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A WINTER IN INDIA.
AGAIN we are on the move, and this time for
more extended tour even than that which we so much enjoyed through Egypt and Syria.
We have taken eight first-class and two second-class return tickets in the P. and O.
steamers to India.
On the 2nd November, 1881, our old friend the Wave took us across the Channel ; the Belgians politely passed our baggage at the frontiers without examination; and we remained all night at the Grand Hotel, in Brussels, situated between the two railway stations, thus avoiding the usual climb to the top of the hill.
Next day we went on to Coblentz, passing by in the morning hundreds of fields, from which the peasants were busy removing beetroot to the sugar factories. At Herbesthal the German custom-house officers, “ dressed in a little brief authority," made themselves so unpleasant in rummaging our valises that I considered it my duty to write in the evening to the proper quarter complaining of their conduct. At Cologne we had an hour to look at the cathedral, the towers of which are now completed. The Hôtel Belle Vue, at Coblentz, commands a fine view of Ehrenbreitstein and the drawbridge across the Rhine, the latter crowded with passengers and vehicles, and opened every few minutes to allow steamers and barges to pass. We spent the next night at the clean, bustling, thriving, and picturesque town of Wurtzburg, having crossed the “ blue Franconian mountains," and on the following day passed over an uninteresting plain to Munich, remaining all Sunday in the Hôtel of the Four Seasons.
On Monday morning we were provided with a handsome saloon carriage, in which we travelled all the way to Venice. In some parts of the
THROUGH THE TYROL.
Bavarian plain the peasants were making hay, which I certainly had not seen before in November. The weather hitherto had been very cold, but fortunately we had a lovely day to cross the Brenner Pass, and I never saw the glorious scenery of the Tyrol, the noble entrance to the Inn valley, its startling peaks, gorges, and precipices, to such advantage. Then there was a bright moon to lighten the valley of the Adige, and enable us to walk as if by day to the Grand Hotel at Trent, where we spent the night.
On the following day we had four hours at Verona, to get luncheon and see the place, and it was very late before we reached the City of the Waters, as a locomotive had broken down at Peschiera, detaining the train from Milan. How bright and beautiful is Venice, and what a contrast between its stirring appearance now and the dead city under Austrian domination which I knew in 1844!
At 10 a.m. on Tith November we went on board the P. and O. steamer Mongolia, Captain Thompson, 2,833 tons, lying in the Guidecca ; and the first person that addressed me on the