“The Commander de D. was a man of ability and warm feeling. He 안산오피 was the second son of a noble family in France, and, according to the custom of those times, belonged to the Order of Malta. His elder brother offended his father by his imprudence and impropriety of conduct. When the Marquis was in a state of health so precarious that little 250hope was entertained of his life, these two sons were sent for by their mother. The eldest was at Paris, but put off his journey from day to day. The second was with the Maltese galleys at Lisbon, but obtained leave of absence, and instantly hastened to the family château, near Lyons. On his arrival his father told him that he meant to make him his heir, and only leave to his elder brother an annual income, enough for his maintenance but not for the support of his extravagance. The Chevalier de D. did all he could to persuade his father not to disinherit his elder brother; but finding his efforts were fruitless, he went off to Lyons, and there, in a Chapter of his Order, pronounced the irrevocable vows which put it out of his power to receive the inheritance. After this noble, but what many will think romantic, act of liberality, he went back to Malta, where for some time he held one of the highest employments, and enjoyed the confidence of the Grand-Master. He had reason to believe that about that time the Empress Catherine was endeavouring to make a secret treaty with the Neapolitan Government, for the purpose of becoming Patroness, or perhaps Mistress, of the island of Malta. When that island was given by the Emperor Charles V. to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, after the loss of Rhodes, he stipulated that he was to receive from them, as their liege lord, a falcon every year. That devolved to his 251descendants, the Kings of Naples, and the Commander de D. was persuaded that it would be transferred to the Empress of Russia if the plot succeeded. That it did not was attributed to his influence with the Grand-Master, and, consequently, he was not in good odour at Naples. He had also enemies among his brother knights, and as he was instrumental in the surrender of Malta to Bonaparte, though he is said to have acted from a good motive, this enmity was not a little increased. His chemical and mineralogical studies naturally threw him into the society of the philosophers, and at the beginning of the Revolution he belonged to the Constitutional party, but he was nevertheless one of those who joined the Swiss Guards in defence of Louis XV. at the Tuileries.”]

I ought before this to have mentioned the celebrated dramatist, Count Alfieri. One of his tragedies, the “Antigone,” had been represented on a stage erected at the Spanish Ambassador’s, where several plays were performed during the month of October, and where, notwithstanding its being the season of “villeggiatura,” there was much good company. The Prince and Princess Rospigliosi, her brother the Duke di Ceri, his young Duchess, and his secretary, were the principal actors; but in the “Antigone” Alfieri himself acted Creon; the Duke di Giro, Hemon; the Duchess, Creusa; and Princess Rospigliosi, Antigone. They all played their 252parts with skill and propriety. The Duchess di Ciro had been taught by Princess Giustiniani, her mother, who had been very partial to this amusement, in which she also excelled.

In the “Barber of Seville,” Prince Rospigliosi, who in society appeared to be rather a grave man, was a truly comic Figaro. The Countess of Albany was then at Rome, and lived at the Chancery, in the apartments of her brother-in-law, the Cardinal of York. This lady, as is well known, was a Princess of Stolberg, and great-grand-daughter by the mother’s side of Thomas Earl of Aylesbury,[121] who died at Brussels. She had been married to the Pretender eight or ten years, and lived with him at Florence, till one day she took refuge in a convent, on account, she said, of the ill-treatment she received from him when he was intoxicated. She afterwards came to Rome, where, as I have said, she was lodged at the Chancery. She had a lady residing with her, a Chanoinesse. The Countess was present at the performance of the “Antigone,” but she did not in general go out to parties. Morning visits, however, she paid, in which and in her walks she was always attended by the Countess de M. But the romantic attachment of Count Alfieri, of which no mystery was made—indeed, the verses he composed and the whole of his conduct sufficiently declared it—induced Cardinal 253York, on his return from a visit to his brother, who had been very ill at Florence, to apply to the Pope for the dismissal of the Count from Rome. Pius made answer that, according to the laws and customs of the State, he had no right to dismiss a stranger who was committing no offence against the country; and that all he could do would be to write to the Countess of Albany, and request her to persuade her friend, for the sake of her own character, to leave Rome. He did so, and the Countess answered, that Count Alfieri never came to visit her but at the hour when her doors were open to all her acquaintance; she would beg of him, however, to comply with the request suggested by his Holiness. Count Alfieri remained a few days longer, and then went off at noon in a handsome equipage to visit Paris, London, &c. There was something very extraordinary, but very fine, in the character of Alfieri. He was introduced to us, and he asked my mother for letters to England, which she was happy to give him.

I think I never knew two persons more unlike than Alfieri and the Countess of Albany, in appearance, in manner, and even in sentiments. She must, no doubt, have been very pretty in early youth. She had fine eyes and teeth, but her figure was not graceful. There was nothing of the ideal beauty about her which one would have imagined as the object of Alfieri’s dreams of bliss; but she 254must have been very much admired, for all travellers, as I have been told, used to call her the Queen of Hearts. Married at 안산오피 twenty to a man of fifty, and in a political, or rather, I should say, historical situation so peculiar, she was perhaps more noticed than she otherwise would have been. To us she was very kind and attentive, invited us to visit her, and never in any way neglected us. She wrote plain, sensible letters, and was not devoid of intelligence. Although I never heard her saying anything which could offend religious or moral principles, I have been told that she was very sceptical with respect to the former.

Naples—1785.
The Bishop of Castellamare, who was more than eighty years of age, still mounted his horse. He was very good-natured and cheerful, and enjoyed excellent health, which he attributed to his practice of fumigating his apartments with perfumed gums. He had been for many hours buried under the ruins of the house he inhabited in Calabria, at the time of the great earthquake. The solidity of a beam saved him from being crushed when the roof fell in. He is the only person whom I can recollect of our Roman or Neapolitan acquaintance who ever endeavoured to bring me over to the Roman Catholic religion. I begged him not to talk to me on the subject; but he persisted in doing so. At 255last I said, with the impertinent familiarity which his good nature encouraged: “Well, you shall say what you please if for every half hour of this advice you will send me a basket of curious specimens of lava and minerals for a friend of mine, who is making a fine collection.” The good Bishop took the hint, sent me several baskets of curious specimens of minerals, and never uttered another word on the subject of conversion. I am sorry to add, that soon after we left Naples, being made “Cappellano Maggiore,” or high almoner to the King, who had a great regard for him, he was obliged to give up his usual mode of life, and did not long survive his honours.

Mr. and Mrs. Piozzi passed the winter at Naples and gave little concerts. He played with great taste on the pianoforte, and used to carry about a miniature one in his carriage. Mrs. Piozzi read to my mother part of a manuscript, which she afterwards published, respecting Dr. Johnson; but as she was angry with him on account of his disapproval of her second marriage, she occasionally mentioned him in a manner that displeased my mother, who always preserved a high veneration for his memory.

Brilliant and gay as Naples then was, I did not like it so well as Rome, nor indeed so well as I liked it at two subsequent visits. However, we had no reason to complain of the time we passed in this 256capital, the Parthenope 안산오피 of old, and still in a great measure retaining its ancient character. Balls were given at what was called the “Accademia de’ Nobili,” something in the style of Almack’s. There was also another “Accademia” for persons of the second class, as there was a considerable number of opulent merchants from different countries visiting Naples. The King and Queen made their appearance at each at least once a year, and the foreign Ministers also went to both from time to time.