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build rather lower. Hospitality is a very steady and extensive virtue among these good monks. All strangers are well received, but their stay is supposed not to exceed three days. A German, to whom the excellence of their Burgundy, no less than the exemplariness of their piety, was thought to suggest a longer abode in that holy retreat, found over his cell, Triduanus est, jam fotet. I continued with them a day and a half, was greatly edified, and extremely well accommodated, as well as my servants and horses. They are not allowed meat, but have excellent fish of various sorts, garden stuff, butter, cheese, bread, and fruit in perfection. The rule of their order enjoins silence, but a père coadjuteur has a dispensation to receive strangers, and to do the honours of the convent. The père général is likewise exempt from the rule. The fathers are allowed to drink wine, and the père général sent me a present of the best Burgundy I ever tasted. There are separate apartments for the French, Spaniards, English, &c. with a large hall to dine, for the building is immense. At a distance are small houses and sheds for all sorts of workmen -carpenters, joiners, smiths, masons, &c. The fathers have each a bedchamber, an anti-chamber, a cabinet, and a small garden, with a variety of iron and wooden instruments to make their own chairs, boxes, &c. to cultivate their gardens, and to amuse themselves. Many of them are men of great families in France and Germany, and appeared of high breeding, as I observed in a variety of little circumstances, when I attended their evening devotions. Five of them had given
up to their relations large family estates to retire to that dreary solitude. The père coadjuteur and the père général were really fine gentlemen, of easy and polite conversation. They had both lived much in the gay world. From satiety and disgust they had retired from it, to that internal peace and tranquillity which they told me they had found only in those deserts. This guilty world however they did not seem quite to forget, for I saw on the table of the père général the Mercure Historique, printed at Amsterdam, and the Journal Encyclopédique of Bouillon, and they asked me a thousand questions about the late war, and the affairs of England.
I have been with Voltaire at Ferney, and was charmed with the reception he gave me, and still more with the fine sense and exquisite wit of his conversation. I think him the most universal genius, the most amiable as well as the wittiest of our species. He is a divine old man, born for the advancement of true philosophy and the polite arts, and to free mankind from the gloomy terrors of superstition,
Atque metus omnes, et inexorabile fatum
Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari. He has done more to persuade the practice of a general toleration, of humanity, and benevolence than the greatest philosophers of antiquity. His conduct in the affair of the family of Calus is more meritorious than the whole lives of most saints. He is exactly well bred, and in conversation possesses a fund of gaiety and humour, which would be admired in a young man, and he joins to it those immense stores of literature only to be acquired by age. His memory is very wonderful, and the anecdotes it furnishes are so various and interesting, that he is the only exception I know of a man above seventy not being sank into his anecdotage. He lives in the noblest, gayest style of a French nobleman, receiv. ing all strangers, giving plays in his own theatre, and you have the entire command of his house, equipages, horses, &c. He is adored by all the inhabitants and vassals of his extensive domains, and with reason, for he hath been the creator of every thing useful, beautiful, or valuable in the whole track near him, which before was a rude wilderness. When he came, “ the desert smiled, and Paradise was opened in the wild.” He has built little towns and villages, established several manufactures, and peopled the country with a happy race of mortals, who are daily blessing their benefactor. I told him, “ These are thy glorious works, parent of good,” and he is really more pleased in talking of them than of his most applauded literary works. The charming Pucelle is his favourite. He is sometimes wanton in her praise, and is sure of her kind reception by all posterity. Nothing delights him more than the marriage and establishment of his vassals, and on those occasions he is always bountiful. There is not a miserable being dependent on him. He has filled all hearts with food and gladness—almost to the walls of Geneva, where you have only food and sadness. With every possible advan-' tage from nature, Geneva is the most disagreeable
and melancholy city in the world, from whence almost all elegant pleasures are banished. The plodding, severe genius of the greater part of its joyless inhabitants, and the narrowness of their ideas, which are all commercial, render it disgusting to any liberal stranger. The tomb of their gloomy master, of that sanguinary, persecuting reformer, John Calvin, is in a churchyard without the walls. There is neither stone nor marble, nor epitaph, nor inscription. On the bare sod grow only nettles, briars, and thistles. No cowslip, violet, or primrose springs there to please the eye, or perfume the air.
Pro molli viola, pro purpureo narcisso,
Carduus, et spinis surgit paliurus acutis. The soil near Geneva is extremely fertile, and the air very temperate, although so near the Alps. Those called the Glaciers quite dazzle the sight, when the sun gives its direct beams on them. The Rhone foams with impetuosity through the town; but the superior beauty of this country is the lake of Geneva, splendidior vitro. The imagination cannot form any thing more picturesque. On the south, the chestnut groves of Savoy; on the north, the vineyards and high cultivated fields of the Pais de Vaud, are reflected in its limpid waters. A greater contrast can scarcely be imagined than between the natives on each side this great lake. All the inhabitants of the Pais de Vaud, which is in the canton of Berne, are happy, free, neat, well clothed, and at their ease, while those in the
Dutchy of Savoy are poor, wretched peasants, cruelly oppressed, ragged, and almost naked; so striking is the difference under the same climate, at so small a distance, between the slaves of a despotic prince, and the free subjects of a mild republic.
SAMUEL FOOTE TO MR. GARRICK.
Cannon Park, March 2, (1766.) BEFORE I had the favour of yours, I had discovered the blunder with regard to my letter,-it is transmitted to you by this post. Davis's letter was a noble present indeed; pray can you conceive what he means by the necessity he now supposes me under of growing speedily rich ? If one could suspect so grave, sententious, and respectable a character of the vice of punning, I should imagine his insinuation to be, that now I have but one leg * it won't be so easy for me to run out; but here, perhaps, like Warburton on Shakspeare, I have found out a meaning the author never had.
I was ever of opinion, that you would find the Bath waters a specific. Sir Francis Delaval and Lady Stanhope are particularly happy that you have chosen this time; for, say they, Cannon Park is between the two roads to Bath-Andover and Newberry-to Bagshot, Basingstoke, Overton, then four miles to Cannon Park, where you dine
# The first three letters were written while Foote was confined, after the loss of his leg. VOL, V.