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Our Hundred Days in Europe   By: (1809-1894)

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[Illustration: OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES AT THE AGE OF 82. From a painting by Sarah W. Whitman]

OUR HUNDRED DAYS IN EUROPE

BY

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES

To

MY DAUGHTER AMELIA

(MRS. TURNER SARGENT)

MY FAITHFUL AND DEVOTED COMPANION

THIS OUTLINE OF OUR SUMMER EXCURSION

IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED

CONTENTS.

INTRODUCTORY

A PROSPECTIVE VISIT

OUR HUNDRED DAYS IN EUROPE.

CHAPTER

I. THE VOYAGE. LIVERPOOL. CHESTER. LONDON. EPSOM

II. EPSOM. LONDON. WINDSOR

III. LONDON. ISLE OF WIGHT. CAMBRIDGE. OXFORD. YORK. EDINBURGH

IV. STRATFORD ON AVON. GREAT MALVERN. TEWKESBURY. BATH. SALISBURY. STONEHENGE

V. STONEHENGE. SALISBURY. OLD SARUM. BEMERTON. BRIGHTON

VI. LONDON

VII. BOULOGNE. PARIS. LONDON. LIVERPOOL. THE HOMEWARD PASSAGE

VIII. GENERAL IMPRESSIONS. MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES AT THE AGE OF 82. From a painting by Sarah W. Whitman

ROBERT BROWNING

MAGDALEN COLLEGE, OXFORD

SALISBURY CATHEDRAL

PLACE DE LA CONCORDE

INTRODUCTORY.

A PROSPECTIVE VISIT.

After an interval of more than fifty years, I propose taking a second look at some parts of Europe. It is a Rip Van Winkle experiment which I am promising myself. The changes wrought by half a century in the countries I visited amount almost to a transformation. I left the England of William the Fourth, of the Duke of Wellington, of Sir Robert Peel; the France of Louis Philippe, of Marshal Soult, of Thiers, of Guizot. I went from Manchester to Liverpool by the new railroad, the only one I saw in Europe. I looked upon England from the box of a stage coach, upon France from the coupé of a diligence, upon Italy from the cushion of a carrozza. The broken windows of Apsley House were still boarded up when I was in London. The asphalt pavement was not laid in Paris. The Obelisk of Luxor was lying in its great boat in the Seine, as I remember it. I did not see it erected; it must have been an exciting scene to witness, the engineer standing underneath, so as to be crushed by the great stone if it disgraced him by falling in the process. As for the dynasties which have overlaid each other like Dr. Schliemann's Trojan cities, there is no need of moralizing over a history which instead of Finis is constantly ending with What next?

With regard to the changes in the general conditions of society and the advance in human knowledge, think for one moment what fifty years have done! I have often imagined myself escorting some wise man of the past to our Saturday Club, where we often have distinguished strangers as our guests. Suppose there sat by me, I will not say Sir Isaac Newton, for he has been too long away from us, but that other great man, whom Professor Tyndall names as next to him in intellectual stature, as he passes along the line of master minds of his country, from the days of Newton to our own, Dr. Thomas Young, who died in 1829. Would he or I be the listener, if we were side by side? However humble I might feel in such a presence, I should be so clad in the grandeur of the new discoveries, inventions, ideas, I had to impart to him that I should seem to myself like the ambassador of an Emperor. I should tell him of the ocean steamers, the railroads that spread themselves like cobwebs over the civilized and half civilized portions of the earth, the telegraph and the telephone, the photograph and the spectroscope. I should hand him a paper with the morning news from London to read by the electric light, I should startle him with a friction match, I should amaze him with the incredible truths about anesthesia, I should astonish him with the later conclusions of geology, I should dazzle him by the fully developed law of the correlation of forces, I should delight him with the cell doctrine, I should confound him with the revolutionary apocalypse of Darwinism. All this change in the aspects, position, beliefs, of humanity since the time of Dr... Continue reading book >>




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