The blocks of ice were by this time becoming rather small; and as we had now once more reached the region of lavender, we cut a large quantity and wrapped the ice in it, and thus protected it from further thaw. For some time before arriving at the farm where my companion’s partner lived, he indulged in praises of the wine which their vineyard produced, and assurances of the safety with which it would perform a journey to England. He urged its excellent bouquet, and gave me a card of prices which certainly seemed marvellously reasonable. Finally, he proposed to join me at a bottle of white muscat, from the farmer’s cave, in order that I might have an opportunity of seeing how true was his account of the wine. We seated ourselves accordingly in the farmyard, and drank a bottle of delightful wine at 65 centimes the bottle, clear and sparkling, and with a strong muscat flavour. Liotir combined with it intoxication of a different kind, and showed unmistakeable signs of his determination to take another member of the farmer’s household into partnership,—the mysterious friend, in fact, for whose astonishment the ice was intended. The white muscat, they told me, would not keep over the year; but they had a wine at the same price which they highly recommended, and warranted to keep for a considerable number of years. Liotir was very anxious that we should have a bottle of this, for he was confident that I should give them an order if I once tasted it; but we had been in at the death of so many bottles that day, that I declined to try the muscat rosat. I have since had a hundred litres sent over by Liotir, and find it very satisfactory. It has a rich, clear, port-wine colour, sparkling, and with the true frontignac flavour.
The effect of the wine on Liotir was peculiar. In the earlier part of the walk, he had never seen Algeria; but after half a bottle of muscat, he had spent six months in that country, and he enlivened the remainder of the way with many details of his experiences there. We reached Die about half-past seven, and the arrival of real ice was hailed as a marvel. Although I had been sent off so unhesitatingly by the landlord in the morning, it seemed that they none of them knew what a glaciere meant. They had determined that we should never reach the Foire de Fondeurle, and that if we did, we should find nothing there to repay our toil. As I sat at an open window afterwards, Liotir’s voice was to be heard holding forth in a neighbouring cafe upon the wonders of the day; and among the crowd which is a normal condition of the evening streets of Die, the words Fondeurle, Vassieux, Anglais, glace, &c., showed what the general subject of conversation was.