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Tourist Agencies have of late years assumed a rather important plane in the economy of London. The system was originally started by Messrs. Cook & Son, formerly of Leicester, now of Ludgate-circus and elsewhere. For some time they had a practical monopoly of the business, and the “Cook’s Tourist” has for years been a recognised feature of Continental travel. Messrs. Gaze & Son, who now divide the business with them, have not achieved quite so wide a notoriety, but provide the intending tourist with the same facilities, both for ordinary expeditions and for those joint stock journeyings known as “personally conducted parties.” A comparison of the books of fares issued by the two firms shows, that while a variation now and then occurs of a penny, or even a shilling, upon their respective charges for the hundreds of journeys for which they are prepared at a moment’s notice to furnish tickets, the prices are practically, and in most cases identically, the same. With regard to hotel coupons, those who can do with one meal of meat a day will find an economy in dealing with Messrs. Cook, whose charges on this basis are 8s. per diem. Those, on the other hand, who find their travelling appetites able to compass a second meat meal, will find it cheaper to take the coupons of Messrs. Gaze, whose daily charge of 8s. 6d. covers a dejeuner a la fourchette, the extra charge for which, with Messrs. Cook’s coupons is “about a franc.” It should be noted that Messrs. Gaze dispose of their coupons to all comers, Messrs. Cook only to those travelling with the tickets of the firm.
Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879