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On setting out on the last long journey I made, which was in a private carriage with one companion, I bought a small basket, and caused it to be filled with cold provisions, bread, and fruit, and I kept it constantly replenished during ten months, whenever we were upon the road, to which circumstance I mainly attribute the fact that we never had the shadow of a disagreement or an uncomfort. There is nothing like a basket of this sort for diminishing the dreadful tediousness of uncertain distances at the end of a long day, and it is a great consolation in case of accidental stoppages. In aid of it, I purchased two clasp knives, and forks attached, a couple of tumblers, and a snuff-box, with an almanack on the lid, by way of saltcellar. A quarto French dictionary served for table, and so equipped we almost defied fortune. At the inns where we slept, I always made special mention of the basket over night, and the consequence was, it was frequently specially filled, particularly with excellent game, which, with bread and grapes, or figs, we found extremely palatable and wholesome. Where the wine was good, we generally carried off a bottle or two; but wine, and indeed any liquid, ought to be sparingly used on such occasions, and an hour or two after eating; otherwise the motion of the carriage prevents digestion, and induces feverishness. The fruit, taken by way of vegetables, supplies in a great measure the place of liquids. The proper and most agreeable mode of refreshing is in small quantities, and frequently ; and the only thing to be guarded against is, to leave sufficient appetite for the meals you intend to take where you stop, and this sometimes requires a little judgment and resolution. Some people have a habit, and rather make a boast of it, of travelling long distances without taking anything ; but I strongly recommend the basket system, having tried both plans. In public conveyances, I think a sandwich-box might be convenient. I shall conclude this part of my observations, with referring my reader to the article on health in my eighth number, in which I
have mentionad a remarkable proof of the efficacy of the basket.
One of the greatest annoyances in travelling, is continual exposure to imposition; but this may, by good management, be frequently avoided, either altogether or in part, as by bad management it may be greatly increased. There are four kind of imposers. The first are downright rogues, who make a point of taking advantage whenever they have the power; but even they have degrees of extortion, according to the behaviour of their victims. The second are a sort of good-teinpered, easy imposers, who impose as a matter of course, but whom a little good management almost immediately turns from their purpose. They are willing to impose upon you, if you are willing to be imposed upon, but otherwise
On remonstrance they will pretend they have made a mistake, or that if you are not satisfied, they do not wish to have any dispute. The third will not attempt imposition, unless they are encouraged to it by some foolish display, or swagger; nor the fourth, until they are provoked by unreasonableness, or discourtesy. My observation tells me there is no preventive against these different kinds of imposition, so sure as a certain quiet, composed bearing, indicative at once of self-respect, and of consideration for others. I have made many experiments in the matter under various circumstances, both in this country and abroad, and the result seems to me to be, that by such behaviour you ensure greater attention at a lower cost, than by any other course ; and having adopted such a course, I think that on the continent you may still be exposed, when actually travelling, to imposition to the extent of about ten per cent. upon your expenditure, to which, for comfort's sake, and to avoid the chance of being wrong, which frequently happens in small matters, it is wise to submitwithout keeping yourself in a constant fever, and a state of distraction from the objects only worthy of attention. I am
speaking now of those who have no, or but little, experience; others will be able to protect themselves to a greater extent.
One of the most desirable qualities in travelling is punctuality, or readiness. Without it there is but small satisfaction, either to yourself or those with you. In all my journies I was always ready in time, but often with a good deal of bustling and hurry, till one morning in Switzerland I looked out of my window as I was dressing, and saw a gentleman who had just joined the party, pacing backwards and forwards before the inn with a degree of composure, which made me determine to imitate what he told me was his constant rule, to be ready at least a quarter of an hour before the time. I adopted the practice thenceforward, and found the greatest advantage from it. One of the benefits of habitual punctuality is the confidence it inspires; the uncertainty of unpunctuality is a continual drawback to enjoyment. It hangs over one like a cloud.
The quickest mode of acquiring a good idea of any place is to take the earliest opportunity of ascending some tower, or eminence, from which there is a commanding view, with some person who can point out the most remarkable objects. If this is followed up by wandering about without a guide, and trusting solely to your own observation, you will be as well acquainted with the localities in a few hours, as the generality of travellers would be in a week, or perhaps better, because your impressions would be stronger. I do not mean by this to supersede the employment of guides in sight-seeing, for they are very useful in saving time. The first day I arrived at Rome I met a classical friend, who had been there some time, and who had made himself completely master of the place. He took me to the top of the tower in the capitol, and pointed out every thing remarkable, so that from the very beginning I acquired a sort of familiar acquaintance with the city and its environs and was never at a loss afterwards.
As soon as you
wish to see in any place, and do not mean to make it a residence, it is advisable without delay to proceed on your journey. Many people lose a great deal of time in loitering, and to no purpose whatever, because it is impossible under such circumstances to settle to any thing.
Wherever you are, it is good to fall into the customs and habits of the place; for though sometimes they may be a little inconvenient, it is generally much more so to run counter to them. Those who will have their own way, never succeed, but at a much greater cost than success is worth.
(To be continued.)
ART OF DINING.
THERE is in the art of dining a matter of special importance, -I mean attendance—the real end of which is to do that for
, you cannot sowell do for yourself. Unfortunately this end is generally lost sight of, and the effect of attendance is to prevent you from doing that, which you could do much better for yourself. The cause of this perversion is to be found in the practice and example of the rich and ostentatious, who constantly keep up a sort of war establishment, or establishment adapted to extraordinary, instead of ordinary occasions, and the consequence is, that, like all potentates who follow the same policy, they never really taste the sweets of peace; they are in a constant state of invasion by their own troops. It is a rule at dinners not to allow you to do any thing for yourself, and I have never been able to understand how even salt, except it be from some superstition, has so long maintained its place on table. I am always in dread, that, like the rest of its fellows, it will be banished to the sideboard,
to be had only on special application. I am rather a bold man at table, and set form very much at defiance, so that if a salad happens to be within my reach, I make no scruple to take it to me; but the moment I am espied, it is nipped up from the most convenient into the most inconvenient position. That such absurdity should exist amongst rational beings, and in a civilized country, is extraordinary! See a small party with a dish of fish at each end of the table, and four silver covers unmeaningly staring at the sides, whilst every thing pertaining to the fish comes, even with the best attendance, provokingly lagging, one thing after another, so that contentment is out of the question; and all this is done under pretence that it is the most convenient plan. This is an utter fallacy. The only convenient plan is to have every thing actually upon the table that is wanted at the same time, and nothing else ; as for example, for a party of eight, turbot and salmon, with doubles of each of the adjuncts, lobster-sauce, cucumber, young potatoes, cayenne, and Chili vinegar, and let the guests assist one another, which, with such an arrangement, they could do with perfect ease.
This is undisturbed and visible comfort. I am speaking now only with reference to small parties. As to large ones, they have long been to me scenes of despair in the way of convivial enjoyment. A system of simple attendance would induce a system of simple dinners, which are the only dinners to be desired. The present system I consider strongly tainted with barbarism and vulgarity, and far removed from real and refined enjoyment. As tables are now arranged, one is never at peace from an arm continually taking off, or setting on a side dish, or reaching over to a wine-cooler in the centre. Then comes the more laborious changing of courses, with the leanings right and left, to admit a host of dishes, that are set on only to be taken off again, after being declined in succession by each of the guests, to whom they are handed round. Yet this is fashion, and not to be departed from. With respect to wine, it is often