Maria Mitchell In Her Own Words

December 2nd. {1857}  I spent all of yesterday in seeing the outside of Paris.  First in a carriage, then on foot, then in carriage again: from ten in the morning till ten at night I was sightseeing.  It is really a magnificent city.  Edinburgh is picturesque but Paris is splendid.  The streets like the Champs Elysees and Rue Rivoli are beautiful now, and in summer must be charming . . . .

December 7th.  In Paris, you have room to look at things.  In London, you have not. . . . So at Versailles, you see the palace from the magnificent grounds as a whole.  A building in London is seen by corners.

I cannot help but laugh at that last line.  It makes me wonder what she would think of Boston – or even Nantucket – in 2018!  But she is right – some places you can still see everything – and a building as the architect envisioned – but not in many places any longer.

By this time, her charge – Prudence (Prudie) had been forced to return home due to her father going bankrupt by the Panic of 1857.  Maria would travel on alone – and with the Hawthorne family who have been mentioned in these blogs before.

JNLF