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To William S. Dexter.

Dresden, September 24, 1856.
my dear Dexter,—Thank you for your letter from Woods' Hole, dated August 24, just a month to-day. It is a great comfort to those who are so far off, and leave interests behind greater than they ever left before, to have such cheerful accounts, and to have them so often land so regularly . . . .

I need not tell you that we are all well. Nor need I tell you what we have been doing. You know more about it, from the time of our casting off from the wharf in East Boston, than I can now remember. But in general terms, I can say that we have had a much better time than I expected, and enjoyed much more than I thought we should. The travelling servants are much more accomplished, and better fitted to their business than they used to be . . . . When I was first in Europe, forty years ago, the species was hardly known, and the few that served were almost entirely real couriers, who rode ahead to order horses, and were fit for little else. Twenty years ago they were better, but their number was not fairly equal to the demand, and they presumed a good deal upon their consequence. Now they offer themselves to you in crowds, and competition makes them active, efficient, and even honest. How much such a state of things alleviates the troubles of travelling I need not tell you; but even this improvement is little, compared with the improvement in the hotels, and the hotel service, and the facilities and comforts offered by the railroads. The result in my own case is that, wholly contrary to my expectation, I enjoy travelling.

Changes I find on all sides; enormous, and sometimes startling. Many friends are gone, who used to be very important to us. Tieck, Tiedge, and Mad. de Luttichau among the first; but more remain, I think, than could have been reasonably expected, after the lapse of so many years, and we find them very kind. Like true Germans, they take us up just where they left us. This I say, thinking of Dresden; but at Berlin it was the same, and so it will be, I am sure, wherever we go in Germany, for the Germans are an eminently faithful people.

We all feel a little sorry and troubled at leaving Dresden. . . . . But the autumn is coming on, and we shall find milder skies and brighter days at the South. We set off, therefore, to-morrow for Vienna, hoping to be in Venice by the middle of October, and before Rome by December 1 . . . . .

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