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Julius Le Vallon

CHAPTER I

Surely death acquires a new and deeper significance when we regard it no longer as a single and unexplained break in an unending life, but as part of the continually recurring rhythm of progress-as inevilable, as natural, and as benevolent as sleep."-"Some Dogmas of Religion” (Prof. J. M‘Taggart).

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T was one autumn in the late 'nineties that I found myself at Bâle, awaiting letters. I was returning

leisurely from the Dolomites, where a climbing holiday had combined pleasantly with an examination of the geologically interesting Monzoni Valley. When the claims of the latter were exhausted, however, and I turned my eyes towards the peaks, it happened that bad weather held permanent possession of the great grey cliffs and towering pinnacles, and climbing was out of the question altogether. A world of savage desolation gloomed down upon me through impenetrable mists; the scouts of winter's advance had established themselves upon all possible points of attack; and the whole tossed wilderness of precipice and scree lay safe, from my assaults at least, behind a frontier of furious autumn storms.

Having ample time before my winter's work in London, I turned my back upon the unconquered Marmolata and Cimon della Pala, and made my way slowly, via Bozen and Innsbruck, to Bâle; and it was in the latter place, where my English correspondence was kind enough to overtake me, that I found one letter in particular that interested me more than all the others put together. It bore a Swiss stamp; and the hand

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Cassell and Company, Ltd
London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne

L3J8

First published 1916 ΤΟ

M. S-K.

(1906)

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