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

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.

Lest you should think I am rather too tremendously descriptive of this upland journey, hear what a French traveller says, who visited this mountain about twenty years ago.  After examining every thing curious at the convent, he says, “Il ne me restoit plus rien a voir que l’hermitage qui est renomme, il est dans la partie la plus elevee de la montagne, & partage en treize habitations, pour autant d’hermites.  Le plaisir de le voir devoit me dedommager de la peine qu’il me falloit prendre pour y monter, en grimpant pendant plus de heux heures.  J’aurois pre me servir de ma mule, mais il m’auroit fallu prendre un chemin ou j’aurois mis le double du tems.  Je m’armai donc de courage, & entre dans une enceinte par une porte que l’on m’ouvrit avec peine au dehors du monastere, je commencai a monter par des degres qui sembloient perpendiculaires, tant ils etoient roides; & je fus oblige de m’agraffer a des barres qui y font placees expres:  ensuite, je me trainai par-dessous de grosses pierres, qui sont comme des voutes ruinees, dont les ouvertures sont le seul passage qu’il y ait pour quiconque a la temerite de s’engager dans ces defiles; apres avoir grimpe, environ mille pas, je trouvai un petit terrein uni ou je me laissai tomber tout etendu afin de reprendre ma respiration qui commencoit a me manquer.”  And yet this was only the Frenchman’s first stage on his way to the first and nearest hermitage; and who I find clambered up the very road we did, rather than take the longer route on mule-back; and, for aught I know, a route still more dangerous, for there are many places where the precipice is perpendicular on both sides of a ridge, and where the road is too narrow even to turn the mule; so he that sets out, must proceed.

After ascending a ladder fixed in the same pine where St. Onofre is situated, at an hundred and fifty paces distant, is the fifth hermitage of the penitent Madalena; it stands between two lofty pines, and on some elevated rocks, and commands a beautiful view, towards noon-day, to the East and West; and near to it, in a more elevated pine, stands its chapel, from whence you look down (dreadful to behold) a rugged precipice and steep hills, upon the convent at two miles distance where are two roads, or rather passages, to this cell, both exceedingly difficult; by one you mount up a ladder of at least an hundred steps; the other is of stone steps, and pieces of timber to hold by; that the hermit who dwells there says, the whistling of the wind in tempestuous nights sounds like the roaring of baited bulls.

LETTER XXIII.

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