I cannot tell you what a consolation it was to me to hear that my mother is better. Lisbon itself looks brighter with my brightened thoughts, and even the sad, rainy weather is less tiresome. I hope a packet will sail the 16th. If it does, I shall set off at once.
London, December 2, 1818.I wrote to you, dearest father and mother, on the 20th of last month, from Lisbon. The day after, I sailed in the packet and came to anchor in Falmouth Harbor on the evening of the 28th;. . . . and as I once more put my foot upon kindred ground, I could have fallen down and embraced it, like Julius Caesar, for, as I have often told you, once well out of Spain and Portugal, I feel as if I were more than half-way home, even though I have the no very pleasant prospect of returning for a little while to the Continent I am so heartily glad to have forsaken. Early the next morning I began my journey, and I cannot express to you how I have been struck by the contrast between Spain—which is now continually present to my imagination as a country dead in everything a nation ought to be—and England, where the smallest village and the humblest peasant bear some decisive mark of activity and improvement and vital strength and power; Spain, where all is so stagnant and lifeless, that the passage from one hamlet to another is a matter of such difficulty and danger that the peasants hazard it only in bodies and strongly armed, and England, where it may almost be said the facility, safety, and rapidity of conveyance make every individual in the kingdom a neighbor to every other. I assure you that often, as I was rolling along the smooth turnpikes, and saw the innumerable coaches glide by me like lightning, or looked upon my map, and saw the whole land so intersected with roads and canals that it looked like an anatomy, my head has grown giddy with the vain effort to trace out a comparison with the country I had just left, and account, even partially, for the overwhelming difference. . . . . Yesterday morning I came early to Bath,. . . . and at five in the evening took my seat in the mail-coach, which, this morning at eight, landed me safely in the London Coffee-House, Ludgate Hill, without the least curiosity to see the great show of the queen's funeral, which all the city has gone out in the mud and fog to gaze at.1 The first thing I asked for was, of course, my letters. . . . . None are