Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

sea.

When we reach nature, rich and poor are nearly on a level. The variation is in equanimity, and they must learn to carry the equal mind who would wander abroad.

It has been already suggested that a good part of the benefit of travel is in the travel itself; in the niovement, the change of place; in getting away from the house, the office, the neighbour, the daily duties; in coming where new thoughts will arise with new objects of thought: where the emotions will be quickened, life enriched and its horizon broadened. The pressure upon the brain is changed or removed. It is refreshing to wake in the morning without care, and to come into a world which has no mail or newspaper. This implies days at sea, with their leisure and refreshment—long, restful days in good weather. The ships are getting too fast for our good. As if this were not bad enough, the ingenious disturbers of the peace are planning to bring to the ships in mid-ocean messages from the shore. These will come floating through the good salt air, and landing like wild seabirds on the deck. It is a pity. Is there to be no escape from the strifc and whirl of life? It is pleasing now to mark how readily the man of many cares drops them all and floats on, content without his paper, in blissful unconcern. It is only for a shortening interval. The old, restless life is in waiting, on the watch for his return into captivity. Why not let his ticket of leave run as long as it can? For the time, the new is better: the new places and the new thoughts. Burton writes of this in his characteristic fashion:

Although our ordinary air be good for nature or art, yet it is not amiss still to alter it; no better physic for a melancholy man than change of air, and variety of places, to travel abroad and see fashions." He quotes Rhasis as enjoining travel and a variety of objects," and to live in diverse inns, to be drawn into several companies.” To show what change may come to a man's vision, he tells a story from Petrarch of a young gallant who loved a girl with but one eye, without noticing the deficiency. His parents sent him abroad; after several years of absence he returned, and meeting the girl, asked by what chance she had lost her eye. "I have lost none," she said, “but you have found yours."

What shall we go to see? Mountains, glaciers, lakes, skies; paintings, and statues and architecture; governments, schools, shops, houses. We shall also see where great deeds have been wrought, and shall look upon kings and statesmen. Perhaps these will give more to satisfy us than all the things we reach. We may concur in the opinion of Lord Essex, that he would “rather to go a hundred miles to speak with one wise man than five miles to see a fair town." The pleasure of seeing men and the places they have made famous comes through the power of association. We imagine that which we do not see, and give to events their historic setting. It is a happy faculty which enables us to do this. A man distinguished for his work is, very likely, not distinguished by his appearance. We think of him in the work and pay our homage accordingly. It seems incredible that this quiet field where cattle and sheep are grazing could have been the scene of a great battle. Imagination brings back the armies and we hear the roar of cannon. There are many places where this process of restoration must be wrought. We have here another illustration of the truth, that we carry abroad much of that we find. Impressions are corrected and deepened; they take a more substantial form; while we are creating and fashioning that which we look upon. One advantage of this is, that we can preserve and remove that we have seen. With this transference, and the aid of photographs which we select with the scenes before us, we are able when far distant to reproduce the vision and all which surrounds it. Farther than this, we are able to compare our thoughts with those of others who have been in the same places -a delight to them and to us. It is to be regretted that many distinctions which were interesting are passing away. The traveller finds that things are not so peculiar as he thought they would be. Costumes and customs are falling into sameness; the old which was picturesque has been supplanted by the new which is not. Men seem to be run in one mould. The native variety was better. It seems inevitable, that as men are mixed they lose something of their individuality, and show this in their dress and speech. This is convenient for the stranger, but he has to pay for it. Perhaps we expect too much. The earth is to a great extent one fabric. It was made to be used, rather than as a storehouse of rare things, or a place to be visited by wayfarers. It was made to be lived in. It is a good world, and deserves to be seen. But it must be remembered that every land is commonplace to its own people; and that lands and peoples have many things in common. Still, there are sufficient novelties everywhere to repay the traveller, if he is in a reasonable mood. Many have thought to find in Palestine the “Holy Land;” but it is much like other lands. There is nothing but history to suggest any advantages. He who gave it renown came into the world as it was, and the roads were rough under His feet, and the lilies beside His path were fair. The hills of Gallilee were not higher or smoother than others, and the sea which lay among them had its quiet waters, which were stirred by the winds till the ships were not safe, and the sailors' hearts failed them. Yet Palestine will draw those who know its story, who will find there what no place besides can offer them. But it is because they carry the thought with them that they have their reward. He who takes to Palestine a reverent spirit will find a resting place for his reverence.

The time has come when the traveller must extend his ground. Europe, or the most of it, is too well known, and visitors have made it too much like their own land. There are still unexplored portions. Now and then one ventures to Siberia. Russia is becoming open to the stranger. Men go to India, China, Japan, and the novelty of those lands has been lessened. The north of Africa is now on the tourist's route; but the continent is beyond. We have our new possessions with which to make acquaintance. There are more distant and obscure regions, where a ruder civilization, or the rudeness of savagery, can be seen. The question is already under discussion concerning their destiny. Visitors have done them little good, but in most instances all the good they have sought to do. It is a dreary prophecy that the savage races must disappear. “Manifest destiny," which little deserves so smooth a name, is against them. New races must supplant the old—thus it is spoken. The white man must rule. If it be not right, it is destiny. Perhaps if we could go among those whose fate we carelessly pronounce, we might think better of them. Doubtless we are in advance of them, and it is not difficult to account for this. There may be ways of helping them upward without subduing them. There are

« PoprzedniaDalej »