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Title: The Automobilist Abroad
Author: Mansfield, M. F. (Milburg Francisco), 1871-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Automobilist Abroad" ***

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Author of "Rambles in Normandy," "Rambles in Brittany," "Rambles on
the Riviera," "The Cathedrals of Northern France," "The Cathedrals
of Southern France," "The Cathedrals and Churches of the Rhine," etc.

_With many illustrations from photographs, decorations, maps
and plans_
by Blanche McManus

L.C. Page & Company


_The general plan of this book is not original. It tells of some
experiences not altogether new, and contains observations and facts
that have been noted by other writers; but the author hopes that,
from the viewpoint of an automobilist at least, its novelty will
serve as a recommendation. As a pastime automobile touring is still
new and is not yet accomplished without some considerable annoyance
and friction. The conventional guides are of little assistance; and
the more descriptive works on travel fail too often to note the
continually changing conditions which affect the tourist alike by
road and rail._

[Illustration: Hotel Bellevue les Andelys]


Part 1     General Information--The Grand Tour
Chapter 1  An Appreciation Of The Automobile
Chapter 2  Travel Talk
Chapter 3  Roads And Routes
Chapter 4  Hotels And Things
Chapter 5  The Grand Tour

Part 2     Touring In France
Chapter 1  Down Through Tourane: Paris To Bourdeaux
Chapter 2  A Little Tour In The Pyrenees
Chapter 3  In Languedoc And Old Provence
Chapter 4  By Rhône And Saône
Chapter 5  By Seine And Oise--A Cruise In A Canot-Automobile
Chapter 6  The Road To The North

Part 3     On Britain's Roads
Chapter 1  The Bath Road
Chapter 2  The South Coast
Chapter 3  Land's End To John O'Groats

Part 4     In Belgium, Holland, And Germany
Chapter 1  On The Road To Flanders
Chapter 2  By Dykes And Windmills
Chapter 3  On The Road By The Rhine


Part I
General Information--The Grand Tour

Chapter I
An Appreciation of the Automobile

[Illustration: An Appreciation of the Automobile]

We have progressed appreciably beyond the days of the old horseless
carriage, which, it will be remembered, retained even the dashboard.

To-day the modern automobile somewhat resembles, in its outlines,
across between a decapod locomotive and a steam fire-engine, or at
least something concerning the artistic appearance of which the
layman has very grave doubts.

The control of a restive horse, a cranky boat, or even a trolley-car
on rails is difficult enough for the inexperienced, and there are
many who would quail before making the attempt; but to the novice in
charge of an automobile, some serious damage is likely enough to
occur within an incredibly short space of time, particularly if he
does not take into account the tremendous force and power which he
controls merely by the moving of a tiny lever, or by the depressing
of a pedal.

Any one interested in automobiles should know something of the
literature of the subject, which, during the last decade, has already
become formidable.

In English the literature of the automobile begins with Mr. Worby
Beaumont's Cantor Lectures (1895), and the pamphlet by Mr. R. Jenkins
on "Power Locomotion on the Highways," published in 1896.

In the library of the Patent Office in London the literature of motor
road vehicles already fills many shelves. The catalogue is
interesting as showing the early hopes that inventors had in
connection with steam as a motive power for light road vehicles, and
will be of value to all who are interested in the history of the
movement or the progress made in motor-car design.

In France the Bibliothèque of the Touring Club de France contains a
hundred entries under the caption "Automobiles," besides complete
files of eleven leading journals devoted to that industry. With these
two sources of information at hand, and aided by the records of the
Automobile Club de France and the Automobile Club of Great Britain
and Ireland, the present-day historian of the automobile will find
the subject well within his grasp.

There are those who doubt the utility of the automobile, as there
have been scoffers at most new things under the sun; and there have
been critics who have derided it for its "seven deadly sins," as
there have been others who have praised its "Christian graces." The
parodist who wrote the following newspaper quatrain was no enemy of
the automobile in spite of his cynicism.

  "A look of anguish underneath the car,
  Another start; a squeak, a grunt, a jar!
  The Aspiration pipe is working loose!
  The vapour can't get out! And there you are!"

  "Strange is it not, that of the myriads who
  Have Empty Tanks and know not what to do,
  Not one will tell of it when he Returns.
  As for Ourselves, why, we deny it, too."

The one perfectly happy man in an automobile is he who drives,
steers, or "runs the thing," even though he be merely the hired
chauffeur. For proof of this one has only to note how readily
others volunteer to "spell him a bit," as the saying goes.
Change of scene and the exhilaration of a swift rush through space
are all very well for friends in the _tonneau_, but for real
"pleasure" one must be the driver. Not even the manifold
responsibilities of the post will mar one's enjoyment, and there is
always a supreme satisfaction in keeping one's engine running

"Nothing to watch but the road," is the general motto for the
automobile manufacturer, but the enthusiastic automobilist goes
farther, and, for his motto, takes "stick to your post," and, in case
of danger, as one has put it, "pull everything you see, and put your
foot on everything else."

The vocabulary of the automobile has produced an entirely new
"jargon," which is Greek to the multitude, but, oh, so expressive and
full of meaning to the initiated.

An automobile is masculine, or feminine, as one likes to think of it,
for it has many of the vagaries of both sexes. The French Academy has
finally come to the fore and declared the word to be masculine, and
so, taking our clue once more from the French (as we have in most
things in the automobile world), we must call it _him_, and speak of
it as _he_, instead of _her_, or _she_.

That other much overworked word in automobilism, _chauffeur_, should
be placed once for all. The driver of an automobile is not really a
_chauffeur_, neither is he who minds and cares for the engine; he is
a _mécanicien_ and nothing else--in France and elsewhere. We needed a
word for the individual who busies himself with, or drives an
automobile, and so we have adapted the word _chauffeur_. Purists may
cavil, but nevertheless the word is better than _driver_, or
_motor_-_man_ (which is the quintessence of snobbery), or

The word, _chauffeur_, the Paris _Figaro_ tells us, was known long
before the advent of automobiles or locomotives. History tells that
about the year 1795, men strangely accoutred, their faces covered
with soot and their eyes carefully disguised, entered, by night,
farms and lonely habitations and committed all sorts of depredations.
They garroted their victims, or dragged them before a great fire
where they burned the soles of their feet, and demanded information
as to the whereabouts of their money and jewels. Hence they were
called _chauffeurs_, a name which frightened our grandfathers as much
as the scorching _chauffeur_ to-day frightens our grandchildren.

A motor-car is a fearsome thing,--when it goes, it goes; and when it
doesn't, something, or many things, are wrong. A few years ago this
uncertainty was to be expected, for, though the makers will not
whisper it in Gath, we are only just getting out of the bone-shaker
age of automobiles.

Every one remembers what a weirdly ungraceful thing was the first
safety bicycle, and so was the gaudy painted-up early locomotive--and
they are so yet on certain English lines where their early Victorian
engines are like Kipling's ocean tramp, merely "puttied up with
paint." So with the early automobiles, they jarred and jerked and
stopped--that is, under all but exceptional conditions. Occasionally
they did wonderful things,--they always did, in fact, when one took
the word of their owners; but now they really do acquit themselves
with credit, and so the public, little by little, is beginning to
believe in them, even though the millennium has not arrived when
every home possesses its own runabout.

All this proves that we are "getting there" by degrees, and meantime
everybody that has to do with motor-cars has learned a great deal,
generally at somebody else's expense.

To-day every one "motes," or wants to, and likewise a knowledge of
many things mechanical, which had heretofore been between closed
covers, is in the daily litany of many who had previously never known
a clutch from a cam-shaft, or a sparking plug from a fly-wheel.

Most motor enthusiasts read all the important journals devoted to the
game. The old-stager reads them for their hints and suggestions,--
though these are bewildering in their multiplicity and their
contradictions,--and the ladies of the household look at them for the
sake of their pretty pictures of scenery and ladies and veils and
furry garments pertaining to the sport.

Catalogues are another bane of the motorist's life. He may have just
become possessed of the latest thing in a Mercédès (and paid an
enhanced price for an early delivery), yet upon seeing some new make
of car advertised, he will immediately send for a catalogue and
prospectus, and make the most absurd inquiries as to what said car
will or will not do.

[Illustration: Types of Cars]

Since the pleasures of motoring have found their champions in
Kipling, Maeterlinck, and the late W. E. Henley, the delectable
amusement has, besides entering the daily life of most of us,
generously permeated literature--real literature as distinct from
recent popular fiction; "The Lighting Conductor" and "The Princess
Passes," by Mrs. Williamson, and more lately, "The Motor Pirate," by
Mr. Paternoster. "A Motor Car Divorce" is the suggestive title of
another work,--presumably fiction,--and one knows not where it may
end, since "The Happy Motorist," a series of essays, is already

A Drury Lane melodrama of a season or two ago gave us a "_thrillin'
hair-bre'dth 'scape_," wherein an automobile plunged precipitately--
with an all too-true realism, the first night--down a lath and canvas
ravine, finally saving the heroine from the double-dyed villain who
followed so closely in her wake.

The last entry into other spheres was during the autumn just past,
when Paris's luxurious opera-house was given over to the fantastic
revels of the ballet in an attempt to typify the _apotheosis of the
automobile_. This was rather a rash venture in prognostication, for
it may be easy enough to "apotheosize" the horse, but to what idyllic
heights the automobile is destined to ultimately reach no one really

The average scoffer at things automobilistic is not very sincerely a
scoffer at heart. It is mostly a case of "sour grapes," and he only
waits the propitious combination of circumstances which shall permit
him to become a possessor of a motor-car himself. This is not a very
difficult procedure. It simply means that he must give up some other
fad or fancy and take up with this last, which, be it here
reiterated, is no _fad_.

The great point in favour of the automobile is its sociability. Once
one was content to potter about with a solitary companion in a buggy,
with a comfortable old horse who knew his route well by reason of
many journeys. To-day the automobile has driven thoughts of solitude
to the winds. Two in the tonneau, and another on the seat beside you
in front--a well-assorted couple of couples--and one may make the
most ideal trips imaginable.

Every one looks straight ahead, there is no uncomfortable twisting
and turning as there is on a boat or a railway train, and each can
talk to the others, or all can talk at once, which is more often the
case. It is most enjoyable, plenty to see, exhilarating motion, jolly
company, absolute independence, and a wide radius of action. What
mode of travel can combine all these joys unless it be ballooning--of
which the writer confesses he knows nothing?

On the road one must ever have a regard for what may happen, and
roadside repairs, however necessary, are seldom more than makeshifts
which enable one to arrive at his destination.

If you break the bolt which fastens your cardan-shaft or a link of
your side-chains, you and your friends will have a chance to harden
your muscles a bit pushing the machine to the next village, unless
you choose to wait, on perhaps a lonely road, for a passing cart
whose driver willing, for a price, to detach his tired horse to haul
your dead weight of a ton and a half over a few miles of hill and
dale. This is readily enough accomplished in France, where the
peasant looks upon the procedure as a sort of allied industry to
farming, but in parts of England, in Holland, and frequently in
Italy, where the little mountain donkey is the chief means of
transportation, it is more difficult.

The question of road speed proves nothing with regard to the worth of
an individual automobile, except that the times do move, and we are
learning daily more and more of the facility of getting about with a
motor-car. A locomotive, or a marine engine, moves regularly without
a stop for far greater periods of time than does an automobile, but
each and every time they finish a run they receive such an
overhauling as seldom comes to an automobile.

In England the automobilist has had to suffer a great deal at the
hands of ignorant and intolerant road builders and guardians. Police
traps, on straight level stretches miles from any collection of
dwellings, will not keep down speed so long as dangerous cobblestoned
alleys, winding through suburban London towns, have no guardian to
regulate the traffic or give the stranger a hint that he had best go

The milk and butchers' carts go on with their deadly work, but the
police in England are too busy worrying the motorist to pay any

Some county boroughs have applied a ten-mile speed limit, even though
the great bulk of their area is open country; but twenty miles an
hour for an automobile is far safer for the public than is most other
traffic, regardless of the rate at which it moves.

[Illustration: "Speed" painting, Louis de Schryver]

Speed, so far as the bystander is concerned, is a very difficult
thing to judge, and the automobilist seldom, if ever, gets fair
treatment if he meets with the slightest accident.

Most people judge the speed of an automobile by the noise that it
makes. This, up to within a few years, put most automobiles going at
a slow speed at a great disadvantage, for the slower they went the
noisier they were; but matters of design and control have changed
this somewhat, and the public now protests because "a great
death-dealing monster crept up silently behind--coming at a terrific
rate." You cannot please every one, and you cannot educate a
non-participating public all at once.

As for speed on the road, it is a variable thing, and a thing
difficult to estimate correctly. Electric cars run at a speed of from
ten to twenty-two miles an hour in England, even in the towns, and no
one says them nay. Hansoms, on the Thames Embankment in London, do
their regular fifteen miles an hour, but automobiles are still held
down to ten.

The official timekeeper of the Automobile Club of Great Britain and
Ireland took the following times (in 1905) in Piccadilly, one of the
busiest, if not the most congested thoroughfare in London.

Holloway horse-drawn bus  11.3 miles per hour
Cyclist                   15.85  "    "   "
Private trap              13.08  "    "   "
Private buggy             13.55  "    "   "
Private brougham          14.80  "    "   "

When one considers how difficult to control, particularly amid
crowded traffic, a horse-drawn vehicle is, and how very easy it is to
control an up-to-date automobile, one cannot but feel that a little
more consideration should be shown the automobilist by those in

The road obstructions, slow-going traffic which will not get out of
one's way, carts left unattended and the like, make most of the real
and fancied dangers which are laid to the door of the very mobile

[Illustration: London and Paris traffic]

In Holland and Belgium dogs seem to be the chief road obstructions,
or at least dangers, not always willingly perhaps, but still
ever-present. In England it is mostly children.

In France not all the difficulties one meets with _en route_ are
willful obstructors of one's progress. In La Beauce the geese and
ducks are prudent, in the Nivernais the oxen are placid, and in
Provence the donkeys are philosophical; but in Brittany the horses
and mules and their drivers take fright immediately they suspect the
coming of an automobile, and in the Vendée the market-wagons, and
those laden with the product of the vine, career madly at the
extremities of exceedingly lusty examples of horse flesh to the
pending disaster of every one who does not get out of the road.

Sheep and hens are everywhere that they ought not to be, and there
seems no way of escaping them. One can but use all his ingenuity and
slip through somehow. Dogs are bad enough and ought to be
exterminated. They are the silliest beasts which one finds
uncontrolled on the roadways. Children, of course, one defers to, but
they are outrageously careless and very foolish at times, and in
short are the greatest responsibility for the driver in the small
towns of England and France. In France some effort is being made in
the schools to teach them something about a proper regard for
automobile traffic, and with good results; but no one has heard of
anything of the sort being attempted in England.

Chapter II
Travel Talk

[Illustration: Travel Talk]

Touring abroad is nothing new, but, as an amusement for the masses,
it has reached gigantic proportions. The introduction of the railroad
gave it its greatest impetus, and then came the bicycle and the

With the railway as the sole means of getting about one was more or
less confined to the beaten track of travel in Continental Europe,
but the automobile has changed all this.

To-day, the Cote d'Azur, from St. Raphael to Menton, as well as the
strip of Norman coast-line around Trouville, in summer, is scarcely
more than a boulevard where the automobile tourist strolls for an
hour as he does in the Bois. The country lying back and between these
two widely separated points is becoming known, and even modern taste
prefers the idyllic countryside to a round of the same dizzy
conventions that one gets in season at Paris, London, or New York.

France is the land _par excellence_ for automobile touring, not only
from its splendid roads, but from the wide diversity of its sights
and scenes, and manners and customs, and, last but not least, its
most excellent hotels strung along its highways and byways like
pearls in a collarette.

This is not saying that travel by automobile is not delightful
elsewhere; certainly it is equally so in many places along the Rhine,
in Northern Italy, and in England, where the chief drawback is the
really incompetent catering of the English country hotel-keeper to
the demands of the traveller who would dine off of something more
attractive than a cut from a cold joint of ham, and eggs washed down
with stodgy, bitter beer.

The bibliography of travel books is long, and includes many famous
names in literature. Marco Polo, Froissart, Mme. de Sévigné, Taine,
Bayard Taylor, Willis, Stevenson, and Sterne, all had opportunities
for observation and made the most of them. If they had lived in the
days of the automobile they might have sung a song of speed which
would have been the most melodious chord in the whole gamut.

A modern writer must be more modest, however. He can hardly hope to
attract attention to himself or his work by describing the usual
sights and scenes. The most he can do is to set down his method of
travel, his approach, and his departure, and, for example, to tell
those who may come after that the great double spires of Notre Dame
de Chartres are a beacon by land for nearly twenty kilometers in any
direction, as he approaches them by road across the great plain of La
Beauce, the granary of France, rather than give a repetition of the
well-worn guidebook facts concerning them.

[Illustration: Ideal Car]

Chartres is taken as an example because it is one of those "stock"
sights, before mentioned, which any itinerary coming within the scope
of the _grand tour_ is bound to include.

Almost the same phenomenon is true of Antwerp's lacelike spire, the
great Gothic wonder of Cologne and, to a lesser extent, that of
Canterbury in England; thus the automobilist _en route_ has his
beacons and landmarks as has the sailor on the seas.

Man is an animal essentially mobile. He moves readily from place to
place and is not tied down by anything but ways and means and,
perhaps, confinement at laborious affairs. Even in the latter case he
occasionally breaks away for a more or less extended period, and
either goes fishing in Canada, shooting in Scotland, or automobiling
in France, with perhaps a rush over a Swiss pass or two, and a dash
around the Italian lakes, and back down the Rhine for a little tour
in Great Britain.

This is as delightful a holiday as one could imagine, and the foreign
tour--which has often been made merely as a succession of nights of
travel in stuffy sleeping-cars or a round of overfeeding orgies at
Parisian hotels and restaurants--has added charms of which the
generation before the advent of automobiles knew nought.

The question of comfortable travel is a never-ending one. The
palanquin, the sedan-chair, the rickshaw, even the humble horse-drawn
buggy have had their devotees, but the modern touring automobile has
left them all far behind, whether for long-distance travel or
promenades at Fontainebleau, in the New Forest or the Ardennes.

There is no question but that, when touring in an automobile, one has
an affection for his steel-and-iron horse that he never felt for any
other conveyance. The horse had some endearing qualities, no doubt,
and we were bound to regard his every want; but he was only a part of
the show, whereas the automobile, although it is nought but an
inanimate combination of wheels and things, has to be humoured and
talked to, and even cursed at times, in order to keep it going. But
it works faithfully nevertheless, and never balks, at least not with
the same crankiness as the horse, and always runs better toward night
(this is curious, but it is a fact), which a horse seldom does. All
the same an automobile is like David Balfour's Scotch advocate: hard
at times to ken rightly--most of the time, one may say without undue
exaggeration. Often an automobile is as fickle as a stage fairy, or
appears to be, but it may be that only your own blind stupidity
accounts for the lack of efficiency. Once in awhile an automobile
gets uproariously full of spirits and runs away with itself, and
almost runs away with you, too, simply for the reason that the
carburetion is good and everything is pulling well. Again it is as
silent and immovable as a sphinx and gives no hint of its present or
expected ailments. It is most curious, but an automobile invents some
new real or fancied complaint with each fresh internal upheaval, and
requires, in each and every instance, an entirely new and original

With all its caprices, however, the automobile is the most efficient
and satisfactory contrivance for getting about from place to place,
for business or pleasure, that was ever devised.

Comparatively speaking, the railway is not to be thought of for a
moment. It has all the disadvantages of the automobile (for indeed
there are a few, such as dust and more or less cramped quarters, and,
if one chooses, a nerve-racking speed) and none of its advantages,
and, whether you are a mere man or a millionaire, you are tied down
to rails and a strict itinerary, whereas you may turn the bonnet of
your automobile down any by-road that pleases your fancy, and arrive
ultimately at your destination, having made an enjoyable detour which
would not otherwise have been possible.

Too great a speed undoubtedly detracts from the joy of travel, but a
hundred and fifty, two hundred and fifty, or three hundred kilometres
a day on the fine roads of France, or a hundred or a hundred and
fifty miles on the leafy lanes of England's southern counties will
give the stranger more varied impressions and a clearer understanding
of men and matters than the touring of a country from end to end in
express-trains which serve your meals _en route_, and whisk you from
London to Torquay between tea and dinner, or from Paris to the Cote
d'Azur between breakfast and nightfall.

Just how much pleasure and edification one can absorb during an
automobile tour depends largely upon the individual--and the mood.
Once the craving for speed is felt, not all the historic monuments in
the world would induce one to stop a sweetly running motor; but again
the other mood comes on, and one lingers a full day among the charms
of the lower Seine from Caudebec to Rouen, scarce thirty miles.

Les Andelys-sur-Seine, your guide-book tells you, is noted for its
magnificent ruins of Richard Coeur de Lion's Château Gaillard, and
for the culture of the sugar-beet, and so, often, merely on account
of the banal mention of beet-roots, you ignore the attractions of
Richard's castle and make the best time you can Parisward by the
great Route Nationale on the other side of the Seine. This is wrong,
of course, but the mood was on, and the song of speed was ringing in
your ears and nothing would drive it out.

Our fathers and grandfathers made the grand tour, in a twelvemonth,
as a sort of topping-off to their early education, before they
settled down to a business or professional life.

They checked off in their guide-books Melrose Abbey, the Tower of
London, the Cathedral of Canterbury, and those of Antwerp, Cologne,
Rome, Venice, and Paris, as they did the Cheshire Cheese, Mont Blanc,
and the ruins of Carnac. It was all a part of the general scheme of
travel, to cover a lot of ground and see all they could, for it was
likely that they would pass that way but once. Why, then, should one
blame the automobilist--who really travels very leisurely in that he
sees a lot of the countryside manners and customs off the beaten
track--if he rushes over an intermediate stretch of country in order
to arrive at one more to his liking?

One sees the thing every day on any of the great highroads in France
leading from the Channel ports. One's destination may be the
Pyrenees, the Cote d'Azur, Italy, or even Austria, and he does the
intermediate steps at full speed. The same is true if he goes to
Switzerland by the Rhine valley, or to Homburg by passing through
Belgium or Holland. He might be just as well pleased with a fortnight
in the Ardennes, or even in Holland or in Touraine, but, if his
destination is Monte Carlo or Biarritz, he is not likely to linger
longer by the way than the exigencies of food, drink, and lodging,
and the care of his automobile demand.

When he has no objective point he loiters by the way and no doubt
enjoys it the more, but it is not fair to put the automobilist down
as a scorcher simply because he is pushing on. The best guide-books
are caprice and fantasy, if you are hot pressed for time.

Mile-stones, or rather _bornes kilométriques_, line the roadways of
Continental military Europe mercilessly, and it's a bad sign when the
chauffeur begins to count them off. All the same, he knows his
destination a great deal better than does some plodding tourist by
rail who scorns him for rushing off again immediately after lunch.

One of the charms of travel, to the tried traveller, is, just as
in the time of the Abbé Prévost, the ability to exchange remarks
on one's itinerary with one's fellow travellers. In France it
does not matter much whether they are automobilists or not. The
_commis-voyageur_ is a more numerous class here, apparently, than in
any other country on the globe, and the detailed information which he
can give one about the towns and hotels and sights and scenes _en
route_, albeit he is more familiar with travel by rail than by road,
is marvellous in quantity and valuable as to quality.

The automobile tourist, who may be an Englishman or an American, has
hitherto been catered to with automobile novels, or love stories, or
whatever one chooses to call them, or with more or less scrappy,
incomplete, and badly edited accounts of tours made by some
millionaire possessor of a motor-car, or the means to hire one. Some
of the articles in the press, and an occasional book, have the merit
of having been "good stuff," but often they have gone wrong in the

The writer of this book does not aspire to be classed with either of
the above classes of able writers; the most he would like to claim is
that he should be able to write a really good handbook on the
subject, wherein such topographical, historical, and economic
information as was presented should have the stamp of correctness.
Perhaps four years of pretty constant automobile touring in Europe
ought to count for something in the way of accumulated pertinent
information concerning hotels and highways and by-ways.

Not all automobilists are millionaires. The man of moderate means is
the real giver of impetus to the wheels of automobile progress. The
manufacturers of motor-cars have not wholly waked up to this fact as
yet, but the increasing number of tourists in small cars, both in
England and in France, points to the fact that something besides the
forty, sixty, or hundred horse-power monsters are being manufactured.

Efficiency and reliability is the great requisite of the touring
automobile, and, for that matter, should be of any other. Efficiency
and reliability cover ninety-nine per cent. of the requirements of
the automobilist. Chance will step in at the most inopportune moments
and upset all calculations, but, with due regard given to these two
great and fundamental principles, the rest does not much matter.

It is a curious fact that the great mass of town folk, in France and
probably elsewhere, still have a fear and dread of the mechanism of
the automobile. "_C'est beau la mécanique, mais c'est tout de même un
peu compliqué_," they say, as they regard your labours in posing a
new valve or tightening up a joint here and there.

The development of the automobile has brought about a whole new
development of kindred things, as did the development of the
battle-ship. First there was the battle-ship, then the cruiser, and
then the torpedo-boat, and then another class of boats, the
destroyers (destined to catch torpedo-boats), and finally the
submarine. With the automobile the evolution was much the same; first
it was a sort of horseless carriage, for town use, then something a
little more powerful that would climb hills, so that one might
journey afield, and then the "touring-car," and then the racing
machine, and now we have automobile omnibuses, and even automobile
ambulances to pick up any frightened persons possessed of less
agility than a kangaroo or a jack-rabbit might inadvertently have
been bowled over. These disasters are seldom the automobilist's
fault, and, happily, they are becoming fewer and fewer; but the
indecision that overcame the passer-by, in the early days of the
bicycle, still exists with many whenever an automobile comes in
sight, and they back, and fill, and worry the automobilist into such
a bad case of nerves that, in spite of himself, something of the
nature of an accident, for which he is in no way responsible, really
does happen.

Once the writer made eleven hundred kilometres straight across
France, from the Manche to the Mediterranean, and not so much as a
puncture occurred. On another occasion a little journey of half the
length resulted in the general smashing up, four times in succession,
of a little bolt (no great disaster in itself), within the interior
arrangements of the motor, which necessitated a half a day's work on
each occasion in taking down the cylinder and setting it up again,
and each time in a small town far away from any properly equipped
machine-shop, and with the assistance only of the local locksmith.
It's astonishing how good a job a locksmith in France can do, even on
an automobile, the mechanism of which he perhaps has never seen
before. Officially the locksmith in France is known as a _serrurier_,
but in the slang of the land he is the _cambrioleur du pays_, a name
which is expressive, but which means nothing wicked. He can put a
thread on a bolt or make a new nut to replace one that has
mysteriously unscrewed itself, which is more than many a mere bicycle
repairer can do.

The automobilist touring France should make friends with the nearest
_cambrioleur_ if he is in trouble. In England this is risky, a
"gas-pipe thread" being the average lay workman's idea of "fixing you

Away back in Chaucer's day folk were "longen to gon on pilgrimages,"
and it does not matter in the least what the ways and means may be,
the motive is ever the same: a change of scene.

This book is no unbounded eulogy of the automobile, although its many
good qualities are recognized. There are other methods of travel
that, in their own ways, are certainly enjoyable, but none quite
equal the automobile for independence of action, convenience, and
efficiency. It is well for all motor-car users, however, to realize
that they are not the only road users, and to have a due regard for
others,--not only their rights, but their persons. This applies even
more forcibly, if possible, to the automobilist _en tour_.

One must in duty bound regulate his pace and his actions by the
vagaries of others, however little he may want to, or unfortunate
consequences will many times follow. Always he must have a sharp look
ahead and must not neglect a backward glance now and then. He must
not dash through muddy roads and splash passers-by (a particularly
heinous offence in England), and in France he must observe the rule
of the road (always to the right in passing,--no great difficulty for
an American, but very puzzling to an Englishman), or an accident may
result which will bring him into court, and perhaps into jail, unless
he can assuage the poor peasant's feelings for the damaged forelegs
of his horse or donkey by a cash payment on the spot.

Maeterlinck's "wonderful, unknown beast" is still unknown (and
feared) by the majority of outsiders, and the propaganda of education
must go on for a long time yet. Maeterlinck's great tribute to the
automobile is his regard for it as the conqueror of space. Never
before has the individual man been able to accomplish what the
soulless corporations have with railway trains. In steamboat or train
we are but a part and parcel of the freight carried, but in the
automobile we are stoker, driver, and passenger in one, and regard
every road-turning and landmark with a new wonder and appreciation.

We are the aristocrats of tourists, and we are bound therefore to
have a kindly regard for other road users or a revolution will spring
up, as it did in feudal times.

Take Maeterlinck's wise sayings for your guide, and be tolerant of
the rights of others. This will do automobilism more good than can be
measured, for it has come to stay, and perhaps even advance. The days
of the horse are numbered.

"In accord with the needs of our insatiable, exacting soul, which
craves at once for the small and the mighty, the quick and the slow;
here it is of us at last, it is ours, and offers at every turn
glimpses of beauty that, in former days, we could only enjoy when the
tedious journey was ended."

The "tour abroad" has ever been the lodestone which has drawn
countless thousands of home-loving English and Americans to
Continental Europe. Pleasure--mere pleasure--has accounted for many
of these pilgrims, but by far the largest proportion have been those
who seek education and edification combined.

One likes to be well cared for when he journeys, whether by road or
rail, and demands accordingly, if not all the comforts of home, at
least many things that the native knows or cares little of. A
Frenchman does not desire a sitting-room, a reading-room, or a fire
in his sleeping-room, and, according to his lights, he is quite
right. He finds all this at a café, and prefers to go there for it.
The steam-heated hotel, with running water everywhere, is a rarity in
France, as indeed it is in England.

Outside Paris the writer has found this combination but seldom in
France; at Lyons, Marseilles, Moulins in the Allier, and at
Chatellerault in Poitou only. Modernity is making its way in France,
but only in spots; its progress is steady, but as yet it has not
penetrated into many outlying districts. Modern _art nouveau_ ideas
in France, which are banal enough, but which are an improvement over
the Eastlake and horsehair horrors of the Victorian and
Louis-Philippe periods, are tending to eliminate old-fashioned ideas
for the benefit of the traveller who would rather eat his meals in a
bright, airy apartment than in stuffy, dark hole known in England as
a coffee-room.

In France, in particular, the contrast of the new and old that one
occasionally meets with is staggering. It is all very well in its
way, this blending of antiquity and modernity, and gives one
something of the thrill of romance, which most of us have in our
make-up to a greater or lesser extent; but, on the other hand,
romance gets some hard knocks when one finds a Roman sarcophagus used
as a watering-trough; or a chapel as an automobile garage, as he
often will in the Midi.

One thing the American, and the Britisher to a lesser extent, be he
automobilist or mere tourist, must fully realize, and that is that
the tourist business is a more highly developed industry in
Continental Europe than it is anywhere else. In Switzerland one may
well say that it is a national industry, and in some parts of France
(always omitting Paris, which is not France) it is practically the
same thing; Holland and Belgium are not far behind, and neither is
the Rhine country; so that the tourist in Europe finds that creature
comforts are always near at hand. The automobilist does not much care
whether they are near at hand or not. If he doesn't find the
accommodations he is looking for on the borders of Dartmoor, he can
keep on to Exmoor, and if Nevers won't suit his purpose for the night
he can get to Moulins in an hour.

A hotel that is full and overflowing is no more a fear or a
dread; the automobilist simply takes the road again and drops
in on some market-town twenty, thirty, or fifty miles away and
finds accommodations that are equally satisfactory, with the
possibility--if he looks in at some little visited spot like Meung
or Beaugency in Touraine, Ecloo in Holland, or Reichenberg on the
Rhine--that he will be more pleased with his surroundings than he
would be in the large towns which are marked in heavy-faced type in
the railway guides, and whose hotels are starred by Baedeker.

In most countries the passport is no longer a necessary document in
the traveller's pocketbook, though the Britisher still fondly arms
himself with this "protection," and the American will, if it occurs
to him, be only too glad to contribute his dollars to the fees of his
consulate or embassy in order to possess himself of a gaudy thing in
parchment and gold which he can wave in front of any one whom he
thinks transgresses his rights as an American citizen: "from the land
of liberty, and don't you forget it."

This is all very well and is no doubt the very essence of a proper
patriotism, but the best _pièce d'identité_ for the foreigner who
takes up his residence in France for more than three months is a
simple document which can be obtained from the commissaire de police.
It will pass him anywhere in France that a passport will, is more
readily understood and accepted by the banker or post-office clerk as
a personal identification, and will save the automobile _chauffeur_
many an annoyance, if he has erred through lack of familiarity with
many little unwritten laws of the land.

The automobilist _en tour_ always has the identification papers of
his automobile; in England his "License," and in France his
"Certificat de Capacité" and "Récépisse de Déclaration," which will
accomplish pretty much all the passport of other days would do if one
flourished it to-day before a stubborn octroi official or the
caretaker of a historical monument.

The membership card of the Italian, Swiss, or French touring clubs
will do much the same thing, and no one should be without them, since
membership in either one or all is not difficult or costly. (See

France is the land _par excellence_ for the tourist, whether by road
or rail. The art of "_le tourisme_" has been perfected by the French
to even a higher degree than in Switzerland. There are numerous
societies, clubs, and associations, from the all-powerful Touring
Club de France downward, which are attracting not only the French
themselves to many hitherto little-known corners of "_la belle
France_," but strangers from over the frontiers and beyond the seas.
These are not the tourists of the conventional kind, but those who
seek out the little-worn roads. It is possible to do this if one
travels intelligently by rail, but it is a great deal more
satisfactorily done if one goes by road.

Here and there, scattered all over France, in Dauphiné, in Savoie,
and in the Pyrenees, one finds powerful "Syndicats d'Initiative,"
which not only care for the tourist, but bring pressure to bear on
the hotel-keeper and local authorities to provide something in the
way of improvements, where they are needed, to make a roadway safe,
or to restore a historical site or monument.

In the Pyrenees, and in the Alps of Savoie and Dauphiné, one finds
everywhere the insignia of the "Club-Alpin Français," which caters
with information, etc., not only to the mountain-climber, but to the
automobilist and the general tourist as well.

More powerful and effective than all--more so even than the famous
Automobile Club de France--is the great Touring Club de France,
which, with the patronage of the President of the Republic, and the
influence of more than a hundred thousand members, is something more
than a mere touring club.

In the fourteen years of its existence not only has the Touring Club
de France helped the tourist find his way about, but also has taken a
leading part in the clearing away of the debris in many a moss-grown
ruin and making of it a historical monument as pleasing to view as
Jumièges on the Seine, or world-famed Les Baux in Provence.

It has appointed itself the special guardian of roads and roadways,
so far as the placing of signboards along the many important lines of
communication is concerned; it has been the means of having dug up
untold kilometres of Renaissance pavement; has made, almost at its
own expense, a magnificent forty-kilometre road known as the Corniche
de l'Esterel; and has given the backward innkeeper such a shock that
he has at last waked up to the needs of the twentieth-century
traveller. All this is something for a touring organization to have
accomplished, and when one can become a part and parcel of this great
organization, and a sharer in the special advantages which it has to
offer to its members for the absurdly small sum of five francs per
annum, the marvel is that it has not half a million members instead
of a hundred thousand.

Chapter III
Roads & Routes

[Illustration: Roads & Routes]

  "Chacun suit dans ce monde une route incertaine,
  Selon que son erreur le joue et le promene."--Boileau

The chief concern of the automobilist to-day, after his individual
automobile, is the road question, the "Good Roads Question," as it
has become generally known. In a new country, like America, it is to
be expected that great connecting highways should be mostly in the
making. It is to be regretted that the development should be so slow,
but things have been improving in the last decade, and perhaps
America will "beat the world" in this respect, as she has in many
others, before many future generations have been born.

In the excellence and maintenance of her roads France stands
emphatically at the head of all nations, but even here noticeable
improvement is going on. The terrific "Louis Quatorze pavé," which
one finds around Paris, is yearly growing less and less in quantity.
The worst road-bed in France is that awful stretch from Bordeaux, via
Bazas, to Pau in Navarre, originally due to the energy of Henri IV.,
and still in existence for a space of nearly a hundred kilometres.
One avoids it by a détour of some twenty odd kilometres, and the
writer humbly suggests that here is an important unaccomplished work
for the usually energetic road authorities of France.

After France the "good roads" of Britain come next, though in some
parts of the country they are woefully inadequate to accommodate the
fast-growing traffic by road, notably in London suburbs, while some
of the leafy lanes over which poets rhapsodize are so narrow that the
local laws prevent any automobile traffic whatever. As one
unfortunate individual expressed it, "since the local authorities
forbid automobiles on roadways under sixteen feet in width, I am
unable to get my motor-car within nine miles of my home!"

In England something has been done by late generations toward roads
improvement. The first awakening came in 1820, and in 1832 the
London-Oxford road had been so improved that the former time of the
stage-coaches had been reduced from eight to six hours. Macadam in
1830, and Stevenson in 1847, were the real fathers of the "Roads
Improvement Movement" in England. The great faults of English roads
are that they are narrow and winding, almost without exception. There
are 38,600 kilometres of highways (the figures are given on the
metric scale for better comparison with Continental facts and
figures) and 160,900 of by-roads. There are sixty-six kilometres of
roads to the square kilometre _(kilometre carré)_.

In Germany the roads system is very complex. In Baden, the
Palatinate, and the Grand Duchy of Hesse they cede nothing to the
best roads anywhere, but in the central and northern provinces they
are, generally speaking, much poorer. There are fifty-four kilometres
of roads of all grades to the kilometre _carré_.

In Belgium the roads are greatly inferior to those of France, and
there are immeasurable stretches of the vilest pavement the world has
known, not only near the large towns, but great interior stretches as
well. There are 17,500 kilometres of Chemins Vicinaux and 6,990
kilometres of Chemins de Grands Communications. They average, taken
together, eighty-three kilometres to the kilometre _carré_.

In Switzerland the roads are thoroughly good everywhere, but many,
particularly mountain-roads, are entirely closed to automobile
traffic, and the regulations in many of the towns are so onerous that
it is anything but agreeable to make one's way through them. There
are thirty-two kilometres to the kilometre _carré_. The Simplon Pass
has only recently (1906) been opened to automobile traffic. No
departure can be made from Brigue, on the Swiss side, or from Gondo,
in Italy, after three P.M. Speed _(vitesse)_ must not exceed ten
kilometres on the stretches, or two kilometres around the corners.
Fines for infringement of the law run from twenty to five hundred

Italy, with a surface area one-half that of France, has but a quarter
of the extent of the good roads. They are of variable quality, but
good on the main lines of travel. In the ancient kingdom of Sardinia
will be found the best, but they are poor and greatly neglected
around Naples, and, as might be expected, in Sicily.

In Austria the roads are very variable as to surface and maintenance,
and there are numerous culverts or _canivaux_ across them. There are
21,112 kilometres of national roads, 66,747 kilometres of provincial
roads, and 87,859 of local roads. They average fourteen kilometres to
the kilometre _carré_.

The history of the development of the modern roadway is too big a
subject to permit of its being treated here; suffice it to recall
that in England and France, and along the Rhine, the lines of the
twentieth-century main roads follow the Roman roads of classic times.

In France, Lyons, in the mid-Rhône valley, was a great centre for the
radiating roadways of Gaul. Strategically it was important then as it
is important now, and Roman soldiery of the past, as the automobilist
of to-day, had here four great thoroughfares leading from the city.
The first traversed the valleys of the Rhine and the Meuse; the
second passed by Autun, Troyes, Chalons, Reims, Soissons, Noyon, and
Amiens; the third branched in one direction toward Saintes, and in
another to Bordeaux; while the fourth dropped down the Rhône valley
direct to Marseilles.

More than thirty thousand kilometres of roadways were in use
throughout Gaul during the Roman occupation, of which the four great
routes _(viæ publicæ)_ formed perhaps four thousand.

Of the great highways of France, the _Grandes Routes Nationales_, of
which all travellers by road have the fondest and most vivid
memories, it is well to recall that they were furthered, if not
fathered, by none other than Napoleon, who, for all he laid waste,
set up institutions anew which more than compensated for the

The great roadways of France, such as the Route de Bretagne, running
due west from the capital, and those leading to Spain, Switzerland,
Italy, and the Pays Bas, had their origin in the days of
Philippe-Auguste. His predecessors had let the magnificently traced
itineraries of the Romans languish and become covered with grass--if
not actually timber-grown.

The arrangement and classification laid down by Philippe-Auguste have
never been changed, simply modified and renamed; thus the _Routes
Royales_--such as followed nearly a straight line from Paris by the
right bank of the Loire to Amboise and to Nantes--became the _Routes
Nationales_ of to-day.

Soon wheeled traffic became a thing to be considered, and royal
cortèges moved about the land with much the same freedom and
stateliness of the state coaches which one sees to-day in pageants,
as relics of a past monarchical splendour.

Louis XI. created the "_Service des Postes_" in France, which made
new demands upon the now more numerous routes and roadways, and Louis
XII., François I., Henri II., and Charles IX., all made numerous
ordinances for the policing and maintenance of them.

Henri IV., and his minister Sully, built many more of these great
lines of communication, and thus gave the first real and tangible aid
to the commerce and agriculture of the kingdom. He was something of
an aesthetic soul too, this Henri of Bearn, for he was the originator
of the scheme to make the great roadways of France tree-shaded
boulevards, which in truth is what many of them are to-day. This
monarch of love, intrigues, religious reversion, and strange oaths
passed the first (and only, for the present is simply a continuance
thereof) _ordonnance_ making the planting of trees along the national
highroads compulsory on the local authorities.

Under Louis XIV., Colbert continued the good work and put up the
first mile-stone, or whatever its equivalent was in that day,
measuring from the Parvis de Notre Dame at Paris. Some of these Louis
XIV. _bornes_, or stones, still exist, though they have, of course,
been replaced throughout by kilometre stones.

The foregoing tells in brief of the natural development of the
magnificent roads of France. Their history does not differ greatly
from the development of the other great European lines of travel,
across Northern Italy to Switzerland, down the Rhine valley and,
branching into two forks, through Holland and through Belgium to the
North Sea.

[Illustration: On French Roads]

In England the main travel routes run north, east, south, and west
from London as a radiating centre, and each took, in the later
coaching days, such distinctive names as "The Portsmouth Road," "The
Dover Road," "The Bath Road," and "The Great North Road." Their
histories have been written in fascinating manner, so they are only
referred to here.

It is in France, one may almost say, that automobile touring begins
and ends, in that it is more practicable and enjoyable there; and so
_la belle France_ continually projects itself into one's horizon when
viewing the subject of automobilism.

It may be that there are persons living to-day who regret the passing
of the good old times when they travelled--most uncomfortably, be it
remarked--by stage-coach and suffered all the inclemencies of bad
weather _en route_ without a word of protest but a genial grumble,
which they sought to antidote by copious libations of anything liquid
and strong. The automobile has changed all this. The traveller by
automobile doesn't resort to alcoholic drinks to put, or keep, him in
a good humour, and, when he sees a lumbering van or family cart
making its way for many miles from one widely separated region to
another, he accelerates his own motive power and leaves the good old
ways of the good old days as far behind as he can, and recalls the
words of Sidney Smith:

  "The good of other times let others state,
  I think it lucky I was born so late."

A certain picturesqueness of travel may be wanting when comparing the
automobile with the whirling coach-and-four of other days, but there
is vastly more comfort for all concerned, and no one will regret the
march of progress when he considers that nothing but the means of
transportation has been changed. The delightful prospects of hill and
vale are still there, the long stretches of silent road and, in
France and Germany, great forest routes which are as wild and
unbroken, except for the magnificent surface of the roads, as they
were when mediæval travelers startled the deer and wild boar. You may
even do this to-day with an automobile in more than one forest tract
of France, and that not far from the great centres of population

The invention of carriage-springs--the same which, with but little
variation, we use on the automobile--by the wife of an apothecary in
the Quartier de St. Antoine at Paris, in 1600, was the prime cause of
the increased popularity of travel by road in France.

In 1776, the routes of France were divided into four categories:
1. Those leading from Paris to the principal interior cities and

2. Those communicating directly between the principal cities.

3. Those communicating directly between the cities and towns of one
province and those of another.

4. Those serving the smaller towns and bourgs.

Those in the first class were to be 13.35 metres in width, the second
11.90, the third 10, the fourth 7.90. The road makers and menders of
England and America could not get better models than these.

The advent of the automobile has brought a new factor into the matter
of road making and mending, but certainly he would be an ignorant
person indeed who would claim that the automobile does a tithe of the
road damage that is done by horse-drawn traffic.

At a high rate of speed, however, the automobile does raise a fine
sandy dust, and exposes the macadam. A French authority states that
up to twenty to twenty-five kilometres an hour the automobile does
little or no harm to the roads, but when they increase to over fifty
kilometres an hour they do damage the surface somewhat. Just what the
ultimate outcome of it will be remains to be seen, but France is
unlikely to do anything which will work against the interests of the

In consequence of this newer and faster mode of travelling, it is
being found that on some parts of the roads the convexity of the
surface is too great, and especially at curves, where fast motors
frequently skid on the rounded surface. To obviate this a piece of
road near the Croix d'Augas in the Orleannais has had the outer side
of the curve raised eight centimetres above the centre of the road,
in somewhat the same manner as on the curve of a railway. Since this
innovation has proved highly successful and pleasing to the devotees
of the new form of travel, it is likely to be further adopted.

In the early period of the construction of French roads the earth
formation was made horizontal, but Trésaguet, a French engineer,
introduced the rounded form, or camber, and this is the method now
almost generally adopted, both in France and England. Only some
14,000 kilometres of the national routes have a hand-set foundation,
the others being what are termed broken-stone roads--the stone used
is broken in pieces and laid on promiscuously, after the system
introduced by Macadam. Some of the second and third class, roads are
constructed of gravel, and others, of earth.

From the official report of 1893 it appears that the cost of
maintenance of roads in France was as follows:

                        Annual Total      Annual Cost
                        Cost            per Kilometre
Routes Nationales       22,570,300 fcs.     775 fcs.
Routes Départmentales   14,555,850          600
Chemins Communication   82,474,450          423
Chemins Vicinaux        44,211,125          200

The above is for materials and labour on the roadways only, and
something between 33 1/3 per cent, and 50 per cent. is added for the
maintenance of watercourses and sidewalks, the planting of trees, and
for general administrative expenses.

[Illustration: Kilometre Stones in France]

Excepting for twenty kilometres or so around Paris, the vehicular
traffic on the country roads of France does not seem to be in any way
excessive. The style of vehicles in France that carry into the cities
farm and garden produce, wood, stone, etc., are large wagons with
wheels six to seven feet in diameter. These wagons are more easily
hauled and naturally do less damage to the roads than narrow-tired,
low-wheeled trucks or drays. The horses in Paris, and in the country,
are nearly all plain shod, with no heels or toes to act like a pick
to break up the surface. Sometimes even one sees draught-horses with
great flat, iron shoes extending out beyond the hoof in all

The question of the speed of the automobile on the roads, in France
and England, as indeed everywhere else, has been the moot point in
all legislation that has been attempted.

The writer thinks the French custom the best. You may legally go at
thirty kilometres an hour, and no more. If you exceed this you do it
at your own risk. If an accident happens it _may_ go hard with you,
but if not, all is well, and you have the freedom of the road in all
that the term implies. In the towns you are often held down to ten,
eight, or even six kilometres an hour, but that is merely a local
regulation, for your benefit as much as for the safety of the public,
for many a French town has unthought-of possibilities of danger in
its crooked streets and unsafe crossings.

Good roads have much to do with the pleasure of automobilism, and
competent control and care of them will do much more. Where a picked
bit of roadway has been chosen for automobile trials astonishing
results have been obtained, as witness the Gordon-Bennett Cup records
of the last six years, where the average speed per hour consistently
increased from thirty-eight miles to nearly fifty-five, and this for
long distances (three hundred and fifty miles or more).

To meet the new traffic conditions the authorities must widen the
roads here and there, remove obstructions at corners, make encircling
boulevards through narrowly laid out towns, and erect warning signs,
like the following, a great deal more numerously than they have as

They have very good automobile laws in France in spite of their
anomalies. You agree to thirty-seven prescribed articles, and go
through sundry formalities and take to the road with your automobile.
In the name of the President of the Republic and the "_peuple
français,_" you are allowed thirty kilometres an hour in the open
country, and twenty in the towns. You can do anything you like beyond
this--at your own risk, and so long as no accident happens nothing
will be said, but you must pull up when you come to a small town
where M. le Maire, in the name of his forty-four electors, has
decreed that his village is dangerously laid out for fast
traffic,--and truth to tell it often is,--and accordingly you are
limited to a modest ten or even less. It is annoying, of course, but
if you are on a strange itinerary you had best go slow until you know
what trouble lies ahead.

In theory _la vitesse_ is national in France, but in practice it is
communal, and the barriers rise, in the way of staring warnings
posted at each village-end, like the barriers across the roads in the
times of Louis XI.

Except in Holland, where some "private roads" still exist, and in
certain parts of England, the toll-gate keeper has become almost an
historical curiosity. It is true, however, that in England one does
meet with annoying toll-bridges and gates, and in France one has
equally annoying _octroi_ barriers.

One recognizes the vested proprietary rights, many of which, in
England, are hereditary, of certain toll-gates and bridges, but it is
hard in these days, when franchises for the conduct of public
services are only granted for limited periods, that legislation, born
of popular clamour, should not confiscate, or, better, purchase at a
fair valuation, these "rights," and make all roads and bridges free
to all.

In France there are no toll-gates or bridges, or at least not many
(the writer recalls but one, a bridge at La Roche-Guyou on the Seine,
just above Vernon), but there are various state ferries across the
Seine, the Rhône, the Saône, and the Loire, where a small charge is
made for crossing. These are particularly useful on the lower Seine,
in delightful Normandy, as there are no bridges below Rouen.

In France one's chief delays on the road are caused by the _octroi_
barriers at all large towns, though only at Paris and, for a time, at
St. Germain do they tax the supplies of _essence_ (gasoline) and oil,
which the automobilist carries in his tanks.

The _octroi_ taxes are onerous enough in all conscience, but it is a
pity to annoy automobilists in the way the authorities do at the
gates of Paris, and it's still worse for a touring automobile to be
stopped at the barrier of a town like Evreux in Normandy, or Tarare
in the Beaujolais. Whatever does the humble (and civil, too) guardian
do it for, except to show his authority, and smile pleasantly, as he
waves you off after having brought you to a full stop at the bottom
of a twisting cobble-stoned, hilly street where you need all the
energy and suppleness of your motor in order to reach the top.

There are not many of these abrupt stops, outside the large towns,
and nowhere do they tax you on your oil or _essence_ except at
Paris--where you pay (alas!) nearly as much as the original cost.

At Rouen the guardian comes up, looks in your tonneau to see if you
have a fish or a partridge hidden away, and sends you on your way
with a bored look, as though he disliked the business as much as you
do. At Tours, if you come to the barrier just as the official has
finished a good lunch, he simply smiles, and doesn't even stop
you. At Marseilles you get up from your seat and let the official
poke a bamboo stick down among your _chambres d'air_, and say
nothing--provided he does not puncture them; if he does, you say a
good deal, but he replies by saying that he was merely doing his
duty, and meant no harm.

At Nantes, at Rennes, at Orleans, and Bordeaux, all of them _grandes
villes_, every one is civil and apologetic, but still the procedure
goes on just the same.

At Lyons the _octroi_ tax has been abolished. Real progress this!

In the old coaching days road speeds fell far behind what they are
to-day in a well-constructed and capable automobile, but, as they put
in long hours on the road, they certainly did get over the ground in
a fairly satisfactory manner. Private conveyances, with private
horses, could not hope to accomplish anything like it, simply because
there is a limit to the working powers and hours of the individual
horse. With the old mail-coaches, in England, and the _malle-poste_
and the _poste-chaise_, in France, things were different, for at
every _poste_, or section, was a new relay; and on the coach went at
the same pace as before.

[Illustration: Days Gone By]

The London-Birmingham coaches in 1830 covered the 109 miles between
the two points at an average speed of 15.13 miles per hour, the
highest speed being eighteen, and the lowest eleven miles.

In France the speeds were a little better. From Lyons the old
mail-coaches used to make the journey to Paris in four days by way of
Auxerre, and in five by Moulins, though the distance is the same, one
hundred and twenty leagues. To-day the automobile, which fears not
hills, take invariably the Moulins road, and covers the distance
between breakfast and dinner; that is, if the driver is a "scorcher;"
and there are such in France.

In 1834 there were thirteen great lines of _malle-postes_ in France
as follows:

To Calais. By Clermont, Amiens, and Abbeville.
To Lille. By Senlis, Noyon, St. Quentin, Cambrai, and Douai.
To Mezières. By Soissons, Reims, and Rhetel.
To Strasbourg. By Chalons-sur-Marne, Metz, and Sarrebourg.
To Besançon. By Troyes and Dijon.
To Lyon. By Melun, Auxerre, Autun, and Macon.
To Clermont-Ferrand. By Fontainebleau, Briare, Nevers, and Moulins.
To Toulouse. By Orleans, Chateauroux, Limoges, and Cahors.
To Bordeaux. By Orleans, Blois, Tours, Poitiers, and Angoulême.
To Nantes. By Chartres, Le Mans, La Fleche, and Angers.
To Brest. By Alençon, Laval, Rennes, and St. Brieuc.
To Caen. By Bonnières, Evreux, and Lisieux.
To Rouen. By Neuilly-sur-Seine, Pontoise, Gisors, Ecouis, and

Besides the _malle-poste_ there was another organization in France
even more rapid. The following is copied from an old advertisement:

"_Messageries Royales--Nouvelles Diligences_

"Le Public est averti:

"Il partira de Paris toutes les semaines, pour Dunkerque, passant par
Senlis, Compiègne, et Noyon, une diligence le lundi à 6 heures du
matin. Elle repartira de Dunkerque à Paris, le mercredi à 6 heures du
matin. Il partira aussi dans chaque sens une voiture pour les gros
bagages et objets fragiles, le jeudi de chaque semaine.

"Les bureaux de ces diligences sont établis à Paris, rue St. Denis,
vis-à-vis les Filles-Dieu."

From Paris to Bordeaux, 157 leagues, the Messageries Royales made the
going at an easy pace in five days. To-day the express-trains do it
in six and one-half hours, and the ever-ready automobile has knocked
a half an hour off that, just for a record. "_Tempus fugit._"

The subject of roads and roadmaking is one that to-day more than ever
is a matter of deep concern to those responsible for a nation's

It might seem, in these progressive days, that it was in reality a
matter which might take care of itself, at least so far as originally
well-planned or well-built roads were concerned. This, however, is
not the case; the railway has very nearly reached the limit of its
efficiency (at any rate in thickly settled parts), and the electric
roads have merely stepped in and completed its functions.

It is certain that an improved system of road administration or
control is needed. The turnpike or the highroad served its purpose
well enough in coaching days as the most direct and quickest way
between important towns. To-day, in many respects, conditions are
changed. Certain centres of population and commercial activity have
progressed at the expense of less fortunate communities, and the
one-time direct highroads now deviate considerably, with the result
that there is often an unnecessary prolongation of distance and
expenditure of time.

Examples of this sort are to be found all over Britain, but a great
deal less frequently in France, where the communication is by a more
direct line between important centres, often leaving the small and
unimportant towns out of the itinerary altogether.

In England, centralization or nationalization of the road-building
authority should remedy all this. Cuts and deviations from existing
lines, for the general good, would then be made without local
jealousy or misapplied influence being brought to bear, and the
general details of width and surface be carried on throughout the
land, under one supreme power, and not, as often now is the case, by
various local district and urban councils and county surveyors.

"The Great North Road" and "The Famous Bath Road" vary greatly
throughout their length as to width and excellence; and yet popular
opinion in the south of England would seem to indicate that these
roads, to single them out from among others, are idyllic, both in
character of surface and skill of engineering, throughout their
length. This is manifestly not so. The "Bath Road," for example, in
parts, is as flat and well-formed a surface as one could hope to
find, even in France itself, but at times it degenerates into a mere
narrow, guttery alley, especially in its passage through some of the
Thames-side towns, where the surface is never of that excellence that
it should be; throughout its entire length of some hundred odd miles
to Bath there are ever-recurring evidence of bad road-making and
worse engineering.

One is bound to take into consideration that it is the automobile,
and the general increase in automobile traffic, that, in all
countries, is causing the wide-spread demand for improved roads.

To illustrate the growth of the use of the automobile on the public
highway, and taking France as an example, the following statistics
are given from the _Journal des Débats:_

In 1900 there were taxed in France 1,399 _voitures-automobiles_ of
more than two places, and 955 of one or two places. In 1903 the
figures had risen to 7,228 and 2,694 respectively. These figures may
seem astonishingly small at first glance, but their percentage of
growth is certainly abnormally large. These _voitures-automobiles_,
be it recalled, are all pleasure carriages, and displaced in the same
time (according to the same authority) 10,000 horse-drawn vehicles.
At the same period Paris alone claimed 1,845 _voitures-automobiles_
and 6,539 horse-drawn pleasure carriages.

Road reformers, wherever found, should agitate for two things: the
efficient maintenance of existing roads and the laying out of new and
improved thoroughfares where needed.

In England and America the roadways are under the care of so many
controlling bodies that they have suffered greatly. In England, for
example, there is one eighteen-mile strip of road which is under the
control of twelve different highway authorities, while the "Great
North Road" from London to Edinburgh, is, in England alone, subject
to seventy-two separate authorities. Local jealousies, rivalry and
factions, and the quarrels of various road authorities interfere
everywhere with good roads. The greatest good of the greatest number
is sacrificed to village squabbles and to the advice of the local
squire, who "detests motor-cars," as he does most other signs of
progress. The roads of the future must be under some general control.
At present, affairs in England are pretty bad; let America take heed
in her new provisions for road supervision and government.

There is at present an almost Chinese jumble in the distribution of
authority over roads in England and Wales. There are in London alone
twenty-nine highway authorities, and 1,855 throughout the rest of the

In view of the fact that through motor traffic of all kinds will
increase every year, it has been suggested that new loop roads should
be constructed round towns on the chief roads, private enterprise
being enlisted by the expectation of improved land value. This
certainly would be a move in the right direction.

[Illustration: Milestone pictures]

Mile-stone reform is another thing which is occupying the serious
attention of the road user. In Continental Europe this matter is
pretty well arranged, though there is frequently a discrepancy of
two, three, or even five kilometres between the national mile-stones
_(bornes kilométriques)_ and the sign-boards of the various local
authorities and touring clubs.

France has the best system extant of sign-boards and mile-stones. One
finds the great national, departmental, and communal signs and stones
everywhere, and at every hundred metres along the road are the
intermediate little white-numbered stones, from which you may take
your bearings almost momentarily, with never a fear that you are off
your track.

In addition to this the sign-boards of the Touring Club de France,
the Automobile Club de France, and the Association Générale
Automobile satisfy any further demands that may be made by the
traveller by automobile who wants to read as he runs. No such legible
signs and warnings are known elsewhere.

There is uniformity in all the kilometre and department boundary
stones in France; but in England "mile-stones" of all shapes, sizes,
materials, and degrees of legibility are found.

There are some curious relics in the form of ancient mile-stones
still in use, which may please the antiquarian, but are of no value
to the automobilist. There is the "eightieth mile-stone on the
Holyhead Road" in England, which carries one back through two
centuries of road travel; and there is a heavy old veteran of perhaps
a thousand years, which at one time marked the "_Voie Aurelian,_" as
it crossed Southern Gaul. It is found in Provence, in the
Bouches-du-Rhône, near Salon, and is a sight not to be missed by
those curiously inclined.

The question of dust is one of the chief problems yet to be solved
for the benefit of automobilists and the general public alike. A good
deal of the "dust nuisance" is due to badly made and badly kept
roads, but we must frankly admit that the automobile itself is often
the cause. "La Ligue Contre la Poussière," in France, has made some
interesting experiments, with the below enumerated results, as
related to automobile traffic. Road-builders and manufacturers of
automobiles alike have something here to make a note of.

(1) Sharp corners and excessive road cambers lead to slip, and,
therefore, to dust.

(2) More dust is raised on a rough road than on an equally dusty
smooth road.

(3) Watering the road moderately diminishes the dust.

(4) The spreading on the road of crude oil, or of oil emulsions in
water, is an important palliative.

(5) Wood, asphalt, cobblestones, and square pavings are not dusty
save after use by horse traffic.

(6) Cars with smooth, boat-shaped under surfaces are less dusty than

(7) Cars with large mud-guards and leather flaps near the road are
more dusty.

(8) Cars on high wheels well away from the ground are less dusty.

(9) Cars with large tool-boxes at the back reaching low down between
the back wheels are dusty.

(10) Large car bodies are often dustier than small ones.

(11) Blowing the exhaust near the ground increases the dust.

(12) Cars fitted with engines having an insufficient fly-wheel or a
non-uniform turning effort from any cause are more dusty.

(13) A car mounted on very easy springs having a large up-and-down
play will suck up the dust with each rise and fall of the body on
rough roads.

(14) Front wheels--or rolling wheels--raise less dust than back
wheels or driving wheels.

(15) Smooth pneumatic tires are dusty.

(16) Solid or pneumatic rubber tires are more dusty at higher speeds,
and with high-powered engines.

(17) Non-skid devices, such as small steel studs, etc., do not
increase the dust.

A writer on automobilism and roads cannot leave the latter subject
without a reference to some of the obstructions and inconveniences to
which the automobilist has to submit. If the automobilist proved
himself a "road obstruction" like any of the following he would soon
be banished and the industry would suffer.

A correspondent in the _Auto_, the chief Parisian daily devoted to
automobilism, gave the following list of obstructions encountered in
a journey of a thousand kilometres:

1. Drivers having left their horses entirely unattended - 75

2. Drivers who would not make way to allow one to pass - 86

3. Driver is asleep - 8

4. Drivers not holding the reins - 12

5. Drivers in carriages, or carts, without lights at night - 81

6. Drivers stopping their horses in the middle of the road or at
dangerous turnings - 2

7. Drivers allowing their horses to descend hills unattended while
they walked behind - 18

8. Dogs throwing themselves in front of one - 35

9. Flocks of sheep met without guardians near by - 8

10. Cattle straying unattended - 10

11. Geese, hens and children in the middle of the road - 30

Instead of seven sins, any of which might be deadly, there are
eleven. Legislation must sooner or later protect the automobilist
better than it does to-day.

Chapter IV
Hotels & Things

[Illustration: Hotels & Things]

In all the literature of travel, that which is devoted to hotels has
been conspicuously neglected. Certainly a most interesting work could
be compiled.

Among the primitive peoples travellers were dependent upon the
hospitality of those among whom they came. After this arose a species
of hostelry, which catered for man and beast in a more or less crude
and uncomfortable manner; but which, nevertheless, was a great deal
better than depending upon the generosity and hospitality of
strangers, and vastly more comfortable than sleeping and eating in
the open.

In the middle ages there appeared in France the _cabaret_, the
_gargot_, the _taverne_, and then the _auberge_, many of which,
endowed with no more majestic name, exist even to-day.


is a sign frequently seen along the roadways of France, and even in
the villages and small towns. It costs usually ten sous a night for
man, and five sous for his beast, though frequently there is a
fluctuating price.

The _aubergiste_ of other days, on the routes most frequented, was an
enterprising individual, if reports are to be believed. Frequently he
would stand at his door and cry out his prices to passers-by. "_Au
Cheval Blanc! On dine pour douze sous. Huit sous le cocher. Six
liards l'écurie._"

With the era of the diligences there came the Hôtels de la Poste,
with vast paved courtyards, great stables, and meals at all hours,
but the chambers still remained more or less primitive, and in truth
have until a very recent date.

There is absolutely no question but that automobilism has brought
about a great change in the hotel system of France. It may have had
some slight effect elsewhere, but in France its influence has been
enormous. The guide-books of a former generation did nothing but put
an asterisk against the names of those hotels which struck the fancy
of the compiler, and it was left to the great manufacturers of
"_pneumatiques_" for automobiles to carry the scheme to a
considerably more successful issue. Michelin, in preparing his
excellent route-book, bombarded the hotel-keeper throughout the
length and breadth of France with a series of questions, which he
need not answer if he did not choose, but which, if he neglected, was
most likely taken advantage of by his competitor.

Given a small _chef-lieu_, a market-town in France, with two
competing establishments, the one which was marked by the compiler of
this excellent road-book as having the latest sanitary arrangements,
with perhaps a dark room for photographers, stood a much better
chance of the patronage of the automobile traveller than he who had
merely a blank against the name of his house. The following selection
of this appalling array of questions, used in the preparation of the
Guide-Michelin, will explain this to the full:

Is your hotel open all the year?

What is the price per day which the automobilist _en tour_ may count
on spending with you? (This is purposely noncommittal so far as an
ironbound statement is concerned, being more particularly for
classification, and is anyway a much better system of classification
than by a detailed price-list of _déjeuner, dîner_, etc.)

What is the price of an average room, with service and lights? (Be
it noted that only in avowed tourist resorts, or in the case of
very new travellers, are the ridiculous items of "_service et
bougie_"--service and lights--ever charged in France.)

Is wine included in your regular charges? (And it generally is except
in the two above-mentioned instances.)

Have you a sign denoting adherence or alliance to the A. G. A.?

Have you a sign denoting adherence or alliance to the A. C. F.?

Have you a sign denoting adherence or alliance to the T. C F.?

Have you an arrangement with the Touring Club de France allowing
members a discount of ten per cent.? (Some four thousand country
hotels of France have.)

Have you a bath-room?

Have you modernized hygienic bedrooms?

Have you water-closets with modern plumbing? (Most important this.)

Have you a dark room for photographers?

Have you a covered garage for automobiles? (This must be free of
charge to travellers, for two days at least, or a mention of the
hotel does not appear.)

How many automobiles can you care for?

Have you a telephone and what is its number?

What is your telegraphic address?

What are the chief curiosities and sights in your town?

What interesting excursions in the neighbourhood?

This information is afterwards compiled and most clearly set forth,
with additional information as to population, railway facilities,

The annual of the Automobile Club de France marks with a little
silhouetted knife and fork those establishments which deserve mention
for their _cuisine_, and even marks good beds in a similar fashion.
Clearly the makers of old-time guide-books must wake up, or everybody
will take to automobiling, if only to have the right to demand one of
these excellent guides. To be sure the same information might to a
very considerable extent be included in the recognized guide-books;
indeed Joanne's excellent series has in one or two instances added
something of the sort in recent editions of their "Normandie" and
"Provence," but each volume deals only with some special locality,
whereas the Guide-Michelin deals with the whole of France, and the
house also issues another covering Belgium, Holland, and the Rhine

The chief concern of the touring automobilist, after the pleasures of
the road, is the choice of a hotel. The days when the diligences of
Europe drew up before an old-time inn, with the sign of a pewter
plate, an _écu d'or_, a holly branch, or a prancing white horse, have
long since disappeared. The classic good cheer of other days, a fowl
and a bottle of Beaune, a baron of beef and porter, or a carp and
good Rhine wine have gone, too. The automobile traveller requires, if
not a stronger fare, at least a more varied menu, as he does a more
ample supply of water for washing.

These quaint old inns of other days, with fine mullioned windows,
galleried courtyards, and vine-trellised façades, still exist here
and there, but they have been much modernized, else they would not
exist at all. There is not much romance in the make-up of the modern
traveller, at least so far as his own comfort is concerned, and the
tired automobilist who has covered two hundred kilometres of road,
between lunch and dinner, requires something more heroic in the way
of a bath than can be had in a tiny porcelain basin, and a more
comfortable place to sit in than the average bar-parlour, such as he
finds in most country inns in England.

As Sterne said: "They do things better in France," and the
accommodation supplied the automobilist is there far ahead of what
one gets elsewhere.

The hotel demanded by the twentieth-century traveller need not
necessarily be a palace, but it must be something which caters to the
advancing needs of the time in a more efficient manner than the
country inn of the eighteenth century, when the only one who
travelled in comfort was he who thrust himself upon the hospitality
of friends.

We are living in a hygienic age, and to-day we are particular about
things that did not in the least concern our forefathers. In England
there is no public-spirited body which takes upon itself the task of
pointing out the virtuous path to the country Boniface. The
Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland has not succeeded very
well with its task as yet and has not anything like the influence of
its two sister organizations in France, or the very efficient Touring
Club Italiano.

Hygiene does not necessarily go so far as to demand a doctor's
certificate as to the health of the birds and animals which the
_chef_ presents so artistically in his celebrated _plats du jour_,
and one need not take the _journaux comiques_ too seriously, as once
did a gouty _milord_, who insisted that his duckling Rouennais
should, while alive, first be certificated as to the health of its
_bronches_ and _poumons_. All the same one likes to know that due
regard is given to the proprieties and necessities of his bedroom,
and to know that the kitchen is more or less a public apartment where
one can see what is going on, which one can almost invariably do in
France, in the country, at any rate. Therein lies one of the great
charms of the French hotel.

One of the latest moves of the Automobile Club de France is to call
attention to the mountainous districts of France, the Pyrenees, and
the Jura, and to exploit them as rivals to Switzerland. Further, a
competition among hotel-keepers has been started throughout France,
and a prize of ten thousand francs is offered yearly to that
hotel-keeper who has added most to the attractions of his house. The
club authorities furnish expert advice and recommendations as to
hotel reforms to any hotel-keeper who applies. In England the newly
established "Road Club" might promote the interests of British motor
tourists, and the large numbers of Americans and foreigners, by
undertaking a similar work.

To a great extent the tourist, by whatever means of travel, must find
his hotels out for himself. He cannot always follow a guide-book, and
if he does he may find that the endorsement of an old edition is no
longer merited.

By far the best hotel-guides for France, Belgium, and Holland, the
Rhine, Switzerland, and Italy are the excellent _annuaires_ of the
Automobile Clubs and Touring Clubs, and the before-mentioned
Guide-Michelin and "Guide-Routiere Continental," issued by the great
pneumatic tire companies.

Hotel-finding abroad, for the stranger, is a more or less difficult
process, or he makes it such. The crowded resorts do not give one a
tithe of the character or local colour to be had from a stay in some
little market-town inn of France or Germany. In the former, hotels
are simply bad imitations of Parisian establishments, while the best
are often off the beaten track in the small towns.

The question of tipping is an ever present one for the European
traveller. It exists in Britain and Continental Europe to an
increasing and exasperating extent, and the advent of the automobile
has done nothing to lessen it.

There is no earthly, sensible logic which should induce a _garçon_ in
a hotel or restaurant to think that because one arrives in an
automobile he wishes to dine in a special room off of rare viands and
drink expensive wines, but this is his common conception of the
automobile tourist. One fights up or down through the scale of hotel
servants, and does his best to allay any false ideas they may have,
including those of the hostler, who has done nothing for you, and
expects his tip, too. It's an up-hill process, and the idea that
every automobilist is a millionaire is everywhere dying hard.

The traveller demands not so much elegance as comfort, and, above
all, fit accommodation for his automobile. Some sort of a light,
airy, and clean closed garage is his right to demand, and the hotel
that supplies this, as contrasted with the one that does not, gets
the business, even if other things be _not_ equal.

The requirements of an automobile _en tour_ are almost as numerous
and varied as those of its owner. Hence the hotel proprietor must, if
he values this clientele, provide something a great deal better than
a mere outhouse, an old untidy stable-yard, or a lean-to.

Small concern is it to mine host of the local inn, who is somewhat
off the beaten track of motorcars, as to what really constitutes a
garage. He usually does not even know what the word means. Any
roofed-over shed or shack, with doors or not, is what one generally
has to put up with to-day, for housing his resplendent brassy and
varnishy automobile.

Once the writer remembers being turned into an old stable (in
England), the floor of which was strewn with the broken bottles of a
defunct local mineral water industry, and again into another, used as
a carpenter's shop, the floor strewn with the paraphernalia and tools
of the trade.

If the English hotel-keeper (again they do things better on the
Continent) only would discriminate to the extent of believing that
there is nothing harmful or indecent about an automobile, and let it
live in the coach-house like a respectable dog-cart or the orthodox
brougham, all would be well, and we should save our tempers and a
vast lot of gray matter in attempting to show a conservative landlord
how far he is behind the times.

One other very important demand the automobilist makes of the hotel,
and that is the possibility of being supplied with his coffee at any
time after five in the morning. The automobile tourist, not of the
butterfly order, is almost invariably an early bird.

Without question the Continental hotel of all ranks is vastly
superior to similar establishments in Britain. The inferiority of the
British inns may be due to tardiness and slothfulness on the part of
the landlords, or long suffering and non-complaining on the part of
their guests. It is either one or the other, or both, of these
reasons, but the fact is the hotel-keeper, and his establishment as
well, are each far inferior to those of Continental Europe.

Perhaps the real reason of the conservatism of the British
hotel-keeper is yet to be fathomed, but it probably starts from the
fact that he does not travel to learn. The young Swiss serves his
apprenticeship, and learns French, as a waiter at Nice, just as he
learns Italian at San Remo. Ten years later you may find him as the
manager of a big hotel at home. He has learned his business by hard,
disagreeable work. How many English hotel-keepers have imitated him?
Another cause of backwardness in England is the "license" system,
with its artificial augmentation of the value of all premises where
alcoholic refreshment is provided. This tends to make the landlord
look upon it as his chief, if not his sole, source of profit. Even if
he serves meals at a fair price, he looks to the accompanying, or
casual, drinks to pay him best. This results in indifferent and
slovenly food-catering. The public bar, with its foul-mouthed
loafers,--there seems to be an idea that one can talk in an English
tavern as one would not in an English street,--is often within
ear-shot of the dining-room. This is one of the great defects of the
English hotel system, in all but the largest towns, and even there it
is not wholly absent.

This is how the facts strike a foreigner, the Frenchman, the
Dutchman, the Belgian, and the German, whose hotels and restaurants
are, first of all, for quiet, ordinary guests, and only secondarily
as places where liquid refreshment--alcoholic or otherwise--is served
with equal alacrity, but without invidious distinction.

The old-time inns of England, and their very names, have a peculiar
fascination for the stranger. Some of us who know them intimately,
and who how what discomfort and inefficient catering may lurk behind
such a picturesque nomenclature as the "Rose and Crown" or the
"Hawthorne Inn," have a certain disregard for the romance of it all.
If one is an automobilist he has all the more reason to take
cognizance of their deficiencies.

All the same the mere mention of the old-time posting-houses of the
"Bath Road," the "Great North Road" (particularly that portion
between London and Cambridge along which Dick Turpin took his famous
ride) have a glamour for us that even the automobile will not wholly
extinguish. According to story it was at one of the many inns along
the "Great North Road" that Turpin procured a bottle of wine, which
once having passed down the throat of his famous "Black Bess" enabled
the rascal to escape his pursuers. The automobilist will be fortunate
if he can find gasoline along here to-day as easily as he can that
peculiarly vile brand of beer known as "bitter."

Buntingford on the "North Road" has an inn, which, in a way, is
trying to cope with the new conditions. The landlord of the "George
and the Dragon" has come to a full realization that the motor-car has
well-nigh suppressed all other forms of road traffic for pleasure,
and, more or less incompletely, he is catering for the wants of
motorists, as did his predecessors for the traveller by
posting-carriage or stage-coach. This particular landlord, though he
looks like one of the old school, should be congratulated on a
perspicuity which few of his confreres in England possess.

There are two other inns which travellers on the "North Road" will
recognize as they fly past in their automobiles, or stop for tea or a
bite to eat, for, in spite of their devotion to the traffic in beer,
these "North Road" inns, within a radius of seventy-five or a hundred
miles of London, seem more willing to furnish solid or non-alcoholic
refreshment than most of their brethren elsewhere. The "Bell Inn" and
the "Red, White, and Blue" (and the George and the Dragon) of the
North Road in England deserve to linger in the memory of the
automobilist, almost to the exclusion of any other English inns of
their class.

With regard to hotel charges for all classes of travellers, as well
in England as on the Continent, there is an undoubted upward tendency
which the automobile has done absolutely nothing to allay. One good
is coming to pass, however, and that is uniformity of price for the
class of accommodation offered, and (in France and most other
Continental countries) the absolute abolition of the charge for
"lights and service," an abominable and outrageous practice which
still lingers in England--and for that matter Scotland and Ireland.

The discussion of the subject has been worn threadbare, and it is
useless to enter further into it here, save to remark that since the
automobile is bringing about so many reforms and improvements perhaps
the abolition of this species of swindling on the part of the British
hotel-keeper will disappear along with antiquated sanitary
arrangements and uncomfortable closed-in beds.

In France--thanks again to the indefatigable Touring Club de
France--they have eliminated this charge for service and lights
entirely, and one generally finds hanging behind the door the little
card advocated by the Touring Club, stating clearly the charge for
that particular room and the price of the various things offered in
the way of accommodation. This ought to be demanded, by law, of every
hotel-keeper. Not every hotel in France has fallen in line, but those
that have are reaping the benefit. The automobilist is a good
advertiser of what he finds _en route_ that pleases him, and scores
pitilessly--to other automobilists--everything in the nature of a
swindle that he meets with, and they are not few, for in many places
the automobilist is still considered fair game for robbery.

As to the fare offered in English inns, as compared with that of the
Continental hotel, the least said the better; the subject has been
gone over again and again, so it shall not be reiterated here, save
to quote Pierre Loti on what one eats for an English dinner.

"We were assembled round a horrible bill of fare, which would not be
good enough for one of our humblest cook-shops. But the English are
extraordinary folk. When I saw the reappearance, for the fourth time,
of the fatal dish of three compartments, for badly boiled potatoes,
for peas looking poisonously green, and for cauliflower drenched with
a glue-like substance, I declined, and sighed for Poledor, who
nourished my studious youth on a dainty repast at a shilling per

The modern tourist, and especially the tourist by automobile, has
done more for the improved conduct of the wayside hotel, and even
those of the large towns, than whole generations of travellers of a
former day.

Once the hotel drew its income from the hiring-out of posting-horses,
and the sale of a little food and much wine. As the old saying goes:
"Four horses and four bottles of port went together in the account of
every gentleman." Travellers of those days, if comparatively few,
were presumably wealthy. To-day no one, save the vulgar few, ever
cares that the innkeeper, or the servants, should suspect him of
being wealthy.

It's a failing of the Anglo-Saxon race, however, to want to be taken
for bigger personages than they really are, and often enough they pay
for the privilege. This is only natural, seeing that even an
innkeeper is human. Charges suitable for a _milord_ or a millionaire
have been inflicted on Browns, Joneses, and Robinsons simply because
they demanded such treatment--for fear they would not be taken for
"gentlemen." Such people are not numerous among real traveling
automobilists; they are mostly found among that class who spend the
week-end at Brighton, or dine at Versailles or St. Germain or "make
the fête" at Trouville. They are known instinctively by all, and are
only tolerated by the hotel landlord for the money they spend.

The French cook's "_batterie de cuisine_" is a thing which is
fearfully and wonderfully displayed in all the splendour of polished
steel and copper; that is, it is frequently so displayed in the
rather limited acquaintance which the general public has with the
_cuisine_ of a great hotel or restaurant, whether it be in Paris,
London, or New York.

[Illustration: In French Hotels]

In provincial France it is quite another thing. The _chef-patron_ of
a small hotel in a small town may be possessed of an imposing battery
of pots and pans, but often, since he buys his _pâtisserie_ and
sweetmeats of the local pastry-cook, and since his guests may
frequently not number a dozen at a time, he has no immediate use for
all of his _casseroles_ and _marmites_ and _plats ronds_ and
_sauteuses_ at one time, and accordingly, instead of being
picturesquely hung about the wall in all their polished brilliancy,
they are frequently covered with a coating of dull wax or, more banal
yet, enveloped in an ancient newspaper with only their handles
protruding. It's a pity to spoil the romantically picturesque idea
which many have of the French _batterie de cuisine_, but the
before-mentioned fact is more often the case than not.

Occasionally, on the tourist-track, there is a "show hotel," like the
Hôtel du Grand Cerf at Louviers (its catering in this case is none
the worse for its being a "show-place," it may be mentioned) where
all the theatrical picturesqueness of the imagination may be seen.
There is the timbered sixteenth-century house-front, the heavily
beamed, low ceiling of the _cuisine_, the great open-fire chimney
with its _broche_, and all the brave showing of pots and pans,
brilliant with many scrubbings of _eau de cuivre_, to present quite
the ideal picture of its kind to be seen in France--without leaving
the highroads and searching out the "real thing" in the byways.

On the other hand, in the same bustling town, is the Mouton d'Argent,
equally as excellent in its catering (perhaps more so), where the
kitchen is about the most up-to-date thing imaginable, with a modern
range, mechanical egg-beaters, etc. This last is nothing very
wonderful to an American, but is remarkable in France, where the
average cook usually does the work quite as efficiently with a
two-tined fork, or something which greatly resembles a chop-stick.

In the _cuisine_ electric lights are everywhere, but the
up-to-dateness here stops abruptly; the _salle à manger_ is bare and
uninviting, and the rooms above equally so, and the electric light
has not penetrated beyond the ground floor. Instead one finds ranged
on the mantel, above the cook-stove in the kitchen, a regiment of
candlesticks, in strange contrast to the rest of the furnishings.
Electric bells, too, are wanting, and there is still found the row of
jangling _grelots_, their numbers half-obliterated, hanging above the
great doorway leading to the courtyard.

The European waiter is never possessed of that familiarity of speech
with those he serves, which the American negro waiter takes for
granted is his birthright. It's all very well to have a
cheerful-countenanced waiter bobbing about behind one's chair, indeed
it's infinitely more inspiring than such of the old brigade of
mutton-chopped English waiters as still linger in some of London's
City eating-houses, but the disposition of the coffee-coloured or
coal-black negro to talk to you when you do not want to be talked to
should be suppressed.

The genuine French, German, or Swiss waiter of hotel, restaurant, or
café is neither too cringingly servile, nor too familiar, though
always keen and agile, and possessed of a foresight and initiative
which anticipates your every want, or at any rate meets it promptly,
even if you ask for it in boarding-school French or German.

There is a keen supervision of food products in France, by
governmental inspection and control, and one is certain of what he is
getting when he buys his _filet_ at the butcher's, and if he
patronizes hotels and restaurants of an approved class he is equally
sure that he is eating beef in his _bouille_ and mutton in his

Horse-meat is sold largely, and perhaps certain substitutes for
rabbit, but you only buy horsemeat at a horse butcher's, so there is
no deception here. You buy horse-meat as horse-meat, and not as beef,
in the same way that you buy oleomargarine as oleomargarine, and not
as butter, and the French law deals hardly with the fraudulent seller
of either.

The law does not interfere with one's private likes and dislikes, and
if you choose to make your breakfast off of oysters and Crême
Chantilly--as more than one American has been known to do on the
Paris boulevards--there is no law to stop you, as there is in
Germany, if you want beer and fruit together. Doubtless this is a
good law; it sounds reasonable; but the individual should have sense
enough to be able to select a menu from non-antagonistic ingredients.

Foreigners, by which English and Americans mean people of Continental
Europe, know vastly more of the art of catering to the traveller than
do Anglo-Saxons. This is the first, last, and intermediate verse of
the litany of good cheer. We may catch up with our Latin and Teuton
brothers, or we may not. Time will tell, if we don't expire from the
over-eating of pie and muffins before that time arrives.

[Illustration: Road Map of France]

Chapter V
The Grand Tour

[Illustration: Grand Tour]

The advantages of touring by automobile are many: to see the country,
to travel agreeably, to be independent of railways, and to be an
opportunist--that is to say to be able to fly off at a tangent of
fifty or a hundred kilometres at a moment's notice, in order to take
in some fête or fair, or celebration or pilgrimage.

"_Le tourisme en automobile_" is growing all over the world, but
after all it is generally only in or near the great cities and towns
that one meets an automobile on the road. They hug the great towns
and their neighbouring resorts with astonishing persistency. Of the
one thousand automobiles at Nice in the season it is certain that
nine-tenths of the number that leave their garages during the day
will be found sooner or later on the famous "Corniche," going or
coming from Monte Carlo, instead of discovering new tracks for
themselves in the charming background of the foot-hills of the
Maritime Alps.

In England, too, the case is not so very different. There are a
thousand "week-enders" in automobiles on the way to Brighton,
Southsea, Bournemouth, Scarborough, or Blackpool to ten genuine
tourists, and this even though England and Wales and Scotland form a
snug little touring-grounds with roads nearly, if not always,
excellent, and with accommodations--of a sort--always close at hand.

In Germany there seems to be more genuine touring, in proportion to
the number of automobiles in use, than elsewhere. This may not prove
to be wholly the case, as the author judges only from his
observations made on well-worn roads.

Switzerland is either all touring, or not at all; it is difficult to
decide which. At any rate most of the strangers within its frontiers
are tourists, and most of the tourists are strangers, and many of
them take their automobiles with them in spite of the "feeling"
lately exhibited there against stranger automobilists.

Belgium and Holland, as touring-grounds for automobilists, do not
figure to any extent. This is principally from the fact that they are
usually, so far as foreign automobilists are concerned, included in
more comprehensive itineraries. They might be known more intimately,
to the profit of all who pass through them. They are distinctly
countries for leisurely travel, for their areas are so restricted
that the automobilist who covers two or three hundred kilometres in
the day will hardly remember that he has passed through them.

Northern Italy forms very nearly as good a touring-ground as France,
and the Italian engineers have so refined the automobile of native
make, and have so fostered automobilism, that accommodations are
everywhere good, and the tourist to-day will not lack for supplies of
_benzina_ and _olio_ as he did a few years ago.

The bulk of the automobile traffic between France and Italy enters
through the gateway of the Riviera, and, taken all in all, this is by
far the easiest, and perhaps the most picturesque, of routes.
Alternatives are through Gap and Cuneo, Briançon and Susa, Moutiers
and Aosta, or by the Swiss passes, the latter perhaps the most
romantic of routes in spite of their difficulties and other

[Illustration: On English Roads]

Automobiling in Spain is a thing of the future, and it will be a big
undertaking to make the highroads, to say nothing of the by-roads,
suitable for automobile traffic. The present monarchs' enthusiasm for
the sport may be expected, however, to do wonders. The most that the
average tourist into Spain by automobile will want to undertake is
perhaps the run to Madrid, which is easily accomplished, or to
Barcelona, which is still easier, or to just step over the border to
Feuntarabia or San Sebastian, if he does not think overrefined
Biarritz will answer his purpose.

More than one hardy traveller, before the age of automobiles, and
even before the age of steam, has made "the grand tour," and then
come home and written a book about it until there seems hardly any
need that a modern traveller should attempt to set down his
impressions of the craggy, castled Rhine, the splendid desolation of
Pompeii, or the romantic reminders still left in old Provence to tell
the story of the days of the troubadours and the "Courts of Love."

It is conceivable that one can see and enjoy all these classic
splendours from an automobile, but automobilists from overseas have
been known to rush across France in an attempt to break the record
between some Channel port and Monte Carlo, or dash down the Rhine and
into Switzerland for a few days, and so on to Rome, and ultimately
Naples, where ship is taken for home in the western world.

This is, at any rate, the itinerary of many a self-made millionaire
who thinks to enjoy himself between strenuous intervals of
international business affairs. It is a pity he does not go slower
and see more.

The real grand tour, or, as the French call it, the "_Circuit
Européen,_" may well begin at Paris, and descend through Poitou to
Biarritz, along the French slope of the Pyrenees, finally skirting
the Mediterranean coast by Marseilles and Monte Carlo, thence to
Genoa, in Italy, and north to Milan, finally reaching Vienna. This
city is generally considered the outpost of comfortable automobile
touring, and rightly so, for the difficulty of getting gasoline and
oil, along the route, and such small necessities as an automobile
requires, continually oppresses one, and dampens his enthusiasm for
the beauties of nature, the fascination of historic shrines, or the
worship of art, the three chief things for which the most of us
travel, unless we be mere vagabonds, and journey about for the sheer
love of being on the move. From Vienna to Prague, to Breslau, to
Berlin, Hanover, and Cologne, and finally to Paris via Reims finishes
the "_circuit,_" which for variety and excellence of the roads cannot
elsewhere be equalled.

This, or something very near to it, would be the very best possible
course for a series of reliability trials, and certainly nothing
quite so suitable or enjoyable for the participants could otherwise
be found. It is much better than a mere pegging away round and round
a two hundred and fifty kilometre circuit, as some trials and races
have been run. In all the distance is something like five thousand
kilometres, which easily divides itself into stages of two hundred
kilometres daily, and gives one an enjoyable twenty-five days or a
month of travel, which, in all its illuminating variety, is far and
away ahead of the benefits our forefathers derived from the box seat
of a diligence or a post-chaise.

On this trip one runs the whole gamut of the European climate, and
eats the food of Paris, of the Midi, of Italy, Austria, and Germany,
and wonders why it is that he likes the last one partaken of the
best. Given a faultlessly running automobile (and there are many
today which can do the work under these conditions) and no tire
troubles, and one could hardly improve upon the poetry of motion
which enables one to eat up the long silent stretches of roadway in
La Beauce or the Landes, to climb the gentle slopes skirting the
Pyrenees, or the ruder ones of Northern Italy, until finally he makes
that bee-line across half of Europe, from Berlin to Paris. One's
impressions of places when touring _en automobile_ are apt to be
hazy; like those of the energetic American who, when asked if he had
been to Rome, replied, "Why, yes; that's where I bought my panama
_(sic)_ hat!"

Such a "grand tour" as outlined by the "_Circuit Européen_" presents
a variety which it is impossible to equal. It is a tour which
embraces country widely differing in characteristics--one which takes
in both the long, broad, ribbon-like roads of Central France, flanked
by meadows, orchards, and farmsteads, and lofty mountains from the
peaks of which other peaks capped with glistening snow may be gazed
upon, sunlit valleys and sparkling lakes. It is a tour which no man
could possibly make without a good machine, and yet it is a tour
which, with a good machine, can be considered easy and comparatively

One does not require a car with excessive horsepower for the trip,
though he does need a machine which has been carefully constructed
and adjusted, and above all he must guard carefully that his motor
does not overheat, for the hills are stiff for the most part.

When touring on an itinerary as varied as that here indicated one
should have anti-skidding tires on the rear wheels, take descents
with care, and, if you be the owner of a powerful machine, do not
make that an excuse for rushing up the tortuous, twisting, and
frightfully dangerous roads, banked by a cliff on one hand, and by a
precipice on the other, which abound in all mountainous regions.

In taking turnings on such roads also always keep to the right, even
if this necessitates slowing down at the bends. One never knows what
is descending, and in such parts slow-moving carts drawn by cattle
are numerous, and generally keep the middle of the road. Most of the
automobile accidents which take place on mountain roads are due to
this swishing round bends, heedless of what may be on the other side,
and in allowing one's machine to gather too much speed on the long
descents. This is gospel! There is both sport and pleasure to be had
from such an itinerary as this, but it is a serious affair, for one
has to have a lookout for many things that are unthought of in a two
hours' afternoon suburban promenade. The _chauffeur_, be he
professional or amateur, who brings his automobile back from the
_Circuit Européen_ under its own power is entitled to be called

As for the value to automobilism of this great trial one can hardly
overestimate it. There is no place here for the freak machine or
scorching _chauffeur_, such as one has found in many great events of
the past. A great touring contest over such a course would be bound
to have important results in many ways. The ordinary class of
_circuit_ is a very close approach to a racing-track, with gasoline
and tire stations established at many points of the course. On the
European Circuit such advantages would be out of the question,
everything would have to be taken as it exists naturally. In a sense,
such a competition would be a return to the contests organized in the
early days of the automobile, the Paris-Bordeaux and Paris-Berlin
races, when the driver had ever to be on the alert for unforeseen
difficulties unknown on the racing-circuit as understood in recent

To follow the _Circuit Européen_ one traverses France, Italy,
Austria, Germany, and Belgium; and one may readily enough, if time
and inclination permit, get also a glimpse of Spain, Switzerland, and
Holland. Generally the automobile tourist has confined his trip to
France, as properly he might, but, if he would go further afield, the
European Circuit, as it has become classically known, is an itinerary
vouched for as to its practicability and interest by the allied
automobile and touring clubs of many lands.

France is still far in the lead in the accommodation which it offers
to the automobilist, but Germany has made great strides of late, and
the other frontier boundary states have naturally followed suit.
Roads improvement in Germany has gone on at a wonderful rate of late,
due, it is said, to the interest of the German emperor in the
automobile industry, both from a sportive and a very practical side.

From Paris to the Italian frontier one finds the roads uniformly
excellent; but, as one enters Italy, they deteriorate somewhat,
except along the frontiers, where, curiously enough, nations seem to
vie with each other in a careful maintenance of the highroads, which
is, of course, laudable. This is probably due to strategic military
reasons, but so long as it benefits the automobilist he will not cry
out for disarmament.

The Austrian roads are fair--near Vienna and Prague they are quite
good; but they are dangerous with deep ditches and gullies which the
French know as _canivaux_, the Austrians by some unpronounceable
name, and the Anglo-Saxon as "thank-you-marms." From Prague to
Breslau the roads are twisting and turning, and large stones jut here
and there above the actual road level. This is a real danger, a very
considerable annoyance. From Breslau to Potsdam one gets as dusty a
bit of road travelling as he will find in all Europe. One side of the
road only is stone-rolled, the other apparently being merely loose
sand, or some variety of dust which whirls up in clouds and even
penetrates one's tightly closed bags and boxes. Hanover, the home of
Continental tires, is surrounded in every direction with execrable
cobblestones, or whatever the German equivalent is--"pflaster," the
writer thinks. Probably the makers of the excellent tires for
automobiles have nothing to do with the existence of this awful
_pavé_, and perhaps if you accused them of it they would repair your
tires without charge! The writer does not know.

From Hanover to Minden the roads improve, and when one actually
strikes the trail of Napoleon he finds the roads better and better.
Napoleon nearly broke up Europe, or saved it--the critics do not
agree, but he was the greatest road-builder since the Romans.

Finally, crossing the Rhine at Cologne and passing through Belgium,
one enters France by the valley of the Meuse.

One of the most remarkable tours was that undertaken in 1904 by
Georges Cormier, in a tiny six horse-power De Dion Populaire. He left
the Automobile Club de France in mid-October for Sens, his first
stop, 101 kilometres from Paris. His route thenceforth was by Dijon,
Les Rousses, and the Col de la Faucille, whence he reached Geneva,
after crossing the Swiss frontier, in a torrential rain.

From Geneva he reentered France by the Pont de la Caille, then to
Aiguebelle and St. Jeanne de Maurienne, where the women wear the most
theatrical picturesque costumes to be seen in France.

After passing Modane and Lanslebourg he followed the ascent of Mont
Cenis for ten kilometres before he reached the summit of the pass.
Within three kilometres he struck the snow-line, and the falling snow
continued to the summit. Here he found two _douaniers_ and two
_gendarmes_, who appeared glad enough to have the monotony of their
lonely vigil relieved by the advent of an automobile, quite unlooked
for at this season of the year.

The descent to Susa and the great plain of the Po was long and
dangerous. It is sixty-two kilometres from Modane to Susa, either
up-hill or down-hill, with the descent by far the longest. It is one
of the most enjoyable routes between France and Italy. Once on the
Italian side the whole climatic aspect of things changes. The towns
are highly interesting whenever met with, and the panoramas superb,
but there is a marked absence of that active life of the fields, of
cattle and human labourers that one remarks in France.

From Turin the route of this energetic little car passed Plaisance,
crossed the Appenines between Bologna and Florence, and so to Venice,
or rather to Mestre, where the car was put in a garage while the
conductor paid his respects to the Queen of the Adriatic.

From Mestre the route lay by Udine, Pontebba, Pontafel, Villac
Judenburg, and Murzzuschlag, through Styria to Vienna, with the
roadways continually falling off in excellence. Here are M. Cormier's
own words: "_Mais, par exemple, comme routes, Dieu que c'est mauvais!
Malgré cela, j'y retournerai; le pays vaut la peine que l'on affronte
les cailloux, les ornières, les dos d'âne at les dérapages sur le sol
mouillé, comme je l'ai trop trouvé, hélas!_"

Of the road from Vienna, through Moravia and Bohemia, the tourist
wrote also feelingly. "May I never see those miserable countries
again," he said. Things must have improved in the last two or three
years, but the cause of the little De Dion's troubles was the
frequent recurrence of culverts or _canivaux_ across the road. Five
hundred in one day nearly did for the little De Dion, or would have
done so had not it been carefully driven.

From Prague the German frontier was crossed at Zinnwalo, a tiny
hamlet well hidden on a mountain-top, beyond which is a descent of
fifty kilometres to Dresden. From Dresden to Berlin the way lay over
delightful forest roads, little given to traffic, and most enjoyable
at any season of the year, unless there be snow upon the ground.

From Berlin the route was by Magdebourg, Hanover, Munster, and Wesel,
and Holland was entered at Beek, a little village ten kilometres from
Nymegen. At Nymegen the Waal was crossed by a steam ferry-boat, and
at Arnhem the Rhine was passed by a bridge of boats, a surviving
relic in Continental Europe still frequently to be found, as at Wesel
and Dusseldorf in Germany, and even in Italy, near Ferrara on the Po.

Utrecht came next, then Amsterdam--"a little tour of Holland," as the
De Dion's conductor put it. In the suburbs of the large Dutch towns,
notably Utrecht, one makes his way through miles and miles of garden
walls, half-hiding coquettish villas. The surface of the roads here
is formed of a peculiar variety of paving that makes them beloved of
automobilists, it being of small brick placed edgewise, and very
agreeable to ride and drive upon.

From Utrecht the route was more or less direct to Antwerp. At the
Belgian frontier acquaintance was made with that horrible
granite-block road-bed, for which Belgium is notorious. After
Antwerp, Brussels, then forty-five kilometres of road even worse--if
possible--than that which had gone before. (The Belgian _chauffeurs_
call that portion of the route between Brussels and Gemblout a
disgrace to Belgium.) The French frontier was gained, through Namur,
at Rocroi, and Paris reached, via Meaux, thirty-nine days after the
capital had previously been quitted.

[Illustration: How Not To Travel]

This was probably the most remarkable "grand tour" which had been
made up to that time, and it was done with a little six horse-power
car, which suffered no accidents save those that one is likely to
meet with in an afternoon's promenade. The automobile itself weighed,
with its baggage and accessories, practically six hundred kilos, and
with its two passengers 760 kilos. The distance covered was 4,496

Part II
Touring In France

[Illustration: Touring France]

Chapter I
Down Through Touraine: Paris To Bordeaux

As old residents of Paris we, like other automobilists, had come to
dread the twenty-five or thirty kilometres which lead from town out
through Choisy-le-Roi and Villeneuve St. Georges, at which point the
road begins to improve, and the execrable suburban Paris pavement,
second to nothing for real vileness, except that of Belgium, is
practically left behind, all but occasional bits through the towns.

At any rate, since our automobile horse was eating his head off in
the garage at St. Germain, we decided on one bright May morning to
conduct him forthwith by as comfortable a road as might be found from
St. Germain around to Choisy-le-Roi.

Getting across Paris is one of the dreaded things of life. For the
traveller by train who, fleeing from the fogs of London, as he
periodically does in droves from November to February of each year,
desires to make the south-bound connection at the Gare de Lyon, it is
something of a problem. He may board the "_Ceinture_" with a distrust
the whole while that his train may not make it in time, or he may go
by cab, provided he will run the risk of some of his numerous
impedimenta being left behind, for--speak it lightly--the Englishman
is still found who travels with his bath-tub, though, if he is at all
progressive, it may be a collapsible india-rubber affair which you
blow up like the tires of an automobile.

For the automobilist there is the same dread and fear. To avoid this
one has simply to make his way carefully from St. Germain, via Port
Marly, or Marly-Bailly, to St. Cyr (where is the great military
school), to Versailles, thence to Choisy-le-Roi via the _Route
Nationale_ which passes to the south of Sceaux. The route is not,
perhaps, the shortest, and it takes something of the skill of the old
pathfinders to worry it out, but it absolutely avoids the pavements
between St. Germain and Versailles and equally avoids the drive
through Paris with its attendant responsibilities.

The automobilist, once clear of Paris, has only to think of the open
road. There will be little to bother him now, save care in
negotiating the oft-times narrow, awkward turnings of an occasional
small town where, if it is market-day, untold disaster may await him
if he does not look sharp.

On the occasion of our flight south, nothing on the whole journey
happened to give us any concern, save at Pithiviers, where a
market-wagon with a staid old farm-horse--who did not mean any
harm--charged us and lifted off the right mud-guard, necessitating an
hour's work or more at the blacksmith's to straighten it out again.

[Illustration: Wayside Inn in France]

At any rate, we had covered a trifle over a hundred kilometres from
Paris, and that was something. We lunched well at the Hôtel de la
Poste, and sent off to city-bound friends in the capital samples of
the lark patties for which the town is famous.

Nearly every town in France has its specialty; Pithiviers its _pâté
des allouettes;_ Montélimar its _nougat_; Axat its _mousserons_;
Perigueux its _truffes_, and Tours its _rillettes_. When one buys
them away from the land of their birth he often buys dross, hence it
is a real kindness to send back eatable souvenirs of one's round,
much more kind than would be the tawdry jugs and plates emblazoned in
lurid colours, or white wood napkin-rings and card-cases, usually
gathered in as souvenirs.

It is forty-two kilometres to Orleans, one of the most historic and,
at the same time, one of the most uninteresting cities in France, a
place wholly without local dignity and distinction. Its hotels,
cafés, and shops are only second-rate for a place of its rank, and
the manners and customs of its people but weak imitations of those of
Paris. You can get anything you may need in the automobile line most
capably attended to, and you can be housed and fed comfortably enough
in either of the two leading hotels, but there is nothing inspiring
or even satisfying about it, as we knew from a half-dozen previous

We slept that night beneath the frowning donjon walls of Beaugency's
L'Ecu de Bretagne, for something less than six francs apiece for
dinner, lodging, and morning coffee, and did not regret in the least
the twenty-five kilometres we had put between us and Orleans.

At one time it was undecided whether we should come on to Beaugency,
or put in at Meung, the attraction of the latter place being, for the
sentimentalist, that it is the scene of the opening pages of Dumas's
"Trois Mousquetaires," and, in an earlier day, the cradle of Jehan de
Meung, the author of the "Roman de la Rose." No evidences of Dumas's
"Franc Meunier" remained, and, as there was no inn with as romantic a
name as that at Beaugency, we kept on another seven kilometres.

We had made it a rule, while on the trip, not to sleep in a large
town when we could do otherwise, and that is why Orleans and Blois
and Bordeaux are mere guide-posts in our itinerary.

From Beaugency to Blois is thirty odd kilometres only, along the
flat, national highway, with glimpses of the broad, shining ribbon of
the Loire here and there gleaming through the trees.

Blois is the gateway of the châteaux country; a score of them are
within a day's compass by road or rail; but their delights are worthy
of a volume, so they are only suggested here.

The châteaux of Blois, Chambord, Cheverny, Amboise, Chaumont,
Chenonceaux, Loches, Azay le Rideau, Luynes, and Langeais, at any
rate, must be included in even a hurried itinerary, and so we paid a
hasty visit to them all in the order named, and renewed our
acquaintance with their artistic charms and their historical memories
of the days of François and the Renaissance. For the tourist the
châteaux country of the Loire has no beginning and no end. It is a
sort of circular track encompassing both banks of the Loire, and is,
moreover, a thing apart from any other topographical division of

Its luxuriant life, its splendidly picturesque historical monuments,
and the appealing interest of its sunny landscape, throughout the
length and breadth of old Touraine, are unique pages from a volume of
historical and romantic lore which is unequalled elsewhere in all the

The climate, too, combines most of the gentle influences of the
southland, with a certain briskness and clearness of atmosphere
usually found in the north.

By road the Loire valley forms a magnificent promenade; by rail,
even, one can keep in close and constant touch with its whole length;
while, if one has not the time or inclination to traverse its entire
course, there is always the delightful "tour from town," by which one
can leave the Quai d'Orsay by the Orleans line at a comfortable
morning hour and, before lunch-time, be in the midst of the splendour
and plenty of Touraine and its châteaux.

We made our headquarters at Blois, and again at Tours, for three days
each, and we explored the châteaux country, and some other more
humble outlying regions, to our hearts' content.

Blois is tourist-ridden; its hotels are partly of the tourist orders,
and its shopkeepers will sell you "American form" shoes and "best
English" hats. It is really too bad, for the overpowering splendours
of the château, the quaint old Renaissance house-fronts, the streets
of stairs, and the exceedingly picturesque and lively congregation of
countryside peasants on a market-day would make it a delightful
artists' sketching-ground were one not crowded out by "bounders" in
bowler hats and others of the genus tripper.

The Hôtel d'Angleterre et de Chambord is good, well-conducted, and
well-placed, but it is as unsympathetically disposed an hostelry as
one is likely to find. Just why this is so is inexplicable, unless it
be that it is a frankly tourist hotel.

At Tours we did much better. The praises of the Hôtel de l'Univers
are many; they have been sung by most latter-day travellers from
Henry James down; and the Automobile Club de France has bestowed its
recommendation upon it--which it deserves. For all this one is not
wholly at his ease here. We remembered that on one occasion, when we
had descended before its hospitable doors, travel-worn and weary, we
had been pained to find a sort of full-dress dinner going on where we
expected to find an ordinary _table d'hôte_. For this reason alone we
passed the hotel by, and hunted out the quaintly named Hotel du
Croissant, in a dimly lighted little back street, indicated by a
flaring crescent of electric lights over its _porte-cochère_.

[Illustration: In Touraine]

We drove our automobile more or less noisily inside the little
flagged courtyard, woke up two dozing cats, who were lying
full-length before us, and disturbed a round dozen of sleek French
commercial travellers at their evening meal.

They treated us remarkably well at Tours's Hôtel du Croissant.
"Follow the _commis-voyageur_ in France and dine well (and cheaply)"
might readily be the motto of all travellers in France. The bountiful
fare, the local colour, the hearty greeting, and equally hearty
farewell of the _patronne_, and the geniality of the whole personnel
gave us an exceedingly good impression of the contrast between the
tourist hotel of Blois and the _maison bourgeois_ of Tours, always to
the advantage of the latter.

The banks of the Loire immediately below Tours grow the only grape in
France--perhaps in all the world--which is able to produce a
satisfactory substitute for champagne.

Vineyard after vineyard line the banks for miles on either side and
give great crops of the celebrated _vin mosseaux_, the most of which
finds its way to Paris, to be sold by second-rate dealers as the
"vrai vin de champagne." There's no reason why it shouldn't be sold
on its own merits; it is quite good enough; but commerce bows down to
American millionaires, English dukes, and the German emperor, and the
king of wines of to-day must be labelled champagne.

From Tours to Niort is 170 kilometres, and we stopped not on the way
except to admire some particularly entrancing view, to buy gasoline
for the automobile, and for lunch at Poitiers.

The whole aspect of things was changing; there was a breath of the
south already in the air; and there was an unspeakable tendency on
the part of everybody to go to sleep after the midday meal.

We passed Chatellerault and its quaint old turreted and bastioned
bridge at just the hour of noon, and were tempted to stop, for we had
just heard of the latest thing in the way of a hotel which was
brand-new, with steam heat, and hot and cold water, electric lights,
baths, etc. Nothing was said about the bill of fare, though no doubt
it was equally excellent. The combination didn't appeal, however; we
were out after novelty and local colour, and so we rolled on and into
Poitiers's Hôtel de l'Europe and lunched well in the most charmingly
cool garden-environed dining-room that it were possible to conceive.
We had made a wise choice, though on a hit-or-miss formula, and we
were content.

Here at least the dim echo of the rustle and bustle of Paris, which
drifts down the valley of the Loire from Orleans to the sea, was left
behind; a whole new chromatic scale was being built up. No one
hurried or rushed about, and one drank a "_tilleuil_" after _déjeuner_,
instead of coffee, with the result that he got sleepy forthwith.

There are five magnificent churches at Poitiers, dating from Roman
and mediæval times, but we saw not one of them as we passed through
the town. Again we had decided we were out after local manners and
customs, and, for the moment, churches were not in the category of
our demands.

We had only faint glimmerings as to where Niort was, or what it stood
for, but we were bound thither for the night. We left Poitiers in
mid-afternoon, gaily enough, but within five kilometres we had
stopped dead. The sparking of course; nothing else would diagnose the
case! It took three hours of almost constant cranking of the unruly
iron monster before the automobile could be made to start again.

Once started, the automobile ran but fitfully the seventy-five
kilometres to Niort, the whole party, with fear and trembling,
scarcely daring to turn sidewise to regard the landscape, or take an
extra breath. There was no assistance to be had this side of Niort,
and should the sparking arrangements go back on us again, and we were
not able to start, there was no hope of being towed in at the back of
a sturdy farm-horse; the distance was too great. Once we thought we
had nearly lost it again, but before we had actually lost our
momentum the thing recovered itself, and we ran fearingly down the
broad avenue into Niort, and asked anxiously as to whether there
might be a _grand maison des automobiles_ in the town.

Indeed there was, and in the twinkling of an eye we had shunted our
poor lame duck into the courtyard of a workshop which gave employment
to something like seventy-five hands, all engaged in the manufacture
of automobiles which were exported to the ends of the earth.

Here was help surely. Nothing could be too great or too small for an
establishment like this to undertake, and so we left the machine with
an easy heart and hunted out the excellent Hôtel de France--the best
hotel of its class between Paris and Bordeaux. We dined sumptuously
on all the good things of the north and the south, to say nothing of
fresh sardines from La Rochelle, not far distant, and we gave not a
thought to the automobile again that night, but strolled on the quay
by the little river Sêvre-Niortaise, and watched the moon rise over
the old château donjon, and heard the rooks caw, and saw them circle
and swing around its battlement in a final night-call before they
went to rest. It was all very idyllic and peaceful, although Niort
is, as may be inferred, an important centre for many things.

We had planned to be on the road again by eight the next morning,
but, on arrival at the garage, or more correctly stated, the _usine_,
where we had left the automobile the night before, we found it the
centre of a curious group who were speculating--and had been since
six o'clock that morning--as to what might be the particular new
variety of disease that had attacked its vital parts so seriously
that it still refused to go.

It was twelve o'clock, high noon, before it was discovered--with the
aid of the electrician from the electric light works--that two tiny
ends of copper wire, inside the coil (which a Frenchman calls a
_bobine_), had become unsoldered, and only when by chance they
rattled into contact would the sparking arrangements work as they

This was something new for all concerned. None of us will be likely
to be caught that way again. The cost was most moderate. It was not
the automobile owner who paid for the experience this time, a thing
which absolutely could not have happened outside of France. Pretty
much the whole establishment had had a hand in the job, and, if the
service had been paid for according to the time spent, it might have
cost anything the establishment might have chosen to charge.

Ten francs paid the bill, and we went on our way rejoicing, after
having partaken of a lunch, as excellent as the dinner we had eaten
the night before, at the Hôtel de France.

La Rochelle, the city of the Huguenots, and later of Richelieu, was
reached just as the setting sun was slanting its red and gold over
the picturesque old port and the Tour de Richelieu. If one really
wants to know what it looked like, let him hunt up Petitjean's "Port
de la Rochelle" in the Musée de Luxembourg at Paris. Words fail
utterly to describe the beauty and magnifycence of this hitherto
unoverworked artists' sketching-ground.

[Illustration: La Rochelle]

We threaded our way easily enough through the old sentinel gateway
spanning the main street, lined with quaint old arcaded,
Spanish-looking houses, and drew up abreast of the somewhat
humble-looking Hôtel du Commerce, on the Place d'Armes, opposite the
ugly little squat cathedral, once wedded to the haughty Richelieu

The Hôtel du Commerce at La Rochelle is the equal of the Hôtel de
France at Niort, and has the added attraction of a glass-covered
courtyard, where you may take your coffee and watch the household
cats amusing themselves with the goldfish in the pool of the fountain
which plays coolingly in the centre.

La Rochelle and its Hôtel du Commerce are too good to be treated
lightly or abruptly by any writer; but, for fear they may both become
spoiled, no more shall be said here except to reiterate that they are
both unapproachable in quaintness, comfort, and charm by anything yet
found by the writer in four years of almost constant wanderings by
road and rail up and down France.

Offshore four kilometres is the Ile de Ré, an isle thirty kilometres
long, where the inhabitants wear the picturesque _coiffe_ and costume
which have not become contaminated with Paris fashions. The one thing
to criticize is the backwardness of the lives of the good folk of the
isle and their enormous _pieds plats_.

Northward from La Rochelle is a region, almost within sight of the
Ile de Ré, where the women wear the most highly theatrical costumes
to be seen anywhere in modern France, not even excepting the peasants
of Brittany. The chief distinction of the costume is a sort of tiny
twisted bandanna over the head, a tight-fitting or folded fichu, a
short ballet sort of a skirt, black stockings, and a gaily bordered
apron and dainty, high-heeled, tiny shoes--in strong contrast in size
and form to the ungainly feet of the women of the Ile de Ré.

We left La Rochelle with real regret, passed the fortified town of
Rochefort without a stop, and, in something over two hours, reeled
off some sixty-eight kilometres of sandy, marshy roadway to Saintes.

Saintes is noted for many things: its antiquity, its religious
history, its Roman remains, and the geniality of its toddling old
dealer in sewing-machines (of American make, of course), who, as a
"side" line, sells gasoline and oil at considerably under the
prevailing rates elsewhere. Truly we were in the ideal touring-ground
for automobilists.

To Cognac is sixty-seven kilometres. If we had ever known that Cognac
was the name of a town we had forgotten it, for we had, for the
moment, at any rate, thought it the name of the region where were
gathered the grapes from which cognac was made.

Cognac is famous for the subtle spirit which is sold the world over
under that name, and from the fact that it was the birthplace of the
art-loving monarch, François Premier.

For these two reasons, and for the bountiful lunch of the Hôtel
d'Orleans, and incidentally for the very bad cognac which we got at a
café whose name is really and truly forgotten, Cognac is writ large
in our note-books.

The house where was born François Premier is easily found, sitting by
the river's bank. To-day it is the counting-house of one of the great
brandy shippers whose name is current the world over. Its
associations have changed considerably, and where once the new art
instincts were born, in the person of the gallant François, is now
the cradle of commercialism.

The question as to what constitutes good brandy has ever been a
favourite one among possessors of a little knowledge. The same class
has also been known to state that there is no good brandy nowadays,
no _vrai cognac_. This is a mistake, but perhaps a natural one, as
the cognac district in the Charente was almost wholly devastated in
the phylloxera ravages of half a century ago.

Things have changed, however, and there is as good cognac to-day as
there ever was, though there is undoubtedly much more poor stuff
being sold.

Down through the heart of the cognac region we sped, through Blaye to
Bordeaux and all the busy traffic of its port.

Bordeaux is attractive to the automobilist in that one enters, from
any direction, by wide, broad avenues. It is one of the great
provincial capitals of France, a great gateway through which much of
the intercourse with the outside world goes on.

It is not so cosmopolitan as Marseilles, nor so historically or
architecturally interesting as Rouen, but it is the very ideal of an
opulent and well-conducted city, where one does not need to await the
arrival of the daily papers from Paris in order to know what has
happened during the last round of the clock.

Hotels? The town is full of them! You may put up your automobile in
the garage of the Hôtel du Chapon-Fin, along with forty others, and
you yourself will be well cared for, according to city standards, for
twelve or fifteen francs a day,--which is not dear. On the other
hand, Bordeaux possesses second-class hotels where, all found, you
may sleep and eat for the modest sum of seven francs a day. One of
these is the Hôtel Français, a somewhat extensive establishment in a
tiny back street. It is the cheapest _city_ hotel the writer has
found in France. There was no garage at the Hotel Français, and we
were forced to house our machine a block or two away, where, for the
moderate sum of two francs, you might leave it twenty-four hours, and
get it back washed and rubbed down, while for another fifty centimes
they would clean the brass work,--a nasty job well worth the price.
Yes! Bordeaux is pleasant for the automobilist!

[Illustration: Bourdeaux, the Gateway to the Landes]

Two things the stranger, who does not want to go too far back into
antiquity, will remark upon at Bordeaux, the exceeding ampleness,
up-to-date-ness, and cleanliness of the great open space in front of
the Opera, and the imposing and beautifully laid out Place des
Quinconces, with its sentinel pillars and its waterside traffic of
railway and shipping, blending into a whole which inspired one of the
world's greatest pictures of the feverish life of modern activity,
the painting by Eugene Boudin, known as the "Port de Bordeaux," in
the Luxembourg.

You may find a good low-priced hotel at Bordeaux, but you pay
inflated prices for your refreshments in the cafés; a _café-glacê_
cost fifteen sous and a _glace à café_ twenty-five on the terrace of
the magnificent establishment opposite the Opera.

[Illustration: Map of Pyrenees]

Chapter II
A Little Tour In The Pyrenees

[Illustration: The Pyrenees]

We had been touring France _en automobile_ for many months--for
business purposes, one might say, and hence had followed no schedule
or itinerary, but had lingered by the way and made notes, and the
artist made sketches, and in general we acquired a knowledge of
France and things French that otherwise might not have been our lot.

The mere name of the Pyrenees had long had a magic sound for us. We
had seen them at a distance, from Carcassonne and Toulouse and Pau,
when we had made the conventional tour years ago, and had admired
them greatly, to the disparagement of the Swiss Alps. This may be
just, or unjust, but it is recorded here as a fact.

To climb mountains in an automobile appealed to us as a sport not yet
banal or overdone, and since Switzerland--so hospitable to most
classes of tourists--was treating automobilists badly just at the
time, we thought we would begin by making the itinerary of the
"_Coupe des Pyrénées;_" then, if we liked it, we could try the French
Alps in Dauphiné and Savoie, delightful and little-known French
provinces which have all the advantages of Switzerland and few of its
disadvantages, inasmuch as the inhabitants of the valley hamlets and
mountain towns have not become so _commerçant_ as their Swiss

In August, 1905, was organized, by _La Vie en Grand Air_ and _La
Dépêche de Toulouse_, a great contest for touring automobiles, for an
award to be known as the "_Coupe des Pyrénées._"

As a work of art the "_Coupe des Pyrénées_" is far and away ahead of
most "cups" of the sort. It was the work of the sculptor, Ducuing,
and the illustration herewith will show some of its charm. The
"_coupe_" itself has disappeared from mortal view, it having been
stolen from an automobile exposition in London.

The trials was intended to develop that type of vehicle best suited
to touring, and in every way the event was a great success. The
itinerary covered the lovely mountain roads from the Mediterranean to
the Atlantic, and was the immediate inspiration for the author of
this book to follow along the same trail. It is one of the most
delightful excursions to be made in all France, which is saying that
it is one of the most delightful in all the world.

We took our departure from Toulouse, as did the participants in this
famous trial of the year before. Toulouse, the gay capital of the gay
province of old Languedoc, has abounding attractions for the tourist
of all tastes, though it is seldom visited by those who, with the
first swallows of spring-time, wing their way from the resorts of the
Riviera to Biarritz.

[Illustration: Coupe de Pyrenees]

Toulouse has many historic sights and monuments, and a _cuisine_
which is well worth a trip across France. What with truffles and the
famous _cassoulet_ and the _chapons fins de Toulouse_ one forgets to
speak of anything else on the menu, though the rest will be
sufficiently marvellous.

There are three "leading" hotels in Toulouse catering for the
automobile tourist. According to report they are all equally good. We
chose the Capoul, on the Square Lafayette, and had no cause to regret
it. We dined sumptuously, slept in a great ducal sort of an apartment
with a _hygiénique_ bedstead (a thing of brass openwork and iron
springs) tucked away in one corner, full fifteen paces from the door
by which one entered--"_Un bon kilomètre encore,_" said the _garçon
de chambre_, facetiously, as he showed us up. It promised airiness,
at any rate, and if we were awakened at four in the morning by the
extraordinarily early traffic of the city what did it matter, since
automobiles invariably take early to the road.

It's worth stating here that the _café au lait_ at six A. M. at the
Hôtel Capoul was excellent. Frequently hotel coffee in the morning in
France (at no matter what hour) is abominable. Usually it is warmed
over from the night before. No wonder it is bad!

Toulouse delayed us not on this occasion. We had known it of old; so
we started a little before seven on a brilliant September morning,
just as the sun was rising over the cathedral towers and
strengthening the shadows on the tree-lined boulevard which leads
eastward via Castlemaudry to the walled city of Carcassonne,
ninety-six kilometres away. The road-books say of this route;

"_Pl. Roul. puis Ond Tr. Pitt._" This freely translated means that
the road is at first flat, then rolling and hilly, but very
picturesque throughout. Castlemaudry delayed us not a moment, except
to extricate ourselves from a troop of unbridled, unhaltered little
donkeys being driven to the market-place, where there was a great
sale of these gentle little beasts of burden. _Pas méchant_, these
little donkeys, but stubborn, like their brethren elsewhere, and it
was exceedingly difficult to force our way through two hundred of
them, all of whom wiggled their ears at us and stood their ground
until their guardians actually came and pushed them to one side. "You
can often push a donkey when you can't pull him," they told us, a
fact which was most apparent, though unknown to us previously. We
arrived at Carcassonne in time for lunch, which we had always
supposed was called _déjeuner_ in France, but which we learned was
here called _dîner_, the evening meal (at the fashionable hour of
eight) being known as _souper_, though in reality it is a five-course

Carcassonne was a disappointment. Imagine a puffed-up little
metropolis of twenty-five thousand souls with all the dignity that
half a dozen pretentious hotels and gaudy cafés can give it; not very
clean, nor very well laid out, nor very ancient-looking, nor very
picturesque. Where was the Carcassonne of the frowning ramparts, of
the gem of a Gothic church, and of the romance and history of which
all school-books are filled?

"Oh! You mean _la Cité,_" said the buxom hostess of our hotel. (They
are always buxom hostesses in books, but this was one in reality.)
Well, yes, we did mean _la Cité_, if by that name the referred to the
old walled town of Carcasonne, _la ville la plus curieuse de France,
un monument unique au mond._

It is but a short kilometre to reach _la Cité_ from the _Ville
Basse_, as the modern city of Carcassonne is known. Once within the
double row of walls, flanked by more than fifty towers, any
preconceived ideas that one may have had of what it might be like
will be dispelled in air. It is the most stupendously theatrical
thing yet on top of earth, unless it be the sad and dismal Pompeii or
poor rent Les Baux, in Provence.

The history of this wonder-work cannot be compressed into a few
lines. One can merely emphasize its marvellous attractions, so that
those who are in the neighbourhood may go and study it all out for
themselves. It will be worth whole volumes on history and
architecture for the earnest student to see these things. Among all
the authorities who have proclaimed the magnificent attractions of
Carcassonne the words of Viollet-le-Duc are as convincing as any. He
says: "In no part of Europe is there anything so formidable, nor at
the same time so complete, as the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth
century fortifications of Carcassonne."

We stayed a full day at Carcassonne, and reached the frowning
battlements of the Eglise St. Nazaire, at Béziers, at just two by the
clock. This is the hour when all the _commis-voyageurs_, who may have
taken lunch at the Hôtel du Nord, are dozing over their _café_ and
_petites verres_, and the _patron_ and _patronne_ of the hotel are
making preparations for their early afternoon siesta, an attribute of
all the Midi of France, as it is of Spain.

Nothing loath, the kitchen staff, spurred on by the _patron_ (all
thoughts of his siesta having vanished), turned out a most excellent
lunch, _hors d'oeuvres_, fresh sardines, omelette, _cotelette
d'agneau_ with _pommes paille_, delicious grapes, and all you wish of
the red or white _vin du pays_. All for the absurd sum (considering
the trouble they were put to) of three francs each. No "_doing_" the
automobilist here; let other travellers make a note of the name!

Béziers is altogether one of the most remarkably disposed large towns
of the south of France. Its storied past is lurid enough to please
the most bloodthirsty, as is recalled by the history of its
fortress-church of St. Nazaire, now the cathedral. For the rest the
reader must hunt it out in his guide-book. We were doing no lightning
tour, but we were of a mind to sleep that night at Perpignan,
approximately a hundred kilometres farther on.

Southward our road turned again, through Narbonne, which, both from
its history and from its present-day importance, stands out as one of
the well-remembered spots in one's itinerary of France. It is full of
local colour; its bridge of houses over its river is the delight of
the artistic; its Hôtel de Ville and its cathedral are wonders of
architectural art; and, altogether, as the ancient capital of an
ancient province, one wonders that a seventeenth-century traveller
had the right to call it "_cette vilaine ville de Narbonne._"

All the way to Perpignan the roads were terrifically bad, being cut
up into great dusty ruts by many great carts and drays hauling
wine-pipes to the railway stations. The traffic is enormous, for it
is the wines of Roussillon that are shipped all over France for
blending with and fortifying the weaker vintages, even those of the

Dusty in dry weather, and chalky mud in wet, are the characteristic
faults of this hundred kilometres or more of Herault roadway which
one must cross to gain the shadow of the Pyrenees. There seems to be
no help for it unless cobblestones were to be put down, which would
be a cure worse than the disease.

Perpignan is the most entrancing city between Marseilles and
Barcelona. It has many of the characteristics of both, though of only
thirty thousand inhabitants. The old fortifications, which once gave
it an aspect of mediævalism, are now (by decree of 1903) being torn
down, and only the quaintly picturesque Castillet remains. The rest
are--at the present writing--a mere mass of crumbled bricks and
mortar, and a real blemish to an otherwise exceedingly attractive,
gay little city. The automobile garages are all side by side on a
new-made street, on the site of one line of the old fortifications,
and are suitable enough when found, but no directions which were
given us enabled us to house our machine inside of half an hour's
time after we had entered the town. Our hotel, unfortunately, was one
of the few that did not have a garage as an adjunct of the
establishment. In other respects the Hôtel de la Poste was a marvel
of up-to-dateness. The sleeping-rooms were of that distinction known
in France as _hygiénique_, and the stairways and walls were
fire-proof, or looked it. One dined in a great first-floor apartment
with a marble floor, and dined well, and there was ice for those who
wanted it. (The Americans did, you may be sure.)

Perpignan is possessed of much history, much character, and much
local colour of the tone which artists love, and above all a certain
gaiety and brilliancy which one usually associates only with Spain.

There is what might be called a street of cafés at Perpignan, not far
from the Castillet. They are great, splendid establishments, with
wide, overhung, awninged terraces, and potted plants and electric
lights and gold and tinsel, and mixed drinks and ices and sorbets,
and all the epicurean cold things which one may find in the best
establishment in Paris. These cafés are side by side and opposite
each other, and are as typical of the life of the town as is the
Rambla typical of Barcelona, or the Cannebière of Marseilles. They
are dull enough places in the daytime, but with the hour of the
_apéritif_, which may be anywhere between five and eight in the
afternoon, they wake up a bit, then slumber until nine or
nine-thirty, when gaiety descends with all its forces until any hour
you like in the morning. They won't think of such a thing as turning
the lights out on you in the cafés of Perpignan.

From Perpignan we turned boldly into the cleft road through the
valley of the Têt, via Prades and Mont Louis to Bourg-Madame, the
frontier town toward Spain, and the only decent route for entering
Spain by automobile via the Mediterranean gateway.

Bourg-Madame is marked on most maps, but it is all but unknown of
itself; no one thinks of going there unless he be touring the
Pyrenees, or visiting Andorra, one of the unspoiled corners of
Europe, as quaint and unworldly to-day as it ever was; a tiny
republic of very, very few square kilometres, whose largest city or
town, or whatever you choose to call it, has but five hundred

If one is swinging round the Pyrenean circle he goes on to Porte,
where, at the Auberge Michette, he will learn all that is needful for
penetrating into the unknown darkest spot in Europe. We thought to do
the journey "_en auto,_" but on arrival at Porte learned it was not
to be thought of. A sure-footed little Pyrenean donkey or mule was
the only pathfinder used to the twistings and turnings and blind
paths of this little mountain republic, where the people speak
Spanish, and religion and law are administrated by the French and
Spanish authorities in turn.

It's a week's travel properly to visit Andorra and view all its wild
unworldliness, so the trip is here only suggested.

[Illustration: Some Snap-shots in the Pyrenees]

We took up our route again, crossing the Col de Puymorans (1,781
metres), and dropped down on Hospitalet, which also is printed in
large black letters on the maps, but which contains only 148
inhabitants, unless there have been some births and no deaths since
this was written.

From Hospitalet we were going down, down, down all of the time, the
valley road of the Ariége, dropping with remarkable precipitation.

In eighteen kilometres we were at Aix-les-Thermes. The guide-books
call it "_une jolie petite ville,_" and no one will dispute it,
though it had no charms for us; we were more interested in routes and
roads than in mere watering-places, and so, beyond a stop for
gasoline for the motor, not having been able to get any for the last
fifty kilometres, still following the valley of the Ariége, we
arrived at Foix for lunch, at the most excellent Hôtel Benoit, just
as the ice was being brought on the table and the _hors d'oeuvres_
were being portioned out.

Taken all in all, Foix was one of the most delightful towns we found
in all the Pyrenean itinerary. It is quite the most daintily and
picturesquely environed town imaginable, its triple-towered château
and its _rocher_ looming high above all, and sounding a dominant note
which carries one back to the days when Gaston Phoebus was the
seigneur of Foix.

We planned to spend the night at the Hôtel de France at St. Girons,
for it was marked down in the Guide-Michelin as being fitted with
those modern refinements of travel which most of us appreciate, and
there was furthermore a garage and a _fosse_, or inspection pit. We
had need of the latter, for something was going wrong beneath the
body of our machine which manifestly require being attended to
without delay.

We took the long way around, twenty kilometres more out of our direct
road, for novelty of driving our automobile through the Grotto of Mas
D'Azil. We had been through grottoes before, the Grotte de Han in the
north of France, the caves where they ripen Rochefort cheeses, the
Mammoth Cave of Kentucky, and some others, but we had never expected
to drive an automobile through one. The Grotte de Mas-D'Azil is much
like other dark, damp holes elsewhere, and the only novelty is the
magnificent road which pierces it. The sensation of travelling over
this road is most weird, and it was well worth the trouble of making
the experiment.

From St. Girons to St. Gaudens and Montrejeau is sixty odd
kilometres. Nothing happened on the way except that the road was
literally thronged with great slow-moving ox-teams transporting great
logs down the mountainside to the sawmills in the lower valley.

Montrejeau was a surprise and a disappointment. It was a surprise
that we should find such a winsome little hill-town, and such a very
excellent hotel as was the Grand Hôtel du Parc, which takes its name
from a tiny hanging garden at the rear; but we were disappointed in
that for a mortal half-hour we tried to make our usually willing
automobile climb up on to the plateau upon which the town sits. Three
separate roads we tried, each three separate times, but climb the
machine would not. No one knew why, the writer least of all, and he
had been _chauffeur_ and driver of that automobile for many long
months, and had never found a hill, great or small, that it would not
climb. Automobiles are capricious things, like women, and sometimes
they will and sometimes they will not. At last, after the natives had
had sufficient amusement, and had told us that they had seen many an
automobile party go without lunch because they could not get up that
steep little kilometre, we found a sort of back-door entrance which
looked easy, and we went up like the proverbial bird. It was not the
main road into town, and it took some finding. The writer hopes that
others who pass this way will be as successful. Montrejeau, with its
three steep streets, its excellent hotel (when you finally got in
touch with it), its old-world market-house, and its trim little
café-bordered square, will be long remembered.

We debated long as to whether we should drop down to Luchon, and come
around by Bagnerres-de-Bigorre or not, but since they were likely to
be full of "five-o'-clockers" at this season we thought the better of
it, and left them entirely out of our itinerary. When one wants it he
can get the same sort of conventionality at Ermenonville, and need
not go so far afield to find it.

We arrived at Tarbes, at the Hôtel des Ambassadeurs, late on Sunday
afternoon. The name of the hotel augured well for good cheer, and on
the whole we found it satisfactory enough. One of its most appealing
features is the fact that the kitchens and the garage were once a
convent. It has undergone a considerable change since then, but it
lent a sort of glamour to things to know that you were stabling your
automobile in such a place.

Tarbes is a great busy, overgrown, unlovely big town, which flounders
under the questionable dignities of being a station of an army corps
and a préfecture: Bureaucracy and Officialdom are writ large all over
everything, and a poor mortal without a handle to his name, or a
ribbon in his buttonhole, is looked upon as a sort of outcast when he
enters a café, and accordingly he waits a long time to be served.

We got out of Tarbes at a _très bonne heure_ the next morning without
a regret, headed for Pau. All of us had always had an affection for
Pau, because, in a way, we admired old Henri Quatre, even his

We found Pau, too, a great, overgrown, fussy town, a bit more
delightfully environed than Tarbes, but still not at all what we had
pictured it. We knew it to be a tourist resort, but we were hardly
prepared for the tea-shops and the "bars" and the papers--in English
and "American," as a local newsdealer told us when we went to him to
buy the inevitable picture postcards.

We found out, too, that Pau has long held a unique position as the
leading hunting centre on the Continent. It costs sixty francs a day
for the hire of a saddle-horse, and from 350 francs to four hundred
francs for the month--certainly rather dear. There are, as a rule,
from thirty to forty hunters available for hire each year, but many
of them are reserved by old stagers. Of privately owned horses
following the hunt, the number would usually somewhat exceed two
hundred. The hounds meet three times a week, and the municipality of
Pau shows its appreciation of the good that hunting does for the
Pyrenees resort by voting a subsidy of five thousand francs.

What history and romance there is about Pau is pretty well blotted
out by twentieth-century snobbism, it would seem.

One learns that Pau was the seat of a château of the princes of Béarn
as early as the tenth century. Its great splendour and importance
only came with the establishment here of the residence of Gaston IV.,
Comte de Foix, the usurper of the throne of Navarre in 1464. In his
train came a parliament, a university, an academy, and a mint.
Finally came the birth of Henri Quatre, and one may yet see the great
turtle-shell used by the afterwards gay monarch for a cradle. These
were gay times for Pau, and the same gaiety, though of a forced
nature, exists to-day with the throngs of English and Americans who
are trying hard to make of it a social resort. May they not succeed.
One thing they have done is to raise prices for everything to
everybody. This is bad enough to begin with, and so with this parting
observation Pau is crossed off the list.

There are eight highroads which cross the frontier passes from France
into Spain, and two lines of railway, one along the border of the
Atlantic and Hendaye, and the other following the Mediterranean coast
to Barcelona.

"_Il n'y a plus de Pyrénées,_" we were told as we were leaving Pau.
It seemed that news had just been received that in fourteen hours a
Spanish aeronaut had covered the 730 kilometres from Pau to Grenada
"_comme les oiseaux._" Truly, after this, there are no more

After Pau our route led to Mauléon (seventy-two kilometres) via
Oloron, straight across Béarn, where the peasants are still of that
picturesque mien which one so seldom sees out of the comic-opera
chorus. One reads that the Béarnais are "irascible, jealous, and

This is some one's opinion of times long passed, but certainly we
found nothing of the kind; nothing indeed different from all the folk
of the South who dawdle at their work and spend most of their leisure
energetically dancing or eating.

Mauléon, known locally as Mauléon-Licharre to distinguish it from
Mauléon-Barousse, is the _douane_ station for entering France from
Spain (Pampelune) via St. Jean-Pied-de-Port and St. Beat, neither of
the routes much used, and not at all by automobiles.

A typical little mountain town, Mauléon is the _chef-lieu_ of the
Arrondissement, and the ancient capital of the Vicomté de Soule. It
has an excellent hotel, allied to the Touring Club de France (Hôtel
Saubidet), where one dines well off the fare of the country with no
imitation Parisian dishes. There is a sort of a historical monument
here, the Château de Mauléon (Malo-Leone--Mauvais Lion--Wicked Lion:
the reader may take his choice) of the fifteenth century, which
surrounds itself accommodatingly with a legend which the native will
tell you, if asked.

There is no great accommodation for automobiles at Mauléon, and one
can only buy oil and gasoline by going to a man named Etcheberrigary
for it. His address is not given, but any one will tell you where he
lives. They may not recognize your pronunciation, but they will
recognize your dilemma at once and point the way forthwith.

It was forty-one kilometres to St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, over an
"all-up-and-down-hill" road, if there ever was one--up out of one
river valley and down into another all the way until we struck the
road by the banks of the Nive and approached the town.

St. Jean-Pied-de-Port takes its name from its proximity to one of the
Franco-Spanish gateways through the Pyrenees.

It is in danger of becoming a resort, since the guide-books already
announce it as a _station climatique_. Its Basque name of
_Donajouana_, or _Don Ilban-Garici_, ought, however, to stop any
great throng from coming.

It lies directly at the foot of the Col de Roncevalles leading into
Spain (1,057 metres). The pass has ever been celebrated in the annals
of war, from the days of the Paladin Roland to those of Maréchal
Soult's attack on the English at Pampelune.

Considering that St. Jean-Pied-de-Port boasts of only fourteen
hundred inhabitants, and is almost hidden in the Pyrenean fastness,
one does very well within its walls. There is a railway to Bayonne,
the post, telegraph, a pharmacy, and a Red Cross station, and the
wants of the automobilist are attended to sufficiently well by the
local locksmith. The Hôtel Central, on the Place du Marché, is
vouched for by the Touring Club. It has a _salle des bains_ and other
useful accessories often wanting in more pretentious establishments,
a dark room for camera fiends, a pit for automobiles, and electric
lights. For all this you pay six franc a day. "_Pas cher!_"

Bayonne, through the Basque country, is fifty odd kilometres distant,
a gentle descent all the way, down the valley of the Nive.

The Basques are a picturesque and lovable people, and they have kept
their characteristics and customs bright and shining through many
centuries of change round about them.

They love the dance, all kinds of agile games like the _jeu de paume_
and _pelota_, and will dance for three days at a fête with a passion
which does not tire. Even to-day the Basque thinks more of a local
fête than he does of anything else, and will journey fifteen or
twenty kilometres afoot--if he can't get a ride--to form a part of
some religious procession or a _tournée de paume_.

Cambo, midway between St. Jean-Pied-de-Port and Bayonne, is a tiny
spring and bath resort trying hard to be fashionable. There are many
villas near-by of wealthy "Basques-Americains," from the Argentine.

The Basques, at least the Basques-Français, are a disappearing factor
in the population of Europe. It is said there are more Basques in the
Argentine Republic than in the Republic of France, and all because of
the alienation of the Basques by Louis XIV. when he married
Marie-Thérèse and her 500,000 écus of _dot_. Since 1659 the real
Basque, he or she of the fine teeth, has been growing beautifully
less in numbers, both in France and in Spain.

A certain fillip was given to Cambo by the retreat here of Edward
Rostand, the author of "Cyrano" and "L'Aiglon." In his wake followed
litterateurs and journalists, and the fame of the hitherto unworldly
little spot--sheltered from all the winds that blow--was bruited
abroad, and the Touring Club de France erected a pavilion; thus all
at once Cambo became a "resort," in all that the name implies.

A _mécanicien_ has not yet come to care for the automobilist in
trouble, but the locksmith _(serrurier)_ will do what he can and
charge you little for it. Gasoline is high-priced, fifty sous a

Bayonne, with its tradition, its present-day prosperity, and its
altogether charming situation, awaited us twenty odd kilometres away,
and we descended upon its excellent, but badly named, Grand Hotel
just at nightfall. There's another more picturesquely named near by,
and no doubt as excellent, called the Panier-Fleuri. We would much
rather have stopped at the latter,--if only on account of its
name,--but there was no accommodation for the automobile. M.
Landlord, brace up!

Bayonne is a fortress of the first class, and commands the western
gateway into Spain. Its brilliant aspect, its cosmopolitanism, and
its storied past appealed to us more than did the attractions of its
more fastidious neighbour, Biarritz. One can see a better bull-fight
at Bayonne than he can at Biarritz, where his sport must consist
principally of those varieties of gambling games announced by
European hotel-keepers as having "all the diversions of Monte Carlo."
Bull-fighting is forbidden in France, but more or less mysteriously
it comes off now and then. We did not see anything of the sort at
Bayonne, but we had many times at Arles, and Nimes, and knew well
that when the southern Frenchman sets about to provide a gory
spectacle he can give it quite as rosy a hue as his Spanish brother.

Biarritz called us the next day, and, not wishing to be taken for
dukes, or millionaires, or _chauffeurs_ and their friends out on a
holiday, we left the automobile _en garage_, and covered the seven
kilometres by the humble tramway. Be wise, and don't take your
automobile to a resort like Biarritz unless you want to pay.

It's a long way from the Pont Saint-Esprit at Bayonne to the _plage_
at Biarritz, in manners and customs, at any rate, and the seeker
after real local colour will find more of it at Bayonne than he will
at its seaside neighbour, where all is tinged with Paris, St.
Petersburg, and London.

The Empress Eugénie, or perhaps Napoleon III., "made" Biarritz when
he built the first villa in the little Basque fishing-village, which
had hitherto known neither courts nor coronets. There's no doubt
about it; Biarritz is a fine resort of its class, as are Monte Carlo
and Ostende. One can study human nature at all three, if that is what
he is out for; so, too, he can--the same sort--on Paris's boulevards.

[Illustration: On the Road in the Pyrenees]

The month of October is time for the gathering of the fashionables
and elegants of all capitals at Biarritz. All the world bathes
together in the warm waters of the Plage des Basques, and the sublime
contrast of the Pyrenees on one hand, and the open sea and sky on the
other, give a panorama of grandeur that few of its competitors have.

The visitors to Biarritz daily augment in numbers, and, since it had
been a sort of neutral trysting-ground for the King and Queen of
Spain before their marriage, and since the seal of his approval has
been given to it by Edward VII. of England (to the great disconcern
of the Riviera hotel-keepers), it bids fair to become even more

From Bayonne to the Spanish frontier it is thirty kilometres by the
road which runs through the Basque country and through St.
Jean-de-Luz, a delightful little seaside town which has long been a
"resort" of the mildly homeopathic kind, and which, let us all hope,
will never degenerate into another Nice, or Cannes, or Menton. The
great event of its historic past was the marriage here of Louis XIV.
with the Infanta Marie-Thérès on the sixth of June, 1660, but to-day
everything (in the minds of the inhabitants) dates from the arrival
of the increasing shoals of visitor from "_brumeuse Angleterre_" in
the first days of November, with the added hope that this year's
visitors will exceed in numbers those of the last--which they
probably will.

Those who know not St. Jean-de-Luz and its charms had best hurry up
before they entirely disappear. The Automobile Club de France
endorses the Hôtel d'Angleterre of St. Jean as to its beds and its
table, and also notes the fact that you may count on spending
anything you like from thirteen francs a day upward for your
accommodation. The Touring Club de France swears by the Hôtel
Terminus-Plage (equally unfortunately named), and here you will get
off for ten francs or so per day, and probably be cared for quite as
well as at the other. In any case they both possess a _salle des
bains_ and a shelter for your automobile.

We stopped only for lunch, and found it excellent, at the Hôtel de la
Poste, with _vin compris_--which is not the case at the great hotels.
_En passant_, let the writer say that the average "tourist" (not the
genuine vagabond traveller) will not drink the _vin de table_, but
prefers the same thing--at a supplementary price--for the pleasure of
seeing the cork drawn before his eyes. The "_grands hôtels_" of the
resorts recognize this and cater for the tourist accordingly.

We were bound for Fontarabia that night, just over the Spanish
border. The Spanish know it as Feuntarabia, and the Basques as
Ondarriba. For this reason one's pronunciation is likely to be
understood, because no two persons pronounce it exactly alike, and
the natives' comprehensions have been trained in a good school.

Fontarabia is gay, is ancient, and is very _foreign_ to anything in
France, even bordering upon the Spanish frontier. We left the
automobile at Hendaye, not wishing to put up with the customs duties
of eighteen francs a hundred kilos for the motor, and a thousand
francs for the _carrosserie_, for the privilege of riding twenty
kilometres out and back over a sandy, dreary road.

We dined and slept that night at a little Spanish hotel half built
out over the sea, Concha by name, and left the Grand Hôtel de Palais
Miramar to those who like grand hotels. We lingered a fortnight at
Fontarabia, and did much that many tourists did not. One should see
Fontarabia and find out its delights for oneself. There is a
quaintness and unworldliness about its old streets and wharves, which
is indescribable in print; there is a wonderfully impressive expanse
of sea and sky on the Bay of Bidassoa, a couple of kilometres away,
and all sorts and conditions of men may find an occupation here for
any passing mood they may have.

We just missed the great fête of the eighth of September, when
processions, and bull-fights, and all the movement of the sacred and
profane rejoicings of the Latins yearly astonish the more phlegmatic

Another great fête is that of Vendredi-Saint (Good Friday). Either
one or the other should be seen by all who may be in these parts at
these times.

Near by, in the middle of the swift-flowing current of the Bidassoa,
is the historically celebrated Ile des Faisans, on which the
conferences were held between the French minister Mazarin and the
Spanish Don Louis de Haro, which led to the famous Treaty of the
Pyrenees, 1659, and the marriage of Louis XIV. with the daughter of
Philip IV. The representative of each sovereign advanced from his own
territory, by a temporary bridge, to this bit of neutral ground,
which then reached nearly up to the present bridge. The piles which
supported the cardinal's pavilion were visible not many years ago.
The death of Velasquez, the painter, was caused by his exertions in
superintending these constructions; duties more fitting to an
upholsterer than a painter.

We finished our tour of the Pyrenees at Fontarabia, having followed
along the shadow of these great frontier mountains their entire
length; not wholly unknown ground, perhaps, but for the most part
entirely unspoiled, and, as a touring-ground for the automobilist,
without a peer.

Chapter III
In Languedoc And Old Provence

[Illustration: Languedoc & Provence]

The dim purple curtain of the Pyrenees had been drawn behind, us, and
we were passing from the patois of Languedoc to the patois of
Provence, where the peasants say _pardie_ in place of _pardou_ when
an exclamation of surprise comes from their lips.

Cast your eyes over the map of ancient France, and you will
distinguish plainly the lines of demarcation between the old
political divisions which, in truth, the traveller by road may find
to exist even to-day, in the manners and customs of the people at

Unconsciously we drew away from the sleepy indolence of Perpignan and
Roussillon, and before we knew it had passed Narbonne, and on through
Béziers to Agde, where we proposed stopping for the night.

Quite as Spanish-looking as Perpignan, Agde was the very antithesis
of the gay and frivolous Catalan city. The aspect of its purple-brown
architecture, the bridge-piers crossing the Herault, and the very
pavements themselves were a colour-scheme quite unlike anything we
had seen elsewhere. Brilliant and warm as a painting of Velasquez,
there was nothing gaudy, and one could only dream of the time when
the Renaissance house-fronts sheltered lords and ladies of high
degree instead of itinerant automobilists and travelling salesmen.

The Hôtel du Cheval Blanc was one of these. It is not a particularly
up-to-date hostelry, and there is a scant accommodation for
automobiles, but for all that it is good of its kind, and one dines
and sleeps well to the accompaniment of the rushing waters of the
river, at its very dooryard, on its way to the sea.

From Agde to Montpellier is fifty odd kilometres over the worst
stretch of roadway of the same length to be found in France, save
perhaps that awful paved road of Navarre across the Landes.

Montpellier is one of the most luxurious and well-kept small cities
of France. It is the seat of the préfecture, the assizes, and a
university--whose college of medicine was famous in the days of
Rabelais. It has the modern attributes of steam-heated,
electric-lighted hotels and restaurants, a tramway system that is
appalling and dangerous to all other traffic by reason of its
complexity, and an Opera House and a Hôtel de Ville that would do
credit to a city ten times its size.

We merely took Montpellier _en route_, just as we had many other
places, and were really bound for Aigues-Mortes, where we proposed to
lunch: one would not willingly sleep in a place with a name like

Of Aigues-Mortes Ch. Lentherie wrote, a quarter of a century ago:

"The country round about is incomparably melancholy, the sun
scorches, and the sandy soil gives no nourishment to plants, flowers,
vines, or grain. Cultivated land does not exist, it is a desert:
ugly, melancholy, and abandoned. But Aigues-Mortes cannot, nay, must
not perish, and will always remain the old city of St. Louis, a
magnificent architectural diadem, with its deserted _plage_ an _aureole_
most radiant, a glorious yet touching reminder."

One other imaginative description is the poem of Charles Bigot on _La
Tour de Constance_, in which the Huguenot women were many long years
imprisoned. It is written in the charming Nimois patois, and runs
thus in its first few lines:

  "Tour de la simple et forte,
  Simbol de glorie et de piété,
  Tour de pauvres femmes mortes
  Pour leur Dieu et la liberté."

These few introductory lines will recall to the memory of all who
know the history of the Crusades and of St. Louis the part played by
this old walled city of Aigues-Mortes.

More complete, and more frowning and grim, than Carcassonne, it has
not a tithe of its interest, but, for all that, it is the most
satisfying example of a walled stronghold of mediæval times yet

With all its gloom, its bareness, and the few hundreds of shaking
pallid mortals which make up its present-day population, the marsh
city of Aigues-Mortes is a lively memory to all who have seen it.

One comes by road and drives his automobile in through the
battlemented gateway over the cobbled main street, or struggles up on
foot from the station of the puny and important little railway which
brings people down from Arles in something over an hour's time.
Ultimately, one and all arrive at the excellent Hôtel St. Louis, and
eat bountifully of fresh fish of the Mediterranean, well cooked by
the _patron-chef_, and well served by a dainty Arlésienne maiden of
fifteen summers, who looks as though she might be twenty-two.

"_C'est un chose à voir_" every one tells you in the Bouches-du-Rhône
when you mention Aigues-Mortes; and truly it is. As before suggested,
you will not want to sleep within its dreary walls, but "it's a thing
to see" without question, and to get away from as soon as possible,
before a peculiarly vicious breed of mosquito inoculates you with the
toxic poison of the marshes.

Now we are approaching the land of the poet Mistral, the most
romantic region in all modern France, where the inhabitant in his
repose and his pleasure still lives in mediæval times and chants and
dances himself (and herself) into a sort of semi-indifference to the
march of time.

The Crau and the Camargue, lying south of Arles between Aigues-Mortes
and the Etang de Berre, is the greatest fête-making _pays_, one might
think, in all the world.

How many times, from January to January, the Provençal "makes the
fête" it would be difficult to state--on every occasion possible, at
any rate.

The great fête of Provence is the day of the _ferrande_, a sort of a
cattle round-up held on the Camargue plain, something like what goes
on in "_le Far West,_" as the French call it, only on not so grand a

Mistral describes it of course:

  "On a great branding-day came this throng,
  A help for the mighty herd-mustering,
  Li Santo, Aigo Marto, Albaron,
  And from Faraman, a hundred horses strong
  Came out into the desert."

Here we were in the midst of the land of fêtes, and if we could not
see a _ferrande_ in all its savage, unspoiled glory, we would see
what we could.

We were in luck, as we learned when we put into St. Gilles for the
night, and comfortably enough housed our auto in the _remise_ of the
company, or individual, which has the concession for the stage line
across the Camargue, which links up the two loose ends of a toy
railway, one of which ends at Aigues-Mortes, and the other at Stes.

Our particular piece of luck was the opportunity to be present at the
pilgrimage to the shrine of the three Marys of Judea, which took
place on the morrow.

The poet Mistral sets it all out in romantic verse in his epic
"Mirèio," and one and all were indeed glad to embrace so fortunate an
opportunity of participating in one of the most nearly unique
pilgrimages and festivals in all the world.

We entered the little waterside town the next morning soon after
sunrise, _en auto_. Others came by rail, on foot, on horseback, or by
the slow-going _roulotte_, or caravan; pilgrims from all corners of
the earth, the peasant folk of Provence, the Arlésiens and
Arlésiennes, and the dwellers of the great Camargue plain.

The picture is quite as "Mirèio" saw it in the poem: the vision of
the lone sentinel church by the sea, which rises above the dunes of
the Camargue to-day, as it did in the olden time.

"'It looms at last in the distance dim,
She sees it grow on the horizon's rim,
The Saintes' white tower across the billowy plain,
Like vessel homeward bound upon the main."

On the dunes of the Camargue, between the blue of the sky and the
blue of the Mediterranean waves, sits the gaunt, grim bourg of
fisherfolk and herders of the cattle and sheep of the neighbouring
plain. The lone fortress-church rises tall and severe in its
outlines, and the whole may be likened to nothing as much as a desert
mirage that one sees in his imagination.

At the foot of the crenelated, battlemented walls of the church are
the white, pink, and blue walled houses of the huddling population,
and the dory-like boats of the fishers.

Officially the town is known as Stes. Maries-de-la-Mer, but the
_reliques_ of the three Marys, who fled from Judea in company with
Sts. Lazare, Maxim, and Trophime, and other followers, including
their servant Sara, have given it the popular name of "Les Saintes."

The exiles, barely escaping death by drowning, came to shore here,
and, thankful for being saved from death, thereupon celebrated the
first mass to be said in France, the saints Maxim and Lazare

Maxim, Lazare, Sidoine, Marthe, and Madeleine immediately set out to
spread the Word throughout Provence in the true missionary spirit,
but the others, the three Marys, St. Trophime, and Sara, remained
behind to do what good they might among the fishers.

The pilgrimage to this _basilique_ of "Les Saintes" has ever been one
of great devotion. In 1347 the Bishops of Paris and of Coutances, in
Normandy, accorded their communicants many and varied indulgences for
having made "_la feste S. Mari Cléophée qui est le XXVe Mai, et la
feste S. Marie Salomé, XXIIe Octobre, festeront, O l'histoire d'elles
prescherent, liront ou escouteront attentilment et devotement._"

In the fourteenth century three thousand or more souls drew a
livelihood from the industries of "Les Saintes" and the
neighbourhood, and its civic affairs were administered by three
consuls, who were assisted in their duties by three classes of
citizen office-holders--_divities_, _mediocres_, and _paupers_, the
latter doubtless the "_povres gens_" mentioned in the testament of
Louis I. of Provence, he who bequeathed the guardianship of his soul
to "_Saintes Maries Jacobé et Salomé, Catherine, Madeleine et

The first day's celebration was devoted to the further gathering of
the throng and the "Grand Mess." At the first note of the
"Magnificat" the _reliques_ were brought forth from the upper chapel
and the crowd from within and without broke into a thunderous
"_Vivent les Saintes Maries!_" Then was sung the "_Cantique des

  "O grandes Saintes Maries
  Si chéries
  De notre divin Sauveur," etc.

On the second day a procession formed outside the church for the
descent to the historic sands, upon which the holy exiles first made
their landing, the men bearing on their shoulders a representation of
the barque which brought the saints thither. There were prelates and
plebeians and tourists and vagabond gipsies in line, and one and all
they entered into the ceremony with an enthusiasm--in spite of the
sweltering sun--which made up for any apparent lack of devoutness,
for, alas! most holy pilgrimages are anything but holy when taken in
their entirety.

The church at "Les Saintes" is a wonder-work. As at Assisi, in Italy,
there are three superimposed churches, a symbol of the three states
of religion; the crypt, called the catacombs, and suggestive of
persecution; the fortified nave, a symbol of the body which prays,
but is not afraid to fight; and the _chapelle supérieure_, the holy
place of the saints of heaven, the Christian counsellors in whose
care man has been confided. This, at any rate, is the professional
description of the symbolism, and whether one be churchman or not he
is bound to see the logic of it all.

Deep down in the darkened crypt are the _reliques_ of the dusky Sara,
the servant of the holy Marys. She herself has been elevated to
sainthood as the _patronne_ of the vagabond gipsies of all the world.
On the occasion of the Fête of Les Saintes Maries the nomads,
Bohemians, and Gitanos from all corners of the globe, who have been
able to make the pilgrimage thither, pass the night before the shrine
of their sainted _patronne_, as a preliminary act to the election of
their queen for the coming year.

The gipsy of tradition is supposed to be a miserly, wealthy,
sacrilegious fellow who goes about stealing children and dogs and
anything else he can lay his hands upon. He may have his faults, but
to see him kneeling before the shrine of his "_patronne reine Sara,_"
ragged and travel-worn and yet burning costly candles and saying his
_Aves_ as piously and incessantly as a praying-machine of the East,
one can hardly question but that they have as much devoutness as most

The hotels of "Les Saintes" offer practically nothing in the way of
accommodation, and what there is, which costs usually thirty sous a
night, has, during the fête, an inflated value of thirty or even
fifty francs, and, if you are an automobilist, driving the most
decrepit out-of-date old crock that ever was, they will want to
charge you a hundred. You will, of course, refuse to pay it, for you
can eat up the roadway at almost any speed you like,--there is no one
to say you nay on these lonesome roads,--and so, after paying fifty
centimes a pailful for some rather muddy water to refresh the water
circulation of your automobile, you pull out for some other place--at
least we did. One must either do this, or become a real nomad and
sleep in the open, with the stars for candles, and a bunch of
beach-grass for a pillow. If you were a _Romany cheil_ you would
sleep in, or under, your own _roulotte_, on a mattress, which, in the
daytime, is neatly folded away in the rear of your wagon, or hung in
full view, temptingly spread with a lace coverlet. This in the hope
that some passing pilgrim will take a fancy to the lace spread and
want to buy it; when will come a trading and bargaining which will
put horse-selling quite in the shade, for it is here that the woman
of the establishment comes in, and the gipsy woman on a trade is a

Finally, on the last day, came the "_Grande Entrée des Tauraux,_"
which, it would seem, was the chief event which drew the Camargue
population thither. They came in couples, a man and a woman on the
back of a single Camargue pony, whole families in a Provençal cart,
on foot, on bicycles, and in automobiles.

[Illustration: Peasants of the Crau]

Six Spanish-crossed bulls, were brought up in a great closed van and
loosed in an improvised bull-ring, of which the church wall formed
one side, and the roof a sort of a tribune. What the curé thought of
all this is not clear, but as the alms-coffers of the church were
already full to the lids, and the parish depends largely upon the
contributions of visitors to replenish its funds, any seeming
sacrilege was winked at.

For three days we had "made the fête" and saw it all, and did most of
the things that the others did, except that we always slept at St.
Gilles, far away by the long flat road which winds in and out among
the marshes, flamingo nests, and rice-fields of the Camargue.

The "bull-fight," so called, was nothing so very bloodthirsty or
terrifying; merely the worrying by the "amateurs" of a short-legged,
little black bull, about the size of a well-formed Newfoundland dog,
or perhaps a little larger--appearances are often deceptive when one
receives a disappointment.

Truly, as Mistral says, Provence is a land of joy and, laughter, and
fêtes followed close on one another, it seemed.

We had seen the announcements in the local journals of a "_Mis à
Mort_" at Nîmes, and a "_Corrida de Meurte_"--borrowing the phrase
from the Spanish--at Arles, each to take place in the great Roman
arenas, which had not seen bloodshed for centuries; not since the
days when the Romans matched men against each other in gladiatorial
combat, and turned tigers loose upon captive slaves.

The "to-the-death" affairs of Arles and Nîmes appealed to us only
that we might contrast the modern throngs that crowd the benches with
those which history tells us viewed the combats of old. Doubtless
there is little resemblance, but all the same there is a certain gory
tradition hanging about the old walls and arches of those great
arenas which is utterly lacking in the cricket-field, tawdry plazas
of some of the Spanish towns. The grim arcades of these great Roman
arenas are still full of suggestion.

We did not see either the "_Mis à Mort_" at Arles, or the "_Corrida
de Meurte_" at Nîmes; the automobile got stalled for a day in the
midst of the stony Crau, with a rear tire which blew itself into
pieces, and necessitated a journey by train into Arles in order to
get another to replace it. Owing to the slowness of this apology for
a railway train, and the awkwardness of the timetable, the great
"_Mis à Mort_" at Arles was long over ere we had set out over the
moonlit Crau for Martigues on the shores of the Etang de Berre.

[Illustration: Les Saintes]

We knew Martigues of old, its _bouillabaisse_, the _Père Chabas_ and
all the cronies of the Café du Commerce where you kept your own
special bottle, of whatever _apéritif_ poison you fancied, in order
that you might be sure of getting it unadulterated.

"_La Venise de Provence,_" Martigues, is known by artists far and
wide. Chabas and his rather grimy little hotel, which he calls the
Grand Hotel something or other, has catered for countless hundreds of
artist folk who have made the name and fame of Martigues as an
artist's sketching-ground. After a three weeks' pretty steady
automobile run the artist of the party craved peace and rest and an
opportunity of putting Martigues's glorious sunsets on canvas, and so
we camped out with Chabas, and ate _bouillabaisse_ and the _beurre de
Provence_ and _langouste_ and Chabas's famous straw potatoes and rum
omelette for ten days, and were sorry when it was all over.

Chapter IV
By Rhône And Saône

[Illustration: Rhone & Saone]

It is the dream of the Marseillais that some day the turgid Rhône may
be made to empty itself at the foot of the famous Cannebière, and so
add to the already great prosperity of the most cosmopolitan and
picturesque of Mediterranean ports.

The idea has been thought of since Roman times, and Napoleon himself
nearly undertook the work. In later days radical and vehement
candidates for senatorships and deputyships have promised their
Marseilles and Bouches-du-Rhône constituencies much more, with regard
to the same thing, than the hand of man is ever likely to be able to

The Rhône still pushes its way through the Crau and the Camargue and
comes to the sea many kilometres west of the Planier light and
Château d'If, which guard the entrance to Marseilles's Old Port.

We had backed and filled many times between Martigues and Marseilles
during the interval which we so enjoyably spent _chez Chabas_, and we
had come to know this unknown little corner of old Provence
intimately, and to love it.

Marseilles was our great dissipation, its hotels, its cafés and
restaurants, its cosmopolitan life and movement, its gaiety and the
picturesqueness of its old streets and wharves. Marseilles is a
neglected tourist point; it should be better known; but it is no
place for automobilists, unless they are prepared for ten kilometres,
in any direction, of the most villainous suburban roadway in France.
The roadways themselves are good enough; it is the abnormal and the
peculiar nature of the traffic that makes them so disagreeable; great
hooting tramways, _charettes_ loaded with all the products of the
earth and the hands of man, and drawn by long tandem lines, three,
four, five, and even six horses to a single cart. Added to this, the
exits and entrances are all up and down hill, and, accordingly, the
roadways of suburban Marseilles are a terror to stranger
automobilists and an eternal regret to those who live near-by.

We went up the Rhône in a howling mistral, against it, mark you, for
it pleases the Ruler of the universe to have that cyclonic breeze of
the Rhône valley, one of the three plagues of Provence, blow always
from the north.

We left Martigues in an extraordinary and unusual fog, reminiscent of
London, except that it was not black and sooty. It was dense,
however; dense as if it were enshrouding the Grand Banks, and of the
same impenetrable, milky consistency. To be sure the morning sun had
not had an opportunity as yet to burn it off--automobilists on tour
are early birds, and the autumn sun rises late.

Up around the eastern shore of the Etang de Berre we went, and,
crossing the Tête Noire, passed Salon just as a pale yellow light
struggled through the rifts just topping the Maritime Alps off to the
eastward. We could not see the mountains, but we knew they were
there, for we still had lingering memories of a long pull we once
made off in that direction, with an old crock of an automobile of
primitive make in the early days of the sport, or the art, whichever
one chooses to call it, though it unquestionably was an art then to
keep an automobile going at all.

By the time Arles was reached the sun was burning with a midsummer
glare, as it does here for three hundred or more days in the year.

At Arles one is in the very cauldron of the atmosphere of things
Provençal, art, letters, history, and romance, all of which are kept
alive by the _Félibres_ and their fellows.

Mistral, the poet, is the master-singer of them all, and whether he
chants of his "Own glad Kingdom of Provence," at Maillane among the
olive-trees, far inland, or of:

  "The peace which descends upon the troubled ocean
  And he his wrath forgets,
  Flock from Martigues the boats with wing-like motion,
  And fishes fill their nets,"

it is all the same; the subtle, penetrating atmosphere and sentiment
of Provence is over all.

Arles is the head centre. It is a city of monumental and celebrated
art, and one may spend a day, a week, or a month, wandering in and
out and about its old Roman arena (still so well preserved that it
presents its occasional bull-fight for the delectation of the
bloodthirsty), its antique theatre, its museums, its cathedral and
its cloister, or among the tombs of the Aliscamps.

We did all these things, indeed we had done them before, but they
were ever marvellous just the same, and in the museum we were always
running on Mistral himself, who, in his waning years, finds his
greatest delight in arranging and rearranging the exhibits of his
newly founded Musée Arletan.

The hotels of Arles are a disappointment. The Hôtel du Nord, with a
portico of the old Forum built into its walls, and the Hôtel du
Forum, on the Place du Forum, are well enough in their way,--they are
certainly well conducted,--but they lack "atmosphere," and instead of
the _cuisine du pays_, you get ham and eggs and _bifteck_ served to
you. This is wrong and bad business, if the otherwise capable
proprietors only knew it.

One does better in the environs. At St. Rémy, at the Grand Hôtel de
Provence, you will get quite another sort of fare: _hors d'oeuvres_
of a peculiarly pungent variety, not forgetting the dark purple,
over-ripe olives, a _ragoût en casserole_, a _filet d'agneau_ with a
_sauce Provençale_, and a _poulet_ and a salad which will make one
dream of the all but lost art of Brillat-Savarin. They are good
cooks, the _chefs_ of Provence, of the small cities and large towns
like St. Rémy, Cavaillon, Salon, and Carpentras, but everybody will
not like their liberal douches of oil any more than they will the
penetrating garlic flavour in everything.

We took a turn backward on our route from Arles and went to Les Baux,
the now dismal ruin of a once proud feudal city whose seigneurs held
sway over some sixty cities of Provence.

To-day it is a Pompeii, except it is a hill town worthy to rank with
those picturesque peaks of Italy and Dalmatia. Its château walls have
crumbled, but its subterranean galleries, cut three stories down into
the rock itself, are much as they always were. Everywhere are grim,
doleful evidences of a glory that is past and a population that is
dead or moved away. The sixteen thousand souls of mediæval times have
shrunk to something like two hundred to-day--most of them shepherds,
apparently, and the others picture post-card sellers.

It is a very satisfactory little mountain climb from the surrounding
plain up to the little plateau just below the peak at Les Baux,
though the entire distance from Arles is scarcely more than fifteen
kilometres, and the actual climb hardly more than four. The
razor-back mountain chain, upon one peak of which Les Baux sits, is
known as the Alpilles.

All of the immediate neighbourhood (scarce a dozen kilometres from
where the beaten track passes through Arles) is a veritable museum of
relics of the glory of the heroic age. Caius Marius entrenched
himself within these walls of rock and two thousand years ago planted
the foundations of the Mausoleum and Arc de Triomphe which are the
pride of the inhabitant of St. Rémy and the marvel of what few
strangers ever come. They are veritable antiques--"Les Antiquités,"
as the people of St. Rémy familiarly call them, and rise to-day as
monuments of the past, gilded by the Southern sun and framed with all
the brilliancy of a Provençal landscape.

We slept at St. Rémy, and made the next morning for Tarascon, with
memories of Dumas and Daudet and Tartarin and the Tarasque pushing us

Tarascon has a real appeal for the stranger; at every step he will
picture the _locale_ of Daudet's whimsical tale, and will well
understand how it was that the prisoners' view from the narrow-barred
window of the Château at Tarascon was so limited.

There is a fine group of Renaissance architectural monuments at
Tarascon, and a street of arcaded house-fronts which will make the
artist of the party want to settle down to work.

Across the river is Beaucaire, famous for its great fair of ages
past, the greatest trading fair of mediæval times, when merchants and
their goods came from Persia, India, and Turkey, and all corners of
the earth. The Château of Beaucaire is a fine ruin, but no more; it
is not worth the climbing of the height to examine it.

A little farther on is Bellegarde, where Dumas placed Caderousse's
little inn, the unworthy Caderousse and his still more unworthy wife,
who finished the career of Edmond Dantès while he was masquerading as
the Abbé. There is no inn here to-day which can be identified as that
of the romance, but Dumas's description of its sun-burnt
surroundings, the canal, the scanty herbage, and the white, parched
roadway, is much the same as what one sees today, and there is a tiny
_auberge_ beside the canal, which might satisfy the imaginative.

Avignon, the city of the seven French popes, who reigned seventy
years, was the next stopping-place on our itinerary.

We put up at the Hôtel Crillon and fared much as one fares in any
provincial large town. We were served with imitation Parisian
repasts, and were asked if we would like to read the London _Times_.
Why the London _Times_ no one knew: why not the New Orleans
_Picayune_ and be done with it?

We did not want to do anything of the sort, we merely wanted to "do"
the town, to see the tomb of Pope Jean XXII. in the cathedral, to
walk, if possible, upon the part left standing of St. Benezet's old
Pont d'Avignon, a memory which was burned into our minds since our
schooldays, when we played and sang the French version of "London
Bridge is falling down"--"_Sur le pont d'Avignon._"

The greatest monument of all is the magnificent Palais des Papes, its
crenelated walls and battlements vying with the city walls and
ramparts as a splendid example of mediæval architecture. We saw all
these things and the museum with its excellent collections, and the
library of thirty thousand volumes and four thousand manuscripts.

One thing we nearly missed was Villeneuve-les-Avignon, a ruined
wall-circled town on the opposite bank of the Rhône. Its machicolated
crests glistened in the brilliant Southern sunlight like an exotic of
the Saharan country. It is quite the most foreign and African-looking
jumble of architectural forms to be seen in France. It took us three
hours to cross the river and stroll about its debris-encumbered
streets and get back again and start on our way northward, but it was
worth the time and trouble.

From St. Rémy to Orange, perhaps sixty kilometres, was not a long
daily run by any means, and we would not have stopped at Orange for
the night except that it was imperative that we should see the fine
antique theatre, the most magnificent, the largest, and the best
preserved of all existing Roman theatres.

We saw it, and seeing it wondered, though, when one tries to project
the mind back into the past and picture the scenes which once went on
upon its boards, the task were seemingly impossible.

[Illustration: Avignon and Tournon]

The Roman Arc de Triomphe, too, at Orange, which spans the roadway to
the North--the same great natural road which all its length froth
Paris to Antibes is known as the Route d'Italie--is a monument more
splendid, as to its preservation, than anything of the kind outside
Italy itself.

There is ample and excellent accommodation for the automobilist at
Orange, at the Hôtel des Princes, which sounds good and is good. They
have even a writing-room in the hotel, a silly, stuffy little room
which no one with any sense ever enters. One simply follows a
well-fed _commis-voyageur_ to the nearest popular café and writes his
letters there, as a well-habituated traveller should do.

Once on the road again we passed Montelimar--"_le pays du nougât
et de M. l'ex-President Loubet,_" we were told by the _octroi_
official who held us up at the barrier of this self-sufficient,
dead-and-alive, pompous little town. We didn't know M. Loubet and we
didn't like _nougât_, so we did not stop, but pushed on for Tournon.
There, at the little Hôtel de la Poste, beneath the donjon tower of
the old _château_, we ate the most marvellously concocted _déjeuner_
we had struck for a long time. There's no use describing it; it won't
be the same the next time; though no doubt it will be as excellent.
It cost but two francs fifty centimes, including _vin du St. Peray_,
the rich red wine of the Rhône, a rival to the wines of Burgundy.

We might have done a good deal worse had we stopped at progressive,
up-to-date Valence, where automobile tourists usually do stop, but we
took the offering of the small town instead of the large one, and
found it, as usual, very good.

We had passed La Voute-sur-Rhône, that classic height which has been
pictured many times in old books of travel. It, and Tournon, and
Valence, and Viviers, and Pont St. Esprit were once riverside
stations for the _coches d'eau_ which did a sort of omnibus service
with passengers on the Rhône, between Lyons and Avignon. There is a
steamboat service to-day which also carries passengers, but it is not
to be recommended if one has the means of getting about by road.

This town, too, and Valence, were directly on the route of the
_malle-poste_ from Lyons to Marseilles. The different _postes_ or
relays were marked on the maps of the day by little twisted
hunting-horns. For the most part an old-time route map of the great
trunk lines of the _malle-poste_ and the _messageries_ would, serve
the automobilist of to-day equally as well as a modern road map.

The _malle-poste_, and the hiring out of post-horses, in France was
an institution more highly developed than elsewhere.

Post-horses were only delivered one in France upon the presentation
of a passport and payment, in advance, according to the following
tariff. The price was fixed by law, being the same throughout all

1   Poste (about 15 miles)        1 franc 50 centimes
1/2   "                                   75    "
1/4   "                                   38    "

The postilion usually got one franc fifty per _poste_, but could only
demand seventy-five centimes.

Certain carriages (chaises and cabriolets) would carry only
portmanteaux (_vaches_), but _voitures fermées_, _calèches_, and the
like might carry also a trunk (_malle_).

As one goes north, sunburnt Provence, its olive groves and its oil
and garlic-seasoned viands are left behind, until little by little
one draws upon the Burgundian opulence of the Côte d'Or, a land where
the native's manner of eating and drinking makes a full life and a
merry one.

We were not there yet; we had many kilometres yet to go, always by
the banks of the Rhône until Lyons was reached.

Near Givors, at eight o'clock at night, within twenty kilometres of
Lyons, the motor gave a weak asthmatic gasp, and stopped short. Like
the foolish virgins, we had no oil in our lamps, and dusk had already
fallen, and no amount of coaxing after the habitual manner would
induce the thing to move a yard.

There was nothing for it but to get out the tow-ropes and wait--for a
_remorqueur_, as the French call any four-footed beast strong enough
to tow an automobile at the end of a line. (They also call a tug-boat
the same thing, but as an automobile is not an amphibious animal it
was a land _remorqueur_ that we awaited.)

We did not get to Lyons that night. There are always uncalled for
"possibilities" rising up in automobiling that will upset the best
thought-out schedule. This was one of them.

What had happened to the machine no one yet really knows, but we had
to be ignominiously towed, to the great amusement of the natives, at
the end of a long rope by the power of a diminutive donkey which
finally came along. The beast did not look as though he could draw a
perambulator, but he buckled down to it with a will, and brought us
safely through the half-kilometre or so of crooked streets which led
to the centre of Givors.

Finally, we, or the car rather, was pushed into an old wash-house,
once a part of an ancient château, the _remise_ of the hotel itself,
a dependance of the château of other days, having been preempted by
an itinerant magic-lantern exhibittion ("La Cinémetographe
Americaine," it was called on the bills), which proposed to show the
good people of Givors--"for one night only, and at ten sous
each"--moving pictures of Coney Island, Buffalo Bill's Wild West,
Niagara Falls, New York's "Flat Iron" building, and other exotics
from the New World.

We dined and slept well at Givors in spite of our accident, and were
"up bright and early," as Pepys might have said (Londoners to-day do
not get up bright and early, however!), to find out, if possible,
what was the matter with the digestive apparatus of the automobile.
Nothing was the matter! The human, obstinate thing started off at the
first trial, and probably would have done the same thing last night
had we given the starting-crank one more turn. Such is automobiling!

We made our entrance into Lyons _en pleine vitesse_, stopping not
until we got to the centre of the city. The _octroi_ regulations had
just been revised, and the gates were open to passing traffic without
the obligation of having to declare one's possessions. Progressive

Lyons is truly progressive. It is beautifully laid out and kept. It
is nothing like as filthy as a large city usually is, on the
outskirts, and its island faubourg, between the Saône and the Rhône,
is the ideal of a well-organized and planned centre of affairs.

Lyons has, moreover, two up-to-date hotels, the very latest things,
one might say, in the hotel line: the Terminus Hotel, which well
serves travelers by rail, and the Hôtel de l'Univers et de
l'Automobilisme--rather a clumsy name, but that of a good,
well-meaning hotel. Its progressiveness consists in having abolished
the _pourboire_. You have ten per cent. added on to your bill,
however. This looks large when it comes to figures,--paying something
for nothing,--but at least one knows where he stands, and he fears no
black looks from chambermaid or boots. The thing is announced, by a
little placard placed in every room, as an "innovation." It remains
to be seen if it will prove successful.

From Lyons to Dijon, 197 kilometres between breakfast and lunch, was
not bad. Now, at last, we were in that opulent land of good living
and good drinking, where the food and wine are alike both rich.

He's a contented, fat, sleek-looking type, the native son of the Côte
d'Or, and he looks with contempt on the cider-nourished Norman and
Breton, and does not for a moment think that cognac is to be compared
with the _eau de vie de marc_ of his own vineyards.

The Côte d'Or is the richest wine-growing region of all the world.
Every direction-post and sign-board is like a review of the names on
a wine card,--Beaune, Chambertin, St. Georges, Clos Vougeot,--and of
these the Clos Vougeot wines are the most renowned.

A line drawn across France, just north of the confines of ancient
Burgundy, divides the region of the _vins ordinaires_--the light
wines of the _tables d'hote_--and that of those vintages which have
no price. This, at least, is the way the native puts it, and to some
extent the simile is correct enough.

The Côte begins and the plain ends; the hillsides rise and the
river-bottoms dwindle away in the distance: such is the feeling that
one experiences as he climbs these vine-clad slopes from either the
Rhône, the Loire, or the Seine valleys, and here it is that the
imaginary line is drawn between the _vins ordinaires_ and the _vins
sans prix_.

Since there is no possibility of increasing the quantity of these
rich, red Burgundian wines, the highly cultured area being of but
small extent, and because their quality depends upon the peculiar
nature of the soil of this restricted tract, there is no question but
that the monopoly of Burgundian wines will remain for ever with the
gold coast of France, whatever Australian and Californian patriots
may claim for their own imitations.

The phylloxera here, as elsewhere in France, caused a setback to the
commerce in wines, as serious in money figures as the losses
sustained during the Franco-Prussian War, but the time has now passed
and the famous Côte d'Or has once more attained its time-honoured
opulence and prosperity.

  "_Le vin de Bourgogne
  Met la bonne humeur
  Au coeur._"

Still northward, across the plateau of Langres, we set a roundabout
course for Paris. There is one great pleasure about automobiling that
is considerably curtailed if one sets out to follow precisely a
preconceived itinerary, and for that reason we were, in a measure,
going where fancy willed.

We might have turned westward, via Moulins, Nevers, and Montargis,
from Lyons, and followed the old coaching road into Paris, entering
by the same gateway through which we set out, but we had heard of the
charms of the valley of the Marne, and we wanted to see them for

Our first acquaintance with it was at Bar le Duc, which is not on the
Marne at all, but on a little confluent some twenty or thirty miles
from its junction.

For a day we had been riding over corkscrew roads with little peace
and comfort for the driver, and considerable hard work for the motor.
The hills were numerous, but the surface was good and the scenery
delightful, so, since most of us require variety as a component of
our daily lives, we were getting what we wanted and no one

It was easy going by Château Thierry and the episcopal city of Meaux,
retracing almost the itinerary of the fleeing Louis XVI., and, as we
entered Paris by the Porte de Vincennes,--always by villainous
roadways, this getting in and out of Paris,--we red-inked another
twelve hundred kilometre stretch of roadway on our record map of

Chapter V
By Seine And Oise--A Cruise In A Canot-Automobile

[Illustration: By Seine and Oise]

If automobiling on land in France is a pleasure, a voyage up a
picturesque and historic French river in a _canot-automobile_ is a
dream, so at least we thought, four of us--and a boy to clean the
engine, run errands, and to climb overboard and push us off when we
got stuck in the mud.

Our "home port" was Les Andelys on the Seine, and we meet in the
courtyard of the Hôtel Bellevue at five o'clock one misty, gray
September morning for a fortnight's voyage up the Oise, which joins
the Seine midway between Les Andelys and Paris.

There is nothing mysterious about an automobile boat any more than
there is about the land automobile. It has its moods and vagaries,
its good points _and some bad ones_. It is not as speedy as an
automobile on shore, but it is more comfortable, a great deal more
fun to steer, and less dangerous, and there is an utter absence of
those chief causes of trouble to the automobile, punctures and what
not happening to your tires. Then again there is, generally speaking,
no crowd of traffic to run you into danger, and there is an absence
of dust, to make up for which, when you are lying by waiting to go
through a lock, you have mosquitoes of a fierce bloodthirsty kind
which even the smoke from the vile tobacco of French cigarettes will
not keep at a distance.

Our facile little automobile boat was called the "_Cà et Là._"
Rightly enough named it was, too. The French give singularly pert and
appropriate names to their boats. "_Va t'on,_" "_Quand même,_" and
"_Cà et Là_" certainly tell the stories of their missions in their
very names.

The boat itself, and its motor, too, was purely a French production,
and, though of modest force and dimensions, would do its dozen miles
an hour all day long.

We got away from the landing-stage of the Touring Club de France at
Les Andelys in good time, our provisions, our gasoline and oil, our
river charts, our wraps and ourselves all stowed comfortably away in
the eight metres of length of our little boat. Our siren gave a hoot
which startled the rooks circling about the donjon walls of Château
Gaillard over our heads, and we passed under the brick arches of the
bridge for a twelve-mile run to the first lock at Courcelles.

The process of going through a river lock in France is not far
different from the same process elsewhere, except that the
all-powerful Touring Club de France has secured precedence for all
pleasure boats over any other waiting craft. It really costs nothing,
but you give a franc to the _éclusier_, and the way is thereby made
the easier for the next arrival. The objection to river-locks is
their frequency in some parts. There is one stretch of thirty or
forty kilometres on the Marne with thirty-three locks. That costs
something, truly.

We knew the Seine valley intimately, by road along both its banks, at
any rate, and we were hopeful of reaching Triel that night, near the
junction of the Seine and Oise.

We passed our first lock at Courcelles, just before seven o'clock,
and had a good stretch of straight water ahead of us before Vernon
was reached.

You cannot miss your way, of course, when travelling by river, but
you can be at a considerable loss to know how far you have come since
your last stopping-place, or rather you would be if the French
government had not placed little white kilometre stones all along the
banks of the "_navigable_" and "_flottable_" rivers, as they have
along the great national roads on land. Blessed be the paternal
French government; the traveller in _la belle France_ has much for
which to be grateful to it: its excellent roadways, its sign-boards,
and its kilometre stones most of all. The motor-boat is highly
developed in France from the simple fact that you can tour on it. You
can go all over France by a magnificent system of inland waterways;
from the Seine to the Marne; from the Oise to the Sambre--and so to
Antwerp and Ghent; from the Loire to the Rhône; and even from the
Marne to the Rhine; and from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic.
France is the touring-ground par excellence for the automobile boat.

Here's a new project of travel for those who want to do what others
have not done to any great extent. Africa and the Antartic continent
have been explored, and the North Pole bids fair to be discovered by
means of a flying-machine ere long, so, with no new worlds to
conquer, one might do worse in the way of pleasurable travel than to
explore the waterways of France.

Maistre wrote his "Voyage Autour de Ma Chambre" and Karr his "Voyage
Autour de Mon Jardin," hence any one who really wants to do something
similar might well make the tour of the Ile de France by water. It
can be done, and would be a revelation of novelty, if one would do it
and write it down.

For the moment we were bound up the Oise; we had passed Vernon and
Giverny, sitting snug on the hillside by the mouth of the Ept, where
we knew there were countless Americans, artists _and others_, sitting
in Gaston's garden or playing tennis on a sunburnt field beside the
road. Foolish business that, with a river like the Seine so near at
hand, and because it was the custom at Giverny, a custom grown to be
a habit, which is worse, we liked not the place, in spite of its
other undeniable charms.

We put in for lunch at La Roche-Guyon, a trim little town lying close
beneath the Renaissance château of the La Rochefoucauld's. There are
two waterside hotels at La Roche-Guyon, beside the ugly wire-rope
bridge, but we knew them of old, and knew they were likely to be full
of an unspeakable class of Parisian merrymakers. There may be others
who patronize these delightfully situated riverside inns, but the
former predominate in the season. Out of season it may be quite

We hunted out a little café in the town, whose _patron_ we knew, and
prevailed upon his good wife to give us our lunch _en famille_, which
she did and did well.

It was _très bourgeois_, but that was what we wanted, and, after a
couple of hours eating and lolling about and playing with the cats
and talking to the parrot,--a Martinique parrot who knew some
English,--we took to the river again, and, after passing the locks at
Bonnières, arrived at Mantes at five o'clock.

The nights draw in quickly, even in the early days of September, and
we were bound to push on, if we were to reach Triel that night. We
could have reached it, but were delayed at a lock, while it emptied
itself and half a score of downriver barges, and, spying a gem of a
riverside restaurant at Meulan, overhanging the very water itself,
and hung with great golden orange globes of light (so-called Japanese
lanterns, and nothing more), we were sentimentally enough inclined to
want to dine with such Claude Melnotte accessories. This we did, and
hunted up lodgings in the town for the night, vowing to get an extra
early start in the morning to make up for lost time.

The Seine at Meulan takes on a certain luxuryous aspect so far as
river-boating goes. There is even a "Cercle à la Voile," with yachts
which, in the narrow confines of the river, look like the real thing,
but which after all are very diminutive members of the family.

From this point the course of the Seine is a complicated winding
among _iles_ and _ilots_, which gives it that elongation which makes
necessary hours of journeying by boat as against a quarter of the
time by the road--as the crow flies--to the lower fortifications of

On either side, however, are _chemins vicinales_, which continually
produce unthought-of vistas which automobilists who are making a
record from Trouville to Paris know nothing of.

Triel possesses an imposing thirteenth-century Gothic church and an
abominably ugly suspension-bridge of wire rope. It is a good place to
buy a boat or a cargo of gypsum, which we know as "plaster of Paris;"
otherwise the town is not remarkable, though charmingly situated.

The Oise is the first really great commercial tributary of the Seine.
There is a mighty flow of commerce which ascends and descends the
bosom of the Oise, extending even to the Low Countries and the German
Ocean, through the Sambre to Antwerp and the Scheldt.

The Oise is classed as _flottable_ from Beautor to Chauny, a distance
of twenty kilometres, and _navigable_ from Chauny to the Seine.
Mostly it runs through the great plain of Picardie and forms the
natural northern boundary to the ancient Ile de France. The
_navigable_ portion forms two sections. One, of fifty-five
kilometres, extends between Chauny and Janville, and has been
generally abandoned by water-craft because of the opening of the
Canal Lateral à la Oise; the other section, of one hundred and four
kilometres, is canalized in that it has been straightened here and
there at sharp corners, dredged and endowed with seven locks.

The barge traffic of the Oise is mostly towed in convoys of six, but
there is a _chemin de halage_, a tow-path, throughout the river's
length. In general, the boats are of moderate size, the _péniches_
being perhaps a hundred and twenty feet in length, the _bateaux
picards_ somewhat longer, and the _chalands_ approximating one
hundred and sixty to one hundred and seventy-five feet.

While, as stated above, the traction is generally by steam towboat,
the more picturesque, if slower and more humble, tow-horse is more
largely in evidence here than elsewhere in France.

The environs of Conflans-fin-d'Oise are of a marvellous charm, but
the immediate surroundings, great garages of coal boats and barges,
coal-yards where towboats are filling up, and all the grime of an
enormous water-borne traffic which here divides, part to go Parisward
and part down-river, make it unlovely enough.

Three kilometres up-river is a little riverside inn called the
"Goujon de l'Oise." It is a pleasant place to lunch, but otherwise
"fishy," as might be supposed.

Back toward Meulan and on the heights above Triel are nestled a
half-dozen picturesque little red-roofed villages which are not known
at all to travellers from Paris by road or rail. It is curious how
many sylvan spots one can find almost within plain sight of Paris.
There are wheat-fields within sight of Montmartre and haystacks
almost under the shadow of Mont Valerian.

At Evequemont, just back of Conflans, some eight hundred souls eke
out an existence on their small farms and live the lives of their
grandfathers before them, with never so much as a thought as to what
may be happening at the capital twenty kilometres away.

Boisemont is another tiny village, with an eighteenth-century château
which would form an idyllic retreat from the cares of city ways.
Courdimanche, a few miles farther on, is unknown and unspoiled. It
crowns a hilltop, with its diminutive and unusual red-roofed church
overtopping all and visible from the river, or from the rolling
country round about, for many miles. Here the Oise makes a long
parallelogram-like turn from Maurecourt around to Eragny, perhaps two
miles in a bee-line, but seemingly twenty by the river's course.

The land automobile has a distinct advantage here in speed over the
_canot_, but one's point of view is not so lovely. It is only twelve
kilometres to Pontoise, where one passes the _barrage_ just below the
town and saunters on shore for a spell, just to get acquainted with
the place that Parisians know so well by name, and yet so little in

Pontoise is the metropolis of the Oise, though it, too, is a
veritable French country town, such as one would hardly expect to
find within twenty kilometres of Paris. The islands of the river are
dotted with trees and _petit maisons de campagne_, and the right bank
is bordered with great chalky cliffs, as is the Seine in Normandy.

The general appearance of Pontoise is most pleasing. At first glance
it looks like a mediæval Gothic city, and again even Oriental. At any
rate, it is an exceedingly unworldly sort of a place, with here and
there remains of its bold ramparts and its zigzag and tortuous
streets, but with no very great grandeur anywhere to be remarked,
except in the Eglise St. Maclou.

The history of Pontoise is long and lurid, beginning with the times
of the Gauls when it was known as _Briva Isaroe_. It is a long time
since the ramparts protected the old Château of the Counts of
Vexin--literally the land dedicated to Vulcan _(pagus Vulcanis)_
--where many French kings often resided. Many religious
establishments flourished here, too, all more or less under royal
patronage, including the Abbeys of St. Mellon and St. Martin, and the
Couvent des Cordeliers, in whose splendid refectory the exiled
Parlement held its sessions in 1652, 1720, and 1753. Out of this
circumstance grew the proverb or popular saying, "_Avoir l'air de
revenir de Pontoise._" The domain of Pontoise belonged in turn to
many seigneurs, but up to the Revolution it was still practically
_une ville monastique_.

As one comes to the lower streets of the town, near the station, and
between it and the river, the resemblance to a little corner of the
Pays Bas is remarkable, and therein lies its picturesqueness, if not
grandeur. Artists would love the narrow Rue des Attanets, with its
curious flanking houses of wood and stone, and the Rue de Rouen,
which partakes of much the same characteristics. Along the river are
great flour-mills, with wash-houses and red-armed, blue-bloused women
eternally washing and rinsing. All this would furnish studies
innumerable to those who are able to fabricate mouldy walls and
tumble-down picturesqueness out of little tubes of colour and gray
canvas. Here, too, at Pontoise, in its little port, none too cleanly
because of the refuse and grime of ashes and coal soot, one sees the
first of the heavy _chalands_ loaded with iron ore from the Ardennes,
or coal from Belgium, making their way to the wharves of Paris via
the Canal St. Denis.

More distant, and more pleasing to many, is that variety of landscape
made famous, and even popular, by Dupré and Daubigny. So, on the
whole, Pontoise, and the country round about, should properly be
classed among the things to which few have ever given more than a
passing glance, but which have a vast reserve fund of attractions
hidden behind them, needing only to be sought out to be admired.

St. Ouen l'Aumône, a tiny little town of a couple of thousand souls,
opposite Pontoise, has two remarkable attractions which even a bird
of passage might well take the time to view. One is the very
celebrated Abbaye de Maubisson, indeed it might be called notorious,
if one believed the chronicles relating to the proceedings which took
place there under Angelique d'Estrees, sister of the none too saintly

It was founded in 1236 by Blanche of Castile, for the former
_religieuses_ of Citeaux, and was justly celebrated in the middle
ages for the luxuriousness of its appointments and the excellence of
its design.

The other feature of St. Ouen l'Aumône, which got its name, by the
way, from a former Archbishop of Rouen, is a remarkable example of
one of those great walled farmyards in which the north of France,
Normandy in particular, formerly abounded. It is all attached to what
was known as the Parc de Maubisson, which itself is closed by a high,
ancient wall with two turrets at the corners. This wall is supposed
to date from the fourteenth century, and within are the remains of a
vast storehouse or _grange_ of the same century. The only building at
all approaching this great storehouse is the Halle au Blé at Rouen,
which it greatly resembles as to size. It is now in the hands of a
grain merchant who must deal on a large scale, as he claims to have
one hundred thousand _gerbes_ (sheaves) in storage at one time. The
interior is divided into three naves by two files of monocylindrical
columns, though the eastern aisle has practically been demolished.

At Auvers, just above Pontoise, which is bound to Méry by an ugly
iron bridge across the Oise, is a fine church of the best of twelfth
and thirteenth century Gothic, with a series of Romanesque windows in
the apse. Here, too, the country immediately environing Auvers and
Méry is of the order made familiar by Daubigny and his school. French
farmyards, stubble-thatched cottages, and all the rusticity which is
so charming in nature draws continually group after group of artists
from Paris to this particular spot at all seasons of the year. The
homely side of country life has ever had a charm for city dwellers.
Auvers is somewhat doubtfully stated as being the birthplace of
François Villon--that prince of vagabonds. Usually Paris has been
given this distinction.

[Illustration: Vernon]

Mêry is an elevated little place of something less than fifteen
hundred souls. It has a church of the thirteenth, sixteenth, and
eighteenth centuries, and a château which was constructed at the end
of the fourteenth century by the Seigneur de Méry, Pierre d'Orgemont,
grand chancellor of France. The domain was created a _marquisat_ in
1665. The famous banker, Samuel Bernard, it seems, became the
occupant, of the château in the reign of Louis XIV., and there
received king and court.

On a certain occasion, as the season had advanced toward the chill of
winter, the opulent seigneur made great fires of acacia wood. The
king, who was present, said courteously to his host: "Know you well,
Samuel, it is not possible for me to do this in my palace;" from
which we may infer that it was a luxury which even kings appreciated.

There were no river obstructions to the free passage of our little
craft between Pontoise and L'Isle-Adam, above Auvers. We were going
by easy stages now, even the long tows of grain and coal-laden barges
were gaining on us, for we were straggling disgracefully and stopping
at almost every kilometre stone.

We tied up at Auvers, "Daubigny's Country," as we called it, and
stayed for the night at the Hostellerie du Nord, a not very splendid
establishment, but one with a character all its own. Auvers, and its
neighbour Méry, together form one of the most delightful settlements
in which to pass a summer, near to Paris, that could be possibly
imagined, but with this proviso, that on Sunday one could take a day
in town, for then _tout le monde_, the proprietor of the Hostellerie
du Nord tells you, comes out to breathe the artistic atmosphere of
Daubigny. How much they really care for Daubigny or his artistic
atmosphere is a question.

At such times the tiny garden and the dining-room of the Hostellerie
attempt to expand themselves to accommodate a hundred and fifty
guests, whereas their capacity is perhaps forty. Something very akin
to pandemonium takes place; it is amusing, no doubt, but it is not
comfortable. Nothing ever goes particularly awry here, however; M.
T--, the _patron_, is too good a manager for that, and a popular one,
too, to judge from his _Salon d'Exposition_, which is hung about with
a couple of hundred pictures presented by his admiring painter guests
from time to time. The viands are bountiful and splendidly garnished
and the _consommations au premier choix_. Then there are the
occupants of "_les petits ménages_" to swoop down on your table for
crumbs,--pigeons only,--and in cages a score or more of canary-birds,
and, as a sort of contrast, dogs and cats and fowls of all varieties
of breed.

It sounds rather uncomfortable, but we did not find it so at all,
and, speaking from experience, it is one of the most enticing of the
various "artists' resorts" known.

[Illustration: At a French Inn]

It is but a short six kilometres to L'Isle-Adam, and it was ten the
next morning before we embarked. It is a small town mostly given over
to suburban houses of Paris brokers and merchants. It is an
attractive enough town as a place of residence, but of works of
artistic worth it has practically none, if we except the not very
splendid fifteenth-century church.

The largest of the islands here, just above the lock, was formerly
occupied by the château of the Prince de Conti. It was destroyed at
the Revolution but its place has been taken by a modern villa whose
gardens are kept up with remarkable skill and care, albeit it is
nothing but a villa _coquette_ on a large scale. L'Isle-Adam received
its name from the Connetable Adam who first built a château here in

The Forêt de l'Isle-Adam is one of those noble woods in which the
north of France abounds. Like the Forêt de Ermenonville, Compiègne,
and Chantilly it is beautifully kept, with great roads running
straight and silent through avenues of oaks.

The Château de Cassan, but a short distance into the Forêt, has a
wonderful formal garden, laid out after the English manner and
ranking with the parks of the Trianon and Ermenonville.

After L'Isle-Adam we did not stop, except for the lock at Rougemont,
till the smoke-stacks and factory-belchings of Creil loomed up before
us thirty kilometres beyond.

Creil is commercial, very commercial, and is a railway junction like
Clapham Junction or South Chicago,--no, not quite; nowhere else, on
top of the green earth, are there quite such atrocious monuments to
man's lack of artistic taste. It is a pity Creil is so banal on close
acquaintance, for it is bejewelled with emerald hills and a tiny belt
of silvery water which, in the savage days of long ago, must have
given it preeminence among similar spots in the neighbourhood.

Just above is Pont St. Maxence, delightfully named and delightfully
placed, with a picture church of the best of Renaissance architecture
and an atmosphere which made one want to linger within the confines
of the town long after his allotted time. We stayed nearly half a
day; we ate lunch in a little restaurant in the shadow of the bridge;
we bought and sent off picture postcards, and we took snap-shots and
strolled about and gazed at the little gem of a place until all the
gamins in town were following in our wake.

Compiègne was next in our itinerary. We knew Compiègne, from the
shore, as one might say, having passed and repassed it many times,
and we knew all its charms and attractions, or thought we did, but we
were not prepared for the effect of the rays of the setting sun on
the quaintly serrated sky-line of the roof-tops of the city, as we
saw it from the river.

It was bloody red, and the willows along the river's bank were a dim
purply mélange of all the refuse of an artist's palette. Compiègne
has many sides, but its picturesque sunset side is the most
theatrical grouping of houses and landscape we had seen for many a
long day.

Here at Compiègne the vigour of the Oise ends. Above it is a weakly,
purling stream, the greater part of the traffic going by the Canal
Lateral, while below it broadens out into a workable, industrial sort
of a waterway which is doing its best to contribute its share to the
prosperity of France.

We learn here, as elsewhere, where it has been attempted, that the
hand of man cannot irretrievably make or reclaim the course of a
river. Deprived of its natural bed and windings, it will always form
new ones of its own making in conformity to the law of nature. The
attempt was made to straighten the course of the Oise, but in a very
short time the latent energies of the stream, more forceful than were
supposed, made fresh windings and turnings, the ultimate development
of which was found to very nearly approximate those which had
previously been done away with, and so the Canal Lateral, which
commences at Compiègne, was built.

Compiègne's attractions are many, its generally well-kept and
prosperous air, its most excellent hôtels (two of them, though we
bestowed our august patronage on the Hôtel de France), its château of
royal days of Louis XV., and its Hôtel de Ville.

Stevenson, in his "Inland Voyage," has said that what charmed him
most at Compiègne was the Hôtel de Ville. Truly this will be so with
any who have a soul above electric trams and the _art nouveau_; it is
the most dainty and lovable of Renaissance Hôtels de Ville anywhere
to be seen, with pignons, and gables, and niches with figures in them
jutting out all over it.

Then there is the novel and energetic little _jaquemart_, the little
bronze figures of which strike the hours and even the halves and
quarters. There is not a detail of this charming building, inside or
out, which will not be admired by all. It is far and away more
interesting in its appeal than the château itself.

Our next day's journey was to Noyon. We were travelling by boat, to
be sure, but a good part of the personnel of the hôtel, including the
hostler, and the bus-driver, whose business was at the station, came
down to see us off. Like a bird in a cage he gazed at us with longing
eyes, and once let fall the remark that he wished he had nothing else
to do but sit in the bow of a boat and "twiddle a few things" to make
it go faster. He overlooked entirely the things that might happen,
such as having to pull your boat up on shore and pull out the weeds
and rubbish which were stopping your intake pipe, or climb overboard
yourself and disentangle water-plants from your propeller, if indeed
it had not lost a blade and you were forced to be ignominiously towed
into the next large town.

It looks all very delightful travelling about in a dainty and facile
little _canot-automobile_, and for our part we were immensely pleased
with this, our first, experience of so long a voyage. Nothing had
happened to disturb the tranquillity of our journey, not a single
mishap had delayed us, and we had not a quarrel with a bargeman or an
_éclusier_, we had been told we should have. We were in luck, and
though we only averaged from fifty to sixty kilometres a day, we were
all day doing it, and it seemed two hundred.

We lunched at Ribecourt and struck the most ponderously named hotel
we had seen in all our travels, and it was good in spite of its
weight. "Le Courrier des Pays et des Trois Jambons," or something
very like it, was its name, and its _patronne_ was glad to see us,
and killed a fowl especially on our account, culled some fresh
lettuce in the garden, and made a dream of a rum omelette, which she
said was the national dish of America. It isn't, as most of us know,
but it was a mighty good omelette, nevertheless, and the rum was
sufficiently fiery to give it a zest.

We spent that night at Noyon of blessed memory. Noyon is not down in
the itineraries of many guide-book tourists, which is a pity for
them. It is altogether the most unspoiled old-world town between the
Ile de France and the Channel ports of Boulogne and Calais through
which so many Anglo-Saxon travellers enter. It is off the beaten
track, though, and that accounts for it. Blessed be the tourist
agencies which know nothing beyond their regular routes, and thus
leave some forgotten and neglected tourist-points yet to be

The majesty of Noyon's cathedral of Notre Dame is unequalled in all
the world. The grim towers rise boldly without ornament or decoration
of any kind, and are cowled by a peculiarly strange roofing. The
triple porch is denuded of its decorative statues, and there is a
rank Renaissance excrescence in the rear which is unseemly, but for
all that, as a mediæval religious monument of rank, it appeals to all
quite as forcibly as the brilliantly florid cathedral at Beauvais, or
the richly proud Amiens, its nearest neighbours of episcopal rank.

We did not sit in front of the Hôtel du Nord at Noyon, as did
Stevenson, and hear the "sweet groaning of the organ" from the
cathedral doorway, but we experienced all the emotions of which he
wrote in his "Inland Voyage," and we were glad we came.

The Hôtel de France and the Hôtel du Nord share the custom of the
ever-shifting traffic of _voyageurs_ at Noyon. The latter is the
"automobile" hotel, and accordingly possesses many little accessories
which the other establishment lacks. Otherwise they are of about the
same value, and in either you will, unless you are a very heavy
sleeper, think that the cathedral-bells were made to wake the dead,
so reverberant are their tones and so frequent their ringing.

It was Stevenson's wish that, if he ever embraced Catholicism, he
should be made Bishop of Noyon. Whether it was the simple magnitude
of its quaint, straight-lined cathedral, or the generally charming
and _riant_ aspect of the town, one does not know, but the sentiment
was worthy of both the man and the place.

"Les affaires sont les affaires," as the French say, and business
called us to Paris; so, after a happy ten days on the Seine and Oise,
we cut our voyage short with the avowed intention of some day
continuing it.

Chapter VI
The Road To The North

[Illustration: The Road North]

We left Paris by the ghastly route leading out through the plain of
Gennevilliers, where Paris empties her sewage and grows asparagus,
passing St. Denis and its royal catacombs of the ancient abbey, and
so on to Pontoise, all over as vile a stretch of road as one will
find in the north of France, always excepting the suburbs of St.

Pontoise is all very well in its way, and is by no means a dull,
uninteresting town, but we had no thoughts for it at the moment;
indeed, we had no thoughts of anything but to put the horrible
suburban Paris _pavé_ as far behind us as we could before we settled
down to enjoyment.

At Pontoise we suddenly discovered that we were on the wrong road. So
much for not knowing our way out of town--twenty-five kilometres of
axle-breaking cobblestones!

We had some consolation in knowing that it was equally as bad by any
northern road out of Paris, so we only had the trouble of making a
twenty-kilometre detour through the valley of the Oise, by our old
haunts of Auvers and L'Isle-Adam to Chantilly and Senlis.

We got our clue to the itinerary of the road to the north from a view
of an old poster issued by the "_Messageries Royales_" just previous
to the Revolution (a copy of which is given elsewhere in this book).

Many were the times we, and all well-habituated travellers in France,
had swung from Calais to Paris by train, with little thought indeed
as to what lay between. True, we had, more than once, "stopped off"
at Amiens and Abbeville to see their magnificent churches, and we had
spent a long summer at Etaples and Montreuil-sur-Mer, two "artists'
haunts" but little known to the general traveller; but we never
really knew the lay of the land north of Paris, except as we had got
it from the reading of Dumas, Stevenson's "Inland Voyage," and the
sentimental journeyings of the always delightful Sterne.

We made Chantilly our stop for lunch, _en route_ to Senlis. We ought
not to have done this, for what with the loafing horse-jockeys in the
cafés, and the trainers and "cheap sports" hanging about the hotels,
Chantilly does not impress one as the historical shrine that it
really is.

Chantilly is sporty, _très sportive_, as the French call it, as is
inevitable of France's most popular race-track, and there is an odour
of America, Ireland, and England over all. How many jockeys of these
nationalities one really finds at Chantilly the writer does not know,
but, judging from the alacrity with which the hotels serve you ham
and eggs and the café waiters respond to a demand for whiskey
(Scotch, Irish, or American), it may be assumed that the alien
population is very large.

We had our lunch at the Hôtel du Grand Condé, which is marked with
three stars in the automobile route-books. This means that it is
expensive,--and so we found it. It was a good enough hotel of its
kind, but there was nothing of local colour about it. It might have
been at Paris, Biarritz, or Monte Carlo.

The great attractions of Chantilly are the château and park and the
collections of the Duc d'Aumale, famed alike in the annals of history
and art. We were properly appreciative, and only barely escaped being
carried off by our guide to see the stables--as if we had not
suffered enough from the horse craze ever since we had struck the

The most we would do was to admire the park and the ramifications of
its paths and alleys which dwindled imperceptibly into the great
Forêt de Chantilly itself. The forest is one of those vast tracts of
wildwood which are so plentifully besprinkled all over France. Their
equals are not known elsewhere, for they are crossed and recrossed in
all directions by well-kept carriage roads where automobilists will
be troubled neither by dust nor glaring sunlight. They are the very
ideals of roads, the forest roads of France, and their length is many
thousands of kilometres.

Senlis is but eight kilometres from Chantilly. We had no reason for
going there at all, except to have a look at its little-known, but
very beautiful, cathedral, and to get on the real road to the north.

We spent the night at Senlis, for we had become fatigued with the
horrible _pavé_ of the early morning, the sightseeing of the tourist
order which we had done at Chantilly, and the eternal dodging of
race-horses being exercised all through the streets of the town and
the roads of the forest.

"_Monsieur descend-il à l'Hôtel du Grand Monarque?_" asked a butcher's
boy of us, as we stopped the automobile beneath the cathedral tower
to get our bearings. He was probably looking for a little commission
on our hotel-bill for showing us the way; but, after all, this is a
legitimate enough proposition. We told him frankly no; that we were
looking for the Hôtel des Arènes; but that he knew nothing of.
Another, more enterprising, did, and we drove our automobile into the
court of a tiny little commercial-looking hotel, and were soon
strolling about the town free from further care for the day. The
hotel was ordinary enough, neither good nor bad, _comme 'ci, comme
ça_, the French would call it,--but they made no objection to getting
up at six o'clock the next morning and making us fresh coffee which
was a dream of excellence. This is a good deal in its favour, for the
coffee of the ordinary French country hotel--in the north, in
particular--is fearfully and wonderfully made, principally of

Sentiment would be served, and from Senlis we struck across forty
kilometres to what may be called the Dumas Country, Crépy-en-Valois
and Villers-Cotterets. Here was a little-trodden haunt which all
lovers of romance and history would naturally fall in love with.

Crépy is a snug, conservative little town where life goes on in much
the same way that it did in the days when Alexandre Dumas was a clerk
here in a notary's office, before he descended upon the Parisian
world of letters. His "Mémoires" tell the story of his early
experiences here in his beloved Valois country. It is a charming
biographical work, Dumas's "Mémoires," and it is a pity it is not
better known to English readers. Dumas tells of his journey by road,
from the town of his birth, Villers-Cotterets, to Crépy, with his
world's belongings done up in a handkerchief on a stick, "in bulk not
more grand than the luggage of a Savoyard when he leaves his native
mountain home."

Crépy has a delightfully named and equally excellent hotel in the
"Trois Pigeons," and one may eat of real country fare and be happy
and forget all about the ham and eggs and bad whiskey of Chantilly in
the contemplation of omelettes and chickens and fresh, green salads,
such as only the country innkeeper in France knows how to serve.
Crépy has a château, too, a relic of the days when the town was the
capital of a _petit gouvernement_ belonging to a younger branch of
the royal family of France in the fourteenth century. The château is
not quite one's ideal of what a great mediæval château should be, but
it is sufficiently imposing to give a distinction to the landscape
and is in every way a very representative example of the construction
of the time.

The great _Route Nationale_ to the north runs through Crépy to-day,
as did the _Route Royale_ of the days of the Valois. It is eighteen
kilometres from Crépy to Villers-Cotterets, Dumas's birthplace. The
great romancer describes it with much charm and correctness in the
early pages of "The Taking of the Bastile." He calls it "a little
city buried in the shade of a vast park planted by François I. and
Henri II." It is a place ever associated with romance and history,
and, to add further to its reputation, it is but a few kilometres
away from La Ferte-Milon, where Racine was born, and only eight
leagues from Château-Thierry, the birthplace of La Fontaine.

We had made up our minds to breathe as much of the spirit and
atmosphere of Villers-Cotterets as was possible in a short time, and
accordingly we settled down for the night at the Hôtel Alexandre
Dumas. The name of the hotel is unusual. There may be others similar,
but the writer does not recall them at this moment. It was not bad,
and, though entitled to be called a grand establishment, it was not
given to pomposity or pretence, and we parted with regret, for we had
been treated most genially by the proprietor and his wife, and served
by a charming young maid, who, we learned, was the daughter of the
house. It was all in the family, and because of that everything was
excellently done.

There are fragments of a royal château here, begun by François I. in
one of his building manias. His salamanders and the three crescents
of Diane de Poitiers still decorate its walls, and accordingly it is
a historical shrine of the first rank, though descended in these
later days to use as a poorhouse.

The château and forest of Villers-Cotterets were settled upon
Monsieur le Grand by Louis XIV., after they had sheltered many
previous royal loves, but in the days of the later monarchy, that of
Philippe Egalité, the place was used merely as a hunting rendezvous.

The Dumas birthplace is an ordinary enough and dismal-looking
building from the street. As usual in France, there is another
structure in the rear, the real birthplace, no doubt, but one gets
only a glimpse through the open door or gate. Carrier-Belleus's fine
statue of Dumas, erected here in 1885, is all that a monument of its
class should be, and is the pride of the local inhabitant, who, when
passing, never tires of stopping and gazing at its outlines. This may
be a little exaggeration, but there is a remarkable amount of
veneration bestowed upon it by all dwellers in the town.

We went from Villers-Cotterets direct to Soissons, the home of the
beans of that name. We do not know these medium-sized flat beans as
_soissons_ in America and England; to us they are merely beans; but
to _soissons_ they are known all over France, and in the mind and
taste of the epicure there is no other bean just like them. This may
be so or not, but there is no possible doubt whatever but that
"_soissons au beurre_" is a ravishing dish which one meets with too
infrequently, even in France, and this in spite of the millions of
kilos of them which reach the markets through the gateway of the town
of Soissons.

Soissons undoubtedly has a good hotel. How could it be otherwise in
such a food-producing centre? We were directed, however, by a
_commis-voyageur_ whom we had met at Villers-Cotterets, not to think
of a hotel at Soissons, if we were only to stop for lunch, but to go
to the railway restaurant. Of all things this would be the most
strange for an automobilist, but we took his advice, for he said he
knew what he was talking about.

The "Buffet" at the railway station at Soissons is not the only
example of a good railway eating-house in France, but truly it is one
of the best. It is a marvellously conducted establishment, and you
eat your meals in a beautifully designed, well-kept apartment, with
the viands of the country of the best and of great variety. _Soissons
au beurre_ was the _pièce de résistance_, and there was _poulet au
casserole_, an _omelette au rhum_, a crisp, cold lettuce salad, and
fruits and "biscuits" galore to top off, with wine and bread _à
discrétion_ and good coffee and cognac for ten sous additional, the
whole totalling three francs fifty centimes. We were probably the
first automobilists on tour who had taken lunch at the railway
restaurant at Soissons. Perhaps we may not be the last.

It was but a short detour of a dozen or fifteen kilometres to visit
the romantic Château de Coucy, one of the few relics of mediævalism
which still look warlike. It is more or less of a ruin, but it has
been restored in part, and, taken all in all, is the most formidable
thing of its kind in existence. It rises above the old walled town of
Coucy-le-Château in quite the fashion that one expects, and, from the
platform of the donjon, there spreads out a wonderful view over two
deep and smiling valleys which, as much as the thickness of the
château walls, effectually protected the occupants from a surprise

The thirteenth century saw the birth of this, perhaps the finest
example still remaining of France's feudal châteaux, and, barring the
effects of an earthquake in 1692, and an attempt by Richelieu to blow
it up, the symmetrical outlines of its walls and roofs are much as
they always were.

Its founder was Enguerrand III. de Coucy, who took for his motto
these boastful words--which, however, he and his descendants
justified whenever occasion offered:

  _"Roi je ne suis,
  Prince, ni Comte aussi,
  Je suis le Sire de Coucy."_

We left Coucy rejoicing, happy and content, expecting to reach Laon
that night. We had double-starred Laon in our itinerary, because it
was one of those neglected tourist-points that we always made a point
of visiting when in the neighbourhood.

Laon possesses one of the most remarkable cathedrals of Northern
France, but its hotels are bad. We tried two and regretted we ever
came, except for the opportunity of marvelling at the commanding site
of the town and its cathedral. The long zigzag road winding up the
hill offers little inducement to one to run his automobile up to the
plateau upon which sits the town proper. It were wiser not to attempt
to negotiate it if there were any way to avoid it. We solved the
problem by putting up at a little hotel opposite the railway station
(its name is a blank, being utterly forgotten) where the
_commis-voyageur_ goes when he wants a meal while waiting for the
next train. He seems to like it, and you do certainly get a good
dinner, but, not being _commis-voyageurs_, merely automobilists, we
were charged three prices for everything, and accordingly every one
is advised to risk the dangerous and precipitous road to the upper
town rather than be blackmailed in this way.

Laon's cathedral, had it ever been carried out according to the
original plans, would have been the most stupendously imposing
ecclesiastical monument in Northern France. Possibly the task was too
great for accomplishment, for its stones and timbers were laboriously
carried up the same zigzag that one sees to-day, and it never grew
beyond its present half-finished condition. The year 1200 probably
saw its commencement, and it is as thoroughly representative of the
transition from Romanesque to Gothic as any other existing example of
church building.

On the great massive towers of Laon's cathedral is to be seen a most
curious and unchurchly symbolism in the shape of great stone effigies
of oxen, pointing north, east, south, and west. There is no religious
significance, we are told, but they are a tribute to the faithful
services of the oxen who drew the heavy loads of building material
from the plain to the hilltop.

We had taken a roundabout road to the north, via Laon, merely to see
the oxen of the cathedral and to get swindled for our lunch at that
unspeakable little hotel. The one was worth the time and trouble, the
other was not. We left town the same night headed north, in the
direction of Arras, via St. Quentin, anciently one of the famous
walled towns of France, but now a queer, if picturesque,
conglomeration of relics of a historical past and modern business

It was Sunday, and well into the afternoon, when we got away from
Laon, but the peasant, profiting by the fair harvest days, was
working in the fields as if he never had or would have a holiday.
Unquestionably the peasant and labouring class in France is
hard-working at his daily task and at his play, for when he plays he
also plays hard. This, the eternal activity of the peasant or
labourer, whatever his trade, and the worked-over little
farm-holdings, with their varied crops, all planted in little
bedquilt patches, are the chief characteristics of the French
countryside for the observant stranger.

We crossed the Oise at La Fere, La Fere of wicked memory, as readers
of Stevenson will recall. Nothing went very badly with us, but all
the same the memory of Stevenson's misadventure at his hotel made us
glad we were not stopping there.

We passed now innumerable little towns and villages clinging to red,
brown, and green hillsides, with here and there a thatched cottage of
other days, for, in the _agglomérations_, as the French government
knows the hamlets and towns, it is now forbidden to thatch or
rethatch a roof; you must renew it with tiles or slates when the
original thatch wears out.

Soon after passing La Fere one sees three hilltop forts, for we are
now in more or less strategic ground, and militarism is rampant.

St. Quentin has been the very centre of a warlike maelstrom for ages,
and the memory of blood and fire lies over all its history, though
to-day, as we entered its encumbered, crooked streets, things looked
far from warlike.

We had our choice of the Hôtel du Cygne or the Hôtel du Commerce at
St. Quentin, and chose the latter as being nearer the soil, whereas
the former establishment is blessed with electric lights, a
_calorifère_, and a "bar"--importing the word and the institution
from England or America.

We found nothing remarkable in the catering of the Hôtel du Commerce.
It was good enough of its kind, but not distinctive, and we got beer
served with our dinner, instead of wine or cider. If you want either
of the latter you must pay extra. We were in the beer region, not the
cider country or the wine belt. It was the custom, and was not being
"sprung" on us because we were automobilists. This we were glad to
know after our experience at Laon.

St. Quentin possesses a famous Gothic church, known to all students
of Continental architecture, and there is a monument of the siege of
1557, which is counted another "sight," though strictly a modern

At St. Quentin one remarks the Canal de St. Quentin, another of those
inland waterways of France which are the marvel of the stranger and
the profit of the inhabitant. This particular canal connects France
with the extraterritorial commerce of the Pays Bas, and runs from the
Somme to the Scheldt, burrowing through hillsides with tunnels, and
bridging gaps and valleys with viaducts. One of these canal-tunnels,
at Riqueval, has a length of nearly four miles.

We worried our way out through the crooked streets of St. Quentin at
an early hour the next morning, _en route_ for Arras, via Cambrai.
Forty-two kilometres of "_ond. dure._," but otherwise excellent
roadway, brought us to Cambrai. (For those who do not read readily
the French route-book directions the above expression is translated
as "rolling and difficult.")

It matters little whether the roadways of France are marked rolling
and serpentine, or hilly and winding, the surfaces are almost
invariably excellent, and there is nothing met with which will annoy
the modern automobile or its driver in the least, always excepting
foolish people, dogs, and children. For the last we sometimes feel
sorry and take extra precautions, but the others are too intolerant
to command much sympathy.

Cambrai was burned into our memories by the recollection that Fénélon
was one-time bishop of the episcopal see, and because it was the city
of the birth and manufacture of cambric, most of which, since its
discovery, has gone into the making of bargain-store handkerchiefs.

Cambrai possessed twelve churches previous to the Revolution, but
only two remain at the present day, and they are unlovely enough to
belong to Liverpool or Sioux City.

We had some difficulty in finding a hotel at Cambrai. Our excellent
"Guide-Michelin" had for the moment gone astray in the tool-box, and
there was nothing else we could trust. We left the automobile at the
shop of a _mécanicien_ for a trifling repair while we hunted up
lunch. (Cost fifteen sous, with no charge for housing the machine.
Happy, happy automobilists of France; how much you have to be
thankful for!)

The Mouton Blanc, opposite the railway station at Cambrai, gave us a
very good lunch, in a strictly _bourgeois_ fashion, including the
sticky, bitter _bière du Nord_. We paid two francs fifty centimes for
our repast and went away with a good opinion of Cambrai, though its
offerings for the tourist in the way of remarkable sights are few.

Cambrai to Arras was a short thirty kilometres. We covered them in an
hour and found Arras all that Cambrai was not, though both places are
printed in the same size type in the railway timetables and

Arras has a combined Hôtel de Ville and belfry which puts the
market-house and belfry of Bruges quite in the shade from an
impressive architectural point of view. There is not the quiet,
splendid severity of its more famous compeer at Bruges, but there is
far more luxuriance in its architectural form, and, at any rate, it
was a surprise and a pleasure to find that any such splendid monument
were here.

The Spanish invasion of other days has left its mark all through
Flanders, and here at Arras the florid Renaissance architecture of
the Hôtel de Ville and the vaults and roofs of the market-square are
manifestly exotics from a land strange to French architectural ways.

Arras, with its quaint old arcaded market-place, is a great
distributing-point for cereals. A million of francs' worth in value
changes hands here in a year, and the sale, in small lots, out in the
open, is a survival of the _moyen âge_ when the abbés of a
neighbouring monastery levied toll for the privilege of selling on
the market-place. Today the toll-gatherer, he who collects the small
fee from the stall-owners, is still known as the Abbé.

Arras is quaint and interesting, and withal a lively, progressive
town, where all manner of merchandizing is conducted along very
businesslike lines. You can buy sewing-machines and agricultural
machinery from America at Arras, and felt hats and orange marmalade
(which the Frenchman calls, mysteriously, simply, "Dundee") from

To Douai, from Cambrai, was another hour's run. Douai has a Hôtel de
Ville and belfry, too, which were entirely unlooked for. Quaint,
remarkable, and the pet and pride of the inhabitant, the bells of the
belfry of Bible-making Douai ring out rag-time dances and Sousa
marches. Such is the rage for up-to-dateness!

There is a goodly bit to see at Douai in the way of ecclesiastical
monuments, but the chief attraction, that which draws strangers to
the place, is the July "Fête de Gayant," at which M. and Mme. Gayant
(giant), made of wickerwork and dressed more or less _à la mode_, are
promenaded up and down the streets to the tune of the "Air de
Gayante." All this is in commemoration of an unsuccessful attempt to
capture the city by Louis XI. in 1479. The fête has been going on
yearly ever since, and shows no signs of dying out, as does the Guy
Fawkes celebration in England.

We were now going through France's "black country," the coal-fields
of the north, and the gaunt scaffolds of the mine-pits dotted the
landscape here and there, as they do in Pennsylvania or the Midlands
of England. They did not especially disfigure the landscape, but gave
a modern note of industry and prosperity which was as marked as that
of the farmyards of the peasants and high-farmers of Normandy or La
Beance. France is an exceedingly wealthy, and, what is more, a
"self-contained" nation; and this fact should not be forgotten by the
critics of what they like to call _effete Europe_.

Bethune is in the heart of the coal country, and is not a
particularly lovely town. It has a dream of an old-world hotel,
though, and one may go a great deal farther and fare a great deal
worse than at Bethune's Hôtel du Nord, a great rambling, stone
Renaissance building, with heavy decorated window-frames, queer
rambling staircases, and ponderous, beamed ceilings.

[Illustration: Villiers-Cotterets]

It sits on a little _Place_, opposite an isolated belfry, from whose
upper window there twinkles, at night, a little star of light, like a
mariner's beacon. What it is all supposed to represent no ones seems
to know, but it is an institution which dies hard, and some one pays
the expense of keeping it alight. A belfry is a very useful adjunct
to a town. If the writer ever plans a modern city he will plant a
belfry in the very centre, with four clock-faces on it, a sun-dial, a
thermometer, and a peal of bells. You find all these things on the
belfry of Bethune, and altogether it is the most picturesque,
satisfying, and useful belfry the writer has ever seen.

The food and lodging of the Hôtel du Nord at Bethune are as
satisfactory as its location, and we were content indeed to remain
the following day in the dull little town, because of a torrential
downpour which kept us house-bound till four in the afternoon. If one
really wants to step back into the dark ages, just let him linger
thirty-six hours as we did at Bethune. More would probably drive him
crazy with ennui, but this is just enough.

The road to the north ended for us at Calais. How many know Calais as
they really ought? To most travellers Calais is a mere guide-post on
the route from England or France.

Of less interest to-day, to the London tripper, than Boulogne and its
debatable pleasures, Calais is a very cradle of history and romance.

It was in October, 1775, that Sterne set out on his immortal
"sentimental journey." He put up, as the tale goes, at Dessein's
Hôtel at Calais (now pulled down), and gave it such a reputation
among English-speaking people that its proprietor suddenly grew rich
beyond his wildest hopes. So much for the publicity of literature,
which, since Sterne's days, has boomed soap, cigars, and automobiles.

Sterne's familiarity with France was born of experience. He had
fallen ill in London while supervising the publication of some of his
literary works and was ordered to the south of France by his
physicians. He obtained a year's absence from his curacy, and
borrowed twenty pounds from his friend Garrick (which history, or
rumour, says he never repaid) and left for--of all places--Paris,
where a plunge into the whirl of social dissipation nearly carried
him off his feet.

Sterne and Stevenson have written more charmingly of France and
things French than any others in the English tongue, and if any one
would like to make three little pilgrimages off the beaten track, by
road or rail, by bicycle or automobile, let him follow the trail of
Sterne in his "Sentimental Journey," or Stevenson in his "Inland
Voyage" and his "Travels with a Donkey." They do not follow the
"personally conducted" tourist routes, but they give a much better
idea of France to one who wants to see things for himself.

Charles Dibdin, too, "muddled away five months at Calais," to quote
his own words. He arrived from England after a thirteen-hours'
passage in a gale of wind, in which he composed his most famous
sea-song, "Blow High, Blow Low." Travellers across the channel have
been known to occupy thirteen hours on the passage since Dibdin's
time, and seemingly, in the experience of the writer, there is not a
time when the words of the song might not apply.

We had come to Calais for the purpose of crossing the Channel for a
little tour awheel amid the natural beauties and historic shrines of
Merry England.

It takes fifty-five minutes, according to the Railway-Steamship
time-cards, to make the passage from Calais to Dover, but the writer
has never been able to make one of these lightning passages.

Automobiles are transported by the mail-boats only upon "special
arrangements," information upon which point is given so vaguely that
one suspects bribery and craft.

We did not bite, but went over by the night cargo-boat, at least the
automobile did, at a cost of a hundred francs. This is cheap or dear,
according to the way you look at it. For the service rendered it is
dear, for the accommodation to you it is, perhaps, cheap enough. At
any rate, it is cheap enough when you want to get away _from_ England
again, its grasping hotel-keepers, and its persecuting police.

Why do so many English automobilists tour abroad, Mr. British
Hotel-keeper and Mr. Police Sergeant? One wonders if you really

Part III
On Britain's Roads

Chapter I
The Bath Road

[Illustration: The Bath Road]

The Bath Road is in many ways the most famed main road out of London.
Visions as varied as those of highwaymen on Hounslow Heath, boating
at Maidenhead, the days of the "dandies" at Bath, and of John Cabot
at Bristol flashed through our minds whenever we heard the Bath road
mentioned, so we set out with a good-will on the hundred and eighteen
mile journey to Bath.

To-day the road's designation is the same as of yore, though Palmer's
coaches, that in 1784 left London at eight in the morning and arrived
at Bristol at eleven at night, have given way to automobiles which
make the trip in three hours. You can be three hours or thirty, as
you please. We figured it out for thirty-six and lunched, dined,
slept, and breakfasted _en route_, and felt the better for it.

The real popularity of the Bath road and its supremacy in coaching
circles a century and a quarter ago--a legacy which has been handed
down to automobilists of to-day--was due to the initiative of one
John Palmer, a gentleman of property, who had opened a theatre at
Bath, and was sorely annoyed at the delays he had to submit to in
obtaining star actors from London to appear on particular nights.
Palmer was a man with a grievance, but he was also a man with ability
and purpose. He travelled about, and made notes and observations, and
organized a scheme by which coaching might be brought into a complete
system; he memorialized the government, was opposed by the
post-office authorities, abused, sneered at, laughed at, but not
beaten; finally he gained the ear of William Pitt, who saw that there
was more in the proposed plan than a mere experiment. On the 8th of
August, 1784, Palmer ran his first mail-coach from London to Bristol,
and made the journey in fifteen hours. That was the turning-point.
The old lumbering coaches, the abominable roads, the irresponsible
drivers, the wretched delay, misery, and uncertainty rapidly gave
place to lighter, stronger, and more commodious vehicles, better
horses, more experienced drivers, careful guards, regular stages,
marked by decent inns and comfortable hostelries, and improved roads.
The post-office made a contract with the coaching speculator--a very
safe contract indeed--by which he was to have two and one-half per
cent of the money saved in the conveyance of letters. This would have
yielded twenty thousand pounds a year; so the government broke its
agreement, refused to vote the payment, and compromised with Mr.
Palmer and its own conscience, after the fashion of politicians of
all time, by a grant of fifty thousand pounds.

[Illustration: On The Bath Road]

The Bath road traverses a section of England that is hardly as varied
as would be a longer route from north to south, but, on the whole, it
is characteristically English throughout, and is as good an itinerary
as any by which to make one's first acquaintance with English days
and English ways.

Via Hammersmith, Kew Bridge, Brentford, and Hounslow was our way out
of town, and a more awful, brain-racking, and discouraging start it
would have been impossible to make. London streets are ever difficult
to thread with an automobile, and when the operation is undertaken on
a misty, moisty morning with what the Londoner knows as _grease_
thick under foot and wheel, the process is fraught with the
possibility of adventure.

Out through Piccadilly and Knightsbridge was bad enough, but, by the
time Hammersmith Broadway, its trams and tram-lines and its butchers'
and bakers' and milk carts, was reached and passed, it was as if one
had been trying to claw off a lee shore in a gale, and driver and
passengers alike felt exceeding limp and sticky. The Londoner who
drives an automobile thinks nothing of it, and covers the intervening
miles with a cool clear-headedness that is marvellous. We were new to
automobiling in England, but we were fast becoming acclimated.

On through Chiswick there were still the awful tram-lines, but the
roadway improved and was wider and free from abrupt turns and twists.
We congratulated ourselves that at last we had got clear of town, but
we had reckoned beyond our better judgment, for we had forgotten that
we had been told that Brentford was the most awful death-trap that
the world has known for automobilists, cyclists, and indeed
foot-passers as well. We should have kept a little of our nerve by
us, for we needed it when we got shut in between a brewer's dray, an
omnibus, and an electric tram-car in Brentford's sixteen-foot "main
road." It was like an interminable canyon, gloomy, damp, and
dangerous for all living things which passed its portals, this main
street of Brentford. For some miles, apparently, this same congestion
of traffic continued, a tram-car ahead and behind you, drays, trucks,
and carts all around you, and fool butchers' cart and milk cart
drivers turning unexpected corners to the likely death of you and
themselves. Here is an automobile reform which might well attract the
attention of the authorities in England. The automobile has as much
right to be a road user as any other form of traffic, and, if the
automobile is to be regulated as to its speed and progress, it is
about time that the same regulations were applied also to other
classes of traffic.

We finally got out of Brentford and came to Low, where suburban
improvement has gone to widen the roadway and put the two lines of
tramway in the middle, allowing a free passage on either side. The
wood pavement, which we had followed almost constantly since leaving
London, soon disappeared, and, finally, so did the tramway. After
perhaps fifteen miles we were at last approaching open country; at
least Suburbia and perambulators had been left behind; and
truck-gardens and market-wagons, often with sleepy drivers, had
entered on the scene. Here was a new danger, but not so terrible as
those we had left behind, and the poor, docile horse usually had
sense enough to draw aside and let us pass, even if the beer-drowsy
driver had not.

We soon reached the top of Hounslow Heath, but there was scarcely a
suggestion of the former romantic aspect which we had always
connected with it.

We made inquiries and learned that there was one old neighbouring
inn, the "Green Man," lying between the Bath and Exeter roads, which
was a true relic of the past, and musty with the traditions of
turnpike travellers and highwaymen of old. We found the "Green Man"
readily enough, with a country yokel to point the way, for which he
expected the price of a beer. In the palmy days of the robbing and
murdering traffic of Hounslow Heath it was a convenient refuge for
the Duvals and Turpins, and they made for it with a rush on occasion,
secreting themselves in a hiding-place which can still be seen.

This is in a little room on the left of the front door, and the
entrance lies at the back of an old-fashioned fireplace. A hole leads
to a passage which opens into a cavernous recess beneath, to which
there is ample room for anybody to descend. The local wiseacres
declare that there is, or was, a communication between this secret
chamber and another famous highwayman's inn, the old "Magpie"
directly on the Bath road, and that those who preyed on travellers
used to bolt from one house to the other like hunted rabbits. No one
seemingly has himself ever explored this mysterious subterranean
passage. Beyond Hounslow, on the Bath road, one passes through
Slough, leaving Windsor, Runnymede, and Datchet on the left, as
properly belonging to the routine tours which one makes from London
and calls simply excursions.

The Thames is reached at Maidenhead, where up-river society plays a
part which reminds one of the stage melodramas, except that there is
real water and real boat-races. It is a pretty enough aspect up and
down the river from the bridge at Maidenhead, but it is stagey and

The hotels and restaurants of Maidenhead make some pretence of
catering to automobilists, and do it fairly well, after a suburban
fashion, but there is nothing of the flavour or sentiment of the old
inn-keeping days, neither are any of the establishments at all what
the touring automobilist (as distinct from the promenading, or
half-day excursion variety) expects and demands.

[Illustration: The Road By The Thames]

The Bath road runs straight on through Twyford to Reading, but we
made a detour via Great Marlow and Henley, merely for the
satisfaction of lunching at the "Red Lion Inn" at the latter place.
The great social and sporting attractions of the Thames, the annual
Henley regatta, had drawn us thither years ago, and we had enjoyed
ourselves in the conventional manner, shouting ourselves hoarse over
rival crews, lunching, picnic fashion, from baskets under the trees,
and making our way back to town by the railway, amid a terrifying
crush late at night. It was all very enjoyable, but once in a
lifetime was quite enough. Now we were taking things easier.

The traditions hanging around the old "Red Lion Inn," beside the
bridge, probably account for its popularity, for certainly its
present-day accommodations and catering are nothing remarkable, and
the automobilist is looked upon with disfavour. Why? This is hard to
state. He is a good spender, the automobilist, and he comes
frequently. All the same, the "Red Lion Inn" at Henley is one of
those establishments marked down in the guide-books as "comfortable,"
and if its luncheon is a bit slow and stodgy, it is wholesome enough,
and automobilists are generally blessed with good appetites.

The Shenstone legend and the window-pane verses about finding "one's
warmest welcome at an inn" were originally supposed to apply to this
inn at Henley. Later authorities say that they referred to an inn at
Henley-in-Arden. Perhaps an automobilist, even, would find the latter
more to his liking. The writer does not know.

To Reading from Henley is perhaps a dozen miles, by a pretty river
road which shows all the characteristic loveliness of the Thames
valley about which poets have raved. By Shiplake Mill, Sonning, and
Caversham Bridge one finally enters Reading. Reading is famous for
the remains of an old abbey and for its biscuits, but neither at the
time had any attractions for us.

We made another detour from our path and followed the river-road to
Abingdon. Pangborne (better described as Villadom) was passed, as was
also Mapledurham, which Dick of William Morris's "Utopia" thought "a
very pretty place." In fine it is a very pretty place, and the river
hereabouts is quite at its prettiest.

Since we had actually left towns and trams behind us we found the
roadways good, but abominably circuitous and narrow, not to say
dangerous because of it.

Soon Streatley Hill rose up before us. Streatley is one of those
villages which have been pictured times innumerable. One often sees
its winding streets, its picturesque cottages, its one shop, its old
mill, "The Bull Inn," or its notorious bridge over the river to

To cross this bridge costs six pence per wheel, be your conveyance a
cart, carriage, bicycle, or motor-car, so that if an automobile
requires any slight attention from the machinist, who quarters
himself at Goring boat-house, it is appreciably cheaper to bargain
with him to come to Streatley. Thus one may defeat the object of the
grasping institution which, the _lady_ toll-taker tells you, is
responsible for the outrage, and not she herself. You may well
believe her; she hardly looks as though she approved of the means
which serve to keep her in her modest position.

[Illustration: On The Thames At Henley]

Streatley Hill, or rather the view from it, like the village itself,
is famed alike by poet and painter. The following quatrain should be
eulogy enough to warrant one's taking a rather stiff climb in the
hope of experiencing, to a greater or a lesser degree, the same

  "When you're here, I'm told that you
  Should mount the Hill and see the view;
  And gaze and wonder, if you'd do
  Its merits most completely."

The poetry is bad, but the sentiment is sound.

Goring is more of a metropolis than Streatley, but we did not visit
the former town because of the atrocious toll-bridge charge. We were
willing enough to make martyrs of ourselves in the good cause of the
suppression of all such excessive charges to automobilists.

On through Abingdon, and still following the valley of the Thames, we
kept to Faringdon and Lechlade, where, at the latter place, at the
subtly named "Trout Inn," we proposed passing the night.

We did pass the night at the "Trout Inn," which has no accommodation
for automobiles, except a populated hen-house, the general
sleeping-place of most of the live stock of the landlord, dogs, cats,
ducks, and geese; to say nothing of the original occupants--the hens.
How much better they do things in France!

At any rate there is no pretence about the "Trout Inn" at Lechlade.
We slept in a stuffy, diamond-paned little room with chintz curtains
to windows, bed, and mantelpiece. We dined off of trout, beefsteak,
and cauliflower, and drank bitter beer until midnight in the
bar-parlour with a half-dozen old residents who told strange tales of
fish and fishing. Here at least was the real thing, though the
appointments of the inn were in no sense picturesque, and the
landlord, instead of being a rotund, red-faced person, was a tall,
thin reed of a man with a white beard who, in spite of his eighty odd
years, is about as lively a proposition as one will find in the
business in England.

Mine host of "The Trout," silvered as the aspen, but straight as the
pine, bears his eighty-two years lightly, and will tell you that he
is still able to protect his fishing rights, which he owns in
absolute fee on four miles of river-bank, against trespassers--and
they are many. He sleeps, he says, with one eye open, and his gun by
his side, and thinks nothing of a sally forth in the dark hours of
night and exploding a charge in the direction of a marauder. He and
his cronies of the tap-room, of an evening, before a glowing fire of
logs, above which is the significant gun-rack (quite in old
picture-book fashion), will give a deal of copy to an able writer who
seeks atmosphere and local colour.

Kelmscott, so identified with William Morris, is even less of the
world of to-day than is its neighbour, Lechlade, and was one of the
reasons for our coming here at all.

The topographical surveys and books of reference will tell on that it
is a "chapelry, in the parish of Broadwell, Union of Faringdon,
hundred of Bampton, county of Oxford;" that it is "two miles east of
Lechlade and contains 179 inhabitants;" and that "by measurement it
contains 1,020 acres, of which 876 are arable and 153 meadow and
pasture." It is unlikely that the population has increased since the
above description; the best authority claims that it has actually
decreased, like so many of the small towns and villages of the
countryside in England.

Kelmscott Manor House was advertised for sale in 1871, a fact which
Morris discovered quite by accident. Writing to his friend Faulkner
he says:

  "I have been looking about for a house...
  my eye is turned now to Kelmscott, a little village
  two miles above Radcott Bridge--a Heaven on

The house is thirty miles or more from Oxford, by water, approached
by a lane which leads from Lechlade just over St. John's Bridge, by
the "Trout Inn." The railway now reaches Lechlade but this was not
the case when Morris first found this "_Heaven._" Most likely he
reached it by carriage from Faringdon, "by the grand approach over
the hills of Berkshire."

We regained the Bath road at Marlborough, after our excursion into
the realms of Utopia, intending to reach Bath for lunch. The best
laid plans of mice and mere motor-men ofttimes go awry, and we did
_not_ get to Bath until well on into the night. There was really no
reason for this except an obstinate _bougie_ (beg pardon,
sparking-plug in English) which sparked beautyfully in the open air,
but which refused positively to give a glimmer when put in its proper
place. We did not know this, or even suspect it at first, but this
was what delayed us four hours, just before we reached Chippenham,
where we stopped and lunched, through no choice of our own, for it
was a bad lunch in every particular, and cost three shillings and
sixpence a head. To add to the indignity, the local policemen came
along and said we were making an obstruction, and insisted that we
push the machine into the stable-yard, as if we were committing a
breach of the law, when really it was only an opportunity for a
"bobby" to show his authority. Happy England!

All the morning we had been running over typical English roads and
running well. There is absolutely no question but that the
countryside of England is unequalled for that unique variety of
picturesqueness which is characteristic of the land, but it lacks the
grandeur that one finds in France, or indeed in most countries of
Continental Europe.

Crossing England thus, one gets the full force of Rider Haggard's
remarks about the small farmer; how, because he cannot get a small
holding, that can be farmed profitably, for his very own, he becomes
a tenant, or remains always a labourer, never rising in the social

The peasant of Continental Europe may be poor and impoverished, may
eat largely of bread instead of meat, and be forced to drink "thin
wine" instead of body-building beer,--as the economists in England
put it,--but he has much to be thankful for, nevertheless.

We stopped just before Beckhampton, at a puzzling crossroads, and
asked a labourer of the fields if we were "right" for Chippenham. He
stared blankly, doffed his hat with humility, but for a time answered
never a word. He knew Calne, a town half a dozen miles away, for he
occasionally, walked in there for a drinking-bout on a heavier brand
of beer than he could buy locally, but, though he had always heard of
Chippenham, he did not know whether it lay north, east, south, or
west. This is deplorable, of course, for it was within a twenty-mile
radius, but it is astonishing the frequency with which one meets this
blankness in England when looking for information. There are tens of
thousands like this poor fellow, and one may well defy Rider Haggard
to make a "landed proprietor" out of such poor stuff.

You do not always get what you ask for in France, but the peasant at
least knows enough to tell you, "Oh! that's down in the Eure" or
"_Plus loin, par là,_" and at any rate, you feel that he is a
broad-gauge Frenchman through and through, whereas the English
labourer of the fields is a very "little Englander" indeed.

It is hard to believe on a bright May morning that here, in this
blossoming, picturesque little village of Chippenham, on one bitterly
cold morning in the month of _April_, 1812, when the Bath coach
reached its posting-house (the same, perhaps, Mr. Up-to-Date
Automobilist, at which you have slept the night--worse luck), two of
its outside passengers were found frozen to death, and a third all
but dead. The old lithographs which pictured the "Royal Mail" stuck
in a snow-drift, and the unhappy passengers helping to dig it out,
are no longer apocryphal in your mind after you have heard this bit
of "real history," which happened, too, in one of England's southern
counties. The romance of other days was often stern and uncomfortable
reality of a most bitter kind.

We left Chippenham, finally, very late in the day, lost our way at
unsign-boarded and puzzling crossroads, had two punctures in a half a
dozen miles, and ultimately reached the centre of Bath, over the
North Parade Bridge--for which privilege we paid three pence, another
imposition, which, however, we could have avoided had we known the
devious turnings of the main road into town.

In two days we had covered something like two hundred and fifty miles
in and out of highways and byways, had followed the Thames for its
entire boatable length, and had crossed England,--not a very great
undertaking as automobile tours go, but a varied and enjoyable one in
spite of the restrictions put upon the free passage of automobiles by
the various governing bodies and the indifferent hotel-keepers.

Bath and its attractions for visitors are quite the best things of
their kind in all England, in spite of the fact that the attractions,
the teas, the concerts, and the lectures--to say nothing of drinking
and bathing in the waters--lack individuality.

We stayed the round of the clock at Bath, two rounds and a half, in
fact, in that we did not leave until the second morning after our
arrival, and absorbed as much of the spirit and association of the
place as was possible, including sundry gallons of the bubbling

Bath has pleased many critical souls, James McNeill Whistler for one,
who had no patience with other English resorts. It pleased us, too.
It was so different.

From Bath to Bristol is a dozen miles only, and the topographical
characteristics change entirely, following the banks of the little
river Avon. Bristol was a great seaport in days gone by, but today
only coasters and colliers make use of its wharves. The town is
charmingly situated, but it is unlovely, and, for the tourist, is
only a stepping-stone to somewhere else. The Automobile Club of Great
Britain and Ireland directs one to the suburb of Clifton, or rather
to Clifton Down, for hotel accommodation, but you can do much better
than that by stopping at the Half Moon Hotel in the main street, a
frankly commercial house, but with ample garage accommodation and
good plain fare, of which roast little pig, boiled mutton,
cauliflower, and mashed potatoes, with the ever recurring apple tart,
form the principal items.

Chapter II
The South Coast

[Illustration: The South Coast]

The south coast of England is ever dear to the Londoner who spends
his week's end out of town. Here he finds the nearest whiff of
salt-water breeze that he can call his own. He may go down the Thames
on a Palace steamer to Southend, and he will have to content himself
most of the way with a succession of mud-flats and eat winkles with a
brassy pin when he gets there; he may even go on to Margate and find
a fresh east wind which will blow the London fog out of his brain;
but, until he rounds the Foreland, he will find nothing that will
remind him in the least of his beloved Eastbourne, Brighton, and

The most popular south coast automobile run from London is to
Brighton, fifty-two miles, via Croyden, Redhill, and Crawley. Many
"weekenders" make this trip nearly every Saturday to Monday in the
year, and get to know every rut and stone in the roadway and every
degenerate policeman of the rapacious crew who hide in hedges and lie
in wait for poor unfortunate automobilists who may have slipped down
a sloping bit of clear roadway at a speed of twenty and one-tenth
miles per hour (instead of nineteen and nine-tenths), all figured out
by rule of thumb and with the aid of a thirty-shilling stop-watch.

"_Ils sont terribles, ces bétes des gendarmes on trouve en
Angleterre,_" said a terror-stricken French friend of ours who had
been held up beyond Crawley for a "technical offence." Nothing was
said against a drunken drayman who backed his wagon up against our
friend's mudguard ten miles back, and smashed it beyond repair.
Justice, thy name is not in the vocabulary of the English policeman
sent out by his sergeant to keep watch on automobilists!

Our road to the sea was by Rochester, Canterbury, and Dover, in the
first instance, following much the itinerary of Chaucer's pilgrims.

Southwark's Tabard Inn exists to-day, in name if not in spirit, and
it was easy enough to take it for our starting-point. Getting out of
London to the southeast is not as bad as by the northwest, but in all
conscience it is bad enough, through Deptford and its docks, and
Greenwich and Woolwich, and over the Plumstead marshes. There are
variants of this itinerary, we were told, but all are equally smelly
and sooty, and it was only well after we had passed Gravesend that we
felt that we had really left town behind, and even then we could see
the vermilion stacks of great steamships making their way up London's
river to the left, and the mouse-brown sails of the barges going
round the coast to Ipswich and Yarmouth.

At last a stretch of green unsmoked and unspoiled country, that via
Stroud to Rochester, came into view.

Rochester on the Medway, with its memories of Mr. Pickwick and the
Bull Inn (still remaining), the cathedral and Gad's Hill, Dickens's
home near by, is a literary shrine of the first importance. We
stopped _en route_ and did our duty, but were soon on our way again
through the encumbered main street of Chatham and up the long hill to
Sittingbourne, itself a dull, respectable market-town with a boiled
mutton and grilled kipper inn which offers no inducements to a
gormand to stop for lunch.

We kept on to Canterbury and didn't do much better at a hotel which
shall be nameless. The hotels are all bad at Canterbury, according to
Continental standards, and there is little choice between them.

It is said that the oldest inn in England is "The Fountain" at
Canterbury. "The Fountain" claims to have housed the wife of Earl
Godwin when she came to meet her husband on his return from Denmark
in the year 1029, and to have been the temporary residence of
Archbishop Lanfranc whilst his palace was being rebuilt in 1070.
There is a legend, too, that the four knights who murdered Thomas à
Becket made this house their rendezvous. Moreover, "The Fountain" can
boast of a testimonial to its excellence as an inn written six
hundred years ago, for, when the marriage of Edward the First to his
second queen, Margaret of France, was solemnized at Canterbury
Cathedral on September 12, 1299, the ambassador of the Emperor of
Germany, who was among the distinguished guests, wrote thus to his
master: "The inns in England are the best in Europe, those of
Canterbury are the best in England, and 'The Fountain,' wherein I am
now lodged as handsomely as I were in the king's palace, the best in
Canterbury." Times have changed since the days of Edward I.!

Canterbury is a very dangerous town to drive through. Its streets are
narrow and badly paved, and there are unexpected turnings which bring
up a lump in one's throat when he is driving at his most careful gait
and is suddenly confronted with a governess's cart full of children,
a perambulator, and a bath-chair, all in the middle of the road,
where, surely, the two latter have no right to be.

The grand old shrine of Thomas à Becket, the choir built by
Lanfranc's monks, and the general _ensemble_ of the cathedral close
are worth all the risk one goes through to get to them. The cathedral
impresses one as the most thoroughly French of all the Gothic
churches of Britain, and because of this its rank is high among the
ecclesiastical architectural treasures of the world. Its history is
known to all who know that of England, of the church, and of
architecture, and the edifice tells the story well.

The distant view from the road, as one approaches the city, is one
that can only be described as grand. The fabric of the great
cathedral, the rooftops of the houses, the sloping hills rising from
the water's edge, and again falling lightly down to the town, form a
grandly imposing view, the equal of which one seldom sees on the main
travelled roads of England.

Between Canterbury and Winchester ran one of the oldest roads in
England, the "Pilgrim's Way." Many parts of it still exist, and it is
believed by many to be the oldest monument of human work in these
islands. About two-thirds of the length of the road is known with
certainty, and to some extent the old itinerary forms the modern
highway. Its earliest route seems to have been from Stonehenge to
Canterbury, but later the part from Stonehenge to Alton was abandoned
in favour of that from Winchester to Alton. Guildford and Dorking
were places that it touched, though it was impossible to say with
certainty where it crossed the Medway.

Margate, Ramsgate, and the Isle of Thanet lay to the left of us, but
we struck boldly across the downs to Dover's Bay, under the shadow of
the Shakespeare Cliff, made famous in the scenic accessories of _The

Dover, seventy-two miles by road from London, has a good hotel,
almost reaching the Continental standard, though it is not an
automobile hotel and you must house your machine elsewhere. It is
called the Lord Warden Hotel, and is just off the admiralty pier
head. It suited us very well in spite of the fact that the old-school
Englishman contemptuously refers to it as a place for brides and for
seasick Frenchmen waiting the prospect of a fair crossing by the
Calais packet.

The descent into Dover's lower town from the downs above is fraught
with considerable danger for the automobilist. It is steep, winding,
and narrow, and one climbs out of it again the next morning by an
equally steep, though less narrow, road up over the Shakespeare Cliff
and down again abruptly into Folkestone.

Dover is not fashionable as a resort, and its one pretentious
sea-front hotel is not a lovely thing--most sea-front hotels are not.
In spite of this there is vastly more of interest going on, with the
coming and going of the great liners and the cross-channel boats of
the harbour, than is to be found in a mere watering-place, where band
concerts, parade-walks, "nigger minstrels," tea fights, and
excursions in the neighbourhood are the chief attractions which are
advertised, and are fondly believed by the authorities to be
sufficient to draw the money-spending crowds.

Dover is a very interesting place; the Shakespeare Cliff dominates
it on one side and the old castle ruin on the other, to-day as they
did when the first of the Cinq-Ports held England's destiny in the
hollow of her hand. Sir Walter Raleigh prayed his patron Elizabeth to
strengthen her fortifications here and formulate plans for a great
port. Much was done by her, but a fitting realization of Dover's
importance as a deep-water port has only just come to pass, and then
only because of a significant hint from the German emperor.

Shakespeare's, or Lear's, Cliff at Dover is one of the first things
to which the transatlantic up-channel traveller's attention is
called. Blind old Gloster has thus described it:

  "There is a cliff whose high and bending head
  Looks fearfully into the confined deep."

The English War Department of today, it is rumoured, would erase this
landmark, because the cliff obstructs the range of heavy guns, thus
jeopardizing the defence of Dover; but there are those who, knowing
that chalk is valuable, suggest that commercialism is at the
foundation of the scheme for destroying the cliff. The Dover
corporation has accordingly passed a resolution of remonstrance
against the destruction of what they claim "would rob the English
port of one of its most thrilling attractions."

Folkestone is more sadly respectable than Dover; more homeopathic,
one might say. The town is equally difficult for an automobile to
make its way through, but as one approaches the water's edge things
somewhat improve. Wampach's Hotel at Folkestone is not bad, but B. B.
B., as the "Automobile Club's Hand Book" puts it (bed, bath, and
breakfast), costs eight shillings and sixpence a day. This is too
much for what you get.

We followed the shore road to Hythe, Dymchurch, New Romney, and Rye,
perhaps thirteen miles all told, along a pebble-strewn roadway with
here and there a glimpse of the shining sea and the smoke from a
passing steamer.

To our right was Romney Marsh, calling up memories of the smuggling
days of old, when pipes of port and bales of tobacco mysteriously
found their way inland without paying import duties.

Rye is by no means a resort; it is simply a dull, sleepy, red-roofed
little seaside town, with, at sunset, a riot of blazing colour
reflected from the limpid pools left by the retreating waters of the
Channel, which now lies five miles away across a mud-flat plain,
although coastwise shipping once came to Rye's very door-step.

The entrance to the town, by an old mediæval gateway, is easily
enough made by a careful driver, but an abrupt turn near the top of
the slight rise cost us a mud-guard, it having been ripped off by an
unexpected and most dangerous hitching-post. This may be now removed;
it certainly is if the local policeman did his duty and reported our
really atrocious language to the authorities. Of all imbecilic and
unneedful obstructions to traffic, Rye's half-hidden hitching-post is
one of the most notable seen in an automobile tour comprising seven
countries and several hundreds, perhaps thousands, of large and small

The chief curiosities of Rye are its quaint hilltop church, the town
walls, and the Ypres tower, all quite foreign in motive and aspect
from anything else in England.

Those interested in literary shrines may well bow their heads before
the door of the dignified Georgian house near the church, in which
resides the enigmatic Henry James. There may be other literary lights
who shed a glow over Rye, but we did not learn of them, and surely
none could be more worthy of the attention of literary lion-hunters
than the American who has become "more English" than the English

We left Rye by a toll-gate road over the marshes, bound for
Winchelsea, and, passing through the ivy-clad tower which spans the
roadway, stopped abruptly, like all hero or heroine worshippers,
before the dainty home of Ellen Terry. The creeper-clung little brick
cottage is a reminiscence of old-world peace and quiet which must be
quite refreshing after an active life on the stage.

Hastings saw us for the night. Hastings and St. Leonards, twin
sea-front towns, are what, for a better description, might be called
snug and smug. They are simply the most depressing, unlovely resorts
of sea-front and villas that one will see in a round of all the
English resorts.

As a pompous, bustling, self-sufficient little city, Hastings, with
its fisher men and women, its fish-market and the ruined
castle-crowned height, has some quaintness and character; but as a
resort where the chief amusements are scrappy, tuneless
hurdy-gurdies, blatant brass bands, living picture shows, or
third-rate repetitious of a last year's London theatrical successes,
it is about the rankest boring proposition which ever drew the unwary

We had our "B. B. B." that night at the Queen's Hotel, a vast
barracks of a place near the end of the Parade. The best thing about
it was the view from the windows of our sleeping-rooms, and the fact
that we could stable our automobile under the same roof.

We made a little run inland from Hastings the next morning to view
old Battle Abbey. The battlement-crowned gateway is still one of the
architectural marvels of England. It took us a dozen miles out of our
way, but always among the rolling downs which dip down to the sea,
chalk-faced and grass-grown in a manner characteristic only of the
south coast of England.

We came to Eastbourne through Pevensey, famed for its old ruined
castle and much history. A low-lying marsh-grown fishing-port of
olden times, Pevensey was the landing-place of the Conqueror when he
came to lay the foundation-stones of England's greatness. It is a
shrine that Britons should bow down before, and reverently.

Eastbourne is a vast improvement, as a resort, over any south coast
town we had yet seen. It is not gay, it is rather sedate, and
certainly eminently respectable and dignified. Giant wheels,
hurdy-gurdies, and quack photographers are banished from its beach
and esplanade, and one may stroll undisturbed by anything but
perambulators and bath-chairs. Its sea-front walk of a couple of
miles or more is as fine as any that can be found from the Foreland
to the Lizard.

Most energetically we climbed to the top of Beachy Head, gossiped
with the coast-guard, stole a peep through the telescope by which
Lloyd's observer at the signal-station picks out passing ships, and
got down the great hill again in time for lunch at the Burlington
Hotel. We lunched in more or less stately fashion, well, if not
luxuriously, in a great dining-room whose sole occupant, besides
ourselves, was England's laureate.

He is herein endorsed as possessing a good taste in seaside hotels,
whatever one may think of the qualities of his verse. The Burlington
seemed to us the best conducted and most satisfactory hotel on all
the south coast, except perhaps the Lord Warden at Dover.

It was a more or less rugged climb, by a badly made road, up over the
downs from Eastbourne, only to drop down again as quickly through
Eastdean to Newhaven, a short ten miles, but a trying one.

Newhaven is a sickly burg sheltered well to the west of Beachy Head.
Its only excitements are the comings and goings of the Dieppe
steamers and a few fishing-boats. It is one of the best ports for
shipping one's automobile to France, and one of the cheapest. In no
other respect is Newhaven worth a glance of the eye, and English
travelers themselves have no good word for the abominable tea and
coffee served to limp, half-famished travellers as they get off the
Dieppe boat. This well-worn and well-deserved reputation was no
inducement for us to stop, so we made speed for Brighton via

Rottingdean will be famous in most minds as being the rival of
Brattleboro, Vt., as the home of Rudyard Kipling. Sightseers came
from Brighton in droves and stared the author out of countenance, as
they did at Brattleboro, and he removed to the still less known, _and
a great deal less accessible_, village of Burwash in Kent. Thus
passed the fame of Rottingdean.

Brighton has been called London-on-Sea, and with some truth, but as
the sun shines here with frequency it differs from London in that

Brighton is a brick and iron built town, exceedingly unlovely, but
habitable. Its two great towering sea-front hotels look American, but
they are a great deal more substantially built. There are two rivals
for popular favour, the Grand and the Metropole. They are much alike
in all their appointments, but there are fewer tea-drinkers and
after-dinner sleepers (and snorers) at the Metropole. There is also a
famous old coaching house, the Ship Hotel (most curiously named),
which caters particularly for automobilists.

Brighton is the typical seaside resort of Britain. It is like nothing
on the Continent; it is not even as attractive a place as most
Continental resorts; but it is the best thing in Britain.

Brighton and Hove have a sea-front of perhaps three miles. Houses and
hotels line the promenade on one side, a pebbly beach and the sea on
the other.

The attractions of Brighton are conventional and an imitation of
those in London. In addition one bathes, in summer, in the lapping
waves, and in winter sits in a glass shelter which breaks the wind,
and gazes seaward.

There are theatrical attractions and operas in the theatre, and vocal
and instrumental concerts on the pier, all through the year. There
are also various sorts of functions which go on in the turnip-topped
Royal Pavilion of the Georges, which once seen will ever afterward be

It is not always bright and sunny at Brighton. We were storm-bound at
the Metropole for two days, and the Channel waves dashed up over the
pier and promenade and drowned out the strollers who sought to take
their constitutional abroad.

We sat tight in the hotel and listened to Sousa marches, "Hiawatha,"
and "The Belle of New York" strummed out by a none too competent
band. A genial fat-faced old lady of uncertain age tried to inveigle
us into a game of bridge, but that was not what we came for, so we
strenuously refused.

The flood-tide of holiday trippers at Brighton is in August. This is
the month when, at certain periods of the day, the mile length of
roadway from railway station to sea is a closely packed crowd of
excursionists; when the long expanse of sea-front and sand presents
its most animated spectacle of holiday-keeping people; when the
steamers plying along the Sussex coast, or to France, the
white-sailed yachts, the rowing-boats, and motor-boats are the most
numerous; and when the hundred and one entertainers and providers of
all kinds do their busiest trade.

There is a public bathing-station at the eastern end of the
sea-front. A large marquee is provided, and a worthy lady, the
incarnation of the British matron, sees to it that the curtains are
properly drawn and that inquisitive small boys keep their distance.
But it is rather a long walk from the marquee to the water when the
tide is low, and one often hears the camera click on the irresistible
charms of some swan-like creature ambling down to deep water. The
authorities have promised to put a stop to such liberties. Can they?

We left Brighton with a very good idea indeed of what it was like. It
has a place to fill and it fills it very well, but the marvel is that
the Britisher submits to it, when he can spend his weekends, or his
holiday, at Boulogne or Dieppe for practically the same expenditure
of time and money, and get real genuine relaxation and a gaiety which
is not forced. So much for Brighton.

The Brighton police authorities have heeded the words of admonition
of the tradesmen and hotel-keepers, and the automobilist has an easy
time of it. It is an example which it is to be hoped will be
far-reaching in its effects.

The road by the coast runs along by New Shoreham to Worthing, where
the automobilist is catered for in really satisfactory fashion at
Warne's Hotel, which possesses what is called a motor dépôt, a name
which describes its functions in an obvious manner. It is a good
place to lunch and a good place to obtain gasoline and oil. What more
does the touring automobilist want? Not much but good roads and ever
varying scenery.

Worthing has a population of twenty-five thousand conservative souls,
and a mild climate. Its popularity is only beginning, but it boasts
1,748 hours of sunshine, an exceedingly liberal allowance for an
English resort. It has also a "school of cookery;" this may account
for the fare being as excellent as it is at "Warne's," though the
proprietors are silent on this point.

Littlehampton came next in our itinerary. It almost equals Rye as one
of the picture spots of England's south coast. It may develop some
day into an artist's sketching ground which will rival the Cornish
coast. It has a tidal river with old boats and barges lying
picturesquely about, and it permits "mixed bathing," a rarity in
England. In spite of this there appears to be no falling off in
morals, and when other English seaside resorts adopt the same
procedure they will be falling out of the conservatism which is
keeping many of them from developing at the rate of Littlehampton.

We left the coast here to visit Arundel and its castle, the seat of
the Duke of Norfolk. It was a Friday and the keep and park were open
to the public.

Arundel is an ancient town which sleeps its life away and lives up to
the traditions of mediævalism in truly conservative fashion. The
Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland makes no recommendation
as to the hotels of Arundel, and presumably the Norfolk Arms cares
nothing for the automobile traffic. We did not stop at any hotel, but
left our machine outside the castle gate, enjoyed the conventional
stroll about inside the walls and in an hour were on the way to

Sussex is a county which, according to some traditions possesses four
particular delicacies. Izaak Walton, in 1653, named them as follows:
a Selsea cockle, a Chichester lobster, an Arundel mullet, and an
Amberley trout. Another authority, Ray, adds to these three more: a
Pulborough eel, a Rye herring, and a Bourn wheatear, which, he says,
"are the best in their kind, understand it, of those that are taken
in this country."

Chichester is a cathedral town not usually included in the itinerary
of stranger-tourists. Its proud old cathedral and its detached
bell-tower are remarkable for many things, but the strangeness of the
belfry, entirely unconnected with the church fabric itself, will
strike the natives of the land of skyscrapers most of all.

Chichester is conservative in all things, and social affairs, said a
public-house habitué, are entirely dominated by the cathedral clique.
He may have been a bad authority, this doddering old septuagenarian,
mouthing his pint of beer, but he entertained us during the half-hour
of a passing shower with many plain-spoken opinions about many
things, including subjects as wide apart as clericalism and

Our route from Chichester was to Portsmouth and Southsea, neither of
which interested us to any extent. The former is warlike in every
turn of its crooked streets and the latter is full of retired
colonels and majors, who keep always to the middle of the footpath
across Southsea Common, and will not turn the least bit to one side,
for courtesy or any other reason. Too much curry on their rice or
port after dinner probably accounts for it.

We stopped at the George at Portsmouth. It offers no accommodation
for automobiles, but a garage is near by. The halo of sentiment and
romance hung over the more or less dingy old hotel, dingy but clean,
and possessed of a parlour filled with a collection of old furniture
which would make the connoisseur want to carry it all away with him.

This was the terminus of old-time travel from London to Portsmouth.
The Portsmouth road, in coaching days as in automobile days, ran
through England's fairest counties down to her emporium of ships. Its
beginnings go back to the foundations of England's naval power.

Edward IV. made Portsmouth a strong place of defence, but the road
from town only became well travelled in later centuries.

Along the old Portsmouth road were, and are still, any number of
nautically named inns. At Liphook is the Anchor--where Pepys put up
when on his way to England's chief naval town--and the Ship; there is
another Anchor at Ripley; at Petersfield stands the Dolphin, and near
Guildford is the Jovial Sailor. All these, and other signs of a like
nature, suffice to tell the observant wayfarer that he is on the road
which hordes of seamen have trod on their way to and from London, and
that it was formerly deemed well worth while to hang out invitations
to them.

In 1703 Prince George of Denmark made nine miles in six hours on this
road, an indication that the good roads movement had not begun. In
1751 Doctor Burton suggested that all the animals in Sussex,
including the women, were long-legged because of "the difficulty of
pulling their feet out of the mud which covers the roads hereabouts."

A hundred or more years ago Nelson came by post by this road to
Portsmouth to hoist his flag upon the _Victory_. He arrived at the
George, the same which was sheltering our humble selves, at six in
the morning, as the records tell, having travelled all night. The
rest is history, but the old _Victory_ still swings at her moorings
in Portsmouth harbour, a shrine before which all lovers of the sea
and its tales may worship. Portsmouth is the great storehouse of
Britain's battleships, and the Solent from Spithead to Stokes Bay is
a vast pool where float all manner of warlike craft.

[Illustration: Ryde]

The Isle of Wight was the immediate attraction for us at Portsmouth.
One makes the passage by boat in thirty minutes, and when one gets
there he finds leafy lanes and well-kept roads that will put many
mainland counties to shame. The writer does not know the length of
the roadways of the Isle of Wight, but there are enough to give one a
good three days of excursions and promenades.

We made our headquarters at Ryde and sallied out after breakfast and
after lunch each day, invariably returning for the night.

[Illustration: Road Map of Wight]

The beauties of the Isle of Wight are many and varied, with all the
charms of sea and shore. For a literary shrine it has Tennyson's
Freshwater and the Tennyson Beacon high up on the crest of the downs
overlooking the Needles, Freshwater Bay, and the busy traffic of the
English Channel, where the ships make landward to signal the
observers at St. Catherine's Point.

Cowes and "Cowes week" are preeminent annual events in society's
periodical swing around the circle.

The real development of Cowes, the home of the Royal Yacht Squadron,
has been the evolution of week-end yachting in the summer months.
City men, and jaded legislators, held to town by the Parliamentary
duties of a long summer session, rush down to Southampton every
Saturday and each steps off his train or motor-car on to the deck of
his yacht, and then, after a spin westward to the Needles or eastward
to the Nab or Warner Lightship, soothed by the lapping of the waters,
and refreshed by the pure sea air, returns on the Monday to face
again the terrors of London heat and "fag."

Taken all in all, we found the Isle of Wight the most enjoyable
region of its area in all England. It is quite worth the trouble of
crossing from the mainland with one's automobile in order to do it
thoroughly; for what one wants is green fields and pastures new and a
breadth of sea and sky.

Chapter III
Land's End To John O'Groats

[Illustration: Land's End]

We had already done a bit of conventional touring in England, and we
thought we knew quite all of the charms and fascinations of the
idyllic countryside of most of Britain, not omitting even Ireland.

The cathedral towns had appealed to us in our youthful days, and we
had rediscovered a good portion of Dickens's England on another
occasion, had lived for a fortnight on a house-boat on the Thames,
and had cruised for ten days on the Norfolk Broads, and besides had
played golf in Scotland, and _attempted_ to shoot grouse on a
Scottish moor. All this had furnished at least variety, and, when it
came to automobiling through Britain, it was merely going over
well-worn ground that we had known in our cycling days, and usually
we went merely where fancy willed.

Conditions had changed considerably, in fact all things had changed,
we ourselves no less than certain aspects of the country which we had
pictured as always being (in England) of that idyllic tenor of which
the poet sings. This comes of living too much in London, and with too
frequent week-ends at Brighton, Bournemouth, or Cromer.

For years, ever since we had first set foot in England in the days
when cycling _en tandem_ (and even touring in the same manner) was in
vogue, if not the fashion, we had heard of John O'Groat's house, and
we had seen Land's End many a time coming up Channel. We knew, too,
that among scorching cyclists "Land's End to John O'Groat's" was a
classic itinerary for those who would boast of their prowess and
their grit.

All this passed and then came the automobile. "Land's End to John
O'Groat's" is nothing for an automobile, though it is the longest
straightaway bit of road in all Britain, 888 miles, to be exact. If
you are out for a record on an automobile you do it as a "non-stop"
run. It's dull, foolhardy business that, and it proves nothing except
your ability to keep awake for anything between thirty-six and
forty-eight hours, which you can do just as well sitting up with a
sick friend.

In spite of the banal sound that the very words had for us, "Land's
End to John O'Groat's" had a perennial fascination, and so we set out
with our automobile to cover this much, talked of itinerary, with all
its varied charms and deficiencies, for, taking it all in all, it is
probably one of the hilliest roads in Britain, rising as it does over
eight distinct ranges of what are locally called mountains, and
mountains they virtually are when it comes to crossing them by road.

[Illustration: Map of Land's End to John O'Groats]

There is nothing very exciting to be had from a tour such as this,
though it is nearly a nine hundred mile straight-away promenade. For
the most part one's road lies through populous centres, far more so
than any American itinerary for a reliability trial for automobiles
that was ever conceived. Many are the "_events_" which have been run
over this "Land's End--John O'Groat's" course, and the journey has
proved the worth or worthlessness of many a new idea in automobilism.

The modern automobile is getting complicated, but it is also becoming
efficient, if not exactly approaching perfection as yet. The early
days of automobiling were not fraught with so many technicalities as
to-day, when the last new thing may be a benzine bus or a turbine
trailer; formerly everything was simple and crude,--and more or less
inefficient. To-day many cars are as complicated as a chronometer and
require the education of an expert who has lived among their
intricacies for many months in order to control their vagaries and
doctor their ills, which, if not chronic, are as varied as those of
an old maid of sixty.

Four of us started on our road to the north as fit as possible, and
we were courageous enough to think our automobile was likewise, as it
was a tried and trusty friend with some twenty thousand miles to its
credit, and with never a breakage so far as its mechanism was

[Illustration: St. Michael's Mount]

We had stayed a few days at Penzance and got to knew something of
Cornwall and things Cornish. Unquestionably Cornwall is the least
spoiled section of Southern Britain; its coastline is rocky and
serrated, and its tors and hills and rills are about as wild and
unspoiled by the hand of man as can be imagined. There is a vast
literature on the subject if one cares to read it, and the modern
fictionists (like the painter-men) have even developed a "Cornish
school." However, there need be no discussion of its merits or
demerits here.

In Mount's Bay is the Cornish counterpart of Normandy's St. Michel's
Mount. It is by no means so great or imposing, or endowed with such a
wealth of architectural charm as the cross-channel Mont St. Michel,
but the English St. Michael's Mount, a granite rock rising from the
sea two hundred and fifty or more feet, was sufficient of an
attraction to draw us to Penzance for our headquarters and to keep us
till we had visited its castle of the days of Charles II. There is no
question of the age of St. Michael's Mount, for Ptolemy charted it in
Roman days, and the Roman warriors, who battled with the Britons,
made spear-heads and hatchets of the tin and iron which they dug from
its rocky defences.

The grim, unlovely little hotel at Land's End sheltered us the night
before the commencement of our journey north, and the Longships
Lighthouse flashed its warning in through our open bedroom window all
the night long and made us dream of wicked and unworldly monster
automobiles bearing down upon us with a great blazing _phare_ which
blotted out all else.

The nightmare passed, we got ourselves together at five in the
morning, drank tepid tea, and ate the inevitable bacon and eggs
furnished one for breakfast in England, and, before lunch, had passed
Bodmin, crossed Bodmin moor (a little Exmoor), and skirted Dartmoor,
just north of Great Links Tor, arriving at Exeter at high noon.

Pople's New London Hotel at Exeter is the headquarters of the
Automobile Club, is patronized by Royalty (so the advertisements
say), and is a very satisfactory-looking old-century inn which has
not wholly succumbed to modern improvement, nor yet is it wholly
backward. It is "fair to middling" only, so far as the requirements
of the automobilist go (what Royalty may think of it the writer does
not know), but its proprietor ought to take a trip abroad and find
out what his house lacks.

The wonder of Exeter for us was the carved west porch of its
cathedral, not very good carving, we were told, but undeniably
effective, peopled as it was with a whole regiment of sculptured

Exeter has a ruined castle, too, called Rougement, a name which
preserves the identity of its Norman origin. Exeter's High Street is
a curious stagy affair, with great jutting house gables, pillars, and
pignons, undeniably effective, but a terror to automobilists because
of its narrowness and the congestion of its traffic.

The road turns north after leaving Exeter and passes Taunton, "one of
the nicest towns in the west of England," as we were told by the
landlord's daughter on leaving Exeter. Not knowing what her standard
was for judgment, but suspecting it was tea and buns, we delved away
into the county of Somerset and reached Wells, on the edge of the
Mendip Hills, before dinner.

Somerset is reputed to be one of the loveliest counties in the west
of England and one of the most countrified of all Britain. It is a
region of farming lands, of big and little estates, with the big ones
predominating, which the land reformers, and all others who give it a
thought, claim must some day be divided among the people. When that
millennium comes Somerset will be a paradise for the people. In spite
of its productiveness and its suitability for farming, the great
estates of the wealthy are used for the purposes of pleasure and not
of profit, for the hunting of foxes and for the shooting of

Wells is an episcopal city with a bishop who presides also over Bath.
Wells is essentially ecclesiastical; never had it a momentous or
warlike history; it is bare of romance; it has no manufactures and no
great families. Wells Cathedral takes high rank for the originality
of its architecture, its general constructive excellence, and its

[Illustration: Taunton]

There are three picturesquely named hotels, the Swan, the Mitre, and
the Star. They are all equally dull, respectable, and conservative,
and they stick to tradition and conventional English fare. You will
probably arrive on boiled-mutton night; we did, and suspect that it
recurs about three times a week, but it was good mutton, though it
would have been a great deal better roasted, instead of boiled.

Via Cheddar, where the cheeses come from, we made our way to Bristol.
Bristol is one of the most progressive automobile towns in England.
You may see all sorts and conditions of automobiles at Bristol, even
American automobiles, which are more or less of a rarity in Europe,
even in England.

From Bristol to Gloucester, another cathedral town, we passed over
good roads and pleasant ones, rounding meanwhile the Cotswolds and
passing direct to Worcester, where we lunched.

It is useless to attempt to describe a complete trip in pages such as
these, and, beyond commenting on changing conditions and novel
scenes, it is not attempted. Generally speaking the road surfaces
were excellent throughout, but the grades of the hills were ofttimes
abnormal, and the narrowness of main roads, and the hedge-hidden
byroads which crossed them, made travelling more or less of a danger
for the stranger, particularly if he was not habituated to England's
custom of "meeting on the left and passing on the right."

Following the valley of the Severn, by Shrewsbury and Whitechurch, we
crossed the great Holyhead Road, "the king's highway," from London to

From Ogilby's Road Book, an old book-stall find of one of our party
at Shrewsbury, we learned that in days gone by the coach "Wonder"
left the Bull and Mouth, at St. Martin's-le-Grand in London, at 6.30
A. M., and was at Shrewsbury at 10.30 the same night. Good going
indeed for those days!

At Shrewsbury one is within easy reach of the Welsh border, but, in
spite of the novelty promised us, we kept on our way north. This was
not because we feared the "evil character" of the Welsh (as an old
writer put it), but because we feared their language.

We left Liverpool and its docks, and Manchester and its cotton
factories, to the left, and, passing through Warrington and Preston,
arrived at Lancaster for the night. It was the longest day's driving
we had done in England, something over two hundred miles. All the
ordinary characteristics of the southern counties had been left far
behind. The _prettiness_ of conventional English scenery had made way
for something more of _character_ and severity of outline. For the
morrow we had to look forward to the climb over Shap Fell, one of
England's genuine mountain roads, or as near like one as the country

Lancaster was perhaps not the best place we could have chosen for the
night, but everything had been running well and we had pushed on
simply for the joy of the running. The County Hotel at Lancaster was
like other county hotels in England. _Verb. sap._ They had the
audacity to charge two shillings for housing our automobile for the
night, and pointed out the fact that this was the special rate given
members of the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland.

Well! It was the most awful "roast" we found in England! They must
have some grudge against the Club! "B. B. B." cost seven shillings
and sixpence, and dinner four shillings more, a bottle of Bordeaux
five shillings, etc. Four of us for the night (including a hot bath
for each--which cost the hotel practically nothing) paid something
like £3 for our _accommodation_. It wasn't worth it!

We passed the "Lake District" to the left the next morning, where it
always rains, we are told. Perhaps it always does rain in some parts
of Westmoreland, but it was bright and sunny when we crossed Shap
Fell, at a height of something like twelve hundred feet above
sea-level. The railway station of Shap Summit is itself at an
elevation of a thousand feet. We had crossed nothing like this
previously in England, although it is not so very high after all, nor
is it so very terrifying in the ascent or descent. The Castle of
Comfort Inn in the Mendip Hills was only seven hundred feet, but here
we were five hundred feet above it, and the neighbouring Fells,
Helvellyn and Scafell in particular, raised their regular, rounded
peaks to something over thirty-two hundred feet in the air.

Carlisle is commonly called the border town between England and
Scotland; at any rate it was a vantage-ground in days gone by that
was of a great value to one faction and a thorn in the side to the
other. The conquering and unconquered Scots are the back-bone of
Britain, there's no denying that; and Carlisle is near enough to the
border to be intimately acquainted with their virtues.

We inspected Carlisle's cathedral, its ugly castle, and the County
Hotel,--and preferred the two former. One thing in Carlisle struck us
as more remarkable than all else, and that was that the mean annual
temperature was stated to be 48° F. It was just that, when we were
there, though cloudy and unpromising as to weather. In our opinion
Carlisle is an unlovely, disagreeable place.

Gretna Green, with its famous, or infamous, career as a marriage
mart, had little to offer a passing tourist beyond some silly, vulgar
postcards on sale at a newsdealer's.

Across the border topographical characteristics did not greatly
change, at least not at once, from what had gone immediately before,
and it was not until Lockerbie was reached that we fully realized
that we were in Scotland.

It was a long, long pull, and a hard, hard pull of seventy miles from
Lockerbie to Edinburgh, via Moffat, Biggar, and Penicuik, skirting
the Fells of Peebleshire and running close beneath the Pentland
Hills, with memories of Stevenson's tales ever uppermost in our

Via Dalkeith the entrance into Edinburgh is delightful, but via
Rosslyn it is unbeautiful enough until one actually drops down into
world-famed Princes' Street.

Romantic Edinburgh is known by European travellers as one of the
sights never omitted from a comprehensive itinerary. It is quaint,
picturesque, grand, squalid, and luxurious all rolled into one. Its
castle crowns the height above the town on one side, and Arthur's
Seat does the same on the other, with gloomy old Holyrood in the gulf
between, the whole softened and punctuated with many evidences of
modern life, the smoke and noise of railways, trams, and factories.
There are many guide-books to Edinburgh, but there are none so
satisfactory as Stevenson's tales dealing with the town. In
"Kidnapped," "The Master of Ballantrae," and "Catriona," he pictures
its old streets and "stairs," its historic spots, its very stones and
flags, and the charming countryside around in incomparable fashion.

The Carlton Hotel at Edinburgh is _the_ automobile hotel of Britain.
There is nothing quite so good either in England or Scotland. The
proof of this is that the _Automobile Club de France_ have given it
distinctive marks in its "_Annuaire de l'Etranger._" There is the
tiny silhouette of a knife and fork, and four-poster bed, indicating
that the tables and beds are of an agreeable excellence. This is a
great deal more satisfying as a recommendation than Baedeker's.

We crossed the Firth of Forth via the Granton Ferry, from Granton to
Burntisland,--pronounced Burnt Island--a fact that none of us knew

Via Kinross and Loch Leven we arrived at Perth for lunch. We went to
the Salutation Hotel, because of its celebrated "Prince Charlie
Room," and had no reason to regret the lunch that was given us, or
the price paid for it. Scottish hotels have had a reputation of not
being as good as those of England and much more costly. We were
finding things just the reverse. Automobilism is an industry in
Scotland, not a fad, and the automobilist is catered for accordingly,
at least so it seemed to us, and, since the leading British
automobile is a Scotch production, who can deny that the Scot has
grasped the salient points of the whole scheme of affairs in a far
better manner than the Sassenach.

From Perth, through the very heart of the Scotch Highlands, we passed
through Glen Garry and the Valley of the Spey. Cairn Gorm rose
something over four thousand feet immediately on our right, when,
turning abruptly northwest, we came into Inverness just at nightfall.
It had been another long, hard day, and, since Perth, over
indifferent roads.

The capital of the Highlands, Inverness, treated us very well at the
Alexandra Hotel. As a summer or autumn resort Inverness has scarcely
its equal in Britain. It is a lively, interesting, and picturesque
town, and day lingers far on into the night by reason of its northern
situation. Its temperature, moreover, for the most part of the year,
is by no means as low as in many parts farther south.

[Illustration: The Highlands]

From Inverness, via Dingwall, Tain, and Bonar Bridge, the roads
improved, lying almost at sea-level. Here was a long sweep westward
and then eastward again, around the Moray Firth, and it was not until
we stopped at Helmsdale for lunch, 102 miles from Inverness, that we
left the coastline road, and then only for a short distance.

Again at Berriedal we came to the coast, the surging, battering North
Sea waves carving grimly every foot of the shore line. Lybster,
Albster, and Thrumster were not even names that we had heard of
previously, and we dashed through them at the legal limit, with only
a glance of the eye at their quaintness and unworldliness.

Caithness is the most northern county of Scotland, and its metropolis
is Wick, where one gets the nearest approach to the midnight sun that
can be found with civilized, modern, and up-to-date surroundings.

The Scottish Automobile Club vouched for the accommodation of the
Station Hotel, at Wick, and we had no occasion to question their
judgment. (B. B. B., six shillings; which is cheap--though it costs
you two shillings to stable your machine at a neighbouring garage.)

From Wick to John O'Groat's is thirty-six miles, out and back. We
were all day doing it, loafing along over a heather-strewn plain and
lunching at the Hotel Huna (the significance of which name we forgot
to ask.)

[Illustration: Wick, Inverness and John O'Groats]

This ended our run to the North, five days in all, not a very
terrific speed or a very venturesome proceeding, but as good a test
of one's knowledge of how to keep his machine running as can be got
anywhere. It was a sort of rapid review of many things of which we
had hitherto only a scrappy, fragmentary knowledge, and is a trip
which should not be omitted from any one's grand European itinerary
if one has the time and means of covering it.

Part IV
In Belgium, Holland, And Germany

Chapter I
On The Road In Flanders

[Illustration: Flanders]

There has been a noticeable falling off in touring in Belgium. There
is no reason for this except the caprice of fashion, and the
automobile and its popularizing influence will soon change all this,
in spite of the abominable stretches of paved highroads, which here
and there and everywhere, and most unexpectedly, crop up and shake
one almost to pieces, besides working dire disaster to the mechanical
parts of one's automobile. The authorities are improving things, but
it will be some time yet before Belgium is as free from _pavé_ as is

The good roads of Belgium are as good as those anywhere to be found,
and it is only the unlooked for and distressingly frequent stretches
of paved highway which need give any concern.

The natives speak French--of a sort--here and there in Belgium, but
they also speak Flemish and Walloon.

We left Paris by the Route de Belgique, crossed the frontier at
Givet, and made our first stop at Rethel, 193 kilometres away, where
we passed the night, at the Hôtel de France. For a town of less than
six thousand people Bethel is quite a metropolis. It has a grand
establishment known as the Société d'Automobiles Bauchet, which will
cater for any and every want of the automobilist, and has a
half-dozen sights of first rank, from the old Hôtel Dieu to the
bizarre doubled-up Eglise St. Nicolas and the seventeenth-century,
wood-roofed market-house.

Sorbon, four kilometres away, is the birthplace of Robert Sorbon, the
founder of the Sorbonne at Paris, and is a classic excursion which is
never omitted by true pilgrims who come to Rethel.

Fifty-three kilometres from Rethel is Rocroi, a name which means
little to most strangers in France. It is near the Belgian frontier
and saw bloody doings in the Franco-Prussian war.

Rocroi is a pompous little fortified place reached only by one road
and a narrow-gauge railway--literally two streaks of iron rust--which
penetrate up to the very doors of a pretentious Hôtel de Ville with a
Doric façade, and not much else that is remarkable.

The town has a population of but two thousand, is surrounded by
fortifications, contains a Caserne, a Sous-Préfecture, a Prison, and
a Palais de Justice. All this officialdom weights things down
considerably, and, what with the prospect of the custom-house
arrangements at Givet, and the necessity of demonstrating to an
over-zealous _gendarme_ at Rocroi that we really had a "Certificat de
Capacité," and that the photograph which it bore (which didn't look
the least like us) was really ours, we were considerably angered and
delayed on our departure the next morning, particularly as we had
already been three days _en route_ and the frontier was still thirty
odd kilometres away.

As one passes Rocroi, Belgium and France blend themselves into an
indistinguishable unit so far as characteristics go. Manners and
customs here change but slowly, and the highroad must be followed
many kilometres backward toward Paris before one gets out of the
influence of Flemish characteristics.

We finally got across the Belgium frontier at Givet, at least we got
our _passavant_ here, though the Belgian customs formalities took place
at Heer-Agimont, formalities which are delightfully simple, though
evolving the payment of a fee of twelve per cent. of the declared
value of your automobile. You get your receipt for money paid, which
you present at the frontier station by which you leave and get it
back again--if you have not lost your papers. If you have you might
as well prepare to live in Belgium the rest of your life, as a friend
of ours told us he had done, when we met him unexpectedly on a café
terrace at Ostende a week later.

There be those who are content to grovel in dark alleys, among a
sordid picturesqueness, surrounded by a throng of garlic-sodden
natives, rather than while their time away on the open mountainside
or wide-spread lake or plain. All such are advised to keep away from
Southern Belgium, the Ardennes, and the valley of the Meuse at Dinant
and Namur.

We lunched at the Hôtel des Postes at Dinant on the Meuse, and so
lovely was the town and its environs, and the twenty-eight kilometres
of valley road to Namur (no _pavé_ here), that it took us eight hours
of a long summer's day to get away from Dinant and get settled down
again for the night in the Hôtel d'Harscamp at Namur.

The native declares there is nothing to equal the view from the
fortress-height of the citadel of Namur, neither in Switzerland nor
the Pyrenees; but though we climbed the three twisting kilometres to
the fort, there was nothing more than a ravishing view of the
charming river valley at our feet. The majesty of it all was in the
imagination of the inhabitant, but all the same it was of a
loveliness that few artists can describe in paint, few authors
picture in words, and no kodakist reproduce satisfactorily in print.
There is but one thing for the curious to do, and that is to go and
see it for himself.

The rest of the journey across Belgium to Brussels the writer would
like to forget. Oh, that terrible next day! Sixty kilometres of one
of the worst and most destructive roads, for an automobile, in
Europe, and through a most uninteresting country. Perhaps, if the
road had been better, the landscape might not have had so oppressive
an effect. As it was, an automobilist journeys along the road--which
is practically across the kingdom--his eyes glued to it, his heart in
his mouth, and he bumps and slides over the wearying kilometres until
he all but forgets the beauties of the Meuse now so far behind.
Kilometre after kilometre of this vile road is paved with blocks of
stone as big as one's head, half of which are out of place. And when
one's automobile sinks into the holes one can but shudder. One hears
of a road that is paved with good intentions. It does not enjoy a
good reputation, but it can't be worse than the road from Namur to

We passed through what, for the want of a better and more distinctive
name, may be called the Waterloo region; but, for the moment, we
cared not a jot for battle-fields. Our battle with the ugly roads of
Belgium was all-sufficient.

Southey's verses are so good, though, that they are here given in
order that the writer may arrive the quicker at Brussels and take his
well-earned rest:

  "Southward from Brussels lies the field of blood,
  Some three hours' journey for a well-girt man;
  A horseman who in haste pursued his road
  Would reach it as the second hour began.
  The way is through a forest deep and wide,
  Extending many a mile on either side."

  "No cheerful woodland this of antique trees,
  With thickets varied and with sunny glade;
  Look where he will, the weary traveller sees
  One gloomy, thick impenetrable shade
  Of tall straight trunks, which move before his sight,
  With interchange of lines of long green light."

  "Here, where the woods receding from the road
  Have left on either hand an open space
  For fields and gardens, and for man's abode,
  Stands Waterloo; a little lowly place,
  Obscure till now, when it hath risen to fame,
  And given the victory its English name."

Finally we reached Brussels, still over cobblestones, the road
growing worse every minute, and stopped at the Grand Central Hotel,
in the Place de la Bourse, the correspondent of the Touring Club de
France, and the only hotel of its class which serves its _table
d'hôte_ "_vin compris._"

Brussels has ever been put down in the notebooks of conventional
travellers as a little Paris; but this is by no means the case. It
resembles Paris not at all, except that French francs pass current in
its shops and the French tongue is the language of commerce and

What has less frequently been remarked is that Brussels has two
contrasting elements of life, which, lying close, one upon the other,
strongly exaggerate the French note of it all, and make the hotels,
cafés, restaurants, etc., take on that boulevard aspect which we
fondly think is Parisian.

French Brussels and Flemish Brussels are as distinct elements in the
make-up of this doubleheaded city as are the ingredients of oil and
water, and like the latter they do not mix.

When one descends from the hilltop on which is modern Brussels, past
the cathedral of Ste. Gudule, he leaves the shops, the cafés, and the
boulevards behind him and enters the past.

The small shopmen, and the men and women of the markets, all look and
talk Flemish, and the environment is everywhere as distinctly Flemish
as if one were standing on one of the little bridges which cross the
waterways of Ghent or Bruges.

The men and women are broad-bodied and coarse-featured,--quite
different from the Dutch, one remarks,--and they move slowly and with
apparent difficulty in their clumsy _sabots_ and heavy clothing. The
houses round about are tall and slim, and mostly in that state of
antiquity and decay which we like to think is artistic.

Such is Flemish Brussels. Even in the Flemish part, the city has none
of that winsome sympathetic air which usually surrounds a quaint
mediæval bourg. Rather it gives one the impression that old
traditions are all but dead and that it is mere improvidence and
_laisser-aller_ that allows them to exist.

Flemish Brussels is picturesque enough, but it is squalid, except for
the magnificent Hôtel de Ville, which stands to-day in all the glory
that it did when Charles V. of Spain ruled the destinies of the

It was in the square in front of the Hôtel de Ville that Alva gloated
over the flowing blood of his victims as it ran from the scaffold.

The churches of Brussels, as might be supposed from the historical
importance of the city in the past, are numerous and celebrated, at
least they are characteristically Flemish in much of their
belongings, though the great cathedral of Ste. Gudule itself is
Gothic of the unmistakable French variety.

Brussels, its cathedrals, its Hôtel de Ville, its Cloth Hall, and its
Corporation or Guild Houses, and many more splendid architectural
sites and scenes are all powerful attractions for sightseers.

We went from Brussels to Ghent, forty-eight kilometres, and still
over _pavé_. The bicyclist is better catered for, he has cinder
side-paths almost all over Belgium and accordingly he should enjoy
his touring in occidental and oriental Flanders even more than the

Ghent was one day a seaport of rank, much greater rank than that of
to-day, for only a sort of sea-going canal-boat, a _chaland_ or a
_caboteur_, ever comes up the canals to the wharves.

Ghent is a great big town, but it does not seem in the least like a
city in spite of its hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants. Its
churches, its belfry, its château, and its museum are the chief
sights for tourists--automobilists and others. We visited them all
after lunch, which was eaten (and paid for at Paris prices) at the
Hôtel de la Poste, and covered another forty-six kilometres of
_pavé_, before we turned in for the night at Bruges' Hôtel du Sablon.
There are others, but the Hôtel du Sablon at Bruges was modest in its
price, efficient in its service, and excellent in its catering. The
chief delicacy of the menu here is the _mossel_. One eats mussels
_(mossels)_ in Belgium--if he will--and it's hard for one to escape
them. They are _moules_ in France, _mossels_ in Belgium and Holland,
and mussels in England. They are a sea food which has never tickled
the American palate; but, after many refusals and much resentment, we
ate them--and found them good.

Bruges' sights are similar to those of Ghent, except that its belfry
is more splendid and more famous and the Memlings of the Hôpital St.
Jean draw crowds of art lovers to Bruges who never even stop at

Our little run around Belgium, a sort of willy-nilly blowing about by
the North Sea winds, drew us next to Ostende. If there is one place
more splendidly _chic_ than Ostende it is Monte Carlo. The palm is
still with Monte Carlo, but, for August at any rate, Ostende, with
its Digue, its hotels and terrace cafés and restaurants, is the very
glass of fashion and fashionables.

It was only on entering Ostende, over the last few kilometres of the
road from Bruges, just where it borders the Slykens Canal, that we
met anything deserving to be called a good road since leaving the
neighbourhood of Namur. The roads of Belgium served a former
generation very well, but _tempus fugit_, and the world advances, and
really Belgium's highways are a disgrace to the country.

The chief attraction of Ostende--after the great hotels--is its
Digue, or Dyke, a great longdrawn-out breakwater against whose
cemented walls pound the furies of the North Sea with such a
virulence and force as to make one seasick even on land. "See our
Digue and die," say the fisherfolk of Ostende,--those that have not
been crowded out by the palace hotels,--"See our Digue and eat our

Ostende is attractive, save on the August bank holiday, when the
trippers come from London; then it looks like Margate or Southend so
far as its crowds are concerned, and accordingly is frightful.

One should not leave Belgium without visiting Ypres, that is if he
wants to know what a highly respectable and thriving small city of
Belgium is like.

Ypres is typical of the best, though unfortunately, by whichever road
you approach, you still make your way over granite blocks, none too
well laid or cared for. The best and almost only way to avoid them is
to take to the by-roads and trust to finding your way about. This is
not difficult with the excellent map of the Automobile Club de
Belgique, but it requires some ingenuity to understand the native who
answers your inquiry in bad French and worse Walloon or Flemish.

At Ypres the Hôtel de la Chatellenie will care for you and your
automobile very well, though its garage is nothing to boast of. Both
meals and beds are good, and the rates are cheap, something less than
nine francs a day for birds of passage. You must pay extra for wine,
but beer is thrown in, thick, sticky, sugary beer, but it's better
than England's "bitter," or the lager of Rotterdam.

[Illustration: Things Seen in Flanders]

Ypres is full of interesting buildings, but its Hôtel de Ville and
its Cloth Hall, with its lacelike façade, are easily the best. Ypres
has a museum which, like most provincial museums, has some good
things and some bad ones, a stuffed elephant, some few good pictures,
sea-shells, the instruments which beheaded the Comte d'Egmont, and
some wooden sculptures; variety enough to suit the most catholic

From Ypres we continued our zigzag through Belgium, following most of
the time dirt roads which, though not of superlative excellence, were
an improvement on stone blocks. It took us practically all day to
reach Antwerp, a hundred and thirty kilometres away.

Belgium is everywhere quaint and curious, a sort of a cross between
Holland and France, but more like the former than the latter in its
mode of life, its food and drink and its industries, except perhaps
in the country between Tournai and Liège.

The country between Antwerp and Brussels affords a good general idea
of Belgium. Its level surface presents, in rapid succession, rich
meadows, luxuriant corn-fields, and green hedgerows, with occasional
patches of woodland. The smallness of the fields tells amongst how
many hands the land is divided, and prepares one for the knowledge
that East Flanders is the most thickly peopled corner of Europe. The
exception to this general character of the scenery is found in the
valley of the Meuse, where the fruitful serenity of fertile meadows
and pastoral hamlets is varied by bolder, more irregular, and move
striking natural features. Hills and rocks, bluff headlands and
winding valleys, with beautiful stretches of river scenery, give a
charm to the landscape which Belgium in general does not display.

The geographical description of Antwerp is as follows:

Antwerp, in Flemish _Antwerpen_, the chief town of the province of
that name, is situated in a plain 51° 13' 16" north latitude, and 2°
3' 55" east longitude, twenty leagues from the sea, on the right bank
of the Scheldt.

The Hôtel du Grand-Laboureur was marked out for us as the automobile
hotel of Antwerp. There was no doubt about this, when we saw the A.
C. F., the A. C. B., and the M. C. B. signs on its façade. It is a
very excellent establishment, but you pay extra for wine, or you
drink beer instead.

[Illustration: Antwerp Street]

The sights of Antwerp are too numerous to be covered in the short
time that was at our disposal on this occasion, but we gave some time
to the works and shrine of the master Rubens, and the wonderful
cathedral spire, and the Hôtel de Ville and the Guild Houses and all
the rest, not forgetting Quentin Matsys's well. We were, however, a
practical party, and the shipping of the great port, the gay cafés,
and the busy life of Antwerp's marts of trade also appealed to us.

Antwerp is a wonderful storehouse of many things. "It is in the
streets of Antwerp and Brussels," said Sir Walter Scott, "that the
eye still rests upon the forms of architecture which appear in
pictures of the Flemish school."

"This rich intermixture of towers and battlements and projecting
windows highly sculptured produces an effect as superior to the tame
uniformity of a modern street as the casque of the warrior exhibits
over the slouch-brimmed beaver of a Quaker." This was true of Sir
Walter Scott's time, and it is true to-day.

Chapter II
By Dykes And Windmills

[Illustration: Dykes and Windmills]

Holland for automobilists is a land of one hill and miles and miles
of brick-paved roads, so well laid with tiny bricks, and so straight
and so level that it is almost an automobilist's paradise.

We had come from Belgium to Holland, from Antwerp to Breda, a little
short of fifty kilometres, to make a round of Dutch towns by
automobile, as we had done in the old days by the humble bicycle.

Custom-house regulations are not onerous in Holland. The law says you
must pay five per cent. duty on entering the country, or _at the
discretion of the authorities_, bona-fide tourists will be given a
temporary permit to "circulate" free. There are no speed limits in
Holland, but you must not drive to the common danger. The first we
were glad to know, the second we did not propose to do.

As we passed the frontier the _douaniers_ returned to their fishing
opposite the little _cabaret_ where we had some needed refreshment.
It is curious what satisfaction middle-class officialdom in
Continental Europe gets out of fishing. It is their one passion,
apparently, if their work lies near a well-stocked stream. The _chef
de bureau_ goes fishing, the _commissionnaire_ goes fishing, and
everybody goes fishing. A peaceful and innocent exercise for those
who like it, but one which is inexplicable to an outsider.

Soon we are stopped at a toll-gate. The toll-gate keeper still exists
in Holland, chiefly on private bridges. He loses a good deal of his
monetary return, however, as he has a lazy habit of putting out a
great wooden _sabot_ to collect the fees, he, meanwhile, fishing or
dozing some distance away.

If you are a bad shot your coin sometimes goes overboard, or being an
automobilist, and therefore down on all impositions, you simply do
not put any more coins in the _sabots_ and think to depend on your
speed to take you out of any brewing trouble. This old relic of the
middle ages is sure to decrease in Holland with the progress of the

[Illustration: "As Far As We Go"]

Holland is a beautiful country, one of Nature's daintiest creations,
where the sun and the moon and the sky seem to take the greatest
delight in revealing their manifold charms, where the green fields
and the clear-cut trees and the rushing rivers and the sluggish
canals all seem to have been put in their place to conform to an
artistic landscape design--for, truly, Holland is a vast picture. Its
cattle are picture cattle, its myriad windmills seem to stand as
alluring models to attract the artist, its sunsets, the haze that
rests over its fields, its farms, its spick and span houses, its
costumes--all seem to belong to the paraphernalia of pictorial art.
It is a paradise for motorists who behave themselves, and do not
rouse the ire of the Dutchman. The regulations are exceedingly
lenient, but the laws against fast speeding must not be disregarded,
and the loud blowing of horns, on deserted streets in the middle of
the night, is entirely forbidden.

When tourists have scaled every peak and trodden every pass, let them
descend once again to the lowlands and see if they cannot find
pleasurable profit in a land whose very proximity to the borders of
the sea gives it a character all its own. This is Holland, and this
is the attitude with which a party of four faced it, at Breda and
planned the tour outlined in the following pages.

We stopped at Breda to take breath and to reconnoitre a little. Breda
has a population of twenty thousand, and a good hotel, "Der Kroon,"
which knows well how to care for automobilists. Breda to Dordrecht is
perhaps twenty-five kilometres in a straight line, but by the
highroad, via Gorinchem it is sixty-eight. Since there are no
amphibious automobiles as yet, and there are no facile means of
crossing the Hollandsch Diep, the détour must be made.

A stroll round Breda, to brush up our history of the siege, a view of
the château inside and out, including the reminders of Count Henry of
Nassau and William III. of England, and we were on the road again by
three in the afternoon.

Dordrecht and its Hôtel Belle-Vue, on the Boomstraat saw us for
dinner that night. The trip had been without incident, save for the
eternal crossing of canals by high-peaked donkeytack bridges which
demanded careful driving till you found out what was on the other
side of the crest, and the continual dodging from one side of the
road to the other to avoid running over children at play. Clearly
Holland, in this respect, was not far different from other countries.

Dordrecht is delightful and is as nearly canal-surrounded as
Amsterdam or Venice, only it is not so large, and automobilists, must
look out or they will tumble overboard when taking a sharp corner.

You may eat, if you like, on the balcony of the Hôtel Belle-Vue, and
you may watch the throng of passers-by strolling through the
courtyard of the hotel, from one street to another, as if it were a
public thoroughfare. The only objection to it is that you fear for
the safety of the loose things which you left in your automobile, but
as you pay a franc for housing it the responsibility falls on the
proprietor. No one ever heard of anything going astray, which argues
well for the honesty of the people of Dordrecht.

The distant view of Dordrecht, with a few spotted cattle in the
foreground, might well pass for a tableau of Cuyps, but as all Dutch
landscapes look more or less alike, at least they all look Dutch,
this description of Dordrecht perhaps does not define it very

Of course Dordrecht itself is typically Dutch; one would not expect
anything else of a place with a name like that. The tree-covered
wharves and the typical Dutch crowds, the dog-drawn little carts and
the "morning waker," are all there. Above all, almost in Venetian
splendour, looms the great lone tower of the church of St. Mary, the
Groote Kerk of the town. For six hundred years it has been a faithful
guardian of the spiritual welfare of the people, and the ruggedness
of its fabric has well stood the test of time, built of brick though
it is.

Dordrecht is vulgarly and colloquially known as Dordt, or Dort, and,
as such, is referred to in history and literature in a manner, which
often puzzles the stranger. It is one of the most ancient cities of
Holland, and, in the middle ages, the most busy in its intercourse
with the outside world.

We left Dordrecht in the early morning, expecting to cover quickly
the twenty-seven kilometres to Rotterdam. Ever and ever the thin
wisps of black smoke streaked into the sky from the flat directly
ahead, but not until we had almost plumped down on the Boompjes
itself did things take material shapes and forms.

There are many things to do and see at Rotterdam, but the great,
ceaseless commerce of the great world-port is one of the marvels
which is often sniffed at and ignored; yet nowhere in any port in
Europe or America, unless it be at Antwerp, is there to be seen such
a ship-filled river as at Rotterdam on the Maas.

The Hotel Weimar on the Spanishkade, and the Maas Hotel on the
Boompjes, cater for the automobilist at rather high prices, but in an
intelligent fashion, except that they charge a franc for garaging
your machine overnight. We found the same thing at Dordrecht; and in
general this is the custom all over Holland.

We left the automobile to rest a day at Rotterdam while we took a
little trip by water, to Gouda, famed for its cheeses. It is an
unworldly sleepy place, though its commerce in cheeses is enormous.
Its population, when it does travel, goes mostly by boat on the Maas.
You pay an astonishingly small sum, and you ride nearly half a day,
from Rotterdam to Gouda, amid a mixed freight of lovable fat little
Dutch women with gold spiral trinkets in their ears, little calves
and cows, pigs, ducks, hens, and what not, and on the return trip
amid a boat-load of pungent cheeses.

We got back to Rotterdam for the night, having spent a tranquil,
enjoyable day on one of the chief waterways of Holland, a foretaste
of a projected tour yet to come, to be made by automobile boat when
the opportunity comes.

No one, not even the most naïve unsophisticated and gushing of
travellers, has ever had the temerity to signalize Rotterdam as a
city of celebrated art. But it is a fondly interesting place
nevertheless, far more so indeed than many a less lively mart of

As we slowly drifted our way into the city at dusk of a long June
evening, on board that little slow-going canal and river-craft from
Gouda--known by so few casual travellers, but which are practically
water stage-coaches to the native--it was very beautiful.

The brilliant crimson sun-streaks latticed the western sky, the
masts, spars, and sails of the quay-side shipping silhouetted
themselves stereoscopically against this gleaming background, and the
roar and grime of the city's wheels of trade blended themselves into
a mélange which was as intoxicating to the artist and rhapsodist as
would have been more hallowed ground.

We left Rotterdam at eight-thirty on a misty morning which augured
that we should be deluged with rain forthwith; but all signs fail in
Holland with regard to weather, for we hardly passed the Delftsche
Poort, the great Renaissance gateway through which one passes to
Delft, Schiedam, The Hague, and all the well-worn place names of
Dutch history, before a rift of sunlight streaked through the clouds
and framed a typical Holland landscape in as golden and yellow a
light as one might see in Venice. It was remarkable, in every sense
of the word, and we had good weather throughout a week of days when
storm was all around and about us.

Schiedam, with its windmills, is well within sight of Rotterdam. We
had all of us seen windmills before, but we never felt quite so
intimately acquainted with any as with these. Don Quixote's was but a
thing of the imagination, and Daudet's, in Provence, was but a
dismantled, unlovely, and unromantic ruin. These windmills of
Schiedam were very sturdy and practical things, broad of base and
long of arm, and would work even in a fog, an ancient mariner-looking
Dutchman with _sabots_ and peg-top trousers told us.

The windmills of Holland pump water, grind corn, make cheese and
butter, and have recently been adopted in some instances to the
making of electricity. It has been found that with a four-winged
mill, and the wind at a velocity of from twelve to thirty feet a
second, four to five horsepower can be obtained with the loss of only
fourteen per cent., caused by friction.

A plant has been constructed in Holland which lights 450 lamps,
earning about twelve per cent. interest on the capital invested. Of
course it is necessary to keep an oil-motor to provide for windless
days or nights and also to keep a reserve of electrical power on
hand, but this is but another evidence of the practicality and the
extreme cleverness of the Dutch. The cows that browse around the
windmills of Schiedam are of the same spotted black and white variety
that one sees on the canvasses of the Dutch painters. If you are not
fortunate enough to see Paul Potter's great Dutch bull in the gallery
at The Hague, you may see the same sort of thing hereabouts at any
glance of the eye--the real living thing.

From Rotterdam to Delft, all the way by the canal, allowing for the
détour via Schiedam, is less than twenty kilometres, and the journey
is short for any sort of an automobile that will go beyond a snail's

Visions of blue and white delftware passed through our minds as we
entered the old town, which hardly looks as though worldly
automobilists would be well received. Delftware there is, in
abundance, for the delectation of the tourist and the profit of the
curio merchant, who will sell it unblushingly as a rare old piece,
when it was made but a year ago. If you know delftware you will know
from the delicate colouring of the blues and whites which is old and
which is not.

Delft and Delftshaven, near Schiedam, in South Holland, have a
sentimental interest for all descendants of the Puritans who fled to
America in 1620. Delftshaven is an unattractive place enough to-day,
but Delft itself is more dignified, and, in a way, takes on many of
the attributes of a metropolis. Nearly destroyed by a fire in 1526,
the present city has almost entirely been built up since the
sixteenth century.

The old Gothic church of the fifteenth century, one of the few
remains of so early a date, shelters the tomb of the redoubtable Van
Tromp, the vanquisher of the English.

It was easy going along the road out of Delft and we reached The
Hague in time for lunch at the Hôtel des Indes, where, although it is
the leading hotel of the Dutch capital, everything is as French as it
would be in Lyons, or at any rate in Brussels. You pay the
astonishingly outrageous sum of five francs for housing your machine
over night, but nothing for the time you are eating lunch. We got
away from the gay little capital, one of the daintiest of all the
courts of Europe, as soon as we had made a round of the stock sights
of which the guide-books tell, not omitting, of course, the paintings
of the Hague Gallery, the Rubens, the Van Dycks and the Holbeins.

The Binnenhof drew the romanticist of our party to it by reason of
the memories of the brothers De Witt. It is an irregular collection
of buildings of all ages, most of them remodeled, but once the
conglomerate residence of the Counts of Holland and the Stadtholders.

The Binnenhof will interest all readers of Dumas. It was here that
there took place the culminating scenes in the lives of the brothers
De Witt, Cornelius and John. Dumas unquestionably manufactured much
of his historical detail, but in the "Black Tulip" there was no
exaggeration of the bloody incidents of the murder of these two noble
men, who really had the welfare of Holland so much at heart.

We headed down the road to the sea, by the Huis-ten-Bosch (the House
in the Wood), the summer palace of Dutch royalty, for the Monte Carlo
of Holland, Scheveningen. It has all the conventional marks of a
Continental watering-place, a _plage_, a kursaale, bath houses,
terraces, esplanades, chic hotels and restaurants, and a whole
regiment of mushroom chairs and windshields dotting its wide expanse
of North Sea sand.

[Illustration: The Polders]

In the season the inhabitants live off of the visitors, and out of
season live on their fat like the ground-hog, and do a _little_
fishing for profitable amusement. It is a thing to see, Scheveningen,
but it is no place for a prolonged stay unless you are a gambler or a
blasé boulevardier who needs bracing up with sea air.

There are good hotels, if you want to linger and can stand the
prices, the best of which is called the Palace Hotel, but we had
another little black coffee on the gayest-looking terrace café we
could find, and made wheel-tracks for Leyden, twenty kilometres

The distances in Holland are mere bagatelles, but there is so much
that is strange to see, and the towns of historical interest are so
near together, that the automobilist who covers his hundred
kilometres a day must be a scorcher indeed.

We passed the night at the Gouden-Leuw, which a Frenchman would call
the Lion d'Or, and an Anglo-Saxon the Golden Lion. It was a most
excellent hotel in the Breestraat, and it possessed what was called a
garage, in reality a cubby-hole which, on a pinch, might accommodate
two automobiles, if they were small ones.

Leyden is a city of something like fifty-five thousand people. It has
grown since the days when they chained down Bibles in its churches,
and books in the library of its university. The chief facts that
stand out in Leyden's history, for the visitor, are those referring
to the exile of the Puritans here, fleeing from persecution in
England, and before they descended upon the New World.

The famous university was founded by the government as a reward for
the splendid defence made by the city against the Spaniards in 1574.
It was a question as to whether the city should be exempted from
future taxation or should be endowed with a university. The citizens
themselves chose the latter dignity.

Leaving Leyden and following the flat roadway by the glimmering
canals, which chop the _polders_, and tulip gardens off into
checker-board squares, one reaches Haarlem, less than thirty
kilometres away.

The country was becoming more and more like what one imagines Holland
ought to be; the whole country practically a vast, sandy, sea-girt
land of dykes and canals, and dunes and sunken gardens.

Holland has an area of about twenty thousand square miles, and
something over five million inhabitants, with the greatest density of
population on the coast between Amsterdam, in the north, and
Rotterdam, in the south, and the fewest in numbers in the region
immediately to the northward of the Zuyder-Zee.

Wherever in Holland one strikes the brick roads, made from little red
bricks standing on end, he is happy. There is no dust and there are
no depressions in the surface which will upset the carburation and
jar the bolts off your machine. It is an expensive way of
road-building, one thinks, but it is highly satisfactory. Near
Haarlem these brick roadways extend for miles into the open country
in every direction.

Haarlem is the centre of the bulb country, the gardens where are
grown the best varieties of tulips and hyacinths known over all the
world as "Dutch bulbs." The tulip beds of the _polders_ and sunken
gardens of the neighbourhood of Haarlem are one of the great sights
of Holland.

Besides bulbs, Haarlem is noted for its shiphung church, and the
pictures by Franz Hals in the local gallery. There are other good
Hals elsewhere, but the portraits of rotund, jolly men and women of
his day, in the Haarlem Town Hall, are unapproached by those of any
of his contemporaries. Fat, laughing burghers, roystering,
knickerbockered Dutchmen and _vrous_ gossiping, smoking, laughing, or
drinking, are human documents of the time more graphic than whole
volumes of fine writing or mere repetitions of historical fact. All
these attributes has Haarlem's collection of paintings by Franz Hals.

There are all sorts of ways of getting from Haarlem to Amsterdam, by
train, by boat, by electric tram, or by automobile over an idyllic
road, tree-shaded, canal-bordered, and dustless. It is sixteen
kilometres only, and it is like running over a causeway laid out
between villas and gardens. Nothing quite like it exists elsewhere,
in Holland or out of it. An automobile can be very high-geared, for
there are no hills except the donkey-back bridges over the canals.

Amsterdam may properly enough be called the Venice of the North, and
the automobilist will speedily find that an automobile boat will do
him much better service in town than anything that runs on land.

There are half a million souls in Amsterdam, and hotels of all ranks
and prices. The Bible Hotel is as good as any, but they have no
garage, nor indeed have any of the others. There are half a dozen
"Grands Garages" in the city (with their signs written in French--the
universal language of automobilism), and the hotel porter will jump
up on the seat beside you and pilot you on your way, around sharp
corners, over bridges, and through arcades until finally you plump
down in as up-to-date and conveniently arranged an establishment for
housing your machine as you will find in any land.

Amsterdam's sights will occupy the visitor for a couple of days, and
its art gallery for a day longer. We were taking only a bird's-eye
view, or review, and stayed only over one night, not making even the
classic excursion to those artists' haunts of Volendam, Monnikendam,
and Marken, of which no book on Holland should fail to make mention.

[Illustration: Pictures of Amsterdam]

These old Dutch towns of the Zuyder-Zee are unique in all the world,
and Amsterdam is the gateway to them. An automobile is useless for
reaching them. The best means are those offered by existing boat and
tram lines.

For Utrecht one leaves Amsterdam via the Amstel Dyke and the
Utrechtsche Zyde, and after forty kilometres of roadway, mostly
brick-paved like that between Haarlem and Amsterdam, he reaches
suburban Utrecht. Utrecht, with but a hundred thousand inhabitants,
has suburbs, reaching out in every direction, that would do justice
to a city five times it size. Most of Utrecht's population is
apparently suburban, and is housed in little brick houses and villas
with white trimmings and door-steps, a bulb garden, an iron fence,
and a miniature canal flowing through the back yard. This is the
formula for laying out a Utrecht suburban villa.

The Het Kasteel van Antwerpen, on the Oude Gracht, is a hotel which
treats you very well for five or six florins a day, and allows you
also to put your automobile under roof, charging nothing for the
service. This is worth making a note of in a country where it usually
costs from one to five francs a night for your automobile.

The chief sight of Utrecht is its cathedral, with a fine Gothic tower
over a hundred metres in height. It is the proper thing to mount to
its highest landing, whence one gets one of the most remarkable
bird's-eye views imaginable. In a flat country like Holland, the
wide-spread panoramas, taken from any artificial height, embrace an
extent of the world's surface not elsewhere to be taken in by a
glance of the eye. The Zuyder-Zee and the lowlands of the north
stretch out to infinity on one side; to the east the silver-spreading
streaks of the Waal and the Oude Rijn (later making the Rhine) lead
off toward Germany. To the south are the green-grown prairies and
windmill-outlined horizons of South Holland; and westward are the
_polders_ and dunes of the region between Amsterdam and Rotterdam,
and even a glimpse, on a clear day, of the North Sea itself.

Our one long ride in Holland was from Utrecht to Nymegen, seventy-two
kilometres. We left Utrecht after lunch and slowly made our way along
the picture landscapes of the Holland countryside, through Hobbema
avenues, and under the shadow of quaint Dutch church spires.

One does not go to a foreign land to enjoy only the things one sees
in cities. Hotels, restaurants, and cafés are very similar all over
Europe, and the great shops do not vary greatly in Rotterdam from
those in Liverpool. It is with the small things of life, the doings
of the butcher, the baker and the candlestick-maker that the change
comes in. In Holland the housekeeper buys her milk from a little
dog-drawn cart and can be waked at three in the morning, without
fail, by leaving an order the night before with the "morning waker."
If you do not have a fire going all the time, and want just enough to
cook your dinner with, you go out and buy a few lumps of blazing
coals. If it is boiling water you want for your coffee, you go out
and buy it too. Holland must be a housekeeper's paradise.

Nymegen, on the Waal, cared for us for the night. On the morrow we
were to cross the frontier and enter Germany and the road by the

Nymegen and its Hotel Keizer Karel, on the Keizer Karel Plain, was a
vivid memory of what a stopping-place for the night between two
objective points should be.

The city was delightful, its tree-grown boulevards, its attractive
cafés, the music playing in the park, and all the rest was an
agreeable interlude, and the catering--if an echo of things
Parisian--was good and bountiful. There was no fuss and feathers when
we arrived or when we left, and not all the _personnel_ of the hotel,
from the boots to the manager, were hanging around for tips. The head
waiter and the chambermaid were in evidence; that was all. The rest
were discreetly in the background.

Chapter III
On The Road By The Rhine

[Illustration: Rhine]

We had followed along the lower reaches of the Rhine, through the
little land of dykes and windmills, when the idea occurred to us: why
not make the Rhine tour _en automobile_? This, perhaps, was no new and
unheard-of thing, but the Rhine tour is classic and should not be
left out of any one's travelling education, even if it is

At Nymegen we saw the last of Holland and soon crossed the frontier.
There were no restrictions then in force against the entrance of
foreign automobiles, though we were threatened with new and stringent
regulations soon to be put in force. (1906. A full résumé of these
new regulations will be found in the appendix.) Legally Germany could
demand eight marks a hundred kilos for the weight of our machine, but
in practice all tourists were admitted free, provided one could
convince the official that he intended to return across the frontier
within a reasonable time.

As we crossed the railway line we made our obeisance to the German
customs authorities, saluted the black and white barber's-pole
stripes of the frontier post, and filled up our tanks with gasoline,
which had now assumed the name of _benzin_, instead of _benzine_, as
in Holland.

Emmerich, Cleves, Wesel, and Xanten are not tourist points, and in
spite of the wealth of history and romance which surrounds their very
names, they had little attraction for us. For once were going to make
a tour of convention.

It is a fairly long step from Nymegen to Düsseldorf, one hundred and
one kilometres, but we did it between breakfast and lunch, in spite
of the difficulty of finding our way about by roads and regulations
which were new to us.

The low, flat banks of the Rhine below Düsseldorf have much the same
characteristics that they have in Holland, and, if the roadways are
sometimes bad as to surface--and they are terrible in the
neighbourhood of Crefield--they are at least flat and otherwise
suited to speed, though legally you are held down to thirty
kilometres an hour.

You may find anything you like in the way of hotel accommodation at
Düsseldorf, from the Park Hotel on the Cornelius Platz, at Waldorf
prices, to the modest and characteristic little German inn by the
name of Prince Alexanders Hof, which is as cheap as a French hotel of
its class, and about as good.

[Illustration: The Road By The Rhine]

It is at Düsseldorf that one comes first into touch with the German
institutions in all their completeness. Immediately one comes to the
borders of the Rhine he comes into the sphere of world politics. The
peace of Europe lies buried at the mouth of the Scheldt where the
Rhine enters the sea, and not on the Bosphorus. "The Rhine is the
King of Rivers," said a German politician, "and it is our fault if
its mouth remains in the hands of foreigners." This is warlike talk,
if you like, but if a German prince some day rises on the throne of
Holland, there may be a new-made map of Europe which will upset all
existing treaties and conventions.

Düsseldorf is a veritable big town, for, though it shelters two
hundred and twenty-five thousand inhabitants, it is not "citified."
It is one of the most lovely of Rhine towns, and is the headquarters
of the Rhenish Westphalian Automobile Club.

To Cologne is thirty-seven kilometres, with the roads still
bad,--shockingly so we found them, though we were assured that this
is unusual and that even then they were in a state of repair. This
was evident, and in truth they needed it.

The twin Gothic splendours of Cologne's cathedral rise high in air
long before one reaches the confines of the city. Cologne is the
metropolis of the Rhine country, and besides its four hundred
thousand inhabitants possesses many institutions and industries which
other Rhine cities lack.

Of hotels for automobilists at Cologne there are five, all of which
will treat you in the real _tourist_ fashion, and charge you
accordingly,--overcharge you in fact. We did not have time to hunt up
what the sentimentalist of the party always called "a quaint little
inn," and so we put into one almost under the shadow of the cathedral
(purposely nameless).

The sights of Cologne are legion. "Numerous churches, all very
ancient" describes them well enough for an itinerary such as this;
the guide-books must do the rest. The Kolner Automobile Club will
supply the touring automobilist graciously and gratuitously with
information. A good thing to know!

The beer and concert gardens of Cologne's waterside are famous,
almost as famous as the relics of the "three kings" in the cathedral.

At Cologne the pictured, storied Rhine begins. A skeleton itinerary
is given at the end of this chapter which allows some digression here
for observations of a pertinent kind.

Let the traveller not be disappointed with the first glance at the
river as he sees it at Cologne. He is yet a few miles below the banks
which have gained for the stream its fame for surpassing beauty, but
higher up it justifies the rhapsodies of the poet.

  "A blending of all beauties; streams and dells,
  Fruit, foliage, crag, wood, corn-field, mountain, vine,
  And chiefless castles breathing stern farewells
  From gray but leafy walls, where Ruin greenly dwells.

  "And there they stand, as stands a lofty mind,
  Worn, but unstooping to the baser crowd,
  All tenantless, save to the crannying wind,
  Or holding dark communion with the cloud.
  There was a day when they were young and proud,
  Banners on high, and battles passed below:
  But they who fought are in a bloody shroud,
  And those which wav'd are shredless dust ere now,
  And the bleak battlements shall bear no future blow.

  "Beneath battlements, within those walls,
  Power dwelt amidst her passions: in proud state,
  Each robber chief upheld his armed halls,
  Doing his evil will, nor less elate
  Than mightier heroes of a longer date.
  What want these outlaws conquerors should have?
  But History's purchas'd page to call them great?
  A wider space, an ornamented grave?
  Their hopes were not less warm, their souls were full as brave."

The scenery, the history and legend, and the wines of the Rhine make
up the complete list of the charms of the river for the enthusiastic
voyager on its bosom or on its banks.

It is enjoyable enough when one is on the deck of a Rhine steamboat,
or would be if one were not so fearfully crowded, but it is doubly so
when one is travelling along its banks by roadways which, from here
on, improve greatly.

The history and legend of the Rhine are too big a subject to handle
here, but some facts about Rhine wine, picked up on the spot, may be
of interest.

The true German is not only eloquent when speaking of the _quality_
of the Rhine wines, but he claims for them also the honours of
antiquity. One may be content to date their history back merely to
the days of Probus, but others declare that Bacchus only could be the
parent of such admirable liquor, and point to Bacharach as the
resting-place of the deity when he came to taste the Rhine grapes,
and set an example to all future tipplers. It would not have been out
of place to call the Rhine the country of Bacchus. The Rhine,
Moselle, Neckar, and Main are gardens of the vine; but the Germans
have not been content with cultivating the banks of rivers alone, for
the higher lands are planted as well. From Bonn to Coblenz, and from
the latter city to Mayence, the country is covered with vineyards.
The Johannisberger of "father" Rhine, the Gruenhauser or the
Brauneberger of the Moselle, and the Hochheimer of the Main, each
distinguish and hallow their respective rivers in the eyes of the
connoisseur in wine.

The vineyards of the Rhine are a scene of surpassing beauty; Erbach,
enthroned among its vines; Johannisberg, seated on a crescent hill of
red soil, adorned with cheering vegetation; Mittelheim, Geisenheim,
and Rüdesheim with its strong, fine-bodied wine, the grapes from
which bask on their promontory of rock, in the summer sun, and imbibe
its generous heat from dawn to setting; then again, on the other
side, Bingen, delightful, sober, majestic, with its terraces of
vines, topped by the château of Klopp. The river and its riches, the
corn and fruit which the vicinity produces, all remind the stranger
of a second Canaan. The Bingerloch, the ruins, and the never-failing
vines scattered among them, like verdant youth revelling amid age and
decay, give a picture nowhere else exhibited, uniting to the
joyousness of wine the sober tinge of meditative feeling. The hills
back the picture, covered with feudal relics or monastic remains,
mingled with the purple grape. Landscapes of greater beauty, joined
to the luxuriance of fruitful vine culture, can nowhere be seen.

The glorious season of fruition--the _Vintage_--is the time for the
visit of a wine-lover to the Rhine. It does not take place until the
grapes are perfectly mature; they are then carefully gathered, and
the bad fruit picked out, and, with the stalks, put aside. The wine
of the pressing is separated, _most vom ersten druck, vom nachdruck_.
The more celebrated of the wines are all fermented in casks; and
then, after being repeatedly racked, suffered to remain for years in
large _fudders_ of 250 gallons, to acquire perfection by time. The
wines mellow best in large vessels; hence the celebrated Heidelberg
tun, thirty-one feet long by twenty-one high, and holding one hundred
and fifty _fudders_, or six hundred hogsheads. Tübingen, Grüningen,
and Königstein (the last 3,709 hogsheads) could all boast of their
enormous tuns, in which the white wines of the country were thought
to mellow better than in casks of less dimensions. These tuns were
once kept carefully filled. The Germans always had the reputation of
being good drinkers, and of taking care of the "liquor they loved."
Misson says in his "Travels," that he formerly saw at Nuremberg the
public cellar, two hundred and fifty paces long, and containing
twenty thousand _ahms_ of wine.

The names and birthplaces of the different German wines are
interesting. The Liebfrauenmilch is a well-bodied wine, grown at
Worms, and generally commands a good price. The same may be said of
the wines of Koesterick, near Mayence; and those from Mount
Scharlachberg are equally full-bodied and well-flavoured. Nierstein,
Oppenheim, Laubenheim, and Gaubischeim are considered to yield first
growths, but that of Deidesheim is held to be the best.

The river Main runs up to Frankfort close to Mayence; and on its
banks the little town of Hochheim, once the property of General
Kellerman, stands upon an elevated spot of ground, in the full blaze
of the sun. From Hochheim is derived the name of Hock, too often
applied by the unknowing to all German wines. There are no trees to
obstruct the genial fire from the sky, which the Germans deem so
needful to render their vintages propitious. The town stands in the
midst of vineyards.

The vineyard which produces the Hochheimer of the first growth is
about eight acres in extent, and situated on a spot well sheltered
from the north winds. The other growths of this wine come from the
surrounding vineyards. The whole eastern bank of the Rhine to Lorich,
called the Rheingau, has been remarkable centuries past for its
wines. It was once the property of the Church. Near this favoured
spot grows the Schloss-Johannisberger, once the property of the
Church, and also of the Prince of Orange. Johannisberg is a town,
with its castle (schloss) on the right bank of the Rhine below Mentz.
The Johannisberger takes the lead in the wines of the Rhine. The
vines are grown over the vaults of the castle, and were very near
being destroyed by General Hoche. The quantity is not large.

Rüdesheim produces wines of the first Rhine growths; but the
Steinberger, belonging to the Duke of Nassau, takes rank after the
Schloss Johannisberger among these wines. It has the greatest
strength, and yet is one of the most delicate, and even sweetly
flavoured. That called the "Cabinet" is the best. The quantity made
is small, of the first growth. Graefenberg, which was once the
property of the Church, produces very choice wines which carries a
price equal to the Rüdesheim.

Marcobrunner is an excellent wine, of a fine flavour, especially when
the vintage has taken place in a warm year. The vineyards of Roth and
Königsbach grow excellent wines. The wine of Bacharach was formerly
celebrated, but time produces revolutions in the history of wines, as
well as in that of empires.

On the whole the wines of Bischeim, Asmannshäusen, and Laubenheim are
very pleasant wines; those of the most strength are Marcobrunner,
Rüdesheimer, and Niersteiner, while those of Johannisberg,
Geisenheim, and Hochheim give the most perfect delicacy and aroma.
The Germans themselves say, "_Rhein-wein, fein wein; Necker-wein,
lecker wein; Franken-wein tranken wein; Mosel-wein, unnosel wein_"
(Rhine wine is good; Neckar pleasant; Frankfort bad; Moselle

The red wines of the Rhine are not of extraordinary quality. The
Asmannshäuser is the best, and resembles some of the growths of
France. Near Lintz, at Neuwied, a good wine, called Blischert, is
made. Keinigsbach, on the left bank of the Rhine, Altenahr, Rech, and
Kesseling, yield ordinary red growths.

The Moselle wines are secondary to those of the Rhine and Main. The
most celebrated is the Brauneberger. The varieties grown near Treves
are numerous. A Dutch merchant is said to have paid the Abbey of
Maximinus for a variety called Gruenhauser in 1793, no less than
eleven hundred and forty-four florins for two hundred and ninety
English gallons in the vat. This wine was formerly styled the "Nectar
of the Moselle."

These wines are light, with a good flavour. They will not keep so
long as the Rhine wines, but they are abundant and wholesome. Near
Treves are grown the wines of Brauneberg, Wehlen, Graach, Zeitingen,
and Piesport. The wines of Rinsport and Becherbach are considered of
secondary rank. The wines of Cusel and Valdrach, near Treves, are
thought to be possessed of diuretic properties. In about five years
these wines reach the utmost point of perfection for drinking. They
will not keep more than ten or twelve in prime condition.

The wines called "wines of the Ahr" resemble those of the Moselle,
except that they will keep longer.

The "wines of the Neckar" are made from the best French, Hungarian,
and even Cyprus vines. The most celebrated are those of Bessingheim.
They are of a light red colour, not deep, and of tolerable flavour
and bouquet.

Wiesbaden grows some good wines at Schierstein, and Epstein, near
Frankfort. The best wines of Baden are produced in the seigniory of
Badenweiler, near Fribourg. At Heidelberg, the great tun used to be
filled with the wine of that neighbourhood, boasted to be a hundred
and twenty years old, but it gave the wine no advantage over other
Neckar growths. Some good wines are produced near Baden. The red
wines of Wangen are much esteemed in the country of Bavaria, but they
are very ordinary. Würzburg grows the Stein and Liesten wines. The
first is produced upon a mountain so called, and is called "wine of
the Holy Spirit" by the Hospital of Würzburg, to which it belongs.
The Liesten wines are produced upon Mount St. Nicholas. Straw wines
are made in Franconia. A _vin de liqueur_, called Calmus, like the
sweet wines of Hungary, is made in the territory of Frankfort, at
Aschaffenburg. The best vineyards are those of Bischofsheim. Some
wines are made in Saxony, but they are of little worth. Meissen, near
Dresden, and Guben, produce the best. Naumberg makes some small
wines, like the inferior Burgundies.

With these pages as a general guide the touring automobilist must
make his own itinerary. He will not always want to put up for the
night in a large town, and will often prefer the quietness and the
romantic picturesqueness of some little half-mountain-hidden townlet
and its simple fare to a _table d'hôte_ meal, such as he gets at
Cologne or Coblenz, which is simply a poor imitation of its Parisian

The following skeleton gives the leading points.

Cologne     to Bonn          (Hotel Rheinfeck)     27 Kilometres
Bonn        to Godesberg     (Hotel Blinzer)        7     "
Godesberg   to Andernach     (Hotel Schafer)       28     "
Andernach   to Coblenz       (Hotel Metropole)     18     "
Coblenz     to St. Goar      (Hotel Rheinfels)     46     "
St. Goar    to Bingen        (Stakenburger Hof)    29     "
Bingen      to Mayence       (Pfalzer Hof)         27     "
Mayence     to Frankfort     (Savoy Hotel)         33     "
Frankfort   to Worms         (Europaischer Hof)    52     "
Worms       to Mannheim      (Pfalzer Hof)         41     "
Mannheim    to Heidelberg    (Hotel Schrieder)     22     "
Heidelberg  to Spire         (Pfalzer Hof)         28     "
Spire       to Carlsruhe     (Hotel Erbprinz)      52     "
Carlsruhe   to Baden         (Hotel Stephanie)     26     "
Baden       to Strasburg     (Hôtel de l'Europe)   60     "

Generally speaking, none of the hotels above mentioned include wine
with meals. The trail of the tourist accounts for this. All have
accommodation for the automobilist.

[Illustration: Heidelburg and Strasburg]

From Strasburg one may continue to Bagel, if he is bound Italyward
through Switzerland, but the chief distinctive features of the Rhine
tour end at Strasburg.

From Strasburg one may enter France by St. Dié, in the Vosges, via
the Col de Saales, the _douane_ (custom-house) station for which is
at Nouveau Saales.

The following are some of the signs and abbreviations met with in
German hotels catering for stranger automobilists.

Ohne Wein    Wine not included
A. C. B.     Automobile Club de Belgique
M. C. B.     Moto-Club de Belgique
T. C. B.     Touring Club de Belgique
T. C. N.     Touring Club Néerlandais
A. C. F.     Automobile Club de France
T. C. F.     Touring Club de France
Bade-Raum    Bathroom
Grube        Fosse or Inspection Pit



Appendix I

[Illustration: Road Warning Signs]

Appendix II


In December, 1893, _Le Petit Journal_ of Paris proposed a trial of
self-propelled road-vehicles, to end with a run from Paris to Rouen.
The distance was 133 kilometres and the first car to arrive at Rouen
was a steam-tractor built by De Dion, Bouton et Cie, to-day perhaps
the largest manufacturers of the ordinary gasoline-motor. A Peugot
carriage, fitted with a Daimler engine, followed next, and then a
Panhard. There were something like a hundred entries for this trial,
of which one was from England and three from Germany, but most of
them did not survive the run.

On the 11th of June, 1895, was started the now historic
Paris-Bordeaux race. Sixteen gasoline and half a dozen steam cars
started from the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, for the journey to
Bordeaux and back. It was a Panhard-Levassor that arrived back in
Paris first, but the prize was given to a Peugot which carried four
passengers, whereas the Panhard carried but two.

In the following year the new locomotion was evidently believed to
have come to stay, for the first journal devoted to the industry and
sport was founded in Paris, under the name of _La Locomotion
Automobile_, soon to be followed by another called _La France

In 1896 was held the Paris-Marseilles race, divided into five stages
for the outward journey, and five stages for the homeward.
Twenty-four gasoline-cars started, and three propelled by steam, and
there were five gasoline-tricycles. Bolée's tandem tricycle was the
sensation during the first stage, averaging twenty miles an hour. The
itinerary out and back, of something like sixteen hundred kilometres,
was covered first by a Panhard-Levassor, in sixty-seven hours,
forty-two minutes, and fifty-eight seconds. The average speed of the
winner was something like twenty-two kilometres an hour.

In England a motor-car run was organized from London to Brighton in
1896, including many of the vehicles which had started in the
Paris-Marseilles race in France. The first vehicles to arrive in
Brighton were the two Bolée tricycles; a Duryea was third, and a
Panhard fourth.

In 1897 there was a race in France, on a course laid out between
Marseilles, Nice, and La Turbie. The struggle was principally between
the Comte Chasseloup-Laubat in a steam-car, and M. Lemaitre in a
Panhard, with a victory for the former, showing at least that there
were possibilities in the steam-car which gasoline had not entirely

Pneumatic tires were used on the Paris-Bordeaux race in 1895, but
solid tires were used on the winning cars in 1894, 1895, and 1896.

Another affair which came off in 1897 was a race from Paris to
Dieppe, organized by two Paris newspapers, the _Figaro_ and _Les

The event was won by a three-wheeled Bolée, with a De Dion second,
and a six-horse-power Panhard third.

In 1898 there took place the Paris-Amsterdam race. It was won by a
Panhard, driven by Charron, and the distance was approximately a
thousand miles, something like sixteen hundred kilometres.

The "Tour de France" was organized by the _Matin_ in 1898. The
distance was practically two thousand kilometres. Panhards won the
first, second, third, and fourth places, though they were severely
pressed by Mors.

[Illustration: Evolution of the Racing Car]

The first Gordon-Bennett cup race was held in 1900, between Paris and
Lyons. The distance was not great, but the trial was in a measure
under general road conditions, though it took on all the aspects of a
race. It was won by Charron in a Panhard.

In 1901 the Gordon-Bennett race was run from Paris to Bordeaux,
perhaps the most ideal course in all the world for such an event. It
was won by Girardot in a forty-horse Panhard.

The Paris-Berlin race came in the same year, with Fournier as winner,
in a Mors designed by Brazier.

In 1902 the Gordon-Bennett formed a part of the Paris-Vienna
itinerary, the finish being at Innsbruck in the Tyrol. De Knyff in a
Panhard had victory well within his grasp when, by a misfortune in
the parting of his transmission gear, he was beaten by Edge in the
English Napier. Luck had something to do with it, of course, but Edge
was a capable and experienced driver and made the most of each and
every opportunity.

Through to Vienna the race was won by Farman in a seventy-horse-power
Panhard, though Marcel Renault in a Renault "_Voiture Legere_" was
first to arrive.

It was in 1901 that the famous Mercédès first met with road
victories. A thirty-five-horse power Mercédès won the Nice-Salon-Nice
event in the south of France, and again in the following year the
Nice-La Turbie event.

In the Circuit des Ardennes event in 1902, Jarrot, in a seventy-horse
Panhard, and Gabriel in a Mors, were practically tied until the last
round, when Jarrot finally won, having made the entire distance
(approximately 450 kilometres) at an average speed of fifty-four and
a half miles per hour. There were no _controles_.

In 1903 the Gordon-Bennett cup race was held in Ireland, over a
course of 368 miles, twice around a figure-eight track. Germany won
with a Mercédès with Jenatzy at the wheel, with De Knyff in a Panhard
only ten minutes behind.

In 1903 was undertaken the disastrous Paris-Madrid road race. Between
Versailles and Bordeaux the accidents were so numerous and terrible,
due principally to reckless driving, that the affair was abandoned at
Bordeaux. Gabriel in a Mors car made the astonishing average of
sixty-two and a half miles per hour, hence may be considered the
winner as far as Bordeaux.

In 1904 the Gordon-Bennett race was run over the Taunus course in
Germany, with Thèry the winner in a Richard-Brazier car.

In 1905 Thèry again won on the Circuit d'Auvergne in the same make of
car, making a sensational victory which--to the French at least--has
apparently assured the automobile supremacy to France for all time.

The 1906 event was the Grand Prix of the Automobile Club de France on
the Circuit de la Sarthe. The astonishing victories of the Renault
car driven by Szisz, which made the round of 680 kilometres in two
days at the average rate of speed of 108 kilometres an hour, has
elated all connected with the French automobile industry. It was a
victory for removable rims also, as had Szisz not been able to
replace his tattered tires almost instanteously with others already
blown up, he would certainly have been overtaken by one or more of
the Brazier cars, which suffered greatly from tire troubles.

In 1906 another event was organized in France by the _Matin_. It was
hardly in the nature of a race, but a trial of over six thousand
kilometres, an extended _tour de France_.

Forty-two automobiles of all ranks left the Place de la Concorde at
Paris on the 2d of August, and thirty-three arrived at Paris on the
28th of the same month, twenty of them without penalization of any
sort. No such reliability trial was ever held previously, and it
showed that the worth of the comparatively tiny eight and ten horse
machines for the work was quite as great as that of the forty and
sixty horse monsters.

The following tables show plainly the value of this great trial.


1.  Antidérapant       Néron          de Deitrich
2.      "              Vulcain I.     de Dion-Bouton
3.      "              Vulcain II.    Corre
33. Roues Élastiques   Soleil         Rochet-Schneider
38.   "       "        Garchey I.     de Dion-Bouton
39.   "       "        Garchey II.    Mieusset
42.   "       "        E. L.          Delauney-Belleville

1st Category
Motocyclettes, vitesse maxima, 25 kilomètres à l'heure
35. Motocycletto       Lurquin-Coudert
64.      "             Albatross (Motor Buchet)
67.      "             René Gillet

2d Category
Tri-cars, vitesse maxima, 25 kilomètres à l'heure
4. Mototri Contal I.             5. Mototri Contal II.

3d Category
Voiturette 1 cylindre, alésage maximum 110 millimètres
6.  Fouillaron                  34. Voiturette Darracq II.
8.  De Dion-Bouton et Cie I.    47. Voiturette Lacoste &
9.  Darracq et Cie                    Battmann I.
12. De Dion-Bouton et Cie II.   48. Voiturette Lacoste &
18. Cottereau I.                      Battmann II.
25. Voiturette Roy              49. Voiturette Lacoste &
30. Voiturette G. R. A. R.            Battmanu III.
                                59. Voiturette Alcyon

4th Category
Voitures 2 cylindres, alésage maximum 130 millimètres, ou
4 cylindres, alésage maximum 85 millimètres
10. Darracq II.                 21. Cottereau IV.
11. Darracq                     22. Kallista I.
13. De Dion-Bouton et Cie III.  23. Kallista II.
15. D. Thuault                  44. Panhard et Levassor
19. Cottereau II.               46. Corre
20. Cottereau III.              51. X.

5th Category
Voitures 4 cylindres, alésage maximum 105 millimètres
7.  C. V. R. I.                 43. Darracq V.
16. De Dion-Bouton et Cie IV.   50. Herald
17. De Dion-Bouton et Cie V.    57. Panhard
28. Renault Frères              60. De Dion-Bouton et Cie VI.
29. C. I. A.                    61. Bayard Clèment I.
31. C. V. R. II.                65. Corre
                                66. Berliet

6th Category
Voitures 4 cylindres, alésage maximum 126 millimètres
14. Mercédès I.                 52. Mors.
24. Scrive                      53. Mercédès II.
26. Pilain I.                   55. Clément
27. Pilain II.                  58. Darracq IV.
32. C. V. R. III.               62. Bayard-Clément II.
45. Gobron                      63. C. V. R. IV.
                                68. Mercédès III.

7th Category
Voitures 4 cylindres, alésage maximum 140 millimètres
86. Siddely                     37. Siddely
                                56. Fiat

Appendix III

[Illustration: Route Maps for Famous Races]

Appendix IV

[Illustration: Average Speed of Racing Cars]

Appendix V



Birdlip Hill.--Near Gloucester. Length, 2 miles; average gradient, 1
in 8; steepest gradient, 1 in 7

Dashwood Hill.--Near High Wycombe. Length, 1,180 yards; average
gradient, 1 in 16; steepest gradient, 1 in 10.9.

Hindhead.--Near Guildford. Length, 2 3/4 miles, rise, 520 feet;
average gradient, 1 in 24.4; steepest gradient, 1 in 13.

Porlock Hill.--North Devon. Length, 3 miles; rise, 1,365 feet;
gradient, 1 in 6 to 1 in 8.

Shap Fell.--Near Penrith. Rise, 1,886 feet, gradients, 1 in 11, 1 in
15, 1 in 16, and 1 in 20.

Snowdon.--Mountain in Wales. Steepest gradient, 1 in 7.

Westerham.--Length, 2,940 feet; average gradient, 1 in 9.4.


Château Thierry.--Near Meaux. Length, 1,098 yards.

Côte de Gaillon.--Near Rouen. The scene of the most famous hill
climbs in France. Length, 3 kilometres, rise, 10 per cent. for the
greater part of the distance.

Côte de Laffray.--Near Grenoble. Length, 4.13 miles; gradients, 1 in
15, 1 in 11, 1 in 10, and 1 in 8; average, 9.3 per cent; many bad

La Turbie.--A rude foot-hill climb in the Maritime Alps just back of
Monte Carlo.

Mont Ventoux.--Near Avignon. Length, 20 kilometres; rise 1,600

Mont Cenis.--Near Turin. The "climb" begins at Susa, on the Italian
side of the mountain, at the 596 metre level, and continues for 22
kilometres to the 2,087 metre level, a 100 h.p. Fiat climbed this in
1905 in 19 minutes, 18 3/5 seconds.

Appendix VI

[Illustration: Metric System]

Appendix VII


            Number                   Value
            of Cars     Value        Exported
Year.       Built.      Fcs.         Fcs.
1898        1,850      8,300,000     1,749,350
1899        2,200     11,000,000     4,259,330
1900        4,100     23,000,000     6,617,360
1901        6,300     39,000,000    15,782,290
1902        7,800     47,000,000    30,219,380
1903       11,500     81,000,000    50,837,140
1904       13,400    106,000,000    71,035,000
1905       20,500    140,000,000   100,265,000

Appendix VIII

Moon  5 days old shines till  11 PM (approx.)
 "    6  "    "    "     "    12 PM
 "    7  "    "    "     "     1 AM
Moon 15 days old rises at      6 PM (approx.)
 "   16  "    "    "   "       7 PM
 "   17  "    "    "   "       8 PM
 "   18  "    "    "   "    9-10 PM

Appendix IX

[Illustration: The Length of Days]

Appendix X


The Touring Club de France is the largest and most active national
association for the promotion of touring. It is under the direct
patronage of the President of the French Republic, and the interests
and wants of its members are protected and provided for in a full and
practical manner by an excellent organization, whose influence is
felt in every part of France and the adjacent countries.

The membership is over 100,000 and is steadily growing. It includes a
very considerable body of foreign members, those from the United
Kingdom and America alone numbering 5,000, a circumstance which may
be accepted, perhaps, as the best possible proofs of the value of the
advantages which the club offers to tourists from abroad visiting

The annual subscription is 6 francs (5s.) for foreign members. There
is no entrance fee and the election of candidates generally follows
within a few days after the receipt of the application at the offices
of the club in Paris.

The club issues a number of publications specially compiled for
cyclists, comprising: a Yearbook (Annuaire) for France divided in two
parts (North and South) with a list of over three thousand selected
club hotels, at which members enjoy a privileged position as to
charges; an admirable volume of skeleton tours covering the whole of
France, from each large centre, and by regions, and supplemented by
some three hundred card itineraries with sketch maps; a specially
drawn cyclist's map of France, and a monthly club gazette, all
designed to facilitate the planning and carrying out of interesting
tours with comfort and economy.

Fill in the application form and enclose
it with the subscription (6 francs) to M. le Président du T. C. F.,
65, Avenue de la Grande-Armée, Paris. _The applications of lady
candidates should be signed by a male relative_--brother, father,
husband--whether a member of the club or not.

Notice of resignation of membership must reach the Paris office of
the club not later than November 30th, failing which the member is
liable for the following year's subscription. Those who join after
October 1st are entitled to the privileges of membership until the
close of the following year for one subscription.

Post-office money orders should be made payable to M. le Trésorier du
T. C. F., 65, Avenue de la Grande-Armée, Paris, France.

The addresses of the representatives of the Touring Club de France in
England and America are as follows; further information concerning
this admirable institution for _all travellers_ whether by train,
bicycle, or automobile will be gladly furnished. They can also supply
forms for application for membership.

New York City     Ch. Dien       38-40 West 33d St.
Boston            F. Hesseltine  10 Tremont St.
Washington        H. Lazard      1453 Massachusetts Ave.
London            C. F. Just     17 Victoria St. S. W.
Edinburgh         Dr. D. Turner  37 George Square.
Dublin            G. Fottereil   46 Fleet St.

Appendix XI



Certain regulations are compulsory even for tourists. You may obtain
a license to drive a motor-car in Britain if you are over seventeen
years of age (renewable every twelve months) at a cost of five

You must register your motor-car at the County or Borough Council
offices where you reside, fee £1.0.0. You must pay a yearly "male
servant" tax of fifteen shillings for your chauffeur. In case of
accident, en route, you must stop and, if required, give your name
and address, also name and address of the owner of the car and the
car number.

Every car must bear two number plates (the number is assigned you on
registration), one front and one rear. The latter must be lighted at

Speed limit is twenty miles an hour except where notice is posted to
the effect that ten miles an hour only is allowed, or that some
particular road is forbidden to automobiles.

In England one's car can be registered at any port on arrival, or, by
letter addressed to any licensing authority, before arrival. The
regulation as to driving licenses is as follows:

"If any person applies to the Council of a county or county borough
for the grant of a license and the Council are satisfied that he has
no residence in the United Kingdom, the Council shall, if the
applicant is otherwise entitled, grant him a license, notwithstanding
that he is not resident within their county or county borough."

As regards the Inland Revenue Carriage License, however, it may be
noted that twenty-one days' grace is allowed--in other words, that
licenses must be obtained within twenty-one days after first becoming
liable to the duty.

There are no customs duties on automobiles entering Great Britain.


Before taking an automobile upon the road in France all drivers must
procure the Certificat de Capacité, commonly known as the "Carte

The following letter should be addressed to the nearest préfecture,
or sous-préfecture, written on stamped paper (papier timbré, 60
centimes) and accompanied by two miniature photographs.

"Monsieur:--J'ai l'honneur de vous demander de me faire convoquer
pour subir l'examen nécessaire à l'obtention d'un certificat de
capacité pour la conduite d'une voiture... (indiquer la marque) mue
par un moteur à petrole.

"Veuillez agréer, etc."

[Illustration: Certificat de Capacite]

At the same time another letter should be addressed to the same
authority requesting a Récépissé de Déclaration. These applications
must be quite separate and distinct; each on its own papier timbre,
which you buy at any bureau de tabac.

"Monsieur Le Préfet:--Je soussigné ... (nom, prénom, domicile)
propriétaire d'une voiture automobile actionnée par un moteur à
pétrole système (type et numéro du type), ai l'honneur de vous
demander un permis de circulation.

"Vous trouverez sons ce pli le procès-verbal de réception délivré par
le constructeur.

"Veuillez agréer, etc."

[Illustration: Recepisse de Declaration]


Alais,                        A
Arras,                        R
Bordeaux,                     B
Chalon-sur-Saône,             C
Chambéry,                     H
Clermont-Ferrand,             F
Douai,                        D
Le Mans,                      L
Marseille,                    M
Nancy,                        N
Poitiers,                     P
Rouen,                        Y ou Z
Saint-Etienne,                S
Toulouse,                     T
Paris,                        E, G, I, U, X


Fifty francs per 100 kilos on all motor vehicles weighing more than
125 kilos. Automobiles (including motor-cycles) weighing less than
125 kilos pay a flat rate of 120 francs.

Members of most cycling touring clubs can arrange for the entry of
motor-cycles free of duty.

All customs duties paid, in France may be reimbursed upon the
exportation of the automobile. The formalities are very simple.
Inquire at burèau of entry.


Customs Dues. 12 1/2 per cent. ad valorem (owners' declaration as to
value), but the authorities reserve the right to purchase at owners
valuation if they think it undervalued. This is supposed to prevent
fraud, and no doubt it does.

A driving certificate is not required of tourists, but a registered
number must be carried. Plates and a permit are supplied at the
frontier station by which one enters, or they may be obtained at
Brussels from the chef de police.

Speed limit: 30 kilometres per hour in the open country and 10
kilometres per hour in the towns, except, generally speaking, the
larger cities hold down the speed to that of a trotting horse.


Customs Dues are five per cent, ad valorem, but in practice nothing
is demanded of genuine tourists and a permit is now given (1906) for
eight days with a right of extension for a similar period.

Foreign number plates, once recorded by the Dutch customs officials,
will supplant the need of local number plates.


Customs Dues are 60 francs per 100 kilos. This amount, deposited on
entering the country, will be refunded upon leaving and complying
with the formalities.

Legally a driving and "circulation" permit may be demanded, but often
this is waived.

In the Canton Valais only the main road from St. Maurice to Brigue is
open for automobile traffic. Many other roads are entirely closed.

N.B. Traffic regulations in many parts are exceedingly onerous and
often unfair to foreigners.

A recent conference of the different cantons has been held at Berne
to consider the question of automobile traffic in the country. It was
decided to fix a blue sign on the roads where motorists must slacken
speed, and a yellow sign where motoring is not allowed. The
Department of the Interior was deputed to draw up a uniform code of
rules for the guidance of police deputed to take charge of the roads.
No decision was arrived at as regards uniformity in fines for
infraction of the regulations, but steps are to be taken to put an
end to the abuses to which it is alleged the police have subjected
motorists. A resolution was furthermore adopted to the effect that no
road is to be closed to motor-cars without an agreement between the
authorities of all the cantons concerned, and that all foreign
motorists shall be given a copy of the regulations on entering the

The above information is given here that no one may be unduly
frightened, but there is no question but that Switzerland has not
been so hospitable to automobile tourists as to other classes.

The Simplon Pass, under certain restrictions has recently been opened
to automobiles. Open from June 1st to October 15th, except on
Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, but no departure can be made from
either Brigue or Gondo after three P. M. Apply for pass at the
Gendarmerie. Speed 10 kilometres on the open road, and 3 kilometres
on curves and in tunnels.


Customs Dues are according to weight.
500 kilos           200 fcs.
500-1000 kilos      400 fcs.
above 1000 kilos    600 fcs.
motor cycles        42  fcs.

A certificate for importation temporaire is given by the customs
officers on entering, and the same must be given up on leaving the
country, when the sum deposited will be reimbursed.

Since January 8, 1905, a driving certificate is compulsory, but the
authorities will issue same readily to tourists against foreign
certificates or licenses.

Speed during the day must be limited to 40 kilometres an hour in the
open country and 12 kilometres in the towns.

At night the speed (legally) may not exceed 15 kilometres an hour.
Lamps white on the right, green on the left. There are special
regulations for Florence.


Customs Dues.--One hundred and fifty marks per automobile. A pièce
d'identité will be given the applicant on entering, and upon giving
this up on leaving the duties will be reimbursed.

German, French, and Belgian coins all pass current (except bronze


Customs Dues.--Temporary importation by tourists 150 marks per auto.
Oil and gasoline in the tanks also pay duty under certain rulings. A
small matter, this, anyway.

According to recent regulations tourists are permitted to introduce
motor-vehicles into Germany for a temporary visit, free of customs
duty, but it has been left to the discretion of the official to give
motorists the benefit of this arrangement, or to charge the ordinary
duty, with the result that some have had to make a deposit, and
others have succeeded in passing their cars into the country free.

Uniform driving or tax regulations are wanting in Germany, but
something definite is evidently forthcoming from the authorities
shortly (1906-7), with, the probability that even visitors will have
to pay a revenue tax.

Rule of the road is keep to the right and pass on the left, as in
most Continental countries.

Speed limits, during darkness, or in populous districts, vary from 9
to 15 kilometres per hour, but "driving to the common danger" is the
only other cause which will prevent one making any speed he likes in
the open country.

Foreigners should apply to the police authorities immediately on
having entered the country for information as to new rules and


Customs Dues vary greatly on automobiles. The motor pays 18 francs,
50 centimes per hundred kilos., and the carrosserie according to its
form or design. Ordinary tonneau type four places, 1,000 pesetas. For
temporary importation receipts are given which will enable one to be
reimbursed upon exportation of the vehicle. In general the road
regulations of France apply to Spain.

Speed limit, 28 kilometres per hour in open country down to 12
kilometres in the towns.

A circulation permit and driving certificate should be obtained.

M. J. Lafitte, 8 Place de la Liberté, Biarritz, can "put one through"
(at an appropriate fee), in a manner hardly possible for one to
accomplish alone.

A special "free-entry" permit is sometimes given for short periods.

Appendix XII

Some Notes On Map--Making

The most fascinating maps for tried traveller are the wonderful
Cartes d'Etat Major and of Ministre de l'Intérieur in France. The
Ordnance Survey maps in England are somewhat of an approach thereto,
but they are in no way as interesting to study.

One must have a good eye for distances and the lay of the land, and a
familiarity with the conventional signs of map-makers, in order to
get full value from these excellent French maps, but the close
contemplation of them will show many features which might well be
incorporated into the ordinary maps of commerce.

The great national roads are distinctly marked with little dots
beside the road, representing the tree-bordered "Routes Nationales,"
but often there is a cut-off of equally good road between two points
on one's itinerary which of course is not indicated in any special
manner. For this reason alone these excellent maps are not wholly to
be recommended to the automobilist who is covering new ground. For
him it is much better that he should stick to the maps issued by the
Touring Club de France or the cheaper, more legible, and even more
useful Cartes Taride.

In England, as an alternative to the Ordnance Survey maps, there are
Bartholemew's coloured maps, two miles to the inch, and the Half Inch
Map of England and Wales.

Belgium is well covered by the excellent "Carte de Belgique" of the
Automobile Club de Belgique, Italy by the maps of the Italian Touring
Club, and Germany by the ingenious profile map known as
"Strassenprofilkarten," rather difficult to read by the uninitiated.

One of the great works of the omnific Touring Club de France is the
preparation of what might be called pictorial inventories of the
historical monuments and natural curiosities of France made on the
large-scale maps of the Etat Major. Primarily these are intended to
be filed away in their wonderful "Bibliothèque," that all and sundry
who come may read, but it is also further planned that they shall be
displayed locally in hotels, automobile clubs, and the like. The mode
of procedure is astonishingly simple. These detailed maps of the War
Department are simply cut into strips and mounted consecutively, and
the "sights" marked on the margin (with appropriate notes) after the
manner of the example here given.

There seems no reason why one could not make up his own maps
beforehand in a similar fashion, of any particular region or
itinerary that he proposed to "do" thoroughly. One misses a great
deal en route that is not marked clearly on the map before his eyes.

Appendix XIII

A List Of European Map And Road Books

Great Britain and Ireland

The Contour Road Books

Vol. I. North England, including part of Wales.
Vol. II. West England
Vol. III. Southeastern England.

Very useful books, including about five hundred maps and plans,
showing gradients and road profiles.

Bartholemew's Revised Map of England and Wales.--Complete in 87
sheets, 2 miles to the inch.

Half Inch Map of England, Wales, and Scotland.--Published by Gall and
Inglis (Edinburgh). Complete in 47 sheets (England and Wales).

"Strip" Maps.--Published by Gall and Inglis (Edinburgh); 2 miles to
the inch.

1.  Edinburgh to Inverness.
2.  Inverness to John O'Groat's.
3.  "Brighton Road," London to Brighton; "Portsmouth Road," London to
4.  "Southampton Road," London to Bournemouth.
5.  "Exeter Road," London to Exeter.
6.  "Bath Road," London to Bristol.
10. "Great North Road," in two parts: London to York, Leeds, or
Harrogate; York to Edinburgh.
15. "Land's End Road," Bristol to Land's End.
16. "Worcester Road," Bristol to Birmingham, Worcester to Lancashire.
18.  The North Wales Road: Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham to
19.  London to Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool.
20. "Great North Road," Edinburgh to York.
21. "Carlisle Road," Edinburgh to Lancashire.
28. "Highland Road," Edinburgh to Inverness.
28. "John O'Groat's Road," Inverness to Caithness. Excellent for
tours over a straightaway itinerary.

The Cyclist's Touring Club Road Books
Vol. I. deals with the Southern and Southwestern Counties south of
the main road from London to Bath and Bristol.
Vol. II. embraces the Eastern and Midland Counties, including the
whole of Wales.
Vol. III. covers the remainder of England to the Scottish Border.
Vol. IV. includes the whole of Scotland.
Vol. V. Southern Ireland, deals with the country south of the main
road from Dublin to Galway.
Vol. VI., Northern Ireland, deals with the country north of the main
road froth Dublin to Galway.

Ordnance Survey Map of England and Wales.--New series, complete in
354 sheets, 21 x 16 inches. One mile to the inch.
Bartholemew's Map of Scotland.--Complete in 29 sheets, 2 miles to the

Mecredy's Road Maps

1. Dublin and Wicklow.
2. Kerry.
3. Donegal.
4. Connemara.
5. Down.
6. East Central Ireland.

Mecredy's Road Book
2 Volumes

Vol.  I. South of Dublin and Galway.
Vol. II. North of Dublin and Galway.

The Continental Road Book for Great Britain--Published by the
Continental Gutta-Percha Co. Excellent information on British roads,
distances, hotels, etc., with a general map.

The Automobile Hand Book.--The official year book Automobile Club of
Great Britain and Ireland. Contains all the "official" information
concerning automobileism in Britain. Rules and regulations,
statistics, a few routes and plans of the large towns, and a list of
"official" hotels, repairers, etc.

Continental Maps and Road Books

Cartes Taride.--Excellent road maps of all France in 25 sheets can be
had everywhere, mounted on paper at 1 franc, cloth 2 fcs. 50
centimes. All good roads marked in red; dangerous hills are marked,
also railways. Kilometres are also given between towns en route. The
most useful and readable maps published of any country. A. Taride, 20
Boulevard St. Denis, Paris, also publishes The Rhine, North and South
Italy, and Switzerland, each at the same price.

Guide Taride (Les Routes de France).--4,000 itineraries throughout
France and 150 itineraries from Paris to foreign cities and towns.
Contains notes as to nature of roads, kilometric distances, etc.

L'Annuaire de Route.--The year book of the Automobile Club de France
contains hotel, garage, and mècanicien list, charging-stations for
electric apparatus and vendors of gasoline.

C. T. C. Road Book of France (in English).--Two volumes of road
itineraries and notes.

Cartes de l'Etat Major.--Published by the Service Géographique de
l'Armée and sold or furnished by all booksellers. Can best be
procured through the Touring Club de France, 65 Ave. de la Grande
Armée, Paris. Scale 1-80,000, 30 centimes per sheet. Another scale

Carte de la Ministre d'Intérieur.--Scale 1-100,000 and 1-80,000.
Printed in three colours.

Carte de France au 200,000 cq.--Published by the Service Géographiqué
and reproduced from the 1-80,000 carte by photolithography. Useful,
but not so clear as the original.

Cartes du Touring Club de France.--Scale 1-400,000. Indicating all
routes with remarks as to their surfaces, hills, culverts, railway
crossings, etc. Printed in five colours. 15 sheets, 63 x 90 cm. These
cartes lap over somewhat into Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Spain, and
are very good.

Le Guide-Michelin--Issued by Michelin et Cie, the tire manufacturers.
The most handy and useful hotel and mécanicien list, with kilometric
distances between French towns and cities. Many miniature plans of
towns and large map of France.

Guide-Routiere Continental.--Issued by the manufacturers of
Continental tires. Gives plans of towns and cities, detailed
itineraries and hotel lists, etc., throughout France. Equally useful
as the Guide-Michelin, but more bulky.

La Carte Bécherel.--Reproduced from that of the Etat Major 1-200,000.
Price 2 fcs., 50c.

Cartes de Dion--Excellent four-colour maps of certain sections
environing the great cities. Published and sold by De Dion, Bouton et

Sur Route (Atlas-Guide de Poche pour Cyclistes et Automobilists).
--Published by Hatchette & Cie, 3 fcs., 50c. A most useful condensed
and abbreviated gazetteer of France, with a series of handy
four-colour maps showing main roads sufficiently clearly for real use
as an automobile route-book.

Annuaire Général du Touring Club de France--Hotel list, mécaniciens,
etc., and prices of same throughout France.

The Touring Club de France also issues an Annuaire pour l'Etranger,
containing similar information of the neighbouring countries.

Guides-Joanne.--The most perfectly compiled series of guidebooks in
any language. The late editions of Normandie, Bretagne, etc., have
miniature profile road maps and much other information of interest
and value to automobile tourists. Seventeen volumes, covering France,
Algeria, and Corsica.

The Touring Club Italiano issues a series of five excellent maps
covering the whole of Italy.

1. Lombardia, Piemonte, and Ligurie.
2. Veneto.
3. Central Italy.
4. Southern Italy.
5. Calabria and Sicily.

Strade di Grande-Comunicazione--Italia--(Main Roads of Italy). An
excellent profile road book of all of Italy; miniature plans of all
cities and large towns, with gradients of roads, population, etc.

Carte Taride--Italie, Section Nord.--Published by A. Taride, 20 Bvd.
St. Denis, Paris. Comprises Aoste, Bologne, Come, Florence, Livourne,
Milan, Nice, Padoua, Parma, Pise, Sienne, Trente, Turin, Venise. 1
fc. on paper, 2 fcs., 50c. cloth.

Carte Taride--Italie, Section Centrale.--Uniform with above.

Carte Routière.--Published by the Touring Club de Suisse; is issued
in four sheets.

L'Annuaire de Route.--Published by the Automobile Club de Suisse;
contains a small-scale road map, hotel list, etc.

Cyclist's Touring Club (London) Road Book for South and Central
Europe includes Switzerland.

Carte Taride pour la Suisse.--A continuation of the excellent series
of Cartes Tarides (Paris, 30 Bvd. St. Denis) 1 fc., 50c. paper, 3
fcs. on cloth.

The Cartes Tarides (Paris, A. Taride, 20 Boulevard St. Denis) include
Belgium under the Nos. 1 and 1 Bis.

Cyclist's Touring Club (London) Road Book for Northern and Central
Europe includes Belgium.

Carte de Belgique, issued by the Touring Club de Belgique, covers all
of Belgium in one sheet.

Guide-Michelin pour la Belgique, Hollande, et aux Bords du Rhin
contains Belgian hotel-list, plans of towns, etc.

Road Atlas--Published by the Touring Club of Holland, which also
issues many detailed road and route books for the Pays Bas.

Cyclists Touring Club (London) Road Book for North and Central Europe
includes Holland.

Guide-Michelin pour La Belgique includes Holland, Luxembourg, and the
Banks of the Rhine, with information after the same manner as in the
"Guide-Michelin" for France.

Afstandskaart van Nederland.--An admirable road map of all Holland in
two sheets, showing also all canals and waterway.


Ravenstein's Road Maps of Central Europe. Scale about 4 miles to the

Taride's Bord du Rhin.--Excellent maps in three colours, main routes
in red, with kilometric distances, towns, and picturesque sites
clearly marked.

Ravenstein's Road Book for Germany.--Two vols., North and South

Cyclist's Touring Club (London) Road Book for Germany.

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