On Sunday, being May-day, we walked up into Pall Mall ((A long straight road or promenade which evolved from the alleys in which the game of Pall Mall was played. -GS)), very long, and so noble shaded with tall trees (being in the midst of a great wood), that unless that of Tours, I had not seen a statelier.
From hence, we proceeded with a friend of mine through the adjoining forest ((The Foret de Blois -GS)), to see if we could meet any wolves, which are here in such numbers that they often come and take children out of the very streets ((Reresby confirms this, thirteen years afterwards. “They [the wolves] are so numerous and bold in cold weather, that the winter before my coming thither, a herd of them came into the street and devoured a young child ” (Travels, 1831, p. 26). See also ante, p. 92. –AD])); yet will not the Duke, who is sovereign here, permit them to be destroyed. We walked five or six miles outright; but met with none; yet a gentleman, who was resting himself under a tree, with his horse grazing by him, told us that half an hour before, two wolves had set upon his horse, and had in probability devoured him, but for a dog which lay by him. At a little village at the end of this wood, we ate excellent cream, and visited a castle builded on a very steep cliff ((The castle is the Château de Chaumont and the village is probably the nearby Chaumont-sur-Loire. – GS)).
Blois is a town where the language is exactly spoken ((For which reason Mr. Joseph Addison, some fifty years later, spent twelve months there to acquire the French language at its best. “ The place where I am at present,”—he wrote to his friend Stanyan in February, 1700,—“by reason of its situation on the Loire and its reputation for ye Language, is very much Infested with Fogs and German Counts.” Pope, it may be added, touches on the quality of the Blois French :—
A Frenchman comes,
presents you with his Boy, Bows and begins—
“This Lad, Sir, is of Blois. . . .His French is pure.”
Imitations of Horace, Ep. II. Bk. ii. 1. 3. –AD)); the inhabitants very courteous; the air so good, that it is the ordinary nursery of the King’s children. The people are so ingenious, that, for goldsmith’s work and watches, no place in France affords the like. The pastures by the river are very rich and pleasant.