August 26, 1877.
DEAR ARTHUR, — You were a blessed good boy to write me from Bar Harbor. I only received your note last night when I came here, and here 's a word of answer, though we are so near coming home that it hardly seems worth while to write. We have had a lovely summer, much of it on our old ground. First, London and the Dean (I did not see Stopford Brooke or Freemantle) ; then the Rhine, Venice, and Milan (but the gallery there was closed, and we did not see the Luinis) ; then Zermatt and Chamounix. All these brought back our pleasant days. We roamed about and lunched at Bauer's, which stood just as we left it opposite St. Moses. It seems as if we had been there only a week before, in fact just run up to Conegliano and back again.
And you have been in the old haunts in Mt. Desert. You were cooler than we were in Venice, certainly. I have seen no parsons from America, though I heard of Tyng being about in Switzerland. The minister at Geneva wrote and wanted me to lay the corner stone of his new church, but I wrote him I could not, and he asked General Grant, which no doubt pleased him a great deal better.
There has been a terrible summer in America, hasn't there ? Matters must be in an unsettled state and delay the return of prosperity sadly. Over here, it really seems as if Russia had got a much harder job than anybody dreamed, and one perhaps too hard for her to accomplish. Nothing but Glad-stone, and the popular feeling which he excited and expressed, has kept England neutral.
I wonder if you are back in New York and at work again. Look out for the Scythia on Tuesday, the 18th, when we arrive under the care of Captain Hains. I shall feel by and by as if I could not cross the ocean except with him. Give my best love to Lizzie, and tell her I count on her and you to be my first visitors in the new house. We will have lots to talk about. Tomorrow we start from Paris, and a week from next Saturday, ho for New York !
Always affectionately, P.