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Account of a Tour in Normandy, Vol. I. (of 2) by Dawson Turner

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ACCOUNT OF A TOUR IN NORMANDY Volume I

by Dawson Turner

LETTERS FROM NORMANDY

ADDRESSED
TO THE REV. JAMES LAYTON, B.A.
OF
CATFIELD, NORFOLK.

UNDERTAKEN CHIEFLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF INVESTIGATING THE ARCHITECTURAL
ANTIQUITIES OF THE DUCHY, WITH OBSERVATIONS ON ITS HISTORY, ON THE
COUNTRY, AND ON ITS INHABITANTS.

ILLUSTRATED
WITH NUMEROUS ENGRAVINGS.

VOL. I.

LONDON: 1820.

PREFACE.

The observations which form the basis of the following letters, were
collected during three successive tours in Normandy, in the summers of
1815, 1818, and 1819; but chiefly in the second of these years. Where I
have not depended upon my own remarks, I have endeavored, as far as
appeared practicable and without tedious minuteness, to quote my
authorities for facts; and I believe that I have done so in most
instances, except indeed where I have borrowed from the journals of the
companions of my tours,--the nearest and dearest of my connections,--or
from that of my friend, Mr. Cohen, who, at almost the same time,
travelled through a great part of Normandy, pursuing also very similar
objects of inquiry. The materials obtained from these sources, it has
been impossible to separate from my own; and, interwoven as they are
with the rest of the text, it is only in my power to acknowledge, in
these general terms, the assistance which I have thus received.--We were
proceeding in 1818, to the southern and western districts of Normandy,
when a domestic calamity compelled me to return to England. The tour was
consequently abridged, and many places of note remained unvisited by us.

My narrative is principally addressed to those readers who find pleasure
in the investigation of architectural antiquity. Without the slightest
pretensions to the character either of an architect or of an
antiquarian, engaged in other avocations and employed in other studies,
I am but too conscious of my inability to do justice to the subject. Yet
my remarks may at least assist the future traveller, by pointing out
such objects as are interesting, either on account of their antiquity or
their architectural worth. This information is not to be obtained from
the French, who have habitually neglected the investigation of their
national monuments. I doubt, however, whether I should have ventured
upon publication, if those who have always accompanied me both at home
and abroad, had not produced the illustrations which constitute the
principal value of my volumes. Of the merits of these illustrations I
must not be allowed to speak; but it may be permitted me to observe,
that the fine arts afford the only mode of exerting the talents of
woman, which does not violate the spirit of the precept which the
greatest historian of antiquity has ascribed to the greatest of her
heroes--

[English. Greek in Original] "Great will be your glory in not falling
short of your natural character; and greatest will be hers who is least
talked of among the men whether for good or for bad." Thucydides'
Historiae. (Book 2, Chapter 45, Paragraph 2, Verses 3-5.)

DAWSON TURNER.

YARMOUTH, _13th August_1820.

CONTENTS.

LETTER I.

Arrival at Dieppe--Situation and Appearance of the Town--Costume of the
People--Inhabitants of the Suburb of Pollet.

LETTER II.

Dieppe--Castle--Churches--History of the Place--Feast of the Assumption.

LETTER III. Caesars Camp--Castle of Arques.

LETTER IV.

Journey from Dieppe to Rouen--Priory of Longueville--Rouen-Bridge of
Boats--Costume of the Inhabitants.

LETTER V.

Journey to Havre--Pays de Caux--St. Vallery--Fecamp--The precious
Blood--The Abbey--Tombs in it--Moutivilliers--Harfleur.

LETTER VI.

Havre--Trade and History of the Town--Eminent Men--Bolbec--Yvetot--Ride
to Rouen--French Beggars.

LETTER VII.

On the State of Affairs in France.

LETTER VIII.

Military Antiquities--Le Vieux Chateau--Original Palace of the Norman
Dukes--Halles of Rouen--Miracle and Privilege of St. Romain--Chateau du
Vieux Palais--Petit Chateau--Fort on Mont Ste. Catherine--Priory
there--Chapel of St. Michael--Devotee.

LETTER IX.

Ancient Ecclesiastical Architecture--Churches of St. Paul and St.
Gervais--Hospital of St. Julien--Churches of Lery, Pavilly, and
Yainville.

LETTER X.

Early Pointed Architecture--Cathedral--Episcopal Palace.

LETTER XI.

Pointed Ecclesiastical Architecture--Churches of St. Ouen, St. Maclou,
St. Patrice, and St. Godard.

LETTER XII.

Palais de Justice--States, Exchequer, and Parliament of Normandy--Guild
of the Conards--Joan of Arc--Fountain and Bas-Relief in the Place de la
Pucelle--Tour de la Grosse Horloge--Public Fountains--Rivers Aubette and
Robec--Hospitals--Mint.

LETTER XIII.

Monastic Institutions--Library--Manuscripts--Museum--Academy--Botanic
Garden--Theatre--Ancient History--Eminent Men.

LIST OF PLATES.
Plate 01 Head-Dress of Women of the Pays de Caux.

Plate 02 Entrance to the Castle at Dieppe.

Plate 03 Font in the Church of St. Remi, at Dieppe.

Plate 04 Plan of Caesar's Camp, near Dieppe.

Plate 05 General View of the Castle of Arques.

Plate 06 Tower of remarkable shape in ditto.

Plate 07 Church at Arques.

Plate 08 View of Rouen, from the Grand Cours.

Plate 09 Tower and Spire of Harfleur Church.

Plate 10 Bas-Relief, representing St. Romain.

Plate 11 Sculpture, supposed Roman, in the Church of St. Paul, at Rouen.

Plate 12 Circular Tower, attached to the Church of St. Ouen, at Rouen.

Plate 13 Interior of the Church at Pavilly.

Plate 14 Monumental Figure of Rollo, in Rouen Cathedral.

Plate 15 Ditto of an Archbishop, in ditto.

Plate 16 Monument of ditto.

Plate 17 Equestrian Figure of the Seneschal de Breze, in Rouen Cathedral.

Plate 18 Tower of the Church of St. Ouen, at Rouen.

Plate 19 South Porch of ditto.

Plate 20 Head of Christ, in ditto, seen in profile.

Plate 21 Ditto, in ditto, seen in front.

Plate 22 Stone Staircase in the Church of St. Maclou, at Rouen.

Plate 23 Sculpture, representing the Feast of Fools.

Plate 24 Bas-Relief, from the representations of the Champ du Drap d'or.

Plate 25 Initial Letter from a MS. of the History of William of Jumieges.

LETTERS FROM NORMANDY.

LETTER I.

ARRIVAL AT DIEPPE--SITUATION AND APPEARANCE OF THE TOWN--COSTUME OF THE
PEOPLE--INHABITANTS OF THE SUBURB OF POLLET.

(_Dieppe, June_, 1818)

MY DEAR SIR,

You, who were never at sea, can scarcely imagine the pleasure we felt,
when, after a passage of unusual length, cooped up with twenty-four
other persons in a packet designed only for twelve, and after having
experienced every variety that could he afforded by a dead calm, a
contrary wind, a brisk gale in our favor, and, finally, by being obliged
to lie three hours in a heavy swell off this port, we at last received
on board our French pilot, and saw hoisted on the pier the white flag,
the signal of ten feet water in the harbor. The general appearance of
the coast, near Dieppe, is similar to that which we left at Brighton;
but the height of the cliffs, if I am not mistaken, is greater. They
vary along the shores of Upper Normandy from one hundred and fifty to
seven hundred feet, or even more; the highest lying nearly mid-way
between this town and Havre, in the vicinity of Fecamp; and they present
an unbroken barrier, of a dazzling white[1], except when they dip into
some creek or cove, or open to afford a passage to some river or
streamlet. Into one of these, a boat from the opposite shores of Sussex
shot past us this afternoon, with the rapidity of lightning. She was a
smuggler, and, in spite of the army of Douaniers employed in France,
ventured to make the land in the broad face of day, carrying most
probably a cargo, composed principally of manufactured goods in cotton
and steel. The crew of our vessel, no bad authority in such cases,
assured us, that lace is also sent in considerable quantities as a
contraband article into France; though, as is well known, much of it
likewise comes in the same quality into England, and there are perhaps
few of our travellers, who return entirely without it. On the same
authority, I am enabled to state, what much surprised me, that the
smuggled goods exported from Sussex into Normandy exceed by nearly an
hundred fold those received in return.

The first approach to Dieppe is extremely striking. To embark in the
evening at Brighton, sleep soundly in the packet, and find yourself, as
is commonly the case, early the next morning under the piers of this
town, is a transition, which, to a person unused to foreign countries,
can scarcely fail to appear otherwise than as a dream; so marked and so
entire is the difference between the air of elegance and mutual
resemblance in the buildings, of smartness approaching to splendor in
the equipages, of fashion in the costume, of the activity of commerce in
the movements, and of newness and neatness in every part of the one,
contrasted in the other with a strong character of poverty and neglect,
with houses as various in their structure as in their materials, with
dresses equally dissimilar in point of color, substance, and style, with
carriages which seem never to have known the spirit of improvement, and
with a general listlessness of manner, the result of indolence, apathy,
and want of occupation. With all this, however, the novelty which
attends the entrance of the harbor at Dieppe, is not only striking, but
interesting. It is not thus at Calais, where half the individuals you
meet in the streets are of your own country; where English fashions and
manufactures are commonly adopted; and where you hear your native
tongue, not only in the hotels, but even the very beggars follow you
with, "I say, give me un sou, s'il vous please." But this is not the
only advantage which the road by Dieppe from London to Paris possesses,
over that by Calais. There is a saving of distance, amounting to twenty
miles on the English, and sixty on the French side of the water; the
expence is still farther decreased by the yet lower rate of charges at
the inns; and, while the ride to the French metropolis by the one route
is through a most uninteresting country, with no other objects of
curiosity than Amiens, Beauvais, and Abbeville; by the other it passes
through a province unrivalled for its fertility and for the beauty of
its landscape, and which is allowed by the French themselves to be the
garden of the kingdom. Rouen, Vernon, Mantes, and St. Germain, names all
more or less connected with English history, successively present
themselves to the traveller; and, during the greater part of his
journey, his path lies by the side of a noble stream, diversified beyond
almost every other by the windings of its channel, and the islands which
stud its surface. The only evil to counterbalance the claims of Dieppe
is, that the packets do not sail daily, although they profess and
actually advertise to that effect; but wait till what they consider a
sufficient freight of passengers is assembled, so that, either at Dieppe
or Brighton, a person runs the risk of being detained, as has more than
once happened to myself, a circumstance that never occurs at Dover.
There is still a third point of passage upon our southern coast, and one
that has of late been considerably frequented, from Southampton to
Havre; but this I never tried, and do not know what it has to recommend
it, except to those who are proceeding to Caen or to the western parts
of France. The voyage is longer and more uncertain, the distance by land
between London and Paris is also greater, nor does it offer equal
facilities as to inns and public carriages.

Dieppe is situated on a low tongue of land, but from the sea appears to
great advantage; characterized as it is by its old castle, an assemblage
of various forms and ages, placed insulated upon an eminence to the west,
and by the domes and towers of its churches. The mouth of the harbor is
narrow, and inclosed by two long stone piers, on one of which stands an
elegant crucifix, raised by the fathers of the mission; to the other has
lately been affixed a stone, with an inscription, stating that the
Duchess d'Angouleme landed there on her return to her native country;
but here is no measure of her foot, no votive pillar, as are to be seen
at Calais, to commemorate a similar honor done to the inhabitants by the
monarch. A small house on the western pier, is, however, more deserving
of notice than either the inscription or the crucifix: it was built by
Louis XVIth, for the residence of a sailor, who, by saving the lives of
shipwrecked mariners, had deserved well of his sovereign and his
country. Its front bears, "A J'n. A'r. Bouzard, pour ses services
maritimes;" but there was originally a second inscription in honor of
the king, which has been carefully erased. The fury of the revolution
could pardon nothing that bore the least relation to royalty; or surely
a monument like this, the reward of courage and calculated to inspire
only the best of feelings[2], might have been allowed to have remained
uninjured. The French are wiser than we are in erecting these public
memorials for public virtues: they better understand the art of
producing an effect, and they know that such gratifications bestowed
upon the living are seldom thrown away. We rarely give them but to the
dead. Capt. Manby, to whom above one hundred and thirty shipwrecked
mariners are even now indebted for their existence, and whose invention
will probably be the means of preservation to thousands, is allowed to
live in comparative obscurity; while in France, a mere pilot, for
having saved the lives of only eight individuals, had a residence built
for him at the public expence, received an immediate gratification of
one thousand francs, enjoyed a pension during his life, and, with his
name and his exploits, now occupies a conspicuous place in the history
of the duchy.

Within the piers, the harbor widens into a stone basin, capable of
holding two hundred vessels, and full of water at the flow of the tide;
but at the ebb exhibiting little more than a sheet of mud, with a small
stream meandering through it. Round the harbor is built the town, which
contains above twenty thousand inhabitants, and is singularly
picturesque, as well from its situation, backed as it is by the steep
cliff to the east, which, instead of terminating here abruptly, takes an
inland direction, as from the diversity in the forms and materials of
the houses of the quay, some of which are of stone, others of grey
flint, more of plaster with their timbers uncovered and painted of
different colors, but most of brick, not uncommonly ornamented, with
roofs as steep as those of the Thuilleries, and full of projecting
lucarnes. This remark, however, applies only to the quay: in its
streets, Dieppe is conspicuous among French towns for the uniformity of
its buildings. After the bombardment in 1694, when the English, foiled
near Brest, wreaked their vengeance upon Dieppe, and reduced the whole
to ashes, the town was rebuilt on a regular plan, agreeably to a royal
ordinance. Hence this is commonly regarded as one of the handsomest
places in France, and you will find it mentioned as such by most
authors; but the unfortunate architect who was employed in rebuilding
it, got no other reward than general complaints and the nickname of M.
Gateville. The inconveniences arising from the arrangements of the
houses which he erected must have been serious; for we find that sixty
years afterwards an order of council was procured, allowing the
inhabitants to make some alterations that they considered most essential
to their comfort. Upon the quay there is occasionally somewhat of the
activity of commerce; but elsewhere it is as I have observed before, as
well with the people as the buildings. As far as the houses are
concerned, a little care and paint would remove their squalid aspect: to
an English eye it is singularly offensive; but it cannot possibly be so
to the French, among whom it seems almost universal.

To a painter Dieppe must be a source of great delight: the situation,
the buildings, the people offer an endless variety; but nothing is more
remarkable than the costume of the females of the middle and lower
classes, most of whom wear high pyramidal caps, with long lappets
entirely concealing their hair, red, blue, or black corsets, large
wooden shoes, black stockings, and full scarlet petticoats of the
coarsest woollen, pockets of some different die attached to the outside,
and not uncommonly the appendage of a key or corkscrew: occasionally too
the color of their costume is still farther diversified by a chequered
handkerchief and white apron. The young are generally pretty; the old,
tanned and ugly; and the transition from youth to age seems
instantaneous: labor and poverty have destroyed every intermediate
gradation; but, whether young or old, they have all the same
good-humored look, and appear generally industrious, though almost
incessantly talking. Even on Sundays or feast-days, bonnets are seldom
to be seen, but round their necks are suspended large silver or gilt
ornaments, usually crosses, while long gold ear-rings drop from either
side of their head, and their shoes frequently glitter with paste
buckles of an enormous size. Such is the present costume of the females
at Dieppe, and throughout the whole Pays de Caux; and in this
description, the lover of antiquarian research will easily trace a
resemblance to the attire of the women of England, in the XVth and XVIth
centuries. As to the cap, which the Cauchoise wears when she appears _en
grand costume_, its very prototype is to be found in _Strutt's Ancient
Dresses_. Decorated with silver before, and with lace streaming behind,
it towers on the head of the stiff-necked complacent wearer, whose locks
appear beneath, arrayed with statuary precision. Nor is its antiquity
solely confined to its form and fashion; for, descending from the great
grandmother to the great grand-daughter, it remains as an heir-loom in
the family from generation unto generation. In my former visit to
Normandy, three years ago, we first saw this head-dress at the theatre
at Rouen, and my companion was so struck with it that he made the
sketch, of which I send you a copy. The costume of the females of
somewhat higher rank is very becoming: they wear muslin caps, opening in
front to shew their graceful ringlets, colored gowns, scarlet
handkerchiefs, and black aprons.

[Illustration: Head-Dress of Women of the Pays de Caux]

But nothing connected with the costume or manners of the people at
Dieppe is equally interesting as what refers to the inhabitants of the
suburb called Pollet; and I will therefore conclude my letter, by
extracting from the historian of the place[3] his account of these men,
which, though written many years ago, is true in the main even in our
days, and it is to be hoped will, in its most important respects,
continue so for a length of time to come. "Three-fourths of the natives
of this part of the town are fishermen, and not less effectually
distinguished from the citizens of Dieppe by their name of Poltese,
taken from their place of residence, than by the difference in their
dress and language, the simplicity of their manners, and the narrow
extent of their acquirements. To the present hour they continue to
preserve the same costume as in the XVIth century; wearing trowsers
covered with wide short petticoats, which open in the middle to afford
room for the legs to move, and woollen waistcoats laced in the front
with ribands, and tucked below into the waistband of their trowsers.
Over these waistcoats is a close coat, without buttons or fastenings of
any kind, which falls so low as to hide their petticoats and extend a
foot or more beyond them. These articles of apparel are usually of cloth
or serge of a uniform color, and either red or blue; for they interdict
every other variation, except that all the seams of their dress are
faced with white silk galloon, full an inch in width. To complete the
whole, instead of hats, they have on their heads caps of velvet or
colored cloth, forming a _tout-ensemble_ of attire, which is evidently
ancient, but far from unpicturesque or displeasing. Thus clad, the
Poltese, though in the midst of the kingdom, have the appearance of a
distinct and foreign colony; whilst, occupied incessantly in fishing,
they have remained equally strangers to the civilization and
politeness, which the progress of letters during the last two centuries
has diffused over France. Nay, scarcely are they acquainted with four
hundred words of the French language; and these they pronounce with an
idiom exclusively their own, adding to each an oath, by way of epithet;
a habit so inveterate with them, that even at confession, at the moment
of seeking absolution for the practice, it is no uncommon thing with
them to _swear_ they will be guilty of it no more. To balance, however,
this defect, their morals are uncorrupted, their fidelity is exemplary,
and they are laborious and charitable, and zealous for the honor of
their country, in whose cause they often bleed, as well as for their
priests, in defence of whom they once threatened to throw the Archbishop
of Rouen into the river, and were well nigh executing their threats."

Footnotes:

[1] The chalk in the cliff, in the immediate vicinity of Dieppe, is
divided at intervals of about two feet each by narrow strata of flint,
generally horizontal, and composed in some cases of separate nodules,
which are not uncommonly split, in others of a continuous compressed
mass, about two or three inches thick and of very uncertain extent, but
the strata are not regular.

[2] _Goube Histoire de Normandie_, III. p. 188.--In _Cadet Gassicourt
Lettres sur Normandie_, I. p. 68, the story of Bouzard is given still
more at length.

[3] _Histoire de Dieppe_, II. p. 56.

[Illustration: Entrance to the Castle at Dieppe]

LETTER II.

DIEPPE--CASTLE--CHURCHES--HISTORY OF THE PLACE--FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION.

(_Dieppe, June_, 1818.)

The bombardment of this town, alluded to in my last, was so effectual in
its operation, that, excepting the castle and the two churches, the
place can boast of little to arrest the attention of the antiquary, or
of the curious traveller. These three objects were indeed almost all
that escaped the conflagration; and for this they were indebted to their
insulated situations, the first on an eminence unconnected with the
houses of the place, the other two in their respective cemeteries.

The hill on which the castle stands is steep; and the building, as well
from its position, as from its high walls, flanked with towers and
bastions, has an imposing appearance. In its general outline it bears a
resemblance to the castle of Stirling, but it has not the same claims to
attention in an architectural point of view. It is a confused mass of
various aeras, and its parts are chiefly modern: nor is there any single
feature that deserves to be particularized for beauty or singularity;
yet, as a whole, a picturesque and pleasing effect results from the very
confusion and irregularity of its towers, roofs, and turrets; and this
is also enhanced by a row of lofty arches, thrown across a ravine near
the entrance, supporting the bridge, and appearing at a distance like
the remains of a Roman aqueduct. What seems to be the most ancient part
is a high quadrangular tower with lofty pointed pannels in the four
walls; and though inferior in antiquity, an observer accustomed only to
the English castellated style, is struck by the variety of numerous
circular towers with conical roofs, resembling those which flanked the
gates of the town. Some of these gates still remain perfect; and one of
them, leading to the sea, now serves as a military prison. It was the
Sieur des Marets[4], the first governor of the place, who began this
castle shortly after the year 1443, when Louis the XIth, then dauphin,
freed Dieppe from the dominion of the English, attacking in person, and
carrying by assault, the formidable fortress, constructed by Talbot, in
the suburb of Pollet. Of this, not a vestige now remains: the whole was
levelled with the ground in 1689; though, at a period of one hundred and
twenty years after it was originally taken and dismantled, it had again
been made a place of strength by the Huguenots, and had been still
further fortified under Henry IVth, in whose reign the present castle
was completed; for it was not till this time that permission was given
to the inhabitants to add to it a keep. In its perfect state, whilst
defended by this keep, and still further protected by copious out-works
and bomb-proof casemates, its strength was great; but the period of its
power was of short duration; for the then perturbed state of France
naturally gave rise to anxiety on the part of the government, lest
fortresses should serve as rallying points to the faction of the league;
and the castle of Dieppe was consequently left with little more than
the semblance of its former greatness.

Of the churches here, that of St. Jaques is considerably the finest
building, and is indeed an excellent specimen of what has been called
the _decorated English style of architecture_, the style of this church
nearly coinciding in its principal lines with that which prevailed in
our own country during the reigns of the second and third Edward. It was
begun about the year 1260, but was little advanced at the commencement
of the following century; nor were its nineteen chapels, the works of
the piety of individuals, completed before 1350. The roof of the choir
remained imperfect till ninety years afterwards, whilst that of the
transept is as recent as 1628[5]. The most ancient work is discernible
in the transepts, but the lines are obscured by later additions. A
cloister gallery fronted by delicate mullions runs round the nave and
choir, and the extent and arrangement of the exterior would induce a
stranger, unacquainted with the history of the building, to suppose that
he was entering a conventual or cathedral church. The parts long most
generally admired by the French, though they have always been miserable
judges of gothic architecture, were the vaulted roof, and the pendants
of the Lady-Chapel. The latter were originally ornamented with female
figures, representing the Sibyls, made of colored terra cotta, and of
such excellent workmanship, that Cardinal Barberini, when he visited
this chapel in 1647, declared he had seen nothing of the kind, not even
in Italy, superior to them for the beauty and delicacy of their
execution; but they are now gone, and, according to Noel[6], were
destroyed at the time of the bombardment. The state, however, of the
roof does not seem to warrant this observation; and, contrary also to
what he says, the pendants between the Lady-Chapel and the choir are
still perfect, and serve, together with numerous small canopies in the
chapel itself, to give a clear idea of what the whole must have been
originally. One of the most elegant of the decorations of the church is
a spirally-twisted column, elaborately carved, with a peculiarly
fanciful and beautiful capital, placed against a pillar that separates
the two south-eastern chapels of the choir. The richest object is a
stone-screen to a chantry on the north side, which is divide into
several canopies, whose upper part is still full of a profusion of
sculpture, though the lower is sadly mutilated. I could not ascertain
its history or use; but I do not suppose it is of earlier date than the
age of Francis Ist, as the Roman or Italian style is blended with the
Gothic arch. The Chapel of the Sepulchre, is not uncommonly pointed out
as an object of admiration. There is certainly some, handsome sculpture
round the portal; but it is not this for which your admiration is
required: you are told that the chapel was made in 1612, at the expence
of a traveller, then just returned from Palestine, and that it offers a
faithful representation of the Holy Sepulchre itself at Jerusalem; by
which if we are to understand that the wretched, grisly, painted, wooden
figures of the three Maries, and other holy women and holy men,
assembled round a disgusting representation of the dead Saviour, have
their prototype in Judea, I can only add I am sorry for it: for my own
part, putting aside all question of the propriety or effect of
symbolical worship, and meaning nothing offensive to the Romish faith, I
must be allowed to say that most assuredly I can conceive nothing less
qualified to excite feelings of devotion, or more certain to awaken
contempt and loathing, than the images of this description, the
tinselled virgins, and the wretched daubs, nick-named paintings, which
abound in the churches of Picardy and Normandy, the only catholic
provinces which I have yet visited; so that, if the taste of the
inhabitants is to be estimated by the decoration of the religious
buildings, this faculty must be rated very low indeed. The exterior of
the church is as richly ornamented as the inside; and not a buttress,
arch, or canopy is without the remains of crumbled carving, worn by
time, or disfigured by the ruder hand of calvinistic or revolutionary
violence. Tradition refers the erection of this edifice to the English.
From the certainty with which a date may be assigned to almost every
part, it is very interesting to the lover of architecture. The
Lady-Chapel is also perhaps one of the last specimens of Gothic art, but
still very pure, except in some of the smaller ornaments, such, as the
niches in the tabernacles, which end in escalop shells.

[Illustration: Font in the Church of St. Remi, at Dieppe]

The other church is dedicated to St. Remi, and is a building of the
XVIIth century; though, judging from some of its pillars, it would be
pronounced considerably more ancient. Those of the transept and of the
central tower are lofty and clustered, and of extraordinary thickness;
the rest are circular and plain, and not very unlike the columns of our
earliest Norman or Saxon churches, though of greater proportionate
altitude. The capitals of those in the choir are singularly capricious,
with figures, scrolls, &c.; but it is the capriciousness of the gothic
verging into Grecian, not of the Norman. On the pendants of the nave are
painted various ornaments, each accompanied by a mitre. The eastern has
only a mitre and cross, with the date 1669; the western the same, with
1666; denoting the aera of the edifice, which was scarcely finished, when
a bomb, in 1694, destroyed the roof of the choir, and this remains to
the present hour incomplete. The most remarkable object in the church is
a _benitier_ of coarse red granite, on whose basin is an inscription, to
me illegible. The annexed sketches will give you some idea of it:

[Illustration: Sketch of inscription]

In the letters one looks naturally for a date: the figures that
alternate with them are probably mitres, and, like those on the roof,
indicate the supreme jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Rouen in the
place.

Dieppe itself is, by its own historians[7], said to boast an origin as
early as the days of Charlemagne[8], who is reported to have built a
fortress on the scite of the present town, and to have called it
Bertheville, in honor of the Berthas, his mother and his daughter.
Bertheville was one of the first places taken by the Normans, by whom
the appellation was changed to Dyppe or Dieppe, a word which in their
language is said to signify a good anchorage. Other writers[9], however,
treat the whole of the early chronicle of Dieppe as a fiction, and
maintain, that even at the beginning of the XIth century the town had no
existence, and the place was only known as the port of Arques, within
whose territory it was comprehended; nor was it till the end of the same
century that the inhabitants of Arques were, partly from the convenience
of the fisheries, and partly from the advantages of the salt trade,
induced to form this settlement. Whatever date may be assigned to the
foundation of Dieppe, it is frequently contended that William the
Conqueror embarked here for the invasion of England, and it seems
undoubted that he sailed hence for his new kingdom in the next year,
agreeably to the following passage from Ordericus Vitalis, (p. 509) by
which you will observe, that the river had at that time the same name as
the town, "Deinde sexta nocte Decembris ad ostium amnis Deppae ultra
oppidtim Archas accessit, primaque vigilia gelidae noctis Austro vela
dedit, et mane portum oppositi littoris, (quem Vvicenesium vocitant)
prospero cursu arripuit." In 1188, our Henry II built a castle upon the
same hill on which the present fortress stands. This strong hold,
however, afforded little protection; for we find that, in 1195, Philip
Augustus of France, entering Normandy with an hostile army, laid siege
to Dieppe, and set fire not only to the town, but also to the shipping
in the harbor. Two years subsequently to this event, Dieppe ceased to
form a part of the demesne of the Sovereign of the Duchy. Richard the
Ist had given great offence to Walter, Archbishop of Rouen, by
persisting in the erection of Chateau Gaillard, in the vicinity of
Andelys, which belonged to the archbishop in right of his see; and
though our lion-hearted monarch was not appalled either by the papal
interdict or by the showers of blood that fell upon his workmen, yet at
length he thought it advisable to purchase at once the forgiveness of
the prelate and the secular seignory of Andelys, by surrendering to him,
as an equivalent, the towns and lordships of Dieppe and Louviers, the
land and forest of Alihermont, the land and lordship of Bouteilles, and
the mills of Rouen. This exchange was regarded as so great a subject of
triumph to the archbishop, that he caused the memory of it to be
perpetuated by inscriptions upon crosses in various parts of Rouen, some
of which remained as late as 1610, when Taillepied wrote his _Recueil
des Antiquitez et Singularitez de la Ville de Rouen_. The following
lines are given as one of these inscriptions in the _Gallia
Christiana_[10]:

"Vicisti, Galtere, tui sunt signa triumphi
Deppa, Locoveris, Alacris-mons, Butila, molta,
Deppa maris portus, Alacris-mons locus amoenus,
Villa Locoveris, rus Butila, molta per urbem.
Hactenus haec Regis Richardi jura fuere;
Haec rex sancivit, haec papa, tibique tuere[11]."

Nor was this the only memorial of the fact; for the advantages of the
exchange were so generally recognized, that the name of Walter became
proverbial; and to this day it is said in Normandy of a man who
over-reaches another, "c'est un fin Gautier." It might be inferred from
the terms of the bargain in which Dieppe merely appears as one of the
items of the account, that it was then a place of little consequence;
yet, one of the old chroniclers speaks of it at the time it was taken by
the French under Philip Augustus, as

"portus fama celeberrimus atque
Villa potens opibus."

These historians, however, of former days are not always the most
accurate; but from this period the annals of the place are preserved,
and at certain epochs it is far from unimportant in French history: as,
when Talbot raised in 1442 the fortress called the Bastille, a defence
so strong and in so well-chosen a situation, that even Vauban honored
its memory by lamenting its destruction; when the inhabitants fought
with the Flemings in the channel, in 1555; when Henry IVth, with an army
of less than four thousand men, fled hither in 1589, as to his last
place of refuge, winning the hearts of the people by his frank
address:--"Mes amis, point de ceremonie, je ne demande que vos coeurs,
bon pain, bon vin, et bon visage d'hotes;" and when, as I have already
mentioned, the town sustained from our fleet a bombardment of three
days' duration, and was reduced by it to ashes.

For the excellence of its sailors, Dieppe has at all times been
renowned: no less an authority than the President de Thou has pronounced
them to be men, "penes quos praecipua rei nauticae gloria semper fuit;"
and they have proved their claims to this encomium, not only by having
supplied to the navy of France the celebrated Abraham Du Quesne, the
successful rival of the great Ruyter, but still more so by having taken
the lead in expeditions to Florida[12]; by having established a colony
for the promotion of the fur trade in Canada, if indeed they were not
the original discoverers of that country; and by having been the first
Christians who ever made a settlement on the coast of Senegal. This
last-mentioned event took place, according to French writers, at as
early a period as the XIVth century; and, though the establishment was
not of long duration, its effects have been permanent; for it is owing
to the consignments of ivory then made to Dieppe, that many of the
inhabitants were induced to become workers in that substance; a trade
which they preserve to the present time, and carry the art to such
perfection that they have few rivals. This and the making of lace are
the principal employments of such of the natives as are not engaged in
the fishery. In the earlier ages of the Duchy, the inhabitants of the
Pays de Caux found a more effectual and important employment in the
salt-works which were then very numerous on the coast, but which have
long since been suffered to fall into decay. Ancient charters, recorded
in the _Neustria Pia_, trace these works on the coast of Dieppe, and at
Bouteilles on the right of the valley of Arques, to as remote a period
as 1027; and they at the same time prove the existence of a canal
between Dieppe and Bouteilles, by which in 1390 vessels loaded with salt
were wont to pass. But here, as in England, such works have been
abandoned, from the greater facility of communication between distant
places, and of obtaining salt by other means.

At present the only manufacture on the beach is that of kelp, for which
a large quantity of the coarser sea-weeds is burned; but the fisheries,
which are not carried on with equal energy in any other port of France,
are the chief support of the place. The sailors of Dieppe were not
confined to their own seas; for they used to pursue the cod fishery on
the coast of Newfoundland with considerable success. The herring fishery
however was a greater staple; and previously to the revolution, when
alone a just estimate could be formed of such matters, the quantity of
herrings caught by the boats belonging to Dieppe averaged more than
eight thousand lasts a year, and realized above L100,000. This fishery
is said to have been established here as early as the XIth century[13].
From sixty to eighty boats, each of about thirty tons and carrying
fifteen men, were annually sent to the eastern coast of England about
the end of August; and then, again, in the middle of October nearly
double the quantity of vessels, but of a smaller size, were engaged in
the same pursuit on their own shores, where the fish by this time
repair. The mackerel fishery was an object of scarcely less importance
than that of herrings, producing in general about one hundred and
seventy thousand barrels annually. Great quantities of these fish are
eaten salted and dried, in which state they afford a general article of
food among the lower classes in Normandy. Surely this would be deserving
of the attention and imitation of our merchants at home. During the war
with England this branch of trade necessarily suffered; but Napoleon did
every thing in his power to assist the town, by giving it peculiar
advantages as to ships sailing under licences. He succeeded in his
views; and, thus patronized, Dieppe flourished exceedingly, and the
gains brought in by the privateers connected with the port, added not a
little to its prosperity. Hence to this hour the inhabitants regret the
peace, although the town cannot fail to be benefitted by the fresh
impulse given to the fisheries, and the quantity of money circulated by
the travellers who are continually passing. Napoleon intended also to
bestow an additional boon upon the place. A canal had been projected
many years ago, in the time of the Marechal de Vauban, and was to have
extended to Pontoise, through the fertile districts of Gournay and
Neufchatel, and to have communicated by different branches with the
Seine and Oise. This plan, which had been forgotten during so many
reigns, Napoleon determined to carry into effect, and the excavations
were actually begun under his orders. But the events which succeeded his
Russian campaign put a stop to this, as to all similar labors: the plan
is now, however, again in agitation, and, if performed, Dieppe will soon
become one of the most important ports in France.

By the revolution Dieppe was emancipated from the dominion of the
Archbishop of Rouen, who, by virtue of the cession made by Richard Coeur
de Lion, exercised a despotic sway, even until the dissolution of the
_ancien regime_. His privileges were oppressive, and he had and made use
of the right of imposing a variety of taxes, which extended even to the
articles of provision imported either by land or sea. Yet it must be
admitted that the progress of civilization had previously done much
towards the removal of the most obnoxious of the abuses. The times,
happily, no longer existed, when, as in the XIIth century, the prelate,
with a degree of indecency scarcely to be credited, especially under an
ecclesiastical government, did not scruple to convert the wages of sin
into a source of revenue, as scandalous in its nature as it must have
been contemptible in its amount, by exacting from every prostitute a
weekly tax of a farthing, for liberty to exercise her profession[14].

Many uncouth and frivolous ecclesiastical rites and ceremonies of the
middle ages, which good sense had banished from most other parts of
France, where they once were common, still lingered in the archbishop's
seignory. Thus, at no very remote period, it was customary on the Feast
of Pentecost to cast burning flakes of tow from the vaulting of the
church; this stage-trick being considered as a representation of the
descent of the fiery tongues. The Virgin, the great idol of popery, was
honored by a pageant, which was celebrated with extraordinary splendor;
and as I must initiate you in the mysteries of Catholicism, I think you
will be well pleased to receive a detailed account of it. The ceremony I
consider as curiously illustrative of the manners of the rulers, of the
ruled, and of the times; and I will only add, by way of preface, that it
was instituted by the governor, Des Marets, in 1443, in honor of the
final expulsion of the English, and that he himself consented to be the
first master of the _Guild of the Assumption_, under whose auspices and
direction it was conducted.--About Midsummer the principal inhabitants
used to assemble at the Hotel de Ville, and there they selected the girl
of the most exemplary character, to represent the Virgin Mary, and with
her six other young women, to act the parts of the Daughters of Sion.
The honor of figuring in this holy drama was greatly coveted; and the
historian of Dieppe gravely assures us, that the earnestness felt on the
occasion mainly contributed to the preservation of that purity of
manners and that genuine piety, which subsisted in this town longer than
in any other of France! But the election of the Virgin was not
sufficient: a representative of St. Peter was also to be found among the
clergy; and the laity were so far favored that they were permitted to
furnish the eleven other apostles. This done, upon the fourteenth of
August the Virgin was laid in a cradle of the form of a tomb, and was
carried early in the morning, attended by her suite of either sex, to
the church of St. Jacques; while before the door of the master of the
guild was stretched a large carpet, embroidered with verses in letters
of gold, setting forth his own good qualities, and his love for the holy
Mary. Hither also, as soon as _Laudes_ had been sung, the procession
repaired from the church, and then they were joined by the governor of
the town, the members of the guild, the municipal officers, and the
clergy of the parish of St. Remi. Thus attended, they paraded the town,
singing hymns, which were accompanied by a full band. The procession was
increased by the great body of the inhabitants; and its impressiveness
was still farther augmented by numbers of the youth of either sex, who
assumed the garb and attributes of their patron saints, and mixed in the
immediate train of the principal actors. They then again repaired to the
church, where _Te Deum_ was sung by the full choir, in commemoration of
the victory over the English, and high mass was performed, and the
Sacrament administered to the whole party. During the service, a scenic
representation was given of the Assumption of the Virgin. A scaffolding
was raised, reaching nearly to the top of the dome, and supporting an
azure canopy intended to emulate the "spangled vault of heaven;" and
about two feet below the summit of it appeared, seated on a splendid
throne, an old man as the image of the Father Almighty, a representation
equally absurd and impious, and which could alone be tolerated by the
votaries of the worst superstitions of popery. On either side four
pasteboard angels of the size of men floated in the air, and flapped
their wings in cadence to the sounds of the organ; while above was
suspended a large triangle, at whose corners were placed three smaller
angels, who, at the intermission of each office, performed upon a set of
little bells the hymn of "_Ave Maria gratia Dei plena per Secula_," &c.
accompanied by a larger angel on each side with a trumpet. To complete
this portion of the spectacle, two others, below the old man's feet,
held tapers, which were lighted as the services began, and extinguished
at their close; on which occasions the figures were made to express
reluctance by turning quickly about; so that it required some dexterity
to apply the extinguishers. At the commencement of the mass, two of the
angels by the side of the Almighty descended to the foot of the altar,
and, placing themselves by the tomb, in which a pasteboard figure of the
Virgin had been substituted for her living representative, gently raised
it to the feet of the Father. The image, as it mounted, from time to
time lifted its head and extended its arms, as if conscious of the
approaching beatitude, then, after having received the benediction and
been encircled by another angel with a crown of glory, it gradually
disappeared behind the clouds. At this instant a buffoon, who all the
time had been playing his antics below, burst into an extravagant fit of
joy; at one moment clapping his hands most violently, at the next
stretching himself out as if dead. Finally, he ran up to the feet of the
old man, and hid himself under his legs, so as to shew only his head.
The people called him _Grimaldi_, an appellation that appears to have
belonged to him by usage, and it is a singular coincidence that the
surname of the noblest family of Genoa the Proud, thus assigned by the
rude rabble of a sea-port to their buffoon, should belong of right to
the sire and son, whose _mops_ and _mowes_ afford pastime to the upper
gallery at Covent-Garden.

Thus did the pageant proceed in all its grotesque glory, and, while--

"These labor'd nothings in so strange a style
Amazed the unlearned, and made the learned smile,"

the children shouted aloud for their favorite Grimaldi; the priests,
accompanied with bells, trumpets, and organs, thundered out the mass;
the pious were loud in their exclamations of rapture at the devotion of
the Virgin; and the whole church was filled with "un non so che di rauco
ed indistinto".--But I have told you enough of this foolish story, of
which it were well if the folly had been the worst. The sequel was in
the same taste and style, and ended with the euthanasia of all similar
representations, a hearty dinner.

Footnotes:

[4] _Description de la Haute Normandie_, I. p. 130.

[5] _Histoire de Dieppe_, II. p. 86.

[6] _Essals sur le Departement de la Seine Inferieure_, I. p. 119.

[7] _Histoire de Dieppe_, I. p. 1.

[8] Another author, mentioned by the Abbe Fontenu, in the _Memoires de
l'Academie des Inscriptions_, X. p. 413, carries the antiquity of the
place still eight centuries higher, representing it as the _Portus
Ictius_, whence Julius Caesar sailed for Britain.

[9] _Description de la Haute Normandie_, I. p. 125.

[10] Vol. XI. p. 55.

[11] The deed itself under which this exchange was made is also
preserved in _Duchesne's Scriptores Normanni_, and in the _Gallia
Christiana_, XI. _Instr_. p. 27, where it is entitled "_Celebris
commutatio facta inter Richardum I, regem Angliae et Walterium
Archiepisc. Rotomagensem_." It is worth remarking, in illustration of
the feudal rights and customs, how much importance is attached in this
instrument to the mills and the seignorage for grinding: the king
expressly stipulates that every body "tam milites quam clerici, et omnes
homines, tam de feodis militum quam de prebendis, sequentur molendina de
_Andeli_, sicut consueverunt et debent, et moltura erit nostra.
Archiepiscopus autem et homines sui de _Fraxinis_ (a manor specially
reserved,) molent ubi idem Archiepiscopus volet, et si voluerit molere
apud _Andeli_, dabunt molturas suas, sicut alii ibidem molentes. In
escambium autem ... concessimus ... omnia molendina quae nos habuimus
Rotomagi, quando haec permutatio facta fuit, integre cum omni sequela et
moltura sua, sine aliquo retinemento eorum quae ad molendinam pertinent
vel ad molturam, et cum omnibus libertatibus et liberis consuetudinibus
quas solent et debent habere. Nec alicui alii licebit molendinum facere
ibidem ad detrimentum praedictorum molendinorum; et debet Archiepiscopus
solvere eleemosinas antiquitus statutas de iisdem molendinis."

[12] A very copious and interesting account of the nautical discoveries
made by the inhabitants of Dieppe, and of their merits as sailors, is
given by Goube, in his _Histoire du Duche de Normandie_, III, p.
172-178.

[13] _Goube, Histoire de Normandie_, III, p. 170.

[14] _Noel, Essais sur le Departement de la Seine Inferieure_, I. p.
194.

LETTER III.

CAESAR'S CAMP--CASTLE OF ARQUES.

(_Dieppe, June_, 1818)

After having explored Dieppe, I must now conduct you without the walls,
to the castle of Arques and to Caesar's camp, both of which are in its
immediate neighborhood. At some future time you may thank me for
pointing out these objects to you, for should you ever visit Dieppe,
your residence may be prolonged beyond your wishes, by the usual
mischances which attend the traveller. And in that case, a walk to these
relics of military architecture will furnish a better employment than
thumbing the old newspaper of the inn, or even than the contemplation of
the diligences as they come in, or of the packets as they are not going
out, for I am anticipating that you are becalmed, and that the pennons
are flagging from the mast. With respect to my walk, let me be allowed
to begin by introducing you to a friend of mine at Dieppe, M. Gaillon,
an obliging, sensible, and well-informed young man, as well as an ardent
botanist, my companion in this walk, and the source of much of the
information I possess respecting these places. The intrenchment,
commonly known by the name of Caesar's camp, or even more generally in
the country by that of "_la Cite de Limes_," and in old writings, of
"_Civitas Limarum_," is situated upon the brink of the cliff, about two
miles to the east of Dieppe, on the road leading to Eu, and still
preserves in a state of perfection its ancient form and character;
though necessarily reduced in the height of its vallum by the operation
of time, and probably also diminished in its size by the gradual
encroachments of the ocean. Upon its shape, which is an irregular
triangle, it may be well to make a preliminary observation, that this
was necessarily prescribed by the scite; and that, however the Romans
might commonly prefer a square outline for their temporary encampments,
we have abundant proofs that they only adhered to this plan when it was
perfectly conformable to the nature of the ground, but that when they
fortified any commanding position, upon which a rectangular rampart
could not be seated, their intrenchments were made to follow the
sinuosities of the hill. In the present instance the northern side, the
longest, extending nearly five thousand feet, fronts the channel, and it
required no other defence than was afforded by the perpendicular face of
the cliff, here more than two hundred feet in height. The western side,
the second in length, and not greatly inferior to the first, after
running about three thousand feet from the sea, in a tolerably straight
line southward, suddenly bends to the east, and forms two semi-circles,
of one of which the radius is turned from the camp, and of the other
into it. The third side is scarcely more than half the length of the
others, and runs nearly straight from south to north, where it again
unites with the cliff. Of the two last-mentioned sides the first is
difficult of access; from its position at the summit of a steep hill;
but it is still protected by a vallum from thirty to forty feet high,
and between the sea and the entrance nearest to it, a length of about
three hundred yards, by a wide exterior ditch with other out-works, as
well as by an inner fosse, faint traces of which only now remain. Hence
to the next and large entrance is a distance of about two thousand feet;
and in this space the interior fosse is still very visible; but the
great abruptness of the hill forbade an outer one.

You, who are not a stranger to the pleasures of botany, would have
shared my delight at finding upon the perpendicular side of this
entrance the beautiful _Caucalis grandiflora_, growing in great
luxuriance upon almost bare chalk, and with its snowy flowers
resembling, as you look down to it, the common species of _Iberis_ of
our gardens. The _Asperula cynanchica_, and other plants peculiar to a
chalky soil, are also found here in plenty, together with the _Eryngium
campestre_, a vegetable of extreme rarity in England, but most abundant
throughout the north of France. _Papaver hybridum_ is likewise common in
the neighboring corn fields round.

Returning from this short botanical digression, let me tell you that the
position considered by some as the southern side of the fortification,
but which I have described as the sinuous part of the western, has its
ramparts of less height. Not so the eastern: on this, as being the most
destitute of all natural defence, (for here there is no hill, and the
eye ranges over an immense level tract, stopped only by distant woods,)
is raised an agger, full forty-five feet in height, and, at a further
distance, is added an outward trench nearly fifty feet wide, though in
its present state not more than three feet deep, and now serving for a
garden.

Such is the external appearance of this camp, which, seen from the sea,
or on the approach either by the west or south, cannot fail to strike
from the boldness of its position; but the effect of the interior is
still more striking; for here, while on one side the horizon is lost in
the immensity of the ocean, on the other two the view is narrowly
circumscribed by the lofty bulwark, at whose feet are almost every where
discernible the remains of the trenches I have already noticed, more
than thirty feet in width. Nor is this the only remarkable circumstance;
for it is still more unaccountable to observe, extending nearly across
the encampment, the traces of an ancient fosse not less than one hundred
and fifty feet wide, and, though in most places shallow, terminating
towards the sea in a deep ravine. Internally the camp appears to have
been also divided into three parts, in one of which it has been
supposed, from a heap of stones which till lately remained, that there
was originally a place of greater strength; while in another,
distinguished by some irregular elevations, it is conjectured that there
was a wall, the defence probably to the keep.

[Illustration: Plan of Caesar's Camp, near Dieppe]

But I must tell you that these conjectures are none of my own, nor could
I have had any opportunity of making them; the stones and the hillocks
having disappeared before the operations of the plough. Such as they
are, I have borrowed them from a dissertation by the Abbe de
Fontenu[15], a copy of whose engraving of the place I insert. Indebted
as I am to him for his hints, I can, however, by no means subscribe to
his reasoning, by which he labors with great erudition to prove that,
neither the popular tradition which ascribes this camp to Caesar, nor
its name, evidently Roman, nor some coins and medals of the same nation
that have been found here, are at all evidences of its Latin origin; but
that, as we have no proof that Caesar was ever in the vicinity of
Dieppe, as the whole is in such excellent preservation, (a point I beg
leave to deny,) and as the vallum is full thrice the height of that of
other Roman encampments in France[16], we are bound to infer it is a
work of far more modern times, and probably was erected by Talbot, the
Caesar of the English[17], while besieging Dieppe in the middle of the
XVth century.

This opinion of the learned Abbe I quote, principally for the purpose of
shewing how far a man of sense and acquirements maybe led astray from
truth and probability in support of a favorite theory. Nothing but the
love of theory could surely have induced him to suppose that this strong
hold was erected for a purpose to which it could in no wise be
applicable, as the intervening ground prevents all possibility of seeing
any part of Dieppe from the camp, or to ascribe it to times when
earth-works were no longer used. In Normandy and Picardy are other
camps, more evidently of Roman construction, which are likewise ascribed
to Caesar[18]; with much the same reason perhaps as every thing
wonderful in Scotland is referred to Fingal, to King Arthur in Cornwall,
and in the north of England and Wales to the devil.

[Illustration: General View of the Castle of Arques]

Upon the origin of the castle of Arques, it is somewhat unfortunate for
the learned that there is not an equal field for ingenious conjecture,
its antiquity being incontestible. Du Moulin, the most comprehensive,
though the most credulous of Norman historians, one who, not content
with dealing in miracles by wholesale, tells us how the devil changed
himself into a postillion, to apprize an alehouse-keeper of the fate of
the posterity of Rollo, may still be entitled to credit, when the theme
is merely stone and mortar; and from him we may conclude that Arques
was a place of importance at the time of William the Conqueror, as it
gave the title of Count to his uncle, who then possessed it, and who,
confiding perhaps in the strength of his fortress, and secretly
instigated by Henry Ist, of France, usurped the title of Duke of
Normandy, but was defeated by his nephew, and finally obliged to
surrender his castle. This, however, was not till, after a long siege,
in which Arques proved itself impregnable to every thing but famine. In
the following reign, we again find mention made of Arques, as a portion
given by Robert, Duke of Normandy, to induce Helie, son of Lambert of
St. Saen, to marry his illegitimate daughter, and join him in defending
the Pays de Caux against the English. From this period, during the
reigns of the Anglo-Norman Sovereigns, it continues to be occasionally
noticed. Before the walls of Arques, according to William of Malmesbury,
Baldwin, Count of Flanders, received the wound which afterwards proved
fatal. Arques was the last castle which held out in Normandy for King
Stephen. It was taken in 1173, by our Henry IInd, and then repaired; was
seized by Philip Augustus during the captivity of Richard Coeur de Lion;
was restored to its legitimate sovereign at the peace in 1196; and was a
source of disgrace to its former captor, when in 1202 he laid siege to
it with a powerful army, and was obliged to retreat from its walls.
Under the reign of our third Edward, we find it again return to the
British crown, as one of the castles specified to be surrendered to the
English, by the treaty of Bretigny, in 1359; after which, in 1419, it
was taken by Talbot and Warwick, and was finally given up to France by
one of the articles of the capitulation of Rouen in 1449. More
recently, in 1584[19], it was captured by a party of soldiers disguised
like sailors, who, being suffered to approach without distrust, put the
sentinels to the sword, and made themselves masters of the fortress;
while in 1589 it obtained its last and most honorable distinction, as
the chief support of Henry IVth, at the time of his being received at
Dieppe, and as having by the cannon from its ramparts, materially
contributed to the glorious defeat of the army of the league, commanded
by the Duke de Mayenne, when thirty thousand were compelled to retire
before one tenth of the number. I have already mentioned to you the
address of this king to the citizens of Dieppe: still more magnanimous
was his speech to his prisoner, the Count de Belin, previously to this
battle, when, on the captive's daring to ask, how with such a handful of
men, he could expect to resist so powerful an army, "Ajoutez," he
answered, "aux troupes que vous voyez, mon bon droit, et vous ne
douterez plus de quel cote sera la victoire."

In _Sully's Memoirs_[20], as well as in the history of the town of
Dieppe, you will find these transactions described at much length, and
the warrior, as well as the historian, expatiates on the strength of the
castle of Arques; but how much longer it remained a place of
consideration I have no means of knowing: most probably the alteration
introduced into the art of war by the use of cannon, caused it to be
soon after neglected, and dismantled, and suffered to fall gradually
into its present state of ruin. It is now the property of a lady
residing in the neighboring town of Arques, who purchased it during the
revolution, and by her good sense and feeling it has been preserved from
further injury. The castle is situated at the extremity of a ridge of
chalk hills, which, commencing to the west of Dieppe, run nearly
parallel to the sea, and here terminate to the east, so that it has a
complete command over the valley. Standing by its walls, you have to the
north-west a full view of the town of Dieppe; in an opposite direction
the eye ranges uncontrolled over a rich vale of corn and pasturage; and
in front, immediately at your feet, lies the town of Arques itself,
backed by the hills that are covered by the forest of the same name.
Either this forest, or the neighboring one of Eavy, is supposed to have
been the ancient Arelanum. The little river called the Arques flows
through the valley, and beneath the walls of the castle is lost in the
Bethune, under which name the united waters continue their course to
Dieppe, after receiving the tribute of a third, yet smaller, stream, the
Eaulne.

Of the power of the castle an idea may be formed from the extent of the
fosse, little less than half a mile in circumference. The outline of the
walls is irregularly oval, and the even front is interrupted by towers
of various sizes, and placed at unequal distances. On the northern side,
where the hill is steepest, there are no towers; but the walls are still
farther strengthened by square buttresses, so large that they indeed
look like bastions, and with a projection so great as to indicate an
origin posterior to the Norman aera. The two towers which flank the
western entrance, and the towers which stand behind each of the flanking
towers in the retiring line of the wall, are much larger than any of the
rest. One of the latter towers is of so extraordinary a shape, that I
consider it as a non-descript; but, as I should tire both you and myself
by endeavoring to describe it, I think it most prudent to refer you to a
sketch: perhaps its angular parts may not be coeval with the rest of the
building[21]: on this it would be impossible to decide positively, so
shattered, impaired, and defaced are the walls, and so evidently is
their coating the work of different periods. I fancied that in some
parts I could discern a mode of construction, in layers of brick and
stone, similar to that of Roman buildings in our own country, while
many of the bricks, from their texture and shape, appear also to be
Roman. Tradition, if we follow that delusive guide, teaches us that we
are contemplating a work of the middle of the eighth century, and of one
of the sons of Charles Martel. If we follow William of Jumieges, the
Chronicle of St. Vandrille, and William of Poitiers, we ascribe it to
the uncle and rival of the Conqueror; other writers tell us that the
ruins arose under Henry IInd. I dare not decide amongst such reverend
authorities, but I think I may infer, without the least disrespect
towards monks and chroniclers, that the Norman Arques now occupies the
place of a far more early structure, and that a portion of the walls of
this latter was actually left in existence. Taken, however, as a whole,
the castle is evidently a building of different aeras; and it would be
extremely difficult, if not impossible, to define the parts belonging to
each.

[Illustration: Tower of remarkable shape in Castle of Arques]

The principal entrance is to the west, between the two towers first
mentioned, over a draw-bridge, whose piers still remain, and through
three gateways, whose arches, though now torn and dislocated into
shapeless rents, seem to have been circular, and probably of Norman
erection. One of the towers of the gate-way appears formerly to have
been a chapel. Hence you pass into a court, whose surface, uneven with
the remains of foundations, marks it to have been originally filled with
apartments, and, at the opposite end of this, through a square
gate-house with high embattled walls, a place evidently of great
strength, and leading into a large open space that terminated in the
quadrangular and lofty keep. This, which is externally strengthened by
massy buttresses, similar to those of the walls, is within divided into
two apartments, each of them about fifty feet by twenty. In one of them
is a well, communicating with a reservoir below, which is filled by the
water of the river, and was sufficiently capacious for watering the
horses of the garrison. The greatest part, if not the whole, of the
walls seems to have been faced with brick of comparatively modern date.
The keep also was coated with brick within, and with stones carefully
squared without. The windows are so battered, that no idea can be formed
of their original style. The walls of the keep are filled with small
square apertures. At Rochester, and at many other castles in England, we
observe the same; and unless you can give a better guess respecting
their use, you must content yourself with mine: that is to say, that
they are merely the holes left by the scaffolding. At the foot of the
hill to the west is a gate-house, by no means ancient, from which a wall
ascends to the castle; and another similar wall connects the fortress
with the ground below, on the north-eastern side; but the extent or
nature of these out-works can no longer be traced. Still less possible
would it be to say any thing with certainty as to the excavations, of
the length of which, tradition speaks, as usual, in extravagant terms,
and mixes sundry marvellous and frightful tales with the recital.

In the general plan a great resemblance is to be traced between many
castles in Wales and its frontiers, especially Goodrich Castle, and this
at Arques. Yet I do not think that any of ours are of an equal extent;
nor can you well conceive a more noble object than this, when seen at a
distance: and it is only then that the eye can comprehend the vast
expanse and strength of the external wall, with the noble keep towering
high above it.

[Illustration: Church at Arques]

Until the revolution, the decaying town of Arques was not wholly
deprived of all the vestiges of its former honours: the standards of the
weights and measures of Upper Normandy were deposited here. It was the
seat of the courts of the Archbishop of Rouen, and, though the actual
session of the municipal courts took place at Dieppe, they bore the
legal style and title of the courts of Arques. Since the revolution
these traces of its importance have wholly disappeared, nor is there any
outward indication of the consequence once enjoyed by this poor and
straggling hamlet.

The church is a neat and spacious building, of the same kind of
architecture as that of St. Jacques, at Dieppe; and, as it is a good
specimen of the florid Norman Gothic, (I forbid all cavils respecting
the employment of this term) I have added a figure of it. My slender
researches have not enabled me to discover the date of the building, but
it may, have been erected towards the year 1350. A most elegant bracket,
formed by the graceful dolphin, deserves the attention of the architect;
and I particularize it, not merely on account of its beauty, but
because, even at the risk of exhausting your antiquarian patience, I
intend to point out all architectural features which cannot be retraced
in our own structures; and this is one of them. By the way, Arques
contributed to increase the bulk of our herbal as well as of our
sketch-book, for under the walls of the church is found the rare
_Erodium moschatum_; and near the castle grow _Astragalus glycyphyllos_
and _Melissa Nepeta_.

The field of battle is to the southward of the town. A small walk under
the south wall of the castle, near the east end, adjoining a covered way
which led to a postern-gate or draw-bridge, is still called the walk of
Henry the IVth, because it was here that this monarch was wont to
reconnoitre the enemy's forces from below.

Napoleon, towards the conclusion of his reign, visited the field of
battle at Arques; he ascertained the position of the two armies, and
pronounced that the King ought to have lost the day, for that his
tactics were altogether faulty. I am willing to suppose that this
military criticism arose merely from military pedantry, though it is now
said that Napoleon was envious of the veneration, which, as the French
believe, they feel for the memory of Henri quatre. Napoleon is accused
of having given the title of _le Roi de la Canaille_ to the Bourbon
Monarch. And when Napoleon was in full-blown pride, he might have had
the satisfaction of hearing the rabble of Paris chaunt his comparative
excellence in a parody of the old national song--

"Vive Bonaparte, vice ce conquerant,
Ce diable a quatre a bien plus de talent
Que ce Henri quatre et tous ses descendans,"

Footnotes:

[15] _Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions_, X. p. 403. tab. 15.

[16] Such are the Abbe's principal arguments; but he goes on to say,
that the height of the ramparts proves almost to demonstration their
having been erected since the use of fire-arms, a mode of reasoning that
would, I fear, be equally conclusive against the antiquity of a very
celebrated earth-work, the Devil's-Ditch, in Cambridgeshire, whose agger
is of about the same elevation, but of whose modern origin nobody ever
yet dreamed;--that the ramparts opposite Dieppe could only be of use
against cannon, another position equally untenable;--that, were the camp
Roman, there would be platforms on the agger for the reception of wooden
towers, as if time would not wear away vestiges of this nature;--that
the disposition is not in regular order like that of a Roman encampment,
a matter equally liable to be defaced;--and, finally, that the out-works
to the west are fully decisive of a more modern aera, as if intrenchments
were not, like buildings, frequently the objects of subsequent
alterations;--In his inferences he is followed, and, apparently without
any question as to their authenticity, by Ducarel, whom I suspect from
his description never to have visited the place. The Abbe Fontenu, in a
paper in the same volume, gives it as his opinion that, from the term
_Civitas Limarum_, it might safely be believed there was a _city_ in
this place; and he tries to persuade himself that he can trace the
foundations of houses.

[17] _Noel, Essais sur le Department de la Seine Inferieure_, I. p. 88.

[18] The same is also notoriously the case in our own country: popular
tradition, by a metonymy very easily to be accounted for, from a desire
of adding importance to its objects, attributes whatever is Roman to
Julius Caesar, as the most illustrious of the Roman generals in England;
just as we daily hear smatterers in art referring to Raphael any
painting, however ordinary, that pretends to issue from the schools of
Rome or Florence, every Bolognese one to Guido or Annibal Carracci,
every Kermes to Ostade or Teniers, &c.

[19] _Noel, Essais sur la Seine Inferieure_, I. p. 98.

[20] Sully, who was himself in this battle, and bore a conspicuous part
in it, dwells upon its details completely _con amore_, and evidently
regards the issue of this day as decisive of the fate of the monarch,
who is reported to have said of himself shortly before the battle, that
"he was a king without a kingdom, a husband without a wife, and a
warrior without money."--I. p. 204.

[21] In justice to my readers, I must not here omit to say that such is
the opinion of a most able friend of mine, Mr. Cohen, who visited this
castle nearly at the same time with myself, and who writes me on the
subject: "I feel convinced that the brick coating of the _wedge-tower_
at Arques is recent. Such was the impression I had upon the spot; and
now I cannot remove it. It appeared to me that the character of the
brick-work, and of the stone cordons or fillets, was entirely like that
of the fortifications of the XVIth century; and I also thought, perhaps
erroneously, that the _wedge_ or _bastion_ was _affixed to_ the round
tower of the castle, and that it was an after-construction. At the south
end of the castle, you certainly see very ancient and singular masonry.
The diagonal or herring-bone courses are found in the old church of St.
Lo, and in the keep at Falaise; not in the front of the latter, but on
the side where you enter, and on the side which ranges with Talbot's
Tower. The same style of masonry is also seen, according to Sir Henry
Englefield, at Silchester, which is most undoubtedly a pure Roman
relic."--It abounds likewise in Colchester Castle.

LETTER IV.

JOURNEY FROM DIEPPE TO ROUEN--PRIORY OF LONGUEVILLE--ROUEN--BRIDGE OF
BOATS--COSTUME OF THE INHABITANTS.

(_Rouen, June_, 1818.)

I arrived alone at this city: my companions, who do not always care to
keep pace with my constitutional impatience, which sometimes amuses, and
now and then annoys them, made a circuit by Havre, Bolbec, and Yvetot,
while I proceeded by the straight and beaten track. What I have thus
gained in expedition, I have lost in interest. During the whole of the
ride, there was not a single object to excite curiosity, nor would any
moderate deviation from the line of road have brought me within reach of
any town or tower worthy of notice, except the Priory of Longueville,
situate to the right of the road, about twelve miles from Dieppe. I did
not see Longueville, and I am told that the ruins are quite
insignificant, yet I regret that I did not visit them. The French can
never be made to believe that an old rubble wall is really and truly
worth a day's journey: hence their reports respecting the notability of
any given ruin can seldom be depended upon. And at least I should have
had the satisfaction of ascertaining the actual state of the remains of
a building, known to have been founded and partly built in the year
1084, by Walter Giffard[22], one of the relations and companions of the
Conqueror, in his descent upon England, and therefore created Earl of
Buckingham, or, as the French sometimes write it, _Bou Kin Kan_. The
title was held by his family only till 1164 when, upon the decease of
his son without issue, the lands of his barony were shared among the
collateral female heirs. He himself died in 1102, and by his will
directed that his body should be brought here, which was accordingly
done; and he was buried, as Ordericus Vitalis[23] tells us, near the
entrance of the church, having over him an epitaph of eight lines, "in
maceria picturis decorata." You will find the epitaph, wherein he is
styled "templi fundator et aedificator," copied both in the _Neustria
Pia_ and in _Ducarel's Anglo-Norman Antiquities_. The latter speaks of
it as if it existed in his time; but the doctor seldom states the extent
of his obligations towards his predecessors. And in consequence of this
his silent gratitude, we can never tell with any degree of certainty
whether we are perusing his observations or his transcripts. If he
really saw the inscriptions with his own eyes, it is greatly to be
regretted that he has given us no information respecting the paintings:
did they still exist, they would afford a most genuine and curious
proof of the state of Norman art at that remote period; and possibly, a
search after them among the cottages in the neighborhood might even now
repay the industry of some keen antiquary; for the French revolution may
well he compared to an earthquake: it swallowed up every thing,
ingulphing some so deep that they are lost for ever, but leaving others,
like hidden treasures, buried near the surface of the soil, whence
accident and labor are daily bringing them to light. The descendants of
Walter Giffard are repeatedly mentioned as persons of importance in the
early Norman writers; nor are they less illustrious in England, where
the great family of Clare sprung from one of the daughters; while
another, by her marriage with Richard Granville, gave birth to the
various noble families of that name, of which the present Marquis of
Buckingham is the chief.

Of the Priory, we are told in the _Neustria Pia_[24], that it was
anciently of much opulence, and that a Queen of France contributed
largely to the endowment of the house. Many men of eminence,
particularly three of the Talbot family, were buried within its walls.
Peter Megissier, a prior of Longueville, was in the number of the judges
who passed sentence of death upon the unfortunate Joan of Arc; and the
inscription upon his tomb is so good a specimen of monkish Latinity,
that I am tempted to send it you; reminding you at the same time, that
this barbarous system of rhyming in Latin, however brought to perfection
by the monks and therefore generally called their own, is not really of
their invention, but may be found, though quoted to be ridiculed, in the
first satire of Persius,

"Qui videt hunc lapidem, cognoscat quod tegit idem
Petrum, qui pridem conventum rexit ibidem
Annis bis senis, tumidis Leo, largus egenis,
Omnibus indigenis charus fuit atque alienis."

I believe it is always expected, that a traveller in France should say
something respecting the general aspect of the country and its
agriculture. I shall content myself with remarking, that this part of
Normandy is marvellously like the country which the Conqueror conquered.
When the weather is dull, the Normans have a sober English sky,
abounding in Indian ink and neutral tint. And when the weather is fine,
they have a sun which is not a ray brighter than an English sun. The
hedges and ditches wear a familiar livery, and the land which is fully
cultivated repays the toil of the husbandman with some of the most
luxuriant crops of wheat I ever saw. Barley and oats are not equally
good, perhaps from the stiffness of the soil, which is principally of
chalk; but flax is abundant and luxuriant. The surface of the ground is
undulated, and sufficiently so to make a pleasing alternation of hill
and dale; hence it is agreeably varied, though the hills never rise to
such a height as to be an obstacle to agriculture. There is some
difficulty in conjecturing where the people by whom the whole is kept in
cultivation are housed; for the number of houses by the road-side is
inconsiderable; nor did we, for the first two-thirds of the ride, pass
through a single village, excepting Totes, which lies mid-way between
Dieppe, and Rouen, and is of no great extent. Yet things in France are
materially altered in this respect since 1814, when I remember that, in
going through Calais by the way of the Low Countries to Paris, and
returning by the direct road to Boullogne, the whole journey was made
without seeing a single new house erecting in a space of four hundred
miles. This is now far from being the case; there is every where an
appearance of comparative prosperity, and, were it not for the coins, of
which the copper bear the impress of the republic, and the gold and
silver chiefly that of Napoleon, a stranger would meet with but few
visible marks of the changes experienced in late years by the government
of France. Much has been also done of late towards ornamenting the
chateaux, of which there are several about Totes, though in the opinion
of an Englishman, much also is yet wanting. They are principally the
residences of Rouen merchants.

Upon approaching Malaunay, about nine miles from Rouen, the scene is
entirely changed. The road descends into a valley, inclosed between
steep hills, whose sides are richly and beautifully clothed with wood,
while the houses and church of the village beneath add life and variety
to the plain at the foot. Here the cotton manufactories begin, and, as
we follow the course of the little river Cailly, the population
gradually increases, and continues to become more dense through a series
of manufacturing villages, each larger than the preceding, and all
abounding in noble views of hill, wood, and dale; while the tracts
around are thickly studded with picturesque residences of manufacturers,
and extensive, often picturesque, manufactories. Such indeed was the
country, till we found ourselves at Rouen, shortly before entering which
the Havre road unites to that from Dieppe, and the landscape also
embraces the valley of the Seine, as well as of the Cailly the former
broader by far, and grander, but not more beautiful.

Rouen, from this point of view, is seen to considerable advantage, at
least by those who, like us, make a _detour_ to the north, and enter it
in that direction: the cathedral, St. Ouen, the hospital and church of
La Madeleine, and the river, fill the picture; nor is the impression in
any wise diminished on a nearer approach, when, through a long avenue,
formed by four rows of lofty elms, you advance by the side of a stream,
at once majestic from its width and eminently beautiful from its winding
course.

Rouen is now unfortified; its walls, its castles, are level with the
ground. But, if I may borrow the pun of which old Peter Heylin is guilty
when, describing Paris, Rouen is still a _strong_ city, "for it taketh
you by the nose." The filth is extreme; villainous smells overcome you
in every quarter, and from every quarter. The streets are gloomy,
narrow, and crooked, and the houses at once mean and lofty. Even on the
quay, where all the activity of commerce is visible, and where the
outward signs of opulence might be expected, there is nothing to fulfil
the expectation. Here is width and space, but no _trottoir_; and the
buildings are as incongruous as can well be imagined, whether as to
height, color, projection, or material. Most of them, and indeed most in
the city, are merely of lath and plaster, the timbers uncovered and
painted red or black, the plaster frequently coated with small grey
slates laid one over another, like the weather-tiles in Sussex. Their
general form is very tall and very narrow, which adds to the singularity
of their appearance; but mixed with these are others of white brick or
stone, and really handsome, or, it might be said, elegant. The contrast,
however, which they form only makes their neighbors look the more
shabby, while they themselves derive from the association an air of
meanness. The merchants usually meet upon a small open plot, situated
opposite to the quay, inclosed with palisades and fronted with trees.
This is their exchange in fine weather; but adjoining is a handsome
building, called _La Bourse a couvert_, or _Le Consulte_, to which
recourse is always had in case of rain. It was here that Napoleon and
Maria Louisa, a very short time previous to their deposition, received
from the inhabitants of Rouen the oath of allegiance, which so soon
afterwards found a ready transfer to another sovereign.

About the middle of the quay is placed the bridge of boats, an object of
attraction to all strangers, but more so from the novelty and
singularity of its construction than from its beauty. Utility rather
than elegance was consulted by the builder. This far-famed structure is
ugly and cumbrous, and a passenger feels a very unpleasing sensation if
he happens to stand upon it when a loaded waggon drives along it at low
water, at which time there is a considerable descent from the side of
the suburbs. An undulatory motion is then occasioned, which goes on
gradually from boat to boat till it reaches the opposite shore. The
bridge is supported upon nineteen large barges, which rise and fall with
the tide, and are so put together that one or more can easily be
removed as often as it is necessary to allow any vessel to pass. The
whole too can be entirely taken away in six hours, a construction highly
useful in a river peculiarly liable to floods from sudden thaws; which
sometimes occasion such an increase of the waters, as to render the
lower stories of the houses in the adjacent parts of the city
uninhabitable. The bridge itself was destroyed by a similar accident, in
1709, for want of a timely removal. Its plan is commonly attributed to a
monk of the order of St. Augustine, by whom it was erected in 1626,
about sixty years after the stone bridge, built by the Empress Matilda
in 1167, had ceased to be passable. It seems the fate of Rouen to have
_wonderful_ bridges. The present is dignified by some writers with the
high title of a _miracle of art_: the former is said by Taillepied, in
whose time it was standing, to have been "un des plus beaux edifices et
des plus admirables de la France." A few lines afterwards, however, this
ingenuous writer confesses that loaded carriages of any kind were seldom
suffered to pass this _admirable edifice_, in consequence of the expence
of repairing it; but that two barges were continually plying for the
transport of heavy goods. The delay between the destruction of the stone
bridge, and the erection of the boat bridge, appears to have been
occasioned by the desire of the citizens to have a second similar to the
first; but this, after repeated deliberations, was at last determined to
be impracticable, from the depth and rapidity of the stream. Napoleon,
however, seems to have thought that the task which had been accomplished
under the auspices of the Empress Matilda, might be again repeated in
the name of the daughter of the Caesars and the wife of the successor
of Charlemagne; and he actually caused Maria-Louisa to lay the first
stone of a new bridge, at some distance farther to the east, where an
island divides the river into two. This, I am told, will certainly he
finished, though at an enormous expence, and though it will occasion
great inconvenience to many inhabitants of the quay, whose houses will
be rendered useless by the height to which it will be necessary to raise
the soil upon the occasion. My informant added, that, small as is the
appearance yet made above water, whole quarries of stone and forests of
wood have been already sunk for the purpose.

From the scite of the projected bridge, the view eastward is
particularly charming. The bold hill of St. Catherine presents its steep
side of bare chalk, spotted only in a few places with vegetation or
cottages, and seems to oppose an impassable barrier; the mixture of
country-houses with trees at its base, makes a most pleasing variety;
and, still nearer, the noble elms of the _boulevards_ add a character of
magnificence possessed by few other cities. The _boulevards_ of Rouen
are rather deficient in the Parisian accompaniments of dancing-dogs and
music-grinders, but the sober pedestrian will, perhaps, prefer them to
their namesakes in the capital. Here they are not, as at Paris, in the
centre of the town, but they surround it, except upon the quay, with
which they unite at each end, and unite most pleasingly; so that,
immediately on leaving this brilliant bustling scene, you enter into the
gloom of a lofty embowered arcade, resembling in appearance, as well as
in effect, the public walks at Cambridge, except that the addition of
females in the fanciful Norman costume, and of the Seine, and the fine
prospect beyond, and Mont St. Catherine above, give it a new interest.
On the opposite side of the Seine, the inhabitants of Rouen have another
excellent promenade in the _grand cours_, which, for a considerable
space, occupies the bank of the river, turning eastward from the bridge.
Four rows of trees divide it into three separate walks, of which the
central one is by far the widest, and serves for horses and carriages;
the other two are appropriated exclusively to foot passengers. In these,
on a summer's evening, are to be seen all classes of the inhabitants of
Rouen, from the highest to the lowest; and the following sketch, which
you will easily perceive to be from a pencil more delicate than mine,
gives a most lively and faithful picture of them. It may indeed be in
some measure in the nature of a treatise _de re vestiaria_, yet such
details of gowns and petticoats never fail to interest, at least to
interest me, when proceeding from a wearer.

[Illustration: View of Rouen, from the Grand Cours]

"Our carriage had scarcely stopped when we were surrounded with beggars,
principally women with children in their arms. The poor babes presented
a most pitiable appearance, meagre, dirty to the utmost degree, ragged
and flea-bitten, so that round the throat there was not the least
portion of "carnation" appearing to be free from the insect plague.
Their hair, too, is seldom cut; and I have seen girls of eight or ten
years of age, bearing a growing crop which had evidently remained
unshorn, and I may add, uncombed, from the time of their birth. It is
impossible not to dread coming into contact with these imps, who, when
old, are among the ugliest conceivable specimens of the human race. The
women, even those who inhabit the towns, live much in the open air:
besides being employed in many slavish offices, they sit at their doors
or windows pursuing their business, or lounge about, watching passengers
to obtain charity. Thus their faces and necks are always of a copper
color, and, at an advanced age, more dusky still; so that, for the
anatomy and coloring of witches, a painter needs look no further. Their
wretchedness is strongly contrasted by the gaiety of the higher classes.
The military, who, I suppose, as usual in France, hold the first place,
appear in all possible variety of keeping and costume, with their
well-proportioned figures, clean apparel, decided gait, martial air, and
whiskered faces. Here and there we see gliding along the well-dressed
lady (not well dressed, indeed, as far as becomingness goes, but
fashionably), with a gown of triple flounces, whose skirt intrudes even
upon the shoulders, obliterating the waist entirely, while her throat is
lost in an immense frill of four or more ranks; and sometimes a large
shawl over all completes the disguise of the shape. The head of the dame
or damsel is usually enveloped in a gauze or silk bonnet, sufficiently
large to spread, were it laid upon a table, two feet in diameter, and
trimmed with various-colored ribbons and artificial flowers: in the hand
is seen the ridicule, a never-failing accompaniment. The lower orders of
women at Rouen usually wear the Cauchoise cap, or an approach to it,
rising high to a narrowish point at top, and furnished with immense ears
or wings that drop on the shoulder, then opening in front so as to allow
to be seen on the forehead a small portion of hair, which divides and
falls in two or three spiral ringlets on each side of the face. The
remainder of the dress is generally composed of a colored petticoat,
probably striped, an apron of a different color, a bodice still
differing in tint from the rest, and a shawl, uniting all the various
hues of all the other parts of the dress. Some of the peasants from the
country look still more picturesque, when mounted on horseback bringing
vegetables: they keep their situation without saddle or stirrup, and
seem perfectly at ease. But the best figures on horseback are the young
men who take out their masters' horses to give them exercise, and who
are frequently seen on the _grand cours_. They ride without hat, coat,
saddle, or saddle-cloth, and with the shirt sleeves rolled up above the
elbow. Their negligent equipment, added to their short, curling hair,
and the ease and elasticity they display in the management of their
horses, gives them, on the whole, a great resemblance to the Grecian
warriors of the Elgin marbles. Men, as well as women, are frequently
seen without hats in the streets, and continually uncravatted; and when
their heads are covered, these coverings are of every shape and hue;
from the black beaver, with or without a rim, through all gradations of
cap, to the simple white cotton nightcap. A painter would delight in
this display of forms and these sparkling touches of color, especially
when contrasted with the grey of the city, and the tender tints of the
sky, water, and distance, and the broad coloring of the landscape."

Footnotes:

[22] "He was son of Osborne de Bolebec and Aveline his wife, sister to
Gunnora, Duchess of Normandy, great-grandmother to the Conqueror, and
was one of the principal persons who composed the general survey of the
realm, especially for the county of Worcester. In 1089 he adhered to
William Rufus, against his brother Robert Courthose, and forfeited his
Norman possessions on the king's behalf, of whose army there he was a
principal commander, and behaved himself very honorably. Yet, in the
time of Henry Ist, he took the part of the said Courthose against that
king, but died the year following,"--_Banks' Extinct Baronage_, III. p.
108.

[23] _Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 809.

[24] P. 668.

LETTER V.

JOURNEY TO HAVRE--PAYS DE CAUX--ST. VALLERY--FECAMP--THE PRECIOUS
BLOOD--THE ABBEY--TOMBS IN IT--MONTIVILLIERS--HARFLEUR.

(_Rouen, June_, 1818.)

Lest I should deserve to be visited with the censure which I have taken
the liberty of passing upon Ducarel's tour, I shall begin by premising
that my account of the present state of the tract, intended for the
subject of this and the following letter, is wholly derived from the
journals of my companions. Their road by Fecamp, Havre, Bolbec, and
Yvetot, has led them through the greater part of the Pays de Caux, a
district which, in the time of Caesar, was peopled by the Caletes or
Caleti. Antiquaries suppose, that in the name of this tribe, they
discover the traces of its Celtic origin, and that its radical is no
other than the word _Kalt_ or _Celt_ itself. As a proof of the
correctness of this etymology, Bourgueville[25] tells us that but little
more than two hundred years have passed since its inhabitants, now
universally called _Cauchois_, were not less commonly called _Caillots_
or _Caillettes_; a name which still remains attached to several
families, as well as to the village Gonfreville la Caillotte, and,
probably, to some others. I shall, however, waive all Celtic theory,
"for that way madness lies," and enter upon more sober chorography.

The author of the Description of Upper Normandy states, that the
territory known by that appellation was limited to the Pays de Caux and
the Vexin: the former occupying the line of sea-coast from the Brele to
the Seine, together with the governments of Eu and Havre and the Pays de
Brai; the latter comprising the Roumois, and the French as well as the
Norman Vexin. All these territorial divisions have, indeed, been
obliterated by the state-geographers of the revolution; and Normandy,
time-honored Normandy herself, has disappeared from the map of the
dominions of the French king. The ancient duchy is severed into the five
departments of the Seine Inferieure, the Eure, the Orne, Calvados, and
the Manche. These are the only denominations known to the government or
to the law, yet they are scarcely received in common parlance. The
people still speak of Normandy, and they still take a pleasure in
considering themselves as Normans: and, I too, can share in their
attachment to a name, which transmits the remembrance of actual
sovereignty and departed glory.

Until the re-union of feudal Normandy to the crown of its liege lord,
the duke was one of the twelve peers of the kingdom; and to his hands
that kingdom entrusted the sacred Oriflamme, as often as it was
expedient to unfurl it in war. Normandy also contained several titular
duchies, ancient fiefs held of the King as Duke of Normandy, but which,
out of favour to their owners, were "erected," as the French lawyers
say, into duchies, after the province had reverted to the crown. This
erection, however, gave but a title to the noble owner, without
increasing his territorial privileges; nor could any of our Richards, or
our Henries, have allowed a liege man to write himself duke, like his
proud feudal suzerein. The recent duchies were Alencon, Aumale,
Harcourt, Damville, Elbeuf, Etouteville, and Longueville, and three of
them were included in the Pays de Gaux, the inhabitants of which, from
the titles connected with it, were accustomed to dignify it with the
epithet of _noble_. Their claim to the epithet is thus given by an
ancient Norman poet of the fifteenth century; and if, according to the
old tradition, which Voltaire has bantered with his usually incredulity,
we could admit that Yvetot was ever really a kingdom, it must be allowed
that few provinces could produce such a titled terrier:

"Au noble Pays de Caux
Y a quatre Abbayes royaux,
Six Prieures conventionaux,
Et six Barons de grand arroi,
Quatre Comtes, trois Ducs, un Roi."

The soil of the district is generally rich; but the farmers frequently
suffer from drought, especially in its western part, where they are
obliged almost constantly to have recourse to artifical irrigation. The
houses and villages are all surrounded with hedges, thickly planted, and
each village is also belted in the same manner. These inclosures, which
are peculiar to the Pays de Caux, give a monotonous appearance to the
landscape, but they are highly beneficial, for they break the force of
the winds, and furnish the inhabitants with fuel. If my memory does not
deceive me, the towns either of the ancient Gauls or Teutons, are
described as being thus encompassed in primitive times; but I cannot
name my authorities for the assertion.

St. Vallery, the first stage beyond Dieppe, is situated in a valley; and
there is an obscure tradition that this valley was once watered by a
river, which disappeared some centuries ago. It is conjectured, from the
name of the town, that it claims an origin as high as the seventh
century, when the disciples of St. Vallery were obliged to quit their
original monastery and take refuge elsewhere. Yet, according to other
authorities[26], it did not receive its present appellation till 1197,
when Richard Coeur de Lion, after having destroyed the town and abbey of
St. Vallery sur Somme, carried off the relics of the patron saint, and
deposited them in this town. My reporters tell me that it has an air of
antiquity and gloom, but that it contains nothing worthy of notice
except a crucifix in the churchyard, of stone, richly wrought, dated
1575, and a _benitier_ of such simple form and rude workmanship, as to
appear of considerable antiquity. The place itself is only a wretched
residence for four or five thousand fishermen; but still it has a
name[27] in history. Hence William sailed for the conquest of England;
and its harbor, all poor and small as it is, has always been considered
of importance to the country; there being no other between Havre and
Dieppe capable of affording shelter to vessels of even a moderate size.

The road to Fecamp passes through the little town of Cany, situated in a
beautiful valley; and there my family met the Archbishop of Rouen, who,
at this moment, is in progress through his diocese, for the purpose of
confirmation. The approach of his eminence gave the appearance of a fair
to every village: young and old of both sexes were collected in the
highways to welcome the prelate. He travelled in considerable state,
attended by a military escort of twenty men; and arrayed in the scarlet
robe of a Roman Cardinal, with the brilliant "decoration" of the Legion
of Honor conspicuous upon his breast. For the archbishop is a grand
officer of that brotherhood of bastard chivalry; and this ornament,
conjoined to his train of whiskered warriors, seemed to render him a
very type of the church militant. His eminence is extremely bulky; and
my pilgrims were wicked enough to be much amused by the oddity of his
pomp and pride. Nor did the postillion spare his facetiousness on the
occasion; for you are aware that in France, as in most other parts of
the continent, the servile classes use a degree of familiarity in their
intercourse with their betters, to which we are little accustomed in
England, and which has given rise to the Italian proverb, that "Il
Francese e fedele, l'Italiano rispettoso, l'Inglese schiavo[28]."

Throughout this part of France, large flocks of sheep are commonly seen
in the vicinity of the sea, and, as the pastures are uninclosed, they
are all regularly guarded by a shepherd and his black dog, whose
activity cannot fail to be a subject of admiration. He is always on the
alert and attentive to his business, skirting his flock to keep them
from straggling, and that, apparently, without any directions from his
master. In the night they are folded upon the ploughed land; and the
shepherd lodges, like a Tartar in his _kibitka_, in a small cart roofed
and fitted up with doors.

Fecamp, like other towns in the neighborhood, is imbedded in a deep
valley; and the road, on approaching it, threads through an opening
between hills "stern and wild," a tract of "brown heath and shaggy
wood," resembling many parts of Scotland. The town is long and
straggling, the streets steep and crooked; its inhabitants, according to
the official account of the population of France, amount to seven
thousand, and the number of its houses is estimated at thirteen hundred,
besides above a third of that quantity which are deserted, and more or
less in ruins[29].

Fecamp appeared desolate and decaying to its visitors, but they
recollected that its very desolation was a voucher of the antiquity from
which it derives its interest. It claims an origin as high as the days
of Caesar, when it was called _Fisci Campus_, being the station where
the tribute was collected.

It is in vain, however, to expect concord amongst etymologists; and, of
course, there are other right learned wights who protest against this
derivation. They shake their heads and say, "no; you must trace the
name, Fecamp, to _Fici Campus_;" and they strengthen their assertion by
a sort of _argumentum ad ecclesiam_, maintaining that the _precious
blood_, for which Fecamp was long celebrated, corroborates and confirms
their tale. A chapel in the abbey church attests the sanctity of this
relic. The legend states that Nicodemus, at the time of the entombment
of our Saviour, collected in a phial the blood from his wounds, and
bequeathed it to his nephew, Isaac; who afterwards, making a tour
through Gaul, stopped in the Pays de Caux, and buried the phial at the
root of a fig-tree[30].

Nor is this the only miracle connected with the church. The monkish
historians descant with florid eloquence upon the white stag, which
pointed out to Duke Ansegirus the spot where the edifice was to be
erected; the mystic knife, inscribed "in nomine sanctae et individuae
trinitatis," thus declaring to whom the building should be dedicated;
and the roof, which, though prepared for a distant edifice, felt that it
would be best at Fecamp, and actually, of its own accord, undertook a
voyage by sea, and landed, without the displacing of a single nail, upon
the sea-coast near the town. All these _contes devots_, and many others,
you will find recorded in the _Neustria Pia_[31]. I will only detain you
with a few words more upon the subject of the _precious blood_, a matter
too important to be thus hastily dismissed. It was placed here by Duke
Richard I.; but was lost in the course of a long and turbulent period,
and was not found again till the year 1171, when it was discovered
within the substance of a column built in the wall. Two little tubes of
lead originally contained the treasure; but these were soon inclosed in
two others of a more precious metal, and the whole was laid at the
bottom of a box of gilt silver, placed in a beautiful pyramidical
shrine. Thus protected, it was, before the revolution, fastened to one
of the pillars of the choir, behind a trellis-work of copper, and was an
object of general adoration. I know not what has since become of it;
but, as they are now managing these matters better in France, we may
safely calculate upon the speedy reappearance of the relic. Nor must you
refer this legend to the many which protestant incredulity is too apt to
class with the idle tales of all ages, the

"... quicquid Graecia mendax
Audet in historia;"

for no less grave an authority than the faculty of theology at Paris
determined, by a formal decree of the 28th of May, 1448, that this
worship was very proper; for that, to use their words, "Non repugnat
pietati fidelium credere quod aliquid de sanguine Christi effuso tempore
passionis remanserit in terris."

The abbey, to which Fecamp was indebted for all its greatness and
celebrity, was founded in 664[32] for a community of nuns, by Waning,
the count or governor of the Pays de Caux, a nobleman who had already
contributed to the endowment of the Monastery of St. Wandrille. St.
Ouen, Bishop of Rouen, dedicated the church in the presence of King
Clotaire; and, so rapidly did the fame of the sanctity of the abbey
extend, that the number of its inmates amounted in a very short period
to three hundred or more. The arrival, however, of the Normans, under
Hastings, in 841, caused the dispersion of the nuns; and the same story
is related of the few who remained at Fecamp, as of many others under
similar circumstances, that they voluntarily cut off their noses and
their lips, rather than be an object of attraction to the lust of their
conquerors. The abbey, in return for their heroism, was levelled with
the ground, and it did not rise from its ashes till the year 988, when
the piety of Duke Richard I. built the church anew, under the auspices
of his son, Robert, Archbishop of Rouen; but, departing from the
original foundation, he established therein a chapter of regular canons,
who, however, were so irregular in their conduct, that within ten years
they were doomed to give way to a body of Benedictine Monks, headed by
an Abbot, named William, from a convent at Dijon. From his time the
monastery continued to increase in splendor. Three suffragan abbies,
that of Notre Dame at Bernay, of St. Taurin at Evreux, and of Ste.
Berthe de Blangi, in the diocese of Boullogne, owned the superior power
of the abbot of Fecamp, and supplied the three mitres which he proudly
bore on his abbatial shield. Kings and princes in former ages frequently
paid the abbey the homage of their worship and their gifts; and, in a
period nearer to our own, Casimir of Poland, after his voluntary
abdication of the throne, selected it as the spot in which he sought for
repose, when wearied with the cares of royalty. The English possessions
of Fecamp (for like most of the great Norman abbeys, it held lands in
our island) do not appear to have been large; but, according to an
author of our own country[33] the abbot presented to one hundred and
thirty benefices, some in the diocese of Rouen, others in those of
Bayeux, Lisieux, Coutances, Chartres, and Beauvais; and it enjoyed so
many estates, that its income was said to be forty thousand crowns per
annum. Fecamp moreover could boast of a noble library, well stored with
manuscripts[34], and containing among its archives many original
charters, deeds, &c. of William the Conqueror, and several of his
successors.

This magnificent church is three hundred and seventy feet long and
seventy high; the transept, including the Chapel of the Precious Blood,
one hundred and twenty feet long; the tower two hundred feet high. A
portion of it was burned in 1460, but soon repaired. William de Ros,
third abbot, rebuilt all the upper part in a better taste, and enlarged
the nave, which was not finished till 1200. A successor of his at the
beginning of the next century completed the chapels round the choir. The
screen was begun by one of the monks about 1500, who erected the chapel
dedicated to the death of the Virgin, a master-piece of architecture and
adorned with historical carving. The cloister was built so late as 1712.
Cathedral service was performed in the church, in which were the tombs
of the first and second of the Richards of Normandy; of Richard, infant
son of the former, and of William, third son of the latter; of Margaret,
betrothed to Robert, son of William the Conqueror, who died 1060; of
Alard, third Earl of Bretagne, 1040; of Archbishop Osmond, and of a
Lady Judith, whose jingling epitaph has given rise to a variety of
conjectures, whether she was the wife of Duke Richard IInd, or his
daughter, or some other person.--

"Illa solo sociata, mariti at jure soluta,
Judita judicio justificata jacet;
Et quae, dante Deo, sed judice justificante,
Primo jus subiit sed modo jura regit."

As to Duke Richard Ist, he caused a sarcophagus of stone to be made and
placed within this church; and so long as he lived, it was filled with
wheat on every Friday, and the grain, together with five shillings,
distributed weekly among the poor. And when his death approached, he
expressly charged his successor, "Bury not my body within the church,
but deposit it on the outside, immediately under the eaves, that the
dripping of the rain from the holy roof may wash my bones as I lie, and
may cleanse them of the spots of impurity contracted during a negligent
and neglected life."

Our party could not ascertain whether any of the historical monuments
were yet in existence. The church, at the time they were there, was
wholly occupied with preparations for the approaching confirmation.
Young girls in their best dresses, all in white, and holding tapers in
their hands, filled the nave, while the chapels were crowded with
individuals at prayer, or still more with females waiting for an
opportunity of confessing themselves, previously to receiving the
expected absolution from the archbishop. Under such circumstances
nothing could be examined; but there appeared to be in the chapels five
or six fine, though mutilated, altar tombs: to whom, however, they
belonged, or what was their actual state, it was impossible to tell.
Accompanying them are also some curious pieces of sculpture. For the
same reason no farther remark could be made upon the interior of the
building, except that its architecture is imposing, and its roof,
supported by tall clustered pillars, has much the general effect of the
nave of our cathedral at Norwich, one of the purest specimens of Norman
architecture in England. Externally the tower is handsome, and of nearly
the earliest pointed style; not altogether so, as its arches, though
narrow, contain each a double arch within. The rest of the building
seems to have suffered much from alterations and dilapidation; and
whatever tracery there may have been originally has disappeared from the
windows; nor are there saints or even niches remaining above the doors.

The exterior of the church of St. Etienne, one of the ten parochial
churches of Fecamp, before the revolution, is considerably more
imposing; but upon this I will not detain you, as you will see it
engraved in Mr. Cotman's _Architectural Antiquities of Normandy_, from a
sketch taken by him last year.

Henry IInd, of England, made a donation of the town to the abbey, whose
seignorial jurisdiction also extended over many other parishes, as well
in this as in the adjoining dioceses. Its exclusive privileges were
likewise ample. Under the first and second race, Fecamp was the seat of
government of the Pays de Caux, and the residence of the counts of the
district: it was also a residence of the Norman Dukes. Their castle was
rebuilt by William Longue-Epee, with a degree of magnificence which is
said to have been extraordinary. This duke took particular pleasure in
the place, and he and his immediate successors frequently lived here.
But the palace has long since disappeared[35]: the continual increase of
the monastic buildings gradually occupied its place; and they, in their
turn, are now experiencing the revolutions of fortune, the inhabitants
being at this very time actively employed in their demolition.

The town is at present wholly supported by the fisheries, in which are
employed about fourteen hundred sailors[36]. The herrings of Fecamp have
always had the same high character in France, as those of Lowestoft and
Yarmouth in England. The armorial lion of our own town ends, as you
know, with the tail of a herring; and I really have been often inclined
to affix the same appendage to the rump of the lion of Normandy. You are
not much of an epicure, nor are you very likely to search in the
_Almanach des Gourmands_ for dainties; if you did, you would probably
find there the following proverb, which has existed since the thirteenth
century,--

"Aloses de Bourdeaux;
Esturgeons de Blaye;
Congres de la Rochelle;
Harengs de Fecamp;
Saumons de Loire;
Seches de Coutances."

The fortifications of Fecamp are destroyed; but, upon the cliffs which
command the town, there still remain some slight vestiges of a fort,
erected in the time of Henry IVth, when the inhabitants espoused the
party of the league. The capture of this fort was one of those gallant
exploits which the historian delights in recording; and it is detailed
at great length in Sully's Memoirs[37].

From Fecamp to Havre the country is well wooded, and much applied to the
cultivation of flax, which flourishes in this neighborhood, and has
given rise to considerable linen manufactories. The trees look well in
masses, but individually they are trimmed into ugliness. Near Havre the
road goes through Montivilliers, and, still nearer, through Harfleur.

The first of these is, like Fecamp, a place of antiquity, and derived
its name[38] and importance from a monastery which was founded at the
end of the seventh century. Its history is headed by the chapter which
begins the records of most of the ecclesiastical foundations of the
duchy: when the invading heathen Normans reached Montivilliers, it
shared the common fate of destruction, and when they withdrew, the
common piety recalled it to existence. Richard IInd bestowed it upon
Fecamp, but the same sovereign restored it to its independence, at the
request of his aunt, Beatrice, who retired hither as abbess, at the head
of a community of nuns. A convent, over which an abbess of royal blood
had presided, could not fail to enjoy considerable privileges; and it
retained them to the period of the revolution. The tower of the church
still remains, a noble specimen of the Norman architecture of the
eleventh century, at which period the building is known to have been
erected. The rest of the edifice, though handsome as a whole, is the

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