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Whom God Hath Joined: A Question of Marriage

118 pages
Library of Alexandria
Like doth not always draw to like--in truth Old age is ever worshipful of youth, Seeing in boyish dreams with daring rife, A reflex of the spring time of its life, When sword in hand with Hope's brave flag unfurled, It sallied forth to fight the blust'ring world. It was about mid-day, and the train having emerged from the darkness of the St. Gothard tunnel, was now steaming rapidly on its winding line through the precipitous ravines of the Alps, under the hot glare of an August sun. On either side towered the mountains, their rugged sides of grey chaotic stone showing bare and bleak at intervals amid the dense masses of dark green foliage. Sometimes a red-roofed châlet would appear clinging swallow-like to the steep hill-side--then the sudden flash of a waterfall tumbling in sheets of shattered foam from craggy heights: high above, fantastic peaks swathed in wreaths of pale mist, and now and then the glimpse of a white Alpine summit, milky against the clear blue of the sky. On sped the engine with its long train of carriages, as though anxious to leave the inhospitable mountain land for the fertile plains of Italy--now crawling fly-like round the giant flank of a hill--anon plunging into the cool gloom of a tunnel--once more panting into the feverish heat--sweeping across slender viaducts hanging perilously over foaming torrents--gliding like a snake under towering masses of rock--and running dangerously along the verge of dizzy precipices, while white-walled, red-roofed, green-shuttered villages, shapeless rocks, delicately green forests, snow-clad peaks, and thread-like waterfalls flashed past the tired eyes of the passengers in the train with the rapidity of a kaleidoscope. And it was hot--the insufferable radiance of the southern sun, blazing down from a cloudless sky, beat pitilessly on the roofs of the railway carriages, until the occupants were quite worn out with the heat and glare from which they could not escape. In one of the first-class carriages two men were endeavouring to alleviate the discomfort in some measure, and had succeeded in obtaining a partial twilight by drawing down the dark blue curtains, but the attempt was hardly successful, as through every chink and cranny left uncovered, shot the blinding white arrows of the sun-god, telling of the intolerable brilliance without.