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But it must be owned, that if there be one place in the world · where the empty gibberish of modern German infidelity is least to be borne, it is Jerusalem.
There is one point in these letters to which we advert unwillingly, though, considering how very free this lady is on all subjects connected with herself, our delicacy is perhaps misplaced. We mean the occasional and offhand allusion to a certain Baron Bystram, in a manner that shows he was the constant companion of her travels, and also her sole companion. It would be as uncharitable to attack the reputation of a lady who in this respect gives us no other cause for offence throughout the book, as it would be absurd to defend that of the German Divorcée who could write Faustine.' We only mention it as an illustration of the difference between the home and foreign standard of propriety. Madame Hahn-Hahn does not parade this equivocal matter, as if determined to outbrazen all opinion on the contrary, she alludes to it so seldom, that had the semblance of decorum been of any value in her eyes, she might have concealed it from the public altogether. Bystram' is of no use to her that we can discover, and she repudiates the idea of help or pro
We have met with but one other German lady traveller who commits her impressions to paper. This is a certain Frau v. Bacharacht, authoress of a novel called Lydia,' and of a volume entitled 'Theresa's Letters from the South.' We know nothing of the novel, but certainly the Letters are in no way deserving notice, except as a specimen of a class of which there are so few. Theresa deals so unceasingly in vague longings and mysterious sorrows-she has such pages of dialogue with her own soul, such sheets of description of her own mental scenery, that we lose all sight of the road she is travelling, and augur but ill for the home she has left. She is young, wealthy, and happily married (we are assured in the preface); nevertheless, these letters are addressed to some male friend of her soul, who may be old enough to be her grandfather, or cold enough to be her Mentor, but whom she thinks of always, and longs for everywhere, and apostrophises with an ardour which the mere English reader will consider as throwing rather a new light upon the relations of friendship.
To come back to our English books-in times like these the luxury of travel, like every other that fashion recommends, or that money can purchase, will necessarily be shared in by many utterly unfitted to profit by it. Nevertheless, while we lament much desecration of beautiful scenes and hallowed sites, let us turn to the brighter side of the question, and rejoice that the long continuation of peace, the gradual removal of preju
dices, the strength of the British character, and the faith in British honesty, have not only made way for the foot of our countryman through countries hardly accessible before, but also for that of the tender and delicate companion, whose participation in his foreign pleasures his home habits have made indispensable to him. We are aware that much more might have been said about the high endowments of mind and great proficiency of attainment which many of these lady tourists display; but we fear no reproach for having brought forward their domestic virtues as the truest foundation for their powers of travelling, and the reflex of their own personal characters as the highest attrac tion in their books of travel. It is not for any endowments of intellect, either natural or acquired, that we care to prove the Englishwoman's superiority over all her foreign sisters, but for that soundness of principle and healthiness of heart, without which the most brilliant of women's books, like the most brilliant woman herself, never fails to leave the sense of something wanted-a something better than all she has besides.
ART. VI. A Hand-book for Travellers in Spain. By Richard Ford. 2 vols. London, 1845.
UR friend Mr. Murray's Hand-books have now been our companions through many a pleasant holiday excursion; and we can most conscientiously add our voice to the general chorus of approbation. For direct usefulness on the road we think those for France, Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands are the best; and we believe these have all been done mainly and substantially by the same person-the Editor himself-in this case Editor in the French as well as in the English sense of that respected vocable. In some of the others we miss the quiet steady good sense that characterises his early volumes-the patient adherence to a simple purpose-the resistance of every temptation that must needs beset a well-informed man when he undertakes a task of this description. In them we have neither theory nor fine writing, nor anything else that-however amusing, agreeable, or instructive swells the book without adding proportionally to its universal practical value as a handbook. The series, in a word, includes some volumes of (in our mind) too ambitious execution. We do not mean to say that we ourselves have found these deficient, when put to the test, in respect of the sort of information which everybody looks for in a volume bearing this title-but still we think them liable
to various and serious objections, First of all, any unnecessary increase of bulk and weight is a real evil, as all who do not travel in their own carriage, with unlimited capacity of stowage, will soon find out. Secondly, when the author of a hand-book diverges from the plain matter-of-fact system, he incurs great risk of introducing what may prove obnoxious to the censorship of foreign states-what will at least be sure to excite suspicion and cause delay whenever the manual presents itself to a punctilious agent in an out-of-the-way locality. Thirdly, let the extraneous matter be never so good, it cannot be sufficient to answer at every point of great interest the demands of the historical or antiquarian class of travellers: yet, if it be in the portmanteau, such traveller will hesitate about providing himself with a native supplement, and not perhaps discover till it is too late, that, in trusting to his London vademecum, he condemned himself to see when on the spot only one side of a perplexed question.
In the midst of numberless difficulties and temptations, we incline to think that-as a general rule-the author of a hand-book should be as full as he can on the wayside and the minor halts, and as short as he can on the great cities. In most of these you can easily borrow for the occasion local works of tolerable reach and authority; and if on one side it is most agreeable to have an intelligent Englishman for your cicerone when examining the architecture, galleries, &c. of a foreign capital, it is on the other hand undeniable, that by giving yourself entirely to his leading, you lose much. You lose a great deal in not seizing the opportunity to regard the things from the native's point of view-you have a great loss in not reading about the things in the native language-you part with much that would be most likely to excite the feeling proper to the spot, kindle and feed the imagination, and stamp a permanent impression on your memory.
It would be most ungrateful in us to speak disparagingly of such a volume as the Hand-book for Northern Italy.' It is the work of a man of most lively abilities and very great mediaval learning, who has devoted many laborious summers and autumns to this magnificent region, and embodied a curious mass of knowledge in language always clear, often eloquent. Many a monotonous plain-many a wet day-many a long evening in many a bad inn, has he carried us through pleasantly--and many thanks we owe him. But he should never have done a Hand-book. It is evident that he has pillaged for its purposes a private journal which ought to have been made public-not in fragments after this fashion-but entire; and, moreover, many of the plums do not in any way harmonise with the pudding in which he has now
It sins even
thought fit to insert them. In short, Sir Francis Palgrave has his own peculiar doctrines and speculations on a wide range of subjects and people in general, and we ourselves in particular, are at all times happy to listen to them but almost anywhere rather than in a Hand-book-dovetailed among enumerations of Posts and calculations of Scudi, and hints (none shrewder) towards the frustration of the postilion and the laquais de place. Sir Francis could and should have given us a book of a very high order-one entitled to rank with the late Mr, Rose's Letters to Mr. Hallam.' We should then have had his views fairly opened -his erudition and criticism fully displayed: as it is, every patch on his canvass bag makes us sigh that a silken robe has been cut up. It is clear at a glance that Mr. Ford's Hand-book for Spain sins against the rule we have ventured to lay down. more largely than the volume for Northern Italy. We are satisfied no person of literary taste can lay it down without regret that Mr. Ford should have chosen this sort of vehicle. At the same time there are notable differences in the two cases. For Venice, Verona, Genoa, Florence, Milan, &c., there were plenty of excellent Guides in French, German, and, above all, in Italian, long before the Albemarle Street series began. For the cities of Spain there were, with very few exceptions, none decently endurable. Not only is Spain, as a whole, for the European traveller of intelligent curiosity, a new land-but we doubt if, besides the capital itself and Seville, there exists for one considerable town a native volume in which such a traveller could find the informa tion most immediately requisite for his objects, or even any sort of indication where or how he might obtain it. On the mere antiquities of various places-and for ecclesiastical antiquities in general-there exist undoubtedly good old Spanish treatises and compilations; but even as to them we think we may abridge all controversy by an extract from Mr. Ford's own section on Spanish booksellers
A Spanish bookseller sits ensconced among his parchment-bound wares, more indifferent than a Turk. His delight is to twaddle with a few cigaresque clergymen, and monks, when there were monks, for they were almost the only purchasers. He acts as if he were the author, or the collector, not the vendor of his books. He scarcely notices the stranger's entrance; neither knows what books he has, or what he has not got; he has no catalogue, and will scarcely reach out his arm to take down any book which is pointed out; he never has anything which is published by another bookseller, and will not send for it for you, nor always even tell you where it may be had. As for gaining the tradeallowance by going himself for a book, he would not stir if it were twenty-five hundred instead of twenty five per cent.
When a Spanish bookseller happens not to be receiving visitors, and
will attend to a customer, if you ask him for any particular book, say Caro's "Antiquities of Seville," he will answer "Veremos-call again in a day or two." When you return the third or fourth time, he will hand you Pedraza's " Antiquities of Granada." It is in vain to remonstrate. He will reply, " No le hace, lo mismo tiene, son siempre antigüedades-what does it signify? it is the same thing, both are antiquities." If you ask for a particular history, ten to one he will give you a poem, and say, "This is thought to be an excellent book." A book is a book, and you cannot drive him from that; "omne simile est idem," is his rule. If you do not agree, he will say, "Why an Englishman bought a copy of it from me five years ago." He cannot understand how you can resist following the example of a paisano, a countryman. If he is in good humour, and you have won his heart by a reasonable waste of time in gossiping or cigarising, he will take down some book, and, just as he is going to offer it to you, say," Ah! but you do not understand Spanish," which is a common notion among Spaniards, who, like the Moors, seldom themselves understand any language but their own; and this although, as you flatter yourself, you have been giving him half an hour's proof to the contrary: then, by way of making amends, he will produce some English grammar or French dictionary, which, being unintelligible to him, he concludes must be particularly useful to a foreigner, whose vernacular they are. An odd volume of Rousseau or Voltaire used to be produced with the air of a conspirator, when the dealer felt sure that his customer was a safe person, and with as much self-triumph as if it had been a Tirante lo Blanc. His dismay at the contemptuous bah! with which these tomes of forbidden knowledge were rejected could only be depicted by Hogarth.'-vol. i. pp. 138, 139.
This we suppose is enough to make the intending tourist acquiesce in our apology for Mr. Ford. At all events let not those who stay at home to read about Spain quarrel with this performance, merely because it teems with evidence that its author could have done himself more justice had he written in some other form and fashion. Twenty years ago such a man, so laden with knowledge and thought, would, on returning from a seven or eight years' residence in Spain, have furnished the Albemarle Street press with a couple of splendid quartos, whether in the shape of Letters from Spain, or Travels in Spain, or (eo nomine) a Panorama of Spain. At half the distance of time we should have our four comely octavos. Now all is changed; and the best English book, beyond all comparison, that ever has appeared for the illustration not merely of the general topography and local curiosities, but of the national character and manners of Spain her arts, antiquities, peculiarities of every conceivable class appears in the modest guise of a red Murray,' in two pocket volumes. We have no doubt that the work includes a capital hand-book, but it is not, in fact, to be tried at all by