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life of a group of charming persons. It Last year's sunsets and great stars has some really interesting details to be That had a right to come first and see ebb picked out of its now tiresome pages.
The crimson wave that drifts the sun It is an elaborate tribute to and expres
Those crescent moons with notched and sion of beauty, art, and youth. It lets
burning rims us see the queen herself moving from
That strengthened with sharp fire, and her garden at the end of day, lighted
there stood by torches, going up the steps of the
Impatient of the azure—and that day castle, seated at table, and again in the
In March, a double rainbow stopped the garden. There, with the music of
stormbeautiful instruments, noted as such; May's warm, slow, yellow, moonlit sumthe singing, the talk, the grace and mer nightsvirginal loveliness of the three ladies Gone are they, but I have them in my of the court; the decorous freedom of
soul, manner, the unfailing tribute to beauty,
That is poetry; and it is an expression the grave glance, the golden hair, the
of what the poet saw and felt at Asolo; blush; even the contour of the breast
it is the note of nature there, where yet of Sabinetta-who, owing to the heat
one may asolare, that is to say, “disport of the day, wore the thinnest vesture, and blashed under the glance of Gis
in the open air, amuse one's self at ran
dom.” No railway traverses the Asolan mondo one realizes from such touches
EUGENE BENSON. and traits a pretty moment of life in an enchanting place. It was all lived in the garden of the very castle whose noble tower is yet to be seen at Asolo; and while those dear people sat in the
From Blackwood's Magazine, sbade by a fountain, or passed through
MY PEASANT HOST OF THE DORDOGNE. : the solemn da ness of a thick grove, The quest of game may often have the queen slept. It was a day of Sep- led to curious discoveries. In my case, tember when the conversation at any rate, the desire for sport made begun so pleasantly, and the queen, her- me acquainted with as original a secself, hearing of the pleasant discus- tion of humanity as one could wish to sion, came to preside at the conclusion find; and the newness of my surround
ings somewhat atoned for the scarcity Do not think that Asolo means but the of the lazy quail or too wild partridge. promenade-place of the Lady of Asolo, Getting out of the train at Lamotheor owes the most to an unread book. Montravel, I was not disappointed to It means something far more interest- find a station utterly devoid of moveing, richer and better than the shell of ment. This was the kind of place I had extinct life. It means poetry and a sought and expected. I asked the chef wide vision of nature; it means some- de gare, who was fumbling with some thing that endures, and is dear to packages that had to go off by the next memory. Robert Browning, in “Aso. train, to direct me to Flaujagues, in lando," with a felicitous title, associated which village lived my peasant-prohis last verse with the place of his prietor host of the Dordogne. His exchoice; but the book, it must be ad- planation that the little fishing village mitted, bas little of Asolo in it. The lay on the opposite side of the Dordogne lover of his poetry knows, however, was interrupted by the strident voice where to look for his Asolo. If you of Alain Lafarge himself. Two hunwould know and feel the fire and pas. dred yards off did the blagueur begin his sion of his first Asolan days, read his nonsense. earlier verse, where you will find im- “Yes, I am late. Well, I had the carpressions of Asolo,' to the very last riage out with four horses but they "crimson wave that drifts the sun couldn't get on to the ferry-boat, so I away:"—
had to leave them on the other side.
And,” he continued, by way of welcome, ing village, with stone terraces and "my wife is furious at you for coming steps leading down to the water's edge; now, as she has nothing ready."
but behind the terraces were cottages In this strain he continued to ha- only, not, as one expected to find, the rangue me until he had come within a loggia of a semi-Italian villa. Lafarge yard or two of where I stood; then, stop- pointed out to me the only fairly decent ping suddenly, he raised his hat or house, calling it the château, and exalpaca smoking-cap, and said dryly, plaining that it belonged to Monsieur le “Bonjour, monsieur.” It was an action Maire de Flaujagues, whose only peculiar to the Girondin peasant. He daughter was passing rich, with cerwill talk to you for some minutes at a tainly two hundred thousand francs certain distance, but on approaching dot. "Et pas fière avec cela. She talks will interrupt his conversation to bid to my niece and says tu to her. She you good-day.
does much good in the country.” Lafarge seized my somewhat heavy By this time we had reached our desvalise, carrying it with an ease which tination. Lafarge had told me so much showed that although he was a small about his terres, showing me plans of his man, hard work had developed his vineyards, and describing his two muscles. On the way to the ferry-a houses, that I was rather disappointed walk of half a mile he kept up an un. to find a two-roomed cottage standing ceasing flow of badinage.
in a tangled garden, the whole bearing "I suppose you mean to stay two or every sign of discomfort. My cheerful three days with this bagful? I am host, however, continued his blague. glad you have brought more than one “This is our town-house," he explained, shirt. Now the hot weather has set in, after greetings had passed between his I shall not be sorry to borrow one from wife and me. “Our country seat is on you. The one I have worn all this time the banks of the river; you shall see it is unpleasant,” and so on.
to-morrow. Let me show you over the At length we got to the ferry, where house." A table, already roughly laid an aged man was resting on the one for the evening meal, stood in the oar with which all the fishing-boats on corner. Pointing to this, he continued the Dordogne are propelled-from the —“There is the dining-room. Where stern, of course.
the mud-floor leaves off and the bricks “You see this gentleman,” said Lafarge, begin is the kitchen, which we have to "He ferries people over all day, wet or use as a salon while the reception-rooms fine, and he is sixty-five, and as strong are being redecorated. That” (pointing as a young man. He is often very to a huge linen-chest) "is where we keep drunk,” he added in an aside to me, a little ready money; the bulk of our “mais un brave homme quand même." fortune is in the Funds. This door is
I noticed in this the odd custom of the conveniently constructed to open into peasants of describing each other as my wife's room, my room, your room, monsieur, madame, and so forth. At the cellar, the kennels, and the grananother time Lafarge said to me, “You ary.” So saying, he threw open a door, see that young lady (cette demoiselle) revealing the only other room, and it also tending those sheep; she is a charming had a mud floor and was furnished as a young lady.” (She was indeed shape- bedroom. My eye was immediately less and ugly.) "Her family are very caught by the bed-hangings, wbich rich. They have perhaps twelve thou- were made of a kind of print which sand francs. Still she has never found turned out to be over a hundred years any one to marry her.” And so on-an old. The pattern on it represented a vilendless story.
lage marriage scene of exceeding A few strokes of the oar brought us quaintness. to the opposite side of the Dordogne, Lafarge's description of the appartewhich at that season was very low. ment had brought to my mind rooms Flaujagues appeared a quaint little fish- I had heard of where whole families
slept with their friends. But my fears extracts the essences of the different were quickly dispelled by my host. ingredients and enables them to mis,
"You will be alone here,” he said. a process which would be hindered by “My wife and I are staying with the oil. The salad was the saving Monsieur Noël, the grocer-a charming clause of the meal, which otherwise gentleman. You must not be frightened consisted of a tough chicken and one or if you hear three knocks in the middle two messes. The wine of my host's of the night. I cannot account for it- own growing was good as vin but it does no harm. My family have ordinaire, being, indeed, of the St. lived here for hundreds of years.” And Emilion district. The blagueur's chaff certain it is, I may say here, that one enlivened
the repast. Being very night I awoke with the half-conscious- thirsty, I drained my first glass of wine ness of some one knocking. As it was at a draught. Lafarge's habit to thump at the shutter "In the society I have frequented," to awake me, I ran and opened the win- quoth Lafarge solemnly, “it is considdow, expecting to find daylight; but the ered better manners to drink little by moon was high in the heavens, and no little. But your action is excusable one was to be seen or heard. I was only when you are drinking Château Crabi, disturbed in this way once.
so called after my other estate.” We returned to the kitchen and liv- Madame Lafarge declined to sit at ing-room, and before dining I asked to table, but waited upon us with neatness be allowed to wash my hands. “Do so and alacrity. From the garden in there,” said Lafarge, indicating a stone which we sat could be caught a glimpse sink built into the wall in a corner of the of the street. Presently appeared a room. An opening in the wall allowed rather ghastly figure in a white smock any water which was thrown there to or blouse covered with blood-stains, flow into the garden. In the sink stood a whom Lafarge hailed, explaining to me, bucket filled with fresh water, and near “That gentleman is the butcher's assistit an ingenious tin pannikin furnished ant. He will help me with the boat with a long tubular spout which served to-night, for I want to get you a fine as a bandle also. With this it was easycarp for luncheon to-morrow. I supto fish water out of a half-empty bucket, pose you do not feel inclined to go with and the spout enabled one to drink the water, or do with it as one wished. I assured my landlord that nothing The first time I made use of this pan- would give me greater pleasure thau nikin, the water went down my sleeve, to see him catch some fish. He pro. but Lafarge took hold of it and allowed ceeded to give his instructions to the the water to trickle on to my hands butcher's boy. while I washed them.
“You will go round to my brother's." "We will have supper in the open air
“Oh!" replied the youth. if you like," said he; “but first I will “You will ask him for the key of his make a salad such as you delight in.” boat, if he does not want to fish to
Having washed his hands, he pro- night.” ceeded to take several large tomatoes, “Oh!" the youth ejaculated again. which he peeled-an important factor in “You will bring the boat down to the the making of salad-and sliced. Then lower landing-place and clear it of he added thin layers of raw onions, water." chopped green pimentos, pepper and
“Oh!" salt. He soused the mixture in vinegar “And you will wait there with the to such an extent that I feared I could nets until this gentleman and I arrive." nerer eat it; but having left the vinegar “Oh! oh!” cried the boy, and turned on the salad for a few minutes, he away. poured it all off, and then added a few “He evidently dislikes the idea of spoonfuls of oil. This is the best coming out fishing," I remarked. method of making a salad. The vinegar "Could not we manage without him?"
"He! He is only too pleased! I will art in throwing it. If it is properly stand him an apéritif to-morrow, and he cast, the whole circumference of the net will be delighted. What makes you should touch the water simultaneously; think he dislikes coming ?”
a violent splash is thus avoided, and the “Well,” I rejoined, “to all you said net, of course, takes in the largest possihe only answered, 'Oh! i.
ble surface of water. To achieve this Lafarge laughed aloud and used a end, the fisherman stands in the bows of strong expression.
the boat, holding the middle fold of the “Why, O is patois for Oui, yes. Did net at the centre, or apex, in his mouth; you not know that?”
while the left half of the net is then I felt rather foolish at this explana- spread over his left arm and elbow. tion. By way of saying something, I With his right hand he now seizes the asked, "What is the patois for 'No'?”. outer portion of the right half, and get
"Well,” replied Lafarge, “that de- ting a swing on the lead weights, throws pends on whom you are talking to. If it with all his strength. As I have said, you are in the habit of tutoyer anybody, the net, if properly cast, describes a you would say 'Nou.' But if you are not circle on the water, and the leaden on such familiar terms, you would say weights sinking, envelops the fish in its 'Nani.'"
meshes. A few yards of rope attached I endeavored to discover some other to the centre of the net prevent its being peculiarities of the patois of the dis- lost. The fisherman can feel when the trict, but found it almost impossible, leads have either touched the river from the fact that the peasants them bottom or closed together, and pulls up selves pronounce a word differently carefully—and a mixture of fish is every time they use it, sometimes add- landed. There is a certain solemnity ing a final vowel, sometimes leaving it about the proceedings, for talking above out, always availing themselves of the a whisper is forbidden, and a skilful Spanish habit of indifferently pronounc- boatman makes no noise with the single ing the b or the v, and of the equally car with which he guides the boat from Spanish peculiarity of using all verbs the stern. Fishing in this manner is intransitively. “Il l'a épousé à cette only successful before the rising of the femme,” they will say for “He has married that woman;" "Je l'ai oublié au On this occasion great excitement was fusil;' and so forth.
caused by a tremendous splashing and At about nine o'clock we wended our pulling on the net. Alain Lafarge deway to the river side, where the butcher clared that there must be a twentyboy
waiting with the boat. pounder of some species in it. With Lafarge had provided himself with a great caution he proceeded to haul up thick fisherman's pea-jacket and trou- the monster, meanwhile creating much sers. Afterwards I regretted not hav- commotion and striking against the ing taken a similar precaution, for the sides of the boat. He had nearly got throwing of the nets splashes the occu- the fish to the surface when the craft pants of the boat. The boat, though drifted over some shelving rocks. The rough in appearance, was light enough net was disarranged, and off went our on the water. It was flat-bottomed, but, prey! Such a volley of patois as folunlike our English punts, sharp at both lowed this fiasco I never heard. A few ends, and higher there than in the small fish, however, had remained in middle. The net used was of the shape the net. Of these the most appreciated called épervier, or hawk-probably on was the mule, a kind of grey mullet of account of the sudden manner in which the river; a fish called alose, which it descends upon the unwary fish. tasted like salmon; a small barbel or When spread out, the épervier is several two; a few small eels; a carlet or metres in circumference, and quite cir- flounder; two or three bream; and some cular. It has a heavy circle of lead coarser fish. Before we went home we weights round the base. There is much had a bucketful of fish, the largest of
which were two carp weighing some six fortune to say, "See, there is a likely pounds each.
bit for a quail," he would be sure to The Dordogne, which at this point, answer, "Pardon, monsieur, it is too by the way, divides the Gironde from thick",
-or too dry, or something. On the Dordogne (departments), is full of one occasion we came upon a long ditch fish. In February and March lam- full of grass and weeds running preys are quite an object of commerce, through a meadow. the earliest fish fetching ten francs “That,” I exclaimed, “is where we each, or even more. Lampreys are shall put up a quail.” caught by means of baskets, resem- "Pardon, monsieur; the quail will be bling lobster-pots, stretched across the running about feeding in the maizeriver from iron posts fixed into the fields or in the flat. They would not rock. The fish are like large fat eels, think of putting themselves in of a tawny color, and weigh up to six ditch.” pounds. When caught they are cov- At this moment the setter pointed ered with slime, which, if not removed right into the ditch, and presently we by dipping in scalding water, imparts had secured a couple of quail. “Tiens, a muddy flavor to the fish. The c'est étrange," said Lafarge, in no way peculiarity of the lamprey is that it perturbed. As a matter of fact, he has absolutely no bones, and can be cut was well acquainted with the habits of straight across in rolls before serving game. A little later on we had had a There is a smaller species known as few days' rain. With my English the lamproyon, which, however, is not experience, I expected that the redso good. On one occasion we had a legged partridges would be more wild good friture of gudgeon caught on lines than ever. baited with boiled oats. Lafarge was “After this rain,” said Lafarge, "we so keen a sportsman that he hardly in- shall be able to get much nearer the dulged in any of his pranks while we partridges in the vines. Their legs were fishing. Once, indeed, he ap- will be so clogged with clay that they pealed to us for assistance: he was will not like getting up." being dragged into the river, he de- We managed to shoot one or two clared. The oarsman backed water, which rose in the vines at a dozen and we came to his assistance. The yards, and, sure enough, their legs net was pulled in without difficulty, were trousered with yellow clay. Laand was found to contain one small farge made me acquainted also with fish of the sardine species.
many facts about woodcock and other The next morning I was awakened migratory birds, especially with the at 5.30 by a loud knocking at my shut- effect of the changes of the moon on ters. My host had come to take me their movements. I have since proved out shooting. His dogs-a clever Irish his statements to be true, but have no setter called Jeannette, and a useless room here to record them. young pointer-were jumping around This last summer was exceptionally him, barking with delight: I never dry, and the quail season a bad one. I could understand why, for while out need not, therefore, dwell long upon with their master they received more this sport. Perhaps the most amusing kicks than halfpence.
incidents of the day were Lafarge's Lafarge had always told me that one remarks, and the way he apostrophized could find quail close to his house; but his Irish setter. She understood every it was certainly three-quarters of an word he said. When she was setting hour before we turned off the highroad at a quail he would say, “A présent si into some grass-meadows and maize- tu remues” (if you budge you move). fields. I had already shot woodcock "Et pas de surprises,” he would add. with Alain, and knew him to be a good The climax in his anger was always sportsman; only his unfailing contra- reached when he called his dog “cadictionsness rather spoiled the enjoy- naille." She would then lie flat on her ment of the chase. If I had the mis- back and shut her eyes as though wait