Aix in Savoy, Sept. 30th.
We are this minute come in here, and here's an awkward abb'e this minute come in to us. I asked him if he would sit down. Oui, oui, oui. He has ordered us a radish soup for supper, and has brought a chess-board to play with Mr. Conway. I have left 'em in the act, and am set down to write to you. Did you ever see any thing like the prospect we saw yesterday? I never did. We rode three leagues to see the Grande Chartreuse; (168) expected bad roads and the finest convent in the kingdom. We were disappointed pro and con. The building is large and plain, and has nothing remarkable but its primitive simplicity; they entertained us in the neatest manner, with eggs, pickled salmon, dried fish, conserves, cheese, butter, grapes, and figs, and pressed us mightily to lie there. We tumbled into the hands of a lay-brother, who, unluckily having the charge of the meal and bran, showed us little besides. They desired us to set down our names in the list of strangers, where, among others, we found two mottos of our countrymen, for whose stupidity and brutality we blushed. The first was of Sir j * * * D * * *, who had wrote down the first stanza of justum et tenacem, altering the last line to Mente quatit Carthusiana. The second was of one D * *, Coelum ipsum petimus stultitia; et hic ventri indico bellum. The Goth!-But the road, West, the road! winding round a prodigious mountain, and surrounded with others, all shagged with hanging woods, obscured with pines, or lost in clouds! Below, a torrent breaking through cliffs, and tumbling through fragments of rocks! Sheets of @cascades forcing their silver speed down channelled precipices, and hasting into the roughened river at the bottom! Now and then an old foot-bridge, with a broken rail, a leaning cross, a cottage, or the ruin of an hermitage! This sounds too bombast and too romantic to one that has not seen it, too cold for one that has. If I could send you my letter post between two lovely tempests that echoed each other's wrath you might have some idea of this noble roaring scene, as you were reading it. Almost on the summit, upon a fine verdure, but without any prospect, stands the Chartreuse. We staid there two hours, rode back through this charming picture, wished for a painter, wished to be poets! Need I tell you we wished for you? Good night!
Geneva, Oct. 2.
By beginning a new date, I should begin a new letter; but I have seen nothing yet, and the Post is going Out: 'tis a strange tumbled dab, and dirty too, I am sending you; but what can I do? There is no possibility of writing such a long history over again. I find there are many English in the town; Lord Brook, (169) Lord Mansel, (170) Lord Hervey's eldest son,(171) and a son of-of Mars and Venus, or of Antony and Cleopatra, or, in short, of-. This is the boy, in the bow of whose hat Mr. Hedges pinned a pretty epigram. I don't know if you ever heard it; I'll suppose you never did, because it will fill up my letter:
"Give but Cupid's dart to me, Another Cupid I shall be: No more distinguish'd from the other, Than Venus would be from my mother."
Scandal says, Hedges thought the two last very like; and it says too, that she was not his enemy for thinking so.
Adieu! Gray and I return to Lyons in three days. Harry stays here. Perhaps at our return we may find a letter from you: it ought to be very full of excuses, for you have been a lazy creature: I hope you have, for I would not owe your silence to any other reason. Yours ever.
(168) It was on revisiting it, when returning to England after his unfortunate quarrel with Walpole, that Gray inscribed his beautiful "Alcaic Ode" in the album of the fathers of this monastery. Gray's account of this grand scene, where "not a precipice, not a torrent, not a cliff, but is pregnant with religion and poetry," will be found in his letter to West, dated Turin, Nov. 16, N. S. 1739. Works, vol. ii. p. 69.-E.
(169) Francis Lord Brooke, advanced to the dignity of Earl Brooke in 1746.-E.
(170) Thomas Lord Mansell, who died in 1743, without issue. He was succeeded in the title by his uncles Christopher and Bussy; and, On the death of the latter in 1744, it became extinct.-E.
(171) George William Hervey, who succeeded his grandfather as Earl of Bristol in 1751, and died Unmarried in 1775.-E.
138 Letter 14 To Richard West, Esq. Turin, Nov. 11, 1739, N. S.
So, as the song says, we are in fair Italy! I wonder we are; for on the very highest precipice of Mount Cenis, the devil of discord, in the similitude of sour wine, had got amongst our Alpine savages, and set them a-fighting with Gray and me in the chairs: they rushed him by me on a crag, where there was scarce room for a cloven foot. The least slip had tumbled us into such a fog, and such an eternity, as we should never have found our way out of again. We were eight days in coming hither from Lyons; the four last in crossing the Alps. Such uncouth rocks, and such uncomely inhabitants! My dear West, I hope I shall never see them again! At the foot of Mount Cenis we were obliged to quit our chaise, which was taken all to pieces and loaded on mules; and we were carried in low arm-chairs on poles, swathed in beaver bonnets, beaver gloves, beaver stockings, muffs, and bear-skins. When we came to the top, behold the snows fallen! and such quantities, and conducted by such heavy clouds that hung glouting, that I thought we could never have waded through them. The descent is two leagues, but steep and rough as O * * * * father's face, over which, you know, the devil walked with hobnails in his shoes. But the dexterity and nimbleness of the mountaineers are inconceivable: they run with you down steeps and frozen precipices, where no man, as men are now, could possibly walk. We had twelve men and nine mules to carry us, our servants, and baggage, and were above five hours in this agreeable jaunt The day before, I had a cruel accident, and so extraordinary an one, that it seems to touch upon the traveller. I had brought with me a little black spaniel of King Charles's breed; but the prettiest, fattest, dearest creature! I had let it out of the chaise for the air, and it was waddling along close to the head of the horses, on the top of the highest Alps, by the side of a wood of firs. There darted out a young wolf, seized poor dear Tory (172) by the throat, and, before we could possibly prevent it, sprung up the side of the rock and carried him off. The postilion jumped off and struck at him with his whip, but in vain. I saw it and screamed, but in vain; for the road was so narrow, that the servants that were behind could not get by the chaise to shoot him. What is the extraordinary part is, that it was but two o'clock, and broad sunshine. It was shocking to see anything one loved run away with to so horrid a death. .... .
Just coming out of Camber, which is a little nasty old hole, I copied an inscription set up at the end of a great road, which was practised through an immense solid rock by bursting it asunder with gunpowder. The Latin is pretty enough, and so I send it you:
"Carolus Emanuel II. Sab. dux, Pedem. princeps, Cypri rex,public'a felicitate part'a, singulorum commodis intentus, breviorem securioremque viam regiam, natur'a occlusam, Romanis intentatam, mteris desperatam, dejectis scopulorum repagulus, aquata montiuminiquitate, quae cervicibus imminebant precipitia pedibus substernens, aeternis populorum commerciis patefecit. A.D. 1670."
We passed the Pas de Suze, where is a strong fortress on a rock, between two very neighbouring mountains; and then, through a fine avenue of three leagues, we at last discovered Tturin:—
"E l'un k l'altro mostra, ed in tanto oblia La noia, e'l mal 'delta passata via."'
'Tis really by far one of the prettiest cities I have seen; not one of your large straggling ones that can afford to have twenty dirty suburbs, but, clean and compact, very new and very regular. The king's palace is not of the proudest without, but of the richest within; painted, gilt, looking-glassed, very costly, but very tawdry; in short, a very popular palace. We were last night at the Italian comedy-the devil of a house and the devil of actors! Besides this, there is a sort of an heroic tragedy, called "La rapprentatione dell' Anima Damnata."(173) A woman, a sinner, comes in and makes a solemn prayer to the Trinity: enter Jesus Christ and the Virgin: he scolds, and exit: she tells the woman her son is very angry, but she don't know, she will see what she can do. After the play we were introduced to the assembly, which they call the conversazione: there were many people playing at ombre, pharaoh, and a game called taroc, with cards so high, (174) to the number of seventy-eight. There are three or four English here Lord Lincoln,(175) with Spence,(176) your professor of poetry; a Mr. B*** and a Mr. C*** a man that never utters a syllable. We have tried all stratagems to make him speak. Yesterday he did at last open his mouth, and said Bec. all laughed so at the novelty of the thing that he shut it again, and will never speak more. I think you can't complain now of my not writing to you. What a volume of trifles! I wrote just the fellow to it from Geneva; had it you? Farewell! Thine.
(172) This incident is described also by Gray in one of his letters to his mother. "If the dog," he adds, "had not been there, and the creature had thought fit to lay hold of one of the horses, chaise and we, and all, must inevitably have tumbled above fifty fathoms perpendicularly down the precipice."-E.
(173) This representation is also mentioned by Spence, in a letter to his mother:-"In spite of the excellence," he says, "of the actors, the greatest part of the entertainment to me was the countenances of the people in the pit and boxes. When the devils were like to carry off the Damned Soul, every body was in the utmost consternation and when St. John spoke so obligingly to her, they were ready to cry out for joy. When the Virgin appeared on the stage, every body looked respectful; and, on several words spoke by the actors, they pulled off, their hats, and crossed themselves. What can you think of a people, where their very farces are religious, and where they are so religiously received? It was from such a play as this (called Adam and Eve) that Milton when he was in Italy, is said to have taken the first hint for his divine poem of "Paradise Lost." What small beginnings are there sometimes to the greatest things!-E.
(174) In the manuscript the writing of this word is extraordinary tall.
(175) Henry ninth Earl of Lincoln, who having, in 1744, married Catherine, eldest daughter and heiress of the Right Honourable Henry Pelham, inherited, in 1768, the dukedom of Newcastle-under-Line at the demise of the countess's uncle, Thomas Pelham Holles, who, in 1756, had been created Duke of Newcastle-under-Line, with special remainder to the Earl of Lincoln.-E.
(176) The Rev. Joseph Spence, the author of one of the best collections of ana the English language possesses-the well-known "Anecdotes, Observations, and Characters of Books and Men," of which the best edition is that edited by Singer.-E.
140 Letter 15 To Richard West, Esq. >From Bologna, 1739.
I don't know why I told Ashton I would send you an account of what I saw: don't believe it, I don't intend it. Only think what a vile employment 'tis, making catalogues! And then one should have that odious Curl (177) get at one's letters, and publish them like Whitfield's Journal, or for a supplement to the Traveller's Pocket Companion. Dear West, I protest against having seen any thing but what all the world has seen; nay, I have not seen half that, not-some of the most common things; not so much as a miracle. Well, but you don't expect it, do you? Except pictures. and statues, we are not very fond of sights; don't go a-staring after crooked towers and conundrum staircases. Don't you hate, too, a jingling epitaph (178) of one Procul and one Proculus that is here? Now and then we drop in at a procession, or a high-mass, hear the music, enjoy a strange attire, and hate the foul monkhood. Last week, was the feast of the Immaculate Conception. On the eve we went to the Franciscans' church to hear the academical exercises. There were moult and moult clergy, about two dozen dames, that treated one another with illustrissima and brown kisses, the vice-legate, the gonfalonier, and some senate. The vice-legate, whose conception was not quite so immaculate, is a young personable person, of about twenty, and had on a mighty pretty cardinal-kind of habit; 'twould make a delightful masquerade dress. We asked his name: Spinola. What, a nephew of the cardinal-legate? Signor, no: ma credo che gli sia qualche cosa. He sat on the right hand with the gonfalonier in two purple fauteuils. Opposite was a throne of crimson damask, with the device of the Academy, the Gelati; and trimmings of gold. Here sat at a table, in black, the head of' the academy, between the orator and the first poet At two semicircular tables on either hand sat three poets and three; silent among many candles. The chief made a little introduction, the orator a long Italian vile harangue. Then the chief, the poet, and the poets,-who were a Franciscan, an Olivetan, an old abb'e, and three lay,-read their compositions; and to-day they are pasted up in all parts of the town. As we came out of the church, we found all the convent and neighbouring houses lighted all over with lanthorns of red and yellow paper, and two bonfires. But you are sick of this foolish ceremony; I'll carry you to no more -. I will only mention, that we found the Dominicans' church here in mourning for the inquisitor: 'twas all hung with black cloth, furbelowed and festooned with yellow gauze. We have seen a furniture here in a much prettier taste; a gallery of Count Caprara's: in the panels between the windows are pendent trophies of various arms taken by one of his ancestors from the Turks. They are whimsical, romantic, and have a pretty effect. I looked about, but could not perceive the portrait of the lady at whose feet they were indisputably offered. In coming out of Genoa we were more lucky; found the very spot where Horatio and Lothario were to have fought, "west of the town, a mile among the rocks."
My dear West, in return for your epigrams of Prior, I will transcribe some old verses too, but which I fancy I can show you in a sort of a new light. They are no newer than Virgil, and what is more odd, are in the second Georgic. 'Tis, that I have observed that he not only excels when he is like himself, but even when he is very like inferior poets: you will say that they rather excel by being like him: but mind, they are all near one another:
"Si non ingenter oribus domus alta superbis Mane sa@atame totis vomit Eedibus uridam:"
And the four next lines; are they not just like Martial? In the following he is as much Claudian"
"Illum non populi fasces, non purpura regum Flexit, et infidos agitans discordia fratres; Aut conjurato descendens Dacus ab Istro."
Then who are these like?
"nec ferrea jura, insanumque forum, aut populi tabularia vidit. Sollicitant alii remis freta ceca, ruuntque In ferrum, penetrant aulas et limina regum. Hic petit excidiis urbem miseresque Penates, Ut gemma, bibat, et Sarrano indormiat ostro."
Don't they seem to be Juvenal's?-There are some more, which to me resemble, Horace; but perhaps I think so from his having some on a parallel subject. Tell me if I am mistaken; these are they:
"Interea dulces pendent eircum oscula nati: Casta pudicitiam servat domus-"
inclusively to the end of these:
"Hanc olim veteres vitam colti'ere Sabini Hanc Remus et frater: sic fortis Etruria crevit, Scilicet et retum facta est pulcherrima Roma."
If the imagination is whimsical; well at least, 'tis like me to have imagined it. Adieu, child! We leave Bologna to-morrow. You know 'tis the third city in Italy for pictures: knowing that, you know all. We shall be three days crossing the Apennine to Florence: would it were over!
My dear West, I am yours from St. Peter's to St. Paul's!
(177) Edmund Curll, the well-known bookseller. The letters between Pope and many of his friends falling into Curll's hands, they were by him printed and sold. As the volume contained some letters from noblemen, Pope incited a prosecution against him in the House of Lords for breach of privilege; but, when the orders of the House were examined, none of them appeared to have been infringed: Curll went away triumphant, and Pope was left to seek some other remedy.-E.
(178) The Epitaph on the outside of the wall of the church of St. Proculo-
Si procul 'a Proculo Proculi campana fuisset, Jam procul 'a Proculo Proculus ipse foret. A.D. 1392.
142 Letter 16 To Richard West, Esq. Florence, Jan. 24, 1740, N. S.
Dear West, I don't know what volumes I may send you from Rome; from Florence I have little inclination to send you any. I see several things that please me calmly, but 'a force d'en avoir vu I have left off screaming Lord! this! and Lord! that! To speak sincerely, Calais surprised me more than any thing I have seen since. I recollect the joy I used to propose if I could but once see the great duke's gallery; I walk into it now with as little emotion as I should into St. Paul's. The statues are a congregation of good sort of people, that I have a great deal of unruffled regard for. The farther I travel the less I wonder at any thing: a few days reconcile one to a new spot, or an unseen custom; and men are so much the same every where, that one scarce perceives any change of situation. The same weaknesses, the same passions that in England plunge men into elections, drinking, whoring, exist here, and show themselves in the shapes of Jesuits, Cicisbeos, and Corydon ardebat Alexins. The most remarkable thing I have observed since I came abroad, is, that there are no people so obviously mad as the English. The French, the Italians, have great follies, great faults; but then they are so national, they cease to be striking. In England, tempers vary so excessively, that almost every one's faults are peculiar to himself. I take this diversity to proceed partly from our climate, partly from our government: the first is changeable, and makes us queer; the latter permits our queernesses to operate as they please. If one could avoid contracting this queerness, it must certainly be the most entertaining to live in England, where such a variety of incidents continually amuse. The incidents of a week in London would furnish all Italy with news for a twelvemonth. The only two circumstances of moment in the life of an Italian, that ever give occasion to their being mentioned, are, being married, and in a year after taking a cicisbeo. Ask the name, the husband, the wife, or the cicisbeo, of any person, et voila qui est fini. Thus, child, 'tis dull dealing here! Methinks your Spanish war is little more livel By the gravity of the proceedings, one would think both nations were Spaniard. Adieu! Do you remember my maxim, that you used to laugh at? Every body does every thing, and nothing comes on't. I am more convinced of it now than ever. I don't know whether S***w,'s was not still better, Well, gad, there is nothing in nothing. You see how I distil all my speculations and improvements, that they may lie in a small compass. Do you remember the story of the prince, that, after travelling three years, brought home nothing but a nut? They cracked it: in it was wrapped up a piece of silk, painted with all the kings, queens, kingdoms. and every thing in the world: after many unfoldings, out stepped a little dog, shook his ears, and fell to dancing a saraband. There is a fairy tale for you. If I had any thing as good as your old song, I would send it too; but I can only thank you for it, and bid you good night. Yours ever.
P. S. Upon reading my letter, I perceive still plainer the sameness that reigns here; for I find I have said the same thing ten times over. I don't care, I have made out a letter, and that was all my affair.
143 Letter 17 To Richard West, Esq. Florence, February 27, 1740, N. S.
Well, West, I have found a little unmasqued moment to Write to you; but for this week past I have been so muffled up in my domino, that I have not had the command of my elbows. But what have you been doing all the mornings? Could you not write then?-No, then I was masqued too; I have done nothing but slip out of my domino into bed, and out of bed into my domino. The end of the Carnival is frantic, bacchanalian; all the morn one makes parties in masque to the shops and coffee-houses, and all the evening to the operas and balls. Then I have danced, good gods! how have I danced! The Italians are fond to a degree of our country dances: Cold and raw-they only know by the tune; Blowzybella is almost Italian, and Buttered peas is Pizelli ag buro. There are but three days more; but the two last are to have balls all the morning at the fine unfinished palace of the Strozzi; and the Tuesday night a masquerade after supper: they sup first, to eat gras, and not encroach upon Ash-Wednesday. What makes masquerading more agreeable here than in England, is the great deference that is showed to the disguised. Here they do not catch at those little dirty opportunities of saying any ill-natured thing they know of you, do not abuse you because they may, or talk gross bawdy to a woman of quality. I found the other day, by a play of Etheridge's, that we have had a sort of Carnival even since the Reformation; Ytis in "She would if She could," they talk of going a-mumming in Shrove-tide.(179)-After talking so much of diversions, I fear you will attribute to them the fondness I own I contract for Florence; but it has so many other charms, that I shall not want excuses for my taste. The freedom of the Carnival has given me opportunities to make several acquaintances.; and if I have no found them refined, learned, polished, like some other cities, yet they are civil, good-natured, and fond of the English-. Their little partiality for themselves, opposed to the violent vanity of the French, makes them very amiable in my eyes. I can give you a comical instance of their great prejudice about nobility; it happened yesterday. While we were at dinner at Mr. Mann'S. (180) word was brought by his secretary, that a cavalier demanded audience of him upon an affair of honour. Gray and I flew behind the curtain of the door. An elderly gentleman, whose attire was not certainly correspondent to the greatness of his birth, entered, and informed the British minister, that one Martin. an English painter, had left a challenge for him at his house, for having said Martin was no gentleman. He would by no means have spoke of the duel before the transaction of it, but that his honour, his blood, his etc. would never permit him to fight with one who was no cavalier; which was what he came to inquire of his excellency. We laughed loud laughs, but unheard: his fright or his nobility had closed his ears. But mark the sequel: the instant he was gone, my very English curiosity hurried me out of the gate St. Gallo; 'twas the place and hour appointed. We had not been driving about above ten minutes, but out popped a little figure, pale but cross, with beard unshaved and hair uncombed, a slouched hat, and a considerable red cloak, in which was wrapped, under his arm, the fatal sword that was to revenge the highly injured Mr. Martin, painter and defendant. I darted my head out of the coach, just ready to say, " Your servant, Mr. Martin," and talk about the architecture of the triumphal arch that was building there; but he would not know me, and walked off. We left him to wait for an hour, to grow very cold and very valiant the more it grew past the hour of appointment. We were figuring all the poor creature's huddle of thoughts, and confused hopes of victory or fame, of his unfinished pictures, or his situation upon bouncing into the next world. You will think us strange creatures; but 'twas a pleasant sight, as we knew the poor painter was safe. I have thought of it since, and am inclined to believe that nothing but two English could have been capable of such a jaunt. I remember, 'twas reported in London, that the plague was at a house in the city, and all the town went to see it.
I have this instant received your letter. Lord! I am glad I thought of those parallel passages, since it made you translate them. 'Tis excessively near the original; and yet, I don't know, 'tis very easy too.-It snows here a little to-night, but it never lies but on the mountains. Adieu! Yours ever.
P.S. What is the history of the theatres this winter?
(179) Sir Charles Etheridge. "She would if She could," was brought out at the Duke of York's theatre in February, 1668: Pepys, who was present, calls it "a silly, dull thing; the design and end being mighty insipid."-E.
(180) Sir Horace Mann, created a baronet in 1755. He was appointed minister plenipotentiary from England to the court of Florence in 1740, and continued so until his death, on the 6th November 1786.-E.
145 Letter 18 To The Hon. Henry Seymour Conway, (181) Florence, March 6, 1740, N. S.
Harry, my dear, one would tell you what a monster you are, if one were not sure your conscience tells you so every time you think of me. At Genoa, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty-nine, I received the last letter from you; by your not writing to me since, I imagine you propose to make this a leap year. I should have sent many a scold after you in this long interval, had I known where to have scolded; but you told me you should leave Geneva immediately. I have despatched sundry inquiries into England after you, all fruitless. At last drops in a chance letter to Lady Sophy Farmor, (182) from a girl at Paris, that tells her for news, Mr. Henry Conway is here. Is he, indeed? and why was I to know it only by this scrambling way? Well, I hate you for this neglect, but I find I love you well enough to tell you so. But, dear now, don't let one fall into a train of excuses and reproaches; if the god of indolence is a mightier deity with you than the god of caring for one, tell me, and I won't dun you; but will drop your correspondence as silently as if I owed you money.
If my private consistency was of no weight with you, yet, is a man nothing who is within three days' journey of a conclave? Nay, for what you knew, I might have been in Rome. Harry, art thou so indifferent, as to have a cousin at the election of a pope (183) without courting him for news? I'll tell you, were I any where else, and even Dick Hammond were at Rome, I think verily I should have wrote to him. Popes, cardinals, adorations, coronations, St. Peter's! oh, what costly sounds! and don't you write to one yet? I shall set out in about a fortnight, and pray then think me of consequence.
I have crept on upon time from day to day here; fond of Florence to a degree: 'tis infinitely the most agreeable of all the places I have seen since London: that you know one loves, right or wrong, as one does one's nurse. Our little Arno is not bloated and swelling like the Thames, but 'tis vastly pretty, and, I don't know how, being Italian, has something visionary and poetical in its stream. Then one's unwilling to leave the gallery, and-but-in short, one's unwilling to get into a postchaise. I am surfeited with mountains and inns, as if I had eat them. I have many to pass before I see England again, and no Tory to entertain me on the road? Well, this thought makes me dull, and that makes me finish. Adieu! Yours ever.
P. S. Direct to me, (for to be sure you will not be so outrageous as to leave me quite off), recornmand4 i Mons. Mann, Ministre de sa Majest'e Britannique @ Florence.
(181) Second Son of Francis first Lord Conway. by Charlotte Shorter, his third wife. He was afterwards secretary in Ireland during the vice-royalty of William fourth Duke of Devonshire; groom of the bedchamber to George II. and George III.; secretary of state in 1765; lieutenant-general of the ordnance in 1770; commander in chief in 1782; and a field- marshal in 1793. This correspondence commences when Mr. Walpole was twenty-three years old, and Mr. Conway two years younger. They had gone abroad together, with Mr. Gray, in the year 1739, had spent three months together at Rheims, and afterwards separated at Geneva.
(182) Daughter of the first Earl of Pomfret, and married,, in 1744, to John second Lord Carteret and first Earl of Granville.-E.
(183) As successor of Clement XII., who died in the eighty-eighth year of his age, and the tenth of his pontificate, on the 6th Feb. 1740. The cardinals being uncertain whom to choose, Prosper Lamberteri, the learned and tolerant Archbishop of Ancona, said, with his accustomed good-humour, "If you want a saint, choose Gotti; if a politician, Aldrosandi: but if a good man, take me." His advice was followed, and he ascended the papal throne as Benedict XIV.-E.
146 Letter 19 To Richard West, Esq. Siena, March 22, 1740, N. S.
Dear West, Probably now you will hear something of the Conclave: we have left Florence, and are got hither on the way to a pope. In three hours' time we have seen all the good contents of this city: 'tis old, and very snug, with very few inhabitants. You must not believe Mr. Addison about the wonderful Gothic nicety of the dome: the materials are richer, but the workmanship and taste not near so good as in several I have seen. We saw a college of the Jesuits, where there are taught to draw above fifty boys: they are disposed in long chambers in the manner of Eton, but cleaner. N. B. We were not bolstered; (184) so we wished you with us. Our Cicerone, who has less classic knowledge, and more superstition than a colleger, upon showing 147 us the she-wolf, the arms of Siena, told us that Romolus and Remus were nursed by a wolf, per la volonta di Dio, si pu'o dire; and that one might see by the arms, that the same founders built Rome and Siena. Another dab of Romish superstition, not unworthy of Presbyterian divinity, we met with in a book of drawings: 'twas the Virgin standing on a tripod composed of Adam, Eve, and the Devil, to express her immaculate conception.
You can't imagine how pretty the country is between this and Florence; millions of little hills planted with trees, and tipped with villas or convents. We left unseen the great Duke's villas and several palaces in Florence, till our return from Rome: the weather has been so cold, how could one go to them? In Italy they seem to have found out how hot their climate is, but not how cold; for there are scarce any chimneys, and most of the apartments painted in fresco so that one has the additional horror of freezing with imaginary marble. The men hang little earthen pans of coals upon their wrists, and the women have portable stoves under their petticoats to warm their nakedness, and carry silver shovels in their pockets, with which their Cicisbeos stir them-Hush! by them, I mean their stoves. I have nothing more to tell you; I'll carry my letter to Rome and finish it there.
R'e di Coffano, March 23, where lived one of the three kings. The King of Coffano carried presents of myrrh, gold, and frankincense, I don't know where the devil he found them; for in all his dominions we have not seen the value of a shrub. We have the honour of lodging under his roof to-night. lord! such a place, such an extent of ugliness! A lone inn upon a black mountain, by the side of an old fortress! no curtains or windows, only shutters! no testers to the beds! no earthly thing to eat but some eggs and a few little fishes! This lovely spot is now known by the name of Radi-cofani. Coming down a steep hill with two miserable hackneys, one fell under the chaise; and while we were disengaging him, a chaise came by with a person in a red cloak, a white handkerchief on its head, and a black hat: we thought it a fat old woman; but it spoke in a shrill little pipe, and proved itself to be Senesini. (185) I forgot to tell you an inscription I copied from the portal of the dome of Siena:
Annus centenus Roma seraper est jubilenus: Crimina laxantur si penitet ista dortantur; Sic ordinavit Bonifacius et roboravit.
Rome, March 26
We are this instant arrived, tired and hungry! O! the charming city-I believe it is-for I have not seen a syllable yet, only the Pons Milvius and an obelisk. The Cassian and Flaminian ways were terrible disappointments; not one Rome tomb left; their very ruins ruined. The English are numberless. My dear West, I know at Rome you will not have a grain of pity for one; but indeed 'tis dreadful, dealing with schoolboys just broke loose, or old fools that are come abroad at forty to see the world, like Sir Wilful Witwould.
I don't know whether you will receive this, or any other I write; but though I shall write often, you and Ashton must not wonder if none come to you; for though I am harmless in my nature, my name has some mystery in it.(186) Good night! I have no more time or paper. Ashton, child, I'll write to you next post. Write us no treasons, be sure!
(184) An Eton phrase.
(185) Francesco Bernardi, better known by the name of Senesino, a celebrated singer, who, having been engaged for the opera company formed by Handel in 17@20, remained here as principal singer until 1726, when the state of his health compelled him to return to Italy. In 1730 he revisited England, where he remained until about 1734. He was the contemporary, if not the rival of Farinelli; and Mr. Hogarth, in his "Memoirs of the Musical Drama," (i. 431,) tells us, that when Senesino and Farinelli were in England together, they had not for some time the opportunity of hearing each other, in consequence of their engagements at different theatres. At last, however, they were both engaged to sing on the same stage. Senesino had the part of a furious tyrant, and Farinelli the part of an unfortunate hero in chains; but, in the course of the first act, the captive so softened the heart of the tyrant, that Senesino, forgetting his stage character, ran to Farinelli, and embraced him in his own.-E.
(186) He means the name of Walpole at Rome, where the Pretender and many of his adherents then resided.
148 letter 20 To Richard West, Esq. Rome, April 16th, 1740, N. S.
I'll tell you, West, because one is amongst new things, you think one can always write new things. When I first came abroad, every thing struck me, and I wrote its history: but now I am grown so used to be surprised, that I don't perceive any flutter in myself when I meet with any novelties; curiosity and astonishment wear off, and the next thing is, to fancy that other people nnow as much of places as One's Self; or, at least, one does not remember that they do not. It appears to me as odd to write to you of St. Peter's, as it would do to you to write of Westminster Abbey. Besides, as one looks at churches, etc. with a book of travels in one's hand, and sees every thing particularized there, it would appear transcribing, to write upon the same subjects. I know you will hate me for this declaration; I remember how ill I used to take it when any body served me so that was travelling. Well, I will tell you something, if you will love me: You have seen prints of the ruins of the temple of Minerva Medica; you shall only hear its situation, and then figure what a villa might be laid out there. 'Tis in the middle of a garden: at a little distance are two subterraneous grottos, which were the burial-places of the liberti of Augustus. There are all the niches and covers of the urns and the inscriptions remaining; and in one, very considerable remains of an ancient stucco Ceiling with paintings in grotesque. Some of the walks would terminate upon the Castellum Aquae Martioe, St. John Lateran, and St. Maria Maggiore, besides other churches; the walls of the garden would be two aqueducts. and the entrance through one of the old gates of Rome. This glorious spot is neglected, and only serves for a small vineyard and kitchen-garden.
I am very glad that I see Rome while it yet exists: before a great number of years are elapsed, I question whether it will be worth seeing. Between the ignorance and poverty of the present Romans, every thing is neglected and falling to decay; the villas are entirely out of repair, and the palaces so ill kept, that half the pictures are spoiled by damp. At the villa Ludovisi is a large oracular head of red marble, colossal, and with vast foramina for the eyes and mouth: the man that showed the palace said it was un ritratto della famiglia? The Cardinal Corsini has so thoroughly pushed on the misery of Rome by impoverishing it, that there is no money but paper to be seen. He is reckoned to have amassed three millions of crowns. You may judge of' the affluence the nobility live in, when I assure you, that what the chief princes allow for their own eating is a testoon a day; eighteen pence: there are some extend their expense to five pauls, or half a crown: Cardinal Albani is called extravagant for laying out ten pauls for his dinner and supper. You may imagine they never have any entertainments: so far from it, they never have any company. The princesses and duchesses particularly lead the dismallest of lives. Being the posterity of popes, though of worse families than the ancient nobility, they expect greater respect than my ladies the countesses and marquises will pay them; consequently they consort not, but mope in a vast palace with two mniserable tapers, and two or three monsignori, whom they are forced to court and humour, that they may not be entirely deserted. Sundays they do issue forth in a most unwieldy coach to the Corso.
In short 'child, after sunset one passes one's time here very ill; and if I did not wish for you in the mornings, it would be no compliment to tell you that I do in the evening. Lord! how many English I could change for you, and yet buy you wondrous cheap! And, then French and Germans I could fling into the bargain by dozens. Nations swarm here. You will have a great fat French cardinal garnished with thirty abb'es roll into the area of St. Peter's, gape, turn short, and talk of the chapel of Versailles. I heard one of them say t'other day, he had been at the Capitale. One asked of course how he liked it-.Oh! il y a assez de belles choses.
Tell Ashton I have received his letter, and will write next post but I am in a violent hurry and have no more time; so Gray finishes this delicately.
NOT so delicate; nor indeed would his conscience suffer him to write to you, till he received de vos nouvelles, if he had not the tail of another person's letter to use by way of evasion. I sha'n't describe, as being in the only place in the world that deserves it which may seem an odd reason-but they say as how it's fulsome, and every body does it (and I suppose every body says the same thing); else I should tell'you a vast deal about the Coliseum, and the Conclave, and the Capitol, and these matters. A-propos du Colis'ee, if you don't know what it is, the Prince Borghese will be very capable of giving you some account of it, who told an Englishman that asked what it was built for: "They say 'twas for Christians to fight with tigers in." We are just come from adoring a great piece of the true cross, St. Longinus's spear, and St. Veronica's handkerchief; all of which have been this evening exposed to view in St. Peter's. In the same place, and on the same occasion last night, Walpole saw a poor creature naked to the waist discipline himself with a scourge filled with iron prickles, till he made hii-nself a raw doublet, that he took for red satin torn, and showing the skin through. I should tell you, that he fainted away three times at the sight, and I twice and a half at the repetition of it. All this is performed by the light of a vast fiery cross, composed of hundreds of little crystal latmps, which appears through the great altar under the grand tribuna, as if hanging by itself in the air. All the confraternities of the city resort thither in solemn procession, habited in linen frocks, girt with a cord, and their heads covered with a cowl all over, that has only two holes before to see through. Some of these are all black, others parti-coloured and white: and with these masqueraders that vast church is filled, who are seen thumping their breasts, and kissing the pavement with extreme devotion. But methinks I am describing:-'tis an ill habit; but this, like every thing else will wear off We have sent you our compliments by a friend of yours, and correspondent in a corner, who seems a very agreeable man; one Mr. Williams; I am sorry he staid so little a while in Rome. I forget Porto-Bello (187) all this while; pray let us know where it is, and whether you or Ashton had any hand in the taking of'it. Duty to the admiral. Adieu! Ever yours,
(187) Porto-Bello, taken from the Spaniards by Admiral Vernon, with six ships only, On the 21st Nov. 1740. By the articles of the capitulation, the town was not to be plundered, nor the inhabitants molested in the smallest degree; and the governor and inhabitants expressed themselves in the highest terms, when speaking of the humanity and generosity with which they had been treated by the admiral and the officers of the squadron under his command.-E.
150 Letter 21 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Rome, April, 23, 1740, N. S.
As I have wrote you two such long letters lately, my dear Hal, I did not hurry myself to answer your last; but choose to write to poor SelWyn (188) Upon his illness. I pity you excessively upon finding him in such a situation- what a shock it must have been to you! He deserves so much love from all that know him, and you owe him so much friendship, that I can scarce conceive a greater shock. I am very glad you did not write to me till he was out of danger; for this great distance would have added to my pain, as I must have waited so long for another letter. I charge you, don't let him relapse into balls: he does not love them, and, if you please, your example may keep him out of them. You are extremely pretty people to be dancing and trading with French poulterers and pastry cooks, when a hard frost is starving half the nation, and the Spanish war ought to be employing the other half. We are much more public spirited here; we live upon the public news, and triumph abundantly upon the taking Porto-Bello. If you are not entirely debauched with your balls, you must be pleased with an answer of Lord Harrington's (189) to the governor of Rome. He asked him what they had determined about the vessel that the Spaniards took under the canon of Civita Vecchia, whether they had restored it to the English? The governor said, they had done justice. My lord replied, "If you had not, we should have' done it ourselves." Pray reverence our spirit, Lieutenant Hal.
Sir, MoscovitEO (190) is not a pretty woman, and she does sing ill; that's all.
My dear Harry, I must now tell you a little about myself, and answer your questions. How I like the inanimate part of Rome you will soon perceive at my arrival in England; I am far gone in medals, lamps, idols, prints, etc." and all the small commodities to the purchase of which I can attain; I would buy the Coliseum if I could: Judge. My mornings are spent in the most agreeable manner; my evenings ill enough. Roman conversations are dreadful things! such untoward mawkins as the princesses! and the princes are worse. Then the whole city is littered with French and German abb'es, who make up a dismal contrast with the inhabitants. The conclave is far from enlivening us; its secrets don't transpire. I could give you names of this cardinal and that, that are talked of, but each is contradicted the next hour. I was there t'other day to visit one of them, and one of the most agreeable, Alexander Albani. I had the opportunity of two cardinals making their entry: upon that occasion the gate is unlocked, and their eminences come to talk to their acquaintance over the threshold. I have received great civilities from him I named to you, and I wish he were out, that I might receive greater: a friend of his does the honours of Rome for him; but you know that it is unpleasant to visit by proxy. Cardinal Delei, the object of the Corsini faction, is dying; the hot weather will probably despatch half a dozen more. Not that it is hot yet; I am now writing to you by my fireside.
Harry, you saw Lord Deskfoord (191) at Geneva; don't you like him? He is a mighty sensible man. There are few young people have so good understandings. He is mighty grave, and so are you; but you can both be pleasant when you have a mind. Indeed, one can make you pleasant, but his solemn Scotchery is a little formidable: before you 1 can play the fool from morning to night, courageously. Good night. I have other letters to write, and must finish this. Yours ever.
(188) John Selwyn, elder brother of George Augustus Selwyn. He died about 1750.
(189)William Marquis of Hartington. He succeeded his father as fourth Duke of Devonshire in 1755.-E.
(190) Notwithstanding she laboured under such disadvantages-and want of beauty and want of talent are serious ones to a cantatrice,-it will be seen from Walpole's letter to Mann, 5th Nov. 1741, that the Moscovita, on her arrival here, received six hundred guineas for the season, instead of four hundred, the salary previously given to the , second woman;" and became, moreover, the mistress of Lord Middlesex, the director of the opera.-E.
(191) Son of the Earl of Findlater and Seafield, who succeeded his father in 1764, and died in 1770.-E.
152 Letter 22 To Richard West, Esq. Rome, May 7, 1740, N. S.
Dear West, 'Twould be quite rude and unpardonable in one not to wish you joy upon the great conquests that you are all committing all over the world. We heard the news last night from Naples, that Admiral Haddock (192) had met the Spanish convoy going to Majorca, and taken it all, all; three thousand men, three colonels, and a Spanish grandee. We conclude it is true, for the Neapolitan Majesty mentioned it at dinner. We are going thither in about a week, to wish him joy of it too. 'Tis with some apprehensions we go too, of having a pope chosen in the interim: that would be cruel, you know. But, thank our stars, there is no great probability of it. ' Feuds and contentions run high among the eminences. A notable one happened this week. Cardinal Zinzendorff and two more had given their votes for the general of the Capucins: he is of the Barberini family, not a cardinal, but a worthy man. Not effecting any thing, Zinzendorff voted for Coscia, and declared it publicly. Cardinal Petra reproved him; but the German replied, he thought Coscia as fit to be pope as any of them. It seems, his pique to the whole body is, their having denied a daily admission of a pig into the conclave for his eminence's use who, being much troubled with the gout, was ordered by his mother to bathe his leg in pig's blood every morning.
Who should have a vote t other day but the Cardinalino of Toledo! Were he older, the Queen of Spain might possibly procure more than one for him, though scarcely enough.
Well, but we won't talk Politics: shall we talk antiquities? Gray and I discovered a considerable curiosity lately. In an unfrequented quarter of the Colonna garden lie two immense fragments of marble, formerly part of a frieze to some building; 'tis not known of what. They are of Parian marble: which may give one some idea of the magnificence of the rest of the building for these pieces were at the very top. Upon inquiry, we were told they had been measured by an architect, who declared they were larger than any member of St. Peter's. The length of one of the pieces is above sixteen feet. They were formerly sold to a stonecutter for five thousand crowns, but Clement XI. would not permit them to be sawed, annulled the bargain, and laid a penalty of twelve thousand crowns upon the family if they parted with them. I think it was a right judged thing. Is it not amazing, that so vast a structure should not be known of, or that it should be so entirely destroyed? But indeed at Rome this is a common surprise; for, by the remains one sees of the Roman grandeur in their structures, 'tis evident that there must have been more pains taken to destroy those piles than to raise them. They are more demolished than any time or chance could have effected. I am persuaded that in an hundred years Rome will not be worth seeing; 'tis less so now than one would believe. All the public pictures are decayed or decaying; the few ruins cannot last long; and the statues and private collections must be sold, from the great poverty of the families. There are now selling no less than three of the principal collections, the Barberini, the Sacchetti, and Ottoboni: the latter belonged to the cardinal who died in the conclave. I must give you an instance of his generosity, or rather ostentation. When Lord Carlisle was here last year, who is a great virtuoso, he asked leave to see the cardinal's collection of cameos and intaglios. Ottoboni gave leave, and ordered the person who showed them to observe which my lord admired most. My lord admired many: they were all sent him the next morning. He sent the cardinal back a fine gold repeater; who returned him an acate snuff box, and more cameoes of ten times the value. Voila qui est fini! Had my lord produced more golden repeaters, it would have been begging more cameos. Adieu, my dear West! You see I write often and much, as you desired it. Do answer one now and then, with any little job that is done in England. Good night. Yours ever.
(192) This report, which proved unfounded, was grounded on the fact, that on the 18th of April his Majesty's ships Lenox, Kent, and Orford, commanded by Captains Mayne, Durell, and Lord Augustus Fitzroy, part of Admiral Balchen's squadron being on a cruise about forty leagues to the westward of Cape Finisterre, fell in with the Princessa, esteemed the finest ship of war in the Spanish navy, and captured her, after an engagement of five hours.-E.
(193) Henry fourth Earl of Carlisle, grandfather of the present Earl. In 1742, he married Isabella, the daughter of William fourth Lord Byron, and died in 1758.-E.
(194) Cardinal Ottoboni, Dean of the Sacred College, who died in 1740: he had been made a cardinal in 1689.-E.
153 Letter 23 To Richard West, Esq. Naples, June 14, 1740, N. S.
Dear West, One hates writing descriptions that are to be found in every book of travels; but we have seen something to-day that I am sure you never read of, and perhaps never heard of. Have you ever heard of a subterraneous town? a whole Roman town, with all its edifices, remaining under ground? Don't fancy the inhabitants buried it there to save it from the Goths: they were buried with it themselves; which is a caution we are not told that they ever took. You remember in Titus's time there were several cities destroyed by an eruption of Vesuvius, attended with an earthquake. Well, this was one of them, not very considerable, and then called Herculaneum. (195) Above it has since been built Portici, about three miles from Naples, where the King has a villa. This under-ground city is perhaps one of the noblest curiosities that ever has been discovered. It was found out by chance, about a year and half ago. They began digging, they found statues; they dug, further, they found more. Since that they have made a very considerable progress, and find continually. You may walk the compass of a mile; but by the misfortune of the modern town being overhead, they are obliged to proceed with great caution, lest they destroy both one and t'other. By this occasion the path is very narrow, just wide enough and high enough for one man to walk upright. They have hollowed, as they found it easiest to work, and have carried their streets not exactly where were the ancient ones, but sometimes before houses, sometimes through them. You would imagine that all the fabrics were crushed together; on the contrary., except some columns, they have found all the edifices standing upright in their proper ' situation. There is one inside of a temple quite perfect, with the middle arch, two columns, and two pilasters. It is built of brick plastered over, and painted with architecture almost all the insides of the houses are in the same manner; and, what is very particular the general ground of all the painting is red. Besides this temple, they make out very plainly an amphitheatre: the stairs, of white marble and the seats are very perfect; the inside was painted in the same colour with the private houses, and great part cased with white marble. They have found among other things some fine statues, some human bones, some rice, medals, and a few paintings extremely fine. These latter are preferred to all the ancient paintings that have ever been discovered. We have not seen them yet, as they are kept in the King's apartment, whither all these curiosities are transplanted; and 'tis difficult to see them-but we shall. I forgot to tell you, that in several places the beams of the houses remain, but burnt to charcoal; so little damaged that they retain visibly the grain of the wood, but upon touching crumble to ashes. What is remarkable, there are no other marks or appearance of fire, but what are visible on these beams.
There might certainly be collected great light from this reservoir of antiquities, if a man of learning had the inspection of it; if he directed the working, and would make a journal of the discoveries. But I believe there is no judicious choice made of directors. There is nothing of the kind known in the world; I mean a Roman city entire of that age, and that has not been corrupted with modern repairs. (196) Besides scrutinising this very carefully, I should be inclined to search for the remains of the other towns that were partners with this in the general ruin. 'Tis certainly an advantage to the learned world, that this has been laid up so long. Most of the discoveries in Rome were made in a barbarous age, where they only ransacked the ruins in quest of treasure, and had no regard to the form and being of the building; or to any circumstances that might give light to its use and history. I shall finish this long account with a passage which Gray has observed in Statius, and which correctly pictures out this latent city:-
Haec ego Chalcidicis ad te, Marcelle, sonabam Littoribus, fractas ubi Vestius egerit iras, Emula Trinacriis volvens incendia flammis. Mira fides! credetne viram ventura propago, Cum segetes iterum, cum jam haec deserta virebunt, Infra urbes populosque premi? SyLv. lib. iv. epist. 4.
Adieu, my dear West! and believe me yours ever.
(195) Some excavations were made at Herculaneum in 1709 by the Prince d'Elbeuf; but, thirty years elapsed after the prince had been forbidden to dig further, before any more notice was taken of them. In December 1738 the King of the two Sicilies was at Portici, and gave orders for the prosecution of these subterranean labours. There had been an excavation in the time of the Romans; and another so lately as 1689. In a letter from Gray to his mother, he describes their visits to Herculaneum; but, not mentioning it by name, Mason supposed it had not then been discovered to be that city. It is evident, from this observation of Walpole, that Mason's opinion was unfounded.-E.
(196) Pompei a was not then discovered.
155 Letter 24 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. R'e di Cofano, vulg. Radicofani, July 5, 1740, N. S.
You will wonder, my dear Hal, to find me on the road from Rome: why, intend I did to stay for a new popedom, but the old eminences are cross and obstinate, and will not choose one the Holy Ghost does not know when. There is a horrid thing called the mallaria, that comes to Rome, every summer, and kills one, and I did not care for being killed so far from Christian burial. We have been jolted to death; my servants let us come without springs to the chaise, and we are wore threadbare: to add to our disasters, I have sprained my ancle, and have brought it along, laid upon a little box of baubles that I have bought for presents in England. Perhaps I may pick you out some little trifle there, but don't depend upon it; you are a disagreeable creature and may be I shall not care for you. Though I am so tired in this devil of a place, yet I have taken it into my head, that it is like Hamilton's Bawn, (197) and I must write to you. 'Tis the top of a black barren mountain, a vile little town at the foot of an old citadel: yet this, know you, was the residence of one of the three kings that went to Christ's birth-day; his name was Alabaster, Abarasser, or some such thing; the other two were kings, one of the East, the other of Cologn. 'Tis this of Cofano, who was represented in an ancient painting found in the Palatine Mount, now in the possession of Dr. Mead; he was crowned by Augustus. Well, but about writing-what do you think I write with? Nay, with a pen; there was never a one to be found in the whole circumference but one, and that was in the possession of the governor, and had been used time out of mind to write the parole with : I was forced to send to borrow it. It was sent me under the conduct of a sergeant and two Swiss, with desire to return it when I should have done with it. 'Tis a curiosity, and worthy to be laid up with the relics which we have just been seeing- in a small hovel of Capucins, on the side of the hill, and which were all brought by his Majesty from Jerusalem. Among other things of great sanctity there is a set of gnashing of teeth, the grinders very entire; a bit of the worm that never dies, preserved in spirits; a crow of St. Peter's cock, very useful against Easter; the crisping and curling, frizzling and frowncing of Mary Magdalen, which she cut off on growing devout. The good man that showed us all these commodities was got into such a train of calling them the blessed this, and blessed that, that at last he showed us a bit of the blessed fig-tree that Christ cursed.
Florence, July 9.
My dear Harry, We are come hither, and I have received another letter from you with Hosier's Ghost. Your last put me in pain for you, when you talked of going to Ireland; but now I find your brother and sister go with you, I am not much concerned. Should I be? You have but to say, for my feelings are extremely at your service to dispose as you please. Let us see: you are to come back to stand for some place; that will be about April. 'Tis a sort of thing I should do, too; and then we should see one another, and that would be charming; but it is a sort of thing I have no mind to do; and then we shall not see one another, unless you would come hither-but that you cannot do: nay, I would not have you, for then I shall be gone. So! there are many @ that just signify nothing at all. Return I must sooner than I shall like. I am happy here to a degree. I'll tell you my situation. I am lodged with Mr. Mann, (198) the best of creatures. I have a terreno all to myself, with an open gallery on the Arno, where I am now writing to you. Over against me is the famous Gallery; and, on either hand, two fair bridges. Is not this charming and cool? The air is so serene, and so secure, that one sleeps with all the windows and doors thrown open to the river, and only covered with a slight gauze to keep away the gnats. Lady Pomfret (199) has a charming conversation once a week. She has taken a vast palace and a vast garden, which is vastly commode, especially to the cicisbeo-part of mankind, who have free indulgence to wander in pairs about the arbours. You know her daughters : Lady Sophia (200) is still, nay she must be, the beauty she was: Lady Charlotte, (201) is much improved, and is the cleverest girl in the world; speaks the purest Tuscan, like any Florentine. The Princess Craon (202) has a constant pharaoh and supper every night, where one is quite at one's ease. I am going into the country with her and the prince for a little while, to a villa of the Great Duke's. The people are good-humoured here and easy; and what makes me pleased with them, they are pleased with me. One loves to find people care for one, when they can have no view in it.
You see how glad I am to have reasons for not returning; I wish I had no better.
As to Hosier's Ghost, (203) I think it very easy, and consequently pretty; but, from the ease, should never have guessed it Glover's. I delight in your, "the patriots cry it up, and the courtiers cry it down, and the hawkers cry it up and down," and your laconic history of the King and Sir Robert, on going to Hanover, and turning out the Duke of Argyle. The epigram, too, you sent me on the same occasion is charming.
Unless I sent you back news that you and others send me, I can send you none. I have left the conclave, which is the only stirring thing in this part of the world, except the child that the Queen of Naples is to be delivered of in August. There is no likelihood the conclave will end, unless the messages take effect which 'tis said the Imperial and French ministers have sent to their respective courts for leave to quit the Corsini for the Albani faction: otherwise there will never be a pope. Corsini has lost the only one he could have ventured to make pope, and him he designed; 'twas Cenci, a relation of the Corsini's mistress. The last morning Corsini made him rise, stuffed a dish of chocolate down his throat, and would carry him to the scrutiny. The poor old creature went, came back, and died. I am sorry to have lost the sight of the pope's coronation, but I might have stayed for seeing it till I had been old enough to be pope myself.
Harry, what luck the chancellor has! first, indeed, to be in himself so great a man; but then in accidents: he is made chief justice and peer, when Talbot is made chancellor and peer: (204) Talbot dies in a twelvemonth, and leaves him the seals at an age when others are scarce made solicitors: (205)-then marries his son into one of the first families of Britain, (206) obtains a patent for a marquisate and eight thousand pounds a year after the Duke of Kent's death: the duke dies in a fortnightt, and leaves them all! People talk of Fortune's wheel, that is always rolling: my Lord Hardwicke has overtaken her wheel, and rolled with it. I perceive Miss Jenny (207) would not venture to Ireland, nor stray so far from London; I am glad I shall always know where to find her within threescore miles. I must say a word to my lord, which, Harry, be sure you don't read. ["My dear lord, I don't love troubling you with letters, because I know you don't love the trouble of answering them; not that I should insist on that ceremony, but I hate to burthen any one's conscience. Your brother tells me he is to stand member of parliament: without telling me so, I am sure he owes it to you. I am sure you will not repent setting him up; nor will he be ungrateful to a brother who deserves so much, and whose least merit is not the knowing how to employ so great a fortune."]
There, Harry,-I have done. Don't suspect me: I have said no ill of you behind your back. Make my best compliments to Miss Conway. (208)
I thoght I had done, and lo, I had forgot to tell you, that who d'ye think is here?-Even Mr. More! our Rheims Mr. More! the fortification, hornwork, ravelin, bastion Mr. More! which is very pleasant sure. At the end of the eighth side, I think I need make no excuse for leaving off; but I am going to write to Selwyn, and to the lady of the mountain; from whom I have had a very kind letter. She has at last received the Chantilly brass. Good night: write to me from one end of the world to t'other. Yours ever.
(197) A large old house, two miles from the seat of Sir Arthur Acheson, near Market-hill, and the scene of Swift's humorous poem, "The Grand Question debated, whether Hamilton's Bawn should be turned into a barrack or a malt- house."-E.
(198) Afterwards Sir Horace Mann. He was at this time resident at Florence from George II.
(199) Henrietta Louisa, wife of Thomas Earl of Pomfret. [She was the daughter of John Lord Jefferies, Baron of Wem. Lady Pomfret, who was the friend and correspondent of Frances Duchess of Somerset, retired from the court upon the death of Queen Caroline in 1737.]
(200) Afterwards married to John Lord Carteret, who became Earl of Granville on the death of his mother in the year 1744.
(201) Lady Charlotte Fermor married, in August 1746, William Finch, brother of Daniel seventh Earl of Winchelsea, by whom she had issue a son, George, who, on the death of his uncle, in 1769, succeeded to the earldom. Her ladyship was governess to the children of George III., and highly esteemcd by him and his royal consort.-E.
(202) The Princess Craon was the favourite mistress of Leopold the last Duke of Lorrain, who married her to M. de Beauveau, and prevailed on the Emperor to make him a prince of the empire. They at this time resided at Florence, where Prince Craon was at the head of the council of regency.
(203) This was a party ballad (written by Glover, though by some at the time ascribed to Lord Bath,) on the taking of Porto-Bello by Admiral Vernon. "The case of Hosier," says Bishop Percy, in his admirable Reliques, vol. ii. p. 382, where the song is preserved, "The case of Hosier, which is here so pathetically represented, was briefly this. In April 1726, that commander was sent with a strong fleet into the Spanish West Indies to block up the galleons in the port of that country, or, should they presume to come out, to seize and carry them to England: he accordingly arrived at Bastimentos, near Porto-Bello; but, being employed rather to overawe than attack the Spaniards, with whom it was probably not our interest to go to war, he continued long inactive on this station. He afterwards removed to Carthagena, and remained crusing in those seas, till the greater part of his men perished deplorably by the diseases of that unhealthy Climate. This brave man, seeing his best officers and men thus daily swept away, his ships exposed to inevitable destruction, and himself made the sport of the enemy, is said to have died of a broken heart.-E.
(204) Philip Yorke Lord Hardwicke was the son of an attorney at Dover, and was introduced by the Duke of Newcastle to Sir Robert Walpole. He was attorney-general, and when Talbot, the solicitor-general, was preferred to him in the contest for the chancellorship, Sir Robert made him chief justice for life, with an increased salary. He was an object of aversion to Horace Walpole, who, in his Memoirs, tells us, "in the House of Lords, he was laughed at, in the cabinet despised." Upon which it is very properly observed by the noble editor of those memoirs, Lord Hollan,-"Yet, in the course of the work, Walpole laments Lord Hardwicke's influence in the cabinet, where he would have us believe that he was despised, and acknowledges that he exercised a dominion nearly absolute over that house of Parliament which, he would persuade his readers, laughed at him. The truth is, that, wherever this great magistrate is mentioned, Lord Orford's resentments blind his judgment and disfigure his narrative."-E.
(205) charles Talbot baron Talbot was, on the 29th Nov. 1733, made lord high chancellor and created a baron; and, dying in Feb. 1737, was succeeded by Lord Hardwicke. There is a story current, that Sir Robert Walpole, finding it difficult to prevail on Yorke to quit a place for life, for the higher but more precarious dignity of chancellor, worked upon his jealousy, and said that if he persisted in refusing the seals, he must offer them to Fazakerly. "Fazakerly!" exclaimed Yorke, "impossible! he is certainly a Tory, perhaps a Jacobite." "It's all very true," replied Sir Robert, taking out his watch; " but if by one o'clock you do not accept my offer, Fazakerly by two becomes lord keeper of the great seal, and one of the staunchest Whigs in all England!" Yorke took the seals and the peerage.-E.
(206) That of Grey, Duke of Kent, see avove.-E.
(207) Miss Jane Conway, half-sister to Henry Seymour Conway. She died unmarried in 1749.
(208) Afterwirds married to John Harris, Esq. of Hayne in Devonshire.
159 Letter 25 To Richard West, Esq. Florence, July 31, 1740, N. S.
Dear West, I have advised with the most notable antiquarians of this city on the meaning of Thur gut Luetis. I can get no satisfactory interpretation. In my own opinion 'tis Welsh. I don't love offering conjectures on a language in which I have hitherto made little proficiency, but I will trust you with my explication. You know the famous Aglaughlan, mother of Cadwalladhor, was renowned for her conjugal virtues, and grief on the death of her royal spouse. I conclude this medal was struck in her regency, by her express order, to the memory of her lord, and that the inscription Thur gut Luetis means no more than her dear Llewis or Llewellin.
In return for your coins I send you two or three of different kinds. The first is a money of one of the kings of Naples; the device, a horse; the motto, Equitas regni. This curious pun is on a coin in the Great Duke's collection, and by great chance I have met with a second. Another is, a satirical medal struck on Lewis XIV.; 'tis a bomb, covered with flower-de-luces, bursting; the motto, Se ipsissimo. The last, and almost the only one I ever saw with a text well applied, is a German medal with a Rebellious town besieged and blocked up; the inscription, This kind is not expelled but by fasting. Now I mention medals, have they yet struck the intended one on the taking of Porto-Bello? Admiral Vernon will shine in our medallic history. We have just received the news of the bombarding Carthagena, and the taking Chagre. (209) We are in great expectation of some important victory obtained by the squadron under Sir John Norris. we are told the Duke is to be of the expedition; is it true? (210) All the letters, too, talk of France suddenly declaring war; I hope they will defer it for a season, or one shall be obliged to return through Germany.
The conclave still subsists, and the divisions still increase; it was very near separating last week, but by breaking into two popes; they were on the dawn of a schism. Aldovrandi had thirty-three voices for three days, but could not procure the requisite two more; the Camerlingo having engaged his faction to sign a protestation against him and each party were inclined to elect. I don't know whether one should wish for a schism or not; it might probably rekindle the zeal for the church in the powers of Europe which has been so far decaying. On Wednesday we expect a third she-meteor. Those learned luminaries the Ladies Pomfret and Walpole are to be joined by the Lady Mary Wortley Montague. You have not been witness to the rhapsody of mystic nonsense which these two fair ones debate incessantly, and consequently cannot figure what must be the issue of this triple alliance: we have some idea of it. Only figure the coalition of prudery, debauchery, sentiment, history, Greek, Latin, French, Italian, and metaphysics; all, except the second, understood by halves, by quarters, or not at all. You shall have the journals of this notable academy. Adieu, my dear West! Yours ever,
Though far unworthy to enter into so learned and political a correspondence, I am employed pour barbouiller une page de 7 pounces et demie en hauteur, et 'a en largeur; and to inform you that we are at Florence, a city of Italy, and the capital of Tuscany: the latitude I cannot justly tell, but it is governed by a prince called Great Duke; an excellent place to employ all one's animal sensations in, but utterly contrary to one's rational powers. I have struck a medal upon myself: the device is thus 0, and the motto Nihilissimo, which I take in the most concise manner to contain a full account of my person, sentiments, occupations, and late glorious successes. If you choose to be annihilated too, you cannot do better than undertake this journey. Here you shall get up at twelve o'clock, breakfast till three, dine till five, sleep till six, drink cooling liquors till eight, go to the bridge till ten, sup till two, and so sleep till twelve again.
Lahore fessi venimus ad larem nostrum, Desideratoque acquiescimus lecto; Hoc est, quod unum est, pro laborious tantis. O quid solutis est beatius curis?
We shall never come home again; a universal war is just upon the point of breaking out; all outlets will be shut up. I shall be secure in my nothingness, while you, that will be so absurd as to exist, will envy me. You don't tell me what proficiency you make in the noble science of defence. Don't you start still at the sound of a gun? Have you learned to say ha! ha! and is your neck clothed with thunder? Are your whiskers of a tolerable length? And have you got drunk yet with brandy and gunpowders? Adieu, noble captain! T. GRAY.
(209) On the 24th March, 1740, the Spaniards hung out a white flag, and the place was surrendered by capitulation to Admiral Vernon.-E.
(210) The Duke of Cumberland had resolved to accompany Sir John Norris as a volunteer, and sailed with him from St. Helens on the 10th June; but on the 17th a gale arising drove them into Torbay, Where Sir John continued until the 29th, when he again put to sea; but the wind once more becoming contrary, and blowing very hard, he was constrained to return to Spithead, and on the following day his royal highness returned to London.-E.
161 Letter 26 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Florence, September 25, 1740, N. S.
My dear Hal, I begin to answer your letter the moment I have read it, because you bid me; but I grow so unfit for a correspondence with any body in England, that I have almost left it off. 'Tis so long since I was there, and I am so utterly a stranger to every thing that passes there, that I must talk vastly in the dark to those I write: and having in a manner settled myself here, where there can be no news, I am void of all matter for filling up a letter. As, by the absence of the Great Duke, Florence is become in a manner a country town, YOU may imagine that we are not without dem'el'es; but for a country town I believe there never were a set of people so peaceable, and such strangers to scandal. 'Tis the family of love, where every body is paired, and go as constantly together as paroquets. Here nobody hangs or drowns themselves; they are not ready to cut one another's throats about elections or parties; don't think that wit consists in saying bold truths, or humour in getting drunk. But I shall give you no more of their characters, because I am so unfortunate as to think that their encomium consists in being the reverse of the English, who in general are either mad, or enough to make other people so. After telling you so fairly my sentiments, you may believe, my dear Harry, that I had rather see you here than in England. 'Tis an evil wish for you, who should not be lost in so obscure a place as this. I will not make you compliments, or else here is a charming opportunity for saying what I think of you. As I am convinced you love me, and as I am conscious you have One strong reason for it, I will own to you, that for my own peace you should wish me to remain here. I am so well within and without, that you would scarce know me: I am younger than ever, think of nothing but diverting myself, and live in a round of pleasures. We have operas, concerts, and balls, mornings and evenings. I dare not tell you all One's idleness: you would look so grave and senatorial at hearing that one rises at eleven in the morning, goes to the opera at nine at night, to supper at one, and to bed at three! But literally here the evenings and nights are so charming and so warm, one can't avoid 'em.
Did I tell you Lady Mary Wortley is here? She laughs at my Lady Walpole, scolds my Lady Pomfret, and is laughed at by the whole town. (211) Her dress, her avarice, and her impudence must amaze any one that never heard her name. She wears a foul mob, that does not cover her greasy black locks, that hang loose, never combed or curled; an old mazarine blue wrapper, that gapes open and discovers a canvass petticoat. Her face swelled violently on one side with the remains of a-, partly covered with a plaster, and partlv with white paint, which for cheapness she has bought so coarse, that you would not use it to wash a chimney.-In three words I will give you her picture (212) as we drew it in the Sortes Virgilianae- Insanam vatem aepicies.
I give you my honour, we did not choose it; but Mr. Gray, Mr. Cooke, (213) Sir Francis Dashwood, (214) and I, and several others, drew it fairly amongst a thousand for different people, most of which did not hit as you may imagine: those that did I will tell you.
For our most religious and gracious- -Dii, talem terris avertite pestem.
For one that would be our most religious and gracious. Purpureus veluti cum flos succisus aratro Languescit moriens, lassove papavera collo Demis'ere caput, pluvia cum fort'e gravantur.
For his son. Regis Romani: primus qui legibus urbem Fundabit, Curibus parvis et paupere terra, Missus in imperium magnum.
For Sir Robert. Res dura et regni novitas me talia cogunt Moliri, et late fines custode tueri.
I will show you the rest when I see you.
(211) In a letter from Florence, written by Lady Mary to Mr. Wortley, on the 11th of August, she says, "Lord and Lady Pomfret take pains to make the place agreeable to me, and I have been visited by the greatest part of the people of quality." See the edition of her works, edited by Lord Wharncliffe, vol. ii. p. 325.-E.
(212) The following favourable picture" of Lady Mary is by Spence, who met her at Rome, in the ensuing January:-" She is one of the most shining characters in the world, but shines like a comet; she is all irregularity, and always wandering; the most wise, most imprudent; loveliest, most disagreeable; best-natured, cruellest woman in the world; 'all things by turns, and nothing long.'"-E.
(213) George Cooke, Esq. afterwards member for Tregony, and chief prothonotary in the Court of Common Pleas. On Mr. Pitt's return to office in 1766 he was appointed joint paymaster-general, and died in 1768. See Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 338.-E.
(214) Sir Francis Dashwood, who, on the death of John Earl of Westmoreland, succeeded to the barony of Le Despencer, as being the only son of Mary, eldest sister of the said Earl, and which was confirmed to him 19th April'1763.-E.
163 Letter 27 To Sir Richard West, Esq. Florence, Oct. 2, 1740, N. S.
Dear West, T'other night as we (you know who we are) were walking on the charming bridge, just before going to a wedding assembly, we said, Lord, I wish, just as we are got into the room, they would call us out, and say, West is arrived! We would make him dress instantly, and carry him back to the entertainment. How he would stare and wonder at a thousand things, that no longer strike us as odd!" Would not you? One agreed that you should come directly by sea from Dover, and be set down at Leghorn, without setting foot in any other foreign town, and so land at Us, in all your first full amaze; for you are to know, that astonishment rubs off violently; we did not cry out Lord! half so much at Rome as at Calais, which to this hour I look upon as one of the most surprising cities in the universe. My dear child, what if you were to take this little sea-jaunt? One would recommend Sir John Norris's convoy to you, but one should be laughed at now for supposing that he is ever to sail beyond Torbay.(215) The Italians take Torbay for an English town in the hands of the Spaniards, after the fashion of Gibraltar, and imagine 'tis a wonderful strong place, by our fleet's having retired from before it so often, and so often returned. We went to this wedding that I told you of; 'twas a charming feast: a large palace finely illuminated; there were all the beauties, all the jewels, and all the sugarplums of Florence. Servants loaded with great chargers full of comfits heap the tables with them, the women fall on with both hands, and stuff their pockets and every creek and corner about them. You would be as much amazed at us as at any thing you saw: instead of being deep in the arts, and being in the Gallery every morning, as I thought of course to be sure I would be, we are in all the idleness and amusements of the town. For me, I am grown so lazy, and so tired-of seeing sights, that, though I have been at Florence six months, I have not seen Leghorn, Pisa, Lucca, or Pistoia; nay, not so much as one of the Great Duke's villas. I have contracted so great an aversion to postchaises, and have so absolutely lost all curiosity, that, except the towns in the straight road to Great Britain, I shall scarce see a jot more of a foreign land; and trust me, when I returt), I will not visit the Welsh mountains, like Mr. Williams. After Mount Cenis, the Boccheto, the Giogo, Radicofani, and the Appian Way, one has mighty little hunger after travelling. I shall be mighty apt to set up my staff at Hyde Park corner: the alehouseman there at Hercules's Pillars(216) was certainly returned from his travels into foreign parts.
Now I'll answer your questions.
I have made no discoveries in ancient or modern arts. Mr. Addison travelled through the poets, and not through Italy; for all his ideas are borrowed from the descriptions, and not from the reality. He saw places as they were, not as they are. I am very well acquainted with Dr. Cocchi; (217) he is a good sort of man, rather than a great man; he is a plain honest creature, with quiet knowledge, but I dare say all the English have told you, he has a very particular understanding: I really don't believe they meant to impose on you, for they thought so. As to Bondelmonti, he is much less; he is a low mimic; the brightest cast of his parts attains to the composition of a sonnet: he talks irreligion with- English boys, sentiment with my sister, (218) and bad French with any one that will hear him. I will transcribe you a little song that he made t'other day; 'tis pretty enough; Gray turned it into Latin, and I into English; you will honour him highly by putting it into French, and Asheton into Greek. Here 'tis. Spesso Amor sotto la forma D'amista ride, e s'asconde; Poi si mischia, e si confonde Con lo sdegno e col rancor.
In pietade ei si trasforma, Pas trastullo e par dispetto; ma nel suo diverso aspetto, Sempre egli 'a l'istesso Amor.
Risit amicitiae interd'um velatus amictu, Et ben'e composit'a veste fefellit Amor: Mox irae assumpsit cultus faciemque minantem, Inque odium versus, versus et in lacrymas: Ludentem fuge, nec lacrymanti aut furenti; Idem est dissimili semper in ore Deus.
Love often in the comely mien Of friendship fancies to be seen; Soon again he shifts his dress, And wears disdain and rancour's face.
To gentle pity then he changes- Thro' wantonness, thro' piques he ranges;
But in whatever shape he moves, He's still himself, and still is Love.
See how we trifle! but one can't pass one's youth too amusingly for one must grow old, and that in England; two most serious circumstances, either of which makes people gray in the twinkling of a bedstaff; for know you there is not a country upon earth where there are so many old fools and so few young ones.
Now I proceed in my answers.
I made but small collections, and have only bought some bronzes and medals, a few busts, and two or three pictures: one of my busts is to be mentioned; 'tis the famous vespasian in touchstone, reckoned the best in Rome, except the Caracalia of the Farnese- I gave but twenty-two POUDds for it at Cardinal Ottoboni's sale. One of my medals is as great a curiosity; 'tis of Alexander Severus, with the amphitheatre in brass; this reverse is extant on medals of his, but mine is a medagliuncino, or small medallion, and The Only one with this reverse known in the world: 'twas found by a peasant while I was in Rome, and sold by him for sixpence to an antiquarian, to whom I paid for it seven guineas and a half: but to virtuosi 'tis worth any SUM.
As to Tartini's (219) musical compositions, ask Gray; I know but little in music.
But for the Academy, I am not of it, but frequently in company with it: 'tis all disjointed. Madame * * *, who, though a learned lady, has not lost her modesty and character, is extremely scandalized with the other two dames, especially Moll Worthless, who knows no bounds. She is at rivalry with Lady W. for a certain Mr. * * *, whom perhaps you knew at Oxford. If you did not, I'll tell you: he is a grave young man by temper, and a rich one by constitution; a shallow creature by nature, but a wit by the grace of our women here, whom he deals with as of old with the Oxford toasts. He fell into sentiments with my Lady W. and was happy to catch her at Platonic love; but as she seldom stops there, the poor man will be frightened out of his senses when she shall break the matter to him; for he never dreamt that her purposes were so naught. Lady Mary is so far gone, that to get him from the mouth of her antagonist she literally took him out to dance country dances last night at a formal ball, where there was no measure kept in laughing at her old, foul, tawdry, painted, plastered personage. She played at pharaoh two or three times at Princess Craon's, where she cheats horse and foot. She is really entertaining: I have been reading her works, which she lends out in manuscript, but they are too womanish: I like few of her performances. I forgot to tell you a good answer of Lady Pomfret to mr. W. *** who asked her if she did not approve Platonic love. "Lord, sir," says she, , "I am sure any one that knows me never heard that I had any love but one, and there sit two proofs of it," pointing to her two daughters.
So I have given you a sketch of our employments, and answered your questions, and will with pleasure as many more as you have about you. Adieu! Was ever such a lon@ letter? But 'tis nothing to what I shall have to say to you. I shaft scold you for never telling us any news, public or private, no deaths, riiarriages, or mishaps; no account of new books: Oh, you are abominable! I could find it in my heart to hate You if I did not love you so well; but we will quarrel now, that we may be the better friends when we meet: there is no danger of that, is there? Good night, whether friend or foe! I am most sincerely Yours.
(215) Though brave, skilful, and enterprising Sir John failed to acquire renown, in consequence of mere accidents. On the breaking out of the Spanish war, he was ordered to cruise in the Bay of Biscay; but, owing to tempestuous weather, was compelled to put into port for the winter. The following lines were addressed to him upon this occasion:
"Homeward, oh! bend thy course; the seas are rough; To the Land's End who sails has sailed enough." E.
(216) Walpole calls the Hercules' Pillars an alehouse. Whatever it might have been at the period he wrote, it is very certain that, after the peace of 1762, it was a respectable tavern, where the Marquis of Granby, and other persons of rank, particularly military men, had frequent dinner parties, which were then fashionable. It was also an inn of great repute among the west-country gentlemen, coming to London for a few weeks, who thought themselves fortunate if they could secure accommodations for their families at the Hercules' Pillars. The spot where it once stood, is now occupied by the noble mansion of the Duke of Wellington.-E.
(217) Dr. Antonio Cocchi, a learned physician, resident at Florence, who published a collection of Greek writers upon medicine. He figures conspicuously in Spence's Anecdotes.-E.
(218) Margaret Rolle, wife of Robert Walpole, eldest son of Sir Robert Walpole, created Lord Walpole during the lifetime of his father.
(219) Giuseppe Tartini of Padua, whom Viotti pronounced the last great improver of the practice of the violin. Several of Tartini's compositions are particularized in that amusing little volume, "The Violin and its Professors," by Mr. Dubourg, who has recorded in quaint verse the well-known story of the "Devil's Sonata," a piece of diablerie, the result of which is that to this day, Tartini's tale hath made all fiddlers say, A hard sonata is the devil to play!-E.
166 Letter 28 To Richard West, Esq. >From Florence, Nov. 1740.
Child, I am going to let you see your shocking proceedings with us. On my conscience, I believe 'tis three months since you wrote to either Gray or me. If you had been ill, Ashton would have said so; and if you had been dead the gazettes would have said it. If you had been angry,-but that's impossible; how can one quarrel with folks three thousand miles off? We are neither divines nor commentators, and consequently have not hated you on paper. 'Tis to show that my charity for you cannot be interrupted at this distance that I write to you, though I have nothing to say, for 'tis a bad time for small news; and when emperors and czarinas are dying all up and down Europe, one can't pretend to tell you of any thing that happens within our sphere. Not but that we have our accidents too. if you have had a great wind in England, we have had a great water at Florence. We have been trying to set out every day, and pop upon you (220) * * * * * It is fortunate that we stayed, for I don't know what had become of us! Yesterday, with violent rains, there came flouncing down from the mountains such a flood that it floated the whole city. The jewellers on the Old Bridge removed their commodities, -and in two hours after the bridge was cracked. The torrent broke down the quays and drowned several coach-horses, which are kept here in stables under ground. We were moated into our house all day, which is near the Arno, and had the miserable spectacles of the ruins that were washed along with the hurricane. There was a cart with two oxen not quite dead, and four men in it drowned: but what was ridiculous, there came tiding along a fat haycock, with a hen and her eggs, and a cat. The torrent is considerably abated; but we expect terrible news from the country, especially from Pisa, which stands so much lower, and nearer the sea. There is a stone here, which, when the water overflows, Pisa is entirely flooded. The water rose two ells yesterday above that stone. Judge!