“Voilà!” cried the miners, each snatching from an inside pocket a small, flat book showing signs of age and hard usage.
The gendarme stuffed one of the volumes under an arm and fell to examining the other. Between its greasy covers was a complete biography of its owner. The first leaf bore his baptismal record, followed by a page for each of his three years of military service, all much decorated with official stamps and seals. Then came affidavits of apprenticeship, variously endorsed and viséd, and last a page for every firm that had employed the miner, giving dates, wages, testimonials, and reasons for leaving or 杭州下沙哪有不正规spa dismissal. The miner bore the scrutiny with fortitude. With his official book at hand the French laborer has little dread of the officers of the law. After each term at his trade he may, if he sees fit to travel a bit, give variations of the old “looking-for-work” story, though as the date of his last employment grows more and more
remote, the gendarmerie becomes an increasing obstacle.
Without some such document no one may tramp the highways of France. He who travels on foot for other reason than poverty, or who, being poor, will not make his way by begging, is an enigmatical 28being to any race but the Anglo-Saxon. To the French gendarme his mode of travel is proof absolute that he is a misérable sans-sous to whom every law against vagrancy must be strictly applied.
The officer ended the examination of the books and handed them 杭州油压会所 back with a gruff bien.
“Maintenant, les v?tres,” he growled.
“Here it is,” I answered, ignoring the plurality of the French pronoun, and I drew from my pocket a general letter of introduction to our consular service, signed by the Secretary of State. The gendarme, who had expected another book, opened the paper with
a perplexed air which increased to blank amazement when, instead of familiar French words, his eyes fell on a half-dozen lines of incomprehensible hieroglyphics.
“Hein! Que diable!” he gasped. “Qu’est-ce que c’est que ?a?”
“My passport,” I explained. “Je suis américain.”
“Ha! Américain! Diable! And that is really a passport? Never before have I seen one.”
It was not really a passport by any means. I had none. But monsieur le gendarme was in no position to dispute my word had I told him it was a patent of 杭州养生会所哪家服务好 nobility.
“Very good,” he went on, “but you must have another paper. Foreign vagabonds cannot journey in France without a document to prove that they have worked.”
Here was a poser. It would have been easy to assert that I was a traveler and no workman, but it would have been still easier to guess where such an assertion would land me. I rubbed my unshaven chin in perplexity, then struck by a sudden inspiration, snatched from my bundle the cattle-boat discharge.
“Bah!” grumbled the officer, “more foreign gibberish! What is that vilaine langue the devil himself couldn’t read?”
“English,” I replied.
“Tiens, que c’est dr?le que cette machine-là,” he mused, holding the paper out at arm’s length and scratching his head.
However, with some assistance he made out one date on the document, and, handing it back with a sigh of 杭州桑拿全套一条龙服务 resignation, gave us leave to pass on.
“A propos!” he cried, before we had taken three steps, “what country did you say you come from?”
“America,” I answered.
29“L’Amérique! And being in America you come to France? Oh, mon Dieu, what idiocy!” and waving his arms above his head he fled for the shade of his office.
The ways of my companions would have made them the laughing-stock of American roadsters. They looked forward to no three meals a day. The hope of a “set-down” never intruded upon their field of vision. In fact, they considered that the world was going very well with them if they collected sous enough for one or two lunches of bread and wine daily. Yet wine they would have, except for breakfast, or they refused to eat even bread. Like almost all who tramp any distance in France, they “played the merchant” and were surprised 杭州桑拿一品楼 to find that I ventured along the highways of 杭州按摩电话 their country without doing likewise. That is, they carried over one shoulder a bundle containing shoe-strings, thread, needles, thimbles, and other articles in demand among rural housewives. The demand was really very light. They did make a two or three-sous sale here and there, but the market value of their wares was of least importance. By carrying them, the miners evaded the strict laws against vagrancy. Without the bundles they were beggars, with them they ranked as peddlers. The ruse deceived no one, not even the gendarme. But it satisfied the letter of the law.
Still engrossed in discussing the character of the officer who had delayed us, we reached a large farmhouse. With one of the miners I lingered at the roadside. The other entered the dwelling, ostensibly to display 杭州品茶 his wares. A moment later he emerged with a half-loaf of coarse peasant’s bread. Madame had needed nothing from his pack, but “she made me a present of this lump.”
It was while they were canvassing a village in quest of sales, or crusts, in the dusk of evening that I lost sight of the miners. I had passed the village inn, and, being always averse to retracing my steps, continued my way alone. Had I suspected the distance to the next hamlet, I might have been less eager to press on. Fully three hours later I stumbled into Les Bussières and, having walked sixty-nine kilometers, it was not strange that I slept late next morning. Besides, the day was Sunday, and what with satisfying the curiosity of a company of peasants in the wine-room and drinking the health of several of them, I did not set out until the day was well 杭州桑拿按摩女图片 advanced. Beyond the village stretched the broad, white route, endless and deserted. The long journey before me would have been less lonely in 30the company of the miners; but we had parted and I plodded on in solitude, wondering when I should again fall in with so cheery a pair.
In passing a clump of trees at the roadside, I was suddenly roused from my revery by a shout of “Holà! L’américain!” What could have betrayed my nationality? I halted and stared about me. My eyes fell on the grove and I beheld my companions of the day before hastily gathering their possessions together.
We journeyed along as before, producing our papers at each village and being once stopped in the open country by a mounted gendarme. The miners played in poor luck all through the morning. A single sou and an aged quarter-loaf constituted their gleanings. 杭州油压kj Gaunt hunger was depicted on their countenances before we reached Briare in the early afternoon and, breaking the silence of an hour, I offered to stand the compte of a meal for three.