They in our pleasure and astonishment,
Do build themselves a live long monument;
as Milton says of a much greater writer still.
But the King of Naples is arrived, and that attention which wits and scholars can retain for centuries, may not be unjustly paid to princes while they last.
Our Bolognese have hit upon an odd method of entertaining him however: no other than making a representation of Mount Vesuvius on the Montagnuola, or place of evening resort, hoping at least to treat him with something new I trow. Were the King of England to visit these cari Bolognese, surely they would shew him Westminster Bridge, with a view of the Archbishop’s palace at Lambeth on one side the river, and Somerset-house on the other.
A pretty throne, or state-box, was soon got in order, that it was; and the motion excited by carrying the fire-works to have them prepared for the evening’s show, gave life to the morning, which hung less heavily than usual; nor did the people recollect the church-yard at a distance, while the merry King of Naples was near them. His Majesty appeared perfectly contented and good-humoured, and happy with whatever was done for his amusement. I remember his behaviour at Milan though, too well to be surprised at his pleasantness of disposition, when my maid was delighted to see him dance among the girls at a Festa di Ballo, from whence I retired early myself, and sent her back to enjoy it all in my domino. He played at cards too when at Milan I recollect, in the common Ridotto Chamber at the Theatre, and played for common sums, so as to charm every one with his kindness and affability.
I am glad however that we shall now be soon released from this upon the whole disagreeable town, where there is the best possible food too for body and mind; but where the inhabitants seem to think only of the next world, and do little to amuse those who have not yet quite done with this. If they are sincere mean time, God will bless them with a long continuance of the appellation they so justly deserve; and those travellers who pass through will find some amends in the rich cream and incomparable dinners every day, for the insects that devour them every night; and will, if they are wise, seek compensation from the company of the half animated pictures that crowd the palaces and churches, for the half dead inhabitants who kneel in the streets of Bologna.