Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/52
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
the southwest winds and the rains. Most of these grottoes were inhabited fifty years ago, but the majority of them have been abandoned in consequence of the land-slides and the development of the knowledge and desire of a better way of living. Three of them are still occupied by persons who boast that they are very comfortable in them — warm in winter with their southern exposure and complete protection from the north, and enjoying a refreshing coolness in the summer. The caves are free from moisture, and cost no rent except a slight fee paid to the proprietor of the ground above them. The natural opening on the side of the sea is closed not very tightly with boards or stones, in which one or two windows admit a sufficient light. The house is usually composed of two rooms, separated by a partition which was left in the hollowing out of the cave, and the furnishings are as comfortable as those possessed by the majority of the peasants of the
Fig. 13. — Entrance to the Grotto La Femme Neuve, Meschers.
region. Other shallower cavities outside of the main ones serve as sheds for the wood which is used to cook, in earthen kettles, the soup and the fish and oysters which are found in abundance at the foot of the bank. The visitor who expects to find misery or signs of hard life in these grotto homes will be disappointed; instead, he will see people as satisfied with their lot as Diogenes was with his tub.