Whilst in the island I spent my leisure moments in forming the present little work, which was originally intended only as a private memorial of six weeks very agreeably passed. I am now induced to lay it before the public, and I joyfully seize this opportunity of expressing my gratitude to the natives, as well as to the French Authorities of the island, for the kindness which I uniformly received from them.
Where all were so attentive to my wants, it seems an invidious task to particularise: but I cannot help mentioning the accomplished M. Cottard of Ajaccio, whose name I am proud of including in the list of my most esteemed friends. WE entered the Gulf of Ajaccio on the morning of the 23d of October, It would be difficult to fancy a finer scene than here presented itself; the sea was of a dark blue, its rocky boundary assumed, as we advanced, the wildest and most romantic shapes, whilst the sun, lighting up some of the projecting masses, gave them a grand appearance.
At a little past eight in the evening, our boat was at the foot of the stairs leading to the quay of the city. The novelty of our language, coupled with the cry of Inglesi" repeated by the sailors, attracted a great crowd of people, whilst the public functionary perused our billets as carefully as if we had arrived in a Turkish vessel from Smyrna; one of our Corsican sailors held each billet in his hand until the officer with an immense pair of spectacles, leaning his head forward about two feet from the paper, here satisfied himself as to its contents.
We were all-much fatigued on our arrival at the Hotel de la Croix de Malte.
This, coupled with wretched cheer during our voyage in the Corsican bombard la Jeanette, made us impatient for refreshment. After many reciprocal bowings, we were no further molested until the next day, when a municipal officer came with a set of similar interrogatories, the answers to which he very scrupulously noted down from our dictation. October 25th. We strolled about Ajaccio. The general plan of the town is very simple. One broad street le from the sea to the barracks ; another nearly ajaccko wide, but much shorter, cuts the former at right angles; besides these, there are many subordinate streets extremely narrow and dirty.
The house in which Napoleon Buonaparte was born, is among the best im the town; it forms one side of a miserable little court, leading out of the Freee Charles. Luciano Bonaparte di licenza e nato li quindici agosto mille settecento sessanta nove ed hanno assistito alle sacre ceremonie per padrino l'illmo Lorenzo Giubega di Calvi Procuratore del Re e per It is very accurately given in the recent work of Las Cases.
At present it is inhabited by M. Ramoulino, one of the deputies for the department of Corsica. Among other curiosities which this ln contains, is a little cannon that was the favourite plaything of Buonaparte's childhood. It weighs, according to M. Joly de Vaubignon, thirty French pounds.
This toy cannon may have given the first bias to his disposition. As Ajaccio was his birth-place, so was it the scene of his first zex exploit.
In the yearBuonaparte, then Chef de Bataillon of National Guards, was sent from Bastia to surprise Ajaccio, at that time in possession of the Corsican rebels. Leaving the frigate in which he had entered the gulf, he headed fifty men, and put off to take possession of the Torre di Capitello, a tower on the opposite side and nearly facing Ajaccio. No sooner was this point carried than a dreadful tempest arose, which mada la Siga Mra Geltruda moglie del Sigr Nicolo Para- visino.
Presente il Pre quali unitamente a me si sono sottocritti. Gio Batta Diamante economo d'Ajaccio.
He was forced, therefore, to fortify himself against the insurgents, who assailed him on all sides; a state of great danger ensued, and he was even reduced to feed on horse flesh ; whilst in this condition, he is said to have harangued the rebels in that strain of emphatical eloquence which prevails amongst the Corsicans, and to have succeeded in gaining over many of the opposite party. On the fourth day, before he abandoned the tower, he attempted to blow it up, without success.
The fissures still apparent in the tower are attributable to that attempt. October 26th, Sunday.
I attended the Messe Militaire" at the Cathedral. This exhibition certainly did not please me. The church was crowded to excess, and the great ajqccio of the congregation presented an appearance of much devotion ; but a double file of soldiers, fully accoutred, performing stated evolutions at different parts of the Mass, impaired the solemnity of the service. During the elevation of the Host, the noise of muskets, and the covered he of the soldiery, were disagreeably contrasted with the silent deportment and tex attitudes of the rest of the congregation.
The Agnus Dei" and other parts of the Mass performed by a military band were quite out of character.
Here we met the chief civil and military authorities of Ajaccio; and the party seemed to vie with each other in showing us attention. The health of the King of England was drank. October 28th. I took an early morning walk over the hills to the left test the road leading to Corte. The soil consists entirely of decomposed granite, blended with the remains of vegetable matter.
Fdee dew had been so free text sex in ajaccio, ftee to give the ground the appearance resulting from a heavy fall of rain, and the plants were all dripping. The cactus, myrtle, arbutus, cytisus, clematis, daphne, and a variety of other shrubs and plants, were growing wild in great abundance ; a very beautiful species of cyclamen was in flower in the midst of this natural shrubbery.
During the spring, the perfume arising from the wild vegetation of the island is said to be quite oppressive. By spring, I mean the early part of the year, for cold weather is unknown at Ajaccio ; a few flakes of snow, which appear at intervals of fifteen or twenty years, are considered as a phenomenon. A large palm tree growing without artificial protection, near the Prefecture, evinces the character of the climate ; even on this day the heat was too oppressive to allow us to venture out again before the evening.
The unhealthy season at Ajaccio is reckoned to be from the beginning of July to the end of September. During six months in the year, there is scarcely any rain. The military suffer most, particularly young conscripts ; of a battalion of men, at least half, as the Colonel tells me, are now in the hospital afflicted with fevers, some of so malignant a cast, that the patient dies after four days.
The Corsicans tell you, that bad wounds in the arms and legs are scarcely ever cured ; those on the head easily. Amputation, therefore, of a limb is frequent.
Ajaccik galled my hand rowing a few days ago; it would have been healed in England by this time, but it is now in a state of violent inflammation, and requires much attending to. I learnt at the Prefecture, that eight assassinations occurred within the last week.
The death of two men in consequence of a dispute about a little plot of ground was one of the cases mentioned The circumstances were these : two landholders having contiguous possessions, disputed about the limits of them; one dared the other to advance beyond the line he had marked, the latter instantly overstepped the boundary, each fired at his adversary, and each received a mortal wound. November 1st. I took a very interesting walk along the shore towards the Isle Sanguiniere.
At about a mile from Ajaccio, one meets with two square stone pillars, the remains of a doorway leading fref to a dilapidated country house, formerly the property of Cardinal Fesch.
The path or rather grassy road by which you approach the house, is perhaps an eighth of a mile long, and is bounded on each side by the cactus which grows luxuriantly here, and by other pretty shrubs. This house was generally the summer residence of Madame Buonaparte and her family. The garden is on the right as texg cross a lawn to enter the house, and still contains vestiges of its ajacco beauty; lemons and oranges in profusion were hanging from the same trees. On the opposite side of the house are neglected shrubberies.
Surrounded almost by the wild olive, the cactus, the clematis, and the almond is a very singular and isolated granite rock, called Napoleon's Grotto, which seems to have resisted the decomposition that has taken place in the neighbouring masses. The remains of a sort of summer house be- neath the rock are still visible, the entrance to it is nearly closed by a very luxuriant figtree.
The house is situated on an eminence, and commands a fine view of the gulf as well as the town. The view of Ajaccio in this work is taken from nearly the same direction. I visited the public library of Ajaccio; the collection of books appeared respectable ; the good old priest, the librarian, was very anxious I should look over the large work on Egypt, published by the authority of the French Government about twenty years ago.
How strikingly the traces of French and English influence differ; had Ajaccio been under our government for nearly half a century, there would have been good ro in its neighbourhood ; the streets would have been kept clean ; a common sewer would have been made ; and the villagers around, instead of ploughing with a stick like half an anchor, would have been supplied with good ploughs. November 5th.
This day was spent in arrangements for proceeding to the interior. We had all sorts of contradictory counsels; some warning us not esx travel without a military escort, others assuring us there was no danger in traversing the island unprotected. We determined on dispensing with the attendance of soldiery. November 6th. We arose when the Caserne clock struck six, and at a little past seven we started.
The horse of the island is a small animal, very sure-footed, and therefore well adapted to so mountainous and almost roadless a country.
Our saddles and bridles were like those in pictures of Wouvermans ; my saddle was of wood covered with blue velvet. Independently of myself, our cavalcade consisted of three Englishmen, two of whom were my brother commissioners, a French gentleman, ajacxio two Corsican guides, besides a couple of mules charged with our sacs de nuit and provisions; two Corsicans, who were going a little way into the interior, also ed our convoy.
Thus we bade adieu to Ajaccio.
Free text sex in ajaccio you quit the town, the first object that presents itself is a little fountain on the left, which, except the pavement of the quay, is the only public work of Buonaparte for the place of his birth: a few steps further on, to the right, we observed some pillars erected by the English, as the commencement of an intended arsenal swx you then come to remains of Moorish tombs on the opposite side.
All these objects are within a short walk of the town, as you journey along with the sea on your right; for Ajaccio is not built at the end of the gulf. About two miles from Ajaccio, the road crosses a stone bridge of a single arch over one of the numerous rivulets that, rising in the mountains, fall into the gulf; here, taking a sudden turn to the left, it recedes from the sea to lead into the interior. A fine view of the Campo di Loro now presents itself, a fertile plain that runs along im the end of the Gulf of Ajaccio.
It is a tract tdxt country much celebrated in Corsican history. On the left, as you proceed, appears a fred called Pozzo di Borgo, after fere Russian ambassador, who was born in the little village sexx Alata, a very pretty object close to the hill. The estate of the Ramoulino family, the maternal ancestors of Buonaparte, is also visible on the same side; while in the distance are seen the mountains of Bocognano, and beyond ajaaccio Monte d'Oro and Monte Rotondo now covered with snow. Although we saw winter before akaccio, still, in this fertile plain, the commencement of the Campo di Loro, the weather ajcacio not only mild but even warm.
The larks were singing, young lambs were bleating, the ground was covered with grass and shrubs in leaf; and we could hardly persuade ourselves that it was November. The dogs that accompanied us disturbed, every moment, quails, thrushes, and partridges. As we advanced, we were shown, to the left, a little family estate of the Buonapartes, which during Napoleon's reign became divisible, by the French law, amongst himself and his brothers and sisters.
An olive orchard fell to the Emperor's share. Near this, and about six miles from Ajaccio, situated on an eminence, are the remains of the convent of Mezzana; a spot celebrated in the history of the wars between Corsica and France. Hither the Corsicans, after fighting by day, retreated for many successive nights, to prepare themselves for a fresh battle.
It seems to be a corruption of the Italian word macchia. These pretty covers consist, for the most part, of the arbutus, loaded at the same time with blossoms and fruit, the lentisque Pistacia lentiscusthe daphne cneorum, erica arborea, and the juniper; while the leaves of the iris, the asphodel, and various bulbous plants, shot out in different patches. We noticed, also, an aromatic plant, bearing a yellow flower, and called by the natives morella.
On these occasions our excellent French friend would say, We had better keep together, for we are then safer. At about eleven o'clock, and about twelve miles from Ajaccio, we came to a hovel called La Baraque, because it serves to lodge a small body of gens d'armes against whom the Cors ican bandits wage continual war. We did not attempt to enter this wretched hut; our horses were tied up to posts, whilst we sat down under a large figtree to breakfast.