sketches on the old road through france to florence

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER I THE LAND OF PIRATES The right way of entering any country is to slide into it through a river's mouth. No doubt it is easiest to reach Normandy at Dieppe, but the streams of Be'thune and Arques barely suffice for the basin of a port, and without having time even to learn that at the west end of the town stands a typical French castle, you are confusedly hurried away to Rouen in a train, as it were by the back door. Instead of being plumped down like a merchant with his bales upon an indistinguishable platform, let us rather, as becomes the descendants of so many pirates, follow the ships of Rou, and steal quietly and gradually into the heart of the land by that river road where Harfleur and Honfleur still act as water-towers at the entrance gate, and within their portal the long, straight hills of Normandy break in cliffs down to the Seine. Ridge beyond ridge those hills stand,one behind the other, till they are lost in thin grey, and between them the river comes winding down from that Cote d'Or, which looks to Jura and bears upon its gentle slopes just the very best vines of all the world. With it the river brings waters that have made the Marne, the Oise, and the Yonne—waters that have seen the ancient towns and great churches of Beauvais, Laon, Rheims, Chalons, and Sens— brimming streams that appear so slow and quiet till you watch or feel the eddying current in their depth. It is a great course of history through which they have flowed since the distant years when it depended on the turn of a hair whether their part of France should not be Germany, and I sometimes think their happiness in remaining French has ever since given to their waters a peculiar radiance. No wonder the pirates chose this river road, whether they came seeking history, architectu...
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