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TO THE REV. W. HUNT.
Oxford, January 24, 1892.
.. I don't know now when we shall be off for Spain, perhaps no sooner than you; it depends on several things, and I leave it to Helen and Florence. It is F. who will have to talk for us. I wish I could talk something, and the stupid thing is that I could talk better twenty or thirty years back than I can now. Before I go I must get three things done. Sicily, vol. iii, Essays, iv, little Sicily, i. Essays does not want much more doing. I have been looking at Street's Gothic Architecture in Spain. It is so odd how architectural writers never know the simplest facts of history. Petit years ago noticed that Strassburg and all Elsass were German in buildings, language, and everything else; but he seems to think it odd that it was so. So Street goes on about French influence in Spanish architecture. This is a very real thing in some places, answering to Kôln in Germany and Westminster here. But he mixes up with this the fact that Southern Gaul and Catalonia naturally have the same architecture as they have the same language. And so he gets puzzled and puzzled, till at last, at the moment of leaving Spain, he finds out that Roussillon once was Spanish ; but he still does not know that, in the sense in which he calls Toulouse French,' Gerona was 'French' too, and that Arles was not French' at all.
TO PROFESSOR DAWKINS.
Oxford, February 14, 1892.
I start for Spain on Friday Térapros autós1; that is, we are all going in a body. We expect to be away about two months, and, while we are away, Somerleaze is a better address than this, as things are safer to go on regularly. We get in by Perpignan and Gerona, and so creep along the east coast till we can strike south for the Saracen places.
How are you all? We have kept on pretty well; but I am still bad on the legs, as you saw me last. I feel sure that if I were at Syracuse I could track out Dionysius' wall as usual;
1 'I and three others.'
and I dare say I shall find something in Spain to set me a-going equally. Murviedro, that was Saguntum, would, I dare say, serve the turn, and I hope to get there.
... Kate has been here with Basil and Agnes. The bonniest little bairn she is, and specially to see her sit on the floor and look up at Bayne1 with mute wonder.
... I have done with proofs of Essays, and I have the last of the Contents of Sicily. But I have fear that little Sicily may follow me into Spain.
To J. B. BURY, ESQ.
Cahors, February 22, 1892.
I did not see your Scottish Review of me till a few days before I left Oxford. . . . I don't know how to thank you enough for it. It is absurd to say that it is the best that has appeared for there has been no other of the same classnothing but newspapers. . . . You understand me as nobody else does. I specially thank you for what you say about my supposed diffuseness, and repetition. They just say it because it is the regular thing to say. A. said that my little William the Conqueror was 'diffuse' because it is the rule for every pennya-liner to say that anything I write is 'diffuse.' But you say as well as I that there is a time to diffude, and a time to refrain from diffuding. Well, big Sicily is the time to diffude, and little Sicily is the time to refrain, but of course all the 'littery gents' will say that little is diffuse, because they must say it: they have nothing else to say. Of course they have not read big or little. The dilemma always is this. One has said a thing, A, 1001 times, and is tired of saying it. Shall one say it the 1002nd time or not? If one says it, one lot cry out 'wearisome repetition.' If from weariness one leaves it unsaid, up starts some chap who heard of it for the first time the week before, 'Mr. Freeman has forgotten A.' 'He has omitted to notice A.' &c. Remember that I have been charged with neglecting the Eastern Empire. Such be the 'littery gents.'. ..
We are four of us crawling towards Spain, and expect to be back in Oxford some time in April.
'The Rev. T. V. Bayne, Student of Christ Church.
TO MISS EDITH THOMPSON.
We left Oxford on Friday, Helen and Florence by Dover, Eleanor and I by Southampton, meeting at Paris. I believe we ought to have gone on that night for Toulouse; but I was too utterly tired. You know that, though I have not really been sick for many months, I have been as much shut up and coddled as if I had been sick, and I had got very bad on the legs, but I have begun to mend just as I did in Normandy. Anyhow it is a blessing to see something else than the Woodstock and Banbury Road and now and then the park. I really have not been further than that since October 26. And till to-day I had not been in a carriage to go anywhither since a few days before that, when I was with Margaret at Dover. I believe all this is to explain why I was so tired at Paris. Anyhow we did not go on, and found that there were no good trains by day. So we stopped at Limoges, where I did not even get to see how they had hooked on the new nave to the old tower, and at Cahors, where I did trot out a little bit, and found that I could already walk much better than I could at Oxford. Thence hither yesterday, 23rd; to-day we looked about here, and took carriage out to Elne = astra Helene Illiberis, the old city which is this Perpignan1-when I was little and read it in the map, I used to call it 'Nanny pigs.' To-morrow we hope to cross the border and get to Gerona. So I don't suppose that this letter will be finished in Gaul, but it is more likely to be stamped with the head of the little king on the other side-it is so like the Merwings. The Goths would never have done so.
'Tis a wonderful change coming here as regards sun and air
'Tis merrily bright and warm. Quite another thing when we left Oxford in the snow. There was rain here yesterday just as we came in the train, the first for a long time; but it was quite clear all to-day. Indeed the snow showed itself a very fair respecter of boundaries; there was a great deal north of Loire and very little south. This country is quite new to me, and I should like to stay a little longer.
The meaning of the writer is doubtful here. Possibly 'near' is omitted before 'this Perpignan.'
I guess you have got my fourth volume of Essays some days back, as I heard this morning that it had reached Wookey; Law of Honour comes in Miscellaneous. I told Oman to seek about Peter1 and the lanzknechts: he did not seem to know more about it than other people. The House of Lords was frightful hard work putting together. Sicily, vol. iii, is done as far as I am concerned. I don't know how long it will be before it comes out. And I have done all the proving of little Sicily; but it will have to follow me for some purposes.
. . . (Barcelona, February 26.) I have not seen about Sayce and Melchizedek. The best dodge of his I know of was that he had gone back (I will not quote the Apostle James; Compostella is a long way from here, and which James is it that is there?) to believing in the Sikel invasion of Egypt. 'Tis on the strength of a man's nose, which he says is just like that of M. Cato of Tusculum2. Now how much might one prove about the folk of Orange, Holland, and England, if William, Prince, stadholder, and king, had had his nose painted in some out-ofthe-way time and place? Some Sayce might argue that the men of all three lands had all of them noses to match.
I suppose by
Dominus, is in itself perfectly harmless.
Nobody asked me to say or do anything for or against the image-shall I say of Baal-newman? That was a gain, (February 27) as I should have had to tell both sides that they were fools. I did not want any images at all, and I saw no particular reason for one of Newman. All such things are in our British climate ugly and ridiculous, and as yet Oxford has been happily free from them. And if we began, I would set up Earl Simon and the Provisions: only - would think that the Provisions were something to eat, as he clearly thought that Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer were all done at one stake. His Protestant ravings sent me somewhat the other way. I don't think we want the idol in Trinity or Oriel.
1 Pierre du Terrail, better known as the Chevalier Bayard. Miss Thompson had asked Mr. Freeman to reconsider a passage in which she thought that he (following Sismondi) had not put Bayard's side of the question quite fairly.
' See Sayce in Newbery House Mag., December, 1891.
TO THE REV. W. R. W. STEPHENS.
Thanks for your notes on the Athenaeum paper about Trapani and Scheria1. I got a copy before I came away. I had no time to think much about it, but I must see when I get back. It did not strike me as anything more than the kind of vague identification that one might make of a hundred places. Besides, the coast has clearly changed, not only since Odysseus, but since much later times; forwhy Count Roger carried away cows from a point which is now covered by sea. And he must further account for Odysseus getting (or the poet sending him) so far west, to a coast which one cannot fancy that the Greeks of his day knew anything of. I know that way of proving things very well; I dare say, if one were clever enough, one could prove the place to be Barcelona.
I sent you a packet the day we started, sheets, maps, and this and that, I don't know when the volume will be actually out. It is to come out by itself without waiting for vol. iv. Thanks for your suggestion. I at once restored Naţiáv【ovs-is my accent right or is it Nagavcós?—I am not so well used to that Greg. as to two others, one of whom is the main authority for Sicily in his day. Olentia stagna' is a reading, and makes much better sense, as the lake certainly stinks and there is no reason to think that the Palici themselves (not being Jews) did. But Ellis won't hear of it, because of the metre.
... I am always writing east for west and back again 3. San Vito should have been the northern point of that part of Sicily, which it certainly is.
One of the first things which struck me on getting into the Aragonese dominions in Roussillon was the likeness of the late
1 A letter in the Athenaeum suggesting some reasons for identifying the Scheria of Homer's Odyssey with the site of Trapani.
2 In Hist. of Sicily, i. 525, Ovid, Pont. ii. 10. 25, is quoted: 'Hennaeosque lacus et olentia stagna Palici,' which I had suggested must be a wrong reading for 'olentis stagna Palici.'
3 I had mentioned some passages in the History of Sicily in which slips of this kind occurred; also that San Vito was not the most northern point of all Sicily.