By Cargo Boat and Mountain, by Marie Beuzeville Byles. J. B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, Pa., 1931. $5.00.
This brief but vivid account of an unconventional world tour, wherein the authoress attempts to cover as many mountain regions as the slow but comfortable speed of various cargo boats would allow, is interesting for its variety and the tempo with which the reader is carried along from one incident to another.
The climbing is at first the always pleasant hill scrambling and hiking, starting in Australia (with good Australian bushwhacking) and then shifting to the Lake District of England, Skye and northern Scotland. A visit to Norway, and the spell of the high hills is cast not to be broken. The scene then changes to the more familiar Canadian Alps and the story of the climbs in the Purcells and the Rockies follows. Perhaps even more interesting than these, however, are the reactions of a visitor, to Canadian and American customs. The writer has definite views which she does not fail to express ; in particular she does not appear to have been too much impressed by a well-known Canadian railroad. Guides in general and one in particular come in for a certain amount of criticism and we can only conclude that the authoress has been the victim of much ill fortune, for while the generalization that guides are lazy and not disposed to work is often true, it has like every other, its glittering exceptions. But then, much depends on the indefatigable energy of the tourist : we remember one American gentleman who wore out, some say, half the guides in Switzerland in the course of a single summer.
The book is very pleasant reading, and although well gotten up and illustrated is priced rather high, which will undoubtedly deter many who would like to own it as a pleasant remembrance of the mountains.
K. A. H.