seen in Europe
were to his eye only an irregular mass of buildings with little architectural beauty, and remarkable chiefly for their magnitude.
At the French Opera
, he saw the musical spectacle of Azael the Prodigal, or rather, three acts of it; for his patience gave way at the end of the third act. ‘Such a medley of drinking, praying, dancing, idol-worship, and Delilahcraft he had never before encountered.’
To comprehend an Englishman, he says, follow him to the fireside; a Frenchman, join him at the opera, and contemplate him during the performance of the ballet, of which France
is the cradle and the home.
‘Though no practitioner
,’ he adds, ‘I am yet a lover of the dance;’ but the attitudes and contortions of the ballet are disagreeable and tasteless, and the tendency of such a performance as he that night beheld, was earthy, sensual, and develish.
he thought not only the finest church, but the most imposing edifice in Paris
, infinitely superior, as a place of worship, to the damp, gloomy, dungeon-like Westminster Abbey
de Ville, like the New York City Hall
, “lacks another story.”
In the Palace of Versailles
, he saw fresh proofs of the selfishness of king-craft, the long-suffering patience of nations, and the necessary servility of Art when patronized by royalty.
He wandered for hours through its innumerable halls, encrusted with splendor, till the intervention of a naked ante-room was a relief to the eye; and the ruling idea in picture and statue and carving was military glory.
‘Carriages shattered and overturned, animals transfixed by spear-thrusts and writhing in speechless agony, men riddled by cannon-shot or pierced by musket-balls, and ghastly with coming death; such are the spectacles which the more favored and fortunate of the Gallic youth have been called for generations to admire and enjoy.
The whole collection is, in its general effect, delusive and mischievous, the purpose being to exhibit War as always glorious, and France
as uniformly triumphant.
It is by means like these that the business of shattering kneejoints and multiplying orphans is kept in countenance.’
At the Louvre, however, the traveler spent the greater part of two days in rapturous contemplation of its wonderful collection of paintings.
Two days out of eight--the fact is significant.
Let no man who has spent but three days in a foreign country, venture on prophecy with regard to its future.
, at the time