The mountains would become covered with snow and ice, and their former Alpine inhabitants would descend to the plains.
We can thus also understand the fact that the Alpine plants of each mountain-range are more especially related to the arctic forms living due north or nearly due north of them: for the migration as the cold came on, and the re-migration on the returning warmth, will generally have been due south and north.
But with our Alpine productions, left isolated from the moment of the returning warmth, first at the bases and ultimately on the summits of the mountains, the case will have been somewhat different; for it is not likely that all the same arctic species will have been left on mountain ranges distant from each other, and have survived there ever since; they will, also, in all probability have become mingled with ancient Alpine species, which must have existed on the mountains before the commencement of the Glacial epoch, and which during its coldest period will have been temporarily driven down to the plains; they will, also, have been exposed to somewhat different climatal influences.
All the circumstances were perfect--and the anticipations, too, for we should soon be enjoying, for the first time, that wonderful spectacle, an Alpine sunrise--the object of our journey.
The German landlady gave us neat rooms and nice beds, and when I and my agent turned in, it was with the resolution to be up early and make the utmost of our first Alpine sunrise.
The whole scenery of this deep ravine was of Alpine
wildness and sublimity.
Bribe a seraph to fetch you a coal of fire from heaven, if you will," said I, "and with it kindle life in the tallest, fattest, most boneless, fullest-blooded of Ruben's painted women--leave me only my Alpine
peri, and I'll not envy you.
I was anxious to reach the summit of this mountain to collect alpine
plants; for flowers of any kind in the lower parts are few in number.
Nor could I pass unnoticed the suggestion of the bleak shores of Lapland, Siberia, Spitzbergen, Nova Zembla, Iceland, Greenland, with "the vast sweep of the Arctic Zone, and those forlorn regions of dreary space,--that reservoir of frost and snow, where firm fields of ice, the accumulation of centuries of winters, glazed in Alpine
heights above heights, surround the pole, and concentre the multiplied rigours of extreme cold.
There was also a trader, returning from Portland to the upper part of Vermont; and a fair young girl, with a very faint bloom like one of those pale and delicate flowers which sometimes occur among alpine
She busied herself with following the aerial creations of the poets; and in the majestic and wondrous scenes which surrounded our Swiss home --the sublime shapes of the mountains, the changes of the seasons, tempest and calm, the silence of winter, and the life and turbulence of our Alpine
summers--she found ample scope for admiration and delight.