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and stuck down long black poles to mark the path beneath, while behind them came the workmen to clear away the snows, and mounted dragoons to beat down the track.
8. The pass is about fifteen miles in length; and the advance company had, after the most exhausting effort, made nearly half of it, and were toiling up the summit, when a low moaning was heard among the hills, like the voice of the sea before a storm. The guides knew too well its meaning, and gazed on each other with alarm.
9. The ominous sound grew louder and louder every moment; and suddenly the fierce Alpine blast swept along, whirling clouds of snow over the mountain, and howling through the gorge below. In an instant, all was blindness and uncertainty. The very heavens were blotted out; and the frightened column stood and listened to the raving tempest.
10. But suddenly another still more alarming sound was heard. « An avalanche! an avalanche!" shrieked the guides; and the next moment an awful white form came leaping down the mountain, and, striking the column that was struggling along the path, passed straight through it into the gulf below, carrying thirty dragoons and their horses with it in its wild plunge.
11. The black form of a steed and its rider, was seen suspended for a moment in mid heavens, in a cloud of snow; and the next moment they fell among the ice and rocks below, and were crushed out of the very form of humanity. The head of the column reached the summit in safety.
12. The other part, struck dumb by this sudden apparition, crossing their path with such lightninglike velocity, bearing to such an awful death their brave comrades, refused to proceed, and turned back.
13. For three days the storm raged amid the Alps, hurling avalanches into the path, till it be
came so filled up, that the guides declared it would take fifteen days, to open it so as to make it at all passable.
14. But fifteen days Macdonald could not spare. Besides the urgency of his commands, there was no way to provision his army in these Alpine solitudes, and he must proceed. He ordered four of the strongest oxen that could be found, to be led in advance by the best guides.
15. Forty peasants followed, clearing away the snow; and two companies of sappers came after to beat the track. Scarcely had they begun, when one of the noble oxen slipped from the precipice, and his huge frame went bounding from point to point of the jagged rocks, to the deep, dark torrent below.
1. It was a strange sight for a wintry day. Those three oxen, with their horns just peering above the snow, toiled slowly on, pushing their unwieldy bodies through the drifts, looking like mere specks on the mountain ; while the soldiers, up to their breasts, struggled behind.
2. Not a drum or bugle note cheered the solitude, or awoke the echoes of those savage peaks. The footfall gave back no sound. Silently and noiselessly, the mighty column toiled forward.
3. Now and then, a fearful cry startled the eagle on his circuit, as a whole company slipped together, and, with their muskets in their hands, fell into the deep.gorge that yawned hundreds of feet below their path. It was a wild sight — the plunge of a steed and his rider over the precipice.
4. One noble horse slipped while his rider dis.
mounted; and as he hung for a moment suspended in mid heaven, he uttered one of those fearful, bloodfreezing cries, which the wounded war horse sometimes gives forth on the field of battle.
5. The roar of the lion after his prey, or the inidnight howl of the wolf that has missed his evening repast of blood, is a gentle sound, compared to it. Once heard, it lives in the memory and brain for
The second and third columns ascended in safety, the weather being clear and frosty ; though many died of cold.
6. Their success encouraged Macdonald to march the whole remaining army over at once; and, placing himself at their head, he commenced the ascent. But fresh snow had fallen the night before, covering up the entire path, so that the road had all to be made over again.
7. They had not advanced far in the defile, before they came upon a huge block of ice and a newlyfallen avalanche, that entirely filled up the path. The guides halted and refused to go on; and the first that Macdonald knew, his army had turned to the right-about-face, and were marching down the mountain, declaring the passage to be closed.
8. At the head of the column, with a long pole in his hand, to sound the depth of the treacherous mass he was treading upon, he cheered up his men. “Soidiers,” said he, “ your destinies call you into Italy.
Advance and conquer- first the mountains and the snow, then the plains and the armies."
9. But they had scarcely overcome this obstacle, when the voice of the hurricane on its march was again heard ; and the next moment, a cloud of driving snow took everything from their view. The path was filled up, and all traces of it swept utterly away,
Then commenced again the awful struggle of the army for life.
10. The foe they had to contend with was an outward one, though not of flesh and blood. On the serried column and the straggling line, it thundered with the same reckless power. Over the long black line of soldiers, the snow lay like a winding sheet, and the dirge seemed already chanted for the dead.
11. No one, who has not seen an Alpine storm, can imagine the reckless energy, with which it rages through the mountains. The light snow, borne aloft on its bosom, was whirled and scattered, like an ocean of mist, over all things. The drifts were piled like second mountains, and seemed to form at onče, as by the touch of a magician's wand.
12. The blinding fury of the tempest, baffled all efforts to pierce the mystery and darkness that enveloped the host, clinging in despair to the breast of the mountain. The storın had sounded its trumpet for the charge, but no answering note of defiance replied. The heroes of so many battle fields, stood in still terror before this new and mightier foe.
13. Crowding together as if proximity added to their security, the mighty column crouched and shivered in the blast, that pierced their very bones with its chilling power. But the piercing cold, and drifting snow, and raving tempests, and concealed pitfalls, leading to untrodden abysses, did not complete the scene of terror.
14. Suddenly from the summit, scaling the breast of the mountain with a single leap, came the avalanches, with a crash, on the shivering column, and. bore it away. Still, with undaunted front and unyielding will, the bold Macdonald struggled on, inspiring by example his officers and men.
15. Prodigies were wrought, where effort seemed useless. The first avalanche, as it smote through the column, paralyzed for a moment every heart with fear; but those behind closed up the rent with unfaltering courage. Hesitation was death. The only hope was in advancing.
16. Once, as an avalanche cut through the ranks, bearing them away to the abyss, a young man was seen, as he disappeared over the crag, to wave an adieu to his comrade left behind.
17. The surviving companion stepped into the path where it had swept, but at that instant a laggard block of ice came thundering down, and bore him away to join his comrade in the gulf, where his crushed form still lay throbbing.
18. This passage over the Alps, by an army of fifteen thousand men, in the dead of winter, and amid hurricanes of snow and falling avalanches, stands unrivalled in the history of the world. A less energetic, indomitable man would have failed.
1. All are architects of fạte,
Working in the walls of Time;
Some with ornaments of rhyme.
2. Nothing useless is, or low;
Each thing in its place is best;
Strengthens and supports the rest.
3. For the structures that we raise,
Time is with materials filled;
Are the blocks with which we build.
4. Truly shape and fashion these ;
Leave no yawning gap between;