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[294]

To Judge Story.

Paris, May 14, 1838.
I have just come from that immense city of the dead, Pere La Chaise. I have wandered round among its countless monuments; have read its characteristic inscriptions, and gazed on the memorials raised to genius, virtue, and merit. . . . You may ask then how Pere La Chaise compares with Mt. Auburn. I can answer easily. There is an interest which Pere La Chaise possesses which Mt. Auburn has not yet acquired, and I hope long years will pass away before it can assume this melancholy crown. Everywhere, in the former, you see the memorial which marks the resting-place of some man whose very name causes the blood to course quickly through the veins. Your eyes rest on the modest tomb of Talma, and then on the more attractive monument of Laplace. . . . And yet, as a place of mourning to be visited by the pious steps of friends and kindred, give me our Mt. Auburn, clad in the russet dress of Nature, with its simple memorials scattered here and there, its beautiful paths and its overshadowing groves. Nature has done as much for Mt. Auburn as man has for Pere La Chaise, and I need not tell you how superior is the workmanship of Nature. In the French graveyards there is an actual surfeit of gravestones; the sense is fatigued by the number of monumental inscriptions.1 . . .

I am on the point of leaving Paris, where I have already passed several months, and yet I have just seen Pere La Chaise for the first time. From this fact you may conceive the number of interesting and engrossing objects in this wonderful city. I leave Paris with the liveliest regret, and feeling very much as when I left Boston,—with a thousand things undone, unlearned, and unstudied which I wished to do, to learn, and to study. I start for England,—and how my soul leaps at the thought! Land of my studies, my thoughts, and my dreams! There, indeed, shall I ‘pluck the life of life.’ Much have I enjoyed and learned at Paris, but my course has been constantly impeded by the necessity of unremitted study. The language was foreign, as were the manners, institutions, and laws. I have been a learner daily; I could understand nothing without study. But in England every thing will be otherwise. The page of English history is a familiar story; the English law has been my devoted pursuit for years, English politics my pastime, and the English language is my own. I shall then at once leap to the full enjoyment of all the mighty interests which England affords; and I shall be able to mingle at once with its society, catch its tone, and join in its conversation, attend the courts, and follow all their proceedings as those at home. Here then is a pleasure which is great almost beyond comparison,—greater to my mind than any thing else on earth, except the consciousness of doing good; greater than wealth and all the enjoyments which it brings. In England I shall find a vacation,—the first I have had for years. And yet, there I must keep up my study of French and German; and I propose to devote the early part of my mornings to these languages.


1 A detailed account of the approach to the cemetery and of its monuments is omitted.

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