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OUR FRENCH WATERING-PLACE.

HAVING earned, by many years of fidelity,
the right to be sometimes inconstant to our
English watering-place already extolled in
these pages, we have dallied for two or three
seasons with a French watering-place: once
solely known to us as a town with a very long
street, beginning with an abattoir and ending
with a steamboat, which it seemed our fate
to behold only at daybreak on winter mornings,
when (in the days before continental
railroads), just sufficiently awake to know
that we were most uncomfortably asleep,
it was our destiny always to clatter
through it, in the coupe of the diligence from
Paris, with a sea of mud behind us, and a
sea of tumbling waves before. In relation to
which latter monster, our mind's eye now recals
a worthy Frenchman in a seal-skin cap
with a braided hood over it, once our travelling
companion in the coupe aforesaid,
who, waking up with a pale and crumpled
visage, and looking ruefully out at the grim
row of breakers enjoying themselves
fanatically on an instrument of torture called
"the Bar," inquired of us whether we were
ever sick at sea? Both to prepare his
mind for the abject creature we were presently
to become, and also to afford him consolation,
we replied, "Sir, your servant is
always sick when it is possible to be so."
He returned, altogether uncheered by the
bright example, "Ah, Heaven, but I am
always sick, even when it is impossible to
be so."

The means of communication between the
French capital and our French watering-
place are wholly changed since those days;
but, the Channel remains unbridged as yet,
and the old floundering and knocking about
go on there. It must be confessed that
saving in reasonable (and therefore rare)
sea-weather, the act of arrival at our
French watering-place from England is
difficult to be achieved with dignity.
Several little circumstances combine to
render the visitor an object of humiliation.
In the first place, the steamer no sooner
touches the port, than all the passengers fall
into captivity: being boarded by an over-
powering force of Custom-house oificers, and
inarched into a gloomy dungeon. In the
second place, the road to this dungeon is
fenced off with ropes breast-high, and outside
those ropes all the English in the place who
have lately been sea-sick and are now well,
assemble in their best clothes to enjoy the
degradation of their dilapidated fellow-
creatures. "Oh, my gracious! how ill this
one has been!" "Here's a damp one coming
next!" "Here's a pale one!" "Oh! Aint
he green in the face, this next one!"
Even we ourself (not deficient in natural
dignity) have a lively remembrance
of staggering up this detested lane one
September day in a gale of wind, when
we were received like an irresistible comic
actor, with a burst of laughter and applause,
occasioned by the extreme imbecility of
our legs.

We were coming to the third place. In
the third place, the captives, being shut up
in the gloomy dungeon, are strained, two
or three at a time, into an inner cell, to be
examined as to passports; and across the
doorway of communication, stands a military
creature making a bar of his arm. Two
ideas are generally present to the British mind
during these ceremonies; first, that it is
necessary to make for the cell with violent
struggles, as if it were a life-boat and the
dungeon a ship going down; secondly, that
the military creature's arm is a national
affront, which the government at home ought
instantly to "take up" The British mind
and body becoming heated by these fantasies,
delirious answers are made to inquiries, and
extravagant actions performed. Thus, Johnson
persists in giving Johnson as his baptismal
name, and substituting for his ancestral
designation the national " Dam! " Neither
can he by any means be brought to recognise
the distinction between a portmanteau-key
and a passport, but will obstinately persevere
in tendering the one when asked for the
other. This brings him to the fourth place,
in a state of mere idiotcy; and when he is, in
the fourth place, cast out at a little door into
a howling wilderness of touters, he becomes
a lunatic with wild eyes and floating hair
until rescued and soothed. If friendless and
uurescued, he is generally put into a railway
omnibus and taken to Paris.

But, our French watering-place when it is
once got into, is a very enjoyable place. It

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