Page images

try. I beg to be understood that I mean to speak of Calais only, being as yet totally unacquainted how this ceremony is managed in other parts of the country.

The decades are likewife not attended to here, and on the Sunday the people do as they please; fome keep it, but the majority do not; and the theatre is thronged in the evening. vd b

Being on the fubject of the theatre, let me tell you, that every other evening it really affords us a fource of amusement; for, fituated as we are, we require fome recreation; and as the performance feldom exceeds half past eight or nine at latest, we find it pleasant. The houfe is pretty, compact, and though not large, yet fufficiently extensive to hold a tolerable audience. It is fituated at the back of the well-known hotel of Deffins, which is now unoccupied, but expected to be opened in the spring.


The actors are far above mediocrity, and admittance reasonable, as you will readily agree, when I tell you that the best places in any of the boxes do not exceed one fhilling English. Some particular families are indeed abonnées, or have boxes for the feafon at a certain rent, which makes it agreeable; and having had the good fortune to be introduced to fome of them, we are there fure of meeting good company. The military are conftant attendants, and, in general, occupy the upper part of the pit, partitioned off in the form of an amphitheatre.

I must remark, that though I have faid that at prefent there be little or no commerce carried on at Calais, comparatively fpeaking, to what there was previous to the Revolution, yet are the markets well attended, and thefe are on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The last of these days being reckoned the chief, I may, without the least exaggeration, fay, that to me it resembled


[ocr errors]

bled a fair, to all intents and purposes, and was a fight truly novel. For the fact is, that the country people, or cultivateurs as they call themselves, both males and females, for miles around, attend in throngs, either on horfeback or carts, all neatly dreffed, and thus bring provifions to market. The women, in particular, attracted our attention; for what with their dress, which is by no means unbecoming, confifting indiscriminately of long linen cloaks, fmartly made, with arm-holes, &c.; without hats, it is true; but the cap fo neat and so nicely plaited, the hair cut on the forehead, and many of them powdered, a filk handkerchief put over the cap, and negligently tied under the chin, short petticoats, clean ftockings, and decent fabots, which feems to be the order of the day.

I was delighted with this appearance of fimplicity; le tout ensemble conveying an idea of ease and comfort, that is ever pleasant to contemplate. This we judge


to be really the cafe, from the accounts we have received refpecting this class of people, who enjoy, at prefent, more money than any other, and do, pofitively, as we are affured, nearly engross the major part of the numeraire, having, by the affignats, been enabled to fpeculate, and therewith purchase much landed property.

The market begins at nine precisely, and is held in the Grande Place, as before noticed, and displays a vast abundance of every thing, and the beft of the kind; game in abundance, and extremely reafonable: a brace of partridges we purchased yesterday for nine-pence English, and were offered live fowls, fit to kill, for fix-pence each; ducks for nine-pence; turkeys for two fhillings; meat four-pence per pound one joint with the other, eighteen ounces to the pound; fresh butter eight-pence per pound; and fo in proportion. You must, however, remember, that the present statement is according to our money; had I


told you the price in affignats, it would have founded enormous. Bread, I am informed, is three halfpence per pound, confequently a quartern loaf I estimate at about fix-pence English. I was dreadfully inquifitive, afking them a thoufand questions, and was aftonished at the civility with which they answered my inquiries; for feeing me a ftranger, one would have been led to fuppofe otherwife; yet their language was good, and indeed fo beyond their fituation, that I could not help exclaiming, Good Heavens! is it poffible that, from a clafs of people apparently fo civilized, fo many fhould be found capable of barbarities that would even difgrace favages! In the fame place or fquare ftands La Tour du Guet, a building fomething fimilar to the Monument in the city of London; to the very top of this tower was I tempted to afcend, on account of the profpect, which is very extenfive, commanding a vaft extent of fea, much of the furrounding


« EelmineJätka »