great progress, and painted pictures finer, but the next morning's suo fiods most of than any of the old masters. I only make us sluggards again. an exception of Hobbema." Could there I returned towards the tarn which I had be a much sounder artistic creed than this left the day before, but with the intention professed by Artz? His practice was in of keeping somewhat to the south of it keeping with his creed. He lacked inten- for a while. However beautiful the scensity, it is true, and dealt only with the ery of a gorge may be, the sensation of simpler and more obvious phases of being at the bottom of a crevice at length human nature and experience, but his becomes depressing, and the mind, which style has in it a graceful and gracious is never satisfied with anything long, beindividuality; his color is sweet and har- gins to wonder what the world is like monious, and his composition almost beyond the enclosing cliffs, and the desire always both unaffected and effective. to climb them and to look forth under a

wider range of sky grows stronger. Such change is needed, for when there is languor within, the impressions from without

are dull. The country through which I From Temple Bar.

now passed was very beautiful with its WAYFARING IN THE ROUERGUE.

multitude of chestnut-trees, the pale yel. THAT district of southern France so low plumes of the male blossom still celebrated in the history of the Middle clinging to them and hiding half their Ages as the Rouergue is now shown on leaves; but here again was the sad spectathe map as the department of the Aveyron, cle of abandoned, weedy, and almost leafbut its old name has by no means passed less vineyards upon stony slopes which out of use with the inhabitants. In the had been changed into fruit-bearing tertwelfth century Henry II. of England, races by the long labor of dead generaDuke of Anjou and Normandy, laid claim tions. to it by reason of his marriage with Elea. The first village I came to was Coupiac, nor of Aquitaine. It was ceded to En- lying in a deep hollow, from the boitom gland by treaty after the battle of Poitiers, of which rose a rugged mass of schistous but the nobles and the people were never rock, with houses all about it under the reconciled to British rule, and they strug- protecting shadow of a strong castle with gled against it intermittently and with high, round towers in good preservation. varying success for nearly three hundred It was a mediæval fortress, but its mul. years. What with wars of succession and lioned windows cut in the walls of the towreligious wars the Rouergue was one of ers and other details showed that it had the most disturbed and blood-drenched re- been considerably modified and adapted gions of France. Great political changes, to changed conditions of life at the time however, have cut it off more than any of the Renaissance. A troop of little other, lower Brittany excepted, from the girls were going up to it, and teaching movement of the modern world. It is a sisters, who had changed it into a strongwild, rocky, thinly populated district, with hold of education, were waiting for them many stern and some beautiful landscapes, in the court. Hard by upon the edge of but with little left save its ruined castles the castle rock was a calvary. The naked to confirm the stirring records of its stormy schist, ribbed and seamed, served for mediæval history.

pavement in the steep little streets of this I had passed the night at the village of picturesque old village, where most of the Plaisance on the western boundary of the people went barefoot. This is the custom Rouergue, and having made up my mind of the region and does not necessarily to reach St. Affrique in a day's walk, I set imply poverty. Here the sabotier's trade out on my journey at an early hour in the is a poor one, and the cobbler's is still morning. There were some thirty miles worse. In the Albigeois I was the neighof country to cross, and I had, moreover, bor of a well-to-do farmer who up to the to reckon with the July sun, which shines age of sixty had never known the sensa. very earnestly in southern France, tion of sock or stocking, nor had he ever though it were bent on ripening all the worn a shoe of wood or leather. fruits of the earth in a single day. By No female beauty did I see here, nor getting up earlier than usua: I was able to elsewhere in the Rouergue. Plainness of watch the morning opening like a wild feature in men and women is the rule rose. When we feel all the charm that throughout this extensive tract of country. graces the beginning of a summer day, we But there is this to be said in favor of the resolve in future to rise with the birds, girls and younger women, that they gen.

erally have well-shaped figures and a very | uplaods. Near the brow of a hill I passed erect carriage, which last is undoubtedly a very ancient crucifix of granite, the head, due to the habit of carrying weights upon which must originally have been of the the head, especially water, which needs to rudest sculpture, having the features quite be carefully balanced.

obliterated by time. How the peasants stared at me as I A rural postman in a blouse with red passed along! The expression of their collar had been trudging up the hill be. faces showed that they were completely hind me, and I let him overtake me so puzzled as to what manner of person I that I might fall into conversation with was, and what I was doing there. Had I him, for these men are generally more inbeen taking along a dancing-bear they telligent or better informed than the peaswould have understood my motives far ants. I have often walked with them and better, and my social success with them never without receiving either instruction would have been undoubtedly greater. As or amusement. When we had reached the it was, most of them eyed me with extreme highest ground, from which a splendid suspicion. Not having been rendered view was revealed of the Rouergue coup. familiar, like the peasants of many other try - a crumpled map of bare hills and districts, with that harmless form of in- deep dark gorges – the postman pointed sanity which leads people to endure the out to me the village of Roquecésaire hardship of tramping for the sake of ob- (Cæsar's Rock), on a hill to the south, and serving the ruder aspects of human life, told me a queer story of a battle between the lingering manners of old times and of its inhabitants and those of an adjacent reading the book of nature in solitude, village. The quarrel, strange to say, arose they thought I must perforce be engaged over a statue of the Virgin, which was upon some sinister and wicked work. erected not long since upon a commanding And now this reminds me of an old man position between the two villages. “Now at Ambialet whom I used to send on the Holy Virgin," said the postman, in no errands to the nearest small town. He tone of mockery," was obliged to turn her liked my money, but he could never satisfy back either to one village or the other, and his conscience that it was not something this was the cause of the fight !” When like treason to carry letters for me, for he first set up, the statue looked towards had the feeling to the last that he was in Roquecésaire, to the great satisfaction of the pay of the enemy. “Ah!” he growled the inhabitants; but the people of the one day (not to me)“ I have always heard other village, who thought themselves it said that the English regretted our beau- equally pious, held that they had been tiful rocks and rich valleys. They are slighted; and the more they looked at the coming back! I am sure they are com back of the Virgin turned towards them, ing back!” I used to see him looking at ibe angrier they became, and the more me askance with a peculiarly keen expres determined not to submit to the indignity. sion in his eyes, and as his words had At length, unable to keep down their fury been repeated to me I knew of what he any longer, they sallied forth one day, was thinking. He was the first man of his men, women, and children, with the intencondition who to my knowledge called tion of turning the statue round. But the rocks beautiful. The peasant class abhor people of Roquecésaire were vigilant and, rocks on account of their sterility and be seeing the hostile crowd coming, went cause the rustic idea of a beautiful land-forth to give them battle. The combat scape is the fertile and level plain. In raged furiously for hours, and it was searching for the picturesque and the watched – so said the postman — with grandeur of nature, it is perfectly safe to much excitement and interest by the curé go to those places which the peasant de- of Montclar – the village we were now clares to be frightful by their ugliness. approaching - who, happening to have a

Leaving Coupiac behind me, I turned telescope, was able to note the varying towards the east. The road, having been fortune of war. At length the Roquecut in the side of the cliff, exposed layers césaire people got the worst of it, and they of brown argiilaceous schist, like rotten were driven away from the statue which wood, and so friable that it crumbled be. was promptly turned round. Although tween the fingers; but what was more many persons were badly krocked about, remarkable was that the layers, scarcely nobody died for the cause. The ener. thicker than slate, instead of being in their getic intervention of the spiritual and natural plane, were turned up quite verti- temporal authorities prevented a renewal cally. I was now ascending to the barren of the scandal, and it was thought best, in


the interest of peace, to allow the statue clean and creditable. On the ground to be turned half-way to one village and were large tubs of milk, and on tables half to the other.

were spread many earthenware moulds The postman was a little reserved at pierced with little holes and containing first, not knowing to what country I be the pressed curds. longed, but, when he was satisfied that I The hostess was a buxom, good-temwas not a German, he let his tongue rattle pered woman with rosy cheeks. She told on with the freedom which is one of the me that she could not give me anything peculiarities of his class. He confided to better than ham and eggs. She could not me that the best help to a man who walked have offered me anything more acceptable much was absinth. It pulled him up the after all the greasy cooking, the steadfast hills and sent him whisking across the veal and invariable fowl which I had so long plains. “I eat very little," said my black- been compelled to accept daily with resigbearded, bright-eyed fellow-tramp ; " but," nation. By a mysterious revelation of art he added, “I drink three or four glasses she produced the ham and eggs in a way of absinth a day."

that made me think that she must surely be " You will eat still less," I said, “if you descended from one of the English advendon't soon begin to turn off the tap." turers who did all manner of mischief in

Considering the hard monotony of their the Rouergue, some five or six centuries lives and the strain imposed upon phys- ago. Such ham and eggs in her case ical endurance by walking from twenty to could only be explained by the theory of twenty-five miles a day, in all weathers, hereditary ideas. Nevertheless she had the rural postmen in France are a sober become French enough to look at me with body of men. This one told me that he a dubious, albeit a good-natured eye. My walked sometimes twelve miles out of his motive in coming there and going farther way to carry a single letter.

without having any commercial object in Thus gossiping, we reached Montclar view was more than she could fathom. on the plateau, a little to the south of the After my visit to the dairy I fancy her deep gorge of the Tarn. Here we entered private notion was that l' was commis. an auberge, where the postman was glad sioned by the English government to find to moisten his dry throat with the green out how Roquefort cheese was made, eyed enemy. This inn was formerly one with a view to competition. At length as of those small châteaux - more correctly we talked freely she let the state of her termed maisons fortes, or manors – which mind, with regard to me, escape her upasprang up all over France in the sixteenth wares by putting this question plump: and seventeenth centuries. The inbab- “How is it the gendarmes have not ited part of the building was reached by a stopped you?” spiral staircase enclosed by a tower. A " That' I cannot tell you," said I, much balcony connected with the principal amused by her candor; " but you may be room enabled me to read an inscription sure of this, I am not afraid of them.” cut in a stone of the tower: “ Tristano Her husband was listening behind the Disclaris, 1615.". But for this record left door, and I observed an expression of by the founder, his name would probably relief in his face when I took up my pack have passed, long ago, out of the memory and departed. If I was to be pounced of men.

upon, he preferred, for his own peace of I found that the chief occupation of the mind and the reputation of his house, that people in this house was that of making it should be done elsewhere. All the vila Roquefort cheeses ; indeed, it was impos. lage had heard of my coming, and when sible not to guess what was going on I reappeared outside there was a small from the all-pervading odor. And yet I crowd of people waiting to have a good was still many miles from Roquefort ! look at me. I thought from these signs However, I knew all about this matter that I was likely to be asked to show my before. I was not twenty miles from papers again by some petty functionary; Albi when I found that Roquefort cheese- but no, I was allowed to pass on without making was a local industry. In fact, this interference. Perhaps the postman had is the case over a very wide region. The given a good account of me, the absinth cheeses having been made are sent to having touched his heart. There is much Roquefort to ripen in the cellars, which diplomacy in getting somebody on your have been excavated in the rock, and also side while travelling alone through these to acquire the necessary reputation. unopened districts far from railways. While my lunch was being prepared I Wandering among the peasants of the looked into the dairy, which was very Tarn and the Aveyron teaches one what

ignorance really means, what blindness of tree like a gipsy in this wild spot, and let intellect goes with it. And yet their en the summer dreams come to me from their lightenment by the usual methods would airy castles amongst the leaves, if I had be a doubtful blessing to themselves and not made up my mind to reach St. Affrique others.

before night. There was another reason I was now descending to the valley, and which, although it clashes with poetry, had not long after leaving the village an at- better be told for the sake of truth. Intempt to escape from the winding hot road sects would soon have taken all pleasure led me into one of those wildernesses, from the siesta. Great black ants and which are to me infinitely more pleasing great red ones, little ants too, that could than the most artistic gardens, with their have walked with comfort through the eye geometric flower-beds and their counter- of a fine needle notwithstanding their feit lakes and grottoes. The surface of wickedness, and intermediate species of the land was thrown or washed up into the same much-praised family would have dark brown hillocks of broken argillaceous scampered over me and stung me, and fies schist, which repelled vegetation, but the of bad propensities would have settled hollows were wooded with mountain oak upon me. An enthusiastic entomologist and many shrubs. Farther down there has only to lie down in the open air in were other hillocks, equally bare, but this part of France at the end of July or formed of the blue-looking lias marl which in August, and he will soon be able to the husbandman detests with good reason, observe, perhaps feel, sufficient insects for its sterility is incorrigible. This terre travelling on their legs or on the wing to bleue, as the peasants call it, was not the satisfy a great deal of curiosity. Often only sign of a change in the formation ; the air is all a flutter with butterflies, many fragments of calcareous stone were mixed of them remarkable for their size or the with the brown soil. I was leaving the beauty of their coloring. One I have par. dark schist and was approaching those ticularly noticed; not large, but colored immense accumulations of jurassic rock, with exquisite gradations of bright yellow, whose singular forms and brilliant colors orange, and pale green. lend such extraordinary grandeur to the I believe I added to my day's journey scenery of the Upper Tarn. There was by my excursion across country, but the also a change in the vegetation. A huge time would have passed less pleasantly on species of broom four or five feet high, the road. The winding yellow line howcovered with golden blossom the size of ever appeared again, and I had to tramp pea-flowers, although the common broom upon it. And a hot, toilsome trudge it had long past its blooming, now showed was, through that long, narrow valley with itself as well as roseroot sedum, neither scrubby woods reaching down to the road, of which had I seen while coming over but with no habitations and no water. It the schist. The cicadas returned and was the desert. The afternoon was far screamed from every tree. I captured advanced when the country opened and I one and examined the musical instrument saw a village of coquettish appearance, for

a truly marvellous bit of mechanism - most of the houses had been washed with that it carried in each of its sides. It is red, and many of the window shutters not legs which make the noise, as is the were painted green. case with crickets and grasshoppers, but I was parched with thirst, for the little hard membranes under the wings are sun had been broiling me for hours ; scraped together at the creature's will. therefore, when I saw this village on the The sound is not musical, for when it is hillside, I hurried towards it with the im. not a continuous scissor-grinding noise, it patience of a traveller who sees the palmis like the cry of a corncrake with a weak trees over a well in the sands of Africa. throat; but what delight there is in it! In a place that could give so much attenand how it expresses that joy in the pres- tion to color there must surely be an ent and recklessness of the morrow, which auberge, I thought. And I judged rightly, the fabulist has in vain contrasted with for there were two little inns. I found the the virtuous industry of the ant in order door of the first one closed, and learnt that to poict a moral for mankind ! — vainly, the people were out harvesting. I walked because the cigale's short life in the sunlit on to the next, and found that likewise trees will ever seem to men a more ideal closed, and was again informed that all the one than that of the earth-burrowing ant, family were out in the fields. The whole with its possible longevity, its peevish village was nearly deserted; amolst every parsimony, and restless anxiety for the one was busy reaping and putting up the future. I could have laid down under a sheaves. I stopped beside the village


pump and reflected upon my misery. I burning sun. But although I lay down had resigned myself to water, when a like a jaded horse, I was too feverish to woman carrying a sickle opened the door sleep. To make matters worse, there was of one of the inns. Some friendly bird a cock in the yard just underneath my must have told her of my thirst and weari. window, and the fiendish creature consid. ness - perhaps the merry little quail that ered it his duty to crow every two or three I heard as I came up from the plain cry- minutes after the stroke of midnight. ing "To-whit! To-whit!” That blessed How well did I then enter into the feelings auberge actually contained bottled beer. of a man I knew who, under similar provoAnd the room was so cool that butter cation, got up from his bed, and taking a would not have melted in it. These carving knife from the kitchen, quietly southern houses have such thick stone and destly cut off the cock's head before walls that they have the double advantage the astonished bird had time to protest. of being warm in winter and delightfully Having stopped the crowing and assured cool in summer. I had some difficulty in himself that it would not begin again, he resisting the temptation to stop the pight went back to bed and slept the sleep of at this inn, but I did resist it, and was the innocent. again on the road to St. Affrique before I was out early the next morning, lookthe heat of the day had passed.

ing at the extraordinary astronomical dials Another toilsome trudge, during which of the parish church, covering much of the I met an English threshing machine being surface of the outer walls. All the straight dragged along by bullocks, and the famil- lines, curves and figures, and the inscrip. iar words upon it made me feel for a while tions in Latin, must have the effect of · quite at home. The apparition, however, convincing the majority of the inhabitants gave me a shock, for the antique flail is that their ignorance is hopeless. Such a still the instrument commonly used for display of science must be like wizard threshing, in the southern provinces of symbolism to the common people. The France.

dials are exceedingly curious, and there At a village called Moulin, lying in are some really astonishing calculations, a rich and beautiful valley, I met the as, for instance, a table showing the "num. Sorgues, one of the larger tributaries of ber of souls that have appeared before the the Tarn, and for the rest of my journey I Tribunal of God." Near a great sundial had the companionship of a charming are these solemn words: "Sol et luna stream. Evening came on, and the fiery faciunt quæ precepta sunt eis; nos autem blue above me grew soft and rosy. Rosy, pergrimamur a Domino." The church it. too, were the cornfields, where bands of self is one of the most fantastically ugly men and women, fifteen or twenty together, structures imaginable. All possible tricks were reaping gaily, for the heat of the day of style and taste appear to have been was gone, the freshness of the twilight played upon it. It is a jumble of heavy had come, and the fragrance of the valley Gothic and Italian, and the apse is twisted was unloosened. I had left the last group out of line with the nave, in which reof reapers behind, and the silence of the spect, however, it is like the Cathedral of dusk was broken only by the tree crickets, Quimper. As I left the church a funeral and the rapids of the little river, when a procession approached, women carrying woman passed me on the road and mur-palls by the four corners a little in front mured “ Adicias !” (God be with you), of the coffin, according to the custom of “ Adicias!” | replied, and then I was the country when the dead person is of again alone. Presently there was a jan- their own sex. When a man dies, memgling of bells behind, and I was soon bers of his sex carry the palls. overtaken by three horses and a crowded St. Affrique is a small town of about diligence. The sound of the bells grew seven thousand inhabitants, lying in a fainter, and fainter, and once more I was warm valley and surrounded by high hills, alone with the summer night. The stars the sides of which were once covered with began to shine, and the river was lost in luxuriant vineyards. These slopes, arid, the mystery of shadow, save where a barren, and sun.scorched, are perfectly sunken rock made the water gleam white, suited to the cultivation of the vine, the and awoke the peace with a cry of fig, and the almond; but the elevation is trouble.

still too great for the olive. As I toiled It was late when I reached St. Affrique, up the side of the valley in the direction and I believe no tramp arrived at his of Millau, I noticed the Rocher de Caylus, bourne that night more weary than I, for large reddish and somewhat fantastically I had been walking most of the day in the shaped block of colitic rock, perched on

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