Travel Letters: At The Hotel De L’empire, Paris, France (1882)

MY DEAR GERTIE, — I was very much pleased to get your letter, and think it was very nice indeed in you to write. It was the first letter I received, and I read it as I was sitting in the vestibule of the House of Commons in London, waiting for the doors to open, to let us go in and hear the great men make their speeches. Since then we have traveled on and on, and now are in great Paris. It is all excitement here, because this is the great Fête Day, just like the 4th of July in Boston. Years and years ago, the old prison of the Bastile was taken, and the prisoners were released on the 14th of July. Susie will tell you all about it. The streets today are full of flying flags, and there are bands of music going all about town, and hosts of soldiers marching. This evening, the city is going to be illuminated, and there will be fireworks everywhere. And it is all as pretty as pretty can be. Don’t you wish that you were here ? Some day you and I will come. The funny thing is that the people here speak French. The little children about the streets speak it, just as well as you speak English. The boys and girls are very queer. The common little boys wear blue blouses, and the little girls wear small white night – caps all the time. It is bright, and sunshiny, and delightful.

I am glad you have had such a nice time in New York, and that you saw Central Park and the Elevated Railroad. Now I am glad you are having such a good time at Andover. Go and see the beautiful pig, and write me a letter and tell me how he looks. Get your map and find Bayonne, down in the southwest corner of France. We shall be somewhere about there when you get this letter.

Good-by, and don’t forget your affectionate uncle,