A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, Volume II (of 2) eBook

Philip Thicknesse
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 132 pages of information about A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, Volume II (of 2).
which grows between and under the flint stones, which the sheep and other animals turn up with their feet, to come at the bite; beside which, there grows a plant on this Crau that bears a vermilion flower, from which the finest scarlet dye is extracted; it is a little red grain, about the size of pea, and is gathered in the month of May; it has been sold for a crown a pound formerly; and a single crop has produced eleven thousand weight.  This berry is the harvest of the poor, who are permitted to gather it on a certain day, but not till the Lord of the Manor gives notice by the sound of a horn, according to an ancient custom and privilege granted originally by King RENE.—­On my way over it, I gathered only a great number of large larks by the help of my gun, though I did not forget my Montserrat vow:  It was a fine day, and therefore I did not find it so tedious as it must be in winter or bad weather; for if any thing can be worse than sea, in bad weather, it must be this vast plain, which is neither land or sea, though not very distant from the latter, and in all probability was many ages since covered by the ocean.

The first town we came to after passing this vast plain, I have forgot the name of; but it had nothing but its antiquity and a noble and immense old castle to recommend it, except a transparent agate statue of the Virgin in the church, as large as the life, with a tin crown upon her head.  Neither the town nor the inhabitants had any thing of the appearance of French about them; every thing and every body looked so wild, and the place was in such a ruinous condition, that I could scarce believe I was not among the Arabs in Egypt, or the ruins of Persepolis.  Without the town, in a fine beautiful lawn stands a most irregular high and rude rock, perpendicular on all sides, and under one side of it are ruins of a house, which I suppose was inhabited by the first Seigneur in the province.  I looked in, and found the ruins full of miserable inhabitants, I fancy many families; but it exhibited such a scene of woe, that I was glad to get out again; and upon inquiry, I found it had been in that state ever since it had been used as an hospital during the last plague.



As the good and evil, which fall within the line of a road, as well as a worldly traveller, are by comparison, I need not say what a heavenly country France (with all its untoward circumstances) appeared to us after having journeyed in Spain:  what would have put me out of temper before, became now a consolation. How glad I should I have been, and how perfectly content, had it been thus in Spain, was always uppermost, when things ran a little cross in France.

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A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, Volume II (of 2) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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