Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/489

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469
THE LIVING AND THE DEAD.

mutely and with a vacant eye, for his intelligence and his memory were torpid with age; but Couttet's faculties were still perfect at 72, and he exhibited strong emotion. He said,—

"Pierre Balmat was fair; he wore a straw hat. This bit of skull, with the tuft of blond hair, was his; this is his hat. Pierre Carrier was very dark; this skull was his, and this felt hat. This is Balmat's hand, I remember it so well!" and the old man bent down and kissed it reverently, then closed his fingers upon it in an affectionate grasp, crying out, "I could never have dared to believe that before quitting this

A Tramp Abroad 0489h.jpg

UNEXPECTED MEETING OF FRIENDS.

world it would be granted me to press once more the hand of one of those brave comrades, the hand of my good friend Balmat."

There is something wierdly pathetic about the picture of that white-haired veteran greeting with his loving hand-shake this friend who had been dead forty years. When these hands had met last, they were alike in the softness and freshness of youth; now, one was brown and wrinkled and horny