A Frenchman's field trip through Merrie England results in a very knowing and revealing profile of British life and character, baffling and fascinating as it is. From the background of this traditional, temperate, inviolate little island, to the secretiveness (self-control) of the British people, Mayer, a member of the French Embassy, has noticed and noted almost everything in his short sketch: the timetable of festivities, functions, sales and holidays; the royal family and the life of the Queen (how suitable is an ""ermine-mantle.... in a world of tweeds and umbrellas?""); the English towns, transportation, roads, and driving; the homes, clubs, pubs and shops; family life; schooling; arts and entertainment; and of course restaurants and foods in a country where more indigestion pills are sold than anywhere else in the world. (French food of course is very rich- rich meaning ""butter, cream, patience and expense"".) Filled with facts and telling details, keen- but much kinder than Pierre Daninos, amused, sometimes bemused, this is a ""rather good"" portrait of the country where that means ""wonderful"" and the translation by Christopher Sykes, illustrations by Osbert Lancaster contribute to the conviviality of the visit.