I have been called, in many of the public journals, a "professed tourist;" but I am sorry to say that I have no title to the appellation in its usual sense. On the one hand I possess too little wit and humour to render my writings amusing; and, on the other, too little knowledge to judge rightly of what I have gone through. The only gift to which I can lay claim is that of narrating in a simple manner the different scenes in which I have played a part, and the different objects I have beheld; if I ever pronounce an opinion, I do so merely on my own personal experience.
Many will perhaps believe that I undertook so long a journey from vanity. I can only say in answer to this - whoever thinks so should make such a trip himself, in order to gain the conviction, that nothing but a natural wish for travel, a boundless desire of acquiring knowledge, could ever enable a person to overcome the hardships, privations, and dangers to which I have been exposed.
In exactly the same manner as the artist feels an invincible desire to paint, and the poet to give free course to his thoughts, so was I hurried away with an unconquerable wish to see the world. In my youth I dreamed of travelling - in my old age I find amusement in reflecting on what I have beheld.
The public received very favourably my plain unvarnished account of "A Voyage to the Holy Land, and to Iceland and Scandinavia." Emboldened by their kindness, I once more step forward with the journal of my last and most considerable voyage, and I shall feel content if the narration of my adventures procures for my readers only a portion of the immense fund of pleasure derived from the voyage by
Vienna, March 16, 1850.
With the hope that we may forward the views of the authoress, and be the means of exciting the public attention to her position and wants, we append the following statement by Mr. A. Petermann, which appeared in the Athenaeum of the 6th of December, 1851:
"Madame Pfeiffer came to London last April, with the intention of undertaking a fresh journey; her love of travelling appearing not only unabated, but even augmented by the success of her journey round the world. She had planned, as her fourth undertaking, a journey to some of those portions of the globe which she had not yet visited - namely, Australia and the islands of the Asiatic Archipelago; intending to proceed thither by the usual route round the Cape. Her purpose was, however, changed while in London. The recently discovered Lake Ngami, in Southern Africa, and the interesting region to the north, towards the equator - the reflection how successfully she had travelled among savage tribes, where armed men hesitated to penetrate, how well she had borne alike the cold of Iceland and the heat of Babylonia - and lastly, the suggestion that she might be destined to raise the veil from some of the totally unknown portions of the interior of Africa - made her determine on stopping at the Cape, and trying to proceed thence, if possible, northwards into the equatorial regions of the African Continent.
"Madame Pfeiffer left for the Cape, on the 22nd of May last, in a sailing vessel - her usual mode of travelling by sea, steamboats being too expensive. She arrived safely at Cape Town on the 11th of August, as I learned from a letter which I received from her last week, dated the 20th of August. From that letter the following are extracts: -
"'The impression which this place (Cape Town) made on me, was not an agreeable one. The mountains surrounding the town are bare, the town itself (London being still fresh in my recollection) resembles a village. The houses are of only one story, with terraces instead of roofs. From the deck of the vessel a single tree was visible, standing on a hill. In short, on my arrival I was at once much disappointed, and this disappointment rather increases than otherwise. In the town the European mode of living is entirely prevalent - more so than in any other place abroad that I have seen. I have made a good many inquiries as to travelling into the interior; and have been, throughout, assured that the natives are everywhere kindly disposed to travellers, and that as a woman I should be able to penetrate much farther than a man, - and I have been strongly advised to undertake a journey as far as the unknown lakes, and even beyond. Still, with all these splendid prospects and hopes, I fear I shall travel less in this country than in any other. Here, the first thing you are told is, that you must purchase waggons, oxen, horses, asses, - hire expensive guides, etc., etc. How far should I reach in this way with my 100 pounds sterling? I will give you an example of the charges in this country: - for the carriage of my little luggage to my lodgings I had to pay 10s. 6d.! I had previously landed in what I thought the most expensive places in the world - London, Calcutta, Canton, etc. - had everywhere a much greater distance to go from the vessel to my lodgings, and nowhere had I paid half of what they charged me here. Board and lodging I have also found very dear. Fortunately, I have been very kindly received into the house of Mr. Thaewitzer, the Hamburgh consul, where I live, very agreeably, but do not much advance the object which brought me here. I shall, in the course of the month, undertake a short journey with some Dutch boers to Klein Williams; and I fear that this will form the beginning and the end of my travels in this country.'