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in the world before dinner ; which kept us cool and fresh for all the rest of the day. We have besides provided ourselves with umbrellas, without which, at this season, travelling would be impracticable.
Betwixt this place and Messina, a little to the right, lie the mountains, formerly called the Nebrodes; and likewise the mountain of Neptune, which is reckoned the highest of that chain. It is celebrated for a gulf or crater on its summit, from whence, at particular times, there issues an exceeding cold wind, with such violence, that it is difficult to approach it. I was sorry to pass this singular mountain, but it would have delayed us a day or two to visit it; and we are hastening with impatience to a much greater object : it is now named Il monte Scuderio, and is said to be so high that the Adriatic can be seen from its summit. From the description they give of it, it appears evidently to be an old volcano. The Nisso takes its rise from this mountain ; a river renowned in antiquity for the gold found in its channel ; for which reason, it was by the Greeks called Chrysothoas. It is said, the remains of the ancient gold mines are still to be seen near the source of this river ; but the modern masters of
Sicily have never been enterprising enough to explore them. It was on this charming coast where the flocks of Apollo were kept by his daughters, Phæthusa and Lampetie; the seizing of which, by Ulysses' companions, proved the cause of their deaths, and of all his subsequent misfortunes. The mountain of Tauromina is very high and steep, and the road up to it is exceedingly rugged.
This once famous city is now reduced to an insignificant burgh; yet even these small remains give a high idea of its former magnificence. The theatre, I think, is accounted the largest in the world. It appears to me greatly superior to that of Adrian's villa, near Rome. It is entire enough, to give a very tolerable idea of the Roman theatre, and indeed astonishes by its vastness ; nor can I perceive how any voice would extend through the prodigious number of people it must have contained. I paced about one quarter of it, over the boxes that were intended for the women, which is not near the outward circle of all; the rest is so broken, that I could get no farther. sured about 120 ordinary steps, so that you may conceive the greatness of the whole. The seats front Mount Ætna, which makes a glorious
appearance from this place; and no doubt has often diverted their attention from the scene. It arises from an immense base, and mounts equally on all sides to its summit. It is just now throwing out volumes of white smoke, which do not rise in the air, but seem to roll down the side of the mountain like a vast torrent. The ascent of Ætna on each side is computed at about 30 miles, and the circumference of its base at 150. I think it does not appear to be so much : but I shall probably be enabled to give you a fuller account of it afterwards.
After admiring the great theatre of Taurominum, we went to examine the Naumachia, and the reservoirs for supplying it with water. About 150 paces of one side of the wall of the Naumachia remains ; but as this is not complete, there is no judging of its original dimensions. This is supposed to have been a large square, inclosed with strong walls, and capable of being filled with water on occasion ; intended for the exhibition of sea-fights, and all na al exercises. There were four reservoirs for supplying this with water.
All are upon the same grand scale.
One of these is almost entire ; it is supported by a great number of
strong pillars, in the same manner as those of Titus’ baths at Rome, and several others you may have seen in Italy.--I would dwell longer on objects of this kind ; but I am persuaded descriptions can give but a very imperfect idea of them; and to mark out the precise dimensions with a mathematical exactness, where there is nothing very remarkable, must surely be but a dry work, both to the writer and reader. I shall therefore content myself (I hope it will content you too) with endeavouring to communicate, as entire as possible, the same impression I myself shall receive, without descending too much to particulars; or fatiguing myself or you with the mensuration of antique walls, merely because they are such, except where there is indeed something very striking and different too, from what has already been described in Italy.
I own I despair of success : few things I believe in writing being more difficult than thus "s'emparer de l'imagination," to seize to make ourselves masters of the reader's imagination, to carry it along with us, through every scene, and make it in a manner congenial with our own; every prospect opening upon him with the same light, and arising in the same colours, and at the
same instant too, as upon us : for where de scriptions fail in this, the pleasure of reading them must be very trivial. Now, perhaps, this same journal style is the most favourable of any to produce these effects. It is at least the most agreeable to the writer; who never has his subject to seek, but needs only recollect what has passed since he has laid down the pen, and travel the day over again ; and if he travels it to good purpose, it ought to be equally agreeable to the reader too, who thereby becomes one of the party, and bears a share in all the pleasures of the journey, without suffering from the fatigues of it.
One of my great difficulties, I see, will be the finding proper places to write in, for the inns are altogether execrable, and there is no such thing as getting a room to one's self: I am just now writing on the end of a barrel, which I chose rather than the table, as it is farther removed from noise. I must therefore intreat you, once for all, to excuse incorrectness and want of method. How can one be methodical upon a barrel ?-It has ever been the most declared enemy to method. You might as well expect a sermon from Bacchus, or a coherent speech from our friend Lord