Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2 eBook

Dawson Turner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 249 pages of information about Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2.
diligences, he was answered, “had often been stopped and robbed in this solitary pass.”—­Napoleon then said, “If one person can be made to settle here, more will follow, for it is conveniently situated between two good towns.  Let the prefect buy a little plot of ground and build a house upon it, and give it to an old soldier, upon condition that he shall constantly reside in it with his family.”  The orders of Napoleon were obeyed.  The old soldier opened an inn, other houses arose round it, and the cut-throat pass is now thoroughly secure.  The conductor and the post-boy tell the tale with glee whilst they drive through the hamlet; and its humble dwellings will perhaps recal the memory and fame of Napoleon Buonaparte when the brazen column of the grand army, and the marble arch of the Thuilleries, shall have been long levelled with the ground.—­As to the character of the landscape, I must add, that though it makes a bad picture, there are great appearances of care in the agriculture, and of comfort in the population.  The country, too, is sufficiently well wooded; and apple and pear trees every where take the place of the pollard oaks and elms of our hedge-rows.

Norman cider is famous throughout France:  it is principally, however, the western part of the province that produces it.  Throughout the whole of that district, the lower classes of the inhabitants scarcely use any other beverage.  Vines, as I have already had occasion to mention, were certainly cultivated, in early times, farther to the north than they are at present.  The same proofs exist of vineyards in the vicinity of Caen and Lisieux, as at Jumieges.  Indeed, towards the close of the last century, there was still a vineyard at Argence, only four miles south-east of Caen; and a kind of white wine was made there, which was known by the name of Vin Huet.  But the liquor was meagre; and I understand that the vineyard is destroyed.—­Upon the subject of the early use of beer in Normandy, tradition is somewhat indistinct.  The ancient name of one of the streets in Caen, rue de la Cervoisiere, distinctly proves the habit of beer-drinking; and, when Tacitus speaks of the beverage of the Germans, in his time, as “humor ex hordeo vel frumento in quandam similitudinem vini corruptus,” it seems highly improbable but that the same liquor should have been in use among the cognate tribes of Gaul.  Brito, however, expressly says of Flanders, that it is a place where,

   “Raris sylva locis facit umbram, vinea nusquam: 
    Indigenis potus Thetidi miscetur avena,
    Ut vice sit vini multo confecta labore.”

And the same author likewise tells us, that the Normans of his time were cider-drinkers—­

“... Siceraeque potatrix Algia tumentis ...  Non tot in autumni rubet Algia tempore pomis Unde liquare solet siceram sibi Neustria gratam.”

Huet is of opinion, that the use of cider was first introduced into Neustria by the Normans, who had learned it of the Biscayans, as these latter had done from the inhabitants of the northern coast of Africa.

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Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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