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POST-TOUR FROM PARIS TO NAPLES:
COMMUNICATED IN A LETTER TO A FRIEND.
[Publication was unthought of by the writer of the following Minutes. They profess not, as will be obvious at once, to convey a regular description of a single place or object. They disclose simply the current of the narrator's thoughts and feelings, as he travelled, almost without intermission, through a wide and highly interesting tract of country, of which he had more reason to regret what he could not, than to be pleased with what he could see. Yet their easy but piquant style gave a pleasure in the perusal to the Editor, which he is anxious to communicate to his readers.]
MY DEAR S
Naples, 21st June, 1824.
I am then absolutely separated from you all by an interval of nearly fourteen hundred miles!-divided by the sea, the Alps, and the Apennines!-with I know not how many states of different denominations, kingdoms, dukedoms, popedoms, republics, lying between us. During my long journey, performed in the short space of nine days and a half, I have seen divers curiosities of nature
and art, with many fair cities and goodly prospects. You will not imagine, however, that I had much time to devote to the examination of the interesting objects which presented themselves to my eyes, like water to the lips of Tantalus, and disappeared almost ere I could cast a glance at them: the cities, mountains, plains, and all that I have seen, passing before me as in a panorama, have left my imagination and memory in a state of confusion: I will endeavour, notwithstanding, to collect my scattered ideas, and give you a sketch of all my adventures.
To begin then with the outset. Exactly as the deep-toned bells of the ancient towers of Notre Dame announced that the 7th of June had ter minated and the 8th of June commenced, I stepped into the carriage charged with the high office of conveying me and sundry other valuable effects from the residence of the Baron - at Paris, to that of his brother Baron at Naples, transformed for the occasion (for what important purposes you know) into an Austrian Courier, and furnished with that most indispensable article for foreign travel, a huge passport, recommending all authorities to render me aid and assistance. I had three companions, viz. an attendant Courier, and a green parroquet, and black English terrier, belonging
to the Courier; all in high spirits-much more so than myself. At a quarter past twelve, the Rue d'Artois re-echoed the claquement of the postillion's whip, and we were en route: the day had been very fine, and the moon shone with silvery brightness. I was unromantic enough to gaze on the lofty mansions, and the trees, as we rolled down the Boulevard, hardly caring about the moon beyond the convenience of her light, and without one single poetical image crossing my mind, which however was far from unoccupied. On quitting Paris, I wrapped myself in my cloak, and composed myself to sleep in a corner of the vehicle: if you will take your map, you may join me at Melun in the mornning, or else at Montereau, where we stopped ten minutes to get a cup of coffee. Of these halts, during the journey, I availed myself to procure, though sometimes with difficulty, a basin of water and a towel.
We continued our journey through a flat country, tolerably pleasant, without any remarkable features, watered by the Youne, a wide but shallow river, beside which the road runs for a considerable distance. We passed through Sens, a considerable town, with a cathedral, not apparently very interesting, but that might have delayed me an hour had my journey been one of pleasure. We were now
entering the plains of Burgundy; which how ever can hardly be called plains with propriety, as they consist in fact of gently rising slopes, all clothed with vines, and presenting a most luxuriant picture. We stopped to dine at Villeneuve le Roi; where is a very good inn, with a fine garden, for both which the host is desirous to reimburse himself. charged us for dinner sixteen francs, about 13s. 4d. English, including four francs for a bottle of Beaune wine, not very good, and quite new. This is a proof of the excessive cheapness of every thing in France!-you will remember that we were not travelling as Milords Anglais, or we should in all probability have paid more. Our rout still lay through a country principally occupied by vineyards, accompanying the river, to Joigny, a large good-looking town. Here the Canal de Bourgogne joins the Youne, and the road, turning to the left, continues by its side through Tonnerre and Nuits, both celebrated for their wines. Near the latter place we passed about midnight by a most venerablelooking but deserted Chateau, the immense stables of which are converted into the Poste aux Chevaux: the road ran across the lawn, the old-grey building, and the noble trees in which it was embowered, forming altogether a most magnificent picture in the still moonlight, while
the silence of night was only broken by the rolling of our carriage. With regard to vineyards, those of France would probably disappoint your expectations in point of beauty, the vines being kept only about the height of two or three feet from the ground, and looking exactly like currant-bushes. The country now becomes more hilly, and a long and steep descent conducts to Val Suzon, a small town, the site of which resembles the bed of a deep lake, whose rocky shores have been forsaken by the waters. The road by which we left it, is still more steep and difficult: after nearly an hour's climbing, with two additional horses, always upon the borders of a precipice, the town was still below us, apparently so near that we might have thrown a stone into it from the brow of the hill.
This day we did not stop to breakfast, but arrived about one o'clock at Dijon, the capital of Burgundy. This city, formerly so rich in objects of architectural interest, suffered much in the Revolution; the ancient tombs of the Dukes of Burgundy, formed of Parian marble, having been totally destroyed, while the cathedral and other buildings suffered great injury. Here I was led to expect the finest steeple in Europe: the French are pretty careless as to what exists elsewhere, when their own productions are in question. I recalled my remembrances of