Page:Whymper - Scrambles amongst the Alps.djvu/160

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chap. v.

is a question; they closed up remarkably quickly, and in a few days I was able to move again.[1]

It was sufficiently dull during this time. I was chiefly occupied in meditating on the vanity of human wishes, and in watching


my clothes being washed in the tub which was turned by the stream in the front of the house; and I vowed that if an English-man should at any time fall sick in the Val Tournanche, he should not feel so solitary as I did at this dreary time[2]

  1. I received much attention from a kind English lady who was staying in the inn.
  2. As it seldom happens that one survives such a fall, it may be interesting to record what my sensations were during its occurrence. I was perfectly conscious of what was happening, and felt each blow; but, like a patient under chloroform, experienced no pain. Each blow was, naturally, more severe than that which preceded it, and I distinctly remember thinking "Well, if the next is harder still, that will be the end!" Like persons who have been rescued from drowning, I remember that the recollection of a multitude of things rushed through my head, many of them trivialities or absurdities, which had been forgotten long before; and, more remarkable, this bounding through space did not feel disagreeable. But I think that in no very great distance more, consciousness as well as sensation would have been lost, and upon that I base my belief, improbable as it seems, that death by a fall from a great height is as painless an end as can be experienced.

    The battering was very rough, yet no bones were broken. The most severe cuts were one of four inches long on the top of the Lead, and another of three inches on the