previous next

[156] shows his wealth only in his hospitality, his fine library, and the good use he makes of his leisure; and what perhaps is an instance absolutely unique in the world, M. de la Rive, the chief magistrate of the state, and a man of fortune, is a very distinguished chemist, and actually gives lectures on the science as sedulously and thoroughly as if he were earning his bread by it. This is really not an unfair specimen of the state of letters in Geneva, where they certainly form the first caste in society, and where no man can hope to distinguish himself in private intercourse, or even in the state, without being to a certain degree a literary or scientific man. A man who is either of these needs nothing else to procure him estimation and deference. I do not believe there is another city of twenty-five thousand inhabitants in Europe or America of which this could be said.

But I forget my story. Five days ago I went to see Mont Blanc and the great glacier of Chamouni. I dare not attempt to tell you what I saw and felt in these strange solitudes, where the genius and power of ages and generations might be wasted in vain to obliterate or change the awful features of nature, or divert or disturb her more awful operations. The Falls of Niagara, where one sea precipitates itself into another, may surpass it; but I have never seen Niagara, and the Mer de Glace remains solitary in my recollections of the stupendous works and movements of nature.

Farewell, my dear father and mother,—farewell from the beautiful shores of the Lake of Geneva; from the birthplace of Rousseau, and the tomb of Mad. de Stael; and what is more, from the country made classical by the traces their genius has everywhere left in it.

Day after to-morrow, Brooks and I set forth for Venice and Cogswell.

Dictated, 1854.

One of the persons who was kindest to me in Geneva was M. de Bonstetten, of an old Bernese family much valued in Switzerland, whose correspondence with Gray the poet has been published, and who seemed to bring me into relations with the times of Gray and those of Madame de Stael, to whose family I owed my introduction to him.

He was seventy-two years old at this time, but very fond of society, and mingled much with it. His appearance was very venerable, but, for his age, his vivacity was remarkable. Among his kindnesses to me, he drove me one afternoon to see M. Huber at his country-place, where he lived through the year, and which was prettily laid

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Geneva, N. Y. (New York, United States) (2)
Venice (Italy) (1)
Switzerland (Switzerland) (1)
Niagara County (New York, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Frank Gray (2)
Auguste De Stael (1)
J. J. Rousseau (1)
M. De La Rive (1)
Niagara (1)
M. Huber (1)
De Stael (1)
Joseph Green Cogswell (1)
Edward Brooks (1)
M. Bonstetten (1)
Mont Blanc (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1854 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: