LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Samuel Rogers to Richard Sharp, 8 September 1814

Vol. I Contents
Chapter I. 1803-1805.
Chapter II. 1805-1809.
Chapter III. 1810-1812.
Chapter IV. 1813-1814.
Chapter V. 1814-1815.
Chapter VI. 1815-1816.
Chapter VII. 1816-1818.
Chapter VIII. 1818-19.
Chapter IX. 1820-1821.
Chapter X. 1822-24.
Chapter XI. 1825-1827.
Vol. II Contents
Chapter I. 1828-1830.
Chapter II. 1831-34.
Chapter III. 1834-1837.
Chapter IV. 1838-41.
Chapter V. 1842-44.
Chapter VI. 1845-46.
Chapter VII. 1847-50.
Chapter VIII. 1850
Chapter IX. 1851.
Chapter X. 1852-55.
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‘Geneva: September 8, 1814.

‘My dear Friend,—Here we are in the presence of Mont Blanc; and I cannot tell you what were our feelings yesterday, when, at a turn of the road, as we descended the Jura, the Alps, covered with snow and glistening in a bright sunshine, presented themselves over a fir forest. We declared it to be the most eventful day in our lives; and in less than half an hour we were sitting on a rocky brow, not unlike yours at Ulleswater, and looking down on the Lake of Geneva; Geneva, Ferney, Coppet, Lausanne, Vevay immediately under us, and on the other side Savoy and its mountains in battle array. . . .

‘Normandy is a very pretty country, and certainly worth seeing, even at the expense of the voyage. Rouen is in a beautiful valley; and the Seine and its hanging woods and vineyards accompany you most of the way to Paris; and yet I speak by comparison—with Picardy in my mind, indeed, with Burgundy, and all I saw till we reached Dijon; for a duller tract of country, or fitter to
be passed in the night, I think I never saw. What we have seen since has amply repaid us; the passage of the Jura and the descent to Nyon are never to be forgotten. Paris, I must confess, fell short of my expectations; the region of the Tuileries is a little increased in splendour, but in every other part I saw no change but for the worse. There, however, it strikes you as the city of a great king; and you forget for a moment London, so infinitely its superior as the city of a great people. But perhaps we have travelled under unfavourable circumstances. Through Burgundy I wore my great-coat constantly, and we were glad to sit over the fire in many a post-house while the horses were changing. Last night and this morning at Coppet we supped and breakfasted by a fire, and the Bise seems to have set in for the winter.

‘To-day we went to Ferney, and saw the room as he left it. By we, I mean my sister and myself, for M. [Mackintosh] was engaged to a dinner at Lady Davy’s, and to-night he returns to Coppet. He has promised, however, to meet us at Lausanne, and make the tour of the little Canton with us, and I hope he will, though Madame de Staël,’ and Sismondi are great attractions, and the Hollands are on the road. We passed them at Dijon in the dark. Adieu, my dear friend. What will become of us and where we shall go I cannot say—perhaps to Rome, perhaps to London. At all events, believe me to be,

‘Ever yours,
‘S. R.

‘If walls could speak—those of Fontainebleau—what would they not tell of!—the gallery of Francis I., the
gallery of the Cerfs, stained with blood, and the apartments of the Pope, from which he stirred out but twice for fourteen months; the closet in which
Bonaparte signed his abdication, the courtyard in which he took leave of his guards—not to mention Henri IV. and Louis XIV., Marie Antoinette and Marie Louise, whose footsteps are in every room—what house in the world was ever like it! By the way, Marie Louise is now at Secheron, and we met her at the garden gate as she passed through it this morning. She is tall and fair, and not plain, but certainly not handsome, and too erect to be graceful. She was going to angle in the lake.’