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much fatigued ****** but all they could say had no effect upon him. You know how humane he is, and the being carried by his own species is no part of his system * * * * * * * * * * * * * Our chaise being taken to pieces, it was carried on the backs of mules. These animals make a droll appearance, with a wheel on each side, and the body of the chaise on their back. They are shod in a particular manner, to prevent their sipping; their shoes advance more than two inches beyond the fore-part of their hoof, and turn up again in front.
Our porters endeavoured to amuse us by their conversation. These poor inoffensive people name over all the different travellers whom they have carried (particularly princes, ambassadors, &c.); and every the most trifling thing they have said to them, which they retail to others, supposing it may amuse, and make them forget the tediousness of the way. But the information we wished for, was more about themselves and their mountains, as you have already seen by the intelligence procured from them.
The Glaciere, which appears at about four miles Glacieres distance, is, according to them, extremely curious. They told us, many English gentlemen had gone out of their way to see it: that there were great Crystals, quantities of crystal found in the grotto ; and that the peasants in the villages made use of it for falt- . cellars and small cups. That it was not always
white; but even sometimes nearly black. They make no doubt of crystal being formed from ice; and account for the straws inclosed in lumps of it, and the muddy appearance it often makes, to its having been once in a fluid state. But as the origin of crystal has beer, and still is disputed by the learned, who have not as yet agreed upon the matter, I certainly don't mean to give more weight to the Lanebourgian opinion than it may prove itself entitled to.
The rocks and stones lying on all sides of the road have many of them the appearance of marble, with beautiful veins, of different colours ; there are also large lumps of spar, which glisten with great brightness in the sun. I picked up some fragments that are incorporated with ore. Lalande's account of the natural productions of Mont Cennis, and his observations on mountains in general, are curious and interesting. Just before we gain the plain, the ascent augments in rapidity. On the side of the mountain are small houses, which serve the peasants in winter, as magazines for their forage, and in summer as dairies, for they make butter and cheese in them during the three warm months. The plain is by no means sans aucun inegalité, (according to Lalande, vol. i. p. 23.) for there is great variety of ground; and what is called the plain, is rather a valley, extending along between high mountains, with several different roads through it, some of which the mules take, others
the Porters. The grass is exceedingly thick, short, and full of flowers: there were many in blow of the tribe of the Amuranthoides, or Everlastings; some yellow, others of a fine crimson, and purple*. The Crowfoot kind in great abundance; their flowers were past, but I perceived great patches of the grass of Anemone and Ranunculus, Violet Po.' lianthus, &c. with aromatic and odoriferous plants, several of which I had never seen before. A good Botanist might find entertainment on this plain for a month. The forest on the sides of Mont Cennis abounds with the Chamois, a species of wild goat, whose flesh is eatable. The peasants sell their skins at from eight to twelve livres each. The blood of these animals, dried, and taken in wine, is esteemed a sovereign remedy for the pleurisy; the king of Sardinia is never without this medi. cine, it being allowed by the Turin physicians to be admirable in many cases. The Chamois are Chamois. feet, and extremely shy, concealing themselves in the most retired parts of the forest, and in the clefts of rocks, the most difficult of access. They are so alert, that they bound from rock to rock, and will stand with all their four feet close together on the most pointed of them. Their smell is so exquisite, that no man can approach them without their perceiving it, except against the wind; and
• Dans toutes les montagnes il y a une multitude des plantes curieuses & agréable à voir, dans les Fentes des rochers dont les fleurs font de couleurs eclatantes, & que je crois devoir être mises au rang des semper vivan. Note in Richard, tom. i, p. 19. VOL. I. : E
they have the sense of hearing in such perfection, that it is scarce possible to get within shot of them. The only way of killing them is, by lying in wait, concealed behind the bushes, and near their usual haunts, before break of day, taking care the wind is in your favour. No dog can catch them, not even a greyhound; for they run directly to the precipices as their security, near which they are always found, and which are so exceedingly em. barrassed and intersected, that a dog would break his neck that should attempt to follow them for any time. All kinds of game quit these mountains in the winter, the cold being too fevere for them. Even the wolves and bears seek a lefs inclement sky. The air was very keen on the plain; and I was obliged to wrap myself up in a pelice, lined through with fur, although the day was remarkably fine for that country; but it was early in the morning when we set out, and I think it was not more than 8 o'clock when we found our felves on the plain, having been about three hours in mounting. My chairmen, to compensate in some measure for the cold I complained of, expatiated on the good wine, and bread and cheese, that the bon Pere Nicolas would give us for breakfast. (This is the Curé mentioned by Lalande, who lives close
to the Hospital.) Pere Ni- Before I close this letter, I shall give you a sketch colas. : of this extraordinary Priest, whose purity of life,
and benevolence of heart, has rendered him fo deservedly dear to the inhabitants of Lanebourg,
(wbo (who look upon him as a father) that they cannot: speak of him without tears in their eyes; fo much do they fear being soon deprived of him, as he is now very much advanced in years.
There is a rising in the plain before you gain the borders of the Lake, which is a rough and rugged step. The Lake is about three miles in circumference, of an irregular shape. The grass grows not only down to the water's edge, but under it for some way, as you see through the water; but this does not continue far, for the · Lake is so deep towards the middle, as to be deemed unfathomable, at least by the pea.. sants. They find no other fish here than trout, but these are in the utmost perfection; their reported size is enormous : fome weighing eighteen pounds. Those we had at La Grande Croix, where we dined, were not larger than trout commonly are in England, but much better flavoured. I do not know whether or not trout have the peculiar quality of living in waters that are iced over for eight months of the year, as is the case with this Lake ; but one is tempted to believe it must be so, as the quantity of this fish has never been known to diminiih here, although there is no visible inlet by which the Lake can be supplied; no springs, nor communication with other waters, having yet been discovered: yet it muft certainly be supplied from the adjacent moun. tains, which are covered with eternal snows, and part of which snow muft melt, and so be filtered