April 15.Today we saw a continuation of much the same scenery that we greatly enjoyed between Spezia and Genoa. The scenery of the Riviera has not been exaggerated and we feel richly rewarded for all the fatigue of traveling. I am very, very glad that we have seen the coast of the Mediterranean. It is grand and rugged beyond description. The beautiful curves of the shore bring into view the precipitous cliffs, the islands bearing only a single picturesque rock, the towns coming down to the water’s edge, and the many high, jagged rocks, often perpendicular. The curves enabled us to look occasionally into the tunnels, of which there are one hundred and one between Genoa and Nice. Near us as we journeyed were beautiful unfamiliar wild flowers, among them a showy red wild flower and masses of a low purple flower. I wondered if it could be heather. We passed through immense and dense olive orchards and saw fig trees, palms, lemon, orange and tangerine trees, some of them full of fruit; grape vines also and cultivated flowers. Beyond these were the mountains, many of them bare. Grand clouds hovered over a multitude of billowy summits. At three different points we saw the snowy summits of the Maritime Alps. The remarkable colors of the Mediterranean called forth our admiration. Sometimes the color was the loveliest blue imaginablelike the sky. At other times there were beautiful stripes of emerald green and indigo blue. We have had a most delightful clay. The only thing to mar it was the baggage examination in Ventimiglia There was no trouble, but how tiresome it was standing and waiting so long for our turn and then the hurry and flurry of getting back into our train with the fear always of losing our seats or being left.
We left Genoa at 9:25 this morning and reached Nice at 2:30. We are stopping at Hotel du Midi. L. says, “we have had a glorious ride along the Riviera.” It is difficult to realize that we are really in France. I wish to say that the dear little pink daisies followed us all the way today. The public washing pools with women washing around them followed us too. We are not yet accustomed to that strange sight. They are on the streets in conspicuous places.
We look down from our window into a beautiful garden where there are orange, lemon and palm trees, and other trees and shrubs which are strange to us. Some of them are in bloom. There is a lilac bush in blossom and a shrub salvia full of the scarlet blossoms. It is a high bush with a stout, tree-like stalk.
April 16.-This morning was spent in the hotel. This afternoon we have been to the Public Garden by the sea. We walked about and listened to the music and looked at the beautiful flower beds of cinerarias, pansies, primroses, very double pink and white daisies, and two beds of cyclamen with a variety of shades and colors, besides many palm trees and unknown shrubs. We walked on Avenue de la Gare, which is lined and arched with fine, large sycamore trees. In nearly all the foreign cities we have noticed the absence of shade trees on the streets. In the stores we saw rare and beautiful flowers. There are immense eucalyptus trees here, enormous cactus plants and striped and green century plants that are very large and ornamental. Yuccas,. both green and striped, grow very large here. We seem to be in a different world. In the park is a fine grotto with ducks swimming in the water. In the stores we bought rubbers, photos and postais.
April 17.-The great eucalyptus trees are shaken by the wind this rainy morning and make a strange noise. I have been looking at our views of Nice.
Later.-L. and I took a tram and rode to the port of Nice this afternoon, notwithstanding the weather. There we saw our stars and stripes waving on an American man-of-war. It seemed like a friend. We walked about and went into a church. On leaving the church we tried to walk again, but finding it too windy we took another tram and returned home. We were caught by the rain in the, station which is opposite the hotelit began to pour. Soldiers were there wearing red caps, red epaulets, red trousers and blue coats with brass buttons-a very different uniform from the one worn by many Italian soldiers. Every-where in Italy there were always soldiers; I wonder if it is so in France.
April 18.-The rain continues this morning. L. went to Place Massena and bought illustrated postals. I remained in the hotel. After lunch we rode in a tram to St. Maurice where we saw fine villas with beautiful grounds. Oh, the roses and other flowers that we saw ! I stood by some climbing nasturtiums which were full of blossoms and nearly twelve feet high. Geraniums on a wall were nearly six feet high. Nice has lovely suburbs and the most beautiful streets we have seen in any city. The railway stations are fine.
The President of the Republic is to leave the station close by here at half-past six this evening. Long rows of people are collecting to see him. We shall not go. L. took a picture of an orange tree (where a bird sings very sweetly) in the garden. We wonder who he is. The waiter says he is a nightingale-rossignol. We hope to hear a genuine nightingale before returning to America.
Later.We saw the President, M. Faure, after all, from an upper window, which was almost as near as the crowd could get. L. looked at him through the field glass and I with my far-seeing glasses. He is a stout, thick-set, gray-haired man. A red carpet was spread for him to walk on and red, white and blue banners were arranged over the en-trance at the station. Plants and flowers ornamented each side of the doorway. So we have seen the President of France!
The showy trees here which are covered with yellow blossoms are mimosa trees.
April 19.In, the flower market this morning we saw very lovely flowers. It was a beautiful sightthe blossoms were so large and fine ! Cinerarias were there in perfection. On our way to take the tram we saw a large bed of double poppies of different shades and colors, great beds of double daisies, pure white, deep red, and different shades of pink. Everything grows luxuriantly here.
Nice is situated on both sides of the river Paillon. There this morning we saw a hundred or more women washing on the stony banks of the river. They were kneeling on the stones and using them for rubbing boards. The clothes were drying on the wall which is one of the embankments of the river or were spread out on its stony bed. Here we took another tram which carried us to the high hill over-looking the port. A long climb we had up this high promontory. On the way up we had fine views of the port and of the mountains beyond and from the summit or “chateau” a splendid view of the city and the sea with the mountains all about us. The colors of the Mediterranean were exquisite.
Later.After lunch this noon we rested a little and then started for Cimiez to see the Queen of England ! We did see her! We had an excellent view of her in spite of her parasol! L. says he “will give her the creditshe held up her parasol pretty high.” “She evidently was laying down the law to the lady who sat by her side,” L. said. He thought the Queen of England was “speaking rather snappishly,” and so it seemed to me. She looks old, with shoulders somewhat bent. Her face resembles her pictures. She did not appear to be aware that a crowd of spectators was there to see her. As she sat in her carriage she appeared short with a round, full face and a good deal of color. A large white plume adorned her bonnet. A soldier stood on guard by a sentry box. We saw a company of French soldiers march into the yard and arrange themselves in a double line where the Queen was to pass. One of the soldiers blew a horn as the Queen, in a carriage drawn by two light iron grey horses, passed out at the gate. An out-rider preceded the carriage. After the Queen had seated herself in her carriage one of her Indian attendants, dressed in native costume, handed the Queen her open parasol.
It was the Queen’s daughter Beatrice who sat by her side in the carriage.
The Hotel Excelsior Regina, where the Queen is stopping, is a fine building and beautifully located. She must have lovely views from the hotel, not only of the sea and mountains, but of the city also.
The ride back and forth from Cimiez was delightful. I said to L. that it seemed almost like riding through Paradise. We never in all our lives saw so many roses. How beautiful they were ! I felt almost like jumping out of the tram. They covered long pieces of high wall and hung over the top of the wall in masses, meeting those that were climbing to the top on the other side. We passed many fine villas, the grounds filled with beautiful trees and flowers. I noticed a large bed of wall flowers, from yellow to a lovely brown and these colors mixed. There were hedges of roses; olive trees; fig trees; very large bamboo trees; one extraordinary cactus, with long, round stalks, monstrous and different from the kind we saw in Naples where they seemed to grow on al-most nothing, hanging from banks and walls; and fine century plants with enormous blossom stalks. We walked all about the ruins of an old Roman amphitheatre which we considered very interesting.
April 21.-Going to Monte Carlo and into the gambling saloons was certainly a strange experience to us. It made yesterday a tiresome, although interesting, day. After climbing a little we sat down in one of the summer houses and ate our lunch. When we had eaten we climbed up still farther to the Casino where we applied for admission to the gambling saloons. Even in Italy I was obliged to tie a wrap or nubia around my bonnet for warmth. In the Casino the officials objected to my headgear. They said their rules required a hat. I urged L. to go without me but he was unwilling. In desperation I walked away to a corner by myself and removed the offensive wrap from the bonnet. When I presented myself the poor bonnet seemed entirely satisfactory. On entering the rooms we found about a dozen oblong tables. Twenty or thirty gamblers were seated around each table with half as many more participants standing at the tables throwing down their money. Very few were merely lookers-on as -we were. It seemed like business, more than pleasure, to most of them. At several of the tables the games were played by cards but most of them by wheels. L. says “it was the most cold blooded iniquity he ever witnessed.” More men were there than women, but there were a number of well dressed ladies. All were silent. There were piles of silver and gold on the tables and not a few bank notes. L. says “it tires him to think of it now.” They raked in the money with long handles (we don’t know what to call them) as though it were only pebbles or marbles. We remained there some time, passing from one table to another, watching the faces of those who were playing. We sat down awhile. In the evening, when the elegant chandeliers are lighted, the sumptuously furnished saloons must present a rich and brilliant appearance. There were some anxious faces there but with most of them it seemed to be just. cool business.
We found Monte Carlo a most beautiful place. There are handsome, showy buildings and the finest display of flowers we have yet seen. Many of them were new to us. The arrangement of the beds is fine. Great masses of flowers, the colors harmonizing beautifully, and in perfect taste, extended a long distance in front of the Casino. It is beautiful enough for Heaven, and yet in such a wicked place! There are large rubber trees there and all the other beautiful trees; callas were blooming in the ground; there was a strange vine, called bougainvillea, which covered the walls with its showy magenta blossoms. From the cars we saw great masses of pink ivy geranium blossoms covering the all more than ten by twenty feet. These are difficult to cultivate at home. We saw more century plant stalks, high enough for telegraph poles. Many had gone to seed. How I longed to see a blossom !
On our return we found our mail from London. I am anxious about our native land. We fear there is to be war with Spain !
Monaco, ruled by a Prince, consists only of the town of Monaco and a small adjoining territory of six square miles which includes Monte Carlo. While at Monte Carlo we looked across the water to the old town with the lovely sea in front and the great towering cliffs about it. We passed through it in the cars, both going and returning. It reminded me somewhat of Naples, with its promontories extending into the sea, but Naples has not the background that Monaco has. Naples is built on high cliffs, but Monaco and Monte Carlo have their great cliffs far above them and back of them.
There is a shrub here which we have seen everywhere in Italy. It has shining green leaves and white blossoms with the fragrance of orange blossoms. It is called pittosporum. Sometimes the leaves are variegatedgreen and white.
Later.We have been this afternoon to Cimiez again, partly for the ride and partly to see Queen Victoria once more. She was again starting for a ride. Her face wore a look of pleased expectation. Soldiers stood at the entrance to the hotel, wearing blue trousers, black coats and Tam O’Shanter caps. A lady told me they were the Alpine Chasseurs. A band dressed in French uniform was playing when we reached there.
We walked a short distance towards home to see the enormous century stalks, and stood close by them. They had not gone to seedthe great buds had bursted and looked as though they would soon show color. How high up they were ! Too high to see the buds to advantage. One stalk, L. thought, was between twenty and twenty-five feet high. We looked at the buds through our field glass.
As we walked along by a hedge of roses this afternoon L. plucked a large, beautiful bouquet, as they seemed to be growing wild.
I forgot to say that we saw yesterday at Monte Carlo a bed of petunias, but they were not so large and beautiful as E.’s wonderful petunias in California.
Later.-An English gentleman who boards at this hotel has learned that we were quite right about Queen Victoriathat she was in rather bad humor the first time we saw her. We hear that the Queen today was on her way to visit the once beautiful ex-Empress Eugenie, who has a villa on Cape Martin at the end of the promontory, and is ill there. We were sure that Queen Victoria was looking forward with pleasure to her ride ; every thing indicated that. I am pleased that we saw the Queen of England under those circumstances and now that we have seen her twice it was interesting to see her when she was, perhaps, rather out of sorts.
April 22-This morning while L. and I were walking out together we saw wonderful sprays of yellow roses hanging from a tree. We walked on Boulevard Victor Hugo. No business is there and no tramsonly villas, hotels and pensions. This Boulevard and Avenue de la Gare seem to be the two finest streets in Nice. Orange trees were in fuller bloom than any we had seen elsewhere. This after-noon we rode to Californie, where, from the shore of the Mediterranean, we had a long-to-be-remembered view of Nice with almost a half circle of environs. L. says he “never will forget that magnificent view.” From the shore we picked up pebbles. During the delightful ride we saw wonderful displays of wisterias and climbing roses, pink, yellow and white, some of them hanging from trees. After our return, before going to the hotel we looked at a fine long row of palm trees by the station, very ornamental, and at five enormous century plants with tall blossom stalks. I wish I might have seen the blossom of the century plant as well as the stalks and buds. Always when a child it seemed so wonderful to me that this plant must be a hundred years old, or nearly that age, before it would bloom, but now I am told that it is not true. We thought some of the buds would open in a week but we cannot wait to see them ; we must hasten on. We are very glad that we came to Nice and to the Riviera. Our stay in this charming city has been delightful. The dust, complained of by many, we have not had; there has been some rain instead.