15 JULY 1893, Page 15



Mite' Perriere, La Bourboule, Tidy 10th. Citrannarcy questions are surely amongst the things " which no fellow can understand,"—a truth for which I think, Sir, I may even claim you as a witness, after reading your cautious handling of the silver question in recent numbers. But so far as my experience goes, there are no questions as to which it is more difficult to shake convictions than those which have been arrived at by unscientific persons. For instance, in this very charming health-resort, the authorities at the Etablissement des Bains, where one buys bath-tickets, are under the delusion that 20 fr. (French money) are the proper equivalent for the English sovereign. On my first purchase of six tickets, amounting to 15 fr. (each bath costs 2 fr. 50 c., or 50 o. more than at Royat), the otherwise intelligent person who pre- sided at the eciisse d'etablissement, tendered me a single 5 fr. piece; and on my calling his attention to the mis- take, as I supposed it to be, and demanding a second 5 fr., calmly informed me that 20 fr. was the change they always gave, and he could give no other. Whereupon, I carried off my sovereign in high dudgeon, and—there being neither bank nor money-changer's office in this place, though more than twenty large hotels !—applied to two of the larger shops only to find the same delusion in force. In short, I only succeeded in getting 25 fr. in exchange for nay sovereign as a favour from our kind hostess at this hotel. Wherefore, as I hear that a great crowd of English are looked for next month, I should like to warn them to bring French money with them. This experience reminded me of a good story which I heard Thackeray tell thirty years ago. (If it is in " The Kickle- bury's on the Rhine," or printed elsewhere, you will suppress it.) Either he himself or a friend, I forget which, changed a sovereign on landing in Holland, put the change in one par- ticular pocket, and on crossing each frontier on his way to the South of Italy, before that country or Germany had been consolidated, again exchanged the contents of that pocket for the current coin of the Kingdom, Duchy, or Republic he was entering. On turning out the contents at Naples he found them equivalent to something under 5s. of English money. Before I forget it, let me modify what I said last week as to the ecclesiastical position of the Protestants here. The Anglicans are now represented by the " Colonial and Conti- nental Society." They send a clergyman, who has managed so well that we are now on excellent terms with our French Protestant brethren, though we have as yet no joint place of worship. This, however, both congregations hope to secure shortly,—indeed, as soon as they can collect £400, half of which is already in hand. Then the municipality, or the " Compagnie d'Etablissement des Bains," I am not sure which, give a site, and another £400, which will be enough to pay for a small church sufficient for the present con- gregations. These will hold the building in common, and, let us hope, will adjust the hours for the services amicably. At present, the French Protestants worship in the buvette, where we all drink our waters ; and we Anglicans in an annex of the establishment,—a large room devoted during the week to Punch and Judy and the marionettes. This rather scandalises some of our compatriots ; I cannot for the life of me see why. Indeed, it seems to me a very healthy lesson to most of us, who are accustomed to the ritual which prevails in so many of our restored, or recently built, English churches,—the lesson which Jacob learnt on his flight from his father's tents, when he slept in the desert with a stone for pillow, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not." Our congregation yesterday was something over thirty. I believe it rises to one hundred, or more, next month. The service was thoroughly hearty, and I really think every one must have come meaning to say their prayers. I felt a slight qualm as to how we should get on with the singing, and could not think why the parson should choose about the longest hymn in the book, for there was no organ, harmonium, . or other musical instrument, and no apparent singing-men or singing-women. However, my qualms vanished when our pastor led off with a well-trained tenor voice which put us all at our ease.

The rest of our Sunday was by no means so successful, for the fete du jour et du soir began soon after our 11 man. dAjeiner, and lasted till about 10 p.m., when the lights in most of the paper-lanterns had burnt out, and people had gone home from the Casino and the promenade to their hotels or lodgings. I am old-fashioned enough to like a quiet Sunday; but here, when the place is en fete, that is out of the question, —at any rate, if you are a guest at one of the hotels which, as they almost all do, faces on the "Avenue Gueneau de Mussy." That name will probably remind some of your readers of the able and popular doctor of the Orleans family, who accompanied their exile, lived in England during the Empire in Mortimer Street, Cavendish Square, and was popular in London society. After 1870 he returned to France, and it seems, re•dieeovered these waters, or, at any rate, made them the fashionable resort of patients in need of arsenical treatment. In gratitude, his name has been given to this main avenue of La Bourboule, which runs the whole length of the town, parallel to the river Dordogne, which comes rushing down the valley from Mont Dore at a pace which I have never seen water attain except in the rapids below Niagara, in which that strongest and rashest of swimmers, Captain Webb, lost his life. The Avenue, though parallel with, is some fifty yards from, the river, and the intervening space is planted with rows of trees, under which many donkeys and hacks stand for the convenience of visitors. The opposite bank of the Dordogne, which is crossed by two bridges, rises abruptly, and is crowned by the two rival casinos, with the most imposing hotel of the place between them, where (I am told) you pay 5 fr. a day extra for the con- venience of the only lift in La Bourboule ! The fete of last Sunday was given by the old Casino, and commenced directly after dejciiner with a gathering in the rooms and in front of the Casino on the terrace, where the guests sat at small tables consuming black coffee, absinthe, and other drinks, and strolling now and then into the billiard-room, or the room in which the jeu aux petits chevaux, and some other game of chance which I did not recognise, were in full swing. There is an inner room where baccarat and roulette are going on, supposed to be only open to tickets bought from the autho- rities, but which a young Englishman, my neighbour at the table d'hote, tells me he found no difficulty in entering without a ticket. The rest of the fête, consisting chiefly of donkey- races, climbing greasy poles, and fishing half-francs out of meal-tubs with the mouth, came off in a small park and plateau on the hill-side above the Casino. I used to enjoy donkey-races as a boy, when at our country feasts each boy rode his neighbour's donkey, and the last past the post was the winner, and should probably have gone up the bill to witness a French race, but that I found that here each boy rides his own donkey, and the first past the post wins. This takes all the fun out of the race, so I abstained. There were a few second-rate fireworks after dark, and the Casino and most of the hotels were prettily lighted, and the trees hung with yellow paper-lanterns which looked like big oranges, but to the Englishman, more or less accustomed to the great Brook's performances, the illumination business was very flat.

Vicuus VIATOR.