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DIARY OF A PILGRIMAGE
JEROME K. JEROME
"THE IDLE THOUGHTS OF AN IDLE FELLOW," "STAGELAND"
"THREE MEN IN A BOAT," ETC.
Illustrations by G. G. FRASER
J. W. ARROWSMITH LTD., QUAY STREET
SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, HAMILTON, KENT & CO. LIMITED
_First Edition_, _April_, 1891.
_Reprinted_, _June_, 1891.
_Reprinted_, _December_, 1891.
_Reprinted_, _February_, 1892.
_Reprinted_, _February_, 1895.
_Reprinted_, _September_, 1896.
_Reprinted_, _December_, 1897.
_Reprinted_, _January_, 1899.
_Reprinted_, _September_, 1900.
_Reprinted_, _October_, 1902.
_Reprinted_, _October_, 1903.
_Reprinted_, _January_, 1904.
_Reprinted_, _October_, 1905.
_Reprinted_, _March_, 1907.
_Reprinted_, _February_, 1909.
_Reprinted_, _February_, 1910.
_Reprinted_, _November_, 1911.
_Reprinted_, _February_, 1914.
_Reprinted_, _December_, 1916.
_Second Edition_, _December_, 1919.
Said a friend of mine to me some months ago: "Well now, why don't you
write a _sensible_ book? I should like to see you make people think."
"Do you believe it can be done, then?" I asked.
"Well, try," he replied.
Accordingly, I have tried. This is a sensible
book. I want you to
understand that. This is a book to improve your mind. In this book I
tell you all about Germany--at all events, all I know about Germany--and
the Ober-Ammergau Passion Play. I also tell you about other things. I
do not tell you all I know about all these other things, because I do not
want to swamp you with knowledge. I wish to lead you gradually. When
you have learnt
this book, you can come again, and I will tell you some
more. I should only be defeating my own object did I, by making you
think too much at first, give you a perhaps, lastingdislike
exercise. I have purposely put the matter in a light and attractive
form, so that I may secure the attention of the young and the frivolous.
I do not want them to notice, as they go on, that they are being
instructed; and I have, therefore, endeavoured to disguise
from them, so
far as is practicable, that this is either an exceptionally
clever or an
exceptionally useful work. I want to do them good without their knowing
it. I want to do you all good--to improve your minds and to make you
think, if I can.
_What_ you will think after you have read the book, I do not want to
know; indeed, I would rather not know. It will be sufficient reward
me to feel that I have done my duty, and to receive a percentage
LONDON, _March_, 1891.
My Friend B.--Invitation to the Theatre.--A Most Unpleasant
Regulation.--Yearnings of the Embryo Traveller.--How to Make the Most of
One's Own Country.--Friday, a Lucky Day.--The Pilgrimage Decided On.
My friend B. called on me this morning and asked me if I would go to a
theatre with him on Monday next.
"Oh, yes! certainly, old man," I replied. "Have you got an order, then?"
"No; they don't give orders. We shall have to pay."
"Pay! Pay to go into a theatre!" I answered, in astonishment. "Oh,
nonsense! You are joking."
"My dear fellow," he rejoined, "do you think I should suggest paying if
it were possible to get in by any other means? But the people who run
this theatre would not even understand what was meant by a 'free list,'
the uncivilised barbarians! It is of no use pretending to them that you
are on the Press, because they don't want the Press; they don't think
anything of the Press. It is no good writing
to the acting
because there is no acting
manager. It would be a waste of time offering
bills, because they don't have any bills--not of that sort.
If you want to go in to see the show, you've got to pay. If you don't
pay, you stop outside; that's their brutal
"Dear me," I said, "what a very unpleasant
arrangement! And whereabouts
is this extraordinary
theatre? I don't think I can ever have been inside
"I don't think you have," he replied; "it is at Ober-Ammergau--first
turning on the left after you leave Ober railway-station, fifty miles
"Um! rather out of the way for a theatre," I said. "I should not have
thought an outlying house like that could have afforded to give itself
"The house holds seven thousand people," answered my friend B., "and
money is turned away at each performance. The first production is on
Monday next. Will you come?"
I pondered for a moment, looked at my diary, and saw that Aunt Emma was
coming to spend Saturday to Wednesday next with us, calculated that if I
went I should miss her, and might not see her again for years, and
decided that I would go.
To tell the truth, it was the journey more than the play that tempted me.
To be a great traveller has always been one of my cherished ambitions. I
yearn to be able to write in this sort of strain:--
"I have smoked my fragrant
Havana in the sunny streets of old Madrid, and
I have puffed the rude and not sweet-smelling calumet of peace in the
of the Wild West; I have sipped my evening coffee in the
silent tent, while the tethered camel browsed without upon the desert
grass, and I have quaffed the fiery brandy
of the North while the
reindeer munched his fodder
beside me in the hut, and the pale light of
sun threw the shadows of the pines across the snow; I have
felt the stab of lustrous eyes that, ghostlike, looked at me from out
veil-covered faces in Byzantium's narrow ways, and I have laughed back
(though it was wrong of me to do so) at the saucy, wanton
glances of the
black-eyed girls of Jedo; I have wandered where 'good'--but not too
good--Haroun Alraschid crept disguised at nightfall, with his faithful
Mesrour by his side; I have stood upon the bridge
where Dante watched the
sainted Beatrice pass by; I have floated on the waters that once bore the
barge of Cleopatra; I have stood where Caesar fell; I have heard the soft
rustle of rich, rare robes in the drawing-rooms of Mayfair, and I have
heard the teeth-necklaces rattle
around the ebony throats of the belles
of Tongataboo; I have panted beneath the sun's fierce
rays in India, and
frozen under the icy blasts of Greenland; I have mingled with the teeming
hordes of old Cathay, and, deep in the great pine forests of the Western
World, I have lain, wrapped in my blanket, a thousand miles beyond the
shores of human life."
B., to whom I explained my leaning towards this style of diction, said
that exactly the same effect could be produced by writing
quite handy. He said:--
"I could go on like that without having been outside England at all. I
"I have smoked my fourpenny shag in the sanded bars of Fleet Street, and
I have puffed my twopenny Manilla in the gilded balls of the Criterion; I
have quaffed my foaming beer of Burton where Islington's famed Angel
gathers the little thirsty ones beneath her shadowing wings, and I have
sipped my tenpenny _ordinaire_ in many a garlic-scented salon of Soho.
On the back of the strangely-moving ass I have urged--or, to speak more
correctly, the proprietor
of the ass, or his agent, from behind has
urged--my wild career
across the sandy heaths of Hampstead, and my canoe
has startled the screaming wild-fowl from their lonely
haunts amid the
sub-tropical regions of Battersea. Adown the long, steep slope of One
Tree Hill have I rolled from top to foot, while laughing maidens of the
East stood round and clapped their hands and yelled; and, in the
old-world garden of that pleasant Court, where played the fair-haired
children of the ill-starred Stuarts, have I wandered long through many
paths, my arm entwined about the waist of one of Eve's sweet daughters,
while her mother raged around indignantly
on the other side of the hedge,
and never seemed to get any nearer to us. I have chased the
lodging-house Norfolk Howard to his watery
death by the pale lamp's
light; I have, shivering, followed the leaping flea o'er many a mile of
pillow and sheet, by the great Atlantic's margin. Round and round, till
the heart--and not only the heart--grows sick, and the mad brain whirls
and reels, have I ridden
the small, but extremely
hard, horse, that may,
for a penny, be mounted amid the plains of Peckham Rye; and high above
the heads of the giddy throngs of Barnet (though it is doubtful
among them was half so giddy as was I) have I swung in highly-coloured
car, worked by a man with a rope. I have trod in statelymeasure
floor of Kensington's Town Hall (the tickets were a guinea
included refreshments--when you could get to them through the crowd), and
on the green sward of the forest that borders eastern Anglia by the
oft-sung town of Epping I have performed quaint
ceremonies in a ring; I
have mingled with the teeming hordes of Drury Lane on Boxing Night, and,
during the run of a high-class piece, I have sat in lonelygrandeur
the front row of the gallery, and wished that I had spent my shilling
instead in the Oriental halls of the Alhambra."
"There you are," said B., "that is just as good as yours; and you can
write like that without going more than a few hours' journey from
"We will discuss the matter no further," I replied. "You cannot, I see,
enter into my feelings. The wild heart of the traveller does not throb
within your breast; you cannot understand his longings. No matter!
Suffice it that I will come this journey with you. I will buy a German
conversation book, and a check-suit, and a blue veil, and a white
umbrella, and suchlike necessities of the English tourist
this very afternoon. When do you start?"
"Well," he said, "it is a good two days' journey. I propose to start on
"Is not Friday rather an unlucky
day to start on?" I suggested.
"Oh, good gracious!" he retorted quite sharply, "what rubbish
if the affairs of Europe were going to be arranged by Providence
according to whether you and I start for an excursion
on a Thursday or a
He said he was surprised that a man who could be so sensible,
occasionally, as myself, could have patience
to even think of such
old-womanish nonsense. He said that years ago, when he was a silly boy,
he used to pay attention to this foolish superstition
himself, and would
never upon any consideration
start for a trip upon a Friday.
But, one year, he was compelled to do so. It was a case of either
starting on a Friday or not going at all, and he determined to chance it.
He went, prepared for and expecting a series
of accidents and
misfortunes. To return home alive was the only bit of pleasure he hoped
for from that trip.
As it turned out, however, he had never had a more enjoyable holiday
his life before. The whole event was a tremendous
And after that, he had made up his mind to _always_ start on a Friday;
and he always did, and always had a good time.
He said that he would never, upon any consideration, start for a trip
upon any other day but a Friday now. It was so absurd, this superstition
So we agreed to start on the Friday, and I am to meet him at Victoria
Station at a quarter to eight in the evening.
The Question of Luggage.--First Friend's Suggestion.--Second Friend's
Suggestion.--Third Friend's Suggestion.--Mrs. Briggs' Advice.--Our
Vicar's Advice.--His Wife's Advice.--Medical Advice.--Literary
Advice.--George's Recommendation.--My Sister-in-Law's Help.--Young
Smith's Counsel.--My Own Ideas.--B.'s Idea.
I have been a good deal worried to-day about the question of what luggage
to take with me. I met a man this morning, and he said:
"Oh, if you are going to Ober-Ammergau, mind you take plenty of warm
clothing with you. You'll need all your winter things up there."
He said that a friend of his had gone up there some years ago, and had
not taken enough warm things with him, and had caught a chill there, and
had come home and died. He said:
"You be guided by me, and take plenty of warm things with you."
I met another man later on, and he said:
"I hear you are going abroad. Now, tell me, what part of Europe are you
I replied that I thought it was somewhere about the middle. He said:
"Well, now, you take my advice, and get a calico
suit and a sunshade.
Never mind the look of the thing. You be comfortable. You've no idea of
the heat on the Continent at this time of the year. English people will
persist in travelling about the Continent in the same stuffy
they wear at home. That's how so many of them get sunstrokes, and are
ruined for life."
I went into the club, and there I met a friend of mine--a newspaper
correspondent--who has travelled a good deal, and knows Europe pretty
well. I told him what my two other friends had said, and asked him which
I was to believe. He said:
"Well, as a matter of fact, they are both right. You see, up in those
hilly districts, the weather changes very quickly. In the morning it may
be blazing hot, and you will be melting, and in the evening you may be
very glad of a flannel
shirt and a fur coat."
"Why, that is exactly the sort of weather we have in England!" I
exclaimed. "If that's all these foreigners can manage in their own
country, what right have they to come over here, as they do, and grumble
about our weather?"
"Well, as a matter of fact," he replied, "they haven't any right; but you
can't stop them--they will do it. No, you take my advice, and be
prepared for everything. Take a cool suit and some thin things, for if
it's hot, and plenty of warm things in case it is cold."
When I got home I found Mrs. Briggs there, she having looked in to see
how the baby was. She said:--
"Oh! if you're going anywhere
near Germany, you take a bit of soap with
She said that Mr. Briggs had been called over to Germany once in a hurry,
on business, and had forgotten to take a piece of soap with him, and
didn't know enough German to ask for any when he got over there, and
didn't see any to ask for even if he had known, and was away for three
weeks, and wasn't able to wash himself all the time, and came home so
dirty that they didn't know him, and mistook him for the man that was to
come to see what was the matter with the kitchen boiler.
Mrs. Briggs also advised me to take some towels with me, as they give you
such small towels to wipe on.