My 50th birthday. Rose at 4.20: ― off by 5.15.
Long winding paths through olive groves: then dips & struggles with quite wild places, stuffed with all sorts of underwood, the old olives growing tangly all about. Frogs there were also, & rushes. A man passing, & asked the way to Sparterò ― said ― “διατί ἐπιθυμεῖς νὰ πηγαίνης ᾽ς το χώρι μου;1 I shall not tell you.” ―― Small miserable collection of huts are Nicori, Palaiocori, & Βαστάτινα, & I see no fun in going back by them: so having drawn the Northern distance above the last village but one ― Dragolenà, & great groups of vast olives higher up ―― we arrived at Σπαρτηρῖο, 20 little houses scattered here & there; κατσικιές,2 & rayther wretched: ― the people only half polite. Nevertheless there is superb scenery all about the place. We took a boy to guide us to Ἅ. Προκόπιος ― (the best place to pass the rest of the day in,) ―― ever winding paths, thro’ thickets, a few scared cattle. A church (in a wilderness,) & thus by 10 ― or 10.30 ― reached the groves of the Holy Προκόπιος. Lunched & drew in the wide grove till 1: nothing but a very elaborate study of this wood ― even if that, ― could convey an idea of this beautiful place: ― the quiet, warmth, & semishade are delightful. The Elements ― trees, clouds, &c. ― silence ― ὃλη ἡ φύσις δηλαδῆ3 ― seem to have far more part with me or I with them, than mankind. After death perhaps I shall be a tree ― a cloud ― a cabbage ― or silence in the next world: but most possibly an ass. In these Προκόπιαν holy glades are but 3 very manifold colors, ― the warm pale green of the floor ― with long shades: ― the gray uniform freckly shimmer of the roof: & the dark brown gray of the supporting pillar trunx. At 1, or 1.30 ― into the Monastery, & drew till 3 ― awfully tortured by fleas, & obliged to stand in the sun all the time. As soon as I got to the sea I bathed ― killing 11 fleas first. At 6. Reached the Casa [Curì]: paid Dimitri 2 dollars 4 a shilling5 for his days work ― he merits it well.
Sate in the gallery with Dr. & Mrs. S. till dinner ― Dr. Samuello also ― 7.30 dinner ― alquanto [troppo]6, & I was horribly bored by a flea!
Bed by 10.15.
Kindly good folk[.]
[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]