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A Girl's Ride in Iceland   By: (-1940)

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First Page:

A GIRL'S RIDE IN ICELAND.

[Illustration: MRS. ALEC TWEEDIE. After a painting by Herbert Schmalz. ]

A GIRL'S RIDE IN ICELAND

BY MRS. ALEC TWEEDIE ( Née HARLEY).

AUTHOR OF "A WINTER JAUNT TO NORWAY," WITH PERSONAL ACCOUNTS OF NANSEN, IBSEN, BJÖRNSEN, AND BRANDES; "THE OBERAMMERGAU PASSION PLAY," ETC.

"Iceland shone with glorious lore renowned A Northern light, when all was gloom around." Montgomery.

WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS AND A MAP.

SECOND EDITION.

LONDON: HORACE COX, WINDSOR HOUSE, BREAM'S BUILDINGS, E.C.

1894.

The Rights of Translation and Reproduction are reserved.

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

When this little volume (my maiden effort) was published five years ago, it unwittingly originated an angry controversy by raising the question "Should women ride astride?"

It is astonishing what a great fire a mere spark may kindle, and accordingly the war, on what proved to be a very vexed subject, waged fast and furious. The picture papers inserted cleverly illustrated articles pro. and con. ; the peace of families was temporarily wrecked, for people were of course divided in their opinions, and bitter things were said by both sides concerning a very simple and harmless matter. For a time it seemed as though the "Ayes" would win; but eventually appearances carried the day, and women still use side saddles when on horseback, though the knickerbockers and short skirts (only far shorter) I advocated for rough country riding are now constantly worn by the many female equestrians who within the last couple of years have mounted bicycles.

It is nearly four years since, from an hotel window in Copenhagen, I saw, to my great surprise, for the first time a woman astride a bicycle! How strange it seemed! Paris quickly followed suit, and now there is a perfect army of women bicyclists in that fair capital; after a decent show of hesitation England dropped her prejudices, and at the present minute, clad in unnecessarily masculine costume, almost without a murmur, allows her daughters to scour the country in quest of fresh air astride a bicycle.

If women may ride an iron steed thus attired, surely they might be permitted to bestride a horse in like manner clothed, and in like fashion.

In past times women have ridden in every possible position, and in every possible costume. They have ridden sideways on both the near and off sides, they have ridden astride (as the Mexicans, Indians, Tartars, Roumanians, Icelanders, &c., do to day), and they have also ridden pillion. Queen Elizabeth rode thus behind the Earl of Leicester on public occasions, in a full hoop skirt, low necked bodice, and large ruffs. Nevertheless, she dispensed with a cavalier when out hunting, at the ripe age of seventy six.

When hunting, hawking, or at tournaments, women in the middle ages always rode astride in this country, reserving their side saddles merely for state functions. Judging from old pictures, they then mounted arrayed in full ball dresses, in long veiled headdresses (time of Edward II.), and in flowing skirts, while their heads were often ornamented with huge plumed hats.

Formerly, every church door, every roadside inn, had its horse block or "jumping on stone" called in Kent and some other southern counties the "joist stone," and in Scotland the "louping on stane." These were necessary in the olden days of heavy armour, and at a time when women rode astride. Men can now mount alone, although the struggles of a small man to climb to the top of a big horse sometimes are mightily entertaining; but women have to trust to any capable or incapable man who can assist them into their saddles.

Fashion is ephemeral. Taste and public opinion having no corporal identity, are nothing but the passing fancy of a given generation.

Dress to a woman always seems an important matter, and to be well dressed it is necessary to be suitably clothed. Of course breeches, high boots or leggings are essential in riding; but a neatly arranged divided skirt, reaching well below the knee, can be worn over these articles, and the effect produced is anything but inelegant... Continue reading book >>




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