« AnteriorContinuar »
The houses, in a confused heap, crowd on the water; the tide washes their foundations, a black wall, built of rough stones, that stand on end, to facilitate the draining of the water, and steps overgrown with sea-weeds, to ascend to the doors. Through one of these odd entrances I introduced my companions to the hotel,-a strange, old, low building, extremely neat inside, with a tempting larder full in view, displaying, on shelves of tiles, fish of all sorts, fat fowls, &c. Well-dressed servants, civil and attentive, wait our commands, We are put in possession of a sitting-room and two bed-rooms. Our windows overlook two or three diminutive streets without foot-paths,-too narrow, indeed, for any,-all up and down, and crooked. It is Sunday. The men are, many of them, in volunteer uniforms, and look well enough for citizen soldiers; the women highly dressed, or rather highly undressed, in extremely thin draperies, move about with an elastic gait on the light fantastic patten, making a universal clatter of iron on the pavement. Ruddy countenances, and embonpoint, are very general and striking. C.'s young astonishment was awakened at the sight of a sedan-chair, vibrating along on two poles. A monstrous carriage turned the corner of a street, overladen with passengers,―a dozen, at least, on the top, before, and behind; all this. resting on four high slender wheels, drawn along
full speed on a rough unequal pavement. We observed some men, in old-fashioned cocked-hats with silver lace, compelling a Quaker to shut his shop; which was opened again the moment they were gone. An elegant post-chaise and four stopped at the door. A young man, fat and fair, with the face and figure of a baby, six feet high, alighted from it; it was the Marquis of S. the first man of quality we had seen in England. He goes, we are told, to lounge away his ennui and his idleness beyond seas―a premature attack of the maladie du pays. The English maladie du pays is of a peculiar character; it is not merely the result of extreme regrets when they have left their country, and of that perpetual longing to return, felt by other people, but an equal longing to leave it, and a sense of weariness and satiety all the time they are at home.
Dinner announced, suspended our observations; it was served in our own apartments. We had three small dishes, dressed very inartificially (an English cook only boils and roasts), otherwise very good. The table linen and glass, and servants, remarkably neat, and in good order. At the dessert apples no bigger than walnuts, and without taste, which are said to be the best the country produces.
December 25.-I have been this morning to the custom-house, with the other passengers, to get
our passports. They obtained theirs without difficulty, but I must write to London for mine. Twenty-two years of absence have not expiated the original sin of being born in France: but I have no right to complain,-an Englishman would be worse off in France.
We have on our arrival a double allowance of news; those which were coming over to us when we left America, and what has occurred since; an accumulation of about three months. The first thing we have learnt was an Imperial repu diation and an expected Imperial marriage, which seems to be a great stroke of policy. Political news are no longer what they were formerly; they come home to every man's concerns, and state affairs are become family affairs.
December 26.-I have been introduced to seve ral respectable citizens of Falmouth; they all live in very small, old habitations, of which the apartments resemble the cabins of vessels. A new house is a phenomenon. The manners of this remote corner of England have retained a sort of primitive simplicity. I have seen nothing here of the luxury and pride which I expected to find every-where in this warlike and commercial country. There is much despondency about Spain, and but one voice against the Walcheren expedition and against the ministers, who are not ex
LODGINGS THE COUNTRY.
pected to withstand the shock of such general dissatisfaction.
We have left our hotel, to take furnished lodgings in an elevated part of the town-a kind of terrace,-looking down upon the beautiful little harbour and surrounding country. This apart, ment, composed of very small, neat rooms, costs only a guinea and a half a week, and the people of the house cook, and wait on us. This would cost more in the smallest town in America, or in fact could not be had. Domestics are here not only more obliging and industrious, but, what is remarkable, look better pleased and happier.
December 30. The weather has been singularly mild since we landed; the sky cloudy and misty, without absolute rain; a little, and very little sun, seen every day. Fahrenheit's thermo
meter about 50°.
December 31.-We left Falmouth this morning, in a post-chaise, fairly on our way to London. The country is an extensive moor, covered with furze, a low, thorny bush evergreen, browzed by a few goats and sheep; not a fourth part of the surface is inclosed and cultivated. The total absence of wood is particularly striking to us, who have just arrived from a world of forests. It gives, however, a vastness to the prospect, and opens distances of great beauty; hills behind hills, clothed in brown and green, in an endless
undulating line. The roads very narrow, crooked, and dirty; continually up and down. The horses we get are by no means good, and draw us with difficulty at the rate of five miles an hour. We change carriages as well as horses at every post-house; they are on four wheels, light and easy, and large enough for three persons. The post-boy sits on a cross bar of wood between the front springs, or rather rests against it. This is safer, and more convenient both for men and horses, but does not look well; and, as far as we have seen, English post-horses and postillions do not seem to deserve their reputation. This country (Cornwall,) abounds in mines, which we have not time to visit. There is a singular sort of secondary mine, called stream-tin; the metal is found in very small particles, or rather rounded pebbles, mixed in alluvial clay.
January 1, 1810.-From Bodmin, where we slept last night, travelling all day, we have gone only 32 miles, through a very hilly but not unpleasant country; a thick fog hid many a fine view from us. The furze is in full blossom about the hedges; much holly, with rich varnished foliage and bright red berries and ivy, in wild luxuriance, mantling over cottages and trunks of trees. No new houses to be seen; very few young trees; all is old, and mouldering into picturesque forms and colours. The trees are uniformly covered