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In an apartment behind the library are several rari. ties often described by travellers, as Brugeal's elements, a head of Titian by his own hand, a manuscript in Latin of Josephus, which the bishop of Salisbury says was written about the age of Theodosius, and another of Leonardus Vincius, which King James the first could not procure, though he proffered for it three thousand Spanish pistoles. It consists of designings in mechanism and engineering: I was shown in it a sketch of bombs and mortars, as they are now used. Canon Settala's cabinet is always shown to a stranger among the curiosities of Milan, which I shall not be particular upon, the printed account of it being common enough. Among its natural curiosities I took particular notice of a piece of crystal, that enclosed a couple of drops, which looked like water when they were shaken, though, perhaps, they are nothing but bubbles of air. It is such a rarity as this that I saw at Vendome in France, which they there pretend is a tear that our Saviour shed over Lazarus, and was gathered up by an angel, who put it in a little crystal vial, and made a present of it to Mary Magdalene. The famous Pere Mabillon is now engag. ed in the vindication of this tear, which a learned ecclesiastic, in the neighbourhood of Vendome, would have suppressed, as a false and ridiculous relic, in a book that he has dedicated to his diocesan, the bishop of Blois. It is in the possession of a Benedictin convent, which raises a considerable revenue out of the devotion that is paid to it, and has now retained the most learned father of their order to write in its defence.
It was such a curiosity as this I have mentioned, that Claudian has celebrated in about half a score epigrams.
Solibus indomitum glacies Alpina rigorem
Sumebat, nimio jam preciosa gelu.
Sed medio mansit proditor orbe later :
Et conservatæ plus meruistis aqua.
Yet still unripen'd in the dewy mines,
Are valued more, than if in rubies fixt. As I walked through one of the streets of Milan, I was surprised to read the following inscription, concerning a barber that had conspired with the commissary of health and others to poison his fellow-citizens. There is a void space where his house stood, and in the midst of it a pillar, superscribed Colonne Infame. The story is told in handsome Latin, which I shall set down, as having never seen it transcribed.
Hic, ubi hæc Area patens est,
Jo' Jacobi Moræ :
Et cum aliis Conspiratione,
Plures ad diram mortem compulit.
Excelso in Plaustro
Et erigi Columnam,
Idem ordo mandavit.
M. D. C. xxx. Kal. Augusti. Præside Pub. Sanitatis M. Antonio Montio Senatore R. Justitiæ Cap. Jo.
The citadel of Milan is thought a strong fort in Italy, and has held out formerly after the conquest of the rest of the duchy. The governor of it is independent on the governor of Milan; as the Persians used to make the rulers of provinces and fortresses of different conditions and interests, to prevent conspiracies.
At two miles distance from Milan there stands a building, that would have been a master-piece in its kind, had the architect designed it for an artificial echo. We discharged a pistol, and had the sound returned upon us above fifty-six times, though the air was very foggy. The first repetitions follow one another very thick, but are heard more distinctly in proportion as they decay. There are two parallel walls which beat the sound back on each other, till the undulation is quite worn out, like the several reverberations of the same image from two opposite looking-glasses. Father Kircher has taken notice of this particular echo, as Father Bartolin has done since in his ingenious discourse on sounds. The state of Milan is like a vast garden, surrounded by a noble mound-work of rocks and mountains: indeed, if a man considers the face of Italy in general, one would think that nature had laid it out into such a variety of states and governments as one finds in it. For as the Alps at one end, and the long range of Appenines, that passes through the body of it, branch out on all sides into several different divisions; they serve as so many natural boundaries and fortifications to the little territories that lie among them. Accordingly we find the whole country cut into a multitude of particular kingdoms and common-wealths in the oldest accounts we have of it; till the power of the Romans, like a torrent that overflows its banks, bore down all before it, and spread itself into the remotest corners of the nation. But as this exorbitant power became unable to support itself, we find the government of Italy again broken into such a variety of subdivisions, as naturally suits with its situation.
In the court of Milan, as in several others in Italy, there are many who fall in with the dress and carriage
of the French. One may, however, observe a kind of awkwardness in the Italians, which easily discovers the airs they give themselves not to be natural. It is indeed very strange there should be such a diversity of manners, where there is so small a difference in the air and climate. The French are always open, familiar, and talkative : the Italians, on the contrary, are stiff, ceremonious, and reserved. In France every one aims at a gaiety and sprightliness of behaviour, and thinks it an accomplishment to be brisk and lively: the Italians, notwithstanding their natural fireiness of temper, affect always to appear sober and sedate ; insomuch that one sometimes meets young men walking the streets with spectacles on their noses, that they may be thought to have impaired their sight by much study, and seem more grave and judicious than their neighbours. This difference of manners proceeds chiefly from difference of education: in France it is usual to bring their children into company, and to cherish in them, from their infancy, a kind of forwardness and assurance: besides, that the French apply themselves more universally to their exercises than any other nation in the world, so that one seldom sees a young gentleman in France that does not fence, dance, and ride, in some tolerable perfection. These agitations of the body do not only give them a free and easy carriage, but have a kind of mechanical operation on the mind, by keeping the animal spirits always awake and in motion. But what contributes most to this light airy humour of the French, is the free conversation that is allowed them with their women, which does not only communicate to them a certain vivacity of temper, but makes them endeavour after such a behaviour as is most taking with the sex.
The Italians, on the contrary, who are excluded from making their court this way, are for recommending themselves to those they converse with by their gravity and wisdom. In Spain, therefore, where there are fewer liberties of this nature allowed, there is something still more serious and composed in the manner of the inhabitants. But as mirth is more apt to make proselytes
than melancholy, it is observed that the Italians have many of them for these late years given very far into the modes and freedoms of the French; which prevail more or less in the courts of Italy, as they lie at a smaller or greater distance from France.
It may be here worth while to consider how it comes to pass, that the common people of Italy have in general so very great an aversion to the French, which every traveller cannot but be sensible of, that has passed through the country. The most obvious reason is certainly the great difference that there is in the humours and manners of the two nations, which always works more in the meaner sort, who are not able to vanquish the prejudices of educátion, than with the nobility. Besides, that the French humour, in regard of the liberties they take in female conversations, and their great ambition to excel in all companies, is in a more particular manner very shocking to the Italians, who are naturally jealous, and value themselves upon their great wisdom. At the same time the common people of Italy, who run more into news and politics than those of other countries, have all of them something to exasperate them against the king of France. The Savoyards, notwithstanding the present inclinations of their court, cannot forbear resenting the infinite mischiefs he did them in the last war. The Milanese and Neapolitans remember the many insults he has offered to the house of Austria, and particularly to their deceased king, for whom they still retain a natural kind of honour and affection. The Genoese cannot forget his treatment of their doge, and his bombarding their city. The Venetians will tell you of his leagues with the Turks; and the Romans of his threats to Pope Innocent the eleventh, whose memory they adore. It is true, that interest of state and change of circumstances, may have sweetened these reflections to the politer sort, but impressions are not so easily worn out of the minds of the vulgar. That, however, which I take to be the principal motive among most of the Italians, for their favouring the Germans above the French, is this, that they are entirely persuaded it is for the in