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my detention at Chamonix, it will be sufficient to state that on Monday August 5th, the weather towards the middle of the day improved so much that I decided upon starting at two o'clock, with my guides, for the Montanvert, with the intention of passing the night there, and of proceeding the next morning for the Col du Géant, should the weather continue fine. My guides, and their qualifications, were as follows:

Alexandre Devouassoud (twice up Mont Blanc, five times to the Col du Géant.)

Michel Coutet (never up Mont Blanc, twice to the Col du Géant.)

David Simon (three times up Mont Blanc, never to the Col du Géant.)

Jean Edward Devouassoud (once up Mont Blanc, never to the Col du Géant.)

This latter came as an aspirant, not being engaged on the same terms as the other three.

We arrived early in the afternoon at the Montanvert, after a very hot walk. Weather steadily improving. We supped, and retired to rest betimes.

Before one o'clock the next morning, I heard my guides stirring; and soon after, we all met, and congratulated each other on the fineness of the weather. The planet Jupiter was shining magnificently over the Grandes Jorasses, and the moon, three weeks old, was just rising over the Aiguille du Dru. I had felt a little uneasy during the night owing to hearing some strong gusts of wind; but they had now quite died away; and the silence was unbroken, save by the steady roar of the many small torrents falling from the opposite rocks, and lesser glaciers, into the Mer de Glace. It was not in the least cold. By a quarter after two we were on foot; and after half an hour's walk by moonlight, we came to the precipitous face of rock called Les Ponts, a point which we passed without difficulty, after which we were soon fairly launched upon the Mer de Glace. We took the route leading to the Jardin, as far as the moraines at the foot of the Couvercle, and then coasted along them as far as the Tacul, where we arrived at half past four. The sky now appeared of the most exquisite rose colour over the Couvercle, and of a fine yellow over the Aiguilles Rouges, behind the Flégère. Once, before it was light, during our progress, one of the guides cut a step or two for us in the ice with the axe which he carried for that purpose, and it was curious to see it strike fire on the gritty surface. At the foot of the Tacul I had some spiked nails screwed into the soles of my shoes.

Whilst this was doing, I gazed with renewed*


* I had had nearly the same view before, when I visited the Jardin.


der at the glacier du Taléfre, and at the glacier du Tacul, which latter we were so soon to be in the act of scaling.

The sun was now shining brilliantly on the highest peaks; there was no vapour or cloud visible; nor was there any wind, save a moderate breeze. Nothing could be more wonderful than the conviction that there were many hours of uncertain labour before us in the passage of the glacier, which from hence, in the clear morning air, appeared so little formidable. The weather was so fine that the eye was deceived as to height and distance even more than usual.

At about half past five, on a steep slope of snow considerably above us, under the Aiguille du Grépon, I saw, to my great delight, a troop of about fifteen chamois. They were not tumbling down precipices upon their heads, nor exhibiting themselves in any of the conventional attitudes in which they are represented in the picture shops; but were filing gently across the snow, one after another, just as you see deer in a park; nor did they appear to take any notice of us.

Hereabouts we came to some ugly crevasses in the glacier, with snow bridges over them, which had a treacherous look, owing to the new-fallen snow of Friday last, which still lay thickly on this part of the glacier. In fact, we were now beginning to attain a considerable height. Next, we came to several crevasses in succession, extending, to all appearance, right across the glacier ; these in many places were of great width; but we found narrow places in all of them, so that we passed them with ease. By six o'clock we had ascended the glacier to about the level of the Jardin* (or perhaps not quite so high) which we now saw, at a distance, in its solitude, insulated in the upper part of the glacier du Taléfre.

Soon afterwards, we got into the heart of the glacier du Tacul, and Devouassoud went ahead of us all to explore the way. Here we came to some really bad places, which we passed, with care and patience, and which elicited from Coutet the pithy remark—“Sacrebleu! Il fait bien mauvais ici cette année!"-an opinion that, as soon as it was uttered, was confirmed by the thundering fall of a huge pyramid of ice, not far from us, which was dashed in pieces by the shock; and it was curious to see that which but a moment before was a gigantic towering column, streaming in white powder down the icy channels beneath : and to make matters yet more startling, we had directly afterwards to pass another dangerous place, close under an over

According to Professor Forbes, the height above the sea of the lowest part of the Jardin is 9042, and of the highest part 9893 English feet.

hanging cliff of ice, dripping wet in the morning sun, that seemed every moment ready to fall upon us. “ Depéchons nous ici !" was the prevailing sentiment; and indeed I think we all had reason to feel rather nervous in this part of the glacier. We now, however, , got some breathing time on a small plain of snow; and afterwards, for a little while, continued our progress up the glacier, without having to pass any bad crevasses ; we were aided too, rather than impeded, by the newfallen snow, the softness of which took off the danger that would otherwise have existed of slipping upon the ice. Hitherto our progress had been very slow, and we had been obliged to make many counter-marches, so that it was now past seven o'clock.

I will observe, by the way, that it is quite impossible for the most extravagant pencil to exaggerate the outlines of glacier scenery. We found every variety of the most abrupt angular masses of icy cliffs, crags, pyramids, and pillars; and huge piers, supporting superincumbent strata of ice, twisted and moulded, as though by the operation of heat and excessive pressure, into such wavy figures as volcanic lavas are often seen to take. And, to compare small things with great, on looking at certain of these configurations, I could not help thinking of a stick of sealing wax, which had been held for some time in a warm

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