Pug’s Tour through Europe is a short illustrated book for children. It tells the story of a monkey called Pug and his travels through the countries of Europe. Each page contains an illustration of Pug in a different country, accompanied by two rhyming verses.
Pug starts off in London where, having bought some smart clothes, he decides to ‘make,/ Like other rich young heirs,/ The Tour of Europe, and forsake/ Old England for some years’ (p. 4). This is a reference to the Grand Tour, the traditional trip around Europe taken by upper class young men, often after they left university. The book makes use of unflattering national stereotypes, and ends with Pug returning home and announcing his intention never to leave England again.
Pug’s Tour through Europe and George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss
Pug’s Tour through Europe is one of the books that Maggie Tulliver reads as a young child in The Mill on the Floss. She offers to lend her copy to the semi-literate miller, Luke, because it contains pictures as well as words, which could ‘tell [him] all about the different sorts of people in the world’ (ch. 4). Maggie shows Luke the last page of the book (p. 17), which has a picture of ‘the Dutchmen, very fat, and smoking, you know – and one sitting on a barrel’ (ch. 4). Another of Maggie’s childhood favourites is Oliver Goldsmith’s A History of the Earth and Animated Nature. Her interest both in this work and in Pug’s Tour suggests her curious and imaginative nature. Even as a child, she wants to know about people and places beyond her small world.