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have no little share in that regard, which impels an enlightened man to brave the fatigues and dangers of a nightly journey of many miles, and the unenlightened to brave not only all these, but also the superstitions of his country, that have peopled our nights with every illusion which our unbounded national imagination has been capable of creating. Nor is it refining too much upon the subject, or going too far into subtilties, to suppose that the hallowed stillness of the night, the beauty, the majesty, the grandeur or the sublimity of the scenery, may operate with an exalting and spiritualizing influence upon the minds of those who thus witness it. Many, no doubt, never heard the sacred “still small voice," or perceived the enchantment that lives in the smiles of external nature; but would it be just to draw, from the fact of such insensible beings attending church upon Sunday, the general conclusion that all people are strangers to the spirit of christianity?
I cannot help thinking too, although it is a cause which has hitherto been entirely overlooked, that to this night-wandering spirit we owe many of the sweetest and sublimest strains of our provincial poetry. That Burns felt its inspiring influence, all who read his works must allow: and there are few among such of our poets as deserve to be named, in whom ideas, caught from the same source of inspiration, are not discoverable. One pleasing example among many shall suffice, which I extract from a poem dedicated to his wife by Allan Cunningham, a poem which I have got by heart, and which I intend to imitate in praise of my yet to be courted “dearer self," when we have advanced the same length in life as the poet and his partner alluded to.
"Fair, gentle, as when first I sued,
vol. ii. pp. 190–198. 4
The Game of Life' is the production of a clever writer, Mr. Leitch Ritchie, although we must say that this is by no means a favourable proof of his well known ability. It is an awkward attempt at painting English life and manners through the medium of a novel.' The author, who has been residing for some time in Normandy, tells us that during the severest part of the last winter, he succeeded in scraping with a nail an eye-hole upon his frozen window, through which he saw, or dreamt he saw, the city of London, which sight-ological curiosity,' as he elegantly calls it, put him in mind of some of his metropolitan comrades and adventures. The recollections thus springing up he embodied in these two volumes, which afford neither an amiable nor instructive picture of life. The story, composed of the usual ingredients of love, and of hopes deferred and finally gratified, is told in a languid
manner; none of the characters enlist our sympathies, or succeed in fastening themselves upon our attention.
Miss Anna Maria Porter must be sensible, by this time, that her style of novel-writing has had its day. Some twenty years ago the Barony' might have had a moderate degree of success; but eternal conversations and incidents bearing no impression of the manners of the age in which they are supposed to have taken place, and which, if it had not been for a few political occurrences that mark the period, might, with as much consistency, have been dated in the reign of George the Fourth as in that of James the Second, will not find many admirers among the generations who are now the readers of novels. It seems to have been partly Miss A. M. Porter's object to have opposed, through the assistance of this work, the emancipation of the Catholics, as far as in her lay. No doubt she acted in that respect from conscientious motives, which we respect too sincerely to quarrel with. Unfortunately for her fame, circumstances suspended the printing of her work until after the Emancipation Bill passed; nevertheless she continued her undertaking in the spirit in which it was commenced, although she deprecates the imputation of being supposed capable of now publishing it by way of “ Protest” (!) against the decision of the Legislature. Conceding all that she says about the treatment of the Protestants in France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes to be correct, we should like to know how the Catholics of England or of Ireland are accountable, or why they should have been punished for the conduct of the King of France and his courtiers ? It is but fair to observe, however, that in the latter part of the work, written after the law had barred her intentions, the fair author prudently draws in, as far as possible, her anti-catholic horns.
We are glad to see Mrs. Bray turn from the politico-religious 8 tendencies which were too manifest in the predecessor of "Fitz of Fitzford.' The present work is a legend of Devon, written with great animation, though rather too long. Her descriptions of the scenery of that picturesque county are, many of them, admirably drawn. In every thing relating to costume and antiquities she is quite at home. As usual, these matters form a very prominent part of her work, and, as usual, they are always too formally introduced, the thread of the story being, as it were, let down until the learning of the antiquary is fully displayed. We shall not flatter Mrs. Bray with saying that she is one of the best novel-writers in our language; we cannot, however, deny her the praise of being a most industrious follower of Sir W. Scott, though the distance that still interposes between them is considerable.
The Fugitives, or a Trip to Canada,' is badly printed upon coarse paper. It is, nevertheless, a work of some merit. LIt is a romance of real life, for such things we know there are. The object is to pourtray the manifold hardships of a seafaring life, when embraced at too early an age; to recommend the Christian duty of brotherly forgiveness, and to enforce the belief of a provi
dential guardianship over those who persevere in a just cause. This object is not, however, attained by means of a sermon; we have here the food of laughter as well as of reflection, and there is an energy in the writing which indicates more than ordinary talent.
Art. XI.-Narrative of an Ascent to the Summit of Mont Blanc,
on the 8th and 9th August, 1827. By John Auldjo, Esq., of Trinity College, Cambridge. 2d Edition. 8vo. . London: Longman and
Co. 1830. We take a little shame to ourselves for not having noticed the first edition of this highly-interesting narrative, which was published in the early part of the last year. It is due to the spirit of enterprise which Mr. Auldjo has exhibited, as well as to the merits of the subject itself, that we should now redeem the apparent neglect of which we have been guilty. We are not among those who consider as altogether useless and silly ostentation, the performance of such a feat as the ascent to the top of Mont Blanc. This mountain is the centre of perhaps the grandest scenery upon the surface of the globe. To view, even for half an hour, the prospect which may be seen from its summit, would be worth ten times the labour with which the ascent is usually attended. Accidents of a serious nature have, it is true, sometimes marred the pleasure which the journey affords; but of late years new and more accessible paths have been discovered, which render fatalities of very rare occurrence. We do not see why a young man of gallant bearing should not spend a day or two in climbing the highest of the Swiss mountains, if his fancy should lead him that way. His time would certainly be much more innocently spent in such a task than among the gambling clubs of London.
The first successful attempt to reach the top of Mont Blanc was made by Dr. Paccard, a native of Chamouney, in the year 1786. Before that period the celebrated Saussure had failed in a similar enterprize. He was told by a robust mountaineer, who had also ascended a part of the mountain, that he need give himself. no trouble about bringing provisions with him, for that he would find it impossible to eat; the only things he would require would be a light parasol and a bottle of scent! This from a hunter of the Alps gave him no bad idea of the difficulties of the undertaking, which, however, he accomplished in the year 1787. In a scientific point of view De Saussure's account of his journey leaves nothing to be desired. Since that period the top of Mont Blanc has been frequently gained. The most unfortunate expedition was that of Dr. Hamel, a Russian, Mr. Durnford, two other gentlemen, and twelve guides, in the year 1820. In the course of their march an avalanche swept away the whole party : three of the guides perished, the rest of the adventurers extricated themselves with great difficulty.
Mr. Auldjo has collected in his Appendix some details, from which it appears that there have been altogether fourteen successful ascents; and, not including guides, eighteen persons have gained this great height. Of these ten were Englishmen, shewing that we outnumber all the rest of the world even in feats of fantastic chivalry, if such it can be called. Two were Americans, two Swiss, one Russian, one German, and one Savoyard. It is remarkable that no Frenchman has ever yet been on the top of Mont Blanc. One woman had the courage to reach it. Napoleon ordered a cross to be planted upon it, which was done, but it was blown down by the wind a few days after.
It is, in fact, difficult for a spirited traveller to behold this “ Monarch of the Alps,” without feeling a desire to explore the lofty throne of its grandeur. From the beaten road which first gives it to the view, its summits are not to be distinguished from the clouds that surround it. The discovery of a new route, by Mr. W. Hawes and Mr. C. Fellowes, has considerably lessened the dangers of the ascent, so far as avalanches are concerned. There being now little apprehension of these once formidable enemies, the only real difficulties to be encountered, arise from fatigue and exhaustion. If, instead of two days being given to the enterprize, four or five were devoted to it, the party being suitably prepared, we apprehend that it would be a mere source of amusement. There has been a kind of contest hitherto carried on amongst guides and travellers, to see who could perform the ascent within the shortest period. Mr. Auldjo's preparations were soon made :
Having learnt the practicability of ascending, I determined to lose no time in repairing to Chamonix, and my preparations were soon made. Some warm clothing, a telescope, and thermometer, were the sole contents of my haversack. I endeavoured to procure a barometer and an hygrometer, but without success. I did not much regret the want of them, nat professing to make my ascent for any scientific object, feeling that I could add very little to the stock of existing knowledge. I regretted extremely, however, that I could not obtain a self-registering thermometer, in order that I might learn the degree of cold on the glacier during the night.
On the 5th August I arrived in the valley. For many weeks the weather had been most beautiful, during which period not a cloud had sullied the blue arch of heaven, nor a mist shrouded the bright horizon; but this day the clouds gathered thick and lowering, and rain fell in torrents, pouring down a deluge the whole of the afternoon and the ensuing night. Next morning the mountain I was about to climb was no longer visible, being closely wrapped in a veil of dark vapour. The wind blowing strong, the weather wearing a most threatening and stormy appearance, all seemed to put a bar to my hopes, and to augur a difficult, and perhaps unsuccessful, attempt. Indeed, the guides seemed to despair, and almost concluded that it would be too dangerous, after this storm, to encounter the glacier ; at all events, that it would be impossible to do so before ten or fourteen days should have elapsed. Then it might be too far advanced in the
season for an undertaking at all times so very perilous. However inconvenient it might be, however unpleasant to remain in Chamonix for that period, yet I was determined to do so, rather than not be on the spot, to avail myself of the first favourable change in the weather. I had always a resource in contemplating the dangers I should have to undergo-the difficulties to encounter; and I never could suffer my spirits to be depressed, while picturing to myself the beauties of the glaciers over which 1 should pass; and, above all, the anticipation of the pleasure which is derived from success, produced in my mind a most animated excitement. Besides, the constant change of visitors to the valley affords so great a source of amusement, that it would be hardly possible for ennui to throw its power over even the most dejected of mortals. On the subject of dangers, every one talked in terms tending to dissuade me from my purpose: the guides, to try my resolution—the wives and friends of these men, through an apprehension of the consequences to themselves. They represented to me, that the person who started with an intent to reach the summit, ought to make up his mind to lose his life in the attempt, rather than return unsuccessful; a pretty strong argument to intimidate me; but
my determination was taken. Without vanity I do assert, that no man can ever succeed who has not formed such a determination : he never will have strength of head and heart to sustain him through an undertaking of so much difficulty and danger. Many have made their wills before starting, and all left such directions regarding their property as if they were persuaded they never should return.'—pp. 4-6.
Fortunately for our adventurer the wind soon changed, and the weather became once more fine. A thousand difficulties, however, occurred with respect to the guides. Some who had already been enrolled declined to proceed; some were held back by their wives, mothers, or sisters; some shrank from the fatigue ; at length six were found determined to go. These were joined by two volunteers, one a naturalist, of the village of Chamouney, the other an apprentice-guide. The whole party, including Mr. Auldjo, amounted to nine. They left the village on the morning of the 8th of August, and began the ascent through thick pine woods, and in an hour and a half reached the last inhabited spot on the mountain. After leaving this place the novice is soon initiated in some of the perils
He has to creep along the edges of precipices, sometimes on slippery tracks, from which, if he lost his balance, his descent into the abysses below would be extremely probable; he next has to scramble for a while among rocky fragments, loosely thrown together, and mingled with ice : these are called the “ Moraines.”
It is one of the amusements of the journey to roll some of these masses into the hollows formed by the glaciers on the mountain. The echo which their fall awakens is many times repeated, and sounds like a prolonged peal of thunder. At this point a pistol being fired, the report is followed by a loud reverberation, which, beating about from mountain to mountain, dies away in the softest sound. The ascent through the Moraines is excessively fatiguing Hence the path lies over the glacier, of which Mr. Auldjo gives a picturesque description :
of the way: