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our minds. The mountain-ocean which lies before us to the extent of twenty six square leagues of surface, we know is between eleven and twelve hundred feet above the level of the sea. In relation to the mountains which surround it, nevertheless, and of which the Jura whereon we stand now, forms a part, it seems like a drop of water in the palm of the hand. The soul expands in the endeavour to grasp so magnificent a whole; and instead of the ideas of romantic beauty, which were associated in our fancies with the name of Lake Leman, we receive only impressions of the vast and the sublime.
• While we are yet in our first reverie, the surface of the water steals away from our eyes, and a sea of white vapour rolls in its place. The play of the sunlight on this unsubstantial mass is magical ; and, in watching the prettiness of the effect, we recover from the feelings of awe which had begun to creep over us. Here and there, a blue spot appears in the mist which eddies around it; now a flash of sunshine, and now a gleam of water; and by and by, the whole lake is seen, in its vast expanse, as blue as heaven itself. Notwithstanding the song of the morning-breeze, and the towns, seats, and farm-houses in the distance, the heart cannot get rid of ideas of loneliness and silence: we are yet in the domain of nature; and the things that belong to human society with its noise and business, are too far off to trouble the atmosphere of our thoughts.
• As we descend lower towards the base of the Jura, the mountains on the opposite side look more magnificent, and we wonder how our disappointment could have arisen. Mont Blanc is rarely discernible, from the clouds which surround it; but when our perplexity as to which is earth and which air is suddenly removed by some atmospheric change, we start in joy and astonishment. The indentations of the margin grow bolder; the cliffs rise huge and definite on the Savoy side, capped with woods of pines, beech, and oak; the lake is broken into fragments, and comes in detail before us; and without thinking, at the moment, that the different aspect in which objects appear, is caused by the difference in our situation, and the imperfection of the human faculties--or shaming ourselves by analogies connected with the moral perceptions—we acknowledge remorsefully that we had done Lake Leman injustice.
* At the inferior extremity of the lake stands the town of Geneva. The canton of which it is the capital, interposes between the territories. of France and Savoy, where the Jura chain meets the first line of the Alps. Jura looks down upon it from the north-west ; Salève and Voiron from the south and east, and Sion and Vouache from the west. The valley, guarded by these giants, is almost triangular; till it merges in the vast plains of the Pays de Vaud. Towards the east, a break in the chain of mountains affords a view of the Alps of Faucigny, which appear to carry Mont Blanc upon their shoulders; and beside these, the Aiguille Vért and the Buet, the Reposoir, and the pyramidal Mole On the south-west, a narrower gorge, called the Pas de l'Ecluse, which. opens between the mountains of Vouache and the western extremity.of. the Jura, permits the egress of the Rhone from the “happy valley". The mountains we have named, however, are all at some distance; they
form the outer frame of the precious picture; while another girdle of hills, more beautiful, if less sublime, clasps, but not too tightly, the town itself.'
This is painting which more than rivals the glowing colours of the canvas, for it expresses what the pencil cannot, -motion, succession, and moral imagery, spreading the rich hues of metaphor and poetical association over the literal scene. But there are some features of the landscape to which neither pen nor pencil could do justice; and speaking of the colouring of the lake, where the shadow of the mountains falls so black ' and stern upon its surface, that our imagination is ready to ac*cept with implicit faith of any depth that could be mentioned,' -Mr. Ritchie is bold enough to question the powers of his own colleague to express it.
• Stanfield himself would be obliged to have recourse to some of those theatrical stratagems which at once embellish the picture, and detract from the merit of the painter. The reflection of the mountains, seen through their shadow, is “ beyond the reach of art.” The intense and vivid white seems to be produced (if the absurdity can be pardoned) from excess of black; and puts us in mind of the thought of
Of a dark eye in woman".' As another excellent specimen of graphic description, we must extract the descent into Piedmont, from the Simplon, in a storm of rain.
We imagined here' (at Isella, the Sardinian frontier), that we were gliding at once into Italy; but all on a sudden, the cliffs, which had begun to sink and recede, closed in upon us as wildly as at Gondo itself. The rain, at this time, descended in torrents; the sluices of the mountain-rocks were opened ; and innumerable cascades sprung from their summits, and fell upon our heads in minute drops, or were blown away
in mist. The scene was the most comfortless and dismal we had ever beheld. These enormous precipices, at the foot of which we trickled like a drop of water, seemed to be without end. The dark grey sky, without light or shadow, rested on their summits, and closed in the Valley like a roof. A monotonous hish! extending, one would have thought, through all nature, at once tormented and fatigued us. The rushing of the wheels was so perfectly in tune, that it seemed a part of the sound; and the trampling of the horses' feet, (observed for the first time,) while it divided the measure, only added, to its wearisome uniformity.
* All this, however, had at length an end-but without the contrast which makes one cry out, Thank Heaven. The Valley widened slowly; the trees grew richer and more numerous as we descended ; fieldshouses-vineyards-cattle---men and women--all came gradually in sight. Still, we were not in Italy--the Italy of our imagination. We
were yet on the Alps. The wildness, indeed, was a little tamer : but it was not tameness our eyes and our hearts longed for, but softness, and beauty, and richness, and voluptuous luxuriance.
"A struggle seems to take place between the genius of the mountain and that of the vale. Here we meet fertility-there bartenness; here are cultivated fields—there naked rocks; here, gently swelling hills—there a narrow and rude defile. Are we on the exps? Are we in Italy? The question appears to be decided against the hopes that had unconsciously arisen within us, and we are thrown back in imagination many a weary league. The mountain-rock heaves itself, according to custom, over the road, and plunges into the torrent below. We enter, with something between a shudder and a sigh, the Gallery of Crevola. Midway, we stretch our neck out of the carriage, and look wistfully through a rude window which is bored in the side next the river. Soon we emerge again, after having traversed about a hundred and eighty feet of subterranean passage, and shut our eyes upon the glare of daylight.
By and by, we re-open them, as we hear by the sound of the waters, that we are crossing a bridge. A new world bursts at one flash upon our sight. . . 'The Val d'Ossola is before us. Yes, we are in Italy.'
This vivid and florid style of description would of course soon pall upon the reader, if carried on through an entire volume; but Mr. Ritchie has shewn his tact by only indulging in it occasionally. To beguile the remainder of the route to the shores of the Lake of Locarno, he tells us an excellent romantic story, the scene of which is laid in one of the loveliest of the Alpine valleys, the Val d' Anzasca. He passes rapidly over the lake; defending the Isola Bella from the disparaging witticisms of Mr. Simond and Mr. Brockedon; and only stops at Milan long enough to satisfy himself that Mr. Simond, who styles it a very splendid city, and Mr. Rose, who says there is nothing very striking either within or without it, are both right, --but that little could be made of the city in a picturesque annual. Our Tourist of course visited the Duomo; but he professes to be happily ignorant of the schools of architecture, and contents himself with remarking of the exterior, that there can be no* thing in art, more magnificent, more delightful, more odd, 'more fantastic, and more absurd,' than this temple of pastry in marble. But enter the cathedral, and no contrast in the whole range of poetry can be finer or more surprising. The • alabaster palace has vanished; and we find ourselves suddenly
in what seems to be a subterranean temple, in the midst of • darkness and mystery, and in the silence and shadow of death.' This contrast, however, cannot be ascribed to design, since in this, as in most other ecclesiastical edifices on the Continent, the exterior and the interior are the work of different ages, successive architects, various and conflicting plans, and without
any attempt at either harmony or contrast between the façade and the internal arrangement. Mr. Ritchie is not so much at home in art as in nature. He hurries us through the church, impatient to get into air and daylight, on the roof. Even St. Mark's at Venice has little power to fascinate him; and the vagueness of the description betrays the indefinite and transient impression of gloom and grandeur which it produced. With
a sensation of relief' on regaining the open air, he bounded, he says, along the marble pavement of the Piazza. Churches in general seem to have few attractions for our mercurial Tourist: they savour to him, of the memento mori. It is well that he had not Mr. Prout, instead of Mr. Stanfield, to work from ; for the artist and he would have infallibly fallen out. Padua itself is dismissed with the equivocal praise of being ' a rare old city "where no one needs see the sun who does not choose it.' Venice has a chapter assigned to it, as well it may, in which occur some vivid touches of description, sometimes a little orerstrained ;-as when a gondola is compared to a coffin borne * upon a cloud', -silent, fleeting, and dim as a shadow.' Upon the whole, however, a man of Mr. Ritchie's talents might have written every word that occurs in his description of these cities, without crossing the Alps. But when, turning his back upon Italy, he again breathes the free mountain air on the Brenner, our Tourist is himself again.
The most interesting portion of the volume is that which describes the scenery of the Tyrol ; and the Author has carefully drawn his statistical information from German authorities. It is extraordinary, he remarks, that a country and people so interesting should be so little known in England. Mr. Brockedon's “ Passes of the Alps" is referred to as the only English book that even professes to give an account of the Tyrol. The English translation of Malte Brun contains, however, an outline of its geography, not entirely free from inaccuracies. Innsbruck, the capital of the Tyrol, is, according to the Geographer,
small and ill built.' Mr. Ritchie describes it as a handsome town, magnificently situated, and laid out with unusual regularity: the houses, which are built entirely of stone, are of very solid construction, from four to six stories high; and the whitewashed or stuccoed walls, light yellow or pale blue, have a pretty and cleanly effect. The suburbs, which M. Malte Brun represents as the handsomest part, Mr. R. does not describe. The city contains nothing very remarkable.
• Innsbruck, however, if not very interesting in itself, is the point, or centre, from which every thing that is interesting in the country may be seen. The natives trudge into the city from the most distant valleys, as if for the very purpose of shewing themselves. Here, the odious, round fur wig meets and nods to the white sugar-loaf, and the lofty
black cone pulls itself off to both. Some have no covering on the head at all, except the one provided by Providence ; which is combed away from the face, and hangs, in twisted chains, down the back. The waists of some ladies describe a right line from arm-pit to armpit; and the whole figure would have the appearance of a well-stuffed sack, were it not for a most magnificent bump which rises midway, and vindicates the picturesque of nature. The petticoat generally covers the knee, if it does nothing more, and is of at least two colours, such as light-blue half way down, and dark-blue the rest. The boddice is as fine as the most profuse colourist could make it, and is often ornamented, over and above, with blue suspenders like those of
• Sometimes, a raft is seen floating down the Inn, from the recesses of the Tyrol, some family or tribe of mountaineers with their whole worldly possessions. The raft is adapted, in point of size, to the number of the colony it is meant to transport ; and is constructed of nothing more than rough trunks of trees, floored over, and navigated by two persons, fore and aft, each provided with a broad oar to direct their course. The current answers for wind and steam together; and onward glides the vessel, through solitudes where the scream of the eagle is heard above their heads, and where the wild goat looks down upon them in surprise from the cliffs.
• As they draw nearer to the mountain-city, a stir may be seen in the floating village. The adventurers make haste to array them. selves in all the bravery of their native valleys; and instructions seem to be given, from one to the other, to comport themselves with the propriety which the importance of the occasion demands. The young women are anxiously assisted by their mothers to arrange their headgear and plait their hair ; while their ruddy cheeks grow yet more ruddy, flushed with dreams of conquest, with anticipations of novelty and delight, with the thousand dazzling but indefinite hopes of innocence and youth.
On arrival, the raft, which, though it descended, cannot ascend the current, is hewn to pieces, and sold for timber or firewood; and the passengers are dispersed, like its materials, over the country. Few find their way back to the valleys from which the descent was so easy and so pleasant. Alas! what a string of stale moralities might be appended to this history !' pp. 232, 3; 236—8.
Here we must take leave of Mr. Ritchie, thanking him for the pleasure we have had in his company: we shall be glad to meet him again this time next year.
We must endeavour to despatch somewhat more briefly the more miscellaneous volumes that lie before us. That which seems naturally to come next, although the youngest of this class of periodicals, calls itself the Continental Annual and Romantic Cabinet; its first title denoting the geographical locality of the scenes chosen by Mr. Prout as the subjects of his drawings, and the second indicating the character of the letterpress, which, instead of topographical description, or traveller's