“The river is still swollen, muddy, streaked with lights. I don’t know what it is rushes up in me at the sight of this dark, swift-moving current, but a great exultation lifts me up, affirms the deep wish that is in me never to leave this land. I remember passing this way the other morning on my way to the American Express, knowing in advance that there would be no mail for me, no check, no cable, nothing, nothing. A wagon from the Galeries Lafayette was rumbling over the bridge. The rain had stopped and the sun breaking though the soapy clouds touched the glistening rubble of roofs with a cold fire. I recall now how the driver leaned out and looked up the river toward Passy way. Such a healthy, simple, approving glance, as if he were saying to himself: “Ah, spring is coming!” And God knows, when spring comes to Paris the humblest mortal alive must feel that he dwells in paradise. But it was not only this–it was the intimacy with which his eye rested upon the scene. It was his Paris. A man does not need to be rich, nor even a citizen, to feel this way about Paris. Paris is filled with poor people–the proudest and filthiest lot of beggars that ever walked the earth, it seems to me. And yet they give the illusion of being at home. It is that which distinguishes the Parisian from all other metropolitan souls.”

Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer, 1934

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