These young noblemen were rich and handsome, and looked fond of pleasure.
Bartoldi was an old friend of mine. He had played Harlequin at the King of Poland's Italian Theatre. On the death of the monarch he had been placed at the head of the opera-buffa by the dowager electress, who was passionately fond of music.
Amongst the other strangers were Miss Chudleigh, now Duchess of Kingston, with a nobleman and a knight whose names I have forgotten.
The duchess recognized me at once, and seemed pleased that I paid my court to her. An hour afterwards Mr. Hamilton came to see her, and I was delighted to make his acquaintance. We all dined together. Mr. Hamilton was a genius, and yet he ended by marrying a mere girl, who was clever enough to make him in love with her. Such a misfortune often comes to clever men in their old age. Marriage is always a folly; but when a man marries a young woman at a time of life when his physical strength is running low, he is bound to pay dearly for his folly; and if his wife is amorous of him she will kill him even years ago I had a narrow escape myself from the same fate.
After dinner I presented the two Saxons to the duchess; they gave her news of the dowager electress, of whom she was very fond. We then went to the play together. As chance would have it, Madame Goudar occupied the box next to ours, and Hamilton amused the duchess by telling the story of the handsome Irishwoman, but her grace did not seem desirous of making Sara's acquaintance.
After supper the duchess arranged a game of quinze with the two Englishmen and the two Saxons. The stakes were small, and the Saxons proved victorious. I had not taken any part in the game, but I resolved to do so the next evening.
The following day we dined magnificently with the Prince of Francavilla, and in the afternoon he took us to the bath by the seashore, where we saw a wonderful sight. A priest stripped himself naked, leapt into the water, and without making the slightest movement floated on the surface like a piece of deal. There was no trick in it, and the marvel must be assigned to some special quality in his organs of breathing. After this the prince amused the duchess still more pleasantly. He made all his pages, lads of fifteen to seventeen, go into the water, and their various evolutions afforded us great pleasure. They were all the sweethearts of the prince, who preferred Ganymede to Hebe.
The Englishmen asked him if if he would give us the same spectacle, only subsituting nymphs for the 'amoyini', and he promised to do so the next day at his splendid house near Portici, where there was a marble basin in the midst of the garden.
My Amours with Gallimena--Journey to Soyento--Medini--Goudar-- Miss Chudleigh--The Marquis Petina--Gaetano--Madame Cornelis's Son-- An Anecdote of Sara Goudar--The Florentines Mocked by the King-- My Journey to Salerno, Return to Naples, and Arrival at Rome
The Prince of Francavilla was a rich Epicurean, whose motto was 'Fovet et favet'.
He was in favour in Spain, but the king allowed him to live at Naples, as he was afraid of his initiating the Prince of Asturias, his brothers, and perhaps the whole Court, into his peculiar vices.
The next day he kept his promise, and we had the pleasure of seeing the marble basin filled with ten or twelve beautiful girls who swam about in the water.
Miss Chudleigh and the two other ladies pronounced this spectacle tedious; they no doubt preferred that of the previous day.
In spite of this gay company I went to see Callimena twice a day; she still made me sigh in vain.
Agatha was my confidante; she would gladly have helped me to attain my ends, but her dignity would not allow of her giving me any overt assistance. She promised to ask Callimena to accompany us on an excursion to Sorento, hoping that I should succeed in my object during the night we should have to spend there.
Before Agatha had made these arrangements, Hamilton had made similar ones with the Duchess of Kingston, and I succeeded in getting an invitation. I associated chiefly with the two Saxons and a charming Abbe Guliani, with whom I afterwards made a more intimate acquaintance at Rome.