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The Old Road

Hilaire Belloc

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The estuary of the Seine was not only an obvious outlet, but it gave an opportunity for the early ships to creep under the protection of a windward shore. From the very heart of the country, from Rouen, and even from Pont de l'Arche, sea-going vessels could go down the stream with a strong tide helping them. They would have calm water as far as the point of Barfleur so long as the wind was south of west, and no danger 50 save the reef of Calvados. Moreover, the trend of the land led them northward in the direction which they knew they had to follow if they were ultimately to find the English coast.

When this defence and indication failed the early sailor, at the corner of the Cotentin, where the land turns west again, he could find the little harbour of Barfleur whence to set out; he was there protected from the outer sea by reefs, and possessed, what was important to him, an excellent shore for beaching. He was sheltered even thus far from the prevaili. . . Read More