May 30th, Monday
Imagine it! Here am i in the Dover Express actually speeding away to Naples to meet Ell who is to arrive there the same day as I, on June 1st. An early breakfast and start from Aldershot with my dearest who came to the 11 at Victoria to see me off. How blessed it is to have a man who always tries to give one a good time and doesn’t always and ever make difficulties. We are hurrying through Kent and the country is looking lovely, fields golden with buttercups and the may is in full flower. Have just availed me of my tea basket and made myself some tea. The excitement of going abroad is too wild for words. I have not been out of England since our honeymoon.
Later: the crossing is over thanks be. It was most choppy and I felt a double dyed villain and had hastily to retire however I retained my lunch! Now it is about 5.30 and we have passed Amiens on the way to Paris and I have just made more tea. The country looks very English save for the absence of hedges, lovely and green and might be any English county even to the advertisements on the sides for Liptons tea, New York Herald etc. We have just passed “Bass Pale Ale”, how odd! You don’t see French adverts on our rail sides.
We reached Paris and instead of driving across I went round in the tram to the Gare de Lyon. I got hold of Cooks man who after I had had dinner put me into the Rome Express. The only accommodation there was was with an old Italian. I wish I were alone.
As I write we are rushing through the Mont Cenis tunnel. It takes half an hour and the atmosphere is suffocating. We passed a pretty restless night, the old man and I. It is now about 12 and we do nothing but rush from one tunnel to another. The country is superb, towering mountains on all sides with the tops still covered in snow. We are through Cenis now in the land of chestnut and olive and the little hamlets look like toy houses and are dwarfed. It is getting hot and I long to get into white clothes but the dirt in the train forbids it. I keep washing but to no avail. Each time one touches anything one’s hands are black.
As we pass each station there stands the station “mistress” holding her trumpet and what looks like a telescope and when we stop we are not allowed to move until a blast is sounded making a noise like a peacock.
I want to take photos but I hear they are very averse to cameras so I have hidden mine for the present. We have had dejeuner, a real Italian meal and very good but it wasn’t in the least pretty to see them shovelling in the spaghetti au tomates leaving long strings hanging out of the corners of their mouths!
Later: here we are at Genoa and how pretty it all is. The railway runs along right on the edge so that we rush through a network of tunnels. The sun is about to set casting a red glow over everything and lighting up the red tiles of the houses making them look as if they were on fire. Each house is pink or cream with innumerable tiny windows and green shutters and all seem surrounded by roses, vines, and olives.
I found the sick old man was travelling to Rome so I changed carriages but found myself with another objectionable who sang and spat but he got out and was replaced by a young man so I passed a comfortable night and slept like a top until 5.