Philip Thicknesse.

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every cave and wine-cellar is filled with sheets of copper, from which
such quantities of verdigris are daily collected, that it is one of the
principal branches of their trade. The streets are very narrow, and
very dirty; and though there are many good houses, a fine theatre, and a
great number of public edifices beside churches, it makes altogether but
an indifferent figure.

Without the walls of the town, indeed, there stands a noble equestrian
statue of Louis the XIVth, surrounded with spacious walks, and adorned
with a beautiful fountain. Their walks command a view of the
Mediterranean Sea in front, and the Alps and Pyrenees on the right and
left. The water too is conducted to a most beautiful _Temple d' Eau_
over a triple range of arches, in the manner of the _Pont du Gard_, from
a very considerable distance. The modern arches over which it runs, are
indeed, a great and mighty piece of work; for they are so very large,
extended so far, and are so numerous, that I could find no person to
inform me of their exact number; however, I speak within the bounds of
truth, I hope, when I say there are many hundred; and that it is a work
which the Romans might have been proud of, and must therefore convey an
high idea of the riches and mightiness of a kingdom, wherein one
province alone could bear, and be willing too to bear, so great an
expence, and raise so useful, as well as beautiful a monument; for
beside the immense expence of this triple range of arches, the source
from whence the water is conveyed is, I think, three leagues distant
from the town, by which means every quarter of it is plentifully
supplied with fountains which always run, and which in hot climates are
equally pleasing, refreshing, and useful.

The town abounds with apothecaries' shops, and I met a great many
physical faces; so that if the air is not good, I conclude the physic
is, and therefore laid out two _sols_ for a pennyworth of ointment of
_marsh-mallows_ which alleviated a little the extreme misery we all were
in, during our stay at this celebrated city. If, however, it still has
a reputation for the cure of a _particular disorder_, perhaps that may
arise from the impurity of the air, - and that the air which is so prone
to engender verdigris, may wage war with other subtile poisons; yet, as
I found some of my countrymen there, who had taken a longer trial of the
air, and more of the physic, than I had occasion for, who neither
admired one, nor found benefit from the other, I will not recommend
_Montpellier_ as having any peculiar excellencies within its walls, but
good wine, and some good actors. It is a dear town, even to the natives,
and a very imposing one to strangers; and therefore I shall soon leave
it, and proceed southward.

Perhaps you will expect me to say something of the _Sweets_ which this
town is so famed for: there are indeed some sweet shops of that sort;
and they are _bien places_. At these shops they have ladies' silk
pockets, sachels for their shifts, letter cases, and a multitude of
things of that kind, quilted and _larded_ with something, which does
indeed give them a most pleasing and lasting perfume. At these shops
too, beside excellent lavender water, essence of bergamot, &c. they sell
_eau de jasmin de pourri, de cedre, de girofle, sans pareille, de mille
fleurs, de zephir, de oiellet, de sultan_ and a hundred other sorts; but
the _essence of bergamot_ is above all, as a single drop is sufficient
to perfume a handkerchief; and so it ought to be, for it is very dear.



I was very impatient till I had drove my horse from the British to the
Mediterranean coast, and looked upon a sea from _that land_ which I had
often, with longing eyes, viewed _from the sea_, in the year 1745, when
I was on board the Russel, with Admiral Medley. I have now compleatly
crossed this mighty kingdom and great continent, and it was for that
reason I visited _Cette_. This pretty little sea-port, though it is out
of my way to _Barcelona_, yet it proves to be in _the way_ for my poor
horse; as I found here a Spanish bark, upon which I put part of my
baggage. I was obliged to have it, however, opened and examined at the
Custom-house; and as the officer found in it a bass viol, two guittars,
a fiddle, and some other musical instruments, he very naturally
concluded I was a musician, and very kindly intimated to me his
apprehensions, that I should meet with but very little _encouragement in
Spain_: as I had not any better reason to assign for going there, but to
fiddle, I did not undeceive this good-natured man till the next morning,
when I owned, I was not sufficiently _cunning_ in the art of music to
get my bread by it; and that I had unfortunately been bred to a worse
profession, that of arms; and if I got time enough to _Barcelona_ to
enter a volunteer in the _Walloon_ guards, and go to _Algiers_, perhaps
I might get from his Catholic Majesty, by my services, more than I could
acquire from his Britannic - something to live upon in my old age: but I
had no better encouragement from this Frenchman as an adventurer in
arms, than in music; he assured me, that Spain was a _vilain pays_, and
that France was the only country in the world for a _voyageur_. But as I
found that France was the only country he had _voyaged_ in, and then
never above twenty leagues from that spot, I thanked him for his advice,
and determined to proceed; for though it is fifteen miles from
_Montpellier_, we are not got out of the latitude of the _Moschettos_.

On the road here, we met an infinite number of carts and horses, loaded
with ripe grapes; the gatherers generally held some large bunches (for
they were the large red grape) in their hands, to present to travellers;
and we had some from people, who would not even stay to receive a
trifling acknowledgment for their generosity and politeness.

Nothing could be more beautiful than the prospects which every way
surrounded us, when we came within three or four miles of this town;
both sides of the road were covered with thyme and lavender shrubs,
which perfumed the air; the sea breeze, and the hot sun, made both
agreeable; and the day was so clear and fine, that the snow upon the
_Alps_ made them appear as if they were only ten leagues from us; and I
could have been persuaded that we were within a few hours drive of the
_Pyrenees_; yet the nearest of them was at least a hundred miles

The great Canal of _Languedoc_ has a communication with this town, where
covered boats, neatly fitted up for passengers, are continually passing
up and down that wonderful and artificial navigation. It is a convenient
port to ship wine at; but the people have the reputation of playing
tricks with it, before and after it is put on board; and this opinion is
a great baulk to the trade it is so happily situated to carry on, and of
great benefit to the free port of _Nice_.




Before I leave this kingdom, and enter into that of Spain, let me
trouble you with a letter on a subject which, though no ways
interesting to yourself, may be very much so _to a young Gentleman of
your acquaintance_ at Oxford, for whose happiness I, as well as you, am
a little anxious. It is to apprize you, and to warn him, when he
travels, to avoid the _gins and man-traps_ fixed all over this country;
traps, which a thorough knowledge of Latin and Greek, combined even
with father and mother's wit, will not be sufficient to preserve him
from, unless he is first shewn the manner in which they are set. These
traps are not made to catch the legs, but to ruin the fortunes and
break the hearts of those who unfortunately step into them. Their baits
are artful, designing, wicked men, and profligate, abandoned, and
prostitute women. Paris abounds with them, as well as Lyons, and all
the great towns between London and Rome; and are principally set to
catch the young Englishman of fortune from the age of eighteen to five
and twenty; and what is worse, an honest, sensible, generous young man,
is always in most danger of setting his foot into them. You suspect
already, that these traps are made only of paper, and ivory, and that
cards and dice are the destructive engines I mean. Do you know that
there are a set of men and women, in _Paris_ and _Lyons_, who live
elegantly by lying in wait and by catching every _bird of
passage_? - but particularly the English _gold-finch_. I have seen and
heard of such wicked artifices of these people, and the fatal
consequences to the unfortunate young men they have ensnared, that I
really think I could never enjoy a single hour of contentment, if I
had a large fortune, while a son of mine was making what is called the
tour of Europe. The minute one of these young men arrive, either at
_Paris_ or _Lyons_, some _laquais de place_, who is paid for it, gives
the earliest notice to one of the confederacy, and he is instantly
way-laid by a French _Marquis_, or an English _Chevalier d'Industrie_,
who, with a most insinuating address, makes him believe, he is no
sooner arrived at _Paris_ than he has found a sincere friend. The
_Chevalier_ shews him what is most worthy of notice in _Paris_, attends
him to _Versailles_ and _Marly_, cautions him against being acquainted
with the honest part of the French nation, and introduces him to the
knaves only of his own and this country; carries him to see French
Ladies of the _first distinction_, (and such who certainly _live in
that style_) and makes the young man giddy with joy. But alas! it is
but a short-lived one! - he is invited; to sup with the _Countess_; and
is entertained not only voluptuously, but they play after supper, and
he wins too. What can be more delightful to a young man, in a strange
country, than to be flattered by the French, courted by the English,
entertained by _the Countess_, and cheered with success? - Nay, he
flatters himself, from the particular _attention_ the _Countess_ shews
him, above all other men admitted to her toilet, that she has even some
_tendre_ for his person: - just at this _critical moment_, a _Toyman
arrives_, to shew _Madame la Comtesse_ a new fashioned trinket; she
likes it, but has not money enough in her pocket to pay for it: - here
is a fine opportunity to make Madame la Comtesse a present; - and why
should not he? - the price is not above four or five guineas more than
his last night's winnings; - he offers it; and, with _great difficulty_
and much persuasion, she accepts it; but is quite _ashamed_ to think of
the trouble he has given himself: - but, says she, you Englishmen are so
charming, - so generous, - and so - so - and looks so sweet upon him, that
while her tongue faulters, _egad_ he ventures to cover her confusion by
a kiss; - when, instead of giving him the two broad sides of her cheek,
she is so _off her guard_, and so overcome, as to present him
_unawares_, with a pretty handsome dash of red pomatum from her lovely
pouting lips, - and insists upon it that he sups with her, _tete a
tete_, that very evening, - when all this happiness is compleated. In a
few nights after, he is invited to meet the _Countess_, and to sup with
_Monsieur le Marquis_, or _Monsieur le Chevalier Anglais_; he is
feasted with high meat, and inflamed with delicious wines; - they play
after supper, and he is stript of all his money, and gives - drafts upon
his Banker for all his credit. He visits the Countess the next day; she
receives him with a civil coolness, - is very sorry, she says, - and
wished much last night for a favourable opportunity to give him a hint,
not to play after he had lost the first thousand, as she perceived luck
ran hard against him: - she is extremely mortified; - but; as a friend,
advises him to go to _Lyons_, or some provincial town, where he may
study the language with more success, than in the hurry and noise of so
great a city as _Paris_, and apply for further credit. His _new
friends_ visit him no more; and he determines to take the Countess's
advice, and go on to _Lyons_, as he has heard the South of France is
much cheaper, and there he may see what he can do, by leaving Paris,
and an application to his friends in England. But at _Lyons_ too, some
artful knave, of one nation or the other, accosts him, who has had
notice of his _Paris_ misfortunes; - he pities him; - and, rather than
see a countryman, or a gentleman of fashion and character in distress,
he would lend him fifty or a hundred pounds. When this is done, every
art is used to debauch his principles; he is initiated into a gang of
genteel sharpers, and bullied, by the fear of a gaol, to connive at, or
to become a party in their iniquitous society. His good name gives a
sanction for a while to their suspected reputations; and, by means of
an hundred pounds so lent to this honest young man, some thousands are
won from the _birds of passage_, who are continually passing thro' that
city to the more southern parts of _France_, or to _Italy_, _Geneva_,
or _Turin_.

This is not an imaginary picture; it is a picture I have seen, nay, I
have seen the traps set, and the game caught; nor were those who set the
snares quite sure that they might not put a stop to my peregrination,
for they _risqued a supper at me_, and let me win a few guineas at the
little play which began before they sat down to table. Indeed, my dear
Sir, were I to give you the particulars of some of those unhappy young
men, who have been ruined in fortune and constitution too, at _Paris_
and _Lyons_, you would be struck with pity on one side, and horror and
detestation on the other; nor would ever risque such a _finished part_
of your son's education. Tell my Oxonian friend, from me, when he
travels, never to let either Lords or Ladies, even of his own country,
nor _Marquises_, _Counts_, or _Chevaliers_, of this, ever draw him into
play; but to remember that shrewd hint of Lord Chesterfield's to his
son; - "When you play with men (says his Lordship) know with _whom_ you
play; when with women, _for what_ you play." - But let me add, that the
only SURE WAY, is never to play at all.

At one of these towns I found a man, whose family I respected, and for
whom I had a personal regard; he loaded me with civilities, nay, made me
presents, before I had the most distant suspicions _how_ he became in a
situation to enable him so to do. He made every profession of love and
regard to me; and I verily believed him sincere; because I knew he had
been obliged by a part of my family; but when I found a coach, a
country-house, a good table, a wife, and servants, were all supported by
the _chance_ of a gaming-table, I withdrew myself from all connections
with him; for, I fear, he who lives to play, may _play_ to _live_.

Upon the whole, I think it is next to an impossibility for a young man
of fortune to pass a year or two in _Paris_, the southern parts of
France, Italy, &c. without running a great risque of being beggared by
sharpers, or seduced by artful women; unless he has with him a tutor,
who is made wise by years, and a frequent acquaintance with the customs
and manners of the country: an honest, learned Clergyman tutor, is of
less use to a young man in that situation, than a trusty _Valet de
Chambre_. A travelling tutor must know men; and, what is more difficult
to know, he must know women also, before he is qualified to guard
against the innumerable snares that are always making to entangle
strangers of fortune.

It is certainly true, that the nearer we approach to the sun, the more
we become familiar with vices of every kind. In the _South of France_,
and _Italy_, sins of the blackest dye, and many of the most unnatural
kind, are not only committed with impunity, but boasted of with
audacity; and, as one proof of the corruption of the people, of a
thousand I could tell you, I must tell you, that seeing at _Lyons_ a
shop in which a great variety of pictures were hung for sale, I walked
in, and after examining them, and asking a few questions; but none that
had the least tendency to want of decorum, the master of the shop turned
to his wife, (a very pretty woman, and dressed even to a _plumed_
head) - shew _Monsieur_ the little miniature, said he; she then opened a
drawer and took out a book, (I think it was her mass-book) and brought
me a picture, so indecent, that I defy the most debauched imagination
to conceive any thing more so; yet she gave it me with a seeming decent
face, and only observed that it was _bien fait_. After examining it with
more attention than I should, had I received it from the hands of her
husband, I returned it to her prayer-book, made my bow, and was
retiring; but the husband called to me, and said, he had a magazine hard
by, where there was a very large collection of pictures of great value,
and that his wife would attend me. My curiosity was heightened in more
respects than _one_: I therefore accepted the offer, and was conducted
up two pair of stairs in a house not far off, where I found a long suite
of rooms, in which were a large number of pictures, and some, I believe,
of great value. But I was a little surprised on entering into the
furthermost apartment, as that had in it an elegant _chintz_ bed, the
curtains of which were festooned, and the foliages held up by the
paintings of two naked women, as large as life, and as indecent as
nakedness could be painted; they were painted, and well painted too, on
boards, and cut out in human shape; that at first I did not know whether
I saw the shadow or the substance; however, as this room was covered
with pictures, I began to examine them also, with the fair attendant at
my elbow; but in the whole collection I do not remember there was one
picture which would not have brought a blush in the face of an English
Lady, even of the most easy virtue. Yet, all this while, when I asked
the price of the several parts and pieces, she answered me with a
gravity of countenance, as if she attended me to sell her goods like
other shopkeepers, and in the way of business; however, before I left
the room, I could not, I thought, do less than ask her - her own price.
She told me, she was worth nothing; and immediately invited me to take a
peep through a convex glass at a picture which was laid under, on the
table, for that purpose: - it was a picture of so wicked a tendency, that
the painter ought to have been put upon a pillory, and the exhibitor in
the stocks. The Lady observed to me again, that it was well painted;
but, on the contrary, the only merit it had, was, being quite otherwise,
I therefore told her, that the subject and idea only was good; the
execution bad.

Just at this time, several French Gentlemen came in to look at the
pictures, and my surprise became infinitely greater than ever; they
talked with her about the several pieces, without betraying the least
degree of surprise at the subjects, or the woman who shewed them; nor
did they seem to think it was a matter of any to me; and I verily
believe the woman was so totally a stranger to sentiment or decency,
that she considered herself employed in the ordinary way of shopkeepers,
that of shewing and selling her goods: as her shop was almost opposite
to the General Post-office, where I went every day for my letters, I
frequently saw women of fashion at this shop; whether they visited the
magazine, or not, I cannot say, but I think there is no doubt but they
might borrow the _mass-book_ I mentioned above.

I shall leave you to make your own comments upon this subject; and then
I am sure you will tremble for the fatal consequences which your son, or
any young man, may, nay must be led into, in a country where Vice is
painted with all her bewitching colours, in the fore-ground of the
picture; and where Virtue, if there be any, is thrown so far behind in
the back shade, that it is ten to one but it escapes the notice of a
youthful examiner.

I cannot help adding another instance of the profligacy of this town.
Lord P - - being invited by a French Gentleman to spend a day at his
_Chateau_, in this country, took occasion to tell his Lordship, that in
order to render the day as agreeable as possible to his company, he had
provided some young people of _both sexes_ to attend, and desired to
know his Lordship's _gout_. The young Nobleman concealed his surprise,
and told his _generous_ host, that he was not fashionable enough to walk
out of the paths of nature. The same question was then put to the other
company, in the order of their rank; and the last, an _humble
Frenchman_, replied, it was to him _egal l'un, et l'autre_, just as it
proved most convenient. This is not a traveller's story; it is a fact;
and I dare say the Nobleman, who was of the party, will give it the
sanction of his name, though I cannot with any degree of propriety.



I have now crossed the _Pyrenees_, and write this from the first village
in Spain. These mountains are of such an enormous height, as well as
extent, that they seem as if they were formed even by nature to divide
nations. Nor is there any other pass by land into this kingdom but over
them; for they extend upwards of thirty leagues from the _Mediterranean_
Sea, near _Perpignan_ in _Rousillon_ to the city of _Pompelina_ in
_Navarre_; I should have said, extend _into_ the _Mediterranean_ Sea,
for there the extremity projects its lofty head, like a noble fortress
of nature, into the ocean, far beyond the low lands on either side.
Indeed the extensive plains on both side these lofty mountains (so
unusual in the Southern parts of Europe) would almost make one suspect,
that nature herself had been exhausted in raising such an immense pile,
which, as if it were the back-bone of an huge animal, was made to hold,
and bind together, all the parts of the western world. There are, I
think, nine passes over these hills into _Spain_, two or three of which
are very commodious, and wonderfully _picturesque_: others are dreadful,
and often dangerous; the two best are at the extremities; that which I
have just passed, and the other near _Bayonne_; the former is not only
very safe, except just after very heavy and long-continued rains, but in
the highest degree pleasing, astonishing, and wonderfully romantic, as
well as beautiful.

At _Boulon_, the last village in France, twelve long leagues from
_Perpignan_, and seemingly under the foot of the _Pyrenees_, we crossed
a river, for the first time, which must be forded three or four times
more, before you begin to ascend the hills; but if the river can be
safely crossed at _Boulon_, there can be no difficulty afterwards, as
there alone the stream is most rapid, and the channel deepest. At this
town there are always a set of fellows ready to offer their service, who
ford the river, and support the carriage; nor is it an easy matter to
prevent them, when no such assistance is necessary; and I was obliged to
handle my pistols, to make them _unhandle_ my wheels; as it is more than
probable they would have overset us in shallow water, to gain an
opportunity of shewing their _politeness_ in picking us up again. The
stream, indeed, was very rapid; and I was rather provoked by the
rudeness of the people, to pass through it without assistance, than
convinced there needed none.

Having crossed the river four or five times more, and passed between
rocks, and broken land, through a very uncultivated and romantic vale,
we began to ascend the _Pyrenees_ upon a noble road, indeed! hewn upon
the sides of those adamantine hills, of a considerable width, and an
easy ascent, quite up to the high _Fortress of Bellegarde_, which stands
upon the pinnacle of the highest hill, and which commands this renowned

You will easier conceive than I can describe the many rude and various
scenes which mountains so high, so rocky, so steep, so divided, and, I
may add too, so fertile, exhibit to the traveler's eyes. The constant
water-falls from the melted snow above, the gullies and breaches made by
water-torrents during great rains, the rivulets in the vale below, the
verdure on their banks, the herds of goats, the humble, but picturesque
habitations of the goat-herds, the hot sun shining upon the _snow-capt_
hills above, and the steep precipices below, all crowd together so
strongly upon the imagination, that they intoxicate the passenger with

The French nation in no instance shew their greatness more than in the
durable and noble manner they build and make their high-roads; here,
the expence was not only cutting the hard mountain, and raising a fine
road on their sides, but building arches of an immense height from
mountain to mountain, and over breaks and water-falls, with great

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