Letter from Alice Welsh to Her Sister Anna Maria Welsh from Leamington, July 9, 1870

This is another letter from the collection sent to me by Lydia Wiley of Philadelphia. It is another installment recounting the extended European trip by John Welsh with his daughters Alice and Ellen, and other persons, not all clearly identified. Here is the text of this letter:


July 9th, 1870

My dear Sister

I received a letter from you this morning. The beginning was dated May 11th and the conclusion a day or two later, although we have had news of later date. Nevertheless, it was very welcome. I have forgotten in each letter to tell you that a few days after we reached London Father had a letter from Mr. Rommily, saying that it was as well we had not called at his place, as Mrs. Rommily and he were paying a visit of some weeks near Liverpool, but they would be delighted if we would come in the beginning of July and make them as long a visit as we could. Was it not very kind?

Mary left us last night for Ireland, and is to join us again at Glasgow. We are to let her know when. She was delighted at the prospect of seeing her father and family. Although only gone one day, Ellen and I miss her very much. She makes herself very useful.

We have had a splendid day today. Starting at ten, we first went to Warwick Castle, which is in excellent repair and the situation, grounds &c. as beautiful as I had ever imagined anything could be. Blenheim can’t compare with it. The next place was Guy’s Cliff, also very pretty. After that we went to Kenilworth, which is lovely, but a great deal of the ivy has been torn down, as the walls were found to be unsafe and in consequence were obliged to be partially rebuilt. The work of restoration is still going on. They have planted new ivy where the old used to be, but it will be a long time before the place regains all its former beauty.

After our visit there was over, we adjourned to the village of Kenilworth, and had a very good dinner at a little inn called the King’s Arms. We took dinner in the room that Sir Walter Scott used to sleep in, and were shown the room in which he wrote part of Kenilworth. Coming home we were caught in a heavy shower, but no one suffered from it but the driver, who, poor man, most certainly did get extremely wet.

Sunday 10½ o’clock. Church begins at eleven, so I have a few minutes before starting. Father received a letter from Herbert this morning, and Ellen one from you, and one from Lydia. I am much displeased that none came for me. It has been almost two weeks since I have had a letter, except the one of ancient date from you.

Herbert hints darkly that a man has been found dead in Hong’s woods and supposes you have given us the story. We were all glad to hear the party was such a success, but thought the girls might have shown more eagerness about the cake. I am sorry your cold is still so troublesome. I think a trip across the Atlantic would be the best thing in the world for you. I am delighted that Big Margaret is out of town. Give my love to her, and tell her I am much surprised that she has never written me the letter she promised, but that I still live in hopes. Does she lose Robbie as often as before we left home?

On our way to Oxford, the other day we met a very pleasant English lady, in the car, and had some conversation with her. Friday Father had a note from her, inviting us to spend a few days with her (she discovered the name from our trunks). Don’t you think it a remarkable instance of hospitality?

The papers, for the last few days, have suggested the possibility of war on the continent, but I sincerely hope that it may not come to pass, for, aside from the horrors of war, it would be a disappointment indeed if, now that we are actually across the ocean, we should not be able to go on the continent.

When you see Edith Aertsen, tell her I am very much displeased with her, for, although I wrote to her from Liverpool, she has never written me a line, which I consider very mean treatment.

1 P.M. We have returned from Church. The weather, today, is quite warm, and the Church was very disagreeably close. Father has just found that Mr. and Mr. Stuart are in the house (Maria’s Sister). He has seen Mr. Stuart, who reports Mrs. S. to be improving.

Didn’t you think that Amy Robsart was killed at Kenilworth? While there Mary Welsh, Ellen and I became animated on the subject. Mary and I siding together, and declaring that she was, while Ellen was as positive that she was taken away from the castle before her death. When we reached the “King’s Arms” we found the novel on table and much to Ellen’s elatement and our disgust, found that she died at Cumnor Place, not Kenilworth. Her room at Kenilworth is in quite a good state of preservation, and Mary had even gone so far as to point out the spot where the trap-door used to be. Mary has consented to join us tomorrow when we leave here, and go to Scotland with us. She is going to join the Misses Biddle again before they leave England. I am delighted she is to be with us, but sorry it will be for so short a time.

Give a kiss to Somers, little Mary, Minnie and the other boys for me, and much love to all the family, also remembrances to the girls and men. Have you heard from Sarah lately? Your most affectionate

Sister A.W.

Mrs. Carpenter, the two girls and Sidney left here the day before we arrived. We met the Camacs at Kenilworth yesterday.