Lady Hamilton in Naples (Part 4)

➡️Part 1
➡️Part 2
➡️Part 3

Emma Hart had become very attractive and increasingly famous but also a substantial hindrance for Greville who disliked her being in the limelight-

In addition, he was in a rather precarious financial situation also due to the expenses imposed by his liaison with Emma, and was forced to sell part of his collections. The only solution to get out of the hardship was to find a wealthy wife who could replenish his resources. But the presence of that beautiful lover was a serious obstacle. Another worry was the absolute need to prevent his rich uncle, widower and childless, from remarrying and have a potential heir to his fortunes, disinheriting him.

So he came up with a plan. He convinced his uncle Sir William Hamilton, British Ambassador to Naples, to take Emma off his hands, as if she were a parcel, and have her as his own mistress for a little while, for a kind of a trial period.

To endorse his plan, he assured his uncle that, once married, he would go and fetch her back. He also explained that Emma would be a very pleasing mistress, describing her as “the only woman he had slept with without offending his senses, … a cleaner, sweeter bed-fellow did not exist”.

Without her presence, he would be free to marry the rich heiress he had found, eighteen-year-old Henrietta Middleton: such a rich marriage would also favour Hamilton, who would no longer have the humiliation of having a poor relative

He then convinced Emma to go to Naples for a holiday, while he had to travel to Scotland on business.
Emma accepted the proposal and left, along with her mother, expecting Greville to join her very soon.
She arrived in Naples, which at the time was the third largest city in Europe , on 26 April 1786, her 21st birthday

Emma was naively convinced that she was only spending a vacation there and was unaware that Greville intended to pass her on to his uncle as a lover.
Sir William Hamilton, on the other hand, was aware she was in love with Greville and was therefore reluctant to take her on as his mistress.
Therefore he treated her respectfully as if she were a guest of honour, and he assigned her four rooms in his main residence as well as a coach and horses. Sir Hamilton was an admirer of Emma’s and he had commissioned several portraits of her which already hung in his residence, Palazzo Sessa. Now he had acquired the original, too.
The Palazzo Sessa, located in one of the most fashionable areas of the capital, was not only the official residence of the ambassador but also his private museum, and his home: on a wall of his bedroom, he had affixed the Latin motto: “Ubi bene, ibi patria” (Where I feel good, there is my homeland)
He owned other palaces, like his Posillipo casino which he had mentioned in one letter to his nephew, “I roll luxuriously in the sea every morning and we dine at our Casino at Pausilipo every day, where it is as cool as in England.”.

Naples was an exciting and cosmopolitan city, but she missed Greville desperately and sent him long letters without ever receiving an answer.
However she was still convinced that she was there only on a long vacation.
In August Greville wrote to her brutally telling her that he wanted her to become Sir William’s mistress. His secret hope was that the beautiful but unsuitable Emma would distract him from his intention to remarry.

Emma was both horrified and heartbroken. Her reply still survives: “If you knew what pain I feel in reading those lines when you advise me to Whore; nothing can express my rage, I am all madness, Greville… to advise me to go to bed with him. Oh, that’s worst of all… If I was with you, I would murder you & myself both.”

To be continued

Emma Hart, che era diventata molto attraente e sempre più famosa, rappresentava un notevole ostacolo per Greville a cui non piaceva che lei fosse sempre sotto i riflettori.

Inoltre si trovava in una situazione finanziaria alquanto precaria anche a causa delle spese imposte dal suo legame con Emma, che lo vide costretto a vendere parte delle sue collezioni. L’unica soluzione per uscire dalle difficoltà era trovarsi una moglie ricca che potesse rimpinguare le sue risorse. Ma la presenza di quella splendida amante era un serio ostacolo. Un altro suo cruccio era l’assoluta necessità di evitare che il suo ricco zio, vedovo e senza figli, si risposasse e nascesse un potenziale erede alle sue fortune.

Perciò escogitò un piano. Convinse lo zio Sir William Hamilton, ambasciatore britannico a Napoli, a togliergli dalle mani Emma, come se fosse un pacco, e prenderla come amante anche solo per un po’ di tempo, per una specie di “periodo di prova”.

Per caldeggiare tale progetto assicurò allo zio che, una volta sposato, sarebbe andato a riprenderla. Gli spiegò anche che Emma sarebbe stata un’amante molto piacevole, presentandola come “l’unica donna con cui avesse dormito senza offendere i suoi sensi, … una compagna di letto più pulita e dolce non esisteva”.
Liberato dalla sua presenza, avrebbe potuto sposare la ricca ereditiera che aveva iniziato a corteggiare, la diciottenne Henrietta Middleton, e un ricco matrimonio avrebbe giovato anche a Hamilton, che non avrebbe più avuto l’umiliazione di avere un parente povero.

Convinse poi Emma ad andare a Napoli per una vacanza mentre lui doveva recarsi in Scozia per affari.
Emma accettò la proposta e partì, insieme a sua madre, aspettandosi di essere raggiunta da Greville molto presto.
Arrivò a Napoli, che all’epoca era la terza città d’Europa, il 26 aprile 1786, giorno del suo 21° compleanno.

Emma era ingenuamente convinta di trascorrere là solo un periodo di vacanza e ignorava che Greville intendeva passarla a suo zio come amante.
Sir William Hamilton, d’altra parte, era consapevole che lei era innamorata di Greville e perciò era restio all’idea di farne la sua amante.
Pertanto la trattò con molto rispetto, come se fosse un’ospite d’onore, e le assegnò quattro stanze nella sua residenza principale oltre a carrozza e cavalli. Sir Hamilton era un ammiratore di Emma e aveva commissionato diversi ritratti di Emma che erano appesi nella sua residenza, Palazzo Sessa. Ora aveva acquisito anche l’originale.

Il Palazzo Sessa, situato in una delle zone più alla moda della capitale, non era solo la residenza ufficiale dell’ambasciatore ma anche il museo privato, e la sua casa: una parete della sua camera da letto aveva fatto apporre il motto latino: “Ubi bene, ibi patria” (Dove mi trovo bene, là è la mia patria)
Possedeva altri palazzi, come il suo Casina di Posillipo di cui aveva parlato in una lettera a suo nipote, “Ogni mattina mi lascio rotolare deliziosamente dalle onde, e ogni giorno pranziamo al nostro Casino di Posillipo, dove fa fresco come in Inghilterra”.

Napoli era una città eccitante e cosmopolita, ma Emma soffriva per la lontananza di Greville, a cui scriveva lunghe lettere senza mai ricevere risposta.
Tuttavia era sempre convinta di essere lì solo per una lunga vacanza, quando, ad agosto Greville le scrisse dicendole brutalmente che voleva che diventasse l’amante di Sir William. La sua segreta speranza era che la bella ma inappropriata Emma lo distraesse dall’intenzione di riprendere moglie.

La giovane restò inorridita e si sentì spezzare il cuore. La sua risposta sopravvive ancora: “Se tu sapessi quanto dolore provo nel leggere quelle righe quando mi consigli di diventare puttana; niente può esprimere la mia rabbia, sono furiosa, Greville … consigliarmi di andare a letto con lui. Oh, è la cosa peggiore di tutte… e tu fossi con me, ucciderei te e me stessa.”

Continua

Image: George Romney – Portrait of Emma Hamilton as Circe, c. 1782 – Tate Britain

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85 thoughts on “Lady Hamilton in Naples (Part 4)

  1. What a contrast with the contemporary Piranha styled gold diggers who prey on lonely rich men to foster them a child so they can cash in a sumptuous alimony and will never have to work (again?).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. For some girl that had the brains and the looks to work herself up the social ladder, she had apparently a blind spot in her judgement to whom she could entrust her hart. And then a different version of the story here above repeated when Nelson came along.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow. Dear Luisa, it’s such a pleasure to read your awesome, interesting , fascinating blogs that provide such a wealthy mine of knowledge and information. ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️💕💕💕💕💕😊😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. E va bene che sarà stata una p3rsona anche piuttosto controversa, però bis9gna ammettere che ha subito sia direttamente che indirettamente, molteplici umiliazioni!!! Questa di Greville è proprio grossa, alla faccia dell’interesse al denaro e al benessere… Buon pomeriggio carissima Luisa e grazie sempre dei racconti storici che traduci e condividi con noi. Un abbraccio 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Che razza d’uomo spregevole è Greville! Cacciatore di dote, opportunista, gli piaceva tenere il piede in due scarpe e, per dirla in termini “carini” si comportava come un magnaccia. Spero che la povera Emma abbia capito con che razza di persona avesse a che fare e che l’abbia mollato senza pensarci su due volte.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lady Hamilton in Naples 4 very fascinating story and you dear decorated the chapter 4 with
    awesome lines and gorgeous photos can nicely read and understand the story of Emma 👏😍
    Grace wishes and happy weekend dear friend 🌷🙏♥️🌷

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good lord, it gets more and more shocking with each new part! Thank you so much for adding to this Luisa. Wow, what scandal and intrigue Lady Hamilton’s life was! Looking forward to the next exciting episode already! Love and light, Deborah.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sta iniziando a diventare una storia triste. Non conoscendo Lady Hamilton, vengo a conoscere la sua vita attraverso le tue righe, e sono davvero spiazzanti.

    “passarla a suo zio”
    Un pacco. Per quanto prezioso. Davvero terribile.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh beautiful Emma! Jilted and sour. Might she revenge? I’ve now began to get a slight view of the causes for her future actions. Mmm’h… that rage… she’s certainly not the kind to use and dumb and simply get away with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This Greville character sounds horrible. It seems to have Emma’s poor luck to have met with many a rogue in her life who only viewed her as a sex object they could possess and dispose of according to their whims.

    Like

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