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OF A LETTER FROM GENEVA:
« I breathe freely in the neighbourhood of this lake; the ground upon which I tread has been subdued from the earliest ages; the principal objects which immediately strike my eye, bring to my recollection scenes , in which man acted the hero and was the chief object of interest. Not to look back to earlier times of battles and sieges, here is the bust of Rousseau -- here is a house with an inscription denoting that the Genevan philosopher first drew breath under its roof. A little out of the town is Ferney, the residence of Voltaire; where that wonderful, though certainly in many respects contemptible, character, received, like the hermits of old, the visits of pilgrims, not only from his own nation, but from the farthest boundaries of Europe. Here too is Bonnet's abode, and, a few steps beyond, the house of that astonishing woman , madame de Staël, perhaps the first of her sex , who has really proved its often claimed equality with the nobler man. We have before had women who have written interesting novels and poems, in which their tact at observing drawing-room characters has availed them ; but never since the days of Heloise have those
faculties which are peculiar to man, been de. veloped as the possible inberitance of woman. Though even here, as in the case of Heloise, our sex have not been backward in alledging the existence of an Abelard in the person of M. Schlegel as the inspirer of her works. But to proceed : upon the same side of the lake , Gibbon , Bonnivard, Bradshaw, and others mark, at it were, the stages for our progress; whilst upon the other side there is one house, built by Diodati, the friend of Milton, which has contained within its walls, for several monihs, that poet whom we have so often read together, and whom if human passions remain the same, and human feelings, like chords, on being swept by nature's impulses shall vibrate as before will be placed by posterity in the first rank of our English Poets. You must have heard , or the Third Canto of Childe Harold will have informed you , that Lord Byron resided many months in this neighbourhood. I went with some friends a few days ago, after having seen Ferney, to view this mansion. I trod the floors with the same feelings of awe and respect as we did, together, those of Shakspeare's dwelling at Stratford. I sat down in a chair of the saloon, and satisfied myself that I was resting on what he had made his constant seat. I found a servant there who had lived with him ; she , however, gave me but little information. She pointed out his bed-chamber upon the same level as the saloon and dining
room, and informed me that he retired to rest at three , got up at two, and employed himself a long time over his toilette ; that he never went to sleep without a pair of pistols and a dagger by his side, and that he never eat animal food. He apparently spent some part of every day upon the lake in an English boat. There is a balcony from the saloon which looks upon the lake and the mountain Jura ; and I imagine, that it must have been hence he contemplated the storm so magnificently described in the Third Canto ; for you have from here a most extensive view of all the points he has therein depicted. I can fancy him like the scathed pine, whilst all around was sunk to repose , still waking to observe, what gave but a weak image of the storms which had desolated his own breast.
The sky is changed !--and such a change; oh! night!
And Jura answers thro' her misty shroud,
And this is the night :--Most glorious night!