Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany, Vol. I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany, Vol. I.
at the top, have a mighty pleasing effect; and I observe the rage for Lombardy poplars is in equal force here as about London:  no tolerable house have I passed without seeing long rows of them; all young plantations, as one may perceive by their size.  Refined countries always are panting for speedy enjoyment:  the maxim of carpe diem[Footnote:  Seize the present moment.] came into Rome when luxury triumphed there; and poets and philosophers lent their assistance to decorate and dignify her gaudy car.  Till then we read of no such haste to be happy; and on the same principle, while Americans contentedly wait the slow growth of their columnal chesnut, our hot-bed inhabitants measure the slender poplar with canes, anxiously admiring its quick growth and early elegance; yet are often cut down themselves, before their youthful favourite can afford them either pleasure or advantage.

This charming palace and gardens were new to neither of us, yet lovely to both:  the tame fish, I remember so well to have fed from my hand eleven or twelve years ago, are turned almost all white; can it be with age I wonder? the naturalists must tell.  I once saw a carp which weighed six pounds and an half taken out of a pond in Hertfordshire, where the owners knew it had resided forty years at least; and it was not white, but of the common colour:  Quere, how long will they live? and when will they begin to change?  The stables struck me as more magnificent this time than the last I saw them; the hounds were always dirtily and ill kept; but hunting is not the taste of any nation now but ours; none but a young English heir says to his estate as Goliah did to David, Come to me, and I will give thee to the beasts of the field, and to the fowls of the air; as some of our old books of piety reproach us.  Every trick that money can play with the most lavish abundance of water is here exhibited; nor is the sight of a jet d’eau, or the murmur of an artificial cascade, undelightful in a hot day, let the Nature-mongers say what they please.  The prince’s cabinet, for a private collection, is not a mean one; but I was sorry to see his quadrant rusted to the globe almost, and the poor planetarium out of all repair.  The great stuffed dog is a curiosity however; I never saw any of the canine species so large, and withal so beautiful, living or dead.

The theatre belonging to the house is a lovely one; and the truly princely possessor, when he heard once that an English gentleman, travelling for amusement, had called at Chantilly too late to enjoy the diversion, instantly, though past twelve o’clock at night, ordered a new representation, that his curiosity might be gratified.  This is the same Prince of Conde, who going from Paris to his country-seat here for a month or two, when his eldest son was nine years old, left him fifty louis d’ors as an allowance during his absence.  At his return to town, the boy produced his purse, crying “Papa! here’s all the money safe, I have never touched it once”—­The Prince, in reply, took him gravely to the window, and opening it, very quietly poured all the louis d’ors into the street; saying, “Now, if you have neither virtue enough to give away your money, nor spirit enough to spend it, always do this for the future, do you hear; that the poor may at least have a chance for it.”

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Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany, Vol. I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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