Our host, Mr. Flower, is more deeply interested, perhaps, than any other individual in the "Shakespeare Memorial" buildings which have been erected on the banks of the Avon, a short distance above the Church of the Holy Trinity. Under Mr. Flower's guidance we got into one of his boats, and were rowed up the stream to the Memorial edifice. There is a theatre, in a round tower which has borrowed some traits from the octagon "Globe" theatre of Shakespeare's day; a Shakespeare library and portrait gallery are forming; and in due time these buildings, of stately dimensions and built solidly of brick, will constitute a Shakespearean centre which will attract to itself many mementoes now scattered about in various parts of the country.
Perhaps you would like one of those romances which turned the head of Don Quixote. Here is a volume which will be sure to please you. It is on one of his lesser lists, confined principally to Spanish and Portuguese works:--
I am very far from despising the science of gastronomy, but if I wished to institute a comparison between the tables of England and America, I could not do it without eating my way through the four seasons. I will say that I did not think the bread from the bakers' shops was so good as our own. It was very generally tough and hard, and even the muffins were not always so tender and delicate as they ought to be. I got impatient one day, and sent out for some biscuits. They brought some very excellent ones, which we much preferred to the tough bread. They proved to be the so-called "seafoam" biscuit from New York. The potatoes never came on the table looking like new fallen snow, as we have them at home. We were surprised to find both mutton and beef overdone, according to our American taste. The French talk about the Briton's "bifteck saignant," but we never saw anything cooked so as to be, as we should say, "rare." The tart is national with the English, as the pie is national with us. I never saw on an English table that excellent substitute for both, called the Washington pie, in memory of him whom we honor as first in pies, as well as in war and in the hearts of his countrymen.
For a whole week we lived under the shadow of the spire of the great cathedral. Our house was opposite the north transept, only separated by the road in front of it from the cathedral grounds. Here, as at Stratford, I learned what it was to awake morning after morning and find that I was not dreaming, but there in the truth-telling daylight the object of my admiration, devotion, almost worship, stood before me. I need not here say anything more of the cathedral, except that its perfect exterior is hardly equalled in beauty by its interior, which looks somewhat bare and cold. It was my impression that there is more to study than to admire in the interior, but I saw the cathedral so much oftener on the outside than on the inside that I may not have done justice to the latter aspect of the noble building.
On Monday, the 14th of June, after getting ready for our projected excursions, we had an appointment which promised us a great deal of pleasure. Mr. Augustus Harris, the enterprising and celebrated manager of Drury Lane Theatre, had sent us an invitation to occupy a box, having eight seats, at the representation of "Carmen." We invited the Priestleys and our Boston friends, the Shimminses, to take seats with us. The chief singer in the opera was Marie Roze, who looked well and sang well, and the evening went off very happily. After the performance we were invited by Mr. Harris to a supper of some thirty persons, where we were the special guests. The manager toasted me, and I said something,--I trust appropriate; but just what I said is as irrecoverable as the orations of Demosthenes on the seashore, or the sermons of St. Francis to the beasts and birds.