HAPPY DAYS 1751-1755
THE Garricks set out from London on May 19, 1751. They had an experienced travelling companion. Mr Charles Denis had spent eight years in Paris before the War. He was by profession a surgeon, and one of the talented sons of a French Protestant minister who had been obliged to fly his native land on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Eva-Maria's sole experience of a sea-passage had been so terrible that it had given her a horror, for life, of quitting terrafirma; however, cheerful people said that, given a fine day, Dover cliffs might sink below the horizon no more than four minutes before the voyager perceived the Haute Ville of Boulogne rising to greet him. A crossing might take anything from three to ten hours, even in good weather, for there were always the possibilities of a difficult landing if the tide was low, or if there was a land breeze. The Garricks were lucky in that their passage took three and a half hours, but in Boulogne they were bullied. The custom-house officers were most uncivil, in spite of the presence of a lady. After the customs, there was trouble about post-horses. David had brought a small book, a quarto volume, which he was later to have bound in red morocco with gilt tooled edges. Although he was going to report 1 from France, where New Style was used, he was going to stick to Old Style, which made dates twelve days earlier. His French was fluent, but oddly spelt, and where he could get a French name wrong, he did. But he was equally guilty of that in English. He wrote his diary on the left-hand page and used the clean sheet opposite for second thoughts, memoranda and engagements. Boulogne was noted by him for dirt, beggary, imposition and impertinence. "Everything as disagreeable as it could possibly be."
The shortest route to Paris was by Amiens and Chantilly, so the Garricks took that. The roads were for the most part good, but the inns very bad; Abbeville had the best. But people were civil, the wine was very good and the bills were reasonable. There were very few buildings on the road to Paris, but many churches, convents and calvarys, and it amused David to see that as they drew nearer to the capital, the post-boys, who in Picardy had bared their heads at every crucifix, began to cock their hats, and dash on, whipping up their