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Drake Letters Index 4. Drake to Louisa 4 June 1854 ◄ ● ► 6 Drake to Louisa 4 July 1854
The Drake Letters
 
William Henry Drake (Piræus) - Louisa Drake (London), 30 June – 1 July 185
30 June and
Piræus 1st July 1854 1

 
My dear Lu,
 
        My last to you was dated the 22nd June & sent by Military Letter Bag via Marseilles – The Colonel makes this up, in conformity with Orders from the Duke of Newcastle 2 and sends a regular leather Bag to The Postmaster General London from the Expeditionary Force Piræus – I therefore hope they will arrive safely – 22nd June after closing my Letter Weir, Archer 3 & I took a Cab to Athens took our Uniforms dressed at the Hotel D’Angleterre & went to a grand festival, it cannot be called a mere dinner, given by the Greek Minister of War to the French English & Greek Military & Naval    There were nearly 300 invited & present – It took place in the ruins of the Parthenon, on the Acropolis – the most celebrated ruin of Athens – The Greek Officers Regular Army were in their uniforms, Light Blue & Dark Blue & Silver & Green & Silver – the Greek irregulars in the true Greek costumes some of them very handsome, covered with Gold or Silver embroidery and lace – The Allies were of course in full dress – The French General led his Officers & Col. Lockyer preceded us we were all introduced – Field Officers & Staff singly the Regimentals en masse to General, Count Kalergi 4 (the Host) we sat down to dinner I at a side table but I was hauled up to the Grand centre Kalergi sat in the middle. French Genl. Mayran 5 on his right Col. Lockyer on his left – I sat three from opposite Kalergi (principally I think because I spoke French & had already made acquaintance with Sundry Greeks who turn out to be Generals!! Colonels!! &c. – all great grandees – I sat next to General Mavromichalis (Black Mike!) 6 whose Brother 7 assassinated Capo D’Istri, 8 the President of the Republic before they made Otho 9 King – Opposite was Col: Pittakys [sic] 10 conservator of Antiquities whom I mentioned in my former letter, both Great men, the former politically, the latter scientifically – The General & I got on very amicably I told him who the strangers were & something of English & French habits – & he did the same for me as regards the Greeks – Mr.Pyttakis [sic] introduced us & I had an invite to the Genl.’s House when I go to Athens
 
After feeding we promenaded the ruins & as Mr.Pyttakis [sic] took me under his wing I was rather lionised by the Greeks & was introduced to many among them General Church 11 who with Lord Cochrane 12 was one of the deliverers of Greece >   he was very civil – after a time Ladies came up Mde ConditurriKalergi’s daughter Mrs. Wyse & Miss Wyse – Sister in law & niece to English Ambassador Baroness Leykam, an English lady, wife of Austrian Amb. with their husbands & many others – I escorted Mde Conditurri about, after the ceremony of our Ambassador having seated her. At night they lit a number of fires in braziers & it was a magnificent sight – we were home by ½ past 11 giving Dr. Downes 13 97th a lift home.
 
June 23   Genl. Mayran inspected the 97th & then the French troops – the 23rd & 28th du Line & the Infantrie de la Marine – 24th. H.M.S. Leander Capt. King 14 sailed the “Wasp”, Lord Hay 15 having arrived on the 22nd. I made the acquaintance of Colonel & Mrs. Caradjar [sic] 16 – She was is a daughter of Marco Botzaris [sic] 17 – and one of the most ladylike Greeks I have seen but not handsome    also of Capt. (Greek Navy) and Mrs. Tombazes 18 – (Tom Blazes) the Soldiers call him. He speaks English & French was at School with Capt. Dennis 19 76th   Ladies both speak French  Capt. Cervos 20 Gk. Navy – two Misses Cervos one speaks French    Mr. & Mrs. Condostavlos – he speaks English well, has three Sons in England, two at School & one in America. – Met Mr. & Mrs. Ralli 21 (He a Banker & speaks French) and Mr. & Mrs. Thasculopulos who live in the next house to us – Mr. T. speaks French. On the 26 I made up a packet of Coins & wrote to Sir C. E. Trevelyan sending them by Mr. Condostavlos going to England to see his sons & on business 22 – The rest of my journal records our fraternizations, eating ices drinking Rhom!! & ponche with sundry of our allies – visits to Greeks some remarks about French Troops &c.: they promenade for some two hours from 4 to 6 A.M. to exercise; Bag & Baggage & Mules, we are much behind them as warriors, in equipment in activity & in adapting ourselves to the ways of the Country but superior in strength, cleanliness & courtesy to the inhabitants: The 97 have the June Army List. We are all [listed as] “Archipelago”    When I wrote last I was unwell and I have been so ever since – They call everything fever here – Weir had diarrhea [sic] for a day they said it was fever from eating Vegetables – Mine is fever from Bugs, fleas, mosquitoes & midges having eaten me – their bites having become inflamed – I had from [written across the page] 60 to 70 on each hand & wrist a few on my feet & chest    Downes 23 said the change of Climate had affected my Blood – I took physic just what he ordered pills, some six Seidlitz, 24 &c. and continue a red mixture three times a day – With this my back has been just as if I had lumbago for a day or two & then it descended into my right leg like Sciatica & there it now is though not very bad – I have never given up to it, never laid in bed for a day – gone for a Walk every evening & sometimes out to drink tea and at last I am shaking it off – We have got the Bugs & fleas under – & I have a mosquito net to my bed, Downes has been surprised that my pulse has kept steady & even & my appetite very fair though I have by his advice eat little & drink no Wine – Tomorrow I am going to Athens to take a Turkish Bath and to call on Kalergi [sic] 25 and on some others – Welsford 26 & Archer 27 are going with me    Today we had Surveys on the Military Chest and did up all the work of the month.    1st July A very hot wind is blowing today a regular Sirocco – Brickfielder – Land Wind or whatever you like to call it they are all wind the same – I am better again today but still have a bone in my right leg – Up to this day I have received no letter or paper from anybody – since I left England – Almost everybody in the Camp has had a letter so that I begin to feel disappointed – We have Galignani’s Messenger 28 to the 19th of June – We are anxious to know what they will do with us as it is not probable that they will keep a Deputy & two Assistants to feed One Regiment and no more it seems are to come here    They will either order Weir or myself away – if Weir they will give me Charge here but if they order me away I have no idea where it will be to – I hope not Turkey for at least two months from this as it is hot and unhealthy – They may order me to relieve D.C.G. Goldsmith 29 at Corfu as he is a Deputy & it is an Assistants Station or they may Order me home again for Service in the Baltic as at first intended. – I should like to know which as uncertainty is the worst of all situations – This is by no means an agreeable place but if left in charge I should be able to do pretty well – it is tolerably cheap & we are living very economically   If ordered on to Turkey I shall take two horses on from this one for myself & one for a Baggage horse – there is a Steamer between this and Constantinople – in fact there are plenty of Steamers to and from this – Colonel Lockyer 30 has just told me that Single Letters via Trieste pay only 1/4 postage these arrive here three times a month besides the French six times a month, at 3d for a single letter of ¼ of an oz; Downes 31 is here, & says I am better today.
 
With love & kisses to all Believe me
Your affectionate Hub,
W. H. Drake.


In my uncertainty where you are & where I may be, I write you much at random principally to let you all know how I get on. Louisa 32 should learn Italian again, as, if we should go to Corfu or Malta, it is the principal language in use – I am trying to pick up Modern Greek & if I could speak Italian it would be very serviceable – it is spoken by all in the Mediterranean – My last letter from you is of 23 April, now more than 10 weeks ago and I am most anxious for some intelligence of your movements since then, how & when you got home & how you get on there & my patience is much tried on the arrival of each Steamer.
 
W. H. D.

[Addressed to]
 
John Drake 33 Esquire,
Commy. General
27 Park Village East
Regents Park
London


Mrs. W. H. D.
 
 
 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Footnotes
 
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
 
2. Henry Pelham Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle, was Secretary of State for War from June 1854 to February 1855.
 
3. ACG William Spearman Archer.
 
4. General Count Demetrios Kalergis was the Greek Minister of War. [The Times (London, England), 3 November 1854, p. 8:3.]
 
5. General Joseph-Décius-Nicolas Mayran.
 
6. Possibly Tzanis Mavromichalis.
 
7. Konstantinos Mavromichalis.
 
8. Count Ioánnis Antónios Kapodistrias, the first president of the Greek republic, was assasinated in 1831.
 
9. Otho I (1815-1867), King of Greece.
 
10. Kyriakos Pittakis was Greece’s first General Keeper of Antiquities.
 
11. General Sir Richard Church, British army officer in Greek service.
 
12. Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, British admiral.
 
13. Henry Downes, M.D., 97th Regiment.
 
14. Captain George St. Vincent King.
 
15. Captain Lord John Hay.
 
16. Katerina “Rosa” Botsari married Prince George Karatzas in 1845.
 
17. Markos Bozzaris was one of the Greek leaders during the war for Greek independence (1821-1824).
 
18. Possibly NikolaosTombazis, son of Emmanouil Tombazis, who was a Greek naval captain.
 
19. Captain Morley Stratford Tynte Dennis, 76th Regiment.
 
20. In a later letter [William Henry Drake (Piræus) – Louisa Drake (London) (17 July 1854)] Henry corrects the spelling of this surname to “Zervos”. However, maybe it is spelt “Zervas”, like that of Col. Napoleon Zervas, who helped overthrow Gen. Pangalos in 1926. [R. Clogg, A short history of modern Greece, p. 124.]
 
21. Possibly Lucas Dimitrios Ralli, who was Mayor of Piræus from 1855-1866, and his wife Despina (Paul).
 
22. The mail ship from “Greece, Egypt, &c., via Southampton” arrived on 4 July 1854. [“SHIP NEWS.” Morning Post [London, England] 4 July 1854:8. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web 20 June 2013.]
 
23. Henry Downes, M.D., 97th Regiment.
 
24. Seidlitz-powders. Aperient powders, usually sold in separate papers, one containing bicarbonate and potasso-tartrate of soda, and the other tartaric acid – they are dissolved separately in water, then mixed and drunk while effervescing. [The household dictionary of the English language, (London: William Collins, [before 1893.]) p. 682.] They worked as a laxative.
 
25. General Count Demetrios Kalergis, Greek Minister of War.
 
26. Augustus Frederick Welsford, 97th Regiment.
 
27. ACG William Spearman Archer.
 
28. Galignani was a Parisian bookseller who circulated his own newsletter, The Messenger.
 
29. DCG Oliver Goldsmith was stationed at the Ionian Islands in 1856.
 
30. Colonel Henry Frederick Lockyer, 97th Regiment.
 
31. Henry Downes, M.D., 97th Regiment.
 
32. Henry’s eldest daughter, Louisa Maria Drake.
 
33. Henry’s father, John Drake, was a retired Commissary-General.
 
 

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Drake Letters Index 4. Drake to Louisa 4 June 1854 ◄ ● ► 6 Drake to Louisa 4 July 1854