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Title: First Impressions on a Tour upon the Continent - In the summer of 1818 through parts of France, Italy, - Switzerland, the borders of Germany, and a part of French - Flanders
Author: Baillie, Marianne
Language: English
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[Illustration: _London, Published by I. Murray, 1819_
SWISS COTTAGE.]



    FIRST IMPRESSIONS
    ON
    A TOUR UPON THE CONTINENT
    IN THE SUMMER OF 1818,
    THROUGH PARTS OF
    FRANCE, ITALY, SWITZERLAND,
    THE BORDERS OF GERMANY,
    AND A PART OF
    _FRENCH FLANDERS_.

    BY MARIANNE BAILLIE.

    LONDON:
    JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE-STREET.
    1819.



    LONDON:
    PRINTED BY THOMAS DAVISON, WHITEFRIARS.



    TO
    ONE OF THE MOST VALUED FRIENDS OF HER EARLIEST YEARS,
    THE RIGHT HON. JOHN TREVOR,
    THE AUTHOR
    INSCRIBES THE
    FOLLOWING LITTLE WORK,
    WITH EVERY SENTIMENT OF AFFECTIONATE RESPECT
    AND ESTEEM.



DIRECTIONS TO THE BINDER.


    Swiss Cottage              to face the title.
    View of Turin                             164
    Passage of the Simplon                    212
    Colossal Figure                           218
    Hermitage of St. Frêne                    312



PREFACE


In perusing the following pages, it will I hope be believed, that they
were not originally written with any view to publication: circumstances
have since occurred, which induce me to alter my first intention, and to
submit them to a more enlarged circle, than that of a few intimate
friends, to whose eye alone I had once thought of presenting them.

In committing my First Impressions to so fearful an ordeal as the
opinion of the Public, I feel oppressed by a sense of their various
imperfections, and by the conviction of their trifling value as a work
of the sort; yet I still flatter myself they will be received with
forbearance. I had much amusement in attempting this little sketch, and
I most sincerely entreat that it may be considered as what it is, a
sketch only. My friends will not, and readers in general must not, look
for fine writing from the pen of such a novice as myself; nor ought they
to expect me (labouring under the twofold disadvantage of sex and
inexperience) to narrate with the accuracy and precision of a regular
tourist, the history (natural, moral, political, literary and
commercial) of all the places we visited: still less, that (in
compliment to the lovers of the gastronomic art) I should undertake to
give the bill of fare of every _table d'hôte_ or _traiteur_ that we met
with in our progress.

Among the many fears which assail me, there is one that recurs to my
mind with more pertinacity than the rest: that I may be taxed with
having bestowed too warm and glowing a colouring upon some objects of
natural beauty and sublimity. Formerly, indeed, I believe I was in
danger of leaning towards romance in describing scenes which had
particularly impressed my imagination or interested my feelings, and of
attempting to imitate, with too rash and unadvised a pencil, the fervour
of a Mrs. Radcliffe, although to catch the peculiar charm and spirit of
her style I felt to be (for me) impossible. But notwithstanding that I
still remember with complacence the time when the vivid imagination of
very early youth procured me the enjoyment of a thousand bright and
lovely illusions, and cast a sort of fairy splendour over existence
which was certainly more bewitching than many realities that I have
since met with, I at present feel (as better becomes me) more inclined
to worship at the sober shrine of reason and judgment. This, it will be
easily conceived, was likely to render my Tour a more faithful picture,
than if it had been undertaken some years ago, and I can safely affirm,
that I commenced it with a determination to observe all things without
prejudice of any sort, not even that of nationality; for prejudice is
still the same irrational and unworthy feeling, in every shape and under
every name. I was much hurried at the time of writing this Journal; but
a greater degree of subsequent leisure has enabled me to add some few
notes which may, I hope, amuse and interest my readers. In these I
acknowledge with gratitude the occasional assistance of a partial
friend.

_April, 1819._



FIRST IMPRESSIONS.


On Monday, August 9th, we embarked from the Ship inn at Dover, for
Calais, on board the Princess Augusta packet. The passage was dreadful,
the usual miseries attended us, and at the time I am now writing this,
viz. August 13th, we are still suffering from the effects of our voyage.
I will not make my readers ill by recalling the disgusting scenes which
we there encountered, suffice it to say, that the bare remembrance of
them is sufficient to overwhelm my still sick fancy, and to render the
very name of the sea appalling to my ears. Upon landing at Calais,
however, we contrived to raise our heavy eyes, with a lively feeling of
curiosity and interest, to the motley crowd assembled on the beach to
view us come on shore. I was pleased with what we are taught to call
the habitual politeness of even the lowest order of French people,
evinced in the alacrity with which twenty hands were held out to support
me in descending from the packet, and in the commiseration which I
plainly discovered in many a sun-burnt countenance for my evident
indisposition. The hotel (Quillacq's) is excellent, and the attendants
remarkably civil and active. The style of furniture is superior to that
of the best English hotels; and for a dinner and dessert of the most
superior quality, we did not pay more than we should have done at an
ordinary inn in our own country for very common fare. The dress of the
lower classes here is rather pretty; the circumstance of the women
wearing caps, neatly plaited, and tolerably clean, together with the
body and petticoat of different colours, gives them a picturesque air:
the long gold ear-rings, also (universally worn at this place,
consisting of two drops, one suspended at the end of the other),
contribute greatly to their graceful effect. The men do not differ much
in their appearance from those of the same rank in England, but I think
the animation universally displayed in the countenances of the fairer
sex particularly striking, and certainly preferable to that want of
expression so often to be found among my countrywomen.

When we first started from Calais for Paris, with post-horses, I could
not help a little national feeling of complacency upon observing the
slovenly, shabby appearance of their harness and accoutrements, compared
with those of England. From London to Dover, we had bowled away with
ease and rapidity; the carriage seemed to cut through the air with a
swift and even motion. Now we crawled and jumbled along, as it pleased
the fancy of the horses and driver, upon the latter of which no
remonstrance of ours would have had any effect. The costume of the
post-boy (who drives three horses abreast, a fat, full-sized beast in
the middle, his own rather smaller, and the off horse always a ragged
flap-eared pony, looking as if he had just been caught up from a common)
is whimsical enough; it is universally the royal livery: a shabby,
dirty, short-waisted blue jacket, turned up with crimson, and laced
sometimes with silver; boots resembling those of our heavy cavalry, and
a thick clubbed pigtail, swinging like a pendulum from beneath a rusty
japan hat. It was not till we had reached the distance of Abbeville that
we met with the celebrated genuine _grosses bottes_, whose enormous size
put me in mind of my nursery days, when I used to listen to the
wonderous tale of the giant-killer and his seven-leagued boots. The lash
of the post-boy's whip is thick and knotted, and they have a curious
method of cracking it upon passing other carriages, to give notice of
their approach: this saves their lungs, and has not an unpleasant
effect, the cracking sound being of a peculiar nature, double, as if it
said "crac-crac" at each stroke. It is not every post-boy, however, who
manages this little implement in the true style. They all carry the
badge of their profession upon the left arm (like our watermen), being a
silver or metal plate with the arms of France upon it. From Calais to
Haut-buisson the country is extremely flat, barren and uninteresting,
like the ugliest parts of Wiltshire and Sussex; and the straight line in
which all the French roads are cut is tiresome and monotonous to a great
degree. The case is not mended even when you advance as far as Marquise,
and I began to yawn in melancholy anticipation of a similar prospect for
nearly a hundred and eighty miles, which yet remained to be passed ere
we reached Paris; but upon coming near Beaupres, we were agreeably
disappointed, finding the surface of the country more undulated, and
patches of woodlands thinly strewn here and there--it is amazing how
greatly the eye is relieved by this change. The hamlets between
Haut-buisson and Boulogne much resemble those in the west of England; we
were perpetually fancying ourselves in a Somersetshire village as we
passed through them. On the road-side it is very common to see large
crucifixes, raised to a considerable height, with the figure of our
Saviour the size of life. We remarked one in particular, painted black,
and the image flesh-colour, with the drapery about the middle gilt;
another was inclosed in a small railed space (like a village pound),
surrounded by four or five clumsy stone images, which I rather imagine
were meant to represent the holy women who assembled round the cross
during our Saviour's last moments. As we approached Boulogne, we met
several old peasants: they all wore cocked hats, and a suit of decent,
_sad-coloured_ clothes, not unlike the dress of our villagers on a
Sunday.

The entrance to Boulogne is very picturesque: the fortifications are
crumbling a little beneath the touch of time, and the walls are partly
overgrown by trees and lichens; but a very little exertion would render
it formidable enough, I imagine, to besiegers. We dined here at an inn,
where they thought they could not do us a greater favour than by sending
up a meal in what they believed to be the English style of cookery;
consequently it was neither one thing nor the other, and extremely
disagreeable: amongst various delicacies, we had melted salt butter
swimming in oil, and quite rancid, brought to table in a tea-cup, and a
large dish of tough spongy lumps of veal, which they called veal
cutlets. As I sat at the window, which opened upon the principal street,
I had an opportunity of remarking a specimen of true French flattery,
but I was not quite so pervious to its benign influence as Sterne
describes his ladies to have been in the Sentimental Journey. A little
ragged urchin of about ten years old rather annoyed me, by jumping up
and grinning repeatedly in my face: "Allez, allez, que faites vous là?"
said I. "C'est que je veux dire bon jour à Madame!"--"Eh, bien donc,
vous l'avez dit à present--allez!"--"Ah! mais que Madame est jolie! Mon
Dieu! elle est _very prit_. Elle me donnera un sous, n'est ce pas?"

It was at Poix that we accidentally met a woman of Normandy upon the
road. She was well looking, and the costume both singular and becoming:
the snow white cap with a deep plaited border, and a crown half a yard
in height, fastened on the forehead by a gold pin, the long drop
ear-rings and gold cross in a heavy worked setting, suspended round the
throat by a narrow black riband, white handkerchief crossed over the
bosom, and a body and petticoat of opposite colours, with full white
shift sleeves coming over the elbows, formed a remarkably pretty dress.

I ought to have mentioned before now, that on the road between Marquise
and Beaupres we were amused by observing an unfinished tower, erected by
Bonaparte some years since, designed to commemorate his intended victory
over the English, by invasion--a true _chateau en Espagne_. Wishing to
refresh ourselves by leaving the carriage while the horses were changed,
I entered a sort of rustic public-house, where I observed with much
interest the interior of a French cottage kitchen and its inhabitants. A
group of peasants sat round a wood fire, apparently waiting for their
dinner, which, as a brisk lively _paysanne_ took it off the embers to
pour into a dish, looked and smelt most temptingly; it consisted of a
mess of bread, herbs, and vegetables, stewed in broth: there was a
member of this little circle who seemed to watch the progress of the
cooking with peculiar delight; I mean a large, powerful, yet playful
dog, whose exact breed we did not discover, but we were informed he was
English--doubtless he recognized his countrymen! The plates and dishes,
utensils, &c. were ranged upon shelves from the top to the bottom of the
little kitchen, and equally distributed on all sides, instead of being
confined to the vicinity of the dresser, as is generally the case in
England; they were chiefly of a coarse white clay, painted in a gaudy
and sprawling pattern of red flowers: the old woman of the house
apologized for their not being quite so bright as they ought to have
been, but said the flies dirtied them sadly; however, every thing looked
clean and comfortable. The costume of the men is not becoming; they all
wear white coarse cotton night-caps, and smock-frocks dyed with indigo;
their features and countenances much resemble those of a similar rank in
England. It appears to me that the old peasants alone wear the cocked
hat in this part of France: perhaps it is a remnant of the national
dress in the time of the _ancien regime_. The young children, from one
to five or six years of age, are (generally speaking) very pretty, and
some of them have the drollest little faces I ever saw, dark eyes and
marked eyebrows and lashes, full of smiles and roguery; their hair is
always allowed to hang at full length upon their shoulders, never being
shorn and cropt. Having dined at Boulogne, we proceeded on our journey
as far as Samer, intending to sleep the first night at Montreuil; but a
direct stop was put to any such project, by the circumstance of a total
absence of post-horses; they were all too much fatigued to carry us
farther, or were employed in the service of other travellers. Evening
was now closing rapidly in, and we were really glad to comply with the
urgent solicitations of a rural _fille de chambre_, who ran out of the
little inn at that place (Samer), and assured us we should meet with
very comfortable accommodations and be treated with every attention at
the Tête de Boeuf, to which she belonged: "Ma foi, messieurs," said
the postilion, "vous trouverez que cette demoiselle est bien
engageante." When we entered the house (through the kitchen, which much
resembled that of a large cottage), we found a neat little parlour, the
water ready boiling in the tea-kettle, excellent tea, bread, butter, and
cream. The _demoiselle_ or _fille de la maison_ (being the daughter of
the hostess), and her assistant (the before-mentioned _fille de
chambre_, in her country costume), flew about, seeming to anticipate all
our wishes and wants; every thing was ready in an instant, and all was
done, not by the wand of an enchanter, but by the magical influence of
good humour and activity, void of pertness, and free from bustle or
awkwardness of any sort. _La jeune demoiselle_ was a pretty, modest,
well-behaved girl, of sixteen or seventeen, and the maid a merry,
good-looking, sprightly lass, some few years older. She appeared to
enjoy a joke to her heart, and returned a neat answer to our laughing
questions more than once, and this without being at all immodest or
impertinent. Mr. B. asked her if she was married: "Pas encore,
Monsieur," (said she, looking comically _naïve_), "mais j'espère
toujours!" In short, her manner was something quite peculiar to the
French in that class of society. An English maid servant who had kept
up this sort of badinage would most probably have been a girl of light
character; but servants in France are indulged in a playful familiarity
of speech and manner which is amusing to witness, and seldom (if ever)
prevents them from treating you with every essential respect and
attention. When we started the next morning, the demoiselle earnestly
entreated us to breakfast at the Hotel de l'Europe, at Montreuil, which
was kept by her sister, a young woman only two years older than herself,
who was just married; and both she and her little maid added many a
remembrance upon their parts to _la chere soeur_. Whether this was
genuine sisterly affection, or the policy of two innkeepers playing into
each other's hands, I really cannot take upon me to determine.

The country between Samer and Montreuil becomes far more agreeable than
hitherto; one here sees hills and vales, and waving woods: we passed the
forest of Tingri, but did not remark any large trees; they were chiefly
of beech, with a great profusion of low underwood. We met many waggons
and carts upon the road which are all very different from those used in
England, being much narrower, and lighter for the horses: they are
usually open at the ends, and the sides resemble two long ladders. The
wheat harvest in this part of the country was remarkably fine; oats were
plentifully planted, but the crops were thin; the hay, clover, &c. were
scarce also, and of inferior quality, owing to the long drought. We
observed the women reaping quite as much as the men, and their
complexions, poor creatures! were absolutely baked black by the sun. The
road now led us though the heart of the forest of Aregnes: it is of
large extent, but we observed the same want of fine timber as in that of
Tingri; the reason of this is, that the trees are always cut down before
they attain their full growth, for the purpose of fuel, as wood fires
are universal in France. We admired, however, several "dingles green,"
and "tangled wood walks wild," which looked very cool and inviting, but
I remembered with pride the "giant oaks and twilight glades beneath" of
our own New Forest, and this coppice made but a trifling appearance in
the comparison. Emerging once more from hence upon the open country, we
beheld in the distance a troop of English dragoons (probably from
Boulogne) exercising their horses. What a singular spectacle in the
midst of a people who so lately ruled the world, but who now are
trampled beneath the feet of the stranger! The sight of the English,
thus proudly paramount, must necessarily be revolting and galling to
them in the highest degree: we should feel quite as bitterly, were it
our own fate--more so, perhaps. Let us therefore be just, and make
allowance for their natural disgust, while we condemn the vanity and mad
ambition which has thus reduced them.

The approach to Montreuil is pretty; the character of the landscape
changes, in a sudden and agreeable manner: in place of an uninclosed
tract of land, resembling a vast ocean of waving corn, you now see
verdant meadows and green pastures, refreshing the tired eye, and
wearing the livery of early spring; this effect is produced by the
fields lying low, and by the practice of irrigation, which is an
admirable substitute for rain.

Montreuil is a fortified town; we passed over drawbridges upon entering
and leaving it: the houses are all very ancient, and the whole
appearance is picturesque. Here we had a mental struggle between
sentiment and good nature, for we wished to breakfast at the same inn
where Sterne met with La Fleur, and yet were unwilling to disappoint the
hopes of our little demoiselle at Samer, who had recommended her
sister's hotel. Good nature carried the day, and we drove to l'Hotel de
l'Europe, where we met with most comfortable accommodation, and were
pleased by the young hostess's resemblance to her pretty sister, and by
her civil, lively manner of receiving us. She sat during our breakfast
in a neighbouring apartment, by the kitchen (like the mistress of the
mansion in times of yore), working at her needle, surrounded by her
hand-maidens, who were occupied in the same employment. They all seemed
to be fond of her, and the light laugh of genuine hilarity rang from one
to the other as they chatted at their ease. The room in which we
breakfasted had (in common with most of the French apartments, which are
not paved with brick), a handsome oak floor, waxed and dry rubbed till
it was nearly as highly polished as a dining-table; the walls were
wainscoted in part, and partly hung with a very amusing paper, having
groups of really superior figures stamped upon it, in the manner of
black and white chalk drawings upon a blue ground; one space, which had
been intended for a looking-glass, was filled up in this style, with a
scene from the loves of Cupid and Psyche, executed in a classical
manner. You would never see such a thing in any English country inn, and
I consider the French in these sort of decorations to possess far better
taste than ourselves. As we passed through the cornfields on our way
from Montreuil to Nampont, we were saluted by the _ramasseurs_
(gleaners), with a bouquet or two, formed of wheat, platted in a neat
and ingenious way, which they threw into the carriage, begging a sous in
return, which we bestowed with much good will! Some children also began
to sing and dance on the pathway by the road side, and I was surprised
by observing that the tune was that of a quadrille, and that the steps
were correct. I plainly recognized the _en avant_ and the _rigadon_. Did
this nation come into the world under the influence of a dancing star? I
should say yes.

When the horses were changed at Nampont we disturbed the postillion at
his dinner, who made his appearance devouring an indescribable
something, which we afterwards discovered to be an _omelette aux
herbes_: he deposited this occasionally on the saddle, while adjusting
his harness.

The ricks of corn and hay here are constructed rather in a slovenly
manner: the French farmers seem to have no idea of the neat method of
the English, in this respect.

The road now led us by the celebrated Forest of Crecy, and the image of
our gallant Black Prince rose vividly before my mind's eye. At Bernay we
entered another peasant's cottage, where we (for the first time since
our landing in this country) beheld real and positive beauty. Two
lovely girls with clear brown skins (through which glowed a pure and
animated carnation), long, dark blue eyes, black fringed lashes, and
oval faces, came out with their mother, (a hale, well-looking country
woman), and a younger sister of six years old, whose infantine charms
were full as great in their way. I asked if the latter was the _cadette_
of the family? Upon which the rural dame, with infinite good humour and
readiness, corrected what she termed my mistaken appellation, by
informing me that it was only the second child which they called the
_cadet_ or _cadette_[1]: the youngest was _le dernier_, or _la
derniere_. We had much pleasure in remarking this beautiful trio, and
the mother seemed not a little gratified at our evident admiration of
her progeny.


The face of the country here again changed for the worse, relapsing into
the same flat and monotonous appearance as at first, and it continued
thus until within a mile of Abbeville, which is a very fine old town,
with a cathedral dedicated to Saint Villefrond. The architecture is very
striking, and the interior replete with the usual ornaments of
superstition and idolatry: it was built by the English. My companions
visited it, while I was resting quietly at the hotel, and saw several
precious relics of saints departed. They found three very young devotees
there, before a _Salvator Mundi_, who were much too merry to be very
religious! I however met with quite an affecting spectacle when I went
in my turn. Two poor _paysannes_, in the usual picturesque costume, were
prostrate before the image of a dead Christ supported by the Virgin.
They were praying with an expression of much earnest and sorrowful
devotion: one of them had a sick child in her arms, for whom she
appeared to invoke the divine compassion: poor little thing, the
impression of approaching death was stamped upon its pale face, as it
lay motionless, hardly seeming to breathe. The group struck my
imagination so forcibly, that I afterwards attempted to sketch it from
memory. Surely this religion, with all its faults, is very consolatory;
and the faith and piety of these poor women must be confessed to be
respectable and praiseworthy, however mingled with the alloy of
superstition and ignorance: Calvin himself might have thought as I did,
had he seen them.

It was market-day at Abbeville the morning after our arrival, and we
were much amused with the various costumes and faces assembled there. We
did not, however, see one pretty woman during the whole of our stay,
which was two nights and a day. We went one evening to the theatre, and
observed the same dearth of beauty among the audience, which chiefly
consisted of _petites bourgeoises_, and officers of the national guards.
This theatre is a very inferior one, and full of bad smells. We were
assured by our hostess that the company (from Amiens) was very good, and
that the piece they were to act (_Les Templiers_) was thought highly of.
We all found it extremely difficult to follow the actors, owing to their
unnatural declamatory tones, and the mouthing manner of pronouncing
their words: this I believe, however, is universally the case, even
with the first tragedians at Paris, _Talma_ not excepted. How brightly
do nature's favourite children, _O'Neil_ and _Kean_, shine in
comparison!

The inn at Abbeville, in which we took up our quarters (l'hotel de
l'Europe), is most excellent: it is very large and roomy, and must once
have been a handsome chateau. There is a delightful garden, which
belonged formerly to a convent adjacent: the high walls covered with a
profusion of delicious fruit. The trees in other parts of the garden
also were bending beneath the weight of the apples and pears, plums, &c.
Myrtles and rododendrons (the latter very large and fine) were placed
here and there in tubs; and the fig-tree and vine overshadowed our
bed-room windows, which looked upon this agreeable scene: the grapes
were nearly ripe. The furniture of our bed-rooms was in a very superior
style, though I have seen the same sort of things even in the most
shabby looking little inns throughout France. Marble must be very
common, and of a reasonable price, for we met with it every where, in
chimney-pieces, slabs, tables, the tops of drawers, &c. The little
washing stand, in our room at Abbeville, was of fine carved mahogany, in
the form of an antique altar or tripod; and the bason and ewer, of an
equally pure and classic form, were of fine French porcelain.

As I have a great passion for seeing the manners of all ranks of people,
I went down into a little room next the kitchen, to chat with the
hostess, while she was shelling some _haricots blancs_ for dinner. I
found this lady very communicative and civil; and I won her heart I
believe, by taking some notice of her daughter, about six years old (her
farewell performance in the maternal line), a pretty, gentle, timid
little creature, who was busily occupied in putting her doll to bed in a
cradle. Several peasants came into the inn-yard as I sat on a bench
there: I observed that all the women wore large crosses, of clumsy
workmanship, chiefly of white crystal, or glass, and coloured ear-rings,
but not so long as those at Calais. We went into a little jeweller's
shop, and bought a couple of the silver rings, with curious ornaments,
which the peasants usually wear; their sentimental devices were very
amusing.

Leaving Abbeville, we saw the common people employed in making ropes by
the road-side, and remarked several large fields of hemp, and one or two
of flax: the hemp, when cut, is piled up in sheaves, like corn. The
country here is verdant, and rather woody: it lies low, and the river
Somme winds through it, whose course may be plainly traced to a great
distance by the willows which grow upon its banks, reminding me of parts
of Berkshire. I ought not to omit mentioning the profusion of
apple-trees which grow by the road-side, almost all the way to Paris:
the trees were absolutely sinking beneath the weight of the fruit, and
one or two of them had quite given way, and lay prostrate, training
their rosy burthen in the dust. I am almost ashamed to say that my
appetite was so much stronger than my honesty, that I could not be
satisfied without tasting them; when I discovered that these fair apples
were like those mentioned in the Scriptures, bright and tempting to the
eye, but bitter as ashes within! In short, they were not eatable, but
entirely of the cider kind, which, as every body knows, are good for
nothing in a natural state. There are quantities, however, of eating
apples besides, in every cottage garden; and the favourite food of the
peasant children appears to be coarse, brown, heavy bread, with these
roasted and spread upon it, instead of butter. We saw large piles of
roasted apples in the market at Abbeville for this purpose.

The country near Airaines again becomes tiresome, from its barren
sameness. Passing a little public house, we observed the following
somewhat selfish inscription over the door: "Messieurs! nous sommes
quatres hussards, et nous disons, que pour conservir nos amis, il ne
faut pas faire de credit." The weather was invariably delightful: a
bright sun, with a refreshing cool breeze, and an elasticity and
lightness in the air, gave animation and cheerfulness to us all. The sky
was generally of a cloudless azure, and the nights almost as light and
as free from damps as the days: I never beheld the moon in greater
majesty. Airaines is an uninteresting little town, not worth mentioning.
Our postillion here was a most ruffian-like, cut-throat looking
creature, all over dirt, and having a true jacobinical air. He cast
several glances full of sullenness and malignity at my companions; so
much so, that I felt very thankful we were in the cheerful haunts of
men, and not in the solitary Alps, or the black forests of Germany, with
such a conductor.

We dined at Granvilliers, where we were waited upon by a little girl of
thirteen, fair and lively enough, with an English bloom. She spoke our
language remarkably well, although she had only been six months _en
pension_ at Amiens, in order to acquire it! Her instructress was a
French woman, which is singular, for she seemed to have given her little
pupil a perfect knowledge of our idiom, and an excellent accent.

From Granvilliers to Marseille, the country rapidly improves in beauty.
Just beyond the latter place we remarked a very fine old chateau,
embosomed in extensive woods: it must formerly have belonged to some of
the rich noblesse, and perhaps does so still. Near Marseille, vineyards
appeared for the first time. We now approached the town of Beauvais,
which had a very pretty effect, surrounded by woods, with the cathedral
standing proudly conspicuous over all. It just now occurs to me to
mention (though not immediately _à-propos_ to Beauvais), that the
houses, in most of the French towns and villages we have yet seen, are
numbered, and in a singular method; for the several streets are not
allowed their numbers, separately reckoned, but they go on counting from
the first house in the place to the last, so that it sometimes happens
you might be directed to call upon a friend at number 1000, or 2000, and
so on. In Paris they have another peculiarity, for the even numbers,
such as 2, 4, 6, 8, &c. are all on one side of the street, and the odd
ones, 7, 9, 11, &c. on the other.

Beauvais is a filthy town; the streets narrow and dark, and the houses
very ordinary. The diversity of intolerable smells here nearly overset
me, and made me wish almost to lose the power of my olfactory nerves.
The inn was miserable, dirty, inconvenient, badly attended, and noisy.
The only good things we met with were beds; indeed we have been
fortunate in that respect every where, and the linen throughout France
is excellent and plentiful.

We had (with some difficulty) prevailed upon the awkward _Maritornes_ of
a _fille de chambre_ to set a tea-board before us in the little
chair-lumbered closet dignified by the name of a _salle a manger_, and
into which three or four doors were perpetually opened _sans ceremonie_,
when our Swiss travelling valet, Christian, came in to tell us of the
hard fate of an English family who were just arrived, and whose fatigue
obliged them to sleep here; but as the sitting-rooms were all occupied,
they were under the necessity of taking their tea in the kitchen, which
did not, alas! boast the cheerful and clean appearance of the cottage
kitchens I have formerly described. Common politeness, therefore, laid
us under the necessity of sending an invitation to these unfortunates,
to share our sitting-room, and join us at our tea. Accordingly, in came
two ladies; one a fat, comely, masculine dame, of a certain age; the
other lean, tall, plain, and some few years younger. In a few minutes
they were joined by a large, gruff, sour-looking old gentleman (the
husband of the elder lady), who, without attempting any salutation or
apology to us, began to express his dissatisfaction at finding tea going
forward, 'when you know (said he) I never drink any.' He then settled
himself at a small table, and ordered a _pâté_ for his supper. The style
of the ladies may easily be guessed by the sort of language in which
they described every thing they had seen. The younger, mentioning a
tempestuous passage which they had encountered, from Dover to Boulogne,
told us that the air smelt quite _sulphurus_, and the lightning _tizzed_
in the water very frightfully. The old gentleman grumbled himself by
degrees into conversation, and we soon discovered that he was a genuine
Squire Sullen, and that his companions were fully aware of it. These
poor people seemed to dislike almost all they had met with in France;
persons, places, travelling, &c. They beheld every thing _en noir_, and
appeared to make mountains of mole-hills. Peace be with them! and a
speedy release from each other's society.

We went (although the day was sinking into twilight) to view the
magnificent cathedral, which for beauty of architecture I have seldom
seen equalled. It is not finished. The different chapels of the saints,
and the high altar, were very striking, seen through the solemn gloom of
the fine old stained glass windows. Lights were burning before the
shrine of one single saint, the patron of the town; they twinkled dimly
through the Gothic pillars and tracery, and had a highly picturesque and
singular effect[2]. Many peasants were kneeling round the altar at this
shrine, and the old woman (our guide) informed us they were praying for
rain, now the harvest was got safely in: we asked her if she thought the
saint would grant their prayers, and she replied she had no doubt but
that he would. Prostrate on the steps of the altars, in the different
small chapels of this cathedral, half lost in shadow, were several other
devotees, who had come there for the purpose of confessing themselves
previous to the great and solemn festival of the _assomption de la
Sainte Vierge_, which was to take place on the morrow. Altogether the
spectacle was interesting and imposing, nor could I find any disposition
in my heart to ridicule a religion which seemed to be carried on with so
much sacred solemnity, and in so awe inspiring a temple. Certainly the
absence of pews in the body of a place of public worship is a great
advantage, both in a religious and a picturesque point of view. There is
something soothing and elevating to the imagination in the idea of so
grand a building being open equally, and at all times, to the noble and
the peasant, who, it might easily happen, may be seen side by side
kneeling on the same steps of the magnificent altar, wrapt in devout
adoration of that Being, in whose sight all men are equal. In my
opinion (and I have ever since I can remember thought the same) a Gothic
cathedral is the most appropriate style of building for a place
dedicated to the worship of the Almighty, nor can I look upon the
magnificent style in which the Roman catholics adorn their altars, and
array their officiating priests, without some feelings of approbation
and reverence.

We were right glad to quit Beauvais early the next morning; and, as we
advanced towards Beaumont, were delighted with the beauty of its
environs. The river Seine has a fine appearance here, although vastly
inferior to our Thames; and we remarked a great number of chateaus
rising among the woods, on every side: many of them, with their parks
and domains, were really superb. Some peasants here attempted to impose
upon us as foreigners, in a very disgusting manner, asking a franc for a
couple of greengages, and three sous a-piece for pears, which they
offered at the windows of our carriage. Our servant was very indignant
at their impudence, and sent them off in a hurry, saying, "Dey ought to
be shamed of demselves." Upon entering Beaumont, we met the population
of the place returning from mass, in their _costumes des fêtes_. Nothing
can well be more sweetly pretty, and delicately neat, than the dress of
the women! snowy caps, with deep lace or thin _linon_ borders plaited,
white cotton gowns and stockings, gay coloured cotton handkerchiefs
crossed smartly over the bosom so as to display the shape to advantage,
a large gold cross suspended from the neck by a black narrow riband, or
gold chain, with ear-rings, and pin for the forehead of the same
material. Some few wore a crimson apron and bib, over the white gown,
and others crimson gowns, with aprons of a bright antique sort of
blue--a mixture of colours which is for ever to be remarked in the
paintings of the old masters, and which has a singularly becoming effect
upon the skin. A little worked muslin _fischu_, with a vandyke
bordering, is sometimes added, as a finish to the dress, worn over all.

We now came to St. Denis, and at length beheld Paris! We did not pass
the heights of Montmartre, &c. without emotion, when we recollected the
memorable contest which so lately took place there between the veteran
Blucher and the French! The country in the immediate vicinity of Paris
is flat and ugly; but we thought not of nature upon entering this
celebrated work and wonder of art. Covered with dust, and followed by
the eyes of the multitude, who easily discovered our English
physiognomies, we drove up to several hotels, at every one of which we
were refused admittance for want of room to accommodate us, there being
at this moment no less than thirty thousand English at Paris. At last,
we were comfortably housed at the _hotel Rivoli_ (near the _jardins des
Tuileries_), one of the best in the city, where we found abundant
civility and attention, and every convenience.

Why should I attempt to describe Paris? It has already and so often been
done by abler pens than mine, that the very school girl in a country
town in England is perfectly acquainted with all its lions; I shall only
say, that we spent so short a time there, and I was so afraid of
exhausting my stock of strength, which was fully wanted for the journey
to Geneva, &c. that I did not even attempt to see every thing that might
have been seen.

The extreme height of the houses, and narrowness of the streets,
together with the inconceivable variety of horrible smells in all parts
of the town, and the want of pavements for pedestrians, made an
extremely unpleasant impression upon me. The gaiety and fancy displayed
in the signs over the shops (every one of which has an emblematic device
peculiar to itself) were very striking, however, as well as their
markets, where Pomona seemed to have lavished the choicest treasures of
her horn: indeed I never beheld such a profusion of exquisite fruits and
vegetables, the cheapness of which astonished us natives of a more
niggard clime not a little. The quantities of cooling and refreshing
beverages, sold in every corner of the streets, were also quite a novel
thing to us, as well as the circumstance of all the world sitting on
hired chairs out of doors, sipping lemonade, or eating ices.

I did not remark, I must confess, that appearance of excessive animation
and enjoyment, which I had been led to expect among the Parisians; on
the contrary, I saw full as many grave faces as in _notre triste pays_,
as they call it. The Palais Royal I thought a very amusing place; and
the fountain in the midst is most beautiful and refreshing, throwing up
a stream of water, which in its descent resembles a weeping willow. The
fountain of the Lions, also, is still superior, and I think them among
the most agreeable objects in Paris. The Boulevards are an airy,
cheerful situation, and the moving scene constantly going on there put
me in mind of a perpetual fair.

The gentlemen went to the Opera Françoise, where the splendour of the
ballet, and the superiority of the dancing, struck them with
astonishment and admiration. They visited Tivoli (which did not appear
to them to be so good a thing of the sort as our Vauxhall); and I went
one evening to the _Beaujon_, and _les Montaignes Russes_, in _les
Champs Elysées_. Both the latter, however, were shut; that is, no
sliding in the cars was going on, for there had been so many fatal
accidents lately, that the rage for this amusement was over. I did not
like _les Champs Elysées_ so well as our Kensington Gardens; the want of
turf was unpardonable in our English eyes. _La place de Louis XV._,
opposite the Tuileries, where the unfortunate Louis XVI. was executed,
is very superb in itself, as well as interesting from its melancholy
legends. I was rather disappointed in _les jardins des Tuileries_,
admiring the fine orange-trees in tubs there more than the gardens
themselves. We saw the remains of that horrible monument of cruelty,
injustice, and despotism, the Bastile; and drove past the entrance to
the celebrated _Jardin des plantes_, which we did not enter, as I had
already seen a very fine botanical collection at Kew, and a much
superior set of wild beasts at Exeter Change.

To the Louvre, however, even in its present state of diminished
splendour, no words of mine can do justice; its superb gallery far
exceeded even my expectations, which had been highly excited by all I
had ever heard upon the subject: to see the paintings properly, one
ought to go there every day for a week. We had only time particularly to
distinguish several landscapes of Claude Lorraine, beautiful beyond all
idea, and the set of historical pictures illustrative of the life of
_Henri quatre_, by Rubens: I was much struck with the fine countenance
and person of the gallant monarch. A Saint Sebastian also, by Guido,
rivetted my delighted attention. A friend of ours has painted an
exquisite miniature copy of it, with which I remember being greatly
struck in England, but it was not until I had seen the original that I
was fully aware of its extraordinary merit. The gallery itself is a most
magnificent thing; it really is quite a long fatiguing walk from one end
of it to the other; and the crowds of people of all ranks who are
constantly to be met with there render it altogether one of the most
curious and interesting spectacles in Europe.

I was much amused with the shops, particularly the confectioners; the
ingenious and endless devices into which they form their delicious bon
bons and dried fruits are really surprising, and we purchased specimens
of their different fancies, to astonish our English friends upon our
return home. The _vendeurs des tisannes_ (cooling beverages, something
like _eau de groseilles_, or lemonade), going about with their stock in
trade strapped to their backs like walking tea-urns, were curious
figures. The vessel which holds the _tisanne_ is not unlike a long
violin case in shape, with a spout to it; it finishes at the top like a
Chinese pagoda, and is sometimes covered with little jingling bells, and
hung round with pretty silver mugs. The dress of the _petites
bourgeoises_ is quite distinct from that of every other rank of person;
it is rather smart and neat than otherwise, but not at all picturesque.

I do not remember to have heard a single note of agreeable music while I
was in Paris, except that which regaled our ears in an opposite hotel
(belonging to Count S.) the second evening of our arrival. This nobleman
(of an Irish family, but now a naturalized Frenchman) gave a grand
dinner (in a temporary banqueting-room, built out upon the leads of the
house _à la troisieme étage_) to the English; and, during the
entertainment, his band of musicians played several pieces, amongst
others the celebrated national air, still dear to the French, of _Vive
Henri quatre_; they then attempted God save the King, but made a
dreadful business of it, which I attribute less to professional
ignorance than to the impossibility of their being able to feel it, or
to enter into the spirit of it _con amore_! The ballad singers (at least
all of them that we had an opportunity of hearing) have harsh wiry
voices and nasal tones; the latter circumstance, however, is almost
inseparable from their language. I could not but be diverted with the
_espièglerie_ of the _fille de chambre_ who attended me at the hotel de
Rivoli: she was ugly, but shrewd, and very active and civil. I asked her
if Count S. was a young man; upon which she hopped round the room in the
most ridiculous manner possible, imitating the action of a decrepit old
person. _Jeune!_ (said she) _oh mon Dieu, que non! c'est un vieux
Monsieur_ _qui va toujours comme cela!_ I inquired if she knew why he
gave this fête. Oh, _je n'en sais rien, mais, le pauvre homme, il n'a
que tres peu de temps encore à restre dans ce monde ci, et je crois
qu'il aime à faire parler de lui, avant de partir pour l'autre._

As to the personal charms of the women here, they appeared to me to be
very mediocre; we remarked three or four pretty faces, but not one that
had any claim to superior beauty. The people were all civil to us,
except one woman, who kept a little shop for _bijouterie_ in _le Palais
Royal_: nothing could be more pert and sulky than her language and
manner; she looked as if she hated us and our nation altogether. We
heard reports from other English people residing here, that it was very
common for the lower orders of French to treat us with marked incivility
and dislike; indeed that they should do so, under the present
circumstances, ought not to be wondered at. The bronze statue of _Henri
quatre_ was erecting during our stay; we passed by the spot (close to
the _Pont Neuf_), and beheld a mob assembled around it, with _gens
d'armes_ on duty: we did not see the statue itself, it being at that
moment covered with a purple mantle, studded with golden _fleurs de
lis_. The various political parties speak differently of this affair:
some say the brass of the statue will soon be converted into mortars,
and others, that it is built upon a rock, and will stand for ever! The
bridges appeared to us all vastly inferior to ours in London; that of
Waterloo, in the Strand, makes them shrink into utter insignificance in
comparison! but the palaces and public buildings are, on the contrary,
infinitely finer than our own. Nothing can be more magnificent, or in a
more noble taste! I was very much amused by the novelty (totally unknown
to ladies in England) of dining at a _restaurateur's_. Curiosity induced
me to accompany Mr. Baillie, and our friend, to _Véry's_, and the next
day to _Beauvilliers'_, two of the most distinguished in the profession
in Paris; and the excellence of the cookery almost awakened (or rather I
should say created) in me a spirit of _gourmandise_. There were a few
other ladies present, which was a sort of sanction for me. A Russian or
Prussian officer (by his appearance) sat at one of the little tables
next to us, at _Beauvilliers'_, and very nearly made me sick by the
sight of his long, thick, greasy moustaches, and his disgusting habit of
spitting every instant upon the floor. I observed that the French people
eat their vegetables (always dressed with white sauce) after the meat,
&c. and as a sort of dessert or _bonne bouche_ even after they have
finished their sweet dishes: to us this seems an odd custom. We took our
coffee and liqueurs at a _Café_ near the Tuileries, and then, while the
gentlemen went to the opera, I returned to the hotel, to go on with my
journal.

One morning we devoted to an expedition to the interesting cemetery of
_Père de la Chaise_, the celebrated confessor of Louis quatorze. The
house in which he resided stands in the midst, and is preserved as a
sacred ruin. Nothing can be more striking, and affecting to the
imagination, than this place of burial; it is of considerable extent,
with a well managed relief of shade and inequality of ground. The tombs
and graves are kept in the highest order and repair, and almost all of
them are planted with shrubs and fragrant flowers, mingled with the
mournful cypress and yew: the acacia tree also is planted here in great
abundance, and the wild vine trails its broad leaves and graceful
clusters over many of the monuments. We remarked several beautiful
tombs; amongst others, a light Gothic temple, which contains the
mouldering remains of Abelard and Eloise, brought from the former place
of their interment to the present appropriate and lovely situation:
their statues lie side by side carved in stone, in their religious
habits, their heads resting on cushions, and his feet upon a dog. All
this did him too much honour; as he was the most selfish tyrannical
lover in the world, and quite unworthy, in my opinion, of the attachment
of the unfortunate Eloise. Several of the inscriptions on humbler tombs
were affecting from their brevity and simplicity; upon that of a man in
the prime of life we read the following short sentence: _A la memoire de
mon meilleur ami_--_c'étoit mon frere_! On another, _Ci_ _git P----
N----: son epouse perd en lui le plus tendre de ses amis, et ses enfans
un modele de vertu_. And upon one raised by its parents to the memory of
a child, _ci git notre fils cheri_; a little crown of artificial orange
blossoms, half blown, was in a glass-case at his head. We observed many
garlands of fresh and sweet flowers, hung upon the graves; every thing
marked the existence of tender remembrance and regret: it appears to me
as if in this place, alone, the dead were never forgotten. I ought,
however, to make honourable mention of a similar custom in Wales. A
woman was kneeling upon one of the tombs (which was overgrown by
fragrant shrubs), weeping bitterly, and I felt a great inclination to
bear her company: the last roses of summer were still lingering here,
and she was gathering one as we passed. There is a remarkably fine view
of Paris from the mount on which the house of _Père de la Chaise_
stands. I said it was preserved as a sacred ruin, but I, as a
protestant, could not look with much veneration upon it, as the
residence of the instigator of the revocation of the edict of Nantes;
that foul stain upon the character, and disgrace to the understanding of
_le grand Louis_, which will ever be remembered with indignation by
every candid and liberal Christian. But Protestantism has likewise its
bigots, almost as remorseless, and equally blind! witness some
sentiments discovered in the discourses of furious Calvin, and John
Knox; witness the actions of Cromwell, and his fanatical roundheads;
witness (alas! in our own days), the uncharitable and horribly
presumptuous principles and tenets of the Methodists and Saints! But
this is another digression: I return to the view of Paris. It is, as I
said before, extremely fine; you have a bird's eye prospect of the whole
city, with the proud towers of Notre Dame eminently conspicuous, and the
gilded dome of _l'hôpital des Invalides_, glittering in the sun. A word
(only one word) relative to the French custom of gilding so much and so
gaudily; it quite spoils the dignified effect of some of their noblest
works of architecture, and puts one in mind of a child who prefers the
showy ostentation of gold leaf upon his gingerbread to the more
wholesome taste of its own plain and unornamented excellence. I have met
with English people, however, who are vastly delighted with this false
style of decoration.

Before I take leave of Paris, I ought in justice to acknowledge that I
have not had an opportunity of enjoying its chief and proudest
attraction; I mean its best society. Our time did not allow of any
intercourse of this nature, and I regretted it much, because I have
always heard (and from those most capable of judging rightly) that the
tone of conversation in the upper circles here is remarkably attractive
and delightful; and that lovers of good taste, high breeding, social
enjoyment, and literary pursuits, would find themselves in Paris _en
pays de connoissance_. Deprived of this gratification, we felt (at least
Mr. B. and myself) no sort of reluctance or regret when the day of our
departure arrived: for our friend Mr. W. I will not so confidently
answer; he had been in Paris twice before, had met with many agreeable
people there, and consequently felt more at home among them.

As for me in particular, I can only say that Paris made no great
impression upon my fancy, and none at all upon my feelings; (always
excepting the _Louvre_, the _cimetiere_ of _Père de la Chaise_, and one
or two other interesting spectacles): and that I was, as I before
observed, so overpowered by its inconceivably filthy effluvia, and the
wretched inconvenience of its streets (both for walking and going in a
carriage), that I rather felt an exhilaration of spirits than otherwise
when we finally bade it adieu.

On the morning of our departure it rained a good deal, and our
postillion had taken care to fence himself against the weather; for he
had disguised himself in a long shaggy dress of goats' skins, bearing a
very accurate resemblance to the prints of Robinson Crusoe. We observed
this done by others, more than once. The horses had little bells
fastened to their harness; which practice is very common, we were told,
both in France and Italy. All the roads in the former, and most of them
in the latter country, are good; wide, smooth, and generally paved in
the middle, which has a noisy effect, but it renders the draught for
horses much easier than the road, in wet weather, or when they work in
very heavy carriages. Avenues are general; they improve the face of the
country when seen at a distance, but are monotonous and tiresome in
themselves. I used formerly to admire roads leading though avenues, but
it is possible to have too much of this. Between Villejuif and
Fromenteau we observed a pillar on the left with the following
chivalrous inscription; _Dieu, le Roi, les Dames!_ I was going to
rejoice in this apparent proof of the gallant spirit of the nation, but
I recollected the celebrated words of Burke, in his letter upon the
French revolution, and sighed as I involuntarily repeated, "The age of
chivalry is no more."

Just beyond Fromenteau, the country is really fine: woods, villages,
chateaus were in abundance, and the river Seine appeared to much
advantage; we remarked two stone fountains, one on each side of the
road, with the _fleurs de lis_ engraved upon them, built by Louis XV.
The French mile-stones here have quite a classical air, resembling
broken columns; they are not properly mile-stones, but serve to mark the
half leagues.

At Essone, where we changed horses, the postillion came out in a white
night-cap (or rather a cap which once had boasted that title of purity),
loose blue trowsers reaching scantily below the knee, and sans shoes or
stockings of any sort: upon seeing that his services were wanted, he
threw on an old japan hat, jumped into his jack boots, and clawing up
the reins, drove off with an air of as much importance and self
satisfaction as the smartest-clad post-boy on the Epsom road during the
race week.

In the stubble fields near Fontainbleau, we observed great quantities of
partridges. The shepherds here sleep in little moveable houses or huts,
upon wheels, somewhat inferior to a good English dog-kennel. At Chailly,
we saw the Virgin Mary looking out of a round hole in the wall, and not
at all more dignified in her appearance than the well-known hero of
Coventry. We now exchanged our driver for a spirited old gentleman, who
frolicked along beneath the burthen of threescore or more, seeming to
bid defiance to the whole collection of pains and HH's (vide Kemble's
classical pronunciation). Perhaps, reader, I do not make my meaning
perfectly clear; but that does not signify, the first authors write in
this way; and besides, I know what I mean myself, which is not always
the case even with them. We remarked in the course of our journey a
great number of similar merry Nestors, and found, almost invariably,
that they drove us faster, better, and in a superior style altogether to
their younger competitors. I suppose they have a sort of pride in thus
displaying their activity, which a middle-aged man does not feel.

We entered the superb forest of Fontainbleau just as the day began to
decline; the sombre gloom and peculiar smell of the leaves were very
agreeable. I have ever loved forest scenery, and would prefer a constant
residence in its vicinity to that of mountain, lake, or plain: the trees
here were chiefly beech, mixed with silver poplars, birch, and a few
oaks. How was it possible to thread these mazes without thinking of
_Henri quatre_, and his famous hunting adventure in the miller's hut? I
almost expected to see the stately shade of the noble monarch start from
each shadowy dell. Methought the sullen, yet faithful Sully, emerged
from the dark glades on the opposite side, seeking in vain for the
benighted sovereign; and venting his affectionate inquietudes in the
language of apparent severity and ill humour. I thought--but it does not
matter what more I thought, in which opinion I dare say my reader will
fully agree with me. We arrived at our inn (_la Galère_), and well did
it deserve that name, for never poor slave chained to the bench and oar
suffered more severely from the merciless lash of his task-master than I
did from the tormenting tyranny of the bugs, which swarmed in this
detestable place. There was no sitting-room immediately ready for our
reception, so we sat down in the old, lofty, smoke-stained kitchen, and
amused ourselves with observing the progress of our supper, in company
with a very sociable little dog, (who took a great fancy to me,) and
_Monsieur le Chef_, an appropriate name, invariably given to the cook
in most parts of the Continent.

When we retired to rest for the night, no words can express the disgust
which assailed us: finding it impossible to remain in bed, I was obliged
to lie in the middle of the room, upon six hard, worm-eaten, wooden
chairs, whose ruthless angles ran into my wearied frame, and rendered
every bone sore before morning; but even this did not save me, for the
vermin ascended by the legs of the chairs, and really almost eat me up,
as the rats did Southey's Bishop Hatto[3]. My imagination for several
days after this adventure was so deeply saturated with their nauseous
idea, that every object brought them in some way or other before me.

Upon quitting Fontainbleau, we first observed the _sabots_ (or wooden
shoes) worn by the peasantry; they are of enormous size, and must, I
should think, be very heavy and inconvenient to the wearer. A piece of
sheep-skin, with the woolly side inwards, is often slipt between the
sabot and the foot, to prevent the former from excoriating the instep.

At Moret, a dirty little town, we saw a whole row of women washing linen
in the river; they were in a kneeling position, and beat the clothes
with a wooden mallet; they ought all to be provided with husbands from
among the linen drapers, as they are such admirable helps to the trade.
We met several donkeys here, carrying rushes, piled up like moving
houses, so high, that only the heads and hoofs of the animals were
visible. Vast tracts of land, covered with vineyards, extended on every
side, and the eternal straight road, where one could see for three or
four miles the track one was to follow, began to be excessively tedious
and wearing to the spirits: how different from the winding, undulating,
graceful roads in England!

Country near Pont sur Yonne open, bald, and monotonous. The French
vineyards when seen closely have a formal effect, being planted in stiff
rows, like scarlet runners in a kitchen garden, but they much enrich
the landscape at a distance. The river Yonne is a pretty little stream,
but the nymphs on its banks are not at all picturesque in their costume,
which is by no means particularly marked, being dirty and unbecoming,
and very much (I am ashamed to say) in the style of our common
countrywomen about Brentford, Hammersmith, &c.

Sens is an ancient town: it has a handsome cathedral and gateway. The
bread made here (as well as in most parts of France, except partially in
Paris) is mixed with leaven instead of yeast, and is sour and
disagreeable in consequence. We remarked many gardens richly cultivated,
full of choice vegetables and fruit, by the side of the highroad,
without the smallest inclosure; a proof, I should imagine, of the
honesty of the country people. There are several English families
resident here, as the environs are very pretty, and the town itself an
agreeable one. We stopped to take our breakfast at _la Poste_, and
bought excellent grapes for four-pence a pound English money. The late
Dauphin, father of the present king, is buried in the cathedral of this
place, and the duke and duchess d'Angouleme, &c. come once a year to
pray for his soul's repose.

Pursuing our route, we met many Burgundy waggons, loaded with wine; the
horses were ornamented with enormous collars of sheep-skin, dyed of a
bright blue colour: the _tout ensemble_ had a picturesque appearance,
and the waggons were the first we had seen in France which had four
wheels, the weight being usually balanced between a pair. A sudden storm
of rain now coming on, had a beautiful effect; the retreating sunbeams
played in catching lights (to use the expression of an artist) upon the
abrupt points of the distant hills, and partially illuminated their soft
and verdant tapestry of vines. We particularly enjoyed it after the long
season of heat and drought. Here are whole groves of walnut-trees,
beneath which we met a group of five women belonging to the vineyards;
they were every one handsome, with ruddy, wholesome, yet sun-burnt
complexions, lively smiles, and long bright dark eyes and shadowy
lashes.

Entered Villeneuve sur Yonne; saw loads of charcoal on the river, going
to replenish the kitchens of many a _Parisian Heliogabalus_! this is
also an ancient town, with two curious old gateways, but it appeared
very dull. I admired some fine hedges of acacia, and four pretty, sleek,
grey donkeys, who were drawing the plough. The road is winding here,
like those of our own country, for which we were solely indebted to the
turns of the river, whose course it accompanied.

Joigny. A handsome stone bridge seems its most remarkable ornament: the
river is broad and fine, flowing through steep banks fringed with wood.
We dined and slept at _les Cinq Mineurs_, and this in the same room. A
most obliging, intelligent, young woman waited upon us, whose name was
_Veronique_. After dinner we walked on the promenade by the side of the
river, and saw the barracks, &c. My friends met with a little adventure
in their rambles, while I was resting myself at the inn. Seeing a pretty
little boy and his sister at play near the chateau, (belonging to the
ancient counts of Joigny,) they entered into conversation with them,
upon which they were joined by the father of the children, a French
country gentleman, who resided in a small house opposite the chateau: he
insisted upon their coming in with him, and as the dinner was ready,
much wished to tempt them to partake the meal: this they declined, and
their new acquaintance proceeded to shew them his collection of
pictures, _de très bons morceaux_, as he called them, but which did not
rank quite so high in the estimation of his visitors. He unintentionally
displayed, however, a much more pleasing possession; I mean that of an
amiable and grateful disposition, for he said in the course of
conversation, that he was always on the watch for an opportunity of
shewing hospitality and attention to the English, as some little return
for the kindness he had experienced from their nation, during a visit he
had formerly made to his brother in Dorsetshire; this brother was one of
the monks of the order of _La Trappe_, a small number of whom had been
collected together, and who lived, in their former habits of monastic
gloom and austerity, at Lulworth castle in that county, under the
protection of an English catholic (Mr. Weld), during the French
revolution. He related some interesting anecdotes of this severe
establishment; in particular, that of an Austrian general of high rank,
who after enrolling himself a member of the community, and living some
years in the practice of incredible hardships and privations, at length
permitted his tongue to reveal his name and family, about ten minutes
previous to his dissolution; faithful to the vow which is common to them
all, of not speaking until the moment of death. I was not aware that
such an institution existed in England, till this French gentleman
related the circumstance, and it strengthened the sensations of mixed
horror and pity, which I have ever felt for the victims of fanaticism,
in every shape and in every degree. How incredible does it appear, (in
the judgment of reasonable beings) that mortals should imagine the
benevolent Author of Nature can possibly take pleasure in a mode of
worship which restricts his creatures from the enjoyment of those
comforts and innocent pleasures with which life abounds, and for which
he has so peculiarly adapted their faculties! Shall all created beings
express their sense of existence in bursts of involuntary cheerfulness
and hilarity of spirit, and man alone offer up his adorations with a
brow of gloom, and a heart withered by slavish sensations of fear and
alarm? but enough upon so sacred a subject.

On returning to their inn, the gentlemen met several teams of oxen,
decorated with pretty high bonnets (_à la cauchoise_) made of straw: the
natives here seem to take great pride and pleasure in the accoutrements
of their cattle. An English family arrived at the _Cinq Mineurs_ at the
same time with ourselves; they were well known in London as people of
some consequence and property. Their sensations on passing through
France were widely different from ours, as they described themselves to
have been thoroughly disgusted with every body and every thing they saw;
had met with nothing but cheating and imposition among the people; and
had not been able to observe any pretty country, or interesting objects
_en route_--yet they had gone over exactly the same ground that we had
done. As they sometimes travelled all night, I conclude they slept the
whole or greater part of the time; but there are more ways than one of
going through the world with the eyes shut.

In the neighbourhood of Joigny, (on the other side of the town,) there
is a great quantity of hemp grown; and all the trees are stripped up to
the tops, like those in many parts of Berkshire, where the graceful is
frequently sacrificed to the useful: they had a very ugly effect.

Approaching Auxerre, the cathedral looks handsome; there are three
churches besides. The first view of Burgundy is not prepossessing;
nothing but tame-looking hills, with casual patches of vines; the river,
however, is a pretty object, and continues to bestow a little life upon
the landscape. The same absence of costume continues. At Auxerre, we
breakfasted at _l'hotel du Leopard_; the vines were trained over the
house with some degree of taste, and took off from the air of forlorn
discomfort which the foreign inns so frequently exhibit. I was rather
surprised at being ushered into the same room with a fine
haughty-looking peacock, a pea-hen, and their young brood; they did not
seem at all disconcerted at my entrance, but continued stalking gravely
about, as if doing the honors of the apartment. The _salle à manger_ was
in a better _goût_ (although not half so comfortable) than most of our
English parlours; the walls were papered with graceful figures from
stories of the pagan mythology and bold, spirited landscapes in the back
ground, coloured in imitation of old bistre drawings; the crazy sopha
and arm chair were covered with rich tapestry, of prodigiously fine
colours, yet somewhat the worse for wear. This was our first Burgundy
breakfast, and it evinced the luxuriance of the country, for it
consisted (as a thing of course) of black and white grapes, melons,
peaches, greengages, and pears, to which were added fresh eggs by the
dozen, good _cafè au lait_, and creaming butter just from the churn,
with the crucifix stamped upon it. At all French _déjeunés_ they ask if
you do not choose fruit, and at dinner it is invariably brought to table
in the last course, with a slice of cheese as part of the dessert. Mr.
Baillie was not well, and starved like Tantalus in the midst of plenty,
which was very unlucky.

Bonaparte on his return from Elba occupied this apartment; and the
postillion who drove us was one of those who rendered the same service
to him: we had also a pair of the same horses which aided in conveying
him on towards Paris. He passed two days here, waiting for his small
army of five thousand men to come up with him, as his speed greatly
outran theirs. He had six horses to his travelling carriage, and gave
each postillion ten francs a piece; "_Ma foi!_" (said ours in relating
the circumstance) "_nous avons bien galoppé! quand on nous paye si bien,
les chevaux ne se fatiguent jamais!_" There was some honesty as well as
wit in this avowal.

Quitting Auxerre, we passed a large stone cistern, with a cross on the
top; several loaded donkeys were drinking here, and some women washing
clothes; it was altogether a picturesque group, and singular to an
English eye. Vineyards, vineyards, vineyards! _toujours perdrix!_ I was
quite tired of them at last. The country, however, now became much more
hilly, and we used the drag-chain, for the first time, between Saint
Bris and Vermanton; these hills were richly covered with vines, and
woods began to appear, in the form of thick dwarfish oak.

Vermanton. This place is famed for wood and wine. We saw the _paysannes_
here in deep gipsy straw hats, the first we had beheld in France among
this class of people; for even in Paris, the _petites bourgeoises_, as
well as the countrywomen, all walk about in caps, or the French
handkerchief tied carelessly round the head. The country from hence
again changed much for the worse, barren hills extended for several
miles, now and then covered with partial spots of vegetation.

Close to the town of Avalon, we remarked a range of hills, one of which
is of great height, called Montmartre. We here bid adieu for some time
to vineyards. Large extensive woods surround Avalon, from which the
greater part of the fuel burnt in Paris is taken. Flocks of sheep were
continually passing, numbers of black ones, and some goats always among
them. There seemed to be few pigs any where, and all of them were
frightfully lean: "as fat as a pig" is a term of reproach for which I
have ever entertained a particular aversion, but I am now convinced that
these beasts are much more disgusting when deprived of their natural
_embonpoint_. I fancy the French people make too good a use themselves
of what we should call _the refuse of the kitchen_, to have any to spare
for the necessities of these their fourfooted brethren. We now came into
the neighbourhood of widely extended cornfields--fields I ought not to
call them, for there are no inclosures. We saw an old woman at a cottage
door, with a distaff in her hand; the first I had ever seen except in a
picture. She was a withered, grim-looking crone, but not quite sublime
enough for one of Gray's "fatal sisters." Scene the next, a pretty,
green, tranquil glen, (where cattle were making the most of the
unusually rich pasturage,) bounded by a steep bank, and copse wood; not
unlike some spots in Surrey.

We drove on, through a shady wood, to Rouvray, passing on the road
crowds of waggons drawn by oxen, loaded with empty wine casks,
preparatory to the vintage, which was expected to be very fine this
season: the waggoners almost all wore cocked hats, and we remarked that
the oxen were yoked by the head. We met a _diligence_ drawn by four
mules, and observed many beautiful trees of mountain ash, with their
bright clusters of scarlet berries, by the side of the highway.

Stopping for a few moments at la Roche en Berney, we joined a group of
the most respectable _bourgeoisie_, (men and women,) sitting with the
hostess on a bench at her door. They all rose up to salute us, and the
men stood _sans chapeau_ as we passed, with an agreeable expression of
civil good will upon every countenance. Some of the ladies had little
French dogs under their arms. The country near this place is covered
with wood, yet has notwithstanding a monotonous character; these woods
however are worthy of remark, from their extent and duration, continuing
on all sides without interruption for many miles.

We now arrived at Saulieu, where we supped and slept at _la Poste_. It
was quite in the cottage style, which we all rather liked than not: we
had a cheerful little wood fire at night (as the weather felt chilly),
and sat round it talking of the adventures of the day, until the hour of
repose. This town stands upon the highest ground in France; the snow was
never entirely off the neighbouring woods during the whole of the last
winter: vineyards will not flourish in so bleak a situation, and other
fruits are very scarce. The hostess was a most loyal personage, for upon
my observing a bust of _Henri quatre_ over the chimney, and saying he
was truly the father of his people, she exclaimed, _Oui, Madame! mais à
present nous avons aussi des rois qui font le bonheur de leurs sujets_.
The costume here still continues undecided, and devoid of taste. Two
very pretty, modest, rustic lasses waited upon us, named Marie and
Lodine. Lodine was a brunette, with an arch, dimpled, comical little
face, (round as an apple, and equally glowing,) teeth white as snow, and
regular as a set of pearls; but I rather preferred the opposite style of
Marie, who was slighter in her person, graver, and whose long dark eyes
and penciled brows alone gave lustre and expression to an oval face, and
a pale yet clear and fine grained skin: these eyes, however, were not so
often illuminated by bright flashes of innocent gaiety as those of
Lodine, but they made amends by the length and beauty of their soft
black lashes. Lodine's admiration was prodigiously excited by my English
ear-rings, and rings, &c. She took them up one by one to examine, and
exclaimed frequently that she had never seen such beautiful things in
her life. Poor little rustic! I hope no unprincipled traveller will ever
take advantage of thy simplicity and love of finery, and persuade thee
to exchange for toys of a similar description the precious jewels of
innocence and good fame. Mr. W. went into the market the next morning,
before either Mr. Baillie or myself were up, and remarked that almost
every woman there was well looking; he also saw some really beautiful
girls among them. There are two neat churches here. The swarms of
beggars which assailed us at every town, in this part of the country,
were positively quite annoying; their bold and sturdy importunity made
me recollect, with regret, the sensitive delicacy of Sterne's poor
"Monk," and wish that they were as easily repulsed! Had this been the
case, I dare say we should have given them every _sous_ in our
possession; but, as it was, I never felt less difficulty in steeling my
ears and my heart.

The face of nature seemed like a map, the road was upon such elevated
ground. But leaving Saulieu, our route was agreeably varied by a
continual alternation of hill and dale; the foreground rocky, enlivened
with purple heath and furze. We frequently made the remark, that we had
not yet seen a single cottage which could be called pretty since we
landed at Calais; and the lovely and picturesque hamlets of the Isle of
Wight, the neighbourhood of the New Forest, and of parts of Surrey,
returned upon my imagination in all their force. There are woods of
dwarf oak near this place, beyond which we caught, for the first time
during our tour, the view of a mountain in the horizon. We changed
horses at Pierre Ecrite, where we met with a postillion who was a living
image of Don Quixote. I, who am such an enthusiastic admirer of the
latter, could willingly have given a double fee for the pleasure I took
in contemplating his faithful resemblance; the loose shamoy leather
doublet, brown beaver Spanish-looking flapped hat; long, black, greasy
hair, hanging in strings about his scraggy neck and doleful visage; the
wild, eager, prominent, dark eyes, &c.--all was complete! The French
drivers differ in many particulars from ours; in one respect alone there
is a wide line of demarcation. The former talk a good deal (_en route_)
to their horses, while the latter confine themselves to the mute
eloquence of the whip and spur.

The country now assumes a totally new character. The hills rise into
the dignity of mountains, and are entirely barren, save in the immediate
vicinity of a little valley or two which smiles between them, when their
rough granite sides are clothed with partial underwood; these valleys
have a verdant and cultivated effect, from being well wooded, and also
from the unusual practice of inclosing the fields with hedges. Indeed
the whole scene for three or four miles before you come to Autun is
bold, rich, and beautiful. We were told that the people here and in the
South of France were (generally speaking) extremely well-disposed
towards the Bourbon government, disliking the remembrance of Bonaparte.

Autun, an ugly town, yet most romantically situated at the foot of three
mountains covered with superb woods. Here are some fine gateways of
Corinthian architecture, baths, and a cathedral. We went to look at the
latter, and saw several women there telling their beads, who cast an eye
of curiosity upon us in the midst of their devotions, while their
fingers and lips continued to move with great rapidity. I peeped into
several vacant confessionals, which resembled little sentry-boxes,
partitioned into two apartments, in one of which there is a seat for the
priest, and in the other a grated aperture through which the penitent
breathes his communications.

The tomb of the president Jennin and his wife is shewn here. It was, I
believe, concealed during the fury of the revolution, in common with
many similar and sacred curiosities. He was one of _Henri quatre's_
ministers, and a man much esteemed by that sovereign. He cannot have a
higher professional eulogium. The costume both of the president and his
dame is quaint in the extreme, and the length of her waist is quite
ridiculous. Our inn (_la poste_) was comfortable and reasonable. For
five francs a-head, they sent us up for dinner (I will for once say what
we had for dinner) some capital soup _au ris_, a magnificent jack, a
duck stewed with pickles, a fowl, white and delicate as those of
Dorking, a ragout of sweetbreads in brown sauce, a large dish of
craw-fish, potatoes drest _à la maître d'hotel_, Guyere cheese, and four
baskets of fruit. The latter evinced the coldness of the climate here,
for the peaches were diminutive, crude, and colourless, the grapes
rather sour, and the cherries hard, tough, and not bigger than black
currants.

Leaving Autun, we passed over a very steep granite mountain of that
name, covered in the most luxuriant profusion with trees of every sort,
but chiefly oak: the road wound round the sides till it reached nearly
the summit of this mountain in graceful sweeps. It rained during our
ascent, and the groups of women emerging at intervals from the woody
recesses in the steeps above us, with their gay coloured cotton
handkerchiefs held over their white caps, to shelter them from the
scudding shower, looked highly picturesque. The male costume here
becomes marked; it consists of a very large black hat, (with a low crown
and an enormous breadth of brim,) round which is sometimes worn a string
of red and white beads; a dark blue linen jacket and trowsers, coloured
waistcoat, white shirt, with a square deep collar thrown open at the
throat, and _sabots_. We could plainly hear the babbling of the brook
which runs among these sylvan retreats. My husband gathered me some
blackberries in the woods, and I longed to accompany him in his rambles,
instead of remaining in the carriage. Altogether it was the most
romantic scene I had ever beheld, and my exclamations of admiration
reaching the ears of the postillion, (who was easing his horses by
walking by their side) he came up to the window, to ask me if I had ever
seen such a beautiful thing in my own country? I assured him I had not,
and he graciously added that he would shew me a very grand plain also in
a few minutes. Our Swiss attendant, however, (Christian) did not seem to
approve of all these commendations, and could not refrain from throwing
out a hint, that we should see much finer things in _his_ country. This
mountain is covered with wild strawberries in the season. Bonaparte
intended to have made a wider road through it, had not the Fates thought
proper to cut short his plans when he least expected it. The view of the
promised plain was fertile as that of Canaan; the glimpses of it caught
occasionally through the openings of the rocks were charming. I liked
the national pride of the postillion; applied thus to the beauties of
nature, it had almost a character of refinement: he was a good-humoured,
merry-looking, ugly fellow, who seemed as if he had never known a care
in his life; but (the truth must be told) he was a great admirer of
Bonaparte, and said he should live and die in the hope of his return. He
had laid by his green jacket and badge in his box, thinking it not
impossible that he might want to wear it again one day; at all events he
trusted to see the young son upon the throne, and spoke of him with much
affectionate emotion. Bonaparte had been driven by this man (upon his
flight from Elba,) and this puts me in mind, that I omitted to mention
the circumstance of my having slept in the same bed which he then
occupied at Autun; I think he must have left his troubled spirit behind
him, for my dreams were perturbed and melancholy in the greatest degree!
There are plenty of wolves and wild boars in this neighbourhood; five
of the latter were killed the week before. I expected to have met with
gipsies, but neither here, nor in any other part of the continent, had
we yet encountered one of the race.

At St. Emilan, (a small village) we stopt to breakfast: it was a merry,
cheerful meal. We sat round the blazing faggots in the cottage kitchen
of la Poste, and boiled our eggs in a vessel which I believe was an old
iron shaving pot; the milk (for our coffee) was served up in a large
earthen tureen, with a pewter ladle; and the cups were of a dirty yellow
cracked ware, that I am sure my cook would not suffer to be exhibited in
her scullery. The bread was sour, and so was the fruit, but I never
remember to have enjoyed a breakfast more thoroughly; so true is it,
that hunger is the best sauce. The host (seeing that we were English)
asked if we would not choose our _pain_ to be _grillé_? and was
proceeding to broil it accordingly, instead of toasting it, if we had
not preferred the loaf in its natural state. We were somewhat surprised
at seeing a print over the chimney of Dr. Nicholas Saunderson,
Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge. An obscure village kitchen in the
heart of France was the last place where one would have expected to have
found such a thing. The hostess had bought it many years since at a sale
of the property of the celebrated Buffon.

Seeing some cows ploughing in the fields here, which was what we had
never before witnessed, our servant Christian gave us an account of the
manner of conducting that operation in Switzerland; "de only difference
is (said he) dat dere de _cows_ be all _oxes_." The costume of the
_paysannes_ is very picturesque; a straw hat, of the gipsy form, and
large as an umbrella, rather short petticoat, gay coloured handkerchief,
deep bordered white cap, and _sabots_. The landscape was rather pretty
for some distance beyond St. Emilan.

We now began to meet with vineyards again, as we descended from these
bleak and elevated regions. A brook wound through the lowlands, fringed
with willows, by means of which we could as usual trace its course for
miles. I forgot to mention the _cajoleries_ made use of by a set of
little beggar children, the preceding day. The white beaver hats worn by
my husband and Mr. W. struck their fancy not a little, and they ran
after the carriage with incredible perseverance, calling out, _Vivent
les chapeaux blancs! Vivent les jolis messieurs! vive la jolie dame!
vive le joli carrosse! vive le roi, et vive le bon Dieu!_ We were
engaged in lamenting the drawback of a _goître_ (or swelling in the
throat) to the beauty of a very pretty woman, whom we had just seen,
when in going down a steep hill we met with an accident, which might
have been serious. The harness (made of old ropes) suddenly broke, one
of the horses fell down, the postillion was thrown off, and the other
horses continuing to trot on without stopping, we felt the carriage go
over some soft substance, which we concluded to be the person of their
unfortunate driver. Both the gentlemen involuntarily exclaimed "he is
killed!" when we were relieved by seeing him running by the side of the
animals, very little the worse for his fall. The poor horse was the
greatest sufferer, as the wheels went twice over his neck! however, even
he was not much hurt, and was able to rise and go on with his work in a
few seconds. The great creature in the middle was an old, scrambling,
wilful beast, who liked his own way, and I believe he would never have
stopt, had not his bridle been seized by a man in the road. I was very
much alarmed for the moment, and so I rather suspect was our trusty
valet, who presented himself at the door to inquire if "Madame was
frighted," with a face as white as his own neckcloth. This _contretems_
would not have occurred had we not changed our horses and postillion a
few moments before it happened, with those belonging to another carriage
which we met on the way. The country continued rather pretty, and was
also inclosed; were it not for the vineyards, it would be like many
parts of England. We saw a little insignificant chateau or two, and that
reminds me of the very dull effect of all the houses in France when seen
from a distance--they have universally the air of being shut up, owing
to the _jalousies_ being painted white instead of green.

Chalons sur Saone; rather a pretty town: there is a stone fountain here,
with a statue of Neptune, well executed. We stopt at the hotel du Parc,
a reasonable and tolerably well appointed inn, though by no means
deserving of the pompous commendation bestowed upon it in the printed
Tourist's Guide, where it is mentioned as being the best in France. Mr.
W. suffered some annoyance from bugs, which I must ever consider as
great drawbacks to comfort. We were attended at dinner by the first
_male_ waiter we had seen since leaving Paris, from which Chalons is
about two hundred miles distant. The people in the town stared at and
followed us about in rather a troublesome manner; I believe they were
attracted by the white hats, and my travelling cap, so different from
any of their own costumes.

People talk a great deal about the warmth of the South of France, but
all I can say is, that as soon as we approached it, we ordered fires,
while we had left our countrymen in frigid England fainting with heat! I
may as well indulge myself in a few more desultory remarks while I am
about it, particularly as our narrative just now is rather bare of
incident. The first is, the great inferiority of the French cutlery to
ours: all their knives are extremely coarse and bad; and with regard to
the forks and spoons (both of which, to do them justice, are almost
always of silver), they do not seem ever to have come in contact with a
bit of whiting or a leather rubber since they were made! Plate-powder of
course is an unknown invention here. How would our butlers at home (so
scrupulously nice in the arrangement of their sideboard) have stared,
could they have beheld these shabby appurtenances of a foreign dinner
table! They are not less behind-hand also with respect to the locks of
their doors, all of which are wretchedly finished, even in their best
houses. Their carriages are generally ugly, shabby, badly built, and
inelegant; and they have some domestic customs (existing even in the
midst of the utmost splendor and refinement,) which are absolutely
revolting to the imagination of an English person, and to which no
person who knows what real cleanliness and comfort means, could ever be
reconciled; but the French are, beyond all doubt, an innately filthy
race,--with them _l'apparence_ is all in all.

Leaving Chalons sur Saone, we observed large fields planted with Turkey
wheat, called here _Turquie_; they mix it with other flour in their
bread. There is nothing but barren stubble for a length of way, and we
should have found the prospect excessively wearying and tiresome, had
not a bold hill or two in the distance afforded a slight degree of
relief. We saw a man sowing among the stubble, which they plough up
after the seed is sown, thereby saving the labour of the harrow; the
practice is not general, however.

About three miles from Tournus, we ascended a very steep hill, covered
with underwood and vines, and were refreshed by the sight of a little
pasture land. From the summit a surprisingly fine country burst upon
us--the river Saone leading its tranquil waters through a rich plain,
the town of Tournus with its bridge and spires, and the chain of Alpine
mountains bounding the distant horizon, were altogether charming; the
latter appeared like a continued ridge of gray clouds, Mont Blanc
towering far above them all. We formed some idea of the magnitude of
this hoary giant from the circumstance of our being able thus to see him
at the distance of a hundred and fifty miles! He looked, however, like a
thin white vapour, rising amid the lovely blue of the summer sky.

At Tournus, where we stopt to breakfast, the _maîtresse de la maison_
was a very pretty woman, but I cannot praise her taste in china ware;
the cups she set before us were of a most disgusting shape and material,
and of enormous proportions; they resembled our coarse red flower-pots
glazed, and it was with difficulty that I could prevail upon myself to
taste the tea or coffee (I forget which) that they contained. The women
in this neighbourhood wear a singular head-dress, a black beaver hat, of
the size and form of a small soup plate, placed flat upon the crown of
the head, with three long knots of broad black riband, hanging down, one
behind, and one on each side the face. They have a little white cap,
called _la coquette_, under this, with a coarse open lace border,
standing stiff off the temples, something like that of Mary, Queen of
Scots. This place is celebrated for its pretty women, and we remarked
many ourselves. I took a hasty sketch of one as we changed horses. There
is a great quantity of hemp grown here. The weather now began to be
intensely hot; and we did not wonder at this, as we were in the same
latitude as that of Verona and Venice. The former chill, which I
mentioned upon first approaching the south of France, was quite an
accidental circumstance, partly induced by our being at that time upon
extremely high ground, whereas the temperature of the valleys is very
different.

We saw the peasants making ropes by the side of the road; one man
carried a distaff in his hand, much bigger than a large stable broom. I
bought of a _villageoise_ at Macon one of the little hats and caps
before mentioned. She attempted to impose upon me as to the price; but I
do not consider this at all as a national trait. I am afraid an English
countrywoman would have been equally anxious to make the best bargain
she could, fairly or otherwise! The cap was really very becoming, even
to my British features. I saw in one of the cottages a loaf of their
bread: it was extremely coarse, and as flat, round, and large as a
table. There is a grand chain of mountains on the right, called the
_Charolais_. We again observed cows ploughing in the fields: they had
all a curious head-dress, a sort of veil or network, to preserve them
from the flies, like the military bridles of our dragoon horses. Most of
the cattle hereabouts (and we had seen quantities) were of a cream
colour. The country is luxuriant, full of chateaux, fertile, and
cultivated, more so than any we had yet observed, and it is allowed to
be the finest part of France. Mr. W. examined the nature of the soil,
and found it fat and rich in the highest degree. I must once more
repeat my admiration of the frequent and great beauty of the young
children in this country, more particularly in these parts. I saw
several with cheeks like the sunny side of a peach; little, round, plump
faces, and delicately chiselled features, with a profusion of luxuriant
hair hanging in natural ringlets upon their shoulders: the mere babies
also are very interesting. The parents throughout France are remarkable
for love of offspring[4].

About three or four miles from Macon you enter the department of the
Maconnais, and afterwards that of the Jura (so called from the mountains
of the same name), but formerly known by that of the Lyonnais. We saw at
St. George de Rognains a most beautiful woman, a _villageoise_; her
proportions were fine, and rather full; her face very much in the style
of our well-known English belles, Lady O. and Mrs. L.; but she was not
so large as either of them. She wore the usual costume of her native
place, which was more peculiarly marked in the cap. It is extremely
becoming, and pretty in itself. I know not how to describe it exactly;
but it is flat upon the crown, with a good deal of coarse transparent
lace, like wings, full every where but on the brow, across which it is
laid low and plain, in the style of some antique pictures I remember to
have seen. This superb woman's fine features set it off amazingly. She
also wore a flowered cotton gown (of gay colours upon a dark ground), a
crimson apron and bib, with a white handkerchief. What a charming
portrait would Sir Thomas Lawrence have made of her, and how she would
astonish the amateurs of beauty in England, were she suddenly to appear
among them! I am thus particular in describing costume, to please the
readers of my own sex. We met here some _religieuses_ walking in the
road, belonging to a convent in the distance. Their habit was not very
remarkable, except that they wore black veils, with high peaks on the
front of the head, and long rosaries by their sides.

Villefranche; a populous old town. It was market day; yet not one
instance of intoxication did we see, neither here nor in any other part
of France through which we had passed. Certainly drunkenness is not the
vice of the nation, although they have a due admiration for strong beer,
which is sold under the name of _bonne bierre de Mars_. There is a fine
church here, of Gothic architecture.

We did not reach Lyons until late at night; and, as I was very much
fatigued, and longed to get into the hotel, I thought the length of the
environs and suburbs endless. However, we arrived at last, and after a
refreshing sleep, were awakened the next morning by the firing of cannon
close under our windows. It was the fête of St. Louis, which is always
celebrated with particular pomp and splendour. It was also the great
jubilee of the Lyonese _peruquiers_, who went in procession to high
mass, and from thence to an entertainment prepared for them. The
_jouteurs_ (or plungers in water) likewise made a very magnificent
appearance. They walked two and two round the town, and after a famous
dinner (laid out for them in a lower apartment of our hotel) proceeded
to exhibit a sort of aquatic tournament, in boats, upon the river. This
is a very ancient festival, and is mentioned (if I recollect right) by
Rousseau. The dress of the combatants (among whom were several young
boys of eight and five years old) was very handsome and fanciful,
entirely composed of white linen, ornamented with knots of dark-blue
riband. They had white kid leather shoes, tied with the same colours,
caps richly ornamented with gold, and finished with gold tassels. In
their hands they carried blue and gold oars, and long poles, and upon
their breasts a wooden sort of shield or breastplate, divided into
square compartments, and strapped firmly on like armour, or that
peculiar ornament, the ephod, worn by the ancient Jewish high priests.
Against this they pushed with the poles as hard as possible,
endeavouring to jostle and overturn their opponents; the vanquished,
falling into the water, save themselves by swimming, while the victors
carry off a prize. We went down stairs to see these heroes at dinner,
and one of them civilly invited us into the room, to observe every
particular at our ease.

The military were all drawn out this morning, and I thought there never
would be an end of their firing, trumpeting, &c.; the whole town
resounded with noise, bustle, and gay confusion. We distinguished the
Swiss guards, who wore a red uniform, like the English troops; a fine
regiment of chasseurs, green, faced with red; a troop of lancers, on
beautiful spirited black horses, uniform green and orange; the national
guards, dark blue and red, with cocked hats; and, lastly, the foot
guards, in white: the officers of the latter really looked like London
footmen; nothing could be more ugly and ungentlemanly than their
costume. All these were reviewed in _la Grande Place_, built by
Bonaparte, who laid the first stone. The houses there are very handsome,
and some of them rise to the height of seven stories. A steep hill,
covered with vines, and crowned by buildings like castles, forms the
background of this fine _place_, at the bottom of which rolls the grand
and magnificent Rhone. Our inn (_l'hotel de Provence_) stood here. It
is a very comfortable, excellent, well-ordered establishment: the
apartments assigned for our particular use put me in mind of the old
state-rooms in our shabby palace of St. James. The furniture was of
crimson and white satin damask, and the beds of rich crimson damask;
Lyons, as all the world knows, being famous for its rich silks. The
ancient arm-chairs were studded with gilt nails, and the brick-floors
carefully rubbed and polished till they resembled marble. That of the
_salle à manger_ was of curiously inlaid oak. The attendants were all
men: one of them made my bed, and was perpetually frisking in and out
(in his department of housemaid), rather to my annoyance and surprise.
The first night of our arrival, I was shut up (as I thought) in my own
room, unpacking my _sac de nuit_, when, upon turning suddenly round, I
saw the great rough figure of our postillion, who had entered without
knocking, and was standing much at his ease, expecting to be paid. The
_garçon_ who waited at dinner was a fine specimen of the honest,
cheerful French peasant lad, his countenance and manner the perfection
of good humour and simplicity.

The promenade of the town (a walk of shady trees in the midst of _la
Grande Place_) being filled with gay groups in every possible variety of
costume, offered a most amusing spectacle to a stranger's eye. We sat
there some time upon the hired chairs, which are in as great request as
at Paris. Here we found booths, kept by venders of tisanne, lemonade,
&c. who were, some of them, niched in little covered tubs, like
Diogenes. We were much stared at; but not with any rudeness or
incivility. We even imagined that we saw a more favourable expression of
countenance in the people of Lyons (while gazing upon the English) than
in those of Paris. In the latter we certainly did now and then discover
the signs of unequivocal hatred and dislike; and although they never
gave vent (in our hearing at least) to their ill-will in words, there
was a mute eloquence of eye, which it is difficult to mistake.

But to return to the promenade, &c. my petticoat of moravian work seemed
to catch the admiring observation of all the females who passed; and
indeed I ought, in justice to our British needlewomen, to remark, that
their performance is rarely equalled, and assuredly never surpassed, by
their continental rivals, however highly French work may be praised and
sought after by our capricious leaders of _ton_.

The confluence of the rivers Rhone and Saone here is reckoned to be one
of the finest things of the kind in Europe. We went to see it, but were
rather disappointed in its effect; for the late uncommonly dry season
had greatly diminished the pride of both these celebrated streams. It
takes place at a spot about half a mile distant from the town, and we
drove thither in a ridiculous hired vehicle, called a _carriole_, very
like a long four-posted bedstead, on wheels, with coarse linen curtains
for summer weather, and black shabby leather ones for winter. A seat,
resembling a mattrass, was slung on the inside, upon which the people
sit back to back, like those in an Irish jaunting car. The driver is
upon a seat in front, and manages two horses, which are generally
ornamented with frontlets, and knots of gay riband and bells. Our
coachman was quite a coxcomb, sporting smart nankeen trowsers, gaiters,
and yellow shoes of washed leather.

The women at Lyons struck us as remarkably ugly, and we actually were
unable to discover a single pretty face among them. We met a country
dame, stumping into town to partake in the gaieties of the fête, dressed
in a bright yellow gown, tucked up at the pocket-holes, so as to display
a full rose-coloured petticoat beneath, white stockings, black slippers,
a deep gipsy hat of Leghorn straw, and a white handkerchief with the
usual flowered border.

Nothing can be handsomer than this town: it much resembles Bath,
particularly in its environs, which are built upon hanging hills, and
embosomed in woods and vineyards. The convent of St. Michael, rising
among them, is very ugly, however, reminding one of a large Birmingham
manufactory. Here dwell _les Soeurs de la Charité_, and we were
informed that they really are of great use, and do much good in their
generation, which cannot, alas! be said of the regular nuns, poor
victims!

At night we went to the _comedie_. The theatre was dirty, and somewhat
shabby; all the light thrown exclusively upon the stage, as usual in
foreign theatres. The actors were really extremely good, and the
audience seemed a loyal one upon the whole, which was discoverable by
their seizing and duly applauding the several claptraps which occurred
in the piece they were exhibiting. It was _La partie de Chasse de Henri
quatre_--the first scene a beautiful part of the forest of Fontainbleau.
The story, though familiar to every body, seemed to interest all hearts,
ours among the rest. I confess that, for my own part, I was surprised by
feeling the tears coursing each other down my face, when I least
expected it; and yet I was a stranger and a foreigner! How must the
French, then, feel in the recollection of this and all the other
thousand acts of benevolence and magnanimity of their glorious monarch,
whose now beatified spirit seems to shed a guardian glory around the
heads of his descendants! We returned home immediately after the
representation of this piece, not staying the farce; and after taking
coffee, once more sallied forth to view the beautiful illuminations
which were displayed in honour of the day. The night was clear, warm,
and balmy, and the whole population of the city (a hundred and nine
thousand persons) seemed to be walking about, enjoying themselves
completely. The effect of the lights reflected upon the distant
vine-clad hills was singularly beautiful. I admired the costume of many
of the children here; they wore large shepherdess-sort of Leghorn hats
with very low crowns, wreathed with pretty roses, which harmonized with
their little innocent round faces remarkably well. The soldiers,
_paysannes_, and some of the _bourgeoises_, were dancing quadrilles
under the trees of the promenade, which was lighted much in the manner
of Vauxhall. There was a busy hum of voices in the air, swelling upon
the breeze, mixed with notes of animating music, and occasional bursts
of mirth and laughter, which, I believe, might have been heard for
miles. In short, the scene was a perfect carnival. On reaching our inn,
we saw the officers of the foot guards (who had been dining together in
the same apartment occupied by the _jouteurs_ in the morning) dancing
waltzes to the loud music of their own band, in which the brazen tones
of the trumpet were painfully pre-eminent. For want of female partners,
they had, some of them, taken off their coats, and dressed themselves up
in mob caps, shawls, and petticoats made of the dinner napkins. In this
strange costume they tore about the room, swinging each other in a
manner that disgusted while it made us smile. The master of the house,
who seemed to think all this very fine, wanted to know if _Madame_ would
not join in the merry dance? (meaning me); but Mr. B. quietly declined
the obliging proposal, saying, "I was not quite strong enough for such
an attempt just now." Upon which _Monsieur_ came behind me, and,
supporting me under both the elbows, almost carried me up the stairs to
the door of our apartment; so obsequious are the French to all women.
There is a proverb relative to our sex, which observes, that _Paris est
le paradis des femmes, le purgatoire des maris, et l'enfer des chevaux_.
I, as an English wife, however, can imagine no place to be a paradise
for me, which is at the same time a punishment to my husband; neither
could I taste perfect felicity, if it was purchased at the expense of my
brute fellow-creatures. But I do not mean tediously to moralize upon a
little _jeu d'esprit_, which has some wit and truth in it, after all.

Determined to make the most of our short time, we went the next day to
see the cathedral, which is of Moorish architecture. Within we found a
singular mixture of orders; the Corinthian, composite, Gothic, Saxon,
and a sort of nondescript, which (as we were none of us particularly
learned on the subject) we concluded to be the regular Moorish. The
whole body of this fine building appeared glowing with the rose and
purple tints of sunset, and the gold ornaments upon the high altar
actually flamed resplendent in this lovely light, as if they had been
formed of solid fire! The effect was produced by the stained glass of
the windows, of every possible variety of colour, magnificent beyond
all idea, and far different from any which we had ever seen before;
indeed, in attempting to describe their peculiarity, I feel that I have
done foolishly, as it is impossible to give my readers any adequate
notion of their extraordinary splendour and beauty. We did not so much
admire another curiosity exhibited here, which is a clock, from a niche
in the front of which, when it strikes the hours, a figure of the Virgin
suddenly protrudes, and makes a gracious inclination of the body; while
in another recess above there is a very paltry and shocking
representative of the Father, who also leans forward in the act of
giving his benediction. The attempt thus to embody the inconceivable
glories of person belonging to the unseen God is both absurd and
impious; yet surely not so much so, as the wish and endeavour of some
fanatics to shroud the ineffable mercy and benevolence of the same being
beneath a dark, chilling, and repulsively gloomy veil of severity,
wrath, and implacability. In both cases, the true features of the
Divinity are shamefully and ridiculously misrepresented. We also saw two
fine white marble statues of St. Stephen and St. John, both spoilt by
crowns of trumpery artificial flowers and tinsel, which gave them the
air of our "Jacks in the green" on May-day.

We returned to our hotel, when, after an excellent dinner, we tasted for
the first time fresh almonds, brought up in their outside rinds; they
resemble small withered peaches in a green state, and I believe,
speaking scientifically, that they are in fact a species of that fruit,
and are classed accordingly; we found them very good, resembling
filberts in flavour, and they are eaten with salt, in the same manner.

The next morning we bade adieu to Lyons; on the road from thence, at a
place called St. Laurent des Mures, we saw the women as well as the men
threshing corn, and this in the open air--a strong proof of fine
climate: we afterwards remarked the practice universally. There are many
walnut trees about here, but the country was flat and dull for some
miles. We now however passed over a heath, (where, as Shakespeare
expresses it, "the air smelt wooingly,") enriched by wood, and banks of
waving fern, bounded by some near mountains; there was a picturesque
view of a castle, upon the summit of a hill, embosomed in trees. These
objects were a great relief to the eye, after the eternal stubble fields
near Lyons. Here we observed ploughing performed by mules, which I
approved of much, when compared with the use of cows for these sort of
labours; the latter, poor things, are of such inestimable value in other
respects, that surely it is very unfair to require their services as
beasts of burthen. The roofs of the buildings in this neighbourhood now
first began to assume an Italian character, and to harmonize with the
ideas I had formed of the vicinity of the Alps, which were visible in
the distance; but the latter did not improve the landscape so much as my
hitherto untravelled eyes had expected, for they were so far off, that
they resembled clouds, for which I should certainly have mistaken them,
had I not been told what they really were. We here encountered a
peasant, who was thin enough to have passed for the Death in Burgher's
"Leonora:" his face was a mere skull, with a sallow skin strained over
it; his black eager eyes deep sunk in their immense sockets. I was quite
afraid of dreaming of him.

For several days past, we had taken leave of the peculiar costume of the
postillions, which is not much retained on this side of Paris. Cattle
now were seen of all colours; the country became more undulating and
woody, and the vineyards wore a very different and much more graceful
appearance, being trained far higher, not formally planted, (as I have
before described) but frequently twined around standard apple and other
trees, from which they hung in light and careless festoons, forming
altogether a singular effect of blended foliage. They are universally
trained in this manner in Italy; the French pretend that the produce is
thereby rendered less plentiful, and that what is gained in beauty is
lost in value: I cannot pronounce upon the truth of the assertion. The
walnut-tree grew here in increased profusion, mixed frequently with the
mulberry, forming an agreeable shade to the road.

We breakfasted at Bourgoin, where they gave us good provisions, but
charged in a most extravagant way. There is a great deal of marshy land,
and the inhabitants look unhealthy: some of them have _goîtres_ (or
glandular swellings) in consequence of extreme relaxation from the
moisture of the air. Two filthy girls waited upon us at breakfast: they
wore no caps, and their hair was in a most disgusting condition. We
afterwards remarked numbers of women, equally devoid of coifs and
cleanliness. _Apropos_ to the former, I certainly greatly incline to
prefer them to the more classical and simple fashion of wearing the head
wholly uncovered: there is something very feminine and pretty in a
white, neat, well-plaited cap, set off by a bright coloured riband and
smart knot; and I really think the French _paysannes_ knew what they
were about, when they so universally adopted that costume.

The country shortly changed to a scene of wonderful richness and beauty,
resembling the finest parts of Devonshire; but the view of an immense
crucifix rising picturesquely amid the woods gave it a foreign character
at once. Nothing can exceed the loveliness of this part of France; it is
indeed exquisite, and doubly pleasing from its rarity. The unusual heat
of the late summer (felt as sensibly as in England) had dried up most of
the smaller rivers and brooks hereabouts, and the dust was actually
flying in their sandy channels. We were now in Dauphiny.

A few miles before we entered Beauvoisin (which divides Dauphiny from
Savoy), a very grand amphitheatre of the Savoy mountains rose suddenly
upon us. The sight was peculiarly striking to me, as I had never yet
seen the effect of this sort of scenery. We frequently observed
buildings here of the _pisè_ or mud, very neatly finished; indeed we
were surprised to perceive how much they had contrived to make of so
base and common a material. We met some countrywomen riding astride,
which had a very odd appearance--_odd_ is a vague term, and rather an
unclassical one: I am perfectly aware of its defects but I cannot at
this moment think of any other which would so well express my meaning;
yet confound me not, kind reader, with that mass of ignorant and
conceited persons, who always call every thing _odd_ which they
themselves either cannot understand, or to which they happen to be
unaccustomed. Such, for instance, whom I have heard designating Byron's
grand poetical conceptions as _odd fancies_, or the exquisite sketches
of Westall's imaginative pencil as _odd things_, or calling the truly
enlightened and liberal theological sentiments of Paley, Watson,
Fellows, &c. _odd opinions_. But I have rambled strangely from the
point; the little countrywomen and their nags completely ran away with
me! In spite of the _oddity_ of their position, I am ready candidly to
allow that there is a great deal of safety in it.

Beauvoisin is in the near vicinity of prodigiously fine scenery. We
passed through groves of the grandest chestnut trees, loaded with a
profusion of fruit, and the whole face of nature afforded such a superb
union of the beautiful and sublime, that we thought all we had
previously seen in France paltry in the comparison. The silkworm is much
cultivated here, and we saw many of the peasants employed in spinning
both silk and flax with distaffs and wheels; multitudes of women and
girls were seated at their doors, as we passed through Beauvoisin, all
busied in this occupation: they seemed to be chatting together very
happily, their tongues going as fast as their fingers. I thought of
Shakespeare's "spinners and knitters in the sun" telling "their tales."
We dined at the horrid little hole of an inn at this place, dirty, dark,
and full of the usual bad odours so prevalent in continental
habitations. The meal was served, as might be expected, in a slovenly
manner, and we were glad to proceed on our journey as soon as it was
despatched; previously submitting our luggage, &c. to the inspection of
the custom-house officers, having now entered the Sardinian territories.

We had not advanced far, ere the country opened, if possible, into an
increased blaze of beauty. Close to us were well-wooded mountains; on
the left, vineyards trained in the graceful Italian fashion I have
lately mentioned; far below us, on the right, was a limpid river,
sweetly winding though a valley, and on all sides villas (beautiful in
themselves and most romantically situated) lent an additional grace and
charm to the scene. The road was a perfect bower of walnut trees; and
the attractions of some of the peasant children, whom we now and then
met, with their large black eyes, and peculiar style of beauty, told us
that we were fast approaching the confines of Italy.

We now ascended a steep winding road, which leads to the summit of a
mountain called _La Montagne de l'Eschelles_. I find it more than ever
impossible to give any just and proportionate idea of the enchanting
prospects which every moment rose upon our delighted eyes! to conceive
them properly, they must be _seen_. We distinguished paths amid the
woody sides of the opposite heights, which looked as lovely as if they
led to Paradise; and I longed to spring from the confinement of the
carriage, and to explore their wild and exquisitely romantic
terminations, although the shades of evening, fast closing upon us,
might have rendered such an attempt most perilous. The low parapet wall,
erected within the last eight years by that mighty enchanter Napoleon,
(who seemed, while his "star was lord of the ascendant," to do all he
wished with _un coup de baguette_), preserved us from the danger of
falling down the precipice which yawned by the side of our road; and
also completely obviated the sort of nervous sensation which travellers
are so apt to feel while gazing upon the awful depths which surround
them! Upon turning a sharp angle, the rocks, in vast and stupendous
masses, rose perpendicularly above our heads, amidst which we were
amazed to perceive several cottages "perched like the eagle's nest, on
high." Rousseau has ably painted this incomparable scene, in his
_Nouvelle Heloise_, and I was gratified in thus convincing myself of the
accuracy and truth of his pencil. As we passed near these lonely
habitations, the breath of the cows belonging to the rustic inmates,
mingled sweetly with the scent of the leaves and aromatic herbs, and
added new fragrance to the soft and refreshing winds of evening. This
wild ravine was succeeded by the milder beauties of a green and mossy
bank, rising above smiling meadows; the contrast was striking. These are
sights indeed, which might arouse the dullest of mortals, and which make
the hearts of those gifted with sensibility and imagination swell high
within them!

Echelles, a small town, standing in a valley, completely hemmed in with
majestic mountains. We drank our tea and slept here at _La Poste_, and I
sat out, as long as it was prudent, in an open wooden gallery, (which
ran round the outside of the house, and commanded a view of the superb
scene), talking with the hostess, a cheerful, well-looking young woman,
who was overwhelmed by the number of her progeny. The youngest of the
children, a little girl of three years old, came up to me and laid her
head upon my knees, with the happy ease of innocent confidence,
chattering bad French with all her might; the mother also introduced two
of her sons to us (boys of five and seven), who ran in to bid her good
night before they went to bed, and to hug and kiss her. The youngest (a
fine sturdy rogue) told me that he always said his prayers, and that
after _le bon Dieu_, he loved "Maman." This woman, in the midst of her
rustic simplicity, had had the true good sense of presenting the Deity
to the infant imaginations of her children, under the attractive image
of an indulgent parent, thus fulfilling the sacred command of "Give me
thine heart." A convent of the Chartreuse still exists in the
neighbourhood; I believe it is the famous convent of _La Grande
Chartreuse_, a most interesting spot, but inaccessible to women. I made
inquiries about some of the natural productions of these mountains, and
learnt that so many superior simples and aromatic plants (_note_ A) grew
there, as to induce the apothecaries and chemists who lived within
reach, to come in search of them very frequently.

We left Echelles early the next morning (our common hour of rising being
five o'clock), and proceeded through a solitary road, winding at the
feet of some desolate-looking mountains. Passing by several deep
quarries of limestone, we soon arrived at the tremendous ascent, known
under the very appropriate name of _Les Eschelles de Savoy_. Here we
stopped at a lone hovel, to add a couple of oxen to our usual three
horses; but these animals being at work at the plough, we were obliged
to be satisfied with the assistance of another horse. A girl accordingly
brought him out, helped to arrange the traces, &c, and ran by his side
half way up the mountain, till we had attained the most arduous pass,
and then returned with him to her cottage. She wore her hair gathered in
a knot at the back of the head, in the true Italian style. As we toiled
along, we observed a _paysanne_, with a load upon her head (most
probably on her early way to some village market), stop to pay her
morning devotions at a shrine of the Virgin, rudely carved in wood, and
placed in a niche by the road-side. How shall I describe the wonderful
manner in which we climbed these frightful eschelles? We seemed to be
drawn up by our straining, labouring horses almost in a perpendicular
direction, and at a foot's pace. On our left was a yawning chasm of
immense magnitude, among a gloomy pile of frowning rocks, which might
well be the abode of some ancient giant or geni; while further on, these
same rocks, extending their mighty barriers on every side, seemed to
hang tremulously over head, threatening to crush the hapless traveller,
should sudden wind or storm arise to shake them from their
precarious-looking base. The blue heaven above us was nearly shut from
our sight by their dark and shadowy projections. Our guides (three or
four in number, and resembling, in their wild, strange attire and
features, a group of _Salvator Rosa_'s banditti) pointed out to us the
ancient road, passable, even in its best days, by mules alone. It was a
narrow ledge, with no defence whatever from the precipice on one side,
winding in serpentine mazes through deep grottos, or chasms, in the
bowels of the mountain. We saw a prodigious monument of Bonaparte's
daring genius in a tunnel, which had been cut through the heart of these
solid rocks, and beneath which a fine road was to have been made; but
his career of power having been so suddenly and awfully checked, the
work remains unfinished. After shuddering amid the sublimity of these
scenes for some time, their rugged character gradually softened upon us,
and the tender green of the fern, mingling richly with the tangled
underwood, began to make its welcome appearance. Far above our heads,
also, dark forests of lofty pine were occasionally visible, although the
lower crags of overhanging rock generally hid them from our view. At
length the prospect expanded into verdant pastures (where cows and goats
were peacefully browsing), shaded by beech, elm, chestnut, and apple
trees, and skirted by softly-swelling banks, covered with a rich and
mossy vegetation. The blue smoke wreath, frequently rising above the
tufted foliage, marked the vicinity of hamlets, and the little orchards
and inclosed patches of well-cultivated garden ground (seen here and
there), and the groups of women spinning at their cottage doors, gave
the whole an indescribable air of pastoral comfort and beauty. In the
midst of this serene enjoyment, my nerves were suddenly discomposed, by
the fall of our postillion from his horse, who had stumbled, and now
took the opportunity (during his short interval of emancipation) of
looking in at the side window of the carriage; the last place certainly
in which I either wished or expected to have seen him. However, no harm
ensued, and we again proceeded quietly on our way. We could not but
remark the extraordinary luxuriance of the hedges here, rich in nut
trees, brilliant scarlet berries, convolvulus, blue bells, and other
wild plants. The master of the post-house in the midst of these
mountains seemed a great admirer of the magnificent genius of Napoleon,
and said (speaking of the tunnel we had lately passed), _que cet homme
la avoit bravè la nature_: he added, "that if he had reigned only two
years longer, he would have completed this grand undertaking; but now
all was at an end; for the king of Sardinia was not the sort of person
to carry on the daring plans of his great predecessor." The manner in
which this man described Bonaparte to have first conceived and
determined upon the work in question was strongly characteristic of the
decision peculiar to the latter. He was passing through the ancient
horrible road, with his engineer, stopped, and pointing to the
mountains, said, "Is it not possible to cut a tunnel through the
entrails of yonder rock, and to form a more safe and commodious route
beneath it?"--"It is _possible_, certainly, sire," replied the
scientific companion. "Then let it be done, and immediately," rejoined
the emperor.

I was romantic enough to mourn over the fate of the mountain stream
here, which (in common with many others we had seen) was so weakened by
long drought, that it had scarcely force sufficient to pour its scanty
waters over their rugged channel, and seemed to vent its complaint in
weak murmurs, as it flowed feebly along. The grand cascade, which feeds
its urn so nobly during winter, had now lost all strength and
magnificence of character. We felt the air very sharp, even in this
sultry season; and in the bleak months of the year I can easily conceive
that the severity of the cold must be intolerable. The grapes in such
regions are always small and sour; they were not half ripe at the
present time, and, indeed, never arrive at any perfection.

We breakfasted at _La Poste_ at Chamberry, a picturesque town, and
capital of Savoy, situated in the bosom of the fine scenery I have just
described. The tops of its surrounding mountains (which form part of the
endless chain of Alps) are hoary with eternal snows: they had a very
striking effect. It was at Chamberry that that strange, inconsistent,
wonderful creature, Rousseau, lived for some time with Madame de
Varennes: his house is still shewn. The charm which, while he lived, he
contrived to throw around the vices and frailties of his character, and
the productions of his bewitching pen, is now broken, the spell is
dissolved; but there are, nevertheless, immortal excellencies in many
parts of his writings which must make their due and deep impression upon
the hearts and imaginations of every successive reader, till time itself
shall be no more.

To return to Chamberry. There is no peculiarity of costume here, except
that the _paysannes_ all wear gold hearts and crosses; the poorer
classes of silver, lead, or mixed metal. We changed horses at
Montmeillant, and saw the fine river Isere, formed by the melting of the
snows. The same sort of grand scenery continued. There were several
charming _campagnes_ (or gentlemen's houses) amid the mountains, half
concealed by luxuriant woods. We longed to be invited (and able to
accept such invitation) to spend a fortnight at one or other of them, in
tranquillity and ease, in the society of agreeable, sensible people, who
would sometimes allow us leisure to indulge in the luxury of solitude,
and our own thoughts; for, without this latter privilege, one might just
as well be in a fashionable drawing-room, in all the sophistication of
Paris or London. It is among these scenes that Marmontel has chosen to
place his heroine in the graceful little tale of the "Shepherdess of the
Alps." But, alas! the poorer inhabitants of these fairy regions! how
unworthy of such lovely Arcadian retreats! Almost all we met were
squalid, filthy, listless, and indolent: a blighted, blasted, wretched
race, hardly deserving the name of human. Most of them were (in addition
to their universal hideousness) afflicted with the disgusting disease of
_goîtres_, to say nothing of total idiotcy, which is equally common
amongst them. Leaving Marmontel's lovely fanciful creations in the
clouds, from whence they came, these, these we found to be the "dull
realities of life;" and such realities!--my imagination actually
sickened at their idea. I will not hazard farther detail, lest I should
equally shock the feelings of my readers.

The mountains, as we approached Aiguebelle, became yet more lofty and
stupendous than any we had before seen; but they continued to wear the
same features of luxuriant beauty, even in the midst of the sublimity of
a grander scale of proportion. From their airy summits we could now and
then descry the fall of a narrow perpendicular streamlet, sparkling in
the sun like a line of melted silver. We reached Aiguebelle at four
o'clock, dined, and slept. The entrance to the inn was like that of a
cow-house, or large old rustic stable, and the accommodations within
were uncomfortable enough: not worse, however, than many which we
afterwards encountered in various places on the continent. An evening
walk, which we took here after tea, at the foot of the Alps, I shall
never forget; romantic, beautiful, and wild beyond even the dreams of a
poetical imagination. Passing through enormous masses of rock,
consisting of argillaceous slate, called _schist_, in the foreground (at
the entrance of a shadowy glade), we gradually ascended a winding path,
by which we traced an opening through the richly-wooded recesses of one
of the nearer mountains. Thick shady bowers of walnut trees (the largest
our eyes had ever beheld) formed an agreeable sort of twilight, shedding
a flickering gloom around, that well accorded with the pensive tone of
our minds, as we stole silently along, wrapt in unfeigned and warm
admiration of Nature and her wonderful creations, while a rippling
spring, murmuring softly amid the mossy grass, assisted the dreamy sort
of reverie that hung like a spell upon us! A fair green meadow lay
smiling at our feet; where notwithstanding the burning heat of the
season, the cattle were feeding on as rich a pasturage, as that which
skirts the Thames at Richmond. Far above (towering over our heads) were
the snowy peaks of the highest Alps, half veiled in clouds of floating
mist. I sat down upon a mossy stone, my companions stretched on the turf
beside me; the silent, deep, and soothing tranquillity was broken only
by the chirp of the cricket, the distant bark of a cottage cur, or the
whirring flight of the bats who now were beginning their evening
pastimes; one of them, in his airy wheel, almost brushed Mr. W.'s face
with his wings, as he flew fearlessly past. As the night advanced, we
were struck by the beautiful effect of the blazing weeds, which were
burning on some of the surrounding heights. At length we unwillingly
bade adieu to the enchanting spot, and returned to our inn.

We left Aiguebelle the next morning, rising at four o'clock, and
proceeded to St. Jean de Maurienne, through a narrow valley, inclosed
by a chain of the same mountains, which rose to the height of about two
or three thousand metres. A river, formed of melted snows, ran
constantly by our side, now brawling and foaming over the rugged stones,
now stealing silently along, in an almost imperceptible current, and
often seeming wholly exhausted, forming merely a narrow runnel in the
middle of its vast, sandy, rocky channel. Cottages were frequently
dotted about here, some of them perched at such an incredible height,
and apparently so inaccessible to human foot, that we could hardly
conceive them to be the habitations of our fellow creatures! How the
inmates continue to procure the necessaries of life from the adjacent
hamlets in the valleys below, I cannot imagine, unless they are drawn up
and down by ropes, in the manner which is so awfully described, in his
"scene on the sands," by that bold painter from nature, the author of
"the Antiquary." The singular and beautiful appearance of the opposite
rocks told us the moment when the sun had risen to a certain height, but
the first burst of glory from that divine orb, it was not our lot to
witness, as the east was hid from our sight by the overwhelming
mountains that surrounded us. I confess I was disappointed at this
circumstance, as the idea of beholding a perfect sun-rise had been the
chief inducement to me to quit my warm bed at such a preposterously
early hour, and to undergo with cheerfulness the disagreeable ceremony
of hurrying on my clothes by candlelight! However, I was in some measure
consoled by the lovely effect of the partial gleams, which played
occasionally upon the distant objects; finely contrasting with the
gloomy shadows of the dark ravines, and lighting up the spots of verdure
upon which they brightly fell, they seemed almost kindling into a blaze
of unearthly splendour. We passed here a small but romantic fall of
water; and soon afterwards encountered (in one of those narrow passes so
frequent among the Alps), and upon the brow of an abrupt descent, a
waggon, drawn by restive mules. These animals flew about the road in
every possible direction, rearing till they stood on end, kicking and
plunging in the most astonishing manner. The driver emulated their fury,
and I know not which of the parties was in the right, they were all in
such a passion together; we expected every instant to see their heels
dash against the glass of our windows, but our postillion managed with
so much skill and discretion, that we soon found ourselves safely _hors
de l'embarras_. We were somewhat surprised at his admirable coolness and
dexterity, as he was no experienced old stager, but on the contrary a
mere boy. Solomon, however, justly observes that wisdom does not
exclusively reside with white heads, as some veteran worthies have
fondly flattered themselves, and this will account for the _sagesse_ of
our little driver, which might otherwise have been discredited, perhaps,
by those, who constantly associate the ideas of youth and imprudence. I
believe that the same author goes so far as to assert, that "wisdom
giveth hoary hairs." I am not quite certain as to the accuracy of my
quotation, or I should at once feel sure that I had discovered the
reason why so many of our beaux and belles evince such a horror of
mental attainments. Talking of beaux and belles, we were now quite among
their antipodes; for never did I behold such a set of dirty, slovenly,
squalid, frightful creatures, as were perpetually crossing our path!--I
can only say, that (like Sancho Panza and his goblins) having once seen
two or three of them, I shut my eyes for the rest of the journey,
although I could not stop my ears against the horrid guttural idiotical
croak (resembling that of a choked raven) which they constantly
maintained, as they ran begging by the side of the carriage. Mr. B.
hoping to get rid of them, often threw out money from the windows, but
this only attracted a larger flock, and we soon found our sole refuge
was in pulling up the blinds the moment they appeared in sight.

We breakfasted at St. Jean de Maurienne, situated at the base of the
higher Alps: it was dirty, as all the inns in Savoy are; and they gave
us sour bread and butter, and muddled coffee, rather a mortification to
travellers, who (however romantic and enthusiastic) could not help
feeling that they should have better relished better fare, after having
gone three and twenty miles before breakfast! We met an Italian lady
here, just come from Turin; who assured us, upon our expressing our
admiration of Savoy, that we should think the scenery of Italy far more
beautiful: I could not at the moment believe in the possibility of her
assertion, and felt a presentiment that after having seen and compared
some of the most striking features in these countries, I should not
coincide with her in opinion; Italy (from all I had heard on the
subject) possessing a different character of beauty; but difference does
not constitute superiority: I should as soon think of comparing an apple
and an orange--both are good in their way. If any body takes offence at
the lowliness of my simile, I beg leave to refer him or her to that
delightful writer (at all times, and upon such various subjects),
Marmontel, who avails himself of the very same, and applies it in the
still prouder instance of human intellect.

The river Arque rushes impetuously through this part of Savoy; we passed
by a _voiture_ overturned upon its stony banks, the wheels in the air,
and front nearly touching the brink of the foaming torrent. The accident
did not seem to be a very recent one, as no people were assembled about
or near it. The Savoyards (those who are happily free from _goîtres_,
&c.) are seldom brought up to any other trade than stone masonry;
wandering about, following this _metier_ in an itinerant manner. Many of
the rustics appear well acquainted with the scientific terms of
mineralogy and chemistry. We conversed with a common cottager in
particular, who discoursed most intelligently upon the different
substances of which these mountains are composed. We suffered a good
deal of inconvenience from the dust, which flew here in such
overwhelming eddies, that it completely filled the carriage, and more
than once impeded my respiration most painfully. I could feel it
gritting between my teeth, and irritating the windpipe; and when we
attempted to close the windows against it, the heat thereby increased
became equally insupportable; the sun in these regions being so fierce
that it absolutely burnt us when we drew up the blinds: still, the
peculiar sensation of _weight_ in the atmosphere, from which we
experience so much oppression in England, seemed to be unknown in this
climate; there was an elasticity in the air, superior to any of which we
foggy islanders can boast, and the sky was perfectly Italian, of a deep
blue cloudless ether.

At St. Michel, a neat village (comparatively speaking), the peasantry
become more human; the _goître_ begins to disappear, and the countenance
to assume a more intellectual expression. Again the sublime effect of
the river Arque attracted our attention. It is a regular mountain
torrent, flashing and raving over tremendous rocks, with a rapidity and
fury difficult to describe. If it was thus mighty during the present
parching season, what must it not be in winter! The imagination shudders
at the idea of its desolating force. I could scarcely trace the affinity
of this element with the tame, slow, glassy, silent waters to which I
had been accustomed in my own country. It was like the sublime insanity
of a superb human genius, when compared with the almost vegetable
existence of a mere common plodding mortal.

The little narrow alpine bridges, occasionally thrown across this
terrific stream, were highly romantic and beautiful. At this particular
spot, dark forests of pine began to succeed to the more pleasing verdure
of the tufted beech. They extended to the remotest pinnacles of the
mountains, from whose brown sides, lower down, a number of sparkling
springs were seen to gush dancing and flashing in the sun. Great
quantities of barberry trees, and of the plant coltsfoot, were growing
wild here.

Crossing a majestic mountain beyond Modena, we were shewn the Devil's
Bridge (_note_ B.), three hundred feet above the river. We ourselves
looked proudly down upon it, from our eagle height, where we enjoyed the
benefit of a noble and easy road, made (as usual) by order of Bonaparte;
for which all travellers ought to feel deeply indebted to him. Not that
I attribute his works of this sort to benevolence rather than ambitious
policy: but whatever the cause, we _voyageurs_ have great reason to
bless the effect! The postillion seriously assured us, as we gazed upon
the above-mentioned bridge, that it was originally built by the arch
fiend, although he added, that "this had happened a great while ago."
Mr. W. attempted to laugh him out of so ridiculous a belief; but he
adhered to his point with immoveable gravity. I had always heard that
the natives of mountainous countries were peculiarly liable to the
impressions of superstition, and in this instance I had an opportunity
of proving personally the truth of the remark. We regretted that time
did not allow of our making a few more experimental researches into
these matters: it might have been very interesting to have collected a
set of legends from the mouths of the simple inhabitants; and I should
have had considerable amusement in tracing their similarity to those of
the Scotch Highlanders, the German, Swedish, and other fond believers
in romance. The king of Sardinia was at that time building fortresses
upon this mountain, and two thousand men were employed in the work.

We met some Italian officers at Modena; they were fine men, and had a
far more distinguished and gentlemanly _tournure_ than, the French. It
is astonishing how vulgar and gross in appearance and manner all the
latter were, whom we had yet had an opportunity of remarking. I had ever
thought the subalterns and captains in some of our marching and militia
regiments bad enough, but they were certainly much superior to the
French officers. This reminds me, that in our apartment at the inn at
Aiguebelle, we saw scrawled upon the walls a fierce _tirade_ (written by
some Frenchman) against that interesting work, "Eustace's Italy." We, of
course, were not much surprised at the wrath therein expressed; and I
myself think that Eustace bears evident marks of being under the
dominion of prejudice, in speaking of the French as a nation.

Crossing another mountain, not far from Lans le Bourg, we were made
doubly sensible of the prodigious altitude of our road, by comparing
the different proportions of the objects around: for instance, a
water-mill at work in the valley below us appeared like a baby-house,
and the stream which fell from the wheel not much more important than
what might have issued from a large garden watering-pot. The rocks here
were all wild, gloomy, and barren.

Arriving at Lans le Bourg, where we slept, we found the inn (_Le Grand
Hotel des Voyageurs_) clean and comfortable, which was a delightful
change to us, after the dirt and misery of those we had lately seen. It
stood a short distance beyond the little town, on the brink of a roaring
torrent. The host and his wife appeared flattered at our observation of
their neat establishment, &c., and told us that it was not the first
time their house had been complimented as being very like those in
England. The next morning we pursued our route through the same
magnificent scenes, and here we first saw a giant glacier, clad in his
spotless mantle of everlasting purity. At his feet (to give the reader
some idea of his stupendous height and magnitude) lay a town; the
steeple of its church did not appear taller than the extinguisher of a
candle, which it also resembled in shape. Amid these solitary wilds the
greatest variety of plants, flowers, &c. are to be found, and violets in
profusion during the spring. We ate some strawberries, gathered here by
the peasant children, for a large basket of which our host at Lans le
Bourg paid a sum in value rather less than three English halfpence. The
postillion and Christian gathered me large bunches of very fine wild
raspberries, as they walked up the steep ascent. We were now upon Mont
Cenis (_note_ C.), of celebrated fame. My husband collected for me a few
specimens of the lovely flowers which bloomed there, and which I have
since put by as relics. One plant in particular (wholly unknown to any
of us) I must mention. It is a poisonous but exquisitely graceful shrub,
with spiral leaves, jagged at the edges, and clusters of brilliant
scarlet berries, growing in the form of miniature bunches of grapes.
The postillion called it _la tourse_; but we did not feel quite sure of
the accuracy of his botanical knowledge. Near the summit of this
mountain we were shewn the spot where adventurous travellers sometimes
descend to the town of Lans le Bourg upon a sledge, in the short space
of seven minutes; whereas it takes two hours and a half to ascend in a
carriage, or on a mule. The precipice looked horrible beyond
description; yet the English frequently adopt this mode of conveyance
during the winter: it is called _la ramasse_, and the amusement of
sliding in cars at the _Beaujon_ and _Les Montagnes Russes_, in Paris,
was taken from this. As we continued to climb, the effect of the sheep
feeding amid the rocky ledges, upon the grassy patches of land far below
us, was curious enough. They appeared diminished to the size of those
little round, white, fat inhabitants of a nutshell, which sometimes run
races upon a china plate, or a polished mahogany table, after dinner. I
believe their names are not mentioned in the Newmarket Calender; but my
readers will know what I mean. We here beheld a fatigued pedestrian,
drawn up the steep path with much comparative ease to himself, by
clinging to the long tail of a strong mule, upon which another traveller
was riding.

The road over Mont Cenis is most superb: there are small houses at set
distances, where dwell a regularly organized body of men, called
_cantonniers_, whose business it is to keep the highway in repair, and
to shelter and assist all _voyageurs_ who may stand in need of their
services. This was first ordered and arranged by Bonaparte. Upon
reaching level ground, near the utmost summit, we were agreeably
surprised by the sight of a small lake, of the most heavenly blue (the
real ultramarine colour well known to artists), situated in the midst of
a little plain of verdant turf: it was quite a scene of peace and
repose, all view of the surrounding precipices being shut out. From this
quiet haven we descended with rapidity and ease, at the rate of seven or
eight miles an hour, with only two horses; while in going up on the
other side of the mountain, we found four unequal to drag us along at
more than a foot's pace.

We passed by the Hospice, originally built by Charlemagne, and
re-established by Bonaparte, who really put us in mind of the Marquis of
Carrabas, in the fairy tale of "Puss in Boots;" for if we saw any road
better than another, any house particularly well calculated for the
relief of travellers, any set of guides whose attendance was unusually
convenient and well ordered, or any striking improvement, in short, of
whatever nature, and were induced to inquire, "by whom all had been
done?" the answer was invariably, "Napoleon! Napoleon! Napoleon!" At
this Hospice there is a set of monks, who bear a high reputation for
benevolence and attention to travellers. A very lofty and majestic
waterfall shortly afterwards greeted our eyes, grandly beautiful, though
bearing no character of terror. It was the "roar of waters," not the
"hell of waters," so admirably described by Lord Byron, in the fourth
canto of his Childe Harold. The road here perpetually returned upon
itself, in zigzag windings, resembling the principle of a corkscrew
staircase, and was, in the midst of grandeur and sublimity, both easy
and safe.

The Alps, on the Piedmontese side of Mont Cenis, and to whose firm bases
we were now fast descending, were infinitely more stupendous, more
overwhelming in their proportions, and displayed stronger features of
actual sublimity, perhaps, than those we had seen in Savoy; but we all
thought them less rich in sylvan beauty, and far less enchantingly
romantic in their general character. Our wonder was not, as formerly,
mingled with delight; on the contrary, a shuddering sensation of horror
took possession of our minds, as we involuntarily turned our eyes upon
the various dark gulfs, and tremendous abysses, which yawned on every
side. It was impossible not to feel, at every turn, that there were but
a few inches between us and destruction. At length we reached the foot
of the celebrated Rocca Melone, or Roche Melon, which is allowed to be
the highest of the chain, and is nine thousand feet from the base to
the summit. We could now perceive a visible alteration in the costumes
of the peasantry; the men came forth in coloured silk or cotton caps,
with a long net bag hanging down behind, ending in a tassel: the women,
in flat straw hats, lined with pink sarsenet, and jackets laced in
front; exactly resembling those Italian groups of figures which I had
formerly seen in the drawings of Mr. W----m L----k. I recognised them
instantly as my old acquaintance, and felt myself in some measure _en
pays de connoissance_. Our postillion had the true features of the
Venetian Punchinello, and I almost expected to hear him squeak.

We dined at Susa (inn _la Posta_), and found it cleanly and comfortable;
the people excessively attentive and civil: in short, we looked upon it
as a most auspicious entrance into Italy. From Susa to San Giorgio our
driver was a regular Italian wag, and I suspected he had got a little
too much of the juice of the grape in his head, by the way in which he
tore along the road, to the amazement of every quiet passenger. At last
we called to him, to inquire the reason of his violent proceedings. "I
thought I was doing just what you liked best," was his answer; and it
was with difficulty we could persuade him that we were not among the
number of those English travellers who take delight in risking their own
necks, and the lives of their horses, merely for the sake of
"astonishing the natives!" This was the first and only instance of
intoxication which we had witnessed upon the continent.

The dress of the women near San Giorgio is picturesque; a short blue
petticoat, with several narrow, coloured tucks at the bottom, a high
laced cap (something in the style of the French _cauchoises_), and
bright necklaces, formed of boxwood beads, turned in an oval shape, and
highly gilt, so as to resemble massy gold. The men all wore cocked hats.
The verdure of the fields and trees here (the latter chiefly beech,
olive, and lime) was delightful, owing partly to the late rains, which
the people told us had fallen to the great refreshment of the
long-parched earth; the whole air was embalmed with the fragrance of
the limes: we had a strong sun, but at the same time, so reviving a
breeze, so soft, pure, and elastic, that I never remember to have
enjoyed any thing more, nor ever felt a greater degree of physical
animation. This sweetly-breathing wind might (by poets) have been
supposed the same which blew through the groves of Elysium. We now
passed by a fine ruin of a castle, built upon a rocky eminence, and
overhanging a brawling river. The peasantry in general were well
looking, but we still observed several _goîtres_ among them. Nothing
struck us at this time with higher astonishment than the convent of
Benedictines, an enormous, massive, dark pile of building, reared upon
the topmost height of one of the grandest mountains here, and frowning
over the valley below. I in particular remember this with the strongest
impression of wonder and admiration; it perfectly seized upon my
imagination, and involuntarily brought Mrs. Radcliffe's, and other tales
of romance, to the recollection of us all.

At St. Antonine, (I sometimes avail myself of the French names of these
places, as both French and Italian are equally used in this country), we
first saw two _paysannes_ with their hair twisted up _à l'antique_, and
in long transparent veils of black gauze, which admirably suited their
handsome dark eyes and eyebrows; this costume is sometimes worn over the
high cap, but it then loses half its graceful effect. It struck me that
if women in general were aware of the peculiar advantage and charm of a
long floating veil, which thus shades, without concealing, the features,
there would be but one style of head-dress in the world. In addition to
these bewitching veils, the country girls at this place (St. Antonine)
generally carry fans; we met several with them, made of bright pink
paper, covered with gold spangles, and it appeared to us rather an
incongruous implement in the hands of a village belle. Mass was
performing as we passed, at a church of true Grecian architecture; upon
the outside steps of which the people were kneeling with every symptom
of devotion. In going through a low valley beyond this town, narrow and
extremely confined by the tall hedge-rows, where the circulation of air
is in consequence impeded, we felt the heat almost intolerable; and the
atmosphere exactly of that heavy nature from which we have often
suffered during the summers of our own country. I must tell the truth
(as it is fit all respectable _travellers_ should do), and therefore am
compelled to confess, that in passing over the continent, I was
perpetually and forcibly struck with the defects of our English climate
when compared with others. Condemn me not, ye red-hot John Bulls!
remember that when the noble animal you resemble makes his fiercest
attacks, he always shuts his eyes, in common with every prejudiced
person.

At Rivoli, they were celebrating the fête of St. Bartholomew; many
pretty women and fine spirited-looking men were among the groups of gay
figures assembled there. The caps of the former were very remarkable,
being composed of lace in the form of a high Roman casque or helmet; and
worn over another of pink silk. The church was ornamented with flowers
and green wreaths; guns were firing, and a military procession going by
as we passed: some of the girls wore pea-green jackets and red
petticoats, some blue petticoats and white shift sleeves, and all had a
bouquet of natural flowers in their bosoms.

From Rivoli, we emerged into the fertile and widely extended plains of
Piedmont; the distant hills, richly tufted with woods, were studded
thick with white villas (or _vignes_ as they are called here), and we
now entirely lost sight of those hideous _goîtres_, which had hitherto
every now and then made their appearance, even in the midst of a
generally handsome peasantry.

The approach to Turin was highly beautiful, through a long avenue of the
finest trees; the town itself embosomed among gently rising hills, and
adorned by the river Po, glassy and smooth as a mirror, and so
transparent, that the banks and sky were reflected upon its breast,
unbroken by a single wave or ripple. The buildings are very high, many
of them extremely handsome, with white or coloured striped awnings to
every window, as a shelter from the noon-day sun. Our hotel (_Albergo
del Universo_) stood in the middle of _La Place du Chateau_, immediately
fronting the royal palace. The streets are clean, which indeed they
ought to be, since through almost all of them a stream of the purest
crystal water is perpetually flowing, contributing not a little, I
should think, to the health and comfort of the inhabitants. We found
apartments allotted to us in the _Albergo_ of great height and size,
with cove ceilings, and _en suite_; furnished with a curious mixture of
poverty and magnificence, and ornamented by some exquisite and well
chosen prints, from the designs of Poussin and other old masters; rather
in better style, it must be allowed, than those of most English inns,
where you find "Going out to hunt," "In at the death," "Matrimony and
courtship," and such things, hanging over every chimney piece. But we
found one annoyance here that almost disgusted me with Italy, in spite
of her miracles of nature and art, and brought back the remembrance of
English neatness and purity in a very forcible manner: I allude to the
circumstance of the vermin, which infest even some of their most
expensive establishments, and quite destroy the sensation of comfort.
There are other sins also in their household arrangements, which this
nation share in common with the French: suffice it to say, that both one
and the other are certainly the dirtiest race of beings I ever
encountered. I did not much like the smell of garlic, on entering our
hotel, where the host, waiters, and assistants, all puffed their _vile
rocambole breath_[5] in our face, as they bustled about, preparing for
our accommodation. Neither could I relish their method of cookery, and,
after the first trial, begged to have our future dinners drest _à la
Française_. I know not what my friend Mr. T. would say to this, who I
have heard vaunt his Piedmontese garlic truffles as one of the greatest
delicacies of the table. To do the people of this hotel justice, I
ought, however, to acknowledge that they seemed most anxious to please,
and appeared delighted when they succeeded. Nor did they attempt to
impose upon us in their charges, although they formed exceptions, in
this instance, to some other Italian innkeepers, by whom we were
considerably annoyed and disgusted; the system of cheating and
over-rating on their parts, and of shameless begging from the lower
classes, being in general carried to an astonishing excess; I must say,
that we found the French far preferable in these respects. The royal
residence here is a very magnificent and classical building, and _La
place de St. Charles_ is also very fine. The shops are universally built
beneath the refreshing shade of piazzas, which is a very necessary
circumstance, for the heat of the sun at noon would otherwise overpower
their inhabitants. No business seems to be done at that time, at the
public-offices, banking-houses, &c. Indeed the Italians say, _il n'y a
que les chiens et les Anglois qui sortent à ces heures_. We proceeded to
view the principal _lions_ the next day, and, amongst others, the
cathedral, which is a regular Grecian temple. The king's seat in a
gallery above the high altar, very splendidly adorned, but we agreed in
thinking that this style of architecture (although beautiful in itself),
was far less appropriate to a place of religious worship than the
gothic. In this opinion (which I remember to have expressed before, in
the beginning of my tour), I am not sure however, that we are not a
little tinged with the ideas of gloomy solemnity (as connected with
religion) peculiar to most of the northern nations; and I own (at all
events) that I am guilty of an inconsistency in taste, because I have
ever been a warm admirer of the bright, soft, and smiling type under
which a different mythology has represented death. The poetical
butterfly, bursting from its chrysalis, and soaring on triumphant wings
to heaven, strikes me as infinitely more rational than the horrible (and
low) taste which we have shown in selecting the skeleton as the most
proper symbol of the same great and glorious mystery! a sort of _rawhead
and bloodybone_ plan, unworthy of so enlightened a people as ourselves,
and which seems to answer no one purpose of religion or morality, if
impartially considered; but on the contrary to be well calculated to
poison the innocent minds of youth with aggravated and unnecessary
terrors, and to divert their attention from the nobler truths of
immortality!

In the evening we drove upon the Corso in a _caleche_, the same sort of
vehicle which we used while at Paris. The Corso is a pretty, cool, shady
promenade, by the side of the river Po. The upper classes of Turin take
the cool air of the evening here, every day, in their different
carriages; we observed no pedestrians above the rank of the
_bourgeoisie_. We met the king of Sardinia on horseback, not forming (as
is usual for sovereigns in England) the centre of a galaxy of stars and
ribands, but riding first, by himself, followed by an escort of five
gentlemen, among whom was his brother. He looked very earnestly into our
carriage, and returned our salutation by taking off his hat in a
graceful and courteous manner. He is a little thin man, apparently about
fifty-five, with a countenance expressive of good nature. The queen
next rolled by, attended by all her suite, in an old-fashioned heavy
coach and six, her coachman (big, fat, and important, sunk in his ample
box) and her footmen in gay scarlet liveries, gaudily laced. The
equipage altogether put me strongly in mind of that raised by the fairy
for her god-daughter Cinderella, where the coach was originally a
pumpkin, the coachman a fat hen, and the lackeys lizards! We saw shortly
afterwards, during this brilliant promenade, the prince and princess of
Carignano (who are adored by all ranks, and are continually active in
every benevolent duty), and the Spanish, Dutch, and other ambassadors.
The king shows himself to the populace in this manner every evening. We
attended the Opera at night; the price of one of the best private boxes
did not exceed twelve shillings, and the tickets of admission (being a
separate concern) were about fifteen-pence. In London one thinks a box
cheap at five guineas! The prince and princess de Carignano were
present: the theatre is called by their name, but it is not the
principal one at Turin; there being another upon a larger scale, which
was shut up during our _sejour_ at that place: it is never used but
during the carnival, or on some great occasion, in compliment to some
foreign prince. The Carignano theatre is, notwithstanding, a handsome,
spacious edifice, about the size of Drury Lane, and the scenery and
machinery carried on in far better style than with us in the Haymarket.
The drop curtain in particular caught my attention; it is an exquisite
painting, representing the Judgment of Paris, his figure beautiful and
graceful in the highest degree, and the drapery remarkably fine. The
Opera (_Il Rivale di se stesso_, by Veigi) was well got up, but we were
not much struck with the music, from the whole of which we could only
select one or two _morceaux_ to admire: there was a clever _buffo_
(_Signor Nicola Taci_), and a very agreeable _prima donna_, whose style
of singing and flexibility of voice sometimes reminded us of Catalani;
her name was _Emilia Bonini_. The ballet was extremely superior to ours
in numbers, and in minute attention to the accuracy of costume; but
there were no French dancers among them, and it is well known how
inferior in the comparison are all others. The _grotesques_, however, (a
species of dancers peculiar to Italy) were wonderful for activity and
strength: they consisted of four men and two women, who really appeared
to think the air their proper element rather than the earth; they flew
about in every possible strange attitude, but were totally devoid of
grace, to which, indeed, I believe they do not pretend. I found that I
had by some means formed a very erroneous idea of the usual conduct of
an Italian audience. I had expected to find a sort of breathless
silence, and a refinement of applause, wholly different from the
character of an English set of listeners; but on the contrary, they
clapped as loudly as any John Bulls in the world, and even hissed one of
the singers, who did not happen to please. I have subsequently mentioned
this circumstance to those who are better acquainted with the customs of
Italy, and learn that I have been quite mistaken all my life in this
respect. The house (as well as those in France) was dark as Erebus
which I cannot approve, for it evidently does not answer the purpose of
increasing the brilliancy and the illusion of the stage.

The next morning we drove to Moncallier, about six miles from Turin, to
call upon Madame N----, (an old acquaintance of our friend Mr. T.'s,)
for whom we had letters. The coachman was an insufferable gossip, and we
dreaded to ask him a question, sure that it would bring down upon us at
least a dozen long answers. We did not go to the English minister's;
that gentleman (Mr. Hill) being then absent for a fortnight at Genoa. We
therefore had not the pleasure of presenting him with those letters of
introduction to himself and other families at Turin, with which we were
furnished by the kindness of Mr. T. who was also formerly minister here,
and of whom the people still speak in those terms of enthusiastic
gratitude, which his benevolence richly deserves. It was highly pleasing
to me to listen to these details, nor were they imparted to us by one
person alone; his reputation appeared to be in the hearts and upon the
lips of every one who remembered him at all! But to return to our visit
to Madame N----: the vast expanse of fertile, fresh, and woody country
seen from the heights of Moncallier, with the Po winding in graceful
sweeps through the richest banks, is wonderfully like the prospect
boasted by Richmond Hill. I was national enough to admire it the more
upon this account, although I confess its superiority in the sublime
back ground of the distant Alps and glaciers. When arrived at the
termination of the carriage road here, we were informed of the necessity
of alighting, and of walking a short distance to the garden gate that
belonged to Madame N.'s _vigne_. This short distance proved to be
upwards of half a league (a mile and half), leading through a stony lane
of hot sand, (in which our weary feet sunk deep at every step), upon a
very long and steep ascent. The hour of noon (which I have already
mentioned to be intolerable in this country) rapidly approached, and the
scorching influence of the sun caused the drops to start from our
foreheads, and our hearts to sink within us, as we proceeded on our way;
to make the matter worse, I had attired myself that morning (little
dreaming of such a walk) in a smart Parisian costume, with a triple
flounce at the bottom of the petticoat, which by the time I had reached
the end of this lane, formed a very pretty receptacle of dust and sand,
scattering its contents most liberally upon my already blistered feet
and ancles; a pair of thin, small slippers, also, (which I unfortunately
wore) cut my insteps with their tight binding, and admitted at each step
the sharp points of flint with which our path abounded! The guide (a
bareheaded Piedmontese boy) did not understand above one word in ten of
what was said to him, either in French or Italian, speaking a wretched
and indistinct _patois_ himself, which was equally unintelligible to us.
He was a lively, arch little fellow, however, and made some amends for
having seduced us into attempting the walk, by his encouraging signs
that we should soon arrive at its termination. Indeed it would have been
useless to have gone back, as we had already advanced so far upon our
way; and there was no possibility of reaching the house but on foot. I
reproached him several times for replying only "_No_, _Signora_," when I
asked if such and such gates belonged to the _vigne_ we were seeking;
and could not help smiling at his desiring me to take courage, for that
in a few minutes he should leave off saying "_No_, _Signora_," and be
able to please me better by "_Eccola_, _Signora_:" at length we reached
the goal, and upon ringing, were ushered by two servant girls in their
_paysanne_ costumes, amid the barking of wondering dogs, into a romantic
garden, where flowers, fruit, vegetables, and grapes, all flourished
together without any attempt at regularity, forming a singular and most
agreeable melange. This _vigne_ commanded an exquisite and extensive
prospect of the plains of Piedmont, and the distant mountains. A grave,
respectable _femme de chambre_ now made her appearance, and speaking in
English, conducted us into the house, where in a few minutes Madame N.
herself received us with a degree of frank politeness, and a warm and
unaffected hospitality of manner, which was extremely pleasant to meet
with, and quite a novelty to those who like ourselves had been
accustomed to the reserve (I may say ultra-reserve) of many
Englishwomen. Both mistress and maid (the latter personage
above-mentioned having lived with Madame N. ever since she was a girl)
had a foreign accent and idiom, in speaking our language, although they
were really of English birth, and had passed their youth in the county
of Suffolk or Norfolk, I forget which. We were much struck with the
difference of this little country house from those to which we had been
used in England, it bore so completely the Italian character; all the
rooms were in _demi jour_, having the _jalousies_ closed, to shield them
from the sun at this sultry time of the day: marble in profusion
rendered their appearance doubly cool, brick floors and light green
stucco walls, still preserving the air of a cottage residence, in which
an English eye is surprised at meeting the former costly material. A few
beautiful frescos, and water-coloured drawings of mountain scenery,
evidently from the hand of a master, a gaily painted ceiling, and a
guitar thrown carelessly upon a pianoforte, told us we were in the land
of the arts. Passing into the small dining-room, opening upon the
garden, through a porch thickly shaded with vines, we saw the table
ready laid for dinner, to which we were cordially intreated to remain:
it was entirely covered with large vine leaves, spread upon the white
cloth, and amid which we perceived wooden spoons and forks, in a true
Arcadian style. Nothing could have a cooler or more refreshing effect
than this verdant board prepared for

    "----all those rural messes,
    Which the neat-handed Phyllis dresses."

We were not, however, at liberty to accept Madame N.'s invitation to
share her simple meal, having left our friend waiting dinner for us at
Turin. She told us of a late visit she had been making to the mountains:
their party consisted of a few intimate friends, who, joining in a sort
of gipseying scheme, hired lodgings for three weeks, at the humble
cottage of one of the poor inhabitants of these remote and solitary
regions. They carried their own cooking utensils, some provisions, and a
complete set of common earthen-ware dishes, plates, wooden spoons,
knives and forks, &c. These they presented to their host at parting,
whose gratitude and delight at the splendid gift, she said, were
unbounded. He repeatedly exclaimed, "too much! this is too much! what
beautiful things! they are far too good for me!" Their value in toto was
about five English shillings; but this unsophisticated child of nature,
used to every sort of privation, knowing but few wants, and totally
ignorant of the customs and habits of the rest of the world, really
imagined that it was a princely donation. The manners of the people in
these wild mountains are primitive beyond all conception, and their
morals so pure, their affections so warm, and their language so artless
and unrestrained, that they seemed as if just fresh from the hand of the
Creator in the beginning of the world! Altogether they had made such a
strong and touching impression on Madame N.'s mind (who is herself the
purest and most romantic child of nature), that she said she should
regret their society, and remember their singular virtues and innocence
as long as she lived. The advocates for the doctrine of original
depravity, and who deny that man is rendered vicious chiefly by
circumstances, might have been somewhat staggered in this "plain tale,"
so truly calculated to "put them down."

Speaking of the Italian character, and more particularly of their
excellence in the fine arts, she confirmed the truth of what so many
accurate and enlightened observers have remarked, namely, "that the
genius of an Italian is so peculiarly indigenous to his native soil, so
intimately and vitally dependant upon the favouring and animating breath
of his own ardent clime, as to faint, droop, and often wholly to wither,
in the chilling atmosphere of foreign lands!" Like the giant son of the
earth, who wrestled with Hercules, his power, his very existence, is
drawn wholly from thence. Madame de Staël, in her Corinne (that work,
whose kindling eloquence, depth of feeling, inimitable powers of
language, and historical truth, as a portrait of Italy, is so
universally admired by the best judges of excellence, and so clamoured
against by the tasteless and ignorant cavillers of the day), has
forcibly illustrated this truth; as has also Canova, in his own person.
Madame N. related an answer which the latter made to Bonaparte (who had
sense and elevation enough to appreciate this modern Praxiteles as he
deserved), upon being reproached for indolence, and want of professional
exertion while at Paris: "Emperor!--Canova cannot be Canova but in his
native Italy; she is the source of his inspiration; his powers are
palsied in the separation!"

We walked in the garden of this pretty _vigne_, after having partaken of
the refreshment of fruit and wine and water within, and were surprised
at the bruised and battered appearance of the grapes; they had been all
nearly destroyed a short time before, by a violent storm of hail; the
congealed drops of this destructive element being larger than a small
bird's egg, or a gooseberry! What a scourge to the poorer classes,
whose only wealth frequently consists in their vineyards! (_note_ D).

We now took leave of our friendly, though new, acquaintance; who, not
satisfied with having pressed us to pass a few days with her here, also
offered us the use of her winter residence in Turin, if we had staid
longer, assuring us we should find it more comfortable than a hotel.
Before I quit her, however, I should mention the curious difference
which she pointed out to us, in the necessary expenses of an Italian and
an English domestic establishment: the comforts, and even luxuries, of
the former clime being obtained at so much more reasonable a price than
those of the latter, as to seem almost incredible. She told me, that for
five or six hundred a year a person might keep two houses (one in Turin,
and one in the country), a carriage, a box at the Opera, an appropriate
table, and be able to receive friends under his roof with perfect ease.
Further up, among the more retired mountains, and relinquishing the
accommodation of a carriage, you might live most comfortably (although,
of course, upon a very small scale of establishment) for fifty pounds
per annum. She added, that in her own case, an income which gave her the
reputation of a "rich widow" in Turin, would not purchase her a decent
roof, and bread and cheese, in London. I have no means of ascertaining
that this statement is correct, or exaggerated; I merely relate the
circumstance. We found our friend, Mr. W., in expectation of our return,
at the hotel:

    "We entered,
    And dinner was served as we came;"[6]

for which we had a better appetite than could have been imagined, after
all our fatigues. The heat of the weather would not admit of our going
out till the evening had considerably advanced, when we again drove
about the town. The waiter (who, by the way, was one of the best looking
of his kind we had seen, being particularly remarkable for the elegant
expression of his countenance (if I may apply that word to one in his
rank of life), as well as the regularity of his truly Grecian features),
told us, that the late summer had been the most sultry that the people
of Turin were able to remember; and that he himself had found the heat
so unusually oppressive, that he had hardly been able to taste food
during the time of its continuance. Having occasion to write letters
this evening, we sent for materials, and by the appearance of the golden
sand which was brought to us, thought the river Pactolus ran through the
town instead of the Po. Ice is used in profusion here, in the
preparation of almost every beverage; and there are large meadows
overflowing with the clearest streams of water, kept solely for this
purpose. We went into a bookseller's shop during our stay, where we were
agreeably surprised by seeing a translation of Rob Roy upon the table,
which we were assured was much relished in Italy, and was extremely
popular. A proof (if any were wanting) of the intrinsic excellence of
the work, even considered without reference to its merits as a mere
national picture. We observed also a sermon, which had been preached
upon the death of our lamented Princess Charlotte; the style, as I
slightly turned over the leaves, appeared highly pathetic, and the
expressions of pity and regret very forcible and natural. It was
altogether a tender and soothing gratification to our feelings as
natives of England.

Priestcraft struck us to be the staple trade of the place; the swarms of
dismal, sly-looking, vulgar figures, in their black formal costume, were
beyond all belief, and the idea of a flight of ravens came into my head
every time I saw them. Passing by the market, we were astonished at the
quantities of peaches exposed for sale. They are as common in Italy as
potatoes with us. Some small ones of an inferior sort were then selling
at the price of four or five English halfpence for three pounds weight
of fruit. We went the next day, in the cool of the evening, to drive, as
usual, about the environs, and intended to have called upon the Marquise
d'A----(_née d'A._), for whom we had letters of introduction; but were
prevented by a violent and sudden storm of rain, thunder, and lightning.
The effect of its coming on was wonderfully grand and beautiful; a
painter would have been in ecstasies; and we were highly interested in
the sight. Looking back upon Turin, we beheld the town, and the
conspicuous convent of Capucins, their white walls starting luminously
forth from a background of lowering clouds of a purple hue, indicative
of the gathering tempest, which in a few moments darkened into the most
awful gloom that can be imagined. We put up the hood and leather apron
of the carriage, and drove rapidly homewards, while the clouds burst
over our heads, and the rain descended in absolute sheets of water. We
could not help being delighted with the refreshing change. If
Pythagoras's doctrine is true, I am convinced I must formerly have been
a duck; for never creature of that nature enjoyed the sort of thing more
than myself. The lightning continued for nearly an hour, accompanied by
tremendous bursts of thunder, louder than the loudest artillery, the
wind howling at the same moment as if in the depth of winter, which,
joined to the constant rushing sound of the rain falling from the
projecting roofs and broad water-spouts of the surrounding buildings,
formed the most sublime concert of wild sounds that I ever heard. We
were told that storms are almost always thus violent in the near
neighbourhood of the Alps.

Before I quit the subject of Turin, there are a few more observations,
which, however desultory, I will not withhold, although they sometimes
may relate to things which we did not ourselves see, owing to the
extreme heat of the weather, and the shortness of our stay. Among these
is the church of the Superga, which I advise every traveller to visit,
knowing how amply his trouble would be repaid by the very noble view
that it affords, and the peculiar interest and magnificence of the
structure itself. In a clear day the spire of the cathedral of Milan may
be discerned from thence, at the distance of eighty miles. To inspect
the convent, in all its details, it is necessary for ladies to procure
previously an order from the archbishop of Turin.

[Illustration: _London, Published by I, Murray, 1819._
VIEW of TURIN.]

The Colline de Turin, in addition to its natural beauties, presents two
other objects worthy of being seen: the Vigne de la Reine (a very
elegant little summer retreat), and the picturesque and romantic
convent, which is the burying-place of the knights of the supreme order
of the Annunciade, in the neighbourhood of which are found considerable
masses of that fibrous schist, called asbestos.

Bonaparte, it must be allowed, has made considerable amends for the
mischief which his army occasioned at Turin, by the handsome bridge he
caused to be built in place of a miserable wooden one, and by weeding
the country of its too numerous monastic institutions, a few of which
only have been restored by the present government. As the seeds of
revolutionary principles are apt to retain their vital heat, even when
apparently crushed beneath the foot of power, one cannot be surprised
that a good deal of unpopularity attends the present sovereign among
certain classes. But his truly paternal government is nevertheless
cherished with affection by many, as the following fact clearly proves,
which I learned from the most indisputable authority. There existed an
_impôt_, highly profitable to the revenue, but which the king believed
to be vexatious and unpopular. He was accordingly taking measures to
repeal it, when, unexpectedly, he received addresses from different
parts of the country, expressive of their conviction that this resource
to the revenue was necessary; and such was their confidence in the
certainty of his majesty's relinquishment of it, the moment the
situation of the finances would allow him to do so without
inconvenience, that they were content willingly to submit to it until
that period arrived.

We regretted not being able to visit Genoa, the magnificence of which
city, and its beautiful bay (the latter hardly inferior to that of
Naples), is much talked of. With respect to this portion of his
Sardinian majesty's new subjects, we were told that a considerable time
will be necessary to reconcile them to the loss of their independence.

We should have been glad to have availed ourselves (as I said before) of
our letters of introduction to Mr. Hill, had he been at Turin, as we had
heard much of the affable and amiable manners of the Piedmontese
nobility. I have, indeed, always understood that they were remarkable
for quickness and penetration. These latter qualities distinguish their
diplomacy at the several courts of Europe. From the abominable _patois_
which they speak, I should think both gentlemen and ladies must be
singularly clever and engaging, to rise superior to such a disadvantage:
it seems to be a corruption of French and Italian, and to spoil both.
They say, however, that it is very expressive: all ranks are much
attached to it, and (strange to relate) it is spoken at court, French
being only adopted when foreigners are present.

In this threshold of Italy, one expects to find a considerable progress
in the arts, nor were we disappointed. Painting, sculpture, orfévrerie,
music, &c. have attained to a very fair and reasonable height, and some
of their manufactures are particularly good; especially where silk (the
great riches of the country) is employed. Their damasks for hangings are
beautiful, both for patterns and colour. They are the common furniture
of all their best apartments, and exceedingly cheap; one third perhaps
of what they could be manufactured for in England, whither their raw
silk is sent every year to an immense amount, and under a no less
immense duty; a certain proportion of it is requisite to mix up with our
Bengal silks. The light gauzes manufactured at Chamberry are a very
elegant and favourite article of dress.

Several of the English nobility have been educated at the university of
Turin, which used to be the most considerable in Italy; the system of
education having been carried on in a most liberal and gentlemanly
style. There is a remarkable and interesting little protestant colony,
which also deserves mention,--the Vaudois, who, surviving the cruel
persecutions of the dark ages of the church, have for many centuries
(certainly before the twelfth) preserved their existence in the midst of
this catholic country, and within thirty miles of its capital. They are
a very quiet, moral, and industrious people. They owe their ease and
safety to the protection of some of the protestant powers, and
especially that of Great Britain, whose minister is particularly
instructed to attend to their interests, and to their enjoyment of the
toleration that is allowed them; they are, like our catholics, deprived
of many privileges; but lately his present majesty has consented to
allow a salary to their priests. Cromwell supported these people with
peculiar energy.

We left Turin the next morning. The fresh and balmy spirit of the air
was delightful, and we had a glorious view of the glaciers which hem in
this fair city, the new-risen sun shining brightly upon their snowy and
fantastic summits: the host went by, in early procession; all the people
as it passed dropped on their knees, in the dirt of the street, and
devoutly made the sign of the cross. We met two friars, whose
picturesque and really dignified appearance formed a great contrast to
the demure, fanatical, formal-looking priests, whom we had hitherto seen
in all quarters of the town. These friars were complete models for a
painter; their bare feet in sandals, rosary and gold cross by their
side, superb grey polls and beards; the latter "streaming like meteors
to the troubled air." We now paid toll at the first turnpike we had
seen during the last seven hundred miles. I believe I have before
mentioned that it was Bonaparte who abolished this troublesome system,
and who really seems to have favoured the interests of travellers in
every respect. The cottages in this neighbourhood were pretty, and many
of the little porches and doors were overgrown with the broad verdant
leaves of the pumpkin, whose orange-coloured blossoms had a remarkably
gay and rich effect.

At Settimo we saw a beautiful girl, with the true Grecian line of
feature, long oval cheek, dark pale skin (fine and smooth as marble or
ivory), curled red lips, with long cut black eyes and straight eyebrows;
her profile was not unlike that of Mrs. E., so celebrated in her day for
regularity of outline.

Between Settimo and Chivasco we passed over a curious bridge, formed of
planks, thrown across four boats, which were fixed immoveably in the
river, by strong cords fastened to posts. The shape of these boats, and
also of many we observed upon the Po, resembled that of an Indian
canoe. The turnpike was a little thatched hut, erected upon the middle
of this bridge. Refusing to comply with the importunities of an old
Italian beggar woman here, she poured forth a volume of various
maledictions upon us; being not at all inferior in this sort of
eloquence to the amazons of our St. Giles's or Billingsgate.

The money (gold coins, I mean) of Italy are of very pure metal, without
alloy; you may (as a proof of it) bend them into any shape with the
fingers.

An accident happened to us near Rondizzone, which was rather alarming,
but happily passed over without any serious consequences. The bridle of
the centre horse breaking, we were violently run away with by the
hot-headed animals; nor could the postillion stop them by any effort.
This was rendered more distressing by the circumstance of our going down
a steep hill at the moment. We called out repeatedly, and waved our
hands for assistance to one or two peasants who were passing, making
signs for them to catch the bridle, if possible; but they seemed to turn
a deaf ear to our entreaties, never offering to make the smallest
attempt to relieve us. By the time we reached the bottom of the hill,
however, which was fortunately a long one, the creatures felt tired, and
stopped of themselves.

At Cigliano we took a _dejeuné_ at _L'Albergo Reale_, and while it was
preparing, stood in the open gallery on the outside of the house,
gathering from a vine, which overshadowed it, the most delicious
Frontigniac grapes that I ever remember to have tasted: indeed their
flavour was exquisite, but the people did not appear to think them of
any particular value, leaving them freely to the attacks of every
traveller. Here we first drank the _vino d'Asti_, a light wine of the
country, which we thought extremely pleasant, tasting like the best
sweet cyder. I formerly thought that the flies of this country would
probably be much of the same sort as those in England; but they turned
out far more impertinently troublesome, inflicting their tiny torments
without mercy, being equally obnoxious to man and beast; a true
impudent, blood-sucking race! This reminds me, that under the head of
_vermin_, I ought to have recorded a disagreeable surprise felt by Mr.
B. at the Opera at Turin: feeling something tickle his forehead, he put
up his hand, and caught hold of a monstrous black spider, at least four
inches in circumference. The people at the hotel, to whom we related the
circumstance, said it was rather an uncommon thing, but which sometimes
occurred. The country, since we turned our backs upon Turin, was
monotonous, and only relieved by the chain of Alps in the distance.

At San Germano we observed a very graceful costume among the peasant
girls, and women of all ages; those who were advanced to extreme old age
still continuing it without any variation. I allude to the wearing
silver pins or bodkins in the hair behind, the long tresses of which are
tied together with a narrow black riband, and divided into two braids.
These are then coiled into a round shape at the back of the head, and
fastened to the roots of the hair by these ornamental pins, which are
about a finger in length, and have large heads, like beads. Their points
form the radii of a circle, and are plainly discovered amid the shadowy
locks which they thus support. The landscape here was flat and
uninteresting; but we remarked a great deal of pasture land. The trees
chiefly consisted of stunted willows, planted in straight lines. There
were no villas, or even hamlets, to be seen, and the _tout ensemble_ was
almost as tame and as ugly as that of the Netherlands. The first dulcet
notes of true Italian music, we heard at Vercelli: a baker's wife, who
lived next door to the _Albergo della Posta_ (where we stopped to change
horses), sat working and singing in her shop. It was the most elegant,
yet simple, air imaginable, and her voice possessed the soft mellifluous
tones of a faint but mellow flute. She had a peculiar ease and
flexibility also in the execution of several charming and brilliant
little graces, which delighted me. I thought it was extremely improbable
that this woman could have had the advantage of a master in the art; and
yet her style was finished in the most perfect sense of the word; being
simple, yet refined; pathetic, yet chastely ornamented. She was plain in
face and person; but her lips half open looked almost pretty, as she
emitted these sweet sounds, without discomposing a muscle. An effect was
thus produced, without effort or instruction, which is frequently denied
in our country to the pupils of the most celebrated teachers, although
every exertion has been cheerfully and indefatigably made, both by
master and scholar. But there is no convincing some people that there
are things which are not to be taught. Had I a daughter, I would never
allow her the assistance of a music master until I perceived, by
unequivocal tokens, that nature had qualified her to do credit to his
instructions; and hence waste of time, patience, temper, and money,
would be avoided. My baker's wife I shall never forget; and if her
example would have opened the eyes of half the world in England (who
really seem to be music-mad in the present age), I wish that she had had
an opportunity of exhibiting her gift, and of mortifying the silly
ambition, while she soothed the ears of them all. How have I smiled to
see people toiling to acquire the knowledge of composition and thorough
base, when I have been certain that they have not possessed a spark of
native genius to enable them to make any use of these rules after all.
Prometheus formed an image, but it was only fire from heaven that could
make that image man!

The costume of the women at Vercelli became still more picturesque than
those of San Germano, as the bodkins which the former wore were much
handsomer, some being of silver filligree, and others of silver gilt,
the heads worked and embossed with great taste and richness. We saw
large fields of rice here; this grain has a singular appearance,
something between the barley and oat: when viewed closely, it has about
twelve ears upon each stalk. The hedges by the road side were of a
species of acacia, forming a very graceful foliage, but not growing to
any height or size. I got out of the carriage to examine the manner in
which the women inserted the pretty ornaments I have just described
into their hair. I found them (like the French _paysannes_) extremely
courteous and frank in their manners, and they seemed flattered by the
attention their costume had excited. An old man stood by, holding the
hands of his two little grand-children; he observed (in the usual
_patois_) that they were beautiful rogues, and he was right, for I have
seldom seen sweeter children; very dark, with the bright yet soft black
eye peculiar to Italians, and which both Sir W. Jones and Lord Byron,
catching the poetical idea of the eastern writers, have so happily
defined, (or rather painted) by a comparison with that of the roe or
gazelle. One of these darlings had wavy curls of the darkest auburn
hair. What a pity that such lovely cherubim faces and silken locks
should not have been kept free from dirt and----worse than dirt! but it
is always the case here, the poorer classes are invariably filthy.

The same tiresome and tame style of country continued until we reached
Novara; where we dined and slept at _l'Albergo d'Italia_. The latter was
a horrible-looking place; my heart sank within me, as we drove into the
court, for if I was so bitten by the bugs, &c. at the superb albergo of
Turin, I naturally conceived I should have been quite devoured here!
This was a striking proof, however, of the truth of that moral axiom,
which tells us, "it is not good to judge of things at first sight," and
also that it is absurd to consider them on the dark side, since at this
same inn we found every comfort: the dinner was served in a cleanly
manner (the knives, forks, and spoons were really washed), and we
enjoyed a night of calm repose, undisturbed by vermin of any sort. The
gentlemen went in the evening to an Italian comedy, at the theatre here,
which was a neat building, entirely fitted up with private boxes and a
parterre, the scenery and costumes far above mediocrity, and the
orchestra very tolerable; but the length of the Italian dialogues, and
the unnatural bombast of the actor's delivery, soon fatigued their
attention and exhausted their patience, and they were glad to return
home to indulge unrestrained an overwhelming propensity to sleep. The
women at Novara were much better looking than any we had yet seen in
this country; the custom of gently parting the hair upon the forehead,
_à la Madonna_, finishing with a soft ringlet behind each ear, and the
longer tresses confined in an antique knot, gave an air of infinite
grace to the head and throat, and appeared to us to be in far better
taste than that of the French, which strains up the long hair to the
crown of the head, rendering the forehead quite bald, save at the
temples, where a lank straggling greasy curl always is left hanging down
upon the cheek, which has a formal and unbecoming effect. Apropos to
personal charm, I was assured before our departure from England (by an
amateur artist of high genius and feeling, and who had lived for years
in different parts of Italy), that we should find there a small number
of what are generally called "pretty women," in comparison with what we
had been used to see in our own country; but that when real Italian
beauty was occasionally encountered, it was of that decided and
exquisite nature, as to be infinitely superior to any which England's
daughters can boast. Even my slight experience has perfectly convinced
me of the truth of the remark. I am national enough to be sorry for it,
but it cannot be helped; we must submit to this mortification of our
vanity, and if we do it with a good grace, may probably find that
quality _plus belle encore que la beauté_ of power to captivate, where
regularity of feature has failed. The first stage of our journey the
next day did not afford us any relief from the insipidity of country of
which we had complained since leaving Turin. We saw here (as in most
parts of the continent) large tracts planted with corn, here called
_melliga_, and remarked a good deal of meadow land; but we did not once
taste cream either in Italy or France (except at Samer, and afterwards
at Quillacq's hotel at Calais, when we were treated with a few spoonfuls
in our tea of a rich sort of milk which boasted that name), nor was
Paris itself exempt from the want of it. This wearying sameness in the
landscape was at length agreeably broken by the prospect of a vast
common, where the purple heath-flower, with which it was entirely
covered, wet with dew, gleamed like an amethyst in the morning sun. Yet
even here, I missed the gay variety of the bright golden broom, which
invariably is found upon our commons at home--Home! the term always
makes my heart throb with pleasure and pride; I know not why, but at
that moment its idea rose in vivid strength before me, softened and
beautified by the colours with which memory never fails to adorn a
beloved object in absence. I felt (and my companions warmly participated
in my sentiments) that our dear little island had charms of a different
nature, but in no way inferior, to those even of this favoured land, so
celebrated, so enthusiastically vaunted, by the poet and the painter. I
felt (and what Englishwoman ought not to feel?) that I could truly
exclaim in apostrophizing my native country,

    "Where'er I go, whatever realms I see,
    My heart, untravell'd, fondly turns to thee."

And yet, reader, we were no _bigots_ in the cause, for we could discern
foreign excellence and deeply feel it, and we could perceive where
England's faults lay, could acknowledge those faults, and wish that they
were rectified; and this, I am sorry to say, is not always the case with
our countrymen, many of whom have listened to all commendations of other
nations, as if they were so many insults offered to our own. It seems
wonderful that such feelings should in these enlightened days exist
among persons who are not actually fools, nor of that class of society
in which a want of education necessarily induces ignorance and
prejudice; yet so it is, unfortunately, as it has more than once been my
lot to witness.

We now passed the river Tessin, by means of a bridge of boats. It was
much impaired in beauty and force, by the heat of the late season, but
we could easily imagine that in general its portion of both must be
extreme. Bonaparte had begun to build a fine and permanent bridge across
it, but fate intervened, and it is left unfinished, like his own
eventful history.

At Buffalore, the _douaniers_ were tiresome enough, according to
_custom_ (pardon the pun), but we conducted ourselves towards them with
great patience and civility, which (together with a little _silver_
eloquence) soon touched their stony hearts. Indeed it would have been
useless to have done otherwise, as I never yet heard of any body being
able to soften rocks with vinegar, except Hannibal; and I consider even
that instance to be apocryphal.

We arrived at the grand city of Milan early, and proceeded immediately
to visit the cathedral, that mighty _duomo_, of which Italy is so justly
proud. We were absolutely silent with admiration and wonder, upon first
seeing this stupendous work of art, and I really despair of doing it
justice in description; like many other things, it must be seen to be
fully comprehended and appreciated. St. Peter's at Rome is generally
accounted the superior miracle of genius; but I believe there are many
imaginations which have been more forcibly impressed with the effect of
this. In the first place, the _material_ claims pre-eminence, being
entirely of white marble, brought from the Lago Maggiore. It is of
gothic architecture, and was begun in the year 1386: the plan of the
choir and the two grand organs were given by the celebrated Pellegrini,
and the façade, which had remained for so many years unfinished, was
completed by Bonaparte, from the simple and superior designs of the
architect Amati. Various statues and bas reliefs, with other costly
ornaments in spotless marble, ornament the outside; and the interior has
no less than five naves, supported by one hundred and sixty superb
columns of the same magnificent material. Immediately beneath the dome
or cupola (which is by Brunellesco) is a subterranean chapel, where
sleeps the embalmed body of Saint Carlo Borromeo, (the Howard of his
age, and an ancient archbishop of Milan), enshrined in a coffin of the
purest rock crystal, inclosed in a tomb of solid silver, splendidly
embossed, and of enormous size and value. The pillars which support this
chapel are alternately of silver and of the most exquisite coloured
marble, highly polished. The wax tapers, which were lighted by the
guides, to enable us to thread the dark mazes of this magnificent
dungeon (for I can call it by no other name, debarred as it is from the
sweet air and light of heaven), cast a stream of gloomy radiance upon
our somewhat lengthened visages, and dimly illuminated the buried
treasures of the tomb. Never, surely, since the days of Aladdin, has
there existed so imposing a scene of sepulchral wealth and grandeur!
Having expressed a wish to see the saint (who I ought to mention has now
been dead for nearly three hundred years), the priest (first putting on
a sort of cloak of old point lace, and crossing himself with an air of
profound respect and reverence), assisted by the guide, began to set
some mechanical process at work; by means of which, as though by a
stroke of magic, the silver tomb appeared to sink into the earth, the
lid flew up as if to the roof of the chapel, and the body inclosed in
its transparent coffin was suddenly exhibited to our wondering gaze. It
was habited in a long robe of cloth of gold, fresh as if just from the
loom; on the head was a mitre of solid gold (presented by one of the
former kings of Spain), and by the lifeless side, as if just released
from the powerless hands which were crossed upon its breast, lay a
crosier, of massy chased gold, studded with jewels of extraordinary
richness and beauty; the price of which was scarcely to be reckoned, and
whose magnitude and lustre were wonderful! They sparkled brightly in the
rays of the taper, as if in mockery of the ghastly spectacle of
mortality which they were meant to honour and adorn. Nothing certainly
could well be imagined more alarmingly hideous than St. Carlo Borromeo;
and why the humiliating exhibition of his corporeal remains should thus
be produced to the eyes of the careless multitude, when the qualities of
his noble and benignant soul should alone be remembered and dwelt upon,
I cannot possibly conjecture. What a strange perversion of taste, and
what a ludicrous method of evincing gratitude and admiration! A very
brief account of the virtues of this good archbishop may not be
unwelcome to my readers. He was the head of the noble family of
Borromeo, and equally distinguished for his extraordinary benevolence
towards mankind, and his elevated sentiments of piety towards God. Not
satisfied with possessing the respect and homage of his fellow
creatures, he placed his happiness in soothing their griefs, relieving
their wants, and in gaining their warmest affections: he rather wished
to be considered as a father than a superior, and the superb head of the
clergy was merged in the benevolent friend of the people. His whole
fortune was devoted to their service, and during a year of famine he had
so completely exhausted his annual income in feeding others, that he
literally was left totally destitute either of food or ready money, one
evening when he returned to his episcopal residence, fatigued and
exhausted with the charitable labours of the day. This benign
enthusiasm, kindled in early life, never relaxed to the hour of his
dissolution, and he was after death canonized as a saint by the
universal consent of all ranks of persons, as might reasonably be
expected; and with far more justice than many of his calendared
brethren. I am afraid, nevertheless, that he does not quite come up to
the ideas of moral and religious perfection, entertained by a Faquir of
India, or a strict Calvinist of our country; for he certainly never
stuck any nails into his own sides, or planted the thorns of terror in
the agonised bosom of all, whose notions of duty happened not exactly to
agree with those he himself entertained. He persecuted, he despised, he
denounced no one; and he considered all mankind, whether protestant or
catholic, as equally entitled to his good will and benevolence!--To
return to the narrative of our individual proceedings, we retired from
the cathedral, with our imaginations rather disagreeably impressed by
the splendid yet disgusting spectacle we had there witnessed; and
instead of remaining at home all the evening, to brood over the idea of
coffins and crossbones, and to "dream of the night-mare, and wake in a
fright[7]," we were wicked enough to shake off our melancholy, by going
to the theatre of the Marionetti (or puppets), for which Milan is
famous. The scenery and figures (the latter of which were nearly four
feet in height) quite surprised us by their correct imitation of nature.
I assure the reader, that I have often seen actors of flesh and blood
far less animated, and much more wooden. We could now and then discern
the strings by which they were worked, and we found it easy to follow
the Italian dialogue, as the judicious speaker (concealed behind the
curtain), did not indulge in the rant or mouthing of high tragedy, but
gave every speech a natural degree of emphasis, and possessed in
addition, an articulation singularly clear and distinct. The orchestra
was capital, the selection of music extremely agreeable, and I never
heard a _tout ensemble_ better attended to, even at the Opera.

Milan is a large city, and has the convenience of excellent pavements
both for foot passengers and those in carriages. There are four
_trottoirs_ in each street, two of them in the middle of the road, which
is a great advantage to all the draught horses of the place, as it
considerably lessens and facilitates their exertions: I should not
wonder if this improvement had been suggested by the guardian spirit of
the amiable Borromeo, since we are told that "a righteous man is
merciful unto his beast." The _bourgeoises_ of Milan generally wear
black or white transparent veils, thrown carelessly over the hair, and
carry fans in the hand. Some have thin muslin mob caps with flat crowns
under the veil, but the use of a bonnet is quite unknown. Both the
peasantry and _bourgeoisie_ are generally well-looking, and we saw two
or three lovely women: one in particular, a true Madonna of Coreggio,
who if seen in a London circle, would, I am sure, have created an
immense sensation; we had no opportunity of judging whether she was
fully aware or not of her own extraordinary beauty, but taking the thing
in the most rational point of view, I should think it impossible that
she should be ignorant of the personal advantages so liberally bestowed
upon her. Nothing has ever appeared to me more sickening than the pretty
innocence some women (who have been highly favoured by nature) think it
amiable to affect. That it is genuine, no one will believe who is truly
acquainted with human nature and the customs of society; nor will any
female, who is not weak in intellect, or of very defective judgment,
condescend to adopt so paltry an artifice. A woman of _sense_ must know
when she is handsome, and she will also know how to enjoy this species
of superiority without abusing it. There is nothing, however, more
common than the mistaking ignorance for virtue, amongst persons of a
certain calibre of intellect, who yet at the same time pique themselves
upon a reputation for solidity.

The fruit sold in the markets here is in the most luxuriant profusion
that can be imagined. We saw grapes piled up in large wicker baskets,
like those used for holding linen; peaches in tubs and wheelbarrows, and
innumerable quantities of ripe figs. We had the pleasure of hearing
several ballad-singers of a very superior stamp to those of London or
Paris. This is giving them small praise; but I mean to say, that they
were really excellent, differing widely from some to whom we had
listened at Turin (who said they came from Rome), and whose harshness of
voice was unpleasant, although their style, and the music they selected,
was very good. But these people gratified us extremely: they sang a
buffo duet (accompanied by a violoncello, violin, and guitar), with full
as much spirit and correctness as either Signors N. or A. And we
afterwards heard a man (who came under our windows with his guitar)
execute one of Rossini's refined and difficult serious _arias_ in an
equally finished manner.

The next day we took a _caleche_, and drove to see many lions, amongst
others the _arena_ (i. e. amphitheatre), and the triumphal arch, begun,
but not finished, by Napoleon. It was at Milan that this wonderful man
was crowned king of Italy, in 1805; and the arch in question was
intended to be at once a monument of his fame, and a gate to the grand
road of the Simplon, which commences here. When finished, it must have
proved the admiration of posterity; even now it is very striking to the
imagination, and not the less so (in my opinion) for being left thus
awfully incomplete. The groups of figures, prepared as ornamental
friezes, lie piled together in a shed or outhouse hard by, scarcely
secured from the injuries of weather. Nothing can be more chastely
classical than their designs, and the figure of Napoleon, for ever
prominent among them, in the costume of the ancient Roman conquerors, is
a very correct personal likeness. A statue of him also is shewn here
(with some little affectation of mystery), as large, or larger, than the
life, and is equally marked as an accurate resemblance.

The amphitheatre (lately built by Coenonica) is highly magnificent,
and of immense proportions, chiefly appropriated to the celebration of
the _naumachia_, or naval tournament. We found the city full of English;
our attorney-general and Lord K., &c. were in the same hotel with
ourselves (_Albergo Reale_); and I should in justice mention, that the
master of this inn is one of the most attentive, civil, and obliging
persons in the world: I hope all our countrymen will patronise him. In
the evening we drove upon the promenade, which is a very fine one, and
situated in the best part of the city. We were much struck by the width
of the streets adjacent, and by the beauty and dignity of the buildings.
Here we met a crowd of equipages, of every denomination and description;
yet how mean did they all appear, in comparison with those which throng
Hyde Park! I am certain that any English chariot and horses (however
plain and unpretending) would have been gazed at, and followed here as a
miracle of elegance and beauty. At night we took a box at the Opera (_La
Scala_), which is universally allowed to be the largest and most superb
in Europe. It was built by Pierre Marini, in 1778, and did indeed amaze
us at the first _coup d'oeil_, as a stupendous miracle of art: but we
found the same want of brilliancy and cheerfulness as in all other
foreign theatres, and the performance (to say nothing of the performers)
was execrable. Many of the boxes were shut up; but, by the lights which
twinkled through the green latticed blinds, we perceived that persons
were in them; and once, upon this sullen screen being casually opened
for a few moments, we saw them playing at cards, and eating ices,
without the slightest idea of attending to what was passing upon the
stage. The latter refreshment is quite indispensable in this hot
climate, and it was brought to us in the course of the evening:
_Camporese_ was the _prima donna_ here; but we did not see her, as she
was unwell during the time of our stay at Milan. A Signora _Gioja_
appeared in her stead, who made us all triste enough by her tame and
stupid performance. The ballet was _ennuyant à la mort_: its strength
lay in its numbers, and the manner of grouping them; for as to the
dancing it was----in short, there was no such thing which properly
merited that name. The theatre is far too large for the purposes of
hearing (much less of enjoying) music; and there was such a stunning
echo, that the noise of the enormous band of musicians in the orchestra
was almost rendered insupportable to a delicate and refined ear. They
played also (to my indignant astonishment) so loud as to drown the
voices of the singers, instead of keeping the instruments under, and
subservient to them; which I had imagined was a rule so firmly
established, as to render all deviation impossible in a country which
boasts itself to be the _veritable_ land of harmony. In short, we
infinitely preferred the opera at Turin, and were completely
disappointed with _La Scala_. Indeed, I consider our own Opera in the
Haymarket (however fastidiously abused by _soi-disant connoisseurs_, and
although it appears like a nutshell in point of size, when compared with
this overgrown rival), to be indisputably superior in every real
advantage. The whole of Italy (as I afterwards learned from some good
judges at Geneva) is at present lamentably deficient in talent, both
vocal and instrumental; and whatever it affords of any celebrity is sure
to come over to England, where a richer harvest is to be reaped than can
be found in any other country. I mean not, however, ignorantly to deny
the superior excellence of the Italian school of music--superior (as all
real judges must allow) to ours or any other. It is the original parent
of excellence, the nursing mother of true genius. Whatever has charmed
us in the art has sprung from the principles it inculcates; and when,
even in the national melodies of Ireland and Scotland, I have heard a
finished singer enchant and touch the feelings of their enthusiastic
sons, I have been perfectly aware that what they have blindly insisted
upon as being preferable to the Italian school, has in reality been
formed upon its rules; and when I hear a contrary doctrine asserted, I
look upon it as nonsense, unworthy even the trouble of contradiction. I
only mean to say, that the present singers, performers, and composers of
Italy are anxious to transplant themselves to the fostering protection
of British taste and munificence.

We left Milan at an early hour the next morning, and found the country
beyond, both flat and ugly for some distance. We saw great quantities of
white mulberry trees (for the benefit of the silk-worms) in every
direction, and many poplars (being now in Lombardy). The leaf of the
latter we observed to be much larger than those in England: perhaps the
tree degenerates in some measure in our climate. The maple also springs
in abundance, and I suppose there must be a proportionate number of
nightingales in consequence, if the old saying is true, that these birds
love the maple better than any other tree. The postillion wore the usual
Austrian costume, common to his profession: it bore some resemblance to
that of an old English jester, being a yellow jacket with black worsted
lace, and a red waistcoat.

At Rho we passed by a church, called _Notre Dame des Miracles_; where
signs and wonders are believed to be displayed even in these
philosophical days. All the peasants and _bourgeoises_ wore beautiful
coral necklaces, brought from the Mediterranean, of the true light pink
colour, which is so expensive in England. The infants here were cramped
up in swaddling-clothes, and had no caps upon their heads; while the
want of hair, peculiar to their tender age, gave them the air of little
unfledged birds. But now the period approached when we were to
encounter a more serious and hair-breadth scape than any which had
occurred during our tour. Passing through the town of Gallarate, near
the foot of the Alps, we were stopped by a gentleman in an open
travelling carriage, whose rueful visage, scared air, and animated
gesticulations, awakened our most lively curiosity and attention. He was
a merchant of Neufchatel, and perceiving that we were proceeding upon
the same route which he had just passed, desired us most earnestly to
stop at Gallarate, and furnish ourselves with a couple of _gens
d'armes_, unless we wished to encounter the same fate from which he had
just escaped. He then went on to relate a most terrific account of his
having been robbed (he might have added, frightened) by three
horrible-looking banditti, masked, and armed with carabines, pistols,
and stilettos! They had forced his postillion to dismount, and throwing
him under the carriage, with his head beneath the wheel (to prevent his
offering any interruption to their plunder), proceeded to attack him;
and, finally, spared his life, only by his consenting to part with
every thing valuable in his possession. They not only took his watch and
all his money, but a chain of his wife's hair, which they discovered
around his neck; but their ill humour was great, and vehemently
expressed, upon finding this poor man's property a less considerable
booty than they had expected. All this had passed within a quarter of an
hour from the time at which we met him at Gallarate. Of course, we felt
ourselves much indebted for the warning; and as my courage had
completely sunk under the recital, and I found it (like that of Bob
Acres, in the Rivals) "oozing out at my fingers' ends," at every word
this gentleman spoke, my husband took compassion upon me, and
accordingly despatched messengers to summon the attendance of a couple
of well-mounted and completely armed Austrian soldiers, with long
moustaches, and fierce martial-looking countenances. These men
afterwards rode with us (one on each side the carriage) until we had
completely passed the borders, and had entered the king of Sardinia's
dominions; where we were assured of finding perfect safety. No event of
the kind had occurred for the last twelve months; but we were astonished
and indignant at the supine apathy of the police, who did not appear to
have the smallest intention of sending any soldiers after the robbers,
or of making exertions to secure them. These Austrian states have a bad
reputation, as we were told by our host at Lans le Bourg, and were
warned by him of the possibility of a similar adventure. Mr. W., who was
so good as to undertake to order the guards for me at Gallarate, found
that not a single person he encountered in the town understood French,
and he was obliged to be conducted to the schoolmaster (the only man
capable of conversing in the language), before he could make our wishes
comprehended and attended to. My husband remained in the carriage to
scold me into better spirits; for, I confess, I never remember to have
been more frightened in my life.

The country beyond this place began to improve in picturesque beauty;
the Alps (to which we had approached very close), and woody hills in
the distance, forming very imposing features in the landscape. Here we
were met by several English carriages, protected, as we were, by the
attendance of _gens d'armes_; which proved that fear had not been
confined to my bosom alone, and that other people felt the same
necessity of precaution: a black servant upon the box, grimly leaning
upon a monstrous sabre, formed an additional guard. We now entered an
irregular forest, where the postillion (who was the same person that had
driven Monsieur Bovet) shewed us the spot where the ruffians had issued
forth. It was a fine place for a romantic adventure of this sort; and
never did I feel so thankful as when I cast my eyes upon the spirited
horsemen, who continued to keep close by the side of our vehicle, giving
me now and then looks of mirthful encouragement: indeed they seemed to
consider the business as a party of pleasure, and we heard them laughing
more than once as they rode along.

At Sesto a mob gathered round the carriage, as it stopped at the
post-house; and I am not sure that they did not at first mistake us for
state prisoners. Our postillion was now truly a great man! the centre of
an open-mouthed, staring circle, wild with curiosity, to whom he held
forth at length upon the danger he had undergone. Here we crossed a
ferry over the river Tessin, which divides the dominions of Austria from
those of Sardinia. The richness and grace of the wooded banks, which
fringed this fine stream, delighted us; and the face of the whole
country gradually smiled and brightened, till it at last expanded into
the most glorious burst of exquisite loveliness that the imagination can
conceive: for now we first beheld the _Lago Maggiore_, embosomed in
romantic hills, with the superb Alps rising beyond them, and its shores
studded with innumerable hamlets, villas, and cottages. The declining
sun shed a warm colouring of inexpressible beauty upon the calm surface
of this celebrated lake, whose waters, smooth and glassy, pure and
tranquil, seemed indeed, in the words of Byron, to be a fit

    "Mirror and a bath
    "For Beauty's youngest daughters."

It was impossible not to kindle into enthusiasm as we gazed upon a scene
of such Armida-like fascination. Why should I attempt a description of
the Borromean Isles, the Isola Madre, Isola Bella, and other fairy-green
gems, which adorned the bosom of this queen of waters? They have been
already so celebrated by the pencil and the lyre, that my efforts would
be those of presumption. I find it quite too much even to relate the
effect they produced upon our minds; for no words can adequately express
our feelings of admiration and surprise!

We were now once more in Piedmont, and the road led us through the town
of Arona, built upon the shores of the lake, which is full forty miles
in length. We saw a picturesque figure of a peasant girl kneeling upon
the banks, and laving (like a young naiad) her long tresses in the
stream. There is a fine grey ruin of a castle upon the left, as you
enter Arona, and a chain of bold cliffs covered with vineyards, with
several cottages, peeping out from amid bowers of fragrance, near their
craggy summits. A refreshing breeze tempered the still ardent heat of
day: it seemed to rise upon us, in a gale of balmy softness, from the
water, whose placid waves are sometimes, however, ruffled into sudden
anger, by storms of wind from the surrounding Alps; and many unfortunate
accidents to boatmen, &c. arise in consequence. It would be difficult to
imagine any thing in nature more luxuriantly beautiful than the hanging
gardens belonging to the little villas in this neighbourhood; where
standard peach-trees, olives, filberts, grapes, figs, Turkey wheat,
orange blossoms, carnations, and all the tribe of vegetables, are
mingled together in rich confusion, and the vines trained upon low
trellises slope down to the water's edge; while, among the grass at the
feet of the taller trees, the pumpkin trails her golden globes and
flowers. We remarked several pretty faces, in a style neither wholly
Italian nor French, but which formed an agreeable and happy mixture of
both. The ever odious _goître_, nevertheless, sometimes obtruded its
horrid deformity among them; and it was an equal mortification to our
dreams of perfection to observe, that even in the little towns, built in
the very heart of all this sweetness and purity, the most disgusting
smells (indicative of innately filthy habits) perpetually issued forth,
poisoning every street, and mingling their pollutions with the fragrant
breath of the mountain gale. But now the fanciful crags on the opposite
side of the lake began to assume a purplish blue tint, deeply influenced
by, and half lost in, the shadow of lowering clouds, which (fast
gathering round their summits in dark and misty volumes) foreboded an
approaching storm. Bright and catching lights, however, still lingered
upon the bright sails of distant boats, and upon the no less white walls
of the little villages; which were built so close upon the shore as to
seem as if they sprung from the bosom of the waves.

We arrived at Feriola (inn _La Posta_), a small town, washed by the same
transparent waters, and sheltered by granite mountains (covered with a
mossy vegetation mixed with vineyards), which rose abruptly and
immediately above the walls of the house: here we passed the night; the
storm was just beginning, as we drove up to this welcome refuge: flashes
of red and forked lightning shot fiercely down from the Alpine heights,
and were quenched in the dark lake below; while peals of hollow thunder
reverberating from the adjacent caverns, increased the awful effect of
the whole. Torrents of rain soon followed, and lasted without
intermission for many hours. We slept well, our beds being free from
vermin, although of the humblest sort, without curtain or canopy, and
covered with quilts which were very like stable rugs. They had been
occupied before us, by dukes and duchesses; who, although not used to
more comforts than those which surround me in my own happy home, had
certainly reason to expect more stateliness of accommodation; necessity,
however, has no law, and I dare say they were as glad as I was to avail
themselves of clean sheets, and a substantial roof over head, after the
fatigues of travelling. The whole of this little inn was built of
granite, from the neighbouring quarries. We rose the next morning at
four, and as I drest by the yet imperfect light, which streamed into the
room through the lowly casement, I was interested in observing the
different appearances of nature, in the midst of such wild scenery, and
at so early an hour.

The dewy mists were slowly rising from the valley, which smiled in all
the fresh loveliness of morning, as they gradually rolled off, and
settled round the brows of the higher mountains like a shadowy veil. The
grass smelt strongly of thyme and balm, after the late rain, and seemed
to be eagerly relished by a flock of sheep, which two shepherdess
figures were leading up the winding path. This fair prospect did not
last long; a heavy rain re-commenced; and as we proceeded upon our
journey we could hardly see our route amid the mountains, from the dense
and heavy fog which obscured every object. All nature truly appeared to
be weeping; this is no merely poetical term, but the truth: there are
some things which cannot be adequately described in the common
expressions of prose, and this is one of them.

We passed Monte Rosa, which is fifteen thousand feet in height: a
beautiful little church hung upon its shelving side, built in a style
that gave it much the air of the Sybil's temple. In all parts of the
country through which we had gone, we observed numerous shrines of the
Virgin; but instead of a simple and appropriate statue, which good taste
might reasonably have hoped to find within, they were constantly
disgraced by a paltry gaudy painting, in distemper. The outside walls of
houses, also, were generally daubed in the same ridiculous manner, and
afforded us perpetual cause of exclamation against the _melange_ of real
and false taste, which Italy thus exhibits. We were sorry to have missed
seeing (near Arona, in our preceding day's journey) the celebrated
colossal statue of St. Carlo Borromeo in bronze; which, rearing its
proud height far above the surrounding woods, forms a very grand and
noble spectacle: a man (in speaking of its proportions to Mr. B.) told
him that the head alone held three persons, and that he himself had
stood within the cavity of the nose! I believe it is seventy feet from
the ground.

We passed over a bridge on the river Toscia, a graceful serpentine
stream, whose waters were of a milky hue, owing to the heavy rains. Here
we met a peasant, wearing a singular sort of cloak, made of long dry
silky rushes, admirably adapted to resist and throw off the wet; he
looked at a distance like a moving thatched hut, his hat forming the
chimney, and we afterwards saw several women and children in the same
costume. The common people also use a rude kind of umbrella of divers
gaudy colours, the frame and spokes being made of clumsy wood.

At Domo d'Ossola we stopped to take refreshment at _la Posta_, a most
comfortable and cleanly inn; every thing was sent up neatly, and really
tempted the fastidious traveller to "eat without fear:" a degree of
heroism which I confess I could not always command, not feeling sure
that I might not be poisoned by some of the dishes; although it would
have been by dirt, not arsenic. This is almost the last town in the
Sardinian dominions, for as soon as you have crossed the Simplon, you
enter Switzerland. This arduous task we now commenced, taking four
horses instead of the usual three. We ascended in a zigzag direction,
which seems to be the plan upon which all roads cut through very high
mountains are formed; the present much resembled those by which we had
descended Mont Cenis. Here we had the leisure and opportunity of
contemplating nature in her grandest forms! The wild fig-tree sprung
from the sides of the most profound ravines, overhanging gulfs from
which the affrighted eye recoiled; and at the base of the most
stupendous mountains lay valleys of inimitable verdure and luxuriance.
An Alpine foot bridge, like a slight dark line, crossed a rapid river
here, and was dimly discovered at intervals, amid the snowy foam of the
waves; there were also frequent waterfalls, pouring their sounding
floods from immense heights above us. At this spot, Mr. B. tied a
handkerchief over my eyes, for three or four minutes: I thought I heard
the noise of water in my ears, louder and more hollow than usual; when
he suddenly removed the handkerchief, and I beheld myself in the first
of those astonishing galleries of the Simplon, of which so much has
justly been said by all travellers. They were half cut, half blasted by
gunpowder, through the solid rock, and have the appearance of long
grottos, with rude windows, or rather chasms in the sides, to admit
light, and through which we discovered, with a shuddering sensation of
admiring wonder, the awful precipices and steeps around. It was
delightful to contemplate them while thus in a situation of perfect
security; a species of feeling analogous to that which I have sometimes
experienced, when comfortably housed beneath the domestic roof, during
the raving of a wintry storm! How different was the aspect of the
ancient road; the view of which, as it dangerously wound along the
opposite mountains, nearly blocked up by fallen masses of rock,
overgrown with tangled shrubs and weeds, and undefended by even the
slightest wall from the yawning abysses, which frowned horribly beneath,
really made my heart quake with terror! There are rude crosses by the
way side, erected here, at long intervals; sad monuments of the tragical
end of former unfortunate travellers. Nothing can be more terrific than
the showers of stony fragments from the overhanging rocks, which
frequently fall here during stormy weather; at particular seasons it is
certain destruction to attempt to pass. We observed the lower and more
level ground to be strewn so thickly with these formidable masses, that
it brought to my mind the ancient story of Jupiter's wars with the
giants; the place indeed truly resembled the state of a field of battle
after one of those mighty engagements.

[Illustration: _London, Published by I, Murray, 1819._
SCENE on the SIMPLON.]

The parish church of Trasqueras is an object of high astonishment; we
passed it, not without adding our individual tribute of wonder. It is
built upon the topmost verge of a barren mountain, at a frightful
height. Apparently no human power could have conveyed thither the
materials for its erection; we could only reconcile the existence of the
fact, by supposing that there must have been a quarry upon the spot.
The priest who does duty there, and the congregation whose zeal leads
them to scale the dreadful precipice to attend public worship, are in
some danger, I should think, of being canonized for martyrs! But to
speak more seriously, there is something infinitely impressive in the
idea of a little band of humble and obscure mortals thus meeting
together to worship the Creator in such a spot of wild and solitary
sublimity. These scenes most certainly tend to elevate the imagination,
and to fill the heart, with strong feelings of devotional adoration and
awful respect. It is not _only_ "those who go down to the great waters,"
who see "the wonders of the Lord!" We remarked a cottage here, in the
style of the most romantic hermitage, close to a raving flood, in the
frightful strait of Yselle. The living rock formed its roof, and the
sides were of flat uncemented stones; a rude door of pine wood shut in
its inhabitants, for inhabited it certainly must have been, as a little
pile of faggots for winter firing evidently evinced. Gold dust is
sometimes found in the beds of the surrounding torrents. There is no
end to the varieties of the Simplon: we sometimes crossed from one
mountain to another; then dived into the dark entrails of the rocks; now
wound along narrow valleys at their feet, and at last rose (by a gentle
ascent) to the proud summit of the loftiest glaciers, far above the
rolling clouds. In some places our eye rested with delight upon the rich
green of the chestnut and beech, in others all vegetation seemed wholly
to cease. The rhododendron (_note_ P.) flourishes here in perfection; it
grows where few other shrubs or plants are able to exist, braves the
severity of the keenest blasts of winter, and affords firing to those
cottagers who cannot easily procure other wood. Its blossoms are of a
lovely pink, and from this circumstance it is called the "rose of the
Alps." These regions are subject to perpetual avalanches; the top of
every stone post that marked the boundary of our road, at about three
yards distance one from the other, was in many places knocked off, by
the continual falling of masses from the rocks above, and now and then,
the whole of the posts had given way, as well as large fir-trees, which
commonly grow out of the shelving sides of the precipices. Just at the
entrance of one of the grand galleries, we crossed over a stone bridge,
hanging in mid air above a tremendous gulf; the river Doveria boiling
far below, fed by a cataract from the heights, near the source of which
we passed: so near, indeed, that its foaming spray seemed almost to dash
against the glass of our carriage windows. Bonaparte had established
here (as well as upon Mont Cenis), a sort of _tavernettes_, or houses of
relief for wayworn or distressed travellers. A few military now
occasionally inhabit them, and the appropriate word _refuge_ is
frequently inscribed over the doors. (_Note_ Q.) A piece of writing
paper inserted in the cleft of a stick, by the road-side, here attracted
our attention. We examined it, and found written thereon, _Viva
Napoleone_! Our postillions appeared delighted, and exclaimed in a
half-checked voice, _bravo_, _bravo_! Candidly speaking, one must be
indeed fastidious not to be forcibly struck with the various noble
works of that wonderful man. At all events we could not be surprised at
his still existing popularity in the north of Italy, a part of the world
where he has really done great good, and far less harm than any where
else; and in so short a space of time also--so young a man--from so
obscure an origin! It will not do to indulge in reflections upon what
might have been, or I could not refrain, I am afraid, from wishing that
(for the sake of the arts and sciences) he had known how to set bounds
to his ambition. This passage of the Simplon alone is sufficient to
immortalize his name, and as long as the mountains themselves exist, so
must the memory of Bonaparte. It is quite the eighth wonder of the
world. If he _is_ a fiend, he is not less than

    "Arch-angel ruined!"

But I have done, lest those readers who have never crossed the Simplon,
or gazed upon the other numerous monuments of his grand genius, should
imagine that I am still (in the words of Pitt, as applied to Sheridan's
speech upon Warren Hastings), "Under the influence of the wand of the
Enchanter!"

Now I am on the subject of this stupendous passage of the Simplon, I am
fortunate enough to present my readers with an engraving made by a
friend, of a curious medal, struck in France, representing an immense
colossal figure, which some modern Dinocrates had suggested to Bonaparte
to have cut from the mountain of the Simplon, as a sort of Genius of the
Alps. This was to have been of such enormous size, that all passengers
should have passed between its legs and arms in zigzag directions: I do
not know whether any attention was ever given to the proposal, but that
the idea was not a new one, every schoolboy may learn, by looking into
Lemprière's Dictionary, where he will find that a still more
hyperbolical project was suggested to Alexander the Great, by one
Dinocrates, an architect, who wished to cut Mount Athos into a gigantic
figure of the monarch, that should hold a city in one hand, and a vast
bason of water in the other. Alexander's reply was a fine piece of
irony; "that he thought the idea magnificent, but he did not imagine the
neighbouring country sufficiently fertile to feed the inhabitants of the
said city."

[Illustration: _H Bankes del printed by B. Redman Lithog._]

We observed quantities of timber felled, and lying scattered about the
dark forests; they consisted of a species of larch fir, I believe,
straight, taper, and of a yellowish red.

At length we reached the village of the Simplon, where we dined and
slept. It is only three or four and thirty miles from Domo d'Ossola, yet
we were seven hours or more in accomplishing the distance, and had never
stopped by the way for more than ten minutes. It was a continual ascent,
but very gradual, and our inn here (_l'Etoile_) was four thousand five
hundred feet above the level of the sea. We found other travellers
before us assembled in the only sitting-room.--Lord F----, his tutor,
and another young gentleman: they appeared all to be sensible, well-bred
people, and we rejoiced that accident had not thrown us among less
agreeable companions. The next morning, we left our auberge, after
breakfast, with which we thought it prudent to fortify ourselves, on
account of the severity of the cold. All the rooms were obliged to be
heated by stoves, as it was (to all outward appearance and feeling) the
depth of winter, in its most rigid form; the day before, we had been
almost fainting with heat in the valleys, yet when we rose this morning,
the mountains around us were entirely covered with snow, which had
fallen during the night, accompanied by a rushing blast of wind and a
heavy rain. We were now truly in the "land of the mountain and the
flood," in the regions of mist and storm. I shuddered at the sight,
having been rendered miserable from want of sleep by the vermin, whose
unremitting attacks completely broke my rest, and made me less able to
encounter with proper _fortitude_ the fatigues of our still arduous
journey. I learned upon this tour to feel a great horror at the
expression of _soyez tranquille_, which deceitful words were constantly
used by every _fille de chambre_, when I inquired if there were any of
these disagreeable inhabitants in the beds, and I remarked that the more
vehemently this _soyez tranquille_ was uttered, the more certain was I
of being bit into a fever. We got into the carriage here in a gust of
keen wind, so strong and impetuous that I could not stand without
support. The women in these parts wear a black platter hat (sometimes
ornamented with gold ribands), and the men a russet-brown suit of
clothes with a scarlet waistcoat. A mixture of German and bad French is
spoken amongst them. We passed by (during the continuation of our
journey) the enormous glacier of ---- I know not exactly the proper name;
but it sounded like _Roschbahtn_ in the guttural pronunciation of the
postillion. Higher up, there was a gallery cut through the masses of
frozen snow, but it is only used as a foot-way for passengers during the
winter. We shortly afterwards saw the Hospice of the Simplon, built in a
comparatively sheltered spot; yet by its outward appearance (resembling
a sordid gloomy prison), I should think nothing but the last necessity
would induce travellers to seek for refreshment within its walls. Mass
had been performed there that morning, and we met several peasants
returning from it: all persons journeying this way are entertained here
gratis, but those whose circumstances can afford it are expected to make
some little present to the monks. We observed some dogs about the
entrance, which we concluded were those kept for the purpose of finding
benighted travellers. The colour of the rocks in those places which were
not covered with snow was singular, being of a light _aqua marine_,
occasioned by the lichens which grew upon them. Large eagles, formidable
from their strength and boldness, are frequently seen amidst these
dreary wastes. I was soon quite wearied by the bleak spectacle of such
wide desolation, my eyes ached with the dazzling brightness of the
snows, and I began sincerely to wish the passage over. The ascent and
descent altogether is forty-two miles; coming down from a height of
seven thousand feet, we could not see three yards before us, being
completely enveloped in a thick dense fog. It seemed like plunging into
a fearful gulf of vapours! Such a mist I never could have _imagined_.

The road now led us though tall forests of pine, darkly magnificent,
which grew upon the shelving sides of the precipitous descent. Upon the
jutting crags, we occasionally beheld the fearless goat, bounding about,
enjoying the sense of liberty, and snuffing the keen air of his native
mountains; a child or two, also, sometimes appeared in almost equally
dangerous situations, at the door of a wooden hut, called a _chalet_,
built of timber (of a reddish tint), and much in the form of an ark. A
little thinly scattered underwood of birch, &c. with coltsfoot twining
round the roots, now began to evince our approach to more hospitable
regions, and the sensation of piercing cold in some measure abated. The
sun made several felicitous attempts to struggle through the heavy and
obscuring clouds; and a prospect (of which we caught a transient glimpse
between two enormous rocks) seemed to open like an enchanted vision of
ineffable brightness and beauty. During this interval of a moment, we
beheld a narrow but fertile valley, a river, with hills of vivid green
rising beyond, bounded in the distant horizon by mountains of glowing
purple, and smiled upon by a summer sky of the clearest blue. Suddenly
it was brilliantly illuminated by a partial gleam of sun, and thus
discovered, (sparkling through a thin veil of still lingering mist) it
seemed to break upon us like a lovely dream. I could have fancied it
Voltaire's Eldorado, or the gay, unreal show of fairy land, seen by
Thomas the Rhymer, in Scott's Minstrelsy of the Border. Indeed sober
language has no words or terms to describe its singular effect. Apropos
to sobriety of language: Although there is nothing so wearing as
hyperbolical and exaggerated expressions, applied on common or
insignificant occasions, and although I consider them in that case to be
the resource of a weak capacity, which is incapable of judicious
restraint and discrimination, it is equally insupportable to hear the
real wonders and charms of nature or art spoken of with tame and
tasteless apathy. Those persons who have soul enough to feel and
appreciate them must either vent their just enthusiasm, in terms which
to common minds sound romantic and poetical, or else resolve to be
wholly silent. We reached the end of the Simplon, and changed our tired
horses at Brieg. We were now in Switzerland.

Nothing can be more suddenly and accurately marked than the difference
of feature, as well as costume, between the Italian and Swiss peasants,
(I more particularly allude to the women), and it would be impossible
for any person of the least observation to mistake one for the other.
The latter are frequently hale, clean, and fresh-looking, with cheerful
open countenances; but adieu to grace, to expression, to beauty! We left
all these perfections on the other side of the Alps. The children, too,
struck us (in general) as plain and uninteresting. We were not greatly
impressed by the entrance to the _Pays du Valais_, having already passed
through scenery of the same nature so much superior in Savoy and Italy;
but it is certainly romantic and pretty in some parts. How naturally one
falls into judging by comparison! Had it been possible to have
immediately entered the Valais upon leaving the monotonous plains of
France, we should have thought the former highly sublime and beautiful.
The barberry and elder flourish here in every hedge; also great
quantities of the wild clematis. The rocky banks are fringed with birch,
hazle, heath, and juniper, and between them is the deep rolling turgid
Rhone, skirted with tall reeds and willows.

The climate still continued to be chilly and disagreeable. Although it
was only the 8th of September, the weather rather resembled that during
the last days of November, or commencement of the next dreary month; and
in the midst of this picturesque and romantic scenery, I found my
imagination dwelling with great pertinacity and satisfaction upon the
charms of a blazing fire and a comfortable inn. I did my utmost to shake
off such vulgar and unsentimental ideas, but they would recur again and
again.

We here passed a fall of the Rhone, but were rather disappointed in its
force and magnitude. Our road lay through wild fir woods for a
considerable length of way, the snowy tops of the glaciers peeping above
them, forming quite a scene for the pencil of Salvator Rosa. We
journeyed on, almost in total silence, the little bells at the horses'
heads alone disturbing the breathless stillness of these solitary
glades, emerging from which, we now crossed a bridge upon the Rhone,
which here assumes a character of strength and grandeur, flowing with
rapidity, and emulating in its width an arm of the sea.

Night and her shadows drew near, and we began to wish for the comforts
of the friendly auberge; but, owing to continual delays of horses,
postillions, &c, we did not reach the town of Sierre until eight
o'clock, where we intended to have slept; but found upon our arrival
that no beds were to be had, and the place itself wore so forlorn,
dismal, and dirty an appearance, that we hardly regretted the
circumstance, and submitted with a good grace to the inevitable
necessity of pursuing our route even at that late hour. But ere this
could be accomplished we were obliged to wait (in the carriage) till
nine, for horses to carry us on; for there was at that time an immense
run upon the road. In this melancholy interval our lamps were lit, and
the moon arose; the latter (faintly glimmering amid dark rolling clouds)
feebly illuminated a road which led us by the side of a terrible
precipice, where part of the guardian wall was broken down. The pass was
accounted perilous on that account; but there was no possible remedy. I
had overheard my husband and Mr. W. talking of it at Sierre, and trying
whether it was not practicable to avoid it by securing any sort of
accommodation at the wretched auberge: this, however, being totally out
of the question, they did not acquaint me with the terrors of the road
by which we were in consequence obliged to pass ere we could attain
shelter for the night at the next habitable place: I felt their
kindness, and did not undeceive them as to my perfect information upon
the subject until we had safely reached the end of our day's journey;
but I was truly thankful and relieved when that happy goal appeared, in
the shape of the town of Sion, capital of the Valais. Lord F. and party
(having gone on first) had politely undertaken to order dinner for us at
the _Lion d'Or_, and to that house we accordingly drove up, half dead
with fatigue. Here another mortification awaited us; for so many English
had previously arrived, and filled the rooms, beds, &c, that
accommodation for us was impossible. We, therefore, went to an inferior
inn (called _Le Croix Blanc_), where we knocked the people up, and in
spite of their being forced from their beds to receive us, we found the
utmost celerity, civility, and comfort in every respect. The beds were
excellent (their linen furniture fresh washed, and looking inviting to
enter), the floors (oh! prodigy of cleanliness) were neatly swept, and
our refreshments cooked in a wonderfully short space of time, served
with cheerful readiness, and in a clean manner.

The next morning we opened our eyes upon a beautifully picturesque
landscape. A great delay, however, again took place with regard to
horses, as an English family had arrived during the night, and taken
away eight. They intended to have slept at _Le Croix Blanc_, as we had
done, but were fastidiously disgusted by the look of the inn. Unhappy
novices! they little knew what a paradise of comfort it afforded, when
compared with those which they would afterwards necessarily encounter,
and for the shelter of which they would soon learn to be thankful! The
waiter here was remarkably attentive, and appeared a truly simple,
good-tempered, artless creature. Mr. B. was so much satisfied with his
behaviour, that he increased the usual fee; for which small gratuity the
poor fellow thanked us again and again. We found our bills particularly
reasonable, and the host a most amusing and obliging person: he was one
of the richest _bourgeois_ in Sion, and quite a character. We asked him,
amongst other questions, "what was the chief manufacture of the place?"
and he replied, with a ridiculous shrug of the shoulders, "_Des
Enfans_." This man possessed a _vigne_ upon the mountains, and brought
us a present of a fine basket of grapes from thence, much lamenting that
we would not remain with him another day, as "he would then have put his
own particular horses into a little vehicle of the country, kept for his
use and that of his family, and would have had the pleasure of driving
us to see his vineyards, and also two hermitages, in the neighbourhood,
which were very curious."

Mr. B. was taken extremely unwell this morning, and had a terrible
attack of faint sickness, owing, as we then imagined, to having fasted
so many hours the day before; but we soon found that it was, in fact,
the beginning of a sort of ague and fever. (_Note_ E.)

The country was lovely during our first two or three stages. We met the
travelling equipage of a Russian princess (Potemkin), and her people
stopped to inquire of ours about accommodations at Sion. Christian had
the honour of a personal conference with her highness, who was
extremely gracious and affable. Indeed this man never lost any
opportunity of gossip, let it be with whom it might; and I believe he
loved chattering on all occasions better than any thing in existence. He
was an honest creature; but so idle, that he required constant looking
after: we found him, however, so useful, particularly where the
different _patois_ is spoken, that we have safely recommended him to our
friend, Lord G.

The roads in this part of Switzerland were most execrable, and I thought
the carriage would have been overturned every moment: the postillions
universally adopted a very disagreeable and awkward manner of driving
their horses; not three abreast (which is safe and rational), but
harnessing one before the other pair, with long reins, in the unicorn
style; the same postillion thus acting the part of a coachman also: the
old rope traces were perpetually breaking; and the fore horse scrambling
all over the road, often running into a hedge to crop what best pleased
his appetite, or to drink at a fountain by the wayside. The driver
seemed to have very little command over his lawless motions, and
altogether, I confess that I was by no means delighted with this mode of
travelling, although no coward in general. However, I recollected that
it was customary here, and soon was able to reason myself into not
caring for what I had no possible means of altering or preventing: in
this instance, happily emulating the example of the late venerable Mrs.
H. who used to say, "that it was of little use to have powers of
understanding, and the faculty of reason, if you could not avail
yourself of them, when occasion required; and that by a long and
resolute habit of self-control, it was undoubtedly possible to bring the
feelings nearly as much under command as the limbs." I have frequently
proved the truth of her remark.

At Riddez (a little village) we saw a christening procession pass by.
The godfather (a young man) walked first, with a cockade of ribands, and
a large bouquet of natural flowers in his hat, carrying the infant in
his arms, covered with a long transparent mantle of coarse white lace.
He was followed by the godmother, and the _sage femme_, neither of the
parents being present. The manners of the inhabitants here were
remarkably gentle; every peasant we met bowed, and often wished us the
"good day" as we passed. Many horrible _goîtres_, however, and idiots
are to be found among them. The villages and hamlets we had as yet seen
were even frightful: there was no such thing as a pretty cottage; and
the costumes of the people were gross and tasteless in the greatest
degree.

Mr. B.'s illness increased to a height of aguish shudderings and total
exhaustion, which prevented our attempting to proceed farther than
Martigny, where we put up at an inn called _Le Cigne_, which, on its
outside, was not of a much more promising appearance than the Hospice of
the Simplon, which I formerly deprecated. However, we had learned by
this time not to judge of an auberge from its exterior, and upon
entering this, found shelter, comfort, civility, and wholesome plain
food. We procured the only good strong-bodied Burgundy we had seen
during the whole of our tour, which was particularly fortunate, as it
acted as a great relief to our invalid. The hostess was the widow of the
poor inn-keeper, who was carried away in the terrible and memorable
flood of last June (mentioned with much affecting detail in the English
newspapers), where a lake at nine leagues distance burst, and, flowing
into the river Drance, the latter broke its usual boundaries, and
destroyed more than half the village of Martigny, with many of the
unfortunate inhabitants. Poor woman! she was in mourning, as well as her
children, who waited upon us, two modest, simple, young creatures. I
never saw any thing like their kind-hearted attention, in avoiding the
least noise which might have been likely to disturb an invalid, while
they were preparing things for dinner in the same room. Nothing could be
imagined more desolate and wretched than the present appearance of
Martigny; and, at the moment when the flood happened, the ruin was so
instantaneous and complete as to resemble an earthquake. This house was
ten feet deep in water. The host might have been saved: he had already
avoided the first horrible rush; but venturing into danger once more, in
the hope of saving his cattle, he was borne down by the impetuous
torrent, and perished miserably! For a long time he was plainly
discovered with his head far above the stream, yet unable to stem its
resistless tide: his body was afterwards found, in an erect position,
supported against a tree, not in the least mangled or disfigured. It was
supposed his respiration had been stopped by the weight and force of the
current, which could hardly be called water, so thickly was it mingled
with mud. The cook (who happened to be in the wine-cellar) was saved by
his perfect knowledge of swimming, and presence of mind. The flood
completely filled the cellar, staircase, and hall, in a moment, and he
paddled and swam up the steps of the former, till he reached the
surface, and thus almost miraculously escaped.

The next day we quitted Martigny about nine o'clock, our spirits
depressed by this wretched scene of desolation. The whole country
appeared wildly melancholy, under the additional gloom of a very wet
dark morning. The prieur of this village, who belonged also to some
convent on Mont St. Bernard (_note_ F.) had written a petition for the
relief of his poor parishioners, which was pasted up in the sitting-room
of the inn we had occupied. We did not, of course, shut our hearts
against the appeal, and carrying our little subscription to the house of
the prieur, found it a most humble primitive dwelling: it was built upon
a hill behind the church, and at the time of the flood had been a foot
deep in water, notwithstanding its elevated situation. The old man
described the horrors of the scene, and said he should never forget the
moment when he first heard the mighty roar of the waters, louder than a
mountain cataract. I am proud to add, that our dear countrymen have been
almost the only travellers who have had the humanity to bestow a
farthing upon the necessities of the surviving sufferers. I should be
narrow-minded indeed not to regret the want of generous feeling which
those of other nations have thus evinced, or to rejoice (as some people
would, I fear, do) at the foil they have afforded to the merit of the
English; but surely it is impossible, as a British subject, not to
delight in this additional proof of the liberality and compassion of our
compatriots!

We now passed a celebrated waterfall (_note_ G.), which descends from a
vast height, between granite mountains, covered with rich green moss. It
was highly majestic, yet not bearing the character of terror; therefore
(according to Burke) we must not designate it by the term _sublime_, but
rather class it under the head of _the beautiful_. Its feathery foam of
spotless white, dashing over the craggy obstacles in its descent,
afforded a lovely contrast to the dark background of the adjacent rocks.
There are great numbers of chestnut, walnut, and apple trees in this
neighbourhood. We met an English family in a coach and four here. We
stopped to change horses with them, and as they were going to Sesto,
and from thence to Milan, we thought it but kind to warn them that they
ought to take _gens d'armes_, on account of the banditti. The abigail
(elevated upon the seat behind) seemed prodigiously discomposed at this
intelligence; and I should not wonder if she had given warning at the
next stage, to avoid the horror of proceeding with the family. Her
little round grey eyes almost started from their red sockets, and her
nose assumed a purplish hue, which was beautifully heightened by the
cadaverous tint of her cheeks. Her master and mistress also appeared not
a little startled, but expressed themselves vastly obliged to us for our
information; and we parted with much courtesy on both sides. A hearty
fit of laughter, at the expense of Mrs. Abigail, seized us all at the
moment of their departure; but I am sure I had no business to triumph;
for never was there a more complete coward than I shewed myself to be,
when in my turn I first received a similar warning from our Neufchatel
friend at Gallarate.

We saw, shortly afterwards, an old peasant tending a few sheep, in a
curious sort of costume: it consisted of a whole suit of clothes of a
dingy yellowish brown; his hat, as well as his face and hands (parched
by summer's sun and winter's wind), being of the same tan-coloured hue.
Indeed the costumes in this part of Switzerland appeared to us
universally unbecoming, as well as singular.

We now entered St. Maurice. Upon the rocks encircling the town was a
small hut, inhabited by a hermit; built in such a craggy bleak
situation, that we were led to suppose he had chosen it as a place of
painful penance. If he is an old man, I think he must have found it
nearly impossible to descend, even for the means of subsistence: it
would be a hard task for a young and active hunter of the chamois; so I
rather imagine he lives, like a genuine ascetic, upon berries, wild
fruits, and roots, and quenches his thirst at the crystal spring. Part
of the town of St. Maurice is actually built in the wild rocks that rise
abruptly behind it, their rough rude sides forming the back wall, and
now and then even the roof, of some of the humbler dwelling-houses. The
inhabitants were plain and uninteresting in their persons, and we did
not observe any taste or fancy displayed in their costumes. Here we
changed horses, and passed the Rhone again, by means of a bridge, of so
ancient a date, that it is said to have been built by Julius Cæsar. The
river is very magnificent. Our road led us through a charming bower of
long-continued walnut and beech trees, the opposite banks of the stream
being covered with rich vegetation, forming an agreeable relief to the
imagination, after the desolate and melancholy scenes of the preceding
stages. The meadows were enamelled with the autumnal crocus, of a
delicate lilac colour, and had a remarkably gay and brilliant
appearance. We remarked a number of beehives in the cottage gardens; but
they were not of such a picturesque form and material as those in
England, being made of wood, in the shape of small square boxes. The
whole face of the country was really beautiful, the rocks being fringed
with luxuriant copse wood, rich in every varied tint of the declining
year, while the pasture-lands were verdant and fresh, as if in early
spring. Wild boars, wolves, and bears, are common in the Valais; very
pleasant personages to meet during a late evening ramble. Here we dimly
descried the _Chateau de Chillon_, on the borders of the lake of Geneva;
but it was at too great a distance for us to judge of it accurately. I
regretted this, as I did not then know that we should afterwards have
had an opportunity of viewing it to greater advantage. The waters of
this wonderfully fine lake were of the most brilliant pale blue,
majestic mountains rising beyond it, clothed even to their summits with
underwood, and mossy velvet turf. It is vastly more expansive than Lago
Maggiore, but still we thought the enchanting Italian lake much more
beautiful.

The roads now began to improve greatly, and after all the jolting we had
undergone for the last two days, it was particularly acceptable to find
them returning into a state of smoothness and regularity. We dined this
day early, at St. Gingoulph, (sometimes spelt St. Gingo), on the borders
of the lake: our vulgar expression of St. Jingo is a corruption of the
name of this Saint. The inn was delightfully clean and comfortable, the
people most attentive, civil and active, and we procured an excellent
dinner at a very few minutes notice; a circumstance peculiarly agreeable
to travellers who were quite exhausted with hunger, like ourselves.

We slept at Thonon, the capital of the Chablais, and found comfortable
accommodation. The woman who waited upon us was a native of Berne, as
well as our servant Christian, and they went on puffing off their
canton, _à l'envi l'un de l'autre_.

I ought to have mentioned that before we arrived at Thonon, we passed by
the rocks of Meillerie, so well known through the medium of Rousseau's
sentimental descriptions. The same style of country continued, by the
side of the lake, for many miles, and the roads were very good. We were
now once more in the King of Sardinia's dominions, having entered upon
them at St. Gingoulph, and we did not quit them until we reached
Douvaine, not far from Geneva. As we proceeded, the country opened more,
and the lake became restrained between much narrower boundaries: the
practice of enclosing fields with hedges, in the same manner as those in
England, was general here. At length Geneva, rising grandly from the
blue waters of her noble lake, and fenced on every side by her superb
mountains (Mont Blanc dimly gleaming through a veil of clouds upon the
left), burst upon us;--the _coup d'oeil_ was most electrifying. The
morning was clear and bright, the air had a cheerful freshness which
lent spirit and animation to us all, and our first entrance to this city
was marked by a crowd of agreeable and enlivening sensations. We found,
however, that it would be impossible for Monsieur De Jean to receive us
at his well known and comfortable hotel at Secherons (about a mile out
of town); and even at Geneva itself we had the mortification of being
turned away from every inn except one, owing to the swarms of our
countrymen who had previously monopolized all accommodation. At this one
(_hotel des Balances_) we at length gained admittance; it was opposite
the Rhone, a circumstance which to me made it the most desirable of all
possible situations, for I never was satiated with looking at and
admiring the extraordinary beauty which this glorious river possessed.
We had not before beheld any thing to equal its force, rapidity, depth,
and exquisite transparency; but above all other perfections, its colour
(in this particular part of Switzerland) appeared to us the most
remarkable. I can compare it to nothing but the hue of liquid sapphires;
having all the brilliancy, purity, and vivid blue lustre, of those
lovely gems. I never passed it without feeling the strongest wish to
drink and at the same time to bathe in its tempting waters, and from the
bridge we clearly discerned the bottom, at a depth of at least twenty
feet. We sent our servant in the evening, to deliver some letters of
introduction to several families here; among others to Dr. and Mrs.
M.--to the former of whom our thanks are particularly due, for his kind
attention in prescribing for my husband, who had here a relapse of his
complaint. We went the day afterwards to Ferney (the celebrated
residence of Voltaire), and also to Sir F. d'I.'s beautiful country
house in the same neighbourhood. We were highly interested by all we saw
at Ferney. Voltaire's sitting-room, and bed-chamber, have been
scrupulously preserved in the same state in which they were left at the
time of his death: there was a bust of him in the former, and in the
latter a smaller one, upon a mausoleum (which was erected to his memory,
by his niece), bearing this inscription: _son esprit est partout_, _et
son coeur est ici_. The latter was literally the case for a
considerable time, his heart having been embalmed and placed in a leaden
box, within the mausoleum; but it has since been removed to the Pantheon
at Paris. We observed several prints framed and glazed, hanging upon
the walls of his bed-room; portraits of those celebrated characters he
particularly esteemed, either for their talents or from motives of
personal regard. Among them we remarked those of Milton (notwithstanding
Voltaire's unjust critiques upon the Paradise Lost), Newton, Washington,
Franklin, Marmontel, Corneille, Racine, Helvetius, and Delille. The last
personage (remarkable as a poet, and as the translator of Virgil), had a
line underneath his portrait (written in what many people have believed
to be the hand of Voltaire himself), which was singular enough, as it
might be taken in a double sense, either as a compliment or a satire.
Upon being made acquainted with its meaning in English, I saw the truth
of the supposition in a moment. The words were these,

    "Nulli flebilior quam tibi Virgili."

We saw Delille's tomb in the burying-ground of _Pere de la Chaise_, at
Paris: a garland of flowers, evidently fresh gathered, had been hung by
some admirer of his works over the door of his sepulchre. In this same
apartment at Ferney were also portraits of Voltaire, Frederic of
Prussia, the Empress Catharine of Russia (presented by herself), and
some others. His own picture made a great impression upon us, not from
any individual merit as a work of art, but as it so exactly expressed,
in the countenance and air, the brilliant and lively genius, the arch
satire, and acute penetration, of this celebrated wit. All the furniture
of both rooms was dropping to pieces with age and decay. The garden was
laid out in the ancient French mode, so abhorred by the purer taste of
Rousseau at that time, and since, by every true judge of the grace and
simplicity of nature. On one side was a grove of trees, and on the other
a close embowered alley of hornbeam, cut into the shape of formal high
walls, with gothic windows or openings in them, from whence the prospect
of a rich vineyard in the foreground, a lovely smiling valley beyond,
and the magnificent glaciers, with Mont Blanc, in the distance, formed
a most sublime and yet an enchanting spectacle. I should think it almost
impossible to live in the midst of all these charms and wonders of
creation, without lifting an admiring eye and grateful heart to
"Nature's God." That Voltaire was an atheist is thought now to be a
calumny entirely void of foundation, although he was so miserably
mistaken, so fatally deceived, in regard to the glorious truths of
revealed religion. Living in an age when the pure doctrines and
benignant spirit of Christianity were so atrociously misconstrued and
misrepresented, when bigotry stalked abroad in all the horrors of her
deformity, and ignorance blindly followed in the bloody traces of her
footsteps, it is less to be wondered at than regretted, that Voltaire's
vigorous understanding should have disdained their disgraceful shackles;
and that in his just ridicule and detestation of the conduct of some
followers of Christianity, he should have been unfortunately induced to
mistake and vilify Christianity itself: notwithstanding some impious
expressions concerning it, at which I shudder in the recollection, he
has in many parts of his works evidently looked with a more favourable
eye upon the protestant doctrines of England. Certain it is, that he
built at his own expense the church at Ferney. Not that I mean to
assert, that church-building, any more than church-going, is always an
infallible proof of religious feeling; I only mention the fact. The
church bears the following inscription:

    "Deo erexit Voltaire!"

There is a pretty copse or bosquet, at the end of his garden, in which
the present proprietor has erected two paltry monuments, to the memory
of Voltaire and his cotemporary Rousseau. I cannot wonder at the dislike
which subsisted between them, since the latter was such a warm admirer,
and the former so declared an enemy, of overstrained sentiment and
sickly sensibility. However, they neither of them did justice to the
real merits of each other; and proved individually how strong is the
force of prejudice, in blinding the judgment even of the cleverest men.

The village of Ferney was by far the prettiest we had seen since we left
our own country; the houses all had an air of neatness and comfort dear
to an English eye, and nothing could be more gay and cheerful than their
little gardens and orchards; in the former, flowers and vegetables
flourished promiscuously, and in great luxuriance, and the latter were
glowing with a profusion of rosy apples. We observed a species of this
fruit among them, which we did not remember ever to have seen in any
other country; it was quite white, and full of a sweet and spirited
juice.

From hence, we drove to call upon Sir F. d'I., who is a native of
Switzerland, _conseiller d'etat_ at Geneva, and well known in England as
the intelligent author of several political works. We were much charmed
by the graceful politeness and hospitable frankness with which both
himself and Madame d'I. received us. We had been provided with letters
of introduction to them, by friends in England, and Sir F. was
personally acquainted with Mr. W. He shewed us the grounds of his truly
beautiful little villa, which, from being laid out under his own eye, in
the English taste, bore a peculiar character of grace and cultivated
refinement. I must say that our method of adorning shrubberies, lawns,
gardens, &c. appeared in a very superior point of view, when compared
with that of other countries. The prospect from the drawing-room
windows, of the blue waters of the majestic lake, with Mont Blanc,
surrounded by his attendant chain of humbler mountains, was grand beyond
all idea! in short, this abode was far more like Paradise than any
dwelling upon earth. Sir F. was in momentary expectation of the arrival
of the Duke of Gloucester, (then visiting Geneva, &c.) and who was
desirous of viewing this enchanting epitome of perfection, before he
left the neighbourhood.

We returned to our inn, and my companions, leaving me under the guard
of our Swiss, immediately set off upon a three days' journey to
Chamouni, Mont Blanc, the Mer de Glace, &c. I found it neither prudent
nor reasonable to attempt joining them in this expedition, as the cold
and fatigue inseparable from it would have been too much for my
strength. I expected to have been quite solitary until their return, but
was agreeably disappointed; my new friends (whose polite attention to
all who bear the name of English is well known), being kind enough to
engage my whole time in such a manner as completely to banish _ennui_.
Sir F., who passed many years of his life in our country, respected for
his integrity and abilities, and rewarded by the esteem of Majesty, has
returned to his native land (now restored to its independence), in the
bosom of which he enjoys the high consideration of its most
distinguished members, among whom he is noted for liberality of
sentiment and a singular proportion of domestic felicity. We were told
that the people of and near Geneva are remarkable for honesty, and we
found no reason to doubt the accuracy of this information. We heard also
that the servants, as well as country people, were faithful and
harmless, and that such an offence as housebreaking, or breach of trust
in pilfering personal property, was unknown: that every family in these
environs went to bed without closing a shutter, and might safely leave
cabinets and drawers unlocked, during any absence from home. There were
twelve or more physicians in Geneva, eight out of the number having
studied and taken their degrees at Edinburgh; they are all accounted
clever in their profession. The apothecaries here are not allowed to
practise as amongst us; they are entirely restricted to the preparation
of medicines, have a thorough knowledge of the properties of drugs
(which here are of the purest and finest quality always), are good
chemists and botanists, and in other respects well educated men. This is
a high advantage to invalids. While I was in the _boutique_ of a little
jeweller, the Princess Bariatinski came in, with one of her female
attendants. She appeared a graceful unaffected young woman, was drest
with extreme simplicity, and addressed herself to the persons who waited
upon her with great affability, and a benevolent wish of sparing them
all unnecessary trouble. She is the second wife of the prince. In the
course of the day I drove about the environs in a caleche, and returned
the visits of several ladies, for whom we had letters from their friends
in England. Madame C. was fortunately at home, and I was much pleased by
her polite reception, and also by the sweet countenance and madonna
features of her grandaughter, Madame P. Their house is upon the brow of
a hill, commanding the most extensive and lovely prospect; but what
place is not lovely in this part of the world? I never could have
imagined so delicious a _sejour_ as the neighbourhood of Geneva affords,
had I not seen and enjoyed it myself. In the grounds of Mons. de C. a
singular natural phenomenon, takes place; I mean the confluence of the
Rhone and the Arve. They meet here, yet without mingling their currents;
the clear blue pure waters of the former being scrupulously distinct
from the thick turbid stream of the latter. Destiny has compelled them
to run the same course, but the laws of sympathy (more powerful still)
seem for ever to prevent them from assimilating. How frequently is this
the case with mankind! no ties of affinity can cause two dispositions to
unite and flow on together in a tranquil or felicitous course, where
nature has placed a marked opposition of sentiment and character. Those
moralists who endeavour, from motives of mistaken principle, violently
to force this native bent, do but ensure themselves the mortifying fate
of Sisyphus.

I returned to dinner at _l'hotel des Balances_, intending to accept
Madame C.'s polite invitation to take tea with her, at eight o'clock;
but first I accompanied Sir F. and Madame d'I. in a _promenade_ round
the environs, in a little open carriage called a _char_: I found this a
very social although somewhat rough conveyance, and it was so near the
ground as to allow females to alight from or ascend it without
assistance, and with perfect safety. Our drive was charming: they
pointed out many glorious prospects to my observation, and I accompanied
them to the _campagne_ (or country house) of Monsieur A., who possesses
one of the most elegant places in that neighbourhood. Monsieur A. is an
uncle of Madame d'I.'s. We met him at the entrance of his grounds,
driving in a low phaeton. It was a novelty to a curious contemplative
English traveller, like myself, to observe the manners here of
near relations towards each other. Monsieur A. took off his hat,
and remained uncovered the whole of the time during his conversation
with his niece; and, upon taking leave, the expressions of "_Adieu, mon
oncle!_"--"_Adieu, ma chere nièce!_" with another mutual bow, conveyed
an idea of mixed cordiality and ceremony, which was far from unpleasing.
I have often thought that family intercourse among us in England is too
frequently carried on in a very mistaken and (as it relates to eventual
consequences) a very fatal manner. How many people think that it is
needless to maintain a constant habit of good-breeding and politeness in
their conduct towards immediate relations, and that the nearness of
connexion gives them the liberty of wounding their self-love, and of
venting unpleasant truths in the most coarse and unfeeling manner; and
all this under the pretence of sincere and unrestrained friendship! How
entirely do such persons forget that admirable Christian precept, "Be ye
courteous one to another!"

We found Madame and Mademoiselle A. at home: the former is somewhat
advanced in years; she has frequently been in England, and both of them
speak our language fluently. The conversation this evening, however, was
wholly carried on in French, which was an advantage to me, as it gave me
an additional opportunity of conquering a ridiculous degree of awkward
shyness in speaking the latter, which is a complete bar to improvement,
and yet is often dignified amongst very good sort of people in our
country by the name of _amiable_ _modesty_. These ladies were highly
well-bred and agreeable; they knew several of my friends, the L. family
in particular: Madame A. perfectly recollected the late Mr. L. many
years since, at the time he was living at Geneva, and spoke of his
virtues, his distinguished and noble manners, his various talents, and
taste for the fine arts, in a way that brought tears of pleased
remembrance into my eyes: indeed no one, who had (like myself) the
honour and happiness of being intimate with this excellent and lamented
man, can ever, I should think, forget him, and I shall always feel it as
a source of great and flattering gratification, that I once was a
favourite, and I may say, an _elève_, of so venerable and superior a
character.

Mademoiselle A. shewed me some exquisitely fine casts from the antique,
and copies of paintings (the originals of which are now in the Louvre at
Paris), which formed the chief decorations of a charming saloon here,
floored with walnut in so elaborate and elegant a manner, that it almost
rivalled a tessellated pavement. The house and grounds altogether are
delightful, and the latter reminded me of an English park. We enjoyed a
promenade under some noble trees in front of the former, and then
returned to take our tea, when we entered upon a very animated and (to
me) a most interesting conversation upon Voltaire. Madame A. observed,
that it was always a treat to her to hear the original remarks of
persons who (judging for themselves) perused his works for the first
time. I was sorry when the moment for taking leave arrived, and could
have passed the whole of the evening here with much satisfaction. Sir F.
and Madame d'I. had the goodness to deposit me safely at the hotel of
Madame C., and made me promise to spend the next day with them at their
lovely _campagne_. I found a very agreeable and intellectual society
assembled at Madame C.'s. Among them were Monsieur and Madame de
Saussure. He is a relation of the celebrated philosopher, who was one of
the first persons who ascended to the top of Mont Blanc, many years
since, and whose observations taken there have been published. Madame
P. (who is very young, and almost a bride) sang like an angel: her
husband also possesses no inconsiderable vocal talent, and they gave us
several duets of Blangini's, which happened to be my own peculiar
favourites. Le Baron de M. an intelligent gentlemanly man (a native of
the Pays du Valais, I believe), and who has travelled a great deal in
Italy, seemed perfectly to feel and appreciate the superior merits of
the Italian school of harmony, which surprised me at first, as I had
taken him for a Frenchman, and knew how rarely pure taste of that sort
was to be expected from his nation. He had the politeness to conduct me
home at night, and left me at the door of my apartments, with many
profound bows, _en preux chevalier!_

The next morning, _presque a mon réveil_, I received a long visit from
Madame P. and I afterwards drove to Sir F.'s, where I dined, and passed
a very happy day. I met there the children of Count S. (minister for
Russia at the approaching congress at Aix la Chapelle), and their
_gouvernante_. These two little countesses (for so they were always
called), of eight and ten years of age, and their brother, a very fine
boy of five or six, ran about amid the flowers and shrubs, much at their
ease, and seemed to look upon Sir F. as a father. Indeed, he had, in a
manner, the charge of them at this time. In the evening I accompanied my
kind hosts to the house of another very pleasant family, which was also
built in a spot that commanded a superb and romantic view, where we met
a very large party, among which were several English. Some of the
company were in full dress, having called to take tea, in their way to a
grand ball, which was given that night by our countrymen to the
inhabitants of Geneva, and the latter were to return the compliment in a
similar manner in the space of a few days. I was invited by several of
the Genevese families, to attend this ball; but declined doing so, for
various reasons. This was not the only amusement at that time
anticipated; they were preparing to attend a very pretty, and I may say,
chivalrous sort of _fête_ (an _alfresco_ breakfast), upon the borders of
the lake, given to the ladies by a party of gentlemen, who were called
_les chevaliers du lac_. The day which the gallant entertainers had long
destined for this gay banquet was unfortunately early overcast by
lowering and envious clouds, which, before the company had been
assembled half an hour, broke over their heads in torrents of rain. We
had thus an opportunity of observing, that England was not the only
country where the caprices of climate render _fêtes champêtres_ rather
hazardous. The costume of the rest of the ladies was very simple, being
exactly that of the French, when not _bien paré_, and much resembling
what we wear as a morning dress, all having their gowns made high in the
neck, with long sleeves, and many of them wearing large bonnets. The
profusion of rich needlework in petticoats, ruffs, &c. was, however,
very remarkable.

The tone of general conversation here was easy, animated, lively, and
full of benevolently polite attention to the feelings of each other. In
short, it was conversation; of which we do not always understand the
right meaning, or enter into the true spirit, in the circles of England,
whatever is the reason. We had a discussion upon the drama, and the
present state of the Italian opera, both with us and upon the continent.
Those who had been in England praised Miss O'Neill very rapturously, but
Kean did not appear to have struck them so forcibly as I thought his
merits deserved. I was asked (as the conversation turned upon the marked
taste for classical and studied tragic acting upon the French stage),
whether I thought Miss O'Neill or Mrs. Siddons (in her day) would have
been most applauded and understood by a Parisian audience? I had no
hesitation in replying that I thought the latter would have been more to
their taste, as her style was rather the perfection of art than the wild
and spontaneous effect of nature. They all agreed in this opinion, and
seemed to prefer Miss O'Neill to her dignified and splendid rival: those
who consider acting as a science, however, will not coincide with them.

At about eight o'clock we adjourned to another apartment, where tea was
served: the table was very long, and covered with a cloth, round which
the company seated themselves as if at dinner. The lady of the house
made tea herself, and the servants waited behind her chair, to hand it
about; her situation was no sinecure: There was a profusion of cakes,
brioches, and fine fruit. This is always the custom at Geneva, where, as
people dine at three o'clock, they of course are ready to make a sort of
supper at tea-time. I never beheld any thing so resplendently beautiful
as the moon during my drive home: I saw it rise like a globe of fire
from behind the mountains, and throw a long track of glittering
brightness upon the calm bosom of the lake. The effect was lovely, and
the sky appeared to me to be of a far deeper and more decided blue
colour than with us. I ought not to omit the mention of a very singular
and striking phenomenon (if I may so call it), which I had likewise this
day witnessed at Sir F.'s: I mean the influence of the setting sun upon
the glaciers. They first, as the orb declined, assumed a yellow tint,
then gradually warmed into pink, and kindled at length into a glow of
rich crimson, of indescribable beauty. Mont Blanc's three fantastic
peaks received it last of all, and immediately afterwards the whole
snowy chain of mountains rapidly faded into their original hue of
spotless (or, as my friend Mr. T. fancifully calls it, _ghostly_) white.
Upon my return to the hotel, I had the unexpected pleasure of finding
Mr. Baillie and Mr. W. safely arrived from their expedition to Chamouni.
The following is the former's account to me of the incidents of their
journey.

"As we could only allow ourselves two entire days in which to perform
our journey to Chamouni, it was quite necessary that we should make the
most of our time; the distance (if I recollect right) being from fifteen
to eighteen leagues from Geneva. We started from thence at about five
o'clock in the afternoon, on the 13th of September, and slept that night
at Bonneville, a small town about fifteen miles on our route. There was
nothing particularly worthy of remark thus far, except the
magnificently beautiful tints of the setting sun upon the Mole and
adjacent mountains, which we enjoyed in great perfection. The next
morning we proceeded through the small town of Kluse to St. Martin,
where we breakfasted, and hired mules for the remainder of our journey,
the road being impassable for any carriages except those of the country,
called _char-a-bancs_, which are the most uncomfortable conveyances that
can be imagined, being built without springs.

"We passed this day two very beautiful waterfalls; but as you have
already seen the P. V. (which is superior to both), I need not trouble
you with an account of them. The aubergiste at St. Martin was
philosopher enough to have a cabinet of the natural curiosities of the
country, upon which he set no small value; his prices for the minerals,
&c. being absurdly high. The prospect became far more interesting as we
advanced towards the base of that hoary mountain, whose summit we had
distinctly seen at a hundred and fifty miles distance, some few weeks
since. We observed and admired a singular piece of water, in whose
transparent bosom Mont Blanc was clearly reflected. This was the Lac de
Chede, and though very small, is interesting, from its retired and
solitary situation. It is infested by serpents, but I could not learn
that they were venomous.

"The valley of Servoz, into which we afterwards entered, and which joins
the vale of Chamouni, is romantic beyond any thing I have ever beheld.
The road (cut out of the mountain's side) is in many places rough, and
somewhat dangerous, a very abrupt precipice being on one hand, and the
river Arve rolling below, whose waters are of great depth. I confess
that I was a little disappointed with the first view of these glaciers
(_note_ H.), perhaps, as the imagination has no bounds, from having
previously formed too magnificent an idea of them. They are situated in
the valley, at the foot of the mountain, and are formed by the frozen
snow, or rather snow-water. Their shape is irregularly pyramidical, and
their colour a very light blue.

"The Mer de Glace, which is the object most worthy of notice in this
valley, is a glacier of giant size, the pyramids of ice being in some
places of prodigious altitude, and the chasms proportionably deep. From
this place the Arve takes its source. It is quite impossible for me to
give you an adequate idea of this stupendous sea of ice, so called from
its constant, although imperceptible, movement towards the valley, the
entrance of which, it is generally expected, it will in time effectually
block up. We witnessed one or two avalanches, which our guide told us
were inconsiderable; their noise, however, made the valley roar.

"Our trusty mules deserve mention. We really thought we could not too
much admire them; although we had been prepared to find them sure-footed
and steady, we had no conception that they could possibly have led us
with such perfect safety through such rugged and dangerous passes; the
more particularly as we had no reason to reckon upon their complaisance,
having urged them to a pace to which they were quite unaccustomed, from
our desire of visiting the Mer de Glace the first day.

"The inn at Chamouni was clean and comfortable, and upon a far superior
scale of accommodation than could have been supposed in so forlorn a
situation. The Duke of G. arrived during the evening, and consequently
must have travelled through Servoz when it was dark, thereby losing all
the beauties of that wonderful scene. We set off the next morning very
early, upon our return. It was a severe frost, the ground quite white
with the hoary particles, and the weather feeling colder than I ever
remember to have experienced, although the season was but little
advanced; so much so, that my companion had to walk at a great pace for
a considerable distance, to preserve any degree of animal warmth. About
the middle of our route we observed a monument, in the shape of a large
mile-stone, which had been erected during the consulship of Bonaparte,
to the memory of a young German philosopher, who was unfortunately lost,
from the ignorance of his guide, while traversing these mountains. He
fell into the crevice of a glacier, and was not discovered until some
time afterwards, when it appeared his nails were worn off, and his
fingers stripped to the bone, in his agonizing and desperate attempts to
release himself from his horrible grave. The stone was erected (as it is
stated in an inscription) first, as a warning to travellers in their
choice of guides; secondly, to commemorate the loss of the unhappy
youth; and, thirdly, to inform the world that France encourages science,
even in her enemies.

"We found a variety of all the rarest Alpine plants and vegetables in
this valley, and were assured that it contained also mines of gold,
silver, and lead, (_note_ I.) which the poverty of the state at present
prevents being worked. We met at the little inn two Polish gentlemen,
who had been making a pedestrian tour through Switzerland; one of them
had a few days before ascended the highest mountain (next to Mont Blanc)
in the neighbourhood: he was the friend and companion of an enterprising
nobleman of the same nation, who some weeks since had gone up Mont
Blanc, by a different route to that pursued by Monsieur de Saussure, who
has written voluminously on the subject. The Pole had endured great
difficulty and fatigue, and had been three days in completing his
journey, having slept two nights upon the mountain: he was attended by
about twenty guides, all of whom were tied together, as a precaution
against any one of them falling into the chasms which are so frequently
met with in the ascent. The summit was found to be considerably changed
since it had last been visited. This stupendous mountain is 15000 feet
above the level of the sea, and rises about 9000 from the valley of
Chamouni. It is hardly necessary to tell you, that its brow is eternally
crowned with frozen snow.

"Travellers who are in delicate health, or otherwise not strong, are by
no means advised to undertake the journey from St. Martin to Chamouni on
mules; especially if they are pressed for time, as that method of
conveyance is both fatiguing and dilatory. They will find the guides of
the inn particularly intelligent and conversible, possessing a knowledge
of the mineral and vegetable kingdoms that is quite extraordinary in
men of their situation and rank in life. They are employed during the
winter months in chamois hunting, and other dangerous and hardy
exercises, and are frequently detained (as they told me themselves) by
the snow, for weeks together, in the cheerless shelter of the most
wretched _chalets_."

The next day we devoted to the purchase of some of the curiosities for
which this place is celebrated (_note_ J.), and to taking leave of our
friends, who had shewn us so much attention: we also visited the street
in which Rousseau was born, and which is called after his name, the Rue
de Jean Jacques Rousseau. We took leave of Sir F. and Madame d'I. with a
degree of regret that was only softened by the hope of seeing them in
England ere many ages should elapse. I believe I have not yet mentioned
their children; a fine boy and a very promising little girl, both
extremely young, and in whose welfare and happiness the parents seemed
to be completely wrapped up. Yet Sir F. did not appear to have spoiled
them by injudicious indulgence; on the contrary, he expressed his
conviction of the necessity and importance of _early_ moral restraint,
and I had one accidental opportunity of witnessing that his practice
perfectly harmonized with his theory: this desirable union does not
always take place, even among parents who pride themselves upon a
superior system of education.

On September 17th, we bade adieu to this delightful neighbourhood, and
proceeded upon our route to Lausanne. We continued for a great length of
way to wind along the borders of the lake, which sparkled like a diamond
in the morning sun, and whose extensive surface was slightly rippled by
a fresh and animating breeze from the mountains. With respect to the
extraordinary exhilaration of mountain air, which first struck me in
crossing Mont Cenis, and has been confirmed by subsequent experience, I
had heard and read a thousand times of its effect; but a truth, when
personally proved for the first time, always seems like a discovery,
rather than a sober confirmation of the words of other people. This
pure atmosphere appears to me the finest remedy possible for every sort
of nervous indisposition. It would even lighten (I should think) the
heavy pressure of real affliction, acting as a perfect cordial to the
spirits, as well as a tonic to the body--but Rousseau has expressed this
opinion so admirably in the first volume of his _Nouvelle Heloise_, that
while I recal his magical description, any other seems powerless and
inadequate. (_Note_ K).

We now passed though the village of Coppet. Necker's house is still
shewn here, to which he retired upon being denounced by the French
government as an enemy to his country, and where the adversity of this
great and amiable character was soothed by the presence of his equally
celebrated daughter, Madame de Stael. I feel an involuntary sensation of
_attendrissement_, whenever I think of the singular degree of affection
that subsisted between this venerable parent and his daughter, and which
breathes so touchingly in every line of her _Memoires de la Vie privée
de Monsieur Necker_, lately published in our own country. An affection
so highly wrought, as to bear rather the character of passion, and which
has therefore been objected to, by many people, as overstrained and
unnatural. But let it be remembered that the great virtues, the
attractive gentleness, the grand and expansive mind, and superior
talents of Necker, were (in her eyes) unique, and might therefore well
have the effect of creating a more than ordinary portion of admiration,
respect, and love: nor, in judging of Madame de Stael, should it ever be
forgotten, that her extraordinary depth of feeling, and her native
enthusiasm of disposition, rendered it impossible for her to experience
sensations of any sort, in a mediocre degree, or even in that rationally
moderated force, which can alone secure the possession of real
happiness. This peculiarity of feeling, which unfortunately induced some
errors in her conduct, has been admirably commented upon, by the
Edinburgh Review, in its critique upon her works in general. It
explains and apologizes, I think, for those wildly warm expressions in
which she has indulged, when speaking of Necker's character, and which
might perhaps sound strange, if uttered by a less energetic personage,
or if applied to those sort of parents who are usually met with in
common life. The woman who has been allowed by the general voice of her
cotemporary judges to be "the greatest writer of a female, that any age,
or any country, has produced;" (nay even by one distinguished genius[8]
has been called "the most powerful author, whether man or woman, of her
day;") has surely a high claim upon the forbearance of all who have been
charmed by her transcendent talents. At the same time, let me not be
mistaken, as to my own particular sentiments upon the subject; for I
have no hesitation in avowing, that as a general principle, I extremely
disapprove of the admission of what is termed passion into the filial
affections, and _vice versa_. I believe it to answer no wise or
rational end, but to be, on the contrary, in nine cases out of ten, a
fruitful source of disquietude and disappointment.

I fear my earnestness in the cause of a writer whose abilities I so
greatly admire, has led me into a dissertation which may prove tedious
to some of my readers.--_Revenons à nos moutons_. The country, the whole
of the way to Lausanne, is one continued scene of beauty; and the
pastoral air of the verdant meadows, the rich cultivation of the hills
(sprinkled with the prettiest little hamlets), the appearance of comfort
and neatness in the cottages (each with a garden and orchard), and the
grandeur of the lake and mountains beyond, altogether formed a scene of
peace, loveliness and delight, that is far more easily imagined than
described. Were it possible for me to forget the charms of my dear
native land, it is here that I could happily live, and tranquilly die.
Not that it possesses the Armida-like fascination of the shores of the
Lago Maggiore in Italy, or the high romance of parts of Savoy: the
imagination here is less excited, but the heart is more interested. I
turned from one to the other, with the kind of sensation which the mind
experiences, when comparing a brilliantly beautiful and accomplished, a
highly enchanting and charming acquaintance, with a tender, cheerful,
and amiable friend.

We stopped to take breakfast at Rolle, a neat little town, where at the
humble inn (_la Couronne_) we hailed with great satisfaction the
comforts of cleanliness and domestic order, so totally unknown to the
natives of the other countries through which we had passed.

Morges; a remarkably pretty town. In this neighbourhood there were many
vineyards, which yielded the fruit of which the wine called _vin de
cote_ is made. The lake became much narrower here, and the mountains
upon the opposite side seemed to rise abruptly from the water. Their
dark purple hue contrasted finely with the light aqua-marine tint of
the latter, and the fresh verdure of the banks, where the peasants were
mowing their second crop of hay. The beauty of some of the cottages also
struck us with admiration, but we observed as yet no particular costume.

We arrived at Lausanne to dinner. The entrance was cheerful and pretty,
and the town itself is clean and gay, built upon the side of a very
steep hill; the grand street forming as precipitous an ascent as that of
Lansdown in Bath. We found all the inns full, therefore took lodgings at
a charming house upon a hill overhanging the lake, (the view of the
Chateau de Chillon and mountains, in the distance) and to which there
was a garden and terrace, ornamented with green-house plants and
flowers. We could hardly have desired _une plus jolie campagne_ even for
our own permanent residence and property. The restaurateur (who was an
appendage to this establishment, and lived in part of the house) was a
civil bustling personage, who extremely loved to hear himself talk: he
told us that these lodgings ought to stand high in reputation, for they
had been occupied successively by _les plus grands seigneurs_, who had
all expressed themselves greatly pleased with their accommodations; a
fair hint this, how _we_ were expected to behave. We found, however,
upon parting, that the hostess had overcharged us for these wonderful
accommodations in a very preposterous manner, and she was so conscious
of it, that she consented without much difficulty to take off part of
her bill, and to allow us to pay for her apartments in French money,
instead of the Swiss, which makes a very material difference. We
breakfasted the next morning upon honeycomb from the mountains; I
believe I have mentioned this before. It is a very common article for
breakfast in Switzerland, and always brings an agreeable association of
ideas to my mind. I ought perhaps to have made earlier mention of the
great opportunity afforded to the traveller of leisurely surveying and
enjoying the beauties of scenery, from the circumstance of his not being
able to travel _post_ through Switzerland: the system of _voituring_
is, however, rather tedious, and very expensive.

The environs of Lausanne are almost equally attractive with those of
Geneva, but the latter were impressed upon my memory in such bright and
bewitching colours, that I could never think any other part of
Switzerland quite so delightful.

We quitted Lausanne, Sept. 19, for Berne. Our road still led us through
beauties innumerable. On the right was the lake, once more expanded into
a breadth like the ocean, bounded, as usual, by mountains. On the left
were vineyards, gardens, and hamlets. The grape ripens later here than
in France, but is equally luxuriant and delicious in flavour. We
frequently passed so near the glowing clusters of this tempting fruit,
that we might easily have gathered as many as we chose from the windows
of the carriage. There was a wonderfully fine growth of walnut trees
also, stretching their long branches for many yards over the water. They
are in such quantities that oil is made from the nut, for purposes of
the commonest use.

We again saw part of the romantic rocks of Meillerie, so celebrated by
Rousseau. We had been reading his _Nouvelle Heloise_ for the last few
days (as we were passing through the same scenes which are so
beautifully depicted there), and felt as if these rocks were our old
acquaintance. I always feel, in reading his works, ready to exclaim,

    "I love thee, and hate thee!"

A literary friend (in a long conversation which we had upon the subject
of this author) thought better of his Julie (as a single woman) than I
did, or ever can; but we perfectly agreed in admiration of her conduct
as a wife and mother, mistress of a family, &c. The lessons of morality
(which she there exhibits) are beyond every thing beautiful and
impressive; but I never can forgive the disingenuousness of her conduct
in consenting to marry Monsieur de Wolmar, without having previously
told him her past story. All the reasonings, the arguments, the chain
of entangling circumstances, which Rousseau has contrived to justify her
for not doing so, I think false, perverted, and totally unsatisfactory.

The costume of the peasants in this neighbourhood is not at all
remarkable, except for their straw hats, which are universally of the
gipsy shape, with a very high crown, ending in a point like a Chinese
pagoda, or the top of a parasol. We took a _dejeuné_ at Vevay, and went
in a boat upon the lake, to view the Chateau de Chillon somewhat nearer
than we had hitherto been able to do. The beauty of Lord Byron's
affecting Tale of its Prisoner returned strongly upon my imagination. I
certainly prefer his picture of Captivity to that of Sterne in the
Sentimental Journey. It appears to me to be equally touching, and far
more sublime. One or two of the minor incidents may probably have been
founded upon the legends of the Bastile; but Byron's powerful genius
stamps every line with the character of originality.

A few miles beyond Vevay the country assumed all the refined and
cultivated beauties of an English park. Here (near a miniature lake)
softly swelling hills of velvet turf, ornamented with the rich and
feathery foliage of the beech, rose gently upon the admiring eye. There
vast plantations of aspiring firs expanded their screen of darker green.
Close to the road were meadows enamelled with the lilac crocus, and
various wild flowers, fringed by hedges, where the white convolvulus and
scarlet hawthorn berry mingled gaily with the thick hazel and other
native shrubs. A few ledges of rock now and then started from amid these
mild beauties, as if to evince that we were still in the vicinity of
wilder scenery. This change in the landscape was novel and delightful to
us all. We had not seen any thing exactly in its style since leaving
England, and I almost felt annoyed when a turning in the road displayed
the snowy peaks of the eternal glaciers towering, as usual, in the
distance. Forgive this honest confession, ye exclusive lovers of the
sublime, and recollect, that the eye as well as the mind becomes
fatigued by being kept too long upon the stretch.

Stopping at a little post-house, between Vevay and Moudon, we were
surprised to see a large coarse loaf of bread brought out (instead of
hay) for the refreshment of the horses. They eat it in slices, and
appeared to relish this sophisticated food not a little. One of the
animals, however, would not take the crust in his mouth, tossing it away
in the most ridiculously disdainful manner, when he had carefully
devoured all the crumb, and it was not until he had received two or
three good cuffs on the ears from his driver that he condescended to
swallow it.

We met several prettyish women in the course of this day's journey; but
the style of their beauty did not please us so much as that of France
and Italy. It was mild without being soft, and fresh without being
brilliant: they were, in short, neither _jolie ni belle_; neither had
they _la grace plus belle encore que la beauté_; but formed a class
apart, which I cannot exactly define, but which certainly I did not
like.

Dined and slept at Moudon (inn, _au Cerf_), where we experienced the
comforts of warmth, cleanliness, and good beds; no bad things after a
long and cold journey. We were waited upon by a lively natural young
creature, of the name of Josephine, who, together with several other
girls, was staying at this inn, to learn the French language from the
occasional guests. They were all of them German Swiss. We astonished
them very much, by exhibiting a couple of musical snuff-boxes, which we
had bought when at Geneva. The girls had never seen any thing of the
kind, and were never tired of listening to them. We left Moudon the next
morning at six o'clock: the country still continued to charm us with a
pleasing succession of woods, mossy banks, and rich valleys, watered by
little serpentine silver brooks, softly flowing through green meadows.
We were still in the _Pays du Vaud_. Our servant Christian's national
enthusiasm burst forth at every step. Our friend, who frequently took a
share of his seat behind the carriage, amused us extremely with an
account of his transports. "Ah! there are de cows with bells round their
necks! How I love those bells! There be de neat cottages, all of wood:
dey builds very pretty ones always in my country." At Lausanne (where he
had been at school) it was nothing but "shaking hands," and "greetings
in the market-place."--"There is a friend of mine! I know dat man! There
lives such a one, a very honest person!" In short, the poor fellow was
in a state of continual ecstasy, and carried it so far as to think the
very stones in the road were more than commonly valuable and beautiful;
for, knowing Mr. W. to have made a small collection of spars and
fossils, &c. he drew his attention frequently, upon entering
Switzerland, to the pebbles by the wayside, calling out every now and
then, "There be a pretty stone now, Mr. V.! Very pretty stones all in my
country!" A lady at Geneva, in describing the peculiar attachment of the
Swiss to their native land, told me that her brother, upon being exiled
to England for pecuniary reasons, actually died of the true _maladie du
pays_, pining gradually away in hopeless longings after the dear scenes
amid which his youth had been passed. We now entered the grandest and
most luxuriant beech woods I ever beheld. I never had seen such
magnificent trees, except in some parts of Norbury park, in Surrey;
indeed the whole view strongly reminded me of that exquisite spot, and
brought a thousand agreeable recollections and associations to my mind.
Wherefore is it that the imagination feels a charm and a repose so
delightful amid scenes of this nature? My own peculiar feeling is now
confirmed by long experience, and I can consequently assert, with
renewed confidence, that wood, assisted by a judicious inequality of
ground, forms by far the most satisfactory and soothing feature in a
landscape. A visit to mountains, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, and
impetuous floods, gives great and animating sensations, but a constant
residence among them I should never desire; though I have no doubt but
that a Highlander or a Swiss mountaineer would extremely despise me for
the homeliness of my taste.

Payerne, a small town. The women here amazed us by their superb
_chevelures_. We saw three in particular, who wore their hair (of a dark
yet golden brown colour) twisted round the head, in a large braid,
beneath an enormous flat straw hat. If these braids had been
dishevelled, I am certain the hair would have swept the ground, and the
thickness of its growth was even yet more remarkable than its length. We
were afterwards informed of a circumstance which explained this apparent
phenomenon, as I shall presently take occasion to mention. There was a
large stone fountain here (with a statue of some warrior, armed from
head to heel), which appeared to form the only ornament of the place.

At Avenche we observed a very singular costume among the _paysannes_; in
addition to the full shift sleeve and becoming _chemisette_, confined
beneath the bosom by a coloured boddice, they wore a head-dress of
black gauze, lace, or thin horse-hair, transparent as a cobweb,
stiffened with fine wire, and standing out widely from the temples, in
the most extraordinary manner, resembling some representations I have
seen of the _cobra capella_, or hooded serpent, the wings of a
Patagonian butterfly, or the sort of bat-winged cap, which Fuseli, in
the extravagance of his wild imagination, has given to his pictures of
Queen Mab. The coarse, tame, insipid style of feature which accompanied
this attire, however, by no means suited its peculiar character. I
looked in vain for the pale, delicate, oval visage, small red lip, and
large gazelle sort of dark eye, with which it would have harmonized so
exquisitely. This is the usual Bernoise costume.

The country here became much more open, and was enlivened by the
glittering waters of the lake of Morat (_note_ L). In almost every house
we passed, we remarked great quantities of green tobacco leaves,
suspended from the projecting roofs, drying in the sun. On the borders
of the lake of Morat was formerly a chapel, filled with the bones of
the Bourguinons, who were killed in battle, in the year 1476, when
Charles the Bold was defeated. It is now destroyed, but the bones are
still left "bleaching in the wind." We got out of the carriage, and
discovered among them some very large thigh bones, &c. The size of the
warriors to whom they belonged must have been wondrous. A small rise,
upon which we stood, was entirely formed of the bodies of the slain. The
fragrant wild thyme and nodding hare-bell grew thickly upon the fatal
spot; and I observed a tuft of the latter wreathing its azure flowers
(as if in mockery) around the fragment of a mouldering skull!

There are several beautiful little _maisons de campagne_ near this
place, with their surrounding vineyards, gardens, orchards, and
fountains. They were a good deal in the style of what we are used to
call cottages _ornées_, so few of which we had hitherto seen upon the
continent, notwithstanding the adoption of a foreign title. There were
also many lovely dwellings belonging to the peasantry, built of
tan-coloured wood (_note_ M.), with stairs and galleries on the outside,
and neatly thatched or tiled. The frontispiece to this little volume,
which has been kindly presented to me by an elegant amateur artist, is a
most correct representation of a Swiss cottage.

We were now in the canton of Berne: passing through another wood of
beech, scarcely less beautiful than the former, the tremulous light,
flitting capriciously across the leaf-strewn paths, and the soft
chirping of the birds above our heads, again gave us exquisite pleasure.
I say we; for my sensations were fully participated by my companions.

We now crossed the river Sarine, by means of a large wooden bridge,
covered overhead like a penthouse, and entered the village of Guminen,
sunk between bold and rocky hills, fringed with rich trees and
underwood. The females in this part of Switzerland all appeared to
possess a qualification which Shakespeare has pronounced (and with
truth) to be "a marvellous excellent thing in woman." I allude to the
soft musical tone of their voices in speaking: it was really remarkable,
and we thought it almost made amends for the want of beauty. We dined at
Guminen, in a cleanly little inn (_l'Ours_), where, on looking out at
the window, we were struck by the sight of a Lucerne _paysanne_ in full
costume. She wore the usual tresses of braided hair hanging down at
length behind, and the black gauze cap; but her boddice was remarkably
curious, being of black velvet, richly embossed with lilac and black
beads (the latter coming from Venice, and extremely small), in the
manner of embroidery; indeed such quantities had been expended, that her
bust looked as if in armour. This boddice was likewise ornamented with
silver filigree buttons, and long silver chains, ending in large tassels
of the same material, gilt. She had also a black velvet collar, studded
with Venetian beads and coloured foil, and a worked linen _chemisette_
and full shift sleeves, white as snow. This dress must have been very
expensive for a woman in her rank of life; and upon inquiry we found
that she was, in fact, the wife of a rich miller. We were not annoyed
here, as in Italy and France, by the clamours of beggars; they very
rarely made their appearance, and even when they did, were always modest
and diffident. It gave us pleasure to pass through so large a tract of
country without being able to discover any trace of abject poverty among
the peasantry: they all wore an air of ease and content, and we found
upon inquiry that they were in general enjoying the most comfortable and
independent circumstances.

From a hill near Berne we first caught the distant harmony of a number
of mellow-toned bells, which pastoral sounds, our Swiss informed us,
were produced by the cattle (round whose necks the bells were
suspended), and who were at that moment descending in large herds from
the mountains, for the evening milking. At the same time we were struck
by a glorious view of the Alps (_note_ N.), their frozen peaks rosy from
the reflection of departing light: one of the highest of them is
called, from hence, Monte Rosa. I have never listened to church bells
(when their clang has been mellowed by distance) without a feeling of
melancholy; but these seemed to breathe of innocent joy, and to tell a
tale of peace, happiness, comfort, and domestic delight. This, I know,
must have proceeded in both cases from early associations, and in the
latter from the influence of ideas connected with poetry. What an
ever-springing source of exquisite enjoyment is that divine gift! A
susceptibility of its powers is like a sixth sense, for which it becomes
all who possess it to be truly grateful to the benevolent Donor.

We now entered Berne. This is a fine large town, with a remarkably
handsome entrance. We obtained most excellent rooms, replete with every
essential comfort, and furnished with taste, at our inn (_au Faucon_),
which was spacious enough to be taken for some ancient castle, when the
feudal lords lodged a hundred or two of retainers, besides guests,
beneath their ample roof. It was built in the form of an oblong square,
with three galleries, one above another (each of which had interminable
passages connected with it, all leading to different suites of
apartments), looking down upon an open court or area in the midst. In
this court a little army of washerwomen were assembled (belonging, I
believe, to the establishment), carrying on the process of purification
with great activity (in tubs almost large enough for brewing vats), and
with hot water, which is an unusual thing upon the continent. Apropos to
cleanliness, we all made the same observation in passing through
Switzerland, namely, that the inhabitants (more especially in the
protestant cantons) seemed to understand the comfort inseparable from
this virtue, and that they certainly practised it in a far higher degree
than any people we had seen since leaving England. We have frequently
met with better accommodations (because cleanliness has been
scrupulously attended to) in the inferior inns of Switzerland than in
the most superb hotels of Paris, Turin, Milan, &c. I am sorry to be
obliged, however, to except those of Geneva, which are allowed by the
inhabitants themselves to be all very dirty.

We walked about Berne the next morning, and gave audience to Christian's
venerable father and to his sister, who came over from their farm in the
neighbourhood to fetch him to spend a day with them. They had not met
for some years; neither father nor daughter spoke a word of any language
but German _patois_; the latter was drest in the complete _Bernoise_
costume, even to the little bouquet of natural flowers in the bosom. I
forget what great author it is who says that "a man who has left his
native place for years is generally anxious to make some figure in it,
upon his return,"--this was truly exemplified in our servant, who, the
morning after our arrival, burst upon his town's folk, in all the glory
of the most dandy English dress, appearing far more smart than his
master, and forming a curious contrast to the rustic figures of his
humble yet picturesque-looking relations. We proceeded, after dinner,
to view the bears, and stags, which have from time immemorial been kept
in the deep fosse, which surrounds the town. There are tall fir-trees
planted in this moat, for the bears to climb, and plenty of green cool
turf for the refreshment of the stags. The animals are separated from
each other, of course. The origin of this custom is singular. In ancient
times, a rich seigneur of the country, and his sons, determined to found
a town, which should transmit their memories to posterity, and should be
called after the name of the first animal that they might happen to kill
in a grand hunting-match, which they assembled for the purpose. This
animal turned out to be a bear; accordingly the town was called Berne,
and the stone image of the creature was erected at the gates--a custom
which is continued to the present moment. When the founders died, they
left a sum of money to be laid out for the sole benefit of this bear,
which in process of time so greatly accumulated, as to form quite a
little fortune; so that all the successive bears have been persons of
property, and accustomed to the enjoyment of those _agrèmens_, which an
easy income can alone secure. Bonaparte pounced upon the senior bruin
(called Monsieur Martin), and carried off both himself and his money to
Paris, where he now lives in high reputation, and equal splendor, at the
bottom of a deep pit, in _le Jardin des Plantes_. The people of Berne
have since obtained some other bears, which are the same that we now
saw, and a proper sum for their support is awarded by the government,
which also is increasing by occasional legacies from individuals.

We passed the evening in company with an Englishman (an old friend of my
husband's), who had spent many years upon the continent, and who had
made it one of his chief objects to visit and inspect the different
prisons there. We were glad (as far as nationality was concerned) to
hear that those of England are (comparatively speaking) carried on upon
a system of benevolence superior to most others. This gentleman told
us, that the prisons of Turin at this day, were a disgrace to humanity,
being the most horrible dungeons that the imagination can picture. We
saw several groups of the convicts at Berne, who wore an iron collar,
and were chained by the leg, to a small light cart, which (like beasts
of burden) they drew daily round the town, to collect and carry away the
dirt of the streets. The prisoners of both sexes are also employed in
sweeping the crossways, pavements, &c. and are drest in a peculiar
uniform, their labour being proportioned to the degree of their guilt.
All the culprits in the country, who are not condemned to death, are
sent to Berne, and are employed in these and similar offices.

The cathedral did not appear to us worth visiting; our eyes had been
satiated with buildings in this style, and after having seen the glories
of the Duomo at Milan, we found all other cathedrals poor and
uninteresting. Most of the shops here are built under stone arches,
which renders them somewhat gloomy, but adds to their convenience in
rainy weather. There are numerous stone fountains in all parts of the
town, many of which have a martial figure on the top; we saw one,
however, with a statue of Moses upon it, no inappropriate patron, as he
could make the solid rock gush out with water. Over one of the principal
gateways, we remarked a colossal image of Goliah, grim and gaunt enough
to frighten all the naughty boys in the place.

Happening to mention the circumstance of the extraordinary growth of
hair, among the women about Payerne, we were informed that it was almost
all false. The _paysannes_ have an ancient and invariable custom of
mixing great quantities of borrowed tresses with their own, in order to
form that singular braid round the head, which had so forcibly attracted
our notice. I should imagine the toilette of these rural belles must be
an operation of some skill, for the false is so very well mingled with
the real hair, that it might defy the sharp eye of the most prying old
spinster to detect the method in which it is done.

We saw several girls at Berne working upon cushions (something in the
manner of lace-makers), under the piazzas; they were embroidering the
collars and stomachers of the Bernoise _paysannes_, in small Venetian
beads (called in England seed beads) of all colours, gold tinsel, foil,
&c. upon a ground of black velvet. Their performance was really very
neat and tasteful. The prince Leopold of Coburg was here, at the same
time with ourselves, looking very melancholy, and almost continually
alone: he was on a visit to his sister, the grand duchess Constantine,
who resides in the neighbourhood. She is separated from her husband, who
is brother to the emperor of Russia. They were married, I believe (in
pursuance of one of those horrible schemes of state policy, where every
better feeling of the heart is cruelly sacrificed and overborne), at the
age of fourteen, and the subsequent catastrophe is not to be wondered
at. Of the society at Berne we could not judge, as our stay did not
exceed three days and a half, but our English friend (lately mentioned,
and who had been a great deal amongst the best families there)
mentioned it to be particularly agreeable. During the winter, there are
concerts and balls, private parties, and a company of actors. The
hospital is a fine establishment, with a garden full of choice flowers
and shrubs, green-house plants, and a fountain, being sustained upon the
most liberal plan; any poor person, passing through the town, may find
food and lodging at the hospital for twenty-four hours, and is sent away
at the expiration of that time with a donation of one franc (value, in
English money, tenpence). There is also an asylum for foundlings, where
the children are maintained till they attain the age of fifteen, and are
then put out to service. It being one of the market days, we saw many
different costumes (belonging to the various cantons) assembled. That of
the women of Guggisberg is frightfully ugly; a napkin is folded flat
across the forehead, and tied behind in a slouching manner; the dress is
of black cotton, with a very long waist, and the petticoat does not
reach to the knee; their legs are terribly thick, but luckily this
circumstance is reckoned amongst themselves as a beauty, and to increase
it, they wear four or five pair of stockings at a time. Mr. B. observed
a Tyrolese peasant, with whose manly beauty and elegant costume he was
much struck. I did not see him myself; they are generally fine figures,
strong and athletic, yet extremely graceful, the dress being always
particularly becoming and highly picturesque.

The women of Lucerne I have already described, in the specimen of the
rich miller's wife that we saw at Guminen. Entering the shop of a famous
picture-dealer here, he shewed us a collection of portraits, of the most
celebrated rural _belles_ of Switzerland, among which was that of the
fair _bateliere_ of the lake Brientz. I hoped to have beheld another
"Ellen, Lady of the Lake," but was greatly disappointed, not being able
to admire the character of her beauty, thinking it far too coarse; but
those persons who have really seen her assured us her picture by no
means did her justice. We were also shewn a set of coloured prints from
the original drawings of a poor wretch of the name of Mind[9]; he died
about two years ago, and his works are very much valued in this country,
not only for their intrinsic merit, but as being the performance of a
_cretin_, which means an idiot, afflicted with a _goître_. We were told
by the picture-dealer, who had known him well, that this Mind was one of
the most deformed and horrible objects of the sort, and was perfectly
imbecile and stupid in every thing that did not immediately relate to
his art. He had (like some idiots who have fallen under my own personal
observation) a prodigiously retentive memory, from the impressions of
which he alone was able to draw. If he met any group of men or animals
in his daily rambles, he would instantly run home, lock himself up, and
produce shortly afterwards the most spirited and accurate drawing of the
objects which had thus fired his fancy. The high finish of his
colouring, also, was equally remarkable with the boldness of his
outline; he more particularly excelled in drawing cats, and had
completed a voluminous collection of these animals, in all their stages
of existence and habits of life; from which circumstance he has obtained
the name of _le Raffaelle des Chats_. At a first view of his works, we
were inclined to doubt the truth of his having been so complete an idiot
in all respects which were unconnected with his art; but as vague
arguments of conjecture and probability, cannot stand against the
positive evidence of attested facts, of course we gave up our
objections, and felt that to persevere in them would be obstinacy,
rather than penetration. The history of this man would, I think, form an
interesting subject of reflection to the philosopher and the physician,
and I wish it were generally known and published. This evening we went
to see the exhibition of Mr. Koenig, an excellent landscape painter;
it consisted of a set of transparent views (beautiful beyond any thing
of the sort that we had ever previously beheld), taken from the most
celebrated scenes in Switzerland; among them, we were most pleased with
the chapel of William Tell (_note_ O.) by moonlight, on the lake of
Zug, and with a cottage (also by moonlight) on the lakes of Bienne and
Thun. The wonderful degree of nature and truth which these paintings
displayed, I shall hardly forget; indeed I cannot say too much in praise
of them, and would advise every traveller who visits Berne to go and see
this enchanting little spectacle: I will venture to say his expectations
will be greatly exceeded.

September 24th.--I must in justice recommend all our friends passing
this way to take up their quarters _au Faucon_, as it is a most
excellent house, and the mistress a very attentive sensible person.

I ought not to take leave of the place without also mentioning the
_promenade_ upon the ramparts, and the glorious view of woods, hamlets,
and glaciers to be seen from thence[10]. We were much amused in watching
the sports of the youth of the town there, who have a green inclosure,
where various games and exercises (resembling the ancient gymnastic) are
carried on every evening, at a certain hour; they are admirably well
calculated to cherish habits of activity and agility, and to promote
both health and strength.

All the public offices here are served by persons who faithfully and
zealously fulfil their functions, without emolument of any sort.

Marriages through Switzerland are much encouraged by some of their
political institutions; in this canton, for instance, a bachelor cannot
arrive at the honourable post of bailiff, or be admitted to the council,
or become what they call a _seigneur_, which is an inferior office in
the government; but at the same time so fearful are these governments of
any circumstance that might in process of time by the accumulation of
fortunes infringe upon their liberties, that marriages between cousins
german are forbidden by law.

In the best statistic account of the population of this country taken
from the public registers, it is estimated inclusive of the allied
provinces at about two millions. The protestant cantons are found to be
the most populous, as they are the most active, industrious, and
commercial, but they are not always the richest.

The police is regulated with the most exemplary vigilance and good
order; the canton is a protestant one.

Upon quitting Berne, we found the country a lovely repetition of rich
waving woods (chiefly of beech and pine); the brilliant autumnal tints
of the former trees glowing beneath the bright blue of a cheerful
morning sky, and the aromatic perfume of the latter, scenting the
freshness of the breeze. How weak and inadequate are words to express
certain feelings of delight! How easy is it to mention woods and plains,
rocks and lakes, and to expatiate upon the charm of each, in appropriate
terms; yet how far are we all the time from conveying to the minds of
our hearers or readers the sensation of enjoyment which thrilled through
our own bosoms while actually beholding the scenes we attempt to
describe.

We passed through several villages which appeared to be the favourite
haunts of peace, health, and humble happiness. The parsonage-house in
one of them was a charming picture of comfort, neatness, and picturesque
taste; close to the cheerful little whitewashed church, it reared its
grey venerable roof. The walls were covered by the spreading branches of
a fruitful pear-tree, and the green latticed windows were shaded by a
vine, which wreathed its graceful foliage, and hung in luxuriant
clusters, likewise, over a small bower, or recess, adjoining the
sitting-room, where I could imagine a simple primitive pastor and his
happy family assembled together, enjoying the social evening meal. La
Fontaine's lovely descriptions of such scenes and such beings, in his
_Nouveau Tableau de Famille_, rushed upon my recollection, and I almost
expected to see his sweet Augusta (in the days of her prime) come forth
from the rustic porch, leaning on the arm of her valuable husband, and
surrounded by their innocent and blooming race. When this same Augusta
becomes a grandmother, I think La Fontaine has painted her too selfishly
forgetful of the happiness of her youthful days, and of the feelings
natural to girls at that age; it is not in character with the virtue and
sentimental graces of her earlier years, and rather conduces to
encourage in the bosom of the reader a sensation of indignant disgust at
the rigid, frigid, and unamiable propensities sometimes found among the
aged. This beautiful and affecting novel is so well known to all persons
of good taste and discrimination, that my allusion to it will I hope be
at once understood and forgiven. Beyond this neighbourhood, the country
opened in the most striking manner, affording a fine and heart-cheering
prospect of cultivated plains, fresh pastures, peaceful flocks and
herds, walnut groves and thatched cottages; the latter looked at a
distance like large beehives, and the inhabitants seemed to evince a
similarity to the bees in their habits of brisk and lively industry. I
can easily understand the pre-eminent attachment of the Swiss to their
native land; they must indeed be senseless were they less alive to the
charms of scenes like this.

[Illustration: _London, Published by I, Murray, 1819._
HERMITAGE of ST^E. FRENE.]

We took an early dinner at Soleure (_note_ R.), or Solothurne. We were
now in a catholic canton, and the difference of our accommodations at
the inn (_la Couronne_) from those we had experienced in the protestant
governments was very apparent, for once more dirt, in various shapes,
made its unwelcome appearance. The houses were, some of them, painted
gaudily on the whitewashed outsides, in the Italian manner, and the
cathedral, of Grecian architecture, was full of paltry paintings. The
costume of the townspeople was both tasteless and dirty; a white linen
cap, with a border of muslin, half a yard in depth, flapping about in
the most unbecoming way, increasing the general plainness of the women's
features. Their persons, also, were awkward and ill made, particularly
about the legs and feet. The place itself was full of bad smells, but
situated in a picturesque part of the country. As we proceeded, we found
the cottages decrease in beauty; nor did they exhibit the same degree of
_aisance_ and comfort as those near Berne. The fields likewise partook
of this spirit of decline, appearing less cultivated and productive. We
could not help attributing this to the people having their time so
perpetually broken in upon by the necessity of going to mass, and by
the too frequent recurrence of _jours de fêtes_.

We passed a fine picturesque old castle upon the left, a few miles
beyond Soleure, and arriving at Balstadt (a dirty-looking village),
where we slept, found a most uncomfortable, slovenly inn, and bad
attendance; and to heighten our miseries, our friend became so much
worse, that we were obliged to send for what medical assistance the
wretched place afforded. Accordingly there arrived the "village leech,"
who had much the air of a farrier, or cow-doctor, and who applied
various nostrums without success. His unfortunate patient made a
vigorous effort to shake him off the next morning, and we went on,
hoping to get as far as Basle. We started with two horses and three
mules, having to ascend a steep mountain immediately upon quitting
Balstadt (or rather Ballstall, in modern orthography). The surrounding
scenery was of a very different nature from that of the preceding day:
the road (in some places nearly as perpendicular as any in the wild
mountains of Savoy) led us through pale grey rocks, scooped
occasionally into quarries, and fringed on one side by an infinite
variety of young trees of every sort, and on the other by extensive
woods of pine, whose shades formed a beautiful contrast to the brighter
verdure of the velvet turf, from which they sprung. We observed (as
usual) great numbers of wild barberry trees, and juniper bushes, while
the purple heath-bell, waving her fairy cups amid the moss and thyme,
upon every bank, gave a smiling character to the foreground.

Falkenstein Castle (a fantastic ruin, crowning the summit of a bold
jutting mass of rock far above our heads) had a very imposing effect.
The battled walls and narrow round towers were so much of the same
colour as the mountain from which they rose, as scarcely to be
distinguished from it at a distance. It reminded us strongly of some of
Mrs. Radcliffe's descriptions, and our fancy easily peopled it with a
terrific baron, a fair suffering heroine, a captive lover, and every
other requisite _et cetera_ of romance. As we were now in _German_
Switzerland, such visions were not inappropriate, and my readers will
pardon them accordingly. We saw another castle, also, further on,
situated upon an eminence in the midst of magnificent woods of beech,
and looking down upon a pretty hamlet of white cottages, each with its
neat little _verger_ and _potager_, some of them shaded by vines, and
almost all furnished with a range of beehives. The inhabitants were
gathering the walnuts, apples, and plums, from their loaded trees, as we
passed: a clear little wimpling stream ran through the village, and the
spire of the church rose among rich tufted foliage in perspective. We
began to suspect, from this appearance of comfort and neatness, that we
were once more in the neighbourhood of a protestant government, which we
found afterwards was really the case. The sweet stream I have just
mentioned was so kind as to accompany us for a considerable way, pure,
sparkling, and dashing its shallow waters over the yellow pebbles, with
a rippling murmur that was delightfully soothing to the ear. The
country again resumed the woody, cultivated appearance, which is so
pleasing to behold, and gradually expanded into lovely meadows, which
the little brook kept forever fresh and verdant.

We stopped at Liestall, where we found a cleaner town, a better inn, and
a more prepossessing hostess than at Ballstall. The people manufacture
gloves here: they were good, but very dear. It is not to be told how
disagreeably the German language grated upon our ears in passing through
these cantons; after the mellifluous harmony of the Italian, and even
when compared with the French, it was doubly intolerable. Our own is
harsh enough, in the opinion of foreigners; yet I can with difficulty
imagine any thing so bad as German.

We arrived to dinner at Basle. This is a very large town (under a
protestant jurisdiction), clean and gay. Its chief attraction to us was
the river Rhine, which rolled its majestic waters beneath the windows of
our auberge (_les Trois Rois_), which was spacious and convenient. We
ascended to our apartments by a curious spiral staircase, in an old
round tower, that formed part of the building.

The Rhine is a noble river, but inferior in beauty of colour to the
Rhone at Geneva. Indeed the latter I cannot at this moment recollect
without a feeling of pleasure and admiration impossible to describe.

We left Basle, Sept. 26. The road as far as Bourglibre, and even
considerably beyond it, was flat and uninteresting; the cottages rather
dirty than otherwise, and extremely ugly; the costume of the peasantry
very indistinctly marked, and by no means becoming, being a wretched
imitation of the French. All this was accounted for, when we recollected
that we had now once more entered the territories of that nation,
leaving modern Germany on our right, and turning our backs upon the
sweet simplicity and unequalled charms of Switzerland. The postillion
also strongly evinced the national character, mounting his horse with a
true _gasconade_ flourish, and cracking his whip in the old
well-remembered style.

We dined and slept at Colmar. The inn (_aux Six Montagnes Noirs_) was
dirty, and the attendance very mediocre; but the beds were good, and
free from vermin. Our host was the most hideous man I ever saw: he was
absolutely strangling with fat; his bristly grizzled hair was strained
off the forehead, and forced into a long thick queue, with so tight a
hand, that the water in consequence was perpetually running from his
little red eyes; his voice in speaking was most unpleasantly guttural,
and rendered still more disagreeable by the absurd mixture of bad French
and German, which he sputtered with great difficulty, in answering our
necessary questions. His daughter usually sat in the bar, playing a
French love ditty upon an old guitar. Of her I can only say, that she
was the "softened image" of her "honoured papa."

The _paysannes_ in the near neighbourhood of Colmar wear a pretty little
flat, round-eared cap, at the back of the head, made either of very gay
coloured silk, or cotton, and sometimes of gold tissue with crimson
spots; their neck handkerchiefs are likewise of the brightest dyes,
thrown carelessly over the gown, and the ends confined before, by a
girdle. These women, generally speaking, are not at all handsome; the
men chiefly wear coats of coarse bright green cloth, without collars,
enormously long waisted waistcoats (sometimes red, laced with gold, and
large buttons), with cocked hats.

The country upon first leaving Colmar was mountainous, but not very
pleasing or interesting, in spite of the inequality of ground, the
presence of verdure, the view of distant villages, and a very fine clear
sky; all of which are notwithstanding the materials for forming a
beautiful landscape. This, to my mind, had an analogy with the persons
of some women I had formerly seen; who possessed fine hair and teeth,
clear bright eyes, a good complexion, were sufficiently young, and not
ill-made; yet with all these requisites to beauty, were plain, awkward,
and totally wanting in agreeable effect. A strange caprice of nature,
but not less true than strange.

The face of things, however, rather improved, upon approaching
Schelestat. The costume of the _paysannes_ brightened into a degree of
taste and neatness that we had not seen equalled since leaving St.
Denis, near Paris. Some of their caps were wholly of white worked
muslin, with a thin clear border, and bound neatly round the head by a
light blue or rose-coloured riband: the gowns also sometimes varied,
being not unfrequently made of white cotton, with gay crimson sprigs
upon them. We continually saw castles and churches upon the surrounding
heights, and a great number of vineyards; but the villages and small
towns were invariably dirty, and very ugly.

Since we had left Basle, we had been travelling through Alsace (ancient
Germany), in the department of the Haut Rhin. A few miles farther,
brought us into the vicinity of very fine fresh pasture lands, bordered
by willows, and relieved by a magnificently rich back ground of high
hills, clothed with young beech-trees, intermingled with oak. Here vast
herds of cattle were feeding; close to the road, and forming a sort of
border to the meadows, were extensive fields of potatoes, turnips,
cabbages, and broccoli, &c. without any guard or inclosure; this (as I
formerly mentioned) spoke well for the honesty of the poor people, and
at all events proved them to be enjoying a degree of ease and plenty, as
far as _vegetable_ riches were concerned. I remarked, in the hedges
here, the first honey-suckles I had seen since leaving England. The
costume of the young infants in this part of the world is very singular;
they all wear little foundling-shaped caps of black velvet, studded with
gold spots, or of white, with silver embroidery upon them, which has a
very strange effect to an English eye; but among the French people there
is such an infinite variety of fanciful attire, that nothing appears
extraordinary or out of the common way.

Passing through a small village, we saw several groups of the peasantry,
mingled with the Austrian soldiery, all dressed in their gayest costume
(it being Sunday evening), and we caught the musical tones of the slow
German waltz, to which national melody some of them were dancing. There
was not the least appearance of riot or disorder; they were blamelessly
rejoicing in the natural gaiety of their hearts, at the close of that
day whose forenoon had been spent in the exercise of their religious
duties;--that day which is devoted, in some parts of the world, to mere
peaceful rest from labour, unattended with any demonstration of
hilarity: in others, to a puritanical gloom, and rigid formality; but in
this, to cheerful, social intercourse, and the enjoyment of a harmless
mode of exercise--I say harmless, because the waltz is not looked upon
by the natives here in at all the same light as it sometimes is, in the
higher ranks of English society; and it is the only dance with which
they are acquainted. How weak and absurd, how really wicked is the
intolerance which leads people to condemn or quarrel with their fellow
creatures, for the different points of view under which they regard this
same day! Although I cannot quote Sterne as a moralist in all cases, I
certainly do most sincerely coincide with him in his sentiments relative
to religious feeling, as expressed in that chapter of his "Sentimental
Journey," called "The Grace." At the same time I am perfectly aware that
a similar method of passing the Sunday evening, after the service of the
day is fulfilled, would not be advisable (even were it possible to try
the experiment), in our own country. It does not agree with the
character and habits of the nation; and the lower orders of people, (in
the present state of existing circumstances), would assuredly debase it
by every species of vice and immorality. They require a strongly marked
line to be laid down, as a rule of right, from which all deviation would
probably be dangerous. Considering the subject in this light, I should
therefore be concerned to behold any great change attempted in the
manner of spending the Sunday evening, and would certainly not be the
first person to put myself forward in the outward display of different
opinions to the generality of individuals in the country, and under the
government to which I belong. We all owe an example, which may be
salutary to our inferiors and dependents.

At St. Marie aux Mines we were obliged to take five horses to the
carriage, as the road beyond that place was very mountainous. We had the
mental refreshment of observing numbers of sweetly pretty women here,
all dressed with native taste and neatness; the children also were
engaging in their appearance, and the men generally good-looking. French
is almost universally spoken among them.

Ascending les montagnes de St. Marie aux Mines, the scenery presented a
beautiful melange of wood and rock; the road likewise was excellent. We
admired the way in which the postillions managed their horses, walking,
the whole of the ascent, by their side, but obliging them to maintain an
unrelaxing steady pace, and this by words alone: the poor animals were
almost as intelligent as their drivers, obeying them with the utmost
readiness and alacrity. I must here indulge myself in marvelling at that
perversion of every generous and rational feeling, which leads man to
torture and abuse these generous, noble creatures. I have before
mentioned, that the conduct of the French drivers to their horses is
highly praiseworthy. The sleek comely appearance of the post-horses
throughout France, as well as the state of their feet, evinces that they
are well fed and kindly treated, and during our whole tour, we met with
no instance of brutality among the postillions. These roads have been
greatly improved by the present king.

We arrived to a late supper at St. Diez, where we slept. We were not
disposed to quarrel with _la Poste_ for being a true country inn: the
host had not been spoiled by too many English travellers, those _Milords
Anglais_, of whose proverbial riches every aubergiste imagines he has a
right to take advantage, and who in consequence render humbler
_voyageurs_ of other nations ready to execrate their very names. We were
taken for Germans, and found our bills reasonable and moderate in
consequence. The _maitresse de la maison_ was a kind-hearted, natural
little _bourgeoise_, and very proud of her only child (a fine infant of
nine or ten months), which she brought to shew us, in hopes of its
being admired and praised. Mothers, in higher life than this poor woman,
are deeply sensible to the charms of this species of flattery; and, even
when they know it to be flattery, are hardly ever able to resist feeling
pleased and propitiated thereby. For myself, I plead guilty at once. The
amount of our charges at St. Diez it may perhaps be as well to mention:
for supper (which was a good one), beds, apartments, wine, fruit,
lemonade, and breakfast the next morning, we three persons did not pay
more than twelve English shillings.

We started from hence at eight o'clock the following day, and found the
road for the first stage mountainous and woody. Most of the cottages
were ugly (as usual), and the inhabitants appeared dirty and lamentably
poor. For the two or three following stages the country grew perceptibly
flatter, and more open; the highway began to resume the old French line
of undeviating straightness, and avenues of puny seedling trees were
planted by its side. Large (or rather vast) tracts of arable land, in
all the baldness of a recent harvest, spread their tawny surface
around, and the whole presented a picture of monotony that was far from
agreeable.

All the people in this part of France seemed attached to the memory of
Bonaparte. The postmaster at Menilflin had a conversation with the
gentlemen upon the subject. He said that "the nation entertained a good
opinion of the private virtues of Louis XVIII., and wished him well; but
it was impossible not to remember what vast improvements of various
sorts Bonaparte had introduced, what noble works he had achieved, and to
what a pitch of military glory he had raised the country." He then
asked, with some appearance of reproach, "Why the English kept him so
barbarously immured in a dreadful prison?" All attempt to soften this
representation of Napoleon's present circumstances seemed of no avail;
our host only shook his head, and seemed to entertain a very strong
persuasion of the needless cruelty of the British nation.

Beyond Menilflin the scene again changed to a view of pasture lands,
with hills and woods in the distance; and upon approaching the latter we
found they were chiefly of oak. The potatoe was here generally
cultivated, and in great quantities. Formerly the French despised this
fine vegetable, but at present they are fully sensible of its
importance.

Just beyond the large town of Luneville there were many vineyards, and a
profusion of walnut-trees. The vines were planted alternately with the
potatoe, in patches, and the contrast of the two different shades of
green was singular, and not unpleasing. Beggars at this time began to
make their reappearance, clamouring, in the old cant, at the windows of
the carriage.

We now passed through a landscape of wonderful richness and verdure, and
enjoyed a succession of woods and vineyards for many miles. It was the
time of _les vendanges_. Every waggon we met was loaded with grapes, and
every peasant was reeling under the weight of a large wooden bucket (as
long as himself) filled with the same luxuriant and picturesque burden.
Groups of young children followed, each, like a little Bacchus, holding
a ripe cluster in its hand, attended by several women carrying baskets
of the fruit, and all of them singing, laughing, and warmly enjoying the
cheerful scene.

We reached Nancy to dinner. This is a large, clean, and very handsome
town, and the streets are much broader than in most foreign ones. They
resounded, as the evening advanced, with joyous songs in chorus, sung
(often in parts with considerable accuracy) by the common people, in
honour of _les vendanges_; but their mirth soon became rather too loud
for refined ears, as they shouted (men and women together) at the utmost
pitch of their voices, a sort of recitative and chorus, dancing at the
same time _en ronde_, and frequently mingling shrill bursts of laughter
and shrieks with this wild and extraordinary harmony. Every one of the
_garçons_ of our inn ran out in the street to join the peasantry in the
maddening dance. Altogether it was a perfect bacchanalian festival,
strongly resembling those ancient rites in honour of the rosy god
mentioned in the pagan mythology. We went in the evening to the theatre,
to see Baptiste (from Paris), who is reckoned one of the best French
actors in comedy, and who performed here for one night only. The piece
was a little comic pastoral, interspersed with music, but Baptiste's
_role_ was far too trifling for us to form any just idea of his
talents--but how extraordinary it is that this nation, from time
immemorial to the present day, should have been so totally ignorant of
the true genius of vocal music. Rousseau's well-known opinion (in his
letter from St. Preux to Julie, upon the difference of Italian and
French taste in singing) came into my head more than once, and I most
sincerely wished that the French would always confine themselves to what
they so particularly excel in, the dance: their songs make the same sort
of impression upon my mind, when compared with the beautiful productions
of the Italian school, that a Savoyard cretin would do, if placed by the
side of an Apollo Belvidere.

The theatre at Nancy was large, and the decorations and machinery
tolerably good. It was the only one that we had seen illuminated in the
boxes as well as upon the stage, a lustre being suspended above the pit,
which shed a very pleasant light over all the house.

The next day, Sept. 30, we pursued our route. There is a beautiful
Grecian gateway at this end of the town, which is worthy of every
traveller's observation.

The road from hence was in a straight line with a tiresome avenue, as
usual (_note_ S.), and led us through a fine wood of beech and other
trees (none of them of large growth); but it lost nearly all picturesque
effect, from the vicinity of this artificial avenue, and the unbending
line of the highway. The country for many miles is very open, bounded by
hills, and bearing some resemblance to the county of Wiltshire.

Thoul, a pretty town, stands in the midst of wide plains, a small hill
covered with vines sheltering it on one side. It is decorated with long
rows of formal stiff poplars, above which tower the spires of its large
cathedral. The river Moselle runs near this place, an inconsiderable
tame little stream, whose banks can boast no kind of beauty.

The town was adorned by several vineyards and kitchen-gardens, full of
well-cultivated vegetables and fruit; but the country beyond it was
wide, flat, and insipid, for a considerable distance. At length we had
the agreeable variety of entering a remarkably pretty, wild looking wood
of young beech-trees, where we observed an ancient, lone, white mansion,
greatly fallen to decay, yet evidently inhabited, and surrounded by
gardens and walls for fruit, of large size and height: the latter also,
as well as the house, much dilapidated. The wood, closing round on all
sides, gave it an air of singularity and romance; nor could I restrain
my fancy (during a subsequent uninteresting drive) from tracing the plan
of a little _novel_ sort of history, relative to the inhabitants of this
solitude. How delightfully would the late Charlotte Smith have done the
same thing! All her novels (putting on one side her passion for
democracy, and her blind prejudices in favour of the Americans) interest
my feelings extremely. They have a tone of elegant pathos (far removed
from the sickly whine of affected sensibility) peculiar to themselves,
and with many palpable faults are altogether bewitching. I am not
singular in this taste, having, I believe, the honour of acquiescing in
the opinion of some of the best judges.

We were now close upon the borders of Champaigne. Immense woods extended
in every direction, yet they were not sufficiently near, to vary the
landscape agreeably. As far as the eye could distinctly reach, nothing
but vast uninclosed stubble fields appeared in view.

Ligny, a large town (surrounded by vineyards), dull and dead-looking,
and unenlivened by any attempt at costume among the inhabitants. There
are large manufactories of cotton here.

We dined and slept at Bar le Duc, a cheerful, neat town: inn (_au
Cigne_), where we met with excellent accommodations. At dinner we were
attended by a merry active _paysanne_: she brought us some of the wine
to taste, of this year's vintage. It was then in its first state,
previous to fermentation, and much resembled sweet cyder fresh from the
press. When properly clarified, and ripened by age, it would turn out,
we were told, to be a strong bodied red wine. This town, for the last
few years, had been successively occupied by soldiers of all nations,
French, Prussians, Russians, Austrians, and Cossacks: the girl persisted
in calling the latter _Turques_, and told us that during the time of
their _séjour_ here, all the young _paysannes_ of the neighbourhood had
been carefully concealed (herself among the number), by their mothers:
she said that at that period she had not entered service, but was living
at home with _maman_. We observed _maman_ to be the usual title of all
mothers, even in the lowest class of people, and that it was used by the
grown up daughters (in speaking of them), contrary to our English
custom, where the term is a refinement, and not much adopted, except by
the little denisons of the nursery: the unlimited power of _mamans_ of
all classes now appears to be very happily moderated and reduced; a
great moral improvement which has taken place in France in consequence
of the Revolution. The unprincipled system of parents arranging the
marriages of the children, independent of their own choice or consent,
which existed during the _ancien régime_, being nearly abolished, and
consequent crime and misery connected with it, much diminished. I was
happy to learn, from one of the most enlightened and sensible persons at
Geneva, that since that awful _bouleversement_, conjugal attachment and
fidelity, together with a taste for domestic pleasures, had rapidly
increased, and this even in Paris itself. I was assured that the English
(judging of the whole from their experience of a part) have formed an
erroneous idea of the general immorality of French families,
particularly in fancying that their national and innate love of
amusement (springing from climate, constitution, and other causes),
interfered improperly with, or was preferred to the duties of husband
and parent. This defence of the French nation (prompted by a benevolent
love of truth and candour) appeared particularly amiable, coming as it
did from persons, whose government, religious opinions, and habits of
life, were so very different.

Leaving Bar le Duc, October 1st, we proceeded through several woods, and
found the face of the country more varied and agreeable than during the
journey of yesterday: there was an appearance of cleanliness and comfort
in this town, not often met with in France: the dress of the inhabitants
and the neatness of the shops bore a nearer resemblance to an English
country town than any we had yet seen. It is situated on the river
Ornaine, and is as generally called Bar sur Ornaine as Bar le Duc. Being
on the high road to Strasburg, we met with many German travellers, and
were ourselves now, as well as formerly, frequently mistaken for natives
of that country: the similarity of language, and perhaps of features and
complexion, will naturally account for it.

We soon entered Champagne, and continually met bands of joyous peasants
gathering the rich produce of the widely extended vineyards. This is the
only province throughout France where the grape of which this wine is
made will grow, and there must be, I should imagine, some great
peculiarity of soil. The vintage, universally, was finer than had been
known for years. It is generally remarked, that neither in Paris, nor in
any other place upon the continent, is wine to be met with of that very
superior quality, which it is usual to find in England; no other nation
can afford so high a price.

In the vicinity of Vitri sur Marne, the country can scarcely be said to
be the country, if trees, green fields, hills, and dales, give a right
to that appellation. Nothing but one vast boundless uninclosed surface
of stubble was to be seen. It reminded me (in point of monotonous
effect) of the plain in the _Palais de la Verité_ (mentioned by Madame
de Genlis), where a fairy condemns the fickle-minded Azelie to remain
for years, in order to cure her of a passion for variety. During this
wearisome journey, I know not what we should have done without Moliere.
Fortunately we had him in the carriage, and I need not say what an
enlivening _compagnon du voyage_ he was. Turning our eyes therefore from
the "dull realities" of the scene around, we were soon lost in an
imaginary world, full of bright creations and amusing conceptions.

We dined and slept at Chalons sur Marne, where we met with tolerable
accommodations, but were charged very extravagantly, at _la Cloche
d'Or_. We left it at half past six the next morning, and found the road
equally uninteresting: I could hardly have formed an accurate idea of
the bald sort of ugliness of a great portion of France, had I not thus
witnessed its effect. The usual absence of costume continued, and there
was nothing to break the dulness, or to give a ray of animation to the
scene.

We now and then passed through villages, built formally in a long
street, with the high road running between the houses; dirty, ugly,
tasteless, and mean! no gardens, consequently neither fruit nor
vegetables to be seen, and as there was no appearance of trees for such
an immense number of miles, we were at a loss to conceive how the
wretched inhabitants warmed themselves sufficiently, during the winter,
except from the heaps of cinder dirt, at some of their doors, which
proved that coals were burned there; not a very common circumstance in
France. Troops of beggar children now ran after us, bold, audacious, and
filthy in the extreme; all our charitable feelings froze in a moment.

The farther we proceeded, the wider seemed to extend the vast and barren
desert that surrounded us; never can I forget the disgust and ennui
which assailed us in consequence. We tried to awaken our powers of
conversation, when wearied by long continued reading, but it was a vain
attempt. Imagination seemed extinguished, and our minds experienced a
degree of stagnation impossible to describe. After passing through this
country, I must be allowed to differ, for the rest of my life, from
those theoretical reasoners, who think it is even a point of morality
to maintain, that the mental powers are not influenced by local
impressions. I am convinced Madame de Genlis took her idea of the
redoubted plain in her _Palais de la Verité_ before mentioned, from
having travelled through _this_ part of her native country; for surely
she would never have discovered its parallel in any other: even in the
deserts of Arabia the traveller finds a species of sublimity, and
undergoes perils, which at all events prevent his suffering from
_ennui_.

In many of the villages (in all parts of France) we observed the sign of
"Saint Nicholas." He is a very popular saint among this nation, and must
have been a man of taste, as he stands forth the patron of all the young
unmarried damsels, presiding over every _nôce_, and _fête de village_.
He has chosen a most amusing _metier_ altogether, thereby proceeding
upon a far more rational and sensible plan than some of his brethren,
many of whom have made it their business to frown upon the enjoyments of
mankind, and who pretend that the only way to merit heaven in the next
world, is to make a purgatory of this. Fortunately their unhappy
followers are but few, (comparatively speaking); for the great body of
the people, in all ages, seem to be of Sir Toby Belch's opinion, when
Shakespeare makes him indignantly exclaim to his formal censor Malvolio,
"what! dost think that because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more
cakes and ale?" These Roman catholic puritans, let it be remembered,
have the honour of being imitated very closely by many a worthy English
heretic.

It was a great relief to us to enter Rheims, where we took a luncheon,
and afterwards walked about the town, and saw the grand gothic
cathedral. The _façade_ of this building is most superbly beautiful; the
fret work, carving, and imagery, are in some respects superior to those
of the Duomo at Milan; although the edifice is of a less precious
material, much smaller, and in a different taste altogether. The
interior is grandly simple, the windows of the most magnificent old
stained glass, in patterns of infinite variety, and of the most glowing
colours. But the outside of this cathedral is by far more imposing than
any other part, and I was rather discomposed upon being obliged to
acknowledge that our Westminster Abbey is extremely inferior in every
way. Here the ancient monarchs of France used to be crowned (as books of
juvenile information have duly informed us), and we could scarcely
imagine a finer place for such sort of spectacles. The portal was built
in the thirteenth century, and the other parts as far back as about the
seventh or eighth.

We did not remark any thing particularly worth notice in the town (which
is nevertheless very large), and the only thing which struck us forcibly
was the general ugliness of the _bourgeoises_, and also the _paysannes_
of the environs. The country beyond was exactly in the same wearisome
character with what we had already passed, and the road for many miles
extremely bad.

Owing to repeated delays about horses, we did not arrive at Laon until
nine o'clock in the evening, by which means we lost the view of the two
last stages before reaching that place, where the country is said to
improve in a very striking manner, swelling occasionally into lofty
hills, enriched with wood.

Laon is built upon an abrupt and rocky eminence, shaded by trees, and
commanding a very extensive bird's-eye prospect of the surrounding
country. There was a high appearance of cultivation and fertility of
soil, while the immediate vicinity of vineyards, filled with cheerful
groups of people, was very enlivening; but no costume was to be observed
except the almost universal cross worn round the necks of the women[11].
Our inn (_à la Hure_) was extremely well appointed; the host an
attentive, civil old man, and we were waited upon with celerity and good
humour by two young _paysannes_, who appeared to think no exertion too
much which could contribute in any way to the comfort of the guests. One
of them (like most French servants) chatted in a natural intelligent
manner, was full of frolic and glee, ready to laugh at every thing,
carolling with the gaiety of a lark, in all parts of the house, and
seeming with difficulty to restrain herself from dancing at the same
time: all this (as I once before mentioned) without the least degree of
immodesty. What a wide difference exists between the ideas of a French
and English woman in this situation of life, on the score of what is
called propriety; a vague term, and changeable as the chamelion in its
nature, however some worthy folks may suppose it confined solely to one
shape, and one definite meaning. The sense of female honour among the
country girls of France, so far from being too lax, or but little
regarded, seems, on the contrary, to be particularly correct, and I have
taken some pains in my inquiries upon this point. The loss of fair fame
is rare, and always accompanied by the utmost disgrace and ignominy; so
much so, that one young woman (whose heart was, I am sure, upon her
lips) told me, "that if such a circumstance occurred, the unfortunate
girl had much better be dead at once; for she never would be looked upon
again by her youthful companions." Let it, therefore, be remembered, to
the credit of the French, that innocence is perfectly compatible with a
lively freedom of manner, and that virtue can be firmly maintained,
although unshackled by the restraints of primness and formality. I am
now convinced that climate has a great deal more influence upon our
feelings and conduct than I was once inclined to think. The chilly fogs
and heavy weight of atmosphere in England do certainly affect, in some
measure, the mental faculties of her children, rendering their ideas of
morality needlessly gloomy and strict. I judge (in part) from my own
occasional sensations. I never feel in so cheerful and happy a frame of
mind, so willing to be candid, and to look upon persons and things in
the most favourable light, as during a fine clear sunshiny day. _Au
contraire_, there have been moments in the cold, humidity, and dark
gloom of winter, when I have been shocked and ashamed at perceiving my
sentiments involuntarily narrowing into prejudices, and my spirits
saddening in proportion. It has required a strong exertion of reason to
get the better of such feelings, and even to divest myself of an idea of
their being in some degree meritorious.

I now hasten to continue the narrative of our route from Laon to
Cambray, which was a day's journey. The road for the first stage
presented us with a welcome variety of landscape, hills, dales, copses,
shady villages, and fertile fields. Never did we see such a profusion of
fine apples as were growing here, on each side of the way. The peasants
were gathering them as we passed, and heaps of this rosy, tempting fruit
were piled up in hillocks beneath the trees from which they had just
been taken. They were even strewed by thousands on the grass around, and
were perpetually rolling into the road under the wheels of our carriage.
Such a triumph of Pomona it is really difficult to imagine without
having seen its animating effect! We stopt to purchase some, and found
them truly delicious; spirited, juicy, and possessing all the acid
sweetness of champaigne. We remarked the soil in which these trees so
peculiarly flourished: it consisted of a loose, light, sandy earth, with
a mixture of clay; but in those parts of England where they thrive best,
I understand that the soil is of a redder earth, with not nearly so
large a proportion of sand. For what are called common fruits and
flowers I have ever entertained a preference, and for the latter I have
almost a passion. The richest collection of rare exotics do not make the
same agreeable and soothing impression upon my imagination as the
unpretending garden which my mother formerly cultivated in Surrey, or
that of a dear and excellent friend, in which from childhood I have ever
delighted, and where the common flowers of each season, fruits,
vegetables, herbs, and shrubs, flourish together, in defiance of the
more refined arrangements of modern days. I recollect the simple charms
of her sitting-room windows (shadowed by the climbing honeysuckle and
sweetbriar), and those of my mother's pretty doorway, half lost in a
thick bower of clematis, with the liveliest feelings of pleasure, while
I have totally forgotten a hundred prouder boudoirs, rich in the odours
of tuberose, cape jessamine, night-blowing geraniums, and other splendid
extravagancies.

The country for the last stage before we reached St. Quentin (a
strong-built large town) was very fast relapsing into the baldness of
that which had so lately annoyed us; but the peasantry were generally
much better looking, cleaner, and altogether gayer in their appearance.
This place is in the direct road from Paris to Brussels. We arrived at
Cambray to supper, slept, and breakfasted there the next morning, when
we proceeded towards the coast. The inn was not very comfortable,
although we had the best apartments in the house. It was a very striking
and singular spectacle to behold, as we now did, English sentinels on
duty at the drawbridges of this town, and an encampment of the same
troops just beneath its walls. How would John Bull have writhed and
raged with shame and grief, if the scene had been exhibited _vice versa_
in our own country? Can we then (with any pretence to candour and
justice) affect to wonder at the deep-felt disgust and dislike of the
French towards us?

We saw the fine regiments of our foot guards, and the 95th, or
sharp-shooters, here. All the men looked clean, bright, and cheerful,
and most of them were decorated with Waterloo medals. Our hearts
sensibly warmed at sight of the well-remembered countenance of our
countrymen, and (without any degree of unjust partiality) we could not
but be forcibly struck with the superiority of appearance and deportment
displayed by our English officers, when we compared them with all the
French whom we had had an opportunity of observing. There is, I think
(generally speaking), a greater suavity and benevolence in the manners
of a Frenchman of birth and education; there is a higher degree of
polish in his address; but in point of personal appearance I must
decidedly award the preference to our manly, graceful, dignified
countrymen. An English gentleman (in the true acceptation of the word)
is the flower of the world. I do not mean to discuss at length, the
different moral virtues and mental perfections of either nation. I have
neither time nor sufficient experience and information for such a task;
but of this I am convinced, "that the head and heart of our countrymen
(taking their fairest specimens) may sustain a comparison with those of
any other race of men upon this habitable globe, and fail not to come
forth with honour and credit from the investigation." Of the
_bourgeoisie_ of each country I cannot pretend to judge; but with
respect to the unsophisticated peasantry, I feel by no means clear that
the superiority lies on our side. We were informed that a great many of
the English soldiers at Cambray, and elsewhere, had taken wives from
among the _paysannes_, but that the _petites bourgeoises_ did not listen
so favourably to their vows. Every where we had the gratification of
hearing praises of the orderly, quiet, and moderate behaviour of the
British regiments.

The country beyond this town, for a considerable distance, was
uninteresting, and the lesser towns and villages were very ugly. What
was wanting in trees seemed to be made up in windmills, which spread
their long arms abroad in every direction. Had Don Quixote been alive,
and travelling this road, he would have found himself in the predicament
of poor Arlechino, _dans l'embarras des richesses_.

We now passed through Douay, a clean, gay-looking, strong-built town. It
was more than usually alive, from the circumstance of a fair which was
going on in the market-place. Among the different articles exposed for
sale, I was struck by the cotton handkerchiefs worn by the _paysannes_.
Their richness and beauty of colour were very remarkable, the dyes being
brilliant beyond any that we possess, and the patterns very fanciful and
pretty. Here the women adopt the same picturesque double gold drops in
the ears, as those of Calais; wearing likewise richly-worked heavy
crosses upon the bosom, and long loose cloaks, made of coloured linen
or black silk, frilled round, with a very deep hood. Two pretty little
girls, from twelve to thirteen years of age, had a highly graceful
effect, as they passed through the crowd, in white gauze or muslin
veils, extremely transparent, and reaching to the ground, thrown
carelessly over their heads. They appeared like young sylphs, flitting
in all their purity among the gayer, yet grosser, figures which
surrounded them.

We arrived in very good time at Lille (frequently spelt Lisle), and
entered through a most beautiful gateway of Tuscan architecture. This
town is extensive, well built, lively, and interesting: there are
excellent shops, with signs of the most fanciful and ingenious devices,
like those of Paris. This place is reckoned impregnable, and the citadel
is of wonderful strength, being the masterpiece of Vauban, the
celebrated engineer. Our inn (_l'hotel de Bourbon_) was very comfortable
in every respect, except that we were bitten by bugs. They, however, are
so common in various parts of the continent that the traveller must
make up his mind to bear with them as things of course. We were amused
by the humour of a _valet de place_ here, who was also hair-dresser and
barber: he was a true disciple of the renowned Vicar of Bray, having
squared his politics according to every change in the government, and
contrived to thrive equally under all. He assured us (as if he had been
enumerating his virtues) that _Vive la liberté! vive Napoleon!_ or
_vivent les Bourbons!_ was all the same thing to him; and he had
constantly held himself in readiness to call out for each, provided they
left heads enough for him to find hair to friz, and beards to mow. His
countenance made us laugh the moment he appeared, being the counterpart
of Liston's, with that peculiar expression of _niaiserie_ which is so
irresistibly ludicrous in him. It was no wonder that we were amazed by
the number of windmills in the environs of this town; for we learnt that
there were no less than two hundred used in making oil, &c.

We quitted Lille the next morning, and in changing horses at Bailleul we
discovered that the cap and linchpin of the axletree had fallen off.
They were found about a quarter of a mile behind us; and it was very
extraordinary that this accident did not occasion our overturn, as the
wheel had really no support. The country now began to improve in point
of trees and verdure, but still wore an air of formality. A disagreeable
_patois_ is spoken here.

The approach to Cassel was very pretty; the trees gradually lost their
prim regularity, and formed a rich wood, which entirely covered a high
hill, called Mont Cassel. It is the only one in the Netherlands, and
commands a most extensive view: no less than twenty-two fortified towns
may be discerned from it. Most of the cottages in these environs are
thatched, and resemble those in England, each having a little garden
(inclosed by neat hedges) full of vegetables. From the summit of the
above-mentioned hill, we were much pleased by a prospect of great
fertility, and some beauty. Seen from this distance, the artificial mode
of planting the trees was not distinguished, and they had a very
luxuriant woody effect altogether. Just at the entrance of Cassel is a
churchyard, in which we observed a tall crucifix, with a wooden image of
our Saviour, larger than life, painted flesh colour, and having a stream
of blood flowing from the side (made of a long strip of wire, standing
far out in a curve from the body), and which was caught in a cup by
another clumsy image (Dutch built) representing a cherubim. The latter
was suspended in the air, by some contrivance (not discoverable at that
distance), so as to appear flying. Nothing could well be more absurd, or
in a worse taste!

We dined and slept at St. Omer, a large town. We found at the inn
(_l'ancienne Poste_) very comfortable accommodations; but it was full of
English officers, who had a mess there, and in consequence we could not
get a morsel to eat, or a creature to attend upon us, till these
_messieurs_ were first served. They were assembled there in readiness
for a ball, which was to take place somewhere in the town, at night.

Suffering under the sharpest pangs of hunger, we felt the warmth of our
feelings towards our compatriots rather decreasing; but we recovered
our nationality after dinner. The next morning we went on to Calais. It
was rather a pretty drive the first two stages; the country woody, and
the villages much neater than usual. No costume, however, made its
appearance (except the long ear-ring and cross), neither could we
observe any beauty.

We breakfasted this morning at the small post-house of Ardres. The old
dame there told us that the behaviour of the British troops had been
most exemplary, and that they would be missed and regretted by some
among the natives.

We were now in Picardy, which we understood was more infested with
beggars than most other provinces. Some half starved children ran after
the carriage, screaming the popular air of _Vive Henri Quatre_. We gave
them a sous or two, purely for the sake of that _père de son peuple_,
whose memory is yet green in their hearts. It is in comparing his
species of greatness with that of Napoleon, that I am most forcibly
impressed with the inferiority of the latter. The union of talent and
benevolence in a sovereign (like that of judgment and imagination in an
author) seems almost indispensable; and, at all events, there can be no
perfection of character without it. How awfully requisite are both these
qualities in the head of an absolute monarchy, and how devoutly to be
wished for, even under the less extensively important influence which
(like our own) is limited by the laws of the constitution. Those
persons, who, from a timid sort of morality, would exalt mere goodness,
in opposition to superior talent, seem to me to be thereby counteracting
the influence of the very principle upon which they profess to act.
Those, on the other hand, who adopt the contrary mode of reasoning are
yet worse, for they assert an opinion which is in direct defiance of
humanity, morality, and religion. Comparing Napoleon with some of his
crowned cotemporaries, I must confess that my admiration of him
alarmingly increases; but place him by the side of _Henri quatre_, and
he sinks at once. Madame de Stael has beautifully and justly expressed
my own sentiments; I must indulge myself in quoting her eloquent
language. Speaking of another political tyrant, (Cardinal Richelieu) she
remarks, "On a beaucoup vanté le talent de ce ministre, parce qu'il a
maintenu la grandeur politique de la France; et sous ce rapport, on ne
sçauroit lui réfuser des talens superieurs! Mais _Henri quatre_
atteignoit au même but, en gouvernant par des principes de justice et de
verité! Le génie se manifeste non seulement dans le triomphe qu'on
remporte, mais dans les moyens qu'on a pris pour l'obtenir."

Upon approaching Calais, we felt our courage quail beneath the idea of
the passage to Dover, which was now so near at hand; but as it never
answers any rational purpose to dwell upon disagreeables which are
inevitable, and as this transient purgatory was the only means of
attaining the paradise of English comforts that awaited us on the other
side of the water, we made up our minds, and prepared for our fate with
becoming resolution. We were very fortunate in arriving at Quilliac's
early in the day, as we had an opportunity of taking possession of a
most comfortable suite of apartments, which would not have fallen to our
share, half an hour later; for the concourse of equipages which soon
followed ours into the inn-yard was quite astonishing. Quilliac's is a
magnificent hotel, and seems to be organized in a manner that does
credit to the head of the master. They make up from a hundred and fifty
to a hundred and sixty beds, and the day of our arrival, they were
serving up little separate dinners to a hundred and forty persons,
exclusive of servants. Yet the attendance was by no means hurried, or
our comforts of any sort diminished, upon that account: every waiter and
_fille de chambre_ seemed to know their particular walk, nor could we
observe any awkward scrambling or jostling among them.

Determined not again to encounter the annoyance of a crowded packet, we
desired inquiries to be made for any family of respectability, who might
wish to share a private one with us: fortune befriended us, for we soon
beheld some English friends drive into the court, who agreed to join
forces, and accordingly we took the Antigone (Capitaine Margollé),
between us. She was accounted the best sailer in the harbour, and we
found the truth of her reputation confirmed the next morning, when at
nine o'clock we all embarked. She brought us into Dover before several
other packets, which had sailed from Calais three hours previous to
ourselves; but the winds were nevertheless against us, as we were
becalmed for seven hours, and the passage lasted altogether ten. I was
the only person on board who suffered much; but I speedily forgot all my
wretchedness, when I found myself happily landed at Dover, and seated by
an English fireside.

We left that place the next day (October 8th), and felt that however we
might justly admire foreign countries, our native land possessed a charm
above all others, for the hearts of its children. We were delighted by
the richness of the woods, and the smiling fertility of the landscape
between Canterbury and Sittingbourne, and also by the peculiar air of
neatness and cleanliness displayed in every cottage and house, both in
the towns and villages: their superiority in these respects to those of
France was very apparent; but I could not help being struck by the
different costume, countenance and air of the lower classes of my
countrywomen, from what I had been used to behold for the last few weeks
among the daughters of the continent. The former certainly did (since
the truth must be told) appear what is called dowdy and heavy, and the
general expression of face was somewhat sullen, in comparison. I also
greatly missed the brilliant dark eye, and the charming shadowy eyelash,
which is generally to be met with abroad.

We were once more gratified by the pre-eminent swiftness, ease, and
dexterity of our English mode of posting; the horses really seemed to
fly, and their spruce effect, together with that of their drivers,
contrasted favourably with those we had left on the other side the
channel.

Passing through Rochester, to Dartford, the river Thames presented a
most imposing spectacle, being covered with innumerable vessels in
full sail, bound for London. A foreigner must have been impressed with a
superb idea of our commercial wealth and glory.

At length we reached home late in the evening, and, full of grateful
pleasure for all we had enjoyed during our absence from it, returned to
the worship of our Penates with all the fervour and sincerity of true
hearted, though not wrong headed, Britons.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] I had reason, however, afterwards to doubt the accuracy of the rural
dame's assertion.

[2] The principal beauty of this cathedral is the choir, and it is also
famous for Gobelin tapestry.

[3] Vide Southey's Miscellaneous Poems.

[4] Vide Spurzheim's Craniology.

[5] Vide Bath Guide, page 100.

[6] Goldsmith.

[7] Vide Bath Guide.

[8] Lord Byron.

[9] Some of the original productions of this person are in the
possession of collectors in our own country.

[10] The _promenade_ also, near the cathedral, is remarkable for the
beautiful prospect it discloses of the glaciers, particularly at sunset,
when the rose-coloured tints upon their snowy summits are wonderfully
fine.

[11] This town is memorable for the sanguinary contests between Blucher
and the French army, during which it was taken and retaken several
times. The epicure will here find the best _grenouilles_ in France: we
did not chance to meet with this delicacy, nor with another, which,
however common here, does not exactly accord with the taste of John
Bull, viz. snails.



NOTES.


Note (A.) page 109, line 18.

_Aromatic plants._

Near the summits of these mountains, and in the highest region of
vegetation, is found the _gennipi_, a plant of the camomile genus, and
which, next to the _sang du bouquetin_, or wild goat (which, as an
inhabitant of these places, though now a very rare one, is worthy of
mention), is the most powerful sudorific, and of high estimation in the
treatment of pleurisy.


Note (B.) page 127, line 21.

_The Devil's Bridge--Pont du Diable._

We cannot too much admire the boldness and skill with which this
extraordinary work has been achieved in such a country, and one knows
not in what age. The marvellous histories believed concerning it by the
credulous peasantry are scarcely to be wondered at. Suffice it to say,
that its dimensions are a single arch of twenty-four feet in the span,
fourteen wide, and seventy-two above the surface of the stream; but in
this circumstance alone (considered without reference to the wild
sublimity of the surrounding scenery), there is nothing extraordinary to
English eyes, who may view the whole width of the Thames at London
embraced by three arches of such stupendous dimensions.


Note (C.) page 131, line 17.

_Mont Cenis._

Upon the plain of Mont Cenis are found large masses of the gypsum, or
alabaster, from which the plaster of Paris is made. The more sheltered
parts are bright with the flowers of the _rhododendron ferrugineum_,
which I have in another part of my work described. Quantities of the
beautiful little blue butterfly, called the argus, are seen here, and
(though not so common) that fine fly, named _l'Apollon des Alpes_.
Besides the great wild goat (_le bouquetin_), there are in these
mountains the chamois, with the marmottes, which require bold and active
chasseurs to be got at: they are shot by single ball. The whistling sort
of cry of the marmotte resembles that of some birds of prey. It is the
signal they give upon being alarmed. When fat, they are considered as
rather delicate food. We saw one unfortunate little animal of this
species in a tame state, belonging to a peasant boy, who had taught it
to shoulder a stick like a firelock, and to twirl itself about in a
manner difficult to describe, that he called dancing. He sung at the
same time, to animate the poor creature's reluctant exertions, a little
_patois_ song, in which the words _dansez a madama_ were frequently
repeated. The tune haunted me for some time afterwards, and was really
not inharmonious.


Note (D.) page 159, line 2.

_Consists in their vineyards._

There is something awfully striking in the sudden devastation
occasioned by the summer storms, too frequent in these climates. In the
same garden where at noon you had been walking under the shade of
pergolas (i. e. latticed frames of wood, the roofs of which were fretted
with innumerable and rich clusters of grapes) surrounded by fig and
peach trees full of fruit, you would often find in the evening the whole
ground strewed with broken branches, their fruit quite crushed, and
hardly a leaf left upon them.


Note (E.) page 231, line 19.

_Ague and fever._

We were induced, by the opinion of several persons to whom we related
this indisposition, to believe that it was most probably brought on by
the sudden transition from the intense heat of the shores of the Lago
Maggiore to the equally intolerable cold of the Simplon. Mr. B. was not
provided with that additional clothing which might have obviated the ill
effects of the latter. The complaint, however, went off very quickly in
the subsequent health-inspiring air of Switzerland.


Note (F.) page 237, line 8.

_Mont St. Bernard._

Before Bonaparte formed his magnificent passage across the Simplon, one
of the principal roads from Switzerland into Italy lay over this grand
mountain. Our line of road did not permit us to visit it, which we much
regretted. It was always highly interesting, from the histories, both
ancient and modern, which belong to it. By this route it is supposed
that Hannibal led his army over the Alps; not by softening the rocks
with vinegar, but by refreshing his fatigued troops by a mixture of it
with water. He is said also to have founded here a splendid temple,
dedicated to Jupiter. It is certain that several remains of antiquity,
medals, inscriptions, sacrificial instruments, &c. have been found here,
and are preserved in the museum at Turin. That the modern Hannibal, with
or without vinegar, led his army over the St. Bernard, we too well know.
Of the baths of Loësche, in the Upper Valais, we also heard much; but of
these, as well as the Grand St. Bernard, I can only speak from the
description of others. Notwithstanding the difficult roads which lead to
the baths, they are much frequented, and are, we were told, justly
celebrated for their salutary effects. It must be truly curious to see
water too hot to bear the hand in, of the temperature of 43 degrees of
Reaumur (boiling water being 80), springing from the earth in the midst
of this icy country; a phenomenon, however, with which those travellers
who have frequented still colder parts of the world are perfectly well
acquainted. This water has the peculiar quality of restoring faded
flowers to life and freshness, and of preserving them so for some time,
when one would rather imagine that it would boil them. I do not here
mean to offer a poetical allusion to female beauty, but merely to relate
a literal fact. The mode of bathing is too singular not to mention,
although I cannot say much of its delicacy. There are four square open
divisions, in which twenty or thirty persons of both sexes (attired, as
properly as may be, in flannel dresses) bathe all together. They sit
very comfortably for half an hour, with a small desk before each, upon
which they have their books, and little planks are seen floating on
the water, full of holes, in which fragrant flowers and branches of
verdure are inserted.


Note (G.) page 238, line 12.

_A celebrated waterfall--Cascade of the Pisse Vache._

There are several of the same name in Switzerland; but this, I believe,
is reckoned the most remarkable. In the neighbourhood of these
mountains, one sees with pleasure the industry of man repaid by
considerable fertility. The cottages are comfortable, and surrounded
with orchards of various fruit-trees. The natural and ungrafted cherry,
called _mérise_, is much cultivated in these parts. It is from this
fruit that the famed _kirschenwasser_, or cherry-water, is made, and
which is not only an agreeable cordial, but a valuable medicine among
the peasantry, subsisting, as they do, so much upon a crude and milky
diet, not easy of digestion. It was offered to Mr. B. during his
illness, by a rustic host, with strong commendations.


Note (H.) page 268, line 17.

_Glaciers._

The height of these glaciers, at their utmost point, is 9268 feet above
the level of the sea. Voltaire might well say,

    "Ces monts sourcilleux,
    Qui pressent les enfers, et qui fendent les cieux."

But there is another point of view in which the natural philosopher will
contemplate these stupendous mountains with admiration and gratitude: I
mean as being the immense and inexhaustible reservoirs of those
springs and rivers which make so essential a part in the beautiful and
beneficial economy of nature. In these particular regions will be found
the sources of the Rhone, the Rhine, and the Tessin, with a multitude of
other rivers; and some idea of the enormous quantity of water that they
produce may be formed from the known fact, that the magnificent lake of
Geneva (measuring above twenty-six square leagues) is raised ten feet
and a half, by the mere melting of the snows during the summer.
Strawberries of the finest flavour may be gathered almost at the very
edge of the ice, and the adjoining woods are full of wild flowers.


Note (I.) page 271, line 14.

_Mines of gold, silver, and lead._

It has been thought by some, that it is not so much from the poverty of
the state as from a moral policy that the exploration of these dangerous
productions has been purposely discouraged. This is the nobler reason of
the two. Haller (the favourite poet of the Swiss) in his poem on the
Alps, exclaims, "The shepherd of the Alps sees these treasures flow
beneath his feet--what an example to mankind! he lets them flow on." And
he feels a security in the rude simplicity of his country, that holds
out nothing to tempt the invasion of avarice or ambition--

    "Tout son front hérissé, n'offre aux desirs de l'homme
    Rien qui puisse tenter l'avarice de Rome."

    _Crebillon, dans Rhadamiste._


Note (J.) page 273, line 11.

_For which this place is celebrated._

Among other interesting objects to be seen here are the cabinets of
natural history of Monsieur de Saussure, so well known for his
scientific and enterprising researches, and of Monsieur de Luc.
Petrifactions of the _oursis_, or sea hedgehog, and of the _corni
d'ammon_, are preserved in this collection, which were found in the Alps
of Savoy, 7844 feet above the level of the sea.


Note (K.) page 275, line 12.

_Powerless and inadequate._

It will not, I am sure, be unacceptable to the reader if I here
transcribe part of the beautiful description to which I have alluded.
Speaking (in Letter 23) of the exhilarating but soothing effect of the
mountain air, he says--"Il semble qu'en s'elevant au-dessûs du sejour
des hommes, on y laisse tous les sentimens bas et terrestres; et qu'à
mesure qu'on approche des regions ethereés, l'ame contracte quelque
chose de leur inalterable pureté: on y est grave sans melancholie,
paisible sans indolence, content d'être et de penser. Les plaisirs y
sont moins ardens, les passions plus modereés. Tous les desirs trop
vifs, s'emoussent; ils perdent cette point aigue qui les rendent
douloureux; il ne laissent au fond du coeur qu'une emotion legère et
douce, et c'est ainsi qu'un heureux climat, fait servir à la felicité de
l'homme, les passions qui font ailleurs son tourment." Without being so
unfortunate as to possess Rousseau's irritable temper and fiery
passions, any person of sensibility must be forcibly struck by the
truth of these remarks, in passing through the same scenes.


Note (L.) page 291, line 21.

_Lake of Morat._

This lake in severe winters freezes sufficiently to bear the heaviest
loads. There is a popular and vulgar idea in the country, that whoever
falls into this lake can no more be recovered; but another quality
attached to it (of rather superior probability) is, that its fish are of
so excellent a nature, as to sell, in time of Lent, at two _creutzers_ a
pound dearer than those of any other. One cannot see without surprise,
and even a degree of indignant concern, that the ancient chapel,
containing the bones of the Bourguignons, slain by the Swiss (then the
allies of Louis XI.) in 1476, should be no longer in existence. These
remains of mortality were, when we beheld them, thrown upon the ground,
totally unsheltered from the air, in a most careless and irreverent
manner. Formerly (I have heard) the inhabitants of Morat used to
celebrate the anniversary of this national triumph with feast and song.
Voltaire, in his "Mélange de Poesies," alludes to this triumph of
liberty in some truly elevated lines.


Note (M.) page 293, line 2.

_Tan-coloured wood._

This is the cleft fir of which the cottages here are constructed. They
have galleries running round the outsides, protected by the projecting
roofs. Sometimes thatch is used; but in the more mountainous parts of
the country they are tiled (if I may be allowed the expression) with
pieces of slit wood, which are kept firm by the weight of large stones
lying upon them: the whole having a most picturesque appearance. The
wide projection of these roofs not only secures their galleries from the
snows, but affords convenient shelter for their fire-wood and various
other articles. A granary is sometimes built over the dwelling-rooms at
the top of these houses, which is rendered attainable by means of a sort
of bridge (moveable, I rather think), upon which we ourselves witnessed
the singular spectacle of a cart and horses conveying a load of grain to
this exalted store-chamber. These wooden fabrics, although one would not
suppose so, are warmer than those of brick or stone; but then, in case
of fire, its ravage is dreadful, from the quantity of turpentine
contained in the fir planks.


Note (N.) page 295, line 24.

_The Alps._

The Alps of Switzerland are certainly the highest points of Europe. But
however elevated these mountains may be, and removed as they now are, a
hundred leagues from the sea, there can be no doubt of their having once
been covered by its waters. This is clearly demonstrated by the fossile
maritime remains which are found in some of their highest parts, as well
as by those of shells, fishes, and animals, now only existing in other
quarters of the globe. What astonishing changes the surface of our earth
has undergone in periods anterior to the Mosaic history, may be
contemplated from the circumstance of the petrified trunk of the
palm-tree, and the bones of elephants, being found in Siberia.


Note (O.) page 308, line 1.

_William Tell._

Although the limited time for our tour did not permit us to visit either
the Lac de Thoun, or the village of Kussnacht, both of them consecrated
in the eyes of the Swiss, by the chapels built there in memory of
Guillaume Tell, travellers must not leave Switzerland without some
mention of this renowned patriot. It was at the latter place that the
tyrant Ghessler fell by his hand. There is (we were told) a tolerably
painted representation of the occurrence on the walls of the chapel, and
under it the following inscription in German verse, the French
translation of which is this:

"Ici a eté tué par Tell, l'orgueilleux Ghessler. Ici est le berceau de
la noble liberté des Suisses, 1307. Combien durerâ t'elle? Encore long
tems, pourvu que nous ressemblions à nos ancêtres."


Note (P.) page 215, line 13.

_The rhododendron._

This is the _rhododendron ferrugineum_, which is not much cultivated in
our gardens.


Note (Q.) page 216, line 18.

_Over the doors._

What a stupendous conception must the reader form to himself of this
range of mountains, when I tell him, that the ascent and descent make
together forty-two miles.


Note (R.) page 312, line 25.

_Soleure._

Near Soleure is the hermitage of St. Frêne. No traveller, I am assured,
should miss seeing this beautiful and romantic spot. That we
unfortunately did so was owing only to our not having been previously
aware of its existence.


Note (S.) page 332, line 12.

_Avenue as usual._

I ought (in justice) to have recollected, when I exclaimed so much
against them, that in forming these roads, convenience, not taste, was
consulted. No one can be more grateful to the powers of convenience than
myself; but it is difficult to reconcile a lover of the picturesque to
so cruel a divorce between the _utile et dolce_.


THE END.



    LONDON:
    PRINTED BY THOMAS DAVISON, WHITEFRIARS.



    Transcriber's Notes

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

No attempt was made to correct the diacritics in French.

Space removed: "green[ ]gages" (p. 31), "for[ ]ever" (p. 317).

Hyphen added: "above[-]mentioned" (p. 128).

Hyphen removed: "water[-]fall" (p. 238), "way[-]side" (p. 288).

Alternate spellings not changed: "Champagne" / "Champaigne", "Anglais" /
"Anglois".

P. 22: "farewel" changed to "farewell" (her farewell performance).

P. 25: "aad" changed to "and" (sullenness and malignity).

P. 61: "broood" changed to "brood" (their young brood).

P. 105: "Shakspeare's" changed to "Shakespeare's" (Shakespeare's
"spinners and knitters in the sun").

P. 198: "reblance" changed to "resemblance" (it bore some resemblance).

P. 273: "Jaques" changed to "Jacques" (Rue de Jean Jacques Rousseau).

P. 275: "recal" changed to "recall" (while I recall his magical
description).

P. 322: duplicate "in" removed (all dressed in their gayest costume).





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