May 10, 1908

The Grand Canal, Venice 1908

The Grand Canal, Venice 1908

Venice, Italy
Dear Alta:

I declare to gracious but life in Venice isn’t what it was last year with friends at every turn. I don’t know a soul of American birth, not a soul.  I’m living with the English, whose custom it is not to see each other as they pass, and it’s no swell dream. If I wasn’t in Venice, [I] would be lonesome as a dog, but in Venice one is always entertained….I am … staying at Casa Frollo with a window looking out on the port of Venice, and there isn’t an hour that I don’t know what’s going on.

The Vanderbilt yacht, Nahma, has been in port here for some time. Last Sunday, I was dressed in my best and wandered along up the street that runs along the water’s edge looking for a mailbox. The Nahma was anchored not far away … and a couple of young fellows on board…enthusiastically waved their hands and took off their hats to me as an American.  We were the only Americans within sight and hearing, and it seemed mighty good, that hearty salute.

That yacht is superb, almost twice as big as anything else in port in the line of a private boat….The passenger steamboats which run around the Grand Canal can go right under her stern. That would suit me very well …to live out in the middle of the water on a yacht like that, where I could paint on all sides and move around when I pleased. …

One English family here is rich and swell and terribly select….The mother…and the unmarried daughter had their table shut up behind a screen when I arrived so I didn’t see them for days….[ until the son arrived.]  [The son’s] wife and two young daughters… are the only ones in the whole bunch who have a particle of sense, according to my notion. They took me out in the gondola last evening with them.  I thought it was so nice…for, of course, I can’t go out in the evening by myself and that is the most beautiful …of all.  It was superb last night, moonlight, and warm….