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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Filed under 1861, Diary Entry

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