Thursday, July 7. Weather still celestial, as yesterday. But lo, these frail tabernacles betray their earthliness. H. remarked at breakfast that all the "tired" of yesterday was piled up into to-day. And S. actually pleaded inability, and determined to remain at the hotel.

However, the Mer de Glâce must be seen; so, at seven William, Georgy, H., and I, set off. When about half way or more up the mountain we crossed the track of the avalanches, a strip or trail, which looks from beneath like a mower's swath through a field of tall grass. It is a clean path, about fifty rods wide, without trees, with few rocks, smooth and steep, and with a bottom of ice covered with gravel.

"Hurrah, William," said I, "let's have an avalanche!"

"Agreed," said he; "there's a big rock."

"Monsieur le Guide, Monsieur le Guide!" I shouted, "stop a moment. H., stop; we want you to see our avalanche."

"No," cried H., "I will not. Here you ask me to stop, right on the edge of this precipice, to see you roll down a stone!"

So, on she ambled. Meanwhile William and I were already on foot, and our mules were led on by the guide's daughter, a pretty little lass of ten or twelve, who accompanied us in the capacity of mule driver.

We found several stones of inferior size, and sent them plunging down. At last, however, we found one that weighed some two tons, which happened to lie so that, by loosening the earth before and under it with our alpenstocks, we were able to dislodge it. Slowly, reluctantly, as if conscious of the awful race it was about to take, the huge mass trembled, slid, poised, and, with a crunch and a groan, went over. At the first plunge it acquired a heavy revolving motion, and was soon whirling and dashing down, bounding into the air with prodigious leaps, and cutting a white and flashing path into the icy way. Then first I began to realize the awful height at which we stood above the plain. Tracts, which looked as though we could almost step across them, were reached by this terrible stone, moving with frightful velocity; and bound after bound, plunge after plunge it made, and we held our breath to see each tract lengthen out, as if seconds grew into minutes, inches into rods; and still the mass moved on, and the microscopic way lengthened out, till at last a curve hid its further progress from our view.

What other cliffs we might have toppled over the muse refuses to tell; for our faithful guide returned to say that it was not quite safe; that there were always shepherds and flocks in the valley, and that they might be injured. So we remounted, and soon overtook H. at a fountain, sketching a pine tree of special physiognomy.

"Ah," said I, "H., how foolish you were! You don't know what a sight you have lost."

"Yes," said she, "all C. thinks mountains are made for is to roll stones down."

"And all H. thinks trees made for," said I, "is to have ugly pictures made of them."

"Ay," she replied, "you wanted me to stand on the very verge of the precipice, and see two foolish boys roll down stones, and perhaps make an avalanche of themselves! Now, you know, C., I could not spare you; first, because I have not learned French enough yet; and next, because I don't know how to make change."

"Add to that," said I, "the damages to the bergers and flocks."

"Yes," she added; "no doubt when we get back to the inn we shall have a bill sent in, 'H. B. S. to A. B., Dr., to one shepherd and six cows, —fr.'"

And so we chatted along until we reached the auberge, and, after resting a few moments, descended into the frozen sea.

Here a scene opened upon us never to be forgotten. From the distant gorge of the everlasting Alpine ranges issued forth an ocean tide, in wild and dashing commotion, just as we have seen the waves upon the broad Atlantic, but all motionless as chaos when smitten by the mace of Death; and yet, not motionless! This denser medium, this motionless mass, is never at rest. This flood moves as it seems to move; these waves are actually uplifting out of the abyss as they seem to lift; the only difference is in the time of motion, the rate of change.

These prodigious blocks of granite, thirty or forty feet long and twenty feet thick, which float on this grim sea of ice, do float, and are drifting, drifting down to the valley below, where, in a few days, they must arrive.

We walked these valleys, ascended these hills, leaped across chasms, threw stones down the crevasses, plunged our alpenstocks into the deep baths of green water, and philosophized and poetized till we were tired. Then we returned to the auberge, and rode down the zigzag to our hotel.

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