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We proceeded to dress by the gloom of a couple sickly
candles, but we could hardly button anything, our hands shook so.
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(from A Tramp Abroad, by Mark Twain (Samuel
I thought of how many happy people there were in Europe, Asia, and
America, and everywhere, who were sleeping peacefully in their beds,
and did not have to get up and see the Rigi sunrise--people who did
not appreciate their advantage, as like as not, but would get up in the
morning wanting more boons of Providence.
While thinking these thoughts
I yawned, in a rather ample way, and my upper teeth got hitched on a
nail over the door, and while I was mounting a chair to free myself,
Harris drew the window-curtain, and said:
"Oh, this is luck! We shan't have to go out at all--yonder are the
mountains, in full view."
That was glad news, indeed. It made us cheerful right away.
see the grand Alpine masses dimly outlined against the black firmament,
and one or two faint stars blinking through rifts in the night.
clothed, and wrapped in blankets, and huddled ourselves up, by the
window, with lighted pipes, and fell into chat, while we waited in
exceeding comfort to see how an Alpine sunrise was going to look by
By and by a delicate, spiritual sort of effulgence spread
itself by imperceptible degrees over the loftiest altitudes of the snowy
wastes--but there the effort seemed to stop. I said, presently:
"There is a hitch about this sunrise somewhere. It doesn't seem to go.
What do you reckon is the matter with it?"
"I don't know. It appears to hang fire somewhere. I never saw a sunrise
act like that before. Can it be that the hotel is playing anything on
"Of course not. The hotel merely has a property interest in the sun, it
has nothing to do with the management of it. It is a precarious kind of
property, too; a succession of total eclipses would probably ruin this
tavern. Now what can be the matter with this sunrise?"
Harris jumped up and said:
"I've got it! I know what's the matter with it! We've been looking at
the place where the sun SET last night!"
"It is perfectly true! Why couldn't you have thought of that sooner? Now
we've lost another one! And all through your blundering. It was exactly
like you to light a pipe and sit down to wait for the sun to rise in the
"It was exactly like me to find out the mistake, too. You never would
have found it out. I find out all the mistakes."
"You make them all, too, else your most valuable faculty would be wasted
on you. But don't stop to quarrel, now--maybe we are not too late yet."
But we were. The sun was well up when we got to the exhibition-ground.
On our way up we met the crowd returning--men and women dressed in
all sorts of queer costumes, and exhibiting all degrees of cold and
wretchedness in their gaits and countenances.
A dozen still remained on
the ground when we reached there, huddled together about the scaffold
with their backs to the bitter wind.
They had their red guide-books open
at the diagram of the view, and were painfully picking out the several
mountains and trying to impress their names and positions on their
memories. It was one of the saddest sights I ever saw.