« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
THE COURT AND PALACES OF NAPLES.
The 12th January is the King's fête-day. This is the great event of the Baciamano. Every foreigner is anxious to see royalty, and in this respect the English are ever foremost. It is difficult to say, if this proceeds merely from idle curiosity—from a disposition to be seen at Court—from personal vanity-or from that respect to the sovereign, be he who he may, which so pre-eminently distinguishes the order-loving, aristocratic-minded English
there were very few of us at Naples at this period.
Since the revolution of 1848, his Majesty has resided principally at Caserta, his favourite palace, where, hedged in by troops, he can enjoy his dignity in security; he very seldom came to his magnificent palace in Naples. That stately, beautiful edifice was untenanted of its royalty ; but now that his loving subjects seem more tranquil, and are content with a mouthful of macaroni in winter, and a watermelon in summer, all riots and revolutions seem at an end; and his Majesty appeared once more in public at Naples.
After the usual preliminary ceremony of the gathering together in divers rooms—the ambassadors and foreigners being in one, and the Neapolitans in other apartments—his Majesty, accompanied by the Queen and the royal family, with the usual burrs of royalty --the chamberlains, &c., entered the throneroom.
As I remarked a considerable rush to one door, I thought of Sir Sydney Smith's advice to me many years ago, “ to keep your eye on one object, and avoid the crowd.” I took the liberty to diverge from the stream, and join a smaller current through another door. On entering the throne-room I found myself, by very polite persuasion of the elbows, close to the lower step of the platform, and within one of the Queen.
The King is certainly the first, and very nearly the greatest man in his dominion; and in the exercise of his supreme power, it has always surprized me, that he had not sent the divers printsellers of Naples to Ischia-Procida, or Nisida, for change of air and trifling restraint, for hanging up at their windows such confoundedly ugly likenesses of both him and the Queen. Any representation of an ogre, or of the Emperor Soulouque, in uniform, can scarcely be more disagreeably ugly and ferocious than the prints of his blessed Majesty, Ferdinand of Naples. As for the Queen, they have caricatured her into an apparently half-drunken housemaid.
His Majesty is not handsome, it must be admitted; neither can any man of his tremendous size strike the most casual observer as the picture of elegance. There is a certain standard, which cannot be passed without running into coarseness; and nothing derogates more from respect than a short, fat, stumpy,