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[212] hand passibus oequis, to be sure,—but still with a beautiful entertainment. She had the finest garden in Madrid, and trusting to the invariable climate of Castile, used to illuminate it fancifully, and receiving her company there, made it a gay and graceful fete champetre, with dancing on the grass, music, a supper, etc. Nothing of the sort could be done with more taste, and perhaps if the majority of voices were taken, this would have been called, from the genuine, lighthearted enjoyment it gave, the pleasantest evening in the week.

On Saturday evening Prince Scilla, the Neapolitan Ambassador, and the richest of all the corps diplomatique, gave a concert and a ball. He is one of the best natured, kind-hearted, honorable gentlemen in the world,—and his family and legation are like himself,— and Saturday evening, therefore, was a pleasant one, because it was impossible to be in Prince Scilla's house, without feeling you were with kind, good people; and besides this, there was amusement enough and no ceremony. . . . .

Two persons I must not forget, for they were the two I knew the most intimately and familiarly. The first was my own minister, Mr. Erving, to whom I was introduced by Mr. Jefferson; and it was a matter of satisfaction to me to find my country represented by a man who was so much respected, both by the diplomacy, the government, and the Spaniards. As to the opinion of the diplomacy, I know it as well as I can know anything; and Mr. Pizarro and Mr. Garay made so little mystery of respecting Mr. Erving more than any other foreign minister at Madrid, that it gave a little umbrage to them all, as three of them have told me, and as I easily saw without being told. Moreover, the king's conduct to him personally at the levee, after he received the news of Jackson's taking Pensacola, and when, the Prince Laval had triumphantly told me the night before, and M. de Tatistcheff had told Caesar de Balbo, he would not venture to be seen at court, sufficiently showed what was the influence of his name and character, which he has entirely founded, as everybody there knows, on two rules,—never to ask anything however inconsiderable from anybody as a favor, and never to cease to insist upon what he ought to claim as a right. In his own house I found him very pleasant, for he has talent, a clear head, and considerable knowledge, though very little literature. His establishment was elegant, and he might easily have made it more so if he had chosen; but it was not necessary, for he was quite on a par with most of the ministers there. In short, I am clear there was not one of the diplomacy who understood his business better, or, taking the whole capital together, was more respected than Mr. Erving.

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