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From London to Land's End Daniel Defoe

From London to Land's End

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In the other there is the boldness and courage with which St. Paul undertook to talk to a set of men who, he knew, despised all the world, as thinking themselves able to teach them anything. In the audience there is anticipating pride and conceit in some, a smile or fleer of contempt in others, but a kind of sensible conviction, though crushed in its beginning, on the faces of the rest; and all together appear confounded, but have little to say, and know nothing at all of it; they gravely put him off to hear him another time; all these are seen here in the very dress of the face--that is, the very countenances which they hold while they listen to the new doctrine which the Apostle preached to a people at that time ignorant of it.

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The other of the cartoons are exceeding fine but I mention these as the particular two which are most lively, which strike the fancy the soonest at first view. It is reported, but with what truth I know not, that the late French king offered an hundred thousand LOUIS D'ORS for these pictures; but this, I say, is but a report. The king brought a great many other fine pieces to England, and with them the love of fine paintings so universally spread itself among the nobility and persons of figure all over the kingdom that it is incredible what collections have been made by English gentlemen since that time, and how all Europe has been rummaged, as we may say, for pictures to bring over hither, where for twenty years they yielded the purchasers, such as collected them for sale, immense profit. But the rates are abated since that, and we begin to be glutted with the copies and frauds of the Dutch and Flemish painters who have imposed grossly upon us. But to return to the palace of Hampton Court. Queen Mary lived not to see it completely finished, and her death, with the other difficulties of that reign, put a stop to the works for some time till the king, reviving his good liking of the place, set them to work again, and it was finished as we see it. But I have been assured that had the peace continued, and the king lived to enjoy the continuance of it, his Majesty had resolved to have pulled down all the remains of the old building (such as the chapel and the large court within the first gate), and to have built up the whole palace after the manner of those two fronts already done. In these would have been an entire set of rooms of state for the receiving and, if need had been, lodging and entertaining any foreign prince with his retinue; also offices for all the Secretaries of State, Lords of the Treasury, and of Trade, to have repaired to for the despatch of such business as it might be necessary to have done there upon the king's longer residence there than ordinary; as also apartments for all the great officers of the Household; so that had the house had two great squares added, as was designed, there would have been no room to spare, or that would not have been very well filled. But the king's death put an end to all these things.

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From London to Land's End
Daniel Defoe

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