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Two Journals of a Trip to the Continent in 1816

Two Journals of a Trip to the Continent in 1816



2 vols. Vol I is a quarter roan notebook with marbled card wraps, somewhat worn to extremities but strong and attractive. Vol II is a quarto buff card exercise book or notebook, worn to spine but solid. 86pp and 64pp. respectively, occasional miniscule sketches withn text of Vol I. Internally clean. Accompanying the journals is an extensive transcript covering three additional notebooks. The journals are kept by what appear to be a father and son travelling together, throughout Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy, and include a visit to the Field of Waterloo on the first anniversary of the battle:

“...Dined in Genappe in the room where five French were killed in the flight, marks of bullets and baionettes on the walls...Jarmin had several trophies, which he offered for sale at very reasonable prices, 4 helmets, a cuirass, and sabres &c...”

The son is of a slightly more practical bent:

“Walked over the field of battle. Our conductor said the ground had been trop brisee for this year’s crop, which was not great.”

One cannot help but suspect that there may have been a rather gloating aspect to a number of the tours undertaken in the years immediately following Waterloo. The travellers continue through Quatre Bras, and suffer an accident near Gosselies “Our shaft horse stumbled and, not being able to recover himself the shafts were both broken and the horse appeared killed...” Gosselies meets with approval “Clean beds good coffee”, but not too much approval since our travellers are clearly British: “Both here and at Genappe advantage taken of us being off the Great Road. Landlady gave us the same account...Prussians. Some officers had lived in her house 8 weeks + had paid nothing.” The tour continues with an entertaining mix of social critique and military commentary: “Charleroi stands upon coal + and a number of pits in the town, saw women drawing up coal, unloading boats and performing the work of men or horses...” and is an entertaining record of the vagaries of the road “Passports examined at Moulins - Gentleman showed a letter from his mother as a pass, soldier said alright - glad to find the old lady was well, in good English. Moulin cutlery manufactured. Lord Bev...has lived here 9 years [attached] to the Bourbons. The further from Paris...had as much of the burthens but less of the glory of Bonaparte’s wars.”

It’s a most unusual occurrence to find two accounts of the same trip, more unusual still to be able to offer a complete transcript, but a very pleasing occurance nevertheless.

[Ref: 808] £1,600

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