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cal romance, has fixed it the seat and birth-place of his hero Don Quixote.
The gentlemen of this place are the least priest-ridden, or sons of bigotry, of any that I met with in all Spain; of which, in my conversation with them, I had daily instances. Among many others, an expression that fell from Don Felix Pacheo, a gentleman of the best figure thereabout, and of a very plentiful fortune, shall now suffice. I was become very intimate with him; and we used often to converse together with a freedom too dangerous to be common in a country so enslaved by the inquisition. Asking me one day in a sort of a jocose manner, who, in my opinion had done the greatest miracles that ever were heard of? I answered, Jesus Christ. "It is very true," says he, "Jesus Christ did great miracles, and a great one it was to feed five thousand people with two or three small fishes, and a like number of loaves but Saint Francis, the founder of the Franciscan order, has found out a way to feed daily one hundred thousand lubbards with nothing at all;" meaning the Franciscans, the followers of Saint Francis, who have no visible revenues; yet in their way of living, come up to, if they do not exceed, any other order.
Another day, talking of the place, it naturally led us into a discourse of the knight of La Mancha, Don Quixote. At which time he told me, that, in his opinion, that work was a perfect paradox, being the best and the worst romance that ever was wrote. "For," says he, "though it must infallibly please every man that has any taste for wit, yet has it had such a fatal effect upon the spirits of my countrymen, that every man of wit must ever resent; for," continued he, "before the appearance in the world of that labour of Cervantes, it was next to an impossibility for any man to walk the streets with any delight, or without danger. There were seen so many cavalieros prancing and and curvetting before the windows of their mistresses, that a stranger would have imagined the whole nation to have been nothing less than a race of knight-errants. But after the world became a little acquainted with that notable history, the man that was once seen in that notable drapery was pointed at as a Don Quixote, and found himself the jest of high and low. And I verily believe," added he, "that to this, and this only, we owe that dampness and poverty of spirit which has run through all our councils for a century past, so little agreeable to those nobler actions of our famous ancestors."
After many of these lesser sorts of confidences, Don Felix recommended me to a lodging next door to his own. It was at a widow's, who had one only daughter, her house just opposite to a Franciscan nunnery. Here I remained some time; all which
time, lying in my bed, I could hear the nuns early in the morning at their matins, and late in the evening at their vespers, with delight enough to myself, and without the least indecency in the world in my thoughts of them. Their own divine employ too much engaged every faculty of mine to entertain any thing inconsentaneous or offensive.
This my neighbourhood to the nunnery, gave me an opportunity of seeing two nuns invested; and in this I must do a justice to the whole country to acknowledge, that a stranger who is curious (I would impute it rather to their hopes of conversion than to their vanity) shall be admitted to much greater freedoms in their religious pageantries, than any native.
́One of their nuns was of the first quality, which rendered the ceremony more remarkably fine. The manner of investing them was thus:-In the morning her relations and friends all met at her father's house, whence, she being attired in her most sumptuous apparel, and a coronet placed on her head, they attended her, in cavalcade, to the nunnery, the streets and windows being crowded, and filled with spectators of all sorts.
So soon as she entered the chapel belonging to the nunnery she kneeled down, and, with an appearance of much devotion, saluted the ground, then rising up, she advanced a step or two farther, when, on her knees, she repeated the salutes ; this done, she approached to the altar, where she remained till mass was over; after which, a sermon was preached by one of the priests, in praise, or rather in an exalted preference, of a single life. The sermon being over, the nun elect fell down on her knees before the altar, and, after some short mental orisons, rising again, she withdrew into an inner room, where, stripping off all her rich attire, she put on her nun's weeds; in which, making her appearance, she, again kneeling, offered up some private devotions, which being over, she was led to the door of the nunnery, where the lady and the rest of the nuns stood, ready to receive her with open arms. Thus entered, the nuns conducted her into the quire, where, after they had entertained her with singing, and playing upon the organ, the ceremony concluded, and every one departed to their proper habitations.
The very same day of the year ensuing, the relations and friends of the fair novitiate meet again in the chapel of the nunnery, where the lady abbess brings her out and delivers her to them. Then again is there a sermon preached on the same subject as the first; which, being over, she is brought up to the altar, in a decent but plain dress, the fine apparel which she put off on her initiation being deposited on one side of the altar, and her nun's weeds on the other. Here the priest, in Latin, cries, Utrum, horum, mavis, accipe: to which she answers, as her inclination or as her instruction directs her. If she, after this her year of probation,
shows any dislike, she is at liberty to come again into the world: but if, awed by fear (as too often is the case), or won by expectation, or present real inclination, she makes choice of the nun's weeds, she is immediately invested, and must never expect to appear again in the world out of the walls of the nunnery. The young lady I saw thus invested was very beautiful, and sang the best of any in the nunnery.
FROM LA BELLE ASSEMBLEE.
THE LATE LORD LYTTLETON.
WHILST The World was in being, the house in which Mr. Topham and I resided, in Beaufort-buildings, was the constant resort of men of literary character; and, among the number, we had the pleasure of reckoning Miles Peter Andrews, Esq. who had been the friend of Mr. Topham from his youth. I should not have introduced his name in these pages, it being somewhat extraneous to my subject, but to mention a circumstance that I heard from himself; which, as I ever knew him to be a man of veracity and strict honour, I have every reason to believe true ; and as it explains some circumstances respecting the death of the late Lord Lyttleton (Mr. Andrews's intimate companion for several years), never before made known to the public, it may not be uninteresting to my readers. A few nights previous to Lord Lyttleton's demise (as mentioned in his biography attached to his Poems), soon after he had got into bed he saw a female at the foot of it, with a dove in her hand, and beautifully arrayed in white, who told him, in a very impressive manner, to prepare himself for death, as the third night from that, exactly at twelve o'clock, he should depart this life! His Lordship, who had ever led a very gay one, conceiving that it was some female who had got into the room, and had said so merely to jest with him, jumped out of bed; but to his astonishment found the door fast, and no person in the room but his valet, who was fast asleep in a recess, where he always lay. Greatly alarmed at the circumstance, it made a deep impression upon him, and he determined to put off a visit he was to have paid Mr. Andrews that very week; and the night which the spectre prescribed as his last, was the very one he was expected to sleep at Dartford. On the fatal evening his Lordship had several of his friends about him, who amused themselves with looking at the family pictures till the hour of twelve o'clock arrived. As some of them regarded it a
phantom of his Lordship's brain, they privately put the clock forward a few minutes. As soon as it struck, he turned round to all who were about him, and said, "You see I have cheated the ghost!"-Upon which he went up to bed, and his valet brought him up some trifling medicine to take, but had forgotten a spoon to stir it; he sent him down for one; and on his return, found him actually a corpse on the bed! he looked at his Lordship's fine stop-watch, and found the hands exactly at the stroke of twelve o'clock. Mr. Andrews finding that his Lordship did not come down on the day he promised, which was the very one on which he died, could not imagine the reason of it, and had retired to rest somewhat before twelve. He had not been long lying down when the curtains at the foot of the bed were drawn open, and he saw his Lordship standing before him, in a large figured morning-gown which always remained in the house for his Lordship's sole use. Mr. Andrews conceiving that his Lordship had arrived after he had retired, as he so positively expected him on that day, said to him, "My Lord you are at some of your tricks; go to your bed or I will throw something at you."-The answer he returned was-" It is all over with me, Andrews !"—and instantly disappeared. As there was a large clothes press at the foot of the bed, he conceived his Lordship had got into it, and rose to see; but he did not find m there. He next examined the night-bolt on the door, and found it fast; and he saw by the candle he had not been long in bed, or he might otherwise have conceived it a dream. He rung his bell, and inquired of his servants where Lord Lyttleton was? they said they had not seen him. The night-gown was next sought for, and found in its usual place. Mr. Andrews knew not of his Lordship's death till next day, when letters from London announced it to have taken place exactly at twelve o'clock the night before. As must naturally be supposed, the circumstance and the loss of his friend made a very great impression upon Mr. Andrews, and affected him for some months after, as he is positive to his being awake at the time it happened, and of the appearance of the phantom. Upon taking an impartial view of the business :-The circumstances connected with Lord Lyttleton's death are on record, well authenticated by people of honour, veracity, and high rank, and that he died at the exact hour of twelve, is beyond a doubt. With respect to Mr. Andrews, he is a man of a strong mind, stored with the most elegant accomplishments which literature, a refined education, and a good understanding could give it; his character as a man of honour and truth has never been impeached : while his ample fortune has placed him above the petty cavils or petty necessities of chequered life; therefore, under such circumEtances, we can have no reason to suspect Mr. Andrews of telling
any thing but what he really saw. But this I solemnly protest; he mentioned the occurrence to me at his own table, in his own house, and in the presence of Mr. Topham. Whether Lord Lyttleton's death is to be attributed to a divine source or not, I cannot pretend to determine; but many people suppose, as he was found with his watch in his hand after his death, and by it, it was exactly twelve, the idea of the time not being past which was ordained to finish his existence, gave him such a shock as to cause his immediate death from the fright.
FROM LA BELLE ASSEMBLEE
ABOUT two years ago, a remarkable fine bull, belonging to J. T. Sandemans, Esq. of Stokely Hall, near Truro, was lost, and every method was tried to find him, without success. On the 26th of September last, Mr. S's steward having received directions to examine a coal-pit which had not been worked for several years, on account of a spring, having issued from an elevated part of the mine, went there with some assistants; and having descended to the bottom of the pit, found that the water had nearly gone away; and on further prosecuting their search, found, to their inexpressible astonishment, the very bull which had been so long lost, standing, as if in the act of drinking; nor did their astonishment in the least abate, on their discovering that the beast had become a most striking instance of petrifaction! Every feature and muscle were as perfect as when he was living, except that the hair on his hide was changed into a beautiful mossy substance, which still retained the original colour of the animal, and extended in curls all over it, in a manner not to be described. Mr. S. has made several attempts to have the bull removed; but he has now given up the idea, as the moss is of so brittle a nature as to break with the slightest touch. Several Noblemen and Gentlemen have already visited this phenomenon, and have borne testimony to the wonderful effects of nature exemplified in this