Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/661

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PROFESSOR TYNDALL. 645

the early hours of the afternoon glided away without any sign of my companions, and the sun got low, things began to look serious. Neither the people at the Montanvert, nor those at Chamounix, knew anything ahout our intentions. In our way from the Mon- tanvert we had had to cross some troublesome crevasses, and I knew nothing about the route down to Chamounix. If any accident had happened to my friends I could not help them ; nor could I reckon upon getting assistance from Chamounix, unless, perhaps, I set fire to the timbers which sheltered me. My anxiety and per- plexity may be imagined, and at last, as it grew colder, I went into the hut to ponder over the situation. As I sat over the em- bers, trying to see my way to some clear conclusion, I suddenly heard the clink of an alpenstock upon the rock at the foot of the Grands Mulets. The sound has ever since been pleasant to my ear ; and, rushing out, I saw the three slowly making their way up Tyndall pretty well exhausted, for the first and last time I ever saw him in that condition ; Hirst snow-blind ; and the guide thoroughly used up. He had mistaken the route and led the party into all sorts of superfluous difficulties.

As we intended to have descended to Chamounix, without stopping a second night at the Grands Mulets, provisions were not over-abundant and there were no candles. I am proud to say I made myself useful in various ways ; among other func- tions, performing that of a chandelier with a perpetual succes- sion of lighted lucifer matches. We were soon a merry com- pany ; and the next day we descended in glory, to the great dis- gust of the orthodox guides of Chamounix, to whom an ascent of Mont Blanc, up to that time, had meant the organization of a large and profitable expedition.

The love for Alpine scenery and Alpine climbing, which re- mained with Tyndall to the last, began, or at any rate became intensified into a passion, with this journey; and, at the same time, he laid the foundations of his well-known and highly im- portant work upon glaciers and glacier movement. His first paper on this subject was presented to the Royal Society in 1857, and bears my name as well as his own, in spite of all my protests to the contrary. For beyond two or three little observa- tions, and perhaps some criticism, I contributed nothing toward it, and all that is important is Tyndall's own. But he was singularly scrupulous even punctilious on points of scientific honor. It would have been intolerable to him to have it supposed that he had used even suggestions of others, without acknowledgment ; so I, being thicker skinned, put up with the possibility of being considered a daw in borrowed plumes. The memoir became the starting-point of a long and hot controversy. While it was at its height, some supporters of the other side endeavored to throw the

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