That night I paced the little cabin in an ecstasy of joy. And, as I paced it, suddenly I perceived a strange flicker of light in the north sky, and went to the door to see the most beautiful phenomenon that I had ever witnessed.
There came first a flash, and swiftly long streamers of flame shot up and spread fanwise over the heavens. They quivered and sank, and flared again, and broke into innumerable rippling waves; they hung, broad banners of light, athwart the skies, then slowly faded, to give place to a wavering interplay of ghostly beams that sought the darkest places beyond the moon: celestial fingers whiter than the white glow of a myriad of arc-lamps.
And somehow the wonder of it filled me with the conviction that all would be well for those heavenly lights bridged the loneliness of my soul even as they bridged the sky, from Jupiter, who blazed brilliant in the east to great Arcturus.
And, so I felt that, though I crossed a void as wide and fathomless in search of her, some time she should be mine and that our hearts would beat together so long as our lives should endure.
Although the sun was well above the horizon when I awoke, I started out on the fourth morning eager to achieve the entrance to the chateau.
First I plodded back to the two mountains which guarded the approach to the valley, then worked round along the flank of the ridge of peaks, searching for an entrance. The further I went, however, the higher and more precipitous became the mountains.
I realized that there was little chance of finding any access along this side, so after my noon meal I ascended one of the lower elevations in order to obtain my bearings. But I could discern neither chateau nor lake nor waterfall, and the sound of the torrent, far away to the left, came to my ears only as a faint distant murmur.
I was far out of the way.
The snow, which had been falling at intervals during each day since Jacqueline’s abduction, had long ago covered up the tracks of the sleigh. I had to trust to my own wit to solve my problem, and there did not seem to be any solution.
There was no visible entrance to that mountain lake on any side, and to descend that sheer, ice-coated precipice was an impossibility.
It was long after nightfall when I reached the cabin again, exhausted and dispirited.
I awoke too late on the fifth morning, and I was too stiff to make much of a journey. I climbed to the edge of the glacier once again in the hope of discovering an approach. I examined every foot of the ground with meticulous care.
But whenever I approached the edge the same wall of rock ran down vertically for some three hundred feet, veneered with ice and wrapped in a perpetual blinding spray.
And yet sleighs could enter that valley below. For at the extreme edge of the lake, outside the enclosed piece of land, I perceived one, a tiny thing, far under me, and yet unmistakably a sleigh.