Feb 21st 1823
There is so much to see here, that I cannot find time to write; & I hope that your silence proceeds from a similar cause, as I have had only one letter from you, dated the 3d, which came the same day with one from Horatia, <1> dated the 9th
Jane <2> has been very ill, & we shall not return so soon as we intended to Rome – We made a trip of four days to Castellamare, but the bad weather drove us back – Now we have the most lovely Spring weather, but unluckily she is not yet well enough to go out; tho’ much better than she was – I went the other day from curiosity, to the top of Somma, which is seldom visited, nor would many visitors have the perseverance to reach it, unless indeed they found the path better than I did – You must imagine a smooth surface of mud, into which you sink ancle <sic> deep every step, & rising so steep that you cannot see many yards before you – Behold a section of the mountain’s top, <illustration> on one side a prodigious slant covered with melting snow, on the other a precipice into the Atria di Cavallo between Somma & Vesuvius – The guide & Giovanni <3> gave it up as a bad job, some time before we got to the top; the Guide wanted me to believe it was impossible to get to the top, says he, Try & find anybody who has been up since the last Eruption of Vesuvius, & if you find anybody tagliatemi la testa <4> – My love to all,
Your Affte Son
A bridge across the new Crater of Vesuvius would be rather longer than the new bridge at Bordeaux.
1. Henrietta Horatia Maria Gaisford, née Feilding (1810–1851), WHFT’s half-sister.
2. Jane Harriot Nicholl, née Talbot (1796–1874); she was pregnant.
3. Giovanni Percij.
4. Cut off my head.