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following day to a consideration of the manner in which we should proceed. S 's sprain rendered our pedestriauism impossible. We accordingly sold our mule, and bought an open voiture, that went on four wheels, for five napoleons, and hired a man with a mule, for eight more, to convey as to Ncufchutcl in six days.
The suburbs of Troyes were destroyed, and the town itself dirty and uninviting. I remained at the
inn writing letters, while S and C arranged
this bargain and visited the cathedral of the town; and the next morning wc departed in our voiture for NeufchateL. A curious instance of French vanity occurred on leaving this town. Our voiturur pointed to the plain around, and mentioned, that it had been the scene of a battle between the Russians and the French. "In which the Russians gained the victory 1"—" Ah no, madame," replied the man, "the French are never beaten."—" But how was it then," we asked, " that the Russians had entered Troyes soon after i" —" Oh, after having been defeated, they took a circuitous route, and thus entered the town."
Vandeuvres is a pleasant town, at which we rested during the hours of noon. We walked in the grounds of a nobleman, laid out in the English taste, and terminated in a pretty wood; it was a scene that reminded us of our native country. As we left Vandeuvres the aspect of the country suddenly changed ; abrupt hills, covered with vineyards, intermixed with trees, inclosed a narrow valley, the channel of the Aube. The view was interspersed by green meadows, groves of poplar and white willow, and spires of village churches, which the Cossacs had yet spared. Many villages, ruined by the war, occupied the most romantic spots.
In the evening we arrived at Bar-sur-Aube, a beautiful town, placed at the opening of the vale where the hills terminate abruptly. We climbed the highest of these, but scarce had we reached the top, when a mist descended upon everything, and the rain began to fall: we were wet through before we could reach our inn. It was evening, and the laden clouds made the darkness almost as deep as that of midnight; but in the west an unusually brilliant and fiery redness occupied an opening in the vapours, and added to the interest of our little expedition : the cottage lights were reflected in the tranquil river, and the dark hills behind, dimly seen, resembled vast and frowning mountains.
As we quitted Bar-sur-Aube, we at the same time bade a short farewell to hills. Passing through the towns of Chaumont, Langrcs, (which was situated on a hill, and surrounded by ancient fortifications), Champlitte, and Gray, we travelled for
nearly three days through plains, where the country gently undulated, and relieved the eye from a perpetual flat, without exciting any peculiar interest. Gentle rivers, their banks ornamented by a few trees, stole through these plains, and a thousand beautiful summer insects skimmed over the streams. The third day was a day of rain, and the first that had taken place during our journey. We were soon wet through, and were glad to stop at a little inn to dry ourselves. The reception we received here was very unprepossessing, the people still kept their seats round the fire, and seemed very unwilling to make way for the dripping guests. In the afternoon, however, the weather became fine, and at about six in the evening we entered Beaancon.
Hills had appeared in the distance during the whole day, and we had advanced gradually towards them, but were unprepared for the scene that broke upon us as we passed the gate of this city. On quitting the walls, the road wound underneath a high precipice ; on the other side, the hills rose more gradually, and the green valley that intervened between them was watered by a pleasant river; before us arose an amphitheatre of hills covered with vines, but irregular and rocky. The last gate of the town was cut through the precipitous rock that arose on one side, and in that place jutted into the road.
approach to mountain scenery filled us with it was otherwise with our voiturier: he from the plains of Troyes, and these hills so utterly scared him, that he in some degree lost his reason. After winding through the valley, we began to ascend the mountains which were its boundary : we left our voiture, and walked on, delighted with every new view that broke upon us.
When we had ascended the hills for about a mile and a half, we found our voiturier at the door of a wretched inn, having taken the mule from the voiture, and obstinately determined to remain for the night at this miserable village of Mort. We could only submit, for he was deaf to all we could urge, and to our remonstrances only replied, Jc ne puis plut.
Our beds were too uncomfortable to allow a thought of sleeping in them: we could only procure one room, and our hostess gave us to understand that our voiturier was to occupy the same apartment. It was of little consequence, as we had previously resolved not to enter the beds. The evening was fine, and after the rain the air was perfumed by many delicious scents. We climbed to a rocky seat on the hill that overlooked the village, where wc remained until sunset. The night was passed by the kitchen fire in a wretched manner,
striving to catch a few moments of sleep, which were denied to us. At three in the morning we pursued our journey.
Our road led to the summit of the hills that environ Besancon. From the top of one of these we saw the whole expanse of the valley filled with a white undulating mist, which was pierced lite islands by the piny mountains. The sun had just risen, and a ray of red light lay upon the waves of this fluctuating vapour. To the west, opposite the sun, it seemed driven by the light against the rocks in immense masses of foaming cloud, until it became lost in the distance, mixing its tints with the fleecy sky.
Our voiturier insisted on remaining two hours at the village of Noe, although we were unable to procure any dinner, and wished to go on to the next stage. I have already said, that the hills scared his senses, and he bad become disobliging, sullen, and stupid. While he waited, we walked to the neighbouring wood : it was a fine forest, carpeted beautifully with moss, and in various places overhung by rocks, in whose crevices young pines had taken root, and spread their branches for shade to those below ; the noon heat was intense, and we were glad to shelter ourselves from it in the shady retreats of this lovely forest.
On our return to the village, we found, to our extreme surprise, that the voiturier had departed nearly an hour before, leaving word that pected to meet us on the road. Srendered him incapable of much exertion; there was no remedy, and we proceeded on foot to Maison-Neuve, an avberge, four miles and a half distant.
At Maison-Neuve the man had left word that he should proceed to Pontarlier, the frontier town of France, six leagues distant, and that, if we did not arrive that night, he should the next morning
leparaeu >n i But
leave the voiiurt at an inn, and return with the mido to Troves. We were astonished at the impudence of this message, but the boy of the inn comforted us by saying, that by going on a horse by a cross-road, where the roiture could not venture, he could easily overtake and intercept tne roilurkr, and accordingly we despatched him, walking slowly after. We waited at the next inn for dinner, and in about two hours the boy returned. The man promised to wait for us at aa
avberge two leagues further on. S 's ankle
had become very painful, but we could procure no conveyance, and as the sun was nearly settinj:, we were obliged to hasten on. The evening was most beautiful, and the scenery lovely enough to beguile us of our fatigue: the horned moon hung in the light of sunset, that threw a glow of unusual depth of redness over the piny mountains and the dark deep valleys which they inclosed; at intervmls in the woods were beautiful lawns interspersed with picturesque clumps of trees, and dark pines overshadowed our rood.
In about two hours wc arrived at the promised termination of our journey. Wc found, accordiiu; to our expectation, that M. le Voiturier hod pursued his journey with the utmost speed. We were enabled, however, to procure here u rude kind of
cart, S being unable to walk. The mora
became yellow, and hung low, close to the woody horizon. Every now and then sleep overcame me. but our vehicle was too rude and rough to permit its indulgence. I looked on the stars—and the constellations seemed to weave a wild dance, a* the visions of slumber invaded the domains uf reality. In this manner we arrived late at Pontarlier, where we found our driver, who bbmdered out many falsehoods for excuses; and thus ended the adventures of that day.
The mule had latterly become very lame, and the man Bo disobliging, that we determined to engage a horse for the remainder of the way. Our voitarier had anticipated us; without, in the least, intimating his intention to us, he had determined to leave us at this village, and taken measures to that effect. The man we now engaged was a Swiss, a cottager of the better class, who was proud of his mountains and his country. Pointing to the glades that were interspersed among the woods, he informed us that they were very beautiful, and were excellent pasture; that the cows thrived there, and consequently produced excellent milk, from which the best cheese and butter in the world were made.
The mountains after St. Sulpice became loftier and more beautiful. We passed through a narrow valley between two ranges of mountains, clothed with forests, at the bottom of which flowed a river, from whose narrow bed on either side the boundaries of the vale arose precipitously. The road lay about half way up the mountain, which formed one of the sides, and we saw the overhanging rocks above us, and below, enormous pines, and the river, not to be perceived but from its reflection of the light of heaven, far beneath. The mountains of this beautiful ravine are so little asunder, that in time of war with France an iron chain is thrown across it. Two leagues from Neufchatel we saw the Alps: range after range of black mountains are Been extending one before the other, and far behind all, towering above every feature of the scene, the snowy Alps. They were a hundred miles distant, but reach so high in the heavens that they look like those accumulated clouds of dazzling white that arrange themselves on the horizon during summer. Their immensity staggers the imagination, and so far surpasses all conception, that it requires an effort of the understanding to believe that they indeed form a part of tlio earth.
From this point we descended to Neufchatel, which is situated in a narrow plain, between the mountains and its immense lake, and presents no additional aspect of peculiar interest.
We remained the following day at this town, occupied in a consideration of the step it would now be advisable for us to take. The money wo had brought with us from Paris was nearly exhausted, but we obtained about ,£38, in silver, upon discount, from one of the bankers of the city, and with this we resolved to journey towards the lake of Uri, and seek, in that romantic and interesting country, some cottage where we might dwell in peace and solitude. Snch were our dreams, which we should probably have realised, had it not
been for the deficiency of that indispensable article money, which obliged us to return to England.
A Swiss, whom S met at the post-office,
kindly interested himself in our affairs, and assisted us to hire a voiture to convey us to Lucerne, the principal town of the lake of that name, which is connected with the lake of Uri. This man was imbued with the spirit of true politeness, and endeavoured to perform real services, and seemed to regard the mere ceremonies of the affair as things of very little value. On the 21st August, we left Neufchatel; our Swiss friend accompanied us a little way out of the town. The journey to Lucerne occupied rather more than two days. The country was flat and dull, and, excepting that we now and then caught a glimpse of the divine Alps, there wa^ nothing in it to interest us. Lucerne promised better things, and as soon as we arrived (August 23d) we hired a boat, with which we proposed to coast the lake until we should meet with some suitable habitation, or perhaps, even going to Altorf, cross Mont St. Gothord, and seek In the warm climate of the country to the south of the Alps on air more salubrious, and a temperature
better fitted for the precarious state of S 's
health, than the bleak region to the north. The lake of Lucerne is encompassed on all sides by high mountains that rise abruptly from the water; —sometimes their bare fronts descend perpendi^hady, and cost a black shade upon the waves ;— %o ^Rmes they are covered with thick wood, whose alRt foliage is interspersed by the brown bore crags on which the trees hove taken root. In every port where a glade shows itself in the forest it appears cultivated, ond cottages peep from among the woods. The most luxuriant islands, rocky, and covered with moss, and bending trees, are sprinkled over the lake. Most of these are decorated by the figure of a saint in wretched wax-work.
The direction of this lake extends at first ffom east to west, then turning a right angle, it lies from north to south ; this latter part is distinguished in name from the other, and is called the lake of Uri. The former port is also nearly divided midway, where the jutting land almost meets, and its craggy sides cast a deep shadow on the little strait through which you pass. The summits of several of the mountains that inclose the lake to the south are covered by eternal glaciers ; of one of these, opposite Brunen, they tell the story of a priest and his mistress, who flying from persecution, inhabited a cottage at the foot of the snows. One winter night an avalanche overwhelmed them, but their plaintive voices are still heard in stormy nights, calling for succour from the peasants.
Brunen is situated on the northern side of the angle which the lake makes, forming the extremity of the lake of Lucerne. Here we rested for the night, and dismissed our boatmen. Nothing could be more magnificent than the view from this spot. The high mountains encompassed us, darkening the waters ; at a distance on the shores of Uri, we could perceive the chapel of Tell, and this was the village where he matured the conspiracy which was to overthrow the tyrant of I119 country ; and indeed, this lovely lake, these sublime mountains, and wild forests, seemed a fit cradle for a mind aspiring to high adventure and heroic deeds. Yet we saw no glimpse of his spirit in his present countrymen. The Swiss appeared to us then, and experience has confirmed our opinion, a people slow of comprehension and of action ; but habit has made them unfit for slavery, and they would, I have little doubt, make a brave defence against any invader of their freedom.
Such were our reflections, and we remained until late in the evening on the shores of the lake, conversing, enjoying the rising breeze, and contemplating with feelings of exquisite delight the divine objects that surrounded us.
The following day was spent in a consideration of our circumstances, and in contemplation of the scene around us. A furious vent d'ltalie (south wind) tore up the lake, making immense waves, and carrying the water in a whirlwind the air, when it fell like heavy rain into the The waves broke with a tremendous noise the rocky shores. This conflict continued during the whole day, but it became calmer towards the
evening. S and I walked on the banks, and
sitting on a rude pier, S read aloud the
account of the Siege of Jerusalem from Tacitus.
In the meantime we endeavoured to find a habitation, but could only procure two unfurnished rooms in an ugly big house, called the Chateau. These we hired at a guinea a month, had beds moved into them, and the next day took possession. But it was a wretched place, with no comfort or convenience. It was with difficulty that we could get any food prepared : as it was cold and rainy, we ordered a fire—they lighted an immense stove which occupied a corner of the room ; it was long before it heated, and when hot, the warmth was so unwholesome, that wc were obliged to throw open our windows to prevent a kind of suffocation ; added to this, there was but one person in Brunen who could speak French, a barbarous kind of German being the language of this part of Switzerland. It was with difficulty, therefore, that we could get our most ordinary wants supplied. Our amusement meanwhile was
writing. S commenced a romance on the
subject of the Assassins, and I wrote to his dictation.
Our immediate inconveniences led us to a 1 serious consideration of our situation. At one I we proposed crossing Mont St Gothard into Italy; but the £28 which we possessed, was all the money that we conld count upon with any certainty, until the following December. S *s
presence in London was absolutely necessary for the procuring any further supply. What were we to do I we should soon be reduced to absolute wont. Thus, after balancing the various topics that offered themselves for discussion, we resolved to return to England.
Having formed this resolution, we had not a moment for delay : our little store was sensibly decreasing, and £2& could hardly appear sufficient for so long a journey. It had cost us sixty to cross France from Paris to Neufchatel; bat we now resolved on a more economical mode of travelling. Water conveyances are always the cheapest, and fortunately we were so situated, that by taking advantage of the rivers of the Reuse and Rhine, we could reach England without travelling a league on land. This was our plan ; we sbxnld travel eight hundred miles, and was this possible on so small a sum! but there was no other alternative, and indeed S only knew how very
little we had to depend upon.
We departed the next morning for the town of Lucerne. It rained violently during the first part of our voyage, but towards its conclusion the sky became clear, and the sun-beams dried and thtm.il us. We saw again, and for the last tune, the rocky shores of this beautiful lake, its verdant isles, and suow-capt mountains.
We landed at Lucerne, and remained in that town the following night, and the next morning (August 28th) departed in the diligence par ma for Loffonberg, a town on the Rhine, where the falls of that river prevented the some vessel from proceeding any further. Our companions in this voyage were of the meanest class, smoked prodigiously, and were exceedingly disgusting. After having landed for refreshment in the middle of the day, we found, on our return to the boat, that enr former seats were occupied ; we took others, when tlie original possessors angrily, and almost with violence, insisted upon our leaving them. Their brutal rudeness to us, who did not understand
their language, provoked S to knock one of
tlie foremost down: he did not return the blow, but continued his vociferations until the boatmen interfered, and provided us with other seats.
The Reuiw is exceedingly rapid, and we d«s scended several falls, one of more than eight feet. Most of the passengers landed at this point, to reembark when the boat had descended into smooth water—the boatmen advised us to remain on board. There is something very delicious in the sensation, when at one moment you are at the top of a fall of water, and before the second has expired you are at the bottom, still rushing on with the impulse which the descent has given. The waters of the Rhone are blue, those of the Reuss are of a deep green. I should think that there must be something in the beds of these rivers, and that the accidents of the banks and sky cannot alone cause this difference.
Sleeping at Dettingen, we arrived the next morning at LofTenberg, where we engaged a small canoe to convey us to Mumph. I give these boats this Indian appellation, as they were of the rudest construction — long, narrow, and flatbottomed: they consisted merely of straight pieces of deal board, unpaintcd, and nailed together with so little care, that the water constantly poured in at the crevices, and the boat perpetually required
emptying. The river was rapid, and sped swiftly, breaking as it passed on innumerable rocks just covered by the water: it was a sight of some dread to see our frail boat winding among the eddies of the rocks, which it was death to touch, and when the slightest inclination on one side would instantly have overset it.
We could not procure a boat at Mumph, and wo thought ourselves lucky in meeting with a return cabriolet to Rheinfelden ; but our good fortune was of short duration : about a leaguo from Mumph the cabriolet broke down, and we were obliged to proceed on foot. Fortunately we were overtaken by some Swiss soldiers, who were discharged and returning home ; they carried our box for us as far as Rheinfelden, when we were directed to proceed a league farther to a village where boats were commonly hired. Here, although not without some difficulty, we procured a boat for Basle, and proceeded down a swift river, while evening came on, and the air was bleak and comfortless. Our voyage was, however, short, and we arrived at the place of our destination by six in the evening.
Before we slept, S had made a bargain for a boat to carry us to Mayence, and the next morning, bidding adieu to Switzerland, we embarked in a boat laden with merchandisa, but where we had no fellow-passengers to disturb our tranquillity by their vulgarity and rudeness. The wind was violently against us, but the stream, aided by a alight exertion from the rowers, carried us on ; the sun •hone pleasantly, S read aloud to us Mary
Wollstonecraft's Letters from Norway, and we passed our time delightfully.
The evening was such as to find few parallels in beauty ; as it approached, the banks, which had nitherto been flat and uninteresting, became exceedingly beautiful. Suddenly the river grew narrow, and the boat dashed with inconceivable rapidity round the base of a rocky hill covered with pines; a ruined tower, with its desolated windows, stood on the summit of another hill that jutted into the river; beyond, the sunset was illuminating the distant mountains and clouds, casting the reflection of its rich and purple hues on the agitated river. The brilliance and contrasts of the colours on the circling whirlpools of the stream, vae-ao appearance entirely new and most beautiful; the shades grew darker as the sun descended below
* horizon, and after we had landed, as we walked our inn round a beautiful bay, the full moon arose with divine splendour, casting its silver light on the before purpled waves.
The following morning we pursued our journey in a slight canoe, in which every motion was accompanied with danger ; but the stream had lost much of its rapidity, and was no longer impeded by rocks; the banks were low, and covered with willows. We passed Strasburgb, and the next morning it was proposed to us that we should proceed in the diligence par cau, as the navigation would become dangerous for our small boat
There were only four passengers besides ourselves, three of these were students of the Strasburgh university: Schwitz, a rather handsome, good-tempered young man ; Hoff, a kind of shapeless animal, with a heavy, ugly, German face ; and Schneider, who was nearly an idiot, and on whom his companions were always playing a thousand tricks: the remaining passengers were a woman and an infant.
The country was uninteresting, but we enjoyed fine weather, and slept in the boat in the open air without any inconvenience. We saw on the shores few objects that called forth our