First written in 1904, the main narrative and text of this incredibly fascinating and rare memoir account - "travel story" - is by Marie E Duncumb. And like something straight out of a fiction novel; this one hundred and ten year gem had been hidden away in a chest in the attic of an old country house in Essex, England, and until it recently rediscovered in 2008.This "First Edition" is exactly that for it has never been published anywhere in the world before and you can count yourself among the very first privileged readers to ever set eyes on Marie's delightful first-hand accounts and experiences of her travelling from London, England, via Kings Cross Railway Station to Liverpool Docks - the boarding of the S.S. Celtic and sailing onto New York. The ship was then the world's largest ship afloat and owned by the White Star Line and years prior to the tragic sinking of the S.S. Titanic. Marie notes: "We were much later than we expected to be getting to Sandy Hook, the cause being that we had to steam a good many miles further south than we otherwise should have done to avoid the icebergs." Written in impeccable English, her overwhelming and mesmerising attention to fine-detail, statistics, facts, figures and the types of materials used etc. and the abundance information about the trains, ships, towns, cities and the places they all visited and the people they met, including a private meeting at the White House with President Roosevelt; - is impressively logged and documented. With her own enchanting "Home & Hearth", "W.I." type of "Can-Do" women's attitude, along with her own sweet narrative and insight; make it extremely difficult for the reader to not feel captivated or able to escape from being not only impressed; but enthralled, entertained and educated in the same process. Especially about how things were back-in-those-days and in a "politically incorrect" language that is today totally unaccepted to many as it's often misconstrued as being racist - or in fact it is. Though it is precisely due to this "political in-correctness", her voice and tone that is encapsulated within this typical style of a well educated middle-class Englishwoman that along with the Victorian overtones and the influences of those times obviously had on Marie and others like her; her education and fairly wealthy upbringing is exactly what makes her story so refreshing and unique. The reader can quite easily forgive themselves for imagining they were actually there with Marie, her husband and party of fellow travellers whom had booked their "holiday" with the London Polytechnic Touring Association: - today known as Lunn Polly and who organised this round tour to the 1904 St Louis Exposition and other places of interest in America and Canada. This 2014 rendition is indeed its "First Edition" as it has never 'gone to print' via a publisher. However, this story was written and "printed" by Marie Duncumb on her return from America as her in-laws owned a stationary business in Stratford, East London, and this permitted her to do so. It appears to be a kind of "Vanity" publishing", as you'll see it's dedicated: "To my Husband, I dedicate this little memento of a very pleasant Holiday Tour", M. E. Duncumb. - It was then given away to family and close friends. Printed with: "With the Compliments of the Season", which seems to suggests this was Christmas 1904.The original booklet has an outer sleeve made from green vellum and with the main title printed in gold lettering. The text is in single-block paragraphs with one paragraph centred on each page. The entire text and narrative in this 2014 book is "verbatim" - and transcribed directly from Marie E Duncumb's' own written account in which she first documented back in 1904.
So it was a bucket list entry and a big one at that that needed to be ticked off before we decided to buy our "grow old in it" house for life. It was a few days before Christmas when I came across a sale on-line from a very large holiday company that offered the whole get there stay next to Times Square then get home package for the price I would have expected to pay for just one of us let alone both me and Wifey. With a click or two of the mouse I had booked us an early in the year holiday to the big apple and what follows is just about everything we did which was basically about as touristy as it could be so hopefully it may be of some use to someone out there if not it's an amusing yarn so please enjoy: )
BALTIC HOLIDAY: In this Chang and La Blonde Action-Adventure, the action quickly moves to Lithuania where Dana La Blonde and Betty Chang hope to catch up with Lithuanian girlfriend Ina Stern. The two Boca detectives get far more than they had bargained for in the way of action, adventure, and near death. It turns out to be even less a holiday than their recent adventure in Casablanca. They smell drug smuggling in the most improbable place. The "ghost" of a long dead nemesis is very much alive and dangerous. Friend Ina turns out to be a far different person than they thought her to be. They learn of a Russian plan to destabilize Lithuania and do their usual part to save the world.
In a shadowy game where defeat can mean death, a deal with the enemy can change things forever. In 1842, Captain Gabriel O'Riordan of the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars is sent on a mission to Bukhara. His task-to try to free two of his compatriots from the clutches of a mentally unstable Emir. On his way, he encounters Valentin Yakolev, an officer in the Russian Army, who is also on a mission-to persuade the Emir that an alliance with Russia would be in his best interests. Gabriel, disguised as a holy man, is not happy to be the object of Yakolev's intense scrutiny. After all, he's working for the opposing team in the Great Game being played between their two nations. When Gabriel realises that his mission is little more than a forlorn hope, a game he has no chance of winning, he's desperate enough to turn to Valentin to help and offer him anything in return. What he doesn't expect is to have his plans to return to Calcutta scuppered by events. Instead, he and Valentin flee north, fighting off bandits, their desire for each other and the hardship of desert travel. Their travails bring them closer together until a secret from Valentin's past tears them apart. Can they set the past behind them and move on together?
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