previous next

[118]

To George W. Greene.

Milan, Oct. 5, 1839.
my dear Greene,—I was thankful for your letter at Venice, and only regretted that it was not closely written, like these lines that I am now scrawling. I read it again and again, as I plied about with luxurious motion in a gondola. When I last wrote, I was shortly to leave Florence. I still lingered several days; saw more of Wilde, and admired Greenough more. Left Florence with a vetturinofor Bologna, where I passed one day; then to Ferrara, Rovigo, Padua, and Venice; losing something at each of these towns,—a silk handkerchief at one, a cambric one at another, a shirt at another, and an umbrella at a fourth; to say nothing of a pair of gloves. At Venice passed one week; worked the gondoliers hard; heard the ‘Oreste’ of Alfieri; visited every thing; did not present a single letter of introduction; paid dear for my lodgings; left in the malle-postefor Milan; rode two nights and a day; read Italian, and talked that and French. In Milan I have stumbled upon a couple of friends, to whom I wish you to be kind, for various reasons,—inasmuch as they are my friends, and are quiet, pleasant, gentlemanly persons; and you will be pleased with them. One is Preston, of Virginia,—the brother of the Senator; the other is Lewis, of Connecticut. The latter spoke French before he left America. Both are desirous of acquiring Italian, but I fear will not have the energy to deal with it properly. I wish you would encourage them, and give them such assistance as you can. Within a week or fortnight, Sir Charles Vaughan will be in Rome. For twelve years, he was the much respected I may say, loved—Minister of England at Washington. All Americans owe him kindness and attention for the way in which he speaks about our country. He will call upon you; and I promised him that I would apprise you of his intention beforehand. Let this go for an introduction. He is about sixty-five; a bachelor, a little deaf, plain, frank, who swears hard occasionally, and has seen a great deal of the world. I wish you would offer to do any thing for him in Rome that you can.

To-morrow I enter the malle-poste,to cross the Alps for Innsbruck. I am sad to the heart at leaving Italy. My time here, as you know, has not been without its shadows; and yet I do not know that I have ever passed four happier months than the last. I have been over the field of Italian literature, the survey of which astonishes me now. To what I had read when I wrote you from Florence I have since added a great deal; and, among the rest, all of Ariosto, which I despatched on the road to Venice. My rule is at least six hours a day. There is no Italian which I cannot understand without a dictionary; there is hardly a classic in the language of which I have not read the whole, or considerable portions. I understand every thing that is said in a coach; can talk on any subject,—always making abundant mistakes, but with such facility that all the valets and waiters, even in this French-speaking place, address me in the language del bel paese la dove 'Zzzi si suona.And now, my dear Greene, to you are my thanks due for this invaluable acquisition, which is to be one of my pleasures at home. I feel no common


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Italian (3)
George W. Greene (3)
Richard Henry Wilde (1)
Charles Vaughan (1)
Preston (1)
Morgan Lewis (1)
Horatio Greenough (1)
Ferrara (1)
Ariosto (1)
Americans (1)
Alfieri (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
October 5th, 1839 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: