Letter From Edward Gibbon To Mrs Porten
Note from 'Tour of Switzerland' chapter from 'Memoirs Of My Life And Writing' by Gibbon

... Now for myself. As my father has given me leave to make a journey round Switzerland, we set out tomorrow. Buy a map of Switzerland, it will cost you but a shilling, and follow me. I go by Iverdun, Neufchâtel, Bienne or Biel, Soleurre or Solothurn, Bale or Basil, Bade, Zurich, Lucerne, and Bern. The voyage will be of about four weeks w so that I hope to find a letter from you waiting for me . As my father had given me leave to learn what I had a mind, I have learned to ride, and learn actually to dance and draw. Besides that, I often give ten or twelve hours a day to my studies. I find a great many agreeable people here; see them sometimes, and can say upon the whole, without vanity, that though I am the Englishman here who spends the least money, I am he who is the most generally liked. I told you that my father had promised to send me into France and Italy. I have thanked him for it; but if he would follow my plan, he won't do it yet awhile. I never liked young travellers; they go too raw to make any great remarks, and they lose a time which is (in my opinion) the most precious part of a man's life. My scheme would be, to spend this winter at Lausanne: for though it is a very good place to acquire the air of good company and the French tongue, we have no good professors. To spend (I say) the winter at Lausanne; go into England to see my friends for a couple of months, and after that, finish my studies, either at Cambridge (for after what has passed one cannot think of Oxford), or at an University in Holland. If you liked the scheme, could you not propose it to my lather by Metcalf, or somebody who has a certain credit over him? I forgot to ask you whether, in case my father writes to tell me of his marriage, would you advise me to compliment my mother-in-law? I think so. My health is so very regular, that I have nothing to say about it.

I have been the whole day writing you this letter; the preparations for our voyage gave me a thousand interruptions. Besides that, I was obliged to write in English. This last reason will seem a paradox, but I assure you the French is much more familiar to me.

I am, etc.,
Lausanne; Sept. 20, 1755.