Monday, August 25, 2008

I daresay

John Lothrop Motley to his Wife.

Hamburg, November 1st, 1841.
My Dearest Mary,

I have again a roosting-place for a few hours, and hasten to employ it by writing to you. I reached this place an hour or two ago in the steamer from London. We sailed last Wednesday morning, and ought to have made the passage by Friday noon, from fifty-five to sixty hours being the average passage, instead of which we were six days about it. We had a head wind and very heavy weather the whole voyage, so that it seems that I have only to form a resolution, however secretly, to go by sea to any given place for the wind instantly to make a point of blowing a gale exactly from that direction. I found here a couple of notes from Colonel Todd, who has been expecting me at Lubeck every day according to our agreement, but this most unconscionable passage has kept me beyond the day of sailing of the Lubeck packet, in which we were to have gone together, and as it is the last boat which goes all the way to Petersburg this season, he was obliged to go without me, and I have to make the journey by land. This is nobody's fault but the steamer John Bull's; and on the whole I do not much regret it, as a November voyage up the Baltic is not a very desirable amusement, and, from my experience of steamboating lately, I daresay it would prove quite as tedious and fatiguing as the journey by land.

Let me see, I wrote you last, I think, by the Great Western, a day or two after my arrival in London. After that I left my letter and card at Lord Lyndhurst's, and also at Mr. Clarke's, his cousin, to whom Copley Greene, or rather Mrs. Greene, was kind enough to send me letters. Mr. Clarke called upon me immediately, and was particularly attentive to me. I dined with him once, and received another invitation from a friend of his during my short stay there. Lord Lyndhurst was in the country when I arrived, and came to town only the day upon which I left. He however wrote me a very polite note, hoping to see me when his family returned from the country the next week, and, upon my informing him that I was leaving that day, he sent me a letter of introduction to Lord Stuart de Rothesay, the British Ambassador at Petersburg, and hoped to see me when I returned to London.

Mr. Clarke is a very agreeable gentlemanlike person, and I feel much obliged to the Greenes for their introduction, for which I wish you would make a point of calling upon Mrs. Greene and expressing thanks. Tell Sumner that I left his letter and my card at Sir Charles Vaughan's door; the servant, however, told me he was leaving town the next day, so that I expected to hear nothing from him. However, he came round to my hotel within an hour, and sat some time in my room with me, expressed great regard for Sumner and great regret that his departure from town and mine for St. Petersburg, etc., etc. In fact, everybody is out of town as a matter of course; the end of October and the beginning of November is the hanging season in London and the commencement (I believe) of the hunting season in the country, so that of course everybody is supposed to be hanging themselves or hunting, and I was very lucky to find as much as I did in London. Sir Charles is a plain, unaffected, agreeable man, and I hope to have the pleasure of seeing him again in London some time or other.

I leave this to-morrow (at noon) I believe, for Berlin, and shall stop one day there and then push on for Konigsberg. I expect to meet a fellow-passenger on board the John Bull, a young man (son of Lord Minto) who is attached to the British Legation at Petersburg, and who left in the diligence for Berlin to-night. Being both upon the same expedition, we have agreed to rough it together in the diligence, and I hope we shall reach Petersburg by this day fortnight. Colonel Hamilton of New York stopped at the same hotel with me in London. He came out in the Kamschatka, which arrived two or three days after us, having made a very long passage, delayed originally by the same severe gale which attacked us between Boston and Halifax. Schuyler did not come up to London, but stayed at Southampton with the frigate. I shall find them there undoubtedly, as they were to sail again on Tuesday for Cronstadt, the day before the one I left London for this place.

- from The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley edited by George Williams Curtis 2nd edition (London: John Murray, 1889) vol. 1, pp. 67-69.

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