The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

VII. The Literature of Travel, 1700–1900

§ 9. Richard Ford

About the middle of the nineteenth century, readable books of travel multiply with increasing facilities for travel. First among them should be mentioned a work designed for the use of travellers, Richard Ford’s Handbook for travellers in Spain (1845). By intimate association with Spaniards and by travel on horseback over their mountains and plains, Ford had obtained a singularly close and sympathetic insight into the ways of the people, besides an intimate knowledge of their country. Sitting in an armchair at home, one may enjoy travel in Spain and intercourse with Spaniards by turning the pages anywhere. The constant allusions to the episodes of the Peninsular war—which was recent history at that time—add greatly to the interest of the book; but its principal charm lies in Ford’s vein of easy conversational comment and anecdote, illustrated by constant quotation of Spanish proverbial sayings and local idioms. Ford’s work gains a certain piquancy from the tinge of satire which pervades it. Although fundamentally full of intimate sympathy for Spain and for Spaniards, nevertheless he writes with a certain assumption of insularity, from the slightly fastidious standpoint of an English gentleman—an attitude which is in pleasant contrast with his familiar knowledge of the jests and idioms of street-corner and tavern.