A wanderer in Holland (1905) by E. V. Lucas

wanderer in Holland 

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Excerpt from the first chapter
IT was once possible to sail all the way to Rotterdam by either of the two lines of steamships from England — the Great Eastern, via Harwich, and the Batavier, direct from London. But that is possible now only by the Batavier, passengers by the better-known Harwich route being landed now and henceforward at the Hook at five A.M.

 I am sorry for this because after a rough passage it was very pleasant to glide in the early morning steadily up the Maas and gradually acquire a sense of Dutch quietude and greyness. No longer, however, can this be done, as the Batavier boats reach Rotterdam at night; and one, therefore, misses the river, with the little villages on its banks, each with a tiny canal-harbor of its own; the groups of trees in the early mist; the gulls and herons; and the increasing traffic as one drew nearer Schiedam and at last reached that forest of masts which is known as Rotterdam.



 But now that the only road to Rotterdam by daylight is the road of iron all that is past, and yet there is some compensation, for short a.s the journey is one may in its progress ground oneself very thoroughly in the characteristic scenery of Holland. No one who looks steadily out of the windows between the Hook and Rotterdam has much to learn thereafter. Only changing skies and atmospheric effects can provide him with novelty, for most of Holland is like that. He has the formula. Nor is it necessarily new to him if he knows England well, North-Holland being merely the Norfolk Broads, the Essex marshlands about Burnham-on-Crouch, extended. Only in its peculiarity of light and in its towns has Holland anything that we have not at home.


 England has even its canal life too if one cared to investigate it; the Broads are populous with wherries and barges; cheese is manufactured in England in a score of districts; cows range our meadows as they range the meadows of the Dutch. We go to Holland to see the towns, the pictures, and the people. We go also because so many of us are so constituted that we never use our eyes until we are on foreign soil. It is as though a Cook's ticket performed an operation for cataract.

  Publication Date:1905
Author: E. V. Lucas


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