**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Living In Europe And Going To It
by [?]

Every year a great deal of discussion of the best mode of spending the summer, and the course of the people who go to Europe, instead of submitting to the discomfort and extortion of American hotels, is for the most part greatly commended. The story told about the hotels and lodging-houses is the same every year. The food is bad, the rooms uncomfortable, and the charges high. The fashion, except perhaps at Newport and Beverly, near Boston, Bar Harbor, and one or two other highly favored localities, grows stronger and stronger, to live in the city in the winter and spend the three hot months in France or England or Switzerland. Moreover, the accounts which come from Europe of the increase in the number of American colonists now to be found in every attractive town of the Continent are not exactly alarming, but they are sufficient to set people thinking. The number of those who pass long years in Europe, educate their children there, and retain little connection with America beyond drawing their dividends, grows steadily, and as a general rule they are persons whose minds or manners or influence makes their prolonged absence a sensible loss to our civilization. Moreover, when they come back, they find it difficult to stay, and staying is not made easy for them. People here are a little suspicious of them, and are apt to fancy that they have got out of sympathy with American institutions, and have grown too critical for the rough processes by which the work of life in America has in a large degree to be done. They themselves, on the other hand, besides being soured by the coldness of their reception, are apt to be disgusted by the want of finish of all their surroundings, by the difficulty with which the commoner and coarser needs are met in this country, and by the reluctance with which allowance is made by legislation and opinion for the gratification of unusual or unpopular tastes.

The result is a breach, which is already wide, and tends to widen, between the class which is hard at work making its fortune and the class which has either made its fortune or has got all it desires, which is the same thing as a fortune. There is a great deal of work which this latter would like to do. There is a great deal of the work of legislation and administration and education for which it is eminently fitted, but in which, nevertheless, it has little or no chance of sharing, owing to the loss of the art of winning the confidence of others, and working with others, which is more easily learned in America than elsewhere, and which is readily lost by prolonged residence in any European country, and the absence of which here makes all other gifts for practical purposes almost worthless. So that it must be said that the amount of intellectual and aesthetic culture which an American acquires in Europe is somewhat dearly purchased. When he gets home, he is apt to find it a useless possession, as far as the world without is concerned, unless he is lucky enough, as sometimes but not often happens, to drop into some absorbing occupation or to lose his fortune. Failing this, he begins that melancholy process of vibration between the two continents in which an increasingly large number of persons pass a great part of their lives, their hearts and affections being wholly in neither.

The remedy for the mania for living abroad is an elaborate one, and one needing more time for its creation. No country retains the hearty affection of its educated class which does not feed its imagination. The more we cultivate men, the higher their ideals grow in all directions, political and social, and they like best the places in which these ideals are most satisfied. The long and varied history of older countries offers their citizens a series of pictures which stimulate patriotism in the highest degree; and it will generally be found that the patriotism and love of home of the cultivated class is in the ratio of the supply of this kind of food. They are languid among the Russians, and among the Germans prior to the late war, as compared to the English and French. In default of a long history, however, historic incidents are apt to lose their power on the imagination through over-use. The jocose view of Washington and of the Pilgrim Fathers, of Bunker Hill and of the Fourth of July, already gains ground rapidly among us, through too great familiarity. When Professor Tyndall, in one of his lectures here, made an allusion which he meant to be solemn and impressive, to Plymouth Rock, its triteness drew a titter from the audience which for a moment confounded him.