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The Baldwin Library
Sm un ityo
ir1i fatherlaud a'eries.
^r iii' )mlan.
PHI LAD) E Pll A:
i.!TH-"AN BOARD OF P:'- ICATION
grtaltoaictl from tlhe (Orrwau,
M. A. MANDERSON.
LUTHERAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION.
Entcreod according to Act of Cougre.s, in the year 1870. by the
LUTHERAN BOARD) OF PUBLICATION,
in th, "Ilrr's Office of the District Court of the United States in
and for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
drEKEOTYPED BY J. FAGAN & SON, PHILADELPHIA.
CAXTON PRESS OP
8HERMAN & CO., PHILADELPHIA.
BROWN LIESLI. 9
THE NEST OF THE LAMMERGEYERS 30
DER GEMSBOCK 67
THE Swiss HERDS-BOY 104
HERR VON ROCHEFORT 155
THE REWARD OF FIDELITY 176
III IE tt
HE first beams of the morning sun
had just gilded the icy summits
of the Wellhorn and Wetterhorn,
those magnificent Alpine giants of the Ber-
nese Oberland, as a bright, active boy step-
ped from the door of a herdsman's chalet,
and gazed up with clear eye into the blue
Most charming weather, father!" he
cried; not a cloud to be seen, and the sky
10 GEYER WALTY.
gleams like silver high in the clear atmo-
"That is pleasant news to me, Walty,"
replied an energetic voice from within the
chalet. "You know I must travel to-day
over the great Scheideck to Grindelwald to
see cousin Leuthold. It is a great distance,
and the journey will be much more agree-
able under the blue heavens, than in the
midst of fcg and showers of rain. Let the
goats out of the stable, Walty, and look
after the cow. We will hurry and milk
them before I take my Alpenstock in
It will not take long to hunt up Brown
Liesli. She is just now coming up the pre-
cipice, past neighbor Frieshardt's house,"
replied the boy. "She is a wise creature,
and knows it is time we had her milk for
breakfast. But what does this mean? Our
neighbor is driving her into his barn-yard.
GEYER WALTY. II
Ho! my friend, you have made a mistake.
Let the cow go! Neighbor Frieshardt, that
is our cow -our Liesli. You surely know
V it is."
"Certainly I do," harshly replied a brawny
Swiss farmer from near his house, which lay
a little lower down the declivity, and about
some hundred steps distant from the little
chalet. "It suits me to take the cow, and
if your father wishes to have her again, he
may come himself and claim her."
"Father, father! cried the lad. "Come
at once and take our Liesli from neighbor
With hasty step came Toni Hirzel, the
boy's father, just in time to see the stall-
door close behind the cow-his cow.
"Oho! Frieshardt," cried he, "what does
this mean ? "
"You certainly understand, Hirzel," said
his neighbor, in a jeering tone. "Just think
12 GEYER WALTY.
a moment of your promise. You know you
borrowed forty franks of me last winter, and
you were to return them yesterday; and as
you appear to have forgotten, I thought I
would remind you of it by taking possession
of your cow, and she remains in my stable
until you pay me back my money."
Toni Hirzel at these words drew his fore-
head into many a deep wrinkle, and pressed
his under lip tightly between his teeth.
"You well know," said he, "that I have not
been in circumstances to discharge the debt.
The burial of my poor wife, who died this
spring, cost me a great deal, and prevented
it. But you also know that I am an honest
man, and should not be dealt with in this
unfriendly manner. It is not neighborly,
"Neighborly or not," replied the farmer,
the cow belongs to me until you pay the
GEYER WALTY. 13
With these words he turned away, and
entered his beautiful large house, whose sub-
stantial outside was indicative at least of
comfort and plenty, if not of wealth and
affluence. With a troubled and clouded
brow, Toni Hirzel looked after him.
"How now, father," said the boy, aston-
ished and enraged. Do you intend to let
him keep our cow? I would not suffer it,
if I were you."
"Be quiet, my son," answered his father.
"It is certainly far from kind in Frieshardt
to treat a poor neighbor as he has done me.
But he has the right, for I cannot deny that
I am indebted to him. Had it been possi-
ble, I would have paid back the trifling sum
long before this, but owing to your poor
mother's sickness and death, I could not.
Have patience, my boy. If cousin Leuthold
knows I need the money, he will lend me
the forty franks, and then we will have our
14 GEYER WALTY.
cow again. Cheer up. To-morrow our
Liesli shall pasture free upon the alma."
Yes, that she will, father," answered the
boy, in a decided tone. "That shall happen,
even if cousin cannot lend you the'money.
Yes, he shall give her up even to-day, and
be ashamed into the bargain of his hard-
heartedness. Shame upon the rich man!
He has forty cows upon the alma, and yet
covets his poor neighbor's sole treasure.
What have we ever done to him that he
should treat us in this manner ?"
"I will tell you, my son, for you are now
old enough, and sensible enough to be
spoken to upon such subjects," answered his
father. "For a long time he has envied me
the possession of our Brown Liesli; she is by
far the best cow upon the mountain-side:
and he offered me for her, the past autumn,
two hundred francs, and as I was unwilling
to part with her, he has claimed her on the
grounds that I have not dischar
paltry debt. If I complain, he knows a pri
will be set upon the cow, and he will pay
me the difference after deducting the forty
francs: he has reasoned in this way, I have
no doubt; but I sincerely hope he may be
disappointed in his reckoning."
"Yes, I hope so too, father," said the lad.
" Do not worry about it: go to our cousins at
Grindelwald, but give yourself no uneasiness
even if you cannot borrow the money: I
promise you our cow shall be out of our
neighbor's stall before night; and you know,
father, that what I promise, I will perform."
"I hope you have no foolish notion in
your mind, Wdlty," said his father. Do not
take the cow forcibly from our neighbor;
in a certain measure he is entitled to do as
he has done."
"I will not take her by force," replied the
boy; "only suffer me to plan it, father, and
quietly upon your journey. What I
.a do I know, and what I know, that will
I do; it is nothing wrong, father; of that you
may rest satisfied."
Saying these words, the lad looked so
openly and so frankly into his face, that the
father gave himself no further uneasiness.
" You are no longer a child, Wialty," said he;
"you were sixteen years the past May; but
can I not know what plan you have on
hand-can you not tell me, my boy?"
This evening, after your return, you shall
know all about it, father; rest assured it will
be nothing wrong or foolish: I give you my
hand upon that."
"Well, then, do as your heart dictates, my
lad, and may God bless and direct you!" said
his father. I will delay no longer, but will
start at once over the Scheideck, so as to
return before night; the dear God guard
thee, my son!"
GEYER WALTY. 17
Then taking from the corner his Alpen-
stock, Father Hirzel started upon his journey.
"Depart, dear, good father," said the boy
softly, as he gazed after him with tender look
until his form vanished in a curve of the
mountain-path; depart in peace: had I told
you what I intended to do, it would only have
made you unhappy; now all words about it
have been saved, and I can go spiritedly,
untrammelled by injunctions and promises,
to my work; but first I must milk the goats,
so that meanwhile the poor creatures do not
At his shrill call the goats came leaping
toward him, and soon Walty had filled the
shallow pails and placed them in the cool
milk-room; after which he ate his frugal meal,
consisting only of a little milk and a slice
of black bread: the goats meanwhile wan-
dered away, climbing up the nearest rocks,
searching among the fissures and crevices
18 GEYER WALTY.
for roots and plants. Walty then prepared
himself for his expedition; put on his hunt-
ing-pouch; stuck in his girdle a short-
handled axe, and a knife in his pocket; then
filling a little flask with goat's milk, and cut-
ting a large slice of bread, he put them in
his hunting-pouch; he then chose a firm
Alpenstock, which he prudently proved, to
assure himself that the point was sharp and
secure: one look he cast upon his father's
sure rifle, which hung against the wall, and
appeared for a time undecided whether he
would take it or not.
No," said he at last, half aloud; it would
only hinder me in climbing, and not prove
so useful in the end as this axe in my girdle.
If it should come to a struggle, this will
prove the best weapon."
Then hunting up a thin, but strong rope,
such as the chamois-hunters are wont to
take with them upon their dangerous moun-
GEYER WALTY. 19
tain expeditions, he left the chalet, whose
door he bolted from without.
About a mile distant from his home lay
the inn of Rosenlaui, on the road that leads
from Meyringen to Grindelwald: thither
Walty directed his steps, although it was
still quite early in the day when he arrived.
All was bustle and activity in front of the
inn; mules and horses stood saddled before
the door, awaiting their riders to ascend the
steep heights of the Scheideck, or to descend
to Meyringen, and view the magnificent falls
of Reichenbach. The guides stood chatting
near the animals, and numerous servants
passed busily to and fro.
Ho, Walty! cried one of the guides to
the lad as he greeted them pleasantly, do
you too wish to earn a few franks this morn-
ing, that you come with Alpenstock and
hunting-pouch? There will be plenty of
business on hand to-day. The inn is filled
20 GEYER WALTY.
with tourists, and you will soon come across
some one you can show the way to the gla-
cier or grotto."
No, no, Mohrle," answered the lad. I
have not come to take anything away from
you. I wish only to speak a moment with
Herr Seymore the Scot, who has been stay-
ing here in Rosenlaui so long a time. I
hope he has not gone."
"Do you not see him, Wilty? He is
standing at his window. What service can
you be to him? He knows every road and
by-path as well as any of us. What do you
want of him? "
"You will find that out, perchance, upon
your return this evening," answered the boy.
"It is a secret until then."
"Aha! I understand," said the guide.
"You have tracked a chamois, and would
take the stranger with you to witness the
sport. He is bent upon having a chamois
GEYER WALTY. 21
buck, and you may count with certainty upon
a five-franc piece if you help him to come
into possession of one."
"That may be, Mohrle," said the lad,
smiling. Then looking up to the window
of the inn, at which stood the young and
wealthy foreigner of whom they had been
speaking, he accosted him respectfully.
Returning the salutation of the lad, the
Scot opened the window and called to him
to enter. Well pleased, Walty nodded, and
passed into the house.
"A brave fellow! said Mohrle. There
are but few lads in Oberland so bold and
skilful a mountaineer as he; and as for sur-
prising a chamois, he has scarcely his equal.
But we need not wonder at that; his father,
Toni Hirzel, has the reputation of being the
best chamois-hunter in all the country
"Yes, the lad is certainly brave," said an-
22 GEYER WALTY.
other of the guides. "I know his father
well, too; a more dexterous hunter lives not
in our mountains. But it is a dangerous
business. I would not be willing to ex-
change with him; much easier is it to act as
guide. You do not run such risks of your
life, and yet receive better wages."
"Anrd I bet that Hirzel would not will-
ingly exchange with you," said Mohrle.
" He was talking to me about it not a week
ago, saying, 'Although my father and my
grandfather perished by the chase, I cannot
give it up. If I discover the track of a cha-
mois, I am compelled to follow him from
mountain height to mountain height.' It is
ever thus with the chamois-hunter."
"May God long protect him from such a
horrible death," said the guide. But there
come the tourists. Look after your mule,
The conversation came to a sudden end,
GEYER WALTY. 23
as ladies and gentlemen, equipped for their
mountain excursions, issued from the inn,
and mounted the patiently waiting animals.
In a short time the life and animation had
ceased, and the bustling, confused spot was
quiet and deserted.
"Speak," said the Scot, who had until
now been watching from the opened win-
dow the departure of the guests; turning
now toward Walty, who modestly remained
standing within the door. Did your father
send you? Has he discovered fresh tracks?"
No, Herr, the business on hand to-day
is not the chamois," replied the lad. "I
only wish to ask if you were in earnest
about the nest of the limmergeyer."
"The lammergeyer fellow," exclaimed the
young man eagerly and with sparkling eye:
"have you really discovered a nest?"
I have, Herr," answered the boy. For
several days past I have clambered among
24 GEYER WALTY.
the wild gorges of the Engelhorn, and yes-
terday my search was rewarded with suc-
"But the nest alone is not what I want:
I must have the young birds."
"There are two within it, Herr, and even
now in a condition to be removed," said
Wdlty: "they are almost fledged, and it will
not do to tarry long, if we would capture
"Then why not go for them at once -
what are you waiting for? cried the stranger,
excitedly. "You know I must have them."
And you shall have them, if Heaven
assist me. If my feet slip not, if my hand
tremble not, or my eye become not dim
through dizziness," said the boy; "but I
must know first what you will pay for the
birds, if I bring them ? "
I told you before that you should receive
GEYER WALTY. 25
Walty shook his head. I cannot do it
for that; I must have forty."
A scornful smile curled the lips of the
young man. So young, yet so greedy of
gain," said he. "I detest your avariciousness
so heartily, that I would rather give up the
birds than allow myself to be so grossly
imposed upon by you."
The boy's face flushed with pain; his heart
swelled, and tears came unbidden; but with
an effort controlling his feelings, he answered
quietly, It is neither avarice nor covetous-
ness that has compelled me to set so high a
price upon my work. You judge me false,
What is it, then? asked the Scot.
In few words, Walty told of the hard-heart-
edness of their neighbor, who had seized
upon his father's only cow for the debt of
forty francs, and that he had hoped that he
would be willing to pay the ten additional
26 GEYER WALTY.
francs to that already promised, did he only
know how very dangerous it was to reach
the nest of the lammergeyer. The scornful
expression gradually faded away, and Hc:r
Seymore looked again pleasantly upon the
And you will brave all this danger to
render assistance to your father ? said he.
"Yes, Herr, if such is your wish."
"And is the undertaking very perilous? "
"So perilous that I renounced yesterday
the very thought," answered Walty. Upon
one of the most precipitous cliffs, high above,
upon the wild, jagged summit of the Engel-
horn, the nest is built upon a narrow ledge,
with fearful abysses yawning to the right
and to the left."
"And you will risk your life in this wild
Right willingly, dear Herr, and fear no
danger, if I am sure of the reward."
GEYER WALTY. 27
I change my mind, then: bring me the
young geyers, and the forty francs are thine."
Highly rejoiced, the boy heartily thanked
the generous stranger, and would have left
the room ; but the man, surprised at the bold-
ness of the lad, perchance also affrighted at
the probable result of the dangerous under-
taking, called to him to return.
"My lad, I do not want the birds, at least
not those you have been speaking of. An-
other nest may be found which can be ob-
tained at less risk: I will not have them at
any price. Go to your home, my boy; you
shall not peril your life for me. Why do you
look so crest-fallen ? Ah I see; you think
you have lost your wages: no, no, I don't
intend that. Take these two gold-pieces,
they are just the forty francs you require."
Walty stood as though stunned. He could
not comprehend the generosity of the stran-
ger, and thought it could not be possible
28 GEYER WALTY.
that he should give so great a sum for
Take them, take them," said the young
man, smiling at his bewildered air. "Your
father must be helped; he must be a brave
man, who has so bold and devoted a son.
For the sake of a pair of paltry birds, I would
not risk the life of a human being. Take
the money, and go, boy; I insist upon it."
Walty, astonished and still doubtful, took
the gold pieces, confusedly stammered some
words of thanks, and awkwardly stumbled
out of the room. When at last he reached
the open air, he stood for a while, until he
had in a degree regained his consciousness,
assured himself that he really held the
money in his hand: then tossing his cap
aloft, and giving a loud, long huzza, he ran
with full speed toward his chalet: here he
laid the money he had just received in a
drawer of the press, where his father usually
GEYER WALTY. 29
kept his little treasures, locked it, laid the
key in its accustomed place of security, and
again set forth.
"Now all is in prime order," said he to
himself; "in any case, father will find the
money when he returns home, and mean-
while I must contrive how I can reach the
nest of the geyer. Herr Seymore must have
the birds, even if I have to encounter more
danger than I now dream of: he will then be
convinced that I am neither ungrateful nor
I THE NEST OF THE LAMMERGEYERS.
T was about seven o'clock in the
Morning as Wilty a second time
IFI, ^^ left the chalet with light, elastic
step: he did not, as before, take the direction
to Rosenlaui,but went straight across through
the valley to the Engelhorn, whose gigantic
masses of rock, rugged and steep, tower
high in mid-air. It took him but a short
time to reach the Rosenlaui glacier, which
stretches out its stupendous mass of frozen
terraces clear across the valley between the
Wellhorn and Engelhorn. Casting only a
passing glance upon its glittering masses
and crevasses shimmering with azure-tinted
GEYER WALTY. 31
clearness, he directed his steps toward a
mighty wall of rock on the left, up the steep
path of which he clambered, :... ,.i.n..;,
meanwhile, his rapid pace; for the ascent
became with every step more and more ar-
duous and difficult, and he was aware it
would be absolutely necessary to husband
his strength if he would accomplish his bold
purpose: after about a half-hour's climbing
he stood upon the summit of the ridge which
is called by the dwellers in the valley the
watchman of the glaciers," and seating him-
self upon its highest peak, he rested for a
In so doing, he acted prudently; he re-
quired all his strength; the way he had thus
far traversed was but as child's-play to the
difficulties and obstacles he would yet have
to encounter: he must still ascend a steep
rocky wall, up which a path led no longer.
Over blocks of ice and masses of debris,
32 GEYER WALTY.
must he seek his way past precipices, through
rushing brooks, until he reached a height
where tje eye sees naught but black, brown,
or gray cliffs, and gloomy bare walls of rock,
destitute of all vegetation; waste valleys of
snow and ice; vast glaciers, glittering snowy
domes and out-jutting crags -a dead, bleak,
desolate world, where the voice of animate
nature is hushed; where no bird rests upon
slender twig; where the ear hears naught
but the hollow thunder of the avalanche,
the roar and rushing of the torrent, or oc-
casionally the shrill cry of the eagle as it
poises in mid-air on mighty outspread wing,
searching with its keen eye the valley and
deep gorges of the mountain after the wel
come prey. Into this wild region must the
boy climb to gain the frightful rocky sum-
mit, where, almost inaccessible to human
tread, the geyer pair had constructed their
GEYER WALTY. 33
But the brave son of the mountain, the
bold, experienced cragsman hesitated not in
the face of these obstacles: he possessed a
determination that no difficulties could daunt;
gratitude toward his generous benefactor
filled his heart, animating him with zeal and
After a short rest, Walty arose and slow-
ly but firmly climbed the perilous ascent
which would lead him to the heights of the
Engelhorn; his foot often slipped upon the
smooth stones and loose fragments of rock,
carrying him sometimes ten or twenty steps
further back; often he sank to the knee in
the snow which was imbedded here and
there in isolated hollows; but no danger
appalled, no discouragement shook his daunt-
less resolve. At length he came to a point
where a broad surface stretched out, broken
by numberless ravines and gullies, which he
must leap over if he would gain the oppo-
34 GEYER WALTY.
site side, where a narrow ledge extended
over a vast yawning abyss of two or three
thousand feet in depth: even beyond that
must the lad press to the extreme point
of the ridge, if he would secure the birds;
for there, upon a flat, narrow ledge of the
rock, which descended in a steep perpen-
dicular wall into the horrible fathomless gulf,
was the nest of the geyers.
Keeping ever before him the coveted prize,
he glided over the field of ice, prudently
proving here and there with his Alpenstock
if the soft snow that covered the mass of
ice was not a deceptive bridge over cre-
vasses and gaps, which, crumbling under foot,
would plunge him headlong into the fearful
The broad, open clefts he went around,
the narrow he sprang nimbly over, avoiding,
with great precaution and skill, the insecure
places, and thus successfully he trod the field
GEYER WALTY. 35
of ice, which to the right, far below, united
with the mighty glacier of Rosenlaui, and
now at last he had reached the ridge, which,
though the last obstacle to be overcome,
formed the most dangerous portion of his
As he stood leaning upon his stock, with
glowing brow and labored breath, overlook-
ing the fearful path which, perchance, had
never before been trodden by human foot,
the narrow ledge in some places was only a
few inches in width, overhanging the dizzy
precipice which yawned to the right and to
the left-as he measured the distance to the
nest, and saw that he would have to climb
perpendicularly for some time to attain his
aim-as he reflected upon the danger of
a single misstep, or a loose fragment of
stone falling overhead, his courageous heart
for a moment trembled, his confidence in his
dexterity and strength, which had until now
36 GEYER WA LTY.
so resolutely animated him, almost forsook
him. Involuntarily the question arose, \hat
if you should never return?-if this yawning
precipice should swallow you up in its awful
depths ? if you should never more look
upon the face of your father? And the boy
shrank from the perilous, death-threatening
path which stretched so frightfully before
But this paroxysm of weakness lasted only
a moment. Again the remembrance of the
generosity of his benefactor, his ardent wish
to obtain the young geyers, his glad surprise
when he should present to him the boldly
acquired booty-and he braced himself for
the performance of his dangerous task, his
determination returning with a power that
no difficulty or danger could appal.
I should be ashamed to meet him face to
face, thought he; and what would my father
say, did he know that I feared to climb the
GEYER. WALTY. 37
ridge? No, no, I will have the birds --I
must have them; and now onward, trusting
to the protection of Heaven.
The brave lad delayed no longer. He
laid aside his Alpenstock, which could no
longer be serviceable to him, drew off his
shoes and jacket, and, clothed only in his
light linen pants and shirt, the axe in his
girdle and hunting-pouch at his side, com-
menced the hazardous undertaking.
At first he did not find it very difficult to
advance: the rocky ledge, although in some
places badly broken, was broad enough to
enable him to proceed cautiously, yet surely.
But soon it narrowed, and after a few min-
utes' laborious clambering, the boy came
upon places where there was scarcely room
to place his foot, the cliff ascending at this
point almost perpendicularly, and falling
right and left in rugged precipitous steeps
down into the deep valley. Walty saw at
38 GEYER WALTY,
once that he could no longer walk upon the
edge of the precipice without dizziness, the
inevitable result of which would be to plunge
him headlong into the gaping abyss. With-
out considering long, he placed himself in a
creeping posture, and by the aid of his hands
worked himself along the narrow ledge.
Cautiously and circumspectly he crept over
half the distance, and although not without
danger, yet with but little trouble he over-
came all obstacles. But now there was not
space enough to creep: he must push him-
self along; and carefully he sat upon the
rocky edge, winning his way with caution,
by slow degrees, nearer and nearer to the
end of the ridge, upon whose level surface
the nest of the geyer lay. He could now
see the young birds plainly, and heard their
hungry cries; and the hope of soon obtain-
ing them animated him anew with fresh
strength and courage.
GEYER WALTY. 39
Suddenly he heard a sharp, shrill cry, and
glancing upward, he perceived, with affright,
the female geyer encircling her nest, bearing
within her talons a young kid.
Walty sank down upon the ledge, remain-
ing for some time motionless, while he fer-
vently implored God that the keen eye of
the bird might be smitten with blindness, so
that he should escape her clear vision. He
was conscious of his perilous situation. He
knew, should the old bird see her young
threatened with danger, she would pounce
upon the bold offender with desperate
strength, stunning him with the blows of
her mighty wings, and inflicting upon him
deep, painful wounds with her powerful beak
and talons. Many had fallen in such strug-
gles, and the boy well knew his situation
was not the most favorable to ward off such
But Heaven heard his petition. The young
40 GEYER WALTY.
birds screamed louder and more greedily as
they saw the bait suspended over them; and
after the enormous bird had once more ma-
jestically encircled her nest, she alighted
with her prey, which was eagerly seized
upon by her young. Remaining upon her
nest only a few moments, she again unfolded
her mighty pinions, and, straight as an arrow,
shot down into the depths of the valley.
Heaven be thanked, I am saved!" said the
boy, as he again raised himself and wiped the
cold sweat from his brow. I have not a
moment to lose: onward, before the bird shall
return, and perchance with her the male
geyer himself may come!"
With redoubled haste, but cautiously as
before, he struggled on, until his progress
was checked by an occurrence unimportant
in itself, yet conducive to fear, and admonish-
ing him to fresh precaution. The ridge was
in some places decayed and crumbling, and
GEYER WALTY. 41
in his hasty movements, a heavy piece of
rock beneath his feet had become loosened,
and was percipitated with thunderings into
the gulf beneath: a sudden terror pulsated
through the veins of the lad, and blanched
for a moment his cheek; involuntarily his
eye followed the rock until it disappeared in
the horrible abyss; he saw how it bounded
once, twice, against the out-jutting cliffs of
the wall, drawing with it other fragments of
rock in its downward course, and at length
vanished into the horrible gulf in a whirl-
pool of dust and smoke; and now it seemed
to him as though the whole rocky mass
swayed and threatened to fall; a dark mist
enveloped his eyes, and a sudden dizziness
drove the blood to the brain. An irresisti-
ble power seemed to draw him after the
rock; he was in danger of losing his equili-
brium; and he was only enabled to resist
the fearful paroxysm by hastily closing his
42 GEYER WALTY.
eyes and pressing flat down upon the ridge
For some minutes he remained in this posi-
tion, almost insensible, with throbbing heart
and trembling limbs. Gradually the wildly
fluttering blood became calm, and Wailty
again raised his head, and went forward on
his perilous journey: he no longer suffered
his eyes to look down into the yawning
chasm, but fixed his gaze intent upon the
geyer's nest, that only lay now about fifty
"I dare not look downward," said the
boy to himself; "onward and upward, and,
God be thanked! right soon will I reach my
He waited, however, until he was fully
assured that his presence of mind and cool-
ness had returned, firmly resolving that he
would conquer all further weakness: arriv-
ing at this conclusion, he pushed on bravely;
and in a short time, without further accident,
GEYER WAL'TY. 43
reached the end of the ledge, and saw the
nest, with its coveted prey, directly before
him. Another difficulty, however, he was
obliged to overcome: at this point the rock
projected about eight feet over the precipice,
and formed the little plateau which the
geyer had deemed a suitable spot for the
building of her nest. Walty measured the
height, fearing, after all the dangers he had
encountered, he would have yet to return
unrewarded: the rocky mass, in its steep
smoothness, offered scarcely one support-
ing point. At this moment, he thought
of the axe in his girdle: from the appear-
ance of the stone, he judged it would readily
yield to his strokes: cautiously rising up, he
steadied himself with his left' hand against
the ledge, and grasping his axe with his
right, struck repeatedly and effectually into
the rocky wall: the result almost exceeded
his expectations, the decayed stone splintered
44 GEYER WALTY.
and crumbled, and soon he had cut notches
which would enable him to mount without
great danger, if he only proceeded cautiously
and prudently. Quickly, and with renewed
resolve to give no room for weakness, he
clambered up. The notches afforded him
the necessary support for hand and foot, and
soon his curly head, and face glowing with
exertion and eagerness, rose over the edge
of the ridge: a moment more, and the young
geyers lay within reach of his hand. Bend-
ing over the platform, he seized the birds in
spite of their piping cries, stuck first one
then the other in his hunting-pouch, threw
it hastily behind his back, and recommended
his perilous journey.
He soon saw that the descent would be
more difficult than the ascent, but he man-
fully endeavored to think not of the steep
"projecting rock, or narrow ledge overhang-
S ing the fearful abyss of two or three thousand
GEYER WALTY. 45
feet, but found a resting-place for his foot
and a support for his hand in the notches he
had cut in the wall, letting himself down
from point to point, until he again felt the
narrow but more secure ledge under his feet.
Turning himself carefully about, drawing the
pouch with its screaming, piping burden in
front, and leaning his back against the wall,
he overlooked the dizzy height which he
must pass to again reach the glacier field,
and from there to the side of the Engel-
horn, whence he could descend to his native
Difficult and perilous was the way by
which he must return, but the boy's heart
thrilled with courage and confidence: the
greatest obstacles were now overcome, and
the reward of his bold, hazardous enterprise
was in his possession: one loud, triumph-
ant huzza escaped his lips; then, in silent,
fervent prayer to God, he gave thanks for
46 GEYER WALTY.
his protection and all-powerful care;. then
trod again the fearful way along the rocky
The hunting-pouch hindering his pro-
gress, he drew it again to his back, and with
intense satisfaction he saw he was rapidly
nearing the point where the ridge became
somewhat broader, thereby en-bling him to
assume the comparatively comfortable creep-
ing posture, when suddenly with the pipings
of the young birds in the pouch there
mingled a shrill, piercing cry from the air
above him, and the next moment the rush-
ing blast of mighty wings resounded close
at his very ear: the boy uttered one cry of
terror, then clung convulsively with hand
and foot to the rocky cliff.
He knew the horrible danger which
threatened him: one, or perchance both gey-
ers had been attracted by the cries of their
"fledglings, and would fight desperately for
GEYER WALTY. 47
their young. Wilty knew he must brace
himself for a fearful assault: his first thought
was to cast the birds into the abyss, and as
quickly as possible reach a place of securi-
ty; but this was easier planned than accom-
plished: before he could even make the at-
tempt, the old geyer again encircled his head,
and screaming harshly and shrill, it beat in-
cessantly its enormous pinions, until the boy
could scarcely resist being torn from his
perilous support and precipitated into the
fearful gulf below.
This new danger, although at first in-
timidating the lad and filling him with ter-
ror, the next moment awakened all his reso-
lution and courage: it was now life for life,
and with this conviction, Walty tore from
his girdle the axe, and with it waged a des-
perate fight, striking with hasty and repeated
blows at the geyer, which now for the third '
time rushed upon him in her efforts to tear
48 GEYER WALTV.
him from the ledge, and hurl him down into
the fathomless gulf.
His blows were more successful than he at
first dared hope: the sharp blade penetrated
the wing of the geyer, and for a moment,
with flagging pinion, the enormous bird sway-
ed, then reeling, sank, fluttering desperately
meanwhile to regain strength to ascend and
renew the attack: the wounded wing bled
profusely, and its rapid vibrations sprinkled
Wdilty with a shower of blood.
And now he breathed more freely, feeling
he was at least freed from one of the old
birds; yet he doubted not but that the
other, quicker than he would wish, might
appear, and he lost not a moment to gain a
more secure place than his present precari-
ous situation. Resuming his creeping pos-
ture, he passed successfully over the gradu-
ally widening ridge with as much haste as
the requisite prudence and circumspection
GEYER WALTY. 49
demanded. He had only retraced some
sixty or seventy steps, when again the harsh
scream resounded, and in a moment he felt
upon his shoulder the powerful talons. He
could not possibly have prevented himself
from being hurled from his support by her
repeated attacks, had he not now occupied
the broader ridge. Here he could not only
cling more securely, but he could defend
himself with the bold strokes of his axe.
At length a second blow was attended with
even better results than the slight laming of
the wing. A last shrill, doleful cry from out
the shattered breast, and the mother bird
sank to rise no more.
Wiltv was now freed from his fierce
enemy. But the encounter had completely
exhausted him. For a long time he lay
prostrate upon the rocky ledge, every nerve
quivering, and his heart throbbing "with a
violence that threatened to suffocate him."
50 GEYER WALTY.
When this agitation was somewhat allayed,
he again raised up, and with all possible
haste sought to reach the point from which
he could lower himself to the ice-field.
Nimbly descending, he had accomplished
almost half the descent, when, upon a steep,
dangerous point, again he heard the shrill
cry overhead, and saw with terror that the
male bird also had been drawn thither by
the pipings of his young. With desperate
fury he darted upon him, tearing him with
his strong talons and sharp beak.
The boy steadied himself against the wall,
bracing himself for the attack; one hand he
kept free for defence, but the bird was so
close that he could not use his axe as before,
and the weight of the vibrating wings of the
huge geyer almost forced him from the rock
to which he clung. He sought to seize the
neck of the bird in order to strangle it; but
it proved too strong, and baffled every such
GEYER WXLTY. 51
attempt. Fortunately for the lad, the fierce
beak of the geyer penetrated mostly the
hunting-pouch which protected his side, pre-
venting many a dangerous wound. With-
out this shield, he would scarcely have been
able to resist the furious assault. The rapid
blows stunned him, while from the deep
wounds inflicted by the talons and beak
the blood flowed profusely, weakening his
strength. His benumbed hand also, which
had hitherto clung convulsively to the pro-
jection, could scarcely support him much
longer in this position. A mist seemed to
cloud his eyes he was about to surrender
himself hopelessly to his fate, when suddenly
he thought of his knife. Drawing it hastily
from his pocket, and animated by fresh hope
and courage, he desisted from the useless
attempt to strangle the geyer. Opening the
blade with his teeth, the sharp little weapon
glittered for a moment in his grasp, then
52 GEYER WALTY.
rapidly and fiercely he plunged it two or
three times into the breast of his furious,
screeching foe, and at last at last he was
assured that he had given him his death-blow,
for the furious attack ceased, the talons
gradually loosened, and, tumbling down the
declivity, the body of the vulture fell upon
the field of ice, where he lay writhing, while
from the deeply wounded breast the blood
streamed, reddening the pure surface of the
Walty was safe; he had now no enemy
to dread; his life was no longer threatened;
and truly he could not have struggled much
longer. Trembling, white, and streaming
with blood that flowed from the numerous
deep gashes made by the sharp talons and
beak of the bird, breathless and agitated by
not only his bodily injuries, but his mental
agonies, he lay there, leaning against the
wall, exhausted and almost insensible, for
GEYER WALTY. 53
more than a quarter of an hour. Gradually
his consciousness returned, but still longer
he waited before he felt himself able to de-
scend the last short stretch of the declivity
reaching to the field of ice. At length,
strengthened through the rest, and refreshed
by a long drink from his flask, he descended,
and gained, without further hindrance, the
comparatively safe surface, where he had
laid aside his shoes, Alpenstock, and jacket.
Here he rested again, and in earnest, fervent
prayer thanked his Heavenly Father for his
merciful kindness toward him in this his
great deliverance from the dangers and perils
by which he had been so fearfully threat-
ened. Then binding up his more serious
wounds with strips torn from his linen shirt,
in order to stanch the blood which still
streamed profusely, he felt considerably
relieved. He then examined the dearly
bought birds in his hunting-pouch, which
54 GEYER WALTY.
still screamed and piped, and the old geyer
that lay motionless, with drooping wing,
upon the ice. With the assistance of his
Alpenstock he obtained possession of it,
and found, after a careful search, that the
blade of his knife had penetrated its heart.
The knife he sought for in vain, and came
to the conclusion that it must have slipped
from his grasp after the struggle, while he
lay in partial unconsciousness.
It matters not," thought he, as he meas-
ured the bird; "I have made a good ex-
change. What an enormous creature! almost
four feet long, and from wing to wing more
than four yards. Father will be surprised
that I have vanquished him; and Herr Sey-
more! how he will rejoice."
Binding its feet together with the cord he
took with him, he hung the bird around his
neck, so that it should balance the hunting-
pouch with its burden; and again passing
GEYER WALTY. 55
over the field of ice, with the help of his
firm, sharp-pointed stock, he reached the
declivity of the Enge!horn: descending
which, to the base of the Rosenlaui glacier,
soon brought him to the inn, whence he had
started so many long hours before.
It was high time that he should reach the
valley, for the sun had almost set: only the
most lofty peaks of the mountains still
glowed in his golden rays. The boy was
wearied and hungry, and longed sadly for
a fresh, cool drink: quickening his pace, he
arrived at the inn of Rosenlaui, just about
twilight, before whose door he found gath-
ered those he had seen in the early morn-
ing-a motley, lively group of tourists,
guides, horses, and mules. As he descended
the last declivity, his appearance caused con-
siderable astonishment, and, with looks of
wonder, all eyes were directed toward him.
"Bless me cried one of the guides. it
56 GEYER WALTY.
is surely Walty Hirzel, who was here this
morning, and I really believe the fellow has
an eagle hanging over his shoulders."
Say a lammergeyer, Mohrle, and you
will be nearer right," replied the boy with
cheerful voice and sparkling eyes, proud
now, for the first time, over the brave deed
which he had accomplished through courage,
perseverance, and a determined will. "A
lammergeyer, Mohrle! and an enormous
fellow he is the young birds I have too, in
"Listen to the lad!" cried the guide:
"you do not mean to say that you have
killed the gcyer, and taken the young from
the nest ? "
"Yes, that is just what I have done; I
have taken them from the nest, and have
had a hard battle with the old birds : this
fellow I brought with me, but the female you
can seek, Mohrle, if you have a mind to run
GEYER WALTY. 57
thither, in the wild ravine of the Urbach
"Wonderful! I believe the bold fellow
speaks the truth," cried Mohrle in amaze-
ment. "Have you been upon the heights
of the Engelhorn, and battled with the
birds? your whole body is covered with
"This fellow, which I now carry upon
my shoulders, picked me sorely," answered
Wilty; "and had I not driven my knife into
his heart, I would now be lying lifeless and
cold in the mountain ravine. But suffer me
to pass, men; I must take my booty to Herr
Seymore, as I have promised."
The guides would have detained him, in
order to learn the particulars of his daring
adventure; but W\ilty forced his way through,
assuring them, however, that he would gratify
their curiosity by a more satisfactory rela-
tion. With a heart throbbing wildly through
58 GEYER WALTY.
delight, the lad hastened up the steps lead-
ing to the room of, his friend; who was not
less amazed than were the guides in the
There, Herr Seymore! cried Walty, as
he drew the birds out of his hunting-pouch,
and threw them on the floor; "there, you
have your birds, and this old fellow into
the bargain, which I have been fortunate
enough to capture on the Engelhorn: give
them, I beg of you, some food-the living
ones, I mean, for they have fasted full ten
hours now, and have cried piteously for
Herr Seymore stood for a few moments
speechless, through joy at the possession of
his long- desired prey, and astonishment over
the integrity of Walty, and his bold, cour-
"Is it possible! cried he at last; "that
you have placed your life in jeopardy, in
GEYER WALTY. 59
spite of my assurance that I did not want
"Surely, you said well, Herr," answered
the boy, frankly; "but look you, I saw that
you would be well pleased to have the
fledglings; and when you so generously
presented me over and above what you had
promised, I felt I could not rest until I had
obtained them, even if it was a little hard
to accomplish; so here they are: and do
not forget to feed them, else they will perish
of hunger during the night."
"No, no; I assure you I will attend to
that," answered Herr Seymore, pulling the
bell. "I should think that you were as
hungry as the birds you are so particular
about. When you have rested and refreshed
yourself, you can then relate to me more
particularly how you obtained them."
A waiter entering, soon provided, by Herr
Seymore's direction, raw meat for the birds,
60 GEYER WALTY.
and a good meal for Wilty; and it was not
long before all three ate as for a wager.
Wilty's friend pressed him to help himself,
and the boy required but little persuasion;
this part of his adventure proved by far the
most agreeable: at length, perfectly satisfied,
he laid knife and fork aside, and began a
description of the obstacles and dangers he
had encountered since he bade him good-by.
His interested auditor was filled with genuine
astonishment at the courage, resolution, and
presence of mind the lad had in so remark-
able a degree exhibited.
"You have done a bold and daring deed,"
said he, as he ended his relation: "I would
"call you reckless and fool-hardy, did not I
feel assured that you have acted from a noble
impulse; but how did you find the courage
and resolution to brave such frightful and
perilous dangers ?"
"I know not, Herr," replied the boy; I
GEYER WALTY. 61
only know I had a firm will, and a firm will
can overcome much: at the last, when, per-
haps, I was nearer death than I had at any
time been, in the last desperate struggle with
the old lammergeyer, when I thought, De-
fend yourself boldly Herr Seymore must
have the young birds then it occurred to me
that I had my knife in my pocket, which
soon ended the hard battle. Yes, Herr
Seymore, that was it: you had been so good
and kind to me, I was determined you should
have the young geyers: that is the whole of
it. I could not prove ungrateful to so much
"Truly you have proved that you possess
a grateful heart and a strong will," said his
friend, with much emotion: "direct this will
to good and right purposes throughout your
life, and I promise you that all your future
adventures will end as fortunately as that.of
to-day. At all events, I owe you a new knife
GEYER WALTY. 63
keep her no longer. I have earned the
money on the heights of the Engelhorn."
The father scarcely credited the words of
the excited lad, until Walty unlocked the
press where the money was hid, and drew
out in triumph the two bright gold-pieces.
All doubt was now removed; and his father's
eyes sparkled with joy as he saw the means
of freeing Brown Liesli from her imprison-
"How did you obtain the money, Wiilty?"
he questioned; honestly, I hope."
Honestly, and honorably, father," replied
the lad, with frank, open look.
"Tell me all about it, my son-but no!
first of all must Liesli be free. Come with
me to Frieshardt, Walty."
The boy right willingly accompanied his
father on this pleasant errand. Quickly they
hastened across to the house of their surly
and hard-hearted neighbor; and although he
62 6EYER WALTY.
and suit. As for the old geyer, who has
treated you and your dress so hardly, he
was not taken into account with the busi-
ness of to-day; but we will defer that until
to-morrow: and now run home as fast as
possible to your father, who, perchance,
has been anxiously expecting you for some
time; to-morrow early, I will pay you a
With a happy heart, Walty left the room,
and lingered yet a while longer in the court
below, to fulfil his promise, by relating to
Mohrle and the rest of the guides the ex-
periences and dangers of the past day: then
hastened straight home, where his father, as
Herr Seymore had rightly judged, had been
expecting him with impatience. With a
.shout of delight, the boy returned his greet-
"All has gone right, father: Brown Liesli
is again ours: neighbor Frieshardt dare
64 GEYER WALTY.
scowled darkly when Toni Hirzel laid upon
his table the forty francs, he knew there was
no use to resist, but that he must at once
release the cow from her confinement.
Beaming with delight, Walty led away his
darling Brown Liesli; and after he had fed
her with the most dainty food he could pro-
cure, and fondled her with loving stroke
and word, he followed his father into the
little room, and, for the third and last time
for that day, related his fearful adventures.
"The dear God be thanked! that he has
protected thee, my son," said the father, who
with agitated heart had listened to the re-
lation of Wilty. "The money has come
most opportunely, for our cousin in Grin-
delwald could not grant my request: but
promise me, my lad, that thou wilt never
undertake so daring a venture again with-
out first obtaining my consent and advice.
Merciful Heaven! what a horrible fate thou
GEYER WALTY. 65
hast escaped, as though by a miracle. That
thou wast not precipitated into the abyss-
that thou wert not slain by the fierce geyer,
is a merciful favor from the hands of our
Heavenly Father; for which we should be
grateful all our lives long. How hadst thou
courage, my boy, to overcome such fright-
Ah! father, I did it for thy sake, and
dear Brown Liesli's," answered the boy. I
thought we must have the cow again, and
afterward, when Herr Seymore was so gen-
erous toward me, I determined that he should
have the young birds: and so, relying upon
the protection and assistance of Heaven, I
ventured, and did my best."
That accounts for thy success," said his
father; never forget, my son, that the dear
Lord above protected thee and upheld thee
with his almighty power; be deeply grate-
ful for his merciful kindness, and let thy last
66 GEYER WALTY.
thought, this night, my dear boy, be lifted
to our Father in heaven."
Yes, father, I well know that the boldest
heart and the firmest resolve will avail no-
thing without the assistance of God."
Ever remember that, my child: in what-
ever work thou shouldst engage, enter upon
it with a firm resolve, relying upon thy God,
and thou wilt, as to-day, be sure of success.
And now good night, my child."
Good night, father," answered the boy,
heartily; and both sought the repose they
had so richly earned by their long, hard
day's labor. The lad was from this time
known by the sobriquet of Geyer Wiilty.
ARLY the following morning, the
door of the chalet opened softly,
and Herr Seymore entered the
little room. WiVlty was delighted with the
visit, and gave him a hearty welcome.
"I scarcely hoped to find you so bright
and fresh, my lad, after yesterday's adven-
ture," said his friend. "I expected you
would be not only sadly fatigued, but sick,
and completely exhausted. I am glad to
find that I was mistaken; but you surely
suffer from the wounds inflicted by the
talons of the geyer: do they pain you
68 GEYER WA LTY.
"Some little," replied the boy; "but,
father has attended to them so well, that in
a week from this there will be scarcely a
So much the better for me. I can leave
Rosenlaui much easier in mind, knowing
that no worse results will follow your danger-
ous adventure," said Herr Seymore. But
where is your father?"
He is without, dear Herr, milking Brown
Liesli, who would now be in neighbor
Frieshardt's stable, had it not been for your
generosity," answered Wiilty, with a grate-
ful look. "I wished for you, yesterday even-
ing, to share our joy as we brought the
pretty creature home. What a pleasure it
was! Even Liesli herself looked happy as
she stepped in her own stall: you should
only have seen her, Herr Seymore. But
there comes father with the milk-pail: now
you can try how Liesli's milk tastes I can
GEYER WALTY. 69
assure you, it is the richest and the best in
the whole valley."
"I believe that," smilingly replied his
benefactor, as he shook heartily the rough
hand of Toni Hirzel, who warmly returned
the greeting, at the same time thanking him
gratefully for his kindness to his son. Herr
Seymore attempted to repress these demon-
strations of gratitude, saying:
That is enough, Hirzel: what I gave to
the lad, I gave willingly; and indeed he
not only richly earned those few additional
francs, but I am still in his debt, and have
come to discharge it: so here it is, Walty.
Forty francs the old geyer is surely worth,
when you take into account your desperate
struggle and sore wounds; and here are
sixty francs for your torn pants and lost
With these words, Herr Seymore laid
upon the table five bright gold-pieces,
70 GEYER WALTY.
upon which Walty and his father gazed
with bewildered looks.
My dear Herr! the geyer, pants, and
knife, taken together, are not worth twenty
"It is worth much more to me," replied
the Scot. "I take the liberty of fixing my
own price. No denial, my boy-take the
money; and from my heart, I wish it may
be a blessing to you."
The tears rushed to the eyes of the grate-
ful boy, as he exclaimed: "Oh! father, only
look how much money. Now we can buy
another cow, and can make double the
amount of cheese: we need no more run in
debt to neighbor Frieshardt; and if all goes
well, who knows but that we may even
build as beautiful a house as he. Wouldn't
that be splendid, father? then your old age
would be free from all care."
Toni Hirzel smilingly shook his head.
GEYER WALTY. 71
"You are looking forward rather fast, my
son; that is entirely too much money for
you to receive, Wilty. Keep it, Herr Sey-
more: twenty francs will more than pay for
all the losses; and besides, think how gen-
erous you have already been toward the lad."
Well, well, my friend, so be it," said
the kindly Scot; "if you will not receive
the trifling sum, I present it to Wiilty; and
courtesy forbids you to object to that. Let
him save it until he can make some good
venture: and now not another word, if you
would not seriously offend me."
Toni Hirzel saw that their friend was in
earnest, and took without further opposition
the money from the table.
Thank our kind benefactor, Walty; and
I will keep his present for you until you are
older, and can make use of it for your own
While the boy gave expression to his
72 GEYER WALTY.
gratitude in a few simple, touching words,
the father placed the gold in an old leather
purse, putting it into a secret drawer of his
press, which he carefully locked. Lie there,"
said he to himself. "If I am taken away
suddenly, you will prove a good help to
Herr Seymore would now have- taken
leave, but the lad begged him to stay, say-
"Do not go yet, dear Herr. Now you
are here, you must see our cow and goats;
surely you would see our Liesli, that we are
so indebted to you for! "
Their friend willingly consented to re-
main, and the lad rested not until he had
shown him the little chalet, the yard, the
goats, and dear Brown Liesli; and proud was
Walty as Herr Seymore smoothed caress-
ingly her short crisp hair, and flatteringly
stroked her broad forehead. The boy made
GEYER WALTY. 73
many excuses to detain him; and af-
terward accompanied him more than half-
way to Rosenlaui, and would have gone still
farther, had not Herr Seymore insisted upon
his returning home, and resting until his
wounds should be entirely healed. Walty
again warmly thanked his dear friend for
his great kindness, asked his permission to
visit him after a few days, and, with a hearty
shake of his hand, bade him farewell.
But the poor lad was doomed to be most
sadly disappointed. Three or four days af-
terward, as he, with happy, grateful heart,
inquired at the inn of Rosenlaui for his
friend, he learned, with sincere regret, that
Herr Seymore had started for his distant
home, very hurriedly, upon the receipt of an
important letter; leaving for Willty and his
father his kindest remembrances. The poor
lad anxiously inquired further particulars;
but the host was in possession of no infor-
74 GEYER WALTY.
nation but that already communicated. His
kind benefactor had vanished as a pleasant
vision; only his loved remembrance re-
mained to him, and the deep, earnest grati-
tude that he ever cherished all his life long
for this dear, kind friend.
Troubled and grieved he returned to his
home, and told his father the sad news, la-
menting bitterly that he had not another
opportunity to return thanks for all his
Walty, occasionally, comforted himself
with the hope that Herr Scymore would re-
turn, and would not be too proud to again
visit the little chalet and its humble inmates.
But the summer passed away, autumn
stripped the leaves from the trees around
Rosenlaui, the first snow-flakes were whirled
down into the valley, and neither their friend
himself, nor any news of him, had been re-
ceived, until, at last, the very hope of again
GEYER WALTY. 75
seeing him vanished, and became as a thing
of the past.
"Joy and woe mingle ever in the thread
of human life and our brave, true-hearted
friends did not prove an exception to this
sad experience. In the beginning of the
winter, Brown Liesli took sick and died, and
soon after, the season having set in with
unusual severity, two of the five goats were
killed by the hungry wolves that infested
the neighborhood. The bold robbers, enter-
ing the yard during the night, and forcing
the very door of the stall, the plaintive cries
of the poor creatures awakened Toni from
his sleep, and, with his rifle, he succeeded in
chasing the blood-thirsty animals away; but
it was not in time to avert the evil: two of
the goats were killed; one lay upon the floor
of the stall, and the other had been dragged
away by the bold marauders.
These misfortunes pressed heavily upon
76 GEYER WALTY.
Walty and his father, for their sole posses-
sions, save their poor chalet, consisted of
the cow and the goats, which furnished them
with their necessary subsistence ; and now,
these only treasures had an inexorable fate
torn from them. Toni Hirzel was sorely
troubled at these heavy losses, and Walty
shed many a bitter tear over the death of
their beautiful Brown Licsli. Remembering
the five gold-pieces that Herr Seymore had
presented him, he brought them to his
father, and begged him to purchase with
them another cow; but he would not listen
to the proposal.
"The gold belongs to you," he replied;
" Herr Seymore gave it to you, and it shall
not be touched until you can use it for your
personal advantage and profit: now you are
too young and inexperienced to judge how
to dispose of it; do not urge it further.
Liesli and the goats are gone; but above
GEYER WALTY. 77
there, upon the mountain heights, pasture
chamois in plenty; my rifle, that has brought
down many a noble buck, hangs yet upon
the wall. Have patience, my lad, until the
spring comes Then we will hunt together,
and you will see that your father still has a
steady hand, a sharp eye, and a sure foot.
The host at Rosenlaui is always ready to
give ten or twelve, and even as high as fif-
teen francs for a chamois, when the tourists
are there; and then, when the summer is
past, we will have gathered, by the assistance
of the good God, a little sum that will ena-
ble us to purchase another cow, and a pair
of goats: you will have to go with me upon
my expeditions, my poor boy; two can
chase the chamois much better than one."
Father, you surely cannot doubt that
I will follow you gladly replied the brave
lad. "You know it is my delight to climb
the mountain heights, and if we are success-
78 GEYER WALTY.
ful in the chase, or, perchance, in finding
again an eagle or a geyer nest, for the young
birds we can always find a purchaser, al-
though never again one so generous and kind
as dear Herr Seymore. Certainly you can
count upon my help, father, and not one word
of complaint shall you ever hear from me."
"I know it, my dear boy," replied the
father, taking his rifle from the wall, and
examining it with care; but I do not like
you to follow so dangerous a business, my
Wearily the winter passed away, the south
wind surged through the pines, and swept
from mountain-summit to valley, melting
with its warm breath the masses of snow
on hill and precipice; thousands and thou-
sands of little brooks trickled from the steep
declivities, and, uniting themselves in the
valleys to rushing brooks and rivers, hurri-
edly dashed along, plashing, skipping, spring-
GEYER WA4 LTY. 79
ing to the far distant plains; the mighty
waterfalls roared and thundered, vast ava-
lanches were precipitated, crashing from the
heights; yet, in the midst of all the noise,
the rushing and roaring, the sun shone on
in his strength, his life-awakening power
enticing forth the tender blades of grass and
plant from the softened, moist ground: grad-
ually the white, snowy mantle was exchanged
for a luxuriant fresh green carpet; the birds
of passage returned; from the naked trees
sprouted the tender leaf, and from the air
above, and from branch and twig, thousands
and thousands of merry voices proclaimed,
in clear, shrill notes, that beautiful May, the
queen of spring, had come with her incense-
breathing, joy-inspiring reign.
"Now is our time, my boy," said the
hunter; and day after day, when the weather
permitted, they roved about upon Alpine
heights, not returning to their chalet until
80 GEYER WA LTY.
sometimes three or four days had elapsed,
when they, after indescribable trouble, exer-
tion, and danger, descended again into the
valley, with the dearly earned chamois buck
upon their shoulder. Then, too, mine host of
Rosenlaui gladly paid, for the juicy roasts
wherewith to serve his guests, bright silver
pieces, which were sorely needed by Walty
and Toni Hirzel. Many a time did the lad
make inquiry after the kind Scot, but he ever
received the same answer-that they heard
naught of Herr Seymore; the summer passed
away, without bringing any tidings of him.
Walty and his father were highly favored;
many a chamois buck did the sure rifle pro-
cure. Toni Hirzel had long been considered
the most skilful hunter in all the country
round, and bravely had he maintained the
name during the past summer: by the last
of August he had shot thirty chamois, and
yet the proper shooting-season, which lasted
GEYER WALTY. 8I
from September to the middle of November,
had not yet commenced.
"Now, my lad, we must provide for the
winter," said he; "we have not done badly
thus far, and have saved a nice little sum;
yet it alone will not suffice to purchase the
cow and goats, and many a drop of sweat
will be poured out before we gather enough
"I am ready, father; we must have the
cow. I will give myself no rest, until one
lows in our stall as pretty and smooth and
brown as our darling Liesli. I have some
good news for you, father: yesterday, after
dinner, I discovered upon the Wellhorn a
track that promises a splendid chamois buck,
such as we have not seen d,.ii., all this
Which side of the Wellhorn, my lad? "
eagerly inquired the hunter.
"Upon the glacier side, father; it is not
82 GEYER WALTY.
very difficult to reach that point. And I
have observed, that if the buck is disturbed,
he leaps over the glacier toward the Engel-
horn ; and to follow him across the ice-field
might be dangerous: there are crevasses
hundreds of yards in depth, and who ever
falls therein will never more see the light
"That is certainly true," answered the
father, reflectively; "but the buck must be
ours. Do you know precisely the point
where he makes the leap from the glacier to
the rocks of the Engelhorn ? "
"Precisely, father. It is high up; just
where the ice spreads itself out into a frozen
Well, then," sa:d the experienced hunter,
"we must plan how we shall pursue the buck
over the glacier: we will be much more
likely to succeed in waylaying him where
he is in the habit of leaping over; and that,
GEYER WALTY. 83
in all probability, is upon the side of the
Engelhorn. There I will station myself, and
you can chase the animal over to me from
"Yes, that is the best arrangement, father;
I thought of that same plan."
That evening, Toni Hirzel made the
necessary preparations for their expedition
upon the following day. And long before
the first beams of the sun, he left the chalet,
accompained by his brave boy. After climb-
ing for some half-hour, they separated; the
father mounting toward the left, on the side
of the steep Engelhorn, after ascertaining
the precise point where the buck must spring
to gain the rocky height; and Walty clam-
bered above upon the Wellborn, to hunt,
surprise, and drive him in the direction of
Be prudent, my son," said the hunter, as
he took leave of him with a warm pressure
84 GEYER WALTY.
of the hand. "I will not be with you to
counsel and advise if a danger should
threaten: go not recklessly to work, I beg
The boy promised to be upon his guard;
and they recommended their tiresome and
perilous journey. Walty climbed upward,
making use of the masses of rock and de-
bris which were strewn along the edge of the
glacier. After a long tiresome ascent, he
had gained the height from which he could
overlook the broad glacier toward the Engel-
horn: taking from his hunting-pouch a small
spy-glass, he looked intently in the direc-
tion of his father; he soon discovered him.
The hunter stepped cautiously along the
edge of the ice-field, until he came to a spot
which appeared to him to be the most suit-
able to waylay the expected prey; here he
hid behind a block of ice. Walty, as he ob-
served all this, nodded with satisfaction.
GEYER WALTY. 85
"It is precisely the right spot," said he to
himself; father must have seen his track.
Just about fifty paces from that ice-block, the
buck sprang over a broad crevasse toward
a green meadow which lies beyond the gla-
cier, and if he makes that leap now, he will
not escape my father's sure aim: now it rests
with me to hunt the noble fellow, and chase
him to that point."
Again he raised his glass, gazing fixedly
in the direction of the wild, scarred, rocky
wall of the Wellhorn; but although he
searched keenly-and the morning was
beautifully clear-he failed to discover the
ardently desired prey.
He is, perchance, low down behind that
rock," thought the boy. "I must advance
Cautiously he stepped toward it, ever pru
dent and watchful, remaining perfectly quiet
from time to time, and spying repeatedly
86 GEYER WALTY.
with his glass; when, suddenly halting, he
cast himself flat upon the ground, saying:
I thought so. There he is! Now a turn
to the right, so that I can chase him to one
side, then upon him with an 'hillo !'"
Sliding, creeping along, using each piece
of rock for a covering, Walty gradually
pushed forward, occasionally cautiously rais-
ing his head to assure himself that the cha-
mois was still there: at length he reached
the point which he had determined upon as
the most suitable for his rising and startling
the fleet, timid animal; springing up, he sud-
denly raised a shrill, piercing cry.
The buck was not two hundred paces dis-
tant; he heard the cry, saw the form of the
bold lad, and with a prodigious leap he
gained the glacier field, and with light, fleet
springs he bounded away.
"Won!" cried Walty, with a shout of tri-
umph; "now are you ours!"
GEYER WALTY. 87
He rejoiced too soon, however. The cha-
mois may perchance have foreseen the dan-
ger threatening him from the opposite side
of the ice-field, or knew he had naught to
fear from the unarmed lad-whatever the
cause, in the very midst of his hasty flight,
the noble creature suddenly turned, stamped
with his fore feet several times upon the ice,
then stood immovable as stone, gazing over
in the direction of Wilty, who, meanwhile,
shouted, gesticulating violently with his
arms in his efforts to frighten the buck,
throwing toward him stones and pieces of
ice; but the creature moved not, and ap-
peared to mock and deride the lad by his
calm and undisturbed repose.
"Only you stand there, my fine fellow: I
will press a little closer; the way over the
glacier is not so dangerous as lower down,
and where you can spring, there I.am not
afraid to venture." w
88 GEYER W ALTY.
The stately animal suffered him to ap.
proach within some hundred steps; then,
with a short whistling snort, he rapidly
turned and sprang some distance, then
around again, and, as before, looked taunt-
ingly upon the boy, as though he would en-
tice him still farther.
Walty followed, saying, "I will advance
as long as I can do so with safety; in the
worst case, making sure of my return."
The performance was repeated; again the
buck allowed him to draw near, then turned,
sprang away, and, looking back mockingly,
remained standing motionless as before.
For an hour this play lasted, \Wilty follow-
ing him determinedly, and without thought
of fatigue; nearer and still nearer the animal
drew to the point where his father was sta-
tioned, and, should it turn neither to the
right nor to the left, it could not possibly
escape the shot of the hunter,..'
GEYER WALTY. 89
And now came chamois and driver almost
to the spot where the buck would give the
fatal leap to gain the little green meadow
only fifty yards distant. Walty smiled with
satisfaction, for it appeared as though the
spring would follow the very next moment;
when suddenly the creature, with one pro-
digious leap to the right, flew fleet as an
arrow over the sea of ice, and had vanished
in a moment from the surprised gaze of the
"He has seen father, or suspected some
danger," said he. "All further trouble is, for
to-day, at least, in vain. I must at once re-
turn and communicate his disappearance, so
that father need no longer be upon the
A few minutes more brought him to the
place of concealment; but he saw at a glance
that the hunter knew just how matters stood.
His father signalled to him to keep perfectly
90 GEYER WALTY.
quiet, and pointed upward toward a second
small meadow, which clung to the steep,
rugged walls of the Engelhorn like a bright
green stripe. Walty, directing his glance
thitherward, saw a dark form fleeing through
the air, and the next moment perceived the
chamois buck standing upon the green pas-
"He cannot escape us now," whispered
his father. "I saw your chase, and his ap-
proach, and designedly frightened him in
that direction. I saw that the creature was
used to pasture there, and I came to the con-
clusion, and correctly as it has proved, that
at the first alarm he would spring there; now
we have him, for he cannot climb up the
steep wall of the Engelhorn, and his return
is cut off by us. And now nimbly on, my
Soon they arrived immediately opposite
the chamois; but the distance was great,
GEYER WALTY. 91
and their further progress was hindered by
a broad, deep fissure in the ice: the buck
had sprung over it, but human strength and
activity would not have dared the fearful
leap: then, too, the glacier upon which they
stood was unusually smooth and dangerous,
and offered no secure foothold.
"We cannot cross that crevasse, father,"
whispered Walty; "let us seek another
"There is none better than this," replied
the hunter, as he stood prepared to fire.
"Why shoot, father?" asked the boy.
"What profit would the dead chamois be to
us, if we cannot obtain possession of him?"
"If the animal falls, we will soon find a
way to get him; we will lay a plank over
the fissure, and then we can easily reach
"But we have no plank "
It will not be impossible to obtain one.
92 GEYER WALTY.
Let me contrive, my lad So saying, Toni
Hirzel prepared to take aim; but as his
finger touched the trigger, an ashy paleness
suddenly overspread his face.
What is it, father? asked Walty, anx-
iously; "are you sick ?"
"No, no!" replied the hunter; "only it
appeared to me for the moment, when I
went to shoot, as though the glacier under
my feet swayed; but it was foolishness-our
mountain stands lasting as eternity."
Do not shoot, father implored the lad.
" I, too, feel so strangely; and my heart
throbs, as though it presages some coming
ill. Do not shoot, father; defer it until to-
morrow, I pray thee."
But the old hunter had regained his self-
command, and the momentary weakness
'T was all folly, my lad," said he, smiling,
but not with his accustomed firmness of
GEYER WALTY. 93
voice. "We have mounted too hastily, and
there was a strange mist before my eyes:
it has passed now, and it would be the ex-
treme of folly should we allow our prey to
escape for a fit of dizziness. Say no more,
Walty! In a moment it is done "
The lad opposed it no longer; the hunter
raised his rifle, aimed, and fired. On the
instant his limbs swayed, the rifle fell from
his hands. Walty heard him utter: Heaven
have mercy upon me!" as he glided over the
ice-fissure, throwing his arms wildly into the
air, as though he would save himself from
the horrible plunge. But it was too late!
with the shock of the discharge he had lost
his balance upon the smooth surface of the
ice, and in the moment that the chamois fell
dead upon the green meadow, pierced by his
sure bullet, the bold hunter sank in the deep
gulf, perchance to rise no more.
"Father! oh, my God! father, father!"
94 GEYER WALTY.
screamed the horrified lad, casting himself
down upon the ice, and gazing over the
edge of the crevasse as though he could pene-
trate its fearful depths. "Father, father!
dost thou still live ? For God's sake, answer
No answer, save the low rushing, plashing,
and gurgling fall of the sub-glacial streams
from its hollow depths.
For some moments he lay paralyzed with
terror; then gradually his consciousness re-
turned, and with it the grief and horror that
filled his soul. Heart-broken, he cried aloud,
wringing his hands in his hopeless despair.
Father! cried he again, wildly, down
into the cold grave that yawned immeasura-
ble and unfathomable beneath him; "father!
for God's sake, hear, and answer me!"
Suddenly every nerve quivered, as from
the icy sepulchre a hollow voice answered:
"Walty, I still live! But leg aind.irm are
GEYER WxLTY. 95
broken, and never, never more will I see the
light of the sun."
A cry of pain and of joy burst forth from
the tortured breast of the poor boy.
"Courage, father," he returned, quickly;
"thou shalt be saved, if God preserve to me
my life. Hast thou thy hunting-pouch,
Yes, my son; but the flask is broken in
"I will throw you mine. Look out,
The hunting-pouch fell. And in a few
moments the poor man made known to the
anxious boy that he had found it.
"The flask is secure: now I can hold out
at least twenty hours longer, I hope, although
it is cold as death in this frightful gulf. But
what will you do, my son ?"
I will at once hasten down into the val-
ley, giving the alarm to the herdsmen and
96 GEYER WALTY.
the neighbors, and return as soon as possible
with poles and ropes. Keep up a brave
heart only a few hours longer, father, and,
with our God's assistance, thou shalt certainly
be saved! "
Hasten, my child! I await thee," an
swered the father. And after a sorrowful
farewell, Wailty rushed wildly from the spot.
It was a fearful race; springing, slipping,
stumbling over ice-fields and masses of rock
in his headlong, dangerous haste, he reached,
in an incredibly short time, the bottom of
the valley. Of deathly paleness, with torn
hands and dress, his face covered with blood,
he rushed to the inn at Rosenlaui, the near-
est spot where he could certainly count upon
speedy assistance : his appearance caused
the greatest consternation and horror.
Hurriedly he related the frightful occurrence;
and at once a dozen pairs of strong arms
were volunteered to draw the unfortunate
GEYER WALTY. 97
Hirzel from his icy grave. The ready host
of Rosenlaui ordered ropes, poles, and lad-
ders to be provided, as well as strengthening
and nourishing food; which last he forced
upon Walty, for the poor lad could scarcely
stand while the requisite preparation" were
being made. The boy, rested, and strength-
ened and refreshed by the food provided,
was enabled to act as guide to the bold and
generous band of rescuers.
Without further delay they set out, and
climbed upward over rock and glacier; but,
although each one put forth every exertion,
it took them full two hours before they
arrived at the spot where the accident oc-
curred. Walty at once threw himself upon
the edge of the fissure, and called down into
the deep gulf. Weak but intelligible came
up the answer:
"I still live, my son; but my limbs are
almost frozen, and my agony is great. If
98 GEYER WXLTY.
you can help me, help quickly, or my mind
will give way."
"Down with the rope!" ordered the
Rosenlaui host. "Look out, Hirzel! pass
the rope under your arms, and fasten it se-
curely over your breast; here are enough
strong arms that can easily draw you up."
The rope, secured by a stake driven in the
ice, glided quickly down the fissure. But
vainly they awaited the signal that the poor
man had heard and availed himself of their
"Father, why dost thou delay?" called
Wilty, in terror.
Hirzel, make haste! cried the host, in a
loud voice. He must have fainted," said
he, hurriedly. Then God be gracious to his
poor soul! for into this fearful depth dare
no living :soul venture by this unsteady
GEYER WALTY. 99
I dare it! cried Walty, and attempted
to seize it; but twenty hands held him back.
" Let me go! he cried; "I must save my
But the hands grasped him still firmer;
the host remonstrating sternly, assuring him
it was tempting Providence to so recklessly
venture his life.
Only wait until we know whether the
cord is long enough to reach down into the
abyss. How would it be if twenty, thirty,
or fifty feet were still wanting? To clamber
up again.were impossible, and death would
inevitably be the result. Wait; your father,
in all probability, will come to himself, and
then it will be time enough for us to decide
how we will act."
Wilty apparently gave heed to these re-
monstrances; he no longer struggled to es-
Scape the grasp of his companions, only bend-
ing over the gulf and listening intently; but