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to Genoa, was uninterupted by any incident worth recording
To those who have visited Genoa, any description of mine would be presumptuous, and to those who have not, I am afraid it would be uninteresting.
We remained there two months, having enjoyed it most completely. · Nothing could be more delightful than our journey the whole way to Florence, which place we reached in safety, having stopped a week at Pisa, and ten days at Lucca.
The magnificence and beauty of Florence is the universal theme of praise; a tedious and very irksome journey (which ours was not) is more than rewarded by the sight of this charming city.
Lord and Lady Henry took a suite of apartments for six months, in order to have full time to examine and enjoy all its wonders and beauties.
The city was full of English, and though many of them professedly came for retrenchment, nothing could exceed the splendour and gaiety of their parties.
The most splendid and most sought after were those given by a young English heiress, who arrived a few days after us, and who had a noble hotel (or palazzo rather) taken for her next door to the one we inhabited.
The beauty, the wit, and the immense fortune of Miss Osmond, (for that was the name of the heiress,) attracted crowds to her parties, and she and her wealth were the objects to which all the single men in Florence directed their attentions and hopes.
As she remained some time in our vicinity, and caused a great sensation whilst she continued there, I may as well give some little account of her and the friends who composed her family circle, and who accompanied her throughout her tour on the continent.
"Oh ever thus from childhood's hour,
I've seen my fondest hopes decay ;
But 'twas the first to fade away.
To glad me with its dark black eye,
Miss Osmond was the only child of a gentleman of good family but no wealth ; he was therefore sent early to India, where he amassed a large fortune, and afterwards married a lady as affluent as himself, who, bearing him only one child, died, and he soon afterwards following his lady to the grave : his daughter, (Miss Osmond,) at
ten years of age, succeeded to his immense riches. These, in the hands of careful guardians, had so accumulated, that at the age of twenty, which she was when she visited Florence, she became an object of speculation even to princes. Miss Osmond was rather a handsome young woman, dashing and lively in her manners, and apparently good-tempered, profuse in her expenditure, and very generous.
She was accompanied by a cousin, (the daughter of her father's brother,) Miss Ellen Osmond, whose fortunes were as humble as her cousin's were brilliant, but she far surpassed her in beauty and accomplishments, and her gentle and subdued manners must have won all hearts, had not her cousin's wealth blinded the eyes of all who approached them. Thus, while Miss Osmond was surrounded by admirers, the more lovely Ellen was entirely neglected ; not by her cousin, it is true, as she always seemed kind to her dependent relative, whom it was said she
had taken under her protection ever since the poor orphan had lost her parents.
An aunt of the cousins, the dowager Lady Norton, was at once their kind companion and natural protectress.
Amongst the numerous admirers of the dashing heiress was the young and handsome Earl of Stukely, or I should rather say his mother the dowager was the admirer, for it was notorious that it was she, who, being exceedingly anxious that her son should make so splendid an alliance, was incessant in her attentions to the good-natured but rather wayward young lady.
She seemed very difficult to please, and had at the present moment shown no marked preference for any one of her lovers. Italian princes, English peers, and French counts, were all treated by her alike; but, nothing daunted by her indifference, they continued haunting her wherever she was, and whenever she appeared.
Sometimes she would put her lovely and modest cousin forwards, in hopes (as people