Thursday 8 December 2011

Advent 2011: Door 8

Today's hint comes from Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, writer, traveller and all-round broad-minded person.  In the early 18th century she accompanied her husband, ambassador for the Court of St James to the Ottoman Empire, to Constantinople.  Her stories - of hammams, smallpox parties and cultural differences - are fascinating and funny.  

Her hint - well, less of a hint and more of an observation - is this:
"We travellers are in very hard circumstances. If we say nothing but what has been said before us, we are dull and have observed nothing. If we tell anything new, we are laughed at as fabulous and romantic."
But I think she and I would agree: better to be thought a fabulous and romantic Lady Traveller than a dull and unobservant one.

(Lady Mary Wortley Montagu by Charles Jervas; painting at the National Gallery of Ireland)

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