Volume 58: Sir George Macleay correspondence, 1848-1880: No. 153

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[Page 153]

I had looked forward to have enjoyed myself much among the wild plants, birds & insects of this neighbourhood, but 2 weeks in bed as this [indecipherable] part of the season, the weather being as dry too as in an Australian drought have destroyed all chance of this.  The few drives I have had have been confined to the cultivation country.  The crops through France are splendid this year, when caterpillars have not been enormous, but in no part that I have passed through have I seen any thing like what they are here.  They remind me of the crops in one way but years in Australia.  It is a limestone undulating country with the hills as in [indecipherable] cultivated to the very tops, covered anything but sparsely with large Walnuts trees with the ground beneath bearing whole crops of grasses of various kinds, vines & cereals.  France is certainly a noble country well deserving the epithet of "la belle".  It is curious to see how the hot springs here, more or less, charged with iron burnt through the rock here of rough burning saturated with alkaline salts on their passage, but still more curious to see the [indecipherable] of gourmands & gourmets who have assembled around them to drench themselves with these healing waters, making wonderfully wry [indecipherable] as they drink.  It is my only amusement here to go & watch them.

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