It May Then
Be Said That There Are Really No Bad Guide-Books, And That
Those That Are Good In The Highest Sense Are Beyond Praise.
reverential sentiment, which is almost religious in character,
connects itself in our minds with the very name of Murray.
is, however, possible to make an injudicious use of these
books, and by so doing to miss the fine point of many a
pleasure. The very fact that these books are guides to us and
invaluable, and that we readily acquire the habit of taking
them about with us and consulting them at frequent intervals,
comes between us and that rarest and most exquisite enjoyment
to be experienced amidst novel scenes. He that visits a place
new to him for some special object rightly informs himself of
all that the book can tell him. The knowledge may be useful;
pleasure is with him a secondary object. But if pleasure be
the main object, it will only be experienced in the highest
degree by him who goes without book and discovers what old
Fuller called the "observables" for himself. There will
be no mental pictures previously formed; consequently what is
found will not disappoint. When the mind has been permitted
to dwell beforehand on any scene, then, however beautiful or
grand it may be, the element of surprise is wanting and
admiration is weak. The delight has been discounted.
My own plan, which may be recommended only to those who go out
for pleasure - who value happiness above useless (otherwise
useful) knowledge, and the pictures that live and glow in
memory above albums and collections of photographs - is not to
look at a guide-book until the place it treats of has been
explored and left behind.
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