Travel Letters: Around London (1883)

DEAR WILLIAM, — This past week has been happy in two letters from you. The week before I had none, as I remarked in my letter to Toody of last Sunday. That seems to have been only an accident of the mails, and not to mean any failure of brotherly kindness. For the riches of this week I am sincerely thankful, but it was sad news that your let-ter brought about the death of Miss Harmon. A long letter from Allen came at the same time, but I opened yours first and so learned it from you. She was a good, true woman, and the amount of help which she has given to the poor and comfort to the suffering is incalculable. I have been in the habit of trusting so much to her of that part of the work for which I have not the time and am not well fitted to do, that I shall miss her more than I can say. Her place can never be filled, and how we can manage to get along without her I do not see at once. It was a hard life, but I do not know where one could see a more useful one

I have been preaching in St. Paul’s today by invitation of the Bishop of London. It is Hospital Sunday; the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs came in state, and there was an enormous crowd there, but it is too awfully big, bald and barren, and needs color dreadfully.

I should rather have the Abbey, although it is good to get one chance at the great Cathedral. On Wednesday I am going to another great London sight. I am to dine with the Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress at the Mansion House, to meet the Archbishop and the Bishops, — a great city dinner with turtle soup and all that sort of thing. It will be good fun. Next Sunday I am going to spend at Wells with Plumptre, whom you remember, and who is now Dean of Wells. It is one of the prettiest cathedrals in England. John and I went there three years ago. On the 21st I am going down to the Isle of Wight to spend a day and a night at Tennyson’s. I have been, and am going, to a great many dinners and receptions ; everybody is very hospitable and kind, and it is very amusing.

In a few weeks I shall be ready to pull up and be off for the Continent again. I am going on Tuesday to stay with the Bishop of Rochester, and to-morrow I go with him to hear the discussion on the marriage with the deceased wife’s sister in the House of Lords. That is the question which now is keeping England excited. I have an invitation from the University at Cambridge to come next spring in May, and preach three sermons before them. Do you think I could do it? Give my love to everybody.

Affectionately, P. Index Of Articles About Paris