ON THE RHONE BELOW VILLEBOIS, Tuesday noon. Good morning, sweetheart. Night caught us yesterday where we had to take quarters in a peasant's house which was occupied by the family and a lot of cows and calves--also several rabbits.--[His word for fleas.]-- The latter had a ball, and I was the ball-room; but they were very friendly and didn't bite.
The peasants were mighty kind and hearty, and flew around and did their best to make us comfortable. This morning I breakfasted on the shore in the open air with two sociable dogs and a cat. Clean cloth, napkin and table furniture, white sugar, a vast hunk of excellent butter, good bread, first class coffee with pure milk, fried fish just caught. Wonderful that so much cleanliness should come out of such a phenomenally dirty house.
An hour ago we saw the Falls of the Rhone, a prodigiously rough and dangerous looking place; shipped a little water but came to no harm. It was one of the most beautiful pieces of piloting and boat-management I ever saw. Our admiral knew his business.
We have had to run ashore for shelter every time it has rained heretofore, but Joseph has been putting in his odd time making a water- proof sun-bonnet for the boat, and now we sail along dry although we had many heavy showers this morning.
With a word of love to you all and particularly you, SAML.
ON THE RHONE, BELOW VIENNA. I salute you, my darling. Your telegram reached me in Lyons last night and was very pleasant news indeed.
I was up and shaved before 8 this morning, but we got delayed and didn't sail from Lyons till 10.3O--an hour and a half lost. And we've lost another hour--two of them, I guess--since, by an error. We came in sight of Vienne at 2 o'clock, several miles ahead, on a hill, and I proposed to walk down there and let the boat go ahead of us. So Joseph and I got out and struck through a willow swamp along a dim path, and by and by came out on the steep bank of a slough or inlet or something, and we followed that bank forever and ever trying to get around the head of that slough. Finally I noticed a twig standing up in the water, and by George it had a distinct and even vigorous quiver to it! I don't know when I have felt so much like a donkey. On an island! I wanted to drown somebody, but I hadn't anybody I could spare. However, after another long tramp we found a lonely native, and he had a scow and soon we were on the mainland--yes, and a blamed sight further from Vienne than we were when we started.
Notes--I make millions of them; and so I get no time to write to you. If you've got a pad there, please send it poste-restante to Avignon. I may not need it but I fear I shall.