Monthly Archives: November 2014

Posting temporarily suspended

I am sorry to announce that I will not be posting Edward Lear’s diaries for some time due to health problems in the family. I hope I’ll be able to resume around Christmas time.



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Tuesday, 8 November 1864

A curious day. ―― Slept well: curtains closed & no mosquitoes.

Rose at 6.30. & at 7.30 had taken coffee; &, as previously resolved ― set off in a 2 ass carriage ― for Mentone.

All the views of Nice as you rise on the Genoa road, are beautiful ― & I think I drew somewhat here in 1841 ― with Uncle & Aunt James. ―Long ascents follow, gulfily looking down into vallies. Bad bits of fallen road ― or rox. First sight of Eza[1] ― beyond Villa Franchi, assuredly very sublime ― & still more so as I went on. Turbia[2] is also grand, & portions of the vast cliffs above the road as one descends are really tremendous. Monaco below, & Roquebrune[3] are also full of beauty, & nearer Mentone, olives worthy of Paxô. But Mentone disappoints me: it is a line of one street ― tho’ the environs are far fuller of near beauty than those of Nice. Hotel Victoria, ― ordered breakfast, & went out to ask if Roberts’s name was among the “strangers.” Lo! I came upon him just outside in the street ― setting off to St. Remo with his friend “Gardner” ― but he goes in 2 days to malta so we met & parted: ― a kindly good man. Returning, I breakfasted, & by chance looked at the list of Strangers; ― & Lo! Viscount & Viscountess Strangford! So I sate an hour or more with them, & afterwards, with her in the table d’hôte room. And at 2.30 ― set off in “my Carriage” ― with the [live] Lord & Lady, who are so full of knowledge & taste that I consider this a white day. ― They left me ― (πάντοτε μόνος)[4] near Rochebrune,[5] & I came on alone. The day all through was divinely lively ― light grey clouds & calm shiel-like sea ― far spread out. Eza was more magnificent than ever. Setting out at 2.45 ― it was moonlight as we came to the Nice descents, & I arrived at 6.30. Έγευμάτισα καλά.[6] ―

But; ― something must be settled as to where I am to work.

Perfectly clear lovely fresh day.

[1] Èze.

[2] La Turbie.

[3] Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.

[4] Always alone (NB).

[5] Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, again.

[6] I dined well (NB).

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

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Monday, 7 November 1864

A dreadful night! & so unexpected. Whether from the noise of the sea, ― or from the many Mosquitoes, ― or from some unknown physical cause, I cannot tell, ― but truly miserable it was all through.

The sudden ― so sudden transition of body & mond from one world as it were to another, seems by some great rule to call out a reactionary & confusing state of life.


No sleep at all till 3 or 4, but violent attacks of cramp & nervous head miseries. ―

Rose, however, at 7.30 ― determined not to give way: ― & till 10.30 ― walked about: ― to Greek Consul’s ― & to the Post, where I found an enclosure from T. Cooper, with letters from Evelyn Baring, poor W. Nevill, (who had not got mine,) Day (the drawings are erased,) & maclean’s receipt. The letter I wrote to George remains there. Breakfast ― many flies abhorrent disturb me. ― Then went to see lodgings ― all odious with hideously colored furniture ― & nearly all outrageous in price. 2 or 3 small villas were very pretty & delightful ― but with no good roads to the distant city. One of 800 fr. was good for nought; the others 2500 to 3500. An apartment at the top of the Villa Lions ― 6000 was delightful. I returned by the Gare & broad new road, ― but all 3 quarters, St. Etienne, S. Filippe, & Carabacelle are quite new, & comparatively roadless. Went home at 2-2.30 & had some bread & wine, & set out, (having ordered a carriage for Mentone tomorrow,) to walk ― over the hill ― to Villafranca. Many pretty olive views ― & then Villafranca harbour is somewhat like a Spezzia view. ――― Returned by 6. ― & at 6.30 dined ― 8.30 ― write this.

I do not like this Nice, ― μὰ τὶ νὰ κάμω,[1] ― some pied-a-terre must be found to work in. And I incline to the 2000 fr. M. Michel more than any other. The villas ― however surrounded by lovely flowers, are so far from the town: & the rooms are so stuffy & bothery. Grim & dim obscurity abounds; quâ the future.

Day wholly fine.

[1] But what can I do (NB).

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

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Sunday, 6 November 1864

Slepp uncommon. But woke at 7 ― & riz ― taking Maggneisher, & coffee. Then walked out: bright & lovely morning ― Hotels & lodgings innumerable. Saw many ― let all by the season ― but none under 2000 fr. ― 80£ ― & those furiously horrid with colors & furniture. Walked quite beyond the “Promenade des Anglais,” ― & saw a Casa Ginesi, where were rooms, (2200 fr.) more to the purpose ― but requiring a servant, & fuor di strada: also some 1500 fr. ― 60£ ― but with stables below: ― [“]mais, savez vous, Monsieur, la famille qui prederà le premier etage ― peut être elle n’aura pas des chevaux.” ― So I returned by 11. (Both steamers are in from Genoa, but no George.) Breakfasted ― & then about 1 or 2, (having arranged to take 2 rooms here for an uncertain time at 10 fr. A day, & moved up all my things,) went out again ― by the castle, & to the Gk. Consul, but he was out: afterwards to Pantaleone’s ― where I saw he Dr. & also Madame, & sate a while pleasantly. Ἔπειτα ― at 3 or 3.30, walked to the Carabaselle quarter, & found Lady & poor Anna Duncan, who poor thing is most sadly changed. O! how sad is most human life! So bright now ― so dark afterwards! ――

Walked back ― rainy now ― to the Hotel du Nord, & at 5.30 dined at the table d’hôte. An agreable person next me ― talking French, yet not a Frenchman, ― talked of America &c. ― a Pole. ― Query: are there many Poles in all Hotels in Nice? It is needles[s] to observe the I said nothing of Poland. At present, 7.30, I am writing this: ― if poor good dear George is on his way, I fear he is a suffering ― for the road near Ventimiglia is broken up by the rains. I may hear  (from Stratford Place ―) on Thursday ― or he may come, ― or neither of these may happen: ― patience only is the rule & hope.

Thank god for health.

Willington is married ―― & to a Miss Hopwod. (??)

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

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Saturday, 5 November 1864

The night passed very decently ― smoke nonostante.[1] & as morning came on the society was pleasant. The man next to me ― (I suppose Prince Stradella of Sicily) told me his brother had married Donna Caterina Giardinelli (of Antrodoco 1843 memories ―) who has 3 children! ― He also told me that Pippo Gaetani is dead.

A cup of Coffee at Lyons ― but no other pause ― to Marseilles at noon. Carriages changed ― no time for food. Near Cannes, saw Giuseppe Posidoni, ― & lo! Mrs. Saltmarsher & what memories of Mr. Whitmore, ― & far far deeper & older of dear Mrs. Empson!!

Reached Nice ― (the Rlway now complete,) by 7.45. a journey just 24 hours ― too long to be taken at one breath.

Came to the little Hotel du Nord ― but, as indeed I could not otherwise expect, ― no George. 2 Steamers come to morrow, but all Diligences are uncertain, vû the rains, & roads.

Dinner, & bed, before 10.

Morning gray & slighty [sic] drizzly ― but after Avignon, it cleared, & was quite bright & fine towards noon, & after.

[1] Nowithstanding.

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

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Friday, 4 November 1864

Rose at 8. Breakfast ― 9. An American couple. Thinking that the butter was in common with the table, I took some of that close to me ― whereon the American pulled it away. “Pardon me” said I ― & explained, “You may have a little bit, I guess,” said the lady. To a vulgar Englishman, who, hearing the talk about the last war news, said, “what do you think now will be the end of the war?” ― she answered well, “I guess we ain’t in the habit of talking about ˇ[our] National politics to strangers at public tables.” At 10 to Hotel de l’Empire, & sate with Adml. & Mrs. Robinson & Miss Louis till       : Mrs. R. kindly gave me a pair of slippers. The Adml. was very jolly & delightful, as to the Spanish trip, & in all ways. His account of the D. of S. abord at the interview with Marshal McMahon was impayable: so also his story of his early Captain, Lord ― Townshend, whom an American Whaler’s mate followed & reviled ― (Lord ― being lame & deformed.) Robinson, on whose arm the Capt. leaned walking, was checked as to his desire to punish, but all at once Lord ― said “Coxswain ― kick that man down!” ― which Coxswain instantly did, & wheeling round & saluting said “Knocked down my Lord.” ― Left these kind people, & walked: saw the mutilated statue of “Silla[”]― & from 12 ― to 3 was at the Louvre Gallery. Roberts pictures are very dreadful as to color. Hotel de Louvre, & dined sparsely ― for me: good. Got things ready, & set off by 6 to Rail. Long waiting, weighing, &c. &c. Off at 7.45. Carriages very full. Old sick man, & “servante=maitresse,” & 3 men ― 2 got out at [Montereau];[1] & the remaining one began to drink brandy, & got quite drunk ―: so at Tonnerre I absquatulated & got into another voiture.



Mem: to buy back the Rembrandt & Gevartius portraits of C. Hanson. ――

[1] Perhaps Moneteau

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

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Thursday, 3 November 1864

Letter from B.H. Hunt. Currey goes, & not he.

Very fine day ― & calm: great good fortune. Wrote, in bedroom, till 9.30. ― Breakfast, ― While I sate, afterwards, in the reading room, writing to Mrs. G. Clive, heard ˇ[the] loud voice of an old lady ― “Mentone” &c. &c. ― “prolong life ― I am 77” ― “built a house” ― “best there” &c. &c. “my brother Sir Thomas,” ― & lo! turning round it was the outrageous Mrs. Usborne! “horrid person.” (But poor W. Dudgeon is thus recalled to me.) By 11.30 ― came away, & saw luggage registered. 2/18/6. ― to Paris. On board by 12.30[.] Off at 1. Very good passage & bright & blowy. Arrived exactly at 3. Herring boats going out if the river were obstacles but beautiful. ‘Bus’ to station. Dinner, unintentionally expensive, by reason of unknown food, & loss by Belgian coin. They don’t box one up in the room now-a-days ― but one chooses one’s place early. Pleasant 6 hours to Paris: ― long waiting for luggage ― (we arrived at Paris 11.20,) ― one trunk only (fortunately that containing no paper ―) opened. Gave porters 2 fr. Small ‘bus’ to Louvre by 12.15. Bouillon & bed, before 1.

I can hardly remember that I ever came across & to Paris so easily in all respects.

Thank God.

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

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Wednesday, 2 November 1864

Rose at 5 ―; wrote & packed till 8. Left “all things” “in order” ― & gavbe last words to the Coopers ―: & came away at 11.15. ――――――

Rail, 12.20. one passenger only. Folkestone by 3.30. ―

Very lovely afternoon & sunset. Wandered about, though very cold. From 5 to 7 ― wrote 12 letters. But then, as no Husey Hunt came, I dined. Wrote again.

Loneliness: that gray cold feeling which comes over the heart as cloud.

Πάντοτε μόνος.[1]

[1] Always alone.

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

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Tuesday, 1 November 1864

Rose early ― getting thro’ much of “last arrangements.”

At 10, (leaving Foord’s men working at my Watercolour screens, ―) went to Carlton Gardens, & saw C.F. in his Dressing room: all serene & merry enough, in a way. Came to Waterloo Station, & thence to Leatherhead, ― day very cold. Dined with poor Ellen, who is always Kind; ― & left her at 2. (I should have gone to Mrs. Howard’s, but Lord Bristol died yesterday.) Back to London, & bought various things till 5, & then had some supper: & bed at 10, awfully tired.

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

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