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and built rude shelters upon the rocks, where the benighted wanderer, in these inhospitable regions, might take refuge from the storms by which he was pelted. Little oratories and shrines, rising along the path, remind the passenger of that faith, which could inspire such heroic ardour. Be it superstition, or be it an emanation from heaven, blessed be the principle that led to such acts of humanity.

To the convents and hospices, originally commenced by ecclesiastics, Mr. Stockalper, a wealthy philanthropist, whose name deserves the celebrity and immortality of a Howard, added several buildings of a more lofty, substantial, and comfortable kind. One of them, standing near the boundaries of Switzerland, is eight stories high, constructed of stone, and neatly finished, with the appendage of a chapel. Others are crowned with Gothic towers, rising from the deepest recesses of the Alps. But they were not raised from motives of ostentatious charity; for they were planted in these secluded retreats, where they are scarcely distinguishable from the gray crags that surround them, long before Napoleon opened the passage of the Simplon, and where no eye could mark them, save that of the wayfaring man, who ventured to scale ramparts of eternal frost.

A third class of refuges rose simultaneously with the completion of the road, built and maintained by the government. They are scattered at short intervals, throughout the whole extent of the route, and exhibit the number of each upon the front. We paused at one of them. It had two inhabitants, an old man and his assistant, both rude in aspect as the wilderness in which they are buried. They informed us, that there was not a human being within many miles of them, and that they live here entirely alone. The large structure has two old-fashioned hearths, on one of which a cheerful fire was blazing, with benches placed before it for the accommodation of travellers. A coarse kind of bread was obtained, with which our Savoyard fed his horses, standing by their heads, and partaking of the same loaf himself.

The lone and gloomy hamlets of Divedro, Isella, San Marco, Gondo, and Simplon, straggled up this savage pass, anterior to the modern improvements. What should have led the hardy mountaineers into wastes of rock and snow, or how they subsist, it is impossible to say; for there is little soil, and scarcely vegetation enough to supply the food of sheep, goats, and chamois. Three of the latter animals were seen at a distance, hanging upon the cliffs at a giddy height; and in a small green pasture, upon the bank of a torrent, a shepherd was seen stripping the fleeces from his flock, at this bleak season.

A

little girl reposing at his side, and his dog sleeping in the sun, made a pretty picture.

In several places we passed the remains of avalanches, which had shot from aerial heights, with the most appalling ravages, sweeping before them rocks and forests, and leaving behind long tracks of ruin and desolation. One of these so effectually blocked up the road, that it was necessary to pierce it with an arch, many rods in extent. An American friend informed me, that he rode through the gallery, soon after it was opened, in June last, and that its brilliancy could not be surpassed by the ice palaces of the Czars. I had a very strong curiosity to see an avalanche start from its bed, and thunder into the vale, though not exactly across our path. But one must not expect the elements to wait his pleasure; and we had great reason to be satisfied with witnessing nature in her rudest, wildest, and most awful forms, though not under the most terrific aspects. The day was comparatively serene and mild, till our arrival near the summit of the mountain; when the roar of winds, howling round the bleak battlements, was added to the ceaseless dash of torrents. What must be the grandeur of a tempest or thunder-storm, spending its fury in vain against these impregnable ramparts?

We passed three or four galleries, where the road pierces projections of the rocks, on the Italian side of the Simplon. The longest is perhaps six hundred feet, with two lateral windows looking down into a terrific abyss, and upon a torrent, which actually startles the imagination, and causes the spectator to recoil. Upon the outer face of the precipice, Napoleon directed his name to be inscribed, with the date of the completion of the terrace. It is indeed a grand work, which in a different location would be deemed colossal; but all these modifications by the little arts of man appear small, in comparison with the majesty of nature, and the measureless scale of the Supreme Architect.

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At 11 o'clock we reached the village of Simplon, which is by far the most considerable on the whole route, between Domo d'Ossola and the vale of the Rhone. It has perhaps forty or fifty rude buildings, with a population of two or three hundred. Its site is said to be 4580 feet above the level of the sea-the most elevated in Europe. The peaks around are buried in perpetual glaciers; and the inhabitants glean a scanty subsistence from their flocks and pastures. We found a small, but comfortable hotel, which exhibited all the fire apparatus of mid-winter-a stove heated almost to redness, and the windows and doors guarded against the icy winds. What a transition was here from the green and sunny plains of Lombardy! The Swiss

hostess gave us an excellent dish of coffee, and a dejuenè served up with perfect neatness. The milk and butter were of the best qualities. Not a speck of dirt was to be seen in any part of the house, and the pannel floor of the parlour looked as if it had been scoured that very morning.

While the horses were resting, we amused ourselves with looking at two chamois, a male and a female, encaged in a small apartment. The former retains all his wildness, and cannot be domesticated; while the latter is mild and tractable, licking the hand of its keeper. It is a beautiful animal, light in its form, and made for fleetness and activity. Its head is perk, and its eye possesses great animation. The village has a little church, which we visited. It is a humble Gothic building, round which the alpine winds were whistling. The walls exhibit one painting of some merit, and many images of the Virgin, together with numerous votive tablets, dating as far back as 1732. All the houses bear the marks of great age, and of having been severely lashed by the elements.

Another tedious ride of three hours, through a desolate region, exhibiting here and there a solitary hut, brought us to the very top of the Simplon, where we found ourselves in the midst of all the horrors of winter. For several miles the path was buried in snow, and large icicles were pendent from the rocks, without dripping at mid-day. The highest peaks were cloud-capt; and all our coats and cloaks were not proof against the searching air. Two English ladies, attended only by a servant, were met upon the bleakest summit. Napoleon directed a large Hospice to be commenced upon the heights; but it has not yet been finished. It is built of stone, two stories high, with fourteen windows in front. The benevolent and indefatigable

monks of St. Bernard are now engaged in completing it.

Our journey thus far from Domo d' Ossola had occupied ten hours; and as the summit was not reached till 3 o'clock P. M., we began to think it would be necessary to provide a refuge for the night, especially as the skies looked cheerless and stormy But a brighter prospect soon opened before us, and the clouds were all left behind, in the rapidity of our descent. The sun emerged from the mists, which wreathed the gloomy peaks of the Simplon; and the glaciers of Switzerland beyond the Rhone, a region of eternal frost, burst upon our view with indescribable splendour. Nesthorn is the loftiest of this bleak range, extending in either direction, as far as the eye can reach, and lifting to heaven a load of snows, which were never printed by human footsteps. The solitary grandeur of the scene wholly surpasses the reach of imagination.

From the top of the Simplon, an abyss of immeasurable depth, visible in its whole extent, opens into the vale of the Rhone. Its sides are precipitous, slightly clothed with fir, and torn into deep chasms by torrents, descending from the heights above, and forming the waters of the Ganter. At the outlet of the gorge, the large villages of Brigue and Naters, with their glittering spires and rural environs, relieve the eye, presenting a beautiful picture. Seen from such an elevation, and through a pure atmosphere, they appear within a few miles of the spectator, though the descent to the vale occupies three or four hours. The road winds round the head of the tremendous gulf of the Ganter, penetrating a long gallery of rocks, and pursuing the very brink of the frightful cliffs. It is guarded by a high wall, which renders it secure, except in winter, when accumulated masses of ice and snow rise to a level with the parapet.

The scenery upon the northern declivities of the mountain is less lonely, gloomy, and savage than that of the Italian side. A different geological formation gives it fewer asperities and less rudeness. The traveller does not feel himself so completely buried in alpine solitudes. His eye looks abroad upon a more varied prospect, and at intervals catches glimpses of the cultivated vale below. Forests of fir skirt the path, and the caverns of the Swiss peasantry are often seen cradled, like the nest of the eagle, among rocks and upon steeps, which appear wholly inaccessible. Indeed, the approach is often so precipitous and rugged, that it is necessary to use ladders in the ascent from cliff to cliff. On the right are seen the peaks of several glaciers, and the desolate tracks of avalanches, sterile and dreary as beds of lava.

The gorge of the Saltine opens from the east, at nearly right angles with the Ganter, and the chasm is scarcely less profound, though not so wild and terrific in its aspect. A large torrent is seen foaming and fretting among the rocks; but it is actually so far beneath the feet of the spectator, that its roar does not reach his ear. The road runs along the southern margin of this gulf, to a point near its head, crosses it on a noble bridge, and thence traverses the northern side to the vale of the Rhone. We did not reach Brigue till dark; and a ride through its narrow, ill-paved, gloomy streets was the roughest part of the passage. The Hotel was full to overflowing with English travelJers, and much difficulty was experienced in finding lodgings for the night. After the fatigues of the day, mental as well as corporeal, almost any accommodations were acceptable.

LETTER XCIV.

DEPARTURE FROM BRIGUE-VALE OF THE RHONE-SKETCH OF ITS SCENERY-ALPS AND GLACIERS-FERTILITY-POPULATION-BUILDINGSVILLAGES AND HAMLETS-VIEGE-TOURTEMAGNE-CASCADE-SIONMARTIGNY-ST. MAURICE-FIRST VIEW OF THE LAKE OF GENEVAST. GINGOUX-ROCKS OF MEILLERIE- SOUTHERN SHORE OF THE LAKE -EVIAN-THONON-DISTANT VIEW OF MONT BLANC-ARRIVAL AT

GENEVA.

October, 1826.

Ar sunrise on the morning of the 12th, we resumed our journey, through the Haut-Valais. Brigue is about forty miles from the source of the Rhone, which rises among the glaciers, to the north of St. Gothard. The river is here comparatively small, bearing the character of a mountain torrent. Its water is very nearly of the same complexion as at Lyons. The vale through which it flows, even before reaching the Lake of Geneva, is one of the most extensive, as well as the deepest, in Europe. Its length, running in nearly a direct line from east to west, is something more than a hundred miles, and its breadth from four to six or seven. There is little variety in the great outlines of its formation and scenery. The Alps on the southern side, and the Helvetian mountains to the north, rise in continuous chains, to the height of seven, eight, and sometimes even ten thousand feet. They present bold, precipitous, and impassable barriers to the vale, except were torrents have burst through the ramparts, and swept the ruins into the Rhone. The river has been buffeted from side to side by the debris, brought down by these deluges from the mountains, the beds of which are often many rods in width, strewed with sand, rocks, and uprooted forests. One of the most hideous is denominated" the Devil's Garden;" but it looks more like the ruined fortresses of Milton's archangels, subverted and demolished by the arm of the Almighty.

The Alps are less savage in aspect, than the glaciers upon the opposite bank of the Rhone. While the sides of the former are often clothed half way to their summits with dwarfish fir, the latter exhibit only sterile masses of rock and snow, without a trace of vegetation. Enormous crags and needles, in the shape of pyramids, too pointed to afford lodgement to accumulated ice, pierce the crust, and rise like gray battlements along the eternal ramparts. It is impossible to conceive an image of more desolate and gloomy grandeur, than this cas

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