North Street, Newry, County Down

North Street, Newry, County Down
North Street, Newry, County Down

Saturday, 3 May 2014

James Stanislaus Blake [c.1817-1873] [3]

James Blake describes in his journal an encounter with customs in Le Havre. Clearly some things never change!

"Ah bon!" in Havre now I stand.
Here, as elsewhere, the porters run
For luggage; but the Frenchmen stun;
And set on by this ruthless crew,
From mild to savage soon I grew.
"Stop! That is mine. Let go my trunk;
D'ye hear, you scoundrel; are you drunk?
I wish to manage my affair."
"Mais monsieur, il est necessaire,
Voici mon carte, voila l'hotel -"
Then for my luggage fought pell-mell;
And when at length by dint of blows,
I gained a passage through my foes,
I was seized on by two gens-darmes,
Who kindly said, "they meant no harm,
But to the custom-house I must go,
With them to search in my portmanteau."
To government all must give way,
So with bad grace I gave my key:
They oped my trunk, and out they shook
Coat, breeches, shirts, and pocket-book;
And then politely bade me pack,
My scattered things in order back:
This done, I made no more delay,
But sought with haste the first cafe.

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