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"'sthe same. A grass cutter's wages is the same; though his allowance is three cakes a-day. There are some serviceable servants, who get four and five cloths* a year. A musketman's, or soldier's pay, is ten cloths a-year; but he finds himself, and makes his "own powder. The shieldsmen have the same. These soldiers cultivate as much ground as they like for themselves, and pay no tithes. A horseman's pay is twenty cloths, who also finds himself and horse.' Of the chiefs, Pearce says,—
« Ras Walder Serlassey is the strongest prince in Abyssinia, and has of his own eight thousand five hundred matchlocks, besides a great quantity belonging to his chiefs, about two thousand horses, and above twenty thousand shieldsmen; still he is as mean as a common Jew, and a great liar; though one thing is to his credit, he is very mercilul to prisoners, and he is a brave hard fighter.'
litis Gabi has about seven hundred muskets; Guxar lias eight thousand horse, but few muskets. Ras How is not very strong ;. and Libban has about ten thousand horse. Goga, another chief, is uncommonly barbarous, and always at war. Those are the great princes of Abyssinia, who have the whole country in their hands. Weofferno remarkson this curious narrative, the principal parts of which we haye given; but the author, Pearce, in the conclusion of it, declares to Sir Evan Nepean,4 your honour may depend upon this to be a real true account, and no hearsay whatever.' It will be observed, that this account confirms the much abused statement of Bruce, with respect to the Abyssinians eating raw meat; and as Pearce is declared to be a man not likely to deal falsely, we think his statements generally entitled to credit, however much probability may be staggered in some of them.
Letters from Mrs. Dclany, (Widow of Dr. Patrick Delav y, J to Mrs. Frances Hamilton, from the Year 1779, to the Year 1788; comprising many unpublished and interesting Anecdotes of their late Majesties and the Royal Family. 8vo. pp. 106. London, 1820.
These letters owe all their interest and importance to the illustrious personages on whom they treat. The memory of their late Majesties, endeared by a long and amiable life of conjugal felicity, gains an increased veneration from the contemplation of passing events. George the Third, while he preserved all the dignity of the sovereign, was a kind husband, an affectionate father, a sincere friend, and a truly good man. His illustrious consort possessed all those virtues which adorn private life, and shed lustre even on the throne itself. Any anecdotes, therefore, that make us better acquainted with such distinguished personages, and which confirm roost amply the estimable character they possessed, must be read with interest by every good subject; by every one who respects virtue either on the throne or in the cottage.
Mrs. Mary Dclany, a lady of distinguished ingenuity and merit, was born May 17, 1700. She was the daughter of Barnard Granville, and neice of George, afterwards Lord Granville. When in her seventeenth year, she was married to Alexander Pendarves, Esq. a gentleman of large property at Roscow, in Cornwall. In 1724, Mrs. Pendarves became a widow, upon which occasion she quitted Cornwall, and fixed her principal residence in London. For several years, between 1730 and 1736, she maintained a correspondence with Dean Swift. In 1743, * A cloth is equal to • dollar.—Rev.
Mrs. Pendarves was married to Dr. Delany, with whom it appears she had been long acquainted; the marriage was a very happy one, and her husband is said to have regarded her almost to adoration. Upon his decease, in May, 176l, she intended to fix herself at Bath, but the Duchess Dowager of Portland, having in early years formed an intimacy with Mis. Delany, wished to have her near her. Her Grace succeeded in her solicitations, and Mrs. Delany now passed her time between London and Bulstrode. On the death of the Duchess, his Majesty, George the Third, who had frequently seen and honoured Mrs. Delany with his notice at Bulstrode, assigned her, for her summer residence, the use of a house completely furnished, in St. Alban's Street, Windsor, adjoining to the entrance to the castle; and, as a further mark of his royal favour, his Majesty conferred on her a pension of 3001. a year. On the 15th of April, 1788, after a short indisposition, she departed this life, at her house in St. .lames's Place, having nearly completed the eighty-eighth year of her age. Dr. Darwin, in allusion to the elegant and ingenious amusements of Mrs. Delany, has the following lines :—
* So now Delany forms her mimic powers,
A lady, thus honoured with the society and confidence of royalty, could not fail of often witnessing those amiable traits'of character for which their late Majesties were so much distinguished. Of a visit to Bulstrode, in 1779, by the royul family, ten in all, Mrs. Delany says,—
'The day was as brilliant as could be wished, the 12th of August, the Prince of Wales's birth-day. The Queen was in a hat and an Italian night-gown of purple lustring, trimmed with silver gauze. She is graceful and genteel j the dignity and sweetness of her manner, the perfect propriety of every thine she says or does, satisfies every body she honours with her distinction so much, that beauty is by no means wanting to make her perfectly agreeable; and though age and long retirement from court, made me feel timid on my being called to make my appearance, I soon found myself perfectly at ease: for the King's condescension and good humour took off all awe, but what one mu^thave for so respectable a character, (severely tried by his enemies at home, as well as abroad.) The three princesses were all in frocks; the King and all the men were in an uniform, blue and gold. They walked through the great apartments, which are in a line, and attentively observed every thing; the pictures in particular.' I kept back in the drawing-room, and took that opportunity of sitting down; .when the Princess Royal returned to me, and said the Queen missed me in her train, 1 immediately obeyed the summons with my best alacrity. Her Majesty niet me half way, and seeing me hasten my steps, called out to me, "Though I desired you to come, I did not desire you to run and fatigue yourself. They all returned to the great drawing-room, where there were only two arm chairs placed in the middle of the room for the King and Queen.—The King placed the Duchess Dowager of Portland in his chair, and walked about admiring the beauties of the place.'
'The King desired me to sliow the Queen one of my books of plants; she seated herself in the gallery; a table and the
Ibook laid before her.—I kept my distance till she called me to ask some questions about the mosaic paper work; and as I stood before her Majesty, the King set a chair behind me. I turned with some confusion and hesitation, on receiving so great an honour, when the Queen said, "Mrs. Delany, sit down, sit down; it is not every lady that has a chair brought her by a King;" So I obeyed. Amongst many gracious things, the Queen asked me why I was not with the Duchess when she came, for I might be sure she would ask for me? I wasflattered, though I knew to whom I was obliged for the distinction, (and doubly flattered by that.) I acknowledged it in as few words as possible, and said I was particularly happy at that time to pay my duty to her Majesty, as it it gave me an opportunity of seeing so many of the royal family, which age and obscurity had deprived me of. "Oh, but," says her Majesty, *' you have not seen all my children yet;" upon which the King came up, and asked what we were talking about? which was repeated, and the King replied to the Queen, "you may put Mrs. Delany into the way of doing that, by naming a day for her to drink tea at Windsor Castle." The Duchess of Portland was consulted, and the next day fixed upon, as the duchess had appointed the end of the week for going to Weymouth.
'We went at the hour appointed, seven o'clock, and were received in the lower private apartment in the castle: went through a large room with great bay windows, where were all the princesses and youngest princes, with their attendant ladies and gentlemen. VVe passed on to the bedchamber, where the Queen stood in the middle of the room, with Lady Weymouth and Lady Charlotte Finch. (The King and the eldest princes had walked out.) When the Queen took her seat, and the ladies their places, she ordered a chair to be set tor me opposite to where she sat, and asked me if I felt any wind from the door cr window ?—It was indeed a sultry day.
'At eight, the King, &c. came into the room, with so much cheerfulness and good humour, that it was impossible to feel any painful restriction. It was the hour of the King and Queen, and eleven of the princes and princesses' walking on the terrace. They apologised for going, but said the crowd expected them; but they left Lady Weymouth and the Bishop of Lichlield to entertain us in their absence; we sat in the bay window, well pleased with our companions, and the brilliant show on the teTrace, on which we looked; the band of music playing all the time under the uindow. When they returned, we were summoned into the great room to tea, and the royals began a ball, and danced two country dances, to the music of French horns, bassoons, and hautboys, which were the same that played on the terrace. The King came up to the Prince of Wales, and said he was sure, when he considered how great an effort it must be to play that kind of music so long a time together, that he would not continue their dancing there, but that the Queen and the rest of the company were going to the Queen's house, and they should renew their dancing there, and have proper music'
On a subsequent visit to Iiulstrode, in 1783, we are told,—
'The King had no attendants but the equerries, Major Digby and Major Price. They were in the drawing-room before I was sent for, where I found the King and Queen and the Duchess of Portland, seated at a table in the middle of the room. The King, with his usual graciousness, came up to me, and brought me forward, and I found the Queen very busy in showing a very elegant machine to the Duchess of Portland, which was a frame for weaving of fringe, of a new and most delicate structure, and would take up as much paper as has already been written upon to describe it minutely, yet it is of such simplicity as to be very useful. You may easily imagine the grateful teeling I had when the Queen presented it to me, to make up some knotted fringe which she saw me about. The King, at the same time, said he must contribute ^mething to my wotk, and presented me with a gold knotting *huttle, of most exquisite workmanship and taste; and I am at this time, while I am dictating the letter, knotting white silk, to fringe the bag which is to eontain it,'
Mrs. Delany was invited to the Queen's bouse to hear Mrs. Siddons read the • Provoked Husband.' The party was quite select:—
'Besides the royal family, there were only the Duchess Dowager of Portland, her daughter, Lady Weymouth, and her beautiful grand-daughter, Lady Aylesford; Lord and Lady Harcourt, Lady Charlotte Finch, Duke of Montague, and the gentlemen attendant on the King. There were two rows of chairs for the company, the length of the room.
'Their Majesties sat in the middle of the first row, with the princesses on each hand, which filled it. The rest of the ladies were seated in arowbehindthem, and as there was a space between that and the wall, the lords and gentlemen that were admitted stood there. Mrs. Siddons rcadstanding, and had a desk with candles before her; she behaved with great propriety, and read two acts of the Provoked Husband, which was abridged, by leaving out Sir Francis and Lady Wronghead's parts, &c.; but she introduced John Moody's account of the journey, and read it admirably. The part of Lord and Lady Townly's reconciliation, she worked up finely, and made it very affecting. She also read Queen Katharine's last speech in King Henry VIII. She was allowed three pauses, to go into the next room and refresh herself, for half an hour each time.' . .
It was in the autumn of 1785, on the death of the Duchess Dowager of Portland, that Mrs. Delany received an invitation to Windsor, and had a house prepared for her by their Majesties. The following is the account of it, as related in one of Mrs. Delany's letters :—
'On Saturday, the 3d of this month, one of the Queen's messengers came and brought me the following letter from her Majesty, written with her own hand:—
*" My dear Mrs. Delany will be glad to hear that I am charged by the King, to summon her to her new abode, at Windsor, for Tuesday next, where she will find all the most essential parts of the house ready, excepting some little trifles, which it will be bette/ for Mrs. Delany to direct herself in person, or by her little deputy, Miss Port*. 1 need not add that 1 shall be extremely glad and happy to see so amiable an inhabitant in this our sweet retreat; and wish very sincerely that my dear Mrs. Delany may enjoy every blessing amongst us her merits deserve. That we may long enjoy her amiable company, Amen I These are the true sentiments of
My dear Mrs. Delany's
Very affectionate Queen, Queen's Lodge, Windsor,' Charlotte. ■
• Sept. 3, 1785.
'" P. b>. 1 must also beg that Mrs. Delany will choose her own lime of coming, as will best suit her own convenience."
'I received the Queen's letter at dinner, and was obliged to answer it instantly, with my own hand, without seeing a letter I wrote. I thank God I had strength enough to obey the gracious summons on the day appointed. I arrived here about eight o'clock in the evening, and found his Majesty in the house ready to receive me. I threw myself at his feet, indeed, unable to utter a word; he raised and saluted me, and said he meant not to stay longer than to desire I would order every thing that could make the house comfortable and agreeable to me, and then retired.'
The next day the Queen paid a visit to Mrs. D«lany, and begged that all ceremonies might be waived, and that the King and herself might be allowed to visit her as friends. She also delivered to her a paper from the KiDg, which contained the first quarter of 3001. per annum, which his Majesty allowed her out of the privy purse, Never a day passed without Mrs. Delany seeing or hearing from one of tbeir Majesties. In a letter, which gives au account of Margaret Nicholson's attack on the King. * Nitce of Mrs. Dcl»»y*—Rev.
we see the characters of their Majesties displayed in the most amiable light towards Mrs. Delany. She says,—
* It is impossible for me to enumerate the daily instances I receive from my royal friends, who seem unwearied in the pursuit of making me as happy as they can. I am sure you must be very sensible how thankful 1 am to providence for the late wonderful escape of his Majesty from the stroke of assassination; indeed, the horror that there was a possibility that such an attempt would be made, shocked me so much at first, that I could hardly enjoy the blessing of such a preservation. The King would not suffer any body to inform the Queen of that event, till be could show himself in person to her. He returned to Windsoras soon as the council was over. When his "Majesty entered the Queen's dressing-room, he found her with the two eldest princesses; and entering in an animated manner, said, "Here I am, safe and well!" The Queen suspected from this saying, that some accident had happened, on which he informed her of the whole affair. The Queen stood struck and motionless for some time, till the princesses burst into tears, in which she immediately found relief by joining with them. Joy soon succeeded this agitation of mind, on the assurance that the person was insane that had the boldness to make the attack, which took off all aggravating suspicion; and it has been the means of showing the whole kingdom, that the King has the hearts of his subjects. I must tell you a particular gracious attention to me on the occasion; their Majesties sent immediately to my house, to give orders that I should not be told of it till the next morning, for fear the agitation should give me a bad night. Dowager Lady Spencer was in the house with me, and went with me to early prayers, next morning, at eight o'clock; and after chapel was over, she separated herself from me, and had a long conference with the King and Queen, as they stopped to speak to her on our coming out of chapel. When we returned to breakfast, I taxed her with having robbed me of an opportunity of hearing what their Majesties said to her, by standing at such a distance. She told me it was a secret; but she had now their permission to tell me what it was, and then informed me of the whole affair.
'I was commanded in the evening to attend them at the lodge, where I spent the evening; the happiness of being with them not a little increased by seeing the fulness of joy that appeared in every countenance.'
One anecdote, with which we shall conclude, records the singular goodness of heart of the Queen, and her attention to those little acts of kindness which are the most endearing:—
'One little anecdote of the Queen struck me, as a stronger instance of her real tender feeling towards our dear old friend, , than all her bounties or honours. As soon as the Duchess of Portland died, Mrs. Delany got into a chaise to go to her own house; the Duke followed her, begging to know what she would accept of, that belonged to his mother: Mrs. Delany recollected a bird that the Duchess always fed and kept in her own room, and desired to have it, and felt towards it as you may suppose. In a few days she got a bad fever, and the bird died; but for some hours she was too ill even to recollect her bird. The Queen had one of the same sort, which she valued extremely, (a weaver bird;) she took it with ber own hands, and while Mrs. Delany slept, had the cage brought, and put her own bird into it, charging every one not to let it go so near Mrs. Delany, as that she could perceive the change, till she was enough recovered to bear the loss of her first Favourite.'
It is difficult to imagine a more delicate compliment thau dmt thus paid by her Majesty to her aged friend. But it wag by such acts as these that their late Majesties have erected a monument to their memories, more durable than boat*. In them »U the virtue* of private Life were
blended with the advantages of royalty; and of George the Third, it may truly be said, in the words of Dryden:— 'He was a man Above man's height, e'en tow'ring to divinity; . Brave, pious, generous, great, and liberal; Just as the scales of heav'n that weigh the seasons. He lov'd his people,—him they idoliz'd— His goodness was diffused to human kind.'
Sketches descriptive of Italy, in the Years 18l6aitd 1817; with a brief Account of Travels in various Parts of France and Switzerland, in the same Years. (Concluded from p. sou.) From Rome, our fair author travelled to Naples, where she dashed about until she saw every thing except an eruption of Vesuvius, which was not sufficiently complaisant to exhibit its terrific splendour during her residence there. This was really a disappointment, for although our countrywoman says, she and her party were not ' quite wicked enough to desire an eruption to happen entirely for their amusement, yet, if an eruption there was to be within any reasonable space of time, they could not resist wishing it might be a little hurried on their account.' Of Naples we are told, that—
'Among the peculiarities which strike a stranger in the streets at Naples, when he becomes so habituated tothestir and bustle as to be able to observe any thing, are the odd looking litlle carriages, called Calessi, carrying one or two persons, who hold the horse's reins, the diiver standing behind, and directing the horse with his voice and whip,—the temporary stages on which the wit of the illustrious native of Naples, Punch, is displayed,—the moveable shops for the sale of macaroni, melons^ lemonade, &c,—and the characteristic groups who* surround them and crowd the streets, in varied but always picturesque costumes. All these carriages, stages, shops, and people, are as fine as gaudy paint, a profusion of gilding, and gay, though often ragged stuffs, trimmed with gold and silver tinsel, can make them. This excessive love of meretricious finery pervades all ranks of persons, and covers all sorts of things with the most false and paltry ornaments.'
Our travellers were fortunate tobe at Naplesduringthe carnival, when a masked ball took place at the royal palace :•»
'It was the first fete which had been given since the restoration of Ferdinand the Fourth to the kingdom of the Two Sicilies; and so much was said and thought about it, that it was like—
Which ne'er «u forgot,
And those who were not."
'All strangers were dying to obtain tickets. But as those only who had been presented at their own courts were invited, and as many most respectable travellers,'—especially English,—had not gone through that ceremony, there were numbers of disappointments. Indeed, from one cause oranother, this ball excited a monstrous commotion, both among foreigners aDd natives.
'In the forenoon of the day, the Principe di L- , a Sicilian nobleman of our acquaintance, came to us in great distress, to know if my sister or I could lend a bird of Paradise plume to a friend of his, who had been chosen by Prince Leopold, along with four other favourites, to attend him all the evening,—and who were all to be attired alike. Four of these plumes had been procured; but, alast Naples did not produce a fifth! In'all countries, courtiers worship the rising sun. Those only who know something of courts, can'uiiagine the eagerness with which this chase of the paradise plume was conducted all over the city on this day, and into how much importance these feathers rose in Neapolitan estimation. I laughed at myself for the interest I took in the business; and it certainly did not arise from any admiration for Leopold himself, who is a fat heavy looking young man, with white hair and eyebrows, and the thick lip of the Austrian family, from which he is maternally descended.
'Though generally known by the name of Prince Leopold, his proper title is Pnnceof Salerno. He is believed to be his father's favourite; and I heard it often confidently affirmed, that Ferdinand intended the Duke of Calabria to inherit only Sicily, where he was then resident as viceroy, and that Prince Leopold was to be King of Naples. An absolute monarch may do much—when alive; but an absolute monarch—when deadis quite another sort of personage: and I should doubt the power of Ferdinand to seat his favourite on the throne, more especially as the Duke of Calabria is said to have a strong party in his favour in Naples itself, where Prince Leopold is much less popular than his father. On this occasion, indeed, t!ie old monarch, weak and silly as he is, appeared to much the greatest advantage of the two; for his manners were kind, frank, and affable, while his son sauntered about the whole evening as if half asleep, leaning on the shoulder of one of his plumed favourites, and scarcely deigning to notice any one else in the room.
'The King is a good-humoured respectable looking old gentleman. He was dressed in a plain black domino and hat; and seemed to enjoy the amusement from his very heart. La Moglie also wore" black, with a profusion of diamonds. Though the wife of the reigning sovereign, this lady is not allowed either the title or state of Queen; for she was the subject, before she became the wife, of the King. She was created Duchess of Santa Florida; but is more commonly called La Moglie. She is young and rather handsome.
* The Duchess of Genoa, the daughter of Ferdinand, and her husband, brotherto the King of Sardinia, were also present at this ball. He is very uninteresting, and she very plain, in appearance; but though apparently far from young, she is so immoderately fond of dancing, as to tire out the most youthful and indelatigable courtiers.
'Having now dispatched the royal party, I may descend to the rest of the company, which consisted of Turks, Jews, and infidels of all descriptions—ghosts and devils—gods and goddesses—Tartars of the desert, Cossack chiefs, Indian princes, numerous sultans and innumerable sultanas—Greeks, Spaniards, Duchmen, and Laplanders; a variety of Swiss and Italian costumes, and an immense assemblage of fancy dresses. Every one was masked on entering the rooms; but none of the royal family wore masks, and as the King himself took them ort' from some ofthe earlier comers, the whole company were at liberty to get rid of the unpleasant incumbrance as quickly as they pleased. There was no attempt at preserving character, except in dress; but, in that respect, nothing can be imagined more splendid, varied, or elegant. The suite of rooms was extensive, magnificently furnished, brilliantly lighted, and splendidly filled. The supper was served \n great abundance and variety, on gold and silver, and seemed to form no indifferent portion ofthe entertainment to the Italian part of the company; who not only ate pretty largely of the good things set before them, but stuffed their pockets with cakes and other portable articles. They did this quite openly, not conceiving that any one would think it strange, for it is the common practice all over Italy.'
One extract more and we take our leave of Naples :—
'Few masks, either good or bad, attend the San Carlo masquerades; and tiiis is also the case in the semi-hebdomadal parades in the Strada diToledo; where no better amusement is to be found than seeing twenty or thirty shabby and stupid masks pelt each other with spoonsful of whitened dough kneaded into little round balls. • There is generally a large enough crowd of spectators on foot; for, if you do not quar
rel with the quality, you may have what quantity of people you please at Naples; and accidents very frequently happen in consequence. One day, a better mask than ordinary passed along the street, and the crowd, rushing after him, reckless and careless what they were doing, pushed a child under the wheels of a carriage which was proceeding rapidly in the line. The poor boy's leg was broken. Some notice, it may be imagined, was taken of this affair;—but no such thing. It was neither thought of, nor spoken of, again. Accidents of this kind are, indeed, so frequent at Naples, owing to the frightful rapidity with which carriages are driven, that they do not seem to excite a sensation of any kind. Under Cancicn regime, if an old man was run over, a trifling penalty was exacted; but nothing whatever could be demanded for the demolition of an old woman.'
On the return to Home, our travellers were presented to the Pope, kissed his hand, and received his benediction. His holiness was extremely polite, spoke with chearfulness on common topics; laughed, took snuff, and cut jokes about the weather. His dress must have appeared somewhat singular to our visitors:—
'He had a very small skull-cap, clapped upon the shorn part of his head, half a dozen white cambric petticoats, one over another, all edged with a particular kind of lace, a pair of scarlet silk shoes, with a cross embroidered in gold on one, and nothing at all on the other, and a scarlet mantle.'
While at Rome, no less than two miracles were said to have taken place:—
'The picture or statue of a Madonna, placed in a niche near the Campidoglio, was seen to openyier eyes by some persons who were passing. "A miracle T a miracle!" was instantly exclaimed; and all Home flocked to see—not the virgin who did—but the virgin who had opened her eyes; for she never repeated the performance. Whether she meant any thing by it is unknown; certain it is, her wishes, if she had any, remained ungratified, for 'they were never understood; and the only effects of the miracle were, that a broken bass-bottomed chair, covered with a white—no—not always a white napkin or ragged apron,—with a hilf-penny print of the Madonna pinned against the b?ck, and a cracked plate set on it to receive alms, was put forth at every poor man's door to invoke, in the name of this miraculous virgin, the charity of all pious Catholics.
'Another Madonna, warned perhaps by the ill success of her sister image, went to work in a more sensible manner. She spoke to an old washerwoman who was kneeling before her little shrine, (which was situated in a recess of the citywall, near the Santa Croce, in Gierusalemme,) and distinctly desired to have it newly white-washed, A request so reasonable in itself, and so wonderfully communicated, could not well be denied. The recess was cleaned, and, moreover, the frame of the picture was fresh gilt. The greater part of the population of the city went to see the Madonna in her smartened abode. 1 did not hear that any body went to see the washerwoman.'
After quitting Rome, our travellers successively visited Florence, Padua, Venice, Verona, Milan, crossed the Simplon, and entered France at Les Russes. There are several interesting descriptions of these places, and some very just reflections on the present degraded state of the Italian states, under the yoke of Austria. Bonaparte devoted the produce ofthe taxes he levied on them, to pubr lie buildings, and the general improvement of each particular state; not so the Emperor of Austria, who levies the same taxes, but the public works are neglected—the money goes to Vienna, and the countries are sinking into ruin. At Venice, our travellers visited the tribunals and | dungeons, which served equally for state trials and prison' ers, and those of the yet more dreaded inquisition,—scenes which recall the accounts we have read with shuddering horror:—
'The^hree grand inquisitors who formed the supreme council, were chosen from among the famous council of ten and the private council of the Doge. They were debarred from common communion with their fellow creatures; and the penalty of their unenviable office followed them even into the bosoms of their families, with whom they were not permitted to hold unrestrained intercourse, least they might betray the dreadful secrets of their meetings. Of this supreme council the doge himself was never a member. The room in ■which it sat was hung with black; and, to increase its gloomy and terrilic aspect, the powerful pencil of Tintoretto was employed to depict on the ceiling various virtues, bearing in their hands the different instruments of torture used by this tribunal. This apartment is not large; it has only two doors, both communicating with the dungeons; by one of which the prisoners were brought before the council, and by the other taken away. We descended one of these staircases; it was almost totally dark, and branched off into several passages at the foot. Here our conductor Opened a heavy trap-door, fastened by three or four locks, and having furnished himself with a light, desired us to descend the steep narrow staircase which appeared beneath it, and then followed us, letting the trap door fall behind him. Its ponderous sound rang through the vaults we were just entering, and struck such a deadly chill upon my heart, that I almost fancied I could form some idea of the feelings with which they must have heard the same sound whom fate ordained to be entombed alive within these dreaded abodes. But I deceived myself! It is not in the power of imagination to conceive the horrors of that moment. Though humanity recoils from the contemplation of these scenes of cruelty and suffering, where thousands of lives were wasted away in unheard-of tortures; yet, those only who trod those regions as the victims of that accursed oppression, can tell the point to which human suffering can reach. But, even in idea, 1 cannot dwell on this subject,—let me hasten to its conclusion.
'This narrow steep stair conducted us to an iron door, which admitted us into an equally narrow vaulted passage, totally dark, which surrounded three sides of the small square in which the dungeons are constructed—the fourth being occupied by the staircase itself. Another iron door defended the passage at the further end, which opened on a similar staircase, terminating again in a vaulted passage underneath the one we were now in. There are four of these stories; the lower ones, of course, sunk considerably below the water. These are now partly blocked up by the rubbish disuse and neglect have happily suffered to accumulate—may it never again be removed!
'Each story contains three or four dungeons; they open from the vaulted passages I have mentioned, where neither air nor light can penetrate, and are numbered in the stone wall above the door. The cells are small and vaulted, scarcely high enough to admit of a man's standing upright. The walls and roof were lined with iron ; an iron shelf, and a broad wooden board, serving at once for table, chair, and bed, are all the furniture they contain. Traces of writing were
f>erceptible on some of the walls, but very indistinct. By the ight of our lamp we deciphered with difficulty part of one of these, scrawled up and down on the roof with the wandering band of one writing in the dark.
* When the French broke open these dungeons, one old man only was found, who had been immured in them upwards of twenty years, and was become hopeless of liberation. He is now, or, at least, was very lately, alive in the island of Zante.
'After visiting several of these dungeons, I felt myself so overcome by painful emotion and the want of air, that I gladly returned to the trap-door, and emerged into a purer atmosphere. When my companion re-appeared, we proceeded
along another passage and staircase of the same gloomy description, to the Ponte tie Sospiri, a bridge crossing the narrow canal, on which one side of the Doge's palace fronts, to the public prisons of the city. It is a covered gallery, with narrow gratings in the sides to admit air, crossed by an iron door. A few paces further on, another door, now walled up, formerly opened into a small chamber, into which a prisoner once entering was seen no more! He was there strangled, and his body thrown into the canal beneath. Well might this passage be called the Bridge of Sighs I'
In taking leave of this work, we must observe, that although there is much in it familiar to almost every reader, yet the fair author's descriptions are very elegant and animated', her observations generally sensible and judicious, and her style displays much vivacity. A most agreeable travelling companion she must have been; and there is even much pleasure in accompanying her in these' Sketches.'
[for The Literary Chronicle.]
The theatres in France have long been under the immediate control of the government, and various regulations have at different periods been made respecting them. In1 November, 1790i a decree was passed, and which stilT continues in force, enacting, that a deciine on every franc of the price of admission at all places of public amusement, should be collected for the use of the poor,—that is, one tenth part of the receipts. ,
It is somewhat curious to find this very tax proposed in England, to Mr. Secretary Walsingham, in 1586, by some zealous person, as a trifling compensation for the immorality of stage plays. 'If this mischief must be tolerated,' says the memorial, 'let every stage in London pay a weekly pension to the poor; that ex hoc malo proveniat aliquot! bonum: but it is rather to be wished that plays might be used as Apollo did his laughing—semel in anno.' Extremes meet, and thus we see a profligate French government acting on the principle of an overrighteous English puritan.
The produce of this tax for six years, from 1811 to 1816, a period in which so many extraordinary events have occurred, serves as a kind of morul thermometer, to shew to how little vicissitude of feeling the public mind of France is subject, and with what regularity the course of amusement has gone on during the Austrian campaign,— the retreat from Moscow,—the capture of Paris,—and the establishment, expulsion, and re-establishment of the Bourbons. The following is the produce of the duty in francs:—