The Task Of That Afternoon Was More Than I Could Properly Undertake,
Nor Did I Fulfil It.
From Brienz to the top of the Grimsel is, as the
crow flies, quite twenty miles, and by the road a good twenty-seven.
It is true I had only come from over the high hills; perhaps six miles
in a straight line.
But what a six miles! and all without food. Not
certain, therefore, how much of the pass I could really do that day,
but aiming at crossing it, like a fool, I went on up the first miles.
For an hour or more after Brienz the road runs round the base of and
then away from a fine great rock. There is here an alluvial plain like
a continuation of the lake, and the Aar runs through it, canalized and
banked and straight, and at last the road also becomes straight. On
either side rise gigantic cliffs enclosing the valley, and (on the day
I passed there) going up into the clouds, which, though high, yet made
a roof for the valley. From the great mountains on the left the noble
rock jutted out alone and dominated the little plain; on the right the
buttresses of the main Alps all stood in a row, and between them went
whorls of vapour high, high up - just above the places where snow still
clung to the slopes. These whorls made the utmost steeps more and more
misty, till at last they were lost in a kind of great darkness, in
which the last and highest banks of ice seemed to be swallowed up.
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