The following letters, written in a second excursion, which was interrupted by a dangerous illness, are added, on account of their affinity to some of the preceding.



Cologne, May 28th, 1782.
THIS is the first day of summer; the oakleaves expand, the roses blow, butterflies are about, and I have spirits enough to write to you. We have had clouded skies this fortnight past, and roads like the slough of Despond. Last Wednesday we were benighted on a dismal plain, apparently boundless. The moon cast a sickly gleam, and now and then a blue meteor glided along the morass which lay before us. After much difficulty we gained an avenue, and in an hour's time discovered something like a gateway, shaded by crooked elms and crowned by a cluster of turrets. Here we paused and knocked; no one answered. We repeated our knocks; the stout oaken gate returned a hollow sound; the horses coughed; their riders blew their horns. At length the bars fell, and we entered – by what means I am ignorant, for no human being appeared. A labyrinth of narrow winding streets, dark as the vaults of a cathedral, opened to our view. We kept wandering along, at least twenty minutes, between lofty mansions with grated windows and strange galleries projecting one over another, from which depended innumerable uncouth figures and crosses, in ironwork, swinging to and fro with the wind. At the end of this gloomy maze we found a long street, not fifteen feet wide, I am certain; the houses still loftier than those just mentioned, the windows thicker barred, and the gibbets (for I know not what else to call them) more frequent. Here and there we saw lights glimmering in the highest stories, and arches on the right and left, which seemed to lead into retired courts and deeper darkness. Along one of these recesses we were jumbled, over such pavement as I hope you may never tread upon; and, after parading round it, went out at the same arch where we came in. This procession seemed at first very mystical, but it was too soon accounted for by our postilions, who confessed they had lost their way. A council was held amongst them in form, and then we struck into another labyrinth of hideous edifices, habitations I will not venture to call them, as not a creature stirred; though the rumbling of our carriages was echoed by all the vaults and arches. Towards midnight we rested a few minutes, and a head poking out of a casement directed us to the hotel of Der Heilige Geist, where an apartment, thirty feet square, was prepared for our reception.



Inspruck, June 4th.
NO sooner had we passed Feuzen than we entered the Tirol, and the country of wonders. Those lofty peaks, those steeps of wood I delight in, lay before us. Innumerable clear springs gushed out on every side, overhung by luxuriant shrubs in blossom. The day was mild, though overcast, and a soft blue vapour rested upon the hills, above which rise mountains that bear plains of snow into the clouds. At night we lay at Nasariet, a village buried amongst savage promontories. The next morning we advanced, in bright sunshine, into smooth lawns on the slopes of mountains, scattered over with larches, whose delicate foliage formed a light green veil to the azure sky. Flights of birds were merrily travelling from spray to spray. I ran delighted into this world of boughs, whilst C. sat down to draw the huts which are scattered about for the shelter of herds, and discover themselves amongst the groves in the most picturesque manner. These little edifices are uncommonly neat, and excite those ideas of pastoral life to which I am so fondly attached. The turf from whence they rise is enamelled, in the strict sense of the word, with flowers. A sort of blue-bell predominated, brighter than ultramarine; here and there auriculas looked out of the moss, and I often reposed upon tufts of ranunculus. Bushes of phillerea were very frequent, the sun shining full on their glossy leaves. An hour passed away swiftly in these pleasant groves, where I lay supine under a lofty fir, a tower of leaves and branches.



Padua, June 14th.
ONCE more, said I to myself, I shall have the delight of beholding Venice; so got into an open chaise, the strangest curricle that ever man was jolted in, and drove furiously along the causeways by the Brenta, into whose deep waters it is a mercy, methinks, I was not precipitated. Fiesso, the Dolo, the Mira, with all their gardens, statues, and palaces, seemed flying after each other, so rapid was our motion. After a few hours' confinement between close steeps, the scene opened to the wide shore of Fusina. I looked up (for I had scarcely time to look before) and beheld a troubled sky, shot with vivid red, the Lagunes tinted like the opal, and the islands of a glowing flame-colour. The mountains of the distant continent appeared of a deep melancholy grey, and innumerable gondolas were passing to and fro in all their blackness. The sun, after a long struggle, was swallowed up in the tempestuous clouds. In an hour we drew near to Venice, and saw its world of domes rising out of the waters. A fresh breeze bore the toll of innumerable bells by my ear. Sadness came over me as I entered the great canal, and recognised (the scene of many a strange adventure) those solemn palaces, with their lofty arcades and gloomy arches, beneath which I had so often sat. The Venetians being mostly at their villas on the Brenta, the town appeared deserted. I visited, however, all my old haunts in the Place of St. Mark, ran up the Campanile, and rowed, backwards and forwards, opposite the Ducal Palace, by moon-light. They are building a spacious quay, near the street of the Sclavonians, fronting the island of San Giorgio Maggiore; where I remained alone at least an hour, following the wanderings of the moon amongst mountainous clouds, and listening to the waters dashing against marble steps. I closed my evening at my friend M. de R.'s, and sung over the airs I composed in the dawn of our acquaintance.
Next morning the wind was uncommonly violent for the mild season of June, and the canals much ruffled; but I was determined to visit the Lido once more, and bathe on my accustomed beach. The pines in the garden of the Carthusians were nodding as I passed by in my gondola, which was very poetically buffeted by the waves. Traversing the desert of locusts, I hailed the Adriatic, and plunged into its bosom. The sea, delightfully cool, refreshed me to such a degree, that, upon my return to Venice, I found myself able to thread its labyrinths of streets, canals, and alleys, in search of amber and oriental curiosities. The variety of exotic merchandise, the perfumes of coffee, the shade of awnings, and the sight of Greeks and Asiatics sitting cross-legged under them, made me think myself in the bazaars of Constantinople. 'Tis certain my beloved town of Venice ever recalls a series of eastern ideas and adventures. I cannot help thinking St. Mark's a mosque, and the neighbouring palace some vast seraglio, full of arabesque saloons, embroidered sofas, and voluptuous Circassians.



Padua, June 19th.
THE morning was delightful, and St. Anthony's bells in full chime. A shower which had fallen in the night rendered the air so cool and grateful, that Mad. de R. and myself determined to seize the opportunity and go to Mirabello, a country house, which Algarotti had inhabited, situate amongst the Euganean hills, eight or nine miles from Padua.
Our road lay between poplar alleys and fields of yellow corn, overhung by garlands of vine, most beautifully green. I soon found myself in the midst of my favourite hills, upon slopes covered with clover, and shaded by cherry-trees. Bending down their boughs I gathered the fruit, and grew cooler and happier every instant. We dined very comfortably in a strange hall, where I pitched my pianoforte, and sung the voluptuous airs of Bertoni's Armida. That enchantress might have raised her palace in this situation; and, had I been Rinaldo, I certainly should not very soon have abandoned it. After dinner we drank coffee under some branching lemons, which sprang from a terrace, commanding a boundless scene of towers and villas; tall cypresses and shrubby hillocks rising, like islands, out of a sea of corn and vine. Evening drawing on, and the breeze blowing fresh from the distant Adriatic, I reclined on a slope, and turned my eyes anxiously towards Venice; then upon some little fields hemmed in by chesnuts in blossom, where the peasants were making their hay, and, from thence, to a mountain, crowned by a circular grove of fir and cypress. In the centre of these shades some monks have a comfortable nest; perennial springs, a garden of delicious vegetables, and, I dare say, a thousand luxuries besides, which the poor mortals below never dream of. Had it not been late, I should certainly have climbed up to the grove, and asked admittance into its recesses; but having no mind to pass the night in this eyrie, I contented myself with the distant prospect.


Rome, June 29th.
IT is needless for me to say I wish you with me: you know I do; you know how delightfully we should ramble about Rome together. This evening, instead of jiggeting along the Corso with the puppets in blue and silver coats, and green and gold coaches, instead of bowing to Cardinal this, and dotting my head to Abbé t'other, I strolled to the Coliseo, found out my old haunts amongst its arches, and enjoyed the pure transparent sky, between groves of slender cypress. Then bending my course to the Palatine Mount, I passed under the Arch of Titus, and gained the Capitol, which was quite deserted; the world, thank Heaven, being all slip-slopping in coffee-houses, or staring at a few painted boards, patched up before the Colonna palace, where, by the by, to-night is a grand rinfresco for all the dolls and doll-fanciers of Rome. I heard their buzz at a distance; that was enough for me! Soothed by the rippling waters, I descended the capitoline stairs, and leaned several minutes against one of the Egyptian lionesses. This animal has no knack at oracles, or else it would have murmured out to me the situation of that secret cave, where the wolf suckled Romulus and his brother. About nine, I returned home, and am now writing to you like a prophet on the housetop. Behind me rustle the thickets of Villa Medici; before, lies roof beyond roof, and dome beyond dome: these are dimly discovered; but don't you see the great cupola of cupolas, twinkling with illuminations? The town is real, I am certain; but, surely that structure of fire must be visionary.



Rome, June 30th.
AS soon as the sun declined I strolled into the Villa Medici; but finding it haunted by fine pink and yellow people, nay, even by the Spanish Ambassador, and several more dignified carcases, I moved off to the Negroni garden. There I found what my soul desired, thickets of jasmine, and wild spots overgrown with bay; long alleys of cypress totally neglected, and almost impassable through the luxuriance of the vegetation; on every side, antique fragments, vases, sarcophagi, and altars sacred to the Manes, in deep, shady recesses; which I am certain the Manes must love. The air was filled with the murmurs of water, trickling down basins of porphyry, and losing itself amongst overgrown weeds and grasses. Above the wood, and between its boughs, appeared several domes, and a strange lofty tower. I will not say they belong to St. Maria Maggiore; no, they are fanes and porticos dedicated to Cybele, who delights in sylvan situations. The forlorn air of this garden, with its high and reverend shades, make me imagine it as old as the baths of Dioclesian which peep over one of its walls: yes, I am persuaded some consul, or prætor, dwelt here, only fifty years ago. Would to God our souls might be transported to such solitary spots! where we might glide along the dark alleys together, when bodies were gone to bed. I discovered a little cave that would just suit us; celandine, Venus' hair, and a thousand delicate plants growing downwards from the cove; beneath, lies a clear spring. At the close of day, I repaired to the platform before the stately porticos of the Lateran. There I sat, folded up in myself Some priests jarred the iron gates behind me. I looked over my shoulder through the portals, into the portico. Night began to fill it with darkness. Shall I confess that I shuddered; and that I thought an avenging angel might, on some future day, bar me up in a similar edifice, far from you? Upon turning round, the sad waste of the Campagna met my eyes, and I wished to go home, but had not the power. A pressure, like that I have felt in horrid dreams, seemed to fix me to the pavement. I was thus in a manner forced to view the melancholy scene, the long line of aquæducts and lonesome towers. Perhaps the unwholesome vapours, rising like blue mists from the plains, affected me. I know not how it was; but I never experienced such strange, such chilling terrors. About ten o'clock, thank God, the spell dissolved. I found my limbs at liberty, and returned home.



Naples, July 8th.
THE sea-breezes restore me to life. I set the heat of mid-day at defiance, and do not believe in the horrors of the Sirocco. I passed yesterday at Portici, with Lady H. The morning, refreshing and pleasant, invited us at an early hour into the open air. We drove, in an uncovered chaise, to the royal Bosquetto: no other carriage than Sir W.'s is allowed to enter its alleys. We breathed a fresh air, untainted by dust or garlick. Every now and then, amidst wild bushes of ilex and myrtle, one finds a graceful antique statue, sometimes a fountain, and often a rude knoll, where the rabbits sit undisturbed, contemplating the blue glittering bay: at least, I should do so, if I were a rabbit. The walls of this shady inclosure are lined with Peruvian aloes, whose white blossoms, scented like those of the magnolia, form the most magnificent clusters. They are plants to salute respectfully as one passes by; such is their size and dignity. In the midst of the thickets stands the King's Pagliaro, in a small garden, with hedges of luxuriant jasmine, whose branches are suffered to flaunt as much as nature pleases. The morning sun darted his first rays on their flowers just as I entered this pleasant spot. The hut looks as if erected in the days of fairy pastoral life; its neatness is quite delightful. Bright tiles compose the floor; straw, nicely platted, covers the walls. In the middle of the room you see a table spread with a beautiful Persian carpet; at one end, four niches with mattresses of silk, where the King and his favourites repose after dinner; at the other, a white marble basin. Mount a little staircase, and you find yourself in another apartment, formed by the roof, which being entirely composed of glistening straw, casts that comfortable yellow glow I admire. From the windows you look over the garden, not flourished with parterres, but divided into plats of fragrant herbs and flowers, with here and there a little marble table, or basin of the purest water. These sequestered inclosures are cultivated with the greatest care, and so frequently watered, that I observed lettuces, and a variety of other vegetables, as fresh as in our green England.

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