Letters from Turkey, by Mary Wortley Montagu

Letter xvii.

From Hanover. — Bad regululations of the post in Germany — character of the young prince (afterwards king George II.)— short account of Hanover — view of the country in travelling through Germany, compared with England.

To the Countess of B——.

Hanover, Nov. 25. O. S. 1716.

I RECEIVED your ladyship’s letter, but the day before I left Vienna, though, by the date, I ought to have had it much sooner; but nothing was ever worse regulated than the post in most parts of Germany. I can assure you, the pacquet at Prague was behind my chaise, and in that manner conveyed to Dresden, so that the secrets of half the country were at my mercy, if I had had any curiosity for them. I would not longer delay my thanks for yours, though the number of my acquaintances here, and my duty of attending at court, leave me hardly any time to dispose of. I am extremely pleased that I can tell you, without flattery or partiality, that our young prince [The father of his present Majesty.] has all the accomplishments that ’tis possible to have at his age, with an air of sprightliness and understanding, and something so very engaging and easy in his behaviour, that he needs not the advantage of his rank to appear charming. I had the honour of a long conversation with him last night, before the king came in. His governor retired on purpose (as he told me afterwards) that I might make some judgment of his genius, by hearing him speak without constraint; and I was surprised at the quickness and politeness that appeared in every thing he said; joined to a person perfectly agreeable, and the fine fair hair of the princess.

THIS town is neither large nor handsome; but the palace is capable of holding a much greater court than that of St James’s. The king has had the goodness to appoint us a lodging in one part of it, without which we should have been very ill accommodated; for the vast number of English, crowds the town so much, ’tis very good luck to get one sorry room in a miserable tavern. I dined today with the Portuguese ambassador, who thinks himself very happy to have two wretched parlours in an inn. I have now made the tour of Germany, and cannot help observing a considerable difference between travelling here and in England. One sees none of those fine seats of noblemen, so common amongst us, nor any thing like a country gentleman’s house, though they have many situations perfectly fine. But the whole people are divided into absolute sovereignties, where all the riches and magnificence are at Court, or into communities of merchants, such as Nurenburg and Frankfort, where they live always in town for the convenience of trade. The king’s company of French comedians play here every night. They are very well dressed, and some of them not ill actors. His majesty dines and sups constantly in public. The court is very numerous, and his affability and goodness make it one of the most agreeable places in the world.

Dear madam, your, &c. &c.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 23:09