The ancient families of Venice are the most pure noblesse in Italy, and that idea, together with their natural spirit and extraordinary situation, will produce many brave and gallant soldiers among them, whenever a good cause calls them into the field—. I Have been to see the Doge's palace, and the church in the Piazza San Marco, both Gothic, and what is very shocking to the eye, the fine bronze horses brought from Constantinople are perched over the door of the church.
Books will inform you more minutely than I can of the pictures to be seen in Venice. But I never stay long, for they read English in my looks; and their love for any thing of that nation is so great, that they will come from the other end of the Piazza to look at an English woman—. There are two fine lions at the door of the Arsenal, in marble, brought from the entrance of the Piraean port: it is a pity I cannot make them speak, they might tell me many things I want to know about Athens—.
The Russian minister's wife is Madame de —'s daughter, a very young, and very amiable modest woman.
The Russian Minister's wife often talks to me of Stowe in raptures, though she was quite a child when she passed some days there—. Emo's floating batteries are much spoken of here; I understand they were five hours and a half before the forts of Golleta; so I have desired a receipt to make them, and I have it as exactly to be copied as any receipt to make a good pye; I shall give it to G. I shall write from thence, I hope soon; as I do not mean to proceed in a retrograde motion—so with all kind wishes to your fire-side—.
I Came, as I told you I was advised, by a new road; but I should imagine from the difficulties I met with it was the worst. I set out from Venice on the 30th of last month, going by water to Mestre, where my coach and horses met me. I meant that night to have slept at Mr. Her sister too, an infant of five years of age, played and sung her part afterwards wonderfully for her years—. The next day I passed the Taillamanta, a river which had torn and washed away the road for nine miles before I came to it; so I travelled in a bed of gravel, every now and then jumping into and out of a little ditch formed by the different torrents.
The river was frightful to pass. It is so narrow, that I think it the most dangerous I ever went, nothing between the precipice and the carriage to prevent an accident. It would be well worth any person's while, who is as fond of the beauties of nature as I am, to ride along this road. The views are romantic and majestic beyond description—. At one place, tired of the snail-like pace I went, I hired a traineau of a peasant, and went on before my carriage.
When I recollect the scene of these three fat men playing at cards, their figures, and all I said in Italian to persuade the man and his patienza I could die with laughing; however, in about an hour, an officer came in, who looking at me some time, said, Parles vous Francais? I am arrived here at last, through a very beautiful country; but must observe, that whoever wrote L. M—'s Letters for she never wrote a line of them misrepresents things most terribly; I do really believe, in most things they wished to impose upon the credulity of their readers, and laugh at them.
The stoves of this country, which she praises so much, are the most horrid invention you can conceive. I do not believe the German women, of the lower order, are very gentle tempers; for several of them flew into the most violent passions, when I opened a door or window, and shut them again immediately.
I think things must be very much altered since that lady or gentleman wrote about Vienna. I have seen no place yet I should so much wish my son to come to as Vienna. The presentation at court is very different from our's; but I have not time to say more at present, than that I remain. I cannot help adding, that the questions asked travellers by the guards at the frontier towns are most ridiculous—are you married or not?
Do you travel for your pleasure or upon business? Your name and quality? Nothing is more striking, I think, than the variety of the officers dresses in the Emperor's anti-chamber. He converses politely and agreeably—.
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Green peas, artichokes, and asparagus, I eat every day. The crawfish are as large as the Chichester lobsters; and the pheasants from Bohemia have a flavour you can form no idea of. The forests and rivers of this country do not in a small degree contribute to the possibility of these things; for with us, our cooks cannot produce wild boar and venison, gelinottes, and coqs de bruyeres; or crawfish as big as lobsters—. I dine very often with Prince Kaunitz; and as I am naturally as sincere as he is, our conversations do not grow languid.
There are great assemblies here as in London; and I repeat it, there are women here with whom I could pass my life. It has many fine trees in it, and the Danube is one of its fences; it is very like an English park—.
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I Got away as fast as I possibly could from Vienna; for if I had staid a week longer, I am convinced I should have staid the whole winter. The country between Vienna and Cracow is very fine; chiefly open, here and there the plain beautifully varied with hills of gentle ascent, and small woods; the sportsman and the painter would be pleased with it, as it affords a variety of landscapes and game, equally favourable to both.
The firs and deciduous trees do not seem to flourish in the same spot; I frequently saw a wood of the one to my right, and of the other to my left; I observed, that cattle of all sorts are suffered to eat the green corn during the hard weather—. The road from Brun to Olmutz is bordered with large old cherry-trees. THE entrance into the town of Cracow exhibits a melancholy proof that confusion ever ends in ruin. Dirty suburbs filled with Jews; and the Emperor's eagle, are the only objects that precede the gates of Cracow; these gates are pierced by many a ball, and probably, if each bore the name of his sender, the gateway might be divided into as many pieces for those who have claims to it, as Poland herself is divided into parties; I had letters for several Polish ladies at Cracow, but I staid only to rest myself, and get a traineau made; for I was told I might go thus, but a couple of miles from the town I was obliged to take my coach off the sledge; and here I must observe, Sir, that the Prince Galitzin at Vienna, was very much mistaken, when he told me, he should advise me to have just such a coach as mine made if I were not already mistress of such a one—.
I staid two hours one night, so fastened with the hind-wheel upon a fir-tree, that six men could not stir it, and peasants were called to cut down the tree, before I could proceed—. I shall refer you to Mr. Coxe's book for the accommodations I met with on the road, and confine my descriptions to agreeable circumstances—. When I arrived at Warsaw, I found my apartments had been warmed and ready two days before my arrival; the Comte de Stackelberg having bespoke them, by the desire of Prince Galitzin, and the Russian Minister C— de S— waited on me. W— was still living? He imagined Mr.
My old acquaintance, the princess C—, will be the occasion of my shortening my stay here; for it is many years since I saw her, and as she does not come here on account — I shall give her the meeting in the country, and afterwards set out for Petersburgh. I told the King I should see her, as he spoke to me of her: I hate party affairs—and —. THE road between Warsaw and this place is one insipid flat, except just in and about the town of Nerva, where I took a sledge and flew hither. When I wrote last, dear Sir, I think I was upon the point of going to see the Princess C—, I passed two days with her at a country house of the Princess Lubomirska's, her sister-in-law; I was most sincerely glad to see her, and we parted with regret.
I received a very civil message from the King, and M. I am something like a country Miss, gaping at the window all day here, every creature that goes about the streets, seem as if they were in a violent hurry, they drize full gallop, traineaus with one horse ply at the corners of the streets as do your hackney-coaches and chairs.
Sir, eight months of winter, and the horrid cold I feel, must congeal the warmest imagination; poets and painters require verdant lawns; and the flowers of fancy must fade and die, where spring is not to be found—. How should it be otherwise?
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A little Latin and Greek in the schools of Westminister and Eton, and a great deal of vulgar rioting, make our young men a strange mixture of pedantism and vice, which can only produce impudence and folly. The careful citizen, conscious that fair dealing and knowledge only can promote the well-being of his family, brings up his son to business, and that only, as you know well, makes the idle moments of life happy.
Ellis is with Mr. We are in the last part of the carnival and balls; those given by the Ambassadors are very superb. You may have heard much of Prince Potemkin; I see him every where, but he is reserved and converses very little with ladies.
We were seven or eight ladies, and as many men—immense stoves concealed by the pillars, were heated in order to make such a hall in such a climate supportable—but I came home quite ill with cold. It was there I heard that extraordinary music performed by men and boys, each blowing a straight horn adapted to their size—sixty-five of these musicians produce a very harmonious melody, something like an immense organ.
S— and others to call him a sensible man—.
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Justice obliges me to say, the Empress does all she can to invite politeness, science, and comsorts from other countries, to cheer these regions of ice—but, until she can alter the climate, I believe it is a fruitless trial. I shall in my next have the honour of repeating it to you; I remain with the highest respect and regard,.
I promised to give you an account of the conversation with the Minister, here it is— M. S— L'on ma dit, que Miladi voulait me faire l'honneur de prendre des renseignemens sur le voyage qu'elle compte faire. I shall now prepare every thing to visit the Crimea or rather the Tauride; I have been told it is a very beautiful country; and I confess I am not sorry this enfant perdu gives me a good excuse for turning my steps towards Constantinople—. Wit and talents will always be objects of importance to me; I have found them here, and shall be sorry to quit them. The latter is grown fat.
I forgot to tell you. Sir, that the Grand Duchess was brought to bed five days after my arrival; so I have only seen her the night I was presented to her, which was the same on which I was presented to the Empress; her affability is great to strangers; for Mr. I went three times through the whole palace, and while I was at one door, two of the carriages were at the other. My servants at home I thought I had been invited to sup at the palace—.
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I told her I must be both stupid and ungrateful, not to regret infinitely, that I could not stay any longer, to shew how sensible I was of the hospitality and magnificence with which I was treated. The Vicechancellor, Comte d'Ofterman, is obliged to have a table for sixty foreigners every Wednesday; and a widow Princess de Galitzin, a supper once a week—at Mons.
There is a custom here which I think very abominable; noblemen, who are engaged to marry young ladies, make no ceremony, but embrace them in the midst of a large company at a ball—. The girls are dressed in their holiday-clothes, and some are beautiful, and do not look less so from various coloured handkerchiefs tied over their forehead, in a becoming and pittoresque manner.