In Venice we had a luxury which very seldom fell to our lot
on the continent - a home dinner with a private family.
If one could always stop with private families,
when traveling, Europe would have a charm which it
now lacks. As it is, one must live in the hotels,
of course, and that is a sorrowful business.
A man accustomed to American food and American domestic
cookery would not starve to death suddenly in Europe;
but I think he would gradually waste away, and eventually die.
He would have to do without his accustomed morning meal.
That is too formidable a change altogether; he would
necessarily suffer from it. He could get the shadow,
the sham, the base counterfeit of that meal; but it would
do him no good, and money could not buy the reality.
To particularize: the average American's simplest and
commonest form of breakfast consists of coffee and beefsteak;
well, in Europe, coffee is an unknown beverage. You can
get what the European hotel-keeper thinks is coffee, but it
resembles the real thing as hypocrisy resembles holiness.
It is a feeble, characterless, uninspiring sort of stuff,
and almost as undrinkable as if it had been made in an
American hotel. The milk used for it is what the French
call "Christian" milk - milk which has been baptized.