I find I omitted to give you before I left Nismes, some account of Monsieur Seguier’s cabinet, a gentleman whose name I have before mentioned, and whose conversation and company were so very agreeable to me. Among an infinite number of natural and artificial curiosities, are many ancient Roman inscriptions, one of which is that of T. Julius Festus, which Spon mentions in his Melanges D’Antiquite. There are also a great number of Roman utensils of bronze, glass, and earthen-ware. The Romans were well acquainted with the dangerous consequences of using copper vessels[E] in their kitchens, as may be seen in this collection, where there are a great many for that purpose; but all strongly gilt, not only within, but without, to prevent a possibility of verdigris arising. There is also a bronze head of a Colossal statue, found not many years since near the fountain of Nismes, which merits particular attention, as well as a great number of Roman and Greek medals and medallions, well preserved, and some which are very rare. The natural curiosities are chiefly composed of fossils and petrifications; among the latter, are an infinite number of petrified fish embalmed in solid stones; and where one sees the finest membranes of the fins, and every part of the fish, delineated by the pencil of nature, in the most exquisite manner; the greater part of these petrifications were collected by the hands of the possessor, some from Mount Bola, others from Mount Liban, Switzerland, _&c._
[E] See Dr. FALCONER, of Bath, his Treatise on this subject.
Mr. Seguier’s Herbary consists of more than ten thousand plants; but above all, Mr. Seguier himself, is the first, and most valuable part of his cabinet, having spent a long life in rational amusements; and though turned of four-score, he has all the chearfulness of youth, without any of the garrulity of old age. When he honoured me with a visit, at my country lodgings, he came on foot, and as the waters were out, I asked him how he got at me, so dry footed? He had walked upon the wall, he said; a wall not above nine inches thick, and of a considerable length!
And here let me observe that a Frenchman eats his soup and bouille at twelve o’clock, drinks only with, not after his dinner, and then mixes water with his genuine wine; he lives in a fine climate, where there is not as with us, for six weeks together, easterly winds, which stop the pores, and obstruct perspiration. A Frenchman eats a great deal, it is true, but it is not all hard meat, and they never sit and drink after dinner or supper is over.—An Englishman, on the contrary, drinks much stronger, and a variety of fermented liquors, and often much worse, and sits at it many hours after dinner, and always after supper.