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If you go
quarters, or for a moderate sum to rent a house for a season in some country town, whose inmates are smitten with the desire of 'touring it.' into an old-fashioned neighbourhood, you will find rent low, provisions cheap, the neighbours friends ; and so rich is this grand old historic England of ours, that within a moderate circuit there are abundant objects of natural, archæological, and social interests. I have said that you will find the neighbours friendly ; but it is always best to get an introduction of some kind. One real introduction is as good as half a dozen. No one knew English scenery and character better than the late Lord Lytton, and it was often his plan to take up his abode in some comparatively obscure locality, and study all its surroundings.
And now to summarise these useful observations. Be willing to give an intelligent attention to the subject of cheapness—that is, the saving of unnecessary expense, and the abbreviation of unnecessary trouble. Learn to get the things you want, and, what is more, to do without the things which you do not really want. Be content to be rather in your own society than in that of a crowd. You may have the command of the most fashionable localities if you will be content to go thither at unfashionable times, and this without the least sacrifice of substantial advantages. Don't be mean, but at the same time do not be afraid of being thought so. Do not be afraid of going third class, and carrying your own bag, and making your own bargains, and doing your own marketing. Define your plans clearly, adjust ends to means, form the design of home or distant travel, and carry out your programme to the letter; rely upon Nature, upon science, upon yourself, for your interest and arnusement, instead of upon a lavish expenditure. Most people who take long and regular holidays construct an art of getting those holidays cheap as well as good.
I AM writing these lines in the neat waiting-room
of a roadside station.
to than an hour before my train comes. I am doing a little home tour; and before now I have had to wait several hours for a train, especially when ill-disposed rival railway companies have exercised the utmost ingenuity in order to thwart and torment the British tourist. Now, I hold, as a matter of moral courage, that a man ought not to be afraid of being left for some hours in the vacuity of a country station. He ought to be able to fall back upon his internal resources. He has his thoughts and a book and a writing-case. These are among our best treasures, and a wise man will carry them about with him. Some of my days that have been most fertile in incident or reflection have been spent in the loneliness of railway stations. I am sure that I shall presently be most sorry to hear the five-minute bell and the scream of the railway whistle.
I have been making a pedestrian tour.
My arrangements were long ago fixed for Paris; but I have compromised for this. I am taking the rail just now because I have come upon ground which I know well, and I purpose to get over it quickly, that I may break new ground. You must not lay down your rules too rigidly in regard to pedestrianism. In fact, all inflexible rules are a mistake. I know men who, having determined to do a pedestrian tour, will trudge on with knapsack and umbrella, and will refuse to deviate an inch from their programme.
Under no circumstances will they post, or use a stage-coach, or accept an hospitable offer of a seat in a carriage, though the rains may be continuous and heavy. They come out to trudge, and trudging is the final cause of their coming out. Now, I delight to vary my mode of locomotion.
a walking tour means honest walking; but this must not be carried beyond the fatigue-point, when exercise becomes hurtful. I like to ascend a tidal river with the tide, and imagine if you can, as you float onwards, that it is the lotus which blows upon the shore. A stage-coach is always an excuse for riding, as you can see the country well, and a stage-coach is rare, and its effect, to me, exhilarating. If you come to a dull, flat country, a postchaise, or even the train, will let you gather up all the effect that there is to be gathered up. These, I suppose, will be my latest wanderings this year, these in the late autumnal days. The mornings are often
thick and foggy, chill, and the evening shadows gather only too soon; but there are brilliant bursts of sunlight in the middle-day, and the forests are all ablaze with glory, and a peculiar stillness broods in the air, broken only by the frequent crack of the sportsman's gun; and pleasant it is to find oneself sociably housed for the long evenings, and, with an honest sense of weariness, go off to one's welcome rest.
I am fortunate in my companionship this time. It is per se quite a moot question whether it is best to pedestrianise solitary or with a friend.
The greatest luxury of all is to combine the two systems—to be in company when you can be silent or can talk, exactly as you will. The old adage says that three is no company at all; but I find that three is very good company indeed. Two will talk if one wishes to be silent, or two can walk if one desires to rest. I think that a walking party is better than a shooting party. It is true that you lose a barbaric shooting of birds, and you leave a good lunch, which in pedestrianism is often a matter of much ambiguity. But in shooting you get separated from your friends, and you cannot observe Nature so fully, and you lose any intellectual pleasure there may be in companionship. On this occasion I was very well provided. I had a friend who excelled in art and another who excelled in talk. And let me tell you that it is an