previous next

[54] and gave certificates to that effect. I have talked with these four persons and some others about it, and they seem to have no doubt; and, on the other side, I have found only my American friend, Mr. Wilde, who seems to be quite as confident in the opposite opinion. It is a strange and curious matter, no doubt, and probably something like the Shakespeare papers, which Ireland pretended to have found, but managed by an older and much more wary and skilful person.

In the evening we went to the Grand Duke's first ball of the season, given at the Pitti Palace. Nothing could be more unceremonious. It is the only occasion on which he sees strangers, or his own subjects, except for business or in private audiences in his cabinet. . . . . Any strangers who are presented to him by their ministers may come whenever a ball occurs, without further invitation, but Tuscans come only as they are specially invited. . . . . The entrance is by the back part of the palace, which being on the upper side of the hill, we came in on the second story. . . . . We passed through many long winding passages, and one or two fine antechambers, and then came into a large and very high hall, all white, and lighted with waxtapers built up in the form of obelisks, quite round the sides, and as bright as noonday. In this the company assembled . . . . . About half past 8 the Grand Duke and Duchess, with their Court, came in, all dressed simply . . . . . They passed round the room, and the strangers were presented to them, to the number, I should think, of sixty or seventy . . . . . The Grand Duchess is quite handsome, . . . . but she had very few words to say to anybody. . . . . The Grand Duke made some conversation with us, talked about the dress of ladies in America, about steamboats crossing the Atlantic, and seemed quite willing to be agreeable, though he was certainly awkward in his efforts, and preserved, both then and through the whole evening, the same anxious look I had observed yesterday. After the presentations were over the dancing began, and the Duke and Duchess danced nearly every time. A part of the company went into four or five small rooms near the principal one, and lounged or played cards; and between eleven and twelve a larger room was opened, with refreshments, but no regular supper. Soon after midnight the Court disappeared, and we were at home before one o'clock.

Prince Maximilian of Saxony-one of whose daughters is now Duchess Dowager of Tuscany, and another was the first wife of the present Grand Duke——is now here with his pretty young wife, and his sensible, gifted daughter Amelia, to pass the winter. They were,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Tuscany (Italy) (1)
Saxony (Saxony, Germany) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
R. H. Wilde (1)
Ireland (1)
Dowager (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: