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Chateau and Country Life in France   By: (-1923)

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First Page:

CHATEAU AND COUNTRY LIFE IN FRANCE

by

MARY KING WADDINGTON

Author of Letters Of A Diplomat's Wife and Italian Letters of a Diplomat's Wife

Illustrated

1909

[Illustration: A country wedding]

CONTENTS

I. CHÂTEAU LIFE II. COUNTRY VISITS III. THE HOME OF LAFAYETTE IV. WINTER AT THE CHÂTEAU V. CEREMONIES AND FESTIVALS VI. CHRISTMAS IN THE VALOIS VII. A RACINE CELEBRATION VIII. A CORNER OF NORMANDY IX. A NORMAN TOWN X. NORMAN CHÂTEAUX XI. BOULOGNE SUR MER

ILLUSTRATIONS

A COUNTRY WEDDING A FINE OLD CHÂTEAU I LOVED TO HEAR HER PLAY BEETHOVEN AND HANDEL THERE WERE ALL SORTS AND KINDS FERDINAND "MERCI, JE VAIS BIEN" LONG PAUSES WHEN NOBODY SEEMED TO HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY THEN HE LIGHTED A FIRE I SUGGESTED THAT THE WHOLE CHASSE SHOULD ADJOURN TO THE CHÂTEAU SOME RED COATED, SOME GREEN, ALL WITH BREECHES AND HIGH MUDDY BOOTS PEASANT WOMEN A VISIT AT THE CHÂTEAU SOLDIERS AT THE CHÂTEAU THE MAYOR AND A NICE, RED CHEEKED, WRINKLED OLD WOMAN WERE WAITING FOR US THERE WAS ONE HANDSOME BIT OF OLD LACE ON A WHITE NAPPE FOR THE ALTAR THEY WERE ALL STREAMING UP THE SLIPPERY HILL SIDE ALL THE CHILDREN IN PROCESSION PASSED THERE WAS ONE POOR OLD WOMAN STILL GAZING SPELL BOUND L'ETABLISSEMENT, BAGNOLES DE L'ORNE IN DOMFRONT SOME OF THE OLD TOWERS ARE CONVERTED INTO MODERN DWELLINGS CHÂTEAU DE LASSAY ENTRANCE TO HÔTEL OF THE COMTE DE FLORIAN MARKET WOMEN, VALOGNES OLD GATE WAY, VALOGNES

[Illustration: A fine old château.]

I

CHATEAU LIFE

My first experience of country life in France, about thirty years ago, was in a fine old château standing high in pretty, undulating, wooded country close to the forest of Villers Cotterets, and overlooking the great plains of the Oise big green fields stretching away to the sky line, broken occasionally by little clumps of wood, with steeples rising out of the green, marking the villages and hamlets which, at intervals, are scattered over the plains, and in the distance the blue line of the forest. The château was a long, perfectly simple, white stone building. When I first saw it, one bright November afternoon, I said to my husband as we drove up, "What a charming old wooden house!" which remark so astonished him that he could hardly explain that it was all stone, and that no big houses (nor small, either) in France were built of wood. I, having been born in a large white wooden house in America, couldn't understand why he was so horrified at my ignorance of French architecture. It was a fine old house, high in the centre, with a lower wing on each side. There were three drawing rooms, a library, billiard room, and dining room on the ground floor. The large drawing room, where we always sat, ran straight through the house, with glass doors opening out on the lawn on the entrance side and on the other into a long gallery which ran almost the whole length of the house. It was always filled with plants and flowers, open in summer, with awnings to keep out the sun; shut in winter with glass windows, and warmed by one of the three calorifères of the house. In front of the gallery the lawn sloped down to the wall, which separated the place from the highroad. A belt of fine trees marked the path along the wall and shut out the road completely, except in certain places where an opening had been made for the view.

We were a small party for such a big house: only the proprietor and his wife (old people), my husband and myself. The life was very simple, almost austere. The old people lived in the centre of the château, W.[1] and I in one of the wings. It had been all fitted up for us, and was a charming little house. W. had the ground floor a bedroom, dressing room, cabinet de travail, dining room, and a small room, half reception room, half library, where he had a large bookcase filled with books, which he gave away as prizes or to school libraries... Continue reading book >>




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