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Title: Riviera Towns
Author: Gibbons, Herbert Adams
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Riviera Towns" ***

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Transcriber's note:

      In the original book, all the illustrations were on the inside
      of the book's front and back covers.  In this e-text they have
      been distributed where they fit the book's text.




Illustrations by Lester George Hornby

New York
Robert M. McBride & Company

Copyright, 1920, by
Robert M. McBride & Co.

Copyright, 1917, 1918, 1920,
by Harper & Brothers


Helen and Margaret

Who Indulge

The Author and the Artist


  We wish to thank the editors of _Harper's
  Magazine_ for allowing the republication
  of articles and illustrations.

H. A. G.

L. G. H.



    I.  GRASSE
    V.  VENCE
   IX.  NICE


"A grandfather omnibus, which dated from the Second Empire."

"The hill of Cagnes we could rave about."

"The houses in the courts were stables downstairs."

The river was swirling around willows and poplars.

"Down the broad road of red shale past meadows thick with violets."

Medieval streets and buildings have almost disappeared.

"The Old Town takes you far from the psychology of cosmopolitanism and
the philosophy of hedonism."

"La Napoule, above whose tower on the sea rose a hill crowned with the
ruins of a chapel.  Behind were the Maritime Alps."




For several months I had been seeing Grasse every day.  The atmosphere of
the Midi is so clear that a city fifteen miles away seems right at hand.
You can almost count the windows in the houses.  Against the rising
background of buildings every tower stands out, and you distinguish one
roof from another.  From my study window at Théoule, Grasse was as
constant a temptation as the two islands in the Bay of Cannes.  But the
things at hand are the things that one is least liable to do.  They are
reserved for "some day" because they can be done "any day."  Since first
coming to Théoule, I had been a week's journey south of Cairo into the
Sudan, and to Verdun in an opposite corner of France.  Menton and St.
Raphaël, the ends of the Riviera, had been visited.  Grasse, two hours
away, remained unexplored.

I owe to the Artist the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Grasse.  One
day a telegram from Bordeaux stated that he had just landed, and was
taking the train for Théoule.  The next evening he arrived.  I gave him
my study for a bedroom.  The following morning he looked out of the
window, and asked, "What is that town up there behind Cannes, the big one
right under the mountains?"

"Grasse, the home of perfumes," I answered.

"I don't care what it's the home of," was his characteristic response.
"Is it old and all right?"  ("All right" to the Artist means "full of

"I have never been there," I confessed.

The Artist was fresh from New York.  "We'll go this morning," he

From sea to mountains, the valley between the Corniche de l'Estérel and
Nice produces every kind of vegetation known to the Mediterranean
littoral.  Memories of Spain, Algeria, Egypt, Palestine, Asia Minor,
Greece and Italy are constantly before you.  But there is a difference.
The familiar trees and bushes and flowers of the Orient do not spring
here from bare earth.  Even where cultivated land, wrested from the
mountain sides, is laboriously terraced, stones do not predominate.
Earth and rock are hidden by a thick undergrowth of grass and creepers
that defies the sun, and draws from the nearby mountain snow a perennial
supply of water.  Olive and plane, almond and walnut, orange and lemon,
cedar and cork, palm and umbrella-pine, grape-vine and flower-bush have
not the monopoly of green.  It is the Orient without the brown, the
Occident with the sun.

The Mediterranean is more blue than elsewhere because firs and cedars and
pines are not too green.  The cliffs are more red than elsewhere because
there is no prevailing tone of bare, baked earth to modify them into
brown and gray.  On the Riviera one does not have to give up the rich
green of northern landscapes to enjoy the alternative of brilliant

As we rode inland toward Grasse, the effect of green underground and
background upon Oriental foliage was shown in the olives, dominant tree
of the valley and hillsides.  It was the old familiar olive of Africa and
Asia and the three European peninsulas, just as gnarled, just as
gray-green in the sun, just as silvery in the wind.  But its colors did
not impress themselves upon the landscape.  Here the olive was not master
of all that lives and grows in its neighborhood.  In a landscape where
green replaces brown and gray pink, the olive is not supreme.  Its own
foliage is invaded: for frequently rose ramblers get up into its
branches, and shoot out vivid flashes of crimson and scarlet.  There is
also the yellow of the mimosa, and the inimitable red of the occasional
judas-tree.  Orange trees blossom white.  Lilacs and wisteria give the
shades between red and blue.  As if in rebellion against too much green,
the rose-bushes put forth leaves of russet-brown.  It is a half-hearted
protest, however, for Grasse rose-bushes are sparing of leaves.
Carefully cultivated for the purpose of bearing to the maximum, every
shoot holds clusters beyond what would be the breaking-point were there
not artificial support.  Nature's yield is limited only by man's
knowledge, skill and energy.

As we mounted steadily the valley, we had the impression that there was
nothing ahead of us but olives.  First the perfume of oranges and flowers
would reach us.  Then the glory of the roses would burst upon us, and we
looked up from them to the flowering orange trees.  Wherever there was a
stretch of meadow, violets and daisies and buttercups ran through the
grass.  Plowed land was sprinkled with mustard and poppies.  The olive
had been like a curtain.  When it lifted as we drew near, we forgot that
there were olives at all!

The Artist developed at length his favorite theory that the richest
colors, the sweetest scents were those of blossoms that bloomed for pure
joy.  The most delicate flavors were those of fruits and berries that
grew without restraint or guidance.  "Nature is at her best," he
explained, "when you do not try to exploit her.  Compare wild
strawberries and wild asparagus with the truck the farmers give you.  Is
wisteria useful?  What equals the color of the judas-tree in bloom?  Do
fruit blossoms, utilitarian embryo, compare for a minute with real
flowers?  Just look at all these flowers, born for the sole purpose of
expressing themselves!"  All the while we were sniffing orange-blossoms.
I tried in vain to get his honest opinion on horse-chestnut blossoms as
compared with apples and peaches and apricots.  I called his attention to
the fact that the ailanthus lives only to express itself, while the maple
gives sugar.  But you can never argue with the Artist when he is on the
theme of beauty for beauty's sake.

From the fairyland of the valley we came suddenly upon the Grasse railway
station, from which a _funiculaire_ ascends to the city far above.
Thankful for our carriage, we continued to mount by a road that had to
curve sharply at every hundred yards.  We passed between villas with
pergolas of ramblers and wisteria until we found ourselves in the upper
part of the city without having gone through the city at all.

We got out at the promenade, where a marvelous view of the Mediterranean
from Antibes to Théoule lies before you.  The old town falls down the
mountain-side from the left of the promenade.  We started along a street
that seemed to slide down towards the cathedral, the top of whose belfry
hardly reaches the level of the promenade.  Before we had gone a block,
we learned that the flowers through which we had passed were not blooming
for pure joy.  Like many things in this dreary world of ours, they were
being cultivated for money's sake and not for beauty's sake.  Grasse
lives from those flowers in the valley below.  We had started to look for
quaint houses.  From one of the first doors in the street came forth an
odor that made us think of the type of woman who calls herself "a lady."
I learned early in life at the barber's that a little bit of scent goes
too far, and some women in public places who pass you fragrantly do not
allow that lesson to be forgotten.  Is not lavender the only scent in the
world that does not lose by an overdose?

The Artist would not enter.  His eye had caught a fourteenth-century
_cul-de-sac_, and I knew that he was good for an hour.  I hesitated.  The
vista of the street ahead brought more attraction to my eye than the
indication of the perfume-factory to my nose.  But there would still be
time for the street, and in the acquisition of knowledge one must not
falter.  I knew only that perfumes were made from flowers.  But so was
honey!  What was the difference in the process?  Visiting perfumeries is
evidently "the thing to do" in Grasse.  For I was greeted cordially, and
given immediately a guide, who assured me that she would show me all over
the place and that it was no trouble at all.

Why is it that some of the most delicate things are associated with the
pig, who is himself far from delicate?  However much we may shudder at
the thought of soused pigs' feet and salt pork and Rocky Mountain fried
ham swimming in grease, we find bacon the most appetizing of breakfast
dishes, and if cold boiled ham is cut thin enough nothing is more dainty
for sandwiches.  Lard _per se_ is unpleasant, but think of certain things
cooked in lard, and the unrivaled golden brown of them!  Pigskin is as
_recherché_ as snakeskin.  The pig greets us at the beginning of the day
when we slip our wallet into our coat or fasten on our wrist-watch, and
again when we go in to breakfast.  But is it known that he is responsible
for the most exquisite of scents of milady's boudoir?  For hundreds of
years ways of extracting the odor of flowers were tried.  Success never
came until someone discovered that pig fat is the best absorbent of the
bouquet of fresh flowers.

Room after room in the perfume factory is filled with tubs of pig grease.
Fresh flowers are laid inside every morning for weeks, the end of the
treatment coming only with the end of the season of the particular flower
in question.  In some cases it is continued for three months.  The grease
is then boiled in alcohol.  The liquid, strained, is your scent.  The
solid substance left makes scented soap.  Immediately after cooling, it
is drawn off directly into wee bottles, the glass stoppers are covered
with white chamois skin, and the labels pasted on.

I noticed a table of bottles labeled _eau-de-cologne_.  "Surely this is
now _eau-de-liége_ in France," I remarked.  "Are not German names taboo?"

My guide answered seriously: "We have tried our best here and in every
perfumery in France.  But dealers tell us that they cannot sell
_eau-de-liége_, even though they assure their customers that it is
exactly the same product, and explain the patriotic reason for the change
of name.  Once we launched a new perfume that made a big hit.  Afterwards
we discovered that we had named it from the wrong flower.  But could we
correct the mistake?  It goes today by the wrong name all over the world."

I was glad to get into the open air again, and started to walk along the
narrow Rue Droite--which makes a curve every hundred feet!--to find the
Artist.  I had seen enough of Grasse's industry.  Now I was free to
wander at will through the maze of streets of the old town.  But the law
of the Persians follows that of the Medes.  Half a dozen urchins spied me
coming out of the perfumery, and my doom was sealed.  They announced that
they would show me the way to the confectionery.  I might have refused to
enter the perfumery.  But, having entered, there was no way of escaping
the confectionery.  I resigned myself to the inevitable.  It was by no
means uninteresting, however,--the half hour spent watching violets,
orange blossoms and rose petals dancing in cauldrons of boiling sugar,
fanned dry on screens, and packed with candied fruits in wooden boxes for
America.  And I had followed the flowers of Grasse to their destination.

The Artist had finished his _cul-de-sac_.  I knew that to find him I had
only to continue along the Rue Droite to the first particularly appealing
side street.  He would be up that somewhere.  The Artist is no
procrastinator.  He takes his subjects when he finds them.  The buildings
of the Rue Droite are medieval from _rez-de-chaussée_ to cornice.  The
sky was a narrow curved slit of blue and gray, not as wide as the street;
for the houses seemed to lean towards one another, and here and there
roofs rubbed edges.  Sidewalks would have prevented the passage of
horse-drawn vehicles, so there were none.  The Rue Droite is the
principal shopping-street of Grasse.  But shoppers cannot loiter
indefinitely before windows.  All pedestrians must be agile.  When you
hear the _Hué!_ of a driver, you must take refuge in a doorway or run the
risk of axle-grease and mud.  Twentieth-century merchandise stares out at
you from either side--Paris' hats and gowns, American boots, typewriters,
sewing-machines, phonographs, pianos.  One of the oldest corner
buildings, which looks as if it needed props immediately to save you from
being caught by a falling wall, is the emporium of enamel bathtubs and
stationary washstands, with shining nickel spigots labeled "Hot" and
"Cold."  These must be intended for the villas of the environs, for
surely no home in this old town could house a bathroom.  Where would the
hot water and cold water come from?  And where would it go after you
opened the waste-pipe?

But there are sewers, or at least drains, on the hillside.  Grasse has
progressed beyond the _gare-à-l'eau_ stage of municipal civilization.
Before your eyes is the evidence that you no longer have to listen for
that cry, and duck the pot or pail emptied from an upper window.  Pipes,
with branches to the windows, come down the sides of the houses.  They
are of generous size, as in cities of northern countries where much snow
lies on the roofs.  Since wall-angles are many, the pipes generally find
a place in corners.  They do not obtrude.  They do not suggest zinc or
tin.  They were painted a mud-gray color a long time ago.

After lunch, we strolled along the Boulevard du Jeu-de-Ballon, the
tramway street.  In old French towns, the words boulevard and tramway are
generally anathema.  They suggest the poor imitation of Paris, both in
architecture and animation, of a street outside the magic circle of the
unchanged which holds the charm of the town.  But sometimes, in order to
come as near as possible to the center of population, the tramway
boulevard skirts the fortifications of the medieval city, or is built
upon their emplacement.  It is this way at Grasse.  One side of the
Boulevard du Jeu-de-Ballon is modern and commonplace.  The other side
preserves in part the buildings of past ages.  Here and there a bit of
tower remains.  No side street breaks the line.  You go down into the
city through an occasional arched passage.

We stopped for coffee at the Garden-Bar, on the modern side of the
boulevard.  The curious hodge-podge opposite, which houses the Restaurant
du Cheval Blanc and the Café du Globe, had caught the Artist's eye.  The
building, or group of buildings, is six stories high, with a sky-line
that reflects the range of mountains under which Grasse nestles.  Windows
of different sizes, placed without symmetry or alignment, do not even
harmonize with the roof above them.  Probably there was originally a
narrow house rising directly above the door of the Cheval Blanc.  When
the structure was widened, upper floors or single rooms were built on _ad
libitum_.  The windows give the clew to this evolution, for the wall has
been plastered and whitewashed uniformly to the width of over a hundred
feet, and there is only one entrance on the ground floor.  Working out
the staircases and floor levels is a puzzle for an architect.  We did not
even start to try to solve it.  The Artist's interest was in the
"subject," and mine in the story the building told of an age when man's
individual needs influenced his life more strongly than they do now.  We
think of the progress of civilization in the terms of combination,
organization, community interest, the centralized state.  We have created
a machine to serve us, and have become servants of the machine.  When we
thank God unctuously that we live not as our ancestors lived and as the
"uncivilized" live today, we are displaying the decay of our mental
faculties.  Is it the Arab at his tent door, looking with dismay and
dread at the approach of the Bagdad Railway, who is the fool, or we?

Backed up at right angles to the stoop of the Cheval Blanc was a
grandfather omnibus, which certainly dated from the Second Empire.  Its
sign read: GRASSE-ST. CÉZAIRE.  SERVICE DE LA POSTE.  The canvas boot had
the curve of ocean waves.  A pert little hood stuck out over the driver's
seat.  The pair of lean horses--one black, the other white--stood with
noses turned towards the tramway rails.  The Artist was still gazing
skylineward.  I grasped his arm, and brought his eyes to earth.  No word
was needed.  He fumbled for his pencil.  But to our horror the driver had
mounted, and was reaching for the reins.  I got across the street just in
time to save the picture.  Holding out cigars to the driver and a soldier
beside him on the box, I begged them to wait--please to wait--just five
minutes, five little minutes.

[Illustration: "A grandfather omnibus, which dated from the Second

"There is no place for another passenger.  We are full inside," he

But he had dropped the reins to strike a match.  In the moment thus
gained, I got out a franc, and pressed it into his hand.

"Your coach, my friend," I said, "is unique in all France.  The coffee of
that celebrated artist yonder sitting at the terrace of the Garden-Bar is
getting cold while he immortalizes the Grasse-St. Cézaire service.  In
the interest of art and history, I beg of you to delay your departure ten
little minutes."

The soldier had found the cigar to his liking.  "A quarter of an hour
will do no harm at all," he announced positively, getting down from his

The driver puffed and growled.  "We have our journey to make, and the
hour of departure is one-thirty.  If it is not too long--fifteen minutes
at the most."  He pocketed the franc less reluctantly than he had spoken.

The soldier crossed the boulevard with me.  Knowing how to appreciate a
good thing, he became our ally as soon as he had looked at the first
lines of the sketch.  When the minutes passed, and the soldier saw that
the driver was growing restless, he went back and persuaded him to come
over and have a look at the drawing.  This enabled me to get the driver
tabled before a tall glass of steaming coffee with a _petit verre_.

Soon an old dame, wearing a bonnet that antedated the coach, stuck out
her head.  A watch was in her hand.  Surely she was not of the Midi.
Fearing that she might influence the driver disadvantageously to our
interests, I went to inform her that the delay was unavoidable.  I could
not offer her a cigar.  There are never any bonbons in my pocket.  So I
thought to make a speech.

"All my excuses," I explained, "for this regrettable delay.  The coach in
which you are seated--and in which in a very, very few minutes you will
be riding--belongs to the generation before yourself and me.  It is
important for the sake of history as well as art that the presence in
Grasse of my illustrious artist friend, coincident with the St. Cézaire
coach before the door of the Cheval Blanc, be seized upon to secure for
our grandchildren an indelible memory of travel conditions in our day.
So I beg indulgence."

Two schoolgirls smothered a snicker.  There was a dangerous glitter in
the old dame's eye.  She did not answer me.  But a young woman raised her
voice in a threat to have the driver dismissed.  Enough time had been
gained.  The Artist signified his willingness to have the mail leave now
for St. Cézaire.

Off went the coach, white horse and black horse clattering alternately
hoofs that would gladly have remained longer in repose.  The soldier
saluted.  The driver grinned.  We waved to the old woman with the poke
bonnet, and lifted our glasses to several pretty girls who appeared at
the coach door for the first time in order that they might glare at us.
I am afraid I must record that it was to glare.  Our friendly salutation
was not answered.  But we had the sketch.  That was what really mattered.

We were half an hour late at the rendezvous with our carriage man for the
return journey to Cannes.  But he had lunched well, and did not seem to
mind.  Americans were scarce this season, and _fortes pourboires_ few and
far between.  On the Riviera--as elsewhere--you benefit by your
fellow-countrymen's generosity in the radiant courtesy and good nature of
those who serve you until you come to pay your bill.  Then you think you
could have got along pretty well with less smiles.  We knew that our man
would not risk his _pourboire_ by opposing us, so we suggested with all
confidence that he drive round the curves alone and meet us below by the
railway station in "half an hour."  We wanted to go straight down through
the city.  The _cocher_ looked at his watch and thought a minute.  He had
already seen the Artist stop suddenly and stay glued on one spot, like a
cat patiently waiting to spring upon a bird.  He had seen how often
oblivion to time comes.  The lesser of two evils was to keep us in sight.
So he proposed with a sigh what we could never have broached to him.
"Perhaps we can drive down through the city--why not?"  "Why not?" we
answered joyously in unison, as we jumped into the victoria.

Down is down in Grasse.  I think our _cocher_ did not realize what he was
getting into, or he would have preferred taking his chances on a long
wait.  He certainly did not know his way through the old town.  He asked
at every corner, each time more desperately, as we became engaged in a
maze of narrow streets, which were made before the days of victorias.
There was no way of turning.  We had to go down--precipitously down.
With brake jammed tight, and curses that echoed from wall to wall and
around corners, the _cocher_ held the reins to his chest.  The horses,
gently pushed forward, much against their will, by the weight of the
carriage, planted all fours firm and slid over the stones that centuries
of sabots and hand-carts had worn smooth.  The noise brought everyone to
windows and doors, and the sight kept them there.  Tourist victorias did
not coast through Grasse every day.  Advice was freely proffered.  The
angrier our _cocher_ became the more frequently he was told to put on his
brake and hold tight to the reins.

After half an hour we came out at the funicular beside the railway

"How delightful, and how fortunate!" exclaimed the Artist.  "That
certainly was a short cut.  We have saved several kilometers!"

I thought the _cocher_ would explode.  But he merely nodded.  Far be it
from me to say that he did not understand the Artist's French for "short
cut."  Perhaps he thought best to save all comment until the hour of
reckoning arrived.  He did not need to.  The ride back to the sea was
through the fairyland of the morning climb, enhanced a thousandfold, as
all fairylands are, by the magic of the twilight.  One never can make it
up to hired horses for their work and willingness and patience.  But we
did live up to local American tradition in regard to the _cocher_.



American and English visitors to the Riviera soon come to know Cagnes by
name.  It is a challenge to their ability to pronounce French--a
challenge that must be accepted, if you are in the region of Grasse or
Nice or Antibes.  Two distinct tramway lines and several roads lead from
Grasse to Cannes and Cagnes.  Unless you are very careful, you may find
yourself upon the wrong route.  Once on the Cagnes tramway, or well
engaged upon the road to Cagnes, when you had meant to go to Cannes, the
mistake takes hours to retrieve.  At Nice, chauffeurs and _cochers_ love
to cheat you by the confusion of these two names.  You bargain for the
long trip to Cannes, and are attracted by the reasonable price quoted.
In a very short time you are at Cagnes.  The vehicle stops.  Impossible
to rectify your mispronunciation without a substantial increase of the
original sum of the bargain.  Antibes is between Cagnes and Cannes.
Cagnes is nearer, and it is always to Cannes that you want to go.  Spell
the name, or write it on a piece of paper, if you are to be sure that you
will be taken west instead of east.

The place, as well as the name, is familiar to all travelers--from a
distance.  Whether you move by train, by tramway or by automobile, you
see the city set on a hill between Cannes and Nice.  But express trains
do not stop.  The tramway passes some distance from the old town, and
prospect of the walk and climb is not alluring to the tramway tourist,
whose goal is places important enough to have a map in Baedeker, or a
double-starred church or view.  If motorists are not in a hurry to get to
a good lunch, their chauffeurs are.  You signal to stop, and express a
desire to go up into Cagnes.  The hired chauffeur declares emphatically
that it cannot be done.  If you do not believe him, he drives you to the
foot of the hill, and you see with your own eyes.  Regretfully you pass
on to towns that are _plus pratiques_.  More than once I had done this:
and I might have done it again had not the Artist come to the Riviera.

We were afoot (the best way to travel and see things) on an April Sunday,
and stopped for lunch at the restaurant opposite the Cagnes railway
station.  The Artist was not hungry.  While I ate he went out "to find
what sort of a subject the _ensemble_ of the city on the hill over there
makes."  He returned in time for cheese and fruit, with a sketch of
Cagnes that made the waitress run inside to get better apples and
bananas.  She insisted that we would be rewarded for a climb up to the
old town, and offered to keep our coats and kits.

Along the railway and tramway and motor-road a modern Cagnes of villas
and hotels and pensions, with their accompaniment of shops and humbler
habitations, has grown for a mile or more, and stretched out across the
railway to the sea.  Two famous French artists live here, and many
Parisians and foreigners.  There is also a wireless station.  All this
shuts off from the road the town on the hill.  Unless you had seen it
from the open country, before coming into the modern Cagnes, you would
not have known that there was a hill and an old city.  It was not easy
for us to find the way.

Built for legs and nothing else, the thoroughfare up through Cagnes is a
street that can be called straight and steep and stiff, the adjectives
coming to you without your seeking for alliteration, just as
instinctively as you take off your hat and out your handkerchief.

"No livery stable in this town--come five francs on it," said the Artist.

"Against five francs that there are no men with a waistline exceeding
forty-five inches!" I answered, feelingly and knowingly.

But we soon became so fascinated by our transition from the twentieth
century to the fifteenth that we forgot we were climbing.  Effort is a
matter of mental attitude.  Nothing in the world is hard when you are
interested in doing it.

Half way and half an hour up, we paused to take our bearings.  The line
of houses, each leaning on its next lower neighbor, was broken here by a
high garden wall, from which creepers were overhanging the street, with
their fresh spring tendrils waving and curling above our heads.  There
was an odor of honeysuckle and orange-blossoms, and the blood-red branch
of a judas-tree pushed its way through the green and yellow.  The canyon
of the street, widening below us, ended in a rich meadowland, dotted with
villas and trees.  Beyond, the Mediterranean rose to the horizon.  While
the Artist was "taking it," the usual crowd gathered around: children
whose lack of bashfulness indicated that many city people were here for
the season or that tourists did find their way up to Cagnes; women always
eager to gossip with strangers, especially with those from lands across
the sea; old men proud to tell you that their city was the most
interesting, because the most ancient, on the Riviera.

When we resumed our climb, the whole town seemed to be going our way.
Sunday-best and prayer-books gave the reason.  Just as we were coming to
the top, our street made its first turn, a sharp one, and in the bend was
a church tower with a wee door under it.  Houses crowded closely around
it.  The tower was the only indication of the church.  An _abbé_ was
standing by the door, calling in the acolytes and choir boys who were
playing tag in the street.  The Artist stopped, short.  I went up to the
_abbé_, who by features and accent was evidently a Breton far from home.

"Do any fat men live up here?" I asked.

"Only one," he answered promptly, with a hearty laugh.  "The _curé_ has
gone to the war, and last month the bishop sent a man to help me who
weighs over a hundred kilos.  We have another church below in the new
town, and there are services in both, morning and afternoon.  Low mass
here at six, and high masses there at eight and here at ten.  Vespers
here at three and there at four-thirty.  On the second Sunday my
coadjutor said he was going to leave at the end of the month.  So, after
next week, there will be no fat man.  Unless you have come to Cagnes to
stay?"  The _abbé_ twinkled and chuckled.

"It is not to laugh at," broke in an oldest inhabitant who had overheard.
"We live from ten to twenty years longer than the people of the plain,
who have railways and tramways and carriages and autos right to their
very doors.  We get the mountain air from the Alps and the sea air from
the Mediterranean uncontaminated.  It blows into every house without
passing through as much as a single neighbor's courtyard.  But our long
lease on life is due principally to having to climb this hill.
Stiffness, rheumatism--we don't know what it means, and we stay fit right
to the very end.  Look at me.  I was a grown man when people first began
to know who Garibaldi was in Nice.  We formed a corps of volunteers right
here in this town when Mazzini's republic was proclaimed to go to defend
Rome from the worst enemies of Italian unity, those Vatican--But I beg M.
le Curé's pardon!  In those days of hot youth the church, you know, did
not mean--"

The _abbé_ twinkled and chuckled again, and patted the old man's shoulder
affectionately.  "When you did not follow Briand ten years ago, it proved
that half a century had wrought a happy change.  I understand anyway.  I
am a Breton that has taken root, as everyone here does, in this land of
lofty mountains and deep valleys, of wind and sun, of sea and snow.
Mental as well as physical acclimatization comes.  The spirit, the life,
the very soul of the _Risorgimento_ had nothing Italian in it.  It was of
Piedmont and Savoy and the Riviera--a product of the Alpes Maritimes."

I would have listened longer.  But the bell above us began to ring,
several peals first, and then single strokes, each more insistent than
the last.  The _abbé_ was still in the Garibaldi mood, and the volunteer
of '49 and I were in sympathy.  He knew it, and refused to hear the
summons to vespers.  But out of the door came a girl who could break a
spell of the past, because she was able to weave one of the present.  She
dominated us immediately.  She would not have had to say a word.  A hymn
book was in her hand, opened at the page where she intended it to stay
open.  "This afternoon, M. l'Abbé, we shall sing this," she stated.

"No, we cannot do it!" he protested rather feebly.  "You see, the
encyclical of the Holy Father enjoins the Gregorian, and I think the boys
can sing it--"

The organist interrupted: "You certainly know, M. l'Abbé, that we cannot
have decent singing for the visits to the stations, unless the big girls,
whom I have been training now for two months--"

"But we must obey the Papal injunction, Mademoiselle Simone," put in the
priest still more mildly.

Mademoiselle Simone's eyes danced mockingly, and her mow confirmed beyond
a doubt the revelation of clothes and accent.  Here was a
twentieth-century Parisienne in conflict with a reactionary rule of the
church in a setting where turning back the hands of the clock would have
seemed the natural thing to do.

"Pure nonsense!" was her disrespectful answer.  "With all the young men
away, the one thing to do is to make the music go."

I had to speak in order to be noticed.  "So even in Cagnes the young
girls know how to give orders to M. le Curé?  The Holy Father's
encyclical--"  I could stop without finishing the sentence, for I had
succeeded.  The dancing eyes and the _moue_ now included me.

"M. l'Abbé, it is time for the service," she said firmly.  "If this
_Anglais_ comes in, he will see that I have reason."

She disappeared.  The _abbé_ looked after her indulgently, shrugged his
shoulders, with the palms of his hands spread heavenward, and followed

In the meantime the worshipers, practically all of them women and
children, had been turning corners above and below.  I made the round of
the group of buildings, and saw only little doors here and there at
different levels.  There was no portal, no large main entrance.  When I
came back to the bend of the road, the music had started.  I was about to
enter the tower door--Mademoiselle Simone's!--when I saw the Artist put
up his pencil.  The service would last for some time, so I joined him,
and we continued to mount.

Above the church tower, steps led to the very top of the hill, which was
crowned by a château.  Skirting its walls, we came to an open place.  On
the side of the hill looking towards the Alps, a spacious terrace had
been built out far beyond the château wall.  Along the parapet were a
number of primitive tables and benches.  The tiny café from which they
were served was at the end of a group of nondescript buildings that had
probably grown up on a ruined bastion of the château.  Seated at one of
these tables, you see the Mediterranean from Nice to Antibes, with an
occasional steamer and a frequent sailing-vessel, the Vintimille _rapide_
(noting its speed by the white engine smoke), one tramway climbing by
Villeneuve-Loubet towards Grasse and another by Saint-Paul-du-Var to
Vence, and more than a semi-circle of the horizon lost in the Alps.

The Sunday afternoon animation in the _place_ was wholly masculine.  No
woman was visible except the white-coiffed grandmother who served the
drinks.  The war was not the only cause of the necessity of Mademoiselle
Simone's opposition to antiphonal Gregorian singing.  I fear that the
lack of male voices in the vesper service is a chronic one, and that
Mademoiselle Simone's attempt to put life into the service would have
been equally justifiable before the tragic period of _la guerre_.  For
the men of Cagnes were engrossed in the favorite sport of the Midi, _jeu
aux boules_.  I have never seen a more serious group of Tartarins.  From
Monsieur le Maire to cobbler and blacksmith, all were working very hard.
A little ball that could be covered in one's fist is thrown out on the
common by the winner of the last game.  The players line up, each with a
handful of larger wooden balls about the size and weight of those that
are used in croquet.  You try to roll or throw your balls near the little
one that serves as goal.  Simple, you exclaim.  Yes, but not so simple as
golf.  For the hazard of the ground is changed with each game.

Interest in what people around you are doing is the most compelling
interest in the world.  Train yourself to be oblivious to your neighbor's
actions and your neighbor's thoughts, on the ground that curiosity is the
sign of the vulgarian and indifference the sign of the gentleman, and you
succeed in making yourself colossally stupid.  Here lies the weakest
point in Anglo-Saxon culture.  The players quickly won me from the view.
Watch one man at play, and you can read his character.  He is an open
book before you.  Watch a number of men at play, and you are shown the
general masculine traits of human nature.  Generosity, decision,
alertness, deftness, energy, self-control--meanness, hesitation,
slowness, awkwardness, laziness, impatience: you have these
characteristics and all the shades between them.  The humblest may have
admirable and wholesome virtues lacking in the highest, but a balance of
them all weighs and marks one Monsieur le Maire or the stonebreaker on
the road.

The councils of Generals at Verdun did not take more seriously in their
day the problem of moving their men nearer the fortress than were these
players the problem of rolling their big balls near the little ball.  Had
the older men been the only group, I should have got the idea that _jeu
aux boules_ is a game where the skill is all in cautious playing.  But
there were young _chasseurs alpins_, home on leave from the front, who
were playing the game in an entirely different way.  Instead of making
each throw as if the destinies of the world were at stake, the soldiers
played fast and vigorously, aiming rather to knock the opponent's ball
away from a coveted position near the goal than to reach the goal.  The
older men's balls, to the number of a couple of dozen, clustered around
the goal at the end of a round.  Careful marking, by cane-lengths,
shoe-lengths and handkerchief-lengths preceded agreement as to the
winner.  At the end of a round of the _chasseurs alpins_, two or three
balls remained: the rest had gone wide of the mark, or had been knocked
many feet from the original landing-place by a successor's throw.  During
half an hour I did not see the young men measure once.  The winning throw
was every time unmistakable.

The Artist leaned against the château wall, putting it down.  The thought
of Mademoiselle Simone, playing the organ, came to me.  How was the music
going?  I must not miss that service.  The view and the château and the
_jeu aux boules_ no longer held me.  Down the steps I went, and entered
the first of the church doors.  It was on the upper level, and took me
into the gallery; I was surprised to find so large a church.  One got no
idea of its size from the outside.

The daylight was all from above.  Although only mid-afternoon, altar and
chancel candles made a true vesper atmosphere, and the flickering wicks
in the hanging lamps gave starlight.  This is as it should be.  The
appeal of a ritualistic service is to the mystical in one's nature.
Jewels and embroideries, gold and silver, gorgeous robes, rich
decorations, pomp and splendor repel in broad daylight; candles and lamps
sputter futilely; incense nauseates: for the still small voice is
stifled, and the kingdom is of this world.  But in the twilight, what
skeptic, what Puritan resists the call to worship of the Catholic ritual?
I had come in time for the intercessory visit to the stations of the
cross.  Priest and acolytes were following the crucifix from the chancel.
Banners waved.  Before each station the procession stopped, the priest
and acolytes knelt solemnly (with bowed heads) and prayers were said.
While the procession was passing from station to station, the girls sang
their hymn in French.  It was the age old pageantry of the Catholic
church, a pageantry that perhaps indicates an age old temperamental
difference between the Latin and the Anglo Saxon.

When the service was over, I went around to the door under the tower.  Of
course, it was to meet the _abbé_.  Still, when I realize that I had
missed the organist, I was disappointed.  The _abbé_ soon appeared from
the sacristy.  I gave one more look around for Mademoiselle Simone while
he was explaining that he had just twenty minutes before it was necessary
to start down to the other church, but that it was long enough to take me
through the Moorish quarter.  Although I had come to Cagnes to see the
old town, and to get into the atmosphere of past centuries, I must
confess that I followed him regretfully.

The houses of the Moorish quarter are built into the ancient city walls.
Baked earth, mixed with straw and studded with cobblestones, has defied
eight centuries.  There are no streets wide enough for carts, for they
hark back to the days when donkeys were common carriers.  And in
hill-towns the progressive knowledge of centuries has evolved no better
means of transport.  You pass through _ruelles_ where outstretched hands
can touch the houses on each side.  Often the _ruelle_ is like a tunnel,
for the houses are built right over it on arches, and it is so dark that
you cannot see in front of you.  The _abbé_ assured me that there were
house doors all along as in any other passage.  People must know by
instinct where to turn in to their houses.

When the _abbé_ left me to go to his lower vesper service, after having
piloted me back to the main streets, I decided to go up again to the
_place_ to rejoin the Artist.  But under an old buttonwood tree, which
almost poked its upper branches into the château windows, stood
Mademoiselle Simone, waving good-by to another girl who was disappearing
around the corner of a street above.  Her aunt, she declared, was waiting
for her at a villa half-way down the hill, at five.  Just then five
struck in the clock-tower behind us.

"Had you looked up before you spoke?" I asked.

"Clocks do strike conveniently," she answered.

Although Mademoiselle Simone repulsed firmly my plea that she become my
guide through the other side of the town, where two outlying quarters,
the _abbé_ had said, contained the best of all in old houses, queer
streets and an ivy-covered ruin of a chapel, she lingered to talk under
the buttonwood tree of many things that had nothing to do with Cagnes.
When I tried to persuade her to show me what I had not yet seen, on the
ground that I had made the climb up to the top because of my interest in
hill cities and wanted to write about Cagnes, she immediately answered
that she would not detain me for the world and made a move to keep her
rendezvous with the aunt.  So I hastened to contradict myself, and assure
her that I had no interest whatever in Cagnes, that I was stuck here
waiting for the Artist, who would come only with the fading light.

After Mademoiselle Simone left me under the buttonwood tree, I thought of
the Artist.  He had finished and was smoking over a glass of vermouth at
one of the tables by the parapet of the _place_.

"Great town," he said.  "Bully stuff here.  In buildings and villagers
have you found anything as fascinating as that purple and red on the
mountain snow over there?  It just gets the last sun, the very last."

"Yes," I answered, "but neither in a building or a villager of Cagnes.
There is a Parisienne--"  And I told him about Mademoiselle Simone.  He
was silent, and his fingers drummed upon the table, tipity-tap,
tipity-tap.  "Show me your sketches," I asked.

"No," he said scathingly.  "No!  You are not interested in sketches.  Nor
should I have been, had you been more generous.  You had the luck in

The prospect of a trout dinner at Villeneuve-Loubet took us rapidly down
the hill.  We soon passed out of the fifteenth century into the
twentieth.  Modern Cagnes, with its clang of tramway gong, toot of
locomotive whistle, honk-honk of motor horn, café terraces crowded with
Sunday afternooners, broad sidewalks and electric lights was another
world.  But it was our world--and Mademoiselle Simone's.  That is why
coming back into it from the hill of Cagnes was really like a cold
shower.  For a sense of refreshment followed immediately the shock--and
stayed with us.

The hill of Cagnes we could rave about enthusiastically because we did
not have to go back there and live there.  It will be "a precious
memory," as tourists say, precisely because it is a _memory_.  The bird
in a cage is less of a prisoner than we city folk of the modern world.
For when you open the cage door, the bird will fly away and not come
back.  We may fly away--but we do come back, and the sooner the better.
We love our prisons.  We are happy (or think we are, which is the same
thing) in our chains.  And in the brief time that we are a-wing, do we
really love unusual sights and novel things?  In exploring, is not our
greatest joy and delight in finding something familiar, something we have
already known, something we are used to?  An appreciative lover and
frequenter of grand opera once said to me, "'The Barber of Seville' is my
favorite, because I know I am going to have the treat of 'The Suwanee
River' or 'Annie Laurie' when I go to it."  There is an honest
confession, such as we must all make if we are to do our souls good.

[Illustration: "The hill of Cagnes we could rave about."]

So you understand why there is so much of Mademoiselle Simone in my story
of Cagnes, and why the Artist had a grouch.  His afternoon's work should
have pleased him, should have satisfied him.  He would not have finished
it had he met Mademoiselle Simone.  He knows more of Cagnes than I do,
but he would rather have known more of Mademoiselle Simone.



At the restaurant opposite the Cagnes railway station the waitress
welcomed us as old friends.  She told us how lucky we were to come on a
Friday.  Fish just caught that morning--the best we would ever eat in our
lives--were waiting for us in the kitchen.  We flattered ourselves that
the disappointment was mutual when we had to tell her that there was time
only for an _apéritif_.  Precisely because it was Friday and not Sunday,
there was no reasonable hope of running into Monsieur le Curé or
Mademoiselle Simone or a game of _boules_, if we climbed the steep hill
to Cagnes.  On our last visit, we had seen from the top of Cagnes a
walled city crowning another hill several miles inland.
Saint-Paul-du-Var was our goal today.

Electric trams run to Grasse and to Vence from Cagnes.  The lines
separate at Villeneuve-Loubet, a mile back from the Nice-Cannes road.
The Vence tram would have taken us to Saint-Paul-du-Var along the road
that began to avoid the valley after passing Villeneuve-Loubet.  It was
one of those _routes nationales_ of which the France of motorists is so
proud, hard and smooth and rounded to drain quickly, never allowing
itself a rut or a steep grade or a sharp turn.  This national highway was
like all the easy paths in life.  It meant the shortest distance
comfortably possible for obtaining your objective.  It eliminated
surprises.  It showed you all the time all there was to see, and kept you
kilometrically informed of your progress.  It was paralleled by the
electric tram line.  It enabled you to explore the country in true city

We were walking, and the low road, signpostless, attracted us.  It
started off in the same general direction, but through the valley.  It
was all that a country road ought to be.  It had honest ruts and
unattached stones of various sizes.  Cows had passed along that way.
Trees met overhead irregularly, and bushes grew up in confusion on the
sides.  The ruthlessness of macadam, the pressure of fat tires, the
scorching of engines, had not banished the thick grass which the country
wants to give its roads, and would give to all its roads if the country
were not being constantly "improved."  There were places where one could
rest without fear of sun and ditch-water and clouds of dust.  Why should
one go from the city to the country to breathe tar and gasoline?  Why
should one have to keep one's eyes wandering from far ahead to back over
one's shoulder for fifty-two weeks in the year?  We wanted to get away
from clang-clang and honk-honk and puff-puff.  Since the real vacation is
change, we welcomed the task of looking out for hostile dogs instead of
swiftly moving vehicles.  Our noses wanted whiffs of hay and pig, and our
boots wanted unadulterated mud.

We were not allowed to have our way without a warning.  There always is
someone to keep you in the straight and narrow path.  As we were turning
into the low road a passer-by remonstrated.

"If you're going to Saint-Paul-du-Var," he explained, "you want to keep
to the high road.  It's very muddy down there, and will take you longer."

When our adviser saw that we did not stop, he raised his voice and
called, "There are no signposts and you may get lost."

"You take the high road and we'll take the low," sang back the Artist.

He who had meant well disappeared, shaking his head.  No doubt, as he
shuffled along, he was muttering to himself over the inexplicable actions
of _ces drôles d'Anglais_.

The miles passed coolly and pleasantly.  Trees and bushes did not allow
many glimpses of the outside world.  The dogs that barked were behind
farmhouse gates, and we had use for our stones only at an occasional
jackrabbit.  "At" is a convenient preposition.  It gives one latitude.
Jackrabbits on the Riviera are not like human products of the south.
They jump quickly.  They jump, too, in directions that cannot be
foretold.  After one particularly bad throw, the Artist explained that he
did not enjoy inflicting pain.  His boyish instincts had long ago been
controlled by reading S. P. C. A. literature.  I told him that I thought
he had given up baseball too early in life.  So had I.  The jackrabbits

I am rarely oblivious to the duty of the noon hour.  Although I knew the
Artist's habit of stopping suddenly, and the hopelessness of budging him
by plea or argument as long as the reason for stopping remained, it had
not occurred to me that there would be a risk in taking the low road.  We
had started in plenty of time, and as we were out for a medieval town, I
thought he would not be tempted until we reached the vicinity of a
restaurant.  But about a mile below Saint-Paul-du-Var the low road
brought us to a view of the city that would have held me at any other
time than twelve noon.  I tried the old expedient of walking faster, and
calling attention to something in the distance.  When the Artist halted,
moved uncertainly a few yards, and stopped again, we were lost.  He did
not need to pronounce the inevitable words, "I'll just get this little
bit."  The Artist's "just" means anything from twenty to ninety minutes.

Food without companionship is not enjoyable, least of all on a holiday.
There was no use suggesting that we could come back this way, and
advancing that the light would be so much better later.  The Artist had
started in.  I cast around for some way of escape from an impossible
situation.  The only farmhouse in sight was at the end of a long lane,
and did not look as if it could produce the makings of a meal.  The
poorest providers and preparers of foodstuffs are their producers.  Who
has not eaten salt pork on a cattle ranch and longed for cream on a dairy
farm?  What city boarder has not discovered the woeful lack of connection
between the cackling of hens and the certitude of fresh eggs on the table
at the next meal?  What muncher of Maine doughnuts in a Boston restaurant
has not thought of the "sinkers" offered to him when he was on his last
summer's vacation?

A bridge crossed a stream just ahead of us.  On the other side was a
thick clump of trees.  I walked forward with the thought that a drink of
water at least might not be bad.  When I got to the bridge I heard
plaintive barking and a man's voice.  The man was explaining to the dog
why he ought not to be impatient.  He would have his good bone, with
plenty of meat on it, in a little quarter of an hour.  A house-wagon was
standing back from the side of the road.  The owner was shaking a
casserole over a fire, and the dog was sniffing as near as he dared.  The
dog gave me his attention, and the man turned.  It was a favorite waiter
of a favorite Montparnasse café.

"Pierre," I cried, "where did you drop from?  What luck!"

Pierre put the casserole on the window ledge, out of the dog's reach, and
greeted me.  You never could surprise Pierre.  He was always master of
the situation.  One has to be in a Montparnasse café.  I noted with
approval the precaution that Pierre had taken.  Either the dog was very
hungry or there was something particularly tempting in the casserole.

Pierre had gone to join his regiment on the second day of the war.  I had
not seen him or heard of him since then.  He told me that he had been
unable to shake off a _bronchite_, caught in the trenches.  It was the
old story.  When he left the hospital, the medical board declared him
unfit for further service and warned him against returning soon to city
life.  The hope of recovery lay in open air and sunshine.

"I determined to get well, Monsieur," he said.  "I had money saved up.  I
bought this wagon and a cinematograph outfit.  I go to the little towns
in the Midi.  One can take only four sous--two from the children--but I
get along.  Now, when I am well, I shall not go back to Paris.  Have you
ever lived in a wagon, Monsieur?  No?  Well, never do it, if you do not
want to realize that it is the only life worth living."

Pierre was interested in the gossip of the Quarter.  A frequent "_c'est
vrai_" and "_dîtes donc_" punctuated my news of American artists who had
gone home at last.  When I told him of the few who had sold pictures in
America, his comment was "_épatant_," which he meant in no
uncomplimentary sense.  The Artist was an old favorite of Pierre's.  I
restrained his impulse to go right out to greet the Artist.  Pierre
entered into my idea with alacrity.  The dog was given a bone and
chained.  The coal box was brought out from the wagon, and turned upside
down for a table beside a fallen tree.  When all was ready, I watched
Pierre surprise the Artist.  He put a napkin over his arm, and froze his
face.  Then he tip-toed up to the Artist's elbow, and announced,
"_Monsieur est servi._"  For once I was able to get the Artist away from
his work.

What a meal we did have there beside that little stream!  There were
bottles in Pierre's wagon, and he insisted upon opening more than one.
When we finally left Pierre to his dishes, we were well fortified for the
climb to Saint-Paul-du-Var, and in the mood to appreciate
enthusiastically all that was before us.

Above on the left we could see the high road that we had deserted at
Villeneuve-Loubet.  It did not come out of its way for Saint-Paul-du-Var,
but went straight on inland Vence-wards.  A side road, on the level, came
over towards the gate of Saint-Paul-du-Var.  To this road ours mounted,
and joined it just outside the town.  In climbing we had the opportunity,
denied to the conventional, of seeing that Saint-Paul-du-Var was really
on the top of a hill.  The walls rose sheer, and only the outer houses,
directly behind the ramparts, were in our line of vision.  Nearly up to
the entrance to the city we passed between a tiny stone chapel and a
mill, whose wheel was a curious combination of metal and wood.  The
Artist exclaimed that it would make a bully sketch.  He saw its
picturesque possibilities.  I wondered, on the other hand, whether it
would work and how it worked.  Moss and grass on a millwheel in the Midi
are no surer signs of abandonment and disuse than a dry millrace.  Where
things die fast they grow fast.  A little water brings forth vegetable
life in a single day.  Southern streams are not perennial.  On the
Riviera, they are fed from nearby mountains, and are intermittent even in
their season.  When the water ceases, the sun quickly bakes a crust of
silt and dries the stones of the river-beds gray-brown.

A dwarf could hardly have said mass in the chapel.  Its rear wall was the
rising ground, and there seemed to be a garden on the roof.  Burial space
extending no farther than the roots of a sentinel cypress told the tale
of one man's vanity or devotion.  The situation of the chapel prompted us
to look over the ground for traces of a lunette bastion on the
counterscarp.  We found that the chapel was built upon an earlier
foundation of stone taken from a fortification wall, and that later
builders had made over the chapel into a belvedere.  Steps on the side of
the slope led to the roof, upon which two benches had been placed.  What
past generations have left us we use for purposes of our own.  We talk
sentimentally of our traditions, but we test them by their utility.

Saint-Paul-du-Var fails to satisfy twentieth-century standards.  It is
not a thriving, bustling city.  It is not a tourist center.  The walls
are as they were five centuries ago.  The space inside is sufficient for
the population, and one gate serves all needs.  The medieval aspect is
not destroyed by buildings outside the walls, and the medieval atmosphere
is undisturbed by hotel touts and postcard vendors.  When we presented
ourselves before the gate, not a soul was in sight.  A bronze cannon of
Charles-Quint's time stuck its nose out of the ground by the portcullis.
We had to pull off grass and dirt to find the inscription.  While we were
examining the towers that flanked the gate, a wagon rattled slowly by.
The driver did not look at us.  A woman with a basket of vegetables on
her head met us under the arch.  She did not look at us.  We found the
same indifference in the town.  Even the small boys refrained from
staring or grinning or yelling or asking for pennies.  None volunteered
to show us around.

"The interest in our arrival at Saint-Paul-du-Var," commented the Artist,
"is all on our side."

Human nature is full of contradictions.  We should have been annoyed if
people had bothered us.  We were as much annoyed when they paid no
attention to us.

We went up in one of the towers to reach the ramparts.  Keeping on the
walls all the way around the town involved an occasional bit of climbing.
We had to forget our clothes.  That was easy, however, for every step of
the way was of compelling interest _extra et intra muros_.  Outside, the
panorama of the Riviera, sea and mountains, towns and valleys, lay before
us to the four points of the compass.  Inside, houses of different
centuries but none post-Bourbon, each crowding its neighbor but none
without individuality of its own, faced us and curved with us.  For once,
the Artist failed to single out a subject.

Seaward, beyond the valley through which we had come, were
Villeneuve-Loubet and Cagnes.  On the right we could see to the Antibes
lighthouse, and on the left, across the Var, to the point between Nice
and Villefranche.  Landward were Vence and the wall of the Alpes
Maritimes.  The afternoon sun fell full on the snow and darkened the
upper valleys of the numerous confluents of the Var and Loup rivers.

Sketching was tomorrow's task.  There was time only for exploration of
the city before sunset.  We came down at the tower opposite the one from
which we had started on our round.  On the road to the electric tram, we
saw the _restaurant-hôtel_, a cube of whitewash, but we were far from the
temptation of banalities.  Tea or something, and a place to spend the
night, could be found within the walls.

Saint-Paul-du-Var caught us in its fascinating maze.  We forgot that we
were thirsty.  There was just one street.  It zigzagged its way across
the town from the gate.  You lost the points of the compass and hardly
realized that you were going over the top of a hill.  The street curved
every hundred yards, and frequently turned around three sides of a single
building.  Fountains were at the bends.  One of them, opposite the
market, fed a square pool that was the city laundry.  Women, kneeling on
the edge, were at the eternal task.  We passed the centers of municipal
life, post-office, _mairie_, _gendarmerie_, school and church.

Churches of Riviera towns, like the character and speech and features of
the people, are a reminder of the recency of the French occupation.
There is a replica of the church of Saint-Paul-du-Var in a thousand
Italian cities.  When you enter the colorless building from the plain
curved porch, the chill strikes right into your bones.  Windows do not
compete with candles.  You have to grope your way toward the altar.
Unless you strain your eyes, or lamps are burning, side chapels pass
unnoticed.  If you are looking for inscriptions or want to admire the old
master's picture, with which every church claims to be endowed, you must
get the verger with his taper.  Altars are gaudily decorated and statues
bejeweled and be (artificial) flowered in Hispano-Italian fashion.  The
_mairie_, reconstructed from an ancient palace or castle, was more
interesting.  Beside the mairie a medieval square tower, which may have
been a donjon, was occupied on the ground floor by the _gendarmerie_.
Bars on the upper windows indicated that it was still the prison.

We tried the alleys that led off from the street, thinking each might be
a thoroughfare to take us back to the ramparts.  They ended abruptly in a
_cul-de-sac_ or court.  The _culs-de-sac_, uninviting to eye and nose,
were as Italian as the church.  The houses in the courts were stables
downstairs.  Man and beast lived together.  Flowers and wee bushes grew
up around the wells in the center of the courts.  Everything was built of
stone and red-tiled.  But there was none of the dull gray-and-red
monotony of northern towns near the sea or of the sharp gray-and-red
monotony of towns of the Mediterranean peninsulas.  Grass sprouted out
between the stones of the walls and the tiles of the roofs.  From
window-ledges and eaves hung ferns.  A blush of moss on the stones added
to the green of plant life, and softened the austerity of the gray.
Nature was successful in asserting herself against man and sun and sea.

[Illustration: "The houses in the courts were stables downstairs."]

We were expressing our enthusiasm in a court where the living green
combined with age to glorify the buildings.  We did not see the
dilapidation, we did not smell the dirt, we did not feel the squalor.  A
woman was lighting a fire in a brazier on her doorstep.  She looked
hostilely at us.  We beamed in counteraction.  She looked more hostilely.
As the Artist wanted to sketch her house, some words seemed necessary.  I
detailed our emotions.  Was not her lot, cast in this picturesque spot,
most enviable?

"We want to take away with us," I said, "a tangible memory of this
beautiful, this picturesque, this verdant court in which you live."

"If you had to live here," she announced simply, "you'd want to go away
and forget it."

The fumes had burned from the charcoal.  The woman picked up the brazier,
carried it inside without another word or look, and slammed the door
behind her with her foot.

The Artist was already in his sketch, but he paused to growl and
philosophize.  "If she had waited a minute longer," he complained, "I
should have had her and the brazier.  Funny how unappreciative people
are.  You and I, _mon vieux_, would like nothing better than to stay
here.  From the other side of her house that woman must have a great view
of the sea and the mountains.  Is she going to watch the sunset?  No, she
is going to make soup for her man on that brazier in a dark hole of a
room, and feel sorry for herself because she doesn't live in Paris where
she could go to the movies every night."

Our ardor for Saint-Paul-du-Var lasted splendidly through the sunset on
the ramparts.  We had found the ideal spot.  Hoi polloi could have their
Nice and their Cannes!  But when night fell, there were few lights on the
street, and shopkeepers looked at us in stupid amazement when we inquired
about lodgings.  We did not dare to ask in the drinking places, for fear
they might volunteer to put us up.  In the _épiceries_, we were offered
bread and sardines.  There was no butter.  So we went rather less
reluctantly than we had thought possible an hour earlier out of the gate
towards the _hôtel-restaurant_.  An old man was camped against the wall
in a wagon like Pierre's.  He had been sharpening Saint-Paul-du-Var's
scissors and knives.  We confided in him, and asked if he thought the
_hôtel-restaurant_ would give us a good dinner and a good bed.  The
scissors-grinder wrinkled his nose and twinkled his eyes.  "The last tram
from Vence to Cagnes stops over there at eight-ten," he said decisively.
"You have five minutes to catch it.  Get off at Villeneuve-Loubet, and go
to the Hôtel Beau-Site.  The proprietor is a _cordon bleu_ of a _chef_.
He has his own trout, and he knows just what tourists like to eat and
drink.  Motorists stop there over night, so you need have no fear."

"But--" I started to remonstrate.

The Artist was already hurrying in the direction of the tram.  I followed

The next morning the Artist went back to Saint-Paul-du-Var for his
sketches.  I did not accompany him.  Saint-Paul-du-Var was a delightful
memory, and I wanted to keep it.



On a hill a mile or so back from the Cannes-Nice road, just before one
reaches Cagnes, a castle of unusual size and severity of outline rises
above the trees of a park.  The roads from Cagnes to Grasse and Vence
bifurcate at the foot of the hill on which the castle is built.  What one
thinks of the castle depends upon which road one takes.  The traveler on
the Vence road sees a pretentious entrance, constructed for automobiles,
with a twentieth-century iron gate and a twentieth-century porter's
lodge.  The park looks well groomed.  The wall along the Vence side is as
new as the gate and the lodge.  The stone of the castle is white and
fresh.  One dismisses the castle as an imitation or a wholesale
restoration by an architect lacking in imagination and cleverness.  But
if the left hand road toward Grasse is taken, one sees twelfth-century
fortifications coming down from the top of the hill to the roadside.
There are ruins of bastions and towers overgrown with bushes and ivy.
Farther along an old town is revealed climbing the hill to the castle.
There is nothing _nouveau riche_ about Villeneuve-Loubet.  The only
touches of the modern are the motor road with kilometer stones, the iron
bridge over the Loup, and the huge sign informing you that the hotel is
near by.

Had we limited our inland exploration to the Vence side of the hill, the
Artist and I would not have discovered Villeneuve-Loubet.  Had we been
hurrying through toward Grasse in automobile or tram, we would probably
have exclaimed "how picturesque" or "interesting, isn't it?" and
continued our way.  Luck saved us.

A scissors-grinder at the gate of Saint-Paul-du-Var recommended the trout
and beds of the Villeneuve-Loubet hotel.  Just as the moon was coming up
one April evening, we got off the Vence-Cagnes tram at the junction of
the Grasse tramway, and walked to the revelation of what the castle
really was.  We decided to eat something in a hurry, and go around the
town that very evening.

When, helped by the sign, we reached the Hôtel Beau-Site, the proprietor
came forward with his best shuffle and bow.  Trout?  Of course there were
trout, plenty of them.  Alas, in these days when business was very, very
bad, when people had no money to travel, and visitors accordingly were
scarce, there were too many trout.  But that was to the advantage of
_messieurs_.  He, Jean Alphonse, could give a large choice, and the
dinner would have all his attention.  It was his pride and rule to give
personal attention always to every dish that left his kitchen, but with
the _monde_ of a regular season, he could not take every fish out of the
pan himself, and see that the slices of lemon were cut, and the parsley
put, just as he had always done when he was the _chef_ of Monsieur Blanc.
We knew Monsieur Blanc.  Monsieur Blanc died eight years ago, but that
was the way of the world.  Now messieurs could go right along with him
and pick out their own fish.  The net was down by the pool, and he would
get a lamp in just one little minute.  For that would be best.  The moon
was coming up, true.  But one could not trust the moonlight in choosing

The garden of the Hôtel Beau-Site contains a curious succession of bowers
made by training bamboo trees for partitions and ceilings.  As we went
through them, Jean Alphonse explained that these natural _salons
particuliers_, where parties could have luncheon out-of-doors and yet
remain sheltered from the sun and in privacy, combined with the trout to
give his hotel a wonderful vogue in tourist season.  We, of course,
insisted that the reputation of the chef must be the third and
controlling attraction.  The pool was full, and the trout had no chance.
It was not a sporting proposition; but just before dinner one does not
think of that.  Even our choice out of the net was gently guided by Jean
Alphonse.  Since human nature is the same the world over, is it
surprising that the tricks calculated to captivate and deceive are the
same?  I recalled a famous restaurant in Moscow, where one went to the
fountain with a white-robed Tartar waiter and thought he picked his fish.
I have no doubt that Jean Alphonse believed that his idea was original,
and that we were experiencing a new sensation.

Jean Alphonse did not boast idly of his cuisine.  He possessed, too, the
genius of the successful boniface for knowing what would please his
guests.  He sensed our lack of interest in the wines of the Midi, and,
helped by the Artist's checked knickers and slender cane, set forth a
bottle of old Scotch.  We refused to allow him to open the dining-room
for us, and had our dinner in a corner of the café.  Villeneuve-Loubet's
_élite_ gathered to see us eat.  The _garde-champêtre_, the veteran of
1870, the chatelain's bailiff, the local representative in the Legion of
Honor (rosette, not ribbon, if you please), and two _chasseurs alpins_,
home from the maneuvers on sick leave, ordered their coffee or liqueur at
other tables, but were glad to join us when we said the word.  Soon we
had a dozen around us.  The history of the war--and past and future
wars--and of Villeneuve-Loubet was set forth in detail.

Had it not been for the moon, we should certainly have gone from the
table to our rooms.  But the full moon on the Riviera makes a more
fascinating fairyland than one can find in dreams.  We did not hesitate,
when the last of our friends left, to follow them out-of-doors.
Villeneuve-Loubet might prove to be a modest town tomorrow, old, of
course, and interesting: but we were going to see it tonight under the
spell of the moon.  We were going to wander where we willed, with all the
town to ourselves.  We were going to live for an hour in the Middle Ages.
For if there was anything modern in Villeneuve-Loubet, the moonlight
would hide it or gloss it over; if there was anything ancient, the
moonlight would enable us to see it as we wanted to see it.  I pity the
limited souls who do not believe in moonshine, and use the word
contemptuously.  One is illogical who contends that moonshine gives a
false idea of things; for he is testing the moonshine impression by
sunshine.  It would be as illogical to say that sunshine gives a false
idea of things on the ground that moonshine is the standard.  If sunshine
is reality, so is moonshine.  The difference is that we are more
accustomed to see things by sunlight than by moonlight.  Our test of
reality is familiarity, and of truth repetition.

Villeneuve-Loubet is built against a cliff.  The houses rise on tiers of
stone terraces.  They are made of stone quarried on the spot.  Red tiles,
the conspicuous feature of Mediterranean cities, are lacking in
Villeneuve-Loubet.  The roofs are slabs of stone.  The streets are the
surface of the cliff.  We climbed toward the castle through a ghost-city.
The moon enhanced the gray-whiteness that was the common color of ground,
walls and roofs.  The shadows, sharp and black, were needed to set forth
the lines of the buildings.

The picture called for a witch.  The silence was broken by the tapping of
a cane.  Around the corner the witch hobbled into the scene, testing each
step before her.  She was dressed in black, of course, and bent over with
just the curve of the back the Artist loves to give to his old women.
She was a friendly soul, and did not seem amazed to find strangers
strolling late at night in her town.  We were "_Anglais_," and that was
explanation enough to one who had seen three generations of tourists.
She stopped to talk with us.  When had we arrived at Villeneuve-Loubet?
Had we come up from Nice that afternoon and did we plan to stay for a day
or two with Jean Alphonse at the Hôtel Beau-Site?  Did we not agree that
Villeneuve-Loubet was superb?  Perhaps we were artists?  So many artists
came here to paint and sketch the old houses.  What was our impression of
her country?  We knew that she meant by "country" not France but
Villeneuve-Loubet, and mustered our best vocabulary to admire the town,
the solid foundations, the houses, the protecting castle, and above all,
the unique streets of stone.

"But it must be very difficult to go up and down in winter.  How do you
manage when the rock is frozen over with snow and ice?" I asked.

"It does not freeze here," she answered.

The moon-whiteness had made me think of winter, and it had not occurred
to me that there would be no snow and ice.  Ideas are pervasive.  We
place them immediately and unquestioningly upon the hypothesis that
happens to fit.

The church, of eighteenth-century architecture, is the last building at
the upper end of the town.  It stands on a terrace outside the lower wall
of the castle, an eloquent witness of the survival of feudal ideas.  In
order that the lord of the manor need not go far to mass, when there
happened to be no private chaplain in the castle, the town-folk must
climb to their devotions.  I tried the church door from habit.  It was
not locked.  The Artist refused to go in.

"Why should one poke around a church, especially at night and this
night?" he remonstrated, and walked over to the wall of the terrace.

"There may be something inside," I urged.

"There _is_ something outside," he answered, with his back turned upon
the castle as well as church.

I could see my way around, for the windows of nave and transept were
large, and had plain glass.  Moonlight was sufficient to read
inscriptions that set forth in detail the pedigree of the chatelains.
The baptismal names overflowed a line, and were followed by a family name
almost as long, MARCH-TRIPOLY DE PANISSE-PASSIS.  Longest of all was the
list of titles.  The chatelains were marquesses and counts and knights of
Malta and seigneurs of a dozen domains of the northlands as well as of
Provence.  March-Tripoly and some of the seigneural names told the story
that I have often read in church inscriptions near the sea in Italy, in
Hungary, in Dalmatia and in Greece, as well as in Provence and Catalonia.
The feudal families of the Mediterranean are of Teutonic and Scandinavian
origin.  They were founded by the stock that destroyed the Roman Empire,
barbarians, stronger, more energetic, more resourceful, more resolute
than the southerners whom they made their serfs.  When feudalism, through
the formation of larger political units by the extension of kingly
rights, began to decline, the chatelains preserved their prestige by
supporting the propaganda to redeem the Holy Sepulcher.  They took the
Cross and went to fight the Saracens in Africa and Asia.  When climate
rather than culture latinized them, later northmen came and dispossessed
them.  The men of the north have always been fighting their way to the
Mediterranean.  Are Germans and Russians disturbing the peace of Europe
any more or any differently than Northern Europeans have always done?
Since the dawn of history, the Mediterranean races have had to contend
with the men of the north seeking the sun.

Behind the church, ruins of centuries, overgrown with shrubbery and ivy,
cling to the side of the cliff from the castle to the valley road.  The
great square mass of the castle rises on top of a slope far above the
church terrace.  A moat, filled with bushes, is on a level with the
terrace, and beyond the moat is a wall.  An unkept path leads through the
moat to a modest door.  From the towers and arch above one can see that
the former entrance to the castle, by means of a portcullis, was on this
side.  But the outer wall has been rebuilt, leaving only a servants'
door.  Evidently the chatelain used to enter by climbing up through
Villeneuve-Loubet as we had done.  Since the motor road was made on the
other side of the hill, he and his guests can ignore Villeneuve-Loubet.

The Artist was sitting on the wall of the terrace, engrossed in midnight
labor.  He was willing to stop for a pipe.  Above us the castle,
dominated by a pentagonal tower, rose toward the moon.  Below us, the
blanched roofs of Villeneuve-Loubet slanted into the valley.  As long as
the pipe lasted, I was able to talk to the Artist about the men of the
north seeking the sun.  But when the bowl ceased to respond to matches,
he said; "All very well, but I know one man of the north who is going to
seek his bed."

Before reaching the Hôtel Beau-Site, however, a street on the left
attracted us.  It seemed to end in a flight of steps that dipped under
arches, and we could hear the swift rush of water.  We were not so sleepy
as we thought, for both of us were still willing to explore.  The steps
led to the flour mill.  We followed the mill-race until we reached the
Grasse tram road near the river.  By the tram station, a light was
shining from the open door of a café in a wooden shanty.  We went in, and
found Villeneuve-Loubet's officer of the Legion of Honor smoking his pipe
over a cup of _tilleul_.

"There has been an accident in the gorge of the Loup," he said.  "The
last tram from Grasse was derailed, and two automobiles from Cagnes went
up an hour ago.  As I am the _maire_, I must wait for news.  There may be
something for me to do."

Monsieur le Maire told us that he had spent his life in the West African
coast trade, with headquarters in Marseilles.  If he had stayed there to
end his days, he would have been one of a hundred thousand in a great
city, cast aside and ignored by the new generation.  But in his native
_pays_ he was in the thick of things.  To return to their old home is not
wholly a question of sentiment with Frenchmen who retire from business in
the city or the colonies.  Money goes farther, and one can be an
official, with public duties and honors, and enjoy the privilege of
writing on notepaper bearing the magic heading, _République Française_.
Monsieur le Maire told us that the chatelain came often, and never forgot
to invite him to meet the guests at the castle.  Some years ago I used to
think that it was a peculiar characteristic of the French to enjoy being
made much of and exercising authority.  But since I have traveled in my
own and many other countries I have come to realize that this
characteristic is not peculiarly French.

When Monsieur le Maire spoke of the chatelain, I had my opening.  Full of
the idea of the men of the north seeking the sun, I was ready to spread
to others the impression I had made upon myself of my own erudition and
cleverness.  At the risk of boring the Artist, I repeated and enlarged
upon my deductions from the inscription of the March-Tripoly de
Panisse-Passis.  Monsieur le Maire looked at me with malicious amazement.

"_La-la-la!_" he cried.  "Not so fast.  You haven't got it right at all,
at all, at all!  The castle of Villeneuve-Loubet is the only one in this
corner of Provence that belongs to its pre-Revolutionary owners, but
there are many centuries between feudal days and our time.  Castles
remain, but history changes.  The March-Tripoly de Panisse-Passis are not
a feudal family, and they do not come from the north.  The African part
of the name is due to an unproven claim of descent from a French consular
official in Tripoli of the sixteenth century.  The château, after a
succession of proprietors, came to the Panisse family through marriage
with the daughter of a Marseilles notary, who got the château by
foreclosing a mortgage.  During the Revolutionary period, the property
was saved from confiscation by a clever straddle.  The owner stayed in
France, and supported the Revolution, while the son emigrated with the
Bourbons.  The peerage was created just a hundred years ago by Louis
XVIII, in reward for the refusal of the Panisses to follow Napoleon a
second time after the return from Elba."

Another pervasive idea!

"The Moon got you," was the laughing comment of the Artist.

Historical reminiscences died hard, however.  We discussed the possible
Saracen origin of the pentagonal tower, and the vicissitudes of the
castle during the struggles between Mohammedans and Christians, feudal
lords and kings, Catholics and Protestants, Spaniards and French.
Monsieur le Maire was a Bonapartist, and he insisted that the chief glory
of Villeneuve-Loubet was the association with Napoleon.

"When Napoleon was living at Nice," he said, "he used to come out here
often.  Napoleon thought that the view of sea and mountains from
Villeneuve-Loubet was the finest on the Riviera.  He could stand up there
and look out towards his native island, and contemplate the mountains the
crossing of which was his first great step to fame.  Napoleon (and here
Monsieur le Maire winked at the Artist) was a man of the sun seeking the
north--just like Caesar, ho! ho!"

The arrival of the tram, which had recovered its equilibrium, helped me
to recover mine.  We said good night to Monsieur le Maire, and before
turning in went out on the iron bridge that spanned the Loup.

The river, swollen by the spring thaw and rains, had overflowed its
banks, and was swirling around willows and poplars.  It was not deep, and
the water flashed in the moonlight as it rippled over the stones.  There
was a smell of fresh-cut logs.  We looked beyond a sawmill into a gorge
of pines that ended in a transversal white mountain wall.

[Illustration: The river was swirling around willows and poplars.]

"Bully placer ground!" I exclaimed.

The Artist leaned over the bridge, looked down, and sighed just one word,

We sought the Hôtel Beau-Site in silence.

Monuments of men's making create a diversity of atmospheres and call
forth a diversity of reminiscences.  They cause imagination to run riot
in history.  But nature is the same the world over, and there would be
reactions and yearnings if one knew nothing of the past from books.
There is no conflict.  Nature transcends.  We dreamed that night not of
crusaders, but of Idaho and the Bitter Root Range.



The most picturesque bit of mountain railway on the Riviera is the
fourteen miles from Grasse to Vence.  Yielding to a sudden impulse, we
took it one afternoon.  The train passed from Grasse through olive
groves and fig orchards and over two viaducts.  A third viaduct of
eleven arches took us across the Loup.  We were just at the season when
the melting snows made a roaring torrent of what was most of the year a
little stream lost in a wide gravel bed.  The view up the gorge gave us
the feeling of being in the heart of the mountains.  And yet from the
opposite windows of the train we could see the Mediterranean.  Then we
circled the little town of Tourettes at the foot of the Puy de
Tourettes, with high cliffs in the background, and a wild luxurious
growth of aloes below.  We almost circled the village, crossing the
ravines on either side on viaducts.  A sixth long viaduct brought us to
Vence.  We had a rendezvous that evening at Cannes.  There was no time
to stop.  We kept on to Nice to make the only connection that would get
us back to Cannes.

Afterwards the Artist and I spoke often of Vence.  Twice we planned to
go to Vence, but found the fascination of Villeneuve-Loubet and
Saint-Paul-du-Var justifiable deterrents.

On the terrace of our favorite café in the Allées de la Liberté at
Cannes on Easter evening we announced the intention of making a special
trip to Vence the next day.

"Tomorrow is Easter Monday, and the children have no school," said the
Artist's hostess.  "We shall make a family party of it, train to Cagnes
where I may have a chance to see your Mademoiselle Simone, a trout
luncheon at Villeneuve-Loubet with the rest of that bottle of which you
boys spoke, and Vence in the afternoon."

The orders had been given.  There was an early morning stir at the
Villa Étoile, a scramble to the Théoule railway station, and before
nine o'clock we were all aboard for the hour's ride to Cagnes.  When we
got off the train, there was just one _cocher_ available.  He looked at
papa and mamma and Uncle Lester and the four babies and their nurse,
and raised his hands to heaven.  But Villeneuve-Loubet was not far off
and we were careful to say nothing of the afternoon's program.  Léonie
and the children were packed into the carriage.  The rest of us
followed afoot.

Our cheerful host at Villeneuve-Loubet greeted us effusively.  He had
many holiday guests, but he remembered the Artist and me, and the
splendid profit accruing from every drink out of the bottle only _les
Anglais_ called for.  There were plenty of trout, fresh sliced
cucumbers, and a special soup for the kiddies.  The _cocher_ was so
amenable to Léonie's charms and to drinks that cost less than ours that
he consented to further exertion for his horse.  But the climb to Vence
was out of the question--a physical impossibility, he declared.  And
we, having seen the horse at rest and in action, could only sorrowfully
agree.  It was too much of a job to maneuver all the children (the baby
could not walk) to the tramway halt, nearly a mile away, and on and off
the cars.  The mother said that she could not be a good sport to the
point of abandoning all her handicaps for several hours in a place
where the river flowed fast and deep.  So it was agreed that she would
have at least the excursion to Saint-Paul-du-Var, and the Artist and I,
determined this time on Vence, would see her the next evening for
dinner at Cannes.

So we made our adieux, and hurried off to get the tram at the
bifurcation below the castle.  Half an hour later our tram passed the
carriage jogging up the hill.  As luck had it, we turned out just then
on a switch to let the down car pass.  The temptation of Vence was too
much for Helen.  The _cocher_ seemed a fatherly sort of a man.  There
was a quick consultation from tram to carriage.  A reunion with the
handicaps was set for two hours later in front of the triple gate of
Saint-Paul-du-Var, and another passenger got on the tram.

Around a curve we waved farewell to our children.  After all, Vence was
only three miles beyond Saint-Paul.  As we passed the Saint-Paul halt,
our old friend, the postman, was on the platform to receive the
mailbag.  We told him that the kiddies were coming, and slipped him ten
francs to look after them until our return.

"_Soyes tranquilles, M'sieu-dame,_" he reassured us.  "_Moi, je suis

Beyond Saint-Paul the tramway left the road and climbed over a viaduct
to Vence.

Ventium Cassaris was a military base of great importance in the days of
imperial Rome.  It was the central commissariat depot for the armies in
Gaul, and had a forum and temples.  During the Middle Ages it was a
stronghold of the Holy Roman Empire.  It stands on the side of a
fertile hill more than a thousand feet above the sea.  The site was
probably chosen because of the wall of rocks on the north which shelter
it from the mistral, a wind that the Romans found as little to their
liking as later interlopers.  In peace as in war the outside world has
never been able to keep away from the Riviera.

The Artist announced his intention of spending a couple of days
sketching, and left us to seek a hotel.  Helen and I found that there
was no tram to Saint-Paul-du-Var that would enable us to pick up the
children in time for the train to Théoule unless we returned without
seeing Vence.  So we decided to give an hour to the town and walk back
to Saint-Paul.

As at Grasse a boulevard runs along the line of the old fortifications.
Some of the houses facing it have used the town wall for foundations or
are themselves remnants of the wall.  But at Vence the _boulevard de
l'enceinte_ is circular--a modest _Ringstrasse_, marking without
interruption the old town from the new.  We dipped in and out of alleys
under arches, and made a turn of the streets of the old town.  Much of
the medieval still survives in Vence, as in other hill towns of the
Riviera.  But only behind the cathedral did we find a remnant of
imperial Rome.  A granite column supporting an arch, and reliefs and
inscriptions built in the north wall of the cathedral, are all that we
saw of Vence's latinity.

The cathedral, however, is the most interesting we found on the
Riviera.  It is a Romanesque building, built on the site of the
second-century temple, and its tall battlemented tower harks back to a
tenth-century _château fort_.  The interior is striking: double aisles,
simple nave with tiers of arches of the tenth century, a choir with
richly carved oak stalls, a fourth-century sarcophagus for altar, and a
font and lectern of the Italian Renaissance.

It was just a glimpse.  But sometimes glimpses make more vivid memories
than longer acquaintance.  At the end of our hour we left Vence and
hurried down the broad road of red shale past meadows thick with
violets.  We went through the deep pine-filled ravine over which we had
crossed on the viaduct.  Then the climb to Saint-Paul-du-Var.

[Illustration: "Down the broad road of red shale past meadows thick
with violets."]

We might have taken our time.  Christine and Lloyd and Mimi came
running to greet us, bringing with them little friends who had probably
never before played with children from Paris.  We did not need to ask
what kind of a time they had been having.  Children are the true
cosmopolitans.  Hope lay under a tree on her blanket playing with her
pink shoes.  Nearby, at a table in front of the Café de la Porte,
Léonie was treating the _cocher_ and the postman to a glass of beer.

"I got bread and honey and milk for the children's _goûter_," explained
Léonie, "and _Monsieur le cocher_ and I are having ours with _Monsieur
le facteur_."

As the children did not seem to be tired and the _cocher_ was in no
hurry, Helen and I made a tour of the walls, and took a photograph of
our handicaps and their faithful attendants in front of the great gate
built by Francis I, who prized Saint-Paul-du-Var as the best spot to
guard the fords of the river against Charles V.

A reader of this manuscript declares that the chapter on Vence ought to
be struck out.

"They [I suppose she means the home folks] will never understand," she

I am adamant.

"When they come to the Riviera, they will understand," I answer.

Between Saint-Raphaël and Menton the most sacred responsibilities do
not weigh one down all the time.



In architectural parlance the cornice is the horizontal molded
projection crowning a building, especially the uppermost member of the
entablature of an order, surmounting the frieze.  The word is also used
in mountaineering to describe an overhanging mass of hardened snow at
the edge of a precipice.  In the Maritime Alps it has a striking
figurative meaning.  There are four _corniches_--the main roads along
the two sections of the Riviera, Menton to Nice and Théoule to
Saint-Raphaël, where the mountains come right down to the sea and
nature affords no natural routes.  The Grande Corniche and the Petite
Corniche run from Nice to Menton, and the Moyenne Corniche from Nice to
Monte Carlo.  The Corniche d'Or or Corniche de l'Estérel is the new
road from Théoule to Saint-Raphaël.  The word is incorrectly used, for
the most part, concerning the two coast roads, the Petite Corniche and
the Corniche l'Estérel.  For although these beautiful roads do at many
points stand high above the sea, they descend as often as possible to
connect with the coast towns.  But the analogy with the architectural
term is perfect in so far as the Grande Corniche and the Moyenne
Corniche are concerned.  At every point these wonderful roads,
undisturbed by tramways and unbroken by towns (except La Turbie on the
Grande Corniche and Éze on the Moyenne Corniche), you feel that you are
traveling along a horizontal molded projection above temples built with
hands and the activities of humankind.

From Nice to the Italian frontier the railway, darting in and out of
tunnels, keeps near sea level.  A small branch climbs from Monte Carlo
to La Turbie.  The tramway from Nice to Menton follows the Petite
Corniche, with a branch to Saint-Jean on Cap Ferrat.

For tourists, Nice is the center of the Riviera, the place to come back
to every night after day excursions.  Everything is so near that this
is possible.  Nice is the terminus of railways and tramways east and
west.  It is the home of the ubiquitous Cook.  You can buy all sorts of
excursion tickets, and by watching the bulletin posted in front of the
Cook office on the Promenade des Anglais, it is possible to "cover" the
Riviera in a fortnight.  But this means a constant rush, perched on a
high seat, crowded in with twenty others, on a _char à banes_, and only
a kaleidoscopic vision of Mediterranean blue, hillside and valley green
and brown, roof-top red, wall gray and mountain white.  At the end of
your orgy, instead of distinct pictures, you carry away an impression
of the Riviera in which the Place Masséna is a concrete image and the
rest no more than dancing bits of colored glass.  Saint-Raphaël and
Menton are the luncheon breaks of two days, and the Grande Corniche is
a beautiful vague mountain road over which you whizzed.

And yet there are those who go to the Riviera every year for a daily
ride over the Grande Corniche, and who dream during ten months of two
months at Menton!

Sitting with our legs daggling over the stone coping at the entrance of
the port in Nice, the Artist and I figured out--on the basis of just
time for a glimpse and a few sketches--how long it would take us to
wander through the Riviera.  Reserving March and April each year, we
discovered that the allotted three score and ten, seeing that we had
already come to half the span, would be inadequate.  And there were
other parts of the world!  So we decided to see what we could, eschew
the "day excursions," draw on the memories of former years, and let it
go at that.  Grande Corniche and Moyenne Corniche would be explored
afoot on sunny days and gray; shelter would be sought at Menton; and on
the return to Nice, Monte Carlo and Villefranche would be the only
tramway stops for us.

To Ventimiglia, as if he foresaw what part of the Riviera would
eventually fall to France, Napoleon I was the builder of La Grande
Corniche.  His engineers, planning for horse-drawn vehicles in an age
when time was not money, made the ascent easy by striking inland for
several kilometers up from the valley of the Paillon and circling Mont
Gros and Mont Vinaigrier.  For the first two miles you have Nice and
Cimiez below you.  Then the road turns, passes the observatory of
Bischoffsheim (who won posthumous fame by his having built the house
where Wilson lost the battle of Paris in 1919), and goes over the Col
des Quatre Chemins.  Here begins the matchless succession of views of
the loveliest portion of the Riviera coast.  Below you is the harbor of
Villefranche, between Montboron, which hides Nice, and Cap Ferrat
jutting far into the sea with Cap de l'Hospice breaking out to the
left.  The sea is always on your right as you continue to climb.
Ancient Éze is on a lower hill midway between you and the
Mediterranean.  If you have made an early start from Nice, La Turbie
will come most conveniently in sight a little before noon.

The only town of the Grande Corniche high up from the sea is on the
line given in ancient maps as the frontier between Gaul and Italy, and
it is evident that the Roman road followed here the route chosen by
Napoleon.  For here the Senate raised the _trophaeum Augusti_ to
commemorate the subjugation of the Gauls and the new era of
tranquillity from invasion for the Empire.  On its site one of the most
interesting medieval towers in southern France was the ruin par
excellence of the Riviera until a few years ago.  It is now "restored"
so well that it leaves nothing to the imagination--a crime quite in
keeping with the spirit of the new age of the "movies."  Its architect
wanted you to see at a glance just what it used to be.  You feel that
he would have put arms on the Venus de Milo!  As we stood there, a
guide came up and began to tell us the history of the tower.  We moved
over to the terrace.  From Montboron to Bordighera the Riviera lay
below us, a panorama which commanded silence.  Up came the guide
fellow, and started to name each place.

"I am about to commit murder," I cried.

"I'll save you the bother by telling him to chase himself with this
franc," said the Artist, pulling out the coin.  "If only the restorer
of the Tower of Augustus were around, he'd come in for a franc too."

La Turbie is not a town to hurry away from after lunch.  Its old
gateways and leaning houses brought out the Artist's pencil.  I tried
to explore the paths up the Tête du Chien.  _Défense de pénétrer_--and
then selections from the Code about how spies are treated.  The same
fate met me on the Mont de la Bataille.  France may love Italy just
now--but she is taking no chances!  As far as I could judge, every high
slope was fortified.  I had tea at one of the hotels perched above the
town, counted my money, and suggested to the Artist that we slip down
to Monte Carlo for the night.

The next morning we took the little railway back to La Turbie and
continued our walk.  From La Turbie the Grande Corniche makes a gradual
descent behind the principality of Monaco to Cabbé-Roquebrune, and
joins the Petite Corniche at Cap Martin.  Three miles farther on the
Promenade du Midi leads into Menton.  This is the most beautiful
stretch of the Grande Corniche; and it is paralleled by no other road,
as the new Moyenne Corniche ends at Monte Carlo.  The view is before
you as you go down.  The vegetation becomes more tropical.  You are
nearer the sea, and the feeling of _dolce far niente_ gets into your
bones as you approach Cap Martin.

Mont Agel's limestone side gives you back the heat of the sun.  It is a
radiator.  No wonder lemons flower all the year round, and you discover
on the same tree buds, flowers, green and yellow fruit.  No wonder the
palms are not out of their setting as at Cannes and Nice.  Locusts,
flourishing where there is seemingly no ground to take root in, live
from the air, and give forth pods that almost hide the leaves in their
profusion.  The undergrowth of myrtle and dwarf ilex above becomes
aloes and sarsaparilla and wild asparagus as we go down to the sea.  We
have left the cypresses and cork-trees, and eucalyptus struggles in our
nostrils with orange and lemon.  Even the ferns are scented!  The
Artist looks with apathetic eye on the rocks and ruined castle of
Roquebrune.  When we reach Menton we are willing to sink into
cane-seated rockers on the Hôtel Bristol porch, call for something in a
tall glass with ice in it, and let the morning walk count for a day's

The tourists who know Menton only as a mid-day luncheon break have
robbed themselves of an experience that no other Riviera town offers.
The Promenade des Anglais at Nice is interesting in the sense that the
Avenue des Champs-Elysées is interesting.  The Mediterranean is
accidental--an unimportant accessory.  The Promenade du Midi at Menton
is another world.  And this other world, with its other world climate,
reveals itself to you with increasingly keen delight, as you ride (you
do not walk at Menton) around Cap Martin, up the mountain to old
Sainte-Agnès, in the gorge of Saint-Louis, along the Boulevard du
Garavan, and out to the Giardino Hanbury.  You say _giardino_ instead
of _jardin_ because Mortola is just across the Italian frontier.  The
eccentric Englishman chose this spot, without regard to political
sovereignty present or future, as the best place to demonstrate the
catholicity of the Riviera climate to tropical flora.  I simply mention
these drives; for you do not ride at Menton any more than you walk.
The man who wants to keep his energy and work on the Riviera must not
go farther east than Nice.

But why another world?  And another world even from that of the rest of
the French Riviera?  It is partly the climate and the consequent flora,
but mostly the light.  The general aridity of the Riviera, with the
prevalence of everbrowns and evergreens, strikes unpleasantly at first
the visitor from the North.  Sunshine and riotous colors of flowers and
blossoming trees do not make up for the absence of water-fed green.
When it rains, the Northerner's depression cannot be fought off.  The
chill gets to his soul as well as to his bones.  He prays for the sun
he has come south to seek.  But when the sun returns, the dust annoys
him.  The high wind gets on his nerves.

The casual tourist, whose stay is brief, even if he has come in the
most favorable season, is "not so sure about the Riviera, you know."
He is impatient with himself because, after the first vivid impression,
panoramas and landscapes leave him unsatisfied.  There is no
compensation for the absence of water-fed green in the canvas of nature
_until one becomes responsive to other colors_.  I do not mean
particular patches of color in flowers and blossoms.  These are of a
season.  Often they pass in a week.  The sun that gives rich life kills
quickly.  The glory of south lands, especially along the sea, is the
constant changing of colors.  These colors you will drink in only when
by familiarity you have become sensitive to lights and shadows.

If you stay long enough at a place like Menton you will be ready for
Southern Italy and Greece.  You will be able to drink in the beauty of
landscapes without foliage.  And when you have acquired this sense,
your own country will be a new world to you.  Never again, as long as
you live, will you tire of any landscape.

The sun veils and unveils itself more often and more quickly and more
unexpectedly at Menton than at any place on the Riviera.  And the
setting for watching the changes is perfect.  Menton can say, in the
words of the old sundial,

  "Son figlia del sole,
  Eppure son ombre."



San Marino and Andorra have maintained their independence from the Middle
Ages, but as republics.  The only reigning families who kept their
domains from being engulfed in the evolution of modern Europe are those
of Liechtenstein and Monaco.  What will happen to Liechtenstein with the
disappearance of the Hapsburg Empire is uncertain.  Wedged in between the
Vorarlberg portion of the Austrian Tyrol and Switzerland, Liechtenstein
is almost as out of the way, as forgotten, as unimportant, as San Marino
and Andorra.  Monaco is in a different situation.  The smallest country
in the world covers only eight square miles, and never was very much
larger than it is today.  Until half a century ago Monaco was an Italian
principality and not at all an anomaly.  For Italy had been broken up
into small political units from the Roman days.  At the time of the
unification of Italy, the Italians had to part with a portion of the
Riviera to France.  Monaco lost a bit of her coast line--the Menton
district--and became an enclave in France.

Because of the traditional friendship of the Grimaldi family for France,
the principality was saved from extinction when the protectorate of Savoy
(established by the Congress of Vienna) was withdrawn in 1861.  In fact,
the male line of the Grimaldi died out just after the War of Spanish
Succession, and the present house is of French descent.  But whether
Grimaldi or Matignon, the princes of Monaco have fought for a thousand
years on the side of France against the British especially, but also
against the Italians, Spanish and Germans.  As unhesitatingly as his
predecessors had always done, Prince Albert espoused the cause of France
in 1914; his son fought through the war in the French army.

And there is another reason for the continued independence of Monaco.
Republics have no sense of gratitude.  After the fall of Napoleon III
Monaco would hardly have survived save for the gambling concession.  Four
years before the Franco-Prussian War, a casino and hotels built on the
Roche des Spélugues had been named Monte Carlo in honor of the reigning
prince.  The concession, granted to a Frenchman, François Blanc, was too
valuable to spoil by having Monaco come under French law!  The Republic
tolerated Monaco--on condition that no French officer in uniform and no
inhabitant of the Département des Alpes-Maritimes (which surrounds
Monaco) be allowed in the gaming rooms of the Casino.  It was also agreed
that except in petty cases handled in a magistrate's court all crimes
should be judged by French law and the criminals delivered for punishment
to France.

The arrangement is admirable from the French point of view.  The Riviera
has its gambling place of world-wide fame with no opprobrium or
responsibility attaching to the French Government.  The
extra-territoriality does not extend to criminals.  The inhabitants of
the neighboring French towns are not demoralized by the opportunity to
gamble.  French army officers are protected from corruption.  It is
presumed that the rest of the world, which can afford a trip to the
principality, will be able to take care of its own morals!

The Monégasques are similarly protected by their sovereign.  They, too,
are forbidden to gamble.  They profit from the concession in that there
are no taxes to pay in the rich little principality and in that several
hundred thousand foreigners come every year to give big prices for every
little service.  But they run no risk of being caught by the snare they
set for others.  Prince and people, the Monégasques are like the wise old
bartender, who said in a tone of virtuous self-satisfaction, "I never

When Tennyson, traveling along the Grande Corniche, saw Monaco, it was of
the old medieval principality that he could write:

  "How like a gem, beneath, the city
  Of little Monaco, basking, glow'd."

The old walled town, on its promontory, must indeed have seemed a gem in
an unsurpassed setting in the time of Tennyson.  For the little Port of
Hercules and the other promontory, Spélugues, were tree- and shrub- and
flower-lined.  There was nothing to break the spell of old Monaco.  Now,
alas, the Casino and hotels of Monte Carlo cover Spélugues, and between
the promontories La Condamine has sprung up, a town of red-roofed villas,
larger than either Monaco or Monte Carlo and forming with them an
unbroken mass of buildings.  Monaco is simply an end of the city,
distinct from the rest of the agglomeration only because it is high up
and on a cape jutting out into the sea.

Unless one went up to explore the old town, one would not realize that it
was more than the palace with its garden and the post-Tennyson cathedral,
too prominent for the good of the medieval spell.  La Condamine and Monte
Carlo have reached the limit of expansion.  In front is the sea, behind
the steep wall of the mountain.  The principality is all city.  But the
mountains and sea prevent the exclusion of nature from the picture.
Despite the modern growth of Monaco, from the Grande Corniche the words
of the poet still hold good.  Monaco is no longer a predominantly
medieval picture perhaps--but it is still a gem.

The old town is as attractive in walls and buildings as other rock
villages of the Riviera.  Three main streets, Rue Basse, Rue du Milieu
and Rue des Briques, run parallel from the Place du Palais out on the
promontory.  They are crossed by the narrowest of city alleys, _à
l'Italienne_, and to the right of the Rue des Briques, around the
Cathedral, is the rest of the town.  Nowhere does the old town extend to
the sea.

On the sites of the ancient fortifications the present ruler, Prince
Albert, has made gardens and built museums for his collections of
prehistoric man and of ocean life.  One ought never to dip into museums.
If you have lots and lots of time (I mean weeks, not hours), or if you
have special interest in a definite field of study, museums may be
profitable.  But "doing" museums is the last word in tourist folly.  Yes,
I know that skeletons and the cutest little fish are in those museums.  I
am not ashamed to confess that I never darkened their doors.  Life is
short, and while the Artist revels in his subjects, I find more interest
in studying the living Monégasques than their--and our--negroid ancestors.

For there is a separate race, with its own patois, in Monaco.  You would
never spot it in the somewhat Teutonic cosmopolitanism of the Condamine
and Monte Carlo tradesmen and hotel servants.  It is not apparent in the
impassive _croupiers_ of the Casino.  But within a few hundred yards, in
half a dozen streets and lanes, the physiognomy, the mentality, the
language of the people make you realize that regarding Monaco as a
separate country is not wholly a polite fiction to relieve the French
Government of the responsibility for the Casino.  These people are
different, children as well as grown-ups.  They are neither French nor
Italian, Provençal nor Catalan, but as distinct as mountain Basques are
from French and Spanish.  It is not a racial group distinction, as with
the Basques.  In blood, the Monégasques are affiliated to their Provençal
and Italian neighbors.

What one sees in the old town of Monaco is a confirmation of the
assertion of many historians that nationality, in our modern political
sense of the word, and patriotism, as a mass instinct shared by millions,
are phenomena of the nineteenth century.  Steam transportation,
obligatory primary education, universal military service, are the factors
that have developed national consciousness, and the exigencies and
opportunities and advantages of the industrial era have furnished the
motive for binding people together in great political organisms.  Today
if there were no outside interests working against the solidarity of
human beings leading a commonwealth existence in the same country, the
political organism would soon make the race rather than the race the
political organism.

San Remo and Menton and Monaco are Riviera towns all within a few miles
of each other.  People of the same origin have three political
allegiances.  In half an hour your automobile will traverse the
territories of three nations.  Italians and French fight under different
flags and were within an ace of being lined against each other in the
war.  Monégasques do not fight at all.  Taxes and tariff boundaries,
schools and military obligations, make the differences between the three
peoples.  Put them all under the same dispensation and where would be
your races?

In the old days the _raison d'être_ of the principality was the power to
prey upon commerce.  From their fortress on the promontory the Grimaldi
organized the Monégasques to levy tolls on passing ships.  Italy was not
a united country.  France had not yet extended her frontiers to the
Riviera.  This little corner of the Mediterranean escaped the Juggernaut
of developing political unity that crushed the life out of a dozen other
feudal robber states.  And when the logical moment for disappearance
arrived, Monte Carlo saved Monaco.  Another means of preying upon others
was happily discovered.  The Monégasques abandoned pistols and cutlasses
for little rakes.  The descendants of those who stood on the poops of
ships now sit at the ends of green tables.  The gold still pours in,
however, and no law reaches those who take it.

There is this difference: you no longer empty your pockets to the
Monégasques under compulsion, and the battlements of old Monaco play no
part in your losses.  The proverb dearest to American hearts says that a
sucker is born every minute.  It is incomplete, that proverb.  It should
be rounded out with the axiom that at some minute every person born is a

So I look over to the great white building which is the salvation of the
Monégasques--their symbol of freedom from taxes and military service--and
know that the strength of Monaco is the weakness of the world.  I return
to the Place du Palais.  The Artist is reluctantly strapping up his
tools.  We glance for a brief moment at the best sunset view on the
Riviera.  Ships sail by unmolested.  No more have they fear of the Tête
du Chien and of the huge stone _boulet_ that Fort Antoine used to lance
if a merchantman dared to be deaf to the call of the galley darting forth
from the Port of Hercules.  But we?

The Artist's fingers are nimble with the buckle after a day with the
pencil.  Pipe is filled from pouch with an inimitably deft movement of
one hand.  Reluctant is generally the right word to use when I speak of
the Artist leaving his work.  I am not so sure now.  As I hope, he does
not suggest a west-bound tram at the foot of the Palais or the 6:40
train; he says,

"If we alternate eighteen and thirty-six this evening, putting by half
each time we win--"

"Like that English old maid we saw last week," I interrupted, "who
doubled just once instead of splitting.  I can see the drop of the jaw
now.  Even without the false teeth, it would have been hideous."

"On the red then as long as we last," conceded the Artist, who knew my
horror of complicated figure systems, "and there's the sign."

He pointed to the red fringe that lit up fading Cap Martin.

"If we do not get over soon," I answered, "black will be the latest tip
of nature."  The Riviera towns under the lee of mountains do not have a
lingering twilight.

But when we had finished dinner an _affiche_ announcing _Aïda_ turned us
from the Salles de Jeu to the Salle du Théâtre.  To most people gambling
is a pastime not taken seriously.  Only when it is a passion does one
find in it the exclusive attraction of Monte Carlo.  This is proved by
the excellence of Monte Carlo opera.  No metropolis boasts of a better
orchestra and chorus; and the most famous singers are always eager to
appear at Monte Carlo.



During the heat of the war, shortly after the intervention of the
United States, I wrote a magazine article setting forth for American
readers the claims of France to Alsace-Lorraine and trying to explain
why the French felt as they did about Alsace-Lorraine.  Of course I
spoke of Strasbourg and Mulhouse; but a copy-reader, faithfully making
all spellings conform to the Century Dictionary, changed my MS. reading
to Strassburg and Mulhaüsen.  Can you imagine my horror when I saw
those awful German names staring out at me under my own signature--and
in an article espousing the side of France in the Alsace-Lorraine
controversy?  Perhaps not--unless you understand the feeling of the
actual possessor and the aspirant to possession of border and other
moot territories.  "By their spelling ye shall know them!" is their
cry.  Later, I happened to be in America when that dear good faithful
copy-reader changed my Bizerte to the dictionary's Bizerta in an
article on Tunis, and was able to go to the mat with him.  I explained
that the spelling was an essential part of the political tenor of the

All this I repeated to the wife and critic combined in one delightful
but Ulster-minded person who insisted that in English Menton must be
spelled Mentone.

"You write Marseilles instead of Marseille and put the 's' on Lyon too:
I've seen you do it!" she cried.  "And the French call London Londres!"

"But those cities happen not to be in _terre irredente_," I explained.
"Menton lies too near the Italian frontier for a friend of France to
call it Mentone, whatever the English usage may be.  If we retain
Mentone, why have we abandoned Nizza for Nice, Eza for Éze, Roccabruna
for Roquebrune, Monte Calvo for Mont Chauve, Testa del Can for Tête du
Chien, Villa Franca for Villefranche?"

"Since you have at last arrived at Villefranche, you had better start
your chapter," was her woman's answer.

You may have a confused picture, you may even forget many places you
have visited in your travels, but Villefranche?  Never!  Whether you
have first seen Villefranche as you came around the corner of Montboron
from Nice or across the neck of Cap Ferrat from Beaulieu on the Petite
Corniche, as you came through the Col des Quatre Chemins on the Grande
Corniche, or as you climbed up behind Fort Montalban on the Moyenne
Corniche, the memory is equally indelible.  But each _corniche_ gives a
different impression of the only natural harbor on the Riviera.  The
Petite Corniche, which mounts rather high around Montboron, is the near
view.  You see only the _rade_ with Cap Ferrat as a background.
Approaching in the opposite direction, Montboron is the background.  On
the Moyenne Corniche the _rade_ comes gradually into your field of
vision.  You are way above the sea, but the harbor still forms the
principal part of the water foreground in the picture.  On the Grande
Corniche, where the Riviera coast from Cap d'Antibes to Cap Martin is
before you, and the Mediterranean rises to meet the sky, every
outstanding feature of the picture is a cape or town, fortification or
lighthouse, except at Villefranche.  Here the land is the setting.  The
water of the harbor, changing as you look to green and back to blue
until you are not sure which is the color, is the feature that attracts
and holds you.  Montboron, the littoral and Cap Ferrat are as secondary
as the prongs and ring which hold a precious stone.

The water edge of the harbor has become conventionalized to a large
extent by the artificial stone wall built at the inner end and part-way
along the Montboron slope, to make possible railway and carriage road,
and by the quays and breakwaters.  But enough of the unimproved line
remains to indicate how the harbor must have looked before the masons
got to work.  The rocks of Villefranche are copper with streaks of
brown-gray that change in depth of color as the sunlight changes in
intensity.  Water and rocks are not afraid to compete with flowers and
trees and mountain shades for the Artist's attention.  Villefranche as
a maritime picture wins.  And yet foliage and flora are no mean rivals.
Turning the point of Montboron from Nice has brought you from the
climate where many southland growths are exotic to the beginning of the
tropical portion of the Riviera which extends into Italy, with Menton
and Bordighera as its most typical spots.

Villefranche comes close after Menton--and ahead of Beaulieu and Monte
Carlo and Condamine--in the claim to a perennial touch of the south.
From Montboron to the hills east of Oneglia the mountain wall protects
from the north wind and radiates the sun.  But there is no deep harbor
like that of Villefranche: and no other place has a Cap Martin to form
a windshield from strong sea breezes.

Climate as much as the safe anchorage attracted pirates.  From the
Caliph Omar to the last of the Deys of Algiers, Mohammedan corsairs
swept the Mediterranean.  Because the Maritime Alps deprived the
inhabitants of the Riviera of retreat to or succor from the hinterland,
this coast was the joy of Saracens and Moors, Berbers and Turks.  It is
hard to believe that up to a hundred years ago the Riverains--the
inhabitants of all the Mediterranean littoral, in fact, from Gibraltar
to Messina--were constantly in danger of corsair raids just as our
American pioneer ancestors were of Indian raids.  The lay of the land
and the lack of a powerful suzerain state to defend them made the
Riverains facile prey.  Villefranche afforded the easiest landing.  Try
to climb up from Villefranche over crags and through stone-paved and
rock-lined ravines to the Moyenne Corniche, and then on to the higher
mountain-slopes, and you can imagine how difficult it was to get away
from raiders, and why the Barbary pirates took a full bag of luckless
Riverains on every raid.  You comprehend the raison d'être of the
fortified hill towns, and Éze, perched on her cliff, has a new meaning
as you look down on Villefranche.  This fastness was held by the
Saracens long after the crescent yielded elsewhere to the cross--and
then became a frequent refuge for the descendants of the victors in the
medieval struggle.

From the moment the French entered Algiers at the beginning of the July
Monarchy, they felt that their claim to the gratitude of the Riverains
justified the annexation of a portion of the Riviera.  The treaty that
extended French sovereignty to beyond Menton was signed at
Villefranche, and immediately the little harbor was transformed into a
French naval port.  Until warships became floating fortresses
Villefranche was useful to France.  Now it sees only torpedo-boats and
destroyers, and the lack of direct communication with the interior has
prevented its commercial development.  Better an artificial breakwater
with no Alps behind than a natural harbor with a Cap Ferrat.

Occasionally a huge ocean liner, chartered by an American tourist
agency for an Eastern Mediterranean tour, drops into Villefranche
roadstead.  These chance visits, to give the tourists a day at Nice and
Monte Carlo, demonstrate that Villefranche could be a port of call for
the leviathans, commercial and naval, of the twentieth century.  How
much easier it would be to go to the Riviera directly from London and
New York, instead of having a wearisome train journey added to the
ocean voyage!  But freights pay a large part of passenger rates, and
the routing from great port to great port is as rigid and unalterable
as the fact that a straight line is not the shortest distance between
two points on land.  Trains and ships must pass by way of great centers
of population.

A naval cemetery is the memorial of Villefranche's naval past in the
last brilliant decade of the Second Empire and the early years of the
Third Republic.  A little American corner, which our Paris Memorial Day
Committee never forgets, bears witness to the period when the American
flag was known everywhere in the Mediterranean.  We used to have the
lion's share of the carrying trade, and Villefranche was a frequent
port of call for American warships.  Now we have rarely even single
warships or freighters in the Mediterranean.  The only American
passenger line that serves Mediterranean ports is the old Turkish Hadji
Daoud Line of five small and dirty Levantine ships, which ply along the
coast of Asia Minor and in and out of the Greek islands, camouflaged
under our flag.

The old town of Villefranche is on the western side of the harbor
between the Petite Corniche and the water.  Like all Riviera towns on a
main road it has grown rapidly and medieval streets and buildings have
almost disappeared, giving way to the banal architecture of the end of
the nineteenth century.  The garish brick villas of the head of the
gulf are excrescences in their lovely garden setting.  But after one
has reached the eastern side of the harbor and gone through Font Saint
Jean, the tramway road, with its noise and dust and variegated
bourgeois fantasies, can be abandoned.

[Illustration: Medieval streets and buildings have almost disappeared.]

If we except Cap Martin, no Riviera walks are lovelier than those of
Cap Ferrat.  On the Villefranche side, until you have passed through
Saint Jean, the alternative to the tramway road is an inhospitable
though tantalizing lane.  For large estates, shut off by walls and
hedges, are between you and the harbor.  Unless you are lucky enough to
know one of the owners, you will not see the harbor of Villefranche
from the best of the lower vantage points.  This side of Villefranche
is so sheltered that one resident, an American, has been able to
transform his garden into a bit of old Japan where the cherry trees
blossom in Nippon profusion and colors.

It is best to pass across the cape, not turning in at the tramway
bifurcation, until you reach the Promenade Maurice-Rouvier, which
skirts the Anse des Fourmis along the sea from Beaulieu to Saint Jean.
After you have reached Saint Jean the peninsula is before you.  A maze
of superb roads tempt you, circling the fort several hundred feet above
sea level, crossing the peninsula on the slopes of the fort, and
following the sea.  Returning to Saint Jean, there is still another
walk directly ahead of you to the east.  The Cap du Saint Hospice is
pine-clad, with a sixteenth-century tower at its end.

The Artist and I made a mistake of twelve hours in our visit to Saint
Hospice.  We should have come in the morning for the sunrise.  To
remedy the error we decided to spend the night at the Hôtel du Pare
Saint Jean.  But the sun got up long before we did.

"Our usual luck," said the Artist with a grin that had nothing of
regret in it.



Unless the traveler has some special reason for starting at another
point, he first becomes acquainted with the Riviera at Nice, and
radiates from Nice in his exploration of the coast and hinterland.  The
Artist confessed to me that in student days the Riviera meant Nice to
him, with the inevitable visit to lay a gold piece on the table at
Monte Carlo.  And it was Nice of the Carnival and Mardi-Gras.  I in
turn made a similar avowal.  We knew well the Promenade des Anglais,
the Casino and the Jardin Public opposite, the Place Masséna beyond the
garden, where you take a tram or a _char à banc_ to almost anywhere,
and the Avenue de la Gare.  The Artist had the advantage of me in his
intimate sketching knowledge of the old Italian city back from the Quai
du Midi, while I knew better than he the Avenue de la Gare.  How many
times have I pushed a baby carriage up and down that street while my
wife shopped!

Nice was to us a resort, cosmopolitan like other famous playgrounds of
the world, and where one strictly on pleasure bent had the same kind of
a time he would have at Aix-les-Bains or Deauville, Wiesbaden or
Ostend, Brighton or Atlantic City.  You strolled among crowds, you
bought things you did not want, you could not get away from music, you
danced and went to the theater or opera, and you spent much too much of
your time in hotels and restaurants.  If you went on excursions, you
enjoyed them, of course.  But you always hurried back to Nice in order
not to miss doing something of exactly the same kind that you could
have done any day in the place you came from.

You have to give Nice time, and get out of your rut, before you awaken
to its unique characteristics.  Then, if you detach yourself from the
amusement-seekers, the time-killers, the apathetic, the bored, the
_blasé_ and the conscientious tourists, you begin to realize that the
metropolis of the Riviera (including its suburbs and Monte Carlo) is a
world in itself--an inexhaustible reservoir for exploration and
reflection.  Because it is the only place in Europe where Americans
(North and South) can honestly say that they feel at home, because it
was made for and by everybody and caters to everybody, Nice stands the
test of cosmopolitanism.  Every great capital and every seaport at the
cross-roads of world trade is cosmopolitan, but in a narrower sense
than Nice.  Capitals and seaports have the general character, in the
last analysis the atmosphere, of the country they administer and serve.
None has the _sans patrie_ stamp of Nice.  If Edward Everett Hale had
allowed his hero to go to Nice, the man without a country would not
have felt alone in the world.

I was on the Suez Canal when the Germans heralded the Verdun offensive.
I hurried back to France, and spent a couple of days with my wife at
Nice before going on to the front.  They were, perhaps, the most
critical days of the war, when one watched the _communiqué_ with the
same intensity as one tried to read hope into serious bulletins from a
loved one's bedside.  After leaving Nice, I discovered that the pall of
death did hang over France.  But in Nice there seemed to be no mass
instinct of national danger, no sickening anxiety.  On the Avenue de la
Gare I noticed hundreds pass by the newspaper bulletins without
displaying enough interest to stop and read.

Two years later, at another critical moment when the Germans were once
more closing in on Paris and bombarding the city with the long-distance
cannon, I spoke at the Eldorado.  The meeting, organized by the Préfet
and Maire, drew a large and sympathetic audience.  Among residents and
visitors are to be found thousands of intense patriots.  But when I
left the theater and walked back to my hotel, I realized that Nice in
1918 was like Nice in 1916.  The population as a whole, inhabitants and
guests, had no French national consciousness.  When I delivered the
same message in the municipal casino of Grasse the next day, I knew
that I was again in France.  Frenchmen themselves attribute the lack of
war spirit in Nice to the general indifference and lesser patriotism of
the Midi!  But this is because Nice means the Midi to most of them.
They are unfair to the Midi.  In no way does Nice represent the Midi of
France except that it basks in the same sun.

The common explanation of the failure of France to assimilate Nice is
that only sixty years have passed since the annexation and that a large
portion of the Niçois are Italian in blood and culture and instincts.
There may be some truth in all this.  But two generations is a long
time, and France has proved her ability to make six decades count in
attaching to herself and stamping in her image other border
populations.  Two factors have worked against the assimilation of Nice:
the maintenance of the independence of Monaco, with privileges and no
responsibilities for its inhabitants; and the enormous number of
foreign residents, who have lost their attachment to their own
countries and who do not care to give or are incapable of giving
allegiance to the country in which they live.  Add to these
demoralizing influences, at work throughout the sixty years, the flood
of tourists and temporary residents of all nations; and is it to be
wondered at that the Niçois, native and alien, have so little in common
with France?

When you stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, with its hotels and
palm-surrounded villas, the Mediterranean coast line extending
alluringly from the distant lighthouse of Antibes in the west to the
Château, set in green, in the foreground to the east, you feel that you
are in one of the fairy spots of the earth.  The sea, the city climbing
up the hill to Cimiez, the white-capped mountains beyond, and on the
handsome promenade the best-gowned of Europe, all in the brilliant
sunshine of a soft spring day--what could be more charming?  And then,
suddenly, your unwilling nostrils breathe in a strong whiff of sewage.
Have you been mistaken?  Surely you are dreaming.  The Casino dances on
the water.  A bevy of girls come out of the Hôtel Ruhl to join the
Lenten noon-day throng.  Nothing disagreeable like sewage--but there it
is again!  Whew!  Where can that sewer empty?  Fault of French
engineering, an American would say.

But the sea has brought me that smell on the boardwalk in front of the
Traymore at Atlantic City.  It is difficult to get ahead of nature, and
the undertow does bring back what you thought you were rid of.

Figuratively speaking, the surprise on the Promenade des Anglais meets
you every day in your study of Nice.  The city charms: and it repels.
You have been drinking in its beauty and its fascination.  Suddenly
something sordid, ugly, disgusting, breaks the spell.  On the Promenade
des Anglais sewage greets the eye as well as the nose.  Not vicious
women and poor little dolls alone, but cruel and weak faces, shifty and
vapid faces, self-centered and morose faces, leech faces, pig faces, of
well-tailored men--you watch them pass, you remember what you have seen
at the tables, in near-by Monte Carlo, and the utter depravity of your
race frightens you.  Except clothes and jewels and the ability to get a
check cashed, what is the difference between these people and the
sailors from a hundred ships, making merry with their girls in the
narrow streets back from the Vieux Port of Marseilles?

The law of compensation often comforts and cheers.  But as often it is
remorseless.  Broken health and empty purses, desperation, mute
suffering and madness, we saw at Monte Carlo.  Where the world flocks
for pleasure, agony of soul reveals itself more readily than elsewhere
because of its incongruity.  Nice is full of tragedy, and none takes
the pains to conceal it as at Monte Carlo.  The casual visitor creates
his own atmosphere in Nice, and he goes away with the most pleasant
memory, having found what he sought.  But you cannot stroll day after
day on the Promenade without marking many that do not smile.  You watch
them and you see unhappiness, unrest, despair, and resignation.  It you
become acquainted with the life and gossip of the various colonies, you
will not need a Victor Marguerite to reveal to you the inner life of
the world's "playground."  More frequently than not it is a case of on
with the dance.  What a price people do pay to play!

Just one illustration.  The Russians used to be an important factor in
the social life of Nice.  They had money and they could give an
American points on spending.  Attracted by the sun, many made their
homes in Nice.  They lived like the lilies of the field.  They could
count on a sure thing.  The moujiks of great estates toiled for them,
and from the days of their great-great-grandfathers the revenues had
never ceased.  During the first years of the World War, the Russians
were in high favor at Nice.  They were the powerful allies of France,
brothers-in-arms, who fought for the common cause.  Then came the
Revolution.  Cosmopolitan Nice would have forgiven the defection of
Russia.  But when the revenues from Petrograd and Moscow banks no
longer came in, that was another matter!  Where the pursuit of pleasure
is king, there is no pity for the moneyless courtier, whatever the
cause of his change of fortune.  The Russians sold their jewels and
their fur coats, the rugs and furniture of their villas, and then the
villas themselves.  Perhaps they were "accommodated" a little bit at
first.  But they were soon left to their own resources.

Before the end of the war, the center of the Russian colony was a soup
kitchen on a side street, presided over by princesses and served by
beautiful million-heiresses of the old régime.  Good stuff in those
girls, too, who smiled as gayly as of old and talked to me eagerly
about becoming governesses or stenographers.  And real _noblesse_ in
the old men who climbed up the narrow stairs with their pails, coming
to fetch their one meal of the day.  In one of them I recognized a
former ambassador to France.  The last time I had seen him he was on
horseback between Czar Nicholas and President Loubet crossing the Point
Alexandre III on the opening day of the Paris Exposition of 1900.

Enough of shadows!  None ever went to Nice in search of them, and
comparatively few stay long enough to find them.  They are in the
picture, and there would be no true picture without them.  But they
ought to stay in the background.  They do stay there.  You smell the
sewage rarely.  The all-pervading sunshine is a tonic.  Speculating
about why others came here and what they are doing with their lives may
hold you through the rainy season.  The Carnival puts you in a more
material frame of mind.  Unless Lent is early, the sun begins to warm
the cockles of your heart on Mardi-Gras, and by May it will almost
blind you on the water-front.  One is not in the mood to let the
misfortunes and unhappiness and evil of others cloud his joy.  After
all, of the quarter million pleasure-seekers who come to Nice each
year, the greater part are in as good moral health as yourself, and
very few of them have any more reason than you to be "in the dumps."

Unless one becomes engrossed in the study of cosmopolitan human nature
to the point of being sunshine-proof, one soon tires of the foreign
residential and hotel and shopping quarters of the city.  They lack
"subjects," as the Artist would put it.  But at the eastern end of
Nice, the Old Town, home of Garibaldi and many another Red Shirt, takes
you far from the psychology of cosmopolitanism and the philosophy of
hedonism.  This is the direction of Grande Corniche, of villa-studded
winding and mounting roads, of the best views (if we except Cimiez) of
city and sea.

[Illustration: "The Old Town takes you far from the psychology of
cosmopolitanism and the philosophy of hedonism."]

A mountain stream of varying volume, but always a river before the end
of Lent, separates the _ville des étrangers_ from the _vieille ville_.
The Paillon, as it is called, disappears at the Square Masséna, and
finds its way to sea through an underground channel.  From the center
of the city you cross the Paillon by the Pont Garibaldi or the Pont
Vieux.  Or you can enter the Old Town from the Place Masséna and the
Rue Saint-François de Paule, which leads into the Cours Saleya.  Here
is the most wonderful flower market in the world, with vegetables and
fruit and fowls encroaching upon the Place de la Préfecture.  Behind
the Préfecture you can lose yourself in a labyrinth of narrow streets
that indicate the Italian origin of Nice.  If you bear always to the
right, however, you either make a circle or come out at the foot of the

East of the Jardin Public, the Promenade des Anglais becomes the Quai
du Midi, renamed Quai des Etats-Unis in the short-lived burst of
enthusiasm of 1918.  At least, the aldermen of Nice were more cautious
than those of most French cities, and did not call it Quai du
Président-Wilson _nel dolce tempo de la prima etade_!  Following the
quay and keeping the Old Town on the left, you come to the castle hill,
still called the Château, although the great fortress of the Savoyards
was destroyed by the Duke of Berwick in the siege of 1706.  The hill is
now a park, surmounted by a terrace, and is well worth the climb to
look down upon the city and the Baie des Anges, especially at sunset.
At the end of the Quai du Midi (excuse my diffidence, the Quai des
Etats-Unis) stands the low Tour Bellanda, the only tower remaining of
the old fortifications.  The Château is a promontory, and when you take
the road which skirts it, be sure to hold tight to your hat.  The
Niçois call the windy corner Rauba Capéu (Hat Robber).

Now you are in still another Nice, the Port, protected by a long jetty,
on which is perched a lighthouse.  The Niçois, traditionally seafaring
folk, are proud of their little port, with its clean-cut solid stone
quays.  Steam-born transportation on land and sea, demanding facilities
undreamed of in the good old days and tending to concentration of trade
at Marseilles and Genoa, has prevented the maritime development of
Nice.  But there is local coast traffic and competition with Cannes and
Monte Carlo for yachts.  Fishing and pleasure sailing add to the volume
of tonnage.  And the Niçois do not let you forget that their city is
the port for Corsica.

Beyond the harbor, the Boulevard de l'Impératrice de Russie leads to
Villefranche.  Another name to change!  In the midst of what is most
beautiful we cannot get away from tragedies, from reminders of blasted



Between Menton and Monte Carlo the coast is broken by Cap Martin,
between Monte Carlo and Nice by Cap Ferrat, between Nice and Cannes by
Cap d'Antibes.  The capes are larger and longer as we go west, just as
the distances between more important towns grow longer.  Although it
does not seem so to the tourist, it is much farther from Nice to Cannes
than from Nice to Menton.  The eastern end of the Riviera is so crowded
with things to see, and town follows town in such rapid succession,
that you think you have gone a long way from Nice to the Italian
frontier.  And except for skipping the two larger promontories, railway
and tramway alike follow right along the coast.  From Nice to Cannes,
the tramway is inland from the railway.  So is the automobile road.
You fly along at a rapid rate, with only rare glimpses of the sea, and
pass through few villages until you reach Antibes.

From Nice, from Saint-Paul-du-Var, and from Cagnes you cannot see the
Riviera coast beyond Antibes.  The Cape, with its lighthouse and fort,
is your horizon.  This corresponds with history as well as with
geography: for the Cap d'Antibes was the old Franco-Italian frontier.
It is still in a very real sense a boundary line.  The word Riviera,
which has kept its Italian form, was applied historically to the coast
lands of the Gulf of Genoa.  From Antibes to Genoa we had the Riviera
di Ponente, and from Genoa to Spezia the Riviera di Levante.  Only
after Napoleon III exacted the district of Nice as part payment for
French intervention in the Italian war of liberation was the term
"French Riviera" gradually extended to include the coast far west of

What was added to France under Napoleon III has lost its purely Italian
character.  But it has not gained the stamp of France.  From Antibes to
Menton, the Riviera is more remarkably and undeniably international
than any other bit of the world I have ever seen.  Some of the old
towns back from the coast are becoming French in the new generation.
But along the coast you are not in France until you reach Antibes.  You
may have thought that you were in France at Menton and Beaulieu and
Nice.  But the contrast of Antibes and Grasse, which are French to the
core, makes you realize that sixty years is not sufficient to destroy
the traditions and instincts of centuries.

At Antibes and along the closely built up coast and between Antibes and
Cannes, the international atmosphere is by no means lost.  It requires
the contrast of Cannes with Saint-Raphaël to show the difference
between a cosmopolitan and a genuine French watering place.  But the
French atmosphere begins to impress one at Antibes.  A knowledge of
history is not needed to indicate that here was the old frontier.

Since the days of the Greeks Antibes has been a frontier fortress.
Ruins of fortifications of succeeding centuries show that the town has
always been on the same site, on the coast east of the Cape, looking
towards Nice.  Antipolis was a frontier fortress, built by the Phoceans
of Marseilles to protect them from the aggressive Ligurians of Genoa.
Nice was an outpost, whose name commemorates a Greek victory over the
Ligurians.  At the mouth of the Var, from antiquity to modern times,
races and religions, building against each other political systems for
the control of Mediterranean commerce, have met in the final throes of
conflicts the issue of which had been decided elsewhere--and often long
before the fighting died out here.  Phoenicians and Greeks,
Carthaginians and Romans, Greeks and Romans, Romans and Gauls, Gauls
and Teutonic tribes, Franks and Saracens, Spanish and French and
Italians met at the foot of the Maritime Alps.  There was never a time
in history when governmental systems or political unities did not have
as a goal natural boundaries, and, once having reached the goal, did
not feel that security necessitated going farther.  Invasions thus
provoked counter-invasions.

On sea it has been as on land.  Something is acquired.  Immediately
something more must be taken to safeguard the new acquisition.

All this comes to one with peculiar force at Antibes.  You look at Nice
from your promontory, and your eye follows the coast from promontory to
promontory, and you can picture how the Phoceans, once established at
Antibes, were tempted to extend the protective system of Marseilles.
You have only to turn around and follow the coast beyond the Estérel to
understand how the Ligurians, if they had captured Antibes, would still
have felt unsafe.  And then your eye sweeps the range of the white
Maritime Alps.  Hannibal had to cross them to carry the war into Italy.
So did Napoleon.  And Caesar, to save the Republic from a recurrence of
the menace of the Cimbri and Teutoni, brought his armies into Gaul.
The Saracens were once on this coast.  When they were expelled from it,
the French went to Africa as the Romans before them had gone to Africa
after expelling the Carthaginians from Europe.

Of the medieval fortress, erected against the Saracens, two square
keeps remain.  The strategic importance of Antibes during the heyday of
the Bourbon Empire is attested by the Vauban fortifications.  The high
loopholed walls enclosing the harbor have not been maintained intact,
but the foundation, a pier over five hundred feet long, is still, after
two centuries and a half, the breakwater.  The view towards Nice from
Vauban's Fort Carré or from the larger tower, around which the church
is built, affords the best panorama of the Maritime Alps on the
Riviera.  Nowhere else on the Mediterranean coast, except from Beirut
to Alexandretta or on the Silician plain or in the Gulf of Saloniki, do
you have so provoking a contrast of nearby but unattainable snow with
sizzling heat.  This may not be always true.  The day of the aeroplane,
as a common and matter-of-fact means of locomotion, is coming.

Looking towards the Alps from the Fort Carré, the donjon of
Villeneuve-Loubet and the hill towns of Cagnes and Saint-Paul-du-Var,
where we had passed happy days, seem as near as Nice.  Farther off on
the slope of Mont Férion we could distinguish Tourette and Levens side
by side with their castles, and in the foreground Vence.  To the left
was Tourrettes.  Back from the Valley of the Loup was exploration and
sketching ground for another season.  But just a few kilometers ahead
of us, halfway to Villeneuve-Loubet, Biot tempted us.  We had driven
through this town not mentioned by Baedeker, and had promised ourselves
a second visit to the old church of the Knights Templar.  But life
consists of making choices, and one does not readily turn his back on
the Cap d'Antibes.  In the town you are just at the beginning of the
peninsula whose conical form and unshutinness (is that a word: perhaps
I should have used hyphens?) enables you to walk five miles punctuating
every step with a new exclamation of delight.

Only we did not walk.  Joseph-Marie, who would have been Giuseppe-Maria
at Nice, stopped to look over the Artist's shoulder and incidentally to
suggest that we might have cigarettes.  A veteran of two years at
twenty, his empty left sleeve told why he was _reformé_.  Glad to get
out of the mess so easily, he explained to us laconically; and now he
was eking out his pension by driving a cart for the Vallauris pottery.
The express train "burned" (as he put it) the pottery station, and he
had come to put on _grande vitesse_ parcels at Antibes.  Cannes was a
hopeless place for the potters: baskets of flowers always took
precedence there over dishes and jugs.  The Artist believed that
Joseph-Marie's horse could take us around the cape with less effects
from the heat than we should suffer, and that for ten francs
Joseph-Marie could submit to his boss's wrath or invent a story of
unavoidable delay.  I agreed.  So did Joseph-Marie.  If we proved too
much heavier than pottery, we would take turns walking.  At any rate,
the Artist's kit had found a porter.

We took the Boulevard du Cap to Les Nielles, were lucky in finding the
garden of the Villa Thuret open, and then let our horse climb up the
Boulevard Notre-Dame to the lighthouse on top of La Garoupe, as the
peninsula's hill is called.  Here the Riviera coast can be seen in both
directions.  The view is not as extended as that of Cap Roux, for
Cannes is shut off by the Cap de la Croisette.  But in compensation you
have Nice and the hill towns of the Var, and while lacking the clear
detail of Cap Ferrat and Cap Martin you get the background of the
Maritime Alps which is not visible east of Nice.  And the Iles de
Lérins look so different from their usual aspect as sentinels to Cannes
that it is hard to believe they are the same islands.  Near the
lighthouse and semaphore a paved path, marked with the stations of the
cross, leads to a chapel.

The Villa Thuret is the property of the state, and is used as a
botanical nursery for the Jardin des Plantes at Paris.  In variety,
however, it does not rival the Giardino Hanbury near Menton, and in
beauty it is surpassed by the private garden of Villa Eilenroc, near
the end of the Cap d'Antibes.  These two gardens, the most remarkable
of the Riviera, were made by Englishmen who preferred the sun and
warmth of the Riviera to their native land.  The most wonderful garden
on Cap Ferrat is the creation of an American.  Cannes was "made" by
Lord Brougham.  The other important estate of the Cap d'Antibes,
Château de la Garoupe, is the property of an Englishman.  As at
Arcachon and Biarritz and Pau, as at Aix-les-Bains, Anglo-Saxon
ownership of villas and German ownership of hotels and the prevalence
of Teutons as shopkeepers and waiters prove the passion of men of the
north for lands of the south.

Twenty years ago, just after Fashoda, there was a strong current of
uneasiness among British residents on the Riviera.  The experiences of
civilians caught by Napoleon and kept prisoners for years had passed
into English history and literature.  British consuls were surprised to
find that thousands of their compatriots, of whom they had had no
previous knowledge, were living all the year round on the Riviera.
These people came to make inquiry about what would be done to them if
France did declare war suddenly against Great Britain.  Would they be
given time to leave the country?  Fifteen years later the calamity of a
sudden interruption of a peaceful existence, basking in the sun, did
fall upon foreigners, but statesmen had shuffled the cards around, and
this time the civilians caught in the net were Germans and Austrians.
The Napoleonic principle still held.  Italy could be seen with the
naked eye.  But none were allowed to pass out.  Tourists and residents,
subjects of the Central Powers, were arrested and imprisoned on the
Iles de Lérins, where they remained five years, many of them in sight
of their villas on the coast and the hotels they had built and managed.
They stayed longer than Marshal Bazaine, who managed to escape, but not
as long as the mysterious Man with the Iron Mask.

One of the keepers at the Antibes lighthouse had been an auxiliary
soldier in the fort of Sainte-Marguerite during the early years of the
war.  He told us that some of the trapped tourists were very restive,
but that most of the German civilians who were residents of the Riviera
were far from being discontented with their lot.  Better a prison on
the Ile Sainte-Marguerite than exile from the Riviera!  This was better
taste and wiser philosophy than we expected of Germans.  One could go
far and fare worse than an enforced sojourn on one of the loveliest
islands of the Mediterranean, whose pine forests are reminiscent of
Prinkipo.  From 1914 to 1919 life was much harsher beyond those Alps.

Saint-Honorat, the smaller island half a mile from Sainte-Marguerite,
was a monastic establishment from the fourth century to the French
Revolution.  It passed into ecclesiastical hands again in the Second
Empire and became a Cistercian monastery.  Although the restoration was
accomplished with distressing thoroughness forty years ago, some parts
of the chapel date back to the seventh century, and a huge double
donjon--the dominating feature of the island from the coast--remains
from the twelfth-century fortifications.  A road, on which are ruins of
four medieval chapels, runs round the island.  We were unable to visit
Sainte-Marguerite and on Saint-Honorat pencil and paper had to be kept
out of sight.  But I must not wander to another day.

Joseph-Marie liked our tobacco and the horse did not mind stopping en
route.  It was six o'clock when we reached Juan-les-Pins, only a mile
from Antibes on the other side of the cape.  Two miles farther along
the coast, at Golfe-Juan, where the road turns in to Vallauris, we
climbed down from the cart, brushed much dust from our clothes, and
started home along the coast road to Cannes.  Joseph-Marie waved his
empty sleeve in farewell, happy in our promise to look him up some day
in Vallauris with a pocketful of cigarettes.



Of one-half of Tarascon the prince whom Tartarin met in Algiers
displayed an astonishingly detailed knowledge.  Concerning the rest of
the town he was as astonishingly noncommittal.  When it leaked out that
the prince had been in the Tarascon jail long enough to become familiar
with what could be seen from one window, Tartarin understood his
limitation.  My picture of Cannes is as indelible as the prince's
picture of Tarascon.  For most of my Riviera days were spent in a villa
across the Golfe de la Napoule from Cannes.  Not infrequently our baby
Hope gave us the privilege of seeing Cannes by sunrise.  We ate and
worked on a terrace below our bedroom windows.  Every evening we
watched Cannes disappear or become fairyland in the moonlight.

What we saw from the Villa Étoile was the Golfe de la Napoule from the
Pointe de l'Esquillon to the Cap de la Croisette.  The Corniche de
l'Estérel rounded the Esquillon and came down to sea level at Théoule
through a forest of pines.  It passed our villa.  The curve of the gulf
between us and Cannes was only seven miles.  First came La Napoule,
above whose old tower on the sea rose a hill crowned with the ruins of
a chapel.  A viaduct with narrow arches carried the railway across the
last ravine of the Estérel.  In the plain, between two little rivers,
the Siagne and the Riou, was a grove of umbrella pines.  Here began the
Boulevard Jean Hibert, protected by a sea-wall in concrete, leading
into Cannes.  The town of Cannes, flanked on the left by Mont Chevalier
and on the right by La Croisette, displayed a solid mass of hotels on
the water front.  Red-roofed villas climbed to Le Cannet and La
Californie, elbowing each other in the town and scattering in the
suburbs until the upper villas were almost lost in foliage.  Behind
were the Maritime Alps.  Not far beyond La Croisette, the Cap d'Antibes
jutted out into the sea.  At night the lighthouses of Cannes and
Antibes flashed alternately red and green, and between them Cannes
sparkled.  Inland to the left of Cannes were Mougins on a hill and
Grasse above on the mountain side.  Occasional trails of smoke marked
the main line of the railway along the coast and the branch line from
Cannes to Grasse.  In the sea lay the Iles de Lérins, Sainte-Marguerite
almost touching the point of La Croisette.

[Illustration: "La Napoule, above whose tower on the sea rose a hill
crowned with the ruins of a chapel.  Behind were the Maritime Alps."]

But unlike the Prince, we did have a chance to see Cannes at other
angles.  Cannes was the metropolis to which we went hopefully to hire
cooks, find amusement, and buy food and drink.  Théoule had neither
stores nor cafés, and after the Artist came we were glad to vary the
monotony of suburban life.  It is always that way with city folk.  How
wonderful the quiet, how delightful the seclusion of the "real
country"!  But after a few weeks, while you may hate yourself for
wanting noise and lights, while you may still affect to despise the
herding instinct, you find yourself quite willing to commune with
nature a little less intimately than in the first enthusiastic days of
your escape from the whirl and the turmoil of your accustomed
atmosphere.  Not that Cannes is ever exactly "whirl and turmoil;" but
you could have tea at Rumpelmayer's, you could dance and listen to
music and see shows at the Casino, and you could look in shop windows.
On the terrace of the Villa Étoile we thanked God that we were out in
the country, and we loved our walks on the Corniche road and back into
the Estérel.  But it was a comfort to have Cannes so near!  We were not
dependent upon the twice-a-day _omnibus_ train, which made all the
stops between Marseilles and Nice.  An hour and a half of brisker
walking than one would have cared to indulge in farther east on the
Riviera took us to Cannes, and the _cochers_ were always reasonable
about driving out to Théoule in the evening.

From our villa to La Napoule we were still in the Estérel.  Then we
crossed the mouth of the Siagne by a bridge, and came down to the sea
on the Boulevard Jean Hibert.  Between the mouth of the Siagne and Mont
Chevalier are the original villas of Cannes and the hotels of the
Second Empire.  Here Lord Brougham built the Villa Eleonore Louise in
1834, when Cannes was a fishing village, not better known than any
other hamlet along the coast.  Here are the Château Vallombrosa (now
the Hôtel du Pare), the Villa Larochefoucauld and the Villa Rothschild,
whose unrivaled gardens are shut off by high walls and shrubbery.  They
are well worth a visit: but you must know when and how to get into
them.  As you near Mont Chevalier, the sea wall, no longer needed to
protect the railway (which for a couple of miles had to run right on
the sea to avoid the grounds and villas laid out before it was dreamed
of), recedes for a few hundred feet and leaves a beach.

On Mont Chevalier is the Old Town, grouped around a ruined castle and
an eleventh-century tower.  The parish church is of the thirteenth
century.  The buildings on the quay below, facing the port, are of the
middle of the nineteenth century.  But they look much older.  For they
were built by townspeople, and serve the needs of the small portion of
the population which would be living in Cannes if it were not a
fashionable watering place.  Despite its marvelous growth, Nice has
always maintained a life and industries apart from tourists and
residents of the leisure class.  Cannes, on the other hand, with the
exception of the little Quartier du Suquet, is a watering place.  It
needs Mont Chevalier, as Monte Carlo needs Monaco, to make us realize
that Cannes existed before this spot was taken up and developed by
French and British nobility.  The square tower and the cluster of
buildings around it, the hotels and restaurants of fishermen on the
Quai Saint Pierre, dominate the port.  This bit out of the past, and of
another world in the present, is at the end of the vista as one walks
along the Promenade de la Croisette: and the Boulevard Jean Hibert runs
right into it.  The touch of antiquity would otherwise be lacking, and
the Artist would scarcely have considered it worth his while to take
his kit when we went to Cannes.

The port is formed by a breakwater extending out from the point of Mont
Chevalier, with a jetty opposite.  Except for the fishermen, who are
strong individualists and sell their catch right from their boat, the
harbor's business is in keeping with the city's business.  Its shipping
consists of pleasure craft.  Among the yachts whose home is Cannes one
used to see the _Lysistrata_ of Commodore James Gordon Bennett.  How
many times have I received irate messages and the other kind, too, both
alike for my own good, sent from that vessel!  In the garden of his
beautiful home at Beaulieu, between Villefranche and Monaco, the
Commodore told me of the offer he had received from the Russian
Government for this famous yacht.  Not many months after the
_Lysistrata_ disappeared from its anchorage at Cannes, the man who had
been the reason--and means--of Riviera visits to more journalists than
myself died at Beaulieu.

Only on the side of Mont Chevalier has the harbor a quay.  The inner
side is bordered by the Allées de la Liberté, a huge rectangle with
rows of old trees under which the flower market is held every morning.
At the Old Town end is the Hôtel de Ville and at the east end the
Casino.  Running out seaward from beside the Casino is the Jetée Albert
Edouard.  To its very end the jetty is paved, and when a stiff sea wind
is blowing you can drink in the spray to your heart's content.  Behind
the Casino is a generous beach.  This is one great advantage of Cannes
over Nice, where instead of sand you have gravel and pebbles.  The
Riviera is largely deserted before the bathing season sets in, but one
does miss the sand.  At Cannes kiddies are not deprived of pails and
shovels and grownups can stretch out their blankets and plant their

The Promenade de la Croisette runs along the sea from the Casino to the
Restaurant de la Réserve on La Croisette.  The difference between the
Promenade de la Croisette and the Promenade des Anglais was summed up
by an English friend of mine in five words.  "More go-carts and less
dogs," he said.  "More wives and less _cocottes_," the Artist put it.
Of course there are some children at Nice and some _cocottes_ at
Cannes.  And where fashion reigns the difference between _mondaine_ and
_demi-mondaine_ is unfortunately not always apparent.  Gold frequently
glitters.  But Cannes is less garish than Nice in buildings and in

Doubling the Cap de la Croisette, we are in the Golfe Juan, with the
Cap d'Antibes beyond.  Here Napoleon, fearing his possible reception at
Saint-Raphaël, landed on his return from Elba.  A column marks the
spot.  Bound for the final test of arms at Waterloo, Napoleon little
dreamed that twenty years later his English foes would begin to make a
peaceable conquest of this coast, and that within a hundred years
French and English would be fighting side by side on French soil
against the Germans.  How much did the Englishman's love of the Riviera
have to do with the Entente Cordiale?  What part did the Riviera play
in the Franco-Russian Alliance?  British and Russian sovereigns always
showed as passionate a fondness for this corner of France as their
subjects.  There were even English and Russian churches at Cannes and
Nice.  Men who played a vital part in forming political alliances were
regular visitors to the Riviera.  At the beginning of the Promenade de
la Croisette, only three miles from the Napoleon column, stands Puech's
remarkable statue of Edward VII, who spoke French with a German accent,
but who never concealed his preference for France over the land of his

One charm of Cannes is the feeling one has of not being crowded.  At
Nice and along the eastern Riviera hotels and villas jostle each other.
Around Cannes the gardens are more important than the buildings.
Striking straight inland from the Casino past the railway station, the
broad Boulevard Carnot gradually ascends to Le Cannet.  This is the
only straight road out of Cannes.  All the other roads wind and turn,
bringing you constantly around unexpected corners until you have lost
your sense of direction.  Branches of trees stick out over garden walls
overhung with vines.  Many of the largest hotels can be reached only by
these _chemins_.  You realize that the city has grown haphazard, and
that no methodical city architect was allowed to make boulevards and
streets that would disturb the seclusion of the villa-builders, who
plotted out their grounds with never a thought of those who might later
build higher up.  So roads skirted properties.  The result does not
commend itself to those who are in a hurry.  But it gives suburban
Cannes an aspect unique on the Riviera.  Many of the hotels thus hidden
away are built on private estates, and if you want to get to them you
have to follow all the curves.

The labyrinthine approach adds greatly to the delight of a climb to La
Californie.  If you go by carriage, unless you have a map, you are
tempted to feel that the _cocher_ is taking a roundabout route to
justify the high price he asked you.  But if you go afoot--and without
a map--you may find yourself back at the point of departure before you
know it.  But however extended your wanderings, the beauty of the roads
is ample compensation, and when you reach at last the Square du
Splendide-Panorama, nearly eight hundred feet above the city, you are
rewarded by a view of mountains and sea, from Nice to Cap Roux, which
makes you say once more--as you have so often done in Riviera
explorations--"This is the best!"

After lunch at the observatory we decided to walk on to Vallauris and
look up our friend of Antibes at the pottery.  A _cocher_ without a
fare persuaded us to visit the aqueduct at Clausonne en route to
Vallauris.  He painted the glories of the scenery and of Roman masonry.
"You will never regret listening to me," he urged.  We followed the
wave of his hand, and climbed meekly aboard, although at lunch we had
been carrying on an antiphonal hymn of praise to the pleasure and
benefit of shanks' mare.

We did not regret abandoning our walk.  I managed to get the Artist by
the Chapelle de Saint-Antoine on the Col de Vallauris and to limit him
to a hasty _croquis_ of the Clausonne Aqueduct.  We were out for
pleasure, with no thought of articles.  When you feel that you are
going to have to turn your adventures to a practical use, it does take
away from the sense of relaxation that a writer like anyone else craves
for on his day off.  On the road to Vallauris we were more struck by
the heather than any other form of vegetation.  The mountains and hills
were covered with it, and whatever else we saw, heather was always in
the picture on the hills and mimosa along the roadside.  From the roots
of transplanted Mediterranean heather--and not from briar--are made
what we call briarwood pipes.  When a salesman assures you that the
pipe he offers is "genuine briar," if it really was briar, you would
think it wasn't.  When names have become trademarks, we have to persist
in their misuse.

Vallauris was called the golden valley (_vallis aurea_) because of the
pottery the Romans discovered the natives making from the fine clay of
the banks of the little stream that runs into the Golfe Juan.  For
twenty centuries the inhabitants of Vallauris have found no reason to
change their _métier_.  They are still making dishes and vases and
statuettes, and there is still plenty of clay.  Moreover, modern
methods have not found a substitute either for the potter at his wheel
or for the little ovens of limited capacity when it comes to turning
out work that is flawless and bears the stamp of individuality.  We can
manufacture almost everything en masse and in series except pottery.
Joseph-Marie was not in evidence at Vallauris: but we found the potters
glad to show us their work, seemingly for the pride they had in it.  Of
course you did have a chance to buy: but salesmanship was not obtrusive.

The great industry of Cannes is fresh cut flowers.  The flower market
of a morning in the Allées de la Liberté is richer in variety than that
of Nice.  There is less charm, however, in the sellers.  In Nice you
simply cannot help buying what is offered you.  Pretty faces and soft
pleading voices draw the money from your pocket.  You look from the
flowers to those who offer them: and then you buy the flowers.  At
Cannes, on the other hand, you ask yourself first what in the world you
are going to do with them after you have them.  Perhaps this difference
in your mood is the reason of the enormous industry that has been
developed in Cannes.  You are not asked to buy flowers because a seller
wants you to and is able to lure you with a smile.  You are told that
here is the unique chance to send your friends in Paris and London a
bit of the springtime fragrance of the Riviera.

"Three francs, five francs, ten francs, _monsieur_, and tomorrow
morning in Paris or tomorrow evening in London the postman will deliver
the flowers to your friend."

Pen and ink, cards, gummed labels or tags are put under your nose.  You
are shown the little reed baskets, in rectangular form, that will carry
your gift.  If your Paris or London friend knows Latin, and thinks a
minute, he will realize that Cannes is living up to her name in thus
utilizing her reeds to send out over Europe an Easter greeting,
jonquils, carnations, roses, geraniums with the smell of lemons, orange
blossoms, cassia, jessamine, lilacs, violets and mimosa.



We were about to enter the Casino at Cannes.  The coin had been flipped
to decide which of us should pay, and we were starting up the steps
when a yell and a clatter of horses' hoofs made us look around.  A
victoria was bearing down upon us.  The _cocher_ was waving his whip in
our direction.  We recognized the man who had driven us to Grasse.

"A superb afternoon," he explained, "and Mougins is only twelve
kilometers away.  With Mougins at twelve kilometers, it is incredible
to think that you would be spending an afternoon like this in the
Casino.  I would surely be lacking in my duty--"

"What is Mougins?" I interrupted.

"All that is beautiful," explained the _cocher_ enthusiastically.  "A
city on a hill.  A glorious view."

"That settles it," said the Artist, turning away.  "Every city is on a
hill, and all views are glorious."

"But Mougins is different," insisted the _cocher_, "and the view is
different.  Besides, the wine is unique.  It is sparkling, and can be
taken at five o'clock with little cakes.  There are roads you have not
seen, and pretty girls at work in the rose fields.  We shall drive

There had been much wandering during the past fortnight and we were
ready for a quiet afternoon at the Casino.  But we allowed ourselves to
be persuaded.  The Casino was always there, and we had never heard of
_vin mousseux_ on the Riviera.  Baedeker, as if in duty bound to miss
nothing, records the existence of Mougins, three kilometers east of the
Cannes-Grasse road after you pass the ten-kilometer stone on the way to
Grasse--then gives the next town.  Mougins is not starred, and nothing
around Mougins is starred.  Was not that a reason for going there?

English royalty used to come to Cannes, and every season more middle
class Britishers woke up to the fact that it would be pleasant to write
home to one's friends from Cannes.  Hôtels and villas increased
rapidly.  When English royalty went elsewhere, Russian Grand Dukes and
Balkan princelings saved the day for the snobs.  Consequently, the town
has spread annoyingly into the country.  A row of hotels faces the sea,
and on side streets are less pretentious hotels, invariably advertised
as a minute's walk from the sea.  A mile inland is another quarter of
fashionable hotels for those whom the splashing of the waves makes
nervous.  Then the interminable suburbs of villas and _pensions_

When city people seek a change of climate, they do not always want a
change of environment.  They are intent upon living the same life as at
home, upon following the same round of amusements.  They cannot be
happy without their comforts and conveniences, and this means the
impossibility of getting away from streets and buildings and noises and
crowds.  The class that has monopolized the Riviera has tried to
recreate Paris in the Midi.  If one wants to find the country right on
the sea coast, one must get off the train before reaching Cannes.
Between Cannes and the Italian frontier, one does not have the sea
without the city.  Only by going inland can one find the country
without missing the sight and feel of the sea.  For everywhere the land
rises.  The valleys rise.  Roads keep mounting and curving to avoid
heavy grades, and foothills do not hide the Alps and the Mediterranean.
After escaping from Cannet, the outermost suburb, the road to Mougins
goes through a valley of oranges and roses.  There are stone farmhouses
with thatched roofs and barns that give forth the smell of hay.  There
are cows and chickens.

We were congratulating ourselves upon having given up the casino long
before we reached Mougins.  We forgave the _cocher_ his exaggeration
about the workers in the rose fields.  When one sees in paintings and
in the cinematograph pretty girls engaged in agricultural pursuits, it
is more than even money that they are models and actresses in disguise.
I am enthusiastic in my cult of the country, but I have never carried
it to the point of becoming ecstatic over country maidens.  There must
be, of course, as many good-looking girls in the country as in the
city.  But could a chorus of milkmaids to satisfy New York or Paris be
recruited outside New York or Paris?

When we reached the uncompromising stretch of road that led up to
Mougins, we took mercy upon the horses.  The _cocher_ had not driven
them as slowly as he had promised.  We walked a mile through olive
orchards, and were in the town before we realized it.  Unlike other
hill cities of the Riviera that we had visited, Mougins has no castle
and no walls.  Few traces remain of outside fortifications.  All around
Mougins the land is cultivated.  One does not realize the abruptness of
the hilltop, for the city rises from fields and vineyards and orchards.
Saint-Paul-du-Var and Villeneuve-Loubet remind one of the days when
self-defense was a constant preoccupation.  Mougins long ago forgot
feudal quarrels, foreign invasions and raids of Saracens and Barbary
pirates.  The peasants still live together on a hilltop, going forth in
the morning and coming back in the evening.  But they have taken the
stone of their walls for fences, and of their towers for barns.  They
have brought their tilled land up the hillside to the city.

On the main street, we had the impression that the medieval character
of Mougins was lost by rebuilding.  Ailanthus trees and whitewashed
walls and red-tiled roofs greeted us.  The church and the market-place
were of the Third Republic.  Sleepy cafés displayed enameled tin
advertisements of Paris drinks.  The signs in front of the notions shop
declared the merits of rival Paris newspapers.  But when we were
hunting out a vantage point from which to get the view of Cannes and
the Mediterranean, the Artist saw much to tempt his pencil.  Back from
the main street, old Mougins survived, none the less charming from the
constant contrasts of old and new.

The arch of a city gate, perfectly preserved on one side, lost itself
in a modern building across the street.  A woman, leaning out of a
window, wanted to know what the Artist was doing.  I explained our
interest in the arch.  Had there been a gate in her grandmother's time?
Why, when so much of a former age had disappeared, did this half-arch
remain?  The woman was puzzled.  It was incomprehensible that anyone
should be interested in the arch, which had always been there.  I
thought I would try her on other subjects.

"Did many travelers come to Mougins from America?" I asked.

"Oh, yes.  And you are an American, aren't you?"

Obviously America was a more interesting subject than archaeology.

While the Artist was finishing his sketch she chatted pleasantly with
me.  Yes, she had often talked with American visitors.  She revealed,
however, the French provincial's customary ignorance of our life and
asked the usual questions about our wealth and our skyscrapers.  I am
not altogether sure that I set her right about her fabulous
misconception when the Artist's drawing was completed.

Mougins lives in medieval fashion, if not wholly in medieval houses.
Dependent upon occasional water from the heavens for carrying sewage
down the hillside, Mougins has no use for gutters and drains.  Rubbish
is thrown from windows, and tramped down into last year's layer of
pavement.  Goats enjoy the rich pasturage of old boots and cans and
papers and rags and vegetables that had lived beyond their day.
Although, as we walked through the alleys, we saw no one, heard no one,
the houses were inhabited: for much of the garbage was painfully
recent, and clothes flapped on lines from window to window over our
heads.  The Artist suggested that the townspeople might be taking a
siesta.  But it was late in the afternoon for that.  Then we remembered
that Mougins was an agricultural community, and that the work of the
town was in the fields.  This explained also why we saw no shops and no
evidences of trade.  Olives, flowers, wine, fruit and vegetables are
taken to the markets of Cannes and Grasse, and the people of Mougins
buy what they need where they sell.  Mougins has only bakeries and
cafés.  Bread and alcohol alone are indispensable where people dwell

We circled the city, and came out on the promenade across which we had
entered Mougins.  Every French town has an illustrious son, for whom a
street is named, on whose birthplace a tablet is put, and to whom a
monument is raised.  Our tour had taken us through the Rue du
Commandant Lamy.  We had read the inscription on his home, and were now
before his monument, a bust on a slender pedestal, with the glorious
sweep of La Napoule for a background.  The peasants of Mougins, as they
go out to and return from the labor of vineyard, orchard and field,
pass by the Lamy memorial.  Even when they are of one's own blood, is
there inspiration in the daily reminder of heroes?  How many from
Mougins have followed Lamy's example?  I have often wondered whether
monuments mean anything except to tourists.

As I had recently been writing upon French colonial history, Lamy's
daring and fruitful journeys in Central Africa were fresh in my mind,
and I remembered his tragic death in the Wadai fifteen years ago.  An
old man had just come up the hill, and was dragging weary legs encased
in clay-stained trousers across the promenade.  A conical basket of
lettuce heads was on his back, and he used the handle of his hoe as a

"Did you know Lamy?" I inquired.

"Lamy was a boy in this town when I was a grown man going to my work.
I used to pass him playing on this very spot," he answered.

As we walked along toward the main street, we asked whether there were
others from Mougins who, like Lamy, had played a part in the history of
France abroad.  No, the people of Mougins liked to stay at home.
Fortunately for the prosperity of the country, the young men returned
after their military service, and the attractions and opportunities of
city life rarely took them and held them farther away than Cannes and
Grasse.  The Artist had his eye on the lettuce basket and the hoe, and
I wanted to hear more of life in Mougins.  We asked the old man to
share a bottle with us.

The _cocher_ was waiting in front of a café, and corroborated the
statement on a huge painted sign, that here was to be found the true
_vin mousseux_ of Mougins.  It was evident that we were not the first
tourists to come from Cannes.  The _cocher_ was a friend of the
proprietress, who made us welcome in the way tourists are greeted.
Little cakes and a dusty bottle were produced promptly, and in the
stream of words that greeted us we could gather that this was a
red-letter occasion for us, and that it was possible to have the _vin
mousseux_ of Mougins shipped to Paris by the dozen or the hundred.
This annoyed us and dampened our ardor for the treat.  The Artist and I
share a foolish feeling of wanting to be pioneers.  We like to believe
that our travels take us out of the beaten path, and that we are
constantly discovering delectable places.  After us the tourists--but
not before!

The corkscrew of the proprietress, however, consoled us.  A corkscrew
through whose handle the beaded pressure of gas escapes before the cork
is drawn may be common enough.  But the fact remains that neither of us
had seen one.  We expressed our delight and wonder, and the Artist
naïvely told the proprietress, before he tasted the wine, that he felt
rewarded for the trip to Mougins just for the discovery of the
corkscrew.  After the first sip, I added that now we knew why we had
walked up the long hill.  The proprietress and the _cocher_ beamed.
Our enthusiasm meant money to them.  The old man twisted his mouth

"Tell me, then," he said, "what was your thought of me when you saw me
coming up the hill to the promenade with my burden of lettuce heads?
And when I told you that I had seen Lamy playing as a boy on the spot
where his statue stands?  Sorry for me, were you not?  Lamy had the
good sense, you think, to quit Mougins, and go out to glory.  I and the
rest of Mougins, you think, have stayed here because we do not know any
better.  It is all in the point of view.  One of you is enthusiastic
over a patent corkscrew, and the other over the wine.  You tourists
from the city cannot understand us.  It is because you carry your
limitations with you.  You think you lead a large, broad, varied life.
You do not.  Finding the greatest interest of Mougins in a patent
corkscrew and sparkling wine betrays you."

"_Ces messieurs_ have a passion for the country and for towns away from
the railroad," remonstrated the _cocher_.  "This afternoon I tempted
them from the Casino at Cannes.  They are a thousand times enthusiastic
about Mougins, your homes, your streets, your views, and all they have
seen in the valley coming here.  If they had limitations, would they
have wanted to come?  It is senseless to think that they make the
effort, that they spend the money, just to be pleased with what they
see from their own world or what reminds them of their own world.  I
spend my life with tourists, and they always appreciate, I have never
known them to fail to thank me for having brought them to Mougins."

Our critic--and, indeed, our judge--turned on the _cocher_.

"Tell me," he said sharply, raising his voice witheringly, "would you
risk bringing tourists to Mougins if there were not this café and the
_vin mousseux_?"

The _cocher_ puffed his cigar vigorously.  The Artist, highly
delighted, broke an almost invariable rule to prove that the greatest
interest of Mougins was not the corkscrew.  He opened his sketch-book.
While the old man was fingering the sketches, I ordered another bottle.

Our guest had been the vanguard of the homeward procession.  All
Mougins was now passing before us.

"Now you see," continued our mentor, "what it is to live.  A score of
men who knew Lamy have passed before you.  They did not go to Africa to
hunt negroes and to put our flag on the map at the same time as the
names of unknown towns.  They are here, and will eat a good dinner
tonight.  Lamy is dead.  Now I do not say that we are heroes, and that
our point of view is heroic.  But I do say that we are not to be
pitied.  And I say, moreover, that we do as much for France as Lamy
did.  If we had all gone to Africa, there might be more names on the
map, but there would be less food in the markets of Grasse and Cannes."

"Oh, for the ghost of Gray," commented the Artist "He would be face to
face with the 'unseen flower'--but not blushing!"

"A case of _auream quisquis mediocritatem diligit_," I answered.

We were getting classical as well as philosophical, and it was time to
go.  To whom was the mediocrity?



The ride from Théoule to St. Raphaël, by the Corniche de l'Estérel, gives
a feeling of satiety.  The road along the sea is a succession of curves,
each one leading around a rocky promontory into a bay that causes you to
exclaim, "This is the best!"  For thirty-five kilometers there is
constantly a new adjustment of values, until you find yourself at the
point where comparatives and superlatives are exhausted.  The vehicle of
language has broken down.  Recurrent adjectives become trite.  When the
search for new ones is an effort, you realize that nature has imposed,
through the prodigal display of herself, a limit of capacity to enjoy.
Of copper rocks and azure sea; of mountain streams hurrying through
profusely wooded valleys; of cliffs with changing profiles; of conifers;
of enclosed parks, whose charm of undergrowth run wild and of sunlit
green tree-trunks successfully hides the controlling hand of man to the
uninitiated in forestry; of hedges and pergolas and ramblers and villas
and lighthouses and islets and yachts, we had our fill.

But at La Napoule a Roman milestone announced that we were on the road to
Forum Julii: and the very first thing that attracted us when we reached
St. Raphaël was a bit of aqueduct on the promenade.  It looked singularly
out of place right by the sea, and surrounded by an iron fence quite in
keeping with those of the hotels across the street.  The inscription
(Third Republic, not Roman) told us that this portion of the aqueduct
from the River Siagne to Fréjus was removed from its original emplacement
and set up here under the prefectship of Monsieur X, the subprefectship
of Monsieur Y, and the mayorship of Monsieur Z.  The fishing village that
has rapidly grown into one of the most important "resorts" of the Riviera
claims distinction on historical grounds.  Napoleon landed at St. Raphaël
on his return from Elba.  Gounod composed Romeo and Juliet here.  General
Galliéni was cultivating his vineyard here when the war of 1914 broke
out, and the call to arms sent him from his seclusion to become the
savior of Paris.  But when ruins became fashionable in the last decade of
Queen Victoria, it was necessary for St. Raphaël to have an ancient
monument.  An arch of the aqueduct was imported to the beach with as
little regard for congruous setting as Mr. Croesus-in-Ten-Years shows in
importing an English lawn to his front yard at Long Branch and a gallery
of ancestral portraits to his dining-room on Fifth Avenue.

The Artist looked at the ruins in silence.  He tried to gnaw the ends of
his mustache.  His eyes changed from amusement to contempt, and then to
interest.  I was ready for his question.

"Say, where is this town Fréjus?"

The _cocher_ protested.  He had bargained to take us to St. Raphaël, the
horses were tired, and anyway there was no good hotel, no food, nothing
to do at Fréjus.

"Where is Fréjus?" repeated the Artist.  The _cocher_ pointed his whip
unwillingly westward along the shore.  The Artist turned to me with his
famous nose-and-eyes-and-chin-up expression.

"What do you say, _mon vieux_?"

"Decidedly Fréjus," I answered.

Accustomed to American queerness, the _cocher_ resigned himself to the
reins for another five kilometers.

Since the River Argens began to flow, it has been depositing silt against
the eastern shore of the Gulf of Fréjus, at the point of which stands St
Raphaël.  Consequently the road, sentineled by linden trees, crosses a
rich plain, and is more than a mile from the sea when it reaches the city
of Julius Caesar.  The upper ends of the mole of the ancient port, high
and dry like ships at low tide, join the walls of the canal.  You have to
look closely to distinguish the canal and the depression of the basin
into which it widens near the town.  For where land has encroached upon
sea, vegetable gardens and orchards have been planted.  Inland, the
arches from the aqueduct of the Siagne shed their bricks in wheat fields
and protrude from clumps of hazels.  As it enters the city, the road
turns back on itself and mounts to the market-place.  The sharp outward
bend of the elevation above the narrow stretch of lowland suggest that
there was a time, long before Roman days, when Fréjus, like the towns of
the Corniche de l'Estérel, was built on a promontory.

Fréjus belongs to no definite period.  It is not Roman, medieval, modern.
It is not a watering-place fashionable or unfashionable, a manufacturing
town prosperous or struggling, a port bustling or sleepy, a
fishing-village or a flower-gathering center.  Fréjus suggests no marked
racial characteristics in architecture or inhabitants.  It is neither
distinctly Midi nor distinctly Italian--as those terms are understood by
travelers.  Fréjus is unique among the cities of the Cote d'Azur because
it has no unmistakable _cachet_.  Fréjus suggests Rome, the Middle Ages,
the twentieth century.  Fréjus embraces pleasure-seeking, industries,
fish, flowers, and soldiering.  Mermaids, delightfully reminiscent of the
Lido and Abbazia in garb, dive from the end of the mole into a safe
swimming-pool; children of the proletariat in coarse black _tabliers_,
who have not left sandals and white socks on the beach behind them, fish
for crabs; naval aviators start hydroplanes from an aerodrome beside the
Roman amphitheater; fishermen, of olive Mediterranean complexion, dry
copper-tinted nets on the beach, laying them, despite the scolding of the
Senegalese guards, upon piles of granite and cement blocks with which
laborers are building a new pier.

We had come to the beach for an after-luncheon smoke, and when we were
not looking at the Senegalese and workmen, our eyes wandered from
hydroplanes and machine-gun-armed motor-boats to the mermaids on the
Roman mole.  Not till we ran out of tobacco and the mole ran out of
mermaids did we realize that Fréjus was still unexplored and unsketched.
We gave ourselves a six o'clock rendezvous on the beach.  The Artist
started to seek Roman ruins, while I turned towards the market-place,
cathedral bound.  Sea-level villas came first, and then a quarter of
sixteenth-century houses, many of which showed on the ground floor
medieval foundations.  In two places I got back to the Romans.  A cross
section of thin flat bricks with generous interstices of cement in the
front wall of a greengrocer's opposite, indicated the line of the Roman
fortification.  Walking around the next parallel street, I managed to get
into a garden where a long piece of the wall remained.

I came out to the St. Raphaël carriage road at a corner where arose a
huge square tower of the Norman period.  Almost to its crumbling top,
houses had been built against it on two sides.  The angle formed by the
alley through which I came and the main street had fortunately kept the
other two sides clear.  The tower was the home of a wine and coal
merchant, who had laid in a supply of cut wood on his roof to the height
of several feet above the irregular parapet.  Outside one of the narrow
vertical slits, which in ages past had served as vantage point for a
vizored knight fitting arrow to bow, hung a parrot cage.  "Coco" was
chattering Marseilles sailor French.

A single gargoyle remained.  It was a panther, elongated like a
dachshund.  He was desecrated and humiliated by having tied around his
middle the end of the clothesline that stretched across the alley.  This
proved, however, that he still held firmly his place.  The panther,
ignoring change of fortune, looked down as of yore, snarling, and with
whiskers stiffened to indicate that if he had been given hind legs, they
would be ready for a spring.  So worn was the gargoyle that ears and chin
and part of forehead had disappeared.  But you can see the snarl just as
you can see the Sphinx's smile.  When a thing is well done, it is done
for all time.  If a poor workman had fashioned that gargoyle, there would
have been no panther and no snarl when it was put up there.  But a master
worked the stone, and what he wrought is ineradicable.  It will disappear
only with the stone itself.  When we speak of ruins, we mean that a part
of the material used in expressing a conception has not resisted climate
and age and earthquake and vandalism.  Armless, Venus de Milo is still
the perfect woman.  Headless, Nike of Samothrace is still symbolic of the
glory of prevailing.

In the morning, before reaching St. Raphaël, we passed an African soldier
limping along the dusty road.  He was dispirited even to the crumpled
look of his red fez, and the sun, shining mercilessly, glinted from his
rifle-barrel to the beads of perspiration on the back of his neck.  We
were going fast, and had just time to wave gayly to cheer him up.  He did
not return our salute.  This struck us as strange.  Fearing that he might
be ill, we made the _cocher_ turn round, and went back to pick him up.
He declared that a sprained ankle made it impossible for him to keep up
with his regiment, which had been marching since early morning.  He was
grateful for the lift, and beamed when we assured him that we could take
him as far as St. Raphaël.  At that time we were not thinking of going to
Fréjus, the garrison town of the African troops.  When we overtook the
regiment and reached his company, we tried to intercede with the French
sergeant.  The sergeant was adamant and positive.

"A thousand thanks, but the man is shamming.  He is lazy.  He must get

We had to give up our soldier.  The sergeant knew his men, and justice is
the basic doctrine which guides the discipline of the French colonial
army.  The regiment of Algerians must have stopped for lunch or
maneuvers.  For they were just coming through the Place du Marché when I
reached there.  Only the colonel was on horse.  At the turn of the road,
the captains stood out of rank to watch their companies wheel.  Our
soldier of the morning passed.  He had forgotten his limp.  The sergeant
recognized me, and pointed to the soldier.  His left upper eyelid came
down with a wink, as if to say, "Don't I know them!"

There is a spirit of _camaraderie_ between officers and men in Fréjus
that one never sees in native regiments of the British army.  The French
have none of our Anglo-Saxon feeling of caste and race prejudice, which
makes discipline depend upon aloofness.  French officers can be severe
without being stern: and they know the difference between poise and pose.
We Anglo-Saxons need to revise radically our judgment of the French in
regard to certain traits that are the _sine qua non_ of military
efficiency.  Energy, resourcefulness, coolness, persistence, endurance,
pluck--where have these pet virtues of ours been more strikingly tested,
where have they been more abundantly found, than in the French army?

The sign of the French colonial army is an anchor, and Fréjus is full of
officers who wear it.  They are mostly men of the Midi, Roman Gauls every
inch of them.  The Lamys, the Galliénis, the Joffres, the Fochs, the
Lyauteys were born with a genius for leadership in war.  Their aptitude
for African conquest and their joy in African colonization are the
heritage of their native land.  The fortunes of southern France and
northern Africa were inseparable through the ten centuries of the spread
of civilization and the Latin and Teutonic invasions in the Western
Mediterranean.  The connection was unbroken from the time that Hannibal
marched his African troops through Fréjus to Italy until the Omayyads
conquered Tunis, Algeria and Morocco.  It is the most natural thing in
the world to see African troops in Fréjus.  They belong here now, because
since men began to sail in ships, they have always been at home here as
friends or enemies.  Mediterranean Africa and Mediterranean France
received simultaneously political, social and religious institutions, and
from the same source.  As the Crescent wanes, Gaul is coming back into
her own.

Fréjus shopkeepers suffer from the proximity of the upstart St. Raphaël.
Fréjus keeps the bishop, but St. Raphaël has taken the trade.  There is
now only one business street.  It runs from the Place du Marché through
the center of the city to the Place du Dôme.  You can get from one
_place_ to the other in about five minutes.  Few people were on this
street in mid-afternoon.  None were going into the shops.  I chose the
department store, and asked the only saleswoman in sight for a collar.
She brought down two styles, both of which were bucolic.  Matched with a
beflowered tie, either would have gone perfectly around the neck of a
Polish immigrant in New York on his wedding day.  I suggested that I be
shown some other styles.  The saleswoman gazed at me stonily.

"A bus leaves the corner below here for St. Raphaël every hour.  You are
there in twenty minutes.  Or you can go by train in six minutes."

Up went the boxes to their shelf.  There was nothing for me to do but get

One says Place du Dôme or Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, depending upon
whether sympathies are ultramontane or anti-clerical.  For cathedral and
city hall touch each other at right angles.  LIBERTÉ-ÉGALITÉ-FRATERNITÉ
is the legend in large letters on the cathedral wall: the one notice
posted on the Hôtel de Ville is a warning of the last day to pay taxes.
Two beggars stand guard at the cathedral portal: Senegalese with fixed
bayonets flank the archway leading to the municipal courtyard.  The Hôtel
de Ville is a modern building, typical of French official taste of the
present day: the cathedral is an edifice of several epochs, with a brick
facade reminiscent of Bologna.  The episcopal palace, adjacent to the
cathedral, is part of the same structure.  But it is used for government
offices, and the entrance to its upper floor is by a staircase from the
vestibule of the cathedral.  The _Service de Santé Municipale_ occupies
the rooms along the portico that faces the cloister.  The cure of souls
has been banished to a private house across the street.

The cathedral quarter is wholly Louis XVI and First Empire.  If I had
begun my ramble there, I should have found much to admire.  But I had
been spoiled by the Louis XIII quarter nearer the sea.  Travel
impressions are largely dependent upon itinerary.  I am often able to
surprise a compatriot whose knowledge of Europe is limited to one
"bang-up trip, and there wasn't much we missed, y'know," by being able to
tell him the order in which he visited places.  It is an easy thing to
do.  You simply have to notice how the tourist compares cities and other
"sights."  He is blissfully ignorant of the fact that his positive
judgments, his unhesitating preferences are accidental.  They do not
express at all his real tastes and his real appreciation of values.
However cultivated and intelligent an observer he may be, unless he has
carefully weighed and made proper allowance for the influence of
itinerary, his judgments and preferences are not to be taken seriously.
For years I honestly believed that the Rue de la Porte Rosette was one of
the finest streets in the world.  I told my friends of it.  But when
Alexandria was revisited, the Rue de la Porte Rosette was a shabby
thoroughfare.  After a year in the interior of Asia Minor, the Rue de la
Porte Rosette was the first street through which I drove in coming back
to European civilization.  The next time I saw it I was fresh from years
of constant residence in Paris.  In my memory, Sofia is a gem of an
up-to-date city, while Bucharest is a poor imitation of the occidental
municipality.  The chances are more than even that my comparative
estimate of the two Balkan capitals is wholly wrong.  For each time I
have visited Sofia, it was in coming from Turkey, while stops at
Bucharest have followed immediately after Buda-Pest and Odessa.

I wandered through the cathedral quarter with less enthusiasm than was
its due, and soon decided to rejoin the Artist.  He was not in the
neighborhood of any of the Roman ruins.  He was not sitting behind an
_apéritif_ on a café terrace.  He was not watching soldiers play football
in the courtyard of the barracks.  He was not sketching the Norman tower.
He was not exploring alleys of the medieval quarter.  He was not looking
at hydroplanes over the fence of the aerodrome.  My quest had led me
unconsciously back to the beach.  There was still an hour before our
rendezvous.  But where we had stretched in the sand after lunch was a
delightful spot, and I had remembered to have my pouch filled at a tabac.
I was not going to feel bored waiting for him.  Where the laborers were
working on the pier, the black soldier guards called out to me to beware
of danger.  Not being skilled in dodging construction machinery I gave it
a wide berth.  The place of our siesta had to be reached by going through
ruins and climbing over a dune.  The Artist was there.

"You know," he explained, ignoring with the sweep of his hand the Roman
mole where a new bevy of mermaids had appeared, "the progress of aviation
has fascinated me ever since that July day at Rheims when Wright went up
and stayed up.  Just look what those fellows are doing!"

Hydroplanes were appearing from the aerodrome.  When they struck the
water there was a hiss, which grew in volume and acuity as they skimmed
the waves.  After a few hundred yards, the machines rose as easily as
from land, circled up to the clouds and into them.  Coming down, the
aviators practiced dipping and swerving by following and avoiding the
purposely irregular course of motor-boats.  An officer, who spoke to us
to find out, I suppose, who we were and why we were there, remarked that
the aviators were beginners.  We were astonished.  If this was learning
to fly, what was flying?

"Our boys need little teaching to learn to fly," he explained.  "That
comes naturally.  What they are learning is how to use their machines for
fighting.  Science and training and practice come in there.  A world-old
game is before you.  It is only the medium that is new."

Words of wisdom.  A bit of aqueduct led us to Fréjus in the hope of
tasting the charm of a more ancient past than we had found in other
Riviera cities.  We were not disappointed.  The charm was there.  But we
would not have found it, had we tried to dissociate it from the present,
had we ignored or deplored its setting.  Nothing that lives assimilates
what is foreign to its nature: nothing that lives survives dissection.
We took Fréjus as Fréjus was, and not as we wanted it to be or thought it
must be.  We took the aerodrome with the hippodrome, the coal merchant
with the Norman tower, the parrot with the gargoyle, the Hôtel de Ville
with the cathedral, and the mermaids with the mole.



On the terrace of our little home at Théoule, a lover of the Riviera
read what I had written about Fréjus.

"If you have any idea of making a book out of your Riviera articles,"
she said positively, "do not think you can dismiss the Estérel and
Saint-Raphaël in so cavalier a fashion.  That may be all right for
Lester Hornby and you and serve as a good introduction to a story on
Fréjus, but in your project of a book on Riviera towns--"

There is no need to say more.  I looked over to the hills of the
Estérel and felt sorry I had neglected them.  I thought of past
experiences, and agreed that there was something more to write about
the French end of the Riviera.  And then we put our heads together over
a time table, planned to go to Agay by train, and walk on the rest of
the way to Saint-Raphaël.  If the weather was good, we should climb
Mont Vinaigre, and see the Estérel from its highest point.

"I don't care whether it affords good subjects for Lester or not,"
declared my boss.  "I've done the trip, and I know it will be fun--and
remember what Horatio was told!"

Humankind and human habitation had occupied the Artist and myself on
almost every day afield from, Théoule.  Of course we had taken in the
scenery, sketched it and spoken about it, but only as a background or
accompaniment.  From Cannes to Menton it is the human side of the
Riviera that gets you.  Nature is a sort of musical accompaniment to
the song of human activity.  Between Cannes and the Italian frontier,
where the railway does not skirt the coast, you have the tramway.  It
is with you always, night and day, and makes itself heard at every
curve.  (The road is all curves!)  As a result of the tramway, or
perhaps as its cause, the Cannes-Menton stretch of the Riviera is
solidly built up.  Where the towns do not run into each other, an
unbroken line of villas links them up.  It is all the city--you cannot
get away from that.

The road we follow to Fréjus was opened in 1903, a gift to the nation
from the initiative and enterprise of the Touring-Club de France.  The
building of a tram line was fortunately forbidden.  But with the
railway and rapidly-developing use of the automobile, the little
villages of the Estérel coast are being rapidly built up.  Around the
cape from Théoule, Le Trayas will soon rival Saint-Raphaël as a center
for Estérel excursions.  Then we have Anthéor, Agay, and Boulouris
before reaching the long and charming villa-covered approach to

But we do not need to worry yet about what is going to happen.  The
blessed fact remains that the Estérel, between Théoule and
Saint-Raphaël, is not yet closely populated like the rest of the
Riviera.  The tramway has not come.  The railway frequently goes out of
sight, if not out of hearing, for a mile or two.  You have nature all
by herself, with no houses, no human beings, no human inventions.  The
interior of the Estérel is as refreshingly different from the
hinterland of the rest of the Riviera as most of the coast.  There are
no cities and towns back on the hills, no railways and tramways, no
fine motor roads to make the pedestrian's progress a disagreeable and
almost continuous passage through clouds of dust.  The Estérel is hills
and valleys, streams and forests and birds.  You do not even have poles
and wires to remind you of the world you have left for the moment.

The only way one comes to know this country is to have a villa on its
fringe, as we did, and get lost in it every time you try to explore it.
But such good fortune does not fall to everyone--nor the time--so it is
comforting to point out that much of interest in the Estérel can be
visited by motorists from the Corniche.  Between La Napoule and Agay,
the Touring-Club de France has put sign-posts at every little path
leading from the Corniche back into the interior.  Some paths, also,
where the road mounts on Cap Roux, lead down to grottoes on the water's
edge or out to cliffs.  Each sign gives the attraction and the
distance.  In our walks from Théoule we explored most of these, but
discovered that one must not have an objective for lunch.  For there is
no connection between the number of kilometers and the time you must
take.  A map and compass are wise precautions.  Some paths are scarcely
marked at all, and when you have to slide down the side of a volcanic
hill into a ravine and try to guess where you are supposed to go next,
a woodsman's instinct is needed.  The excursions are surer because more
frequented, but none the less charming, after you have rounded the cape
and crossed the little River Agay.

Agay, the Agathon of Ptolemy, boasts of the only harbor on the Estérel.
On one side is the Pointe d'Anthéor and on the other Cap Dramont.
Right behind the harbor rises the Rastel d'Agay, a jagged mass of
copper rock a thousand feet high, climbing which is an excellent
preparation for and indication of what one may expect in Estérel
exploration.  The way is not made easy for you as it is in the eastern
end of the Riviera.  But unless you strike an exceptionally warm day
you have the will for pushing on afoot that is completely lacking at
Monte Carlo and Menton.

The most ambitious and most interesting excursion into the Estérel that
can be made in a day's walk is to go to Saint-Raphaël from Agay by way
of Mont Vinaigre.  You must make an early start and be ready to put in
from five to six hours if you want to eat your lunch on the highest
peak of the Estérel.  It took us from seven o'clock to noon, and we
kept going steadily.  Crossing the railway, we struck out to the right
of the Agay through forests of pine and cork to Le Gratadis, then along
the Ravin du Pertus, pushing through the underbrush in blossom and
skirting the many walls of rock that served to indicate where the path
was not.  It would have been easier to have made the round trip from
Saint-Raphaël.  But we should not have the full realization of the wild
beauty of the Estérel nor that joyful feeling of reaching _astra per
aspera_.  The way down to Saint-Raphaël, after descending to Le Malpey,
less than an hour from the summit, is by a carriage road.

We wished we could have seen the stars from Mont Vinaigre.  There was a
belvedere, and if we had only brought our blankets!  But however warm
the day, the nights are cool, especially two thousand feet up.  Only
those who have slept out at night in Mediterranean countries know how
cold it can get.  The top of Mont Vinaigre, almost in the center of the
Estérel, affords a view of the ensemble of volcanic hills crowded
together by themselves that makes you realize why it is so easy to get
lost in the valleys between them.  The forests are thick and the
ravines go every which way.  Inland the Estérel is separated from the
foothills of the Maritime Alps by the valleys of the Riou Blanc and
Siagne through which runs the main road to Grasse, with a branch down
the Siagne to Mandelieu.  On the northern slope of the mountain is the
road from Fréjus to Cannes, which leaves the Estérel at Mandelieu.  It
is one of the oldest roads in France.  Several Roman milestones have
recently been unearthed here.  In these hills the Romans found coal and
copper, and from the quarries along the coast at Boulouris and on Cap
Dramont the quarries of blue porphyry are still worked.

In mining possibilities the whole region is as rich as it was twenty
centuries ago; but, as in many other parts of France, little has been
done to take advantage of them.  Some years ago an American friend of
mine, motoring with his wife from Fréjus to Cannes, discovered coal
fields, formed a company, and is now drawing a revenue from hills whose
former owners knew them only as preserves for shooting wild boar and
other wild game.  Within her own boundaries France has coal enough for
all her needs if only she would mine it.  But the French love to put
their money into safe bonds of their own and foreign governments.  The
woolen stocking does not give up its hoarded coins for such enterprises
as mines and domestic industries.  Daughter's _dot_ must be in a form
acceptable to the prospective bridegroom's family.  And then the French
do not breed the new generation sufficiently large to furnish laborers
for developing the natural resources of the country.  They are hostile
to immigration.  When the war came Asia and Africa were called upon to
man munition plants.

After the lesson of the war the French have tried to make their own
country give up more of its wealth.  However, though they are now more
skeptical than ever of investing abroad, they still pursue an
aggressive foreign policy to open up and protect fields of capital far
from home.  On the edge of the Estérel, a dozen miles away, at Fréjus,
Saint-Raphaël and Cannes, the people have lost much money in Russian
and Turkish bonds, Brazilian railways and coffee plantations.  Their
sons go to Algeria and Morocco to seek a fortune.  Is this why only the
coming of tourists and residents from a less hospitable clime has
wrought any change in the country during the nineteenth century?  From
the standpoint of natural production the Riviera is relatively less
important, less self-supporting than before the railway came.

By the forester's house of Le Malpey, after an hour's descent, we
strike the carriage road.  An hour and a half brings us to Valescure,
an English colony built in pine woods.  Another half hour and we are at

The next morning we discovered that Saint-Raphaël had its Old Town,
which escaped us on our trip to Fréjus.  Only the new name of the main
street--Rue Gambetta--indicated that we were in France of the Third
Republic.  But, as in Grasse, we felt that we were really in France of
all the centuries.  There was none of that unmistakably Italian
atmosphere that still makes itself felt in Nice, once you wander into
quarters east of the Place Masséna.  The thick walls of the old
church--far too massive for its size--bear witness to the period when
Mediterranean coast town church was sanctuary more than in name.  To
the church the people fled when the Saracen pirates came, and while the
priests prayed they acted on the adage that God helps those who help
themselves, pouring molten lead from the roof and shooting arbalests
through _meurtrières_ that can still be distinguished despite bricks
and plaster.  This is the Saint-Raphaël that Napoleon knew when he
returned from Egypt and, fifteen years later, sailed for his first
exile at Elba.

But we found much that was attractive in the new Saint-Raphaël, which
is as French as the old.  The English keep themselves mostly at
Valescure.  Tourists come on _chars-à-bancs_ for lunch, and hurry back
to Nice.  Saint-Raphaël has developed as a French watering place.  It
does not have the protection of the high wall of the Maritime Alps.
When the mistral, bane of the Midi, is not blowing, however, you wonder
whether the native-born have not picked out for a seashore resort a
more delightful bit of the Riviera coast than foreigners.  A Frenchman
once told me that Saint-Raphaël was the logical Riviera town for the
French simply because the night train from Paris landed a traveler
there in time for noon lunch.

"This fact alone," he declared to me, "would induce me to choose
Saint-Raphaël in preference to Cannes and Nice.  You know that when
twelve o'clock has struck the day is ruined for a Frenchman if he is
not reasonably sure of being able to sit down pretty soon to a good hot
meal.  The P.-L.-M. put Cannes and Nice just a little bit beyond our

As you emerge from the Old Town, at the harbor, you pass by a large
modern church in Byzantine style, whose portal shows to excellent
advantage six porphyry columns from the nearby Boulouris quarries.
Along the sea is the Boulevard Felix-Martin, which runs into the
Corniche de l'Estérel.  For several miles you feel that there is
nothing to detract from the spell of the sea.  Elsewhere on the Riviera
you have promenades embellished by great buildings and monuments and
forts and exotic trees.  You have coves and capes and villa-clad hills
with the Alpine background.  You climb cliffs and see the Mediterranean
at bends, through trees and across luxurious gardens.  Panorama after
panorama with distractions galore react on you like a picture gallery.
But at Saint-Raphaël the sea dominates.  The Mediterranean alone holds

This is why you cannot endorse the bald statement flung at you by the
famous sundial of the Rue de France at Nice:

  "Io vado e vengo ogni giorno,
  Ma tu andrai senza ritorno."

It may be true enough of Nice that you will not go back.  One has the
confusion of human activities everywhere and tires of it everywhere.
But just the sea alone is always new.  Of course in the end the
immortal sun has the better of you.  But as long as life does last the
effort will be made to get back to the Boulevard Felix-Martin at
Saint-Raphaël.  For there, better than anywhere else on the Riviera,
one can look at the sea.



From Cannes to Menton the Riviera is cursed with electric tram lines.
We were led beyond Cannes to the Corniche de l'Estérel by the absence
of a tram line.  We could not get away from the railway, however,
without abandoning the coast.  Is there any place desirable for living
purposes in which the railway does not obtrude?  When choosing a
country residence, men with families, unless they have several motors
and several chauffeurs, must stick close to the railway.  Monsieur
l'Adjoint was showing us the salon of his villa when a whistle
announced the Vintimille express.  He hastened to anticipate the train
by reassuring us that there was a deep cut back of the villa and that
the road-bed veered away from us just at the corner of the garden.  It
was in the neighboring villa that trains were really heard.  We were to
believe him--at that moment chandeliers and windows and two vases of
dried grasses on the mantelpiece danced a passing greeting to the
train.  Monsieur l'Adjoint thought that he had failed to carry the day.
But we live on a Paris boulevard, and know that noises are comparative.
Vintimille expresses were not going to pass all the time.

We were glad that the railway had not deterred us.  It was good to be
right above the water.  Some people do not like the glare of sun
reflected from the sea.  But they are late risers.  Parents of small
children are accustomed to waking with the sun.  On the first morning
in the Villa Étoile the baby chuckled early.  Sun spots were dancing on
the ceiling, and she was watching them.  The breakfast on the terrace
was no hurried swallowing of a cup of coffee with eyes fixed upon a
newspaper propped against a sugar bowl.  The agreement of the day
before had been tripartite.  The proprietor was easily satisfied with
bank notes.  But the wife had not consented to leave the freedom of the
hotel until it had been solemnly agreed that newspapers were to be
refused entrance into the Villa Étoile, and that watches were not to be
drawn out (even furtively) from waistcoat pockets.

Unless agreements are fortified by favorable circumstances and
constantly recurring interest, they are seldom lived up to.  When
promises are difficult to keep, where are the men of their word?  Doing
what one does not want to do is a sad business.  That is why Puritanism
is associated with gloom.  On the terrace of the Villa Étoile no man
could want to look at a newspaper or a watch.  Across the Gulf of La
Napoule lies Cannes.  Beyond Cannes is the Cap d'Antibes.  Mountains,
covered with snow and coming down to the sea in successive chains, form
the eastern horizon.  Inland, Grasse is nestled close under them.
Seaward, the Iles de Lérins seem to float upon the water.  For on
Sainte-Marguerite the line of demarcation between Mediterranean blue
and forest green is sharp, and Saint-Honorat, dominated by the soft
gray of the castle and abbey, is like a reflected cloud.  Between
Théoule and Cannes the railway crosses the viaduct of the Siagne.
Through the arches one can see the golf course on which an English
statesman thought out the later phases of British Imperialism.  To the
west, the Gulf of La Napoule ends in the pine-covered promontory of the
Esquillon.  Except for a very small beach in front of the Théoule
hotel, the coast is rocky.  From February to May our terrace outlook
competed successfully with duties elsewhere.

Young and old in Théoule have to make a daily effort to enjoy
educational and religious privileges.  We wondered at first why the
school and church were placed on the promontory, a good mile and a half
from the town.  But later we came to realize that this was a salutary
measure.  The climate is insidious.  A daily antidote against laziness
is needed.  I was glad that I volunteered to take the children to
school at eight and two, and go after them at eleven and four, and that
they held me to it.  In order to reach a passable route on the steep
wall of rock and pine, the road built by the Touring-Club de France
makes a bend of two kilometers in the valley behind Théoule.  By taking
a footpath from the hotel, the pedestrian eliminates the bend in five
minutes.  In spite of curves, the road is continuously steep and keeps
a heavy grade until it reaches the Pointe de l'Esquillon.

I never tired of the four times a day.  Between the Villa Étoile and
the town was the castle, built on the water's edge.  After Louis XIV it
became a soap factory, and was restored to its ancient dignity only
recently.  I ought not to say "dignity," for the restorer was a baron
of industry, and his improvements are distressing.  The entrance to the
park created on the inner side of the road opposite the château is the
result of landscape dentistry.  The creator did not find that the
natural rock lent itself to his fancies, and filled in the hollows with
stones of volcanic origin.  On the side of the hill, fountains and
pools and a truly massive flight of steps have been made.  Scrawny firs
are trying to grow where they ought not to.  Quasi-natural urns
overflow with captive flowers, geraniums and nasturtiums predominating.
Ferns hang as gracefully as shirtings displayed in a department store
window.  Stone lions defy, and terra cotta stags run away from,
porcelain dogs.  There are bowers and benches of imitation petrified

American money may be responsible for the château garden, but the
villas of Théoule are all French.  Modern French artistic genius runs
to painting and clothes.  There is none left for building or
house-furnishing.  French taste, as expressed in homes, inside and
outside, is as bad as Prussian.  We may admire mildly the monotonous
symmetry of post-Haussmann Paris.  When we get to the suburbs and to
the provincial towns and to summer and winter resorts, we have to
confess that architecture is a lost art in France.  In America,
especially in our cities, we have regrettable traces of
mid-Victorianism, and we have to contend with Irish politicians and
German contractors.  In the suburbs, and in the country, however, where
Americans build their own homes, we have become accustomed to ideas of
beauty that make the results of the last sixty years of European growth
painful to us.  Our taste in line, color, decoration, and interior
furnishing is at hopeless variance with that of twentieth-century
Europe.  We admire and we buy in Europe that which our European
ancestors created.  Our admiration--and our buying--is confined
strictly to Europe of the past.  Present-day Europe displays German
_Schmuck_ from one end to the other, and France is no exception.

On the walk to school you soon get beyond the château and the villas.
But even on the promontory there is more than the dodging of
automobiles to remind one that this is the twentieth century.  The
Corniche de l'Estérel has been singled out by the moving-picture men
for playing out-of-door scenarios.  When the sun is shining, a day
rarely passes without film-making.  The man with a camera has the
rising road and bends around which the action can enter into the scene,
the forest up and the forest down, the Mediterranean and mountain and
island and Cannes backgrounds.  Automobile hold-ups with pistols
barking, the man and the maid in the woods and on the terrace, the
villain assaulting and the hero rescuing the defenseless woman, the
heroine jumping from a rock into the sea, and clinging to an upturned
boat--these are commonplace events on the Corniche de l'Estérel.

The world of cinemas and motors does not rise early.  On the morning
walk, children and squirrels and birds were all one met.  Children go
slowly, and squirrels and birds belong to nature.  There was always
time to breathe in the forest and the sea and to look across to the
mountains.  When _cartables_ and _goûters_ were handed over at the
school gate, parental responsibility ceased for three hours.  One had
the choice of going on around the point towards Trayas or down to the

The people of Théoule say that Corsica, sixty miles away, can be seen
from the Esquillon.  All one has to do is to keep going day after day
until "atmospheric conditions are favorable."  The Touring-Club de
France has built a Belvedere at the extremity of the Esquillon.  Arrows
on a dial indicate the direction of important places from Leghorn to
Marseilles.  The Apennines behind Florence, as well as Corsica, are
marked as within the range of visibility.  The Apennines had not been
seen for years, but Corsica was liable to appear at any time.  The
first day the Artist went with me to the Esquillon, an Oldest
Inhabitant said that we had a Corsica day.  A milkwoman _en route_
reported Corsica in sight, and told us to hurry.  Towards nine o'clock
the sun raises a mist from the sea, she explained.  In the belvedere we
found a girl without a guide book who had evidently come over from
Trayas.  She was crouched down to dial level, and her eyes were
following the Corsica arrow.  She did not look up or move when we
entered.  Minutes passed.  There was no offer to give us a chance.  We
coughed and shuffled, and the Artist sang "The Little Gray Home in the
West."  I informed the Artist--in French--that a specialist had once
remarked upon my hyperopic powers, and that if Corsica were really in
sight I could not fail to see it.

Not until she had to shake the cramp out of her back did the girl
straighten up.

"Corsica is invisible today," she announced.

"Yes," I answered sadly.  "Ten minutes ago the mist began to come up.
You know, sun upon the water--"

A look in her eyes made me hesitate.  "And all that sort of thing," I
ended lamely.

"Nonsense," she said briskly.  She surveyed the Artist from mustache to
cane point and turned back to me.  "You, at least," she declared, "are
American, but of the unpractical sort.  And you are as unresourceful as
you are ungallant, Monsieur.  How do I know?  Well, you were
complaining about my monopolizing the dial.  There is a map on the
tiles under your feet, and a compass dangles uselessly from your
watch-chain.  I wonder, too, if you _are_ hyperopic.  You know which is
the Carlton Hôtel over there in Cannes.  Tell me how many windows there
are across a floor."

The atmosphere was wonderfully clear, and the Carlton stood out
plainly.  But I failed the test.

The girl laughed.  I did not mind that.  When the Artist started in, I
turned on him savagely.

"Well, you count the Carlton windows," I said.

"No specialist ever told me I was hyperopic," he came back.

I had to save the day by answering that I was glad to be myopic just
now.  Who wanted to see Corsica any longer?  The girl knew interesting
upper paths on the western side of the promontory.  She had as much
time as we, or rather, I must say regretfully, she and the Artist had
more time than I.  For eleven o'clock came quickly, and I hurried off
to fulfill my parental duty.  The Artist told me afterwards that there
was a fine _cuisine_ at the Trayas restaurant.

I did think of my compass one day: for I had sore need of it.  But, as
generally happens in such cases, I was not wearing it.  Between Théoule
and La Napoule, the nearest town on the way to Cannes, a tempting
forest road leads back into the valley.  A sign states that a curious
view of a mountain peak, named after Marcus Aurelius, could be had by
following the road for half a dozen kilometers.  It was one of the
things tourists did when they were visiting the Corniche for a day.
Consequently, when one was staying on the Corniche, it was always an
excursion of the morrow.  During the Artist's first week, we were
walking over to Mandelieu to take the tram to Cannes one morning, and
suddenly decided that the last thing in the world for sensible folks to
do was to go to Cannes on a day when the country was calling
insistently.  We turned in at the sign.  After we had seen the view, we
thought that it would be possible to take a short cut back to Théoule.
The wall of the valley that shut us off from the sea must certainly be
the big hill just behind the Villa Étoile.  If, instead of retracing
our steps towards La Napoule, we kept ahead, and remembered to take the
left at every cross path, we would come out at the place where the
Corniche road made its big bend before mounting to the promontory.  It
was all so simple that it could not be otherwise.  We were sure of the
direction, and fairly sure of the distance, since we had left the motor
road between Théoule and La Napoule.

There was an hour and a half before lunch.  A lumber road followed the
brook, and the brook skirted the hill beyond which was Théoule and the
Villa Étoile.  It was a day to swear by, and April flowers were in full
bloom.  It was delightful until we had to confess that the hill showed
no signs of coming down to a valley on the left.  Finally, at a point
where a path went up abruptly from the stream, we decided that it would
be best to cut over the summit of the hill and not wait until the
Corniche road appeared before us.  In this way we would avoid the walk
back from the hotel to our villa, and come out in our own garden.  But
on the Riviera nature has shown no care in placing her hills where they
ought to be and in symmetrizing and limiting them.  They go on
indefinitely.  So did we, until we came to feel that we would be like
the soldiers of Xenophon once we spied the sea.  But the cry "Thalassa"
was denied us.  Eventually we turned back, and tried keeping the hill
on the right.  This was as perplexing as keeping it on the left had
been.  A pair of famished explorers, hungry enough to eat canned
tuna-fish and crackers with relish, reached a little town inland from
Mandelieu about seven o'clock that night with no clear knowledge of
from where or how they had come.

Between the town of Théoule and the belvedere of the Esquillon, down
along the water's edge, one never tires of exploring the caves.  Paths
lead through the pines and around the cliffs.  The Artist was attracted
to the caves by the hope of finding vantage points from which to sketch
Grasse and Cannes and Antibes and the Alps and the castle on
Saint-Honorat.  But he soon came to love the copper rocks, which pine
needles had dyed, and deserted black and white for colors.  When the
climate got him, he was not loath to join in my hunt for octopi.  The
inhabitants tell thrilling stories of the monsters that lurk under the
rocks at the Pointe de l'Esquillon and forage right up to the town.
One is warned to be on his guard against long tentacles reaching out
swiftly and silently.  One is told that slipping might mean more than a
ducking.  Owners of villas on the rocks make light of octopi stories,
and as local boomers are trying to make Théoule a summer resort, it is
explained that the octopi never come near the beach.  Even if they did,
they would not be dangerous there.  How could they get a hold on the
sand with some tentacles while others were grabbing you?

I have never wanted to see anything quite so badly as I wanted to see
an octopus at Théoule.  Octopus hunting surpasses gathering four-leaf
clovers and fishing as an occupation in which hope eternal plays the
principle role.  I gradually abandoned other pursuits, and sat smoking
on rocks by the half day, excusing indolence on the ground of the
thrilling story I was going to get.  I learned over again painfully the
boyhood way of drinking from a brook, and lay face downward on island
stones.  With the enthusiastic help of my children, I made a dummy
stuffed with pine cones, and let him float at the end of a rope.  Never
a tentacle, let alone octopus, appeared.  I had to rest content with
Victor Hugo's stirring picture in "The Toilers of the Sea."

A plotting wife encouraged the octopus hunts by taking part in them,
and expressing frequently her belief in the imminent appearance of the
octopi.  She declared that sooner or later my reward would come.  She
threw off the mask on the first day of May, when she thought it was
time to return to work.  She announced to the Artist and me that the
octopi had gone over to the African coast to keep cool until next
winter, and that we had better all go to Paris to do the same.  We were
ready.  Théoule was still lovely, and the terrace breakfasts had lost
none of their charm.  But one does not linger indefinitely on the
Riviera unless _dolce far niente_ has become the principal thing in

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