The mountains would become covered with snow and ice, and their former Alpine inhabitants would descend to the plains.
We can thus also understand the fact that the Alpine plants of each mountain-range are more especially related to the arctic forms living due north or nearly due north of them: for the migration as the cold came on, and the re-migration on the returning warmth, will generally have been due south and north.
But with our Alpine productions, left isolated from the moment of the returning warmth, first at the bases and ultimately on the summits of the mountains, the case will have been somewhat different; for it is not likely that all the same arctic species will have been left on mountain ranges distant from each other, and have survived there ever since; they will, also, in all probability have become mingled with ancient Alpine species, which must have existed on the mountains before the commencement of the Glacial epoch, and which during its coldest period will have been temporarily driven down to the plains; they will, also, have been exposed to somewhat different climatal influences.
Consequently we have here everything favourable for much modification,--for far more modification than with the Alpine productions, left isolated, within a much more recent period, on the several mountain-ranges and on the arctic lands of the two Worlds.
Watson has recently remarked, 'In receding from polar towards equatorial latitudes, the Alpine or mountain floras really become less and less arctic.' Many of the forms living on the mountains of the warmer regions of the earth and in the southern hemisphere are of doubtful value, being ranked by some naturalists as specifically distinct, by others as varieties; but some are certainly identical, and many, though closely related to northern forms, must be ranked as distinct species.
All the circumstances were perfect--and the anticipations, too, for we should soon be enjoying, for the first time, that wonderful spectacle, an Alpine sunrise--the object of our journey.
The German landlady gave us neat rooms and nice beds, and when I and my agent turned in, it was with the resolution to be up early and make the utmost of our first Alpine sunrise.
l l l llul-lul-LAhee-o-o-o!" pealing joyously from a near but invisible source, and recognized that we were hearing for the first time the famous Alpine JODEL in its own native wilds.
We were pretty well fagged out, now, but as we did not wish to miss the Alpine sunrise, we got through our dinner as quickly as possible and hurried off to bed.
"Bribe a seraph to fetch you a coal of fire from heaven, if you will," said I, "and with it kindle life in the tallest, fattest, most boneless, fullest-blooded of Ruben's painted women--leave me only my Alpine
peri, and I'll not envy you."