I believe that few statements about America would so surprise English people as that it has beautiful architecture. I was prepared to find Boston and Cambridge old-fashioned and homelike - Oliver Wendell Holmes had initiated me; I had a distinct notion of the cool spaciousness of the White House and the imposing proportions of the Capitol and, of course, I knew that one had but to see the skyscrapers of New York to experience the traditional repulsion! But of the church of St. Thomas on Fifth Avenue I had heard nothing, nor of Mr. Morgan's exquisite library, nor of the Grand Central terminus, nor of the Lincoln Memorial at Washington, nor of the bland charm of Mount Vernon. Nor had I expected to find Fifth Avenue so dignified and cordial a thoroughfare.

Even less was I prepared for such metal work and stone work as is to be seen in some of the business houses - such as, for example, the new Guaranty Trust offices, both on Broadway and in Fifth Avenue. Even the elevators (for which we in England, in spite of our ancient lethargy, have a one-syllable word) are often finished with charming taste.

Least of all did I anticipate the maturity of America's buildings. Those serene facades on Beacon Street overlooking Boston Common, where the Autocrat used to walk (and I made an endeavour to follow his identical footsteps, for he was my first real author) - they are as satisfying as anything in Georgian London. And I shall long treasure the memory of the warm red brick and easy proportions of the Boston City Hall and Faneuil Hall, and Independence Hall at Philadelphia seen through a screen of leaves. But in England (and these buildings were English once) we still have many old red brick buildings; what we have not is anything to correspond with the spacious friendly houses of wood which I saw in the country all about Boston and at Cambridge - such houses as that which was Lowell's home - each amid its own greenery. Nowhere, however, did I see a more comely manor house of the old Colonial style than Anthony Wayne's, near Daylesford, in Pennsylvania. In England only cottages are built of wood, and I rather think that there are now by-laws against that.

Not all the good country houses, big and little, are, however, old. American architects in the past few years seem to have developed a very attractive type of home, often only a cottage, and I saw a great number of these on the slopes of the Hudson, all the new ones combining taste with the suggestion of comfort. The conservation of trees wherever possible is an admirable feature of modern suburban planning in America. In England the new suburb too often has nothing but saplings. In America, again, the houses, even the very small ones, are more often detached than with us.