I will go back to town by the first to see the Derby and will get into lodgings there. I AM HAVING A VERY GOOD TIME AND AM VERY WELL. The place is as beautiful as one expects and yet all the time startling one with its beauty.
When the season at Oxford was over Richard returned to London and took a big sunny suite of rooms in the Albany. Here he settled down to learn all he could of London, its ways and its people. In New York he had already met a number of English men and women distinguished in various walks of life, and with these as a nucleus he soon extended his circle of friends until it became as large as it was varied. In his youth, and indeed throughout his life, Richard had the greatest affection for England and the English. No truer American ever lived, but he thought the United States and Great Britain were bound by ties that must endure always. He admired British habits, their cosmopolitanism and the very simplicity of their mode of living. He loved their country life, and the swirl of London never failed to thrill him. During the last half of his life Richard had perhaps as many intimate friends in London as in New York. His fresh point of view, his very eagerness to understand theirs, made them welcome him more as one of their own people than as a stranger. LONDON, June 3, 1892. DEAR FAMILY:
I went out to the Derby on Wednesday and think it is the most interesting thing I ever saw over here. It is SO like these people never to have seen it. It seems to be chiefly composed of costermongers and Americans. I got a box-seat on a public coach and went out at ten. We rode for three hours in a procession of donkey shays, omnibuses, coaches, carriages, vans, advertising wagons; every sort of conveyance stretching for sixteen miles, and with people lining the sides to look on. I spent my time when I got there wandering around over the grounds, which were like Barnum's circus multiplied by thousands. It was a beautiful day and quite the most remarkable sight of my life. Much more wonderful than Johnstown, so you see it must have impressed me. We were five hours getting back, the people singing all the way and pelting one another and saying funny impudent things.
My rooms are something gorgeous. They are on the first floor, looking into Piccadilly from a court, and they are filled with Hogarth's prints, old silver, blue and white china, Zulu weapons and fur rugs, and easy chairs of India silk. You never saw such rooms! And a very good servant, who cooks and valets me and runs errands and takes such good care of me that last night Cust and Balfour called at one to get some supper and he would not let them in. Think of having the Leader of the House of Commons come to ask you for food and having him sent away. Burdett-Coutts heard of my being here in the papers and wrote me to dine with him tonight. I lunched with the Tennants today; no relation to Mrs. Stanley, and it was informal and funny rather. The Earl of Spender was there and Lord Pembroke and a lot of women. They got up and walked about and changed places and seemed to know one another better than we do at home. I think I will go down to Oxford for Whitsuntide, which is a heathen institution here which sends everyone away just as I want to meet them.
I haven't written anything yet. I find it hard to do so. I think I would rather wait until I get home for the most of it. Chas. will be here in less than a week now and we will have a good time. I have planned it out for days. He must go to Oxford and meet those boys, and then, if he wishes, on to Eastnor, which I learn since my return is one of the show places of England. I am enjoying myself, it is needless to say, very much, and am well and happy.
During these first days in England Richard spent much of his time at Eastnor, Lady Brownlow's place in Lincolnshire, and one of the most beautiful estates in England. Harry Cust, to whom my brother frequently refers in his letters, was the nephew of Lady Brownlow, and a great friend of Richard's. At that time Cust was the Conservative nominee for Parliament from Lincolnshire, and Richard took a most active part in the campaign. Happily, we were both at Lady Brownlow's during its last few tense days, as well as on the day the votes were counted, and Cust was elected by a narrow margin. Of our thrilling adventures Richard afterward wrote at great length in "Our English Cousins."
LONDON, July 6, 1892. DEAR MOTHER:
On the Fourth of July, Lady Brownlow sent into town and had a big American flag brought out and placed over the house, which was a great compliment, as it was seen and commented on for miles around. Cushing of Boston, a very nice chap and awfully handsome, is there, too. The same morning I went out to photograph the soldiers, and Lord William Frederick, who is their colonel, charged them after me whenever I appeared. It seems he has a sense of humor and liked the idea of making an American run on the Fourth of July from Red-coats. I doubt if the five hundred men who were not on horseback thought it as funny. They chased me till I thought I would die. The Conservative member for the county got in last night and we rejoiced greatly, as the moral effect will help Harry Cust greatly. His election takes place next Monday. The men went in to hear the vote declared after dinner, and so did two of the girls, who got Lady Brownlow's consent at dinner, and then dashed off to change their gowns before she could change her mind. As we were intent on seeing the fun and didn't want them, we took them just where we would have gone anyway, which was where the fighting was. And they showed real sporting blood and saw the other real sort. There were three of us to each girl, and it was most exciting, with stones flying and windows crashing and cheers and groans. A political meeting or election at home is an afternoon tea to the English ones. When we came back the soldiers were leaving the Park to stop the row, and as we flew past, the tenants ran to the gate and cheered for the Tory victory in "good old lopes." When we got to the house the servants ran cheering all over the shop and rang the alarm bell and built fires, and we had a supper at one-fifteen. What they will do on the night of Cust's election, I cannot imagine-- burn the house down probably. Cushing and I enjoy it immensely. We know them well enough now to be as funny as we like without having them stare. They are nice when you know them, but you've GOT to know them first. I had a great dinner at Farrar's. All the ecclesiastical lights of England in knee-breeches were there, and the American Minister and Phillips Brooks. It was quite novel and fun. Lots of love. I have all the money I want.