Explains the delay in answering Cowell's letter, claiming that he had mislaid it, and had forgotten where Cowell would be; says that he could only remember that he would be at F[lorence] 'about the beginning of May.' Apologises for his carelessness, and claims that he was further delayed in writing by his having to research some lectures that he had to give on the Acts of the Apostles. Regrets that they could not have met up at Florence. Reports that [Henry Yates?] Thompson's failure in the Tripos took them all by surprise, and that the latter seems to have taken the result 'a good deal too coolly; and to have imitated [George Otto] Trevelyan's dangerous example of reading by himself and doing no composition, without having any of Trevelyan's classical intuition...' Reports that Thompson is now in Auvergne, having perfected his French at Paris, and that Trevelyan has returned from Paris. Expresses some doubts in relation to the latter's account of his and Thompson's sojourn in Paris.
Reports that he himself has been spending his vacation in England, trying to cure his stammering. States that he is an M.A. now, and is getting to see more of the authorities of the College, whom he describes as 'a kind of big children.' Remarks that W.H. Thompson 'improves on acquaintance', and is 'so much more genial than one would have thought.' States that he [Henry] is getting over his old objections against fellow-commoners. Admits that his is a very nice life, and that he actually gets through 'so very little work.' Wishes that he could shake off his laziness and begin to write. Claims that his views on religious and philosophical subjects are 'in a state of change', and wishes that he could talk to Cowell on these matters. Claims to have given up a good deal of his materialism and scepticism, 'and come round to Maurice and Broad Church again...' Claims to be 'deeply impressed by the impotence of modern unbelief in explaining the phenomena which Christians point to as evidences of the Holy Spirit's influence.' Discusses his interpretation of the words 'religious' and 'irreligious' as applied to men.
Hopes that Cowell is 'getting happily and delightfully convalescent' in 'the famous city of Dante' [Florence]. Wonders when he is to return to England, and if his 'distaste for the law and...devotion to philosophy' will continue when his health has improved. Remarks that he always thought that Cowell was made for the practical rather than the speculative life. Reports that the ' [Apostles] Society' flourishes, and that the only new member is [William] Everett, who has considerable interests in Metaphysics. Refers to his 'declamation in chapel', with which the old Dons, especially [William] Whewell, were 'enraptured. Asks for the name of Cowell's guide for [E.E?] Bowen, who plans, with [E.M?] Young, a Swiss tour.