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ists, and speculators, where life goes ate one of the vacancies on the benches, by rule, squared off like the accounts of a for soon they will be very scarce. ledger, where, the character is affectedly If they are young, and have come to grave and habits are monotonous, even Switzerland for the first time, if they are this city affords, twice a day in the warm curious to see, they stand about or go and season, a spectacle which excites some place themselves upon the prow of the animation and appears to scatter a little boat, to inhale the pure breezes of the confusion. This spectacle is the arrival lake, and to enjoy the pleasure of seeing and departure of the steamboats.
themselves glide over the blue and limpid A crowd of the curious range themselves waters, like a bird in powerful and rapid on that part of the Grand Quay alongside flight. But already the moorings are of which the boat is moored; while from loosed, a few turns of the wheel and the the Place du Rhône or the Pont du Ber- | Aigle or the Leman distances the shore, gues, travelers arrive at a step somewhat it leaps the barricade, and anon is launched accelerated by the strokes of the last bell. for the full sweep of this vast inland sea,* They spring across the little bridge of planks which connects the boat with the
We would like to know what appellation
this writer would give to the great lakes of quay; they place their baggage in the
North America, if he calls Lake Geneva a vast center near the pipe ; then if they wish to 1 inland sea.
which here separates the Jura from the modities, but he knows nothing about his Alps.
mountains. Beyond the Saleve everything The most eager gaze is not able fully to to him is confounded under the general take in the beauty of the scene. It is name of the Alps, and everything in the toward the side of Savoy, of the large gap horizon that is covered with snow is Mont in the mountains of the valley of Bonne- Blanc. He is indifferent to a spectacle ville, that you are mostly attracted. There, which he has continually before his eyes. immediately before you, rises the beautiful Perhaps he will show in the range of the isolated pyramid of the Môle, and beyond, Jura the rounded summit of the Dole, the Mont Blanc itself, glittering with all the ascent of which he may have made once immaculate splendor of its eternal snows. in his life. But at least he will tell you
Do not address yourself to a Genevan the names. of the proprietors of those if you wish to learn the names of the charming country-seats which dot both principal peaks, for example the situation banks of this enchanting lake. of Buet, which is so very prominent seen While observing and discussing all, the from here, and which, perchance, you in- boat advances. There already is Coppet, tend to climb in a few days. The Gene- where lived a woman of genius who held van will tell you the latest aspects of the a pen, exiled by a man who held a scepter Bourse at Paris, the price of the public and a sword. But the ideas have not time funds, and the value of industrial com- to fix themselves upon Madame de Staël
and the political coterie which she inspired with her views. We will not pause to dwell upon her once commanding position, but, en passant, remark that her works are fast disappearing from the mind, just as this shore disappears from the gaze of the passer-by.
Besides, at each moment some new object comes to attract the attention. Here is a passing boat laden with wood and surmounted by two white sails disposed in a picturesque style ; there is the bell which sounds to warn the next post of the approach of the steamer ; now the boat stops, the small craft approach, a cord is thrown to the boatmen; all is agitation, hurry, and apprehension. Then comes the tumult of debarkation, and the curiosity shown toward the newly arrived, especially if any among them are young or good - looking. Then the wheels recommence their movement, and the waves which they create rock for some distance the little boats which have not yet had time to retire.
But we have passed Nyon, we are as gestures and language and unceremonious far as the point Yvoire, which projects into bearing contrast strongly with the pleasant the lake at the right. Here we leave the manners of those young Italian noblemen, small part of the lake, all that is visible exiled from their country by a jealous desfrom the environs of Geneva, and enter the potism. There goes a Frenchman, makbroader expanse. The shores of Savoy retire, and the eye, reaching to a distance over an immense liquid plain, is no more attracted by the objects which the distance renders less conspicuous. Then, such is human consistency, that indifference commences gaining upon you, and the steamboatthis most charming mode of transportation through space, without jar, without fatigue, without being discommoded as in a carriage, free in your movements, at liberty to walk or to sit, this ideal of locomotion, of which humanity has not been put in possession until our day-appears, by the regularity of its movements, to deeply depress the spirits, and induce apathy and ennui.
It is then that dull ennui turns from the sky and the landscape toward your fellowtravelers, and endeavors to amuse itself by studying their nationalities in their general appear- | ing conversation with everybody, while ance, and their character in their physiog- the Englishman, snugly trimmed for the nomy. All Europe frequently has repre- voyage, holds himself as stiff and upright sentatives on the steamboat of Lake Gene- upon the deck as a ship mast, or marches va. Here are grouped some German stu- back and forth like an officer on the watch. dents, uncomfortable neighbors, whose rude He does not address a word to any one,
SCENE ON BOARD A GENEVA STEAMBOAT.
time to time recalls the
The Château Chillon and its mournful legends carry you back to poetry more than to history, a proof of the masterly power of gen
ius. The “ Prisoner," of least of all to his own countrymen ; but he | Byron, is much better known than the hisholds his umbrella with a nervous hand, tory of Bonnivara. Soon, however, hisconsults his card assiduously, or imperturb- tory, poetry, and nature disappear before a ably reads his “Hand-Book for Switzer more urgent preoccupation : that of finding land." Lady strangers, come to contem- your trunk and not losing your baggage, plate the wonders of Switzerland, gather for we have come to the termination of our in the stern or descend to the saloon, and voyage; the enchantment of navigation, give themselves up to a charming prattle which, perhaps, we have not fully appreciin reciprocally detailing the minutiæ of ated, has ceased, and we fall again into the their toilet. The young ladies exchange material troubles which form the inevitable albums; and a few, forgetful of the lake ground-work of what is called a pleasure and its shores, read some new romance. trip. The prettiest enjoy the pleasure of being It is necessary to be in all haste, and looked at without having the appearance dispute with the crowd, all equally in a of seeing anything; and others, who are hurry, a place in one of the omnibuses not pretty, set themselves up in the charac- froin Villeneuve to Saint Maurice, and ter of duennas, and survey, with an inquisi- to assure yourself that your baggage is torial eye, both the admirers and the ad. well fastened to the carriage, and that it mired.
will not be deposited en route to Aigle However, the confusion on deck from
The pleasing impressions which are ex- creep rather than walk, that make inarperienced in the morning at Geneva from ticulate sounds in their throats in place of a view of the quiet azure of the sky, and words, whose laugh is a grimace, and whose the water, and the beautiful distinctness smile freezes you, that stop you as mendiof the landscape, yield here to the most cants, and whose contact with you causes severe realities.
an involuntary horThe dale of Va
ror, as if you were lais opens before
seized by a phantom you, traversed by
in the nightmare ? the Rhône on its
Yet they appear inway to the lake, the
offensive, and whatsame as in the morn
ever may be the ing you had at your
hideous complicaright that pleasant
tion that in them valley whence flows
attains to perfect the Arve, coming
ugliness, an uglifrom Chamouni, and
ness so monstrous commanded by bold
that it would disMont Blanc in the
grace a beast, yet I distance,
know not whether it But while this
is their early degraopens widely, the
dation or a kindly valley of the Rhone, more inclosed by high decay that extinguishes upon their features mountains, presents, in spite of its rich even the appearance of malice and all of vegetation, more somber perspectives, and the passions. What are these objects of has a mournful aspect. The snows do fear or of derision? They are idiots ! not shine so radiantly as those of Mont (cretins.) Unfortunate race! It would Blanc, which appear like a glittering carpet seem that Divine vengeance was wreaking spread out for angels to climb upon to the itself on them, that they are the cursed furthest verge of earth, and rise from thence offspring of some one of the Titans, who to heaven. Here they are scattering and tried to scale heaven by piling up mounthung upon the broken edges of cloud-capped ains, and were discomfited by the thunders summits, or else they appear in the distant of Jupiter. horizon to form mysterious and inaccess On the contrary, however, the fathers ible retreats.
of these poor idiots If the shades of
were a simple peoevening have com
ple and pious Chrismenced falling in
tians, who came to the valleys, a se
find pasturage for cret terror glides
their herds in these into the imagina
secluded valleys, tion of the unac
who passed their customed traveler
lives in prayer,
and at this threshold of
through lack of unknown solitudes,
bread lived upon leading to the sum
milk; who, through mit of the Alps, to
lack of wine, coolregions ever vexed
ed their thirst with with tempests, to a
the clear water of world which is al
the rivulets. But ways being men
this water, against aced with glaciers
which no instinct and avalanches.
could guard them, To the mournfulness of nature may be | tends to produce that most terrible of all added that which is inspired at the sight maladies, the goiter, which becomes heredof the inhabitants. What are these de- itary and acquires the fullest developformed dwarfs with a doltish look, a stupid ment; and under the influence of the same form, abortive efforts at humanity, that regime continued, the intellectual faculties