Imagens das páginas

had the good fortune to take part of a chaise to Dover with Dr. Osborn. He is a most entertaining, agreeable companion; and we never had a more agreeable journey, especially to-day, for yesterday it was rainy, and we did not get into Rochester till nine at night; consequently lost in a great measure the windings of the silver Medway. But to-day was uniformly fine; and greatly delighted we were with the viewef Chatham, Stroud, and Rochester, from a hill just above the town, which we walked up. The Medway makes a fine bend here. The hop-pickers were at work as we went along, but not with their usual alacrity; for the late storm has blasted them to such a degree, that twenty thousand pounds worth of damage, they say, is done. The country is beautifully variegated all the way, and has many fine seats; among which Sir Horace Man's was pointed out. From this rich inclosed country you come to the open downs, more grand and striking. The first view of Dover castle is noble; and still more finished that of the town, which we saw from Dr. O.'s house where we dined. It has the castle on one side, hills on the other, a valley between (in which is the town), and the sea beyond. I think we shall hardly see more beautiful scenes in France. We here took leave of our last English friends,--I forgot to say we took a hasty peep at the venerable cathedral of Canterbury, to which I would at any time willingly go a pilgrimage— though not barefoot.

DEAR BROTHER, Besançon, Oct. 9th, 1785.

I wrote letters from Calais and from Troyes, the contents of which have, I hope, been communicated to you. From Troyes we proceeded to Dijon by a road so delightful that I strongly wished my sister and you could have been with me, a wish which I cannot help forming, though a vain one, whenever any object particularly pleasant presents itself. During the greatest part of this road we had the full view of the Seine, which we traced upwards to within half a league of its source, and saw it grow less and less, untwisting, as it were, to a single thread. The valley in which it ran was narrow, of a beautiful verdure, and bounded by hills of the most gentle ascent covered with trees or herbage: cattle of all sorts, among which were several flocks of goats, were feeding in sight. The road often ran upon the ascent; and we saw the river, sometimes bordered with trees and sometimes fringed with grass or rushes, winding beneath in the most sportive meanders, for we saw and lost it nine times from one spot. The scene was in general solitary; but if we came to a spot particularly pleasant, it was sure to be marked by a convent, the neatness of which, (generally white,) added to the beauty of the scene. After we had lost the Seine, we came to the Val de Suson, a still more romantic place, and very like Middleton Dale, only that the rocks were richly covered with trees. Through the first part of this valley runs the river Suson; the rest is still narrower, and between high rocks. At Dijon we delivered our first letter of recommendation, which introduced us to M. de Morveau, a man of great merit, who was avocatgénéral, but has quitted his profession for the sake of applying himself to philosophical studies, and chiefly chemical. He writes all the chemical articles in the New Encyclopedie. He esteems Dr. Priestley, Dr. Black, and Mr. Kirwan, to be the chief men in England in the philosophical way. M. de Morveau was one of the first who ascended in a balloon. He showed us their Academy, which is one of the first provincial ones. The Palais des Etats in Dijon is the finest building in it; the front of it forms one side of a very handsome square, and the wings extend much beyond it. It is adorned with statues and paintings by the pupils of the drawing-school. From the tower, on which is an observatory belonging to this building, is a charming view of the country: the hills of Burgundy covered with vines; the rivers of Ouche and Suson, which encircle the town; and the town itself, which is large though not very populous. In our way from Dijon to Dole we saw more of the vintage than we had hitherto done,—and a gay scene it is; though I must confess my disappointment at the first sight of the vines, which are very low, and nothing like so beautiful as our apple-trees. They say they have more wine this year than they can possibly find vessels to put it in ; and yet the road was covered with teams of casks, empty or full, according as they were going out or returning, and drawn by oxen whose strong necks seemed to be, bowed unwillingly under the yoke. Men, women and children were abroad : some cutting with a short sickle the bunches of grapes; some breaking them with a wooden instrument; some carrying them on their backs from the gatherers to those who pressed the juice; and, as in our harvest, the gleaners followed. From Dole we should have gone directly to Besançon, but were induced to strike out of the road to visit the grottes stalactites of Auxcelles, to see which we crossed in a ferry the river Doux, a fine stream with banks beautifully wooded, and got into a place most wild and solitary, through such terrible bad roads that what we thought would have been the affair of a few hours detained us there the whole night: the grotto, however, repaid our trouble. Had you been there, you would have seen it with a more philosophical eye, and have told us how the continual dropping of waters through those rocks forms those beautiful petrifications, which when polished, as they sometimes are, have the lustre and transparency of crystal. But it required only eyes to be struck with the view of a vast subterranean running through a whole rock, which had the appearance of a most magnificent Gothic church;-tombs, images, drapery, pillars, shrines, all formed without much aid from fancy, by nature working alone for ages in these long and lofty caverns. We walked in it, I believe, about two furlongs, and it might be another to the end. Be'sançon is by far the best town we have seen; the streets are long and regular, the hotels of the chief inhabitants palaces for princes, and the public buildings noble. But you would have been most struck with the hospital, managed in all the internal part by those good nuns Les Hospitalieres, with such perfect neatness, that in a long chamber containing thirty-five beds, most of them full, there was not any closeness or smell to be perceived. The beds were of white cotton, and by each bed a table and chair. Some of the nuns were attending here; others in the dispensary making up medicines; others in the kitchen making broths, &c.; and all this they do without salary, and many of them are of good families. Noyon, Oct. 13th.-I could not finish my letter time enough to send it from Besançon, which

« AnteriorContinuar »