Tuesday 27 June

Tacking, and still tacking, we were at length off Stylidha by 9 a.m. Difficulty of landing — caiques full of people and goods — flying — others returning. Some people calling out that all the reports about the rebels were false; others that Vellenzi, the Rebel General, was poisoned and dead, etc., etc. At last we landed, and I instantly went to the shore to sketch the opposite mountains of Thermopylae, which are wondrous fine — all thronged with wood, channelled and furrowed — so purple, blue and green, and with such infinity of cracks and chasms of lilac and white snow on Oeta behind, and with the clearest little line of land along the shore of the Gulf {sketches 85, 86, wrongly dated?}. (“A great he goat” nearly destroyed me as I sat unsuspectingly on the ground.) After trying in vain for a place to bathe in — water looking too shallow — and after making another sketch in the sunshine, someone fetched me to breakfast in a khan full of people. It seems that there has been some skirmishing with the Rebels, and that the Government have the best of it — so, at least, think the people of Stylidha, for the panic is over for the present, and they are returning to their homes as fast as may be. After breakfast we found a private room, washed and rested — though my arm is still very weak and painful, and a thump I got on the head last night has not improved my general condition. Bright white gulls, in great flights, skim over the dark blue and green water. We now think of Lamia, Thermopylae, Talanti and Thebes as our tour ahead. Janni says he has got fresh horses. The mountain view opposite is one of the most solemn and grand I ever saw. At 2 p.m. we got away — I walking, by choice; Janni from having no horse; and Church’s was a slow one. The line of journey kept along the coast, with always the beautiful view of Mt Oeta and the Thermopylae cliffs, so wrinkled in foliaceous gulfs. Half way on I drew. Then we began to meet the baggage of General Mamouri’s army, which was passing from Lamia, and very wonderful picturesquenesses did they abound in — some no-shirted, others with shirts dipped in oil; all with long guns, most with swords; many carrying mandolines, and many very ruffianly to see! All more or less fine fellows and very active. In reply to our asking about Lamia, they said all was quiet there, but otherwise took no notice of us at all. We met in all some 250 or 300. Among the note-worthy objects of the baggage train was one female, one bird in a cage, and one man carrying a parasol. Lamia is very ugly from the side by which we approached it. The khan we went to was nearly full of soldiers, as is all the town. After getting some water, I walked hastily to the other side of the place, whence, seen between minarets and cypresses, the Castle and plain show finely. All the old buildings are frequented by lots of storks — on one alone I counted 18 — which clatter and clutter with their bills incessantly. Many sit quietly on the minarets. A plentiful supply of blackguard boys surrounded Church and me while sketching. {sketch 92} Afterwards we strolled about till dusk. Lamia is assuredly a very picturesque place. Returning, we soon dined, Leeves joining us. Afterwards we went out on to the wooden balcony-gallery, where some 20 soldiers were sleeping. All the air was full of stork-clatter. The bugle of sentinels calling the hour also was very curious and moody dreamy.

Edward Lear, Lamia, 27 June 1848
Private Collection
This entry was posted in Lamia, Stylidha, Thermopylae and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Tuesday 27 June

  1. Louis Profeta says:

    Each portion of his travels gives forth his definite poetic essence, quite a man, I’d say! Refined in every aspect of his giving to what remains of his days, a gentleman always of the fine line and water’s color accent.

  2. Louis Profeta says:

    His manners, delightful as he walks the far off lands, excited and free expressed.

  3. Louis Profeta says:

    The Owl and the pussy cat, Lear!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *