Letter from Somerville to Murray, 3 Apr 1842

Author(s): Somerville, Mary



3d April 1842
My dear Sir

It has always given us very
sincere pleasure to hear from my son and
Mrs Greig of the welfare of you and yours, and
though I am the worst of correspondents, you
must not think I forget my friends at home
on the contrary we are delighted to find that
your health has been better of late and that
Mrs Murray and the rest of the family have
stood the severe winter you have had so well.
I am sure you will be glad to know that Dr
Somerville is as well as ever I remember to
have seen him, and he always is so when the
weather is warm, but cold affects him immediately
and I am happy to say we have not had much
to complain of this year, only torrents of rain
and now we are putting on our Spring garb
and have had some weeks of glorious sunshine.
It is the signal for the English to leave Rome.

after the ceremonies of the Holy Week are over you
would really think the City infested by the plague
so anxious they are to be off, and so they never
see the country in its real beauty, Rome is quite
a paradise in the months of May & June after
that indeed it is rather hot yet the Romans say
they are cooler in their palaces in town
than they are in the country houses. There have been
comparatively very few strangers here this season so
the gaiety has been less than usual, but we always
have a kind welcome and good s[¿]ty in the
Italian houses. The Romans no longer look upon
us as strangers and we like them very much, both
men and women have less information & less edu:cation
than the English, but they have natural
talents to fit them for any thing and when
better times come Italy will stand high among
the nations, even now I could name some that
would be remarkable in any Country, and they
have great merit, for there is a deplorable want
of books at Rome, at least books of modern
date - divinity & Classics plenty, but as for Science
or geography they are little beyond the dark ages so

will be horrified when I tell you that I mean
to inflict a book on you (if you will have any
thing to do with it) on physical geography, & truly
had I depended on the public libraries here it would not
be beyond the time of Marco Polo, but fortunately
I have had private sources chiefly from Englishmen
settled here and also when at Florence I had the
use of the Grand Dukes Library & made ample extracts
so I trust my pages will not be very much be
:hind the present times. I have tried to make it
more of a readable book then geographical works
generally are, but of all that you are the best
judge so I hope you will tell me when you
see it whether you think it likely to succeed. The
first part only is ready for the press and the next
will be forthcoming should you think it worth
while & Mrs Greig has kindly undertaken to correct
for me- I have been much vexed & very uneasy
about Woronzows knee, it has lasted so long &
has given him so much pain that I have been
quite unhappy about it and fear the want of
exercise may hurt his general health.

It is quite deplorable to think how many of
our old friends we have lost in the few years

we have been abroad and what sad blanks we
shall feel when we come home again, and what
remarkable changes of every kind have taken place
the world will appear quite new to us, and our
ignorance great, we shall have to cram to be on
a par, and I could if I allowed myself become
very lazy and indulge in the dolce far niente
so I fear there is little chance of making up to
the streams it has got so far ahead - Dont
suppose from this indolent fit that you are to
be off with one volume you shall have two
possibly three more if it does not alarm you
too much - Where has your son been wander
ing of late, I have not heard of his having
been seen in this direction but have no
doubt he has been very busy, we all join
in kind remembrance to him to Mrs Murray &
your daughters & be assured very dear Sir that
I am always most Sincerely yours
Mary Somerville


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Letter from Somerville to Murray, 3 Apr 1842. 2024. In The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 2 March 2024, from

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Letter from Somerville to Murray, 3 Apr 1842

Document Information

Document ID 197
Title Letter from Somerville to Murray, 3 Apr 1842
Year group 1800-1850
Genre Personal writing
Year of publication 1842
Place of publication Rome, Italy
Wordcount 773

Author information: Somerville, Mary

Author ID 249
Forenames Mary
Surname Somerville
Gender Female
Year of birth 1780
Place of birth Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, Scotland
Occupation Author, mathematician
Father's occupation Military
Locations where resident London, Italy
Other languages spoken Latin, French