ページの画像
PDF
ePub

were very civil, but the landlord was extremely rude and exorbitant in his charge for his miserable fare. He told my courier that les Anglois had done him much mischief, and they should pay for it.

When daylight discovered to my view the beautiful Rhone, winding majestically through its high vinecovered banks, with the remains of some Roman antiquities peeping out occasionally, I forgot all animal inconvenience in the mental enjoyment of such a scene.

In an old tower, at the top of the hill, my cicerone informed me there lay the remains of a Scotch lady who died at the cabaret where I slept, of the name of Sterkey, and that a man who was her husband, or who called himself such, had erected a mausoleum to her memory; but, in the time of the Revolution, it had been destroyed. The circumstance of a foreigner being buried at the top of that high mountain, in unconsecrated ground, far away from friend or relative, and the melancholy manner of her death, furnished matter for imagination to work upon. Perhaps she fell a victim to unholy and unhappy love ; perhaps—in short, I imagined many things about the poor lady who lay beneath the green sward,

My old cicerone, who called herself Veuve Giroux, entertained me all the way with her eloquent lamentations on the horrors which she had witnessed during the times of revolutionary fury, and subsequently of ambitious tyranny, it was impossible not to sympathise in her unaffected expressions : she tossed her withered arms about with that impressive gesture which genuine feeling never fails to inspire. It is from observing such natural impulses of the heart, that all descriptions of the passions should be copied ; if they have not been actually felt, it is impossible for imagination, however vivid, to impart even their reflected image.

« On n'osoit dire la messe,” (publicly,) said Veuve Giroux. “ Yet some few did so. I always went, and rien ne m'est arrivé. I was baptized

dans l'Eglise, and I like to say my prayers there. I never felt afraid of the armed men."

Between her lamentations she called to a child, (belonging to a family who had come in the same boat with myself,) saying, “ Prenez garde, ma mie,” as it ran carelessly on the edge of the precipice. It seemed as if tenderness was the burthen of her song, and after such personal miseries, it was the more amiable, for they are apt to harden the heart. How much people lose of the knowledge of human nature, who never mix but with one circle of persons !

I inquired for the famous tower of Pontius Pilate, which, by tradition, is said to have been situated here ; but there are no remains of it now. The cathedral in the town is of gothic structure, its principal front richly carved and much ornamented, but the interior is dilapidated, the chapels destroyed, and the fine gloom which clothes such ancient piles with a vestment of grandeur, is entirely lost, by some pious souls having painted the walls of a bright blue and white.-I rested afterwards at the house of a Monsieur Loriol : he was an old man with a white ribbon in his button-hole, and a good-humoured countenance, which became ten times more beaming upon our informing him, when he made the inquiry if I knew the Lady K[-] as he called her, that I was acquainted with her. “Ah !” said he, “she is an excellent lady ; she lived here eighteen months, and made drawings of all the ruins in the neighbourhood. She had a very cross mother, but was herself a most amiable person”; and then he showed me two of Miss K[—]'s gifts to himself, a pocket-book and snuff-box, of which, with some Derbyshire spar, he seemed very proud. On one side of his apartments was hung a picture of Bonaparte, (a copy of Monsieur Girard's portrait of him,) and on the other, as a pendant, a likeness of the Pope. This arrangement put me in mind of the old song of Bartlemy Fair

“Here's the Tower of Babylon, the Devil, and the Pope,” &c. &c.

The next night we disembarked at a small village called Bæuf. On my admiring the carving of an ivory crucifix, hung in the sitting-room of the carbaret, the landlady told me she had been obliged to hide it till very lately ; “but,” said she, “strong as man's oppression is, religion is stronger.” It is gratifying to find that the demoralization which the Revolution has caused in all classes of society, has still left some unpolluted, and steadfast in their faith. I have met with several striking instances of this fact, but chiefly amongst the low-born.

The next day there was an awful thunder storm. One peal reminded me of the dreadful thunder-bolt which fell at Kensington Palace. I never heard so loud a one since, but yet no harm was done, neither did any bolt fall this time. Certainly the extraordinary storm which happened when I was dining at the Palace at Kensington, might in other times have been deemed a forerunner of the poor Princess's troubles. The declaration of the King's hopeless insanity, the establishment of the Regency, and consequent desertion of the great and powerful persons of the realm from Her Royal Highness's society, which immediately followed, were but too true a fulfilment of the omen.

To return to my Journal.

The next night I stopped at St. Vallière. Again my landlady was a pleasant, communicative person, and, as usual, spoke of the tyrant Bonaparte, and the misery his reign had brought upon the country. The Veuve Gardon informed me she was by birth an Irishwoman, her maiden name O'Farrel. She was not handsome, yet had some of the attributes attendant on beauty ; good teeth, a thick and richly coloured lip, sensible eyes, and marked eyebrows. The tone of her voice, too, was

mellow and flexible at the same time. She told me she had sent one of her children to a place among the mountains, where there was a race of persons who had never been civilized. Among these she represented the conscription to have been borne with the greatest impatience. The desertions were so frequent, that after families had paid their all to ransom their children, and when the soldiers ventured to take them away again by force of arms, the parents said, “ There—you will have him—there he is—he shall not desert again,” and often shot or stabbed their sons to the heart.

At Avignon I found several letters, one from the Princess of Wales, giving an unsatisfactory account of her poor royal self (dated Milan).

Je viens de recevoir votre charmante lettre—toujours encore de Genève. Nous sommes très bien ici. L'Opera est superbe, et Le Marechal Bellegarde poli pour nous, au possible : beaucoup d'étrangers, et surtout Monsieur Ward. Če Lundi le 18 je quitte pour Florence, et puis a Rome, jusqu'a ce que ma frigate arrive pour me garder a Naples. J'ai justement recue la nouvelle que Le Roi De Naples (Murat) à recu l'ordre de L'Empereur D'Autriche et les Alliés, de quitter son Royaume d'abord. Si tel est le cas, qu'il céde la place tranquillement, je m'y rend d'abords. Si non, il faudrait s'etablir à Palermo pour l'hiver. Je vous regrette toujours d'avantage. Car on me néglige beaucoup à la Maison. Le reste du monde est fort agréable, et me comble d'attention. Demain je penserai bien à vous-car il y'aura au Théâtre un Bal Masque. J'en espére beaucoup, adieu. Écrivez moi bien bientôt.

Mademoiselle Dumont * est bonne fille, cependant elle n'a point inventé la poudre. Mais tout va bien. Croyez moi pour la vie, votre très sincere et affectionné amie,

C. P.

* Mademoiselle Dumont was hired for the Princess by a most respectable person in the family of Lady C. C[-]l; but either she was not, in the sequel, proof against the temptations she was exposed to, or else she must originally have been of doubtful character, as her subsequent conduct was not what it ought to have been. [Original note.]

Letter from MR. KEPPEL CRAVEN.
Dated thus-NAPLES, New Year's Day, 1815, of which

I wish you many happy returns. MY DEAR [-],-Colonel D'Arlincourt, who I hope will put this into your own hands, will tell you that he left us all well, and how agreeable we are. But as he will not be equally descriptive of his own merits, I must beg you to believe they are very great, as you will soon discover, if he gives you time. His wife also is a most charming person, and we all doat upon her, and mean to take care of her during his absence. If you ask him what is done at Naples on New Year's Day, you will find that it is wonderful I can write even one line to you ; but Her Royal Highness is so fatigued with a masked ball she gave last night, that she has wisely curtailed all her share of the performances till the evening.

I have only been to the Te Deum at the Royal Chapel with E[-], and have a little while to dispose of before dinner. After it, the Princess will hold her usual Sunday court, which is expected to be more than usually brilliant, and then proceeds to the Palace with all her suite, to accompany the King and Queen to the Opera in their state box. The theatre is illuminated on the occasion, and of course everything very magnificent. All the male part of the court wear Henri Quatre dresses, which are so entirely covered with embroidery that ours, whatever figure they might have cut on the Lake of Geneva, merely look like smock-frocks at the foot of Vesuvius.

Last night Her Royal Highness gave a masked ball at a small villa of the Queen's, where there is a very pretty garden actually in the sea. It went off very well, and there were many quadrilles danced by parties, which gave the whole thing an air of gaiety, quite unknown in our climate; but you will judge what an atmosphere this is when one can walk out à la Vauxhall in an illuminated garden on the last night of the year. The Llandaffs are here, and a few more English families, who all pay the properest attention to Her Royal Highness; and, indeed, situated as she is with the court, they must do so in their own defence, but at the same time I give them all due credit for it. I had a letter from Lady Westmoreland a few days ago, but I conclude she, or

« 前へ次へ »