Monday, 11 May 1863

Racli. 11 May 1863, 5.15 P.M. Numbered 149

Racli. 11 May 1863, 5.15 P.M. Numbered 149

Off in carriage by 5.45. Effects of cloud on mountain & harbour. Vastness of Mount Ænos.[1] Bad, jolting roads. Villages. ― View of Λιϐαδὸ.[2] ― Side of black mountain. 9 A.M. ― Zante. Sisia: sweet smell of broom: woman putting sulphur on vines. ― Caruba trees. 9.15 passing above headland ― Leo ― fine cheerful country. Fine old stumpy olives like Gethsemane. Currants ― currants, endless ― great flat below. Bad road, ― rox great, walk, village of Μαρκόπολος[3] ― village of Κρεμνίδι:[4] view of Scala & sea ― & Zante ― house of burnt Μεταξὰ, ― fine bits of wide scenery ― rox & ilex ― 10.15. (||Above notes written in carriage: the whole road is carved along the face of the black mountain ― rising till it turns round the S.E. end of it: ― all the country below is seen as in a map ― but tho’ showing a most fertile & rich trait ― is undrawable mainly.||) Left carriage at Váltes, at 10.30 ― having turned off to the left, guarded by a man who carried the small package I wanted for one night. Carriage ordered to meet me at Ἀσπρογέρακα[5] tomorrow at . [sic] The walk into the deep & wide vale of Racli, all of which is seen from Valtes ― begins by a steep descent below the ˇ[great] S.E. end of the Black Mountain, & dives twistingly ― a narrow & stony way, among olives & walls: ― lower down passing detached houses & corn fields, ― & by degrees arriving at a level where some scattered villages ˇ[houses] are seen on each side towards the hills that shut in the basin: there is a great deal of beauty in this vale of Ράκλη ― walled in by the gt. blk. Mountain to the west, & by the hills of ――― towards Samos, & those of Πρόνος to the East. It was about 12.15. when we reached Zanata ˆ[a principal village of Racli] & the house of Κ. Διμήτριος Ταμπίτζι,[6] which stands alone beyond the village, & is a model of rural Greek abode. A stream flows close to the house ― turning a mill: great walnut trees & every sort of fruit tree overshadow a garden ― & hang about the mill & a tank, & innumerable nightingales were singing on all sides. (All these things, ὅμως, knowing as I did certain ugly facts ― did not delight me as they might.) The two brothers, Σπιρίδιον & Λεόνιδα ― one meager, the other a stout fine fellow, ― came out to meet me, plain & hearty in manner, & welcoming me frankly. Lemonade, & coffee: also converse ― both speaking Italian. They are violent against the Union, & talk of “barbari” ― “trucidanti”[7] &c. &c. ― At 1. I lie down for an hour or two, on a large bed in a small room, a portrait of Napier by the bed head: Spiridion Tambitze assuring me that I was only one of a host of gt. men who had slept there ― Byron ― Napier ― Maitland, Seaton ― & many more. ― And at 3. ― o bugs & fleas! I wash & hope to go out. Went out with G. & S. Tambitze, & saw the mill, also the orange & walnut trees. Then G. & I climbed higher up & drew till 5.45. or 6. The greenness of this valley basin, & the quantity of currants ― not to speak of nightingales is its characteristic in chief. But it is gloomy ― from having no horizon, & from being so immediately below the vast dome like Black Mountain, which is so frequently cloudy & dark, & never interesting except size only give interest. A gloom also affects my inner man. But I come down, & slowly regain the old house ― passing among low plane trees along the stream bed ― every bough literally abounding with nightingales, so many of wh. I have not heard since in the Gardens of Villa Petraja at Florence.

Leonida Tambitzi shews me the Orange & Lemon Garden &c.: were there more cleanliness ― & were there security from crime ― what a house this might be! Coming in at 6.45 ― the table, as well as my bed, were covered with flowers ― the Κεφαλονίστες[8] being very fond of all flowers evidently, as one sees by the windows of the country houses at Μεταξάτα & elsewhere. Flowers versus fleas. ― At 7.30 ― or later, dinner, ― the 2 brothers very rustic friendly. Pigeons ― remarkably tender & good, ― & sucking pig, which is the Devil. Ὅμως καλὸ κρασὶ.[9] And they were really very kindly folk. Leonida, who has made a voyage to Leghorn, told me I should sleep in a bed hitherto kept for great men ― Seaton, Adam, Byron, &c. ― Bed at 9.30. Knocked the lamp down while arranging the blessed[10] flea powder: but happily no evil ensued.

Sheets & quilt covered with Orange flowers.

[1] Αίνος, Aenos.

[2] Livado, maybe Leivatho, an area (NB).

[3] Markopoulo.

[4] Kremnidi. He means the village Kremmydi (NB).

[5] Asprogerakas.

[6] Mr Dimitrios Tampize.

[7] Barbarians ― slaughterers.

[8] Residents of Cephalonia (NB).

[9] Good wine, though (NB).

[10] The entry continues in the previous page, for 10 May.

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


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