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any description. I have mentioned the names of M. M. Cuvier and de la Place, because they are pensioned out of the budget.

A man, who is a stranger to intrigue, and who fills only one place, may reasonably complain of finding his name inserted in a satirical Biography; but a literary man, and a counsellor of state, who fills eight or ten places, like M. M. Dacier, Auger, and Cuvier, have certainly no right to exclaim that there is an end of all decorum, when the public begin to inquire into the means by which they have obtained their fortunate appointments. I recommend you to read these Biographies. They tell truths, which, indeed, are often coarsely expressed, but, after all, they are truths, and none of our journals would have ventured to speak so plainly to men who are regarded as allpowerful in the literary world."

Our drama is, like yours, very unproductive. In Italy, Germany, and even in England, nothing is performed but translations from the French. Thus our censorship is felt throughout the whole of Europe. M. Scribe is said to realize 4000 francs per month by his amusing little pieces, and, as nothing brings an author so rapidly into notice as dramatic composition, it may fairly be presumed that were it not for the censorship, all our clever writers would bring out plays, which, perhaps, like the "Barber of Seville," would soon find their way all over the world.

M. Ribouté, a man of fortune, has brought out a poor comedy, entitled, "Le Speculateur." The hero of the piece is a young merchant, who enters into speculations beyond his means. The subject is uninteresting, and is badly treated. M. Picard has written forty or fifty plays. This clever writer has been deprived of the situations he filled under the late government, and is consequently reduced in circumstances. He has just brought out a piece entitled "The Agioteur." The favour with which the public regard M. Picard, has insured the success of the piece. It exhibits the character of a young advocate, recently married to an amiable woman. In the morning he attends the Cour Royale, and in the evening he mingles in fashionable society, where he is always well received. But unfortunately he yields to the temptation of gambling on the Stock-Exchange (at present the ruling passion), and he is anxious to conceal these transactions from his father, his wife, and his clients. The piece contains some highly pathetic scenes, and some others which are intended to be comic. The author has evinced singular boldness in drawing the character of the father of the young advocate. In this age of affected sentimentality a dramatist can scarcely venture to introduce the character of a father, unless he make him a model of sensibility, generosity, &c. The fact is, that in Paris a man of sixty entertains, on all subjects, ideas totally the reverse of those which regulate the conduct of his son, a young man of thirty. The Revolution formed the character of the latter, but the father is still the man of 1785. M. Picard, who is himself an old man, has boldly traced the character of the father of his young advocate. He is a conceited old fool, constantly making hypocritical professions of sensibility and philanthropy. He talks of nothing but his son and the poor, and declaims furiously against the vices of the age, and particularly against gambling, though he himself secretly gambles in the stocks as much as his son. When he reminds the young man of all that he has done for him, he exclaims, "Did I not get you educated at college at the expense of government?" This piece of satire afforded a pretence for the favour with which the public received the new play. The success of the" Agioteur" has been rather an extraordinary event for the Theatre Français, where the entertainments usually go off very languidly. A performer, named Michelot, made his debut in the part of the young Advocate. This comedy is not calculated for translation. It would be found dull and uninteresting any where but in France.



By Dr. Edmund Clark, and Captain Markham Sherwill. BEFORE attempting to gather up the fragments of our geographical lecture, we crave indulgent permission to say a word on the form of our young professor's elevated rostrum. The extreme summit of Mont Blanc seems to vary a good deal in its appearance. When De Saussure was here, he found no plain at all; but, in 1822, Mr. Clissold had better accommodation, for he says, "The plane of the summit was triangular, and almost equilateral, declining from its north side, which was very nearly horizontal, parallel to, and facing the valley of Chamouni; the distance from the middle of this side to the opposite angle being not less than five or six hundred feet." This area, however, he previously remarks, was greater than Coutet had ever before seen, although this was his sixth ascent. Doubtless, the fierce whirlwinds so common on the Alps, often sweep away the external crust of snow and totally alter its form; at present, it accorded much more closely with the observation of De Saussure. "On ne trouve point de plaine, sur le Mont Blanc, c'est une espece de dos d'âne ou d'arrête alongée.*

On the loftiest ridge, a column of wood was erected with vast labour, by order of Napoleon; but it soon fell from its giddy elevation, slipped over the fearful precipice, and disappeared in the gulph below, thus sharing the fate of its projector. We were afterwards told by Marie Coutet (le vieux), who assisted in raising the pile, that on the very next day after its erection it was perceived with a telescope from Chamouni to have declined sensibly from the perpendicular, and in a few days was out of sight. It was, perhaps, hardly to be expected that a column, supported only by a foundation of snow, should long resist the fury of the wind; nothing like solid rock can be perceived on any part of the immediate summit; the guides conjecture that the mass of snow may be two or three hundred feet in depth; and this, though of course a random guess, is by no means improbable; for it appears to be an irregular blunt cone of snow, the base of which is propped up by pinnacles of granite projecting through the incumbent crust, from the rocky summit of the mountain beneath. A similar column was at the same time erected on the Buet, but we did not perceive the slightest vestige of it remaining.

Although a breathless calm had reigned all the morning below, and seemed still to continue, yet the wind on the mountain-top was strong and piercingly cold had it increased very suddenly, we had some prospect of being swept off from our aerial post, and scattered, like dead leaves, some thousand feet below, in the valley of St. Didier. Directly over our heads the cloudless canopy of Heaven was of a very dark blue, but with a slight reddishness in the tinge, so as rather to resemble a beautiful deep violet, than indigo: had the sun been covered, this roseate tinge would doubtless have been less apparent. The extreme depth of tint cast an air of pleasing solemnity over the whole scene; though the sun was still shining in unclouded brightness, yet it was difficult to overcome the impression that the shades of evening were just at hand. Another singularity added very considerably to the solemnity of the feeling. The vault of Heaven appeared prodigiously high and distant. After two days' march upward, the blue expanse seemed to have receded from us

* Perhaps no elaborate description would convey more accurately the general figure of the mountain top, than a simple illustration that occurred to Captain Sherwill. Suppose half an orange, quite covered with melted sugar, and compressed pretty strongly between the fingers; you have thus a very tolerable imitation of the extreme summit of Mont Blanc.

+ Looking down on the top of the inaccessible Aiguille Verte you remark, that it also is formed of a cone of snow, resting on a circle of granite crags.



much faster than we had climbed toward it; in other words, the sphere of vision was enlarged, the eye appeared to pass its ordinary barrier, and to pierce more deeply into the ulterior regions of space. Now and then this phenomenon may be observed in a very slight degree on the plain, and less rarely on a clear winter night. Perhaps there are few phenomena so calculated to take an impressive hold of the imagination. In the first unsuccessful attempt to scale the mountain, this sombre and altered appearance of the heavens struck even the intrepid Chamouniards with terror and amazement, and they abandoned an enterprise which seemed to them interdicted by the frown of Heaven. At the hazard of exciting a smile, we crave to ask whether this impression was wholly to be wondered at? From their earliest infancy, the blue sky, whenever they could catch a glimpse of it, had appeared uniformly gay, and smiling, and cheerful. After much toil and danger, these hardy mountaineers arrive in regions hitherto untrodden by human footstep; they look upward, and unexpectedly the face of Heaven is become dark, and changed, and distant. What wonder if it should strike them forcibly? what wonder if it should seem to them like an angry scowl on the brow of their oldest friend? To the philosopher, who is lounging at ease on a sofa, before a warın drawing-room fire, it may not require any very prodigious effort to smile at these puerile terrors of superstition: but he should indulgently remember that there are situations considerably more appalling; that there may be circumstances in which the human mind is invincibly prone to anticipate, and wherein the feeling comes home to the bosom, that we are standing on the very verge of an untried and awful abyss; that the prospect before us is mysterious and uncertain; and that although much is to be hoped, something is also to be feared.

But this is sad digression; and we must leave our philosopher quietly musing on his warm sofa, and resume our cool seat on the snow, upon the hilltop. Upon the whole, the view from the summit of Mont Blanc exceeded our expectations, and was amply sufficient to repay us for the temporary inconveniences of the ascent. Still it is willingly conceded that the word 'beautiful' does by no means accord with the character of the scenery, and that there is, therefore, some foundation for the remarks of Dr. Ebel," Malgré l'immensité de l'horizon," says he, "la beauté de la vue que l'on aperçoit du haut de ce colosse ne répond point à l'idée avantageuse que l'on pourrait s'en faire, soit à cause de la faiblesse de l'œil humain trop borné pour un si vaste champ, soit parce que les couches d'air qui séparent cette haute sommité du reste de la surface de la terre sont trop épaisses pour ne pas perdre une bonne partie de leur transparence." But if the claim to beauty be given up, what remains? Sublimity, fearful sublimity. How can a landscape fail to be magnificent, that embraces, in one mighty sweep, the richest and the grandest portions of European scenery; the plains of Italy on the one hand, and the whole range of the Alps on the other. It is not very easy to name a prospect with which the view from the summit of Mont Blanc admits of comparison. With the soft and lovely views from the hill of Neufchatel, or the enchanting promenade of Berne, it has few common features:-as easily might we compare the fearful fall of Handek, with the beautiful Giesbach; or the Syrens' Grotto at Tivoli, with the charming cascatelle. It approaches, however, rather more to the scene from the Righi-culm, and still more to that from the summit of the Buet, perhaps almost equalled in magnificence by the last, wherein the chain of the Mont Blanc itself forms the most striking portion of the splendid


In all high mountain scenery, every thing must of course depend on the weather; and, in this respect, we could scarcely desire a more favourable day. The zenith was constantly without a cloud, and though driving masses of mist obscured certain portions of the distant horizon, it may be doubted whether they did not augment the general sublimity of the spectacle: every Alpine tourist must frequently have remarked that the height of a mountain

seems much increased by a zone of cloud encircling its base. Thus, partially shrouded in a dense mass of vapour, appeared lying nearly due east a colossal mass of enormous height, seeming scarcely less elevated than the post we occupied. To this majestic mountain the eye immediately turns: it will be easily guessed that the rival hill was the Mont Rosa. Our young professor told us, he had ascended one of the pinnacles, and, as he believed, the highest. There are six distinct heads, but only three of these gigantic needles now reared themselves above the thick bed of cloud. Monsieur Zumstein has made five different ascents of the mountain, and Coutet reported that the enterprise is not exceedingly dangerous. As the Mont Rosa can be sometimes seen from the gulf of Genoa, while the Mont Blanc is there invisible, this circumstance was at one time brought in support of the opinion that the Mont Rosa is really more elevated than the Mont Blanc-an opinion now universally abandoned, the question being finally at rest: but of this hereafter.

A little on this side of the Mont Rosa rise the snowy summits of Mont Cervin; then the Matterhorn and the Mont Velan; nearer, and apparently almost at your feet, lies the grand St. Bernard; but the convent itself is invisible, being hid by intervening rocks. Then to the south, and looking directly downward, at a vast depth, you range along part of the Allée Blanche, and the Lac de Combal, close to the edge of the rugged Glacier de Miage; then following down the long arm of the Glacier de Brenva, you trace it to the entrance of the Val' d'Aoste; then, beyond Commayeur, come the smiling meadows round St. Didier, with the rapid river Dora, hemmed in by the dark base of the Cramont, and looking like a petty rivulet in the deep ravine. Then, rising from the valley, and looking clear over the summit of the Cramont, the eye roams unobstructed across the immense plains of Lombardy, till it is at last stopped by the blue hazy line of the distant Apennines. Some of the guides thought that Milan would have been seen, had not a mass of vapour covered that portion of the plains; but I believe this is an error, and that the city of Milan is wholly invisible.

Towards the Italian lakes the view was rather obscured; but in the hazy distance north of the Lago di Guarda, appeared some very lofty summits, said to be situated in the Tyrol, possibly the Oertèles? This part of the landscape was lost in indistinguishable distance, and much less interesting than the course of the noble river Po, winding along, like a silver thread, from the Mont Viso, where the main stream originates, watering all the plains of Turin, and running on to join the Ticino, from the Lago Maggiore.

In the direction of Genoa, rises a line of lofty hills, which must, I think, absolutely shut out the sea; certainly we saw it not. Yet Coutet said, he thought he once caught a glimpse of the Mediterranean in that quarter. It was, he said, about eleven in the morning, in his ascent with Captain Undrell, on the 13th of August, 1819; but Coutet spoke modestly, and did not seem disposed to insist on the point. Turning gradually round, you trace the high land above Nice, part of Provence and Dauphiné, and nearer the eye, the mountains of the Tarentaise. In the direction of Chambery was another mass of mist, so that we could not distinguish Lyons; yet I have heard from a traveller of undoubted accuracy, that, in ascending the hill above Lyons, the Mont Blanc is perfectly visible, and even the details of the mountain can be easily made out. On the road from Dijon to Genlis, the postilions tell you that the mountain is occasionally seen, and on some very favourable occasions it has been discerned at Langres, a town on the confines of Burgundy and Champagne, and distant, according to Dr. Ebel, 195 miles, in a direct line. Generally, however, the line of the Jura forms the boundary of distinct vision and all beyond it is a mass of vapour, with only a few projecting spots barely discernible.


The Lake of Geneva seemed almost at our feet, but the town of Geneva is masked by the Grand and Petit Salève mountains. Nion you make out most distinctly, but no portion of Lausanne. Rising from the shores of the

lake, and turning a little farther round, no words can adequately describe the solemn majesty of the scene; the whole chain of the Swiss Alps lies spread out beneath the eye. You look over the hoary summits of the Diablerets, the Ghemmi, the Jungfrau, the Eiger, the Shreckhorn, part of the Grimsel, and the Furka: a cloud covered the chain of St. Gotthard and the Simplon. Less wild, not less interesting, was the home-view of the long green valley of Chamouni, and the little clustered village, from which we were at the moment seen and counted with a telescope. Perhaps, of all this wide and wonderful landscape, the most impressive portion of all is that just beneath your feet, looking towards the Aiguille Dru. You have the Jardin, like a fittle pyriform islet, and all that vast bay of untrodden snow, extending to the tremendous wall of the Grand Jorasse. Then the Aiguille du Géant, the encampment of Saussure, and the fearful passage of the Col du Géant.†

From examining the deep gulphs beneath the Col du Géant, and towards the Col de Ferret, the eye again rests on the towering summits of the Mont Rosa, and thus completes the circuit of this unrivalled panorama.

As doubts were formerly raised as to the rival claims of the Mont Blanc and the Mont Rosa, we beg leave to make a short extract from a work of paramount authority on such a subject. In the "Correspondance Astronomique, Géographique, &c. du Baron de Zach," is found the most accurate account yet published, of that once keenly contested subject. The whole paper is highly interesting, but the work is voluminous, and not very generally circulated in this country. We have only room for the summing up of the question, given by the Baron Zach, in the following words :-" Depuis un demi-siècle la hauteur du Mont Blanc occupe les géographes et les physiciens sans avoir pu arriver à un résultat bien concluant; nous n'aurons égard qu'aux mésures trigonometriques qu'on a faites en les derniers tems avec des moyens supérieurs ; c'est de là qu'on a obtenu."

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A good deal of alarm prevailed among the families of the guides below, from the circumstance that only eight persons could be counted instead of nine. This gave occasion to the current rumour that some one had perished. At the moment, probably, two of the party happened to be exactly in the same line. After a little anxious delay, the whole number was distinctly made out, and the apprehensions subsided.

Worthy Simeon had passed this tremendous ridge with the only ladies who ever crossed it; and he declared, that the dangers of that journey were scarcely, if at all, inferior to the ascent of Mont Blanc. On that very occasion, they were all, for some time, quite bewildered in a labyrinth of ice, and some of the guides became greatly alarmed; yet the party proceeded, and at last redescended in perfect safety to Commayeur. It is commonly believed, that woman's foot has never hitherto been planted on the summit of Europe. But, on this matter, we were

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