Saturday, 24 December 1864

Rose at 5.30 A.M. (having been called incidentally at 4.30.) Leave Roba to be sent on to Savona. Prepare to retrace the 130 miles to Nice. Off at 6[.] Coffee below ― (soldiers ― rum ― punch ― &c.) Railway places to Voltri, 2 second class ― 2.50. ― Slow train. Gt. lots of people. At Voltri by 7.30. Horrid cold ― yet welcome, as sign of fine weather. Heaps of Omnibusses & carriages ― filled ― & tearing onward. We went on, thro’ the 2 Voltri towns, & below the Villa dotted hill, to near the landslip, where I drew, & again further on. Hideous bits of rockfall! Arenzano sparklingly pretty, & seen behind great rox ― novel. Yet it is not easy to draw always from beautiful spots. At Arenzano, the usual fishing Καράβια[1] building shore, with villas & olives behind, & mountains farther. Beyond the town, the N. wind was outrageous & bitter, yet, under a shelter, I drew; a very grand & beautiful bay scene, & the hills magnificent. 2 real Pifferari[2] (!!!!) passed at this time: ― I had heard their notes afar, & was puzzled: ― but now they were in the road above where I sat, & I could not speak to them. By my glass ― old men both ― but the pointed hat & gartered stockings brought back half a life. ― Up the hill, paper [mills] & vines ― till pines ensued. Vast wind & cold! The valley I had so much wished to draw is shut up at top with clouds. At 11.30, reaching the shore, we lunch, below a wall. At 12.20, I write this. All things bright, blue, & windy. Regt. of Italian soldiers going to Genoa ― running here & there quâ Ants. (Some make for the sea by Railway ― possibly right.) On. Ugly fallen walls ― but the rains of a week ago are dried. Aloes. Drew ― Cogoletto ― & again nearer the village. There is somewhat of breadth unusual in these views, here. Pass thro’ Cogoletto ― narrow street ― small village. House of C. Columbus: ordinary. ― but repaired, inscribed &c. ― unpaved street. Finding no farther chance of inn, came back, ― (it was now 2.30 ―) horrid cold. The Locanda, is shady to see ― very, & the Padrona as G. says ― πολὺ σκληρὰ.[3]But the rooms she shows are far better than they of the Gallo. So, ordering food, at 5 or 5.30, go out again. But the bitter cold is really dreadful, & harder even for G. to bear, than for myself. Walked out a while uphill, & drew, but with difficulty, from the extreme cold wind. There is somewhat grand & sumptuous in the little village & its background ― first of long promontory, then of spiry purple mountain ranges, & lastly of the bright sparkling myriad Genoa shore beyond. I wish now, that I knew the life of C. Columbus well. Cold awful, but I tried to draw twice more, while G. [saved] his life by sitting in holes & under walls ― smoking. By 4.30. we came back. More preparations are made for cleanliness than might be expected & after washing ― (luggage being sent on, one has a limited arrangement of toilet,) dinner. Soup, fish, fowl, fruit, wine coffee. Nothing very good, nor very bad. The Suliot, who dines with me, is always well-bred, quiet, & temperate.

At 7, we call the queer rough servant boy, who is obliging & dexterous notwithstanding; ― we take the remains of the dinner & a bottle of wine for αὖριον,[4] & we find that all things included amount to 9½ francs. Soup fish, fowl & boiled meat, fruit, & coffee, 3 bottles of wine ― 2 beds. ― The serving boy says, “We are all unhappy & displeased because the Principale[5] died a moth ago, &c. &c.” ― 7.30, look over & arrange drawings. To bed at 8. As G. says ― “Τὶ ἄλλο να κάμω; χωρίς φῶς;  κὶ ἀφοῦ Χριστόφερος Κολόμβος ἀπέθανε;[”][6]

[1] Ships.

[2] Fife players.

[3] Too tough.

[4] The morrow.

[5] Boss.

[6] What am I to do? Without light? And since Christopher Columbus is dead? (NB)

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


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Filed under 1864, Diary Entry

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