Warnford Cottage, Bishops-waltham, Hampshire
( Originally Published Mid 1800's )
Wednesday, September 20, 1865.
DEAR WILLIAM, — Today's letter must be to you. You certainly deserve it for the splendid long epistle which I received last Saturday, for which I cannot thank you enough. I am glad that you had so pleasant a visit at Trenton and Saratoga, and I enjoyed your account of it exceedingly. Certainly, so far as mere natural beauty is concerned, I do not believe there is any need of one's leaving America.
I am writing this before breakfast (they don't breakfast till half past nine) at the window of a little English cottage which looks out on as perfect an English scene as you can imagine. There is a piece of lawn like velvet in front, with gorgeous flower beds spotted over it ; then a hawthorn hedge shutting out from view a little winding lane, beyond which are the broad, smooth hills of Warnford Park, with splendid great trees grouped about over it, and the Hall in the distance, which owns and rules the whole estate. Isn't that English? I am staying here with Mrs. Kemble, who occupies this little cottage close to the large estate of her brother-in-law. He owns the Hall. I came here on Monday, and have enjoyed my visit very much. Mrs. Kemble is, as I expected, very bright and interesting, very kind, hospitable, and courteous. The family is only herself and one daughter, who is just as bright as her mother. Yesterday I drove out with Mrs. Kemble to Winchester, about twelve miles, where I saw the cathedral, in some respects one of the finest in England, and called on one of the canons, to whom I had a letter from Bishop Mcllvaine. The drive there was very beautiful, over the Downs, as they call them, a soft rolling country, spotted over with the sheep who are to supply the Southdown mutton, which you know is the great product of this part of England. Today I shall leave here and go to the Isle of Wight, getting back to London on Friday, and then I shall get ready at once to go on the Continent. I find it is impossible at this time of year to see people or institutions in England to advantage ; so I propose to go to Germany and the East a little earlier, and thus secure time in the spring to run over here when everything is in full blast and I can do it more satisfactorily. I have seen most of the " sights " of London. After I wrote to you I went to Hyde Park and the Kensington Museum, where is the best collection of modern English pictures, Reynolds and Hogarth, and Wilkie and Leslie, etc. There is the original of the "Blind Fiddler " over the nursery mantelpiece at No. 41. The whole museum is very interesting. Mrs. Gaskell sent me a letter to Mr. Ruskin, and I drove out to Denmark Hill, where he lives, to present it. He was not at home, so I only had the pleasure of seeing his house, but I shall see him, I hope, by and by. The house is a very pretty suburban mansion ; a fine picture of Turner's was over the mantelpiece. I saw a good deal of the Adamses. Mrs. and Miss Adams came to my lodgings and left a card, "The Minister of the United States." Sunday I dined with them ; Sunday morning I went to the Foundlings' Chapel, where the children do some of the best chanting in London ; in the afternoon I went to St. Paul's Cathedral and heard a capital sermon from Melville, who is called one of the best preachers in England. I called on Dean Milman with Mr. -Winthrop's letter, and had a very pleasant visit. He lives in a curious old deanery close to the cathedral.
My next will be dated somewhere the other side of the Channel. All goes well with me so far, as you see. I am in capital health and spirits. Just now I think of you all together at home ; how happy you must be. Do write to me every week, for steamer day is always looked for eagerly. It has been very hot here, but is cooler now, and England is the most beautiful thing you can conceive. Good-by. God bless you all.