Good-bye, dearest Mamma. Best love from,
Your affectionate daughter,
RINGWOOD, PHILADELPHIA, Wednesday.
DEAREST MAMMA,—I think you would like this place better than New York if you came to America. It is much quieter and less up-to-date, and there is the most beautiful park; only you have to get at it by going through the lowest slums of the town, which must rather put one off on a summer day, and it is dominated by a cemetery on a high cliff above it, so that as you drive you see the evidences of death always in front of you; and one of the reporters who came to interview us said it made “a cunning place to take your best girl on Sunday to do a bit of a spoon!!” Are they not an astonishing people, Mamma? So devoid of sentiment that they choose this, their best site, for a cemetery! and then spend their gayest recreation hours there!! I couldn’t have let even Harry make love to me in a cemetery. Of course it must be only the working class who go there, as a jaunt, not one’s friends; but it surprised me in any case.
Kitty’s house is the sweetest place, rather in the country, and just made of wood with a shingle roof; but so quaint, and people look at it with the same sort of reverence we look at Aikin’s Farm, which was built in fourteen hundred, you remember? This one was put up before the revolution, in Colonial days, and it has a veranda in front running up with Ionic pillars all in wood like a portico. Inside it is just an English home—do you hear, Mamma? I said home! because it is the first we have seen. And it came as some new thing, and to be appreciated, to find the furniture a little shabby from having been in the same place so long; and the pictures most of them rather bad, but really ancestors; and the drawing-room and our bedrooms lovely and bright with flowery chintzes, fresh and shiny, no tapestry and wonderful brocade; and the table-cloths plain, and no lace on the sheets, nor embroideries to scratch the ear. It shows what foolish creatures of habit we are, because in the other houses there has been every possible thing one could want, and masterpieces of art and riches and often beauty; but just because Kitty’s house is like a home, and has the indescribable atmosphere of gentle owners for generations, we like it the best! It is ridiculous to be so prejudiced, isn’t it?
Jim Bond says they are too poor to go to Europe more than once in three years, and they only run over to New York to stay with Valerie now and then, and sometimes down South or camping out in the summer, so they spend all the time at Ringwood, and there is not a corner of the garden or house they do not tend and love. Jim is a great gardener, so Octavia and he became absorbed at once. He has not got much business to do, and only has to go in to Philadelphia about once a week, so his time is spent with Kitty and books