A WOMAN'S JOURNEY ROUND THE WORLD, From Vienna To Brazil, Chili,
Tahiti, China, Hindostan, Persia, And Asia Minor.
BY IDA PFEIFFER.
An unabridged translation from the German.
I have been called, in many of the public journals, a "professed
tourist;" but I am sorry to say that I have no title to the
appellation in its usual sense. On the one hand I possess too
little wit and humour to render my writings amusing; and, on the
other, too little knowledge to judge rightly of what I have gone
through. The only gift to which I can lay claim is that of
narrating in a simple manner the different scenes in which I have
played a part, and the different objects I have beheld; if I ever
pronounce an opinion, I do so merely on my own personal experience.
Many will perhaps believe that I undertook so long a journey from
vanity. I can only say in answer to this - whoever thinks so should
make such a trip himself, in order to gain the conviction, that
nothing but a natural wish for travel, a boundless desire of
acquiring knowledge, could ever enable a person to overcome the
hardships, privations, and dangers to which I have been exposed.
In exactly the same manner as the artist feels an invincible desire
to paint, and the poet to give free course to his thoughts, so was I
hurried away with an unconquerable wish to see the world. In my
youth I dreamed of travelling - in my old age I find amusement in
reflecting on what I have beheld.
The public received very favourably my plain unvarnished account of
"A Voyage to the Holy Land, and to Iceland and Scandinavia."
Emboldened by their kindness, I once more step forward with the
journal of my last and most considerable voyage, and I shall feel
content if the narration of my adventures procures for my readers
only a portion of the immense fund of pleasure derived from the
Vienna, March 16, 1850.
With the hope that we may forward the views of the authoress, and be
the means of exciting the public attention to her position and
wants, we append the following statement by Mr. A. Petermann, which
appeared in the Athenaeum of the 6th of December, 1851:
"Madame Pfeiffer came to London last April, with the intention of
undertaking a fresh journey; her love of travelling appearing not
only unabated, but even augmented by the success of her journey
round the world. She had planned, as her fourth undertaking, a
journey to some of those portions of the globe which she had not yet
visited - namely, Australia and the islands of the Asiatic
Archipelago; intending to proceed thither by the usual route round
the Cape. Her purpose was, however, changed while in London. The
recently discovered Lake Ngami, in Southern Africa, and the
interesting region to the north, towards the equator - the reflection
how successfully she had travelled among savage tribes, where armed
men hesitated to penetrate, how well she had borne alike the cold of
Iceland and the heat of Babylonia - and lastly, the suggestion that
she might be destined to raise the veil from some of the totally
unknown portions of the interior of Africa - made her determine on
stopping at the Cape, and trying to proceed thence, if possible,
northwards into the equatorial regions of the African Continent.
"Madame Pfeiffer left for the Cape, on the 22nd of May last, in a
sailing vessel - her usual mode of travelling by sea, steamboats
being too expensive. She arrived safely at Cape Town on the 11th of
August, as I learned from a letter which I received from her last
week, dated the 20th of August. From that letter the following are
"'The impression which this place (Cape Town) made on me, was not an
agreeable one. The mountains surrounding the town are bare, the
town itself (London being still fresh in my recollection) resembles
a village. The houses are of only one story, with terraces instead
of roofs. From the deck of the vessel a single tree was visible,
standing on a hill. In short, on my arrival I was at once much
disappointed, and this disappointment rather increases than
otherwise. In the town the European mode of living is entirely
prevalent - more so than in any other place abroad that I have seen.
I have made a good many inquiries as to travelling into the
interior; and have been, throughout, assured that the natives are
everywhere kindly disposed to travellers, and that as a woman I
should be able to penetrate much farther than a man, - and I have
been strongly advised to undertake a journey as far as the unknown
lakes, and even beyond. Still, with all these splendid prospects
and hopes, I fear I shall travel less in this country than in any
other. Here, the first thing you are told is, that you must
purchase waggons, oxen, horses, asses, - hire expensive guides, etc.,
etc. How far should I reach in this way with my 100 pounds
sterling? I will give you an example of the charges in this
country: - for the carriage of my little luggage to my lodgings I had
to pay 10s. 6d.! I had previously landed in what I thought the most
expensive places in the world - London, Calcutta, Canton, etc. - had
everywhere a much greater distance to go from the vessel to my
lodgings, and nowhere had I paid half of what they charged me here.
Board and lodging I have also found very dear. Fortunately, I have
been very kindly received into the house of Mr. Thaewitzer, the
Hamburgh consul, where I live, very agreeably, but do not much
advance the object which brought me here. I shall, in the course of
the month, undertake a short journey with some Dutch boers to Klein
Williams; and I fear that this will form the beginning and the end
of my travels in this country.'
"From these extracts it will be seen that the resolute lady has at
her command but very slender means for the performance of her
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