As We Neared The _Hospice_ I Began To Feel The Effects Of The
Rarefied Air Very Sensibly.
It made me dizzy and sick, bringing on a
most acute headache - a sharp, knife-like pain.
S. was still more
I was glad enough when the old building came in view, though the road
lay up an ascent of snow almost perpendicular.
At the foot of this ascent we paused. Our guides, who looked a little
puzzled, held a few moments' conversation, in which the word
"_fonce_" was particularly prominent, a word which I took to be
equivalent to our English "_slump;_" and indeed the place was
suggestive of the idea. The snow had so far melted and softened under
the influence of the July sun, that something of this kind, in going
up the ascent, seemed exceedingly probable. The man stood leaning on
his alpenstock, looking at the thing to be demonstrated. There were
two paths, both equally steep and snowy. At last he gathered up the
bridle, and started up the most direct way. The mule did not like it
at all, evidently, and expressed his disgust by occasionally stopping
short and snuffing, meaning probably to intimate that he considered
the whole thing a humbug, and that in his opinion we should all slump
through together, and go to - nobody knows where. At last, when we were
almost up the ascent, he did slump, and went up to his breast in the
snow; whereat the guide pulled me out of the saddle with one hand, and
pulled him out of the hole with the other.
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