A VISITOR'S COMPLIMENT.
"Could the Roman gentleman who built a villa between Brading and Sandown come to life again (wrote a holiday visitor in the Daily Telegraph) he would find human nature very much the same in the nineteenth century as in the first. We shall never know whether official requirements compelled or private tastes induced him to live in Vectis. Probably he loved a soft southern air, a noble stretch of vale and upland, and the nearness of the sea. So do his successors - those who pay their shillings to gaze in wondering admiration at the uncovered evidence of a prior brilliant occupation. The Island changes not, and all the advantages prized by the Roman are to be enjoyed by the Englishman of to-day, with no other difference of circumstances than such as minister to that modern ideal - the happiness of the greatest number. There is no fear of the Isle of Wight going out of fashion. Fashion did not create it, but the Power from which spring alike natural beauty and capacity for its enjoyment. One has this fact most forcibly presented in stepping from the Victorian villas of Sandown to the site of the pleasure house whose foundations were laid while Rome remained mistress of the world. As a resort of those who make holiday, the Island is an embarrassment. Its attractions are so numerous and diverse that the visitor having settled the question between it and the mainland, pauses on the shore - to weigh the merits of half-a-dozen famous spots. Shall he remain in Ryde, seek the sands of Sandown, the green recesses of Shanklin, the bold heights of Ventnor, or, rejecting all these, push on into the less known western places where as yet the railway whistle is unheard ? As a matter of fact, there is small need for such precision. The visitor to the Isle of Wight may drop down anywhere along the shore or inland, and be certain that the spot shall be a garden, and not a wildnerness. He will find on every hand scenes of beauty such as, within the same compass, no other place frequented by tourists can show, and if man be grasping rather than, like nature, generous, he will hardly begrudge paying a good price for so rare an entertainment. "
The Minerva Isle of Wight Pictorial and Guide - circa 1900