Travel Letters: Venice, Italy (August 13, 1882)

DEAR GERTIE, — When the little children in Venice want to take a bath, they just go down to the front steps of the house and jump off, and swim about in the street. Yesterday I saw a nurse standing on the front steps, holding one end of a string, and the other end was tied to a little fellow who was swimming up the street. When he went too far, the nurse pulled in the string, and got her baby home again. Then I met another youngster, swimming in the street, whose mother had tied him to a post by the side of the door, so that when he tried to swim away to see another boy, who was tied to another door post up the street, he couldn’t, and they had to sing out to one another over the water.

Is not this a queer city ? You are always in danger of running over some of the people and drowning them, for you go about in a boat, instead of a carriage, and use an oar, instead of a horse. But it is ever so pretty, and the people, especially the children, are very bright, and gay, and handsome. When you are sitting in your room at night, you hear some music under your window, and look out, and there is a boat with a man with a fiddle, and a woman with a voice, and they are serenading you. To be sure, they want some money when they are done, for everybody begs here, but they do it very prettily and are full of fun.

Tell Susie I did not see the Queen this time. She was out of town. But ever so many noblemen and princes have sent to know how Toody was, and how she looked, and I have sent them all her love.

There must be lots of pleasant things to do at Andover, and I think you must have had a beautiful summer there. Pretty soon, now, you will go back to Boston. Do go into my house when you get there, and see if the doll and her baby are well and happy (but do not carry them off) ; and make the music box play a tune, and remember your affectionate uncle