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Title: France
Author: Home, Gordon Cochrane, 1878-1969
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 "France" ***

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  Transcriber's note:

      Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document
      have been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been
      corrected.


  [Illustration: THE WESTERN FAÇADE OF AMIENS CATHEDRAL.]



     FRANCE


     BY
     GORDON HOME


     WITH 32 FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOUR


     LONDON
     ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK
     1914



   CONTENTS

                                                          PAGE

     CHAPTER I
     INTRODUCTORY                                            1

     CHAPTER II
     THE GENESIS AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FRENCH           6

     CHAPTER III
     FAMILY LIFE--MARRIAGE AND THE BIRTH-RATE               23

     CHAPTER IV
     HOW THE FRENCH GOVERN THEMSELVES                       49

     CHAPTER V
     ON EDUCATION AND RELIGION                              67

     CHAPTER VI
     SOME ASPECTS OF PARIS AND OF TOWN LIFE IN GENERAL      86

     CHAPTER VII
     OF RURAL LIFE IN FRANCE                               114

     CHAPTER VIII
     THE RIVERS OF FRANCE                                  143

     CHAPTER IX
     OF THE WATERING-PLACES                                169

     CHAPTER X
     ARCHITECTURE--ROMAN, ROMANESQUE, AND GOTHIC--IN
     FRANCE                                                193

     CHAPTER XI
     THE NATIONAL DEFENCES                                 205

     INDEX                                                 213



  LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


     1. THE WESTERN FAÇADE OF AMIENS CATHEDRAL         _Frontispiece_

                                                          FACING PAGE

     2. COMBOURG, A TYPICAL _CHÂTEAU_ OF THE MEDIAEVAL TYPE         8

     3. IN THE CAFÉ ARMENONVILLE IN THE BOIS DE BOULOGNE, PARIS    17

     4. IN THE PLACE DU THÉÂTRE FRANÇAIS, PARIS                    24

     5. EVENING IN THE PLACE D'IÉNA, PARIS                         31

     6. IN THE CENTRE OF PARIS                                     40

     7. THE MARKET-PLACE AND CATHEDRAL AT ABBEVILLE                48

     8. FIVE-O'CLOCK TEA IN PARIS                                  64

     9. CHILDREN OF PARIS IN THE LUXEMBOURG GARDENS                71

     10. LE PUY-EN-VELAY IN THE AUVERGNE COUNTRY                   75

     11. LA ROCHE, A VILLAGE OF HAUTE SAVOIE                       78

     12. A TYPICAL _COCHER_ OF PARIS                               90

     13. AUTUMN IN THE CHAMPS ELYSÉES, PARIS                       95

     14. A BRETON _CALVAIRE_: THE ORATORY OF JACQUES CARTIER      122

     15. A PEASANT CHILD OF NORMANDY                              126

     16. THE CATHEDRAL AND PART OF THE OLD CITY OF CHARTRES       136

     17. THE CHÂTEAU OF AMBOISE ON THE LOIRE                      144

     18. CHÂTEAU GAILLARD AND A LOOP OF THE SEINE                 150

     19. MONT BLANC REFLECTING THE SUNSET GLOW                    155

     20. EVIAN LES BAINS ON LAKE GENEVA                           158

     21. THE CHAPEL ON THE BRIDGE OF ST. BÉNÉZET, AVIGNON         162

     22. CAP MARTIN NEAR MENTONE                                  164

     23. THE CHÂTEAU OF CHENONCEAUX                               168

     24. ST. MALO FROM ST. SERVAN                                 171

     25. MONTE CARLO AND MONACO FROM THE EAST                     174

     26. MONT ST. MICHEL AT HIGH TIDE                             177

     27. THE VEGETABLE MARKET, NICE                               187

     28. THE PYRENEES FROM NEAR PAMIERS                           190

     29. THE GALERIE DES GLACES AT VERSAILLES                     192

     30. THE ROMAN TRIUMPHAL ARCH AT ORANGE                       194

     31. FRENCH DESTROYERS                                        200

     32. SOLDIERS OF FRANCE IN PARIS                              208

     _SKETCH MAP OF FRANCE ON PAGE 212._



  FRANCE



CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY


The more one knows of France and the French at first hand, and the
more one reads the ideas and opinions of other people concerning this
great people, so does one feel less and less able to write down any
definite statements about the country or its inhabitants. Whatever
conviction one possesses on any aspect of their characteristics is
sure to be shaken by the latest writer, be he a native or a foreigner.
Every fresh sojourn in the country upsets all one's previous ideas in
the most baffling fashion. One used to think the Parisian _cocher_ a
bad driver, and then discovers a writer who eulogises his skill. When
he knocks over pedestrians, says this writer, he does so because his
whole life is given up to a perpetual state of warfare with the
public, from whom he gains his livelihood. This point of view being
new to one, it takes a little time before it can be safely rejected or
accepted, and before this process is completed a man of most decided
views, and possessed of a wide knowledge of France and the French,
comes along with the statement that no Frenchman can drive. He
supports it with a dozen good reasons, and leaves one with a bias
towards earlier convictions.

It used to be axiomatic, platitudinous, that Frenchwomen dressed
better than Englishwomen. People whose knowledge of France is, say,
ten, perhaps fewer, years out of date would accept this without a
thought, and yet one is inclined to think that the Frenchwoman's
pre-eminence has gone. No doubt all that is truly _chic_, all that is
essentially dainty in feminine attire, emanates from the brain of the
Parisian, but the women of the French capital no longer have any
monopoly in the wearing of clothes that give charm to the wearer.

Then as to French cooking. The day has not long passed when to breathe
a syllable against the cooking of the French would be to proclaim
oneself a savage, but what does one hear to-day? Openly in London
drawing-rooms people are heard expressing their preference for the
food supplied in English homes and hotels. They dare to state that
many of the courses provided in French hotels and restaurants are
highly flavoured, but uneatable; that the meat provided is nearly
always unaccountably tough and full of strange sinews and muscles that
give one's teeth much inconvenience; that the clear soup is commonly
little more than greasy hot water containing floating scraps of bread
and vegetables; that the sweet course is incomparably inferior to that
of the English table.

The difficulties confronting those who attempt to describe the Gallic
people are only realised when one grasps the fact that almost anything
one writes is true or untrue of a fragment of the nation. Who could
suppose that the inhabitants of soil facing the North Sea would have
similar virtues and faults to those who dwell on the shores of the
Mediterranean? They seem of a different race, and yet a curious unity
pervades the Norman, the Breton, and the Burgundian, the Provençal,
the dwellers on the great wheat plain, and the Iberians of Basses
Pyrenees. One is tempted to deal with each portion of the country
separately, but to do so would make it necessary to produce a library
of books, and in trying to pick out qualities common to the whole
nation one is checked at every turn by the contradictions that present
themselves continually. With the mind resting for a time on one part
of France, it would be easy to describe the people as very clean, but
mental visions of other parts arrest the pen, and a qualified
statement is alone possible. Then the mind hungers for an opportunity
of preparing a series of maps, showing by various colours where the
people live who possess this or that salient quality. If such maps
were presented to the reader, and supposing that districts in which
the inhabitants were inclined towards thriftiness were shown red, the
whole country would be of the same glowing colour, and therefore this
map need not be drawn, but the same does not apply to wages and
prosperity, nor to religious fervour, nor to the social manners of the
people, and on these and a very large number of subjects the
variations are so great that what the writer has ventured to condense
in the chapters which follow may be open to much limitation, and even
to contradiction. He has always felt a very deep appreciation of the
country and the people, and the joy of arriving in France is one of
the pleasantest things in his experience. The curious smells that are
wafted to the deck of the steamer as it is tied up by the quayside
bring to him in one breath the essence, as it were, of the life of
France, which has for him so great an attractive force. In that first
breath of France, the faint suggestion of coffee brings to mind the
pleasant associations of meals in picturesque inns or in the cafés of
Paris in sight of the amazing movement of the city; the suspicion of
vegetables recalls the colour and human interest of countless
market-places and chequered patches of cultivation on wide hedgeless
landscapes; and that indefinable suggestion of incense and a dozen
other impalpable things brings with it the whole pageant of French
life, its colour and gaiety, its movement, its pathos, and its grand
moments, all of which act as a magnet and irresistibly attract him to
the southern shores of the Channel.



CHAPTER II

THE GENESIS AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FRENCH


In fairly clear weather the strip of salt water cleaving England from
France seems so narrow, that to a Brazilian familiar with the Amazon
it might be taken for nothing more than a great river. To a geologist
the English Channel is a recent feature in the formation of Europe of
to-day, while the modern aeronaut regards it as a blue mark on the
landscape as he wings his way from London to Paris. Turbine steamers
plough from shore to shore in less than an hour, so that on a windless
day the crossing is a mere incident in the journey between the
capitals; yet the race which dwells on the chalk uplands terminating
precipitously at Cape Gris Nez is so entirely different from the
people who have for the last thousand years made their homes on the
Kentish Downs, that the twenty miles of sea seem scarcely adequate to
explain the complete severance. The intercourse between the
inhabitants of Gaul and Britain must have been both considerable and
constant for some time before the domination of Rome had swept up to
the Channel, for it is known from Caesar's records that the
Armoricans, who extended from Cape Finisterre to the Straits of Dover,
were able to send 220 large oak built vessels against his galleys.
From the same source one is aware of the large trade carried on across
the narrow sea, and there were Celtic tribes in the south of England
colonised from the Belgae of the Continent. Further than this, the
megalithic remains of Wiltshire and Brittany suggest a very real and
remarkable link between the peoples of Britain and Gaul. Caesar and
Strabo are both very definite in their statements that the people of
Kent were similar to the Gaulish tribes, not only in the way they
built their houses, but also in their appearance and their manners.
The coming of Roman civilisation tended to restrict racial
intermingling, and from the beginning of the Christian era the Channel
became more and more a real frontier. When Norsemen had settled both
in England and in the north of France, this frontier again weakened
and vanished with the Norman Conquest of England, but racially there
was practically no sympathy across the water beyond what might have
been felt for the Welsh and the Britons in Cornwall. Thus, from the
Romanising of Britain onwards, the similarity between the peoples who
faced one another across the Channel waned. It is quite probable that
in neither country was there any appreciable infusion of Italian-Roman
blood among the Celtic populations, for the conquering legions were
composed of troops raised from all parts of the Empire, but in Britain
the Romanised population was swept westwards by new invaders from
northern Europe, while the Romanised Gauls were never ousted from the
territory they had held east of the Rhone and the Rhine. The Latin
tongue had probably made very little headway in Britain, while in Gaul
the Romans had thrust their language upon the Gallic tribes. It was
not, however, the classical Latin of Livy and Virgil, but most
probably the colloquial Latin of the common soldier and camp-follower.
This debased Latin formed the solid foundation of the literary
language of France of to-day.

  [Illustration: COMBOURG. A TYPICAL CHÂTEAU OF THE MEDIAEVAL TYPE.]

The English Channel is therefore a very effective dividing line
between two peoples completely different in every characteristic. But
who were these people whom the Romans called Galli?

Their coming was possibly not earlier than 600 or 700 B.C., and by 300
B.C. they occupied that part of Europe now covered by France, Belgium,
Holland, Rhenish Germany to the Rhine, with Switzerland and northern
Italy. No doubt they had moved westward from southern Russia in that
Aryan stream of which they had formed a part. In the south they
intermingled with the ancient Iberian population; they appear to have
remained fairly pure in the centre, while in the north they became
more or less mixed with Teutonic elements pressing forward across the
Rhine. Besides occupying what is now known as France, these Celts
settled or squatted all over northern Italy, and drove a very
considerable wedge into central Spain, where they formed the fierce
warrior people called Celtiberians, who served in masses in the
Carthaginian and Greek armies, and held out against the Romans until
about 100 B.C. Further than this a wing of these Gaulish Celts made
their way along the Danube, wasted Greece in about 270 B.C., and
formed an important settlement in Asia Minor which was called Galatia
up to about A.D. 500.

The Celts in Italy were the first to come under the heel of Rome
between 300 and 190 B.C. Gaul itself followed, and a Roman province,
named Narbonensis after its chief city Narbo Martius (now Narbonne),
was formed along the Mediterranean coast. All the rest of Gaul was
added between 58 and 50 B.C. by Gaius Julius Caesar, and from that
time until the disruption of the Roman Empire was one of its greatest
and richest provinces.

With the weakening of Roman domination in the 4th century A.D. a
fierce German race or confederacy, calling themselves "Franks" (_i.e._
Freemen), flooded into northern Gaul. They gave their name to the
country they had subjected, and for some five centuries their
Merovingian and Carolingian kings ruled without interruption. The
Franks were numerically a small proportion of the population of France
during this period, and they and other tribes which had irrupted into
Gaul during the same period gradually became completely absorbed by
the stubborn Celto-Roman people, and their language was to a great
extent lost owing, perhaps, to the fascination the splendour of Latin
would exert upon the users of an uncouth tongue. The Franks had
disappeared as a race by the year 1000, but their name had become
permanently attached to the land and the people in whose midst they
had settled--a phenomenon repeated in the case of Bulgaria.

Towards the north and east of France there is a very considerable
Germanic strain, although entirely French in language, customs, and
sympathy. In the south-east the people have much Italic blood in their
veins, while in the extreme south-west the Gascons and the Landais
(the people of Les Landes near Bordeaux) are probably of Iberian
stock, nearly related to the Basques who belong to the pre-Celtic
inhabitants of France, and are therefore more or less distinct from
the main mass of the population who remained Gallic with a Romanised
language. Although it is true that, with one exception, all the
different elements have been quite assimilated, the _patois_ spoken in
some districts is barely comprehensible to the ordinary Parisian. The
exception is Brittany, where the people are an admixture of the
primitive inhabitants with Gauls and Celts from Britain who migrated
to the peninsula during the 4th and 5th centuries, their language
being pure Celtic to this day, and so similar to Welsh that a Breton
onion-seller in Wales can make himself understood without much
difficulty. The seamen Brittany provides for the French navy are
undoubtedly the finest sailors the country possesses, and they have
for some time past formed a very real portion of French sea power.

The people of Normandy have a strong infusion of Scandinavian blood
and certain peculiarities of speech, but they are scarcely greater
than the difference between that of the Londoner and the Yorkshireman.
Whatever has been the stock from which the inhabitants of modern
France has sprung, their extraordinary capacity of assimilation seems
to have endowed them generally with those national characteristics
popularly labelled the genius of the French. This process, discernible
all through the pages of history, seems as vital to-day as ever.

To any one familiar with the French people, it is a matter for
astonishment that the average Briton fails in the most profound
fashion to realise the most obvious of the national characteristics
of his neighbours across the Channel. The popular notion is that the
French are a frivolous people, devoted to pleasure; they are supposed
to be veritable Miss Mowchers for volatility; to speak with extreme
rapidity; to have a taste for queer dishes which the same Briton
regards with abhorrence; and are, generally speaking, a people with
the lowest of morals. All these ideas are more or less erroneous, and
only as the average Englishman comes to learn the truth can the French
character be better understood. In the first place, the French, far
from being a mass of frivolity, are one of the most serious peoples in
the world. They have to such an extent woven a care for the future
into the fabric of the nation, that the humblest _bonne-à-tout-faire_,
the underfed _midinette_, and simplest son of the soil, aim at and
generally succeed in becoming modest holders of State _rentes_.
Instead of the happy-go-lucky methods of the middle and lower class
Anglo-Saxon, who will turn a family of sons and daughters loose upon
the world with very little thought as to their future beyond the bare
necessities of food, clothing, and shelter, the French parent regards
it as his duty to see that each daughter is provided with a _dot_
suitable to her position, and the Civil Code requires a parent to
leave a proportion of his property to each member of his family.
French men and women work out their incomes with such exactness that
they know to a _sou_ what they have to spare for pleasure, and with a
very large mass of the people in town and country that margin is so
microscopically small, that pleasure in the sense of a commodity that
is bought is often only obtainable at long intervals. In Paris, where
the inaccurate ideas of French life are generally gathered, it is the
almost universal custom for a family to dine at a restaurant on
Sundays, in order that the _bonne-à-tout-faire_, who cooks the meals
and waits at table in the average flat, may have most of the day off.
Thus the week-end visitor to the capital sees in every café and
restaurant families dining in public, and gathers the impression that
all these people are spending their money on an evening's amusement.
Probably, if the flats to which these people return a little later
were examined, it would be found that there was practically nothing in
the tiny larders, for it is the French custom to buy daily at the
markets in small quantities at the lowest prices, and the meals taken
at a restaurant on Sunday do not entail any loss through deterioration
of food at home.

It is wrong, too, to suppose that the average French people speak more
rapidly than the Anglo-Saxon. They are more vivacious, and they often
put more emphasis and gesticulation into their conversation than their
island neighbours; but there are Englishmen who have a right to speak,
who will affirm with the greatest assurance that the French are the
slower and more deliberate speakers of the two! No doubt it will take
a long time to entirely eradicate from among ill-informed Anglo-Saxons
the notion that a French menu is largely composed of strange creatures
not usually regarded as edible, but the excellence of French food and
cooking is getting so widely known and appreciated that this ancient
misconception is being steadily dissipated.

Perhaps it is because no sooner does the visitor land at Calais or
Boulogne, or step out of the railway terminus in Paris, than he sees a
kiosk where comic papers full of improper drawings are boldly
exhibited, that he comes to the conclusion that the French are an
entirely immoral people. But painful as it is to witness this
flaunting of vulgar suggestion before the casual passer-by, it is not
quite a fair gauge by which to take the standard of morals in France.
There was no wave of Puritanism in France as in England, and the
standard of public decency is therefore lower, but French home life is
probably nearly as moral as in England, and it is a well-known fact
that girls belonging to the middle classes live irreproachable lives
in the almost unnatural seclusion maintained by their parents. The
attitude of the young man towards the other sex before he marries is
certainly lamentably inferior to that of the Anglo-Saxon who may fall
from the ideal to which he has been trained, but nevertheless regards
his failure as a disaster, while the French youth looks upon such
matters as a recognised feature of his adolescence.

Justification for the idea prevalent in Anglo-Saxon countries that the
French are exceptionally lax in their morals, can be found in the fact
that in all ranks of French society there is no secrecy maintained
when irregular relations have been established, and also in the fact
that the illegitimate births are considerably more than twice as
numerous as those of Great Britain and Ireland. It should be
remembered, however, that Germany stands only a trifle better than
France in this matter, while six other European countries are
infinitely worse.

  [Illustration: IN THE CAFÉ ARMENONVILLE IN THE BOIS DE BOULOGNE,
  PARIS.]

What are to the man in the street the characteristics of the French
race are, therefore, so wide of the truth, that until simple and
accurate books on this great and talented people are used in all
British schools it will take a considerable time to put matters
straight. In the meantime an opportunity occurs here to do something
in this direction.

More than any other nation on the whole face of the earth the French
are a people of great ideas. They frequently leave their neighbours to
carry out the conceptions with which they enrich the world, but they
think on a great scale, and produce men and women whose agility of
mind is often hugely in advance of the age in which they live. It was
a Frenchman who first thought it feasible to sever Africa from Asia,
and made the first attempt to cut the cord that unites North and South
America; it was the French who led the way in applying the internal
combustion engine to locomotion, and they have dazzled the world with
the brilliant performances of their flying men. A Frenchman was the
pioneer in tunnel boring, and his son Isambard Brunel devised a
railway on such a magnificent scale that it still remains an ideal
which engineers regard with admiration. Another Frenchman, Charles
Bourseul, invented the telephone, and yet another led the way in the
science of bacteriology. As conscious empire-builders on a world-wide
scale the French were also putting their ideas into practice when
England was still thinking commercially in such matters. England as a
whole always does think in pounds, shillings, and pence, and in
empire-building possessions have mainly been added to the British
Empire with the idea of increasing its trade. In naval developments
France recently led the way with the submarine and submersible,
setting an example to the rest of the world which has been followed so
thoroughly that the lead in this arm of sea-power is no longer with
the pioneer country. Innumerable instances could be given of the
initiative in big ideas being taken by Frenchmen, and of other nations
taking them up and developing, perfecting, and sometimes consummating
for the first time projects devised in France.

Mr. C. F. G. Masterman has laid stress on the patience of the British
working man, but that willingness to endure hard circumstance is not
so pronounced in England as in France. There endurance continues too
long, so that when harsh treatment becomes absolutely intolerable
there is not a fraction of patience left, with the inevitable result
that explosions of varying degrees of violence take place. British
workers bestir themselves and demand redress of grievances before they
are at the end of their patience, and can therefore wait while the
country becomes familiar with their new needs. England has thus known
no "Reign of Terror," nor does the Government of the day suddenly
collapse before some public outburst of passionate feeling. The people
who can endure the inconvenience of a Government monopoly in matches,
which makes that commodity vile in quality while costing a penny a
box, must indeed be patient.

The average Frenchman desires to live a quiet and peaceful life
without hurry or bustle. He is content with long hours of work if he
can carry on that occupation at an easy pace, for he is steadily
industrious, and his easy-going nature lets him disregard
misgovernment too long for safety, for when at last he is roused out
of the ambling pace of his normal life, underground elements of
cruelty and bloodthirstiness may come to the surface with sudden and
terrible swiftness. If fair and honest government and tolerable
conditions of labour could be perpetually guaranteed to France, there
is scarcely a people in the world who would live more peaceable and
uneventful lives, for the British relish for adventure and the
enthusiasm for hustle to be found in the United States finds no echo
in the average French mind. Alongside this disinclination to go
helter-skelter through life is the fact that in certain ways the
French people are all artists, and that they have the critical faculty
developed to a most remarkable degree; their capacity for
discrimination and criticism might indeed be singled out as the most
salient characteristic of the whole people. Even the humblest citizen
is seldom prepared to express unqualified admiration for any piece of
handicraft or painting, but will look with thoughtful care on the
object of consideration, and probably supply an intelligent reason for
only giving it partial approval.

On the other hand there is a great tendency to over fondness for
generalising without sufficient data; there is a delight in reasoning
and logic which often leads to false conclusions owing to a want of
real knowledge. This love of reasoning and the capacity for criticism
seem to have given the nation a regard for consequences and a care to
avoid the more or less inevitable economic day of adverse reckoning
which comes to those who are careless and indefinite in their
arrangements. It is the general thriftiness found all through the
peasant and bourgeois class of France that has, to such a great
extent, saved the various grades in the social scale from emulating
the ways of those above them. The disgrace of insolvency is so
terrifying to a French household that a thousand economies are
practised to keep such a contingency afar off, and in following this
rule of life much social intercourse, and nearly all effort to seem
more opulent than the family purse will permit, go overboard. Thus it
has become a characteristic of a most definite order that a
Frenchman's home is his castle in a fashion far more real to the
stranger than is the case in Anglo-Saxon countries.

Briefly it may be stated that the French are a serious, cautious,
patient, and exceedingly industrious and home-loving race, enjoying
their hardly earned hours of pleasure in a more demonstrative fashion
than do the nations whose climates are less sunny. They are critical
and fond of generalisation, are capable of large and splendid moments
of inspiration, and have on the whole feminine rather than masculine
characteristics.



CHAPTER III

FAMILY LIFE--MARRIAGE AND THE BIRTH-RATE


For an English resident in France to become an intimate in the home of
a French family is a rare enough occurrence, and for a visitor to
attempt to discover anything as to French family life first hand is
generally a quest doomed to failure. In the vast mass of the middle
classes the habit of mind is to remain as far as possible on the
estate of one's ancestors or in the place in which one is known. There
is no wish to live in foreign lands; those who are obliged to do so
are pitied, and foreigners who come to take up permanent residence in
France are in most instances regarded as people who, for some
regrettable reason, are obliged to live outside their native land.
This idea prevents the foreigner from receiving a cordial welcome, and
he generally labels the people of his adopted land as inhospitable.
On the other hand, it must be remembered that Belgians and Italians
belonging to a common stock are assimilated with extreme rapidity into
the great body of the nation.

The hospitality of the average French household of the middle classes
is, owing to the need for great thrift, narrowed down to the
necessarily limited circle of the family. No sooner is the aforetime
stranger joined to a family by the tie of marriage than the doors of
the homes of all the relations are thrown wide open to receive him. It
is this custom which makes it so essential for the prospective
parents-in-law to ascertain the antecedents, the status, and financial
prospects of a proposed husband for their daughter. Should some
disaster, monetary or otherwise, fall upon this new addition of the
family, the blow is inflicted upon all the members and all the
branches of that circle. Similar enquiries are put on foot by the
parents of a son who is intending to ally himself to another family.

  [Illustration: IN THE PLACE DU THÉÂTRE FRANÇAIS, PARIS.]

Wherever the family tie is given undue importance there is inevitably
less willingness to entertain the stranger and to take the risks this
wider sociality involves. So English people, with Paris (which they
do not really know) as the basis of their observations, are too ready
to state with confidence that there is no real home life in France. It
may be that there is less in the capital than in the rest of the
country, but Paris is the least French portion of France. The English,
or more accurately the British, quarter of Paris remains outside the
closely guarded circles of Parisian family life, and large sections of
the city live in water-tight compartments even as they do in London.
What does the average middle-class family know of the French residents
in London? Probably the number of those of the upper classes who are
closely in touch with French residents of their own social rank is
very small, and the humble French population of Soho and Pimlico live
their hard-working lives almost as detached from the rest of the city
as though they were on the other side of the Channel.

One of the most marked differences between the Anglo-Saxon and the
French home is the fact that in the latter the place of the housemaid
is to a very great extent taken by men. The sterner sex dust and sweep
and polish as a matter of course. There is little restriction on the
amount of noise made by the servants, male and female, while they are
about their work. It is quite usual to hear them laughing, talking,
singing, and even shouting to one another, where in an English
household there would scarcely be a sound above the quietest
conversation drowned by the noise of the broom.

The ordinary house of the middle classes does not enjoy that
periodical refurbishing and redecorating accepted as necessary north
of the Channel. With a wife as keen as himself on living well within
their joint income the French head of the family is not urged to put
aside a certain annual sum for new curtains, carpets, chair and sofa
covers, and such expensive items. The initial outlay on the home is
generally considered to be almost sufficient for a lifetime if care is
used in maintaining what has been purchased. It is not necessary to
have entered many French homes to become familiar with the typical
bedroom which is reflected faithfully enough in the average hotel. One
essential feature of a bedroom as the Anglo-Saxon knows it is alone
allowed to form a feature of the furnishing of the apartment. It is
the bed, draped as a rule with elaborate curtains and coverings and
surmounted by some form of canopy. A massive feather-bed-like
eiderdown, covering about one-half of the necessary area of the bed,
reposes at the foot and leaves those unfamiliar with these nightmare
pillows wondering if the people who use them are a practical race. The
dressing-table and washstand are generally hard to find. If there is a
_cabinet de toilette_, these essentials of a bedroom will be stowed
away in what is often a roomy cupboard, and where the feature does not
exist, both pieces of furniture will be so modest in dimensions and
sufficiently well disguised to be almost unrecognisable at a casual
glance. Conspicuously placed, however, will be an ample sofa and a
writing-table not necessarily provided with adequate writing
materials. Every effort is made to give the sleeping apartment as much
the atmosphere of a reception-room as sofas and chairs and an absence
of toilet appliances will allow, for when, right away in the fifteenth
century, it became the custom for the sovereign to hold audiences in
the bed-chamber the rest of French society imitated the royal example,
until it became an established usage in _bourgeois_ circles as much as
in those of the class which enjoyed the direct influence of court
fashions. Democratic and Republican France has swept away the whole
edifice of the monarchy, but unconsciously perpetuates in a most
remarkable fashion the weakness of a sovereign to carry on the
business of the day from his bed!

The average husband regards the _cabinet de toilette_ as the peculiar
possession of his wife, and would hesitate to enter that annexe to his
bedroom unbidden. Possibly to those who have been brought up with this
idea the English custom of providing a small dressing-room for the
husband and allowing _madame_ paramount rights over the whole bedroom
may seem unaccountably odd.

Formality is generally the prevailing note of the reception-rooms.
Comfortable chairs have only lately begun to make their appearance at
all, and as a rule the middle-class household maintains a traditional
severity in the arrangements of its drawing-room. Straight uninviting
chairs and an absence of any indications of books, magazines or
papers, or anything in the way of a needlework bag or a writing-table
that is in regular use, deprive the room of any home-like
individuality. The extreme economy exercised in the use of fuel makes
the unnecessary lighting of a fire a wanton extravagance. Commodities
in Paris cost double or even more than double what they do in the
British Isles, and in the country generally one-third more; the
salaries of the civil and military officials, who form such a big
section of the middle-class population, are considerably less than
those enjoyed in England, and the incomes of the professional classes
are as a rule smaller than those of the Englishman. Add to this the
abnormally high rents of Paris and it will be understood that in the
capital there is always need for the most rigid economy. _Madame_ must
keep a watchful eye on the household store of coal, not only to see
that it is not wasted in her own fires, but to make sure that
pilfering is not carried on by her servants. Where in England a fire
is kept quietly smouldering, it will be raked out in France and
relighted when required a few hours later. In this way a good deal of
hardihood in the endurance of cold is developed, and contrivances in
the way of stoves that burn fuel with extreme economy are much in use.
This restraint in coal consumption reduces the quantity of carbon
particles discharged into the atmosphere of French cities, and
accounts to a great extent for the clearer air the inhabitants enjoy,
at the same time keeping the annual bill for coal and wood down to
very modest proportions.

Economy must also be rigidly maintained in the purchase of food, and
this is generally accomplished by discreet buying in the markets. A
servant or a member of the household makes daily purchases in this
manner, and the middleman's profits on the chief part of the food
required are successfully avoided. In Paris the maid-of-all-work, who
is generally the only servant employed in a modest flat, makes these
daily purchases, out of which she obtains from those with whom she
deals a commission of a _sou_ in every _franc_ expended. This is a
universally recognised custom, but in addition there is a prevalent
but altogether reprehensible practice, known as _faire danser l'anse
du panier_. It is pure dishonesty, for the _bonne_ puts down in the
books a small overcharge on each item, and this with the market-man's
_sou du franc_ amounts to a considerable sum in the course of a year,
often nearly equal to her wage. It is an interesting fact that Breton
servants are generally quite guiltless of the overcharge system, for
the people of Brittany are of much the same stock as the Welsh,
concerning whom there is a proverb for which the writer fails to find
justification.

_Déjeuner_ at 11.30 or 12 and dinner at 6.30 or 7 are the two
essential meals of the day. Breakfast, served in the bedroom, consists
of coffee or chocolate and small crisply baked rolls with butter and
perhaps honey, while the Anglo-Saxon meal called tea is only an
established feature among the upper classes, where English customs are
extremely fashionable. The two chief meals both consist of at least
four courses, with a cup of coffee added to give a finish to the
whole. It might be thought absurd for those who are poor or living
with great economy to begin their meals with an _hors-d'oeuvre_, but
Miss Betham-Edwards, whose knowledge of the French is sufficiently
wide to be an authority, asserts that a careful housekeeper will give
this preliminary course as an economy, for being great bread-eaters a
little scrap of ham or sausage or herring eaten with several mouthfuls
of bread will take the edge off the appetite and enable her to be less
lavish with the other courses. Soup is very frequently made out of the
water in which vegetables have been stewed with a suspicion of
flavouring added, and the meat courses are provided not from large
joints, but from little scraps of meat which the French butcher
produces in astonishing quantities from the same animal as his English
neighbour handles in an entirely different and very much less
economical fashion. These methods of cutting with a view to quantity
rather than quality give much of the meat an unhappy toughness as
though it were cut across or against the grain. Even the
_bonne-à-tout-faire_ will prefer to make a sacrifice in the quantity
of food in each course of a meal if by so doing she can be quite sure
of finishing with a cup of coffee.

The contrast of the mid-day meal, consisting of a chop and bread and
cheese, supplied by the small provincial hotel to the commercial
traveller in England, with that provided or obtainable in France, is
astonishing. It is true that the knife and fork given for the first
course must be retained for those that follow, but this little
labour-saving custom can be overlooked in the presence of the savoury
dishes that follow. Still more pronounced is the contrast when
dinner-time arrives, for a very large majority of country hostelries
in England will offer nothing more varied than a large plate of ham
and eggs or cold meat, followed by bread and cheese and perhaps
apple or plum tart. It is the universal demand for appetising and
well-cooked meals throughout France that ensures for the wayfarer
wherever he goes an excellent dinner of several courses. It would,
however, be unfair not to mention that a very great improvement has
been taking place in the hotels of England in the last few years owing
to the demand for well-cooked meals caused by motorists. The
pre-eminence of France in this matter will cease to be remarkable
before long if the present rapid progress is maintained. If one
enquires still further into the reasons for French folk being dainty
in the way their food is prepared, the explanation given by Mr. T.
Rice Holmes that Celtic peoples as a rule have weak stomachs may
perhaps be the correct answer.

  [Illustration: EVENING IN THE PLACE D'IÉNA, PARIS.]

If wall-papers are not often renewed in French houses, there is a
delight in clean raiment which is most commendable. Clothes which are
not washable are frequently sent to the cleaner, and as the most
poorly paid _midinette_ generally buys good materials for her clothes
they last some time, and will stand cleaning and refurbishing better
than the average clothes worn by her equals in England. This is
typical of the inborn thrift of the whole nation. Personal ablutions
are, on the other hand, not so frequent or so thorough as among
Anglo-Saxons, the supply of water for this purpose being generally
very meagre and the basin for washing the face and hands awkwardly
small. The itinerant bath is still to be found in country towns. It is
brought to the house of those who desire to indulge in this luxury,
and the water at the required temperature is provided also. The
rinsing out of a bath with a little clean water after it has been used
is not considered a sufficiently thorough method of satisfying
individual fastidiousness, and a cotton covering large enough to
entirely line the bath is therefore usually provided for each person.
If one adds to this the difficulties confronting those for whom it is
considered scarcely within the limits of propriety that they should be
entirely unhampered by garments while in the bath, this simple
operation of the toilet becomes a somewhat laborious undertaking!

It has been already stated how great is the reverence of the French
for the family. It is certainly fostered by that wonderful institution
the Family Council, a form of highly developed autonomy dating from
the far-away days when France was a Romanised province. The council
is formed to look after the welfare of orphans and weak-minded and
ne'er-do-weel minors. It consists of six members--three from among the
relatives of each parent--and is presided over by a local _juge de
paix_, who is attended by his clerk.

For those sons of wealthy parents who are developing into incorrigible
idlers and a source of perpetual anxiety to their parents, owing too
often to the excess of ill-judged kindness lavished on only sons by
widowed mothers, there has been instituted in France what is known as
_la maison paternelle_. If sent to this establishment the boy
generally threatens to commit suicide or some other desperate act. He
is at first placed in a solitary cell, where he is under the constant
supervision and the special care of a "professor," who is appointed to
deal with the particular case. By salutary talk, the most inflexible
discipline, and regular studies, accompanied by a judicial kindliness,
the refractory youths are almost invariably brought to their senses
after a few months, and retain the warmest affection for the
professors in after years.

As a rule the French child of almost every class except the very
lowest comes into the world with the prospect of some future
inheritance of land or capital. The first infant in a very large
proportion of families is both alpha and omega, and it is very
exceptional for parents not to restrict their offspring to two or
perhaps three, which is almost counted as a large family. For some
time past census figures reveal the very remarkable fact that
considerably over 1¾ millions of married couples are childless.
Rather more than a quarter of the marriages result in one child;
another quarter has two children, and 17 per cent are childless. Thus
the duty of making up the deficiency of one large section and the
total failure of another falls upon one-third of the married couples,
and the latest returns show that this task is only just accomplished,
the average number of births for each family hovering about the
bed-rock figure 2. The year 1907 was altogether alarming, for the
figures showed 19,890 more deaths than births for the twelve months,
and it has been with considerable relief that the civilised world has
seen the surplus turned over to the more healthy direction in
subsequent years. With a population that does not increase there is
less and less danger of overcrowding or of extreme poverty, and
therefore France houses her citizens better than Germany, England, or
the United States. The individual child arrives in the world with his
or her place more or less made in advance, and as the years pass by
the son or daughter steps into the vacancy caused by the departure to
"the land o' the leal" of a parent or relation. Such an even balance
of vacancies and new arrivals tends to make livelihoods more stable in
France than in the countries where the number of persons to the square
mile is steadily increasing; it robs the whole nation of any desire to
find homes outside the limits of the fatherland, and makes it
practically impossible to make any real use of colonial possessions.
Until civilised countries come to settle their differences without the
senseless and futile appeals to brute force, by which they have
unsuccessfully striven to do so in the past, this static condition of
the population of France can only be looked upon as a calamity, but
the growing strength of commercial ties is weakening bellicist
prejudices and national antipathies every day, and the fact that the
nations are now asking themselves whether any advantage is gained by
fighting a civilised people shows that the world is on the threshold
of emancipation from what is most truly a great illusion.

Being so often the only child or one of two, the infant enters on life
as the ruler of the household. The devoted parents, instead of
following the golden maxim, which says "Apply the rod early enough and
there will be no need to use it at all," give way to every passing
mood or whim of their offspring, and insist that the nurse shall
follow the same foolish course. If the infant cries it obviously needs
something, and this must be supplied regardless of character-building.
No wonder that _la maison paternelle_ has been found a needful
institution in the land! Maternal duties are not as a rule undertaken
by the mother, and in a very large number of instances this is
necessitated or at least encouraged by the large share in the
maintenance of the household taken by the wife. In Parisian flats the
_concierge_, owing to the smallness of his wage, is generally obliged
to go out to work and depute his wife to undertake his duties during
his absence. A mewling and puking infant under these conditions is a
nuisance and must be brought up elsewhere.

In the average middle-class home the children are not given their
meals in the nursery, but at a very early age eat at the same table
as their parents, and enjoy a varied menu including wine when English
children are still having little besides milk puddings and mince.

Much more is concentrated into the earlier years of life in France
than across the Channel. This is particularly so in regard to the
_jeune fille_, who ceases to come under that title as soon as she has
reached the age of twenty-five. The business of getting married must
be achieved by that time, or else there is nothing for it but
acquiescence in the popular judgment that the young girl has become an
old girl--is on the shelf--and to preserve her self-respect must
retire either to a convent or a conventual boarding-house. This custom
is, like many others, as undesirably mediaeval, gradually breaking
down owing to the strongly intellectual training now given to the
_jeune fille_ at state _lycées_. No religious instruction is given in
these schools, and the girls are therefore developing a new
independence. A change, too, is taking place in the extremely secluded
life that girls of the middle and upper classes have hitherto led.
They are not invariably taken to school and fetched by a maid, and it
is quite possible that this emancipation from continual supervision
may lead to a considerable modification in the present method of
arranging marriages. The existing system of the choice of a husband
for their daughter being made by the devoted parents has a striking
similarity to the customs of the Far East. The young men the _jeune
fille_ is allowed to see are only those who are eminently eligible,
that is, whose financial position is sound and whose family
connections are not likely to cause anxiety when brought into the
family circle by the union of the two young people.

  [Illustration: THE CENTRE OF PARIS.]

To the French mind the idea of the betrothal of a man and a girl
without the necessary means for immediately entering the state of
matrimony is looked at with the most extreme disfavour. "Falling in
love" might lead to most undesirable family ties, for each of the two
parties concerned marries a family as well as a husband and wife
respectively. No, the _mariage d'inclination_ is a danger, and the
young people must learn to fall in love during the honeymoon, a task
the French girl seems to find less impossible than it sounds. The
Anglo-Saxon method of a growing and entirely non-committal intimacy
followed by a period of betrothal scarcely exists in France. Having
little knowledge or experience of men, the girl accepts the suitor
proposed by her parents because, as a rule, she has not much choice
and the time is short before she has reached the old-maidish age of
twenty-five. Then beyond this there is all the thrill and romance of
some new and strange life in which she may succeed in falling
desperately in love with her husband. If not, the situation has
occurred before, and the average married woman seems to find some
solace in other interests; there will perhaps be a son or a daughter,
or possibly both, and on them it will be easy for her to expend her
pent-up feelings of love, and later on there will perchance come what
is an ideal with the average Frenchwoman--the satisfaction of being a
grandmother.

During the short time between the formal acceptance of her proposed
husband and the wedding ceremony the affianced pair are not as a rule
allowed to be together alone. No doubt in many instances this harsh
ruling of long-established custom is broken through, but it would be
done surreptitiously unless the parties concerned were exceptionally
emancipated from the great body of French tradition. It is also quite
unusual for the mother to speak of love when discussing with her
daughter a man who has offered himself as a husband; it is merely
understood that he is pleased with the girl's general appearance and
not dissatisfied with her _dot_.

Strict Roman Catholics do not recognise the civil contract beyond
going through the required legal ceremony. The banns, stating several
personal particulars regarding the parents as well as the contracting
parties, are put up at the _mairie_ ten days before the marriage can
be performed. If the betrothed pair have not reached the age of
thirty, they must have the consent of their parents, but over
twenty-one they are able to obtain that consent through a legal
process at the office of a certified notary. Even extreme action of
this character does not entail total loss of a certain portion of the
parental inheritance, for the Civil Code does not permit parents to
leave more than a proportion to strangers. One-half must fall to the
children's share. Quite recently an example of the small satisfaction
this may cause to the recipients came to light. An aged grandparent's
estate produced a sum of 100 francs, to be divided equally between
four legatees. The legal expenses entailed in certifying the status of
each party and other matters ran up to such a large sum that the
surplus divisible was barely 20 francs.

On the appointed day the wedding party assembles at the _mairie_,
where the mayor, after reading to the couple that portion of the Civil
Code relating to the duties of the married state, hears their
declaration and the permission of the parents, after which both
parties exchange wedding rings and are pronounced man and wife. The
register having been signed, first by the wife and then by the
husband, the civil ceremony is complete, and in Republican society the
wedded pair as a rule trouble themselves not at all about the attitude
of the Church to the contract they have made. Many, however, as
already stated, do not regard this as the real wedding, and the bride
and bridegroom remain apart until the next day, or perhaps two or
three days later, when the religious ceremony is performed in a
church. There the wedding rings are blessed before being put on, and
the completion of the religious ceremony is marked by the presentation
of a tray for offerings. One cannot be very long in a French church
without this opportunity presenting itself. The writer has vivid
recollections of his almost precipitate retreat from the Madeleine
after he had been present for a short time at a service in that
classic church on the occasion of his first visit to Paris. His memory
recalls how cheerfully he paid for his seat for the first time, how he
produced another coin when, with a charming smile, a young woman
applied for a second alms, and how, when a third bag was placed before
him with the words _pour les pauvres_, he found a sou, and in a few
moments had, with a sigh of relief, exchanged the Gregorian
solemnities of the great church for the rattle and stir of the
_Boulevard des Capucines_.

But to return to the wedding ceremony. The young couple having been
now made man and wife in the sight of Church as well as the State,
they start on their voyage together into the unknown, to discover one
another and, if possible, after what answers to a time of courting, to
fall in love with each other. Should this time of exploration into
each other's characters and temperaments, likes and dislikes, prove
entirely unsatisfactory, it becomes a matter of acute interest to
enquire how the knot may be loosened or untied. Until 1883 divorce was
not legal, but since that year of emancipation the Civil Code permits
it for several reasons. These are divided under three headings:
first, unfaithfulness or desertion on either side; second, acts of
violence and _injures graves_, which covers the great area of
incompatibility of temperament; and third, penal sentences passed on
the man or woman. It is fairly obvious that this wide doorway will
permit the entrance of a great majority of those who wish for freedom
from an ill-chosen partner, and the result has been a steady increase
in the number of divorces in recent years. The figures were 10,573 in
1906 and 13,049 in 1910. Even the Church of Rome will allow the
marriage tie to be severed under certain conditions not perhaps open
to a poor couple.

There can be little doubt that divorce in France is facilitated by the
fact that the wife has in most cases an independent source of income,
and is therefore economically on her feet in the event of a
termination of her wedded state. She is, generally speaking, looked
upon with less favour as a divorced woman than is a man. No doubt this
is due to slow-dying prejudice in favour of the man in these
circumstances. Changes are, however, coming with such accelerating
speed in these matters that anything written to-day is more or less
out of date by the time it is printed.

To come back to the normal condition of married persons in France,
there is no doubt that, surprising as it may seem, the _jeune fille_
does in a very large majority of cases settle down contentedly with
the husband chosen by her parents. She blossoms with the speed of an
Indian juggler's magic plant into a woman of affairs, and in a very
short time is taken into the fullest confidence in monetary matters by
her husband. Many develop such a capacity for business that they
rapidly out-distance their men folk in such matters, and if, as is
very often the case in middle-class life, they are obliged to
contribute towards the family budget, their earnings will frequently
exceed those of the easy-going husband. Any one at all intimate with
France knows the keenness and capacity of the woman in business,
whether as a shopkeeper, a manageress, or a hotel proprietor. They can
drive a hard bargain and are less easy to deal with than men, although
the writer is inclined to think that he has met quite as many men as
women who are difficult or unpleasant in a financial matter.

In spite of this frequently existing superior ability in dealing with
money matters, a wife must obtain her husband's written consent before
she touches her capital! And further than this, the Civil Code
requires that the husband must make good any deficiency from his
wife's original _dot_ should he wish to obtain a divorce,
notwithstanding the fact that the diminution had taken place with her
consent; and it is a curious and interesting fact that in the case of
disagreement the husband finds the Code ignores the perchance superior
wisdom of the wife.

As a rule it is _madame_ who rules the household, while "_mon mari_"
is a worshipper who obeys willingly, both being the slaves of their
child or children, to whom within the strict boundaries of _comme il
faut_ nothing must be denied. How, with such spoiling as children, the
French man and woman grow up to do their share in the world's work it
is hard to understand. Possibly the dislike evinced by the race as a
whole to undertake an adventurous career entailing risk, the lack of
some of the luxuries which have been long enjoyed, and an element of
uncertainty may be in part ascribed to the lack of discipline in the
nursery. An explanation for this characteristic might be given by
merely pointing to the figures of population, which, as just
mentioned, remain almost stationary, and do not provide that driving
force which sends other peoples out into new lands in great numbers;
but this condition of a static population has been brought about
voluntarily by the people themselves, through their desire to be sure
of a safe and prearranged career for their offspring. And so it is the
family life of the French, the predominance of the weaker partner, and
the craving after those conditions of existence generally regarded as
feminine, which result in a weakening of France as a colonising
nation, and often cause misgivings in the minds of those who are her
well-wishers.

  [Illustration: THE MARKET PLACE AND CATHEDRAL AT ABBEVILLE.]



CHAPTER IV

HOW THE FRENCH GOVERN THEMSELVES


It may be broadly stated that the French people are content to be
governed and to feel a controlling authority in operation in all
departments of their lives. This results in a silent acquiescence
under long-endured grievances which could easily be redressed by a
little ventilation of public opinion. Where the Anglo-Saxon uses his
newspapers to make known his attitude towards various matters
requiring new legislation, where he takes advantage of an election,
parliamentary or municipal, to obtain undertakings from candidates,
the average Frenchman will neither write nor speak, so that editors
and deputies, and the great public as well, remain generally ignorant
of a widespread area of smouldering resentment. Like the burning
coal-beds not unfrequently discovered in Central Europe, the
underground combustion, which has perhaps been continuing for many
years, is only brought to light by accident.

When legislation takes place on some important economic issue it will
be framed, as a rule, on abstract lines disregarding the past, and in
many ways ignoring general convenience. There is in this way little
evolution in the growth of the French constitution, and an old law may
exist unmodified so long that when change comes it is so out of date
that it must be swept away. The Revolution cut down to the roots the
rotten tree of unregenerate feudalism, and planted in its place a
sapling which has to conform to the essential requirements of
progress; it must be trimmed and lopped, and must put forth new growth
in order that it too, in the effluxion of time, may not become as
unsuited to modern needs as its predecessor.

In August 1789 the first Republican Parliament wrote down certain
cardinal matters relating to the welfare and freedom of the individual
and called it the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
Thirteen years before this the United States of North America had
drawn up their Declaration of Independence, and no doubt this
inspired those who framed the more compactly worded document. In their
seventeen brief articles French Republicans, in an age when ideas of
freedom had fertilised both sides of the Atlantic, boldly and simply
stated their new-born beliefs, commencing with the assertion that "All
men are born and remain free and have equal rights." In _Article 2_
they stated that "the object of all political groupings is the
preservation of the natural, inalienable, and sacred rights of man,"
those rights being "liberty, property, security, and the right to
resist oppression." Although possessing the last-mentioned power, it
has already been pointed out that the people are slow to make use of
it. The nation likewise fails to carry out the spirit of _Article 9_,
which says, "As a man is deemed innocent until he shall have been
declared guilty should it be necessary to arrest him no rigour that is
not essential for the securing of his person shall be tolerated by the
law." In the final--the 17th--Article there is food for thought for
the Socialist, for it is there stated that property is "an inviolable
and sacred right," followed by the qualifying sentence, "No man may be
deprived of it, unless public interest demand it evidently and
according to the Law, provided, moreover, that a fair indemnity be
first paid to him." Even the most civilised of peoples are still a
good deal short of that high degree of wisdom and goodness which will
make every man competent and willing to be his brother's keeper, and
it is therefore probable that for some time to come _Article 17_ will
stand as a living part of the French Constitution. It is interesting
to remember that in the Declaration of 1789 the right of Habeas Corpus
was first established in France, while it had been on the statute book
of England for over a century, and would have been there some time
before but for repeated rejections by the House of Lords.

Upon the splendid substructure of the Declaration of the Rights of Man
the first French Constitution was reared. It was framed with care,
took two years in the making, and was finally accepted by Louis in
1791. Since then there have been many constitutions, but, omitting the
Napoleonic interlude, the principles of the Declaration show
themselves with triumphant ascendency as the foundation of each
reconstruction. Like all written constitutions, modifications are
frequently found necessary. There is none of the elasticity of the
unwritten constitution which exists only in the land of the people who
are said to have a genius for governing themselves, and perhaps it is
that endowment with the capacity for self-government which makes the
nebulous character of the British Constitution so valuable. It is true
that a very great majority of well-educated British people could not
give any clear idea of the nature of the constitution of their
country, and when any constitutional point arises only a handful of
experts can state how far the precedents of the past, by which the
constitution is modified, affect the immediate issue; and yet there
would be a considerable feeling of alarm if it were seriously proposed
to make the whole situation plain by producing a modern written
constitution, however much based on all that has gone before.

Britons, as a rule, do not even trouble to acquaint themselves with
the survival of many ancient royal prerogatives. Walter Bagehot[1]
puts into one pregnant paragraph what Queen Victoria could do without
consulting Parliament. "Not to mention other things," he writes, "she
could disband the army (by law she cannot engage more than a certain
number of men, but she is not obliged to engage any men); she could
dismiss all the officers, from the General Commanding-in-Chief
downwards; she could dismiss all the sailors too; she could sell off
all our ships of war and all our naval stores; she could make a peace
by the sacrifice of Cornwall, and begin a war for the conquest of
Brittany. She could make every citizen in the United Kingdom, male or
female, a peer; she could make every parish in the United Kingdom a
'university'; she could dismiss most of the civil servants; she could
pardon all offenders." The present sovereign could do the same, but
safeguards in the form of impeachment of Ministers and change of a
Ministry preserve the country from proceedings of this nature; but in
a country with a written constitution such legacies from the days when
the head of the State was a military dictator exist no longer.

  [1] _The English Constitution_, Introduction to 1872 Edition.

While the British law-makers and administrators bear on their backs
the whole weight of centuries of laborious constitution-building, the
French work with the light equipment of a constitution framed in 1875,
everything prior to that date being null and void.[2] No French
politician is therefore required at any time to be aware of a usage of
the reign of Louis XI., or any curtailment of the royal authority
which may have taken place when Philippe Auguste occupied the throne.
The throne itself has ceased to exist since the fall of Napoleon III.
in 1870, and France since that year has remained under its third
Republic.

  [2] The Constitution was slightly revised in 1879 and 1884.

The laws passed in 1875 provide that the legislative power shall be in
the hands of two assemblies--the Chamber of Deputies and the
Senate--and the executive in those of an elected President and the
Ministry. The Upper House or Senate is composed of 300 members, now
entirely elected by the Departments or Senate. They must be over forty
years of age. In England, if the Prime Minister is a commoner he can
only go into the Upper House as a listener, and all the Cabinet are
under the same restriction, but in France Ministers can sit in both
Chambers and can speak in either place as occasion requires or the
spirit moves. Voting, however, is restricted to the Chamber to which
the Minister belongs. One is inclined to wonder whether eloquence
that stirs the hearts and sways the voting in the British House of
Commons would be as productive if addressed to the hereditary body.
There is no separate Minister for the Post Office, that office being
included in the Ministry of Commerce, and there are only twelve
Ministers against the twenty or twenty-one of the British Cabinet. The
Ministry of Labour and Public Thrift appears almost quaint to the much
less thrifty people of England.

The Lower Chamber consists of 584 deputies, and is elected every four
years by universal suffrage. On coming of age, every citizen not in
military service and having a residential qualification of six months
may exercise the franchise. Women have not yet achieved the right to
vote. Perhaps the majority of French married women exercise already as
much power as they care to possess, for even peasant women are quite
familiar with the method of voting through their docile husbands. Only
in 1897 were women entitled by law to act as witnesses in civil
transactions; prior to that date a woman came under the same category
as a minor or the insane!

That the Frenchwoman is beginning to wake up to the possibilities of
her twentieth-century emancipation is shown in a hundred directions.
In January 1913 a woman came forward as a candidate for the French
presidential chair, the first in the history of the Republic. When
questioned as to the seriousness of her purpose she asked, "And why
not a woman head of the State? People may regard it as a joke; but
what about Catherine the Great and Queen Victoria?" When one
remembers, too, the astonishing business capacity of the average
Frenchwoman, one is inclined to echo the question, "Why not?" There
are already more than a dozen women barristers in Paris, besides
seventy doctors, eighteen dentists, ten oculists, and six chemists!
Women, too, have for many years occupied on the railways of France
positions which are exclusively in the hands of the stronger sex in
England. Who is not familiar with the hard-faced woman who with a horn
at her lips controls the level crossings?

The only restriction among French citizens to becoming President is
that which rules out any member of a royal family which has reigned in
France. He is elected for seven years and the salary is £48,000 a
year, one half of which is received as salary, the other being for
travelling and official expenses connected with office. This sum
appears generous when contrasted with the £5000 paid to the British
First Lord of the Treasury and his unpaid services as Prime Minister
of the Crown. The President appoints all the Ministers and heads of
the civil and military departments. He declares war with the consent
of both Houses, and a Minister counter-signs every act.

The national desire for security prompts the men folk of a large
proportion of the upper middle classes to aim towards the pleasantly
safe pigeon-holes in the State dovecot. In order to attain these
places of refuge from commercial or professional struggle, every
public official who has reached the desired haven of his ambition, or
at least one of the assured steps that will surely lead him thither,
is the subject of endless demands for aid in the same direction from
his remotest relatives and acquaintances. Upon this system of
_pistonnage_ the aspirant to an official position must lean, for if he
does not the crowd ready to fill each vacancy will all have superior
chances on account of the word here and there spoken on their behalf
in the right quarter. _Pistonnage_ does not, however, apply to those
who aspire to a seat in either the Senate or the Chamber of Deputies,
where a salary of 15,000 fr. a year and free travelling relieves the
representative of financial anxiety, so long as he is devoting his
time to his country's service.

By direct and semi-direct taxation about £25,000,000 was produced in
1912. These taxes include a levy on windows and doors, varying
according to the density of the population, the more closely inhabited
areas paying more than the less populous. There is a tax on land not
built upon, assessed in accordance with its net yearly revenue based
on the register of property drawn up in the earlier half of last
century and kept up to date. The Building tax is 3.2 per cent on the
rental value, and is paid by the owner. The Personal tax places a
fixed capitation on every citizen, varying from 1s. 3d. to 3s. 9d.
according to the department. The Habitation tax is paid by every one
occupying a house or apartments in proportion to the rent. The Trade
License tax embraces all trades, and consists of a fixed duty levied
on the extent of business as revealed by the number of employés, and
population, and the locality, and so on, and also an assessment on
the letting value of the premises.

By indirect taxation a little over £100,000,000 was raised in 1912.
The sum was realised by stamps of all sorts (excluding postage), by
registration duties on the transfer of property in business ways and
general changes of ownership, and by customs, including a tax on Stock
Exchange transactions, a tax of 4 per cent on dividends from stocks
and shares, taxes on alcohol, wine, beer, cider, and alcoholic liquors
generally, on home-produced salt and sugar, and on railway passenger
and goods traffic. The State monopolies of tobacco, matches, and
gunpowder produced the large sum of £38,000,000, but even this did not
meet the charges for interest on the National Debt, which were about
51½ millions, the accumulated sum for which this is required being
(1912) £1,301,718,302. This is almost double as great as the British
national indebtedness.

Over each of the 86 Departments is a prefect chosen by the Minister of
the Interior, and through him the minor officials are kept in touch
with the Government. The arrondissement and the canton are
administrative divisions into which each Department is divided, each
canton including about a dozen communes. The commune is controlled by
the mayor, who is chief magistrate and, as in England, is the head of
the municipal body. According to the size of the commune deputy mayors
are elected. The great city of Lyons requires 17 of these officials,
and when one remembers that the presence of the mayor or a deputy
mayor is required at every marriage in order that it may become legal,
the number does not seem excessive.

Every canton has its _juge de paix_, who is in a general sense a
police court judge. He tries small cases, but his responsibilities are
carefully limited, and he may not inflict a fine exceeding 200 francs.
Any offence requiring a heavier hand must go up to the _Tribunal
correctionnel de l'arrondissement_ or the court of _Première
Instance_. The _juge de paix_ wears a tall hat encircled with a broad
silver band, and although, as a rule, a man who has received a fairly
good education, his salary averages between £120 and £160 per annum.
On such an income there is no opportunity for pretentious living! The
wife of a _juge de paix_ cannot, as a rule, afford to keep a
nursemaid, and one maid-of-all-work is as much as the _ménage_ can
afford to maintain. Nevertheless the position is an honourable one,
there is a pension at sixty years, and the hours of labour are, to the
man with a sense of humour, often brightened by the absurdity of the
cases that are brought into court. There is generally much fun for the
court in the frequent cases of _diffamation_, in which citizens drag
one another into the presence of the _juge de paix_ for calling each
other names. The court allows noisy altercation in a fashion unknown
in England, and the task of the magistrate is, to the Anglo-Saxon
mind, almost beyond belief. The breezy outpourings of plaintiff and
defendant are ended with the _juge de paix's_ words, "You can retire,"
and, as a rule, some sound and friendly advice has been offered to the
unneighbourly neighbours. A very considerable amount of litigation
arises through the possession of land or houses, for the thriftiness
of the French has always inclined the people towards the ownership of
their farms or the land they till. In the old days before the
Revolution, all such disputes came before courts in which the
unprivileged and poor might be fairly sure of losing the day. The
scandal of those venal courts was so great that nothing short of a
clean sweep could effectually rid the land of the curse they
inflicted, and the overthrow of the monarchy was followed by the
establishment of administrators of justice who were servants of the
State and none other.

The correctional courts mentioned deal with the graver offences which
are outside the ambit of the _juge de paix_. As a rule there are three
judges and no jury. These courts are empowered to inflict punishment
up to imprisonment for five years. The Courts of Assize are held every
three months in each Department. They are presided over by a
councillor of the Court of Appeal with two assistants and a jury of
twelve, but a unanimous verdict is not required, the fate of the
accused hanging on a majority only. Another feature of these courts is
the _juge d'instruction's_ secret preliminary investigation into each
case.

Superior to the Courts of Assize are those of Appeal and the _Cour de
Cassation_, which became so well known to the English public during
the famous trial of Dreyfus. This court, as its name implies, can
abrogate the ruling of any other tribunal, with the exception of the
administrative courts. This high authority decides on matters of
legal principle or whether the court from which appeal has been made
was competent to make the decision in question. It does not concern
itself primarily with the facts of the case, and if it should annul
any finding the case is sent to a fresh hearing of a court of the same
authority.

The administrative police, or _gardiens de la paix_, are approximately
equivalent to British police constables, and must not be confused with
the _gendarmerie_, which is a military body carrying out civil duties
in times of peace. The _gendarmerie_ are recruited from the army,
there being one legion in each army corps district. Their strength is
roughly 22,000 men, equally divided between cavalry and infantry. In
Paris there is a separate force known as the _Garde républicaine_,
which carries out police duties very much the same as the
_gendarmerie_ in the Departments. They number about 3000, of whom 800
are mounted. The French prison system was in a very antiquated state
in 1874, when a commission on prison discipline issued its report in
favour of cellular confinements. Prisons were therefore reconstructed,
and after many years had elapsed some of the older ones were
demolished, the prisoners thereafter being removed from the
disadvantages they encountered in association. The system of
isolation required the construction of a huge new prison at
Fresnes-les-Rungis. It contains 1500 cells, and when it was completed
in 1898 the historic Paris prisons of Grande-Roquette, St. Pélagie,
and Mazas were swept away.

  [Illustration: FIVE O'CLOCK TEA IN PARIS.]

Taken as a whole, one can scarcely endorse Taine's utterance that
modern France is the work of Napoleon. The present organisation of the
nation is undoubtedly due to the masterly brain and tireless energy of
Napoleon, but the national characteristics of the French people have
shown little change. The existence of a constitution, the even-handed
administration of justice, and the opening of the highest offices in
the State to the citizen of the humblest origin, do not yet seem to
have affected the nature of the people. Laughter, tears, and anger are
still near the surface; love of adventure in thought, word, and deed
does not yet lead the French into the acquisition of the solid
advantages their enterprise would bring did they only persevere on the
lines of their initial enterprise. In spite of the almost frantic
desire for liberty there is no doubt that the French tamely submit to
a régime which Englishmen would find in some matters quite
intolerable. If suspicion of smuggling falls upon a house the police
can make domiciliary visits of a quite arbitrary character. The Civil
Code, too, must be regarded as oppressive so long as it retains its
attitude of looking upon the untried person as guilty until such time
as his trial establishes his innocence, and the Anglo-Saxon mind is
revolted at the practice of endeavouring to extort a confession from a
prisoner. The Napoleonic mould did not alter these qualities, and even
in the matter of religious tolerance the French have still much to
learn.



CHAPTER V

ON EDUCATION AND RELIGION


The annual sum of 4250 francs (£170) was considered by Napoleon--in so
far as he had opportunity for considering the subject--a sufficient
amount of money to devote directly to the education of the people! But
the rulers of States a brief century ago were, as a whole, inclined to
leave educational matters in clerical hands, and the nineteenth
century will stand out in the world's history as the dawn of State
responsibility in regard to the education of the people.

At the Restoration in 1814 more than twelve times as great a sum as
that expended by Napoleon was being devoted to education, and the
amount rose to 3,000,000 francs in 1830, to 12,000,000 during the
Second Empire, and to 160,000,000 under the Third Republic. To the
last sum must be added another 100,000,000 francs (excluding the
money devoted to the erection of schools) spent by the municipalities
and communes, making a total of about £11,400,000. In 1912 the State
alone was spending about £12,000,000 on national education.

At the head of this great spending department of the State is the
Minister of Public Instruction. He controls not only the whole of the
primary schools, but to some extent the entire educational machinery
of the country, private schools being subjected to State inspection
and supervision. Between 1901 and 1907 some 3000 public clerical
schools, and more than 13,000 private clerical schools, were
suppressed by law. The law passed in 1904 required that all schools
controlled by religious bodies should be closed within the next ten
years, which period is just about to elapse. Since the State awoke to
its responsibilities in educational matters, it has taken roughly a
century finally to extinguish clerical control. The schools are
divided into the three grades of Primary, Secondary, and Higher, and
the State admits into any of these pupils of any grade of society. In
the rooms of _lycée_ or college the classes meet in a truly democratic
fashion. The college, which is controlled by the commune under the
State, is considered inferior to the _lycée_, which is entirely in the
hands of the central authority. While the primary schools are
compulsory and gratuitous between the ages of six and thirteen, the
secondary schools charge small fees ranging from £2 a year up to £16.
But parents with bright children can often avoid this expenditure
through the lavish system of scholarships offered by the State.

_Lycées_ were first established for girls in 1880, and there are now
several in existence, one of them having 700 students. The hours of
the classes are from 8.30 to 11.30, and from 1.30 to 3.30, and the aim
has been to run them on the same lines as those of the boys. Since
clericalism was removed from the education of girls, there has no
doubt been a very considerable change in the scholastic environment of
the _jeune fille_, but until a long period has elapsed it will be
difficult for any but those in the closest touch with educational life
in France to point out how far the advantages outweigh the
disadvantages or _vice versa_. The lay schoolmistress may be in
essentials as religiously-minded as any convent-trained type of woman.
Her influence on her pupils may produce as moral and as religious
types of women in the coming generation as those of the immediate
past, but in such a change in the training of the girls of a race not
fond of moral discipline who can foresee the results?

The general tendency of the training given in the _lycée_ has been
towards the suppression of originality. There seems to have grown up
in the mind of the authorities an impression that the only means of
keeping the youth of France under proper control is by holding them
down with an iron grip, not merely during the hours of work but during
recreation also. This may have been necessitated by a certain lack of
discipline in the earliest years of life, young children being allowed
to have their own way to an altogether undesirable extent. As soon as
they are old enough the boys, having, as a rule, begun to be a source
of much trouble in the home, are sent to school. If their parents are
able to afford the fees, the gates of the _lycée_ soon close upon
their days of wilfulness and disobedience. In place of the home life
and the feminine influence with which they have been familiar, they
are confronted with a discipline of semi-military severity. Games are
not allowed, and in the hours of recreation in walled playgrounds of a
generally forbidding order, walking and talking alone are permitted.
Here, as in the class-room, the boys are perpetually under the eyes of
the _pion_, whose duties are restricted entirely to the maintenance of
order. Owing to suppression in natural directions, it is not
surprising if the minds of the boys should turn into the unhealthy
directions of intrigue and pernicious literature.

M. Demolins, who a few years ago tried the experiment of running his
school on English lines, has found the results excellent. So greatly
appreciated are his efforts to abolish the bad features of the _lycée_
that he is unable to meet the demand on the capacity of his buildings.
He is of opinion that the Anglo-Saxon is superior to the French
because of the better training given at school, discouragement of
initiative and suppression of independence being the chief features of
the schools of his own country, while the Anglo-Saxon allows boys a
freedom which develops self-reliance and individuality.

"Every one knows our dreadful college," writes M. Demolins, "with its
much too long classes and studies, its recreations far too short and
without exercise, its prison walks a monotonous going and coming
between high heart-breaking walls, and then every Sunday and Thursday
the military promenade in rank, the exercise of old men, not of
youth."

The boarder at the _lycée_, of course, feels the harshness of the
régime to a degree that the day-boy never experiences, home hours
mitigating the severity of the long working day.

As a whole, it may be said that the ideal of the educational system
has been intellectuality rather than that of character building, and
in the former France is superior to England, the system producing a
higher average of intellectual capacity. If both countries could take
to themselves the strong features that each possesses it would be very
materially to their advantage. Changes in the right direction are
already taking place in France. It is quite probable that the _pion_
will be suppressed before long, and cricket, football, and other manly
and health-giving games are beginning to take the place of the old
man's stroll under supervision. The fact that the Boy Scout is
appearing all over France seems to herald the dawn of a growing
sturdiness and manliness in the youth of the nation. At the present
day the average boy has an undoubtedly girlish softness in his dress
and general appearance. He wears sailor suits at an age which would
produce laughter amongst Anglo-Saxon boys. He appears in white socks
for several years longer than the English boy would tolerate, and his
thinly-soled boots suggest the promenade rather than any form of
strenuous game. His clothes do not appear to have been made for any
hard wear, and as a rule the knickerbockers of soft thin grey material
so generally to be seen are unfit for any rough use whatever. Even the
large black leather portfolios in which books and papers are carried
to and from school seem to receive as careful handling as though they
belonged to a Government official rather than that most destructive of
creatures--the schoolboy. In England one is familiar with the sight of
four or five books dangling at the end of the strap which secures
them, enabling the owner to convert his home-work into a handy weapon
of offence, but the soft leather case of French boys and girls, which
must be carefully carried under one arm, offers no such fascinating
by-purpose.

  [Illustration: CHILDREN OF PARIS IN THE LUXEMBOURG GARDENS.]

If parents keep their boys in socks for a longer period than seems
rational to the Anglo-Saxon, they frequently go farther with their
girls, who often enough may be seen with bare legs until they are
nearly as tall as their mothers.

Very much stress is laid on the examinations, which commence at the
age of fifteen or sixteen, when the _lycée_ and college training
terminates. The system since 1902 has consisted of a period of seven
years divided into two parts. At the expiry of the first, which
consists of four years, the pupil can choose one of four courses. The
first is Latin and Greek, the second Latin and sciences, the third
Latin and modern languages, and the fourth sciences and modern
languages. Having passed three years on one of these courses, he
should be ready for the two examinations by which he can obtain the
degree known as the _Baccalauréat de l'enseignement_. This is the
outer gateway to be passed through before the scholar can enter the
citadels of any of the great professions, such as law, letters,
medicine, or Protestant theology.

The State provides the higher education in its universities and in its
specialised higher schools, and since 1875 private individuals and
bodies, so long as they are not clerical, have been permitted to take
part in the advanced educational work of the country, but the State
faculties alone have the power to confer degrees. The five classes of
faculties associated with the various universities confer degrees in
law, science, medicine, letters, and Protestant theology.

  [Illustration: LE PUY-EN-VELAY IN THE AUVERGNE COUNTRY.]

The keystone of the arch of learning in France is the _Institut de
France_. It embodies the five great academies of science and
literature, but omits that of medicine, which stands apart.

In England some social importance attaches to a man on account of his
having been educated at Eton or Harrow and having afterwards taken a
degree at one of the two mother universities, irrespective of his
having shown himself an indifferent scholar, but south of the Channel
the scene of a man's education counts for naught in later life. The
moral and social sides of the English system would seem to have
crowded out to a great extent the intellectual side, which, with the
essentially practical people of France, forms the whole structure.
From the teacher in the primary school to the heads of the
universities no effort is made to influence character: "As soon as the
student leaves the lecture hall he is free to return to the niche he
has constituted for himself, to its probable triviality and its
possible grossness, or to the vulgar pleasures of the town.... We lose
the advantage of that peculiar monastic, thoughtful life which is
offered to the young Englishman."[3]

  [3] W. L. George.

An almost childlike simplicity seems to be the keynote of the religion
of that portion of the French people which still adheres to the
observances of the Roman Church. The nation, until recent years,
professed the Catholic faith and worshipped the Virgin as the mother
of the Saviour of the world. In her honour, and to keep her presence
ever in mind, to envisage her to mortal eyes, they erected statues and
placed little figures at street-corners, by the road-side, and upon
the altars of churches, and these are still objects of veneration
among the people. One of the largest and most imposing representations
of the Virgin is Notre Dame de France, a colossal figure cast from
guns captured in the Crimean War, which is erected on the summit of
the basaltic cliff which towers above the ancient town of Le
Puy-en-Velay (Haute Loire). The figure is so gigantic--it stands forth
gilded by the rising or the setting sun high above one's head, even
when standing on the top of the rock upon which it has been
erected--that one can scarce forbear to look upon it without some
admiration, irrespective of its merits as a work of art. The features
are of a sweet and simple beauty, although of a stereotyped order, and
even to those whose religious ideas do not lean in the direction of
the veneration of representations of deities it is easy to see how a
simple peasant, trained in the religious system which erects such
images, can fall into the attitude of prayer by merely looking on such
an achievement.... Gazing at the figure standing high in the midst of
an amphitheatre of picturesque mountains, one feels some explanation
for the attitude of the religious towards the immense figure; ... and
then one turns away to descend from the rock, and passing behind the
pedestal of the effigy one observes a door, and above it a notice to
the effect that on payment of ten centimes one may ascend within the
_Vierge_, and when the maximum fee has been paid one may actually
place oneself within the head and gaze out upon an immense panorama
from a position of wonderful novelty.... Where is the vision, where
the sense of fitness, where any atmosphere of sanctity? Does the
incongruity of such an arrangement strike no one among the
religiously-minded people who visit Le Puy?

It would appear that the French prefer to have all that is outward in
their religion as much a part of their daily lives as any other
objects of common use. Thus the coverings of the inner doors of a
French church are almost invariably worn into holes or discoloured
with the frequent handling of those who every day spend a few minutes
in the incense-laden atmosphere of their parish church. The floors are
dirty with the constant coming and going from the streets, and the
need for doormats does not appear to be observed. On week-days, apart
from the clergy, it is exceptional to see a man in a church unless he
is there in some official capacity. One will find men carrying out
repairs, and it does not seem to occur to them to remove their hats;
one will see them as tourists with guide-books in their hands, or, as
at St. Denis in the suburbs of Paris, a man in uniform will conduct
visitors through the choir and crypt, and he too finds it unnecessary
to uncover his head; but one goes far to find any other than women and
children kneeling in prayer before the altars or stations of the cross
on any other day than Sunday. It is the women whose religious needs
bring them into places of worship in the midst of the working hours of
the weekday, men rarely coming unless their steps are directed thither
for a wedding or a funeral. And on Sundays few churches would be
required if the women ceased to attend.

  [Illustration: LA ROCHE, A VILLAGE OF HAUTE SAVOIE.]

Funerals have not yet lost their impressive trappings as is the case
in England, where even the poor are beginning to find it less a
necessity to have the hearse drawn by horses adorned with immense
black plumes and long black cloths coming down almost to the ground.
In France these things are still much in evidence, and imposing black
and purple hangings studded with immense silver tear-drops are put up
in the church if the estate or the relatives of the deceased can
afford such melancholy splendour. Before leaving the church after the
funeral service, friends and relatives pass one by one to the bier,
and there each takes a crucifix and makes the sign of the cross.

The interior of a French church is, as a rule, so dark and shadowy
that the clusters of candles burning before the shrines sparkle
brilliantly in the cavernous gloom of its apsidal chapels, casting an
uncertain and mystic light on pictures and effigies of saints and
apostles, on shining objects of silver and gold, and on gaudy ornament
and tinsel. Looming out of the obscurity, the ghostly representation
of the crucified Christ is faintly illuminated; a few inky figures are
grouped before the altars, their blackness relieved only by the white
caps of the peasants--for it is the custom for women to wear black
when they go to church; the air is heavy with incense, and one feels
that superficial glamour which makes its strong appeal to those who
find satisfaction in the mainly sensuous emotions caused by these
surroundings. When an organ pours forth its sonorous and mellow notes
and men's voices chant Gregorian music before the brilliantly lighted
altar sparkling with golden ornament, when the solemn Latin liturgy is
recited and the consecrated elements are raised by the priest, the
average religious requirements of the French would seem to be
satisfied. Those who do not find any satisfaction in watching and
listening to these offices of the Roman Church as a rule drop into a
state of agnosticism, if not of complete irreligion. To be logical one
must do so, and a growing majority of Frenchmen seem to find no other
course unless they belong to the comparatively small body of
Protestants or the Jewish communities.[4] There can be no doubt at all
that the Roman Church has lost its hold on a vast proportion of its
adherents, and those who are still numbered among the "faithful" are
every year shrinking in numbers.

  [4] The Protestants number about 600,000, the Jews 70,000, and the
  nominal Catholics 39,000,000.

"French Protestants," writes Mr. W. L. George,[5] "and French Jews are
as devout, as clean-living, as spiritually minded as our most
enlightened Churchmen and Nonconformists; a visit to any Parisian
synagogue or to the Oratory will demonstrate in a moment that the
French have not forgotten how to pray. The congregations are as large
as ever they were, and they contain as great a proportion of men as in
England." And he adds: "This distinction of sex must everywhere be
made, and particularly in France, where Roman Catholicism flaunts a
sumptuous aestheticism, voluptuous and worldly, capable of appealing
both to the refined and to the sensuous." Mr. George believes that
French Catholics have not turned against Christ, but against the
ministers of the Christian religion in his land because they have
been discovered to be unfaithful servants. It is his belief that the
Church is dying--"dying hard but surely"; and who can quarrel with his
statement that the people have turned their backs on its ministers,
that they are on the threshold of agnosticism, and that the Church is
putting forth no hand to stay them? The next two or three generations
can scarcely fail to witness the death by atrophy of the Roman faith
in France; but the French are not an irreligious people, and perhaps a
wider faith may spring up from the ashes of the creed which is so fast
growing cold.

  [5] _France in the Twentieth Century_--an admirable work.

One might compare religious systems to the unresponsive edifices in
which public worship is conducted, for they seem equally incapable of
spontaneous adaptability to the needs of the people, and only the
stress and labour of the laity ever produces any adaptation to the
changing needs of those for whom the structure exists.

Because the accumulated resentment of the French people as a whole
against the shortcomings of their national Church has resulted in a
complete divorce from the State, and because the clergy have rebelled
against the laws which have recently been passed, and have therefore
become in a certain sense outlaws--servants, as it were, of a
discredited section of the community--it has been easy for superficial
observers to come to the conclusion that the French nation has
virtually assumed the garb of atheism. This is always the arrow which
strikes the legislative body determined to dissociate itself with any
form of religion, but as in England, where devoted Churchmen are
ranged on the side of disestablishment, so in France the national
voice that spoke for a severance between Church and State was not that
of a people without religion, but rather that of a people unwilling to
maintain a system which had fallen away from its duty and its ideals.
Atheism and agnosticism would appear to be phases in the religious
development of the human race, the positions into which various types
of mind are driven when dissatisfied with the explanation of the
purpose, duty, and future of the individual as set forth by a
particular Church. That some new development of the truth will
supersede that which has been cast aside seems inevitable.

In this period of upheaval what is the attitude of the people, of the
peasant, to _M. le Curé_? Social intimacy between priest and
parishioners is very great, and the _curé_ is often a very good
fellow whose practical religion is much broader than the
ecclesiasticism he represents. He is, roughly speaking, of the peasant
class and is regarded as socially inferior by the equivalent to the
"county" circle of his neighbourhood. Unlike the English clergy, who
are often distinguishable from the laity by little besides a
distinctive collar and hat, he is always to be seen in his _soutane_
and with white-bordered black lappets beneath his chin. He is, as a
rule, anti-Republican, and is therefore out of sympathy with the
people and the whole apparatus of the government of to-day. To a huge
mass of the people he is nicknamed the _calotin_.

Paul Sabatier explains how the association of the Church with politics
affects the relations of priest and parishioner:--

   At election times, especially, how great an impression is made on
   the mind of the simple by the defeat of one who has been put
   forward as the candidate of _le bon Dieu_, and the triumph of the
   candidate of "the satanic sect"! When such coincidences recur
   over forty years with increasing frequency, the most pious
   countryman begins to ask if Satan be not stronger than the
   Almighty. The artisan, meeting his parish priest, speaks in a
   tone at once commiserating and mocking of God's business, which
   is not going well. Blasphemy! thinks our good priest. But no;
   they have only blasphemed who taught him to identify a political
   party with religion. His rudeness is not very different from that
   of Elijah, chiding on Carmel's summit the priests of Baal.... But
   this rudeness, like that of the prophet, disguises an outburst of
   religious feeling, still awkward in its manifestation, and even,
   perhaps, expressing itself by deplorable means----....[6]

  [6] _France To-day: its Religious Orientation._ M. Sabatier
  proclaims himself a Protestant who has sought to love both
  Catholicism and Free Thought.

Since 1882, when the undenominational schools were established, there
has been a fierce battle between Church and State, which has scarcely
come to a close at the present hour; but emerging from the din and
dust of the prolonged warfare there is one salient fact, namely, a
growing desire among the great mass of teachers for increasing the
undenominational moral teaching in the schools. A compelling force is
obliging the school to build up a strong moral training for the young,
entirely independent of clerical influence.



CHAPTER VI

SOME ASPECTS OF PARIS AND OF TOWN LIFE IN GENERAL


The reckless driving and the wonderful lack of regulation in the
streets of the capital and the majority of the cities of France do not
prevent the streets from possessing a character encouraging sociality
and relaxation. This is due to a great extent to the ever-inviting
café, which contrives to keep clean table-cloths and the opportunity
of a comfortable meal in the open air within six feet of a rushing and
tempestuous stream of wheeled traffic. In addition there is much
marketing in France, which adds colour and human interest to what
might otherwise be a featureless street or square. In walking as a
mere visitor through the streets of a French town, one seems to
witness more of the intimate life of the place in a few hours than one
would do in England in a week. From the baking of bread to
haircutting and shaving and the eating of food, there is much more of
work and play visible from the curb-stone. In England the staff of
life seems to reach the dining-room table by invisible means, so
seldom does one see bread carried through the streets, but among the
French--a nation of bread-eaters--long loaves as well as circular ones
are to be seen tucked under the arm of almost every tenth person one
meets. The working classes seem to be continually buying bread freshly
baked, and one loaf at a time! And those who may be seen carrying
bread or vegetables, or whatever they have just purchased at the
market, are more at home in the street than are Anglo-Saxons, who are
apt to regard the common highways of their towns as channels for
coming and going to and from business or pleasure whereon lingering or
conversation is undesirable, indiscreet, and not without danger, for
it is generally recognised that those who pass hours of rest or
idleness in the streets are persons without homes or of undesirable
reputation. But in a French city one is invited at every turn to buy a
newspaper or periodical at a kiosk and to take a seat at a table close
by, where, having ordered a bock or a cup of coffee, one is free to
read undisturbed for hours.

In Paris the gossip of the _boulevards_ is part of the life of a big
section of the people, and yet to the casual and superficial observer
it might be thought that there was less opportunity for chatting in
the streets than is offered in London. The French _boulevard_ is in
reality no more free from danger than the English street, but the
people have accustomed themselves to the conditions. Among Latin
peoples there is a time-honoured weakness for throwing out of the
window all sorts and conditions of rubbish, and those who are chatting
in a patch of shade in some quiet corner of a street may be rudely
disturbed by the fall of a basinful of old cabbage leaves or other
kitchen ejecta. Worse than this are the strange and often offensive
odours that assail one in the streets. Imperfect sanitation is
commonly the cause of the noxious atmosphere of so many streets in
French towns. The artist sometimes pays a heavy price for the picture
he obtains of some picturesque quarter on account of the contaminated
air he is obliged to breathe. In Caen, where splendid Norman and
Gothic churches thrill those who appreciate mediaeval architecture,
the malodorous streets often frighten one away.

Sanitation has improved enormously in recent years, and is still
making great strides forward, but the people have a great deal to
learn in the use of the new appliances that are provided. This leeway
is less easy to make up than that of mechanical contrivance, and much
time will no doubt elapse before every one is educated up to the
proper appreciation and use of sanitary arrangements. Municipal
authorities have also much to learn. There should not exist the
smallest loophole for an architect to erect a modern building without
providing a direct outlet to the open air to all the sanitary
quarters, and yet in a recently erected hotel in the Étoile district
of Paris, such a cardinal requirement of health is ignored, the only
ventilation being a window that lights a cupboard for hot-water cans,
and that in turn is the sole ventilation of a bathroom, outside air
reaching neither the first nor the last! London, which before the
Great Fire was a city whose smells had become proverbial, is now the
cleanest and healthiest city in the world, its sanitary by-laws
leaving no loopholes for slipshod work; but Paris, the world centre
for the choicest and most exquisite of perfumery, has still much
progress to make before complete enjoyment of its cheerful, busy,
richly coloured street life can be experienced.

Every one knows the difficulties of looking at and observing with
seeing eyes the everyday objects with which one is surrounded. A
little girl paying a visit to London from the country once pointed out
to the writer what a number of blind horses there were to be seen in
the streets, and he was obliged to confess that he had never noticed
any. Such limitations seem to debar one from making comparisons
between one's own form of urban civilisation and another, but allowing
for a certain lack of observation in the land of one's upbringing,
there are some features of French town life to which one may draw
attention.

  [Illustration: A TYPICAL COCHER OF PARIS.]

Very early in his first experiences of Paris the visitor discovers
that the rule of the road is to keep to the right, and that there is
little certainty of what may happen where the great streams of traffic
meet. The policeman of Paris may hold up his baton, but it is not in
the least likely that a complete check to the traffic behind him will
result. After an exhaustive study of London methods the Parisian
authorities have come to the conclusion that it is the French
character which prevents their officers from carrying out the same
methods in Paris. Notwithstanding the quiet way in which the French
submit to certain laws which would not be tolerated in England, they
appear to resent control in this department of life. The police of
Britain are a bigger, more solid and imperturbable type than those of
their neighbours across the Channel, but an east-ender might make
impertinent comments if the policeman who held up his donkey-cart had
patent leather toe-caps to his boots--a by-no-means unusual sight in
Paris!

The quaint, noisy omnibuses pulled by three horses abreast have been
replaced by heavy motor-propelled vehicles which still, however,
preserve the old features of first-and second-class sections, and the
standing accommodation for eight or ten persons. One mounts and
alights from the middle of the rear of the vehicle, the opening being
guarded by a chain controlled by the conductor--a method offering less
opportunity for dropping off before the 'bus has come to a standstill.
Although the motor-cab is present in considerable numbers, the
horse-drawn taxi still holds its own. It is cheap, and although,
through the close coupling of the front pair of wheels, it can be
overturned quite easily, it is a decidedly pleasant means of
conveyance, with less anxiety for the fare than the auto-taxi, but the
drivers seem to desire to out-do the chauffeurs in giving as much
thrill and sensation as skilful and often reckless driving will
provide.

   His hatred of the _bourgeois_--the "man in the street"--in spite
   of, and indeed because of, his being a potential client, is
   expressed at every yard. He constantly tries to run them down,
   which makes strangers to Paris accuse the Paris cabman of driving
   badly, while in point of fact he is not driving at all, but
   playing with miraculous skill a game of his own.... The cabman's
   wild career through the streets, the constant waving and slashing
   of his pitiless whip, his madcap _hurtlements_ and collisions,
   the frenzied gesticulations which he exchanges with his "fare,"
   the panic-stricken flight of the agonized women whose lives he
   has endangered; the ugly rushes which the public occasionally
   make at him with a view to lynching him, the sprawlings and
   fallings of his maddened, hysterical, starving horse, contribute
   as much as anything to the spasmodic intensity, the electric
   blue-fire diablerie, which are characteristic of the general
   movement of Paris.[7]

  [7] Rowland Strong, _The Sensations of Paris_.

No doubt the hansom-cab--the gondola of London as some one termed
it--would have survived if it had accepted the limitations of the
taximeter, but refusing to adjust itself to circumstance its numbers
steadily diminished.

Among the omnibuses and taxis of both types and the numerous private
motor-cars there passes at all times of the day a wonderful stream of
country vehicles. Vegetables are conspicuous, but these might be
overlooked, whereas the hay and straw carts assail the eye by their
immense proportions. They might almost be dubbed lazy men's loads, for
they have the appearance of moving hay-stacks and require the most
skilful manoeuvring in the midst of so much impetuously driven
traffic. These country carts almost give the streets of Paris a
provincial flavour, their horses and drivers being more essentially
rural than anything one sees in London, even in the neighbourhood of
Covent Garden. Riding quietly through the wheeled traffic the sight of
half a dozen members of the semi-military _Garde républicaine_ is a
very familiar one. Their uniforms are so military in character that
visitors to Paris generally mistake them for soldiers.

On the pavements of the streets a striking feature is the number of
women who go about their business without wearing hats. In the dinner
hour of the _midinette_, between twelve and one (from which she
derives her name), this is particularly noticeable, the streets and
public gardens overflowing with this hard-worked and underpaid class
of _Parisienne_. These girls and women are the "labour" of the
dressmaking establishments wherein is produced all that is most
admired by the well-dressed women of the world. The majority are very
underpaid, the young and inexperienced earning about 1 fr. 50 a day,
the _petites couturières_, as a rule, having a wage between 1 and 3
francs a day, which does not go far in Paris, where the cost of living
is roughly double that of London. In the leading establishments the
_midinette_ may earn from £35 to over £50 a year, but these are the
highly skilled _ouvrières_ and do not represent a very large
proportion of the whole, whose incomes have been roughly estimated in
three divisions, each representing one-third of the whole number. The
most poorly paid third receives less than 5 francs a day, the
intermediate section attains the 5-franc level, and the most
prosperous third exceeds it to the amount already mentioned. A small
number of women become what is known as _premières_ in famous
houses in the Rue de la Paix, the classic street from which the
fashions in woman's attire for the whole of the civilised world are
believed to emanate. These clever French women are endowed with a very
high degree of taste and skill, and their gifts reach a comparatively
high market value, bringing in an annual income of about £150.

  [Illustration: AUTUMN IN THE CHAMPS ELYSÉES, PARIS.]

The work-girls who take sewing to their homes can earn from 75
centimes to 2 francs a day. In her interesting book on Paris life
Mlle. de Pratz gives the following two budgets of _midinettes_
receiving £34 and £48 per annum:--

                                850 fr. per annum   1200 fr. per annum
                                      (£34).              (£48).
     Lodging                         100   £4            150   £6
     Food                            550   £22           750   £30
     Clothes                         100   £4            150   £6
     Heat, light, washing, and       100   £4            150   £6
       recreation                   ____                ____
                                     850                1200

The struggle to make ends meet on the smaller incomes is no doubt
great, for Paris, it must always be remembered, does not provide cheap
living for any one, not even in its poorest quarters. As a whole the
_midinette_ class is badly fed and therefore delicate and too often a
prey to consumption. It does not produce a high average of
good-looking girls, for, being fond of amusement, late hours are
indulged in very generally, with the result that when the hour for
work arrives insufficient rest has been obtained. No doubt in so large
a class--they are computed to number about 110,000--there is a wide
range of character and morals, but there seems little doubt that, as a
class, the chastity of the most poorly paid does not rank high. In a
moral atmosphere such as that breathed by Parisians as a whole, it
would be almost impossible for girls subjected to so much temptation
on account of poverty to resist. And there is commonly no loss of
self-respect when the downward step has been taken, for even when a
girl convicted of such moral laxity is blamed, she merely replies with
calmness that it is quite natural.

The Apache class lives in its own particular quarter of the city, and
its members are not easily recognisable by the general public. The
fraternity tattoo a certain arrangement of dots on the forearm by
which recognition is instantly obtained. These dots indicate the motto
of the Apache, _Mort aux vaches!_ by which is intended their perpetual
warfare with the police. This strange class of anti-social beings is
recruited from many grades of Parisian life, all suffering from some
abnormal mental condition unless drawn into the grip of the strange
brotherhood by mischance when very young, as will sometimes happen
with girls at an immature age. In spite of the national training in
arms of the young men of France, this incredible class continues to
exist and to perpetrate outrage, murder, and robbery. How many of
these outlaws of society have experienced military service, and to
what extent it has modified or accentuated their abnormality, are
questions to which one would like to have answers.

Probably the average Parisian of the middle classes is more aware of
the enormities of the _concierge_ than of the Apache. The one is an
ever-present annoyance, and the other a thing read about in the
evening newspapers, but not encountered personally. Not so _La
Concierge_. This individual is employed by a landlord to act as his
watchdog in a block of flats. His duties are connected with showing
the flats to prospective tenants, collecting rent, keeping the
staircases clean, and delivering letters, the last being required
because the Paris postman does not climb the stairs in flat
buildings--all the letters for the building being delivered into the
hands of the _concierge_. It is this matter of one's letters which
gives the caretaker his power. He uses it to extort liberal gratuities
for every small service, as well as a handsome _étrenne_ on New Year's
Day. It is the landlord who is at the fountain-head of the trouble.
How seldom is it otherwise! He pays the _concierge_ an entirely
inadequate sum for his services, and as he has to supplement his
income in some other way he, as a rule, leaves his wife in charge for
a large part of the day and earns a supplemental sum elsewhere. The
Frenchwoman is too often inclined to avarice, and it seems to be the
exception to find in Paris a _concierge's_ wife who will not levy a
form of blackmail on the tenants whose letters come into her hands.
She will make herself familiar with the character of the
correspondence that each tenant receives, and if insufficiently tipped
will not hesitate to hold up any letters that she believes are of
importance. The opening of letters with steam is not beneath the moral
plane of _Madame la Concierge_, and by various means she obtains such
an intimate knowledge of the concerns of each tenant that peace and
freedom from endless petty annoyances can only be bought at the price
which she deems satisfactory. Mlle. de Pratz gives a vigorous picture
of this bugbear of flat life in Paris, telling of the scandals that
are circulated concerning entirely innocent people who have failed in
the liberality of their _étrennes_, and how the residents of
ill-reputation buy immunity from these baneful attentions by their
liberal tips. How long, it may reasonably be asked, will Paris consent
to this iniquity, which could be remedied by the delivery of letters
direct to the door of each flat?

It is often a matter of discussion how far the proverbial politeness
of the French goes beneath the surface. Generalising on such a topic
is hedged about with pitfalls, and the wary are disinclined to
enter such debatable ground. Compared to the British, whose
self-consciousness or shyness too often leads to awkwardness in those
moments of social intercourse when dexterity is needful, the French
are undoubtedly ages ahead. The right phrase exactly fitting the
requirements of the moment comes easily to their lips, and with it, as
a rule, the right expression and attitude; and yet one must travel
often in the underground railways of Paris to see a man give up his
seat to a woman who is standing. It is understood that a young man
cannot offer his place to a young woman, because it would suggest
_arrière-pensées_; but if this regrettable state of affairs does
exist, the restriction to such action does not apply when an old woman
carrying a bundle is standing beside a youth, who could not be accused
of anything but courtesy if he rose to save her the discomfort of
standing. But no one seems to think such action a requirement of
common politeness. While one finds great charm and civility among the
assistants in shops, which often add very much to the pleasure of
shopping, a disagreement on a business matter may be handled with much
less courtesy than in a British shop. A hard, almost angry expression
will come upon _madame_ or _mademoiselle's_ face, where over the
Channel one would meet a look of mere anxiety. But Paris shopkeepers
no doubt have a very cosmopolitan world to attend to, and they perhaps
encounter many rogues. There is unevenness in manners everywhere, and
while one class of workers may be soured by adverse conditions and
lose their natural charm in the economic struggle, another will expand
in the sun of easy and pleasant conditions. The Parisian horse
taxi-cab driver with his picturesque shiny tall hat and crimson
waistcoat is not conspicuous for his politeness unless his
_pour-boire_ is very liberal, and the railway porter can easily be
insulting if he is dissatisfied with a tip. In London there is much
unmannerly pushing on to trams and omnibuses during the morning and
evening hours, restricted here and there by the method of the queue,
but in Paris all the chief stopping-places of the omnibuses are
provided with publicly exposed bunches of numbered tickets. On a wet
day a little girl or a cripple has merely to tear off one of these
slips of paper, and when the 'bus arrives the conductor takes up his
passengers in the numerical order of their tickets--all unfair
hustling being thus eliminated.

The Parisian _bonne à tout faire_ has been diminishing in numbers for
many years. In the thirty years between 1866 and 1896 the total was
nearly halved, leaving about 700,000 of this overworked and underpaid
class. The day of frilled caps has gone, and even a bib to the apron
is considered an out-of-date demand. It is no doubt the need for
stringent economy in the flats constituting the greatest part of home
life in Paris, which is responsible for the dislike to domestic
service on the part of the young women of the capital.

An undesirable arrangement in flat buildings is the housing of all the
maids of the building in very small bedrooms on the top floor. In the
hours in which the girls are free from duty they are able to do more
or less as they please on their floor, and the result is that the
natural protection of the home is missing in the hours of rest and
leisure, when their need is most pressing. The average _bonne à tout
faire_ is not disinclined to hard work, and she is clever and willing
to put herself to any trouble in an emergency or when there are guests
to be entertained. Boredom however, seems to settle upon her during
the normal routine of life, and her buoyant nature makes her inclined
to sing and talk loudly about her work. She is in a great proportion
of cases more intimate with the family than the servants in London
flats, and on this account her manner assumes a familiarity that in
the circumstances is fairly inevitable. A man visitor will commonly
raise his hat to the maid and call her "Mademoiselle."

Probably the Paris maid-of-all-work is not worked any harder than the
single servant in London--the only real difference being the morning
marketing, which she regularly undertakes. There is attractiveness in
the life she sees in the streets and markets, and in addition there is
the tradesman's _sou_ which finds its way into her pocket for every
_franc's_ worth of goods purchased. If honest the girl's commission
begins and ends with the _sou du franc_, but if she is otherwise she
will make little alterations to the amounts in the household books,
and thus add by these petty but perpetual thefts a considerable sum to
her annual wages. How far such dishonesty is practised it is
impossible to say, and in the absence of any figures one may hope that
a few cases are the cause of much talk.

Rents in Paris are high, and the tendency is to mount still higher.
Blocks of flats that have been let at a quite reasonable rent are
frequently "modernised" with a few superficial improvements and
renovations and relet at vastly increased prices. This is much the
case with those formerly let at from £60 to £100 a year, and the
restriction in the number of cheaper homes available for the poor has
been going on so steadily that the problem has become one which it
will be necessary for the State to tackle. The increase in rents has,
in some instances, been only 10 per cent, but in many instances it is
more than that, and here and there the upward bound has reached three
or four times that amount.

One is sometimes puzzled to know how the Parisian struggles along, for
besides his ascending rent he has to pay much more for all household
stuff, whether it is curtains for his windows (which are taxed), a
cake of soap, or an enamelled iron can. No wonder that the best
sitting-room is kept shut up on certain days of the week, and that
polished wooden floors are so frequently seen in place of carpeted
ones.

Tenants having large families are in a most awkward predicament, for
landlords on all hands discourage them, and if the Government wish to
go to one of the root causes of the diminishing birth-rate, they must
see to it that the housing of the middle and lower middle classes is a
less difficult and precarious feature of their struggle for existence.
Perhaps, now that the United States has set the example of lowering
and in some instances sweeping away the protective tariffs on certain
articles, France may follow suit. If the heavy duties on cotton goods
were removed there is no doubt whatever that the burden of
housekeeping in France would be instantly relieved. But the relief in
this respect would be trifling compared to that which would be felt in
the food bill. Tea costs from 4s. to 6s. per pound. Sugar averages
5d., rice 6d., and jam 10d. per pound. A remarkable instance of the
working of the tariff is given by Mlle. de Pratz in her interesting
work already quoted. "In a small village I know near Paris," she
writes, "thousands of pounds worth of fresh fruit and beet-sugar are
exported each year to England. But this village uses English-made jam
made from their own fruit and sugar, which, after being exported and
reimported, costs half the price of home-made French jam."

As recently as March 1910 the protective system of 1892 was
strengthened, duties being raised all round. In support of the changes
it was argued that foreign countries were adopting similar measures,
and that fiscal and social legislation were laying new burdens upon
home industries. With Great Britain still maintaining its system of
free imports and the United States moving in the direction of Free
Trade, the first argument begins to lose its force.

These questions of rent and the cost of food do not, of course, press
upon the very considerable numbers of wealthy residents in Paris, but
they are not on this account less vital to the well-being of the
mighty cosmopolitan city. And if these features of urban existence
were overlooked in any book, however slight, which aims at putting
before the reader some salient aspects of French life, the blank would
leave much unexplained. Bearing in mind the expense of living in the
large towns a thousand little things are at once interpreted.

It has been said of Paris that the population belongs less to France
than that of any other city in the country, for the proportion of
residents of other nationalities has gone up prodigiously in the last
half century. There is a glamour about the city which seems to act as
a magnet among all the civilised nations of the world. "The
aristocratic class," says Mr. E. H. Barker,[8] "nominally so much
associated with Paris life, is becoming less and less French. The old
Legitimist families, so intimately connected with the Faubourg St.
Germain under the Second Empire and a good while afterwards, who at
one time held so aloof even from the Bonapartist nobility, have
greatly changed their habits and views of social intercourse. The two
nobilities now intermarry without apparent hindrance on the score of
prejudices, and mingle without any suspicion of class divisions. But
all this society helps to form what is called _Le Tout Paris_, which
is almost as cosmopolitan as French."

  [8] _France of the French._

When one stands before the great Byzantine Church of the _Sacré
Coeur_, that holds aloft its white domes against the sky up above
Paris on the hill of Montmartre, and looks down on the multiplicity of
roofs, there is always a film of smoke obscuring detail and softening
the outlines of some portions of the city. Yet when one walks through
the streets the clean creamy whiteness of the buildings would almost
give the stranger the impression that he had reached a city that had
no use for coal. Even in the older streets where renovation and
repairs are very infrequent there is never a suspicion of that uniform
greyness that the big cities of Britain produce. In all the great
boulevards in the whole of the Étoile district and wherever the houses
are well built and of modern construction, the bright clean stone-work
is so free from the effects of smoke that a Dutch housewife would
fail to see the need for external cleaning. The façades of nearly all
the houses in the newly reconstructed streets have a certain monotony
about them which has been inherited from the days of Hausmann's great
rebuilding. There is seldom any colour except in the windows of shops,
for the universal shutters, which in Italy are brilliantly painted
bright green, brown, blue, or even pink, are here uniformly white or
the palest of greys. So many of the new streets are, however, planted
with trees that the colour scheme resolves itself into green and pale
cream, except in winter, when the blackish stems of the trees add
nothing to the gaiety of the streets.

Contrasting the streets in the neighbourhood of the Parc Monceaux with
those of Mayfair, London has the advantage for variety of
architectural styles and for complete changes of atmosphere; but for
spacious splendour, for what can properly be termed elegance, Paris
stands on a vastly higher plane. The dreary stucco pomposity of
Kensington and Belgravia fortunately cannot be discovered in Paris,
and it is well for the world that few cities indulged in this
architectural make-believe. While Belgravia can only keep her
self-respect by continually covering herself with fresh coats of
paint, the honest stone-work of Paris lets the years pass without
showing any appreciable signs of deterioration. Unlike London, where
there are seemingly endless streets of two and three storeys, Paris
has developed the tall building of five or six floors. The girdle of
fortification has no doubt directed this tendency. Where the streets
are not wide the lofty houses increase the effect of narrowness, and
many of the side streets in the St. Antoine district have, with their
innumerable shutters, a very close resemblance to some Italian cities.

It is a mistake to suppose that the whole of Paris has been rebuilt;
for, apart from Notre Dame and such well-known Romanesque and Gothic
churches as St. Étienne-du-Mont, St. Germain, the tower of St.
Jacques, and the Sainte Chapelle, there are gabled houses of
considerable age in many of the by-ways. These are almost invariably
covered with a mask of stucco that does its best to hide up their
seventeenth-century or earlier characteristics. The beautiful and
dignified quadrangular building that is now called the Musée
Carnavalet, was the residence of the Marquise de Sévigné and was
built in the sixteenth century, although altered and added to in 1660.
Earlier than this is the fascinating Hôtel Cluny, a late Gothic house
built as the town residence of the abbots of Cluny. This building even
links up modern Paris with the Roman _Lutetia Parisiorum_. Another
interesting architectural survival is the Hôtel de Lauzan, a typical
residence of a great aristocrat of the days of _Le Roi soleil_. The
Palais du Louvre, dating in part from the days of François I., the
Tuileries, begun in 1564 and finished by Louis XIV., and the
Conciergerie wherein Marie Antoinette and Robespierre were confined,
are buildings of such world-renown that it is scarcely necessary to
mention them.

In many ways Paris is similar in arrangement to London. It is divided
in two by its river, which cuts it from east to west, and the more
important half is on the northern bank. The wealthy quarters are on
the west and the poorer to the east. The great park, the Bois de
Boulogne, is also on the west side of the city. In Paris, the ancient
nucleus of the city was an island in the river, but London, although
it originated on a patch of land raised high above the surrounding
marshes, was never truly insulated. The Bastille, which may be
compared with the Tower of London, occupied a very similar position
not far from the north bank of the river and at the eastern side of
the mediaeval city. All the chief theatres and places of amusement are
on the north side of the river, and, as in London, so are all the
Royal Palaces; but here the parallels between the cities appear to
end, and one observes endless notable differences.

The Seine divides the city much more fairly than does the Thames.
London has no opulent quarter south of its river, but Paris has the
Faubourg St. Germain, where her oldest and most distinguished
residents have their residences--houses possessing solemnly majestic
courtyards guarded by stupendous gateways. In the same quarter are
some of the more important foreign embassies. And the river of Paris
being scarcely half the width of that of London has made bridging
comparatively cheap and resulted in more than double the number of
such links. There is no marine flavour in Paris. No vessels of any
size reach it, and its banks are not therefore made ugly by tall and
hideous wharf buildings. It is a walled city, being encompassed by a
circle of very formidable fortifications, still capable of resisting
attack by modern military methods. Its broad avenues and boulevards,
tree-planted and perfectly straight, give the whole city an atmosphere
of spaciousness and of dignity that is lacking in London, if one
excepts the vicinity of Regent Street and Piccadilly, and a few other
west-end thoroughfares.

Wherever one goes in France among the cities and larger towns the
ideas of big and eye-filling perspectives are aimed at by the
municipal authorities and architects. Lyons, Nice, Orleans, Tours,
Havre, Montpellier, Nîmes, Marseilles, to mention places that come
readily into the mind, have all achieved something of the Parisian
ideal, and even the more mediaeval towns, whenever an opportunity
presents itself, expand into tree-shaded boulevards of widths that
would make an English municipal councillor rub his eyes and gasp. It
is curious to witness how, in many of the older towns, the narrow and
cramped quarters, necessitated in the days when city walls existed,
are continuing their existence in wonderful contrast to spacious
suburbs. The glamour of these narrow ways is so entrancing to the
visitor and the lover of history that he trembles to think that a day
may come when all these romantic nuclei of French cities have been
rebuilt on the ideals of Hausmann.

Wherever one wanders in France, even in mere villages, one can
scarcely find a place that has not at least one café with inviting
little tables on the pavement, giving that subtle Latin atmosphere so
refreshing to the Anglo-Saxon (who, however, would never dream of
wishing to imitate the custom in his own country), and so full of that
curiously fascinating Bohemianism which Mr. Locke has caught in the
pages of _The Beloved Vagabond_. Could Britain exchange the
public-house for the café half the temperance reformer's task would be
done, but one can scarcely contemplate without a shiver the prospect
of eating and drinking in the open air anywhere north of the Thames
for more than a few weeks of summer.



CHAPTER VII

OF RURAL LIFE IN FRANCE


Peasant ownership of land does not always imply prosperity, and
because such a vast majority of French peasants possess their own few
acres, one must not jump to the conclusion that all these little
farmers live comfortable and prosperous lives. In very large tracts of
what has so often been called "the most fertile country in Europe,"[9]
the peasant is only able to tear from the soil he owns the barest
existence. By unremitting toil he makes his land produce enough to
give him and his family a diet mainly composed of bread and
vegetables. Meat, coffee, and wine come under the heading of luxuries,
and so much that is nutritious is missing from the normal dietary that
it would seem as though the minimum requirements of health were not
met. Long hours of steady toil, and food which the Parisian would
consider insufficient to make life tolerable, is the lot of the
peasant proprietors of France wherever the soil is ungenerous or
distance from railways and markets keeps prices low.

  [9] The same claim is frequently made for England.

In the unprofitable soils of the Cevennes, and in certain parts of the
province of Corrèze, the peasants can cultivate little besides
buckwheat and potatoes. The latter, with chestnuts which are also
produced in these mountainous districts, form the staple food of the
agricultural population, and their drink is water, which they
sometimes enliven with the berries of the juniper. This is the simple
and hard-working life of those whose lot is cast in what may be called
the stony places. Quite different are the conditions of life in
Normandy or the wonderfully fertile plain of La Beauce, where is grown
the greatest part of the wheat produced in France. Here the generous
return for the labour expended on the soil brings such prosperity to
the peasant owner that he often turns his eyes to higher rungs in the
social ladder than that of husbandry, offering his land for sale, and
so giving opportunities for the capitalist to invest in a profitable
industry.

Success may be said to bring with it dangers to which the peasant of
the poorer soils is not subjected. Writing of the farmers of La Beauce
and of parts of Normandy, Mr. Barker says: "Too often are they found
to be high feeders, copious drinkers, keenly, if not sordidly,
acquisitive, unimaginative, and coarse in their ideas and tastes.
Material prosperity, when its effects are not corrected by mental, and
especially by moral, culture, has an almost fatal tendency to develop
habits that are degrading and qualities that repel.... It is to be
noted as a social symptom that among the class of prosperous
agriculturalists in France, the birth-rate is exceptionally low."

Of the 17,000,000 of the population who are more or less dependent
upon agriculture for their livelihood, only about 6,500,000 actually
work on the soil. Those who own holdings of less than twenty-five
acres number nearly 3,000,000, and the total area of land held in this
way is something between 15 and 20 per cent of the whole cultivated
area. About three-quarters of a million persons possess the balance.
The sizes of the holdings, of course, vary enormously. Besides those
who own their land, there is the large class of _métayers_, who are
part of a complicated system which persists in spite of its
theoretical impossibility of smooth working. Where a landowner is a
_gentilhomme campagnard_, he will in most cases have a few farms
attached to his residence, which is always _le château_ to the
peasant, however difficult to discover its old-time manorial
splendours may have become. The farmers who work for the landowner are
not rent-payers: they merely share with him in the results of their
labour, a system of co-operation which results in very close relations
between landlord and farmer. No hard and fast rules are followed as to
the proportion of the crops which falls to the landlord, or what share
he has of the cattle. It is common for him to furnish draught animals
as well as seed and implements. This system is limited very much to
those districts where agriculture has stood still for a very long
period, such as the Limousin, and the total of the land worked on the
_métayage_ system is only 7 per cent of the whole of the cultivated
land.

To this day the methods of husbandry maintained in the less accessible
departments are scarcely ahead of the Romans, and on the slopes of
the Pyrenees one may still see the flail in use for threshing
purposes, while the plough with a wooden share, which seems likely to
hold its own for a long time to come in certain of the mountainous
districts, is the same as those depicted by prehistoric sculptors high
on the rock-faces of Monte Bego on the Franco-Italian frontier.

In the greatest part of France oxen are used for draught purposes, and
these picturesque, cream-coloured beasts, yoked to curious big-wheeled
country carts, are always an added charm to the country road. Whether
they are seen patiently plodding along a white and dusty perspective
of tree-bordered road, or are standing quietly in a farmyard with
lowered heads while the queer tumbril behind them is being loaded,
they have picture-making qualities which the horse lacks.

The carts are wonderfully primitive, two wheels being favoured for
purposes which in England are always considered to require four. In
fact the four-wheeled cart is difficult to discover anywhere in rural
France. Even the giant tuns containing the cider they brew in
Normandy, or those that are filled with wine in the Midi and other
grape-producing districts of the land, are borne on two great wheels,
and a pair of clumsy poles that, when horses are used, are tapered
down to form shafts.

Farms differ in character and attractiveness according to local
conditions in every country, but France shows an astonishing range of
styles. In the north one finds the timber-framed barn and outhouse
delightfully prevalent, and in Normandy the farm often possesses the
character of those to be seen in Kent and Sussex, although south of
the Channel the compact, rectangular arrangement of barns is perhaps
more noticeable than to the north. Between the Seine and the Loire,
the timber-framed structures are very extensively replaced by those of
stone; but although lacking in the interest of detail, their colour is
exceedingly rich, for the thatched roofs are very frequently thick
with velvety moss, and the cream-coloured walls are adorned by patches
of orange and silvery-grey lichen. Wooden windmills are conspicuous on
the shallow undulations of the plain of La Beauce. Where roofs are
tiled, they too have become green with moss, giving a wonderful
mellowness to the groups of buildings. Farther south the farms are
still of stone, and some of them have an atmosphere of romance about
them in their circular towers with high conical roofs, and with even
the added picturesqueness of a turret or two.

South of Poitiers the roofs of nearly all the houses take on the low
pitch and the curved tile which belong to the whole of the southern
zone of the country, and prevent one from noticing any marked
architectural change in crossing the frontiers into Spain or Italy.

Taken as a whole, the villages are without any of the tidy charm to be
found in nearly every part of England. A hamlet gives the road that
passes through it the appearance of a farmyard. Hay, straw, and manure
are allowed to accumulate to such an extent that in the twilight a
stranger might think he had inadvertently left the road and strayed
into a farm. And whereas in England the rural hamlet does not usually
crowd up to the thoroughfare, it is often very much the reverse in
France. The writer has traversed thousands of miles of French roads,
has wandered with a bicycle in the byways, but has not yet seen a
village green with a pond and ducks, or even a churchyard with a
suspicion of that garden-like finish which makes England unique. The
velvety turf that grows on Britain's sheep-cropped commons does not
exist outside that land, and one never even expects to find the French
wayside relieved by such features.

Economy in using every inch of soil, in avoiding the waste of sunshine
on arable lands, and in preventing the waste of timber caused by
letting trees grow untrimmed, has given the French landscape its most
characteristic features. Hedges which the Englishman has learnt to
love from his childhood, first because of the wild life they shelter
and the blackberries and nuts they provide, and later on account of
the beauty they add to every cultivated landscape, are an exceptional
feature in France. In immense areas such a dividing line is never to
be seen, and saving perhaps for a small tree that is scarcely more
than an overgrown bush, there is little to break the horizon line
except the tall poplars, birches, and other trees that line the main
roads. These are not allowed to live idle, ornamental lives: they,
like the toiling peasant, must work for their living by providing as
many branches as possible for the periodical lopping. In this way wood
for the oven and for the kitchen fire is supplied in nearly every
department of the country.

In the fat and prosperous districts of Normandy, where rich grazing
lands produce the butter for which the province is famed, hedges are
as common as in England, and where mop-headed trees are not in sight,
it is not easy to notice any marked difference between the two
countries.

Brittany is the province where the wayside cross is most in evidence,
but in every part of the country these symbols of the Christian faith
are to be found. Outside Brittany it is rare to-day to see any one
taking any notice of them, and no doubt the spread of education and
the consequent shrinking of the superstitions of the peasantry, make
the crucifix less and less a need on dark and misty nights. Offerings
of wild flowers are still tied to the shaft of the wayside cross,
where they rapidly turn brown, and resemble a handful of hay. The
well-head is a feature of the farm and cottage which varies in every
part of the land. It is frequently a picturesque object, having in
many localities a wrought-iron framework for supporting the
pulley-wheel.

  [Illustration: A BRETON CALVAIRE. THE ORATORY OF JACQUES CARTIER.]

Horses and mules are seldom to be seen without some touch of colour or
curious detail in their harness. It may be a piece of sheep-skin dyed
blue and fixed to the top of the collar, or that part of the harness
will be of wood, quaintly devised, and studded with brass nails and
other ornament. Red woollen tassels are much in favour in some
districts.

The breeding of horses in great numbers takes place in the north coast
regions of Brittany, Normandy, and between the mouth of the Seine and
the Belgian frontier. Using cattle for draught purposes so very
extensively no doubt keeps down the number of the horses in the
country, but in 1905 the total had risen to considerably over three
millions. Tarbes, a town near the Pyrenees, gives its name to the
Tarbais breed of light cavalry and saddle-horses, and the chief
northern classes are the Percheron, the Boulonnais for heavy draught
work, and the Anglo-Norman for heavy cavalry and light draught
purposes. Cattle, pigs, and asses have been increasing in numbers in
recent years, but sheep and lambs have shown a very decided falling
off, 22½ millions in 1885 having dropped to 17¾ in 1905. Sheep
are raised on all the poorer grazing lands of the Alps, the Jura, the
Vosges, the Cevennes, and the Pyrenees, and also on the sandy district
of Les Landes on the Bay of Biscay. South-western France in general,
and the plain of Toulouse in particular, produce a fine class of
draught oxen. In the northern districts they are stall-fed on the
waste material of the beet-sugar and oil-works, and of the
distilleries.

It is a popular error to imagine that the State owns all the forests
of France and even the wayside trees. This is due no doubt to the fact
that certain governmental restrictions do apply to the owners of
growing timber. The total of forest land amounts to only 36,700 square
miles, or about 18 per cent of the whole country, and of this about a
third belongs to the State or the communes. Fontainebleau has 66
square miles of forest, but although the best known, it is not by any
means the largest, the Forêt d'Orleans having an area of 145 square
miles. Much planting of pines has taken place in Les Landes, and that
marshy district, famed for its shepherds who use stilts for crossing
the wet places and water-courses, has by this means altered its
character very considerably. Reafforestation is taking place on the
slopes of the Pyrenees and the Alps which have been laid bare by the
woodman's axe.

Standing quite apart from the rest of the agriculture of the country
is the wine-grower. His industry requires very specialised knowledge,
and his dangers and difficulties are in some ways greater than those
of the farmer. It may be the terrible insect called the phylloxera
that destroys the growth of the vine, it may be mildew, or it may be
over-production, but any of these troubles bear hardly upon the
vine-grower, who is, broadly speaking, a humble type of peasant with
very little capital. Before the war with Germany these people were a
fairly prosperous and contented class, but since that time formidable
troubles have smitten them very heavily. The awful visitation of the
phylloxera is said to have cost as much as the war indemnity paid to
Germany, _i.e._ £200,000,000, and when it was discovered that certain
American vines were not subjected to the ravages of the pest, and
feverish planting had established the new varieties in the land, a new
trouble, in the form of over-production, presented itself to the
unfortunate growers. More land had been converted into vineyards than
had ever produced such crops in the past, and a large production of
wine in Algeria so lowered prices that in 1907 affairs in the Midi
reached a critical state. Riots occurred at Béziers and Narbonne,
incendiarism and pillage took place at Épernay and Ay, and for a time
the Government found itself confronted with an infuriated mass of
peasants, who blamed it for the disastrously low prices then
prevailing. They also attributed the stagnation in the trade to the
fraudulent methods of sale that had become common. They were not very
far from the truth in stating that they did not reap so much advantage
as those who grew cereals and beetroot, while paying for the
protective policy in the high prices of food and all other
commodities.

The peasant might almost be said to wear a uniform, so universal in
France is the soft black felt hat and the dark-blue cotton smock in
which he appears in the market-place. In this garb one sees a wide
variety of national types, from the English-looking men of Normandy to
the dark-complexioned, black-haired, and lithe race of the south.
Often the latter have an almost wild appearance, terrifying to the
British or American girl who strays any distance from the modern types
of palatial hotel which can now be found in regions of medicinal
springs in the Pyrenees. He is, however, a much less formidable
person when he enters into conversation, and, taken as a whole, the
agriculturalist is a very pleasant-mannered, hospitable, and dignified
person. He possesses in a marked degree the domestic virtues, the
level-headed shrewdness, the patience, thrift, and foresight which
give steadiness to his nation. In small towns in the south he can be a
person of immense sociality. The _place_ during the warmer months of
the year, after the work of the day is done, buzzes with conversation,
the steady hum of which would puzzle a stranger until he saw its
cause. In the strange little walled town of Aigues-Mortes, the entire
male population seems to congregate in the central square, and there
passes the evening at the tables of the three or four cafés. So much
conversation as that indulged in by these peasants of the Rhone delta
would seem sufficient to produce solutions for all the problems of the
wine industry, as well as those of rural populations in general.

  [Illustration: A PEASANT CHILD OF NORMANDY.]

Care for the future makes the peasant toil and save for his children.
Husband and wife will keep their children's future in view in a most
self-effacing fashion, and if their shrewdness in business may go
rather beyond the mark, it is in the interests of their family that
they are working. The reward is too often that which comes to the
old--the sense of being a burden to their offspring when rheumatism
and kindred ills have robbed them of further capability for toil.

In the country districts that are out of touch with modern influence,
the peasant keeps his womenkind in a state of subservience that is
almost mediaeval, and the custom of keeping the wife and daughters
standing while the father and sons are at meals is still said to be
maintained in some parts of the country.[10] The peasant is often a
tyrant in his family. In some districts he is in the habit of calling
his sons and daughters "my sons and the creatures." He is sometimes
quite without any interest in politics. The various types are,
however, so marked that the impossibility of labelling the peasantry
of such a large slice of Europe with any one set of characteristics is
obvious. By reading Zola or George Sand, one gets an insight into the
peasant life which little else can give.

  [10] Hannah Lynch, _French Life in Town and Country_.

One of George Sand's descriptions of the peasantry of the Cevennes is
vigorous and vivid. She writes of it as a race "meagre, gloomy,
rough, and angular in its forms and in its instincts. At the tavern
every one has his knife in his belt, and he drives the point into the
lower face of the table, between his legs; after that they talk, they
drink, they contradict one another, they become excited, and they
fight. The houses are of an incredible dirtiness. The ceiling, made up
of a number of strips of wood, serves as a receptacle for all their
food and for all their rags. Alongside with their faults I cannot but
recognise some great qualities. They are honest and proud. There is
nothing servile in the manner in which they receive you, with an air
of frankness and genuine hospitality. In their innermost soul they
partake of the beauties and the asperities of their climate and their
soil. The women have all an air of cordiality and daring. I hold them
to be good at heart, but violent in character. They do not lack beauty
so much as charm. Their heads, capped with a little hat of black felt,
decked out with jet and feathers, give to them, when young, a certain
fascination, and in old age a look of dignified austerity. But it is
all too masculine, and the lack of cleanliness makes their toilette
disagreeable. It is an exhibition of discoloured rags above legs long
and stained with mud, that makes one totally disregard their
jewellery of gold, and even the rock crystals about their necks." This
description is growing out of date in regard to the hats and knives,
but the picturesque white cap, with its broad band of brightly
coloured ribbon, worn by nearly all the women over a certain age,
which George Sand does not mention, seems likely to persist.

The peasant women of France are too often extremely plain and built on
clumsy lines. Exceptional districts, such as Arles and other parts of
Provence, may produce beautiful types, but the average is not
pleasing. This, at least, is the consensus of opinion of those who
profess to know France well. The writer would not venture on such a
statement on his own authority, although his knowledge of a very
considerable number of the departments entirely endorses their
opinion. But the more one knows of provincial France the more prepared
does one become for surprises, and the less ready to generalise.

Between the educated and uneducated there is less of a gulf than in
other countries, on account of the very high average of good manners
to be found throughout the whole country, and because of the quick
intelligence that is common to the whole people. The almost pathetic
awkwardness of the old-fashioned English hodge scarcely exists in
France.

Superstitions among the peasantry are steadily dying out, even in
Brittany. The rising tide of knowledge is finding its way into every
creek and inlet, and is steadily submerging beliefs in supernatural
influences. At one time the rustics lived in the greatest fear of a
rain-producing demon who was called the _Aversier_, but the science of
meteorology has reduced his personality to a condition as nebulous as
the clouds that heralded his approach.

Until quite recent times a very large proportion of the medical work
in rural districts was carried out by the nuns of the numerous
convents, and the preference for the free services of the kindly
Sisters, however limited their knowledge, to those of the fully
qualified doctor of the locality is easily explained. The rural
practitioner's usual fee has only lately been raised from two francs
to three, but on driving any distance an additional charge of one
franc for every _kilomètre_ is made. The fee of the town doctor, if he
is a general practitioner with a good practice, is from five to ten
francs a visit. If he belongs to the type of second-class specialist
not common in England but numerous in the cities of France, his fee is
from ten to twenty francs a visit. The first-class specialist charges
fifty francs, and sometimes seventy-five francs, for a visit. In the
country the medical man is often content with a bicycle as the means
of reaching his patients, for his income is not very often above £500
a year. No doubt the suppression of the monastic orders in France has
improved the position of the doctors, who found few patients in
certain parts of the country, especially the north-west, where the
fervour of religious belief inclined the rustic to put the most
complete faith in the prescriptions of the nuns. No doubt their ample
experience in the treatment of small ailments (which the average
practitioner so often finds tiresome) gave the Sisters considerable
success in their medical work. Women doctors in every country could
enormously supplement the work of the men, and perhaps the day will
come when the general practitioner has a lady assistant to look after
the minor ailments which so often become serious through lack of
sufficient attention. How relieved would numbers of men doctors be if
they could turn over to a lady assistant the visiting of all cases of
chronic colds, dyspepsia, and the like!

Whole books have been devoted to the _château_ life of France, and it
would be easy to overstep the limits of this chapter in writing on
this interesting subject. The wayfarer in France who knows nothing, or
next to nothing, of the interiors of the large houses he sees
scattered over the country would probably say that they all looked as
though shut up and for sale. He sees in his mind the weed-grown main
avenue and the ill-kept pathways. Visions come to him of lawns that
have grown into hay-fields, of formal gardens converted into vegetable
gardens, of terrace balustrades falling into decay, of walls whose
plaster has fallen away in patches like those of a Venetian _palazzo_,
of closed shutters, and a look of splendours that have passed. Those
who have seen a little more than the mere outsides of the great houses
will tell of occupants whose incomes have shrunk to such small sums
that they are reduced to living in a few rooms of their ancestral
homes, with insufficient servants to do more than keep the place
habitable, and to maintain the output of the kitchen garden and a few
flowers for the house. That there are many such _châteaux_ is
perfectly true. The occupants are mainly anti-Republican in their
views. They belong to other days, and are too proud to enter any
profession which would bring them into jarring contact with the big
majority who are without Royalist leanings. This obliges them to live
in threadbare simplicity on the small income their shrunken fortunes
provide. Two or three old servants, a few dogs, a horse or two, and a
few other luxuries surround them. Formal visits at long intervals are
paid to neighbours, who often live at some distance. The _curé_ and
perchance the doctor are intimate visitors; there may be a few
relations who come for visits, but this is often the whole of the
social intercourse of M. and Mme. X., who reside in a portion of a
_château_ of the time of Louis XV. which stands surrounded by a large
tract of woodland. But ample incomes, and here and there great wealth,
maintain many of the great houses of the countryside with modern
luxury in every department. Changes have come in the _châteaux_ in
recent years which have made breaches in the wall of old-fashioned
formality that was so universal until quite lately. Instead of sweet
wine and little hard sponge fingers, tea and _brioches_ appear at _le
five o'clock_, as it is often called. Where the old-fashioned ideas of
faithful servants will allow it, and the masters and mistresses have
felt the influences that flow from Paris, changes in furnishing appear
in the abandonment of the bareness and austerity of the
reception-rooms. Where such influences have not penetrated, one may be
quite sure to find all the furniture in the rooms ranged against the
walls, and a complete absence of flowers, books, or the smaller odds
and ends of convenience or ornament common to most Anglo-Saxon homes.
There may be fine tapestries, numerous family portraits and other
pictures, elaborate pieces of Boule and ormolu furniture, ornate
clocks, and many other beautiful objects, but restraint and constraint
are the prevalent notes. Bare polished floors and staircases with only
small mats or rugs here and there remain characteristic of the
_château_ interior. Too often there is no more individuality in a
house than would exist were it thrown open to the public as a
show-place or museum.

In many of the _châteaux_ of the wealthy the charm of what is
essentially French is linked with modifications in the directions of
Anglo-Saxon convenience and comfort, producing much the same result
as is found in those English homes wherein an affection for a Louis
XV. atmosphere has introduced the tall silken or tapestried panels and
the stilted and elaborate furniture of the eighteenth century.

Surrounded by extensive forests containing wonderful green
perspectives, the _château_ is often quite cut off from the sights and
sounds of the outer world. When the time of the _chasse_ comes round,
the woods may perhaps be enlivened by visions of the _chasseurs_ in
pink or green coats, three-cornered hats, and tall boots, and the
sound of their big circular horns may be heard. The silence is more
effectually broken when shooting parties meet and the _battue_ takes
place.

  [Illustration: THE CATHEDRAL AND PART OF THE OLD CITY OF CHARTRES.]

Motor-cars have made neighbours more accessible, and changes are
taking place on this account. In pre-motor days the mistress of a
_château_ was often quite unprepared for visitors. Madame Waddington,
the American wife of a senator, who has put some of her experiences of
social intercourse in the country into a charming volume,[11]
describes a visit paid to a _château_ that was half manor, half farm.

  [11] _Château and Country Life in France_, Mary K. Waddington, 1908.

   We drove into a large courtyard, or rather farmyard, quite
   deserted; no one visible anywhere; the door of the house was
   open, but there was no bell nor apparently any means of
   communicating with any one. Hubert cracked his whip noisily
   several times without any result, and we were just wondering what
   we should do (perhaps put our cards under a stone on the steps)
   when a man appeared, said Mme. B. was at home, but she was in the
   stable looking after a sick cow--he would go and tell her we were
   there. In a few minutes she appeared, attired in a short,
   rusty-black skirt, sabots on her feet, and a black woollen shawl
   over her head and shoulders. She seemed quite pleased to see us,
   was not at all put out at being caught in such very simple
   attire, begged us to come in, and ushered us through a long,
   narrow hall and several cold, comfortless rooms, the shutters not
   open, and no fires anywhere, into her bedroom. All the
   furniture--chairs, tables, and bed--was covered with linen. She
   explained that it was her _lessive_ (general wash) she had just
   made, that all the linen was _dry_, but she had not had time to
   put it away, and she called a maid, and they cleared off two
   chairs--she sat on the bed. It was frightfully cold. We were
   thankful we had kept our wraps on. She said she supposed we would
   like a fire after our long cold drive, and rang for a man to
   bring some wood. He (in his shirt-sleeves) appeared with two or
   three logs of wood, and was preparing to make a fire with them
   _all_, but she stopped him, said one log was enough, the ladies
   were not going to stay long; so, naturally, we had no fire and
   clouds of smoke. She was very talkative, never stopped, told us
   all about her servants, her husband's political campaigns.... She
   asked a great many questions, answering them all herself; then
   said, 'I don't offer you any tea, as I know you always go back
   to have your tea at home, and I am quite sure you don't want any
   wine.'

Washing days only occur in large French households once a quarter, or
at the most monthly, so when the moment arrives the whole
establishment is in a ferment. An orgy of soap-suds takes place, and
coaling ship in the Navy is scarcely more disturbing to the even flow
of daily affairs.

Conversation, where people seldom paid a visit to Paris, ran always in
a groove in the _châteaux_ and lesser houses described by the young
American. The subjects were the woods, the hunting, the schoolmaster,
the _curé_, local gossip, and much about the iniquities of the
Republic.

_Château_ life is too frequently dull. It as often as not is as out of
touch with the realities of modern life as many English country houses
where there are no young folk, and where there is no active connection
with London and the busy world. The hunting season and shooting
parties bring life and activity for a time, but "twice-told tales of
foxes killed" do not carry any fertilising intellectual ideas into the
byways of upper-class life. An excess of formality pervades every
portion of the day, from the conversation on a new novel to the
afternoon drive or the solemn game of _bézique_ after dinner. There is
a tendency for politics to bulk largely in conversation, even among
women, while among men heat is easily generated on this topic, the
French being naturally bellicose. Subjects outside France, and matters
that do not directly concern the French, rarely come up for
discussion, unless the occupants of the _château_ are _intellectuels_.
It is mainly due to political controversy that duels arise, nearly all
the recent encounters having been between journalists and politicians.
At the present day, honour is commonly satisfied when the first blood
has been drawn, and when pistols are used, hits are infrequent. To
show how lightly he took the matter, Ste. Beuve fought under an
umbrella. Thiers fought a duel, and so also did the elder Dumas,
Lamartine, Veuillot, Rochefort, and Boulanger. Even to-day (1913)
septuagenarian generals are not too old to challenge one another,
General Bosc (seventy-two) having sent his second to demand
satisfaction of General Florentin (seventy-seven) for an unfounded
charge of encouraging the use of illegal badges in societies formed
for the training of boys in military duties! It is astonishing that
the French should maintain duelling when it is well known how opposed
was Napoleon to the absurd practice. "Bon duelliste mauvais soldat,"
he used to say, and when challenged by the King of Sweden, his reply
was that he would order a fencing-master to attend him as
plenipotentiary. But the French have a keen sense of personal honour,
and one remembers that Montaigne said, "Put three Frenchmen together
on the plains of Libya, and they will not be a month in company
without scratching each other's eyes out."

A poor man can hardly afford the luxury of a duel, for in Paris it
costs about 300 francs, and if one has no friend who is a doctor
willing to attend without a fee, the disbursements will even exceed
this amount! The first expenses are the taxis for your seconds when
they go to meet the other fellow's supporters. These meetings take
place at cafés, and their bills have to be met by the duellists.
Pistols, if they are used, are hired from Gastine Renette, who
inflicts a scorching charge of about 100 francs for the loan. If
swords are used they are bought, and the outlay is less, but not every
one who is challenged is sufficiently expert to run the chances of
using white weapons. Further expenses are incurred in the hiring of a
vehicle in which to drive to the spot selected for the honourable
encounter. The drive is punctuated by halts for refreshment for the
doctor and the seconds, as well as the coachman. When the conflict has
taken place there is often much more than "coffee for one" to be paid
for by the duellist. Not only does custom require him to invite doctor
and seconds to lunch at an expensive restaurant, but if the duel has
re-established amicable relations, there is a double party to be
entertained. To find a quiet and suitable spot for the meeting is
often exceedingly difficult, the _gendarmerie_ in such convenient
places as the Meudon Woods being perpetually on the alert, and having
offered rewards to any who warned them of the arrival of "a double set
of four serious-looking gentlemen in black frock-coats arriving in
landaus, with one gentleman in each set with his _gueule de travers_."

Mr. Robert Sherard has described the preliminaries to a duel forced
upon him a few years ago.

   "... My fencing had grown very rusty," he wrote, "so ... I went
   to a fencing school to be coached. The master ... had the
   reputation of being able to teach a man in two lessons how not to
   get killed in a sword duel. I was not anxious to get killed, so I
   availed myself of his instructions. These mainly consisted in
   showing one how to hold one's point always towards one's
   adversary with extended arm. When a man so holds his weapon it
   is, it appears, impossible for the other man to wound him. At the
   same time it is said to be advisable to develop great suppleness
   of leg and ankle so as to be able to leap back, still holding
   one's point extended, in the event of the other man's rushing
   forward with such impetuosity as possibly to break down one's
   guard. It was further explained to me, that if whilst leaping
   back I could also dig forward with my sword, most satisfactory
   results might be hoped for (for me, _not_ for the other man)."

It was disappointing to Mr. Sherard, after gaining much proficiency in
leaping backwards while digging forward with his point, to find that
his antagonist would only fight with pistols.



CHAPTER VIII

THE RIVERS OF FRANCE


Broadly speaking, one half of France is mountainous, and the other
flat or undulating. All the mountains are on the eastern half, the
high grounds of Normandy and Brittany being scarcely more than hills.
The whole country might, for some purposes, be considered as an
inclined plane, for in travelling from the Alps on the eastern
frontiers to the Atlantic coast the altitudes (omitting the valley of
the Rhone) are constantly decreasing. Thus, with the exception of the
Rhone, which carries the snow-waters of the Bernese and Pennine Alps,
the Vosges and the Jura chains, into the Mediterranean, the waters of
nearly the whole of the more habitable three-quarters of the country
drain westwards to the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel. Most of
this immense reticulation of river and stream is included in the
three great systems of the Seine, the Loire, and the Garonne. The
Adour drains the triangle between the Pyrenees and the Garonne; the
Charente waters the Plain of Poitou between the Garonne and the Loire,
but both are of small account in comparison to the vast areas included
in the basins of the great rivers.

Both the Rhone and the Garonne are of foreign birth, the first
beginning life at the foot of the great Rhone Glacier in Switzerland,
feeding on her snows and glaciers all the year round, and the second
rising in a Spanish valley of the Pyrenees.

  [Illustration: THE CHÂTEAU OF AMBOISE ON THE LOIRE.]

The Loire, the longest of her rivers, is, however, entirely a
possession of France. It is, like the Seine, a cause of very much
anxiety on account of its inconstancy. At one season of the year it
inundates large areas with its superabundance, and at another it is
capable of running so low that only mere streams flow between the
sand-banks. So unfortunately situated is the city of Tours in times of
flood that it has found it necessary to surround itself with a
protective dyke. The chief cause of sudden inundations is when the
flood-waters of two or three tributaries conspire to pour in their
contributions to the main channel simultaneously, and only when these
headstrong young things are held in check will there be any hope of a
fairly regular level of water in the main course. Two centuries ago
(1711) the need for curbing the flood-waters was recognised so clearly
that a dam was constructed at Pinay, a village 18 miles above Roanne.
It held up 350 to 450 million cubic feet of water, and has been very
successful in maintaining the supply of water in the river-bed during
seasons of drought, as well as checking the violence of the floods. In
recent times three other dams have been built, two of them near the
busy industrial centre of St. Étienne, but until several others have
been constructed the flood-waters cannot be held in check.

Its immense length of 625 miles takes the Loire through ten
departments, but the changes of scenery are not so remarkable as those
of the Rhone. The source is in the Cevennes, about 4500 feet above
sea-level, on the east side of the Gerbier de Jonc, and almost in
sight of the Rhone. Through Haute Loire in the marvellously
picturesque region of dead volcanoes near Le Puy-en-Velay it takes its
course northwards, flowing at the foot of basaltic cliffs and
chestnut-clad slopes. On commanding spurs ruined castles are perched
in most romantic fashion, and if it were not for their painful
inaccessibility, the demand among the wealthy for these little
strongholds of the Middle Ages would run up their value to astonishing
figures.

The action of water in the past has been vastly more energetic in the
Auvergnes and the Cevennes in the ages since their masses of plutonic
rock were produced than at the present day, for the scoria and the
general debris of seismic disturbance has been so much eroded that the
throats of volcanoes filled with the last product of the immense heat
below here and there stand out stripped of their cones. One of the
most remarkable of these phenomena is to be seen at Le Puy. This
strange _aiguille_ has been crowned with a beautiful Romanesque chapel
for some nine centuries, and it is just possible that a Roman temple
stood there at an earlier date.

In the neighbourhood of St. Étienne the Loire is considered to be
navigable. It traverses the alluvial plain of Forez, the mountains of
that name to the west separating it from the basin of its great
tributary the Allier, which takes a roughly parallel course and joins
it just below Nevers. If rivers could express their feeling by other
means than overproduction and strikes, the Allier would no doubt say
something forcible as to the ascendency of its neighbour, whose claims
to be the parent stream are open to question.

Nearly all the way through this plain of Forez the Loire, in fine
weather, resembles a ribbon of fairest blue threaded through lace of
exquisite delicacy, for it is bordered by trees growing close to the
water-side, and only now and then does the band of blue show an
uninterrupted surface. Lower down bare red hills are encountered,
through which the river has forced its way to the plain in which
stands the town of Roanne, after which its course is less picturesque
for a time. This is perhaps a scarcely accurate statement, for
picture-making qualities with trees, cattle, and distant hills are
scarcely ever absent, but there is a certain monotony in the scenery
such as one can hardly find on the Thames or the Wye. From Nevers to
Orleans there are no towns on the river, which gradually turns its
course to the west, flowing exactly in that direction at Orleans,
where its ample width adds much interest and charm to a very much
modernised city. Its habit of flooding, and so causing immense damage
over large areas, has made it necessary to construct very formidable
dykes, which now protect the country it traverses between La
Martinière and Nantes. Between Orleans and Tours, where embankments do
not exist, the writer has seen the cream-coloured flood-waters foaming
and swirling past trees, fences, and hay-stacks over large areas of
the Sologne. Here and there it has been almost impossible to see any
indications of the usual river-bed, and so level is the country to the
south in the neighbourhood of Beaugency that there seems nothing to
check the floods for several kilomètres from the river. On these
occasions one trembles on account of the danger to which the
thirteenth-century bridge at Beaugency, patched, and in part rebuilt,
is hourly exposed. It is the oldest bridge on the Loire.

Below Blois embankments contain the river, and the roadway on that
which defends the north side provides the charming riverside drive to
Amboise and Tours familiar to all who have visited the romantic
_châteaux_ of Touraine. The average rise of the river in flood is 14
feet, and these dykes are quite equal to this task, but when, as in
1846 and 1856, the Loire raised its surface to over 22 feet, even
these banks were useless. With dredging, embanking, and dam
construction the river is being gradually harnessed, but there is
still much to be done before riverside towns can contemplate the rapid
melting of snow in the mountains without the gravest anxiety.

An upper course in a country of impervious rock means that the volume
of water is not reduced by absorption, and the difficulties of the
river are increased when it encounters the tertiary beds of the
formation to which Paris gives its name. In this soft soil the Loire
gathers up great quantities of detritus, which it deposits farther
down, producing the sand-banks which cost the communities large sums
to remove.

If the middle part of its course is not very interesting, the Loire
removes that reproach between Orleans and its mouth. Its waters, and
those of some of its shorter tributaries, reflect the towers and
crenellated walls of some of the most remarkable and interesting of
all the _châteaux_ of France. Blois, the scene of the murders of the
Duc de Guise (who had instigated the Massacre of St. Bartholomew) and
of his brother the Cardinal of Lorraine; Amboise, with its great
tower, containing a spiral roadway for carriages and the courtyard in
which Mary Stuart had, in 1560, been the swooning witness of a most
appalling massacre of 1200 Huguenot prisoners, the Duc de Guise
refusing to listen to her entreaties that they should be spared;
Chenonceaux, the scene of many a royal hunting party, and the
possession for a time of Diane de Poitiers, and Chaumont, which
Catherine de Medici obliged Diane to take in exchange; Langeais, where
rich furnishings of the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance bring
one into the very atmosphere of the poignard and of deadly intrigue;
and Angers, with its seventeen round towers, begun by Philippe
Auguste, are all eloquent of the romantic age of French history, of
human passion, of love, hate, and despair.

  [Illustration: CHÂTEAU GAILLARD AND A LOOP OF THE SEINE.]

It would not be easy to think offhand of any river of similar length
and importance whose course shows such amazing dilatoriness as that of
the Seine. The statue of a nymph placed at its source by the city of
Paris is only 250 miles from the sea in a direct line, but the river
seems to have an unconquerable desire to postpone the hour when it is
swallowed up by the English Channel, and by turning out of its normal
direction, northwards or southwards, every few miles it has dug for
itself a channel 482 miles in length. Such sinuosities on the course
of a great river might be called undignified, if one could not point
to that part of the course of the Moselle that lies between Trèves and
Coblentz, and to the Ebro in the middle part of its journey between
Saragossa and the sea. The increased friction at the numerous sharp
curves prevents the flood-waters from getting away with the rapidity
the Parisians sometimes desire, and this is partly responsible for the
serious damage done in the capital when circumstances combine to send
down an abnormal quantity of water from the higher tributaries. In
January 1910 the height of the river above the normal was 24 feet, and
the racing waters swirled against the keystones of the bridges. But if
the Seine misbehaves itself at intervals,[12] its average flow is so
steady that its navigability is greater than the other important
rivers. This excellent quality is due to the fact that about
three-quarters of the basin (an area of some 30,000 square miles) is
formed of permeable deposits, and consequently a vast absorption is
constantly taking place. The waters subtracted in this way are given
back by the perennial springs supplied by the saturation of different
strata. In rainless summer weather the first two or three dozen miles
of the river frequently dry up, and only from Châtillon is it a
permanent river. Tributaries of importance then begin to flow in. The
Aube and the Yonne are followed by the Loing and the Essonne, and just
before Paris the confluence with the Marne takes place. At the door of
the last-mentioned river, longer than the Seine by 31 miles, is laid
much of the blame for the volume of the floods. Its source is in the
Plateau de Langres not many miles to the north-east of the Seine. Rich
pasture-lands broken with long lines of tall-stemmed trees and
brown-roofed villages are typical of the scenery of the main river and
its tributaries above Paris. The painter who loves to be in the midst
of opulent nature is happy here. Quaint groups of tall trees, whose
foliage in the fall of the year turns to those delicate yellow greens
and subtle browns that are a never-failing joy to those with seeing
eyes, are everywhere arranged in some delightful scheme in which
reflections in smooth oily waters add a double charm to the scene.

  [12] Great risings of the Seine occurred in 1658, 1740, 1799, 1802,
  1876, and 1883.

It is not until Paris has been left behind that the river begins to
wash the bold white ramparts of the cretaceous beds. In and out of the
deeply indented front the meandering river takes its way, on the right
bank a wall of gleaming white cliffs and on the left green savannahs
stretching to a far and level horizon. In many places the escarpments
of chalk have the characteristics of ruined drum towers, of barbicans,
and of broken curtains, so that when Richard Coeur-de-Lion's
"_fillette d'un an_," the Château Gaillard which he caused to be built
with such incredible speed, comes into view, it is at first difficult
to believe that it is anything more than a still more realistic
natural effect. From the high ground that commands the _château_ one
looks over one of the giant loops of the river, hemmed in by
green-topped cliffs of the same marine deposits that form Gris Nez and
the curious caves of Étretat, as well as the white cliffs of Albion.
At one's feet are the still very perfect ruins of a castle that stood
on the frontier of England's possessions in France seven centuries
ago, and lower still is the little town of Le Petit Andely huddled
for protection at the base of the castle cliff.

Farther west, where the cliffs fall away, stands that historic city of
France--Rouen, the ancient capital of Normandy. It is a port, for the
Seine at this point becomes navigable for fair-sized sea-going
steamers, and one may watch the unloading of china clay from Cornwall
among the various imports carried directly to the quays.

Possibly the waterway to the sea was looked upon with little joy by
the inhabitants of the city during the ninth and tenth centuries, when
at any time, and without much warning, the shallow-draught vessels of
the Vikings might appear on the river. How these bloodthirsty pirates
came and came again in spite of strenuous resistance, heavy losses,
and much Dane-geld, is a terrible chapter in the story of the Seine.
How the night sky became copper-coloured under the furnace glow of
burning houses, churches, and monasteries, is a picture which no
historian of the river can fail to put into vivid words. Long ago,
however, Rouen recovered from the disasters inflicted by the Northmen,
and those who wander through her picturesque streets can find traces
of buildings that came into existence not very long after this
period.

  [Illustration: MONT BLANC REFLECTING THE SUNSET GLOW.]

A rare type of steel bridge spans the Seine at Rouen. It consists of a
travelling platform, large enough to take horses and carts, and all
the usual load of a ferry-boat, which is slung from a light framework
connecting two tall lattice steel towers. This curious achievement of
modern engineering and the very tall iron flèche of the cathedral form
the salient features of all distant views of the city.

Some of the peninsulas carved by the vagaries of the river are
entirely given up to forest, and for many miles dark masses of trees
extend to the southern horizon. Dykes hold the river to its course
below Rouen. Before they were built it was impossible for vessels of
20-feet draught to navigate the river except under exceptional
conditions. A notable feature of the lower reaches is the bore which
occurs at every tide and reaches its maximum height of about 8 feet in
the neighbourhood of Caudebec, where enterprising watermen entice the
visitor into their boats to enjoy a natural water-show that quite
eclipses the artificial thrills of the "Earl's Court" order.

Beautiful and historic buildings are thickly strewn along the lowest
reaches of the Seine. The ruined abbey of Jumièges, where Edward the
Confessor was educated, raises its lofty Norman towers high above the
trees at the southern end of a big loop; the monastery of St.
Wandrille, which is now converted into a private house and became the
home of Maeterlinck a few years ago, is in a pretty valley leading
from the river; Caudebec, with its glorious Gothic church and romantic
old streets, stands on the right bank and has a sunny quay, and an
open view across the sparkling waters, the opulent level pastures, and
the belts of forest beyond; Lillebonne is the _Julia Bona_ of Roman
times, and has important remains of a Roman theatre, besides the
castle, in whose great hall--alas! no longer existing--William the
Norman announced to a great gathering of leading men his project of
invading England; Tancarville Castle, with its prominent circular
tower, is reflected in the broadening waters nearer the estuary, where
Harfleur looks across to Honfleur, and both seem to dream of the days
when their great neighbour Le Havre was not.

Being an entirely French river, the Loire has been described first in
this chapter; the Seine followed, being a smaller river, although of
more commercial importance. Its basin, it should be mentioned, is not
entirely French, some of its water being taken from Belgium. Of the
two great rivers of foreign birth the Rhone is of the greater
importance. It has a drainage area of close upon 38,000 square miles,
and is the greatest river of all those that pour their waters directly
into the Mediterranean. Besides this the Rhone is numbered in that
distinguished group composed of the greatest of the rivers of Europe.
More than any of the rivers of France it stands out as a big factor in
history. One thinks of Hannibal with his host and his elephants faced
by the swiftness and breadth of its flow; of the terrible struggle of
the Romans with the Cimbri and Teutones on its banks; of St. Bénézet
in the twelfth century copying the methods of the Roman architect of
the Pont du Gard, and accomplishing what had never been done before,
_i.e._ the construction of a stone bridge that could resist the
onslaught of the flood-waters for centuries. Four of the big
elliptical arches still stand, seemingly as strong as the day they
were erected, and above one of the piers rises the little Romanesque
bridge chapel where the body of the good builder was buried.

The source of the Rhone is fitting for such a mighty waterway. It
begins life as a torrent that pours from the foot of the great Rhone
Glacier, 5909 feet above sea-level. It is now ascertained that it is
the glacier itself from under which it emerges which gives birth to
the river, and not the warm springs which issue from the ground at the
point formerly reached by the glacier. Very early on its course
another glacier-fed torrent adds its waters to the Rhone, which foams
and rages through a gorge of typical Alpine grandeur. The exuberance
of its youth is maintained by the torrents that feed its adolescent
stages. It falls more than 3600 feet in less than thirty miles from
its source, joined at frequent intervals by companions born of ice and
snow, such as the Eginen, the Binna, and the Massa, a child of the
Aletsch Glaciers. Below Brieg comes the Saltine, and then follows a
quiet stretch, when the growing river passes through a stretch of
alluvium--a dull period, a first governess, as it were, to a
high-spirited youth--where floods are frequent. Below the old town of
St. Maurice the river is confined within the narrow gorge that
forms the western entrance of the Vallais, and it emerges from this
gateway to Switzerland to flow across the marshy plain that was
formerly the south-eastern end of the Lake of Geneva. Year by year the
debris of the Bernese and the Pennine Alps is washed down by the
tireless waters, and the date is approximately ascertainable when the
lake will have ceased to exist. That will be a sad day for the Rhone,
for it is through the filter-like action of the lake that the river
flows forth freed from its burden of detritus, and Byron's "blue
rushing of the arrowy Rhone" will describe a river whose character has
changed for ever, unless the hand of man erects barriers in its
course, and so introduces periods of artificial repose. But France
to-day does not receive from Switzerland the gift of a river in its
unsullied youth, for not long after it has passed from the lake it is
contaminated by an untutored glacier-bred youth fresh from the Mont
Blanc range, whence it has carried down much solid matter. For a
certain distance the two rivers do not recognise one another, the
waters refusing to mix, but propinquity brings its familiar result and
justifies the copy-book maxim concerning evil companionship.

  [Illustration: EVIAN LES BAINS. ON LAKE GENEVA.]

All through the long journey to Lyons the Rhone preserves the
character of an uncivilised mountain-bred river, of small service to
commerce or communication, although it is termed "navigable" from a
point between Le Parc and Pyrimont. It must be said in defence of the
river that the circumstances of its path in life do not tend towards
the restful stability beloved of commerce. No sooner does it enter
France than it is obliged to fight its way through a constricted
channel between the Crédo and the Vuache, and gorge succeeds gorge for
the greatest part of the distance between Geneva and Lyons. And who is
there possessing any love for untrammelled nature who does not love
the river's wild moods, its impetuosity, its generosity, and its
reckless enthusiasm. By the time it has reached the great city of
Lyons it has, however, subdued its wild ways, for having come within
sight of the beautiful Saône it passes through the city on a sedately
parallel course, and very soon they are wedded. For the rest of its
life--a distance of 230 miles--the Rhone is a hard-working member of
society, carrying day by day the manufactures of Central France down
to the ancient "middle sea." It was the little time of engagement,
the brief interval before the marriage with the Saône was
consummated, that produced the peninsula whereon the second city of
France was founded, and gave it a situation of the greatest security
in unsettled times. No doubt the Segusiani, who are generally
mentioned as the earliest people to occupy the tongue of land, had had
predecessors on the same spot, but the fogs of prehistoric times
prevent one from knowing much of the settlement before the Roman had
reached the confluence of the rivers. Then the mists roll away, and
one has a vision of Agrippa making it the centre of four great roads;
Augustus is seen giving the city a senate and making it the place of
annual assembly of representatives from the sixty cities of Gallia
Comata. Besides conferring these distinctions, the reign of Augustus
saw the building of temples, aqueducts, and a theatre. In A.D. 59,
during the reign of the half-demented Nero, the city was burnt and
afterwards rebuilt on grander lines. Great buildings succeeded one
another until the two rivers must have reflected as fine a city as
could be found within the Roman Empire. But the unsettled centuries of
the Dark Age of Europe brought successive waves of destructive
invasion to _Lugdunum_, and for evidences of the Roman period of the
city it is necessary to go to the museum, where, however, the
Gallo-Roman objects are numerous and of the greatest importance.

  [Illustration: THE CHAPEL ON THE BRIDGE OF ST. BÉNÉZET, AVIGNON.]

Farther down its course the great river's swift-flowing flood has on
its banks the towns of Vienne, Valence, Avignon, Tarascon, and Arles,
all by a curious chance on the left bank, although at Avignon and
Tarascon there are sister towns on the opposite side, and Arles has a
suburb across the water. Vienne and Arles still boast notable Roman
structures, and Orange and Nîmes, as well as the Gard, the last
tributary the river receives before entering the period of its dotage
in the Carmargue, preserve vast Roman buildings at no great distance
from the Rhone. It is just possible that the great part this river has
played in the making of France might have received a far less adequate
recognition had these visual tokens of the days of imperial Rome
vanished as did so many others.

In its journey southwards from Lyons the character of the country
traversed by the Rhone undergoes remarkable changes, and after Valence
there is a decidedly southern aspect in the landscapes. The olive
begins to appear, the vine is cultivated on all sides, and dark lines
of cypresses become conspicuous. From Avignon the dusty limestone
country extends across Provence to the sea, and the arid sun-baked
hills terraced here and there for vineyards, the lines of sentinel
cypresses, and the constant presence of the olive are the chief
features of scenery that might be in Turkey, in Asia, or the Holy
Land. And yet this river began life in an Alpine glacier and passed
its middle age in the fertile lands of west-central France. The delta
of the Rhone is a huge triangular area enclosed between the Grand
Rhone and the smaller branch it throws off near Arles. It is called
the Carmargue, and is a flat waste only cultivated at the river sides,
and in certain patches helped by irrigation. Almost treeless in great
portions, and exposed to the fierce mistral that blows its cold Alpine
breath upon the delta whenever the mood arises, it is surprising to
find any towns or villages in the whole district. Yet Aigues Mortes
and St. Gilles, and a few villages, keep alive under the most adverse
conditions. Below Arles, to the east of the river, and extending to
the Étang de Berre, is the stony plain of La Crau, and there too, in
spite of the climatic discomforts and lack of soil, two or three
villages have come into existence along the main road between Arles
and Aix-en-Provence. The Crau is probably more the work of the Durance
than of the Rhone, which has deposited its burden of ice-carried
boulders in the Lake of Geneva for ages, while the Durance in its
comparatively short course from the Maritime Alps has no filtering
vat, and in its periods of flood has forced millions of large stones
down to the Rhone delta, gradually building up a barrier between
itself and the sea, and necessitating a junction with the Rhone just
below Avignon. When the sun beats down on the level waste of stones,
whose depth averages from 30 to 45 feet, such heat is produced that a
mirage is a not uncommon result. Any explanation for such a remarkable
number of stones accumulated in one place was so hard to be found in
early days that it was necessary to resort to the supernatural, and
Strabo records the legend that it was Zeus who bombarded with these
projectiles the Ligurian tribesmen who attacked the early Phoenician
traders and colonisers of the mouth of the Rhone.

  [Illustration: CAP MARTIN, NEAR MENTONE.]

The Garonne, the last of the four great rivers of France, is the least
interesting. As already mentioned it is of foreign birth, its
head-waters being in the Maladetta chain of peaks in a Spanish portion
of the Pyrenees, and the river has traversed about 30 miles before it
enters France through the _cluse_ of the Pont du Roi. One of the two
torrents in which the river begins its life plunges into a cavity in
the rock, known as the Trou du Taureau, and does not appear again for
two and a half miles. The Rhone also had formerly a small subterranean
experience in its upper course, but the roof of rock has been
destroyed.

The course of the river is roughly north-westward until it reaches the
formidable plateau of Lannemezan, where it is turned sharply to the
east, carrying with it the waters of the Neste, a considerable stream
fed by the snows of Mont Perdu and its big neighbours. In this part of
its course the scenery is exceedingly fine. Before the snows have
melted off the mountains there are always the pale blue-grey peaks
flecked with sunny patches, and slopes forming a magnificent
background to dark wooded hills full of purples and ambers, and in
spring the more subtle browns turning to yellow and the palest
suspicion of green. Immense views are obtained from the Lannemezan
plateau, the frontier mountain-range stretching away east and west in
a most imposing perspective of white peaks.

On its eastward course the Garonne passes the little town of St.
Gaudens, whose name is derived from a Christian boy who was martyred
in 475 by Euric, king of the Visigoths. St. Martory, the next
town, spans the river with a bridge guarded by a formidable
eighteenth-century gateway which Arthur Young thought could have been
built for no other purpose than to please the eye of travellers. After
this the westward tilt of France begins to assert itself, and the
river works northwards to the city of Toulouse, where it gradually
turns towards the west. Toulouse, while owing much to its river, does
not forget the ill-turns it has received from its mountain-born
waterway, which carried away the suspension bridge of St. Pierre in
1855, and twenty years later, in a disastrous flood, demolished the
bridge of St. Michel and 7000 houses in the Faubourg St. Cyprien,
while about 300 people were drowned. This suburb is on the left bank,
and its situation on the inner side of the curve made by the river as
it passes through the city makes it peculiarly liable to suffer from
floods. The Pont Neuf, occupying a central position, was built about
the middle of the sixteenth century by the sculptor Nicholas
Bachelier, whose arches have proved capable of resisting the angry
moods of the Garonne until the present day. He adorned with his work
many of the churches and mansions of Toulouse.

For the remainder of its course the river keeps to a north-westerly
direction, and passing along the northern edge of the plateau which
diverted its course, it absorbs all the rivers that flow from it.
There is no other town of any consequence until the great port of
Bordeaux is reached. This is not many miles from the mouth of the
Garonne, for when the Dordogne adds its flood to the longer river the
wide tidal estuary called the Gironde has been entered. It is scarcely
fair on the Dordogne to call it a tributary of the Garonne when it
does not join that river until it has entered the broad waterway
common to both, but it is undoubtedly a part of the Garonne system.
With the exception of the town of Bergerac--a place of no importance
and of less interest--the Dordogne has only one other town on its
banks, the little port of Libourne at its mouth where the wines of the
locality are shipped.

The Adour and its important tributary the Gave de Pau figured
conspicuously in Wellington's successful operations against Marshal
Soult in the concluding period of the Peninsular War, and it was
during the siege of Bayonne by Sir John Hope, while the Duke was
following Soult towards Orthez, that the famous bridge of boats was
built across the river below the town. The construction of this bridge
entailed enormous risks in getting the boats across the bar at the
river's mouth, and its successful accomplishment was considered one of
the greatest engineering feats achieved by the British army during
this period.

  [Illustration: THE CHÂTEAU OF CHENONCEAUX.
                _From a watercolour by Mr. A. H. Hallam Murray._]



CHAPTER IX

OF THE WATERING-PLACES


French sea-coast watering-places fall easily into two groups--those of
the English Channel and those of the Mediterranean. The first may be
subdivided into the fashionable places between Deauville and the
Belgian frontier and the go-as-you-please resorts of Brittany. There
are long intervals between the different resorts, and few would dream
of wandering along the coast from one to another; but on the
Mediterranean the Riviera is almost one continuous chain of
watering-places from St. Raphaël to Mentone.

In the early days, when English doctors were beginning to recommend
their more wealthy patients to winter on the French Riviera, there was
little beyond the sunshine, the equable climate, the colour and the
loveliness of the scenery to attract the visitor, and what more, one
asks, could any rational being who has gone away with congenial
companions require? A visit to the Riviera amply answers such a
frivolous question. In the early days, visitors and tired politicians,
perhaps of the type of Lord Brougham, or less strenuous people to whom
the fogs of the northern winter were a periodic menace, found no
hotels much above the average of the country inn, and villas were not.
Obviously these things had to be provided, and now from Cannes to
Garavan, which is within a shout of the Italian frontier, there is a
very nearly continuous chain of villas and hotels. And where villas
are too close together to permit the erection of a newly projected
_Hôtel Splendide_, a terrace is constructed a little higher up the
face of the sea-front, and the new building offers to its guests finer
views and less noise than those who stay lower down. Villas are
pleasant enough, but they can become dull to those with a passion for
amusement, a desire to escape from themselves or whatever one cares to
call the disease, and a hotel to such offers very little more.
Besides, one is practically driven to bed at a quarter to ten, so a
casino is a sheer necessity. Then no one who wishes to be healthy can
be so for long without exercise, and a golf-course must be
provided. This is a difficulty on the French Riviera only overcome at
Cannes, where the alluvial Plaine de Laval near La Napoule offers
suitable ground. Everywhere else the mountainous nature of the coast
vetoes the game. Lawn-tennis, however, is quite possible even where
steep slopes reach down to the sea. The race-course, too, has been
found a necessity for existence, and it has been provided. The casino
offers gambling and music and theatrical performances. But this is not
enough, there must be a theatre too. A Battle of Flowers is a relief
to the monotony of the days, and at Nice such an extravagance is
indulged during the Carnival, the climax of the season's manufactured
gaiety. Besides all this there are regattas, motor weeks,
pigeon-shootings, exhibitions of hydroplaning.... The list of
distractions is now so enormous that the visitor almost needs a visit
to one of the quiet spots beyond Genoa to rest before returning to the
gaieties of the season in Paris or London.

  [Illustration: ST. MALO FROM ST. SERVAN.]

The English were the discoverers of the French Riviera from the
health-resort standpoint. They wrote books describing fine air and the
attractions of this wonderful coast, and the social distinction of
some of the writers assured an attentive audience. Lady Blessington
penned an account of her journey along the Riviera in 1823, which
reveals a condition of things as far removed from the luxury of to-day
as are the shores of Patagonia. To journey from Nice to Florence was
then more or less an adventure. "The usual route by land," she writes,
"is over the Col di Tenda, and via Turin, but this being impracticable
owing to the snow, and as we had a strong objection to a voyage in a
_felucca_, we determined to proceed to Genoa by the route of the
Cornice, which admits of but two modes of conveyance, a _chaise à
porteurs_, or on horseback, or rather on muleback." The Lady
Blessingtons of to-day travel on an excellently engineered and, for
the most part, a dust-free road, in the luxurious ease provided by the
builders of the modern motor-car _de luxe_. The six-cylindered engine
purrs so softly that the sound of the waves on the rocks beneath the
road is not lost, and even the faint smell of petrol is overcome by
the exquisite productions of Roget et Cie.

Hyères stands quite apart from the long chain of fashionable resorts.
It is a picturesque old town separated from the sea by two or three
miles of salt marshes, and only ranks as a watering-place on account
of the proximity of Costebelle, where modern hotels perched
picturesquely on the wooded hills known as the Montagnes des Oiseaux
look across the Iles d'Or to the beautiful Maure Mountains. The
villages perched on the face of the cliffs, and those standing on the
intervals of alluvial shore along the coast of Les Maures, are typical
of the whole Riviera before the leisured and wealthy classes of the
western nations began to make their annual incursions. East of the
valley at whose mouth stands Fréjus, dozing in the midst of its
eye-filling evidences of importance in Roman times, is St. Raphaël,
with its hotel quarter known as Valescure, high among the pines on the
first slopes of the densely wooded Estérel Mountains. Healthfulness is
still the main attraction here; but those who do not thirst for
distracting gaiety love the sweet-smelling solitudes and the bays
where the porphyry rocks, purple-red as the name implies, are overhung
by masses of dark pines, and bathed by waters that reflect sky, trees,
and rocks in a wonderful confusion of strong colour, reminiscent of
bays on the south Cornish coast. Hotels have appeared near the larger
villages on the littoral of the Estérels, but Nature is still free
down to the splashing waves, and it is only when Cannes is reached
that one is in the real Riviera atmosphere.

The first view of the sweeping coast-line between Cannes and the
confines of Italy that suddenly unfolds itself as one goes eastwards
on the coast road is one of surpassing loveliness, provided that the
weather lives up to its honestly-earned reputation. A great sweep of
sea of an exquisite, a tender, a most lovely blue fills half the
scene. It is perhaps shaded here and there by clouds, and their
shadows turn the blue to amethyst. There is a fringe of white along
the low sandy shores of the Gulf of La Napoule. Farther off the coast
becomes steep and clothed with a mantle of dark green foliage,
speckled along its lower margin with creamy-white villas, while
higher, the horizon is serrated with snow-capped peaks. As the coast
recedes it becomes more lofty, the mountains coming to bathe their
feet in the blue sea. There are islands and promontories faintly
visible in the soft opalescent haze. Such is the first impression one
obtains of a fairyland coast-line, which owing to various
circumstances had to be discovered to the French people by foreigners.
With their inherited instinct towards roving the British have not
even been able to keep to their own land when merely taking a little
seaside holiday.

  [Illustration: MONTE CARLO AND MONACO FROM THE EAST.]

It might be said of the French that, apart from their dozen or more
seaports, they were until recently in a state of comparative ignorance
as to the nature of the wonderful coast-line of their country. It was
only recently that any considerable proportion of the great French
middle-class population acquired the habit of taking an annual holiday
by the sea. The expense of such a migration is a big item in a small
budget, and when undertaken it is the need for economy which makes the
housekeeper prefer to take a house wherein she can provide for her own
_ménage_, and avoid giving a landlady a living at her expense.

At first the seaside visits were of a very adventurous character, and
little wooden châlets of a very temporary character were run up. They
were placed in a most haphazard fashion where land was available.
Gardens were not cultivated; and even when quite a number of these
meretricious little seaside homes had gathered together at one spot,
there was no attempt to produce the features regarded by the English
as essentials. Instead of the pier with its concert-room raised above
the waves on barnacle-swollen iron pillars, the French build a casino.
In it all forms of evening amusement are concentrated, and all the
holiday life is to be found there after sunset. The esplanade, that
most tiresome feature of all English seaside resorts, is only built
when the place has become so matured that it begins to yearn for
smartness. Possibly foreigners are the main cause of the promenade. On
the Riviera, where it has been the aim of the municipalities and the
hotel proprietors to study the habits of _les Anglais_, the esplanade
is to be found at every resort, and it is probably only the
overwhelming expense due to the precipitous nature of a very
considerable proportion of the coast that has saved the Riviera from
becoming one continuous promenade from Cannes to Mentone. Even if this
were ever accomplished the irregularities of the coast are so
pronounced that there would be few opportunities for those who
abominate the sea-front of the Brighton type to complain. At Cannes
the isolated mass of rock crowned by the picturesque "old town"
effectually cuts the frontage to the sea in two, and at Nice the
tabular rock in whose shadow ancient Nice grew, forms an abrupt
termination to the eastward end of the parade, the central portion of
which is called the Promenade des Anglais, and there is situated a
jetty to satisfy the tastes of the same patrons of "Paris by the Sea."
Villefranche does not give any opportunity for producing sterile
perspectives on account of the deep and narrow bay formed by the Cap
du Mont Boron and the St. Jean peninsula. Beaulieu is little more than
a fortuitous concourse of villas and hotels, and the only level ground
is that occupied by the Corniche road.

  [Illustration: MONT ST. MICHEL AT HIGH TIDE.]

The promontory of Monaco is entirely precipitous, but gardens on its
outward side give shady walks and charming peeps of the distant coast.
One side of the bay of Monaco is formed by the curving northern face
of the tabular projection, and facing it are the creamy-white terraces
of Monte Carlo, rising up to the blocks of equally brilliant
red-roofed buildings terminating in the world-famed Casino, which
stands at the apex of a small projection of the rocky shelf. The
architecture of the Casino is of the commonplace "exhibition" type,
and the gardens surrounding it support the parallel. Only the
determination of man could have made the precipitous slopes of the
mountainous sea-front produce lawns and flowers and shady trees, for
the heat of summer would destroy all but the hardiest forms of
vegetation, unless artificial aids were employed. The colour of Monte
Carlo is intensely brilliant on account of the immense reflecting
surface of pinkish limestone rock that towers up some 1300 feet from
the sea, and makes the place quite unique among watering-places.
Strictly speaking one hardly has any right to include it in a
description of French watering-places, for Monaco is an independent
principality, and its area includes Monte Carlo and the intervening
township of Condamine, which is packed in between the gaming
metropolis and the _col_ that separates Monaco's peninsula from the
mainland.

Until 1856 the principality had no gambling halls, and it was not
until 1858 that the Prince of Monaco laid the foundation stone of the
existing Casino, the gaming-tables having been first set up within the
walls of the old town. In a few years the annual income from the
Casino ran up to £1,000,000, a sum of £50,000 being the Prince's
share. So by playing down to the widespread instinct for gambling, one
of the most unprofitable patches of coast has become in proportion to
its area the most revenue-producing in the whole world. It is a
melancholy reflection that one of the most perfect spots on the
Mediterranean for enjoying all the warmth of the winter sun should be
so fatally contaminated by a cosmopolitan crowd of ne'er-do-weels of
every grade of society. One sees all the world at Monte Carlo, for no
one who passes along the Riviera can quite resist the desire to have a
peep at a place of such notoriety. And so many come to Monte Carlo for
this selfsame purpose that the real habitués, the professionals and
the "last-hopers," are rather lost sight of in the crowd of quite
irreproachable people who half fill the concert-hall, and drift
through the gaming-rooms throwing a few five-franc pieces on to the
roulette tables "just to see what happens," or to experience the very
edge of the strange fascination which leads men and women to fling
away a competency in a fevered desire for wealth.

The two superimposed roads between Nice and Mentone known as the Upper
and the Lower Corniche, are both laboriously engineered highways,
possessing almost unrivalled charms. On the lower road there used to
be a most serious disadvantage to the enjoyment of the scenery in the
choking clouds of dust raised by every passing vehicle. Motor-cars
used to throw up such a smother of dust that it did not settle for
some minutes, and in the interval fresh clouds would be produced. Tar
has at last been brought to rescue the charms of the Lower Corniche
from being completely destroyed. Trams grind and scream as they follow
the constant curves of the road, and their presence robs it of any
sense of repose. It is therefore more possible to enjoy the changing
panorama of bay, cliff, and promontory, of brilliantly coloured waves
in shadow and in sunshine from a seat in a car than on foot. An
automobile, unless driven very slowly, is tiresome and tantalizing in
such scenery. One can only compare the sensation of being flung
through beautiful surroundings of this character at 30 miles an hour
to being obliged to go through the galleries of the Louvre at a trot.

On the Upper Corniche the traffic is light, there are no trams, and
dust is scarcely noticeable. The scenery is altogether on a greater
scale. At certain spots one commands nearly the whole of the French
Riviera at once. The sea is far below, and its nearer shores are
almost invariably hidden. Whoever passes one on this lofty highway is
fairly sure to have come there for pleasure, business taking few
along the high "cornice." Energetic folk from all the resorts within
reach are to be found climbing up the steep zig-zag pathways to this
splendid vantage-ground. Frenchmen in clothes suited for _le sport_ or
perhaps wearing the dark city type of jacket suit which so many adhere
to even when holiday-making, Germans thoughtfully carrying their red
Baedekers with them, and Englishmen of the retired military officer or
I.S.O. type are all to be found enjoying or "doing" the Upper Corniche
in the various manners of their widely differing temperaments. At La
Turbie, where the remains of the huge monument to Caesar Augustus, the
conquering emperor, still bulk prominently in the midst of the
village, there is a funicular railway connecting the upper and lower
roads, bringing the splendid air and scenery of the heights within
reach of the infirm or the merely slack types of visitors.

The long winding descent from La Turbie to Mentone brings the two
roads together opposite Cap Martin, a promontory densely grown with
old and gnarled olives and masses of dark pines that come down to the
water's edge. From beneath their shade one can look across the blue
waves breaking into white along the curving shore to Mentone's villas
and hotels overtopped by its old town on a spur of the mountain slopes
that rise sharply just behind. Although built at the mouth of two
torrents, Mentone is sheltered by an imposing amphitheatre of lofty
mountains, which very effectually screen it from the treacherous
mistral, and it is this fact which has made it the most popular place
for invalids on the whole of _la Côte d'Azur_. It is fortunate in
having been spared the inflictions of overpowering perspectives of the
Nice or Brighton order, and one can sit close to the shore under the
shade of great eucalyptus trees free from the glare and the traffic of
a big sea-front roadway of the stereotyped British pattern.

The eastern extension of Mentone, known as Garavan, is within a few
minutes' walk of the Italian frontier, where the sea-coast resorts
become more brightly coloured and have more architectural interest in
their old quarters, the Ligurian type of compactly built walled town
being scarcely recognisable in what remains of old Mentone.

Not only is the Riviera a land of winter sunshine, it is also one of
the most sweetly-scented coasts in the world. The delicious fragrance
of the lemon and the orange, when those trees are in blossom, is
often Nature's final lavish filling up of the cup of enjoyment to
overflowing. And in the spring, when the northern sea-coast resorts
are shivering before the icy winds that sweep down the Channel, this
favoured coast has nasturtiums and other flowers that England does not
see until late in summer, in their fullest blossom. France is indeed
fortunate in its Mediterranean shore, of which Plato must have been
thinking when he wrote:

   There the whole earth is made up of colours brighter far and
   clearer than ours; there is a purple of wonderful lustre, also
   the radiance of gold, and the white which is in the earth is
   whiter than any chalk or snow.

Among the watering-places on the Channel the twin towns of Deauville
and Trouville, separated only by the river Toques, are pre-eminent
among the wealthiest and most fashionable of Parisians. Trouville has
a longer season, but it is altogether outshone by its neighbour during
the fortnight of the races in August, and during the quieter weeks of
its season Deauville probably boasts more leaders of fashionable
French society than any other coast resort. It is popularly believed
that during the season one cannot smell the salt air off the sea at
either of these places on account of the scent used by its expensive
visitors. This is more or less true of Étretat also, and possibly of
Biarritz too, and no one who dreams of careless attire should come
near these places during the season.

Both places possess splendid stretches of sand, and therefore bathing
is safe, and one of the greatest attractions to visitors. The casinos
are well adapted to the demands made upon them, and the villas
include, among the various more temporary old-fashioned types, many
that are quite charming.

Westward from Deauville is pretty little Cabourg, just beyond the
mouth of the River Dive, where William the Norman assembled his army
for the invasion of England. Here also the beach is of excellent sand,
extending for four miles. The casino is, of course, a prominent
feature, and there is a broad terrace, not far short of a mile in
length, raised above the beach. Between Cabourg and the mouth of the
Orne one finds one of those embryo seaside places that are typical of
the haphazard fashion in which French watering-places grow. It bears
the curious name of Le Home-sur-Mer, and in its present stage of
development is little more than a railway-station and a collection of
widely scattered and hurriedly-built villas, dumped anywhere along a
sandy ridge.

After Deauville the seaside resort most patronised by the opulent is
Étretat. It has none of the advantages of a sandy shore, and bathing
from the steep shingly beach is often so dangerous that the
authorities insist on securing intrepid bathers by rope around the
waist. Good swimmers enjoy the depth of water to be found close to the
shore, and have no fear of a buffeting by big rollers; but to the weak
or timid the conditions are often forbidding, and on such days there
are more early arrivals than usual at the first tee on the
golf-course.

From the point of view of scenery Étretat holds a high position, its
bold chalk cliffs adding enormously to the picturesqueness of the
coast. Erosion produces very curious effects in the chalk, boring vast
cavities with wonderfully domed roofs, and leaving natural arches and
projecting ribs that sometimes suggest the colossal legs of a white
elephant. The arch springing from the central projection of the
cliffs, known as the Porte d'Aval, is approachable from the east at
low tide, and a nearer view can be obtained of an isolated pillar
called the Aiguille d'Étretat.

There are lofty cliffs at Fécamp and a curving bay, with a casino in
the centre and the mouth of the Fécamp River to the east; but it
cannot claim to be so much the resort of fashion as its western
neighbour. The town has a busy port and all the picturesqueness
contributed by the fishing-boats that go to the cod or herring
fisheries. There is, as well, the abbey church and the Benedictine
distillery with its interesting museum, but such features do not
attract many holiday-makers, who are looking for amusement of the
entirely social order.

St. Valery-en-Caux has a beach made up of both sand and shingle, the
upper portion of the bathing-ground being exceedingly stony. On the
lower level children bathe in safety, and the joy of shrimping is
indulged in by visitors of all ages.

A little to the east is Veules, where the cliffs are low and of rather
loose earth, and the beach is not ideal for bathing. It is popular
with the people of Rouen, being conveniently placed and inexpensive.
The shrimp here too offers a fund of excitement to the families who
are usually content with the most simple of amusements, provided
they can drop into the casino after dinner.

  [Illustration: THE VEGETABLE MARKET, NICE.]

Dieppe, owing to its connection with England by the Newhaven steamers,
is popular among English visitors, who can run over for a day or two
with the minimum of trouble and expense. The broad sunny Plage, the
casino to which one is free all day on payment of three francs, and
the Établissement des Bains keep the place very full of life and
gaiety throughout the season; but one does not expect to find there
the people who may be seen at Étretat or Deauville. Possessing a busy
and not unpicturesque port, an historic fifteenth-century _château_,
and a beautiful Gothic church, it is surprising to find the sea-front
so entirely suggestive of one of the newly developed resorts. To the
north-east is Tréport, an interesting and picturesque little coast
town, with the usual requirements for bathing and summer visitors.
Along the top of the great bank of shingle are the dressing-sheds,
with wooden steps at intervals leading down to the beach. Those who
have any interest in history find the proximity of the famous old town
of Eu a great attraction, but golf acts with such magnetic force over
the average Anglo-Saxon that such considerations do not often weigh
in the choice of a holiday resort. The French have only lately begun
to know the joys and the profound dejections of golf; it is not yet a
necessary adjunct to a seaside resort. Where there are golf-courses it
is mainly British capital that brings them on to the sand-dunes. Le
Touquet is very cosmopolitan, but it could hardly exist a month
without its English patrons. It is one of those places which come into
existence with the wave of the capitalist's wand. He says, in effect,
"Let us make on this waste an ideal health resort, let us erect
hotels, casinos, theatres, and to these add golf-courses, croquet
lawns, lawn-tennis courts, and polo grounds; we will have rides
through the forest and bathing facilities on this shore, and we will
advertise until the whole world knows that we have made this place."
And, having spoken, everything desired straightway comes to pass, so
that one reads on a leaflet concerning this newly arrived resort such
items as these:--

     10 hotels.                 2 golf-courses.
     2 casinos.                 3 croquet lawns.
     2 theatres.               17 lawn-tennis courts.
     10 miles of forest rides.  3 miles of sandy beach.
     A polo ground.             Drag-hounds.

Paris Plage is the newly-built town, brought into existence through
the needs and attractions of Le Touquet, Étaples being a little too
far away to answer this purpose.

Farther north is Boulogne, with its own casino and promenade and its
village resorts, such as Hardelot, close at hand. So numerous, indeed,
are the bathing-places of this type that it would be tiresome to even
attempt a list of them all, but they all have their own
devotees--French, English, and American--and any little villa along
the coast of Normandy or Picardy may during the hot months be the
temporary home of men and women whose names are household words on
either side of the Channel.

Brittany is farther away from Paris and from England, and its charms
are only beginning to be appreciated. With the exception of Dinard,
there is no place that is expensive or smart in any sense. Some of the
villages on the long and deeply indented coast-line have at least one
good hotel, and if one is content with what the sea will provide in
the way of amusement, the happiest of holidays may be spent there.
Bathing, sailing, fishing, sketching, walking, exploring quaint
villages, and seeing the curious social customs that still live in
this very Celtic corner of France, fill up endless days, and only
those to whom none of these things appeal can be dull, provided the
weather is tolerably fine.

Biarritz, down at the southern extremity of the French Atlantic coast,
in the innermost corner of the Bay of Biscay, with its neighbour St.
Jean de Luz, are far away from the two great groups of coast resorts.
The first was popularised among both French and English on account of
the frequent visits paid to it by King Edward VII. It was understood
when _Le Roi Edouard_ came to Biarritz that no one was to take any
notice whatsoever of his presence. Cameras were promptly confiscated
if any one attempted to snapshot the King or any of his friends, and
it was in this way possible for the sovereign who loved to step down
into the crowd, to forget the tedious functions of his office. After
Sunday morning service he would stroll along the promenade with one or
two friends in the most informal fashion, so that a chance British
visitor who did not dream that he might at any moment rub shoulders
with his sovereign would almost gasp with astonishment when he
suddenly discovered that he had actually done so!

  [Illustration: THE PYRENEES FROM NEAR PAMIERS.]

Only at intervals does the sea give up its onslaught upon the rocks
that form the coast at Biarritz, and one of the charms of the place is
to be found in the magnificent displays given by the Atlantic.
Thundering waves rear themselves in great walls of green,
marble-veined with foam, which fling themselves in a chaos of white
upon the smooth, sandy shore of the Plage or the deeply indented
promontory which contains the fishing port. The town is very modern,
but is well built and extremely clean and pleasant in every way, the
new streets being full of good houses in gardens that are something
more than a patch of unmown grass.

Besides bathing, for which there are three _établissements_, there is
golf and lawn-tennis, while the proximity of the Pyrenees gives
opportunity for motor drives in the midst of deep valleys, whose vast
slopes clothed with pine or box fall precipitously to torrential
rivers. The whole country, too, is rich in memories of Wellington's
successful completion of the Peninsular War. St. Jean de Luz was for a
time his headquarters, the house he occupied being still in existence.
Nearly all who stay at Biarritz go on to Pau, the inland winter resort
close to, but not within the actual embrace of the Pyrenees. English
people visit both places mainly in the winter and spring. They make
the season at those times, while French and Spanish visitors flood
thither in the summer, putting up prices at that period of the year to
a height not reached during the zenith of the English season. Almost
every form of sport and open-air exercise can be enjoyed at Pau, and
foxhounds meet regularly throughout the winter. The town is
magnificently placed on the north side of the Gave de Pau, and the
view it commands of the snowy range of peaks, with the deep and
picturesque valleys leading up to them, is one of the finest
possessions of this character to be found in any town of France.

  [Illustration: THE GALERIE DES GLACES AT VERSAILLES.]



CHAPTER X

ROMAN, ROMANESQUE, AND GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE IN FRANCE


In the wide range of its ancient and mediaeval architecture France
stands next to Italy. Its Roman buildings are almost as fine as
anything to be found in that country, its Gothic structures include
some of the world's masterpieces, while in examples of the Renaissance
only the country where the re-birth took place can rival her. England,
which competes closely in the Romanesque and Gothic periods, is out of
the running in the earlier epoch, and takes a very much lower position
in the works that succeeded the death of the pointed style. Italy, the
most formidable rival, is superior in its Roman remains, but inferior
in its Gothic work. In the Renaissance, Italy, its home, stands easily
first, and in works of the Byzantine period its possessions at Venice
and Ravenna leave the western nations far behind.

Prehistoric architecture is well represented in Brittany, where the
vast scale of the Carnac lines--the Avenues of Kermario--dwarfs the
British survivals on Salisbury Plain and Dartmoor. There are numerous
dolmens and tumuli, containing chambers roughly constructed out of
unhewn stones of the New Grange (Ireland) type, but there is nothing
comparable to Stonehenge.

When one comes to the Roman period the remains are so splendid that
many are satisfied with what they have seen in Provence, and do not
feel impelled to see Rome before they die. Nîmes stands first among
the towns of Provence for the splendour of the Roman structures it has
preserved. Not only has it an amphitheatre which is more perfect than
any other in existence, but its temple, dedicated to Caius and Lucius
Caesar, adopted sons of the Emperor Augustus, between the first and
the fourteenth year of the Christian era, is also the best preserved
in the world. Having been used successively as a church, a municipal
hall, and a stable, it is now a museum of Roman objects, and seems
capable of standing for an unlimited time. Besides these most famous
structures there are two gateways, one of them bearing an inscription
stating that it was built in the year 16 B.C. To the north of the town
are Roman baths of wonderful completeness, and in their restored
condition of very considerable beauty. Over them on the hill-top rises
the Tour Magne, a Roman watch-tower which formed part of the defences
of the city. Stretching across the deep and rocky bed of the river
Gard, about 14 miles to the north, is the vast aqueduct which carried
the water-supply of Nîmes across the obstruction caused by the river.
The three superimposed tiers of arches filling the wide space make one
of the most imposing of all the Roman works that have come down to the
present time.

  [Illustration: THE ROMAN TRIUMPHAL ARCH AT ORANGE.]

Arles is a serious rival to Nîmes. It has preserved its amphitheatre,
built about the first century A.D. and large enough to hold an
audience of 25,000 persons. The remains of its theatre, with two
marble columns of its proscenium, which were utilised as a gallows in
the Middle Ages, standing out among the fallen and dislodged stones,
has preserved just enough of its form to be exceedingly impressive. In
the disused church of St. Anne have been gathered a most remarkable
collection of Roman sarcophagi, altars, and many other objects of
richly sculptured stone, while in the Avenue des Alyscamps one may see
the cemetery of Roman Arles just outside the city walls, dating from
the reign of the Emperor Constantine. On the two sides of the avenue
there are many stone sarcophagi, the larger ones, of which there are
two or three dozen, having retained their lids. There are remains of
the forum and a tower of Constantine's palace, built early in the
fourth century.

Orange has a theatre which, now that the upper tiers of seats have
been restored, has very much its original appearance. The immense
stone wall, forming the back of the semicircular stage, is 118 feet in
height and 13 feet thick. Stone was close at hand, making its
construction easy, and the auditorium was hewn out of the limestone
hill against which the theatre was built. There appears to have been a
permanent roof of timber--a unique feature--for there are structural
indications leading to such a conclusion, as well as signs of fire,
which no doubt was the cause of its disappearance. In about A.D. 21 a
very fine triumphal arch was erected at Orange, then known as
_Arausio_, and this still stands complete, save for the detrition on
its surface caused by the weather and perhaps some rough handling in
the Dark Ages. Very judicious restoration has given one a convincing
idea of what is missing where the structure has not been overlaid with
new work. St. Rémy has contrived to preserve a considerable portion of
its triumphal arch, and close to it a remarkably perfect mausoleum, 50
feet in height. It is adorned with much sculpture like the archway,
and both stand upon an exposed rocky plateau. There are, indeed, so
many survivals of this period which one would like to mention that
there would be no space to deal with any later age. Vienne, on the
extreme confines of Roman Provincia, has its temple, rebuilt in the
second century, converted into a Christian church in the fifth, and
made more famous during the Revolution by the celebrating within its
walls of the Festival of Reason. Remains of the city walls, of a
theatre, of the balustrade of a fine staircase, of a pantheon, an
amphitheatre, and a citadel are still to be seen. The Roman aqueduct,
which supplied the city, restored in 1822, is still to some extent in
use!

Périgueux is full of indications of its Roman buildings. The Tour de
Vésone is in part a Gallo-Roman temple, dedicated to Vesuna; the
remains of the amphitheatre include much of the outer wall, in which
are staircases, vomitoria, and the lower vaulting now partially
exposed. At Lillebonne, mentioned in another chapter, are the
carefully excavated remains of a theatre; at Carcassonne, at Narbonne,
at Lyons, in Paris, and in other cities and towns, Roman foundations
and many sculptured stones are full of significance, and of absorbing
interest to the historian, the architect, and the archaeologist.

Following the age of Roman domination came those strangely fascinating
centuries of disruption and destruction in which the outward
influences of Rome slowly gave way before the westward march of the
lower but healthier civilisation of the tribes of central and eastern
Europe. When these new peoples had settled down among the older
occupants of the country, they began to build permanent structures for
themselves, and although there may have been some craftsmanship among
them, they were unable to do more than make indifferent attempts to
copy the architecture of the Roman era. The dark shadow that the
irruptions caused to fall upon the face of Europe leaves the world in
ignorance as to the fate of the architects, and stone masons who
reared the noble works of Rome's supremacy in western Europe. It would
appear that in the two or three centuries of uncertainty, if not of
perpetual warfare and social chaos, no one had time or opportunity to
do more than erect hurried fortifications of the crude type one sees
in the Visigothic portions of town walls, such as those of
Carcassonne. No architect could flourish under such conditions, and
unless he migrated to the seat of the Eastern Empire opportunities for
applying his knowledge were no doubt impossible to find. And at
Constantinople a new development of architecture was taking place, in
which the exterior was disregarded to a very considerable extent while
internal decoration became extravagant, Byzantine art being
dissatisfied unless every portion of walls and roof was richly
ornamented and brilliant in colour. The profession of the architect
being useless, the dependent handicraftsmen would inevitably die out,
and thus from the sixth century, which is about the earliest date of
any Romanesque building in France, one sees the crude efforts of the
ill-trained sculptors to copy the ornament of the buildings that lay
around them ruined or gutted. In many of the capitals that were
carved in these early centuries of Christian times, the volutes are
half-hearted attempts to reproduce the Ionic order, with a tendency to
stray into Corinthian foliation. From such very early buildings as the
church of St. Pierre at Vienne, onwards to St. Trophîme at Arles, the
crypts of Notre Dame du Port at Clermont-Ferrand and of St. Denis,
Paris, until one reaches the great churches of the eleventh and
twelfth centuries, such as the cathedral of Angoulême and the church
of Notre Dame la Grande at Poitiers, one can see the steady
development of a curious mixture of bastard Roman with the Byzantine
style, upon which was growing a new individuality which burst into
flower with the introduction of the pointed arch. In France this
abandonment of the Roman semicircular arch came very gradually.
Belonging to the transition stage are many fine buildings, in which
group are the fine church at Poitiers just mentioned and the cathedral
at Le Puy-en-Velay. The sculpture of this period reveals the very
strong Byzantine influence prevailing, and if no other evidence
existed this alone would demonstrate the debt western Europe owes to
the rearguard of its civilisation.

  [Illustration: FRENCH DESTROYERS.]

The architecture of Normandy had its own peculiarities during the
Romanesque period, but while these differences have entitled it to a
separate name and classification, it is Romanesque influenced by the
Northmen, and all through England the strong Byzantine influence was
felt until the great expansion of new ideas began to outgrow the forms
and ornament of the preceding centuries.

Two of the finest Norman Romanesque buildings are the great abbey
churches built at Caen by William the Conqueror and his queen Matilda.
The Abbaye aux Hommes, William's work, is not quite as it was when
consecrated, but it is almost entirely a work of the Norman period.
That there was a simplicity in the style at this period almost
amounting to plainness is shown in the west front of William's church;
while the Abbaye aux Dames, built about a quarter of a century later,
shows a very great advance in the distribution and application of
ornament both within and without. Another abbey church, that of St.
Georges de Boscherville, built in the eleventh century by Raoul de
Tancarville, is a more perfect and complete work of that period than
any other in Normandy. With the exception of the upper portions of
the western turrets and the broach spire, the whole church stands
to-day as it was originally erected. In these large and not always
very beautiful buildings, it is their association with a romantic
period and the evidences they show of architectural evolution that
provides the chief satisfaction to the informed visitor and the
student.

A considerable portion of the abbey buildings that engirdle the summit
of the rocky islet of Mont St. Michel belong to the Norman period,
although much of the work is Gothic.

At St. Denis, outside Paris, one sees the beginnings of French Gothic.
Clearly the builders regarded the new style as empirical, for there
was obvious hesitation to plunge too far into a field of such
considerable possibilities when the west front was designed. A little
later than St. Denis is the cathedral of Noyon, another extremely
interesting example of this period. Almost simultaneously came
Chartres, but a disastrous fire in 1194 left little besides the towers
and the west front. The rebuilding, however, which proceeded almost at
once, was to a considerable extent completed by 1210, and this later
work shows the Gothic style grown to all the splendour which has
perpetually satisfied and enthralled the minds of succeeding
generations.

At this time building was proceeding all over Europe with wonderful
vigour. The new style gripped the imaginations of all the western
nations, and wherever sufficient funds were obtainable the monkish
architects were enthusiastically producing designs which were steadily
carried out in stone. In Paris Notre Dame was building all through the
closing years of the twelfth century and the opening of the next; at
Rouen, the cathedral having been burnt in 1200, half a century of
building followed; the glories of Rheims and Amiens were materialising
during the same period, and almost coeval is the vast cathedral of
Beauvais, which was planned to eclipse that of Amiens in every
respect. The ambitious intent of the designers of Beauvais was never
consummated, and in the unfinished pile standing to-day one sees the
failure to build a Titan among cathedrals.

All through the period known in England as Early English there is much
similarity in design, as well as in ornament, on both sides of the
Channel, but signs of divergence begin to appear with the development
of decorative skill during the English Decorated Period, and when the
French architect had reached his highest achievement in the subtly
beautiful lines of the Flamboyant style, the English craftsmen, after
a few brief moments in the same direction, turned about and produced
their unique development in the style known as Perpendicular. Here and
there in France there are suggestions of the restraint of the last
phase of English Gothic, but they are almost as rare as the Flamboyant
style in England. At Evreux and at Gisors one sees remarkable examples
of the work of the Renaissance in the reconstruction of the west ends
of these Gothic churches. The contrast of styles is, however, too
marked to allow even the hand of Time to remove the challenge which
the two styles fling at one another.



CHAPTER XI

THE NATIONAL DEFENCES


About the year 1909 the administration of the French navy had fallen
into a scandalous state of chaos. Battleships were so long in building
that the type was beginning to be superseded before the vessels were
commissioned. There was a story circulated not long ago to the effect
that some one who enquired of the widow of a workman at Cherbourg what
her son was going to do for a livelihood received the reply that he
would work on the _Henri IV._ as his father had done. The story may
not be quite true, but it indicates what people were thinking at the
time. British ships are not infrequently completed within a year of
their launch, but the _Dupetit Thouars_ which took the water in 1901
was only completed in 1905.

It was during the period of office of M. Pelletan that the various
departments of the navy lost cohesion and their productive capacity
was greatly diminished. This minister was responsible for a species of
socialistic propaganda which brought about the most deplorable results
in so far as the efficiency of the navy was concerned. _Le Journal_,
in its summary of the conclusions of the commission of enquiry into
the state of naval administration, admitted that money had been wasted
in petty errors and foolish blunders, in orders and counter-orders, on
untried guns, on worthless boilers, on white powder which turned
green, on shells which destroyed the gunners, on 16-centimetre turrets
in which 19-centimetre guns had been placed. "The money," said this
newspaper, "has passed through ignorant hands, and slipped through
fools' fingers."

Drastic changes were necessary to stop the alarming deterioration that
was taking place, for the nation had not, for fully ten years, been
getting anything near the full measure of sea-power to which it was
entitled by the annual sums voted. Between 1900 and 1909 France
expended 129 millions sterling on her navy, and in the same period
Germany devoted 121 millions to that branch of national defence, and
at the end of the decade it was found that the country spending the
larger sum had dropped down to a fifth place in the scale of world
sea-power, while with her smaller outlay Germany had risen to the
second place. In other words, the French had paid for the second place
and only realised the fifth!

In this crisis Admiral Boué de Lapeyrère was appointed Minister of
Marine, and was provided with a civilian Under-Secretary of State to
act as assistant and be responsible with him for civil administration.
Since this appointment much leeway has been made up, although the
nation has had to mourn the loss of the _Liberté_, which blew up in
the crowded naval harbour of Toulon, and has been alarmed more than
once on account of the unstable quality of the powder with which the
ships have been supplied. At last this danger appears to have been
rectified.

The French naval officer receives his training at the naval schools at
Brest and Toulon and is generally very keen and capable. He does not
enjoy hard conditions from the sporting instinct after the fashion so
usual in the British navy, but his devotion to his work produces very
efficient gunnery and admirable handling of submarine craft. For the
lower deck the supply of the suitable class of bluejacket might be
sadly deficient were it not for the seafaring populations of Brittany
and Normandy. At Bologne there was living recently a wrinkled old
grandmother who had forty grandchildren, of whom all the males were
sailors or fishermen, while several of the girls had become fishwives
or had married fishermen or sailors. France owes much to her little
weather-beaten grandmothers of this type.

The manning of the fleet is partially carried out by voluntary
enlistment, but the main supply is gained by means of the _inscription
maritime_, a system established in the latter part of the seventeenth
century by Colbert. This method requires all sailors between eighteen
and fifty to be enrolled in "the Army of the Sea." They begin their
term of seven years of obligatory service at about twenty, two years
of the period being furlough. Any man earning his livelihood on inland
waters, provided they are tidal or capable of carrying sea-going
vessels, is included in the term "sailor." A further supply of men
is obtained by transferring a certain number of the year's army
recruits to the sea service.

  [Illustration: SOLDIERS OF FRANCE IN PARIS.]

Cherbourg, Brest, and Toulon are the chief naval ports, Lorient and
Rochefort being of lesser importance. Shipbuilding, however, takes
place at each of the five.

The frequent changes make it impossible to discuss the strength of the
fleets in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, or those stationed in
colonial waters, but collectively the fighting force of the navy has
for the last few years numbered roughly 25 battleships, 15 large
armoured cruisers, 16 protected cruisers, 80 or 90 destroyers, 180
torpedo-boats, and about 90 submarines and submersibles. Under the new
administration larger ships are being built, and the destroyer is
taking the place of the torpedo-boat.

On account of its superiority as a fighting machine the army of France
ranks above the navy, and it should have been placed before the navy
in the short notes which constitute this chapter. The author has felt,
however, that the subject is too complex to deal with in such a book
as this. He confesses to blank ignorance as to the efficiency of the
French artillery material, although from English sources he gathers
that it is superior to that possessed by almost any other nation. It
would be extremely interesting if one could state how far the army is
prepared for "the real thing," how much it has learned in recent
years, to what extent its very efficient army of the air is a source
of strength, and whether the rifle at present in use is as perfect a
weapon as those of other countries. These are subjects much discussed
by the inexpert, and the author does not feel competent to deal with
them.

In the present year (1913) the period of service for the conscripts
who form the army was raised from two to three years, and by this
means the numbers of the peace strength were enormously increased from
the former establishment of a little over half a million men. The new
law did not add, as might perhaps be imagined, another quarter of a
million to the total. France has not a sufficiently large population
to provide such a number of men of the required age and physical
fitness. The numbers are, however, considered sufficient to meet the
imaginary dangers which threaten her national existence, and the
country has now to divert much of its energy to meeting the cost of
this regrettable lengthening and thickening of her big stick.
Incidentally the world's prosperity must suffer, and social reforms
generations overdue must be postponed! With Ebenezer Elliott one asks
again:

     When wilt Thou save the people?
     O God of mercy, when?

  [Illustration: SKETCH MAP OF FRANCE]



INDEX


     Ablutions, personal, 34

     Academies, the, 75

     Adour, the, 144, 168

     Agnosticism, 80, 83

     Agriculture, 116

     Agrippa, 161

     Aigues-Mortes, 127, 163

     Aix-en-Provence, 164

     Algerian wine, 125

     Allier, the, 147

     Alms-giving in churches, 44

     Alps, 123, 124

     Amboise, 150

     Amiens, 203

     Andely, Le Petit, 154

     Angers, Château d', 150

     Anglo-Norman horses, 123

     Angoulême, 200

     Apache, the, 96, 97

     Arles, 130, 162, 164, 195, 196, 200

     Armoricans, the, 7

     Army, the, 209

     _Arrondissement_, the, 60

     Asses, 123

     Assize, Courts of, 63

     Aube, the, 152

     Augustus Caesar, 161, 181

     Auvergnes, the, 146

     _Aversier_, the, 131

     Avignon, 162, 164

     Ay, 126


     _Baccalauréat de l'enseignement_, 74

     Bachelier, Nicholas, 167

     Bacteriology, science of, 18

     Bagehot, Walter, 53

     Banns, announcement of, 42

     Barker, Mr. E. H., 106, 116

     Bastille, the, 111

     Bath, the itinerant, 34

     Battle of Flowers at Nice, 171

     Bayonne, 168

     Beauce, La, plain of, 115, 116, 119

     Beaugency, 148

     Beauvais, 203

     Bedroom, the typical, 26, 28

     Bergerac, 167

     Bernese Alps, 143, 159

     Betham-Edwards, Miss, 31

     Béziers, 126

     Biarritz, 184, 190, 191

     Birth-rate, the, 36

     Blessington, Lady, 172

     Blois, 148

     Blois, Château de, 149

     _Bonne-à-tout-faire_, the, 13, 14, 101, 102
       commissions of the, 30

     Bordeaux, 167

     Bore on the Seine, 155

     Boué de Lapeyrère, Admiral, 207

     Boulanger, 139

     Boulevards, the, 88

     Boulogne, 189, 208

     Boulogne, Bois de, Paris, 110

     Bourseul, Charles, 18

     Boy Scouts in France, 72

     Bread, French, 87

     Brest, 207, 209

     Brieg, 158

     Brittany, 11, 12, 122, 123, 131, 189, 208
       megalithic remains, 7

     Brougham and Vaux, Lord Chancellor, 170

     Brunel, Isambard, 18

     Buckwheat, 115

     Butcher, the French, 32

     Byron, Lord, 159

     Byzantine architecture, 193, 199, 200, 201


     Cabourg, 184

     Caen, 88, 201

     Caesar, Gaius Julius, 10

     Cafés, the, 86, 87, 88, 113

     Calvaries, roadside, 122

     Cannes, 170, 174

     _Canton_, the, 60

     Carcassonne, 198

     Carmargue, the, 163

     Carnac, prehistoric remains at, 194

     Carnavalet, Musée, Paris, 109

     Carts, country, 118

     Casino, the, 171, 176, 178

     _Cassation, Cour de_, 63

     Catherine de Medici, 150

     Cattle, 123

     Caudebec, 155, 156

     Cevennes, the, 115, 123, 145, 146
       peasants of, 128-130

     Charente, the, 144

     Chartres, 202

     Château Gaillard, 153

     _Château_ life, 133-137

     Châtillon, 152

     Chaumont, Château de, 150

     Chenonceaux, Château de, 150

     Cherbourg, 205, 209

     Chestnuts, 115

     Children, training of, 38, 39

     Churches, 78
       attendance at, 78
       decorations in, 79, 80
       irreverent behaviour in, 78

     Church-going, women and, 79

     Cimbri, 157

     Civil Code, the, 14, 42, 47, 66

     Cleanliness, 33

     Clermont-Ferrand, 200

     Cluny, Hôtel, Paris, 110

     Coal consumption, 29

     _Concierge_, the, 38, 97, 98, 99

     _Conciergerie_, the, Paris, 110

     Conscription, 210

     Constantine, Emperor, 196

     Constitution, the French, 50, 51, 52, 53

     Conversation in the _château_, 139

     Cooking, French, 2, 3

     Corniche Roads, the, 179, 180, 181

     Corrèze, 115

     Costebelle, 173

     Crau, La, 163, 164

     Critical faculty of the French, 20

     Curé, the, 83, 84, 85


     Deauville, 183

     Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the, 50, 51, 52

     Demolins, M., 71

     Deputies, Chamber of, 55
       salaries of, 59

     Diane de Poitiers, 150

     Dieppe, 187

     Dinard, 189

     Discipline, lack of, 47

     Dive, the, 184

     Divorce laws, 44, 45

     Doctors, fees of, 131, 132

     d'Or, Iles, 173

     Dordogne, the, 167

     _Dot_, the, 47

     Dreyfus, Captain A., 63

     Duelling, 139-142

     Dumas, the elder, 139

     Durance, the, 164


     Ebro, the, 151

     Economies of the French, 21

     Education, expenditure on, 67, 68

     Education and social status, 75

     Educational system, 72

     Edward the Confessor, 156

     Edward VII., King, 190

     English Channel, the, 6

     Épernay, 126

     Esplanade, on the Riviera, the, 176, 177

     Essonne, the, 152

     Estérel Mountains, 173, 174

     Étaples, 189

     Étoile district of Paris, 89

     Étretat, 153, 184, 185

     Eu, 187

     Euric, king of the Visigoths, 166

     Evreux, 204


     Faculties, the State, 75

     Family Council, the, 34, 35

     Farms, 119, 120

     Fécamp, 186

     _Five o'clock, le_, 135

     Flail, use of, 118

     Flamboyant style, 204

     Fontainebleau, forest of, 124

     Food, high cost of, 105

     Forests of France, 124

     Forez, plain of, 146

     France as a colonising nation, 48

     Franchise, the, 56

     Franks, the, 10

     Fréjus, 173

     French enterprise, 65

     French people, origin of, 11, 12, 32

     Frenchwomen, dress of, 2

     Funerals, 79

     Furnishing of the _château_, 135, 136

     Furniture, household, 28


     Galatia, 10

     Gallia Comata, 161

     Games at _Lycées_, 72

     Garavan, 170, 182

     Gard, the, 162, 195

     _Garde républicaine_, the, 64, 93

     Garonne, the, 144, 164-167

     Gascons, the, 11

     Gaul, early tribes of, 7, 8

     Gauls, the, 9

     _Gendarmerie_, the, 64

     Geneva, Lake of, 159, 164

     George, Mr. W. L., 81

     Gironde, the, 167

     Gisors, 204

     Golf-courses, 171, 188

     Grievances, endurance of, 49, 50
        redress of, 19

     Gris Nez, Cape, 6, 153

     Guise, Duc de, 150


     Habeas Corpus, the right of, 52

     Hannibal, 157

     Hardelot, 189

     Harfleur, 156

     Hausmann, the architect, 113

     Havre, Le, 156

     Hedges, lack of, 121

     Holdings, average size of, 116

     Holmes, Mr. T. Rice, 33

     Home life, 25

     Home-sur-Mer, Le, 184

     Honfleur, 156

     Hope, Sir John, 168

     Horses, breeding of, 122, 123

     Hotels, 3

     Hotels, French and English, contrasted, 32, 33

     Household furnishing, 26
       repairs, 26

     Housemaid's work done by men, 25

     Housing, 37
       in Paris, 104

     Huguenots, 150

     Hunting parties, 136

     Husbandry, primitive, 117

     Hyères, 172


     Ideas, the great, of the French, 17, 18

     _Inscription maritime_, 208

     _Institut de France_, 75

     Irreligion, 82, 83


     _Jeune fille_, the, 39, 40, 46, 69

     Jewish communities, 81

     _Juge d'instruction_, 63

     _Juge de paix_, 35, 61, 62, 63

     Jumièges, Abbey of, 156

     Jura, the, 123, 143


     Lamartine, 139

     Landais, the, 11

     Landes, Les, 123, 124

     Langeais, Château de, 150

     Language, the French, 8, 11

     Langres, Plateau de, 152

     Lannemezan, plateau of, 165

     Lauzan, Hôtel de, Paris, 110

     Le Parc, 160

     Le Puy-en-Velay, 76, 146, 200

     _Liberté_, destruction of the, 207

     Libourne, 167

     Lillebonne, 156, 198

     Locke, Mr. J. W., 113

     Loing, the, 152

     Loire, the, 144-150, 156

     Lorient, 209

     Louis XIV., 110

     Louvre, Palais du, Paris, 110

     Lugdunum, 161

     Lutetia Parisiorum, 110

     _Lycées_, the, 39, 68, 69, 70, 72, 74

     _Lycées_ for girls, 69

     Lyons, 61, 160, 161, 162, 198


     Madeleine, the, 44

     Maeterlinck, 156

     _Mairie_, the, 43

     _Maison paternelle_, la, 35, 38

     Maladetta Chain, 165

     _Mariage d'inclination_, the, 40

     Marie Antoinette, 110

     Maritime Alps, 164

     Marketing, 30, 103

     Marne, the, 152

     Marriage, enquiries before, 24
       parental control of, 40, 41, 42

     Martin, Cap, 181

     Martinière, La, 148

     Mary Stuart, 150

     Maure Mountains, 173

     Meals, 31

     Meat, the cutting of, 32

     Medical services in the country, 31

     Megalithic remains of Brittany, 7

     Mentone, 181, 182

     Merovingian architecture, 198, 199, 200

     _Métayage_ system, the, 117

     _Métayers_, 117

     Meudon Woods, 141

     Midi, the, 118

     _Midinette_, the, 13, 33, 94, 95, 96

     Ministry, the, 56

     Misconceptions concerning France, 13

     Mistral, the, 163

     Monaco, 177
       Prince of, 178

     Monopolies, State, 60

     Montaigne, 140

     Monte Bego, 118

     Monte Carlo, 177, 178, 179

     Montmartre, 107

     Mont St. Michel, 202

     Morals of the French, 16, 17

     Moselle, the, 151

     Mules, 122


     Nantes, 148

     Napoleon, 67, 140
       modern France the work of, 65

     Napoleon III., 55

     Napoule, La, 171, 174

     Narbonne, 10, 126, 198

     National debt, 60

     Navy, the, 205-209

     Neste, the, 165

     Nevers, 147

     Nice, 171, 176, 177

     Nîmes, 162, 194

     Normandy, 115, 116, 118, 119, 122, 123, 126, 208
       architecture of, 201
       people of, 12

     Notre Dame, Paris, 203

     Noyon, 202

     Nuns as medical practitioners, 132


     Odours of France, 5

     Oiseaux, Montagnes des, 173

     Olive, the, 162

     Omnibuses of Paris, 91, 101

     Orange, 162, 196

     Orleans, Forêt d', 124

     Orne, the, 184

     Orthez, 168

     Oxen, draught, 118, 124


     Parc Monceaux, Paris, 108

     Paris, cab-drivers of, 1, 2
       compared with London, 110, 111, 112
       Étoile district, 107
       fortifications of, 112
       high prices in, 29
       high rents of, 29
       home life in, 25
       Plage, 189
       prisons, 65
       Roman, 110
       St. Antoine District, 109
       Sainte Chapelle, 109
       St. Étienne-du-Mont, 109
       St. Germain, 109
       St. Jacques, 109
       smoke of, 107
       streets of, 86, 87, 107, 108, 109

     Pau, 191, 192

     Pau, Gave de, 168, 192

     Peasant, costume of, 126
       life, 114-131
       ownership of land, 114, 115
       women, 130

     Pelletan, M., 206

     Pennine Alps, 143, 159

     Percheron horses, 123

     Perdu, Mont, 165

     Périgueux, 197, 198

     Philippe Auguste, 150

     Phoenician traders, 164

     Phylloxera, the, 125

     Pigs, 123

     Pinay, 145

     _Pistonnage_, 58

     Plato, 183

     Poitiers, 200

     Poitou, plain of, 144

     Police, 64

     Policemen of Paris, 90, 91

     Politeness of the French, 99

     Pont du Gard, 157, 195

     Pont du Roi, 165

     Pratz, Mdlle. de, 95, 105

     _Première Instance_, Court of, 61

     President, the, 57, 58

     Prison system, 64

     Protective tariffs, 104

     Protestants in France, 81

     Provence, scenery of, 163

     Public Instruction, Minister of, 68

     Pyrenees, the, 123, 124, 165, 191, 192

     Pyrimont, 160


     Rapidity of speech, 15

     Reason, Festival of, 197

     Religion of the French, 76, 77

     Rents in Paris, 103, 104

     Revolution, the, 50, 62, 197

     Rheims, 203

     Rhone, the, 127, 143, 157, 160, 161-165

     Rhone Glacier, 144, 158

     Richard Coeur-de-Lion, 153

     Riviera, the, 169-183

     Road, rule of the, 90

     Roanne, 145, 147

     Robespierre, 110

     Rochefort, 139, 209

     Roman architecture in France, 193-199

     Roman Catholicism, 81

     Rouen, 154, 155, 203


     Sabatier, Paul, 84

     St. Bartholomew, Massacre of, 150

     St. Bénézet, 157

     Ste. Beuve, 139

     St. Denis, Paris, 78, 200, 202

     St. Étienne, 145, 146

     St. Gaudens, 166

     St. Georges de Boscherville, 201

     St. Germain, Faubourg, Paris, 106, 111

     St. Gilles, 163

     St. Jean de Luz, 190, 191

     St. Martory, 166

     St. Maurice, 158

     St. Michel, Mont, 202

     St. Raphaël, 173

     St. Rémy, 197

     St. Valery-en-Caux, 186

     St. Wandrille, 156

     Sand, George, 128-130

     Sanitation, imperfection of, 88, 89

     Saône, the, 160, 161

     Scholarships, State, 69

     School-boy, the, 73

     Schoolmistress, the lay, 69, 70

     Schools, 85

     Segusiani, the, 161

     Seine, the, 11, 150-157

     Senate, the, 55

     Servants, female, 26

     Sévigné, Marquise de, 110

     Sheep, 123

     Sherard, Mr. Robert, 141

     Shooting parties, 136

     Shop assistants, 100

     Sologne, the, 148

     Soult, Marshal, 168

     Strabo, 164

     Strong, Rowland, 92

     Submarine, France and the, 18

     Superstitions among the peasantry, 131


     Tancarville Castle, 156

     Tancarville, Raoul de, 201

     Taine, H. A., 65

     Tarascon, 162

     Tarbais horses, 123

     Tarbes, 123

     Taxation, 59
       indirect, 60

     Taxis, horse-drawn, in Paris, 92

     Telephone, inventor of, 18

     Tenda, Col di, 172

     Teutones, 157

     Thiers, 139

     Thrift, the need for, 24

     Thriftiness of the French, 14, 21

     Toques, the, 183

     Toulon, 207, 209

     Toulouse, 166
       plain of, 124

     Touquet, Le, 188

     Tours, 144

     Town planning in France, 112

     Traffic of Paris, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94

     Trees, roadside, 121

     Tréport, 187

     _Tribunal correctionnel de l'arrondissement_, 61

     Trou du Taureau, 165

     Trouville, 183

     Tuileries, the, Paris, 110

     Turbie, La, 181


     Universities, the, 74


     Valence, 162

     Valescure, 173

     Vallais, the, 159

     Veuillot, 139

     Veules, 186

     Vienne, 162, 197, 200

     Vikings, the, 154

     Villages, 120

     Villefranche, 177

     Vine, the, 163

     Vines, American, 125

     Virgin, representations of the, 76

     Visigothic architecture, 199

     Vosges, the, 123, 143

     Vulgarity in illustrated papers, 15, 16


     Waddington, Mary K., 136

     Washing days, 138

     Wedding ceremonies, 43, 44

     Wellington, Duke of, 168, 191

     William the Conqueror, 156, 184, 201

     Wine-grower, the, 125

     Woman in business, the, 46

     Women, position of, among the peasants, 128


     Yonne, the, 152

     Young, Arthur, 166


     Zola, Émile, 128



THE END


  _Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_.





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