July 5.I intended to write you a letter immediately, so that it might take a short cut and be awaiting you in Ambleside, but to tell you the truth I haven't been awake long enough to do it. A perfect mad passion for sleep has descended upon me, and my record is truly outstanding, twenty-five hours out of the last thirty-six, for instance, and I have so infected the household that Williamson Updike himself was guilty of two naps yesterday.
You are about half through your voyage now, I suppose, and I wonder in what condition you find yourselves. Somehow I had my doubts about Nell and Matthew in that struggle for the survival of the fittest, but I shall doubtless hear that they were the safest of all. That is, provided Matthew caught the boat. He was in such absorbed, earnest, forgetful-of-his-surroundings conversation with his lady friend on a remote corner of the pier, that we felt constrained to warn him, and broke the news gently that he was going to sail for Europe that morning.
After that last wave of the hand to you, Stockton and I fell in with Ned Howe and we all three went off to lunch to-gether. Oh the joys of that luncheon after the heat outside! Huge beakers of iced tea—which it will be many a morn before you see again. Then Stockton took me to my hair woman and left me there. After a long, delicious shampoo I went up to 42nd St and took my train, and arrived at Lyme at 6.30. The Vreelands met me at the station with the launch and we puff-puffed up to the house. Lyme is lovely! Of course I have never seen it at this time of year before, and it looks so strange to see my beautiful burnt-orange marshes adorned with every shade of green.Mr. and Mrs. Gauss were here when I came, and I like them tremendously. He is most interesting, and the wee little girl a perfect dear. She is only two years old and talks french in the most adorable way.Adèle Williams has not yet appeared upon the scene. Indeed, Miss Florence has not even heard from her, and I foresee a lodging upon the curbstone for that improvident young artist.
We drove by there the other day and I went in to inquire, but before I could find Miss Florence I had to climb over a perfect jumble of artists who were shelling peas oin the front hall, the Howes, the Poors and several others unknown.
I saw the Sparhawk Jones at church Sunday. The daughters seem nice, but oh, so plain! Miss Bond was with them and they all asked about the Wilsons, and expressed regret at not having you here this summer. Miss Ludington was the only one of her family on hand. Arthur is off studying somewhere, and the rest were—I know not where. She was looking exquisitely lovely in a gown all cream and violet, with an amethyst collar about her breast.
I had a perfect volume of an epistle from Mr. Bra the other day, recounting all his adventures in his new church. His Sunday evening congregation has increased from 14 to 100, and his Wednesday evening from 4 to 36. Of course as he says that is probably just the effect of a new man, but it is growing already in actual membership, and he is so pleased and interested that he can scarcely bear to think of taking a vacation.
Isn't this a sweet picture of Maudie? The doll she is so carefully holding is her little cousin, Mrs. Vreeland's sister's baby. That baby divides shares with the Red House the interest of the family just at present. The House is lovely, all fresh white paint, and new wall-paper. It is changed completely, too, all the river view that before was hidden by the kitchen is now looked upon from a new, wide veranda, the old dining room is now a long low sitting room with a big chimney, and squishy window seats.
Well, it is time for my morning nap. How I do wonder how you all are, how everything is going, how you have found Loughrigg Cottage. Do tell me everything about everybody. And when you have finished with the family, give a lot of love to my beloved Yates. I shall number my letters so that if any one is lost we shall know it. And here endeth number I.
With loads upon loads of love