14 AUGUST 1841, Page 18



THIS volume is the result of another of Mr. BARROW'S six or seven weeks holyday-tours; and though often passing over well-beaten ground, it is more amusing than might be expected, through the personal character of the author. Though a book-maker, Mr. BARROW is by no means a mere manufacturer of books : he pur- sues his business in a very independent manner, setting down what pleases him and no more, and not endeavouring to make any thing for the reader beyond what he and the subject naturally furnish ; so that we have a genuine and homogeneous article—the sponta- neous flowings of the grape, such as it is. He has also the cha- racteristics of his class ; and though neither very deep in matter nor very powerful in style, is pleasant, off-hand, and unaffected, with not a little of good-nature and good-feeling about him. An- other point is, that he complies with the proverb and " speaks as he finds," without regard to popular opinion. For example, be pays small respect to the " climate" of Italy. Almost from the moment of entering the classic land until he quitted it, he seams to have been in the condition of the pretended fine lady in the Vicar of Wakefield. " When we landed at Como," he says, " the heat of the air became as it were instantaneously oppressive, more so than I could recollect before to have felt ; and though it may be little less than heresy to say this of an Italian climate, I can safely declare, that, from the moment of landing at Como till we reached the head of the Valteline, near the pass of the Stelvio, on our return from the plains of Lombardy to the Tyrol, I never knew, for my own part, what it was to be moderately cool and comfortable." It does not seem to have struck him that he was travelling in the dog-days, through the plains of Lombardy, for his journey only extended to Milan.

Part of Mr. BARROW'S route is, as we have said, well trodden : The Rhine, Lombardy, and Germany, from Munich homewards, are scampered over every year by thousands. His Switzerland journey, by Zurich and Lake Constance into Italy through the Via Maia and the SpItigen Pass, have more of novelty : his return by the Valteline into Tyrol, and thence to Innsbruck and Salzburg on his route to Munich, is yet less frequented; nor does it offer many attractions to the common tourist. The accommodations are only tolerable ; the charges high, from the few travellers, who are of necessity fleeced to support the establishments,—a fate our author prophecies to Great Britain in consequence of the railways. Little is met on the road to enliven : the roads themselves are liable to be destroyed or rendered impassable from inundations, &c.; and the country can only be seen to advantage on foot, with a pony, or, as Mr. BARROW suggests, a Norwegian carriole ; but as he has not been off the high-road this suggestion is only a conjecture. The fact is, a traveller off the great lines of communication should be self- dependent. One who can tramp his thirty miles a day with knapsack on his back—eat any thing which is put before him without thinking of his stomach or caring for indigestion—sleep regardless of damp sheets or any sheets at all, and rise on the morrow to continue his pilgrimage—may go pretty well wherever the human foot can tread. Public or private carriages, horses or mules, are nothing to him— be is above them all : if they fall in his way, well—if not, he goes on without them : and he is the man to travel through the Tyrol with advantage, and leave no beauty unexplored, no sight unseen. What Sir ASTLEY Cooraa said of operations may be predicated of any thing where human skill or human exertion is in question—" It is the operator, gentlemen, not the instruments." If any one, how- ever, should like to vary the route from Italy into Germany, we can give him the results of Mr. BARROW'S experience. At Milan he engaged Mr. MAURICE, a voiturier, with a landau drawn by four horses, that opened and shut. It carried an immensity of luggage, and six persons, driver included. Of MAURICE he speaks in the highest terms ; and the total expense was fifty francs a day, which he pronounces reasonable. The party had some magnificent views of scenery—vast, wild, or beautiful; they passed through the highest town in Europe; and altogether were delighted with their excur- sion. But now for the other side of the picture. This is the


There are not many civilized countries of Europe where in the course of severity miles, over a great public road like that from the Pass of Finstermiinz to Innsbruck, so little variety occurs, except in the ever-changing shapes and colours assumed by the mountain scenery, in every part of it picturesque and beautiful. Nothing indeed can exceed the sublimity as well as beauty of the alternation of gleams and glooms, of lights and shadows succeeding each other, and flitting along the mountain-sides with every passing cloud. The brawling brooks and gurgling rills tumbling down the numerous dells, and the fine river rolling over its rocky bed, were well calculated to beget attention and command admiration. But that on the river Inn there should have been no craft of any kind—no rafts even for floating down timber or other articles—scarcely a little boat to cross to the opposite bank—appeared something remarkable. This, however, is in some degree explained by the peasantry being employed on the harvest, and the wood-cut- ters preparing fuel for the winter, not at this time required. This may also explain why we met so few travellers on the road. Now and then a little cart is seen, of a peculiar construction, carrying planks or firewood, or timber of some sort or other, or women on foot with their baskets; but few people were indeed anywhere seen except in the fields. An angler now and then may be observed sitting on the bank, fishing for trout, which in the mountain- streams are everywhere abundant and excellent. What would our philosophic fly-fishers think of a Tyrolese peasant basking on a sunny bank and carelessly letting his line float down the stream, whilst half their enjoyment seems to consist in the exercise of patience, perseverance, and equanimity, up to the waist in water and mud or to the neck in reeds and bulrushes, waiting for some unlucky trout to seize upon the delusive bait ? Of animated beings of any kind there is a great scarcity along this line of road : a bird is rarely to be seen or heard ; if there be any, they would appear to confine themselves to the fir-forests,—with the exception of the lark, which is generally heard singing its early matins, and now and then a gray partridge crossing the road. There is, however, at every three or four miles, stuck up by the road-side, a memento worm, rudely painted on a board, describing the accident by which life was lost, the upsetting of a cart or carriage, or drowning in the river.


Our bed-rooms were in an upper story, cold and dreary enough, especially as the beautiful weather with which we were favoured on crossing the Stelvio had departed with the setting sun. During the night it rained torrents, and the continued pattering on the roof effectually disturbed my rest. Besides, the roof being entirely of wood, and but ill put together, several pools of water were found in the morning on the floors of the bed-rooms. The next day set in with snow and sleet; and the dreary appearance of the weather, at an eleva- tion of from four to five thousand feet, was sufficiently disheartening. We consoled ourselves, however, in thinking how fortunate- we were in having crossed the Stelvio the preceding day, as on the one of which I am now speak- ing the fall of snow on that pass was tremendous : this we learned afterwards from a gentleman at Innsbruck, who, with two others, had the misfortune to be caught in it, and required the assistance of a number of the peasantry to enable them to pursue their journey.


Dull and dismal as was the morning, we set out on our journey along a road of easy descent into the valley : but had not proceeded far from our inn before we met the estafette—a lad who carried the post—returning in his light-cart towards Trafoi : we were informed by him that the road was impassable, having been choked up by an avalanche of earth from the contiguous mountain ; his statement was corroborated by a party of peasantry coming from the same di- rection. There was nothing to be done, of course, but to turn back to our little inn. Welled taken the precaution to engage a man to accompany us with a spade to clear the road of any little obstruction there might be ; but this Land-slip was not to be overcome by one individual. The estafette made a second attempt in the afternoon, by which time it was hoped the road would have been rendered passable, as we learned that several of the rotten, or men employed purposely for clearing away the obstacles con-

stantly occurring from falls of snow and frequently of rock, were busily em- ployed. We accordingly had our horses put to, and were about to make a se- cond attempt, when the estafette returned, and reported that the road was much in the same state as when he saw it before.

Being thoroughly tired of waiting, we made up our minds to proceed, and engaged a working-party to accompany us with pickaxes and spades. Arriving at the place, these men fell vigorously to work ; and being joined by the others, whose duty had called them to the spot, a passage was soon cleared for the car- riage. This part of the road for a considerable length had been completely blocked up with earth and stones. We distributed ten francs among the men, with which they seemed well pleased. Further on, another small portion of the road had been entirely carried away, and a bridge of planks was thrown across the gap. This temporary bridge, which was quite in an unfinished state, was supported with props of tim- ber underneath ; bat it actually bent under the weight of the carriage ; and when we had crossed, and by a turn of the road could see its construction, it was difficult to suppose that so slight a bridge of planks could have supported so heavy a carriage.

The weather does not seem to be so bad on the Italian side of the Tyrolese Alps; but sometimes the travellers have their diffi- culties, from the overflowing of the Adda or Adige in its upper course.

"As we ascended the steep and narrowest part of the valley, we found the river much contracted, but apparently swollen by the melting of the ice and snow, and rolling along with great fury. It had just carried away the greater part of two wooden bridges ; and others, that we had to cross, appeared as if they would not long be able to resist the force of the torrent. Every precau- tion seemed to have been taken to keep the river within its proper channel, by the application of barriers of strong timber plank and stones, constructed in a particular manner, in places where the current was found to set against some weak part of the bask, and where it consisted of loose stones, mud, and earth, easily to be carried away. In such places we found three stout poles erected in the river, close to the bank, brought to a point and fixed together firmly at the top : to these poles are fastened three or four tier of thick planks; against the surface of which the current striking, is turned away from that bank; and on its setting against some other fragile part, frequently on the opposite one, an- other of these barriers is constructed. To keep or support the three upright poles in their places, three stout stays or binders of wood are attached behind, one to each extreme pole, and one to the top of the three united ; and these binders are sunk into the bank, and held in their places by masses of stones heaped round them. To such laborious measures are the poor people driven to secure their dwellings and little crops of maize from the devastation caused by this small but mischievous river "