Travel Letters: The Albemarle Hotel, London (1874)

DEAR WILLIAM, — This Sunday morning, your atmosphere must be a great deal clearer than the smoky London air in which I am looking out, through which I can just tell that it is a very pleasant day. I hope you will have a good Sunday.

Your letter, which came day before yesterday, was the first that reached me, and was a most welcome beginning to the new spell of correspondence. It seems curious to start it off again for the fourth time. This trip, so far, has been a little different from the others. I have seen something more of people and received more hospitality than when I have been in England before. Everybody has been most cordial and civil. What I have seen have been mostly clerical circles, but in some ways clergymen and laymen are more mixed up and have more common interests here than in America. For instance, all are excited now about the Public Worship Bill. They talk of it at dinner, and write of it in the newspapers in a way that much surprises us, who ordinarily leave such things to our Bishop and the people who go to the General Convention. It seems now as if the Bill would become a law, and it is hard to believe that it can do much good.

I have seen a good deal of London over again with Arthur. There are many things in it that never tire, and the great city seems to grow more and more enormous every time we come. Last Monday we went all over Westminster Abbey with Dean Stanley, who knows it as well as I know the Technological Hall. It was a very interesting morning, and I wished you were there. I preached there the evening before to such a crowd, and under such a roof, and among such columns and monuments as one does not often see. On Tuesday I went to the annual dinner of the singing people of the Abbey, in the Jerusalem Chamber, where we did all kinds of queer old English customs, sang, and made speeches till ever so late. I was the only one of the preachers of the year present, and had to speak for them all. Think of speaking for Bishops and Archbishops !

On Friday, Arthur and I went to a dinner at Mr. Freemantle’s, who was in America last year. Arthur sat next to Lady Augusta Stanley, the Dean’s wife. He (Arthur) has been off for four days on a cathedral trip, and I have been visiting in the country. To-day I am to preach in St. Philip’s Regent Street, for Mr. Leathes, whom I saw in America last year. Tomorrow morning we leave for France by New Haven and Dieppe, and begin at once on Normandy. How I wish you were here. Shall we not come together some day? Write me punctually, and I will always answer.

Affectionately,

PHILL.