Saturday, 18 April 1863

Fine, but cloudy ― hot. ― but air is better than χθὲς.[1] ― Slept pretty well, “pretty” well ― as Baron D’E. [was] to say. Rose at 5 ― & by a little before 6 we were off.

The old bewiggled Ἠγούμενος declared he would take nothing, but, τέλος πάντων,[2] took 2/6. A sorry lot of folk. ― The Προεστὸς of Ἀλεξανδρος, for the love of the Baron, would come with me ― he was an awful bore ― as far as Πασᾶ Φοντανα. Horrible ugly valley & frightful roads. Less vines even than before: how bare & ugly are these hills!! ― reminding me of C. di Penne in the Abruzzi. ˇ[Hideously] [illegible], dry ― wrinkled, spasmy chasmy valley, full of ugly gullies. About 7. we left the road & went up to Π. Εὐαγγελίστα, Κοκκινεκκλησιά, a monastery like [Afiorgion], but there was a lively Ἠγούμενος, who was angry at my proposal to depart εὐθὺς:[3] ― (for coffees & compliments spoil days.) So we left, but went sorry, & had to hark back till we got the right road again, & after that we [lifted] on the priest again, who had made a short cut. “ὣς ὂρνις διὰ μέσον τὸν ουρανὸν[4] ―” said I. He gave me a bottle of wine, & after wholesale compliments, on again. Who can know what these people mean, if one travels with a policeman? ― We came at length, at 8 below high rocks to the left ― Σκάρος,[5] to get out of this horrid upper level, & down to the plain of Ἐγγλιμενῶ, & see Πόρος,[6] & Μαδουρί[7] &c. &c. & a lot of the Isles of Greece. Heavy stony road as yet. Partridges call. ― gradually olives ˇ[thinly planted] begin, & we get to Fontana Pasha ― at 9. a very common orange garden, but wholly destitute of drawability: so I resolve to go on. And we go along the flat ground, by [some] ditches, & the torrent of Δημετζιάρη[8] ― (which the Baron extolled, but I see nothing in at all,) & then by degrees ˇ[(at 11)] came to the head of the Port of Βλιχῶ ― where there are 2 or 3 dismal houses. We pass the best, & go on to the Govt. collector or what [not here], whose house is filthy, so I return to the other with a ˇ[shaded tiled] portico, ˇ[a malevolent pig] & the master, one Χριστὸς Παπακοστόπουλος makes me a mattress on tressels outside, & I get some lunch of cold meat, & very good wine.

The pale blue sea ― twinkling & rippling, of this pretty quiet dead port, is bright & pleasant, & so is the beautiful air, but the hills have mediocre forms ― & I can’t draw.

At 1.45. after really a pleasant 2 hours ― we start, ― I am to sleep at Barba Χριστὸς’s house: & at 2.30 we arrive at it, in Καταχώρι ―― alone ― detached: clean &c.: ― a café. & we sleep.

From the window where this large 2 pillow bed is, ― nought but an olive tree can be seen: but the branches & leaves of that are enough of beauty.

After some repoge & café ― riz & worked, ― the padrone[9] having been immensely considerate of all matters. The head of Police in these parts came, & we all issued forth to see the town. Church, school, dogs, carpet-making, &c. &c. &c. ― & so after looking wise as long as I could, we all came back & sate in the padrone’s room ― where I talked bad Greek ― & “looked wise,” & examined the son ― Athanasius’s writing ― till 6.30, when, holding out no longer, I retired to write this.

I am better in health than yesterday, but have an ugly headache still. No pay is to be given here ― but I select pens & pencils. Report spoken of a kid having been killed for us. Asking about the Judas tree ― [“]δὲν φέρει καρποῦς”[10] ― said one. ― “Λοιπόν, καλὴτερα νὰ τὸ κόψης εὐθὺς”[11] said I ― whereat all the boys ran about shouting ― “Ἂς τὸ κόψαμὲν!”[12]

Duplicate notes of Saturday. 18th

Packing to go at 5.45. Cloudy. How bare & ugly are the gt. mountains of this valley! Reminding me of those near C. di Penne in the N. Abruzzi. Hideously dry, withered wrinkled, chasmy, rocky valley ― gullies. Κοκκινεκκλησία[13] ― priest ― lose way  ― priest again. Open on the channel ― at 8 descend towards the sea. “Isles of Greece.” At 9, Pasã Fontana ― ἔτζι κ’ ἔτζι ― go on. plain of Ἐγγλιμενὸ.[14] At Βλιχῶ[15] by 11 ||

Down thro’ most ugly places & up to the convent of Κοκκινεκλησιά ― out of the way, at which I was wrath. The Ἡγούμενος wished me to stay, but I would not, so we came off leaving the track, again finding it, & falling in with the priest lower down. Travelling with a policeman, no one can tell if these people are really hospitable or not.We came at last to see the plain of Ἐγγλιμενὸ, & winding round the bay, through olives truly grown, & muddy ditches, crossing the torrent of Δημετζιάρη, & so by little & little to Βλιχῶ. A house, with a shady tiled portico & a prevalent pig. 2 or 3 houses farther on, where we stopped at the Deputator: but it was hot & filthy inside, ὅμως[16] the Gent asked me to stay ― but I dare not throw away health, so came back to the first place, where a good Samaritan opened a Mattress on tressels in the Portico. The Gent came & gave me a Limonata: how dead a place! ― now, noon, I am happily eating lunch, ― so is the pig ― & the hens, & the cat: & the swallows are twittering. The pale blue sea of this closed port shimmers & popples, & the world is bright enough: but no forms other than of mediocrity are among those I see. The Mountn. of Scarus only above the plain of Ἐγγλιμενὸ ― might be drawable at early morn. Very good wine. Χριστὸς Παπακοστόπουλος[17] ― conversation between the above named & myself, “assisted by” the Policeman & G., a subaltern, the very Hebrew like Eldest son of the Deputato. The air of this place is lovely. G. supposes we are to go to the house of Barba Χριστὸς, & I don’t think we could do better. He, like all the men here, looks like a woman in the handkerchief & long cloth dress. About 1. we start. I bored by the lot of folk. Ascent. At 2, I am sitting, G., policeman & Χριστὸς ― ahead. The whole port of Βλιχῶ is beneath, & in another light possibly drawable, at present ― impossible. At 2.30. ―house of Χριστὸς, & pretty scattered large village of Καταχῶρι. Apparently well-off place. ― At 3 ― going to sleep, ― by the many=light=& shadowed olives.

|| ― Supper ― gave Anastasius the pens ― & wrote. Eggs ― τεγαμισμὲνα ― & φασόλια[18] ― excellent, & ditto κρασί.[19] Clean cloth ― napkins ― “wealth” as Mrs Wynne used to say. Industry of Sta. Maureotes: always at work. (Industry of fleas alas, also, ― but the Fleapowder remedies that.) This house is wondrous clean in many things ― tho’ they use remiss in others. ― Bed at 9.30.

The last day I was at Sta. Maura, Χριστὸς Παπακοστόπουλος came to me in the greatest distress: ― his son had been taken off by the police ― according to him ― for no reason. Sir H.S. was in the residency ― & he had come to question. I could not interfere, but was grieved: it occurred to me ― was this owing to his having received a stranger? ― O Baron! ――― Note written July 5, 1863.


[1] Yesterday (NB).

[2] Anyway (NB).

[3] At once (NB).

[4] Like a bird through the skies (NB).

[5] Skaros, a mountain in Lefkada (NB).

[6] Poros.

[7] Or Μαδουρή, Madouri, a very small island across of Nydri, Lefkada, belonging to the Valaoritis family (NB).

[8] Δημοσάρη, Dimosari, a fall (NB).

[9] Owner of the house.

[10] Bears no fruit (NB).

[11] So, it’s better to cut it down promptly (NB).

[12] “Let’s cut it down!” (NB). The rest of this entry, including the note of 5 July, was written in the page for 16 April.

[13] Literally, “red Church,” a monastery in Lefkada (NB).

[14] Κάμπος Εγκλημένου, i.e. the plain of Eglimenos in Lefkada (NB).

[15] Βλυχό, Vlicho, a village (NB), see yesterday’s picture.

[16] But.

[17] Should be Παπακωστόπουλος: Christos Papakostopoulos (NB).

[18] Beans (NB).

[19] Wine (NB).

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

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