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EFFECTS OF TRAVELLING,
intellect, of architecture, of elegance, and of convenience, is plainly perceptible. The contrast between Little East Cheap and Regent Street, is not more striking than between the Cité and Rue Rivoli. While following the stream of the Seine, narrow; dirty, and gloomy streets often open out suddenly into lines of splendid palaces, still, however, mixed, backed, and flanked with the miserable lanes and abodes of poverty. The BOURSE, the rival of Neptune's Temple at Pæstum, is surrounded with filthy lanes and alleys. Paris may well be proud of this building. is probably the most noble modern edifice now existing. The construction of this splendid fabric has produced a curious and very disagreeable effect. The moment it is entered, a noise resembling that of the distant roaring of the sea in a storm is heard, even when there are but few people moving about and conversing on the floor. This noise is really distressing to the unaccustomed ear, and is heard fully as loud on the basement as in the galleries above,
ROUTE OF THE JURA; EXERCISE.
Already have we (for I speak of a party) broken through the mal-habits imposed by the tyrant customs of Modern Babylon. Instead of repairing to bed at one o'clock in the morning, and spending eight or ten hours in fitful dreams and feverish excitement, without any real refreshment, we now dine, or rather sup, at eight o'clock, when the journey is concluded-go to repose at ten-and sleep without interruption till six in the morning, when we are able to spring from our couches with renovated strength and spirits. This systematic mode of living is probably one of the principal causes of the salubrity of travelling. Among the many curious effects resulting from this species of exercise, I shall remark two, which are deserving of notice. Travelling produces a considerable diminution of weight in most people who combine the active with the passive species of exercise-apparently by promoting absorption of fat. A little pampered dog that made one of the party, lost flesh, or rather fat daily, while allowed to run up the hills when the carriages were proceeding slowly. Our paunchy Aldermen ought to travel through Switzerland, Wales, or the Highlands of Scotland, eating little and walking much, by which they would certainly return, in due time, to human shape.
The other effect of travelling is very curious, and has not been noticed, as far as I am acquainted, by any writer. It is this—that the exercise of body taken on the road, or while wandering about seeing objects of curiosity, is not favourable to intellectual operations. It is probable that a high range of health, indeed, is incompatible with the most vigorous exertion of the mind; and that this last both requires and induces a standard of health somewhat below par. It would not be difficult to shew that the majority of those who have left behind them imperishable monuments of their intellectual powers and exertions, were people of weak bodily health. Virgil, Horace, Voltaire,
Pope, and a thousand others might be quoted in illustration. Be this as it may, it is certain that travelling-exercise, while it so much improves all the bodily functions, unhinges and unfits the mind, pro tempore, for the vigorous exercise of its higher faculties. I much doubt whether the immortal effusions of Byron were penned immediately after the impressions were made on his mind by the Rhine, the Alps, the lakes of Helvetia, the ruins of Italy and of Greece, with all their classical and historical associations. But the first excitement being over, the memory of scenes and circumstances, together with the reflections and recollections attendant thereon, furnish an ardent mind with rich materials and trains of thought that may, by gifted individuals, be converted into language, and thus conveyed to thousands.
Pure DESCRIPTION is, perhaps, the humblest species of mental exercise. It is little more than the notation or record of impressions received through the medium of the senses—as those resulting from a rugged road, a steep mountain, or a rapid river. It requires little more than seeing, hearing, and feeling, with moderate knowledge, attention, and some command of language, to be able to convey to others descriptions of what we ourselves have seen or felt, as far at least as these can be conveyed in words. It indicates a more active state of the intellect, when we come to reflect on the impressions conveyed by the senses. Such descriptions and reflections are, no doubt, compatible with the bustle and distraction of TRAVELLING; but, when we come to the higher intellectual operations—descriptions of human nature itself, with all its passions, and the consequences of those passions—such as we see in Lord Byron's works, then there is reason to believe that the said operations required and had the advantage of leisure, repose, or even solitude, with a certain degree of tranquillity of mind, before they were executed. That this was the case, may be inferred from his own words. When alluding to the lake of Geneva, he says,
“ There is too much of man here, to look through
With a fit mind the might which I behold ;-
We were now in the very heart of the wine country, the head-quarters of BACCHUS—where generous Burgundy was flowing in every direction, being the height of the vintage. Yet the towns and villages presented the very image of desolation, poverty, and despair ! Before retiring to rest, I wandered over this ancient town; and so squalid a picture of want and decay I never beheld on this side of the Alps. It seemed as if the conscription of Napoleon was still in full operation—as if all effective strength-every thing that could carry a musket, serve for a mark to be shot at, or furnish any materiel of war, had been swept away, and nothing left but old men and women, dirty chil
dren, the sick and the lame, to cultivate the fields ! The houses appeared to be mouldering into dust, and the people to be half-starved. Doubtless the dreadfully depressed state of the wine trade in France, for many years past, has led to this superlative degree of misery and poverty among the inhabitants of those provinces where the grape is the staple commodity. It has been stated, on good authority, that, in many of the vine-countries, the wine was not worth more than the cask in which it was contained. If we may judge by the wretched appearance of the people and of the towns in Burgundy, and more especially by Joigny and the neighbouring villages, we might conclude that the wine was not worth more than the hoops of the cask! I wish the English farmers, a race of beings that have been characterized for grumbling and discontent ever since the days of Virgil
“O Fortunatos nimium si sua bona nôrint,” could be dropped down in the heart of France, Spain, 'or Italy, for one week, to stare, and starve, and growl, and gripe, on the sour wine and sandy bread of their continental neighbours ! Surely they would hail the chalky cliffs of their native Isle with pleasure, and enjoy the roast beef and brown stout of Old England with a better relish than they had ever done before. carendo, non fruendo, cognoscimus."
THE JURA MOUNTAINS---PAYS DE VAUD.
To traverse “the long rough road" between Paris and Poligny, is bad enough-to describe it would be worse—but the penalty of reading such descriptions would be worst of all! Yet Reichard and Mrs. Starke inflict this last punishment on thousands of their countrymen and women annually! Such descriptions are, after all, the only things on the dull and dreary track, which are calculated to amuse the traveller. It is really wonderful how these and other writers have been able to invest the country with beauties which have no existence but in their own imaginations.
It was a great violation of the unity of French monotony and of the Genius of Geography, to annex the Jura Mountains to France. They appear the natural boundary between that country and Switzerland, and partake much more of the geological features of the latter than of the former territory. This chain of mountains presents many beautiful prospects—but none more joyful to the traveller than that which is seen from the heights above Poligny -because it is a farewell to France ! He who has pilgrimaged from Calais to this place, will feel the invigorating influence of the mountain air, as soon as he begins to ascend from the stupid, though fertile and vine-clad plains of Burgundy and Franche Compté. Should the route of the Rhine be prohibited, I had rather go round by the Cape of Good Hope to Switzerland, than
traverse France another time! It is really refreshing to see even a goitre or a short petticoat (some approach to Swiss costume) after the clattering sabot, the bas bleu, the coarse jacket, the mahogany complexion, the horrible caps, and the downright ugly features which so generally meet the eye among the French peasantry.
The great military road winds up and along precipices—through magnificent forests of beech and pine-the rivulets are heard foaming over ledges of rock-while innumerable alpine shrubs and flowers unfold their varying tints and hues to Summer suns and Winter snows. From Champagnole to Les Russes, the scenery is very interesting-and, in several places, is even fine. The descent to Morez and the ascent to Les Russes present some extremely romantic spots-especially a valley on the right hand soon after leaving Morez, where Rasselas might have been placed, and the picture, as far as geographical scenery is concerned, drawn from Nature itself.
But the attractive points of the Jura are those from whence the traveller catches the first view of the Lake of Geneva, the Pays de Vaud, and surrounding Alps.
'Twas at this instant-while there glow'd
This last intensest gleam of light-
The valley burst upon my sight!
And Alps on Alps in clusters swelling,
The ramparts of a Godhead's dwelling !-MOORE.
The Savoy, or opposite side of the lake attracts most attention. The immense chain of Alps, with the monarch of mountains (Mont Blanc) at their head, presents three very different, and tolerably defined zones' or regions. The first is the snowy region, undulated like white fleecy clouds, on an autumnal evening, and so much resembling them, that it is only by waiting some time, that the distinction can be ascertained. In this region Mont Blanc still preserves his superiority—and from the Jura this superiority is more striking than from any other point that I have seen in Switzerland. It is curious that the higher the spectator is placed, the higher this monarch of the Alps appears.
Thus, from the Valley of Chamouni, at the foot of Mont Blanc, the height of that mountain seems by no means remarkable ; though the vastness of the immense pile is peculiarly so. But from the Jura, the altitude of the mountain is something incredible.
The next band or region is of a dark blue colour, interspersed with many white points or perpendicular lines, and the naked eye cannot distinguish the parts of which this region is composed. A good telescope plainly shews that
PAYS DE VAUD FROM THE JURA.
it is the region of wood, rock, glacier and torrent. The woods, which are chiefly pine, together with the naked rocks and the haze which hangs about the woods, give this region the dark blue tint. The torrents, the glaciers, and the white cliffs reflect the rays of the evening sun, and account for the bright points and perpendicular lines in the landscape.
The lowest range or zone is that of cultivation-or, more properly speaking, of FERTILITY—for every spot of the middle region, on which the hand of industry can bear, is cultivated in some way or other. The Savoy side of the lake is neither so fertile nor so well managed as the Pays de Vaud; but still the telescope, and even the naked eye ranges over vineyards, corn fields, gardens, plantations—in short, over every kind of agriculture, down to the waters' edge~presenting a succession of habitations, from the simple chalet perched on the edge of a precipice, or hanging, as it were, over the edge of a cliff, down to the beautiful villa reposing on the banks of the Leman, and reflected from the surface of the glassy lake.
The eye at length comes down to the lake itself, stretching, 'like an immense mirror, from Geneva on the right to Vevay and Chillon on the extreme left. These two last reflect the beams of the setting sun, and are clearly seen from the gorge of the Jura with the naked eye. The lake itself, forty-seven miles in length, sweeps round in a crescent, bearing on its smooth bosom a great variety of vessels, gliding quietly along, loaded with the local commerce of the surrounding shores. Among these the steaner daily ploughs its rapid course, and without that long train of smoke which has given such a shock to the sensibility, or rather sentimentality of northern tourists round the borders of Loch Lomond. Wood is used instead of coal, and the traveller has an excellent opportunity of thus viewing the magnificent scenery of Lake Leman in one day, with no fatigue and very little expense.
Lastly, the Pays DE VAUD, one of the best cultivated and fertile slopes in Switzerland, lies directly beneath us, stretching from the Jura to the waters' side-varying in breadth from six to eight miles—covered with ineyards, corn fields, orchards and gardens and interspersed with towns, villages, and villas. The new road down the Jura from Vattry to Rolle, is cut in such graceful windings, rather than in acute zig-zags, that the horses go at full gallop along the greater part of it—the traveller retaining a full view of the fairy scene the whole way to the verge of the lake. From thence to Geneva; a distance of about 14 miles, the drive is beautiful. The view of the Jura on one side, and the Savoy mountains on the other—the pellucid waters of the lake breaking, with gentle murmur, on the golden sands along the very edge of the road—the beams of the setting sun gilding the snowy summits of the high Alps, and playing on glaciers, cliffs,
“And glittering streams high glcaning from afar”