CORFU. Jan. 3. 1858.

o mi i! how cold it is! The weather hasn’t changed after all, & I believe don’t mean to. It’s as bright and cold & icicular as possible, and elicits the ordibble murmurs of the cantankerous Corcyreans. As for the English they like the cold generally, I don’t: Notwithstanding which, I must own to being in absolously better health than for I don’t know how long past. Yesterday I went up a mounting & made a sketch, ἔκαμε μίαν ζωγραφίαν.1  A majestic abundance of tympanum-torturing turkeys are now met with on all the roads, coming into Corfu to be eaten. These birds are of a highly irascible disposition, and I never knew before 2 days ago, that they objected to being whistled to. But Col. Campbell informed me of the fact, and proved it to me, since when it is one of my peculiar happinesses to whistle to all the Turkeys I meet or see, τhey get into such a damnable rage I can hardly stand for laughing. After all, suppose a swell party in London, say at Cambridge House, if any one person began to whistle furiously at all the rest, wouldn’t they get into a rage I should like to know?

On the first of the year I was wishing you and others a happy (new) one and many such, when lo ! your letter from Holyhead of the 22nd came, to my great pleasure. I am so glad you will have been able to pass your Christmas at Redhouse. Stay, let me look over the epistle, & reply εἲς τὰ ὀπόια 2 want comments. It is (pronounced strongly izz) a satisfaction to talk with you, & both doing so & receiving your letters does me a great deal of good.

In re Bunsen — the telegraphic small Bunsen here, talks as I never nevernever heard anyone talk: — he makes you long to scream.

I wish I had studded with you at Dresden.3 I quite feel how that life and your present one seem like that of two persons, from having seen you in Ireland I now can understand all your life pretty well: the more analysis one brings to what one is interested in, the more one not only understands but gains by the process, — secondo ame.

Ὁ Μῶριε, ὁ ωαχὺς κὴ καλὸς.4

Reflections on daily life, etc.: what you say to me is exactly true, but infernally difficult to follow out, i.e. “That the freedom of the inner man consists in {74} obedience.” Doubtless whenever the time comes that a man so willingly practises obedience as to find no annoyance from the process, he does so with a good will, & therefore a choice, & that is freedom. For my own part at present I find stuffing every moment with work the sole panace a/um against more thought than is good for one. I only wish there were 28 hours in every day.

I do not, sir, read the Testament now — much — leastways in Greek: — though I could do so with pleasure. But would you believe it, I have read the death of Socrates & Plato. I was so struck by Φαιδον that I rose at night and worked till I made out the last part of it entirely. How is it that the thoughts of this wonderful man are kept darkly away from the youths of the age? (except they go to the universities, & then only as matters of language or scarcely more) because Socrates was a “Pagan”? I shall have more to say, & think about, concerning Socrates, whose opinion on death I now read for the first time, & there is no harm in wishing that we two may some day read Plato together; we both have much similar tendency to an analytical state of mind I think. Intanto, my old διδάσκαλος5 persists in keeping me in Πλοθτάρκος, & also in Lucian’s dialogues, & won’t hear of Plato. The former, Plutarch, I hate — Lucian delights me as so very absurd and new. {75}

Dining at the Palace 3 days ago, I sat next to Sir J. after dinner & he talked to me a good deal. (His way of talking of you moreover is agreable to me.) His appreciation of Greek character is all the more near the right one, inasmuch as he is longer here: but as you say in your last, the firm hand is wanted here, & I add is wanting.

I stop my letter to add what I cannot yet quite realize, but what grieves me most extremely. Lushington writes in a note that Mrs. Cortazzi has just died at Paris. We heard she was ill but not dangerously.

Poor Helena, & Madeline! what will become of those poor girls?

4th. I can’t add much more to this, my dear boy. In so small a place as this one is more dependent than I had fancied on the few one sees and at all cares for. The absence of the Cortazzi was a blank in itself, but now to know, that poor Mrs. C. died before she saw her English friends ! (She was a Lancashire Hornby, and first cousin of William Hornby who married Sir Philip’s daughter,) and without seeing her only son, is sad enough. Besides that, I became interested enough about Helena to feel for her extremely. As yet we know no particulars.

Here are 10 woodcox, what can I do with them all?

I must leave off, I feel like 5 nutmeg-graters full of baked eggshells — so dry & cold & miserable.

  1. He wrought a painting. []
  2. Upon whatever matter. []
  3. Fortescue lived in Dresden for four months of the winter of 1846 to learn German. []
  4. O Morier, big and beautiful. []
  5. Master []