“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the need and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints.”
His writing is so humorous, and his power of description so entertaining that I have to share this tidbit as he desperately tries to find his way out of the woods.
He comes to a little village in need of direction.
The next, I was pricking Modestine (his donkey), forward, and guiding her like an unruly ship through the open. In a path, she went doggedly ahead of her own accord, as before a fair wind; but once on the turf or among heather, and the brute became demented. The tendency of lost travelers to go round in a circle was developed in her to the degree of passion, and it took all the steering I had in me to keep even a decently straight course through a single field.
While I was thus desperately tacking through the bog, children and cattle began to disperse, until only a pair of girls remained behind. From these I sought direction on my path. The peasantry in general were but little disposed to counsel a wayfarer. One old devil simply retired into his house, and barricaded the door on my approach; and I might beat and shout myself hoarse, he turned a deaf ear.
Another, having given me a direction which, as I found afterwards, I had misunderstood, complacently watched me going wrong without adding a sign. He did not care a stalk of parsley if I wandered all night upon the hills!
As for these two girls, they were a pair of impudent sly sluts, with not a thought but mischief. One put out her tongue at me, the other bade me follow the cows; and they both giggled and jogged each other’s elbows. The beast of Ge’vaudan ate about a hundred children from this district; I began to think of him with sympathy.”
Picture from the internet