The Story of Ida Pfeiffer

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The Story of Ida Pfeiffer

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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
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
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