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beauty and an unnatural brightness
under the full light of the moon.

Ah ! that camp-fire ! The delicious
languor, as we lay on our blankets
after dinner, toasting our toes, telling
stories, and looking into the fascinat-
ing flames ! How we pitied the poor
lowlanders at the Tavern, breathing
the heavy air of 2,000 feet, while
are .drinking the pine champagne of
the 10,000 feet upper vintage. Now
and then we toss a huge log on the
fire and bestow on each other tl
hrevet titles which come so naturally
to the free-hearted, amateur moun-
taineer. With his Tarn O'Shanter
drawn far down over his ears, thinking
of his " klei?ie/rau ,% is the Hungarian
Doctor, happy as a freshly liberated
bird to be free of his thronged office
for a brief while. He has never slept
on the ground before, and never before
climbed a peak approaching Shasta.



442



CLIMBING SHASTA.



In the Austrian Alps he has had in
early youth, considerable experience
in mountain climbing, however. And
there, next to the Doctor, chaffing
him on his picturesque appearance
'and on his promise to dance his native
Hungarian csardas for us, if he ever
reaches the summit, there is the
Chaperon, our female Napoleon, so
dubbed from some fancied resemblance
to the stout, little corporal, as she sat
her horse. She, too, had never sat
on the ground before, or sat around a
merry camp-fire, poor thing ! But in
the Swiss Alps, in days before she
resembled the stout little corporal, she
had climbed the Pitz I^anguard and
other peaks, and later, a stiff peak or
two in the Sierra Nevadas — would she
with her late attack of inflammatory
rheumatism, whose effects had not yet
left her, would she ever reach the
summit, to witness the dancing of the
csardas f It seemed doubtful to those
who did not know her Napoleonic
pluck, and it also seemed doubtful if
there would be any dancing of the
csardas.

There is the Young Merchant from
one of the largest San Francisco
houses, who by a strange coincidence,
had also been a climber of the Pitz
I y anguard in earlier days. By another
coincidence, his brother had been the
first to carry an amateur's Kodak to
the summit of Shasta, several years
before, with one*of the guides who is
now with us. It was quite fitting
that he should follow his brother's
example and again carry to the summit
a Kodak, whose results will be
found in the illustrations of this
article.

There, too, leaning against a huge
pine tree and gazing abstractedly into
the fire, is The Baby, so called, but
stoutest in frame of any of us, and con-
sequently sometimes addressed by us
as The Athlete. He, by another coin-
cidence, was on the 7th of September
climbing to the peak of Shasta,
while his former boxing teacher, Cor-
.bett, was on the same day fighting his
way to another summit of glory in



New Orleans ; and so, again, our
■ ' Baby ' ' was often addressed with
considerable respect as " Corbett Jr."
And there, brown as a berry and fresh
as a lark after the long day's ride, sits
the "Glorious Girl," all unconscious
of her own picturesqueness. All day
long she sat her horse like a centaur,
and now, fresher than any of us, she
is enlivening the group with stories of
her life at Butte Camp, her long rides
over the Colorado plains, and her be-
loved horses and dogs. She is to teach
us a good lesson to-morrow.

There is the "Capitano," so named
from some trivial supervision of the de-
tails of the trip, who was later by a
rising vote in the saddle, promoted to
a colonelcy for bravery in the field !
The rest of us are old campaigners who
have climbed many peaks in both
hemispheres, and have many a time
fallen asleep with our toes to a slum-
bering camp fire.

But there is a long day of work be-
fore us to-morrow. The ' ' Capitano ' '
counsels blankets, and soon, with the
light, night wind rustling through the
pines and the little brook making
music not twenty feet away, rolled in
innumerable blankets, the sky for our
tent, we fall into fitful sleep. And the
moon is full. Five o'clock in the grey
morning, and the guides are rousing
us. There is to be no boy's play to-
day. At six, we have breakfasted
lightly, a heavy meal not being recom-
mended by our guide, and we are in
the saddle.

Few of our animals, if any, have
ever been in such high altitudes. For
a couple of miles we go almost direct-
ly towards the summit, with frequent
short zigzags. The soil is a light, dis-
integrated lava. The horses sink six
to ten inches at every step. They puff
most distressingly.

About two miles from camp, we stop
almost on the eastern edge of Mud
Creek Canon, looking hundreds of feet
down on Mud Creek glacier. We can
hear the water running under the
glacier. The glacier extends far up
towards the top of the mountain. The






CLIMBING SHASTA.



443




GOVERNMENT TOWER ON THE
SUMMIT.



guides roll boul-
ders down into
the canon and
the echo rever-
berates for a
long w h'i 1 e
a in o n g the
rocky cliffs. We
move on, swing-
ing around
again to the
eastward. For
a couple of miles
the ascent is not
so steep as be-
fore. We ride in
long diagonals,
gradually creep-
ing upwards. There is actually no
danger at all if one is a fair horse-
man, though some of us begin to feel
a little dizzy and light-headed, not
liking to look at distant scenery or
down the steep inclines along which
we are moving.

After a couple of miles we have ap-
proached nearly to the Ash Creek
glacier. The ascent has become very
steep, the horses puff and blow, and
we can feel their hearts beating like
trip-hammers between our knees. We
move now in shorter zigzag courses,
holding on to our horses' manes and
leaning well forward. With frequent
stops, and after much puffing and
snorting, we arrive at launch Rock, a
little before eleven o'clock, having
started at six. Some idea of the na-
ture of this climb of perhaps five miles,
may be had from the length of time
consumed. The " Capitano's " horse
proved the worst of the party, puffing
and blowing as if he were going to
burst. He is largely responsible for
the slow time.

Quickly dismounting at Lunch Rock,
a huge, yellow sandstone rock, round-
ed to the semblance of a lunch table,
we tie our horses and are ready
for the climb on foot. We have
not gone far before we find our hearts
beating at the rate of one hundred and
twenty a minute. It is the only in-
convenience we feel. We cannot climb



twenty feet without feeling the tre-
mendous heart-beating, which occa-
sions a terrible weakness, not to say
alarm.

For a half mile, the climb is at an
angle of quite forty-five degrees. Mr.
Gilbert, my old confrere on a Gov-
ernment exploring party, is said by
the guide Stewart to have taken two
mules to the summit by this route.
By a unanimous vote, we decide that
they must have been a winged spe-
cies.

After a while the ascent becomes
less steep and rocky. We again strike
the soft pulverized lava. The feet
sink into it, but with careful placing
it is easier walking than over the
jagged, rocky cliff which we have just
passed. An indignation meeting is
held, called to order by " Herr ] »
tor." Present— "Herr Doctor " and
11 El Capitano." "It is an outrage ;
it is a burning shame. Old man Sis-
son stating that we can ride within'
half a mile of the summit. Here we
have been walking for two hours or
more. We will publish it. We will
blazon it far and wide. It is two
miles if it is a step ! "■ Such was the
resolution moved by one, seconded by
the other, and unanimously carried, as
we stood in the lava rock, overlook-
ing Ash Creek glacier.

Meanwhile the great * ' Napoleon "
is moving steadily upwards, aided by
the guides. It is fearful climbing
with those rheumatic knees. The
" Glorious Girl" and the two young
men have forged ahead. There is no
danger of missing the way. The
summit, with its iron beacon, is now
in plain sight. We hear a shout above
us. It is a party of three, who had
left us yesterday at the parting of the
trail, ten miles out of Sisson's, and had
come up the short way. They have
gained the summit, and are waving
and shouting to us. Presently an-
other and a shriller shout, and we
recognize the "Young Merchant,"
who has also reached the top and is
calling. Soon afterwards the " Glori-
ous Girl" and the "Baby" appear



444



CLIMBING SHASTA.



at the summit. The rest of us, moth-
ers and fathers of families, who
should perhaps have known better
than to be on such a trip, are toiling
laboriously upward.

We skirt the upper edge of Ash
Creek Glacier, which tends southeast.
We leave Mud Creek Glacier to our
left ; it extends southward. We walk
a hundred feet or more over the upper
end of the great Whitney Glacier ; it
has a general westerly course. This
is the only snow walking of our entire
trip. We are surrounded by snow-
fields, which are permanent, but until
striking the Whitney Glacier, we
have been clambering over a rocky,
lava ridge which runs between Mud
Creek and Ash Creek Glaciers. We
have consequently had no difficulty
from snow-blindness, a common
trouble in the shorter route.

The "gute kleine fraii" seems farther
away than ever. Our little "Na-
poleon " is pushing pluckily upwards
between the two guides. Directly
over the upper end of the Whitney
Glacier stands the summit, rising
sheer and forbidding, a couple of hun-
dred feet, surmounted by the iron
tower. A cry of "Bring up that
lunch ! Quick ! " comes down to US,
But it is a long time before we make
the circuit of that precipitous pile,
clamber on hands and knees up the
last hundred feet of broken rock and
sliding, slippery soil and join the
others above. A Harvard cheer goes
up, for there — encouraging the two
young men and bracing them with
the fumes of ammonia from a small
phial — there is the "Glorious Girl,"
covered with a capacious "sw r eater,"
with the dear old " H ' ' in huge pro-
portions on its front. I wonder how
many Harvard cheers have gone up
from the top of Shasta? Not many, I
conceive.

The summit is a narrow, rocky,
jagged ridge, except on the western
end, w T here it broadens somewhat
into a shelf, the site of the monument.
We throw ourselves, exhausted and
famished, on the rocks. The Kodak



is unstrapped and several pictures
taken. We have packed a mirror all
the way from Sisson's, a mirror about
ten by six inches in size, in order, if
possible, to flash back to the Tavern
of Castle Crags. It is strapped to a
board, slightly larger than itself, and
the whole wrapped in a gunny-sack.
We unroll it and try to signal to our
friends, some twenty miles away in a
direct line. There is a slight haze
over the Tavern. It is three o'clock.
Our friends, we are afterwards told,
have waited patiently for hours on the
banks of the Sacramento, above Castle
Crags, expecting our signal by one
o'clock at the latest. They have
given us up, and our signalling avails
nothing.

We take a slight lunch of crackers,
cheese and cold tea. We have two or
three small flasks of whisky but by
the advice of our guide we do not use
it on account of the high altitude.
We register our names in the well-
worn book kept in the stout box in the
tin-covered cache. The guides are
pointing out the distant Lava Beds,
where the Modoc war was fought,
the winding McCloud, Sisson's, in
plain view, Lasser Peak, the only
prominent peak in sight because of
the light haze on the horizon, and
there — but what is this ?

A terrific war-whoop is heard. We
start, full of apprehension that some
one has lost his senses in the upper
air. But no; there on the narrow edge
of rock, shouting a wild refrain, in as
loud a voice as a pulse of 120 will
allow — there is our dear Doctor,
dancing the Hungarian csardas, with
his legs and arms in every conceivable
position, whirling a bottle in the air,
and finally throwing it on the rocks
below where it crashes in a thousand
pieces ! Whatever may be said of the
Harvard cheer, I think I am quite
safe in my assertion that this is the
first time in the memory of man, that
the Hungarian csardas has been
danced on the top of Shasta, 14,442
feet above the level of the sea.

What are our sensations so far up



CLIMBING SHASTA.



445



towards the vault of Heaven ? For
one thing we are peculiarly light-
headed. Several are more or less
nauseated, in spite of frugal meals;
all, including the guides (who say it
is their usual experience) have the
most excruciating headaches. It is
as though a vise were clamped tight
across one's forehead, but it quickly
wears away when we descend to lower
altitudes.

And now the light is waning. The
mountain begins to cast its long, pyr-
amidal shadow to the eastward, and
we have a long descent to make to the
camp. We are not scientific. We
are not topographers. We have no
glacial theories to study. We are not
especially charmed with the view
from the summit — far and wide over a
mountainous country, unrelieved with
water — a view not to be compared to
that of Shasta from the surrounding
country, looking upward. So we do
not linger long on top. There is no
wind. The thermometer shows about
56 . We return by way of the
Hot Springs, a most remarkable exhi-
bition of Nature's forces — a boiling
spring, hot enough to cook an egg in
four minutes, bursting forth in hissing
jets, not 200 feet away from the Whit-
ney Glacier, and on a little open mesa
slightly lower than the upper end of
the glacier. We recross this glacier,
the weary "Napoleon" distinguish-
ing herself by falling into a creVasse
up to her waist. We fairly fly dowm
as compared with our ascent, and
reach Lunch Rock at half after five in
the afternoon, having left the summit
at four. We find our patient animals
tied as we left them.

Down, down, down, without a pause
for breath, and our descent is accom-



plished in three and a half hours.
Again the roaring camp-fire and the
rough alfresco meal. Many of us are
too exhausted to eat, and no Capiiano
is needed to counsel early blankets ;
We curl up in them around the wan-
ing fire ! Only one uneasy spirit flits
back and forth, replenishing the fire,
as the rest of us enjoy our slum'
by the edge of the gently waving
pines.

Another early call, another light
breakfast, another wild scramble up
and down the Mud Creek Canon,
another long day in the saddle, and at
four o'clock, dusty, grimy and rather
scornfully and suspiciously eyed by
our friends who have come thus far to
greet us, we gallop into Sisson's
with a brave show of exuberant spirits
but with many a rent in our garments.

1 ' Does it pay ? " is the first question
asked us by the utilitarians at the
Tavern. Probably not for you, pudgy
clubman, nodding in your cozy cor-
ner, with a convenient bell at your
elbow; nor for you, snug note-shaver,
who would be lost if you did not feel
the old familiar pavement under your
feet. Probably, not for our delightful
dowagers, rocking away on the Tav-
ern's piazzas, or for any and all of the
stout-waisted gentry who stick by the
beaten path and would scorn the
breezy hilltops.

Certainly it paid our stout-hearted
little party, as it will pay anyone
whose heart and breathing apparatus
are in normal condition, who can sit
a horse all day, who is not afraid of
dizzy heights and treacherous trails,
and above all, who does not expect
Delmonico's on the mountain slopes,
or a hotel mattress under his blan-
kets.




militant Slafte.




by john VANCH ciii:m:v.



With a thousand angels upon the wind —

THERE, and so accompanied rode
Blake, the mystic, from child-
hood to the end of his three-score
and ten. The poem entitled "Ver-
ses," from which this line is taken,
opens with couplets that fitly intro-
duce the singer so strange in equip-
ment and method, standing well to-
ward the front among the defiant
forces, the insoluble phenomena: —

With happiness stretched across the hills
In a cloud that dewy sweetness distils,
With a blue sky spread over with wings,
And a mild sun that mounts and sings;
With trees and fields full of fairy elves,
And little devils who fight for themselves,
Remembering the verses that Hayley sung
When my heart knocked against the root of

my tongue,
With angels planted in hawthorn bowers,
And God himself in the passing hours;
With silver angels across my way,
And golden demons that none can stay.

We are swung at once into midair,
and the natural exclamation is,
li Madman ! " Blake, in his lifetime,
was known to many as a madman,
but let us not be too hasty in con-
signing great gifts to the asylum ;
for Coleridge, De Quincey, Byron,
even Wordsworth, have been tracked
beyond the bounds of sanity. The
spice of madness demanded for
the poet, Blake assuredly had, and
this is all that concerns us at present.
The many make too little of such a
mind, while a few make too much of
it. Mr. Gilchrist and Swinburne are
guilty, I think, on the side of over-
appreciation.

But while I find, here and there,
applied to Blake adulatory adjectives
larger than his erratic genius can well
carry, I find him something very dif-
ferent from what he has been found by



his detractors. I find a deal of queer-
ness, a medley of Ezekiel, Ossian and
an innominable tertium quid « I find
independence, intolerance, wildi:
I find incoherence, vast scattering.
rhapsody thinning away into mi
mysticism slipping into nonsense, in
short, defiance of much that is right
in^ thought, and in method; I find
this, but mingled with it strains and
whole poems possible only to the poet
pure and simple, to the singer by the
grace of God. Indeed, Blake, at bis
best, is, what we should always joy to
find, an excellent illustration of t he-
old notion, the true notion of the poet;
with imagination, vision, faith, enthu-
siasm, he has the poet's kind ( t
thought, his straight sight, and his
swift method, his fire and his mu>ic
shining and singing along the native,
inevitable lines. As we read the place
of his birth, there is something pro-
phetic in the names, — " Broad Street,
Golden Square"; of a truth, he was
the babe for a spacious, radiant cradle.
It is a waste of time to look for system
in the work of such a mind; as in the
case of Kmerson, the light is too white
for more than gleams, flashes. Blake
is a reporter, a flesh-and-blood conduit
for the high might that descends t<>
become, through certain rare organ-
isms, among the most precious ] >< »
sions of men. We get from him oc-
casional meteor streaks of prophecy;
we get, scattered blossoms of philos-
ophy; we hear the voice of the teacher,
indirect, trembling with passion; we
listen to the joyous songs of nature
and of ' 'humble livers " from the li]
one the color of whose singing-robe
matches the sunset purple of Words-
worth's; we hear the last echo of the
days when youth and music ruled the



447



44*



WILLIAM BLAKE.



English world; and having this, we
have something harder to find than
theories and systems.

The vision is mightier in this poet
than the faculty divine. He sees so
much that he forgets the blindness of
the world; with so much of the poet
in himself, he forgets how little of the
poet there is in us; he draws the rapid
outlines, dashes off the sketch, and
our own imagination is left to complete
the picture. It should not be forgot-
ten, however, that in many cases the
poems are but half the artistic whole ;
that it was Blake's habit to engrave
his poems, illustrating them with col-
ored drawings round the page or on a
separate page. To read the poems
apart from the designs is like listening
to Wagner's operas, blindfold. To be
sure, the poems must stand or fall by
themselves, still it is only right to bear
in mind that we do not realize, as we
read them on the plain page, the full
action of the author's imagination.

Emerson describes himself as a
transparent eyeball, yet his vision is
normai ; Blake's vision is abnormal.
If Emerson sees more than he can tell,
Blake pushes on to the point where
language is thrown into utter confu-
sion : —

"I assert for myself," he says,
"that I do not behold the outward
creation, and that to me it is hind-
rance and not action. ' What!' it will
be questioned, ' when the sun rises, do
you not see a disc of fire, somewhat
like a guinea? 'Oh no, no! I see an
innumerable company of the heavenly
host, crying, Holy, holy, holy is the
Lord God Almighty ! ' I question not
my corporeal eye, any more than I
would question a window, concerning
a sight. I look through it, and not
with it."

The more we look into the matter
of art, the more evident it becomes that
patience is of the very essence of suc-
cess in it; but, unluckily, all the patience
of the little Blake family was in the
heart of faithful black-eyed Catherine.
Had it been among the temperamental
treasures of the master of the house,



what might he not have done, he that
in green boyhood can remind us of
Shakespeare himself?

And may our duty, Chandos, be our pleas-
ure. —

Now we are alone, Sir John, I will un-
burden

And breathe my hopes into the burning air,

Where thousand Deaths are posting up and
down,

Commissioned to this fatal field of Cressy.

Methinks I see them arm my gallant sol-
diers,

And gird the sword upon each thigh, and fit

Each shining helm, and string each stub-
born bow,

And dance to the neighing of our steeds.

Methinks the shout begins, the battle burns;

Methinks I see them perch on English
crests,

And roar the wild flame of fierce war upon

The thronged enemy! In truth, I am too
full;

It is my sin to love the noise of war.
# * * * *

Considerate age, my lord, views motives,
And not acts, when neither warbling voice
Nor trilling pipe is heard, nor pleasure sits
With trembling age, the voice of Conscience

then,
Sweeter than music in a summer's eve,
Shall warble round the snowy head, and

keep
Sweet symphony to feathered angels, sitting
As guardians round your chair; then shall

the pulse
Beat slow, and taste and touch and sight

and sound and smell,
That sing and dance round Reason's fine-
wrought throne,
Shall flee away, and leave him all forlorn;
Yet not forlorn if Conscience is his friend.

We are a long way from Shake-
speare, but to get this near him is
no common feat for an unschooled
youngster. Further on. we come upon
the splendid expression,

Threatening as the red brow of storms.

In passing, the adjective, red, illus-
trates the indefinable, the inexplic-
able, poetic force of certain words. We
find it again in Beddoes's

The red outline of beginning Adam.

Blake had not the shaping power of
imagination for protracted composi-
tion, neither was he specially fitted
for the favorite effort to unite taste
with condensation. The longer pieces



WILLIAM BLAKE.



449



are loose, shapeless; and no less fail-
ures are such hyperbolic announce-
ments as, —

A game-cock clipped and armed for fight
Doth the rising sun affright;

*****
The soldier armed with sword and gun
Palsied strikes the summer's sun;

*****
Every tear from every eye
Becomes a babe in eternity.

Blake poised on a thin ridge; on the
one side chaos, on the other the depth
of the ridiculous; and he made mis-
steps both right and left. True; but
the recovery! not only does he balance
on the height once more, in the rest
of the blessed cloud, but rises on the
songbird's wing, and circles and carols
at blissful ease in the empyrean.

There is no denying that Blake is
prone to go "beating in the void."
We must expect it of one that can
write after this daring fashion in a
quiet letter to a friend: —

"I am more famed in heaven for
my works, than I could well conceive.
In my brain are studies and chambers
filled with books and pictures of old,
which I wrote and painted in ages of
eternity before my mortal life ; and
these works are the delight and study
of archangels. Why then should I
be anxious about the riches or fame
of mortality? The Lord our Father
will do for us and with us according
to His divine will, for our good. You,
O dear Flaxman, are a sublime arch-
angel — my friend and companion from
eternity. In the divine bosom is our
dwelling-place. I look back into the
regions of reminiscence, and behold
our ancient days before this earth
appeared in its vegetated mortality to
my mortal vegetated eyes. I see our
houses of eternity, which can never be
separated, though our mortal vehicles
should stand at the remotest corners
of heaven from each other." The
Visionary that can so write has no



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