Eight hundred and fifty paces distant, on the road which leads to the hermitage of St. Salvador, stands, in a solitary and deep wood, the hermitage of the Holy Trinity. Every part of the building is neat, and the simplicity of the whole prepares you to expect the same simplicity of manners from the man who dwells within it: and a venerable man he is; but he seemed more disposed to converse with his neighbours, Messrs. Nature, than with us. His trees, he knows, never flatter or affront him; and after welcoming us more by his humble looks than civil words, he retired to his long and shady walk; a walk, a full gun-shot in length, and nothing in nature certainly can be more beautiful; it forms a close arbour, though composed of large trees, and terminates in a view of a vast range of pines, which are so regularly placed side by side, and which, by the reflection of the sun on their yellow and well burnished sides, have the appearance of the pipes of an organ a mile in circumference. The Spaniards say that the mountain is a block of coarse jasper, and these organ pipes, it must be confessed, seem to confirm it; for they are so well polished by the hand of time, that were it not too great a work for man, one would be apt to believe they had been cut by an artist.
Five hundred and sixty paces from the hermitage of the Holy Trinity, stands St. Cruz; it is built under the foot of one of the smaller pines; this is the nearest cell of any to the convent, and consequently oftenest visited, being only six hundred and sixty steps from the bottom of the mountain.
I am now come to St. Dimas, the last, and most important, if not the most beautiful of all the hermits’ habitations. This hermitage is surrounded on all sides by steep and dreadful precipices, some of which lead the eyes straight down, even to the river Lobregate; it can be entered only on the east side by a draw-bridge, which, when lifted up, renders any access to it almost impossible. This hermitage was formerly a strong castle, and possessed by a banditti, who frequently plundered and ravaged the country in the day-time, and secured themselves from punishment, by retiring to this fast hold by night. As it stands, or rather hangs over the buildings and convent below, they would frequently lower baskets by cords, and demand provisions, wine, or whatever necessaries or luxuries the convent afforded; and if their demands were not instantly complied with, they tumbled down rocks of an immense size, which frequently damaged the buildings, and killed the people beneath: indeed, it was always in their power to destroy the whole building, and suffer none to live there; but that would have been depriving themselves of one safe means of subsistence:—at length the monks, by the assistance of good glasses, and a constant attention to the motion of their troublesome boarders,