Monthly Archives: April 2010

Sunday, 30 April 1860

Sent letters to Ann & C.F.

Promising finer ― half a gleam of sun. ― But at 2 pouring rain, & black November weather again.

Macbeans. ― Did not work.

Bought things for Ann & others.

Wrote to Ann, & letter from her. ―

Went to Dessoulavy ― & certainly did puchiss photograffs, Lizards, mosaics &c. &c.
Called on Macbeans also ― & sate with clever Mrs. M. & Mrs. Gordon. ―― Rain always ― clearer before sunset & a small walk  on the Pincian. Saw a [Bopie] ― whom I suppose was Maria B.: ― they were all very kind to me in those days. ― And, as I turned into the Corso, there was Cavaliere Ricci ― of those kind Aquila Abruzzi days! ―

There’s something in this world amiss

Will be unriddled bye & bye.

And I did not speak to him: nor do I think it possible he could have known me. ― And I also thought I saw Monsignore Coletti ―――――.

At 4 P.M. a card was brought me ― “Mr. Empson” & “Mrs. Charles Empson” written thereon. I thought it was the remaining brother of the Professor ― but it turned out an old gent, of snowy & meek-like look ― “a distant relative Sir.” ― He had come so far to see W.S. Landor, & had letters to Browning, ― & knew “Pentland.” By degrees it came to me that there was a C. Empson senior: Newcastle ― who also went to Bath after a certain time: ― & I can’t but think this the man. He was about 40 when I was a lad of 17: & may be 70 now. ―― Hum. ―― He called afterwards again, ― asking G. where he could dine? ― G. said ― “In qualunque sito ―”  but finding he did not understand Italian ― added, ― “Everywhere Sir, ― all over the place! ― [Vide overleaf 29 April]

[30 Apl. (from overleaf.)]

Dined at the Falcone: rain ― al solito.

G. in the evening told me this story ― told him by a Greek of ˇ[Ianina] who was on board the boat from Corfu to Brindisi. Being at Tricala  ― a place aboundly in storx, this man ˇ[& others] saw ― sitting in a garden ― a large snake go up a tree to a storks nest: the 2 old storx made no end of clatter & by that means drew by degrees a cloud of storx ― all the storx of the Peneus ― who flew, & clattered, but didn’t touch the snake. At length some flew away, & returned with more ― 2 large or older particularly: & these fell on the snake & struck him down ― whereon all the storx rushed at the abolished serpent, & tore him into pezzi,  & were happy ever after.


[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

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Saturday, 29 April 1860

Gray ― early: & I wished to take G. to the Cemetery. Wrote to C.F. ― No church. At 12 it rained as usual, & so on all day. Nevertheless I went to S. Peters & back ―: disgustable.

Wrote to Jamieson.

Dined at the Knights ― Isabella very poorly. ―

[The rest of the page is taken by the final part of the entry for 30 April.]

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

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Saturday, 28 April 1860

Sent letter to F.L.

Utterly sunless, but dry ― wonderful to say! ― until 3, when it began to rain again & rained on always.

Macbeans ― no papers.

Worked at colouring sketches. ―

Amused by seeing the G. Duchess M. of Russia go from the Hotel opposite: 4 immense hay carts of vast trunks & cases ― 3 large carriages & 2 small ones. 3 carriages of servants ― 1 for 2 ladies of honour. 1 for C. Strogonoff & the G. Duchess ― & lastly one containing 2 male & 1 female servant & 23 bundles: ― the vastness of beggardom let loose on this ulterior transitory vehicle was wondrous. ―

Sat an hour with P. Williams. Anecdote of Miss Hosmer & others. ― Dined at the Φαλκῶνε.

Deep rain & mud ――― like December in 1837.

[How] George is to sit & smoke: poor fellow ― he bears up well for him: but I hope to be away in 10 days ― & he on the road home.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

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Friday, 27 April 1860


An odious month! ― The same heavy dark sky & fits of rain. ― Macbeans. ― Worked off & on at one of the 2 Jerusalems ― & coloring Syrian sketches all day. At 7 to Cholmondeleys ― only his brother Charles there ― very pleasant.

Dessoulavy came afterwards ― & was immensely amusing. He came here in Dec. 1817 ― & was then 16 years old ― ergo is 59 now. (Gibson had come in October 1817 ― & was then about 28: now consequently some 72 or 73.)

D.’s account of Turner & old Kaisermann was most laughable. He talks of going to England to settle.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

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Thursday, 26 April 1860

In no country is it possible to suppose a gloomier day.

Rain early. To Macbean’s ― no news, now a days.

Then worked hard at Jerusalem, (having sponged out all the last 3 days work on it, & beginning wholly on a new task.) & on Baalbek, besides colouring penned sketches.
“Intervals of leisure” ― certainly not looking out of doors into the dismal rain. And poor George, (never again will I be so selfish as to allow a good servant so to sacrifice his life’s comfort, ― for as he says ― this kitchen “guard’a’ una mura sola ―” ((“Looks towards a single wall,” perhaps meaning there is no view from the windows.)) ―) writing as long as he can, complains of the dark & dismal weather naturally. ― Indeed Rome is a gross imposture in all ways. ― After 5 I went out, & meeting Cholmondeley (who has written to me to dine there tomorrow,) walked with him a bit: he is odd & quaint, & I don’t understand him altogether, but “make allowances.” ― Later, to the K.s: & sate with “Helen” & Isabella. “Υπομονή” ((Patience.)) indeed!
Walked back, in rain: & dined at home. ― I offered G. his “carta” ((Passport.)) to day, & that he might go home at once: but he was half angry, & said ― “cosa fa 1, o 2, o 3 settimane? Non vado: ((What difference do 1, 2 or 3 weeks make? I’,m not going”)) ― ἅς ὑπάμωμεν ὀμοῦ. ―((Clearly intending to say “Let us go [away] together” (GT).))

A blazing fire tonight ― as at Xmas, ― & chilly all the day for want of one. ―

Afterwards as I was going to bed, G. moaning about the rain & darkness, I said, “I wished I could see him more allegro” ((Happy.)) ― whereon he became agitated & angry ― come ― “con mia figlia morta ancora non è 2 mesi? ―” sono uomo ― [penso] un ora ― lavoro un’ora. ―” ((What ― “with my daughter dead for less than two months? ―” I’m a man ― I [think] for an hour ― I work for an hour.)) ― and much else poor fellow. I did all I could to comfort him poor fellow ― but life is sad enough, & I would never be the cause of its being repeated.

Still he would not go ― wh. I offered again. ―

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

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Wednesday, 25 April 1860


Sent letter to Dickenson.

A horrible night of rain & wind, ― & towards 4 A.M. a storm of thunder. Ugh! ― Finished “Yeast.”

No sleep.

Cross & unwell. To Macbeans. ―

All things odious.

Returned to idle & mope ― worked a little at one of the 2 Jerusalem pictures for Musters. Finer, but violent winds.

[gr.], this is a most unhealthful place ― this dreary old prison. ― In the afternoon I worked better, on Musters’s Beirût, G. going out, “να αφησω την φυλακα ολιγον,” ((I leave the prison (GT).)) & returning to write more cheerfully. ― I, at 6 ― alone, to the monotonous Borghese, with its files of red, black, & blue, & white priestlets. ― Up the Corso, & at 7½ to the Falcone, where at least one dines quietly ― I prefer to dine out just now, that G. may have time for writing.

At home by 8½.

I think now, as Spillmann evidently cares “nothing about me ―” I would rather leave the rooms in [S. Lee’s], or some agent’s care, to let them as may be profitable. ― If I can but hang on till Musters drawings are done ― (not to say C. Church’s,) it would be a great thing: & it is certain that in this weather or any similar no movement out of Rome could be made with advantage.

I am obliged to have fires at night always: & when I went out at 6 it was bitterly cold. Yet so heavy is the air, that I cannot rise before 8 ― hardly then.


[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

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Tuesday, 24 April 1860

Rain at intervals till 3 or 4 then fine, but windy.

To Macbean’s. Spillmann makes “no sign” ― so I suppose my “furniture” will go a begging. ― Returned, & partly colored the Syrian penned sketches.

Thought if I should see the Etruscan country instead of the Riviera? At 2 called on Newbolt ― & bought a 10 scudi drawing ― & spoke to him of a tour to Nepi &c. &c. ― Then to Coleman ― where I got a Buffalo’s head, for the same price. Poor Coleman! ― Mrs. C. begged to speak to me, & it seems she wishes C. to get to England, ― feeling how ill he is, & that a summer there may set him right, though nothing here ever can. ― Her language about writing to his brothers was very good: for she well conceives that no Italian letter from an Italian wife imploring her husband’s removal would be dubiously looked on. I promised to write myself. ― ― Thinking the subject over, though: ― I am not sure poor C. could bear so long a journey. ― I must think, & not decide hastily. ― Then on the Knights, C.K. returned: lunch with him, & considerable talk. Among other things I find he dislikes ―――, not on my original grounds ― (the Γραφίσμος) ― but from some prepossession. ― Talk of the Etruscan tour. ―――

Returned & bought a “Central Italy Murray:” ― then walked with P.W. on to P. Pia. Rather livelier than at times: yet the penance is great. ―

Dined again at the Φαλκώνε ― quiet & decent: & some very beautiful violin music.

Returned; to coffee: & G. with a cigar: ― poor G. is fretting again about Spiro’s not writing.

ας ει παγωμεν απο εδω! διοτι δεν ειναι καλον να εμεθα εις με συ τον λακαον τουτον! κλεισμενοι εις τουτον το σπηλαιον. ((More or less: “Let’s get away from this ice cold! Because it is not good to stay [here]! Closed in this cave” (GT).))

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

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