Travel Letters: Hotel Vierjahreszeiten, Munich (1866)

DEAR MOTHER, — Here goes for my last letter but one. If you have done such a foolish thing as to keep any of my letters, you might find among them one, almost a year back, dated from this same hotel with the horrible name to it, where I am writing now. How little time ago it seems ! But what a lot has come in between. It was last October, and I was just going to Vienna ; since then, all the East, Italy, France, England, and now Switzerland. Yes, Switzerland is done, and except for the little glimpse that I shall get of them in the beautiful Tyrol, I have seen my last of the white hills. I look forward to nothing afterwards but a quiet week of loafing in Paris, and then the steamer. Two weeks after you get this, 1 hope you will get me.

I found letters at Constance from William and Mr. Coffin. William’s was from that paradise on the seashore where they all went this summer. They seem to be having a splendid time, and not to envy even Switzerland. I do not wonder that they enjoyed it, for they had sufficiently varied materials for a very pleasant party. I am glad that Fred was with them, and was not rector of anything up to that date. I dare not hope that such a state of things will last long, but it makes me think that I may possibly find him not yet emigrated to any of the ends of the earth when I get back.

The great item of home news in the two last letters is one that interests me deeply. Bridget has gone ! You only state the bald fact, but give no particulars about her successor, as if it were not a matter of profound interest, even to an occasional visitor under the home roof. I do not care what her name is, but what can she do ? Has she any power to create those particular home dishes that have never been seen anywhere else ? Or is she some new person, who will introduce another order of things, and serve up the same round of endless stuff that one gets everywhere besides ? Remember, I insist on flapjacks and fishballs. As to Bridget, she never was a cheerful person ; rather glum and solemn, not a sunshiny picture to have about the house ; and her flapjacks for the last few years were nothing to what they were, a trifle clammy and heavy ; so that I will not shed any tears over her departure, but hope the newcomer may beat her all hollow.

If this seems a foolish letter to send over the seas, just turn to my exceedingly sensible one, which I have no doubt I wrote last year, and read all you want to know about Munich. What ‘s the use of writing when I can tell you all in four weeks ? Good-by. Love to everybody.

PHILLIPS.