A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, 1777 eBook

Philip Thicknesse
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 164 pages of information about A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, 1777.
At this cell, small as it is, King Philip the Third dined on the eleventh of July 1599;—­a circumstance, you may be sure, the inhabitant will never forget, or omit to mention.  It commands at noon-day a fine prospect eastward, and is approached by a good stage of steps.  Not far from it, on the road side, is a little chapel called St. Michael, a chapel as ancient as the monastery itself; and a little below is the grotto, in which the image of the Virgin, now fixed in the high altar of the church, was found.  The entrance of this grotto is converted into a chapel, where mass is said every day by one of the monks.  All the hermitages, even the smallest, have their little chapel, the ornaments for saying mass, their water cistern, and most of them a little garden.  The building consists of one or two little chambers, a little refectory, and a kitchen; but many of them have every convenience within and without that a single man can wish or desire, except he should wish for or desire such things as he was obliged to renounce when he took possession of it.

From hence, by a road more wonderful than safe or pleasing, you are led on a ridge of mountains to the lofty cell of St. Onofre.  It stands in a cleft in one of the pine heads, six and thirty feet (I was going to say) above the earth; its appearance is indeed astonishing, for it seems in a manner hanging in the air; the access to it is by a ladder of sixty steps, extremely difficult to ascend, and even then you have a wooden bridge to cross, fixed from rock to rock, under which is an aperture of so terrifying an appearance, that I still think a person, not over timid, may find it very difficult to pass over, if he looks under, without losing in some degree that firmness which is necessary to his own preservation.  The best and safest way is, to look forward at the building or object you are going to.—­Fighting, and even courage, is mechanical; a man may be taught it as readily as any other science; and I would pit the little timid hermit of St. Onofre to a march, on the margin of the precipices on this mountain, against the bravest general we have in America.  The man that would not wince at the whistle of a cannon-ball over his head, may find his blood retire, and his senses bewildered, at a dreadful precipice under his feet. St. Onofre possesses no more space than what is covered in by the tiling, nor any prospect but to the South.  The inhabitant of it says, he often sees the islands of Minorca, Mallorca, and Ivica, and the kingdoms of Valencia and Murcia.  The weather was extremely fine when I visited it, but there was a distant haziness which prevented my seeing those islands; indeed, my eyes were better employed and entertained in examining objects more interesting, as well as more pleasing.  Going from this hermitage, you have a view of the vale of St. Mary, formerly called la Vallee Amere, through which the river Lobregate runs, and which divides the bishoprick of Barcelona from that of De Vic.

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A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, 1777 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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