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guy’s hotel, on the european plan,
monument square, samuel c. little, proprietor.
baltimore, Apl. 26 1877
Livy Darling—I have just come in (4 PM.) & found your letter, which was a great delight to me. Poor little
Susie—tell her to be sure & give you my kiss every night; but that she must remember it is mine, not yours. I send her & Bay a lot in return, in this letter. Bay must not vomit—not that vomiting
must necessarily hurts her, but because it alarms you.
At noon to-day, after rehearsal, I walked out to the Winans place, & found a massive brick wall ten
or 12 feet high, in the thick of the city—a wall with apparently no openings in it. I followed it a
block, turned a corner, followed it another block, turned a third
second corner & followed it nearly another block, when I found a great iron gateway & a
porter’s lodge of stone. The porter & his wife said Mr. Winans was out, & that all the young gentlemen
were absent from the city. So I started away, but met a coupè 30 yards from there, & Mr. Winans hailed me from
it. He had been here to the hotel, having seen my name in the paper. So I entered his ample grounds with
him—grass, shrubbery & trees everywhere, a summer-house, an ornamental rock-work fish-pond with running water,
& lots of discolored statues glimpsed here & there through the foliage.
The house was in the midst, & was huge, of course; from the centre of the pile of buildings rose a
plain factory chimney as tall as a church steeple. We entered a hall with light airy rooms on either side; passed into a smaller one & washed my hands—automatic machinery for turning on the water.
Passed through a suite to the dining room, where Miss Celeste, two Whistler girls, Miss Ames & a Mr
& Mrs. Hicks & Miss Hicks had just seated themselves at the familiar round dinner-table that turns on a pivot.
The dinner was just such as they used to have at Newport. The family were just removing for a week or two to their country place, 4
miles from town; so when dinner was over all departed, leaving Mr. Winans & me to smoke & drink it out. He
excused himself to all comers, & we had a quiet, pleasant time.
I wish to say, just here, that the Newport house is a reflection of this one, only on a small scale. That is to
say, [everything] is for use, nothing for ornament. Everything is sound & substantial, but nothing for show. Nothing, gaudy,
or elegant, or even fine—everything plain, & mighty comfortable.
From the dining room we stepped on to [a h]
[semi-circular], broad porch, with plo ground glass sides & roof. (Southern exposure.) All
around the bend of this glass house were plain, green-painted wooden tables, with 4 chairs to match, to each. To
Two hundred people can seat themselves in roomy comfort at these tables —s & nibble their
ice cream & sip their wine—so they never invite but 200. This place is for winter parties, day or night. You can
imagine how light & cheery it is. The wooden floor is pierced with holes, like a strainer, & through
these comes the furnace heat. An automatic arrangement keeps this heat at the same figure all the time. Over head, around the great
circle, extends in a curve, about a hundred [sketch of gas
lamps along a curved line] gas lamps, whose chimneys are passed into holes in a great she curved sheet-iron cylinder
which conveys all the heat away.
Then we went off somewhere (still on the first floor) & entered a huge oblong saloon, with ceiling
about 25 feet high—r a room capable of seating 250 people. In one end of it was a fire place that would
accommodate our bedstead.
That cross [sketch of fireplace with an
‘x’ in the middle] X represents an iron back. On
The space on
eEach side of that back is occupied by mirrors. The insides of the
jambs are also faced with mirrors—& so perfect is the draft that these never
none of these mirrors ever get smoked. At the bottom of that iron back I have tried to represent a mighty log,
nearly as big & as long as myself, that lay on the andirons. There was a lot of other wood in front of
[it. The] andirons do not run straight back horizontally, but slope downward from the front to the log, thus [sketch of andirons supporting a log] So the wood never tumbles down in
front when you have piled it high—the slope will not allow it. An invention of Mr. Winans’s.
Within the fire-place, on each side of the andirons, is a little settee, without a back.
Twichell could stand upright in the fire-place. In front, a few feet, is framed a sheet of plate glass as large as the rug
that lies before our library fire. This keeps off the heat without hiding the fire. On each side stood a nest of 3-legged tables that
occupied no more room than a wash-tub [would]—yet there were eighteen tables in each bunch. [sketch of
triangular table with three legs] They were gold colored. Each table is big enough for coffee & sandwiches—or you could combine several of them so as to accommode two or more people:
Here [sketch of six triangular tables arranged to form a
hexagon] you have 6 of them. This amounts to a card table. (An invention of Mr. W.’s.) This room is lighted by 8 great
chandeliers, with 18 gas burners to each—total, 144. But this is not all. All around the cornice overhead are gas
burners—so that there are between 400 & 500
300 & 400 burners in the room. Of course the cornice burners are pretty high up to get [at.]
for lighting. So Mr. W. invented an arrangement. In once corner of the room you turn a knob & a tin
trough at the ceiling comes out of its concealment & inverts itself over the rows of gas burners. You
turn another knob & send in the corner & a stream of gas rushes up a tube—it strikes the
inverted trough & flies along, from one burner to the next. You stand in the corner, touch a match to that little stream of
ascending gas, & flash! go the 200 gas burners in the twinkling of an eye. It is like lighting a train of
powerder. You turn the original knob & the inverted tin trough over the burners retires
into concealment again.
In one place is a large rug. All the rest of the plain wood floor is pierced
uncarpeted. The entire floor is pierced with holes for warm-water heat to come up. Well, the established temperature of the
entire house is 70
saloon is 70 degrees, & is kept at that, always. Suppose you put 250 people in this room & light the
big fire & 400 gas burners. You don’t have to bother about whether it is going to get too hot or vi
not.—An automatic invention of Mr. W.’s stands there to take care of that. Close to the wall is a
long, broad ribbon of brass, fastened in an upright position.
Alongside of it is just such a ribbon made of paper. When the room warms up to above 70, the brass ribbon begins
to expand, & automatically turns a cock & lets a thread of water begin to flow out of a fascet
& into a pipe which carries it to an iron bucket suspended in the cellar. The bucket is so nicely hung, that the moment the
water begins to trickle into it, it answers to the weight & begins to descend slowly; this acts upon a wire which begins to
retard & reduce the circulation of heat in the hot air pipes. As soon as the temperature has got down
to 70 [ag] in the saloon again, the water ceases to flow, the iron bucket automatically empties itself & all is well.
If The humidity of the atmosphere is required to stand at a certain point. The moment it becomes too
humid, the dampness affects the paper ribbon & it sets a stream to trickling into another iron
bucket, & this operates upon some machinery in the cellear which restores the humidity to the right figure.
If you wish to go down cellar to see the wilderness of water tanks & various
sorts of pipes (used only for that saloon—the rest of the house has its own apparatus) you turn a knob, & a
straightway a table & a couple of chairs make you shudder by proceeding to turn slowly & solemnly down
on their sides to the floor. They are fastened to a [trapdoor] which opens & closes noiselessly by automatic arrangement of weights & spring.
Around about the saloon are two or three pianos & such things. In one side of
the saloon is a great recess or alcove, ten feet above the floor, with a balustrade in front. [Up] there is for a band. It was full of drums & all sorts of instruments. On the opposite side of the room is a
a very large church orgamn. You press a knob, which turns on the water-power, & you are ready to
play—you don’t need anybody to blow a bellows. The organ has two benches—the usual one at the organ, & another one three or 4 feet behind that one. Therefore two persons can play on the organ at once—so you have the might & majesty of two
distinct great organs going at once.
Then we passed into a great square, lumber-like room which was a good deal like a chimney, or an elevator. It
was 60 feet high or more, & had a rough scaffolding in it as high as a house. This is to be the great
orgamn, & there’s a world of odds & ends & queer complications in that rubbishy
room. Mr. W. (who doesn’t know music), (he built the present organ also), has designed this
organ as an architect would design a house; “has it all in his head,” he says; hires men (not organ builders)
& makes them work strictly after his plans. The key-board is like this—(I may say, exactly like this), barring a few inaccuracies):
[sketch of a stool surrounded on three sides by three-tiered keyboards]
That centre pile is 3 banks of keys. The two sides are each 3 banks of keys, too, but they work the stops. See? You don’t have to pull out pegs, you only strike keys. You can instantly take off a row of twenty-five stops with a sweep of your finger-nail along a bank of
stop-keys. There’s an enormous number of stops, but all are as convenient to the hand as you can imagine.
The biggest pipe is finished, now, & a lot more are progressing. Mr. W. has contrived a bewildering
apparatus, with weights, springs, electrical wires & what not, to determine &
◇◇◇◇◇ the sizes the openings in the pipe should be. It is a most perplexing looking nes mess of traps.
The big pipe looks like our cold-air box set on one end, with another one like it added to it to lengthen it. It
is square & seems to be wood, though the other pipes look like zince. Mr. W. touched a spring & turned
on the water-power; touched another spring which gave voice to the big pipe, & you should have heard the rich thunders
roll & tumb roll forth & felt the building quake!
We went up a winding stairway of so slight a slant that water molasses
wouldn’t have flowed down it, & entered a room which was like a [workshop] that had been struck by lightning. It had all manner of tools & traps & contrivances in it, &
among other things a large, long-necked inverted glass funnel filled with infant brook-trout [sketch of a funnel with a stream of water at the bottom and a spout from the side near the
top] the size of Susie’s little finger. The stream of water comes in at the bottom in a strong current &
escapes at the spout which I have marked. Mr. W. raised these fishes from the eggs. He had been raising them
fishes in the common way before (in one of his [outhouses],) but was satisfied that they did not grow as fast as in their natural state. He watched, & decided that they never
touched their food unless they could catch it before it touched bottom. So he contrived this thing for an experiment. The
upward-flowing current of water keeps the food always suspended, like motes in the air, & the fishes are content. They grow
more in a week, now, than they did before in a month by the old plan. He feeds them on dried lv liver, powdered.
Everywhere you go in this house you find mysterious knobs, springs, cranks &
other sorts of automatic deviltries; & the thermometers, barometers, temperature & humidity regulators,
& similar creatures fairly swarm in every nook & upon every coign of vantage.
We entered Mr. W.’s [bedroom]. Under Chaos is no name for it! Yet it was orderly to him. He could knew where to
put his hand on each of the million things in it. The bedstead stood in the centre of the room. Under it (same
size as the s bed) was a water tank six inches deep, let into the floor.—cold water.
Immersed in the water was a raft of hot-water pipes. The usual automatic process keeps the temperature & humidity at the
Winans-bedroom-regulation figure—65 degreses of temperature, & I’ve forgotten the humidity
The floor of the room is double—two floors a foot apart. He can pull a cord, by his pillow
& throw a draft of street-air between those floors. The cords hang thick about his nose when he is abed. He can pull one
& open a ventilator; pull another & close it; pull another & fetch a draft of
air from within the house that has had its wintriness toned down by being sucked through a long gallery by an arrangement connected
with the huge chimney I have spoken of. He can pull another cord & a board outside his door will fold down &
expose the words— “I “Asleep.”
This bedroom is the size of our library, but imagine the things there are in it! You couldn’t get a
tenth of them into our library. Because you wouldn’t know how. There’s a row of work
benches, loaded with things in process of construction. Under this row are embrasures crammed with all imaginable tools. There is a
charming little steam-engine which doesn’t run by steam but by water-power, & it buzzes away like a good fellow,
whirling a turning-lathe which was all littered up with ringlets of iron shavings. There was a tall cupboard of drawers, &
every drawer packed full of brass & iron joints, tubes, cocks, & every conceivable
[thing.] that is made of those metals. Near by was a thing which you could step on, & instantly your
weight was registered on a dial. I think likely I stepped on considerable many thermometers, barometers, automatic health-registers
& so-on, but I didn’t notice. They were all around. There was a thing on a gas burner to make tea in. Mr. W. goes
to bed at 8 or 8.30, & is called at 4 A.M by his watchman, who builds a cup of tea & butters some bread while Mr.
W. dresses. Then Mr. W. takes his tea & bread & immediately gets at work with that lathe, &c.
Near his room we passed by a large room whose door was open & within I saw a
regular carpenter shop—a world
clutter of pine lumber & shavings, & a man planing away on a [work-bench.] of the ordinary sort.
Miss Celeste’s sitting room was crowded with books, musical instruments, & all manner of
Presently we went out into the cellar & saw the great boiler & furnace that
heat the water, for the house, & the steam engine which drives the machinery in a building fifty yards from the
house in the grounds. We started thither, & in the roadway Mr. W. lifted an iron slab & showed me a tunnel with 4 or 5 great iron pipes in it, for water, gas, steam, &c. The tunnel is big enough to
walk in, & you can get in it & go all over that great place, under ground. When a pipe needs mending, this is
He has turned a long glass-built grapery into a workshop; & in it we found 8 men hard at work in
iron, brass & wood, & assisting themselves with steam machinery.
We walked through a system of hot houses & graperies & came to a building wherein Mr. W. takes his horseback exercise under a glass roof when it is too wintry outside.
Then to his skating rink, a great wooden circle elevated a few feet above ground. He floods this shallow basin
to a foot’s depth with water & lets it freeze, in the skating season.
Then to a building which was put up for the late artist Ames to work in. It is still full up
of pictures & artist traps.
And finally to the stables where where
were about 8 or 10 carriages & 10 horses.
Mr. W.’s own coupè has a plate-glass top—an invention of his for
getting sunshine without snow, in winter. You pull a string & slide a blue silk curtain along if you
want to temper the sunshine.
The rims of the wheel-tires project slightly, & are notched at each spoke, thus:
[sketch of wheel with spokes and notched rim]
See the idea? This wheel never goes sliding aggravatingly along a street-railway rail; the notch catches,
& over she goes. That is another invention of Mr. W.’s.
I am so given to forgetting everything that I resolved I would tell you something about this wonderful establishment before I had a chance to forget it.
Mr. Winan’s eye is as kind as ever. He & the others asked all about you & the
children. I told them all I knew. Mr. W. was sorry you didn’t come with me—& so was & am I,
for that matter.
I don’t doubt it costs money to run that place & pay those 20 or 30
30 or 40 workmen & servants; but then I noticed a chap counting 24 cripsp new one-thousand dollar
bonds before Mr. W., who said: “Put them in the safe, & bring me the numbers.” Perhaps these things
Well I love you, my darling, I do indeed; & likewise I love sSusie &
I love the Bay him put’n in shum an’ pulled out a plum ’n’ said
Ever Yours in Earnest
32 pages MS.
Mrs. Samℓ. L. Clemens ǀ Hartford ǀ Conn ǀ
if not delivered within 10 days, to be returned to
baltimore md. apr 27 9am