Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

Philip Thicknesse
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 140 pages of information about A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, 1777.
a man who breathes such pure air, who feeds on such light food, whose blood circulates freely from moderate exercise, and whose mind is never ruffled by worldly affairs, whose short sleeps are sweet and refreshing, and who lives confident of finding in death a more heavenly residence; lives a life to be envied, not pitied.—­Turn but your eyes one minute from this man’s situation, to that of any monarch or minister on earth, and say, on which side does the balance turn?—­While some princes may be embruing their hands in the blood of their subjects, this man is offering up his prayers to God to preserve all mankind:—­While some ministers are sending forth fleets and armies to wreak their own private vengeance on a brave and uncorrupted people, this solitary man is feeding, from his own scanty allowance, the birds of the air.—­Conceive him, in his last hour, upon his straw bed, and see with what composure and resignation he meets it!—­Look in the face of a dying king, or a plundering, and blood-thirsty minister,—­what terrors the sight of their velvet beds, adorned with crimson plumage, must bring to their affrighted imagination!—­In that awful hour, it will remind them of the innocent blood they have spilt;—­nay, they will perhaps think, they were dyed with the blood of men scalped and massacred, to support their vanity and ambition!—­In short, dear Sir, while kings and ministers are torn to pieces by a thirst after power and riches, and disturbed by a thousand anxious cares, this poor hermit can have but one, i.e. lest he should be removed (as the prior of the convent has a power to do) to some other cell, for that is sometimes done, and very properly.

The youngest and most hardy constitutions are generally put into the higher hermitages, or those to which the access is most difficult; for the air is so fine, in the highest parts of the mountain, that they say it often renders the respiration painful.  Nothing therefore can be more reasonable than, that as these good men grow older, and less able to bear the fatigues and inconveniencies the highest abodes unavoidably subject them to, should be removed to more convenient dwellings, and that the younger and stouter men should succeed them.

As the hermits never eat meat, I could not help observing to him, how fortunate a circumstance it was for the safety of his little feathered friends; and that there were no boys to disturb their young, nor any sportsman to kill the parent.—­God forbid, said he, that one of them should fall, but by his hands who gave it life!—­Give me your hand, said I, and bless me!—­I believe it did; but it shortened my visit:—­so I stept into the grot, and stole a pound of chocolate upon his stone table, and myself away.

If there is a happy man upon this earth, I have seen that extraordinary man, and here he dwells!—­his features, his manners, all his looks and actions, announce it;—­yet he had not even a single maravedi in his pocket:—­money is as useless to him, as to one of his black-birds.

Follow Us on Facebook