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Wintering in the Riviera By William Miller Characters: 80824

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

I have sometimes thought that if it were possible for a person of mature years now living to return to the world, with memory unimpaired, after a period of five hundred or even of one hundred years hence, how strangely new to him everything would appear! Events succeed each other in these times with such startling rapidity, that he would be a bold man who would venture to predict what even a generation will bring forth. We may speculate on the effects likely to result from agencies now in operation,-as to what, for example, may be the future of Great Britain, looking to the gigantic scale on which hazardous enterprise is carried on; to the contests of labour with capital in which natural laws are set at defiance; to the growth of Ritualism in the English Church; to the penchant which our rulers seem to have for annexing or conquering remote provinces, stern and wild or insalubrious; to a thousand other things which are with more or less force influencing or disquieting our country commercially, socially, or politically,-but none of us can possibly foresee the actual consequences and the condition of things to which they will lead. In the future there is so much dependent on occurrences which appear to us to be fortuitous (though truly under the guidance of Supreme Wisdom), that we can only feel that over all there hangs an impenetrable veil of mysterious darkness. A single unexpected event may turn aside the policy of an age, or even alter the divisions of the world. A single man by a foolish blunder may plunge nations into protracted war. A single happy discovery, a single clever invention, may affect the fortunes or alter the habits of a whole people. A single convulsion of nature may change the aspect of a state. But when we turn from the future to the past, the case is different, and we can pretty well realize what the feelings of one who has lived, say, sixty years ago would be if he could now return to earth. It would, indeed, be some time ere he would begin to grasp the extent of the wonderful changes which, since he formerly lived, have been effected. But of all the changes flowing from the inventions and discoveries which the long peace succeeding Waterloo was instrumental in producing, he would probably be most struck by the revolution accomplished in the matter of travelling.

We have only to go back half a century to the time when a tour upon the Continent of Europe was attended by great expense, inconvenience, and even danger. It consumed much time, and no Englishman upon whom business did not lay a necessity to travel, could undertake any very extensive pilgrimage in these foreign countries unless possessed of ample means united to ample leisure. It was thus generally reserved for young noblemen and gentlemen of wealth, as the completion of their education, to take, with a tutor, a courier, and a sufficient retinue, the grand tour of Europe, the limit of which was usually, though not always, Constantinople. I suppose this circumstance has given rise to the Continental idea, which at least formerly prevailed, that every Englishman was a milord Anglais, and to its practical consequence, from which present travellers continue to suffer-the custom, gradually disappearing, of charging English persons upon a different scale from that applied to natives. No doubt many of those men of former days scattered money profusely, and to a certain extent their successors continue to do so, and are even exceeded by some of the American travellers who, accustomed to pay in dollars where shillings with us often suffice, contrive by their extravagance to spoil for others the places they frequent.

Times are now changed since the days of our grandfathers. The treacherous sailing vessel (the smack, which would take at one time three days, and at another, because of adverse winds, three weeks to go from Leith to London) is supplanted by the steady, expeditious, and almost faultlessly punctual steamboat; while the lumbering diligence or almost equally lumbering post-chaise has been driven out of the field by, wherever it exists, the rapid railway train. Nevertheless, as regards Continental railway rapidity, M. Arago's expectations that Parisians might 'on the same day examine the preparations of our squadron at Toulon; may breakfast on juicy rougets at Marseilles; may bathe at mid-day their relaxed limbs in the mineral waters of Bagnères, and return in the evening by way of Bordeaux to attend a ball or the Opera House,'[1] have hardly as yet, at least, been realized; for the railway train abroad bears about the same proportion in point of speed to the English train as the clumsy diligence did of old to our high-flyers and our ten-mile-an-hour stage-coaches.[2] Sometimes, indeed, people in former times, who were able to do so, travelled on the Continent in pursuit of health; and a very interesting account of a tour of this description, made to a large extent over the same ground as that which forms the subject of description in the following pages, is contained in The Diary of an Invalid, by Henry Matthew, A.M., made during a journey, performed in the years 1817-18-19, through Italy, Switzerland, and France, from which an idea of the difference of travelling in those days-sixty years ago-from what it is now, may to some extent be gathered. Since the introduction of railways, which now form a complete network all over the Continent of Europe, reaching some of its wildest parts, and not hesitating even to penetrate some of its loftiest mountains, and often by means of costly tunnels connecting long stretches of country, travelling has been made so easy, and the facilities for availing themselves of the means of locomotion have been rendered so great, that there are comparatively few persons of the better classes who have not at some time or other, and in a greater or lesser measure, visited Continental lands. Our very mechanics have, especially by means of excursion trains, sometimes in connection with such great occasions as foreign Exhibitions, been enabled to see a little of other lands; and even the seeing a little of another land is calculated to remove prejudices, to enlarge the ideas, and to extend the amount of one's information.[3]

People in the present day travel sometimes for pleasure and to obtain acquaintance with what cannot be seen at home, and sometimes for the sake of health; and it is astonishing to what an extent this latter reason has operated on the people of Great Britain, who rush from the rigours of their northern climate-its clouds, its fogs, and its rains-to enjoy the sunshine of warmer places, avoiding and exchanging wet, foggy, and chilly winter quarters at home for pleasant sunny places abroad. So much is this the case, that whole colonies of English people, many of them owning houses, built or bought for their residence, are found scattered over the Continent, particularly on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. They go to winter there, and the places they frequent become remarkably English in their habits and in their language-the force of the English character, and still more of the English money, bearing down and upon the native population. Indeed, it may rather be said that towns have been built by or for the occupation of the English-as, for example, Cannes, which, if it do not altogether owe its existence, is acknowledged by the natives to owe its new creation, its growth and extent, to Lord Brougham.

We had on various previous occasions taken a summer's run abroad. The protracted visit we paid to the Continent which forms the subject of this volume was dictated by considerations of health; but we combined with it, and advantageously, even for that end, some tours of pleasure. The countries visited by us on this occasion were France, Italy, and Switzerland; and it is with special reference to them that the remarks offered in this and the succeeding introductory chapters apply. I propose in this chapter to deal shortly with some of the bugbears which frighten many from crossing the Channel, to state some of the peculiarities of foreign travel, and to note a few other matters with which those new to the subject may find it useful to be acquainted previous to setting out.

The first great stumbling-block in the way of going abroad is to many, especially elderly persons, the want of knowledge of the language of the country to which they wish to direct their steps, or the want of power to converse in it freely.

There can be no doubt that it is of great consequence to have an acquaintance with the language of the country in which one desires to travel or reside for a time. People are saved much inconvenience and often money when they can talk it with fluency, and can comprehend what the natives say-usually the more difficult operation. At the same time, in all frequented parts of France, Italy, and Switzerland, either English or French will carry any one through. French is spoken by nearly every educated person who travels on the Continent, with perhaps the exception of the Germans, who, though they may know a little French, seem to give a preference to the acquisition of the English language, in which frequently they converse with great purity and ease. At the hotels, the landlord, or one of the waiters, sometimes all of them, can speak English more or less perfectly. Nay, what is very surprising is, that the man sometimes called portier, who sits in a little chamber at the door, has often a better acquaintance with English than even landlord or waiter. This porter or, as he is more correctly designated, concierge, is attached to all large hotels, and his ostensible duty is not that of carrying luggage (for which business there are men of a different stamp under him), but consists in keeping the keys of the rooms, attending to letters, and answering inquiries. In reality he is a man of superior intelligence, and acts often as the interpreter of the house; for he is generally acquainted with many languages, and usually with at least French, English, and German, and has to reply to questions in these different languages almost in the same breath. In frontier places, his acquaintance is extended to the language of the neighbouring country-it may be, for instance, Italian or Spanish. However, among employees and others with whom the traveller has to do, the knowledge of many languages is not confined to the gens portier. At Mentone I was informed that a hairdresser there could speak five languages; and how else could he hope, from a hairdresser's point of view, to please his patients? At Rome, having gone to the wrong shop, I had to experience the difficulties of undergoing an operation by a gentleman of the fraternity who could speak nothing but Italian; and we should never have succeeded in coming to a mutual understanding, but for the kindly intervention of a priest who was being shaved and could speak French, and after all it did not wholly save me from that 'croppiness' in which the foreign coiffeur delights. This linguistic faculty does not stop at hairdressers, who may be considered to be men of an advanced race. At Mentone we used to employ a donkey girl, who also could speak a little in five languages. Philippina was a bright, intelligent girl, much liked by her employers, and no doubt she found her advantage in knowing something of their different tongues. In Switzerland, for the most part, the German language prevails, and it is occasionally uncommonly hard, if one is not acquainted with German or has but a smattering of it, to get on, say, with a coachman who knows nothing else. At Ragatz, where they speak German, I put a question to a stallkeeper selling goods on the street, and was promptly answered by a young girl of the adjoining stall in English. I asked her how she came to know English. She learnt it at school. Were they all taught English, I asked. 'Oh, no; those who desired to be taught had to pay for it.' The shopkeepers abroad, however, have in many cases acquaintance with English sufficient to enable them to effect sale of their wares. They quickly discover us to be English, and when they speak our language they like to air it, and answer questions put in their, the shopkeepers' language (made, we imagine, with all correctness of expression and of accent), in our own. In Rome we found that all the cab-drivers could speak French, which, of course, facilitates going about to those who cannot speak much Italian. In Italy generally, unless it might be in speaking to women-servants, and not even always in their case, we did not find much necessity for using Italian. Either French or English was in most places understood. Sometimes we have even had English landladies, as at the Grand Hotel in Sienna, and at the Tramontano at Sorrento; but this is a species of good fortune, telling on the English traveller's comfort in many ways, which is seldom to be enjoyed. It only suggests that other English women might find Italy a good field for similar enterprise.

In former days the passport system was a difficulty which afflicted the minds of timorous travellers. Apart from the surveillance implied, there was the trouble and expense of procuring it, and having the proper visas affixed by the representatives of Continental Governments; the anxiety lest in passing some corner of a foreign territory-some debateable land-it might not be en règle; the detentions it occasioned, and the perturbation of spirit which arose, should it by any accident have been mislaid or lost, there being no absolute certainty that if imprisoned in a cold, damp, dreary dungeon for want of the necessary safe-conduct, our Government after a suitable period of fruitless negotiation would go to war with the foreign power for the defaulter's release. On one occasion (in 1855), on entering Geneva by diligence, I missed my passport (which on arrival I found lying at my feet), and did not know what would happen, but the man in collecting passports from the passengers fortunately overlooked me. This was a species of the rarest good luck, upon which of course it was utterly impossible to reckon; and the passport system was one which was felt by people living in a land in which every one is free, without inquiry of any kind, to travel where and when he pleases, to be an intolerable annoyance. It is still maintained; but with a view, I presume, not to discourage English travelling (a source of immense profit to the natives), a British subject has only on passing a frontier to declare his nationality, and he is at once passed through, except at some places where he is asked for his carte-de-visite; and if he have not one at hand, even this is not insisted on if it be apparent that he is what he represents himself to be, un Anglais, or, what is the same thing to them, an American. Yet a passport is sometimes useful; it now costs little, and should always be taken. It is easily got under the directions contained in Bradshaw's Continental Guide, and the visas of the foreign consuls seem now to be unnecessary, at least for the countries in which we were to travel. It is particularly important in some towns, to facilitate the obtaining of registered letters. Even ordinary letters occasionally, as I have found (1872) at Brussels on a former trip (having unfortunately lost my passport at Strasburg), will scarcely be delivered at the Poste Restante without production of the passport or other presumable evidence of identity; and it is said in guide-books, although we have never experienced the benefit of the information, that it operates as an admission to certain places of public resort.

Although to the mens conscia recti it may matter little, it does not follow that, with all this relaxation of former rigour, people are altogether free from surveillance. The spy may not crop up here and there as, according to Doyle, he did, to afflict Messrs. Brown, Jones, and Robinson, yet travellers do meet with evidences of the existence of a secret and prying police. At Aix-les-Bains, which, however, may be regarded as a frontier town, we found the register of visitors kept in a book furnished by the police, and containing instructions for the entry of all names and particulars; and almost everywhere, immediately upon arrival at a hotel, a waiter comes to take down the name, address, profession, etc., which, apart from police regulations, is only proper.

Besides a passport, there are other things to be attended to in order that the way may be made smooth.

People do not always, when they resolve to travel, sit upon their boxes-I mean, of course, metaphorically; yet in travelling abroad, at least for a period of any duration, some thought must be bestowed upon the impedimenta, and it is very proper to take such boxes as will stand the immense fatigue to which all luggage is exposed, and to which the foreign system of registration greatly adds. Very little regard is paid by porters to the conservation of the luggage. It is tossed and dragged along over iron-bound tables; and huge heavy iron-bound and iron-cornered American chests, with their piercing little iron castors, are often thrown or deposited remorselessly on the top of smaller and weaker packages. Very small articles, indeed, should never be put in the vans. It is better, and in the long run cheaper, to have fewer packages and of a larger size. At the same time, they are very inconvenient if unwieldily large, as too often one sees them to be, requiring two men for their carriage, and needing to be left outside the bedroom-an inconvenience both to the traveller herself and her fellow-travellers; for it is the ladies who are in this respect the great transgressors. Some ladies seem to travel with their whole wardrobe, or at all events with a useless number of changes of raiment. On one occasion we met a gentleman and lady, who had with them nine huge boxes, nearly filling up the top of a large omnibus, besides smaller articles, including their maid's modest provision. This is a grievous mistake. Ladies ought to travel with the least possible quantity of changes. More than is fairly needful is inconvenient in many ways. Apart from causing detentions to others, it is a source of anxiety, and is most expensive in countries where the luggage is all weighed, and every pound or extra pound must be paid for.

Among the little things to be taken, no good traveller will, of course, omit a pocket corkscrew and a flask of cognac; nor will he neglect soap. If he have not made it a rule in all travelling to use his own soap, he is charged at foreign hotels 1 franc for savon. I have heard a man growling over the 'imposition,' but it served him right, while the article was just sold to him like anything else, with the usual 200 or 300 per cent. hotel profit added.

We considered it advisable, especially in view of travelling in Italy, where the water is said to be often impure, and consequently unsafe to drink, to take with us a small filter; but although we used our filter occasionally, I cannot say we were frequently conscious of drinking bad water. It is, however, a proper precaution, as water may be bad without betraying its quality by the taste. An Ashantee filter with a quart tin bottle, to be had from Atkins and Co., 62 Fleet Street, London, occupies little space, and costs 8s. Were Messrs. Atkins to devise a portable little filter for use at the table by insertion in a tumbler, so as to purify the drinking water without the fuss of a large filter, which it is inconvenient to carry, and which one cannot bring to the public room, it would be of much use. It must be borne in mind, however, that filters do not destroy organic matter suspended in the water, and for this purpose permanganite of potash may be employed. A drop or two of a solution of this substance, which may be purchased in dry grains at any chemist's (easily dissolved when wanted), effects destruction of organic matter, but gives so unpleasant a bitterness to the flavour of the water that we scarcely ever used it.

There are, however, things more important to provide, and among them are good guide-books. The rapid growth and extraordinary ramifications of the railway system have created a new branch of literature in the railway time-tables. It is curious to take up an early copy of Bradshaw, consisting only of a few pages, small pocket size, neatly got up, and to contrast it with English Bradshaw of the present time. If such a book be needful in Great Britain, people are even more helpless without it abroad. Bradshaw's Continental Guide, special edition, will always be found to be most useful, both as a preparatory and as an accompanying handbook. It contains a great deal of information, which, however, ought to be taken in a general way, or as the lawyers say, cum nota. Perfect reliance cannot always be placed upon the accuracy of its railway and other time-tables and its tariffs. On arriving in a country, it is especially necessary to secure, in addition, one of its latest official railway guides. In France there is published once a week, on the Sundays, L'Indicateur des Chemins de fer et de la Navigation service officielle. This costs 60 centimes (6d.), and is a long folio of inconvenient size. As nearly all French travellers purchase a copy when they start on a journey, it doubtless obtains a large sale. The Livret Chaix Spécial pour France (there is another edition for Europe generally) is an official guide of a more convenient size. It is published once a month, book shape duodecimo, costs 1 franc, and has no advertisements, which are scattered through the Indicateur in a tormenting way, though sometimes useful when desired information is thereby discovered, which it might much more readily be if, as in Bradshaw, all the advertisements were thrown systematically to the end of the book. It is, however, troublesome to follow these French guides when divergence from the main lines is desired to be made. The lines are cut up into fragments without the references contained in Bradshaw to other pages where the connecting railways occur, and the neat little well-engraved maps in the Livret Chaix do not bear, as in Bradshaw's map, the page references where the tables of the railways are to be found. Bradshaw is puzzling enough, but sometimes it is felt that the Livret Chaix is one of those mysteriously-arranged productions 'which no fella can understand.'

In Italy there is published once a month, costing 1 franc or lira, L'Indicatore Ufficiale. This is peculiarly arranged, and requires study; but the Italian lines are so few, compared with those of France, that there is no insuperable difficulty in discovering the time-bills of particular railways. The Italian Indicatore contains various preliminary directions which it is well to read. They are curious, and embrace, inter alia, regulations relative to the transport of cats and monkeys.

The Italians have also a long Indicatore similar to the French weekly one; and in both countries smaller and cheaper district guides, with more limited information, are to be had.

In Switzerland, a Guide des Voyageurs en Suisse is published, apparently twice a year-at least those procured in the Swiss travelling season are marked 'Saison d'été,' 1877 or 1878, as the case may be.

It is never safe to trust to a guide of a past month, although changes are generally only made in the beginning of the winter season, or about 15th or 16th October, and in the beginning of the summer or spring season. By not observing a change of this kind which had just been made, we were detained at Toulon for three or four hours waiting for the next train to Hyères.

Although it is not desirable to burden oneself with many books in travelling, B?deker's Guide-Books, which on the whole are very accurate and useful, ought not to be dispensed with. Italy is embraced in three little volumes-Northern, Central, and Southern; and B?deker has separate Guides to Switzerland, France, and other countries; so that if one has to travel much, quite a little library requires to be taken. B?deker's Northern Italy, however, embraces the Riviera di Ponente, in which Cannes and Mentone are, and the journey thither from Paris, and towns on the way, such as Lyons, Avignon, Nismes, and Marseilles, while southward it extends as far as Florence. Murray's Guide-Books are very useful, and are much more full and detailed, but consequently are more bulky, and are therefore more suitable for protracted visits to a town such as Venice. Neither B?deker nor Murray, however, are to be wholly relied upon, especially for the latest information. For example, we found in Italy that while it is said in B?deker there are no fees to pay, in the different Academie delle Belle Arti there is now charged 1 franc per person for admission. I would add, also, that B?deker's estimates of hotel charges can by no means be relied on as exact, although they may at one time have been so, or they may in some cases be those with which Germans are charged, B?deker being a publication originating in Germany.

These books all require from time to time careful revision; and considering the importance to the traveller of having the latest information, and the large sale they command, they ought to be revised at short intervals.

There are certain very useful guide-books published in France, of two sorts-the Guides Diamant, which are little pocket volumes in small type; and the Guides Grand Format, which are of a larger size. Each class (published only in French) contains a series of volumes applicable to the different parts of France, as well as volumes devoted to other countries. The divisional volumes for France are exceedingly useful, as containing detailed information respecting the districts to which they apply.

I may also mention that Mr. Cook, the tourist, publishes a series of handbooks for the countries to which his tours apply; and that recently Black has also added to his list of guide-books, guides to the south of France.

To those visiting Rome, Hare's Walks in Rome (2 vols.) will be found extremely serviceable. Unfortunately we did not take it with us, as adding to the quantity of books with which we had to travel. It is a little heavy to carry about in the hand, but it directs attention to what is best worth seeing, and may be consulted at one's lodgings before and after visiting the attractions of Rome.

In the old coaching days, when the mail or the diligence drove through a town, and generally stopped at one of the principal inns, there was not much deliberation needed or even much choice granted as to where the passenger should sleep. But it is one of the inconveniences attendant upon the railway system,-to a certain extent obviated by the erection of station hotels,-that he has not an opportunity from ocular inspection beforehand, on arriving at a strange town, of forming an idea as to where he should go. And it is an observation on Bradshaw (more or less applicable to other guide-books), that it does not do to rely implicitly on its recommendations of hotels,-a circumstance which probably arises from the notice of given hotels having been written years previously, and means not having been used to obtain a complete revision from year to year. More reliance in this respect is to be placed on B?deker's Guide-Books. Hotels marked by B?deker with an * will almost always be found of a good character. In the absence of other means of intelligence, we have sometimes been driven, like many others, to ask information from chance fellow-travellers, at other times to get it at the hotel from which we started in the morning-not infrequently the less trustworthy method of the two. But as it is most desirable to have reliable information on this subject, it is, where practicable, by far the best plan, before setting out upon a tour, to settle as nearly as possible the route to be taken, and to obtain a note from friends who have travelled along it of the hotels they would recommend. In possession of this knowledge beforehand, all anxiety is removed, and one is enabled to write previously, requesting the landlord to retain rooms. Letters and telegrams with such requests are always carefully attended to, the hotelkeeper no doubt considering that application to him is made from choice and not from chance.

The great increase of travelling produced by the railways, has led bankers to contrive convenient methods in which people may take the requisite supply of money with them; and of all the methods which have been devised, the best and safest is that afforded by the system of circular notes. These notes are granted by certain banks in London and Edinburgh, and are drafts upon London for £20 each, or for the usually more convenient amount of £10 each, according to the tourist's desire. They can be cashed at any town on the Continent, hotelkeepers also accepting them in payment of their bills, but without benefit of any exchange which would be allowed by the banks. Along with the notes, the banker delivers what is called a 'Letter of Indication,' which contains a list of all the banks with which he corresponds, embracing almost every place which may be visited in Europe. This letter, for security's sake, it is advisable to keep in a different pocket or box from the circular notes, which require his signature and endorsement. The banker's correspondents ought not to cash the notes without production of this letter of indication; but sometimes they are negligent or lax in this respect, particularly if the presenter appear to be respectable or a bona fide traveller. At some places, however, such as at Paris, the bankers are more cautious, and not only invariably ask for the letter, but they put sundry questions and take the hotel address-the object being, quite properly, in a quiet way to make sure that the notes are presented by the right person. A friend had his notes stolen from him at a railway station in Paris on arrival from England, having unfortunately put them with other things in a small hand-bag, instead of carrying them in a secure pocket about his person. His letter of indication, however, was not with the notes, and so far, though not altogether, was he safe. The thief took them at once to a bank in Paris, and, I suppose, not having the letter of indication, and perhaps not being able to give a satisfactory account of himself, they were forwarded to London, and within fifteen hours after being stolen were presented to the banker on whom they were drawn, and they were refused because the signature attached by the thief did not correspond with the usual signature of my friend.

These circular notes are exchanged for the money of the country in which they are presented for payment; but French gold is always useful, and fetches full value abroad. In exchanging, one generally gets the benefit of the exchange, subject to a fractional deduction. The usual exchange in France for a sovereign is 25 francs 10 centimes;[4] but this is seldom got, and in some places, such as Biarritz and Mentone, the bankers only give the 25 francs nett, and in other places slightly more or slightly less according to the state of the exchange. At a bank in Cannes a friend exchanged Bank of England notes simultaneously with my exchanging a circular note for £10. While I obtained 7?d. (75 centimes) of premium, he got nothing, because the banker said there was always much more trouble about Bank of England notes, which required registration. Eighteen months later, however, I found in Paris, oddly enough, that Bank of England notes were at a premium, while circular notes were at a discount. At Cannes, in 1877, I had occasion to cash a bank draft on London received from one of the colonies, and found that nominally the allowance was greater than upon circular notes; but as the banker charged a commission, it practically reduced the exchange to about the same amount. Another notable circumstance was, that while at Mentone the bankers would give nothing beyond the 25 francs, at the neighbouring town of Nice the bankers always gave exchange varying from 75 centimes to 1 franc per £10. At Pau I found that while the correspondent of the bank only gave ? franc per £10, another banker gave 1 franc, and upon an exchange of £50 even a shade more. Again, at Montreux, in Switzerland, I obtained 1 franc 25 centimes per £10, and within little more than a week afterwards at Biarritz, in accordance with invariable practice, nothing beyond the 25 francs per £. The same difference occurred in two other places. Within a similar short space, I changed in Paris and got 25 francs per £. Within a day or two afterwards, I had to change other notes at Interlachen, and received 25 francs 10 centimes. The only explanation I ever got for these anomalies was that given at Biarritz, the banker there saying, that at Montreux they were near the Italian border (in fact, a long way off from it), and could make more money out of the notes. But this was obviously an unsatisfactory reason, and certainly could not explain the position of matters at Mentone, which is within two miles of the Italian frontier.

In Italy the exchange of gold or notes on London into Italian paper is a matter of considerable importance to the holder, for the exchange allowed, though it fluctuates, is always high.[5] The lowest we received anywhere was 27·03 at Rome, 23d March 1877, and at San Remo 1878. The highest was at Venice, in May 1877, 28·25. This last was during the Eastern War, which had been declared in April, and considerably raised the value of gold in Italy. I presume the uncertainty as to whether Italy would be involved in the war helped to depress the value of the paper. It is difficult for one who has not been engaged in commerce or in banking to understand why these fluctuations occur, or to be acquainted with the causes which influence them. The current value is said to be dependent upon the position of the commercial relations between Great Britain and the Continent; but there are obviously other circumstances, such as national credit, political disturbances, war, and the abundance or scarcity of money, which affect or bias the barometer. But whatever may be the cause, the traveller obtains the benefit of the effect when the exchange is high, as his money goes so much further. The Italian paper money is, unless otherwise specially bargained for, taken everywhere in Italy-in hotels, in shops, and even at railways. It is only necessary to be particular in seeing that paper of the right sort is given. It is always safe to receive paper of the National Bank of Italy. This circulates everywhere throughout Italy, but notes of district or provincial banks are not accepted out of the province; and there are certain notes which have been called in (with which one soon becomes familiar), which, though taken in shops, are refused at railway stations and other public places, sometimes provokingly.

One curious circumstance about the Continental banks is, that they seem to possess marvellously limited stores of money, whether of notes or of gold and silver. People have just to take what the bankers can give. I have more than once been obliged in France to take a note for 1000 francs, or £40, which is practically useless, unless where residence in a place is to be of sufficient duration to enable the holder to tender the note in payment of his hotel bill. I have often had the greatest difficulty in getting small change even for half a napoleon. For a napoleon (20 francs) one is fortunate to get, as a favour from a bank, four large 5 franc pieces, the banker saying that he has no smaller change, which perhaps only means he cannot spare his lesser money. This state of matters, I believe, arises from the scarcity of silver money in France, produced by the people hoarding up their savings, which are thus withdrawn from circulation. In Italy (where apparently the same hoarding must take place, though probably not so extensively) I have for the most part had to take, except to a very limited extent, the notes proffered by the banks; and one very useful kind of note, that for half a franc, is very difficult to procure. Even 1 franc notes are scarce; the bankers will give you a pocketful of copper instead. These ? franc and 1 franc notes are essentially necessary for fees in going about such places as Rome; but copper is freely taken as payment of fees, carriage drives, etc. Fancy tendering a London cabman his fare in copper!

At first one feels a little repugnance to the use of these small Italian notes, which are of all values; but after getting habituated to them, a preference arises for their use over metal money, which is so much heavier. A special purse with divisions for the different values should be procured.

And now, having accomplished the preparations for the journey, the next question is as to the route. It will always be found that there are greater facilities in travelling to and from a capital city, such as London, Paris, or Edinburgh; and in going abroad towards France, the voyager has generally to select one of the routes from London to Paris. The four great leading steamboat passages across the Straits are-Southampton to Havre, advertised to take in crossing six and a half hours; but on the only occasion on which I have gone by that route, which was in 1854, the voyage occupied in a calm night eleven hours, though possibly more powerful boats are now laid on. Newhaven to Dieppe, five and a half to six hours in good weather: I have been nine hours in a storm. Folkestone to Boulogne, ordinarily two hours, although one fast boat (by which our last crossing was made) accomplishes the passage in an hour and a half. Dover to Calais, one hour forty minutes; but in a storm I have known it to have taken four hours. As an inducement to travel by the longer crossings, the fares are proportionately lower. Fares by night service trains are considerably less than those by day trains. The routes by Newhaven and Folkestone are tidal, and the hours of sailing vary according to the state of the tide, which is troublesome, and infers to most people, when the boats sail at an early hour, sleeping at the port of departure, which we repeatedly have had to do.[6] The passage by Folkestone and Boulogne is by many preferred to that from Dover to Calais, because there is less groundswell. Getting into the pier at Boulogne is sometimes, owing to the state of the tide, tedious; but from a statement in the newspapers, it would appear that the authorities are contemplating the improvement of the harbour by an outlay of £680,000. In proceeding to Paris from Calais or Boulogne, one may stop at Amiens and see the town and fine old cathedral; but the routes from Havre, and from Dieppe to Paris through Normandy, are far more interesting by the way, and pass picturesque Rouen, which is well worthy of a visit, the stoppage of at least a night to explore it amply repaying the visitor.

All the world and the railway companies are largely indebted to the enterprise of Mr. Cook, who, from small beginnings, commencing in 1851, has gradually enlarged his schemes for the public benefit, till the ramifications of his system extend over all Europe and even into the other continents. Mr. Gaze followed, apparently a good many years later, and his arrangements seem to be on an equally extensive scale. Both houses have agencies in the leading towns of Great Britain, as well as in several of the principal European cities. Their success is evidence of their utility, and there can be no doubt that the facilities afforded by them have greatly increased the number of Continental travellers. Their Lists furnish the routes and the cost of travel; their tickets are extremely useful, and possess the advantage of being printed in English as well as in the language of the country to which they apply; while to those who are afraid of travelling in countries where they cannot speak the language, their conducted tours are no doubt valuable.

Tickets can be got from Cook's offices to Paris via Dover and Newhaven; Gaze supplies tickets via Folkestone and Southampton; and there is a little advantage in taking these tickets, in respect of saving time and trouble at

the bustling London railway stations. The tickets are made up in little books, and a leaf applicable to the portion traversed is withdrawn by the ticket collector upon accomplishment of that stage of the journey. But if the traveller be going beyond Paris, to some place to which these offices book, he receives a separate packet of tickets, which is exceedingly useful to him, as, besides saving the trouble of purchasing at the Paris railway station, he is enabled on starting from Paris to register his heavy luggage to any part of his destination for which there is a coupon, and that even at every such place. For example, going from Paris to Nice, the luggage may be registered to Nice; and taking sufficient in the carriage for the journey, in a sac-de-nuit, one may stop or break his journey at Dijon, Lyons, Avignon, Marseilles, Cannes, and some other towns. He can be a month on the road, and find upon arrival at Nice his luggage safe in the luggage room, with a trifle per night to pay for the accommodation. The trouble of procuring tickets at each station is also saved, although at some places they require the tickets to be stamped afresh at the ticket window; but in Italy generally a separate window for this purpose is provided, so that the trouble of obtaining the visa is there reduced to a minimum.

The tickets issued by the two London houses for France seem to be charged at or about the same rates as at the French railway stations. But in Italy, or for Italy, their tickets must be paid for in English money; so that it does not seem in a pecuniary point of view to be one's interest to procure them, because the benefit of the exchange, amounting to about one-twelfth of the cost, is thus lost. No doubt it is an advantage to those who cannot speak a few words of the Italian language so as to be understood, or who cannot pick up what is said at the railway booking window, to take the English tickets, and they can afford to pay for their ignorance. But if the fee-expecting commissionaire of the hotel do not attend to the matter, which he often of his own accord does, or will do if asked, extremely little is necessary to be said, even French, or a mere acquaintance with the numerals, being generally sufficient. Personally I never experienced any difficulty whatever in taking out the tickets at the foreign railway stations, and indeed the only difficulty I remember to have had was, because I had Cook's tickets. Conceiving there might, on a first visit, be trouble, I had at Nice taken tickets from Genoa to Rome, bearing a right to make three intermediate stoppages. Having, in perfect accordance with the conditions, stopped at Spezzia, Pisa, and Sienna, I could hardly, on leaving Sienna, get the tickets marked for Rome. They were refused at the ticket window, and doubted by the chef-de-gare; and it was only upon my emphatic remonstrance, and his appealing to somebody else on the platform, that I succeeded in getting them stamped. On arriving in Rome, I told Mr. Cook's agent there what had happened, and he said that if I had been required to have purchased tickets from Sienna to Rome, he would have compelled the railway company to have refunded the money, and made a complaint about it. It was no doubt just one of those stupid things that will happen under the best arrangements, well to be mentioned, that it may not be repeated; and apart from the question of time (for the English tickets are limited in time allowed for a journey extending over several towns), there is no reason why they should not be preferred, provided always that they could be procured with Italian paper money. Probably from the fluctuating state of the exchange, it is difficult for Messrs. Cook and Gaze to arrange; but if they could, it would obviate all objection.

To those intending to travel in Italy, great advantages are held out by the railway companies in the shape of circular tour tickets (viaggi circulari). The Indicatore della Strada Ferrata contains a list,[7] with plans of a large number of such tours, the tickets for which are issued, enduring, according to the length of tour, from ten to sixty days (which cannot be extended), at the large reduction of 45 per cent. upon the price which would otherwise be exigible. One of these tours is, for example, a complete round of Italy-from Turin by the west coast, embracing Florence and Rome to Naples, and thence by the east coast by Ancona, Bologna, Venice, Milan, and back to Turin, at a cost for first class of £7, 17s., and second and third classes correspondingly low. This tour, for which sixty days are allowed, enables the traveller to stop at any important town on the lines; and all that is necessary is, at starting from each place, to get the next station at which he means to stop scored through at the railway window. To those whose time is limited, these circular tickets are valuable, and they are procurable with Italian paper, so that the benefit of exchange is got. Cook and Gaze issue tickets for the same circular tours, and probably at the same price, although I suppose they are generally in connection with tickets from London; but they have, I understand, to be paid for in English money. They possess the advantage, I believe, by no means to be undervalued, of having all directions printed in English as well as Italian. The railway companies issue their tickets at every important town on the line of route to be travelled.

In France, likewise, there are for some parts circular tours, such as from Paris to Bordeaux, Biarritz, the Pyrenees and back. Information on the subject may be got in the Indicateur, or in the Guides Diamant among the advertisements.

I would just add in connection with this subject, that it is said by Bradshaw that return tickets are 'almost universal abroad, and issued upon terms far more liberal than any granted by our English lines.' Although I have on various occasions taken day return tickets for short trips, I have never yet found them to be any cheaper than the double fare.

In the course of a journey, what are called supplementary billets can be procured through the guard, so as to enable a neighbouring place to be visited by a side line. Thus, in going from Lyons to Marseilles, we obtained supplementary tickets from Tarascon to Nismes by asking for them when stopping at Valence, about the second station before reaching Tarascon. This, especially looking to the peculiarities of foreign lines, is a great convenience.

The Italian Indicatore states that travellers may exchange at any place to a higher class by paying difference of fare between the place at which the transfer is effected and the terminus.

After crossing the Channel, the first thing which is new to one who has not previously ventured out of the British Islands, is the examination of luggage by the douaniers or custom-house officers. It is now arranged that by registration of luggage to Paris, the examination may take place there. This saves detention at the port of debarkation. In general, an Englishman, if apparently a bona fide pleasure traveller, is very easily dealt with by these officers. If he have but a single portmanteau, it is sometimes not so much as opened, or if opened, there is but a nominal examination. He is asked if he have anything to declare-'Any cigars?' It is curious that in almost every country, the sole special question usually asked is, 'Have you any cigars?' and the word of an Englishman that he has none is ordinarily taken. If there be several boxes, the officer points to one of them, and desires it to be opened, sometimes merely to be closed again. At other times the man will provokingly put his hand down to the very depths, and perhaps bring up something hard or a parcel, and fancy he has made a discovery. But he is easily satisfied, and things are restored in the best way possible for a tight fit. No examination of luggage seems to be made on entering Switzerland from any frontier country, indicating that the Swiss have no custom-house duties; but on leaving Switzerland and entering France, there is a more minute examination than occurs when coming from England; and although English people get off comparatively easily, a question being sometimes asked as to where they are going, those of other countries are most unmercifully dealt with, every separate package, down even to handbags, being overhauled. Once, many years ago, travelling by diligence from Geneva to Lyons, I saw every article in a French lady's boxes turned out and minutely examined at three different places on the way. I presume they are suspicious of such travellers secreting Geneva watches or jewellery. On that occasion my own luggage was only examined once, but they made a sort of examination of the person by passing their hands over my dress. The lady, no doubt, was subjected to a more strict examination of her person.

On landing in France, it is found that there is a difference of time between Paris and London of ten minutes. All the French railways go by Paris time; all Swiss railways, by Berne time, which is twenty minutes in advance of Paris time; and all Italian railways, by Roman time, which is forty-seven minutes in advance of Paris time. This is all very right and proper, and makes it easy to know the times for travelling by railway. But although the railways adopt the time of their respective capitals, every different town has, according to its longitude, its own, or what is held to be the correct time at the place according to the sun. This proves most embarrassing, more especially as the hotels regulate their hours by the clock of their own town when that exists. If not, there is the utmost perplexity in finding out what the correct time is. At Mentone no two clocks were alike. By common consent they all differed. On going south to Avignon, the time is nearly a quarter of an hour in advance of Paris time; at Mentone it is twenty minutes. If, on the other hand, the journey be westward of Paris, at Biarritz, the time will be found as much the other way; so that one of the first inquiries to be made on reaching a hotel is, 'What is the time of the town?' and to note the difference between that and railway time.

The complex and extraordinary mode of measuring time formerly in use in Italy, by counting twenty-four hours for the varying time of vespers, seems to be now wholly abandoned.

All who have travelled on the Continent are familiar with the railway arrangements; but as they differ in some particulars from those to which we are accustomed, and as this introductory chapter is mainly intended for the benefit of those who have not previously crossed the Channel, it may be useful to mention some of them.

Although in all leading respects foreigners have copied our railway system, yet their diverging peculiarities are not always calculated to reconcile an Englishman to Continental travel. He arrives at the station, which he finds he must do in France a full half-hour before the hour of starting; in Italy, in large towns, a full hour. And in France he must always, in the first instance, procure his ticket at a little wire-latticed window, falling into a queue of people to take his turn. Stooping to a small hole not six inches high on the table level, he has to shout through in French to the distributor of billets within, telling him what he wants, and from whom he receives in return mention of the amount to be paid. It is always well to know beforehand how much this is, which can be at least approximately calculated from the time-tables; but the exact price of tickets may usually be obtained from a board or table of fares near the ticket window, often most inconveniently placed and arranged, and so dirty and soiled as occasionally to be illegible. Without a previous knowledge of the probable cost, it is exceedingly difficult for a stranger to make out what the man says, owing to the narrowness of the aperture and the indistinctness of French pronunciation. In many places, particularly in Italy, an official is stationed (a most commendable practice) outside the window, to prevent inconvenient crowding, to tell the fares, to see that the correct billets are supplied, and to be a check on the ticket distributor giving the right change. I have been told of cases where, in Italy,-but it was some years ago,-there had been supposed attempts to cheat on the part of the distributor; but, except on one occasion, I never got wrong change. It happened at Bologna, where I received at the ticket office 1 lira too little, and at the luggage office some pence less than the correct change. In both cases it was at once rectified on my pointing out the mistakes, and I set them down to slips. At other times, on accidentally neglecting to take up small change at the window, such as a sou, I have been called back to get it. But there is an admirable check upon any attempt to cheat, or on mistakes, in the circumstance that commonly Continental tickets have marked upon them their cost-a system which might with great advantage be introduced into Great Britain.

And now the Englishman obtains a new experience of how they manage things abroad. His luggage was, on arrival at the station, deposited on a long table under the care of the conductor of the omnibus which brought him. This luggage, with the exception of such little things as he means to take with him into the carriage, has, when his turn arrives, to be carefully weighed. In France each traveller is allowed 30 kilogrammes, or about 65 lbs. weight. For every pound beyond this he is required to pay according to distance. The men engaged in weighing ask for the railway billets to show the destination, and then he goes to the luggage-ticket window, where he duly receives back his billets stamped as having been used, and gets a little scrap or morsel of thin paper, which is the receipt for his luggage, and for which he has in any case to pay 10 centimes (1d.) in addition to any charge for extra weight. This receipt bears the number of colis or packages and of persons, the united weight of the party's luggage, the sum payable, the place of despatch and the place of destination, and a printed number; which number is also affixed to each article so registered, and is the means by which, on arriving at the journey's end, it is identified. What is the exact method by which the officials in charge manage to secure that all the multiform boxes and bags arrive at their respective proper destinations, I do not know. I presume that, in addition to an invoice or list of some kind accompanying the train, the things for each station are separately stowed away in the waggons; but whatever may be the means adopted, they ensure the utmost regularity, although I have heard of persons losing small articles, which, as a rule, ought not to be so registered. On one occasion a rather curious circumstance happened to my luggage. I went from Interlachen to Paris, and the registration number on my portmanteau was 82. From Paris to London it was registered anew, and the number happened to be 282; but the passage across the Channel was very stormy, and I presume the Paris number had been washed off on the voyage. On presenting my receipt at London, and pointing out my portmanteau, it was found that it had not the number 282, but simply 82, and I had some difficulty in getting it; but as my key opened the lock, and nobody else appeared to claim the article, I got delivery.

In Italy, no allowance is made for luggage. Every pound which is registered must be paid for, and consequently it is not in general necessary previously to take out the railway billets. The expense is not, however, great, unless one's luggage be heavy. Our luggage, which perhaps was less than many travel with, cost me, travelling nearly all over Italy, for railway charges, less than 30s. per person; but railway fares in Italy are cheaper than with us, so that the difference is thus made up.

Although the system of registration is attended by much security, and is one with which it might not be safe to dispense in travelling abroad, I do not think that, in its integrity, it could be introduced into busy England. We should never stand the minute weighing of our luggage, and, above all, the enormous loss of time which it entails. It has, besides, its disadvantages, because it results in travellers carrying and placing beside them articles which ought properly to be in the van. The luggage registered, too, suffers injury. Moreover, at the journey's end a great detention is always occasioned. All have to wait till the vans are emptied, and the contents dragged about and arranged upon long tables in a closed room. When the entire collection is adjusted as far as possible according to the numbers affixed, the doors of this room are opened, after having had to wait wearily perhaps half an hour. It is, however, by no means necessary to attend personally, except where the luggage must be passed through the douane, and sometimes the hotel omnibus will take home the passengers and come back for the luggage; but personal attendance enables a more prompt recognition of it to be made, and ensures accuracy. In Italy it is reckoned safer not to leave luggage at a station. The Italians have not been credited with the greatest honesty, though probably this is a thing of the past. However, they themselves manifest the sense of insecurity by refusing to receive luggage for registration which is not properly locked or fastened, and boxes arriving in such condition are closed at the owner's expense in his presence.

In travelling by steamboat, also, a charge is made for luggage according to weight. Thus, upon a little sail of about 10 miles on Lake Como, I had to pay 2? francs for luggage. In diligences in Switzerland, 20 lbs. weight only is allowed. All weight beyond this is charged for-a fairly reasonable regulation.

Perhaps the most peculiar and striking of all the Continental travelling arrangements is the system of waiting-rooms. It introduces to English people a difference of method of a somewhat irritating description. The salle-d'attente is a species of sheep pen into which the traveller is driven after he has obtained his railway billets and had his luggage registered, and where he must remain helplessly shut up till the train by which he is to travel is about to leave. Generally a separate large room is provided for each of the three classes of travellers, and the rule is that nobody is allowed to enter without exhibition of the railway ticket appropriate to that particular class; and as this cannot be done till the luggage be registered and paid for, which seldom takes less than a quarter of an hour, if ladies be of the party, they must wait with all the patience possible, guarding the little articles to be taken into the railway carriage, in the large hall of the office, where ofttimes there is not a seat or a comfortable or clean one to be had. Once or twice, in breach of the regulations, I have got them passed into the waiting-room. In the salle-d'attente itself, penetrated under burden of all these little impedimenta (for it is rare good luck to get a porter to help), a crowd of people all similarly laden is found, and there the passengers have to wait sometimes for long periods till within four or five minutes of the starting of the train, when a man opens the door of the prison-house or menagerie and shouts out, 'Messieurs les voyageurs, pour (naming the places) en voiture!' It may happen that there are several such shouts for other trains before your own is announced, and your sudden preparations for departure are stopped by the discovery that your turn has not yet come, and you are not allowed to leave the place of confinement. When your turn does come, you gather up your things, which no porter helps you to carry, and rush pell-mell out with the crowd. There is no servant to tell you where to go, and your only security not to do wrong is to follow the multitude. When you reach the carriages, it is seldom they have any board or placard indicating their destination. If there should by any chance be an official about, he is not there for the purpose of directing people; and if you ask him, he gives about as slender information in answer as possible. It is folly, however, to stop to ask him in the first instance. The plan is, trudging on with wraps and bags and all the little things, to bundle into the first open carriage where there appears to be sufficient room, and secure seats as best you can, and then get out and make inquiries for certainty's sake. If you do not do so, and a lady, to recover breath, halts an instant with foot on step before ascending, others will coolly mount before her and take possession, and there may be the utmost possible difficulty in procuring seat-room elsewhere, foreigners being just as selfishly guilty as English people of telling lies about a carriage being full. At all events, those who have got in first have probably secured all the available spaces for their goods and chattels, as well as the best seats for themselves. To avoid the expense of registration, or to escape detention on arrival, foreigners (by whom I mean natives of the Continent) almost invariably, as already mentioned, bring portmanteaus and other big articles into the carriages; and as the spaces below the seats are perhaps purposely narrow and confined, these things become very inconvenient, often occupying the places presumably intended for light articles, or they are placed on the seats or among the feet. If smoking disagrees, or you are averse to it, and desire a non-smoking carriage, the hunt for this in the scramble is an additional embarrassment; and frequently, after getting into a carriage and having everything arranged, the non-smokers discover that the compartment is a smoking one, and they have to tumble out at the last moment and endeavour to discover empty places elsewhere. The inconveniences attendant upon this method of arranging for the departure of travellers are such as would make it intolerable in Great Britain, where one walks leisurely to the train as he arrives and selects his seat, with the aid, it may be, of a porter or a guard. Free Britons will submit quietly till a next election to the imposition of heavy burdens in support of an unnecessary war, but a petty grievance like this would raise a storm which no board of directors could resist.

The Continental railways, however, have both porters and guards, who, like policemen, never seem to be present when most wanted. On arrival at a station from an hotel, there are always railway porters to carry the luggage to the registration table, for which they expect to be paid, and sometimes in expectation of a further fee they will carry the petits bagages to the door of the salle-d'attente-occasionally, though rarely, into the salle-d'attente itself; but where assistance is more needed, viz. in leaving the salle-d'attente in the rush for the train, porters are nowhere, and on arrival of the trains at their destination, it is by the merest chance (at least in France) one can be got to carry the unregistered articles-the number of which is aggravated by the circumstance that it seems to be part of the system of registration, that if luggage be forwarded to a station in advance of that at which stoppage is to be made for the night or longer, it is not possible to register separately to the stopping station what is required for immediate use. A similar difficulty happens if the heavy luggage is to be left at the railway station, to be got upon setting out upon the further journey next day-a circumstance constantly happening, we ourselves having travelled thus for days together. All must be taken or none. But at some of the larger town stations, there would now seem to be a left luggage room similar to our own, where luggage may be deposited on payment of usually two sous per package per night.

The railway porters always expect a fee (20 centimes per box, at most, will suffice in France) for moving the heavy luggage-even the registration weighers sometimes look for a copper. In Italy, however, the porters often state there is a tariff of charge, under which generally 25 centimes each package is paid, though the amount depends somewhat on the size of each. It is, however, a comfort to know in Italy, if you can, what exactly there is to pay; but although appeal has often been made to the tariff if it happened to be high, I never was gladdened with a sight of this mysterious document. I should make one exception, for the extortion was so great that I demanded to see it, though, as I might have foreseen, it was worse than useless to do so. It occurred at Geneva, where a porter exacted 3? francs (3s.) from me for transporting on a barrow our luggage from the steamboat to our hotel close by, we being charged in the bill in addition 2? francs for conveying two of us to the hotel, or 5s. for moving baggage little more than a hundred yards.

I recollect some years ago a system very equitable both for porters and passengers was in use at Cologne; a charge, I think, of 2d. for each package was made at the railway station for porterage, and the amount dropped into a box, the contents of which fell to be divided afterwards among all the porters.

One misses at the foreign railways the fee-expecting, bustling English guard. There is such a person, but he is not the important functionary he makes himself at home, where he is seen going about as if all the carriages belonged to him. Abroad, the guard arrives not or retreats until the train is about to start, and the first and perhaps the only time he makes his appearance is probably after proceeding a long way on the journey; and when the train is in full motion, nervous passengers are suddenly alarmed by seeing a man creeping along the outside of the carriage and popping his head in at the window, or opening the door to see the billets, which are seldom examined before starting. He silently gives the tickets a clip, and disappears, perhaps to reappear after another 50 miles for another examination and another clip, the want of inspection before starting removing a safeguard which exists in England against proceeding in the wrong train. But if the guard render himself invisible, he does not expect, as in England, to be fee'd for making needless announcements, or proffering superfluous information, and so the imposition is saved.

As a general rule, the Continental railway carriages are superior in comfort to our own, although latterly improvement has been made in this direction on some of the English lines. On most of the foreign lines, the second-class carriages are, or were, equal to our first, and practically almost the only difference between first and second consists in the number of passengers which they take, the first class taking eight in each compartment, and the second ten. In the line between Cette and Bayonne, and possibly on other lines, the second-class carriages are not so good, and are more like our own, and do not possess that with which those on other lines are fitted up-a netting overhead similar to what is placed in our first-class carriages for the reception of small things; hooks are substituted. Sometimes one gets into the older class of carriage, as we did once between Arles and Marseilles, where the compartments are uncomfortably narrow.

In France, it seems quite the rule to crowd the carriages to the utmost. I never learnt the reason, but have imagined that a Government duty or tax is levied on every carriage used. If so, it is highly desirable that this tax should be removed.

In all the French trains, and I think also in other countries, there is in each class a division pour dames seules; and as occasionally there is only one second-class carriage in the train, and the post may, if a mail train, occupy one compartment of it, there is in such a case only one compartment left for the general travellers by second class-a circumstance which is productive of inconvenience to them. The officials peremptorily keep the dames seules portion for ladies only. On one occasion I had unwittingly got into one with three ladies of my party, and with our whole effects; but although all the ladies in the carriage politely expressed their willingness that I should remain, the guard compelled me to descend and find another compartment for myself.

On most lines in France, Switzerland, and Italy, there are compartments which are marked as non-smoking; but although so marked, little regard is paid to the distinction, particularly on the Italian lines. The men seem to have very little notion that it is a most selfish act to pollute the air breathed by their fellow-passengers for the sake of indulging in one of their own-to many others, disagreeable-habits which might be postponed until they get out; and so little is thought about it, that it would require Sydney Smith's 'Surgical Operation' to imbue them with the idea that it is a discomfort to others, or that when asked to stop smoking, it is their duty at once as gentlemen to comply. On one occasion in Italy, after speaking to successive passengers, some of whom complied, and some would not, I spoke to the guard; but he paid no attention to the complaint (the carriage being non-smoking), and in charity let me suppose he did not comprehend what I said. But, indeed, the cigar seems hardly ever out of the mouth of the Italian, and one wonders how the humbler classes can spare the money from their small earnings to spend upon this expensive practice.

Foreigners are very fond in the hot weather of putting down all the six windows of the compartment, thus creating draughts, from which I have several times caught a cold. They have not the slightest notion of closing a window in passing through a tunnel, and on some lines the tunnels are frequent and long. But while they put down the glass, they also draw down the blue blinds placed over each window, under pretence of the shining of the sun, but quite as often for no conceivable reason except that the glass is down, or that they don't want to be bothered looking out. It is of no manner of consequence although the scenery through which one is passing be the finest or the grandest possible, down goes the blue blind without even the politeness of asking the other passengers whether they so desire or not. As often as I could, I secured a place at the window, and showed that, although a native of a colder clime, I could stand the sunshine for the sake of the view. On one occasion, on a former tour, travelling by diligence from Geneva to Chamounix, there were some Germans smoking continually, as usual, on the seats before us. These men, though approaching the grandest scenery in Europe, insisted angrily on a leather curtain being kept down, so as to exclude all view, simply because the raising of it admitted a little sunshine. But this habit is not confined to Germans; and the conclusion to which I have come is that, to say nothing of the quality of inherent politeness in true consideration for others, the generality of foreigners have no high appreciation for scenery, or are desperately afraid of their complexion, which, to say the truth, cannot rival that of the Anglo-Saxon.

I should just add, that in Switzerland, on some of the lines, the railway carriages are constructed somewhat on the American plan, by which entrance is made from end to end of the carriage, and the guard can thus pass through from one carriage to another. At Interlachen, between the two lakes, there is an upper storey to enable people the better to see the views. Carriages similarly constructed are for the same reason run upon the little line between Bayonne and Biarritz.

The speed on Continental railways is, as compared with that on English railways, very slow. There are what are called express trains, but these express trains do not attain the celerity of our ordinary trains. For example, the express which leaves Paris at 11 a.m. reaches Mentone the following day at 3.50 p.m.-that is, 690 miles in twenty-nine hours, or at the rate of 24 miles per hour; and for long journeys like this in France, first-class tickets must be taken. Express trains are not, however, always to be had, and one is doomed frequently to long and tiresome journeys. To go from Nismes to Toulouse, our train took ten hours, stopping at thirty different stations by the way between Cette and Toulouse, with twenty minutes to dine at Narbonne, the previous part of the journey between Nismes and Cette, a short distance, having been express. The distance is only 298 kilometres, or about 186 miles for the whole journey, the rate of speed between Cette and Toulouse being thus only between 14 and 15 miles per hour. In like manner eight hours were consumed in the journey between Pau and Toulouse, which is about 130 miles, or rather more than 16 miles per hour. Not only is the speed slow, but at any station at which the trains stop, there is a detention for an apparently useless length of time. Occasionally long stoppages occur also where the lines are single only. In one short journey of 37 miles between St. Sebastian in Spain and Biarritz, two hours were lost from this cause by waiting at two stations for trains from the other end to pass. More powerful locomotives were promised upon the line between Paris and Marseilles, by which it was expected the journey of 536 miles might be accomplished in twelve hours; but they do not yet appear to have been placed upon it.

If, however, the speed be less, the security is greater. We seldom hear of accidents on the Continental lines.

There are peculiarities about the French trains which render it necessary to study the Indicateur very carefully, as some trains take only first-class passengers, and others have no first class; and although the first train going may be taken, it does not follow that it will be the first to arrive at the destination. A still further and annoying peculiarity is, that the railway company by first-class express trains will not always book to every station on the line at which they stop. Thus a friend left Mentone for Heidelberg. On arrival at Marseilles, he found himself compelled to book to Paris to get on. Thence he went to Strasbourg. Nor would it be possible to leave the line at Lyons, because the luggage would be registered to Paris.

The arrangements of the railways in regard to stations correspond in some degree with our own; but they have their specialties, into which I need not enter. The system of salles-d'attente and of registration of luggage necessitate stations being built on a much larger scale than our own. Sometimes tickets are collected before arriving at the gare, but more frequently are inconveniently taken at the narrow sortie or uscita from the passengers encumbered with luggage. Outside the station a host of porters and commissionaires of hotels is immediately encountered, and beyond this crowd, often largely swelled by mere idle onlookers, and perhaps by an occasional pickpocket, a long line of omnibuses and cabs. It is the practice in many, perhaps most places, for every hotel to keep an omnibus which goes to the station for every train. Probably there is some jealousy lest cab-drivers or general omnibus conductors might beguile or be bribed to beguile the visitors to certain hotels; but whether it be from this cause or from ostentation, the consequence is that there is waiting for employment a number of conveyances altogether out of proportion to the number of passengers requiring conveyance. I have counted at Mentone, waiting arrival of a train, twenty omnibuses, inclusive of a general one, with their respective drivers and conductors, and nearly as many cabs; while the number of passengers leaving the train would not exceed twenty in all, of whom probably not three would require conveyance. The maintenance of these omnibuses must be attended with heavy expense to the hotelkeepers; and although it can by no means pay for the expense, the charge against the visitor is heavy. The general omnibus, with a few specially-adapted cabs, would suffice in most places for all the traffic. It is melancholy to see the almost hourly procession of empty 'buses, relieved only occasionally by one of them exhibiting in triumph a solitary occupant, and perhaps bearing five or six large boxes on its top. In Paris and Toulouse, and some other places, there are little district or family omnibuses holding four or six persons, unconnected with any hotel-a far better arrangement.

The charge for a seat in the omnibus is usually, in a town or general omnibus, without luggage, either 30 or 50 centimes; with luggage, 1 franc. The hotel omnibuses never charge less than 1 franc per person; and with luggage it is usually 1? francs. If a party consist of four, it has thus to pay 6 francs or 5s. for the drive to the hotel, which is expensive; and it is much cheaper, if there be not heavy luggage, for which the cabs are seldom adapted, to take a cab. This cannot easily be done at leaving the hotel, as the guests are expected to employ the hotel omnibus, which is charged as matter of course in the bill.

We experienced at Rome a curious species of imposition. Not finding a carriage which would have taken our luggage, we entered the general omnibus, for which the fare for three persons was, the conductor told us, 3 francs, and drove to the house where we expected to obtain quarters. It turned out to be full, and I left the omnibus, crossed the street on foot and inquired at two hotels, at the second of which I found accommodation, and the omnibus brought across the luggage. The conductor demanded 10 francs for what he called the several courses, and I was glad, with the assistance of the landlord of the hotel, to arrange for 6 francs; but we were afterwards informed that this conductor was notorious for such practices.

It is sometimes desired to send luggage or boxes by goods trains petite vitesse. I had occasion to do so from Lyons to Mentone. A declaration was, by aid of the landlord of our hotel, filled up, containing, among other particulars, the general contents of the boxes which he sent to the goods office, and they were duly forwarded to their destination. The time taken in the transit varies and depends on circumstances-it may be weeks. It is therefore never safe to send off by goods train luggage which may be immediately wanted. The cost of carriage is so much per 50 kilogrammes; all below the 50 is charged the same as 50. For this weight between Lyons and Mentone, I paid 5? francs. Between Paris and Mentone it would have been 7 to 8 francs; between Marseilles and Mentone, 3 francs. These figures will give an approximate idea of the cost. On leaving Mentone, the second season, I sent a box (under 50 kilogrammes weight) to Glasgow, to care of Messrs. J. and P. Cameron, railway agents, to go by petite vitesse to Marseilles, and thence by sea to Glasgow, where Messrs. Cameron passed it through the customs and despatched it to Edinburgh. The total cost was 6s. 10d. A box I sent from Naples to the care of a mercantile friend in Liverpool, by whom it was passed and forwarded to Edinburgh, cost for carriage, Naples to Edinburgh, £1, 2s. 6d. This amount embraced shipping agents' charges, and was sent as freight. Had I sent the box simply as a parcel, it would have cost 5s. 6d. less, but the shipper would not for the lesser charge undertake responsibility beyond 40s.; and looking to the thievish character of the Neapolitans, I thought it safer to pay the additional charge. The difficulty one feels about sending off things to pass a frontier, is the examination by the douaniers; but I believe that some of the expediteurs, to be found in all towns, undertake for a small fee to get this managed. I presume they procure the passing through upon the footing of known or credited respectability of the party sending. I sent to Glasgow and Liverpool an exact list of the contents of the boxes, for exhibition, if need were, to the authorities. Some of the bankers-as, for example, Messrs. Macquay, Hooker, and Co., Florence-undertake to despatch goods and works of art to any place in Europe.

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