Jany. 18th. 1858. — Hooray! Here’s a letter from you dated Jany. 6th. What a good boy it is! I shall post this to-morrow therefore. The day is so cold, that I can hardly hold my pen, & feel that all or more than all the population of Corfu will expire, or become icicles. No such cold was ever known here, a keen east wind, the first I have ever felt in the Island. Snow on Salvador: — and a great deal of sad illness among the natives. Of course the Anglo-saxons rather like the freezing than no, I don’t, & yet am well because the air is so pure I suppose. Mr. George Cockles, my Suliote, refuses to write his copy. Ποῖος ἠμπορεῖ νὰ γράψη, Κίριε, εἰς τοῦτο τὸ κρύον.1 But until yesterday we have had wonderfully lovely weather & never yet any rain to speak of, sun nearly ever. To-day, however, all is gray and ugly. With your letter came a letter {80} from sister Ann, who was 67 yesterday, I am sorry to say.

While I think of it here are two anecdotes, this time from the Citadel. Colonel Campbell has a celebrated horse, a stallion, called “Billy.” I hate the sight of him myself, in as much as he bites and kicks whoever he can. The other day being loose, and seeing a helpless horse in a cart, he pounced on him and began to oppress him horribly, the two making any amount of row. This happened opposite Lady Buller’s window, whereon the lady being of a tender-heart and a decided manner, opened the window & called out. Sentinel! (Sentinel shouldered & presented arms) “Shoot the horse directly,” (Sentinel looks horribly bewildered but does nothing) “Why don’t you shoot it “! (S) “Lord Madam! its Billy!” Lady B. “What’s Billy? what do I care for Billy? shoot it I say.” (Billy all the time tearing & biting the prostrate victim horse.) Sentinel “Can’t nohow madam my lady, cause its the Colonel’s Billy.” Here the General Sir J. came up & tranquillized the agitated nerves, of lady, sentinel, & both horses.

Another anecdote is that Sir Henry Holland2 being here, & dining at the General’s: — Lady B. said promiscuously, “Sir Henry in all your travels were you ever in Albania? “ Can’t you fancy Sir {81} Henry’s smile & quiet: — ‘‘Why, Lady Buller, I wrote a book on Albania, because I happened to be there as Physician to Ali Pasha in 1812 & 1813.”

I think there are no more anecdotes, but, (as Ollendorf may say) there is much ice & innumerable woodcox. They say old Nassau Senior3 is coming to Athens, also General Fox4 is reported to be at hand. All last week my Διδαῖσκαλος has not been to me his only child being about, I fear, to die: he has lost 4 before, poor man. So I shall poke on alone in Plato & Ξένοφων5 & wish you were here to help me. — To-day all the Palace folk were to come, but Lady Y. is unwell, & could not. I dine there to-night, if I don’t die of the cold first. Patrick Talbot is here, whom I like. As yet I do not hear anything certain about Jaffa & the rotten Arribs: — but I shall do so before long. We, intanto, abound in turkeys this year, the whole country is black with them, and a sound of gobbling pervades the Corcyrean air.

My friend Miss Dennett must have had a sad shock by Lord Spencer’s sudden death.6 Everyone should {82} know that so high was his esteem for Miss D. (who brought up his two daughters, and was much with Lady S. at last) that he settled an income of £200 per annum on her for life. Let me look over your letter & see if anything wants replying to. I was enormously delighted with it, because being morbid, I fancied I might have written too violently in my last but one. (I remember calling Mr. Labouchere a muff a dummy &c.,) but one gets angry sometimes. The fortifications go on, and the blasted bartizan before my windows will improve the landscape by being blown up. You are very kind to have thought & written to Lady W. as you did about me. I assure you, your active and living sympathy is of value to me here not to be expressed. Dear good Mr. Clark came here two days ago, seeing I have not been at church, but he never said a word about it. He is really a good man spite of the Dogmas & Catechisms. Yesterday I went like a good boy and he preached a sermon from “be not slothful in business” etc. hardly to be surpassed. He might be split into fifteen Bishops.

I can’t write any more now, but will try when I come home from the Palace, to finish this. Meanwhile, I must go & try & birculate my clood, by a rard hun on the righ hoad.

11 pee hem : — I’ve just come from the Palace, where the dinner was agreeable enough. I sat next Lady Young, & Miss Eisenbach, the Austrian Consul’s daughter, and opposite poor Lady Emily Kozziris: {83} certainly her husband is a stunner of a misery-bore. Then there were Col. and the pretty Mrs. Herbert, Miss Erskine, Miss Murray, the live Markis and Marchss, old Eisenbach, Capts. Furville, & Churchill A.D.C’s. Nautical Capt. Bromley,  Dr. Evans, & the landscape painter. Certes! Lady Y. is a singular woman, no end of talents of a sort, but rayther “prononcée.” Her singing is sometimes wonderfully good. Old Lord Headfort persisted in supposing Miss Eisenbach my daughter — why, I can’t conceive: I wish she were: but I’m glad she ain’t my wife.

So I came moam & rote this. Alack my dear Sir John: — you lack some things. They are going to England this year I find.

I meant to have written a lot about the priests & signori, and the good peasantry, & the orange-trees, and sea-gulls, and geraniums, & the Ionian Ball, & Jerusalem Artichokes, & Colonel Paterson, & old Dandolo’s palm-tree, & my spectacles and the East-wind, & Zambelli’s nasty little dogs,  & fishermen, & Scarpe’s cats, & whatnot, but I am too sleepy.

  1. How did you travel or paint in this cold weather? []
  2. Physician to William IV., Queen Victoria, and Prince Albert. Author of “Travels in the Ionian Islands, Albania, Thessaly, Macedonia,” 1815. []
  3. Author of “Journals Kept in France and Italy from 1848 to 1852,” “Conversations with M. Thiers, Guizot, and other Distinguished Persons during the Second Empire,” &c., &c. []
  4. A natural son of the third Lord Holland. Had the finest private collection of Greek coins in the world, purchased by the Royal Museum at Berlin, 1873. []
  5. Xenophon. []
  6. The fourth Earl. Fought at Navarino, 1827; afterwards Vice-Admiral on the reserve list. Steward of Her Majesty’s Household, 1854-57, &c., &c. []