The Story of Ida Pfeiffer

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The Story of Ida Pfeiffer

The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Story of Ida Pfeiffer, by Anonymous
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Title: The Story of Ida Pfeiffer and Her Travels in Many Lands
Author: Anonymous

Release Date: March 22, 2006 [eBook #18037]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)

This eBook was prepared by Les Bowler.

THE STORY OF IDA PFEIFFER And Her Travels in Many Lands.
[Queen Pomare's Palace, Tahiti: page4.jpg]
"I'll put a girdle round the world."--SHAKESPEARE.
Ida Pfeiffer, the celebrated traveller, was born in Vienna on the 14th of October 1797. She was the third child of a well-to-do merchant, named Reyer; and at an early age gave indications of an original and self-possessed character. The only girl in a family of six children, her predilections were favoured by the circumstances which surrounded her. She was bold, enterprising, fond of sport and exercise; loved to dress like her brothers, and to share in their escapades. Dolls she contemptuously put aside, preferring drums; and a sword or a gun was valued at much more than a doll's house. In some respects her father brought her up strictly; she was fed, like her brothers, on a simple and even meagre diet, and trained to habits of prompt obedience; but he did nothing to discourage her taste for more violent exercises than are commonly permitted to young girls.
She was only in her tenth year, however, when he died; and she then passed naturally enough under the maternal control. Between her own inclinations and her mother's ideas of maidenly culture a great contest immediately arose. Her mother could not understand why her daughter should prefer the violin to the piano, and the masculine trousers to the feminine petticoat. In fact, she did not understand Ida, and it may be assumed that Ida did not understand her.
In 1809 Vienna was captured by the French army under Napoleon; a disgrace which the brave and spirited Ida felt most keenly. Some of the victorious troops were quartered in the house of her mother, who thought it politic to treat them with courtesy; but her daughter neither could nor would repress her dislike. When compelled to be present at a grand review which Napoleon held in Schonbrunn, she turned her back as the emperor rode past. For this hazardous manoeuvre she was summarily punished; and to prevent her from repeating it when the emperor returned, her mother held her by the shoulders. This was of little avail, however, as Ida perseveringly persisted in keeping her eyes shut.
At the age of thirteen she was induced to resume the garb of her sex, though it was some time before she could accustom her wild free movements to it. She was then placed in charge of a tutor, who seems to have behaved to her with equal skill and delicacy. "He showed," she says, "great patience and perseverance in combating my overstrained and misdirected notions. As I had learned to fear my parents rather than love them, and this gentleman was, so to speak, the first human being who had displayed any sympathy and affection for me, I clung to him in return with enthusiastic attachment, desirous of fulfilling his every wish, and never so happy as when he appeared satisfied with my exertions. He took the entire charge of my education, and though it cost me some tears to abandon my youthful visions, and engage in pursuits I had hitherto regarded with contempt, to all this I submitted out of my affection for him. I even learned many feminine avocations, such as sewing, knitting, and cookery. To him I owed the insight I obtained into the duties and true position of my sex; and it was he who transformed me from a romp and a hoyden into a modest quiet girl."
Already a great longing for travel had entered into her mind. She longed to see new scenes, new peoples, new manners and customs. She read eagerly every book of travel that fell into her hands; followed with profound interest the career of every adventurous explorer, and blamed her sex that prevented her from following their heroic examples. For a while a change was effected in the current of her thoughts by a strong attachment which sprung up between her and her teacher, who by this time had given up his former profession, and had obtained an honourable position in the civil service. It was natural enough that in the close intimacy
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