Lady Mary Wortley Montague eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 370 pages of information about Lady Mary Wortley Montague.

“I went to the bagnio about ten o’clock.  It was already full of women.  It is built of stone, in the shape of a dome, with no windows but in the roof, which gives light enough, There were five of these domes joined together, the outmost being less than the rest, and serving only as a hall, where the portress stood at the door.  Ladies of quality generally give this woman the value of a crown or ten shillings; and I did not forget that ceremony.  The next room is a very large one paved with marble, and all round it, raised, two sofas of marble, one above another.  There were four fountains of cold water in this room, falling first into marble basins, and then running on the floor in little channels made for that purpose, which carried the streams into the next room, something less than this, with the same sort of marble sofas but so hot with steams of sulphur proceeding from the baths joining to it, it was impossible to stay there with one’s clothes on.  The two other domes were the hot baths, one of which had cocks of cold water turning into it, to temper it to what degree of warmth the bathers have a mind to.

“I was in my travelling habit, which is a riding dress, and certainly appeared very extraordinary to them.  Yet there was not one of them that shewed the least surprise or impertinent curiosity, but received me with all the obliging civility possible.  I know no European court where the ladies would have behaved themselves in so polite a manner to a stranger.  I believe in the whole, there were two hundred women, and yet none of those disdainful smiles, or satiric whispers, that never fail in our assemblies when any body appears that is not dressed exactly in the fashion.  They repeated over and over to me, “Uzelle, pek uzelle,” which is nothing but Charming, very charming.—­The first sofas were covered with cushions and rich carpets, on which sat the ladies; and on the second, their slaves behind them, but without any distinction of rank by their dress, all being in the state of nature, that is, in plain English, stark naked, without any beauty or defect concealed.  Yet there was not the least wanton smile or immodest gesture amongst them.  They walked and moved with the same majestic grace which Milton describes of our general mother.  There were many amongst them as exactly proportioned as ever any goddess was drawn by the pencil of Guido or Titian,—­and most of their skins shiningly white, only adorned by their beautiful hair divided into many tresses, hanging on their shoulders, braided either with pearl or ribbon, perfectly representing the figures of the Graces.

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Lady Mary Wortley Montague from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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