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A Day's Tour A Journey through France and Belgium by Calais, Tournay, Orchies, Douai, Arras, Béthune, Lille, Comines, Ypres, Hazebrouck, Berg   By: (1834-1925)

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[Illustration: PRICE ONE SHILLING.

CHATTO & WINDUS, PICCADILLY.]

[Illustration]

A DAY'S TOUR

A Journey through France and Belgium

BY

CALAIS, TOURNAY, ORCHIES, DOUAI, ARRAS, BETHUNE, LILLE, COMINES, YPRES, HAZEBROUCK, BERGUES, AND ST. OMER

WITH A FEW SKETCHES

BY PERCY FITZGERALD

[Illustration]

London CHATTO AND WINDUS, PICCADILLY 1887

PREFACE.

This trifle is intended as an illustration of the little story in 'Evenings at Home' called 'Eyes and No Eyes,' where the prudent boy saw so much during his walk, and his companion nothing at all. Travelling has become so serious a business from its labours and accompaniments, that the result often seems to fall short of what was expected, and the means seem to overpower the end. On the other hand, a visit to unpretending places in an unpretending way often produces unexpected entertainment for the contemplative man. Some such experiment was the following, where everything was a surprise because little was expected. The epicurean tourist will be facetious on the loss of sleep and comfort, money, etc.; but to a person in good health and spirits these are but trifling inconveniences.

ATHENÆUM CLUB, August, 1887 .

CONTENTS.

I. IN TOWN

II. DOVER

III. THE PACKET

IV. CALAIS

V. TOURNAY

VI. DOUAI

VII. ARRAS

VIII. LILLE

IX. YPRES

X. BERGUES

XI. ST. OMER

XII. ST. PIERRE LES CALAIS

A DAY'S TOUR.

I.

IN TOWN.

It is London, of a bright sultry August day, when the flags seem scorching to the feet, and the sun beats down fiercely. It has yet a certain inviting attraction. There is a general air of bustle, and the provincial, trundled along in his cab, his trunks over his head, looks out with a certain awe and sense of delight, noting, as he skirts the Park, the gay colours glistening among the dusty trees, the figures flitting past, the riders, the carriages, all suggesting a foreign capital. The great city never looks so brilliant or so stately as on one of these 'broiling' days. One calls up with a sort of wistfulness the great and picturesque cities abroad, with their grand streets and palaces, ever a delightful novelty. We long to be away, to be crossing over that night enjoying a cool fresh passage, all troubles and monotony left behind.

On one such day this year a Wednesday these mixed impressions and longings presented themselves with unwonted force and iteration. So wistful and sudden a craving for snapping all ties and hurrying away was after all spasmodic, perhaps whimsical; but it was quickened by that sultry, melting air of the parks and the tropical look of the streets. The pavements seemed to glare fiercely like furnaces; there was an air of languid Eastern enjoyment. The very dogs 'snoozed' pleasantly in shady corners, and all seemed happy as if enjoying a holiday.

How delightful and enviable those families the father, mother, and fair daughters, now setting off gaily with their huge boxes who to morrow would be beside the ever delightful Rhine, posting on to Cologne and Coblentz. What a welcome ring in those names! Stale, hackneyed as it is, there comes a thrill as we get the first glimpse of the silvery placid waters and their majestic windings. Even the hotels, the bustle, and the people, holiday and festive, all seem novel and gay. With some people this fairy look of things foreign never 'stales,' even with repetition. It is as with the illusions of the stage, which in some natures will triumph over the rudest, coarsest shocks.

Well, that sweltering day stole by. The very cabmen on their 'stands' nodded in blissful dreams. The motley colours in the Park a stray cardinal coloured parasol or two added to the effect glinted behind the trees. The image of the happy tourists in the foreign streets grew more vivid... Continue reading book >>




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