To My Small Daughter
Who bade me shed a tear at the tomb of Napoleon, which I was very
glad to do, because when I got there my feet certainly were hurting
We Are Going Away From Here
Foreword. - It has always seemed to me that the principal drawback
about the average guidebook is that it is over-freighted with
facts. Guidebooks heretofore have made a specialty of facts - have
abounded in them; facts to be found on every page and in every
paragraph. Reading such a work, you imagine that the besotted
author said to himself, "I will just naturally fill this thing
chock-full of facts" - and then went and did so to the extent of a
Now personally I would be the last one in the world to decry facts
as such. In the abstract I have the highest opinion of them. But
facts, as someone has said, are stubborn things; and stubborn
things, like stubborn people, are frequently tiresome. So it
occurred to me that possibly there might be room for a guidebook
on foreign travel which would not have a single indubitable fact
concealed anywhere about its person. I have even dared to hope
there might be an actual demand on the part of the general public
for such a guidebook. I shall endeavor to meet that desire - if
While we are on the subject I wish to say there is probably not a
statement made by me here or hereafter which cannot readily be
controverted. Communications from parties desiring to controvert
this or that assertion will be considered in the order received.
The line forms on the left and parties will kindly avoid crowding.
Triflers and professional controverters save stamps.
With these few introductory remarks we now proceed to the first
subject, which is The Sea: Its Habits and Peculiarities, and the
Quaint Creatures Found upon Its Bosom.
From the very start of this expedition to Europe I labored under
a misapprehension. Everybody told me that as soon as I had got
my sea legs I would begin to love the sea with a vast and passionate
love. As a matter of fact I experienced no trouble whatever in
getting my sea legs. They were my regular legs, the same ones I
use on land. It was my sea stomach that caused all the bother.
First I was afraid I should not get it, and that worried me no
little. Then I got it and was regretful. However, that detail
will come up later in a more suitable place. I am concerned now
with the departure.
Somewhere forward a bugle blares; somewhere rearward a bell jangles.
On the deck overhead is a scurry of feet. In the mysterious
bowels of the ship a mighty mechanism opens its metal mouth and
speaks out briskly. Later it will talk on steadily, with a measured
and a regular voice; but now it is heard frequently, yet intermittently,
like the click of a blind man's cane.