At Ham the prisoners for debt are quite separated from the state prisoners; the latter are in the castle, the former in the tower.
The death of Lewis the XVth gave liberty to an infinite number of unhappy people, and to many who would have been enlarged before, but had been forgotten. When one of these unhappy people (a woman of fashion) was told she might go out; then, (said she) I am sure Lewis the XVth is dead; an event she knew nothing of, tho’ it was a full year after the King’s death.—Things are otherwise conducted now than in his reign; a wicked vain woman then commanded with unlimited power, both in war and domestic concerns. In this reign, there are able, and I believe virtuous ministers.
I suppose you think as I did, that Madame Pompadour governed by her own powerful charms; but that was not the case; she governed as many other women do, by borrowed charms; she had a correspondence all over the kingdom, and offices of intelligence, where youth, beauty, and innocence, were registered, which were sent to her according to order; upon the arrival of the goods, they were dressed, and trained for use, under her inspection, till they were fit to be shewn up. She had no regard to birth, for a shoe-maker’s daughter of great beauty, belonging to one of the Irish brigades, being introduced to the King, he asked her whether she knew him? No: she did not: But did you ever see me before, or any body like me? She had not, but thought him very like the face on the gros Eccuis of France. Madame Pompadour soon found out which of these girls proved most agreeable to the King, and such were retained, the others dismissed.—The expence of this traffick was immense. I am assured where difficulties of birth or fashion fell in the way, ten thousand pounds sterling have been given. Had Lewis the XVth lived a few years longer, he would have ruined his kingdom. Lewis the XVIth bids fair to aggrandize it.
POST-HOUSE, ST GEORGE, six leagues from LYONS.
I am particular in dating this letter, in hopes that every English traveller may avoid the place I write from, by either stopping short, or going beyond it, as it is the only house of reception for travellers in the village, and the worst I have met with in my whole journey. We had been scurvily treated here as we went; but having arrived at it after dark, and leaving it early, I did not recollect it again, till the mistress by her sour face and sorry fare betrayed it; for she well remembered us. As a specimen of French auberge cookery, I cannot help serving up a dish of spinnage to you as it was served to me at this house. We came in early in the afternoon, and while I was in the court-yard, I saw a flat basket stand upon the ground, the bottom of which was covered with boiled spinnage; and as my dog, and several others