[Florence—Sunday, 29 January 1860]

Sunday 29th Jamie went to hear Miss Chapman sing today. I stayed with poor Lissie. It was a lovely afternoon just the day we thought for Fiesole; so we started early and reached the summit in season to watch the sun die down among the Olive trees in the valley. The convent bell was calling to vespers in such tones of irresistible sweetness that we were compelled to enter the little church. It was already half full of the devout therefore we stayed a very short time that we might not disturb them, nevertheless we lingered long outside observing that the monks with their restrictions and privations always seemed to themselves Nature in her finest beauty as their compensator and consoler. Far in the distance glistening with snow lay Vallombrosa; just below our feet the famous Medici Villa while a short distance beyond lay the pretty home of Mario and Grisi surrounded with Olive groves and vineyards. Last but not least Florence herself like a “grain of salt” sparkled below sending up a voice of music from every bell-tower and human tones from every street; but our light was fading and “the mist was drawn”; we must descend; so quietly, lovingly, and happy in our hill-top experiences we soon found ourselves in L’s sick room.

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