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This article is taken from PN Review 16, Volume 7 Number 2, November - December 1980.

Janet Adam Smith
I. A. Richards first saw Alpine snows as a small boy; over seventy years later, in a paper read to the Alpine Club, he remembered how

On a hot afternoon in the steep village street I could not believe that the snows would not have melted before I could see them again. As soon as we came inside the Hotel Bel Oiseau I scampered upstairs to the top floor and down the long dark corridor to the end window. The Aiguille du Tour and the Trient Glacier were still there! They are still there now.

The village was Finhaut; he said the name could be interpreted as the END of GOING UP HIGH, and his poem 'Finhaut' speaks of 'known heights now out of reach'.

Regret, perhaps; nostalgia, no! That is what 'Resign! Resign!' says to me. It is very down to earth. The great climbs of the Richards's heyday are out of reach; so too even the lesser climbs of the post-war years. Now it is a matter of gentler walks over passes, of little peaks in Austria or New Hampshire, not despising the help of télefórique or chair-lift.Common-sense says Stop! 'The House of Commons that is shouting at the climber Resign! Resign! is his own thoughts about his situation . . . a situation' (he tells his Alpine Club audience) 'you, sooner or later, may happily come to'. With precise detail he makes the tally of his and Dorothea's ...

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