In the mean time, I will frankly confess to you, that my health most seriously and urgently requires the balmy air of dear Naples, and the more balmy atmosphere of those I love, and who love me; and that I shall forego my garret with more regret than most people of my silly rank in society forego a palace or a drawing-room.
But I will augur better things from the justice of my neighbour; and that they will not condemn, against all rules of probability, one of their best friends, unheard: especially, one who, if he be heard, can say so much.
My project, then, in case I receive the passport, is to travel on horseback as far as Spalato in Dalmatia; and, from thence, cross over to Manfredonia—a passage of a few hours—and which, in the year 1772, I performed with my horses on board; and, afterwards, had a most delightful jaunt through that unexplored region, Dalmatia; where the very first object that strikes both the eye and the imagination, is a modern city built within the precincts of an ancient palace—for Spalato stands within the innermost walls of Diocletian’s palace. For that wise Sovereign quitted the sceptre for the pleasures of an architect’s rule; and, when he had completed his mansion in that delightful climate, enjoyed that, and life, to a most advanced old age—
“The world forgetting, by the world forgot.”
A-propos to Spalato! Do not fail hinting to Sir William, that a most safe, convenient, and expeditious packet-boat, might be established, in these perilous times, between that and Manfredonia: by which all dispatches, and all travellers, either for business or pleasure, might make a very short and safe cut between Naples and Vienna, and Naples and the rest of Europe, without touching one palm of any ground but Austrian and Neapolitan; and, of course, without the risk of being ever stopped.
The small towns, too, are in quick succession; and, the whole country being a limestone rock, the roads will make themselves, and afterwards pay themselves, by means of good turnpikes.
Nothing can exceed the dreariness, gloominess, and humidity, of a Milanese sky in winter; which, I conclude, under the old regime, led to all the hospitality, and conviviality, practised here, by their voluptuous but social nobility.
Now, we have nothing left to comfort, but another Nudi—a son of Esculapius, born in Italy; but an enthusiast for England, and all that is English—an excellent physician, but a still better friend; and, like Nudi, when he has a pint of Madeira in his belly, and the fumes of it in his brain, a most cheerful and improving companion: for, I protest to you that, during my convalescence, I made greater strides to recovery by his Attic evenings, than by his morning potions, or even his beef broth.
Sweet Emma, adieu! Remember me in the warmest and most enthusiastic stile, to your friend, and my friend, and the friend of human kind.