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rock, and hanging upon the crags thousands of feet above the sea. Had he remained upon the throne a few years longer, the whole route from Nice to Genoa, and thence over the Apennines to Pisa, would have been completed in the same style of grandeur. But by the influence of the Holy Alliance, and owing to the pusillanimous jealousies of his Sardinian Majesty, (familiarly denominated "king of the marmots and anchovies,") who trusts more to the inaccessible fastnesses of his mountains than to the hearts of his subjects for the protection of his dominion, this great work has been discontinued, while the funds which might have been appropriated to its completion, are devoted to the embellishment of palaces, or the endowments of chapels and convents. Such are some of the fruits, which the glorious pacification of Europe, and the restoration of legitimate sovereigns have produced!
For the first thirty-five or forty miles from Nice, comprising the highest and most rugged part of the Maritime Alps bordering upon the sea, the road is wide and perfectly smooth, being safe for carriages of any description. Even our apology for a horse, with an occasional alleviation of a part of his burden, wound his way up the spiral terraces without much difficulty, and at a pace more rapid than was deemed possible. In the ascent, we at first left behind the orange groves and gardens of Nice; then the plantations of olives, which straggle far up the sides of Montalbano; till at length we arrived at a region of perfect desolation, consisting of bleak and naked ridges of rock. The solitude and wildness of the scenery here strike the mind with terror. For many miles, only three persons of any kind were seen-two of them were shepherds or rather goatherds, who were sheltering themselves under a cliff far above our heads. Their tattered garments, long beards, and red caps gave them rather an unprepossessing appearance, in such a locality, especially to those who chanced to think of banditti. But they were doubtless honest men, gleaning a scanty subsistence from desert hills. The only permanent resident in these solitudes is an old lady, who keeps a little tavern by the way-side. Our juvenile driver was on this occasion her only customer, and drank off his full glass of gin, without sugar or water, at a swallow. To add to the dreariness of this waste of rocks, a snow storm here envelloped us for a time; the first that had been met since leaving Lyons.
In the course of a few hours we escaped from this inhospitable region; the sun burst through the clouds; and the picturesque shores of the Mediterranean, composed of bold promontories, crowned occasionally with a white village, and bathed by the blue waves, came into
full view, stretching along far beneath us.
The most considerable of
these little towns are Villafranca and Monaco-the former, with its fortress and small port, sheltered under the cliffs of Montalbano; and the latter, the ancient Templum Herculis Monaci,* seated in the most romantic manner, upon a high rocky headland. Such an exquisite picture, the features of which can hardly be surpassed in grandeur and beauty, made us forget the inconveniences of our vehicle, and the other vexations of the morning.
From the summit of this point of the Alps, we descended rapidly into a sunny, fertile vale, opening to the south, and like the environs of Nice, blooming with gardens, and groves of the orange and citron, laden with golden fruit. What a change was here within a single hour, from snow-storms, to a climate too warm for comfort in the sun! At the outlet of this beautiful vale, and upon the shore of the Mediterranean, stands the little town of Mentone, handsomely built, containing a pretty church, and a small but neat hotel, at which, refreshments of a good quality were obtained. The landlady speaks both the French and Italian languages, as do most of the innkeepers along this road, though the peasantry have a jargon of their own, which nobody but themselves can understand. Mentone, like most of the villages on the borders of the Mediterranean, has its little port, but no wharves, the small vessels being drawn upon the sandy beach to receive or discharge their cargoes.
From this place onward, our passports were several times demanded and our trunks opened, apparently for no other reason than that of ex
*This little village, hidden from the world at the foot of the Alps, is of great antiquity, and was one of the principal towns and ports of the old Liguria. It claims the honour of having been the empire of Hercules; and its name is derived from two Greek words (ovos and oxov,) indicating that the demigod alone there reigned, or that he was the sole divinity of the place. It had a citadel as early as the Augustan age, from which and from the Alpine heights in the vicinity, Virgil represents Cæsar descending to meet Pompey from the east:
Aggeribus socer Alpinis, atque arce Monoci
Descendens; gener adversis instructus Eois.
The castle remains to this day, and it is singular that it should have been visited by two such travellers, as Addison and Sir James Edward Smith, without any allusion, I believe, to its classical associations. The latter tourist was confined here two days by stress of weather, and gives an amusing account of his adventures. At the time of his visit, Monaco was a principality, having a sprig of royalty for its sovereign, who boasted of dominions some three or four miles in extent, where he divided empire with the wild beasts of the mountains. The Duke of York, brother of George III. died in the Palace of the Prince.
acting a fee, to support the swarms of custom-house officers and soldiers, who are everywhere seen lounging along the road. It is impossible there can be smuggling among petty villages of this kind; and the vexation of being stopped an hour, when the traveller is in haste, besides paying for being detained, becomes intolerable. From Antibes to Genoa, we were subjected to more delay and expense, than in the whole of France and England put together.
Between Mentone and Ventimiglia, the road traverses a beautiful strip of cultivation, extending from the Mediterranean to the foot of the Alps. In some cases the mountains push themselves in high rocky capes far into the sea; and at others, they recede from the coast, leaving little alluvial plains, smiling with tillage, and abounding with corn and fruits of various kinds. A fringe of olives uniformly skirts the bases of the hills, and forms a striking contrast with the barren peaks towering above. Some of these little vales opening from the Alps are extremely picturesque, enclosed by impassable ramparts, on all sides except the south, enjoying a delicious climate, rich in rural wealth, retired from the rest of the world, and blest with unbroken quiet. The inhabitants who are plain, simple, and mild in their manners, appear to be contented and happy, looking out from their solitudes upon the blue and bright expanse of waters, which beat upon their rocks, and roll in with grandeur upon their shores. Most of these valleys are washed by torrents, several of which we crossed during the day. Over one of them is thrown a new stone bridge, called the Pont St. Louis, whence you look down into a frightful chasm, formed by an amphitheatre of perpendicular cliffs.
At Ventimiglia, a considerable town occupying a steep and almost inaccessible promontory, about 40 miles from Nice, the road passable with carriages terminates, and what Madam Starke calls "a bridle path" extends to Noli, within half a day's ride of Genoa. Here therefore without much regret, we were compelled to quit the carriage, such as it was, and resort to the still more humble conveyance of riding upon ponies for a long journey of two days. A donkey was employed to carry our baggage. The poor little fellow had a monstrous load of it, with two large trunks for a foundation, and a superstructure of sacks, hat cases, cloaks, and umbrellas, seeming sufficient to overwhelm him, as he was not much larger than a sheep. But Sardo (for so his master called him.) bore his burden with patience, and heavy as it was, would permit neither Nina nor her sister pony to lead the way, which he had travelled a thousand times.
The muleteer walked the whole distance, upwards of a hundred miles in two days, without complaining of fatigue, being constantly employed
in traversing the same route on foot. He was a faithful and kindhearted guide, frequently collecting and presenting to us bouquets of wild-flowers, which bloomed by the side of the path. A singular incident occurred to him on the route. One of his acquaintances from Genoa, whom he met on the road, gave him the first intelligence, that his only brother had just been drowned on the coast of Spain. After stopping for some time, he overtook us, bathed in tears, and frantic with grief. He tore his pocket handkerchief in pieces and flung it away: then stripping off his cravat, he alternately drenched it in tears, and washed it in the rivulets along the road.
At 4 o'clock in the afternoon, we reached San Remo, and although the weather was delightfully pleasant, and we were anxious to pursue our journey, our conducteur refused to go farther on that day; we therefore took lodgings for the night at the Hotel de la Palma, which was more spacious and comfortable, than the frightful accounts of this route had led us to anticipate. On its top is a fine terrace, covered with flowers, and overlooking the town, with the Alps on one side, and the sea upon the other. As good a table and attendance were here found, as the most fastidious traveller could wish. In the waiter, for the first time was observed the custom of wishing you good evening, as he brings in the lights. A peculiarity still more striking arrested our attention some days before. One of our party in the coach happening to sneeze, the gentleman who sat next to him raised his hat, and sung out "viva!" This custom is generally in vogue, and seems to be founded in the supposition, that sneezing is an indication of bad health, calling for the sympathy and good wishes of others. It probably originated with the Roman augurs, who placed sternutation among the Dira, whence they drew their omens.
As an evidence of the mildness of the climate along the coast of the Mediterranean, it may be mentioned that a dish of green peas was among the rarities on the table at the hotel. They were served up raw, in the pod, by way of dessert. Oranges just plucked from the gardens, with the leaves green upon the stem, were found in profusion. Great quantities of them are raised for exportation. In short, San Remo, although situated on the very declivity of the Alps, is in the midst of one of the most flowery and delicious regions I have ever visited. The air was fragrant even at this early season, and luxuriant groves of the citron and orange, interspersed with the purple blossom of the peach, every where met the eye. San Remo contains two or three pretty churches, a large hospital, and other public buildings, by no means deficient in taste or mean in appearance. A little port, de
fended by a mole, spreads before the town. We had a delightful ramble at evening along the beach, to see the sun set upon the mountains, and to watch the swells of the sea breaking and murmuring upon the shore. The waters of the Mediterranean are so exquisitely beautiful, that one is never tired of gazing upon the azure expanse, or of listening to the surge as it beats upon the rocks. There is a sort of loneliness along this road, which seems to deepen the murmur of the waves, and which inclines the traveller to seek what Byron calls companionship with the great objects of nature.
In our rambles through the town, we witnessed one of those pictures, which are but too common in this country. A company of perhaps fifty females were employed in carrying baskets of sand upon their heads, to mend the road, while a large party of men, consisting probably of their husbands and brothers, were engaged in playing ball near by, and a group of fat priests and friars were looking on! In every part of the continent of Europe we have yet visited, woman is made the drudge of life, on whom all its servile offices devolve, reminding one of the aboriginal state of society in our own country. By the indolence or tyranny of the other sex, she is driven from her little sphere of domestic cares, and compelled to undergo toils fit only for beasts of burden. Even in France, polished, gallant France, the land of chivalry and love, ten thousand instances of the degradation and slavery of females strike the mind of the traveller with indignation.
We left San Remo at daylight the next morning, and pursued our journey along the shores of the Mediterranean, through numerous little white villages, which stud the coast, and render it extremely picturesque, contrasted with the long tracts of olives at the foot of the Alps, and the unpeopled solitudes to the north. The scenery during our ride this forenoon assumed a bolder and wilder character, the valleys becoming less fertile, and the mountains more savage, often terminating upon the sea in abrupt crags of lime-stone. Half a dozen torrents were crossed, which open in deep gorges from the hills, and at certain seasons are swept by impetuous floods. The broad, rocky channels, strewed with the ruins of the mountains, prove that this district, mild as the climate now was, is sometimes scourged by the ele
The asperities of this route, and the mode of conveyance to which travellers are obliged to resort, seemed sufficiently arduous for the rougher sex, and it occasioned in us not a little surprise to find, that ladies are sometimes sufficiently adventurous to encounter the difficul