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there is something in the dark colour and wild formation of the rocks around it that is very striking, and the party stood delighted on the edge of the gulf, contemplating the scene. A grotesque-looking mill, so grotesque as not greatly to injure the wild character of the spot, stands on the very brink of the precipice, and the miller, as was his wont, scrupled not to leave his business within the building for the more profitable occupation of escorting the ladies, who ventured to brave all the dangers of slippery paths, ingulphing whirlpools, and over-hanging precipices, for the sake of enjoying the miniature horrors of this singular scene. But the Baronne de Broc sedulously aroided his assistance, as well as that offered by the gentlemen of the party. Her delight at having overcome the opposition of the queen is described as having been beyond measure great ; she repeatedly clapped her hands in triumphant glee during the walk from the carriage to the cataract, and, on arriving, immediately separated herself from the rest of the party, in a sort of ecstasy of admiration that seemed to demand the freedom of solitude for its full indulgence. There is one point still pointed out, though the approach to it has now been so artificially arranged as nearly to destroy all vestige of what it is said to have been, from whence the cascade is seen to peculiar advantage, but it was then not to be reached without danger and difficulty. Towards this point Madame de Broc was making her way alone, when she suddenly stopped, and throwing up her arms exclaimed, “ Dieu ! que c'est beau !” and almost in the same instant her foot slipped, and she was precipitated into the frightful chasm below. The words above quoted were the last sounds she was heard to utter. Every possible effort was made to save her, but in vain. Her mutilated body was speedily brought to shore, but every symptom of life was extinct, not, as it appeared from drowning, but from the concussion against the rocks, occasioned by the turbulence of the whirlpool into which she fell. The agony of the poor queen is related to have been dreadful, and it is said to have been long before her health recovered from the shock. She immediately caused a monument to be erected on the spot, which, while it considerably interferes with the picturesque wildness of the scene, atones for it by the sad, but interesting recollections which it recalls. The inscription was dictated by the mourning queen herself. There is something pretty and touching in the argument used to enforce caution on the future visiters of the same perilous spot.
“ Madame la Baronne de Broc, agée de 25 ans, a péri sous les yeux de son amie, le 10 juin, 1813.
“O vous qui visitez ces lieux ! n'avancez qu'avec précaution sur ces abîmes ; songez d ceux que vous aiment !"
There was something so melancholy in the story, so dark and dreary looking in the spot, and so exciting from the various ghostly details recorded by the man who was standing close beside the unfortunate Hortense at the moment her fearful shriek announced the catastrophe, and who still occupies the rude dwelling beside the cataract, that it required a mile or two of beautiful scenery to restore our spirits. But there is something in the aspect of Alby, where we stopped to enjoy an hour's delicious rainble, well calculated to chase all sorts of disagreeable images from the mind. The wild ravine through which the little river Chéran runs, the fine bridge over it, and the tumble-down old town
itself, with its superb back ground of mountains, produce such a variety of lovely landscapes within the circuit of a single mile, that an artist might easily fill a huge portfolio without going beyond it.
From Alby to Annecy a succession of lovely scenes, charmingly diversified by bare and towering mountain tops, pine forests, with spots of the prettiest sylvan scenery interspersed, following each other with most enchanting variety, amuse the eye till Annecy itself, with its busy but primitive-looking population, and its strikingly “ Prout-like” bits of town landscape, becomes visible, and then a perfectiy new set of ideas arise to occupy the mind. Here again, as at Chambéry, the memory of the unfortunate Rousseau comes full upon one. here that he first saw Madame de Warens, and repaid the shelter that her careless and promiscuous hospitality afforded him, not only with bis whole heart, poor silly boy, but by the most abject subjection of the moral sense, and, in fact, of all healthful judgment upon every subject that ever fell upon the youthful mind. There is but one way of deriving pleasure from thus contemplating the early scenes of this great writer's existence, and that is by tracing in the majestic natural features of the region, the source of that enthusiastic love for the beauties of nature, which inspired the finest bursts of feeling upon the subject that mortal man has ever found the power to express.
The whole of that evening and the following day were not too much to bestow upon Annecy and its glorious lake. Yet glorious is no fitting epithet for it, for the term seems to imply extent, noble from its vastness, and features grand, even perhaps to severity. Such a word might better befit the gigantic lakes of Erie or Ontario, and if so, it is indeed but little applicable to that of Annecy, for it would not, I think, be easy to find any scenes upon the earth's surface, in all respects, more perfecily dissimilar. The American lakes are almost awful in their vastness, and startling from their boisterous resemblance to the distant ocean; but I doubt if even the sturdy patriotism of a New Yorkist could ascribe any beauty to their murky waves, or to their tame shores either ; whereas the lovely little lake of Savoy cannot be looked at in any direction without conveying to the mind a sense of beauty that will almost
Take the 'prison'd soul,
And lap it in Elysium, as effectually as the song of “ Circe with her syrens three.” Nor is there a mountain top, a crag, a ruined watch-tower, or scathed fragment of a mouldering wall, each and all becoming visible from side to side as your little bark glides on, which is not redolent of deep historic interest. Madame de Staël says, with her usual unfailing truth of observation, that no mere beauty of landscape can long atone to the mind for the absence of all record of those who have occupied the world before us. It is the frequent recurrence of such records which makes the travelling through 'Savoy so like passing, in body as well as in mind, through the scenes of an historical romance.
In countries possessed of greater facilities for manufactories and commerce, and where greater encouragement is given for the exercise of industry in all its branches, this charm of course cannot exist in the same degree, and the more reasonable portion of mankind probably console themselves for the want of it by many philosophical, political, and statistical observations, all tending to prove that the * go-ahead" system is infinitely more profitable than the statu quo ; and desperately bold, most assuredly would the lover of old walls and unmined mountains be who should seriously attempt to deny it. But, as the old song says,
For a' that, and for a' that, it is very delightful to wander through a lana where little, save what may be easily traced as the slow, dignified, and venerable work of time, has been done to efface the features left by the human beings who looked out upon the same scenes centuries and centuries ago. Luckily for the idle ones who love occasionally to dream through a summer month or two in this manner, there are never wanting in some queer little bookseller’s-shop or other in the old towns of such a country as Savoy, a volume of legends, or of graver local history, and well-received tradition, which serve better than even Murray's matchless“ Handbooks” themselves as guides upon such an expedition. One of the first duties to which my companion addresses himself upon our arriving at any town from whence we mean to start upon an exploring ramble, is to enter some such shop or shops, and possess himself of one or more of the dusky, dusty, grey-papered little volumes which his inquiries are pretty sure to bring forth. At Chambéry we might have got a score or two of these venerable chronicles without difficulty, and though we did not increase our travelling library to this extent, we obtained more than one volume, half-truth, half-fable, in which graphic and familiar mention was made of all the castles, convents, towns, and villages of the region we desired to explore; and more than once it has happened to us after reading in these half-romances of a“ beau sire,” who had set off upon an expedition that led through many perils, from stronghold to stronghold, in a direction where the scenery was tempting, and the ruins of a tower or a castle here and there, by way of guide-posts, were sure to be met with, that we have literally set off upon the route described.
I am not quite sure, however, that I can recommend this scheme with a safe conscience, as being the best mode of seeing the country; for although the whole of Savoy is full of interesting relics of the days that are gone, the progress from one town to another, even though the fragment of a tower or two having abundance of traditionary lore attached to them, may be encountered en route, will not lead through scenes quite as romantic as those traversed by the “beau sire" aforesaid. Old chronicles say that the name of Savoy was formerly Malevoie, an appellation given to it on account of the danger of travelling through its wild roads, the mountain caves, and the pine-forests near which they passed, furnishing shelter to innumerable bandits. But since the days of the magnanimous Berold, says the same authority, the country has been so much better ordered, that the banditti have disappeared, and the name Saurevoie has been assumed instead. That this improved state of things is very devoutly to be hailed as a blessing, I certainly will not deny; but it is not the less certain that a broad, well-kept, high-road, is a less picturesque object than a wild ravine, and that the groups of hard-featured women, carrying their heavy weaver's beams, round which is wound the delicate tissue of silk, for which Chambéry, Faverges, and various other towns in the neighbourhood are renowned. These groups, it must be confessed, are by no means so startling and Salvator-like as those encountered when Sauvevoie was Malevoie.
But notwithstanding these discrepancies between the things that have been, and the things that are, our old books did us, as I have said, very excellent service, and lent a degree of interest to our exploring rambles, which most certainly they would not have possessed in any thing like an equal degree without them. How, for instance, as we glided over the bright waters of Annecy, should we have discovered that the little town which displayed so much picturesque Christianity behind us, owed its (soi-disant) foundations to a colony from Egypt, and that its first adorations were offered to Apis? Or where should we have learned to treat with proper contempt the authors who have pretended to trace symptoms of Celtic origin in the crumbling ruins among which we so greatly delighted to wander ? When, in fact, the mighty Gauls were the first who laid stone on stone in these regions, either for shelter or defence; whereas no traces of Celtic workmanship can be found, save in the caves and subterranean grottos, which were their only abodes, which were afterwards used by the Gauls for the purpose of concealing their harvests, and traces of which may be found in various parts of Savoy at the present day? Nay, how should we ever have known that we ought to stop our bark opposite to the lovely park-like bit of scenery that nestles under the snow-capped majesty of Mount Tournette, and pass an hour in wandering about the Château de Menthon, the birthplace of the universally venerated St. Bernard, who has been aptly enough styled the Apostle of the Alps ? This fact, however, I confess is perhaps sufficiently notorious to have reached us without the assistance of our old books; but I doubt if we should ever have found out, had we unfortunately been without them, the very important circumstance that the spotless genealogy of “ Les Sires de Menthon," the founders of this historic edifice, is not only absoluement sans tache, but of such high antiquity, that one among them has inscribed upon a marble tablet, which still exists, “Ante Christum natum jam baronatus eram.' Upon the same authority, however, I can undertake to say, that highly respectable, and indeed venerable, as this degree of antiquity may appear to us mushroom islanders, so many of whom are quite contented if we can trace our names and race up to the Norman conquest, it gives in this land of old tradition only a so so sort of claim to the honour of longtraced descent, because, as we well knew, we judge of all things by comparison, and the “ Sires de Sales" have taken for their historic pourpris“ antiquam Abraham fieret ego sum,”—which to us ignorant heretics, perhaps may sound a little profane-but as the relics of a saint of this ancient race repose (together with those of his bighly-esteemed friend La Mère Chantal,) in the sanctuary of the cathedral of Annecy, it might seem like presumption to doubt its propriety.
But I might fill a volume were I to enumerate all the enjoyment we found in our Savoy wanderings, or all the advantages we derived from the lore we picked up on the way.
BY HORACE SMITH.
The toils of Alchemists whose vain pursuit,
Sought to transmute
Of mystic lore,
There still exists
No tongie may tell,
Of Nature's face,
To smiling ends,
Then look below,
Silent and dark,
They, like mankind,
Each in its hour,
I now behold,
Of wine, oil, corn.-
Whose chanted grace,