« ÖncekiDevam »
nexed), as well as by those of the village. The pastor resident at Maneille,-M. Monastier,-officiates also at the church of Macel; but the distance is so considerable, and the danger in winter so imminent, that a resident minister, it is hoped, will shortly be appointed for Macel. The hamlets attached to Macel are Robers, Grange Didier, Poringe and Chabers, Champ de Salse, Champ Fouran and Didier, Coupe, and Balsilieu ;—the last celebrated for a mountain in its vicinity—the Château de Balsille -very difficult of access, which was fortified by thatgallant band of 800 men, under the command of Henri Arnaud, to whose achievements the present race of Vaudois owe the recovery of their possessions in these valleys.
RodoreT, though it has a church, has no resident pastor; but the arduous nature of the duties undertaken by the minister of Pral, when he officiates here, especially during the rigour of an Alpine winter, are such, that it is proposed to establish a pastor in the village itself, as soon as arrangements can be made to that effect. Rodoret includes the hamlets of Champ du Clot, Arnaud, Rima, and Surveille.
Pral lies at the extremity of the valley of St. Martin, and is enveloped in snow during several months of the year. Its chief resource is cattle. .
The pastor, M. Peyran, (son of the late M. Frederic Peyran, and nephew of the moderator,) has the charge of no less than thirteen hamlets annexed to Pral ;-namely, Pomafret, Mayerre, Guigou, Crozette, Adroits, Nidelours, Le Coin, Orgières, Pommiers, Ribe, Gardiol, Jourdan, and Malzatte.
It will be readily conceived that such a territory as that described,—where the summits of high mountains form the back-ground of a landscape composed of vineyards,-chestnut and walnut trees,-torrents, in some places irresistibly rapid, in others gliding along gently,—and picturesque villages,-must present scenery to the eye not unworthy of the pencil. But if the topographical features of the country are highly pleasing, so also are the moral features of the people.
(2.) A brief delineation of a few of the more remarkable traits in their character will suffice to shew that the modern Waldenses,-lineal descendants of ancient worthies, and inheriting both their names and possessions,—compared with most other christians, must be considered a very exemplary race of men. Those crimes which require the punishment of the magistrate, are of very rare occurrence. The stranger may pass through the country, by day or night, unmolested ; and to this day, -as above two centuries ago, when De Vignaux wrote his.“ Memoires,”—the Vaudoises are preferred to others as domestics, by Roman catholics ;-an honourable, indeed, but a dangerous preference! From other virtues conspicuous amongst the Vaudois the following may, in this rapid sketch, be more particularly specified; patient INDUSTRY, HUMANITY, and LOYALTY.
Their poverty and privations are extreme. The hardships they endure in procuring the necessary food for their families, are such as we rarely witness. Compelled to raise walls even to prevent the scanty portions of soil on the sides of the mountains from being washed down by heavy rains; obliged to break up that soil by manual labour, since no cattle can be used to plough it; forced, (women as well as men,) on account of the steepness of the ground, to carry hay, corn, &c. on their backs to a great distance, and thus undertake the drudgery assigned to cattle in England; and, after this excessive labour, obtaining, iu the generality of instances, only rye, coarse buck-wheat, chestnuts, and potatoes for their subsistence;-it is obvious that their patient INDUSTRY is such as to be almost unequalled.
The HUMANITY they have displayed on se
veral occasions is also well worthy of remark. So circumstanced as to be always in need of the sympathy of others, they have learnt that beneficial lesson which is usually acquired in the school of affliction,-compassion for others when in misery. If any one is ill, the neighbours cheerfully and gratuitously sit up at night in the sick-chamber, and there is even a competition who shall pay the first and the greatest attentions. In case of an accident that a poor person has met with, a sermon is sometimes preached, and a collection made. But this kindness is by no means confined to their own friends. Whilst the Roman catholics around usually relieve the necessitous of their own church, the Vaudois give what they can spare to the destitute of either communion. There is one illustrious instance, in particular, of their humanity, which should not pass unnoticed. When the Austrians and Russians, under marshal Suwarrow, compelled the French army to retreat, three hundred wounded French soldiers received all the assistance, with respect to medicines, &c. that could be given; and at the request of M. Rostaing their minister, the inhabitants of Bobi carried these poor men on their shoulders over the mountains to the French territory ;-a most painful task, as those can well attest who have taken the tedious and difficult road of the mountains from Piedmont to Dauphiné. Their conduct appears to have been a pure act of humanity, not the result of political feelings; yet, but for the generous interposition of Prince Bagration with the commander-in-chief, it would have exposed them and their property to considerable danger. The Austrians could not withhold their admiration; and the French general-Suchet-published an order of the day for the very purpose of acknowledging such a singular instance of benevolence.
Still more recently they have exemplified the same humane feelings, on an occasion which His Excellency, Count Waldbourg Truchsess, the King of Prussia's ambassador at the court of Turin, thus describes in a communication with which the editor was honoured, dated
Turin, 18 Anut. 1825.--.J'ignore si vous êtes informé, Monsieur, que les Vaudois ont fait de leur propre mouvement, une collecte entre eux, en faveur des Hollandois qui ont souffert par les dernieres inondations; cette collecte a rapporté plus de 3,000 f'. et a été envoyée en Hollande, où elle a excité la plus vive reconnoissance; il est effectivement touchant de voir la liste de souscription des diverses communes.