Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 1 eBook

Dawson Turner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 230 pages of information about Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 1.

With this digression I bid farewell to Yvetot, and its Lilliputian kingdom; nor will I detain you much longer on the way to Rouen, the road passing through nothing likely to afford interest in point of historical recollection or antiquities; though within a very short distance of the ancient Abbey of Pavilly on the one side, and at no great distance from the still more celebrated Monastery of Jumieges on the other.  The houses in this neighborhood are in general composed of a framework of wood, with the interstices filled with clay, in which are imbedded small pieces of glass, disposed in rows, for windows.  The wooden studs are preserved from the weather by slates, laid one over the other, like the scales of a fish, along their whole surface, or occasionally by wood over wood in the same manner.  I am told that there are some very ancient timber churches in Norway, erected immediately after the conversion of the Northmen, which are covered with wood-scales:  the coincidence is probably accidental, yet it is not altogether unworthy of notice.  At one end the roof projects beyond the gable four or five feet, in order to protect a door-way and ladder or staircase that leads to it; and this elevation has a very picturesque effect.  A series of villages, composed of cottages of this description, mixed with large manufactories and extensive bleaching grounds, comprise all that is to be remarked in the remainder of the ride; a journey that would be as interesting to a traveller in quest of statistical information, as it would be the contrary to you or to me.

Poverty, the inseparable companion of a manufacturing population, shews itself in the number of beggars that infest this road as well as that from Calais to Paris.  They station themselves by the side of every hill, as regularly as the mendicants of Rome were wont to do upon the bridges.  Sometimes a small nosegay thrown into your carriage announces the petition in language, which, though mute, is more likely to prove efficacious than the loudest prayer.  Most commonly, however, there is no lack of words; and, after a plaintive voice has repeatedly assailed you with “une petite charite, s’il vous plait, Messieurs et Dames,” an appeal is generally made to your devotion, by their gabbling over the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed with the greatest possible velocity.  At the conclusion, I have often been told that they have repeated them once, and will do so a second time if I desire it!  Should all this prove ineffectual, you will not fail to hear “allons, Messieurs et Dames, pour l’amour de Dieu, qu’il vous donne un bon voyage,” or probably a song or two; the whole interlarded with scraps of prayers, and ave-marias, and promises to secure you “sante et salut.”  They go through it with an earnestness and pertinacity almost inconceivable, whatever rebuffs they may receive.  Their good temper, too, is undisturbed, and their face is generally as piteous as their language and tone; though every now and then a laugh will out,

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Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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