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woman's

15th, 1852

greater test of character than travelling together, and it is difficult to realise beforehand how entirely comfort may be destroyed by uncongenial fellowship.

With regard to that essential arrangement connected with travelling, the form in which money should be taken, ten pound circular notes are the most convenient, and one should obtain before leaving England a small quantity, for immediate use, of the foreign money that will be required, as when changing in haste on board steamer, or at hotels, one is sure to be cheated. Some persons have an idea that it is a good plan to take as much English gold as they can manage, but this is a mistake, gold is inconveniently heavy, and owing to the expense of transferring it from one place to another, the exchange is not so much as on paper. Ladies in travelling should watch the fluctuation in the rate of exchange, so as to convert their English into foreign money at the right moment; by observation on this point they may always make, though it will not be much in the end, by their little transactions. Circular notes have the great advantage over bank notes, that if they fall into dishonest hands they cannot be made use of, provided the accompanying letter of indication is kept, as it always should be, in a separate place; it and the passport may be together, and it is as well to have a small safe pocket in which to keep them about the person. It seems scarcely necessary to say, but we know cases in which the warning would have been useful, that nothing valuable should be put in the registered trunk or portmanteau, on a journey. Passengers' luggage is not unfrequently opened and ransacked, locks broken and straps deliberately cut, without any redress being obtainable. Certain lines in Italy enjoy a specially bad reputation in this respect.

Apart from this drawback, nowhere is travelling rendered easier and pleasanter than in Northern Italy; this may partly be due to traits in the Italian character which make the railway officials polite and obliging, but there is also, no doubt, something of policy in it; the Government and natives of the country recognise the advantage of foreigners coming and spending money among them, and offer us every encouragement and facility for so doing

It is often said that Italians are dishonest and will “do” you in a bargain if they can, and probably the expression is well founded; but there is an exception to the rule which deserves to be recorded to their credit. They have a great respect for an agreement; arrange, for example, either verbally or by letter, that you are to be received at a hotel for so many francs per day or per week, you will find when your bill is presented that it is that amount precisely, no unforeseen extras added. Such, at least has been the experience of the writer.

This brings us to the question of foreign languages; many men and women travel half over the Continent with no available knowledge of any tongue save their own, not even French; how they manage is difficult to

l conceive, but certain it is they do; there is, however, surely a want of energy in people who are satisfied to get on as best they can, and will not take the trouble to study the language of the country they are in. They lose much in every way; they make little acquaintance with national life and character, and travellers speaking English only are invariably over-charged. At the same time there is a difficulty, even with the best intentions, in making much progress in a Continental language, so long as one keeps in the beaten track of tourists, so much is English spoken. In Germany this is specially the case; English is taught at all the schools, and, unlike us, Germans seize every occasion to improve by practice. The only way to acquire facility in conversation is to board in a German family, conditioning that they are not to air their English but promote the object you have in view. And in such an arrangement there will probably be a good deal to put up with ; the domestic manners and habits of middle class Germans are not usually refined, nor is the living to English taste, unless a love for sausages, ham, cabbage and salad, happens to be strongly developed.

Many persons have a prejudice against pensions versus hotels, from the belief that because, as a rule, cheaper, they must be less comfortable, especially as regards the table; but a well-selected, first class pension

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Englishwoman Abroad. 345 August 15th, 1882. leaves nothing to be desired on that point, or as to general comfort, and for a prolonged stay is, for ladies, more homelike than a hotel, where there is a daily succession of new faces. As regards both hotels and pensions, it is always desirable to go to the best ; nothing is gained even in economy by frequenting second rate establishments; having less a character to maintain they are less reliable as to honesty, and the difference in comfort is immense. It is well always to ascertain the charges and other particulars beforehand, either verbally or if the stay is to be for some days, perhaps better by letter, and arrange, if possible, to be taken en pension, at fixed inclusive terms; if in France, specifying that they are to include three meals per day. At most hotels, unless during the press of the season, they will make such an arrangement, expect, indeed, to be asked to do so, and the money so saved on the hotel bill may be much more agreeably spent.

Not a few ladies go abroad with very vague ideas as to what their expenses ought to be. They invariably suffer for their ignorance, and buy experience dearly,

It is not my object in this paper to draw attention to the advantages offered by any particular places of Continental resort; in selecting a route everything depends on individual taste, and the objects sought in travelling, whether the preference be for climate, cities, or country, art, or scenery; this, however, I may say, that a tour embracing much of varied interest and tolerably comprehensive in its range, may be undertaken by ladies who have had little previous experience abroad, without any difficulty to speak of, and without necessitating any great expenditure.

Three days' journey from our chilly shores lies the beautiful Western Riviera, where hedges of roses bloom in February, while day after day the sun shines from a cloudless sapphire sky on olive woods and orange groves; even more readily attainable are the vine terraced hills and quaint cities, with their art treasures, of Germany, and who can compare the return in pleasure and enjoyment for money spent in such trips, with that derived from visits to English wateringplaces ?

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As a means of re-creation, using the word in its literal signification, there is nothing like travelling; the sorrowful return cheerful, the weak endued with new health and vigour, provided they do not over-tax their strength; to all it gives pleasant subjects for afterthought, which will brighten many a grey English afternoon. It is educational, if intelligently used, in the highest degree, widening the views, and teaching self-reliance and independence. Half these benefits, however, are forfeited, and many disadvantages incurred, when an unsettled life is continued from year to year; not a few parents at the present day place their children at foreign schools, and settle in temporary quarters near them—a worse way of bringing up girls or boys can hardly be. The hotel or pension at which they spend their holidays with their parents, cannot be a home, and they grow up without any sense of what home should be, habituated, moreover, to the passing excitements and amusements which Continental life supplies. When there are no children to be considered, when a woman has only her own life to shape, it is equally a mistake, in most cases, to break up a house if she has one. A wandering life is sure to pall on one sooner or later, and the day must come when she will not be fit for it; she is then likely to find herself without means of making a home, and without ties; for the intimacies made by persons being thrown together when travelling are generally superficial and rarely ripen into lasting friendship. And, not to look forward to the evening of life, its noonday should be devoted to a higher aim than self-gratification in any form. Wandering about the Continent from one resort to another, even though we do get familiarised with the beautiful in art and nature, becomes, after a while, just as much a waste of life as any other form of idle amusement. Round every settled home duties and interests gather, and wbat if there be trouble and weariness connected with housekeeping and the government of servants, which by living in a hotel are avoided ? surely the commonest tasks are a discipline for the character, and may, by the use of faculties brought into play, and which otherwise would lie dormant, help to make us

woman's

15th, 1882

stronger and wiser. A life planned on a selfish basis, such as that of indolent ease, or the seeking for constant excitement and amusement, is sure to be a failure; enjoyment in travelling, as in every kind of recreation, is far greater when it comes as a refreshment from the ordinary routine of home occupations, and conscientiously fulfilled duties.

ART. II.-- POSITION OF WOMEN IN ICELAND.

The news that the Icelandic Althing or Parliament has recently passed a law which gives the municipal franchise to women householders naturally turns our attention to this ancient commonwealth which a few years ago celebrated its millenial anniversary. Iceland owes its colonization to much the same stubborn spirit of freedom as the New English States. It had been known to the Northmen for many years, but it was not until A.D. 874, when Harold Haarfagr had successfully rendered the royal authority paramount in Norway, introduced a sort of feudal system, and laid the whole of Norway under a land-tax, that the colonization of Iceland commenced. Those Northmen, who were too free and proud to make submission, left their homes and taking with them provisions, winter stores, live stock, and even timber to construct their dwellings, settled in the new country and established there a rude kind of republic which lasted for several centuries. Representation was well understood. There were distinct Things or local parliaments (the same name is to be found in the Tynwald of the Isle-of-Man from thingean, to say, hence thing a deliberative assembly), and when the decisions passed at these local courts were unsatisfactory appeal could be made to the Althing or general Parliament. Their laws were first committed to writing in A.D. 1117.

Part of Iceland became tributary to Norway in the year 1261, and the remainder in 1264, but they ex

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