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affords me an opportunity of entertaining you. But it is not from Holland that you must expect a disinterested offer. I can write enough, in the style of Rotterdam, to tell you plainly, in one word, that I expect returns of all the London news. You see I have already learned to make a good bargain, and that it is not for nothing I will so much as tell you I am your affectionate sister.
Nuremberg, Aug. 22, 0. S. 1716. AFTER five days travelling post, I could not sit down to write on any other occasion than to tell my dear lady, that I have not forgot her obliging command of sending her some account of my travels. I have already passed a large part of Germany; I have seen all that is remarkable in Co., logne, Frankfort, Wurtsburg, and this place. It is impossible not to observe the difference between the free towns, and those under the government of absolute princes, as all the little sovereigns of Germany are. In the first there appears an air of commerce and plenty. The streets are well built and full of people, neatly and plainly dressed. The shops are loaded with merchandise, and the commonalty are clean and cheerful. In the other you see a sort of shabby finery, a number of dirty people of quality tawdered out; narrow nasty streets out of repair, wretchedly thin of inhabi
tants, and above half of the common sort asking alms. I cannot help fancying one, under the figure of a clean Dutch citizen's wife, and the other like a poor town lady of pleasure, painted, and ribboned out in her head-dress, with tarnished sil. ver-laced shoes, a ragged under-petticoat, a miserable mixture of vice and poverty.—They have sumptuary laws in this town, which distinguish their rank by their dress, prevent the excess which ruins so many other cities, and has a more agreeable effect to the eye of a stranger than our fashions. I need not be ashamed to own, that I wish these laws were in force in other parts of the world. When one considers impartially the merit of a rich suit of clothes in most places, the respect and the smiles of favour it procures, not to speak of the envy and the sighs it occasions (which is very often the principal charm to the wearer), one is forced to confess, that there is need of an uncommon understanding to resist the temptation of pleasing friends and mortifying rivals; and that it is natural to young people to fall into a folly, which betrays them to that want of money, which is the source of a thousand basenesses. What numbers of men have begun the world with generous inclinations, that have afterwards been the instruments of bringing misery on a whole people, being led by a vain expense into debts that they could clear no other way but by the forfeit of their honour, and which they never could have contracted, if the respect the multitude pay to habits, was fixed by law, only to a particular colour or cut of plain cloth. These reflections draw after them others that are too melaucholy. I will maku VOL. IV.
haste to put them out of your head by the farce of relics, with which I have been entertained in all Romish churches.
The Lutherans are not quite free from these follies. I have seen here, in the principal church, a lage piece of the cross set in jewels, and the point of the spear, which, they told me very gravely, was the same that pierced the side of our Saviour. But I was particularly diverted in a little Roman Catholic church which is permitted here, where the professors of that religion are not very rich, and consequently cannot adorn their images in so rich a manner as their neighbours. For not to be quite destitute of all finery, they have dressed up an image of our Saviour over the altar, in a fair full-bottomed wig, very well powdered. I imagine I see your ladyship stare at this article, of wbich you very much doubt the veracity; but, upon my word, I have not yet made use of the privilege of a traveller, and my whole account is written with the same plain sincerity of heart, with which I assure you that I am, dear madam, your, &c. &c.
LADY M. W. MONTAGUE TO MR. P
Vienna, Sept. 14, 0. S. PERHAPs you will laugh at me, for thanking you very gravely for all the obliging concern you express for me. It is certain that I may, if I please, take the fine things you say to me for wit and raillery, and, it may be, it would be taking them right. But I never, in my life, was half so well disposed to take you in earnest as I am at present, and that distance which makes the continuation of your friendship improbable, has very much increased my faith in it. I find that I have (as well as the rest of my sex), whatever face I set on it, a strong disposition to believe in miracles. Do not fancy, however, that I am infected by the air of these popish countries; I have, indeed, so far wan. dered from the discipline of the church of England, as to have been last Sanday at the opera, which was performed in the garden of the Favorita, and I was so much pleased with it, I bave not yet repented my seeing it. Nothing of that kind ever was more magnificent; and I can easily believe, what I am told, that the decorations and habits cost the emperor thirty thousand pounds sterling. The stage was built over a very large canal, and at the beginning of the second act, divided into two parts, discovering the water, on which there immediately came, from different parts, two fleets of little gilded vessels, that gave the representation of a naval fight. It is not easy to imagine the beauty of this scene, which I took particular notice of. But all the rest were perfectly fine in their kind, The story of the opera is the enchantment of Al. cina, which gives opportunities for great variety of machines and changes of the scenes, which are performed with a surprising swiftness. The theatre is so large that it is hard to carry the eye to the end of it, and the habits in the utmost magnifi. cence, to the number of one hundred and eight. · No house can hold such large decorations; but the
ladies all sitting in the open air, exposes them to great inconveniences; for there is but one canopy for the imperial family; and the first night it was represented, a shower of rain happening, the opera was broke off, and the company crowded away in such confusion, that I was almost squeezed to death. But if their operas are thus delightful, their comedies are, in as high a degree, ridiculous. "They have but one play-house, where I had the curiosity to go to a German comedy, and was very glad it happened to be the story of Amphitrion. As that subject has been already handled by a Latin, French, and English poet, I was curious to see what an Austrian author would make of it. I understand enough of that language to comprehend the greatest part of it, and besides I took with me a lady that had the goodness to explain to me every word. The way is to take a box, which holds four, for yourself and company. The fixed price is a gold ducat. I thought the house very low and dark; but I confess the comedy admirably recompensed that defect. I never laughed so much in my life. It begun with Jupiter's falling in love out of a peep-hole in the clouds, and ended with the birth of Hercules. But what was most pleasant was, the use Jupiter made of bis metamorphosis, for you no sooner saw him under the figure of Amphitrion, but instead of flying to Alc. mena, with the raptures Mr. Dryden puts into his mouth, he sends for Amphitrion's tailor, and cheats him of a laced coat, and his banker of a bag of money, a Jew of a diamond ring, and bespeaks a great supper in his name; and the greatest part