MY DEAR MARY, – HOW pretty it must be with you this afternoon ; not half as hot as Venice, I am sure. But every now and then a breeze comes floating from the water, and there are gondolas skimming by, the beautiful St. Giorgio rises opposite out of the sea, and the bells are lazily ringing for two o’clock, which is the time when the pigeons come to be fed in the Piazza of St. Mark. It is all very soft, and lazy, and beautiful, and the letter which I received the other day from Mr. Allen, about things at Trinity, sounded far away.
I wish you could see it all. The Queen is here, and every evening the young prince comes out on the Grand Canal, and hosts of gondolas are there with lamps and lanterns. Every now and then a company of singers in a gondola goes floating by, the fine band plays in the Royal Gardens, the people shout, ” Viva Regina Margherita ” under the royal windows, the ices of the cafés are really most delicious, and San Marco looks down upon it all in the moonlight and seems to smile. In the mornings, there are great cool galleries full of glorious pictures, and quiet back streets where the people lounge in the doorways and chatter round the fountains. Oh, it is very delightful, and I wish with all my heart that you all were here, so I do.