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Lakes of Joux and Rousses, which are situated above the rocks of Val Orbe at an elevation of 680 feet above the source. These lakes discharge themselves through tunnels between the vertical couches of rock, and penetrate through the mountain down to the source. We returned to dine at Val Orbe, at a comfortable inn, where delicious trout from the river were served up in various attractive shapes. The Orbe, among its other recommendations, is famous for its trout; and those caught in the basin of the source are reckoned the most delicate. We returned to Orbe in a lovely summer evening.
The drive from Orbe to Lausanne, by La Sarra and Cossonay, is a continued scene of fertility and graceful beauty. The haziness of a sultry atmosphere cleared up as we approached Lausanne, and opened to us the majestic chain of the rugged and purple Alps, with their white heads capped by the clouds, or glittering in the sun for a continuous length of above thirty leagues. Lausanne itself is one of the ugliest and most inconvenient towns on the Continent. The hills and slopes in the town render it almost impossible to drive in a carriage with safety. The cathedral is a venerable Gothic structure, in a fine situation, commanding the lake and the mountains. The town presents scarcely any objects of interest; but it is surprising how little they are missed. Nature in Switzerland is all in all. She has here built her perennial throne, and reigns unquestioned mistress of all our sympathies and sensations. Art scarcely puts in a single claim to our regard; and those which it does present are of a very inferior interest. Monsieur de Chateaubriand would say that the hand of man has here been kept in awe, and checked by the overwhelming wonders of the universe, and the præsens Deus, which manifests itself in every glacier and every valley, has taught him a lesson of humility, and confined his aspiring powers to the humble occupations of tilling his fields and protecting his dwelling from the avalanche and the
torrent. Certain it is that no country possesses more of useful economy and institutions, and less of the interest of the fine arts, or of the tasteful refinements of social life, than Switzerland. Splendid churches, handsome palaces, costly monuments, fine country-seats, galleries of pictures, skowy equipages, luxurious mansions, are here sought for in vain; but, on the other hand, you have neat farms and good farmers, good breeds of cattle, excellent dairies, drill-ploughs, cream cheeses, and even admirable gold watches and musical snuftboxes. In a word, the genius of man has here a tendency to the useful and mechanical. It is in nature alone that the mind finds those unbounded stores of beauty, grace, and curiosity, which form the interest of the country—that the philosopher meets new wonders to excite his speculation and repay his research—the poet living scenes, that embody the loveliest visions of his fancy-while the mere rambling desustory traveller refreshes his feelings and bis faculties at the pure fountain of nature, quickens his perceptions of the beautiful and the grand, and brings home with him to the dull routines of life a feast of sweet and innocent remembrances.
At Lausanne we had the gratification of visiting the great classic hero of our stage, whom we found enjoying leisure and literary ease, VOL. III. No. 1.-1822.
and distinguished reputation, amongst all the charms of picturesque nature. His abode is one of the handsomest and most pleasingly situated campagnes near Lausanne, commanding a lovely prospect of the lake and the Alps. The interior unites all the elegance of a foreign villa with the comfort of an English gentleman's mansion; and we considered ourselves highly fortunate in spending some most agreeable hours with its interesting host and a selection of individuals eminent in the literary rolls of our country. Mrs. Siddons was a chief ornament of this interesting circle; and her conversation seemed to have acquired a new warmth and eloquence from the inspiring scenes which she was visiting for the first time. Her descriptions of the sensations she had experienced, and the deep admiration she had felt in witnessing the wonders of Alpine nature, particularly on her first entrance into Switzerland, and her visit to the Alps of Berne, had all the energy of truth and the glow of real sensibility. As we stood in a window of Mr. Kemble's villa, listening to Mrs. Siddons's charming enthusiasm, and joining in her expressions of admiration, the moon was streaming in all her lustre across the glassy lake spread out before the house. The Alps on the opposite bank marked out their dark and jagged outlines on the pure blue of the Heavens. It was impossible to behold an evening or a scene of more exquisite and lovely repose; and the society in which we enjoyed it, and by which it was enjoyed, gave an increased zest to its beauties. Lord Byron, who by the way is the best of companions and guides in Switzerland, has seized every feature of a moonlight scene on the lake with his usual power and felicity.
It is the hush of night, and all between
Thy margin and the mountains dusk yet clear,
Save darken'd Jura, whose capt heights appear
There breathes a living fragrance from the shore
Drops the light drip of the suspended oar,
CHILDE HAROLD, Canto iii. We bappened to be at Lausanne on occasion of a very strictly observed fast, which occurs annually in the month of September. It was observed with a degree of ceremony and strictness much beyond the observances of a Sabbath. Divine service commenced at seven and eight o'clock in the morning in the Cathedral and the other churches, and a succession of prayers and sermons was delivered without interruption till three or four in the afternoon. All business was suspended—not a single shop was open-and the churches were thronged to overflowing. As soon as one service was at an end, the congregation departed to make room for fresh worshippers; while the pulpit was occupied by a fresh pastor. Notwithstanding all this zealous solemnization of the day, it was somewhat extraordinary, that after an inquiry of at least a score individuals, many of them of considerable information, we found it impossible to obtain any specific account of the origin of the fast. All agreed that it was of great antiquity, and intended to comme
morate some signal instance of the divine protection extended to the country: beyond this, no information was to be obtained. If this had been in a Catholic canton, where ceremonies descend as an inheritance from generation to generation, without inquiry as to their meaning or origin, it would have excited no wonder; but it appeared very singular to see a shrewd inquiring race of Calvinists praying and singing from morning till night, without being able to give a satisfactory account of the tendency of their devotions.
Lausanne is now the capital of the modern Republic of the Canton de Vaud—a strict democracy founded on French principles, and governed according to French systems. By the instigation and help of the French, the Vaudois threw off in 1798, the domination of the aristocratic government of Berne, which had governed the Pays de Vaud with a mild and paternal rule, favourable to the happiness and welfare of the people, but apparently somewhat too exclusive in the preference of the Bernese to all municipal and magisterial offices, and not at all congenial in its spirit to the new theories of freedom disseminated in Switzerland by the French. From the rule of the nobles and citizens of Berne, the country has now passed to that of the native citizens and peasants. A great revolution in property and consequence has taken place, to the depression of the noble families and gentlemen of the country, and the elevation of the bourgeois, and the whole second class, to increased authority and affluence. Feudal rights are for ever abolished. Manors, lordships, tithes, seignorial privileges of every kind, are destroyed. These formed a principal source of income to most of the old families of the country, who received a very inadequate indemnification for their losses in a redemption of these rights, not of the most equitable or honourable kind, by the new government of the canton. An old Baron, who had left his patri. monial chateau, and retired to another canton in consequence of these proceedings, told me in an indignant tone, “ Il ne me convenoit plus de vivre sous un gouvernement de paysans.” A short time ago, a contested election for a seat in the Grand Council took place between a man of family, education, and talents, and a clever and aspiring blacksmith. The present state of parties in the canton enabled the latter to succeed with triumph. The Canton de Vaud is the only part of Switzerland in which posts have recently been established. They are not remarkably well regulated. The stations are in general too long, from the difficulty of finding individuals willing to undertake the novel trade of Postmaster; and their expense, compared with those of other continental posts, is exorbitant. Nominally, the whole system is copied from that existing in France the prices of horses and postillions are the same. A post is, as in France, nominally two leagues. But in France there is a tolerably honest conformity between the lieue de pays and the lieue de poste ; whereas, under the “ Peasant Government” of the Canton de Vaud, this relation is most shamefully forgotten. For instance, from Lausanne to Geneva is a distance of eleven leagues, as the government mile-stones themselves inform you; but the government post-book also informs you, that the distance for which travellers are to pay is no less than sixteen leagues: viz. eight posts.
The fact is, the families of the country rarely avail themselves of the posts, travelling, for the most part, either with their own horses or those of a voiturier-and the “ Peasant Government" sets the example of considering all fair and lawful gain that can be extracted from the purses of foreigners.
Do not accuse me of too groveling a spirit, in troubling you with sordid statistics from the banks of Lake Leman. These earthly matters are a part of a traveller's necessary occupation; and I know no country where, unfortunately, they are more perpetually thrust on his notice than in this lovely Switzerland. Ere long, you shall hear something of the more inspiring topics of Lakes, Alps, and Glaciers.
TO MY CHILDREN SLEEPING.
What holy calmness brooded o'er the nest,
Where four—and each a treasure-sleeping lay,
Treasures in caskets of frail human clay,
The long dark eyelashes on Francis' cheek
Where all the day's past feelings clearly speak.
Had left the impression of his latest prayer:
And they who paused to gaze--few could forbear
Bend o'er the couch of childhood-'t will control
Where darkly delicate his eyebrows shone,
His loving face, that sculpture well might own,
By Williain's softer elegance were laid ;
Whose bended neck confiding love portray’d:
But in the inmost chamber one reclines,
Round no fond neck her polish'd arm entwines,
LITERARY RECOLLECTIONS OF LONDON. There is nothing pleasanter to me than to visit scenes enriched with classical recollections. I would willingly encounter the mal aria, provided I might read Livy in Rome, take a turn round the Forum, and leap down all that remains of the Tarpeian precipice. Not all the smiling treachery of Ali Pascha should prevent me from visiting the shores of Greece; and I would cheerfully run the chance of being spitted on a Mameluke's lance, if I might behold the “ Memphian grove or green” where Osiris “trampled the unshowered grass with lowings loudl.” But fate has denied me this gratification, and planted me for life in the centre of London. Had one's fortunes, indeed, confined one to the small circuit of some obscure country-town, unhallowed by any of the associations which the traces of genius excite, and where the sole intellectual phenomenon which is recorded in its annals, is some young curate, who possessed Latin enough to lay ghosts, one might, perhaps, have had some just cause of complaint. Not so in London. There is scarcely one of our illustrious countrymen, who has not either first beheld the light within its walls, pursued his avocations within its circuit, or laid his bones to rest beneath its soil. Our kings, our statesmen, our most celebrated wits and scholars, our warriors, our inen of science, have almost all of them left some memory of their existence within the boundaries of the metropolis ; and indeed I sometimes think I would rather remain an inhabitant of the city where Russell bled and where Milton is buried, than become a denizen of the country in which Virgil sang and Brutus struck for liberty.
In general we can acquire only an idea of the intellectual character of an author from the writings which he leaves behind him. His personal character, his habits, his little tastes and peculiarities, survive but in the anecdotes which his contemporaries may happen to transmit to ns. And yet nothing is more interesting than facts like these, which seem to render us the intimates of departed genius. The same feeling is strongly excited by visiting the scenes which have been formerly graced by their presence, and which seem, in some degree, to bring us more nearly acquainted with them. And not only do those places which the intellectual of former days have resided in or visited, acquire an interest in our eyes, but even the scenes which they have alluded to in their works excite a portion of the same feeling. Nay, even the places which have been chosen by our writers of fiction, our dramatists, and our novelists, as the theatres of their tales, have a thousand pleasant associations thrown around them. Who can wander through Windsor forest without thinking of Herne's oak and Falstaff, or of Pope's beautiful lines ? and with what rich fancies has the Scotch novelist invested Cumnor-place! For my own part I must confess, that almost feel more fascinated at visiting the scenes of these fictitious adventurers, than if all the affairs that had been transacted there had possessed an historical existence.
To an Englishman London is full of all these associations. He can scarcely take a step without encountering some relic of other