Travel Letters: Mayence (1874)

DEAR WILLIAM, — Let me see. The last time I wrote to you I was in the top story of a hotel at Venice, looking down upon the Grand Canal. Tonight, I am in the top story of a hotel at Mayence, looking down upon the Rhine. From Italy to Germany ! The change is complete enough, but the two evening views out of the windows are not so unlike. We have come up through the Tyrol, over the great Ampezzo Pass that I have long wanted to see, and which we saw pretty well. There was more or less of rain to keep the magnificent Dolomites from showing their most splendid heads, but on the whole the three days were a success, and brought us by Innsbruck to Munich, where we spent Sunday and Monday. I have been there several times before, but it is a bright, cheery city, full of art treasures, which I do not care how often I see. Then we went to Ratisbon, and to Nuremberg, which was quaint and lovely. They were celebrating Sedan, and the gray old town was gay with colored banners and flowers. Then there was a queer Fourth-of-Julyish procession in the afternoon, and the boys sang the ” Wacht am Rhein” about the streets all the evening. After that we went to Heidelberg, and saw the grand old castle, the noblest thing of its sort in Europe. Today, we came up to Worms and saw the cathedral, and thought of Luther at the Diet, and this afternoon we journeyed on to this place ; to-morrow, go down the Rhine to Cologne, where we shall spend Sunday.

So our faces are set homeward, and ten days after you get this you will get us, if the Siberia goes well. We have not seen any one we know since we left Venice, but all around us the papers tell of multitudes of our countrymen having their good time. I wonder whether they all enjoy it as much as I do. Sometimes, especially when I read home papers and I thank you for those you sent me last), I grow conscience-stricken and restless, and want to be at work; then I make up my mind to work all the harder when I reach home, and thus dismiss the anxiety and go on my easy way.

I hear that father and mother will stay another year in Hancock Street. I think it is the best plan, and we will still climb the hill to see them. I shall be glad enough to see you as we draw up at East Boston. My brotherly love to M.

Affectionately, PHILLIPS.