« EdellinenJatka »
atmosphere, the constant temperature, the calm existence, which retards the progress of the most inexorable of diseases, and would sometimes arrest them, if neglect or a fatal blindness, did not prevent patients from seeking in time a possible cure, or divert their choice to less favourable localities. At Nice the mean temperature of water is 99.3 ; which is that of spring at Geneva, and almost that of the month of April at Paris. This temperature rises but little during the months of March and April ; thus it may be said, strictly speaking, the seasons at Nice are reduced to three-spring, summer, autumn.
The climate produces corresponding effects upon the physical and moral qualities of the inhabitants, often exhibiting the most singular contrasts. To mild and amiable manners, succeed suddenly when the passions are aroused, incredible rage and violence; a most expansive frankness in the intercourse of life, is combined with a sharpness and an extreme reserve when the interest comes into play. Their persistence in political or religious faith equals that of the inhabitants of Brittany, differing only from it by a decided leaning towards extreme opinions. The Protestant of the Cevennes is still ready to die in defence of his belief, and the Catholic has as yet lost none of his fervour. At the present day, when progressing civilisation is effacing the distinctive characteristics of populations, the contrast between the French of the north and of the south becomes less and less perceptible. But at the close of the last century, the Provençals constituted, among the great French family, a tribe as exceptional as their climate.”
NICE AND ITS CLIMATE_THE CORNICE ROAD_MENTONE
GENOA AND ITS CLIMATE.
HAVING passed Antibes (two hours' drive from Cannes), the frontier town, strongly fortified, but containing nothing worthy of note, the traveller soon after crosses the bed of the river Var (which divides France from Piedmont) by a long wooden bridge; at each extremity is the respective custom-house. These slightordeals being passed, Nice is soon perceived, and appears to great advantage on approaching from this side. Its white houses and clear blue sky form a beautiful contrast with the olive-covered hills and dusky mountains by which it is surrounded on the land side ; while on the south nothing is seen but the blue waters of the Mediterranean, dotted here and there with small coasting vessels, which, with their broad lateen sails glittering in the sun, add to the picturesqueness of the scene. The greater part of the town is separated from the port by a rocky hill, rising precipitously from the sea, and surmounted by the ruins of a fort. A parapeted road forms the principal means of communication between the two parts. The Place Victoire, a spacious square, and a range of new houses, lie to the north of the portthe old town and the new streets to the west. The streets of the old town are dirty, crowded with shops, and, with one or two exceptions, are scarcely wide enough to admit the passage of a carriage. The Corso, a promenade shaded by trees, and the streets in its neighbourhood, contain some good houses, which have a sea view, and are let to strangers in the winter.
A long range of low buildings, consisting of shops and cafés, stands between the Corso and the sea. Their flat roofs constitute a spacious terrace-extending from the Castle-hill to the Boulevard du Midi (a handsome range of houses, with a terrace fronting the sea), which is the usual afternoon promenade. A river, or rather the dry bed of a river (the Paglione), which is sometimes filled by the waters from the mountains after heavy rains, forms the limits of the town on the west. The houses on the quay near the Pont Neuf are among those most sought after-here are also the principal hotels. Beyond this quarter is the suburb of the Croix de Marbre (so called from the large marble cross placed upon the spot, to commemorate the meeting of Charles V., Francis I., and Pope Alexander), which extends along the shore for a considerable distance west of the town, and contains several handsome houses, to most of which a large orange garden is attached. A walk extends along the beach, close to the garden wall.
The environs of Nice are delightful; the soil is extremely rich in vegetable productions; various kinds of flowers, the olive, pomegranate, lemon, orange, almond,
and fig, grow luxuriantly, and some spots almost realize the poet's description of an enchanted garden
“ Vaghi boschetti di soavi allori,
The termination of the stanza, however,
“E tra i rami con sicuri voli
Cantando se ne giano i rossignuoli,”
is not so applicable, as the Nissards amuse themselves by shooting all the small birds in their neighbourhood.
From the top of the hill a delightful prospect presents itself of Nice, with its numerous orange gardens, villas, and olive-clad hills; its beautiful bay, and the lofty mountains by which it is sheltered from the north, and to which it owes its advantage of climate; while immediately beneath, the houses of the old town, thickly clustered together, form a striking contrast with the beauties of earth, sea, and sky, by which they are surrounded.
Exclusive of the military, the town contains a population of 35,000 souls, consisting, for the most part, of government employés, lodging-house keepers, fishermen, and others connected with the port. The peasantry are extremely poor, but hard-working and honest; the women of the lower class do not possess the
“ Dono infelice di bellezza,”
being for the most part dark-complexioned and coarsefeatured, which is mainly caused by their working constantly exposed to the sun, by the mode of wearing the hair tied up on the back of the head so as to expose the forehead, and by the head being indifferently protected by round Chinese-looking hats, and even these are frequently not worn while pursuing their out-door avocations.
The town itself does not present many resources for amusement. There is a tolerable theatre, where Operas and Vaudevilles are performed; pic-nics in the environs, even in the depth of winter, dinners, and evening parties, are frequent among the visiters. The Church of England service is performed by the resident clergyman in a neat chapel erected in the Croix de Marbreadjoining which is the cemetery, planted with cypress and other evergreens. The chief carriage drives are along the Paglione to St. André, the Turin, Genoa, and Var roads. Excursions are also frequently made among the hills and valleys on donkey or on horse back. One of the pleasantest rides is to the convent of Cimiez, situate on an eminence overlooking the Paglione, and commanding a good view of Nice. The convent itself forms one of the most prominent features in the scene, on looking up the valley from the town. St. Poris, St. Barthélemi, and St. André, are likewise beautifully situate.
Villefranche is another delightful spot, lying to the eastward of Nice, from which it is separated by a steep hill. It possesses a spacious harbour, sheltered on all sides, which can admit the largest vessels. The little dirty town is almost surrounded by olive-covered hills, which rise steeply above it to a considerable height. From Villefranche a delightful path, overlooking the sea, and bordered by olive-trees, myrtle, and other shrubs, leads to L'Ospizio, situated at the extremity of