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and très spirituel, mais un peu espiègle. He abounds in anecdotes ; soine a little malicious, but all amusing and well told. The inn here is extremely bad in all respects, except not being unclean : indeed, we have been agreeably surprised wherever we have stopped, even for an hour to refresh our mules, at observing the perfect attention paid to cleanliness. The furniture in all the inns is of the simplest and most ordi. nary kind; but nowhere have we seen aught approaching to the untidiness and dirt we had so much reason to complain of in France, where the beds alone seem to be attended to.
We walked out this evening on the beach, and seeing a church open on the very edge of the sea, we entered it. It was lighted by a single lamp, which cast a dim light around, and showed us several women veiled and kneeling; many of them half concealed by the deep shadows thrown by the columns and the flickering of the lamp. No priest officiated at the altar, and a solemn silence prevailed, interrupted only by the breaking of the waves against the shore, or the murmur of the whispered prayers and sighs of the
The place, the hour, and the deep abstraction of the congregation, rendered this one of the most touching scenes of religious worship I ever witnessed or ever participated in. So fervent and so wholly engrossing was the devotion of the women, that they never noticed our entrance ; and it was not until they arose to depart that they became sensible of our presence. Soon after our return to the inn, some six or eight of them brought us bouquets of flowers,
which were offered with a grace peculiar to the peasants of this country.
The custom that prevails all over the Continent, of leaving the churches open during the day and evening, is one of the few religious usages that I should like to see adopted in England, as I am persuaded it would be attended with a beneficial effect. How frequently, when harassed by the cares and annoyances of life, from which not even the most fortunate are exempt, might our thoughts be turned to another channel, and our minds be tranquillized, by resorting to a temple sacred to the Divinity: a place that shuts out the poignant sense of present misfortunes, to which we are so prone to succumb, by lifting our aspirations to a Sphere, where the mourner ceases to sorrow and the weary are at rest.
How can we be engrossed by selfish cares when we enter a temple consecrated to Him who came on earth to teach us how we ought to suffer ? a temple, venerable from having been the asylum where many an oppressed heart has sought relief, by an unchecked and pious avowal of all its secret sorrows at the throne of a merciful and heavenly Judge, in the humble yet confiding hope of alleviation from that source whence alone it can be obtained. Generations and generations have passed away of individuals bowed down by sorrows, heavier perchance than those which we have to bear, who perhaps on the spot where we now kneel have implored the mercy of the Almighty. How trivial appear our troubles, when we reflect on the inevitable and rapid flight of time, and think that in a short period we too shall have passed away, like those who preceded us, and others, occupied by the same pursuits and wearied by the same cares, will take our places. Life at such moments seems but as a fast-fleeting dream, and eternity is the only unchanging, enduring reality. We are, alas ! but too prone to forget this knowledge, and to permit ourselves to be all engrossed by the pains or pleasures of this world, so that we require to be reminded of another, by having the house of God continually open to us.
ONEGLIA, 27th.— The route between Ventimiglia and this place is quite as picturesque and beautiful as between the former and Mentone. We noticed several groves of palm trees high and of luxuriant growth, and which growing near the sea gave the picture an oriental aspect ; but the palm is, in my opinion, seen to most advantage when standing apart, or mingled with other trees of a different species.
There cannot be a more agreeable mode of travelling than on mules: their pace, which is an amble, a movement between a quick walk and a trot, is not fatiguing ; and the animals are so sure-footed that they seldom make a false step, even on the worst roads. Our party consists of thirteen persons, and to these two muleteers are allotted, whose duty it is to whip on the mules and to lead them over any parts of the road that are considered dangerous. It is distressing to see these poor men trotting along, covered with dust and half dissolved beneath the rays of the sun, which is really scorching although we are only at the end of March. The civility, alacrity, and good their lips.
humour of these hardy mountaineers, is not to be surpassed, and I never heard a complaint of fatigue escape
The saddles on which women ride here resemble the pillions used in Ireland, except that they have backs and sides formed of leather and stuffed with hair. The rider sits sideways, with her feet supported by a band, which is suspended like a stirrup. This mode of riding a long journey is much less fatiguing than on an English side-saddle, though the appearance, particularly au galop, is much less graceful.
The route sometimes diverges from the sea-side, and passes through ravines thickly wooded, over a turf which, when pressed by the feet of the mules, exhales the most delicious odour of the wild thyme, and various other aromatic herbs that grow so abundantly here. But the sea is seldom lost sight of for more than fifteen or sixteen minutes, and the return to it always gives pleasure. Until I saw the Mediterranean I had no notion that a sea could be other than a sublime object; this is a beautiful one ; and its blue and placid loveliness might encourage the first mariner who ever launched his fragile bark, to trust its tempting surface.
The route, if route it can be called, for in many places it is but a wild track, often passes over the ledge of rocks hundreds of feet above the sea, which is on the right of it; while the rocks themselves rise so high above the track to the left, that nothing but the heavens and the azure mirror that reflects them is visible. The heat, during the time occupied in traversing such parts of the route, is very great ; for the high barrier of rocks that towers above it intercepts the air, and reflects the rays of the sun like a burningglass. The very sea seems heated, as if the sun had cast on it some portion of its glowing warmth. The track often descends to the sandy beach, on which a very narrow portion is left uncovered by the briny element that bathes the feet of the mules, two only of which can pass abreast on the sand. On traversing just such a spot as this described, to-day, a human skull was thrown between
mule's feet by the waves. The place where this incident occurred was peculiarly wild and picturesque, and well accorded with the reflections which this poor wreck of mortality was so calculated to excite. A range of rocks rose to a stupendous height on the left, excluding the view of every object but the sky; while to the right the sea was spread out, leaving only a space of sand uncovered at the base of the rocks, sufficient to admit one mule to pass at a time. When the skull was thrown between the feet of my mule, it snorted, started, and nearly unseated me; and, I confess, I was nearly as much startled by the sombre apparition as the animal I rode. How many fanciful conjectures presented themselves to my mind relative to the being to whom this skull had belonged! The most probable seemed, that the individual had fallen a victim to some storm, and that the action of the ocean and its inhabitants had dismembered and decapitated the trunk. And this poor empty case, which now retains only the form of humanity, a casket rifled of all that made its worth, has been cared for, fondly loved, and tenderly pillowed on a mother's breast : a wife's too, perchance,