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gaudy poster advertisements of bicy- waves roling in at high tide over half a cles. At one end a window looked mile 0. sun-warmed sands, carrying you across the promenade to the glittering in on their crests like a bit of seaweed, sea, and at the other sliding panels and knocking you down with invigoratcommunicated with the kitchen. We ing playfulness as you turned to wade had eaten but by snatches for the last out again for another glorious swim. twenty-four hours, with our loins girt, Often a porpoise would
harmand in more or less haste; and the satis- lessly tumbling shorewards, perhaps to faction with which we now sat down have a nearer look at the dancing family to a restful meal, was at first damped circles who disported themselves in the by the menu. Alas! this was Friday. shallow water, or to mockingly imitate, We had hunger-and, behold! a dish of it almost seemed, in his harmless cockles, swimming in a strange liquor, humor, the bolder swimmers who dived, daunting us at the outset. Then and rose, and disappeared, farther out, flageolets, then cheese, then, as we de- beside the anchored boats. spaired, beefsteak, on which we were Then, when we must at last come out, thankful to stay our emptiness. Cider there was a search for the peignoirs, flowed ad lib., and fruit was plentifully which perhaps a sportive wave had provided-pears, peaches, grapes, and reached and floated off the sand, gages.
scampering race up the sea-washed After déjeuner weariness asserted it- steps across the promenade, inside the self with most of us. The rolling of the rusty gateway of our courtyard, and steamer still seemed to sway our tired over its drifted sands, up the rickety brains, we were far from everything staircase, to dress in our tiny rooms, known and restful (being still ignorant where good Marie had always placed in of the comfort in store for us in bed); waiting cleansing foot-baths of hot a glare of light reigned without, and water. closed windows did not exclude the Marie was the good genius of our merry clamors of the shore, where the happy days-quite, we all agree, the French laughed and jabbered, and flew most wonderful woman we have ever kites, or played meaningless games of known. She was major-domo, chamcroquet; they seemed a hollow nation; bermaid, head waitress, confidante, and we were too tired to go back that day, general adviser in one. A neat, little, as homesick nature prompted, but to- bent figure, ubiquitous and untiring, morrow, perhaps.
with wiry brown hair under a frilled
cap, a loud voice, a charming smile, and By to-morrow we were acclimatized, a quick, kind soul. From dawn to night and our thoughts had incontinently she ran about, responding instantly veered to the idea of buying a house with a piercing “Voilà !” “Ici!” “Me and coming annually. Everything was voici!” from some upper window or one interesting, most things delightful. of the many doorways, at the front or The pure, warm wind lulled every nerve back of the warren-like building. to rest. Law-courts, class-rooms, shop- There were no bells; every one who ping, housekeeping, faded from mem- wanted anything simply shouted ory as if we had never known them. “Marie!" from door or window. Every We elders became to each other what order
received with a ready the Langrunnais called us, simply Mon- "Bien!” “Beau!" And even while you sieur, Madame, Mademoiselle; while spoke with her some distant summons
schoolboys major, minor, and would elicit an ear-splitting, explosive minimus, were known Le Grand shriek of "Ici!" "Voilà !" as she flew to Monsieur, Monsieur Jean, and Le Petit. the next caller, yet managed to satisfy We flew instinctively to the smiling your demands en route. She not only Veuve Lemoine, whose bright eyes had praised our French, she paid the far marked us for her prey as we passed higher compliment of understanding it, her door yesterday, and who made and did not smile with more than haste to outfit us for the sea. And how obedient comprehension when Monsieur delightful the sea was! Big, crystal told her that, as the morning was so
fine, he wished his coffee "sur and beautiful salle only held two-thirds Varbre.”
of the pensionnaires), to see how his It was in the vast and beautiful din great turbot or iced café bombe was reing-room, however, that Marie excelled ceived. How he could fête us as he did herself. When we were all seated, for the sum of six francs a day, tout she flew round the narrow passage be- compris, is a riddle for English hotelhind our chairs, and through six long keepers. courses kept well in hand the service of from forty to fifty people, pecking Imperceptibly the days slipped past. sharply at the incompetence of Emile, Wakened from dreamless sleep by the the garçon, in passing. He bore up so sun illumining our white cotton curfar, but we were told that he was the tains, or by the splash of the incoming third of his kind in a fortnight.
tide, or the musical “Prut!' of his tin
horn who sold yesterday's Petit JourWe had been so fortunate as to find nal on the promenade, we broke fast five or six compatriots in the Petit on the delicious coffee, with bread-andP: adis before us-an English family, butter worthy of it, which Marie who had, like ourselves, preferred the brought to every room, unless, indeed, life of a thoroughly French hotel; and a you preferred to have it in the garden schoolmaster abroad, who had almost under the sunlit green branches of the reached the end of a long vacation here, acacias. Then, soon or late, came bathand whose popularity with the whole ing, with a sequent hunger so vast we community was a valuable passport for learned to take déjeuner as seriously as his countrymen. Otherwise the pen- any Frenchman could. Then long sionnaires were French of the French. hours of lazing on the shore, watching Chiefly bourgeois families from inland at ease the humors of the beach. towns, two groups of Parisians among Messieurs les baigneurs, as the summer them, being distinctly of a better class. inhabitants of the seaside resorts are They were almost all eager to make ac- called, rent numberless little boxes quaintance, and full of the little cour ranged on the promenades or at the tesies in which their nation excels edge of the sand-dunes. These they (though as racially unrefined, in other furnish with chairs and tables, and live ways, according to our notions). Then in or in front of them all day long. how amusing they were! As good as a Mamma and her friends visit each play to us all day long. So vivacious other, and talk and crochet. Papa flies over trifles, so naïvely intent on the joys a kite, or plants his croquet set on some of the table; an old grandpapa, very like inviting stretch of hard sand, and plays a walrus, absolutely lowed with delight with the older children by the hour; or, when any special dainty appeared, and, when the sea has receded almost out of calling Marie to him, with trembling sight, they go a-prawning in the lowhands deliberately picked out all the best tide pools. Meantime the little ones dig portions. One fat family, with porcine or wade, or make sand-pies shaped in faces and short thick necks, sat like a dainty little tin moulds sold in the toyrow of dinner-bags, stuffing themselves shops for the purpose. Always there is silently. That the cuisine, even of this noise-talking, laughing, screaming in out-of-the-way country hotel should be all keys-from the stout bonne's remonso artistically good as it was, explained, strance if the little waders wet their if it did not justify, the importance clothes, to the angry hurlements of with which it was regarded. The menu pig-tailed girls and knicker-bockered was always ample and varied; but boys disputing over interininable games when any particular achievement was of croquet. To us, reclined in some dein hand, the cook would confide his serted sand-castle, playing with the fosscheme to appreciative clients, and sils, which are too numerous and too Mons. Bertrand look in, white-capped perfect to excite research, all these enerand beaming, in the pauses of his ar- getic clamors serve as lullabies, and as duous managing behind scenes, at each likely as not, borne on the soft wind, of the three tables d'hôte (for our vast they croon us to sleep before the sun's decreasing height indicates English Clumps of blue sea-thistle make pools afternoon tea-time. Then Le Petit of color in the hollows of the sandhills, leaves the sand garden with its groves and the unembanked single line of rails of cabbage palms, whose hemlock stems is not only grass-grown but flowerand skate's-egg foliage have been grown, so gaily have the scarlet poppies gathered from among the treasures of and yellow rattle and bind-weed the tide-mark, and which has been claimed it for their own. studied and–oh, sweetest flattery!- Once we went a longer journey in the humbly imitated by a solitary little other direction from Langrune-a sixfour-year-old girl, whose mother sits penny fare it was, I think-on the airy sewing near. Her skates'-egg trees are upper deck of the hot third-class carso helplessly wobbly that Le Petit, be- riage, to the inland shrine of Notre fore leaving his to be effaced by the Dame de la Délivrance, which was all next tide, impulsively uproots his fin- en fête, celebrating the coronation of est specimens and transplants them to the Virgin. How hot it was! And how her enclosure. This accomplished, we happy all the holiday-makers were! all repair to the largest of our bedrooms The houses were decked with hundreds to enjoy our national meal (spread on a of banners, many of them displaying newspaper, on a table so rickety that it colored prints of the Della Sedia and has to be cautiously approached). Our other famous pictures of the Madonna. bread-and-butter and milk are reserved Booths for trinkets, pictures, candles, from breakfast, and of tea we have shrines, rosaries, and other so-called brought more than enough with us. articles of religion, drove a roaring
trade; the streets were wreathed across Having determined not to sacrifice with ivy, yew, and rowan-berries, and the rest of our holiday to sight-seeing, strings of Japanese lanterns ready for we seldom made longer expeditions lighting. Within the handsome, quite than could be accomplished in the cool modern church the famous statue was hours of the afternoon-sometimes gorgeously dressed in cloth of gold, and walking or going by train for a few wore a crown richer than usual for the miles along the coast to Bernières, a occasion. Tradition and the bas-reliefs pretty wooded village guiltless of above the doorways set forth how the casino, and whose few streets and image was long ago unearthed in farms were gathered round a great and neighboring field by a pious sheep, beautiful church. Here we used to whose persistent scraping attracted the saunter about, sketching little bits of shepherds. It is of wood, almost black the wealth of carving within and with- from age, with an expression so pagan out the church itself, or choosing some as to prepare you for the antiquary's more distant view of its long red roof, theory that it really represents the godseen through the trees round about it. dess Latona, and is a relic of the old Or eise we drew a group of washer- Roman occupation. women, chattering as they scrubbed We waited to see the procession leave and beat their linen, by a poplar-fringed the church, headed by many clergy and pond; or, on the beach, the portly tenor a fine gold-and-silver bishop, smiling who, dressed as a chef, sang operati- benevolently on the little ones who were cally in front of the bathing cabines as held up for a blessing from his outhe sold guimauve (toffy) from a tray stretched hands. Then we strolled slung in front of him.
back to the station, and waited under Bernières keeps itself inland, some- the trees on the platform for the leiswhat aloof from the sea; but several urely train from Caen. villas are built on the dunes, and in the garden of one of them a high hedge of Letters came in in the last half-hour maize rustled dryly in the sea-breeze, before dinner, to be read and discussed and three crudely green parrots sunned as we leaned against the railings, or sat themselves
highly ornamental on the low stone walls of the plage. If perches and made sbrill remarks in there were none, we amused ourselves French.
in watching the pleasure parties on the
sands breaking up, perhaps driven from courtyard in twos and threes, adtheir croquet pitches by the in-rushing journed for coffee to the garden. One tide. Sometimes, if time served, Mon- evening somebody suggested cricket, sieur was fain to secure another bathe, and every Briton was enlisted forthand might be seen flying over the sands, with. Croquet-mallets were used as like a risen saint, wrapped in his white bats, till we dared not risk breaking any Turkish peignoir, urged on by a season- more, when they had to be rudely fashable fear of being late for the soup. It ioned out of odd lengths of wood. A was then, too, that our home newspaper real ball was forthcoming, as also used to arrive, and be read and lent to proper flannels. Our six-foot Grand our English friends. What we should Monsieur made lofty catches, our ladies have done without it, we could not fielded, our scores rose emulously, while guess, the French papers being desti- the unfamiliar battle-cries of "Chartertute of any news of general importance. house!” and “Blairlodge!" rent the air of As six o'clock drew near, the crowd of Calvados, without conveying any meanreturning shrimpers, croquet-players, ing to the ears of our Norman conquerkite-flyers, streamed along the plage, to ors. prepare for the important business of When it got too dark to play any dinner. The wading nun returned to longer, it was time for long, delightful the care of the little old lady whose walks before going to bed. nurse-companion she seemed to be, the Sometimes Luc, or St. Aubin, our Parisian singer and her nice mother, fashionable neighbors on either hand, the bald and amiable art-critic, the gen- were, one or the other, en fête, and we tleman with the poodle, the stout ma- went to see “to assist,” as the kindly tron from Rouen and her spectacled phrase is, at their fireworks and illuhusband, little Lucie, Lucie's aunt and minations. If the fête was grander uncle, Mons, Gaston, who used to write than usual, we might find music going out the bills and menus under the trees on, showers of colored paper confetti in the garden; Mons. Lebrun, who flung to and fro, booths of marionettes, hired out bicycles; a greedy boy called and huge merry-go-rounds in full George, and a well-bred boy whose swing. The last were immensely popuname sounded something like Vitriol- lar. these and all the rest of us crowded into Patient groups were always waiting the salle à manger, to do hearty justice their turn; and one old lady was, we to Mons. Bertrand's dinner. The bill of thought, not only extravagant, but selffare one day, I remember, included such ish, who calmly kept possession, turn good things as vermicelli soup, turbot, after turn, of the spotted elephant on cantaloup, veal with mushrooms, cauli- which she was mounted, shaking her flowers, roast goose, and-on
hot white cap and pressing he grave August evening-blazing plum-pudding! moustached lips tighter in determined This last was, of course, complimentary refusal when any one came forward to to us English; and the rest looked on beg for her place. with interest to see us batten upon our The fireworks generally ended with favorite food. For our national credit, a Retraite des Lanternes, which in common gratitude, it was necessary messieurs les baigneurs had been to make an effort, but it was an effort. prayed earlier in the day to assist. Not so great, certainly, as that called These processions were wonderfully for on another occasion, when expec- beautiful, as they wound along the tant excitement on the part of the dark plage, like a long moving bed of French heralded the advent of a dish tulips of every color, glowing with of great snails dressed au naturel, and light. Marie, who offered them, was followed As beautiful in a different way was it by Emile carrying a well-equipped pin- to watch the fireworks from the decushion. Over what followed let us serted beach at Langrune — single draw a veil.
rockets soaring and melting, starlike, Twilight was falling when, dinner in the still rosy sunset sky; colored ended, we wandered out into the sandy lights faring like terrestrial Auroras,
or, best of all, a glorious bouquet of any quantity, however small, of rockets of all kinds and colors fitly clos- prawns; the yellow bollyhock at the og the display of the evening.
washerwoman's door; the curiosity Every one went early to bed in our shop; the post woman's little girl, who, village, lulled by the strong air to such though she had but four years, could sleepiness that we were glad at nine name the six parts of the world (one, it o'clock to clamber our steep little stairs would appear, is Algérie); the Havre case, whose flickering night-light, float- light, shining out intermittently at dusk ing in a tumbler, the ranging winds had across the wide bay of the Seine, like a often rushed up to extinguish, leaving captive meteor struggling to flash away us to find our way in the dark, and and escape; the picture-book of memory grope for the spluttering sulphur has many more such leaves than there matches on which we depended for is time to turn over. Suffice it to say light. So to bed-to sleep, as nurses that we six found our family holiday in say, without rocking.
Normandy an entire success.
The weather during the three weeks of For the practical reader I add a few our stay was sometimes showery, and notes regarding ways and means. Our latterly, of an evening, cold. Before journey from and to London (second we left, the gay garden of the Petit class, train and cabin) cost less than Paradis was getting a little weather- nine guineas. We had arranged for beaten; the glory of the Plantagenet's pension at six francs a day each (except bush was passing over, and dry leaves Le Petit, who was only charged four); were beginning to fall on the tables of for this we had everything we required, the garden café. The bathing, too, and our bills did not contain a single showed signs of becoming less perfect, "extra.” We found on inquiry that so as after a storm the shore was heaped large a party making some little stay with seaweed, the farmers' harvest of might by prearrangement secure penvarech.
sion at ours and many of the other less These things made it a little easier to pretentious hotels in the neighboring go home, and yet we left the scene of villages, for five or five and a half our delightful holiday with great re- francs a day, tout compris. (These luctance. It has not been possible in so words it is as well to use in contractshort an account of it to speak of half ing.) the pleasures we experienced. I have We had been warned the water was noteven mentioned the great fourteenth- bad, though clear to the eye; and as it century church of Langrune, so beauti- was drawn for all purposes from a well ful in itself, so quiet and holy a place, in the midst of an unclean farmyard, always open for prayer. The old we were careful to boil all we used, and Triton, who bathed the timid; the naph- learned very soon to like the unlimited tha-lit stall where hot guimauve was supply of cider which took its place at sold at night; the curious old metal table. This cider tastes like the light. work to be found everywhere, from the est of lager-beer, and is considered refinely flowered handles on our chests of markably wholesome. It came in huge drawers, to the dragon-vanes the tonneaux from the hotel-proprietor's farmhouses; the lacemakers; the fat orchards, and was not to be confounded ladies who could not run fast enough with bottled cider, the sparkling Mousto raise their kites, yet persevered; the seux, which resembles champagne. procession to bless the sea, headed by Drains and water-supplies, the good old curé, whose saintly face tolà-indeed, all sanitary arrangements was in itself a benediction; the red-tiled -we should find non-existent. So it room wherein the village barber prac- proved. “Figure to yourself,” Marie tised, and the gilt-wire château, would say, when she came panting upadorned with a china clock, in which stairs with a brimming pitcher, and his canaries lived; the cook who not stood a moment to take breath, "each only knew and could say “Good-morn- drop one must carry all the way ing,” but was always willing to cook through the garden, and along the street