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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Thursday, 1 August 2013

With friends

Thursday, August 1st., Les Sablons, Fontainebleau.

Marriott and I rode to Nemours yesterday through the forest. A magnificent lunch on the terrace of the "Ecu de France", one of those provincial French inns with a personnel apparently very numerous, including one or two wenches of neat and agreeable manners. Then our wives arrived, and we climbed to the roof of the donjon and tasted and savoured the famous view of town and country from the top, the country running right up to the town as Hardy describes it at "Casterbridge".

See also, 'Enchanted' - March 23rd., http://earnoldbennett.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/enchanted.html

Then we got separated, and Marguerite and I went to look at canals and buy cakes, and we had glimpses of the Marriotts now and then across the square, going into a church or something. Lastly we had tea (our own) at the Ecu, and the women went back to the station, and Marriott and I rode home through Episy and Ecuelles, one of the most beautiful pieces of simple highway scenery that I know. And not a motor car! Then we came into Moret, and to the Paris-Marseilles Route Nationale, and were immediately enveloped in the dust and fumes of cars.

See also, 'Bicycling in France' - August 26th., http://earnoldbennett.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/monday-august-26th.html

At night Marriott was talking of the greed of certain famous painters. He said that at a pension table d'hote on the continent, when the fish came round, F--- would help himself to two whole soles, of course quite regardless of the rest of the company. Similar tales of B--- who must be an inconceivable boor. When the round did not begin with B---, and he saw the dish travelling from person to person, he would cry out aloud his fears that not sufficient would be left for himself. On the other hand, when the waiters began with him, he would take so much that the waiters, perceiving his greed, would next time begin so as to serve him last. Marriott has also told (and Mrs. M. too) numerous almost incredible stories of B---'s tyranny over his wife - under the guise of being utterly devoted to her. That is to say, he passes his life in forbidding her to do, to eat, to enjoy things that he considers dangerous for her. The attitude has become a mania; it springs of course from a purely selfish fear of losing her. Without knowing B--- I have acquired quite a violent distaste for him: and each fresh tale that I hear of his monstrous egoism gives me a sort of morbid pleasure. I thought I might use him up as the husband of the stay-at-home sister in "The Old Wives' Tale".

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