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STRANGER IN FRANCE.
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Tcrr Abbey.—Cap of Liberty.—Anecdote of English Prejudice.—Fire Ships.—Southampton River.— •' ftetley Abbey. • • '.
- IT was a circumstance,' which will be memorable •with me, as long as I sive, and pleasant to my feelings, as often as I recur to it, that part of my intended excursion to the Continent was performed in the last ship os war, which, after the formal consirmations of the peace, remained, of that vast naval armament, which, from the heights of Torbay, for so many years, presented to the astonished and admiring eye, a spectacle at once os picturesque beauty, and national glory. It was the last attendant in the train *of retiring war. v r
Under the charming roof of Torr Abbey, the residence of George Cary, Esq. I passed a few days, until the Megsera was ready to fail for Portsmouth, to be paid off, the commander of which, captain Newhouse, very politely offered to convey my companion, captain W. Cary, and myself, to that port.
In this beautiful spot, the gallant heroes of our navy have often found the severe and perilous duties of the boisterous element alleviated by attentions, which in their splendid and cordial display, united an ele-u gant taste to a noble spirit of hospitality.
In the Harleian Tracts there is a short, but rather curious account preserved os the sensation produced at the Abbey on the 5th of November, 1688, after the prince of Orange had entered the bay with his fleet en their passage to Brixham, where he landed :—
"The prince commanded captain M—— to search "the lady Car/s house, at Torr Abbey, for arms and "horses. The lady entertained them civilly, said "her hasband was gone to Plymouth: they brought "from thence some horses, and a few arms, but gave "no farther disturbance to the lady or her house."
Throughout this embarraffing interview, the ladyCary appears to have conducted herself with great temper, dignity and resolution, whilst, on the other. hand, the chaplain of that day, whose opinions were not very favorable to the revolution, unlike his present amiable and enlightened successor,*, left the lady, in the midst of her perplexities, and fled;
In the Abbey, I was much pleased with an interesting, though not very ornamental trophy of the glorious victory of Aboukir. The truckle heads of themasts of the Aquilon, a French ship of the line,. which struck to the braye captain Louis, in that ever memorable battle, were covered with the bonnet rouge; one of these caps, of liberty, surmounted with the British slag, has been committed to the care of the family, by that heroic commander, and now conititules a temporary ornament of their dining room..
* Rtv. John Halsord*
Here We Paid in provision for our little voyage, without, however, seeling the same apprehensions which agitated the mind of a fair damsel, in the service of a lady of rank who formerly resided in my neighborhood, who, preparing to attend her mistress to the Continent, and having heard from the jolly historians of the kitchen, that the food in France was chiefly suppliecfby the croaking inhabitants of the green and standing pool, contrived, very carefully, to carry over a piece of home-bred pork, concealed in her workbag. - - * «'
Early in the .morning after we set fail, we pasted through the Needles, which saved us a very considerable circuitous fail round the southern side of the Ifle of Wight, a passage which the late admiral Macbride sirst successfully attempted, for vessels of war, in a ship ] ©ftheline. ,'• —' ,~i-, , . '...•.'i
The vessel, in which we sailed, was a sireship ; a costly instrument of destruction, which has never been applied during the recent war, and only once, and that unsuccessfully, during the preceding one. We had several of them in commiffion, although they j are confessedly of little utility in these times, and from the immense stores of combustibles with which they are charged, threaten only peril to the commander and his crew. ,
We soon after dropped anchor, and proceeded to Portsmouth, in search of a packet forHavre-de- Grace. In the street, our trunks were seized by the customhouse officers, whilst conveying to the inn, but after • • presenting our keys, and requesting immediate search and restoration, they were returned to us without surther annoyance. Finding that the masters of the French packets were undetermined when they should sail, we resolved upon immediately leaving this celebrated seaport, and proceeding by water to Southampton, distant about twenty-four miles; where, after a very unpleasant passage, from its blowing with considerable violence soon after we left Portsmouth, we arrived in a little wherry, about twelve o'clock at night, at the Vine inn, which is very conveniently situated for passengers by the packets. .,
It will not be required of me, to attempt a minute description of the Southampton river, at a time when I expected, With some reason, as I afterwards understood, to sink to the bottom of it. An observation very natural to persons in our situation occurred to me all the way, viz. that the shores seemed to be too far distant from each other, and that had there been left water, the scenery would have been more delightful; an observation which however, the next day consirmed, when it presented the safe and tranquil appearance of a mirror.
Finding that the packet for France was not likely to fail immediately, we hired a boat, and proceeded down the river, to view the beautiful ruins of Netley Abbey, in the great court of which we dined, under the made of aged limes, and amidst the flappings of its feathered and restless tenantry. «
x "fiSs FRANCE. - I*'
'-A* f-am Ho' great admirer of tedious details, I shall not attempt an antiquarian history of this delightful spot. 'I shall leave it to more circumstantial travellers, to. enumerate the genealogies of the worthies who Occupied it at variousæras, and to relate, like a monumental entablature, when, where, and how they lived and died; it will be siifHcient to observe, that the lite of this romantic abode was granted by Henry VIII. in 1757, to a Sir William Paulet,and that after having had many merry monks for its masters, who, no doubt, performed their matutir.se laudes and nocturnal vigiliæ wkh devout exactness; that it is at length in the posse ffion of Mr. Dance, who has a very sine and picturesque estate on that side of the river, of which these elegant ruins constitute the chief ornament. The church still exhibits a beautiful specimen osgothic architecture, but its tottering remains will rapidly share the fate of the neighbouring pise, 'which time has prostrated on the earth, and co\ ereu with his thickest shade of ivy. .,
. Our watermen gave us a curious description of this place, and amused us-not a little withtheir ridiculous anacroiisms. . .
«I tell you., what," said one os them, contradicting « the other, " you are in the wrong, Bob, indeed « you are wrong, don't mislead them gentlemen, that "there Abbey is in the true Roman style, and was
« built by a man they call , but that's neither t
« here nor there, I forget the name, however, it's a