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My brother and I were sent this summer by our parents51for a so-called walking-tour in Switzerland, with a tutor.I need hardly say we travelled by train so far as the moneylasted. The tutor and I climbed mountains. We climbedthe Wetterhorn and Monte Rosa. The spectacle of thesunrise striking the peaks of the Bernese Oberland is amarvel of light and colour unsurpassed in my experience.I longed to climb the Matterhorn, but this was not onlytoo expensive but held by the tutor to be too dangerous.All this prudence however might easily have been upset byan incident which happened to me in the lake of Lausanne.I record this incident that it may be a warning to others.I went for a row with another boy a little younger thanmyself. When we were more than a mile from the shore,we decided to have a swim, pulled off our clothes, jumpedinto the water and swam about in great delight. Whenwe had had enough, the boat was perhaps 100 yards away.A breeze had begun to stir the waters. The boat had asmall red awning over its stern seats. This awning actedas a sail by catching the breeze. As we swam towardsthe boat, it drifted farther off. After this had happenedseveral times we had perhaps halved the distance. Butmeanwhile the breeze was freshening and we both, especiallymy companion, began to be tired. Up to this point noidea of danger had crossed my mind. The sun playedupon the sparkling blue waters; the wonderful panoramaof mountains and valleys, the gay hotels and villas stillsmiled. But I now saw Death as near as I believe I haveever seen him. He was swimming in the water at ourside, whispering from time to time in the rising wind whichcontinued to carry the boat away from us at about the samespeed we could swim. No help was near. Unaided wecould never reach the shore. I was not only an easy, buta fast swimmer, having represented my House at Harrow,when our team defeated all comers. I now swam for life.Twice I reached within a yard of the boat and each timea gust carried it just beyond my reach; but by a supremeeffort I caught hold of its side in the nick of time before52a still stronger gust bulged the red awning again. Iscrambled in, and rowed back for my companion who,though tired, had not apparently realised the dull yellowglare of mortal peril that had so suddenly played aroundus. I said nothing to the tutor about this seriousexperience; but I have never forgotten it; and perhaps some ofmy readers will remember it too.




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