Page:The Normans in European History.djvu/20

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

6

NORMANS IN EUROPEAN HISTORY

difference through long generations of use and wont, in an intimate union of man and nature which makes the Norman inseparable from his land. All this, too, is English, but English with a difference. Just as, in Henry James's phrase, the English landscape is a landlord's landscape, and the French a peasant's, so the mairie and the préfecture, the public garden and the public band, the café and the ever-open church, the workman's blouse and the grandam's bonnet, remind us continually that we are in a Latin country and on our way to Paris.

Now the history of Normandy reflects this twofold impression of the traveller: it faces toward England and the sea, but it belongs to France and the land. Open to the outer world by the great valley of the Seine and the bays and inlets of its long coast-line, Normandy was never drawn to the sea in the same degree as its neighbor Brittany, nor isolated in any such measure from the life of the Continent. Where the shore is low, meadow and field run to the water's edge; where it is high, its line is relatively little broken, so that the streams generally rush to the sea down short, steep valleys, up which wheeze the trains which connect the little seaside ports and watering-places with the modern world within. In spite of the trade of its rivers and its ports, in spite of the growth of industry along its streams, Normandy is still primarily an agricultural country, rooted deep in the rich soil of an ancient past, a country of horses and