Index Museo Civico
Letter 2 Letter 3 Letter 4 Letter 5 Letter 6
Letter 7 Letter 8 Letter 9 Letter 10 Letter 11
Letter 12 Letter 13 Letter 14 Letter 15 Letter 16


Letter n°1

Tolfa Casa Boggi

Via Civita Vecchia

July 30 - 1867

My dear Tom

Altho' I have not got with me the new name of your Street, yet I shall guess at it as it is just possible you may be in alarm about me on account of my severe illness from rheumatism

'Tis now two months that I am here taking the hot mineral baths profiting by the fine mountain air, but my progress is very slow tho' I may have saved my life in hasteing here when I had almost lost my hands and feet.

My present writing bad as it is, is the good effect of the water and air, for when I left Rome I could but just sign my name (queerly) I am now able to walk & even climb, but I am afraid that I shall never be quite restored that is to my former activity, but yet I shall be able to enjoy my life fortunately I find myself in a position to indulge this heavy affliction with evercare & it consoles me that my Consulates never suffered or been suspended owing to the excellent management of my chief secretary. - All the Italian documents I can allow him to sign for me, but the English ones are brought me by the post for they must be signed by me.

Up to this I have had 25 baths always under the aid of a good local doctor, who is well up to the nature of the water on various individuals & he intends me to have 3 more

Tis a happiness to me in my misery that every one shows me the greatest attention, aye even devotion I have certainly inspired the love of every one about me. 'Tis now 2 months that I have not spoken a word of English - I brought with me my cook a middle aged woman who is a treasure to me for you must understand that I have been almost helpless unable to use a knife & fork & I always had to be lifted out of the bath, & yet with all I have never lost my good spirits - but the 1st ,10 baths make you worse & occasion great weakness & therefore are called the Purgatory, my was so great that I once or twice thought it would be better to die. "But there's life in the e Old Dog yet" - I am not allowd to go straight to Rome from this fine air &so have to sojourn a fortnight at l' Ariccea  12 miles from Rome - this  Tolfa is 50

But now I’ll try & call up a pleasant line to so dear a brother - You must know this is primitive place without any            inn or even wine shop save for the country people who are a real industrious agricultural race, so that there are no beggars whatever - 'Tis my finding out & people are quite surprised  at my discovery, for I am near enough  to Rome to get every days post - the other mineral waters are at a great distance & I must have had the leave of the F. 0.

There is only one butcher in the town & he is a despot - he allows the people to put down their money but e does not allow them to speak & he gives them just what he pleases, but he treats every one well.

In my first month I was ordered a carriage drive every day for I could not walk,          & it was a wonderfull sight to see the people gathering their harvest up to the very tops of the mountains - the women have to carry enormous pitchers down to  the valleys for water, for the town is built on a rock - the mountain scenery is lovely, every where find trees & cultivation. Every one has a bit of land which he tills with corn & vegetables - the people now live on onions & gourds! - I am very well off for food for my cook is very good in searching out the good things. The mineral spring is a mile away & they bring the water in 4 barrells quite hot, each bath costs 2 shillings at first I thought that if the rheumatism did not kill me the expences would, but now that I can walk all is right - how l long to be once more at home, for I have a charming home - I am engaged to finish a picture during the Autumn - Rome is unhealty just now so I am well away, some Cholera and much fevers

My sec.ty tells me that in the important matters he feels the want of my personal influence with the ministers for he cannot bring off the touching things that I do.

No doubt my general health will gain by this mountain sojourn for the Roman doctors all agreed that I wanted a change - The doctor is quite certain that my complaint is nothing but rheumatism - now yours is rheumatic gout, but you appear to have buried it & luckily it never attacked your hands, for what should I have done if I'd been a musician? Your Sultan visits might be called "the Rain of the Sultan in London" for I never knew any thing like it, with all the pretty things spoiled & even the persons damaged a little.

There's a Roman storm brewing but how it will go, no one seems to know - Garibaldi seems determined to storm Rome - but 'tis plain Napoleon will not let him - The Italian troops are watching on the border to defend the Pope, but the whole country is a prey to Brigands & I run some danger in coming here, but I called myself a "Pittore? and it was a whole month before  I was found out, & the Brigands were gone then They put all the chief proprietors under "blackmail"

Now I hope this will find you all in good health & comfort

Your lovin brother


Pardon my writing for my hand is not well yet


Torna su Letter n°2


My dear Tom                                               Rome Oct-r 14. 1867

You deserve a return poster & here it is but I regret that I cannot send you very cheering news of myself. I am back here in my dear home with all my comforts about me, excellent servants good food & every thing to make me happy. Success attends all my consular doings & I should be the most contented of human creatures, if I could but shake of these pains which devour me, I am told by the Doctors that they are nervous pains which the cold will drive away but the cold has made me worse for my sleep begins to be disturbed by the pains in my knees

But at last the famous cure is readys the fermenting new wine which is full of gas & spirits so I get into the tub every other day & remain an hour but I cannot judge yet as I have had only two baths.

The Tolfa mineral boiling waters of wich I had 25 baths entirely removed the rheumatic swellings so that now I can get into my boots & as it is near 3 months since my last bath I have great hope that I am free.

Since my return I have been able to attend the audiences which at time are important & my chief Sec.ty who has been so indulgent during my illness & aided me in every way now assures me that he failed in the importan things as he is sure that they depend on my personal influence. Just think on my arrival I received a dispatch & memorial from the Italian Prime Minister requesting me to constrain Cardinal Antonelli to do away with the arrests of Italians in Rome - The memorial was very violent & threatning so I felt obliged to request the minister to send me a more moderate one, as I should never be able to get an answer to the violent one, as the Papal minister permitted me to reason with them in a friendly way – The Italian minister thanked me & granted me full leave to do it all in my own way & this I've done with great success

My picture progresses & is going to the famous Ashburton collection

With my love to all

Your affectionate brother



Torna su Letter n° 3

                                                                                                   Rome 8 th July 1868

My dear Maria

As I am really becoming jealous of your charming writing; so now "I've sot" myself down to do my best for you've put me on my metal, but you are to be envied in having those dear girls to write about, whereas I have nothing but my dull self & of that nothing but the rheumatism, but however I am better by far & should I hope be well but for the daily storms of rain & hail which cause such damp &  cold that I am a mere Barometer for the present.

Such a state of things was never known before in Rome for July is considered the great heat - Today there are prayers in all the churches for fine weather the harvest is spoiled &  the hay lost but the fruit & vegetables are splendid.

As Garibaldi assumes to be once more frisky & is longing again to get Rome (tho every body know he'll get nothing but another licking again); so the poor Pope has thought it expedient to camp 6 thousand troops in the "camp of Hanibal" up in the Alban mountains 12 miles off, the consequence is the soldiers are not only washed away daily but are often blown back again &  will have eventually learned nothing but to nurse their fevers.

So I'm likely soon to have a lively time of it as my house will be the place of refuge my having long since engaged to receive a Cardinal & 22 Nuns for protection all which will be such a pretty novelty that I shall be in tiptop enjoyment; but yet I hope these Garibaleans will never get  in, for they would plunder the City I am now working very hard at the "dolce far niente" by order of my doctor for tis very hard work for me to do nothing but Walter Scott of whose works I have still four novels which I have never read, am I not lucky? my chief labour is signing the certificates of hundreds of Italian Desertors who now return on the Armistice lately granted by the King of Italy - they are a loss to Rome as they tilled the earth which these dignified Romans will not do.

'Twas my intention to have gone early to the Tolfa baths again, but the cold & damp weather have up to this prevented me & yet I am not a little glad to be left in the quiet enjoyment of my Roman Summer when it is warm enough to be a Summer which it must be soon at present tis almost winter & I am not able to paint.

My dinners now are very enjoyable for there's no end of fine fruit,

Peaches Apricots Plumbs. 3 kind of cherries and figs - the fruit is kept cool in water & also the wine, then I have an excellent cook a middle aged woman who strives to keep me up with good things & succeeds, for I have always a good appetite & sleep really well so that I have good hope of patching myself up. - I look brilliant they all tell me but am not quite able to do all the duties of my Italian Consulate as I wish, but my two Sec.tys are so excellent & so indulgent & devoted to me that well off enough even as regards my consulate.

At 7 I breakfast always with one egg & at 3 – I dine when I "shut shop" at 9 I take some little trifle & to bed before 10 - for a year I have never been out in the ev.g - my hands are recovering & I playd near half the Barber of Seville - but I cannot remain remain long in one position & always get up from the chair in pain - It seems that the priests have quite prevented me going to the Florence Palace to live as the Pope would be so offended - I wanted to go as I should have been rent free but the jealousy against me is enormous so I keep very quiet which I can afford having such an enviable position, so far beyond my poor merits & such as I could never even dream of  "To husband out lifes taper at the close" I dare say even

you are astonished as much as I am

Your loving Joe

Torna su Letter n°4


Rome 8th  Sep.r 1869

My dear Tom

I am much pleased with the frankness of your letter, but I am grieved at what you write about poor dear Maria - the delay has been partly caused by my not being able to get a Bank note for in sending a bill I had to pay the Banker 6 shillings but the more serious reason is my long & expensive illness for I told you in a former letter "that if the rheumatism did not kill me the expences certainly would" for I am thrown back nearly £ 100 - Yet I foresaw that I might be a cripple  for life & so I have taken every means in my power to get well & am now I am glad to say very near well except that my fingers remain crooked for ever I fear.

The end of this year will set all right - you are mistaken in supposing that I have lots of money at command - my expences are very great, my two Secretaries cost me £ 320 a year my house £ 80 & so on for you see in my official position I am constrained to make a certain figure & as I came to the Consulate totally ignorant the 1st rate secretaries have set me up.

I send annexed an order of £ 6 on F. B. Alston my agent at the F. 0. but I regret that it is for the 2d October & also that I trouble you to go – but here I have just now to scrape together £ 46 for Doctors, medicines, baths & c - Tis just now I return from Tolfa having taken 49 baths in all during the 3 years with good effect as I have got back my legs. - Then as I told you I have had to provide an income for Eleanor after my death, wich costs me exactly a thousand pounds - this year all will be paid

Now I will write dear Maria herself soon Meanwhile with my love to all

Your loving brother Joe


Torna su Letter n° 5


My dear Charley                                                               Rome 21 Dec. 1869


Tis with pleasure that I am able to tell you of my recovery from rheumatism & of being in real good health, some little weakness remains my fingers are crooked yet I can play on my  piano a  little walk from 2 to 3 miles, write, paint  & equal to all my duties & something more.

So I wont grumble for to have been recovered from 3 mortal illnesses so rare a thing that I have now the great enjoyment of returning health, which is a charm almost worth being ill for.

I hope this will find you well I heard of your family & yourself from dear Caroline who no doubt also had given you an account of me. -

For the 3.d time I went to Tolfa for the mineral waters which with the  good of the mountain  air set me up nobly & I may hope to hold up for some time.

But we have had continued rain for more than a month & this has tried to make a "dish? of me but without effect

I am in my usual activity with my inordinate passion for doing good & plenty of means for doing it which helps to keep me alive & kicking.

Just now I am engaged in establishing the baths & washouses at 2 pence as in London & find good disposition towards it so that I may hope for a Turkish bath at last which would have cured my rheumatism.

With so much repose & indolence as an invalid I have become stout & had much  to do to get into my Uniform & eve.g cloaths all of which had to be out & even with that I get in them very awkardly & look ungainly

And is it your case that you have blown out your jacket? or is your work too hard & at night? Tom I know blows out & so when we meet we shall occupy a larger English space - Ah! when we meet? when will that be? For I seem as though I should never be able to stand a long journey again, not that the  shine is all taken out of me but at my age one naturally inclines to repose & I journey uncomfortably, fortunately my vocation favours this & I have never ever work indeed I am favourd that arriving at the ?Sear & yellow leaf" of my existence I should thus be able to find tranquility after such a knocking about life & enjoy the well being of my children & now & then a visit from some of them     

My great spec of Marcian water opens an Wed.y the 23d & I think I’m likely to get good interest (10 per cent) on my thousand pounds which I have scraped together with so much difficulty & pinching - This has been all done  for dear Eleanor

I hope that my Consulate will be left to me as long as I am able to sustain it & this with the aid of two excellent Sec.tys is well done & may continue for years should God still spare me for I have been greatly blessed as I dare say you all think - With my love to your dear wife & son

Your loving brother



Torna su Letter n°6


I am so glad to be able to send you £ 10 a quarter & that you are comfortable & have not had your cough - the Artists complain of want of com's sadly,

how lucky I am not to be dependant on painting


My dear Maria                                                                       Rome 3d May  1870


I confess that I began to be anxious but your most interesting letter quite relieves me I am grieved that our dear brother suffers in his hands like myself for my fingers are sadly "out of drawing" & I cannot fairly take the octave You'll say for me this signifies but little but for him 'tis a serious drawback - I can perceive a great resemblance in our illnesses & I trust that his recovery may also be like mine, for altho' I am rather weak yet I am now equal to all my duties & I can walk 3 miles -          All this has come about by the hot mineral waters borax & iron of  Tolfa & I go there for the 4th time this Summer & again take the baths which now amount to more than 50, yet withall I am not able to put on my stockings or go up & down stairs easily.

Eleanors marriage is a great happiness to me altho' it has not only stript me of every penny but has left me considerably in debt for I have made over to her every thing in my power - I am very much satisfied with all the good fortune that has fallen to the share of this dear child – Mr. Furneaux settles on her £ 5.500 & she has from me £ 1.000 & other sources near £ 1.500 so she'll be comfortable more than the daughter of a poor Artist could in reason hope  & this being the 5th wedding in my family I am comfortable beyond what I could dare hope for - and considering all my ups & downs I feel that I am blessed by a merciful Providence.

Just now I have a visit from my son in law Charles Newton & as he has been like my Eleanors guardian & arranged all this happy business: so I hear from him all the details – Mr. Furneaux is a most accomplishd Oxford scholar of a good Devonshire family.

Returning to the subject of rheumatism & its cure I may not have adopted the best means but I could not go to the famous places both for the distance as well as the great expence & this little cheap mountain town was the only cure I could catch at - I dont expect ever to be quite recovered at my age but I may be well content as I am once more in the enjoyment of life quite equal to all my duties gaieties excepted. - but I can [don?],

This season has quite tired me & I long for the repose of the Tolfa mountains where I can walk & climb.- the excellent Doctor receives me - My great trouble has been that the Pope took it in his head to try & pack off  3 English  ladies at 24 hours notice to this I could not consent & I have had to fight a long  battle but with success as the ladies are still here after 6 weeks.

The question was whether I had the right of an ambassador to protect them in my house for as I am only Consul this power is in doubt but I think it is now acknoledged as I have got Lord Clarendons approval of all I have done no doubt my ability must be respectable to enable me to excell in such difficult matters I regret much that I cannot possibly be at the wedding, for I am too weak for such a journey & might sink under it, whilst I  am quiet I go on well but any thing extraordinary floors  me.

My pictures made a great figure in the Popes exhibition & 'tis everywhere said that His Holiness must give me the great prize but I still doubt it as I am a Protestant, but tis enough that I make the chief figure in painting.

 At last we have fine weather & a little warmth but the winter seemd never to finish, at all events there will be a month less of the great heat

I a still very happy in my position here for it really suites me & I excell in it with all it difficulties & I hope I shall be allowd to remain as long as I can hold a pen & know how to kick about me - my two secretaries are excellent young men & devoted to me - the climate suites me - I shall hope to hear good news of poor Tom & that he beats me in his recovery as he is so much younger than I am, yet I hope he may be equally tough. - My dear Claudia is still very drooping & M r. Newton insists on the wedding at his house on her account. - my love to all

Your loving Joe

Torna su Letter n°7


                                                                                  Tolfa Civita Vecchia

                                                                                  Sat 25 July 1870

My dear Tom,

I was rejoiced to find that you are mending after such a severe illness worse than mine but now I will e'en hope that as I have at last pickd (sic) up so you will pick up as somehow we are like each other even to the being ill almost at the same time & nearly in the same way but what grieves me is that your hands are affected like mine for my fingers are most cruelly "out of drawing" tho I can write as you see, but my 2nd  3rd & 4th are so, and my thumbs I cannot bend!

Dear Maria has written me from time to time all about you - I am here for the 4th time presuming that I should by degrees find strength to ramble about the mountains & gain (not for my former state but enough to go on with - But now!!! the approaching war pretends to take me off my legs and & fling me into active life to which I am not yet equal - As yet we don’t know if the French troops will be removed from the Papal state   and the Italian republicans pour in upon us? My Consulate to become once more the place of refuge - I am a mere animal of peace & cannot bear the sight of arms so you may imagine how little this news agrees with me - yet I like an active life provided it is in doing good & not fighting.

I dare say you will have often thoughts of me in all my difficulties about my daughter's sudden "splice" & my putting my hand into an empty pocket - but I was saving by having good credit with my banker who at once advanced me £100 the sum Eleanor demanded for her fiddle faddle & and really as the marriage is a good one & and she the last of my chicks I will not complain altho' for the time I may chance to be crippled - My excellent Doctor insists on my illness being nought else than simple rheumatism & so he will have me walk myself off my legs - then (between ourselves) my inactive life has flung the fat about me so that my dear old London rags would have no end of letting out, but here I am walking down this ungenteel fat at the rate of 7 & 8 miles a day and hope to come out, not sleek, but comeinable (sic)  to my old cloaths (sic).

As yet I cannot quite dress myself, certainly not put on my stockings - every morning I scrub and scratch myself with a large horse brush made of small twigs which I think does me great good, indeed I could not do at all without it, but mind I never draw the blood but I live on the scratching and hope at last "to come up to the scratch" and then I should like to pop in upon you and how I ought to have done it on my daughter's wedding, but fate carried away my legs and she carried away my money

Ah! when shall I ever see you all again? if ever!! for tis all very well calling it rheumatism but you and I know better O 'tis well that I bear my years like a Trojan and the Papal ministers consider me 50. & I never "let on" but the word begins to smell that this year is my fiftieth from my arrival in Rome and the man who used to come to Masons-Court


my years 77

The only drawback on the wedding was that I was cutting and contriving to send you a little "tin" but I may be able to do so soon when the interest is paid me (when!) of the Acqua Marcia which must be soon as the pipes are laid in Rome and I am looking to it from day to day

You see I presented the fifty Shares (£1000) to my daughter, but the trustees ordered the interest to be paid me during my life, this was  civil (as things go) - Most certainly I have been uncommonly fortunate in everything for I cannot pretend ability or tact such as I have shown & such as I was called upon to show, I am amazed when I look back at what seemed impossible!!


Your loving brother,Joe


Torna su Letter n°8


.                                                                                  Rome 18 Aug 1870

My dear Tom

I have just  got home & you are the first in my mind hope that you are really picking up & how I wish that you were with me &  that I might be doing the nurse to you - but as there is a thousand miles between us, this cannot be.

I am much brushed up by my three months at Tolfa for I made up my mind to walk myself off my legs & this I have done bravely my only fear being in the danger of a fall in this rocky place, indeed I had three falls & except a little difficulty in getting up no much harm.

I had improved so much that I was able to get up into the railway carriage without aid & get down - all this is well as I may soon be in the midst of active service for the french having left, all the mad republicans may be soon agog & longing to sack Rome but they'll find it more difficult for the city is well placed & can make a real defence but I doubt these vagabonds will make any other attempt they got so beaten the last time 4 years ago when I was so ill and just returned from my 1st Tolfa visit -

You see it has taken me 4 years to get about - my suffering  has been great but I never sink under it & I have great patience so now if I have to take the "bull by the horns" I can do it right well 24 You'll all be alarmed about me & think me in danger as the french troops have been removed from Rome & the Italian troops are on the frontier to protect the Pope? but the hatred between the two govts of Rome & Florence makes me suspect danger & there is nothing how to prevent the Italians pouncing down like wolves upon Rome & I may have a more difficult part to act than I had before, but at all events I have more experience. An English Frigate 16 guns has come to Ci Vecchia, the object is not made known, but tis said to be the protection of the Pope - for if a revolution in Paris takes place both Rome & Florence may be upset unless Nap gets a victory a revolution seems certain - Twill be very sad, for we are in such a beautiful world just now – Nap must have gone mad to have set about such an ugly state of things

Rome is very charming just now for the great heat is declining & the Autumn began with such an aboundance of fruit that I don’t remember the like, yet a gloom seems every where for the state of doubt is painful yet the Papal minister have good hopes that all will go well

I come back to an old state of things - the Pope attempted  to send away 3 English Ladies in 24 hours - two got  frightened & left but I protected the third, bullied the Governor & made  disobey the orders of the Pope in fact I returned the Lady and defied his Holiness - Lord Clarendon approved my doings. I went away on May 23 & the Lady was still here - Now I find people astonishd at my courage & boldness but as am here to protect British subjects, so I must do it in any way I can in such a despotic state of things 27th An English Frigate 19 Guns at Civita Vecchia thought to protect the Pope in case of danger, but I don't know, certainly Nap.n has put Rome in a state of great danger & I feel figgity

29 The great heat seems finishd & I trust also the great bustle of the politic world, for I long for quiet & repose, yet the fighting is worse than ever & may seriously affect Rome – Altho’ the Romans are very discreet & resist every temptation to revolt. I am so interrupted that I fear never to finish tho this goes by Queens Messinger

Your loving brother Joe

Torna su Letter n° 9


 I propose to send you £ 10 on April 5th  as before by Monti


My dear Maria                                                           Rome 8th march


I begin to be very uneasy about my dear brother & beg you to write    & tell me about him, I wrote Emma but there is not time yet for her answer I think - The Rev.d Charles Gribble British Chaplain at Constantinople (lately here) told me that Caroline had paid him a visit & that he was anxious to show her every attention on my account & as I have been usefull to him I trust he may be of use to her - he is on his way back

You'll be pleased to know that I am making a great figure in the Popes exhibition particularly with my large  picture of the two Angels in the Holy Sepulchre, indeed my Roman  fds tell me that I am sure to have the great prize for that my work is out & out the best, but I myself do not at all think that I have a chance as I am a protestant and also my work begins to cause jealousy in the Roman Artistic world , but Mr Odo Russell thinks the contrary that as I am doing such great credit to my country I must battle it out  'gainst all opposition this dont suit me for I cannot bear worry & the fight might kill me so my feeling is to let it all take its own chance most certain I am astonishd at the good result of my work & it seems so much better as a picture than I expected - Our weather has been very damp the rain continued for months & I need not tell you that I suffered shut up in the house so that progress is still slow & I am not equal to any great effort, yet I contrive to do all my duties the greatest of which is in my receiving numerous visitors during the day, doing all kinds of acts of politeness as regards Rome & attending audiences of the ministers. - Of course in the eve.g I am not worth much tho' I do go out to dine now & then - I rise very early even now at ½ p. 6 when it is light - during the winter my dinner is in the eve.g at 6 & after Easter at 3 - This summer I trust to go again to Tolfa for the air & the waters & where I am treated so kindly that I may go every Summer. I think I told you about my having been able to supply these good poor people with water, for the town had none & yet I was sure that it existed in the near mountains so it has turned out - the people are very gratefull to me.

Just now I am occupied in raising a tomb to a very dear f. Thomas Dessoulary an English landscape  painter who had been 53 years years in Rome - The Cemetery for Protestants is singulary  beautiful, not only  in the monuments being  sculptured with portraits but the place like a garden from the prodigality of flowers & trees - it has the antique pyramid near – Keats’s was the first tomb I placed & now there are hundreds - but 'tis often I go as I am not only reminded of such dear  F.ds but I see their portraits on the tombs - At last we have got good spring weather & the Villas are carpetted with flowers - Violets & Anemonies - I am always reminded at this season of my dear Mary who when an infant could not walk & was carried about, yet the Doctors assured us that there was no organic defect & that 'twas an affair of nerves - One day we all went to the Villa Pamphili & at the beauty of the flowers this dear little creature forgot that she could not walk & run about all day gathering the flowers, & was never after in the   smallest degree lame - no doubt this had to do with her  artistic  temperament Dont  forget to tell me about young Emma & Cairo - I  just hear that in the last Illustrated London news there is a sketch of my picture & the famous Cypresses in the Roman Exhibition.

I am giving you "a long yarn" but as you tell me            that my letters amuse you so you will not be tired of them, for I shall write you another with the £ 10 at the end of the month – You’d be astonishd at the amount of good things I am able to do, not only for English people; but for Italians. - Every day I get a despatch from the Prime Minister at Florence & I am always able to do what he requests - How I hope to hear a good account, of dear Tom & that he can hear this Letter read

Your lovin brother Joe

Torna su Letter n°10

      Rome 27 June 1871

My dear          Tom

As Charley in a very clever note written in Italian has reminded me that I am fast approaching  the patriarchal age, if not already in it!! so I you’ll be interested in knowing what I myself feel on such a touching reminder

Maria did not give me so cheerful an account of you as in her former report & I fear that the same cold damp weather which we have had here & from which I sufferd, also affects & prevents you going down to your garden I was so as on the 1st to go to my mountain Tolfa in the hope of taking       some baths as the hot weather here  provided, tho' not from illness but merely from the anticipation of it; when ho & behold I found the depth of winter & was obliged to return  after a  fortnight quit floord & decriped (sic) with the wet & cold, but some warm weather & baths of simple water have helped to bolster me up somewhat so that I may possibly  be strong enough for the coming events - Another mishap befell me, I was looking hastily to a fine view when I stumbled against a stone & fell spank on my face - Yet with all I fell like gentleman & the harm did not seem much but it has rather affected my nerves & now I walk with an ugly caution never look up at the heavens

But as I have got my painting to look at & am lustily at work, so I trust to pick up soon

As regards my patriarchal age I am glad to assure you that have no fears on shrinking - I chearfully ride my time as death has so often stared me in the face & whenever it may be the will of God in his mercifull (sic) Providence & bounteousness I trust I shall be found ready to sink calmly into His Holy Keeping - I trust I may have performed my part in that singular destiny which  was in store for me & which I have so often striven against fate without avail & now look back & back & see how I have been saved by the Almighty  hand - Now I have a confidence in supplication & every difficult occassion brings me a reward - for instance I prayed & prayed that I might get some little pension, when lo! there came the new consular com (sic) to take me off my  feet - Only think my writing such a serious  letter, but you, Maria, & I are sinking into  ?(dear)?& yellow leaf " & I confess that I dwell on these matters with some zest that I may never be taken by surprise by my destiny sooner or later  - I hope this will find you enjoying the Summer air & able to get out

Your loving brother



Torna su Letter n°11


Tolfa 1871

My dear Tom

Your letter  was a joy to me, as I was able to render you the smallest comfort under your heavy affliction – I hope you get out in the fine summer for I see that you have had Italian heat up to 87 Fah. whereas here it has been only 75.

I have  been in tip top enjoyment during August & taking 10 baths & 60 walks of 4 &5  miles a day, but a cold north wind came & floord (sic) me giving  me a diarrhea for several days but I 'm on my pins again until the 23 d when I must attend to the shop it being the end of the quarter

The mountain air of this place is so dry & soft that I always pick up, indeed I may say that I almost owe my life to it for I hear  of fatal cases of rheumatism, not that I am quite free, but am so far recovered as to be able to do all my duties & enjoy life, not fashionable life but simple pleasant existence which is as much as I can possibly desire at my age - my rheumatism has only put my hands "out of drawing" but not at all impaired my looks for I have not the smallest sign of a wrinkle & my brown hair has regrown on the top of my head - How you'd be amused if you saw me toiling thro' the chestnut forests & scrambling up & down the mountains & sweating until I have'nt a dry thread on me, when I return I put on dry woollens & I am rubbed down like a horse with a horse brush

The people I am staying with are intelligent kind & good with no idea of stinking or cheating but keep a good table & excellent wine - we have a "mevenda" every week that is we go to a rural dinner in some Vineyard eat on our elbows in the midst of fine scenery

I hope poor dear Maria is comfortable & able to go out with you - How odd 'tis for me to have only to think of myself after so many years thinking only for others - Not a word of English have I spoken for 6 weeks – I send you some ?queens heads? for I  have many

Your loving brother



Torna su Letter n°12


Rome 30th Sep.r 1871

My dear Maria

Pardon me that I write  in great  haste - I got your letter in which you say "that you are uneasy about me"  but as you dont explain & as I had just at length to Tom, so I will not puzzle  as to what you mean assuring you that  I do not know of any cause

You say  Tom has taken you some drives & that your Summer was hot

I returned from Tolfa on the 23d having taken 10 baths & walked during  2 months near 200 miles, but the heat is great here still & I feel it -

I send you the usual £ 10.0.0 & hope that dear Monti will be able to get it for you

Your account of poor Tom was on the whole favorable (sic)

Hoping that this may find you ?bobbish? & in great haste

Your loving Joe


Torna su Letter n°13


Rome 11 oct 1871

My dear Maria

My last was so short & shabby that I cannot but write again to such a good sister all that I think will please her

'Tis true that I wrote on the beginning of the month when I have a lot of imperative affairs to settle on  that day yet as I feel that you must have been sadly disappointed that "brother Joe" could ever cut you short under any circumstances whatever - I will confess that I did not like to delay the money order even a day as I know you depend on it & so in some sort you'll try to excuse me

I write again also as you said in your last "that you were uneasy about me? & to assure you that I do not know of any cause of uneasiness whatever

First as to my health I an doing well indeed better than well when I reflect on the serious & even dangerous rheumatism I have sufferd from & also at my age of near fourscore - Talking of age I have just had a f.d with me who said "but I am many years older than you for I am now 55" so I asked how old did he take me to be & he said some 47 or so" - I then told him that I was near 80 & he was quite amazed & assured me that he never knew the like even to my hand writing" this I know is the general opinion so you'll be well content on this ground that I am tough

I confess  altho' I walk well yet ever since that ugly tumble which I know was rather clumsiness than weakness I am more nervous tho' only to walk with more caution - At Tolfa I walked with more confidence & in the 2 months did at least 200 miles - You'll be glad to know that under this new gov.t I receive such kind attention & am allowed to intercede for prisoners as I did before under the Pope - This gratifies me more than I can say for I delight in doing good, but I have made up my mind to do less of it than I did, for the great staircases & fatigue dont so well suit me now - it may be rheumatism or it may be old age but I’ll not do it any longer - "I'm blow'd if I do

I am actually making a new lease of five years of my house. - Would that I could make a lease of my life even for the same time?  - and yet the Roman rents are doubling & trebling & so as I get my house on the same terms no doubt I'm right as in case of my death it could be so easily let for the British Ambassador Sir A Paget cannot find a house - indeed they all cast a sheeps eye at mine for it is a splendid one & so, cheap - In this I have my usual good fortune "good fortune" I say why when I look around me I think myself  the most  favored (sic) of all - it now appears that my new Consulate is really a  personal complinent to me as L.d Granville also made my chief Sect.y Vice Consul so that indeed I may say that fall back on a sinecure

Having lost all my dear children I sometimes feel a little lonely, pass evening alone but the morning till 3 I have frequent visits - It may  that I am difficult to please as regard friends & am glad to have so few – Lately I had Miss Emma Novello on a visit of two months but I vas very glad to be free of her she is such a Papist

Tis most singular  to me that now I have only to think ofmyself !! what a change! But I am lucky that I dont require much taking care of - would that poor dear Tom were like me in this respect - The strangers begin to tumble in & now I begin "to keep shop?

Your loving brother Joe

Torna su Letter n°14


M y housekeeping costs me just 4.s 2.d a day, I have the best food & good wine

Rome 3d May 1872

My dear Maria

I am a little fidgety about you lest my dear boy Walter has not sent you the £ 10 tho' I have great reliance on him & more so as he made this proposal to do so - but no doubt you'd write & tell me  I beg to assure you that I'll find a way to send you the £ 10 at once

As yet I have not received a penny of my pension but as I have the two letters of L.d Granville telling me that the last of £ 60 is being purchased for me by Mr Gladstone on the Royal Bounty Fund; so I cannot have the least doubt of the result & more so as L.d G. has taken the kindest interest about me & offerd me as annual order of £ 50 for any little sketch "that will not take up my time"

A little trouble has taken place about my house for it seems that I made an over good bargain of the lease for myself, and now the society feels that the rent £ 83 is too much for them - The house is now to be relet & the lease to return to me so that once more I shall be master as at first, but I do not think of profit as I shall always have the fountain rooms rent free

My new housekeeper did not succeed as the work was too much for her & she took to wine bibbing & cost me some trouble so now I have got back my good old servant of 7 years & I am very comfortable, the new woman goes to the service of an English Lady next week & will have much less to do

You see I'm quite an old bachelor & must have every thing in an orderly way

I am glad to tell you that I make good progress in my health, lately I have been on a visit to the country  I found myself much stronger & I made 3 without my hand trembling, which agreably surprised me - my f.ds all congratulate me on my marvellous recovery & my good looks for as I have sufferd so severely I expected to show signs of it

Do write me one of your nice long letters & tell me all the news of our dear ones & most of all poor dear Tom, I hope the weather may now allow him to go out a little

I had projected going to London for good & all but the doctors tell one winter would cripple me for life & so I have made up my mind & body to remain - for my motto is "to let well alone"

So I'll hope to hear a good account of you & that you have got the ten pounds

Just now I'm expecting Arthur & his Bride Mr John Ruskin & 8 friends all one party, they'll stay a fortnight, I hope to go with 'em & see over again all the Roman Sights - In the Summer I propose to go to Tolfa & take more baths not that I am ill but I hope to be able to paint the forest scenes

Your loving brother Joe

P.S as yet I have not been able to paint more from nervousness that anything else, but now I begin to be ready after all this turmoil about my Consulate, my pension & my house

How fortunate I have been for there is no encouragment in Art now here & no doubt I should not have been able to get a living by my painting, now in my old age I get even a pension & hope to pass the rest of my days in tranquility - The Doctors assure me a very long life as I have such a fine constitution so I’ll patch & bolster myself up for a long future, my wants are few, I am a careful liver, moderate in my eating & drinking & I shall have just enough for a cab now & then, perhaps I shall be able to make a "do" of it - but I am chary of having f.ds I cannot indure people inferior to myself & would rather be alone Perhaps I shall feel my loneliness- All my countrymen living here take to drinking, so they dont suit me - I confess I should like someone to live with me, do tell me what you think on this point - I should prefer a Lady but she must be of good education & have the means of living in a moderate way


Torna su Letter n°15


                                                                                    Rome Mon 10 June 1872

My dear Tom

'Tis long since we've had a chat & I think you'll be looking for a scribble from me which I know always gives you pleasure

I am afraid that as yet you've nothing pleasant in the weather as we are even badly off, rain cold & wind cut me up & put me in despair for I've been on a weeks visit to paint landscape, but no –  for  'twas like November

Maria gave me a little better account of you in her last letter, but evidently you want a good summers warmth to set you up, I'm glad you get down to dinner sometimes

A great longing to be 'mongst you all got hold of me last month, but the doctors assured me that one winter in England would cripple me up for life & so as I have the happiness to be well I'll 'een "let well alone"

Lately, I have had the delight of a visit from my Arthur & his Bride with Mr J Raskin Mrs Hilliard & her daughter & Mr Godwin a (young brush) This was indeed a treat & no doubt my desire to return was partly caused by the charming Bride offering me an asylum in her house at Herne Hill fearing that I might have been left pennyless In the recent visit she showd me great affection & I was able to draw her picture & produce one of my best works - This journey is an invite of Mr John Ruskins, but I fear at this moment they may be hamperd (sic) with the rain & innundations in the north of Italy - my Arthur is pursuing his painting tho' not quite brilliantly as at first, he has now the misfortune of a little independance which may impede his working

I dare say you were all trembling for me but with the aid of my Son Walter all is set right tho' I've only just enough over for a Cab now & then when I'm idle & shakey - Every thing is so increased in price in Rome that 'tis a hard push to make both ends meet, tho I did think myself rent free, but my landlord is dead & I have to contrive a new lease with the Prince Piombino of which I've good hope, except that every thing is changing in Rome

I have felt somewhat painfully my loneliness, but now I have the good offer of my excellent Tolfa Doctor & his two ladies (wife & sister) to take house with me & all responsibility - we are to mess together & as I regard him as a great doctor 'twill be a consolation – Then  my 2d Sec.ty & his father are also coming so I shall have a pleasant company about me & looking after me - I have the old servant woman still, good cook & devoted to me so that altogether I may consider myself well to do but my painting does not flourish for I'm sinking down into idleness, perhaps I need repose - As I have no longer any man servant I do all my little business myself, go to the post, make bargans tho I do little in the way of visits - Up at 6 o'clock I have my breakfast at 7 & dine at 2, 'tis odd to me having only to think of myself after always having had to think of 10 persons, this may have to do with my loneliness after such an active life

The "Acqua Marcia" will soon pay me interest as is it extending all over Rome & is much liked

The building going on is quite wonderfull indeed Rome is being brushd up to a great extent

I think I told you how kindly Lord Granville & Mr Gladstone had behaved to me & what they have done is rather 'gainst rule tho' I hear that all the Newspapers took my part warmly - You see I had no actual right to a pension as I was chosen out of rule, without examination & beyond age, yet my fitness for the place saved me at last

I think of going to the Old Tolfa at the end of June for the mountain air brisks me up & I’ll take the baths as usual - Much have I picked up & I can now dress myself & range about for a couple of hours, so you see "theres life in the old dog yet" - then I'm in good spirits & even doing the dandy somewhat - I'm now able to go out to dinner - my sight is good & even my hearing but I'm not at all equal to worry - My room over the fountain of Trevi is very pleasant & all I could wish - then the large room for my pictures is splendid. - How I should like for you & I to have a tete a tete gossip & have you to dine & show you the Lions of Rome but this I’m sorry to say can never be for not only that we are both infirm & unequal to a journey, but also we are infirm in purse, tho if I go on picking up health & money I may still have the delight of repeating our old conversations & even old jokes Now I hope you'll be able to give me a line from your own dear hand & with my love to Emma & all you dear ones not forgetting Monte I am

ever your loving Joe

Torna su Letter n°16


Rome 16th June 1872

My dear Maria

My pen was just now in my hand to write you when pop came upon me yours of the 11th with all the news and answers I was anxious about on your account - You see I was fidgity (sic) about you and intended writing to say that in case Walter did not send the other £ 5, you were to write me and I would be sure to supply you for I've good credit, but your letter of to day has set all right and I'm rejoiced that my plan is quite agreable to my dear Children, so that now I shall just make both ends meet & have a cab now & then when I am not strong & want encouragement

You want a long scribble & I have a good deal to tell you - The visit you speak of turnd (sic) out ill on account of the bad weather, wind & rain like Nov.r  & after a week I was obligd to return to my comfortable house or I shou'd have died of it - I now see that an English winter would certainly floor me & so I'll be content as I am & where I am

But my complaint of loneliness is to be soon at an end for I have the proposed good fortune of my excellent Doctor of Tolfa with his wife & sister to come & keep house with me - He will take all the charge of house keeping - & as he is good and very clever man in addition to being an excellent doctor & a charming companion I am very lucky - His Ladies I also like, indeed we are the f.ds of 6 years My good woman cook is to remain the same as are all to be as at Tolfa - he has given me his estimate which is very moderate & suited to my circumstances This will all come off in & I long for it

Meanwhile I go again to Tolfa for the Summer as usual - But just now a little change has taken place in the death of my dirty landlord & I have to make a new lease with the Prince Piombino which may be with encreased (sic) rent, but this wont affect me as I continue to be rent free

Also my late Sec.ty & his Father will take the rest of my large house & in this way I shall have got admirable f.ds always about me & the Doctor to look after my health - am I not lucky?

You'll all say that I'm "like a cat always fall on my feet" for I confess I began to tremble as to what I should do, when lo! all this luck turns up

It seems my house is much sought after not only for its fine air & 15 ample rooms but also the moderate rent - then the fountain of Trevi you cannot imagine I have 3 windows over it tis the most splendid work in the world

My present difficulty is to make the new lease but I do not much fear as my f.ds are willing even if the rent is doubled!! In these matters I'm cleverer than I thought & certainly I shall be better off than ever, this in my declining years is a great blessing

I was enchanted with the Bride & we took to each other at once like father & daughter - she is very amiable & intelligent of good education & withall handsome & very fair, some 25 years of age & has house & garden of her own on Herne Hill - Arthur is very fortunate, also she brings him 10 thousand pounds, in this he's not fortunate as it may prevent his working & his talent is first rate - I was able to draw her picture to the delight of all for Mr John Ruskin Mrs Hilliard & her daughter. & Mr Goodwin were all one party on the invite of Mr Ruskin - they are to be away for 3 months

My good old servant is with me again  & is a treasure, the other failed, for altho I thought to reduce my expences & should, but she took to drinking & went actually mad with wine - as I felt that my life was in danger I at once called in my old ser.t Betta & packed off the other to her father so now I'm all right again & in such good health & looks that every one congratulates me

The Irish Peeress I went to visit has a fine Villa 3 miles of on Monte Mario & is the Lady who so kindly offered me her hospitality during all my life if I had been left penny less, (the Bride did the same) Our weather is now warmer tho' not settled, the north of Italy is all inundated & millions of people without roof or bread

As I am not strong enough to bear much trouble I have taken to wear a simple flannell shirt with false collar & cuffs, this for the heat will be good but I propose a thick flannell (sic) in the winter

Now I am giving you no end of chatter but you said you wanted it & as my time is now my own so now 'tis also yours

My hands altho sadly out of drawing are not at all impaired for my drawing & painting, I drew a statue in the Villa with firmness & accuracy indeed you'll judge by my improved writing how well I'm "coming it" not that my hands will ever recover the deformity or that I shall ever be able to take the octave, yet these are trivial matters compared with my dread of being a cripple

By this time I hope poor Tom will have got fine weather & that you maybe relieved of the pain in your leg - I use daily a brush made of twigs which does me such good that I cannot miss it even a day. The moment I'm up I scrub all over me & once a week do the same with warm water, this is quite my own idea & I've done it for 6 years, certainly I have gained strength lately - Poor dear Nelly I am glad to hear is better - how is Emma in Egypt? Your loving Joe

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