Imágenes de páginas

was thought extremely natural by the rest of any suspicion of her. The death's head was a the fashionable world, and Baroness U alone mask under the exterior mask. She had predeemed it an heinous offence. With a heart || viously taken for granted, that terror would predeeply wounded at his inconstancy, sl.e at first vent the Count from examining it very closely; made some attempts to recal hier unfaithful lover; but in the worst case every one of her expres. but, as they all proved ineffectual, she had sions was susceptible of a two-fuld explanation. secretly vowed to take the most signal revenge.

She had long been acquainted with the apart. To effect her purpose with the greater security, || ment, a tapestry-door, and a back stair-case she displayed in her exterior so much serenity, close by it. Imperceptibly to himself, she had and composure, that her acquaintance, and even easily led the Count impatient for the discovery. the Count himself, were deceived by it. A new Her woman, her only confidant, and who had lover was received by her with the utmost cor taken care of her from her youth, offended by diality, merely for the purpose of strengthening the Count for refusing to procure her son a place the delusion, and at length, she even succeeded about the court, had been her assistant in this in gaining the confidence of the newly-married

business. This woman, with a pick-lock, opened Countess T-i

the church-yard gate, where she ordered the " Thus she continued to be intimately ac chairman to set her down; and notwithstanding quainted with all his domestic circumstances ; the darkness of the night, and the horrors of the she had always watched for an opportunity for place, waited for her there with her first dress. revenge, but had never been able to find one that She had returned to the masquerade before the satisfied her, On the death of the young

Count was found. From that moment it was Countess, which certainly was unexpected, but next to an impossibility that she should be susnot unwished, her hopes of regaining his heart ii pected; and so little apprehension did she feel revived for a few days. But, as his affliction on that subject, that she stood close by one of would scarcely deign to bestow on her a single the chairmen when he was obliged to repeat bis look, as he had entirely broken off all inter wonderful story to the Duke. Her plan of recourse with her, as well as with many others, Il venge had succeeded to the utmost of her wisbes, this fresh injustice, his grief, and the masquerade, | nay, almost still farther. Her woman, the only gave birth to the idea of practising a little de- || depository of her secret, had long been dead; but ception, in order to increase the acuteness of for her own part, she found it impossible to leave his pain. Having rather more embonpoint than the world without first unburdening her heart by tke late Countess, she had compressed herself an upright confession." wi:h a pair of tight-laced says; and in every Such was the account that was given of the other particular, had imitated that original as

It is not impossible that rumour, closely as possible. His imagination, the mask which seldom fails to make additions to such a itself, and the tone of their conversation, made story, may have altered many little circum. amends for many deficiencies. As she had ap

It affords, however, a sufficient ex. peared at an early hour at the masquerade, in a planation of every thing that, at first, appeared totally different dress, had purposely spoken to almost inexplicable; and whoever thinks that several persons, and even taken off her mask the revenge of the Baroness U- was carried for a few moments close by the Prince and his too far, let him recollect this important truth, favouri:e, it was impossible that the Count, on that in woman, slighted love thinks no danger too her appearance in her second dress, should have formidable, no revenge too cruel.






I HAVE explored many mountains in Europe || poet as to those of a mineralogist. My intention, and America, and am the more confirmed in however, is only to lay before my readers the the opinion, that all the descriptions given of reflections that have started in my inind during these stupendous monuments of nature my journey, and my single authority is not exaggerated, and the last trial I have nade has powerful enough to draw down the indignanot shaken but strengthened my belief. I visited lion of thiose whose sentiments are different from the valley of Chamouny, which the works of mine. M. de Saussure have immortalized, but I think it When I left Geneva the sky was cloudy, but would not appear so enchanting to the eyes of a ll it grew fairer as I reached Servoz; from thence

the snowy top of Mont-Blanc alone is seen, over the rocks; I observed above Servoz a naked it is called the Doine. I afterwards crossed the and rugged peak, around which they had flung a passage des Montées, and entered the valley of sort of toga, so as to give it the appearance of Chamouny; thence, whilst I passed beneath the an ancient Roman Senator. In another direcGlacier styled des Bussons, its lofty pyramidstion a cultivated spot was revealed, while a cloudy were de cried through the dark foliage of firs and zone bound the middle of the mountain, the larch trees. This Glacier has been compared, craggy tops of which, rising above the dark on account of its white appearance, and the rolling mists, presented to my eyes the most lengthened shape of its crystals, with a squa faithful insages of chimeras, sphinxes, heads of dron of ships sailing; I will add, to render the Anubis, and almost all the monsters and divi, comparison more exact, in the midst of a gulph, nities of Egypt, the shores of which are lined with green forests. When the clouds are impelled by violent

I spent the night in the village of Chamouny, || blasts, the summits of the rocks seem to fly and the next day repaired to the Montanvert; the rapidly and conceal themselves behind a moveable weather was most delighful, and afforded me a curtain ; by turns they are exposed to our sight, clear prospect of the objects around me; when I and by turns they are snatched away from reached its top, which is in reality no more than our observation. Now in the midst of bursting one of the roots of Mont-Blanc, I perceived what vapours a small verdant spot is descried, as is improperly terined, the Sea of Ice.

though it were a green island suspended in the Let my readers fancy they behold a vale, the sky; and now a majestic peak, slowly piercing cavity of which is entirely filled up by a river ; || through the accumulated mist, like a phantom the mountains which surround it are composed of gliding through the darkness of night, unfolds socks which hang over this river, such as the itself to our eyes. The saddened traveller hears needles de Dru, du Bochard, des Charmoz. At a the howlings of the wind through the forests of distance the vale and the river are divided into pines, the roaring fall of the torrents that rush two branches, the one extends to the foot of a high down from the Glaciers' bed, and sometimes the mountain, called the Giant's Neck, and the other sudden thunder of the bounding avalanches, and to the rocks des Jorasses. At the other extremity | the hissing scream of the terrified marinote, when there is a declivity towards the valley of Cha she has perceived the hawk of the Alps sailing mouny; this declivity, which is nearly vertical, watchful through the sky. contains the portion of the sea of ice, commonly

When no cloud loads the atmosphere, and the called the Glacier of the Woods. Let them now whole amphitheatre of the mountains displays suppose, that through the sudden intensity of the itself before us, one single striking feature can be cold, this river has been entirely frozen, and the observed ; it is that which their summits presummits of the neighbouring crags have been sent in the pure ether which surround them; crowned with ice and snow wherever the granite for in this case the acuteness of their lines and was shaped so as to detain the rain-water or exactness of their planes cannot be equalled by the falling snow, and they will have a faithful any object in the vales below. Rearing aloft picture of the Sea of Ice and the scene around their angular brows beneath the blue transparent it. It is not, as may be seen, a sea, but a river; vault of heaven, they appear at a distance like the Rhine, for instance, as the Glacier des Bois is immense specimens of metals, coral trees, and a faint imitation of its fall at Laufen.

stalactites, carefully laid by the hand of the FaWhen I walked over the Sea of Ice, its sur ther of Nature, beneath a vase of the brightest face, which from the top of the Montanvert || chrystal. The inhabitants of these Cantons try seeined every where equally smooth, proved, on to find some likenesses between these lofty the contrary, to be rough and filled with angular irregular ridges, and animals and things which elevations of the same shape as the irregular they are in the habit of beholding, and thence rocks which lower all around; and the whole come the appellations of the Mules, the Charmoz, appeared an excellent white marble relievo of or Chamois, which they bestow upon them; as the neighbouring mountains.

well as those borrowed from religion, such as Let us now speak of those great monuments les Sommets des Croix, le Rocher du Reposoir, of nature in general.

le Glacier des Pelerins; which prove that if man There are two ways of viewing them ; with be continually awake to the sense of his wants, clouds, or in an unclouded sky; for these are he delights to strew every spot with the pleasing the two most markel features of the Alps. remembrances of the comforts he has received.

In the first case, the scene becomes more ani As to the trees which grow in these regions, mated; but obscurily and confusion hinder us I shall mention the pine, fir, and larch alone, from grasping the whole of the landscape. because they form the chief, and nearly the only

Clouds throw the most fantastic vestments decorations of the Alps.


By its majestic stature, the pine recalls to our the side of the ship, I thought of the country I minds the noble architecture of the ancients; had left, and the deserts I was going to inhabit. its branches iinitate, by their disposition, a But to return to my opinion of mountains in pyramid, and its trunk a lofty pillar : it some general; it appears evident to me, at least, that times also assumes the shape of its native rocks; as there can be no sublime landscape without an and I have often mistaken it, when gruwing in horizon formed by hills, or lofty rocks, by the the hollows of the rocks, for some lone towering

ame reason,

no spot can please the eyes and the peak clothed in a sable garb. On the other side | heart, when it is confined and deprived of the of the pass of Balme, when I descended from the splendid effects of perspective. This is the case Glacier of Trient, I descried a forest composeel of with the interior of mountains; their ponderous the finest pines, firs, and larch, that ever spread masses ill suit the faculties of man, or rather the their gloomy foliage over the ground. Every tree

weakness of his organs. aniong this giant tribe bears the weight of se Sublimity is generally looked upon as the chief veral ages, and their proud monarch, without be characteristic of mountainous landscapes, and it ing carefully pointed out to travellers by their consists in reality in the grandeur of objects ; but officious guides, would, by its prodigious height, || if it can be proved that this grandeur, though ex. reveal its own greatness. It is a fir, the trunk of || isting, does not fall within the grasp of our glances, which might, without any addition to its length, || how can it produce sublimity? form the mast of the largest man of war. He It is the same with the monuments of nature alone has been spared by the bolts of heaven and as with those of art; in order to enjoy their the cruelty of man, while all his subjects are beauty we must be placed at a just distance from covered with scars; the head of the one has been them, else their shapes, hues, and proportions are torn by the lightning, while another still rears confounded together; but when in the midst of aloft a blasted brow, the arms of this one mountains, the field of our optics is too confined, have been lacerated, while the foot of that is we touch the objects, if I may be allowed to say blackened by the fires lighted by shepherds. I so, and their dimensions lose their exactness, remarked two young twins starting from the same That this is true is proved by the frequent misroot; they were both of the same height, and takes we commit as to elevation and distance; the same shape, but the one was full of vigour | let those who have explored these regions declare and the other withered. At this sight these pa

whether Mont Blanc seemed very high from the thetic lines of Virgil recurred to my memory : valley of Chamouny ? Jt often happens that an

immense lake among the Alps appears reduceri Daucia, Laride Thymberque, simillima prules,

to a narrow pond; that while you fancy a few “ Indiscreta suis, gratusque parentibus error steps will suffice to lead you to the top of a hill, " At nunc dura dedit vobis discrimina Pallas."

it requires three hours of incessant exertions; a

whole day is sometimes not long enough to reach Pines indicate the solitude and barrenncss of

a spot which your deluded eyes beheld as close mountains; they are almost the only companions before you And thus the grandeur of mounof the poor Savoyards, and their fate is nearly tains, so often celebrated by poets and travellers, alike; they both grow and die unknown on the

is not real, but consists mostly in the fatigue summit of inaccessible rocks, and their posterity it occasions you, while the landscapes are far follow the same course. The rustling of pinas, | from equalling the idea you had formed. when caused by a light wind, is praised by

But notwithstanding they lose their sublimity sylvan poets; when it is violent it imitates the

when the spectator is too near, their gigantic roaring of the sea, and the astonished traveller

masses crush the ornaments which nature strewed often fancies he hears the raging ocean thunder

over them; and thus, through the effect of con. ing in the midst of the Alps. The smell pro

trary laws, every thing shrinks among the Alps duced by pines is aromatic and pleasing; it is

beneath the standard of expectation. Were the particularly so to me, because it greeted my senses

trees which clothe the mountains much taller as I approached the shores of Virginia at a dis- | than those which adorn the plain, the rivers tance of forty miles from land. li always awakens and torrents more considerable, they inight pre. in my mind the remembrance of the new world,

sent a more striking and awful spectacle to ile which was announced by mild balmy gales of its sight of man; but this is not the case. The pure sky, and the shining seas, where the per frame of the picture is enlarged beyond all profumes of the distant forests wandered on the portion, whilst the rivers, forests, villages, and wings of the morning breeze; and as every link flocks retain their own diminutive size; all relaof the chain of memory leads us to another, I tion is therefore torn asunder between the whole feel once more the pangs of regret and hope and its component parts, the stage and its scenery. which assailed my heart, when leaning pensive on The plane of the mountains being always ver

tical, becomes a sort of scale, ever seen, to which of colours which join the different parts of a picthe eye, unconsciously, refers every object, and is ture together; it is then the outlines of edifices astonished at finding them so small. The loftiest seem sharper and more determined, their strucpines, for instance, are scarcely visible along the ture bolder and lofrier, and the white streams of sirles of a steep elevation, where they remain like light contrast more strongly with the lines of as many flakes of soot; the traces left by the shade. This is the reason why the noble Romün abundant rains look like parallel streaks of a architecture, like the outlines of mountains, apyellow colour, and the widest torrents, the high-pears so granid when silvered over by the beams est cataracts, like inconsiderable springs of water,

of the moon. and sometimes like blue mists.

It is the custom with travellers to be entranced Those who have been happy enough to per

with admiration at the prospect of the vales of ceive diamonds, topazes, and emeralds, on the Switzerland ; but it must be acknowledged that surface of the glaciers, have been much more almost all their beauty depends upon compafortunate than 1, for my imagination has never

rison. Tired with wandering over barren wastes descried such treasures. The snow of the glacier and rocks covered with a reddish sort of lichen, Des Bois, mixed with the dust of granite, as. our eyes rest with pleasure on a spot where vesumed no other appearance than that of ashes ; || getation is alive, and spreads her green mantle. and the Sea of Ice may, in several places, be mis But in what does the verdure of these valleys contaken for lime quarries; its crevices alone feebly || sist? In a few withering willows, and some acres imitate the effect of the prism, and the parts of barley ånd oats, which grow with great diffiwhich lie against the rocks resemble exactly the culty, and ripen late, and in a few wild trees green glass with which bottles are made.

which bear a rough sort of fruit. li a lonely vine The white draperies of the Alps form a dis put forth its blossom, in a warm recess, shelteragreeable contrast with the objects which sur ed from the blast of the norih, and exposed to round then, and which they darken; even the the fustering heat of the south, it is pointed out blue vaults of the sky change their pleasing hue as an astonishing instance of fertility. As soon for a black gloomy tint; and it is in vain we hope as we climb up the neighbouring rocks, their to behold striking accidents of light upon the

stern and narked features hinder us from paying snow; the colours which it assumes are not attention to the miniature beneath ; the cotseen by the persons on the spot. The splendour || tages are scarcely visible, and the cultivated fields with which the setting sun crowns the summit look like the compartments of a chess-board. of the Alps of Savoy is contemplated by the

Much is said about the mountain flowers, he inhabitants of Lauzanne alone, the observer violets gathered at the foot of glaciers, the straw. placed in the valley of Chamouni, is unable to berries which blush in a bed of snow ; but these catch a single glimpse of the glorious spectacle ; are imperceptible wonders which produce no efhe sees, as though through a narrow funnel, a fect; the ornaments tou small for such small portion of a dark blue sky, and the spot on gigantic masses. which he stands is scarcely ever enlightened by I must be a very unfortunate being, for I could the beains of the king of day.

see, in the celebrated chalels, changed by the In order to be beiter understood, 'I will make | burning imagination of J. J. Rousseau, into use of a plain coniparison : the painter requires a enchanted retreats, nothing more than wretched canvass, to exercise his brushes; in nature, the hovels, filled with the dung of herds, pero sky is the canvass which contains a landscape; fumed with the smell of cheese and sour inilk, should it not appear in the picture, the effect and inhabited by unhappy mountaineers who vanishes away, and all is confusion. Mountains, ll look upon themselves as banished from the when we are too near, snatch the greatest part haunts of men, and long for the hour of descende of the sky from our sigiit ; their summits are not ing into the vallies. at a sufficient distance from each other, they Small dumb birds, fluttering over the gathered overshadow each other, and increase the dark-ice, sometimes a few ravens and hawks, are the ness which generally lurks within their cavities : | only living beings that enliven these wastes of and let those who doubt the truth of niy asser snow and stone, where, were it not for the fall. tions examine the works of the most celebra ed | ing drops of rain, no other motion would for the landscape painters, and they will find, that rocks most part be perceived. Happy are we, when are usually thrown in the back ground of the ihe wood-pecker foreboding a storm, shrieks pain'ing, while woods and vales are foremost. wildly from the bosom of a forest of firs! and yet

Moon-light alone restores to mountains their this token of existence renders the appearance of wild grandeur and sublimiry; for its effect con death, which surrounds us, more visible and sists in enlarging the size of objects, isolating more friglitful. The Chamois, wild goats and heavy masses, and softening away the gradation white rabbits, are almost entirely destroyed, and No. XVII, Vol. II.



even marmols are become very scarce, so that the to be composed of oaks, elms, and beech trees poor Savoyard boy's only treasure is nearly ex instead of gloomy firs; for in the last case he hausted. Wild animals have yielded the summits would not have said, of the Alps to herds of cows, thai, like their mas.

“ Et ingenti ramorum protegat umbra." ters, regret the verdure of the plain.

It remains now to speak of the sentiinents And where does he wish this valley should be which arise in our breasts while we move among | placed ? in a spot teeming with interesting remountains; and according to what I have felt, membrances, and equally celebrated by traditions, they are painful. I cannot taste any joy when the muses, and history. He would have little every thing around me proclaims the fatiguing cared for the vale of Chamouny, the glacier of exertions of my fellow creatures, and their incre- | Taconay, the small and great Jorasse, the needle dible toils, which an ungrateful soil refuses to re of Dru, and the rock of the Tele-noire. pay with harvests. Mountaineers who experience But should we implicitly believe Rousseau and the disadvantages attendant upon their situation, those who have inherited his erroneous notions are more sincere than travellers, for they call the and not his eloquence, when we reach the brow vales, the good country, and do not assert that of a mountain our nature would suddenly be rocks, lhe sterility of which is not melted by their changed. “On their towering summits,” he exmost laborious cares, are the most sublime and


our meditation's assume a more sublime excellent productions of nature. The attachment || cast, more fitted to the objects we behold; we they feel for their mountains proceeds from the feel a sort of delight neither ino violent nor sensual. mysterious relations which the Almighty has It seems that when we rise above the dwellings of erèated between our sufferings, the object which man, we cast off all low terrestrial passions;-and gives them birth, and the spots where they first I believe that the storms of the heart would soon stung our hearts : it is the result of the tender | be quelled, were we to fix our abode here." remenibrances of their infancy, the first emotions

I heartily wish this were the case! how sweet of their breast, and the sweets, and even the sor.

it would be, to stand out of the reach of sorrow rows they tasted beneath the paternal roof. The when exalied a few acres above the level of the child of solitude, grows more serious through the plains! but the soul of man is not the slave of constant babit of suffering; the unfortunate climes or situations ; and a heart oppressed with mountaineer dwells with more interest upon the grief, sinks beneath its weight on the highest limited incidents of his existence; and the love places, as well as in the humble vallies. Antihe fosters for his country, ought not to be attri- | quity, which we may always quote when the buted to the beauties of the land he inhabits, but truth of a sentiment is to be judged, represents to the concentration of his ideas, and the little ex mountains as the retreats of misery and desolation. tent of his wants,

If Julie's lover forget his woes amidst the rocks But mountains, it will be said, offer pleasing of the Valais, Eurydice's husband feeds his grief retreats for those who delight in indulging in soft

on the Thracian hills; and notwithstanding the or melancholy reveries; as for me, I think it is talents of the author of La Nouvelle Heloise, the difficult to tear off our attention from the fatigue voice of his hero will not resound through future we undergo, especially when every step must be ages, as long as the lyre of Orpheus. @dipus cautiously taken. The man whose mind would also carries the load of his misfortunes to the be wandering through the mazes of imagination, desert top of Cytheron. But from a still nobler while he ascends the Montanvert, inight, like the

source we may derive convincing proofs of what Astrologue of the fable, who while he studied the I have advanced; the Holy Scriptures, in which stars above his head, could not see what passed at

the true nature of man is better unfolded than in his feet, fall into some precipice.

the works of our modern philosophers, show us Far from feeling any congenial love for moun.

the sons of misery, the prophets, and our Saviour tains, poets have at all times longed for some

himself, seeking the shelter of the mountains sequestered and shady vale, in order to court the

when the hour of affliction arrived. Jephtha's inspiration of the muses. Let us listen to Virgil's daughter implores her father to grant her the peropinion of the subject.

mission of weeping her virginity among the hills « Rura mihi et rigui placeant in vallibus amnes

and rocks of Judea, before her life should be sacri“ Flumina amem, sylvasque inglorius.”

ficed; and it was on the mount of Olives that

our Redeemer drank the bitter cup, containing He first wishes to rove among the fields, rura all the sorrows and tears of men, mihi, he seeks the cool sequestered vallies, the It is worth remarking, that even in the pages tanks of rivers, not torrents, flumina amem, and of a writer who stood up as the champion of mothe forests where in inglorious ease he might spend rality, we still find some traces of the genius of his days, sylvasque inglorius. These forests were the age in which he lived. This supposed change

« AnteriorContinuar »