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uncivilized man, amongst which the old. | steep climb, and we were not rewarded by fashioned one of hospitality stards pre- any fine view, as the clouds were lying low eminent. Should you lose your way and on the mountains. Coming down again, become benighted, the Corsican peasant as we swung round one of the sharp turns will give you his best of bed and board, of the zigzag road, the pole of the carriage and on the morrow point out your road, came out. Happily the horses, apparently declining any money you may offer for accustomed to such a mishap, stopped services rendered.
almost of their own accord, and we reA Danish officer and his wife, staying placed the pole, I holding it in position at our hotel, lost their way out riding, and while the driver drove it home with a large found themselves - too late to return that stone. This was our only accident, though night - at a small village some fifteen we afterwards drove, I should say, nearly miles from Ajaccio. They were fed and two hundred miles before we left the lodged for the night, the beds being scru. island. pulously clean, and even a boy of fourteen The Corsican horses are miracles of enwould not accept so much as a franc for durance. Cowhocked, half-starved weeds his ministrations.
to look at, apparently lacking both in In respect, too, of the position their strength and stamina, these animals, when womenkind appear to occupy in the social put to the test, seemed all muscle and ménage (please understand I am not citing whip.cord. Though very small — fourthis as a virtue), the Corsicans seem to teen hands would be above the average approximate in their ideas to the noble they tugged away at the lumbering old savage. See a peasant and his wife com- diligences in the gamest way, and with ing into market. She will be walking only an ordinary light open carriage bealong loaded with a large basket on her hind them would, without being unduly arm, and probably another on her head, distressed, do their thirty to forty miles a heavy with produce of farm and garden, day for a week together. while he will have only his pipe in his Given fine weather — which an Englishmouth and his gun slung over his shoul. man always regards as much his right, der; and, indeed, should his means per- when once on the Continent, as if it had mit, will probably be riding a pony or been included in the bargain when he mule. Very picturesque fellows some of purchased his Cook's ticket in Piccadilly them look, with their broad-brimmed hats - there is no pleasanter method of proand hot-looking suits of black or brown gression than driving in an open carriage, velveteen. I am bound to say we did oco especially when, as in Corsica, you have casionally meet couples with the above the most excellent government roads. I respective positions reversed; but these am not exaggerating when I say I have we put down as lovers or honeymoon never seen roads in England or Scotland couples. The women, if they do ride, so perfectly made or so perfectly kept, ride after the fashion of Miss Bird or an though I understand their capabilities are Indian squaw, i.e., on both sides of the severely tried at certain times of the year, horse, as I have seen it expressed. when heavy timber is brought down in
Judging from his language and appear- large quantities from the interior to the ance, you would say that the Corsican coast. would assimilate more readily with Italy In time, doubtless, the temptation, ap. than France. A gentleman who spoke parently irresistible to so many, to do as Italian well, told me that after a few days' much as possible of a country in the conversation with the natives he could shortest time will drive people more and easily understand their language. As a more to the railways. At present, how. matter of fact, the Corsicans dislike Ital. ever, the railway company, by running ians. Events have proved stronger than only two trains a day and those at the race affinities, and the accident of Napo- most inconvenient of times, and at the leon having been born in Ajaccio seems slowest possible pace, are disinterestedly to be in itself sufficient to identify Corsica avoiding competition with the carriage with France.
traffic as much as possible. The only line Our first drive in Corsica might easily at present in operation is a single one, have proved our last. We drove along a projected across the island from Ajaccio road winding up and round the hill at the to Bastia. Unfortunately, owing to a seback of the town, through an olive wood, rious error in the engineer's calculations, to a very commonplace looking spring there is at present a gap of about twenty, called the fountain of Salario. It was a six miles between Bocognano and Corté, over the pass of Vizzavona, which is filled | however, usual on a Corsican railway. In up by a diligence service.*
other matters they can exhibit, and even These vehicles are of the most anti surpass, that pedantic adherence to forins quated description, built, I should say, and ceremonies so dear to the Continental before the tax on glass was abolished ; so railway official. Though thirty minutes small were the apertures to let in the much late after a tedious journey of four hours, needed light and air amongst perhaps six | we were kept fully fifteen minutes just or eight closely packed odoriferous na- outside Bastia, in order that the lamps tives. We never travelled in one of these might be lighted throughout the train, ramshackle conveyances. I believe they solely to take us through a tunnel barely were cheap; I am sure they were nasty. three hundred yards long into the termi
A tunnel two and a half miles long is to nus. I suppose they were solemnly excarry the railway under the pass of Vizza. tinguished again two minutes afterwards, vona, and just before we landed the engi- as the train went no further that evening. neer bad made the discovery that his two But this has been a long digression, and tunnels from either end were not going to meanwhile our carriage has been mountmeet in the middle. Failure is not so ing steadily, though, so admirably engi. fatal as success, so he did not, I believe, neered is the road, almost imperceptibly, as did the poor engineer of the St. Gothard to the height of about fifteen hundred feet, tunnel, drop dead at the supreme moment at which elevation stands Bocognano, of disappointment. The gauge is a very where we arrive about midday. narrow one, barely more than three feet'; It is a long, straggling village of over and the small, very bright blue, yellow, and one thousand inhabitants, lying amongst claret-colored carriages quite reminded groves of Spanish chestnuts, with houses one of those in the nursery at home. The here and there so close to each other on two daily trains run, as I mentioned, at both sides, as to justify the road in calling most unseasonable hours; the 5 A.M. itself a street. speaks for itself; the 5 P.m. from Ajaccio Bocognano, though but twenty-five miles lands you between seven and eight at from the capital, was only a year or two Bocognano, where you choose between ago the stronghold of the Bellicosias, a staying the night at a dirty-looking wine numerous family of bandits, who for years shop, or travelling on by diligence through had held their own against the gendarmes, the night another fifteen or thirty miles to acknowledging no laws but their own. Vivario or Corté.
Broken up at last, the Corsican authoriRather than get up at half past four in ties tell you that the leaders have left the the morning, we elected to drive in a pri- island; people who think themselves betvate carriage through to Corté, about fifty ter informed say they are still biding in miles, staying the night at Vivario. the macqui.
We started soon after eight, and were “ Last year,” said our driver, " Belliconot a little surprised, while bowling com- sia's mother was dying in Bocognano, and fortably along the road parallel with the the gendarmes thought he would come to line, to be overtaken at nine o'clock, when see her, and watched for him accord. scarcely eight miles on our journey, by the ingly." 5 A.M. from Ajaccio.
"And did they catch him?” we asked. At first we thought it must be a special; “ No," replied the cocher, with a wink; but no, it was the ordinary train. Could "but perhaps he saw his mother for all there, then, be anything of the nature of a that.” Corsican Derby Day, or an Easter Monday Soon after leaving Bocognano, we begin review, to cause such a dislocation of the our mount to the top of the Vizzavona traffic, or do passengers wait at the termi-Pass, and wonder, as we leave the mouth gus, as do visitors to the Tower, until the of the tunnel far below us, whether the party is sufficiently large to be personally engineer has yet found out where he is conducted ? No; neither hypothesis was wrong. Along the road towards the sumtenable, for there were only three people mit are tall posts some fifteen feet high, in the whole train. We sought an explana. painted blue and red in alternate lengths. tion from our driver.
These are to enable the diligence drivers “Oh, it is nothing,” said he. “On to-estimate the depth of the snow in winter change le temps chaque jour.”
by counting the number of red and blue This lofty disregard of routine is not, metres still visible.
At the extreme summit (three thousand • The above was written in April of last year; probably by this time through railway communication has eight hundred feet) stands what is eu.
phemistically styled a fort, a dreary place
enough for the dozen or two soldiers quar- young beech leaves, glancing like flecks of tered there.
sunlight amongst the dark fir stems. For the first two or three miles of the But the tree of trees in Corsica is the descent we drove through a pine forest Spanish chestnut. Not only is it by far thick with trees, save where in places a the most ornamental, but it is also the clearance had been made by a forest fire, most useful. Men, horses, and pigs live showing acres of blackened stumps stand on the fruit thereof, raw, or ground into ing out in dark relief against the snow meal, cheap as dates to the Arab or rice to covered ground.
the Indian. Thirteen miles from Bocognano we A single forest will sometimes extend reached Vivario, our halting-place for the over ten thousand acres, and the trees are night, nestling at the foot of an amphithe- well thinned, pruned, and renewed by gov. atre of mountains, and so shut in by them ernment forestiers. that we wondered how we were to get out On the lands of private individuals, or next morning. The church tower was un- on communal property, the chestnut on dergoing repair, so the bell had been hung the high slopes takes the place of the olive. pro tem. in a large walnut-tree close by. tree lower down the valley.
But how shall I describe the scenery Many of the trees looked more than one we had been passing through all day, in hundred years old; their gnarled and our thirty-eight miles from Ajaccio? De twisted trunks, capable when hollow, as scription of scenery is, I sometimes think, some of them were, of holding easily three an art in itself, like landscape painting. or four men inside, reminded me more Certainly it would require a far abler pen than any thing of Burnham Beeches. than mine to do justice to the natural Every narrow valley was a grove of chestbeauties of Corsica. The steep mountain nuts, which followed the windings of the peaks of over five thousand feet high are stream running down the centre through clothed to the very top, not with the grass meadows as richly green as an Enstunted timber usually found in Europe, glish park, which the whole scene greatly at least) at such altitudes, but with giants resembled, cyclamens and narcissus takmeasuring often four to five feet in diame ing the place of cowslips and primroses. ter, and in the case of the laricio pine and This article would become a botanical the beech, tal! in proportion. Seen from treatise were I to enlarge upon the numa distance, the large, hardwood trees, such berless evergreen, flowering, and aromatic as oak, beech, and chestnut, give the high shrubs, which, in addition to the wild ridges a curiously indented appearance as olive, arbutus, and cotoneaster formed the of crumbled rock. Above all these, again, macqui or natural brushwood on the open tower the white summits of Monte d'Oro, slopes of the mountains. Rotondo, and others of less note, cold and In one place the prevailing tint would clear against the morning sky, or pink be given by the Mediterranean heath, in under the setting sun.
full Hower, growing in some instances to a Many of the peaks are composed of a height of twelve feet or more, with quite a red granite which, contrary to one's idea respectable trunk; the next slope would be of granite, is soft and friable. I suppose white with cistus flowers, of which there the fire was not hot enough, or the mate. were three prominent varieties, and these rials were badly mixed in the pre-historic in turn would cede the first place, though period, when it was boiled and crushed they all intermingled, to the fragrant yel. into solidity.
low cytisus of our green-houses. These granite rocks, worn by the ele. On a hot, sunny day after rain, the air ments into various quaint and jagged is literally loaded with a dozen different shapes, rise sheer many hundreds of feet, aromatic odors, and we could quite under. and varying in tone, as they do, from stand Napoleon's remark, that if he were rose-color to dark red, form in places as at put down blindfold into Corsica, he should La Piana, on the west coast, one of the know where he was from the scent. most striking and beautiful features in After a comfortable night at Vivario, this most picturesque country.
we started in pouring rain for our thirteen. One meets with no such diversity of mile drive to Corté. Alas! it continued timber elsewhere. You emerge for a to pour with scarcely a break the whole moment into sunshine, out of the deep way. The mist hung about everywhere, gloom of a pine forest, only to be again the clouds lay low on the mountain side, plunged into a deeper shade of cork-trees and we could just see sufficient to conand ilex, the blackness of which is in turn vince us that we were missing some very relieved by the light fresh green of the fine scenery. However, by the time we
had finished our lunch at the Hotel Pie- One of our polite friends there sponta. raggi, the sun was shining again, and the neously offered us his donkey to ride, and streets nearly dry.
his services as guide, if we would attempt Corté is the third largest town in the the summit of Monte Rotondo, 9,068 feet island, and has remained far more exclu. “la montagne la plus haute presque du sively Corsican in general character and monde," as he proudly assured us. We appearance than the more modernized and declined his offer and considerately for. go-ahead seaports of Ajaccio and Bastia. bore to crush him under the twenty-nine
It stands most finely on a high rock, thousand feet of Mt. Everest, or even crowned with an ancient citadel, now so bruise his patriotic pride with the height ruinous as to necessitate its being shortly of Mt. Blanc. pulled down as dangerous, thus depriving Though we saw several shooting.boxes the place of its most picturesque feature. amongst the forests on the top of the
Two large mountain streams, the. Ta- passes, I do not think, from what I could vignano and Restonico, both well stocked | learn, that I should advise any one to go with trout, meet at the base of the rock. to Corsica purely for sport.
At Corté we happened, as English peo- Of course, first and foremost comes the ple, to come in for more than the ordinary moufflon; he is not legendary, but he is civility accorded to foreigners. It ap- very scarce, and difficult to get at. Nor peared that a gang of boys or young men has he long, silky hair, as described in one had been accustomed to regard the trav- of the guide-books, but he has a hide with elling stranger as what a Chinaman calls close, short hair like a red deer, but lighter a fanqui or “foreign devil,” and would – in color and finer in texture. A pair of especially if the fanqui had not got a stick massive horns curl over towards the midhandy - throw stones at him, or at any dle of his back, and he has short legs like defenceless lady sketching. Several out- a goat. rages of the kind having occurred lately, You may camp out for a week in suma strong written remonstrance from the mer, when the moufflon come down from visitors followed up by a deputation to the the tops, and yet not get a shot, or even mayor, resulted in the town crier being see one. It is said that the hunter, more. sent round the town blowing a trumpet, over, does not care to take you to, or put and escorted by gendarmes, with a procla. you in, the best place for a shot, but I mation threatening, in the name of the fancy, a system of payment by results, authorities, direst punishment to any would, at all events, secure this for you., offender. This happened the day before The moufflon is, I understand, more plenour arrival.
tiful in Sardinia. Several of the older inhabitants stopped In the way of smaller game, there are us purposely in the street to disclaim, on hares, duck, woodcock, and snipe; the the part of the respectable population, latter are snared by the natives with horseany sympathy with the gang, and the hair nooses at least, so I was told by a proclamation had, at least, a transitory sportsman who was plucking the tail of effect on some of the offenders them- one of our horses as it stood at a wayside selves, for on meeting half a dozen of inn, for making filéts for the very purpose. these interesting youths they, at a precon.
Wild boars are fairly plentiful; one was certed signal, took off their hats, and, with brought to our hotel at Ajaccio, bought a low bow, chorused ironically, “Good for twenty francs, and duly eaten at table morning, sir,” having, I should say, ac- d’hôte. The flesh was dark, and the flaquired painfully so much English pur- vor uninteresting. For my part, I much posely for the occasion.
prefer the fat, domestic pig. Treating their salute as genuine, I re- On Captain G-'s property, close to turned it with equal politeness, which Ajaccio, in a cave some six hundred feet perhaps disconcerted them as much as above his house, and which, more than anything else I could have done.
once in the last eight or ten years has Corté is the starting point for the as-been, to the proprietors' knowledge, the cents of Monte d'Oro and Rotondo. We shelter of bandits --- I saw the marks of did not ourselves attempt any mountain two wild boar, which, just then, were every climbing ; I am therefore unable to give night ravaging Captain Gr's shrubmy readers any notion of the views to be beries for acorns and roots, the havoc enjoyed from the summits of these snow. being sadly apparent here and there. clad giants, though doubtless — as the I conclude the hunter watches for them guide books say they “ would well repay at night in an open space, for the scrub is the toil of the ascent.'
so thick that it would be impossible to get
a sbot at them in the daytime except bying strain, whether of setter, spaniel, or driving, and pig-sticking would be out of pointer, the latter perhaps predominating; the question.
for your Corsican is a keen sportsman, Perhaps the most lucrative sport in the and to be a successful one he must have island is the blackbird shooting. There a chien de chasse. The strain crops out are numbers of them on the hillsides, and in the most unexpected and ridiculous they feed on the arbutus berries. The ways; you will see the spike tail - as the bodies are boned and made into pâtés de Yankees call it- of a pointer adorning merle, and a very succulent pâté I was the stern of a dog in face and size like a told it is. I was unable to taste it myself, pug or a terrier; or a creature, with someas the vendors of Ajaccio were all sold out thing like the head of a setter, tending of last season's make.
sheep. With the exception of goldfinches, sis. I asked of a peasant carrying a gun kins, and brown and green linnets, small (most of them do) what sort of game be birds were scarce. I saw a few hoopoes shot. “Oh, it is close time now," he renear the coast, and a couple of jays high plied, "shooting is défendu ; besides,” be up in a pine forest.
added naively, “ at present I have no dog." One very handsome bird I had never On the whole, dogs have a good time in seen before, and though I saw a stuffed Corsica.' Owners appear fond and proud one in Bastia, the shopman could not tell of their animals, and non-owners, as long me its name; indeed, he declared it was as the principle of love me, love my dog not a Corsican bird at ali. It was about prevails, and the vendetta obtains, are also the size of a grey shrike, with a longish very careful of canine rights. A certain tail; on its neck and breast it was brilliant man who had been badly bitten in the leg, with the blue sheen of a kingfisher's back, was inconsiderate enough to shoot the while its own back was of the same red- dog ; his wife paid the penalty with her dish cinnamon as the kingfisher's breast. life, within a fortnight. It had a thin beak, slightly curved, like a No notice of Corsica, however short, bee-eater's, and was evidently hawking should omit mention of the shells in which goats in the sunshine when I first saw it. her coasts are so rich. In variety, and There were about six of them in a flock, delicacy of shape and coloring, they are and now and then one would light on the equal to the wonders of the tropical seas. telegraph wires along the road.
A certain Miss Campbell, styled in Trout, from all I could hear, are fairly Ajaccio, where she had a villa, the queen plentiful in many of the rivers, but of no of Corsica, and who died about eighteen great size. From the specimens I saw at months ago, had for years devoted herself table d'hôte, I should say that a half-pound to the task of collecting, chiefly by means fish would be above the average. There of dredging apparatus, every possible vari. are, however, lakes amongst the mountains ety. The result I was permitted to see which may hold fish of a larger size. I by the present owner, and the collection did hear of at least two Englishmen who truly would rejoice the heart of a concholwere staying at certain places purposely ogist, while so beautifully were they set for fishing; but Englishmen on the sub- out in their numerous cases round the ject of sport are so enthusiastic, that I room that one hardly knew whether to cannot
say that the fact itself is sufficient admire more the shells themselves, or the warranty for full baskets.
taste and industry shown in arranging One of the minor characteristics of Cor-them. sica is the Corsican dog. Not that there Having brought my readers to Corsica, is anything characteristic in the sense of perhaps I ought to see them well off the peculiarity of breed — far from it; the island again, and I strongly recommend peculiarity consists rather in each dog them to choose the short sea passage of exhibiting in its own proper person signs six hours from Bastia to Leghorn. The of every conceivable variety, but so beau. boats are small but the sea is generally tifully blended as to defy the acutest ob. smooth, being protected on most sides server to say what breed any particular from the swell of the main Mediterranean. animal is meant for. Nature, indeed, On a fine sunny day, the voyage is a seems to have been “so careless of the pleasure and no penance, except to those single type” that the only dog I saw with determined few who insist upon being ill any pretensions to breeding was the bull even before the ship has cast off from the dog belonging to the English consul, and quay. that was a recent importation.
No prettier view, during our whole There is, however, a perceptible sport. I three weeks in Corsica, did we see than