FROM GENEVA TO CHAMOUNI
If there is in all the world as lovely a day’s ride as that from Geneva to Chamouni, it must be the ride from Chamouni to Geneva. Lynde would not have made even this concession the next morning, as a heavy-wheeled carriage, containing three travellers and drawn by four stout Savoy horses, rolled through the Grande Place, and, amid a salvo of whip-lash and a cloud of dust, took the road to Bonneville.
“I did not think I cared very much for Geneva,” said Miss Denham, leaning from the carriage side to look back at the little Swiss capital set so prettily on the blue edge of Lake Leman; “I did not think I cared for it at all; yet I leave it with a kind of home-leaving regret.”
“That is because you found complete repose there, I imagine,” said Lynde. “Geneva is blessed among foreign cities in having no rich picture-galleries, or famous cathedrals, or mouldy ruins covered all over with moss and history. In other places, you know, one is distracted by the things which it is one’s imperative duty to see, and by the feeling that a lifetime is too short properly to see them. Coming from the great Italian cities to Geneva is like falling asleep after some prolonged mental strain. I do not object to waking up and leaving it, however. I should not mind leaving Eden, in pleasant company, on such a morning as this.”
“The company, and I dare say the morning, are not insensible to your handsome compliment, Mr. Lynde.”
The morning was without flaw, and the company, or at least that part of it represented by Miss Ruth Denham, had more color in its cheeks than usual, and its dark eyes looked very dark and melting under their long fringes. Mrs. Denham was also of a high complexion, but, having a practical turn of mind, she was wondering whether the trunks, which rose like a monument from the footboard of the vehicle, were quite secure. It was a lumbering, comfortable concern, with red and black wheels, and a maroon body set upon complicated springs. The back seat, occupied by the Denhams, was protected by a leather hood, leaving the forward portion of the carriage open. The other seat was amicably shared between Lynde and a pile of waterproofs and woollen wraps, essentials in Switzerland, but which the ladies doubtless would have provided themselves if they had been in the tropics. On the high box in front sat the driver, speaking from time to time in low, confidential tones to the four powerful black horses, whose harnesses were lavishly hung with flaunting chamois-tails and made merry with innumerable silver bells.