They wakened us with “Addio, la bella Napoli, addio, addio!” sung to the departing benefactor. When he had completed his toilet and his coffee, he showed himself on the balcony to them for a moment. Ah! What a resounding cheer for the signore, the great North-American nobleman! And how it swelled to a magnificent thundering when another largess of his came flying down among them!
Who could have reproved him? Not Raffaele Ansolini, who was on his knees over the bags and rugs! I think I even made some prolongation of that position, for I was far from assured of my countenance, that bright morning.
I was not to sail in the “Princess Irene” with those dear friends. Ah no! I had told them that I must go back to Paris to say good-bye to my little nieces and sail from Boulogne—and I am sure they believed that was my reason. I had even arranged to go away upon a train which would make it not possible for me to drive to the dock with them. I did not wish to see the boat carry them away from me.
And so the farewells were said in the street in all that crowd. Poor Jr. and I were waiting at the door when the carriage galloped up. How the crowd rushed to see that lady whom it bore to us, blushing and laughing! Clouds of gold-dust came before my eyes again; she wore once more that ineffable grey pongee!
Servants ran forward with the effects of Poor Jr. and we both sprang toward the carriage.
A flower-girl was offering a great basket of loose violets. Poor Jr. seized it and threw them like a blue rain over the two ladies.
A hundred bouquets showered into the carriage, and my friend’s silver went out in another shower to meet them.
“Addio, la bella Napoli!” came from the singers and the violins, but I cried to them for “La Luna Nova.”
“Good-bye—for a little while—good-bye!”
I knew how well my friend liked me, because he shook my hand with his head turned away. Then the grey glove of the beautiful lady touched my shoulder—the lightest touch in all the world —as I stood close to the carriage while Poor Jr. climbed in.
“Good-bye. Thank you—and God bless you!” she said, in a low voice. And I knew for what she thanked me.
The driver cracked his whip like an honest Neapolitan. The horses sprang forward. “Addio, addio!”
I sang with the musicians, waving and waving and waving my handkerchief to the departing carriage.
Now I saw my friend lean over and take the beautiful lady by the hand, and together they stood up in the carriage and waved their handkerchiefs to me. Then, but not because they had passed out of sight, I could see them not any longer.
They were so good—that kind Poor Jr. and the beautiful lady; they seemed like dear children—as if they had been my own dear children.