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Mark Twain
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A Tramp Abroad 1891-1901
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Oh, Europe!
 
 

“VENICE!”

“And sure enough, afloat on the placid sea a league away, lay a great city, with its towers and domes and steeples drowsing in a golden mist of sunset.

This Venice, which was a haughty, invincible, magnificent Republic for nearly fourteen hundred years; whose armies compelled the world’s applause whenever and wherever they battled; whose navies well nigh held dominion of the seas, and whose merchant fleets whitened the remotest oceans with their sails and loaded these piers with the products of every clime, is fallen a prey to poverty, neglect and melancholy decay.

Six hundred years ago, Venice was the Autocrat of Commerce; her mart was the great commercial centre, the distributing-house from whence the enormous trade of the Orient was spread abroad over the Western world. To-day her piers are deserted, her warehouses are empty, her merchant fleets are vanished, her armies and her navies are but memories. Her glory is departed, and with her crumbling grandeur of wharves and palaces about her she sits among her stagnant lagoons, forlorn and beggared, forgotten of the world. She that in her palmy days commanded the commerce of a hemisphere and made the weal or woe of nations with a beck of her puissant finger, is become the humblest among the peoples of the earth,—a peddler of glass beads for women, and trifling toys and trinkets for school-girls and children.”—Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad, 1869

Venice, Italy
Paris, France
Courtesy of the Library of Congress
 

Venice, Italy
Venice, Italy
Courtesy of The Mark Twain Project, Bancroft Library, Berkeley
Poses for McClure's Magazine
Poses for McClure’s Magazine
Courtesy of The Mark Twain
House, Hartford
In Vienna, Austria, 1898
In Vienna, Austria, 1898
Courtesy of The Mark Twain House, Hartford
Venice, Italy
Venice, Italy
Courtesy of the Library of Congress
 
 
France had neither winter nor summer nor morals - apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country. Mark Twain, Notebooks and Journals, 1879  
 
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