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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Thoughts and impressions

Saturday, November 5th., Les Sablons, near Moret.

I am very well fixed here. The old couple are so decent, such braves gens; they exhale such an atmosphere of a life's effort nearly accomplished. They may be narrow, but they have worked honestly and lived sanely. They like being praised, as all right-minded people do. And they are so simple. Imagine taking to a garden  after 31 years of railway work in Paris.

I walked into the forest this morning. There was a foggy mist everywhere, and on all sides could be heard the dropping of water from the drenched trees. And looking into the depths of the forest one could conjure up the magic of "As You Like It" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream". At intervals cavalry trotted past towards Fontainebleau. One officer read a newspaper as he trotted along. 

For the second time in eight days the government was in danger of falling yesterday.

I was thinking this morning that the United States Republic had substituted an aristocracy of commercial cleverness for the old forms of aristocracy. It is said that every man has an equal chance in the U.S., and he has. But commercial aptitude, with as little honesty as possible, is the only thing that will be of use to him. And everything is so arranged that the 'risen' can trample on those who have not risen.

Additionally for November 5th., see 'An incident in Paris' -

Of course, a crowd gathered immediately; a busy, interfering, wishful-to-help crowd. I was much struck by the stink of the crowd, the low type of face, the squints, the bullet heads, the misshapen features. The getting up of the horse was mismanaged for a long time; but in the end it was accomplished without injury to the horse or the cart.

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