Travel Letters: Back In Lucerne, Switzerland (1890)

DEAR JOHNNIE, — You were mighty good to write me such a fine long letter. Although you will not get this answer much before I come myself, I cannot help thanking you and sending you all an affectionate greeting this rainy morning. It is our first real rainy day. The summer has been free from blighting heat and blasting tornado, such as has devastated things at home. To think of South Lawrence getting all blown to pieces ! I read about it in the ” Journal de Genève,” and trembled for the corn barn. What a pity that I have lost your visits to the old house. It must have been delightful both for you and for Andover.

This has been the quietest of little journeys, but very pleasant indeed. The streets of London looked just as we left them ten years ago, and the great white hills were waiting for us in Chamounix and Interlaken. Of course the people whom we wanted most to see were gone from London, for the season was over before we arrived, but I had a delightful little visit with Tennyson in his home at Aldworth. He has grown old, but is bright and clear-headed, and may give us some more verses yet. Just after I left England, Newman died, and the pulpit and press have been full of laudation and discussion of him ever since. He was a remarkable man, by no means of the first class, for he never got at final principles nor showed a truly brave mind ; but there was great beauty in his character, and his intellect was very subtle. What a wild scene of frivolous excitement Marion seems to have been ! I do not wonder that you, H. and the children had to take to the water, to escape the land. Be sure and all keep well and safe till we come back, and then for another year of the old familiar, pleasant work. My kindest love to all of you. Affectionately, P.