If the wine be sent in casks, it is adviseable to choose rather a stronger wine, because it will mellow, and form itself in the carriage. It should be double casked, to prevent as much as possible, the frauds of the carriers. This operation will cost six or eight livres per piece; but the great and principal object is, whom to trust to buy the best; and convey it safely. I doubt, it must not pass through the hands of Mons. C——, if he deals in wine as he does in drapery, and bills of exchange.
Upon our arrival at Chalons, I was much disappointed; as I intended to have embarked on the Soane, and have slipped down here in the coche d’eau, and thereby have saved my horse the fatigue of dragging us hither: but I could only spare him that of drawing my heaviest baggage. The coche d’eau is too small to take horses and cabriolets on board at Chalons; but at Lyons, they will take horses, and coaches, or houses, and churches, if they could be put on board, to descend the Rhone, to Pont St. Esprit, or Avignon. So after we have taken a fortnight’s rest here, I intend rolling down with the rapid current, which the united force of those two mighty rivers renders, as I am assured, a short, easy, and delightful passage.
Nothing can be more beautiful than the country we passed through from Chalons hither. When we got within a few leagues of this great city, we found every mountain, hill, and dale, so covered with chateaux, country houses, farms, &c. that they appeared like towns, villages, and hamlets. Nothing can be a stronger proof of the great wealth of the citizens of Lyons, than that they can afford to build such houses, many of which are more like palaces, than the country retreat of bourgeois. The prospect from the highest part of the road, a league or two from Lyons, is so extensive, so picturesque, and so enchantingly beautiful, that, impatient as I was to enter into the town, I could not refrain stopping at a little shabby wine-house, and drinking coffee under their mulberry-trees, to enjoy the warm day, the cooling breeze, and the noble prospects which every way surrounded us.
The town of Lyons, too, which stands nearly in the center of Europe, has every advantage for trade, which men in trade can desire. The Soane runs through the centre of it, and is covered with barges and boats, loaded with hay, wood, corn, and an infinite variety of goods from all parts of the kingdom; while the Rhone, on the other side, is still more serviceable; for it not only supplies the town with all the above necessaries of life, but conveys its various manufactures down to the ports of the Mediterranean sea expeditiously, and at little expence. The small boats, which ply upon the Soane as ours do upon the Thames, are flat