[Envelope addressed to Mrs. James Somers Smith, 212 South 4th St., Philadephia, United States of America.
Also noted at lower part of envelope: Via Brindisi & England. Unfortunately, the photograph mentioned in the last lines of the letter was not present in the envelope containing the letter.]
Jan. 4th, 1871
My dear Sister Smith
Your letter of the eighth of December, although much longer on its way than it had any business to be, was received with much pleasure by me about three days ago. There is no news whatever to impart to you. The weather remains much the same, every evening the same remarks are made concerning it. The hopeful members of our party think from the appearance of the sky every night regularly that there is every reason to suppose that the next day will be fine. The remaining members nightly prophesy that it will be very wet, and as yet this last division has always proved to be right, not that those who compose it are more weatherwise than their companions but their dispositions are less hopeful.
Every night we part with the understanding that if the next day be pleasant we will go to Sorrento, spend a few nights there and make some excursions around the country, returning here early on Saturday to be in plenty of time to go to bank &c. before sailing, but here we are still and from appearances, here we will continue to be until we sail.
You see I do not much belong to the hopeful division. The steamer in which we hope to go is one of the Cunard line, it is a little bit uncertain whether she will sail on Saturday or Monday. Originally she starts from Liverpool, and it is hoped she will be here in time on Saturday to sail the same day, but if not, will not do so untill Monday as the steamers of that line never start on Sunday.
About three nights ago, and again last night, there was a very slight eruption of Vesuvius, each time the eruption only lasted for a moment or two, and as on both occasions it took place at dead of night, it was witnessed only by two or three persons. I should love dearly to see such a sight, even if it did last but a few minutes, but there is no chance.
There was a ball last night given by the Americans and English here to the officers of the S.S. Franklin and of an English man-of-war. As Pa subscribed we all received invitations, but not having any inclination, or dresses, did not go. General Anderson and family are now in Naples. Pa and Mary called on them Monday, he is in very bad health. We have not had nearly so much company here as in Rome. There it was really very lively. We have had a number of visits since here from the Scotts (Emily Miller) and have seen something of the Sanfords. We met them first in Florence, and a few others, the weeks when we first came, but on the whole we have not had much of a variety.
There is actually no rain this morning and although it is rather cloudy we mean to be off for Sorrento at 12n. Mary and Ellen, with one of the cousins, have started to ascend Vesuvius and are going to take a later train to Sorrento. With many kisses to my dear little Sommie and love to Mr Smith and the family in general
Your loving Sister
Remembrances to the girls. This little picture for Somers is a photograph of one of the omnibus’ for the poor. We see many of them, and usually just as crowded as this picture represents.