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Very Much Abroad
by [?]

Being the impressions of foreign travel, communicated chiefly to a particular friend by Thomas Hooker, minor, of Rugby, during the course of a Continental tour in France and Switzerland in the company of his brother, James Hooker, major, also of Rugby.

London, July 31.

Dear Gus,–Here’s a spree! The pater’s got an idea into his head that young fellows ought to see something of foreign parts, and store their minds with the beauties of Nature in her grandest–I forget what– anyhow, we backed him up; and Jim and I are to start abroad on our own hooks on Friday. How’s that for luck? The pater has settled what hotels we go to in Paris and Switzerland, and he’s sketched out a route for us every day we’re away. The grind is, he’s awfully particular we should write home every day and keep accounts. Jim will have to do that, and I’ll keep you up. It really is a very good thing for fellows to travel and expand their minds, you know. We’re starting from Holborn Viaduct at 9:30 on Friday. I’ll write and let you know my impressions, as the pater calls it; and you might let your young sister see them too, if you like.

Yours truly, T. Hooker.

Paris, August 3.

Dear Gus,–We had an awful squeak for the train at Holborn, owing to Jim’s hatbox falling off the cab and his insisting on going back to pick it up. It seems to me rather humbug taking chimneys at all, but he says that’s all I know of foreign travel; so I caved in and brought mine too.

Another thing that nearly lost the train was a row about the luggage. The fellows wanted to do me out of two bob because they said my portmanteau was four pounds overweight! There was nearly a shindy, I can tell you, only Jim said we’d better walk into the chap on our way back. Anyhow, I wasn’t going to be done, so I unlocked my portmanteau and took out my spare jacket and a pair of bags, and carried them over my arm, and that made the weight all right. The fellows tried to grin, of course, but I fancy they were rather blue about it.

Our tickets cost 45 shillings 6 pence each, not counting grub on the way, which about finished up a L5 note for the two of us.

Jim and I had a stunning time in the train. There was only one other old chap in the carriage. When the fellow came for the tickets outside Dover, Jim happened to be up on the luggage rack, and the fellow would never have spotted him if the rack hadn’t given way. Then he got crusty, and we all but got left behind by the steamer.

Beastly tubs those steamers are! I wonder why they don’t make some that go steady. And they ought to make the seats facing the side of the vessel, and not with your back to it. You miss such a lot of the view. I sat with my face to the side of the vessel most of the way. I don’t exactly know what became of Jim. He said afterwards he’d been astern watching the English coast disappear. I suppose that accounted for his looking so jolly blue. We weren’t sorry to clear out of that boat, I can tell you.

Jim was first up the gangway, and I was third, owing to dropping my spare bags half-way up and having to pick them up. There was an awfully civil French fellow at the top of the gangway, who touched his hat to me. I couldn’t make out what he said, but I fancied he must be asking for a tip, so I gave him a copper. That seemed to make him awfully wild, and he wanted to know my name. I had to tell him, and he wrote it down; but as he didn’t get my address, I hope there won’t be a fuss about it. I didn’t see any harm in tipping him, but I suppose it’s against French law, and I don’t mean to do it any more.