|About the Book|
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1893 edition. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER II. twentyMoreThis historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1893 edition. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER II. twenty minutes--half an hour--three-quarters--what mademoiselle pleases! This was what the waiter said when we asked him how long it would take to drive to the Gare dOrleans on the morning that we left Paris. We selected half an hour, and by so doing as nearly as possible missed our train--in fact, when we arrived at the Quai dAusterlitz the station clock was already at the hour of departure. It was consoling to be told officially that it was five minutes fast, but five minutes does not go far in the maddening routine of French stations, and we were wrecks, mentally and physically, by the time we had wedged ourselves into the crowded carriage, labelled Bordeaux--Bastide, that was to be our portion. French railway officials never weary of this little practical joke of keeping the outside clock of the station five minutes fast. If they did it always it would lose its piquancy, but they guard against this by occasional deviations into truth, so that the nerve of the public is effectively shattered, and the station officials never fail of amusement. Eleven hours in a train is an immeasurable time, especially when the train goes through a country that, after a first hour or so of picturesqueness, lacks absolutely any distinction of colour or outline. Greyish tilled plains stretched away on either side, without a fence, without a boundary, except for the occasional rows of housemaids mops and birch-rods that enlivened the horizon. These detachments of poplars are inseparable from French travelling- they haunt the ridges of the plains like the ghosts of worthier trees, with all the dejection befitting those who know that they are only worth a few francs, and can hope for no better transmigration than a kitchen table or a..