My Dear Horatia
I had a delightful journey, & the quickest that I ever had; only 2 hours 49 minutes from Paddington to Wootton Bassett and 2 hours & a quarter from thence home,
altogether 5 hours ¼ from Paddington to Lacock.
I met the children and their donkey half way up Bowden Hill <1> & arrived at the Abbey just at sunset a few minutes after seven – the Evening being delicious I strolled about the garden from some time longer and found it wonderfully advanced during the single week of my absence. The Siberian Crab tree is most beautiful, and I admired a profusion of flowers on Ribes aureum, Daphne Chereum and others. At the present moment (ten o’clock) a nightingale is singing before my window, no doubt the same as last year: he has found his way back from Spain or Africa to the old abbey and perched once more on the same bush. I wonder how often he thought of it during his winter rambles.
1. Bowden Hill, Wiltshire, 1 mi SE of Lacock.