Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/59

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

lers keep it so, as you say," answered Erceldoune, who was never to be entrapped into talking of himself.

"It is a great mistake for people to travel in flocks, like swallows and sheep," said his vivacious neighbour, whose manners were very careless, graceful and thoroughly polished, if they had a dash of the Bohemian, the Adventurer, and the Free Lance. "A terrible mistake! Overcrowds the inns, the steamers, and the railway carriages; thins the soups, doubles the price of wines, and teaches guides to look on themselves as luxuries, to be paid for accordingly; makes a Nile sunset ridiculous by being witnessed by a mob; and turns Luxor and Jupiter Ammon into dust and prose by having a tribe of donkeys and dragomen rattled over their stones. A fearful mistake! If you are social and gregarious, stay in a city; but if you are speculative and Ishmaelesque, travel in solitude. Eh, monsieur?"

"If you can find it. But you have to travel far to get into solitudes in these days. Have you seen this evening's Times?"

"A thousand thanks! Wonderful thing, your Times! Does the work in England that secret police do in Vienna, spies and bayonets do here,