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[159] in particular, whom we met occasionally above all human habitation, were deplorable beings, who reminded me distinctly and repeatedly of the ‘homines intonsi et inculti,’ with whom Livy has peopled these savage solitudes; while the poor monks living on the barren summits,
Divisque propinquas
as Silius Italicus calls them, are only a dozen in number, and none of them over thirty years old; since, after that age, the constitution is no longer able to resist the rigors of the eternal winter. The prior, to whom I had letters from Prof. Pictet, received us with great civility. As it was not sunset, he carried us out to see the grounds of the convent. It stands on the highest part of the passage, but still in a sort of valley, between mountains two or three thousand feet higher than itself, whose summits are bright with eternal snows. Near it is a little lake, said to be about thirty feet deep, and on its borders, under the shelter of its high, rocky banks, the monks have placed some earth that they have brought up the mountain . . . . and in the months of September and August they are able, with great care and difficulty, to raise a little lettuce and spinach . . . . . On the very summit of the road winds a brook, with a stone laid across it, divided by a line in the centre, and marked on each side with the arms of Savoy and the Valais; it is the boundary between the two powers, and, for the first time, I found myself on Italian ground, and could not choose but exclaim, with the son of Aeneas, ‘Italiam, Italiam!’ for I seemed at once to have reached another of the great limits and objects of my pilgrimage. . . . .

We supped with the monks, ten in number,—all young, all talkative, civil, and gay. They gave us a very good table and excellent wines; for it is absolutely necessary they should live well here in order to have the strength necessary to resist the climate . . . . . In the morning we were waked between five and six by the bell that summoned the monks to their devotions. I rose and went to the chapel. It was a very cold morning, and their voices, even as they chanted mass, seemed to chill me . . . . . After mass we breakfasted with the prior alone. Our conversation turned on the antiquities of the mountain, and the passages that have been made over it down to the times of Bonaparte. He was a firm believer in its being the place where Hannibal crossed, and alleged a tradition, and some inscriptions found on the mountain to Jovi Paennino, which he showed us, in proof of Carthaginian origin. All this, however, barely proves the existence

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