Melville in London

“X X X I last wrote in my journal on the banks of the Rhine – & now after the lapse of a few days, I resume it on the banks of the Thames, in my old chamber that overlooks it, on Saturday the 15th of Dec: `49. – I broke off at Coblentz on Monday night, Dec: 10th. The same night I fell in with a young Englishman at a cigar shop & had a long talk with him. He had been in America, & was related to Cunard of the Steamers. Next morning, Tuesday Dec 11th, I again rambled about the town – saw the artillery-men & infantry exercise on the parade ground. Very amusing indeed. Saw a squadron of drumers. Walked down & up the river, & while waiting for the Cologne boat spent at least two hours standing on a stone peir, at the precise junction of the Rhine & Moselle. At 3 o´clock started for Cologne on a Dusseldorf boat. It was intensely cold. Dined at the table d`hote in the cabin. Fine dinner & wine. Drank Rhenish on the Rhine. Saw Drachenfells & the Seven Mountains, & Rolandseck, & the Isle of Nuns. The old ruins & arch are glorious – but the river Rhine is not the Hudson. In the evening arrived at my old place – Hotel de Cologne. Recognized Drachenfells in a large painting on the wall. Drank a bottle of Steinberger with the landlord, a Rhinelander & a very gentlemanly, well-informed man, learned in wines. At 1/2 past 6 P.M went to the Theatre. Three vaudevilles acted. Audience smoking & drinking & looking on. Stopped in a shop on my way home & made some purchases for presents, & was insidiously cheated in the matter of a breast-pin, as I found out after getting to London, & not before. God forgive the girl – she was not very pretty, either – which makes it the more aggravating.”


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