Hotel Frascati, Havre,
Sunday, 21st August.
[Sidenote: Havre to Trouville]
Dearest Mamma,—I am sorry our nice voyage is nearly finished, for we go over to Trouville this evening, and from there by train back to Vinant. The river is not nearly so pretty after you leave Caudebec, but Tancarville is fine, and looks very imposing sitting up so high. The Vicomte has been talking to me all the time, but Jean stays by. We were dusty and sun-burnt by the time we got to Havre, and Heloise and the Marquise and I started at once for the big baths. They do not quite join the hotel, so we covered a good deal of absence, in the way of dress, by our faithful mackintoshes and trotted across. On the steps we met de Tournelle just coming out from the baths; he laughed when he saw us, and said he had never before realised that garments of so much respectability could have such possibilities! Oh! how nice to have a real bath again!
[Sidenote: A Gay Dinner]
Agnes hasn’t enjoyed this trip much, I can see. Heaven knows where she has slept! I thought it wiser not to ask. We had such a gay dinner. I am getting accustomed to shouting across the table at every one; it will feel quite queer just talking to one’s neighbour when I get back to England. The restaurant at Frascati isn’t at all bad, and it was agreeable to have proper food again.
Hippolyte thinks we are awfully greedy; he was heard yesterday grumbling to the Baronne’s maid, “Mais ou diable est-ce que ces dames mettent tout ce qu’elles mangent? Elles goblottent toute la journee!”
After dinner we drank our coffee on the terrace and listened to the band. Heloise would hardly speak to “Antoine” all day, and he looked perfectly miserable, and Madame de Vermandoise every now and then laughed to herself—I don’t know what at. However we took a walk on the pier presently, and as there was such a crowd we weren’t able to walk all together as usual, but had to go two and two. “Antoine” walked with Heloise, and I suppose they made it up. I just caught this: “N’oubliez jamais, bien chere Madame, qu’une eglise a deux portes.” Heloise said she would not forget, and he thanked her rapturously; but what it meant I don’t know. They have both smiled often since so I expect it is some French idiom for reconciliation.
The crowd on the pier was common, and we returned to Frascati’s garden. It was so fearfully hot, that beyond wondering if the dew was falling, no one suggested we should get cold, as they always do. It really has been a delightful trip, and I have enjoyed it so. They are all charming. They seem to have kinder hearts than some of the people at Nazeby, but what strikes one as quite different is that every one is witty; they are making epigrams or clever tournures de phrases all the time, and don’t seem to talk of the teeny weeny things we do in England. They have most exquisite manners, and extraordinarily unpleasant personal habits, like eating, and coughing, and picking their teeth, etc.; but they do have nice under-clothes, and lovely soaps and scents and things.