I wish I had been born a Frenchman.—Frenchmen live as if they were never to die. Englishmen die all their lives; and yet as Lewis the XIVth said, “I don’t think it is so difficult a matter to die, as men generally imagine, when they try in earnest.”
I must tell you before I leave Paris, that I stept over to Marli, to see the Queen; I had seen the King nine years ago; but he was not then a King over eight millions of people, and the finest country under the sun; yet he does not seem to lay so much stress upon his mighty power as might be expected from so young a prince, but appears grave and thoughtful. I am told he attends much to business, and endeavours to make his subjects happy. His resolution to be inoculated, immediately after succeeding to such a kingdom, is a proof of his having a great share of fortitude. In England such a determination would have been looked upon with indifference; but in France, where the bulk of the people do not believe that it secures the patient from a second attack; where the clergy in general consider it unfavourable, even in a religious light; and where the physical people, for want of practice, do not understand the management of the distemper, so as it is known in England; I may venture to say, without being charged with flattery, that it was an heroic resolution: add to this, the King knowing, that if his subjects followed his example, it must be chiefly done by their own surgeons and physicians, he put himself under their management alone, though I think Sutton was then at Paris.
The Queen is a fine figure, handsome, and very sprightly, dresses in the present gout of head dress, and without a handkerchief, and thereby displays a most lovely neck.
I saw in a china shop at Paris, the figure of the King and Queen finely executed, and very like, in china: the King is playing on the harp, and the Queen dropping her work to listen to the harmony. The two figures, about a foot high, were placed in an elegant apartment, and the toute ensemble was the prettiest toy I ever beheld: the price thirty guineas.
I shall leave this town in a few days, and take the well-known and well-beaten route Anglois for Calais, thro’ Chantilly, Amiens, and Boulogne, and then I shall have twice crossed this mighty kingdom.
I am now returned to the point from whence I sat out, and rather within the revolution of one year; which, upon the whole, though I met with many untoward circumstances, has been the most interesting and entertaining year of my whole life, and will afford me matter of reflection for the little which remains unfinished of that journey we must all take sooner or later, a journey from whence no traveller returns.—And having said so much of myself, I am sure you will be glad to change the subject from man to beast, especially to such a one as I have now to speak of.