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to explore the paths up the Tête du Chien. _Défense de pénétrer_ - and
then selections from the Code about how spies are treated. The same
fate met me on the Mont de la Bataille. France may love Italy just
now - but she is taking no chances! As far as I could judge, every high
slope was fortified. I had tea at one of the hotels perched above the
town, counted my money, and suggested to the Artist that we slip down
to Monte Carlo for the night.

The next morning we took the little railway back to La Turbie and
continued our walk. From La Turbie the Grande Corniche makes a gradual
descent behind the principality of Monaco to Cabbé-Roquebrune, and
joins the Petite Corniche at Cap Martin. Three miles farther on the
Promenade du Midi leads into Menton. This is the most beautiful
stretch of the Grande Corniche; and it is paralleled by no other road,
as the new Moyenne Corniche ends at Monte Carlo. The view is before
you as you go down. The vegetation becomes more tropical. You are
nearer the sea, and the feeling of _dolce far niente_ gets into your
bones as you approach Cap Martin.

Mont Agel's limestone side gives you back the heat of the sun. It is a
radiator. No wonder lemons flower all the year round, and you discover
on the same tree buds, flowers, green and yellow fruit. No wonder the
palms are not out of their setting as at Cannes and Nice. Locusts,
flourishing where there is seemingly no ground to take root in, live
from the air, and give forth pods that almost hide the leaves in their
profusion. The undergrowth of myrtle and dwarf ilex above becomes
aloes and sarsaparilla and wild asparagus as we go down to the sea. We
have left the cypresses and cork-trees, and eucalyptus struggles in our
nostrils with orange and lemon. Even the ferns are scented! The
Artist looks with apathetic eye on the rocks and ruined castle of
Roquebrune. When we reach Menton we are willing to sink into
cane-seated rockers on the Hôtel Bristol porch, call for something in a
tall glass with ice in it, and let the morning walk count for a day's
journey.

The tourists who know Menton only as a mid-day luncheon break have
robbed themselves of an experience that no other Riviera town offers.
The Promenade des Anglais at Nice is interesting in the sense that the
Avenue des Champs-Elysées is interesting. The Mediterranean is
accidental - an unimportant accessory. The Promenade du Midi at Menton
is another world. And this other world, with its other world climate,
reveals itself to you with increasingly keen delight, as you ride (you
do not walk at Menton) around Cap Martin, up the mountain to old
Sainte-Agnès, in the gorge of Saint-Louis, along the Boulevard du
Garavan, and out to the Giardino Hanbury. You say _giardino_ instead
of _jardin_ because Mortola is just across the Italian frontier. The
eccentric Englishman chose this spot, without regard to political
sovereignty present or future, as the best place to demonstrate the
catholicity of the Riviera climate to tropical flora. I simply mention
these drives; for you do not ride at Menton any more than you walk.
The man who wants to keep his energy and work on the Riviera must not
go farther east than Nice.

But why another world? And another world even from that of the rest of
the French Riviera? It is partly the climate and the consequent flora,
but mostly the light. The general aridity of the Riviera, with the
prevalence of everbrowns and evergreens, strikes unpleasantly at first
the visitor from the North. Sunshine and riotous colors of flowers and
blossoming trees do not make up for the absence of water-fed green.
When it rains, the Northerner's depression cannot be fought off. The
chill gets to his soul as well as to his bones. He prays for the sun
he has come south to seek. But when the sun returns, the dust annoys
him. The high wind gets on his nerves.

The casual tourist, whose stay is brief, even if he has come in the
most favorable season, is "not so sure about the Riviera, you know."
He is impatient with himself because, after the first vivid impression,
panoramas and landscapes leave him unsatisfied. There is no
compensation for the absence of water-fed green in the canvas of nature
_until one becomes responsive to other colors_. I do not mean
particular patches of color in flowers and blossoms. These are of a
season. Often they pass in a week. The sun that gives rich life kills
quickly. The glory of south lands, especially along the sea, is the
constant changing of colors. These colors you will drink in only when
by familiarity you have become sensitive to lights and shadows.

If you stay long enough at a place like Menton you will be ready for
Southern Italy and Greece. You will be able to drink in the beauty of
landscapes without foliage. And when you have acquired this sense,
your own country will be a new world to you. Never again, as long as
you live, will you tire of any landscape.

The sun veils and unveils itself more often and more quickly and more
unexpectedly at Menton than at any place on the Riviera. And the
setting for watching the changes is perfect. Menton can say, in the
words of the old sundial,

"Son figlia del sole,
Eppure son ombre."




CHAPTER VII

MONTE CARLO

San Marino and Andorra have maintained their independence from the Middle
Ages, but as republics. The only reigning families who kept their
domains from being engulfed in the evolution of modern Europe are those
of Liechtenstein and Monaco. What will happen to Liechtenstein with the
disappearance of the Hapsburg Empire is uncertain. Wedged in between the
Vorarlberg portion of the Austrian Tyrol and Switzerland, Liechtenstein
is almost as out of the way, as forgotten, as unimportant, as San Marino
and Andorra. Monaco is in a different situation. The smallest country
in the world covers only eight square miles, and never was very much
larger than it is today. Until half a century ago Monaco was an Italian
principality and not at all an anomaly. For Italy had been broken up
into small political units from the Roman days. At the time of the
unification of Italy, the Italians had to part with a portion of the
Riviera to France. Monaco lost a bit of her coast line - the Menton
district - and became an enclave in France.

Because of the traditional friendship of the Grimaldi family for France,
the principality was saved from extinction when the protectorate of Savoy
(established by the Congress of Vienna) was withdrawn in 1861. In fact,
the male line of the Grimaldi died out just after the War of Spanish
Succession, and the present house is of French descent. But whether
Grimaldi or Matignon, the princes of Monaco have fought for a thousand
years on the side of France against the British especially, but also
against the Italians, Spanish and Germans. As unhesitatingly as his
predecessors had always done, Prince Albert espoused the cause of France
in 1914; his son fought through the war in the French army.

And there is another reason for the continued independence of Monaco.
Republics have no sense of gratitude. After the fall of Napoleon III
Monaco would hardly have survived save for the gambling concession. Four
years before the Franco-Prussian War, a casino and hotels built on the
Roche des Spélugues had been named Monte Carlo in honor of the reigning
prince. The concession, granted to a Frenchman, François Blanc, was too
valuable to spoil by having Monaco come under French law! The Republic
tolerated Monaco - on condition that no French officer in uniform and no
inhabitant of the Département des Alpes-Maritimes (which surrounds
Monaco) be allowed in the gaming rooms of the Casino. It was also agreed
that except in petty cases handled in a magistrate's court all crimes
should be judged by French law and the criminals delivered for punishment
to France.

The arrangement is admirable from the French point of view. The Riviera
has its gambling place of world-wide fame with no opprobrium or
responsibility attaching to the French Government. The
extra-territoriality does not extend to criminals. The inhabitants of
the neighboring French towns are not demoralized by the opportunity to
gamble. French army officers are protected from corruption. It is
presumed that the rest of the world, which can afford a trip to the
principality, will be able to take care of its own morals!

The Monégasques are similarly protected by their sovereign. They, too,
are forbidden to gamble. They profit from the concession in that there
are no taxes to pay in the rich little principality and in that several
hundred thousand foreigners come every year to give big prices for every
little service. But they run no risk of being caught by the snare they
set for others. Prince and people, the Monégasques are like the wise old
bartender, who said in a tone of virtuous self-satisfaction, "I never
drink."

When Tennyson, traveling along the Grande Corniche, saw Monaco, it was of
the old medieval principality that he could write:

"How like a gem, beneath, the city
Of little Monaco, basking, glow'd."

The old walled town, on its promontory, must indeed have seemed a gem in
an unsurpassed setting in the time of Tennyson. For the little Port of
Hercules and the other promontory, Spélugues, were tree- and shrub- and
flower-lined. There was nothing to break the spell of old Monaco. Now,
alas, the Casino and hotels of Monte Carlo cover Spélugues, and between
the promontories La Condamine has sprung up, a town of red-roofed villas,
larger than either Monaco or Monte Carlo and forming with them an
unbroken mass of buildings. Monaco is simply an end of the city,
distinct from the rest of the agglomeration only because it is high up
and on a cape jutting out into the sea.

Unless one went up to explore the old town, one would not realize that it
was more than the palace with its garden and the post-Tennyson cathedral,
too prominent for the good of the medieval spell. La Condamine and Monte
Carlo have reached the limit of expansion. In front is the sea, behind
the steep wall of the mountain. The principality is all city. But the
mountains and sea prevent the exclusion of nature from the picture.
Despite the modern growth of Monaco, from the Grande Corniche the words
of the poet still hold good. Monaco is no longer a predominantly
medieval picture perhaps - but it is still a gem.

The old town is as attractive in walls and buildings as other rock
villages of the Riviera. Three main streets, Rue Basse, Rue du Milieu
and Rue des Briques, run parallel from the Place du Palais out on the
promontory. They are crossed by the narrowest of city alleys, _à
l'Italienne_, and to the right of the Rue des Briques, around the
Cathedral, is the rest of the town. Nowhere does the old town extend to
the sea.

On the sites of the ancient fortifications the present ruler, Prince
Albert, has made gardens and built museums for his collections of
prehistoric man and of ocean life. One ought never to dip into museums.
If you have lots and lots of time (I mean weeks, not hours), or if you
have special interest in a definite field of study, museums may be
profitable. But "doing" museums is the last word in tourist folly. Yes,
I know that skeletons and the cutest little fish are in those museums. I
am not ashamed to confess that I never darkened their doors. Life is
short, and while the Artist revels in his subjects, I find more interest
in studying the living Monégasques than their - and our - negroid ancestors.

For there is a separate race, with its own patois, in Monaco. You would
never spot it in the somewhat Teutonic cosmopolitanism of the Condamine
and Monte Carlo tradesmen and hotel servants. It is not apparent in the
impassive _croupiers_ of the Casino. But within a few hundred yards, in
half a dozen streets and lanes, the physiognomy, the mentality, the
language of the people make you realize that regarding Monaco as a
separate country is not wholly a polite fiction to relieve the French
Government of the responsibility for the Casino. These people are
different, children as well as grown-ups. They are neither French nor
Italian, Provençal nor Catalan, but as distinct as mountain Basques are
from French and Spanish. It is not a racial group distinction, as with
the Basques. In blood, the Monégasques are affiliated to their Provençal
and Italian neighbors.

What one sees in the old town of Monaco is a confirmation of the
assertion of many historians that nationality, in our modern political
sense of the word, and patriotism, as a mass instinct shared by millions,
are phenomena of the nineteenth century. Steam transportation,
obligatory primary education, universal military service, are the factors
that have developed national consciousness, and the exigencies and
opportunities and advantages of the industrial era have furnished the
motive for binding people together in great political organisms. Today
if there were no outside interests working against the solidarity of
human beings leading a commonwealth existence in the same country, the
political organism would soon make the race rather than the race the
political organism.

San Remo and Menton and Monaco are Riviera towns all within a few miles
of each other. People of the same origin have three political
allegiances. In half an hour your automobile will traverse the
territories of three nations. Italians and French fight under different
flags and were within an ace of being lined against each other in the
war. Monégasques do not fight at all. Taxes and tariff boundaries,
schools and military obligations, make the differences between the three
peoples. Put them all under the same dispensation and where would be
your races?

In the old days the _raison d'être_ of the principality was the power to
prey upon commerce. From their fortress on the promontory the Grimaldi
organized the Monégasques to levy tolls on passing ships. Italy was not
a united country. France had not yet extended her frontiers to the
Riviera. This little corner of the Mediterranean escaped the Juggernaut
of developing political unity that crushed the life out of a dozen other
feudal robber states. And when the logical moment for disappearance
arrived, Monte Carlo saved Monaco. Another means of preying upon others
was happily discovered. The Monégasques abandoned pistols and cutlasses
for little rakes. The descendants of those who stood on the poops of
ships now sit at the ends of green tables. The gold still pours in,
however, and no law reaches those who take it.

There is this difference: you no longer empty your pockets to the
Monégasques under compulsion, and the battlements of old Monaco play no
part in your losses. The proverb dearest to American hearts says that a
sucker is born every minute. It is incomplete, that proverb. It should
be rounded out with the axiom that at some minute every person born is a
sucker.

So I look over to the great white building which is the salvation of the
Monégasques - their symbol of freedom from taxes and military service - and
know that the strength of Monaco is the weakness of the world. I return
to the Place du Palais. The Artist is reluctantly strapping up his
tools. We glance for a brief moment at the best sunset view on the
Riviera. Ships sail by unmolested. No more have they fear of the Tête
du Chien and of the huge stone _boulet_ that Fort Antoine used to lance
if a merchantman dared to be deaf to the call of the galley darting forth
from the Port of Hercules. But we?

The Artist's fingers are nimble with the buckle after a day with the
pencil. Pipe is filled from pouch with an inimitably deft movement of
one hand. Reluctant is generally the right word to use when I speak of
the Artist leaving his work. I am not so sure now. As I hope, he does
not suggest a west-bound tram at the foot of the Palais or the 6:40
train; he says,

"If we alternate eighteen and thirty-six this evening, putting by half
each time we win - "

"Like that English old maid we saw last week," I interrupted, "who
doubled just once instead of splitting. I can see the drop of the jaw
now. Even without the false teeth, it would have been hideous."

"On the red then as long as we last," conceded the Artist, who knew my
horror of complicated figure systems, "and there's the sign."

He pointed to the red fringe that lit up fading Cap Martin.

"If we do not get over soon," I answered, "black will be the latest tip
of nature." The Riviera towns under the lee of mountains do not have a
lingering twilight.

But when we had finished dinner an _affiche_ announcing _Aïda_ turned us
from the Salles de Jeu to the Salle du Théâtre. To most people gambling
is a pastime not taken seriously. Only when it is a passion does one
find in it the exclusive attraction of Monte Carlo. This is proved by
the excellence of Monte Carlo opera. No metropolis boasts of a better
orchestra and chorus; and the most famous singers are always eager to
appear at Monte Carlo.




CHAPTER VIII

VILLEFRANCHE

During the heat of the war, shortly after the intervention of the
United States, I wrote a magazine article setting forth for American
readers the claims of France to Alsace-Lorraine and trying to explain
why the French felt as they did about Alsace-Lorraine. Of course I
spoke of Strasbourg and Mulhouse; but a copy-reader, faithfully making
all spellings conform to the Century Dictionary, changed my MS. reading
to Strassburg and Mulhaüsen. Can you imagine my horror when I saw
those awful German names staring out at me under my own signature - and
in an article espousing the side of France in the Alsace-Lorraine
controversy? Perhaps not - unless you understand the feeling of the
actual possessor and the aspirant to possession of border and other
moot territories. "By their spelling ye shall know them!" is their
cry. Later, I happened to be in America when that dear good faithful
copy-reader changed my Bizerte to the dictionary's Bizerta in an
article on Tunis, and was able to go to the mat with him. I explained
that the spelling was an essential part of the political tenor of the
article.

All this I repeated to the wife and critic combined in one delightful
but Ulster-minded person who insisted that in English Menton must be
spelled Mentone.

"You write Marseilles instead of Marseille and put the 's' on Lyon too:
I've seen you do it!" she cried. "And the French call London Londres!"

"But those cities happen not to be in _terre irredente_," I explained.
"Menton lies too near the Italian frontier for a friend of France to
call it Mentone, whatever the English usage may be. If we retain
Mentone, why have we abandoned Nizza for Nice, Eza for Éze, Roccabruna
for Roquebrune, Monte Calvo for Mont Chauve, Testa del Can for Tête du
Chien, Villa Franca for Villefranche?"

"Since you have at last arrived at Villefranche, you had better start
your chapter," was her woman's answer.

You may have a confused picture, you may even forget many places you
have visited in your travels, but Villefranche? Never! Whether you
have first seen Villefranche as you came around the corner of Montboron
from Nice or across the neck of Cap Ferrat from Beaulieu on the Petite
Corniche, as you came through the Col des Quatre Chemins on the Grande
Corniche, or as you climbed up behind Fort Montalban on the Moyenne
Corniche, the memory is equally indelible. But each _corniche_ gives a
different impression of the only natural harbor on the Riviera. The
Petite Corniche, which mounts rather high around Montboron, is the near
view. You see only the _rade_ with Cap Ferrat as a background.
Approaching in the opposite direction, Montboron is the background. On
the Moyenne Corniche the _rade_ comes gradually into your field of
vision. You are way above the sea, but the harbor still forms the
principal part of the water foreground in the picture. On the Grande
Corniche, where the Riviera coast from Cap d'Antibes to Cap Martin is
before you, and the Mediterranean rises to meet the sky, every
outstanding feature of the picture is a cape or town, fortification or
lighthouse, except at Villefranche. Here the land is the setting. The
water of the harbor, changing as you look to green and back to blue
until you are not sure which is the color, is the feature that attracts
and holds you. Montboron, the littoral and Cap Ferrat are as secondary
as the prongs and ring which hold a precious stone.

The water edge of the harbor has become conventionalized to a large
extent by the artificial stone wall built at the inner end and part-way
along the Montboron slope, to make possible railway and carriage road,
and by the quays and breakwaters. But enough of the unimproved line
remains to indicate how the harbor must have looked before the masons
got to work. The rocks of Villefranche are copper with streaks of
brown-gray that change in depth of color as the sunlight changes in
intensity. Water and rocks are not afraid to compete with flowers and
trees and mountain shades for the Artist's attention. Villefranche as
a maritime picture wins. And yet foliage and flora are no mean rivals.
Turning the point of Montboron from Nice has brought you from the
climate where many southland growths are exotic to the beginning of the
tropical portion of the Riviera which extends into Italy, with Menton
and Bordighera as its most typical spots.

Villefranche comes close after Menton - and ahead of Beaulieu and Monte
Carlo and Condamine - in the claim to a perennial touch of the south.
From Montboron to the hills east of Oneglia the mountain wall protects
from the north wind and radiates the sun. But there is no deep harbor
like that of Villefranche: and no other place has a Cap Martin to form
a windshield from strong sea breezes.

Climate as much as the safe anchorage attracted pirates. From the
Caliph Omar to the last of the Deys of Algiers, Mohammedan corsairs
swept the Mediterranean. Because the Maritime Alps deprived the
inhabitants of the Riviera of retreat to or succor from the hinterland,
this coast was the joy of Saracens and Moors, Berbers and Turks. It is
hard to believe that up to a hundred years ago the Riverains - the
inhabitants of all the Mediterranean littoral, in fact, from Gibraltar
to Messina - were constantly in danger of corsair raids just as our
American pioneer ancestors were of Indian raids. The lay of the land
and the lack of a powerful suzerain state to defend them made the
Riverains facile prey. Villefranche afforded the easiest landing. Try
to climb up from Villefranche over crags and through stone-paved and
rock-lined ravines to the Moyenne Corniche, and then on to the higher
mountain-slopes, and you can imagine how difficult it was to get away
from raiders, and why the Barbary pirates took a full bag of luckless
Riverains on every raid. You comprehend the raison d'être of the
fortified hill towns, and Éze, perched on her cliff, has a new meaning
as you look down on Villefranche. This fastness was held by the
Saracens long after the crescent yielded elsewhere to the cross - and
then became a frequent refuge for the descendants of the victors in the
medieval struggle.

From the moment the French entered Algiers at the beginning of the July
Monarchy, they felt that their claim to the gratitude of the Riverains
justified the annexation of a portion of the Riviera. The treaty that
extended French sovereignty to beyond Menton was signed at
Villefranche, and immediately the little harbor was transformed into a
French naval port. Until warships became floating fortresses
Villefranche was useful to France. Now it sees only torpedo-boats and
destroyers, and the lack of direct communication with the interior has
prevented its commercial development. Better an artificial breakwater
with no Alps behind than a natural harbor with a Cap Ferrat.

Occasionally a huge ocean liner, chartered by an American tourist
agency for an Eastern Mediterranean tour, drops into Villefranche
roadstead. These chance visits, to give the tourists a day at Nice and
Monte Carlo, demonstrate that Villefranche could be a port of call for
the leviathans, commercial and naval, of the twentieth century. How
much easier it would be to go to the Riviera directly from London and
New York, instead of having a wearisome train journey added to the
ocean voyage! But freights pay a large part of passenger rates, and
the routing from great port to great port is as rigid and unalterable


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