Autobiography, with Letters

By William Lyon Phelps | Go to book overview
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56
THE RIVIERA 1912

'ROUGH winds do shake the darling buds of May,' said the Englishman Shakespeare: I wonder what he would have said could he have seen the Riviera roses bending their pretty heads to the soft breath of February.

We left Munich early in the morning of the second day of February, in a blinding blizzard. All day long the snow fell, drawing an impenetrable curtain between us and the mountains as the train climbed and descended the Brenner pass. Verona was dressed in white, and the two gentlemen did not appear; when we reached Milan late in the evening, the city was buried in snow. Oh what a difference in the morning! At San Remo, the sky was a brilliant, cloudless blue, the dark-blue sea was trimmed with ermine: green grass, palms, orange and lemon trees everywhere, so that the whole place seemed to be full of gorgeous blue and green and gold. In spite of the high wind that sent tremendous waves crashing on the rocks, the air was gentle and pleasant: there were no teeth in the breeze.

We left the train de luxe, which like many luxurious people was six hours late, at Nice: and put up at a hotel which we could not put up with long. The food was excellent, and our rooms--it sounds impressive to use the plural--faced the splendid sea. But the table-manners of the 'guests' of that inn baffle description. I am no glass of fashion and mould of form, and do not pretend to be an

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