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ing of the wheel, besides a fear of being famished before we came to our inn, which was six French miles from us. The mad duke that in the play undertook to drive two snails from Millaine to Musco, without staff, whip, or goad; and in a bravery to match him, for an experiment, would here have had matter to have tired his patience. We came at last to Tostes, the place destinate to our lodging; a town like the worser sort of market towns in England. There our charioteer brought us to the ruins of a house, an alehouse I would scarce have thought it, and yet in spite of my teeth it must be an inn, yea, and that an honourable one too, as Don Quixote's host told him. Despair of finding there either bedding or victuals made me just like the fellow at the gallows, who, when he might have been reprieved, on condition he would marry a wench which there sued for him; having viewed well, cried to the hangman to drive on his cart. The truth is, J'eschappay du tonnere et rencheu en l'es lair, according to the French proverb; I fell out of the frying-pan into the hot fire. One of the house (a ragged fellow I am sure he was, and so most likely to live there) brought us to a room somewhat of kindred to a charnel-house; as dark and as dampish; I confess it was paved with brick at the bottom, and had towards the orchard a pretty hole, which in former times had been a window, but now the glass was all vanished. By the light
that came in at the hole, I first perceived that I was not in England. There stood in the chamber three beds, if at the least it be lawful so to call them. The foundation of them was of straw, so infinitely thronged together, that the wool-pack which our judges sit on in the parliament were melted butter to them. Upon this lay a medley of flocks and feathers together, sowed up in a large bag, (for I am confident it was not a tick) but so ill ordered, that the knobs stuck out on each side of it, like a crab-tree cudgel, He must needs have flesh enough that lieth upon one of them; otherwise, the second night would wear out his bones. The sheets they brought for us were so coarse, that in my conscience no mariner would vouchsafe to use them for a sail; and the coverlid so bare, that if a man would undertake to reckon the threads, he need not miss one of the number. The napery of the table was suitable to the bedding; so foul and dirty, that I durst not conceive it had ever been washed above once, and yet the poor cloth looked as briskly, as if it had been promised for the whole year ensuing to escape many a scouring. The napkins were fit companions for the cloth; unum si nove¬ ris, omnia nosti. By my description of the inn you may guess at the rest of France. Not altogether so wretched, yet is the alteration almost insensible.
Let us now walk into the kitchen, and observe their provision; and here we found a most terrible
execution commission committed on the person of a pullet. My hostess, cruel woman, had cut the throat of it, and without plucking off the feathers, tare it into pieces with her hands, and afterwards took away skin and feathers together, just as we strip rabbits in England. This done, it was clapped into a pan, and fried into a supper. In other places where we could get meat for the spit, it useth to be presently broached, and laid perpendicularly over the fire; three turns at most dispatcheth it, and bringeth it up to the table, rather scorched than roasted. I say, where we could get it; for in these rascally inns you cannot have what you would, but what you may; and that also not at the cheapest. At Pontoise we met with a rabbit, and we thought we had found a great purchase. Larded it was, as all meat is in that country, otherwise it is so lean it would never endure the roasting. In the eating it proved so tough, that I could not be persuaded that it was any more than three removes from that rabbit which was in the ark. The price, half-a-crown English. My companions thought it over dear; to me it seemed very reasonable; for certainly the grass that fed it was worth more than thrice the money; but I return to Tostes.
And it is time, you might perchance else have lost the sight of mine hostess and her daughters; you would have sworn at first blush they had been of a blood, and it had been great pity had it been otherwise,
The salutation of Horace, O mater pulchra, filia pulchrior, was never so reasonable as here. Not to honour them with a further character, let this suffice; that their persons kept so excellent decorum with the house and furniture, that one could not possibly make use of Tully's, Quam dispari dominaris domino! But this is not their luck only. The women, not of Normandy alone, but generally of all France, are forced to be contented with a little beauty; and she which with us is reckoned among the vulgar, would amongst them be taken for a princess. But of the French women more, when we have taken a view of the dames of Paris; now only somewhat of their habit and condition. Their habit, in which they differ from the rest of France, is the attire of their heads, which hangeth down their backs in fashion of a veil. In Rouen and the greater cities, it is made of linen, pure and decent; here and in the villages it cannot be possibly any thing else than an old dishclout turned out of service, or the corner of a table cloth reserved from washing. Their best condition is not always visible; they shew it only in the mornings, or when you are ready to depart, and that is their begging. You shall have about you such a throng of these ill faces, and every one whining out this ditty, Pour les servantes; that one might with greater ease distribute a dole at a rich man's funeral, than give them a penny: had you a purpose ta
give them unasked, their importunity will prevent your speediest bounty. After all this importunate begging, their ambition reacheth no higher than a sol: he that giveth more, outbiddeth their expectation, and shall be counted a spendthrift.
But the principal ornaments of these times are the men-servants, the raggedest regiment that I ever yet looked upon, Such a thing as a chamberlain was never heard of among them, and good clothes are as little known there as he. By the habit of his attendants, a man would think himself in goal, their clothes either full of patches or else open to the skin. Bid one of them wipe your boots, he presently hath recourse to the curtains; with those he will perhaps rub over one side, and leave the other to be madeclean by the guest. It is enough for him that he hath written the copy. They wait always with their hats on their heads, and so also do servants before their masters: attending bare-headed is as much out of fashion there as in Turkey. Of all French fashions, in my opinion the most unfitting and unseeming. Time and much use reconciled me to all other things, which were at the first offensive; to this irreverent custom I returned an enemy. Neither can I see how it can choose but stonfach the most patient, to see the worthiest sign of liberty usurped and profaned by the basest of slaves. For seeing that the French peasants are such infamous slaves unto their lords