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or four hundred walking above. The whole of the doors are likewise covered over with small pieces of mirror, cut into the most ridiculous shapes, and intermixed with a great variety of crystal and glass of differeni colours. All the chimney pieces, windows, and side-boards are crouded with pyramids and pillars of tea-pots, caudle-cups, bowls, cups, faucers, &c. strongly cemented together; some of these columns are not without their beauty : one of them has a large china chamber-pot for its base, and a circle of pretty little flower-pots for its capital : the shaft of the column, upwards of four feet long, is compored entirely of tea.pots of different sizes, diminishing gradually from the base to the capital. The profusion of china that has been employed in forming thefe columns is incredible ; I dare fay. there is not less than forty pillars and pyramids formed in this strange fantastic man
Most of the rooms are paved with fine marble tables of different colours, that look like so many tomb-stones. Some of these are richly wrought with lapis lazuli, porphyry, and other valuable ftones; their fine polish is now gone, and they only appear like common marble; the place of these beautiful tables he has supplied by a new set of his own invention, some of which are not without their merit. These are made of the finest tortoise-shell mixed with mother of pearl, ivory, and a variety of metals ; and are mounted on fine stands of solid brass.
The windows of this inchanted castle are composed of a variety of glass of every different colour, mixed without any fort of order or regulari- . ty. Blue, red, green, yellow, purple, violet. So that at each window, you may have the heavens and earth of whatever colour you chuse, only by looking through the pane that pleases you.
The house clock is cased in the body of a statue ; the eyes of the figure move with the pendulum, turning up their white and black alternately, and make a hideous appearance.
His bed-chamber and dressing-room are like two apartments in Noah's ark; there is scarce a beast, however vile, that he has not placed there; toads, frogs, serpents, lizards, scorpions, all cut out in marble, of their respeaive colours. There are a good many busts too, that are not less singularly imagined. Some of these make a very handsome profile on one side ; turn to the other, and you have a skeleton ; here you see a nurse with a child in her arms; its back is exa&ly that of an infant ; its face is that of a wrinkled old woman of ninety.
For some minutes one can laugh at these follies, but indignation and contempt soon get the better of your mirth, and the laugh is turned into a sneer. I own I was soon tired of them; though some things are so strangely fancied, that it may well excuse a little mirth, even from the most rigid cynic.
The family statues are charming ; they have been done from some old pictures, and make a most venerable appearance; he has dressed them out from head to foot, in new and elegant suits of marble ; and indeed the effect it produces is more ridiculous than anything you can conceive. Their Ihoes are all of black marble, their stockings generally of red; their cloaths are of different colours, blue, green, and variegated with a rich lace of giall' antique. The periwigs of the men and head-dresses of the ladies' are of fine white ; so are their shirts, with long flowing ruffles of alabafter. The walls of the house are covered with some fine basso relievos of white marble, in a good taste; these he could not well take out, or alter, so he has only added immense frames to them. Each frame is composed of four large marble tables.
The author and owner of this singular collection is a poor miserable lean figure, shivering at a breeze, and seems to be afraid of every body he speaks too; but (what surprised me) I have heard him talk speciously enough on several occasions. He is one of the richest subje&s in the island, and it is thought he has not laid out less that 20,000 pounds in the creation of this world of monsters
and chimeras. He certainly might have fallen upon some way to prove himself a tool at a cheaper rate. However it gives bread to a number of poor people, to whom he is an excellent master. His house at Palermo is a good deal in the same stile : his carriages are covered with plates of brass, so that I really believe some of them are musket proof.
The government have had serious thoughts of demolishing the regiment of monsters he has placed round his house, but as he is humane and inoffensive, and as this would certainly break his heart, they have as yet forborne. However, the seeing of them by women with child is said to have been already attended with very unfortunate circumstances; several living monsters have ing been brought forth in the neighbourhood. The ladies complain that they dare no longer take an airing in the Bagaria ; that some hideous form always haunts their imagination for some time after : their husbands too, it is said, are as little satisfied with the great variety of horns. Adieu. I shall write you again by next post, as matter multiplies fast upon me in this metropolis.
L E T T E R XXV.
Palermo, June 30th. The account the people here give of the Sirocc, or South-east wind, is truly wonderful ; to-day, at the viceroy's, we were complaining of the violence of the heat, the thermometer being at 79. They assured us, that if we staid till the end of next month, we should probably look on this as pleasant cool weather ; adding, that if we had once experienced the Sirocc, all other weather will appear temperate. I asked to what degree the thermometer commonly rose during this wind; but found to my surprise, that there was no such instrument in use amongst them : however, the violence of it, they assure us, is incredible ; and that those who
had remained many years in Spain and Malta, · had never felt any heat in those countries to compare to it. How it happens to be more violent in Palermo than in any other part of Sicily, is a mystery that still remains to be unfolded. Several treatises have been written on this subject, but none that give any tolerable degree of satisfaction.
As we shall stay for some time longer, it is possible we may have an opportunity of giving you some account of it.
They have begun some weeks ago to make preparations for the great feast of St. Rosolia;