Page images
PDF

passing through here, in their way to Italy and | night at Anncey: the day after, by noon, we got the south, which at present happen to be near to Geneva. I have not time to say any thing about

thirty in number. It is a fortnight since we set nut from hence upon a little excursion to Geneva. We took the longest road, which lies through Savoy, on purpose to see a famous monastery, called the Grand Chartreuse, and had no reason to think our time lost. After having travelled seven days very slow (for we did not change horses, it being impossible for a chaise to go post in these roads) we arrived at a little village among the mountains of Savoy, called Echelles; from thence we proceeded on horses, who are used to the way, to the mountain of the Chartreuse. It is six miles to the top; the road runs winding up it, commonly not six feet broad; on one hand is the rock, with woods of pine-trees hanging over head; on the other a monstrous precipice, almost perpendicular, at the bottom of which rolls a torrent, that sometimes tumbling among the fragments of stone that have fallen from on high, and sometimes precipitating itself down vast descents with a noise like thunder, which is still made greater by the echo [mm the mountains on each side. concurs to form one of the most solemn, the most romantie, and the most astonishing scenes I ever beheld. Add to this the strange views made by the erags and clifls on the other hand ; the cascades that in many places throw themselves from the very summit down into the vale, and the river below; and many other particulars impossible to deseribe; you will conclude we had no occasion to repent our pains. This place St. Bruno chose to retire to, and upon its very top founded the aforesaid convent, which is the superior of the whole order. When we came there, the two fathers, who are commissioned to entertain strangers (for the rest must neither ipeak one to another, or to any one else,) received us very kindly; and set before us a repast of dried fish, eggs, butter and fruits, all excellent in their kind, and extremely neat. They pressed us to spend the night there, and to stay some days with them; but thi s we could not do, so they led us about their house, which is, you must think, like a little city; for there are 100 fathers, besides 300 servants, that make their clothes, grind their corn, press their wine, and do every thing among themselves. The whole is quite orderly and simple; nothing of finery, but the wonderful decency, and the strange situation, more than supply the place of it. In the evening we descended by the same way, passing through many clouds that were then forming themselves on the mountain's side. Next

it, nor of our solitary journey back again.

TO HIS FATHER.

Lrons, Ocl K, N. & 173&

1N my last I gave you the particulars of our liti V journey to Geneva; 1 have only to add, that we stayed about a week, in order to see Mr. Conway settled there. I do not wonder so many English choose it for their residence; the city is very •mall, neat, prettily built, and extremely populous; the Rhone runs through the middle of it, and it is surrounded with new fortifications, that gire it a military compact air; which, joined to the happy, ltTely countenances of the inhabitants, and an exact discipline always as strictly observed as in time of war, makes the little republic appear a match for a much greater power; though perhaps Geneva, and all that belongs to it, are not of equal extent with Windsor and its two parks. To one that hss passed through Savoy, as we did, nothing can be more strikinn than the contrast, as soon as he approaches the town. Near the gates of Geneva runs the torrent Arve, which separates it from the king of Sardinia's dominions; on the other side of it lies a country naturally, indeed, fine and fertile; but you meet with nothing in it but meagre, ragged, bare-footed peasants, with their children, in extreme misery and nastiness: and even of these no great numbers. You no sooner have erossed the stream I have mentioned, but poverty is no more; not a beggar, hardly a discontented face to be seen, numerous, and well-dressed people swarming on the ramparts; drums beating, soldiers wellclothed and armed, exercising; and folks, with business in their looks, hurrying to and fro; all contribute to make any person, who is not blind, sensible what a difference is between the two governments, that are the causes of one view and the other. The beautiful lake, at one end of which the town is situated; its extent; the several states that border upon it; and all its pleasures, arc too well known for me to mention them. We sailed upon it as far as the dominions of Geneva extend, that is, about two leagues and a half on each side; and landed at several of the little houses of pleasure that the inhabitants have built all about it, who received us with much politeness. The same night we eat part of a trout, taken in the lake, that weighed thirty-seven pounds: as great a monster •ame we came hy; we crossed the Rhone al Seysscl, and passed for three days among the mountains of Bugey, without meeting with any thing new; at last we came out into the plains of La Bresse, and so to Lyons again. Sir Robert has written to Mr. Walpole, to desire be would go to Italy, which he has resolved to jo; so that all the scheme of spending the winter in the south of France is laid aside, and we are to pass it in a much 6ser country. You may imagine I am not sorry to have this opportunity of seeing the place in the world that best deserves it: besides, as the pope, who is eighty-eight, and bas been lately at the point of death, can not probably last a great while, perhaps we may have the fortune to be present at the election of a new one, when Rome will be in all its glory. Friday next we certainly begin itur journey; in two days we shall come to the •bot of the Alps, and six more we shall be in passIng them. Even here the winter is begun; what then must it be among those vast snowy mountains where it is hardly ever summer? We arc however, as well armed as possible against the cold, with mufls, hoods, and musks of beaver, fur boots, and bear skins. When we arrive at Turin, we shall rest after the fatigues of the journey. s s s

day ve continued our journey by Chamberry, | as it appeared to us, it was esteemed there nothing which, though the chief city of the duchy, and extraordinary, and they assured us, it was not untcsidence of the king of Sardinia, when he comes common to cateh them of 6fty pound?: they are into this part of his dominions, makes but a very dressed here, and sent post to Paris upon sum* mean and insignificant appearance; we Uty at great oceasions; nay, even to Madrid, as we were A: ,. once famous for its hot baths, and the next told. The road we returned through was not ths

TO HIS MOTHER.

Turin, Nor. 7, N. S. I739.

I Am this night arrived here, and have just sat Q twn to rest me after eight days' tiresome journey: for the three first we had the same road we before passed through to go to Geneva; the fourth we turned out of it, and for that day ami the next travelled rather among than upon the Alps; the way commonly running through a deep valley by the side of the river Are, which works itself a passage, with great difficulty and a mighty noise, among vast quantities of rocks, that have rolled down from the mountain tops. The winter was •o lar advanced, as in great measure to spoil the beauty of the prospect; however, there was still somewhat fine remaining amidst tbe savageness and horror of the place. The sixth we began to go op several of these mountains; and as we were passing one, met with an odd aecident enough: Mr. Walpole had a little fat black spaniel, that he was very fond of, which he sometimes used to set down, and let it run by the chaise side. We were at that time in a very rough road, not two yards broad at most; on one side was a great wood of pines, and on the other a vast precipice; it was noon-day, and the sun shone bright, when all of a udden, from the wood-side, (which was as steep upwards as the other part was downwards) out rushed a great wolf, came close to the head of the . seized the dog I y the throat, and rushed

up the hill again with him in his mouth. Thw was done in less than a quarter of a minute; we all saw it, and yet the servants had no time to draw their pistols, or to do any thing to save the dog If he had not been there, and tlic ereatura had thought it tit to lay hold of one of the horses, chaise, and we, and all must inevitably have tumbled above fifty fathoms perjiendicular down the precipice. The seventh we came to Lanebourg, thc last town in Savoy; it lies at the foot of the famous Mount Cenis, which is so situated as to allow no room for any way but over the very top of it. Here the chaise was foreed to bc pulled to pieces, and the baggage and that to be carried by mules: we ourselves were wrapped up in our furs, and seated upon a sort of matted chair without legs, which is carried upon poles in the manner of a bier, and so begun to ascend by the help of eight men. It was six miles to the top, where a plain opens itself about as manv more in breadth, covered perpetually with very deep snow, and in the midst of that a great lake of unfathomable depth,TOtm whence a river takes its rise, and tumbles over monstrous rocks quite down the other side of the mountain. The descent is six miles more, but infinitely more steep than the going upand here the men perfectly lly down with you, stepping from stone to stone with ineredible swiftness in places where none but they could go three paces without falling. The immensity of the precipices, the roaring of the river and torrents that run into it, the huge erags covered with ice and snow, and the clouds below you and about you, are objects it is impossible to conceive without seeing them; and though we had heard many strange descriptions of the scene, none of them at all came up to it. We were but five hours in performing the whole, from which you may judge of the rapidity of the men's motion. We are now got into Piedmont, and stopped a little while at La Ferriere, a small village about three quarters of the way down, but still among the clouds, where we began to hear a new langunge spoken round about us; at last we got quite down, went through the Pas de Suse, a narrow road among the Alps, defended by two fortresses, and lay at Bossolens: next evening through a fine avenue of nine miles in length, a straight as a line, we arrived at this city, which, as you know, is the capital of the principality, ant the residence of the king of Sardinia.s s s We shall stay here, I believe, a fortnight, and proceed

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

TO MR. WEST.

Turin, Nov. l6, N. S. I739.

An ni eight days'journey through Greenland, we arrived at Turin—you approach it by a handwme avenue of nine miles long, and quite straight. The entrance is guarded by certain vigilant dragoons, called Douaniers, who mumbled us for some lime. The city is not large, as being a place of strength, and consequently confined within its fortifications: it has many beauties and some faults; among the first are streets all laid out by the line, regular uniform buildings, fine walks that surround the whole; and in general a good lively clean appearance: but the houses are of brick, plastered, which is apt to want repairing; the windows of oiled paper, which is apt to be torn; and every thing very slight, which is apt to tumble down. There is an excellent opera, but it is only in the carnival: balls every night, but only in the carnival: masquerades too, but only in the carnival. This carnival lasts only from Christmas to Lent; one half of the remaining part of tiff year is passed in remembering the tast, the other in expecting the future carnival. We can not well subsist upon such slender diet, no more than upon an exeerable Italian comedy, and a puppet show, called Rappresentazione d'un' anima dannata, which, I think, are all the present diversions of the place; except the Marquise de Cavaillae's conversazione, where one goes to see people play at ombre and taroe, a game with seventy-two cards all painted with suns, and moons, and devils, and monks. Mr. Walpole has been at court; the family are at present at a country palace, called La Vencrie. The palace herein town is the very quintessence of gilding and looking-glass; inlaid floors, carved panels, and painting wherever they could stick a brush. I own I have riot, as yet, any where met with those grand and simple works of art, that are 'o amaze one, ami whose sight one is to be the better for: but those of nature have astonished me beyond expression. In our little journey up to the Grande Chartreuse I do not remember to have gone ten paces without an exclamation, that there was no restraining. Not a precipice, not a torrent, not a cliff, but is pregnant with religion and poetry. There are certain scenes that would awe an atheist into belief, without the help of other argument. One need not have a very fantastic imagination to see spirits there at noon-day: you have death perpetually before your eyes; only so far removed, as to compose the mind without frighting il. I am well persuaded St. Bruno was a man of no common genius, to choose such a situation for iiie retirement; and perhaps should have been a disciple of his, had I been born in his time. You may believe Abelard ar.d Heloisc were not forgot urwn tlii-. oecasion: if I do not mistake, I saw you

too every now and then at a distanec among t'.e trees; il me semble, que j'ai ru ce chiende visage Id quelquc part. 'You seemed to call to me from the other side of the precipice, but the noise of the river below was so great, that I really could not distinguish what you said; it seemed to have a eadence like verse. In your next you will be so good to let me know what it was. The week we hare since passed among the Alps, has not equalled the single day upon that mountain, because the winter was rather too far advanced, and the weathera little foggy. However, it did not want its beauties; the savage rudeness of the view is inconceivable without seeing it: I reckoned, in one day, thirteen cascades, the least of which was, I daresay, one hundred feet in height. I had Livy in the chaise with me, and beheld his "A'm's ecclo proft immistte, tecta informia impositarvpUms, pecan jumentaque tarrida frigore, homines inlonsi st inculti, animalia inanimaquc omnia rigcntiagelu: omnia confragosa, pr&rupta>fue." The erratum that inhabit them are, in all res1iects, below humanity; and most of them, especially women, haw the tumidum guttur, which they call goscio. Moot Cenis, I confess, carries the permission mountains have of hrin.; frightful rather too far; and iu horrors were aecompanied with too much danger to give one time to reflect upon their beauties. There is a family of the Alpine monsters I have mentioned, upim its very top, that in the middle of vrintet calmly lay in their stock of provisions and firing, and so are buried in their hut for a month or two under the snow. When we were down it, and a little way into Piedmont, we began to find "Apricos quosdam colies, rieosqae prope aUtas, et jam kumano cultu digniora /oca." I read Silius IU&cus too, for the first time; and wished for you, according to custom.—We set out for Genoa in twc days' time.

TO MR. WEST.

Genoa, Not. 2I. I733.
HorridtH iracuw, Boretequc linquera
Regns Taurini fera, moMiorem
Advehor brumam, Genuine amamea

Lllora aoles.

At least, if they do not, they have a wry 3I taste; for I never beheld any thing more amiable: only figure to yourself a vast semicireular basin, full of fine blue sea, and vessels of all sorts aikl sizes, some sailing out, some coming in, and others at anchor; and all around it palaces andchureho peeping over one another's heads, gardens, und marble terraces full of orange and cypress toofountains, and trellis-works covered with virtn, which altogether compose the grandest of theatres. This is the first coup d'oeil, and is almost all I aa jc" able to give you an aceomtt of, for we arrived lati last night. To-day was, luckily, a great festival, and in the morning we resorted to the church of the Madonna delle Vigne, to put up our little oritona; (I believe I forgot to tell you that we have been sometime converts to the holy catholic church,) we found our lady richly drest out, with a crown of diamonds on her head, another Upon the child's, and u constellation of wax lights jrnntg before them: shortly after came the doge, in nu robes of crimson damask, and a cap of the 4aine, followed by the senate in black. Upon his tpproach, began a fine concert of musie, and among :he rest two eunuchs' voices, that were a perfect Irast to ears that had heard nothing but French >peras far a year. We listened to this, and breathtj nothing but tncense for two hours. The doge « a very tall, lean, stately, old figure, called Conliantinu Balbi; and the ser,ate seem to have been .nade upon the same mode!. They said their prayers, and heard nn absurd whit; friar preach, with •qua! devotion. After this we went to the Annonviata, a church huiit by the family Lomellini, and uelon>nng to it; which is, indeed, a most stately Uructu re! the inside wholly marble of various kinds, except where gold and painting take its place.— From hence to the pal&zzo Doria. I should make you sick of marble, if I told you how it was lavished here upon the porticos, the ballustradea, and terraces, the lowest of which extends quite to the n:,. The inside is by no means answerable to the outward magnificence; the furniture sermg to be as old as the founder of the family.* Their great embossed silver- tables tell you, in bas-relief, his victories at sea, how he entertained the emperor Charles, and how he refused the sovereignty of the commonwealth when it was offered him; the rest is old-fashioned velvet chairs, and Gothic tapestry. The rest of the day has been spent, much to our hearts' content, in cursing French music and architecture, and in singing the praises of Italy. We find this place so very fine, that we are in fear of finding nothing finer. We are fallen in love with the Mediterranean sea, and hold your lakes and your rivers in vast contempt. This is

"The happIr country when huge lemons grow,"

as Waller says; and I am sorry to think of leaving it in a week for Parma, although it be Tl,e happy country where huge cheeses grow.

TO HIS MOTHER.

Bologna, Dec. 9, N. a 1739.

Ocr journey hither has taken up much less tune than I expected. We lef t Genoa (a charming place and one that deserved a longer stay) the

. The famous Anlnu Doria.

| week before last; erossed the mountains, and la> that night at Tortona, the next i,.' St. Giovanin, and the morning after came to Piauinza. Thai city, (though the capital ofadutehy) made so frippery an appearance, that instead of spending some days there, as had been intended, we only dined, [and went on to Parma; stayed there all the following day, which was passed in visiting the fa.mous works of Corregio in the Dome, and other churches.—The fine gallery of pictures, that once .belonged to the Dukes of Parma, is no more here; the King of Naples has carried it all thither, and the city had not merit enough to detain us any longer, so we proceeded through Reggio to Mode? na; this, though the residence of its duke, is an ill-built melancholy place, all of brick, as arc most of the towns in this part of Lombardy: he himself lives in a private manner, with very little appearance of a court about him; he has one of the noblest collections of paintings in the world, which entertained us extremely well the rest of that day and part of the next: and in the afternoon we came to Bologna: so now you may wish us joy of being in the dominions of his Holiness. This is a populous city, and of great extent: all the streets have porticos on both sides, such as surround a part of Covent Garden, a great relief in summer time in such a climate; and from one of the principal gates to a church of the Vtrgin, (where is a wonder-working picture, at three miles distance) runs a corridor of the same sort, lately finished, and, indeed, a most extraordinary performance. The churches here are more remarkable for their paintings than architecture, being mostly old structures of brick; bufthepalaces are numerous, and fine enough to supply us with somewhat worth seeing from morning till night. The country of Lombardy, hitherto, is one of the most hcantiful imaginable; the roads broad, exactly straight, and on either hand vast plantations of treen, chiofly mulberries and olives, and not a tree without a vine twining about it and spreading among its branches. This scene, indeed, which must be the most lovely in the world during the proper season, is at present all deformed by the winter, which here is rigorous enough for the time it lasts; but one still sees the skeleton of a charming place, and reaps the benefit of its product; for the fruits and provisions are admirable: in short, you find every thing that luxury can desire, in perfection. We have now been here a week, and shall stay some httle time longer. We are at the foot of the Appemnc mountains; it will take up three days to eross them; and then we shall come to Florence, where we shall pass the Christmas. Till then we must remain in a state of ignorance as tu wnal is doing in England, for our letters are to meet us there: if 1 do not find four or fiv.i from \, u aloLA 1 shall wonder.

|tion<; if not, we must wait for the carnival, when

TO HIS MOTHER. all those things cotne of course. In the mcar

Florence, Dec. 19, N. S. 1739. time, it is impossible to want entertainment; the We spent twelve days at Bologna, chiefly (as famous gallery, alone, i s an amusement for months most travellers do) in seeing sights; for as we we commonly pass two or three hours every mornknew no mortal there, and as it is no easy matter ing in it, and one has perfect leisure to consider to get admission into any Italian house, without' all its beauties. You know it contains many hunvery particular recommendations, we could see no dred antique statues, such as the whole world can company but in public places; and there are none'not Sateh, beside the vast collection of paintings. in that city but the churches. We saw, there- medals, and precious stones, guch as no other fore, churches, palaces, and pictures from morning prince was ever master of; in short, all that the to night; and the 15th of this month set out for rich and powerful house of Medicis has, in so Florence, and began to eross the Appenine moun- many years, got together. And besides this cill tains: we travelled among and upon them all abounds with so many palaces and churches, that that day, and, as it was hut indifferent weather, you can hardly place yourself any where wit Lou! were commonly in the middle of thick clouds, having some fine one in view, or at least some statue that utterly deprived us of a sight of their beauties: or fountain, magnificently adorned; these unfor this vast chain of hills has its beauties, and all doubtedly are far more numerous than Genoa can the vallies arc cultivated; even the mountains pretend to; yet, in its general appearance 1 can not themselves arc many of them so within a little of think that Florence equals itinbeanty. Mr. Waltheir very tops. They are not so horrid as the pole is just come from being presented to the elee,'>!['-, though pretty near as high; and the whole tress palatine dowager; she is a sister of the late road is admirably well kept, and paved throughout, great duke's; a stately old lady, that never goes which is a length of fourscore miles, and more. out but to church, and then she has guards. and We left the Pope's dominions, and lay that night eight horses to her coach. She received him with in those of the Grand Duke of Fiorenzuola, a pal- ceremony, standing under a huge black campy, try little town, at the foot of mount Giogo, which | and, after a few minutes' talking, she assured him is the highest of them all. Next morning we of her good will, and dismissed him; she never went up it; the post house is Upon its very top,' sees any body but thus in form; and so she pusn and usually involved in clouds, or half buried in her life, • poor woman! • • * the snow. Indeed there was none of the last at the time we were there, but it was still a dismal habitation. The descent is most excessively steep, and the turnings very short and frequent: however we performed it without any danger, and in coming down could dimly discover Florence, and| I Think I have not yet told you how we left that the beautiful plain about it, through the mists; charming place Genoa; how we erossed amounbut enough to convince us, it must be one of the tain all of green marble, called Buchetto; how we noblest prospects upon earth in summer. That came to Tortona, and waded through the mud to afternoon we got thither: and Mr. Mann,* the come to Castel St. Giovanni, and there eat musresident, had sent his servant to meet us at the tard and sugar with a dish of erows gizzards: gates, and conduct us to his house. He is the secondly, how we passed the famous plains best and most obliging person in the world. The ^ ^ glauMs ^ ^^

next inght we were tntroduced at the Pnnce of

TO MR. WEST.

Florence, Jac. 15,1740.

Arvaque Romania nobtlim,a malia. Croon's assembly (he has the chief power here in | Vis,ts adhuc amnia reteri de clade rulx're,

the Grand Duke's absence).—The princess and Et suspirames ducerc nuranusaquas;

he were extremely civil to the name of Walpole,' Maurorumque ala, et nigne inerrtnt-scere mrm>c.

,,. .. , . , i El pulsa Ausonidum rin., >iot,are fusu.

•owe were asked to stay supper, which ii as much

u to ray, you may come and sup here whenever Nor, thirdly, how we passed through riara,ia,

you please; for after the first invitation this is al- parma, Modena, entered the territories of the

ways understood. We have also been at the p,,^; stayed twelve days at Bologna; erossed the

Countess Suarez's, a favourite of the late duke, Ap|ienines, and afterwurds arrived at Florence.

and one that gives the first movement to every None of these things have I told you, nor do I in

Ihing gay tnas. is going forward here. The news tend to tell you, till you ask me some question!

la every day expected from Vienna of the great concerning them. No, not even of Floirnce itself,

umchess's delivery; if it be a boy, here will be all except that it is at fine as possible, and h.us every

•,rts of balls, masquerades, operas, and illmnina

Persons of very high rank; and wtthal ven

• Afterwards Srliurace Mann, will only feel thepaUws of this exclamation.

« PreviousContinue »