[Photo-illustrated journal of a biking trip through England and Scotland in the summer of 1936.]. Betty and Wilson Payne.
[Photo-illustrated journal of a biking trip through England and Scotland in the summer of 1936.]
[Photo-illustrated journal of a biking trip through England and Scotland in the summer of 1936.]
[Photo-illustrated journal of a biking trip through England and Scotland in the summer of 1936.]
[Photo-illustrated journal of a biking trip through England and Scotland in the summer of 1936.]
[Photo-illustrated journal of a biking trip through England and Scotland in the summer of 1936.]
[Photo-illustrated journal of a biking trip through England and Scotland in the summer of 1936.]
[Photo-illustrated journal of a biking trip through England and Scotland in the summer of 1936.]
[Photo-illustrated journal of a biking trip through England and Scotland in the summer of 1936.]
[Photo-illustrated journal of a biking trip through England and Scotland in the summer of 1936.]
[Photo-illustrated journal of a biking trip through England and Scotland in the summer of 1936.]
[Photo-illustrated journal of a biking trip through England and Scotland in the summer of 1936.]
[Photo-illustrated journal of a biking trip through England and Scotland in the summer of 1936.]
[Photo-illustrated journal of a biking trip through England and Scotland in the summer of 1936.]

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[Photo-illustrated journal of a biking trip through England and Scotland in the summer of 1936.]

Mainly England and Scotland, 9 July–3 September, 1936. 8vo (8” x 5”), 2 vols., tan cloth. Vol. I: 200 pp. in ink, heavily interspersed with 104 original photographs (mostly 3.5” x 2.5” and smaller), 11 printed maps, 1 manuscript map, 3 letters, 2 telegrams, 1 postcard, 2 pp. typed of original creative writing, numerous newspaper and brochure clippings, business cards, and other travel-related documents tipped in, 1 envelope containing 8 receipts laid in; Vol. II: 86 pp. in ink with 57 original photographs (mostly 3.5” x 2.5” and smaller), 1 printed map, numerous small cards, brochures, clippings, etc. tipped in, 16 pp. “Pictorial Appendix” with 26 original photographs (from 2.25” x 1.75” to 5.5” x 4.25”), 75 pp. tipped and laid in documents (2 telegrams, 2 maps, 2 cards, 7 complete and 2 partial letters, numerous newspaper and magazine clippings), 23 blank pp. CONDITION: Very good, pages clean and binding tight; light wear to cover edges and cloth cracked at spines, loss to spine of volume 1.

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A delightfully written and richly illustrated journal and scrapbook chronicling a bike tour undertaken by four friends through England and Scotland, written and compiled by a young American woman completing her doctoral thesis in English literature.

“This journal starts properly with two soaked, blistered, dust-blown, bedraggled travellers pulling up to the back door of the Mount Royal Hotel.” So Betty Payne opens the first entry in this scrapbook journal, which documents with lively thoroughness her bike trip through England and Scotland in the company of her husband Wilson (“Lover” as she refers to him) and their two friends Barbara and Priscilla. Betty and Wilson set out from their home in Chicago—where he was getting his PhD in Economics at the University of Chicago—and sailed aboard the S.S. Alaunia from Montreal. A few tipped in letters and telegrams from her parents suggest that Betty was originally from Philadelphia. Their journey—conceived as a tour of “domestic Gothic” architecture—takes them on a circuit around London, with stops at Dartford, Canterbury, Igtham, Dorking, and several other towns, then north to the area of Leeds and on into Scotland with stops in Beal, Abbotsford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Forth William, and the Isle of Skye. Returning south, they visit, among other destinations, Glen Etive, Evesham, Malvern, Tetbury, Bath, and Lynton, before sailing from Southampton.

Betty writes engaging and detailed descriptions of the buildings, towns and landscapes they visit (with regular references to literary history), recounts humorous anecdotes of the people they meet (fellow tourists, clerks, and scholars, including Charles Morgan-Webb, a professor of Wilson’s field, Economics), and records the books they purchase (including “Whitehead’s Intr. to Math” and “a bargain on the Italian Renaissance”). She also sketches the lectures and plays they attend along their route, including a talk in Malvern by the scholar of early modern drama, Frederick Boas, “one of the only three big names in my own field!” and “Pictures from the Insects’ Life,” by the Czech brothers Karel and Josef apek. And, of course, she details the glories and mishaps of weather (“a SCOTCH MIST! No less!! There was no sun to even try to break through; the sun had fled permanently...”), ship and rail logistics (“one sees the deck steward about the deck, the room steward about the room, the bath steward about the bath, and ‘the stewards’ steward about the steward’!!”), and food (“when I say kippers, I mean kippers!!!”) that characterized their journey.

Although Betty does not discuss politics, she records listening to the July 26th BBC broadcast of the unveiling of The Canadian War Memorial at Vimy Ridge, which was narrated on air by H. Rooney Pelletier, her friend and partner in wit from the voyage over on the S.S. Alaunia. She also includes numerous newspaper clippings about quadruple-gold-medalist Jesse Owens, who, as their fellow passenger aboard the Queen Mary from Southampton to New York, became the “Fastest Human […] on Fastest Ship as Queen Mary Hangs Up Record.” Betty describes “the great mob and hubbub surrounding Jesse Owns (& Jack Dempsey who had come to greet him)” upon docking. She also includes Wilson’s own photograph of the “first lady of American theater” Helen Hayes and her husband Charles MacArthur, who were also aboard the Queen Mary. Wilson snapped the picture “just before they decided the sun was bad at that spot and that MacArthur should seat Helen up on the rail to the right. As she sat patiently for the battery of cameramen to finish she sighed, ‘I didn’t know there were this many newspapers in the world!’ Lover laughed appreciatively and she smiled straight at him in recognition of his appreciation.”

The photos are pleasing and evocative. Betty includes regular portraits of herself, Barbara, Priscilla, and sometimes Wilson (who was evidently often behind the camera) posing on deck, riding bikes, or with friends, along with portraits of people they meet and talk with along the way. Human subject matter is well balanced by shots of ship life (an iceberg which looked “chiefly like a camel,” a car being lowered off the ship), quaint houses, grand cathedrals, busy wharves, street scenes, and all manner of misty, mountainous, and train-traversed landscapes. Also tipped in are a red rose petal, several sprigs of purple and white heather from various heaths, and a gull feather.

The journal wraps up with a stay in New York and “a few more hours of grace, by which to let ourselves down as easily as possible, to the everyday life of a real world.” The last pages are dedicated to a “Pictorial Appendix” of the trip, various letters and cards, and several later newspaper clippings reporting on World War II’s toll on places that Betty and her friends visited.

REPRESENTATIVE PASSAGES:

28 July: And so—for the fourth successive night—we rode through a brilliant sunset and English air until the shadows lengthened and the dew fell—and still we biked on! What a ride that was, following the river as it wound from Ashford, with showers (necessitating getting out the rain caples) on the way, with the scene of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey on our right, but most of all with the Clerk’s [William G. Urry’s] almost fantastic devotion to Kent and his inexhaustible flow of quotations (classical & otherwise). He rode on and on, at least eight miles, until we came in sight of the spire of Ashford. There he lingering by left us with quotation after quotation even to threescore in his effort to find the perfect one for our farewell!

29 July: To think, since we missed Igtham in 1934, of our good fortune in seeing it this time–for it is indeed a prize of all our special objectives in domestic gothic! As John (with this long white hair, spectacles, derb, thin neck and loose stiff collar—what a picture!) was gone and the butcher ushered us immediately (through the kitchens at the rear) into the Great Hall which is probably the best one we have ever seen; taller than it is long (37 x 30 x 20) with its huge and beautiful perpendicular window, its central beam farther toward the balcony (to permit the window), its even older recessed window (1340) on the other side (with bust of man below), its fire place of 1583, its peephole above the balcony, and its buttery hatch (in which a skeleton of a woman was found in 1870 when the panelling was added!).

1 August: Was there ever in the world anywhere a steeper hill than the one we pushed up to Haworth village proper? And was there ever a more desolate town with a more depressing atmosphere about it? Or one less changed by modern civilization? […] And yet as one climbed and looked back and then finally reached the top—one saw—those most peculiar of all phenomenon—the Yorkshire moors! I had had glimpses of them on the way to Haworth station but only up in the town itself can one even begin to realize their starkness, their beauty, their wildness and weirdness, and most of all their towering height. They do not lie down as other moors do; instead, like no others I have seen, they climb right up and strike—no, obliterate—the sky itself! […] Surely I am not letting my own imagination run too far astray when I say that only when one has seen those moors can one understand the possibility of the creation of Wuthering Heights.

2 August: We had thought that we might catch a train at Coldstream that would take us on to Melrose that same night (in order to see it in that glorious moonlight), but a policeman assured us that there would be no more trains that night and we might as well go on over the bridge on our own power. “You’re in England here,” he added proudly, “but when you cross the bridge you’ll be in Scotland!” I never dreamed that crossing the Scottish border could be so awe-inspiring an event. But it was night now, with a full moon above leafy trees, and a beautiful sloping stone bridge over the Tweed! And we paused and read (by our bike lights) the inscriptions which told that it was by that bridge that Robert Burns first crossed into England! We went on, in a sort of daze of suppressed excitement...

6 August: I was in a perfect fog of ecstasy, reading little snitches of Boswell and then gazing raptly at the Cuillins in the distance to watch them loom larger and then to lose sight of them as we came under them at Armadale. Dr. Russell, for such was his name, showed me a book “which he always carried in his pocket” in these parts—by Seton Gordon (whom he knows personally)—as excellent a description of the places we were seeing as could possibly be found. He offered to lend it to me for the day but I had already planned that he and his wife should go with us in our car! So after we had landed and the dock taxes were paid, I boldly invited them and, despite the fact that we should be quite crowded with seven (including the driver) in a five-passenger car, we were able to persuade them to accept. I sat in Lover’s lap and we were off—for a memorable ride on the Island: north Broadford; along the Broadford Bay, with Beinn na Caillich on our left and the island of Scalpay to our right; then for miles on the very edge of the water, passing many Crofter’s Cottages like these; along Loch na Caillich, all around the three sides of Loch Ainort […] on along the edge of Loch Sligachan; and so finally to emerge from the car at this very spot with our heads whirling as much from Dr. Russell’s bits of Gaelic and knowledge and love of the place as from the Cuillins themselves.

9 August: “Imagine yourself (I address any American citizen) in a similar situation, alighting at Rugby (yes, it really was Rugby station!) at 5:30 a.m. after all night in damp clothes trying to sleep despite the penetrating English cold. To what, American fellow-citizen, would your thoughts first turn? Right! But you couldn’t get it; there was no cup of coffee in that whole huge station even if it was Rugby and hence the station where you really wanted to be!! And so, utterly unable, for some strange psychological reason, to look a cup of tea in the face, we made our breakfast on a cup of chocolate and […] Huntley and Palmer’s Petit Beurres! And so—with only a bit of the very rare white heather […] to remind us of Scotland—we were once more biking along English lanes!”

11 August: And so, though I had known of Boas’s intended presence in Malvern, I had not thought of it since the great Lawrence Tanner, Librarian of the Westminster Muniments, had suggested that I see him in London in July! It was simply too late to do so (before we left London) without very great effort, which I refused to exert because I knew damn well that Boas would tell me nothing anyway. But here in Malvern was Boas, and a chance to pounce on my prey after a lecture, informally, without waiting for elaborate introductions (via introductions) by mail (pardon me, by post) and without exerting any effort at all in order to do something which one knew was futile but which one still somehow felt duty-bound to do when it could be done without effort and with no inconvenience to oneself! And so, when the schedule of coming events for our three days in Malvern revealed that Boas himself (one of the only three big names in my own field!) was lecturing this very morning, there was obviously nothing to do about it but to attend. So attend we all did […] and (after he had finished his helpful but utterly conventional and goon-ish discourse on the play of the evening, the Clandestine Marriage of Colman & Garrick) nab him I did to force him to say just what I knew he’d say (as to how it was too bad that publishers did not care more about pure scholarship) but what I felt duty-bound to force him to say nevertheless! The famous English actress, Wendy Hiller, was about, and I soon released him to her!! And proceeded up to Smith’s with Herb where I bought Boas’s recent book, An Introduction to Tudor Drama.

14 August: We created quite a stir about the Elizabethan Market Hall, for the natives were quite unused to tourists of our variety; stopped to look at (and buy) postcards of the houses we were enroute to (we had chosen Tetbury as the center for three [Thomas] Hudson Turner examples of domestic gothic); purchased the Penguin edition of the Informer […]; and then biked down the other street to view the Tetbury steps (which we walked down, saw from the bottom, and walked up again); then tried to get more postcards in another shop by the postoffice; finally were off to Chavenage.

It was a stunning entrance and we were all in shorts, but Lover tried the old technique of going direct to the owner (while we waited)—and with what results! For there was Mr. Loweslly Williams [George Lowesly-Williams] himself, at work in his office (in the ivy-covered wing at the right), and he actually welcomed us cordially, shorts and all (though we had suggested we change to our skirts behind a hedge if it seemed advisible), and led us right through the 1576 entrance! In the great hall (really nothing after Igtham) we were also greeted by his wife, and then began a lengthy tour of every portion of the entire interior…

Item #7231

Price: $950.00

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