Page images
PDF
EPUB

the minister of that country in which the traveller intends to land ; and it is very advisable to have it also visé, or counter-signed, by the ministers of those countries through which he proposes afterwards to pass. For instance, if he be going

up the Rhine to Frankfort, and intend to land at Rotterdam, or any other Dutch port, he must obtain a passport from the Dutch minister; and as the banks of the Rhine above Nymegen belong to Prussia, he must secure the Prussian minister's signature to it. If he go by Calais, he must have a French passport; if by Ostend, a Belgian; but, in either case, it must be counter-signed by the Prussian minister. A passport, bearing a Prussian minister's or consul's signature, procures admittance for the bearer, without delay or difficulty, at any part of the Prussian frontier. Without it, he will probably be subjected to delay and inconvenience at the first Prussian town he reaches. The same rule of obtaining a signature of a minister should also be observed before entering the States of Austria-Russia - Bavaria-France-Holland-Belgium. With many it is indispensable; with all it is advisable.

The usual process of obtaining a passport is to address a written or verbal application to the secretary of the ambassador, and to state the Christian and sirname, age, height, and address of the applican This must be left, one day in advance, at the house or office of the ambassador or consul. The applicant must appear in person the following day to receive his passport, which will be delivered to him, without fee, by the ambassador of France or Holland, and, on payment of seven shillings, by the Belgian minister.

It is right to mention that a shilling, properly administered to the porter at the door, will often materially shorten the space of time during which the applicant is generally compelled to kick his heels in the ambassador's ante-room.

Besides the Ambassadors, the Consuls of the different foreign powers issue or sign passports at their offices in the city, for which a charge of five shillings is made. As the ambassador's secretary seldom begins to sign passports before one, time is often saved by obtaining the consul's passport, as they are commonly earlier and quicker. The different members of a family can have their names included in one passport, but friends travelling together had better provide themselves with distinct passports. Male servants should also have separate passports.

N.B.—The signature, which the bearer of a passport must attach to it when it is delivered to him, ought to be written as clearly and distinctly as possible, that it may be easily read by the numerous functionaries through whose hands it is destined to pass, who are sometimes half an hour in decyphering an ill-written name, while the owner is wasting his patience at the length of the scrutiny. By this slight precaution, the loss of many a quarter of an hour may be saved.

Much delay and inconvenience may also be avoided, by causing the full description of the person to be inserted in the passport at once: the want of it will excite suspicion in some foreign passport offices.

Travellers who wish to avoid expense may obtain passports_gratis, for France, in London, at the French Passport Office, 6, Polandstreet, Oxford-street, and from the French Consul, 4, Tokenhouseyard; at Brighton and Southampton, from the French Consuls ; at Calais and Boulogne, from the British Consuls ; for Holland, from the Dutch Consul, 123, Fenchurch-street; for Belgium, on payment of 78., from the Minister, 17, Fitzroy-square, or the Consul, 3, Copthallcourt, Throgmorton-street, or from the British Consul at Ostend; for Hamburg, from the Hanseatic Consul, 76, Cornhill.

Austrian Passport. The Austrian Ambassador in London will neither give a passport to an Englishman, nor countersign any, except that issued by the British Secretary of State. For the traveller bound to any part of the Austrian dominions, or to Italy, the Austrian signature is absolutely indispensable, and it is therefore a matter of urgent necessity to obtain it, if not in London, at one of the great capitals on the Continent-at Paris, Brussels, the Hague, Frankfort, Carlsruhe, Berlin, Dresden, Berne in Switzerland, or Munich—where an Austrian minister resides. The traveller must even go out of his way to obtain it, or else, when he arrives at the Austrian frontier, he will either be compelled to retrace his steps, or will be kept under the surveillance of the police, until his passport is sent to the nearest place where an English and Austrian Ambassador reside, to be authenticated by

and signed by the other. An Englishman's

passport ought also to be signed by his own minister, at the first English embassy.

the one,

British Secretary of State's Passport. Those who do not grudge the considerable expense of 21. 78., the price of an English Secretary of State's passport, may obtain one at the Foreign office in London, provided they be personally known at the office, or can procure a written or personal recommendation from a banker, or other person of respectability who is well known there. The advantages attending it are, Ist, that the bearer may obtain the Austrian Ambassador's signature before leaving England, and can thus dismiss at once a matter which is likely to produce delay and trouble ; and, 2ndly, that if he pass through France, he is usually, as a matter of courtesy, exempted from the inconvenience of surrendering it at the frontier, in exchange for a passe provisoire, which takes place with every other passport; and is allowed to carry it on with him to Paris and through France.

At the same time it ought to be understood, that an ordinary passport, visé by the Prussian Minister in England, and by some Austrian Minister abroad, is, with the above exception, every bit as good as a Secretary of State's, and those who have travelled with both have experienced little, if any, difference between them, deriving no extra benefit from the expenditure of 21. 78.

Passport of Consuls at British Seaports and Foreign Seaports.

The Consuls of France residing at Dovor, Brighton, Southampton, and other British seaports, and his Britannic Majesty's Consuls abroad, at Calais, Boulogne, Ostend, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Hamburg, &c., can give a passport to a British subject, but it is far better to provide one in London before setting out.

The writer has been thus minute and precise in his details respecting the passport, because he knows how essential it is to the traveller to have this precious document en règle, and has experienced the serious inconvenience to which those who are not aware of the necessary formalities are constantly exposed.

e. COURIER.

It is notorious that English servants taken for the first time to the Continent, and ignorant of every language but their own, are worse than useless—they are an encumbrance. The traveller who requires a servant at any rate had better take a foreign one, but he who speaks the language of the Continent himself, and will submit to the details of the coinage and the post books, may save himself much expense, by dispensing with a servant altogether. Thus the knowledge of language becomes a great source of economy. A courier, however, though an expensive luxury, is one which conduces much to the ease and pleasure of travelling, and few who can afford one will forego the advantage of his services. He relieves his master from much fatigue of body and perplexity of mind, in unravelling the difficulties of long bills and foreign moneys, sparing his temper the trials it is likely to endure from disputes with innkeepers, postmasters, and the like. A courier, if clever and experienced, and disposed to consult the comfort of his employer, is a most useful person. His duties consist in preceding the carriage at each stage, to secure relays of post horses on those routes where horses are scarce, or where the number of travellers renders it difficult to procure them. This, however, is seldom necessary, except where the travelling party is very large, occupying several carriages, and requiring six or eight horses, which may take an hour or two to collect at a post-house, and must often be brought in from the fields. He must make arrangements for his employer's reception at inns where he intends to pass the night; must secure comfortable rooms, clean and well-aired beds, and order meals to be prepared. He ought to have a thorough knowledge of every thing that relates to the care of a carriage; he should examine it at the end of each day's journey, to ascertain whether it requires any repairs, which should be executed before setting out; and it is his fault if any accident occur en route, from neglect of such precautions. He should superintend the packing and unpacking of the luggage, should know the number of parcels, &c., and be on his guard against leaving any thing behind. It falls to the courier to pay innkeepers, postmasters, and postboys, and he ought to take care that his master is not overcharged. Besides this, he performs all the services of waiting and attendance, cleaning and brushing clothes, &c. He never, however, performs the office of a valet de place while staying in a place, even though he may be well acquainted with it: this he considers out of his province. He ought to write as well as speak the language of the countries he is about to visit, so as to be able to communicate by letter with innkeepers, if it be necessary to bespeak accommodation beforehand.

From what has been stated above, it will be perceived that the master is greatly at the mercy of the courier, and that he ought therefore, by all means to be “ sharply looked after."

The couriers, though perhaps not less honest as a body than any other class of servants, have yet, from the nature of their duties, both much temptation and opportunity for imposition. The master should therefore be on his guard to prevent his courier exacting a commission from the innkeepers upon the amount of their bills, though it is generally understood and allowed that he should be lodged and fed free of cost. He should also be strictly overlooked in paying the postboys, in order that he may not limit them to the sum set down in the tariff, while he charges his master double the tariff (which is the usual rate at which postboys are paid even by Germans) and pockets the difference. It is possible that this may sometimes occur, and it is therefore right to warn travellers against it. At the same time, a courier protects his master from the very numerous rogues at whose mercy the inexperienced traveller is usually placed ; and even if he take some advantage, like the flies on the fox's back, he saves him from a hundred other impositions, so that it comes nearly to the same thing in the end. The best mode of preventing irregularities of this kind is, to settle with him at least once a week, requiring him to give a written statement of the money he has laid out, and to produce the bills of the innkeepers and the receipts of the postmasters. If the accounts are allowed to run on for five or six weeks, the master himself is to blame if he is overcharged when the circumstances connected with the items of his bills have escaped from his memory. When the master suspects any collusion or compact with the landlords, he had better repair to inns of his own choosing, and the names of inns given in this work will enable him to select for himself.

The usual wages of a courier while travelling is from 8l. to 10l. a month, if he be engaged for less than two months, he will probably expect as much as 121.; if his services be retained while his master is stationary in a place, he ought not to expect more than 6l., supposing his engagement to last for ten or twelve months.

Couriers are to be heard of at No. 7, Old Compton-street, Soho, and No. 11, Panton-square, London; at Paris, Geneva, and most of the great Capitals of Europe. They ought on no account to be engaged without producing unexceptionable testimonials as to character, such as would be required of any other servant. A less expensive, and sometimes more honest domestic than the couriers who repair to London, may often be found among the Swiss, Piedmontese,

and Germans in continental cities, but caution must be exercised in receiving such. In some countries of the Continent, such as Norway and Sweden, Russia, Holland, Poland, and Hungary, a servant acquainted with their languages is quite essential to a traveller's comfort

. In Holland and a large part of Germany, the French language is literally useless.

f. CARRIAGE. There are several places on the Continent, such as Brussels, Paris, Frankfort, and Vienna, where good carriages are built, cheaper, but on the whole inferior to the English. The expense of freight, sometimes amounting to 51. or 61. to and fro, and of duty, is also saved by not taking a carriage from England. But the traveller must not rely on finding a carriage to suit him at the seaport where he lands, and if he hire one for the period of his journey, the charge is not much less than what would be asked in England, and he is compelled either to return by the same road, in order to deposit it at the place whence he brought it, or to pay back-fare. Considering the uncertainty of procuring a proper carriage, and the delay that must necessarily take place in finding one, it is decidedly the best plan to hire a carriage from some respectable coachmaker in London, suited in size and shape to the number of persons to be conveyed by it.

The best kind of carriage for a small party, not exceeding four and a servant, is an open calêche or britzka: a chariot, even if it hold but one person, according to the posting regulations of many foreign countries, must have three horses, whilst a light calêche without much luggage, holding three or even four persons, is permitted to be drawn by two.

In some parts of the Continent, one horse may be saved, if the postilion drive from the box, otherwise he must take a third horse to ride on.

In Belgium and France the posting regulations render it necessary to substitute a pair of shafts for a pole, if the travelling party exceed three. The shafts are best procured at the place of disembarkation.

Where persons, studious of economy, intend to travel post, they may save the cost of steam transport, duties, &c., by purchasing a second-hand carriage abroad, and may recover a portion of the sum paid for it, by selling it at the end of the journey. Many such carriages are to be met with in the yards of the innkeepers at Calais, Rotterdam, and the other ports; but they are usually shabby, brokendown vehicles, and may fail in the midst of a journey, and cost as much in repairs as a new carriage would have done in England.

g. REQUISITES FOR TRAVELLING. The following hints are principally addressed to those who intend to make pedestrian journeys.

The shoes ought to be double-soled, provided with iron heels and hob. nails, such as are worn in shooting in England : the weight of a shoe of this kind is counterbalanced by the effectual protection afforded to the feet against sharp rocks and loose stones, which cause contusions, and are a great source of fatigue and pain. They should be so large as not to pinch any part of the foot. The experienced pedes

« PreviousContinue »