Here in la France profonde, the riots seem a long way off and scarcely credible. It is not that life here is perfect, far from it, and we have our own problems, albeit of a different order. M. Roux, who came with his mechanical digger to construct a new septic tank in the middle of our field, somehow managed to get the digger to fall into the muddy hole that he had just dug with it. M. Roux climbed out of the stricken machine, looked at it for a few moments, swore loudly (normally he is very silent), and left—so far for a month. It appears, therefore, that the mechanical digger in a hole may adorn our grounds for some time to come. We have since learned through the rural grapevine, so unforgiving of human frailty, that M. Roux has des problèmes psychiatriques. My wife fears that when he does return, it will be with a machete.

It isn’t, however, very difficult to find traces of the moral and intellectual ...