Read CHAPTER XVII - A BACHELOR'S TRAVELS AT HOME AND ABROAD of The Complete Bachelor Manners for Men , free online book, by Walter Germain, on

To seem entirely at one’s ease is the best maxim I can give for traveling. You can not actually pretend to experience that which may be totally lacking, but by making yourself comfortable you will increase the pleasure of others. There is, in these days of luxurious traveling, but little occasion to be flurried, and no excuse whatever for not being as well dressed as you are calm and self-possessed. Dress means a great deal, and if you have not a servant with you it will simply require a little care at the commencement to insure your entire freedom from all annoyance.

As I have already observed in a previous chapter, in a long journey it would be better to take more than one trunk, but even if you have but the one you should carry also a bag with your toilet articles. A dressing bag is most requisite, and if you can not afford this you could have an ordinary bag, or even a “dress suit” case, fitted up with the necessary appliances of the toilet. These, it is almost absurd to state, consist of your razors, tooth and nail brushes, combs and hairbrushes, individual soap, and a few small vials of very useful physic, such as Jamaica ginger, Pond’s extract, liver pills, cologne, and, if you do not carry it in your pocket, a brandy flask. There are times when this is absolutely necessary. In my dressing bag, if possible, I would take my pyjamas, so as to be perfectly equipped for the night, in case, at the end of my journey, I could not get at my trunk. Overcoats, waterproof coat, umbrellas, walking sticks, etc., should be carried in a shawl strap, where you could also have a novel or so, or a budget of interesting newspapers or magazines. For short railway or steamer journeys, the best dress is the ordinary lounge or morning sack suit, with a soft felt or Hombourg hat. Gloves are necessary. Tan or gray suede is the most correct. In winter an ulster should be worn. Select for sea or for ocean voyages the warmest lounge suit you have, or, if you feel more disposed, a warm tweed knickerbocker suit, such as you wear for golf. I think it is a good principle to put on your old clothes at sea. Only very vulgar people dress for this occasion. For late dinner on the ship I would have a black cutaway coat and a light tie. I believe men must change their clothes before dinner at all places and under all circumstances. Russet shoes are worn.

Do not hurry. Have your tickets purchased in time, and arrive at a train so that you will have fully five minutes in which to check your luggage.

On an ocean voyage, if the ship is going to leave at an early hour in the morning, go on board the night before. Farewell suppers are like greetings in tugboats and other vulgar celebrations, the meed of the second-class politician. Arrange with your banker for letters of credit, and take with you just sufficient small change to carry you comfortably and pay your little expenses, with one note of a larger denomination in case of accident. Do not get your money changed on the ship. It is effected at a very high rate of discount. Thus on English ships the Cunard, White Star, Anchor, and Allan lines English currency is used. The Hamburg and the North German Lloyd employ German, and the Transatlantique, French. Your steamer trunk and your bag and shawl strap should be placed in the cabin with you. Steamer chairs, in these days, can be hired. Do not carry one around with you. It is a nuisance. On the ocean steamers the steward will attend to your little wants, and prepare your bath for you in the morning, for which there is a fee, I think, of twenty-five cents a day. It is customary on leaving a ship to give gratuities to servants. To the cabin steward on English ships, ten shillings, the head steward ten shillings, and your waiter ten shillings. On others, for a six days’ voyage, a fee equal to two dollars should be given to your waiter and your cabin steward and to the head steward. Servants abroad are feed on a regular tariff, which you will find in the guidebooks. In this country the drawing-car fiend expects twenty-five cents for a day’s journey; fifty cents to a dollar for longer and more extended service. At American hotels the waiters are tipped when you leave, and a small gratuity given to chambermaids.

Courtesy, especially to women, is the one thing expected from every gentleman who travels, and if you can assist any one in distress by advice or by help of any kind do so, particularly if it is an unprotected woman. But be very guarded in making new acquaintances. Such as are picked up on the steamer, for instance, can be dropped as soon as you land. Beware of the cardroom and the poker sharps who travel on the great liners. Make it a rule, if you will play for money, never to do so with strangers.

When traveling with a lady, always carry her bag and assist her in and out of the trains. Your behavior is on its mettle under these circumstances, and traveling is very apt to be like a mustard plaster, bringing out both the good and evil attributes of a man.

The subject of foreign travel also needs a few words as well as a bit of general advice. English customs and our own are so much alike that it would be strange, indeed, if an American could not get along in the land where his own tongue is spoken. One of the first difficulties which once beset traveling Americans in London was the regulation in theaters that the audience, or that part of it occupying the best stalls, should be in evening dress. As evening dress is now also the rule in New York, this quandary is a thing of the past. Programmes at many of the English theaters are now free, where some years ago it was customary to sell bills of the play for sixpence.

The feeing of servants at hotels, however, continues, and we yet have the charge on hotel bills for service. You are expected to give something to the hall porter, to your waiter, to the boots, and to the chambermaid. The amount of these fees differs according to the length of your stay. I should say a half crown to the porter and less sums to the others.

In London a shilling a mile is the accepted price for cabs within a certain metropolitan radius called the “circle.” “Thrupence” or sixpence extra is the tip “to drink your health.”

Afternoon dress is the correct attire for the park after midday, and cabs and hansoms are not seen on the Row during riding and driving hours.

In Paris you may wear a blue blouse and make the turn of the Bois in a fiacre. The tariff there is two francs an hour, or two francs fifty per course, from one place to another. The pourboire is fifty centimes.

In France the pourboire is a veritable tax, as it is in Italy and in the Latin countries. In Germany the mark is equal to about twenty-five cents of our money, and it will go a long way. Ten marks will fee a houseful of servants.

At the station in Paris fifty centimes is given to the porter. The “commissionnaire” at the hotel expects fifty centimes. Waiters’ pourboires are eighty-five centimes at breakfast, and at dinner a franc. In a cafe they are twenty-five centimes.

The woman at the theater who puts a footstool under your feet expects one franc, and at many of the playhouses she must be feed for a reserved seat.

In Paris the orchestra stalls are occupied only by men. At the opera during the season evening dress in the boxes and stalls is, of course, de rigueur. At the Comedie Francaise on Tuesdays and at the Odeon on Thursdays you must be in evening dress in order to gain admittance.

Chairs are sold in Paris at the Catholic churches, and in both the London and Paris parks seats can be hired for a few pennies or sous.

In Paris omnibuses only the seating capacity is allowed. When the omnibus is full, a sign, “Complet,” is fastened on the outside.

At the gates of each small town in France the octroi, or impost, levies on articles of food brought in, and the customhouse in England seizes all American reprints of English books. There, as well as in France, spirits and tobacco are dutiable.

It is only civil to bow when passing the Prince of Wales or members of the royal family. In Paris every hat is removed when a hearse passes, as also in Italy. In Germany the hat is removed when the emperor passes.

Passports are necessary for Russian and Eastern travel.

All large functions on the Continent, no matter what time of the day they occur, demand evening dress. In Paris the bridegroom at a wedding in the afternoon wears evening dress, as well as the chief male mourner at a funeral, but the others present do not. This does not apply to groomsmen and honorary pallbearers, who are in evening dress. In Germany, Austria, and Italy, wherever royalty appears, evening dress is necessary. At the audiences granted by the Pope all men must be in evening dress, and the women in dark gowns and veils.

The Queen of England, the Princess of Wales, and all other female members of the royal family are addressed as “Ma’am”; the Prince of Wales and the male members as “Sir,” and never, except by tradesmen, as “Your Royal Highness.”

The English dukes are addressed simply as “Duke” and not as “Your Grace”; a marquis is “Lord” and a marchioness “Lady.” Younger sons of dukes should be spoken of as lord. A French duke and duchess are addressed as “Monsieur” and “Madame.” In Germany one drops the Von when addressing a nobleman who has that title, but when you write to him you must give him his full credentials.

A foreign bishop is always addressed as “My Lord” and a cardinal as “Your Eminence.”

The etiquette at a house where the Prince of Wales or a member of the royal family in England visits is rigorous, and on the Continent, when royalty is present, it is even more severe. The prince is never addressed unless he speaks to you. He alone has the privilege of changing the subject of conversation, and all plans for the day’s recreation are submitted to him.

These observations are, of course, very general, but the average American to-day is at home in Europe. He should only remember the old adage to do in Rome as the Romans do, and he will not be much embarrassed by foreign customs and habits.