Munich September 7 
My dear Miss Sands--
I was sure that you were an age in answering my letter, but I did not know that it had made so slow a voyage to America. Your answer has put to flight all my doubts as to your pretension to the title of a faithful and punctual correspondent--a character which I honour very much in my friends, however far I am from possessing it myself. 1 To receive the letters of a lively and witty correspondent like yourself, at the expected period is one of the greatest of terrestrial enjoyments, and any delay in getting them is, at least, as likely to put one in a bad humour as going without one's daily paper or one's dinner. 2
Since I wrote you last we have journeyed through several of the Italian states and are now settled for a little while in Germany. Our first move was from Pisa to Volterra, a very ancient city, as you know, one of the strong holds of Etruria when Rome was in its cradle, and even in more modern times large enough to form, in the age of Italian republics, an independent community of considerable importance. It is now a decayed town, containing about four thousand inhabitants, some of whom are families of the poor and proud nobility common enough all over Italy, who quarrel with each other with all the heartiness and zeal of village feuds in our own country; but the Volterra quarrels are the more violent for being hereditary. Poor creatures! too proud to engage in business, too indolent for literature, excluded from political concerns by the nature of the government, there is nothing left for them but to starve intrigue and quarrel. You may judge how miserably poor are the nobility of Volterra when you are told that they cannot even afford to cultivate the favorite art of modern Italy--the art best suited to the genius of an indolent and voluptuous race. There is as I was told but one piano-forte in the whole town, and that is owned by a Florentine lady, a recent resident. No wonder then, said an Italian gentleman to me, that there should be so little harmony in the place.
Just before arriving at Volterra our attention was fixed by the extraordinary aspect of the country through which we passed. The road gradually ascended, and we found ourselves among deep ravines and steep high broken banks principally of a stiff clay, barren and in most places utterly bare of herbage, a scene of complete desolation, were it not for a cottage here and there perched upon the heights, a few sheep attended by a boy and a dog grazing on the brink of one of the precipices, or a solitary patch of bright green wheat in some spot where the rains had not yet carried away the vegetable mould. Imagine to yourself an elevated country like that for example in the western part of Massachusetts--suppose the rocks to be changed to vast beds of clay and then fancy the