Page images

acid, mild fruit, equally agreeable to the taste, provided any such can be found; yet I thought it right to particularize what was used on those two occasions; leaving it to others to determine, what share of the happy consequences I have enumerated were owing to the change of air, how much may have flowed from the exercise, how much from the regimen, and whether there is reason to think, that the favourable turn in both cases depended on other circumstances, unobserved by me.

I have now, my dear sir, complied with your request; and although I have endeavoured to avoid technical verbosity, and all unnecessary detail, yet I find my letter has swelled to a greater size than I expected. I shall be exceedingly happy to hear that any hint I have given has been serviceable to our friend. If the cough should still continue, after he has passed two or three months at Bristol, I imagine the most effectual thing he can do will be to take a voyage to this place; he will by that means escape the severity of a British winter. The voyage itself will be of service, and at the end of it he will have the benefit of the mild air of the Campagna Felice, be refreshed and nourished by the finest grapes, and, when tired of riding, he will have continual opportunities of sailing in this charming bay.



As I was walking a few days since in the street with two of our countrymen, T and N, we met some people carrying the corpse of a man on an open bier, and others following in a kind of procession. The deceased was a tradesman, whose widow had bestowed the utmost attention in dressing him to the greatest advantage on this solemn occasion; he had a perfectly new suit of clothes, a laced hat upon his head, ruffles, his hair finely powdered, and a large blooming nosegay in his left hand, while the right was very gracefully stuck in his side. It is the custom at

Naples to carry every body to church in full dress soon after their death, and the nearest relations display the magnitude of their grief by the magnificent manner in which they decorate the corpse. This poor woman, it seems, was quite inconsolable, and had ornamented the body of her late husband with a profusion she could ill afford. When the corpse arrives in church, the service is read over it. That ceremony being performed, and the body carried home, it is considered as having no farther occasion for fine clothes, but is generally stript to the shirt, and buried privately.

Nothing,' replied T;

Can any thing be more ridiculous,' says Nthan to trick a man out in his best clothes after his death ?' 6 unless it be to order a fantastical dress at a greater expense on purpose, as if the dead would not be satisfied with the clothes they wore when alive, but delighted in long flowing robes in a particular style of their own.'

T has long resided abroad, and now prefers many foreign customs to those of his own country, which frequently involves him in disputes with his countrymen. The princess of drove past. There she goes,' says N,' with her cavalieros, her volantis, and all the splendour of a sovereign; yet the wife of a plain English gentleman is in a far more enviable situation. With all her titles and her high rank, she is a mere servant of the queen's, a dependant on the caprice of another; a frown from her majesty would annihilate her.' Those who are nothing, exclusive of court favour,' replied T-, ' ought not to be censured for devoting their time to court attendance. But did you never hear of any who are dazzled with the glitter of court shackles in the boasted land of liberty; people whom riches, rank, and the most flattering favours of fortune cannot make independent; whose minds seem. the more abject, as their situation lays them under the less necessity of remaining in servitude; who, withered with age, and repining with envy, sacrifice every domestic duty, and stalk around the mansions of royalty, as ghosts are

said to haunt those abodes in which they most delighted when they enjoyed life and vigour ?' Well, well,' says N-, let us say no more about them, since we are agreed, that, of all the old tapestry of courts, those grotesque figures, who, without the confidence of those they serve, continue to the last exhibiting their antique countenances at birth-day balls, and in the assemblies of youth and beauty, are the most ridiculous.' At that instant the queen passed in her coach with the royal children, and N- made some comparative remarks in his usual style; to which T replied, In this particular I acknowledge the happiness of Great Britian. I presume not to make comparisons; the great character you have mentioned defies censure, and is far superior to my praise. But I must observe, it appears singular that you, who affect to despise all other countries, and seem of opinion, that what is most valuable in nature is always the product of England, should bring your brightest illustration of that opinion from Germany.'

[ocr errors]

T-, perceiving the advantage he had gained over his antagonist, proceeded vigorously to censure, what he called, the absurd partiality of the English in their own favour; and observed, that it would be fortunate for them, if the other nations of Europe would allow them but a few of the numerous good qualities which they so lavishly attribute to themselves. He severely attacked the common people, and denied them even the character of good-nature, which they have been thought to possess in an eminent degree. He declared them to be rough and insolent in their manners, (for the truth of this he appealed to the opinion of all their neighbours), cruel in their dispositions, (as a proof of which he instanced some of their favourite diversions), and absurd in their prejudices, which appears by their hatred and contempt of other nations; by all of whom, he asserted, they were in return most cordially abhorred. How, indeed, can it be otherwise,' continued he, considering the rough, boisterous nature of their weather?' He then expatiated on the fer

[blocks in formation]

tility of Italy, and the mild serenity of the climate; to which he partly attributed the fertile genius and mild character of the Italians. No doubt,' he said, 'moral causes might contribute to the same effect; for more pains were taken to cultivate and encourage good and quiet dispositions in the common people here than in England. They were accustomed to perform their religious duties more regularly; they had frequent opportunities of hearing the most excellent music in the churches; they were instructed in history by orators in the street, and were made acquainted with the beauties of their best poets in the same manner. All these causes united must necessarily enlarge their minds, and make them the most gentle, humane, and ingenious people in the world.' N shook his head, as if he laid little stress on the other's reasoning. For my own part, I remained silent, being desirous that the dispute should go on between the two who had begun it.

Continuing our walk a little without the town, we saw a crowd of people looking over a wall, which formed one side of a square, expressly built for the purpose of bating cattle with bull dogs. It is imagined that this renders their flesh more tender and agreeable to the taste; and this is considered as a sufficient reason for torturing great numbers of bulls, oxen, and cows, before they are slaughtered for the markets; we found a multitude of spectators enjoying this amusement. Pray,' says Mr. N———, addressing himself to T, do you imagine this hu

[ocr errors]

mane practice, and the complacency which these refined spectators seem to take in beholding it, proceed from the mildness of the climate, the pains bestowed in teaching the people the duties of Christianity, the enlargement of their minds by history and poetry, or from the gentle influence of music upon their dispositions?" Then turning from Mr. T to me, he continued, Not satisfied

with knocking the poor animals on the head, those unfeeling epicures put them to an hour's additional torture, merely to gratify a caprice of their corrupted palates.'

* Of all subjects, replied T--, recovering himself from the confusion into which N's questions had thrown him, those who take upon them to be the panegyrists of the English nation, ought to avoid mentioning that species of epicurism which depends on eating, lest they be put in mind of whipping pigs to death, their manner of collaring brawn, crimping fish, and other refinements peculiar to that humane good-natured people.'

N― was just going to reply, when a large bull, rendered outrageous by the stones which the populace were throwing at him, ran suddenly towards the gate at the instant the keepers were opening it on some other account; which threw them into such confusion, that they had not time to shut it before the bull burst out on the multitude. He now became an object of terror to those who the moment before had looked on him as an object of mirth. The mighty lords of the creation, who consider other animals as formed entirely for their pastime, their attire, their food, fled in crowds from one quadruped, and would gladly have fallen on their knees and worshipped him, like so many Egyptians adoring Apis, if by so doing they could have hoped to deprecate the just wrath of the in censed animal. They found safety at length, not in their own courage or address, but in the superior boldness and agility of other animals, who were leagued with man against him. He was surrounded by dogs, who attacked him on all sides-he killed some outright, tossed and wounded many more; but perceiving his own strength diminishing, and the number of his enemies increasing every moment, he threw himself into the sea, and there found a temporary protection from the fury of his persecutors. But the dogs were instigated to follow; they at length drove him from this last asylum; and the poor, torn, bleeding, exhausted animal was forced ashore, three or four of the most furious of the dogs hanging at different parts of his head and neck. When they were removed, he raised his honest countenance, and threw an indignant look upon the rabble, as if to upbraid them for

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »