Ernest Charles Temple Thurston (1875-1933) was an Anglo Irish poet, playwright and author. Perhaps his best known other works from a prolific out-put are “The City of Beautiful Nonsense”, and “The Wandering Jew”.
This classic describes a journey by narrow boat along some of the canals and waterways of southern England, and should probably be regarded as an Edwardian romance describing a rural England and a way of life that was already beginning to disappear. Apart from early journalism, Thurston does not appear to have written anything other than poetry and fiction, and some researchers have had difficult yreconciling his description of the route taken. with the actual waterway network. It has been suggested that he may have traveled parts of the route at different times ans even visited some locations other than by narrow boat. The fact that he was involved in divorce proceedings during 1910 may also be relevant. However, none of the doubts on the literal interpretation of the journey detract from the book’s value as a ‘good read’, .
The illustrations appear to have been a large part of the book’s appeal and in its review of ‘a delightful book’ The Westminster Gazette said that the illustrations were ‘among the sincerest, most spontaneous and charming ever seen in modern books’. The Sotsman´s reviewer noted that the
book’s value was heightened by ‘the excellent sketches by W.R. Dakin in black and white and colours’. Little is known about Dakin, who was a contributor to The Bookman a monthly review magazine, and he illustrated at least one of Thurstons other books.