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sanctified Carthusians of what they already possess, it would be more meritorious to give them what they have not.
s Give them then,' said I, what will afford some satisfaction, instead of the luxuries of sculpture, and painting, and architecture, which, as you say, become so soon insipid ; let them have enjoyments of a different kind. Why should their diet be confined to fish and vegetables ? Let them enjoy the pleasures of the table without any limitation. And since they are so very meritorious, why is
. your sex deprived of the happiness of their conversation, and why are they denied the pleasure which the society of women might afford them ??
• Cristo benedetto !'* cried the lady, · You do not un- . derstand this matter. Though none deserve the pleasures of this world, but those who think only on the next; yet none can obtain the joys of the next, who indulge in the pleasures of this.'
$ That is unlucky,' said I.
s Unlucky! to be sure it is the most unlucky thing that could have happened, ecco dove mi doleva,' + added the lady.
Though Naples is admirably situated for commerce, and no kingdom produces the necessaries and luxuries of life in greater profusion, yet trade is but in a languishing condition; the best silks come from Lyons, and the best woollen goods from England.
The chief articles manufactured here, at present, are, silk stockings, soap, snuff-boxes, or tortoise shells; and the lava of Mount Vesuvius, tables, and ornamental fur, niture, of marble.
They are thought to embroider here better than even in France; and their macaroni is preferred to that made
2 in any other part of Italy. The Neapolitans excel also in liqueurs and confections; particularly in one kind of confection, which is sold at a very high price, called Diabo
* Blessed Jesus ! # It is that which vexes me.
lonis. This drug, as you will guess from its name, is of a very hot and stimulating nature, and what I should think by no means requisite to Neapolitan constitutions.
The inhabitants of this town are computed at three hundred and fifty thousand. I make no doubt of their amounting to that number; for though Naples is not one-third of the size of London, yet many of the streets here are more crowded than the Strand. In London and Paris, the people who fill the streets are mere passengers, hurrying from place to place on business; and when they choose to converse, or to amuse themselves, they resort to the public walks or gardens: at Naples, the citizens have fewer avocations of business to excite their activity; no public walks, or gardens, to which they can resort ; and are, therefore, more frequently seen sauntering and conversing in the streets, where a great proportion of the poorest sort, for want of habitations, are obliged to spend the night as well as the day. While you sit in your chamber at London, or at Paris, the usual noise you hear from the streets, is that of carriages ; but at Naples, where they talk with uncommon vivacity, and where whole streets full of talkers are in continual employment, the noise of carriages is completely drowned in the aggregated clack of human voices. In the midst of all this idleness, fewer riots or outrages of any kind happen, than might be expected in a town where the police is far from being strict, and where such multitudes of poor unemployed people meet together every day. This partly proceeds from the national character of the Italians; which, in my opinion, is quiet, submissive, and averse to riot or sedition; and partly to the common people being universally sober, and never inflamed with strong and spirituous liquors, as they are in the northern countries. Iced water and lemonade are among the luxuries of the lowest vulgar ; they are carried about in little barrels, and sold in halfpenny's worth. The half-naked lazzarone is often tempted to spend the small pittance destined for the maintenance of his family, on this betwitching beverage, as the most dissolute of the low people in London spend their wages on gin and brandy; so that the same extravagance which cools the mob of the one city, tends to inflame that of the other to acts of excess and brutality.
There is not, perhaps, a city in the world, with the same number of inhabitants, in which so few contribute to the wealth of the community by useful, or by productive labour, as Naples; but the numbers of priests, monks, fiddlers, lawyers, nobility, footmen, and lazzaronis, surpass all reasonable proportion ; the last alone are comput, ed at thirty or forty thousand. If these poor fellows are idle, it is not their own fault; they are continually running about the streets, as we are told of the artificers of China, offering their service, and begging for employment, and are considered by many as of more real utility than any of the classes above mentioned.
Naples, THERE is an assembly once a week at the house of the British minister; no assembly in Naples is more numerous, or more brilliant, than this. Exclusive of that gentleman's good qualities, and those accomplishments which procure esteem in any situation, he would meet with
every mark of regard from the Neapolitan nobles, on account of the high favour in which he stands with their sovereign. Sir William's house is open to strangers of every country who come to Naples properly recommended, as well as to the English; he has a private concert almost every evening. Lady Hamilton understands mu, sic perfectly, and performs in such a manner, as to command the admiration even of the Neapolitans. Sir William, who is the happiest-tempered man in the world, and the easiest amused, performs also, and succeeds perfectly in amusing himself, which is a more valuable attainment than the other.
The Neapolitan nobility are excessively fond of splen
dour and show. This appears in the brilliancy of their equipages, the number of their attendants, the richness of their dress, and the grandeur of their titles.
I am assured, that the king of Naples counts a hundred persons with the title of prince, and still a greater number with that of duke, among his subjects. Six or seven of these have estates, which produce frum ten to twelve or thirteen thousand pounds a-year; a considerable number have fortunes of about half that value; and the annual revenue of many is not above one or two thousand pounds. With respect to the inferior orders of nobility, they are much poorer; many counts and marquisses have not above three or four hundred pounds a-year of paternal estate, many still less, and not a few enjoy the title without any estate whatever.
When we consider the magnificence of their entertain. ments, the splendour of their equipages, and the number of their servants, we are surprised that the richest of them can support such expensive establishments. I dined, soon after our arrival, at the prince of Franca Villa's; there were about forty people at table; it was meagre day; the dinner consisted entirely of fish and vegetables, and was the most magnificent entertainment I ever saw, comprehending an infinite variety of dishes, a vast profusion of fruit, and the wines of every country in Europe, I dined since at the Prince Iacci's. I shall mention two circumstances, from which you may form an idea of the grandeur of an Italian palace, and the number of domestics which some of the nobility retain. We passed through twelve or thirteen large rooms before we arrived at the dining room ; there were thirty-six persons at table ; none served but the prince's domestics, and each guest had a footman behind his chair; other domestics belonging to the prince remained in the adjacent rooms, and in the hall. We afterwards passed through a considerable number of other rooms in our way to one from which there is a very commanding view.
No éstate in England could support such a number of servants, paid and fed as English servants are; but here the wages are very moderate indeed, and the greater num
, ber of men-servants belonging to the first families, give their attendance through the day only, and find beds and provisions for themselves. It must be remembered, also, that few of the nobles give entertainments, and those who do not, are said to live very sparingly; so that the whole of their revenue, whatever that may be, is exhausted on articles of show.
As there is no opera at present, the people of fashion generally pass part of the evening at the Corso, on the sea-shore. This is the great scene of Neapolitan splendour and parade; and, on grand occasions, the magnificence displayed here will strike a stranger very much. The finest carriages are painted, gilt, varnished, and lined, in a richer and more beautiful manner, than has yet become fashionable either in England or France; they are often drawn by six, and sometimes by eight horses. As the last is the number allotted to his Britannic majesty when he goes to parliament, some of our countrymen are offended that any individuals whatsoever should presume to drive with the same number.
It is the mode here, to have two running footmen, very gaily dressed, before the carriage, and three or four servants in rich liveries behind; these attendants are generally the handsomest young men that can be procured. The ladies or gentlemen within the coaches, glitter in all the brilliancy of lace, embroidery, and jewels. The Neapolitan carriages, for gala days, are made on, purpose, with very large windows, that the spectators may enjoy a full view of the parties within. Nothing can be more showy than the harness of the horses; their heads and manes are ornamented with the rarest plumage, and their tales set off with riband and artificial flowers, in such a graceful manner that you are apt to think they have been adorned by the same hands that dressed the heads of the ladies, and not by common grooms.
After all, you will perhaps imagine the amusement can.