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her most distinguishing fine feature. The most sociable women I have met with are the king's daughters. I chatted for about a quarter of an hour with them, talked about Lausanne, and grew so very free and easy, that I drew my snuff-box, rapped it, took spuff twice (a crime never known before in the presence-chamber), and continued my discourse in my usual attitude of my body bent forwards, and my forefinger stretched out. As it might however have been difficult to keep up this acquaintance, I chiefy employed my time in seeing places, which fully repaid me in pleasure the trouble of my journey. What entertained me the most, was the museum and the citadel. The first is under the care of a M. Bartoli, who received us, without any introduction, in the politest manner in the world, and was of the greatest service to us, as I dare say he will
The citadel is a stupendous work ; and when you have seen the subterraneous part of it, you will scarcely think it possible such a place can ever be taken. As it is however a regular one, it does not pique my curiosity so much as those irregular fortifications hewn out of the Alps, as Exilles, Fenestrelles, and the Brunette would have done, could we have spared the time necessary. Our next stage was Milan, where we were mere spectators, as it was not worth while to endeavour at forming connexions for so very few days. I think you will be surprised at the great church, but infinitely more so at the regiment of Baden, which is in the citadel. Such steadiness, such alertness in the men, and such exactness in the officers as exceeded all my expecta
be to you.
tions. Next Friday I shall see the regiment reviewed by General Serbelloni. Perhaps I may write a particular letter about it. From Milan we proceed to Genoa, and thence to Florence. You stare :—but really we find it so inconvenient to travel like mutes, and to lose a number of curi. ous things for want of being able to assist our eyes with our tongues, that we have resumed our original an, and leave Venice for next year. I think I should advise you to do the same.
Milan, May 18th, 1764. The next morning was not fair, but however we were able to take a view of the islands, which, by the help of some imagination, we conclude to be a very delightful, though not an enchanted place. I would certainly advise you to go there from Milan, which you may well perform in a day and a half. Upon our return, we found Lord Tilney and some other English in their way to Venice. We heard a melancholy piece of news from them: Byng died at Bologna a few days ago of a fever. I am sure you will be all very sorry to hear it.
We expect a volume of news from you in relation to Lausanne, and in particular to the alliance of the Duchess with the Frog. Is it already concluded? How does the bride look after her great revolution ? Pray embrace her and the adorable, if you can, in both our names; and assure them, as well as all the Spring *, that we talk of them very often, but particularly of a Sunday; and that we are so disconsolate, that we have neither of us commenced cicisbeos as yet, whatever we may do at Florence. We have drunk the duchess's health, not forgetting the little woman, on the top of Mount Cenis, in the middle of the Logo Maggiore, &c. &c. I expect some account of the said little woman. Who is my successor ? I think Montagony began to supplant me before I went, I expect your answer at Florence, and your person at Rome; which the Lord grant. Amen.
* A society of young ladies.
MR. GIBBON TO MR. HOLROYD, AT BERLIN.
Beriton, Oct. 31, 1765. Why did I not leave a letter for you at Marseilles ? For a very plain reason : because I did not go to Marseilles. But, as you have most judiciously added, why did not I send one ? Humph! I own that nonpluses me a little. However, hearken to my history. After revolv. ing a variety of plans, and suiting them as well as possible to time and finances, Guise and I at last agreed to pass from Venice to Lyons, swim down the Rhone, wheel round the south of France, and embark at Bourdeaux. Alas! At Lyons I received letters which convinced me that I ought no longer to deprive my country of one of her greatest ornaments. Unwillingly I obeyed, left Guise to execute alone the remainder of our plan, passed about ten delicious days at Paris, and arrived in England about the end of June. Guise followed me about two months afterwards, as I was informed by an epistle from him, which, to his great astonishment, I immediately answered. You will perceive there is still some virtue among men. Exempli gratiâ, your letter is dated Vienna, October 12th, 1765 ; it made its appearance at Beriton, Wednesday evening, October 29th. I am at this present writing, sitting in my library, on Thursday morning, between the hours of twelve and one. I have ventured to suppose you still at Berlin ; if not, I presume you take care that your letters should follow you. This ideal march to Berlin is the only one I can make at present. I am under command : and were I to talk of a third sally as yet, I know some certain people who would think it just as ridiculous as the third sally of the renowned Don Quixotte. All I ever hoped for was, to be able to take the field once more, after lying quiet a couple of years. I must own that your executing your tour in so complete a manner gives me a little selfish spleen. If I make a summer's escape to Berlin, I cannot hope for the companion I flattered myself with. I am sorry, however, I have said so much ; but as it is difficult to increase your honour's proper notions of your own perfections, I will e'en let it stand. Indeed, I owed you something for your account of the favourable reception my book has met with. I see there are people of taste at Vienna, and no longer wonder at your liking it. Since the court is so agreeable, a thorough reformation must have taken place. The stiffness of the Austrian etiquette, and the haughty magnificence of the Hungarian princes, must have given way
to more civilized notions. You have (no doubt) informed yourself of the forces and revenues of the empress. I think (however unfashionably) we always esteemed her. Have you lost or improved that opinion ? Princes, like pictures, to be admired, must be seen in their proper point of view, which is often a pretty distant one. afraid you will find it peculiarly so at Berlin.
I need not desire you to pay a most minute attention to the Austrian and Prussian discipline. You have been bit by a mad serjeant as well as myself; and when we meet, we shall run over every particular which we can approve, blame, or imitate. Since my arrival, I have assumed the august character of major, received returns, issued orders, &c. &c. &c. I do not intend you shall have the honour of reviewing my troops next summer. Three fourths of the men will be recruits ; and during my pilgrimage, discipline seems to have been relaxed. But I summon you to fulfil another engagement. Make me a visit next summer. You will find here a bad house, a pleasant country, in summer, some books, and very little strange company. Such a plan of life for two or three months must, I should imagine, suit a man who has been for as many years struck from one end of Europe to the other, like a tennis ball. At least I judge of you by myself. I always loved a quiet, studious, indolent life; but never enjoyed the charms of it so truly as since my return from an agreeable but fatiguing course of motion and hurry. However I shall hear of your arrival, which can scarcely be so soon as January, 1766, and shall probably have the misforiune of meeting you in town soon after.