Indeed says this entertaining tract, sans poussee, one would not be able to hold, at table or in the salon, with a neighbor of either sex, the least conversation. Further, it is by grace a la poussee that one arrives at those intimacies which are the characteristics of the baths. Blessed, then, be La poussee, which renders possible such a high society and such select and entertaining conversation! Long may the bathers of Leuk live to soak and converse! In the morning, when we departed for the ascent of the Gemmi, we passed one of the bathing-houses. I fancied that a hot steam issued out of the crevices; from within came a discord of singing and caterwauling; and, as a door swung open, I saw that the heads floating about on the turbid tide were eating breakfast from the swimming tables.
OVER THE GEMMI
I spent some time, the evening before, studying the face of the cliff we were to ascend, to discover the path; but I could only trace its zigzag beginning. When we came to the base of the rock, we found a way cut, a narrow path, most of the distance hewn out of the rock, winding upward along the face of the precipice. The view, as one rises, is of the break-neck description. The way is really safe enough, even on mule-back, ascending; but one would be foolhardy to ride down. We met a lady on the summit who was about to be carried down on a chair; and she seemed quite to like the mode of conveyance: she had harnessed her husband in temporarily for one of the bearers, which made it still more jolly for her. When we started, a cloud of mist hung over the edge of the rocks. As we rose, it descended to meet us, and sunk below, hiding the valley and its houses, which had looked like Swiss toys from our height. When we reached the summit, the mist came boiling up after us, rising like a thick wall to the sky, and hiding all that great mountain range, the Vallais Alps, from which we had come, and which we hoped to see from this point. Fortunately, there were no clouds on the other side, and we looked down into a magnificent rocky basin, encircled by broken and overtopping crags and snow-fields, at the bottom of which was a green lake. It is one of the wildest of scenes.
An hour from the summit, we came to a green Alp, where a herd of cows were feeding; and in the midst of it were three or four dirty chalets, where pigs, chickens, cattle, and animals constructed very much like human beings, lived; yet I have nothing to say against these chalets, for we had excellent cream there. We had, on the way down, fine views of the snowy Altels, the Rinderhorn, the Finster-Aarhorn, a deep valley which enormous precipices guard, but which avalanches nevertheless invade, and, farther on, of the Blumlisalp, with its summit of crystalline whiteness. The descent to Kandersteg is very rapid, and in a rain slippery. This village is a resort for artists for its splendid views of the range we had crossed: