« AnteriorContinuar »
mind prefers the costly fashion. I should like to be commissioned to write a book on the art of expensive holidays; of course, all resources being placed 'at my command by an enterprising and enlightened publisher: the best hotels, couriers, carriages, special trains, et hoc genus omne. I could write a publication of that kind with considerable enthusiasm. Also, I have ideas of my own on another style of holiday altogether. Those who have tried both may speak with impartiality and equanimity of either. We must admit that impecuniosity is a considerable bane in these present days, at least with a certain proportion of Her Majesty's subjects. In these days of competition and expense, we do not leave a sufficient amount of margin for our pleasures and pleasant expeditions. There is a grand idea involved in that admirable expression, margin. It has become absolute necessity—an axiom, we called it a little while ago— that there should be a holiday.
holiday. It is the great duty of a margin to provide that necessary refreshment. The children are looking pale for the lack of a little fresh air. The good wife needs a change. You, the bread-winner, acknowledge the necessity in your
But what with high prices and depressed trade and Turkish and Egyptian stock, you have to study economy in all its branches. Mill and many others have written on political economy.
I wonder why they have not devoted
their mighty mental energies to the subject of personal economy.
Let us, then, consider this question of expense; go into a family or Cabinet Council, and use all necessary plainness of speech. Sometimes a friend will kindly offer to lend you a house in some lovely neighbourhood. This does not happen so very often, but then it is by no means so unfrequent as might be supposed. There are some people who are always offering to lend other people their houses. Thus a popular man or a pleasant young couple may have a perfect shoal of invitations. They may set off and visit a dozen houses, one after another, as long as their time and money hold out.
But when you have bought firstclass tickets, and have hired cabs and carriages, and tipped servants liberally, and gone in for fresh expenditure in dress, and moved pretty rapidly from house to house, there has really been no saving, but, on the other hand, there has probably been a considerable accession of expense.
The very first point to consider when we aim at cheapness—that is to say, a liberal cheapness—is, whether we are to be constantly on the move, or if we are simply to make our headquarters in some locality. The great expense of a tour is that of locomotion. Half the expense is saved if you are in a state of rest instead of a state of motion. The chief secret of cheapness is to be content for the most part to remain quietly in one place.
An exception to a considerable extent arises in the case of walking tours. But even here you have the expense of inns, which is more or less in excess of lodgings. But the walking tourist can always choose his own inn; and if he can get cleanliness, comfort, and good plain food, he has all which is necessary and does very well. It is the vulgarest idea of a holiday
. to go into any unusual excess of eating or drinking. I am glad to observe that it increasingly happens that ladies take part in these walking tours. It is not a bad plan, when there is a party of some half-dozen persons, to take a pony basket-carriage to carry wraps and parcels, and render a lift to any lady who may be tired. It is a great mistake in a walking tour that a patient pedestrian should rigidly confine himself to a walk.
He will save time and patience and bootleather, if he is not above taking any chance lift which he can get.—especially if he is going over uninteresting country, — or post, or take the rail. Never disdain a lift, if it is only in a cart.
But the main advice for a pedestrian who wishes to travel cheaply, and of course the advice has a still larger extension, is to get beyond railways and the great high-roads, to desert the beaten tracks, to strike out a course for oneself. By these means you get glimpses of fine scenery unspoilt by tourists, and often find yourself heartily welcomed by the friends you make among the natives. Many delicious rambles have I
had in Kent and Sussex, in Devon and Cornwall, in South and North Wales, in Devonshire and Yorkshire. -opening up for oneself what is still left unvulgarised in our own sweet rural scenery, and often not paying more than a shilling for a hot supper and a shilling for a bed. If
you take a family to the seaside, to some charming inland place, the great thing to consider is, whether you mean to go at a fashionable or unfashionable time. If you want early peas or early strawberries, you must pay for them expensively; but if you will only wait, you will have your peas and strawberries both cheaper and better. It is very much the same kind of thing in respect to holiday accommodation. I remember, one autumn, having a delicious little house on the Devonshire coast. All around were woods and waters. A pleasant winding-path conducted us to the tiny bay, where the clear water rippled over a pebbly beach. Into the little market-place, on a Saturday, came the country people, with much store of fruit, vegetables, and poultry, at most moderate prices ; to be exact, meat about eighteenpence a pound, and poultry four shillings a couple. It was a most fashionable little town ; but it so fortunately happened for me that fashion and the devices of the physicians had declared that its season must be a winter season. I had the house for the summer and the early autumn, and its rent was a guinea and a half a week. But on
the 1st of October the rent would be three guineas weekly, on the 1st of November it would be six guineas, and by the middle of January it would probably be nine guineas a week. During the season of the year in which I had it, the climate and the country were in the utmost perfection.
Perhaps the winter, for some diseased lives, would give the best climate; but you had simply to live on the top of the cliffs instead of beneath them, and the place afforded an admirable summer climate, a climate that was cooler in summer just as it was also warmer in winter. According to my own view, I combined the maximum of enjoyment with the minimum of expense. Because I could not get a winter house cheap at this particular place, I was not convinced that I could not get an admirable winter climate at a most reasonable rate. I had simply to discard the vagaries of fashion and the irrationality of Englishmen. That which constitutes the softness, mildness, and equability of the climate of the English seaboard is the healing influence of the Gulf Stream. It is the Gulf Stream which prevents the climate of England being that of Labrador. Take, for instance, the case of Devonshire. We might indeed go a great deal more north than Devonshire for our illustration.
If you go up the western coast of Scotland, in the Isle of Bute you may find a soft and balmy climate as healthful as Bournemouth, or almost as good as Madeira itself. For the matter of