Had Not The Trees Been So Much Greater And
More Enduring Than My Own Presence, And Had Not They Overwhelmed Me By
Their Regard, I Should Have Felt Afraid.
As it was I pushed upward
through their immovable host in some such catching of the breath as
men have when they walk at night straining for a sound, and I felt
myself to be continually in a hidden companionship.
When I came to the edge of this haunted forest it ceased as suddenly
as it had begun. I left behind me such a rank of trees aligned as I
had entered thousands of feet below, and I saw before me, stretching
shapely up to the sky, the round dome-like summit of the mountain - a
great field of grass. It was already evening; and, as though the tall
trees had withdrawn their virtue from me, my fatigue suddenly came
upon me. My feet would hardly bear me as I clambered up the last
hundred feet and looked down under the rolling clouds, lit from
beneath by the level light of evening, to the three countries that met
at my feet.
For the Ballon d'Alsace is the knot of Europe, and from that gathering
up and ending of the Vosges you look down upon three divisions of men.
To the right of you are the Gauls. I do not mean that mixed breed of
Lorraine, silent, among the best of people, but I mean the tree Gauls,
who are hot, ready, and born in the plains and in the vineyards.
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