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LET TER. XIX.

Plaisance (Piacenza), Nov. 16th, 1770.
AFTER a most disagreeable journey, here

1 are we at Piacenza. We left Genoa the 14th
after dinner, and lay at Novi, where we were very Novi.
ill served; the evening was raw and cold, and the
chimneys smoked to such a degree, that the effect
to me was a violent cold and sore throat. Our
beds were wretched, the apartment extremely
dirty; and our supper consisted of three dishes of
what they call roast-meat, that is, lumps of meat
fried in stinking oil, with some wretched bor's
d'euvres of fallads, hard eggs, and chop pedan-
chovies, all anointed with the same oil. After
passing a Neepless night, we willingly quitted
Novi at about eight o'clock yesterday morning.'
The day was fine and bright, which was extremely
lucky; for had it rained, we should have suffered
much more than we did from the badness of the
road. From Novi to Tortona, and from thence
to Voghera, is one continued Nough of quaking
clay and marle, through which we waded, the
carriage sinking into the mud up to the naves of
the fore-wheels. At Voghera they gave us Voghera.
wretched post-horses. We had all the difficulty
imaginable to make half the post with them; pro-
bably they had never been in harness before. The

poftilions,

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postilions, who are a cruel race in every country, did not spare the persuasive eloquence of the whip, to make these beasts go forward ; which they de termined not to do, if to be avoided : fometimes they plunged in the nough, then run furiously for a little way, kicking on all sides, and foundering; to increase their ungovernable disposition, there was a wild colt amongst them, which I suppose the post-master at Voghera chose we should have the honour of breaking in. We were at last obliged to get out and halt at a wretched publichouse in the road, which our courier hinted to us had a bad réputation for safety. However, we perceived nothing that had any appearance of that nature. Here we waited above half an hour, our postilions assuring us, they every moment expected some very good post-horses, who were returning to Voghera, that they could answer for. Our patience at length being exhausted, we entered our carriage, and with great difficulty got on one mile further to a small village: after waiting there above an hour, three post-horses only arrived; which were the excellent beasts our poftilions had promised us; so we were at last obliged to mix some of the steadiest of our wild beasts with these new arrivals. During the hour we waited at this village,

M i nquired whether there was not a governor, or commandant, in the neighbourhood; they told him there was a commandant, who lived not a great way from the village; M_ immediately walked to him, and finding him at home,

demanded

: demanded redress for the treatment he had received

from the post-master at Voghera, for not having
fulfilled his engagement, as to the furnishing him
with proper and able horses, and also the having
been the occasion of a great loss of time, and much
fatigue, &c. The commandant behaved with
great politeness and civility, but informed him, he
had no power over the post-mafter at Voghera;
assuring him, however, that he would write to the
governor of that town, and have the post-master
punished. (This part of the country belongs to
the King of Sardinia.). In short, it appeared that
the power of the commandant was bounded to the
care of the customs. Finding there was no redress
to be had, we once more set forward, and with
much difficulty arrived at a wretched place, called
Bron, where we were obliged to lie, though no Bron.
more than four posts from Piacenza. Upon our
· arrival at Bron, M- expected to find there a

Podesta (which personage in Italy, I think, answers
to the judicial officer called Monsieur le Magistra,
you must remember in Anette and Lubin, and who
I believe is the torment of every bourg in France),
to whom he might apply for justice against our
rogues of postilions, who had the conscience to
charge us to the utmost that could be expected,
had we been perfe&tly well used, and demanded
most unreasonably for their trouble, as if they had
merited a double reward for their infolence, lazi-
nefs, and the time they had made us lose. The
podesta, who it seems has been formerly a serjeant,

could

en

Serivia river.

could not be found; we were then necessitated to comply with the tariffa, or regulation of the posts *, supposing the agreement to be kept up to, but not a farthing extraordinary to the poftilions for their trouble, Bron is the boundary between the dominions of the King of Sardinia and those of the Infant Duke of Parma. This morning we passed the river Serivia; the water being low, it was not in the least dangerous. The river is by no means beautiful; great part of its bed lies bare, and a vast number of small streams (which compose the river) branch out various ways, fo that the effect produced is extremely disagreeable; heaps of stones, like rubbish, lie scattered about unequally, and the whole appears a desert waste, without trees, grass, or even the smallest verdure upon its banks. Our inn is bad, our eatables worse; a dish of fish, which had been dressed au bleu some time ago, to prevent its stinking, but which had not succeeded, was served up to us in a sauce of fetid oil burnt; a small lump of coarse veal sauced in the same manner, by way of fricando; a pigeon, which had very much the air of a crow, and by its flying attitude in the dish, led me to think, that by some accident it had been shot when flying over the kitchen, and falling down the chimney into the fire, whence Cuoco had industriously raked

• The posts in the Genoese territories, and the King of Sardinia's, are very dear; without reckoning any other expences on the road, the bare pofting for thirty miles cofts five guincas.

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it out of the ashes, finding it well singed, and
served it up to the forrestieri. This morning,
upon calling for our bill, we found the host
thought himself a gallant uomo *, in not charging
more than seventeen French livres for our supper,
and that of Mmo's valet de chambre; for we do
not consist of more than three upon the road. In
a letter I wrote you from Turin, which chiefly
contained domestic affairs, I ought to have told
you I had determined to suffer the lighter incon-
venience of two; preferring that of being without
a woman-servant on the road, to the being trou-
bled with a chamber-maid to convey from one
place to another, the necessity of being her con-
stant interpreter, subject to her ill-humour and im-
pertinence, and, perhaps, to not a few reproaches,
for having persuaded her (though at a very great
expence) to quit her dear country and friends.
You recollect my Parisian, &c. therefore I re-
solved to take a maid in every town we mean to
pass any time in, and to discharge her at the mo.
ment of our departure. Hitherto it has succeeded
to my wishes; and I assure you I can dress myself
for my journey less awkwardly, and almost as
soon, as when I had a maid with me. But I must
return to our host. I disputed his bill, but could
only get three livres ten fols struck off. The first
post we made this morning was almost the whole
way through corn-fields and vineyards, the great

* A phrase that means an honourable, just, and honest man.

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