[Rome—Thursday, 29 March 1860]

Thursday 29th Mr Wild breakfasted with us bringing me a glorious rose which had grown in the open air. Before 12 we joined Miss Cushman and Miss Stebbins and we went together to see Mr. Lear and his pictures. They are certainly very individual and striking as well as true to Nature. They are all painted from sketches made in Greece and the Holy Land. Two or three are especially unforgettable; the dead sea with the juniper tree in the foreground which Miss Stebbins said cast a shade like the “great rock in a weary land” mentioned in the bible, the pictures of Palmyra, of the brook Kidron, of a lake in the far East with a monastery, and of Damascus lying afar off on its grassy plain with a cavalcade defiling thither through the mountain pass, all these stamp themselves clearly & strongly on the memory. He had other unfinished sketches also all more or less interesting. He stood up behind us as we all looked earnestly at the pictures saying, I wanted you to see my work before you went in order to see there was some reason for the poem; because I am not a little proud of it as I may well be. Miss Cushman insisted when we left here that we should dine with her and afterward go to Tilton’s studio. Three delightful hours we enjoyed therefore talking and dreaming over pictures and all in the society of these dear friends with them too we went afterward to the Capuchin church where is Guido’s lovely picture of the Angel Michael with his foot upon the devil’s head and here too we saw that shocking sight of exhumed bodies exposed to view in the very robes in which they had been buried. These lower chapels are hung with bones, the chandeliers are bones, the whole interior is furnished forth with bones. Poor capuchins of what have they been guilty that they may not lie quiet in the grave. Tonight packed and received visits from Terry, Tilton, Thayer, Wales, Castanze.


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