Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

ور

the luxurious climate of Languedoc, where fruits and flowers spring spontaneously, Flora probably finds fewer votaries, than the more yoluptuous goddess of pleasure and love. Though the day was serene and delightful, the alleys were marked by no footsteps save ours, and the first blossoms of spring were left to breathe their odours in solitude. Even the old portress was ferreted from her lodge with difficulty, and seemed to consider our visit as an unexpected as well as an unwelcome intrusion. In the most retired part of the Garden darkened by thick copses

of cypress and yew, sleeps the dust of Narcissa, the daughter of the poet Young. The spot is as gloomy as the imagination of the author of “ Night Thoughts.” So secreted is the tomb, as to compel us to return once or twice to the gate for new instructions from the withered sibyl, who was too infirm or too indolent to quit her cell as a guide. At length descending into a deep entrenchment, running across the garden like a moat between perpendicular walls ten or fifteen feet high, and filled with all kinds of rubbish, we found a rude arch on one side, bearing the inscription" Placandis Narcissa manibus." The dark and mouldering recess, overgrown with wild plants and mantled with jvy, extends eight or ten feet into the bank; and the mouth of the dreary cavern is guarded by a little wicker fence made of reeds. Young's pathetic description of the interment of his daughter, by his own hands, is doubtless familiar to many of my readers :

6. With pious sacrilege a grave I stole ;
With impious piety that grave I wronged ;
Short in my duty, coward in my grief!
More like her murderer than friend, I crept
With soft suspended step; and, muffled deep
In midnight darkness, whispered my last sigh-
Whispered what should echo through their realms,
Nor writ her name, whose tomb should pierce the skies !"

The spirit of bigotry and intolerance, which denied to a protestant in a land of strangers the charity of a grave, and drove a father to these last sad offices, has in a more enlightened age in some degree subsided; and although the inscription imputed by the guide books to Mr. Artaud of Lyons" inter flores Narcissa relucet-could not be found by us, her name now marks her tornb and imparts an additional interest to the garden, in which her ashes repose. Some one seems to have been ambitious of paying a slight tribute to her memory, by embellishing the neighbouring embankment with an imitation of Alpine scenery, and a tiny foot-path winding down the declivity, among mimic rocks, to the door of the sepulchre.

On our way back from the Botanic Garden to the Hotel, we visited the Cathedral, Town-House, College, and other public buildings. The first of these is remarkable only for its two Gothic towers, and a gigantic portico forming the entrance; and the shapeless edifice occupied by the University can boast of nothing save its beautiful situation upon one of the boulevards, commanding a view of the sea.

In the same part of the town are the Citadel, Barracks, and Parade, situated along the ramparts. The Market is handsome as well as commodious, being surrounded with columns and arcades, together with a fountain at which two marble unicorns are in the attitude of drinking.

After dinner on this day, we were favoured with a call from the Professor of Botany in the University, to whom a mutual friend in New-York had given me a letter of introduction. He regretted that absence from home during the day, had prevented him from receiving the note till a late hour, and that he had been deprived of the pleasure of conducting us through the Botanic Garden, which particularly belongs to his department, and engrosses most of his attention. This gentleman has passed several years in the United States, where he completed his studies with one of our most eminent physicians, and received a degree from the Medical College in New-York. His feelings, friendships, and attachments, are still in a great measure Ameri

He imparted to us much valuable information respecting the University and other public institutions at Montpellier, with which he is intimately acquainted. The Medical College, which was founded as early as the 12th century by Arabian emigrants from Spain, and which has become one of the most celebrated schools in Europe, was never in a more flourishing condition than at present.

All the departments are filled with men of talents. The Professor of Anatomy is peculiarly distinguished; but fears were expressed, that the College was about to be deprived of his pre-eminent services by a recent paralytic affection. Owing to the salubrity of the climate, the cheapness of living, and the well established reputation of this school, some of the medical students from the United States have preferred it even to the schools of Paris. One of our countrymen received the first honours of the College last year, and acquired much distinction by his scientific attainments.

The Professor was so polite as to express a wish that our stay at Montpellier might be prolonged several days, and that he might have an opportunity of showing us some of those attentions and kind offices which the letter from his friend in New-York had solicited. had already lingered in the South of France much longer than had been anticipated, and the most favourable season for visiting Italy was

can.

But we

now rapidly advancing. Prudence, therefore, compelled us to decline the civilities of our new and agreeable acquaintance, who continued with us to the moment of our departure, consigning to our charge many commissions of respect and remembrance to his American friends, and expressing many kind wishes for an agreeable tour to ourselves.

At 11 o'clock in the evening we left Montpellier for Nismes, where we arrived at sunrise the next morning, and after a second visit to the Amphitheatre, the Maison Carrée, and the Fountain, continued our journey back to Marseilles, which was reached early on the following day. This excursion was in all respects satisfactory, contributing alike to health, pleasure, and instruction.

END OF VOLUME ).

« PoprzedniaDalej »