Baths of Limea August 6th 1845
My Dear Father
I wrote you a hasty letter from Naples which I gave to Harry to take as far as Marseilles and then to dispatch it, for the Steamer of the 4th of July: Harry will be in Lancaster towards the last of this month and will give you all the news up to the time of his leaving Naples and much more of the particulars. That I could stow away in a letter. Becky continues to improve every day and was some able to drive out and to make the excursions: On the 1st of July we went over to Castella Mare about 15 miles distant, on the opposite shore of the bay for change of scene, a Rail Road, is in operation, and runs along the beach, with the rails almost in the water. Only think of rushing over Herculenium, and past Pompeii, in this modern fashion! Steam is no encourager of Romance and all [ ] travelers are commenting that it should be introduced upon the roads of Italy, at the expense (as I think) of the common steed as well as their [ ] for neither the Diligenceıs, nor the Horses, nor the Postillions, but the wayside accommodations for travelers are of such extraordinary goodness in these regions as to make one regret that Rail Roads are coming into use. The precautions that are taken to prevent accidents on these roads, might be adapted and brought to the United States where, as it is now, very man must look out for himself. Men are stationed about 300 yards apart, at least at about the average, so that one is in sight of his neighbors on each side of him, as the train approaches, the man steps out, with a flag in his had, and if he sees all clear ahead of him he holds out the flag in that direction and in that hand on that side. If anything should be in the way the flag is in the hand towards the cars and pointed at them, when the engine is stopped: where a road crosses the tracks there is always a high gate across it (the only gates you meet by the way, for no toll is taken from travelers on the turnpikes) which is shut as the cars pass by the man at the stations: in 16 miles there were 100 men, with each a sentry box to shelter him. With these precautions, there has not been a life lost upon the roads: If our Legislatures had the honesty and the courage, not to charter companies without obliging them to adopt similar ones, we might venture in the cars and on roads that cross the tracks, without the risks that now attend them. But I suppose there is too much freedom in the country to oblige any one set of men to take care of the lives of others. But to return to ourselves: we passed four days very pleasantly at Castle Mare taking Donkey rides over the beautiful hills and carriage drives along the shores of the bay, the road overhanging the water: and offering views so glorious that they can not be told of: we also spent an evening at Pompeii which was only three miles distant, and enjoyed a more satisfactory and [ ] view of its wonders than on our previous visit. The sun set as we stood on the summit of the Amphitheater and as the twilight cam in & I felt it necessary to become sentimental. I suffered my fancy to turn Becky into a lady of Pompeii and became, myself, the first Lieutenant Plennyıs flag ship visiting the Circus to select places for the Show of tomorrow which was to be ³the last day of Pompeii² with much other nonsense too insufferable to mention and the omission of which I am sure you will excuse.
We returned to Naples in time for the steamer of the 5th to Civita Vechlia (?) and got to [ ] quite comfortably on the 6th except that Rebecca forgot her bonnet box on board the Boat, which besides a bonnet contain some small traps. We expect to find it at Marseilles (?). We remained at Rome 16 days and saw almost everything there, except the Pope himself who did not leave his summer palace, during our stay he was sick. I believe with a Cancer in his nose and is not likely to live much longer as he is past 80 now. Although Beckyıs health continued good, we did not like to prolong our stay at Rome on account of the excitement of sight seeing. The heat of the weather. The fear of the climate, which is unhealthy in the Summer. The abundance of the fleas and the expense of the Hotels. So we left there and made to Leghorn on the 23rd July. From there to Pisa by Rail Road and from Pisa, here by carriage. – 29 miles and through as beautiful a country as can be found in the world as Everlastingly Vineyards dominating the view until we came to the hills among which are the Baths. The hills are about three times the height of those at Cornwall and are covered with chestnut trees in lines to the summit. Small rivers course through the valleys at their feet and on the banks of the Limea(?) stands the small village which accommodates the visitors, and ourselves among them! So that we have a cool and beautiful situation and are quiet as we could desire. Fleas are but rare, and the charge of the Hotel only $22.40 cents a day for board and lodging for us both. We take long walks in the cool of the evening, a little reading and writing and a fair portion of nothing.
Marseilles August 31st
Leaving Lucca (?) on the 12th we took the steamer at Leghorn the next day and touching at Genoa for a few hours arrived here safely on the 15th finding my letter from Mr. Fitch. I found two from the ³Plymouth² with the disagreeable and unimpeached intelligence that the ship was under secret order to quit the Mediterranean and that we should wait for her at Marseilles as she was coming here direct for money. Herewith all our fine plans for cruising on the Coast of Spain this fall and the Adriatic next Summer knocked in the head at once. And what to do in the quandary. We know trip for the Plymouth is going to some part of the world where it is impossible to take Rebecca. We formed several plans in the course of a few days on the rect. of other letters which mentioned that the commodore had given Capt. Henry permission to send me home on leave of absence if Mrs. Reynoldıs health would not admit to separation. So Rebeccaıs health became much worse, immediately and we determined if no other project offered, to set out, for home, at once by the way of Paris for Home. Which indeed was the only course that seemed feasible although it would have embarrassed by finances somewhat and we should have left many things in Mahon to the chance of getting them when the Cumberland returned to America. However the ship arrived on the 27th and we found all hands in the greatest disgust and despair they know not to what quarter of the world they are to go, except it is to a very disagreeable one and are at a loss what preparations to make or where to direct their letters to be sent. Among us all we talked over many plans but in the end have only this morning determined that I shall exchange again with the Cumberland, with Knox , which is considered a fair arrangement. Knox has had a much pleasanter trip during the Summer in the Cumberland, that he would have had in the Plymouth And I have had Rebecca with me all Summer. Which would not have been the case had I continued in the Frigate. Now that matters have changed we both return to the ship we left America in but in doing so I shall be obliged in the end to return home via Havre, for it will not be possible to obtain passage for Rebecca in the Cumberland and I should be very glad of the opportunity of seeing Paris. My finances will be in a better condition at the end of her cruise and shall obtain credit for as much sea service as if I came home in the ship, which would not be the case if I went home now. One very important item: To obtain permission from the Department to be detached from the Cumberland when she shall be about to sail for the U. States and return by way of Havre I shall, as soon as we meet the Commodore in Mahon, make the necessary application to the Secretary of the Navy, through him; the result at stake, will be so great, however that in no other way can I get Rebecca home. That I do not like to trust to the action of the Department alone and must venture on the liberty of writing to Mr. Buchanan at the same time to make sure, as it will be necessary that the ship which will relieve the Cumberland should bring the permission with her. It is probable the Cumberland will be relieved early in the Spring. I hope it will not be inconvenient for you to deposit $600.00 for me in the hands of Fitch & Co of New York that I can draw for it here in case I should require it I will write you as to the time for it is not necessary at present.
I was most agreeably surprised to get the Exploring books when we arrived here and am much obliged for your punctuality – It is just as I feared and Expected the narrative dull and without the least [ ] of style – Arrogance and conceit breathing on every page and falsehoods too numerous to mention. I wish you would take time to purchase for me any review of it that may appear. Either American or English I am very desirous to obtain them and wish he would interest himself to find out where the article appeared.
Rebecca has a letter from her father of the 1st August when it was just 3 weeks old. She has in her last letter directed them not to write any more to us: supposing we would return home: Now, however we should be glad to hear from you, as before, only directing the letter to the ³Care of Nathl Deuby, Naval Agent for the U. States of America, Marseilles² instead of Fitch as heretofore. Please tell Jacob Krug not to send newspapers by the steamer as the postage is too high. Rebecca has written to Harry Krug by the same steamer which takes this. Please excuse the [ ] of this letter and with much love to you all, I am your
Very affectionate son William
The Plymouth will said to morrow the 11th for Mahon, after getting the mail by the steamer of the 16th August.
John Reynolds Esq.
United States of North America