Of all pleasure, I see much may be destroyed by eagerness of anticipation: I had told my female companion, to whom travelling was new, how she would be surprized and astonished, at the difference found in crossing the narrow sea from England to France, and now she is not astonished at all; why should she? We have lingered and loitered six and twenty hours from port to port, while sickness and fatigue made her feel as if much more time still had elapsed since she quitted the opposite shore. The truth is, we wanted wind exceedingly; and the flights of shaggs, and shoals of maycril, both beautiful enough, and both uncommon too at this season, made us very little amends for the tediousness of a night passed on ship-board.
Seeing the sun rise and set, however, upon an unobstructed horizon, was a new idea gained to me, who never till now had the opportunity. It confirmed the truth of that maxim which tells us, that the human mind must have something left to supply for itself on the sight of all sublunary objects. When my eyes have watched the rising or setting sun through a thick crowd of intervening trees, or seen it sink gradually behind a hill which obstructed my closer observation, fancy has always painted the full view finer than at last I found it; and if the sun itself cannot satisfy the cravings of a thirsty imagination, let it at least convince us that nothing on this side Heaven can satisfy them, and set our affections accordingly.
Pious reflections remind one of monks and nuns; I enquired of the Franciscan friar who attended us at the inn, what was become of Father Felix, who did the duties of the quete; as it is called, about a dozen years ago, when I recollect minding that his manners and story struck Dr. Johnson exceedingly, who said that so complete a character could scarcely be found in romance. He had been a soldier, it seems, and was no incompetent or mean scholar: the books we found open in his cell, shewed he had not neglected modern or colloquial knowledge; there was a translation of Addison’s Spectators, and Rapin’s Dissertation on the contending Parties of England called Whig and Tory. He had likewise a violin, and some printed music, for his entertainment. I was glad to hear he was well, and travelling to Barcelona on foot by orders of the superior.
After dinner we set out to see Miss Grey, at her convent of Dominican Nuns; who, I hoped, would have remembered me, as many of the ladies there had seized much of my attention when last abroad; they had however all forgotten me, nor could call to mind how much they had once admired the beauty of my eldest daughter, then a child, which I thought impossible to forget: one is always more important in one’s own eyes than in those of others; but no one is of importance to a Nun, who is and ought to be employed in other speculations.
When the Great Mogul showed his splendour to a travelling dervise, who expressed his little admiration of it—“Shall you not often be thinking of me in future?” said the monarch. “Perhaps I might,” replied the religieux, “if I were not always thinking upon God.”