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The town of Wipach is so near Goritia, that no travellers, except those of the meanest kind, ever think of stopping at the former; and therefore the inhabitants have no idea of making preparations for other guests.
In this dilemma I returned to our postmaster, who was still smoking his pipe before the door. I informed him of our bad success, and, in a more soothing tone of voice than that in which I had formerly addressed him, begged to know how we were to dispose of ourselves that night. He replied, with admirable composure, that was more than he could tell ; but as the horses were expected in a few days, if I should send him word where we were to be found, he would take care to let us know the moment they should be ready ; in the meantime, as it began to rain, and the evening was exceedingly cold, he wished us a very good night. So saying, he went into the house, shutting and bolting the door very carefully after him.
No philosopher, ancient or modern, ever supported the distresses of others with more equanimity than this
We were now fully convinced, that to be under the necessity of remaining all night at an inn, when they incline to proceed on their journey, is not the most unfortunate thing that can befal travellers, and would have now been happy in that situation which we had considered with horror an hour or two before.
In this forlorn condition I turned to an Italian servant of the duke of Hamilton's, a shrewd fellow, who seldom wanted a resource in times of difficulty. He seemed, however, a little nonplussed on the present emergency; he stood shrugging his shoulders, with his eyes fixed on the ground. At length, starting as if he had that instant a. waked, he muttered, Cent ore di maniconia non pangano un quattrino di debito,' and then walked away with an air not totally devoid of hope.
I attended him, without knowing upon what his expectations were founded. We came to a convent of monks, and got admittance; the Italian called for the superior,
and told him, in a few words, our condition. The ve, nerable old man heard him, with an air of benevolence ; he expressed sorrow at the treatment we had received, and, desiring me to accompany him, said he would endeavour to find us lodgings. He conducted us to a poor looking house, occupied by a widow and her children. As soon as the good monk had mentioned our case, she said we should be most welcome to such entertainment as she could afford. We had an excellent suppper of sour krout, and sallad. I shall never forget it. I found her wine excellent, and her beds delightful; the good monk seemed to enjoy the satisfaction, we expressed, and positively refused to accept of any other recompense for his trouble.
Had we found the most elegant inn, and the most luxurious supper at our arrival, we might possibly have spent the evening in repining at being disappointed in posthorses ; but the dread of so small a misfortune as passing the night supperless in the streets, reconciled us at once to the widow's hovel, and made us happy with her homely fare; so necessary is a certain portion of hardships or difficulties for giving a zest to enjoyment. Without them, the comforts of life are apt to become insipid ; and we see that the people who, independent of any effort of their own, have every enjoyment at their command, are, perhaps, of all mankind, those who have the least enjoyment.
The widow, as we understood in the morning, had sat up all night with her family, that we might be accommodated with beds. She had no reason to repent her hospitality. The poor woman's gratitude made her talk loudly of the duke of Hamilton's generosity ; which coming to the ears of the postmaster, induced him to make an effort to get the chaises dragged on to Goritia, without waiting the return of the post-horses.
This was performed by three cart-horses and two oxen, which were relieved in the most mountainous part of the road by buffalos. There is a breed of these animals in this country; they are strong, hardy, and docile, and found
preferable to either horses or oxen, for ploughing in a rough and hilly country.
When we arrived at Goritia, we found the inhabitants in their holiday dresses, at the windows, and in the streets, waiting with impatience for a sight of the grand duke and duchess. Having applied at the post-house for horses, we were informed that none could be granted, all being retained for the accommodation of his highness. I could not help remarking to the duke of Hamilton, that dukes seemed to be in a very different predicament from prophets in their own countries.
Things turned out better than we had reason to expect. Their highnesses arrived in the evening ; and as they did not propose to leave Goritia till next morning, the archduke had the politeness to give orders that the duke of Hamilton should have what horses he wanted from the post-houses.
We set out immediately, and arrived at the next stage between one and two in the morning. In that part of the world, raising the people at midnight, and harnessing the horses for two carriages, takes up, at least, as much time as driving two stages in some parts of England. Just as we were going out of the post-house court, the archduke's butler and cook arrived; they were going forward, as usual, to prepare suppper, &c. at the inn where their highnesses intended to lie. They knew that the horses were all retained for their master, but had not heard of the particular order in favour of the duke of Hamilton. Seeing ten horses going to set out, they exclaimed against the postmaster, and threatened him with the vengeance of the whole house of Austria through all its branches, if he should permit a single horse to leave the post-house till the archduke and his suit had passed. The man, terrified with these threats, ordered the pos
. tillions to dismount, and put up the horses. This mandate was by no means agreeable to the duke of Hamilton ; and the postmaster's fear of the indignation of the im perial family, was that instant lost in a danger which was presented to his face, and more immediately threatened his person—he ordered the postillions to drive on.
The next post was at a small town in the Venetian state, where we found that orders had come from Venice to the same effect with those received at the different stages we had already past. The duke of Hamilton's Italian servant thought it would save time to make us pass for part of the company to which these orders related-he ordered horses in the name of the grand duke, and was instantly obeyed—but the butler and cook arriving soon after, told a different tale. Couriers were dispatched, one of whom overtook us, and, in the name of the magistrates, ordered the postillions to drive back, for we were a gang of impos
ors, who had no connection with the grand duke. The same arguments, however, which had so good an effect on the German postmaster, prevailed also on the courier to be silent, and the postillions to proceed.
It was midnight before we arrived at Mestre, a small town on the banks of the Lagune, five miles from Venice, where we remained all night. Next morning we hired a boat, and in two hours were landed in the middle of this city.
We have taken very delightful apartments at an inn, on the side of the great cannal. They had been just quitted by his royal highness the duke of Gloucester, who is at present at Padua. Thus at length we are arrived in Italy
Per varios casus, et tot discrimina rerum.
A FEW days after our arrival at Venice, we met the archduke and duchess, at the house of the imperial ambassador. They were highly entertained with the history of their cook and butler, which I gave them at full length.
The company consisted entirely of foreigners, the Ve
netian nobility never visiting in the houses of foreign mi. nisters.
Among other strangers was the son of the duke of Berwick. This young gentleman has lately allied himself to the family from which he is descended, by marrying the sister of the countess of Albany. I suppose you have heard that the pretender, now at Florence, has assumed the title of Count Albany.
Next day the duke of Hamilton accompanied the archduke and duchess to the arsenal. They were attended by a deputation from the senate.
Some Venetian ladies of the first distinction, in compliment to the archduchess, were of the party.
The arsenal at Venice is a fortification of between two and three miles in compass. On the ramparts are many little watch-towers, where -sentinels are stationed. Like the arsenal at Toulon, it is at once a dock-yard and repository for naval and military stores. Here the Vene. tians build their ships, cast their cannon, make their cables, sails, anchors, &c. The arms are arranged here as in other places of the same kind, in large rooms divided into narrow walks by long walls of muskets, pikes, and halberts. Every thing having been prepared before the archduke and duchess arrived, a cannon was cast in their presence. After this the company were conducted on board the Bucentaur, or vessel in which the doge is carried to espouse the Adriatic. Here they were regaled with wine and sweetmeats, the Venetian nobles doing the honours of the entertainment,
The Bucentaur is kept under cover, and never taken out but for the espousals. It is formed for containing a very' numerous company, is finely gilt and ornamented within, and loaded on the outside with emblematical figures in sculpture. This vessel may possibly be admired by landsmen, but will not much charm a seaman's
eye, being a heavy broad-bottomed machine, which draws little water, and consequently may be easily overset in a gale of wind. Of this, however, there is no great danger,