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made Madame des Ursins his dupe, and caused her to be sent away from the court. I shall give you the particulars of this affair, as they are curious. Alberoni, who was sufficiently in the confidence of Madame des Ursins to be acquainted with her earnest desire, that whatever Princess Philip should marry, might be one of a ductile character, without much genius, void of ambi. tion, and totally incapable of taking a part in the affairs of state, gave her to understand, he had found just such a one in the Princess of Parma. Madame des Ursins was charmed with. the choice he had made, and he fet out for Parma to promote the marriage by every possible means. There is no doubt of his insinuating at the court of Parma how active an agent he had been in the negociation of this treaty, but notwithstanding all his diligence and art, Madainė des Ursins became acquainted with the real character of the Princess, which was precisely the reverse in every point to the picture the Cardinal had made of her; in consequence of this intelligence, a courier arrived the eve of the day on which the marriage was to be ratified, with an order to suspend the treaty for the present; but the Cardinal, who was sufficiently clear-sighted to suspect the cause of this procedure, menaced the courier with certain deach if he discovered his arrival by any means till the next day. Madame des Ursins had omitted to charge the courier not to go first to the Cardinal's, from which oversight, his Eminence found means - Vol. I.
to profit doubly; for the next day the marriage being ratified and the papers signed, the Cardinal acquainted the Princess how he had detained the messenger, sacrificed and betrayed Madame des Ursins to her, and fo effectually persuaded her of the obligations she owed him, that upon her arrival in Spain, the first favour she asked of the King was the banishment of Madame des Ursips. No sooner had she quitted the court, than the Cardinal attained that greatness he so much defired; and became such a favourite of the Queen, as to be admitted into the most secret councils of Itate, honoured with the purple, and declared prime minister of Spain. At length, he by his own faults procured his disgrace; for, being of a boundless ambition and of a daring spirit, not to be intimidated by danger or disappointment, fevesal foreign powers combined to put a final period to his arrogance; and with much difficulty, Philip found himself in the end constrained to disgrace and banish him. After his fall he ityled himself Cardinal of Ravenna, and returned back to Piacenza; where so much ashamed was he of his birth, as never to have assisted, or even acknowledged any of his relations during his life, nor at his death. He kept a slender house and equipage, lived chiefly with the jesuits, affumed no arms, did no public or private charities, and was totally useless both to the town and the people, unless we deem the establishment of thirty-six misionaries a public benefit. He bequeathed all his wealth, which was considerable, to various focieties of missionaries, of which there are many in Italy. Being universally disiked by his townsmen, he died unregretted. When his body was carried from the town, about a mile and a half, to the establishment above-mentioned, where he was interred, not a creature followed his funeral, so literally did he quit the world without leaving a friend behind him. He was considerably past eighty years old when he died. At our meeting, I shall be able to give you more anecdotes of this Cardinal, and also my authority for the above : but it is now late, and I must soon conclude my letter to prepare for our departure to Parma.
The remains of the ancient town of Velleia Velleia. are eight leagues distance from hence, and the season particularly bad for this journey, which we shall thereföre defer for the present.
Wishing to procure a few of those curious foffils, said to be peculiar to this country, called dentales, I sent a laquai upon that commission ; with orders not to return without them: he entered just now with a paper well folded in his hand, which he presented me with seeming fatis. faction in his face; but judge of my disappointment, when, upon opening it, the expected dentales were converted into Diablotins (chocolate-drops). He told me without the least feeling, that these were much wholesomer for me than the dentales. Think of the head of this laquais de place of Piacenza; it was too late to find fault.. S 2
Need I inform you, who are so well versed in the Roman story, that Placentia was early a Roman colony of no small consideration in that Em. pire ; is it not therefore surprising, that there should not be found in its neighbourhood the finallest veftige of antiquity of any fort ? Adieu. You shall hear from me the very first opportunity. We go to-norrow to Parma. I am, &c.
Parma, Nov, 19, 1770. TUE arrived here yesterday, and have had a
W pleasant journey; the roads were good Emiliano
an and the weather fine. The antique Emilian Way, way.
which was constructed under the consulate of Lepidus and Caius Flaminius,. commenced at Piacenza, and reached from thence to Rimini, passing by Parma, Modena, and Bologna: there festoons. The ilex and the mulberry-tree are frequently planted for the support of the vine, as the elms are, and make a most agreeable variety : yet we cannot avoid lamenting the want of taste in the peasants, who occasionally pollard the ilexes and elms, to prevent, as we supposed, their casting too broad a shadow. Between these rows of trees, the corn flourishes in the utmost luxuriance, except where the ground is devoted to water meadows. The horizon is very distant, and is bounded by Appenines covered with snow. When we came to Bounded our last post, we clearly perceived our nearer ap- by appo proach to these mountains, by the keenness of the air from their snowy tops.
are still fome traces of it to be seen, but in a very Face of the coun- ruinous condition. The whole of the country try be.. between Piacenza and Parma is a dead flat; the tween Pia. cenza and soil exceedingly rich; the ground well cultivated, Parma, and planted with straight rows of elms, at about how planted. Twelve or fourteen yards asunder: these form the
most delightful vistas imaginable, and what adds greatly to their beautiful appearance is, that the vines sustained by the elms are conducted from tree to tree, forming the most graceful
This country is by no means desert: several small villages and country-houses appear at a diftance. At twelve miles from Piacenza we passed through a village, called Fiorenzuola, agreeably Fiorensituated; a little further, and along side the Emi- 2 lian Way, is an abbey of Monks, which makes a considerable appearance from the road: the build. ing seems to be of great extent. About twelve miles from Fiorenzuola, we passed through another village, called San-Domino. Five miles San-Domore brought us to the river Taro, which is fome- mino..
Taro ri. times very dangerous to pass; we forded two of ver how its branches, but the stream of the third was so paseo rapid, and the water so deep, as obliged us to cross it in a bark: we remained in our carriage, and by means of a raft were drove by our poftilion into the bark. There is something unpleasant enough