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Athenaeum Club, Dec. 14, 1838.

I came up from Oxford, after a most delightful residence, to dine with Serjeant Wilde, and go down to Cambridge to-day, starting in a few minutes. I already have engagements which will absorb the four days I purpose devoting to this place. From Cambridge I shall pass to Milton Park, to spend Christmas or some of its holidays with Lord Fitzwilliam.

It is now a year since I left America. How much I have seen in that time, and what ample stores I have laid by of delightful reminiscence and of liberal instruction! Thankful am I that I was able to conceive my present plan of travel, and, though contrary to the advice of dear friends, to put it in execution before I had grown indifferent to these things; and while, with the freshness of comparative youth, I could enter into the spirit of all that I see. But now I begin to turn my thoughts to the future. Tell me how I shall find myself on my return; what I can do in my profession; what will be expected of me; what difficulties I shall encounter; and what aids enjoy. Write me of these things; and if you write immediately on receipt of this (if it goes by the steamer), I shall get the answer before I leave London. I have seen some Boston papers, and how petty, inconceivably petty, did that tempest strife at your last election seem! I saw the various summonses to party meetings, and the split in the ranks of the Whigs, occasioned by Mr. Bond.1 I could hardly believe that honest men, of elevated views, could have taken the smallest interest in such affairs. [31] Tom Thumb's ‘pint-pot’ always seemed larger than the stage of these transactions does to me at this distance, amidst the world-absorbing affairs which occupy the great metropolis.

I am obliged, on account of my Cambridge engagements, to lose a most interesting dinner to meet Fonblanque, Black, and all the liberal press gang; also to meet Lord Durham. I shall, however, see the latter before I leave. I am sorry that I cannot write by this steamer to Longfellow, whose letter I have, and Greenleaf's also, and Felton's.

As ever, yours affectionately,

1 Reference to a controversy in the nomination of members of the Legislature, which grew out of legislation on the liquor question.

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Richard Henry Wilde (2)
Charles Sumner (2)
Henry W. Longfellow (2)
Simon Greenleaf (2)
Albany W. Fonblanque (2)
P. S. Felton (2)
Christmas (2)
George Bond (2)
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December 14th, 1838 AD (2)
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