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Among English Inns
The Three Crowns, Chagford.
THE STORY OF A PILGRIMAGE
SPOTS OF RURAL ENGLAND
L. C. Page & Company
BY L. C. PAGE & COMPANY (INCORPORATED)
Published July, 1904
Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.
Boston, Mass.. U.S.A.
TO THOSE FRIENDS WHOSE CONSTANT ENCOURAGEMENT
AND SINCERE INTEREST IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS LITTLE RECORD,
MY BOOK IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED.
THIS little work was undertaken at the request, and for the use of friends, who lamented that they had seen nothing of rural England because they needed a guide to lead them to interesting places and characteristic spots. It has been the writer's endeavour to collect here facts about the country districts not mentioned in the ordinary guide-book.
This volume has been several years in the making, and during that period the writer hat been several times carefully over the route she has selected principally for the combination of noted villages with others seldom visited by the average tourist, and distinguished for the variety of interest, historical and literary, and for diversity of prospect.
The tour can be made in a fortnight, or extended to a month or six weeks. It is planned for those who wish to travel in simple style.
Journeying in England is not cheap in the generally accepted term. The tariff at the country inns for board and lodging ranges from twelve shillings ($3.00) to twenty-five ($5.00) shillings a day. It is always wise to secure rooms in advance, a very simple matter in a land where a telegram costs but a few pence. The inns are small, and consequently the accommodation is limited. Those who can afford a little extra luxury will do well to engage a private sitting-room. This gratification will not be found very expensive, and will add greatly to the enjoyment and comfort of the party.
The food at an English inn is very simple, and its want of variety meets with criticism from the average citizen of the United States, but what is offered the guest is clean, wholesome, and the best of its kind. The mutton is a revelation, and the flavour of the vegetables more delicate than those grown in American soil. A fixed price is usually charged for the meals, varying anywhere between two shillings and sixpence (about sixty cents) for a luncheon to a dinner at six shillings (a dollar and a half). The bread seldom meets with approval, and the coffee is a surprising and impossible beverage. Good coffee is very expensive, absurdly so, for it costs fifty cents a pound, and is only obtainable in shops devoted to its sale in the larger towns. With the best will in the world, the landlady can neither buy coffee in her village, nor brew it so that it is fit to drink. Take tea if possible.
The manager at an inn, usually a woman, should be consulted about the best walks and drives. She knows the advantages of the immediate neighborhood, all the most interesting sights, and the best vehicle to choose for excursions. She is always ready and pleased to give information, but she will never offer it unless asked. Frame your questions carefully; the can save you much loss of time and pleasure, but she has a very literal sense of comprehension.
The fees given the inn servants should be regulated by the stay and the amount of attention demanded of them. A shilling for those in constant attendance, and a sixpence for others less useful, will be taken with thanks. A charge for service is made in the bill for some unknown reason, but the servants always expect a fee, and no English guest ever fails to bestow it.
There is a system at railway stations by which, when the price of sixpence is paid on each piece, luggage can be delivered at your abiding-place, or sent forward to the cloakroom at the station which is your ultimate destination. This is called "Luggage in Advance," but unfortunately the promise of the title is not invariably fulfilled.
It is safer to watch your luggage. See it put in the van when you start, note that particular van, and get into the carriage to which it is attached. This will facilitate matters. You will probably change cars on your journey. When that happens, the traveller must snatch a porter in all haste, find the luggage for him, and see it transferred. The fact that the trunks are labelled through to the end of the journey will not prevent them from being left on the platform of a junction, to follow at the sweet leisure of the officials, or to repose in that overcrowded institution, The Lost Property Office, until rescued by tracers of one kind or another. A porter expects a fee of from twopence to sixpence for carrying your trunk to a van. In this case the size of the trunk should determine the amount bestowed. More than sixpence will make him stare, and mark you for a stranger to British travelling methods.
Choose to buy third-class tickets, except when travelling at night or on a holiday. You will find yourself perfectly comfortable, and in company more than respectable socially. First-class fare is nearly double in price, and on some of the English railways there are no second-class carriages. It looks knowing to use third-class.
The writer wishes to assure that she has not drawn on her imagination for a single one of the incidents set down in this book, although some of the minor occurrences have changed their locality at her will; the experiences are all facts, and happened as she relates them. She trusts, in presenting this book to future tourists in Rural England, that whatever lack of material comfort they may experience by following in her footsteps will be more than overlooked and recompensed by the diversity of the scenery, the charm of this garden-land, the quaintness of the hamlets, and the universal civility of the inhabitants.