Friday, 17 April 1863

Βλικὸ [Βλυχό]. 17 April 1863.

Βλικὸ [Βλυχό]. 17 April 1863.

Fine but very hot. Mountains clouded ― all & dim.

Rose at 5 ― none the better for the air of Sta. Maura, nor for the dinner, lunch, & breakfast of yesterday. ― It was 7.30, before I got away, ― a mule & muleteer, ― G. & I, & a Policeman. ― along the road to beyond [Chicklamboo] church, after which we turned inward by a broad rising road ― winding above the gt. olive plain. The views hence are of the very best of the North of the island, but too cloudy to draw, so I wander on, ― & with weary steps too ― for I was not very well. & moreover the Policeman would go up difficult bypaths, & short cuts. At 9.30 we came to the top & the roads & scenery became atrocious. A great basin below high Mountains ― a little lake below ― & all the rest stone, worked out into vine terraces with admirable industry & ugly effect ― tho’ of course had the year been more advanced the vines would have been prettier. I & G. were both reminded of the 5 Terre country close to Spezzia. Neither the sight of the Sphakides nor of Καρυά[1] ― (the largest village in the Island,) ― gave me the least wish to visit them: ― they are in 6 or 8 Maxalades or detached lots of houses, after the fashion of Greekdom in general, ― but the whole aspect of the great valley was hideously dry & frightful. Nevertheless there were two views rather grand & desert-like, but I could not draw owing to the clouded hills ― the former of which were hidden. The fatigue of the roads was great, but on passing the Monastery of Ἄ. Ιωάννης about 11.20 ― I decided not to stop there ― so we went on & reached the village of Ἀλέξανδρος & the Monty. of Α. Γεώργιος about 11.40. A poor place. an old [owl, or,][2] hawklike Ἠγούμενος[3] ― with a wonderful head of hair ― & one blind Καλόγερος.[4]

But there was a couple of clean rooms. Wine ― ἔτζι κ’ ἔτζι. coarse  & black ― so I drank too much water ― & later ― had some cold mutton & onion, which last disagreed with me. So I went to lie down, feeling ill & feverish, ― & lo! XX4 ― after which I slept, & indeed at 4 rose better, though far from well. The policeman sticks to me as a burr ― evidently ordered so to do: but I believe there was no better mode of progress. Yet if I see nothing more beautiful than what I have seen today, I shall regret the journey. The small ˇ[level, or] comaparatively level where the villages of the 2nd district are, is somewhat less hideous than that of Καρυᾶ, yet wholly undrawable.

At 4.45 ― (the Policeman being asleep,[)] I & G. escaped, & began to go up the hill behind the monastery ― unluckily obliquely ― so we got never the nearer, ― but threaded the path among & over vast blocks of stone below the great hill of Scarni: at the top ― goats & a goatherd were there, we saw a bit of misty purple Etolia & the [gragoca] ― & returning killed a venomous snake. ― At the monastery ― the policeman wished to go up the high hill ― & I half began to do so ― but returned for it was too late.

Having worked, & written some of this, G. brought αὑγὰ τεγαμισμὲνα[5] & riso al burro[6] ― both good: he is a cheerful capital man. He says the “buco” when the priests eat is “un orrore ―”[7] & the elder stirred up the tripe in water with his hand ― so that απ’ άσπρ’ ἒγινε μαῦρον[8] ― so that G. declined the food. “Τὶ νέα ἀπ’ τό χώρι μας; [”][9] ― asked the priest of the Policeman. “Τίποτε ― βουνά xερὰ καὶ ἡσυχία.” ἀποκρίθηκε αὐτός.[”][10]

[1] Karya.

[2] Added in the previous page for 16 April.

[3] Abbot (NB).

[4] Monk (NB).

[5] Fried eggs (NB).

[6] Rice with butter.

[7] The hole where the priests eat is disgusting.

[8] It turned from white to black (NB).

[9] Any news from our village? (NB)

[10] “Nothing ― bare mountains and quiet”. he answered (NB).

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

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Filed under 1863, Diary Entry

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