Deciphered shorthand

Transcription for ‘Travelling’ part III

Augustus Leopold Egg, The Travelling Companions (1862). Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Our #SolveItDickens challenge for October 2022 was the final ten lines of ‘Travelling’: a three-page shorthand dictation exercise from the notebooks of Dickens’s shorthand pupil, Arthur Stone, at the Free Library of Philadelphia. In part I, the text muses on the fact that travel can only ‘open a man’s mind’ if the traveller is capable of ‘reflection and abstraction from self’. In part II, the author includes an example: for some, Niagara Falls (‘Niagara’ written in longhand) are ‘but so many thousand million gallons of water’. Others, in contemplating this spectacle, will consider how, ‘in the course of ages’, the rocks over which this water flows will wear away and ‘change the whole face of the country thereabouts’. Problematically, the text goes on to suggest that the ‘savage’ has a ‘very small’ appreciation of the ‘wonders and beauties’ of Nature distinct from ‘his wants and appetites’. The final part of the exercise calls out the man who, in contemplating beautiful scenes, ‘thinks not of the thing itself but of what he shall say of it’, causing ‘constant annoyance’ to any travelling companion!

Many thanks and congratulations to our dedicated Dickens Decoders, who produced an almost complete solution for this page, transcribing 13 new words for the first time in the process! These new discoveries are credited on our Roll of Honour.

Download the line-by-line transcript for ‘Travelling’ part III

The same file is provided in .docx and .pdf format for your convenience.