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The Letters of William Cullen Bryant - Vol. 1

By William Cullen Bryant II; Thomas G. Voss et al. | Go to book overview

of climate (I say nothing of uniformity of temperature, for there Europe has the advantage), he needs not leave the United States; if he delights in seeing the great mass intelligent, independent, and happy, he must not leave the United States; if he desires to cultivate or gratify his taste by visiting works of art, there are some means of doing so in all the great American cities, and they are all the time increasing. If he wishes to make the comparison between a people circumstanced as are those of a republic and the nations which live under the rickety governments of the Old World--à la bonne heure [well and good], as the French say--let him do it, and, after having made the comparison, if he is a just and philanthropic person, who looks to the good of the whole, and not to the gratification of his individual tastes, he will be willing to return and pass the rest of his life at home. If he dislikes being plagued with beggars, if he hates idleness and filth, if he does not like to feel himself in a vast prison wherever he travels in consequence of what is called the passport system, which subjects him to constant examinations and delays in going from one place to another, he must not go to France or Italy; and if he cannot bear being cheated and defrauded by rapacious hotel keepers, servants, and shopkeepers, who are desirous, as the phrase is here, to "profit by circumstances," he must not travel in Europe at all. Do not suppose, however, by this that I have finished my travels, and am coming back. I am only making a plain statement of inconveniences, to which I am willing to submit, temporarily at least, for the sake of gratifying my curiosity. . . .

MANUSCRIPT: Unrecovered TEXT (partial): Life, I, 310-311.


295. To Saul Alley1

Florence Oct 13 1834.--

My dear Sir

I wrote you a short and hasty letter at Paris respecting your son which I presume you have received long before this. 2 Since that time we have made the journey from Paris to this place and made it without accident or ill luck of any kind. At his urgent request, I consented that he should perform part of the journey alone. An additional motive for this was that as we were going to travel in the diligence we could not all go in that part of the vehicle which is called the coupé, and which is the most desirable situation for one who wishes to see the country as he passes. He therefore took a seat in the coupé on Monday the 18th of August, and I engaged the whole of the coupé for my family for the Thursday following, when I left Paris. I rejoined him at Marseilles and engaged a comfortable carriage to bring us to Nice. From Nice to Genoa we all travelled in that part of the diligence called the interior--an experiment of which we were heartily tired before we had proceeded twenty miles. At Genoa we again engaged a carriage to bring us to this place, and performed the rest of the

-428-

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