Imagens das páginas



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 apartment, composed of very small neat rooms, costs only a guinea and a half a week, and

the people of the house cook, and wait upon 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 thermometer 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, nipt 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 posthouse; 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 deserye their reputation. This country (Cornwall,) abounds in mines, which we have not time to visit. There is a singular sort of secondary mine, called streamtin; 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 thiek fog hid many a fine view from

The furze is in full blossom about the hedges; much holly, with its rich varnished foliage and bright red berries, and ivy, in wild luxuriance, mantling over cottages and stems 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 with moss, even to the smallest branches, owing to the prevailing moisture of the climate. We have no creeping plants in North America which preserve their verdure in winter, and the effect of this profusion of ivy is very striking. The mildness of the climate is truly astonishing; geraniums, and other greenhouse-plants, require only shelter, without fire, in winter, and wall-flowers are now in full bloom out of doors. We have seen to-day several gentlemen's houses at a distance, spreading wide and low over fine lawns, with dark back-grounds of pines, and clumps of arbutus and laurel, as green as in spring. Near dusk, we crossed the bay to Plymouth Dock, amidst its floating castles, one of them bearing 90 guns. To-morrow we go to Mount Edgecumbe, if the weather permits. This

[blocks in formation]

place struck us as very like Philadelphia, and not the modern part of it. The inhabitants, however, do not look much like Quakers, being mostly army

and navy.

January 2.-Armed with umbrellas and greatcoats, we set out this morning for Mount Edgecumbe, in the midst of a drizzling rain. Crossed the bay at Crimble passage ; landed on a strand of firm pebbly sand, near the porter's lodge. It was not the day of admittance, and we were told it was necessary to write to Lord M. E. A note was dispatched, and word returned that we were welcome, and a key given to us, opening all gates, with directions to find our way, and no guides to overlook us, which is a refinement of politeness. A gentle ascent of lawn, skirted with old chestnut trees and elms, leads to the house ; a plain edifice, half gothic, of a greyish white, with a fine background of trees upon the hill behind. The grounds, which I should judge not to exceed five or six hundred acres, form a sort of headland on the bay. A gravel walk, eight or ten feet wide, leads from the lodge to the house, and, turning round it, through the wood behind, brings you to an open lawn, sloping abruptly to the water. A small thic ruin stands there, of modern erection, near which the walk divides; a branch descending to the sea-side, another keeping along the high grounds, and, after plunging again into the shade of a dark wood, and passing through groves of evergreen trees and shrubs, advances along the precipitous heights, where the sight, unchecked by any trees, and from an elevation of two or three hundred feet, embraces at once the ocean on the right; in front, on the other side of the bay, at about one mile distance, a line of

[blocks in formation]

your feet, with


buildings, like an immense town, broken and diversified by fortifications, arsenals, batteries, &c. so as not to look like a mere field of roofs and chimneys; and, in bird's eye view, line-of-battle ships and frigates passing under as little ceremony as boats on a river. Thence the walk, turning to the right, ascends higher grounds still, to a plain on the top, where an old gothic church stands, with a tower serving for signals. A path along the heights, and across wood, brings you back to the place of beginning -a walk of two or three miles, which took us something less than three hours.

There is nothing done at Mount Edgecumbe which a gentleman of moderate fortune could not perform; and nature herself has been at no great expense of bold rocks or mountains ; it is a lump of earth sloping to the water, more or less abruptly, but with great variety, and deeply indented with bays. The great charm is the contrast of the loveliness and retirement of the objects near you, with the lively scene and richness, and immensity, bursting on the view here and there; and, upon the whole, this comes nearer to my ideas of beauty, than any spot I ever saw. The

green walk, particularly, I shall ever recollect. Laurels of such bright verdure, with large shining leaves; the arbutus, and laurustinus, covered with blossoms; another evergreen tree, resembling the wild cherry of America, (Portugal laurel we are told); then such draperies of ivy, in ample folds over the rocks and trees; such pines with moss of all colours, along the trunk and branches; and, on the ground, turf as vivid as in the spring, with daisies and periwinkles in flower, and fern, and furze with papilionaceous blossoms. Then through the trees, far below, the

[blocks in formation]

surf breaking in measured time, and spreading its white foam among the black rocks of the shore.

The sun had no share in the splendour of the scene, for it was not visible, nor any part of the sky; a misty, drizzly something, like rain, drove along in the blast, and made us tolerably wet; particularly as some deceitful appearances of fair weather, and the heat, had induced us to leave our umbrellas and great coats at the lodge. On our return to the hotel, we shifted and dried ourselves; called for a post-chaise, and pursued our journey through an endless succession of streets, and arsenals, and dock-yards, and barracks, two miles in length, some of which we might have seen, but felt no sort of inclination. At last we regained the country. It is pretty enough; the same waving surface, checquered with enclosures, and dotted with cottages and gentlemen's houses, all with their dark masses of pines and firs, and the same thickets of laurel, arbutus, and laurestinus, as at Mount Edgecumbe. The cottages are all thatched, the walls partly stone, and partly pisé, and with casements. The people, in general, look healthy and clean; much fewer children to be seen about the houses than in America.

January 3.-Slept at Ivy-bridge, a pretty name, and a pretty place ;-wall flowers full blown here, and in many places on the road,—and of course much ivy about it, and a clear boisterous little stream. The house superlatively comfortable; such empressement to receive you,---such readiness to fulfil every wish, as soon as expressed, such good rooms, and so well furnished,--such good things to eat, and so well dressed. This is really the land of conveniences, and it is not to be wondered at that the English should complain of foreign


« AnteriorContinuar »