Just at this time, several French Gentlemen came in to look at the pictures, and my surprise became infinitely greater than ever; they talked with her about the several pieces, without betraying the least degree of surprise at the subjects, or the woman who shewed them; nor did they seem to think it was a matter of any to me; and I verily believe the woman was so totally a stranger to sentiment or decency, that she considered herself employed in the ordinary way of shopkeepers, that of shewing and selling her goods: as her shop was almost opposite to the General Post-office, where I went every day for my letters, I frequently saw women of fashion at this shop; whether they visited the magazine, or not, I cannot say, but I think there is no doubt but they might borrow the mass-book I mentioned above.
I shall leave you to make your own comments upon this subject; and then I am sure you will tremble for the fatal consequences which your son, or any young man, may, nay must be led into, in a country where Vice is painted with all her bewitching colours, in the fore-ground of the picture; and where Virtue, if there be any, is thrown so far behind in the back shade, that it is ten to one but it escapes the notice of a youthful examiner.
I cannot help adding another instance of the profligacy of this town. Lord P—— being invited by a French Gentleman to spend a day at his Chateau, in this country, took occasion to tell his Lordship, that in order to render the day as agreeable as possible to his company, he had provided some young people of both sexes to attend, and desired to know his Lordship’s gout. The young Nobleman concealed his surprise, and told his generous host, that he was not fashionable enough to walk out of the paths of nature. The same question was then put to the other company, in the order of their rank; and the last, an humble Frenchman, replied, it was to him egal l’un, et l’autre, just as it proved most convenient. This is not a traveller’s story; it is a fact; and I dare say the Nobleman, who was of the party, will give it the sanction of his name, though I cannot with any degree of propriety.
I have now crossed the Pyrenees, and write this from the first village in Spain. These mountains are of such an enormous height, as well as extent, that they seem as if they were formed even by nature to divide nations. Nor is there any other pass by land into this kingdom but over them; for they extend upwards of thirty leagues from the Mediterranean Sea, near Perpignan in Rousillon to the city of Pompelina in Navarre; I should have said, extend into the Mediterranean Sea, for there the extremity projects its lofty head, like a noble fortress of nature, into the ocean, far beyond the low lands on either side. Indeed the