The Higher We Rose, The More Intense Became The Excitement.
The Slope Eased Off, At Length We Could Be Detached,
And Croz And I, Dashed Away, Ran A Neck-And-Neck Race,
Which Ended In A Dead Heat.
At 1:40 P.M., the world was at
our feet, and the Matterhorn was conquered!
The others arrived. Croz now took the tent-pole, and
planted it in the highest snow. "Yes," we said, "there is
the flag-staff, but where is the flag?" "Here it is,"
he answered, pulling off his blouse and fixing it to the stick.
It made a poor flag, and there was no wind to float it out,
yet it was seen all around. They saw it at Zermatt - at
the Riffel - in the Val Tournanche... .
We remained on the summit for one hour -
One crowded hour of glorious life.
It passed away too quickly, and we began to prepare
for the descent.
Hudson and I consulted as to the best and safest arrangement
of the party. We agreed that it was best for Croz
to go first, and Hadow second; Hudson, who was almost
equal to a guide in sureness of foot, wished to be third;
Lord Douglas was placed next, and old Peter, the strongest
of the remainder, after him. I suggested to Hudson
that we should attach a rope to the rocks on our arrival
at the difficult bit, and hold it as we descended,
as an additional protection. He approved the idea,
but it was not definitely decided that it should be done.
The party was being arranged in the above order while I
was sketching the summit, and they had finished,
and were waiting for me to be tied in line, when some one
remembered that our names had not been left in a bottle.
They requested me to write them down, and moved off
while it was being done.
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