SOCIAL LIFE 189
eclipses have, however, shown that curved rays are a reality.
From Spain I went by diligence to Bordeaux, meeting my wife at the station on her arrival from Paris, and we started for a tour in the Pyrenees and for a stay of some weeks at Luchon. Here I became for the first time bitten with the mania for mountain climbing. As during a few years previously the primary purpose of fences had seemed to be to afford objects for leaping over, so now that of mountains seemed to be for clambering. Mr. Charles Packe, who was an authority on the mountains and botany of the locality, often accompanied me, and the outings were enjoyed excessively. Among other things, I was immensely taken by the sleeping-bag that each French soldier carries who watches the mountain passes through which Spanish smugglers try to steal. It is worn on the back like a heavy knapsack. These bags are made of sheep-skin with the wool inside. On cold days the soldiers sit inside them, pulling the bag up to their waists. They are thus able to keep their posts in trying weather, which smugglers would otherwise have been ready to utilise for their own purposes. I tried the efficiency of one on an interesting night. A heavy storm was gathering, but before the evening closed and before the storm broke, I had time to find a good place on a hill some i ooo feet or more above Luchon, and there to await it inside my bag. Nothing could have been more theatrically grand. The thunder-clouds and the vivid lightning were just above me, accompanied by deluges of rain. Then they descended to my level, and the lightning crackled and crashed about, then