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MISS WYNN'S COMMONPLACE BOOK.

The following extracts from Mrs. Piozzi's letters to a Welsh neighbour, are copied from Miss Williams Wynn's commonplace book :

1797.—'Tis really not unworthy observation, how the vital part of every country has been struck at during the last ten years. Loyalty and love of their Grand Monarque was a characteristic of Parisian manners. Their Sovereign has been executed. Religion and the

. fine arts comforted the Italians for loss of liberty and of conquests. Their ceremonies are now insulted, their models of excellence taken forcibly away. Our English John, safe in his wooden walls, counted the treasures of the Bank and feared no ill while ships and money lasted. Our guineas are turned to paper, our fleets mutiny, and our boobies here in London run to crown the dead delegates with flowers, forgetting how we were all terrified when the Thames was blocked up, the trade stopt, and an actual civil war at Sheerness, not twenty miles from the capital.

1799.-Your heart would melt to hear the horrid tales from Italy! Poor Conte di Fron, late Turinese Ambassador, comes now and then to disburthen his heart and vent his sorrows on us, and, lamenting more his King's misfortunes than his own, tells how that hapless Prince knelt on the ground in vain before the unfeeling general of the French forces begging a brother's life, while that commander, lately a low attorney of some country town, showed him humbled to his brother officers, and made the scene a matter of encouragement to France to persist in her resolves against crowned heads. This was Sardinia's King. The royal family of Naples suffered little less, &c. &c. Dear Mr. Piozzi's countrymen tell him that the oxen, &c. in the North of Italy have been so put in requisition, that large tracts of land lie waste for want of cultivation, whilst civil war of opinions among the inhabitants, some holding fast by the old way, and some embracing the new notions brought among them by the French, make that once lovely country a theatre of agony, and produce such dearness of provisions, that at Genoa a dog's head was sold for five shillings during the siege, and friends, enemies, soldiers, traders, alike perished more by hunger than by the sword.

1813.- Compliments of the season. old fashion. Our ancestors used to send mistletoe to each other. The Romans presented dates and dried figs to their friends, and the modern Italians make up elegant boxes of sweetmeats for the same purpose.

We keep our oaks as clean as we can from all parasitical plants. We have the sugar plums for children, and send empty wishes of a merry Christmas and a happy New Year,-even that good custom is going out apace. Well, Ovid's line to Germanicus was the prettiest:

“ Dii tibi dent annos, à te nam cætera sumes.”

It is a very

Buonaparte doubtless thought such a speech would suit him some months ago, but he must renounce all hope of being Germanicus.

1814.—Your partiality will encourage me to a long chat with you concerning the atmospheric stones which have attracted much of my attention. I do believe that Diana of the Ephesians was no other than one of these, and it was thought, you know, that she fell down from Jupiter, but I have heard a Camb-man maintain that it was possible that the moon might produce them -an idea best befitting to a lunatic. Dr. Milner's joke on such immechanical notions is the very best I know - the ready-furnished house. They must, I think, go up before they fall down, and certainly there are more volcanoes at work than we are watching, which fill the air with substances of an attractive kind, which, for the most part assume conical shapes, as Nature when alone appears particularly to delight in. The Dea Pessinuntia, or Cybele of classic mythology, was, I fancy, a mere meteoric composition. They washed her with much silly reverence, you remember, and Heliogabalus's black stone, which he drove into Rome with four white horses, was nothing better, only the form happened to be perhaps a more regular and perfect cone.

He was a Syrian, you know, and this, dropping from heaven as they believed, served excellently to represent their Bel, or Baal, or lost Thammuz, the Sun, in short, of which divinity he was priest, as a pyræum of aspiring flame.

Let me hope that you will not pursue geology till it leads you into doubts destructive of all comfort in this world, and all happiness in the next. I am not afraid of Gibbon. Whoever has a true taste of Cicero's sweetness and Virgil's majesty, will not take his modern terseness of expression or neatness of finish, so completely French, for perfection.

With regard to our own nobility and people of fashion getting into these horrid scrapes of swindling and stock-jobbing*, and the Lord knows what — they fright me to read of them. We need no longer say with Capt. Macheath,

.

.

“I wonder we han't better company

Upon Tyburn tree."

The executive Power should really address them now in the official phrase of My lords and gentlemen!

Meanwhile Alexander deserved much of the bustle we made about him. When a child, it seems, his grandmother, the great autocratix Catherine, took an English boy out of a merchant's counting-house at Petersburgh and put him about the young Czar as a playfellow and to teach him our language. When she had done with him he was sent off of course, and Alexander confessed that his companion was forgotten. One day, however, in the crowds of London, the Emperor recognised a face that he knew, and made the man come up and

say in what way he was now, and how he could be served ; after which interview no time was lost, till the Prince

* Alluding to the fraud for which Lord Dundonald was prosecuted.

Regent had not promised only, but actually provided, this old companion of his new friend with a place in the Treasury of 5001. a-year. Such actions are like those related in novels, and acted on the stage.

I refused every invitation for the shows in the Park, and saw the red glare over London so plainly from my own gate, that every moment added to my rejoicing that I was no nearer the crush and the crowd when so many unnamed human creatures perished. Miles Peter Andrews, the rich and gay, sent out two hundred cards of invitation to see the festivities from his windows, verandah, &c., but Miles Peter Andrews (his friends say) went off before the fireworks; so his heir removed the body and received company himself.* You and I have read of a golden age, a silver, and an iron age : is not that we live in, the marble age? so smooth, so old, so polished.

Meantime 'tis really curious to hear the different opinions of those who live at the Fountain Head of information. London at this moment exhibits bills stuck up on every post, with Murder in large letters on it, soliciting the apprehension of a felon who has killed his sweetheart, and the lawyers all declare that the annals of Newgate are disgraced (comical enough) by the proceedings of the common people these last three years.

Per contra, as shop

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* The funeral took place on the very day of the illuminations, and the collation ordered by the deceased served first for the mourners, and then for a select party collected to see the fireworks.

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