A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, 1777 eBook

Philip Thicknesse
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 140 pages of information about A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, 1777.

LETTER V.

RHEIMS.

We arrived at this city before the bustle which the coronation of Louis the 16th occasioned was quite over; I am sorry I did not see it, because I now find it worth seeing; but I staid at Calais on purpose to avoid it; for having paid two guineas to see the coronation of George the Third, I determined never more to be put to any extraordinary expence on the score of crowned heads.  However, my curiosity has been well gratified in hearing it talked over, and over again, and in reading Marmontell’s letter to a friend upon that subject; but I will not repeat what he, or others have said upon the occasion, because you have, no doubt, seen in the English papers a tolerably good one; only that the Queen was so overcome with the repeated shouts and plaudits of her new subjects, that she was obliged to retire.  The fine Gothic cathedral, in which the ceremony was performed, is indeed a church worthy of such a solemnity; the portal is the finest I ever beheld; the windows are painted in the very best manner; nor is there any thing within the church but what should be there.  I need not tell you that this is the province which produces the most delicious wine in the world; but I will assure you, that I should have drank it with more pleasure, had you been here to have partook of it.  In the cellars of one wine-merchant, I was conducted through long passages more like streets than caves; on each side of which, bottled Champaigne was piled up some feet higher than my head, and at least twelve deep.  I bought two bottles to taste, of that which the merchant assured me was each of the best sort he had, and for which I paid him six livres:  if he sells all he had in bottles at that time, and at the same price, I shall not exceed the bounds of truth if I say, I saw ten thousand pounds worth of bottled Champaigne in his cellars.  Neither of the bottles, however, contained wine so good as I often drank in England; but perhaps we are deceived, and find it more palatable by having sugar in it; for I suspect that most of the Champaigne which is bottled for the use of English consumption, is so prepared.  That you may know however, for the future, whether Champaigne or any other wine is so adulterated, I will give you an infallible method to prove:—­fill a small long-necked bottle with the wine you would prove, and invert the neck of it into a tumbler of clear water; if the wine be genuine, it will all remain in the bottle; if adulterated, with sugar, honey, or any other sweet substance, the sweets will all pass into the tumbler of water, and leave the genuine wine behind.  The difference between still Champaigne, and that which is mousser, is owing to nothing more than the time of the year in which it is bottled.

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A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, 1777 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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