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In Normandy and Brittany.



In Normandy and Brittany.

Notes and Comments by "The Quartette". May 1904.

Typescript on recto of 48 leaves, interleaved with blank leaves with 44 mounted black and white postcards. 4to. [291 x 209 x 14 mm]. Bound in the original blue roan, the covers with a single fillet border, the front lettered with the initials "M.E.K.", gilt decorated endleaves, plain edges. (Head and foot of spine and corners worn).

On 6th May 1904 four ladies, named Ruth, Jeanie, Margaret (Peg) and A.E.R. (the chaperone and author of the diary) set out on a bicycling tour of Northern France. This volume was Margaret E. Knox's typed account of their adventures, complete with postcards picked up along the way.

Most days were spent visiting churches and sites of historical interest. On day one Jeanie almost stepped on a viper lying coiled up in the long grass and Ruth insisted that she had large stones and blocks of rock hurled at her by two innocent men by the roadside ("probably this account is largely aided by her imagination which is inclined to run riot where Frenchmen are concerned, as she has taken an unwarrantable dislike for the whole male population of the country"). Day two saw Peg being chased by "un petit chien". She is "quiet "a la mode" and uses a hooter instead of a bell on her cycle and as she kept sounding it incessantly the noise proved far more a source of attraction to the puppy than a means of frightening it away". Their baggage did not always catch up with them (porters could be "perfect dolts") and they faced fierce tussles with the wind and popped tyres, but a good "dejeuner" usually got them back on track. The Bayeux Tapestry "is quite valuable as a historical document" and "well worth seeing", though the locals did not know how to pronounce it. The three younger ladies fell for the son of the hotel keeper, and almost fell out over him (A.E.R. admitted "we had such a "big thurst" on when we got to our rooms that we readily disposed of thirteen oranges between us"). He was soon forgotten when they reached Mont Saint-Michel, as "the porter here has been dubbed "the handsomest man we have met this trip" and the girls are very anxious to teach him English. He knows too much already for Ruth to say to him, as she did one young man we met, "you have beautiful eyes", but Peg raves about their "liquid depths"". That night there was a commotion when Jeanie and Ruth thought there was a stranger in their bedroom and A.E.R. hurt her finger in the panic. Back on the road a flying cow could have caused far greater damage to Margaret and her bicycle. They returned to Edinburgh on 26th May, having managed to ride 20 miles or more most days and it was "agreed that everything had gone absolutely without a hitch and that we would all look forward to some similar jaunt at no very distant date".

Stock no. ebc6094

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