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that heroic moral elevation, signified so gloriously in the bloody battles of Morgarten, Sempach and Murten. According to the place in which he found them, Keller conveyed those whom he rescued, either to his own hovel, or to the better shelter of the Hospice of St. Bernard. The monks were thus very soon apprized of his enterprize and skill, and were glad to avail themselves of his assistance in their charitable task. They had planted themselves aloft, amidst storms and perpetual winter, far from the comfort and abundance of the cloisters of the valleys, for the sole purpose of administering to the spiritual and temporal wants of those whose pleasure or whose business led them to encounter the dangers and fatigue of the pass of the great St. Bernard. A community of purpose and action, in so wild and unfrequented a region, naturally attached the good fathers to their new associate. Observant of his humanity and disinterestedness, and struck with his noble deportment and elegant manners, they could not fail to wonder at the cause of his sojourn on the wild acclivity of Mont-Mort; but they respected him too much to pry into his secrets, and loved
him too well to doubt his virtue. It was always, therefore, with that peculiar interest which is felt for misfortune and honour, especially when shrouded in mystery, that the good brothers of St. Augustine received the frequent visits of Keller. Sometimes, when the conversation diverged insensibly from literature and pass-adventures, to the political condition of Switzerland, the eye of their mysterious guest would kindle, and his whole manner become so animated, as to lead them to a shrewd conjecture as to the causes of his solitude. But he betrayed himself but for a moment, and by an abrupt transition to less inciting topics, intimated his unwillingness to discuss subjects which evidently produced a too painful interest.
"What a singular fate must have been that of Steinmitz;" said one of the monks to his brethren, as, at the close of a winter's day, they were engaged in scrutinizing the aspect of the confused clouds, which began to scatter in wild eddies from around the snow-peaks of Le Drossa and Velan; "there seem about him strange inconsistencies. Sometimes he appears moody and perfectly regardless of life; at other times, full of rich discourse, he
seeks the shelter of our Hospitium, when he might easily have continued his journey to his own abode." "That arises, probably," said another, "from the conflicts in his bosom between disgust of life and the love he bears to his wife and children. As these are prest upon his attention variously by varying circumstances, his character seems to change; but it is always so with men of strong passions, under the constraint of powerful events and contrasted incidents. But there is the man himself, in company with our faithful dog Barré. Something extraordinary has brought them together? Benedicite, Steinmitz! Our dog! how came you together?" "Good evening, fathers! That noble fellow found me in the pass, entirely exhausted by the loose snow which has drifted into the path by which I was returning home, and but for his warm cloak and replenished wine-flask, I should have seen the roof of the Hospice for the last time. Barré seemed himself fatigued when we met, for, as I afterwards discovered, he had scratched a hole into a snow-bank to the depth of nearly twenty feet, where he found the mortal remains of the poor mineralogist who
dined with you last week, and whom, with incredible exertion, he had entirely uncovered. When he heard my horn, he left the dead man, and came down the pass to my assistance; and by dint of dragging, he has succeeded in making me once more a guest of St. Bernard.” "I ought not,"
continued he, "to forget the kindness of that other Maron, who was brought to our aid by the bells around Barré's neck. He is following us, dragging along the mineral bag of the traveller, which he found on the way, and could not be induced to abandon, except for a few minutes at a time, when the larger snow-banks rendered our passage very difficult, and called for his assistance." "You
are most welcome, son," said the superior! "We expected your arrival, and our anxiety for your safety made us scan more curiously the signs of the weather. The blasts by which the snow was thrown on the pass, escaped our observation, as they did not reach the summit; but it seems that our dogs knew it, for they nearly all set off in the afternoon, and most of them are yet out. It was
* Alpine dog.
these fantastic movements of the clouds which
arrested our attention, and the storm they promise already hides the peaks of Mont-Mort* and Barrasan in the driving snow. If auguries fail not, this will be a most memorable night for St. Bernard. come, let us minister to our fatigued friend's wants, and pray that the signs of the heavens prognosticate no increase to the population of our morgue. It has had a fearful accession of numbers lately, and there is scarcely room among its inmates for another corpse."
Supper was soon ready, but the guest and the dogs partook of it with very different zest. Keller was moody and restless, ate little, and appeared to be attentive to every sound that came from without; while Barré and his fellow, after a voracious meal, ensconced themselves beneath the table, near the blazing hearth, and were soon buried in sleep. "You seem fatigued, Stein
mitz," said the superior, "even to the loss of
appetite and spirits.
Suffer brother Antoine to
conduct you to bed?"
Keller fixed on the bene
* Hill of death.