MY DEAREST EMMA,
The very unexpected intelligence, which Prince Augustus has most delicately communicated to me, of poor Lord Hervey’s decease, has quite bouleversee my already shattered frame.
I would not allow your friendly mind to learn an event so interesting to me from any other hand than that of your affectionate and devoted friend,
MY EVER DEAREST LADY HAMILTON,
I should certainly have made this Sunday an holy day to me, and have taken a Sabbath day’s journey to Caserta, had not poor Mr. Lovel been confined to his bed above three days with a fever.
To-day, it is departed; to-morrow, Dr. Nudi has secured us from its resurrection; and, after to-morrow, I hope, virtue will be its own reward, and that my friendship for Lovel will be recompensed with the enjoyment.
This moment I receive your billet-doux, and very dulcet it is!
All public and private accounts agree, in the immediate prospect of a general peace. It will make a delicious foreground in the picture of the new year; many of which, I wish, from the top, bottom, and centre of my heart, to the incomparable Emma—quella senza paragona!
Dans ce moment, on m’assure que Mayence est prise. Je ne vous garantis pas cette maudite nouvelle—mais je me flatte que la paix se fait.
EVER DEAREST EMMA,
I went down to your Opera box two minutes after you left it; and should have seen you on the morning of your departure—but was detained in the arms of Murphy, as Lady Eden expressed it, and was too late.
You say nothing of the adorable Queen; I hope, she has not forgot me: but, as Shakespeare says, “Who doats, must doubt;” and I verily deem her the very best edition of a woman I ever saw—I mean; of such as are not in folio, and are to be had in sheets.
I will come on Friday or Saturday; but our British colony are so numerous, that my duties obstruct my pleasures.
Ever, and invariably, dearest, dear Emma, most affectionately, your
You see, I am but the second letter of your alphabet, though you are the first of mine.
Milan, 24th November 1798.
I know not, Dearest Emma, whether friend Sir William has been able to obtain my passport, or not; but this I know—that, if they have refused it, they are damned fools for their pains: for, never was a Malta orange better worth squeezing or sucking; and if they leave me to die, without a tombstone over me, to tell the contents—“tant pis pour eux!”