21 JULY 1866, Page 11


rE British public is inclined to complain, not in public of course, but in drawing-rooms, at being done out of its regu- lar autumn tour. Earth having been created for the British

income-taxpayer, he is slightly disposed to murmur at the incon- venient ambitions of the Continent, to ask why Italy should be bothering about Veuiee just when he wanted to go to Como, why Germany could not postpone unity till the spring, and so leave the Kursaals alone, why Primeda did not accept a dangerous armistice which would have thrown open all the watering-places? It is quite impertinent to go on fighting when Britons want to wander, and very shortsighted besides, for is not Germany chiefly maintained on the produce of hotel bills, and will not forty millions of people

be reduced to black bread because a few score innkeepers have to endure a losing year? We know Englishmen, join( abets too, who apparently believe that devoutly. it is a very hard case for John

Bull, and none the less hard because the papers will keep telling him that he can do just as well without going abroad, that Skye is quite as sublime as Switzerland, and 'Windermere more tranquillizing than the Black Forest, that the air of Penzauce is as soft as that of Como, a trip to Tunbridge Wells as enjoyable as one to Carlsbad or Spa, and Paris rivalled by—well, the precise British analogy to Paris has not yet been discovered, though there is a tendency to sug- gest Exeter, but then Paris is so immoral. The Briton who wants to hear a new language, and be amen different ways, and live on a different diet, and be rid of his penny newspaper, and generally to break with his ordinary daily life, knows perfectly well that he shall be bored in any part of the British isles, and for once in his life suspects that his favourite journal may be wrong. Skye will not be overpeoplel this autuma, nor the Highland inns lee more thoroughly eaten out than they usually are.

We are not about to repeat advice in which we disbelieve, 'knowing that nothing wearies an Englishman like England, and holding that weariness is not the proper remit of a holiday, but to solace the would-be traveller by a goodenaturecl query of a different kind. Is be one whit more confined by the war than he usually

? True, in an average year the railways are not loaded with troops, or the steamers taken up to convey artillery, or passports scrutinized as if every stranger were a spy, and a Briton who " pays his way, Sir," an incendiary, or large tracts of country cut off from the tourist by decree, or watering- (places invaded by persons with needle guns, helmets, and a belief that orders should be obeyed, nor are hotels often shelled, nor are battles fought round the wells whence one gets nasty water '" to see how it tastes," but then mental obstacles are just as impassable as physical. We maintain that of all human beings the regular AalAuna traveller of these isles is the roost hampered and vexed by restrictions which he hates, but which the never has the courage to break through, restrictions of preju-. -dice, and fashion, and habit, and what he thinks a sense of duty. A German or Italian, and sometimes a Frenchman, 'then lie takes a holiday, decides where he wishes to go and what be wishes to do, and having made up his mind atter much talk, he goes there and does it. The Briton. doesn't. ascertains what the people he lives among think is the proper thing to be done, and then he does that assiduously, in mortal fear all the while lest lie should by omitting any part of the programme subject himself on his return to the crushing remark, " Why, you missed the best thing in the place." We have known very,decent men, who quite reverenced truth in the abstract, tell the 'nest deliberate lies rather than en- counter that ratherstolid sarcasm. Abontone-half of all the English- men who annually visit the Pyramids stay at the bottom, some because they would be giddy at the top, others because they are afraid, a -few because they are aware that as there is only the desert to see, and the desert is all alike, the ascent is a waste of toil. But we sever met any one who had been to the Pyramids who did not say he had also been up them. There is perhaps no subject in the world upon which tastes, genuine tastes we AIWA% are so various as the mode of enjoying a holiday tour, and certainly' not one on which the average Englishman gratifies his taste so little. One man likes nothing so well as wandering up and down a city he bee not seen before, watching its people and its ways in ,a leisurely, strolling way, which at once relieves ilia brain and gives blip food for new thoughts, and he will submit like a martyr to be dragged to " sights " which bore him to peevishness or despair. Sometimes he is inclined to rebel, but his wife or his friend urge him on, and he thinks of the home verdict, and submits to his fate with placidity and a walking stick. We know one friend who has a fancy, whenever he can get away from exhausting work, for pacing the streets of Paris, looking apparently at very little, and perpetually on the move, but drinking in through his mental pores the charac- teristics of the wonderful city, nowhere so wonderful or charac- teristic as in the visible life of its streets. He confided to us one day that, often as he had been in Paris, he had never seen Ver- sailles, but was afterwards terribly afraid lest the fact should be known, and his avoidance of the most exasperating of all volun- tary hardships—the tour of Versailles,—be quoted against him at home. He really felt the gratification of his penchant a service to his mind, a relief almost like sleep to the sleepless, but he will be awfully annoyed when he reads this lest his individuality should be detected. The poor man ! he has a latent idea that he ought to see Versailles—at the price of two days' weariness. Another man feels no rest so complete as residence in a beautiful scene, with days before him to enjoy it, to suck it in, as it were, till he can carry away the pleasantness to be a mental luxury for ever, and still he will wander on and on, seeing no scene as he wants to see it, simply because " it would be so silly to come all this way and see only one place." Another hates cities because they revive the unrest, the sense of strife and labour of which he wants to be rid, but still he goes to them and " does " them, and is quite happy if he can steal some five days out of his month to enjoy the only thing he enjoys. We met an acquaintance of that sort .one day in an out-of-the-way village in Switzerland, wearing a gouty shoe, and passing his time on a bench outside his quarters, looking at sky, and lake, and hill, and seeing them—a very unusual feat. We wero told lie had gout, but condolences only elicited a wink, and the remark, "A gouty men needn't travel, you see, so I brought this show with me." Ile was at rest with his gout, for he was enjoying what he really enjoyed, and nobody else in the inn or at home could set him down as a person without enterprise or sense of a traveller's duty. That sense of duty afflicts a good many who are not very sensitive of opinion, who can say, as we once heard said, " I never go where anybody goes," and so at once avoid questioning and obtain the most comfortable of all reputations—a mune for slight eccentricity. These unhappy people have a notion when travelling for rest that they are wanting to themselves if they do not see all that is to be seen, and seek rest through an amount of toil which at home they would think justified a separate salary. We have ourselves known a lady as innocent of caring for pictures as if she had been born blind go out of a gallery weary to fainting, and go back through it again because a Weed asked her if she had seen that celebrated little Raphael. She did not want to see the Raphael, would have believed, if she had been told, that it was painted by President Grant, and she was not affecting connoisseurship, but to go away and not see the gem was a dereliction of duty. So she went back, and came out as comforted as a Sister of Mercy by a long night's watching. One of the commonest of idiosyncrasies is the dislike of mountains, once so general as to affect all our pic- turesque literature, but nobody confeeseait now except Mr. Kings- iey, and the people who feel it go to Scotland, and Switzerland, and the Pyrenees all the same. They want to go to Holland or the seaside, but they don't go. Another exceedingly common one, and the one least of all obeyed, is a detestation of travelling, of excessive variety of scene, of that sort of gentle fever into which it throws some constitutions. Such persons to enjoy themselves should go to some one carefully selected place, and keep there for their holiday time, and they generally knew themselves well enough to know that, but not one in ten of them does it. " It would look imbecile," they say, but their secret feeling is also that, being abroad, duty ought to be done, and the duty is to see many places and get half an idea of each, There is agreat fear, too, of indulg- ing odd fancies for particular places. A man takes a Laney, say to Amsterdam, finds that the bizarre picturesqueness of that dirty Venice, and the strange contrast of Jew and Christian in the streets—Jews generally sober and slatternly, Christians usually neat and delta—amaze and interest his mind, but he dare not go to Amsterdam again and again ; it would be a waste of money, and " seem silly," and be in feet contrary to his instinct of duty. Se, too, with ;places that are very eocessible, say Paris. A man may enjoy a visit to Paris more than any other passible journey, but he will ,not go there, because it seems waste of opportunity to go so often to so well known apiece, If the spot is vulgar hiaxelactoace ine.rew, till wo.Are eiefeie asking eV, 'mall who lives west of Tottenham-Court Road whether, if he wished. it ever so much, he dare go to Margate. The notion that the only duty of a holiday is to enjoy till mind and body feel renewed energies, to take a bath of ease, a sleep of enjoyment, cannot be driven into the average Briton's mind, nor can he be made to believe that " people at home" respect nothing so much in their hearts as the power of going your own way. They never go their own way, dare not dress as they like, or dine as they like, or go without as they like, and they accordingly respect the ex- ceedingly few who dare. The British traveller always feels him- self as little free as he fancies he does this year, being hemmed in with opinions instead of passport rules, friends instead of troops, and Murray's red books instead of military decrees. He has, how- ever, a chance for once, and to point out that fact is the object of this disquisition. He may be liberated. Even Mrs. Grundy does not expect him to be shot, his cousins will see that he cannot go far if the railways are shut, and, happiness of happinesses ! most of the show places may, with a slight stretch of conscience, be described as dangerous. Suppose he bursts his bonds, and for once in his life ventures, under plea of being constrained by the needle gun, to go wherever he likes !