DEAR WILLIAM, It is a rainy Sunday in Venice, which, as you may imagine, is not a very cheerful thing. The gondolas are dripping at the quay outside, and San Giorgio looks dull and dreary through the mists. Now that I have come home, and have got a fire in my room, spread out my German books, and lighted my pipe, everything is cheerful inside, however dreary the outside may be. I have just come here to get a few quiet days of Venice, before the Poonah sails. She is here, lying in the harbor ; and I have been on board and looked her over. She is a beautiful, great vessel, with a big, broad deck and a bright, pleasant cabin, looking as if she might be a capital home for three weeks.
My stateroom is on deck, with air all around it, and I have it to myself, so I am counting very much upon my voyage. How I wish you were going to take it with me ! What delightful days and nights we would have down the Red Sea and across the Indian Ocean ! The officers of the ship say that at this season the thermometer does not go above seventy, even in the Red Sea, and that there is never any chance of bad weather in December between Suez and Bombay. It seems to be the very perfection of ship life.
I had a very good time in Vienna, where I stayed about a week. I do not think I like the city much, certainly not as well as Berlin. But then I knew none of the people, which made a difference. The Brimmers were there part of the time, and it was pleasant to see them. Also Judge Endicott and his family, who were at the hotel all the time I was there. I am very sorry Mr. Brimmer could not go to India. . . . I shall go alone now, unless possibly a young collegian of this last class at Cambridge, a friend of Arthur’s, Evert Wendell, should go on the same steamer. I saw him in Berlin, and he wants to go and has sent to ask his father’s leave.
The Venetians are going to have a great fête and concert to-night and to-morrow in the piazza, for the benefit of the sufferers by the floods. A month ago the whole ground floor of this hotel was three feet under water. I wish you would go to India with me.