OF all the interesting places on the earth, travelers like best to linger in the sunny valleys of the Alps, and to climb their majestic, snow-covered summits. This mountain chain, winding along the boundary lines of France, Italy, Switzerland, and Hungary, for a distance of many hundred miles, sends up more than four hundred peaks into the region of eternal snows. 

The highest of these rises 15,766 feet above the level of the sea. There lie all along the chain many beautiful valleys, where, walled in by these everlasting bulwarks, whose glistening tops are ever in view, dwells many a happy peasant, tilling his soil by day, and at night calling to the fold his flocks from their pasturage on the mountains. In these valleys grow the world renowned Alpine flowers, and through them rushing streams carry to the broad rivers beyond, the melted snow and ice from the heights above. 

But all about the Alps is not thus fair and lovely. There are other scenes which, though grand to behold, are fraught with perils which make the hearts of brave men stand still. Far above the valleys are precipices so high that no sounds from below can possibly be heard at their summits, which often hang over the valley below like vast shelves. Sometimes these precipices will rise one above another, leaving only a narrow ledge between, covered with ice and snow. Along these ledges where one false step would be instant death, the people who live in the mountains have to travel in going from valley to valley, or when in search of game for food. As these ledges are often composed entirely of ice to the depth of several feet, the rays of the sun will sometimes cause great cracks, or fissures, to open, over which travelers have to leap by the aid of long poles. These fissures will sometimes become filled with light snow, so that they are not seen, until the foremost of the party sets his foot on it, when he will instantly sink down, down, out of sight, and beyond the help of his comrades. To provide against these dangers, a party of Alpine travelers always attach themselves to one another by means of a long rope, so that if one falls, the others can pull him back. They each carry a long, sharp pole to help them up the steep rocks, and with this they also try the treacherous snow ahead. 

But there are still greater dangers among these mountains, from which men have no power to save themselves. The masses of ice and snow which 

accumulate on the heights, become so great that they are forced slowly down the mountain sides before they become melted, forming what are often called "rivers of ice." These huge masses will descend gradually till they reach the edge of some precipice, where they are often stopped by a tree or projecting rock. Here they remain until, urged onward by their own weight or other masses behind them, they only need some jar, or sudden wind to send them over the edge, burying all beneath, be it men, animals, houses, or whole villages. 

So delicately are they sometimes poised that even a voice, or the tinkle of a small bell will be enough to hurl them downward. 

These' are the dreaded avalanches of the Alps, and once every traveler who crossed the mountains was in deadly fear of them. Buildings, called "hospices" were built at intervals all along the passes, where lived monks, who would after each storm or avalanche go out with their dogs and look for travelers who might have lost their way in the blinding snow, and be freezing to death. The dogs would scent out the persons, and the monks would follow with ropes, blankets, food, and restoratives. 

But during the present century there have been built as many as sixteen good roads across the mountains, all but two of which, can be traveled with carriages. 

One of the best of these roads was first built by Napoleon Bonaparte. It is thirty miles in length, eighteen feet wide, and 6,773 feet above the level of the sea. These roads, cross frightful chasms by long bridges, and avoid dangerous places by means of tunnels cut in the solid granite. One of these tunnels is over six hundred feet long. The bridge shown in the cut is probably a rustic one built by the inhabitants for their own use. The long public roads across the mountains are built by some government. 

No description can do justice to the beauty and grandeur of the Alpine scenery, and though volumes have been written on the subject, every traveler must feel that "the half has never been told." 

C. H. G. 

THE strength of the hills is His also.