At Mentone.—II [2/2]
Constance Fenimore Woolson
Short Fiction, Travelogue, Serial
Scientific Practitioners, Geology, Nomenclature, Romanticism, Oceanography, Botanical Gardens, Aesthetics, Feeling, Anti-Scientism
The boorish Professor Mackenzie, who refuses to accompany the rest of the party along the French Riviera to Capo San Martino, instead spends his time 'examining the rocks', and when his travelling companions return he tells them, 'This is a formation similar to that which we may see in the process of construction at the present moment off the coast of Florida [...]. It is conglomerate'. The ever sarcastic Innes, however, interjects, 'That word conglomerate is one of the most useful terms I know [...]. It covers everything: like Renaissance'. As they contemplate the glistening Mediterranean Sea, a female member of the party exclaims, 'It certainly is the fairest water in the world [...]. It must be the reflection of heaven', but the Professor at once explains prosaically that 'It is the proportion of salt [...] held in solution in the Mediterranean' that makes it appear to be a deeper and more lustrous blue than the Atlantic. (368) Later, when the party visit the casinos and other attractions of Monte Carlo, the female narrator, Jane Jefferson, reflects that 'Not a grain in the Professor's composition responded to the invitation of the siren Chance [...]. The lovely garden he appreciated only botanically; the view he could not see [...] while the music, the heavenly music, was to him no more than the housewife's clatter of tin pans' (385).
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