Utrecht, July 2nd.

WELL, thank Heaven! Amsterdam is behind us; how I got thither signifies not one farthing; it was all along a canal, as usual. The weather was hot enough to broil an inhabitant of Bengal; and the odours, exhaling from every quarter, sufficiently powerful to regale the nose of a Hottentot. Under these agreeable circumstances we entered the great city. The Stadt-huys being the only cool place it contained, I repaired thither, as fast as the heat permitted, and walked in a lofty marble hall, magnificently covered, till the dinner was ready at the inn. That despatched, we set off for Utrecht. Both sides of the way are lined with the country houses and gardens of opulent citizens, as fine as gilt statues and clipped hedges can make them. Their number is quite astonishing: from Amsterdam to Utrecht, full thirty miles, we beheld no other objects than endless avenues and stiff parterres scrawled and flourished in patterns like the embroidery of an old maid's work-bag. Notwithstanding this formal taste, I could not help admiring the neatness and arrangement of every inclosure, enlivened by a profusion of flowers, and decked with arbours, beneath which a vast number of round, unmeaning faces were solacing themselves after the heat of the day. Each lust-huys we passed contained some comfortable party dozing over their pipes, or angling in the muddy fish-ponds below. Scarce an avenue but swarmed with female josses; little squat pug-dogs waddling at their sides, the attributes, I suppose, of these fair divinities: – But let us leave them to loiter thus amiably in their Elysian groves, and arrive at Utrecht; which, as nothing very remarkable claimed my attention, I hastily quitted to visit a Moravian establishment at Sieft, in its neighbourhood. The chapel, a large house, late the habitation of Count Zinzendorf, and a range of apartments filled with the holy fraternity, are totally wrapped in dark groves, overgrown with weeds, amongst which some damsels were straggling, under the immediate protection of their pious brethren. Traversing the woods, we found ourselves in a large court, built round with brick edifices, the grass plats in a deplorable way, and one ragged goat, their only inhabitant, on a little expiatory scheme, perhaps, for the failings of the fraternity. I left this poor animal to ruminate in solitude, and followed my guide into a series of shops furnished with gewgaws and trinkets said to be manufactured by the female part of the society. Much cannot be boasted of their handy-works: I expressed a wish to see some of these industrious fair ones; but, upon receiving no answer, found this was a subject of which there was no discourse. Consoling myself as well as I was able, I put myself under the guidance of another slovenly disciple, who shewed me the chapel, and harangued very pathetically upon celestial love. In my way thither, I caught a distant glimpse of some pretty sempstresses, warbling melodious hymns as they sat needling and thimbling at their windows above. I had a great inclination to have approached this busy group, but a roll of the brother's eye corrected me. Reflecting upon my unworthiness, I retired from the consecrated buildings, and was driven back to Utrecht, not a little amused with my expedition. If you are as well disposed to be pleased as I was, I shall esteem myself very lucky, and not repent sending you so incorrect a narrative. I really have not time to look it over, and am growing so drowsy, that you will, I hope, pardon all its errors, when you consider that my pen writes in its sleep.


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