Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

Cape and on the northeast by the high- all manner of hope-destroying, hatelands of the Cap de la Garoupe. While inspiring fiends. the higher ranges of Alps lying beyond But to save myself from a charge of the valley before-mentioned, take the exaggeration, I must explain, that begeneral direction above indicated, and sides the olive and fig and mulberry thus serve to shelter the whole territory tree, all of which you often see growing lying between them and the sea from upon the same field, sown, at the same the northerly winds, the sontheasterly time, with wheat or other grain, thouslopes of the hills constituting the north- sands of acres in these regions are dewestern shore of this Gulf, arisiig as voted to the cultivation of such treos, they do directly from the sea, to the plants, and shrubs, as bear fragrant height of some 1,200 or 1,500 feet, are flowers, for the value of the flowers doubly sheltered. Thus it frequently themselves-such as the orange, rose, happens that when the northwesterly jasmine, violet, etc. These flowers are wind, here called the Mistral, or the gathered and sold by the kilogramme northeasterly wind, called the Bise, to the manufacturers of perfumeries, esblow so strongly as to make visible to

sences, etc., at Nice, Grasse, and Cannes. the naked eye, away out at sea, beyond These manufactories constitute a princithe extremities of the two capes, tho pal industry and source of private forwhite crests of the billows, within them tune in these cities. At Cannes, Lubin, the water, and the air on these hillsides, whose perfumeries and cosmetics fill remain perfectly calm and undisturbed. with their fragrance so many New York Their whole extent from northeast to chambers, has his great manufactory: southwest may be from six to eight and in the fresh morning air cf which I miles, and a more uniform and delight have spoken, one gets here, from naful winter climate is hardly imaginable. ture's own laboratories, the first and

Indeed, the bright, genial warmth of sweetest taste of them. the atmosphere, the pleasant walks up In the old town of Grasse alone there the mountain-sides through the groves are fifty manufactories of perfumeries, of aromatic, cone-bearing pine-trees and and during the month of May, at the blooming heather, the glorions views height of the flower-harvest, according from their summits of sea and valley, to the Octroi returns, these manufacand distant snow-capped Alps, constitute rories consume an average of 45,000 a wonderful charm, and could hardly fail kilogrammes of roses and 15,000 kiloto clear one's heart and brain from all grammes of orange.flowers per day, bethe life-stifling vapors engendered by sides large quantities of jasmine-flowers, the poisonous atmosphere of cities and violets, etc.-a kilogramme being about modern civilization. Nor is this all. two pounds. The fine rides along the shore in both A hectare of land, equal to 2 of our directions, and through the valleys run- acres, planted with the jasmine, for inning up into the interior, over perfectly stance, and well cultivater, will yield on smooth roads, bordered, for the most an average about 6,500 kilogrammes of part, by evergreen, olive, and orange flowers per annum, worth about 7.1 orchards, and gardens of ever-blooming francs per hundred kilogrammes, makroses, violets, and other odorous plants ing an annual income of nearly 500 and shrubs - all these together are francs per hectare, or about 200 francs or enough to compel the most murky-liv- $40 per acre. So that the flower-culture ered, fear-boding dyspeptic, to give him- here constitutes the riches of the self up to the innocent and life-renewing country, as well as the delight of the erjyments of nature. The very breath- sojourner. ing of the aromatic, fragrant morning air, But it must not be understood that here as genial as in Southern Italy, and the only enjoyments here ari-a from the far more clear, brisk, and invigorating, is delights of the external senses. One in itself the sovereignest remedy against may please himself with other fornis of

If you

entertainment. Every hillside and val- which our path ascends, there runs a litley of all the surrounding country have tle stream from some mountain-spring, worn into them the footprints of many with here and there a little rocky basin generations of men, and are full of the or pool. Around these pools, the pealegends of human heroism and toil, of s:int-women, with bare legs and arms, human love and struggle, error and are to be seen at their family washing, suffering. From the earliest ages, these singing their mountain-songs. slopes have been the battle-fields of many are ever so good at Parisian French, you races of men. Here, long before our will hardly be able to understand their era, the prowess of the Roman legions patois. was brought into fierce conflict with the Suddenly, at some turn in the path, native valor of the old Ligurian tribes; even far up towards the summit, you and, subsequently, when Roman and will encounter a peasant-woman at work Ligurian enmities had long been laid to upon a little nook of soil, endeavoring to sleep in a common grave, here were convert it into a little parterre of jasfunght some of the most relentless bat- mines, violets, or other fragrant flowers. tles of the earliest Protestantism, against It may be owing to the nature of the soil, a far worse and more degrading despot- or it may be owing to the dryness and is than that of the Cæsars-a despot- clearness of the air ; but whatever it is, ism that sought and still seeks by a all kinds of flowers seem to emit a thousand devices to bereave men of sweeter and stronger fragrance on these God's chiefest endowment-their per- mountain-slopes than elsewhere. sonal liberty and conscience. This, too, One Sunday morning, I met on this was the land of the Troubadours. On path a young woman, carrying on lier these sunny slopes, in these laughing head a small barrel or firkin, in shape valleys, lived and loved, sang and wept, and size similar to a butter-firkin. Her the Minnesingers.

form and step, notwithstanding the load This February morning is as clear and she carried, were not without a certain bright and genial as any June morning freedom and grace. As I approached on the hillsides of New England. Let us her, she stopped, and lifting the little ascend the mountain behind our chateau. tonneau from her head, sit down to rest. Its utmost heiglit from the sea is not ller great brown, sad eyes, the glow in her above 2,000 feet, and its ascent but the face, and her beautiful white tecih, as, rather rough and arduous climb of an with a gentle smile, she opened her l'ps hour. We first go up, by some steps of to reply to a question I asked her, took unlewn stone, to the upper limit of the capti my sympathies. At this first enseries of orange-planted terraces, and counter she had the air and aspect of a then enter at once into the pine-forest, girl of twenty years. She told me that that, interspersed with cork-oaks, and she worked all the week in one of the undergrown by the bruyère or heather, numerous potteries at Vallauris; that covers the mountain to its top.

The

on a Sunday, she came up the mountain path was laid out, apparently, many to visit the little garden near by, and ages ago by that patient, all-enduring that, isually, she bronght from the vilfriend of the poor peasant, the ass, and lage her tonneau of engrais, or liquid has many windings and zigzags. And compost, for her fiowers; that if sho yet the general idea of it has been were rich she would have an ass to do adopted by the most skilful modern en- that kind of work---för, indeed, it was gineers, in the construction of their ad- very fatiguing. I gave her a slight pracmirable carriage-roads over the Furca tical proof of my sympathy with her and other Alpine passes. As we go up, desire to have the help of an ass, and the air becomes more and more rif and continued my walk. An hour after, or invigorating, filled as it is with the pun- my return, she came out from her little fent aroma of the pine-cone. At the garden, with a bouquet of violets, to bottom of the ravine, along the side of meet me. But the change which had

[ocr errors]

come over her greatly surprised me. In- green foliage, of the pine and cork-oak, stead of the glow, her face had become or of many species of bruyère. The ashen in its hue, and full of the little fur- stories of its famous banditti would fill rows which toil and hunger plough into a whole library of novels à la Jimes. the faces of the poor in these countries. To the west and north and northeast, She looked like a woman of thirty, at lie spreading out before us the grand, least. I asked her how old she was; pinnacle-crowned masses of the Alps, exshe told me her age was eighteen years; tending from the Cap de Benat, in the that she was married at fifteen, and was southwest, to the Cap delle Melle, in the alreally the mother of two children; northeast, slope upon slope, height that her husband had rented from the npon height, until the eye, crossing the Commune of Vallauris the half-hectare rugged and precipitous gorges of the of land before me, and had terraced and Var, reaches the snow-capped summits planted it, as I saw, with young orange

of the Tende. With this good glass of trees, jasmines, and violets; that he Bach, optiken in München, you may worked from three o'clock in the morn- count more than fifty towns and villages, ing till eight or nine at night, but that lying in the bright morning sun-many the impôts were very heavy, and they of them so like, in form and color, to the found it indeed very hard to live. great quadrangular masses of rock pro

And this is the common condition of jecting from the mountain-sides, as to be the rural work-people, all over France. scarcely distinguishable, one from the They seldom complain or beg. They other. Indeed, at a distance, many of toil and hunger, without hope, from these mountain-hamlets, to the naked year's end to year's end. And it is eye, look as if by some process of natural upon their starved labor, that Imperial growth they had come up out of the splendors thrive and fill Paris and the body of the mountain. And then they world with their glories.

have also the same battered and worn But here we are at the summit of tho and mouldering aspect. mountain, and here, under the shadow Upon these mountain-sides, and in of these thick-leaved cork.oaks, let us sit these valleys, as I have before said, down and look about us. The eye, to have been expended the vital forces, the utmost extent of its vision, sweeps the ardent, passionate, human life of the whole horizon. On one side of us, many generations of men.

The memto the southeast, lies the Mediterranean ories of it, for the most part, lie buried Sea, with the Island of Corsica in the far under the waters of the great Timedistance. To the south west stand out Ocean, but many survive, some in auagainst the clear blue sky, the magnifi- thentic history and some in the legends cent group of porphyritic pinnacles, the of the country. Esterels, or mountains of the old Sueltri. On the lower slope of the bare and These mountains are completely inde- precipitous mountain opposite to us, and pendent of the chain of the Alps, and sep- eight miles away, as the birds fly, lies arated from it by the valleys of the Reyran the old town of Grasse, overlooking the and the Siagne. The average height of rich valley, opening out into the plain the mass is about 2,000 feet. It is wholly of Laval on the Gulf of Naupaule, desert-not a habitation in its whole filled with old olive orchards and modextent of 180 square miles, except a few ern rose-gardens. Just under its southisolated guard-houses of the government ern gate is to be seen the little hamlet officials. Formerly it was one immense of Monans. In the middle ages it was a forest of pines and cork-oaks. Charles walled town, and in 1572, during the V. caused it to be burned, for the pur- wars of the League with the Duke of pose of driving from its shelter the Savoy, it bad for mistress Susan de Ville people of the country, who from its neuve. The duke attacked it, and after & fastnesses harassed his invading armies. brave and determined defence, Susan was Its sides are still covered by a dark obliged to surrender, but not until she had

made terms with the conqueror and exac- " than he was massacred; his heart was
ted from him the promise that the people taken out, his body saited and sert to
of the town should not be molested, which Aix, where it was hung npon a villain-
promise, on taking possession, the duke ous gibbet to serve as an example to his
failed to keep. But Susan did not lose her like."
spirit wi h her town, but vehemently re- At Draquinau they gave his heart to
prwached the duke for his bid faith, and in be eaten by the dogs. The old chroni-
the end obtained from him the stipulation cler says, “the dogs refusing to eat this
to pay an indemnity of 4,000 crowns. human meat, they called out upon them,
Notwithstanding, he withdrew his army Lutherans ! Lutherans !! and beat them
in the night and attempted to gain his

to death with clubs. This was in the
own territories on the opposite side of the year 1559, or thereabouts.
Var, without making payment. Deter- Paul de Mauvans was subsequently
mined not to be cheated as well as con- declared chief of the Provençal Protes-
quered, Susan pursued the runaway and tant Union, and was drawn into the
overtook him on the French side of famous conjuration d'Amboise. It failed,
that river, and seizing the bridle of his but he escaped, and ten years after, one
horse in the presence of his whole army, hears of him at Barjols, where, in con-
refused to let it go until he made good junction with the Baron des Adrets, he
his promise.
The old chronicle says,

exterminated six hundred of the inhabit“the duke, intimidated by the fierce ants, throwing their priests head forewoman, ordered the 4,000 crowns to be most into the wells. paid down to her, as she stood there with These religious wars, with short truces, her grasp upon his horse's bit.”

were prolonged til 1570. With the Of the dust of Susan no one knows Albigenses and Waldenses, in these the resting-place, nor the sphere in mountains and valleys, it was indeed a which her indomitable spirit moves and terribly earnest and deadly struggle, and has its being. Her walled town of Mou- as unequal as it was deadly--a struggle ans is now a poor hamlet of a half- of a great and crafiy power, having dozen dilapidated houses and an old at its command all the means and apafountain in ruins.

pliances of war, spiritual and material, Looking away from Grasse, towards against a poor, scattered, consciencethe southwest, in the upper valley of

driven peasantry.

After a hundred the Siagne, is still to be seen the little years of as bitter and atrocious warfaro village of Maavans. Three hundred as the earth ever witnessed, the weak years ago, and contemporary with the bad to succumb to the crafty and strong, youth of Su-an of Villeneuve, there and Protestantism was apparently uplived here two brothers, known in his rooted and extinguished in France. Its tory as Paul and Antoine de Mauvans. traces are still apparent enough in all Just at that period, the sanguinary edicts these regions; with the exception of of Henry the Second, King of France, here and there an obscure and isolated against the reformed religion had given flock, there remain bere, in the three or a new impulse to priestly hatred and four thousand communes of the old ferocity. The peasants of these moun- Provence, only the scathed and toiltains armed and put themselves under worn victims of ignorance, superstition, the leadership of these two brothers in and the priest. defence of the rights of their consciences. But let us look back a few hundred Soon after a conference of the hostile years, and we shall find these same verparties was arranged to be held at the dant slopes the theaire of quite another Catholic stronghold of Draguinan. sort of drama. In the beginning of the

Trusting to the good faith of the Cath- 12th century, Raymond Berenger, ('ount olie party, Antoine, unprotected, repaired of Barcelona, by marriage became also thither. “Ilardly had he made his ap- Count of Provence. The accession of the pearance,” says Cezar de Nostradamus, Berengers marks the dawn of Provençal

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

chivalry and poetry. The court of these lovers." Their judgments were pram counts soon became the rendezvous of nounced in accordance with an estab. the Troubadours and the focus of a lit- lished code-the Code of Love. erature that for three centuries was the But this far-off and apparently beaudelight of all Europe-the literature of tiful middle-age attempt at Free Love Love.

and Spiritual Wifeship, had its connterTo this court, in the year 1162, came parts. If the legends are to be trusted, the German Emperor Frederic with the it did not consist wholly of love and red beard. “Before him," says Jehan poetry. Other species of affuirs of de Nostradamus, “Raymond II. caused the heart did sometimes intrude themhis poets to repeat many of their most selves; sometimes hatreds and other pleasant inventions and compositions. such exigencies of bedeviled human naTheir manner of rhyming so amused and ture, spoiled the harmony of the idyl. pleased the Emperor, that he not only But let us turn onr faces towards the made them many beautiful and rich southwest. The distant view is slut in presents, but he also himself made an by the inost picturesque and beautiful of epigram, for which he borrowed the use all these neighboring mountains, the of their soft Provençal tongue. Doubt. Esterels, the shores of the Gulf of Naless, for so great an Emperor, it was con- paule, and the plain of Laval. Nearer, sidered very heroic verse, and caused an a thousand feet above the level of the immense sensation. You cannot set it plain and on the very apex of a cone of to the tune of" John Brown's soul goes rocks, is perched the little village of marching on,” but as a sample of the Mongins, Mons Eyitna of the old Liold Provençal language, and of Frederic gurians, and their last refuge when conBarbaros-a's faculty as a poet, it may be quered by the Romans. Still nearer, worth printing; here it is:

nestling in the side of a verdant bend of Plaz my cavallier Francés

the hills, is Canret, where the really

great artist, poor Rachel (imperial halfE l'onrar del Gynoes,

brother De Morny's mistress), went to Lou kantar Prover sallés

die of that cold she took on her nightE la dansa Trivyzana.

journey from New York to Boston. Literally translated into · prose, it And there, immediately under the southmeans to say something like what fol. westerly slope of our mountainous looklows:

out, is Cannes, with its promontory and “ The things that most please me are, beautiful bay, and its islands of the old the French knight and the lady of Cata- Celtic God Leros-in modern French, lan, the honesty of the Genoese and this Les Lerins—St. Marguerite and St. HonCastillian court, the Provençal songs and orat, before mentioned. the Trevisanian dance."

Two hundred and fifty years before " At this court,” says the old chron- Christ, the Roman Senate sent an emicler, “affairs of the heart passed as bassy to Cannes, consisting of Flaminius, being above all other affairs." And if Popilius Lenas, and Lucins Papius, to one bethinks himself of how much "af- negotiate, with the chiefs of the powerful fairs of the heart” may include, are they Ligurian tribe of the Oxibians, a peace not so in reality, in all ages and in all between them and the neighboring countries? But he continues, "Here colonies of her ally of Marseilles, Nice, ladies and knights and troubadours oc- and Antibes. Upon their attempting to cupied themselves with discussing grave- land, these chiefs ordered Flaminius and ly and artlessly the beautiful and subtle his fellow ambassadors to reëmbark and questions of love, and when they could take themselves off, greatly to the surnot resolve them they were submitted prise of the arrogant Romans, and upon to a court of Love; a tribunal of beau- their refusing and resisting, drove them tiful women who had the right to sum- off with insults, even wounding Flaminius mon to their bur all disloyal and felon and killing some of his slaves.

E la donna Catallana

E la cour de Kastellana

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

VOL. II.-30

66 The

« IndietroContinua »