Fifth Series, Volume XXXVII.

No. 1962. – January 28, 1882.


From Beginning,

Vol. CLII.

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CONTENTS. I PEASANT PROPRIETORS. Jottings in France in September and October,

Contemporary Review, .
II, THE FRERES. By Mrs. Alexander, author of
“The Wooing O't.” Part XXVII.,

Temple Bar,

Blackvood's Magazine,
IV. ROBIN. By Mrs. Parr, author of “Adam
and Eve." Part II.,

Temple Bar,
V. More DIVERSIONS OF A PEDAGOGUE, Macmillan's Magazine,
VI. JULIET. By Helena Faucit Martin,

Blackwood's Magazine,

Chambers' Journal,


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From The Contemporary Review. opening into an inner court, where, on the PEASANT PROPRIETORS.

flights of steps and balustrades and JOTTINGS IN

AND tic” masonry, stand pots of large olean

ders and pomegranates. Every linuse has PARIS looked grey and dull this year in its own physiognomy instead of being the last days of August and the first week turned out by the gross; but, then, there of September. Indeed, we have seen an is the consolation (or the reverse) that amount of bad weather there at different each street can now be swept by cannon times, wet, cold, windy, snowy, such as in case of a great row or a revolution, and would bave ruined the reputation of any that a gun planted at the Hôtel de Ville English town. But it is always useful as can command the whole line of the Rue well as agreeable to praise oneself, and de Rivoli down to the Place de la ConParis has done this to such good effect, corde ! that the world at large believes that her Two hundred miles of dead flat (with climate is as pleasant as some other of her the exception of the pretty hills round characteristics.

Fontainebleau) carried us through the The town looks less picturesque at every centre of France from Paris to Dijon, that fresh visit, for the piercing of new streets “ ugly picture in a beautiful frame,” which increases yearly, and they are all built in must always be traversed, in whatever the true boulevard style, with high man- direction the country is crossed. sarde rooss and gables in them, all of the We passed much undrained ground, same height and pattern, the long lines of with bulrushes and coarse grass, much windows and mouldings running straight ragwort and weeds of all sorts, tracts of through from end to end, without a break, frowsy land, low lying and marshy, or high with monotonous regularity, evidently lying and bare, evidently not worth culticonstructed by the acre. Old Paris was vation by the small proprietors when it a triumph of individualism even five-and- lay far away from their dwellings. The twenty years ago; every house had been melancholy-looking villages stand a good built at some time by somebody accord. way apart on both sides the line, quite ing to his own taste and fancy — to live unaffected by the railroad; their one-stoin, not to sell. It had an idiosyncracy of ried houses, with deep brown, almost its own, resulting from the individual black, tiled roofs, looked like barns, with thought and requirements of the owner, hardly any chimneys, dilapidated, wretchdiffering in each. A few old streets re-ed, with no new constructions of any kind main of the old picturesque fashion, and to be seen, except at the railway stations. we passed through one or two on our road There are no“ bettermost” houses among to the Lyons Station. Here is a house, them, but all of one low-level character, two stories high, red brick, with a great with a miserable little church in the midst, deal of color in the lower half, grey stone generally hardly bigger or better than the ornaments over each window, and an buildings round it. Not an atom of ornaarched doorway with some rich old iron ment or even a gable was to be seen, and work in it. Alongside stands a lofty the houses grow, as it were, out of the neighbor of five stories, with balconies at bare ground, without a scrap of flowerthe top, full of trailing nasturtiums and garden, or so much as a path up to the scarlet geraniums, a bower of green doors. There were hardly any by-roads, wreaths showing against a dark brown only the one chaussée, so that everybody roof, and pignons sur la rue with round must cross everybody else's land to culti. beaded windows set in blunt triangular vate their own plots. In the excessive gables. Next comes some good plaster subdivision these plots lie very separate, work in panels between the pilasters of and one owner will often possess ten or the architraves, while opposite rises the twelve pieces of half or even a quarter of pediment of the old Hôtel de Sully, with an acre, each of which has to be ploughed boldly carved entablatures and emblazon- and harrowed, planted and manured sepments in stone, the great porte-cochère arately. The enormous amount of labor




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expended, and the small return of grain is | dancing in one place. “O! on a aboli very striking, less than half the crops tout ça !” was the answer; there is a ball which are gathered in England, according sometimes at Christmas in the towns, but to Mr. Caird. And this though the cli- none of the old dancing on Sundays, only mate is so much better than our own, as hard work. Yet, I remember, as a child, might be seen by the maize and the vines, hearing a peasant ditty — while the average of the soil is certainly

C'est demain dimanche, as good. The women were carrying great Les garçons vont les prier, Mademoiselle, voulez-vous

que les filles dansent weights, working bare.headed in the fields, washing bare-legged in the streams, driv. Une contredanse, le pied sur la planche.

En avant, chasser croiser, ing the rude ploughs, etc., which always shows a low ebb of civilization. Not a machine was to be seen the whole way, which showed a different state of things. except one for making hay, half-way to

We have not seen a gate for nearly Dijon ; indeed, such small owners can three hundred miles, and although hedges not afford them.

in the north of France and walls in the The supply of firewood


south are left to mark out the divisions scanty, and came from afar - faggots and (often into the smallest of fields), great trunks of trees, of which the largest meas. gaps are left to pass from one to the other, ured about eight or ten inches in diame- so that the cows require a guardian to ter. The peasants cannot afford to keep keep them to their duties. A cow, inforest land, which entails long waiting for deed, is a fine lady, who never goes out the profit of the produce, and the woods without her man or maid, by whom she is belong to the few large proprietors at taken for a browsing of a couple of hours great distances apart. Indeed, these are or so, in the morning and afternoon, and few and far between, for after passing no one seemed to mind any beasts but his Fontainebleau we only saw two châteaux own. A flock of sheep, with a shepherd from the railway. They both stood high, and two wolf-like dogs watching them, with some terraces and ornamental trees was a new sight. The last time we had about them and their dépendences. Else noticed it was near Anniens. the excessive monotony of the open flat

The scene changed when we came near country, unbroken by a single division or Dijon. “ France” is a big word, and to hedge, and without a tree, except the talk as if any generalization held good rows of miserable polled black poplars, from the Manche to the Mediterranean was extremely depressing. When once is, of course, even more absurd than to we came upon a group of three large speak of Kent and Caithness as alike, horse-chestnuts and elms, the first and because they are both British. last we saw in one hundred and fifty miles,

Vineyards cover the rounded hills of their beautiful rich round outlines were a the Côte d'Or, the red and black loam of joy to the eye, wearied with the sight of which produces the valuable Burgundy green brooms in long lines. Thousands wines. The crop, however, is a very exof French peasants can never have seen pensive and “chanceya real tree in their whole lives.

twelve per cent is made in a good year, The look of the houses, with the persi. but in a bad one hardly anything, while ennes of the one best room always closed, occasionally it is a positive loss; then is very dismal, and the holes left for scaf- the small owner must borrow or beg. fold-poles in the walls when building, not The best growths are in the hands of filled up, gives them an unfinished, gaunt large proprietors, chiefly wine-merchants, appearance. Altogether the country

but there is a great deal of common Bur. looked grave, grey, dull, decaying, and gundy grown on little patches of ten to the population is everywhere stationary, twelve journaux.* The bad years of late in some places diminishing. A dreary have been many and trying, the phylloxera life “ Jacques Bonhomme" seems to lead in central France. I asked about the * A journal is three-quarters of an acre.


Ten or

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has invaded the country, although it is solution, to satisfy the instinct for getting not so bad as in some parts; two and rid of all that differs from the color of the a half per cent was all that could be prevailing opinion of the moment. There counted upon, taking everything into con- is no reason why in a dozen more years a sideration. The men who work for hire succeeding wave will not have washed are paid generally in kind ; if in money, away all the handiworks of the present about four francs a day in the vineyards generation of busy workers, like the sand at this season.

forts and gardens of children on the seaDijon, the capital of the old civilization shore, or rather there is every reason to of the south-east of France, is full of old expect it. Each, however, is equally memories and old monuments of “les fierce in its conviction that it has hold of princes des bons vins," as her sovereigns the whole truth and nothing but the truth, were called; but everything was defaced and that all who differ are either scounat the Great Revolution, and grievously drels or fools, probably both at once. mutilated. The Chartreuse has been The lilies of France can be traced on the levelled to the ground, where were the scutcheons, under the red cap of “ Li. magnificent monuments of the dukes of berté, égalité, et fraternité” of 1793 — the Burgundy, altar tombs on which lie grand bees of Napoleon again over the signs of colossal figures of Philippe le Hardi, 1404, the republic — more lilies, Louis Phi. and his son, Jean sans Peur, with his wife, lippe's cocks, more fraternités," more Margaret of Bavaria, 1419, called “the bees, more republics, red and other, finest specimen of mediæval art north of carved or painted over doors of national the Alps.” They lie with their hands monuments, at the corners of squares, in raised to heaven, "in their habits as they frescoed ceilings. Everywhere may be lived," and colored like life. The heads traced crumbled idols, dead enthusiasms, are very fine, individual, and full of char. extinct beliefs, emblems of rallying-cries acter; they were only saved by being that rally no longer. “Tout passe, tout pulled to pieces and buried. They have casse, tout lasse,” is a truly French feelnow been stuck together and placed in ing. the museum, and the tearing them out of When a tree or a constitution has roots the associations for which they were de in the soil and gradually grows and develsigned, the breaking-up of the setting of ops, the changes may be great, but there which they were the centre, has so spoilt will be a certain harmony in its whole the poetry and sentiment of the tombs, character, it is possible to calculate the that they have nearly lost their savor course it will take; but if it is cut down and sunk to the level of the “curios” and another planted every twenty years which surround them “dried head of or so, who can say what the next tree of a cannibal from the Feejee Islands,” liberty may turn out to be? The waste “ fetish of an African king,” etc.; and of energy is enormous in this perpetual when we came to the “cast of the skull” reconstruction. History has no lessons of the fierce old Jean himself, taken out for a people which has thus deliberately of his grave, the force of disenchantment broken with its past, whose sole idea of could so farther go.

improvement is to make terre rase and The ancient Palais de Justice has nearly build from the foundation. “ Aucun de been improved away. The rage for de nous connaît son père, nous sortons tous siruction in France has been greater than de dessous le pavé,” said Cousin one in any other country: to wipe out the evening at Madame Mohl's, in despair at past, to begin again from the very bottòm the want of continuity in French politics, of the edifice, seems to be the chief object ideals, and institutions. of the national existence. The old dynas- The elections were just over, and the ties, the old institutions, the buildings, papers full of skits upon them. A conare levelled or improved out of all knowl. versation between an elector and his repedge; the very names of the streets in resentative began with, Paris must be changed in each fresh rev- “? Are you going to diminish the taxes ?

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