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places, yet are not so much so as might be expected in so very fertile a country. Why are the inhabitants of the rich plains of Lombardy, where nature pours forth her gifts in such profusion, less opulent than those of the mountains of Switzerland ? Because freedom, whose influence is more benign than sunshine and zephyrs, who covers the rugged rock with soil, drains the sickly swamp, and clothes the brown heath in verdure; who dresses the labourer's face with smiles, and makes him behold his increasing family with delight and exultation ; freedom has abandoned the fertile fields of Lombardy, and dwells among the mountains of Switzerland.
Chamberry. We made so short a stay at Turin that I did not think of writing from thence. I shall now give you a sketch of our progress since my last.
We left Milan at midnight, and arrived the next evening at Turin before the shutting of the gates. All the approaches to that city are magnificent. It is situated at the bottom of the Alps, in a fine plain watered by the Po. Most of the streets are well built, uniform, clean, straight, and terminating on some agreeable object. The Strada di Po, leading to the palace, the finest and largest in the city, is adorned with porticoes equally beautiful and convenient. The four gates are also highly ornamental. There can be no more agreeable walk than that around the ramparts. The fortifications are regular and in good repair, and the citadel is reckoned one of the strongest in Europe. The royal palace and the gardens are admired by some. The apartments display neatness, rather than magnificence. The rooms are small, but numerous. The furniture is rich and elegant; even the floors attract attention, and must peculiarly strike strangers who come from Rome and Bologna ; they are curiously inlaid with various kinds of wood, and kept always in a state of shin
ing brightness. The pictures, statues, and antiquities in the palace are of great value ; of the former there are some by the greatest masters, but those of the Flemish school predominate.
No royal family in Europe are more rigid observers of the laws of etiquette, than that of Sardinia ; all their movements are uniform and invariable. The hour of rising, of going to mass, of taking the air ; every thing is regulated like clock-work. Those illustrious persons must have a vast fund of natural good-humour, to enable them to persevere in such a wearisome routine, and support their spirits under such a continued weight of oppressive formality.
We had the satisfaction of seeing them all at mass; but as the duke of Hamilton grows more impatient to get to England the nearer we approach it, he declined being presented at court, and we left Turin two days after our arrival.
We stopped a few hours, during the heat of the day, at a small village, called St. Ambrose, two or three posts from Turin. I never experienced more intense heat than during this day, while we were tantalized with a view of the snow on the top of the Alps, which seem to overhang this place, though, in reality, they are some leagues distant. While we remained at St. Ambrose there was a grand procession. All the men, women, and children, who were able to crawl, attended; several old women carried crucifixes, others pictures of the saint, or flags fixed to the ends of long poles ; they seemed to have some difficulty in wielding them, yet the good old women tottered along as happy as so many young ensigns the first time they bend under the regimental colours. Four men, carrying a box upon their shoulders, walked before the rest. I asked what the box contained, and was informed by a sagacious looking old man, that it contained the bones of St. John. I inquired if all the saint's bones were there ; he assured me, that not even a joint of his little finger was wanting : • Because,' continued I, I have seen a considerable num
ber of bones in different parts of Italy, which are said to be the bones of St. John. He smiled at my simplicity, and said the world was full of imposition; but nothing could be more certain, than that those in the box were the true bones of the saint ; he had remembered them ever since he was a child-and his father, when on his death, bed, had told him, on the word of a dying man, that they belonged to St. John and no other body.
At Novalezza, a village at the bottom of Mount Cenis, our carriages were taken to pieces, and delivered to muleteers to be carried to Lanebourg. I had bargained with the vitturino, before we left Turin, for our passage over the mountain in the chairs commonly used on such occa. sions. The fellow had informed us there was no possibility of going in any other manner ; but when we came to this place, I saw no difficulty in being carried up by mules, which we all preferred, to the great satisfaction of our knavish conductor, who thereby saved the expense of one half the chairmen, for whose labour he was already paid.
We rode up this mountain, which has been described in such formidable terms, with great ease. there is a fine verdant plain of five or six miles in length; we halted at an inn, called Santa Croce, where Piedmont ends and Savoy begins. Here we were regaled with fried trout, catched in a large lake within sight, from which the river Doria arises, which runs to Turin in conjunction with the Po. Though we ascend no higher than this plain, which is the summit of Mount Cenis, the mountains around are much higher; in passing the plain we felt the air so keen, that we were glad to have recourse to our great-coats; which, at the bottom of the hill, we had considered as a very superfluous part of our baggage. I had a great deal of conversation in passing the mountain with a poor boy, who accompanied us from Novalezza to take back the mules; he told me he could neither read nor write, and had never been farther than Suza on one side of the mountain, and Laneburg on the other. He spoke four languages, Piedmontese, which is his native lan
At the top
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 Fran. çois, 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 sim. plest 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 arrived 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 his army for four days, and from which lie showed