A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS
With the hushed fall of eventide, the stillness within'and without
grows more and more intense. To this humbler degree, I know now
the spiritual meaning of Christ's words: land my Father are one.
Take your prodigal child, then, O Overself, take him captive!
How sweet is life when one penetrates its hidden depths! Our greatest
need is not for a wider and more diffuse existence, but for a pro-
founder one. Such an experience helps one to understand why men
cling so desperately to life, even in the face of acute bodily.suffering
and terrible torture of mind and spirit. For their very clinging is but a
faint percolation into our world of that intense ecstatic satisfying
peace which dwells in life's secret heart. They hold to life because
they sense unconsciously that it is a boon worth having. Gould they
but trace physical life back to its original source they would possess
themselves of this boon. For the ephemeral existence of a few score
years holds only a distant reflection of the real hidden life-current.
'Tis but a small are of the entire circle of being.
A message comes from Darjeeling with the news that Ruttledge
has at last been forced to abandon his expedition to climb Mount
Everest. The world's best-known peak and loftiest pinnacle will not
yield. Himalaya's highest aspiration outsoars mankind's reach.
Ruttledge's party has crept to within a few thousand feet of the
summit but the weather has now beaten him. To remain any longer
near the shoulder of that storm-whipped, world-surveying giant will
be certain suicide.
Everest remains, the most sought-for diamond in this massive
girdle thrown by Nature around India's northern face.
Ruttledge and his companions will descend with well-earned
glory, however. They have done all they could, it was impossible
to do more. After all, a period of only about six weeks out of the
entire year was at his disposal for the effort. The cold is too unbear-
able before May, and the monsoon too insupportable after mid-
June. Tremendous blizzards which screech across.the mountain's
face like howling monsters will soon hurl every human being in
their path to death; vast snowfalls which swiftly blanket the slope
to an incredible thickness will soon bury every corpse. Honourable
retreat is the only wise thing to do in the face of such hardships and
difficulties, when the forces of Nature reveal how violent they may
The credit for rendering the climbing of Mount Everest a
practical proposition belongs to my respected friend, Sir Francis
Younghusband. Himself born in the Himalayan region and belong-