little Rivers; a book of essays in profitable idleness.
the Zillerthal; and, nearer, the Geislerspitze, like five fingers thrust into the air; behind that, the distant Oetzthaler Mountain, and just a single white glimpse of the highest peak of the Ortler by the Engadine; nearer still we saw the vast fortress of the Sella group and the red combs of the Rosengarten; Monte Marmolata, the Queen of the Dolomites, stood before us revealed from base to peak in a bridal dress of snow; and southward we looked into the dark rugged face of La Civetta, rising sheer out of the vale of Agordo, where the Lake of Alleghe slept unseen.  It was a sea of mountains, tossed around us into a myriad of motionless waves, and with a rainbow of colours spread among their hollows and across their crests.  The cliffs of rose and orange and silver gray, the valleys of deepest green, the distant shadows of purple and melting blue, and the dazzling white of the scattered snow-fields seemed to shift and vary like the hues on the inside of a shell.  And over all, from peak to peak, the light, feathery clouds went drifting lazily and slowly, as if they could not leave a scene so fair.

There is barely room on the top of Nuvolau for the stone shelter-hut which a grateful Saxon baron has built there as a sort of votive offering for the recovery of his health among the mountains.  As we sat within and ate our frugal lunch, we were glad that he had recovered his health, and glad that he had built the hut, and glad that we had come to it.  In fact, we could almost sympathise in our cold, matter-of-fact American way with the sentimental German inscription which we read on the wall:—­

     Von Nuvolau’s hohen Wolkenstufen
     Lass mich, Natur, durch deine Himmel rufen—­
     An deiner Brust gesunde, wer da krank! 
     So wird zum Volkerdank mein Sachsendank.

We refrained, however, from shouting anything through Nature’s heaven, but went lightly down, in about three hours, to supper in the Star of Gold.

IV.

When a stern necessity forces one to leave Cortina, there are several ways of departure.  We selected the main highway for our trunks, but for ourselves the Pass of the Three Crosses; the Deacon and the Deaconess in a mountain waggon, and I on foot.  It should be written as an axiom in the philosophy of travel that the easiest way is best for your luggage, and the hardest way is best for yourself.

All along the rough road up to the Pass, we had a glorious outlook backward over the Val d’ Ampezzo, and when we came to the top, we looked deep down into the narrow Val Buona behind Sorapis.  I do not know just when we passed the Austrian border, but when we came to Lake Misurina we found ourselves in Italy again.  My friends went on down the valley to Landro, but I in my weakness, having eaten of the trout of the lake for dinner, could not resist the temptation of staying over-night to catch one for breakfast.

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