A Little Tour In France, By Henry James



























































































 -   To reach them you
wander through crooked suburban lanes, down the
course of the Loire, to a rough, undesirable, incon - Page 20
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To Reach Them You Wander Through Crooked Suburban Lanes, Down The Course Of The Loire, To A Rough, Undesirable, Incon-

Gruous spot, where a small, crude building of red brick is pointed out to you by your cabman (if you

Happen to drive) as the romantic abode of a super- stitious king, and where a strong odor of pigsties and other unclean things so prostrates you for the moment that you have no energy to protest against the obvious fiction. You enter a yard encumbered with rubbish and a defiant dog, and an old woman emerges from a shabby lodge and assures you that you are indeed in an historic place. The red brick building, which looks like a small factory, rises on the ruins of the favorite residence of the dreadful Louis. It is now occupied by a company of night-scavengers, whose huge carts are drawn up in a row before it. I know not whether this be what is called the irony of fate; at any rate, the effect of it is to accentuate strongly the fact (and through the most susceptible of our senses) that there is no honor for the authors of great wrongs. The dreadful Louis is reduced simply to an offence to the nostrils. The old woman shows you a few fragments, - several dark, damp, much-encumbered vaults, de- nominated dungeons, and an old tower staircase, in good condition. There are the outlines of the old moat; there is also the outline of the old guard-room, which is now a stable; and there are other vague out- lines and inconsequent lumps, which I have forgotten. You need all your imagination, and even then you cannot make out that Plessis was a castle of large ex- tent, though the old woman, as your eye wanders over the neighboring _potagers,_ talks a good deal about the gardens and the park.

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