Notes to the Reader: This piece originally appeared in the May 1904 issue of FOUR-TRACK NEWS. It claims to be about traveling in tents, but the pictures and the text seem totally at variance. In any case, it's a hoot! Look at the pictures and go fishing, or read the text and go in Rajah style across India.
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Suggestively Illustrated by Views From all Parts of America
By Sir Edwin Arnold, K.C.I. E.
Why do not pleasure-seekers make more use of tents in taking their holidays? As I observe them with all the warm sympathy of one who admires their activity and enjoyment, but can no longer emulate it, I find myself asking this question again and again. In many of the most delightful parts of England and the United States, accommodation is always deficient, if indeed, it exists at all. But, with tents, the whole country from coast to coast, regardless of hotels, could be made one great green boarding-house, and many a pretty nook, a few hours' tramp from where the iron steed sets one down, could be turned into a temporary home and paradise.
Where there is a party of three or four which could send its little camp forward, or where a vehicle can be taken or a baggage horse only, there might be had a pleasure and enjoyment of the outdoor life, infinitely surpassing anything to be realized in cottages, or stuffy, and sometimes unsanitary, boarding-houses. There is nothing healthier than outdoor exercise under canvas.
Thus only does the seeker after recreation gain a perpetual bath of fresh air. If his tent be of good make and properly pitched and drained, he need not mind an occasional storm of wind or rain.
With hammocks which can be slung to the central pole or suspended between folding legs, he will sleep clear of the earth, and a very few fittings over and above the boxes, and light, expanding tables and chairs, will render his airy domicile delightfully commodious.
There are countless wild and charming nooks on sea-beach, furzy heath, woodland side, and shady four-went-way, or by the river brinks, or on flowery uplands, where a tent or two may be pitched in freedom and welcome, as well as many spots where nobody has any right at all to forbid the temporary sojourn of the amateur Ishmaelite.
The pleasantest days of all my own past life were undoubtedly those spent under canvas. I remember at this hour with intensest vividness of detail and undying interest the times when in India we used to "go out into the districts" with a moving camp. They do this business to positive perfection there. It is the habit and the established science of India,
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REMEMBER: Peoples' attitudes toward race, religion, and culture were a lot different when this was written! The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of TravelHistory.org or of Hidden Knowledge, Publishers.
Update history: This page originally created 2 March 2007. Latest update 2 June 2011.