« AnteriorContinuar »
3rd. First day. Walked out into the city this morning. Met crowds of people going to church. I must say that to see even the superstitious observance of the Sabbath, pleased me better than the apathy that prevails in France. There is a conscientiousness in superstition ; whilst infidelity is, as it were, seared with a hot iron.
9th. Arrived at Florence, my spirits greatly depressed from a variety of causes.
10th. First day. Walked by the river-side this afternoon, and sought retirement in my chamber for an hour or two in the middle of the day ; but have felt much devoid of spiritual comfort, though earnestly sought after. In the Lord's time, I trust it will be graciously sent for my consolation.
12th. Started this morning for Pisa, and had the mortification to be turned back at the gate for a defect in my passport. I had got the signature of the office at the city palace, as good for Leghorn and Rome, and thought all was right; but it now appears that other signatures are necessary : of this I had no conception, as Leghorn, Pisa, and Florence, are all in the same Grand Dukedom. To add to my difficulty, the signature of the British Consul could not be obtained till twelve o'clock, too late for me to get forward to-day. I have seen the time when I could have borne this trial of patience with a degree of philosophy: but my feelings have been so much depressed for some time past, arising, I believe, from my complaint, that this trial affected me rather too deeply. There were some objects of interest in Florence, which I had omitted to see, but I could not muster resolution. I tried at one place, but could not enjoy it. I found a solitary walk by the sea-side, and a recourse to prayer, the best means of calming my troubled spirit. I now begin to feel very desirous of being at home again. My complaint seems far from
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 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 your very acceptable letter. I was beginning to be very impatient, for I find Marseilles very cold, and wish to get 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 sun it is much tempered by his rays. The thermometer, in the shade, at eight, A. M., has ranged 34° to 41° ; whilst at Hyeres, where it is more sheltered, it was warm enough for me to have a very pleasant bathe in the sea. the coast of Portugal, and at Gibraltar, it stood at about 54° in the forenoon; nearly twenty degrees higher than it is here.
“ Second Month 5th. Came to Congenies last night, and was most kindly received by Louis Majolier and family. They speedily got my luggage from the inn, and made me take up my quarters under their hospitable roof.
8th. 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.
As they have no servants, the presence of infants, though inconvenient, seems a necessary evil. The deportment of Friends was serious and becoming, and our friend L. M. appeared in testimony; at some length; and I thought, with good effect. In the afternoon, there were only twelve persons present. The meeting held about an hour.
« It is mournful to observe the indifference of the male population of France, to the duty of attending public worship. Four women to one man, even in the Protestant congregations. It seems to have infected all classes, Protestants as well as Catholics.
“I went to Codagnan, to visit a few Friends there; two of them are decided Friends, and one of them is a minister.
“ Second Month 11th. Took tea this evening with the Wesleyan Missionary stationed here, a young man of the name of Ocart. They have a congregation of about 100 persons. He preaches also at several of the adjacent villages. They have access, once in three weeks, to the large new Protestant Chapel, or Temple, as it is called. It appears there are sixteen of their Missionaries in France, three of whom preach to the English, the rest to the French. They have also two in Spain. In answer to my inquiries, he informed me that the Protestant minister gives a New Testament to every child who communicates, for the first time, and a Bible to every couple, when they are married. He complains of the worldly spirit of the people, who urge, as an excuse for the desecration of the Sabbath, that they must work in the fore part at least of that day, in order to provide for their families. He said they were like the Gentiles of old, whose thoughts were chiefly centred on “What shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed ?!”
To his sister, he writes, “I find that thy opinion of this climate is much nearer the truth than mine. Like some
other Englishmen, who think there is nothing good out of their own country, my anticipations were much too low; having, however, this pleasing consequence, that I am most agreeably disappointed. I expected to find it warmer, but still to be winter, and to have what I supposed to be the invariable concomitant of winter, damp days, cloudy weather, and abundance of rain. Judge, then, of my surprise, to find the roads covered with dust, the wells dry, the brooks without water, the land suffering from drought, a cloudless sky, and the thermometer from 96° to 102°, in the middle of the day. I think I have only seen it rain three times since we crossed the Bay of Biscay; and my umbrella has never been unfurled. The thermometer varies from day to day, ranging from 34° to 58°, at three A. M., in the shade, and from 77° to 102° in the sun at noon.
“The air is sometimes cold, especially out of the sun ; but it is always dry. Indeed, its dryness renders it too keen, when the thermometer is very low. Couldest thou be here when the grapes are ripe, the sight of them would afford thee a rich treat. Almost every field is planted with vines, and the crop is represented as most prodigious ; especially beautiful in the morning, when covered with dew drops, and sparkling in the sunbeams. They bring them from the fields and vineyards to the winepress, in carts and waggons, so heavily laden that the road is strewed with what are shaken off. Besides the crop of grapes, they generally get one of wheat in the season, from the under growth; and another crop of olives from the same field; three crops in all. The vines are cultivated with the spade and dug three or four times in the year. Of course this requires a number of labourers, and, accordingly, we find the country thickly studded with villages. From a little eminence near Congenies, it is said, that in a clear day, we can count no less than thirty-four. Yet one cannot but