My reader was fairly forewarned that this narrative was to be more like a chapter of autobiography than the record of a tourist. In the language of philosophy, it is written from a subjective, not an objective, point of view. It is not exactly a "Sentimental Journey," though there are warm passages here and there which end with notes of admiration. I remind myself now and then of certain other travellers: of Benjamin of Tudela, going from the hospitalities of one son of Abraham to another; of John Buncle, finding the loveliest of women under every roof that sheltered him; sometimes, perhaps, of that tipsy rhymester whose record of his good and bad fortunes at the hands of landlords and landladies is enlivened by an occasional touch of humor, which makes it palatable to coarse literary feeders. But in truth these papers have many of the characteristics of private letters written home to friends. They are written for friends, rather than for a public which cares nothing about the writer. I knew that there were many such whom it would please to know where the writer went, whom he saw and what he saw, and how he was impressed by persons and things.
I need not say that I left the English Cambridge with a heart full of all grateful and kindly emotions.
One trivial letter ruins all, left out;
The wrecks of friendship's broken ring.
I was surprised to find the trees in the Bois de Boulogne so well grown: I had an idea that they had been largely sacrificed in the time of the siege. Among the objects which deserve special mention are the shrieking parrots and other birds and the yelping dogs in the grounds of the Society of Acclimatization,--out of the range of which the visitor will be glad to get as soon as possible. A fountain visited by newly married couples and their friends, with a restaurant near by, where the bridal party drink the health of the newly married pair, was an object of curiosity. An unsteadiness of gait was obvious in some of the feasters. At one point in the middle of the road a maenad was flinging her arms about and shrieking as if she were just escaped from a madhouse. But the drive in the Bois was what made Paris tolerable. There were few fine equipages, and few distinguished-looking people in the carriages, but there were quiet groups by the wayside, seeming happy enough; and now and then a pretty face or a wonderful bonnet gave variety to the somewhat bourgeois character of the procession of fiacres.
Each memory still recalling
For a whole week we lived under the shadow of the spire of the great cathedral. Our house was opposite the north transept, only separated by the road in front of it from the cathedral grounds. Here, as at Stratford, I learned what it was to awake morning after morning and find that I was not dreaming, but there in the truth-telling daylight the object of my admiration, devotion, almost worship, stood before me. I need not here say anything more of the cathedral, except that its perfect exterior is hardly equalled in beauty by its interior, which looks somewhat bare and cold. It was my impression that there is more to study than to admire in the interior, but I saw the cathedral so much oftener on the outside than on the inside that I may not have done justice to the latter aspect of the noble building.