Very coudy ― & swoops of hard rain, with gleemes of sunshine. No letters. Packed.
Dinner very pleasant: & after converse. Lever’s stories are endless & inimitable.
At 6 a break up: went with Walton to his house, where he talked of Gibson, Spence, Wyatt & others. Then with him & Scotto, walked to the Cascina ― a bore ― being a crowd: & S.’s scandal on all sides was unlimited & vulgar. Lever joined us, & it became better fun. ― Back to the L.’s, where R.B. Lytton had sent to say he could not come, being with poor Browning. Evening pleasant: tea: talk of Mrs. Stisted,1 & immense laughter. ― G. came for my book of drawings at 10.15. The Levers have made Florence very pleasant to me. ―
[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]
- “Wherever Byron went the English followed, and a whole population of Britons took up their abode by the riverside in the first half of the nineteenth century. Well known among them was Mrs Stisted, author of a charming, garrulous book,1 and a devoted friend to the poor. She belonged to a type that no longer exists, the old-fashioned English gentlewoman with a simple evangelical piety and much rambling culture, who lived abroad for the greater part of her life, and took England with her wherever she went. The Villa Stisted, with a pretty garden by the riverside, lies just outside the village of Villa. The Brownings and their friends the Storys were there at a later date, as well as Tennyson and many other English notabilities.” Ross, Janet and Nelly Erichsen. The Story of Lucca. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1912. 344-345, chapter “The Bagni di Lucca.” The book mentioned is Mrs. Henry Stisted’s Byways of Italy. London, 1845. [↩]