THE glow and splendour of the rising sun, for once in my life, drew little of my attention. I was too deeply plunged in my reveries, to notice the landscape which lay before me; and the walls of Padua presented themselves some time ere I was aware. At any other moment, how sensibly should I have been affected with their appearance! How many ideas of Antenor and his Trojans, would have thronged into my memory! but now I regarded the scene with indifference, and passed many a palace, and many a woody garden, with my eyes riveted to the ground. The first object that appeared upon lifting them up, was a confused pile of spires and cupolas, dedicated to blessed St. Anthony, who betook himself to the conversion of fish, after the heretics would lend no ear to his discourses. You are too well apprised of the veneration I have always entertained for this inspired preacher, to doubt that I immediately repaired to his shrine, and offered up my little orizons before it. Mine was a disturbed spirit, and required all the balm of St. Anthony's kindness to appease it. Perhaps you will say I had better have gone to bed, and applied myself to my sleepy friend, the pagan divinity. It is probable that you are in the right; but I could not retire to rest without first venting some portion of effervescence in sighs and supplications. The nave was filled with decrepit women and feeble children, kneeling by baskets of vegetables and other provisions; which, by good Anthony's interposition, they hoped to sell advantageously in the course of the day. Beyond these, nearer the choir, and in a gloomier part of the edifice, knelt a row of rueful penitents, smiting their breasts, and lifting their eyes to heaven. Further on, in front of the dark recess, where the sacred relics are deposited, a few desperate, melancholy sinners lay prostrate. To these I joined myself, and fell down on the steps before the shrine. The sunbeams had not yet penetrated into this religious quarter; and the only light it received proceeded from the golden lamps, which hung in clusters round the sanctuary. A lofty altar, decked with superstitious prodigality, supports the shrine. Those who are profoundly touched with its sanctity, may approach, and walking round, look through the crevices of the tomb, and rub their rosaries against the identical bones of St. Anthony; which, it is observed, exude a balsamic odour. But supposing a traveller ever so heretical, I would advise him by no means to neglect this pilgrimage; since every part of the recess he visits is decorated with exquisite sculptures. Sansovino and the best artists have vied with each other in carving the alto-relievos of the arcade, which, for design and execution, would do honour to the sculptors of antiquity. Having observed these objects with less exactness than they merited, and acted, perhaps, too capital a part among the devotees, I hastened to the inn, luckily hard by, and one of the best I am acquainted with. Here I soon fell asleep in defiance of sunshine. 'Tis true, my slumbers were not a little agitated. St. Anthony had been deaf to my prayer, and I still found myself a frail, infatuated mortal. At five I got up; we dined, and afterwards scarcely knowing, nor much caring, what became of us, we strolled to the great hall of the town; an enormous edifice, larger considerably than that of Westminster, but free from stalls, or shops, or nests of litigation. The roof, one spacious vault of brown timber, casts a solemn gloom, which was still increased by the lateness of the hour, and not diminished by the wan light, admitted through the windows of pale blue glass. The size and shape of this colossal chamber, the coving of the roof, with beams, like perches for the feathered race, stretching across it, and, above all, the watery gleams that glanced through the dull casements, possessed my fancy with ideas of Noah's ark, and almost persuaded me I beheld that extraordinary vessel. The representation one sees of it in Scheutzer's Physica Sacra seems to be formed upon this very model, and for several moments I indulged the chimera of imagining myself confined within its precincts. How willingly, could I but choose my companions, would I encounter a deluge, and float whole years, instead of months, upon the waves!
We remained walking to and fro in the ark, till the twilight faded into total darkness. It was then full time to retire, as the guardian of the place was by no means formed to divine our diluvian ideas.

Letter I ::: Letter II ::: Letter III ::: Letter IV ::: Letter V ::: Letter VI ::: Letter VII ::: Letter VIII ::: Letter IX ::: Letter X ::: Letter XI ::: Letter XII ::: Letter XIII ::: Letter XIV ::: Letter XV ::: Letter XVI ::: Letter XVII ::: Letter XVIII ::: Letter XIX ::: Letter XX ::: Letter XXI ::: Letter XXII ::: Letter XXIII ::: Letter XXIV ::: Letter XXV ::: Letter XXVI ::: Letter XXVII
Additional letters, I-VII
An Excursion to the Grande Chartreuse in the year 1778