"Calais" [essay]
Calais
Ever How much has been said of Calais, a Every one who has ever
set foot on the French shore, from poor Yorick to the veriest
Scribbler ever blotted paper has written half a volume upon
Calais, b And no marvel, Calais—the busy, the bustling the—I had
almost said the beautiful, for beautiful it was to me and I
believe to every one, who enters it as a vestibule, an introduction
to France, and to the french. 1 See calais and you can see no more,
though you should perambulate France from the Atlantic to
the Mediterranean. It is a little France, a miniature picture but
not the less resemblance. Stand on the pier and look round
you, the sky is a french sky, it is a very turquoise, the sea
is a French sea in every thing but its want of motion, the
air is French air, None of your english boisterous sea puffs
that blow the dust the dust in your eyes when you wish
to be particularly clear sighted, looking for the french steamboat
perhaps, c No it is a mere breath, you cant call it a breeze
yet bearing a delicious a balmy coolness, and a little, a very
little smell of the sea, Looking at the fishing boats, they are peculi‐
arly french, and particularly clumsy The red, tattered shapeless
sail, the undistinguishable resemblance of stem to stern
the porpoise like manner in which the vessel labours through
the water, the incorrigible disorder that reigns on board,
the confusion of fish of out of water with men that are at least
out of their element would mark a french fishing boat whatever
quarter of the world it might happen to be driven to Look at
the town, the chimnies are entirely vapourless, and have that
peculiarly clu awkward look incident to all useless things And
look at the people, the countenance the costume the tout en‐
semble is altogether different from any thing you ever saw and
in England, and yet Englands cliffs are on the horizon four
hours might see you beneath them 2 It is most extraordinary