graceful movements and manners. Sometimes, especially if it be late, I find a lover with his guitar before the house of his mistress, singing his passion and his suffering. Only last night I was coming home from Sir Henry Wellesley's, where I had stayed very late at a little ball Lady Wellesley gave in her garden,—a kind of fete champetre,—and, as I came into the street where I live, I saw a man standing in the middle, and singing with a beautifully clear and sweet voice to his guitar, which he played with great skill. I stopped to hear him, and recognized a little popular song, called a seguidilla, of eight lines, which I have in a large collection of these pieces, taken from the very lips of the populace that composed them. Each [song] consists of one idea, generally a comparison, always in the same metre, and in eight lines, and often singularly beautiful and original. . . . .
To Elisha Ticknor.
Madrid, August 1, 1818.I am sure you will think of me more than you commonly do today, my dear father and mother, for these anniversaries seem to be bounds and limits in my absence. This is the fourth birthday I have passed away from you; the next, if Heaven pleases to spare my life and health, will be again at home, to which I look forward every day with new earnestness and impatience. . . . . There is one person that I have mentioned to you so often, that you may desire that I should tell you with some minuteness who he is. I mean the Duke de Laval, French Ambassador here. Since I have been in Europe I have not been so intimate with any one as with him. He is a man of about fifty years old, with great gayety, openness, and impetuosity of character, and with great talents in conversation; so great, indeed, that Mad. de Stael, who was herself the most remarkable person perhaps in this respect that ever lived, used to delight to hear him talk. He has strong literary propensities and not a little literary knowledge, and especially with a genuine goodness of heart, which makes it necessary for him to make those about him happy merely that he may see them so. He is one of the old exiled nobility, who never gave up their fidelity, and in rank he is the first baron of the kingdom, with the title of Duke de Laval; besides that, in Germany he is, from services rendered by his ancestors, Prince of the Empire, and in Spain, from his own merits, Duke de San Fernando Luis, and grandee of the first class; in short, he is, from the antiquity and splendor of his family, one of the first, if not