Travel Letters: The Precentory, Lincoln (1883)

DEAR WILLIAM, — Is it not pretty hard, when I think I have a beautiful long letter from you, to open it and find nothing except some circulars ? You might at least have written on the back of them. I sent a photograph to G., the other day, which I hope she likes. Yesterday I came down here. Do you re-member Lincoln ? The cathedral is very gorgeous, and the old town is quaint. Last night, the Precentor, with whom I am staying, had a dinner-party of the clergy, with deans, sub-deans, and canons. The Bishop of Lincoln was there, Wordsworth, nephew of the poet, a man who ought to have lived five centuries ago. He said he thought the present House of Lords would not last more than five years longer, and ought not to, because they had passed a bill allowing a man to marry his deceased wife’s sister ! The Precentor, my host, is a nice old gentleman, and the place is very beautiful and full of association. I preached this morning in the cathedral, close to the place where St. Hugo lies buried, and took tea this afternoon with the sub-dean, in the room where Paley, who used to be sub-dean here, wrote his ” Natural Theology.”

Tomorrow, I go back to London. On Wednesday, Paine arrives from America, and my subsequent movements will be somewhat governed by him. Indeed, the 12th of September seems so near that it does not much matter what one does between.