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[377] and very accomplished, of which not only her piano gives proof, as you know, but, as I find, the walls of her house, where are many really beautiful paintings both in oils and water-colors . . . . July 23.—The principal place of the Harcourts is in Surrey, where they stay about four or five months of each year, here only six weeks. . . . . They call this their small place; but there is nothing half so luxurious, or in half such good taste, in the United States, nor, I think, any country-house so large, certainly none to be compared to it in any other respect. July 24.—The two days here, dearest wife, have been most refreshing, and I do not feel at all gratified at the idea of going back to noisy, exciting London. The Harcourts are so kind, too, and want me not only to stay longer, but to come to them in Surrey, neither of which can be done. I must be in London this evening, and in Eton to-morrow, or be accounted uncivil, and, what is worse, not regardful of Ellen's unwearied kindness to me, and her husband's thoughtful, careful hospitality. So I go at noon. We had a very pleasant drive yesterday over to Ventnor and Bonchurch and the southern part of the island, not forgetting the harmonious Shanklin Chine, all of which I am sure you will remember, for I found I had not forgotten it. The only place we really stopped at was Steep Hill Castle, which the Harcourts tell me is the best establishment in the island. It is a fine modern castle, built on a hillside, which is full of varieties of surface and charming glens, and commands grand views of the sea at every opening. The possessor, Mr. Hamborough, is a middle-aged man with a family of beautiful English children, and much devoted to botany and wood-craft. His place bears proofs abundant of his good taste, as well as of his great resources. Just after we arrived all the school-children of the neighborhood— about one hundred and eighty—came in with their teachers and clergymen, and after having had tea and cake on the grass, were brought up, two at a time, to Mrs. Hamborough, and according to their conduct during the year received reprimands,—very gentle,—or rewards very appropriate and attractive to their young eyes. They then distributed themselves about the lawn and frolicked and danced . . . . . We were so much amused that we stayed too late, and did not reach home so as to get dinner till near nine o'clock, though some of the neighbors were invited, and of course had to wait. I went all over the house, offices, stables, and gardens this morning. . . . . It is, as you may suppose, all very complete. Lady Catherine's sitting-room is singularly tasteful, and has a dozen panels after the


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