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storm, and lost their ship and all tney had. One of these poor men had scarcely any clothes to cover him, and was shaking all over with a violent ague, and the other had his toes almost mortified by walking barefooted in the
36. Am I not a great deal better off than these poor men, and perhaps than a thousand others, who are at this time tost about upon the waves, or cast away, or wandering about the world, without a shed to cover them from the weather, or imprisoned for debt? Might I not have gone on in committing bad actions like many other unhappy men, till I had been guilty of some notorious crime, which might have brought me to a shameful end? And ought I not to be grateful for all these blessings which I possess?
37. Thomas, who had hitherto enjoyed all the good things of this life, without reflecting from whom he had received them, was very much struck with the piety of this honest and contented man; but as he was going to an
the good woman, who had laid a clean though coarse cloth upon her table, and taking up her savoury supper in an earthen plate, invited them to sit down; an invitation which both the boys obeyed with the greatest pleasure, as they had eaten nothing since the morning. In the mean time the man of the house took his hat, and walked to Mr. Barlow's to inform him that his two pupils were safe in the neighbourhood:
38. Mr. Barlow had long suffered great uneasiness at their absence, and, not contented with sending after them on every side, was at that time very busy in the pursuit; so that the man met him about half way from his own house. As soon as Mr. Barlow heard the good news, he determined to return with the man, and reached his house just as Thomas Merton had finished one of the heartiest meals he had ever made.
39. The little boys rose up to meet Mr. Barlow, and thanked him for his kindness, and the pains he had taken to look after them, expressing their concern for the accident which had happened, and the uneasiness which, without designing it they had occasioned: but he, with the greatest good-nature, advised them to be more cautious for the future, and not to extend their walks so far; then thanking the worthy people of the house, he offered to conduct them home; and they all three sat out together, in a
very cold, but fine and starlight evening.
40. As they went home, he renewed his caution and told them the dangers they had incurred. Many people, said he, in your situation, have been surprised by an unexpected storm, and losing their way have perished with cold. Sometimes both men and beasts, not being able to discern their accustomed track, have fallen into deep pits filled up and covered with the snow, where they have been found buried several feet deep and frozen to death.
41. And is it impossible, said Thomas, in such a case to escape? In general it is, said Mr. Barlow, but there have been some extraordinary instances of persons who have lived several days in that condition, and yet been taken out alive; to-morrow you shall read a remarkable story to that purpose.
SECTION VII. The Story of the people who were overwhelmed in a vast lish
body of snow, which rolled upon their buildings from a i high mountain.
1. When the morrow came, Thomas put Mr. Barlow in fifa mind of the story he had promised him, about the people buried in the snow. Mr. Barlow looked him out the 8. ] book, but first said, It is necessary to give you some ex- kup planation. The country where this accident happened, is a a country full of rocks and mountains, so excessively high food, that the snow never melts
upon 2. Never, said Thomas, not even in the summer? Not od to even in the summer, said Mr. Barlow; the vallies between poste these mountains are inhabited by a brave and industrious sough people; the sides of them too are cultivated, but the tops y al of the highest mountains are so extremely cold, that the fol ice and snow never melt, but go on continually increasing.
3. During a great part of the winter, the weather is ex-spo tremely cold, and the inhabitants confine themselves within desi their houses, which they have the art to render very com: fortable. Almost all the roads are then impassable, and the t snow and ice afford the only prospect.
4. But when the year begins to grow warmer, the snow is frequently thawed upon the sides of the mountains, and the undermined by the torrents of water which pour down with irresistible fury. Hence it frequently happens, that abe such prodigious masses of snow fall down, as are sufficient to bury beasts and houses, and even villages beneath them.!
5. It was in the neighbourhood of these prodigious mountains, which are called the Alps, that on the 19th of March, 1755, a small cluster of houses were entirely overwhelmed by two vast bodies of snow that tumbled down upon them from a greater height. All the inhabitants were · then within doors, except one Joseph Rochia and his son, a lad of fifteen, who were on the roof of their house, clearing away the snow which had fallen for three days incessantly.
6. A priest going by to church, advised them to come down, having just before observed a body of snow tumbling from the mountain towards them. The man descended with great precipitation, and fled with his son he knew not whither; but scarcely had he gone thirty or forty steps, before his son, who followed him, fell down; on which looking back, he saw his own and his neighbours' houses, in which were twenty-two persons in all, covered with a high mountain of snow.
7. He lifted up his son, and reflecting that his wife, his sisters, two children, and all his effects were thus buried, he fainted away; but soon reviving, got safe to a friend's house at some distance.
8. Five days after, Joseph, being perfectly recovered, got upon
and two of his wife's brothers, to try if he could find the exact place where his house stood ; but after many openings made in the snow they could not discover it. The month of April proving hot, and the snow beginning to soften, he again used his utmost endeavours to recover his effects, and to bury as he thought, the remains of his family. He made new openings, and threw in earth to melt the snow, which on the 24th of April was greatly diminished. He broke through ice six English feet thick, with iron bars, thrust down a long pole and touched the ground; but evening coming on he desisted.
9. The next day, the brother of his wife, who had heard of the misfortunes of the family, came to the house where Joseph was, and after resting himself a little, went with him to work upon the snow, where they made another opening, which led them to the house they searched for; but finding no dead bodies in its ruins, they sought for the stable, which was about two hundred and forty English feet distant, which having found they heard a cry of help, my dear brother! Being greatly surprised as well as encouraged by
these words, they laboured with all diligence till they had made a large opening, through which the brother immediately went down, where the sister, with an agonizing and feeble voice, told him, I have always trusted in God and you, that you
would not forsake me. 10. The other brother and the husband then went down, and found, still alive, the wife about forty-five, the sister about thirty-five, and the daughter about thirteen years old. These they raised on their shoulders to men above, who pulled them up as if from the grave, and carried them to a neighbouring house: they were unable to walk, and so wasted that they appeared like mere skeletons.
11. They were immediately put to bed, and gruel of rye-flour with a little butter was given to revive them. Some days after, the magistrate of the place came to visit them, and found the wife still unable to rise from bed, or use her feet, from the intense cold she had endured, and the uneasy posture she had been in. The sister who had been bathed with hot wine, could walk with some difficulty, and the daughter needed no further remedies.
12. On the magistrate's interrogating the women, they told him that on the morning of the 19th of March, they were in the stable, with a boy of six years old, and a girl of about thirteen ; in the same stable were six goats, one of which having brought forth two kids the night before, they went to carry her a small vessel of rye-flour gruel
. They were sheltering themselves in a warm corner of the stable till the church-bell should ring, intending to attend the service.
13. The wife related, that wanting to go out of the stable to kindle a fire in the house of her husband, who was clearing away the snow from the top of it, she perceived a mass of snow breaking down towards the east, upon which she went back into the stable, shut the door, and told her sister of it. In less than three minutes they heard the roof break over their heads and also part of the ceiling. The sister advised to get into the rack and manger, which they did.
14. There were also in the stable an ass, and five or six fowls. The ass was tied to the manger,
but got loose by kicking and struggling, and threw down the little vessel, which they found, and afterwards used to hold the melted snow which served them for drink.
15. Very fortunately the manger was under the main
11 theri prop of the stable, and so resisted the weight of the snow.
Their first care was to know what they had to eat. The
sister said she had fifteen chesnuts in her pockets ; the INTZAN
children said they had breakfasted, and should want no more that day. They remembered there were thirty-six or forty cakes in a place near the stable, and endeavoured to get at them, but were not able for the snow. They called often for help, but were heard by none.
The sister abort gave the chesnuts to the wife, except two which she ate
herself, and they drank some snow-water. JE,
16. The ass was restless, and the goats kept bleating for some days; after which they heard no more of them. Two of the goats however, being left alive, and near the manger, they felt them and found that one of them gave milk, with which they preserved their lives. During all this time they saw not one ray of light, yet for about twenty days they had some notice of night and day from the crowing of the fowls, till they died.
17. The second day, being very hungry, they ate all the chesnuts and drank what milk the goat yielded, being very near two pints a day at first, but it soon decreased. The third day they attempted again, but in vain, to get at the cakes: so they resolved to take all possible care to feed the goats; for just above the manger was a hay-loft, from which, through a hole, the sister pulled down hay into the rack, and gave it to the goats as long as she could reach it; and then, when it was beyond her reach the goats climbed upon her shoulders, and reached it themselves.
18. On the sixth day the boy sickened, and six days after desired his mother, who all this time had held him in her lap, to lay him at his length in the manger. She did $0, and taking him by the hand, felt it was very cold; she then
put her hand to his mouth, and finding that cold likewise, she gave him a little milk; the boy then cried, Oh! helpen my father is in the snow, oh, father! father! and then expired.
19. In the mean time the goat's milk diminished daily; and the fowls soon after dying, they could no longer distinguish night from day. Whenever they called this goat, it would come and lick their faces and hands, and gave
them every day two pints of milk, on which account they still bear the poor creature a great affection. This was the account which these poor people gave to the magistrate, of their preservation.