« AnteriorContinuar »
were very stormy, and the wind continued from the west and north-west, the captain put into Toulon, to wait a favourable change, where he remained three or four days.
“I was desirous of seeing the city, and of landing there; but felt a good deal of hesitation, as I did not know how far I might be able to make myself understood; and I had no letters of introduction to persons there, which might have materially smoothed the way for me. After considering the matter, I took courage, and resolved to venture, and cast myself amongst strangers, speaking to them a strange language, and being alone. I did so; and succeeded beyond my most sanguine expectation ; and think I never enjoyed myself so much as the first week I was in France. Every thing was new and interesting to me. The only drawback seemed to be, that I had too much pleasure. I was too much interested; too many ideas crowded upon my imagination; and for a few nights I slept badly. The change was so great from the ship, where we could see nothing but the blue sky over our heads, and the sun pursuing his daily course, and the blue waters under our feet, varied only by the ripple or spray made by the motion of the vessel; and, perhaps, once a-day, a sail in the horizon -and, with the aid of the glass, and straining our eyes a little, we could make out the important fact of whether she was a schooner or a brig. Here we could scarcely catch a new idea, or improve an old one, that had not been resolved in the mind twenty times before.
“To be suddenly transplanted from such a situation, and landed in a foreign country, where all was new: the houses, the streets, the people, the language, the shops, the ships, the cafes, the fields, the mules, the goats, the bells, the priests, the soldiers, the sailors, the rocks, the plants, nay, every thing was new and strange. The effect was, as it were, electrical; and ideas crowded upon the mind so much
faster than they could be digested, that it kept up a continued excitement, and high state of enjoyment; seeing as much in an hour, as would reasonably supply subjects for contemplation for half a-day; it was quite impossible to arrange all the thoughts in the day time, and par consequence, they encroached upon the night. It reminded me of a clock that has lost its pendulum, or a watch its balance,-it ticks so much faster than it ought to do.
“ As this was the case, I found it necessary to avoid too much of it. By this and other precautions, and the lapse of a little time, I begin now to resume my usual tone, and bave had the enjoyment of several good nights' rest.
“From Toulon I went to Hyeres, distant about twelve niles ; a place often recommended for invalids. Immediately behind the town is a hill, up which I climbed, to have a view. It is little more than one solid rock, with a small portion of soil upon it. Notwithstanding the paucity of soil, it is cultivated to the very top; chiefly for the more hardy vegetables, such as beans and corn. Where too stony for crops, it is overgrown by wild plants; and would be a rich treat for the botanist, &c. From the hill, the prospect is most delightful. There is the sea, with the Hyere islands at the distance of a few leagues, and vessels of various sizes passing along, seen for a considerable extent of coast. The town immediately underneath, with the champaign or level country stretching out, and planted with the orange, the vine, the fig, and the olive. On the other side again, there are hills beyond hills, beautifully clothed with verdure, and planted with various kinds of firs and other trees, of which I know not the names ; altogether, it is one of the most interesting spots that I ever visited, and afforded me great pleasure; and had I not been obliged to come here for my letters, I should certainly have stayed there some time.
“The aspect of the country all the way from Toulon to Hyeres, and thence hither, is hilly. Toulon is surrounded with hills, much of it is cultivated in terraces. The vine appears to be the principal crop, with ridges of wheat between the rows, which are either double or treble. The olives are planted round the fields, or so as not to prevent the growth of the vine. The olive is a graceful looking tree, rather resembling a pear tree in growth, and a laburnum in leaf. The land appears to be divided into small
and on each of them is a neat stone-coloured house, with green
Venetian blinds. They look quite like villas, standing as they do a little distance apart, and with the olive and other trees interspersed; the whole has the appearance of a garden, with their neat looking cottages in the midst. Compared with our hinds or small farm houses, these look greatly superior: much more of the appearance both of comfort and ornament. On every hand, we see evidences that this is indeed a south land; and what is more, it abounds with springs of water; ir.deed, at Toulon, I think the abundance of water pleased me more than any thing else. There are a great many public fountains in the streets and squares, ornamented with curious or elegant devices, all spouting out water, clear as crystal, and the waste water runs down the streets in streams, and must tend very greatly to the cleanliness, coolness, and healthiness of the city. Most of them are covered with moss, and several have beautiful jets, &c., &c.
“First Month 21st. To-day I went to Marseilles, and, immediately on arrival, to the post-office, where I found three letters, &c., waiting for me; these were truly acceptable, and it was most gratifying to have good accounts from home. I was astonished to find myself overcome, even to tears, by the emotion they produced. In reading the expressions of sympathy and kind interest of my relatives,
I had difficulty in concealing my emotion in the cafe, where I happened to be ; and had to reserve two letters for another opportunity. Such is the melting power of charity, especially of that charity which cometh from above.
24th. Called upon two of the gentlemen to whom I had letters of introduction, and was kindly received; one of them talked in French, entered into my plans, and gave useful information. The other I was pleased to find is a Protestant, he invited me to come and see the Protestant ministers, of whom there are three, all living together in the same house with himself. They asked me if I had seen the minister at Toulon; and on my answering that I had no introduction there, they said, Oh! your being a Protestant is a sufficient introduction. I liked the feeling of religious sensibility which seemed to prevail here.
“27th. First day. Accompanied by Captain Blues, we visited what English vessels we could find in the harbour with tracts. There were only about six or eight. We were well received, and, in some instances, they appeared grateful.
“ First Month 31st. I find Marseilles rather too cold. I wait a few days for letters before I proceed to Nismes and Congenies, to pay a visit to the Friends there.
“Second Month 1st. Paid a visit to the principal Protestant minister of this place, who received me kindly. At his suggestion, I bought two Italian Testaments to sell, if opportunity presents, in Italy. His wife is an English woman : and they both received me very cordially. They inquired respecting the increase of Roman Catholics in England. They desired me to use their name, with their Christian regards, with the Protestant minister at Nismes. They say there is a pious Protestant minister at Naples,
2nd. Took the diligence to Nismes. This ancient city contains many antiquities. There is a large amphi
theatre, formerly used for the combats of wild beasts and
gladiators. It is built of massive blocks of granite, some of in which are eighteen feet long. On all sides are rising seats.
to the height of seventy feet, said to be capable of holding 23,000 persons. It is sufficiently perfect to admit of persons walking round, at its highest elevation. Its greatest length is four hundred and forty feet.”
Before leaving Marseilles, he writes, “ I have received is your very acceptable letter. I was beginning to be very
impatient, for I find Marseilles very cold, and wish to get is away into Italy. There is a cold wind off the high land
here, that is dry and cutting, that is in the shade. In the
“Second Month 5th. Came to Congenies last night, and
I am now leading quite a country life, visiting the vineyards of my friends, reading whilst basking in the sun, and reclining on the turf. Visited three schools in the village.
9th. Went to Nismes to see Christine Majolier, daughter of Louis, who has resided seventeen years in England, but came home on account of her health. She is governess to the daughter of a physician, at Nismes.
10th. First day. Called upon several members of our Religious Society. At the forenoon meeting, there were present fifteen men, twenty women, and eight infants.