Wednesday 19 July

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.

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