Page:A book of the Pyrenees.djvu/65

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board, to which they retire at eight in the evening to rise at four in the morning. On Friday they take a meal which serves for dinner—unseasoned vegetables—on their knees. They never read a book, except one of devotion, and are entirely ignorant of the politics and changes of society. This holy Thebaid is shut out from all view of the external world; neither ocean nor river, nor plain nor hill, can be discerned from it, although Nature, immediately outside its limits, presents herself in her loveliest aspects of sea and mountain. Unbroken silence and solitude prevail, and the stranger who enters its sacred seclusion becomes involuntarily overpowered by the sentiment that pervades the atmosphere and fills the mind with awe and wonder."[1]

I should add, with indignation that human beings, even penitents, should be reduced by this method to stultification.

S. Jean de Luz is a favourite bathing place for such as desire more quiet and less heavy hotel charges than Biarritz affords. In 1660 the church saw the marriage of Louis XIV and Maria Theresa, Infanta of Spain. In commemoration of this event, the magistrates walled up the door by which the bridal pair passed out, and it has remained thus shut to this day. At S. Jean de Luz may be seen what is usual in Basque and Béarnais churches, as also in Tyrol, the men occupying the galleries, not infrequently in double tiers, whilst the women fill the body of the church. In the Maison Lobobiagne, with turrets, lodged Louis XIV; the Infanta and her mother, Anne of Austria, occupied the Maison Joanoëna.

I can recall rides en cacolet as customary among the Basques some sixty years ago, now quite obsolete. A horse was furnished with two baskets, one on each side, and two persons

  1. Lawlor, Pilgrimages in the Pyrenees. London, 1870.