But Out Of The Window The Dawn Was
Growing Ruddy In A Long Belt Over The Hill-Tops, And Day Was About To
Flood The Plateau.
The hour was inspiriting; and there seemed a promise
of calm weather, which was perfectly fulfilled.
I was soon under way
with Modestine. The road lay for a while over the plateau, and then
descended through a precipitous village into the valley of the Chassezac.
This stream ran among green meadows, well hidden from the world by its
steep banks; the broom was in flower, and here and there was a hamlet
sending up its smoke.
At last the path crossed the Chassezac upon a bridge, and, forsaking this
deep hollow, set itself to cross the mountain of La Goulet. It wound up
through Lestampes by upland fields and woods of beech and birch, and with
every corner brought me into an acquaintance with some new interest. Even
in the gully of the Chassezac my ear had been struck by a noise like that
of a great bass bell ringing at the distance of many miles; but this, as
I continued to mount and draw nearer to it, seemed to change in
character, and I found at length that it came from some one leading
flocks afield to the note of a rural horn. The narrow street of
Lestampes stood full of sheep, from wall to wall - black sheep and white,
bleating with one accord like the birds in spring, and each one
accompanying himself upon the sheep-bell round his neck.
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