Page:The Normans in European History.djvu/63

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THE COMING OF THE NORTHMEN

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frequent war; and the peculiar characteristics which mark off the custom of Normandy from other French customs seem due much rather to the legislation of Henry of Anjou than to any Scandinavian tradition.

The law of Normandy was by this time Frankish, and its speech was French. Even the second duke, William Longsword, found it necessary to send his son to Bayeux to learn Norse, for it was no longer spoken at Rouen. And in the French of Normandy, the Norman dialect, the Scandinavian element is astonishingly small, as careful students of the local patois tell us. Only in one department of life, the life of the sea, is any considerable Scandinavian influence discernible, and the historian of the French navy, Bourel de la Roncière, has some striking pages on the survivals of the language of the Norse Vikings in the daily speech of the French sailor and fisherman.

The question of race is more difficult, and is of course quite independent of the question of language, for language, as has been well said, is not a test of race but a test of social contact, and the fundamental physical characteristics of race are independent of speech. "Skulls," says Rhys, "are harder than consonants, and races lurk behind when languages slip away." On this point again scientific examination is unfavorable to extended Scandinavian influence. Pronounced northern types, of course, occur,—I remember, on my first journey through Normandy, seeing at a wayside station a