This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 ten o'clock, and then walked home over the dirty and slippery streets. The chimes of midnight have this moment sounded from some ancient steeple; and I expect a pleasant sleep in my neat bed, after the confined quarters to which I have been doomed for so many nights. The chief features which I am able to recognize as distinguishing Havre from an American city are (1), antiquity; (2), dress of women with caps and without bonnets in the street; (3), labor of women; (4), presence of the military and police, a soldier or policeman presenting himself at every tarn; (5), narrowness and dirt of the streets; (6), houses of stone, and narrow and chimney-like. Of course, these are merely the features which have met the eye during the observation of a few hours. Dec. 29, 1837. New scenes have been rising upon me with each moment; I find myself now with midnight at hand, and new objects were breaking upon me until I closed the door of my chamber. I can hardly believe in my personal identity. Such is the intensity of my present experience, that all I have undergone to reach here seems obliterated. I enjoyed my first sleep ashore last night, in sheets of linen and on a pillow of down, as much as my excited imagination would allow, and early in the morning I prepared for Rouen; breakfasted at nine o'clock, at the hotel where I was stopping, on a mutton chop, light wine, and coffee. Wine in France appears to be a drink as common at breakfast as coffee; and, from the experience of two days, I should not feel disinclined to adopt the usage. I repaired to the place of starting for Rouen, and found the diligence on the point of leaving. My place, however, had been secured on the day before, when I had paid five francs as earnest-money, or a sort of pledge, which I was to forfeit if I did not present myself at the proper time. As soon as I arrived I was addressed in the rapid French style, ‘Montez! montez!’ and the diligence immediately started. I had taken the place on the top. My seat was protected by a heavy and cumbersome covering, like that of a chaise, and my first desire was to have that thrown back; but my French vocabulary would not enable me to express my wish, so that I was obliged to resort to the universal language of gesture and pantomime. My desire being understood, I was informed in French that the top should be turned back when we stopped to change horses. And it was done.1 . . . I was alone on top and tried to enter into conversation with le conducteur. He took me for an Englishman, and sought to flatter me by pointing to the Seine, and calling it the Thames. When I undeceived him, he said, pointing to the snakelike stream, that it was the Mississippi of France. All the while he and the postilion were whipping their scraggy horses with constant lashes. It was an amusing sight to see the empressement with which they applied the lash, taking hold of the whip-handle with both hands and using it for several minutes together. There were sometimes five and sometimes six horses to the diligence,—all of them short and thick, with rough, uncombed
1 The diligence is described at length, and particularly as ‘very much in the shape of a Boston Booby-hut on runners in the winter.’
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.