Sunday, 30 November 2008


There was no longer any doubt as to the cause of the magnificent phenomenon I was witnessing, for the beams of the rising moon began distinctly to spread themselves over one-half of the heavens, the stars – with the exception of some few of the magnitude which still held their place, though with enfeebled light – disappearing as she came. And now she gradually rose from her mountain bed in indescribable purity and grandeur. The change her presence wrought over the whole scene was miraculous. All was now in a pure calm light, or intense black shadow. The lake itself seemed one large mirror of silver, encircled by a framework of mountains. There was an unearthly, or rather perhaps heavenly, quiet shed over the whole prospect, which for some time completely overcame me; and I remained for more than an hour on the spot, as if under some powerful enchantment.

But the realities of life again came before my mind and once more I prepared to depart. My eye, however, was attracted by the ruin near me, and I resolved, if but for a moment, to enter within the walls. I had some difficulty in carrying out my purpose, for the castle gateway was in the shadow. At last, however, I succeeded; but my curiosity was but little gratified, for more than three parts of the interior were in a darkness too deep to distinguish one object from another with any certainty. With the exception that the ruins were extensive, and that a considerable portion of them was covered with wild shrubs, and that the place had been (for mediaeval architecture) of considerable military strength, I could ascertain nothing, and I left the spot determining, as before, to visit it again at a future time.

I now began to descend the mountain, and, thanks to the light of the moon, progressed for some time in my path without much difficulty, though I suffered dreadfully from fatigue. I began for the first time to calculate the distance between me and Ponte, and I confess I felt somewhat alarmed lest my strength should fail me before I could reach the house of my friend. Having no alternative, however, I walked boldly onwards. Presently I began to meet with difficulties I had not calculated on when I ascended the mountain. As I approached the valley, the space between the hills became narrower, and the shadows thrown across it made it profoundly dark. To the right of the narrow path ran a deep fissure, at the bottom of which rushed a stream of some magnitude; while, to the left, enormous rocks rose almost perpendicularly.

I had now to...

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