The Rudest Travel Book Ever?

October 2, 2007

Not quite, but there’s a great article in the Irish Independent about Mrs Favell Mortimer’s definitive travel guide to the world. Written in the mid 19th century Mrs Mortimer had a view on pretty much everywhere and everybody. She was truly the Peter Biddlecombe of her day.

The only problem is, she’d never once left her native Shropshire!

I’ll leave you to read the full article in-situ, but here are some of Mrs Mortimer’s thoughts:

On Wales: “Though the Welsh are not very clean, they make their cottages look clean by white-washing them every year, and sometimes they white-wash the pig-sties too.”

On Norway: “The greatest fault of the Norwegians is drunkenness. They are too fond of a spirit called finkel – something like gin, only it is made from potatoes.”

On China: “It is a common thing to stumble over the bodies of dead babies in the streets. In England it is counted murder to kill a babe, but it is thought no harm at all in China.”

On Americans: “Idle and ungodly”

Note these are Mrs Mortimer’s views not mine!

I have to say, for someone who had never set foot in any of the places she wrote about, Mrs M sure seems to have either done a lot of research, or had a very active imagination (probably both).

Not entirely accurate, but pretty creative and a good read nonetheless 🙂

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