Imagens das páginas

personal attacks. Private anecdotes and secret stories are brought to light daily, of such a nature as ought to make the individuals concerned ashamed to show themselves, and absolutely to drive them from society for the rest of their lives. Nothing of the kind :—the neck is no sooner out of the collar, and the shoulders scarcely heal ed after the castigation inflicted by the hands of newspaper-writers, or other practitioners in the art of defamation, than the sufferer makes his appearance again in the world as if nothing had happened. It seems strange that a people so proud, and certainly full as moral as its neighbours, should show this strange callousness,

From our hotel at Bristol we see and hear continually the troops quartered here exercising on the square before the cathedral. There are five regiments, principally employed in guarding a depot of prisoners of war. The soldiers, compared at least to the guards in London, are by no means stout-looking. The officers are in general larger niade than the men; and this is a confirmation of what I think I have observed before, that the class of gentlemen in England is a finer race of men than the same class in France ; but there is not the same difference between the common people of the two countries respectively.

We have had several days in June and July,

called here very warm, which may be considered as a fair sample of English summer heat, and that was quite moderate, compared to the heat in America. The climate, both winter and sum. mer, is never extreme; and although rarely resplendent, is best for use, more favourable for exercise, either for labour or pleasure. The people, accordingly, are visibly more active here than in America.

July 10.-We left Bristol this morning; twelve miles to the ferry over the Severn, of most beautiful country, in the highest state of cultivation, and everywhere gentlemen's houses and ornamented grounds. The ferry is two or three miles across, very expensive, and ill contrived ; our carriage suffered a little in getting over. Thence to Chepstow. Piercefield, a spot noted by all travellers, is near it ;—we went there, and are just returned. A walk is carried for three miles along the very brink of an abrupt terrace of rocks, 150 or 200 feet perpendicular, not in a straight line, but either sweeping round, or projecting and retiring in deep angles.' The preci. pice is generally masked by overhanging bushes and trees, and only now and then, and in the most favourable points, the prospect is thrown open to the view, with only a gardefous for your security, and a seat for

your repose. There you see trees and coppice far below your feet; ther the Wye, twisting about like a snake, or a narrow ribbon of liquid mud, deeply cased in banks of solid mud; for the tide was low, and there is about 50 feet perpendicular between high and low ! On the other side of this deep slimy bed is a knoll of head-land, unfortunately of very rich soil, as it causes it to be nicely divided in square patches, carefully ploughed and dug up, and every thing going on in the way of husbandry, picturesque or not, all under your eye. Beyond that, again, is another abrupt terrace of rocks, higher than the one you stand upon, calcareous, and breaking in better forms than the primitive class of rocks. Now and then you catch a glimpse of the Severn at a distance. Such a prospect has of course many great beauties, and great faults, and did not appear to me, on the whole, equal to its reputation. At one place, the body of a large intercepting rock has been pierced through for the walk, the length of perhaps 20 yards. Within this rampart of rocks and precipices is a lawn of more than a hundred acres, in soft swells and undulating lines, with a distant crest of dark wood, serving as a back.ground to the mansion, which seems, at a distance, something like the house at Stourhead. The fine green carpet, ex. tending over 100 acres, is shorn by 500 sheep; and clumps of glorious oaks and elms are scattered about in careless profusion. This is all

beautiful. The prospect from the house, which stands high, must be excellent; but it is not shewn. This house, and 3000 acres of land, not all good, cost the present owner L.90,000 sterling. The rent of either good arable land, or of woodland, that is, coppice cut every fourteen years, is from 30s. to 40s, an acre, and it sells at thirty years' purchase ; labourers 25.-6d. a-day and small-beer,--twenty years ago, Is. ed. In this interval of time the price of land has doubled. This progression, being universal, does not injure any one but stockholders or mortgagees. Butcher's meat is 9d. a-pound; a good fowl is 4s." 6d.; fuel is cheap. The land here is exposed to drought, from the rocks being near the surface ; therefore their crop of wheat and grass will be particularly scanty this year.

July 11.- Ross. We left our carriage this morning at Chepstow, near the mouth of the Wye, and came to this place in a hired chaise, proposing to return by the river ; 31 miles of very fine but very hilly country. From a height we had an extensive view of a most rich tract, the Vale of Monmouth, twenty miles every way, and cultivated like a garden. Farms in it let for L. 5 and L. 6 an acre ; forty years ago the rent of the same land did not exceed 30s. or 40s. an acre ; it belongs mostly to the Duke of Beaufort.

Soon after, we saw, from another height, the Vale of Usk, nearly as rich, but mostly meadow, be. ing overflowed every spring. At Ragland we visited the ruins of the castle of that name, the last subdued by the cannon of Cromwell. The floors and roofs are of course gone, but enough of the walls remains to trace a large hall, perhaps 50 by 30 feet, and 25 feet high, with spacious bow-windows (the frames of stone are yet en-, tire,) looking over a spacious court, and an enormous fire-place, with double fues forking off, with a window between, just above the fire, the music-gallery, and drawing-room; then, under the keep, the subterraneous dungeons, where prisoners were let down by a sort of well, and the very“ loop-hole grates where captives weep" still perfectly visible. We felt no kind of regret. at the decay of this goodly castle,—it is better as it is than as it was ; and the comparison between the times of its glory and the present make the existing grievances appear very light. Some, of the towers are entire, and ivy is mantling over the whole, according to the best rules of picturesqueness. I took a view, notwithstanding a heavy shower, which now visits us once a day, to the great comfort of farmers.

July 13.-Chepstow. We have come here in two days from Ross, by the Wye. There is no

« AnteriorContinuar »