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which elicited from Jean Krönig the remark that I had marched across the Arête “ comme un soldat"--a greater compliment than which, as a private of the 38th Artists, he could not of course have paid me!
Any one by proper and judicious training might, I imagine, be equally cool and collected, but Jean Krönig asserted, and I do not doubt the truth of his statement, that he had experienced the greatest difficulty and danger in ascending the cone with men who, losing all nerve, have trembled from head to foot. No man ought to attempt it who is apt to turn giddy. It is more difficult, I think, than anything encountered in the ascent of Mont Blanc, but the latter is infinitely more trying, and requires an amount of endurance far beyond that of Monte Rosa. I would rather make six ascents of Monte Rosa than one of Mont Blanc, granting me the same circumstances attending my ascent.
The distressing sensations were in so modified a form as scarcely to deserve notice. On Mont Blanc they are terrible to most people. In bad weather on Monte Rosa they might perhaps be the same. The cold is at times quite as intense, and the liability to be frostbitten of course the same under such circumstances. Mr. Wills suffered much; so did my friend. “ After a quarter of an hour on the summit, I began,” he says, “to feel very cold, for a high wind was blowing up there, and the thermometer stood at only 24 deg., which is at any time a low temperature for sitting in al fresco.” His beard and moustache had been long frozen, and very heavy from pendant icicles, his teeth began to chatter, and altogether he was not sorry when they rearranged the preparations for their descent. Happily for me the cold was not very great, and I found two pair of socks sufficient for the feet, with extra under clothing, viz. two pair of fannel waistcoats and two pair of drawers, the guide carrying an overcoat in case of need. My beard, too, was not frozen as on Mont Blanc.
My descent of Monte Rosa was not marked by any particular incident, further than that I twice lost my footing (which I prided myself on not having done even once on Mont Blanc).
The snow was hard and slippery, and we were obliged to keep to the steps we had cut in ascending. I think the nails in my shoes were worn flat. I fell, and was held by the rope, or should have slid down about a thousand yards. So slippery was the snow, that I could get no hold to raise myself, but that the guides assisted me. No sooner was I on my legs, than after going a few paces I was down again, and hung by the rope a second time, rendering it hopeless to proceed. I suggested whether we might venture upon a glissade. The chief guide assented. We all seated ourselves one behind the other. Watching the steady course of my bâton descending induced me to believe that it was the best mode of progress. Away we all went, straight as an arrow, and soon found ourselves upon a more easy and gradual descent. We shortly came to soft snow, and afterwards to a more slushy substance. I here regained my alpenstock.
The afternoon sun, notwithstanding the clouds which encircled the mountain, had produced its effect. For two mortal hours or more we floundered through the snow knee-deep, and not unfrequently up to our thighs, while some of us would plunge in to the waist. On one occasion I thought my friend Mark would vanish altogether, for he got well-nigh up to his armpits. We were none of us roped together. What footing he had, I know not, but his ever merry countenance indicated no alarm on his part. I need scarcely say this was killing kind of work, and that it greatly retarded our arrival at the Riffel; but we all took to it cheerily, and stuck to it right manfully. Nulla dies sine limine.
Poor Jean Krönig continued his exclamations, “O! ma tête ! ma tête;" but as we approached the rocks above the Gorner Grat Glacier, and sat down to an agreeable repast, and to a bottle of bon vin-viz. a bottle of St. George-Krönig all at once got rid of his headache, and shook the ice from the top of his wide-awake. All our difficulties were fairly at an end. We recrossed the Glacier du Gorner Grat, and saw a lot of people on the Gorner watching our return. After an absence of seventeen hours we arrived at the châlet on the Riffel at eight P.M. I did not feel much fatigued, and, after enjoying a quiet supper in my own apartment, retired to roost.
The following day I took it easy, ascending only the Gorner Grat and scanning our route up Monte Rosa ; and in the afternoon descended to Zermatt with my young friends, the Oxonians, who had come up to the Riffel to look at Monte Rosa, and who were not a little surprised to find that I had left my card on the summit, for I had not informed them that I had even contemplated paying this visit. The next day I walked from Zermatt to Viége (or Vispe), through the fine wild valley of Zermatt and St. Nicolai. It is a stiffish walk, but it was my last, as I proceeded by carriage to Siou, and by rail to Martigny.
And now farewell, gentle reader! and if you ever visit the High Alps, may you witness the glorious scenes which it has been my good fortune to do, and may you pass safely through them; but let me urge you to take every possible precaution in your power, and not to place too much reliance upon those who tell you that there is little or no risk. I have incurred enough to justify me in saying that there is great risk, and should you find it so, and “come to grief,” neither you nor your friends can blame me for underrating it, at all events. On the other hand, should you happily incur none, and think that I have overrated the danger, there will be no harm done to any one.
Remember, too, to be prepared for the cold. Couttet tells me that two of the guides who were with him when Captain Forbes ascended Mont Blanc in 1858 were frostbitten, and both are since dead—but that the temperature on that occasion was higher than it was when he went up with me in 1861—" the degree of cold being then more terrible than he had ever experienced.”
LORD STANHOPE'S MISCELLANIES.*
SOME men can make everything they say agreeable, and everything they write interesting. Lord Stanhope is an instance. We do not pretend to speak of him in private intercourse. In public we have listened to him with pleasure. And as a writer he comes distinctly under our description. His “ Life of Condé," while it satisfies the scholar, is read by all classes with the same interest as Southey's “ Life of Nelson;" and we know that many have gone through his “Life of Pitt” (though it is in four volumes, and extends to seventeen hundred and eighty pages) with as much avidity as if it had been a popular novel.
Even his latest publication, small as it is in size, cannot be said to be
Of slender volume, and of small account. If it only consists of a hundred and twenty pages, there is not one of them that does not contain something curious in itself, or curiously illustrative. It commences with some interesting letters of Pitt, which the possessors of his “Life” will regret had not formed part of its appendices. They may possibly appear in future editions. The first (which we consider as, perhaps, the best specimen of the great statesman's letterwriting that we possess) is to the Duke of Rutland upon the “ Irish propositions” brought forward in 1785. Lord Stanhope had already shown us with what anxiety they were regarded both by Pitt and by the nobleman whom he addressed as a colleague and a friend. To himself their rejection was “a deep disappointment, a bitter mortification.” It has been said by Lord Macaulay that he was the first English minister who formed great designs for the benefit of Ireland.” He had applied himself for almost a twelvemonth to their details, and, instead of attaining his object, the jealousy of both nations was excited afresh, and his own popularity for a time declined. His attempt to give freedom to the trade with Ireland was much like the attempt to give political liberty to the Neapolitans. The Irish could not then appreciate it, and even for our own mercantile classes the statesman was immeasurably in advance of his age. After a second letter on the same subject, we have others on the “ Irish appointments of 1794-5.” They refer to the appointment of Lord Fitzwilliam as Lord-Lieutenant, and to his strange disregard of every arrangement that had been entered into upon his taking office. Few men were so unselfish on these occasions as Mr. Pitt himself. “ The task on our hands," he wrote to his colleague, Lord Westmoreland, " is difficult enough for all our joint efforts; and every sentiment of jealousy or resentment ought to be lost in a sense of its importance and urgency.” If every man could thus think and feel, government would become an easy task. A republic would be as practicable, even for England, as a constitutional monarchy, and one half of our existing laws might be abolished. In the poet's single aphorism, that “we are selfish men,” lie
* Miscellanies: Collected and Edited by Earl Stanhope. Murray. 1863.
all the difficulties in the way of purer and more rational institutions than we are ever likely to possess.
The next of the Miscellanies, in point of interest, are the letters which show the estimation in which Mr. Pitt was held by those with whom he came into contact in daily and constant intercourse. The foibles of a hero can as little be concealed from his valet, as the disposition of a statesman from his private secretary. They must be adepts in dissimulation who can avoid the scrutiny of either. Mr. Pitt inspired the men who thus came near him with a feeling of regard that lasted during more than the usual period of human life. Mr. Adams, who died last year at Sydenham, at a very advanced age, wrote to Lord Stanhope only two months previous: “In thinking of him, I am too apt to dwell less upon the loftier qualities of his mind, and upon the great objects to which they were successfully directed, than upon the milder virtues of his delightful disposition, and his unvarying kindness of heart; which so much endeared him to all those who knew him well, and inspired them with the warmest feelings of attachment." And he again writes : “ He was surely a man whom it was quite impossible to know without loving him. During his last administration--forsaken by old friends, which he bitterly felt; with declining health, and almost the whole weight of the government upon his own shoulders--so delightful was his temper that with all my shortcomings no harsh word or look ever escaped him, but all towards me was kindness and indulgence."
There was nothing in which the nobler qualities of his disposition were more strikingly shown than in his anxiety to obtain an adequate provision for the declining years of Burke. The great orator had often been his opponent; sometimes, as in the debates on the King's first illness, he had opposed him bitterly; but Mr. Pitt's only feeling towards his rival was to secure him the reward which his public services for thirty years deserved. In the present volume we have a copy of the “ Memorandum" in which he himself set them forth. He urges his claim upon the ground of labours in parliament unrecompensed by admission to power ; upon the difference in this respect between his own position and that of Barré, or of Dunning, or of Lord Auckland ; and upon the losses necessarily attendant upon that “neglect of a man's private affairs,” which is the inevitable consequence of an engrossing devotion to public life. The pension granted to him was sufficient for all the wants that he had then to satisfy. His letters acknowledging it have a melancholy interest. He had once had higher views. He was to have been raised to the peerage, with an adequate provision to sustain his rank. “ Already" (Lord Stanhope tells us*) “ was the title chosen as Lord Beaconsfield. Already was the patent preparing. Just then it pleased Almighty God to strike the old man to the very earth by the untimely death of his beloved son, his only child. There ended Burke's whole share of earthly happiness. There ended all his dreams of earthly grandeur." His proudest hopes “ lay buried in the grave.”
Two pages of the volume are next occupied with the origin and etymology of the “ Martello Towers,” a mode of defence considered, at
* Life of Pitt, vol. ii. p. 244.
one time, as second only to our navy. We are indebted to Sir George Lewis for the explanation. When piracy (he writes to Lord Stanhope) was common in the Mediterranean, the Italians built watch-towers near the sea, and gave warning of the approach of a pirate by striking on a bell with a hammer (Martello). “ Hence these towers were called Torri da Martello ;” and his lordship finds this explanation confirmed by passages in Ariosto; of which we may quote the following:
E la campana martellando tocca
(Orlando, canto x. stanza 51.) Sir John Harrington does not seem to have understood the passage in its peculiar significance, when he translated it
For straight a watchman standing in a tower,
(Ed. 1607, p. 76.) Instead of ring it should have been “hammering strike the bell.” We have not Stewart Rose's translation by us.
Following this is a letter from Sir John Moore to Lady Hester Stanhope, dated November 23, 1808 ; about six weeks before the battle of Corunna. It is in every way of value ; and its closing sentence is touchingly connected with his fate.
“ Farewell,” he writes, “my dear Lady Hester : if I extricate myself and those with me from our present difficulties, and if I can beat the French, I shall return to you with satisfaction ; but if not, it will be better that I should never quit Spain.” We well remember seeing part of the wreck of his army arrive in England. How changed from the “ good spirits” and “appearance” which he describes in his letter! and yet some of them were still as gay as if only returning from a review.
Amongst the most important of the correspondence preserved by Lord Stanhope are several letters by the late Sir Robert Peel. One of them, addressed to Lord Harrowby, immediately previous to the passing of the Reform Act, expresses an opinion that it would be better to compel the government to resort to the coup d'état of a fresh creation of peers rather than that the House of Lords should yield, against its conviction, on the second reading of the bill. This was in his days of high conservatism. “ The nature of popular concessions, their tendency to propagate the necessity for further and more extensive compliances ;" the loss of “all reverence and care for remaining institutions ;” and an “appetite whetted for a further feast at the expense of the Church or the Monarchy,' were dangers that he afterwards regarded with less of fear. His masterly defence (at the request of Lord Stanhope) of the character of Sir Robert Walpole is a valuable paper, and written with a clearness and impartiality that show no ordinary talent for historical composition.
We have next some still more valuable communications from the Duke of Wellington. First a comparison between his own position-its advantages and difficulties—and that of the Duke of Marlborough, whom he considers as “the greatest man that ever appeared at the head of a