Imágenes de páginas

slight allusion, which a foreigner the sentiment expressed, and the does not perceive ; added to which situation of the actor; they are the style is peculiarly concise, and also accompanied with loud music, unusual words are introduced."* the performers being placed on the

The opening or prologue of a back part of the stage. Chinese drama, in which the prin- Whatever may be the merits and cipal personages come forward to the defects of the Chinese drama, declare the characters of the piece, it is unquestionably their own inand to let the audience into the vention. The only nation from argument or story on which the whence they could have borrowed action is to turn, bears a strong any thing, is that of Hindostan, resemblance to the prologues of from whence they imported the the Greek drama, and particularly religion of Budh; but as we know to those of Euripides.

nothing of the Hindoo drama, In comedy the dialogue is car- except from the single specimen ried on in the common colloquial of Sacontala, translated by Sir language, but in the higher order William Jones, in a manner, it is of historical and tragical plays, said, sufficiently free; and as that the tone of voice is elevated con- drama differs more from the Chisiderably above its natural pitch, nese than the latter from the and continued throughout in a Greek, Roman, English, or Itakind of whining monotony, bav- lian, there is not the slightest ing some resemblance to, but grounds for supposing that the wanting the modulations and ca- one was borrowed from the other. dences of, the recitative in the There is, indeed, a characteristic Italian opera ; as in this too, the difference between them; the one sentiments of grief, joy, love, adhering strictly to nature, and hatred, revenge, &c. are in the describing human manners and Chinese dramas, usually thrown human feelings; the other soarinto lyric poetry, and sung in soft ing beyond nature, into the labyor boisterous airs, according to rinth of an intricate and inexpli

- cable mythology. * Morrison's Chinese Grammar, p. 275.

[blocks in formation]


Narrative of a Journey from the for that, five days before my ar.

village of Chamouni to the sum- rival at the foot of the mountain, mit of Mount Blanc, undertaken M. de Saussure, a professor in the on Aug. 8, 1787. By Colonel university of Geneva, had gained Beaufoy.

the top of the ascent. But while

I was informed of the success [From the Annals of Philosophy.)

which had attended the efforts of THE desire of ascending to the M. de Saussure, I was told of the T highest part of remarkably difficulties and dangers that acelevated land is so natural to every companied the undertaking; and man, and the hope of repeating was often assured, with much lavarious experiments in the upper borious dissuasion, that, to all the regions of the air is so inviting to usual obstacles, the lateness of the those who wish well to the inter season would add the perils of ests of science, that, being lately those stupendous masses of snow in Switzerland, I could not resist which are often dislodged from the the inclination I felt to reach the steeps of the mountain, together summit of Mount Blanc. One of with the hazard of those frightful the motives, however, which chasms which present immeasurprompted the attempt was much able gulfs to the steps of the traweakened by the consideration veller, and the width of which that I did not possess, and in that was hourly increasing. M. Bourcountry could not obtain, the in- rit, whose name has often been struments that were requisite for announced to the world by a vamany of the experiments which I riety of tracts, and by many ex. was anxious to make ; and the cellent drawings, confirmed the ardour of common curiosity was account, and assured me that he diminished when I learned that himself had made the attempt op Dr. Paccard and his guide, who in the next day to hat on which M. the year 1786 had reached the sup- de Saussure descended, but was posed inaccessible summit of the obliged, as on many former occahill, were not the only persons sions, to abandon the enterprise. who had succeeded in the attempt; Having formed my resolution, I sent to the different cottagers of take the lead, we ranged ourselves the vale of Chamouni, from the in a line, and at seven o'clock, in skirts of which the mountain takes the midst of the wives, and chilits rise, to inquire if any of them dren, and friends, of my compawere willing to go with me as my nions, and indeed of the whole vile assistants and my guides, and had lage of Chamouni, we began our soon the satisfaction to find that march. The end of the first hour ten were ready to accept the pro- brought us to the Glaciere des posal. I engaged them all. Hav- Boissons, at which place the rapid ing announced to them my inten- ascent of the mountain first betion of setting out the next morn- gins, and from which, pursuing ing, I divided among them pro- our course along the edge of the visions for three days, together rocks that form the eastern side of with a kettle, a chaffing-dish, a this frozen lake, we arrived in quantity of charcoal, a pair of four hours more at the second gla. bellows, a couple of blankets, a ciere, called the Glaciere de la long rope, a hatchet, and a ladder, Coté. Here, by the side of a which formed the stores that were stream of water which the melting requisite for the journey. After of the snow had formed, we sat a night of much solicitude, lest down to a short repast. To this the summit of Mount Blanc should place the journey is neither rebe covered with clouds, in which markably laborious, nor exposed case the guides would have re- to danger, except that name should fused the undertaking as imprac- be given to the trifling hazard that ticable, I rose at five in the morn- arises from the stones and loose ing, and saw, with great satisfac- pieces of the broken rock which tion, that the mountain was free the goats, in leaping from one from vapour, and that the sky was projection to another, occasionally every where serene. My dress throw down. Our dinner being was a white flannel jacket without finished, we fixed our cramp-irons any shirt beneath, and white linen to our shoes, and began to cross trowsers without drawers. The the glaciere; but we had not prodress was white that the sunbeams ceeded far when we discovered might be thrown off; and it was that the frozen snow which lay in loose, that the limbs might be unthe ridges between the waves of confined. Besides a pole for walk- ice, often concealed, with a covering, I carried with me cramp-irons ing of uncertain strength, the fafor the heels of my shoes, by means thomless chasms which traverse of which the hold of the frozen this solid sea; yet the danger was snow is firm, and in steep ascents soon in a great degree removed by the poise of the body is preserved. the expedient of tying ourselves My guides being at length assem- together with our long rope, bled, each with his allotted bur- which being fastened at proper then ; and one of them, a fellow distances to our waists, secured of great bodily strength, and great from the principal hazard such as vigour of mind, Michael Cachet might fall within the opening of by name, who had accompanied the gulf. Trusting to the same M. de Saussure, having desired to precaution, we also crossed upon



our ladder without apprehension pains of the severest headach. But such of the chasms as were ex- from these complaints, which ap. posed to view; and, sometimes parently arose from the extreme stopping in the middle of the lad- lightness of the air in those eleder, looked down in safety upon vated regions, I myself and some an abyss which baffled the reach of the guides were free, except, of vision, and from which the as before observed, that we had sound of the masses of ice that we little appetite for food, and a repeatedly let fall in no instance strong aversion to the taste of ascended to the ear. In some spirituous liquors. We now preplaces we were obliged to cut foot- pared for rest ; on which two of steps with our hatchet; yet, on the guides, preferring the open the whole, the difficulties were far air, threw themselves down at the from great ; for in two hours and entrance of the hut, and slept a half we had passed the glaciere. upon the rock. I too was deWe now, with more ease, and sirous of sleep; but my thoughts much more expedition, pursued were troubledi with the apprehenour way, having only snow to sion that, although I had now cross, and in two hours arrived at completed one half of the road, a hut which had been erected in the vapours might collect on the the year 1786 by the order, and at summit of the mountain, and frusthe expense, of M. de Saussure. trate all my hopes. Or if at any The hut was situated on the east- time the rest I wished for came, ern side of a rock which had all my repose was soon disturbed by the appearance of being rotten the noise of the masses of snow with age, and which in fact was which were loosened by the wind in a state of such complete decay, from the heights around me, and that, on my return the next even- which, accumulating in bulk as ing, I saw scattered on the snow they rolled, tumbled at length many tons of its fragments, which from the precipices into the vales had fallen in my absence; but the below, and produced upon the ear ruin was not on the side on which the effect of redoubled bursts of the hut was built. Immediately thunder. At two o'clock I threw on our arrival, which was at five aside my blankets, and went out in the afternoon, the guides began of the hut to observe the appearto empty the hut of its snow; and ance of the heavens. The stars at seven we sat down to eat; but shone with a lustre that far exour stomachs had little relish for ceeded the brightness which they food, and felt a particular distaste exhibit when seen from the usual for wine and spirits. Water, level; and had so little tremor in which we obtained by melting their light, as to leave no doubt snow in a kettle, was the only on my mind that, if viewed from palatable drink. Some of the the summit of the mountain, they guides complained of a heavy dis- would have appeared as fixed heartening sickness; and my Swiss points. How improved in those servant, who had accompanied me altitudes would be the aids which at his own request, was seized the telescope gives to vision ; in. with excessive vomiting, and the deed, the clearness of the air was such as led me to think that Ju- lope the hill should rise, the hope piter's satellites might be distin- of finding, amidst the thick fog, guished by the naked eye; and our way back to this only place in had he not been in the neighbour which the gulf, even in its prehood of the moon, I might pos- sent state, was passable, was little sibly have succeeded. He con- less than desperate. Yet, after tinued distinctly visible for several a moment's pause, the guides conhours after the sun was risen, and sented to go with me, and we did not wholly disappear till al- crossed the chasm. We had not most eight. At the time I rose, proceeded far when the thirst, my thermometer, which was on which, since our arrival in the Fahrenheit's scale, and which I upper regions of the air, had been had hung on the side of the rock always troublesome, became alwithout the hut, was so below the most intolerable. No sooner had freezing point. Impatient to pro- I drank than the thirst returned, ceed, and having ordered a large and in a few minutes my throat quantity of snow to be melted, I became perfectly dry. Again I filled a small cask with water for had recourse to the water, and my own use, and at three o'clock again my throat was parched. we left the hut. Our route was The air itself was thirsty ; its exacross the snow; but the chasms treme of dryness had robbed my which the ice beneath had formed, body of its moisture. Though though less numerous than those continually drinking, the quantity that we had passed on the pre: of my urine was almost nothing; ceding day, embarrassed our as- and of the little there was, the cent. One in particular had open- colour was extremely deep. The ed so much in the few days that guides were equally affected. Wine intervened between M. de Saus- they would not taste; but the mosure's expedition and our own, as ment my back was turned, their for the time to bar the hope of any mouths were eagerly applied to further progress ; but at length, my cask of water. Yet we conafter having wandered with much tinued to proceed till seven o'clock; anxiety along its bank, I found a when, having passed the place place which I hoped the ladder where M. de Saussure, who was was sufficiently long to cross. The provided with a tent, had slept the ladder was accordingly laid down, second night, we sat down to and was seen to rest upon the op- breakfast. All this time the therposite edge, but its bearing did mometer was 4o below the freeznot exceed an inch on either side. ing point. We were now at the We now considered that, should foot of Mount Blanc itself; for, we pass the chasm, and should though it is usual to apply that its opening, which had enlarged term to the whole assemblage of so much in the course of a few several successive mountains, yet preceding days, increase in the the name properly belongs only to a least degree before the time of our small mountain of pyramidal form descent, no chance of return re- that rises from a narrow plain mained. We also considered that, which at all times is covered with if the clouds which so often enve snow. Here the thinness of the



« AnteriorContinuar »