Travel Letters: Arriving In Venice, Italy (1874)

DEAR WILLIAM, —I fully expected, when we arrived here this afternoon, to find a letter from you, and perhaps from some of the other good folks at home, but they had not come, so this goes not as answer to any-thing in particular, but only to tell you generally how we fare. We have reached the Adriatic. After two days in Milan, we rode today across the beautiful plain of northern Italy, and came in over the Lagune to this wonderful city. It is nine years since I was here, but the city, which has stood for more than nine hundred years, has not changed much since I saw it last. St. Mark’s is just where I left it in the great square, and the gondoliers are singing and rowing in the canal under my windows, just as of old. It has been a varied enough trip that we have taken, London, Brittany, Paris, Switzerland, and Italy. It has been delightful. We have been rather too much hurried ; I think we shall stay here for a week, and see the strange old city thoroughly. Arthur is enjoying it very much.

The hotel here is full of English and American people. At the table to-day everybody, except one, talked English; but there is nobody we ever saw before, and we still make each other’s company. I wonder if you have had a pleasant summer ? In spite of all the delight of this sort of life, it will not be bad to get back again, settle down, and talk it over in West Cedar Street or Berkeley Street.

The news from home seems quiet, except that I see there is more trouble at the South.

Four weeks from today I shall be on the ocean, and six weeks from to-day I will spend the evening with you if you will ask me. My kindest love to Mary, the babies, and all at home.

Yours most affectionately,

P. Sunday, August 23, 1874.

DEAR FATHER, — This has been Sunday in Venice. This morning, we set out like good boys to go to church, but when our gondola reached the palace on the Grand Canal where service is wont to be held, we found a man upon the steps to say there was no service because the chaplain had gone into the country. It sounded very much like what might be said upon the steps of Teclmological Hall ; so Arthur and I made a round of the great churches, and looked at the pictures in them until dinner time. If we did not go to church, we went to churches. This evening, the moon is splendid on the water, and we took a gondola again, and rowed round about the beautiful old place for an hour. That has been our Sunday. We are lying by at Venice for refreshment, and no-thing could be more delightful. The weather is exquisite, cool, clear, and cloudless. The pictures are glorious, and you do not walk anywhere, because you cannot, but are rowed wherever you want to go in the most luxurious style.

We came here over the Alps and by Milan. There we spent two days, about one of which I wrote last night, a letter which you will see by and by in the ” Standard of the Cross.” We shall stay here till Thursday or Friday, and then start through the Tyrol, slowly, by way of Munich and the Rhine, to Paris. Three weeks from Thursday we sail. On the 8th of September we mean to reach Paris. Think of us there.

I wonder what you are doing ; how I wish you were here to see the Ducal Palace with us tomorrow. It would be great fun, too, to see the gondolas go out. I have seen nothing of the Winthrops, but have had a letter from Mrs. Winthrop, who is in Germany. My love to all. P.