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in Bowling-Green Lane,* would be to enjoy the luxury of soft and smooth lying.
At sight of land a general shaving took place; no subject could be better for Bunbury, than a Packet cabin taken ato such a moment. For me, I am as yet whiskered, for I would not venture to shave on board, and have had no razor on shore till this evening. Custom-house officers are more troublesome here than in England, I have however got every thing at last ; you may form some idea of the weather we endured; thirty fowls over our head were drowned; the ducks got loose, and ran with a party of half naked Dutchmen into our cabin : 'twas a precious place, eight men lying on a shelf much like a coffin. Mr. Wahrendoff, a Swede, was the whole time with the bason close under his nose.
The bookseller's shop was a great comfort; the Consul here has paid me particular attentions, and I am to pass to-morrow morning with him, when he will give me some directions concerning Spanish literature. He knows the chief literary men in England, and did know Brissot and Petion. Of the dramatic poet whom Coates's friend Zimbernatt mentioned as rivalling Shakspeare, I hear nothing; that young Spaniard seems to exaggerate or rather to represent things like a warm hearted young man, who believes what he wishes. The father-in-law of Tallien is a banker, what you call a clever fellow; another word (says the most sensible man here) for a cheat; the court and the clergy mutually support each other, and their combined despotism is indeed dreadful, yet much is doing; Jardine is very active; he has forwarded the establishment of schools in the Asturias with his Spanish friends. Good night, they are going to supper. Oh, their foul oils and wines !
* page 46, Vol. 1.
Tuesday morning. I have heard of hearts as hard as rocks, and stones, and adamants, but if ever I write upon a hard heart, my simile shall be as inflexible, as a bed in a Spanish Posada ; we had beef steaks for supper last night, and a sad libel upon beef steaks they were. I wish you could see our room ; a bed in an open recess, one just moved from the other corner. Raynsford packing his trunk; Maber shaving himself; tables and chairs ; looking glass hung even too high for a Patagonian, the four evangelists, &c. &c. the floor beyond all filth, most filthy. I have been detained two hours since I began to write, at the custom house. Mr. Cottle, if there be a custom house to pass through, to the infernal regions, all beyond must be, comparatively, tolerable. * * * * * * *
“ Lisbon, February 1st, 1796. *Certainly, I shall hear from Mr. Cottle, by the first Packet' said I.--Now I say, “probably I may hear by the next, so does experience abate the sanguine expectations of man. What, could you not write one letter ? and here am I writing not only to all my friends in Bristol, but to all in England. Indeed I should have been vexed, but that the packet brought a letter from Edith, and the pleasure that gave me, allowed no feeling of vexation. What of «Joan ? Mr. Coates tells me it gains upon the public, but authors seldom hear the plain truth. I am anxious that it should reach a second edition, that I may write a new preface, and enlarge the last book. I shall omit all in the second book which Coleridge wrote.
Bristol deserves panegyric instead of satire. I know of no mercantile place so literary. Here
I am among the Philistines, spending my mornings so pleasantly, as books, only books, can make them, and sitting at evening the silent spectator of card playing and dancing. The English here unite the spirit of commerce, with the frivolous amusements of high life. One of them who plays every night (Sundays are not excepted here) will tell you how closely he attends to profit. “I never pay a porter for bringing a burthen till the next day (says he) for while the fellow feels his back ache with the weight, he charges high ; but when he comes the next day the feeling is gone, and he asks only half the money. And the author of this philosophical scheme is worth 200,000 pounds!!
This is a comfortless place, and the only pleasure I find in it, is in looking on to my departure. Three years ago I might have found a friend, Count Leopold Berchtold. This man (foster brother of the Emperor Joseph) is one of those rare characters, who spend their lives in doing good. It is his custom in every country he visits, to publish books in its language, on some subject of practical utility; these he gave away. I have now lying before me the two which he printed in Lisbon ; the one is an Essay on the means of preserving life, in the various dangers to which men are daily exposed. The other an Essay on extending the limits of benevolence, not only towards men, but towards animals. His age was about twenty five ; his person and his manners the most polished. My uncle saw more of him than any one, for he used his library; and this was the only house he called at; he was only seen at dinner, the rest of the day was constantly given to study. They who lived in the same house with him, believed him to be the wandering Jew. He spoke all the European languages, had written in all, and was master of the Arabic. From thence he went to Cadiz, and thence to Barbary; no more is known of him.
We felt a smart earthquake the morning after our arrival here. These shocks alarm the Portuguese dreadfully; and indeed it is the most terrifying sensation you can conceive. One man jumped out of bed and ran down to the stable, to ride off almost naked as he was. Another, more considerately put out his candle, because I know, (said he) the fire does more harm than the earthquake.' The ruins of the great earthquake are not yet removed entirely.
The city is a curious place: a straggling plan ;