Travels in a canoe from Antwerp, Belgium, to Pontoise, France.
trodden out; and before long, there were several burnt fingers of the party. But the solid quantity of cookery accomplished was out of proportion with so much display; and when we desisted, after two applications of the fire, the sound egg was little more than loo-warm; and as for a la papier, it was a cold and sordid fricassee of printer's ink and broken egg-shell. We made shift to roast the other two, by putting them close to the burning spirits; and that with better success. And then we uncorked the bottle of wine, and sat down in a ditch with our canoe aprons over our knees. It rained smartly. Discomfort, when it is honestly uncomfortable and makes no nauseous pretensions to the contrary, is a vastly humorous business; and people well steeped and stupefied in the open air are in a good vein for laughter. From this point of view, even egg a la papier offered by way of food may pass muster as a sort of accessory to the fun. But this manner of jest, although it may be taken in good part, does not invite
This is Stevensons first book and a very worthwhile read. Stevenson and his friend Walter Simpson, known as Cigarette in the book take a leisurely canoe trip through Belgium and France in 1876. Obviously much of the pleasure is in their comment upon the sights and people they meet in their journey. Apparently the canoe was of a kind unknown on the continent as several people are curious about it whilst others find it suspicious. In one case an entire French village came out to see the odd craft. The pleasure in the book is in the slow pace, measured writing and use of language which give an almost dreamlike sense to parts of the book.
Not great literature but an interesting read. I recommend with 3 stars.