Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

881

Alterations made in the Cell of Marie Antoinette.

1889

tine to which it was erected, and the Perhaps I have been too long secluded crime against the august victim is recorded. from society, properly to appreciate its The other inscription is an extract from rights; but it seeins to me that those of the letter written by the Queen to Madame nature are yet more sacred : it seems also Elizabeth, the night before her death. that even justice ought not to banish

At the further end of the dungeon, in pity, that natural emotion of the soul by the place where the unfortunate Queen's which it beats and palpitates. If somebed was placed, is a full length picture of times we appear indifferent to the ills of that illustrious sufferer, in deep mourn- others, it is because we have no conceping; on each side of it are two oval tion of them. What man of any feeling, frames, which seem intended to receive when informed of the physical and moral the portraits of Louis XVI. and his an- sufferings of one imprisoned for a capital gelic sister. The opening which former- crime, would not think that he had ally communicated with what was called ready suffered his punishment is found the council-hall, where the turnkeys were guilty, from the inoment of his condemstationed, is now shut, and the window nation? What then must be his torments 13 enlarged and ornamented with painted if he is innocent ? How can he be iaglass; the melancholy reflected light demnified for those hours, those ages of from which gives a suitable tint of woe anguish, those tortures of mind and body on this mournful apartment,

to which he is subjected, and which his With what sublime and get distressing conscience, however irreproachable, will remembrances was my mind assailed in not allow him to look forward to the terthis place! How could I sufficiently mination of without trembling? pay to the memory of this distinguished These mournful reflections so naturaland unfortunate female the tribute of deep ly presented themselves to my mind at the regret that her fate demanded from every sight of the objects by which I was surheart? How could I invoke her illus- rounded, and which could not in the trious shade without fancying it attended mean time prevent my acknowledging by that multitude of heroic women who (when I think of what I have seen forhad preceded her, or succeeded to her as merly, and what I see now) that the regtemporary inbabitants of this horrible pri- ulations of prisons in general, and parson, to which they were dragged by the ticularly that of the Conciergerie, have sa 'e demon oreivildiscord ? I see, at once undergone some very good reformations; the heroic Charlotte Corday, the coura- that the progress of reason and humanity geous wife of the imbecile minister Ro- which belongs to an enlightened age, disland; the young and beautiful Princess plays itself in many instances ; the most of Monaco; the venerable Marechale de shocking abuses have been destroyed, Mouchy; the virtuous sister of the and justice shows itself in less horrible bookseller Gatey, that model of devotion forms, while its most subordinate agents to brotherly love ; the charming wife of themselves do not make use of that brutal the fiery Camille Desmoulins; the inter- ferocity in the discharge of their office as esting CeciliaRenand; the adorable fami- formerly. But here, as in every thing ly of the inmortal Malesherbe; mesdames else, there yet remains much to be done; Senoson, Rosambeau,and Chateaubriant; and it will be done : what one century and so many other women who are an begins another finishes. If human in eternal honour to a sex, who deserve the stitutions are in a way to become perfect, admiration of the world, but to whom while manners are only changing, it is Frenchmen owe eternal gratitude. because the former have the advantage of

In continuing to wander with my time on their side. guide through this den, where any one I have read somewhere, that—" The who has a permit may ramble with im- misfortunes attendant upon virtue and punity, he shewed me the door of one of the success of vice, serve only to prove those dungeons, known by the name of the shortness of life : give but sufficient the Great Cesar, and which, after the de- time to the virtuous man, or the villain, scription of it can only be compared to and each would receive, even on this the box of Pandora, for hope alone re- earth, his recompence or his punishment. mains behind.

The HERMIT DE LA GUYANXE.

883]

Unconiected Sketches of Swiss Scenery.

(884

From the Monthly Magazine.
RECENT SKETCHES OF SWISS SCENERY.

IN LETTERS TO A LADY.

My dear Madat,

Martigny ; Sept. 16, 1816. satisfaction. Yet it appears to me that
Valley of the Rhone. the era is approaching when the re-

searches of geologists, whose progress WHEN

we entered Bex, the even during the last twenty years has been

ing had so far advanced as to veil gigantic, will have arrived at an ultimum; the delightful scenery of its environs en- and when the rays of human perspitirely from our view. I do not now regret caeity will penetrate those dark regions this

an unclouded atmosphere presented in which the mysterious operations of to us this morning a profusion of en. Nature lie concealed. What an interchanting objects. The Rhone was be- minable source of wonder is presented to fore us; on its opposite banks rose la the imagination of him who reflects on dent du midi: on the Bex side, and to the structure of the earth, and of those our left

, our attention was directed, more external traces which indicate the deepparticularly, to a mountain called the est internal convulsion! to the mind of Morcle, which we bad scarcely noticed him who loves Nature, and worships het before: it is not so lofty as the midi mysteries ! He endeavours to picture to mountain, but is more remarkable in its his mind immense caverns of sub-marine form, for its highest part seems to shoot and subterraneous fire : the war of eles perpendicularly into the atmosphere, in ments--of fire with earth-earth with the form of a tower: this, as well as la ocean--ocean with tempest and burri dent du midi, is capped with snow and cane; each disputing the sovereignty ! ice, which have, perhaps, never dissolved in pursuing bis conjectures on the opesince its formation. The bases of these, rations of this “ wreck of matter,” he eneach of which has its accoinpanying deavours to present to his mind a suspenchain, seem to descend into the waters sion of the rotatory motion of the earth; of the Rhone, and to close the country the destruction of the perpendicularity of

Between Bex and the river, the poles ; perhaps the earth's assigoed the scenery is luxuriant in flowers, mea- revolution round the sun on the verge of dows, copses, and trees of the brightest yielding to an excess of centripetal or verdure, particularly the chesnut ; add centrifugal force; the earth, a being, as to these, the sound and sparkling of it were, of the solar system, stretched on numerous rivulets, and the Avencon, the rack of universal convulsion, and its which flows thro gh Bex; and I am led bones, as the mountain-rocks have been to believe that the most fertile and rest. einpbatically called, broken and disa less imagination will find no object to placed ! sigh for.

Such, we have reason to believe, were From a mountain in a neighbouring the effects of three mundane revolutions, bailiwick, was taken, in a fossil state, a which geologists have traced, and as lobster, which is still, I believe, in De they are exhibited by the primitive, the Luc's cabinet at Geneva. This circum- secondary rocks, and alluvial deposits; stance arrests attention in the most for- but to give these convulsions an babicible manner-it challenges reflection; tation, even in the “mind's eye,”—10 and, surrounded as I am by objects place in idea the sublime appearances of whose forms and magnitude are as won- universal earthquake, universal hurria derful as they are vast, I pause, and my cane, and universal deluge, is beyond mind turns involuntary upon itself. I the power of the most sublimated imaendeavour to recal the theories of terres- gination! The theories of Newton and trial convulsion and of deluge, and can La Place have conducted us through inrest on none with entire confidence and finite space: the laws and operations of (+ See Ath. Vol. I. p. 706.]

the whole frame of the universe are ernEng. Mag. Vol. I.

braced by our transported imagioations,

before us.

885)

Sketches of Swiss Scenery, by a late Traveller. [886 yet is the theory of the earth a profound this legion, Maurice. Writers have enmystery, for we are as well satisfied with deavoured to invalidate the whole story, the faociful hypothesis of Kirwan, who because the valley between Martigny informs us that Noah's house was built and St. Maurice is not, they say, suffion one of the Andes, or elsewhere on ciently large to contain 6000 men, the the borders of the Pacific Ocean, from number of the legion, and the army of whence he saw the great abyss, or south Maximian that murdered them. Yet, sea, open; as with the sagacity of Bishop let it be remembered that the event was Burnet, who imagines that the earth was a massacre, and not a battle; tbat an a large ball of water, enclosed in a crust army, which would suffer itself to be of granite, and that the bursting of this twice decimated without insurrection, ball was the opening of the great deep! might be massacred by a small number. Perhaps it may be conjectured, that, so But that this story is a fiction rests on long as philosophers think it necessary satisfactory grounds, for we may reasonto reconcile the theory of the earth with ably presume that the whole was a pia the Mosaic account of the deluge, so long fraus of Eucherius, a bishop of Lyons, must a succession of opake solutions The knowledge of this extensive masemanate from their imaginations. Let sacre did not, it appears, transpire at the the inquiring mind throw off the tram- time; it was not heard of until three mels of sect and system, and submit to generations of bishops (who must have the test of reason and experience: I consigned it to each other as a profound speak of entire freedom in application secret) had passed away; for this event, to the pursuit of science. There always which is said to have taken place during has been, and I fear there always must the latter part of the third century, was continue to be, an esoteric and an exotiric not disclosed until the middle of the fifth; doctrine: the frame of society would be while the execution of Maximilianus, disorganised without it.

Marcellus, the centurion, and others, On proceeding towards the bridge who were, about this period, the willing which connects the Pays de Vaud with victims of their passive prejudice, or acthe Valais, our progress was arrested by tive zeal, is related with circumstantial two or three gendarmes, who desired to minuteness. The order of St. Maurice, examine our passports: this was the instituted by the Dukes of Savoy, and the first application of the kind which had erection and dedication of the abbey at been made to us since we passed the this place by Sigismond, king of Burfrontier near Pontarlier.

gundy, cannot be matters of surprise The view from the bridge of St. Mau- either to the sceptical or credulous of the rice, which is said to have been built by nineteenth century, since events, which the Romans, while this town was called serve to increase the doubts of the phiAgaunum, will check, for a few minutes, losopher, are not calculated to render the the progress of the traveller. The ap- faithful less dogmatical. pearance of the town and of a chapel The valley which we now entered, that hangs above it, is truly and singu- sometimes called the valley of the PenJarly picturesque; St. Maurice appears nine Alps, is the longest and widest in to be built in a frame-work of rock, as Switzerland; and the Rhone, from it were, excavated from the base of la which it also take its name, is the largest dent du Midi.

and most rapid of its rivers; from its Between this town and Martigny, it source, in a mountain called the Fourche, is said, that the Thebæan legion was a few miles west of St. Gothard, to the twice decimated, and afterwards wholly lake of Geneva, it flows through an exdestroyed by order of Maximian, be- tent of eighty miles. This valley is one cause the soldiers refused to march of the deepest in Helvetia, for its lowest agaiost the Christians; and a speech, as part is scarcely raised above the level of remarkable for baseness of vassallage as the sea, while the mountains which of enthusiastic self-devotion, has been command it, as Mont Rose and others, attributed to the martyred soldiery. It are among the loftiest elevations of the is pretended that this town takes its old world: it unites all climates and all name from that of the commander of seasons at the same time. The vine

887]
Decision of Characler.

[888 yards in the vicinity of Martigny produce “in the morning we can pass a track of wine of a quality strong and delicious : country where Nature languishes from here we can gaze, in the same minute, excessive heat, and in the evening we on the aloe and fig-tree of the torrid, and may cross on foot the never-dissolving the rhododendron of the frigid, zones ; snows which surmount it! T. H.

DECISION OF CHARACTER.

From the European Magazine. THE GLEANER. NO, III. more nor less than a firm, decisive mind, - This weak impress is as a figure

which with the eagle's eye seizes every Trenched in ice; which, with an hour's heat, available object, and with the giant's Dissolves to water, and doth lose his form. arm grasps it, and retains its hold, till it

T200 Gentlemen of Verona, Act iii. Sc. 2. has made it subservient to its purpose. OM Na perusal of the pages of history, This it is that has effected the wonders

in which we find the actions of which call forth our admiration, and promankind at different periods, and un- duced the examples of courage which der different circumstances, recorded ; fire our minds and animate our hearts. or of those of biography, in which we This it is, which, when employed in a are often led to admire remarkable in- good cause, has raised those patterns of stances of individual courage, of firm- energetic zeal, the Howards and the ness of character, and decision of mind; Wilberforces of our country; and this it our feelings are not upfrequently those is also, which, when accompanied with of approbation, mingled with something a depraved will and a wicked heart, has like an inclination to envy, and accom- led the conquerors of former and modern panied with no small degree of surprise times to pursue their object through at that intellectual vigour which could fields of blood, to sacrifice every thing have supported the hero of the narrative to gratify their desires, and to break under all the difficulties that he had to through the bounds which morality and encounter, and have enabled him to rise religion would have imposed to their superior to all the impediments which it cruel and merciless ambition. was necessary he should remove. We But whilst we admire that firmness view the action in all its different lights, which, when employed in endeavouring and the longer we regard it, the more to ameliorate the condition of mankind, does our wonder increase. We feel well bas effected so much, we cannot help reassured of the general weakness of hu- verting to ourselves, and those around man nature, and sufficiently conscious us in whose welfare we feel ao jaterest, of our own individual feebleness; and and on a faithful comparison of ourselves are led to ask ourselves, whence he, and them with those who have been the whose exertions have been the subject objects of our commendation, we cannot of our consideration, could have ob- but acknowledge how little we possess of tained sufficient energy to surmourit what we can only applaud. What a every obstacle which laid in his way, contrast does the generality of men afford; and to resist every temptation that en- and what mischief and misery are prodeavoured to lure him from his purpose: duced by the total absence of that firmand though we know that he was nothing ness which has characterised the greatest more than man, yet we could almost be- among mankind. But without merely lieve that he was possessed of some re- satisfying ourselves with assertion, it sources unknown to the generality of his shall be our business, in the present essay, fellow-mortals.

to point out some of the marks, and disAnd what is this great secret which we tressing consequences, of that mental are anxious to be put in possession of, imbecility which we would deprecate, this talisman that dissolves difficulties into and in our next to notice the advantages air, this magic wand which disperses ev- resulting from that decision of character ery opposing obstacle, and seems to com- to which we have alluded. mand surrounding events? Nothing The desire of happiness, from the very

889)
Decision of Character.

[890 constitution of our nature, is universal, that it is far from our intention to patEvery man, whatever may be his dispo- ronize any thing like that pertinacious sition, or however supine and inactive obstinacy which characterizes some who he may appear in the eyes of his ac- possess the weakest minds, and who never quaintance, is hoping that this will, at make any advances towards improvesome future time, be the termination of ment, because they never listen to that bis wishes. Hence we see that one sets which might promote it. Decision of before him some objects of pursuit, and character, and a patient investigation of eagerly strives after its attainment, sup- all the argumenis which may be adposing that its possession will procure vanced for and against any proposed for him all that he requires, little sus- object, are perfectly reconcileable with pecting that the very exertions that he is each other ; ' and when these are judi. making, and the anticipations in which ciously tempered, we shall see precisely he is indulging, afford' him more satis- that state of mind which in every point faction than the result to which they of view is the most desirable. may eventually lead could do. As long After the attention has been directed as the hoped-for reward of his diligence by any occurrence to the contemplation is steadily kept in view, and as long as of the acquisition of some valuable athis attention is alive to it, he is really tainment, or to the possession of some experiencing something like actual hap- enviable situation; and after the opipiness ; and though disappointment may nions of those who are hest able to de finally cool his ardour, and produce a cide correctly, and the proper means to temporary despondence, yet, with strength be adopted for success have been coolly of mind to cheer him in difficulties, be and deliberately weighed; when every will set out anew, and pass through probable difficulty has been reflected similar anxieties and surmount similar upon, and the most proper way to avoid obstacles, in the endeavour to gain now it

, or to abate its force, has been revolswhat he lost before. This man, though ed in the mind, be acts wisely who the world may frown, though friends perseveres in his exertion, and who may affect to pity, and though foes may suffers nothing, but some occurrence scorn, tastes more of the real pleasures that was as unexpected as impossible to of life than many are willing to believe, surmount, to move him from his pusThe really miserable man is be, who, pose. The great reason why we have like the other, holds forth to himself seen, and still see, so many young men some promised attainment, pleases him- fall short in their endeavours, is, their self with the thoughts of its acquisition, permitting theinselves to listen to the takes a few steps in the path that might desponding predictions, or suffering ultimately lead to it, is frightened by the themselves to be deterred by the taunts unexpected obstructions that impede his of those who are desirous of getting the progress, and turns back to precisely the better of their credulity: they want that same situation from wbich he set out, energy of action, that determined resoluwith a mind more distracted and a dis- tion, and that unhesitating promptness, position more wavering than ever. which are so essential to the overcoming

To the younger part of our readers of difficulties. When they began their we would now particularly address our- porsuit, perhaps every thing was favouraselves, and solicit their attention whilst ble, and they indulged in that unwise we endeavour to hold out a salutary confidence which is too often the prelude caution and instructive warning, by en- of relinquishing that which was lately deavouring to persuade them to overcome the very subject of it: but when some that state of mental indecision which it is unexpected circumstance takes place, our object at present to describe. when some unlooked-for obstacle hides

And before we proceed farther, we the proposed object of their pursuit from wish to be clearly understood as to what their view, they pronounce that their is meant by any observations that may strength is not equal to what they had follow in pointing out the disadvantages undertaken, they wonder how it has so and misery which are the constant attend- happened that their illfated destiny has aņts upon an unsettled state of mind, marshalled all the impediments in the

« AnteriorContinuar »