Monthly Archives: April 2013

Thursday, 30 April 1863

X6 Medicinally. ― Rose at 5 ― & had to go out instantly. The top of the mountain is all a great mist ― & nothing can be seen. Return to coffee, & after visit to the church &c. ― & waiting some time for the priest, we set off with him at 5.45. Clouds above ― strange gleam of sea & the port of Ithaca peeping thro’ mist. ― Stony ― but broad road, round the S. East side of the mountain, & no remission of cultivation & industry ― vines in every crevice & corner on every level bit of ground[.] ― At 6.45 ― in sight of Ἀνöὶ ― the village ― priest goes on: I draw, among dry gray pointed rocks ― which cover the plain Ἀνöὶ stands on ― corn growing between them. Beyond, in Sta. Maura, is a large fold of woolly cloud. 7.30. Coffee at Γεράσιμος[’] father’s house ― who is working out of doors in the fields. Homely kindly folk ―: beautiful Wallachian carpet. Old stones abound all about Anoi ― & there are various polygonal walls evidently of gt. age: portions of walls in many houses ― & the whole place savours of antique times. (Mule boy keeps getting vetches, from various patches ― but he is of this village & this is his own “κλῆμα”[1] ― says the priest.) Παπᾶς Γ. accompanies me a good way down the “Storks=Roma” road ― (leading to Σταυρι[2] ―) & then returns. An extremely nice fellow ― & speaking excellent Greek ― beautifully.

Road good. Down by the N. East side of M. Νέριτος, & then through a ravine, the sides everywhere worked into terraces. At 9 ― drew Μάρμακα[3] ― the point stretching N.E. of the Island, ― & hence appear the plain of Ἐχοὶ ― & its villages ― all rather miniature yet very pretty. (String of my good Swiss flask came undone ― & flask was broken by fall on stone.[)] By 11. we reached Σταυρὸ, a scattered village, on the highest part of the plain between the 3 hills, Ὀξοὶ, Μάρμακα, & Νέριτος.

House of Κ. Σωτῆρι Μεταξᾶ[4] ― who received me very heartily ― & the Judge ― Πεταλὰ.[5] Coffee ― & promising to be home by 1, go out with G., & a man to shew me Homer’s school. (Rather hurrying this life ― but I have but these 3 days ―) This part of Θιάκι is by far the most beautiful & fertile of the Island. Πόλις[6] ― & its bay, are lovely: vineyards & olives. Steep road, but beautiful views of Sta. Maura & Μάρμακα. Friendly people ― well-dressed woman comes out of a house to shake hands, & πολλὰ ἔτη[7] me, fervently. Very steep pull to the ruins, wh. are of 2 very old temples: ― stones 4 ― to 9 feet long: they look very hoary & aged. The surrounding vegetation beautiful ― particularly the parrot-green-prickly oak. Drew till 12, & returned.

Hearty folk. Talk with Judge Πεταλὰ ― who speaks English well ― & is a gt. friend of the Williams family. Dinner plain & good: ―talked amain as a duty. At 3, set off with G. & guide to Φρίκες[8] & if possible Χιόνι.[9] All this part of Ithaca is exquisitely lovely. The ˇ[little] harbour of Φρίκες is greatly picturesque, but as it grew late I was forced to give up Χιόνι & return. Lovely fields of green wheat!! ― & olives. At 5 ― write this. || ― Walking slowly up this most beautiful valley ― for indeed I never saw a more lovely one, ― I got back to Μεταξὰ’s house at 7 or nearly. They were amazingly kind & hospitable, & reminded me of Calabrian & Abbruzzese days. The valley of Σταυρὸ & the hill of Marmaka ― (wh. divides Sta. Maura & Kalamo on the horizon,) ― the right side one sea of olive & vine, the left with gleams of the blue Mediterranean, ― & the foreground all corn ― is a thing to see.

In Κ. Μεταξὰς wild rough country house all was kindness & welcome, & after a wash I had a long talk with Judge Metaxà. His apparent affection for all the Williams family is touching. ― Read Col. Leake with him till supper ― boiled fish, cold roast lamb & cream cheese, with good wine: cleanly arranged ― & all temperate & pleasant. I wonder sometimes how I keep awake after such walking & work! ― The Judge told me of Γεrάσιμος Παπᾶς when in Moldavia: he always drinks tea ― τζäὶ[10] ― but the common people have that word for whore, & moreover, they have a habit of putting their feet in hot water before operating. So, when the Παπᾶς ordered a kettle of hot water, & then asked in plain terms for a w――e ― they all fell on him & beat him out of the village.

George, today, when, ― Μεταξὰ having proposed to “συντροφεύσει”[11] me to Φρίκες ― I had said I would rather walk alone, ― explained ―

“My master is like one hunting dog ― he looks there & here, & does not go straight, ― he is always looking about as he goes, & cannot attend to anything: ― so you would only be like one log of wood ― & bother would be good for nothing.” ―


[1] Vine (NB).

[2] Stavri.

[3] Marmakas.

[4] Mr Sotiris Metaxas (NB).

[5] Petalas.

[6] Polis, i.e. town.

[7] “Longevity,” a greeting (NB).

[8] Frikes.

[9] Chioni.

[10] Τσάι, tea (NB).

[11] Accompany (NB).

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

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Wednesday, 29 April 1863

View from Mount Neritos, Ithaca. 29 April 1863. Numbered 97.

View from Mount Neritos, Ithaca. 29 April 1863. Numbered 97.

Cloudy morning. Rose ― 4.30. Packed & off by 6. Giuseppe, the loquacious Maltese cook, who has been cook to successive commandants for ages, ― is a good man in his way. ― Along the road to Ἀετὸς, with G. ― & a boy & mule. At the end of the gulf, the Castle hill is fine. Valley cheery & pretty: large fig trees ― almonds, olives, corn, & a few ― 2 or 3 houses.

Begin ascent to Νέριτος. ― Νέριτος in clouds ― & I debate if I shall go there first or to Σταυρὸ. Leave G. & the baggage, & at 8 go up to a point on the Λεύκη & Σταυρὸ road, & draw Ἀετὸς & the gulf of Κεφαλλενία. Then I came down, & went back & down a long way to sketch Ἀετὸς ― returning to the “Depot” at 9.30. ― Sky clearer. Multitudes of bees on the road ― mason bees. Flowers in astonishing loveliness & abungiance. At 9.45 ― we decide on the Monastery, & go on. A great pull up. Flowers! Flowers! ― View of the long & dreary wall-like east side of Cephalonia. At 11. reached the Monastery of Καθερὰ.[1] It is a plain little building no wise remarkable in itself ― nor commanding any view. Priest came out to meet me ― a fine bearded man ― talking Greek well: his name, Γεράσιμος. Has been at Ἄγιος Παύλος in Athos, & knows all the Μοναστήρια.[2] Of Μελκίσιδεκ, on my saying he had been very kind ― “Εἶχε δίκαιον, διότι εἰς 1855 ― τὸν ἐγλύτωσε ὁ Ἂγγλος Πρόξενος Μπλοῦντ, ποῦ εἶναι τώρα ‘ς τὴν Σμύρνην.”[3] ― The old Quince Marmalade, ραχὶ,[4] & coffee, & now, 11.30, ― a “τράπεζα”[5] is preparing. Monastery exceeding clean; the Ἠγουμενος commands loudly & energetically, & peery timid women obey. Lunch amazing ― eggs ― Kοκορέτζοι[6] ― being a sort of Kabobs made of Lamb’s liver, &c. ― wonderfully good wine ― & stupendous ricotta: the priest only ate Caviare & Lemon ― Wednesday to wit. He was born at Ἀνöὶ[7] ― (where his father still lives [][8] a peasant ―) & was here at 8 years old. ― But, thro’ the animosity of the Bishop ― chi sa[9] from what cause? ― he went abroad & “περιέτρεχε πολὺ”[10] ― Moldavia, Russia, &c. &c. & has evidently been mixed up in various matters. Certainly, Greek Monastery life has a charm for me. ― wondrous. ―

Later, he brought me certificates from various people ― Culverts ― alas! ――Bulwer, & heaps of others ― as to gifts of money to the monastery. || It is now 1. I go out to the Courtyard: Cats drink at the trough. I am reminded of Ἄ Ὄρος,[11] only there are women servants, 3 of whom have just now rushed to give me a chair, lest, sitting on a stone seat, I catch cold in my behind. 1.45. go out with G. to the Campanile,[12] from which the view is τρομερὰ[13] ― & most curious, tho’ the distance of Greece is not seen for cloud. The Hill north of the top of Νέριτος is called, “τὸ Στρῶμα;”[14] southern ― “Παραοτήρεις κλίσμα.”[15] We got to the very top at 3.15. The priest going very fast. Like all isolate mountain-top views it is more remarkable than lovely, yet the pale delicacy of the colour ― & the definite appearance of the South part of Ithaca are very enchanting. All the while the priest rushed on, spouting Greek, & declaring that Ulysses was born on Νέριτος. Drew the point of Guiscardos, but in separating some stiff sheets of paper with my finger, cut it vey badly, & came to grief accordingly. Came down, the Παπᾶς leaving me about 4.30. ― being ὑδρομένος:[16] I drew on, & finally am writing this on the steeple seat at 5.30. Truly ― a very queer magical sight is this view! ― dreamlike in its wan delicate pallor ― all the gray sea so far below motionless as a surface of polished marble. By 6.30 ― or 7 (it is damp & chilly,) dinner is ready: ― 2 Greeks are added to the party ― the Gent. of Μεσολόγγος,[17] ― the lady of Χιόνι.[18] Soup, kid, ricotta, currants & almonds: good ― but not wholly without evil. Bed at 10.

When it is very clear they say they can distinguish the streets of Mesolonghi & the houses of Patras from the Steeple.


[1] Kathara.

[2] Monasteries (NB).

[3] He was right, because in 1855 ― the English Consul Blunt, who is now in Smyrna (NB).

[4] Raki (NB).

[5] Meal in the refectory (NB).

[6] Κοκορέτσι, kokoretsi (NB).

[7] Anoi.

[8] One or two words cancelled.

[9] Who knows.

[10] Wandered a lot (NB).

[11] Agion Oros, i.e. Mount Athos (NB).

[12] Steeple.

[13] Tremendous (NB).

[14] Stroma.

[15] You see Klaisma (? NB).

[16] Sweaty (NB).

[17] Mesolonghi.

[18] Chioni.

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

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Tuesday, 28 April 1863

Slept well. Rose at 5, & out by 5.45. Drew on the Quay till 7. & above the town on the east side till 8.30. Certainly, little Ithaca is extremely pretty. At 9, walked up the hill above Σκίνος,[1] from which point no doubt remains that Neritos is visible whether Minerva shewed it to Ὀδυσσεὺς[2] or not. Drew again to & fro, & looked about for the best place to draw the port, till 11. when  I came back & found Stirke at breakfast. It is now 11.30. ((Mem. Geography & Antiquities of Ithaca. Gell. ― Longman. 1807.)) ((Mem. Ἰεραχέρι ― casa del Sigr. Στροῦσο ― or from the church or mill.))* ― At 12, went out & called on Count Candiano Roma at the Residency. He was sitting with a Secretary at the end of the gallery in a little room. ― He was very polite & amiable ― saying among other compliments ― “avendo conoscenza con me, avreste potuto venire ad alloggiare meco.”[3] ― “sono solo ― solo ― e dopo esser stato Presidente delle 7 Isole, questi luoghi non si può dire essere ――― ma via! ― Sono Sto tranquillo e paziente.”[4] It does seem rather sad indeed to see the old Gentleman so lonely ― & growing blind too ― & all the more that the family live in such riches at Zante. ― He asked me to dine &c.: ― but on my alluding to going to Athens, & when I said that when the king came & there was a fixed government there doubtless the place would increase & thrive ― he became restless & offered coffee ― fearing all talk of politics. Shewed Gell on Ithaca, & ordered 3 letters to be written for me ― one to a Μεταξὰ ― at Σταυρὸ:[5] one to the Priest of Καθαρὰ:[6] & a 3rd to the Deputato of Σάμος.[7] I did not ask after Lady B. At 1.30 am going out again to draw. ― Drew ― G. with me ― above the town: lots of children came about me, whom, G., always cheerful, drew off. But they seem a semi=savage set compared with the other islanders, as G. says ― naturally from being so little able to communicate with strangers. A plain & darkly dressed lot ― they seem to me even less interesting than the Paxiotes ― perhaps from their being so removed from the world ― or from other causes. Drew afterwards, by the Residency: the harbour gulf, & Neritos are beautiful. Here, Braidy joined me, an amiable youth, but sadly in train to be spoiled by the Ithaca lazy life ― & we walked to the high ground on the road near Αἐτὸς,[8] where I drew from 4.30 to 5. Hence, the Νέριτος at sunset is very lovely ― & reminds me tho’ on a larger scale, of Nemi, by its velvet gray tone & tint. By 6.30 ― we were back at “Quarters” ― only I first ran round to the End of the harbour, to see the last evening effect on Νέριτος ― but it was not good. Dinner. Both hosts are singularly amiable kind men. We sate talking ― I go on against my will, because I think I ought to talk ―― till 10.30. After which I arrange drawings & luggage from a 3 days’ journey to the North of the Island.

* (I don’t know what this alludes to. July. 11.)


[1] Schinos.

[2] Ulysses.

[3] Since you know me, you could have come to stay with me.

[4] I am lonely ― lonely ― and after being President of the 7 Islands, one cannot say these places are ――― oh well! I am quiet and patient.

[5] Stavros.

[6] Kathara.

[7] Samos.

[8] Aetos.

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

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Monday, 27 April 1863

Rose at 4.40. Fine. Up by 5.20. Coffee with Mr. Braidy. Caradoc left at 5.45 ― as we ― I ― G. & Mr. Braidy started. Pretty Petiteness of Ithaca. Rising road, looking back on the harbour & Neritos. Few inhabitants out of the town ― a few good looking. Women all wear black like widows. Views & country prettier as we go on. Leave the broad road ― or rather it comes to an end, & very vile paths commence, narrow, sloping & slippery. Arrived at Korax by 8.15 ― perhaps 5. miles from Βαθὺ ― but obliged to go very slowly ― fearing to fall. Drew till 10, & we are now sitting at the fountain below the “great rock;” a most exquisite cool spot ― (“here are cool mosses deep,”)[1] popple popple ever, with green moss & maidenhair fern. All around are gray savage rocks, clad with Prickly Oak ― Ilex ― Phyllorea, Πρινάρι,[2] & every sort of shrub & flower. The Squill leaves are grand, ― the white & pink cistus lovely ― salvia, mullein ― what not. Blackbirds sing, pigeons flit, swallows shimmer, & as we came, a flock of goats was abundantly pretty. Κωραξ[3] is indeed a remarkable spot for beauty. The vast height & shut-in loneliness of the spot are very impressive, & as I drew from above opposite, the flight of ˇ[wild] pigeons to the little fountain, their wings shining in the morning sun, made the hollow [gloom] still grander. Yet, by noon, or after the sun has once crossed the rock with light, all the beauty of Κώραξ would fade. ― From 10 to 12 ― Lunch ― & very pleasant. ―At 12, set off, & at 1.15 arrived at the broader road, where, till 2, we rest under an olive tree. How blue & quiet is the sea! ― The wind riz, & stones are necessary to keep down my drawing. At 3 ― or 3.30 ― we walked upward towards Περιχωριὸ[4] ― very beautiful bits of distant isle scenery, though clouded; & near at hand, corn, flax, & vine terraces ad lib. Laborious black & dark blue gowned women ― & all uglyish. At Περιχωριὸ, a large village of detached houses on the East side of Mount Στεφανόϐυνο[5], we went in, respective of wine & carpets, to a house where were some vastly ugly women. Then we walked down; ― donkeys about here, & I see no mules ― & so, Mr. Braidy most amiably aiding all my poking hither & thither for “points of view” ― reach the town about 6: ― which its streets are really very nice & clean. Washed: & at 7 ― dinner ― though the ménage here is not over regulated. Capt. Stirke & Braidy have enough to think of, the post being just come: but their gentlemanly kindness is just the same. I have to thank Philipps much for his introduction. ― After dinner saw some papers.

Augustus Leopold Egg died at Algiers lately!!! ―― Egg was a dear good fellow ― & one regrets he was connected with the narrow illiberal Academy. Lord Templeton also is dead.

Capt. Stirke & Braidy have a fire alarm to raise at 11. ― At 10.30. bed.


[1] Tennyson, The Lotos-Eaters, i.

[2] Kermes oak (NB).

[3] Korax.

[4] Perichorio.

[5] Stefanovouno.

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

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Sunday, 26 April 1863

Rose at 6 ― leaving the A.D.C.s asleep. And at 7. ― finding a small boat below the steamer Caradoc ― had all things put in, & came ashore with G. ― landing below Capt. Sterke’s house ― the Commandant. G. was scandalized at my going away so abruptly ― taking leave of no one ― but I feared the wind might rise again. (The Lazzaretto is now a lunatic asylum ― & the lunatics how & yell. ―)

Capt. Sterke ― (I had a letter to him from Philipps of the 6th ―) received me most hospitably ――― hum! very Irish! ― “Mish=mash” is the house & all therein. At 9. breakfast ― “mish mash.” ― There is a subaltern ― Braidy ― also ― ἔτζι κ’ ἔτζι. ― At 10.30. Capt. S. rushed out to receive H.E. the Lord H.C. at the Residency. ― I escaped ― (the quiet circle of houses at Βαθὺ[1] is very singular ―) & set off with George for the day ― & soon we were walking along the ˇ[dull] still gulf sides: ― high Νέριτος[2] above. At Αἐτὸ[3] ― or Ὀπιο’ Αἐτὸ ― we began the great climb to Αἐτὸ, & reached the top at 1.30, or thereabouts. I remember coming here in 1848. ― The view of Samos & all Κεφελλένεα[4] is very grand & lonely. ― Drew. ― Sheep ― goats ― vast grey stones &c. &c. Great variety of herbs & flowers ― Cistus convolvulus, Mullein, salvia, &c. &c. Orioles. Civil peasants ― short ― quiet=dead-looking: all in dark Wapping or Idrington=like costumes ― ˇ[a] contrast to the picturesque S. Maurotes. Drew various times, & at 5 am writing this on my way back. Both the views of the the Channel & Cephalonia, & that of Mt. Neritus are beautiful ― & each quite of a Lake character. Capt. Wilkinson, & the 2 A.D.C.s approach so I walk back with them to a point near Ἀετὸς, & thence, when they join me again, go on to Βαθὺ. The wind continues dreadfully high, & unless the L.H.C. starts at 6 or earlier tomorrow, I do not see how he can hope to go. Reached Itaca [sic] at 6.30. The sunset effects on Νέριτος were so beautiful that I must needs try to get a whole afternoon in that direction. Having washed, ― dinner. ― Capt. Sterke & Mr. Braidy. Both very kindly & pleasant, & as it were, awaking into new life by a stranger coming to them. Life here is a weary sad life indeed to those who have not had the chance of making “resources.” Retired 10.30, & in bed by 11. The wind seems higher than ever, & roars aloud: I wonder if such wind is very frequent here. The roaring is terribly grand, & comes in vast bursts ― worse than it has been yet: it seems a hurricane.

I have a tiny room here ― but have arranged all things comfortably.


[1] Vathi.

[2] Νήριτος, a mountain peak in Ithaca (NB).

[3] Aetos.

[4] Cephalonia.

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

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Saturday, 25 April 1863

3 weeks out to day.

Cloudy ― & windy morning ― horrid to say.

Rose at 4.45 ― & packed all: finished accounts with G. & am waiting now for the Baron’s breakfast. A letter just comes ― very apropos ― from Spiro, Καραλάμπος is getting quite well. 9. Breakfast, to which Strahan came. 9.40 ― off with the Baron ― through the very nasty town. ― In the Baron’s boat up the canal ― George & the luggage coming in Strahan’s boat. We sailed in the Canal ― so got to the Caradoc in no time ― & wo is me! the wind increases & already the waves are odious to look at. The Baron went off ― & endless salutations to the energetic Lord High occurred. ― We start at 10.30.

The wind & sea grew worse & worse ― & the Caradoc pitched & rolled like fury. Nor does she go over the waves, but through them ― drowning all in vast seas of spray & solid water. Awfully rough. ― Horrid sea. Sir H.S. ― Baring ― Strahan & I sate in lay in the Cabin ― the 2 A.D.C.s rushing out now & then. As we came opposite the west side of Sta. Maura ― the storm was higher & worse ― & as we afterwards heard ― any accident to the machinery must have led to our being thrown on the cliffs. It seemed impossible ever to get to Cephalonia ― & Sir H.S. decided on going, ― if we ever got so far past the point of Sappho ― to Ithaca instead of Argostoli. ― At 2.30. we got past Sappho’s leap ― the sky & water intensely blu[e] always ― but the waves huge & awful.

After this, comparative calm ensued ― & we were nearing Ithaca at 3.45. At 4.15 ― entering Gulf of Molo ― I remembered 1848. ― 5 to 6 ― wind very high, & even in the port of Badù the sea was so high that no boat could come off ― & tho’ the Resident tried in a boat towed by a ˆ[one] larger ― they were obliged to put back. So I arranged to stay ― dine ― & sleep ― & walked about with G. Strahan, whose opinion of Greex is strong. Dinner 7.30. Captn. Wilkinson is a very nice fellow. The Lord H. always most pleasant. A good deal of talk with him.

Bed at 10.30. in G.S. ― & E.B.’s room: nearly killed them with my theory of the old woman “Did I? belike I did then ― I thought I felt ――― &c.” ― And they made me laugh as much.

One of Sir H.S.’s ― quaintnesses.
Good Day Mrs. Flanagan Maam!
Good day then Mrs. Brady Mam!
How are you Mrs. Flanagan Mam?
I’ve got a boil Mam.
Now upon your honor?
No ― upon my ―――.

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

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Friday, 24 April 1863

Off by 5.40, & up, by the cool shady olives to the hill above Καθαριάκι: most lovely olive woods & paths ―: goats & sheep & passing peasants.

Bushes of myrtle & full-blown pink Cistus in great masses. Drew 3 or 4 times. The peasants are all darkly clad ― white capotes. At 10.30 finished drawing at highest spot, & came downwards. At 12. a meager lunch, with Giorgio, below pleasant olives. (Last drawing ― No. 74.)

Returned to Residency at 1.30. Found Baron there, & the L.H.C. about to lunch. (Came Παπακοστόπουλος of Καταχῶρι prayerfully ― saying, the Police had taken off his son ― “nor told a reason why.” But I said I would not interfere.) Dressed hastily & went in to lunch. Sir H.S. occupied by a crowd of petitions ― Baring giving money &c. &c. One woman was persistent & pregnant ― “Why ―! she’s with child!” ― said Sir H. ― “I never saw her otherwise” gravely said the Baron. “Why they say you are a busy with child!” ― “She lives riotously[”] Sir H. ― “Then give her a dollar to keep it up.” ―― 2 to 4 ― packed drawings ― E. Baring with me at times, talkative & cheery. Then we followed Sir H. to the school, & inspected 68 boys. Afterwards ― escaping from a mob of petitioners ― all of us walked to the olives by Πικλαμμποῦ, returning by the half-finished Church.

Baring made me laugh ― upon some official Greek traditions, & other matters. Among others ― a poem written in English to the P. of Wales & Princess Alexandra ― in wh. the poet calls them, 2 Bile=less doves. & a Doctor’s bill ― with this mem ―

“for inspecting a violated lass ― 4..4.[”]

We all συνετρεύωμεν[1] the L.H.C. to his boat, & I returned with Baron D’E. Dinner at 7.30. Sigr. Bini, & Sigr. Καλκάνι (the Senator’s brother,) a very pleasant & well informed man. Came to bed at 10[.]

Sir G.C. Lewis is dead! a loss to England ― & to the G. Clives very sad.

[1] Nina guesses “accompanied.”

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

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Thursday, 23 April 1863

Rose at 5.30. At 6. G. came, saying ― the Lord H.C. is come, & off the fort. Whereon I wrote to the Baron that I am going out for the day ― (as he will too) & so we have coffee & escape. Across the Lagoon ― punty ― punty ― calm & bright, & to the Fort, where I found Teuart going to the Caradoc. Breakfast with Pepia, Hislett, & Greene, a most cheerful lot ― a sort of united family. ― So we dawdled, ― & I made ― ὥς ἒπος ἐπεῖν[1] ― 5 drawings: then lunch. Tame deer, ― rat-catching & other pastimes. Talk of Byron &c. ― & much fun & pleasantness: & at 2.30 off with G. ― leaving the kindly detachment of the 6th. ― Punty ― breezy ― punty back, & by very stinky side outskirt lanes, across to the road to Μεγάλη Βρύσις, & Καλιγόνι[2] ― where I drew for a time. But somehow they are not impressive ruins. Returned ― drawing twice ― by 6.15, & find Strahan & Capt. Wilkinson going to the ship. The Baron also going to dine with Sir H.S. ― so I walk with him to the Dogana. Sir H. ― φαίνεται ― goes on Saturday Morning, & very amicably asks me to go to Κεφαλλένια with him, ― which just suits my book. Returned to dine at 7.30 ― Signor Bini being my host. Talked Italian continually ― to avoid silence construable into ill=breeding: yet afterwards, I fear I bored him with Col. Leake.

At 10 he went, & I prepared for bed, ― but then came the Baron, with whom, ―I having re=dressed ― sate till 11.15. ―


[1] So to speak (NB).

[2] Megali Vrisi and Kaligoni.

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

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Wednesday, 23 April 1863

Rose at 4.50. ― Took leave of all the Ρομπώτης family. Marcos’s offer to walk some way “διὰ νὰ μὲ συντροφεύσει”[1] I thankfully declined: no greater bore than that, as they will walk by your side in the narrowest path. ― Off 5.40. All in shade. Bad roads, vineyards perpetual: day very fine. 6.50 ― I have passed the 2 Δραγάνο[2] villages, & a good way beyond.

7.40 ― am beyond Κομυλιὸ,[3] which village stands in a green hollow of corn, between the inner & outer range of hills on the western side of Sta. Maura; the whole indefinitely ugly ― the hills very round & bare ― all except vine. The corn land encroaches on the path, which, eaten away, slopes, & is odious. ― (Botheration chorus of all creatures, at the Monastery last night ― διὰ τοὺς λύκους.)[4] ― 8.15 we are above Καρτάτα the last of the 7 Μαχαλαδὲς[5] of Διαμιλλάρι[6] ― the other 6 being Ἅ. Τεόδορος, Μανασση, Ἅ. Βαςίλιος, Νικόλι & Ροπακιὰ.[7]

As we began to cross the hideous sides of Σταυροτὰ, one saw down the great λαγγάδιον[8] as far as Ἅ. Πέτρος, & all but the Βασιλικῆ; (Spite of the Baron’s predilection no good scenery can exist there I think,) with θιάκι, & Κεφ[9] beyond, & the sea & Παξοῦς west. Above, the odious sandy pudding hills. Κωρτάτα[10] is a scattered village, with 2 or 3 bunches of Ilex trees ― good water & good air. A toil upward ensued, & at 8.50, having reached the Κινούριος δράμος[11] ― we were passing along the higher part of the pass [&] ridge, positively a desert of stones ― air good, nothing to be seen. ― 9.30 we have crossed a little flat pain, & are above Εγγλουβέ[12] at a small church, Ἅ. Δονάτο. Beyond is the high point with a monastery ― Α. Ελία. At 10, we are going down the vilest possible staircase road to Εγγλοβὶ, a closely packed large village in a hollow below the highest part of the mountains, & where, by some lights possibly, a drawing might be made. After this ― the broad public road recommences, & leads along the edge of a deep hollow ― all ugly enough, & only redeemed by the distant lot of the Islads not very lovely in form, & on the farther side of which are Βαυχερὶ, & Πλατίστωμα.[13] All the scenes of the first days journey, ― Ἀλέξανδρος &c. &c. lie opposite ― all wide & without interest. It is now 10.30 ― 11. Ever along the side of this hideous bare mountain, above the vast hollow valley covered with stripes of walls, & the dirty lake of Καρυὰ.[14] At 11.20 ― after a hard path of nearly 6 hours ― we reach the large village of Καρυὰ, & stop at the Σταθμὸς,[15] where polite policemen induct one to a little room & I repose. Thus, the far worst part of the day’s journey is done in 5 & a half hours. ― 1. P.M. They bring 2 carpets, asking 8, & 8½ dollars, but letting me have them for 15 dollars the 2. Also, G. brings Eggs bread cheese & wine. B. being never prevented from cooking if wanted ― by fatigue[.]

About this time 2 years ago, died poor Mary ― the thought of whose last hours is ever sad. But those of my dear Ann are ever dearer & dearer, & not sad at all: one might say of her that she left earth in a bright soft blaze of light, & except that I could see her no more now, there was no sorrow ― so good ― so happy.

(Mrs. Clive, Ellen, W.N., ― C.F. & Lady W., ― W. Clowes, Jane Hunt, F.L., Daddy Hunt, Emily T., T. Cooper ― must all be written to however shortly ― tomorrow or Friday.)

The bread & cheese are excellent here: wine, goodish. oil not good. It is 1.30. P.M. ―― so far a white day.

At 2, looking out of window, I must conclude by saying that more ineffable days ugliness never met my eyes than in this blessed island: the barrenness would not matter, but the forms are so hideous. ―― Setting off again at 2.15 ― I drew the mountains from near Σφακιότης from 3. to 4.30., & then came the long descent from above Καθαριάιυ[16] ― a most lovely & delightful view, which must be done before I go. At 6.30. reached the Residency, & found the Baron as hearty as usual, & expecting the Lord High. ― Washed ― & at 7.30 dined with the Baron’s tea ―― & sate afterwards till 10.30. bed.



[1] To keep me company (NB).

[2] Dragano.

[3] Komilio.

[4] Because of the wolves (NB).

[5] Communities (NB).

[6] Possibly Δαμηλιάνι, Damiliani (NB).

[7] Άγιοι Θεόδωροι, Agioi Theodoroi; Μανάση, Manassi; Άγιος Βασίλειος, Agios Vassilios; Νικολή, Nikoli; Ρουπακιάς, Roupakias. Only five are actually mentioned.

[8] Canyon (NB).

[9] Ithaca and Caphalonia.

[10] Chortata.

[11] New road (NB).

[12] Εγγλουβή, Eglouvi, a village (NB).

[13] Bαυκερή, Vavkeri and Πλατύστομα, Platistoma (NB).

[14] Karya.

[15] Station (NB).

[16] Nina is not sure about this; it might mean “mountain peak.)

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

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Tuesday, 21 April 1863

21 Apr. 1863. 7.30 A.M. Santa Maura (Sappho's Leap). Numbered 61.

21 Apr. 1863. 7.30 A.M. Santa Maura (Sappho’s Leap). Numbered 61.

Rose at 5. Coffee 5.30. A horrid night, but somehow I do not get worse, & we are ready to start at 5.50. ― Rocky hill sides, & paths winding among the usual Cistus & Σκινος[1] are the order of the day. Ups & downs ― & about 7 we near the great rocks of the narrowing Λευκάδα promontory. Lower down, we come to gaps, whence, looking over, the cliffs are vastly fine, ― dark gray, & perpendicular from the black water, edged with foam, tho’ the sea is calm. 5 ordinary large vultures sate on a ridge of the highest edge. By 7.30, I was at the top of the highest cliffs, where there are remains of a temple ― to the east, the cliff covered with wild cedar, Πρινὰρι,[2] &c. ― slopes to the sea. Ithaca & Κεφαλόνια seem close by, & 3 steamers are immediately below. ― Farther on is the last cliff ― the real Salto di Saffo, where the terraces & portions of wall of a large Temple still exist, ― the ground covered with innumerable bits of pottery &c. An old man of 85, who died not long ago ― (says Παπᾶς Παγκρατιον,) remembered the Temple several feet high ― with some columns standing, but the stones were displaced & rolled to the sea down the hill, & taken for building elsewhere. Piles of stones are still there ― arranged for this process. What must this spot have been when both Temples stood? Returned slowly ― a painful path ― by 11. (on the lower rocks were 2 white-headed sea eagles. At the Monastery we find Μάρκος Ρομπώτης;[3] He says, 3 or more deputies have left Athens to bring the Danish prince over. Παγκρὰτιον is a capital kind man. He says “D’Everton, had he been governor in those times, would never have permitted “τοσα πολύτιμα πράγματα”[4] to be lost in the sea, whereby I thought he meant Sappho ― but he meant the stones of the Temple.

The indefatigable George turned out a dish of Eggs, & I hope went to sleep: I am afraid lest this journey tire him too much. With me lunched ὁ Κ.Μ. Ρομπώτης, ― a well-enough sort of youth, but I had greatly preferred the company of Π. Παγκράτιον, to whom, to retire altogether ― this new comer seems to have been a signal.*[5] ― At 1. I shut up to repose, having made a little memorandum of the queer little room & small church.

I fear now, the Παπᾶς will not go back with me: ― ὅμως, tomorrow, let us hope to get out of the way of bores. How glad I am the ‘Μάρκος’ did not turn up before! ― At 2 ― I call the presiding deities. Κοσταντὶ ― the good honest mule driver who gives no trouble & is always ready & obliging ― & Andrέα the policeman. And I find out Παγκράτιος, & give him a good penholder, & some steel pens, having nothing better to offer him for what has been real kindness. ‘It is not new’ said I ― ‘& I hope to send you a better.’ ― “Δὲν πειράζει”[6] is the answer ― “δὲν θὰ σᾶς λησμονησω.”[7] I also got ― with difficulty ― the little woman who laid the cloth & who sighed fearfully, ― to take 2/― but only with G.’s despotic aid, as she said Παπας Π. Would be θυμωμένος.[8]

I was sorry to leave Παπᾶς Π. ― So at 2 P.M. we set off ― Mr. Μ. Ρομπώτι on a gray mule, Andrea & the other policeman ― (he had come from Athaní yesterday with us ―) Κοσταντί ― & 2 servants of Μ. Ρομπώτης. The only variety was in gathering clouds, thunder also ― & rain at sea. Μάρκος kept shooting right & left ― G. & I steadily walking on. G. suddenly asked ― “if that Lady” [(]meaning Sappho ―) [“]meant to drown herself, why did she take the trouble to go quite to the end of the promontory, when there were so many points nearer ― unless indeed she came in a boat to the point.” ― (Leaving the Monastery of Α. Νικόλα was a sort of grief to me ― Π. Παγκρατιος shook hands ὥς Ἄγγλος,[9] & seeing clouds ― said ― “Ἐπιθυμῶ να ἢθελε βρέξει, μόνον νὰ σὲ κάμνη να μείνης ἐδῶ.”)[10]

However, at 4 ― or 4.30 it did begin to rain, but we did not get wet, & reached Romboti’s house tolerably dry. Every care was taken to give me all I wanted; & the evening passed al solito: wealthy fork ― plate & crockery &c. Dinner too heavy ― soup ― 3 courses of fowl ― boiled stewed & roast, & 9 pigeons! Almond for desert, & the 23 years old wine was delicious! Young Ρομπώτης was at school in Corfû, & knew Ιάννι Κοκάλι. “Φίλος μου ἧτον”[11] ― & they had “assai amore.”[12] Μάρκος[,] furiously English & friendly ― but then I come from the Τοποτηρητῆς.[13] || Said Μάρκος, Μιάν ἡμέραν, μ’ εἲπε ὁ Ιάννης Κοκάλι ― βέβαιος καὶ ἀληθῶς εἶσαι ωραῖος νέος! ― καὶ άποκρίθην ― σ’ εὐχαριστῶ! φίλε μου![14] (caro mio.)[15]

|| My last words to Παγκράτιος were, “Εὰν ποτὲ εὐρίσκης τὰ σκουλαρίκια τῆς Βασιλίσσης ποῦ ἒκαμε τὸ πύδημα, φυλαξέτα καλὰ διὰ ἐμέ!”[16] Whereat I left him holding his sides.


[1] Terebinth.

[2] Kermes oak.

[3] Markos Rombotis.

[4] So many precious things (NB).

[5] The note corresponding to this asterisk should be the one at the end of the previous page, for 20 April: “*Note, July 5. ― I heard afterwards that old Ρομπώτης & the priest are on ill terms. ― How fast the Priest walked!! ―”

[6] It doesn’t matter (NB).

[7] I shall not forget you (NB).

[8] Angry (NB).

[9] Like an Englishman (NB).

[10] I wish it would rain, just so you would be forced to stay (NB).

[11] He was my friend (NB).

[12] Much love.

[13] Deputy (? NB).

[14] One day, Ioannis Kokalis said to me ― you are surely and truly a handsome young man! ― and I responded ― thank you! my friend (NB).

[15] My dear.

[16] If you ever find the earrings of the Queen who jumped, keep them safe for me! (NB).

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

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Filed under 1863, Diary Entry