Howe Letters - 1899

Written by George A. regarding Miss Lucia Wiegand; apparently a nanny for a Marshalltown family. His sisters and mother will shortly leave for Europe; may have already.

Marshalltown, March 1, 1899
My dear Sisters:
This is one of the times when I feel the need of you very strongly. And if you were only here what a comfort it would be to me to sit down & tell you what is in my heart! There is no one here to whom I feel I can do this. Not one in whom I care to confide. But to you I could tell it all and what a relief it would be!
It is all on account these people who came here last November, the Bauers and Miss Wiegand -- Lucia. I have told you about the business scheme and that has caused me to think a great deal. In fact all my spare time I am arguing the matter pro & con.
But besides that, is my regard & affection for the young lady, Lucia. I know I have at least regard & affection for her because I am half inclined to believe that I might in time become deeply in love with her. And now they are going away in three days and I shall be left here, in a certain sense, cut off from what in many ways seems a very happy prospect. The whole thing as it might be is almost like a dream, and the only things that are lacking are a few of the higher & finer qualities of a woman.
With such knowledge of her as I have I cannot deny that Lucia does lack some things that I consider essential in the truest woman, and I believe it is because of their absence that I am not in love with her. But if she had a little more of the tender "goodness", the fine & sensitive feelings that make a woman so much higher than man that men feel like worshiping her mistaking her for an angel of God -- I say if Lucia had more of that about her what a woman she would be! Beautiful, healthy & strong it is an inspiration to look at her. Good-natured always, hardly ever a moment without a smile on her lips, & smiles are very becoming to her as she has most charming lips & perfect teeth. Add to this an even disposition, never gloomy and not always merry but taking things as they come & never worrying. But what struck me as being most marked about her is her natural adaptation to children. You know the Bauers have two and two of the best trained I ever saw. And it is one of the most beautiful sights I ever saw to see this girl with those children. To see her come into the hotel dining room with the baby in her arms and the little boy walking at her side is a picture I shall never forget.
But this all a poor description & therefore useless. Much of my enthusiasm about her may be due to a sort of infatuation and in a year from now this letter will probably seem to me ridiculous. But it is amusing to put down these thoughts now so I shall go on.
I took your advice, & since I came back have not seen her often and when I did I treated her in such a manner that she called me peculiar & wanted to know what was the matter with me. It was hard to do this -- hard not to show my true feeling and to always keep back the tender words & looks that my heart prompted. At times I felt like a brute in the way I crushed little appeals at tenderness, & have often felt like letting out the sympathy of my heart to give her the encouragement she needs. For sympathy would do her more good than anything else. She says herself the trouble has been that those about her have not understood her and so her best feelings have all been kept buried and disused from lack of cultivation. To meet her in company she seems to be a very vivacious, quickwitted girl, with so much energy that she appears loud. But no matter how effervescent she is with me when we are alone I can always bring her down into a quiet, earnest, sensible mood. And then she says she is the real, natural Lucia.




Trio of Howe Ladies in England

May to October, 1899

Hannah Rebecca with daughters Oda & Margaret


The following letters were written by Mama (Annie) 63, Oda 32 and Margaret 29 to their brother, George Alonzo Howe 27, who was working in the office of a family business in Marshalltown, Iowa.
The letters were addressed to George at either the bank or the LeGrand Quarry.
George and the girls had been to Europe 10 years previously, and the ladies are wishing George was with them.









Additional information has been added from Wikipedia and checking the actual sources in that resource is highly recommended. One of the most interesting aspects of the letters is the world events taking place around them.
Mona - Ville Boarding Establishment,
Ramsey, Isle of Man.
Thursday, May 18, 1899
Dear Brother. [From Margaret]
We came on here yesterday morning from Douglas. We had planned to take a beautiful long drive this morning but it is raining hard so we must give it up.
I am sorry, because it was our only chance, as we must leave for Peel this afternoon. I wish we had planned to stay longer on the island because there is so much to see. We only expected to be here three or four days, so we did not bring very much extra money with us. Then too we want to get back to Liverpool to get our mail.
Tuesday we went on an electric car seven miles out to Laxey, a small mining town. We stopped on the way out, and walked through Grondle Glen, one of the most famous glens in the island. It reminded us of Au Sable Chasm, but is much tamer, not nearly as grand as that is. But it is certainly very lovely, with its beautiful trees and pretty brooks and waterfalls. This really is the most picturesque country that I ever saw, it is like the pictures that one sees on the drop curtain in a theater, not grand kind of scenery, but so pretty and peaceful. There are no modern buildings here, even the cottages and stables are built of stone, with thatched roofs, the thatch being tied down with ropes. The roads are very smooth and hard, and they go winding about over the hills and down through the glens, over pretty arched stone bridges, where there is a brook, and perhaps a waterfall. Most of the land is pastureland for numbers of sheep and cows are feeding. The fields are marked off by banks of earth covered with turf, and on top of these bushes of gorse grow. The gorse is just in its prime, and the bushes are one mass of the most brilliant yellow. It is so pretty to see the beautiful green meadows marked off with these bright yellow fences.
We are stopping with a very interesting family. They are Scotch people, but have lived on the island for 16 years. For 14 years Mr. Black ran a farm here. He kept 24 cows, and the girls (I think there are five of them) did the milking and the housework. He wanted them to have some work that would be easier, that they could do after he is gone, so he bought this place for them & they keep boarders through the summer. They are such fine strong looking girls, and seem to be very well bred two. It is three miles to their church and they go twice, so they walk 12 miles every Sunday.
The only son is a sailor, some kind of an officer, mate I think. He is at home now after a voyage of 22 months and he is a very interesting young man. It is a large house, and in the summer is full, but just now there is only one other guest here, so they take us right into the family, and it is great fun. They have never had Americans with them before, so they are as much interested in us as we are in them! You know Hall Caine lives here. The Blacks know him very well, he has stayed at their farm for weeks at a time and he wrote part of the "Manxman" there and tell some things about it. They say he is a delightful man to meet, and Mama is sleeping in the bed used at their house. Greeba Castle, his home, is a very beautiful place. But they say the Manx people do not like him because he has showed them up so plainly in his books, and he is conscious of their dislike.
Oda and I took a beautiful walk yesterday afternoon, we went fully four miles altogether and enjoyed it so much. If we keep on we shall soon be able to do 10 miles before breakfast.
After tea mama went with us and we walked down through the funny little narrow streets of the town. We do not have any evenings here because it is light here so late. We can read until 8.30 by the daylight.
I must close now and pack up for Peel. We left our trunk in Douglas and are just carrying our handbags.
Lovingly, Margaret.

Douglas May 21st -- 1899
Dear Son,
I wish you could be with us today. We are so quiet and comfortable in our little drawing room back here in Douglas and a warm open great fire. One of the luxuries I indulge in is a fire for it is so cold and damp everywhere. We had a great deal of rain all the time on our trip. It rained hard when we left Ramsey and when we got to Peel it was pouring and we had to change cars in a pouring rain and walked quite a distance to our train and we were in a funny boarding place in Peel but they were very nice and kind to us and made us very comfortable and it cleared away so we had a fine sunset and lovely view of the ruins of an old Castle very near where we boarded.
We enjoy going into these private boarding places, the people are so kind, will do everything they can for us. Many fishermen live in Peel and they go out at sunset, you see the black sails dotted around. We counted 12 at one time in the harbor. In these towns the streets are very narrow and quite looking. We went to Post Erin from Peel in a pouring rain and next morning the sun came out and the girls with a young English man started for Cregniesh, a village of fishermen, but it began to rain and they had to come back and we stayed in awhile chatting with the mother of the young man and two young English girls that were very fond of Golf. They had been on the Island three weeks and had not seen anything but played Golf every day rain or shine. It cleared at noon so we walked about and saw the town and Margaret took one or two pictures of the thatched cottages and after dinner we got a man to drive us to Castle town and it was a pretty drive, the roads are fine and the country very pretty and the cows and sheep are feeding all along on the hills sides. Castle Rushin is a fine old castle in a good state of preservation and the old clock given by Queen Elizabeth is still going and struck while we were in there. When we went through the castle we had a soldier to take us through, and one of the tailless cats followed him all around, but we see as many with tails as without. Some parts of the Island we can see Irland; [sic] at Peel we could. We only pay 36 cts for a carriage to take us to the station in any place we go on the Island. Our board is from $1.25 to $1.50 a day, and some places our meals are all served to us alone in our drawing room, they call it, and our Laundry work is cheap here. Margaret and I are coming when our money is gone, to live on the Isle of Man. It is Whitsuntide this week and the working people have it a play week, they call it, and the factory hands and many others come from Liverpool and those places. Come over here on the steamboats and spend the week and every house takes borders. So the whole island is full of people today; we wanted to leave before this crowd came, but so far we have no trouble. We shall go to Liverpool tomorrow.
We rather dread to leave this house at Douglas, it is homelike and cozy and very quiet and we are all the boarders she has, and the view is charming from our window.
Monday morning May 22nd.
We had planned to leave at nine o'clock this morning but we had a very stormy night and it is still storming and being Whitsuntide every boat is loaded that comes over to the Island it makes us dread to start for fear of a crowd and in such a storm and we are so comfortable here we shall wait until it clears. We are getting hungry for our mail, or we would not hurry. We will have to draw 70 pounds, $350, when we get to Liverpool; it will be the first I have drawn. It is harder to keep warm then anything as they do not keep the fires and only as we order them and pay extra for it and we have such cold windstorms. We wear very heavy warm flannels. We are reading Tom Brown at Oxford and it is fine. We are happy only we want to see you awfully. Our land lady brought us in a pretty little bowl and pitcher to take home with views of the Island, she is nice to us.
I'll send love to all
Lovingly Mother

Liverpool Wednesday, May 24, 1899
Dear George --[Oda writes]
The first letters we have received since landing we got yesterday & you can imagine what a treat it was.
Well, do you want our first impressions of fair England? We are fully agreed that it is a wet country & no mistake for it is two weeks today since we reached Liverpool & we haven't had more than two pleasant days & my record in the small diary I am keeping will soon become too monotonous to interest one.
For instance after our "plain breakfast" which is very good here at the Adelphi-- Coffee not equal to what we had at the Normandie but fair, toasted rolls with fresh butter, scrambled eggs, two kinds of marmalade,-- we sallied out armed with the inevitable umbrellas & rubbers (think we must be the only mortals in Liverpool who wear rubbers as all the women paddle around with soaked soles) a few errands & then a gentle little shower as we went to the steamship office to make inquiries about ships homeward bound. We went to the White Star and Cunard offices for we had made up our minds to go back from Liverpool rather than Southampton. Well we finally decided on the Cymric, White Star Line, October 6, paying our deposit of 16 pounds with 39 more due or about $90 each which is $10 less each then we paid coming over. We think we have a better room, on the saloon deck. The Cymric is a big new freighter carrying comparatively few passengers & they only 1st class, & we have been told it is very desirable. The Learneds are coming over on her in July. Wasn't it a shame about the Paris? I don't believe I shall ever want to cross again once safely home!
Well, after this was settled we went for luncheon & found a pretty good place where we had roast chicken with sausage (they are always served together) boiled salmon with new potatoes & Margaret tried a gooseberry tart & some much advertised Idris water, the latter something like weak lemonade, while I had strawberries with cream & Mama a cream cake. The desserts don't amount to much & the popular tarts rhubarb & gooseberry are served with cream which makes us shudder. Then there is an extra charge for napkins which strikes us as curious. It is funny how quickly we are spotted for Americans & we don't understand the wherefore for we certainly are simply dressed & try to be careful in our conversation but it doesn't matter.
After luncheon, in a little sprinkle, we got on a car and had a four mile ride to some Vale or other where there are some fine places & when we got back it was pouring. We flew under a doorway & by degrees worked our way to a pastry shop where to give us a reason to stay & hope for a letting up of the shower, we got some cocoa & cakes but it was of no use so gathering up our skirts we flitted away and stopping here & there we gradually arrived at the hotel & soon got off our wet clothing. But really this is beginning to get rather tedious & tho' most everyone declares such weather is very unusual, we don't know what to expect. We meant to go on to Chester this afternoon but feared to be caught in the rain & so put it off until tomorrow. We really did enjoy our stay on the Isle of Man but if we had had good weather we might have seen much more; we liked the house at Douglas so much & the view from our sitting room window when it was clear was superb.
We are so glad to hear that you like the pony & are getting considerable exercise for with your work you ought to be sure of getting your blood stirred; we think you are right about the 'society whirl' too much for it certainly is exhausting when carried to excess. Didn't Margaret tell you that C.H.T. sent David Harum to her & we enjoyed it immensely on the steamer. Wasn't he a shrewd observer of human nature & a character in himself? We were much interested to hear what that Klondyke scheme was; well, we aren't sorry you aren't in it for it would mean much nerve wearing work I fancy. Found a N.Y. Herald of May 10 at a shop & in one way it was enjoyable but the world news has to come up to date to be thoroughly satisfactory.
We have with us an old letter of Perl's written while traveling with Mr. Ames here in '93 & as he tells about places he visited, the same tour we want to make, it is very valuable.
Mama is sewing, Margaret is copying addresses & as I look from my window across, I see a tailor sitting in a dingy room with a dirty window busy at his work as he was when we first looked out this morning.
The only news I have to tell is -- it is raining in Liverpool, so turn up your trousers when you venture out! Don't think letters will be uninteresting because they are more than a week old! Your letter postmarked May 9 reached Liverpool May 20.
We notice many American articles in the shops, dentists appliances, Yankee notions etc. & some fine locomotives have just arrived & are greatly admired. Hurrah for the U.S.A.! This is the Queen's eightieth birthday but there has been no special celebration.
Still rains at 6.40 & time for tea!
A good hug from the trio & more love than can be expressed.
Affectionately, Dode


S.S. Cymric
Steamship of the White Star line built in Belfast and launched in October 1897. She departed Liverpool on her maiden voyage to New York in February 1898. During both the Boer War and the First World War she was pressed into service as a troop transport. In 1916 she was torpedoed and sunk by the same U-boat which had sunk the Lusitania a year earlier. [Wiki]

Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool
Friday morning 9 AM [26 May 1899]
[Oda writes] I am dressed & ready for breakfast so will write a few lines while waiting for the others. This is another smoky morning but seems as if it might be warmer. We have a fire in the grate and it takes off the chill.
You would laugh to see the furniture of our rooms. Mama & I have a big room with two beds; mama has a double bed, wide enough for three ordinary people while mine is a single one & about big enough for two. There is a lot of crockery, all heavy as iron ware; one dish on the wash stand we don't know the use of for it looks like a big butter dish; perhaps it is for sponges. Then there are two tubs, I suppose they are; one like an immense soup tureen & the other set in a wooden frame with cover.
The trunks are placed on stout wood rests, a good idea.
Last evening we didn't feel like dressing for table d'hôte and as we are living on the European plan, we skipped out & got our supper at a bakery café (there are any quantity of them here) Margaret had ham, eggs & tea, Mama tea & toast, while I had plain bread, butter & cocoa all for 2/4 or 56 cts! Then we took a walk to St. George's Hall, the finest building here with other public buildings in the vicinity, all black as your hat by smoke. We didn't get back until after eight & it was then light enough to read or sew, such long twilights. The women wear sailor hats with crowns two sizes too big & coats loose in the back, (top coats are they?) & are perfect guys; all wear fringes or frizzed bangs
We think we shall go over to the Isle of Man tomorrow afternoon returning here next week & then go on to Chester. We'll see about the Wales tour at Cook's. This will go tomorrow on the Lampania. It is much like London, a thick dark foggy mist & raw cold air. I have my luxury , a good fire in my room. We are still sailing, it takes a good while to get over the motions of the boat. It is great fun to go poking about in this old city. If you was only here to enjoy it with us. We are going out now so will mail this to be sure it gets off.
For fear you can't read the address I wrote on the margin of the other sheet, I will repeat that we shall have our mail sent c/ Thos. Cook & Son, Ludgate Circus, London England. We shall get tickets thru' them so it will be all right to send mail there & the bank address is so long.
Well, this must do for this time.
Ever and ever so much love from us all and hug yourself for us,

Chester May 28, 1899
Dear George, [From Margaret]
This is a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Yesterday and today have been really fine, and we hardly know what to make of it.
We are enjoying Chester very much indeed, it is such a quaint interesting old place.
It is still cold, and as the churches are not heated, we did not dare go to church, so we had a good excuse for taking a lovely walk instead. We went first to the park, where we sat for some time watching the people passing, and the children at play. It was lovely and warm in the sunshine, though quite cool in the shade. Then we went for a pleasant walk down along the river. The Dee is one of the prettiest rivers in England and there is a great deal of boating on it. We saw quantities of boats drawn up on the banks, and there were quite a number out on the river. From there we walked up to see St. John's Church. This was built in the 11th century, and though part of it has been restored and is still used as a church, most of it is in ruins which are very beautiful indeed.
After the service was over, we went into the church, but we did not stay long, because it was cold, and then too the Sexton wanted to lock up.
We started to go down to the cathedral but on the way we were caught in a crowd, and when we got through, it was time for dinner.
There has been some kind of a military meeting here this week and the streets have been full of soldiers and great crowds have come each day to see them. This morning they went to the cathedral to service and afterwards they marched down the principal street and the band stopped and played several pieces. That was the crowd we ran into.
Yesterday afternoon we drove out to Howarden, something we have always wanted to do. First we went to the little church in the village where we saw Mr. Gladstone's pew, and the desk from which he often read the Lessons. I took a picture of the church, but I am afraid it will not be good. The park in which the house is situated is very large and very pretty with its fine old trees, and beautiful green turf. The house looks exactly like the picture that Perl gave Mama. The driver pointed out the wall where Mr. Gladstone often stood and spoke to thousands of people standing down on the grass below him. Of course this was some years ago when he was in his prime.
Near the house are some interesting ruins of an old castle, and we climbed up to the top of the tower and from there we had a fine view of the house and the beautiful valley of the Dee.
As I have said this has been a gala week for Chester and great numbers of people went out to Howarden yesterday.
We are amused to see how free the young couples are about making love in public. And even the most respectable ones walk arm in arm on the street in the daytime, which is considered such bad form at home.
I enclose a blue print of one of the first pictures that I took, taken in the park in New York. This is one of the first that I have been able to print because we have had so little sun. I think I did not print it quite long enough, shouldn't you say so?
Monday evening.
We came on this afternoon to Llandudno in Wales. We have found a very good boarding house and I think we should be very comfortable.
This is a lovely place, reminds us somewhat of Douglas. I believe it is considered the most popular watering place in Wales.
I shall mail this in the morning so it will go on the boat Wednesday.
Yours lovingly, Margaret

A seaside resort on the north coast of Wales, built as a mid-Victorian era holiday destination and served by the London and Northwestern Railway.

Llandudno, May 31, 1899
Dear Son:
We have enjoyed this place very much. We are on the bay and many things about it make us think of Douglas on the Isle of Man. We see people in bathing and sitting around on the beach and the band plays out in front of the house. We took a fine drive yesterday morning called the marine drive. Carriages are very cheap to hire, only five shillings for three of us, that is $1.20 of our money.
In the afternoon we went out in the Country to see the Pachin place or Bodnant Hall. A widow lady lives on it -- she has five thousand acres of land and little streams of water running through some parts of the grounds and a waterfall and above the falls the Swan were swimming around rustic bridges across you could go across on them. It was an ideal place, we went through the hot-house where the Grapes & Peaches were growing and strawberries. We all got very tired and we had to walk so much & today we had planned to leave but Margaret is not feeling well so we will stay another day here. We go to Carsway from here and visit the old castle and then take a train for Beltws--y--Coed; you pronounce it, I can not.
You ought to see the way they go in bathing here, they have a little tiny house on four wheels and you hire that and then a horse is hitched to it and draws it down to the waters edge and the girls have their side to themselves and the men theirs, and the girls wear queer looking suits not pretty at all. We have had nice weather since we came here. They have tally ho coaches to many places but I am afraid to have the girls go. I think this is a very interesting country to visit but I would not live here for any money, and I do not like English people as a whole what I see of them. We meet more English than we do the Welch natives here. We have not met one American yet on this trip.
[end of Mama's part of the letter; continued by Oda.]
We are having some fine weather and it seems so good to have the sunshine. On Sunday we had table d'hôte at the hotel and my companion was a big middle-aged man who was real sociable -- asked if I didn't come from across the pond (how in the world did he guess?) Said he admired the Americans so much for their enterprise, the English were half asleep; he imports American wheel barrows which are better and cheaper than those made here!
We are here in a private boarding house, the only Americans and the first evening at dinner Margaret's neighbor was a tall homely man from Manchester who had made an eight weeks visit to America and consequently was glad to talk of it; told M. he should not have taken her for an American by her speech! M. and I are amused but rather fearful when Mama comes out so frankly with her loyalty to America, for fear she will hurt someone's feelings; it is really funny to see her scorn of some of these English ways but she will think better of them at the end of the tour I think. Sunday evening Margaret and I made the circuit of the city walls in Chester, 3 miles and as it was about sunset were charmed though we did get dreadfully tired. The view of the Cathedral from the wall is fine and Monday morning we saw the interior; it is superb. I believe I like it better than those on the continent, it is so massive and the windows are splendid; we mean to go again when we get back for it will bear more than one visit. That same day we spied an Oriental Café and liking its appearance and the hope of a fairly good cup of coffee we stepped in and were not disappointed. It was the best coffee we've had since leaving New York! Margaret told the attendant and she said many Americans had made the same remark. Such poor miserable stuff as passes for coffee! I take nothing but tea now. We saw the smoke of a big American liner yesterday, bound for Liverpool and wondered if it carried a letter from you; hope we shall find several when we get back to Chester.
Mama has written of the Marine drive, built on the side of and around a cliff; the drive in the afternoon was in the country and was so pretty, quiet and peaceful. The Hawthorne hedges aren't fully blossomed yet but are fragrant and there is such a variety of wildflowers. The bath chairs are curious and when one is shut up in one he is much like a mummy; there is a long handle in front by which the attendant hauls it. The perambulators are also queer, the baby is riding backward, and the handles have no crossbar but are like curved wheelbarrow handles. Margaret is feeling better this afternoon so I think we shall get off tomorrow morning. It is time for afternoon tea and I must have it! Will add a linetomorrow.
Thursday morning.
Another fine morning. This is something like, and the sunshine makes such a difference. The rising bell, 8.30 has just rung but we are up and I am all ready for breakfast. 9 o'clock seems to be the usual breakfast hour. There are some women in bathing now. We mean to drive over to Conway 4 miles this morning, see the town and castle and take the train from the junction. We get a paper every day but they don't have much U.S. news, except catastrophes, lynchings etc. Did you feel anything of that waterspout at Waterloo?
Lots and lots of love, Dode

London, June 9, 1899.
Dear Son!
We arrived about four o'clock yesterday Thursday in London, are with a Mrs. Mason, a larger and nicer house than Mrs. Bamford's, but much the same kind. We are having better weather, and it makes us all feel better to have the sun and warmer. It was a four hours trip from Chester to London, and we got some nice ham and chicken sandwiches put up with cookies and Apalonaris [Apollinaris] water so we made ourselves very comfortable. We had a sailor boy in the car with us so we shared our lunch with him. We had a nice boat ride up the River Dee passed Eaton's Hall and we saw the English pheasants running along on the bank of the river scenery was very fine along the river, lovely gardens terraced up the banks. We took a drive to Eaton's Hall through the grounds we saw large flocks of deer in the park and many curious cattle, fine landscape gardens, the family were away so we went through the house. This is the house of the Duke of Westminster. This is adorned with modern art fine carved furniture everything very elegant and rare pieces of bric-brac. I enjoy the drives very much, we always have your seat vacant in the carriage. That makes wish you was with us. I had no trouble in getting cousin Jo's check cashed as I signed the name the same as it is written. The girls have gone out today to see if they can not see the princess as she is to present some of the ladies. Margaret took a picture of the little church at Hawarden where Mr. Gladstone read and attended. I think it is rather dark, but it is pretty good. You may recognize the old lady in the door from Vermont, we do not know the girls by the gate. I have a div $3.75 I ought to have sent in May. It is my U.S. bond I bought 3%. I am glad you bought that Lamson stock. I will keep it, but you have it in your own name and keep the interest so I need not be bothered with it. I hate to get these checks cashed it is a nuisance to me to go to the bank. You watch your horses feet that his shoes are all right so he won't stumble. We have American ladies in the house. It seems good to see them have not met any before. I want to mail this today, so must not stop to write more. We have our mail come, care of Thomas Cook & Son, London, England Ludgate Circus. Do not think we have joined a circus. I hope Fred [a Gould cousin I think] has made a wise choice. Uncle James [Jim Gould,58] has been to Hot Springs, but he is not well.
Lovingly Mother.

Apollinaris water [also Apollonaris; the name comes from the God Apollo]
An effervescent mineral water originally from a location in the German Rhineland [Bad Neuenahr] beginning in 1852. [Wiki] The Howe ladies drink it to keep from getting sick.

80 Gower Street, London, Sunday, June 11, 1899
Dear George:[From Oda]
I didn't get in my letter to you last week, so am to take Margaret's turn today.
We have had several letters from you this week, those arriving while we were in Wales, & the last written May 28 addressed to Cooks, coming last evening. We were much amused at your account of the trip to Cedar Rapids, but agree with you that a good many girls are very inconsiderate in saddling themselves on young men, & those girls were especially so in those circumstances.
I wonder if you fellows haven't spoiled them a little & led them to expect too much attention?
Of course, I don't want to encourage selfishness in a man, but imposition on either side aggravates me; I think it is partly the fault of the men when the girl is to blame in putting up with too much.
We think animals & birds have an affinity for you, as they used to for Papa & that was a pretty incident of the sparrow.
As Mama wrote you, we arrived in London last Thursday & have been blessed with fine weather; today, tho' it is smoky, it is warm, & the sun shines thru' the haze.
Mama walked to church with me this morning but didn't go in, for she is afraid to sit in the unheated buildings so long, but I came across this Bloomsbury Chapel, denomination unknown to me, & enjoyed the service ever so much. There was a large chorus choir, fifty or more to lead the congregational singing, which was remarkably good. It is Hospital Sunday, when the ministers preach & collections are taken for this object all over the city, while boxes in care of attendants are stationed on the streets for contributions. Most of the city hospitals are supported by voluntary contributions, & this seems a fine system. It is dinnertime so farewell till later.
Just up from dinner. Roast beef, fricassee chicken, boiled ham, boiled potatoes, pease, corn, fruit pudding & jelly, crackers & cheese, fruit, almonds & raisins, all very nice. There is a young Frenchman, & he with Mr. Mason, our host, are the only men at table. A Mrs. Sager & daughter of Belvidere, Wis. or Ills., near Chicago are here: they are related to some Abbotts in Marshalltown, A Miss Jennie Abbott, I believe.
Well, now, I'll begin to tell about the great show M. & I saw Friday. & if I mention too many details just skip them, but I want a record to refresh our memories. & as you say you are keeping our letters, this will serve for that purpose.
Friday after shopping, M. & I started Mama for Gower Street, & we then got lunch & took a bus, [omnibus]* which we left at Walsingham House or 'Wosam House' as the cabman called it, at the entrance to the Green Park. Walking across to the Mall, we soon saw we were in the right place at the right time, one o'clock, for people were gathering on both sides of the drive where the carriages of the folk to be presented at court, were in line in the center of the street. We walked up & down to get a peep at the splendidly gowned ladies, but the crowd increasing, we thought it wise to take our stand on the edge of the curb under the shade of a tree where we had an unobstructed view. The distance from Marlborough House to Buckingham Palace is perhaps 1/2 mile & the whole length was more than covered with the stream of carriages, for being the last Drawing Room of the season, this was a notable occasion. Hansoms [a cab]* & four wheelers went up & down on either side, their occupants frankly craning their necks to see everything, but about quarter of two, we sidewalk auditors had our chance, for the carriages began to take positions close to the curb & standing there, we could gaze to our hearts content upon the silk laces & jewels of the poor victims. At two the doors were opened & the front carriages disgorged & then there would be a slow movement of all the line, then a stop, more moving, stop, etc. & as there were a hundred or more presentees, it took some time to get them safely landed. The regulation court costume, which is rigidly required, is sleeveless, low necked with veil & three ostrich tips on the head, a train four yards long from the shoulder & a bouquet. All sorts of combinations of stuff, colors, fashions & flowers were seen & I must say there were few pretty women to adorn them. There were five Americans & M. & I said they were the prettiest. While waiting we were interested to see the Yeomen of the Guard in their picturesque Beef-eaters costume, the fine Coldstream Guards Band, so that the time didn't drag. After the last carriage had passed, some of the gorgeous state equipages of royalty in red & gold passed with high born personages within. But of course we did not recognize all of them until the Duke & Duchess of York passed, he facing her. Then the street being cleared of carriages, a mounted band followed by a troup of royal horse guards (black horses only) & then came the great object of interest, the carriage containing the Prince & Princess of Wales, the Prince facing her. The Princess in black gown with tiara & other fine jewels looked like her pictures, but sad. She has had so much sorrow in late years. that this affair must be an ordeal for her, but since the Queen rarely appears in public nowadays, she is compelled to take up her duties.
There was a discussion at the table as to whether she, the Princess, "makes up" as much as she is reported to; she certainly looks very fresh & young for a woman of 55. This ended the show & M. & I crawled to a seat in the park to rest our poor weary legs, which we almost doubted would bend after standing nearly 2 hours! But it was worthwhile for once!
To continue with royalty, the Marquis of Salisbury gave a great garden- party yesterday & as everyone had to go to the train for Hatfield, most of the carriage passed in the street, so we had another go sitting comfortably at our windows; Mama & I however wanted to get a closer view of royalty if it should come, so went out & were rewarded by getting a good view of the Duke & Duchess of York arrayed like ordinary well dressed people in a quiet liveried open carriage.
Well, after M.'s & my show, we went to a tea room for an ice & cakes, then mounted to the top of a bus & rode down in the "city" thru' Trafalgar Sq. by the Nat. Gallery, Bank of England, Christ's Hospital where we saw the 'blue coats boys' playing cricket in their funny costumes, by St. Paul's to Liverpool Station & back by a rather different route. We are scared of our lives getting up & down the buses (and what is the plural?) But it isn't fun to ride inside; then we have such a time trying to understand the policemen & conductors, for they speak such queer English, abbreviating the long words almost beyond recognition.
Bernhardt is playing here & Irving in Robespierre (Miss Terry is sick) & in fact everything is in full swing as it is "the season".
I've received a letter from Mrs. Newcomet saying that she & Edith want to come to Mass. for the summer, asking if we can tell her of a boarding place in Danvers where they can stay until they found a place on the shore; she said Will had been sick & he & his wife have taken a house near her. Kittie Gould wrote Mama a letter of thanks for the little pin sent for her graduation on June 23. Uncle J. [Jim, Mama's brother] has been to Hot Springs for the baths & thinks he has been benefited.
We want you to open all letters sent from Danvers for Arthur's wife has sent two or three advertisements, of course not knowing what they were, so we have asked to have everything sent to you. All the letters sent c/ Thos. Cook's office have reached safely & as that is an easy address to remember, we've given it to everyone; it is also on our letters of credit.
That was Mr. Howells the author, but we had nothing to do with him; he mentioned to Mr. Ross Turner that he wanted to come to Mass. for the summer, vicinity of Salem & Mr. T. asked Mr. Caliga if he knew of a place so Mr. C. spoke of our place but said he doubted if we should let it. I don't think I want a stranger, even an author, living in our house & using our things!
We are glad of the news items. Haven't heard from Perl or Jessie.
[gap where Margaret inserts the gossip; then back to Oda.]
Margaret hasn't left me much room to finish off for she was so anxious to fill your ears with some more of that Boston episode!
Have you ever read Charles Reade's Hard Cash? I have begun it but don't have time for much continuous reading.
We've just come in from supper, 9.30, imagine it. It is 4.30 with you. Can't think of anything more to write now but maybe I shall in the morning.
Goodnight & lots of love, Dode
[Oda continues]
Monday morning.
Smoky & warm. Mama is mending & M. is studying Baedeker to see where we shall go today. Got a N.Y. Herald of June 1st on Friday & it seemed good even if 9 days old. No news.

An Omnibus Vehicle, with Omnibus meaning "for all" in Latin, was a large horse-drawn carriage designed for a number of passengers. Interesting to note that the Howe ladies were referring to it as a "bus" by 1899. Also that they were able to ride on top, indicating it was a double-decker. [Wiki]

Hansom cab
A kind of horse-drawn carriage designed and patented in 1834 by Joseph Hansom, an architect from York. They were small, fast and light enough to be pulled by a single horse, and agile enough to steer around other vehicles in London traffic. They were commonly referred to simply as a hansom; the single forward facing seat barely enough room for three. [Wiki]

A German-based travel guide; started in 1827. These guides were published country by country and the one for Great Britain gained notoriety in World War II when Hitler supposedly used it as a bombing guide for significant locations in England. [Wiki]

[Margaret writes in the gap above]
I am going to add a few lines here. I know Oda won't tell you the grand joke! Of course we did not tell Bess & Belle about the roses but they heard something about it, but the joke of it is that they think I am the object of these attentions. Belle writes that many and varied rumors are going around town about me, isn't that rich? Now we are anxious to know how they heard of it, because I am sure it could not have been through Phebe because she must have seen the real condition of affairs. Oda wanted me to keep still about it but of course I wouldn't do that, so I wrote and told Belle that the joke was on them instead of on us.
We were interested in your account of your trip to see Mansfield. I cannot understand how girls can force themselves onto young men in that way and they certainly ought to be ashamed of themselves. I should think such girls must be wholly lacking in pride and self-respect.
Lovingly, Margaret
[Mama writes at the end]
We were glad to meet these American ladies here, the one that sits next to me at the table is a Mrs. Sager, she lives in Belvidere near Rockford and Col. Smith's wife is her Aunt, he used to live in Marshalltown has gone back to Clinton to live I think. Arthur's wife says the jellies from Florida that you have the bill of lading for is all safe with Bessie Putnam so if you have paid it all right, that is taken care of. I told her to forward all mail to you so we need not get so many advertisements.
London June 14th 1899
Dear George: [Mama]
We were pleased to get your letter last evening when we came in, and we all think it is a nice thing for you to do to keep along with your drawing. I am glad you have mind enough of your own not to be run by girls. You often hear them say if you stroke the fur the right way you can make a fellow do as you please. If they find they can not do it they will respect you more for it.
We were to see the crown jewels and many interesting things in the White Tower, just think of those terrible instruments of torture and the fate of Lady Jane Grey &c.
We are having fine weather now today was clear and warm sunshine just comfortable we went out to see Victoria today at Windsor and I went all through the rooms as far as any visitors are allowed as Victoria is at Balmoral just at the present writing. She is coming home Saturday to Windsor Castle so if we had not gone today, we could not have gone through it. I wish you could have seen the view from the terrace back of the Castle. I sat down on a settee and the girls climbed up the tower and had a fine view. I think if Vic had known I was out there all alone she would asked me in to take tea with her if she had been home, then I would have given your message. I never saw such a lovely view you can see so far and the home ? and long walk was fine. I think I could have been contented to live there. But I would not want all the trash she has in the house, to take care of, I should pity those poor red coated soldiers to have to wear those clumsy looking hats.
[End of Mama's letter; begin Oda]
Mama has written about our visit to The Tower and Windsor both intensely interesting. Mama seems so happy and relieved since she saw the throat specialist Dr. Whistler who said she had no organic trouble with lungs or heart but her throat is very sensitive. It is funny to see her scorn of the English ways which don't suit her and if there ever was a loyal American, she is.
The races at Ascot are being held this week and today was the great day so that there were thousands of people bound for there, many going to Windsor and driving over 8 miles; we think we had a far pleasanter time and we surely had as fine a day as we could choose for such an excursion.
We are getting so we like the custom of afternoon tea and get it where we can; the hours for meals are breakfast from 9 to 10, luncheon, 1.45 and dinner at seven.
One day this week we went to the zoo and we saw the same monkey who tried to seize the small child the day you and I were there do you remember? Then we had tea in the garden just opposite to where we sat under a big Hawthorn tree and there we watched the elephants and camels with the children riding. Another afternoon we went to the art gallery and it was pleasant to see the familiar pictures again and this time we saw the Turner collection which I want to see again. Mama was so pleased to see the originals of our paintings, Dido building Carthage and Crossing the Brook.
We find that the last of this week and first of next are Commemoration at Oxford so we have decided unexpectedly to cut short our visit here for the present and go to O. for everyone says it is the best time to be there.
I'm very tired so I'm going to bed now.
Friday morning.
This promises to be another fine day and of course we are glad of the sunshine though it is very dry and dusty and rain is much needed. Saw an account of terrible storm in upper Mississippi Valley and that Iowa had had six tornadoes already this season!
We are the only Americans in the house just now. Mr. Grasse' a young Swiss musical student, several English people and an Irish man with his wife appeared last evening; he says he thinks the yacht Shamrock will bring the cup to England this year.

Saturday, June 17, 1899
Dear George. [From Margaret]
We are all packed up and ready to start for Oxford this afternoon, and as I have a little time I will begin a letter to you.
We are having glorious weather, bright and warm for which we are very thankful.
Yesterday morning we went down to Cook's to draw out some money. They only charged us a penny which was for the stamp, and the banks in Chester and Liverpool charged three or six pence.
In the afternoon we went for a drive in Hyde Park. Cabs and hansoms are not allowed in the park, so we engaged a team from a livery stable and they sent us a swell one horse Victoria and we only paid $1.80 for a 2 hours drive. We went between 4.30 and 6.30, just the fashionable hours, so we had a chance to see all the fine teams. I think the park does not compare with Central Park, either in size or beauty, but near Hyde Park Corner they have the finest display of rhododendrons that I ever saw. They are just in their prime now, and are one mass of blossoms with hardly a leaf visible. Many of the carriages stand beside the drive and watch the others go by, and this is something that they don't do in Central Park. At Hyde Park Corner they stood side by side as closely as possible, dozens of them, one might almost say hundreds of them.
Of course we saw some very beautiful gowns and altogether it was a very gay site. Kensington Gardens are much more beautiful than Hyde Park, but one must walk through those, as there is only the one short drive that leads to the Albert Memorial. We decided it would be a great bore to be obliged to drive in Hyde Park every day as some of these poor creatures are. We think there is more variety in our drives around Danvers!
We received two copies of the Salem News this morning and enjoyed them very much. We were shocked to hear of Mr. Chas. Putnam's suicide, he was the one who surveyed our grounds for us two years ago.

Oxford, June 18
How I wish you could be here, It is so beautiful!
This morning I went with Miss Weiss and her sister to the service at Christ Church. Of course it was a high church service and we did not like that, but we enjoyed seeing the church, it is so beautiful. We walked home along the river through Christ Church meadows.
June 19.
I must finish my letter so it will go on the Wednesday boat. We are charmed with Oxford and I do so wish you could be here with us for you would be so interested in it all. Some day you must certainly come and see it. There are twenty-one of the colleges here and the buildings are so beautiful. They all have several courts or quadrangles and a garden with trees and flowers. Outside many of the windows are window boxes filled with flowers, and it is so pretty to see the bright flowers outside the old brown stone buildings. You know each college is quite separate from the others in most things, has its own chapel where service is held twice a day, and which the students must attend a certain amount anyway. Each has its hall where the men have their meals and many of them are very old and seem more like a church building than a dining hall. During term time the men are obliged to wear their gowns to lectures and meals, but as the term closed on Saturday, few of them are wearing them now.
There are two big balls tonight and two tomorrow night, unfortunately we have not yet received any invitations. The Duke and Duchess of York arrived today but we did not go out to see them as we saw them in London and we knew there would be great crowds.
There are many men who cannot afford to live in the colleges who live outside in the town. I believe they are about one twelfth of the whole number. They say a man cannot possibly live in one of the colleges for less than a thousand dollars a year and the average is far more than this. So you see it is not a place for poor men's sons.
Wednesday is the day the degrees are given, and though we cannot get into the theater we hope to see the procession as they go up.
I must say goodnight now as it is late.
Your loving sister, Margaret.
We are glad you are taking drawing lessons. I think every man should interest himself in something outside his business, if not he will grow narrow minded and not live out half his days. Perhaps you will have art for your hobby.

Oxford June 21, 1899
Addressed c/ the Quarry Co.
Dear George.[Oda writes]
Mama and Margaret are out visiting some college or other, ? I think they started for, so I will begin my weekly letter.
Have just come up from afternoon tea which is becoming a favorite institution with us which we think we may adopt when we get home, so be prepared in your annual visits to fall into line! Margaret says the reason it is so acceptable here is because luncheon is often an unsatisfactory meal and it is too long to wait for dinner, but it is remarkable to see the regularity with which women and men too, drop into a café between four and five and order tea with bread and butter, or a cake of some kind. We've told you of our experiments with so-called coffee? Now, I don't hesitate when going to a new place to order tea immediately for breakfast but Margaret hopefully orders coffee the first morning rarely the second! And they call their dining rooms coffee rooms! I believe they have no idea of good coffee. M. wrote you our first impressions of Oxford and I have only to say that in all respects, as far as we are able to judge, it realizes & even surpasses all our expectations in beauty and interest. Because of a wretched attack of indigestion the morning of leaving London, I have seen but little as yet, but that little is fascinating. Until yesterday noon M. had two American young ladies, the Misses Weiss who we first met in London, to go about with and she has seen considerable so I will leave her to tell you for herself. Magdalen (maudlin) College isn't far from us and Mama and I went there one afternoon, visiting the chapel, quadrangle and walking in the cloisters; then yesterday we visited Merton, the oldest college, up in arms in preparation for a grand ball last evening; we also saw within speaking distance, the Duke and Duchess of York (Oxford Royal visitors this year) enter their carriage from Magdalen. But today was the best, for the heads of all the colleges and great dignitaries in general, together with the famous men here for honorable degrees, gather at Corpus Christi and walk in procession to the Sheldonian Theatre where the exercises take place (the graying by the undergrads etc.) It is a great occasion and everyone is wild to see it especially those who can't go to the theater. How we should manage we didn't know, for neither Mama nor I could stand long in a crowd. Mama had an inspiration and hired a hansom for an hour (3 shillings) the driver was interested and did his best for us. M. wouldn't come with us but preferred to take chances in the crowd. We drove down a narrow lane near Corpus Christi and Christ's where the procession forms: there was a mob of people but not many carriages. After a long wait, the Duchess came out of one of the buildings, entered the carriage and was driven off mid cheers. Then another wait, a murmur in the crowd -- we stood up in the hansom and saw two policemen, then the procession of Doctors in their scarlet robes among whom was the Duke who was loudly cheered and bowed incessantly, more dons etc. in black silk and velvet gowns and suddenly we descried the white plumed helmet of the Sir dar, Lord Kitchener and Cecil Rhodes. I didn't care about the others so much as the Sir dar and he is certainly stunning. Every inch a soldier, over 6 feet and eyes that pierce. As he passed the crowd grew more and more enthusiastic and cheered like mad.
We came directly back and waited anxiously to know M's. success; as usual, she was lucky, saw everything and everybody splendidly, much better than we, but then she had to stand. I expect the candidates got unmercifully guyed at the Theatre and very likely Cecil Rhodes got some bitter thrusts as he isn't very popular in Oxford just now: we think it took a lot of courage for him to come.
This is probably the last day of the festivities and then there will be an exodus: we mean to leave Saturday for Leamington and we are wondering if we want to try our lodging experience there or wait a while, but we are so tired of the monotonous fare we get, though it is good. There is so little variety in vegetables and one rarely has fruit except in marmalade. Strawberries aren't plentiful yet and are 1 shilling a basket but they are big and sweet.
Here there are three big tables and one was occupied wholly by Americans who I confess were rather noisy in their chatter but as there were several young ones in the party interested in everything and only meeting at meal time it wasn't strange. It called out the ire and very frank remarks of an English woman at our table who told Mama she would "like to throw a bottle at the head of each!"
A Canadian kindly told us that a party of our country women in the Bodleian?? Museum remained sitting while the Duke and Duchess of York were present and every loyal Englishman and woman stood; we were mortified and sorry for our cw's lack of manners but thought the informers were a little elated to let us know. I think Americans do often wave the Stars & Stripes and contempt of royalty, more than necessary and these people are so jealous of the observance of things which seem foolish to us. Since yesterday when the Misses Weiss left, and most of the other Americans, the tables were doubled up and a lone American, a student here, with an American lady and her daughter, were brought to our table and the Canadian sisters whom we really wanted to see more of, transferred to the thoroughly English table, a separation of the sheep from the goats for we are now 3 to 3 at our table but our Censor is still there and she counts for two!
We've been so glad to get the news for rarely see an American paper: wasn't it nice of P. to entertain Capt. Chase? The young men all honor P. so much that an attention like that will please them immensely.
We haven't heard from Danvers for some time and wonder why: your letters come all right. Guess we shall be glad to see our native land in Oct. Did you get Will Ewing's wedding cards for June 20th? Louise Richards is to be married June 28. Mama wants to add some thing so I'll leave her space.
Goodnight and lots and lots of love. Remembrance to all the folks.

Lord Kitchener
Sirdar; rank assigned to the British Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Army.
In 1896 he led his British and Egyptian forces up the Nile, building a railway to supply arms and reinforcements, and defeating the Sudanese at the Battle of Omdurman in September 1898, near Khartoum.
This was his second tour in the Sudan (1886–1899), won him national fame, and he was made Aide de Camp to Queen Victoria and appointed a Knight Commander of the Bath (KCB). this campaign also made his brutality infamous, an aspect of his tactics that became well known after the Boer War. After victory in the Battle of Omdurman the remains of the Sudanese Mahdi were exhumed and scattered [a devastating desecration of a holy one].

[End of Oda's; begin Mama's part.]
Wednesday, June 21st
I received the Adams express check all right and will enclose it in this letter. We are all enjoying Oxford very much. I have taken a good many long walks in the grounds and around the different colleges. I've had to get a return ticket as early as we could in order to get good accommodations, as the state rooms that we wanted as they are all taken. We can change if we want to stay longer but I want to see you by that time anyway. I had wondered that Mr. Stickney did not send me the interest on the milling company. I have no recollection of having our bond with coupons of that property. I was quite sure he had sent me drafts. It is possible I may have forgotten. I am sure if he ever sent any they are at home safe. If Jim Sawyer has not sold the horses it seems to me now it is rather late and we better wait till you come home and then you can dispose of them. Mattie writes us that Bert Jones has a daughter. She never said anything about Walter being sick. [Mattie, 49, is Martha, daughter of Aunt Han, 76, and stepdaughter of Roys Jones, deceased; Walter is 37 maybe in NYC, Bert 32 in Clinton, daughter is Elaine.]
I am glad Mr. Cutting [bought the Northfield house & making payments] was prompt. I will enclose the check I have signed of the Adams express Co.. I received a nice letter from Kittie Gould written after she received a little Pearl pin I sent her for her graduation souvenir. I expect the rest of this week will be rather dull here, most of the caps and gowns will have disappeared. It is amusing to see the variety of gowns they have and colors. Some of the short black ones are so ragged they look as though they had been gnawed off. It is raining this afternoon. We have had fine weather all the time since we came. It will do us good to rest, the girls keep pretty busy. Margaret wants to see everything and she studies all the time besides. Baedecker ing [sic] is hard work. We go to Leamington from here.
Lovingly, Mother

[Kitty Gould, daughter of Uncle Jim 58 and Emma Gould, graduating high school. Jim & Emma married in 1869; first child Jas F. is 29.]
Leamington, June 29th Thursday
Dear George. [Mama writes]
Oda and Margaret are studying Badecker [sic] to get ready to start again. We have met a good many Americans in this house and we have enjoyed them ever so much. We go into the drawing room after seven o'clock dinner, and they serve coffee so we meet the different ones then, and Oda was talking with two young ladies from Gomsurdville?? and one of them teaches in Terra Haute, Indiana and knows Jessie and Malverd very well, and they went to Radcliff in Cambridge, and took music lessons of James Howe. We enjoy this house very much though it is more expensive than any we have been in before. We took a drive this morning to Kenilworth and we took a little Englishwoman with us to make a party of four, she took your place you see. We are having fine weather and none too warm for comfort. We buy lovely big strawberries and eat them in our room. We manage to get enough to eat by getting some from outside. Everywhere you go they have the same table I think they all use the same receipt [sic] for all their puddings.
Oda writes
We have to laugh at the monotony in the food tho' I think perhaps we have rather more variety here than usual. Mutton and beef are the staple "joints" with occasional changes of chicken and veal, always welcomed. The puddings are curious and their sauces more so but as Mama says we get something outside and that helps a lot. A lb. of strawberries cost from 18 to 24 cts. and quickly disappears. We don't think much of the cakes though the tarts are pretty good sometimes.
There is an old lady, very deaf, my neighbor at table, who has been in America and she told Mama how much she enjoyed the great variety of vegetables and other dishes served. These people don't seem to have any originality in cooking but cling to ideas that came in with The Conqueror.
Yesterday afternoon, after staying in for the morning on account of showers, we went out to Warwick on the train, first visiting the fine old church with its interesting chapel containing the tombs of the Earl of Warwick, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and his countess Leticia, his young dwarf son. Then after tea, (not very good) we visited the queer old Leicester Hospital 1571, where have lived since it's foundation 12 selected war pensioners, who are each allotted two rooms in the rambling old buildings with use of a common kitchen. Our guide was a crotchety old veteran, who felt it a personal affront if we didn't pay attention to everything he said and he talked such a stream we didn't know if he would ever run down. There were a lot of interesting things but I can't remember half; an ancient Saxon chair (exact copies $13!) 1000 years old, piece of needlework of Amy Robsart, and many relics of the Leicester family.
Friday morning.
Only a few minutes before breakfast but I'll write till then. Margaret has gone down to get a picture of this house while the sun shines: the photographer who developed her last role of films said they were an exceptionally good lot, some of them remarkably so. She is so careful they ought to be good. We find it hard to print them just right but that may come with practice.
Yesterday morning though it looked very showery, we went for a drive taking with us a Englishwoman stopping here. First we went to Stoneleigh Abbey, formerly a Cistercian Abbey (1500), with a fine deer park and beautiful old oak wainscoting in the buildings.
Then came Kenilworth where we should like to have spent several hours. M. and I had just read over Kenilworth and it wasn't difficult to imagine the whole story realized.
[Mama back again]
Friday morning
Oda and M. have started for the trains, they are going to Stratford on the Avon to spend the day. I did not want to go today so I am going out to get some Apollinaris water for the table as we use that altogether and we all keep pretty well. I think our worst trouble is changing about so often and the sudden changes in the weather we take cold. We are told that this is the richest place in England and many wealthy Americans have built nice houses and have large grounds, it is a very clean place and there are several mineral springs here. Many people come for the water. All the streets are broad and fine for driving. Last evening a fine old English lady quoted Walter Scott's poetry to me and explained as she went along she was a great admirer of the poet. We think you are good to write us so often as it is quite a tax, but your letters are looked for so eagerly they do us lots of good. I think we get all the papers. The last news spoke of dear Miss Lawrence death. We think we will take apartment in some of these places where we stop two weeks and then we can order just what we like and it is cooked for us and if we want to take trips and stay over night we only pay our rent of room and our luggage is taken care of. We find some that enjoy that very much. I have a letter from cousin Joseph [Gould?] says he and Mary have been to Plymouth and that Myron's wife was sick in bed but Myron was better, the way he spoke of her I do not think he thinks much of her.
Lovingly Mother

This ticket took us to Warwick on top of the tram cars, it is six cents apiece, all had one. [enclosed ticket]

Lincoln, July 5, 1899
Dear George: --[Oda writes]
How did you celebrate the glorious fourth? It is more than a week since we heard from you and we are just hankering after a letter, several of them, and hope we shan't be disappointed when we reach York tomorrow afternoon where we ordered the mail sent from Cook's.
Margaret wrote a line or added rather, just as we were leaving Leamington yesterday morning. Our intention was to go to Peterboro' to stay until this morning, as we were to arrive at 12.40 and so would have the afternoon to see the town. We drove with our luggage to the Great Northern Hotel and were asked if our rooms were engaged, were told that (we answered in the negative) we couldn't get in there and doubted if we could anywhere in the town as every place was crowded owing to an Agricultural Show. He advised us to cross to the station, deposit our luggage, lunch, drive to the cathedral and return to take the 2.07 train to Lincoln: we followed his instructions to the letter, eating a sandwich (stale!) hurriedly getting in a hansom and shortly were at the Cathedral. Don't ask me to describe this please, for remember, this was worse than a De Potter excursion visit, but we can say we were in Peterboro' and saw the Cathedral. On our way to the station we bought some berries and cakes, so after we were safely aboard the train, in a compartment with two benevolent old vicars and another man, we finished our lunch and caught our breath. We reached Lincoln at 4, drove to the White Hart hotel and after brushing up, went out for a walk. At the corner of the street in a square we noticed a big crowd evidently waiting some event: inquiring the cause, we were told that a murder trial had taken place in the Court within the Castle enclosure and the prisoner had been sentenced to death. We saw the judges and sheriffs driven away in a big blue and gilt coach with two footmen standing behind. Then the crowd recognized the mother of the girl for whom the man had murdered his wife and stared and commented as she passed by, poor thing. Meanwhile we went in to a restaurant nearby for supper as we found table d'hôte isn't served here until 7.30 and that is too late; while there we noticed the surging of the crowd and soon the big prison van containing the prisoner drove quickly by and the crowd dispersed. How dreadful it seems and yet from all accounts the man is justly condemned.
We went to bed early, being very tired but poor Mother and Margaret were greatly disturbed by the incessant clanging of bells: it was like Antwerp, do you remember?
We had breakfast at nine, then went to the service at the Cathedral where we were three of a congregation of 15. We sat in the choir and could follow the service pretty well; the music wasn't nearly as good as that in Magdalen College and so much of the service seems mechanical, not real worship, though some of it is very beautiful. Coming out we went to see the old Roman Gate, a very old house, one of the oldest in Great Britain and the Keep of the Castle. Then we had lunch at the hotel and rested two hours before going out again. This afternoon we went to the bank, walked by the shops, took a tram ride, got some tea and walked back to the hotel where we saw a party of six typical American women tourists who had arrived about 20 min. previously and were just going to drive to see the sights: they'll probably depart in the morning but we could have told them what to see without driving, for everything of interest is in this vicinity.
The Cathedral is beautiful, the finest we've yet seen and Margaret and I have been in it three times; aside from it there is little else of special interest and 1/2 day would suffice. Tomorrow morning we expect to leave for York to stay until Friday afternoon when we go to Durham to spend Sunday.
We enjoyed our visit in Leamington though we had rather disagreeable weather, showering and dull, but it had been so dry, the rain was welcome and we didn't mind much. Monday afternoon we visited Warwick Castle, which is a grand mass of masonry, more imposing than Windsor; the park is fine and the many peacocks with outspread tails were attractive until they began to shriek and then one wanted to wring their necks! There was an all white peacock parading on the wall.
Did Margaret tell you of the Miller family at Lawgton House ?(where we boarded in L.) Mr. and Mrs. Miller and two daughters from Albany N.Y.. They seemed like people of means, cultured and delightful; have traveled considerably in Europe and are over for a year now, winter in Rome etc. The younger daughter, just out of school with such a merry twinkle in her eye, always seeing the funny side of things, was amusing. There was an interesting woman from Australia who had spent nearly 2 years in Europe (her first visit) and an old lady, 83 yrs., very deaf, my table companion, very bright and well informed, been in US.
Mother took a salt bath and Margaret a swimming bath at the Pump Room; M. was and still is pretty lame from her exertions but enjoyed it immensely. It is getting too dark to see tonight so will say goodnight. 8.30.

York. 8:30 PM [must now be July 6]
[Oda writes] We left Lincoln at 11.11 this morning and reached here in time for a lunch which we much enjoyed; on the way from the station we stopped at the office and were so glad to find a letter from you written June 17. We are glad you enjoy your riding and golf and think with you, it is really better fun and more healthful than too many festivities.
As yet we've not seen much golf and I am surprised: Wheeling [bicycles newly invented] and cricket seem to be the popular pastimes and did we tell you we saw a "ladies" cricket match at Oxford, where men were not allowed even as spectators on the field!
This afternoon M. and I went to a park and walked part way around the city walls which aren't nearly as picturesque as those in Chester. On our return, we found Mama had gone out by her lonesome and we waited for her to come back; then we went to a dairy lunch place which she discovered, and had some delicious hot buttered muffins, scones and tea with real cream! After that we walked to the Cathedral and stayed a half hour getting it in our minds for another visit tomorrow.
We bought some strawberries and cakes and meandered slowly hotel wards; on the landing as we were going upstairs, a man said -- "how do you do Mrs. Howe" and we beheld Mr. Osborne, our little old maid man friend at 11 Beacon St.! Remember him? Of course we went in the drawing room and had such a good visit. He hasn't been over long, came from Durham Monday and goes to Ely and Lincoln, then to London and Switzerland, returning to Bost
on in September. Isn't it odd, for he is really the first old acquaintance we've met since leaving N.Y.
This morning before leaving Lincoln, I walked out for a little while and saw the following performance. The big blue and gilt coach which I mentioned before, with its liveried coachman and two footmen, drove before a building just this side of the castle entrance where several silk hatted men had gathered: soon several constables appeared and before long the judge in wig and gown followed by the sheriff, appeared and got in the carriage while all the silk hatted gentleman raised their hats and two men on an opposite corner blew trumpets from which hung small banners. The footmen mounted, the constables formed a guard behind and at the sides and the coach rattled off about a squares distance to the courthouse! All this form, probably a custom of many centuries, and I wondered what our judges and lawyers and the people would say if it should be introduced!
As a reminder of our native land, we saw a placard in a shop with these words. "Hot tamale, very delicious and only a nickel" and the hurdy-gurdies play Rosie O'Grady as their star selection!
Do you hear from us twice a week? We write two letters but you may not get them regularly. Mama had a long letter from Cousin Jo; he says Myron is just able to get out, his wife has been sick and one of the children. Miss Miller is to see the Yale -- Harvard vs. Oxford -- Cambridge races on the 22nd but as her interest is centered in Yale only, we didn't enthuse greatly.
The English think the Shamrock will bring back the America cup; what do you think?
I mustn't write more tonight but perhaps will add a line in the morning.
Friday morning.
This promises to be a fine day, warm. Mother and Margaret are nearly ready for breakfast and I mustn't stop to write much for this must go off today to catch Saturday's steamer.
Tell Mr. Gregg we think the Annie Laurie piece very pretty and thank him for sending it. Goodbye and lots of love. Dode

Tuesday, July 11, 1899
Dear George: [from Mama]
We were in York when we wrote you and there we left Mr. Osborne. Dear little man he seemed pleased to see us and I am sure we were to see him. We are still stopping in Cathedral towns and like this at Durham best, and the walk through the woods to get to it from this Hotel the Three Tuns, is beautiful. I was glad to leave Durham as it was a terrible drinking place every door a beer saloon.
On our way to Edinburgh we had a man in our car that was very nice to us, he was English, had been in Florence and stopped with Mrs. Chapman and he says the last time he was there she was gone. She died soon after her husband. Her daughter runs the house now. We told this man we wanted to take apartments and asked him for a good address and location. He says I will get the latest paper and it will have addresses in it. So he did and we took a list and when we got here Oda stayed with the luggage at the station and Margaret and I went out and we called at a dozen or more houses that had signs apartments and we found this one that we are in that we liked the looks of the maid and the woman a very quiet modest neat little Scotch woman. We have two good bedrooms and a sitting room. We pay $11.50 a week and they furnish everything but food and we do that and can live as we please they cook it all for us. We shall have tomorrow morning lamb chop, we order it ourselves so we see it is nice, and dry toast, doughnuts & coffee and we had for supper kippered herring, nice rolls & butter and delicious strawberries and we had three kinds of cakes all fresh and tea and a pretty maid to serve it. If you was here we think it would be perfect happiness. We have wanted to do this before but did not know just how to get at it but we like it very much. We are much pleased with Edinburgh and I like the people very much and the shops, the streets are broad and very clean.
We received your letter and the News with slips cut out. I suppose you have our U.S. div for us all by this time. I told Arthur to send you all letters. How sad and sudden about George Baker. Our English passenger said he met a Radcliffe student in Italy and she told him how Prof. Norton had inspired her to study art and she was lecturing before Women's Clubs. He smiled as he said she had no real taste for it. He was well informed and a great traveler. We enjoyed him much. And he gave us many points in getting around here.
We have your picture on the mantle in our cozy little sitting room, I bought a frame in Chester for it. We have some pretty flowers that our lady has put on the mantle. We have taken our rooms for a week but I think we shall stay here longer as we like it, it is quiet and well located.
It is raining hard tonight. I expect we shall have plenty of this kind of wet weather in Scotland, that is what they all tell us.
Tell George Gregg we all read the Annie Laurie story and thought it very pretty. I know George Gregg would like this place very much. I hope he will see it sometime. This little sitting room makes us think of 11 Beacon St. [his address at Harvard]. I must go to bed so must say goodnight.

Edinboro' July 14
Dear George: --[from Oda]
We have just finished our breakfast & while I am waiting for the day's plan to be decided, I will begin a letter to you.
Mother told you that we are living in apartments? Well, we think it is great fun so far, & if you were with us it would be complete, though I don't know where you would sit at the table for it is so small! Probably we could arrange an extension. As it is, we sometimes have to put an extra dish on the chair or floor & I expect our landlady thinks we have enormous appetites from the variety of food we provide. We have our breakfasts & suppers here & get our luncheons where ever we happen to be.
This morning we had scrambled eggs, brown bread, plum jam & coffee with cream. The first morning Mrs. Roberts made the coffee following Mother's directions & the result was a queer green colored liquid with a very faint coffee taste; consequently as part of our household furnishings we bought an alcohol lamp with tin pail & have been experimenting. This morning I skipped across the street to a dairy & got a tuppence worth of cream & at last we had the bliss of a delicious cup of coffee. Indeed we think we shall make the coffee in this way after we get home as it is so much more satisfactory than a maid's erratic experiments.
Mother & Margaret have been longing for a strawberry shortcake ever since the berries have appeared & Margaret conceived this scheme in her ever fertile brain. She bought three scones, (three cornered flat baking powder biscuits) had them split, heated, buttered & spread over with the crushed berries. Oh, oh! but they were good! Then we have had fine twisted doughnuts, delicious shortbread (a genuine Scotch article) very nice smoked herrings which aren't much like our fish that go by that name: these are lightly smoked & salted. Finnie haddie is common & we can get many varieties of fish.
Yesterday after lunch, we walked up to the castle, quite a climb thru' the old part of the city, but it is worth while, for the views are superb in all directions & the castle itself interesting. Most of it is used for barracks for the Highlanders in their unique costumes. Some of the men wear big plaid trousers, so ugly, & the rest the kilts. M. got a shot at a sentry & we hope the picture will be good as he was a good-looking creature. The Scottish crown jewels are few & not especially fine, but interesting.
We are in love with Edinburgh & like it so much better than London: it seems cleaner & its natural surroundings are fine. Did you realize that the University here has nearly 3000 students?
Did tell you about our friend on the train to Edinburgh & wasn't he kind? We should like to know who he is for I doubt not he is a person of some note, an art critic or literary man. He said he had often been asked why he didn't visit the U.S. & always answered that he meant to when he could be sure of finding pictures or sculpture worth seeing!
We've had a number of letters this week but none with special news. Jessie Kemp writes that the Learneds sailed July 11 & M. will write to catch their steamer at Liverpool so perhaps we may meet them somewhere, but they will travel so fast.
[Perhaps Leslie Learned and wife? He would be a minister in NY by now.]
We are sorry you think of selling the pony to get more time for your drawing; don't do it for you need just that kind of exercise & you'll make a mistake if you shut yourself in your room, bending over your work. Your health is the first consideration & you mustn't let other things interfere.
Yes, we were all much shocked to learn of Mr. Baker's death & think it a great loss to the town; our neighborhood has been stricken in the past two years & it seems as if Danvers is becoming depopulated.
Have you heard from Will Palmer lately & is his father remarried? Ella Howe [Asa's daughter would be Ella Claggett for 13yrs by now..?] writes that it is reported that Prof. Johnson & Alice Gould [Jim & Emma's daughter?] are to be married soon: she said Jessie [Mal 36 & Jessie 32] & Homer [now age 10] (Mal Howe's family) are thinking of spending some time at James Sawyers [bought a large and successful dairy farm in Bradford, Mass. in 1896] & we are glad. We haven't heard from Perl [A.P. White] or Jessie since we left New York. Day before yesterday we had a series of heavy showers, thunder & lightning & much damage was done in the country: it has been very dry this summer but so much all at once was overwhelming. We are glad those storms in Iowa weren't as bad as reported; every kind of a storm is a tornado when reported here! The Scotch paper gives more American news than the London papers. Won't try to write more now as Margaret will write Sunday probably.
Ever so much love to all & especially to my dear brother.


Edinburgh, July 16, 1899
Dear George. -- [from Margaret]
This has been a very quiet Sunday, not a single tram car running in all this great city. I wanted to go to St. Giles Church over in the old city, and as there were no trams I had to walk.
There are three kinds of churches here, high episcopal or Church of England, low episcopal or Scotch church and the Free Churches which are Presbyterian. St. Giles belongs to the Scotch church but they form of service was not much like the Episcopal. It is the oldest church in the city. John Knox often preached there and many exciting scenes took place there at the time of the Reformation.
Yesterday we went out to New Haven, a fishing village about 2 miles from here. Many of the old houses have been torn down but I took a picture of one interesting one. We saw several funny old women but the most interesting ones persisted in staying on the shady side of the street. Their costume is very quaint, the outside skirt is tucked up around the waist and shows a short undershirt. They carry their fish in a large basket on the back, held by a broad band which goes over their forhead.
I wish you would find out the best way to send us some money. We are staying over so much longer than we expected that it looks as though we might need some more toward the end of our visit. I will let you know later on how much we want. We have heard that the express orders are very convenient.

Monday.[July 17]
Tomorrow Oda and I go to Melrose where we shall spend the night. As Mama does not care about going she will stay here with our good Mrs. Robertson.
We planned to go up the river to see the Forth Bridge, but when we got to the boat we found there was a great crowd going so we gave it up. It seems that it is some kind of a holiday in Glasgow and many of the people came over.
I have bought a copy of Green's History of England and we are enjoying it very much. We find the different places so much more interesting after reading up about them.
We have reckoned up our expenses for the past week and find that they amount to about $7.50 each. This is a saving of at least three dollars each over what we would have to pay in a boarding house. At the same time we have the best of everything to eat.
We write you regularly twice a week, do you receive them in that way.
I wish I could know how things are going with you and Miss W. whether you are contented and happy or if you find that distance lends enchantment. If the former is true, can't you say in your next letter that you are contented?
I wish we might have a little chat over a long distance telephone.

Edinburgh July 20
Dear George: -- [from Oda]
[Charles Eliot is a famous president of Harvard.]
The postman has just brought the news containing the acct. of the Harvard victory, the first report we have had of that remarkable event! Well! well! Harvard can do a thing or two sometimes, can't she? How did you celebrate? The same post brought a good long letter from Natalie telling of Class Day, Mr. Clark getting his MA degree, the festivities at the John Harvard Monument (substitute for tree exercises) consisting of battle of flowers & confetti, very pretty in N's estimation. At Pres. Eliot's reception Mr. C. presented N. to that great man & N. said she could think of nothing more brilliant to say than 'I believe I hit the back of your hat, Pres. Eliot' (she had sat almost directly behind him on the bleacher). He looked at her a second, burst out in a hearty laugh in which Mrs. Eliot joined & in fact the interview tho' brief was not stiff! I expect Pres. Eliot was totally unprepared for such an unconventional remark! N. told of the preparations for Austin's wedding which was to take place June 19 at Curnmington where Miss Lyman lives. Mr. Clark has accepted a good position as teacher of classics in a sort of Phillips Academy school in Pittsburgh Penn.. There are 200 boys & he is to have full charge of that department with good prospects for the future. N. says they will not be married for another year, until he is well settled.
Glad to hear the Boardman case is settled & I should think Mrs. B. would be satisfied with her share. [could be the Lizzie Borden murder trial from '93; perhaps settlement of the estate since she was aquitted]
M. sent her letter off Tuesday morning just before we started on our Melrose trip. We bade Mother goodbye & set off with our bags, firmly expecting not to see her again until the following day. We had our usual experience of chasing up & down the platform in search of our train, hailing every porter & official who looked as if he knew (few of them do know for a certainty where a certain train is or will be, as we have learned to our disgust). The ride was a little over an hour, tho' pretty but not especially interesting country & we found ourselves at M. in company with 15 or 20 other Americans bent on the same tour. After some discussion we placed our bags in the 'cloakroom' & in response to a very urgent invitation of an agent, mounted a coach for Abbotsford, 1 [pounds] six [pence] for round-trip. On the seat behind us sat three Americans (college?) youths & their comments on passing points of interest were varied & refreshing. I wanted to ask them the result of the Y.--H. races but hardly dared.
Our whole company (all Americans but 3) were shown over Scott's home by a man who advertised a catalog at every other sentence, but on the whole he did pretty well, not hurrying us: really Abbotsford seems very livable & it was easy to imagine Scott at his desk with his beloved dogs by his side. The views from the study & library are pretty tho' the garden is rather conventional. A lunch at the Abbey Hotel & then in company with two other American girls, we drove on the big brake to Dryburgh. This drive was delightful tho' it sprinkled a little when we walked the 1/2 mile from the coach stopping place to the Abbey. In the ruined church is Scott's tomb. The ruins of the Abbey are fine but there wasn't enough sun shine for M. to get good pictures. Returning we visited Melrose Abbey which also is fine but we agreed that too many ruins in a day lose their impressiveness! We parted from the two girls whom we felt were old acquaintances after our pleasant visit together, then went for some tea for which we paid an outrageous price, walked to the station, claimed our bags & were ready to get back to E. having 'done' Melrose in one day & finding it ample time: the town itself isn't interesting tho' it's surroundings are fine. As you may imagine, Mama was greatly surprised to see us but I don't think she was sorry, tho' she had had a nice quiet day, 'doing as she pleased.'

Friday morning.[Oda writes again]
I had to leave this last night to go to bed. This is another dull morning, misting when we got up but not now. Mrs. Roberts says a long dry spell had just ended when we arrived so now they are having a wet season & we wonder how long that will last. Shall I tell you what we had for breakfast? Oatmeal porridge with cream, toast, doughnuts & coffee made over our spirit lamp & first rate.
Day before yesterday M. & I spent the morning at the Nat. Portrait Gallery & Museum of Historical Antiquities. The building, rather new, is very handsome & the Museum especially interesting as it gives one such a good idea of the ancient Scottish life. That afternoon we took the Queen's drive in the treeless Park & were left at Holyrood Palace; here we saw the bedchamber, dressing & supping rooms of Mary Queen of Scots & the scene of the intrigues & assassination of Rizzio. M. got a picture from the window & as the light was good she hopes it will turn out well: she has sent a roll to the Kodak place in London for development & if they are all right will send more: they charge three [shillings] or 72 cts a film, is that dear?
Yesterday we put up our lunch & went by tram to Leith, the Port of Edinburgh where we took the steamer up to the Forth Bridge. There was an holiday crowd on board, lots of children & so dirty but we found a sheltered place, ate our lunch which tasted ever so good, & enjoyed the trip as much as possible. The bridge is wonderful & stupendous: we steamed under it to Queensferry where we landed & walked 1 1/4 to the station where we had to wait a long time for a train back to Edinburgh. This is a holiday week in Glasgow & there is a crowd of excursionists here, factory people with hordes of children & most of them dreadfully dirty. We walked up one of the oldest streets in the city & such misery & squalor I think I never saw. I doubt if our slums are quite as bad & there is no picturesqueness in spite of the dirt as one sometimes sees.
I noticed that Alger has at last resigned, something which ought to have been done long ago. Isn't it dreadful about the condition of affairs in the Philippines & when is it to end? The papers here speak pretty discouragingly of that & the trust 'fever'.
Mama wants to know if you received the C.&N.W. dividends, also our U.S. bond dividends? M. & I shall have $45 on a Lynn mortgage due in Aug.
We wish we could see your drawings, but postage is so expensive, we shall have to wait until we get across the sea again. Ask Mr. Greg if he ever ate shortbread bannocks or haggis; we haven't tried the latter & I don't think we shall as we don't like the idea of its ingredients -- sheep's tripe, hearts & livers!
Well, there is no news to write so I'll stop & get this ready to post.
Lots & lots of love from us all.

Edinburgh July 23,' 99
Dear George. -- [from Margaret]
This is a rainy Sunday afternoon, a good time for writing letters.
We received a lot of letters yesterday, among them yours telling of the fourth of July. It made us shudder to read of Ike Speers accident, and I do hope you will never fire off any more of those terrible great crackers, they are so dangerous.
We received the U.S. bonds all right. We enjoy the copies of the Salem News very much.
Mama had a good letter from Uncle James and he says he is much better than he was a while ago which is very welcome news. Kitty has graduated from the high school and her father is so pleased to think she was able to go through with it.
Friday evening we went to the theater to see "Kenilworth." It was very good indeed, and the story followed the book very closely, excepting in the way it ended. Of course it would have been too painful to allow Amy to be killed, so they had the Earl of Leister reach Cumnor Park in time to save her. The one who took the part of Queen Elizabeth is an American and she did it finely and won great applause.
We had seats in the best part of the house, the dress circle or what we call the first balcony. It seems so strange to look down in the pit and see men wearing their hats. We had a carriage take us up and bring us back and we only paid eighty four cents for it. Just imagine it!
Yesterday we went out to see the ruins of Roslin Chapel. It is about seven miles out of the city and we went out on one of the coaches and came back on the train. We took our lunch with us and had a very pleasant trip. The chapel is in a fine situation and the carvings in it are very elaborate and beautiful. But I must confess that after one has seen a number of ruins they begin to lose their charm, and one does not appreciate their beauty as at first.
I have been re-reading The Heart of Mid Lothian and have found it very interesting after seeing the places that are mentioned in it. I shall enjoy all of Scott's works much more now.
On Tuesday we take the trip through the Trossachs to Glasgow.
We are very sorry to give up our little home here and wish we might stay a month. We have enjoyed our house keeping so much and Mrs. Roberts is such a good kind woman. We have such delicious oatmeal porridge and cream for breakfast. For our Sunday dinner we had a nice little chicken roasted, potatoes, peas and tomatoes and cream cakes for dessert. Worst of all we shall have no more good coffee but will be obliged to drink tea for breakfast.
We hope you have not sold your horse but are taking a good ride on him every day or two. Remember your health is of more account than all your drawing.


Dreadnought Hotel, Callander, Scotland [stationery has a picture of the hotel]
July 25th
Dear Son [Mama writes - Tuesday]
I have not written you for some time as we have kept on the go so much. I have to lay down between times. We were sorry to leave our cozy apartments, it was like leaving home, and then we had so many dishes we liked especially our strawberry shortcakes. We shall spend the night in this hotel and then go on by coach and stop at the Trossache Hotel tomorrow night, [Wed] and that will make it easier than to go through it one day. It is raining but we came between the showers. It rains most every day and is so cold and damp that a fire feels good.
George I think you ought to get the abstract title of our Chicago Lots and have it ready in case you had a chance to sell, as it takes some time to hunt it up. John Raymond of Clinton was the man that Papa had the land off and he was owing Papa so he took the land for his pay. You could talk with Mr. Weston and get him to see Mr. Raymond if he ever had the abstract title. I doubt if he ever did. I get the tax bill the first of Sept so you must look out for it. I do not know whether they will send it to you or not, they may give it to Arthur.
I think you must have felt bad to see Mr. Speer suffer so. We are so glad to get the papers Cousin Joseph has sent us a Boston paper that is all we have seen. I had to pay 3 cents at Lincoln when I drew my last money. We like Cooks
Friday morning July 28 [Oda continues]
Margaret will write about our trip yesterday so I will just close this and send it off. We reached Glasgow yesterday at five and it seems all that we've been told, dirty, dark and inclination to rain! We think you'd better send us $500 more, $300 to * and $200 to me, in the form you think best, express orders or draft.
Don't know what we shall do today, perhaps go on to Oban for Sunday as we don't like this hotel much.
Going down to breakfast now so goodbye.

There is some confusion about days or dates here. Friday is indeed the 28th so they arrived in Glasgow on Thursday 27th, and were in Callander on Tues. 25th and likely Trossachs on Wed 26 th. Sunday would be the 30th so the following letter must be dated wrong since they are obviously in Oban having come up from Glasgow the previous day; must be Sat 29th.
Envelope: The Columba Hotel, Oban
Stationery: Glasgow and Highland Royal Mail Steamers;
telegraphic address "MacBrayne, Glasgow." David MacBrayne;
The Royal Route, R.M.S. "Grenadier"
[actually Sat 29th] Oban July 28, 1899
Dear George.--[Margaret writes]
Oda and I have been on a trip to the islands of Staffa and Iona and I am writing this on the steamer on our way home. You will laugh when I tell you that we were both sea-sick this morning, really actively sick. I think it is a great joke for me to cross the Atlantic three times without minding it much, and then be so sick on a little trip like this. But it is the truth all the same.
Oban is a town on the north west coast of Scotland, so this is the farthest north that we have ever been. The trip up on the train yesterday was delightful, along the side of Loch Long and Loch Lomond.
We have found a very comfortable hotel in Oban, and there we left Mother while we took this trip.
You have heard of the island of Mull? We have been all the way around that today, as the islands we have visited are on the other side of Mull, right out in the Atlantic.
Mull is quite large, but very mountainous and bleak with only two or three little villages on it. Iona is noted for having been the home of St. Columba, who came over from Ireland in 563 and brought Christianity to Scotland. Unfortunately Oda and I were feeling so miserable at the time we reached the island, that we did not feel like going ashore, so we did not see the old church and cemetery. You see this boat is not very large, and though very comfortable it pitches badly. By the time we reached Staffa we were feeling better, so we landed with the others, and climbed along the rocky coast to see "Fingal's Cave". On a calm day they take you in in a rowboat, but I don't think that is possible very often. The cave is about sixty feet high at the entrance and 200 feet long and it is of course a wonderful sight, but I should hardly call it worth this long trip and the distress we suffered for an hour.

Sunday, July 30.
I think Mother wrote you from Callander. [Tues] From there we went by coach to the Trossach's Hotel, a ride of an hour and a half. That afternoon Oda and I walked to the steamboat landing on Loch Katrine and back to the hotel, 2 miles and a half altogether. That is considered the finest part of the Trossach's country but we did not think it anything very wonderful. I am sure there are many places in Vermont and New Hampshire much prettier than that. The Trossach's Hotel is first class in every way and we spent the night there. [Wed] The next morning [Thurs] we drove over the same country that we had walked through the previous afternoon to Loch Katrine, where we took the boat and went to the other end of the lake. We were interested in seeing Ellen's Isle, but on the whole I do not think the scenery very pretty because the hills have no trees on them and look so bare and lonely. As we were leaving the boat we discovered on the wharf waiting to take it, Mr. and Mrs. Learned. Wasn't that provoking, because of course we could only see them a few minutes (3) as they were to take the boat and we the coach. They had written us and expected to meet us in Edinburgh. They had a fine passage over and were traveling fast, had already been to Chester and through the English Lakes. They go back in September. We think he has changed a good deal, has grown old. Well we had to leave them and take the coach and ride for about three quarters of an hour to Inversnard on Loch Lomond, where we had lunch at the hotel. There was a great crowd at lunch and we had hard work to get served, so it was not very satisfactory. Then they only had cold things so we had to pay extra for some hot tea, and it cost us 3/6 each altogether. Another time I should wait until I got on the boat and then have my lunch in comfort. But perhaps they would not serve lunch until the boat starts and that would make it rather late and one would not be able to get good seats on deck. The best way would be to carry some sandwiches with one.
The sail down Loch Lomond took about an hour and a half and was very enjoyable. There is more variety in the scenery than on Loch Katrine. The hills have more trees on them and there are more houses along the banks. It was not a very bright day, once in a while it misted somewhat but we have become quite used to that sort of weather, and as the boats have comfortable cabins it does not matter so much. At Balloch we took the train and in about an hour we were in Glasgow. [Thurs, 5pm] We had sent our trunks on to Glasgow so we only had handbags which made it much easier. We think Glasgow is horrid, so dark and dirty and we got out of it as soon as possible.
I am glad to have a chance to see something of the Highlands but I must say I am disappointed. The hills are not high enough to be grand and are only bleak and desolate looking. I think I will put in two of the pictures I took at Oxford even though you may be obliged to pay extra on this letter. I had one film finished by the Kodak Company in London and they printed one of each and did it so well I have sent them some more. Those I enclose are a few of the cloisters in the First Quad at Magdalen. Also a few from the river of Magdalen Bridge and the Tower of Magdalen Chapel. Our boatman swung the boat around so that I could take the picture but not quite far enough so that it shows Mother's arm and part of her head! In the picture of the Quad notice the carved figures all the way around, some of them are very curious.

Marginal scribble
Cook paid us the money on our U.S. bonds so we will not return them to you. Mama drew about 70 pounds and they made her pay over two shillings on it. Oda wrote you to send us some more money and we would like it as soon as possible. As we have to pay out so much for exchange wouldn't it be better for us to have express notes. That is notes on some express company!
Saturday evening [from Margaret – July 29 ???]
[upside down] We had a Corridor Car and dining car when we came from Glasgow and we enjoyed the dining car lunch ever so much.
Dear George. --
We received your letter tonight and enjoyed it very much, what there was of it. We have had to pay over fifty cents on extra postage but none of it has been spent on your letters though we should enjoy doing so.
We think the Kirby's porch party must have been a great success and wish we had been there to see our brother distinguish himself.
You said at first that you quite enjoyed Miss Ely; as you know her better do you still feel the same way?
Had a long letter from Susie [Susie Sawyer would be 44 living in NYC] today, she says that Arthur Herrick has taken charge of a paper in Exeter N.H. What is more interesting, he was married on the fourth of July (imagine choosing that for your wedding day) to a Smith graduate who lived in Burlington Vt.. Susie and Mary went up to the wedding, and she says the young couple are much in love with each other. I cannot understand how any girl could be willing to marry that freak.
Have you heard anything from the Whites lately. Jessie wrote Mama a steamer letter but we have not had a word from either of them since. [Uncle Perl and Jessie may still be traveling in Europe on their honeymoon.]
Mrs. Woodman has rented a fine house in Salem for Phoebe and they will all live there together next winter. Phoebe writes that they are to move in in August.
I think wrote you that we are living in an apartment here. We do not find it as pleasant as it was in Edinburgh because the markets are so much poorer than they were there. But it is better than living on hotel fare because we are able to have our delicious coffee for breakfast.
The lake here, Derwentwater is very pretty and is like the Italian lakes only the hills around it are on a smaller scale. There is a very pleasant walk along the edge of it with plenty of seats, and people take their books and work and go there and sit. Then there are numbers of rowboats which one can hire and it is interesting to watch them out on the water.

August 2. Ambleside. [Margaret continues]
We came on here today on the coach, sixteen miles and it was a most delightful ride. Mama rode inside the coach and she had an American young man for a companion the last part of the trip and they had a very nice visit together and she found out all his history! Tonight after tea we walked up to see some very pretty falls that there are here.
This is certainly a very beautiful country and we have seen a good bit of it.
Tomorrow if it is pleasant, Oda and I are going on a day's trip to Turners Abbey.
We were able to bring our trunks right with us on the coach which was very convenient for us.
My head is very tired tonight so I will close this with much love.
[Mama writes]
Oda and M. have just started on the coach. It is a fine, sunny morning so I think they will have a nice time. I should be alone today. It is fun to watch these coaches. I have seen as many as ten fill up and start in different directions this morning. We go back to Leamington the last of this week and then to London. We left our trunk in Leamington. We are all very well and having more warm and sunny weather. I have used all but 10 pounds of my letter of credit. It costs lots for car fares. Lovingly Mother

11 Princes St., London, August 11, 1899
Dear George [from Oda]
I dated this on the other page but you won't mind. We have just finished tea in our pleasant sitting-room after a fine day spent at the Greater Britain Exhibition at Earls Court. This is a great place & we had ever so much fun going about. Mother & M. said it reminded them more of the World's Fair than anything else they had seen; all sorts of sideshows -- Ferris Wheel big as the original, Chute, swan-boats on a lagoon, streets of Cairo with camel & donkeys but no wedding procession. We visited the Kaffir village a curious & interesting but dirty place where the natives who didn't wear much clothing were diving, cooking their messes over open fires. One group was playing cards for money, another were dressing their kinky hair, one was sewing. There are only three women among them.
We were much interested in the infant incubators where we saw two mites of humanity, one only weighing 1 1/2 lbs. at birth comfortable napping. At first it seemed as if they couldn't be alive but we saw them breathe & move their tiny hands.
The streets of Cairo were full of shops & we were besieged by the merchants inviting us to look if not to buy their wares. It was great sport to see the people & especially to watch them 'shoot the chute', a popular amusement.
To go back to our arrival -- we reached London Wed. at 6, having left Ambleside at 10.20 by coach to Windermere & from thence by a fine express corridor train straight thru'. We ordered luncheon baskets to be served at Preston where we arrived at 1. The baskets contained cold chicken & ham, lettuce, two rolls, cheese, mustard, salt, knife & fork everything clean & good & costing 2/6 or 60 cts. The tea basket which Mother ordered contained pot of tea, small pitchers of cream & milk, sugar, buttered bread & Bath bun, price 1 s. There is a cover on the baskets so one can use it for a table & we think this idea might be adopted in the U.S. with profit.
Our companions to Crewe, more than half the distance were a man & his wife from Plymouth returning from a vacation tour in the lakes. They were pleasant middle-aged people of the middle class; he a retired contractor & builder & we had a nice visit together shaking hands all around at their departure, like old acquaintances: they asked us to call on them if we came to Plymouth. Margaret kept track of the speed made in the last hour & found it was 57 miles, & that must have been the average all the way -- a fine train surely.
Wednesday night we spent at the Euston Hotel, & the next morning Mother & M. went out to look for apartments. M. returned for me & the baggage at 11.45 & at 12 we were settled in these rooms. The sitting-room is large fronting on Princes St. & we are near Oxford & Regent Sts., a very desirable location for getting about conveniently. Here we do not buy our provisions but order what we choose: we make our own coffee as hitherto.
Mama wrote that M. & I had gone to Furness Abbey didn't she? We had a delightful day, perfect weather: we went by coach 7 1/2 miles to Coniston, where we lunched, then by train to Furness Abbey where we spent two hours; these ruins are considered the most extensive & picturesque in England. After this 1/2 by train to Lakeside & then the steamer at Windermere to Waterhead & hotel coach to Ambleside. Windermere reminded us of Lake George, with its pretty wooded islands & windings. There are fine country homes here & there along its banks.
Today we rode on top of the bus as it was a long distance, & had an exciting episode, running into an hansom but evidently doing as much harm to the bus as to the hansom. We've heard that most of the London bus horses came from the U.S. from the vicinity of Chicago! I will enclose one of Mother's coupons (U.S. 3%) to be collected & placed to her credit.
This must go off tonight for tomorrow's steamer so goodbye.
Lots of love

Sunday, August 13, 1889
Dear George. [Margaret writes]
We received fourteen letters yesterday and three of them were nice long ones from you. We had told Cook to hold our mail for a few days while we were at the lakes, and that is why we had so many at one time. It was a perfect feast for us and we read them over two or three times.
We can imagine how much you must enjoy those delicious melons. The ones they have here are horrid little things, very coarse grained and are brought from Spain I believe.
Can't you get Mrs. Binford's rule for that "chocolate concoction" that you speak of?
We greatly enjoyed your description of your supper at Lanville! I am glad that you like Jessie Binford and I wish we might meet her for I am sure that we should enjoy her too.
Mama had a letter from Sue Howe [Susie Sawyer] yesterday. She had been up to Bradford, and she said James had sold the little horses, but he would not tell her what he got for them. He said one of them was always lame when anyone came to look at them, and he finally sold one and gave away the other. [James Sawyer, 49, had a large milk farm in Bradford]
We are having glorious weather and only hope it may continue. Yesterday we went through the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abby, and I find that I can appreciate these places much better than I could when we were there before. In the Abby we saw the spot where Gladstone is buried, just a slab in the pavement with his name on it. It is a pleasure to see how much Mama enjoys seeing these things.
You ask if Mama will not come out to M. [Marshalltown] when we come back. We have thought for some time that it would be a fine plan for her to stay a month with you while we get the house settled, but she says she does not see how it could be arranged. She cannot bear the thought of staying with Anna [Henry's wife] or the Kirby's, [of Kirby & Howe] and I really think she would be worn out in a week with that kind of life. Of course on the other hand, they would not allow her to have a room where you do, and go to the hotel for her meals.
We are a good deal trouble to decide whether it is best for us to spend next winter at home anyway. It seems as though that climate does not agree with any of us very well, for we are all sick more or less of the time, and when we are away, though we may have poor food and all that, yet we keep well in spite of it.
Mother's throat is much better than it was, but it is still delicate, and I am afraid she would not be able to stand a Massachusetts winter. Then too, if we are ill we have no confidence in Dr. Eaton to make us well. [long time family doctor; presided over Ike's death] And we dread to think of having anyone else, because it would make so much bitter feeling, and I cannot bear to do anything to hurt Susie [if Susie Sawyer, how is she associated with Dr. Eaton; otherwise a different Susie]. I tell them we might go to Egypt. They say that is a fine climate in the winter. But it would be so hard to leave our beautiful home and friends for such a long time. Still I would rather do anything than to risk Mother's health.
This morning Oda and I went to service at St. Paul's. It was very high church service, and though the singing was fine, yet it was very tiresome.
We had such a nice dinner today, roast chicken with bread sauce, potatoes, string beans, tomatoes in vinegar and crackers and cheese. They are fine cooks here and we have whatever we like to order. Then it is so restful having it served in our own sitting room.
Susie says the finance committee have arranged things so that the taxes have dropped from $19.20 to between $15 and $16. That is good news, isn't it?
Monday evening.
We spent today at the Kensington Museum and though we enjoyed it we got very tired. It is such an immense place that it is a hopeless task to try to see it with any thoroughness. We thought of you all the time, and remember so well the fun we had that day. We had lunch in the Grill room in the building and it was very good indeed.
It was one of the free days, and we were surprised to see that they allow children alone by themselves. We met swarms of small urchins in different parts of the building, putting their dirty hands on the glass cases and liable to do all kinds of damage among those valuable collections. Then too they allowed us to carry in our umbrellas and that is running a great risk I think.
I cannot imagine any place more convenient than this. We are close by Regent Street and within half a block of Oxford Circus and from there we can get a bus to any part of the city.
I must close now with much love,
Please give our regards to Mr. Gregg when you see him.

Friday, August 18th, 1899 London.
Dear George. [from Mother]
I have just received your letter with div No. 99 on Connecticut & B. R.R. $12. I did not get your letter of July 11th as I have not received my Clinton bank check or my Northwestern, C. & N. W.R.R. div. I ought to have got it in Glasgow, but I think some other Howe may have got it. We have got letters from another Howe family. You better not send any more checks in letters. We will soon be home. You keep the No. of the check and write to Clinton and see if it has been paid. Tell them I am traveling and if I get it I shall send it to you so there will not be any doubt with you as I shall not get them cashed here. If you send Oda the check five hundred check [sic] she ordered it will give us plenty I think till we get home.
We want you to go to Fred's wedding. You could go to the wedding and then come on to New York and meet us. Jessie is expecting another son about that time, so you can not stop with Perl long but just take a peep at them.
We have had a full week and very interesting one. We were at the Crystal Palace fireworks last night and it did not begin until nine O'clock so we did not get home until almost 12 O'clock. It was a great show. We bought seats and were comfortable but had to scrabble for our train and succeeded in getting seats. It takes about half an hour on the steam cars to go out to the Palace.
Harriet Richards mother is married to John Peabody the merchant in Peabody and goes there to live. Louise is in England on her wedding trip. If you think it will not make any difference with your business and you can get away to go to Fred's wedding I would do it, it is in a lifetime you know. I would like you to put $10 into a present for Fred from the girls and me, and get what you think he would like. It costs us for board a little less than $15 a week a piece here in our Apartments.
I shall enclose the C.P.R.R. check.. We shall leave London the 24th we think now. I want to send this letter by the boat today so must say love to all.
Lovingly, Mother

Monday evening, Aug. 20, London
Dear George. [Margaret writes]
Our beautiful weather still continues, we had two showers on Saturday but they did not last more than two minutes. We were at the time on the boat going up to Kew and we did not know but we were going to have the same kind of an experience that we had when you went up there with us, do you remember?
It turned out to be very pleasant and we were able to see the gardens very thoroughly. Unfortunately the parks are all looking very ugly because the grass is all dried up on account of the dry weather. I never saw the grass at home look as badly as it does here at the present time.
Did mama tell you that we went out to the Crystal Palace Thursday to see the fireworks. They were the finest display that I ever saw, far ahead of those at the World's Fair. One piece called "summer" showed two girls seated in a garden with different flowers around them, roses, foxglove etc., all in their natural colors, it really was wonderful. We started about five, had our tea out there and got home about eleven thirty. There must have been thousands of people there but we bought tickets for reserved seats up on a balcony so we did not have to stand in the crowd and we saw it all splendidly and it was not a hard trip at all.
Some of the English women whom we meet are so surprised that we dare to go around alone as we do, isn't that funny? One lady said she greatly envied us our courage.
Mama has found her letter with the checks that you sent her. We did not know it was a registered letter and so supposed there was no possible way of tracing it. But this morning mama said she was going down to see Cook about it just as a matter of form. When she told him the date it was sent he looked it up and discovered there had been a registered letter sent at that time to Edinburgh. He telegraphed to Edinburgh and they telegraphed back that the letter was there and they would send it on so we shall receive it tomorrow. If it had been an ordinary letter they would have forwarded it to Glasgow as they did some others but as it was registered they were going to hold it until called for. They are altogether too careful in this country.
We like our landlady, Miss Cousins very much. She is a thoroughly nice young woman and makes it very pleasant for us. I wish you could see our sitting room, it is so pleasant and homelike. We buy Apollinaris water by the dozen bottles so we have all the good water that we want to drink and are able to make ourselves very comfortable in every way.
I enclose some pictures all of which I printed myself. They are the first silver prints that I have done and I am quite proud of them.
Lovingly, Margaret.

London, August 22nd, 1899
Dear George. [from Mother]
I was much relieved today when I went into Cook's office and find he had a registered letter for me. If you had mentioned in your letter that you had registered the letter with the checks in it, I should enquired for it, as they did not notify me, and they were waiting for me to ask for it. I happened to think I would go down to their office and ask them if they could tell me by their books as all letters are set down and the date when received if they could tell me if they received any about the 26th and he found there was a registered one on that date sent to Edinburgh, and they had locked it up in a safe waiting for me to call, and the girls were at the office several times but I never was there. We always leave our address when we leave a place and go to a new one. We do not have our mail sent to all the places we go to, only where we stay a week or two, but I think if this had not been registered it would have come all right. They are so careful and did not have sense enough to send me a postal, and they have so many hands to help.
We have your letter with Gas div came today. Is the Clinton Savings Bank paid twice a year; I do not find in my diary that I received it but once in 1898 I find the national was paid twice. I think we will stay in London until we get our money Oda wrote for.
We are having fine weather, London people think it is very warm but it is just nice, we can sit outdoors in the park when we are there as we have been today, and watch the nice teams go by. We enjoy our London Apartments, the lady herself is away on a vacation and her housekeeper is nice and we are good friends. Margaret has written you today, but I wanted to have you get these soon as possible so will send this tonight -- all send love,
I will enclose the Clinton & N.W.R.R. & Galena Gas I will send next time.

A beautiful postcard of Buckingham Palace, but apparently George thought the postage stamp was more important and cut off the corner.
Thursday evening August 24
[from Oda]
Mother has written so often lately that I'll omit the regular letter for Saturday's steamer. We had a delightful excursion to Hampton Court yesterday driving through Bushey Park to Richmond where we took the train back to city. It is very dry and warm, 89° to 90°, glorious weather for us but not for farmers. Papers received yesterday and today from you speak of heavy wind and rain storm in Iowa. Mother and Margaret went to Whitehall today to see the change of guard, also to Westminster Abbey. M. had a delayed letter from Mrs. Lambert written July 12 saying that they expected to sail on the Majestic July 26, for a short trip; we may run across them but think it doubtful.
We dread to break up here but we really ought, for there is a good deal to see in the next six weeks. We do so miss the soda water and phosphates on these warm days, but keep supply of Apollinaris on hand. We think Boy is pretty clever: glad you have him. Another paper has just arrived. Have you read A Bachelor Maid by Mrs. Burton Harrison?
No special news. M. will write Sunday. All well and happy.

London, August 28, 1899
Dear George. [Margaret writes]
This is Monday morning and before we start out for the day I will write a few lines to you. We have been having very hot weather. Friday it was 90° in the shade, the hottest day for 13 days. But we enjoy hot weather and as we have been careful not to walk much in the hot sun we have not minded it. The only trouble has been the lack of rain which makes the country so dry and dusty.
We did not do much of anything on Friday, went down to Cook's and looked over the newspapers and then went up and sat in Hyde Park and watched the driving.
Saturday Oda and I took a trip on the river. We went by train to Shepperton where we intended to take the boat out to Marlow. But our train was a little late and the boat for a wonder was on time so we just missed it. We found there was a boat going down the river in an hour so we waited and took that instead. It was a delightful ride with something of interest to see every inch of the way. There were ever so many picnic parties on the river and it was great fun to see them eating their lunch as they sat in their boats under the trees along the bank. Then there were numbers of houseboats all the way down and I took a picture of one of the prettiest which I hope will be good. I wish we could take a houseboat some summer, it would be such fun. Perhaps we can come over with you and your wife some time.
We left the boat at Kingston and came home from there on trains and buses, twelve miles altogether and it was a very good way to see the country.
The weather has changed today, much cooler and cloudy, the first cloudy day we have had for three weeks.
We have not received your letter with the money yet but shall expect it any day now.
Monday evening.
The letters of credit have arrived safely this evening and we are very glad to get them. We have had some rain today, not very much but it will do great good. We have been over to the British Museum this afternoon and found it interesting though rather hard work.
I must take this down to mail so it will go in the morning.
Lovingly, Margaret

Canterbury, September 1.
Dear George. [from Oda]
As you will notice from the postmark, we have changed our quarters, having left London yesterday at 10.45 reaching Canterbury at 12.30 we first got lunch at the station then leaving M. with the luggage, Mother and I sallied out to look for apartments. We asked two good looking policemen for directions and then walked and walked up one street, down another, calling at place after place and being directed from one to another until in about 2 hrs. time we reached this place, liked the looks of the doorstep, the maid and the rooms; unfortunately the mistress wasn't at home but the maid gave us the information she could and we finally decided to go for M. and the luggage, return and hold the fort until we saw Mrs. Collard, feeling quite sure matters would be satisfactory.
We went out for our tea, called at the post office where we were rejoiced to find your letter mailed Aug. 19, walked up to the Cathedral and on our return after an interview with Mrs. C. were quickly established in our rooms. Thus far, we think this is the best place we've struck! The sitting room on the entrance floor is good-sized and well furnished, while the two bedrooms up one flight are fine: everything is scrupulously clean and our luncheon today was very well cooked and daintily served. Lemon sole, butter sauce, potatoes, tomatoes sliced in vinegar, bread & butter and apricot tarts. We continue to make our coffee for breakfast and that with brown bread (our at bread really) and jam make a good breakfast with an occasional variation of eggs or bacon. We went out this morning to do our marketing (for here we are allowed to do that) and we found some good shops. We have drunk Apollinaris water altogether and in London paid but 3 s. or 72 cts. a doz. qt. bottles but here they ask 6s. a doz.
This seems like a clean town, remarkably so, and something like Chester with its old houses. Of course its chief attraction is the Cathedral which we hope to see several times in the week we shall be here. The summer season is really over and we don't expect to meet quite so many tourists as formerly, and altho' it is very selfish, yet we don't like visiting these places with such shoals of people!
The journey down from London yesterday was pleasant and interesting, thru' England's finest fruit region, Kent: it is also a great region for hops, and as now is the season for hop picking, hundreds of London's tenement population are here 'hopping'. It is a picnic for them, men women and children, as the season lasts several weeks, wages are good and their camps are merry. The hops are dried in queer looking buildings called 'oasts', round with conical roofs and curious ventilators on top. Speaking of hops reminds of beer and beer reminds one of public houses which are numerous and all running at full blast; everywhere one sees evidences of the evil effects of this curse. It can't be said of England that in spite of the prevalence of open bars, there is little drunkenness. And it seems shameful to have barmaids as is the almost universal case.
The day before we left London we went to the nice Italian restaurant on Oxford St. for lunch, table d'hôte 1/6, and as usual, it was excellent; one could hardly imagine he was in England as he ate food properly seasoned, appetizing and well served: the soup was delicious. The English do not know how to make soups!
After this we went to Kensington Park and the Palace which we wanted to visit, being closed that day, we sat a long time watching the children sail their boats in the pond. Then we took a bus to Old Bond Street where we got out to walk by the fine shops: just for a lark we dropped in on French confections and got some ices which were small, not particularly good and for which we had to pay 1s. or 24 cts. each! Expect that place is full in the season, but we shall still prefer Buzzard's where we can get delicious ices for 6d.
Tuesday we went to Cook's and I drew out the money on the new letter of credit which reached us safely the night before, August 28.
Have you noticed in the news that Mr. Wm. E. Putnam is having the old Putnam place in Putnamville put in order and I rather think he means to spend part of his summers there: we hear that Danvers has had a good many summer people this season and hope it will continue to grow in popularity; that is if the right people come. There is quite a reduction in our tax bill this year, have you noticed? Now in Peabody it has increased.
Have you ever read The Three Musketeers, by Dumas? I am reading it but I'm not especially interested yet.
I can understand your feeling as you do about going East in October when it is so pretty in Iowa: it is pretty in New England too but you can't be in two places at the same time. Is Mr. Meeker's young lady from Iowa? Is Gene Binford still engaged? I have no doubt the Kirbys and Howes have enjoyed the young people's visits and they know how to entertain so pleasantly. I can imagine Miss. Ely is clever with new ideas. We saw more golf in the U.S. than we've seen here but perhaps we haven't been where it is so much played.
In several places in London, they were repairing the roads, taking up the paving blocks and laying a smooth foundation of concrete, then the wooden paving blocks and then covering with gravel. The wood seems so much better than brick, is noiseless and doesn't seem to absorb the heat as much; I don't know about its wearing qualities but shouldn't suppose it would be so much used where there was heavy traffic if it didn't wear well.
I expect the Learneds sail for N.Y. in a few days, but don't know just the date.
The Queen has gone back to Scotland so now we can go to the Isle of Wight with no fear of interfering with Her Majesty's plans!
There isn't anything of interest to write. Our love in regards to all the folks and especially to 'one folk', from
His loving spinster sister
Enclose the dividends which Mother and I have signed.

Canterbury, September 3, 1899
Dear George. [Margaret writes]
Will you please make out a check for $50 to Mrs. Ewing, put it in my letter and stamp it and send it to her?
We are enjoying our apartments very much, they are the best that we have had any place, everything is so neat and clean. Our table service is as pretty and dainty as anyone could wish for.
We had such a good sermon at the Congregational Church yesterday. Most of those churches here are very small and weak with very ordinary men as ministers. The minister here is quite an exception, thoroughly well educated and a really clever man. We had such a nice visit with him after the service, and he was so kind and cordial to us.
Last evening we went to service in the cathedral. It was so beautiful to see the great building lighted up. The music was very fine, the hymns of the English church are so beautiful that I wish we might adopt them, they do not sound like handorgan tunes as so much of our music does. Our minister in the morning told us that the service at the cathedral was not a high church service and we soon saw it was not, so we enjoyed it very much. Canon Foxhall who preached is a very able man and a very magnetic preacher and we found his sermon very helpful. Dean Farrar is dean of the cathedral, but he is away on his vacation, but he may be back for next Sunday. We hope so anyway. I should so like to hear him again.
We have not done much sightseeing here but are putting in our time resting, to be ready for the work that we shall have when we go home. I suppose it is decided that we are going home and I hope it will be for the best. Will it be safe for you to come to Danvers on account of the malaria?
You may have extra postage to pay on this but I think I will risk it.
Lovingly, Margaret

Canterbury Kent, England, Thursday Sept. 7
Dear George. [from Oda]
We are setting about our dining table from which Emily has just cleared the tea things: while near each of us are some chocolate creams and "American" butter nuts, coconut-molasses candy manufactured in London, from which we help ourselves now and then. Mother is reading the Standard and M. is poring over Baedeker as usual.
Soon after Mother and I came back from marketing it began to rain and has rained hard much of the day tho' it began to clear off just before tea, and since we have been out for a little airing in the Dane John, the public park.
The rest of the day we spent in sewing, reading and writing, and time hasn't dragged by any means. This afternoon I was much amused at watching a monkey on the opposite side of the street; his master a young Italian with an accordion was having a confab with another Italian also having an accordion, and in the meanwhile the monk had a good time scaring dogs, picking at chinks in the brick wall, splashing his hands in the gutter full of water etc. We tossed him an apple which he eagerly devoured and his master seemed pleased to get an apple too. Aren't monkeys absorbingly interesting anyway? I think that Prof. Garner who studies them in their native haunts must enjoy his chosen work, I don't know but that I should like to join him.
Yesterday M. and I went on a lark leaving Mother to have a nice quiet day at home which she declared she infinitely preferred and she was wise too, for tho' we had a good time, it was rather a hard trip. We rode on top of the stage eight miles to Herne Bay, a pretty seaside resort now enjoying a sort of them. It was a hot morning and the seats of the coach none too comfortable, not much extra room as every place was taken; but the country is pretty and we didn't think much of the discomfort. Arriving at H.B. we were told to be ready to return at five, and having the rest of the day at our disposal, walk to the beach where it seemed good to get a sight of the sea again. There is a fine promenade, a pebble beach and the usual bathing machines with a lot of bathers in fantastic costumes, in the water. M. got a snapshot of the machine and I hope some bathers will appear in it, tho' these were not quite so absurd as those at Llandudno. While we were eating lunch and, which consisted of roast beef, potatoes and vegetable marrow (squash) (none of them seasoned in the least and salt by the tablespoon has no effect) cocoa, bread and cheese, we walked down to the long pier: here we took the cable car to the pier end where we sat and read an hour or so until an orchestra appeared with a lot of people, when we went back to the shore and sat some more. There had been a heavy shower about noontime but the afternoon was lovely and tho' there were fewer boats of all kinds than at our resorts, the sea was beautiful. We left for Canterbury at five and as it was cooler, with the dust laid, the ride home was delightful with the sunset lights. Mother had a nice supper ordered, scrambled eggs on toast, cherry jam and seed cake and as we were hungry as well as tired everything tasted good.
We are charmed with Canterbury and this region; it seems the most "homey" of any and if I had to come to England to live, I think I should choose Kent.
The markets are good and we like to shop, for the tradesmen are, for the most part, very accommodating, but English beef stands no comparison to that of America! Today we had grouse and they were very good tho' I prefer a duck.
Aren't you interested in the Dreyfus case and isn't this anxiety as to the verdict dreadful? I shouldn't be surprised if there is a revolution and even if D. is acquitted, he will die of nervous exhaustion or be hounded to death. Then Great Britain is in a bad situation as to the Transvaal and it looks very much like war. Mr. Chamberlain is in a trying position, urged on one side and held back by another.
Have you got any of the papers we've sent? There have been several but you haven't mentioned any.
We were greatly shocked to hear of Mrs. Merrill's death which must have been very sudden; we are wondering what will become of the sisters left and of Willard Hall.
What do you advise us to do about a horse this winter and will you get home in time to help us find one? We don't think we'd better have a pair for the winter but can scarcely get on with none at all.
Why can't you send us a picture of you and your honey? Can't you get someone to take a snapshot? Don't see how you could do much with your drawing this hot weather; how are you getting on and are you sending any sketches to Life, etc.?
Just think. We sail four weeks tomorrow if all goes well. M. is planning how to best dispose of the short time remaining. If you write after the 20 or 22nd perhaps you'd better address c/ S.S. Cymric to sail Oct. 6, as I fear it might be too late to go to London and then sent back to Liverpool.
Nothing special to write, so will read awhile before going to bed.
Goodnight and kisses from all

The Dreyfus affair was a scandal that divided France along lines both political and anti semitic. It involved the 1894 conviction for treason of Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, a young French artillery officer of Alsatian Jewish descent. Sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly having communicated French military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris, Dreyfus was sent to the penal colony at Devil's Island in French Guiana and placed in solitary confinement. When it was later discovered that he was framed by the French army, he was retried in 1899 and eventually exonerated. He served in World War I eventually reaching the rank of Lt. Col. [Wiki]

A gold rich area of northern South Africa where were located the Dutch Boers. The Boer farmers rebelled against the English in 1899 resulting in the second Boer war. This was apparently while the Howe ladies were touring England. [Wiki]

[From Mother]
I expect the girls have told you how much we enjoy Canterbury and these Apartments are the best we have found yet as they are neater and the madam is the cook and she is very kind and wants to have us have everything just right. We are to have some apple dumplings for our dessert tomorrow. We are in the region of the Hop pickers and this is the season for them. We are invited to go to a Hop farm next week and see them... it is quite a sight... you see hundreds of men and women and children. I never saw so many dogs as they have here... it seemed to me as if every woman has a pet dog and such homely ones they are. I like Canterbury so much I hate to leave it, but we will have to go next week and the girls are making up the trip to Plymouth and Isle of Wight. We will soon be home now if nothing happens and I want to see my son very much.
Lovingly, Mother
Canterbury, Sept. 10, 1899
Dear George. [Margaret writes]
Our beautiful warm weather has departed and today is really cold and seems like fall. We had two letters from you on Friday which we greatly enjoyed. We had a good laugh over your description of yourself as a wayward boy! Things are certainly in a pretty bad state with you. It looks now as though we should go home and stay there for the winter but I don't know as we shall. We may change our minds when we get there.
We are glad that you are doing so well with your drawing. If only we were there we should be very glad to sit for you. It must be very interesting work.
We went to the cathedral again this morning and had a very helpful service. Dean Farrar has not returned but we heard Canon Mason who is considered a very able man. He criticized severely an article by Mrs. Humphrey Ward which came out in the "Times", in which she said it was not at all necessary that the people of today should have the same idea of Christ as did Peter and John. Canon Mason showed that it was impossible to form an opinion of the living historical Christ excepting through the study of the writings of the disciples who lived and worked with Him. I suppose Mrs. Ward thinks we have outgrown our faith in Christ and that we are better able to judge Him than were Peter and John.
We had a nice letter from Jessie [White] yesterday, the first since we landed. She writes that Carter has been ill but is much better now. Perl also had had trouble with a bad tooth. She said she had just received a good letter from you. This is about the time that she is expecting her trial and we are anxious to know how she gets through with it.
We expect to leave here on Thursday but are very sorry to go. We are the first Americans Mrs. Pollard has ever had and we have made such a good impression on them that she and her sister will do anything for us, and our little maid says she wishes we would not go back to America. Our total expenses for last week were about $7.75 each. This includes our Apollinaris water. And we lived on the fat of the land too because we had grouse, chicken, the best of butter and delicious cream. We say that when we get hard up we are coming over to Canterbury to live.
You know Frank Tucker [17] is in N.H. on a farm. On his way there he stopped to see George Knight [Frank's mother Ria was a Knight] and went up to Danvers and took this picture. It shows how the house looks, shut up.

You know Kent is famous for its hop gardens and this is the time for picking them. Mrs. Collard's husband owns one and yesterday she took us out to see it. We helped some of the pickers and in three hours I picked a bushel for which the woman would get about six cents. Poor things they have to work so hard from seven o'clock in the morning. It is a very pretty sight to see the hops.
Lovingly, Margaret

Ryde, Isle of Wight, Thursday Sept. 14, 1899
Dear George [from Oda]
When we left Canterbury this morning at 9.26, we were not at all sure where we should spend the night, but our 'courier's' desire was to reach this place, and here we are. It was chilly and dismal this morning, and it made us feel rather melancholy to think of starting off, but a good breakfast of bacon and eggs, toasted graham bread, and our much esteemed coffee, gave us courage so that we were in better spirits by train time. The journey to Hastings where we changed, wasn't especially pretty or interesting, but a 15 min. wait at H. was restful and between H. and Brighton with glimpses of the sea and of the sun, were enjoyable. At Brighton we decided to go on to Portsmouth Harbor if there was time to get ticket, so while Mother kept guard over the bags in a carriage, M. skipped to the ticket office and I to the luggage van to order our boxes carried on to P. instead of landed at Brighton. M. returned and we both saw the boxes in the van and supposed (alas!) everything was okay, returned to Mother and after the train moved off, began to eat our nice sandwiches Mrs. Collard put up for us. A pleasant ride of an hour or so brought us to Portsmouth town and just for precautions sake while the train waited M. and I went to the vans to see if the boxes were safe. Behold, no sign of our luggage! We had to scurry to the carriage trusting the trunks were somewhere and would appear.
Arriving at the Harbor, upon inquiry we were told that without doubt, the boxes were taken off at Brighton, in spite of our orders, because they hadn't been relabeled! Consequently we left orders to have them sent on giving descriptions, and hastened to the steamer, about to leave for Ryde.
It is a glorious afternoon and the 1/2 hour sail was very pretty across the fine harbor of Portsmouth with its numerous fortifications, battleships etc. We didn't know which hotel to choose but agreed upon the one not advertising patronized by the Royal family! We have a big room with three beds, overlooking the water and as it seems clean we think we shall be comfortable enough for a short time. We shall probably take one or two coaching trips, but the 'courier' hasn't fully decided upon the itinerary as yet. She is fully equal to 'personally conduct' small and select parties contemplating the European or round the world tours and is warranted to give satisfaction not surpassed by Cook's or Gaze's agents,. For references apply to the Duchess Howe of Danvers, on or near the Crane River, or to Oda, Viscountess Howe, of The Oak (formerly The Oaks) Danvers-on-the-Crane.
We dreaded to leave Canterbury, our pleasant rooms, nice Mrs. Collard and her sister Miss Dane, and the dear little maid Emily. We have had such a good time and felt so much at home; the folks seemed to like us too and there were tears in several pairs of eyes this morning when we parted.
I don't suppose we shall be in apartments again for it will hardly be worthwhile for so short a time. Three weeks from tomorrow! We hope to get word of the first Shamrock -- Columbia race before we leave. We've been so excited over the Dreyfus case, the frightful verdict and all; the English as a people are much stirred too, according to the papers, and if it wasn't that they are excited over their relations with the Transvaal, their feeling over France's injustice, might be still more evident.
M. received this morning some films and pictures from the Kodak place; every one was good and I think her success is remarkable. She is so disappointed now, for yesterday she discovered that the camera has been mysteriously broken and as it couldn't be repaired in C., she had to send it to London; therefore we shall have no pictures of the Isle of Wight unless we buy them.
We think it needn't be on your conscience if Ms. Ely hasn't had a good time this summer and I fancy Henry and Anna have been much pleased and relieved to have had her so pleasantly entertained.
I have had a nice letter from Jessie and we were relieved to hear from the family at last; she spoke of receiving a good letter from you.
Am much interested in the Three Musqueteers [sic] now.
Who would you ask in Danvers about a horse or would you ask Jim Sawyer [49; living in Bradford] to look out for one? Why can't you write to Jim describing what we want -- a good sound family horse, not fast but fair traveler etc. M. sits at the window and distracts my attention by remarking on events on the water and in the street! Well, I will close for there is nothing more to say.
Best love. Don't suppose you will write after Sept. 20 or 22.
Affectionately, Dode
M. says to tell you our living expenses the past week amounted to the magnificent sum of $6; S-O! Have had tea and are going out for a little walk.

Dreyfus From context it is difficult to surmise at what point the trial was, the verdict, and the Howe ladies' reason for using the term "frightful".

Alum Bay, Isle of Wight, Sept. 17
Dear George.
We are now at the extreme end of the islands, and the ocean steamers from Southampton pass within a mile of the hotel but we have not seen any as yet. There is no village here, nothing but a fort, lighthouse a few houses and the hotel. It is three miles from Freshwater where we left the train. We are much disappointed in this hotel because B. stars it [Baedeker], and we supposed it would be very nice. I think it has changed hands and though they still keep first-class prices, it is very poorly managed. But it is delightfully quiet here and we enjoy that part. The cliffs are almost overpowering they are so high and steep, most of them of the white chalk. We have a fine view of the ocean from our windows, and also of the needle rocks and the lighthouse.
We look back with pleasure to our little Hotel, "The Royal Eagle" in Ryde. The prices there were so reasonable and everything was so neat and comfortable. It was rather noisy because it was right at the head of the pier, but it was fun to watch the people and the boats and carriages. Ryde is a large town with fine shops of all kinds, and if one had comfortable apartments on some quiet street it would be a pleasant place to stay. This is a fine place to rest in but I should never care to come again, unless I just came on the train and spent an hour or two.
We went to the theater while we were in Ryde. The first evening we were there we went out after tea for a little walk. When we reached the theater we saw a notice up with the name of Beerbohm Tree on it and the name of the play "A Bunch of Violets". We supposed that it must be Mr. Tree's own company because we know the London theaters were closed and companies away on tours. So we went in and bought some tickets and Oda went back to the hotel after some better gloves for us all while we went into another restaurant and had another cup of tea. We felt rather disreputable to go to the theater even after we had put on our good gloves, but we need not have feared! When we entered the theater, we found it was a very old building, must have been built in the year one. We had front seats in the balcony and there were only six others in it besides ourselves. The gallery above us was fairly well filled, and there were quite a number down in the pit.
Down in the very front seats, what they call the orchestra stalls, were four people in full dress and you can't imagine how funny they looked. Of course Beerbohm Tree was not there but I suppose they were some of his company; anyway they did very well and we enjoyed it and voted the evening a great success.
This is the place where they are making experiments in the wireless telegraphy, and the instrument is downstairs and we can hear it ticking. Out in front of the hotel is a high pole held down by wires and there is a wire rope which comes out of the room where the instrument is and is fastened to the pole. Do you understand how it is done?
Lovingly Margaret

Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, 1852 -- 1917,
English actor and manager of Dutch, Lithuanian and German decent. Born in Kensington, London as Herbert Draper Beerbohm, his younger brother was author and explorer Julius Beerbohm and a younger half brother was the parodist and caricaturist Max Beerbohm. The latter part of his surname 'bohm' is North German dialect for tree. [Wiki]

Clovelly, Sept. 24 1899
Dear George [Margaret]
This is without doubt the quaintest little town in all England and it is worth coming a long way to see it.
The village is on the seacoast, and is built in a gully between the hills. This gully is so narrow that there is only one street in the village, and the street is so steep that it is built like a staircase, paved with large cobblestones. Of course each house is on a different level from the one below it, and as no carriages can go down the street all loads are carried on the backs of small donkeys or on sledges which men haul down the stairs.
Many of the houses are very old and quaint, and they all have quantities of vines and flowers about them and altogether you can imagine how picturesque it is. It is a great place for artists and no wonder! Our hotel is about halfway down the street and we have a fine view of the sea. We are enjoying the Devonshire cream; it seems very much like whipped cream but they tell us the milk is scalded in some way. It is certainly delicious, and they serve it with preserves; the favorite kind is blackberry and apple cooked together. They have quantities of fresh herring here which are very nice, although they have a great many bones in them.
There are two ladies here from Brocton, Mass. who are very pleasant and we spent the afternoon together. You remember Mr. and Mrs. Noyes from Brocton whom we met at Pinehurst? She was the one who took such a fancy to you. She died this last summer of cancer and they say she suffered terribly. Isn't that sad!
We go back tomorrow to Bideford and then on to London for a week before going to Liverpool.
About Pinnock's bill, it is all right and you can pay it if you like or it can wait until we come home. We offered to pay it long ago, but he would not take the trouble to look it up and said there was no hurry.
We may need more money when we get back to New York so you had better send Oda a hundred dollars in care of Sue, or better still send it to Sue then she can draw it and give us the money. You can send it to Sue a little before we arrive, then she can have it ready for us. [Susie Sawyer Howe lived in NYC]
We have just received two good letters from you. I should like to see you darning stockings!
We expect to arrive in New York about Oct. 16 and shall expect to find a letter from you at Sue's. We understand how you feel about coming East at this time, but I am afraid Fred will be a good deal disappointed.
We hear that Mr. Ewing has resigned. There has been a good deal of feeling against him for a good while so we have expected this but we are glad to be away at the time. He wrote us such a nice letter telling us about it. He is a thoroughly good man and I have great reverence for him, but I am sure a change is necessary for the good of the church though we may dread it very much.
Have you heard that Mrs. Merrill is dead? I suppose you did through the news.
We wrote you that Maggie was at Mrs. Putnam's. They liked her very much and were feeling very happy, when one day Carrie Faxon came down and offered Maggie $3.50 if she would go to the Gould's. Of course Maggie accepted and the Putnams were left perfectly wild with anger against Carrie Faxon. That is one of the meanest things that anyone can do, but Miss Faxon does not care what people say about her. But as Maggie is in such demand we think it speaks pretty well for our training!
Lovingly, Margaret

Clovelly September 24, 1899
My dear Mrs. Kirby:
I wish you could see this funny little quaint village that we have just come to spend Sunday in, only one street and that is so steep that it is perpendicular and no carriage can come into the village, have Donkey to take the luggage up and down on their backs and you must walk or go on Donkey back. We are in a hotel that has all kinds of dishes on the walls for decoration cups on hooks all the way down the side of the window.
We are on the coast and have delicious fresh fish and it is a nice change. We get very tired of cold joint and ham. It rained this morning but has cleared away but seems cold & dreary. We had a fire in our room yesterday at Bideford where we took a carriage and drove to Clovelly and through the Hobby drive which is fine through the woods most of the way and you could see the quaint little village down under the hill all the houses whitewashed, and it looked so clean and nice when we got here all have stone floors. We go to London Tuesday and stay until it is time to sail. I am glad the time is not far away as I am getting tired and want to settle down for the Winter. I dread to think of housekeeping and getting a new maid. We were pleased to get a letter from George today when we arrived here. He spoke of going with you and Mr. Kirby to make a call. It takes so long to get a letter I can hardly wait to see him. I am thankful he has seemed to keep so well. I think you ought to learn to play golf as we meet a great many ladies old as I am and fleshy that say they enjoy it very much and my it seems as though most of the people we meet ride a Bicycle old and young. We were sorry not to have apartments any more as we enjoyed them so much better than Hotels, but we do not stay long enough in one place to have them anymore. Oda & Margaret join me in sending love to Mr. Kirby and yourself Henry Anna & George, and I would like a letter when I get home. Do not wait as long as I have.
Sincerely yours H. R. Howe
[Henry & Anna Howe are cousins, Henry is son of Asa and works with George at the Marshalltown savings bank and LeGrand Quarry.]

West Central Hotel, London, Oct. 1 1899
My dear George [Oda writes]
It is four o'clock Sunday afternoon and I've just come up to the room after reading in the drawing room over an hour since dinner.
It has rained hard most all day but M. and I managed to get to church and back without being wet. We went to hear Mr. Mayer whom we liked as much at Northfield several years ago and the service was beautiful. The church itself is very fine with an exquisite marble pulpit. We are just becoming enough acquainted with London to feel perfectly easy in going about. We've been so busy ever since we came, and doing last things in the shopping line, dressmaking etc. and we've had more done than we first intended, for we thought it would be easier than to have to see about clothes as soon as we got home. M. and I have each a tailor made gown and M. a bicycle skirt also tailor made and we think they will be quite swell. Then I am having a black cloth toque and a green silk blouse made and Mama is having a nice gown. You see, most everything we brought over is worn out or nearly so, and we just had to have some new things, but it is so tiresome to have to bother about shopping. However, the weather has been too disagreeable for sightseeing and anyway we couldn't do much in the short time we are here. As you may surmise, I've drawn out both my letters of credit and M. has hers, but of course the money hasn't all gone on our individual expenses, but is used to straighten out mutual accounts.
We like this hotel as much and find it nearly as convenient as the apartments on Princes Street, and fully as cheap: it is full all the time and we have to get on with one good-sized room tho' we have spoken for another small room, as it will be difficult to pack in such cramped quarters. The people here seem nice, from Australia, British Columbia, South Africa as well as Scotland and England: not many Americans. We've discovered a Vienna restaurant which is first rate -- good coffee and chocolate and everything nice. If I were compelled to live on a strict English diet for the year-round, I believe I should starve! We so long to get some cornbread, a good steak and other home-cooked dishes, but I expect the first week or two we'll live picnic style, for we want some work done in the house. M. suggests electric lights and thinks they would prove such a convenience; what do you think? For reading I believe there is nothing like a good lamp but it has to be well cared for of course and the Dr. and Mr. Kenny who have electricity seemed much pleased. Once put in, I expect the expense is no greater if as large as gas. Susie writes that the Dr. was compelled to take a vacation on account of sleeplessness and nervousness but only allowed himself a six day's trip to Nova Scotia and back taking Marian with him.
Of course you've read of Mr. Ewing's resignation; he wrote us a beautiful letter telling us of it, the reasons etc. & tho' it seems the wisest and best step all around, we personally feel very sorry and fear our church won't get so thoroughly good man very soon. Mr. Ewing is a Christian in heart, word and deed. We hope now there will be a better feeling in church affairs. The Ewing's plan to spend the winter in Boston.
Did you know that Bert Harris, Evie's oldest son, is in Colorado? [Evie Sawyer, 46, married Nelson Harris; living in Orange Mass.]
We expect to have Frank Tucker [17] with us as soon as we get home and are sorry his ticket is limited for a return Nov. 1st as we should like to keep him for Thanksgiving; he writes that he has had a pleasant summer and we hope it has done him much good being out of doors so much. Alys [Alice? Theoda, 21] has no school yet and may not have until Dec. while Onie [26] is still on the anxious seat, expecting a position. Clarence [23 and soon to die] has been promoted to the charge of the draughting room with a salary of $1200 per annum. [These are all children of Mal and Ria Tucker.] Aunt Hannah [this would be Han Jones, the deacon] writes that James Leslie [must be son of James and Martha] and Miss Kirkham are to be married Oct. 18.
There is a good deal of feeling and discussion over the Great Britain Transvaal business and great preparations are being made in case of war; do you see that lots of mules have been bought in America? Mr. Chamberlain is the most talked of public man just at present and he doesn't walk in the path of roses exactly.
Arthur's wife writes that Polly is the proud parent of three smart bobtailed kittens! M. wants to know if I am to take Polly back: don't you think I'd better? We expect to go to see Beerbohm Tree in King John tomorrow night; it is said to be splendidly given.
We sail at 3.30 p.m. Friday and if we get into N.Y. on Monday or Tuesday the 16th or 17th, we'll go to the Normandie Broadway for a day or two to get our land legs. If you send any letters, address c/ Cousin Sue [Sawyer Howe] 149 W 93rd St. We'll probably write a card just before we leave Liverpool and when we reach N.Y. No news. Want to see you dreadfully and shall before very long we hope.
Love to all the folks.
Affectionately thine, Dode

London and Northwestern Railway Co.
Hotels at the following stations are under the company's management:
Euston, London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Preston, Crewe, Holyhead, Greenore, North Wall Dublin, Bletchley.

Northwestern Hotel, Liverpool, Oct. 5 1899
Dear George. [Oda writes]
Here we are in Liverpool again, and about ready to bid farewell to merry England. We have just come back into the drawing room after our "meat tea", -- chops, toast, rolls, marmalade and of course tea. We left London this morning on the 10.15 express, making but two stops on the way to Liverpool which was reached at 2.30. The only other occupant of our carriage was an American lady coming to meet friends arriving from Boston on the S.S. New England, and of course we had a nice sociable time exchanging addresses, relating experiences etc. Our luncheon was served in the dining car and as we were traveling 3rd cl. we were obliged to hunch in the 3rd cl. dining car! It wasn't bad after we got there, but the kitchen arrangements which we had to pass, were very unattractive and we were rather disgusted. However the food was good and our companion at table was an Englishman with whom Mama and Margaret entered into an animated conversation and if you will believe it, those two people remained sometime after I finished to answer questions which the Englishman fired at them like shot. Mama is so remarkably frank in her comparison of foreign and American ways that it is both amusing and startling to hear her criticisms! I am glad we are to leave so soon lest you might receive a challenge for a duel!
The journey wasn't at all tiresome and after we had settled about the room, Margaret and I sallied out; first to the S.S. office for labels to stick on the trunks, then took an elevated electric train to Seaforth Sands several miles distant; the road passes along and overlooks the docks and gives one a fine idea of the enormous amount of shipping. We were delighted to spy the Cymric coaling at the dock and she looked big. Tomorrow we have to go out on a tender for the steamer is towed out in the river.
Our last days in London were busy, but still we weren't rushed, everything coming along well as we had planned, and we aren't nearly as tired as we were in leaving New York. We didn't find it necessary for Mother to draw at all on her second letter of credit and there are #10 left of her first one, so you see we haven't been so very extravagant. What is she to do with those letters? Return to the bank in Chicago, to you, or keep them? The weather for the last 10 days has been very disagreeable, damp and chilly, so that we had to have a fire in our room every afternoon, but we have escaped severe colds and are feeling very well for our start.
We went to see Beerbohm Tree and his company in King John Monday evening; it was magnificently given, and it was intensely interesting though not in the least amusing. We didn't see the Marshalltown coin manipulator tho' I believe he is still at the Palace: we haven't cared much about going to things in the evening; not that it was at all difficult but that we got tired thru' the day and weren't inclined to go out again. I should have liked to have seen Irving in Robespierre but he hasn't returned from his provincial tour.
Don't suppose we shall know the result of the race until morning but hope it was more satisfactory than Tuesday's.
There is nothing more to write. Expect you'll think of us tomorrow and we shall look for some word from you soon after we get to N.Y., probably 16 or 17 if all goes well. There have been severe storms on the Atlantic lately but we shall hope for a good voyage.
Goodnight and dearest love from us all including,
Your sister, Dode
Tell us how long before you get our word from N.Y. that you receive this: it goes by Southampton and ought to reach you sooner.

Copy of U.S. Customs circular enclosed.
Hotel Normandie, Oct. 17, 1899
Dear George. [Margaret]
Here we are back again in our own land once more for which we are truly thankful.
I think Oda wrote you that we had a big fog all night Saturday, the foghorn blowing every minute. Of course they ran the boat very slowly and twice they stopped altogether. Had it not been for that we should have reached New York Sunday morning. About seven a pilot came on board and we continued our slow progress until noon when they dropped anchor, not daring to come in to the harbor until the fog lifted. Of course this might happen any minute, so we were all packed and dressed ready to land. You can imagine what a tiresome day it was, and when dinner time came we knew we should be obliged to unpack and spend another night on board. That evening about eight o'clock the fog suddenly lifted, and then we saw that we were very near the land, within sight of two lighthouses, and with several other ships close by us, some of which they said had been waiting for days to get into the harbor. Such a fog in Oct. was never known before I believe, and the English people on board had great fun joking us about it. We were told that the boat would come up early the next morning and that breakfast would be served at seven o'clock. The next morning it was foggy again, but not a bad fog, so they started up and reached the wharf about 10. We were greatly surprised to see Sue on the wharf with a bundle of letters in her hand. She said Sunday evening they knew nothing about the ship, because though she was so near the shore they could not see her through the fog. But Monday morning they telephoned that she would be in by 10 o'clock so she came down. She ought to have had a permit to come onto the wharf, and when they asked her for one, she said she had letters for people on the boat and if she had any trouble, she would ask for Mr. Charles Smith. At that they became extremely gracious and let her come on at once. Mr. Smith is one of the head men but Sue never saw him and he does not know her from Adam! Isn't she the greatest woman you ever saw?
We did not have a bit of trouble about our baggage, it was even easier than it was before, and I don't understand. They gave us this paper which I enclose, some days ago, and some of the people spent a lot of time in filling it out, but we didn't do it, and the man who came on to the boat never asked us for it. He wanted to know if we had bought more than $100 worth each and we said no which is perfectly true. Then he asked if we had presents, photographs, souvenirs etc. We said yes, and when he asked the value we said we didn't know but we thought about five dollars worth. We sent home two rolls of photographs so that made the number less. We sent them by mail and they came all right. When the man came to examine our trunks he opened one, asked me if there was anything dutiable in it, then he lifted up the tray of another and the third he did not open at all. He never opened our bags or the bundle of rugs. And they were just as easy on the others, at least those that I noticed. Some of them had to pay but I think they were the ones who had filled out the list and they probably had more than $100 worth, so it was fair that they should.
Sue came up in the carriage with us and stayed to lunch, so we had a good visit with her. Then Annette [Sawyer, 35; married to Manny in NY] came about five o'clock, and we coaxed her to stay to dinner.
Sue had our hundred dollars all ready for us which made it very nice. We had a ten pound note left over, what had I better do with it; would you keep it until some of our friends go or get it changed?
We are so sorry to hear that you have not been well and it worries me to think of you staying in that horrid malarial hole. Did you break it up with quinine? Mr. Hill, the man on the boat who we liked so much, lived some years in Colorado and he will give you letters to some men of influence out there if you should ever go there again.
We are sorry you had to miss Mr. Meeker's wedding because I am sure you would have enjoyed it. When you have bought Fred's present send us word what our share is and we will send on the money. We received the checks you sent us all but shall not need to draw them here I think. We shall not go home today because we are so tired, but probably will tomorrow.
Sue thinks we are wrong in taking mother there for the winter and I am afraid we may find that she is right.
I wish there was some place where Mother would stay while we get the house settled, but we cannot think of any place where she would feel at home and comfortable excepting with Miss Little in Peabody and that is too near home. She talked too much yesterday and last night her throat was bad again. We tell her we are going to buy a muzzle for her!
We have said we hoped the Shamrock would win the races but we were all rejoiced last night when we heard the Columbia had won the first one. [That doesn't make sense]
It is well you did not plan to come east since you have been so miserable. If you had come we should have thought it was the change that brought it out just as it was before.
I am going down town now to do some shopping.
We had such a delicious steak for lunch yesterday and the corn cake and coffee this morning were even better than our dreams of them.
I am so glad we are not separated by 3,000 miles of water.
Yours lovingly, Margaret
[No mention of anyone going to James Leslie's wedding to Miss Kirkham 18 Oct.; would likely be in Clinton.]