To His Highness
Prince Alfonso Serafino di Porcia.
Allow me to place your name at the beginning of an essentially
Parisian work, thought out in your house during these latter days.
Is it not natural that I should offer you the flowers of rhetoric
that blossomed in your garden, watered with the regrets I suffered
from home-sickness, which you soothed, as I wandered under the
boschetti whose elms reminded me of the Champs-Elysees? Thus,
perchance, may I expiate the crime of having dreamed of Paris
under the shadow of the Duomo, of having longed for our muddy
streets on the clean and elegant flagstones of Porta-Renza. When I
have some book to publish which may be dedicated to a Milanese
lady, I shall have the happiness of finding names already dear to
your old Italian romancers among those of women whom we love, and
to whose memory I would beg you to recall your sincerely