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herself furnishes. The woods are rich and beautiful, retaining their verdure, and freshness of foliage even at this season. Through groves of chestnut, walnut, ash, and elm, gleams of blue water meet the eye, on the right; while on the other hand, the broken and snowy peaks of the Alps rise in the distance, above the intervening curtain of forests. At a custom-house, not far from St. Gingoux, we left the frontier of the Bas-Valais, and entered Savoy. Although doganas, officers, and troops of his Sardinian Majesty were seen upon the road, they gave us no trouble in this part of his dominions. The air of the Swiss mountains is not so congenial to the funguses of petty despotism, as the more stagnant political atmosphere of Italy. If the people are no longer independent, they retain a portion of the thoughts, feelings, manners, and habits of freemen.
The rocks of Meillerie are haunted by the spirits of Rousseau's lovers. He could scarcely have found a more romantic seclusion. A rugged spur of the Alps here projects to the very brink of the Lake, and terminates in a cliff two hundred feet in height. It was hewn down to its base by Napoleon, who seemed to sport with mountains, as children play with pebbles. Double walls and terraces were constructed along the precipice, to give security to the road. Had not the Simplon just exhausted admiration, the extent and magnitude of this humbler work would have excited astonishment.
Between Evian and Thonon, we passed the torrent of Dranse, opening from the Alps in the vicinity of Mont Blanc. Its banks are strewed with ruins of the mountains to the width of more than half a mile, similar in character to the gorges of the Haut-Valais. It is passed on a strong stone bridge, the massive walls of which are made watertight, to guard against the floods, which at certain seasons sweep down with tremendous fury. The old Convent of Ripaille, on the borders of the Lake, and one or two picturesque ruins on the left, give variety to the scenery.
After leaving Thonon, the road deserts the margin of the Lake, and becomes rather monotonous, though it passes through a rich agricultural district, well tilled and shaded with large forest trees. Our heads were turned to the left all the afternoon, to catch a glimpse of Mont Blanc; and just before evening, our wishes were gratified as fully, as they could be at the distance of fifty or sixty miles. An hour of bright sunshine enabled us to gaze, till the eye was dazzled with the brilliancy of the spectacle. At first a mere v speck of bright snow was seen near the base, beneath a curtain of vapour, which hung upon the brow, and entirely concealed the form of the mountain. The cloud rose gradually, as the sun declined, disclosing one peak and one glacier after another, till every vestige of the rack disappeared, and the four-fold summits, towering above all the surrounding region, blazed like beacons in the heavens. It seemed as if the elements conspired, to render the grandeur of the scene as impressive as possible; and I dare not copy the extravagance of language, entered in my diary, in the enthusiasm of the moment.
The depth of light and shade, occasioned by the position of the different peaks in relation to the sun, reminded me of the appearance of the icy orb of the moon, as descried through a good telescope. While the western sides were tinged with a rich roseate hue, the declivities thrown into a penumbra by giant shadows, were but dimly discernible. No artist could reach the delicacy and beauty of the colouring. The south-western peak is the lowest, and pointed to a needle at top. Next in order is a stupendous cone, towering far above all the rest, which are of comparatively moderate elevation, shooting up from the north-eastern shoulder. But why should I attempt, at such a distance, to sketch the features of this monarch of the Alps, when so many others have drawn portraits, from stations at its base; and when some of my countrymen have climbed to the topmost glacier? I envy them the glory of the achievement; though circumstances would not permit me to follow their example.
Mont Blanc almost entirely engrossed our attention, for the hour it remained in sight, notwithstanding the minor attractions which surrounded us. The environs of Geneva are extremely splendid. For several miles from its foot, the Lake contracts to a less width, than the Hudson opposite New-York. It presents a perfect mirror to its verdant, soft, and picturesque shores. In the approach along its southern side, the broad avenue is bordered by beautiful country-seats, green lawns, spacious gardens, and extensive walks shaded with elms.
The natural scenery, as well in the immediate suburbs, as in the distance, is so superlatively rich and varied, presenting the happiest combinations of hills, woods, and wa;rs, that one hardly thinks of the venerable old town, which Hows its numerous calvinistic steeples, sheathed with metllic plates, and, at the hour of our arrival, glittering in the etting sun. Its situation is unrivalled, both in point of eauty and convenience, occupying an acclivity which rises rom the very margin of the Lake, to the height of several undred feet, and looks abroad upon the whole region beween the Alps and Jura—a district that can scarcely be surlassed in the variety and splendour of its natural features. The city itself is not remarkable for stateliness, architectua\ grandeur, or elegance. Its streets are paved like those >f Paris; and the buildings, though often five and six stories ligh, exhibit few embellishments, and are far from being showy.
At the lofty gate, our passports were demanded for the first time, since leaving the banks of the Ticin. The officer retained them, and gave us a carte of security for their safe return. Neat and commodious apartments were obtained at the Crown Hotel, for two francs a day; and the table d'hote was in the true Parisian style. The landlord gave us fish from the Lake and chamois from the mountains. In flavour and delicacy, the latter is inferior to venison; though it is considered a dainty by gourmands, chiefly on account of its scarcity and high price.
It was a comfortable thought, to be thus safely and snugly lodged for a short time, after an arduous and active journey of seven days from Milan; though circumstances conspired to render it in the highest degree favourable, novel, and interesting. We might have seen the Alps under more sublime and terrific aspects; but surely not in a better light, for extended views and minute observations. Not a drop of rain, nor a flake of snow, had descended during the whole passage; and clouds seldom darkened our pathway. The evening of our arrival was delightfully pleasant; and the skies at sunset were emphatically those of Claude Lorraine,
EXCURSION TO FERNEY EGRESS OF THE RHONE CHATEAU OF
VOLTAIRE SHORE OF THE LAKE COPET TOMBS OP DECKER AND MADAME DE 8TAEL NYON EXCURSION TO VEVAY—
SKETCH OF THE TOWN CLARENS—CHILLON RIDE TO LAUSANNE REMINISCENCES OF GIBBON DESCRIPTION OF TH£
October, 1826.—The day after our arrival at Geneva was occupied in an excursion to Ferney, the well known residence of Voltaire, five or six miles from Geneva. In Ouf ride thither, we bade good morrow to our old friend the Rhone, who had been taking a nap like ourselves. He resumes his unfinished journey to the sea in great haste, as if he had overslept himself, and lingered too long, enamoured of the peaceful and sumptuous couch, which nature has spread for his repose. But the brightness and azure hue of his waters have not been sullied by resting awhile on a bed of such purity, and they here gush out of the lake with all the freshness and activity of their original fountains among the glaciers. Art has done little, to embellish a stream of such grandeur and unequalled beauty. The bridge is contemptibly mean; the buildings in the vicinity are unsightly; and the current has been choked up with mills.
Not far from the village of Ferney, stands the Chateau of Voltaire, occupying a moderate eminence, which commands an enchanting view of all the great features of the country— Mont Blanc, the long lineof \lps,distant glaciers, and the lake spreading below. A handsome court-yard, planted with box of a large growth, leads to the mansion, which itself exhibits neither architectural simplicity nor elegance. It is two stories high: the upper one has seven windows, while the basement contains but four, giving the front a most fantastic appearance. Two Doric pillars form the portals. The edifice is upon a small scale; too diminutive for a chateau, too large for a cottage; exhibiting all the eccentricities of its former tenant, with little or nothing of that taste, which a man of such literary eminence might be supposed to possess. It appeared to me the baby-house of his second childhood.
We examined the two apartments in the basement, which emain precisely in the state he left them. The floors are omposed of wooden pannels; and instead of neat hearths, uch as a recluse would choose to cheer his solitude, are ubstituted gloomy earthen stoves, crowned with small terraotta busts of the philosopher, which looked as if they might save been baked in the same kiln, that spread its noxious umes through the room. A profusion of brass and tawdry filt ornaments render the pottery still more uncouth in its uppearance. o The paintings and decorations of the walls are in much he same character, as the other ornaments. Over the door s a picture, designed and composed, though not painted, by he philosopher of Ferney. It is as little creditable to his aste, as it is to his judgment and, common sense. It reprelents himself, in the attitude of presenting his Heriade to Apollo, who descends from Parnassus, attended by the Muses and Graces, to receive the offering of the self-com\lacent poet, and bear it to a temple which is seen in the background. One apartment contains a portrait of Woltaire, which was taken at the age of forty-four. Here also are likenesses of Washington, Franklin, Frederic the Great, Sir Isaac Newton, Milton, and some of the distinguished men of France, inermingled with queens, actors, mistresses, and favourite Servants. The exterior appendages of the Chateau are in much better taste. In its rear is a beautiful garden, looking upon the Jura Alps. The grounds are laid out in the style of English parks; shaded with groves of maple, beach, elm, limes, and other stately forest trees, overhanging walks for exercise and meditation. In the midst of the woods is a pretty fountain, filled with gold-fish, that came up in swarms at the whistle of the old valet, who says they know him, and will eat bread from his hand. To this villa belonged a thousand acres of excellent land, finely wooded, well cultivated, and productive. Such a tract, bordering upon the lake, and in the vicinity of Geneva, was of itself a fortune more splendid, than literary men generally realize. 2o We went to the tomb which Woltaire caused to be constructed for himself. It is a Gothic, misshapen pyramid, daubed with stucco, standing by the side of the public road, naked of foliage, instead of being hidden, as it ought to have * been, among the woods, at the side of his fountain. It is of