Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/53

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43
CAVE DWELLINGS OF MEN.

"If we desire to visit these grottoes, we may descend from one of the windmills by a winding path to the one called Femme neuve, because it is the newest of the group. We are welcomed with the best the proprietor has to offer. The women are busy with their washing. The smoke escapes freely through the loose planks of the sea-wall. A second chamber serves as a sleeping

PSM V41 D053 Interior of the grotto la femme neuve meschers.jpg

Fig. 14. — Interior View of the Grotto La Femme Neuve, Meschers.

room and is furnished with two beds, a commode, and, opposite the beds, the fireplace, back to the sea, between two small glass windows. During high southwest winds the spray leaps up to the height of the caves, the rain dashes against the planks, the grottoes are inundated and made uninhabitable, and it becomes necessary to seek shelter in some of the cottages of the village.

"Another path from the windmills leads to a second grotto, where lives Father Lavigne, a bright and sprightly man of about eighty years, who makes a weekly trip to Royau and back in the same day. He receives his visitor with great courtesy, hat in hand, and shows him his two rooms, nearly bare, but commanding a fine view over the gulf and the sea. His furniture is simple but neat; and the old gentleman, who has lived here more than forty years, declares that he is quite happy, for health is left to him. His cave-life has never given him rheumatism.

"A locksmith and knife-grinder has recently established himself in a third cave, and has the love of a hermit for it. His door and window are open, showing a single room with a bed of straw on four legs, a wall-table, a few utensils, and a chair, as all the fur-