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it was to have rescued them from that restless city, where nothing is sacred.
As I was selecting this place of sepulture, I thought of Byron's lines :
"Then look around,
And choose thy ground,
I have marked out my resting-place by my mother's side, and a space is left for me there.
This may seem to you rather a melancholy theme for letter-writing. Yet I write without melancholy, or, rather, without gloom. I feel deeply gratified at having been able to perform this duty; and I look forward with serene satisfaction to being gathered at last to a family gatheringplace, where my dust may mingle with the dust of those most dear to
God bless you, my dear Sarah. I owe my dear little Kate a letter, but have not time at present to answer it. Give my love to her and the other young princesses, and my affectionate remembrances to Mr. Storrow.
Your affectionate uncle,
P. S.-I set off on my expedition this afternoon, and expect to be absent nearly all October.
I give some letters written during this excursion, the first dated, as will be seen, the night of his departure, at a hotel named in his honor in New York :
MY DEAR SARAH :
[To Miss Sarah Irving.]
IRVING HOUSE, Friday Evening, September 29, 1853.
I hasten to inform you of my well-being, as I know you will be anxious. I arrived in town safe, and proceeded to the Irving House, where I asked
for a room.
What party had I with me? None. Had I not my lady with me? No; I was alone. saw my chance was a bad one, and I feared to be put in a dungeon, as I was on a former occasion. I bethought myself of your advice, and, when the book was presented, wrote my name at full length-from Sunnyside. My dear Sarah, I was ushered into an apartment on the first floor (second story), furnished with rosewood, yellow damask, pier glasses, etc.; a sumptuous bedroom, with a bed large enough for an alderman and his wife; a bathroom adjoining. In a word, I am accommodated completely en prince. The negro waiters all call me by name, and vie with each other in waiting on me. The chambermaid has been at uncommon pains to put my rooms in first-rate order; and, if she had been pretty, I absolutely should have kissed her; but as she was not, I shall reward her in sordid coin. Henceforth I abjure all modesty with hotel keepers, and will get as much for my name as it will fetch. Kennedy calls it travelling on one's capital.
I am at a loss where to go this evening—the Crystal Palace, Julien's, or the opera. I shall let you know, before I go to bed, my decision in the matter.
My dear Sarah, I have just returned. It is near twelve o'clock. They have made such a fire in my sitting room, that it is roasting to sit there; and I am sleepy, so I must be brief. I determined to go to the opera ; but, on the way, as it was early, I strolled into the St. Nicholas Hotel, to take a look at it. It beats everything of the hotel kind I have ever seen. I wandered up-stairs, and down-stairs, and into the ladies' saloon. Such splendor; such extent; such long corridors and vast saloons; and such crowds of well-dressed people and beautiful ladies! In the course of my rambles, I came upon Mr. Baldwin, who is boarding there. He took me all about to see the wonders of the house, and, among other places, took me into the bridal chamber, about which so much has been said. It is very magnificent, but, I am told, has never been occupied excepting by a Californian prince and his bride.
On the 17th of October, a day or two after his arrival
at the residence of Mr. Andrew Kennedy, near Harper's Ferry, Mr. Irving set off with that gentleman and his brother, Mr. John P. Kennedy, for Winchester, whence they extended their excursion to Greenway Court, once the residence of old Lord Fairfax, the early patron of Washington, and an occasional resort of the latter in his youthful days. In the following letter the reader is furnished with an amusing account of the expedition to these historic points :
MY DEAR SARAH:
CASSILIS, October 21, 1853.
The expedition to Winchester and Greenway Court, in company with Messrs. John and Andrew Kennedy, was very pleasant. We went to Winchester by railroad, and then hired a carriage and an old negro coachman to take us to Greenway Court, once the residence of old Lord Fairfax, and a resort of Washington in his younger days. We set off from Winchester in the afternoon. The distance to Greenway Court was said to be about twelve miles, but the roads so bad that it would be impossible to return to Winchester the same evening. What was to be done? Greenway Court was no longer habitable. There was no good country inn near at hand. Mr. Andrew Kennedy determined to seek quarters at the house of a Mr. Nelson, who resided about three miles from the Court, and with whom he was acquainted. We hoped to reach his house before sunset, so as to seek quarters elsewhere should we fail to find them there. We had a delightful afternoon drive, through a fine country diversified by noble forests in all the glory of their autumnal hues. I saw some of the noblest specimens of oaks I have ever seen in this country. The roads, in many places, were very bad. We travelled slowly. The sun went down in great splendor, and the landscape soon began to darken. Our black John knew nothing of the situation either of Greenway Court or of Mr. Nelson. We made inquiries along the road, but received replies which rather perplexed us. It grew quite dark before we reached a gate, which,
we were told, opened into Mr. Nelson's grounds. We drove across two or three broad fields-opened as many common country gates. Nothing had the appearance of the approach to a gentleman's seat. I began to feel dubious. It seemed very much of an intrusion for three persons to drive up to a gentleman's house after dark, and ask quarters for the night. The Kennedys laughed at my scruples. It was the custom in Virginia. Mr. Nelson would be glad to receive us. "Perhaps," said I, "he may not have room." "O, yes; he has lately enlarged his house. You will find yourself in clover." We drove on. No signs of a house. We might have mistaken the road. At length we saw a light twinkling at a distance. It appeared to be from a small house. More consultation. This might not be Mr. Nelson's; or he might not have enlarged his house. For my part, I was so fatigued, that I declared myself resigned to quarters in a barn, provided Mr. Nelson would allow me a little clean straw. The road gradually wound up to the house. As we approached, the moon, rising above a skirt of forest trees, lit up the scene, and we saw a noble mansion crowning a rising ground, with grand portico and columns, and wings surmounted with battlements. We drove up to the door. A negro boy came forth, like a dwarf from an enchanted castle. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson were both from home! What was to be done? It was too late to go wandering about the country in quest of other quarters. Would Mr. and Mrs. Nelson be home soon? O, yes; they had gone to make a visit in the neighborhood, and would be back to tea. Mr. Nelson's mother-inlaw was in the house; that would do. We alighted; entered a spacious hall upward of twenty feet wide, with a beautiful circular staircase; thence into a noble dining-room, where the tea table was set out, but nobody present. After a time, the mother-in-law made her appearance. Mr. John Kennedy was slightly acquainted with her, and introduced us. She was very civil, and by no means disposed to set the dogs on us. I began to have hopes of something better than the barn. After a time, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson came home. They accosted us in true Virginia style. Mr. Nelson claimed some acquaintance with me. He reminded me of his having introduced himself to me three years before, at the Revere House in Boston, when I was on there with the G-s; and said he had a prior ac
quaintance, having been one of a committee of the students at the University of Charlottesville, who, about twenty years since, waited on me at the hotel to invite me to accept a public dinner.
In a word, we were made at once to feel ourselves at home; invited to pass several days there. Mr. Nelson would take us all about the country, and make us acquainted with all his neighbors.
We had glorious quarters that night. The next day Mr. Nelson took us to Greenway Court. Had a large party of the neighboring gentlemen to meet us at dinner; and it was with great difficulty we got away in time to return in the evening to Winchester.
So much for my expedition to Greenway Court.
To-morrow I set off, with Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy, on our return to Ellicott's Mills, and in the beginning of next week shall take my departure for New York, to be at my post at the Astor Library on Wednesday.
The following is an extract from a letter to Mrs. Kennedy, written after his return home :
How comes on the "house that Jack built"-or is to build? I envy Kennedy the job of building that tower, if he has half the relish that I have for castle-building-air castles, or any other. I should like nothing better than to have plenty of money to squander on stone and mortar, and to build chateaux along the beautiful Patapsco with the noble stone which abounds there; but I would first blow up all the cotton mills (your father's among the number), and make picturesque ruins of them; and I would utterly destroy the railroad; and all the cotton lords should live in baronial castles on the cliffs, and the cotton-spinners should be virtuous peasantry of both sexes, in silk skirts and small-clothes, and straw hats, with long ribbons, and should do nothing but sing songs and choruses, and dance on the margin of the river.
Of late, I have gratified my building propensity in a small way, by putting up a cottage for my gardener and his handsome wife, and have