And turning to a map of Europe, and measuring out four hundred and thirty miles by scale on a slip of paper, she tried it up and down the map from point to point. “Look at funny little England!” she said. “Why, you will practically be walking from one end of England to the other. See,” and she fitted her scale to the map, “it would bring you easily from Portsmouth to Aberdeen.
“And now let us try France. Why, see again—you will be walking from Calais to Marseilles—think of it! walking through France, all vineyards and beautiful names. Now Italy—see! you will be walking from Florence to Mount Etna—Florence, Rome, Naples, Palermo.”
And so in imagination our fair friend sketched out fanciful pilgrimages for us. “You could walk from Gibraltar to the Pyrenees,” she went on. “You could walk from Venice to Berlin; from Brussels to Copenhagen; you could walk from Munich to Budapest; you could walk right across Turkey, from Constantinople to the Adriatic Sea. And Greece—see! you could walk from Sparta to the Danube. To think of the romantic use you could make of your four-hundred-odd-miles, and how different it sounds—Buffalo to New York!”
And again she repeated, luxuriating in the romantic sound of the words: “Constantinople to the Adriatic! Sparta to the Danube!—Buffalo to New York!”
There was not wanting to the party the whole-souled, my-country-’tis-of-thee American, who somewhat resented these European comparisons, and declared that America was good enough for her, clearly intimating that a certain lack of patriotism, even a certain immorality, attached to the admiration of foreign countries. She also told us somewhat severely that the same stars, if not better, shone over America as over any other country, and that American scenery was the finest in the world—not to speak of the American climate.
To all of which we bowed our heads in silence—but the frivolous, European-minded Rosalind who had got us into this trouble retorted with a grave face: “Wouldn’t you just love, dear Miss——, to walk from Hackensack to Omaha?”
Another voice was kind enough to explain for our encouragement that the traveller found in a place exactly what he brought there, and that romance was a personal gift, all in the personal point of view.
“A sort of cosmetic you apply to the face of Nature,” footnoted our irrepressible friend.
Still another reminded us that “to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive,” and still another strongly advised us to carry revolvers.
So, taking with us our maps and much good advice, we bade farewell to our friends, and walked back to our camp under the stars—the same stars that were shining over Constantinople.
The next day, when all our preparations were complete, the shack swept and garnished, and our knapsacks bulging in readiness for the road, Colin took his brushes, and in a few minutes had decorated one of the walls with an Autumn sunset—a sort of memorial tablet to our Summer, he explained.