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bestowed upon it. It is now the middle of May, and we have not as yet
continuance of what may be called fine weather. It has indeed been abundantly warm, but seldom a day has passed without sudden storms of wind and rain, which render walking out here to the full as dangerous to our invalids, as it is in England.
I am persuaded that our physicians are under some mistake with regard to this climate. It is certainly one of the warmest in Italy; but it is as certainly one of the most inconstant, and, from what we have observed, disagrees with the greatest part of our valetudinarians; but more particularly with the gouty people, who have all found themselves better at Rome; which, though much colder in winter, is, I believe, a healthier climate. Naples, to be sure, is more eligible in summer, as the air is constantly refreshed by the sea breeze, when Rome is often scorched by the most insupportable heat. Last summer, Fahrenheit's thermometer neyer rose higher at Naples than seventy-six. At Rome it was eighty-nine. The difference is often still more considerable. In winter it is not less remarkable. Here, our greatest degree of cold was in the end of January; the thermometer stood at thirty-six; at Rome it fell to twenty-seven;
so that the distance between the two extremes of heat and cold last year at Naples, was only forty degrees; whereas at Rome it was no less than sixty-two. Yet, by all accounts, their winter was much more agreeable and healthy than ours : for they had clear frosty weather, whilst we were deluged with rains, accompanied with very high wind. The people here assure us, that in some seasons it has rained every day for six or seven weeks. But the most disagreeable part of the Neapolitan climate is the sirocco or south-east wind, which is very common at this season. It is infinitely more relaxing, and gives the vapours in a much higher degree, than the worst of our rainy Novembers. It has now blown for these seven days without intermission; and has indeed blown away all our gaiety and spirits; and if it continues much longer, I do not know what may be the consequeirce. It gives a degree of lassitude, both to the body and mind, that renders them absolutely incapable of performing their usual functions. It is not perhaps surprising, that it should produce these effects on a phlegmatic English constitution ; but we have just now an instance, that all the mercury of France must sink under the load of this horrid, leaden atmosphere. A smart Parisian marquis came here about ten days ago; he was so full of animal spirits that the people thought him mad. He never remained a mo. ment in the same place; but, at their
grave conversations, used to skip from room to room with such amazing elasticity, that the Italians swore he had got springs in his shoes. I met him this morning, walking with the step of a philosopher; a smelling bottle in his hand, and all his vivacity extinguished. I asked him what was the matter? “ Ah! mon ami," said he, "je m'ennui à la mort;-moi, qui n'ai jamais sçu
l'ennui. Mais cet execrable vent m'accable; et deux jours de plus, et je me pend."
The natives themselves do not suffer less than strangers; and all Ñature seems to languish during this abominable wind. A Neapolitan lover avoids his mistress with the utmost care in the time of the sirocco; and the indolence it inspires is almost sufficient to extinguish every passion. All works of genius are laid aside during its continuance; and when any thing very flat or insipid is produced, the strongest phrase of disapprobation they can bestow is, “ Era scritto in tempo dell sirocco;" that it was writ in the time of the sirocco. I shall make no apology for this letter; and whenever I happen
to tire you, be kind enough to remember (pray do) that it is not me you are to blame, but the sirocco wind. This will put me much at my ease, and will save us a world of time and apologies.
I have been endeavouring to get some account of the cause of this very singular quality of the sirocco; but the people here seldom think of accounting for any thing, and I do not find, notwithstanding its remarkable effects, that it has ever yet been an object of inquiry amongst them.
I have not observed that the sirocco makes any remarkable change in the barometer. When it first set in, the mercury fell about a line and a half; and has continued much about the same height ever since; but the thermometer was at forty-three the morning it began, and rose almost immediately to sixty-five; and for these two days past it has been at seventy and seventy-one. However, it is certainly not the warmth of this wind that renders it so oppressive to the spirits ; it is rather the want of that genial quality, which is so enlivening, and which ever renders the western breeze so agreeable: the spring and elasticity of the air seems to be lost ; and that active principle which animates all
nature appears to be dead. This principle we have sometimes supposed to be nothing else than the subtle electric fluid that the air usually contains; and indeed we have found, that during this wind, it appears to be almost annihilated, or at least its activity exceedingly reduced. Yesterday, and to-day, we have been attempting to make some electrical experiments; but I never before found the air so unfavourable for them.
Sea-bathing we have found to be the best antidote against the effects of the sirocco; and this we certainly enjoy in great perfection. Lord Fortrose, who is the soul of our colony here, has provided a large commodious boat for this purpose. We meet every morning at eight o'clock, and row about half a mile out to sea, where we strip and plunge into the water : were it not for this, we should all of us have been as bad as the French marquis. My lord has ten watermen, who are in reality a sort of amphibious animals, as they live one half of the summer in the sea. Three or four of these generally go in with us, to pick up stragglers, and secure us from all accidents. They dive with ease to the depth of forty, and sometimes of fifty feet, and bring up quantities of excellent shell-fish during the summer months; but so great is their devo