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International Florence in 1864 17/04/2011

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c. 1910 from the writings of Alfred Austin

There may have been fewer English residents in Florence in 1864 than there are now, but they were more noteworthy, more distinct personalities, and exercised more social influence among a people that, like the Florentines, are not prone to be lavishly hospitable. I had brought four or five letters of introduction with me, and, as a newly-arrived young bachelor, I was accorded a welcome much in excess of my merits. Charles Lever and his family; Thomas Adolphus Trollope, his delicate, gifted, and charming wife, and their little girl Bice; Charles Fuller, the sculptor, and Mrs. Fuller, a delightful musician with a fine and highly-trained voice; Mde. Laussot, who afterwards married Karl Hillebrand, an accomplished master of three languages; Isa Blagden; George Maquay and his charming American bride; Messrs. French, the bankers; ‘Old Kirkup’, as he was invariably called; Lady Orford and her two young daughters; Pulszki, the Hungarian patriot and exile, himself one of the most accomplished of men, with a singularly interesting family and social circle; Bakounin, the Russian Nihilist, and his fair young Polish wife; Sir George and Lady Otway – these and others of less note more than satisfied my readiness to avail myself of friendly intercourse.

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