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[175] Tocca (the brother of the Duchess), and two or three other persons who, like myself, were invited to dine whenever they chose, the party was as pleasant as it needed to be; and if I could not find time to dine there, I commonly went from four or five o'clock till six, and dined with Mr. Smith afterwards.

My Platonic visits, however, were at the venerable Archbishop's, where I dined on Thursday with Sir William Gell, Mr. Craven, Lord Guilford, the Marquis of Ubaldo, and three or four others, Italians. The old Archbishop is a venerable patriarch and an interesting man, and is of one of the oldest and richest noble families of Naples; has been Minister of State; and, having gone through all the honors the Church could give him, up to the archbishopric, and refused to go higher, lives, at the age of seventy-six, in a kind of literary retirement, with a simplicity and dignity which show that he has preserved the purity of his character. He received his friends every evening in a style which I have not yet seen, and which pleased me. About a dozen of the most cultivated Italians met in his little salon at six or seven o'clock, and one of them read aloud from some classical book that would interest all. Once it was a tragedy of Alfieri, once the Stanze of Poliziano, at another time a new pamphlet on Pompeii. If any one preferred conversation, or other amusements, other rooms were open to them. In short, it was a literary society. Without pedantry or formality, every one found himself at ease, and sought to return as often as he could. I have seldom seen a man at the Archbishop's age who has preserved so lively an interest in everything about him; who felt so quickly and simply; who had so much knowledge and made so little pretensions; who had so much to boast on the score of rank, fortune, and past power, and yet was so truly humble, so unostentatiously kind. I shall always remember him with the most grateful respect, and think of the Attic evenings I passed in his palace as among the happiest I have known in Europe.

Of the society of foreigners, which forms itself more or less every winter in all the cities of Italy, I saw as much as I desired or chose, and among them were certainly some interesting men: such as Sir William Gell, to whom I had letters, and who is a man of learning and taste, but a consummate fop in person and in letters; Lord Guilford (Frederick North), a man of more learning, and whose active benevolence will do more for Greece than Gell's pretensions and showy books; Randohr, the Prussian Minister; the Marquis de Sommariva, a Milanese and a kind of Maecenas of the arts now; and Mr. Benjamin Smith, son of the member from Norwich, who is here


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