+ ~ -
 
Article icon.

Our French Watering-Place

Read me now! Export to PDF, including full article record, author information, and annotation.
Author Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: Travel-writing i
Subjects Family Life; Families; Domestic Relations; Sibling Relations; Kinship; Home;
France—Description and Travel
France—Social Life and Customs
National Characteristics; Nationalism
Sports; Games; Leisure; Pleasure; Hunting; Horse Racing; Gambling; Duelling
Travel; Tourism; Hotels; Resorts; Seaside Resorts—Fiction; Passports;
Details
Index
Other Details
Printed : 4/11/1854
Journal : Household Words
Volume : Volume X
Magazine : No. 241
Office Book Notes
Memo-
Columns11.5
Payment-
Views : 1714

Dickens and his family spent their first summer in Boulogne in 1853.


He conceived the notion of writing 'Our French Watering-Place' as a pendant to his earlier piece about Broadstairs but held it over 'as an easy thing to write while I am away' (Pilgrim, Vol. VII, p. 156). They returned for the summer of 1854, staying till 17 October. On both occasions, as on their third Boulogne sojourn in 1856, Dickens was the tenant of Ferdiand Beaucourt-Mutuel, a former linen-draper and Town Councillor, who had built two country houses to let furnished on his little hillside estate. Dickens was enchanted by Beaucourt, 'a portly jolly fellow with a fine open face', and by his 'property' with all its ingenious contrivances, and described both at length in letters to Forster (see Forster, Book 7, Ch. 4). In 1853 the Dickens family stayed in the first of Beaucourt's houses, the Villa des Moulineaux, and in 1854 in the second, the Villa du Camp de Droite. During this second summer Napoleon III came to Boulogne to review his troops before they set out to fight the Russians in the Baltic and reported Dickens to Wilkie Collins, 'About 150 soldiers have been at various times billeted on Beaucourt since we have been here—and he has clinked glasses with them every one, and read an MS book of his father's on Soldiers in general, to them all' (Pilgrim, Vol. VII, p. 367). For further details about Boulogne as a favourite resort for the English, see J. Watrin, Boulogne-sur-mer: Vingt aus d'occupation anglaise 1840-1860 (n.d); and for further details about M. Baucourt and his interesting later connections, through another of his properties, the 'chalet' at Condette, with Dickens, and (probably) Ellen Ternan, see W. J. Carlton, 'Dickens's Forgotten Retreat in France', The Dickensian, Vol. 62 (1966), pp. 69-86; and J. Watrin, 'De Boulogne à Condette: Une Histoire d'Amitié—Charles Dickens et Ferdinant Beaucourt-Mutuel' (1992). Dickens introduces him as the kindly 'Monsieur Mutuel' with 'his amiable old walnut-shell countenance' in AYR Christmas Story for 1862 'Somebody's Luggage'. Inscribed on Beaucourt's tombstone in Condette churchyard are the words: 'The landlord of whom Charles Dickens wrote "I never did see such a gentle kind heart"'.

In this piece Dickens follows his usual practice of translating French idiom literally into English, e.g. 'a good child' ('bon enfant', a splendid chap); 'a bad subject' ('un mauvais sujet', a rascal). The real name of the gentle M. Féroce was Sauvage; Charles Dickens Junior claimed to remember him very well.

Literary allusions

  • 'floating hair': from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'Kubla Khan';
  • 'another Jack ... beanstalk': alludes to the traditional fairy story.

Author: Michael Slater; © J. M. Dent/Orion Publishing Group, Dickens' Journalism Volume III: 'Gone Astray' and Other Papers from Household Words, 1851-1859, 1998.

DJO gratefully acknowledges permission to reproduce this material.

Click here for further information about texts cited.

Attachments (0)

Who's Online

We have 533 guests and 2 robots online.

Profile Information

Application afterLoad: 0.000 seconds, 0.28 MB
Application afterInitialise: 0.018 seconds, 1.00 MB
Application afterRoute: 0.022 seconds, 2.05 MB
Application afterDispatch: 0.378 seconds, 3.62 MB
Application afterRender: 0.442 seconds, 3.89 MB

Memory Usage

4115056

32 queries logged

  1. SELECT *
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE session_id = '0db929ea7a825641bade8b6ba9bbd8ee'
  2. DELETE
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE ( TIME < '1638416573' )
  3. SELECT *
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE session_id = '0db929ea7a825641bade8b6ba9bbd8ee'
  4. INSERT INTO `jos_session` ( `session_id`,`time`,`username`,`gid`,`guest`,`client_id` )
      VALUES ( '0db929ea7a825641bade8b6ba9bbd8ee','1638418373','','0','1','0' )
  5. SELECT *
      FROM jos_components
      WHERE parent = 0
  6. SELECT folder AS TYPE, element AS name, params
      FROM jos_plugins
      WHERE published >= 1
      AND access <= 0
      ORDER BY ordering
  7. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'our-french-watering-place'
  8. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'our-french-watering-place'
  9. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE id = '2629'
  10. UPDATE jos_toc_blocks
      SET hits = ( hits + 1 )
      WHERE id='2629'
  11. SELECT template
      FROM jos_templates_menu
      WHERE client_id = 0
      AND (menuid = 0 OR menuid = 70)
      ORDER BY menuid DESC
      LIMIT 0, 1
  12. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'our-french-watering-place'
  13. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'our-french-watering-place'
  14. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE id = '2629'
  15. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_subjects_links (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id_estate)) SELECT id_estate, COUNT(*) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_subjects_links  
      GROUP BY id_estate;
  16. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_genres_links (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id_estate)) SELECT id_estate, COUNT(*) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_genres_links  
      GROUP BY id_estate;
  17. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_documents (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id)) SELECT block_id AS id, COUNT(block_id) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_documents
      GROUP BY block_id;
  18. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_links (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id)) SELECT block_id AS id, COUNT(block_id) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_links
      GROUP BY block_id;
  19. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_authors (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id)) SELECT id_block AS id, COUNT(id_block) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_authors  
      GROUP BY id_block;
  20. SELECT block.*,        IFNULL(periodical.title, "NA") AS title_periodical,        IFNULL(volume.title, "NA") AS title_volume,        IFNULL(magazine.title, "NA") AS title_magazine,        documents.cnt AS document_count,        links.cnt AS link_count,        subject.cnt AS subject_count,        genre.cnt AS genre_count,        authors.cnt AS author_count
      FROM jos_toc_blocks AS block  
      LEFT JOIN jos_toc_magazines AS magazine
      ON block.id_magazine = magazine.id
      LEFT JOIN jos_toc_volumes AS volume
      ON block.id_volume = volume.id
      LEFT JOIN jos_toc_periodicals AS periodical
      ON block.id_periodical = periodical.id
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_subjects_links AS subject
      ON block.id = subject.id_estate
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_genres_links AS genre
      ON block.id = genre.id_estate
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_documents AS documents
      ON block.id = documents.id
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_links AS links
      ON block.id = links.id
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_authors AS authors
      ON block.id = authors.id
      WHERE (block.published = 1)
      AND (block.id = 2629)
      ORDER BY id_magazine, id_page, ordering ASC  
      LIMIT 20
  21. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_magazines
      WHERE id = '199'
  22. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_periodicals
      WHERE id = '1'
  23. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_volumes
      WHERE id = '10'
  24. SELECT document.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 2629, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_documents AS document  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_documents    
      WHERE block_id = 2629 ) AS fixto_table
      ON document.id = fixto_table.document_id  
      WHERE (document.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 2629)
  25. SELECT document.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 2629, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_documents AS document  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_documents    
      WHERE block_id = 2629 ) AS fixto_table
      ON document.id = fixto_table.document_id
      WHERE (document.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 2629)
      ORDER BY title ASC  
      LIMIT 20
  26. SELECT link.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 2629, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_links AS link  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_links    
      WHERE block_id = 2629 ) AS fixto_table
      ON link.id = fixto_table.link_id  
      WHERE (link.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 2629)
  27. SELECT link.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 2629, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_links AS link  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_links    
      WHERE block_id = 2629 ) AS fixto_table
      ON link.id = fixto_table.link_id
      WHERE (link.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 2629)
      ORDER BY title ASC  
      LIMIT 20
  28. SELECT r.id, r.title, r.alias, r.names, r.surname
      FROM jos_toc_authors AS r  RIGHT JOIN jos_toc_blocks_authors AS l
      ON  r.id = l.id_author  
      WHERE l.id_block = 2629
      ORDER BY r.surname ASC
  29. SELECT insignia.id, insignia.title, IFNULL(link.stamp, 0) AS stamp , insignia.definition
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_genres AS insignia  
      LEFT JOIN ( SELECT id_insignia, COUNT(id_insignia) AS stamp
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_genres_links
      WHERE id_estate = 2629
      GROUP BY id_insignia) AS link
      ON insignia.id = link.id_insignia
      ORDER BY insignia.title ASC
  30. SELECT insignia.id, insignia.title, IFNULL(link.stamp, 0) AS stamp  
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_subjects AS insignia  
      LEFT JOIN ( SELECT id_insignia, COUNT(id_insignia) AS stamp
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_subjects_links
      WHERE id_estate = 2629
      GROUP BY id_insignia) AS link
      ON insignia.id = link.id_insignia
      ORDER BY insignia.title ASC
  31. SELECT id, title, module, POSITION, content, showtitle, control, params
      FROM jos_modules AS m
      LEFT JOIN jos_modules_menu AS mm
      ON mm.moduleid = m.id
      WHERE m.published = 1
      AND m.access <= 0
      AND m.client_id = 0
      AND ( mm.menuid = 70 OR mm.menuid = 0 )
      ORDER BY POSITION, ordering
  32. SELECT guest, usertype, client_id, DATA
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE client_id = 0

Language Files Loaded

Untranslated Strings Diagnostic

None

Untranslated Strings Designer

None