I walk far among the wolds; I find exquisite villages, where every stone-built house seems to have style and quality; I come down upon green water-meadows, with clear streams flowing by banks set with thorn-bushes and alders. The churches, the manor-houses, of grey rubble smeared with plaster, with stone roof-tiles, are a feast for eye and heart.
Yes, there, gallant fellow! God inspires, God shall speed thee! How plainly I see him! his eyes are closed, his teeth set. The serpent leaps up, the forked tongue darts upon him, and the reek of the breath wraps him round. The crowd has ebbed back like a sea, and the smoke rushes over them all. Ha! what dim forms are those on the ladder? Near and nearer, crash come the roof-tiles!
There was a house at Poissy "full to the roof-tiles" of books, marbles, bronzes and innumerable curios, gathered from every corner of the earth; and a palace at Paris filled in like manner, for which Ernest Meissonier had expended more than a million francs.
I came back at sundown, through the silent garden, all shrouded and muffled with snow. The snow lay on the house, outlining the cornices, cresting the roof-tiles, crusted sharply on the cupola, whitening the tall chimney-stacks. The comfortable smoke went up into the still air, and the firelight darted in the rooms.
The fragment marked is the eastern pediment, sculptured in relief with various figures; and that marked is half of the western pediment sculptured with figures of six foot-soldiers. The group marked is one of the samples of the roof-tiles with which the building was covered in.
Wilfrid, the potter, stood with his wife and children, looking at what was left of a little old cottage. Fire had left it a heap of ashes and half- burned timbers and rubbish. The red roof-tiles glowed like embers of dead centuries. "I'd never ha' turned the old man out," he said pensively, "but now he's gone and the cot's gone too, we'll see what's under this end of Cold Harbor."
The whole apse-end is constructed in most picturesque irregularity, and the new red of the roof-tiles and sombre grey of the old stone add greatly to its charm. Unlike many churches of its period Notre-Dame of Vaison is three-aisled. Slender, narrow naves, whose tunnel vaults are not extremely lofty, end in small circular apses.
My guide, who has a holy horror of customs officers and gendarmes, remained at the top of the cliff, because of a small custom-house station on the shore, while I bent my steps toward a tall red building which reared its three stories aloft in that blazing solitude, the windows broken, the roof-tiles in confusion, and over the rotting door an immense sign: 'Caisse Territoriale.
"Like t' owd flea-bitten mare used to stand bottom o' Church Hill out o' Water Street, waitin' for t' bus comin'. They'd take the bar offen 'er back, hitch it to pole, an' away she'd go, scratchin' and scramblin' up to moor, like cat on roof-tiles. Ha! ha!" laughed Ned, and took a pull from the pewter. "But, say, who be you, standin' drinks like an owd friend?"
It is a mercy there was no ceiling. Holding on to the latch of the door, I heard the grinding of the roof-tiles cease above my head. The shock was over. "'Out of the house! The door! Fly, Santierra, fly! howled the General. You know, senores, in our country the bravest are not ashamed of the fear an earthquake strikes into all the senses of man. One never gets used to it.