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Boulogne

Fun, VIII - 12th September 1868


Illustration by Gilbert

Of all the snug places where hardworking races rush every summer, a
  crop of em,
I think you will own that delightful Boulogne may be said to stand quite at
  the top of 'em.
It's conveniently near, and it's not over dear, so your purse won't want
  much re-imbursing;
You can sit on a bench and learn how to speak French, just from hearing
  the natives conversing.
It has halls and two piers, and plump British young dears, and sands,
  theatre, picnics, and races;
Then it's clean and it's bright, and, oh! different quite from our
  commonplace watering-places!
It was once two days' sail, but the South-Eastern mail goes so quick that
  it isn't thought, now, far.
You can say, too, you've been on the Continent seen-though, of course,
  you need never say how far!
    Though other towns can boast of crowns,
      I think you'll freely own,
    For bathing rare, and breezy air,
      There's nothing like Boulogne!

If you're French in your taste, you can pull in your waist, and imbibe, till all
  consciousness ceases,
Absinthe and Vermouth, with the Boulonnais youth, and play billiards like
  mad for franc pieces —
You can sit in a café with gents rather raffy — a weed in your teeth you
  can make fast,
And French training to show, take grapes, soup, and Bordeaux at
  twelve-thirty, and call it a breakfast!
Or, if you incline to tea rather than wine (British dishes your mind,
  perhaps, takes to),
You will find over here very good bitter beer, and chops, buns, and roast
  beef, and rump steaks, too!
You can row, fish, or ride, or go bathing beside, in a dress rather given to
  ripping,
Or sit down on the pier, which costs nothing (not dear), and talk out, like a
  tar, on the shipping!
    Though other towns can boast of crowns,
      I think you'll freely own,
    For bathing rare, and breezy air,
      There's nothing like Boulogne!
  Illustration by Gilbert

And although it seems strange, and beyond British range, to behold in all
  decentish weather,
Pretty modest young maids and tall strapping young blades side by side
  in the water together;
Yet we soon get to see, though startling it be, we need find no important
  alarm in it —
For they manage it so that in couples they go, and there's sorrow a tittle
  of harm in it.
Each girl wears a dress that a prude would confess is most proper to
  wear, and each fellow
In a striped trouser-shirt, which fits tight (but don't hurt) like a fisher's in
  MASANIELLO.
They splash and they plunge, and they dive and they lunge, and they float
  and they jump, and they dance, they do;
For in all bathing matters they beat us to tatters — They manage them
  better in France, they do!
    Though other towns can boast of crowns,
      I think you'll freely own,
    For bathing rare, and breezy air,
      There's nothing like Boulogne!
  Illustration by Gilbert

Illustration by Gilbert  
The Etablissement balls, and the dresses and shawls, and the brandy
  — they've always the best of it;
The marvelous dresses, the yellow dyed tresses, vandyked petticoats,
  and the rest of it.
Those old dogs of nineteen, who the world must have seen, they so
  patronise, cherish, and foster us;
Those reckless nerve-shockers, in gay knickerbockers, and legs which
  are simply preposterous.
Then the brave fisher girls, in their earrings and curls, and their smiles
  when you go to buy shrimps of 'em;
And their marvelous legs, like mahogany pegs, and their wonderful caps
  and the crimps of 'em!
And their singular talk as together they walk — never linguist attained at
  the case of them —
And their jackets in stripes, and their crosses and pipes, and their
  petticoats down to the knees of them!
    Though other towns can boast of crowns,
      I think you'll freely own,
    For bathing rare, and breezy air,
      There's nothing like Boulogne!

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