Isabella Thornhill’s letter home from Nice, 1838

[2018: images from the “Thank You For Your Letter” project have been deleted to make space for new posts.  The images have been retained within Derbyshire County Council’s internal records system so that we may re-use them in the future.]


Nice, March 1st 1838

My dear Father, I wrote to you from Pisa a short time since, and after my letter was gone, it occured to me, that though I had given you a sketch of our plans for the journey we were then pausing upon. I had not said that if you have any commissions for Paris that I can execute, a letter directed to me poste restante there, will be sure to reach me, and if you want painting brushes or any thing else you think I can get for you, I shall be glad to be employed. We leave Nice on Saturday in this week, and shall go by Toulon, Marseilles, Avignon and Lyons and be in Paris about the 14th or a day or two sooner or later and at home by easter, so as letters go from this place in nine days & three from Derbyshire to Paris you will have plenty of time to write to me there, and whether you employ me, or not, I hope you will write. We had a letter lately from Mr Lane, who told us of your coat suffering from some white soup, at a conservative dinner at Derby. I am afraid poor Tom Gisborne is worse from the accounts I have seen. The writer seems to have been quite dreadfully severe and prolonged in her hand which must have been a great trial to delicate subjects like him. This climate though just now there is a great deal of rain falling, is like summer all through the winter and the orange groves, gardens as fields and lemon groves are quite as rich and luxuriant as they are in the neighbourhood of Naples & the sun was so hot the day we arrived here, on Tuesday the green Venetian blinds were shut to keep out the heat, but as I seldom find sun shine too much for me, I had them opened again, but no fire till night. Alder grow near this place as at Naples, and they make hedges of them but the intermediate country is very different & with the exception of Pisa, the places are all cold, particularly Florence. We had a very perilous journey from Genoa here, owing to the rivers being so highly swollen from the heavy rains [caused] us to be about washed away into the sea at every turn. The rocks too, on the right hand side hundreds of feet above the shelf they call [a] road kept tumbling into the road, which is extremely narrow & the sea hundreds of feet below on the left hand. The shelf [was] only just wide enough for our carriage & every here & there, threshed up by the rocks falling, sent off by the rain. An english family crossing one of these terrible rivers lost a son, who was drowned & washed into the sea instantly. We were [only] too glad to arrive here safely often being for three days in constant perils & now have flat french roads before us.  My paper is ended, so my letter must do. I am, ever, My dear Father, your affectionate daughter.

Isabella Thornhill’s letterIsabella Thornhill


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