He Is Surrounded By
Fine Old Traditions, Religious, Social, Architectural, Culi-
Nary; And He May Have The Satisfaction Of Feeling That
He Is French To The Core.
No part of his admirable
country is more characteristically national.
is Normandy, Burgundy is Burgundy, Provence is Pro-
vence; but Touraine is essentially France. It is the
land of Rabelais, of Descartes, of Balzac, of good
books and good company, as well as good dinners and
good houses. George Sand has somewhere a charm-
ing passage about the mildness, the convenient quality,
of the physical conditions of central France, - "son
climat souple et chaud, ses pluies abondantes et courtes."
In the autumn of 1882 the rains perhaps were less
short than abundant; but when the days were fine it
was impossible that anything in the way of weather
could be more charming. The vineyards and orchards
looked rich in the fresh, gay light; cultivation was
everywhere, but everywhere it seemed to be easy.
There was no visible poverty; thrift and success pre-
sented themselves as matters of good taste. The white
caps of the women glittered in the sunshire, and their
well-made sabots clicked cheerfully on the hard, clean
roads. Touraine is a land of old chateaux, - a gallery
of architectural specimens and of large hereditary pro-
perties. The peasantry have less of the luxury of
ownership than in most other parts of France; though
they have enough of it to give them quite their share
of that shrewdly conservative look which, in the little,
chaffering, _place_ of the market-town, the stranger ob-
serves so often in the wrinkled brown masks that sur-
mount the agricultural blouse.
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