To be handsome, young, and twenty-two, With nothing else on earth to do; But all day long to bill and coo, It were a pleasant calling.—THACKERAY.

I was just in the act of humming the above verse, when the following announcement was put into my hand— “Regimental Orders.—Head-quarters, Maidstone, December 31st. “As the regiment is to be held in readiness for foreign service in spring, captains of troops will report to Lieutenant and Adjutant Studhome, for the information of the commanding officer, on the state of the saddlery, the holsters and lance-buckets; and the horses must…

THE INCOMPARABLE BLACKWATER

TIME was when I agreed with the popular, and the guide-book, verdict that the Orwell is the finest estuary in these parts; but now that I know it better, I unhesitatingly give the palm to the Blackwater. It is a nobler stream, a true arm of the sea; its moods are more various, its banks wilder, and its atmospheric effects much grander. The defect of it is that it does…

IN SUFFOLK

THE Orwell is reputed to have the finest estuary in East Anglia. It is a broad stream, and immediately Shotley Barracks and the engines of destruction have been left behind, it begins to be humane and reassuring. Thanks to the surprising modernity of the town of Ipswich, which has discovered that there are interests more important than those of local pilots, it is thoroughly well buoyed, so that the stranger…

EAST ANGLIA

AFTER the exoticism of foreign parts, this chapter is very English. But no island could be more surpassingly strange, romantic, and baffling than this island. I had a doubt about the propriety of using the phrase “East Anglia” in the title. I asked, therefore, three educated people whether the northern part of Essex could be termed East Anglia, according to current usage. One said he did n’t know. The next…

BRUGES

WE moored at the Quai Spinola, with one of the most picturesque views in Bruges in front of us, an irresistible temptation to the watercolorist, even in wet weather. I had originally visited Bruges about twenty years earlier. It was the first historical and consistently beautiful city I had ever seen, and even now it did not appear to have sunk much in my esteem. It is incomparably superior to…

TO BELGIUM

AT 6 a. M. we, too, were passing disdainfully the still-hoisted cone. Rain descended in sheets, in blankets, and in curtains, and when we did not happen to be in the rain, we could see rain-squalls of the most theatrical appearance in every quarter of the horizon. The gale had somewhat moderated, but not the sea; the wind, behind us, was against the tide, and considerably quarreling therewith. Now we…

FOLKESTONE TO BOULOGNE

WE waited for the weather a day and a night at Folkestone, which, though one of the gateways of England, is a poor and primitive place to lie in. Most of the time we were on the mud, and to get up into England we had to climb a craggy precipice called the quay-wall. Nevertheless, the harbor (so styled) is picturesque, and in the less respectable part of the town,…

THE RETURN

WE left Copenhagen with regrets, for the entity of the town was very romantic and attractive. Even the humble New Haven, where we sheltered from the eye of the harbor-master, had its charm for us. It was the real sailors’ quarter, thoroughly ungentlemanly and downright. The shops on each side of the creek were below the level of the street and even of the water, and every one of them…

ARISTOCRACY AND ART

THE harbor-master would not allow us to remain for more than three days in our original berth, which served us very well as a sort of grand stand for viewing the life of Copenhagen. His theory was that we were in the way of honest laboring folk, and that we ought to be up in the “sound,” on the northeastern edge of the city, where the yachts lie. We contested…

CAFÉS AND RESTAURANTS

THE most interesting thing, to the complete stranger, in a large foreign city that does not live on its own past is not the museums, but the restaurants and cafés, even in the dead season. We were told that August was the dead season in Copenhagen, and that all the world was at the seaside resorts. We had, however, visited a number of Danish seaside resorts, and they were without…