Hotel de l’Europe Venise
Wednesday June 24th
My dear Papa
Mama <1> received your letter here yesterday, and we were very glad to hear, that you had been making a cool and pleasant excursion, though it seemed a pity that you should return to Bellagio so very quickly. If the letter I wrote you before leaving Florence has gone astray, you won’t lose much, as I don’t think there was anything particular in it. Mama heard from you on the morning of our departure, Friday last. We stayed, as we intended, two days at Bologna, which is evidently an interesting place, for antiquarians especially, but the heat was so overcoming we could do but little. The windows and shutters had to be kept closed against the sun until six o’clock, and then, on both days, just as we were going out, a thunderstorm came on. However we managed the picture gallery, which is famous, and one or two churches. Mama only went out once, on Sunday evening, for half an hour; when the rain overtook us, and whether it was the unusual damp, or that she had caught cold in some draught, (it is impossible to keep clear of draughts this weather) she was not at all well next morning – However she would not consent to delay the journey for fear of falling ill
and at Bologna, so we came on here. She looked dreadfully tired and very ill all day, poor thing, and as soon as we arrived, at 9 o’clock, she went to bed. Yesterday she was no better so we had to send for the doctor, who found she had a good deal of fever. She complained also of pain in the side and difficulty of breathing – in fact it seems to be a slight return of the attack of Genoa. I am glad to say this morning she appears rather more comfortable, and the doctor will see her again tonight. He is most highly spoken of – Professor Namias,<2> – and is attending an English family in the Hotel – So I trust we shall soon go on satisfactorily, though I am afraid poor Mama is extremely delicate.
The view out of our windows, on the smooth water covered with gliding Gondolas, is quite charming, and at times there is a fresh breeze; but unluckily we seem to have got into an atmosphere of storms – Thunder is perpetually growling: the sky is all ablaze with lightening as soon as it grows dark; and last night, at twelve, the storm came very near, with torrents of rain. I sent you three Galignanis yesterday, and meant to have written also, but discovered that the post was already gone – the last leaving at one o’clock. This hotel is very comfortable, in an excellent situation, close to the Piazza Di S. Marco and the cuisine is excellent. We had intended remaining merely 4 or 5 days, but now of course it must be longer. In a day or two we shall see better how Mama gets on, and in the meantime I shouldn’t wonder to see you arrive suddenly. The journey from Bellagio is not very long.
Good bye, dear Papa, as I must not miss this post also. Love from all
Your affect. daughter
1. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.
2. Dr Giacinto Namias, the head of the Women's Section of the Venice Hospital, was known for his advocacy of the health benefits of bathing. Assisted by his multi-lingual assistant, Dr Levi, he was recommended in traveller's handbooks as the best person for foreigners to consult.