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MATTHEWS, Henry.
The Diary of an Invalid Being the Journal of a Tour in Pursuit of Health in Portugal, Italy, Switerland and France in the Years 1817, 1818 and 1819.

Description:
pp. xv, (i), 515, (Errata). Contemporary half calf and marbled boards, sometime rebacked with the original spine relaid, corners worn, scattered foxing, heraldic book-plate, a good, tight copy.

*A very popular account of a Continental tour in 'search of health' - it ran to a fifth edition in 1835 and is even available in reprint form today. MATTHEWS (1789-1828), educated at Eton and King's College Cambridge, travelled on the Continent on account of his ill-health and on his return published his journal. In 1821 he was called to the Bar and later appointed Advocate-Fiscal in Ceylon, where he remained until his death there in 1828. Following publication of his Dairy, he was regarded as a brilliant humorist, an opinion borne out by his observations. His first landfall was Portugal, where, he says - 'By-the-bye, I have not yet mentioned the priests, and for aught I know, they are more numerous than the dogs. Doghood and Priesthood are certainly the most thriving trades in Lisbon.' Later, whilst on ship for Italy, he writes - '..... my situation was sufficiently deplorable, and my only choice was between salt-water in the cabin, or rain-water on deck - Passed the remainder of the night like a half-drowned rat. I begin to suspect, that all I shall gain by my voyage will be the conviction, that a man who travels so far from home, in pursuit of health, travels on a fool's errand.... the fatigue and discomfort of such a little cock-boat as this, is much the same thing, as if one were tossed in a blanket during one half of the day, and thrown into a pigsty for the remainder.' Once on land, however, he took himself to see all the grand sights and the lesser ones and wrote dyspeptically about everything - clearly the journeying was tolerable as he did not return to England for nearly three years - approaching the English coast, he observes - '... long may (England) continue to inspire such feelings as now rise within me, in approaching her shores, and make one exult in the reflection that I was born an Englishman.' The figure of the invalid in English literature of the nineteenth century is not without interest. The above book, together with Harriet Martineau's Life in the Sick-Room and the anonymous Confessions of a Hypochondriac, form the subject of Maria Frawley's socio-medical commentary 'Invalidism and Identity in Nineteenth Century Britain', 2004.

John Murray. London.

Date Published: 1820. Second edition. 8vo.

Stock No. 56337

Price: 120.00

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