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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-David Copperfield by Charles Dickens


reasons then struggling within me, vainly, for more distinct
expression - kept me on my pilgrimage. Sometimes, I had proceeded
restlessly from place to place, stopping nowhere; sometimes, I had
lingered long in one spot. I had had no purpose, no sustaining
soul within me, anywhere.

I was in Switzerland. I had come out of Italy, over one of the
great passes of the Alps, and had since wandered with a guide among
the by-ways of the mountains. If those awful solitudes had spoken
to my heart, I did not know it. I had found sublimity and wonder
in the dread heights and precipices, in the roaring torrents, and
the wastes of ice and snow; but as yet, they had taught me nothing
else.

I came, one evening before sunset, down into a valley, where I was
to rest. In the course of my descent to it, by the winding track
along the mountain-side, from which I saw it shining far below, I
think some long-unwonted sense of beauty and tranquillity, some
softening influence awakened by its peace, moved faintly in my
breast. I remember pausing once, with a kind of sorrow that was
not all oppressive, not quite despairing. I remember almost hoping
that some better change was possible within me.

I came into the valley, as the evening sun was shining on the
remote heights of snow, that closed it in, like eternal clouds.
The bases of the mountains forming the gorge in which the little
village lay, were richly green; and high above this gentler
vegetation, grew forests of dark fir, cleaving the wintry
snow-drift, wedge-like, and stemming the avalanche. Above these,
were range upon range of craggy steeps, grey rock, bright ice, and
smooth verdure-specks of pasture, all gradually blending with the
crowning snow. Dotted here and there on the mountain's-side, each
tiny dot a home, were lonely wooden cottages, so dwarfed by the
towering heights that they appeared too small for toys. So did
even the clustered village in the valley, with its wooden bridge
across the stream, where the stream tumbled over broken rocks, and
roared away among the trees. In the quiet air, there was a sound
of distant singing - shepherd voices; but, as one bright evening
cloud floated midway along the mountain's-side, I could almost have
believed it came from there, and was not earthly music. All at
once, in this serenity, great Nature spoke to me; and soothed me to
lay down my weary head upon the grass, and weep as I had not wept
yet, since Dora died!

I had found a packet of letters awaiting me but a few minutes
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-David Copperfield by Charles Dickens



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