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The Christmas Kalends of Provence And Some Other Provençal Festivals   By: (1849-1913)

Book cover

First Page:

[Illustration: "'TO THE HEALTH OF THE COUNT!'"

See p. 32]

The Christmas Kalends of Provence

AND SOME OTHER PROVENÇAL FESTIVALS

BY

THOMAS A. JANVIER

SÒCI DÒU FELIBRIGE

AUTHOR OF "IN OLD NEW YORK" "THE PASSING OF THOMAS" "IN GREAT WATERS" ETC.

ILLUSTRATED

HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS

NEW YORK AND LONDON

1902

Copyright, 1902, by HARPER & BROTHERS.

All rights reserved.

Published November, 1902.

TO

C. A. J.

Contents

PAGE

THE CHRISTMAS KALENDS OF PROVENCE 1

A FEAST DAY ON THE RHÔNE 133

THE COMÉDIE FRANÇAISE AT ORANGE 209

Illustrations

"'TO THE HEALTH OF THE COUNT!'" Frontispiece

AT THE WELL Facing p. 6

PLANTING SAINT BARBARA'S GRAIN " 14

ELIZO'S OLD FATHER " 74

MAGALI " 100

THE PASSING OF THE KINGS " 112

"THE BLIND GIRL" NOËL " 118

THE LANDING PLACE AT TOURNON " 166

THE DEFILE OF DONZÈRE " 190

THE ROUMANILLE MONUMENT " 198

AVIGNON " 204

GENERAL VIEW OF THE THEATRE " 210

"IT LOOKED TREASONS, CONSPIRACIES AND MUTINOUS " 236 OUTBURSTS"

THE GREAT FAÇADE " 238

SCENE FROM THE FIRST ACT OF "OEDIPUS" " 248

SCENE FROM THE SECOND ACT OF "ANTIGONE" " 256

The Christmas Kalends of Provence

I

Fancy you've journeyed down the Rhône, Fancy you've passed Vienne, Valence, Fancy you've skirted Avignon And so are come en pleine Provence.

Fancy a mistral cutting keen Across the sunlit wintry fields, Fancy brown vines, and olives green, And blustered, swaying, cypress shields.

Fancy a widely opened door, Fancy an eager outstretched hand, Fancy nor need you ask for more A heart sped welcome to our land.

Fancy the peal of Christmas chimes, Fancy that some long buried year Is born again of ancient times And in Provence take Christmas cheer!

In my own case, this journey and this welcome were not fancies but realities. I had come to keep Christmas with my old friend Monsieur de Vièlmur according to the traditional Provençal rites and ceremonies in his own entirely Provençal home: an ancient dwelling which stands high up on the westward slope of the Alpilles, overlooking Arles and Tarascon and within sight of Avignon, near the Rhône margin of Provence.

The Vidame such is Monsieur de Vièlmur's ancient title: dating from the vigorous days when every proper bishop, himself not averse to taking a breather with sword and battle axe should fighting matters become serious, had his vice dominus to lead his forces in the field is an old school country gentleman who is amiably at odds with modern times. While tolerant of those who have yielded to the new order, he himself is a great stickler for the preservation of antique forms and ceremonies: sometimes, indeed, pushing his fancies to lengths that fairly would lay him open to the charge of whimsicality, were not even the most extravagant of his crotchets touched and mellowed by his natural goodness of heart. In the earlier stages of our acquaintance I was disposed to regard him as an eccentric; but a wider knowledge of Provençal matters has convinced me that he is a type. Under his genial guidance it has been my privilege to see much of the inner life of the Provençaux, and his explanations have enabled me to understand what I have seen: the Vidame being of an antiquarian and bookish temper, and never better pleased than when I set him to rummaging in his memory or his library for the information which I require to make clear to me some curious phase of Provençal manners or ways... Continue reading book >>




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