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LETTER VIII.

• Some particulars we learnt in regard to the people of Lane. bourgh, I think, curious enough to mention, as there is no notice taken of them, as diftinguished from the other Savoyards, in the books®. of travels. Their village confifts of about 220 houfes; they are fo happy as to be free from the oppreffion of a Seigneur Commandant, or petty tyrant of any denomination. All the tax they are subject to, is the Taille, which amounts nearly to the seventh part of the produce of their land: this is paid to the King; they are at no other public expence, except the keeping their roads and bridges paffable. They alfo make provifion for their Curé, and repair their church. They never let their land, as by fo doing they could not get more than two and a half per cent. for their purchase money; whereas, by · cultivating their ground themfelves, they make it yield from ten to thirteen per cent. There are few Lanebourgians who poffefs lefs: than twelve, and none more than forty pounds per annum. Though they are obliged to keep the road over Mount Cennis in a paffable ftate, particularly during the winter, yet the abovementioned expence falls lightly on the inhabitants, as they gain yearly eighty guineas, which the lake on the plain of Mount Čennis is lett for, and this money is folely appropriated to the ufes of the community. They have but two priefts in the village, and no convent. Their priests not being Lanebourgians,. are confidered by them as foreigners. They have fenfe enough not to bring up any of their own children to the church. They are remarkably healthy and long lived'; no physician being permitted to live at Lanebourg, they truft to nature and fobriety. The fimplicity of their manners, and the purity of their lives is fuch, that it very rarely happens an illegitimate child is produced amongst them; but when fuch an accident does happen, im. mediate marriage, or perpetual exile, muft enfue. By the vigilance of the Curé and the Syndics no culprit has ever escaped one or other of the above ordinances; and they generally prefer the former. Here then fubfifis a community, more free from fuperftition than the tenets of the religion they profefs admits of. Content with the produce of their own labours, they are always cheerful, always happy; their wants are bounded to the mere neceffary; their wishes never reach beyond their means;-thus do they defy the vice of avarice, and chafe for ever from their pillow, the cares attendant on ambition. Upon inquiring into the frequent emigrations of Savoyards, it appeared, the Lanebourgians never fent out of their community more than three or four in the space of eighteen months. There are now twelve at Lyons, whom they affert are rich and confiderable, although they quitted Lanebourg in the capacity of fhoe-cleaners and chimneyfweepers; they boaft alfo of having given four chairmen to the King of France. Louis the Beloved certainly could not have chosen better. -There are about an hundred porters whofe names are upon a lift; the Syndics take care that they carry travellers in their turn, and are referred to, in cafe of any dispute that may arise amongst them. Provifions are very cheap here: in money of Piedmont, bread one fol and a half; beef, mutton, and veal, three fols the pound. Twenty-five years past, bread fold at half a fol, and meat at one fol the pound.

LETTER

LETTER XVIII,

• Before I quit the topic of charity, I think it but juft to men-" tion one private family who are worthy members indeed of any republic, let their profeffion of faith be what it will. The Cambraces, of which there are now five families, were originally fprung from trade, being merchants; about an hundred years fince they were ennobled. They give every day a bowl of foup and a pound of bread to each of the poor who prefent them felves at their gate; if it' fo happen, that at any time there is not fufficient of foup for all, the grown perfons receive four fols each, and the children two. The number of poor is generally from three to five hundred: they are for the most part ftrangers, French, Piedmontefe, Lombards, and Milanefe; for there are not many natives of the republic in fuch' neceffitous circumstances as to want bread. They give, once a year,' to poor women who apply for it, a fmock, and a corfet and petticoat; to the men, a fhirt, a great coat with a hood to it, a pair of breeches, and fhoes. At the end of the year, those who prefent themselves in' the cloaths that had been given them, are immediately new clad ; but others who fhew no remains of the late bounty, have their conduct ftriatly scrutinized; as fome unworthy objects have been known to abuse the goodness of this family, by pretending to be in diftreffed circumftances, and have vilely difpofed of the charitable donations they had received: however, all poffible caution is ufed to prevent impofition. One of the brothers, late a very confiderable banker, I think at Venice, bequeathed, at his death, an income for ever to this charity, equal to that proportion of his fortune which he had annually devoted to it. I forgot to mention that a little of the 'foup out of the great boiler is always carried to one of the family to tafte, before it is diftributed to the poor, left by the want of attention, or neglect of fervants, it fhould not be good. We both had also the curiofity to taste it, and found it very good peas foup. This charity is thought by fome people to augment the number of poor; poffibly it may.It is remarkable that the great expence which they are at, has, by no means, diminished their circumstances; as they have, for more than a century paft, been increasing in riches.LETTER XXVIII.

We gained Scaricalafino; it was between nine and ten o'clock when we arrived at the gate of the convent, not far from which is the wretched inn where we must have fought shelter, had it not been for the Cardinal Legate's kind mandate. The gate of the convent was immediately opened to us, after the porter had delivered the letter to the Superior, who very politely came out himself and conducted us in. We entered a large faloon; there we found two Monks; their order is of the white Benedictines, confequently are of noble defcent, as this order admits no others. The Superior is a hale, well looking man, about forty years of age; his behaviour was courteous, affable, and hofpitable: he feemed a man of uncommon good fenfe, to have a great knowledge of the world, and was very good humoured and converfable. There are but fix Monks here; they admit no novices. They keep two fervants only, who are well dreffed, and ferve as valets de chambre. The Monks them-felves take by turn the infpection of the kitchen. You know the

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church in all countries inclines to good fare, and this is not a rigid order. Two of the Monks did not appear; I fuppofe one was employed in the kitchen, and the other, perhaps, indifpofed. The Superior made us many excufes for the bad fare we should have, and for our being obliged to wait for fupper; faying, they themfelves had already fupped, that they had fcarce any provifions in the houfe, and being a maigre day alfo (for it was Saturday) he hoped we would excufe, &c. however we did not wait a quarter of an hour for fupper. They lamented much the not having previous notice of our arrival, as they would have given us a better reception, and added many polite things; but before they had finished, the two fervants appeared with a small table for M- and me, and laid a cloth and a lay-over upon it, 'in our English fashion, of the finest damafk I have ever feen; it was callendered and pinched, forming a Mofaic pattern; the napkins were curiously folded, the plates of the finest old China; fpoons, knives, forks, &c. faltfellers of filver. of the moft elegant fashion, and fo clean, that they appeared quite new; they ferved one dish at a time; first, an admirable gravy foup in a beautiful terreen of the fame china as the plates; they removed this with a poularde a la braife, as good as you ever faw from Bresse, then a fry tres recherchée, after the Italian ecclefiaftical fashion; then a pigeon pattue don le cul etoit farci, garnished with fmall cakes, made of a kind of pafte, quite agreeable to eat with the pigeon. The defert confited of grapes fo well conferved that they feemed as juft gathered. Burey pears, fine chefnuts roafted, and excellent Parme-, fan cheefe. They were quite teazing whilst we fupped, with their apologies for fuch miferable fare, as they termed it. During our repall three cryital carraffees were fet on the table, which held about a pint each; one filled with an excellent red wine, another with white, and a third with water. At the defert a bottle of wine was, produced, and the Superior prefied us to try it. M faid it was the finest Cypress he had ever tafted. Was not this an elegant fupPer for a quarter of an hour's preparation? --

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We fat together about an hour after fupper, and I have scarce in my life pafied an evening more agreeably; the converfation was, not only kept up with life and fpirit by the Monks, but the Superior in particular made many brilliant fallies; he poffeffes a native wit and humour, void of fatire or illnature; was well verfed in the anecdotes and little events that formed the converfation of the day at Bologna; had heard of most of the English of any confequence who had made the tour of Italy for years paft; knew their characters, their attachments, and even, their perfons had been fo well described to him, that he difcovered feveral of them.- He feemed well acquainted with political affairs, the intereft of Europe, the balance of power, the real private characters and manner of life of the po tentates of Europe, the trade, commerce, and intereft of England, the parties there, &c. &c. Now don't you want to know how the faloon was furnished, and what fort of a room it was?-Its dimenfions are about forty feet by twenty, and thirty high; it was hung. with gilt Turkey leather, which appeared at first fight like a hair

Query, Cyprus?

coloured

coloured damafk with gold flowers: the cieling, Gothic arches in fections, like a church; the windows placed very high, with fteps up to them; the fhatters painted and gilt in Arabefque; the chairs exceedingly eafy, and covered with the fame materials with the walls; the chimney very large, projecting into the room, and a prodigious fire of excellent dried fapine neatly clove; a fine fix-leaved fcreen, which was drawn round us (by the way, the firft I have seen fince I left) the faloon was lighted by wax candles in magnificent filver candlesticks. Before we retired, we thanked the Superior in particular, for the hofpitable and elegant reception he had given us, and I could not avoid remarking how much it furprifed me to find fuch good chear on the fummit of the Appennines; he fhook his head, and faid their fituation was moft dreadful, that they depended entirely upon the muleteers who paffed by, for their provifions, which, though purchafed from them at their own valuation, yet, from want of attention, thefe people fupplied them frequently, but ill and fcantily; that the climate is fo bad all the year round, and thefe barren Appenines fo bleak, that neither corn, nor wine, nor any kind of garden ftuff can be produced upon them; even grafs is withered immediately on its attempting to fpring up, by the keen north-east blasts, which are almoft infufferable even in the month of Auguft, and frequently accompanied with fnow; that during part of June and July they have, with difficulty, raifed a little fallad.

I was quite forry when the Superior propofed our retiring to reft; he conducted us into a fpacious bed-chamber adjoining to the faloon, and retired, after he had, with great politenefs, apologized for the coarseness of the sheets (which were, however, of the finest Holland). We, on our part, thought it neceffary to make excufes in our tara for having kept them up fo late; and I added, that I feared it must be particularly inconvenient to them, upon account of their early church fervice; he replied, that they were not novices, and never deprived themselves of their natural reft for ceremonies, but alwayswent to bed and rose when agreeable to them. Happy Monks, thought I! For you must know I had been dreading all the evening fome holy vigil, at which perhaps our attendance might have been expected. An elegant lamp being placed in our chamber for the night, and a pair of wax candles, we went into as good a bed as, I believe, his Holiness himself ever occupied: the curtains were of fine broad cloth, the room wainscoted with oak, and the cleanliness of the convent and its furniture was quite quakerly. We did not wake till nine o'clock next morning, and might have flept the fourand-twenty hours round from ceffation of every kind of noife; for excepting the wind, which did not blow or whistle loudly, there reigned a quietude unknown but in a convent on the Appenines. Upon our entering the faloon next morning, the Monks immediately joined us; breakfast was ready, and confifted of excellent Turin chocolate and scorched bread. We ordered our horfes as foon as we had breakfasted, and quitted our kind hosts with regret. How delightful would be the tour of Italy, if the convents were permitted to entertain ftrangers! We were greatly diftreffed how to contrive to leave some little acknowledgment with these Monks; it was impof

fible to offer them money, fo we employed our own valet de chambre (who you know is an Italian) to find out with delicacy from the fervants how that might be done; but he told us they never took money, and the fervants refused alfo: however, we really forced a fequin a piece upon them, through our valet de chambre, and under a promise not to divulge it to the Monks. I forgot to mention that it appeared in the courfe of converfation, that no woman had .ever been received into this convent befide myself, excepting Chrif tina Queen of Sweden, the prefent Emprefs of Hungary, and the Queen of Naples; and that only for one night's lodging each, on their journey. Ought not I to be very proud to have the honour of forming a quartetto with this illuftrious trio? What pity it is that royalty is not catching, for we had all flept on the fame bed. As I esteem this night's lodging a memorable epoch in my life, I hope you are not tired with the length of this relation.

LETTER XXXI.

Radicofani, the 31st of December.

Here we are, and lodged in a palace, which whilom was the delightful fpot fixed upon for a repofe from the chace, for princes: but what a palace! Oh that it was but an English ftable! Here is room enough to lodge the King of Pruffia's Pandours and Croatians ; and I fuppofe in the environs, wild boars enough to glut them. Imagine an extenfive fuite of rooms, long galleries and paffages, the cielings, or rather the beams, in fuch aërian perspective, as nearly to evade the fight; the walls literally bare and green, from damp; the pavement more rugged than Berkeley-fquare, and I believe has not been cleaned for many years. An eternal fog conftantly enwraps this cloud-cap'd tower, through which the fun-beams rarely penetrate in his annual courfe. At the end of the above mentioned dreary wafte, or fuite of apartments, are we. A table of an enormous fize, and which feems in a ftate of progreffion towards petrefaction, graces the middle of this fpacious chamber; no power on earth I believe is equal to the task of moving it from its ancient fcite. A chimney of amazing fize, japanned within and without with fmoke, (the fire won't burn, the wood being always damp here) large puffs defcending into the room, with gufts of cold wind.-Two broken chairs, exceffively high, and of antique fculpture in wood-A mattrefs, ftuffed with the refuse knots and ends of hemp, covered with fheets that are wet, and prickly like haircloth-The blanket-I fcarce dare look at it; but when we are about lying down to fleep, (if that be poflible) I fhall, by the means of an enormous pair of tongs, endeavour to drag it into a corner of the room, as far as poffible from the bed-by the glimmering light of the candles, it appears at this distance like a map of the world-feas-lakes-terra firma-islands and undiscovered countries, from whofe bournes I have no intention of returning, as I do not mean to explore them— In short, I am in fo ill a humour, fo weary, and fo hungry-They make us wait for fupper moft cruelly. The winds howl in the paffages on one fide, and are re-echoed in another tone from the other fide: a French woman would think que le grand Diable tennoit le fabbat ici pour toute les forcieres du monde, & qu'ils alloit tout arrivée en loups-garou: "But to what purpose complain? fays M, there

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