I am glad, however, to be gone from a place where they are thinking less of all these worthies just at present, than of a circumstance which cannot redound to their honour, as it might have happened to any other town, and could do great good to none: no less than the happy arrival of Joseph, and Leopold, and Maximilian of Austria, on the thirtieth of May 1775; and this wonderful event have they recorded in a pompous inscription upon a stone set at the inn door. But princes can make poets, and scatter felicity with little exertion on their own parts.
At Tuillemont, an English gentleman once told me he had the misfortune to sleep one night where all the people’s heads were full of the Emperor, who had dined there the day before; and some wise fellow of the place wrote these lines under his picture:
Ingreditur magnus magno de
Thenas, sub signo Cervi, sua prandia sumit.
He immediately set down this distich under them:
Our poor little town has no
little to brag,
The Emperor was here, and he dined at the Stag.
The people of the inn concluding that this must be a high-strained compliment, it produced him many thanks from all, and a better breakfast than he would otherwise have obtained at Tuillemont.
To-morrow we go forward to Bologna.
SEEMS at first sight a very sorrowful town, and has a general air of melancholy that surprises one, as it is very handsomely and regularly built; and set in a country so particularly beautiful, that it is not easy to express the nature of its beauty, and to express it so that those who inhabit other countries can understand me.
The territory belonging to Bologna la Grassa concenters all its charms in a happy embonpoint, which leaves no wrinkle unfilled up, no bone to be discerned; like the fat figure of Gunhilda at Fonthill, painted by Chevalier Cafali, with a face full of woe, but with a sleekness of skin that denotes nothing less than affliction. From the top of the only eminence, one looks down here upon a country which to me has a new and singular appearance; the whole horizon appearing one thick carpet of the softest and most vivid green, from the vicinity of the broad-leaved mulberry trees, I trust, drawn still closer and closer together by their amicable and pacific companions the vines, which keep cluttering round, and connect them so intimately that no object can be separately or distinctly viewed, any more than the habitations formed by animals who live in moss, when a large portion of it is presented to the philosopher for speculation. One would not therefore, on a flight and cursory inspection, suspect this of being a painter’s country, where no prominence of features arrests the sight, no expression of latent meaning employs the mind, and no abruptness of transition tempts fancy to follow, or imagination to supply, the sudden loss of what it contemplated before.