August 4th, 1883

“August 4th,

Early in the morning when we were still in bed, papa took the ship into the inner harbor. At 10 o’clock we went ashore and to the office first, where we got letters from Mama, Aunt Mary and some friends. We read our letters first and after papa had finished his business we had a walk through the town and then went to see some lady friends of papa’s, the Misses Bethel. We like them exceedingly and invited the younger, Miss Kate, to go with us this night to the opera where papa had taken a box close to the stage. Before we went on board we bought 2 Leghorn straw hats with the intention to trim them ourselves. In the afternoon we accompanied papa again to the office and then went and bought 2 Alabaster frames which we intend giving to Miss Elphick, our music teacher, along with our photographs. When we returned on board we found there the eldest Miss Bethel, who had bought us bathing dresses. After tea we dressed, called for Miss Kate Bethel and accompanied by a Mr. Courtman we went to the opera. On our way we purchased 2 fans with girdles and also some muslin to trim out hats with. The opera house was very large and soon filled. We heard the opera “Ernani” by Verdi and were quite pleased with the performance. Especially the Prima Donna, the tenor and the baritone were very good. When we arrived on board it was after midnight.”

 (Sally here: I have two web sites to share. This first one just tells you a bit more about the opera Ernania. Then I was shocked when I put into the search engines “Kate Bethell” because I actually found her on one of the burial sites listed as Kate Bethell Cortman, so it looks like at one point our Miss Kate Bethell married Mr. Courtman the man who accompanied the girls to the opera. Thought that most interesting. The web site is from a cemetery in Leghorn and it just lists her name and under that a Mr. William Mannig Courtman)

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2 Responses to August 4th, 1883

  1. Hello, I’m the author of the blog you are referring to in your post: “Leghorn Merchant Networks”. I’d like to thank you for putting this diary online. I’m in touch with descendants of Miss Bethell then Mrs. Courtman. It would be extraordinary for them, I believe, to have scans of the pages related to their ancestors.
    The page of my blog you cited is just containing a transcribed list of burials at the New English Cemetery of Livorno but I have done some research on these families on behalf of their descendants. Both Kate and her husband died in Genoa but were then carried to Livorno to be buried together with her family.

    • Matteo,
      First off I love your blog and it was a pleasure sharing it in my blog. I’m totally blown away that you are in touch with the descendants of Miss Bethella nd Mrs. Courtman. How wonderful that is. I would love to give them scanned copies of the pages of the diaries where they are mentioned. Please let me know if I should send the scans to you. Here is my email address….
      Thanks so much for contacting me, Sincerely, Sally

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