Friday, 15 May 1863

Wretched night ― XXX3. Morbid & uneasy. Bad toothache ――― no sleep. ―

Rose at 5 ― George got me some coffee, & I dawdled about, trying to draw a little, but very vainly. I shall not take G. up the mountain ― for his foot is sore, & he must go down to S. Gerasimo tomorrow.

The fate of poor Captn. Parker makes me worried for Lane. At 7, breakfasted with C.L. who, like F.L. cannot start without. At 7.45 (!) off with him & a Guardiano[1] for the top of the mountain, but the distance was all misty & cloudy. The way up is not distressing, & we were at the summit by 10.15 ― going first through fine darkling pine wood, then opening on to rocky spaces ― the ridge of the Blk. Mountain top narrowing ever. Drew for half an hour on the top ― where sacrificial bones abound, & whence the smoke of sacrifice was visible to the little Island off Λιϐαδῶ, ― where they waited for the signal. Descended; there are fine bits of rock & pine at times: & now I am writing this on my way down at 12.30. But there is nothing, ― now that all the beautiful distance is not visible, ― to make this mountain forest particularly desirable. The pines are handsome in themselves, & more so just at the present time, owing to their fresh border of green shoots, & here & there they are in rich groups: but the long bare spaces of dry stone, & the ugly forms of the Cephalonian hills are objectionable, if not set off  by fine distance. Back at the Cottage by 2. P.M. ― & had some wine & a biscuit, talking with C. Lane, & at 3.15 went out again with him into the forest, where we went down low, & there were some scenes which would have been lovely had the distance been clear. We talked of Parker, & his severity: ― of the goats never being allowed to the forest now: of the robberies of wood &c. &c. Just as we reached the large trees we had set out to see ― lo! 2 men ― having cut a tree down, ― came right upon us ― carrying 2 pieces of timber. One of them let his end of the wood fall, & decamped hastily: the other had  not time to do so, & thereby was in a mortal funk: ― I had to catechize him, when he told me his name,          ,[2] (which L. said he thought was really so, as he seemed too frightened even to lie,) & said he found τὸ ξυλὸν ξηρὸ[3]. Lane carried off the smaller beam of wood, & in a great fright at finding us there, rushed back over the rox. ― Lane has taken down the Capitano of the forest ˆ[and a Guardiano] & I have remained at home. But it seems to me very wrong of Lane to come here so unattended: a revolver has no chance against 5 or 6 men with musquets in concealment. I would we were away.

The wood was all brought back, & the Capitano wishes to send Guardiani to the villages tonight to bring the delinquents here tomorrow. He however is overruled, & they are to be taken to the Police at Ἀργοστώλι. Walked to & fro with C.L. till 6. Then was  bed & dinner, at 6.30. Very pleasant. Bed at 9.


[1] Keeper.

[2] Lear leaves a blank space.

[3] The wood [ξύλον] dry (NB).


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

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