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Remembered Today:

Geoffrey Watkins Smith - 13th Rifle Brigade, kia 10/7/16


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...... Quite apart from his intellectual genius, he possessed a most charming personality, intensified by his youthful appearance, buoyant zest, and ever present courtesy to young and old. We may say, with Stevenson, that his coming into a room was like lighting another candle. He had a natural aptitude for games of all kinds. As a lawn tennis player he might easily, with more leisure for first-class practice, have risen to the highest rank, for he had a free and effortless style and a very shrewd knowledge of tactics..... He was a first-class golfer, too.......

A.W. Myers in The Field.

....... As one of his subalterns, I can say from personal experience that there could not have been a kinder or braver Company Commander: all the men were very fond of him, and had un-bounded confidence in him. For myself, having known and admired him since the Battalion was at *****, I can only say that I grieve for the loss of a very dear friend......

Charles Rowlatt.

........We who were his subalterns had the greatest confidence in him as a soldier, and - what is more important - we absolutely loved him as a man. He was quite imperturbable in times of danger, and all through the winter months I never remember him as anything but gentle and considerate to everybody.......

L.C. Leggatt.

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.... The last time I saw him was during the earlier stage of the attack, and he was then commanding the Company with not a whit less coolness than he would have shown in an ordinary practice attack.......

2nd Lt. C. Nelson

.........I can hardly say how much I feel the loss of my Captain, presonally; it is very hard indeed to settle down to do anything. I am sorry to say I was not with him, his duties being many it was impossible to keep up with him; the last I saw of him was before we had reached the German trenches when he was directing us to go half-left.....I respected and served him as best I could......

Rifleman F. Robinson, Officer's Servant.

It was reported at the Third Army School of Instruction, which Geoffrey attended early in 1916, that he was an officer of very excellent type, great ability and keenness, who entered into the spirit of the school in the most commendable manner.

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Letters from Geoffrey to his Home

[The following facts may be of assistance in reading the letters:

1881. December 9. Geoffrey Watkins Smith was born at Ivy Bank, Beckenham, Kent.

1890. Went to Temple Grove School, East Sheen

1894. Scholar to Winchester College

1899. Entered New College, Oxford, as Commoner.

1900. Elected to an Open Science Scholarship at New College of £80 for two years

1902. Scholarship renewed for two years. Spent the Autumn term at Munich University

1903. Final Schools, First Class Honours in Natural Science. Elected to Naples Biological Scholarship of £150 for one year from the Common University Fund, £100 of which was paid to the Director of the Zoological Station at Naples for the rent of the scholar's table, £50 for the scholar's personal expenses. Allowed to hold the New College Scholarship for the fourth year, 1903-4, though absent in Naples.

1904. Accepted Professor Dohrn's offer of remaining in Naples for about three years in order to write a Naples Monograph, Professor Dohrn to pay the greater poart of his expenses. Hoped to be re-elected to the Naples Biological Scholarship, but by some misunderstanding, as no formal application was made, the Common University Fund did not appoint a scholar. The Committee for the Scholarship recommended to the Common University Fund that a special grant of £50 should be made towards his expenses at Naples, but owing to some technical difficulty the matter was dropped. The Oxford Table lapsing, he was appointed to the British Association Table (1904-5), rented by the British Association at £100, an occupant beiong appointed annually who paid his own expenses.

1905. Re-elected to Naples Biological Scholarship.

1906. Completed his Monograph on the Rhizocephala.

Won the Rolleston Mmemorial Prize of £60.

Temporary Lectureship at New College, Oxford.

Demonstrator in the Department of Comparitive Anatomy.

1907. Fellow and Lecturer of New College.

Granted two terms leave of absence for scientific research in Tasmania, his expenses mainly provided by Professor G.C. Bourne.

1911. Temporary Tutorship at New College.

1913. Tutor of New College.

1914. Fellowship renewed. At the outbreak of war joined the O.T.C. Received a commission in the New Armt, **** Rifle Brigade.

1915. April. Gazetted Captain.

1916. July 10. Killed in action.

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Pension Schramm,

20 b Maximilian Str.,

Munchen.

Sept. 9, 1903

Dear Father,

I have arrived here safely, after spending an afternoon at Cologne, a somewhat hot and tiring afternoon, but Cologne is a very picturesque place worth seeing.I came in on a sleeping wagon and arrived in Munich early this morning. The weather is brilliant still and 'unequivocably warm'. I spent this morning in the Glypothek; what ugly brutes the Romans were compared to the Greeks ! It is a splendid collection, not only because of the beautiful things it contains but historically one can trace the art back to the Egyptian style and see it gradually throwing off the conventions.

The place is so full of picture exhibitions that my time will well occupied; also the State Library is open, and I intend to do a little reading.

I inquired about my ticket for Italy to-day, and found that the journey to Naples costs £8, including the cost of luggage which has to be paid for according to its weight. If you will send me a cheque for £20, that will be enough for the journey and to start me in Naples. One of my American friends who was working here last winter has gone to Naples, so I shall meet him there. The Professor has not yet come back from his holiday but comes in a day or so. The Pension is fairly full, mostly of Americans.

Love to Mother and all.

Your loving son,

Geoff.

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Pension Schramm, Munchen.

Sep. 1903.

Dear Father,

....Yesterday afternoon I heard Gotterdammerung, the last of the Ring Cycle. It is a splendid thing; I think the best of the four, as it gathers up all the links of the music that have been running through the other three operas and weaves them into a single chain. Unfortunately the orchestra did not play with quite sufficient spirit; at any rate, when I heard it before with Zumpe conducting it had much more fire in it. I suppose they get a bit tired after six weeks of it.

I am now only waiting for a fine day to start for Innsbruck; I intend walking part of the way.....There is a mad lady novelist staying in the Pension, an American. Also two Poumanians who eat like beasts; a lot of nice enough German ladies, a very pleasant young German actor who wrote a play which was unfortunately hissed off the stage, but now he is fairly successful as an actor, and various odds and ends like myself.......

Your loving son,

Geoff.

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4 Lung Arno Acciajouli,

Florence.

Sept. 1903.

Dear Nowell, (1)

......I spent four glorious days in Venice, which must surely be the most wonderful city in the world. I was very lucky to fall in there with a colony of English artists, one of whom took me about the place a good deal and instructed me in the way I should go. So far I have only walked round about Florence and on to the hills round to see the general look of the place: but to-day I went in the morning for a preliminary visit to the Uffizi and in the afternoon into San Marco and in the evening up to Fiesole.

I have not seen any pictures in the Uffizi equal to the Bellinis in Venice, but that is probably because I have not yet looked at them long enough; so far the Fillipino Lippis please me more then Botticelli.

San Marco, with all its history brought up so vividly by seeing it, is the most chastening and rigorous bit of education I have ever experienced; Fra Angelico tells me in the sweetest and most persuading manner what a raw and vulgar beast I am.

I am sorry for parading all this egotistical stuff, but I am so full of my funny little experiences that I can hardly talk of anything else.......

______ and I had a very jolly time in the lakes: I was surprised and sorry to hear that B_____ did not suit him. His disposition does not seem to suit the world as it is ordained; if only he could add confidence and aim to all his virtues he would be right at the top, I am sure. It seems to me so easy to aim at something; perhaps it is a gift bestowed in inverse proportion to the capacity of hitting the mark.......

Your affectionate brother,

Geoff.

(1) His eldest brother, then Fellow and Tutor of New College, Oxford.

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Firenze,

Lung' Arno Acciajuoli 4.

Sept. 24, 1903.

Dear Father,

I have got a room in a vey nice little Pension right at the top of a house on the banks of the Arno. They are having a kind of spring cleaning here, so there is nobody in the Pension except myself, and nobody talks English at all, so I have had to buy an Italian grammar which I studt feverishly in order to make my wants known to the landlady. The only English she knows is 'Very Good', and she thinks that she ought to be intelligible to me if she talks voluble Italian with 'very good' interspersed. She is a very pleasant old lady to all appearances.

It is rather disappointing to be in a town where the streets are not made of water, but when I am accustomed to walking instead of gliding in a gondola and of seeing houses standing stupidly on the land instead of rising out of the water, I dare say I shall appreciate the beauties of Florence. I don't think I have ever enjoyed anything so much as the three days I spent in Venice. The pictures of Bellini in the Accademia and scattered about the churches have really quite altered my views of life!

It is a most extraordinary sensation, but I have not seen a cloud for nearly a week; it is blazing hot hear.

Strange to say I have only about 90 liras (about £4) left of all the money you sent me. Tarvelling is horribly expensive, because if they get to know at a hotel that you are only staying a day they treble the prices at once. I am never going to go to a hotel again. Pensions are far more comfortable and far cheaper of course.

Will you send me £5 to the address I have given at the beginning of this letter. Did I tell you that Professor Hertwig asked me to dinner at his house in Munich and that I talked German the whole time to his wife and children and himself. They are the very best kind of people. I am trying to forget my German now in order not to mix it with Italian.

Love to all.

Your loving son,

Geoff.

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Parker's Hotel,

Naples.

Oct. 3, 1903.

Dear Father,

I got your letter and the cheque, both of which were very welcome. Unfortunately I had not time to go and see the Cats(1) Florentine friends, as I thought that I had dallied long enough in Florence, and started away the same day that I got the money wherewithal to pay my bill.

I enjoyed Florence enormously; the pension where I was was very comfortable and moderate in its charges. I arrived here yesterday after a most unpleasant journey from Rome. Beacuase after first missing the train I intended to take, I came by a night train and got into a carriage with a poor fellow who was dying of consumption. I don't mind human skeletons as such, but when they are alive (just) and in fearful pain I don't like being boxed up with them for several hours and being quite helpless to do anything for them. I told the guard on the train, and when we got to Naples he made arrangements for him to be taken to a hospital. I can't describe to you what a horrible sight the man was, apparently quite young, but a mere skeleton, with grey skin stretched tightly over the bones of his face, so that you could see each bone distinctly.

I went down to the Lab. this morning and saw Dr. Mayer, the director, an awfully jolly old man as spry as anything. He has given me one of the best places in the Lab. The Acquarium attached is one of the most wonderful sights imaginable; they have all the wonders of the deep sea living there with colours that would put any ordinary rainbow to shame. Precious corals, fish that seem covered with jewels never imagined before, sea anemones several feet tall of delicate violet of brilliant red colour, and then enormous octopi! It is true that the Sistine Cahpel at Rome is very wonderful but 'Nature, ah Nature' licks art into fits in my humble estimation. Dr. Mayer introduced me to the Chevalier Ser Lobianco, who is as a matter of fact the bottle-washer at the Lab. It is necessary to be very polite to him and to ask him to declaim Dante, otherwise he will not give you the materials you want. He looks like a ferocious ******, but he is really a full blood Sicilian of the mildets disposition imaginable.

I am staying at this hotel, which is very comfortable, until I can get rooms elsewhere. They are only charging me 9 francs a day = 7 shillings, including all my meals and a fine bedroom, which isn't bad.

As it takes more than a week for letters to cross you, will you, when you next write, send me some money to deposit in the bank here; about £20 I should think.

I shall be receiving my £25 from Oxford shortly I suppose, at least in a fortnight or so. What are you doing about my scol. money at New College I don't know, but anyway they have not paid me all for last year yet. However, sonce I don't know when any of this may turn up, I should like to make sure of having a banking account here of some kind so as not to be quite without resources, so if you will send the £20 in advance I shall be at peace.

Please address letters to Stazione Zooliga, Napoli.

Love to all, and greet the Cat from me.

Your loving son,

Geoff.

(1) His brother Hugh, in the army.

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Stazione Zooloica, Naploi.

Oct. 10, 1903.

Dear Mother,

I am afraid you will be wondering what has become of me since I last wrote. I have got your letters which were very welcome with news from home. I am more or less fixed up in a pension here, right on the top storey of a tall house, looking over the bay. It is a healthy place I should think, fairly clean, food decent, and full of Germans. I only just sleep here and have breakfast and dinner, getting my lunch, which is really the chief meal, in the town. I get up at 7 o'clock (I know you won't believe this, but I record it nevertheless) and arrive at the Laboratory at 8. There I work until about 12.30, and then I go off with a Cambridge man, Dr. Shearer (a Canadian by birth and a don at Cambridge by profession, a very decent man indeed), to get lunch in the town at a restaurant. It is quite dangerous walking the street here, as cabmen when not running over yo are cracking their whips in your face, a proceeding which they seem to think will entice you to hire their cabs.

These Neapolitans irritate me a good deal, because besides being childish and trivial, like all Italians, they are brutally cruel as well both to their animals and one another.

After lunch we go back to the Lab. at about 2 and work till 4; then we set out to the tennis club and play till about 6. They are nice gravel courts, but the tennis is not of a very high class, it is good exercise. The people working in the Acquarium are mostly Germans, of the pleasant learned sort, very ready to give you any help you want in the way of information, whiule they do not bother you with any ideas, because, to tell the truth, I don't think they have very many.

I can't tell you anything about the sights of Naples, because I have not seen any, except old Vesuvius spouting steam in the distance, and the general dirty picturesque appearance in the streets. The fact is, at present I am trying to dive through the thickets that surround the bit or work I want to do, and before one gets a grip somewhere it is often a long and harassing business, because there is always a chance in these matters that one will never get a grip at all, but remain hewing down brambles the whole time.

The weather is still beautiful; we have only hed two small showers in the night since I have been in Italy, and every day has been almost cloudlessly blue. I don't see an English paper here, so do you think you could have the Daily Mail or some cheap rag sent out to me at the Zoological Station ? If it comes very expensive, please don't bother.

Love to all

Your loving son

Geoff.

I have just received Dad's letter with cheque, for which many thanks. I am dreadfully sorry to hear about John(1), but I hope it won't turn out so serious as it sounds. Please let me know how he is when you write next.

(1) His nephew, John Nowell Smith, who had broken his thigh.

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Stazione Zollogical, Napoli.

Oct. 20, 1903.

Dear Mother,

I am very glad to hear that John is mending so satisfactorily. I had a letter from Nowell soon after the accident and he seemed very anxious less there might be some permament injury, so that now he will be much relieved.

Meantime all kinds of wonderful and terribel things have been happening to me. It began with o toothache on Saturday, which got worse on Sunday, and as I got no sleep on Sunday night and my face was swelling like a balloon, I got out of bed as soon as it was light, went in search of the nearest dentist, got him out of bed and made him extract the tooth. But now mark the sequel; as I was going to lunch, as my custom is, at the cafe at the top of the salubrious thoroughfare known as the Chiaia, I felt quite as well as usual; but when I sat down and began drinking some soup I suddenly became exceedingly giddy and flopped off my chair into the middle of the floor, much to the astonishment of the waiters and other guests. The next thing I remember is sitting out in a courtyard at the back of the cafe with four waiters variously feeling my pulse and pouring vinegar up my nose and brandy down my throat.

They then put me in a cab and one of them brought me home. Since when I have seen the doctor, who rightly says that there is nothing the matter with me at all, except the loss of a tooth, and the increase of a pound of flesh on my left cheek, which is rather awkward, as I have accepted an invitation to dinner to-morrow and do not like to turn up in so questionable shape.

I feel perfectly well now, however, and the swelling is going down.

I got my first Standard to-day; thanks very much, it is a great luxury and much appreciated.

Dr. Shearer, the Cambridge man I told you about, has gone on an expedition to Tunis, which is fitted out by a yachting club here. He tried to persuade me to go, but of course I could afford neither time nor money...........

This Pension is very comfortable, and the lady who keeps it, who is a German, looked after me very kindly yesterday when I considered myself an invalid and fed on slops.

Love to all.

Your loving son,

Geoff.

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Stazione Zoologica.

Nov. 3, 1903.

Dear Mother,

I return the two bills, which are correct, as I believe. I am afriad I am a great nuisance with my bills, but I do not think I shall be requiring any money for myself just yet as I have received £25 from the University, and New College is going to continue my £80 Scol. Then I get another £25 from the University, so that altogether I am getting £130 this year on my own hook. We are having gorgeous weather again, like midsummer, and tennis is in full swing. I am sitting this evening with my windows wide open, the air is so balmy.

The English Consul came and visited me the other day, and said he was going to ask me to dinner, and I am dining with Canon Barff to-morrow, so altogether I am quite in society. I went to church on Sunday and heard him preach a sermon; very simple it was, it is tru, but reasonable and carefully put together.

Dr. Shearer has come back at last..... He stayed all the time in Sicily, which seems to be the most attractive place. I am reading Marion Crawfords history of it. There is a secret society there called the Mafia, corresponding to the Camorra here, which really governs the island by blackmail and assassination, deriving a large part of its revenue by patronizing the brigands and highway robbers. If one lives in Sicily one has to belong to the Mafia, as otherwise all one's properties are stolen, and if one objects he is certain to be assassinated. But the ordinary foreigner there is fairly safe.

The Camorra here in Naples is a similar kind of organisation. and I believe does away with two or three enemies every night; similarly here a lot of the better class have to belong to it, as otherwise they would never live in peace, since the Camorra protects every one who belongs to it, and does not allow the thieves and murderers, all of whom are in their pay, to molest any Camorrist. So that one has the curious fact of respectable citizens, perhaps members of parliament, belonging to a secret society which exists by robbery, blackmail, and assassination. Several of the servants at the Laboratory are Camorrists, and if one has anything stolen one just has to tell one of them and they recover it in a few hours, while the Police would be useless. In this way the crime and the administration of law is really in the hands of the people; I believe that every farthing that is stolen here is paid straight away into the Camorran treasury. If it has been stolen from a Camorrist or from a friend of a Camorrist it is usually returned at once; if not, it is kept and the criminal is defended by the Camorra from the police, and is practically never brought to justice. Added to all this, it costs only twenty-five francs to have a man murdered, and you have a faithful picture of the state of modern Naples.

Foreigners, as long as they take no part in polotics, are under the special protection of the Camorra, as they are supposed to bring profit into the town, but on the whole I am so inclined to avoid the side streets after dark.

I must stop now.

Love to all.

Your loving son,

Geoff

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Stazione Zoological, Napoli.

Nov. 18, 1903.

Dear Mother,

I am afriad that it is a long time since I wrote last. The weather here is taking it's revenge, and it has been soaking wet for the last three days. I got a letter from Nowell advising me to apply for the Senior Demyship at Magdalen, a kind of fellowship which lasts for four years, si I have written a letter of application to the President, saying what a clever fellow I am, but I should much doubt if anything will come of it.

My work is going rather slowly at present, but I think I am beginning to get a start: on the whole I think it would be a pity to break into it by coming home so soon, although I am very sorry to make a gap in the family gathering.

Shearer, Jennings, and myself went for a walk last Sunday to visit an old monastry on the top of a hill behind the town. It was a splendid day and the view over the bay gorgeous; we were shown round the monastry by an old Dominican monk, who took us into his cell, which was a delightful sunny little room with a garden attached in which there was a well, and orange trees and flowers beautifully kept. The German Emporer had paid a visit there and written an autograph letter which the old monk had framed and hung up on his wall. The place has been broken up and cleared out by the Government, but a few monks are allowed to remain there. Jennings is the best type of American; he is quite a swell on his subject and is doing some wonderfully good work now, but je is the most modest man I have ever met, and knows everything as far as I can make out.

There is an dear old German sage here, called Paul Mayer, who is helping me with my work like a brick. He belongs to the old school of naturalists, with a big head and spectacles, endless enthusiasm and patience, and probably limited philosophy. They aren't made like that nowadays, alas !

Love to all.

Your loving son,

Geoff.

Just got your letter with Nowell's. Apparently Magdalen is no good.

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Stazione Zoological, Napoli.

Nov. 27, 1903.

Dear Mother,

There has been the most fearful storm here to-day, the waves leaping right over the road on the shore, and numerous things, such as scaffolding and advertisement boards, blown along the streets. Sheets of rain also. The other day a large party of us went in the laboratory steam launch to the Island of Ischia, just outside the bay. Going there it was very fine and calm, but coming back in the evening a sudden storm got up, and this was rather dangerous, as the boat was not built for rough weather. However, after some tumbling about and a little sea-sickness we got back to port safely. Ischia is a most beautiful island; it consists chiefly of one very tall volcano which has two peaks and is a very fine mountain, better in shape than Vesuvius. There was an erution there about twenty years ago, in which many people were killed, imcluding one of Canon Barff's sons. Professor Dohrn, who is head of the Acquariam, told me also that the German papers reported at the time that he and his family had been buried, but he had heroically dug them all out; as it happens, he was staying at Vienna at the time, and read the account of his own fictitious heroism in the paper at breakfast the next day. Dohrn was the man who started the Acquraim here, and is a great swell in Germany, Geheimrat (=Privy Councillor) and all that sort of thing.

After seeing Nowell's letter I gave up the Magdalen thing. I hope I shall be able to get something to do by next year; it is very difficult, I know, as England is very stingy in scientific endowment, whether rightly or wrongly only the future will show. I dined here the other night with the British Consul, who says that English trade here is getting utterly sat on by the Germans, and it seems to be the same story everywhere. The reason appears to be that the commercial firms at home send out travellers who are utterly ignorant of the principles of their trade and of modern improvements, but who moreover refuse to learn the language of the people among whom they are trading, and insist on issuing catalogues in English, with the prices stated in English money, which of course means endless bother to the wretched foreigner. There is something rather attractive in this kind of impudence, and of course one does not expect the Englishman to imitate the grovelling German, but he might surely be a little more adaptive without quite losing his self-respect and the national character.

Love to all.

Your loving son,

Geoff.

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Stazione Zoological, Napoli.

Dec. 12, 1903.

Dear Mother,

I am afraid I have been rather confusing you by always antedating my letters by some days, as I never know what the day of the week here is. I got your letter and the one from D.(1) enclosed, both of which I enjoyed very much. I wish I was coming home to be one of the party at Christmas, but I think it would be rather an expense and make a break in my work which is now going rather well, after two months of barren labour which rather depressed me. We shall be rather a large party here for Christmas, as Mr. Goodrich, an Oxford Don, is coming out for the vacation to work here, and also another Cambridge man..........

The weather is awful now, pouring every day, and Naples is a very dismal place without the sun. However, I solace myself by reading Dickens, of which I have already demolished two novels, Barbnaby Rudge and Dombey and Son. There is nothing like Dickens for keeping you in touch with England when in a foreign clime.

Shearer and I have made a plan to go to Fusaro, a lake at the back of Baiae, when the weather gets better, and examine the fauna there. We shall take a boat, preserving fluids, and instruments, & c., from the Lab., and camp out there at a little inn. I think it will be rather sport, and as Shearer has travelled in the Rockies and gone down the Mississipi in a canoe, we ought not to get drowned or eaten by cannibals.

I can't think how English people manage to live abroad permamently; in any case they seem to become pretty queer when they do, and mostly loose their good manners. One meets them about here at restaurants, with their wretched little children, who speak half Italian and half English, and behave like monkeys rather than human children. These people, of course, have no public opinion to keep them in order, as they have lost their own and pay no attention to the foreigner's, and so they revert to the primitive chimpanzee.

Love to all.

Your loving son,

Geoff.

(1) His sister Dorothy.

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Stazione Zoological, Napoli.

Dec. 7, 1903.

Dear Cat,

Many thanks for your present, which arrived this afternoon, and has already created an atmosphere of refinement and comfort on my table which was previously quite absent. I have decorated my walls with photographs of pictures which I brought from Venice and Florence, and as they are all Madonnas and Saints, the good people who keep the pension think I must bea religious monomaniac, but now the sight of a tobacco-ash tray will calm them down. I forget if you penetrated into this region when you stayed in Italy; Florence, from my short experience of it, seemed a much nicer place, especialy in its inhabitants. The only people here with any pretence of decency are the military folk, who are relly a very smart lot, spruce and good looking, and seem to be a totally different species to the ordinary townsfolk. There is a cavalry barracks close to the Acquarium, and I see them riding out nearly every day; the Neopolitans are famous riders, and are also very keen on a kind of chariot racing, which they perform on the fashionable esplanade, dashing amongst and usually into the more staid equipages. Motor cars are nothing to them.

Returning to the soldiers, there is a regiment of sharpshooters here, very crack shots, I believe, who wear the most extraordinary hats, to which busbies are commonplace, as they consist of all feathers of some kind of peacock, stuck on the top of an ordinary bowler. These fellows are wonderful marchers; they do not keep step at all, but every man has to take a step of the same length, and they go practically at a trot for the whole day.

I think these soldiers must be recruited from the country, as the townbred Neaopolitan is altogether too degenerate. They have a proverb here, 'Only Englishmen and dogs walk in the sun; Christians like us walk in the shade.' This is the form all their proverbs take, as the Neopolitan thinks that only Neapolitans are real Christians, which is rather quaint, as his religion is a slightly altered edition of the old Roman religion with the names of the pagan gods altered into Christian saints.

I am suffering rather severely just now from the effects of eating something bad at a restaurant where I sometimes get lunch. It is very hard to get good food here, only the macaroni being safe. However, I keep my spirits up by reading Mark Twain; his effort on the German language at the end of A Tramp Ahead made me laugh so much that I am still stiff from the effects.

Please thank J.(1) and D. and every one all round for their birthday letters to me, and give my love to every one.

Your affectionate brother,

Geoff.

(1) His sister Janet.

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German trade eating up English trade - I wonder how much of that played a part in the build up to the war?

Marina

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Stazione Zoologica.

Dec. 17, 1903.

Dear Dad,

This is to announce the startling fact that I am coming home for Christmas. I start on Saturday evening, so I shall arrive about on Tuseday. My returning is not mere caprice, although I have all along had a wish to come; but the fact is that for the last week and more I have been rather upset, and I cannot get rid of my ailment, whatever it is, due, I believe, in the first instance to eating some bad meat at a restaurant. But being out of sorts rather pulls one down, and I do not like to face staying out here continually for the whole year without a break and in feeble health, while if I take a short spell at home now, it will set me up and I shall return more inclined for work than I am at present. The expense is rather a bore, but I shall save some of it being at home and not having to pay for lodgings for a month or so.

Anyway, by the time this arrives I shall have started, so you will have to put up with me whether you want me or not, and kindly receive me into the family circle.

By the way, please remember to stop my paper.

I make the first part of the journey by ship to Genoa, which ought to do me good.

By the way, there is not the least cause for alarm about me; I am not really ill at all, but my inside being rather upset I take a somewhat billious view of Nature, so that my work becomes boring to me.

To-day there was a function up at the University to celebrate the seventieth birthday of an old professor of Botany here, who is of some reputation, but nothing very great. It was a most solemn affair; about six other professors got up one after the other and made long and passionate speeches about La Scienzia, but not one made a joke or elicited a smile from the audience. Then some one got up and said they were happy to state that the gentlemen working at the Zoological Station were present in the Hall, representing the nations of England, America, Germany, France, Russia, Holland, & c. &c. The new Panama Republic seemed to be the only nation that was not represented.

The old professor himself made a speech at the end, which was quite lively, but he had plainly been asleep during the earlier proceedings.

Au revoir, love to all.

Your loving son,

Geoff.

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Stazione Zoologica, Naples.

Feb. 2, 1904.

Dear Nowell,

I hope all goes well with you; at present in great form, having enjoyed a stay of two splendid days at Pisa, which is a most charming town. The two days happened to be lovely and the climate there is renowned; so renowned, in fact, that a herd of camels is kept wild in a royal chase near and has lived there for 250 years, though it has been found impossible to naturalize them anywhere else in Italy.

My new quarters are very jolly, in a villa out at Posillipo, the waves washing just below my bedroom window. I get a view of Vesuvius out of my window while I am still in bed - rather a snare on a fine day! Dyer, who owns the house, lets Shearer and me use the sitting-room and have a fire there when it is cold, so that you can imagine we are pretty comfortable.

I had a game of tennis to-day to get into practice, because a great player has turned up, a certain Pflucker (a bad name for a tennis player), who wins championships all over the Continent.

I have just has a letter from Ray Lankester, who says he is going to publish a paper of mine in the thing he edits: also he says there is going to be a vacancy in the Museum in the autumn, which looks like a fairly good thing. Unless anything elsse turns up I think I shall go for it; I suppose there is no way of getting to know for certain if there is a chance of any post at Oxford for next year. The thing seems to me to be too vague, so unless I hear anything definite I shall plump for the British Museum and His Majesty's Government. It means a beastly exam., Ugh !

I must stop. Love to all your people.

Your affectionate brother,

Geoff.

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Stazione Zoological.

Feb. 24, 1904.

Dear Mother,

Excuse my writing on this curios paper which is really pages torn out of an exercise book, but I have some time to spare now and no proper note-paper. Last Sunday was a glorious day, so I took the train out to Pozzuoli and from there walked on to the top of Monte Nuovo, a little volcano that was thrown up near Baiae in the sixteenth century. It is a perfect little cup; one climbs up the side to the top and from the top one looks right into the middle of the earth as into a teacup. The view was splendid over the bay of Baiae. On my way round the crater to get down I came across Mr. and Mrs. Jennings, who were making their lunch off Hovis bread and oranges; they very kindly asked me to join them, which I did, much to the discomfiture of the remaining Hovis bread and oranges.

After a bit I left them, as it was Mrs. Jenning's first attempt at a mountain and she was too tired to go on. So I walked ny myself down to the other side of the mountain and after a two hours walk reached the lake of Fusaro, near Cumae on the coast. Here, shocking to relate, I ate a dozen oysters (lineal descendants of those eaten by Cicero and Julius Caesar and other celebrities before my time) and also drank a flask of the celebrated Vino di Procida, as it was exceedingly hot walking. Thence I walked on to the coast and climbed about on the cliffs a bit, and then took the train home in the evening. It was great sport and a lovely day, but now the weather has broken again and we settle down to work in order to get up gusto for the next jaunt. Did I tell you that I won two prizes in the tennis tournament, a wonderful malacca cane with a silver greyhound on the handle, and a little silver almanac in Italian ?

Thisis most of the news.

The Germans are a noble but a very gullible race. At the beginning of the war they were all for the Japs and very friendly towards England, but since their mad Emporer is rumoured to have written a friendly letter to the Czar thay have become wild Russophils and are in need of medical treatment for severe attacks of Anglophobia. This applies to the educated Germans here........

Love to Dad and all.

Your loving son,

Geoff.

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'since their mad Emporer is rumoured to have written a friendly letter to the Czar thay have become wild Russophils and are in need of medical treatment for severe attacks of Anglophobia. This applies to the educated Germans here........'

Very dry!

Marina

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Stazione Zoological, Napoli.

April 1904.

Dear Father,

Professor Dohrn, the head of the Station, has just made me an offer, which is, that I should undertake to write one of the Naples Monographs. These are immense tomes on the natural history of particular groups of animals; a special artist is employed to illustrate them and altogether they are rather famous affairs. Now to do this he has offered to pay all my expenses at the Station here, and also a great part of my cost of living here. It is a very fine offer and I think it would be the best thing I can do, as I hear that there is no position vacant at Oxford or likely to be for some years, and the only other thing is the British Museum, which is quite poorly paid and does not offer any chance of distinction. Whereas if I wrote a good monograph here, I should be no end of a swell, and by that time I could very likely get a post at a good University.

The question now is about money. Can you allow me £50 a year, say for three years, or can you let me know the amount that you can spare for me? Dohrn says that he wants to know how much I can contribute and then he will pay the rest. He reckons the expense of living is 8 francs a day, i.e. about £120 a year. I really think it will be far the best thing for me, if you can manage to go on giving me something for a few years to help. I am writing to Professor Weldon about it.

I shall be the first Englishman to write a Naples Monograph!

Love to all.

Your loving son,

Geoff.

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Hi Marina,

There are numerous scientific publications during his stay at Naples, but, I cannot see this monogrpah listed.

Andy

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Stazione Zoologica, Napoli.

April 24, 1904.

Dear Nowell,

I have not heard from you at all since I have been back, but I expect you have been very busy with Mods. papers and all the rest of it. The Warden furnished me with a fine testimonial for the British Museum, but I doubt if I shall use it now, as Professor Dohrn has made me a most startling offer, namely to write on of the Naples Monographs, for which he will pay my expenses both for working and living here, at least the greater part of them. I have written to Dad about it, and if he agrees, at the end of three years or so I shall be the author of a book about as big as St. Paul's Cathedral. It is a very generous offer on the part of Dohrn, and if I take it I shall be the first Englishman to write a Naples Monograph, a fearful resposibility, on which the whole reputation of Anglo-Saxon science undoubtedly rests.

When I was at Sorrento I brought two bits of silk for Cecil(1) (there is a great silk industry there) as a small memorial of the way she looked after me, or rather to remind her of the wonderful pattern of tidiness, early rising, and general virtue which was once offered for the instruction of her household.(2) One is an open-worked shawl and the other a sash which, I think, must be for Margaret(3). I will bring them when, and if, I come home in the autumn to avoid the Douane.

.....The Italian fleet is in the bay now, and the French comes to-morrow for a naval review to do honour to Loubet. We shall have a fine view from Posillipo. The Queen of Holland is being shown round the Lab. this morning, but she hasn'y enquired after me yet !

Love to John and everybody.

Your affectionate brother,

Geoff.

(1) His sister-in-law, Mrs. Nowell Smith.

(2) He lived for a time, when an undergraduate, in his brother's house.

(3) His niece, Margaret Nowell Smith.

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