v 7.00.00
23 Jan 2024
updated 23 Jan 2024

The Benjamin Franklin


Dearest Wife,

As you will see from the letter-head, I have made the first hop of my long trek. I spent Monday at Stamford, Conn., at the Norma-Hoffmann Co, which is a subsidiary of the Hoffman Co of Chelmsford, Eng., which belongs to Brown Bayleys (Eng.). I was most kindly treated, and the whole higher command, from the Vice Pres. Down, spent hours in phoning in [...] people who might help me on my way. At 5.30 we left the works, and I dined and spent the evening with Mr Wilson, the V. Pres. who is living in an hotel while his wife is in Florida. We talked of many things at first, but after a short time he got on the subject of Mabel's (his wife's) Disordered Stomach. As time wore on, this topic recurred, until at last Mabel's Disordered Stomach Dominated the Entire Conversation. I am glad to assure you that it is now getting cured, in Florida.

Tuesday morning I wasted at the Nickel Co in New York, getting introductions and passports, and at 4 pm I cut loose and came here, the city of all others I know in U.S. that I like best. Philadelphia is more like London than the others. There are very few tall buildings, and the architecture is mainly very pleasing restrained Georgian. In this evening I saw a very funny film 'Jolies Bergeres' by Chevalier and Merle Oberon, and this morning out early to Midvale, only 5 miles from here. Very nicely received by the President, but don't think they'll buy H. Brearley's patent which was my business. They say they did it long before he invented it, and they proved it to me. I concealed my amusement.

So back again to a late lunch at 2, and spent the afternoon sightseeing. I went into Wanamaker's marvellous store, and spent a happy hour trying out their baby grand pianos. Some of the new models are lovely, set in spinet casings. More compact than the ordinary baby grand, and more beautiful to look at. Saw and played also a new Bechstein which has no sounding board but a tiny microphone at the end of each string, which relays the sound electrically through a loudspeaker. Too complex, I think.

Then walked along Chestnut to the old State Council House, built by James II in 1700, in which (as you know) the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed and signed. All is kept just as it was then. It is a beautiful piece of Queen Anne work (that is, it is definitely not Renaissance or Caroline) and quite small. It is not unlike Inigo Jones masterpiece in Whitehall, but has two outbuildings, one at each end, connected to the main one by arcaded loggias. They were just closing as I got in (4.30) but when they heard I was from England, and a 4th July child, they locked up with me inside, & gave me a private view.

Tomorrow I go to Bethlehem, 1½ hours from here, but shall return to sleep. Friday I go to Reading, about as far, & return. Sat I go to Washington to sleep & see, and Sunday night to Huntingdon W.Va. where I shall stay two or three days.

My arm has bothered me a lot, so I went to an osteopath as I left New York. He says it is tennis elbow, & has set up a lot of inflammation. He reset the joint, which was slightly dislocated, & told me what to do, but I may not lift anything with it for a good while, & that is a terrible curse with my right arm. He stung me very hard – $10 – but like the bee, he only had one sting at me. So there will be no more squash for a long time, which depresses me. It is so difficult to get any other form of exercise.

Now I am going out to see what movie I can spend the evening in. "Clive of India" is showing at several and if any of them is near me, I'll see it.

I hope you are all well and flourishing, & that no disasters have occurred. Love to all the brats, & all my love to you.