London To Geneva Through Paris
( Originally Published 1921 )
WE will now follow Dr. Roget in a some-what eventful tour upon which he started in 1802 in the capacity of tutor to two young men named Burton and Nathaniel Philips, sons of Mr. John Philips of Manchester, who, according to a letter written by Dr. Roget on a visit to Manchester for an introduction to this family, " has a very large establishment ; his cotton factory is the largest in Manchester, and I believe in England." It is interesting to note from the same letter that on the way he visited Birmingham, where he speaks of having enjoyed " the agreeable and instructive conversation of Mr. Watt " (the great James Watt, who was at the time working hard at the improvement of the steam engine). In the travels we are about to describe we are able to add to our glimpses of the Continent before the French Revolution, a view of France after its close.
We have no complete account of the journey to Paris, but it appears that the party were delayed a day at Dover by contrary winds, and finally started for Calais in a sailing packet on February 17, 1802, arriving after a passage of no less than fifteen hours. A further four hours were spent in waiting for the gates of Calais to open. The boat that they crossed in carried twelve passengers, but it is recorded that the next one carried the then excessive number of forty. To get an idea, exaggerated perhaps, of the scene on the arrival of the English packet at Calais, the reader should betake himself to the National Gallery and look at Turner's " Calais Pier, the English Packet arriving," which was first exhibited in 1803, and may have been painted in the very year we are considering. It will be remembered that the armistice preceding the Peace of Amiens was signed on October 1, 1801, although the treaty itself was not signed till March 25, 1803, and the opportunity of visiting the Continent, which had been closed during the time of war, was eagerly em-braced by many Englishmen in that and, as in the case of our travellers, in the following year. Turner's brother artist, Girtin, went to Paris in November 1801, the year before his death, and was still in France at the time we are considering.
The following account of the sailing packet service from Dover is taken from a little anonymous book on Dover published in 1799:
" In times of peace this place has been considered the principal embarkation from England to the Continent. . . . Five packets are established here, under the direction of the General Post Office; one of which, during the last peace, sailed every Wednesday and Saturday with the mails to Calais and Ostend. Whenever the peace is made, which we hope is not far distant, travelling to and from the Continent will no doubt be greatly increased and it is very probable that the Post Office may see the necessity of making an augmentation to their establishment by sending a daily foreign mail. . . Before the war upwards of thirty vessels were employed in this passage, exclusive of the packets..
These vessels are from 60 to 70 tons burden, fitted up in an elegant manner, and may almost be called the handsomest sloops in the kingdom.
With a leading wind, they are seldom more than three hours on their passage from Dover to Calais ; and with the flood they frequently save their tide into Ostend harbour, after a voyage of only seven hours. Vessels in the passage do not wait for high water before they leave Dover, as their easy draught of water always enables them to proceed on their voyage by half-flood."
A rather later account (Horn's description of Dover, 1817) states that the passage vessels were enabled with a tolerably fair wind to reach Calais and go into the harbour by the same tide, " a convenience greatly to be desired, for if they reach Calais after the water has left the harbour the passengers are under the necessity of going ashore in boats. When a passage vessel arrives at Dover after tide time, they are likewise landed in boats, and generally upon the beach, which is usually effected without inconvenience, as the boatmen are extremely expert and careful. Some-times a vessel leaves the harbour at the latter part of the tide and remains in the roads to receive the passengers on board by boats, who would otherwise have been compelled to wait till the next tide before they could have sailed." Fig. 3, which is reproduced from an old print of Dover, shows the scene of such a landing.
Our travellers started off for Paris the next morning in a chaise described as looking clumsy, with a body something like those in England, but more confined, and with wheels like those of a common cart. The rest is like a gig with the " newly invented springs." The horses went three abreast. " The postilion," wrote one of the pupils, " has something very ridiculous about him. He wears immense jack-boots, one of which you could hardly lift with your hand, and carries a long lashed whip with which he announces his entrance to a town so that horses may be prepared without delay."
The first day's run of sixty miles brought them to Montreuil,' the second to Amiens, the third to Chantilly and the fourth to Paris, where they arrived on February 23rd, and stayed, at first, at the Hôtel de l'Europe, Rue de la Loi.
Dr. Roget's account of his impressions of Paris is given in full below:
" All great towns, it is said, resemble one another, and yet, take a person walking in the streets of London, and when he is just turning a corner seize him and blindfold him, waft him through the air and set him down anywhere in Paris, he will think himself in a new world the moment he opens his eyes. But the contrast is so great as to require no such means to make it sensible. Few things are alike in the two towns.
The great height of the houses—six or seven stories high—the narrowness of the streets, the height of the roofs, the walls covered with inscriptions which dazzle and bewilder the eye, the numerous coaches, chaises and cabriolets which drive with amazing rapidity over an irregular pavement with a deafening noise, splashing through the gutters which run in the middle of the streets.
The total want of foot pavement renders it really dangerous to walk in the streets, till you are trained to feats of agility. You are required every instant to hop from stone to stone and to dart from one side of the street to the other. The poor foot-passengers are driven about by the cabriolets like a parcel of frightened sheep. The only security is large stones close to the houses, which scarcely allow you, by sticking close to the wall, to escape being hit. Accidents are frequent. The pavement consists of large round stones, very far from being level and very irregular. They are either covered with mud or, which is generally the case, greasy and very slippery.
On the walls are frequently painted the objects which are sold at the shops, as shoes, loaves, etc. A garland is a sign that wine is sold within. All the shops where wine or bread is sold have an iron grating before the windows to defend them from the mob, in case of any tumult. This was the case even long before the Revolution.
The streets lose a great deal in point of magnificence by most of the good houses not appearing in front, but, being removed from the street by a courtyard, to which a large gateway, or Porte cochère leads, are only seen one by one, and cannot in the least contribute to giving an air of grandeur or uniformity to the street. The streets which contain the best houses are thus in fact as bad as back streets or those in which coach-houses open. But to compensate this, the public buildings are very splendid and seen to great advantage.
The shops are very poor : all that they have is displayed at the window; they have no real magazine of goods, being deficient in capital. Indeed, foot-passengers are allowed no leisure to stare at the shops, being obliged to look to their feet and being hurried along by carriages which sweep along the way. Many of the grocer's shops have no windows. Many things are sold in stalls in the streets, especially books.
The women walk about in caps without hats, in jackets. They, as well as men and boys, often wear large wooden shoes, that appear very clumsy, but are perhaps adapted to the pavement. In the markets they sit under large red oilcloth parasols fastened to posts. The men in general wear cocked hats, and are very dirty in their persons ; they wear large ear-rings, and often allow the beard to descend from the ears under the chin. They shave very seldom.
The hackney coaches are better than those in London, and the horses are in much better condition. The horses of the cabriolets are very good and well trained. They go at a great rate over the rough pavement. There are between 3,000 and 4,000 hackney vehicles. Unfortunately, in narrow streets, they block the way too much, otherwise they are convenient enough. The fare is moderate, 15d. for a journey, or 20d. the first hour and 15d. for each succeeding hour. When you take them you must tell the man whether you mean to take him by the hour or not.
The gutters which run in the middle of the street keep the streets continually moistened and gently sprinkle the passengers with mud. No lady can walk in the streets, and no gentleman if in full dress.
Paris is far from being sufficiently lighted. Large lamps are suspended in the middle of the street from a rope they are let down in order to be, trimmed, the windlass on which the rope is coiled being contained in a box under lock and key. On moonlight nights only every other lamp is lit.
The carts have generally only two wheels, of great size, thickness and diameter. The nave projects one or two feet from the wheel, and often gets entangled with other carts in these narrow streets. The French are very awkward in all their contrivances. This was seen in the Gobe-lins, where the threads that form the basis of the tapestry are rolled round a roller and tightened by pulling a lever tied to it, with a rope four or five men pull at this lever (in some cases, however, rack work is introduced).
Paris stands upon a much smaller space of ground than London, which is easily accounted for by the height of the houses and the narrowness of the streets. It is traversed by the River Seine, which divides it into two nearly equal parts. The most ancient part of Paris is that which is called the Cité, which is built on an island formed by the division of the river into two branches. The greatest part of Paris is surrounded by the Boulevards, which is nothing else than a wide street with broad causeway on each side, separated from the carriage road by a row of trees. There are shops and houses on each side in every other street. But besides these Boulevards, Paris is more completely en-compassed by a wall or enceinte about eighteen miles in length. At every place where roads cross it, buildings are erected at a great expense for receiving tolls. They are the barrières de Paris. Not only expense, but ornament has been lavished on their construction.
The appearance of the streets of Paris in these days is well illustrated in the well-known series of aquatints published in 1803 under the title " A Selection of Twenty of the Most Picturesque Views of Paris and its Environs, drawn and etched in the year 1802 by the late Thomas Girtin, being the only etchings by that celebrated artist, and aquatinted in exact imitation of the drawings in the collection of the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Essex." J. L. Roget, in the work already referred to, writes : The Rue St. Denis is one of the most effective in the engraved series. The street leading to the arch is filled with carts and foot-passengers, and wonderfully conveys the idea of a bustling metropolitan thoroughfare " (p. 112). This aquatint is reproduced in Fig. 4.
Regarding the Paris theatres, Dr. Roget writes as follows : ----
" The coup d'oeil of the Theatres is not so splendid as that of the London ones. They are all illuminated by a chandelier suspended over the middle of the pit. The pit is divided into the orchestra, parquet and amphitheatre ; on a level with the pit are the baignoirs, answering to the private boxes at Drury Lane. Above these is a row of benches, part on each side. Next the stage is the balcony, and the rest is called Premier galerie. Behind these is a row of boxes. The other rows succeed on the top of each other, and a second gallery rises above the whole.
Besides these are pigeon holes or 3ième loges, in the dome of the building. Such is the plan of the Théâtre Francais. The Opera house is, how-ever, the largest of all the theatres, yet it is not of the size of Covent Garden. The Théâtre Francais has a gloomy appearance ; the walls of the pit are very dirty and black ; the front of the boxes is quite bare of ornament. The curtain is of a dirty and dark red colour. The Théâtre Faydeau is a very handsome theatre. Paris has lost its most handsome theatre in the Odéon, which was consumed by fire."
Referring to other buildings of interest he writes : ---
" Nothing can exceed the magnificence of the Tuilleries and the Louvre."
The party had moved from the Hôtel de l'Europe on March 23rd, and took up their quarters for the remainder of their stay at Madame Polier's, Rue Cadet.
During their stay in Paris, Dr. Roget and his pupils saw Napoleon in a great state procession going to the ceremony at Notre ]Dame on April 18, 1802, when a Te Deum was performed inaugurating " La Paix Religieuse " and restoring religion to the country. The " First Consul " is described as having " bowed in response to the applause of the populace. His carriage was drawn by eight superbly decorated horses. Immediately after it came six Arabian horses led by Marnelukes from Egypt. After these marched troops to the number of 10,000. The carriages of the ambassadors followed in succession."
The little party remained in Paris almost exactly three months, leaving on May 22nd in a carriage which Dr. Roget bought in Paris. A brief description of this vehicle is worth quoting : " It is an admirable one, well adapted to our purpose, being larger than the ordinary, with double springs, so that in case of an accident to one of them the other prevents an overturn. On the top is a valise which contains our linen ; under our feet is a large well where our portmanteaus went. On the boot in front was fixed our trunk filled with our books. The wheels and body are strong and everything is commodious." It cost £50.
PARIS TO GENEVA, 1802.
Dr. Roget has left two accounts in his own handwriting of the journey from Paris to Lyons en route for Geneva. One, apparently written afterwards, enlarges more upon the beauties of the scenery, while the other contains more details as to travelling conditions. In what follows we have included selections from both.
"May 22, 1802.-After a great deal of trouble and delay in procuring passports, and much fatigue in making the necessary arrangements for our journey, we left at eight o'clock in the morning, and we were happy when we had cleared the gates of Paris. We had been joined a week before by Edgeworth, who was fortunately going to the same place and was pursuing the same route that we were. Having accordingly united our forces, we set out in the following order : our party in a French postchaise led the van, and Edgeworth and his squire brought up the rear in a chaise he had carried over from England.
In order to avoid racketing once more over the ragged pavement of Paris, we made a silent retreat by the Boulevards to Charenton, where we crossed the Seine. No sooner were we past the barrières, than we were struck with the sudden contrast between town and country which this abrupt transition presents. To emerge at once from the busy scenes of a large and gay metropolis, to enter from these of a sudden upon extensive plains, deserted and forlorn, appears to be the effect of magic. The country into which you are transported seems far removed from the place which you beheld but a moment before. It offers no variety to attract the attention. Undisturbed by the rumbling of wheels, you glide along lengthened avenues of trees, perfectly straight and uniform, and where the sight of an inhabitant or even the traces of a human footstep are rarely met with. Whilst the din of carriages is yet vibrating upon the ear, one is astonished at the silence that prevails in these unfrequented roads. The sounds that formerly annoyed us are banished far away. Once more we inhale the country breeze ; the eye again reposes on verdure, and the mind is left at liberty to pursue unmolested the train of her reflections.
But the heat began even early in the day to be oppressive and promised to be still greater. Though we were still in May, it was almost as great as during the dog-days in England. Our plan has been to set out every day as soon as it was light, and to lay by during the hottest part of the afternoon. The first article we punctually executed, but we never found it expedient to adopt the latter. We never met with comfortable inns at the time we wanted them, and generally found our chaise more cool and pleasant than the close rooms we were shown into, so that, except stopping for breakfast, we always preferred accomplishing at once the whole of our day's journey.
The first evening brought us no farther than Fontainebleau (about forty-five miles). We passed through a long forest over flat ground, the road being perfectly straight and with little variety. This forest occurred before Lieusaint, and in two or three places we remarked obelisks in the middle of the road, whether intended for use or ornament I know not. The approach to the town through the forest is extremely fine. Gentle risings and declivities present a pleasing variety, while large fragments of black rock scattered everywhere among the trees, and appearing at a distance like thatched cottages embosomed in the forest, have a beautiful effect by being contrasted with the lively verdure of the new foliage. The valley in which Fontainebleau is situated opens unexpectedly to the view.
The château of Fontainebleau, which we went to see in the evening, presents but a shabby outside, and the inside offers but little that is worth seeing. It has suffered, in common with so many other places, from the fury of the mob, and now, stripped of its ancient honours, it stands a monument to the devastation produced by revolutionary storms. It is converted into the central school of the department. The library is a mere depot of old editions of antiquated books ; there are many copies of the same work. The castle contains six courts, with gardens behind and on one side.
We were shown in the centre of one of the artificial pieces- of water adjoining one of these courts a small building in imitation of a castle, where we were told that Catherine de Medici used to shut herself up when she held her secret councils, having chosen this spot as affording her a perfect security from the danger of being overheard or interrupted. In a long gallery called the room of Francis I were faded paintings by Leonardo da Vinci. At the door of the library are statues of Charlemagne and St. Denis. The chapel is entirely pillaged. The only room which has suffered no change is the boudoir of the Queen. Superb pier-glasses occupy three of the sides: one of them reaches down to the floor, and at first sight produces the illusion of its being a passage to another room. On a terrace was a fine statue of Francis I and heads of stags. Fontainebleau is a handsome town, with wide streets and a good inn.
The next morning we again entered the wood which surrounds the town. We had already proceeded some miles when the sun rose in all its splendour and gave animation to the prospect before our eyes. Woods and rocks, as if at a given signal, caught fire, and the blaze soon over-spread the forest. The fragments of rock were now grouped in more regular forms, and more distinctly exhibited the appearance of basalt. We had here the choice of two roads to Lyons; we preferred the route through the Bouronnoist to the one through Burgundy, which from the accounts we collected is dull and uninteresting. As far as Nemours we found the country very beautiful. A river meanders on the right through cultivated meadows, while the hills on the left frequently present fine groups of rocks in which the basaltic form was still more conspicuous. Each turn of the road presented some new variety in the scene and refreshed the eye with beauties of a milder cast. If anything diminished the pleasure, it was the jolting road, which now began to be sensibly felt. We had deserted the pavement which we had hitherto enjoyed from Paris and came on more uneven and furrowed roads. The prospect, however, made ample amends. The richness of the pasturage, always to be expected near banks of a river, the variety of the produce, exhibiting a succession of corn and of grass with numerous ash-trees, together with the frequent brooks that anticipated satiety and kept the attention awake, concurred in filling the mind with the most agreeable images and soothing it by most agreeable diversity.
A fine opening before we came to Croisière discovered to us a church on an eminence which for many miles crowned the distant scene. The valley widens as we pass it, and it now loses visibly in point of beauty, every mile that we advance, till it at length degenerates into barren and sandy plains, over which we should have willingly slumbered if the jolting, of the carriage on its rough and stony roads would have permitted us. The cattle bore a diminutive appearance. The road passed through a remarkably fine avenue of tall poplars, which for three miles were perfectly regular. We breakfasted at Fontenay, at a miserable inn.
The country is dull after Montarnis and Commodité. It brightened for a time when we passed through a wood, but it soon relapsed into barren and sandy tracts, tedious and uninteresting. The half of a tedious day was spent in crossing this dull tract of country, the savageness of which appeared in many parts not to have been confined to the land. The inhabitants seemed to have caught the infection. If the soil was uncongenial to vegetation, the disposition of its possessors did not seem more favourable to the progress of civilization. But the face of nature suddenly revived as we approached the Loire. Once more the land yielded to the plough, the fields resumed their verdure and symptoms of prosperity began to appear.
It was at a little distance from Briare that this welcome change took place. No sooner did the peaceful Loire disclose itself to our view than the features of the country were immediately softened. The slow and almost imperceptible motion of its waters diffused a placid tranquillity over the scene. Vineyards now for the first time began to be frequent, and we gathered flowers in full bloom which in the rough climate of Britain were not yet unfolded from the bud. We pursued the course of the river the rest of the day, and took up our night's lodging at Cosne, finding a good inn. We were struck with the cleanliness of the inhabitants and the neatness of their dress, sure tokens of comfort and domestic happiness. At the inns we were often plagued with a number of women asking us to buy knives, corkscrews, gloves and trinkets.
Higher than Cosne and Pouilly, the river is straggling in its course, and divides its waters into many petty streams ; each, unmindful of the rest, pursues its way through the sands with care-less indifference. We observed but few boats. The little depth of the river appeared from its looking of a very light blue colour. We passed through a pleasant country to La Charité. The ruins of a large and extensive castle and ramparts struck us at the entrance ; we were told it was the remains of a military post. A large manufactory of buttons appeared on the south side of the town ; the trade was very dull. We had now been ushered into a very rich and well cultivated country, intersected by enclosures, a sight to which we had long been unaccustomed. In the valleys a great variety of gay and pleasing landscapes passed before us in rapid succession, and wherever we came upon rising ground we were gratified with rich and enchanting prospects.
We reached Moulins, a large town, that night. Again we were persecuted with offers of purchasing trinkets. What are manufactured in the town are made of glass beads. The quay above the bridge was crowded with shipping. In the evening, as we were walking round the ramparts, we were serenaded by a Dutch concert. Among the great variety of musicians, of which it would be difficult to enumerate even the kinds, a few of the ablest only can be particularized. The principal per-formers were the frogs ; ducks bore a leading part, crows and grasshoppers frequently intermingled their melodious notes ; peacocks lent their aid, and asses occasionally joined when there was a full chorus. Each in turn bore away the palm of loudness, but the frogs seemed most ambitious of distinction. All strained their throats to hail the approaching thunderstorm. The air was perfectly calm, when, a sudden whirlwind surprised us before we could tell from which direction it came. Clouds of dust were in an instant raised on every side and enveloped us in their vortex. We sought for shelter.
The next day brought us among mountains. We continued our route in the morning through a very rich and well cultivated country. We enjoyed a fine prospect in our descent to Gerand le Puy, whence we observed for the first time a distant range of mountains in form much resembling the Pentlands, but more extensive, and as we approached nearer we found them more woody. As we had these hills in sight for two days and passed over part of them, we saw them in a variety of different aspects. They were the " Montagnes des Forêts." Basaltic appearance again struck us.
On the top of a hill near Droiturier we had a magnificent prospect of an extensive plain, terminated by a fine range of mountains in Auvergne, lifting their bold forms about the distant horizon. We were then near sixty miles from them. This range is terminated on the right by the Puy de Dôme, a mountain rendered for ever famous by the experiments of Pascal.' On the left a beautifully cultivated plain appeared.
We passed the night at Roanne. It is a clean town. We went into a church where there had been a christening. At the inn we observed friction wheels under the snuffer pan, ingenuity lavished to facilitate motion in a machine not intended to be moved. The bridge at Roanne not being finished, we were obliged to ferry over the Loire, an operation which was performed with the greatest ease and quickness by means of a rope which goes across the river and a sliding pulley. We now bade a final adieu to the Loire. The. road continues rough and mountainous all the way to Lyons. Our carriages sustained without injury the formidable descent of Mont Tarare. We were disappointed of the prospect we expected from the summit. We ascended an eminence armed with our telescopes, in hopes of commanding the wide horizon that. opened to our view, but alas ! a thick mist hung over the majestic range of the Alps, and the hoary head of Mont Blanc was wrapt in an impenetrable veil.
But we soon forgot the disappointment in contemplating the valley into which we now slowly descended. Its beauties gradually unfold them-selves as we approach, new objects are discovered at every step, the prospect still gains imperceptibly, till the attention is suddenly roused by the wonderful effect of their assemblage in one enchanting scene. Softness in the individual parts is happily united with a romantic wildness in the whole, gentle slopes harmonizing with the bold general outline, varied by the different hues of wood and meadow, to which the clearness of the atmosphere gave particular brightness, with here and there a humble cottage, where content and peace appeared to dwell. A scene like this would at all times have highly gratified us, but after three months' confinement in the atmosphere of Paris it was capable of inspiring us with transport. After breakfasting at Tarare we proceeded on our way to Lyons,' where we arrived at four in the afternoon and got good lodgings at an hotel.
The environs of Lyons are delightful ; the town itself must have been very fine before the Revolution ; but all its days of prosperity are now past. No part of France has suffered more from the turbulence and barbarity of the times ; the direful effects of the Revolution are everywhere visible. Many of the finest parts of the town lie heaps of ruins. 'With a population estimated at 150,000, none has the courage to step forward. The spirit of enterprise seems totally extinguished, and all is at a stand. Nor shall we think it wonderful that it is so, if we but listen to the details of the most horrible of sieges. Events like this are enough to shake to its foundation our confidence in the course of things, and by making us distrust all views into futurity, teach us to confine them to present and more immediate concerns. Time must obliterate their memory before their effects can cease and before the drooping commerce of Lyons can revive and lift up her head.
We left Lyons at eight in the morning of the 4th of June. The day was exceedingly hot. We followed the left bank of the Rhône all the day ; indeed, the whole way from Lyons to Geneva the road does not once cross the river. The road goes along the brow of a hill ; its windings allow frequent glimpses of Lyons. It is in these views that Lyons displays its greatest magnificence. At Montalieul we lose sight of the Rhône, nor do we find it again till the spot where it loses itself at Bellegarde. A mist deprived us of the view of the Alps. The river seemed for a time to have suspended its impetuosity and flowed in a more equable stream. The roads were exceedingly good and the country fertile and well cultivated. We halted at Pont d'Ain, where the civility of our host and the cleanliness of every-thing about us persuaded us to deviate from our intention and to stop and eat what we then called a luncheon, which afterwards passed for a dinner. The road from this place begins to wear a picturesque aspect. A small river meanders through between rocks, partly bare and partly clothed with verdure. The valley improved in beauty as we advanced, the hills increased in height, and their form began to assume a boldness which denoted the approach into a mountainous district. At the end of this valley we found a small village,' the inhabitants of which flocked around our carriage as if unaccustomed to the rattle of a carriage. We found by the preparations that were made that we were to have a considerable ascent. Five horses were yoked to each of our carriages and two additional guides escorted us. We all got out and ascended in silence. The ascent promised to be extremely beautiful. Wishing to enjoy it without interruption, I soon outstripped my companions and thus had leisure to admire. The hill forms a continued ascent for three miles on the side of the mountain ; the valley below is about three miles in length, and without being perfectly straight, is yet sufficiently so to allow frequent opportunities of enjoying the whole in one view. It is formed by two mountains, which are steep, yet covered with vegetation to the summit."
The account here breaks off. It appears that the night was spent at Bellegarde. Dr. Roget and his pupils finally completed their journey and arrived at Geneva on June 5th. They stayed with an old friend of Dr. Roget, M. David Chauvet, at Paquis, just outside the town. M. Chauvet had not the space to put them up actually in his own house, but obtained accommodation for them near by. Here-they settled down and the pupils commenced their studies. During August they made a tour of the glacier district near Chamonix in company with other friends named Bannerman and Roman,. during which they made ascents of the Montanvert, Brévent, and the Col de Balme, and returned via Lausanne. It is worthy of record that the guide employed by the party was the celebrated Jacques Balmat, reputed to be the first person who ascended Mont Blanc.
In the October they removed to M. Chauvet's town house in the Rue Beauregard, but unfortunately M. Chauvet was taken ill and died on February 9th. The party therefore found other quarters with M. Peschier (a pastor) and his wife. Otherwise the winter was uneventful and showed little indication of the troubles that were to come. Indeed, it was not till the following May that any indication of anxiety as to the international situation is reflected in any of their letters.
It must be remembered that at this time Geneva was temporarily French territory, having been annexed by France after a period of strife and disorder in 1798, i.e. during the interval since our first glimpse of Switzerland in these pages. In one of young Philips's letters it is stated that the town was garrisoned by 3,000 French soldiers. The gates were shut at 10 p.m., and any person found without a lantern after that hour was put into the Corps de Garde, and in the morning taken before the Mayor. He goes on further to say, " Many English do much harm by their extravagance, though it is said that they do not spend as much as they did before the war."