Queen's Hotel, Manchester
( Originally Published Mid 1800's )
Tuesday, September 5, 1865.
DEAR MOTHER, - My last letter was directed from Jedburgh, Scotland. This, as you see, comes from Manchester. I have reached England since I wrote, and seen something of it already. From Jedburgh I went to Kelso and Berwick-on-Tweed ; thence to Newcastle-on-Tyne, and to Durham, where I spent a few hours and saw one of the greatest and best of the English cathedrals ; then to the little village of Barnard Castle, where I spent the night, and on to Windermere in Westmoreland. My present enthusiasm is the English lakes. They are very beautiful. I walked from Windermere to Ambleside at the head of Lake Windermere, and spent Sunday there, a thorough English Sunday. I attended service in the parish church. At Ambleside, or rather close by, at Rydal, are the old homes of Wordsworth and Dr. Arnold, and a few miles off, at Grasmere, the homes of Hartley Coleridge and De Quincey. From there I went on Monday, by coach, through a splendid lake and mountain region, to Keswick on Derwentwater, where Southey lived and is buried, and then by rail via Lancaster to Manchester, where I arrived last night. Here I came across Americans again. I have seen three or four already from Philadelphia. This hotel is one of the great resorts of Americans in England. I am going to make one or two calls here, and then shall be off to York.
Wednesday Morning, September 6.
I spent last evening at Mrs. Gaskell's. She is an authoress wrote the Life of Charlotte Brontė and several novels ; a charming lady and most hospitable. I had a letter to her from Philadelphia. She knows all the literary people in England and told me a great deal about them. I met there a Mr. Winkworth, brother of the lady who did the " Lyra Germanica." He is the most intelligent Englishman about our affairs that I have seen. This was the pleasantest meeting with English people that I have had. Mrs. Gaskell promised me a letter to Ruskin, in London, with whom she is very intimate.
YORK, Thursday Evening, September 7.
You see I began this sheet all wrong, and so you will have to make its order out by the dates. When I left off I was at Manchester. I left there yesterday forenoon, and reached here about two o'clock. Here, you know, is the greatest of the English cathedrals. I went all over it yesterday afternoon, and attended the evening service. The music was very fine. This morning I took the train early and have spent the day at Ripon, where there is another fine cathedral, and at Fountains Abbey, which is the oldest and most complete of the old monastic establishments. I am back here to-night, and shall start in the morning for Lincoln, Ely, Cambridge, and so to London. I should like very much to stop at Boston, just for association's sake, and shall, if I have time.
York is, I suppose, the oldest city I have seen yet. Here we get our first sight of the old Romans, who had a splendid town here, and whose old wall still remains.
I am afraid my letters sound very much like guide-books. You must forgive me, but remember that I have nothing to write except what I see and hear. You can see that I am going all the time, and from morning to night. There has not yet been one stormy day, and I have enjoyed everything hugely. I have been well all the time. So far, I have seen hardly anything of Americans, for I have been off their routes. I have talked with Englishmen in the trains and at the hotels. I had no idea till I came here what a tremendous American I was. I haven't seen a New York paper since I left. How I shall revel in all your letters next week. Good-by. God bless you all.