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A Year of Consolation

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Pages: 278

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/4/2009 - General Books LLC

By: Fanny Kemble

Excerpt from book: FAIR OF STE. PIVIE. a curious costume—dark petticoats, bright scarlet handkerchiefs over their bosoms, caps on their heads, and the peculiar beaver hat I have mentioned, stooping forward almost to their noses— many of these were covered with an immense profusion of black lace, and ornamented with gold cord and tassels, the whole effect being striking and picturesque, though from the narrow form of their dress across the bosom and shoulders, it was individually unbecoming. My antiquarian friend and myself looked in vain from each window for a pretty face to set off this peculiar attire: in all the population of the district gathered together there for the fair, we saw but one good-looking girl—a small allowance among so many hundreds. We stopped in the market-place, and a man issuing from one of the shops offered to sell me one of the hats which the women wore. I was tempted to buy one, but declined upon his demanding forty francs for it, nor would I renew the treaty, though he immediately offered it to me for thirty, and assured me that many of the peasant women bought them at a hundred francs. They evidently take great pride and pleasure in them, and in spite of the everlasting fitness of things, which they offend outrageously, they are very pretty. As we proceeded on our way, I began already to observe the flattening roofs, with their gentle, gradual slope, like those of Italian houses, so different from the high-peaked Norman roofs, which seem kindred to the caps of the Normandy women. We now began to see hanging under the projecting eaves of the houses long strings of maize or Indian corn—the ears were strung to each other like branches of bananas, and, covered over with nets, hung their great golden clusters round the houses, upon whose walls the withered brown tracery ...  

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