Monday, July 28th, 2014
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1889 / London

Safe Conduct

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Much has been said about the danger to women, especially young women, traveling alone of annoyance from impertinent or obtrusive attentions from travelers of the other sex. I can only say that in any such case which has ever come within my personal knowledge or observation, the woman has had only herself to blame. I am quite sure that no man, however audacious, will—at all events if he be sober—venture to treat with undue familiarity or rudeness a woman, however young, who distinctly shows him by her dignity of manner and conduct that any such liberty will be an insult. As a rule, women traveling alone receive far more consideration and kindness from men of all classes than under any other circumstances whatever, and the greater independence of women—which permits even young girls in these days to travel about entirely alone, unattended even by a maid—has very rarely inconvenient consequences.

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About the Text

Lillias Campbell Davidson, from Hints to Lady Travelers. An early bicycle enthusiast, Davidson founded the Lady Cyclists' Association in England in 1892, writing that the new machine offered, "the greatest boon that has come to women for many a long day."

At no time are we ever in such complete possession of a journey, down to its last nook and cranny, as when we are busy with preparations for it. After that, there remains only the journey itself, which is nothing but the process through which we lose our ownership of it. This is what makes travel so utterly fruitless.
Yukio Mishima, 1948
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Lewis H. Lapham is Editor of Lapham's Quarterly. He also serves as editor emeritus and national correspondent for Harper's magazine.
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