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Our Tour
by [?]

This essay was published in the EAGLE, Vol. 1, No. 5. in the Easter Term, 1859. It describes a holiday trip made by Butler in June, 1857, in company with a friend whose name, which was Joseph Green, Butler Italianised as Giuseppe Verdi. I am permitted by Professor Bonney to quote a few words from a private letter of his referring to Butler’s tour: “It was remarkable in the amount of ground covered and the small sum spent, but still more in the direction taken in the first part of the tour. Dauphine was then almost a TERRA INCOGNITA to English or any other travellers.”

[From the Eagle, Vol. 1, No. 5. Easter Term, 1859, p. 241.]

As the vacation is near, and many may find themselves with three weeks’ time on their hand, five-and-twenty pounds in their pockets, and the map of Europe before them, perhaps the following sketch of what can be effected with such money and in such time, may not come amiss to those, who, like ourselves a couple of years ago, are in doubt how to enjoy themselves most effectually after a term’s hard reading.

To some, probably, the tour we decided upon may seem too hurried, and the fatigue too great for too little profit; still even to these it may happen that a portion of the following pages may be useful. Indeed, the tour was scarcely conceived at first in its full extent, originally we had intended devoting ourselves entirely to the French architecture of Normandy and Brittany. Then we grew ambitious, and stretched our imaginations to Paris. Then the longing for a snowy mountain waxed, and the love of French Gothic waned, and we determined to explore the French Alps. Then we thought that we must just step over them and take a peep into Italy, and so, disdaining to return by the road we had already travelled, we would cut off the north-west corner of Italy, and cross the Alps again into Switzerland, where, of course, we must see the cream of what was to be seen; and then thinking it possible that our three weeks and our five-and-twenty pounds might be looking foolish, we would return, via Strasburg to Paris, and so to Cambridge. This plan we eventually carried into execution, spending not a penny more money, nor an hour’s more time; and, despite the declarations which met us on all sides that we could never achieve anything like all we had intended, I hope to be able to show how we did achieve it, and how anyone else may do the like if he has a mind. A person with a good deal of energy might do much more than this; we ourselves had at one time entertained thoughts of going to Rome for two days, and thence to Naples, walking over the Monte St. Angelo from Castellamare to Amalfi (which for my own part I cherish with fond affection, as being far the most lovely thing that I have ever seen), and then returning as with a Nunc Dimittis, and I still think it would have been very possible; but, on the whole, such a journey would not have been so well, for the long tedious road between Marseilles and Paris would have twice been traversed by us, to say nothing of the sea journey between Marseilles and Civita Vecchia. However, no more of what might have been, let us proceed to what was.

If on Tuesday, June 9 [i.e. 1857], you leave London Bridge at six o’clock in the morning, you will get (via Newhaven) to Dieppe at fifteen minutes past three. If on landing you go to the Hotel Victoria, you will find good accommodation and a table d’hote at five o’clock; you can then go and admire the town, which will not be worth admiring, but which will fill you with pleasure on account of the novelty and freshness of everything you meet; whether it is the old bonnet-less, short-petticoated women walking arm and arm with their grandsons, whether the church with its quaint sculpture of the Entombment of our Lord, and the sad votive candles ever guttering in front of it, or whether the plain evidence that meets one at every touch and turn, that one is among people who live out of doors very much more than ourselves, or what not–all will be charming, and if you are yourself in high spirits and health, full of anticipation and well inclined to be pleased with all you see, Dieppe will appear a very charming place, and one which a year or two hence you will fancy that you would like to revisit. But now we must leave it at forty-five minutes past seven, and at twelve o’clock on Tuesday night we shall find ourselves in Paris. We drive off to the Hotel de Normandie in the Rue St. Honore, 290 (I think), stroll out and get a cup of coffee, and return to bed at one o’clock.