Page:A book of the Pyrenees.djvu/359

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301
COLD WINDS

named La Houlière, who grew vines and made wine on his wife's estate; he sent a cask of the latter to his illustrious uncle, and entreated him to obtain a market for his wines in Russia. To which Voltaire replied, "I am sorry not to be able to be of use to you in this matter, but the Empress at this moment is too much occupied with the Turks who drink no wine, and with the Germans who drink too much, to be able to turn her attention to your generous liquor."

When La Houlière, who commanded at Perpignan in April, 1793, learned the defeat of the French troops by the Spaniards, he was so depressed that he blew out his brains.

Throughout the plain of Roussillon vines grow, and the wine they produce is excellent. The canals of irrigation bordered by trees traverse the plain; and, thanks to this semi-aquatic condition, the vineyards do not present the monotony of those of Narbonne and Beziers.

The dread of the cold winds over the snows of the Alps and the Cevennes is everywhere apparent. Reeds grow in the dykes to a great height, from twelve to fourteen feet, and even more, and these are cut and formed into mats to barricade the fields and gardens, and give some shelter to them from the piercing blast that has bent every tree from the direction whence it blows. Round Perpignan every patch of flower or vegetable garden is thus hedged about.

At Perpignan the Count de Grammont met the Abbé Poussatin, when he was retreating with the Prince of Condé after the unsuccessful campaign in Catalonia, in 1647. Grammont says:—

"At last we arrived at Perpignan on a holiday; a company of Catalans, who were dancing in the street, out of respect to the prince, came forward to dance under his windows. Monsieur Poussatin, in a little black jacket, danced in the middle of this