A Little Tour In France, By Henry James



























































































 -   He is surrounded by
fine old traditions, religious, social, architectural, culi-
nary; and he may have the satisfaction of feeling - Page 3
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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.

Normandy 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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