to the Orkney Islands
Chapter III. Preparations
Many we^ks intervened
between the time when Mrs. Morelle took her passage and the day
appointed for sailing. During this interval all parties were very much
occupied with making the various preparations necessary for such a tour.
Mrs. Morelle bought three trunks all alike and of medium size. One of
these trunks was for herself, one for Florence and John, and one for
These trunks were all of a medium size, that is, about as large as could
be conveniently handled when full, by one man. Mrs. Morelle had learned
by former experience in travelling in Europe, that occasions would often
occur when it was very inconvenient to have a trunk which it required
two men to lift and carry away.
Besides these trunks Mrs. Morelle bought a sort of valise as large as
she thought Grimkie could conveniently carry in his hand, which
contained a set of night dresses and certain toilet conveniences for the
whole party. This she called the night valise.
Because you see, she said in explaining the arrangement to Florence,
we are liable sometimes to be separated from our trunks for a night,
but this valise we can keep with us at all times. Besides we shall
sometimes wish to make a little excursion off from our main route, to be
gone only a single night, and then we shall not wish to take our trunks
with us. In such cases as this the night valise will be very convenient.
Then it will be just the thing for me to use as a stool to put my feet
upon in the railway carriages.
I don't see how we can ever get separated from our trunks, said
Florence. They will always go with us in the same train.
But accidents happen, said her mother. In travelling, we have not
only to make arrangements for the ordinary course of things, but we must
also provide for accidents.
What kind of accidents? asked Florence.
Every kind that you can imagine, said Mrs. Morelle.
But tell me of one kind, mother, said Florence.
At one time, replied Mrs. Morelle, your father and I arrived in
Liverpool late in the evening. It was eleven o'clock before we got
through, the custom-house. The ship could not go into dock because the
tide was so low. So we were obliged to go ashore in a tender, which is a
small steamer somewhat like a Brooklyn ferryboat, but not half so large.
It was dark and rainy, and the wind was blowing a heavy gale. We had to
go down a long black ladder from the steamer to the tender. One of the
officers of the ship held a lantern at the top, and a sailor held one
below. We wished to take our trunks with us, but they said we could not
do that. We must say what hotel we were going to, and they would send
So we told them that we were going to the Waterloo Hotel, and they
marked all our trunks with a big W in chalk.
Then we went down the ladder to the tender, and were sent on shore.
When we landed we took a cab, and drove to the Waterloo Hotel. But we
found that we could not have rooms there, for the hotel was full. So we
were obliged to go to another and another. We went to three before we
could get in.
It was now about midnight, and we were very tired, and we would have
liked very much to go to bed. If we had had night dresses with us we
might have gone to bed at once, and let our trunks remain at the
Waterloo until morning. But we had nothing of the kind, and so your
father had to take a cab and go back to the Waterloo and wait there till
the trunks came, and he did not get to our hotel so that we could
undress and go to bed till nearly two o'clock.
That was curious, said John, who had been standing by all the time,
listening to the conversation. But I don't understand very well what
you mean about not getting into the docks."
Ah, you'll find out all about that," said his mother, when you get to
Tell us some more accidents, then, mother," said John.
No," said his mother. I can not tell you of any more, but you will
experience plenty of them, you may depend, if we travel about much in
Europe, before we meet father."
One of the most important things to be arranged in making a tour in
Europe is the question of funds. We can not take American money with us,
for American money is not known, and does not circulate in foreign
countries. We must have for each country which we wish to travel
through, the kind of money that belongs to that country, except that in
some cases we can use the money of a neighboring country, when it
happens to be well known. We can use the principal gold coins of England
and France, namely, the sovereign and the Napoleon, almost all over
Europe, for they are almost universally known. With the exception of
these, we require always the money of the country which we are
Besides this, even if American money would circulate in foreign
countries, it would be very inconvenient to take a sufficient quantity
of it for a long tour, on account of the weight of it. I speak now, of
course, of real money, that is, of gold or silver coin. Bank bills, as
doubtless most of the readers of this book are aware, are not in fact
money, but only the promises of banks to pay money. They pass as money
in the country where the bank issuing them is situated, because every
one knows that he can go with them to the bank and get the cointhat is,
if he thinks the bank is good, and that it will keep its promises. But
in foreign countries, where of course the banks issuing the bills are
beyond the reach of the holders, the bills would be good for nothing
except to sell at a loss to somebody who could send them across the
Atlantic, and make arrangements for having the coin sent back to him.
The arrangements for furnishing travellers with the money they require,
are made T5y the great banking houses. The banking houses must not be
confounded with the banks. They are private establishments, conducted by
men of great wealth. They have branches of their establishments in all
the great cities and towns in Europe and America, and large supplies of
money at all of them. At each branch they have money of the country
where the branch is situated. An American traveller going to Europe, can
go accordingly to one of these banking houses in New Yo^k, and make
arrangements there to be furnished with any amount of money at any of
the great towns in Europe, and of such kinds as they require, on
condition of repaying the value of it in American money in New York, as
soon as the news of its having been paid can come over.
The document which the banker in New York gives to the traveller,
instructing the branches in Europe to pay him the money he may require,
is called a letter of credit. A letter of credit may be given for any
sum of money, and continue in force for any period of time.
There are several precautions and conditions to be attended to in making
arrangements for a letter of credit. In the first place, the banker
requires some security that the money which is advanced to the traveller
in foreign lands, will be promptly repaid to him in America, as soon as
notice arrives in this country of his having received it. This security
is given in various ways. Sometimes the traveller knows some responsible
merchant in New York, who will guarantee that the money will be paid.
When he does not know any such person, or does not wish to ask any
person to become surety for him, he can deposit bank stock, or railway
stock, or bonds, or any other sure and good titles to property which he
happens to- have, and give the banker authority to sell them, and pay
himself with the proceeds, in case the traveller fails to make other
provision for the repayment of the money advanced to him.
Another precaution which it is necessary to take, is one to prevent any
other person than the traveller himself from getting any money with the
letter of credit, in case he should steal it, or in any other way get it
into his possession. Otherwise, in case the letter should be lost, and
any dishonest person should find it, or in case it should be stolen, the
wrongful holder of it might go with it to one of the bankers in foreign
countries and ask for some money, and thus either the banker or the
traveller would be robbed.
To prevent this, it is customary for the banker to send specimens of the
traveller's hand-writing to all the branches in Europe where the
traveller thinks he shall wish to draw money. The traveller writes his
name on several slips of paper, and the banker in New York sends one of
the slips to each of the branches in Europe, where the traveller thinks
he may wish to procure money. The clerks at these branches, when they
receive these slips, which are sent to them by mail, paste them into a
big book with a great many other slips of the same kind received before.
Then, when the traveller arrives and calls for his money, they write a
paper for him to sign, directing the person in New York who is to do the
business for him there' to pay the amount to the banker in New York as
soon as the paper reaches him. This paper is called a draft. When the
traveller has signed the draft, the clerk at the branch in Europe takes
it to the big book, and compares -the signature with Xhe one upon the
slip of paper which he had received by mail. If he finds the
hand-writing is the same, then he knows that all is right, and he pays
the money. If it is not the same, then he knows that the person who has
called with the letter of credit is not the person he pretends to be,
and so he sends out at once for a police officer, and has him taken into
In respect to the security to be lodged with the banker for the letter
of credit, Grimkie had nothing to do, the merchants who had charge of
Mrs. Morelle's funds having made arrangements for it; but Mr. Jay wished
that Grimkie should attend to the business of procuring the letter
himself, in order that he might learn how to do business at a banker's,
and he recommended that Mrs. Morelle should go with him, so as to see
how the business' was done, and also to give specimens of her signature.
You might write the specimens at home, he said, and send them to the
banker's; but I think it is a little better for you to go to the office.
I could go with you just as well as not, but if you go alone you will
see how easily the business is done, and you will have more confidence
and self-possession in going to the banking houses in Europe. So I think
I had better not go with you, but leave you altogether to Grimkie's
Mrs. Morelle entirely approved this arrange-metit; and, accordingly, on
the morning of the day before she was to set out for Boston, she went
with Grimkie and obtained the letter. It was on Monday that she did
this. She had left her home on the North River the Saturday before, with
a view of spending Sunday in New York, and then, after attending to this
and some other business in New York on Monday, of proceeding to Boston
on Tuesday, so as to be ready to sail in the steamer on Wednesday, that
being the appointed day.
How Grimkie succeeded in doing the business at the bankers, will appear
in the next chapter.
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