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guage : this is a kind of Patois very different from Italian ; the Patois of the peasants of Savoy, which is equally different from French; he also spoke Italian and French wonderfully well; the second he had learnt from the Savoyard chairmen, and the two last from Italian and French travellers whom he has accompanied over Mount Cenis, where he has passed his life hitherto, and which he seems to have no desire of leaving. If you chance to be consulted by any parent who inclines to send their sons abroad merely that they may be removed from London, and acquire modern languages in the most economical manner, you now know what place to recommend.
In none where opportunities for this branch of education are equal, is living cheaper than at Mount Cenis, and I know nothing in which it has any resenıblance to London, except that it stands on much the same quantity of ground, I asked this boy, why he did not learn English.-He had all the inclination in the world. Why don't you learn it then as well as French ?? « On attrape le François, monsieur, bon gré, mal gré,' answered he, ' mais messieurs les Anglois parlent peu.'
When we arrived at the north side of the mountain we dismissed our mules, and had recourse to our Alpian chairs and chairmen. The chairs are constructed in the simplest manner, and perfectly answer the purpose for which they are intended. The chairmen are strong-made, nervous, little fellows. One of them was betrothed to a girl at Lanebourg, and was to be married that evening. I could not, in conscience, permit him to have any part in carrying me, but directly appointed him to Jack's chair The young fellow presented us all with ribands, which we wore in our hats in honour of the bride. fond of your mistress, friend ?' said I. ' Il faut que je l'aime beaucoup,' answered he ; ' puisque, pauvre garçon comme me voila, je donne trente livres au prêtre pour nous marier. ' To tax matrimony, and oblige the people who beget and maintain children to pay to those who maintain none, seems bad policy; and it is surprising that a prince who attends so minutely, as his Sardinian majesty,
• Are you very
all the way.
to the welfare of his subjects, does not remedy so great an abuse.
As our carriers jogged zig-zag according to the course of the road, down the mountain, they laughed and sung
• How comes it,' said I to the duke, that chairmen are generally merrier than those they carry ? To hear these fellows without seeing them, one would imagine that we had the laborious part, while they sat at their ease.' • True,' answered he; and the same person might conclude, on hearing the bridegroom sing so cheerfully, that we were just going to be married, and not he. We arrived in a short time at the inn at Lanebourg, nothing having surprised me so much in the passage of this mountain, the difficulty and danger of which has been greatly exaggerated by travellers, as the facility with which we achieved it.
As soon as the scattered members of our carriages were joined together, we proceeded on our journey. The road is never level, but a continued ascent and descent along the side of high mountains. We sometimes saw villages situated at a vast height above us; at other times they were seen with difficulty in the vales, at an immense depth below us. The village of Modane stands in a hollow, surrounded by stupendous mountains. It began to grow dark when we descended from a great height into this hollow; we could only perceive the rugged summits, and sides of the mountains which encircle the village, but not the village itself, or any part of the plain at the bottom ; we therefore seemed descending from the surface, by a dark abyss leading to the centre of the globe. We arrive safe at Modane, however, for the road is good in every respect, steepness excepted. Next morning we continued our course, by a miserable place called La Chambre, to Aiguebelle, a village of much the same description. According to some authors, this was the road by which Hannibal·led his army into Italy. They assert, that the plain at the summit of Mount Cenis was the place where he rested bis army for four days, and from which he showed
his soldiers the fertile plains of Italy, and encouraged them to persevere: others assert that he led his army into Italy by Mount St. Bernard. . This is a discussion into which I am not qualified to enter ; but General Melville, a gentleman of learning, probity, and great professional merit, in his way to Italy, where he now is, endeavoured to trace the route of the Carthagenian army with great attention; and imagines he has been successful in his researches. He has also ascertained the spots on which
. some of the most memorable battles were fought, by carefully comparing the description of Polybius, and other authors, with the fields of battle, and has detected many mistakes, which have prevailed on this curious subject; every where supporting his own hypothesis by arguments which none but one who has carefully perused the various au. thors, and examined the ground with a soldier's eye, could adduce. The same gentleman has likewise made some observations relating to the arms of the ancient Romans, and their tactics in general, which are equally new and ingenious, and which, it is hoped, he will in due time give to the public.
We arrived at the inn at Aiguebelle just in time to avoid an excessive storm of thunder and rain, which lasted with great violence through the whole night. Those who have never heard thunder in a very mountainous country, can form no idea of the loudness, repetition, and length of the peals we heard this night. Many of the inhabitants of those mountains have never seen better houses than their own huts, or any other country than the Alps. What a rugged, boisterous piece of work must they take this world to be!
I fancy you have by this time had enough of mountains and valleys, so if you please we shall skip over Montmelian to Chamberry, where we arrived the same day on which we left Aiguebelle. To-morrow we shall sleep at Geneva. I did not expect much sleep this night from the thoughts of it, and therefore have sat up almost till daybreak writing this letter,
The duke of Hamilton went some weeks ago to visit an acquaintance in one of the provinces of France. As I inclined rather to pass that time at Geneva, we agreed to meet at Paris, whither Jack and I are thus far on our way. I must now fairly confess that I found myself so happy with my kind friends the Genevois, that I could not spare an hour from their company to write to you or any correspondent, unless on indispensable business. I might also plead, that you yourself have been in some measure the cause of my being seduced from my pen. In your last letter, which I found waiting for me at the posthouse of Geneva, you mention a late publication in terms that gave me a curiosity to see it ; and an English gentleman, who had the only copy which has as yet reached that city, was so obliging as to lend it me. The hours which I usually allot to sleep, were all I had in my power to pass alone; and they were very considerably abridged by this admirable performance. The extensive reading there displayed, the perspicuity with which historical facts are related, the new light in which many of them are placed, the depth of the reflections, and the dignity and nervous force of the language, all announce the hand of a master. If the author lives to complete his arduous undertaking, he will do more to dissipate the historical darkness which overshadows the middle ages, give a clearer History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and fill up, in a more satisfactory manner, the long interval between ancient and modern history, than all the writers who have preceded him. This accounts for my long silence. You see I resume my pen the very
opportunity, after the causes I have assigned for it are removed, which ought to give the more weight to my apology.
As I have frequently been at Lyons, I chose, on this occasion, to return to Paris by Franche Comté and Champagne. We accordingly set out very early yesterday
morning, and were by no means in high spirits when we left Geneva, and passed along the side of the lake, through the Pais de Vaud. The beauties of that country, though they astonish at first sight, yet, like the characters of the inhabitants, they improve on intimacy. Every time I have looked at the lake of Geneva, and its delightful environs, I have discovered something new to admire. As I entered the canton of Bern, I often turned about, and at last withdrew my eyes from those favourite objects, with an emotion similar to what you feel on taking leave of a friend, whom you have reason to think you shall never see again.
The first place we came to, on entering France from the canton of Bern, is a poor little town on an hill; I fore get its name. While the .postillion stopped to put something to rights about the harness, I stepped into a shop where they sold wooden shoes; and in the course of my conversation with a peasant, who had just purchased a pair for himself, and another for his wife, he said, les Bernois sont bien à leur aise, monsieur, pendant que nous autres François vivons tres durement, et cependant les Bernois sont des hérétiques.' 'Voilà,' said an old woman, who sat in a corner reading her breviary; voilà,' said she, taking off her spectacles, and laying her beads on the book, ce que je trouve incompréhensible.'
This was, however, at the extremity of France, and in a province lately acquired; for it must be confessed, that it is not common for the French to imagine that any coun: try whatever has the advantage of theirs in any one circumstance; and they certainly are not so apt to grumble as some of their neighbours, who have less reason. When I was last at Geneva, a French hairdresser entreat you not to shewt his to your friend
who is so fond of people of quality, that he thinks there is no life out of their company. He would pshaw, and curse my poor peasants, and old women, and hairdressers, and ac. cuse me of being too fond of such low company.
As for the old women, I am much mistaken if there