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

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work of different aeras. The archives of the monastery furnish an account
of large sums expended in additions and alterations in the years 1370
and 1513. The interior contains some elegant stone fillagree-work in the
form of a small gallery or pulpit, attached to the west end near the
roof, and probably intended to receive a band of singers on high
festivals. A gallery of a similar nature, but of wood, and to which the
foregoing purpose was assigned by the learned wight, John Carter, is yet
remaining at the north-west corner of Westminster Abbey. You and I, who
are sadly inclined to admire ugliness and antiquity, would have been
better pleased with the capitals of the pillars, which are evidently
coeval with the tower. Drawings were made of some of these capitals, and
I have selected two which appeared to be the most singular.

[Illustration: Capital with angel]

In this you observe an angel weighing the good works of the deceased
against his evil deeds; and, as the former are far exceeding the
avoirdupois upon which Satan is to found his claim, he is endeavoring
most unfairly to depress the scale with his two-pronged fork.

This allegory is of frequent occurrence in the monkish legends.--The
saint, who was aware of the frauds of the fiend, resolved to hold the
balance himself.--He began by throwing in a pilgrimage to a miraculous
virgin.--The devil pulled out an assignation with some fair mortal
Madonna, who had ceased to be immaculate.--The saint laid in the scale
the sackcloth and ashes of the penitent of Lenten-time.--Satan answered
the deposit by the vizard and leafy-robe of the masker of the
carnival.--Thus did they still continue equally interchanging the
sorrows of godliness with the sweets of sin, and still the saint was
distressed beyond compare, by observing that the scale of the wicked
thing (wise men call him the correcting principle,) always seemed the
heaviest. Almost did he despair of his client's salvation, when he
luckily saw eight little jetty black claws just hooking and clenching
over the rim of the golden basin. The claws at once betrayed the craft
of the cloven foot. Old Nick had put a little cunning young devil under
the balance, who, following the dictates of his senior, kept clinging to
the scale, and swaying it down with all his might and main. The saint
sent the imp to his proper place in a moment, and instantly the burthen
of transgression was seen to kick the beam.

Painters and sculptors also often introduced this ancient allegory of
the balance of good and evil, in their representations of the last
judgment: it was even employed by Lucas Kranach.

The other capital which I send to you is ornamented with groups of
Centaurs or Sagittaries. Astronomical sculptures are frequently found
upon the monuments of the middle ages. Two capitals, forming part of a
series of zodiacal sculptures, are preserved in the _Musee des Monumens
Francais_; and, speaking from memory, I think they bear a near
resemblance in style to that which is here represented.

[Illustration: Capital with Centaurs or Sagittaries]

Montivilliers itself is a neat little town, beautifully situated in a
valley, with a stream of clear water running through it. At this time
its trade is trifling; but the case was otherwise in former days, when
its cloths were considered to rival those of Flanders, and the
preservation of the manufacture was regarded of so much consequence,
that sundry regulations respecting it are to be found in the royal
ordinances. One of them in particular, of the fourteenth century,
notices the frauds committed by other towns in imitating the mark of the
cloth of Montivilliers.

The general appearance of Harfleur is much like that of Montivilliers;
but numerous remains of walls and gates denote that it was once of
still greater comparative importance. The ancient trade of the place is
now transferred to Havre de Grace, the situation of the latter town
being far more elegible.

The Seine no longer rolls its waves under Harfleur; and the desiccated
harbor is now seen as a verdant meadow. Without the aid of history,
therefore, you would in vain inquire into the derivation of the name, in
connection with which, the learned Huet, Bishop of Avranches[39], calls
upon us to remark, that the names of many places in Normandy end in
_fleur_, as Barfleur, Harfleur, Honfleur, Fiefleur, Vitefleur, &c.; and
that, if, as it is commonly supposed, this termination comes from
_fluctus_, it must have passed through the Saxon, in which language
_fleoten_ signifies _to flow_. Hence we have _flot_, and from _flot,
fleut_ and _fleur_, the last alteration being warranted by the genius of
the French language. The bishop further states, that there are two
facts, affording a decisive proof of this origin: the one, that the
names now terminating in _fleur_, ended anciently _flot_, Barfleur being
Barbeflot, Harfleur Hareflot, and Honfleur Huneflot; the other, that all
places so called are situated where they are washed by the tide. Such is
also the position of the towns in Holland, whose names terminate in
_vliet_, and of those in England, ending in _fleet_, as Purfleet,
Byfleet, &c. The Latin word _flevus_ is of the same kind, and is derived
from the same source; for, instead of Hareflot and Huneflot, some old
records have Hareflou and Huneflou, and some others Barfleu, terms
approaching _flevus_, which is also called by Ptolemy, _fleus_, and by
Mela, _fletio_. It is highly improbable, that these two last terms
should have been coined subsequently to the time of the Romans becoming
masters of Gaul, and it is equally unlikely that the Saxon _fleoten_
should be derived from the Latin. Thus far, therefore, the languages
appear to have had a common origin, and they are insomuch allied to the
Celtic, that those towns in Britanny, in whose names are found the
syllables _pleu_ and _plou_, are also invariably placed in similar
situations.

If, however, I am fairly embarked in the sea of etymological conjecture,
I know not where I shall be carried; and therefore, instead of urging
the probability that the root of the Celtic _pleu_ is apparently to be
found in the Pelasgic [Greek in original] sail or float, I shall return
to Harfleur and its history. Whilst Harfleur was in its glory, it was
considered the key of the Seine and of this part of France. In 1415 it
opposed a vigorous resistance to our Henry Vth, who had no sooner made
himself master of it, than, with a degree of contradiction, which
teaches man to regard the performance of his duty to God as no reason
for his performing it to his fellow-creatures, "the King uncovered his
feet and legs, and walked barefoot from the gate to the parish church of
St. Martin, where he very devoutly offered up his prayers and
thanksgivings for his success. But, immediately afterwards he made all
the nobles and the men at arms that were in the town his captives, and
shortly after sent the greater part out of the place, clothed in their
jerkins only, taking down their names and surnames in writing, and
obliging them to swear by their faith that they would surrender
themselves prisoners at Calais on Martinmas-day next ensuing. In like
manner were the townsmen made prisoners, and obliged to ransom
themselves for large sums of money. Afterwards did the King banish them
out of the town, with numbers of women and children, to each of whom
were given five sols and a portion of their garments." Monstrelet[40],
from whom I have transcribed this detail, adds, that "it was pitiful to
hear and see the sorrow of these poor people, thus driven away from
their homes; the priests and clergy were likewise dismissed; and, in
regard to the wealth found there, it was not to be told, and appertained
even to the King, who distributed it as he pleased." Other writers tell
us that the number of those thus expelled was eight thousand, and that
the conqueror, not satisfied with this act of vengeance, publicly burned
the charters and archives of the town and the title-deeds of
individuals, re-peopled Harfleur with English, and forbad the few
inhabitants that remained to possess or inherit any landed property.
After a lapse, however, of twenty years, the peasants of the neighboring
country, aided by one hundred and four of the inhabitants, retook the
place by assault. The exploit was gallant; and a custom continued to
prevail in Harfleur, for above two centuries subsequently, intended to
commemorate it; a bell was tolled one hundred and four times every
morning at day-break, being the time when the attack was made. In 1440,
the citizens, undismayed by the sufferings of their predecessors,
withstood a second siege from our countrymen, whom the town resisted
four months, and in whose possession it remained ten years, when Charles
VIIIth permanently united it to the crown of France. Notwithstanding
these calamities, it rose again to a state of prosperity, till the
revocation of the edict of Nantes gave the death-blow to its commerce;
and intolerance completed the desolation which war had begun. At
present, it is only remarkable for the elegant tower and spire of its
church, connected by flying buttresses of great beauty, the whole of
rich and elaborate workmanship.

[Illustration: Tower and Spire of Harfleur Church]

At a short distance from Harfleur, the Seine comes in view, flowing into
the sea through a fine rich valley; but the wide expanse of water has no
picturesque beauty. The hills around Havre are plentifully spotted with
gentlemen's houses, few only of which have been seen in other parts in
the ride. The town itself is strongly fortified; and, having conducted
you hither, I shall leave you for the present, reserving for another
letter any particulars respecting Havre, and the rest of the road to
Rouen.

Footnotes:

[25] _Antiquites de Normandie_, p. 53.

[26] _Dumoulin, Geographie de la France_, II p. 80.

[27] _Description de la Haute Normandie_, I. p. 109.

[28] Heylin notices the familiarity of the approach of the French
servants, in his delineation of a Norman inn. An extract may amuse those
who are not familiar with the works of this quaint yet sensible writer.
"There stood in the chamber three beds, if at the least it be lawful so
to call them; the foundation of them was straw, so infinitely thronged
together, that the wool-packs which our judges sit on in the Parliament,
were melted butter to them; upon this lay a medley of flocks and
feathers sewed up together in a large bag, (for I am confident it was
not a tick) but so ill ordered that the knobs stuck out on each side
like a crab-tree cudgel. He had need to have flesh enough that lyeth on
one of them, otherwise the second night would wear out his bones.--Let
us now walk into the kitchen and observe their provision. And here we
found a most terrible execution committed on the person of a pullet; my
hostess, cruel woman, had cut the throat of it, and without plucking off
the feathers, tore it into pieces with her hands, and afterwards took
away skin and feathers together: this done, it was clapped into a pan
and fried for supper.--But the principal ornaments of these inns are the
men-servants, the raggedest regiment that ever I yet looked upon; such a
thing as a chamberlain was never heard of amongst them, and good clothes
are as little known as he. By the habits of his attendants a man would
think himself in a gaol, their clothes are either full of patches or
open to the skin. Bid one of them make clean your boots, and presently
he hath recourse to the curtains.--They wait always with their hats on,
and so do all servants attending on their masters.--Time and use
reconciled me to many other things, which, at the first were offensive;
to this most irreverent custom I returned an enemy; _neither can I see
how it can choose but stomach the most patient_ to see the worthiest
sign of liberty usurped and profaned by the basest of slaves."--Peter
then has a learned _excursus de jure pileorum_, wherein _Tertullian de
Spectaculis, Erasmus_ his _Chiliades_, and many other reverent
authorities are adduced; also, giving an account of his successful
exertions, as to "the licence of putting on our caps at our public
meetings, which privilege, time, and the tyranny of the vice-chancellor,
had taken from." After which, he still resumes in ire,--"this French
sauciness hath drawn me out of the way; an impudent familiarity, which,
I confess, did much offend me; and to which I still profess myself an
open enemy. Though Jacke speak French, I cannot endure Jacke should be a
gentleman."

[29] _Geographie de la France_, II. p. 115.

[30] _Description de la Haute Normandie_, I. p. 94.

[31] P. 196, 203, 204.

[32] _Description de la Haute Normandie_, I. p. 90.--Some other writers
date the foundation A.D. 666.

[33] _Gough's Alien Priories_, I. p. 9.

[34] This important part of its treasures, we may hope, from the
following passage in Noel, has been in a measure preserved. "On m'a
assure que cette derniere partie des richesses litteraires de notre pays
etoit heureusement conservee: puisse aujourd'hui ce depot, honorant les
mains qui le possedent, parvenir integre jusqu'aux tems properes ou le
genie de l'histoire pourra utiliser sa possession."--_Essais sur la
Seine Inferieure_, II. p. 21.

[35] I do not know if it be wholly destroyed; for the author of the
Description of Upper Normandy and Goube both speak of the existence of a
square tower within the precincts of the abbey, part of the old palace,
and known by the name of the _Tower of Babel_.

[36] _Noel, Essais sur la Seine Inferieure_, II. p. 11.

[37] Vol. I. p. 389.

[38] This name, in Latin, is _Monasterium Villare_; in old French
records it is called _Monstier Vieil_.

[39] _Origines de Caen, 2nd edit._ p. 300.

[40] Vol. II. p. 78.

LETTER VI.

HAVRE--TRADE AND HISTORY OF THE TOWN--EMINENT MEN--BOLBEC--YVETOT--RIDE
TO ROUEN--FRENCH BEGGARS.

(_Rouen, June_, 1818.)

To Fecamp and the other places noticed in my last letter, a more
striking contrast could not easily be found than Havre. It equally wants
the interest derived from ancient history, and the appearance of misery
inseparable from present decay. And yet even Havre is now suffering and
depressed. A town which depends altogether upon foreign commerce, could
not fail to feel the effects of a long maritime war; and we accordingly
find the number of its inhabitants, which twenty years ago was estimated
at twenty-five thousand, now reduced to little more than sixteen
thousand.

The blow, which Havre will with most difficulty recover is the loss of
St. Domingo; for, before the revolution, it almost enjoyed a monopoly of
the trade of this important colony, in which upwards of eighty ships,
each of above three hundred tons burthen, were constantly employed. With
Martinique and Guadaloupe it had a similar, though less extensive,
intercourse. As the natural outlet for the manufactures of Rouen and
Paris, it supplied the French islands in the West Indies with the
principal part of their plantation stores; and the situation of the port
was equally advantageous for the importation of their produce. Guinea
and the coast of Africa afforded a second and important branch of
commerce; and this also is little likely entirely to recover. We may
add that, happily it is not so; for it depended principally upon the
slave-trade, the profits of which were such, that it was calculated a
vessel might clear upon an average nearly eight thousand pounds by each
voyage[41]. Its whale-fishery has, for more than a century, ceased to
exist. This pursuit began with spirit and at as early a period as the
year 1632, when the merchants of this port, in conjunction with those of
Biscay, fitted out the expedition commanded by Vrolicq, seized upon a
station near Spitzbergen, where they would have obtained a permanent
establishment, had they not been violently expelled by the Danes and
Dutch. But the coasting-trade with the various ports of France, and the
communication with the other countries of Europe, is now again in full
vigor; and it is to these sources that Havre is chiefly indebted for the
life and spirit visible in its quays and public places.

The appearance of bustle and activity is a striking, at the same time
that it is a most pleasing, character, of every great and commercial
sea-port, in every part of the world: it is especially so in a climate
which is milder than our own, and where not only the loading and
unloading of the ships, with the consequent transport of merchandize, is
continually taking place before the spectator; but the sides of the
shops are commonly set open, sail-makers are pursuing their business in
rows in the streets, and almost every handicraft and occupation is
carried on in the open air. An acute traveller might also conjecture
that the mildness of the atmosphere is comfortable and congenial to the
parrots, perroquets, and monkeys, which are brought over as pets and
companions by the sailors. Great numbers of these exotic birds and
brutes are to be seen at the windows, and they almost give to the town
of Havre the appearance of a tropical settlement.

The quays are strongly edged and faced with granite: the streets, of
which there are forty, are all built in straight lines, and chiefly at
right angles with each other. In them are several fountains, round which
picturesque groups of women are continually collected, employed with
Homeric industry in the task of washing linen. The churches are ugly,
their style is a miserable caricature of Roman architecture, the
interiors are incumbered by dirty and dark chapels, filled up with wood
carvings. The principal church has figures of saints, of wretched
execution, but of the size of life, ranged round the interior. The
harbor is calculated to contain three hundred vessels. The houses are
oddly constructed: they are very narrow, and very lofty, being commonly
seven stories high, and they are mostly fronted with stripes of tiled
slate, and intermediate ones of mortar, so fantastically disposed, that
two are rarely seen alike.

Notwithstanding what is alledged by the author of the _Memoires sur
Havre_, in his endeavors to give consequence to his native place, by
maintaining its antiquity, it appears certain that no mention is made of
the town previously to the fifteenth century. Even so late as 1509, its
scite was occupied by a few hovels, clustered round a thatched chapel,
under the protection of Notre Dame de Grace, from whom the place derived
the name of Havre de Grace. Francis Ist, who was the real founder[42]
of Havre, was desirous of changing this name to _Francoisville_ or
_Franciscopole_. But the will of a sovereign, as Goube very justly
observes, most commonly dies with him: in our days, the National
Convention, aided by the full force of popular enthusiasm, has equally
failed in a similar attempt. The jacobins tried in vain to banish the
recollections of good St. Denis, by unchristening his vill under the
appellation of _Franciade_. Disobedience to the edict, exposed, indeed,
the contravener to the chance of experiencing the martyrdom of the
bishop; yet the mandate still produced no effect. Nor was Napoleon more
successful; and history affords abundant proof, that it is more easy to
build a city, or even to conquer a kingdom, than to alter an established
name.

Viewed in its present condition, no town in France unites more
advantages than Havre: it is one of the keys of the kingdom; it commands
the mouth of the river that leads direct to the metropolis; and it is at
once a great commercial town and a naval station. Possessing such claims
to commercial and military pre-eminence, it may appear matter of
surprise that it should be of so recent an origin; but the cause is to
be sought for in the changes which succeeding centuries have induced in
the face of the country--

"Vidi ego quae fuerat quondam durissima tellus
Esse fretum; vidi factas ex aequore terras."

The sea continually loses here, and, without great efforts on the part
of man to retard the operation of the elements, Havre may, in process of
time, become what Harfleur is. At its origin it stood immediately on the
shore; the consequence of which was, that, within a very few years, a
high tide buried two-thirds of the houses and nearly all the
inhabitants. The remembrance of this dreadful calamity is still annually
renewed by a solemn procession on the fifteenth of January.

With regard to historical events connected with Havre, there is little
to be said. It was the spot whence our Henry VIIth embarked, in 1485,
aided by four thousand men from Charles VIIIth, of France, to enforce
his claim to the English crown. The town was seized by the Huguenots,
and delivered to our Queen Elizabeth, in 1562. But it was held by her
only till the following year, when Charles IXth, with Catherine of
Medicis, commanded the siege in person, and pressed it so vigorously,
that the Earl of Warwick was obliged to evacuate the place, after having
sacrificed the greater part of his troops. At the end of the following
century, after the bombardment and destruction of Dieppe, an attack was
made upon Havre, but without success, owing to the strength of the
fortifications, and particularly of the citadel. For this, the town was
indebted to Cardinal Richelieu, who was its governor for a considerable
time, and who also erected some of its public buildings, improved the
basin, and gave a fresh impulse to trade, by ordering several large
ships of war to be built here. As ship-builders, the inhabitants of
Havre have always had a high character: they stand conspicuous in the
annals of the art, for the construction of the vessel called _la Grande
Francoise_, and justly termed _la grande_, as having been of two
thousand tons burthen. Her cables are said to have been above the
thickness of a man's leg; and, besides what is usually found in a ship,
she contained a wind-mill and a tennis-court[43]. Her destination was,
according to some authors, the East Indies; according to others, the
Isle of Rhodes, then attacked by Soliman IInd; but we need not now
inquire whither she was bound; for, after advantage had been taken of
two of the highest tides, the utmost which could be done was to tow her
to the end of the pier, where she stuck fast, and was finally obliged to
be cut to pieces. Her history and catastrophe are immortalized by
Rabelais, under the appellation of _la Grande Nau Francoise_.

It were unpardonable to take leave of Havre without one word upon the
celebrated individuals to whom it has given birth; and you must allow me
also, from our common taste for natural history, to point it out to your
notice as a spot peculiarly favorable for the collecting of fossil
shells, which are found about the town and neighborhood in great numbers
and variety. The Abbe Dicquemare, a naturalist of considerable eminence,
who resided here, may possibly be known to you by his observations on
this subject, or still more probably by those upon the Aetiniae; the
latter having been translated into English, and honored with a place in
the Transactions of our Royal Society. Of more extensive, but not more
justly merited, fame, are George Scudery and his sister Magdalen: the
one a voluminous writer in his day, though now little known, except for
his _Critical Observations upon the Cid_; the other, a still more
prolific author of novels, and alternately styled by her contemporaries
the Sappho of her age, and "un boutique de verbiage;" but unquestionably
a writer of merit, notwithstanding the many unmanly sneers of Boileau,
whose bitter pen, like that of our own illustrious satirist, could not
even consent to spare a female that had been so unfortunate as to
provoke his resentment. She died in 1701, at the advanced age of
ninety-four. The last upon my list is one of whom death has very
recently deprived the world, the excellent Bernardin de Saint Pierre; a
man whose writings are not less calculated to improve the heart than to
enlarge the mind. It is impossible to read his works without feeling
love and respect for the author. His exquisite little tale of _Paul and
Virginia_ is in the hands of every body; and his larger work, the
_Studies of Nature_, deserves to be no less generally read, as full of
the most original observations, joined to theories always ingenious,
though occasionally fanciful: the whole conveyed in a singularly
captivating style, and its merits still farther enhanced by a constant
flow of unaffected piety.

The road from Havre to Rouen is of a different character, and altogether
unlike that from Dieppe; but what it gains in beauty of landscape it
loses in interest. And yet, perhaps, it is even wrong to say that it
gains much in point of beauty; for, though: trees are more generally
dispersed, though cultivation is universal, and the soil good, and
produce luxuriant, and though the mind and the eye cannot but be pleased
by the abundance and verdure of the country, yet in picturesque effect
it is extremely deficient. Monotony, even of excellence, displeases. I
am speaking of the road which passes through Bolbec and Yvetot: there is
another which lies nearer to the banks of the Seine, through Lillebonne
and Caudebec, and this, I do not doubt, would, in every point of view,
have been preferable.

At but a short distance from Havre, to the left, lies the church,
formerly part of the priory, of Graville, a picturesque and interesting
object. Of the date of its erection we have no certain knowledge, and it
is much to be regretted that we have not, for it is clearly of Norman
architecture; the tower a very pure specimen of that style, and the end
of the north transept one of the most curious any where to be seen, and
apparently; also one of the most ancient[44]. I should therefore feel no
scruple in referring the building to a more early period than the
beginning of the thirteenth century, where our records of the
establishment commence; for it was then that William Malet, Lord of
Graville, placed here a number of regular canons from Ste. Barbe en
Auge, and endowed them with all the tythes and patronage he possessed in
France and England. The act by which Walter, Archbishop of Rouen,
confirmed this foundation, is dated in 1203. _Stachys Germanica_, a
plant of extreme rarity in England, grows abundantly here by the
road-side; and apple-trees are very numerous, not only edging the road,
but planted in rows across the fields.

The valley by which you enter Bolbec is pretty and varied; full of trees
and houses, which stand at different heights upon the hills on either
side. The town itself is long, straggling, and uneven. Through it runs a
rapid little stream, which serves many purposes of extensive business,
connected with the cotton manufactory, the preparation of leather,
cutlery, &c. This stream, of the same name with the town, afterwards
falls into the Seine, near Lillebonne, one of the most ancient places in
Normandy, and formerly the metropolis of the Caletes, but now only a
wretched village. Tradition refers its ruin to the period of the
invasion of Gaul by the Romans; but it revived under the Norman Dukes,
who resided here a portion of the year, and it was a favorite seat of
William the Conqueror. To him, or to one of his immediate predecessors
or successors, it is most probable that the castle owes its existence.
Mr. Cotman found the ruins of it extensive and remarkable. The
importance of the place, at a far more early date, is proved by the
medals of the Upper and Lower Empire, which are frequently dug up here,
and not less decisively by the many Roman roads which originate from the
town. Bolbec can lay claim to no similar distinction; but it is full of
industrious manufacturers. Twice in the last century it was burned to
the ground; and, after each conflagration, it has arisen more
flourishing from its ashes. At the last, which happened in 1765, Louis
XVth made a donation to the town of eighty thousand livres, and the
parliament of Normandy added a gratuity of half as much more, to assist
the inhabitants in repairing their losses.

Yvetot, the next stage, possesses no visible interest, and furnishes no
employment for the pencil. The town is, like Bolbec, a residence for
manufacturers; and the curious stranger would seek in vain for any
traces of decayed magnificence, any vestiges or records of a royal
residence. And yet, it is held that Yvetot was the capital of a
_kingdom_, which, if it really did exist, had certainly the distinction
of being the smallest that ever was ruled on its own account. The
subject has much exercised the talents and ingenuity of historians. It
has been maintained by the affirmants, that an actual monarchy existed
here at a period as remote as the sixth century; others argue that,
though the Lords of Yvetot may have been stiled _Kings_, the distinction
was merely titular, and was not conferred till about the year 1400;
whilst a third, and, perhaps, most numerous, body, treat the whole as
apocryphal.

Robert Gaguin[45], a French historian of the fifteenth century, prefaces
the anecdote by observing, that he is the first French writer by whom
it is recorded; and, as if sensible that such a remark could not fail to
excite suspicion, he proceeds to say, that it is wonderful that his
predecessors should have been silent. Yet he certainly was not the first
who stated the story in print; for it appears in the Chronicles of
Nicholas Gilles, which were printed in 1492, whilst the earliest edition
of Gaugin was published in 1497.--According to these monkish historians,
Clotharius, of France, son of Clovis, had threatened the life of his
chamberlain, Gaultier, Lord of Yvetot, who thereupon fled the kingdom,
and for ten years remained in voluntary exile, fighting against the
infidels. At the end of this period, Gaultier hoped that the anger of
his sovereign might be appeased, and he accordingly went to Rome, and
implored the aid of the Supreme Pontiff. Pope Agapetus pitied the
wanderer; and he gave unto him a letter addressed to the King of the
Franks, in which he interceded for the supplicant. Clotharius was then
residing at Soissons, his capital, and thither Gaultier repaired on
Good-Friday, in the year 536, and, availing himself of the moment when
the King was kneeling before the altar, threw himself at the feet of the
royal votary, beseeching pardon in the name of the common Savior of
mankind, who on that day shed his blood for the redemption of the human
race. But his prayers and appeal were in vain: he found no pardon;
Clothair drew his sword, and slew him on the spot. The Pope threatened
the monarch with apostolical vengeance, and Clothair attempted to atone
for the murder, by raising the town and territory of Yvetot into a
kingdom, and granting it in perpetuity to the heirs of Gaultier.

Such is the tradition. There is a very able dissertation upon the
subject, by the Abbe de Vertot[46], who endeavors to disprove the whole
story: first by the silence of all contemporary authors; then by the
fact, that Yvetot was not at that time under the dominion of Clothair;
then by an anachronism, which the story involves as to Pope Agapetus;
and finally by sundry other arguments of minor importance. Even he,
however, admits, that in a royal decree, dated 1392, and preserved among
the records of the Exchequer of Normandy, the title of _King_ is given
to the Lord of Yvetot; and he is obliged to cut the knot, which he is
unable to untie, by stating it as his opinion, that at or about this
period Yvetot was really raised into a sovereignty, though, on what
occasion, for what purpose, and with what privileges, no document
remains to prove. As a parallel case, he instances the Peers of France,
an order with whose existence every body is acquainted, while of the
date of the establishment nothing is known. It is surprising, that so
clear-sighted a writer did not perceive that he was doing nothing more
than illustrating, as the logicians say, _obscurum per obscurius_, or,
rather, making darkness more dark; as if it were not considerably more
probable, that so strange a circumstance should have taken place in the
sixth century, and have been left unrecorded, when society was unformed,
anomalies frequent, and historians few, than that it should have
happened in the fourteenth, a period when the government of France was
completely settled in a regular form, under one monarch, when literature
was generally diffused, and when every remarkable event was chronicled.
Besides which, the inhabitants of the little kingdom continued, in some
measure, independent of his Most Christian Majesty, even until the
revolution. At least, they paid not a sou of taxes, neither _aides_, nor
_tenth-penny_, nor _gabelle_. It was a sanctuary into which no farmer
of the revenue dared to enter. And it is hardly to be doubted, but that
there must have been some very singular cause for so singular and
enviable a privilege. In our own days, M. Duputel[47], a member of the
academy of Rouen, has entered the lists against the Abbe; and between
them the matter is still undecided, and is likely so to continue. For
myself, I have no means of throwing light upon it; but the impression
left upon my mind, after reading both sides of the question, is, that
the arguments are altogether in favor of Vertot, while the greater
weight of probabilities is in the opposite scale. I shall leave you,
however, to poise the balance, and I shall not attempt to cause either
end of the beam to preponderate, by acting the part of Old Nick as
before exhibited to you; though I decidedly believe that Gaguin had some
authority for his tale, but, by neglecting to quote it, he has left the
minds of his readers to uncertainty, and his own veracity to suspicion.

With this digression I bid farewell to Yvetot, and its Lilliputian
kingdom; nor will I detain you much longer on the way to Rouen, the road
passing through nothing likely to afford interest in point of historical
recollection or antiquities; though within a very short distance of the
ancient Abbey of Pavilly on the one side, and at no great distance from
the still more celebrated Monastery of Jumieges on the other. The houses
in this neighborhood are in general composed of a framework of wood,
with the interstices filled with clay, in which are imbedded small
pieces of glass, disposed in rows, for windows. The wooden studs are
preserved from the weather by slates, laid one over the other, like the
scales of a fish, along their whole surface, or occasionally by wood
over wood in the same manner. I am told that there are some very ancient
timber churches in Norway, erected immediately after the conversion of
the Northmen, which are covered with wood-scales: the coincidence is
probably accidental, yet it is not altogether unworthy of notice. At one
end the roof projects beyond the gable four or five feet, in order to
protect a door-way and ladder or staircase that leads to it; and this
elevation has a very picturesque effect. A series of villages, composed
of cottages of this description, mixed with large manufactories and
extensive bleaching grounds, comprise all that is to be remarked in the
remainder of the ride; a journey that would be as interesting to a
traveller in quest of statistical information, as it would be the
contrary to you or to me.

Poverty, the inseparable companion of a manufacturing population, shews
itself in the number of beggars that infest this road as well as that
from Calais to Paris. They station themselves by the side of every hill,
as regularly as the mendicants of Rome were wont to do upon the bridges.
Sometimes a small nosegay thrown into your carriage announces the
petition in language, which, though mute, is more likely to prove
efficacious than the loudest prayer. Most commonly, however, there is no
lack of words; and, after a plaintive voice has repeatedly assailed you
with "une petite charite, s'il vous plait, Messieurs et Dames," an
appeal is generally made to your devotion, by their gabbling over the
Lord's Prayer and the Creed with the greatest possible velocity. At the
conclusion, I have often been told that they have repeated them once,
and will do so a second time if I desire it! Should all this prove
ineffectual, you will not fail to hear "allons, Messieurs et Dames, pour
l'amour de Dieu, qu'il vous donne un bon voyage," or probably a
song or two; the whole interlarded with scraps of prayers, and
ave-marias, and promises to secure you "sante et salut." They go through
it with an earnestness and pertinacity almost inconceivable, whatever
rebuffs they may receive. Their good temper, too, is undisturbed, and
their face is generally as piteous as their language and tone; though
every now and then a laugh will out, and probably at the very moment
when they are telling you they are "pauvres petits miserables," or
"petits malheureux, qui n'ont ni pere ni mere." With all this they are
excellent flatterers. An Englishman is sure to be "milord," and a lady
to be "ma belle duchesse," or "ma belle princesse." They will try too to
please you by "vivent les Anglais, vive Louis dix-huit." In 1814 and
1815, I remember the cry used commonly to be "vive Napoleon," but they
have now learned better; and, in truth, they had no reason to bear
attachment to the ex-emperor, an early maxim of whose policy it was to
rid the face of the country of this description of persons, for which
purpose he established workhouses, or _depots de mendicite_, in each
department, and his gendarmes were directed to proceed in the most
summary manner, by conveying every mendicant and vagrant to these
receptacles, without listening to any excuse, or granting any delay. He
had no clear idea of the necessity of the gentle formalities of a
summons, and a pass under his worship's hand and seal. And, without
entering into the elaborate researches respecting the original habitat
of a _mumper_, which are required by the English law, he thought that
pauperism could be sufficiently protected by consigning the specimen to
the nearest cabinet. The simple and rigorous plan of Napoleon was
conformable to the nature of his government, and it effectually answered
the purpose. The day, therefore, of his exile to Elba was a _Beggar's
Opera_ throughout France; and they have kept up the jubilee to the
present hour, and seem likely to persist in maintaining it.

Footnotes:

[41] _Goube, Histoire de la Normandie_, III. p. 127.

[42] "Francois premier, revenant vainqueur de la bataille de Marignan en
1515, crut devoir profiter de la situation avantageuse de la Crique; il
concut le dessin de l'agrandir et d'en faire une place de guerre
importante. Ce prince avoit pris les interets du jeune Roi d'Ecosse,
Jacques V, et ce fut pour se fortifier contre les Anglais qu'il forma la
resolution de leur opposer cette barriere. Pour conduire l'entreprise il
jetta les yeux sur un Gentilhomme nomme Guion le Roi, Seigneur de
Chillon, Vice-Amiral, et Capitaine de Honfleur, et la premiere pierre
fut posee en 1516."--_Description de la Haute Normandie_, I. p. 195.

[43] _Description de la Haute Normandie_, I. p. 200.

[44] See _Cotman's Architectural Antiquities of Normandy_, t. 12.--There
is also a general view of the church, and of some of the monastic
buildings from the lithographic press of the Comte de Lasteyrie.

[45] "Sed priusquam a Clotario discedo, illud non praetermittendum reor,
quod, cum maxime cognitu dignum est, mirari licet a nullo Franco
Scriptore litteris fuisse commendatum. Fuit inter familiarissimos
Clotarii aulicos, Galterus Yvetotus, Caletus agri Rothomagensis, apprime
nobilis et qui regii cubiculi primarius cultor esset. Huic pro sua
integritate, de Clotario cum melius meliusque in dies promereretur,
reliqui aulici invident, depravantes quodlibet ab eo gestum, nec
desistunt donec irritatum illi Clotarium pessimis susurris efficiunt;
quamobrem jurat Rex se hominem necaturum. Percepta Clotarii
indignatione, Galterus pugnator illustris cedere Regi irato constituit.
Igitur derelicta Francia in militiam adversus religionis catholicae
inimicos pergit, ubi decem annos multis prospere gestis rebus, ratus
Clotarium simul cum tempore mitiorem effectum, Romam in primis ad
Agapitum Pontificem se contulit: a quo ad Clotarium impetratis litteris,
ad eum Suessione agentem se protinus confert, Veneris die, quae parasceve
dicitur, cogitans religiosam Christianis diem ad pietatem sibi
profuturam. Verum litteris Pontificis exceptis cum Galterum Clotarius
agnovit, vetere ira tanquam recenti livore percitus, rapto a proximo
sibi equite gladio, hominem statim interemit. Tam indignam insignis
atque innocentis hominis necem, religioso loco et die ad Christi
passionem recolendam celebri, pontifex inaequanimiter ferens, confestim
Clotarium reprehendit, monetque iniquissimi facinoris rationem habere,
se alioquin excommunicationis sententiam subiturum. Agapiti monita
reveritus Rex, capto cum prudentibus consilio, Galteri haeredes, et qui
Yvetotum deinceps possiderent, ab omni Francorum Regum ditione atque
fide liberavit, liberosque prorsus fore suo syngrapho et regiis scriptis
confirmat. Ex quo factum est ut ejus pagi et terrae possessor _Regem_ se
Yvetoti hactenus sine controversia nominaverit. Id autem anno christianae
gratiae quingentesimo trigesimo sexto gestum esse indubia fide invenio.
Nam dominantibus longo post tempore in Normannia. Anglis, ortaque inter
Joannem Hollandum, Auglum, et Yvetoti dominum quaestione, quasi
proventuum ejus terrae pars fisco Regis Anglorum quotannis obnoxia esset,
Caleti Propraetor anno salutis 1428, de ratione litis judiciario ordine
se instruens, id, sicut annotatum a me est, comperisse
judicavit."--_Robert Gaguin_, lib. II. fol. 17.

[46] _Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions_, IV. p. 728.--The
question is also discussed in the _Traite de la Noblesse_, by M. de la
Roque; in the _Mercure de France_, for January, 1726; and in a Latin
treatise by Charles Malingre, entitled "_De falsa regni Yvetoti
narratione, ex majoribus commentariis fragmentum_."

[47] _Precis Analytique des Travaux de l'Academie de Rouen_, 1811, p.
181.

LETTER VII.

ON THE STATE OF AFFAIRS IN FRANCE.

(_Rouen, June_, 1818.)

Abandoning, for the present, all discussion of the themes of the elder
day, I shall occupy myself with matters relating to the living world.
The fatigued and hungry traveller, whose flesh is weaker than his
spirit, is often too apt to think that his bed and his supper are of
more immediate consequence than churches or castles. And to those who
are in this predicament, there is a material improvement at Rouen, since
I was last here: nothing could be worse than the inns of the year 1815;
but four years of peace have effected a wonderful alteration, and
nothing can now be better than the Hotel de Normandie, where we have
fixed our quarters. Objection may, indeed, be made to its situation, as
to that of every other hotel in the city; but this is of little moment
in a town, where every house, whatever street or place it may front,
opens into a court-yard, so that its views are confined to what passes
within its own quadrangle; and, for excellence of accommodations,
elegance of furniture, skill in cookery, civility of attendance, nay,
even for what is more rare, neatness, our host, M. Trimolet, may
challenge competition with almost any establishment in Europe. For the
rent of the house, which is one of the most spacious in Rouen, he pays
three thousand francs a year; and, as house-rent is one of the main
standards of the value of the circulating medium, I will add, that our
friend, M. Rondeau, for his, which is not only among the largest but
among the most elegant and the best placed for business, pays but five
hundred francs more. This, then, may be considered as the _maximum_ at
Rouen. Yet Rouen is far from being the place which should be selected by
an Englishman, who retires to France for the purpose of economizing:
living in general is scarcely one-fourth cheaper than in our own
country. At Caen it is considerably more reasonable; on the banks of the
Loire the expences of a family do not amount to one-half of the English
cost; and still farther south a yet more sensible reduction takes place,
the necessaries of life being cheaper by half than they are in Normandy,
and house-rent by full four-fifths.

A foreigner can glean but little useful information respecting the
actual state of a country through which he journeys with as much
rapidity as I have done. And still less is he able to secern the truth
from the falsehood, or to weigh the probabilities of conflicting
testimony. I therefore originally intended to be silent on this subject.
There is a story told, I believe, of Voltaire, at least it may be as
well told of Voltaire as of any other wit, that, being once in company
with a very talkative empty Frenchman, and a very _glum_ and silent
Englishman, he afterwards characterized them by saying, "l'un ne dit que
des riens, et l'autre ne dit rien." Fearing that my political and
statistical observations, which in good truth are very slender, might be
ranked but too truly in the former category, I had resolved to confine
them to my own notebook. Yet we all take so much interest in the
destinies of our ancient rival and enemy, (I wish I could add, our
modern friend,) that, according to my usual habit, I changed my
determination within a minute after I had formed it; for I yielded to
the impression, that even my scanty contribution would not be wholly
unacceptable to you.

France, I am assured on all sides, is rapidly improving, and the
government is satisfactory to all _liberal_ men, in which number I
include persons of every opinion, except the emigrants and those
attached exclusively to the _ancien regime_. Men of the latter
description are commonly known by the name of _Ultras_; and, speaking
with a degree of freedom, which is practised here, to at least as great
an extent as in England, they do not hesitate to express their decided
disapprobation of the present system of government, and to declare, not
only that Napoleon was more of a royalist than Louis, but that the King
is a jacobin. They persuade themselves also, and would fain persuade
others, that he is generally hated; and their doctrine is, that the
nation is divided into three parties, ready to tear each other in
pieces: the _Ministerialists_, who are few, and in every respect
contemptible; the _Ultras_, not numerous, but headed by the Princes, and
thus far of weight; and the _Revolutionists_, who, in point of numbers,
as well as of talents and of opulence, considerably exceed the other
two, and will, probably, ultimately prevail; so that these conflicts of
opinion will terminate by decomposing the constitutional monarchy into a
republic. To listen to these men, you might almost fancy they were
quoting from Clarendon's History of the Rebellion in our own country;
so entirely do their feelings coincide with those of the courtiers who
attended Charles in his exile. Similar too is the reward they receive;
for it is difficult for a monarch to be just, however he may in some
cases he generous.

Yet even the Ultras admit that the revolution has been beneficial to
France, though they are willing to confine its benefits to the
establishment of the trial by jury, and the correction of certain abuses
connected with the old system of nobility. Among the advantages
obtained, they include the abolition of the game laws; and, indeed, I am
persuaded, from all I hear, that this much-contested question could not
receive a better solution than by appealing to the present laws in
France. Game is here altogether the property of the land-owner; it is
freely exposed for sale, like other articles of food; and every one is
himself at liberty to sport, or to authorize his friend to do so over
his property, with no other restriction than that of taking out a
licence, or _port d'armes_, which, for fifteen francs, is granted
without difficulty to any man of respectability, whatever may be his
condition in life. In this particular, I cannot but think that France
has set us an example well worthy of our imitation; and she also shews
that it may be followed without danger; for neither do the pleasures of
the field lose their relish, nor is the game extirpated. The former are
a subject of conversation in almost every company; and, as to the
latter, whatever slaughter may have taken place in the woods and
preserves, at the first burst of the revolution, I am assured that a
good sportsman may, at the present time, between Dieppe and Rouen kill
with ease, in a day, fifty head of game, consisting principally of
hares, quails, and partridges.

But, while these men thus restrict the benefits derived from the
revolution, the case is far different with individuals of the other
parties, all of whom are loud and unanimous in its praises. The good
resulting from the republic has been purchased at a dreadful price, but
the good remains; and those, who now enjoy the boon, are not inclined to
remember the blood which drenched the three-colored banner. Thirty years
have elapsed, and a new generation has arisen, to whom the horrors of
the revolution live only in the page of history. But its advantages are
daily felt in the equal nature and equal administration of the laws; in
the suppression of the monasteries with their concomitant evils; in the
restriction of the powers of the clergy; in the liberty afforded to all
modes of religious worship; and in the abolition of all the edicts and
mandates and prejudices, which secured to a peculiar sect and caste a
monopoly of all the honors and distinctions of the common-wealth; for
now, every individual of talent and character feels that the path to
preferment and power is not obstructed by his birth or his opinions.

The constitutional charter, in its present state, is a subject of pride
to the French, and a sure bulwark to the throne. The representative
system is beginning to be generally appreciated, and particularly in
commercial towns. The deputies of this department are to be changed the
approaching autumn, and the minds of men are already anxiously bent upon
selecting such representatives as may best understand and promote their
local interests. Few acts of the Bourbon government have contributed
more powerfully to promote the popularity of the King, than the law
enacted in the course of last year, which abolished the double election,
and enabled the voters to give their suffrages directly for their
favorite candidate, thus putting a stop at once to a variety of unfair
influence, previously exerted upon such occasions. The same law has also
created a general interest upon the subject, never before known; the
strongest proof of which is, that, of the six or eight thousand electors
contained in this department, nearly the whole are expected now to vote,
whereas not a third ever did so before. The qualifications for an
elector and a deputy are uniform throughout the kingdom, and depending
upon few requisites; nothing more being required in the former case,
than the payment of three hundred francs per annum, in direct taxes, and
the having attained the age of thirty; while an addition of ten years to
the age, and the payment of one thousand francs, instead of three
hundred, renders every individual qualified to be of the number of the
elected. The system, however, is subject to a restriction, which
provides, that at least one half of the representatives of each
department shall be chosen from among those who reside in it.

In the beginning of the revolution, a much wider door was open: all that
was then necessary to entitle a man to vote, was, that he should be
twenty-one years of age, a Frenchman, and one who had lived for a year
in the country on his own revenue, or on the produce of his labor, and
was not in a state of servitude. It was then also decreed, that the
electors should have each three livres a day during their mission, and
should be allowed at the rate of one livre a league, for the distance
from their usual place of residence, to that in which the election of
members for their department is held. Such were the only conditions
requisite for eligibility, either as elector or deputy; except, indeed,
that the citizens in the primary assemblies, and the electors in the
electoral assembly, swore that they would maintain liberty and equality,
or die rather than violate their oath[48].

The wisdom and prudence of the subsequent alterations, few will be
disposed to question: the system, in its present state, appears to me
admirably qualified to attain the object in view; and such seems the
general character of the French _Constitutional Charter_, which unites
two excellent qualities, great clearness and great brevity. The whole is
comprised in seventy-four short articles; and, that no Frenchman may
plead ignorance of his rights or his duties, it is usually found
prefixed to the almanacks. Some persons might, indeed, be inclined to
deem this station as ominous; for, since the revolution began, the frame
of the French government has sustained so many alterations, that,
considering that several of their constitutions never outlived the
current quarter, they may be fairly said to have had a new constitution
in each year. How far the Bourbon charter will answer the purpose of
serving as the basis of a code of laws for the government of an
extensive kingdom, time only can determine. At present, it has the
charm of novelty to recommend it; and there are few among us with whom
novelty is not a strong attraction. Our friends on this side of the
water are greatly belied, if it be not so with them.

The finances of the French municipalities are administered with a degree
of fairness and attention, which might put many a body corporate, in a
certain island, to the blush. Little is known in England respecting the
administration of the French towns: the following particulars relating
to the revenue and expences of Rouen, may, therefore, in some measure,
serve as a scale, by which you may give a guess at the balance-sheet of
cities of greater or lesser magnitude.--The budget amounted for the last
year to one million two hundred thousand francs. The proposed items of
expenditure must be particularized, and submitted to the Prefect and the
Minister of the Interior, before they can be paid. In this sum is
comprised the charge for the hospitals, which contain above three
thousand persons, including foundlings, and for all the other public
institutions, the number and excellence of which has long been the pride
of Rouen. You must consider too, that every thing of this kind is, in
France, national: individuals do nothing, neither is it expected of
them; and herein consists one of the most essential differences between
France and England. To meet this great expenditure, the city is provided
with the rents of public lands, with wharfage, with tolls from the
markets and the _halles_; and, above all, with the _octroi_, a tax that
prevails through France, upon every article of consumption brought into
the towns, and is collected at the barriers. The _octroi_, like
turnpike-tolls or the post-horse duty with us, is farmed; two-thirds are
received by the government, and the remaining one-third by the town. In
Rouen it produced the last year one million four hundred and fifty
thousand francs.--If, now, this sum appears to you comparatively greater
than that of our large cities in England, you must recollect that, with
us, towns are not liable to similar charges: our corporations support no
museums, no academies, no learned bodies; and our infirmaries, and
dispensaries, and hospitals, are indebted, as well for their existence
as their future maintenance, to the piety of the dead, or the liberality
of the living. Nor must we forget that, even in this great kingdom,
Rouen, at present, holds the fifth place among the towns; though it was
far from being thus, when Buonaparte, uniting the imperial to the iron
crown, overshadowed with his eagle-wings the continent from the Baltic
to Apulia; and when the mural crowns of Rome and Amsterdam stood beneath
the shield of the "good city" of Paris.

The population of Rouen is estimated at eighty-seven thousand persons,
of whom the greater number are engaged in the manufactories, which
consist principally of cotton, linen, and woollen cloths, and are among
the largest in France. At present, however, "trade is dull;" and hence,
and as the politics of a trader invariably sympathize with his cash
account, neither the peace, nor the English, nor the princes of the
Bourbon dynasty, are popular here; for the articles manufactured at
Rouen, being designed generally for exportation, ranged almost
unrivalled over the continent, during the war, but now in every town
they meet with competitors in the goods from England, which are at once
of superior workmanship and cheaper. The latter advantage is owing very
much to the greater perfection of our machinery, and, perhaps, still
more to the abundance of coals, which enables us, at so small an
expence, to keep our steam-engines in action, and thus to counterbalance
the disproportion in the charge of manual labor, as well as the many
disadvantages arising from the pressure of our heavy taxation.--But I
must cease. An English fit of growling is coming upon me; and I find
that the Blue Devils, which haunt St. Stephen's chapel, are pursuing me
over the channel.

Footnotes:

[48] _Moore's Journal of a Residence in France_, I. p. 82.

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.

(_Rouen, June,_ 1818)

My researches in this city after the remains of architectural antiquity
of the earlier Norman aera, have hitherto, I own, been attended with
little success. I may even go so far as to say, that I have seen nothing
in the circular style, for which it would not be easy to find a parallel
in most of the large towns in England. On the other hand, the perfection
and beauty of the specimens of the pointed style, have equally surprised
and delighted me. I will endeavor, however, to take each object in its
order, premising that I have been materially assisted in my
investigations by M. Le Prevost and M. Rondeau, but especially by the
former, one of the most learned antiquaries of Normandy.

Of the fortifications and castellated buildings in Rouen very little
indeed is left[49], and that little is altogether insignificant; being
confined to some fragments of the walls scattered here and there[50],
and to three circular towers of the plainest construction, the remains
of the old castle, built by Philip Augustus in 1204, near to the Porte
Bouvreuil, and hence commonly known by the name of the _Chateau de
Bouvreuil_ or _le Vieux Chateau_.--It is to the leading part which this
city has acted in the history of France, that we must attribute the
repeated erection and demolition of its fortifications.

An important event was commemorated by the erection of the _old castle_,
it having been built upon the final annexation of Normandy to the crown
of France, in consequence of the weakness of our ill-starred
monarch,--John Lackland. The French King seems to have suspected that
the citizens retained their fealty to their former sovereign. He
intended that his fortress should command and bridle the city, instead
of defending it. The town-walls were razed, and the _Vieille Tour_, the
ancient palace of the Norman Dukes, levelled with the ground.--But, as
the poet says of language, so it is with castles,--

... "mortalia facta peribunt,
Nec _castellorum_ stet honos et gratia vivax;"

and, in 1590, the fortress raised by Philip Augustus experienced the
fate of its predecessors; it was then ruined and dismantled, and the
portion which was allowed to stand, was degraded into a jail. Now the
three[51] towers just mentioned are alone remaining, and these would
attract little notice, were it not that one of them bears the name of
the _Tour de la Pucelle_, as having been, in 1430, the place of
confinement of the unfortunate Joan of Arc, when she was captured before
Compiegne and brought prisoner to Rouen.

It must be stated, however, that the first castle recorded to have
existed at Rouen, was built by Rollo, shortly after he had made himself
master of Neustria. Its very name is now lost; and all we know
concerning it is, that it stood near the quay, at the northern extremity
of the town, in the situation subsequently occupied by the Church of St.
Pierre du Chatel, and the adjoining monastery of the Cordeliers.

After a lapse of less than fifty years, Rouen saw rising within her
walls a second castle, the work of Duke Richard Ist, and long the
residence of the Norman sovereigns. This, from a tower of great strength
which formed a part of it, and which was not demolished till the year
1204, acquired the appellation of _la Vieille Tour_; and the name
remains to this day, though the building has disappeared.

The space formerly occupied by the scite of it is now covered by the
_halles_, considered the finest in France. The historians of Rouen, in
the usual strain of hyperbole, hint that their _halles_ are even the
finest in the world[52], though they are very inferior to their
prototypes at Bruges and Ypres. The hall, or exchange, allotted to the
mercers, is two hundred and seventy-two feet in length, by fifty feet
wide: those for the drapers and for wool are, each of them, two hundred
feet long; and all these are surpassed in size by the corn-hall, whose
length extends to three hundred feet. They are built round a large
square, the centre of which is occupied by numberless dealers in
pottery, old clothes, &c.; and, as the day on which we chanced to visit
them was a Friday, when alone they are opened for public business, we
found a most lively, curious, and interesting scene.

It was on the top of a stone staircase, the present entry to the
_halles_, that the annual ceremony[53] of delivering and pardoning a
criminal for the sake of St. Romain, the tutelary protector of Rouen,
was performed on Ascension-day, according to a privilege exercised, from
time immemorial, by the Chapter of the Cathedral.

The legend is romantic; and it acquires a species of historical
importance, as it became the foundation of a right, asserted even in our
own days. My account of it is taken from Dom Pommeraye's History of the
Life of the Prelate[54].--He has been relating many miracles performed
by him, and, among others, that of causing the Seine, at the time of a
great inundation, to retire to its channel by his command, agreeably to
the following beautiful stanza of Santeuil:--

"Tangit exundans aqua civitatem;
Voce Romanus jubet efficaci;
Audiunt fluctus, docilisque cedit
Unda jubenti."

Our learned Benedictine thus proceeds:--"But the following miracle was
deemed a far greater marvel, and it increased the veneration of the
people towards St. Romain to such a degree, that they henceforth
regarded him as an actual apostle, who, from the authority of his
office, the excellence of his doctrine, his extreme sanctity, and the
gift of miracles, deserved to be classed with the earliest preachers of
our holy faith. In a marshy spot, near Rouen, was bred a dragon, the
very counterpart of that destroyed by St. Nicaise. It committed
frightful ravages; lay in wait for man and beast, whom it devoured
without mercy; the air was poisoned by its pestilential breath, and it
was alone the cause of greater mischief and alarm, than could have been
occasioned by a whole army of enemies. The inhabitants, wearied out by
many years of suffering, implored the aid of St. Romain; and the
charitable and generous pastor, who dreaded nothing in behalf of his
flock, comforted them with the assurance of a speedy deliverance. The
design itself was noble; still more so was the manner by which he put it
in force; for he would not be satisfied with merely killing the monster,
but undertook also to bring it to public execution, by way of atonement
for its cruelties. For this purpose, it was necessary that the dragon
should be caught; but when the prelate required a companion in the
attempt, the hearts of all men failed them. He applied, therefore, to a
criminal condemned to death for murder; and, by the promise of a pardon,
bought his assistance, which the certain prospect of a scaffold, had he
refused to accompany the saint, caused him the more willingly to lend.
Together they went, and had no sooner reached the marsh, the monster's
haunt, than St. Romain, approaching courageously, made the sign of the
cross, and at once put it out of the power of the dragon to attempt to
do him injury. He then tied his stole around his neck, and, in that
state, delivered him to the prisoner, who dragged him to the city, where
he was burned in the presence of all the people, and his ashes thrown
into the river.--The manuscript of the Abbey of Hautmont, from which
this legend is extracted, adds, that such was the fame of this miracle
throughout France, that Dagobert, the reigning sovereign, sent for St.
Romain to court, to hear a true narrative of the fact from his own lips;
and, impressed with reverent awe, bestowed the celebrated privilege upon
him and his successors for ever."

The right has, in comparatively modern times, been more than once
contested, but always maintained; and so great was the celebrity of the
ceremony, that princes and potentates have repeatedly travelled to
Rouen, for the purpose of witnessing it. There are not wanting, however,
those[55] who treat the whole story as allegorical, and believe it to be
nothing more than a symbolical representation of the subversion of
idolatry, or of the confining of the Seine to its channel; the winding
course of the river being typified by a serpent, and the word
_Gargouille_ corrupted from _gurges_. Other writers differ in minor
points of the story, and alledge that the saint had two fellow
adventurers, a thief as well as a murderer, and that the former ran
away, while the latter stood firm. You will see it thus figured in a
modern painting on St. Romain's altar, in the cathedral; and there are
two persons also with him, in the only ancient representation of the
subject I am acquainted with, a bas-relief which till lately existed at
the Porte Bouvreuil, and of which, by the kindness of M. Riaux, I am
enabled to send you a drawing.

[Illustration: Bas-Relief, representing St. Romain]

To keep alive the tradition, in which Popish superstition has contrived
to blend Judaic customs with heathen mythology, the practice was, that
the prisoner selected for pardon should be brought to this place, called
the chapel of St. Romain, and should here be received by the clergy in
full robes, headed by the archbishop, and bearing all the relics of the
church; among others, the shrine of St. Romain, which the criminal,
after having been reprimanded and absolved, but still kneeling, thrice
lifted, among the shouts of the populace, and then, with a garland upon
his head and the shrine in his hands, accompanied the clergy in
procession to the cathedral[56].--But the revolution happily consigned
the relics to their kindred dust, and put an end to a privilege
eminently liable to abuse, from the circumstance of the pardon being
extended, not only to the criminal himself, but to all his accomplices;
so that, an inferior culprit sometimes surrendered himself to justice,
in confidence of interest being made to obtain him the shrine, and thus
to shield under his protection more powerful and more guilty
delinquents. The various modifications, however, of latter times, had so
abridged its power, that it was at last only able to rescue a man guilty
of involuntary homicide[57]. We may hope, therefore, it was not
altogether deserving the hard terms bestowed upon it by Millin[58] who
calls it the most absurd, most infamous, and most detestable of all
privileges, and adduces a very flagrant instance of injustice committed
under its plea.--D'Alegre, governor of Gisors, in consequence of a
private pique against the Baron du Hallot, lord of the neighboring town
of Vernon, treacherously assassinated him at his own house, while he was
yet upon crutches, in consequence of the wounds received at the siege of
Rouen. This happened during the civil wars; in the course of which,
Hallot had signalized himself as a faithful servant, and useful
assistant to the monarch. The murderer knew that there were no hopes for
him of royal mercy; and, after having passed some time in concealment
and as a soldier in the army of the league, he had recourse to the
Chapter of the Cathedral of Rouen, from whom he obtained the promise of
the shrine of St. Romain. To put full confidence, however, even in this,
would, under such circumstances, have been imprudent. The clergy might
break their word, or a mightier power might interpose. D'Alegre,
therefore, persuaded a young mam, formerly a page of his, of the name of
Pehu, to surrender himself as guilty of the crime; and to him the
privilege was granted; under the sanction of which, the real culprit,
and several of his accomplices in the assassination, obtained a free
pardon. The widow and daughter of Hallot, in vain remonstrated: the
utmost that could be done, after a tedious law-suit, was to procure a
small fine to be imposed upon Pehu, and to cause him to be banished from
Normandy and Picardy and the vicinity of Paris. But regulations were in
consequence adopted with respect to the exercise of the privilege; and
the pardons granted under favor of it were ever afterwards obliged to be
ratified under the high seal of the kingdom.

The _Chateau du Vieux Palais_ and _le petit Chateau_ like the edifices
which I have already noticed, have equally yielded to time and violence.
M. Carpentier has furnished us with representations of both these
castles, drawn and etched by himself, in the _Itinerary of Rouen_. The
first of them has also been inaccurately figured by Ducarel, and
satisfactorily by Millin, in the second volume of his _Antiquites
Nationales_; where, to the pen of this most meritorious and
indefatigable writer, of whom, as of our Goldsmith, it may be justly
said, that "nullum fere scribendi genus non tetigit, nullum quod tetigit
non ornavit," it affords materials for a curious memoir, blended with
the history of our own Henry Vth, and of Henry IVth, of France. The
castle was the work of the first of these sovereigns, and was begun by
him in 1420, two years after a seven months' siege had put him in
possession of the city, long the capital of his ancestors, and had thus
rendered him undisputed master of Normandy. This was an event worthy of
being immortalised; and it may easily be imagined that private feelings
had no little share in urging him to erect a magnificent palace,
intended at once as a safeguard for the town, and a residence for
himself and his posterity. The right to build it was an express article
in the capitulation he granted to Rouen, a capitulation of extreme
severity[59], and purchased at the price of three hundred thousand
golden crowns, as well as of the lives of three of the most
distinguished citizens; Robert Livret, grand-vicar of the archbishop,
John Jourdain, commander of the artillery, and Louis Blanchard, captain
of the train-bands. The two first of these were, however, suffered to
ransome themselves; the last, a man of distinguished honor and courage,
was beheaded; but Henry, much to his credit, made no farther use of his
victory, and even consented to pay for the ground required for his
castle. He selected for the purpose, the situation where, defence was
most needed, upon the extremity of the quay, by the side of the river,
near the entrance from Dieppe and Havre. A row of handsome houses now
fills the chief part of the space occupied by the building, which, at a
subsequent period, was again connected with English history[60], as the
residence of our James IInd, after the battle of La Hague; before his
spirit was yet sufficiently broken to suffer him to give up all thoughts
of the British crown, and to accept the asylum offered by Louis XIVth,
in the obscure tranquillity of Saint Germain's. It continued perfect
till the time of the revolution, and was of great extent and strength,
defended by massy circular towers, surrounded by a moat, and
approachable only by a draw-bridge.

The castle, which still remains to be described, and whose smaller size
is sufficiently denoted by its name, was also built by the same monarch,
but it was raised upon the ruins of a similar edifice that had existed
since the days of King John. Being situated at the foot of the bridge,
the older castle had been selected as the spot where it was stipulated
that the soldiers, composing the Anglo-Norman garrison, should lay down
their arms, when the town surrendered to Philip Augustus.--It was known
from very early time by the appellation of the _Barbican_, a term of
much disputed signification as well as origin: if we are to conclude,
according to some authorities, that it denoted either a mere
breast-work, or a watch-tower, or an appendage to a more important
fortress, it would appear but ill applied to a building like the one in
question. I should rather believe it designated an out-post of any kind;
and I would support my conjecture by this very castle, which was neither
upon elevated ground, nor dependent on any other. It consisted of two
square edifices, similar to what are called the _pavillions_ of the
Thuilleries, flanked by small circular towers with conical roofs, and
connected by an embattled wall. Not more than fifty years have passed
since its demolition; yet no traces of it are to be found.

A few rocky fragments, appearing now to bid defiance to time, indicate
the scite of the fortress, which once arose on the summit of Mont Ste.
Catherine, and which, though dismantled by Henry IVth, and reduced to a
state of dilapidation, was still suffered to maintain its ruined
existence till a few years ago. Its commanding situation, upon an
eminence three hundred and eighty feet high and immediately overhanging
the city, could not but render it of great importance towards the
defence of the place; and we accordingly find that Taillepied, who
probably wrote before its demolition, gives it as his opinion, that
whoever is in possession of Mont Ste. Catherine, is also master of the
town, if he can but have abundant supplies of water and provisions;--no
needless stipulation! At the same time, it must be admitted that the
fort was equally liable to be converted into the means of annoyance.
Such actually proved the case in 1562, at which time it was seized by
the Huguenots; and considerations of this nature most probably prevailed
with the citizens, when they declined the offer made by Francis Ist, who
proposed at a public meeting to enlarge the tower into an impregnable
citadel. In the hands of the Protestants, the fortress, such as it was,
proved sufficient to resist the whole army of Charles IXth, during
several days.--Rouen was stoutly defended by the reformed, well aware of
the sanguinary dispositions of the bigotted monarch. They yielded, and
he sullied his victory by giving the city up to plunder, during
twenty-four hours; and we are told, that it was upon this occasion he
first tasted heretical blood, with which, five years afterwards, he so
cruelly gorged himself on the day of St. Bartholomew. Catherine of
Medicis accompanied him to the siege; and it is related that she herself
led him to the ditches of the ramparts, in which many of their
adversaries had been buried, and caused the bodies to be dug up in his
presence, that he might be accustomed to look without horror upon the
corpse of a Protestant!

Near the fort stood a priory[61], whose foundation is dated as far back
as the eleventh century, when Gosselin, Viscount of Rouen, Lord of
Arques and Dieppe, having no son to inherit his wealth, was induced to
dispose of it "to pious uses," by the persuasions of two monks, who had
wandered in pilgrimage from the monastery of Saint Catherine, on Mount
Sinai. These good men assured him, that, if he dedicated a church to
the martyred daughter of the King of Alexandria, the stones employed in
building it would one day serve him as so many stepping-stones to
heaven. They confirmed him in his resolution, by presenting him with one
of the fingers of Saint Catherine. To her, therefore, the edifice was
made sacred, and hence it is believed that the hill also took its name.
In the _Golden Legend_, we find an account of the translation of the
finger to Rouen not wholly reconcileable with this history.--According
to the veracious authority of James of Voragine, there were certain
monks of Rouen, who journeyed even until the Arabian mountain. For seven
long years did they pray before the shrine of the Queen Virgin and
Martyr, and also did they implore her to vouchsafe to grant them some
token of her favor; and, at length, one of her fingers suddenly
disjointed itself from the dead hand of the corpse.--"This gift," as the
legend tells, "they received devoutly, and with it they returned to
their monastery at Rouen."--Never was a miracle less miraculous; and it
is fortunately now of little consequence to inquire whether the
mouldering relic enriched an older monastery, or assisted in bestowing
sanctity on a rising community. According to the pseudo-hagiologists,
the corpse of Saint Catherine was borne through the air by angels, and
deposited on the summit of Mount Sinai, on the spot where her church is
yet standing. Conforming, as it were, to the example of the angels, it
was usual, in the middle ages, to erect her religious buildings on an
eminence. Various instances may be given of this practice in England, as
well as in France: such is the case near Winchester, near
Christ-Church, in the Isle of Wight, and in many other places. St.
Michael contested the honor with her; and he likewise has a chapel here,
whose walls are yet standing. Its antiquity was still greater than that
of the neighboring monastery; a charter from Duke Richard IInd, dated
996, speaking of it as having had existence before his time, and
confirming the donation of it to the Abbey of St. Ouen. But St.
Michael's never rivalled the opulence of Saint Catherine's
priory.--Gosselin himself, and Emmeline his wife, lay buried in the
church of the latter, which is said to have been large, and to have
resembled in its structure that of St. Georges de Bocherville: it is
also recorded, that it was ornamented with many beautiful paintings; and
loud praises are bestowed upon its fine peal of bells. The epitaph of
the founder speaks of him, as--

"Premier Autheur des mesures et poids
Selon raison en ce paeis Normand."

It is somewhat remarkable, that there appear to have been only two other
monumental inscriptions in the church, and both of them in memory of
cooks of the convent; a presumptive proof that the holy fathers were not
inattentive to the good things of this world, in the midst of their
concern for those of the next.--The first of them was for Stephen de
Saumere,--

"Qui en son vivant cuisinier
Fut de Reverend Pere en Dieu,
De la Barre, Abbe de ce lieu."

The other was for--

"Thierry Gueroult, en broche et en fossets
Gueu tres-expert pour les Religieux."

The fort and the religious buildings all perished nearly at the same
time: the former was destroyed at the request of the inhabitants, to
whom Henry IVth returned on that occasion his well-known answer, that he
"wished for no other fortress than the hearts of his subjects;" the
latter to gratify the avarice of individuals, who cloked their true
designs under the plea that the buildings might serve as a harbor for
the disaffected.

Of the origin of the fort I find no record in history, except what Noel
says[62], that it appears to have been raised by the English while they
were masters of Normandy; but what I observed of the structure of the
walls, in 1815, would induce me to refer it without much hesitation to
the time of the Romans. Its bricks are of the same form and texture as
those used by them; and they were ranged in alternate courses with
flints, as is the case at Burgh Castle, at Richborough, and other Roman
edifices in England. That the fort was of great size and strength is
sufficiently shewn by the depth, width, and extent of the entrenchments
still left, which, particularly towards the plain, are immense; and, if
credence may be given to common report, in such matters always apt to
exaggerate, the subterraneous passages indicate a fortress of
importance.

It chanced, that I visited the hill on Michaelmas-day, and a curious
proof was afforded me, that, at however low an ebb religion may be in
France, enthusiastic fanaticism is far from extinct. A man of the lower
classes of society was praying before a broken cross, near St. Michael's
Chapel, where, before the revolution, the monks of St. Ouen used
annually on this day to perform mass, and many persons of extraordinary
piety were wont to assemble the first Wednesday of every month to pray
and to preach, in honor of the guardian angels. His manner was earnest
in the extreme; his eyes wandered strangely; his gestures were
extravagant, and tears rolled in profusion down a face, whose every
feature bore the strongest marks of a decided devotee. A shower which
came at the moment compelled us both to seek shelter within the walls of
the chapel, and we soon became social and entered into conversation. The
ruined state of the building was his first and favorite topic: he
lamented its destruction; he mourned over the state of the times which
could countenance such impiety; and gradually, while he turned over the
leaves of the prayer-book in his hand, he was led to read aloud the
hundred and thirty-sixth psalm, commenting upon every verse as he
proceeded, and weeping more and more bitterly, when he came to the part
commemorating the ruin of Jerusalem, which he applied, naturally enough,
to the captive state of France, smarting as she then was under the iron
rod of Prussia. Of the other allies, including even the Russians, he
owned that there was no complaint to be made: "they conduct themselves,"
said he, "agreeably to the maxim of warfare, which says 'battez-vous
contre ceux qui vous opposent; mais ayez pitie des vaincus.' Not so the
Prussians: with them it is 'frappez-ca, frappez-la, et quand ils entrent
dans quelque endroit, ils disent, il nous faut ca, il nous faut la, et
ils le prennent d'autorite.' Cruel Babylon!"--"Yet, even admitting all
this," we asked, "how can you reconcile with the spirit of christianity
the permission given to the Jews by the psalmist, to 'take up her little
ones and dash them against the stones.'"--"Ah! you misunderstand the
sense, the psalm does not authorize cruelty;--mais, attendez! ce n'est
pas ainsi: ces pierres la sont Saint Pierre; et heureux celui qui les
attachera a Saint Pierre; qui montrera de l'attachement, de
l'intrepidite pour sa religion."--Then again, looking at the chapel,
with tears and sobs, "how can we expect to prosper, how to escape these
miseries, after having committed such enormities?"--His name, he told
us, was Jacquemet, and my companion kindly made a sketch of his face,
while I noted down his words.

This specimen will give you some idea of the extraordinary influence of
the Roman catholic faith over the mind, and of the curious perversions
under which it does not scruple to take refuge.

Leaving for the present the dusty legends of superstition, I describe
with pleasure my recollections of the glorious prospect over which the
eye ranges from the hill of Saint Catherine.--The Seine, broad, winding,
and full of islands, is the principal feature of the landscape. This
river is distinguished by its sinuosity and the number of islets which
it embraces, and it retains this character even to Paris. Its smooth
tranquillity well contrasts with the life that is imparted to the scene,
by the shipping and the bustle of the quays. The city itself, with its
verdant walks, its spacious manufactories, its strange and picturesque
buildings, and the numerous spires and towers of its churches, many of
them in ruins, but not the less interesting on account of their decay,
presents a foreground diversified with endless variety of form and
color. The bridge of boats seems immediately at our feet; the middle
distance is composed of a plain, chiefly consisting of the richest
meadows, interspersed copiously with country seats and villages
embosomed in wood; and the horizon melts into an undulating line of
remote hills.

Footnotes:

[49] _Farin, Histoire de Rouen_, I. p. 97.

[50] In a paper printed in the _Transactions of the Rouen Academy for
1818_, p. 177, it appears that, so late as 1789, a considerable portion
of very old walls was discovered under-ground; and that they consisted
very much of Roman bricks. Among them was also found a Roman urn, and
eighty or more medals of the same nation, but none of them older than
Antoninus.--From this it appears certain that Rouen was a Roman station,
though of its early history we have no distinct knowledge.

[51] These are the _Tour du Gascon_, _Tour du Donjon_, and _Tour de la
Pucelle_.

[52] _Histoire de Rouen_, I. p. 32.

[53] _Histoire de Rouen_, III. p. 34.

[54] It is also worth while to read the following details from
Bourgueville, (_Antiquites de Caen_, p. 33) whose testimony, as that of
an eye-witness to much of what he relates, is valuable:--"Ils ont le
Privilege Saint Romain en la ville de Rouen et Eglise Cathedrale du
lieu, au iour de l'Ascension nostre Seigneur de deliurer un prisonnier,
qui leur fut concede par le Roy d'Agobert en memoire d'un miracle que
Dieu fist par saint Romain Archeuesque du lieu, d'auoir deliure les
habitans d'un Dragon qui leur nuisoit en la forest de Rouuray pres
ladite ville: pour lequel vaincre il demanda a la justice deux
prisonniers dignes de mort, l'un meurtrier et l'autre larron: le larron
eut si grand frayeur qu'il s'enfuit, et le meurtrier demeura auecque ce
saint homme qui vainquit ce Serpent. C'est pourquoy l'on dit encore en
commun prouerbe, il est asseure comme vn meurtrier. Ce privilege de
deliurance ne doit estre accorde aux larrons.--Saint Ouen successeur de
S. Romain, Chancelier dudit Roy d'Agobert viron l'an 655, impetra ce
priuilege: dont ie n'en deduiray en plus oultre les causes, pour ce
qu'elles sont assez communes et notoires, et feray seulement cest
aduertissement, qu'il y a danger que messieurs les Ecclesiastiques le
perdent, acause qu il s'y commet le plus souuent des abus, par ce qu'il
se doit donner en cas pitoyable et non par authorite ou faueurs de
seigneurs, comme aussi ne se doit estendre, sinon a ceux qui sont
trouuez actuellement prisonniers sans fraude, et non a ceux qui s'y
rendent le soir precedent comme estans asseurez d'obtenir ce priuilege,
combien qu'ils ayent commis tous crimes execrables et indignes d'un tel
pardon, voire et que les Ecclesiastiques n'ayent eu loisir d'avoir veu
et bien examinez leur procez. Aussi ce beau priuilege est enfraint en ce
que ceux qui l'obtiennent doiuent assister par sept annees suiuantes aux
processions au tour de la Fierte S. Romain, portant vne torche ardante
selon qu'il leur est charge faire. Ce qui est de ceste heure trop
contemne: et tel mespris leur pourroit estre reproche comme indignes et
contempteurs d'vn tel pardon. Vn surnomme Saugrence pour auoir abuse
d'un tel priuilege fut quelque temps apres retrude et puni de la peine
de la roue pour auoir confesse des meurtres en agression pour sauuer
aucuns nobles ou nocibles qui les auoient commis.--Il s'est faict autres
fois et encore du temps de ma ieunesse de grands festins, danses,
mommeries ou mascarades audit iour de l'Ascension, tant par les
feturiers de ceste confrairie saint Romain que autres ieunes hommes auec
excessiues despences: et s'appelloit lors tel iour Rouuoysons, a cause
que les processions rouent de lieu en autre, et disoit l'on comme en
prouerbe, quand aucuns desbauchez declinoient de biens qu'ils auoient
fait Rouuoysons, a scauoir perdu leurs biens en trop uoluptueuses
despenses et mommeries sur chariots, qui se faisoient de nuict par les
rues quelque saison d'Este qu'il fust, pour plus grandes magnificences."

[55] See _Gallia Christiana_, XI. p. 12.

[56] A minute and very curious account of the whole of this ceremony,
from the first claiming of the prisoner to his final deliverance, is
given in _Tuillepied's Antiquites de Rouen_, p. 79.

[57] _Noel, Essais sur le Departement de la Seine Inferieure_, II. p.
228.

[58] _Antiquites Nationales_, II. No. 21 p. 3

[59] _Millin, Antiquites Nationales_, II. No. 20. p. 3.

[60] _Noel, Essais sur le Departement de la Seine Inferieure_, II. p.
209

[61] _Farin, Histoire de Rouen_, V. p. 113.

[62] _Essais sur le Departement de la Seine Inferieure_, II. p. 210.

LETTER IX.

ANCIENT ECCLESIASTICAL ARCHITECTURE--CHURCHES OF ST. PAUL AND ST.
GERVAIS--HOSPITAL OF ST. JULIEN--CHURCHES OF LERY, PAVILLY, AND
YAINVILLE.

(_Rouen, June_, 1818.)

We, _East Angles_, are accustomed to admire the remains of Norman
architecture, which, in our counties, are perhaps more numerous and
singular than in any other tract in England. The noble castle of
Blanchefleur still honors our provincial metropolis, and although
devouring eld hath impaired her charms and converted her into a very
dusky beauty, the fretted walls still possess an air of antique
magnificence which we seek in vain when we contemplate the towers of
Julius or the frowning dungeons of Gundulph. Our cathedral retains the
pristine character which was given to the edifice, when the Norman
prelate abandoned the seat of the Saxon bishop, and commanded the Saxon
clerks to migrate into the city protected or inclosed by the garrison of
his cognate conquerors. Even our villages abound with these monuments.
The humbler, though not less sacred structures in which the voice of
prayer and praise has been heard during so many generations, equally
bear witness to Norman art, and, I may say, to Norman piety; and when we
enter the sheltered porch, we behold the fantastic sculpture and varied
foliage, encircling the arch which arose when our land was ruled by the
Norman dynasty.

Comparatively speaking, Rouen is barren indeed of such relics. Its
military antiquities are swept away; and the only specimens of early
ecclesiastical architecture are found in the churches of St. Paul and
St. Gervais, both of them, in themselves, unimportant buildings, and
both so disfigured by subsequent alterations, that they might easily
escape the notice of any but an experienced eye. Of these, the first is
situated by the side of the road to Paris, under Mont Ste. Catherine,
yet, still upon an eminence, beneath which are some mineral springs,
that were long famous for their medicinal qualities, but have of late
years been abandoned, and the spa-drinkers now resort to others in the
quarter of the town called _de la Marequerie_. Both the one and the
other are highly ferruginous, but the latter most strongly impregnated
with iron.

The chancel is the only ancient part of the present church of St.
Paul's, and even this must be comparatively modern, if any confidence
may be placed in the current tradition, that the building, in its
original state, was a temple of Adonis or of Venus, to both which
divinities the early inhabitants of Rouen are reported to have paid
peculiar homage. They were worshipped in vice and impurity[63]; nor were
the votaries deterred by the evil spirits who haunted the immediate
vicinity of the temple, and who gave rise to so fetid and infectious a
vapor, that it often proved fatal! This very remark seems to indicate
the scite of the church of St. Paul, with its neighboring sulphureous
waters. St. Romain demolished the temple, and dispersed the sinners.
Farin, in his _History of Rouen_[64], says, that the church was
repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt by the Norman Dukes, to some of whom,
the chancel, which is now standing, probably owes its existence. The
nave is evidently of much more modern construction: it is thrice the
width of the other part, from which it is separated by a circular arch.
The eastern extremity differs from that of any other church I ever saw
in Normandy or in England: it ends in three circular compartments, the
central considerably the largest and most prominent, and divided from
the others, which serve as aisles, by double arches, a larger and
smaller being united together. This triple circular ending is, however,
only observable without; for, in the interior, the southern part has
been separated and used as a sacristy; the northern is a lumber-room. In
the latter division, M. le Prevost desired us to notice a piece of
sculpture, so covered with dirt and dust that it could scarcely be seen,
but evidently of Roman workmanship, and, probably, of the fourth
century, if we may judge from its resemblance to some ornaments[65] upon
the pedestal of the obelisk raised by Theodosius, in the Hippodrome of
Constantinople. Our friend's conjecture is, that it had originally
served for an altar: perhaps it might, with equal probability, be
supposed to have been a tomb.--The corbels on the exterior of this
building are strange and fanciful.

[Illustration: Sculpture, supposed Roman, in the Church of St. Paul, at Rouen ]

St. Gervais also stands without the walls of Rouen; but at the opposite
end of the town, upon a hill adjoining the Roman road to Lillebonne, and
near the Mont aux Malades, a place so called, as having been selected in
the eleventh century, on account of the salubrity of its air, for the
situation of a monastery, destined for the reception of lepers. Upon
this eminence, the Norman Dukes had likewise originally a palace; and,
it was to this, that William the Conqueror caused himself to be
conveyed, when attacked with his mortal illness, after having wantonly
reduced the town of Mantes to ashes. Here, too, this mighty monarch
breathed his last, and left a sad warning to future conquerors, deserted
by his friends and physicians the moment he was no more; while his
menials plundered his property, and his body lay naked and neglected in
the hall[66].

The ducal palace, and the monastic buildings of the priory, once
connected with it, are now completely destroyed. Fortunately, however,
the church still remains, though parochial and in poverty. It preserves
some portions of the original structure, more interesting from their
features than their extent. The exterior of the apsis is very curious:
it is obtusely angular, and faced at the corners with large rude
columns, of whose capitals some are Doric or Corinthian, others as wild
as the fancies of the Norman lords of the country. None reach so high as
the cornice of the roof, it having been the intention of the original
architect, that a portion of work should intervene between the summit of
the capitals and this member. A capital to the north is remarkable for
the eagles carved upon it, as if with some allusion to Roman power. But
the most singular part of this church is the crypt under the apsis, a
room about thirty feet long by fourteen wide, and sixteen high, of
extreme simplicity, and remote antiquity. Round it runs a plain stone
bench; and it is divided into two unequal parts by a circular arch,
devoid of columns or of any ornament whatever, but disclosing, in the
composition of its piers, Roman bricks and other _debris_, some of them
rudely sculptured. Here, according to Ordericus Vitalis[67], was
interred the body of St. Mellonus, the first Archbishop of Rouen, and
one of the apostles of Neustria; and here, his tomb, and that of his
successor, Avitien, are shewn to this day, in plain niches, on opposite
sides of the wall. St. Mello's remains however, were not suffered to
rest in peace; for, about five hundred and seventy years after his
death, which happened in the year 314, they were removed to the castle
of Pontoise, lest the canonized corpse should be violated by the heathen
Normans. In the diocese of Rouen St. Mello is honored with particular
veneration; and the history of the prelates of the see contains many
curious, and not unedifying stories of the miracles he performed. His
feast, together with that of St. Nicasius, his companion, is celebrated
on the second of October; and their labors are commemorated with a hymn
appointed for their festival:--

"Primae vos canimus gentis apostolos,
Per quos relligio tradita patribus;
Errorisque jugo libera Neustria
CHRISTO sub duce militat.

"Facti sponte suis finibus exules
Huc de Romuleis sedibus advolant;
Merces est operis, si nova consecrent
Vero pectora Numini.

"Qui se pro populis devovet hostiam
Mellonus tacita se nece conficit;
Mactatus celeri morte Nicasius
Christum sanguine praedicat."

Heretics as we are, we ought not to refrain from respecting the zeal
even of a saint of the Catholic calendar, when thus exerted. Besides
which, he has another claim upon our attention: our own island gave him
birth, and he appeared at Rome as the bearer of the annual tribute of
the Britons, at the very time when he was converted to Christianity,
whose light he had afterwards the glory of diffusing over Neustria. The
existence of these tombs and the antiquity of the crypt, recorded as it
is by history and confirmed by the style of its architecture, have given
currency to the tradition, which points it out as the only temple where
the primitive Christians of Neustria dared to assemble for the
performance of divine service. Many stone coffins have also been
discovered in the vicinity of the church. These sarcophagi seem to
confirm the general tradition: they are of the simplest form, and
apparently as ancient as the crypt; and they were so placed in the
ground that the heads of the corpses were turned to the east, a position
denoting that the dead received Christian burial.

[Illustration: Circular Tower, attached to the Church of St. Ouen, at Rouen]

Another opportunity will be afforded me of speaking of the church of St.
Ouen; but, as a singular relic of Norman architecture, I must here
notice the round tower on the south side of the choir, probably part of
the original edifice, finished by the Abbot, William Balot, and
dedicated by the Archbishop Geoffroi, in 1126. It consists of two
stories, divided by a billetted moulding. Respecting its use it would
not now be easy to offer a probable conjecture: the history of the
abbey, indeed, mentions it under the title of _la Chambre des Clercs_,
and supposes that it was formerly a chapel[68]; but its shape and size
do not seem to confirm that opinion.

The chapel of the suppressed lazar-house of St. Julien, situated about
three miles from Rouen, on the opposite side of the Seine, is more
perfect than either St. Paul or St. Gervais, and, consequently, more
valuable to the architect. This building, without spire or tower, and
divided into three parts of unequal length and height, the nave, the
choir, and the circular apsis, externally resembles one of the meanest
of our parish-churches, such as a stranger, judging only from the
exterior, would be almost equally likely to consider as a place of
worship, or as a barn. It is, however, if I am not mistaken, one of the
purest and most perfect specimens of the Norman aera. I know of no
building in England, which resembles it so nearly as the chancel of
Hales Church, in Norfolk; but the latter has been exposed to material
alterations, while the chapel of which I am speaking is externally quite
regular in its design, being divided throughout its whole length into
small compartments, by a row of shallow buttresses rising from the
ground to the eaves of the roof, without any partition into splays.
Those on the south side are still in their primaeval state; but a
buttress of a subsequent, though not recent, date, has been built up
against almost every one of the original buttresses on the north side,
by way of support to the edifice. Each division contains a single narrow
circular-headed window: beneath these is a plain moulding, continued
uninterruptedly over the buttresses as well as the wall, thus proving
both to be coeval; another plain moulding runs nearly on a level with
the tops of the windows, and takes the same circular form; but it is
confined to the spaces between the buttresses. There are no others. The
entrance was by circular-headed doors at the west end and south side,
both of them very plain; but particularly the latter. The few ornaments
of the western are as perfect and as sharp as if the whole were the work
of yesterday. This part of the church has, however, been exposed to
considerable injury, owing to its having joined the conventual
buildings, which were destroyed at the revolution. The inside is, like
the exterior, almost perfect, but it is very much more rich, uniting to
the common ornaments of Norman architecture, capitals, in some
instances, of classical beauty. The ceiling is covered with paintings of
scriptural subjects, which still remain, notwithstanding that the
building is now desecrated, and used as a woodhouse by the neighboring
farmer.

The date of the erection of the chapel is well ascertained[69]. The
hospital was founded in 1183, by Henry Plantagenet, as a priory for the
reception of unmarried ladies of noble blood, who were destined for a
religious life, and had the misfortune to be afflicted with leprosy. One
of their appellations was _filles meselles_, in which latter word, you
will immediately recognize the origin of our term for the disease still
prevalent among us, the _measles_. Johnson strangely derives this word
from _morbilli_; but the true northern roots have been given by Mr.
Todd, in his most valuable republication of our national dictionary; a
work which now deserves to be named after the editor, rather than the
original compiler. It may also be added, that the word was in common use
in the old Norman French, and was plainly intended to designate a slight
degree of scurvy.

To pursue this subject a few steps farther, Jamieson, who is as
excellent in points of etymology as Johnson is deficient, quotes, in his
Scottish Dictionary, an instance where the identical expression,
_meselle-houses_, is used in old English;

"...to _meselle-houses_ of that same rond,
Thre thousand mark unto ther spense he fond."
R. BRUNNE, p. 136.

The Norfolk farmers and dairy-maids tell us to this day of _measly
pork_: in Scotch, a leper is called a _mesel_; and, among the Swedes,
the word for measles is one nearly similar in sound, _maess-ling_. The
French academy, however, have refused to admit _meselle_ to the honor of
a place in their language, because it was obsolete or vulgar in the time
of Louis XIIIth. The word is expressive, and no better one has supplied
its place; and we may suppose that it was introduced by the Norman
conquerors, and that it properly belongs to the Gothic tongues, in the
whole of which the root is to be found more or less modified. Instances
of this kind, and they are many, serve as additional proofs, if proofs
indeed were needed, of the common origin of the Neustrian Normans, of
the Lowland Scots, and of the Saxon and Belgian tribes, who peopled our
eastern shores of England.

The priory continued to be appropriated to its original purpose till
1366, when Charles Vth united it to the hospital, called the Magdalen,
at Rouen, upon condition that a mass should be celebrated there daily
for the repose of his soul. In the year 1600, on the destruction of the
abbey upon Mont Ste. Catherine, the monks of that establishment were
allowed to fix themselves at St. Julien; but they resigned it, after a
period of sixty-seven years, to the Carthusians of Gaillon, who,
incorporating themselves with their brethren of the same order at Rouen,
formed a very opulent community. The monastery, previously occupied by
the latter, was known by the poetical appellation of _la Rose de Notre
Dame_: indeed, it is thus termed in the charter of its foundation, dated
1384. But the situation was unhealthy, and the new comers had therefore
little difficulty in persuading its occupants to remove to the convent
of St. Julien, which they inhabited conjointly till the revolution. At a
very short period before that event, they had rebuilt the whole of the
priory with such splendor, that it was one of the most magnificent in
the neighborhood. But the edifice, which had then been scarcely raised,
was soon afterwards levelled with the ground. The foundations alone
attest the former extent of the buildings; and the park, now in a state
of utter neglect, their original importance.

Rouen, as I have observed, is scantily ornamented with remains of _real_
Norman architecture; for, even at the risk of a bull, we must deny that
title to the Norman edifices of the pointed style. Its vicinity,
however, furnishes a greater number of specimens, among which the
churched of _Lery_, of _Pavilly_, and of _Yainville_, are all of them
deserving of a visit from the diligent antiquary.

Lery is a village adjoining Pont-de-l'Arche: its church is cruciform,
having in the centre a low, massy, square tower, surmounted by a modern
spire. A row of plain Norman arches, intended only for ornament, runs
round the tower near the base, and over them on each side is a single
round-headed window. All the other windows of the building are of the
same construction, and this renders it probable that the east end, in
which there is also one of these windows, is really coeval with the rest
of the church; though, contrary to the usual plan of the Norman
churches, it is terminated by a straight wall instead of a semi-circular
apsis. The west front contains a rich Norman door-way, surmounted by
three windows of the same style, adjoining each other, with a triple row
of the chevron-ornament above them. The interior wears the appearance of
remote antiquity: the arches are without mouldings, the pillars without
bases, and the capitals are destitute of all ornamental sculpture. In
fact, these portions are nothing but rounded piers; and so obviously was
mere solid strength the aim of the architect, that their diameter is
fully equal to two-thirds of their height. A double row of pillars and
arches separates the nave into three parts, of unequal width; and
another arch of greater span, though equally plain, divides it from the
chancel. In St. Julien, we observe a most simple exterior, accompanied
by an interior of comparatively an ornamented style: here the case is
exactly the reverse; but in neither instance does there appear any
reason to doubt that the whole of the building is coeval. We shall be
driven, therefore, to admit, that any inferences respecting the aera of
architecture drawn merely from the comparative richness of the style,
must be considered of little weight, and that, even in those days, a
great deal depended upon the fancy of the patron or architect. Of the
real time of the erection of the church at Lery, there is no certain
knowledge. Topographers, however minute in other matters, seem in
general to have considered it beneath their dignity to record the dates
of parish-churches; though, as connected with the history of the arts,
such information is exceedingly valuable. Lauglois, who has given a
figure of the western front of this at Lery, refers it without any
hesitation to the time of the Carlovingian dynasty. But this opinion is
merely grounded on the resemblance of some of its capitals to those of
the pillars in the crypt at St. Denis; the best judges doubt whether
there is a single architectural line in that crypt, which can fairly be
referred to the reign of Charlemagne. Hence such a proof is entitled to
little attention; and On studying the style of the whole, and its
conformity with the more magnificent front of St. Georges de
Bocherville, it would seem most reasonable to regard them both as of
nearly the same aera, the time of the Norman Conquest. We may through
them be enabled to fix the date to a specimen of ancient architecture in
our own country, more splendid than these, the Church of Castle Rising,
whose west front is so much on the same plan, that it can scarcely have
been erected at a very different period.

Pavilly has considerably more to recommend it, as the "magni nominis
umbra" than either of the others; it having been the seat of an abbey
founded about the year 668, and named after Saint Austreberte, who first
presided over it. Here, too, we have the advantage of being able to
ascertain with greater precision the date of the building, which, in the
archives of the Chartreux at Rouen[70], is stated to have been
constructed about the conclusion of the eleventh century. The remains of
the monastery are not considerable: they consist of little more than a
ruined wall, containing three circular arches, evidently very ancient
from their simplicity and the style of their masonry, and some pillars
with capitals differing in ornament from any others I recollect, but
imitations of the Grecian, or rather attempts to improve upon it. The
inside of the parish-church is more interesting than the ruins of the
abbey. It is characterised, as you will observe in the annexed sketch,
by massy square piers, to each side of which are attached several small
clustered columns, intended merely for ornament. One of them is fluted,
the work, probably, of some subsequent time; and another, on the same
pier, is truncated, to afford a pedestal for the statue of a saint. The
capitals are without sculpture.

[Illustration: Interior of the Church at Pavilly]

The church at Yainville differs materially from either of the others:
its square low central tower is of far greater base than that of Lery:
the transept parts of the cross have been demolished; and, beyond the
tower, to the east, is only an addition that looks more like an apsis
than a choir, a small semi-circular building with a roof of a peculiarly
high pitch, like those of the stone-roofed chapels in Ireland, which, I
trust, I shall be able hereafter to convince you were undoubtedly of
Norman origin. But the most curious feature in this building is, that
one of the buttresses is pierced with a narrow lancet window; a decisive
proof, that the Normans regarded their buttresses as constituent parts
of the edifice at its original construction, and that they did not add
them at a subsequent time, or design them to afford support, in the
event of any unexpected failure of strength. Indeed, what are usually
called Norman buttresses, such as we find at Yainville, and at the
lazar-house at St. Julien, have so very small a projection, that they
seem much more designed to add ornament or variety than for any useful
purpose.--Yainville is a parish adjoining Jumieges, and was formerly
dependent upon the celebrated abbey there, which will furnish ample
materials for a future letter.

Footnotes:

[63] _Taillepied, Antiquites de Rouen_, p. 77.

[64] Vol. II. part V. p. 8.

[65] _Seroux d'Agincourt, Historie de la Decadence de l'Art_; plate 10,
_Sculpture_, fig. 4-7.

[66] _Du Moulin, Histoire Generale de Normandie,_ p. 236.

[67] _Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 558.

[68] _Histoire de l'Abbaye de St. Ouen_, p. 188.

[69] _Farin, Histoire de Rouen_, V. p. 121

[70] _Description de la Haute Normandie_, II. p. 268.

LETTER X.

EARLY POINTED ARCHITECTURE--CATHEDRAL--EPISCOPAL PALACE.

(_Rouen, June_, 1818.)

In passing from the true Norman architecture, characterised "by the
circular arch, round-headed doors and windows, massive pillars with a
kind of regular base and capital, and thick walls without any very
prominent buttresses",[71] to those edifices which display the pointed
style, I shall enter into a more extensive field, and one where the
difficulty no longer lies in discovering, but in selecting objects for
observation and description.

The style which an ingenious author of our own country has designated as
_early English_[72], is by no means uncommon in Normandy. In both
countries, the circular style became modified into _Gothic_, by the same
gradations; though, in Normandy, each gradation took place at an earlier
period than amongst us. The style in question forms the connecting link
between edifices of the highest antiquity, and those of the richest
pointed architecture; combined in some instances principally with the
peculiarities of the former, in others with the character of the latter:
generally speaking, it assimilates itself to both. The simplicity of the
principal lines betray its analogy to its predecessors; whilst the form
of the arch equally displays the approach of greater beauty and
perfection.

Of this aera, the cathedral[73] of Rouen is unquestionably the most
interesting building; and it is so spacious, so grand, so noble, so
elegant, so rich, and so varied, that, as the Italians say of Raphael,
"ammirar non si puo che non s'onori."--By an exordium like this, I am
aware that an expectation will be raised, which it will be difficult for
the powers of description to gratify; but I have still felt that it was
due to the edifice, to speak of it as I am sure it deserves, and rather
to subject myself to the charge of want of ability in describing, than
of want of feeling in the appreciation of excellence.

The west front opens upon a spacious _parvis_, to which it exposes a
width of one hundred and seventy feet, consisting of a centre, flanked
by two towers of very dissimilar form and architecture, though of nearly
equal height. Between these is seen the spire, which rises from the
intersection of the cross, and which, from this point of view, appears
to pierce the clouds; and these masses so combine themselves together,
that the entire edifice assumes a pyramidical outline. The French, who,
without any real affection for ancient architecture, are often
extravagant in their praises, regard this spire as a "chef d'oeuvre de
hardiesse, d'elegance, et de legerete." Bold and light it certainly is;
but we must pause before we consider it as elegant: the lower part is a
combination of very clumsy Roman pediments and columns; and, as it is
constructed of wood, the material conveys an idea of poverty and
comparative meanness.--It is commonly said in France, that the portal of
Rheims, joined to the nave of Amiens, the choir of Beauvais, and the
tower of Chartres, would make a perfect church; nor is it to be denied
that each of these several cathedrals surpasses Rouen in its peculiar
excellence; but each is also defective in other respects; so that Rouen,
considered as a whole, is perhaps equal, if not superior, to any. The
front is singularly impressive: it is characterised by airy
magnificence. Open screens of the most elegant tracery, and filled, like
the pannels to which they correspond, with imagery, range along the
summit. The blue sky shines through the stone filagree, which appears to
be interwoven like a slender web; but, when you ascend the roof, you
find that it is composed of massy limbs of stone, of which the edge
alone is seen by the observer below. This _free_ tracery is peculiar to
the pointed architecture of the continent; and I cannot recollect any
English building which possesses it. The basement story is occupied by
three wide door-ways, deep in retiring mouldings and pillars, and filled
with figures of saints and martyrs, "tier behind tier, in endless
perspective." The central portal, by far the largest, projects like a
porch beyond the others, and is surmounted by a gorgeous pyramidal
canopy of open stone-work, in whose centre is a great dial, the top of
which partly conceals the rose window behind. This portal, together with
the niches above on either side, all equally crowded with bishops,
apostles, and saints, was erected at the expence of the cardinal,
Georges d'Amboise, by whom the first stone was laid, in 1509[74].

The lateral door-ways are of a different style of architecture, and,
though obtusely pointed, are supposed to be of the eleventh century: a
plain and almost Roman circular arch surmounts the southern one. Over
each of the entrances is a curious bas-relief: in the centre is
displayed the genealogical tree of Christ; the southern contains the
Virgin Mary surrounded by a number of saints; the northern one, the most
remarkable[75] of all, affords a representation of the feast given by
Herod, which ended in the martyrdom of the Baptist. Salome, daughter of
Herodias, plays, as she ought to do, the principal character. The group
is of good sculpture, and curiously illustrative of the costumes and
manners of the times. Salome is seen dancing in an attitude, which
perchance was often assumed by the _tombesteres_ of the elder day; and
her position affords a graphical comment upon the Anglo-Saxon version of
the text, in which it is said that she "_tumbled_", before King Herod.
The bands or pilasters (if we may so call them) which ornament the jambs
of the door-ways, are crowned with graceful foliage in a very pure
style; and the pedestals of the lateral pillars are boldly underworked.

On the northern side of the cathedral is situated the cloister-court.
Only a few arches of the cloister now remain; and it appears, at least
on the eastern side, to have consisted of a double aisle. Here we view
the most ancient portion of the tower of Saint Romain.--There is a
peculiarity in the position of the towers of this cathedral, which I
have not observed elsewhere. They flank the body of the church, so as to
leave three sides free; and hence the spread taken by the front of the
edifice, when the breadth of the towers is added to the breadth of the
nave and aisles. The circular windows of the tower which look in the
court, are perhaps to be referred to the eleventh century; and a smaller
tower affixed against the south side, containing a stair-case and
covered by a lofty pyramidical stone roof, composed of flags cut in the
shape of shingles, may also be of the same aera. The others, of the more
ancient windows, are in the early pointed style; and the portion from
the gallery upwards is comparatively modern; having been added in 1477.
The roof, I suppose, is of the sixteenth century.

The southern tower is a fine specimen of the pointed architecture in its
greatest state of luxuriant perfection, enriched on every side with
pinnacles and statues. It terminates in a beautiful octagonal crown of
open stone-work.--Legendary tales are connected with both the towers:
the oldest borrows its name from St. Romain, by whom chroniclers tell us
that it was built; the other is called the _Tour de Beurre_, from a
tradition, that the chief part of the money required for its erection
was derived from offerings given by the pious or the dainty, as the
purchase for an indulgence granted by Pope Innocent VIIIth, who, for a
reasonable consideration, allowed the contributors to feed upon butter
and milk during Lent, instead of confining themselves, as before, to oil
and lard.--The archbishop, Georges d'Amboise, consecrated this tower, of
which the foundation was laid in 1485; and he had the satisfaction of
living to see it finished, in 1507, after twenty-two years had been
employed in the building.

The cardinal was so truly delighted by the beauty of the structure,
which had arisen under his auspices, that he determined to grace it with
the largest bell in France; and such was afterwards cast at his
expence.--Even Tom of Lincoln could scarcely compete with Georges
d'Amboise; for thus the bell was duly christened. It weighed
thirty-three thousand pounds; its diameter at the base was thirty feet;
its height was ten feet; and thirty stout and sweating bell-ringers
could hardly put it into swing.--Such was the importance attached to the
undertaking, that it was thought worthy of a religious ceremony. At the
appointed hour for casting the bell, the clergy paraded in full
procession round the church, to implore the blessing of heaven upon the
work; and, when the signal was given that the glowing metal had filled
the enormous mould, _Te Deum_ resounded as with one voice; the organ
pealed, the trombones and clarions sounded, and all the other bells in
the cathedral joined, as loudly and as sweetly as they could, in
announcing the birth of their prouder brother.--The remainder of the
story is of a different complexion:--The founder, Jean le Machon, of
Chartres, died from excess of joy, and was buried in the nave of the

Book of the day: