Letter to Mary E. Gifford
October 23 – 24, 1870
Mss 12: S-g l, Series A, S-s 2, Folder 14
October 23d 1870.
When I last wrote to you all I believe I was at the Island of Malta and the date was the 7th or 8th so by this time you will wish to hear from me. I did not intend to let so long a time pass without writing but we have been traveling so steadily since that very little time has presented itself for writing.
I wonder how you all are at home. You don’t know how anxious I am to hear from you, not a single letter has reached me from you yet. I hope you have been more fortunate with regard to my letters.
We left Malta for Sicily on the 11th and after a very stormy passage of one night during which I was tremendously sea sick we reached the Island in the morning. If you look at our atlas you will find the island south west of the coast of Italy. We first entered the harbor of Syracuse and staid a couple of hours and then steamed on to Catania about 50 miles further. There we left the steamer and went to the Hotel. We remained at Catania until the 14th and enjoyed it very much. The weather was mild and warm and we saw great quantities of green trees and vines- something we had not seen for a long time.
We made quite a number of sketches and then went on toward Messina to which place there is a railroad stopping at a place called “Taormina” where the remains of an old theatre or temple built long before the time of Christ.- still remains standing. We arrived at Messina the evening of the 14th staid one night and left the next night on the steamer for Naples. When we arrived Monday morning(left Saturday night) although we had very stormy weather and nearly everyone was sick, I escaped it entirely and enjoyed the passage and made sketches along the coast of Italy. We find it quite cold here so that we have to wear our thick woolen clothes and even then find them hardly sufficient. We came here on the 17th and will remain one or two more weeks longer and then go to Amalfi and Sorrento, places about 20 miles distant where we will stay two weeks longer and then go to Rome, from Rome we propose to go to Egypt. It takes only about four or five days to get to Egypt from Rome. So that when that is done we shall turn toward home. I have worked very hard and have a great many sketches. I do hope letters from home will come soon. If we do not get any while we are here I shall expect to get one when we reach Alexandria.
Give my love to Mrs. Swain when you see her. When I have finished this I shall write her. I suppose it is pretty cold weather now at home. I hope it will not be a very severe winter as it will be so hard for you all to keep well if it is, particularly Mother.
With love to you all I remain your affectionate brother
Dear Lizzie- I have just received your letter dated the 8th of Sept and am glad to know that you are quite well at home. If you do as I wish you would know of a musical instrument for me when