previous next

Chapter 14: first weeks in London.—June and July, 1838.—Age, 27.


To his brother George, St. Petersburg.

London, June 1, 1838.
My dear George,—I write you my first lines from London, and that with the especial object to reclaim sundry letters which the Barings have had the folly to despatch to St. Petersburg after you. . . .

Last night I entered London, having passed just five months in Paris; and, when I found myself here, I seemed at home again. Paris is great, vast, magnificent; but London is powerful, mighty, tremendous. The one has the manifestations of taste and art all about it; the other those of wealth and business. Public buildings here seem baby-houses compared with what Paris affords. Go to Paris, you will see art in its most various forms; you will see taste in the dress of everybody, in the arrangement of the shop-windows, and particularly in the glories of the opera. I have been to Drury Lane to-night. I went late; and yet I could not stay through the evening, so dull and tasteless did it seem. The last night I was in Paris I attended the French Opera, and the wonders of that scenic display are yet thrilling my mind. But I have not come abroad to see theatres, though these, as one phase of society, I see with interest always. I was much absorbed while in Paris with observing the administration of justice, and endeavoring to master the system of the French law,—a subject to a foreigner of much difficulty; and I confidently think that I have reaped not a little advantage from the pursuit, and that I may be able to apply my knowledge to some profit hereafter: perhaps I shall write some work on the subject, though I hardly venture to think of it. It is more probable that I shall endeavor to use the knowledge I have acquired and the opinions I have formed in influencing some changes and improvements in the laws of my country. If you conclude to visit Paris, do not fail to let me know beforehand; for I can give you instructions with regard to your management there which are the result of five months study and mingling with a great variety of people. . . .

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Department de Ville de Paris (France) (6)
St. Petersburg (Russia) (2)
Drury lane (United Kingdom) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Jullien Paris (1)
London (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July, 1838 AD (1)
June 1st, 1838 AD (1)
June, 1838 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: