CTS logo
Hockliffe logo
Fables and Fairy Tales Stories Before 1850 Stories After 1850 Periodicals and Annuals Religious Books, Bibles, Hymns, etc Books of Instruction Nursery Rhymes and Alphabets
Movable and Toy Books; Myths and Heroes Poetry, Verse and Rhymes; Games Games and Pastimes Natural Science Geography and Travel History and Biography Mathematics
Previous Next

Books of Instruction. 0569G: Anon., Pug's Tour Through Europe

Author: Anon.
Title: Pug's tour through Europe, or, the travell'd monkey; containing his wonderful adventures in the principal capitals of the greatest empires, kingdoms and states, written by himself
Cat. Number: 0569G
Date: 1824
1st Edition: 1824
Pub. Place: London
Publisher: J. Harris and Son, Corner of St. Paul's Church-Yard
Price: 1s 6d
Pages: 17pp., printed on one side only
Size: 17 x 10 cm
Illustrations: 16 coloured engravings (the text is engraved on the same plate as the image)
Note: Part of 'Harris's Cabinet of Amusement and Instruction consisting of the most Approved Novelties for the Nursery'. Bound with 0569A-M

Images of all pages of this book

Page 97B of item 0569G

Introductory essay

Pug, as we know from the full title, is a monkey, but a walking, talking monkey, and one who, before the book opens, has been living as a country squire in rural England. The narrative starts, in fact, with Pug's arrival in London, where his awkward country manners and clothes (and not any simian habits) make him an object of mirth and pity to the Londoners. Conflating several London motifs, the first plate has a Yeoman of the Guard, or 'Beefeater', standing in a zoo (replete with lion, leopard, parrot and, oddly, a caged monkey) and directing Pug to Bond Street (p.2). Once there, as we see in the second plate, Pug acquires the clothes, and hence the manners, of a monkey-about-town, a 'dashing blade' or 'lounging dandy' as the text has it (p.3). There is no looking back. Pug embarks on a grand tour of Europe - 'Like other rich young heirs' - which takes him to Calais, Paris, Spain, Rome, Venice, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Russia, Norway and Holland, before he at last returns to Britain, determined never to leave its shores again.

What, one might ask, has Pug seen on his travels to excite such xenophobia? He has spent much of his time admiring the women of the various nations and cities he has visited. This accounted for his rapid departure from Spain, where he was challenged to a duel, and from Turkey, where he regretted that all female faces were kept covered. He was also disgusted with the persimony of the Dutch, the gluttony of the Germans and the simultaneous pride and poverty of the Russians, just as he was frightened by the war raging between the Greeks and the Turks in Greece. This was a fashionable literary subject in the early 1820s of course, with Lord Byron drawing attention to the conflict. Like the poet, who was to die fighting for the Greeks, Pug supported the Greek cause, but he 'was not form'd to fight' and wished them all '- Good night' (p.12).

Like many other fashionable travellers, Pug wept at the decay of classical Greek civilisation and indulged in the luxury of the French court. Indeed, each page contains a different national stereotype, culminating in the final verses which proclaim how fortunate it is to have been born English. But if Pug's Tour was an exercise in bolstering English pride, but it was also clearly primarily designed to be comical. The choice of a monkey to personate the English traveller is in itself and indication of the frivolous, and perhaps also ironic, tone which the text was designed to convey.

Marjorie Moon lists one other edition of Pug's Tour, undated but probably from c.1827 (Moon 1987: 99). The Hockliffe version, from 1824, formed part of the second series of 'Harris's Cabinet of Amusement and Instruction', published in the early 1820s. According to Moon, John Harris's bibliographer, the first series was brought out with great rapidity in 1807, 1808 and 1809, following the huge success of William Roscoe's Butterfly's Ball. These were 'funny, imaginative and altogether different from the pious moralisings that up till now, with a few honourable exceptions, were the literature of childhood.' (Moon 1987: 153) The second series included more instructional material, but still in a light-hearted way. The Hockliffe Collection possesses several other works from the series - see for instance, 0175, 0194, 0196, 0569A, 0569B, 0569C, 0569D, 0569E, 0569I, 0569J, 0569K, 0569L, 0569M, 0612 and 0668.

Moon, Marjorie, John Harris's books for youth, 1801-1843, revised edition, Winchester, 1987

Moon, Marjorie, John Harris's books for youth, 1801-1843, revised edition, Winchester, 1987