Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR EVENINGS ? JOSEPH CLARK was as fine-looking and healthy a lad as ever left the country to go into a town warehouse. His cheek was red with health, his arm strong, and his step quick. His master liked his looks, and said, “That boy will get on.”

He had been a clerk about six months, when Mr. Abbott observed & change in Joseph. His cheek grew pale, his eye hollow, and he always seemed sleepy. Mr. Abbott said nothing for a while. At length, finding Joseph alone in the counting-house one day, he asked him if he was well.

“Pretty well, sir,” answered Joseph.
“ You have looked sickly of late," said Mr. Abbott.
“I have the headache sometimes, sir," the young man replied.
“What gives you the headache ?" asked the merchant.
“I do not know, sir."
“Do you go to bed in good time ?"
Joseph blashed.
“As early as most of the young men, sir," he said.
And how do you spend your evenings, Joseph ?"

“O, sir! not as my pious mother would approve," answered the young man, tears standing in his eyes.

“ Joseph," said the old merchant, "your character and all your future usefulness and prosperity depend upon the way you pass your evenings. Take my word for it, it is a young man's evenings that make him or break him." That word of counsel saved Clark from ruin.

LETTER FROM SWITZERLAND.

We came from Milan to Como by railroad, and thence by steamer to Beliggio on Lake Como. This village has a romantic situation at the angle formed by the lakes Como and Lecco. The gardens, groves, and villas are truly delightful. The Sorbelloni villa crowns a lofty peak, covered with large trees, with winding paths, grottos affording fine views of the lakes, and a beautiful garden. Other villas in the vicinity have more extensive groves, enlivened by the music of birds, with rare plants and trees. The magnolia with its large white blossoms, laurel and talip trees, the fragrant lily, are especially attractive. Most of the villas have also paintings and statuary, devices and curiosities. One has a suit of rooms with floors and walls throughout of small pebbles wrought into Mosaic with Egyptian, Chinese, and Japanese figures. Vast amounts have been expended on these buildings and grounds, and no little care and labour are requisite to keep them neat and in repair.

The scenery on lake Como is very fine. Its shores are lined with houses and villages, the hills and mountains as far as the eye can extend are terraced and cultivated with fields, pastures, vineyards, mulberry groves. Many of these villages are places of resort for tourists, on their own account and for excursions in their vicinity; but we were limited to one, with the exception of a short time at Colaco at the head of the lake, where carriages are taken to cross the Splugen pass.

By a pleasant road we passed from lake Como to lake Lugano. The hills and valleys, pastures and fields, trees, shrubs and flowers all look familiar. Lugano, on the lake of the same name, has a beautiful prospect. The country around is fruitful. Some of the highest peaks are crowned with chapels, towers and castles. Here is a bronze statue of William Tell, and a marble one of Washington in a tasteful enclosure. Patriotism and worth are honoured everywhere without restriction by national boundaries. Three hours' ride by carriage brought us to lake Maggiore, about fifty miles long and three wide. The scenery is similar to that at Como and Lugano. Here are the Borronean islands. The one of most interest, Isola Bella, is the residence of Count Borromeo, one of whose ancestors, near three centuries ago, built on it a magnificent palace, and a series of terraces

LETTER FROM SWITZERLAND.

adorned with obelisks, pinnacles, statues, and vases. The garden is fitted up in the inost luxuriant style. With the snow-clad Alps in sight, we have lemon and orange groves laden with fruit, tulip and cork trees, magnolia, camphor, bamboo and rose trees in profusion. Curious grottos and rooms in grotto style, with numerous works of art and costly furniture make this palace compete with those of royalty. These lakes lying between Italy and Switzerland, partly in each, are visited by many as a favourite resort for rest and recreation, furnishing with little effort boating, fishing, grand mountain views, luxuriant landscapes, and fine works of art. A week is but little to give to such scenes, but it was all the time we could spare.

From Baveno on lake Maggiore we took a vettura to cross the Simplon. Some go by diligence, the post coach of the country, but it is usually crowded, travels day and night, and affords but little opportunity to enjoy the scenery. The vettura is a comfortable carriage, drawn by two, four, or six horses, according to the size of the party and ruggedness of the way.

It is more expensive than by the diligence, but it is much better for convenience, comfort and safety. At Feriolo the road was carried away a few months ago by an avalanche which destroyed much of the village, with thirty or forty lives. We had to cross the stream there by boat.

Our first stopping place was at Domodossalle, & village of little interest except for a hill now called Calvary, with its paved walk, and a series of thirteen chapels, one at each turning. These chapels contain representations in painting and statuary of Christ's apprehension, trial and crucifixion. One of these contains a group of figures, life size, modelled in terra cotta, painted and clothed, representing the Saviour fainting under the cross, the women near sympathising with him, the mounted guard about to impress Simon of Cyrene, the malefactors bound and scourged. The expressions in the different countenances are natural and striking. Another group in a chapel farther on represents Christ prostrate on the cross, while the soldiers are nailing bim to the wood, the thieves also undergoing the same. The other representations are in fresco. Besides these thirteen chapels, there are perhaps as many more visible within a few miles in a thinly populated district. To count the shrines, images and crosses, emblematic of popish superstition, would be a task indeed.

LETTER FROM SWITZERLAND.

[ocr errors]

Near Isella we pass into Switzerland, making a continual ascent, presenting numerous objects of interest along the way. One of these is the fall of the Fressinone. Here a roaring torrent leaps from the rocks close to the road, carried over it by a bridge, and near by is a tunnel through the ledge. Another tunnel is about 600 feet long, made with much difficulty, occupying 100 workmen alternately day and night for eighteen months. In other places the road passes through deep gorges. Above to a great height is the perpendicular or overhanging precipice, and below another as deep with a raging torrent at the base. These lofty ledges are naked, except that in some cleft or nook we discover a fringe of trees, a tuft of grass, or bunch of flowers. At brief intervals are piles of rocks, sand, and debris brought down in the slides frequently occurring, and which, by the appearance of the rocks, are liable to occur at any time. We have seen one of them and heard another within two days. Avalanches some thirty years since destroyed eight miles of this road.

At the summit is a hospice or monastery occupied by a few monks, and furnishing accommodation for travellers. This is 6594 feet above the level of the sea. Here we find good pastures of considerable extent, and wild flowers of every hue in abundance. The monks keep several St. Bernard dogs, large, fine-looking animals. The descent is much more rapid than the ascent. A little below the hospice the road is protected by galleries partly excavated, partly of arched masonry. In some places these serve as bridges and aqueducts at the same time, the torrents being conducted over or under them. The peaks on all sides are covered with snow, and at the roadside it still lies in drifts from six to ten feet deep, giving a fine opportunity for snow-balling in the middle of June. Beautiful cascades are seen along the way, some in large torrents, some in silver threads far down the cliffs, and others passing wholly away in mist and vapor. We are sometimes greatly deceived with reference to our progress. When the village of Bireg was first seen it appeared but a mile or mile and a half off ; but the road takes a sweep around the mountains, and we did not reach it until after a ride of from twelve to fifteen miles,—not unlike some of our intellectual and moral windings.

The road across the Simplon pass was constructed under the direction of Napoleon, who undertook it soon after the battle of Marengo. More than 30,000 men, it is said, were employed on

THE NIGHT PREVIOUS TO AN EXECUTION.

it at one time, and it took six years to complete it at an average cost of £5000 a mile. It has 600 bridges, 10 galleries, and 20 houses of refuge. It is very strongly built, 25 feet wide, and travelled with much less fear and more pleasure than the Corniche road from Nice to Genoa. It is perhaps surpassed in grandeur of scenery by other Alpine passes, but furnishes enough to satisfy us.

Bireg is a pleasant village with a fertile country around it. After crossing the Rhone, and down the Rhone valley, the road is straight and of gentle descent. Sion is a considerable village, with several castles in romantic situations. Turtman is another at which we spent a night. Fifteen minutes walk from the village brought us to a waterfall in a wild and secluded spot, where a large torrent descends about 150 feet, forming the largest cascade we have yet seen. It was our intention to cross the Tete Noir to-day, and spend the Sabbath at Chamouni, but a storm detains us here. It is however after three months of almost uninterrupted good weather, and we will not complain.

THE NIGHT PREVIOUS TO AN EXECUTION.

From the London Open-Air Mission Report. The execution of the unhappy man Jeffery, on Tuesday morning, was the occasion of a large and demoralized crowd assembling, among whom a considerable number of Christian men were engaged in preaching and distributing tracts. About thirtyfive of us remained up all the previous night, and next morning our numbers were increased to about sixty. These included members of the Open-Air Mission, city missionaries, scripture readers, and working men. Also two foreign missionaries, and two or three Bible women. Not less than 30,000 tracts were dis. tributed. Free grants are received by the Open-Air Mission for this purpose.* I know not how to attempt a description of the crowd, especially in the night and early morning. It was, in my judgment, worse than any of the forty execution crowds in which I have laboured in London and the provinces. It was emphatically an assemblage of poverty and crime, the latter element predominating to a considerable extent. The poverty-stricken

* 1000 Pioneers have been sent to this valuable Society for distribution.

« PreviousContinue »