Page:Passages from the Life of a Philosopher.djvu/325

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AUDIENCE TO TAKE LEAVE. 809

However gratified I felt by this attention, I still was quite uncomfortable at the idea of having a man galloping after our carriage for ten miles. I therefore appealed to my friend to suspend this unnecessary loss of vis viva. With some reluctance the dragoon was exempted from further attendance upon the philosopher.

Shortly before I left Turin, one of my Italian friends re- marked, with evident feelings of pride and satisfaction^ upon the attentions I had received from his sovereign. ** The King, he observed, has done three things for you, which are very unusual —

  • ' He has shaken hands with you.
    • He has asked you to sit down at an audience.

^ He has permitted you to make a present to the Queen. This last," he added, is the rarest of all."

Two days before my departure from Turin, I had an audience, to take leave of his Majesty. The King inquired in what direction I intended to travel homeward. I mentioned my intention of taking the mail to Geneva, because it traversed a most remarkable suspension-bridge over a deep ravine. The span of this bridge, which is named, after the king, Pont Charles Albert, is six hundred French feet, and the depth of the chasm over which it is suspended is also six hundred French feet. The King immediately opened a drawer, and, taking out a small bronze medal, struck to celebrate the opening of the bridge, presented it to me.

I now took the opportunity of expressing to the King my gratitude for the many and kind attentions I had received from his subjects, and more especially for the honour he had himself recently done me by sending one of his ministers officiidly to convey to me his Majesty^s high approbation of my conduct.

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