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Lesser mountains formed on Ætna.-Difference
LETTER X. p. 143.
ficulties attending it.- Torre del Filosofo.-Dis-
LETTER XI. p. 165.
duced to a certainty.-Supposed height of Ætna.
Voyage to Pachinus or Capo Passero.--Maltes
-Capo Passero.--Barrenness of the country.
Sulphureous lake -- Serpent.--Voyage to Malta.
SICILY AND MALTA.
Naples, May 14, 1770.
I REMEMBER to have heard you regret, that in all your peregrinations through Europe, you had ever neglected the island of Sicily; and had spent much of your time in running over the old beaten track, and in examining the thread-bare subjects of Italy and France ; when probably there were a variety of objects not less interesting that still lay buried in oblivion in that celebrated island. We intend to profit from this bint of yours.-Fullarton has been urging me to it with all that ardour, which a new
prospect of acquiring knowledge ever inspires in him; and Glover, your old acquaintance, has promised to accompany us.
The Italians represent it as impossible, as there are no inns in the island, and many of the roads are over dangerous precipices, or through bogs and forests, infested with the most resolute and daring banditti in Europe. However, all these considerations, formidable as they may appear, did not deter Mr. Hamilton, * his lady, and Lord Fortrose. + They made this expedition last summer; and returned so much dea lighted with it, that they have animated us with the strongest desire of enjoying the same plea
Our first plan was to go by land to Regium, and from thence, cross over to Messina; but on making exact inquiry, with regard to the state of the country, and method of travelling, we find that the danger from the banditti in Calabria and Apulia is so great, the accommodation so wretched, and inconveniencies of every kind so numerous, without any consideration whatever to throw into the opposite scale, that we soon relinquished that scheme; and in spite of all the
* Now Knight of the Bath.
† Now Eal of Seaforth
terrors of Scylla and Charybdis, and the more real terrors of sea-sickness, (the most forinidable monster of the three,) we have determined to go by water; and, that no time may be lost, we have already taken our passage on board an English ship, which is ready to sail with the first fair wind.
Now, as this little expedition has never been considered as any part of the grand tour ; and as it will probably present many objects worthy of your attention, not mentioned in any of our books of travels; I flatter myself that a short account of these will not be unacceptable to you, and may in some degree make up
having neglected to visit them. You may therefore expect to hear of me from every town where we stop; and when I meet with any thing deserving of notice, I shall attempt to describe it in as few words as possible. We have been waiting with impatience for a fair wind, but at present there is little prospect of it. The weather is exceedingly rough, and not a ship has been able to get out of the harbour for upwards of three weeks past.
This clima is by no means what we expected to find it; and the serene sky of Italy, so much boasted of by our travelled gentlemen, does not altogether deserve the great eulogiums