Page images

No. 2, was used for the same purpose. This was the way in which the Romans disposed of the illustrious dead.

No. 3, is a Roman Pitcher.

No. 4, is a Roman Lamp, formed of burnt clay.

[merged small][merged small][graphic][graphic][merged small][graphic][merged small]

I TRUST that my intellectual young reader is not as yet weary of my Sundays on the Continent, especially as he may be assured that I have described things as I saw them, nor have I, as I recollect, exaggerated any statement. My present communication is from a very distant country, and contains an awful warning to such parents as prefer vain accomplishments, and an intimate acquaintance with foreign languages to the everlasting interests of their children. I will allow my narrrative to unfold itself.

Our journey from Aix to Nice occupied several days. We employed great part of the third day in crossing the pass L'Estrelles, in the maritime Alps, than which nothing that I

can conceive on earth can be more beautiful; but my present object is not to describe a lovely country, although I should have much delight in so doing, especially as this country is totally different from our own, not only in the magnificence of its outline, but in its natural productions; for the trees and shrubs which can hardly support our winters with all the assistance which art can supply, there flourish and spread their branches as in a congenial soil, and under a southern sky, for even on the summit of the pass, many thousand feet above the sea, we observed the cistus, the myrtle, the lauristinus, numberless splendid heaths, and various lesser plants of exquisite beauty. The village of L'Estrelles is very little below the highest point of the pass, and having reached its neighbourhood, as we descended the mountain, a vast extent of the Mediterranean Sea burst upon our view, with the little town of Cannes, at the foot of the Alps. We soon descended to Cannes, passing between fields of orange and acacia trees, where aloes grew and blossomed in the open air, and where every thing we saw, and the very air we breathed, admonished us that we were at length arrived in an Italian climate.

We did not enter the town, but stopped at an inn without the walls, where we were ushered into an upper apartment, which commanded a glorious view of the heights over which we had passed that morning. This inn was so near the sea, that whilst we enjoyed our breakfast, we could hear the breaking of the waves upon the sandy beach. But we were hardly seated, when a handsome English-built barouche stopped before the door of the hotel, and looking out from our balcony, I recognized, with no small astonishment, an acquaintance whom I had not seen for many years. I shall call him Harvey— he is a widower, and a man of fortune and fashion; our recognition was instantaneous, and it was a matter of course, that he should sit down to our table, and partake with us. He accounted for his appearance, by saying, that his general residence, since he had become a widower, was at Paris, from whence he had made an excursion to see a daughter whom he had placed for education at a convent at Nice. He enumerated his children to us, and informed us, that he had two daughters highly married, and a third in the place of education before

spoken of; he had parted from this last only the day before; he described her as a very elegant young woman, and one that was highly accomplished-stating his intention to remove her in a few months, in order to introduce her into life. All this information he imparted so rapidly, and with such a spirit of perfect self-approbation, that it was next to an impossibility to insert a word. At length, however, when the waiter had set some snipes delicately roasted before my gentleman, I contrived to make him hear an observation, the tendency of which was, that I thought it a most dangerous experiment to trust a young lady of a Protestant family, to the tuition of Roman Catholics.

[ocr errors]

"And why so, my good fellow ?" replied Mr. Harvey, whilst he appeared to be more occupied by some sauces which he was mixing on his plate, than by any thing which I had said; because," I replied, "I should fear that such a one could learn nothing worth learning in a situation of that description." He set down his bottle of sauce, looked hard in my face, and exclaimed, "What, do you count the Italian language, the most beautiful and musical language on earth, as nothing to a young woman-Do you not know, that the superior of the convent at Nice, and indeed, all the family speak Italian ?"

Now, it certainly is some self-denial in me not to repeat all the arguments which I used to prove, that no accomplishment which I could conceive ought to be put in the balance against the heavy consideration of the possibility of a young person's mind being perverted to a false religion; not because these arguments had any influence with my friend, for Mr. Harvey only laughed at them, but because I thought that they were such as ought to have prevailed-although I might have known that not even the arguments used in Holy Writ, much less any which can be brought forward by man, can change the heart, or convince the reason, unless the Holy Spirit applies them; but my poor friend would not hearken to me, on the contrary, be laughed heartily at me, and having asked one of my daughters if she could speak Italian, and the other if she could play the harp, he arose to take leave, but sent his servant back, when he was about fifty yards from the inn, with an English letter, addressed to his daughter at Nice, from her.

sister in England, requesting that I would see the young lady as soon as possible, and deliver the letter with my own hands. This letter he had received, it seems, at Antibes, where he had passed the night.

In this unsatisfactory manner we parted from Mr. Harvey, and proceeding on our journey, arrived at Antibes about four in the afternoon. There we were detained for three days, the occasion of which I shall not enlarge upon; but this detention prevented our reaching Nice till the Saturday night, and rendered it necessary for us, in order that our Sunday might not be broken in upon, to remain all the next day at the hotel. I shall not give much of a description of the situation of Nice; suffice it to say, that it lies along the edge of a bay of the Mediterranean, the small territory being included between branches of the maritime Alps, and that it is rich in every species of tree and plant generally found in southern regions. The city itself has some fine streets, and many churches. It has much the appearance of an Italian town-the houses being lofty, having overhanging roofs, and a peculiar air of desertion and gloom, notwithstanding the charming climate and cloudless sky; this proceeds from the habit of Italy, viz. that of not generally occupying the ground floors of the houses, but devoting them to the purposes of store houses, &c, and in consequence having few windows opening upon the streets, and those being often without glass, and strongly grated. We had often been in Roman Catholic towns on a Sunday, but never in one so entirely devoted to popery as this. Hence it was new to us to see processions of persons in clerical habits parading the streets, and to hear multitudes of bells tolling and jangling from peep of day. Early in the morning there were undoubtedly few persons abroad, whose sole occupation seemed to be pleasure, although I should say, that as the day advanced, many more of these butterflies appeared, and continued to fit to and fro till night-fall. We ordered our breakfast at an early hour, and whilst taking it, I entered into conversation with the waiter, and was informed by him, that the English had a chapel at Nice, which would be open at eleven o'clock. This was good news, and I resolved to take apartments the next day in the Croix de Marbre, near to this chapel, and where,

I was told, that I should be in what might be called the quarter of my countrymen. Being satisfied on this important point, I asked the waiter where I might find the Convent of Religieuses, and was told that it was not distant from the hotel, and that if I would go there immediately I might witness the ceremony des vêtures,' or taking of the the white veil, which was to take place that very morning.

Being farther questioned, the waiter dropped the startling truth-namely, that this white veil was to be taken by a young English lady, lately become a Roman Catholic. On my eagerly demanding her name, the waiter, however, instantly withdrew into his shell, that is, he grew reserved, and there was nothing more to be learnt from him; but I felt that there was no time to be lost. I desired that a guide might instantly be procured to lead us to the convent, and we were, the next minute, all waiting for this guide in the court of the hotel; but no guide appeared till first myself, and then my son, had renewed our commands, that one should be instantly provided, with more imperiousness than we were commonly accustomed to use. At length the guide appeared, he was a young man, with bright dark eyes, and a sort of smile upon his countenance, which he was evidently endeavoring to hide, by compressing his lips.

"Joseph," said the waiter, "you will take the gentleman by the shortest way to the Convent of St. Clair."

"Tell him to be quick," said my son, "our business is urgent."

The waiter repeated the order in French, adding something in the peculiar patois of the country, a sort of jargon composed of the old provençal, of Latin and of Italian; and away we went, Signor Joseph walking before us, with his hat curiously set on one side of his head.

He had presently brought us out of the more modern and spacious streets, into that part of the ancient city which was built on the foot of the mountains, and these narrow, and I may add, filthy ways, were so perplexed and intertangled alike the one to the other-so dark, so labyrinth like, that to have retraced our steps, had we been suddenly left, would have been utterly impossible; and it very soon became a matter of enquiry to me, whether master Joseph was not actually

« PreviousContinue »