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PREFECT DE MARINE. — LIGHT HOUSES.
which is also used in Dorsetshire, and some few other counties, of confining their cattle by a string to a spot of pasture, until they have completely cleared it.
Upon the hill, ascending to the cliffs, are several very elegant chateaus and gardens, belonging to the principal inhabitants of the town.
Monsieur B , the prefect de marine, has a beautiful residence here. We were accidentally stopping at his gate, which was open, to view the enchanting prospects, which it presented to us, when the polite owner observed us, and with that amiableness, and civility, which still distinguish the descendants of the ancient families of rank in France, of which he is one, requested us to enter, and walked with us round his grounds, which were disposed with great taste. He afterwards conducted us to his elegant house, and gave us dried fruit, and excellent burgundy, after which we walked round the village to the light houses. From him we learnt, that the farmers here, as in England, were very respectable, and had amassed considerable wealth during the war. The approach to the light houses, through a row of elms, is very pleasant; they stand upon an immense high perpendicular cliff, and are lofty square buildings, composed of fine light hrown free stone. the entrance is handsome, over which there is a good room, containing four high windows, and a lodging room for the people, who have the care of the light, the glass chamber of which we reached, after ascending to a considerable height, by a curious spiral stone stair case. The lantern is composed, of ninety immense reflecting lamps, which are capable of being raised or. depressed with great
E 2 ease HONFLEUR.
ease by means of an iron windlass. This large lustre, is sur-. rounded with plates of the thickest french glass, fixed in squares of iron, and discharges a prodigious light, in dark nights. A furnace of coal, was formerly used, but this has been judiciously superseded by the present invention. Round the lantern, is a gallery with an iron balustrade, the view from this elevation upon the beach, the entrance of the Seine, Honflcur (where our Henry III is said to have fought the french armies, .and to have distinguished himself by his valour) the distant hills of Lower Normandy, and the ocean, is truly grand. If brought to my mind that beautiful description of Shakspcare—
The murmuring surge
That on th' unnumbered idle pebbles chafes,
"We did not visit the other tower, as it was uniform with this. The woman who has the charge of the light, was very good humoured, and very talkative, she seemed delighted to show us every thing, and said she preferred seeing englishmen in her tower as friends, to the view she frequently had of them from it as enemies, alluding to the long, and masterly blockade of this port by a squadron of cnglish frigates. She carried us to her little museum, as she called it, where she had arranged, very neatly, a considerable collection of fossils, shells, and petrcfactions. Here she showed us with great animation,. two
british RAFTS. — CARTS.
british cannon halls, which during the blockade, had very nearly rendered her husband and herself, as cold and as silent as any of the petrefactions in her collection. In this little cabinet was her bed, where amidst the war of winds and waves, she told us she slept as sound as a consul.
In the basins of Havre, we saw several rafts, once so much talked of, constructed for the real, or ostensible purpose of conveying the invading legions of France, to the shores of Great Britain. I expected to have seen an immense floating platform, but the vessels which we saw, were made like brigs of an unusual breadth, with two low masts. The sincerity of this project has been much disputed, but that the french government expended considerable sums upon the scheme, I have no doubt.
I must not omit to mention, the admirable mode, which they have here, and in most parts of France, of constructing their carts. They are placed upon very high wheels, the load is generally arranged so as to create an equipoise, and is raised by an axle, fastened near the shafts. I was informed by a merchant, that a single horse can draw with ease thirty-six hundred weight, in one of these carts. These animals have a formidable appearance, owing to a strange custom which the french have, of covering the collar, with an entire sheep's skin, which gives them the appearance of having an enormous shaggy mane.
At night, we settled our bills which amounted to forty Iivres each. A considerable charge in this Country, but we had lived well, and had not thought it worth our while,