I may insert here the following short note from Madame Mohl, because the manner of it is very characteristic of her. It is, as was usual with her, undated.
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“MY DEAR MR. TROLLOPE,—By accident I have just learned that you are in London. If I could see you and talk over my dear old friend (Madame Recamier) I should be so much obliged and so glad. I live 68 Oxford Terrace, Hyde Park. If you would write me a note to say when I should be at home for the purpose. But if you can’t, I am generally, not always, found after four. But if you could come on the 10th or 12th after nine we have a party. I am living at Mrs. Schwabe’s just now till 16th this month. Pray write me a note, even If you can’t come.
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All the capital letters in the above transcript, except those in her name are mine, she uses none. The note is written in headlong hurry.
Mignet, whom I met at the house of Thiers, I liked too, but Mohl was my favourite.
It was all very amusing, with as much excitement and interest of all kinds crammed into a few weeks as might have lasted one for a twelvemonth. And I liked it better than teaching Latin to the youth of Birmingham. But it would seem that there was something that I liked better still. For on March 30th, leaving my mother in the full swing of the Parisian gaieties, I bade adieu to them all and once again “took to the road,” bound on an excursion through Central France.
My journey through central France took me by Chartres, Orleans, down the Loire to Nantes, then through La Vendee to Fontenay, Niort, Poitiers, Saintes, Rochefort, La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Angouleme, Limoges, and thence back to Paris. On looking at the book for the first time since I read the proof-sheets I find it amusing. The fault of it, as an account of the district traversed, is, that it treats of the localities described on a scale that would have needed twenty volumes, instead of two, to complete the story of my tour in the same proportion. I do not remember that any of my critics noted this fault. Perhaps they feared that on the first suggestion of such an idea I should have set about mending the difficulty by the production of a score of other volumes on the subject! I could easily have done so. I was in no danger of incurring the anathema launched by Sterne—I think it was Sterne—against the man who went from Dan to Beersheba and found all barren. I found matter of interest everywhere, and could have gone on doing so, as it seemed to me in those days, for ever.
The part of France I visited is not much betravelled by Englishmen, and the general idea is that it is not an interesting section of the country. I thought, and still think, otherwise. My notion is, that if a line were drawn through France from Calais to the centre of the Pyrenean chain, by far the greater part of the prettiest country and most interesting populations, as well as places, would be found to the westward of it. I do not think that my bill of fare excited any great interest in the reading world. But I suppose that I contrived to interest a portion of it; for the book was fairly successful.