Mlle Souvestre to Mrs Strachey

Scope and Content

They were kept in Florence a week by rain. Florence is no longer so charming to her now that she has not her friend's company, but if her friend is in Scotland next year she will see her there. They started off by going to Auvergne where the Congress of the 'French Association' was held and at which was held in inauguration of a meteorological observatory. After this the rain spoilt all their plans, so that they had to give up going to the Dauphine and Savoie and enter Italy by Nice and Genoa. On visiting the Villari at Sienna Mme V. showed them a manuscript collection of letters from Sismondi (1773-1842, historian, wrote 'Histoire de Francais 29 volumes) to his mother written in the form of a diary during the months of the 1st Restoration and the beginning of the Hundred Days [Napoleon's return from Elba, ending in the defeat of Waterloo. So vivid were they that she felt no longer at Sienna in 1876 but in Paris in 1815. She compares the frescoes of Pinterrechio full of elegance and Tuscan gentleness to the nightmare horrors of the theme portrayed on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel: the last Judgement. From there they propose going to Venice by Assisi. Will be back at 'Les Ruches' 8 Oct 1876. Asks her what she has decided about Elinor, but she knows how much they want to have her and she herself would bring her. Refers again to Andrew and his stay at Fontainbleau. Was disappointed in her nephew Paul whom she took with her on her tour in the summer; he appeared entirely indifferent to everything and at the age of 19 thinks that neither pleasure nor success are worth any effort to attain. Enquires after Pippa and fond greetings. Sent from Sienna, Florence, Rome - final date Rome Sep.20.