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kinds of Works; and particularly in their [a] artisicial Flowers  We came hither by the Command, or rather by the Permission of the Emperor. An Officer was assigned to conduct us; and they made us believe, that he would defray our Expences: But the latter was only in Words; for, in Effect, the Expence was almost wholly out of our own Pockets. Half of the Way we came by Water; and both eat and lodged in our Boats: And what seemed odd enough to us was, that by the Rules of Good-breeding received among them, we were not allowed ever to go ashore, or even to look out of the Windows of our covered boats to observe the Face of the Country, as we passed along.
We made the latter Part of our Journey in a Sort of Cage, which they were pleased to call a Litter. In this too we were shut Up all Day long j and at Night carried into our Inns; (and very wretched Inns they are !) and thus we got to Pclin, with our Curiosity quite unfatisfied, and with leeing but very Tittle more of the Country, than if we had been shut up all the while in our own Chambers
[a] These aie chiefly made of Feathers -r coloured and formed so exactly like real Flowers, that one is often apt to forget one's self, and smell to them. The famous Signora Vannimeino, at Rome, (so many of whose Works in this kind are continually brought Home by our Gentlemen who travel to that City,) at first learned her Art from some which were sent from China, by the Jesuits, as a present to the then Pope.
[i] Here is a Page ot two omitted,. as relating only to tbeu private Affair*.
Indeed they fay, that the Country we passed is bat a bad Country; and that, though the Journey is near 2000 Miles, there is but little to be met with on the Way that might deserve much Attention : Not even any Monuments, or Buildings, except some Temples for their Idols; and those built of Wood, and but one Story high: The chief Value and Beauty of which seemed to consist in some bad Paintings, and very indifferent Varnish works. Indeed any one that is just come from seeing the Buildings of France and Italy, is apt to have but little Taste, or Attention, for whatever he may meet with in the other Parts of the World.
However, I must except, out of this Rule, the Palace of the Emperor of Pckin, and his PleasureHouses; for in them every thing is truly great and beautiful, both as to the Design and the Execution; and they struck me the more, because I had never seen any thing that bore any manner of Resemblance to them in any Part of the World that I had been in before.
I should be very glad, if I could make such a Description of these, as would give you any just Idea of them; but that is almost impossible; because there is nothing in the whole, which has any Likeness to our manner of Building, or our Rules of Architecture. The only way to conceive what they are, is to see them; and if I can get any Time, I am resolved to draw some Parts of them as exactly as I can, and send them into Europe.
The Palace is, at least, as big as |VJ Dijon; which City I choose to name to you, because you are fo welt acquainted with it. This Palace consiftsof a great Number of different Pieces of Building; detached from-one another, but disposed with a great deal of Symmetry and Beauty. They are separated from one another by vast Courts, Plantations of Trees, and Flower-Gardens. The principal Front of all these Buildings shines with Gilding, Varnish-work, and Paintings; and the Inside is furnilhed and adorned with ail the most beautiful aud valuable Things that could be got in China, the Indies, and even from Europe.
As for the Pleasure-houses, they are really charming. They stand in a vast Compass of Ground. They have raised Hills from Twenty to Sixty Feet high; which form a great Number. of little Valleys between them. The Bottoms of these Valleys are watered with clear Streams; which run on till they join together, and form larger Pieces of Water and Lakes: They pase these Streams, Lakes, and Rivers, in beautiful and magnificent Boats: I have seen one, in particular, Seventy-eight Feet long, and Twenty-four Feet broad, with a very handsome House raised upon it. In each of these Valleys, there are Houses about the Banks of the Water, very well disposed ; with their different Courts, open and close Porticos, Parterres, Gardens, and Cascade&; which, when viewed all together, have an admirable Effect upon the Eye.
[c] A handsome City in France ; and the Capital one in the Province of Burgundy; between Three and Four Miles round. They i
They go from one of the Valleys to another, not by formal strait Walks as in Europe; but by various Turnings and Windings, adorned on the Sides with little Pavilions and charming Grottos; and each of these Valleys is diversified from all the rest, both by their manner of laying out the Ground, and in the Structure and Disposition of its Buildings.
All theRisings and Hills are sprinkled withTrees; and particularly with Flowering Trees, which are here very common. The Sides of the Canals, or lesser Streams, are not faced (as they are with us) with smooth Stone, and in a strait Line; but look rude and rustic, with different Pieces of Rock, some of which jut out, and others recede inwards; and are placed with so much Art, that you would take it to be the Work of Nature. In some Parts the Water is wide, in others narrow; here it serpentises, and there spreads away, as if it was really pushed off by the Hills and Rocks. The Banks are sprinkled with Flowers, which rise up even through the Hollows in the Rock work, as if they had been produced there naturally. They have a great Variety of them, for every Season of the Year.
Beyond these Streams there are always Walks, or rather Paths, paved with small Stones; which .' lead from one Valley to another. These Paths too are irregular; and sometimes wind along the Banks of the Water, and at others run out wide from them.
On your Entrance into each Valley, you seeks Buildings before you. All the Front is a Colonnade,
with with Windows between the Pillars. The Woodwork is gilded, painted, and varnished. The Rooss too are covered with varnished Tiles of different Colours; red, yellow, blue, green, and purple; which, by their proper Mixtures, and their Manner of placing them, form an agreeable Variety of Compartments and Designs. Almost all these Buildings are only one Story high; and their Floors are raised from Two to Eight Feet above the Ground. You go up to them not by regular Stone Steps, but by a rough Sort of Rock-work, formed as if there had been so many Steps produced there by Nature. The Inside of the Apartments answers perfectly to their Magnificence without. Beside their being very well disposed, the Furnilure and Ornaments are very rich, and of an exquisite Taste. In the Courts and Pasfages, - you fee Vases of Brass, Porcelain, and Marble filled with Flowers; and before some of these Houses, instead of naked Statues, they have several of their hieroglyphical Figures of Animals, and Urns with perfumes burning in them, placed upon Pedestals of Marble.
Every Valley, as I told you before, has its Pleasure-house; small indeed in Respect to the whole Inclosure; but yet large enough to be capable of receiving the greatest Nobleman in Europe, with all his Retinue. Several of these Houses are built of Cedar, which they bring, with great Expence, at the Distance of 1500 Miles from this Place. And now how many of these Palaces do you think there are, in all the Valleys