Friday, July 30, 2010

More of the Tour to Waterloo and Paris

'...In the evening we reached Newcastle, whence we proceeded next morning to York. The coach was quite full, and we had not of course much conversation. Scott was, I believe, chiefly engaged in reading " Scott's Visit to Paris" during the greater part of the way.

We attended service in the Cathedral on Sunday ; and on arriving at Hull in the afternoon, were informed, that in order to reach the ports of Holland it was necessary to continue our journey as far as Harwich...'
The tour began three days ago.  Walter Scott and his entourage attended services at York Cathedral on July 30, 1815.  The book Walter was reading along the way, "Scott's Visit to Paris" was written by travel-mate John Scott who authored the "Journal of a tour to Waterloo..." from which today's post derives.  The difficulty of writing an original travelogue on Paris was current even then, as (John) Scott notes:
"PARIS, which lately was the safest of all subjects for a writer to select, is now, or at least will be, by the time this work can make its appearance, one of the most dangerous. Where is the family that has not sent out its traveller, or travellers, to the capital of France? Minute oral accounts of its wonders have been rendered at every tea-table. Criticisms on its arts, and manners, have found their way, in soft whispers, across shop-counters, and sleep has been expelled from the insides of stage-coaches by anecdotes of its events and its inhabitants. How many letters have been despatched, from the very spot of observation, to " dear papas," and " dear mammas," and other dears, not likely to feel less interested in the communications of the writers ! Where is the news-paper, weekly or daily, that has net to boast of its special series of articles on Paris ? What review has not been crowded with criticisms, on the many pamphlets, and volumes, that have had this city for their theme ? A style of information, adapted to the particular taste of every class of inquirers, has surely, then, by this time, been furnished; and as to facts, perhaps it would be more serviceable to take from, than add to, the number that have already been recorded...

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