Jacob Abbott. Rollo in Paris

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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by JACOB ABBOTT,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.


[Illustration: Restaurant (Café) on the Boulevards. Page 223.]

[Illustration: ROLLO'S TOUR IN EUROPE.]





ROLLO; twelve years of age.

MR. and MRS. HOLIDAY; Rollo's father and mother, travelling in Europe.

THANNY; Rollo's younger brother.

JANE; Rollo's cousin, adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Holiday.

MR. GEORGE; a young gentleman, Rollo's uncle.



Gentlemen and ladies at the hotels, in London, generally dine about six or seven o'clock, each party or family by themselves, in their own private parlor. One evening, about eight o'clock, just after the waiter had removed the cloth from the table where Rollo's father and mother, with Rollo himself and his cousin Jennie, had been dining, and left the table clear, Mr. Holiday rose, and walked slowly and feebly-for he was quite out of health, though much better than he had been-towards a secretary which stood at the side of the room.

"Now," said he, "we will get out the map and the railway guide, and see about the ways of getting to France."

Rollo and Jennie were at this time at the window, looking at the vehicles which were passing by along the Strand. The Strand is a street of London, and one of the most lively and crowded of them all. As soon as Rollo heard his father say that he was going to get the map and the railway guide, he said to Jane,-

"Let's go and see."

So they both went to the table, and there, kneeling up upon two cushioned chairs which they brought forward for the purpose, they leaned over upon the table where their father was spreading out the map, and thus established themselves very comfortably as spectators of the proceedings.

"Children," said Mr. Holiday, "do you come here to listen, or to talk?"

"To listen," said Rollo.

"O, very well," said Mr. Holiday; "then I am glad that you have come."

In obedience to this intimation, Rollo and Jane took care not to interrupt Mr. Holiday even to ask a question, but looked on and listened very patiently and attentively for nearly half an hour, while he pointed out to Mrs. Holiday the various routes, and ascertained from the guide books the times at which the trains set out, and the steamers sailed, for each of them, and also the cost of getting to Paris by the several lines. If the readers of this book were themselves actually in London, and were going to Paris, as Rollo and Jennie were, they would be interested, perhaps, in having all this information laid before them in full detail. As it is, however, all that will be necessary, probably, is to give such a general statement of the case as will enable them to understand the story.

By looking at any map of Europe, it will be seen that England is separated from France by the English Channel, a passage which, though it looks quite narrow on the map, is really very wide, especially toward the west. The narrowest place is between Dover and Calais, where the distance across is only about twenty-two miles. This narrow passage is called the Straits of Dover. It would have been very convenient for travellers that have to pass between London and Paris if this strait had happened to lie in the line, or nearly in the line, between these two cities; but it does not. It lies considerably to the eastward of it; so that, to cross the channel at the narrowest part, requires that the traveller should take quite a circuit round. To go by the shortest distance, it is necessary to cross the channel at a place where Dieppe is the harbor, on the French side, and New Haven on the English. There are other places of crossing, some of which are attended with one advantage, and others with another. In some, the harbors are not good, and the passengers have to go off in small boats, at certain times of tide, to get to the steamers. In others, the steamers leave only when the tide serves, which may happen to come at a very inconvenient hour. In a word, it is always quite a study with tourists, when they are ready to leave London for Paris, to determine by which of the various lines it will be best for their particular party, under the particular circumstances in which they are placed, to go.

After ascertaining all the facts very carefully, and all the advantages and disadvantages of each particular line, Mr. Holiday asked his wife what she thought they had better do.

"The cheapest line is by the way of New Haven," said Mrs. Holiday.

"That's of no consequence, I think, now," said Mr. Holiday. "The difference is not very great."

"For our whole party, it will make four or five pounds," said Mrs. Holiday.

"Well," said Mr. Holiday, "I am travelling to recover my health, and every thing must give way to that. If I can only get well, I can earn money fast enough, when I go home, to replace what we expend. The only question is, Which way will be the pleasantest and the most comfortable?"

"Then," said Mrs. Holiday, "I think we had better go by the way of Dover and Calais, where we have the shortest passage by sea."

"I think so too," said Mr. Holiday; "so that point is settled."

"Father," said Rollo, "I wish you would let Jennie and me go to Paris by ourselves alone, some other way."

The reader who has perused the narrative of Rollo's voyage across the Atlantic will remember that, through a very peculiar combination of circumstances, he was left to make that voyage under his own charge, without having any one to take care of him. He was so much pleased with the result of that experiment, and was so proud of his success in acting as Jennie's protector, that he was quite desirous of trying such an experiment again.

"O, no!" said his father.

"Why, father, I got along well enough in coming over," replied Rollo.

"True," said his father; "and if any accident, or any imperious necessity, should lead to your setting out for Paris without any escort, I have no doubt that you would get through safely. But it is one thing for a boy to be put into such a situation by some unforeseen and unexpected contingency, and quite another thing for his father deliberately to form such a plan for him."

Rollo looked a little disappointed, but he did not reply. In fact, he felt that his father was right.

"But I'll tell you," added Mr. Holiday. "If your uncle George is willing to go by some different route from ours, you may go with him."

"And Jennie?" inquired Rollo.

"Why! Jennie?" repeated Mr. Holiday, hesitating. "Let me think. Yes, Jennie may go with you, if she pleases, if her mother is willing."

Jennie always called Mrs. Holiday her mother, although she was really her aunt.

"Are you willing, mother," asked Rollo, very eagerly.

Mrs. Holiday was at a loss what to say. She was very desirous to please Rollo, and at the same time she wished very much to have Jennie go with her. However, she finally decided the question by saying that Jennie might go with whichever party she pleased.

Rollo's uncle George had not been long in England. He had come out from America some time after Rollo himself did, so that Rollo had not travelled with him a great deal. Mr. George was quite young, though he was a great deal older than Rollo-too old to be much of a companion for his nephew. Rollo liked him very much, because he was always kind to him; but there was no very great sympathy between them, for Mr. George was never much interested in such things as would please a boy. Besides, he was always very peremptory and decisive, though always just, in his treatment of Rollo, whenever he had him under his charge. Rollo was, however, very glad when his father consented that he and his uncle George might go to Paris together.

Mr. George was out that day, and he did not come home until Rollo had gone to bed. Rollo, however, saw him early the next morning, and told him what his father had said.

"Well," said Mr. George, after hearing his story, "and what do you propose that we should do?"

"I propose that you, and Jennie, and I should go by the way of New Haven and Dieppe," replied Rollo.

"Why?" said Mr. George.

"You see it is cheaper that way," said Rollo. "We can go that way for twenty-four shillings. It costs two and three pounds by the other ways."

"That's a consideration," said Mr. George.

"For the pound you would save," said Rollo, "you could buy a very handsome book in Paris."

Rollo suggested these considerations because he had often heard his uncle argue in this way before. He had himself another and a secret reason why he wished to go by the New Haven route; but we are all very apt, when giving reasons to others, to present such as we think will influence them, and not those which really influence us.

Mr. George looked into the guide ...

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