Golden Cross Hotel, Charing Cross, London
( Originally Published Mid 1800's )
Sunday Evening, September 10, 1865.
DEAR FATHER, -- At last communication is resumed. I arrived here yesterday, and found at Barings your noble, long letter, in which I reveled. I hope to get others to-morrow by the steamer which arrived yesterday. How good it was to get in sound of you again and hear the wheels in Chauncy Street moving on as smoothly and pleasantly as ever. By this time you are all together again except Fred, and he will be there soon. How I wish that I could sit down with you !
My last I mailed at Lincoln. From there I went to Boston. How strange it seemed ! As we rode over the marshes (fens, they call them here) that surround the town, and saw the bricky mass rising before us, it was easy to believe that we were coming in over the Back Bay and would be with you at supper. It is a pretty little town of about 11,000 people. You walk up from the station through Lincoln Street to the church, which is the principal object of the town. It is a fine old piece of architecture. The sexton, who showed me through it, was very civil, especially when I told him where I came from. The vicar was away, or I should have called on him. I left my card for him. The Cotton Chapel is a nice little room, well restored; you see it on the right, or south side of the church, in the exterior one of the views that I send you. They still use the old John Cotton pulpit, but the sexton told me that they thought of getting a new one and giving the old relic to the American Boston.
I went then to Peterborough, where I meant to spend the night and go to Cambridge the next day, but Peterborough was so full, owing to a great sheep-fair, that I could not find lodgings, and concluded to come right through to London and go to Cambridge by and by; so this is my second day in London. I am right in the centre of the City at the head of the Strand, close to Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey. It is a fascinating place, for there is not a step that is not full of association. I have seen little yet in detail. To-morrow I begin. Today I went to hear Spurgeon, and found myself in an immense crowd and rush. He is not graceful nor thoughtful nor imaginative, and preached a great deal too long, but he is earnest, simple, direct, and held the hosts of plain-looking people wonderfully. I believe with all his rudeness and narrowness and lack of higher powers that he is doing a good work here.
Thursday Evening, September 14.
This must go into the mail to-morrow, so I shall finish it to-night. Since Sunday I have been seeing London, and have been very busy. Let me see : Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, the British Museum, the Tower, the National Gallery, the Sydenham Crystal Palace, Regent's Park and its Zoological Gardens, the Tunnel, with lots of lesser sights, and the greatest sight of all which one has always in wandering about the streets of this great Babel. To-day I took the steamer on the Thames, all the way along past the City, and through its old bridges. Every rod here has some interest of its own. Yesterday I dined at Mr. Adams's at half past seven o'clock, a very pleasant dinner, and both Mr. and Mrs. Adams were very cordial and hospitable. Mrs. Adams was especially full of inquiries about you and mother. Their son Henry, and daughter, and one or two others were there. On Monday I go down into Hampshire to visit Mrs. Kemble. I have a very kind and pressing invitation from her. From there I shall very probably keep on into the Isle of Wight. I do not know how to find time enough for England, especially for London, as I must leave here by the 10th of October. I have left the hotel and gone into lodgings at Mrs. Dekker's, No. 1 A, Craven Street, Strand. It is a little cheaper and a great deal more comfortable.
I was very much disappointed at not getting letters from any of you by the last steamer. I do hope the next will bring some. Don't forget me.
I am so tired, to-night, as every night, that I can hardly write, so you must forgive the poorness of this letter. I think of you all and home constantly. Tell Fred to write. I have a letter from Franks, who talked of going to Boston with him. I hope he did. God bless you all. Affectionately,