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added, " to the depredation com- of the subject? Was there no royal mitted by foreign troops ? --Sacré," voice to raise its cry of protection, and he ground his teeth, « les co- and, like the founder of the Bourquins de Prussiens;" they drank up bon dynasty, shout along the chargall the wine wherever they found it. ing line, “ Sauvez mes François ?" We asked him whether, in some «« There is scarcely any transition respects, the conduct of the Prus- more instantaneous than the exsians was not a war of reprisals. tremes of choler and good-bumour
“Comment donc ?” he replied, in an irritated Frenchman. The almost jumping with a sudden fit of subject of our conversation bad passion, which his wife endeavoured thrown all the angry elements of to reprove
with mais quelle vi- our military proprietor into activity. vacité, mon ami!"
A few complimentary phrases on “ Comment donc! une guerre de the beauty of his little domain, and représailles?" The Prussians were the probable happiness of his simple the first aggressors :-" pourquoi se and industrious life, brought back mêler de nos affaires, dans le tems all the gaiety, mildness, and urbanity de la révolution ? sacré !" “ But of the French character. He bowed that is an affaire finie! they came and smiled, and said he had no as the allies of our king, as our reason to complain of his lot ; that friends; and they plundered, they if things would go on as they had ravaged, they destroyed. Allez, done, all would be well. He said monsieur, allez dans la Perche, go he knew us at once to be “des to la Perche, to Sevres, to St. Cloud, Anglais, par notre tournure ;” and hear what husbands and fathers added, the English troops had shown have to say there! Ah, seigneur great discipline, and behaved with Dieu! cela fait dresser les cheveux much more moderation, than any sur la tête ! cela fait frémir !" other of the foreign armies.
“I observed, that, as a soldier, “Although he talked with singuhe must be aware that such horrors Jar intelligence on the actual agriwere the natural consequences of cultural state of the canton be inwar, under whatever colours it was habited, he was less alive to its carried on. “Si fait," he replied literary interests ; for of the celepetulantly, "pour la guerre ouverte, brated Madame de Cottin he had cela s'entende ; mais nos amis, les never heard, nor knew any lady allies, madame, voilà notre refrain!" “ qui travailla beaucoup," (wrote On this subject it seems, indeed, to much) who had ever possessed a be the refrain of the nation. chateau in the Valée D'Orsai. We
“Oh, in those moments of de- mentioned the circumstance of her solation and carnage, when foreign unfortunate kinsman and lover hav. armies, under the white standard ing shot himself in the grounds of of peace and of the Bourbons, ra- her chateau, as an event likely to vaged the fertile plains and vine. have attracted rustic attention : covered hills of France; when the “Eh ! mais mon Dieu, oui !" renation saw itself the victim of that plied bis wife, "je me rappelle de force, which approached its frontiers cela," and she pointed out to us a under the guise of amity-was there chateau in the distance, where a no royal arm to rush between the gentleman shot himself in consesword of the foreigner and the life quence of suspecting the attachment
of his wife for his own particular picturesque neatness that goes befriend. For this information she yond the line of mere cleanliness was, I thougbt, reproved by her and accommodation, and which husband with a delicacy rather be- speaks as much to the eye of taste, yond the ordinary tone of rustic as to the feelings of philanthropy. feeling : “Ma femme, c'est incon- To this character the French hacevable, tu vas faire courir une bitations, as far as my observation histoire comme cela ! une affaire extends, do not attain ; although I de famille! fi donc, qu'est-ce que heard much of the flat-roofed cot. ça te regard ?"
tages of Quercy, and of the exterior “ The wife stood abashed; and neatness and interior comfort of the the chateau of the suicide husband peasant residence in the south. The not being the chateau we sought, nearest approach to English comwe were obliged to return to our fort, which we saw, was in Nor. inn in the village, much pleased mandy, where the compact buildwith having thus accidentally lighted ings, composed of brick, interon one of those little proprietors spersed with traverse beams painted whose means of subsistence and black, and deeply buried in their happy independence lie within the “ bouquet d'arbres,” or knots of compass of a few roods cultivated fruit and forest trees, strongly reby their own hands, and whose semble the farming tenements of condition has arisen out of the fer- Staffordshire and Shropshire. inentation of revolutionary conflict. • The modern French cottages,
-“ Misery,” said a French gentle. however, are strong, and wellman to me, speaking of the severity built ; and are covered with a of the season, and the depredation thatch peculiarly excellent, and per. of the troops,
misery already fectly adapted to render their lofts attacks us, and presents a prospect warm, and to repel the inclemency of its increase, by the four years of their severe winters. Their contributions we have yet to pay chimnies are well constructed, their you ;" mais encore elle n'atteint windows neatly sashed, and their presque pas l'habitant de campagne, doors well hung: the latter, I ob. qui est généralement devenu pro- served, were generally kept shut. priétaire.
The floor is almost universally of “When Arthur Young travelled clay, beaten down to the consistency through France, in 1789, he ob- of stone. In the "grande chambre," served that not only cottages, but or interior room, on which the well-built houses, were without prosperous owner displays his reglass windows, and had no other finement and taste, there is occalight than what the door admitted. sionally to be found a plancher, or This true model of an Irish cabin boarded floor. The ordinary cotwould now, I believe, scarcely be tage is, for the most part, divided found in any part of France, not into two apartments: the common even in the north, where the pea- room, which serves as kitchen, and santry are in a less prosperous con- a better apartment, in which the dition than elsewhere. There is, best bed and best furniture are in the whole appearance of an ex- placed. The lofts afford good cellent English cottage, an air of sleeping rooms for the servants and indescribable comfort, a sort of younger part of the family. Every
cottage has its little basse-cour, its nished damask, the second-hand piggery, and cow-shed; and too finery of some fripier of the nearest many exhibit their high estimation great town, whose stores are ever of a good fumier, by accumulating still but too well supplied from the the manure, which is to enrich their spoils of revolutionary depredation. little demesne, nearly opposite to - Whatever spiritual grace may their doors.
exist in the family of a French “ One of the first objects with a peasant, will be found exhibited in French peasant, when he becomes " the outward and visible signs," master of a cottage, is to furnish it which decorate the bed's head. with an excellent bed. This luxury There hangs the bénitier, with its is carried to such an excess, that in holy water, a sort of domestic altar. many provinces, and in the west There too is frequently suspended particularly, they ascend their beds some thrice-blessed relic, which, by steps. Not to have a lofty bed though it may have lost much of its is a sign of poverty, both in taste miraculous efficacy, preserves its and in circumstances, which all are station; there also a maimed virgin, anxious to avoid ; and to meet the or headless saint, which infidelity
qu'en dira-t-on ?" of the com- has neglected, or time dismembered, mune, on this subject, the sumptu- still remains at least for ornament, ousness of this piece of furniture is if not for use. I have frequently procured at the expense of other observed, that the bed of Javotte, comforts, or sometimes even of ne- under her straw roof, and the bed cessaries. In this article, at least the of the petite maitresse of Paris, peasantry are wonderfully improved, were precisely on the same model, since the “ beau siécle of Louis each exhibiting her stock of vanity XIV.” that golden age, which all and superstition, in an article the “ royalistes purs" wish to see re- least calculated for the display of stored. In the best æra of that either. prosperous reign, when Madame de "The pendule, or time-piece, Sevigné arrived at an inn, kept by a which nearly excited an insurrection peasant, near the town of Nantes, in la Bretagne, when introduced she found only straw to lie on; and into that harassed province, in the she describes it as a place plus days of Louis XIV. (as being som pauvre, plus misérable qu'on ne peut portentous engine of the gabelle), le représenter ; nous n'y avons' is now not only an ornament, but trouvé que de la paille fraiche, sur an indispensable piece of furniture, quoi nous avons tous couché, sans and is to be found in every better nouis déshabiller;" and this was in sort of cottage. Those, so much in the most splendid reign that France use among the peasantry of the ever witnessed ; and this was in the south, are fabricated in the Jura, or very provinces, in which the pea- the Vosge, and are purchased at a sant is now such a coxcomb, that very moderate price. To count he ascends his bed by steps. time by its artificial divisions, is the
“I have frequently reckoned resource of inanity. The unoccuthree or four beds under the sam: pied ignorance of the very lowly, roof, generally placed in a little and the inevitable ennui of the very recess in the wall, and hung with elevated, alike find their account in faded tapestry, or curtains of tar- consultations with a time-piece. It
is in the hour-glass of energy and rated royalists, that the lower classes of occupation, that the sand is al. in France are infinitely improved, ways found lying neglected at the both in the towns and country: bottom.
and the rarity of executions in “One of our most liberal and France for crimes of dislionesty, most recent English travellers in forms a singular contrast to their France, Mr. Birkbeck, describes in melancholy frequency in England. his brief journal a French peasant I remember our having alighted eating with a silver fork; and I from our carriage to spare its springs observed that we never stopped in a sort of' • crackskull-common even at the poorest hótelerie on the road,” that wound through a wilcross roads, or in the smallest village derness of fruit trees, which might (which we frequently did, as much have passed for the original Eden, to talk to the host as obtain refresh- and which presented sueh temptament), that we had not our fruit tions to the lips of the traveller, as and fromage de cochon served with she, “who for an apple damned massy silver forks and spoons. In- mankind,” would have found irredeed, with those few exceptions, sistible. I asked a boy, who with which must be every where found a little comrade was lying reading to arise out of the peculiar circum- under one of these prolific trees, stances of individual misfortune, the whether I might take an apple: he French cottage always indicates the replied coolly, “cela ne me regarde dwelling of a thriving and prosper- pas ;"—they are not mine. “ But ous population.
you sometimes help yourself, I dare "I have often heard it remarked say." He raised his head, and by English travellers, who had looking at me with an expression visited France before the revolution, of humorous sarcasm, he replied, that the peasantry were, at that “Vous voulez dire, voler: n'est-ce period, as dishonest as they were pas, Madame? Non, Madame, il necessitous, and yielded to tempt- vaut mieux en demander, que de ations of theft the more readily, as se faire voleur, pour une pomme.” the severity of the punishment uni- I know not whether this little anecversally prevented prosecution. This dote be any illustration of the branch of morals, which depends so rustic morals of the country; but much more upon the condition of I saw nothing, during my residence those who violate or respect it, than in France, that could induce me to upon any abstract principle, is ne- consider it as a rare or splendid cessarily improved in France with instance of probity. A more rethe amended state of ihe lower markable instance, in point with the classes. Morals are inevitably bet- present subject, occurred to an Irish tered by the competency wbich friend. He was leaving Paris excludes temptation, and property, during the reign of terror, and universally if not equally diffused, dropped down the Seine in a small begets a respect for property, se- boat, which just contained himself conded by that law of self-preserva- and his baggage. Within a mile of tion, which imposes the necessity of the town he was hailed by a lon
doing as we would be done by." citoyen, who mistook him for a In this respect I have heard it al- député, qui s'étoit évadé avec de lowed, even by the most exagge. l'or de la république," and was
forced universally adopted during the re“ The thin light vin du pays
forced to land. After it had been that much of its power is derived determined by the mob that it from the perpetuation of a vice, would not be right to kill him with which keeps the people degraded, out examination, he was dragged and at the same time pours money away to the maire de commune, into the exchequer. where he was detained nearly an “ The modes of every-day life in hour, before he could show his France, even among the peasantry passports, and be admitted to pro- and lowest classes, are powerfully cecd. Yet on his return to his influenced by the happy and genial boat, he found his gold-headed cane, temperament of the people. And silver saucepan, baggage, every though the peasantry are not withthing in short, in statu quo, without out a certain brusquerie of manner, injury, and without violation. Even arising out of their condition, it is then the lower classes began to feel tempered by a courtesy, which inthey had a character to support, dicates an intuitive urbanity, beand guilty of crime, they already yond the reach of art to teach, or disdained the vices of slaves. the means of cunning to acquire ;
“ Sobriety is a constitutional and it explains what Cæsar meant, virtue with the French ; and drunk. when he declared, he found the enness a vice strictly confined to the Gauls “the politest barbarians he very refuse of the very lowest or- had conquered. There is, howders, which always infest great and ever, among the peasantry of the populous cities. I remember asking present day, as among all the lower an old female peasant in Picardy, classes, a certain tone of indepenwhether les bonnes méres du village dence, which almost seems to claim were ever guilty of this failing equality with the superior person She replied with indignation :-- they address, and which is evidently “ Dame! elles seroient chassées de tinged with the republican hue 30 notre commune."
is volution. A French peasant, meetthe table-drink of the poorest pea- ing his brother peasant, takes off santry; and there are few so poor his hat, with the air of a petitas not to bave a little store of su- mditre; and I have seen two laperior quality in the petit caveau, bourers argue the ceremonies of or cellar, to celebrate the many their bare-headed salutation with “ festins," which enjoyment steals as man stipulations as would go to from labour, under the sanctified a treaty of peace. terms of epochs and commemo- Mais monsieur, mon amı, rations.
couvrez-vous, je vous en prie."'«To estimate the virtue of tem- Eh, mais vous, monsieur, parbleu! perance, in the lower classes of any si vous l'ordonnez; là."-And both, nation, it is necessary, perhaps, to with a bow and a scrape, after a have lived in a country so condi- few more compliments, resume tioned, that drunkenness becomes their hats and their conversation almost a venial resource against in- together. Equally polite to his evitable misery--where the policy, superior, but not less independent by which the land is ruled, exhibits in his manner than when addressing such a complete tissue of error, both his equal, “ l'homme du peuple" in ita legislation and administration, oow looks “ l'homme comme il