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[56] about them, when Bonaparte made his escape and began the adventures of the famous Hundred Days. . . . .

November 22.—I went this morning to see the Marquis Gino Capponi, a person of great distinction here by the antiquity of his family, by his fortune, and by his personal talents; but who, having the taint of liberalism upon him, is frowned upon by the Court, and lives in a sort of morose retirement. . . . . I found him living in a magnificent palace, one of the finest in this city of grand palazzos, and though nobody else occupies it but his aged mother, I found him in the true Italian fashion, perched up in the fourth story, and actually ascended an hundred and twelve steps to reach him.

He is nearly fifty years old, a widower, and with no children except married daughters,—a tall, fine specimen of a noble Italian, with frank and striking manners, and altogether a picturesque and dignified appearance. His conversation was strong and bold, tinctured with politics throughout; and though he lives with men of letters like Niccolini and Becchi, and affects, and I dare say desires, to give himself up to literature, yet still his cabinet was full of newspapers, and all his talk redolent of public affairs. He was once in great favor with the Grand Duke, and used to be much consulted by him; but since the change in Court politics in 1830-32, the Marquis Capponi withdrew himself rather violently from the government, and is seen now only as a matter of ceremony at the palace. If, however, the time should come when liberal principles again shall prevail in Tuscany, I doubt not he would exercise a controlling influence in its affairs. He savors most strongly of the noble old stock of the Italians in Italy's best days, and while he is very frank, free, and winning in conversation, has all the air and bearing of one born to command.

In a letter to Mr. Prescott, written six weeks later, Mr. Ticknor thus sums up his experiences in Florence:—

. . . . The society I found still more changed, but not for the better. Of foreign, there was a good deal; but we cared little about it, for it was merely fashionable. Of Italian there was very little. The Marchioness Lenzoni——who, besides being the last descendant of one branch of the Medicis, owns and carefully preserves at Certaldo the house which Boccaccio possessed, and where he died—opened her saloon twice a week, and received the principal Florentine nobility, as well as the men of letters, and I met there Buonarotti, the head of Michel Angelo's family, and the head of the administration of

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