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Title: Our sentimental journey through France and Italy - A new edition with Appendix
Author: Pennell, Joseph, Pennell, Elizabeth Robins
Language: English
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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.

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                                  OUR

                          SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY


                   _By the same Author and Artist._


                           PLAY IN PROVENCE.

                    With nearly 100 Illustrations.


                        THE STREAM OF PLEASURE:

     A NARRATIVE OF A JOURNEY ON THE THAMES FROM OXFORD TO LONDON.


                       LONDON: T. FISHER UNWIN.



                                  OUR

                          SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY

                                THROUGH

                           FRANCE AND ITALY

                                  BY

                       JOSEPH & ELIZABETH ROBINS
                                PENNELL

                            _A NEW EDITION_

                             WITH APPENDIX

                                LONDON
                            T. FISHER UNWIN
                          PATERNOSTER SQUARE
                                 1893


                            [Illustration]



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.


Our great ambition when we first set out on our tricycle, three years
ago, was to ride from London to Rome. We did not then know exactly why
we wanted to do this, nor do we now. The third part of the journey was
“ridden, written, and wrought into a work” before the second part was
begun; and, moreover, when and where we could not ride with ease--across
the Channel and over the Alps, for example--we went by boat and train.
In our simplicity we thought by publishing the story of our journey, we
could show the world at large, and perhaps Mr. Ruskin in particular,
that the oft-regretted delights of travelling in days of coach and
post-chaise, destroyed on the coming of the railroad, were once more to
be had by means of tricycle or bicycle. We can only hope that critic and
reader are not, like Mr. Ruskin, prepared to spend all their best “bad
language” “in reprobation of bi-tri-and-4-5-6 or 7-cycles,” and that
the riding we found so beautiful will not to them, as to him, be but a
vain wriggling on wheels. We also thought we might prove to the average
cycler how much better it is to spend spare time and money in making
Pilgrims’ Progresses and Sentimental Journeys than in hanging around
racetracks. However that may be, we have at length accomplished the
object of our riding, and that is the great matter after all. As to
future rides and records, if we make any, it is our intention to for
ever keep them to ourselves, and so--spare the public.



PREFACE TO THE NEW EDITION.


Tandem tricycling, like Mr. Laurence Sterne’s graveyard, has virtually
disappeared. But the pleasures of cycling are so all-enduring that we
venture to issue a new edition of Our Sentimental Journey.

                             J. & E. R. P.

14 BUCKINGHAM ST., STRAND,

     _March 27, 1893_.



Dedication.


TO

_LAURENCE STERNE, ESQ._,

&c. &c. &c.


                                              LONDON, _Jan. 2^d, 1888_.

DEAR SIR,--

We never should have ventured to address you, had we not noticed of late
that Mr. Andrew Lang has been writing to Dead Authors, not one of
whom--to our knowledge--has taken offence at this liberty. Encouraged by
his example, we beg leave to dedicate to you this history of our
journey, laying it with the most respectful humility before your
sentimental shade, and regretting it is without that charm of style
which alone could make it worthy.

And as, in our modesty, we would indeed be unwilling to trouble you a
second time, we must take advantage of this unhoped-for opportunity to
add a few words of explanation about our journey in your honour. It is
because of the conscientious fidelity with which we rode over the route
made ever famous by you, that we have included ourselves in the class of
Sentimental Travellers, of which you must ever be the incomparable head.
To other sentiment, dear Sir, whatever we may have thought in the
enthusiasm of setting out, we now know we can lay no claim. Experience
has taught us that it depends upon the man himself, and not upon his
circumstances or surroundings. Nowadays the manner of travelling through
France and Italy is by rail, and mostly on Cook’s tickets, and chaises
have become a luxury which we at least cannot afford. The only vehicle
by which we could follow your wheel-tracks along the old post roads was
our tricycle, an ingenious machine of modern invention, endeared to us,
because without it Our Sentimental Journey would have been an
impossibility. In these degenerate days, you, Sir, we are sure, would
prefer it to a railway carriage, as little suited to your purposes as to
those of Mr. Ruskin--an author whose rare and racy sayings you would no
doubt admire were you still interested in earthly literature. Besides,
in a tandem, with its two seats, there would be nothing to stir up a
disagreeable sensation within you. You would still have a place for “the
lady.”

Because it was not possible to follow you in many ways, we have spared
no effort to be faithful in others. We left out not one city which you
visited, and it was a pleasure to learn that the world is still as
beautiful as you found it, though to-day most men of culture care so
little for what is about them, they would have us believe all beauty
belongs to the past. However, it will be gratifying to you, who did not
despise fame during your lifetime, to know that you are one of the men
of that past who have not wholly died.--And again, dear Sir, as it was
your invariable custom to borrow the thoughts and words of any writer
who particularly pleased you--a custom your enemies have made the most
of--we have not hesitated to use any pictures of other men, or any
descriptions and expressions in your works, that seemed appropriate to
the record of our journey. More honest than you, Sir, we have given
credit to the artists, that their names may enhance the value of our
modest offering. But as you will recognise your own words without our
pointing them out, we have not even put them into quotation marks, an
omission which you of all men can best appreciate.

In conclusion: we think you may be pleased to hear something of your
last earthly resting-place in the burying-ground belonging to St.
George’s, Hanover Square. We made a pilgrimage to it but a few Sundays
ago. Though your grave was neglected until the exact spot is no longer
known, the stone, since raised _near the place_, is so often visited
that, though it stands far from the path, a way to it has been worn in
the grass by the feet of the many, who have come to breathe a sigh or
drop a tear for poor Yorick. We scarce know if it will be any comfort to
you in your present life, to learn that this cemetery is a quiet,
restful enclosure, near as it is to the carriages and ’busses about
Marble Arch and the Socialist and Salvationist gatherings in Hyde Park.
In the spring it is pretty as well, laburnums shading the doorway of the
little chapel, through which one can see from the street the grey
gravestones that dot the grass, and seem no less peaceful than the sheep
in the broad fields of the park opposite.

We have the honour to be, dear Sir, your most obedient and most devoted
and most humble servants,

                                              JOSEPH PENNELL.
                                              ELIZABETH ROBINS PENNELL.



CONTENTS.


                                                                    PAGE

OUR SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY                                               15

CALAIS                                                                19

BY A FAIR RIVER AND OVER TERRIBLE MOUNTAINS                           28

THE BOARDING-HOUSE OF NEUCHÂTEL                                       42

THE SOUTH WIND                                                        46

MONTREUIL                                                             52

NAMPONT                                                               54

A CITY IN MOURNING                                                    57

FAITHFUL ABBEVILLE                                                    67

CRUSHED AGAIN                                                         69

A BY-ROAD                                                             70

AMIENS                                                                77

WIND, POPLARS, AND PLAINS                                             84

THE COMMERCIAL GENTLEMEN OF ST. JUST                                  91

THROUGH THE RAIN                                                     100

AN ENGLISH LANDLADY                                                  107

OVER THE _PAVÉ_                                                      112

PARIS                                                                115

A TALK ABOUT M. MILLET AND MR. STEVENSON,
AND FROM MR. PENNELL                                                 120

IN THE FOREST                                                        135

FONTAINEBLEAU                                                        140

THROUGH A FAIR COUNTRY                                               143

MONTARGIS                                                            149

HOW WE FOUGHT THE WIND FROM MONTARGIS
TO COSNE                                                             154

A GOOD SAMARITAN                                                     163

BY THE LOIRE                                                         170

THE BOURBONNAIS                                                      180

MOULINS                                                              186

THE BOURBONNAIS AGAIN                                                189

WITH THE WIND                                                        197

LYONS                                                                209

THE AUTUMN MANŒUVRES                                                 213

VIENNE                                                               218

THE FEAST OF APPLES                                                  222

RIVES                                                                232


APPENDIX                                                             235



[Illustration]



OUR

SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY,

&c. &c.


--“The roads,” said I, “are better in France.”

“You have ridden in France?” said J----, turning quick upon me with the
most civil sarcasm in the world.

“Strange!” quoth I, arguing the matter with him, “you have so little
faith in cyclers that you cannot take their word for it.”

“’Tis but a three hours’ journey to Calais and French roads,” said
J----; “why not ride over them ourselves?”

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

--So, giving up the argument, not many days later we put up our flannels
and our ulsters, our “Sterne” and our “Baedeker,” a box of etching
plates, and a couple of note-books--“Our old cycling suits,” said I,
darning a few rents, “will do”--took our seats in a third-class railway
carriage at Holborn Viaduct; and the _Calais-Douvres_ sailing at
half-past twelve that same morning, by two we were so incontestably in
France, that a crowd of shouting, laughing, jesting, noisy Frenchmen in
blue blouses were struggling up the gang-plank with the tricycle, which
at Dover half the number of stolid Englishmen in green velveteen had
delivered into the hands of the sailors.--But before we had set foot in
the French dominions we had been treated by the French with an
inhospitality which, had it not been for the sentiment of our proposed
ride, would have made us forget the excellence of the roads beckoning us
to its coast, and have sent us back in hot haste to England.----

[Illustration]

“To pay a shilling tax for the privilege of landing in France,” cried
J----, fresh from his “Sterne,” “by heavens, gentlemen, it is not well
done! And much does it grieve me ’tis the lawgivers and taxmakers of a
sister Republic whose people are renowned for courtesy and politeness,
that I have thus to reason with.”

--But I confess we were much worse treated by the English, who seemed as
unwilling to lose our tricycle as the French were to receive us.----

“Eight shillings to carry it from London to Dover; ’tis no small price,”
said J----, putting the change in his purse. “But fifteen from Dover to
Calais, as much as we pay for our two tickets, tax and all, I tell you
’tis monstrous! To seize upon an unwary cycler going forth in search of
good roads, and make him pay thus dearly for sport taken away from
England----ungenerous!”

--But we had scarce begun our sentimental journey.

[Illustration]



CALAIS.


Now, before I quit Calais, a travel-writer would say, it would not be
amiss to give some account of it.--But while we were there we were more
concerned in seeking the time and occasion for sentiment than in
studying the history and monuments of the town. If you would have a
short description of it, I know of none better than that of Mr. Tristram
Shandy, who wrote without even having seen by daylight the places he
described.--The church with the steeple, the great Square, the
town-house, the Courgain, are all there still, and I fancy have changed
but little in a hundred years.

To travellers eager for sentiment, nothing could have been more
vexatious than the delay at the Custom-House, where the tandem was
weighed, its wheels measured, and its number taken; and we were made to
deposit fifty francs, three-fourths of which sum would be returned if we
carried the machine out of France within three months, the remaining
fourth going to pay the Government for our wear and tear of French
roads.--There was another delay at the Hôtel Meurice while a room was
found for us, and a _femme-de-chambre_ insisted upon _Madame’s_ going to
bed at once, because of the terrible wind that had prostrated two
English ladies. But, finally rid of officials and _femmes-de-chambre_,
we walked out on the street.

Now was the moment for an occasion for sentiment to present itself.

[Illustration]

It is a rude world, I think, when the wearer of a cycling suit (even if
it be old and worn) cannot go forth to see the town but instantly he is
stared at and ridiculed by the townspeople. For our part,

[Illustration]

being but modest folk, we keenly felt the glances and smiles of the
well-dressed men and women on the Rue Royale. To find a quiet place we
walked from one end of the town to the other; through the Square where
Mr. Shandy would have put up his fountain, and where a man at an upper
window yelled in derision, and a woman in a doorway below answered----

“What wouldst thou have? ’Tis the English fashion.”

--Down a narrow street, where, “For example!” cried a little young lady
in blue, laughing in J----’s very face--for we had turned full in front
on a group of girls--while a child clapped her hands at sight of him,
and a black dog snapped at his stockings. And then up a second street,
that led to the barracks, where two soldiers on duty put down their guns
and fairly shrieked. Into the Cathedral children followed us, begging,
“Won sous, sare! won sous, sare!” until we longed to conceal our
nationality. At its door a poor wretch of a fisherman, who had looked
upon the wine when it was red, came to our side to tell us in very bad
English that he could speak French.--There was no peace to be had in the
town.

If there was one thing we hoped for more than another, it was to see a
monk, the first object of

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

our master’s sentiment in France; and, strange as it may seem, our hope
was actually fulfilled before the afternoon was over.--On the outskirts
of the city, where we had taken refuge from ridicule, we saw a brown
hooded and cloaked Franciscan, and in our joy started to overtake him.
But he walked quite as fast across the yellow-flowered sand-dunes
towards St. Pierre. Had he known what was in our hearts, I think he too
would have introduced himself with a little story of the wants of his
convent and the poverty of his order.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

We soon discovered that it was a _fête_ day in Calais, and that a
regatta was being held down by the pier.--When we were there three
Frenchmen in jockey-caps were pulling long out-riggers against the wind
over a chopping sea. Looking on was a great crowd, sad-coloured in the
grey afternoon light, for all its holiday dress, but touched here and
there with white by the caps--their wide fluted borders blowing back on
the breeze--of the peasant women.

[Illustration]

As every one who has passed in the Paris train knows, at the entrance of
the town is the town-gate, a heavy grey pile, with high-gabled roof and
drawbridge, the chains of which hang on either side the archway. Now
that Dessein’s was gone, J---- declared that it interested him more than
anything else in Calais, since Hogarth had painted it; and he began an
elaborate study. It was not easy work. To the people in their holiday
humour the combination of knee-breeches and sketch-book was irresistibly
comic. But he went bravely on. I have rarely seen him more conscientious
over a sketch. Indeed he was so pleased with this gate that later, when,
at the end of a street, we came to another, under a tall turreted
house, and leading into a large courtyard, nothing would do but he must
have that as well.--In a word, he was in a mood to draw as many gates as
he could find; but by this time at the Hôtel Meurice dinner was on the
table.

It was not until many weeks after, when we were back in London, that, on
looking into the matter, J---- discovered that Hogarth painted, not the
gate facing the sea, but that at the other end of the town--I verily
believe the only gate in all Calais of which he did not get a sketch.

On the whole the afternoon was a disappointment. In little more than a
single hour our Master had grasped seventeen chapters of adventures. In
thrice that time we, with hearts interested in everything, and eyes to
see, had met with a paltry few, easily disposed of in as many lines.--To
add vexation to vexation, at the _table d’hôte_ we learned from the
waiter, that though the old inn had long since ceased to exist, there
was a new Dessein’s in the town, where, for the name’s sake, it would
have been more appropriate to begin our journey. Had we carried a
“Baedeker” for Northern as well as Central France, we should have been
less ignorant.

We left the champions of the regatta toasting each other at the next
table, and went into the _salon_ to study a chapter of our sentimental
guide-book in preparation for the first day’s ride. But an American was
there before us, and began, instead, a talk about Wall Street and
business, Blaine and torchlight processions. As Americans do not travel
to see Americans, we retired to our room.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



BY A FAIR RIVER AND OVER TERRIBLE MOUNTAINS.

[Illustration]


The milkman, followed by his goats, was piping through the town, and the
clock over the geraniums in the court was just striking eight, as we
disposed of our bill--not without numerous complaints, in which every
one but some English tourists joined--and wheeled the tricycle out to
the street.--Though the old motherly _femme-de-chambre_ had come to see
us ride, and stopped a friend to share this pleasure, and though there
were many faces at the dining-room windows, the sight of the _pavé_, or
French paving, kept us from mounting. We walked, J---- pushing the
tricycle, to the _Place_, past the grey town-hall, into the Rue Royale.
We had been told that where La Fleur’s hotel once stood a museum was
being built. To sentimental travellers, perhaps, this destruction of old
landmarks was as worthy of tears as a dead donkey.--But it is easier to
weep in a private post-chaise than in the open streets.

We got through the town without trouble, but we could not ride even
after we went round the city-gate which Hogarth did paint, and to which
we gave but a passing glance. It was only beyond the long, commonplace,
busy suburb of St. Pierre that the _pavé_ ended and the good road began.

The morning was cool, the sky grey with heavy clouds, and the south wind
we were soon to dread was blowing softly. It seemed a matter of course,
since we were in France, that we should come out almost at once on a
little river. It ran in a long line between reeds, towards a cluster of
red-roofed cottages, and here and there fishermen sat, or stood, on the
banks. When it forsook its straight course, the road and the street-car
track from

[Illustration]

Calais went winding with it,--grassy plains, where cows and horses
wandered, stretching seaward on the right. In front we looked to a low
range of blue hills, that gradually took more definite shape and colour
as we rode. They were very near when we came to Guignes, a silent,
modest little village, for all its royal associations and memories of
the “Field of the Cloth of Gold.” On its outskirts old yellow houses
rose right on the river’s edge; and when we passed, a girl in blue skirt
stood in one doorway, sending a bright reflection into the grey water,
and in another an old man peacefully smoked his pipe, taking it from his
mouth to beg we would carry packets for him to Paris. Behind one
cottage, in the garden among the apple-trees, was a large canal boat,
like a French Rudder Grange. Beyond, high steep-roofed houses faced upon
the street, and the stream was lined with many barges.--But just here
we turned from river and street-car track to walk to the other end of
the town, over _pavé_ and up a steep hill, where we were told by a
blushing young man, in foreign English, that we had but to follow the
diligence then behind us if we would reach Marquise.

[Illustration]

Though we thought this a rare jest at the time, we carried his advice
out almost to the letter.--We had come to the _terrible mountains_ for
which we had been prepared in Calais. It is at this point, according to
Mr. Ruskin, that France really begins, the level stretch we first
crossed being virtually but part of Flanders. ’Tis a bad beginning, from
a cycler’s ideal. For many miles I walked--and even J---- at
times--along the white road, barren of the poplars one always expects in
France, over the rolling treeless moors, where we were watched out of
sight by gleaners, their white caps and dull blue skirts and sacks in
pale relief against a grey blue-streaked sky; and by ploughmen, whose
horses, happier than they, ate their dinners as they worked.--Always to
the north of the moorland was the grey sea-line, and farther still the
white cliffs of England.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

Sometimes I rode, for each tiny village nestled in a valley of its own,
giving us a hill to coast as well as to climb. There were occasional
windmills in the distance; and close to the road large farm-houses and
barns, with high sloping red roofs and huge troughs in front, where we
knew cattle would come in the twilight and horses would be watered in
the morning. And when Calais, with smoking chimneys, was far behind and
below, we came to black crosses by the wayside and better manners among
the people. The peasants now wished us good day.

[Illustration]

At this early stage there was nothing we looked for less than trouble
with the tricycle. It had been carefully put in order by the
manufacturers before we left London. But now already the luggage-carrier
loosened, and swung around on the backbone of the machine. Do what we
would, we could not keep it straight again. In Marquise we bought a
leather strap, in hopes to right it, and there also ate our lunch.--From
the window of the _estaminet_ we could see that the men and boys who
came up to examine the tricycle never once touched it, while a man with
a cart of casks, though it was in his way, rather than disturb it,
stopped a little farther down the street, and rolled the casks along the
pavement. Inside the _estaminet_, the brisk, tidy woman who cooked and
served our coffee and omelette, kept talking of the weather and France
and the tricycle, and what a wise manner of travelling was ours. My
faith! from the railway one sees nothing.

But, indeed, for hours afterwards we saw as little as if we had been in
a railroad train. We were conscious only of the great hills to be
climbed, and of our incessant trouble with the luggage-carrier. The new
strap did not mend matters. Every few minutes the carrier with the bag
took an ugly swing to one side.--We never began to enjoy a coast, we
never got fairly started on an up-grade, that it did not force us to
stop and push it straight. And then the lamp in its turn loosened, and
every few kilometres had to be hammered into place.

The other incidents of that long afternoon I remember merely because of
their association with hills. It was at the top of one, where I arrived
breathless, we had our first view of the dome and monument of Boulogne;
it was at the bottom of another that we came to the _pavé_ of Wimille;
it was half-way on a third, up which J---- worked slowly, standing up on
the pedals and leaning far over to grasp the front handle bars, while I
walked, that I was stopped by an Englishman and Englishwoman.----

[Illustration]

“Oh,” said the man, as he watched J----, “you’re making a walking tour
together, I suppose?”

“We’re riding!” cried I, aghast.

“Oh!” he exclaimed, “I see; you ride by turns.”

--I was so stupefied by his impudence or ignorance that at first I could
say nothing. Then,----

“We ride together,” said I; “and we’ve come from England, and we’re
going to Paris and Lyons, into Savoy, and over the Mont Cenis pass.”

--And with that I turned my back and left them, open-mouthed, in the
middle of the road.

But their unconscious sarcasm had its sting. The thought that, if these
hills went on, I might really have to walk half-way to Italy almost
brought sentiment to an end.----

“Boulogne! and ’tis but half-past three. We’ll go on,” said J----.

--As we did not even enter the town, I cannot of my own knowledge say if
there is anything in it worth seeing. But from the outside we learned
that it has a picturesque old city-gate under the shadow of the dome;
that the people are polite, and some of the men wear baggy blue
breeches; and that close to the grim grey walls is an unpaved tree-lined
boulevard which is very good riding. It led to a down-grade which a
woman called a _terrible mountain_, though she thought it might be
“_good for you others_.”

Only the highest ranges are mountains to an Italian, but to a Frenchman
the merest hillock is _une montagne terrible_.--The hill outside of
Boulogne

[Illustration]

was steep, but unrideable only on account of the _pavé_. And, oh! the
_pavé_ that afternoon! We went up _pavé_ and down _pavé_, and over long
level stretches of _pavé_, until, if any one were to ask me what there
is between Boulogne and Pont-de-Brique, my only answer would be _pavé_!
We had heard of it before ever we landed in France, but its vileness
went beyond our expectation. The worst of it was, that for the rest of
our journey we were never quite rid of it. To be sure it was only once
in a long while we actually rode over it, but then we had always to be
on the look-out. We came to it in every town and village; we found bits
of it in lonely country districts; it lay in wait for us on hillsides.
The French roads without the _pavé_ are the marvels of symmetry,
cleanliness, and order Mark Twain calls them. If they are not
jack-planed and sand-papered, they are at least swept every day. With
the _pavé_, they are the ruin of a good machine and a better temper. And
yet, all things considered, France is the cycler’s promised land.

By the time we reached Pont-de-Brique the luggage-carrier hung on by one
screw. Fortunately we found a carpenter in a _café_, and he and
J----went to work.--In the meantime I saw, under the shade of a clump of
trees, a green cart with windows and chimney, a horse grazing near by,
and a man and woman sitting in front of a fire kindled on the grass. I
walked towards the cart.----

“_Kushto divvus, Pal te Pen_” (“Good-day, brother and sister”), said I.

“What?” asked the woman, without looking up from the tin-pan she was
mending.

“_Kushto divvus_,” said I, louder; adding, “_Me shom une Romany chi_”
(“I’m a Gipsy”).

[Illustration]

“_Comment?_” she repeated peevishly. “I do not understand you.”

--The man still tinkered at his pots.

I chaffed them in my best Romany, but they took no further heed. I tried
French. I said I was a Gipsy come from over the seas, with news of their
brothers in America.----

“But we’re not Gipsies,” said they; “we live in Boulogne, and we’re
busy.”

--I declare I never was so snubbed in my life!

’Twas but six quarters of an hour on foot to Neuchâtel, the carpenter
told us.--The road in the late afternoon was full of fine carriages and
shabby carts; and in sight of Neuchâtel we passed men and women going
home from work. We asked one man if there was an inn in the town.----

“_Il-y-a-douze_,” he answered, with great effort, and hurried on, so
that we had not time to tell him we too could speak English.

We wondered so small a town should be so rich in inns. But _douze_, it
seemed, was the English way of saying _deux_. A woman standing in the
first doorway assured us there were but two--one opposite the church,
and another, the _Pas de Cœur_--we understood her to say, around the
corner.--At the foot of the hill we found the first, with
_Boarding-House_ in large black letters on its newly whitewashed walls.
As there never was any sentiment in a Boarding-House except in Dr.
Holmes’ books, or any cheapness in a foreign hotel with an English sign,
we looked for the other inn. But when we had wheeled up the street and
down the street, until its want of heart became ours, we gave up the
search and returned to the _Boarding-House_.

[Illustration]



THE BOARDING-HOUSE OF NEUCHÂTEL.


A fat old landlady received us, after a glance at the tricycle had
reassured her that to take us in did not mean to be taken in herself.
She promised us dinner at six, and a room in the course of the evening.
In the _café_, or outer kitchen, where she gave us chairs, an elderly
Cinderella was blacking boots and peeling potatoes in the fireplace; a
pretty girl was carrying tumblers and clean linen to a near room;
another, with a big baby in her arms, gossiped with neighbours on the
front steps. The landlady hurried back to the small kitchen, through the
open door of which we could see her bustling about among the pots and
pans.

Presently a little man, in white trousers and brown velveteen waistcoat,
wandered in from the stable-yard to clink glasses with a friend at the
bar, and drink without pause two mugs of beer and one glass of brandy.
Then he gave us a dance and a song.

And then there came trooping into the room huntsmen with dogs and guns,
and servants bearing long poles strung with rabbits, and three ladies in
silks and gold chains and ribbons, and a small boy. The huntsmen were
given cognac and absinthe; the ladies were led away through a narrow
passage, but they returned in a minute, with pitchers which they
themselves filled from a barrel near the kitchen-door.

These were people of quality, it was plain. They had come in a carriage,
and a private dressing-room was found for them. But for us, who had
arrived on a machine we worked ourselves, a basin was set in the
fireplace, where we too made a toilet as best we could.--At seven the
landlady, with upraised hands, rushed from the kitchen to say that----

“_Mon Dieu!_ the mutton cutlets _Monsieur_ and _Madame_ ordered have
gone like a dream. What is to be done?”

--What, indeed? And all the time we had supposed her preparations were
for us.

A little later, when dinner still seemed a remote possibility, in
searching for our bag which had been carried off, I came by chance upon
a dining-room where the cloth was laid and the table was gay with
lights and flowers. But when I hurried back with the good news to J----
he was less hopeful.----

“We had to wash in the fireplace,” said he.

--We were not long in doubt. The ladies and the huntsmen were ushered
into the dining-room. The pretty girl in her neat apron carried in the
soup, the fish, the cutlets. We could hear a pleasant clattering of
plates and the sound of laughter. But still we sat in our humble
corner.--Seldom have we felt class distinctions so bitterly. At last the
landlady, very warm and red from the kitchen fire, with the baby in her
arms, bade us follow her into a large dark room on the farther side of
the _café_-kitchen. There she laid a modest omelette on a rough wooden
table guiltless of cloth, and we ate it by the light of one candle. The
huntsmen’s servants packed the rabbits and drank coffee on our left; on
our right a little tailor stitched away at brown velveteens. Villagers
strolled in and out, or played billiards; and a stray dog, unbidden, sat
upright and begged at our side.--We cut but a poor figure in the
Boarding-House of Neuchâtel.

We should have gone to bed at once, so tired were we after the _pavé_
and the hills, but the sheets were not yet ironed. It was not until the
kitchen clock struck ten that we were shown into a small closet where
there was a bed, and promised a towel in the morning.--Before we went to
sleep we heard, between the screams of the baby, the rain falling softly
on the roof, to fill us with fears for the morrow’s ride.



THE SOUTH WIND.


The next day began well. Without, the rain had stopped, and the morning
was bright and clear. Within, unfavourable social distinctions had
ceased, since we were the only guests. If we were slighted at dinner, we
were overwhelmed with attention at breakfast. The interest of the
household centred upon us. Nothing was talked of but our journey. Every
one was eager to advise. We must go here, we must go there; we must keep
by the sea, we must turn inland; and, above all, declared the little
tailor, who still stitched away, we must not rest until we rode into
Paris. Ah, what a city it was! He knew it well; but, my faith! a man
must work to pay for life in the capital. He could see by the portfolio
that _Monsieur_ was an artist; no doubt he was on his way there to make
great pictures.--We thought we could not please him better than to tell
him in our country Paris was called the Paradise of good Americans. We
were right. He made us a low bow, as if the compliment had been
personal.

It was easy not to be bewildered by conflicting directions, since we
were predetermined not to be influenced by them. The fairest promise of
good roads, enchanting country, and picturesque towns could not have
turned us a hair’s breadth from the route we had settled upon. The fact
is, the question was one of sentiment, and at that stage of our
enthusiasm where sentiment was concerned we were inflexible.--Mr.
Sterne, on his way to Amiens and Paris, passed by Montreuil. To
Montreuil, therefore, we must go.

A good strong breeze blew from the south. Out at sea it swept the white
foam before it, and above, it lashed the clouds into fantastic shapes.
It caught the skirts of the gleaners on their way to the yellow fields,
and of the women going towards Neuchâtel, and held them back at every
step. But we were saved the struggle while we rode eastward. Now we were
on a level with the sea, looking at it across grassy plains and sandy
stretches; and now it lay far below, and we saw it over the tree-tops on
the hillside; again it was hidden by high dunes and dense pine-groves.
Little villages lay in our way: Dannes, with pretty, shady road leading
into it and out of it; another, for us nameless, with thatched white
cottages, standing in a dreary waste, a broad inlet to one side. And at
last a short ride between young green trees brought us to Etaples, a
town of low white houses built close to the shore, and at the same time
to the end of the day’s easy riding.

[Illustration]

Our only memories of Etaples are unpleasant. We there bought a bottle of
bad oil for a good price. When we left Neuchâtel the machine needed
oiling; but the top of our oil-can had not been made to fit, and when we
opened the tool-bag the can was in the oil instead of the oil in the
can.--After using the poor stuff sold us by a shoemaker, the tricycle
ran even more heavily. This was unfortunate, for after Etaples the road
left the sea and started for the south. There was nothing to be done but
to put our heads down and to work as if we were record-making.--I do

[Illustration]

not think it wrong, merely because the wind blew in our faces almost
every day of our sentimental journey, therefore to say the prevalent
winds in France are from the south; but indeed all the trees thereabouts
bend low towards the north, to confirm this assertion.

Thus we rode on between fields bare as the moors; through lovely
park-like country; by little shady rivers, where ducks were swimming in
the deep-green water; by tiny villages; by little churches, grey and
old; by crosses, some split and decaying; through long avenues, with
poplars on either side; by hills, the ploughman on the top strongly
marked against the blue sky; and all the way the road was only a little
worse than asphalt.

[Illustration]

It was noon, and school-children were running home to dinner when we
reached Montreuil. There were no less than three kilometres of _pavé_ to
be walked before we came into the town. We were further prepossessed
against it because it has just enough character to stand upon a hill,
instead of nestling in a hollow, as is the way with towns and villages
in this part of the country. What with the wind and the _pavé_ and the
climb, we were so cast down that when by the city-gate, almost at the
top of the hill, we saw a stone bearing the legend, “Two hundred
kilometres to Paris,” we wondered if sentiment would carry us that far.



MONTREUIL.


There is not a town in all France which, in my opinion, looks better in
the map than Montreuil. I own it does not look so well in the
guide-book, but when you come to see it, to be sure it looks most
pitifully.

There is promise of picturesqueness in a group of tumbled-down gabled
houses at its entrance, and in a fine church doorway at one end of the
_Place_ where we lunched. But gables and doorway have been spared, I
think, but to mislead the visitor with false hopes. The streets are
lined with modern houses monstrously alike. The _Grande Place_ is large
enough to deserve its name, but as we saw it, it was forlornly empty,
silent, and dull. The gaiety of Montreuil has gone with the fiddling and
drum-beating of La Fleur.

Despite its disadvantages, however, in the town where our Master
compounded that little matter with the sons and daughters of poverty it
was our duty to be sentimental. There was no question of travellers of
our means and vehicle engaging a servant to fiddle and make
splatter-dashes for us, even if another La Fleur could be produced. But
if beggars sent in their claims, we could at least find in them the
occasion of the first public act of our charity in France. Beggars,
after a fashion, we did meet; for at once an old woman--a poor tattered
soul--begged we would let her grandson Jules show us the way to a
restaurant; and next a hatless man followed us around the _Place_ to
implore a visit to his hotel, where his wife could “spik Inglis”--a
sound perhaps as worth money as the “My Lord Angolis” that won Mr.
Sterne’s last sous. But our hearts were hardened against them, as his,
too, might have been against those other miserables, had he not slept
off the ill-humours of his journey to Montreuil.

I think it was at Montreuil it first occurred to us that sentiment does
not depend upon man’s will alone.--And so we got on our tricycle with no
more ease than usual, but less, as the wind came howling over the plain
to meet us.

_Note_.--J---- was too lazy, and said the morning was too hot to do
anything but work the tricycle.



NAMPONT.


[Illustration]

The road between Montreuil and Nampont was for us classic ground.
Breathlessness, because of the wind, before we had got a league, brought
our career--like La Fleur’s--to a sudden stop. We then had time to see
that the deathbed of the famous donkey lay in fair country. Near by two
windmills turned their long arms swiftly. A sportsman banged away in the
fields, and, to bring good-luck, two crows flew overhead. When we went
on, the wind began to moderate, and by the time we reached Nampont it
was making but a little noiseless noise among the leaves.

[Illustration]

We thought Nampont a pretty village, with its poplared canal flowing
without turn or twist to the far horizon, and its long, wide street
lined with low houses. The first we came to, that had a stone bench by
the door and an adjoining court, we decided to be the post-house, in
front of which the donkey’s master told his pathetic tale. We appealed
to an old man just then passing. But he knew nothing of it, and there
were so many other houses with stone seats and courts that we could not
settle the matter to our satisfaction.--We were only certain of the
_pavé_ over which Mr. Sterne’s postillion set out in a full gallop that
put him out of temper. Instead of galloping, we walked, first refreshing
ourselves with _groseille_, a harmless syrup, in a brand-new _café_ at
the end of the village street, the one sign of modern enterprise in
Nampont.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

After this town, there was no sense of sentimental duty to oppress us,
since a little beyond, it Mr. Sterne went to sleep, a sweet lenitive for
evils, which Nature does not hold out to the cycler.



A CITY IN MOURNING.


[Illustration]

The straight, poplared road to Abbeville still lay across a golden
plain, with no interest save its beauty, here and there bounded by a row
of trees, yellow haystacks standing out in bold relief against them; and
here and there narrowed by dark woods, in front of which an old
white-haired shepherd or little white-capped girl watched newly sheared
sheep. Now and then the way led through small blue villages. There was
Airon, where a large party of gleaners, old and young men, women, boys,
and girls, sitting by the wayside, jumped up of one accord and walked
with us up the hill. And then came Nouvion, where we saw a fine old
rambling yellow farm-house, over whose disreputably tilted front-door
peered two grotesque heads, and where we had coffee in the village inn,
sitting on the one dry spot in the flooded floor, and just escaping the
mops and buckets of two women who had raised the deluge.

[Illustration]

The hills we still had. To read the “Emblems of the Frontispiece” in
“Coryate’s Crudities,” one would imagine that from Montreuil to
Abbeville was one long endless descent.

    “Here, not up Holdbourne, but down a steepe hill,
     Hee’s carried ’twixt Montrell and Abbeville.”

But I remember many steep up-grades to be climbed beside that of Airon.

[Illustration]

Just about Nouvion the road was bad, because, so a friendly _cantonnier_
said, there had been no rain for more than two months. He promised it
would improve seven or eight kilometres farther on, and prepared us for
a crowd in Abbeville, whither _all the world_ had gone to take part in
the funeral celebrations of Admiral Courbet, who by this hour of the
afternoon was no doubt already buried.--A little later _all the world_
seemed on its way home, and the road was full of carts, carriages, and
pedestrians. It was no easy matter to steer between the groups on foot
and the waggons driving sociably side by side. The crowd kept
increasing, once in its midst a bicycler wheeling by to throw us a
haughty stare. There were as many people on another straight
poplar-lined road that crossed the _Route Nationale_. At this rate it
was possible we should find no one left in the town, and the hotels,
therefore, not more crowded than usual. So there was as much cheerful,
unalloyed pleasure as Mr. Ruskin himself experienced--which he believes
is not to be had from railway trains or cycles--in our getting into
sight of Abbeville far below in the valley of the Somme, two square
towers dominant over the clustered house-roofs.

On the outskirts of the city we saw the cemetery, a little to our right.
The funeral procession, with flags, banners, and crosses borne aloft,
was about to return from the grave. We felt so out of keeping with its
solemnity that, rather than wait on the sidewalk as it passed, we
hurried on at once.--But there was no going fast. In a minute we were
jolting on the _pavé_ again, and the street was more crowded than the
road. _All the world_ had but begun to go home. People walked on the
pavement and in the street. Windows were filled with eager faces;
benches and platforms in front of shops were still occupied. Houses were
draped in black, flags hung here, there, and everywhere, and funeral
arches were set up at short distances.

Our position was embarrassing. Try our best, we could not, unnoticed,
make our way through the crowd. Every minute we had to call out to
citizens or peasants in front to let us by. The people at the windows
and on the benches, waiting idly to see the end of the day’s solemn
show, at once caught sight of the tricycle. Do what we would, all eyes
were turned towards it. And, to our horror, the funeral procession
gained upon us. The chants of priests and acolytes were in our very
ears. We jumped down and walked. But it was no use. In a few minutes we
were on a line with the cross-bearer, leading the way for clergy and
mourners through the streets. There was no escape. We could not turn
back; we could not out-distance them. But, fortunately, before an
archway at the entrance to a large _Place_ the procession was disbanded.
Without further ceremony, priests, stole and surplice under their arms,
stray bishops in purple robes, naval and army officers, gentlemen in
dress-coats and many medals, school-boys in uniform, peasants in caps,
townspeople in ordinary clothes, walked home-or hotel-wards, we pushing
the tricycle in their midst.

At the Hôtel de France we found confusion. Waiters tore in and out of
the kitchen; maids flew up and down the court-yard. Frantic men and
women surrounded, and together asked a hundred questions of a poor
waiter in the centre of the court; an English family clamoured for a
private dining-room.--During a momentary lull we stepped forward and
told this waiter, who seemed a person of authority, we should like a
room for the night.

There was not one to be had, he said. If we would wait two or three
hours, it was just _very possible_ some of these _Messieurs_ might go
back to Paris. If not, we must travel into another country; he knew we
should fare no better in any hotel in Abbeville. Last night he had
turned away fifty people.----

Where was the next country, asked I, for in his disappointment J---- had
lost all his French.

It was only seven kilometres off. But, he added, we could dine in the
hotel.

--Our choice lay between a certain good dinner at once and a mere
possibility later in a far-off town. We were both tired and hungry.----

“It will be dark in half an hour,” said I.

“We can never work after eating heartily,” said J----, and, our
objections thus disposed of, we decided for immediate dinner, and to
risk the consequences.

--We wheeled the machine into the stable, conveniently adjoining the
dining-room. We were

[Illustration]

not very fresh after a day’s ride through the wind, over dry and dusty
roads, and as we were to dine in company with dignitaries of State and
Church, I said that first we should like to make our toilet. “Oh,
certainly,” said the waiter, “_Voilà!_” and he pointed to a small
spicket and a handkerchief of a towel at the dining-room door.--With no
more elaborate preparation than these permitted, we went in and took our
seats at table with bishops, officers, and statesmen in full dress.

[Illustration]

It was as we expected. When we had eaten a dinner worthy of the company,
we were unwilling to ride farther. We could and would not leave
Abbeville that night.--J---- was silent over his sponge-cakes and wine,
speaking only once, to consult me about the future tense of French
verbs. Then he called the waiter.----

“Is there a room yet?” I asked.

“Not yet, _Madame_,” and he bowed his regrets.

“Well, then,” said J----, turning full upon him with the speech he had
been ten minutes in composing, “_nous partirons pas si nous dormirons
sur la table_!”

--Hitherto I had been his spokeswoman. The consequence of his sudden
outburst in French was the waiter’s hearty assurance that the first
room at his disposal was ours, but we must not look for it until nine or
ten. It was then a little after seven.

[Illustration]

This interval was spent in wandering about the town. The wind and the
_pavé_ together had again made me very tired. I remember as a restless
dream our walk up and down the streets; into the great _Place_, a sombre
black catafalque on one side, lights burning around it, tall houses back
of it, the still taller Church of St. Wulfran rising above the high
gables; and next into the church itself, where the columns and arches
and altars, draped in black, and the people kneeling at prayer, or
coming and going in the aisles, were but dimly seen by the light of a
few candles. I remember speculating on the chance of shelter there, if
at the eleventh hour the hotel failed us. And then we were shut out by
the sacristan, to wander again through narrow, twisting streets;
through brighter, livelier thoroughfares, the shops open, citizens and
peasants laughing and talking; and so back to the _Place_, roofs and
towers now but a black shadow on the dark blue of the evening sky; and
at last to the hotel, where the good waiter met us with smiles.--A room
at last! It was not very commodious, but it was the best he could do.
There followed a melancholy quarter of an hour, during which we sat on a
heap of blankets in a dark passage while the _garçon_ laid the
sheets.--The waiter was right; the room was not the most commodious. It
was directly over the stable, and not larger than an old-fashioned
closet. But it was better than church or dining-room; and though the
_garçon_ kept passing on the balcony without, and there was a ceaseless
clatter in the court below, I was soon asleep.

[Illustration]



FAITHFUL ABBEVILLE.


It is a pity that most tourists go straight from Calais to Amiens,
satisfied to know Abbeville as a station by the way. The fault, I
suppose, lies with “Murray” and “Baedeker,” who are almost as curt with
it as with Montreuil, giving but a few words to its Church of St.
Wulfran, and even fewer to its quaint old houses. But the truth is,
Abbeville is better worth a visit than many towns they praise. And
though Mr. Tristram Shandy objected to one of its inns as unpleasant to
die in, I can recommend another as excellent to live in, which, after
all, is of more importance to the ordinary tourist.

We remained in Abbeville the next day until noon. We went again to the
church. We saw the house of Francis I. We found our way into alleys and
courtyards, where grotesques were grinning and winking, as if they
thought it an exquisite joke at last to be taken seriously by the few
art and architectural critics, who now come to look at them.

[Illustration]



CRUSHED AGAIN.


And now Mr. Ruskin writes:--“I not only object, but am quite prepared to
spend all my best ‘bad language’ in reprobation of bi-tri-and-4-5-6 or
7-cycles, and every other contrivance and invention for superseding
human feet on God’s ground. To walk, to run, to leap, and to dance are
the virtues of the human body, and neither to stride on stilts, wriggle
on wheels, or dangle on ropes, and nothing in the training of the human
mind with the body will ever supersede the appointed God’s ways of slow
walking and hard working.”

“Oh well, let us go on,” said J----.



A BY-ROAD.


[Illustration]

Because of our sight-seeing we made a late start from Abbeville.--But
then we determined to go no farther than Amiens that day. It was a good
ten minutes’ walk over the _pavé_ from the hotel to the end of the long
Rue St. Gilles, where it is crossed by the railroad.--Here we were kept
waiting another five minutes, in company with a carriage and two covered
carts, while the woman in charge, who had shut the gate, put on her
official hat and cape. Presently a faint whistle was heard.----

“Hold!” said one of the drivers, “I think he comes.”

--And so _he_ did, and at last we were allowed to pass and go our
way.--Another weary kilometre of _pavé_, and then we were on the
highroad between the poplars.

But when we had got off the stones there was still the wind to fight.
It blew in our faces with never-relaxing vigour, rushing through the
trees and over the plain as if in haste to reach the sea. To make
matters worse, the road was bad. The cavalry had ruined it, a
stone-breaker said. We were soon riding on the side-walk.--The few
white-capped, blue-skirted pedestrians we met went obligingly into the
road to let us pass.----

“Pardon, ladies,” said we.

“Of nothing,” said they.

“The road is so bad,” we explained.

“You have reason. _Au revoir_,” cried they.

--The road ran straight along the edge of the upland. Below, a pretty
river wound among reeds and willows, overtopped by tall trees shivering
in the wind. But hard work gave us little chance for pleasure in the
landscape, until at Pont Remy we stopped on the bridge to take breath.

We went back to the pedals with sad misgivings, like people who know
that the worst is still to come. Just beyond, we left the _Route
Nationale_ for a by-road and unmitigated misery. Here we were led to
believe there was no other road between Abbeville and Amiens. Amiens,
“the very city where my poor lady is to come,” we could not miss. And
yet Italian experience made us doubt the advisability of turning off the
highroad.

The wind was now directly in our faces, and the road was deep with sand
and loose with stones, and we had not gone a mile, a mile but scarcely
one, when we lost our tempers outright and sent sentiment to the winds.
First we climbed a long up-grade, passing old crumbling grey churches
decorated with grotesques and gargoyles like those on St. Wulfran’s, in
Abbeville, some perched upon hillocks, with cottages gathered about
them, others adjoining lonely châteaux; and riding through forlornly
poor villages full of houses tumbling to pieces and vicious dogs. Hills
rose to our left; to our right, in the valley below, were wide marshes
covered with a luxurious green growth, and beyond, the river, on the
other side of which was a town with a tall church rising in its centre.

Once we got down to drink syrup and water at an inn where a commercial
traveller catechised us about America.----

“And the commerce, it goes well there? Yes?”

--I suppose he took us for fellow-drummers; and I must admit the idea of
our travelling for pleasure over such roads was the last likely to occur
to him.

Then we went down hill for some distance, but we ran into ridges of sand
and brought up

[Illustration]

suddenly on a stone pile at the bottom. On the level the road became a
shady avenue. But it grew worse as it increased in beauty. We wheeled
first to one side, then to the other. We even tried the grass close to
the trees. But soon we were down and walking, and pushing the wretched
machine through the sand. And now riding was out of the question, it
began to rain. When we came into Hangest----

“We’ll take the train,” said J----.

--But we had first to wait for two hours, during which we ate a lunch at
the “Sign of the Duck,” and sat at the station watching the passing
trains and the signals.--In his demoralisation J----asked at the office
for tickets for _la treizième classe_, and then a man joined us and told
us of the fine roads in his country, so that we wished we were there.
Finally our train came.--J---- had some trouble with the machine. At the
first baggage-car the conductor declared there was not room for it. The
second was full and no mistake. He went back to the first, and while the
conductor remonstrated, pushed it in with the help of a porter. He then
had just time to jump into the nearest carriage, which happened to be
the same in which I had already found a seat, and the train started. The
carriage was full.----

“_C’est complet, Monsieur_,” screamed a little man, in a passion.

“Certainly, _Monsieur_” said J----, as he fastened the door with a click
behind him.

“I tell you it’s full,” repeated the little man, in his rage dancing to
the window and calling the conductor.

--It was too late. All he could do was to return to his seat and glower
at J----, who calmly sat in the window.----

“We must not make the war,” said a good _curé_ next to him, patting him
gently on the shoulder.

--He restrained his anger with a comforting drink of brandy. _Monsieur
le Curé_ fell to saying his beads, covering his mouth with his
wide-brimmed hat, while all the other passengers laughed and nudged each
other. A man in the corner, carrying a genuine American carpet-bag,
drank something from a gingerbeer bottle, and asked us in good American
what we knew of the hotels in Paris.

At the next station J---- got out, and the man from the country of
beautiful roads, who had been sitting in the adjoining compartment, met
him at the door.----

“I render to you my place, _Monsieur_,” said he.

--And so in perfect peace we made all possible speed to Picquigny, and
from Picquigny to Amiens; not, however, before we saw from the carriage
windows that the road, now running alongside of the railway, was smooth
and hard, that the sun shone, and that the wind blew but mildly.

At Amiens the conductor was waiting on the platform full of apologies.
He had really thought there was no room for the velocipede. _Monsieur_
must pardon him.

The French have a charming way of putting you in a good humour. We
forgot the attack of the irascible traveller, as, let us hope, he
forgave the enormity of J----’s crime.

[Illustration]



AMIENS.


[Illustration]

We should always remember Amiens, even were it not for the cathedral,
because it was there we had the best dinner we ever ate in France.--In
looking over my note-book I find I made at the time elaborate mention of
the _menu_, and applied the adjective _divine_ to a course of fresh
mackerel served with an exquisite sauce.--As there may be readers who
take interest, and perhaps pleasure, in dining well, I will here add
that this excellent meal was eaten at the Hôtel de l’Univers. I can wish
the visitor to Amiens no better luck than a dinner in this hotel
prepared by the same artist.

It was a pity that, before leaving England--we had been so taken up with
Mr. Sterne, whose sentiment was not to be distracted with cathedrals and
old houses--we did not consult Mr. Ruskin, who probably thought of
nothing else while he was in Amiens.--To the unsentimental traveller I
would recommend the traveller’s edition of “Our Fathers have Told Us”
(Part I. chap. iv.), rather than the “Sentimental Journey,” as a
guide-book to the town.

We had two hours of daylight on the afternoon of our arrival, and we
remained in the city until noon the next day, partly because there were
many things to see, and partly on account of a heavy wind and rain storm
in the morning. We were not much troubled by sentiment, though here Mr.
Sterne’s overflowed into three chapters. But it was of a kind so
impossible for us to simulate--not having left an Eliza in England, nor
knowing a fair Countess in the town--we put all thought or hope of it
aside, and went out to look about.

What pleased us most were the many canal-like branches of the Somme, old
tumbled-down houses rising from the water, and little foot-bridges
connecting them with opposite gardens. We liked, too, the wider and less
modest main current of the river, where men or women in flat boats with
pointed prows and square sterns, like inclined planes, were for ever
poling themselves down stream beyond the embankment where the poplars
begin.--But I remember we lingered longest on a bridge over a tiny canal
from which there was a fine view of disreputably shabby back doors,
women appearing and disappearing as they emptied their pails and pots,
and of battered windows from which hung the family wardrobes. It was
then, I believe, we pronounced Amiens the French Venice--an original
idea which most likely occurs to every tourist fortunate enough to find
his way to the banks of the Somme. Indeed I have since read that in the
good old days, before a straight street had been dreamed of by city
officials, the town was known as Little Venice.

[Illustration]

Delightful as were the scenes by the river in the late afternoon, they
were even more so in the early morning, when, from under a borrowed
umbrella, we watched the open-air market. The embankment was carpeted
with greens and full of noisy peasants. The prevailing tint, like that
of the sky above, was a dull bluish grey, relieved here and there by a
dash of white. Fastened to rings in the stone wall of the embankment,
some thirty or forty of the boats with pointed prows lay on the water.
Two, piled high with cabbages and carrots, the brightest bit of colour
in the picture, were being poled towards the market-place. Others, laden
with empty baskets, satisfied-looking women in the prow, a man at the
stern, were on their homeward way. And above the river and the busy
people and the background of houses the great cathedral loomed up, a
“mass of wall, not blank, but strangely wrought by the hands of foolish
men of long ago.”

We found a priest saying Mass in the chapel behind the choir, the
eastern light shining on him at the altar. His congregation consisted of
four poor women and one great lady in silk attire kneeling in the place
of honour. In the nave and aisles were a handful of tourists and two
sentimental travellers--_i.e._, ourselves, who scorned to be classed as
tourists--uttering platitudes under their breath about the unspeakable
feeling of space and height, as if the cathedral existed but to excite
their wonder.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

We went also to the old belfry, a fine substantial pile, allowed to
stand, I suppose, because to remove it would be too herculean a task.
Our attention was distracted from it to a pair of French twins
staggering by, arm in arm, both wearing baggy brown velveteen trousers,
striped shirts and open coats, and little round caps, which rested on
each curly head at exactly the same angle. It was rather absurd to
discover that they were no greater oddities to us than we were to them.
Of one accord they stopped to stare solemnly at J----’s knee-breeches
and long stockings. Indeed I might as well say here, as in any other
place, that we were greater objects of curiosity off the machine than
on it.--Always, as in Calais, the eminently quiet and respectable
Cyclists’ Touring Club uniform seemed to strike every French man and
woman as a problem impossible to solve but easy to ridicule.

[Illustration]



WIND, POPLARS, AND PLAINS.


There is nothing more pleasing to a traveller, or more terrible to
travel-writers, than a large rich plain, unless it be a straight white
poplar-lined road, good as asphalt. After Amiens, as after Abbeville and
Neuchâtel, there was a poplared avenue over a breezy upland to carry us
to the next town, that town little more but a new place to start from to
the next plain and poplars, and so on. There were _cantonniers_ still at
work, sweeping the highway with great brooms.----

[Illustration]

“You sweep them everyday?” asked J---- of one.

“Every day--yes,” he answered.

--And there was still a strong wind rushing down between the trees and
blowing my skirts about my feet. Riding against it was such hard work
that I walked many kilometres during the morning. But indeed there was
scarce any walking with ease.

[Illustration]

We were glad many of the towns and villages were in little valleys.
After hours, perhaps, of steady pedalling, it was pleasant to coast down
a long hill, while a country postman stopped in his struggle with a
French operatic umbrella turned inside out by the wind, to smile and
show the loss of all his front teeth, as he cried----

[Illustration]

“Ah, but it goes well!”

--And then, alas! came another hill, this time to be climbed, and the
admiration changed to sympathy. I remember in particular an old woman on
the hill outside of Amiens, who was sorry there was still a long way up
the mountain. When we asked her how far it was to the top----

“Behold!” said she, and pointed a few yards ahead.

[Illustration]

In an insignificant village near the Forest of Drouy--the one wooded
oasis in the treeless plain--our _café-au-lait_ was for the first time
served in the basins to whose size our eyes and appetites were quickly
to be accustomed. In a second, where there was an old grey church with
grinning gargoyles, a pedler’s cart, big bell hanging in front, tempting
wares displayed, blocked the way.----

[Illustration]

“It is a _bon marché_ you have here,” said J----

[Illustration]

to the pedler, with a politeness that would not have disgraced a
Frenchman.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

--In Breteuil, a good-sized town with fair share of _pavé_, we met
another funeral party--gentlemen in long black frock-coats and
antiquated silk hats. They had come down from Paris to bury a most
virtuous lady, we learned from the proprietor of the _café_. They were
vastly taken with the tricycle, however, testing its saddles while we
drank our syrup and water.

[Illustration]

It was a beautiful ride we should now have to St. Just, the proprietor
foretold. It would be level all the way.--“What! no hills?” we asked.
None, he declared, that deserved the name.--It is needless to add that
we at once came to three or four up which we pushed the machine, because
of their steepness. But much could we forgive him. He it was who
counselled us to spend the night at the Cheval Blanc in St. Just, where
we had a plenteous brave dinner and the greatest civility that ever we
had from any man, as Pepys would say. Besides, the latter part of the
ride was lovelier than his foretelling. The wind abated, and work was so
easy we could look out over the fields to the distant villages, their
church spires white in the sunlight or turned to grey, even as we
watched, by a passing cloud. It is for just such happy intervals the
cycler braves wild winds and high hills. The day, it is true, was from
beginning to end uneventful. But we had not looked or hoped for
adventures.--Of his journey between Amiens and Paris our Master says not
a word. Mr. Tristram Shandy recalls his but to regret that he was then
prevented, by troublesome postillions, from gratifying his kindly
propensity to sleep. Therefore we felt, that to-day at least, we had no
sentimental shortcomings with which to reproach ourselves.

[Illustration]

The sun had set, and Gipsies by the roadside were preparing their
evening meal when we came to the _pavé_ of St. Just.

[Illustration]



THE COMMERCIAL GENTLEMEN OF ST. JUST.


At the Cheval Blanc the landlady gave us a room over the stable on the
farther side of a large court-yard.

[Illustration]

From the window we looked down into the court on chickens and ducks, and
on a woman watering a small vegetable garden, and the poultry and
vegetables reminded us that we had not dined. So we went to the _café_
of the hotel, where _Madame_ stayed our hunger with the overgrown lady
fingers that are served with dessert at every well-regulated _table
d’hôte_, and where a small man in a frock-coat and Derby hat, with a
very loud voice, exchanged political opinions with a large man in a blue
blouse with no voice to speak of; while a third, in white blouse and
overalls, stood and listened in neutral silence.

The discussion was at its liveliest when the dinner-bell rang, and we
hurried off in such indecent haste that we were the first to arrive in
the dining-room. We knew as soon as we saw the pots of mignonette and
geranium and the well-trimmed, well-shaded lamps on the table, that
whoever had placed them there must have prepared dishes worthy to be
served by their sweet scent and soft light, and we were not
disappointed.--I have seldom eaten a better dinner. We were ten
altogether at table. Seven men were guests like ourselves. One was an
unwearying sportsman of France. The six others we soon discovered to be
commercial gentlemen, though what so many travellers could find to do in
one such small place was a mystery we do not pretend to solve. _Madame_,
the landlady, was the tenth in the company. She presided in person, not
at the head, but at the centre of one side of the table. We sat directly
opposite, encompassed about with drummers and touters.----

“_Monsieur_ and _Madame_ arrived from Amiens on a velocipede,” said the
landlady, opening the conversation and the soup-tureen at the same
moment.

--The sportsman started to speak, hesitated, coughed, and fell to
feeding his dogs with bread. The commercial gentlemen wanted to know at
what hotel we stopped in Amiens.

At this moment a diversion was made by the entrance of a stout man with
the smile of a clown and the short forked beard of a Mephistopheles, who
took his place on _Madame’s_ right.----

“_Mon Dieu, Madame_,” said he, as a plate of soup was put in front of
him and the tureen carried away, “I came next to you because I love you;
and you would starve me? You would give me no more soup!”

“But you are greedy,” said _Madame_.

--The soup, however, was left on a side table.----

“I have been starved already to-day,” he went on, before we had time to
answer the question put to us. “I slept last night at a _grand hôtel_.
It was so _grand_ that this morning for breakfast they could give me but
cutlets of mutton and cutlets of pork and ham--and ham, one knows it
well, it counts for nothing. Is this not true, _Madame_?”

--He had had a wide and remarkable experience of hotels. He knew one.
_Ma foi!_ they swept it every day. But he knew another. _Dame!_ there
the floors were waxed and rubbed daily, so that if a beefsteak were to
fall on them it would be as clean as if it fell upon a plate. For his
part, however, he thought no hotel would be perfect until it made a law
to give each guest a partridge and half a bottle of wine with his
candle, in case of hunger during the night.

A little man with a light moustache, on _Madame’s_ left, as he amiably
filled her glass with wine and seltzer, recalled a certain town where
the hotels were closed at ten. He arrived at midnight; every door was
shut. What did he do? He could not sleep in the street. He went to the
_Mairie_.

The man next to J---- had heard of a hotel where if you stayed out after
ten they would not permit you to enter even if they had your baggage.
The proprietor would come to a window above when you knocked, and throw
your trunks down rather than open the door. He then made no charge.----

“_Ma foi!_” thought Mephistopheles, who could no more have begun a
sentence without an ejaculation than he could have eaten his dinner
without wine, “he would take the _pavé_ and throw it at the head of such
a proprietor.”

--Then they turned to hear our experience. They appealed to J----.

“_O, nous_,” he began bravely, “_nous avons été en France pour deux
jours seulement_”--then suddenly to me, “Oh, bother, you tell the fellow
what he wants, and ask them if they know any decent hotels on the
route,” and he took out our route-form.

--I explained our intention to ride through France into Italy, and asked
if they would have the goodness to recommend hotels by the way.

We could not have paid them a greater compliment. The next minute the
route-form was passed from one to the other, and by the name of each
town was written the name of a commercial hotel which meant a good
dinner and a moderate bill. But not one of the houses in the _C. T. C.
Handbook_ was on the list.--Mr. Howells, in his _Italian Journeys_,
declares it to be the evident intention of a French drummer, “not only
to keep all his own advantages, but to steal some of yours upon the
first occasion.” I wish he could have seen these men at St. Just, as
each helped his neighbour to wine before filling his own glass. A
commercial gentleman apparently would not think of not sharing his
bottle with some one, or of not calling for another when his first was
empty, in obedience to the sign seen in so many hotels, “_Vin à
discrétion_.” It must be admitted that this is only what an Englishman
would call “good form” in commercial circles, since one bottle always
stands between two covers. But then, when did “good form” ever serve
such practical ends in England?

We saw nothing of the French travellers’ ill-breeding of which Mr.
Howells so bitterly complains. If they talked, well, is it not their
business to talk? Besides, they never once referred to trade or praised
their wares. I know men of far higher professions who cannot boast of a
like discretion. Indeed, is it not a common thing for great men to give
dinners for the express purpose of talking “shop”?--It is true
Mephistopheles, when he wanted to call _Madame’s_ attention, beat on the
table with his knife-handle and shouted in a voice of thunder----

“_Madame! Madame Emilie! Emilie! Bon Dieu!_ gentlemen, she will not
listen!”

--But if she took this in perfect good nature it was not for us to
object. That she did not find fault was clear. While we were eating
mutton I noticed he was served with a special dish of birds.

The excellence of the dinner and the good-humour of the company came to
a climax with the course of beans. Mephistopheles asserted
enthusiastically that had they not been invented already he would have
invented them himself. _Monsieur_ on _Madame’s_ left wondered who
brought them into France. Somebody suggested the Bishop of Soissons. As
they all laughed this must have been a joke, but we could not understand
it; and though I have since spent hours over it in the British Museum, I
still fail to see the point.--The traveller next to J---- said nothing,
but was twice helped to the favourite dish.

Afterwards in the _café_ _Madame_ introduced us to an Englishman who had
lived thirty years in St. Just, and who was always glad to see his
countrymen. We explained we were Americans, but he assured us it was an
equal pleasure--he always liked to speak the English.--Whatever else St.
Just had done for him, it had made him forget his mother tongue.--He was
much pleased with our tandem, which he had examined while we were at
dinner. He rode a bicycle, and was therefore competent to judge its
merits. He also thought ours a fine journey when we showed him our route
on the map.

In the meantime, the commercial gentlemen had settled down to coffee and
the papers, and the evening promised to be peaceful. But presently the
little man with the light moustache, who had sat on _Madame’s_ left,
put his paper down to comment on the advantages of naturalisation, on
which subject he had just been reading an editorial. It was a great
thing for the country, he thought, that the children of foreigners
should be permitted to become Frenchmen.

But Mephistopheles was down upon him in an instant. He would not hear of
naturalisation.----

“_Mon Dieu!_ I am a Frenchman. I go to America or Austria. A son is born
to me there. Is he an American or an Austrian? No, _Monsieur_, he is a
Frenchman!” and he glared defiance.

--But the little man reasoned that, on the other hand, France was too
hospitable not to take in strangers.

Mephistopheles swore it was not logical, and, what was more, it was
against _la morale_, and _la morale_ was _prime_. This was his clinching
argument.

The dispute grew warm. They both left their coffee and walked up and
down the room with great angry strides, beat themselves on their
breasts, threw their arms to right and left; one would have thought
blows were imminent. In passing, they stopped simultaneously before the
sportsman, who sat near me.----

“And you, sir, what do you say?”

“My faith, gentlemen, I say you are both too violent.”

--Thus startled into speech, he turned to me to explain his views.----

“A man wishes to adopt France. _Et bien?_ it is reasonable that France
should adopt him.”

--When I looked around again the argument had been amicably adjusted
over a backgammon board.

[Illustration]



THROUGH THE RAIN.


Though the Englishman was not on hand in the morning, _Madame_, all the
commercial gentlemen except Mephistopheles, the waiter, and the postman,
who was just then passing, stood out on the street to see us start.--We
carried away from St. Just not only pleasant recollections, but a
handful of sticking labels of advertisement of the Cheval Blanc, which
_Madame_ pressed upon us as she shook hands.

The first place of note was Fitz-James, labelled in the convenient
French fashion, its aggressive English name as unadaptable to foreign
pronunciation as is English prejudice to foreign customs. There we
pushed the tricycle to the other end of the town, then up the long hill
into the principal street of Clermont, to find that the hill did not end
with the _pavé_. There still remained a climb of two kilometres.

From the top of the hill outside of Clermont, six kilometres into Angy,
we went with feet up as fast as the clouds, now ominously black. Of such
a ride what should one remember save the rapid motion through fresh
green country? Before we realised our pleasure we were in Angy, and then
in Mouy, which is literally next door, and where we lunched at a _café_
with as little loss of time as possible.--We hoped to get to Paris that
night. We were determined to take the train at Beaumont, since there
were forty-seven kilometres of _pavé_ from that town to the capital.--In
our first enthusiasm, before our troubles came upon us, we had declared
that nothing, not even _pavé_, would induce us to forswear sentiment and
go by train. But, thanks to the few kilometres we had already bumped
over, we were wiser now. All the old travellers over the post-roads
complain of the _pavé_. Mr. Sterne, as at Nampont, found it a hindrance
to sentiment. Before his day, Evelyn lamented that if the country, where
the roads are paved with a small square freestone, “does not much molest
the traveller with dirt and ill way as in England, ’tis somewhat hard to
the poor horses’ feet, which causes them to ride more temperately,
seldom going out of the trot, or _grand pas_, as they call it.”

If it is so hard to horses’ feet, fancy what it must be to the tyres of
a tricycle!

No sooner were we out of the town than the rain began. At first it was
but a soft light shower. But it turned into a drenching pour just as we
came into a grey thatch-roofed village. We took shelter by a stone wall
under a tree. A woman offered to lend us her umbrella; we could send it
back the next day, she insisted. This was the most disinterested
benevolence shown us throughout the journey.

Presently we set out again, but only to retreat almost at once up a
little vine-covered path leading to a cottage whose owner, when he saw
us, invited us indoors. It seemed useless to wait, however. We had
dragged the tricycle under the vines, but the rain dripped through and
made the saddles wet and slippery. We thanked him kindly, put on our
gossamers, and then plodded on through the driving rain over a sticky
clay road. Now,

[Illustration]

almost blinded, we worked up long ascents between woods and fields where
indefatigable sportsmen frightened what birds there were. Now we rode
through deserted villages and by dreary châteaux.--Occasionally the rain
stopped, only to begin the next second with fresh force. Against it our
gossamers were of no more avail than if they had been so much paper. In
half-an-hour we were uncomfortably conscious that our only dry clothes
were in the bag. As misfortunes never come singly, the luggage-carrier
loosened and swung around to the left of the backbone. Every few minutes
J---- was down in the mud setting it straight again. The water poured in
streams from our hats. With each turn of the wheels we were covered with
mud.

It was in this condition we rode into the streets of Neuilly. Men and
women came to their doors and laughed as we passed.--This decided us.
There is nothing that chills sentiment as quickly as a drenching and
ridicule. We went to the railway station, to learn there would be no
train for three hours. It was simply out of the question to wait in our
wet clothes for that length of time. That it never once occurred to us
to stay in the town overnight shows how poorly we thought of it. Back we
went through the streets, again greeted with the same heartless
laughter from every side. If I were a prophet I would send an army of
bears to devour the people of Neuilly.

The rain, the mud, and the luggage-carrier had it their own way the rest
of the afternoon. When we could we rode as if for our lives.--But every
now and again we had to stop, that J---- might unlace his boots, take
them off, and let the water run out of them. Of course no one was
abroad. What sane men would have dared such weather? We met but one
small boy driving a big cart in a zig-zag course, particularly
aggravating because we were just then on a down-grade. This was the last
affront that made the rest unbearable. J---- is not a man patient of
injuries.----

[Illustration]

“Million names of the name! Little fly!” he yelled, and the boy let us
pass.

--When a turn in the road brought us out on the banks of the Oise, we
were so wet that a plunge in its waters could not have made us
wetter.--A grey town, climbing up to a grey church, rose on the opposite
banks. We supposed it must be Beaumont. But indeed its name just then
mattered little. Without stopping to identify it, we crossed the bridge
and got down at the first inn we came to.



AN ENGLISH LANDLADY.


Fortunately the town really was Beaumont, and the first inn tolerably
decent--so decent we wondered as to our reception. With due respect for
the clean floors, we waited humbly at the threshold until the landlady
appeared.----

“We are very wet,” said I in French, as if this was not a self-evident
truth.

“Oh!” said she in unmistakable insular English. “Fancy!”

--Here was a stroke of good luck! A Frenchwoman would have measured our
respectability by our looks; an Englishwoman could judge us by our love
for sport. She sent a boy with J---- to put away the tricycle, and bade
me follow her. Where we had stood were two pools of water. She took my
gossamer; a muddy stream ran down the passage. I made a wet trail
wherever I went. I followed the landlady up two flights of stairs into a
well-furnished bedroom. I thought that now our troubles were at an end.
But when J---- joined me I found there were two more to add to the
list.--It seemed that just as he unstrapped the bag the luggage-carrier
snapped at the top. And still worse, the constant swinging of the
carrier had worked the bag partly open, and half its contents were well
soaked. We managed to get together a few dry flannels, and then piled
the rest of our wardrobe, from hats to shoes, outside the door--a
melancholy monument to our misfortunes. The landlady, returning just
then with two glasses of hot brandy and water, promised to carry our
clothes downstairs and have them dried at once.

So far, so good; but what was to be done next? To remain in our present
thin attire meant certain colds, if nothing more serious. There was but
one alternative, and we accepted it. When the landlady unceremoniously
opened the door and saw us sitting up in the two little beds, solemnly
staring at each other as we sipped the brandy and water, she was so
embarrassed she forgot her English and broke out in French. It was
fluent, but little else could be said for it. In a minute she was out of
the room; in another she was knocking discreetly, and telling us there
were dressing-gowns and shawls and slippers without at our service. She
was of the opinion that bed was no place for us, and would not hear of
our staying there. We must

[Illustration]

come into her private sitting-room, where there was a fire. As a rule
private sitting-rooms and fires in September are not insignificant items
in a bill. But she would hear of no excuse, and waited by the door until
we dressed, after a fashion.

I flattered myself that I, in her neat wrapper, with a little white
ruffle in the neck, made quite a presentable appearance. J----’s
costume, consisting of her husband’s dressing-gown and a short kilt
improvised out of a plaid-shawl, was more picturesque, but less
successful.--It was still so wet without that we found comfort in the
great wood fire in her room. She gave us easy-chairs, one on either
side, and for our entertainment produced Thornbury’s illustrated
_London_. But we were more taken up in looking at each other, and were
reasonably serious only when she was in the room.

At half-past six she announced dinner, adding that our clothes were not
yet dry, though a large fire had been kindled for their express benefit.
I looked at J----. No, it was simply impossible to appear at the _table
d’hôte_ with him in his present costume. Before I had time to tell him
so----

“You can’t go down as you now are,” said he to me.

--The landlady was of the same mind, for a pretty little maid, coming in
just then, laid the cloth on the table in the centre of the room. I
thought of our bill the next morning. Private dining-rooms, like private
sitting-rooms, are luxuries not to be had for nothing.

The dinner was good, and the little maid, be it said to her credit,
behaved with great propriety. So long as she was in attendance she never
once smiled. However, I cannot answer for her gravity on the other side
of the door.

It was half-past eight when the landlady said good-night, assuring us
everything would be ready early in the morning.--But we went to bed at
once. The last thing we heard before we fell asleep was the rain still
pouring into the waters of the Oise and upon the paved streets of
Beaumont.

[Illustration]



OVER THE _PAVÉ_.


Next morning, because we were to go by train, we realised the advantage
of travelling by tricycle. Early as we were, our clothes, dry and clean,
were in readiness. When we appeared in them in the public dining-room
the maid at first did not recognise us.--I think it is well worth
recording that our bill amounted to just twelve francs and fifty
centimes, though all the items, even to the fire that dried our entire
wardrobe, were mentioned separately.--After breakfast J---- carried the
luggage-carrier to a blacksmith within a few doors of the hotel. The
latter examined it, found the trouble to be but trifling, and
accordingly treated it as such, to our later discomfiture. The rain had
stopped, though the clouds were still heavy. There was nothing to
detain us save the provoking fact that the train would not start for an
hour. It was at these times we best appreciated the independence of
cycling.

This delay gave us a chance to see something of Beaumont, a town we
found interesting chiefly because it was there we crossed the route of
Mr. Stevenson’s _Inland Voyage_. That whatever attractions it may
possess do not appear on its surface, is shown by this book, since Mr.
Stevenson, who on his way down the Oise must have paddled past, never
even names Beaumont. Mr. Evelyn, who in the course of his travels went
through it, merely mentions it, while our sentimental Master ignores it
altogether. It would therefore seem more in his spirit to say as little
about it as possible.

--We left the train at St. Denis, had the tricycle lifted out--always a
trouble at way stations--only to be told the _Ceinture_ was
three-quarters of a mile nearer Paris, and that we could not carry the
machine on it, since baggage-cars were never attached to the trains. The
porter suggested we could walk to the first _Ceinture_ station, and take
the train to the _Gare de Lyon_. He would put the velocipede on another
train that would carry it to the _Gare du Nord_. We could on our arrival
return to the _Gare du Nord_ and ride the velocipede across the city.
If _Monsieur_ was pleased to do this he would charge himself with the
machine. This ingenious suggestion we dismissed with the contempt it
deserved. Then he said there was nothing to do but to wait at St. Denis
for the next train to Paris, due in an hour and a half.

I declare during that long wasted interval we did not as much as turn
our heads on the side towards the Abbey. Richness of their treasury!
Stuff and nonsense! Bating their jewels, which are all false, I would
not give three sous for any one thing in it but Jaidas’ lantern; nor for
that neither, only as it grows dark it might be of use. But on second
thoughts I doubt if it would be much better than the lamp on the
tricycle. Of course Mr. Tristram Shandy’s words are recognised at once?
But then, why should I not use them if they set forth the sentiments
that certainly would have been ours had we once remembered there was an
Abbey at St. Denis?



PARIS.


Crack, crack--crack, crack--crack, crack. So this is Paris! quoth we,
continuing in the same mood, when, having at last reached the _Gare du
Nord_, we went out on the street in search of a cab--So this is Paris!

The first, the finest, the most brilliant!

The cabmen at first would have nothing to do with us. Take that thing on
their carriage indeed! Crack, crack--crack, crack--what a fuss they
made! But at last, when chances of a fare grew less, they listened to
our explanation that the cab was but for me and the bag.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Ten _cafés_
within three minutes’ driving! To see Paris from a cab, as you cross the
city from one station to another, is to conclude that Parisians do
nothing but drink coffee. As if he had read my thoughts, and would
confirm me in this opinion, the driver set me down in front of the large
_café_ of the _Gare de Lyon_.

[Illustration]

Inside the station I waited with the usual crowd;--with slouchy,
red-trousered soldiers and baggy Zouaves, old _curés_ and one brand-new
_curé_, young ladies with high heels and old women in caps, young men in
straight-brimmed tall hats, and _gendarmes_ in full uniform. At the end
of an hour J---- joined me. He looked very warm, his clothes were well
bespattered with mud, and the lamp was sticking out of his coat
pocket.--Though the streets of Paris are no longer villainously narrow,
it is, I am sure, as difficult as ever to turn a wheelbarrow in them,
because of the recklessness of the drivers and the vileness of the
_pavé_. At all events it is no easy matter to wheel a tricycle through
the broadest boulevards. Still J---- had much to be thankful for. He
was run into but twice, and only the luggage-carrier and the lamp were
broken.

We lunched in the _café_. Some of the high-heeled young ladies and
high-hatted young gentlemen were lunching there at the same time. They
and the waiters stared at us too astonished to smile. It is true we, and
more especially J----, had not the Parisian air. But stares were the
only attentions we received. This made us glad we had decided not to
stay several days in Paris in order to go on pilgrimage to Versailles.
In the capital, apparently, knee-breeches were too conspicuous for
comfort.--It was on business connected with his passport Mr. Sterne went
to Versailles. We had no passport; therefore it would be absurd to
follow him thither. This was our argument. But it seemed as if the
farther we rode on our journey the more certain we were to make
sentimental plans but to break them.

No; I cannot stop a moment to give you the character of the
people--their genius, their manners, their customs, their laws, their
religion, their government, their manufactures, their commerce, their
finances, with all the resources and hidden springs that sustain
them--qualified as I may be by spending three hours amongst them, and
during all that time making these things the entire subject of my
inquiries and reflections.

Still,--still we must away--the roads were paved; we could not ride; the
train went at 12.15; ’twas almost noon when we finished our lunch.

The notice inside the station announced the departure of the train at a
quarter past twelve; but on the platform a porter, pointing to a second
official placard that changed the hour to twelve, hurried the tricycle
into the baggage-car, and us into the first second-class carriage we
came to. It seemed that notices were set up at the _Gare de Lyon_ for
the confusion of travellers! The carriage was empty save for a bag and
one overcoat.

At the last moment--the train, in utter disregard of both notices,
starting at five minutes after twelve--the owner of the bag jumped in.
He gave us one glance, seized his property, and fairly fled.--I might
have fancied we were not concerned in his flight had it not been for the
sequel at Melun. Here at the station J----, with the bag, was out even
before the train stopped. When I followed to the door the man was
already on the platform. The moment I stepped out he stepped in, shut
the door with a bang, and from the window watched our suspicious
movements.--I wondered what he thought when he saw the tandem.

The porters and stationmaster immediately were for showing us the road
to Barbizon. That the little village was our destination they had no
doubt. Did they not see _Monsieur’s_ portfolio?--They were mightily
interested in the tricycle, and leaned over the railroad bridge above
the road to watch it out of sight. But by shouting down useless parting
directions, they made it seem as if they were there for our convenience
rather than for their curiosity.--As for Melun, though it was of old a
Roman town, and later was made famous by Abelard, I can say nothing of
it, for the good reason that we at once turned our backs upon its
_pavé_.



A TALK ABOUT M. MILLET AND MR. STEVENSON, AND FROM MR. PENNELL.


The ride from Melun to Barbizon and through the Forest of Fontainebleau
was a pilgrimage within a pilgrimage. Like Christian, we were tempted to
desert the straight course, and, like him, we yielded. We turned out of
our sentimental way to see M. Millet’s house for pleasure.--To be
strictly truthful, I must add that another good reason for going by
Barbizon was the knowledge that the _pavé_ of the national road only
comes to an end at Fontainebleau, together with our eagerness to be out
of the train and riding again as soon as possible.--By following the
Chailly and Barbizon road to the Forest we could have our desire and
spare the tricycle.

It considerately cleared with the early afternoon, and the cloud masses,
now white and soft, drifted apart, to leave blue spaces between.--We had
a shower or two, but so light we were not wet; and presently the sun
coming out set the rain-drops on the bushes and heather by the wayside
to glittering.

Not far from Melun we met four bicyclers. Much has been said about the
“freemasonry of the wheel.” There is a pleasant suggestion of
good-fellowship in the expression, but I think it merely means that
cyclers, who abroad will speak to any other cycler who gives them the
chance, at home ignore all but friends and acquaintances. At least this
is the definition which French, like English, riders practically
accept.--Of the four near Melun, two wheeled by as if they did not see
us, and the third tried not to smile. The fourth, however, wished us a
_Bon jour_, but it was scarcely disinterested. It turned out he had just
ordered a _Rotarie_ from Bordeaux, and wanted to know some thing of the
system of our tandem.----

In how many ways could it be used, for example? and what time could we
make on it?

--The freemasonry in his case only carried him over level ground. At the
foot of the first hill he left us.

We were in a humour for fault-finding. The luggage-carrier, of course,
was to blame. Like Christian, we were punished for going out of our way,
I suppose. Certain it is that before long we stood still, as he did, and
wotted not what to do.--If the blacksmith at Beaumont had been a little
more serious in his work, the accident in Paris might not have happened;
or indeed, to go back to the beginning of the evil, if Humber & Co. had
only known as much as they think they know about their own business, we
should not have found ourselves half-way to Chailly with the
luggage-carrier hanging on by one screw.--We managed to keep it in place
after a fashion; but there was no riding fast, and I do not believe in
the whole course of our journey we ever sighted a town so joyously as we
did Chailly, lying “dustily slumbering in the plain.”

In our struggles we had pulled off a strap, and I went to the
harness-maker’s to see if it could there be re-fastened, while J----
knocked at the blacksmith’s. For five minutes no one answered; and then
at last an old woman, clean and neat as her village, opened the door,
and made quite a show of briskness by asking what I wanted. She said of
course the matter could be attended to. But when I represented I must
have it done at once----

“My dear Madam, it is impossible,” she said. “The workmen have been
gone two days, and I cannot tell when they will return.”

--At the blacksmith’s J----’s knocks summoned only two children, who
stared as if nothing was more unlooked for at the shop than a
customer.--Our needs were urgent, and it was useless to attempt to make
them understand. J---- went boldly in, and helped himself to wire and a
nail.--While he was blacksmithing for himself their mother came out and
bade him take whatever he wanted. The workmen had been away a week, and
she did not know when they would be back again.--That workmen should
leave Chailly to find something to do did not seem surprising. The only
wonder was they should think it worth their while to stay there at
all.--As we stood in front of the shop, J---- mending the
luggage-carrier with an energy I am sure had never gone to the operation
before, a little diligence carrying a young lady and an artist in Tam o’
Shanter--there was no mistaking his trade--passed with a great jingling
of bells. But even it failed to awake Chailly from its slumbers.

The blacksmith’s wife refused to take any money for the wire and
nail.--However, J---- insisting on making some payment, the woman told
him he could give sous to the children. I have never seen anything to
equal her honesty. When she found that two of her neighbour’s little
girls had come in for a share of the profits, she forced them to
relinquish it, while she would not allow her own children to keep more
than two sous a-piece. Nothing we could say could alter her resolution,
and with Spartan-like heroism she seized the extra sous and thrust them
into J----’s hand.

[Illustration]

After experiencing these things, we rode out on the great plain of
Barbizon. It would be affectation to pretend we did not at once think
and speak of Millet. Was it not partly to see his house and country we
had come this way? His fields, with here and there scattered grey
boulders, and in the middle distance a cluster of trees, stretched from
either side of the road to the far low horizon, the beauty of their
monotony being but accentuated by the afternoon’s soft cloud-shadows. It
seemed to us a bright, broad prospect, though I suppose we should have
found it full of infinite sadness.--There was not much pathos in near
cabbage-patches glowing and shining in two o’clock sunlight, and we
could not believe the weariness of the peasants to be quite genuine.
Their melancholy seemed less hopelessness, than consciousness of their
duty to pose as pathetic features in the landscape.--Even an old woman,
a real Millet, with sabots and handkerchief turban, and a bundle of
grass on her back, stopped on her homeward way to strike a weary
attitude on a stone heap by the wayside the minute she saw J----’s
sketch-book.--The peasants of Barbizon have not served an apprenticeship
as models for nothing. They have learned to realise their sufferings,
and to make the most of them.----

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

“Now I know,” said J----, putting up his sketch-book, “if I were to tell
her to put her arms or her legs or head in another position, she would
say, _‘Mais non, Monsieur_, it was thus I posed for _Monsieur_ Millet,’
or _Monsieur_ somebody else. Bah! it’s all a fashion!”

--The old woman, disappointed, got up and walked onwards, to be speedily
out-distanced by us.

But J----, as is his habit when he once “gets going,” went on.----

“How’s a picture painted here nowadays any way? Nothing could be
simpler. First you get your model;--she’s most probably stood for
hundreds of other men, and knows more about the business than you do
yourself; your master tells you how to pose her; you put her in a
cabbage-patch or kitchen prepared for the purpose, like those in
Chailly, for example; paint the background as carefully as you know how,
and your picture’s made. It’s easier to learn how to paint than to find
motives for yourself; so follow as closely as possible in other men’s
steps; choose the simplest subjects you can; above all, be in the
fashion. There are as good subjects at home as in Barbizon for Americans
who would but go and look for them.”

--By this time, fortunately, we were in Barbizon, and the necessity of
evolving a French sentence with which to ask his way brought J----’s
lecture to an end.--There could be no doubt that the village was the
headquarters for artists. Here and there and everywhere, among the low
grey gabled houses, were studios; and scarcely were we in the village
street before we found an exhibition of pictures.--It has been recorded
that already Barbizon’s artistic popularity is waning, and that even its
secondary lights have deserted it. We were convinced of its decline when
we saw that several of the studios were for rent, and confirmed in this
conviction by a visit to the Exhibition. It was a shade worse than a
Royal Academy, and at a first glance appeared to be a collection of
fireworks. On a close examination the fireworks resolved themselves into
green trees sprawling against patches of vivid blue sky, and flaming
yellow flowers growing in rank luxuriance in low-toned plains.--There
were one or two Millets, of course; but what would Millet himself have
said to them? It is only fair to add that a few small unpretending
canvases were not without merit.

From what we saw in Barbizon, I do not think it improbable that in
another generation there will not be an artist in the village, and that
Millet will have been forgotten by the villagers.--Though his family
still live there, the children of the place seem to know nothing of his
greatness. The first boys of whom we asked the way to the house,
pointed vaguely down the long winding street, and thought, but were not
quite sure, we should find it if we kept straight on. After we left the
Exhibition, other boys whom we questioned declared they had never heard
the name of Millet; and when we refused to let them off so easily, told
us we must go back in the very direction from which we had come. No, we
insisted, it was not there.----

“Ah!” they thought, “_Monsieur_ must mean _Monsieur Millet le
charbonnier_.”

--Such is fame at home!

Finally, after many explanations on our part, and conversation with
unseen elders behind a garden wall on theirs, a man near by explained
just where the _Maison Millet_ was.

A few steps farther on we reached it. As, I suppose, many other pilgrims
have done, we sat a while on the shady stone seat opposite. A rather
abrupt turn just there hid the road as it wound towards the forest. But
we could look back some distance down the long village street, at the
low houses and high garden walls.--The famous _Maison Millet_, built
right on the road, grey, with brown moss-grown roof, did not differ from
the other peasant cottages. Even the one large window,

[Illustration]

extending almost the entire height of the house, was scarcely a mark of
distinction in studio-crowded Barbizon; just as, probably, during
Millet’s lifetime, his poverty and troubles, and failure to make both
ends meet, were matters of course among the hard-working villagers.--And
yet this humble cottage is already better known and honoured as a place
of pilgrimage in the artistic world, than the palaces that crown Campden
Hill and cluster around Palace Gate, Kensington; even as the works that
came from it will be remembered when the pictures painted within the
palace-studios have long since been forgotten.--We did not ask to go
into the house. I believe visitors are admitted; but it seems almost
cruel to treat it as a mere museum for curious tourists, while the
Millet family is still in charge. So we rested in the pleasant shade,
looking over to the unassuming grey cottage where one or two
plaster-casts showed through the window, the branches of a tall tree
waved over the chimney, and an elder-bush, beneath the weight of its
berries, bent far over the garden wall, on the other side of which
Millet so often walked and stood to watch the west and the setting
sun.--No one was to be seen but two or three children, who examined the
tricycle as they talked in whispers. But we could hear near voices and
the clatter of dishes. And then the wind would come in great gusts from
over the forest, shaking down the leaves on its way, and drowning all
other noises.

[Illustration]

We felt the great contrast when we went from the little house where life
was always sad, to Siron’s, “that excellent artist’s barrack, managed
upon easy principles.”--Its cheerfulness was proclaimed by its large
sign representing a jolly landlord holding a pig’s head on a dish, while
a young lady and gentleman, apparently in an ecstasy of content at the
prospect of a good meal, lay prostrate before it, one on either side,
and an appreciative dog sniffed at it from the foreground.--It seemed
more eloquent in its way than the sign before the other village inn,
whereon a young lady sat at her easel, and two or three young men peeped
over her shoulder, and he who painted it for his dinner was no poor
artist in one sense of the word.

Often enough at Siron’s, as at the _Maison Millet_, there has been the
difficulty of making both ends meet. But at the inn it has been turned
into comedy rather than tragedy, and if money has not been forthcoming
at once, Siron has been willing to wait, knowing that it would in the
end.--Men of other professions, if they lived together in communities,
as artists often do, could hardly show so fair a record. For all the
talk and definitions of so-called Bohemianism, an artist is never in
debt longer than he can help.--It would be fortunate for tradespeople if
the same could be said of all men.

A waiter in a dress-coat, which was certainly not what we had come to
Barbizon to see, showed us into the “high inn-chamber panelled” with
sketches, where we took great pleasure in noting that the best were by
Americans.--We next ordered _groseille_, for which it was our privilege
to pay double the price asked elsewhere. I hope the charges for artists
living in Barbizon are not the same as those for an artist passing
through, disguised as a tricycler.--But Siron’s, with its elegant waiter
and prices, and its Exhibition open to the public, was not the Siron’s
we had expected. We had thought to find a true artists’ inn, like
certain Venetian and Florentine dens we knew of;--we had come instead to
a show for the tourist.--And indeed all Barbizon, with its picture
galleries and studios to let, and posing peasants, seemed no better than
a convenient stopping-place, to which drivers from Fontainebleau could
bring travellers, and allow them to spend their francs for the benefit
of Barbizonians.--Thus, from Millet’s misery the people have reaped a
golden harvest.

Stranger still is the fact, that the country where Millet could see but
suffering humanity, with a forest or open landscape in harmony with it,
is now recommended as a place in which to learn mirth and vivacious
contentment.--Millet’s portion in Barbizon was headache and heartache,
so that now and then, in his despair, he cried out to his friends that,
physically and morally, he was going down hill. Over the way at Siron’s
other men stayed on in the village, because near the forest they were
sure of physical and moral good health, air, light, perfumes, and the
shapes of things concording for them in happy harmony.----

“There is no place,” says Mr. Stevenson, “where the young are more
gladly conscious of their youth, or the old better contented with their
age.”



IN THE FOREST.


The waiter having overcharged us for the _groseille_, we thought it only
fair he should give us information for nothing. He told us the forest
was just around the corner, which we could see for ourselves, and he
directed us on our way with such care that we forgot his directions the
next minute.

The forest is still “horrid and solitary,” as Evelyn has it, just as
when he rode through it and between its “hideous rocks.” We do not know
to this day in what part we were, nor what roads we followed. We made no
effort to go out of our direct course in search of the placarded places
which it is the tourist’s duty to visit.--We did think something of
looking for the rock with the plaques set up on it, in memory of Millet
and Rousseau. In telling us how to find it the waiter’s words had been
many and explicit. But when we tried to recall them we could not; nor
were we more successful in our endeavours to find the rock for
ourselves. However, I do not think it mattered much. It was enough to
know the way was beautiful and the road good.--No such perfect afternoon
had come to us since our departure from Calais; and one reason of its
perfection was, that our pleasure in the loveliness of the place was so
great, we cared little or not at all for names and famous sights. If we
return at some future day to Fontainebleau, we shall probably explore
its valleys and rocks, its groves and thickets. But even were we never
to go back, we should not wish that one ride to have been in any way
different.

We rode for miles, and yet the only monotony was in the good road. Now,
we passed great rocks, some grey and riven, moss and lichens clinging to
them, and bushes and trees struggling from their crevices and growing on
their summit; others bare and shadeless. Here, stretching from boulder
to boulder, were deep beds of purple heather paled by the sun--the
heather on which Millet used to love to lie and look up to the clouds
and the blue sky; and there, feathered ferns, yellow and autumnal in the
open spaces, green and fresh in the shade of rocks and trees, “made a
luxurious couch more soft than sleep.”--Now the way went through the
very heart of a pine wood; pine needles instead of heather covered the
ground, and even carpeted the road; a spicy fragrance, sweetest of all
sweet forest scents, perfumed the air; the wind sighed softly through
the topmost branches, and the tricycle wheeled without a sound over the
brown carpet, on which shadows fell and the sun shone.

[Illustration]

Then the pine scent changed to a rich earthy smell, and to the right the
pines gave way to beeches, tall and slim, growing in groups of two or
three together, with here and there grassy glades leading to dense
thickets; on the left a close undergrowth, high enough to shut out the
prospect, made a hedge-like border to the road. And then again, on
either hand, old moss-grown trees rose to a venerable height, their
branches meeting overhead.

[Illustration]

There is something in a forest, as in a cathedral, that makes one quiet.
We rode for miles in silence. Then at last, in the green aisle,
enthusiasm breaking all bounds----

“This is immense!” cried J----.

--And so indeed it was, in more than the American sense.

But even the vast forest of Fontainebleau cannot go on for ever.--We
were not a little sorry when we wheeled out into an open space at the
top of a long hill, where children were chattering and playing and two
nuns were sitting on the grass. But we were sorrier when, at the
beginning of the coast, the brake went all wrong and refused to work.
The hill was steep. All we could do was to run into a bank by the road,
when the machine stopped.

[Illustration]



FONTAINEBLEAU.


All you need say of Fontainebleau (in case you are asked) is, that it
stands about forty miles (south something) from Paris, in the middle of
a large forest, and that there is something great in it.

Before we went to sleep that night we took counsel together, and it came
to nought. For we determined to be up in the morning with the sun, and
to devote the day to the forest. Of course we overslept ourselves. The
sun had been up three or four hours when we awoke, though as yet it had
refused to show itself. A light cold drizzle was falling.----

“We’ll go instead,” said J----, over his coffee, “to the Palace.”

“I’ll go see any Palace,” quoth I, for I was all compliance through
every step of the journey.

We had not a guide-book with us. We could not tell which was the
Gallery of Francis I., which the Court of Diane de Poitiers, which the
Court _des Adieux_. But had we stopped to turn over the pages of a
Baedeker, I believe we should have lost our impression of the princely
scale with which kings in the good old times provided for their
pleasures.--Court opened into court, one as desolate and deserted as
another; pavilion succeeded pavilion; and the grey walls, with their red
brick facings and _proud_ roofs, as Ruskin would call them, seemed
never-ending. There is nothing that describes this great pile as well as
the saying of an Englishman, that Fontainebleau is a _rendez-vous_ of
châteaux.

When we walked in the garden, and saw that the sun was beginning to
shine, and that it was a quarter of eleven by the clock in the
clock-tower----

“We had better be off,” said we.

As we passed the walls of the Palace gardens the clock struck the hour.
It was not too late. We could still go in, listen to the guide, and be
prepared now to take up above fifty pages with his words and our
reflections upon them.

But, courage, gentle reader; in the words of our Master, ’tis enough to
have thee in our power! but to make use of the advantage, which the
fortune of the pen has now gained over thee, would be too much.

So, put on, my brave travellers, and make the best of your way to
Nemours.



[Illustration]

THROUGH A FAIR COUNTRY.


To Nemours all the way was pleasantness, and all the path was peace.
There was nothing to note but the beauty and excellence of the road.
Only once we came to _pavé_. Then, however, as it was at the bottom of a
hill, it was like to be our ruin. Rosin, back-pedalling, and clever
steering to the side-path saved us. A couple of tramps asked if we had
not an extra seat to spare.

As for Nemours, we could go on for ever in its praise, we found it so
pretty; but for its inhabitants, the less, I think, we say of them the
better.--At three _café_ restaurants--one we passed just as we went into
the city, two were in its very heart--food was refused to us. There was
no reason given for this refusal. The people were disagreeable that was
all.--We lunched in true tramp fashion, on whatever we could pick up by
the way. At one end of the town we ate pears, at the other cake. If our
meal was scanty, we at least had all out of doors, instead of a close
_café_, for dining-room.

We rode a little distance by the canal, and then went into the town to
come quite unexpectedly upon its castle, which, with its grim grey walls
and turrets, was the first real castle we had seen in all our journey.
But old carts and lumber lay familiarly in its courtyard, as if to
remind the chance visitor of its useless old age.--We liked it better
from the other side of the river, where all belittling details were
lost, and we saw the grey pile sternly outlined against the sky and
softly reflected in the water.

[Illustration]

Beyond Nemours the same fine road, like a park avenue, went with the
poplared river until the latter ran off with a great curve across the
broad green fields, to keep well out of sight until it turned back to
meet us at Fontenoy. Here were two canoeists.--The sun shone on the
water, but failed in soft shadows on the meadows beyond and on the road.
Everything was still and at rest but the river and ourselves.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

But, quiet as the country was, there was nothing to remind us it was
Sunday. Peasants were at work. Old women here and there cut grass by the
wayside, or carried it home in large bundles on their backs. In one
place _cantonniers_ were busy covering the road with broken stones. In
another we passed travellers footing it over the white highway; one who
walked barefoot, with his boots and his umbrella strapped to his back,
was singing as he went.--Only once we heard church bells. In the little
grey stone villages, at whose entrance poplars stood for sentinels,
there were more people about than usual. And at Souppes, where we
stopped for coffee, the _café_ was full of men in blouses, playing cards
and drinking beer.

[Illustration]

In the course of the afternoon we left the

[Illustration]

department of the Seine-et-Loire for the Loiret, where the road, though
not bad, was not quite so good, and where the kilometre-stones no longer
marked the distance, but were newly whitened, looking for all the world,
as J---- suggested, like tombstones of dead kilometres.--Then we came to
the first vineyard on our route, in which the vines, heavy with purple
clusters, clung to low poles, with none of the grace of the same vines
crossing from mulberry to mulberry in Italy, or of the hops in
England.--Up and down the road took us--now giving us a glimpse of an
old farm-house on a hillside, and then of a far château half hidden in
the trees, until we began to meet many carriages.--A few minutes after
these signs of city life appeared, we were in Montargis.



MONTARGIS.


The landlady was full of apologies for the dulness of the town. The band
always played on Sunday afternoons on the _Place_ in front of her house,
she said; but now the troops were away for the autumn manœuvres, and
Montargis was sad in their absence. We thought, however, she might
better have apologised for the lateness of her dinner-hour.--But it was,
after all, fortunate, for it so chanced we saw more of Montargis than we
expected.

Though little is said about it in guide and other books, it is one of
the prettiest towns in all France. A river, an old church, and a
mediæval castle are always elements of picturesqueness, and these
Montargis has used to the very best advantage.--We found the church grey
and weather-worn of course.

The castle, closed about with high walls, stood gloomily apart, and
overlooked the town. A narrow hilly street, lined with little houses,
led to its heavy gateway, against and above which leaned the poor and
shabby roofs of the nearest dwellings.

[Illustration]

But we took greatest pleasure in the river, which wandered around and
through the town, as if bent on seeing as much of city life as
possible;--now flowing between stone embankments, from which men and
boys for ever fished and caught nothing, while the castle frowned down
upon it; now, tired

[Illustration]

already of city ways and sights, running peacefully between green banks
and trees whose branches met above; again, crossing the street and
making its way by old ruinous houses. We stood on a near bridge while a
funeral passed. Two men carried a coffin, adorned with one poor wreath,
and so small we knew the body of a child lay within; for mourners there
were half-a-dozen women in white caps. The very simplicity of the little
procession made it the more solemn. At its approach voices were hushed
and hats lifted. And yet, as they went over the bridge, the acolytes and
the chanters, even the priest himself, stole a momentary inquiring
glance at J----’s stockings.

It was in Montargis the English drowned Joan of Arc. My authority is an
eminently respectable stationer on the right-hand side of the principal
street as you enter the town from the north. He assured us of the truth
of his statement; and as he had always lived in Montargis and we were
strangers, we did not see our way to dispute it.

In Montargis we heard for the first time the story of the lady
tricycler, afterwards repeated at almost every stage of our journey. The
landlady served it to us with the dessert.--Only a few days before, it
seemed, two gentlemen arrived, each riding a velocipede, and each
wearing long stockings and short pantaloons, like _Monsieur_.----

Show these gentlemen to No. 14, she said to the chambermaid. Take these
towels up to _ces messieurs_ in No. 14, she said to the same chambermaid
a few minutes later. When the dinner-bell rang there came down from No.
14, not two gentlemen, but a gentleman and a lady; and, if we would
believe it, the lady had on a black silk dress. And the next morning, my
faith, two gentlemen rode away!

--In the _café_, after dinner, we watched four citizens of Montargis
gamble recklessly at corks. One, an old fat man in a blouse, who stood
on one leg and waved the other in the air when he played, ran great
risks, with his sous, and usually won, to the discomfiture of a small
man who hit feebly and lost steadily.----

“It is that you are wanting in courage, my child,” his successful rival
kept telling him.

--The few soldiers left in Montargis were making the rounds of the town
with great blowing of bugle and beating of drum when we went to our room
in the Hôtel de la Poste.



HOW WE FOUGHT THE WIND FROM MONTARGIS TO COSNE.


From Montargis to Cosne we fought a mighty wind. The greater part of the
day our heads were down, and we were working as one never works except
for pleasure.--Under these circumstances we saw little of the country
through which we passed. We were just conscious of the tramps we had
seen the day before, now resting by the roadside; and of a blue blouse
on an old boneshaker flying triumphantly with the wind down a long hill
up which we were painfully toiling.

The long day was marked only by our halts for rest. At the first town,
but ten kilometres from Montargis, we stopped nominally for syrup, but
really to take breath. As we drank the _groseille_, which was bad, the
proprietress of the _café_ told us what we should have seen in
Montargis.----

Bah! the château, that was nothing. But hold!

[Illustration]

the brand-new caoutchouc factory; there was something.

--An hour later we dismounted again, to pick blackberries from the
hedge. And then we went doggedly on, pedalling away until we reached the
next village, many kilometres beyond. There was just outside a pretty,
shady road, which we remember gratefully, since on it we had our first
bit of easy riding. Adjoining was a château with high walls, over which
came the sound of gay music.----

To whom did it belong? we asked an old woman on the road.

“To a _Monsieur_ who is enormously rich,” she said. “_Mais, tout le
même_”--“But, all the same”--“he is _bourgeois_!”

The village was just beyond, and in its inn we had lunch.--While we were
eating, bang went a drum on the street, and a bell began to ring. It was
a pedler, who had drawn up his cart. When we strolled out to the street
he had collected quite a crowd.

“Look at these,” he was saying, as he showed a package of flannels; “in
the town the price is three francs. I ask thirty-five sous. I pray you,
ladies, do me the favour to feel them. Are they not soft? But this is
the last package I have. And now, all those who want a pair, hold up
their hands.”

--There was a scramble; more hands than could be filled were raised; his
assistant took down the names of the buyers, and then--the pedler
produced just such another package from his cart.----

“_Nom de Dieu! what longness!_” he cried, as he held up a specimen in
front of the nearest woman.

--At this every one laughed.----

“But, my children”--_mes enfants_, that is what he called them--“we are
not here to amuse ourselves.”

--And so the sale went on. Every article exhibited was the last of the
kind until it was sold. He knew them in this country here, this prince
of pedlers told them. They did not like to buy dear.--When we turned
away he had just sold a piece of corduroy--town price, twelve francs;
pedler’s price, five francs fifty--to an old man who went off grinning,
his prize under his arms.

--The villagers were all talking together, but above their voices we
heard that of the pedler, loud and reproachful.----

“_Que vous êtes bavards ici!_”

--Reluctantly we returned to work. The wind was in no friendlier mood,
and we rode, as in the morning, with heads down and thoughts fixed upon
the pedals.--At Briare--you may despatch it in a word: ’tis an
uninteresting town!--we had our first view of the Loire. For the rest of
the day the river was always on our right; sometimes far off, and only
indicated by its rows of tall trees; sometimes near, a line of grey or
silver, as the wind drove the clouds above or beyond it.--We met the
_Café of the Sun_, travelling on wheels.

We were some little time in Bonny. Every one came out to watch J----, as
he opened his sketch-book, and in a minute we were surrounded.

“Is _Monsieur_ making plans for houses?” asked one old woman.

--But the event of the day was in Neuvy. There we found a great crowd in
the narrow street, and in the midst stood a tricycle. A Frenchman in
flannel shirt, grey linen, and gaiters, with a handkerchief hanging from
his hat over his neck, at once made his way through the crowd and came
towards us.--At last we were to have a proof of the freemasonry of the
wheel. But he introduced himself with a circular, and was friendly in
the interests of the manufacturers for whom he travelled. He did not
think much of the “Humber;” its wheels were so small. He knew all the
English makes, because he had an English brother-in-law who lived in
Portsmouth. Look at his machine, now; it had a wheel of a pretty
height.

[Illustration]

We must try it, as he was sure we should once we read the circular, and
give up the “Humber.”

Our tandem, with its symmetrical parts and modest coat of varnish well
covered with mud, was indeed insignificant compared with the
nickel-plated glory of his three wheels, no two of which were of the
same size, the largest being as tall as a bicycle.[A] At all events the
people of Neuvy, most of whom were armed with circulars, thought so.
They looked at us, because a meeting of tricyclers was not an everyday
occurrence in their town, but we gathered no crowd of admirers.----

“How many kilometres do you make in a day?” asked the Frenchman.

J---- said that we had left Montargis, and were going on to
Cosne--seventy kilometres in all.

“Seventy kilometres! It is too much for _Madame_,” said the Frenchman,
with a bow.

--In my heart I was of the same opinion. But I declared the ride to be a
mere nothing, and almost apologised for not making it longer.

He rejoiced in the exercise, he declared with enthusiasm. It was a
little fatiguing sometimes, but what would you have? And it seemed that
his love for the sport occasionally carried him to the excess of thirty
kilometres in a day. At La Charité, between Cosne and Moulins, he had
met two Englishmen who were riding safety bicycles with an interpreter.
We asked him if he had ever ridden in England. He said No; French roads
were so good, and French country so beautiful.----

“Ah, _Madame_”--with his hand on his heart of course--“I adore the
France!”

--Then we shook hands, to the visible delight of the lookers-on, and,
with another bow, he told us we had nothing but great beauty from Neuvy
to Cosne, a distance of fifteen kilometres.--The whole town watched our
start, and, I think, in our shabbiness we must have served the agent’s
purpose even better than his circular.

As we wheeled on we saw his tracks, making a zig-zag course along the
road, with little credit to his steering. And in front of a lonely
farm-house a small boy at our coming drew a long sigh.----

“But here is another!” he called to some one indoors.

--The country really was beautiful. But I was so tired! Every turn of
the pedals I felt must be the last. And the thought that we should reach
Cosne but to begin the same battle on the morrow, did not help to keep
up my spirits. In vain I tried to be sentimental. For the hundredth
time I admitted to myself that sentiment might do for a post-chaise, but
was impossible on a tricycle.--And all the time J---- kept telling me
that if I did not do my share of the work I should kill him. Certainly
seventy kilometres against the wind were too much for _Madame_.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



A GOOD SAMARITAN.


A long, ugly, stupid street leads to the principal _Place_ of Cosne. Its
_pavé_ is surely the vilest to be found in all the length and breadth of
France.--When we came into the town it was full of slouchy, disorderly
soldiers. We pushed the tricycle to the Hôtel d’Etoile, which the
commercial gentlemen of St. Just had praised. We should forget the
miseries of the day over a good dinner.--The landlady came to the door
and looked at us. She had no room, she declared, and could do nothing
for us. Her house was full of officers and _gentlemen_. J---- asked what
other hotel she would recommend.

She pointed to an _auberge_ across the street. It was small and mean,
with soldiers standing in the doorway and at the windows. She could not
in words have said more plainly what she thought of us.----

Was there a _table d’hôte_ over there?

She did not know, with an indifferent shrug of her shoulders.

If we could not sleep in the Etoile, could we eat in it?

“No, that is altogether impossible,” and she turned her back upon us and
went into the house.

--I could have cried in my disappointment.

The landlady of the Grand Cerf received us with smiles.----

Had we both travelled on that one little velocipede?

--But J---- was in no humour for compliments.----

Could she give us a room?

There was not one in the house, she said; these autumn manœuvres had
brought so many people to town. She had just that moment given up hers
to two gentlemen who had telegraphed that they would arrive by a late
train, and she and her daughter must spend the night in a friend’s
house.

--She must have seen the despair in our eyes, for, before we had time to
speak, she added, that she would send to a neighbour’s to see what could
be done for us there.

Her messenger, however, came back to say there was not one room to
spare. But suddenly, with a happy inspiration, the landlady bade us
come in, and suggested that if we were willing to wait, and would be
satisfied with makeshifts, she could put up two beds in a small
dining-room so soon as dinner was over.--Makeshifts indeed! She was
offering luxuries.----

In the meantime, since the two gentlemen had not arrived, we could use
her room to prepare for dinner.

[Illustration]

--Though the Grand Cerf was not the commercial house of Cosne, it was
that night full of commercial gentlemen, ready for friendly talk. After
dinner in its _café_ J---- asked the waiter what there was in the
town?----

“_Mais, Monsieur_, there are many officers and soldiers.”

That was not what he meant, J---- explained. Was there a castle or a
fine church, for example?

--At this point the commercial gentlemen at the nearest table made bold
to interfere. There was nothing in Cosne, they said, and were for
sending us off on a castle hunt to Touraine at once. They had the map
out in a trice, and during the next few minutes sent us flying from one
end of it to the other.----

They will give us no rest, thought I.

--But presently one of the company asked how we liked Paris compared to
London?----

“London is a great town, is it not?” said he, looking to us for support,
so that we could do no less than agree with him. “But then, if you want
coffee or something else to drink on the Sunday, what is to be done?
Syrups are sold in the pharmacy, and the pharmacy is closed. The
beer-houses are shut till one, and even after that hour, you go in, you
are asked what you will have, the beer or the brandy is poured out, you
drink it, and then you go at once. It is always like this, every day.
You drink and you go.”

“But that it is _bizarre_!” said a young man opposite, who had never
been in England.

“I think well that it is _bizarre_!” continued the other; “but you do
not know what it is to live there in a family hotel. No shops are open
the Sunday, and the landlady must buy everything the Saturday. What does
she do? She buys a piece of _rosbif_. She gives it to you hot the
Saturday, and cold for breakfast, dinner, and supper the Sunday; and the
butcher, he never brings fresh meat the Monday, and you eat your
_rosbif_ cold again for dinner. And then you have a gooseberry tart. _My
God_, how it sticks to your teeth! It is like this one eats in England.”

“It is not astonishing,” thought a serious, elderly gentleman on his
right, “that the rich English come to France to dine.”

--At an early hour we went to the room which the landlady promised
should be ours once dinner was well over.--The beds were not yet made,
though mattresses and bedclothes were piled in one corner. The landlord
and a lady and gentleman we had seen at the _table d’hôte_ sat by a
table. They invited us politely to be seated.----

“I should like to go to bed,” said I, in the language of our country.

“We cannot send them away,” said J----.

--And so, making the best of the matter, we sat down with them, and
talked about travelling and Italy and snoring and velocipedes and Mount
Vesuvius, and, I think, of some other things which I have
forgotten.--_Monsieur_ and _Madame_, who had voyaged much, also urged a
journey to Touraine to see the castles.----

“Bother the castles,” thought I to myself.

“Hang ’em,” said J---- audibly, but in American.

--But the landlady, just then coming in, asked if we should like to see
our room.----

[Illustration]

“It is here,” said we.

“It is on the other side of the hall,” said the landlady, and she led
the way without more ado. “See the two little iron beds,” she cried on
the threshold, “and the tiny toilet table! ’Tis like a prison cell;” and
nothing would please her but she must bring _Monsieur_ and _Madame_ and
her husband and daughter to look.

--In the morning, in her bill, however, it was no longer a prison cell,
but a best bedchamber. But if a Good Samaritan does overcharge you, what
can you do?



BY THE LOIRE.


We rested so well in our little iron beds that in the morning we took a
long walk through Cosne before we went back to work. We found it chiefly
remarkable for its high sweeping roofs and striking weather-vanes.

[Illustration]

The ride from Cosne was very much like that from Montargis, only,
fortunately, there was less wind, and the wide poplared Loire was on our
left from our start. Between us and it, however, were the pleasant
fields and meadows through which Mr. Evelyn, with Mr. Waller and some
other ingenious persons, footed it, and shot at birds and other fowls,
or else sang and composed verses during

[Illustration]

their voyage up the river.--Though we never dropped into poetry or song,
with us, as with them, nothing came amiss. Everything was a pleasure,
from the clouds chasing each other lazily above the Loire and
occasionally uncovering the sun, showing us how hot the day might be, to
the old women and little girls in blue skirts and sabots, each watching
one cow or a couple of white turkeys or geese, whom we met at intervals
all day long; from the seemingly endless kilometres of level white road
between poplars to the too short down-grade between vineyards into
Pouilly. The only incident throughout the morning was the discovery of
two men stealing grapes from a vineyard. We took them to be its owners,
and would have offered to buy their fruit had they not at once looked to
us for sympathy with a friendly smile that showed they had no right to
be there.--It was just after Pouilly, we passed a little solitary inn
that facetiously announced on its sign: “To-day one pays money;
to-morrow, nothing.”

[Illustration]

At noon we climbed into La Charité, though I think we might have been
spared the climb had we followed the road on the river-bank. As it was,
we entered the town at the upper end, under its old gateway, topped with
grey stone figures, and had a good view of its massive walls and
fortifications. Within the ramparts we found a winding street descending
precipitately towards the Loire, a church in ruins, and people with

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

absolutely nothing to do. As if glad of an occupation, they gathered
around the tricycle and examined it with their eyes and hands; and while
a waiter in a _café_ bestirred himself to overcharge us, and a man in a
cake-shop, with unlooked-for energy, sold us his stalest cakes, they
even went so far as to roll it up and down to test the tyres.--Nor was
this curious idle crowd to be got rid of so long as we were in La
Charité, and our stay there was not short; for as we followed the

[Illustration]

windings of the street, just as it widened into a _Place_ before turning
to take a straight course towards the river, we came out upon the old
church doorway, its countless niches empty, or filled with headless
statues. Grass-grown steps led up to it, and one tall tower, with carven
decorations half effaced, but rows of low arcades uninjured, rose at its
side from the top of a small house; on its lowest arch was a staring
announcement of _Le Petit Journal_. But of church walls, or of door to
open or close, there was no sign. The arched entrance gave admittance
into a large court. We stopped at the opposite corner, and J---- had his
sketch-book out in a minute, to the evident satisfaction of the people.
But a woman from a near _café_, as idle but more friendly than the rest,
came over to say it was a pity _Monsieur_ could not get a photograph of
the ruin; a photograph was so much prettier than a drawing. J----jumped
at this sensible suggestion, and she sent him to a notary on the fourth
floor of a house in a back street. But this gentleman was out; and as
the photographer of La Charité, apparently, was the last person to be
applied to, J---- had to content himself with a sketch after all.--While
he was at work the same woman, whose only duty seemed to be to do us the
honours of the place, showed me the old church.

When I went back J---- was still struggling with the sketch, and with
small boys who could not keep their hands off the machine. Women stood
around him in a semicircle, passing a baby, which they called _cher
petit chiffon_, from one to the other, and only leaving space for an
inner ring of workmen. Before I heard the words of the latter

[Illustration]

I knew by their gestures they were discussing the famous velocipede with
the tall wheels.--We asked them about the race won by the
Englishman.--It was no great thing, one said. The weather had been
against it, and there was not much of the world there. Some people
started to come from other countries in the cars. But the porters and
conductors told them there were no races at La Charité, and so they went
on or back, he was not sure which. The Englishman had gone away again,
he did not know where.--I suppose the mistake was natural. Few tourists
who travel by rail stop at La Charité, though it is a pretty town, as
Mr. Evelyn says.

[Illustration]

Following the Loire, the sand-banks in its centre widening, the green
wilderness growing greener and wilder, the town on the far hilltop
fading softly into blue shadow, we came, in the middle of the afternoon,
to Pougres-les-Eaux, a fashionable invalid resort.

--After this, there was but a short way to go by the river. And though
the little safety-wheel now worked loose from no possible cause, unless,
perhaps, because it had not been used once in all our ride; and though
the rubber fastening in the lamp needed attention every few minutes, we
reached Nevers--entering by the gate where Gerars so cunningly played
and sang--early enough to see the town and the cathedral.

[Illustration]



THE BOURBONNAIS.


The next morning when we awoke it was pouring; but, the shower
moderating into a drizzle, we made an early start after
breakfast.--_Monsieur_, the landlord, was distressed when he saw both
lamp and little wheel tied on with pink string. He hoped the velocipede
had not been injured in his stables.--_Madame_, in white cap and blue
ribbons, with her babies at her side, was so sorry for me when she heard
we were to ride all the way to Moulins that day--fifty-three kilometres,
_Mon Dieu!_

I felt sorry for myself before the morning was over. The road was
sticky, the wind and the rain--for it rained again once we were out of
the town and had turned our backs upon the Loire--were in our faces, and
the up-grades were long and steep.--In all the villages through which we
passed people laughed and dogs barked at us.--The trees were yellow and
autumnal, and the road was strewn with leaves. A grey rainy mist hung
over the fields.--The country was dreary, and in my heart I could but
rue the day when sentiment sent us on this wild journey. My legs and
back ached; every now and then I gasped for breath, and all the blood in
my body seemed to have gone to my head, since it was impossible to sit
upright in the face of such a wind. Truly it was a pitiful plight!

[Illustration]

But all this was changed at St. Pierre, where the sun came out, and the
road turning, the wind was with us.

Gone were the troubles of the morning, forgotten with the first
kilometre. And the country was as gay and smiling as at an earlier hour
it had been sad and mournful.--We were travelling through “the
Bourbonnais, the sweetest part of France,” and for the first time since
we had left Paris we could look to Mr. Sterne for guidance.--But it was
not for us to see Nature pouring her abundance into every one’s lap, and
all her children rejoicing as they carried in her clusters, though for
the Master, in his journey over the same road, Music beat time to
Labour.--’Tis pretty to write about, and there is nothing I should like
better than to describe here all flesh running and piping, fiddling and
dancing, to the vintage. But the truth is, we saw but one or two small
vineyards in the Bourbonnais, and the heyday of the vintage had not yet
come.--With the best will in the world our affections would not kindle
or fly out at the groups before us on the road, not one of which was
pregnant of adventure. There was just its possibility in a little Gipsy
encampment in a hollow by the roadside, but after my misadventure near
Boulogne I fought shy of Gipsies.

[Illustration]

And now that we had got within the neighbourhood where Maria lived, and
having read the story over but the night before, it remained so strong
in our minds, we could not pass one of the many little rivers without
stopping to debate, whether it was here Mr. Sterne discovered her,--her
elbow on her lap, and her head leaning on one side within her hand. And
as there were many poplars by every turn of every stream, this was no
easy matter to decide.----

[Illustration]

“It must be here,” said we, when the river, after running under the
road, danced out in delight. But the next minute----

“No, it is here!” we cried, when, having lost its way in a thicket, the
stream suddenly wandered back to the poplars and the open sunlight.

--In this manner we lingered lovingly in the sweet Bourbonnais; and it
so happened that when the cathedral spires of Moulins came in sight we
had settled upon a dozen resting-places for poor Maria, who has long
since found her last; in fancy had a dozen times wiped her eyes with Mr.
Sterne, and felt the most indescribable emotions within us, and had made
a dozen declarations that we were positive we had a soul.--It was a
serious tax upon sentiment. But when we entered Moulins----

[Illustration]

“At least now,” we said, “there can be no doubt that just here they
walked together, her arm within his, and Sylvio following by the
lengthened string.”

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



MOULINS.


Moulins is a stupid town with a very poor hotel and an American bar. It
is true there is a cathedral, and a castle also. But, for one reason or
another--perhaps because ’tis so monstrous high there was no avoiding
taking notice of it--we only looked at the clock-tower.

However, we made a show of interest in the large _Place_ in front of the
hotel, deciding to our own satisfaction that it was the market-place
where Mr. Sterne stopped to take his last look and last farewell of
Maria.----

“Adieu, poor luckless maiden! Imbibe the oil and wine which the
compassion of a stranger, as he journeyeth on his way, now pours into
thy wounds. The Being who has twice bruised thee can only bind them up
for ever.”

“And so we have done with Maria,” said J----, shutting up the book in a
business-like manner.

The only people we met in Moulins were at the _table d’hôte_.

One man told tales of gore terrible to hear in such peaceful
surroundings. After his coming the dining-room smelt like a perfumery
shop, so that we thought he must be in the perfumery line. But as he
talked he launched us all upon a sea of blood. He in fancy fought now
with men, now with beasts. He defied us to our faces. Give him a horse
he couldn’t subdue, indeed! And with knit brows and clenched fist he
struggled again for our benefit with a famous steed, the officers in his
regiment called _un vrai diable_.----

“I will master it if I pay with my life. The blood flows from my ears,
my eyes, my nose, my mouth! I faint. A man, who sees me fall, cries,
‘There lies a corpse!’ I am in bed for a week. But, _Dame_, now a child
can ride that horse.”

--- His next battle we had the awful pleasure to witness was with the
landlady. It was in the morning. She sat in the court-yard; he brushed
his hair at an upper window. She had forgotten to call him. Here was a
pretty state of things; he would miss his train. Well, if he did, he
would come back, and---- We lost the rest as he disappeared towards his
dressing-table. We thought of the mastered horse, and shuddered. But the
landlady bore it calmly.----

_Et bien!_ what was to be done with a man who, when he was called,
turned on his pillow and went to sleep again? she wanted to know.

--He tore out, his cravat in one hand, his coat in the other, scenting
the air in his flight.--Ten minutes later, as we waited by the railroad
for the train to pass, we saw him at a carriage window adjusting his
cravat, and we knew the peace of Moulins would not be disturbed that
day.



THE BOURBONNAIS AGAIN.


[Illustration]

There was nothing from which we had painted out for ourselves so joyous
a riot of the affections, as in this journey in the vintage through this
part of France. But the absence of vineyards was an obstacle to the
realisation of the picture. From Moulins to La Palisse, and indeed to La
Pacaudière, we saw not one. Instead there was a rich green meadowland,
or a desolate plain, with here and there a lonely pool. Under the hedges
women knit as they watched their pigs. Donkey-carts rattled by, huge
hay-carts lumbered along at snail’s pace, and from the fields came
voices of peasants at work.--“Sacred name of Thomas!” we heard one call
to his oxen.--Now and then the Allier, with its poplars, showed itself
in the distance. Far in front were low green hills, and beyond them rose
the pale blue range of the Cevennes.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

Three several times we loitered _terribly_. Once at St. Loup, where we
ate an omelette. The second time at Varennes, where the river, with its
border of white-capped washerwomen, made a pretty picture. The third, by
a field where oxen were ploughing, and on the farther side of which we
could see a tiny village with a church steeple spiring above its
cottages. A ploughman, in short blue jacket and low wide-brimmed black
hat, left his plough to come and look at us.----

“_Dieu!_ but it’s a fine machine!” he said, after he had walked all
around it. And where was it made? for in France he knew there were only
velocipedes with two wheels. He at least had not seen the French
tricycler. And it must have cost a good deal--two hundred francs, for
example?

“More than that,” J---- told him.

“Name of a dog! ’twas a big price!” But if he’d only the money he’d buy
one just like it. Then he called a friend from a near field.--If it was
not asking too much, the latter said, would we tell him where we came
from? Ah, from America! And was it better there for the poor? Did the
rich give them work? When they saw the sketch-book they pointed to the
church and said it would be pretty to draw. And were we travelling for
pleasure? they asked as J---- offered them cigarettes, and they in
return gave him a light.

’Twas in the road between Varennes and La Palisse, but nearer La
Palisse, where there was a steep hill to be coasted, that we began to
meet a great crowd of people;--men in blue and purple blouses,
wide-brimmed hats, and sabots; and women in sabots and frilled white
caps, with fresh ribbons at their necks. A few trudged on by
themselves, but the greater number led cows, or sheep, or calves.
Sometimes one man followed half-a-dozen cows, sometimes one cow was
followed by half-a-dozen men.--In donkey-carts women rode alone, the
men, whip in hand, walking by their side; and in waggons drawn by oxen
were young pigs, or else an old woman and a refractory calf sitting
together on the straw.--On footpaths across the fields, or on distant
roads, more peasants were walking away, cattle at their heels.--The
nearer we came to the town, the greater was the crowd. The worst of it
was, the people were surly; not one would get out of our way until the
last minute, and many pretended not to see us coming, though the
machine, held in by the brake, squeaked a pitiful warning.

Finally, in the street of La Palisse, we could hardly get on for the
cows and oxen, and donkeys and people.

“‘Twas no great thing,” said an old man in blouse and sabots of whom we
asked what was going on.

“‘Twas no great thing!” repeated a stout manufacturer in frock-coat and
Derby hat, adding that it was merely the yearly fair. A tricycle that
stood in his front-yard served as introduction.

[Illustration]

“Tricycling is no way to get fat,” he remarked, looking critically at
J----, and as he was very stout, we fancied this was his reason for
riding. And what time did we make? It takes a peasant to understand
riding for pleasure. He had a friend who rode two hundred kilometres in
a day, going backwards and forwards between La Palisse and Moulins.

--Now, as we never made any time worth bragging about, and as we had a
climb of nineteen kilometres to St. Martin still before us, we waited to
hear no more of the feats of French champions.

We left La Palisse, and rode up a narrow pass, hills, now bare and
rocky, now soft and purple with heather, on every side, in company with
peasants going home from the fair.----

“Is there a third seat?” asked one.

“It walks!” cried another.

--The ascent was so gradual and the gradient so easy that only once was
I forced to get down and walk.--But what’s wrong now? The lamp of
course. Three times did it fall on the road just as we were going at
good pace. Once J---- picked it up quietly; next he kicked it and beat
it in place with a stone; the third time, “Let it lie there!” said he. A
peasant stopped to get it, examined it, and--put it in his pocket.--The
road wound slowly up to St. Martin.--La Pacaudière, the next village,
was seven kilometres farther on, and there was but one short hill to
climb on the way, a boy told us. And so to La Pacaudière we went.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

In a few minutes we were at the top, and far below, a broad valley, well
wooded and now bathed in soft evening light, stretched to hills we knew
were the Cevennes we must cross on the morrow, no longer blue and
indistinct, as in the morning, but green and near.--We let the machine
carry us, flying by pretty sloping orchards and meadows when the descent
was steep, creeping between them when it was but slight.--The sun was
low in the west, and the evening air deliciously cool. We had left the
peasants many kilometres behind, and we had no company, save once when a
girl in a scarlet cloak walked along a footpath on the hillside, singing
as she went.

[Illustration]



WITH THE WIND.


“Name of God! it is six hours!” and a loud hammering at the window below
wakened us with a start, and then we heard shutters banging and the wind
blowing a blast over the hills. For the first time in our journey we
were out of bed before seven, and the next minute J----’s head was out
of the window. The trees on the hilltops were all bent towards the
Cevennes, and as he pulled in his head the shutters came crashing after
him.----

“If the road’s right,” cried he, “we’ll have the wind behind us all the
way,” and we dressed with a will.

We were off, flying with the hurricane down the hillside towards the
valley.--A storm had burst over the hills, only to be driven onwards by
the wind. As we rode we saw it relinquish one post after another. On the
nearest hilltop a little white village shone in clear sunlight, a bright
rainbow above it; over the second the clouds were breaking, while the
third was still shrouded in showers.--Before us was greyness, the
Cevennes lost in blue mist; behind, a country glowing and golden. The
early morning air was cold, but sweet and pure, and almost all the way
our feet were on the rests, and we had but to enjoy ourselves. For
another such ride I would willingly spend ten days fighting the wind.

By nine we were in Roanne, a town remarkable for nothing but dust and
delicious peaches and grapes.

The road crossed the Loire, and went straight through the valley to the
Cevennes.--The peasants we met were blown about by the wind, turning
their backs to each strong gust, that almost blinded them, but drove us
on the faster.--At the very foot of Mt. Tarare, closed in with high
hills, was an old posting village, with four or five large hotels
falling to ruin. It was hereabouts a shoe came loose from the fore-foot
of Mr. Sterne’s thill-horse. But we met with no accident, nor, for the
sake of sentiment, could we invent one.--The road began to go over the
mountain; and we wound with it,

[Illustration]

between high cliffs on one side and an ever-deepening precipice on the
other. We left the river and the railroad further and further below,
until the latter disappeared into a tunnel and the former was just
indicated by its trees.

At St. Symphorien we stopped for lunch. At the _café-restaurant_ we were
refused admittance. This turned out to be in a measure fortunate, for at
the hotel we were taken in; and there, as it was an old posting-house,
the court-yard, with its stables and old well, and the enormous kitchen
hung with shining coppers, were worth looking at. Bicycles were always
passing that way, the landlady assured us. Therefore, it seemed, it was
our looks, and not the tricycle, that shut the door of the _café_ in our
faces, and I began to wonder how we should fare in Lyons.--The landlady,
with an eye to profit, thought we ate too little, but her daughter
understood: it was not good to eat too much in the middle of the day
when you were taking exercise. A gentleman on a walking tour once came
to their hotel for his midday meal, but would have only bread and
cheese. And yet she knew he was a gentleman by the diamond on his finger
and the _louis_ in his purse.--We thought of Mr. Stevenson--it would
have been pleasant to have him, as well as Mr. Sterne and Mr. Evelyn,
for fellow-traveller over Mt. Tarare--but at once we remembered he wore
a silver ring like a pedler; and, besides, if you will look on our map
you will see that, though we were in the Cevennes, we were not in the
Cevennes made famous by Modestine and Camisards.--The landlady, who
liked the sound of her own voice, went on to say that we had twelve
kilometres to climb before we should come to the top of the pass, and
that a good horse leaving St. Symphorien early in the morning might get
into Lyons by evening. There was small chance, she thought, of our
reaching that city until the next day.

But we hurried away to make the best of the wind while it lasted.--With
every mile the view back upon the mountains widened. When we looked
behind, it was to see a vast mass of hills, some green or red, with a
touch of autumn, others deep purple or grey; over them the clouds,
hunted by the wind, cast long trailing shadows, and in and out and up
and up wound the white highway.--One or two tumbled-down posting hotels
and forlorn farm-houses, sheltered under friendly hills, were scattered
by the way. Probably in one of these Mr. Sterne sat at his feast of
love; in front of it, watched the dance in which he beheld Religion
mixing. But they were desolate and deserted. I fear, had sentiment sent
us walking into them, we should have found no honest welcomes, no sweet
morsels, no delicious draughts.--At this height children and
stone-breakers were the only beings to be seen on Mt. Tarare.

Not far from a lonely, wind-bent black cross, that stood on a high point
in the moorland, we reached the summit, and looked down and not up to
the winding road.--When you have gained the top of Mt. Tarare you do not
come presently into Lyons; with all due reverence for our Master’s
words, you have still a long ride before you.--However, the wind now
fairly swept the tricycle in front of it, as if in haste to bring us
into Tarare.--The road kept turning and turning in a narrow pass. A
river made its way, no longer to the Loire, but to the Rhône. But we
rode so fast, we only knew we were flying through this beautiful green
world. The clear air and cold wind gave us new life. We must keep going
on and on. Rest seemed an evil to be shunned. For that afternoon at
least we agreed with Mr. Tristram Shandy, that so much of motion was so
much of life and so much of joy;--and that to stand still or go on but
slowly is death and the devil. We said little, and I, for my part,
thought less.

But at last J---- could no longer contain himself.----

[Illustration]

“Hang blue china and the eighteenth century, Theocritus and Giotto and
Villon, and all the whole lot! A ride like this beats them all hollow!”
he broke out, and I plainly saw that his thoughts had been more definite
than mine.

Tarare was an ugly town, and in its long narrow street stupid people did
their best to be run over. As we coasted down into it, we had one of
those bad minutes that will come occasionally to the most careful
cycler. J---- had the brake on, and was back-pedalling, but after a many
miles’ coast a tricycle, heavily loaded like ours, will have it a little
its own way.--Some women were watching a child in front of a house on
the farther side of the street. They turned to stare at us. The child, a
little thing, four years old perhaps, ran out directly in front of the
machine. We were going slowly enough, but there was no stopping abruptly
at such short notice. J---- steered suddenly and swiftly to the left;
the large wheel grazed the child’s dress in passing. It was just saved,
and that was all.--The women, who alone were to blame, ran as if they
would fall upon us.----

“Name of names! Dog! Pig! Name of God!” cried they in chorus.

“_Accidente! Maladetta! Bruta!_” answered J----. And this showed how
great the strain had been. In a foreign land, in moments of intense
excitement, he always bursts out in the wrong language. But the child
was not hurt, and that was the great matter. We did not wait to hear
their curses to the end.

We had another bad quarter of a minute later in the afternoon, when we
were climbing a hill outside L’Abresle. Two boys had carried a
bone-shaker up among the poplars. As they saw us one jumped on, and with
legs outstretched, sailed down upon us. He had absolutely no control
over his machine, which, left to its own devices, made straight for
ours. And all the time he and his companion yelled like young
demons.--There was no time to get out of his way, and I do not care to
think what might have been if, when within a few feet of the tandem, the
machine had not darted off sideways and suddenly collapsed, after the
wonderful manner of bone-shakers, and brought him to the ground.

----------------------------

-------------- (I leave this void space that the reader may swear into
it any oath he is most unaccustomed to. If ever J---- swore a _whole_
oath into a vacancy in his life I think it was into that.)--He was for
getting down and thrashing the boy for his folly. But I was all for
peace, and fortunately winning the day, we climbed on, while the cause
of the trouble still sat in the road mixed up with his bone-shaker,
muttering between his teeth something about, “Oh, if it were only not
for _Madame_!”

All afternoon we rode up and down, through valleys, by running streams,
over an intricate hill country, with here and there a glimpse of distant
mountains, to fill us with hope of the Alps, meeting, to our surprise,
the railroad at the highest point; and in and out of little villages,
which, with their white houses and red-tiled roofs, were more Italian
than French in appearance.

I do not think we rested once during that long afternoon. But after a
hundred kilometres I must confess we began to lose our first freshness.
There were so many long up-grades, the roads were not so good, the
peasants were disagreeable, trying to run us down, or else stupid,
refusing to answer our questions; and the sign-posts and
kilometre-stones were all wrong. We were so near, it seemed foolish not
to push on to Lyons. For once we would make a record, and beat the good
horse from St. Symphorien. But it was hard work the last part of the
ride.--And when we came to the suburbs of the city the people laughed
and stared, and

[Illustration]

screamed after us, as if they had been Londoners. We had their laughter,
_pavé_, carts, and street cars the rest of the way; and when we crossed
the river, “I had better get down,” said I; and so I walked into Lyons,
J---- on the tricycle moving slowly before me over the _pavé_ and
between the carts.--No one could or would direct us to the hotel;
policemen were helpless when we appealed to them; but just as J---- was
opening his mouth to give them to the devil--’tis Mr. Sterne’s
expression, not mine or J----’s--a small boy stepped nimbly across the
street and pointed around the corner to the Hôtel des Négociants.

That evening in the _café_ we read in the paper that the wind had been
blowing sixty-six kilometres an hour.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



LYONS.


To those who call vexations _vexations_, as knowing what they are, there
could not be a greater than to be the best part of a day at Lyons, the
most opulent and flourishing city in France. It has an old cathedral, a
castle on a hillside, ruins if I be not mistaken, two rivers, and I know
not what besides. Baedeker devotes pages to it. Moreover, there is
associated with it a story, that, to quote Mr. Tristram Shandy, who
tells it, affords more _pabulum_ to the brain than all the _Frusts_ and
_Crusts_ and _Rusts_ of antiquity, which travellers can cook up for it.
You remember the tale? It is that of fond lovers, cruelly
separated.----

    Amandus--He,
    Amanda--She,

each ignorant of the other’s course;

    He--east,
    She--west;

and finally, to cut it short, after long years of wandering for the one,
imprisonment for the other, both coming unexpectedly at the same moment
of the night, though by different ways, to the gate of Lyons, their
native city, and each in well-known accents calling out aloud----

    Is Amandus} still alive?
    Is my Amanda}

then, flying into each other’s arms, and both falling down dead for joy,
to be buried in the tomb upon which Mr. Shandy had a tear ready to drop.
But, alas! when he came--there was no tomb to drop it upon!

We expected letters, and began the day by a visit to the Post Office,
where the clerk, after the manner of his kind in all countries, received
and dismissed us with contemptuous incivility.--To be rid of all
business, we next went to the Crédit Lyonnais to have some Bank of
England notes changed for French gold. But the cashier looked at them
and us with distrust, and would have nothing to do with our money.----

Where was our reference? he asked.

This was more than enough to put us in ill-humour. But J----, having
looked up in his _C. T. C. Handbook_ the address of the agent for cycle
repairs in Lyons, and his place being found with difficulty, we walked
in, under a pretext of asking about the road to Vienne, but really, I
think, in search of sympathy.

We introduced ourselves as fellow-cyclers who had ridden all the way
from Calais. But the agent was calmly indifferent, and scarcely
civil.--Where should we find the national road to Vienne?--We had but to
follow the Rhône, on the opposite bank, and he bowed us towards the
door. But just as we were going, he stopped us to ask what time we could
make. J---- told him that yesterday we had come from La Pacaudière, a
ride of one hundred and twenty odd kilometres, which was perfectly true.
But that, it appeared, was nothing. The agent could not bear to be
outdone, and so, of course, had a friend who could ride four hundred
kilometres in twenty-eight hours.--Then J----, to my surprise, proceeded
to tell him of the wonderful records we had never made. But the agent
always had a friend who could beat us by at least a minute or a
kilometre. In their excitement each was bent on breaking the other’s
record, not of cycling, but of lying.

At the end J---- had worked himself up to quite a frenzy. When we were
alone, and I took him to task, he was not at all repentant, but swore he
was tired of such nonsense, and would outlie the fellows every time.

It was now noon, and we had already seen more than we wanted of Lyons.
We went back to the hotel, strapped the bag on the tricycle, and without
giving another thought to the cathedral and the curiosities we had not
visited, we sallied forth to follow the Rhône, determined never to set
foot in this flourishing city again.



THE AUTUMN MANŒUVRES.


After Lyons, adieu to all rapid movement! ’Tis a journey of caution; and
it fares better with sentiments not to be in a hurry with them.

Before we were out of the city limits we lost our way, and went
wandering through lanes, hunting for a road by the river. One led us to
a blank wall, another to a stone pile; and when we consulted passers-by
they sent us back towards the town, and into a broad street running
through endless ugly suburbs, and far out of sight of the Rhône.--So
much for a fellow-cycler’s directions.

In the open country the national road was bad and full of stones. It is
only fair to add that the agent in Lyons had said we should find little
good riding between Lyons and Vienne. The wind, tired with its efforts
of yesterday, had died away, and it was warm and close on level and
hill.--And we were as changed as the country and weather! Gone with the
wind and good roads and fair

[Illustration]

landscape was the joy of motion! Our force was spent, our spirit
exhausted with the shortest climb.--In the first village we stopped for
_groseille_ and to rest. We sat at a little table in front of the
_café_, silent and melancholy; and when the landlady came out and asked
if my seat was on the luggage carrier, and if, perhaps, we could reach
Vienne by evening (the distance from Lyons being twenty-seven
kilometres), we were too weary to be amused. In parting she told us we
had still four hills to cross; she ought rather to have said a
dozen.--The whole afternoon we toiled up long ascents.

In near hills and valleys the French army was out manœuvring. We could
hear the cannon and guns, and see clouds of smoke before we came in
sight of the battle.--We had glimpses, too, of reserves entrenched
behind hillocks and wooded spaces, and once we almost routed a
detachment of cavalry stationed by the roadside. Scouts and officers on
horseback tore by; soldiers hurried through the streets of a narrow
hilly village.--What with the noise and the troops, the road was lively
enough. And presently, from a high hilltop, we overlooked the field of
action. A fort was being stormed; as we stopped, a new detachment of the
enemy charged it. They marched in good order over a ploughed field, and
then across green pastures. Both sides kept up a heavy firing.----

“The French army amuses itself down there,” said a grinning peasant, who
watched with us.

--Indeed all the peasants seemed but little edified by the fighting.
Many ignored it. Others laughed, as if it had been a farce played for
their amusement.----

“It is good there are no balls,” remarked an old cynic when we drew up
to have a second look; “if there were, then would it be _Sauve qui
peut!_”

At last guns and smoke were out of sight and hearing. But the road still
ran between dry fields and over many hills, and the peasants were
disagreeable. It seemed in keeping with the day’s experiences that the
long hill leading down into Vienne should be so steep that I had to get
off the machine and walk. We were both in a fine temper, J----,
moreover, complaining of feeling ill, by the time we were fairly in the
city.--Here, a priest and his friend, for fear we might not understand
their directions, politely came with us from the river, through twisting
streets, to the hotel. I do not believe we thanked them with half enough
warmth. ’Twas the first, and I wish it had been the last, civility shown
us that day.

[Illustration]



VIENNE.


So now we were at the ancient city of Vienne as early as three o’clock,
and J---- too exhausted to ride farther that afternoon. We never yet
went on a long trip, as everybody must or ought to know by this time,
that J---- did not break down at least once on the way. The matter
threatened to be serious; but after half-an-hour or more of despair--for
we thought now surely we are done with sentiment--we went out in search
of food, the first and most natural medicine that suggested itself, as
in our haste to be out of Lyons we had taken but a meagre lunch.--It is
a peculiarity of Vienne, a town of _cafés_, that all its restaurants are
on the same street. When we were about giving up the search, we, by
chance, turned in the right direction, and found more than a dozen in a
row. We chose one that looked quiet, and there J---- ate a bowl of soup
and drank a glass of _gomme_, and at once was himself again.--I have
mentioned this affair, slight as it was, because I think the merits of
_gomme_ but little known, and therefore hope the knowledge may be of use
to other sentimental travellers in similar straits. Besides, it is the
rule with cyclers to recommend the most disagreeable drinks that can be
imagined, and I believe there is nothing viler than _gomme_. The truth
is, we ordered it by mistake for another syrup the name of which we did
not know. And now let there be an end of it.

It was fortunate J---- recovered: there are few pleasanter cities for an
afternoon ramble than Vienne. The hills look down from round about the
town, here and there a grey castle or white farm-house on their
vine-clad slopes, and from the new broad boulevard or old narrow streets
you have near and distant views of the rapid Rhône. Now you come out on
the brown crumbling cathedral, raised aloft and towering above the
houses, grass growing on the high flight of stone steps leading to its
richly sculptured portals, bricks in places keeping together its ruinous
walls, time’s traces on its statues and gargoyles. Now, you wander into
a clean, quiet _Place_, from the centre of which a Roman temple, in
almost perfect preservation, frowns a disdainful reproach upon the
frivolous _cafés_ and confectioners, the plebeian stores and lodgings,
that surround it. And again, you follow a dark winding alley under a
fine Roman gateway, and find yourself in an old amphitheatre, houses
built into its walls and arches, and windows full of flowers and clothes
drying in the sun.

[Illustration]

On the whole, I believe the pleasantest place in all Vienne to be the
_quai_.--The sun had set behind the opposite hills when we returned to
it after our walk. A bell jingled close to our ears, and behold, a
tricycler, in spotless linen on a shining nickel-plated machine, came
that way. But J---- stopped him, and consulted him about the road to
Rives; and he, as polite as his machine was elegant, gave us minute
directions.--Beware of the road to the left, it is bad and mountainous;
keep to the right in leaving the town, then you will have it good and
level;--this was the gist of his advice. And then he too must know what
time we made, and “Ah, no great thing!” was his verdict upon the bravest
feats J---- could invent, and then he rode on into the twilight.



THE FEAST OF APPLES.


I do not know why it was, but no sooner had we gone from Vienne by the
road to the right, than we distrusted the directions of the tricycler we
had met the night before. We asked our way of every peasant we saw. Many
stared for answer. Therefore, when others, in a vile patois, declared
the road we were on would take us to Chatonnay and Rives, but that it
would be shorter to turn back and start from the other end of Vienne, we
foolishly set this advice down to the score of stupidity, and rode
on.--But, indeed, in no part of France through which we had ridden were
the people so ill-natured and stolid. They are certainly the
Alpine-bearish Burgundians Ruskin calls them.--In the valley on the
other side of the hills we came to a place where four roads met. A woman
watched one cow close by.--Would she tell us which road we must follow?
asked J---- politely.--She never even raised her head. He shouted and
shouted, but it was not until he began to call her names, after the
French fashion, that she looked at us.--We could take whichever we
wanted, she answered, and with that she walked away with her cow.

[Illustration]

Fortunately there was a little village two or three kilometres farther
on. A few well-dressed women and children were going to church, for it
was Sunday. But the men of the commune stood around a _café_ door. They
assured us, we were on the wrong road, and had come kilometres out of
our way, but that all we could do was to go on to a place called
Lafayette. There we should find a highway that would eventually lead us
into the _Route Nationale_.--This was not encouraging. It was
oppressively hot in the shadeless valley. The road was bad, full of
stones and ugly ruts and ridges, and before long degenerated into a mere
unused cow-path, overgrown with grass, crossing the fields. We tried to
ride; we tried to walk, pushing the machine. Both were equally hard
work.----

“To a Frenchman any road’s good so he don’t have to climb a hill,” said
J----, in a rage. “If I only had that fellow here!”

--We were walking at the moment.----

“Get on!” he cried, and I did.

--We bumped silently over the ruts.----

“Get off!” he ordered presently, and meekly I obeyed, for indeed I was
beginning to be alarmed.

--He took the machine by the handle-bars and shook it hard.----

“You’ll break it!” cried I.

“I don’t care if I do,” growled he, and he gave it another shake.

--But at this crisis two women coming towards us, he inquired of them,
with as good grace as he could command, the distance to Lafayette. They
stood still and laughed aloud. He repeated his question; they laughed
the louder. The third time he asked, they pointed to a solitary
farm-house standing in the fields. He paused. I saw he was mentally
pulling himself together, and I wished the women were out of harm’s
way.----

“_Nous--sommes--ici--dans--un--nation--de--bêtes--de--fous!_”
he broke out, this time in French, a pause between each word.
“_Oui--tous--bêtes--tous--fous--Vous--fous--aussi!_”

--The women turned and ran.

I think they were right about Lafayette after all. In a few minutes we
came to a good road. An _auberge_ stood to one side, and a man at once
approached us.----

We must come in, he said; it was a _fête_ day, and we should be served
with whatever we wanted.

But J---- was not to be so easily rid of his troubles.----

“_Un--Français--dans--Vienne_,” he explained;
“_nous--a--envoyer--là--bas.--Il--est--fou!_”

“Yes, yes!” said the man soothingly; but, all the same, as it was a
feast day, it seemed we must come to the _auberge_.

The feast consisted of boiled beef and rabbit; the holiday-makers, of a
few peasants eating at rough wooden tables in front of the inn, a father
and his four small sons drinking wine together and solemnly clinking
glasses, and one man shooting with a cross-bow at diminutive Aunt
Sallies.--We made a fair lunch, though when we refused wine the landlady
asked, with disgust----

“Then you do not mean to eat?”

We sat with the peasants, who fell into conversation with us. When they
heard how we had come from Vienne, they thought we must have had
_commerce_ in the villages in the valley to take such a route. And
though J---- again explained about _that fool in Vienne_, they would
have it we were pedlers.

When we set out, our first friend was at hand to ask if we had had all
we wanted. The next day we saw by a printed notice that Sunday had been
the _Feast of Apples_--a day whereon the people were begged to show
every kindness to travellers through their land; and then we understood
his politeness.

Perhaps a kilometre or two from the _auberge_ we turned into the
Grenoble road, and from that time onward there were but few sign-posts
and the cross-roads were many.--It promised to be a

[Illustration]

day of misfortunes. The country was hilly; we were always working up,
with only occasional short coasts down, now through villages on the
hillside, and now between steep wooded banks.--Once, when, sore
perplexed to know which way to go, we were pedalling slowly in
indecision, the road made a sudden curve, the banks fell on either side,
and there at last they were, the long blue ranges, and, away beyond, one
snow-crowned peak shining in sunlight.--After that, they--the delectable
mountains of our Sentimental Journey--were always hopefully before us.

--Just outside St. Jean Bournay we came upon the right road from Vienne,
but twenty-two kilometres from that city, we saw on the kilometre-stone,
and we had already ridden forty-four!

--At the other end of the town we passed a theatre, a large canvas tent
with two or three travelling vans close by. A crowd had gathered around
it, and were staring with interest at a printed notice hung in front. It
was an old American poster, picked up, who knows where? with the name of
the play in French above and below it.

A woman in the crowd explained that a negro was the slave of a
planter.----

“Or a Prussian, perhaps?” a man suggested.

“No; to be a negro, that is not to be a Prussian,” argued the woman.[B]

[Illustration]

After La Côte St. André the road ran between low walnut-trees.--Now and
then the monotony of their endless lines was broken by a small village,
where men played bowls; and now and then the road was lively with
well-dressed people, who jumped as the machine wheeled past them.----

“But that it frightened me, for example!” cried one.

But later a peasant called out--“_O malheur, la femme en avant!_”

--By-and-by the way grew lonelier, and we had for company the cows,
great white stupid creatures, going home from pasture, and their drivers
stupid as they, who roused themselves but to swear by the name of God,
or to call out, “Thou beast of a pig!” to a cow frightened into the
fields by the tricycle.--At last we turned into a broad road, where the
walnuts gave place to poplars, and the level came to an end. At the foot
of a long steep straight hill was Rives, deep down in a narrow valley.

[Illustration]



RIVES.


At the Hôtel de la Poste a middle-aged _fille-de-chambre_, in a white
cap--another Alpine-bearish Burgundian--looked upon us with such
disfavour we could scarce persuade her to show us our room.

The dining-room was full of noisy men in blouses and big hats. No place
was left for us at the long table, that stretched the entire length of
the room; and we sat together in a corner.--The dinner was excellent.
But the enemy in white cap was down upon us in a minute, and gave us no
peace. She raised a window upon our backs, and as often as we shut it
was at our side to open it again. We had the worst of it, for with the
salad we seized our wine and napkins and retreated to the opposite
corner, giving up our table to four men, who took off their blouses and
coats--but not their hats--for their greater comfort, as they sat down
and themselves opened the window. What would have been pneumonia, or
colds in the heads for us, was health for them.

But there was no rest for us at Rives.--We went to bed early, but until
late at night men in heavy boots tramped up and down the narrow
carpetless hall outside our door, and in and out the room overhead. They
began again at four o’clock in the morning.--As there was no more sleep
to be had,----

“We might as well make an early start,” said J----, and we were
downstairs by six.

[Illustration]

--When we had had our coffee I returned to our room to pack the bag, and
J---- went to the stable to get the tricycle. Presently he came up and
joined me.--I had not expected him so soon, and was not quite
ready.----

“Something has happened,” said I as soon as I looked at him, but still
folding flannels.

“We cannot go on,” said he.

“Why?” cried I, jumping up and dropping the flannels.

“I’ll tell you,” said he; “because”----



APPENDIX

ROUTE 1.

OUR ROUTE.--FROM CALAIS TO MODANE.

+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|    Towns.      | Distance in |   Hotels.    |   Remarks on Roads, &c.       |
|                | Kilometres. |              |                               |
|----------------+-------------+--------------+-------------------------------|
|_Calais_        |             | _Du Sauvage._|                               |
|_Boulogne_      |     33      | _Du Louvre._ | Good surface, very hilly,     |
|                |             |              | much _pavé_.                  |
|_Pont-de-Brique_|      5      |              | Paved all the way.            |
|_Condette_      |             |              | Good.                         |
|_Neuchâtel_     |      8      |              |   “                           |
|_Etaples_       |     19      |              | From _Etaples_ to _Abbeville_ |
|_Berck_         |     14      |              | we went by _Montreuil_,       |
|_Waben_         |      6      |              | _Nainpont_, _Nouvion_, because|
|_Quend_         |      7      |              | of sentimental reasons.       |
|_Rue_           |      7      |              | But the route as given is     |
|_Noyelles_      |     13      |              | said to be much better,       |
|                |             |              | and though 13 kilos.          |
|                |             |              | longer, has 13 kilos. less    |
|                |             |              | _pavé_, and is much less      |
|                |             |              | hilly than the _Route         |
|                |             |              | Nationale_, the old           |
|                |             |              | post-road taken by Sterne.    |
|_Abbeville_     |     13      | _De France._ | Good.                         |
|_Pont Remy_     |      8      |              |   “                           |
|_Longpre_       |      9      |              | Sandy.                        |
|_Picquigny_     |     13      |              | Sandy.                        |
|_Amiens_        |     13      | _L’Univers_  | Good.                         |
|                |             | (Expensive). |                               |
|_Breteuil_      |     32      |              | Good; long up-grades.         |
|_St. Just_      |    About    |    _Cheval   | Good.                         |
|                |  half-way   |    Blanc._   |                               |
|_Clermont_      |     34      |              | Good; long descent.           |
|_Angy_          |             |              |                               |
|_Mouy_          |     13      |_Du Commerce._| Good; long descent.           |
|_Cires-les-     |      7      |              | Good.                         |
|Mellis_         |             |              |                               |
|_Beaumont_      |     14      | _Quatre Fils |   “                           |
|                |             |  Aymon._     |                               |
|_Paris_         |     47      |              | The highroad to _Paris_ is    |
|_Melun_         |             |              | all paved. Train to _Gare du  |
|Viâ {_Chailly_  |             |              |  Nord_. Across Paris viâ      |
|  {_Barbizon_   |             |              | _Boulevard Voltaire_ and      |
|  {_The Forest_ |             |              | _Place de la République_ to   |
|                |             |              | the _Gare de Lyon_. Ridable   |
|                |             |              | nearly all the way. From      |
|                |             |              | _Paris_ to _Melun_ train;     |
|                |             |              | _pavé_.                       |
|                | From Paris. |              |                               |
|_Fontainebleau_ |     59      |_Cadran Bleu._| Perfect.                      |
|_Nemours_       |             |              |    “                          |
|_Montargis_     |     50      |    _Poste._  | Perfect; but at the foot      |
|                |             |              | of some hills are gutters     |
|                |             |              | of pavé.                      |
|_Briare_        |     41      |              | Good.                         |
|_Cosne_         |     31      | _Grand Cerf._|   “                           |
|________________|_____________|______________|_______________________________|

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|                |           |              |                            |
|     Towns.     |Distance in|  Hotels.     |   Remarks on Roads, &c.    |
|                |Kilometres.|              |                            |
|----------------+-----------+--------------+----------------------------|
|                |           |              |                            |
| _La Charité_   |    28     |   _Poste._   | Good.                      |
| _Nevers_       |    25     |  _Europe._   | Good; take left-hand road  |
|                |           |              | into _Nevers_.             |
| _Moulins_      |    53     |_De l’Allier._| Good.                      |
| _La Palisse_   |    50     |              |   “                        |
| _La Pacaudière_|           |_Du Commerce._| Good up to _La Pacaudière_,|
|                |           |              | about 18 kilos. from _La   |
|                |           |              | Palisse_.                  |
| _Roanne_       |    31     |              | Good; long down-grade.     |
| _Tarare_       |    40     |  _Europe._   | Good surface; mountainous. |
| _Lyons_        |    44     |_Négociants._ | Bad near _Lyons_; hilly.   |
| _Vienne_       |    27     |  _Du Nord._  | Bad: stony and hilly.      |
| _Chatonnay_    |    29     |              | Good.                      |
| _Rives_        |    30     |   _Poste._   | Good; dead level; bad      |
|                |           |              | descent into _Rives_.      |
| _Vreppe_       |    13     |              | Great climb, then descent  |
|                |           |              | to _St. Laurent_.          |
| _St. Laurent_  |    15     |              |                            |
| _La Grand      |}          |              |                            |
| Chartreuse_ (10|}          |              |                            |
| k. from _St.   |}          |              |                            |
| Laurent_)      |           |              |                            |
| _Les Echelles_ |     6     |              | Climb, and after tunnel,   |
|                |           |              | down. Awful climb going    |
|                |           |              | the other way.             |
| _Chambéry_     |     24    |              |                            |
| _Montrélian_   |     15    |    _Des      |                            |
|                |           |  Voyageurs._ |                            |
| _Aiguebelle_   |     23    |              |                            |
| _St. Jean de   |     33    |   _Europe._  |                            |
|  Maurienne_    |           |              |                            |
| _St. Michel_   |     14    |    _Union._  |                            |
| _Modane_       |     17    |              |                            |
|                                                                        |
|ROUTE 2.                                                                |
|                                                                        |
|BEST ROUTE FROM CALAIS TO PARIS.                                        |
|                                                                        |
|ROUTE 1.--TO BOULOGNE.                                                  |
|                                                                        |
| _Boulogne_       |             |  _Du Louvre._ |                       |
| _Samer_          |     15      |               |                       |
| _Cormont_        |     10      |               | Level to hilly.       |
| _Montreuil       |     10      | _De Londres._ |        “              |
|  (sur Mer)_      |             |               |                       |
| _Nampont_        |     13      |               |                       |
| _Nouvion_        |     13      |               |                       |
| _Abbeville_      |     13      |  _De France._ |                       |
| _Ailly-le-haut_  |             |               |                       |
| _Clocher by      |     13      |               | Level to hilly.       |
| Fixécourt_       |             |               |                       |
| _Belloy to       |     19      |               | Route 1 to _Amiens_.  |
|  Picquigny_      |             |               |                       |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------|


ROUTE 1.--TO BRETEUIL.

+------------------+-------------+---------------+------------------------+
|                  |             |               |                        |
|      Towns.      | Distance in |    Hotels.    | Remarks on Roads, &c.  |
|                  | Kilometres. |               |                        |
+------------------+-------------+---------------+------------------------+
|                  |             |               |                        |
|_Breteuil_        |             |  _Du Globe._  | Hilly to level.        |
|_Caply_           |      3      |               |                        |
|_St. Eusoye_      |      4      |               |                        |
|_Froissy_         |      3      |  _Pélerin     |                        |
|                  |             |   Nugnot._    |                        |
|_Noiremont_       |      3      |               |                        |
|_Sucrerie St.     |      5      |               | Hilly to level.        |
|   Martin_        |             |               |                        |
|_Oroer_           |      3      |               |                        |
|_Tillé_           |      5      |               |                        |
|_Beauvais_        |      4      |   _L’Ecu._    |                        |
|_Voisinlieu_      |      4      |               |                        |
|_St. Quentin      |     10      |               | Hilly.                 |
|   d’ Auteuil_    |             |               |                        |
|_Bois-de-Molle_   |      3      |               |                        |
|_Corbeil Cerf_    |      5      |               | Hilly.                 |
|_Meru_            |      5      |  _Augonin._   |                        |
|_Amblainville_    |      5      |               | From here generally    |
|                  |             |               |  level to Paris.       |
|_Vallangouyard_   |      8      |               |                        |
|_Herouville_      |      5      |               |                        |
|_Méry-sur-Oise_   |      6      |               |                        |
|_Epinay-les-St.   |     19      |               | Cross the Seine.       |
| -Denis_          |             |               |                        |
|_Asnières_        |      5      |               |        “               |
|_Paris_           |      4      |               | Ask for the _Rue de    |
|                  |             |               | Villières_, take the   |
|                  |             |               | _Boulevard             |
|                  |             |               | Gouvignon-St.-Cyr_,    |
|                  |             |               | which leads to the     |
|                  |             |               | _Porte Neuilly_.       |
|                                                                         |
|                                 ROUTE 3.                                |
|                                                                         |
|                       ROUTE FROM BEAUVAIS TO PARIS.                     |
|                                                                         |
|_Beauvais_        |             |               |                        |
|_St. Quentin_     |     14      |_D’Angleterre._|                        |
|_La Fère_         |     25      | _De l’Europe._|                        |
|_Coucy-le-Château_|     25      | _Pomme d’Or._ |                        |
|_Noyon_           |     30      |   _Du Nord._  |                        |
|_Compiègne_       |     20      |  _La Cloche._ |                        |
|_Pierrefonds_     |     17      |               |                        |
|_Crépy-en-Valois_ |     25      |    _Trois._   |                        |
|_Valois_          |             |   _Pigeons._  |                        |
|_Senlis_          |     25      |  _De France._ |                        |
|_Chantilly_       |     13      |  _Du Cygne._  |                        |
|_Beaumont_        |     25      | _Quatre fils  |                        |
|                  |             |   d’Aymon._   |                        |
|_Pontoise_        |     25      | _Grand Cerf._ |                        |
|_Poissy_          |     15      |  _De Rouen._  |                        |
|_St. Germain_     |      8      |  _Prince des  | By way of the _Forest_ |
|                  |             |   Galles._    | to _Neuilly_ and       |
|_Paris_           |     25      |               | _Porte Maillot_.       |
+------------------+-------------+---------------+------------------------+


ROUTE 4.

FROM DIEPPE TO PARIS.

+---------------+-------------+------------------+---------------------------+
|     Towns.    | Distance in |      Hotels.     |   Remarks on Roads, &c.   |
|               | Kilometres. |                  |                           |
+---------------+-------------+------------------+---------------------------+
|_Dieppe_       |             |  _Soleil d’Or._  |There is no good stopping  |
|_Rouen_        |     57      |   _La Poste._    | place between _Dieppe_ and|
|               |             |                  | _Rouen_, save at _Tôtes_. |
|_Boos_         |     11      |       ...        |                           |
|_Ecouis_       |     21      |  _De la Paix._   |                           |
|_Les Thilliers_|     15      |       ...        |                           |
|_Gisors_       |     16      |     _L’Ecu._     |                           |
|_Beauvais_     |     32      |     _L’Ecu._     |                           |
+---------------+-------------+------------------+---------------------------+
                 _See Routes to Paris_ (pages 240 and 241).


ROUTE 5.

FROM ROUEN TO PARIS.

+---------------+-------------+------------------+---------------------------+
|_Rouen_        |             |   _La Poste._    |     Good, but hilly.      |
|_Boos_         |     11      |                  |                           |
+---------------+-------------+------------------+---------------------------+
|_Petit Andelys_|     21      | _Chaîne d’Or_    | Cross the Seine.          |
|               |             |   (or 1 kilo,    |                           |
|               |             |   further _Grand |                           |
|               |             |   Cerf_ at _Grand|                           |
|               |             |   Andelys_)      |                           |
|_Vernon_       |     13      |  _Soleil d’Or._  |                           |
|_Mantes_       |     24      |   _Grand Cerf._  |                           |
|_Pontoise_     |     30      |       ...        |                           |
+---------------+-------------+------------------+---------------------------+
                     _See Route 3 to Paris_ (page 241).


ROUTE 6.

FROM HAVRE TO ROUEN.

+---------------+-------------+------------------+---------------------------+
|_Havre_        |    ...      |  _D’Angleterre._ |                           |
|_Caudebec_     |     50      |  _Aigle D’Or._   |                           |
|_Rouen_        |     36      |  _La Poste._     |                           |
+---------------+-------------+------------------+---------------------------+


ROUTE 7.

FROM HAVRE TO ANGERS OR ST. MALO.

+---------------+-------------+------------------+-------------------------+
|_Havre_ (ferry |             |  _D’Angleterre._ |                         |
| to) _Honfleur_|             |  _Cheval Blanc._ |                         |
|_Pont-de-      |     16      |   _Bras d’Or._   |                         |
| L’Evêque_     |             |                  |                         |
|_Lizieux_      |     17      |   _D’Espagne._   | Very hilly.             |
|_Caen_         |     40      |   _Grand Hotel   |                         |
|               |             |    St. Pierre._  |                         |
|_Bayeux_       |     28      | _Du Luxembourg._ |                         |
|_St. Lo_       |     40      |  _De Normandie._ |                         |
|_Coutances_    |     29      |   _Trois Rois._  |                         |
|_Granville_    |     29      |    _Des Bains._  |                         |
|_Avranches_    |     26      |   _De Londres._  |                         |
|_Pontorson_    |     22      |       ...        | To _St. Malo, Dol 20,   |
|               |             |                  |  Vivier 6; St. Mal 22   |
|               |             |                  |  (Hotel Franklin)_.     |
|_Mont St.      |      9      |  _Mme. Poulard._ |                         |
| Michel_       |             |                  |                         |
|_Fougères_     |     34      | _Des Voyageurs._ |                         |
|_Vitry_        |     18      | _Des Voyageurs._ |                         |
|_Laval_        |     38      |    _De Paris._   |                         |
|_Château       |     24      |      ...         |                         |
| Gontier_      |             |                  |                         |
|_Angers_       |     50      |   _Du Faisan._   |                         |
+---------------+-------------+------------------+-------------------------+


ROUTE 8.

_NEAR PARIS AND TOURAINE._

FROM PARIS TO ANGERS.

| _Paris_          |             |               |   Best to train to     |
| _Melun_          |             |               | _Melun_, although one  |
| _Fontainebleau_  |      21     | _Cadran Bleu._| can ride to            |
| _Pithiviers_     |      48     | _La Poste._   | _Versailles_, thence to|
|                  |             |               | _Sceaux_ and           |
|                  |             |               | _Fontainebleau_, or    |
|                  |             |               | direct by _Villeneuve  |
|                  |             |               | St. George_. There is, |
|                  |             |               | however ever, much     |
|                  |             |               | traffic and paving.    |
| _Orléans_        |      32     | _Du Loiret._  |   Cross the _Loire_ at |
| _Chambord_       |      50     | _Du Palais_   | _Beaugency_.           |
|                  |             |   (expensive).|                        |
| _Blois_          |      15     |_D’Angleterre._|                        |
| _Amboise_        |      32     | _Lion d’Or._  |   Cross river at       |
| _Chenonceau_     |      16     | _Bon _        | _Ouzain_ for _Château  |
|                  |             |  Laboureur.   | de Chaumont_.          |
| _Tours_          |      32     | _Grand        |   Excursions may be    |
|                  |             |   Monarque._  | made from _Tours_ to   |
| _Langeais_       |      24     | _Lion d’Or._  | _Lôches_, _Bourges_,   |
| _Saumur_         |      39     | _Budan._      | _Chinon_, _Chartres_,  |
| _Les Rosiers_    |      16     | _De La Poste._| &c. All the highroads  |
| _Angers_         |      31     | _De Londres._ | about here are good.   |
|                  |             |               |                        |
|                  |             |               |   (This route, with the|
|                  |             |               | numerous excursions to |
|                  |             |               | be made on the banks of|
|                  |             |               | the _Loire_, is one of |
|                  |             |               | the most interesting in|
|                  |             |               | France, and can be made|
|                  |             |               | into a roundtrip by    |
|                  |             |               | adding any of the      |
|                  |             |               | routes to _Paris_, and |
|                  |             |               | return by _St. Malo_,  |
|                  |             |               | _Havre_, or _Dieppe_). |
+------------------+-------------+---------------+------------------------+


ROUTE 9.

FROM PARIS TO LYONS, BY WAY OF DIJON. (_See also_ ROUTE 1.)

+------------------+-------------+---------------+------------------------+
|                  |             |               |                        |
|      Towns.      | Distance in |    Hotels.    |  Remarks on Roads, &c. |
|                  | Kilometres. |               |                        |
+------------------+-------------+---------------+------------------------+
| _Paris_          |             |               | Train to _Melun_.      |
| _Melun_          |             |               |                        |
| _Montéreau_      |     30      | _Grand        |                        |
|                  |             |   Monarque._  |                        |
| _Pont-sur-Yonne_ |     25      | _De l’Ecu._   |                        |
| _Sens_           |     12      | _De l’Ecu._   |                        |
| _Le Thiel_       |     11      |               | Hilly.                 |
| _Cérisier_       |      8      |               |                        |
| _Arces_          |     10      |               |                        |
| _St. Florentin_  |     16      |               |                        |
| _Flogny_         |     13      |               |                        |
| _Tonnerre_       |     15      | _Lion d’Or._  |                        |
| _Ancy-le-Franc_  |     18      |               |                        |
| _Aizy-sur-       |     16      |               |                        |
|   Armançon_      |             |               |                        |
| _Montbard_       |     11      |               |                        |
| _Fain_           |      9      |               |                        |
| _Villeneuve-     |     13      |               |                        |
|   les-Couvres_   |             |               |                        |
| _Chanceaux_      |     14      |               |                        |
| _St. Seine_      |     12      |               |                        |
| _Val de Suzon_   |     10      |               |                        |
| _Dijon_          |     17      |_De la Cloche._|                        |
| _Beaune_         |     38      |               |                        |
| _Châlons-sur     |     30      | _Du Commerce._|                        |
|  -Saône_         |             |               |                        |
| _Tournus_        |     30      | _Du Sauvage._ |                        |
| _Macon_          |     30      | _Du Sauvage._ |                        |
| _Villefranche_   |     38      | _De l’Europe._|                        |
| _Trévoux_        |     10      | _De la        | Less hilly than        |
|                  |             |    Terrasse._ | Route 1.               |
| _Lyons_          |     29      | _Des          |                        |
|                  |             |   Négociants._|                        |
|                                                                         |
|                                ROUTE 10.                                |
|                                                                         |
|                         FROM LYONS TO MARSEILLES.                       |
|                                                                         |
| _Lyons_          |             |               | Take right bank of the |
| _Vienne_         |     35      | _Du Nord._    | _Rhône_ to _Vienne._   |
| _Tain_           |     55      |               |                        |
| _Valance_        |     18      | _Des          |                        |
|                  |             |   Négociants._|                        |
| _Montélimart_    |     44      | _De la Poste._| Good, but hilly.       |
| _Orange_         |     53      | _De la Poste._|                        |
| _Avignon_        |     27      | _Du Louvre._  |                        |
| _Tarascon_       |     23      | _Du Louvre._  |                        |
| _Arles_          |     16      | _Forum._      | (Or, from _Arles_,     |
| _Salon_          |     40      | _Grand._      | train to _St. Chamas_, |
| _Marseilles_     |     48      | _Genève._     | and ride thence, about |
|                  |             |               | 30 kilometres, to      |
|                  |             |               | _Martigues_, and thence|
|                  |             |               | to _Marseilles_, about |
|                  |             |               | 50 kilometres).        |
+------------------+-------------+---------------+------------------------+


ROUTE 11.

FROM CHAMBERY (_see_ ROUTE 1) TO GENEVA.

+------------------+-------------+---------------+------------------------+
|                  |             |               |                        |
|      Towns.      | Distance in |     Hotels.   | Remarks on Roads, &c.  |
|                  | Kilometres. |               |                        |
+------------------+-------------+---------------+------------------------+
|                  |             |               |                        |
| _Chambery_       |             | _Des Princes._|                        |
| _Aix-les-Bains_  |     14      | _De la        |                        |
|                  |             |   Couronne._  |                        |
| _Annecy_         |     47      |               |                        |
| _Geneva_         |     40      | _De la Poste._|                        |
|                                                                         |
|                                ROUTE 12.                                |
|                                                                         |
|                          FROM DIJON TO GENEVA.                          |
|                                                                         |
| _Dijon_          |             |_De la Cloche._|                        |
| _Genlis_         |     19      | _Lion d’Or._  |                        |
| _Auxonne_        |     15      |               |                        |
| _Dôle_           |     16      | _Du Lion._    |                        |
| _Poligny_        |     37      | _Tête d’Or._  |                        |
| _Champignol_     |     23      | _De la Poste._|                        |
| _St. Laurent_    |     21      |               |                        |
| _Les Rousses_    |     21      | _De la Poste._|                        |
|   (frontier)     |             |               |                        |
| _La Faucille_    |     19      |               |                        |
| _Gex_            |     11      | _De la Poste._|                        |
| _Geneva_         |     17      | _Du Lac._     |                        |


ROUTE 13.

FROM PARIS TO BORDEAUX.

(The direct route is _Paris_, _Chartres_, _Tours_. But up to _Tours_ it
is scarcely worth riding, as it is mainly uninteresting, outside of the
large towns, and very hilly.)

| _Paris_          |             |               |                        |
| _Tours_          |     230     |               |                        |
| _St. Maure_      |      44     | _De la Poste._|                        |
| _Châtellerault_  |      33     | _L’Univers._  |                        |
| _Poitiers_       |      33     | _Trois        |                        |
|                  |             |   Pilliers._  |                        |
| _Couhé_          |      35     | _Fradet._     |                        |
| _Ruffec_         |      35     | _Des          |                        |
|                  |             | Ambassadeurs._|                        |
| _Angoulème_      |      43     | _Des France._ |                        |
| _Barbézieux_     |      34     | _Boule d’Or._ |                        |
| _Régniac_        |       7     |               |                        |
| _La Granle_      |       7     |               |                        |
| _Mont Guyon_     |      18     |               |                        |
| _Guîtres_        |      21     |               |                        |
| _Libourne_       |      16     | _L’Europe._   |                        |
| _Beychac_        |      16     |               |                        |
| _Bordeaux_       |      15     | _Marin._      | (From _Bordeaux_       |
|                  |             |               | numerous excursions may|
|                  |             |               | be made. One may make  |
|                  |             |               | the journey there by   |
|                  |             |               | this route, or come    |
|                  |             |               | direct by sea from     |
|                  |             |               | England, or return from|
|                  |             |               | Bordeaux up the coast  |
|                  |             |               | by _La Rochelle_,      |
|                  |             |               | _Nantes_ to _Angers_.) |
+------------------+-------------+---------------+------------------------+

The above routes cover about the pleasantest and most interesting
touring ground in France. But good roads exist all over the south. For
instance, from Bordeaux, the road up the Garonne to Toulouse, 250
kilometres, is excellent, though quite flat; but in the summer time it
is apt to be very hot, and the surface loose and sandy.

From this road excursions may be made all through the Pyrenees, which
can be entered either at Luchon or at Pau. It is preferable, however,
when touring through the Pyrenees, to train to St. Gaudens, from which
place Bagnières de Luchon (Hotel de France) is 48 kilometres distant.

  +-----------------------+-------------+---------------+
  |                       | Distance in |               |
  |        Towns.         | Kilometres. |    Hotels.    |
  +-----------------------+-------------+---------------+
  | _Luchon_              |             |               |
  | _Montrejeau_          |     37      | _L’Eclair._   |
  | _Bagnières de Bigorre_|     42      |               |
  | _Lourdes_             |     20      |               |
  | _Nay_                 |     18      |               |
  | _Pau_                 |     17      | _Du Commerce._|
  +-----------------------+-------------+---------------+

Excursions may be made all over this district, which is extremely
interesting. Though very hilly, it possesses magnificent roads. From Pau
to Dax the route is by

  +-----------------------+-------------+---------------+
  |                       | Distance in |               |
  |        Towns.         | Kilometres. |     Hotels.   |
  +-----------------------+-------------+---------------+
  | _Orthez_              |      40     |_Des Pyrénées._|
  | _Pomarez_             |      16     |               |
  | _Dax_                 |      21     | _De la Paix._ |
  +-----------------------+-------------+---------------+

From Castets, near Dax, one strikes the main highroad from Bordeaux to
Bayonne, about 200 kilometres in distance; it traverses Les Landes, and
is worth taking.

From St. Gaudens to Carcassonne (Hotel Bernard), 170 kilometres, the
road begins by being hilly, but you gradually leave the region of the
Pyrenees, and it becomes easier riding. But long hills are to be found
all about here. Long distances have to be made between towns, and,
unless one has plenty of time, this trip on to Narbonne, Cette, and
Montpellier, is hardly to be recommended. It is also liable frequently
to great heat and much sand.

From Toulouse to Albi (Hotel du Nord), 76 kilometres, the road is good;
and from Albi excursions can be made all over the marvellous country of
the Tarn Gorges, and through the Cevennes. But travelling in this
section requires comparatively good knowledge of French, and also of
geography; though the roads are good, the towns are few, and long
distances must be made each day.

The highroad from Paris to Clermont-Ferrand, 400 kilometres, turning off
Route 1 at Moulins, conducts one to the heart of Auvergne and the
volcanic country. Continuing from Clermont-Ferrand to Issoire, and
thence to Brioude, one may turn to the left for St. Flour, and thence to
Rodez and Albi, or to the right for La Chaise-Dieu and Le Puy,
proceeding from this place either down the Loire and again to Moulins,
or crossing over to Lyons.

Poitiers is connected by main road with Limoges, and from that town St.
Flour may be reached. Following on, by Mende and Florac, one will come
to Allier, and next Nîmes, for Arles.

Nearly all these roads, however, are over high mountain passes, and
though the scenery is well worth seeing, and though the enormous coasts,
sometimes 10 miles long, make up for the enormous hills that have to be
walked, one must expect very strong winds and bad weather, even in the
middle of summer.

To the north and east of Paris some good riding is to be had, and the
scenery is almost always delightful, but there is a vast amount of
_pavé_. This may be usually avoided by taking to the byroads,
information about which, now that cycling has become so popular, can
often be had from cycle agents, or efficient repairers, who are to be
found in every town.

A most interesting tour would be Amiens, Laon, Soissons, Rheims and the
champagne country, Troyes, whence return could be made to Paris, or the
journey continued by way of Châlons-sur-Marne, Dijon to Geneva.

The Vosges district, too, is worth visiting, and endless tours may be
made from Nancy as a centre. Provence also, the Riviera, and the Cornice
Road, afford some of the most delightful wheeling to be had in the
country. But tourists, with time enough to make these long excursions,
will prefer doubtless to map their routes out for themselves by the aid
of the C.T.C. _Road Books_ and Baroncelli’s _Guides_.

There is only one portion of the country which every one who cares for
the pleasures of cycling should be advised to avoid, and that is the
vast and dreary plain stretching from Paris to Le Mans, and from Rouen
to Orléans. In planning a tour through France by routes other than those
here given or suggested, Baedeker’s or Murray’s guide-books should be
used for general information, supplemented, for road information, by the
_Géographie Joanne_ for each department through which one is passing.
They can be purchased for 50 centimes, or 1 franc 25 centimes, in every
bookshop in France. They are quite reliable enough, and much more
convenient to carry than any other maps published in the country.

The Cyclists’ Touring Club is at present engaged in bringing out a
revised edition of its French _Road Book_. So far, however, Baroncelli’s
_Guides_ are the best cycle routes published. His address is 18 Rue
Roquepine, Paris. The _Sketch Routes_, published by the _Véloce Sport_
(English address, Paul Hardy, 27 Alfred Place, Russell Square), are very
useful if they happen to take you in the direction you wish to go. The
Cyclists’ Touring Club _Road Books_, only sold to members, contain a
vast amount of useful information unfortunately not well arranged.
Membership in this club, which only costs half-a-crown a year, is
desirable for tourists on the Continent.

The Customs regulations in France are not at all stringent, and tourists
are now almost invariably allowed free entry with their machines at the
chief ports, provided they can prove themselves to be tourists, and
possess a sufficient knowledge of the French language to explain the
fact intelligibly. Otherwise, a deposit of fifty or more francs is
demanded; but if a receipt be obtained, the amount, with a very trifling
deduction, will be returned if the tourist leaves the country within six
months. If one, however, proposes to go for a few days into Germany,
Belgium, or Spain, it is well to obtain a _Passavant Descriptif_, a
description of the machine, which costs a penny, and will permit the
bearer to return without any other formalities than showing this
document on again passing the Customs officers. It can be obtained at
the frontier stations by which one leaves the country, and is good at
any other point of entry. A passport is of very little use, but some
papers of identification, if possible French, may be indispensable for
any one who sketches or photographs. Sketching and photographing are
prohibited within a circle of 10 kilometres of any fortifications.

French hotels are usually reasonable and excellent. When they are
extortionate, they are nearly always bad.

Parcels Post is about as unreliable as in any other part of the world.
Clothes forwarded in this way are subject to the same uncertainty of
delivery, as regards time, as in England.

Suggestions as to distances to be ridden, clothes to be worn, and so on,
are quite unnecessary, since any one who has toured at all is usually a
law unto himself in these matters, and will accept no advice.

But as the roads are the best in the world, the people the most polite,
unless a head wind catches him, the tourist should have a delightful
time if he keeps to the right of the road, and provides himself with a
lamp and a bell.

                           Ballantyne Press

                 _Printed by_ BALLANTYNE HANSON & CO.

                        _Edinburgh and London_


FOOTNOTES:

[A] For the cycler it suffices to say that it was an overgrown “Bayliss
& Thomas.”

[B] We have never ceased regretting that we did not go to see
_Crasmagne en Amérique_.





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