The courier or cicerone for the Ruskin family on the Tour of 1833, the Tour of 1835, and the Tour of 1841.
Hiring couriers like the Ruskinsʼ Salvador was, according to John Murrayʼs 1836 guidebook to the Continent, preferable to bringing English servants, who, knowing only their own language, were “worse than useless” (putting aside a specialized role for an English servant such as tending to the children, performed for the Ruskins on these earlier tours by Anne Strachan). Murrayʼs guidebook lists, along with advice about couriersʼ employment, wages, and treatment, their duties as typically consisting in “preceding the carriage at each stage, to secure relays of post horses”; arranging for “reception at inns” and securing “comfortable rooms, clean and well‐aired beds, and order[ing] meals to be prepared”; examining the carriage daily for needed repairs, as “it is his fault if any accident occur en route, from neglect of such precautions”; superintending “the packing and unpacking of the luggage” and insuring its security; paying “innkeepers, postmasters, and postboys”; and performing “all the services of waiting and attendance, cleaning and brushing clothes”, and so forth (Handbook for Travellers on the Continent, xviii–xix).
As qualifications, Murray emphasizes the courierʼs written as well as verbal command of the languages of the places being visited. “He never, however, performs the office of a valet de place while staying in a place, even though he may be well acquainted with it; this he considers out of his province”. Murray estimates wages as £8 to £10 monthly—even more, if engaged for less than two months; and less, if the traveler remains stationary in a place for an extended period (Handbook for Travellers on the Continent, xix). That the Ruskins were generous to their courier is suggested by Burdʼs note that John Jamesʼs account book lists £100 for Salvador under “Charity & Gifts” for 1835 (Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters, 300 n. 10).
The distinction between Salvadorʼs role and that of a valet de place was observed by the Ruskins in the course of the Tour of 1833 when engaging a local guide or “commissionaire” to sights, for example, in Mainz [to come] (Diary of Mary Richardson, 1833, 26). The distinction between ciceroni and domestic servants brought from home was later maintained in the respective roles of Salvadorʼs successor, Joseph Marie Couttet (d. 1874), and Ruskinʼs body servant, John Hobbs (a.k.a “George”) (d. 1892). Characteristically for the Ruskins, these menʼs duties of looking after Ruskin while abroad, which began in the early 1840s, were bound up in close family attachments that encompassed Ruskinʼs parents (Hilton, ed., John Ruskin: The Early Years, 80; Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters, 678 n. 2).
Murray says that couriers could be engaged on the Continent but also in London (specifically, No. 7, Old Compton Street, Soho; or No. 11, Panton Square); and evidently Salvador was based in London, as Ruskin mentions in February 1835 that the courier visited Herne Hill to help plan the route for the Tour of 1835 (Handbook for Travellers on the Continent, xix; Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters, 297).