Waldensian Review No 126 Summer 2015 - Page 10

accompany the couple, perhaps to help them out linguistically. There being as yet no easy train links between London and the Ligurian coast, the long journey was undertaken by stagecoach. The penultimate stop was in Bordighera, where they stayed at Hotel d’Angleterre. This establishment was managed by the Swiss James Lozeron and his English wife. While his wife showed the ladies to their rooms, Rev. Graves talked with Lozeron, whom Louisa was later to describe as ‘that truly zealous and devoted Christian’, and was amazed to hear that in the area there was a small group of evangelical believers. Many such groups had grown up throughout Italy around the work of itinerant pedlars of Bibles and other Protestant literature called colporteurs or evangelists. The visitors attended a meeting in the home of the Mayor of Vallecrosia the following Sunday. Returning to their hotel, Rev. Graves, enthused by what he had experienced, tried to convince Mrs Boyce to think seriously about supporting the group. He found the fact that Louisa spoke good Italian more than a mere coincidence and tried to convince her that she was more than qualified to take care of the group. Louisa was more cautious. She was in Bordighera by chance and the thought of staying in Italy, abandoning the life and lifestyle she had in England, was not an easy step to take and at this stage she did not know about the English community in Bordighera. Later she was to write ‘I was not convinced, but Mr Graves threw himself to his knees and prayed with fervour that we may be guided, that God would clearly show us His will’. It seems that they did not have to wait long for an answer – James Lozeron proposed that he would put up half the amount needed to pay for a Colporteur if Mrs Boyce would supply the other half. Louisa accepted this suggestion with joy. As there were many children, a Waldensian named Pons from the valleys came to Bordighera to act as a schoolmaster and on 15 January 1866 a school was opened. Here the children were not only to be taught their lessons and given religious instruction, but they were to be taught manual skills which would prepare them for their future work. Mrs Boyce wrote about Pons in a letter to Dr Ribet (the Pastor in Pisa) but also asked his advice about getting a colporteur for the area as well. Happy that she had achieved something of value, in the spring of 1866 she then left for England, following her friends. It is doubtful that at this point Louisa had the intention of returning to Italy. Bordighera at the time hosted a large and active English community. From the mid nineteenth century until just after World War One there was a flourishing English ‘colony’ and Bordighera had become considered an ideal place to spend time, especially during the winter months. Although there were many other colonies along the coast such as at Alassio and San Remo, Bordighera was generally considered more refined (and was certainly quieter than San Remo). They brought with them an Anglican Church, a theatre (Victoria Hall), a weekly newspaper, banks, shops and of course a Tennis Club, many of which, including the magnificent Library, still survive today. Queen Victoria visited in 1890 and by the time she died in 1901, there were more English living in Bordighera than Italians. The British tried not just to impose themselves on the locals and when 8