« ZurückWeiter »
It will always follow hence that the balance of sentimental commerce is always against the expatriated adventurer: he must buy what he has little occasion for, at their own price; - his conversation will seldom be taken in exchange for theirs without a large discount, and this, by the bye, eternally driving him into the hands of more equitable brokers, for such conversation as he can find it requires no great spirit of divination to guess at his party.
This brings me to my point, and naturally leads me (if the see-saw of this desobligeant will but let me get on) into the efficient as well as final causes of travelling.
Your idle people, that leave their native country, and go abroad for some reason or reasons which may be derived from one of these general causes:
Infirmity of body,
Imbecility of mind, or
The two first include all those who travel by land or by water, labouring with pride, curiosity, vanity, or spleen, subdivided and combined ad infinitum.
The third class includes the whole army of peregrine martyrs; more especially those travellers who set out upon their travels with the benefit of the clergy, either as delinquents, travelling under the direction of governors recommended by the magistrate; young gentlemen, transported by the cruelty of parents and guardians, and travelling under the direction of governors recommended by Oxford, Aberdeen, and Glasgow.
There is a fourth class, but their number is so small that they would not deserve a distinction, were
it not necessary, in a work of this nature, to observe the greatest precision and nicety, to avoid a confusion of character: and these men I speak of are such as cross the seas, and sojourn in a land of strangers, with a view of saving money, for various reasons, and upon various pretences; but, as they might also save others a great deal of unnecessary trouble by saving their money at home, and, as their reasons for travelling are the least complex of any other species of emigrants, I shall distinguish these gentlemen by the name of
Thus the whole circle of travellers may be reduced to the following heads:
The Travellers of Necessity,
The Delinquent and Felonious Traveller,
And last of all (if you please) The Sentimental Traveller (meaning thereby myself), who have travelled, and of which I am now sitting down to give an account, as much out of Necessity, and the besoin de Voyager, as any one in the class.
I am well aware, at the same time, as both my travels and observations will be altogether of a different cast from any of my forerunners, that I might
have insisted upon a whole niche entirely to myself; but I should break in upon the confines of the Vain Traveller, in wishing to draw attention towards me, till I have some better grounds for it than the mere Novelty of my Vehicle. It is sufficient for my reader, if he has been a Traveller himself, that, with study and reflection hereupon, he may be able to determine his own place and rank in the catalogue; it will be one step towards knowing himself, as it is great odds but he retains some tincture and resemblance of what he imbibed or carried out, to the present hour.
The man who first transplanted the grape of Burgundy to the Cape of Good Hope (observe he was a Dutchman) never dreamt of drinking the same wine at the Cape that the same grape produced upon the French mountains, but, he was too phlegmatic for that; undoubtedly, he expected to drink some sort of vinous liquor; but but whether good, bad, or indifferent, — he knew enough of this world to know that it did not depend upon his choice, but that what is generally called chance was to decide his success: however, he hoped for the best; and in these hopes, by an intemperate confidence in the fortitude of his head, and the depth of his discretion, Mynheer might possibly overset both in his new vineyard; and, by discovering his nakedness, become a laughing-stock to his people.
Even so it fares with the poor Traveller, sailing and posting through the politer kingdoms of the globe, in pursuit of knowledge and improvements.
Knowledge and improvements are to be got by sailing and posting for that purpose; but whether useful knowledge and real improvements are all a lottery; and, even where the adventurer is successful, the
acquired stock must be used with caution and sobriety, to turn to any profit: but, as the chances run prodigiously the other way both as to the acquisition and application, I am of opinion that a man would act as wisely if he could prevail upon himself to live contented without foreign knowledge or foreign improvements, especially if he lives in a country that has no absolute want of either; and indeed, much grief of heart has it oft and many a time cost me when I have observed how many a foul step the Inquisitive Traveller has measured, to see sights and look into discoveries, all which, as Sancho Panza said to Don Quixote, they might have seen dry-shod at home. It is an age so full of light that there is scarce a country or corner of Europe whose beams are not crossed and interchanged with others. Knowledge, in most of its branches, and in most affairs, is like music in an Italian street, whereof those may partake who pay nothing. But there is no nation under Heaven, and God is my record (before whose tribunal I must one day come and give an account of this work) - that I do not speak it vauntingly, But there is no nation under Heaven abounding with more variety of learning, where the sciences may be more fitly woo'd, or more surely won, than here, where Art is encouraged, and will soon rise high, -where Nature (take her altogether) has so little to answer for, and, to close all, where there is more wit and variety of character to feed the mind with: Where then, my dear countrymen, are you going?
We are only looking at this chaise, said they. Your most obedient servant, said I, skipping out and pulling off my hat. We were wonder
ing, said one of them, who, I found, was an Inquisitive Traveller, what could occasion its motion. . . . 'Twas the agitation, said I, coolly, of writing a preface. I never heard, said the other, who was a Simple Traveller, of a preface wrote in a desobligeant. . . . It would have been better, said I, in a vis-à-vis.
As an Englishman does not travel to see Englishmen, I retired to my room.
I PERCEIVED that something darkened the passage more than myself, as I stepped along it to my room; it was effectually Mons. Dessein, the master of the hotel, who had just returned from vespers, and with his hat under his arm, was most complaisantly following me, to put me in mind of my wants. I had wrote myself pretty well out of conceit with the desobligeant; and Mons. Dessein speaking of it with a shrug, as if it would no way suit me, it immediately struck my fancy that it belonged to some Innocent Traveller, who, on his return home, had left it to Mons. Dessein's honour to make the most of. Four months had elapsed since it had finished its career of Europe in the corner of Mons. Dessein's coach-yard: and having sallied out thence but a vamped-up business at first, though it had been twice taken to pieces on Mount Sennis, it had not profited much by its adventures, but by none so little as the standing so many months unpitied in the corner of Mons. Dessein's coach-yard. Much, indeed, was not to be said for it, but something might, and, when a few words will rescue Misery out of her distress, I hate the man who can be a churl of them.