Hotel d’Orient, Athens,
July 19, 1848.
Here I am having made somewhat of a dash into Greece, but most unluckily, obliged to haul up and lay by for the present. You may perhaps see my handwriting is queerish, the fact is I am recovering rapidly thank God, from a severe touch of fever, caught at Platœa & perfected in ten days at Thebes. I did not think I should ever have got over it, nor should I, but for the skill of two doctors, & the kindness of my companion Church. I was brought here by 4 horses on an Indiarubber bed, am wonderfully better, & in that state of hunger which is frightful to bystanders. I could eat an ox. Many matters contributed to this disaster, first a bad fall from my horse, and a sprained shoulder, which for three weeks irritated one’s blood, besides that I could not ride. 2nd. A bite from a Centipede or some horror, which swelled up all my leg & produced a swelling like Philoctetes’ toe, and lastly, I was such a fool as go to Platœa forgetting my umbrella, where the sun finished me. However, I don’t mean to give up and am very thankful to be as well as I am.
I came you know here on June 1st with Sir S. Canning, and staid a fortnight working like mad. On the 13th Church and I set out. Chalcis is most interesting & picturesque, what figures! would, ah! would I could draw the figures! We then resolved to do Eubœa, so, 19th, Eretria, very fine. Aliveri, & Kumi. 21st. Pass of mountains, grangrongrously magnificent! Alas! for the little time to draw! 28th Lamia. 29th a run up to Patragik a queer mountain place. All these things we were constantly warned off, as full of rebels, brigands &c., but we found all things as quiet as Pimlico. 30th Thermopylæ! how superb! & Bodonitza. July 1st. Costantino & Argizza. 2nd Proschinò & Martini. 3rd, over Kokino & the mountains to Thebes. Only this last, of the last 3 days was good. Thebes is sublime, but as I said, the day following it became a grisogorious place to me.
I must stop for I am not much writable yet . . .
Edward Lear to his friend Chichester Fortescue, Letters of Edward Lear, ed. Lady Strachey (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1907), pp. 10-11.