Obrazy na stronie

shook and swayed with the jolting of few old vineyards which, after being this rustic hearse, moved towards the stricken nearly unto death by the church, nearly the whole of the popu- phylloxera, bave revived, and by some lation followed. Only the day before unknown virtue have recovered the sap another woman was carried along the and spirit of life. The ancient stocks same white road towards the little cem- gnarled and knotted. and as thick as a etery, but the coffin then was borne man's arm, together with the fresh upon the shoulders of four persons of green leaves and the hanging bunches her own sex. Now and again fatigue of buds that promise wine, wear a color brought the bearers to a standstill ; that cannot be rightly named -a transthen they would change shoulders by parent, subtle, vaporous tint of golden changing places. And the white coffin pink or purple, which is the gift of this moving up and down as a waif on the warm and wonderful light. A cricket swell of the sea, passed on towards that has climbed up one of the tender the glowing west, where presently the shoots, strikes a low note, which is like purple-tinted wings of evening covered the drowsy chirrup of a roosting bird. it.

It is the first touch of a fiddler in the But the peasants are not sentimen- night's orchestra, and will soon be talists ; far from it. Always practical, taken up by thousands of other crickthey are very quick lo perceive the ets, bell-tinkling toads, and creaking futility of nursing grief, and especially frogs in the valley, and the solitary owl the unreasonableness of wishing people that hoots from the hills. Below, how back in the world who were no longer the river seems to sleep under the able to do their share of its work. A dusky wings of gathering dreams where young man came into the village with a the white bridge spans it! Beyond, doukey and cart to fetch a coffin for his where the blue-green sky is cut by a father who had just died.

broken line of hill and tree, the rocks "Apé! I dare say he was old," was become animated in the clear obscure, the reflection of our servant-a Quer- and the apparently dead matter, rous. cy noise. If it had been the old father ing from its apathy, takes awful forms who had come to fetch a coffin for the and expressions of life. young man, she would have found My small boat had been lying on the something more sympathetic to say Vézère several days doing nothing than that.

| when I decided upon a little waterSometimes at sunset I climb the faring as far as Le Moustier. This boat rugged hill behind the house. Then had no pretensions to beauty. It had the stony soil no longer dazzles by its been knocked together with a few deal white glitter, but takes a soft tint of boards, and it had, as a matter of orange, or rose, or lilac, according to course, a flat bottom, for a boat with a the stain of the sky, and there is no keel would be quite unsuitable for light in the rocky South that so ten-travelling long distances on rivers derly touches the soul as this, Here where, if you cannot float in four the spurge drinks of the wine of heaven inches of water, you must hold yourwith golden lips wide open ; but the self in constant readiness to get out and hellebore, which has already lost all drag or push your craft over the stones. its vernal greenness, and is parched by This exercise is very amusing at the the drought, ripens its drooping seeds age of twenty, but the fun grows feeble sullenly on the shadowy side of the as time goes on. My boat was not jutting crag, and seems to hate the sun. made to be rowed, but to be paddled, Higher and yet far below the plateau either with the short, single-bladed is a little field where the lately cut paddle which is used by the fishermen grass has been thrown into mounds. of the Dordogne, and which they call a Here the light seems to gain a deeper “shovel,” or by the one that is dipped feeling, and the small vineyard by the on both sides of the canoe alternately. side holds it too. It is one of the very! There being rapids about every half mile on the Vézère, and the current in Having passed the first rapids easily, places being very strong, I realized that we talked, and the conversation turned no paddler would be able to get up the upon - cockchafers ! My companiou stream without help, and so I induced had been much impressed by the my landlord to accompany me and to strange doings of a party of gypsy bring a pole. He was a good-tempered children whom he had lately passed man, somewhat adventurous, with on the highroad. One of them had plenty of information, and a full-fla- climbed up a tree, the foliage of which vored local accent that often gave to had attracted a multitude of cockchafwhat he said a point of humour that ers, and he was shaking down the was not intended. The voyage, there-insects for the others to collect. But it fore, commenced under circumstances was not this that made the teller of the that promised nothing but pleasant- story stop and gaze with astonishment; ness. It was a perfectly beautiful May it was the use to which the cockchafers afternoon, with a fresh north breeze were put. As they were picked up blowing that tempered the ardor of the they were crammed into the children's sun.

mouths and devoured, legs, wings, and The water changed like the moods of all. At first he thought the small a child who has only to choose the form gypsies were feasting on cherries. He and manner of his pleasure. Now it declared that the sight disgusted him, pictured in its large eye, whose depth and spoilt his appetite for the rest of seemed to meet eternity, the lights and the day. In this I thought his stomach forms and colors of the sky, the rocks, somewhat inconsistent, for I knew of a and the trees; now it leapt from the little weakness that he had for raw shaded quietude and, splitting into two snails, which, to my mind, are scarcely or more currents, separated by willowy less revolting as food than live cockislets or banks of pebbles, rushed with chafers. He would take advantage of a an eager and joyous cry a hundred rainy day or a shower to catch his yards or so; then it stopped to take favorite prey upon his fruit-trees and breath, and moved dreamily on again. cabbages. Having relieved them of Where the water was shallow was many their shells and given them a rinse in a broad patch of blooming ranunculus ; / some water, he would swallow them so that it seemed as if the fairies had as people eat oysters. He had a firm been holding a great battle of white belief in their invaluable medicinal aclowers upon the river. We glided by tion upon the throat and lungs. His the side of meadows where all the brother, he said, would have died at Faving grass was full of sunshine. On twenty-three instead of at fifty-thrce the bank stood purple torches of had it not been for snails. I have met dame's violet, and the dog-rose climb- many others in France with the same ing upon the guelder rose was pictured faith and the same admirable disposiwith it in the water. On the opposite tion to make the most of the Creator's bank stood the great rocks which have bounty. That any of them should caused this part of the river to be criticise gypsies for eating cockchafers called the Gorge of Hell. Here, too, shows what creatures of prejudice we human beings in perpetual terror of all are. their own kind cut themselves holes in After passing the Nine Brothers -the face of the precipice and lived name given to nine rocks of rounded where now the jackdaw, the hawk, the outline standing by the water like owl, and the bat are the only inhabi- towers of a fortress built by demigods tants. In the Middle Ages the English - we had our worst fight with the companies turned the side of the preci- rapids, and were nearly beaten. It pice into a stronghold which was the was the last push of the pole from terror of the surrounding district. The the man behind me when he had no rock shows some curious traces of their more breath in his body that saved us work.

from being whirled round and carried

. back. Before one gets used to it, the frock were freshly green, and the low sensation of struggling up a river plaint of the nightingale and the jocwhere it descends a rocky channel at a und cry of the more distant cuckoo : rather steep gradient is a little bewil- broke the sameness of the great chorus dering. The flash of the water dazzles, of grasshoppers in the sunny meadand its rapid movement makes one ows. giddy. : There is no excitement, how When I returned to my companion, ever, so exhilarating as that which I found that he was clothed again, but - comes of a liard battle with one of the not in a contented frame of mind. He

forces of nature, especially when na- accompanied me as far as Tursac, and ture does not get the best of it. This then started off home on foot. He had tug-of-war over, we were going along had enough of the river. There was : smoothly upon rather deep water when still sufficient daylight for me to con· I heard a splash behind me, and on tinue the voyage to Le Moustier, but

looking round saw my companion in a apart from the fact that I could not get · position that did not afford him much up the rapids alone, I was quite willing opportunity for gesticulation. He was to pass the night at Tursac. Having up to his middle in the water, but chained the boat to a willow, I walked bitched on to the side of the boat with through the meadows towards a group his heels and hands. He had given a of houses, in the midst of which stood vigorous push with his pole upon a a church, easily distinguished by its stone that rolled, and be rolled too. walls and tower. When I had arNow the boat being very light and narranged matters for the night, I passed row, an effort on his part to return to through the doorway of this little his former position would have filled it church, under whose vault the same · with water ; so he remained still while human story that begins with the chris

I, bringing my weight to bear on the tening, receives a new impetus from other side, managed to haul him up by marriage, and is brought to an end by the arms. After this experience he the funeral, had been repeated by so was restless and apparently uncomfort- many sons after their fathers. The air able, and we had not gone much far-was heavy with the fragrance of roses ther before he expressed a wish to land from the Lady Chapel, where a little on the edge of a field. Here he took lamp gleamed on the ground beside the - off the garments which he now felt altar. As the sun went down, the were superfluous, vigorously wrung the roses and leaves began to brighten with water out of them, and spread them in the shine of the lamp, like a garden the sun to dry. I left him there fight-corner in the early moonlight. ing with the flies, whose curiosity and l At the inn I met one of those comenterprise were naturally excited by mercial travellers who work about in such rare good luck, and went to the rural districts of France, driving dream a while in the shadow of the from village to village with their samrock on the very edge of which are the ples, fiercely competing for the favors ramparts of the ruined castle of La of the rustic shopkeeper, doing their Madeleine. This is the most pictur- utmost to get before one another, and esque bit of the valley of the Vézère ; | be the first bee that sucks the flower, but to feel all the romance of it, and all taking advantage of one another's erthe poetry of a perfect union of rocks rors and accidents, but always good and ruin, trees and water, one must | friends and excellent table companions glide upon the river that here is deep when they meet. I learnt that my and calm, and is full of that mystery new acquaintance was “ in the draof intinitely intermingled shadow and pery." We were comparing notes of reflection which is the hope and the our experience in the rough country despair of the landscape painter. Now of the Corrèze, when he, as le rolled in this month of May the shrubs that up another cigarette, said :cluug to the furrowed face of the whitel “I had learnt to put up with a good deal in the Corrèze, but one day I had fifty kilomètres. What a bouquet ! a surprise which was too much for me. What a fine goût du terroir!' He will I had dined at one of those auberges not be able to bear much more of this that you have been speaking of, and if he has any of the wine. Unless you then asked for some coffee. It was an are pretty sure that he has some, it is old man who made it, and he strained not worth while talking about it. Exit through - guess what he strained it pect him to disappear, and to come through ?

back presently with a dirty-looking I guessed it was something not very bottle, which he will handle as tenderly appropriate, but was too discreet to as if it were a new baby.". give it a name.

Those whose travelling in France is " Eh bien ! It was the heel of an carried out according to the directions old woollen stocking."

I given in guide-books -- the writers of * And did you drink the coffee ?" which nurse the reader's respectability

“No. I said that I had changed my with the fondest care — will of course mind."

conclude that the best hotels in the We did not take any coffee that wine districts are those in which the evening. We had something less likely best wine of the country is to be had. to set the fancy exploring the secrets This is an error. The wine in the larger of the kitchen, where through the open hotels is almost invariably the “ wine doorway we could see our old peasant of commerce ; " that is to say, a mixhostess seated on her little bench in ture of differeut sorts more or less the ingle and nodding her head over“ doctored ” with sulphate of lime, to the dying embers of her hearth. Her overcome a natural aversion to travelhusband was induced by the traveller ling. The hotel keeper in order to keep to bring up from the cherished corner on good terms with the representaof his cellar a bottle of the old wine tives of the wine merchants - all mixof Tursac, made from the patriarchalers — who stop at his house, distributes vines before the pestilential insect drew his custom amongst them. Those who the life out of them. The hillsides set value on a pure vin du pays with a above the Vézère are growing green specific flavor belonging to the soil again with vineyards, and again the should look for it in the little out-ofjuice of the grape is beginning to flow the-way auberge lying amongst the abundantly ; but years must pass be- vineyards. There it is probable that fore it will be worthy of being put into some of the old stock is still left, and if the same cellar with the few bottles of the vigneron-innkeeper says it is the the old wine which has been treasured old wine, the traveller may confidently up here and there by the grower, but believe him. I have never known in which he thinks it a sacrilege to drink such cases any attempt at deception, on occasions less solemn than mar- The next morning I reached Le Mouriages or christenings iu the family. stier. Here the valley is broad, but

“You can often coax the old wine the rocks, which are like the footstools from them,” said my knowing compan- of the hills, shut in the landscape all ion, "if you go the right way to work." around. These naked, perpendicular “And what is the secret ?

masses of limestone, yellow like ochre “Flattery ; there is nothing like it. or as white as chalk, and reflecting the Flatter the peasant and you will be brilliance of the sun, must have afforded almost sure to move him. Say, “Ah, shelter to quite a dense population in what a time that was when you had the days when man made his weapons the old wine in your cellars !? He and implements from flints, and is will say, 'N'est-ce pas, monsieur !' and supposed to have lived contemporanebrighten up at the thought of it. Then ously with the reindeer. Notwithstandyou will continue : “Yes, indeed, that ing all the digging and searching that was a wine worth drinking. There has gone on of late years on this spot, was nothing like it w be found within the soil in the neighborhood of the inhabited caverns and shelters is still full! My water-faring back to Les Eyzies of the traces of prehistoric man. was far easier than the voyage up· Shortly before my coming, a savant stream. Nevertheless, there was some - everybody is called a savant here excitement in it, for when the rapids who goes about like a chiffonnier with were reached, the current snatched the his nose towards the ground — gave a boat, as it were, from me, but carried man two francs to be allowed to dig me with it, by little reefs each marked for a few hours in a corner of his gar- out as an islet as white as snow, by den. The man was willing enough to the floating flowers of the water ranunhave his ground cleared of stones on culus ; but when its strength failed, it these terms. The savant therefore went left me to drift where in the dark to work, and when he left in the even- shadow of rock and tree the water ing he took with him half a sackful of rested from its race. Presently the flints and bones.

rapids were seen again dancing in the In a side valley close to Le Moustier sun, and the boat, gliding on to just is a line of high vertical or overleaning where the smooth surface curved and rocks. A ledge accessible from the the current took its leap without a ripground runs along the face, and nearly ple, darted forward like a startled waterin the ceutre, and at the back of it, are bird. Once a back current whirled my numerous hollows in the calcareous fragile boat completely round. Then I stone, some natyral, and others partly remembered the good advice of the scooped out with the aid of metal im- friendly “ Otter” at Beynac with refplements whose marks can still be erence to going down these streams, seen. Each of these shelters was in- where the water has to be watched with habited. Holes and recesses have been some attention if one does not wish to cut in the walls to serve for various get capsized : “Tenez-vous toujours domestic purposes, and on the ground dans le plus fort du courant." are traces of fireplaces, reservoirs for Again in calm water, I recognized, water, etc. The original inhabitants of beyond the still grass and the scattered these hollows may have been savages llame of the scarlet poppies, the high no more advanced in the arts than walls of the fortress-like church of those who worked flints, but it is cer- Tayac with the light of the sinking tain that the latest occupiers were much sun upon them. Then a little lower more civilized. Rows of holes roughly down at the ford, which was my stopcut in the limestone show where the ping-place, a pair of bullocks were ends of beams once rested, and the crossing the river with a wagon-load of use of these timbers was evidently to hay ; so that the picturesque, the idylsupport a roof that covered much of lic, and the sentiment of peace were the ledge. It is quite certain that peo- all blended so perfectly as to make me ple lived here in the Middle Ages, and feel that the pen was powerless, and they might do so now but for the diffi- that the painter's brush alone could culty of bringing up water. The se- save the scene from passing away forcurity which the position afforded could ever. E. HARRISON BARKER. hardly have been lost sight of in the days when the inhabitants of Guyenne were separated into two chief categories — robbers and those who were

From The Nineteenth Century. continually being robbed. One must

MEDIÆVAL MEDICINE. therefore be guarded against wild talk It has been said that nothing is any. about prehistoric man in connection thing except relatively. It is an epi. with these rock dwellings, which in gram pregnant with truth and worthy many cases were used as fortresses of being pondered. In the present during the three hundred years' strug- paper we propose to consider what medgle between the English and French in ical science and practice were in the Aquitaine.

Middle Ages, to the end that we may

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