It was necessary at the entrance to cross a bridge over the moat, and here Patty discovered the reason for feeding the carp.
To begin with, the carp themselves were exceedingly old, and had been swimming around in the same moat for hundreds of years.
“I’m not quite sure of the number of years,” volunteered a Boston tourist, to any one who might listen, “but it’s either hundreds or thousands. Anyway, the carp are dreadfully old.”
“They don’t look it,” declared Patty, as she leaned over the railing of the bridge and watched the frisky fish darting around like mad.
An old woman sat nearby with a bushel basket full of French rolls, which she was willing to sell to the tourists at prices which increased as her stock of rolls decreased. Patty and Elise bought a quantity of the rolls and began the fun of throwing them to the fishes. It turned out to be even more fun than they had anticipated, for the moment a roll reached the water, scores of carp would make a mad dash for it, and a pitched battle ensued for possession of the bread. Sometimes the roll was torn to pieces in the fight, and sometimes a fortunate carp would secure it and swim away, followed by all the others in angry pursuit. Another roll flung in would, of course, divert their attention, and the squabble would begin all over again. The fun was largely in watching the individual peculiarities of the fishes. One sulky old thing disdained to fight, but if given a roll all to himself he would swim away with it, and sticking his head in a small corner of the stone parapet, would eat it greedily, while he kept off the other fishes by madly lashing his tail. Another brisk little fish didn’t seem to care to eat the rolls at all, but mischievously tried to prevent the others from eating them, and played a general game of interference.
The actions of the fish were so ridiculous, and the sport so novel and exciting, that the girls would not leave until they had bought up all the rolls the old woman had and thrown them down to the comical carp.
The personal conductor of the tour affably waited until the moat performance was over, and then conducted his party inside the park to the Chateau.
Though only a toy affair compared with Versailles, Chantilly is one of the most beautiful of the historic Chateaus of France, and is in many respects a gem. The great paved Court of Honor shone white in the sunlight, and the noble statues and sculptures bore witness to the art and taste displayed in its construction.
Making A home.
The party was marshalled up on the peristyle, where they received, collectively, instructions in a loud voice to leave their sticks and umbrellas before entering the Chateau.