( Originally Published Mid 1800's )
Thursday Evening, October 26.
I beg pardon most humbly for this long gap. The truth was I got as far as that, and then went to dinner, my last day, at Dr. Abbott's, and right after dinner left Berlin for Dresden, and since then have been so busy that letter writing has been neglected. I reached here yesterday, and found letters from father and mother and Fred and Franks, all in one bundle ; and today I dropped in at the banker's again and found William's letter of the 3d ; so now I certainly must write, and will go back to where I left off in Berlin a week ago last Monday. I rode direct to Dresden, where I spent two days ; and such days ! Oh, if you could see the picture gallery there ! it has the picture of the world which I have waited years to see, Raphael's Madonna di San Sisto. I will not say anything about it, because there is no use trying to tell what a man feels who has been wanting to enjoy something for fifteen years, and when it comes finds it is something unspeakably beyond what he had dreamed.
The other rooms of the gallery are rich in the great paintings of the world. Then I took the train to Prague, passing into Bohemia and showing my pass-port to the inquisitive Austrian officials at Bodenach. Prague is the queerest old Austrian town, with splendid views, grand old churches, some good pictures, fine palaces, and the strangest old synagogue in Europe. Then to Nuremberg, the oldest-looking town on the Continent ; old without an admixture or intrusion of the new, today as completely a town of three hundred years ago as it was then. Tell William to read you Longfellow's poem of " Nuremberg " aloud to-night, and you will know just what I saw and how I felt. From Nuremberg to Ratisbon, another of the very old towns,. with one of the most perfect cathedrals and the Valhalla or Temple of Fame, on the banks of the Danube. Here was my first sight of the great river. Then from Ratisbon here, where I am sitting in my room of the third story of the Vierjahreszeiten (that means " Four Seasons ") Hotel, writing this letter to you. Munich is in its beauty a new town, but splendidly full of interest. Let me see. Here is the great Gallery of Old Pictures, the Gallery of Moderns, one of the great sculpture galleries of the world, the great royal foundry, the second greatest library, the largest bronze statue, the finest church glass, and the noblest public buildings in Europe. Is that enough, and isn't this last a week to cross the Atlantic for ? Dresden, Prague, Nuremberg, and Munich ! I will say no more about them, but be sure I am very well contented with my lot.
Your letters were delightful to get. I could see you all sitting around the table writing them and talking as the work went on. How you must have enjoyed your visit from Fred ! I am very glad that Franks went on with him. He is a nice boy, a great pet of mine, and more than that, a fellow of a great deal of earnestness, ability, determination, and sterling character. You may well be glad to have given him so much enjoyment as he seems to have had in Boston. Of course, before this they are both hard at work again in Philadelphia.
I shall be here one day longer, and then leave for Salzburg, Vienna, Pesth, and Trieste, whence I expect to sail on the 10th of November for the great East. You will gather from my letter that all goes well and I am very happy. There has not been an hour since I left New York that has not been full of pleasure, not a day that has not been lighted up by seeing some of the sights for which I have longed. And all the East and Italy and France and much of England and Switzerland is yet in store. Hurrah !
This place is full of English and Americans. I had a discussion at the table d'hôte yesterday with an English gentleman, during which lots of American secessionists got up and left. General McClellan is in Dresden, but I did not see him, and slept soundly in the same city with the great Coppery hero.
I have a letter from Mr. Coffin, who reports all well in the church matters. He says Dr. Butler is doing everything there is to do, so I feel easier to be wandering about here in this delightful way.
And now good-night. Before you get this I shall be on my way to the Lands of the Sun. Think of me, pray for me, and write to me. God bless you, and keep us all, and bring us safe together again by and by. Lots of love to all.