Hilaire Beloc at age 70. (© Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

His travel writing, with his observations of landscapes, whole cities, and individual works of art, deserves a revisit.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE F rom the autumn through the spring of 1890–91, the recent English high-school graduate Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953), of French and English parentage, took cheap transatlantic passage to the New World and ended up hiking about two-thirds of the way across the American continent to California in pursuit of an Irish-American girl, Elodie Hogan, with whom he had fallen in love in London, and whom he would marry several years later. In pre-automobile America, he occasionally rode the train or steamboats in the eastern third of the country but, lacking money, ultimately hiked most of the rest of it by foot until


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