[Venice—Sunday, 29 August 1869]
Sunday August 29, a perfect Venetian day. Warm, sunny, the voices of the gondoliers coming up to our windows. We leaned over the balcony and looked out—and that was chiefly our occupation for that day, save fruit eaten for breakfast, “un piccolo giro” in the canal at sunset and a dinner at night. We were tired and this was Venice and summer and calm; why then disturb it by endeavoring to do anything?
Now and then we would fancy ten gondoliers at least were quarreling, we would look down and discover one amicably assisting another to put on the awning of his boat. I was never tired of seeing them eat their dinner—a little fruit and hard bread, or macaroni or a bit of meat stewed together for those who had been most successful. I watched one handsome fellow with a bronze skin bring his dinner into the shade. There was a little girl near him to whom he generously offered a part of what he had, she, refusing, he by and by, having eaten a great deal of macaroni first, very fast, with an iron spoon and so taken off the edge of his hunger, turned to an old man the other side who accepted his kindly generosity. I thought the dish looked very savoury and it was eaten with evident relish.