Philobiblon: The Ugly Britons

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Ugly Britons

I made a lovely little discovery in the BL today, although it didn't cover the subject I requested it for.

The Delights of Holland, or Three Months Travel About That and the Other Provinces, by William Mountague Esq, John Sturton, London 1696. He was definitely a storyteller, e.g. He's in Helvoetflyice, which I gather is near Briel, and ...

"We had little to remarque here ... only a pleasant Adventure, of a parcel of English Gentlemen that had never been abroad before, when they first came on shore here, they went to the best House and Accomodation, and immediately fell to kissing and feeling the Maids, which is not customary here, as at home, the Servants would not come near 'em but splutter'd in Dutch, which they understood not, the Mistress did so too, the mad English Sparks they swore and hust, they'd be gone out of the House, which they did ... [only to find no one else would take them in] ... we told them these Frolicks would not go down in this country."(p. 3-4)

(Original spelling and punctuation, except I've modernised the long Ss)

The rest of the book looked just as colourful, altho' I didn't have time to read it all. I'd recommend it as preparatory reading for anyone heading that way.


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