A YEAR'S JOURNEY THROUGH FRANCE, AND PART OF SPAIN.
Dublin Printed by J. Williams, (No. 21.) Skinner-Row.
I am very certain that a man may travel twice through Spain, and half through France, before he sees a woman of so much beauty, elegance, and breeding, as the mistress of the house I lodge in near this city. I was directed to the house, and recommended to the lady, as a lodger; but both were so fine, and superior in all respects to any thing I had seen out of Paris, that I began to suspect I had been imposed upon. The lady who received me appeared to be (it was candle-light) about eighteen, a tall, elegant figure, a beautiful face, and an address inferior to none: I concluded she was the daughter, till she informed me, that Mons. Saigny, her husband, was gone to Avignon. What added, perhaps, to this lady's beauty in my eyes, or rather ears, was her misfortune,—she could not speak louder than a gentle whisper. After seeing her sumptuous apartments, I told her I would not ask what her price was, but tell her what I could afford only to give; and observed, that as it was winter, and the snow upon the ground, perhaps she had better take my price than have none. She instantly took me by the hand and said, she had so much respect for the English nation, that my price was her's; and with a still softer whisper, and close to my ear, said, I might come in as soon as I pleased—"Quand vous voudrez, Monsieur," said she. We accordingly took possession of the finest apartments, and the best beds I ever lay on. The next day, I saw a genteel stripling about the house, in a white suit of cloaths, dressed en militaire, and began to suspect the virtue of my fair hostess, not perceiving for some hours that it was my hostess herself; in the afternoon she made us a visit in this horrid dress,—(for horrid she appeared in my eyes)—her cloaths were white, with red cuffs and scarlet lappels; and she held in her straddling lap a large black muff, as big as a porridge-pot. By this visit she lost all that respect her superlative beauty had so justly entitled her to, and I determined she should visit me no more in man's apparel. When I went into the town I mentioned this circumstance, and there I learnt, that the real wife of Mons. Saigny had parted from him, and that the lady, my hostess, was his mistress. The next day, however, the master arrived; and after being full and finely dressed, he made me a visit, and proffers of every attention in his power: he told me he had injured his fortune, and that he was not rich; but that he had served in the army, and was a gentleman: he had been bred a protestant, but had just embraced the true faith, in order to qualify himself for an employment about the court of the Pope's Legate at Avignon. After many expressions of regard, he asked me to dine with him the next day; but I observed that as he was not rich, and as I paid but a small rent in proportion to his noble apartments, I begged to be excused; but he pressed it so much, that I was obliged to give him some other reasons, which did not prove very pleasing ones, to the lady below. This fine lady, however, continued to sell us wood, wine, vinegar, sallad, milk, and, in short, every thing we wanted, at a very unreasonable price. At length, my servant, who by agreement made my soup in their kitchen, said something rude to my landlord, who complained to me, and seemed satisfied with the reprimand I had given the man; but upon a repetition of his rudeness, Mons. Saigny so far forgot himself as to speak equally rude to me: this occasioned some warm words, and so much ungovernable passion in him, that I was obliged to tell him I must fetch down my pistols; this he construed into a direct challenge, and therefore retired to his apartments, wrote a card, and sent it to me while I was walking before the door with a priest, his friend and visitor, and in sight of the little female captain his second, and all the servants of the house; on this card was wrote, "Sir, I accept your proposition;" and before I could even read it, he followed his man, who brought it in the true stile of a butler, rather than a butcher, with a white napkin under his arm. You may be sure, I was no more disposed to fight than Mons. Saigny; indeed, I told him I would not; but if any man attacked me on my way to or from the town, where I went every day, I would certainly defend myself: and fortunately I never met Mons. Saigny in the fortnight I staid after in his house; for I could not bear to leave a town where I had two or three very agreeable acquaintance, and one (Mons. Seguier) whose house was filled as full of natural and artificial curiosities, as his head is with learning and knowledge. Here too I had an opportunity of often visiting the Amphitheatre, the Maison Carree, (so Mons. Seguier writes it) and the many remains of Roman monuments so common in and about Nismes. I measured some of the stones under which I passed to make the tout au tour of the Amphitheatre, they were seventeen feet in length, and two in thickness; and most of the stones on which the spectators sat within the area, were twelve feet long, two feet ten inches wide, and one foot five inches deep; except only those of the sixth row of seats from the top, and they alone are one foot ten inches deep; probably it was on that range the people of the highest rank took their seats, not only for the elevation, but the best situation for sight and security; yet one of these great stones cannot be considered more, in comparison to the whole building, than a single brick would be in the construction of Hampton-Court Palace. When I had the sole possession (and I had it often) of this vast range of seats, where emperors, empresses, Roman knights, and matrons, have been so often seated, to see men die wantonly by the hands of other men, as well as beasts for their amusement, I could not but with pleasure reflect, how much human nature is softened since that time; for notwithstanding the powerful prevalency of custom and fashion, I do not think the ladies of the present age would plume their towering heads, and curl their borrowed hair, with that glee, to see men murdered by missive weapons, as to die at their feet by deeper, tho' less visible wounds. If, however, we have not those cruel sports, we seem to be up with them in prodigality, and to exceed them in luxury and licentiousness; for in Rome, not long before the final dissolution of the state, the candidates for public employments, in spite of the penal laws to restrain it, bribed openly, and were chosen sometimes by arms as well as money. In the senate, things were conducted no better; decrees of great consequence were made when very few senators were present; the laws were violated by private knaves, under the colour of public necessity; till at length, Caesar seized the sovereign power, and tho' he was slain, they omitted to recover their liberty, forgetting that
"A day, an hour, of virtuous Liberty Is worth a whole eternity of bondage." Addison's CATO.
I can almost think I read in the parallel, which I fear will soon be drawn between the rise and fall of the British and Roman empire, something like this;—"Rome had her CICERO; Britain her CAMDEN: Cicero, who had preserved Rome from the conspiracy of Catiline, was banished: CAMDEN, who would have preserved Britain from a bloody civil war, removed." The historian will add, probably, that "those who brought desolation upon their land, did not mean that there should be no commonwealth, but that right or wrong, they should continue to controul it: they did not mean to burn the capitol to ashes, but to bear absolute sway in the capitol:—The result was, however, that though they did not mean to overthrow the state, yet they risqued all, rather than be overthrown themselves; and they rather promoted the massacre of their fellow-citizens, than a reconciliation and union of parties,"—THUS FELL ROME—Take heed, BRITAIN!
I left Nismes reluctantly, having formed there an agreeable and friendly intimacy with Mr. D'Oliere, a young gentleman of Switzerland; and an edifying, and entertaining acquaintance, with Mons. Seguier. I left too, the best and most sumptuous lodgings I had seen in my whole tour; but a desire to see Arles, Aix, and Marseilles, &c. got the better of all. But I set out too soon after the snow and rains, and I found part of the road so bad, that I wonder how my horse dragged us through so much clay and dirt. When I gave you some account of the antiquities of Nismes, I did not expect to find Arles a town fraught with ten times more matter and amusement for an antiquarian; but I found it not only a fine town now, but that it abounds with an infinite number of monuments which evince its having once been an almost second Rome. There still remains enough of the Amphitheatre to convince the beholder what a noble edifice it was, and to wonder why so little, of so large and solid a building, remains. The town is built on the banks of the Rhone, over which, on a bridge of barges, we entered it; but it is evident, that in former days, the sea came quite up to it, and that it was a haven for ships of burden; but the sea has retired some leagues from it, many ages since; beside an hundred strong marks at this day of its having been a sea-port formerly, the following inscription found a century or two ago, in the church of St. Gabriel, will clearly confirm it:
M. FRONTONI EVPOR IIIIIIVIR AVG. COL. JVLIA. AVG. AQVIS SEXTIIS NAVICVLAR. MAR. AREL. CVRAT EJVSD. CORP. PATRONA NAVTAR DRVENTICORVM. ET VTRICVLARIORVM. CORP. ERNAGINENSIUM. JULIA NICE VXOR. CONJVGI KARISSIMO.
Indeed there are many substantial reasons to believe, that it was at this town Julius Caesar built the twelve gallies, which, from the cutting of the wood to the time they were employed on service, was but thirty days.—That it was a very considerable city in the time of the first Emperors, is past all doubt. Constantine the Great held his court, and resided at Arles, with all his family; and the Empress Faustina was delivered of a son here (Constantine the younger) and it was long before so celebrated for an annual fair held in the month of August, that it was called le Noble Marche de Gaules. And Strabo, in his dedication of his book to the Emperor, called it "Galliarum Emporium non Parvum;" which is a proof that it was celebrated for its rich commerce, &c. five hundred years before it became under the dominion of the Romans. But were I capable of giving you a particular description of all the monuments of antiquity in and near this town, it would compose a little book, instead of a sheet or two of paper. I shall therefore only pick out a few things which have afforded me the most entertainment, and I hope may give you a little; but I shall begin with mentioning what must first give you concern, in saying that in that part of the town called la Roquette, I was shewn the place where formerly stood an elevated Altar whereon, three young citizens were sacrificed annually, and who were fattened at the public expence during a whole year, for the horrid purpose! On the first of May their throats were cut in the presence of a prodigious multitude of people assembled from all parts; among whom the blood of the victims was thrown, as they imagined all their sins were expiated by that barbarous sacrifice; which horrid practice was put a stop to by the first Bishop of Arles, ST. TROPHIME. The Jews, who had formerly a synagogue in Arles, were driven out in the year 1493, when that and their celebrated School were demolished. There were found about an hundred after, among the stones of those buildings some Hebrew characters neatly cut, which were copied and sent to the Rabbins of Avignon, to be translated, and who explained them then thus:
Chodesh: Elvl. Chamescheth, lamech, nav. Nislamv. Bedikoth. Schradai.
i.e. they say,
"In the month of August five thousand and thirty—the Visitation of God ceased."
Perhaps the plague had visited them.—There was also another Hebrew inscription, which was on the tomb of a famous Rabbin called Solomon, surnamed the grandson of David.
The Amphitheatre of Arles was of an oval form, composed of three stages; each stage containing sixty arches; the whole was built of hewn stone of an immense size, without mortar, and of a prodigious thickness: the circumference above, exclusive of the projection of the architecture, was 194 toises three feet, the frontispiece 17 toises high and the area 71 toises long and 52 wide; the walls were 17 toises thick, which were pierced round and round with a gallery, for a convenience of passing in and out of the seats, which would conveniently contain 30,000 men, allowing each person three feet in depth and two in width; and yet, there remain at this day only a few arches quite complete from top to bottom, which are of themselves a noble monument. Indeed one would be inclined to think that it never had been compleated, did we not know that the Romans left nothing unfinished of that kind; and read, that the Emperor Gallus gave some superb spectacles in the Amphiteatre of Arles, and that the same amusements were continued by following Emperors. Nothing can be a stronger proof than these ruins, of the certain destruction and corruption of all earthly things; for one would think that the small parts which now remain of this once mighty building would, endure as long as the earth itself; but what is very singular is, that this very Amphitheatre was built upon the ruins of a more mighty building, and perhaps one of a more substantial structure. Tempus edax rerum, tuque invidiosa vetustas omnia destruis. In the street called St. Claude, stood a triumphal arch which was called L'Arche admirable; it is therefore natural to conclude, that the town contained many others of less beauty. There are also within the walls large remains of the palace of Constantine. A beautiful antique statue of Venus was found here also, about an hundred and twenty years ago.—That a veritable fine woman should set all the beaux and connoisseurs of a whole town in a flame, I do not much wonder; but you will be surprized when I tell you that this cold trunk of marble, (for the arms were never found) put the whole town of Arles together by the ears; one Scavant said it was the goddess Diana, and wrote a book to prove it; another insisted upon it, that it was the true image of Venus; then starts up an Ecclesiastic, who you know has nothing to do with women, and he pronounced in dogmatical terms, it was neither one nor the other; at length the wiser magistrates of the town agreed to send it as a present to their august monarch Lewis the XIVth; and if you have a mind to see an inanimate woman who has made such a noise in the world, you will find her at Versailles, without any other notice taken of her or the quarrels about her, than the following words written (I think) upon her pedestal, La Venus d'Arles. This ended the dispute, as I must my letter.
I have not half done with Arles. The more I saw and heard in this town, the more I found was to be seen. The remains of the Roman theatre here would of itself be a sufficient proof that it was a town of great riches and importance. Among the refuse of this building they found several large vases of baked earth, which were open on one side, and which were fixed properly near the seats of the audience to receive and convey the sounds of the instruments and voices of the actors distinctly throughout the theatre, which had forty-eight arches, eleven behind the scenes of ten feet wide, three grand arches of fourteen feet wide, and thirty-one of twelve feet; the diameter was thirty-one canes, and the circumference seventy-nine; and from the infinite number of beautiful pieces of sculpture, frizes, architraves, pillars of granite, &c. which have been dug up, it is very evident that this theatre was a most magnificent building, and perhaps would have stood firm to this day, had not a Bishop of Arles, from a principle of more piety than wisdom, stript it of the finest ornaments and marble pillars, to adorn the churches. Near the theatre stood also the famous temple of Diana; and, as the famous statue mentioned in my former letter was found beneath some noble marble pillars near that spot, it is most likely La Venus d'Arles is nevertheless the Goddess Diana.
I never wish more for your company than when I walk, (and I walk every day) in the Elysian fields. The spot is beautiful, the prospect far and near equally so: in the middle of this ancient Cimetiere stands a motly building, from the middle of which however rises a cupola, which at the first view informs you it is the work of a Roman artist; and here you must, as it were, thread the needle between an infinite number of Pagan and Christian monuments, lying thick upon the surface in the utmost disorder and confusion, insomuch, that one would think the Day of Judgment was arrived and the dead were risen. Neither Stepney church-yard, nor any one in or near a great city, shew so many headstones as this spot does stone coffins of an immense size, hewn out of one piece; the covers of most of which have been broken or removed sufficiently to search for such things as were usually buried with the dead. Some of these monuments, and some of the handsomest too, are still however unviolated. It is very easy to distinguish the Pagan from the Christian monnments, without opening them, as all the former have the Roman letters DM (Diis Manibus) cut upon them. It is situated, according to their custom, near the high-way, the water, and the marshes. You know the ancients preferred such spots for the interment of the dead.
The tombs of Ajax and Hector, HOMER says, were near the sea, as well as other heroes of antiquity; for as they considered man to be composed of earth and water, his bones ought to be laid in one, and near the other.
I will now give you a few of the most curious inscriptions; but first I will mention a noble marble monument, moved from this spot into the Cimetiere of the great Hospital. This tomb is ornamented with Cornucopiae, Paterae, &c. and in a shield the following inscription:
CABILIAE D.F. APPRVLLAE FLAM D DESIGNATAE COL. DEA. AUG. VOC. M O. ANNOS XIIII, MENS II. DIES V. MARITVS VXORI PIENTISSIMAE. POSUIT.
This poor girl was not only too young to die, but too young to marry, one would think; I wish therefore her afflicted husband had told us how many years he had been married to a wife who died at the age of fourteen, two months, and five days. The cornucopiae, I suppose, were to signify that this virtuous wife, I was going to say maid, was the source of all his pleasure and happiness. The Paterae were vases destined to receive the blood of the victims.
Supponunt alij cultros, tepidumque cruorem Suscipiunt Pateris,—Says the Poet.
On each side of the tomb are the symbols of sacrifice. It is very evident from the fine polish of this monument, that her husband had obtained the Emperor's particular leave to finish it highly.
Rogum ascia ne Polito says the law of the twelve tables.
On another tomb, which is of common stone, in the middle of a shield supported by two Cupids, is the following inscription:
M IVNIO MESSIANO ——VTRICI. CORP. ARELAT. D EIVS D. CORP. MAG. III. F M QUI VIXIT ANN. XXVIII. M. V. D. X. IVNIA VALERIA. ALVMNO CLARISSIMO.
The first word of the second line is much obliterated.
There are an infinite number of other monuments with inscriptions; but those above, and this below, will be sufficient for me to convey to you, and you to my friend at Winchester.
L DOMIT. DOMITIANI EX TRIERARCHI CLASS. GERM. D PECCOCEIA VALENTINA M CONIUGI PIENTISSIMA.
Before I leave Arles, and I leave it reluctantly, whatever you may do, I must not omit to mention the principal monument, and pride of it, at this day, i.e. their Obelisque. I will not tell you where nor when it was dug up; it is sufficient to say, it was found here, that it is a single piece of granite, sixty-one feet high, and seven feet square below; yet it was elevated in the Market-place, upon a modern pedestal, which bears four fulsome complimentary inscriptions to Lewis the XIV. neither of which will I copy. In elevating this monstrous single stone, the inhabitants were very adroit: they set it upright in a quarter of an hour, in the year 1676, just an hundred years ago, amidst an infinite number of joyful spectators, who are now all laid in their lowly graves; for though it weighed more than two thousand hundred weight, yet by the help of capsterns, it was raised without any difficulty. The great King Harry the IVth had ordered the houses in the arena of the Amphitheatre to be thrown down, and this obelisk to be fixed in the center of it; but his death, and Lewis's vanity, fixed it where it now stands; it has no beauty however to boast of but its age and size, for it bears neither polish, characters, nor hieroglyphicks, but, as it seems to have been an Egyptian monument, the inhabitants of Arles have, like those people, consecrated it below to their King, and above to the sun: on the top is fixed a globe of azure, sprinkled with fleurs de lis d'or, and crowned with a radiant sun, that is to say, as the sun was made by GOD to enlighten the world, so LEWIS LE GRAND was made to govern it.
I am sure now, you will excuse my mentioning what is said of this great man below; but speaking of light, I must not omit to mention, that there are men of veracity now living in this town, who affirm, that they have seen, upon opening some of the ancient monuments here, the eternal lamps burning. The number of testimonies we have of this kind puts the matter past a doubt, that a flame has appeared at the lip of these lamps when first the tombs have been opened; one was found, you know, on the Appian way, in the tomb of Cicero's daughter, which had burnt more than seventeen centuries; another at Padua, which had burnt eight hundred years, and which was found hanging between two little phials, one of gold, the other of silver, which were both quite full of liquor, extremely clear, as well as many others; but as it is impossible to believe that flame can exist, and not consume that which feeds it, is it not more natural to conclude that those lamps, phials, &c. contained a species of phosphorus, which became luminous upon the first opening of the tombs and the sudden rushing in of fresh air; and that the reverse of what is generally supposed is the fact, that they are not extinguished, but illuminated by the fresh air they receive? I have seen several of these lamps here and elsewhere, most of which are of baked earth. It has been said, that there is an oil to be extracted from gold, which will not consume, and that a wick of asbestos has burnt many years in this oil, without consumption to either. I have seen a book written by a German Jesuit, to confirm this fact; so there is authority for you, if not conviction.
As I know your keen appetite after antiquities, I will send you a few other inscriptions, and leave you to make your own comments; and voila.
D M L. HOSTIL. TER. SILVANI. ANN. XXIIII. M. II. D. XV MATER FIL PIJSSIMI MISERA ET IN LVCIV. AETERNALI BENIFICI. O NOVERCAE.
The following inscription is cut upon a marble column, which stands near the Jesuits' church:
SALVIS D.D.N.N. THEODOSIO, ET VALENTINIANO. P.F.V. AC TRIVM. SEMPER AUG. XV. CONS. VIR. INL. AUXILIARIS PRAE. PRAET, GALLIA. DE ARELATE MA, MILLIARIA PONI. S. M.P.S.
In the ancient church of St. Honore, which stands in the center of all these Heathen and Christian monuments, are to be seen nine Bacchanalians of very ancient workmanship; where also is the tomb of St. Honore, employed as the altar of the church; and beneath the church are catacombs, where the first Christians retired to prayer during the persecution by the Emperors, and where is still to be seen their altar and seven ancient sepulchres, of beautiful marble, and exquisitely worked; the first is the tomb of St. Genet; the second of St. Roland, Archbishop of Arles; the third of St. Concord, with an epitaph, and two doves with olive branches in their beaks, cut in bass relief, and underneath are the two letters X and P; on this tomb is the miraculous cross seen in the heavens by Constantine, who is represented before it on his knees; and on the cover of this tomb are the heads of Constantine, Faustina, and his son; and they say the Emperor saw this miracle in the heaven from the very Cimetiere in which this monument stands, i.e. in the year 315; the fifth is the tomb of St. Dorothy, Virgin and Martyr of Arles; the sixth St. Virgil, and the seventh St. Hiliare, (both Archbishops of Arles,) who has borrowed a Pagan sepulchre, for it is adorned with the principal divinities of the ancients in bass relief.—It seems odd to see on a Christian Bishop's tomb Venus, and the three Destinies. The people here say, that this tomb represents human life, as the ancients believed that each God contributed something towards the being. Be that as it may, the tomb is a very curious one, and much admired by the Connoisseurs, for its excellent workmanship; but what is more extraordinary than all these, is, that this catacomb, standing in the middle of the others, with its cover well and closely fixed, has always water in it, and often is quite full, and nobody can tell (but one of the priests perhaps) from what source it comes. There is also in this church the tomb and a long Latin Epitaph of St. Trophime, their first Bishop; but the characters are very Gothic, and the Cs are square, [Image: E E with no mid bar]; he came here in the year 61, and preached down that abominable practice of sacrificing three young men annually. He died in the year 61, at 72 years of age. On the front of the Metropolitan church of Arles, called St. Trophime, are the two following lines, in Gothic characters, cut above a thousand years:
Cernitur eximius vir Christi Discipulorum, De Numero Trophimus, hic Septuaginta duorum.
This church was built in the year 625, by St. Virgil, and is a curious piece of antiquity within, and particularly without; but I will not omit to give you one of its singularities within; it is an ancient and curious inscription in large Gothic letters, near the organ:
Terrarum Roma Gemina de luce majistrA. Ros Missus Semper Aderit: velut incola IoseP Olim Contrito Letheo Contulit OrchO.
To read this you will see you must take the first letter of each verse: TRO, Trophemus; GAL, Galliaeorum; and APO, Apostolus. The letter H, belonging to the word Joseph, must be carried to the word Orcho, and the P must stand by itself.
Trophimus Galliarum Apostolus, ut ros missus est, ex urbe Romae rerum Dominae Gemina de luce, scilicet a Petro et Paulo, Ecclesiae luminaribus; Contrito orcho Letheo, nempe statim post Christi Passionem qua Daemonis & orchi caput contrivit, semper animos nostras nutriet, cibo illo, divinae fidei quem nobis contulit: ut alter Joseph qui olim AEgypti populum same pereuntem liberavit.
Soon after we left the town of Arles, on our way to Aix, and this city, we entered upon a most extraordinary and extensive plain; it is called the Crau, and is a principal and singular domain, belonging to and situated on the south side of that city; it is ten leagues in diameter; on which vast extent, scarce a tree, shrub, or verdure is visible; the whole spot being covered with flint stones of various sizes, and of singular shapes. Petrarch says, as Strabo, and others have said before him, that those flint stones fell from Heaven like hail, when Hercules was fighting there against the giants, who, finding he was likely to be overcome, invoked his father Jupiter, who rained this hard shower of flint stones upon his enemies, which is confirmed by AEschylus.
"Jupiter Alcidem quando respexit inormem, Illachrymans, Ligures saxoso perpluit imbre."
But as this account may not be quite satisfactory to you, who I know love truth more than fable, I am inclined to think you will consider Possidonius's manner of accounting for it more feasible: He says, that it was once a great lake, and having a bed of gravel at the bottom, those pebble stones, by a succession of ages, have grown to the size they now appear; but whether stones grow which lie upon the surface of the earth and out of their proper strata, I must leave you and other naturalists to determine, without repeating to you what Aristotle, and others, have said upon that subject; and therefore, instead of telling you either what they say, or I think, I will tell you what I know, which is, that barren as the Crau appears to be, it not only feeds, but fattens an infinite number of sheep and cattle, and produces such excellent wine too in some parts of it, that it is called Vin de Crau, by way of pre-eminence: it has a poignant quality, is very bright, and is much esteemed for its delicious flavour. The herb which fattens the sheep and feeds such quantities of cattle is a little plant which grows between and under the flint stones, which the sheep and other animals turn up with their feet, to come at the bite; beside which, there grows a plant on this Crau that bears a vermilion flower, from which the finest scarlet dye is extracted; it is a little red grain, about the size of pea, and is gathered in the month of May; it has been sold for a crown a pound formerly; and a single crop has produced eleven thousand weight. This berry is the harvest of the poor, who are permitted to gather it on a certain day, but not till the Lord of the Manor gives notice by the sound of a horn, according to an ancient custom and privilege granted originally by King RENE.—On my way over it, I gathered only a great number of large larks by the help of my gun, though I did not forget my Montserrat vow: It was a fine day, and therefore I did not find it so tedious as it must be in winter or bad weather; for if any thing can be worse than sea, in bad weather, it must be this vast plain, which is neither land or sea, though not very distant from the latter, and in all probability was many ages since covered by the ocean.
The first town we came to after passing this vast plain, I have forgot the name of; but it had nothing but its antiquity and a noble and immense old castle to recommend it, except a transparent agate statue of the Virgin in the church, as large as the life, with a tin crown upon her head. Neither the town nor the inhabitants had any thing of the appearance of French about them; every thing and every body looked so wild, and the place was in such a ruinous condition, that I could scarce believe I was not among the Arabs in Egypt, or the ruins of Persepolis. Without the town, in a fine beautiful lawn stands a most irregular high and rude rock, perpendicular on all sides, and under one side of it are ruins of a house, which I suppose was inhabited by the first Seigneur in the province. I looked in, and found the ruins full of miserable inhabitants, I fancy many families; but it exhibited such a scene of woe, that I was glad to get out again; and upon inquiry, I found it had been in that state ever since it had been used as an hospital during the last plague.
As the good and evil, which fall within the line of a road, as well as a worldly traveller, are by comparison, I need not say what a heavenly country France (with all its untoward circumstances) appeared to us after having journeyed in Spain: what would have put me out of temper before, became now a consolation. How glad I should I have been, and how perfectly content, had it been thus in Spain, was always uppermost, when things ran a little cross in France.
Travellers and strangers in France, in a long journey perhaps, have no connection with any people, but such who have a design upon their purse. At every Auberge some officious coxcomb lies in wait to ensnare them, and under one pretence or other, introduces himself; he will offer to shew you the town; if you accept it, you are saddled with an impertinent visiter the whole time you stay; if you refuse it, he is affronted; so let him; for no gentleman ever does that without an easy or natural introduction; and then, if they are men of a certain age, their acquaintance is agreeable and useful. An under-bred Frenchman is the most offensive civil thing in the world: a well-bred Frenchman, quite the reverse.—Having dined at the table of a person of fashion at Aix, a pert priest, one the company, asked me many questions relative to the customs and manners of the English nation; and among other things, I explained to him the elegance in which the tables of people of the first fashion were served; and told him, that when any one changed his dish, that his plate, knife and fork, were changed also, and that they were as perfectly bright and clean as the day they came from the silver-smith's shop. After a little pause, and a significant sneer,—Pray Sir, (said he) and do you not change your napkins also? I was piqued a little, and told him we did not, but that indeed I had made a little mistake, which I would rectify, which was, that though I had told him the plate, knife, and fork, were so frequently changed at genteel tables in England, there was one exception to it; for it sometimes happened that low under-bred priests (especially on a Sunday) were necessarily admitted to the tables of people of fashion, and that the butler sometimes left them to wipe their knife upon their bread, as I had often seen Lewis the Fifteenth do, even after eating fish with it.—As it was on a Sunday I had met with this fop of divinity, at a genteel table, I thought I had been even with him, and I believe he thought so too, for he asked me no more questions; yet he assured me at his going out, "he had the honour to be my most obedient humble servant." This over-strained civility, so unlike good-breeding, puts me in mind of what was said of poor Sir WM. ST. Q——N, after his death, by an arch wag at Bath: Sir William, you know, was a polite old gentleman, but had the manners and breeding rather of the late, than the present age, and though a man deservedly esteemed for his many virtues, was by some thought too ceremonious. Somebody at the round table at Morgan's Coffee-house happened to say, alas! poor Sir William! he is gone; but he was a good man, and is surely gone to Heaven, and I can tell you what he said when he first entered the holy gates! the interrogation followed of course: Why, said he, seeing a large concourse of departed souls, and not a soul that he knew, he bowed to the right and left, said he begged pardon,—he feared he was troublesome, and if so, he would instantly retire.—So the Frenchman, when he says he would cut himself in four pieces to serve you, only means to be very civil, and he will be so, if it does not put him to any expence.
Aix is a well built city; the principal street called the Course, is very long, very broad, and shaded by stately trees; in the middle of it are four or five fountains, constantly running, one of which is of very hot water, at which man and beast are constantly drinking. The city abounds with a great deal of good company, drawn to it from all parts of Europe by the efficacy of the waters, and to examine its antiquities, for it has in and about it many Greek as well as Roman monuments.
Some part of the country between Aix and this populous city is very beautiful, but near the town scarce any vegetation is seen; on all sides high hills and broken rocks present themselves; and one wonders how a city so large and so astonishingly populous is supported. When I first approached the entrance gate, it opened a perspective view of the Course, a street of great extent, where the heads of the people were so thick together, that I concluded it was a FAIR day, and that the whole country was collected together; but I found it was every day the same. I saw a prodigious quantity of game and provisions of all kinds, not only in the shops, but in the streets, and concluded it was not only a cheap, but a plentiful country; but I soon found my mistake, it was the evening before Lent commenced, and I could find no provisions of any kind very easily afterwards, and every thing very dear. You may imagine the price of provisions at Marseilles when I tell you that they have their poultry from Lyons; it is however a noble city, crouded with men of all nations, walking in the streets in the proper habits of their country. The harbour is the most secure sea-port in Europe, being land-locked on all sides, except at a verry narrow entrance; and as there is very little rise or fall of water, the vessels are always afloat. Many of the galley slaves have little shops near the spot where the galleys are moored, and appear happy and decently dressed; some of them are rich, and make annual remittances to their friends. In the Hotel de Ville are two fine large pictures, which were taken lately from the Jesuits' college; one represents the dreadful scenes which were seen in the Grand Course during the great plague at Marseilles; the other, the same sad scene on the Quay, before the doors of the house in which it now hangs. A person cannot look upon these pictures one minute before he becomes enthralled in the woes which every way present themselves. You see the good Bishop confessing the sick, the carts carrying out the dead, children sucking at the breasts of their dead mothers, wives and husbands bewailing, dead bodies lowering out of the higher windows by cords, the slaves plundering, the Priests exhorting, and such a variety of interesting and afflicting scenes so forcibly struck out by the painter, that you seem to hear the groans, weepings, and bewailings, from the dying, the sick and the sound; and the eye and mind have no other repose on these pictures but by fixing it on a dead body. The painter, who was upon the spot, has introduced his own figure, but armed like a serjeant with a halberd. The pictures are indeed dreadfully fine; one is much larger than the other; and it is said the town Magistrates cut it to fit the place it is in; but it is impossible to believe any body of men could be guilty of such an act of barbarism! There is still standing in this town, the house of a Roman senator, now inhabited by a shoe-maker. In the cathedral they have a marble-stone, on which there is engraved, in Arabic characters, a monumental inscription to the following effect:
"GOD is alone permanent. This is the Sepulchre of his servant and Martyr, who having placed his confidence in the Most High, he trusts that his sins will be forgiven."
JOSEPH, son of ABDALLAH, of the town of Metelin, died in the moon Zilhage.
I bought here an Egyptian household God, or Lar of solid metal, which was lately dug up near the city walls; it is about nine inches high, and weighs about five pounds. Several of the hieroglyphic characters are visible on the breast and back, and its form is that of an embalmed mummy. By a wholesome law of this city, the richest citizen must be buried like the poorest, in a coffin of nine livres value, and that coffin must be bought at the general Hospital. The sale of these coffins for the dead, goes a great way towards the support of the poor and the sick.
At this town I experienced the very reverse in every respect of what I met with at Barcelona, though I had no better recommendation to Mr. BIRBECK, his Britannick Majesty's Agent here, than I had to the Consul of Barcelona; he took my word, at first sight, nay, he took my notes and gave me money for them, and shewed me and my family many marks of friendly attention: Such a man, at such a distance from ones own country, is a cordial to a troubled breast, and an acquisition to every Englishman who goes there either for health or curiosity. Mr. Birbeck took me with him to a noble Concert, to which he is an annual subscriber, and which was performed in a room in every respect suitable to so large a band, and so brilliant an assembly: He and his good wife were the only two British faces I had seen for many months, who looked like Britons. I shall, indeed I must, soon leave this town, and shall take Avignon on my way to Lyons, from whence you shall soon hear from me again.
I had forgot to mention, when I was speaking of Montpellier, that the first gentry are strongly impressed with the notion of the superiority of the English, in every part of philosophy, more especially in the science of physic; and I found at Montpellier, that these sentiments so favourable to our countrymen, had been much increased by the extraordinary knowledge and abilities of Dr. MILMAN, an English physician, who resided there during the winter 1775. This gentleman, who is one of Doctor RADCLIFFE'S travelling physicians, had performed several very astonishing cures, in cases which the French Physicians had long treated without success: And indeed the French physicians, however checked by interest or envy, were obliged to acknowledge this gentleman's uncommon sagacity in the treatment of diseases. What I say of this ingenious traveller, is for your sake more than his; for I know nothing more of him than the fame he has left behind him at Montpellier, and which I doubt not will soon be verified by his deeds among his own countrymen.
There is no dependence on what travellers say of different towns and places they have visited, and therefore you must not lay too much stress upon what I say. A Lady of fashion, who had travelled all over France, gave the preference to the town I wrote last to you from (Marseilles); to me, the climate excepted, it is of all others the most disagreeable; yet that Lady did not mean to deceive; but people often prefer the town for the sake of the company they find, or some particular or local circumstance that attended their residence in it; in that respect, I too left it reluctantly, having met with much civility and some old friends there; but surely, exclusive of its fine harbour, and favourable situation for trade, it has little else to recommend it, but riot, mob, and confusion; provisions are very dear, and not very good.
On our road here we came again through Aix. The Mule blanche without the town, is better than any auberge within, and Mons. L'Abbe Abrard Praetor, de la ordre de St. Malta, is not only a very agreeable, but a very convenient acquaintance for a stranger, and who is always ready to shew the English in particular, attention, and who had much attention shewn him by Lord A. PERCY and his Lady.
From Aix we passed through Lambresque, Orgon, and Sencage, a fine country, full of almond trees, and which were in full blossom on the 7th of March. At Orgon the post-house was so bad, that after my horse was in the stable, I was obliged to put him to, and remove to the Soleil d'Or, without the town, and made a good move too. The situation of Notre Dame de St. Piere, a convent on a high hill, is worthy of notice, and the antiquity of the town also.—Five leagues from Orgon we crossed a very aukward passage in a ferry-boat, and were landed in the Pope's territories, about five miles from Avignon. The castle, and higher part of the town, were visible, rising up in the middle of a vast plain, fertile and beautiful as possible. If we were charmed with the distant view, we were much more so upon a nearer approach; nothing can be more pleasing than the well-planted, and consequently well-shaded coach and foot roads all round this pretty little city; all shut in with the most beautiful ancient fortification walls I ever beheld, and all in perfect repair; nor were we asked any questions by the Pope's soldiers, or Custom-house Officers. I had a letter to Dr. POWER, an English Physician in this town, who received me with great civity, and made me known to LORD MOUNTGARRET, and Mr. BUTLER, his son, with whom I had the honour to spend some very agreeable hours: his Lordship has an excellent house here, and keeps a table, truly characteristic of the hospitality of his own country.—And now I cannot help telling you of a singular disorder which attacked me the very day I arrived; and the still more singular manner I got well: the day before I arrived, we had been almost blown along the road to Orgon by a most violent wind; but I did not perceive that I had received any cold or injury from it, till we arrived here, and then, I had such an external soreness from head to foot, that I almost dreaded to walk or stir, and when I did, it was as slow as my feet could move; after continuing so for some days, I was much urged to dine with Lord MOUNTGARRET, on St. Patrick's day; I did so, and by drinking a little more than ordinary, set nature to work, who, without any other Doctor, did the business, by two or three nights' copious sweats. I would not have mentioned this circumstance, but it may be the mal du pais, and ought to be mentioned for the method of cure.
There was not quite so good an understanding between the Pope's Legate and the English residing here, as could be wished; some untoward circumstance had happened, and there seemed to be faults on both sides; it was carried, I think, to such a length, that when the English met him, they did not pull off their hats; but as it happened before I came, and as in our walks and rides we often met him airing in his coach, we paid that respect which is everywhere due to a first magistrate, and he took great pains to return it most graciously; his livery, guards, &c. make a very splendid appearance: he holds a court, and is levee'd every Sunday, though not liked by the French. At the church of St. Didier, in a little chapel, of mean workmanship, is the tomb of the celebrated Laura, whose name Petrarch has rendered immortal; the general opinion is, that she died a virgin; but it appears by her tomb, that she was the wife of Hugues de Sade, and that she had many children. About two hundred years after her death, some curious people got permission to open her tomb, in which they found a little box, containing some verses written by Petrarch, and a medallion of lead, on one side of which was a Lady's head and on the reverse, the four following letters, M.L.M.E.
Francis the First, passing thro' Avignon, visited this tomb, and left upon it the following epitaph, of his own composition:
"En petit lien compris vous pouvez voir Ce qui comprend beaucoup par renommee Plume, labour le langue & le devoir Furent vaincus par l'aimant de l'aimee O gentille ame, etant tant estimee Qui le pourra louer quen se laissant? Car la parole est toujours reprimee Quand le sujet surmonte le disant."
This town is crowded with convents and churches. The convent of the Celestines, founded by Charles the VIth, is richly endowed, and has noble gardens: there are not above fourteen or fifteen members, and their revenue is near two thousand pounds sterling a year. In their church is a very superb monument of Pope Clement the VIIth, who died here in the year 1394, as a long Latin inscription upon it announces. They shew in this house a picture, painted by King Renee; it represents the frightful remains of his beloved mistress, whose body he took out of the grave, and painted it in the state he then found it, i.e. with the worms crawling about it: it is a hideous figure, and hideously painted; the stone coffin stands on a line with the figure, but is above a foot too short for the body; and on the other side is a long scrole of verses, written in Gothic characters, which begin thus:
"Une fois fus sur toutes femmes belle Mais par la mort suis devenue telle Machair estoit tres-belle fraische & tendre O'r est elle toute tournee en cendre."
There follow at least forty other such lines.
There is also in this convent, a fine monument, on which stands the effigies of St. Benezet, a shepherd of Avignon, who built (they say) the bridge from the town over the Rhone, in consequence of a dream, in the year 1127: some of the noble arches are still standing, and part of a very pretty chapel on it, nearly in the middle of the river; but a great part of the bridge has been carried away, many years since, by the violence of the river, which often not only overflows its banks, but the lower part of the town. In 1755, it rose seventeen feet higher than its usual flowing, and I saw marks in many of the streets, high above my head, against the sides of houses, which it had risen to; but with all my industry, I could find no mark upon the house where Lady Mary Wortley Montagu dwelt, though she resided some time here, and though I endeavoured to find it.
I need not describe the celebrated fountain of Vaucluse, near this town, where Petrarque composed his works, and established Mount Parnassus. This is the only part of France in which there is an Inquisition, but the Officers seem content with their profits and honours, without the power.
One part of the town is allotted to the Jews, where about six or seven hundred live peaceably and have their synagogue; and it was here the famous rabbin Joseph Meir was born; he died in the year 1554; he was author, you know, of Annals des Rois de France, and de la Maison Ottomane.
Not far from Avignon, on the banks of the same rapid river, stands Beaucaire, famous for its annual FAIR, where merchandize is brought from all parts of Europe, free of all duties: it begins on the 22d of July; and it is computed that eight million of livres are annually expended there in eight days. Avignon is remarkable for the No. Seven, having seven ports, seven parishes, seven colleges, seven hospitals, and seven monasteries; and I may add, I think, seven hundred bells, which are always making a horrid jingle, for they have no idea of ringing bells harmoniously in any part of France.
After a month's residence at Avignon, where I waited till the weather and roads amongst the high Dauphine mountains were both improved, I sat out for this city. I had, you know, outward bound, dropt down to Port St. Esprit by water, so it was a new scene to us by land, and I assure you it was a fine one; the vast and extensive rich vales, adorned on all sides with such romantic mountains, could not be otherwise, in such a climate. Our first stage was only four leagues to Orange; this is the last town in the Pope's territories; and within a quarter of a mile of it stands, in a corn field, a beautiful Roman triumphal arch, so great in ruins, that it would be an ornament even in Rome. The Palais Royal at this town, has nothing to recommend it, but that it affords a prospect of this rich morsel of antiquity.
From Orange we passed through Pierlaite, Donzeir, and several smaller towns, and we lay one night at a single house, but an excellent auberge, called Souce, kept by an understanding sensible host.
At a little village called A'tang, on the banks of the Rhone, we stopped a day or two, to enjoy the sweet situation. Just opposite to it, on the other side of the river, stands a large town, (Tournau,) which added to the beauty of our village, over which hangs a very high mountain, from whence the best Hermitage wine is collected: I suppose it is called Hermitage, from a Hermit's cell on the top of it; but so unlike the Montserrat Hermitages, that I contented myself with only tasting the Hermit's wine; it was so good indeed, that though I did not see how it was possible to get it safe to the north side of France, I could not withstand the temptation of buying a cask, for which I was to pay twelve guineas, and did pay one as earnest, to a very sensible, and I believe honest and opulent wine merchant, who, however, made me a present of two bottles when I came away, almost worth my guinea; it is three livres a bottle on the spot; and he shewed me orders he had received from men of fashion in England, for wine; among which was one from Mr. Ryder, Sir Dudley Ryder's son I fancy, who, I found, was well satisfied with his former dealings. Do you know that Claret is greatly improved by a mixture of Hermitage, and that the best Claret we have in England is generally so adulterated?
The next towns we passed were Pevige and Vienne, the latter only five leagues from this city. It is a very ancient town, and was formerly a Roman colony. The cathedral is a large and noble Gothic structure, and in it is a fine tomb of Cardinal Mountmoin, said to be equal in workmanship to Richlieu's in the Sorbonne, but said to be so, by people no ways qualified to judge properly; it is indeed an expensive but a miserable performance, when put in competition with the works of Girrardeau. About half a mile without the town is a noble pyramidal Roman monument, said to have stood in the center of the Market-place, in the time of the Romans. There is also to be seen in this town, a Mosaic pavement discovered only a few years since, wonderfully beautiful indeed, and near ten feet square, though not quite perfect, being broken in the night by some malicious people, out of mere wantonness, soon after it was discovered.
At this town I was recommended to the Table Round; but as there are two, the grande and the petit, I must recommend you to the petit where I was obliged to move; for, of all the dreadful women I ever came near, Madam Rousillion has the least mellifluous notes; her ill behaviour, however, procured me the honour of a very agreeable acquaintance, the Marquis DeValan, who made me ashamed, by shewing us an attention we had no right to expect; but this is one, among many other agreeable circumstances, which attend strangers travelling in France. French gentlemen never see strangers ill treated, without standing forth in their defence; and I hope English gentlemen will follow their example, because it is a piece of justice due to strangers, in whatever country they are, or whatever country they are from; it is doing as one would be done by. That prejudice which prevails in England, even among some people of fashion, against the French nation is illiberal, in the highest degree; nay, it is more, it is a national disgrace.—When I recollect with what ease and uninterruption I have passed through so many great and little towns, and extensive provinces, without a symptom of wanton rudeness being offered me, I blush to think how a Frenchman, if he made no better figure than I did, would have been treated in a tour through Britain.—My Monkey, with a pair of French jack boots, and his hair en queue, rode postillion upon my sturdy horse some hours every day; such a sight, you may be sure, brought forth old and young, sick and lame, to look at him and his master. Jocko put whole towns in motion, but never brought any affront on his master; they came to look and to laugh, but not to deride or insult. The post-boys, it is true, did not like to see their fraternity taken off, in my little Theatre; but they seldom discovered it, but by a grave salutation; and sometimes a good humoured fellow called him comrade, and made Jocko a bow; they could not laugh at his bad seat, for not one of them rode with more ease; or had a handsomer laced jacket. Mr. Buffon says, the Monkey or Maggot, (and mine is the latter, for he has no tail) make their grimace or chattering equally to shew their anger or to make known their appetite. With all due deference to this great naturalist, I must beg leave to say, that his observation is not quite just; there is as much difference between the grimace of my Jocko, when he is angry or hungry, and when he grins to shew delight, as there is in a man, when he gnashes his teeth in wrath, or laughs from mirth.
Between Avignon and this town I met a dancing bear, mounted by a Maggot: as it was upon the high road, I desired leave to present Jocko to his grandfather, for so he appeared both in age and size; the interview, though they were both males, was very affecting; never did a father receive a long-lost child with more seeming affection than the old gentleman did my Jocko; he embraced him with every degree of tenderness imaginable, while the young gentleman (like other young gentlemen of the present age) betrayed a perfect indifference. In my conscience I believe it, there was some consanguinity between them, or the reception would have proved more mutual. Between you and me, I fear, were I to return to England, I might find myself a sad party in such an interview. It is a sad reflection; but perhaps Providence may wisely ordain such things, in order as men grow older, to wean them from the objects of their worldly affections, that they may resign more readily to the decree of fate. That good man, Dr. ARBUTHNOT, did not seem to dread the approach of death on his own account, so much as from the grievous affliction HE had reason to fear it would bring upon his children and family.
The Harangue of the Emperor CLAUDIUS, in the SENATE. Copied from the original Bronze plate in the Hotel de Ville, of Lyons.
MOERERUM . NOSTR ::::: SII ::::::::: Equidem . primam . omnium . illam . cogitationem . hominum . quam . maxime . primam . occursuram . mihi . provideo . deprecor . ne . quasi . novam . istam . rem . introduci . exhorrescatis . sed . illa . potius . cogitetis . quam . multa . in . hac . civitate . novata . sint . et . quidem . statim . ab . origine . vrbis . nostrae . in . quod . formas . statusque . res . P . nostra . diducta . sit.
Quandam . reges . hanc . tenuere . vrbem . nec tamen . domesticis . successoribus . eam . tradere . contigit . supervenere . alieni . et . quidam . externi . vt . Numa . Romulo . successerit . ex. Sabinis . veniens . vicinus . quidem . se . tunc.
Sed . tunc . externus . ut . Anco . Marcio . Priscus . Tarquinius . propter . temeratum . sanguinem . quod . Patre . Demaratho . Corinthio . natus . erat . et . Tarquiniensi . Matre . generoso . sed . inopi . ut . quae . tali . marito . necesse . habuerit . succumbere . cum . domi . repelleretur. A . gerendis . honoribus . postquam . Roman . migravit . regnum . adeptus . est . huic . quoque . et . filio . nepotive . ejus . nam . et . hoc . inter . auctores . discrepat . insertus . Servius . Tullius . si . nostros . sequimur . captiva . natus . ocresia . si . tuscos . coeli . quandam . vivennae . sodalis . fidelissimus . omnisque . ejus . casus . comes . post . quam . varia . fortuna . exactus . cum . omnibus . reliquis . caeliani . exercitus . Etruria . excepit . mentem . caelium . occupavit . et . a . duce . suo . caelio . ita . appellitatus . mutatoque . nomine . nam . Tusce . mostrana . ei . nomen . erat . ita . appellatus . est . ut . dixi . et . regnum . summa . cum . rei . p . utilitate . optinuit . deinde . postquam . Tarquini . superbi . mores . invisi . civitati . nostrae . esse . coeperunt . qua . ipsius . qua . filiorum . ejus . nempe . pertaesum . est . mentes . regni . et . ad.consules.
Annuos . magistratus . administratio . rei . p . translata . est . quid . nunc . commemorem . dictatu . valentius . repertum . apud . majores . nostros . quo . in . asperioribus . bellis . aut . in . civili . motu . difficiliore . uterentur . aut . in . auxilium . plebis . creatos . tribunos . plebei . quid . a . latum . imperium . solutoque . postea . Decemvirali . regno . ad . consules . rursus . reditum . quid . indecoris . distributum . consulare . imperium . tribunosque . militum . consulari . imperio . appellatos . qui . seni . et . saepe . octoni . crearentur . quid . communicatos . postremo . cum . plebe . honores . non . imperi . solum . sed . sacerdotiorum . quoque . jam . si . narrem . bella p . quibus . coeperint . majores . nostri . et . quo . processerimus . vereor . ne . nimio . insolentior . esse . videar . et . quaesisse . jactationem . gloria . prolati . imperi . ultra . oceanum . sed . illoc . potius . revertor . civitatem.
:::::::::::::::::: SANE ::: NOVO :: DIVVS :: AUG ::: LVS. et . Patruus . Ti . Caesar . omnem . florem . ubisque . coloniarum . ac . municipiorum . bonorum . scilicet . virorum . et . locupletium . in . hac curia . esse . voluit . quid . ergo . non . Italicus . senator . Provinciali . potior . est . jam . vobis . cum . hanc . partem . censurae . meae . ad . probare . coepero . quid . de . ea . re . sentiam . rebus . ostendam . sed . ne . provinciales . quidem . si . modo . ornare . curiam . poterint . rejiciendos . puto.
Ornatissimae . ecce . colonia . volentissimaque Viennensium . quam . longo . jam . tempore . senatores . huic . curiae . confert . ex . qua . colonia . inter . paucas . equestris . ordinis . ornamentum L . vestinum . familiarissime . diligo . et . hodieque . in . rebus . meis . detineo . cujus . liberi . tiorum . gradu . post . modo . cum . annis . promoturi . dignitatis . suae . incrementa . ut . dirum . nomen . latronis . taceam . et . odi . illud . palaestricum . prodigium . quod . ante . in . domum . consulatum . intulit . quam . colonia . sua . solidum civitatis . Romanae . beneficium . consecuta . est idem . de . patre . ejus . possum . dicere . miserabili . quidem . invtilis . senator . esse . non . possit tempus . est . jam . ri . CAESAR . Germanice . detegere . te . patribus . conscriptis . quo . tendat . oratio . tua . jam . enim . ad . extremos . fines . Galliae . Narbonensis . venisti.
Tot . ecce . insignes . juvenes . quot . intuetor . non . magis . sunt . poenitendi . senatores . quam . aenitet . Persicum . nobilissimum . virum . amicum . meum . inter . imagines . majorum . suorum . Allobrogici . nomen . legere . quod . SL . haec . ita . esse . consentitis . quid . ultra . desideratis . quam . ut . vobis . digito . demonstrem . solum . ipsum . ultra . fines . provinciae . Narbonensis . jam . vobis . senatores . mittere . quando . ex . Luguduno . habere . nos . nostri . ordinis . viros . non . poenitet . timide . quidem . P . C . vobis . provinciarum . terminos . sum . sed . destricte . jam . comatae . Galliae . causa . argenda . est . in . qua . si . quis . hoc . intuetur . quod . bello . per . decem . anno . exercuerunt . divom . Julium . diem . opponat . centum . armorum . immobilem . fidem . obsequiumque . multis . trepidis . rebus . nostris . plusquam . expertum . illi . patri . meo . druso . Germaniam . subi . genti . tutam . quiete . sua . securamque . a . tergo . pacem . praestiterunt . et . quidem . cum . AD . census . novo . tum . opere . et in . adsueto . gallis . ad . bellum . avocatus . esset . quod . opus . quam . arduum . sit . nobis . nunc . maxime . quam . vis . nihil . ultra . quam . ut . publice . notae . sint . facultates . nostrae . exquiratur . nimis . magno . experimento . cognoscimus.
The above harangue, made by CLAUDIUS, in favor of the LYONOISE, and which he pronounced in the Senate, is the only remains of the works of this Emperor, though he composed many. Suetonius says he composed forty-three books of a history, and left eight compleat of his own life; and adds, that he wrote more elegantly than judiciously.
I have now spent a month in my second visit to this great and flourishing city, and fortunately took lodgings in a Hotel, where I found the lady and sister of Mons. Le Marquis De Valan, whose politeness to us I mentioned in a former letter at Vienne, and by whose favour I have had an opportunity of seeing more, and being better informed, than I could have been without so respectable an acquaintance. At Vienne I only knew his rank, here I became acquainted with his good character, and fortune, which is very considerable in Dauphine, where he has two or three fine seats. His Lady came to Lyons to lye-in, attended by the Marquis's sister, a Chanoinesse, a most agreeable sensible woman, of a certain age; but the Countess is young and beautiful.
You may imagine that, after what I said of Lyons, on my way to Spain, I did not associate much with my own country-folks. On my return, indeed, my principal amusement was to see as much as I could, in a town where so much is to be seen; and in relating to you what I have seen, I will begin with the Hotel De Ville; if it had not that name, I should have called it a Palace, for there are few palaces so large or so noble; on the first entrance of which, in the vestibule, you see, fixed in the wall, a large plate of Bronze, bearing stronger marks of fire than of age; on which were engraven, seventeen hundred years ago, two harangues made by the Emperor Claudius in the senate, in favour of the Lyonoise, and which are not only legible at this day, but all the letters are sharp and well executed; the plate indeed is broke quite through the middle, but fortunately the fraction runs between the first and second harangues, so as to have done but little injury among the the letters. As I do not know whether you ever saw a copy of it, I inclose it to you, and desire you will send it as an agreeable exercise, to be well translated by my friend at Oxford.
On the other side of the vestibule is a noble stair-case, on which is well painted the destruction of the city, by so dreadful a fire in the time of the Romans, that Seneca, who gives an account of it in a letter to his friend, says,
"Una nox fuit inter urbem maximam et nullum."
i.e. One night only intervened between a great city and nothing.
There is something awful in this scene, to see on one side of the stair-case the conflagration well executed; on the other, strong marks of the very fire which burnt so many ages ago; for there can be no doubt, but that the Bronze plate then stood in the Roman Hotel de Ville, and was burnt down with it, because it was dug up among the refuse of the old city on the mountain called Fourvire, on the other side of the river, where the original city was built.—In cutting the letters on this large plate of Bronze, they have, to gain room, made no distance between the words, but shewn the division only by a little touch thus < with the graver; and where a word eroded with a C, or G, they have put the touch within the concavity of the letter, otherwise it is admirably well executed.
Upon entering into the long gallery above stairs, you are shewn the late King and Queen's pictures at full length, surrounded with the heads of some hundred citizens; and in one corner of the room an ancient altar, the Taurabolium, dug up in 1704, near the same place where Claudius's harangue was found; it is of common stone, well executed, about four feet high, and one foot and a half square; on the front of it is the bull's head, in demi relief, adorned with a garland of corn; on the right side is the victimary knife[A] of a very singular form; and on the left the head of a ram, adorned as the bull's; near the point of the knife are the following words, cujus factum est; the top of the altar is hollowed out into the form of a shallow bason, in which, I suppose, incense was burnt and part of the victims.
[A] The knife, which is cut in demi relief, on the Taurobolium, is crooked upon the back, exactly in the same manner, and form, as may be seen on some of the medals of the Kings of Macedonia.
The Latin inscription under the bull's head, is very well cut, and very legible, by which it appears, that by the express order of CYBELE, the reputed mother of the Gods, for the honour and health of the Emperor Antoninus Pius, father of his country, and for the preservation of his children, children, Lucius AEmilius Carpus[B] received the horns of the bull, by the ministration of Quintus Samius Secundus, transported them to the Vatican, and consecrated, at his own expence, this altar and the head of the bull[C]; but I will send the inscription, and a model[D] of the altar, as soon as I can have it made, as I find here a very ingenious sculptor and modeller; who, to my great serprize, says no one has hitherto been taken from it. And here let me observe, lest I forget it, to say, that Augustus lived three years in this city.
[B] Lucius AEmilius Carpus was a Priest, and a man of great riches: he was of the quality of Sacrovir, and probably one of the six Priests of the temple of Angustus.—Sextumvir Augustalii.
[C] Several inscriptions of this kind have been found both in Italy and Spain, but by far the greater number among the Gauls; and as the sacrifices to the Goddess Cybele were some of the least ancient of the Pagan rites, so they were the last which were suppressed on the establishment of Christianity. Since we find one of the Taurobolian inscriptions, with so recent a date as the time of the Emperor Valentinian the third. The silence of the Heathen writers on this head is very wonderful; for the only one who makes any mention of them is Julius Firmicus Maternus, in his dissertation on the errors of the Pagan religion; as Dalenius, in his elaborate account of the Taurobolium, has remarked.
The ceremony of the consecration of the High Priest of Cybele, which many learned men have mistaken for the consecration of the Roman Pontifex Maximus; which dignity, from the very earliest infancy of the Roman Empire, was always annexed to that of the Emperor himself.
The Priests who had the direction of the Taurobola, wore the same vestments without washing out the bloody stains, as long as they would hold together.
By these rites and baptisms by blood, they thought themselves, as it were re-born to a life eternal. Sextilius Agefilaus AEdesius says, that he was born a-new, to life eternal, by means of the Taurobolium and Criobolium.
Nor were the priests alone initiated in this manner, but also others, who were not of that order; in particular cases the regenerations were only promised for twenty years.
Besides the Taurobolia and Criobolia, which were erected at the expence of whole cities and provinces, there were others also, which were founded by the bounty of private people. We often meet with the names of magistrates and priests of other Gods, who were admitted into these mysteries, and who erected Taurobolia as offerings for the safety of the Emperor, or their own. The rites of the Taurobolia lasted sometimes many days.
The inscription, on the Taurobolium, which is on the same side with the head of the bull, we have endeavoured to explain by filling up the abbreviations which are met with in the Roman character.
TAUROBOLIO MATRIS DEUM MAGNAE IDAEAE QUOD FACTUM EST EX IMPERIO MATRIS IDAEAE DEUM PRO SALUTE IMPERATORIS CAESARIS TITI AELII ADRIANI ANTONINI AUGUSTI PII PATRIS PATRIAE LIBERORUMQUE EJUS ET STATUS COLONIAE LUGDUNENSIS LUCIUS AEMILIUS CARPUS SEXTUMVIR AUGUSTALIS ITEM DENDROPHORUS VIRES EXCEPIT ET A VATICANO TRANSTULIT ARAM ET BUCRANIUM SUO IMPENDIO CONSECRAVIT SACERDOTE QUINTO SAMMIO SECUNDO AB QUINDECEMVIRIS OCCABO ET CORONA EXORNATO CUI SANCTISSIMUS ORDO LUGDUNENSIS PERPETUITATEM SACERDOTIS DECREVIT APPIO ANNIA ATILO BRADUA TITO CLODIO VIBIO VARO CONSULIBUS LOCUS DATUS DICRETO DECURIONUM.
[D] The Model is now in the possession of the ingenious Dr. HARRINGTON at Bath.
The Taurobolium was one of the great mysteries, you know, of the Roman religion, in the observance of which, I think, they dug a large hole in the earth, and covered it with planks, laid at certain distances, so as to give light into the subterranean temple. The person who was to receive the Taurobolio then descended into the theatre, and received on his head and whole body, the smoaking hot blood of the bull, which was there sacrificed for that purpose. If a single bull was only sacrificed, I think they call it a simple Taurabolio, if a ram was added to it, as was sometimes done, it was then called a Torobolia, and Criobolio; sometimes too, I believe a goat was also slain.
After all the blood of the victim animals was discharged, the Priests and Cybils retired beneath the theatre, and he who had received the bloody sacrifice, came forth and exposed himself, besmeared with blood, to the people, who all prostrated themselves before him, with reverential awe, as one who was thereby particularly sanctified, and whose person ought to be regarded with the highest veneration, and looked upon with holy horror; nor did this sanctification, I think, end with the ceremony, but rendered the person of the sanctified holy for twenty years. An inscription cited by Gruter, seems to confirm this matter, who, after speaking of one Nepius Egnatius Faventinus, who lived in the year of Christ 176, says,
"Percepto Taurobolio Criobolioque feliciter,"
Concludes with these words,
"Vota Faventinus bis deni suscipit orbis, Ut mactet repetens aurata fronte bicornes."
The bis denus orbis seems to imply, the space of twice ten years.
And here I cannot help making a little comparison between the honours paid by the Roman citizens to their Emperors, and those of the present times to the Princes of the Blood Royal. You must know that the present King's brother, came to Lyons in the year 1775, and thus it is recorded in letters of gold upon their quay:
LOUIS XVI. REGNANT. EN MEMOIRE DE L'HEUREUX JOUR CINQ. SEPTEMBRE M,DCC,LXXV. OU MONSIEUR FRERE DU ROI ET MADAME SONT ARRIVES EN CETTE VILLE CE QUAI DE L'AGREMENT DU PRINCE ET PAR ORDONNANCE DU CONSULAT DU DOUZE DU MEME MOIS A ETE NOMME A PERPETUITE QUAI MONSIEUR.
If the Bourgeoise of Lyons, however, are not men of genius, they are ingenious men, and they have a most delightful country to dwell in. I think I may say, that from the high hills which hang about this city, and taking in the rivers, fertile vales, rude rocks, vine-yards, and country seats, far and near, that Lyons and its environs, afford a greater variety of natural and artificial beauties, than any spot in Europe. It is, however, by no means a place for the winter residence of a stranger. Most of the natives advanced in years, were carried off last winter. The surly winds which come down the Rhone, with impetuous blasts, are very disagreeable and dangerous. I found the cold intolerable in the beginning of May, out of the sunshine, and the sun intolerable in it. In England I never wore but one under waistcoat; in Spain, and in the south of France, I found two necessary. The Spaniards wear long cloaks, and we laugh at them; but the laugh would come more properly from them. There is in those climates a vifness in the air that penetrates through and through; and I am sure that such who travel to the southward for the recovery of their health, ought to be ten times more upon their guard, to be well secured against the keen blasts the south of France, than even against an easterly wind in England.
The disorder which carried off so many last winter at Lyons, was called the Gripe. In a large hotel only one person escaped it, an English Lady. They called it the Gripe, from the fast hold it took of the person it seized; nor did it let them go till April.
On my way here, I found it sometimes extremely hot; it is now the first of May, and I am shaking by the side of a good fire, and have had one constantly every day for this fortnight.
The Lyonoise think their town was particularly honoured by the Taurobolium; but it was a common practice to offer that sacrifice not only for the Emperor's health, but for the preservation of a city. There are two of these altars in the town of Letoure; one consecrated for the preservation of the Emperor Gordian, on which is the following inscription:
PRO SALVTE IMP. ANTONINI GORDIANO PII FEL. AVG. TOTIVSQVE DOMVS DIVINAE PROQVE STATV CIVIT. LACTOR TOROPOLIVM FECIT ORDO LACTOR D.N. GORDIANO II ET POMPLIANO COS VI ID DEC CVRANTIS M EROTIO ET FESTO CANINIS SACERD.
And in a little village near Marseilles, called Pennes, there is a stone, on which is engraven,
MATRI DEVM MAGNAE IDEAE
And on another, in the same town,
MATRI DEVM TAVROPOLIVM.
I must not omit to give you a copy of a singular inscription on the tomb of a mint-master which was found in Lyons, and is preserved entire:
NOBILIS TIB. CAESARIUS AVG. SER AEQ. MONET HIC AD QVI LOCIT JVLIA ADEPTA CONJUNX ET PERPETUA FILIA D.S.D.
The most ancient money which has been found in and about this city, is the little coin of Mark Antony; on one side of which is represented the Triumvirate; on the other, a Lion, with the word Lugudani under it; on each side of the Lion are the letters A and XL. The antiquarians here think those letters marked the value of the piece, and that it was about forty sous; but is it not more probable, that this was only the mint-master's touch?
Nothing can be a stronger proof of the importance of this city in the time of the Romans, than the immense expence they were at in erecting such a number of grand aquaeducts, one of which was eighteen leagues in length; many parts of them are still visible; and it appears that they spent for the reparation of them at one time, near one thousand talents; and here it was that the four grand Roman highways divided; one of which went directly to the sea, and another to the Pyrenees.
Agrippa, who was the constructor of most of these noble monuments of Roman grandeur, would not permit the Lyonoise to erect any monument among them to his memory; and yet, his memory is, in a very particular manner, preserved to this day in the very heart of the city, for in the front of a house on the quay de Villeroy, is a medallion of baked earth, which, I think, perfectly resembles him; sure I am it is an unquestionable antique; it is a little disfigured indeed, and disgraced by his name being written upon it in modern characters. But there is another monument of Agrippa here; it is part of the epitaph of an officer or soldier of the third cohort, whose duty it was to take an account of the expence of each day for the subsistence of the troops employed to work on the high-ways, and this officer was called A. Rationibus Agrippae.
There are an infinite number of Roman inscriptions preserved at Lyons, among which is the following singular one:
DIIS INIQVIS QUI ANIMVLAM TVAM RAPVERVNT.
I have already told you of a modern monument erected by the Lyonoise, and now, with grief and concern, I must tell you of an ancient one which they have demolished! it was a most beautiful structure, called the tomb of the Two Lovers; that, however, was a mistake; it was the tomb of a brother and sister named Amandas, or Amans, for near where it stood was lately found the following monumental inscription:
ET MEMORIAE AETERNAE OLIAE TRIBVTAE FEMINAE SANCTISSIME ARVESCIVS AMANDVS FRATER SORORI KARISSMAE SIBIQVE AMANTISSIMAE P.C. ET SVB OSCIA DEDICAVIT.
I have seen a beautiful drawing of this fine monument, which stood near the high road, a little without the town; the barbarian Bourgeoises threw it down about seventy years ago, to search for treasure.
But enough of antiquities; and therefore I will tell you truly my sentiments with respect to the south of France, which is, that Lyons is quite southward enough for an Englishman, who will, if he goes farther, have many wants which cannot be supplied. After quitting Lyons, he will find neither good butter, milk, or cream. At Lyons, every thing, which man can wish for, is in perfection; it is indeed a rich, noble, and plentiful town, abounding with every thing that is good, and more finery than even in Paris itself. They have a good theatre, and some tolerable actors; among whom is the handsomest Frenchman I ever beheld, and, a little stiffness excepted, a good actor.
Any young gentleman traveller, particularly of the English nation, who is desirous of replenishing his purse, cannot, even in Paris, find more convenient occasions to throw himself in fortune's way, than at the city of Lyons.
An English Lady, and two or three gentlemen, have lately been so fortunate there, as to find lodgings at a great Hotel, gratis; and I desire you will particularly recommend a long stay at Lyons to my Oxonian friend; where he may see the world without looking out at a window.
I find I omitted to give you before I left Nismes, some account of Monsieur Seguier's cabinet, a gentleman whose name I have before mentioned, and whose conversation and company were so very agreeable to me. Among an infinite number of natural and artificial curiosities, are many ancient Roman inscriptions, one of which is that of T. Julius Festus, which Spon mentions in his Melanges D'Antiquite. There are also a great number of Roman utensils of bronze, glass, and earthen-ware. The Romans were well acquainted with the dangerous consequences of using copper vessels[E] in their kitchens, as may be seen in this collection, where there are a great many for that purpose; but all strongly gilt, not only within, but without, to prevent a possibility of verdigris arising. There is also a bronze head of a Colossal statue, found not many years since near the fountain of Nismes, which merits particular attention, as well as a great number of Roman and Greek medals and medallions, well preserved, and some which are very rare. The natural curiosities are chiefly composed of fossils and petrifications; among the latter, are an infinite number of petrified fish embalmed in solid stones; and where one sees the finest membranes of the fins, and every part of the fish, delineated by the pencil of nature, in the most exquisite manner; the greater part of these petrifications were collected by the hands of the possessor, some from Mount Bola, others from Mount Liban, Switzerland, &c.
[E] See Dr. FALCONER, of Bath, his Treatise on this subject.
Mr. Seguier's Herbary consists of more than ten thousand plants; but above all, Mr. Seguier himself, is the first, and most valuable part of his cabinet, having spent a long life in rational amusements; and though turned of four-score, he has all the chearfulness of youth, without any of the garrulity of old age. When he honoured me with a visit, at my country lodgings, he came on foot, and as the waters were out, I asked him how he got at me, so dry footed? He had walked upon the wall, he said; a wall not above nine inches thick, and of a considerable length!
And here let me observe that a Frenchman eats his soup and bouille at twelve o'clock, drinks only with, not after his dinner, and then mixes water with his genuine wine; he lives in a fine climate, where there is not as with us, for six weeks together, easterly winds, which stop the pores, and obstruct perspiration. A Frenchman eats a great deal, it is true, but it is not all hard meat, and they never sit and drink after dinner or supper is over.—An Englishman, on the contrary, drinks much stronger, and a variety of fermented liquors, and often much worse, and sits at it many hours after dinner, and always after supper. How then can he expect such health, such spirits, and to enjoy a long life, free from pain, as most Frenchmen do; When the negro servants in the West-Indies find their masters call after dinner for a bowl of punch extraordinary they whisper them, (if company are present) and ask, "whether they drink for drunk, or drink for dry?" A Frenchman never drinks for drunk.—While the Englishman is earning disease and misery at his bottle, the Frenchman is embroidering a gown, or knitting a handkerchief for his mistress. I have seen a Lady's sacque finely tamboured by a Captain of horse, and a Lady's white bosom shewn through mashes netted by the man who made the snare, in which he was himself entangled; though he made it he did not perhaps know the powers of it till she set it.
I write to you just as things come into my head, having taken very few notes, and those, as you must perceive, often without much regard to unison or time. It has this minute occurred to me, that I omitted to tell you on my journey onwards, that I visited a little town in Picardie, called Ham, where there is so strong a castle, that it may be called a petit Bastile, and which was then and still is, full of state prisoners and debtors. To this castle there is a monstrous tower, the walls of which are thirty six feet thick, and the height and circumference are proportionable thereto; it was built by the Conetable de St. Paul, in order to shut up his master, Charles the VIth, King of France, and contemporary, I think, with our Henry the Vth; but such are the extraordinary turns of all human affairs, that Mons. le Conetable was shut up in it himself many years, and ended his days there.—The fate of this constable brings to my mind a circumstance that happened under my administration, at Land-Guard Fort, when the King was pleased to trust me with the command of it. I had not been twenty-four hours in possession of what I thought a small sovereignty, before I received a letter in the following terms:
"SIR, Having observed horses grazing on the covered way, that hath done apparent damage, and may do more, I think it my duty to inform you, that his Majesty does not permit horses to feed thereon, &c. &c. (Signed)
"ANTHONY GOODE, Overseer of the Works."
I never was more surprized, than to find my wings were to be thus clipt, by a civil officer of the board of ordnance; however wrong I or my horses had acted, I could not let Mr. GOODE graze so closely upon my authority, without a reprimand; I therefore wrote him an answer in terms as follow: "that having seen a fat impudent-looking strutting fellow about the garrison, it was my order that when his duty led him to communicate any thing to me relative to the works thereof, that he came himself, instead of writing impertinent letters." Mr. Goode sent a copy of his letter and mine to Sir Charles Frederick; and the post following, he received from the Office of Ordnance, several printed papers in the King's name, forbidding horses grazing on the WORKS, and ordering Mr. Goode to nail those orders up in different parts of the garrison! but as I had not then learnt that either he, or his red ribband master, had any authority to give out, even the King's orders, in a garrison I commanded, but through my hands, I took the liberty, while Mr. Goode and his assistant-son were nailing one up opposite to my parlour window, to send for a file of men and put them both into the Black-hold, an apartment Mr. Goode had himself built, being a Master-Mason. By the time he had been ten minutes grazing under this covered way, he sent me a message, that he was asthmatic, that the place was too close, and that if he died within a year and a day, I must be deemed accessary to his death. But as I thought Mr. Goode should have considered, that some of the poor invalids too might now and then be as subject to the asthma as he, it was a proper punishment, and I kept him there till he knew the duty of a soldier, as well as that of a mason; and as I would his betters, had they come down and ventured to have given out orders in a garrison under my command; but instead of getting me punished as a certain gentleman aimed at, that able General Lord Ligonier approved my conduct, and removed the man to another garrison, and would have dismissed him the ordnance service, had I not become a petitioner in his favour; for he was too fat and old to work, too proud and arrogant to beg, and he and his advisers too contemptible to be angry with.—But I must return to the castle of Ham, to tell you what a dreadful black-hold there is in that tower; it is a trap called by the French des Obliettes, of so horrible a contrivance, that when the prisoners are to suffer in it, the mechanical powers are so constructed, as to render it impossible to be again opened, nor would it signify, but to see the body molue, i.e. ground to pieces.
There were formerly two or three Obliettes in this castle; one only now remains; but there are still several in the Bastile.—When a criminal suffers this frightful death, (for perhaps it is not very painful) he has no previous notice, but being led into the apartment, is overwhelmed in an instant. It is to be presumed, however, that none but criminals guilty of high crimes, suffer in this manner; for the state prisoners in the Bastile are not only well lodged, but liberal tables are kept for them.
An Irish officer was lately enlarged from the Bastile, who had been twenty-seven years confined there; and though he found a great sum of money in the place he had concealed it in a little before his confinement, he told Colonel C——, of Fitz-James's regiment, that "having out-lived his acquaintance with the world, as well as with men, he would willingly return there again."
At Ham the prisoners for debt are quite separated from the state prisoners; the latter are in the castle, the former in the tower.
The death of Lewis the XVth gave liberty to an infinite number of unhappy people, and to many who would have been enlarged before, but had been forgotten. When one of these unhappy people (a woman of fashion) was told she might go out; then, (said she) I am sure Lewis the XVth is dead; an event she knew nothing of, tho' it was a full year after the King's death.—Things are otherwise conducted now than in his reign; a wicked vain woman then commanded with unlimited power, both in war and domestic concerns. In this reign, there are able, and I believe virtuous ministers.
I suppose you think as I did, that Madame Pompadour governed by her own powerful charms; but that was not the case; she governed as many other women do, by borrowed charms; she had a correspondence all over the kingdom, and offices of intelligence, where youth, beauty, and innocence, were registered, which were sent to her according to order; upon the arrival of the goods, they were dressed, and trained for use, under her inspection, till they were fit to be shewn up. She had no regard to birth, for a shoe-maker's daughter of great beauty, belonging to one of the Irish brigades, being introduced to the King, he asked her whether she knew him? No: she did not: But did you ever see me before, or any body like me? She had not, but thought him very like the face on the gros Eccuis of France. Madame Pompadour soon found out which of these girls proved most agreeable to the King, and such were retained, the others dismissed.—The expence of this traffick was immense. I am assured where difficulties of birth or fashion fell in the way, ten thousand pounds sterling have been given. Had Lewis the XVth lived a few years longer, he would have ruined his kingdom. Lewis the XVIth bids fair to aggrandize it.
POST-HOUSE, ST GEORGE, six leagues from LYONS.
I am particular in dating this letter, in hopes that every English traveller may avoid the place I write from, by either stopping short, or going beyond it, as it is the only house of reception for travellers in the village, and the worst I have met with in my whole journey. We had been scurvily treated here as we went; but having arrived at it after dark, and leaving it early, I did not recollect it again, till the mistress by her sour face and sorry fare betrayed it; for she well remembered us. As a specimen of French auberge cookery, I cannot help serving up a dish of spinnage to you as it was served to me at this house. We came in early in the afternoon, and while I was in the court-yard, I saw a flat basket stand upon the ground, the bottom of which was covered with boiled spinnage; and as my dog, and several others in the yard, had often put their noses into it, I concluded it was put down for their food, not mine, till I saw a dirty girl patting it up into round balls, and two children, the eldest of them not above three years old, slavering in and playing with it, one of whom, to lose no time, was performing an office that none could do for her. I asked the maid what she was about, and what it was she was so preparing? for I began to think I had been mistaken, till she told me it was spinnage;—not for me, I hope, said I,—'oui, pour vous et le monde.' I then forbad her bringing any to my table, and putting the little girl off her center, by an angry push, made her almost as dirty as the spinnage; and I could perceive her mother, the hostess, and some French travellers who were near, looked upon me as a brute, for disturbing la pauvre enfant; nevertheless, with my entree came up a dish of this delicate spinnage, with which I made the girl a very pretty Chapeau Anglois, for I turned it, dish and all, upon her head; this set the house in such an uproar, that, if there had not come in an old gentleman like Bourgeois of Paris, at that instant, I verily believe I should have been turned out; but he engaged warmly in my defence, and insisted upon it that I had treated the girl just as he would have done, had she brought such a dirty dish to him after being cautioned not to do so; nor should I have got any supper, had I not prevailed on this good-natured man, who never eat any, to order a supper for himself, and transfer it to me. He was a native of Lyons, and had been, for the first time after thirty years absence, to visit his relations there. My entertainment at this house, outward-bound, was half a second-hand roasted turkey, or, what the sailors call a twice-laid dish, i.e. one which is done over a second time.