“Calais” [prose]
—How much has been said of Calais. Every one who
has ever set his foot on the French shore, from poor
Yorick to the veriest scribbler ever blotted paper, has
written half a volume upon Calais. And no marvel.
 
a
Calais—the busy—the bustling —I had almost said
the beautiful, for beautiful it was to me. b and
 
c
I believe to every one, who enters it as a vestibule
 
d
an introduction to France, and to the French. 1 e
See Calais, and you can see no more, though you
should peramubulate France from the Atlantic
to the Mediterranean. It is a little France, a min‐
iature picture, but not the less
ȸ
a
resemblance.— f
Stand on the pier and look round you The sky is a
French sky, it is a very turquoise, the sea is a
 
g
French sea in every thing but its want of motion
the air is French air, none of your English bois‐
terous sea puffs that blow the dust in your eyes
when you wish to be particularly clear sighted.
No, it is a mere breath, you canʼt call it a breeze
yet bearing a delicious, a balmy coolness, and a
 
h
little, a very little smell of the sea. Look at the
fishing boats, they are peculiarly 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 out of water with men, — that are at least
out of their element, would mark a french fish‐
ing boat, whatever quarter of the world it
might happen to be driven to.
And look at the town, the chimnies are entire‐
ly vapourless, and have that peculiarly awk‐
 14


ward look incident to all useless things. And
look at the people, the countenance, the costume
the tout ensemble is altogether different from
any thing you ever saw in England, and
yet Englands cliffs are on the horizon, half an
hours might see you beneath them, 2 — It is
most extraordinary. —