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Old 05-10-2016, 10:05 PM
rbroome rbroome is offline
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 2,996
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
There also used to be an expectation that if someone who was traveling, of whatever social status, knocked on your door, and needed something, you helped them to the extent you could, and knew that if you eve had to travel somewhere, people would do the same for you. This was true whatever the social status of you or the traveler, which the exception that if you were extremely wealthy or well-placed, and a peasant came by, he'd knock on the servants' door. Servants' lives were hard, but they were at least usually well-fed and warm, and could share. this was the way of the world through Europe and the European colonies through about 1820.

The railway system made traveling a whole different game. Customs changed, and cheap hotels outside big cities sprung up around railway hubs.

Still, I remember even when I was a little kid and I had relatives who lived in places where houses were spaced widely along a road, someone might stop by and ask to use the phone, and they'd be let in and allowed to do so as long as it wasn't long distance-- or if it was, they'd call the operator and ask the charge, and hand over cash, and if the person needed to use the phone because they had a car break down, say, they'd be offered food, and allowed to sit in a warm safe home until help arrived.
I am not a historian, but it seems that this practice lasted quite late. I remember reading "The Kings Speech" about Mr. Lionel Logue, a speech therapist from Australia who came to England to help out the new King in the late 1920s. the Logue family traveled through the US on the way to England and made arrangements to stay with a series of people in the US of a similar class. That is, they didn't know them, but they had letters of introduction from people in Australia that did know them. Apparently this form of travel was the norm. One decided where one was going, found a friend able to write a letter to a friend at the destination, and off you went. Friend by friend. Presumably, you reciprocated when someone showed up at your door with a letter from one of your friends. And I assume that letters were sent in advance to help. So traveling with letters of recommendation and with letters of credit from your local bank lasted quite late in history.