Alps And Sanctuaries Of Piedmont And The Canton Ticino By Samuel Butler






































































 -   A chamois foot is a smooth and slippery thing, such as no
respectable bootmaker would dream of offering to a - Page 250
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A Chamois Foot Is A Smooth And Slippery Thing, Such As No Respectable Bootmaker Would Dream Of Offering To A

Mountaineer: there is not a nail in it, nor even an apology for a nail; the surefootedness of its owner

Is an assumption only - a piece of faith or impudence which fulfils itself. If some other animal were to induce the chamois to believe that it should at the least have feet with suckers to them, like a fly, before venturing in such breakneck places, or if by any means it could get to know how bad a foot it really has, there would soon be no more chamois. The chamois continues to exist through its absolute refusal to hear reason upon the matter. But the whole question is one of extreme intricacy; all we know is that some animals and plants, like some men, devote great pains to the perfection of the mechanism with which they wish to work, while others rather scorn appliances, and concentrate their attention upon the skilful use of whatever they happen to have. I think, however, that in the clumsiness of the chamois foot must lie the explanation of the fact that sometimes when chamois are out of season, they do nevertheless actually tumble off the rocks and get killed; being killed, of course it is only natural that they should sometimes be found, and if found, be eaten; but they are not good for much.

After a day or two's stay in this delightful place, we left at six o'clock one brilliant morning in September for Dalpe and Faido, accompanied by the excellent Signor Guglielmoni as guide.

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