Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

something they have heard an Englishman fay. There are certain licences in conversation that it is impossible for a stranger to comprehend clearly ; even in French, you are not sure of being perfectly understood, as well for this reason, as that the Turinese in general speak French indifferently, and amongst themselves converse constantly in Piedmontese; which is such a wretched jargon, that there never has been any book printed in it, nor can it be wrote grammatically. It is not true, that the churches are sanctuaries for robbers and murderers; on the contrary, they are no longer in safety there, than whilst an order is procuring from the Archbishop, which is never refused, and then the soldiers seize the refugees and bring them to justice. That the momentary asylum the churches offer them is not quite discouraged, may be accounted for from various considerations.

The Police is so strict here, as to prevent all Police; riots of any consequence in the streets; for if three or four persons only seem to converse together with ardour, or speak louder than ordinary, the Guet draws near, and if they perceive any .thing mysterious in their manner, or that they can. not give a very good account of themselves, they are frequently taken into custody from the suspicion they had occasioned. The wine-houses are never free from emissaries from the Police. Thus, plotting of every kind, whether against government or particulars, mutiny, robbery, &c. is in a great measure prevented by their vigilance. No

disorderly

[ocr errors]

disorderly women are permitted to walk the streets
It is scarce posible that any private affairs can
pass in the family of an individual, which do not
speedily reach the ears of the King. The laquais
de place are generally here (as in Paris) in the pay
of the Police, and inform them of all they can
discover in regard to the strangers whom they
serve. Each aubergifte * makes two returns every
night of the strangers lodged with them, their
names, professions, country, &c.; and as far as
they can guess, or learn from laquais de place, cou-
riers, poftilions, or voiturins, where they last came
from, their business at Turin, their intended ftay
there, and their future destination. One of these
informing papers is carried to the Commandant of
the town, the other to the Lieutenant de police, by
a person whose business it is to call for the same,
nightly, at each auberge : by ten of the clock next

morning the King has all these returns. They are relative particularly watchful of French travellers. The

theatre is under great restrictions from the police. theatre.

Before an opera is to be performed, the King him.
self takes the pains to read it over, and to erase
every line that can admit of an indecent or double
meaning (although I believe the Serious opera is
generally thought very decent). This attention
is particularly paid to the theatre, on account of
the morals of the Royal family. The King never
goes to the Comic opera, nor permits any of his
own family to attend it. The Princess of Carig-

• The host of any public-house, inn, tavern, &c

to the

nan

nan only, frequents that theatre.—Also in regard to the dances, as the Italian taste is more inclined to the grotesque than the serious, the danseuses jump very high, and kick up their heels in a more surprising than graceful manner ; but if their attitudes happen to become unguarded, they have a sharp reprimand from the police. The delicate Zampe. rini, after her return from England, expressed too much licentiousness in her action and manner, for which she had an immediate order from the Dutchess of S-y, to quit at once those airs ; which La Signora instantly obeyed.--The black drawers worn by the danseuses have a very disgust. ing appearance. ****

The King is thought to be the best economist State cein the world. M h ad it from good autho-conomy. rity, that he always keeps by him, in his ftrong box, nine hundred thousand Piedmontese livres. Although the sum is not large, yet there are Princes of much more considerable revenues, who, after all the current expences of the year, &c. are paid, do not find as much remaining for their amusements or neceflitiest.

There has been no Secretary of State for many years past. The poor old Chevalier R-b-i, Ministre pour les affaires etrangeres, does all the business of that office, as well as of his own, upon an appointment of about 300 l. per annum (English money); nor has there been any Governor of

+ M- has been assured, that the K—'s revenue is not less than 30 millions of Piedmontese livres.

Turin for ten or twelve years past, since the decease of the Marquis Tane, who was the last; for the present Count Tane (who is a very genteel and polite old gentleman) is only Commandant : formerly they were separate employments, but are now combined in one, from motives of economy.

His M- y keeps in his own hands the great farm, or plantation, of tobacco, near Turin, confisting of above five hundred acres, which yields him considerable profits; he has also very fine farms near and at a distance from the town, of which he likewise receives the immediate advantages.

M-- has learnt for me, that the cavalry in time of peace are but in part mounted, half of each troop being on foot; and though his esta. blishment is for seventeen thousand, there are scarce at this time twelve thousand men in array. This faves him a great deal of money. The pay of an Ensign is but 500 livres per annum, a Captain 1200. There have been four or five considerable employments kept vacant for some years past, from no other motive (as M— has been assured) than that of economy. There still remains of the debt contracted in the late war 42 millions and a half of Piedmontese livres ; for which his Majesty pays annually two million and a half interest and expences. The conquests or Païs conquis as they are here called, accorded to the Kby a former peace, increase his revenue about two millions and one quarter, so that they yield him nearly sufficient to pay the interest of his debt. Mons. R-b-i assured M-- that the debt may be liquidated in time by parsimony, but the above increase of revenue will be permanent : he also asserted, that the K- could arm, and even maintain 50,000 men in time of war; which is doing more in proportion to his revenue, than any other Prince in Europe can do. But it is doubtful whether or not the above may be depended on, as M-- has been confidently assured, that it would be with the utmost difficulty so great an army could be maintained for even two campaigns, by his Sardinian Majeity alone, without the aid of foreign subsidies, which chis court has always an eye to.—The taxes amount to nearly a fifth of the national income; that is, of the value of the lands.

Troops.

millions

The K—'s Table is plentiful, but plain ; rien King's de trop recherchée; every article being furnished by purveyors *, at a moderate rate; which purveyors enjoy some privileges, as selling the surplus of the provisions brought in for the K-g [but not dressed). What remains from the K-'s table is served to the Lords and Ladies of the Bed-chamber in waiting, and from them down to the Equerries, Pages, Office, the military Guard de corps, &c. &c. I think the whole Royal family cat together, and dine at an early hour.

• Within a certain distance round Turin, the game is Royal property ; and here it is that the purveyors provide for the K-'s table,

Employ

Table.

« AnteriorContinuar »