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This is a solid, real good, which you will feel and enjoy, when other pleasures have lost their taste : your heart will be warmed by it in old age, and you will find yourself richer in these treasures than in the possession of all you have spent upon us. I talk, sir, from the fullness of my heart; and it is not the style of a dissembler. Do not, my dear sir, suffer melancholy to gain too far upon you: think less of those circumstances which disquiet you, - and in the many others which ought to gladden you : consider the reputation you have acquired, the glorious reputation of integrity, so uncommon in this age! Imagine that your posterity will look upon it as the noblest fortune you can leave them, and that your children's children will be incited to virtue by your example. I do not know, sir, whether you feel this; I am sure I do, and glory in it. Are you not happy in my dear mothers was ever wife so virtuous, so dutiful, so fond? There is no satisfaction beyond this, and I know you have a perfect sense of it. All these advantages, well weighed, will make your misfora tunes light : and I hope, the pleasure arising from them will dispel that cloud which hangs upon you, and sinks your spirits. I am, dear sir, your dutiful son.
MR. LYTTLETON TO SIR THOMAS LYTTLETON.
Soissons, Nov. 20. This is one of the agreeablest towns in France. The people are infinitely obliging to strangers. We are of all their parties, and perpetually share with them in their pleasures. I have learnt more French since I canje here, than I should have picked up in a twelvemonth at Lorrain. The desire of a further progress and improvement in that tongue has led me into some thoughts relating to the continuation of my travels, which I beg leave to lay before you.
If you send me to Italy next spring, as you once designed to do, one great inconvenience will arise, viz. that, before I am perfect in speaking French, I must apply myself to Italian, from which it may probably come to pass, that I shall not know much of either. I should, therefore, think it more for my advantage to make the tour of France before I set out for Italy, than after I come back.
There is another reason, which at least will weigh with my dear mother ; that is, that, after the month of May, when the violent heats begin, Rome (where it will be necessary to settle first, upon account of the purity of the language, which is spoke corruptly in other places) is so unwholesome as to endanger the life of any foreigner unaccustomed to that air; and therefore most travellers go thither about September, and leave it towards April. I fancy these two objections to the foregoing scheme will incline you rather to give into mine, which is as follows : Suppose I stay here till after February; I may in March, April, May, and Jnne see Orleans, Lyons, and Bourdeaux; and pass July, August, and September, in the southern provinces. The air of those countries is so pure, that the greatest beats do nobody any harm. From Provence to Genoa is the shortest road I can take for Italy, and 80 through Tuscany to Rome, where I shall arrive about December, having seen what is curious in my way.
I may pass two months at Rome, and go from thence to Naples, the most delightful part of Italy, and the finest air; allowing me three months in that country, I may take a little voyage to Mes. sina, and from thence to Malta, which lays just by. From Naples I may travel along the coasts of the Adriatic sea, by. Ancona and Loretta, to Venice; where, if I stay but to the end of July, I shall have August, September, and October, to see Padua Verona, Milan, and the other parts of Italy that lie N. W. of the Venetian Gulf. In the winter I may settle at Sienna, where there is a good academy, and where they are not troubled with any English. From thence I may go to Turin, if you please, and stay there till April. After which, to avoid returning through Provence a second time, I may go by Lauzanne and Berne to Franche Compté, and so by Dijon to Paris. When I am there, it will be wholly in your breast how long you would have me stay abroad, and whether I should come home the shortest way, or have the pleasure of seeing Holland. This, sir, is the plan that I offer to you ; which, I hope, you will approve of in the main, and agree to for me. I do not pretend to have laid it so exact as never to depart from it; but I am persuaded that, generally speaking, I shall find it agreeable and commodi. ous. I lave not brought Lorrain into it, because it lies quite ont of the way, and because (to say the truth) I am unwilling to go thither, I know,
my dear sir, I should acquaint you with my reasons for the dislike I have expressed against that place. This is not so easy an eclaircissement as you may think it. Our notions of places and of persons depend upon a combination of circumstances, many of which are in themselves minute, but bave weight from their assemblage with the rest. Our minds are like our bodies : they owe their pain or pleasure to the good or ill assortment of a thousand causes, each of which is a trifle by itself. How small and imperceptible are the qualities in the air, or soil, or climate, where we live; and yet how sensible are the impressions they make upon us, and the delights or uneasiness they create! So it is with our minds, from the little accidents that concur to soothe or to disorder them. But in both, the impressions are more strong, as the frames which they act upon are more delicate and refined. I must therefore impute many of my complaints to the natural delicacy of my temper; and, I flatter myself, you will not think that reason the worst I could have given you. But there are others, more gross and evident, which I have already in part informed you of, and which I shall here set forth more at large.
It is natural for us to hate the school in which we take the first lessons of any art. The reason is, that the awkwardness we have shown in such beginnings lessens us in the eyes of people there, and the disadvantageous prejudice it has given of us is never quite to be got over.
Luneville was my school of breeding, and I was there more unavoidably subject to quelques bevdes
d'ecolier, as the politesse practised in that place is fuller of ceremony than elsewhere, and has a good deal peculiar to itself.
The memory of these mistakes, though lost perhaps in others, hangs upon my mind when I am there, and depresses my spirits to such a degree, that I am not like myself. One is never agreeable in company where one fears too much to be disapproved ; and the very notion of being ill received, has as bad an effect upon our gaiety as the thing itself. This is the first and strongest reason why I despair of being bappy in Lorrain. I have already complained of the foppishi ignorance and contempt for all I have been taught to value, that is so fashionable there. You have beard me describe the greater part of the English I knew there, in colours that ought to make you fear the infection of such company for your son.
But, supposing no danger in this brutal unimproving society, it is no little grievance; for to what barbarous insults does it expose our morals and understanding ! A fool, with a majority on his side, is the greatest tyrant in the world. Do not imagine, dear sir, that I am setting up for a reformer of mankind, because I express some impatience at the folly and immorality of my acquaintance. I am far from expecting they should all be wits, much less philosophers. My own weaknesses are too well known to me, not to prejudice me in favour of other people's when they go to a certain point. There are extravagances that have always an excuse, sometimes a grace attending them. Youth is agreeable in its sallies, and would lose its beauty if it looked too grave; but a reasonable