The woman who walks properly embodies the poetry of motion, harmony of poise, and that scientific adjustment of the whole frame which bespeaks physical health and grace. In walking, the upper part of the body should be held erect, and balanced alternately without perceptible swaying or rolling. When a firm, light step is taken, the weight being equally divided between the heel and the toes. The leg is held straight, the foot planted firmly on the ground, with the pressure first on the heel, then on the ball and the toes if such elasticity is acquired walking becomes a positive promoter of a graceful carriage and a beautiful figure. Though a well-bred woman should hold herself upright, she should not be poker-backed, nor should she have an insolent gaze: she should strive to look “pleasant as in a pleasant world”.’
Goodness! The art of walking is a serious business indeed, according to Ward, Lock & Co.’s Etiquette for Ladies: A Guide to The Observances of Good Society, that is. We’re giggling into our coffees here at SF at the thought of our lady adventurer striding along the Dutch waterways with blistered feet, a heavy pack, and a persistent mist of fine rain upon her head, striving her utmost to look ‘pleasant as in a pleasant world’ at all costs!
About the contributor
On Sunday 30 April 2017, 34-year-old Londoner Katy MacMillan-Scott embarked on the adventure of a lifetime: a 600-mile journey from Rotterdam to Budapest, following the route of writer Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor. It is the first leg of a literary pilgrimage that will see her travel all the way to Istanbul over the next few years.
Katy decided to undertake the epic journey following the death of her friend Harriet Clarke from bowel cancer at the age of 32 last March. She credits Robert Macfarlane’s essay, The Gifts of Reading – which is centered around A Time of Gifts – and a talk at the Frontline Club for inspiring her to plan a literary adventure in Harriet’s memory, to celebrate her friend’s life and to raise awareness for Bowel Cancer UK’s Never Too Young campaign.
At Slightly Foxed we’ll be mapping Katy’s route and sharing news of her progress from the comfort of our desks during her three-week trip.