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Wintering in the Riviera By William Miller Characters: 98604

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

We left Pau for Toulouse on 23d October 1877. The journey occupied upwards of eight hours, or two hours longer than the same journey from Toulouse. At every little station there is a stoppage for an apparently endless length of time, although I suppose the delay is partly attributable to the necessities of the careful system of registration of luggage. One tunnel was shored up, and we went slowly through it and over the ground before and after. When we approached Toulouse, and had to cross the rivers, the train proceeded with the utmost caution. The bridges had evidently been washed away, and what we passed over seemed either unfinished or temporary. It was here, it may be recollected, that in the year 1875 such disastrous floods took place. But whether the condition of the bridges in 1877 was attributable to this or to a more recent flooding, we could not tell. The journey, though long, was agreeable, the rivers resembling our own Scotch rivers, and the Pyrenees clear and crisp, with a slight sprinkling or dusting of snow upon them, though not enough to give them the aspect of snowy mountains. The trees were clothed in their autumn tints of yellow, brown, and red, and the sun was shining. We were accommodated with the rooms we had formerly occupied in the Hotel Sacaron-clean, tidy, but carpetless; the mosquitoes, however, were gone. A good many persons appeared in the salle à manger, but there was no common table-d'h?te dinner. Each party dined separately at 5 francs per head. I had, before leaving Pau, calculated on getting a good hour before dinner for a drive through the town; but a change had been recently made,-I suppose about the 16th October, the usual commencement of winter hours,-by which our train, probably to dispense with another, became a slow one, stopping at all stations, and taking two hours longer than before; so that, arriving at six o'clock, there was no time for a drive in daylight. In the evening I had a stroll through a small part of the town, which contains some good wide shop streets. The Church of St. Servan is the finest, and, according to representations, peculiarly constructed, but in the dark I had no opportunity of seeing it. Nor did we see the bridges and other neighbouring public parts. Had we not been anxious to push on towards Marseilles, we might have stopped a day to see a city which has a name, but is a good deal out of the ordinary path of travellers. We also missed seeing the view from it of the Pyrenees, which is said to be there extensive, being about the centre of the chain. It rained through the night, and was damp in the morning; and as our train left at ten o'clock, we could not obtain an hour before leaving for Montpellier.

The scenery between Toulouse and Cette, great part of which we had missed on our former journey in the dark or twilight, was not equal to that of the previous day. We passed field after field of vineyards, where they were lading large carts with the grapes. About Biarritz and other places in the south-west of France, the carts are generally drawn by oxen. In Italy, the equally patient buffalo, with its meek eyes, is used. Here the carts seen from the railway were drawn by two horses. Grapes were charged at the railway station of Narbonne, in the centre of this vine district, 5d. per lb. We had paid elsewhere from 1?d. (15 centimes) to 3d. (30 centimes) per lb., but at railway stations prices are usually increased. For oranges at railway stations, 20 centimes apiece were sometimes demanded. The sun went down as we got into Cette, but not before gaining, as we approached that port, a glimpse now and then of our old friend the Mediterranean. A cup of coffee at the station was refreshing, but the waiter, who calculated in sous, was very confused in his reckoning. We arrived at Montpellier in the dark at 6.44, and found the omnibus of the Hotel Nevet waiting; but it would not start till all luggage was got out, so that we might as well have taken our luggage with us instead of leaving it, as we usually did on such journeys, for the night at the station. This hotel, recommended as the best, is rather old-fashioned both in accommodation and furnishing, giving an idea of the comforts enjoyed there in former times when Montpellier was in vogue, and its name was a synonym for any place where the air was peculiarly pure and salubrious. Now I suspect it has lost favour, and more modern localities, such as Cannes and Mentone, have supplanted it, as railways have brought their previously-hidden virtues to light, and rendered them more easy of access, probably to yield in turn to others better spoken of. Dr. Taylor (p. 7) thus adverts to its climate:-

'The climate of the south-east of France, of which Montpellier may be considered as the centre, is, on the contrary' (to Pau), 'highly electric and dry, subject, particularly during the spring, to severe cutting and irritating winds, loaded with impalpable dust, exciting in its qualities, and productive of inflammatory diseases of an acute character. To prove these latter assertions, we shall produce the following unbiased evidence. We find in a work on the medical topography of Montpellier, the following statistical results of diseases treated during a year in the public hospital of that town. The number of patients admitted in one year was 2756; the proportion of deaths was 154; and of that number, 53-that is, more than a third-were caused by diseases of the chest. Again, we find the following opinion from a work full of valuable observations on the effect of the winds of the south-east of France: "One ought to have a chest sound and well constituted to resist such impressions." Matthews also, in his Diary of an Invalid, says "that every mouthful of the air irritates weak lungs and sets them coughing."'

After a late dinner, I walked out, but could see little. The town seemed full of cafés. In the morning, before the train started, we had an hour to look about. It would be unfair to judge of any place with such slender opportunities, but it did not appear to offer great attractions. In the centre of the town, surrounded by lofty buildings, there is a large open place, adorned by a handsome fountain. Out of this place a Boulevard runs, leading to the Place d'Armes, where people walk and drive, and it is said there are fine views of the Pyrenees and Alps to be had; but the morning was hazy, and any prospect was hid. It was also cold, and wraps became advisable.

We had to change carriages twice between Montpellier and Marseilles-viz., at Tarascon, and again, in little more than an hour, at Arles. The second change was aggravating, because we could not see why the carriages might not have gone on to Marseilles; while those into which, after some detention and trouble, we were shifted, were antiquated, narrow, and confined. Fortunately no rain fell during the change, for Arles station is not under cover.

I have already, in mentioning our first visit to the Riviera, taken note of Marseilles. We were glad to meet some old Scotch friends unexpectedly at the Hotel Noailles. The weather was cold, which of itself would have rendered it advisable to push on; so, after a drive through the town next day, we left for Hyères, about fifty miles distant, by the 1.20 train, but found by another of those changes made just a few days previously, we could only book to Toulon, the train in connection from Toulon to Hyères by a branch line having been discontinued, although the Hyères season was just commencing-a rather odd way of accommodating the coming visitors. On arrival at Toulon, we had accordingly upwards of three hours before a train would start for Hyères, and we availed ourselves of the time to explore a little about this noted naval station.

The town of Toulon itself is uninteresting; its streets are dirty and narrow, the houses high. Near the railway station the ground is more open and the houses more modern. Passing them, we soon came upon the fortifications which surround the town, but retracing our steps, walked down to the docks and along the public quay. There are two large docks communicating with each other-the Port Marchand and the Port Militaire. The latter is one of the great arsenals of France; but we could not see it, an order of admission being required, only procurable in the morning. It extends to 35 acres and is said to be capable of receiving 200 ships of the line. The other dock is probably of about the same extent. Both docks are highly fortified. On looking from the quay, we saw many of the old men-of-war laid up like invalids, dismasted and dismantled and put under cover, apparently as hospital ships. At one time convicts were kept in some of them. A little beyond, some serviceable men-of-war lay, and the quays were crowded with boats which, with men and officers, were passing to and fro, making it a lively, gay scene. Some civilians were evidently going out in the boats to see the ships or their friends on board. A bronze statue has been erected upon the public quay, to the memory of the many eminent men who have been connected by birth or otherwise with Toulon and its history, and whose names are engraved on the sides. After our stroll, we were glad to return and have, in the railway station refreshment room, dinner (supplied at 3? francs a head, the usual station tariff), and at 6.50 left in the dark for Hyères, arriving at eight o'clock. Nine omnibuses in a semicircle were waiting the arrival of the train, but we were the only passengers requiring conveyance. We took that of the Hotel d'Orient, recommended in Bradshaw and also by Murray for its beautiful situation. It is a comfortable hotel, the hotelkeeper is attentive, and the situation is more sheltered from the mistral than others; but it seems a mistake to speak of it as 'beautiful,' as any view it may have commanded at one time is shut out by the trees of the garden on the opposite side of the road. The Hotel des ?les d'Or is the principal hotel in Hyères. It commands a fine view, but has a west or south-west exposure. The Hesperides Hotel is near to it. This and the Hotel des Ambassadeurs, in the centre of the small town, are considered comfortable and more moderate.

Hyères is considered less costly than any of the other important places in the Riviera, regarding it as within the Riviera, which perhaps, strictly speaking, it is not. I believe it may be considered to be about 2 francs per day less than Mentone for corresponding accommodation and pension, and in all probability the reason for this is that it is not usually thought so attractive. The town itself is most uninviting. The original and older part of it, lying upon the hill slope, is so very dirty that I could not bring myself to visit it a second time. The drains there run down the middle of the streets, and no regard seems to be paid to cleanliness. It speaks well, doubtless, for its healthiness, that the inhabitants can survive its pestilential odours. The newer part of the town consists mainly of a long street, in which most of the hotels are, and a few poor shops, some of which were not, at this early period of the winter, opened. The Rue des Palmiers, in which the English church is situated, is the best street. It is flanked by gardens attached to the houses, and by a row of palm trees on each side, which grow better in Hyères than they do in some other parts where they are more exposed to dust and sea air. This Rue has quite the look of a retired row in the suburbs of a large city. Outside the town, which is altogether very small, there are a number of pretty villas. Behind the town a hill rises steeply to a height of 650 feet, whereon the chateau, an old castle, stands. The view from this hill is very fine, looking down upon the plains below, and the surrounding mountains, and the Mediterranean three miles off-the long, low, but picturesque islands of Hyères, called the ?les d'Or, the nearest being to appearance about two to three miles from the shore, or six miles off, but as distance on water is deceptive, probably rather more. These islands, formerly productive, now barren, but said to be salubrious, are four in number, the largest being four miles long by two miles broad, and (speaking from distant recollection of a visit to Ireland) slightly resembling from Hyères, though larger, Spike Island at Queenstown, Cork.

There are a number of very nice walks at Hyères. About a mile out of town, a piece of ground has been recently laid out as a Jardin d'Acclimation; but as yet it is mainly occupied by an immense number of ducks of all kinds. The great drawback to Hyères is, that it is not sufficiently sheltered from the mistral, which blows during spring from the west and unprotected side. It is also far from the sea-shore, and is therefore deprived of the life and interest always found at the sea-side. Its climate, though warm, is, I believe, changeable. On the 1st November it was as hot there as it is any day in July in London; but it may suit some invalids who require to be at a distance from the sea. We did not like it, but were perhaps spoiled for fully appreciating it by having been previously at other and, as we thought, more attractive places. This, however, has to be said, that our visit to Hyères took place before the season had fairly commenced, and to be in a season place out of season is always dreary. We were very nearly the only persons in our hotel. There was one family there, whom we met in very painful circumstances. They had brought with them a daughter who had been given up in London by her physicians, who said her only chance of life was going to the south of France. With great difficulty she was brought so far. She survived about five or six weeks from the time of leaving home, but died a few days after reaching Hyères. We attended her funeral, conducted by the English clergyman, and it was gratifying to see that it created an apparent sympathy among the native population, who assembled in considerable numbers in the burying-ground.

Hyères is no doubt interesting to other persons; indeed, we have met with those who have spoken very highly of it. La Plage, the nearest point on the coast, is about three miles distant, and the railway has been extended to it and to the salines beyond. We took the train to it one day, and found a few villas had been built in the hope of making it a seaside town; but at the time of our visit, at least, the speculation did not seem to look hopeful. There is nothing attractive either about the beach or about the neighbourhood, except a forest of umbrella pines, affording the only shelter it possesses against the winds, which must often blow violently at this part, and were blowing so keenly at the time that we were glad to walk home and not wait three hours for a train.

We were a good deal annoyed by mosquitoes while at Hyères, necessitating recourse to burning pastilles at night, and waging a war of extermination in the morning.

After being eight days at Hyères, we were by no means sorry to leave it for Cannes by the little branch line to Toulon, where we were doomed to wait two hours-one in consequence of the trains not fitting in, and another because the train we were to join (a first-class express from Paris) was an hour behind time. French trains are generally very punctual, but on these long journeys are, especially at the commencement of a season, often late. The engine was, in consequence, urged on at an unusual speed after leaving Toulon, and we had made up a good part of the lost time when we were stopped at Fréjus by a goods train having by some accident got in the way. After all, we were not more than half an hour late at Cannes. We again had much difficulty in getting seat-room, guards affording no manner of assistance; the carriages also were filled with people who had travelled all night from Paris, and perhaps were selfishly unwilling to be disturbed by intruders. On this our second journey to Cannes, the blinds on both sides of the carriage were ruthlessly closed by the 'foreigners' sitting next them, so that we had no chance of seeing the lovely views to be had from the windows.

We went to our old quarters at Cannes, where, in spite of mosquitoes and flies, we were, as before, very comfortable. The weather was partly sunny and partly wet during the ten days we sojourned there. On one of the bright days our quondam invalid walked to the top of the Croix de Garde, which she could not attempt on our visit the previous year. It showed how well she then was, and how much cause for thankfulness we then had.

We reached Mentone on 12th November 1877, unfortunately in heavy rain, and, having some time previously secured them, obtained possession of the same bright rooms we had occupied the year before, and there we remained till the end of March.

The weather at Mentone during December and January was unusually cold-such a coldness as had not been experienced for many years. It was penetrating, and hard to withstand, at least during the hours of darkness. When the sun was out, the air was warm; but mornings and evenings were cold, and it was difficult to avoid encountering cold blasts and drafts, especially in passing from hot rooms through cold corridors chilled by open doors, and we did find this year servants very tiresome in leaving doors open which communicated with the outer air. I believe, though not conscious of it at the time, that this cold weather and the cold drafts had reproduced, though it might have then been in a very elementary way, the seeds of disease which we fondly thought had been altogether eradicated.

We found the municipal authorities busy making a continuation of the promenade along the shore for a full additional half-mile or more westward towards Cape Martin,-an addition which has ere this proved a great accession to the place, and will be complete when carried as far as Cape Martin itself, which, with its forest of trees, is one of the most charming haunts about Mentone; but the access to it has hitherto been either by the dusty high road or by the rough stony beach. Builders had also been busy with new houses, but the speculation, I doubt, had not proved profitable, as, owing to the dulness of trade and to the war in the East, many of the villas remained empty, while even the hotels did not fill so rapidly as they had done the previous year. However, when we left in the spring, the builders had not seemed deterred by the want of demand, for building operations were still progressing, and I fear much that in a few years Mentone, if not overbuilt for the number of visitors, will lose a great deal of its charm as a rural town. In other respects it was the same as ever, bright and pleasant; and helping to make it so, we had friends in many of the other hotels, besides meeting old friends in our own.

During the first part of our stay, people were kept in great anxiety about the course of events in France, and we never could tell but that any day a revolution might break out: one result apparently was that newspapers were occasionally stopped, or at least some did not reach us. Punch had in one number a certain distinguished gentleman floundering in the mud. This number did not reach us through the usual channels, but the cartoon nevertheless came to the hotel enclosed in a letter to one of the visitors from a friend in Germany. Perhaps the French are a people too easily excited to make it safe to allow such things to be circulated, but it seems strange to our ideas of free discussion.

When these difficulties were overcome, the British portion of the population at least were disquieted by the attitude taken by England in regard to affairs in the East. Before we left home in 1876, Turkish misrule and oppression of the provinces had awakened the attention of the European powers, and a movement for reform was made. The Turkish atrocities in Bulgaria had also come to light, and Mr. Gladstone, with all the fervour of his noble heart, had come to the front, and forced the facts into lively attention, and not without effect. But the firm word from us to the Turk, which would have prevented war, was not spoken, and Russia found herself compelled, single-handed, to have recourse to arms to terminate oppression. Russia did not declare war till April 1877. When she became successful, there was considerable excitement in the south of England, and it seemed as if many good people were not careful of what they fed upon, and for a long time nightly dreamt that the Czar, with one foot on Russia, was putting another on Constantinople, and, like a gigantic Gulliver, was just about to haul India off to St. Petersburg. Into the political causes and consequences of this excitement it would be out of place to enter here. Suffice it to say that they made us uneasy during several months; and had it not been for the extreme moderation and coolness throughout regulating the counsels of Russia (which was no doubt thinking as much of taking Jupiter or Georgium Sidus as of taking India, or even Constantinople, and was perhaps amused, though displeased, at our fright), joined to the restraining good sense of the country at home generally, we should have been involved in war, all Europe would have been ablaze, and-selfish thought-what would those have had to do who found a foreign residence necessary?

Among other delicious canards to which we were treated from time to time during the war in the little French newspapers, was the astounding information that our beloved Queen had resolved to resign.

Two important events, however, did happen during our stay at Mentone-first, the somewhat sudden or unlooked-for death of Victor Emmanuel in January 1878; and, within a month afterwards, the long-expected death of Pope Pius IX. On both these occasions a special service was held in the Cathedral of Mentone, and I suppose 2000 persons must have been crammed into its body and recesses. Although the church is a pretty large one, the odour with which it was filled was by no means that of sanctity, and it was a relief, when the service was over, in little more than an hour, to get out to the fresh air. Besides black drapery hung throughout the church, a grand catafalque was in each case erected in the centre of the cathedral, in front of which a space was reserved and seated for the grandees of Mentone. The altar at the back was denuded, perhaps to afford space, and the singers and players on instruments were placed between it and the catafalque, out of sight of the audience. The harsh sounds of the brass instruments as they blew their trumpet-blasts thus in our ears seemed vastly inappropriate. The singing had quite a provincial mediocrity; but on the whole, for a small country town, I believe it may be said the arrangements, according to Romanist notions of how such things should be conducted, were fairly good.

The death of the Pope, while it prevented the celebration of the Carnival in Rome, had no influence in preventing its observance in Mentone and Nice, and scenes similar to those of last year were enacted, with a difference-not to the better-in the pageant. At Nice the Carnival was, I believe, grander than ever, and many of the Mentone visitors made a day of it there. The Carnival time brought with it rather appropriately, though probably accidentally, some fancy balls in Mentone, for which gay and elaborate costumes were, I believe, procured at Nice. We were kindly invited to one of these entertainments, but for reasons declined.

The tendency towards such gaieties seemed this winter rather on the increase. They suit some, but to those desirous of quiet evenings it is disturbing to have frequent routs, and concerts, and other diversions in the drawing-rooms of the hotels.

We were treated, however, to a different description of pleasure, in the shape of an exhibition at New Year's time of a large collection of water-colour paintings of views in Mentone, Cannes, Corsica, etc., by Mr. Van der Weldt, a skilful artist. The pictures were for sale, but the admission money went to the funds of Helvetia.

The orange and lemon trees this winter bore scantily, and we could not help feeling regret to see how few and far between were the bunches of golden fruit. To what cause this failure of the crop was to be attributed I do not know, but I believe that the trees do not bear largely for two successive years.

We again, on leaving Mentone, took a carriage to San Remo, and fortunately had a quiet and warm sunny day for the drive. The dust lay thick on the road, but there was no wind to raise it. The loveliness of the ride was the one atoning circumstance to put against all the pain of parting with friends, and leaving a place with which so many happy recollections were associated. We little thought we were bearing away from it one-then in apparent good health, and, fond of travel, thoroughly appreciating all that she saw-who would never see it again; for the regret of leaving was tempered with the hope that it might be our privilege, though it might not be absolutely needful, to return in a future year to this bright land of the olive and fig tree, the lemon and orange-this land of cloudless sky and cheering sun.

After leaving Ventimiglia, we looked out for the Roman amphitheatre which had been discovered and was being excavated, but could not find the place, and our driver was unable to render us any information or assistance. We were now in the heart of the scenery forming the locale of that deeply-interesting story, Dr. Antonio; and on the previous occasion our driver, I believe, pointed out to us the veritable house in which Sir John Davenne and his heavenly daughter had their abode. After paying a passing visit to friends in Bordighera, we soon afterwards were again in San Remo.

We remained three weeks at San Remo, and during our stay had a good deal of wind blowing from the west, and cold air with heavy rain, and consoled ourselves by thinking that the wind being in that direction, was probably more felt at Mentone. On leaving, we proceeded by train to Alassio, about twenty-eight miles along the coast eastward. We had heard Alassio a good deal spoken of, and wished to see it. It is as yet only visited by casual travellers, and it has not become a place of common winter resort for invalids. Had we not written for rooms, we might not have found any carriage waiting to take us to the Hotel de Rome, which was at the time the only hotel, I believe, to which English people could go. It was a drive of about a mile from the station (principally through the long narrow streets of the town) to the hotel, which fronts the beach, just out of and to the west of the town. It is a comparatively new house, and the accommodation is fairly good and clean. Another hotel, 'The Grand,' on a much larger scale, has been built, also fronting the sea, but about the middle of the town. It was not, however, then opened, and the situation did not seem so desirable, though nearer the station.

We found Alassio to be one of those little Italian coast towns in the Riviera which are by no means attractive in themselves. The population is said to be 5500, so that it is of some extent. It is dirty and disagreeable, and unfortunately, like some others, is not shelved away upon an avoidable eminence, but is stuck down upon the very best part of the shore. The towers of the cathedral and other churches, and the structure of the houses, combine to give it, at a little distance, a picturesque appearance. A sandy beach forms the shore, on which, opposite the town, many fishing boats lay. The sands, of a pale yellow or white, though they may afford good bathing, are not interesting, shells and sea-weed being scarce. The town lies at the head or in the centre of a bay formed by two projecting capes or protecting arms, the Capo della Melle on the west and the Capo S. Croce on the east. Between these two points the distance may, I suppose, be about three miles. A semicircular cordon of hills runs back from their termini, and with an inner circle surrounds and hems in Alassio lying in the basin below. The slopes of most of the hills, at least of the inner circle, are covered with olive, carroube, and other trees, giving them a richly-wooded aspect; but the hills themselves do not rise to any great altitude. They are sufficiently high and close upon the town to give much-perhaps, in summer, too much-shelter to Alassio, and to afford room for supposing that it might become, on a smaller scale, another Mentone for winter residence. Possibly if no old Italian town had existed there, and everything could be laid out anew, Alassio might be made a good place and suitable for strangers; but the great drawbacks to it for residence, and not regarding it from a medical point of view, are the existence of this old dirty town, which usurps nearly the whole of the shore space, and is far from attractive, and the confined or limited situation. I believe that many fine walks may be found about it, but the mountains lack the height and picturesque grandeur of those of Mentone, and there seem to be no valleys and rivers to offer variety. Some English families, however, have been so pleased with it as to have built houses there, for permanent occupation, on the slopes of the hills. One of these we visited-that of Mr. Gibb, a Scotch gentleman. Its position is commanding, and derives shelter from the hills behind; and from the terraces overlooking the town, the views were fine. The ground was laid out in the style of hanging gardens, full of orange trees. At leaving, Mr. Gibb kindly caused a basketful of oranges to be plucked and given to us, and they were of the most delicious flavour; indeed, I believe the Alassio oranges are noted for their excellent quality. Although a little society is to be found at Alassio, it struck me as a dull place of residence except to those who are fond of retirement. A great improvement to the town would be the formation of a promenade along the shore, as at Mentone, Cannes, and Nice. Were this done, it would help to draw strangers, and if strangers came, other improvements would follow.

On the first afternoon, we had, after arrival, time to take a walk westward along the beach for about a mile to a small village Laigueglia, which, as usual, possesses a church with a campanile; other large buildings like granaries fronted the sea. We took, the following day, a much more interesting walk up the height of Santa Croce to the eastward, encountering unexpectedly by the way a smart shower, from which some protection was afforded by the trees. Upon leaving the town, a paved donkey-path leads up the hillside, skirted by woods (the carroube trees here growing luxuriantly), to the ruins of an old chapel, whence an extensive panorama spreads out on one side, back over the hills behind the town, and down on the town and ocean below; while eastward the rockbound coast stretches away, visible as far, I believe, on a clear day, as Genoa and beyond it. But the day was not sufficiently clear to see so far.

Dr. Giuseppe Schneer has published a pamphlet of about eighty pages on Alassio, titled, Alassio ed il suo clima confrontato con quello di S. Remo, Mentone, Nizza, e Cannes. It is in Italian, unfortunately, and consists of three parts. The first and largest part contains medical advice, leading up, of course, to approval of Alassio. The second part gives some information about the town, its population, schools, hotels, etc.; and in reference to its healthiness, adduces a table of mortality from which it would appear that during nine years the average was about 100 deaths per annum in a population assumed to be now and throughout 5500, or 1 in 55, which would certainly be extraordinarily low. Another table is given to show the duration of life, evidencing considerable longevity. The third part deals with the meteorology of Alassio, and contains some tables, from which it would appear, if the observations be correctly taken, Alassio stands well, and, on the whole, obtains a higher temperature than places on the Riviera with which it is compared-a result which may be accounted for by its being more shut in. I take the liberty of quoting an excerpt from one of these tables (p. 74):-

Media della Temperatura delle Singole Stazioni della Riviera.

Stazioni Gennaio Febraio Marzo Aprile Novembre Decembre Media

de 5 mesi

piu freddi

Alassio, 9 · 18 10 · 13 · 45 14 · 05 11 · 86 10 · 80 11 · 05

San Remo, 8 · 97 11 · 44 11 · 22 13 · 83 12 · 41 10 · 43 10 · 25

Mentone, 9 · 3 9 · 5 11 · 6 14 · 6 12 · 2 9 · 5 10 · 04

Nizza, 8 · 1 9 · 5 11 · 2 14 · 5 12 · 6 9 · 2 9 · 83

Cannes, 8 · 6 9 · 8 13 · 4 17 · 3 13 · 5 9 · 9 10 · 45

Dr. Schneer also states that in the five months from November to March there are 79 days all bright, 37·5 half so, 36 cloudy, and 20 bad.

It may be, therefore, that the climate of Alassio is one suitable for invalids, and living is moderate, as pension can be had at the Hotel de Rome for 7 and 8 francs per day tout compris.

After being two nights there, we left for Genoa. The day was fine, and having a compartment to ourselves, we had full opportunity of looking about and enjoying the scenery. The distance is about fifty-seven miles, and as the train took nearly four hours to arrive quietly at Genoa, we moved leisurely. I paced one of our bedrooms at the Hotel de Gènes, and it seemed to be 27 feet long by 21 feet wide, and probably it was 20 feet high. In the afternoon we drove out again to see the Campo Santo, and found little change since last year. On the following day we visited most of the places we had seen the previous year, and some others, including some additional palaces already noticed. With a little difficulty we made discovery of the Via Orifici (a narrow street in the heart of the town, not far from the hotel), where the filigree shops are, and made a few purchases. The shops are on both sides of the street, and contain sometimes beautiful specimens of this delicate work in silver and gold; perhaps the shop of Salvi exhibited the largest collection of choice handiwork. In buying, it is well to remember one is transacting in Italy. Genoa has a Galleria, but not nearly so handsome as that at Milan, although equally suitable for its purpose. Last year we had seen it in course of construction, but it was now completed, and some of the best shops in Genoa were opened in it. But at the time of our visit it was not fully occupied. At night it was, as at Milan, crowded by the townspeople and visitors. A long, wide, lofty arcade like this, covered over by a glass roof, and brilliantly lighted up, is naturally an attraction, and something of the kind in our large towns might induce a withdrawal of many from the gin-palaces and drinking-shops, the glare and comfort of which seem to be so great an inducement and temptation to certain classes. But, like the Italian galleries, they require to be thoroughfares in good central situations-not cul-de-sacs.

In the afternoon of the third day we left by train for Turin. A few drops fell as we left, augmenting as we proceeded under inky clouds to heavy rain. We obtained our last glimpse of our old friend the Mediterranean just after leaving Genoa. The railway stations, not improved by the rain, looked all so dirty-filthy, indeed. At Alessandria, where we had an hour to wait, affording time to dine, the whole platform was most disagreeable, from the abominable habit (elsewhere alluded to) the Italians have of defiling every place, even the floors of churches, so that it is not uncommon to see a notice up in the churches requesting that it be not practised. However, good service is done by the women, who trail their gowns over the floors, and thus, with a thoughtful consideration for others and an unselfish disregard for themselves, keep them cleaner than they would otherwise be.

We arrived at Turin about eight o'clock in the evening, and found quarters in the Ligurie, a large, new, first-class hotel, not far from the station. The double windows, thick shutters, and the cloth curtains outside the bedroom doors, were suggestive of what descent in temperature there may sometimes be in Turin; but except a little cold and damp in the evening, resulting from the rain which had fallen before our arrival, we had it warm and sunny during the three days we remained there. The following forenoon we devoted to a long drive in and about Turin. The streets are exceedingly regular and wide, and the houses being lofty and the town of considerable extent and full of handsome public buildings and monuments, Turin has all the appearance of a capital; but though a city upwards of 2000 years old, there is about it quite a modern air. The view along several of the streets is terminated by a grand vista of snowy mountains, and one of the sights of Turin-indeed, its great sight-is the view obtained from it of the Alps. To witness this in perfection, it should be seen from a commanding height early in the morning of a clear day. We accordingly, soon after breakfast, driving past the public park and gardens, and round an imposing quadrangular building called the Castel di Valentino, and crossing the river Po by a stone bridge of five arches, were deposited at the foot of the steep hill on which the Capuchin Monastery is built. Here, by a road winding round the hill, we walked to the top, and from the plateau beheld the most magnificent mountain prospect I had ever seen, or which I suppose is visible in Europe. Right in front of us, against a sky all but clear, rose the great range of the snowy Alps, stretching far as the eye could reach to right and left, the nearest being only about fifteen miles distant, but seeming much nearer as seen through a transparent atmosphere over a range of low hills lying in front of them. Monte Viso, conical in shape, about forty-five miles to the south-west, in which the river Po finds its source, rises prominently like a huge tusk, the rest like an enormous jaw, in wavy line of peaks or serrated folds. Between the river Po, flowing below, and the mountains, the ground appears one vast level plain, on which the city rests in regular lines of lofty houses, the monotony being broken by the numerous towers and domes of the public buildings; and conspicuous among them is the great ugly peculiar square dome of the Jewish Synagogue, a far from pleasing object. In a different direction, away to the north-east, we saw the Superga or Royal Mausoleum, built on the crest of a hill much higher than the monastery, and commanding a fully better view. To visit it and the royal tombs is a day's excursion, and we gave it up. The royal palace was among the places in town which we visited. Its magnificent rooms are reached by a truly regal staircase of marble adorned by sculpture. The armoury, an interesting exhibition, is not far from the palace. A long room in it is filled with figures of men-at-arms on horseback clad with the armour of different periods.

The streets of Turin are to a large extent lined by arcades, and no doubt in bad weather, and especially in snowstorms, such a method of construction must be useful, the shops, however, being generally placed under them.

Turin possesses many fine monuments. One of the finest is that to Cavour, inscribed, 'A Camillo Cavour nato a Torino il x. Agosto mdcccx., morto il vi. Giugno mdccclxi.' A kneeling female figure, representing doubtless Italia, is presenting him with a garland; while below, the base is adorned by emblematical figures at least life-size, and, like the statue, of white marble-all very tasteful. Another and very singular monument is that to the Duke of Genoa. His horse falls to the ground on its knees wounded, and the rider, the Duke, sitting on the horse, is resting one foot on the ground and waving his sword.

We had a Sunday in Turin, and in the morning went into the cathedral. It is a large building, not very imposing; but inside it is dark, and the dirtiest church we had seen in Italy, which is saying a good deal. To Protestants, the Waldensian Church is a place of great interest. Unfortunately we had been informed at the hotel that the Italian service was in the morning, and the French service in the afternoon; and we therefore attended service in the morning, in the English Church in the yard immediately behind it. Returning in the afternoon, we found our informant was mistaken; the French service had been in the morning, the afternoon service was in Italian. The church, which is a large one, was scantily attended by a shifting congregation of the poorer classes of Italians. Many, apparently Roman Catholics, just entered to see what was doing, and after a few minutes went out again, to be replaced by others. As we understood little of what was said, we did not stay the service out. We learned at dinner from a lady who had been there in the forenoon, that the morning service had been in French, that the church was crowded by a most respectable congregation, and that the whole service was most interesting.

Turin is a place in which a few days can be well spent, and an excursion is not unfrequently made from it to the Waldensian valleys, part of the way to which is by railway.

We had a beautiful day on which to leave for Aix-les-Bains by the Mont Cenis Tunnel. The view of the snowy mountains was brilliantly clear as we approached them. In about six miles we reached the first or low hills. Thenceforth the scenery along the line of railway was at some parts wild and grand, and at others the hills were surmounted by structures which gave a picturesque character to them. At last we reached and passed through the Mont Cenis Tunnel. The time taken in passing through was about twenty-eight minutes. It was long to be boxed up in the dark, but it did not feel so long as I anticipated. Once or twice I put down a window; the air felt slightly damp, not cold. On issuing from it on the French side, the railway makes a long detour to reach the lower level of Modane, where luggage is examined by the French douaniers, and we changed into French carriages, which were superior in comfort to those of the Italian line. The scenery all along to Chambery and Aix-les-Bains was among the mountains, some of them capped with snow.

We stayed, as we had planned, a week at Aix-les-Bains, and we should have enjoyed it but that great part of the time we had rain, and the air, though warm, was moist. A range of low hills separates Aix from Lake Bourget, enclosed on the other side by steep rugged mountains, their summits visible over the hills. A short walk takes one to the top of these hills, whence an excellent view is had of the lake, upon which a steamer plies during the summer. The lake is reached by the road at a part fringed by tall poplars about one and a half to two miles distant, offering a pleasant stroll on a fine afternoon such as we had to walk to it.

We left by a morning train for Dijon, and shortly after the sky got black, and we were obliged to change carriages at Culoz in drenching rain, the station being destitute of cover so necessary at a junction like this, or indeed at every railway station. As we passed along, the whole country seemed to be inundated. Both at Dijon and Fontainebleau we were caught in showers unexpectedly. At Paris, where we rested for a few days, we had rain, but principally through the night. At Boulogne we had a shower. Crossing thence, we landed, after a beautiful passage, at Folkestone in May 1878, and proceeded by Bristol to Stoke Bishop. Here, instead of the sunshine with which the neighbourhood of Clifton is usually favoured at this season, and to which we had looked forward, we were still pursued by almost daily rain. After remaining six weeks looking constantly for better weather, we got back to Scotland.

And here with a sad heart I must close. I had written most of these pages at a time when we had every belief that the changes experienced had effected cure-at least to the extent of allowing us to go home for the summer. And we had been so much longer away than we had proposed when we left, that not unnaturally we were the more anxious to be back. The last change was destined to be fatal. Looking to second causes, it is probable that the unforeseen and unusual moisture to which we had been exposed everywhere after leaving Italy, succeeding so long a residence in a dry climate, had developed latent seeds of disease, and weakness had latterly been increased by exposure to a cold draft inducing cough. Whatever was the cause, she for whose benefit we had taken this prolonged tour in sunny lands, and who we had fondly hoped had been restored to health, sank within a few months from the time of touching her native shore. It was when hopes were beginning to revive, and she herself had thought the crisis was past, a sudden change for the worse took place. After a restless night, the morning light, for which she had anxiously longed, only arrived to bear her soul peacefully away from weakness and solicitude to a land brighter than any she had looked on here. Though gentle and unpresuming, her cheerful and unselfish disposition, joined to other graces, and to good sense born of a well-balanced and well-informed mind, soon made her acquaintance valued wherever she went; and, scattered as so many are, perhaps it is only through this little record some may chance to learn that they have lost an esteemed friend.




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[1] Life of Watt, 1839, p. 198.

[2] A compilation recently published gives an account of the means of conveyance had in times past in Great Britain, but does not, except very incidentally, touch upon those on the Continent. See Croal's Book about Travelling, Past and Present, W. P. Nimmo, Edinburgh.

[3] The following table, taken from Croal's Book about Travelling, p. 575, shows the extent of the railway system in 1875 on the European Continent:-

Miles of Railway. Square Miles of Territory

to each Mile of Line.

Belgium, 2,174 5

Switzerland, 1,300 11

German Empire, 14,472 12

France, 12,376 14

Denmark, 561 18

Netherlands, 1,016 20

Austria and Hungary, 10,154 20

Italy, 4,817 23

Spain, 3,822 50

Roumania, 770 59

Portugal, 596 61

Sweden, 2,237 63

Turkey in Europe, 965 138

Russia in Europe, 11,591 157

Norway, 339 387

Greece, 7 2,658

[4] The normal value of a sovereign is 25 francs 20 centimes.

[5] It may be interesting to give, as far as I have preserved note of it, the rate of exchange received at different places during part of the period we were away:-

At Cannes, Nov. 1876, per £, 25·75

" Mentone, Dec. " " 25·25

" " thereafter, " 25·

" Nice, February 1877, " 25·75

" San Remo, March " " 27·20

" Genoa, " " " 27·10

" Rome, 23d " " " 27·03

" " 19th April " " 27·90

" Florence, 28th " " " 28·10

" " 7th May " " 28·15

" " 12th " " " 28·10

" Venice, 20th " " " 28·25

" " 22d " " " 28·15

" Milan, 26th " " " 28·

" Como, 11th June " " 27·10

" Bellagio, " " " " 27·47

" Lucerne, 25th " " " 25·15

" Interlachen, 13th July " " 25·10

" Paris, Aug. " " 25·

" Interlachen, " " " " 25·10

" Montreux, 8th Sept. " " 25·12

" Biarritz, Oct. " " 25·

" Pau, 18th " " " 25·05

" " 21st " " " 25·12

" Cannes, Nov. " " 25·06

" San Remo, March 1878, " 27·03

" " April " " 27·45

" " " " " " 27·37

[6] Little monthly time bills or leaflets can be got at the Company's offices in London and Paris, for which see Bradshaw. Some of them also, like Cook's and Gaze's Lists, contain through fares to most places on the Continent.

[7] A quarto publication, called Voyages circulaires via le Mont Cenis et la Corniche, is issued by 'Agence de Paris, Rue Auber 1, Maison du Grand Hotel,' containing circular tours in Italy, starting from Paris, Nice, and Marseilles.

[8] The following may be given as specimens of the menu:-

At the Grand Hotel du Louvre, Paris.

Potage.-Consommé aux Quenelles; Hors d'?uvre; Melon. Relevées.-Saumon Sauce Hollandaise; Pommes de terre nature; Train de C?tes à la broche; Aubergines à la Proven?ale. Entrées.-Timbales à la Joinville; Poulardes à la Demidoff. Rot.-Canetons de Rouen au Cresson; Salade de Romaine. Entremets.-Petits Pois à l'Anglaise; Biscuits Princesse; Garnis d'Allumettes. Desserts.

At a Provincial Hotel in France, somewhat more meagre than usual, however (verbatim).

Potage.-Tapioca. Relevées.-Epigrammes d'Agneau Bretonne. Entrées.-Poulets Sautés Maringa. Legumes.-Choux de Bruxelles. R?tis.-Ros bief. Entremets.-Charlotte de Pommes Parisien, etc. Dessert.

[9] A Winter's Sketches in the South of France and the Pyrenees, p. 7.

[10] At Naples I sat next a German who helped himself to four thick slices of roast beef, then, according to German custom, began by placing one above another, and cutting the whole into little squares by drawing his knife first lengthways and then crossways through them, and having so divided the beef, took his knife and shovelled, in quick succession, all the pieces into his mouth. Fish is often a scarce commodity, yet I have seen German ladies, after having liberally helped themselves to it, call for more as they would for more of any other course, though it is unusual for others to ask a second supply of any course.

[11] Since this chapter was written, alterations have been made on the French postal rates, and, inter alia, the postage to England is reduced to 25 centimes, and for the interior to 15 centimes; but I have allowed the text to stand as referring to the time we were away. There may be other changes of which I am not aware.

[12] The Guide, arranged alphabetically, contains information regarding the following countries and places:-Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey in Europe, and the Mediterranean. In Denmark and Greece the number of Protestant churches is very limited. The Mediterranean embraces fifty-four towns, including towns in Egypt and Palestine.

[13] The figures in this chapter are all given subject to correction.

[14] Bowing the head or bowing the knee at the mention of the name of Jesus, is one of those literal renderings sometimes put upon words of Scripture, of which in reading through, long ago, as a student, the Corpus Juris Canonici, I found examples. The subject is disposed of in Mr. Thomas Spalding's Scripture Difficulties, p. 269.

[15] In Mr. Birrel's interesting Life of Dr. Brock, a man of great power and, I believe, of much liberality of mind, the following passage (p. 241) occurs in reference to a Sunday in crossing the Atlantic:-'Next day was all that a Sunday at home could be. We had service, Mr. Nolan again officiating-the captain, however, this time reading the prayers himself. One thing struck me painfully: when the absolution came to be read, the captain gave way to the priest, who alone stood and alone spoke; he alone had authority in the great matter of remission. The captain had none. Of what is this the germ?'

[16] A French kilometre is equal to 1093·633 yards; an English mile is 1760 yards. Two miles are therefore more than three kilometres, and two kilometres are equal to about one mile and a quarter (1?). But all the foreign measures differ, and it is puzzling therefore to know from the railway guides and others what are the distances in English miles. A uniform mileage system would be exceedingly useful. In fact, the statesman who could effect uniformity in measures, weights, and coinage throughout Europe, would do more real good than is obtained by more glittering acts.

[17] Vide Figuier's World before the Deluge, p. 317.

[18] I have seen the numbers produced by a single insect in the course of a year stated in a newspaper, but unfortunately did not preserve a note of the information, which is not given in the usual books about insects.

[19] It would be hardly possible for me to give from recollection a complete list of all the hotels and pensions in Mentone, but I may note some at least of the most prominent. Having had friends in many of them, we had occasional opportunities of seeing them, and learning a little regarding them; but only residence in each could enable anybody to speak authoritatively, and therefore observations now made must be taken in a very general way, and subject to all allowances, and as perhaps mistaken.

At the extreme west, the Pavillon is, I believe, a well-appointed hotel; but it is fully half a mile outside the town, to some a recommendation. Between it and a small house, now called the Hotel Anglo-Americaine, near to the Boirigo Bridge, there are several elegant villas, some of them to let furnished. East of this bridge, facing the promenade, are the Pension Condamine (small and moderate) and some other minor houses and pensions; then the Hotel de Russie (one on Gaze's list); and crossing the Carrei, the first house beyond, and overlooking the public gardens, is called the Pension Americaine, in reality an hotel, with good cuisine, kept by an active, clever, and attentive landlady; near to it, the Pension Camous, a tall, overtopping, narrow building, at which the town street may be said to commence; adjoining it, the Pension or Hotel de Londres; and a little farther east, and more in town, the Hotels Westminster, Victoria, and Menton-all large, and, I believe, expensive; and, last of all, the Hotel du Midi. Beyond the Promenade, close to the market-place, and not far from the harbour, the Hotel Bristol. With the exception of the two last, all have gardens of more or less size between them and the promenade, and all have access on the other side to the public street.

Back from or on the other side of the main street, there are many other hotels and pensions, among which may be mentioned, west of the Carrei, the Splendide (on Gaze's list), a comfortable hotel within a garden; the Hotel du Parc, on the avenue leading to the railway station, with good rooms, although the entrance or site is not promising. On the east side of the Carrei and some way up beyond the railway, which it dominates, the Hotel du Louvre, a large, well-appointed hotel, apparently frequented by Germans and Dutch; behind it, and rather higher, there is the great Hotel des ?les Britanniques, commanding good views, in every respect first class, patronized by the English (though not exclusively so, one long table being set for the English and another long one for the foreigners). The landlord claims it to be the most expensive hotel in Mentone. Both these last-mentioned hotels are near to the railway station, but carriages have to make a circuit to reach them. Both are under shelter of an olive-covered hill rising high and steep immediately behind, which also affords similar shelter to the Hotels des Princes, Venise, D'Orient, Turin, and others, lying nearly in a line to the eastward. The D'Orient and Turin have both gardens in front,-that of the former is large, and in the garden of the latter a bed of roses flourishes in full flower all the winter through. Both are good houses, but the views from the windows and grounds are confined, and street houses shut them out almost entirely from the view of the sea. If, however, view be not considered important, the position is comparatively sheltered. There are also about this part several pensions, such as the 'Des Alpes,'-a small house, and moderate charges.

In the east bay, after passing the old town, which in the afternoon always casts a dank shadow on the part of the road which underlies it, called the Quai Bonaparte, requiring the invalid to take special precautions, and passing the drain pipe, the first hotel met is the Grande Bretagne, one of the oldest houses. It is that upon Cook's list for Mentone, and consequently seems to be always well filled. Up on the height behind, a little to the eastward, are the Hotels d'Italie and Belle Vue, both comfortable; but the ascent to them is steep, the fatigue being, however, rewarded by the fine view from the terraces and windows. Returning to the road below, which is a part of the Corniche, we observe the East English Church, and next to it the Hotel de la Paix close to the street, but having a garden to the back. Facing it across the road is the only bathing establishment of Mentone. Adjoining its east side, but back from the road within a garden, the Hotel des Anglais where Dr. Bennett obtains his quarters. A little beyond, a small piece of ground, probably an acre in extent, has recently been acquired and laid out as a public garden, in which the band occasionally plays; and amidst a cluster of other hotels and pensions farther east, the Grand Hotel, a comfortable, large house, charging moderately. If the visitor prefer or is recommended to reside in the east bay, he will find the extreme east (called the Quartier Garavent, though so much farther from town, and though hot and dusty) is the choicer situation. There is, however, an omnibus to town every hour from the far east to about the Hotel du Pavillon, at the extreme west end.

[20] A recently-published guide-book to the south of France says, with regard to Mentone:-'A kind of gloom pervades Menton. The strip of ground on which it stands is narrow, and so are the streets.' 'The valleys are narrow and sombre. The roads up the mountains are steep, badly paved, and are generally traversed on donkeys, which go slowly and require so much chastisement that an ordinary walker will find it less fatiguing to dispense with them.' It also sets down the population at 12,000, and that of Cannes, by far the larger town, at 7000. These are statements which require revision, as they do not accord with the facts.

[21] See Frontispiece.

[22] It is impossible to place reliance on the exactness of such figures. They must throughout be taken as obtained from different sources, and possibly in no one case correct. I should, for example, here doubt whether Castiglione stands as high as the castle of Ste. Agnese.

[23] It is the custom in the Riviera, and probably elsewhere in France, to give free of charge, to those who are on pension, their lunch to take with them on such excursions, which they would otherwise have had at the hotel.

[24] At Biarritz a different practice prevails. Instead of beating the linen, the linen is employed to beat the stone. We have seen a lady's fancy petticoat thus thrashed against the stones without mercy.

[25] The expense of washing at Mentone, though not moderate, is less than in Paris.

[26] Mr. C. Home-Douglas (p. 177) publishes observations giving much lower mean temperatures. I suppose in these matters observers seldom agree.

[27] I shall use henceforth franc for lira, the Italian name, for simplicity's sake.

[28] The ceremony of baptism in the Greek Church is even more trying to the poor child. See The Englishwoman in Russia, p. 265.

[29] I have since seen a different account given of this stone.

[30] So called from its colossal size. It is sometimes spelt Coliseum, a corruption of the word.

[31] The arena of Nismes is 148 by 112 yards, height 74 feet, and accommodated 32,000 spectators; arena, 74 by 42 yards. The Colosseum, 205 by 170 yards, height 156 feet, accommodating 87,000 spectators (besides containing standing room for 23,000 more in the porticoes and surrounding passages); arena, 93 by 58 yards. But in stating these and other measurements, it is always right to keep in mind that in different books the figures do not correspond, and one well-informed and most reliable writer states the dimensions of the Colosseum at about 40 feet more each way than the above. Mr. Storey's figures for the Colosseum also vary from the above several yards in each measurement. For a pretty full account of the Colosseum, reference may be made to Storey's Roba di Roma, vol. i. chap. ix.

[32] The extent, however, is variously computed. One writer, generally very exact, says: 'According to Romani and Nibby's plan of Rome,' Caracalla's baths 'covered an area of 370 yards square, or 28 English acres.' 'Eustace makes the extent twice as great.' Gibbon states that they were a mile in circumference, which would be 193,600 square yards, or 40 acres. Hare says they covered a space of 2,625,000 square yards, which is equal to 542 acres. It is not improbable that some measurements may refer merely to the ground covered by buildings, and that others comprehend ground not so covered. But even this explanation will not account for such extraordinary discrepancies.

[33] B?deker says: 'At the back of the Pantheon are situated the ruins of the Therm? of Agrippa, the proximity of which to the Pantheon once gave rise to the absurd conjecture that the temple originally belonged to the baths, and was afterwards converted into a temple.' In a matter of this kind, however, the authority of such a man as Mr. Thomson is much to be preferred to that of any writer in a guide-book.

[34] It seems that at Tre Fontane, above a mile westward, which we did not visit, the Eucalyptus tree has now been largely planted; and if it will grow, it is expected to render the locality healthy.

[35] Miss Kate Thompson's Handbook to the Public Picture Galleries of Europe, Macmillan, 1877, is a useful little volume in its way, but its illustration would occupy volumes.

[36] After being in several shops, we concluded that C. Roccheggiani, Via Condotti, had the largest and most varied stock.

[37] This number is stated upon an authority which differs in the further figures here given, some of which seem almost incredibly large. How the 9025 baths can be reconciled with the statement (p. 299) of sixteen bathing establishments, I do not pretend to say.

[38] I see it stated that in 1851 the number of Romish priests in Great Britain was 958; of Romish chapels, 683; of monasteries, 17; of religious houses for women, 53. In 1879 these numbers were increased to 1238, 1386, 118, and 272 respectively. The number of the laity doubtless has increased, though possibly, and as it is to be hoped, not correspondingly.

[39] So named after the present proprietrix, Mme. Barbensi. It seems quite a foreign or at least an Italian practice to call houses after the name of the proprietor. Molini was either her maiden name or the name of the previous proprietor.

[40] 'Were I now to begin the world again, I would tread in the steps of that great master; to kiss the hem of his garment, to catch the slightest of his perfections, would be glory and distinction enough for an ambitious man.'-15th Discourse.

[41] A large valuable work in small folio, copiously illustrated-veritable volumes de luxe-has recently been published: 'Venise: Histoire, Art, Industrie, la Ville, la Vie. Par Charles Yriarte.'

[42] Here, as in other things, measurements differ, one authority having it 443 feet long, another 477 feet, interior measurement. Though it may be shorter than St. Paul's of London, it is no doubt considerably wider, and covers, therefore, a greater area.

[43] It is stated in one book that in December 1845 the thermometer registered as low as-82·90°, equal to about-185° Fahr. This was incredible; and on looking the Austrian official records I found it should have been-2·9°, showing with what caution such statements in non-official books should be taken.

[44] Afterwards, at Interlachen, when standing on a rustic bridge, she saw a small snake crawling on the path, and called to me. It was about 15 to 18 inches long. I went and pitched it into the stream.

[45] I am told the winter season is now becoming very gay and very dear too.

[46] The accompanying illustration, depicting three gentlemen and seven ladies in bathing costume, was taken (tell it not in Gath) from jottings made at a safe distance. The stout lady in the centre was doubtless a Spaniard.

[47] As this is passing through the press, the sad news has come which has sent a thrill of sympathy through every British breast for the heartbroken bereaved mother. Any objection on the part of France which might formerly have prevailed against her return to Biarritz, if she should desire it, can no longer possibly exist. Let us hope that a generous kindly feeling will pervade all parties in France towards one who once filled a place so high among so great a people, and upon whom such overwhelming sorrows have fallen.

[48] Some additional information, particularly regarding places in the vicinity, will be found in Biarritz and Basque Countries, by Count Henry Russell, though the chapter on Biarritz itself is brief and scanty.

[49] I have his third edition, published in 1861. It is possible there may be a later one. Dr. Taylor was knighted, at the request of the Emperor Napoleon III., in recognition of his efforts to develop the resources of Pau as a residence for invalids. He has just (May 1879) died.


-Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.

-The transcriber of this project created the book cover image using the front cover of the original book. The image is placed in the public domain.

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