The diplomatic corps had been much modified since its departure from Florence. The Communard Comte de Choiseul, son of the famous Duc de Praslin who murdered his wife in Louis Philippe's day, had been replaced by M. Fournier, the friend of Renan. He was clever, doctrinaire, violent and cassant, very cultured and intimate with all scientific and literary people. He was short, thin, pale-faced, and sharp-featured, and always put me in mind of the Girondin Manuel. He ought to have been clad in a long brown coat and cape, and a low, wide-brimmed hat. His wife, an excellent, simple woman, who adored him, used to pray that he should break an arm, because her happiness was too great. My husband, who had known the Fourniers at other posts, asked why it was not her own arm she prayed for. She did not think that would affect her happiness sufficiently, was her answer. Such elements did not blend well with sarcastic people of the world; they were soon removed, and replaced by the Marquis and Marquise de Noailles. The Ambassador who, in spite of his aristocratic name, was supposed to have extreme revolutionary leanings, was gentleness itself, and allowed his wife, his son, his Embassy to do exactly as they liked, a modus vivendi not usually associated with the intolerant Republican. He was a man of great culture and literary talent, in conversation mildly sarcastic. He used to sit for hours inside my huge fireplace, smoking up the chimney, because he could not be one minute without a cigarette. The Marquise was a Pole, whose great beauty was now somewhat marred by too much embonpoint, but the sway she had for many years, during the time of her widowhood before her second marriage, exercised over many hearts, still prevailed to some degree. She was by no means collet monté, but when the great portals of the Palazzo Farnese, which the French Government with true Republican generosity had secured and partly furnished for the Embassy, were thrown open every Monday to crowds less remarkable for quality than quantity, she used to select a friend, and, taking him to the long gallery, she pointed with lovely hands to some very risqué subject in Giulio Romano's beautiful ceiling, and, with black lashes dropped over blue eyes, she sighed wistfully 'Et dire que tout cela a été fait à l'instar d'un prêtre !'

The dinners at the Farnese were unrivalled for gorgeousness, and all the official world was invited to them. They were sometimes enlivened by the son of the house, aged ten, careering round the table on his tricycle adorned only in his nightgown.

Mme. de Noailles, who was amiability itself to everybody, sometimes remonstrated with me for not being sufficiently catholic in my invitations. She used to point at me, saying 'Regardez cette Ambassadrice qui ne connaît pas les Ministres.' This was in a sense true, for after the Minghetti administration had been

replaced by one of a very different kind, the men who composed it never went into society or made any attempt to make my acquaintance, and the principal one amongst them was then coping with the difficulty of having three wives at the same time, one of them being an Englishwoman. I therefore saw no particular reason to take steps to know them. Germany and France were the rivals for popularity, but England could afford to stand by and look on, for all Italians of that generation knew her to be their true friend, who had powerfully supported them in their fight for unity.

Before leaving the French diplomats, I must mention Madame de Corcelles, the wife of the Ambassador to the Pope. She was a delightful old lady, who often visited me in spite of prohibitions. 'Car,' she declared, ' je suis la petite fille de Lafayette, et je fais ce qui me plaît.' She never addressed the Cardinals as Eminence, but hailed them in cheery tones as her dear Cardinals.' When one day she visited Pius IX., he asked her whether she had seen all the sights of Rome. Oui, Saint Père,' she responded, ' mais ce que je désire le plus c'est de voir un Conclave.' That Pope. had the saving grace of sense of humour, and he it was who told the story.

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Prussia never had had any Embassies anywhere, only Ministers plenipotentiary, but Imperial Germany was the first to recognise Italy as a Great Power, and to accredit an ambassador. For this important post M. de Keudell was chosen and accorded a triumphant reception in Rome, both at Court and in society; for by this time all sympathies had shifted from France to Germany. Southern imagination invested M. de Keudell with Macchiavellian inventiveness and Talleyrand's astuteness. He was supposed to be Prince Bismarck's alter ego, whilst he was not even his replica on blotting paper, and it was only the aura of the man of blood and iron which shone around him. In reality M. de Keudell was the simplest, most naïve, straight, and unsophisticated Prussian soldier, who had been translated into an ambassador's uniform. I, who when I was a girl at Court had once sat behind his square white Cuirassier's back, as he with huge hands called forth in the purest, most soothing and classical way the melodies of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, soon discovered that the mystery of his appointment was to be looked for in the thrall which that divine music had exercised on the receptive mind of the great Chancellor. Besides that, M. de Keudell was discipline in person, and what more could be wanted? He was enormous, over six foot, and more than broad in proportion. Out of a round bullet head with white or flaxen hair-I never found out whichshone a pair of small but very honest brown eyes. He was utterly without guile, and, being the doyen of the Ambassadors, would

have had to cope with many difficulties of form and etiquette, had not his happy nature allowed him to float about in the situation in unconscious bliss, till his popularity landed him on some point of vantage. As Mme. de Keudell was always ill, her duties as doyenne of the Ambassadresses devolved upon me, and I had frequently to confer with her husband, so as to take united action. I need not say that with such a man everything was easy as soon as he was quite persuaded that the proposed course was absolutely right and straight.

There was in those days a very large English colony in Rome, and also an enormous influx of tourists, many of whom brought introductions from people we barely knew. There were also those who had printed letters from the Foreign Office recommending them to the Ambassador's good offices and protection. These all imagined they had a right to be invited to what they termed our 'public balls' and receptions. To satisfy them was not easy, and when I insisted that, when the King and Queen honoured our balls with their presence, the ladies should come in full dress, and not, as they frequently did, in walking frocks with striped Como blankets over their shoulders and mittens on their hands, there was an outcry; but I felt it my duty to be firm. Nobody who was not in Rome in those days can have a conception of the numbers of English who invaded it. A good number came to see the sights, others for the Church functions; some came for hunting, and some for riding only, and never went to see St. Peter's or the Coliseum. Many spent all their time in picking up coloured marbles and drinking tea together, but all of them wanted to be amused in the evening, and, as there were hardly any theatres, the Court and the Embassies were the only resource, for the Roman houses were not open to them.

From November to June it was a continuous string of new faces, and the dinners, luncheons, concerts, and balls we had to give seemed unending. Lent brought no relief, for Rome was fuller than ever at that time. On every fine afternoon when there was no hunting all the best lawn-tennis players among the young Romans assembled in our lovely gardens, and crowds of ladies came to watch this, till then, unknown game. The gardens, now alas! reduced to a third of their extent, covered the grounds of some ancient villa, and were bounded on the east by the Aurelian wall and on the south by the Castro Pretorio. Secular ilex avenues gave a grateful shade in spring and summer, and led to a grove which in June was paved with scarlet poppies, out of which, at one's approach, arose clouds of white doves. The place was so lonely during the first years of our tenancy that when I walked there by myself in the gloaming of a frosty winter evening I saw the foxes creep out of the copses, seeking for some prey.

All this has gone, and so have the Ludovisi gardens and many other haunts of the Oreads and Dryads. The Rome of to-day knows those mysteries no more. When first we lived in what was then the Villa Torlonia, but which now has been the English Embassy for forty years, it was surrounded by vineyards, out of which loomed ruins and ancient monuments. For a quarter of a mile there were no houses, and I was constantly warned by my Roman friends of the dangers I ran when returning late at night with my jewels on from some ball or party. The servants were terrified, and would not go messages after dark, for high walls, with here and there dark recesses, lined the road. The gentlemen of the Embassy, when returning in the evening on foot, took the precaution of walking in the middle of the road, and carried heavy sticks. I confess that these first years in sunny, peaceful, untouched, and mysterious Rome, had a great charm for me. It was romantic, and one might, with a little imagination, have invested it with a spice of danger.

Then there were the long rides over the undulating flowerenamelled Campagna, the spins of twenty or thirty miles through fields of asphodel, tinted rose-red by the setting sun, for we defied the ancient Roman superstition of coming in at sunset. The Embassy, which was close to the Porta Pia, soon became a meeting place for all our friends who liked riding, as the Campagna was an open book to us. My children brought their playfellows, and these little creatures, some of them on tiny ponies, tore across the smooth green grass, sometimes followed by a stream of huge white Maremma shepherd dogs, at a pace which often made me tremble. Mothers confided their daughters to me, and many a marriage was thus made in the saddle under my chaperonage.

We knew the Campagna better than anybody in Rome, yet in spite of this we sometimes got into difficulties owing to the frequent changes of boundaries. One day I was riding alone with Dr. Nevin. He was the well-known and energetic incumbent of the American Church in Rome, very popular, and quite a character in those days, before a long illness sapped his powers. He had been a soldier, and through the War of Secession. He was a friend of Dr. Doellinger, and yet was well noted at the Vatican. He seemed to know most people, although he was very poor and went little into society. A lady once sent him a cheque for ten pounds anonymously, because his clothes were so shabby. I doubt whether he bought new ones with the money. He was very enterprising, and reasonable people thought him a little extraordinary; he rode a little skinny mare, whom he apostrophised as 'Baby,' and who got over or under most things. That afternoon we had lost our way in the long valleys which extend from the monastery of the Tre Fontane towards Albano, when we

suddenly came upon a great number of convicts digging up a large extent of soil, and, in answer to our questions, we were told that the monks were extending their eucalyptus plantations in that direction. These plantations have made this most insalubrious part of the Campagna quite healthy and very beautiful. In the distance we espied, near another gang of convicts, what appeared to be an Arab on horseback. Our curiosity being aroused, we put our horses into a canter, and soon came up with what we found to be a monk, a Trappist monk in a white cowl with a black stole over it. He was young and handsome, and as we approached he vainly tried to pull his narrow skirt down over his white cotton stockings. We asked permission to pass through the lands appertaining to the Abbey, and he courteously offered to show us the way. I made a remark to Dr. Nevin expressing my admiration of the monk's straight seat and manly looks, but my companion pointed to the purple tassels hanging from the hat, and said 'Take care, he will understand.' At this moment our cicerone, galloping on before us, took a wide ditch in splendid style, and, flinging open a heavy gate to let us pass, bowed a low and silent adieu. As he drew his hand back from the gate, the sun glinted upon a great jewel in a ring, which revealed him to be the mitred Abbot of Tre Fontane.

This apparition left a vivid impression upon both of us, and Dr. Nevin took some trouble to find out who the young Abbot was before he became a religious. He was told that he belonged to a great Piedmontese family and was a dashing cavalry officer, and that a tragic love affair drove him, like de Rancé, the founder of the order, to become a Trappist. These monks have strict clôture, and are hardly ever allowed to speak. The Abbot only may go abroad.

M. Minghetti, for whom riding was the one relaxation from his arduous work, was my constant and most staid companion, and used to exclaim, with his calm, seraphic smile, Ah, but this is not riding, it is steeplechasing.' 'Corrono corrono tutto il tempo come disperati' ('They race all the time like madmen '). Many were the interesting conversations I had with him during those rides. He had at one time, I think it was in 1849, been much in the intimacy of Pius IX; in fact, he held a position of great trust and responsibility. One evening he was alone with the Pontiff talking of the threatening aspect of the political horizon, when the Pope arose, and, drawing aside the curtain, pointed to a brilliant star, and exclaimed 'Look at that star! As long as it shines, none can hurt me.' Minghetti told me this to show how strong in those days still was the belief in stars. Napoleon III also had his star, and so had many others.

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