P. S.--A funeral is just passing the window with the corpse exposed to view as is the quaint custom here, to add to its horror they rouge the face of the corpse and everybody kisses it. In the Greek church they burn candles for people and the number of candles I have burnt for you would light St. Paul's, and you ought to be good with so much war being expended all over Athens for you. You buy candles instead of tipping the verger or putting it in the poor box, or because you are superstitious and think it will do some good, as I do.
Orient Express. Somewhere in Bulgaria on the way to London.
Tuesday I wrote you a letter in the club at Constantinople telling you how glad I would be to get out of that City on April 17th on the Orient Express which only leaves twice a week on Thursdays and Mondays. So any one who travels by the Orient is looked upon first as a millionaire and second, if he does not break the journey at Vienna, as a greater traveller than Col. Burnaby on his way to Khiva. Imagine a Kansas City man breaking the journey to New York. After I wrote you that letter I went in the next room and read of the Nile Expedition in search of Gordon--this went through three volumes of The Graphic and took some time, so that when I had reached the picture which announced the death of Gordon it was half past five and I had nothing more to do for four days-- It was raining and cold and muddy and so I just made up my mind I would get up and get out and I jumped about for one hour like a kangaroo and by seven I was on the Orient with two Cook men to help me and had shaken my fist at the last minaret light of that awful city. So, now it is all over and it is done-- I have learned a great deal in an imperfect way of the juxtaposition of certain countries and of the ease with which one can travel without speaking any known languages and of the absolute necessity for speaking one, French. I am still disappointed about the articles but selfishly I have made a lot out of the trip. You have no idea how hard it is not to tell about strange things and yet you know people do not care half as much for them as things they know all about-- No matter, it is done and with the exception of the last week it was F I N E.
"I'm going back to London, to `tea' and long frock coats I'm done with Cook and seeing sights I'm done with table d'hotes So clear the track you signal man From Sofia to Pless, I'm going straight for London On the Orient Express.
I'm going straight for London O'er Bulgaria's heavy sands To Rotten Row and muffins, soles, Chevalier and Brass Bands Ho' get away you bullock man You've heard the whistle blowed a locomotive coming down the Grand Trunk Road."
This is a great country and I want to ask all the natives if they know "Stenie" Bonsal. They are all his friends and so are the "Balkans," and all the little Balkans. Nobody wears European clothes here. They are all as foreign and native and picturesque as they can be, the women with big silver plates over their stomachs and the men in sheepskin and tights and the soldiers are grand. We have been passing all day between snow covered mountains and between herds of cattle and red roofed, mud villages and long lakes of ice and snow-- It is a beautiful day and I am very happy. (Second day out) 15th---We are now in Hungary and just outside of Buda Pesth "the wickedest city in the world," still in spite of that fact I am going on. I am very glad I came this way-- The peasants and soldiers are most amusing and like German picture-papers with black letter type-- I shall stop a day in Paris now that I have four extra days.
In sight of Paris--April 16--1893. DEAREST MOTHER:
has been the most beautiful day since February 4th. It is the first day in which I have been warm. All through I have had a varnish of warmth every now and again but no real actual internal warmth--I am now in sight of Paris and it is the 16th of April, in the eleven weeks which have elapsed since the 4th of February I have been in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Egypt and Morocco. I have sat on the Rock of Gibraltar, sailed on the Nile and the Suez Canal and crossed through the Dardanelles, over the Balkans, the steppes of Hungary and the Danube and Rhine. I have seen the sphinx by moonlight, the Parthenon and the Eiffel Tower and in two days more I shall have seen St. Paul's. What do you think I should like to see best now? YOU. I have been worrying of late as to whether or not I should not come home now and leave Paris for another time because it seems so rough on you to leave you without either of your younger sons for so long. But I have thought it over a great deal and I think it better that I should do Paris now and leave myself clear for the rest of the year. I promise you one thing however that I shall not undertake to stay away so long again; it is too long and one grows out of things. But nothing I feel, will be so easy or so amusing as Paris and I intend to get through with it soon and trot home to you by the middle of August AT THE VERY LATEST. So, please write me a deceitful letter and say you do not miss me at all and that my being so near as Paris makes a great difference and that I am better out of the way and if Chas goes to London I shall be near him in case he forgets to put on his overshoes or involves us in a war with G. B. Now, mother dear, do write me a cheerful letter and say that you do not mind waiting until the middle of August for me and when I come back this time I shall make a long stay with you at Marion and tell you lots of things I have not written you and I shall not go away again for ever so long and if I do go I shall only stay a little while. You have no idea how interesting this rush across the continent has been. I started in snow and through marshes covered with ice and long horned cattle and now we are in such a beautiful clean green land with green fields and green trees and flowering bushes which you can smell as the train goes by. I now think that instead of being a cafe-chantant singer I should rather be an Austrian baron and own a castle on a hill with a red roofed village around it. I have spent almost all of the trip sitting on the platform and enjoying the sight of the queer peasants and the soldiers and old villages. Tonight I shall be in "Paris, France" as Morton used to say and I shall get clean and put on my dress clothes but whether I shall go see Yvette Guilbert or Rusticana again I do not know. Perhaps I shall just paddle around the fountain in the Place de la Concorde and make myself thoroughly at home. With a great deal of love to Dad and Nora and Chas and all.