Monthly Archives: July 2011

Wednesday, 31 July 1861

Rose at 4. Off alone at 5.30, & walk to Mongex by 7, where I drew till 9 ― & the car came at 7.50. At “Derby” bridge by 8.30, & drew till 9. Drew again at top of Pass. ― 9.30 to 10. At Villeneuve by 10.30 where I wished to draw but didn’t, & at St. Pierre by 10.45.

I rather regret not drawing those Castles. But I got to Aôsta by 12. Dined ― (Chambave an inferior sort of Morelle.) & read. Colonel & Mrs. Evans. Sit in the Gallery ― weather bright & cloudless, fine mountain air.

Heaps of English arrive. One ― nephew of Sir G. Buller. How green & blue ― & green-black the view of the poplars & mountains is! Went to Post ― a letter from Ellen ― very sad. Mary said to R.B. when dressing her wounds ―― “Ah! you must love me to do all this for me!” ―― late ― ah late! To find out there was love at all ― poor thing.

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

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Tuesday, 30 July 1861

Courmayeur.

Rose 4.30. The 2 nice women ― cousins of Miss Beauforts ― ˇ[one] a Miss Nicolls. 5.30 went with G. to Pre S. Didier & to the Cliffs above, where I drew till 8.30.

At 12 ― dined ― in perfect torture from flies which are horrible here. I resolved to go tomorrow. Life in [Levityahead] is harder work than in any place I know. I shall not waste time in going to the Cramont & I don’t respect or like Mt. Blanc enough to stay longer.

Drew in various places after 3: & wandered in the Enormous gloom valley from 6.30 to 7.30.

Supper ―― crowds of English, some 30 or 40 at table.

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

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Monday, 29 July 1861

to Courmayeur

Off in a car at 7.15 having decided to go to Courmayeur while fine weather lasts. At 7.50 Sarre. ― ˇ[8.30] Villeneuve. ― 9.10 Arvier, 9.10 Ivrogne ― at 9.15 Mt. Blanc visible ― very ― huge, gigantic, domelike. Ascent, walk. Down again at the Bridge of “Derby” ― at 10.30. ― At 10.50 pass below Salle, at 11.10 Morgex ― whence, as the Carboy says he must wait an hour, G. & I walk on. G. is in one of his sulky fits to day, & I should be enraged, did I not remember my dearest Ann’s charity & ever unchanging patience. ― At 12.30 we are far above S. Didier. ((Pré-Saint-Didier.)) Mt. B. has spread itself into a wonderful Crescent of enormous dimensions. ― At Courmayeur by 1.30. The view from the pass above Ivrogne, is certainly very grand, & so all the way to Morgex: but I shake [the] dust off my feet at this monotonous crescent! It is however very grand & vast, but destitute of all but immensity ― graceless. Hotel Palais Royal. Dined, plague of flies. 2 nice English women. At 3, & to 6.30 ― drew variously, & walked. The people are here in crowds, ― perhaps 50 at this hotel, & 120 at the other Inn, wh. is mainly Italian. A man goes about  with a sky blue Piano ― & there are organs & monkeys.

No quiet in [Levityahead], ― & no approximation to harmony with the scenery in any way.

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

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Sunday, 28 July 1861

Cloudy. Rose at 4.30. Coffee & out to draw by 5.30. ― But all the mountains are clouded. ―

At 9 it rained & we returned. 10 to 11.30 wrote to Daddy Hunt, F.L.C.F. & T. Cooper. Fine again.

Dined at 12. Talk with 3 Englishmen. ―

At 3 went out with G. ― quite fine. Drew by the bridge, horrid Cretins & Monsters.

Towards 5 ― drew above the city, & so on till 7. Supped & talked with various. ― The bore of joining Swiss-English-travellers, is, that all speak of “Passes & Peaks” & noughtelse.

At 10 looked out of window: the gloom-world below ― the vast star-sown canopy above, & silence ― except the far river flow. ―

The constantest & fearfullest characteristic of my life now-a-days is that there is no time for thinking. Yet, at some moments, , the thoughts of a life return.

‘O where is some ……
‘O somewhere!’ ――― ((O somewhere, meek unconscious dove,
That sittest ranging golden hair;
And glad to find thyself so fair,
Poor child, that waitest for the love.
Tennyson, In Memoriam, VI.))

My last thought in life will be one of curiosity & intense expectation.

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

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Saturday, 27 July 1861

Rose at 4. Always fine. G. & I walked to S. Vincenzo, where I drew twice. Superb valley ― walnuts & chesnut! ― Bath taking promenades: cretins, & goîtreux. Excessively glorious valley view, but its detail is impossible in a limited time. Unwell ― inactive boles. Walked back by 8 ― & took 3 doses of medicine ― ‘in vain, in vain.’ Great pain. At 1 rather better. ― Col. Evans here: also Sigr. Arena, who talked a good deal of the Piaga d’Italia. He declares a considerable under=current of Valdesi a primitive reform exists in all the valley: & I found the landlord sends his son to ˇ[a] Valdesi school at Pinerolo. Hired carriagte for Aosta. Physic acts. Off at 2.30. At 3 Chambave. 3.15 Dremont?. ― torrent path. ― Then Nuz, ((Nus.)) & Castle of Fenis at 3.45, wonderful walnut trees, & serene fine scenes are “far from agreable” to me. The cretins are absolutely most horrible. At 2.40 Villefranche ― & then Aôsta, where I got a large double room to be quiet in tomorrow.

Aôsta is grandly situated, ― but all mountain vallies ― as a rule, ― are hateful. ―

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

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Friday, 26 July 1861

Off at 5.20. Magnificent Velley scenery ― opening of V. Aôsta. Peasants, red-capped. Cultivation ― hemp, grasses, I. corn. 5.45 Montalto ? ((Montalto Dora.)) & castle. 6.5 Borgo Franco. ((Borgofranco d’Ivrea.)) Jolting village streets. 6.40 Settimo Vittone. 6.50 Carema. ― Valley narrow. 7.30 S. Martino, ((Pont-Saint-Martin; Lear has now entered Valle d’Aosta.)) gigantic & picturesque ― yet over-mountanous & stupenjous.

At 7.50 Donnaz ((Donnas.)) ― close in by rox. Foundries, ― grand & awful rox. 8.10 Fat Bard, & J. Uwins‘ view. Drew till 8.45 tho’ little inclined. Send on carriage, & walk by Bard ― drawing again till 10. Bard is a vastly grand scene. 10.25 pass. Arnato? ((Arnad.)) ― destroyed by torrent in 1857 or 8. ― At 11 Verrex ((Verrès.)) ― before wh. I slept from uneasiness & monotony. Stop to bait: shady inn. 3 Piemontesi, dispute if I am Tuscan or Roman or Neapolitan. 11.30 to 12 “Collation.” ((Perhaps a form of “colazione,” breakfast.))

“Out of the day & night” ―――― but even if that were not so, there is a gloom about these Alpine valleys, I can’t abide. I doubt my staying anywhere long, till I get to Lake Leman ― unless indeed Curmayeur [sic] is more pleasant & lively. The wonderful wealth of vegetation or cultivation here is indeed undeniable, but the sense of never being able to get out-ness is paramount with me. Yet it would be happy for me I if this Swiss visit were again as those in 1837, or 1854. There is a drawing by Brockedon ― of the father of the Innkeeper here ― John Garda. (“Sketch by W.B. as a little acknowledgment of the civility & attention of J.G. of Chatillon, who conducted the artist & his friend during the voyage of a month in Piedmont & Savoy ― Sept. 16. 1824.”) ((Jean Guarda (or, once, Garda) is mentioned several times in William Brockedon’s 1833 Excursions in the Alps: The Pennine, Graian, Cottian, Rhetian, Lepontian, and Bernese. London: James Duncan, 1833.)) ― 12.30. Left Verrex. Narrow gloomy valley. ― 1.15 Mont Jovetto ((Montjovet.)) ― horrid & gloomy indeed! Walk the cut pass in the rox. At 2.30 St. Vincenzo ((Saint-Vincent.)) ― where the valley opens & is really very beautiful. Could get no place at any Inn ― so on, Vetturino not complacent ― to Chatillon ― by 3. Amazing row with said driver, who is a great blackguard. G. & I walked out ― but much gloom & some rain prevents drawing ― nor is it possible to draw these scenes of million details of rock & wood without months of study, which I can’t (& would not if I could,) give here.

So I supped & to bed at 9.

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

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Thursday, 25 July 1861

Rose at 5. packed. 7. Cathedral. Post at 8. letter from F. Coombe ˇ[& Observer].

Off to Milan Railway. But Ivrea trains didn’t go till 1.30 instead of 8.40. ― disgust. Came to shady trees, & sat till 11, reading Observer. Troops exercising. Views of Turin from the tree-bordered walks are very pleasant. Pale-purple Alpi ― across the G. Turco ((“Granturco,” i.e. Indian corn, maize.)) fields ― poplars & trees beyond ― all seen between trunx of trees ― delightful enough.

11.7. Railway café ― very good dinner: pilaf of rice, mango & pomidoro, bread & grissini, Gorgonzola, Asti wine & ice & coffee. All for 5fr. For 2. ―― 12.30 got places. ―

Dinner for 2  ―           2.80
Asti wine ―                 2.00
Coffee ―                            20
______________________
Fr.                                   5.00

Off at 1.30. 2 sets of English ― (one, to G.’s dismay sits on my box.) wait at Chivasso, 2.15 on to Ivrea. Horrid fat goiter, flourishing stick;  ἡ διάδησες του, ((Its passage (NB).)) says G. Near Caluso very lovely ― wooded mountains & a long Moab-like line going into the plain, & a little Lake. At Ivrea by 3.30. surprisingly splendid & beautiful ― all towers & churches ― a river, & no end of mountains. Hustle & bustle at station, & disgusting row. First bus full, so we had to come by a 2nd. Hotel Europa, where I got a decent little room. 4.15 G. & I went to a Vigna wh. I had “spotted” as I came in, ― & drew till 6.30 in a vy hot sun. ― Rox I sate on ― picturesque ― small abundant cacti, rosy pinx, & a queer larva animal in a house of moss. Much pleased with the beauty of this view, & the long Moabite woody hill. 6.30 to the town, & military school, & a green ground of exercising troops. Beer-shop ― a beer for 6 soldi. Facile Landlady with the young ossifers. Returned 7.30. very hot day. ―

Supper. ― Sent G. to see after carriage ― & we finally got one for fr. 35 ― to stop where I please, & go to S. Vincenzo or Chatillon.

The Inn people asked 40: & wouldn’t stop anywhere. ―

Bed at 10.

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

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