Saturday, 30 May 1863

8. weeks today from Corfu! ― Rose before 4, (slept well.) Off 4.45. ―

We pass Ἀναφωνῆτρα ― at 5.15. ― always long ugly rocky hills, thinly besprinkled with olives & cypresses here & there: ― corn in patches ― & gray rocks with Σκίνος. At 5.20-25 pass through Πλυμμονηριὰ ― a rather pretty largish village; fruit trees, ― cypresses; ― turkies plentiful ― no dogs ― (which in this island seem all in the city.) Before me is a long upland valley ― meager & uninteresting, ― with “the highest mountain” of no form at the end. Policeman says ― “Α. Γεώργιος being once here, they beat him with stones, & he excommunicated them, & thence forward the Πλυμμονήριans have small families & are all more or less black.[”] ― 5.30 ― to 6 ― an elevated plain, ― usual Greek herbs ― here & there a pine.

Top of Blk. Mountain (Ænos ―) just seen. 6 ― 6.10 ― still high plain ― but all cultivated. 6.15 ― open out towards sea ― long view of Maritime table-land, olive & corn covered: cheerful but not particularly picturesque. 6.30. Μαριὲς.[1] ― smiling fields all about. We stop at a cistern in the shade, & a passing woman goes for the key ― & a jug, or iron basin. After water & 5 minutes rest, we go on at 6.35. One man says ―”Καλ’ ἠμέρα”![2] ― & only one. Dogs mute. 2 other ammazzamenti[3] took place here last week. Turkies. Cypresses, olives, & corn: ― bad stony roads. 6.50. very beautiful [on]going cornfields ― with large old olives growing thereout. Now again stony. 7.10. village of Ὀξωχώρι[4] ― full of Cisterns: we get water again ― broad flat ground ― & very old olives. Pass thro’ the village, gloomy folk methinx: ― & at 7.30 begin to ascend, towards the Mountains ― & leaving the sea. Crossing the shoulders of Mt. Γέρι ― or Βραχίονα;[5] ― the usual sharp gray limestone rocks & a world of herbs; ― a flat table land below, with 2 villages visible ― Γαμπὶ ― & Ἄγιος Λεὸς: ― Beyond all is the sea.

Not quite so hot as yesterday it ain’t. 7.35. go on. walls. always toiling up the toilsome hill till 8.15, when we reach the brow & see Luca below. 8.30. pass thro’ Λοῦκα. More water: G. Cross & answers angrily. Λοῦκα is a village with Cypresses, & some tolerable houses. ― Valley ― & dry stones. Cross a pleasant plain of corn ― peasants cutting & loading grain. {Cisterns & more water[.]

Leave it ― & begin to rise. (Recollections of Abruzzo days, ― & villages.) 9.20. arrive at top of long valley side, & see a small cultivated plain, with the Mt. Sinai Monastery ― Παράγαθος[6] ― surrounded by pines & vines. ((continued at page F.))

May. 30. Continued.

They say there is no one there ― so I don’t know what to do; it is full time to rest. Perhaps better go on to the Monastery: G. is too cross to speak to, & the Policeman is “hard to understand.”

At 9.45 ― we get to the Monastery ― which has a neat & trim appearance, ― & find it shut: ― only a few female peasants, & children in outbuildings. We sit in the Church porch ―― Nothing but water to be had. All the Καλόγεροι are away, & only 3 very dirty women ― one verminous boy, & 8 filthy dogs being the Κατακοῦντες.[7] I don’t very well know what to do. Such a sell as these 2 days giro never was! ―

So I think to go on at 10. This little Monastery is pretty enough in its tufty pine wood, but has not particular interest to make it drawable. From 10 to 11 went in a violent=odious descent between the 2 sides of the ˇ[a] ravine ― & the pale green plain of Zante came out by degrees in a vivid triangle at the end. But when Skopo & Zante were seen they were not available to draw. Lower down, above Γαλάρο, I stopped, sending on G. & policeman ― & drew till 11.20. ― 11.40. I got to the village of Γαλλάρο ― (wh. stands on the side of the hill range facing Zante) ― the Policeman meeting me, & am taken to a very dirty nasty house ― highly fleaful. It is awfully hot, even for me: & the flies are [dweffle]. 12 ― to 12.7. endeavour to lunch, τεγαμισμέν’ αὐγὰ,[8] good ― & also good brown bread: ― but the filth of the table & the flies absolutely prevent any comfort. I put the extremely foul napkin aside quietly ― which the horrid amazon woman ― mistress of the house ― sees, & brings back ― cramming it onto the bread, saying ―

“Ἒτζι εἶναι; Μπᾶ! Μπᾶ! Πάρε το!”[9] ―

The wine is good but too sweet. Hens pervade the scene. Zantiotes please me not, nor Zante much. Ὅμως I am thankful I can bear more than formerly. ― And now ― how to get over these next 5 hours? ― 12.40. I have left the halls that no one swept, & have come out, sitting below a Nollive-tree for the present. 1.15. time grows on, & I am going to move higher up to draw Skopõ. (I gave the queer dry policeman a dollar as I came down the hill.)[10]

1.40. Drawing still on the hill side. 3 more hours to pass. 2. Move again. 2.20. In the vast green carpet of currants, groups of minute white spex appear by my glass. These are peasants working. Towards the Castle hill, villas ― white ― abound: ― and the tall white new Campanile of S. Dionýsios is evident. I sit still continual. ― Breezes below ― beginning at 2.30, & birds twitter. Very silvery twitterers are these in the olives. ― Cephalonia is dim & blue. ― It is now 3 ― & must be 3.20. in the city: but as yet no signs are seen of the carriage.

3.15 ― is there a carriage seen?
3.20. there is still hope ― plenty.
3.25. our hopes do not thrive.
3.45 ― nor can they longer strive.

4. I return to the village. No signs of the carriage ― so I go down ― leaving G, & the Policeman to follow, which they do. I draw till 4.30 ― but no carriage. 4.45 ― set off to walk. 5.15 ― (their 5.45 ―) met carriage, which could not have reached Γαλάρο before 6 ― whereby I was in a great rage. The long plain of currants, when new, is pleasing; but wearies after a time. There is so little “country” in Zante ― all is so artificial & villa=like. The Acanthus=thistle grows immensely in the hedges.

Got through that awful long Street, & to Roberts’ ― by 7. Dressed & washed ― & Major Hawes came to dinner. (He is a widower, ― his late wife sister of the Mrs. Yelverton.) Afterwards came Mr. Wrench. I went to bed at 10 ― or 10.30. resolving to sleep no end.

A pretty long disagreeable day!

 


[1] Maries.

[2] Good day (NB).

[3] Killings.

[4] Oksochori (Eksochori).

[5] Mt. Vrachionas.

[6] Paragathos (Yperagathos).

[7] Residents (NB).

[8] Fried eggs (NB).

[9] Is that so? Ooh! Ooh! Take it! (NB).

[10] Continues in the facing page.


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

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1 Comment

Filed under 1863, Diary Entry

One response to “Saturday, 30 May 1863

  1. Peter Byrne

    I think we can conclude that it was good for our Edward to get away from Corfu and its stuffy colonial salons. He, of course, is too polite to more than hint. But outside of his studio or in the landscape, he found it a bore. Eight weeks away among the islands and he’s given us an impressive travel chronicle full of small but piquant adventures.

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