Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany, Vol. I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany, Vol. I.
encouraged others to assist in facilitating a passage so truly desirable, till one of the great wonders now to be observed among the Alps, is the ease with which even a delicate traveller may cross them.  In these prospects, colouring is carried to its utmost point of perfection, particularly at the time I found it, variegated with golden touches of autumnal tints; immense cascades mean time bursting from naked mountains on the one side; cultivated fields, rich with vineyards, on the other, and tufted with elegant shrubs that invite one to pluck and carry them away to where they would be treated with much more respect.  Little towns flicking in the clefts, where one would imagine it was impossible to clamber; light clouds often sailing under the feet of the high-perched inhabitants, while the sound of a deep and rapid though narrow river, dashing with violence among the insolently impeding rocks at the bottom, and bells in thickly-scattered spires calling the quiet Savoyards to church upon the steep sides of every hill—­fill one’s mind with such mutable, such various ideas, as no other place can ever possibly afford.

I had the satisfaction of seeing a chamois at a distance, and spoke with a fellow who had killed five hungry bears that made depredation on his pastures:  we looked on him with reverence as a monster-tamer of antiquity, Hercules or Cadmus; he had the skin of a beast wrapt round his middle, which confirmed the fancy—­but our servants, who borrowed from no fictitious records the few ideas that adorned their talk, told us he reminded them of John the Baptist.  I had scarce recovered the shock of this too sublime comparison, when we approached his cottage, and found the felons nailed against the wall, like foxes heads or spread kites in England.  Here are many goats, but neither white nor large, like those which browze upon the steeps of Snowdon, or clamber among the cliffs of Plinlimmon.

I chatted with a peasant in the Haute Morienne, concerning the endemial swelling of the throat, which is found in seven out of every ten persons here:  he told me what I had always heard, but do not yet believe, that it was produced by drinking the snow water.  Certain it is, these places are not wholesome to live in; most of the inhabitants are troubled with weak and sore eyes:  and I recollect Sir Richard Jebb telling me, more than seven years ago, that when he passed through Savoy, the various applications made to him, either for the cure or prevention of blindness by numberless unfortunate wretches that crowded round him, hastened his quitting a province where such horrible complaints prevailed.  One has heard it related that the goistre or gozzo of the throat is reckoned a beauty by those who possess it; but I spoke with many, and all agreed to lament it as a misfortune.  That it does really proceed merely from living in a snowy country, would be well confirmed by accounts of a similar sickness being endemial in Canada; but of an American goistre I have never yet heard—­and Wales, methinks, is snowy enough, and mountainous enough, God knows; yet were such an excrescence to be seen there, the people would never have done wondering, and blessing themselves.

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Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany, Vol. I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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