Letters from Turkey, by Mary Wortley Montagu

Letter iii

From Nimeguen. — Nimeguen compared to Nottingham — the Belvidera — the bridge — ludicrous service at the French church.

To Mrs. S. c.

Nimeguen, Aug.13. O. S. 1716.

I AM extremely sorry, my dear S. that your fears of disobliging your relations, and their fears for your health and safety, have hindered me from enjoying the happiness of your company, and you the pleasure of a diverting journey. I receive some degree of mortification from every agreeable novelty, or pleasing prospect, by the reflection of your having so unluckily missed the delight which I know it would have given you. If you were with me in this town, you would be ready to expect to receive visits from your Nottingham friends. No two places were ever more resembling; one has but to give the Maese the name of the Trent, and there is no distinguishing the prospect. The houses, like those of Nottingham, are built one above another, and are intermixed in the same manner with trees and gardens. The tower they call Julius Caesar’s, has the same situation with Nottingham castle; and I cannot help fancying, I see from it the Trentfield, Adboulton, places so well known to us. ’Tis true, the fortifications make a considerable difference. All the learned in the art of war bestow great commendations on them; for my part, that know nothing of the matter, I shall content myself with telling you, ’tis a very pretty walk on the ramparts, on which there is a tower, very deservedly called the Belvidera; where people go to drink coffee, tea, &c. and enjoy one of the finest prospects in the world. The public walks have no great beauty but the thick shade of the trees, which is solemnly delightful. But I must not forget to take notice of the bridge, which appeared very surprising to me. It is large enough to hold hundreds of men, with horses and carriages. They give the value of an English two-pence to get upon it, and then away they go, bridge and all, to the other side of the river, with so slow a motion, one is hardly sensible of any at all. I was yesterday at the French church, and stared very much at their manner of service. The parson clapped on a broad-brimmed hat in the first place, which gave him entirely the air of what d’ye call him, in Bartholomew fair, which he kept up by extraordinary antic gestures, and preaching much such stuff as the other talked to the puppets. However, the congregation seemed to receive it with great devotion; and I was informed by some of his flock, that he is a person of particular fame amongst them. I believe, by this time, you are as much tired with my account of him, as I was with his sermon; but I am sure your brother will excuse a digression in favour of the church of England. You know speaking disrespectfully of the Calvinists, is the same thing as speaking honourably of the church. Adieu, my dear S. always remember me; and be assured I can never forget you, &c. &c.

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