Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/348

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Chapter XV.

I returned to Europe touching at Bombay and getting just a whiff of the intoxicating perfume of that wonder-land with its noble, though sad, spiritual teaching which is now beginning through the Rig Veda to inform the best European thought.

I stopped too at Alexandria and ran up to Cairo for a week to see the great Mosques: I admired their splendid rhetoric; but fell in love with the desert and its Pyramids and above all with the Sphinx and her eternal questioning of sense and outward things. Thus by easy, memorable stages that included Genoa and Florence and their storied palaces and churches and galleries, I came at length to Paris.

I distrust first impressions of great places or events or men. Who could describe the deathless fascination of the mere name and first view of Paris to the young student or artist of another race! If he has read and thought, he will be in a fever; tears in his eyes, heart thrilling with joyful expectancy, he will wander into that world of wonders!

I got to the station early one summer morning and sent my baggage at once by fiacre to the Hotel Meurice in the rue Rivoli; the same old hotel that Lever the novelist had praised, and then I got into