A Ride on Horseback to Florence Through France and Switzerland. Vol. 1 of 2 Described in a Series of Letters by a Lady by Holmes, Augusta Macgregor










“I will not change my horse for any that treads but on four pasterns: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes; he is the prince of palfreys; his neigh is like the bidding of a monarch, and his countenance enforces homage: nay, the man hath no wit that cannot from the rising of the lark to the lodging of the lamb vary deserved praise on my palfrey.”—SHAKSPEARE, _King Henry the Fifth_.



LONDON: Printed by WILLIAM CLOWES and SONS, Stamford Street.

A ride on horseback to Florence


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Page 1

LANDING at Calais—Meeting of a Custom-House Officer with Fanny—Historical remains—John’s mode of Confession—The Hero malgré lui—The Courtgain—St. Omer’s—The Abbey of St. Bertin and the Cathedral—St. Denis and the miraculous St. Hubert—The strength of the short Pepin—Lillers, and John’s precautions—St. Pol—Doullens, the Citadel and the Corporal—The possession of Doullens by the Huguenots—The taking of Amiens caused by love for a fair Widow—Hernand Teillo’s stratagem—His success chiefly owing to a body of Irishmen—Henry the Fourth’s emotion and resolve—Death of Hernand Teillo—Amiens—The Sunstroke—The warlike show—A religious Picture strangely imagined—The Beffroi and its tragedy—The Cathedral and its Tombs—The travelling Crucifix—The Bishop who sheltered Philip of Valois after the battle of Crecy—The Pavement marked in fatal memorial—The Grave of Hernand Teillo—Characters and portraits of the Canons—The contrite Ass and presentation of an infant, Breteuil



Clermont—Château now a penitentiary—A Stronghold of the English in Charles the Sixth’s time—Creil, where Peter the Hermit preached the first Crusade—Charles the Sixth’s place of confinement during his Madness—Chantilly—Écouen—Henry last Duke of Montmorency—Presentiment of his Father—At eighteen created Lord High Admiral—His early love in Languedoc—His prudential Marriage at the Louvre—His Successes at Rochelle—Coldness of Louis the Thirteenth, and jealousy of Richelieu—His gallantry at Veillane—Restoration of Prisoners—Humanity during the plague at Rivoli—His anxiety to become High Constable of France—Richelieu’s injustice—His retirement to Languedoc—Privileges of Languedoc—Prince Gaston’s efforts to win over Montmorency—The Duke’s arrest by Richelieu’s orders, rendered impossible through the people’s affection—Renewed efforts of Gaston—Persuasions of the Duchess—Montmorency’s reluctant consent—Gaston’s indecision and high words with the Duke—Battle of Castelnaudary—His emulation with the Comte de Moret to strike the first blow—The ditch leaped alone as at Veillane—The troops held back by Gaston in sight of his peril—Montmorency overpowered—Dragged from under his dead horse and carried before Schomberg—The female portrait on his arm discovered by a spy, and notice of his wearing it sent to incense the King by the Cardinal—The cries of the people beneath the Palace windows—His farewell to his wife, and legacy to Richelieu—The emotion of his Judges—His condemnation—Religious feeling of his last hours—His farewell to the statue of his Godfather—His calm death, and blood sought for as that of a martyr—His burial among the bones of the Sainted—The imprisonment of his widow—Her sad life—Her taking the veil—Louis the Thirteenth’s visit to her mourning cell and her reply to the Cardinal’s messengers—The King’s remorse—The apparition in the Hall of Écouen—St. Denis—Foundation of the Cathedral by Dagobert, St. Denis having appeared to him in a dream—Miraculous consecration of the church and the leper’s new skin—Tombs—The column to the memory of Francis, erected by Mary of Scotland—Breaking open of the monuments in 1793—Turenne in a glass case—A lock of Henry the Fourth’s beard making a soldier’s moustache—Plunder of a nose by an Englishman—The Caveau of the last Condé—Devotion of a Russian General to Henry the Fourth’s memory—The Cathedral preserved during the Revolution by being converted into a Market-house—Paris



Departure under an unlucky star—Essonne—Petit Bourg—The Czar Peter—Fontainebleau—Palace—Apartments of the Emperor Charles the Fifth—Chamber where Pius the Seventh said mass daily—Chapel founded in the seventh century—Cypher of the Saviour and Virgin placed beside those of Henry the Second and Diana of Poitiers—Princess Mary of Orleans—Napoleon’s apartments—Marie Antoinette’s boudoir—Carving by Louis the Sixteenth’s hand—Monaldeschi, favourite of Queen Christina—Gallery where he was murdered—Account of his murder by the Monk who confessed him, of his burial at dusk in the church of Avon—Window thrown open by Henry the Fourth, to announce Louis the Thirteenth’s birth—Gallery of Henry the Second, called Galerie des Réformés—Petition in which they took the name presented here by Coligny—Open chamber above the Donjon—Arch where Louis the Thirteenth was publicly baptized—Biron’s tower—His treason—His denial—His last interview with Henry the Fourth—Napoleon—The Forest—The Comte de Moret, last inhabitant of the Hermitage of Franchard—Fanny’s sagacity—Croix du Grand Veneur—The spectre hunt—Apparition and warning to Henry the Fourth, corroborated by Sully—Avon—Monaldeschi, Christina’s fickle lover—The old church—The fat porter—The grave beneath the Bénitier—The Englishmen’s sacrilege—Monaldeschi their relative—Precautions against travellers



Moret—The Nunnery—Louis the Fourteenth’s black daughter—Two useful Saints—Villeneuve la Guyard—-Descriptions deceitful—Strange cure for blood to the head—A River-god on terra-firma—Sens—St. Colombe, Thomas à Becket’s refuge—Villeneuve le Roy—Place where the Vine was first cultivated—Auxerre—The Chapter’s hundred years’ Law-suit concerning fur trimmings—The Canons’ games at ball—The Cathedral occupying the site of the first Christian Chapel—St. Germain—The Saint’s refusal to get out of his Grave to reform England—Tombs of Dukes of Burgundy—Ill-treatment in a Church from a School at its devotions—Lucy le Bois—The Face in a Hole in the Wall—Taken for a beast—Arnay le Duc—La Rochepot—A danger avoided through Grizzle’s affection—An unamiable Carter—Chalons, Cæsar’s head-quarters—Cross seen by Constantine—Punishment of past times for unskilful Physicians—A Prince of Portugal, Monk at St. Laurents—Cathedral



Tournus—Greuze’s grave—Mâcon—The walking Wedding—Retirement of a Count of Mâcon, with thirty Knights, to the Abbey of Cluny—Dealings of his Successor with evil spirits—His exit from Earth in the Car of a black Visitor—His son turning Monk through fear—The County sold by his Daughter Alice to France—Bloodless occupation of Mâcon by the Huguenots—Mâcon retaken through bribery by the Marshal of Tavannes—Madame de Tavannes’ mode of increasing her Revenues—Sauteries de Mâcon—Farce of St. Poinct—Assassination of Huguenot Prisoners—Sang froid of Catholic Dames—A Russian noble—Villefranche—Privilege granted to its married men—Descent into Lyons—Monastère des deux Amans, supposed Herod and Herodias—Fortress of Pierre Encise—The Prison of Cinq Mars—Fort commanding the Croix Rousse—Homage paid to the wooden Statue of 1550—Hôtel de l’Europe—View of Fourvières—Its Church escaping violation throughout the Revolution—The Antiquaille on the site of the Palace where Germanicus was born—Traces of fire in Nero’s time—Recollections of Princess Mary of Württemberg—Her love of Art to the last—Nourrit’s Funeral—A Racer’s determination to trot—Going to races—Mistaken for a Candidate—Perrache—Horses, riders, and accoutrements—Triumph of the King’s Fête—A Boat upset—The Tower of the fair German—Croix Rousse—Wretchedness of the Operatives—Causes of Insurrection in 1831—The most ancient Monastery in Gaul—Church of Aisnay



Heights of Fourvières—Difficult descent—Trade in relics—Our Lady of Fourvières—Saving Lyons from Cholera—Lunatic patients—Dungeon where the first Christian Bishop was murdered—Roman Ruins—The Christians’ early place of assembly—St. Irénée—A coffin—Subterranean chapels—Bones of the Nine Thousand—The Headsman’s block, and the murmur from the well—Bleeding to death—Marguerite Labarge—Her abode for nine years—Her return to upper air cause of her death—Her family rich residents in Lyons—Mode of saving the soul—Body dispensed with—The Pope’s Bull good for ever—A friend’s arrival—Jardin des Plantes—Riots of November, 1831—The Préfet’s mistake—Capt. de ——.—Defence of the Arsenal with unloaded cannon—The murdered Chef de Bataillon—His assassin’s death—The grief of his opponents—Their usual cruelty and their wild justice—Their eight days’ occupation of Lyons—Capt. de ——’s defence of Arsenal—Bearer of proclamation—Danger—Saved by a former comrade—Interview—Threats—Empty cannon effective—Invitation to dinner—Retreat—The Hôtel de l’Europe closed against its master by a National Guard—Three hundred killed in St. Nizier—The Cathedral—Second Council General—Jaw of St. John—The ivory horn of Roland—Privilege of the Seigneur of Mont d’Or—The first Villeroy Archbishop—Refusal to accept him by the Counts of Lyons—His text and the Dean’s reply—Lyons refuge for the Pazzi—Their monument destroyed in anger by Marie de Médicis—The last Prince of Dauphiné becoming prior of the Jacobin Convention, Paris—Procession in St. Nizier—Chapel of Ste. Philomène—Place des Terreaux



Place Bellecour—Louise Labé—Clémence de Bourges—Her desertion by her lover—His death—Her own—Rue de la Belle Cordière—Abd-el-Kader—The fat Cantinière captive—Presented to the Emperor of Morocco—The Emperor’s love—Her obstinacy—Application made to the Consul—Her oaths and blows—Her return—The Savoyard Regiment’s fidelity—Marquis of —— and dogs—Cat massacre—Indignant landlady—Pont de la Guillotière—Bridge at the same spot broken beneath Philip Augustus and Richard Cœur de Lion—Leaving Lyons—Mont Blanc—La Verpelière—Its accommodation—La Tour du Pin—A lovely Country—An auberge—Destructive storms—Pont du Beauvoisin—Curious landlady—Leeches en poste—A smiling country—A wild pass—La Chartreuse—Valley des Échelles—Grotto—Cascade of Cours—Chambéry



Chambéry—The Cathedral—The Château—The Chapel—The holy shroud distilling blood—Mules’ refusal to carry the relic away—Respected by the flames—St. Charles of Borromeo’s pilgrimage to its shrine at Turin—Its authenticity denied by Calvin—Drawing made of the Saint Suaire by desire of Philip the Fifth of Spain—Artist on his knees—Savoy—Peter of Savoy favourite of Henry the Third of England—Savoy Palace, his residence—The Green Count Amedée—His tournament—The Emperor Charles the Fourth’s passage—Homage done to the Emperor—The Banquet served by Horsemen—The Carmelites’ whitewash—The Crusade—The Green Count’s embarkation—The Red Count Amedée—His Death-wound in the forest of Lornes—Poison—Physician beheaded—Duel between Estavayer and Grandson—Its real cause—Place of combat—Bourg en Bresse—Otho conquered—His tomb at Lausanne—Duke Amedée’s retreat to Ripaille—His authority delegated to his Son—Six Knights his Companions in the Monastery—Astrologers’ prediction—Author of Peace of Arras—Elected Pope—His renouncement of the Tiara—His return to Ripaille, and death—His tower and those of four of his knights still standing—Fête Dieu—The priest commander of the forces—Les Charmettes—The young Abbé—The old Governor—Censure—Severe laws for small offences—Rejoicings—Montmeillan—Abymes de Myans—The Black Virgin’s power—Chignin—Iron collars—Fortress of Montmeillan—Its resistance—Sully’s stratagem—Proof of the King’s Catholicity—Treason of the Governor—Christina of Savoy’s confessor a captive—His vain intrigues against Richelieu—Richelieu’s anger chiefly excited by a satire written by Père Monod—Monod’s death—Bourget—Amedée the Fifth—Hautecombe—Sepulchre of Counts of Savoy—Tomb of Amedée, who defied to single combat three English Earls—Abbey changed to a manufactory—Spectres of the sovereigns of Savoy—Its restoration



Well merited attentions to St. Anthony—The young Countess de S——.—Leeches paying postilions better than the English—General de Boigne—Lemenc and its antiquities—Droit de dépouille of the Bénédictines—Their agreement with the nobles of Chambéry—Ancient vaults beneath the church—Colossal statues feared by the good people of Chambéry—Tomb of an Irish Primate—Calvary—Monument of General de Boigne—His low birth—His struggles—His success in India—The death of his benefactor Sindiah—His gratitude shown towards his heir—The story of his betrayal of Tippoo Saib unfounded—His arrival in England—His marriage with the Marquis of Osmond’s daughter an unhappy one—His return to Chambéry—His benefactions—Created Count—His death—Aix—Its antiquities—Tower and Cascade of Grésy—The friend of Queen Hortense—Her fate—Her monument—Rumilly—Its convent—Siege by Louis the Thirteenth—The courage of a nun—The three privileged houses and discipline of a French soldiery—Frangy, an impertinent innkeeper—Fanny’s wisdom—L’Éluiset—A sweet evening—A bad night—A welcome dawning—Geneva—The fusillades of 94—The Secheron



Early history of Geneva—Constitution—Duke Amedée the Eighth—Attempt to become master of Geneva—The Bishop inclined to cede his rights—The opposition of the citizens—Charles the Third—Berthelier—Alliance with Fribourg—His courage—Geneva taken—His refusal to fly—His arrest—A tooth-drawer named his judge—His execution—The news of his death causing the impression he had hoped for—Treaty—The Mamelukes—The Confrères de la Cuiller—Advance of Berne and Fribourg—Charles the Third’s forced concessions—Want of generosity in the Bernese—Noble conduct of Geneva—Protestant religion gaining strength—Bonnivard—Seized on the Jura—Cast into the dungeons of Chillon—Disputes in Geneva—The Grand Council decides that mass be abolished—Francis the First—Berne declares war against Savoy—Her alliance with Francis—The Duke of Savoy’s losses—Berne’s renewed misconduct—Proud reply of the Genevese—Bonnivard delivered—Calvin—His early life—His flight from Paris—His reception by Marguerite of Navarre—Persecution of Francis—Calvin’s reception by Louis the Twelfth’s Daughter—Geneva—His over severity—His expulsion—His return—His iron rule—Michael Servet—His irritating conduct towards Calvin—Calvin’s vow to be revenged—Servet’s arrest—His escape—Tracked by Calvin—Taken prisoner on his passage through Geneva—He is accused—Calvin’s valet—Burned at the stake outside the walls of Geneva



A vain Stork—A German coachmaker—Coppet—Ferney—Voltaire’s Church—His habitation—Crockery Cenotaph—Shoe-blacking in his study—The old Gardener—The morning rehearsals in tragic costume—The story of Gibbon—Voltaire catching his pet mare—Gibbon’s opinion of Voltaire’s beauty—Their reconciliation—The tree which shaded Franklin—The increase of his village—The marble pyramid broken—The gardener’s petites antiquités and cross wife—Voltaire’s opinions of his correspondents—His remains the property of a maimed Englishman—Denial to a visitor—His heart in the larder—Genevese pride—Swiss troops—Swiss penitentiaries—Genevese smuggling—The Directeur Général des Douaness an unwilling accomplice—D’Aubigné interred in the cathedral—The Cardinal de Brogny—A swineherd—Shoes bestowed in charity—The boy become a cardinal—The poor shoemaker rewarded—His compassion for John Huss—Courageous death of the latter—De Brogny’s charity—A modest genius and tolerant cardinal



Arrival of friends—Excursion to Chamouny—The Voiron mountain—Its monastery—The Babes in the wood—Old castle of Faucigny—Its last possessor—Her rights over Dauphiny bequeathed to Savoy—Long war with France—Bonneville—Cluses—Wretched inhabitants—The baronial capital in the time of the old lords—Cavern of La Balme—The village of Arache, and Falquet—The Nant d’Arpenas—Sallenches—Mont Blanc—The lake of Chède filled up—Pont Pelissier—Les Motets—The Glacier des Bossons—Evening—A tranquil night—Morning cavalcade—My guide—The Montanvert—Fontaine du Caillet—Source of the Aveiron—The avalanche—Mer de Glace—Passage of cattle—Priory of Chamouny founded in eleventh century—The Grands Mulets on Mont Blanc—Character of the inhabitants of Chamouny—Return—Versoix destined by Louis the Fourteenth for Geneva’s rival—Coppet—The monument—Old castle of Wufflens—Bertha—Morges—Lausanne—Cathedral containing tomb of Duke Amedée and Bernard de Menthon—The Faucon—The fat innkeeper abandoned—Vevay—Trois Couronnes


Landing at Calais—Meeting of a Custom-House Officer with Fanny—Historical remains—John’s mode of Confession—The Hero malgré lui—The Courtgain—St. Omer’s—The Abbey of St. Bertin and the Cathedral—St. Denis and the miraculous St. Hubert—The Strength of the short Pepin—Lillers, and John’s precautions—St. Pol—Doullens, the Citadel and the Corporal—The possession of Doullens by the Huguenots—The taking of Amiens caused by love for a fair Widow—Hernand Teillo’s stratagem—His success chiefly owing to a body of Irishmen—Henry the Fourth’s emotion and resolve—Death of Hernand Teillo—Amiens—The Sunstroke—The warlike show—A religious Picture strangely imagined—The Beffroi and its tragedy—The Cathedral and its Tombs—The travelling Crucifix—The Bishop who sheltered Philip of Valois after the battle of Crecy—The Pavement marked in fatal memorial—The Grave of Hernand Teillo—Characters and Portraits of the Canons—The contrite Ass and presentation of an infant, Breteuil.

Wednesday, July the 5th 1838.

Hotel de Meurice, à Calais.


When we called on you a few weeks since, on our ride from Liverpool to Dover, you desired a journal of that which was to follow across France and to Florence. We embarked, then, at seven in the morning of the 4th of July, with no wind, but a heavy swell and drizzling rain: D—— and myself, Fanny and the patient Grizzel in their horse boxes, with John (from Cork!) beside them, combing tails and rubbing curb-chains—his resource against ennui. Landed at ten: Fanny profiting by her first free moment to bite a douanier who caressed her; and from his calling obtained no more pity from the bystanders than from John, who was grinning derision at his “big ear-ring.” Worried by the Customhouse, though we have nothing contraband. The signalement of the horses taken with care and gravity: it would suit any grey mare and bay pony in the world. The officers do not quite understand the shining of their coats, and (supposing them cleaned after the fashion of spoons) asked John “with what powder?” he has been rather awed by the ceremony of receiving his passport, particularly when standing up to be measured and described. We remain here three days, as the inn is exceedingly comfortable, but there is very little to see; on the Grande Place, near the lighthouse tower, stood, even in 1830, the ruins of the old Halle, where John de Vienne the governor, and Sire Walter de Mauny communicated the hard terms of surrender to Eustache St. Pierre: there is no trace of it now. The site of St. Pierre’s house is marked by a neat marble slab, at the corner of the street which bears his name. The building still called “Cour de Guise,” though it has been turned to various purposes, rebuilt and altered, was the wool staple originally built by Edward the Third of England; and afterwards bestowed on Guise the Balafré, in reward of his services when he retook Calais from the English in 1577. The church has little worth notice excepting its altar. The vessel, which in Louis the Thirteenth’s time bore it from Genoa, on its way to Antwerp, was wrecked on the Calais coast. With its bassi-relievi and crowd of statues and marble columns, it wants simplicity, and is too large for the place it occupies; for the roof appears to crush the glory of the Saviour. The old Suisse who shows the church is most proud of a Last Supper carved in relief, gilded and coloured: he knocks on the head the little figure of Christ to prove his assertion, “Monsieur c’est en bois!”

In the old revolution this church was unprofaned: a Club built before it masked its entrance; and the then mayor of Calais warned Lebon that he might enter if he would, but that he could not answer for the temper of his townsmen.

The chief building in Calais is the Hôtel de Ville with its handsome tower, and a clock which has a sweet clear chime; before it, each on its pedestal, are the busts of Richelieu and Guise le Balafré: that of Eustache St. Pierre holds the place of honour on the façade. To reward for the trouble of walking up stairs, the old woman only exhibited two rooms, “là où l’on marie” and “là où l’on reçoit,” she called them: in the latter, Louis Philip, whom the artist intended to smile, and who sneers instead, occupies the wall opposite a Surrender of Calais. The citadel is forbidden ground; we were turned back by the sentinel, as we were proceeding to search for the ruins of the Chateau of Calais, in which, by Richard the Second’s order, the Duke of Gloucester was imprisoned and murdered; they are built into a bastion, called that of the “Vieux Chateau.”

John has decided that eating a dinner in France is the most wonderful thing which has happened to him yet. He describes the spreading a white cloth over his knees preparatory to serving up soup, fish, made dishes and dessert; he has made acquaintance with the “Garçon d’Ecurie,” whose thin tall figure is a contrast to his own, with its round head and bowed legs. They keep up a conversation of signs and contortions; this hot day they have passed seated in a wheelbarrow on the sunny side of the court-yard: it was first Pierre’s place of repose, but beginning by sitting on the wheel, and encroaching by degrees, John made it so uncomfortable to his comrade, that he gained sole possession, and is now coiled up asleep. He told me this morning that he must go to church, the Irish father by whom he was married a month ago not having “quite done with him in the way of confession:” I represented that these priests were Frenchmen; that he said was of no consequence, “Clargy spaking all kinds of languages.” He knew but one exception, and that was the very father who married him and could not speak Irish; it was he who (by John’s account) gave him a blow when instead of the fifteen shillings he demanded he offered him five.

The stout waiter François, known for four and twenty years at the hotel, is as perfect a specimen of French nature in his class, as is John of that of Ireland. He informed me he had lately crossed to England; an ordinary intellect would have supposed it was to see the country, or the coronation, but no, it was to see Lablache! and being in London he also saw Taglioni!! and her dancing, he said, went to his very soul. While we were at dinner, a fair girl, with a wrinkled old woman on her arm, looked in at the window and touched a bad guitar: I said we wanted no music, and François scolded her away, but as he stooped down to arrange the fire, muttered in a low voice, “It was true that she was troublesome, and had only one excuse, she supported her old mother.” We gave her something, and François, whose face had grown radiant, told us his own story, and how he had worked from a boy with the hope of assisting his father, and at last had purchased him an annuity of 600 francs, which the old man had enjoyed thirteen years, proud in the gift of a son, who, like Corporal Trim, thought that “Honour thy father and thy mother” meant allowing them a part of his earnings. “He had been looked on as the best son of the province;” and his own child had promised well likewise but he died—he thought he might have weathered the storm, but death, François said, was the strongest and not to be battled with; and with a mixture of feeling and philosophy, as he changed my soup-plate, he shook his head and added, “que voulez-vous?”

D—— misses a Commissionaire, a civil fellow well known to all who frequented the Hotel Meurice, his story being romantic from its commencement; he has become a hero malgré lui; he was brought from Portugal when a child by an officer of the 11th Regiment, and left here when the army of occupation quitted France. He travelled to Paris in the July of 1830 and was there surprised by the revolution. Being of a peaceable temper he hid himself within doors; through some unlucky window a ball came and grazed his arm, and, determined to profit by events if possible, as soon as danger was passed he emerged, showing his wounds and claiming cross and pension; he has obtained both as due to his merit, and is now a “gros portier dans un hôtel de libéral.” We walked this lovely evening past the Courtgain to the Pier. The Courtgain is the fishermen’s quarter, being nothing more than a large bastion ceded them, with permission to build, in 1622; it contains seven very narrow streets. We watched the fishing-boats towed out against wind and tide by their owners’ wives and daughters; the men look picturesque in their red caps and high boots, and they crawl through the mud and up the sides of their craft, with two oars serving for ladder, with the dexterity of cats. It blew fresh this evening; the boats were out at sea a few moments after the women let go the ropes at the pier head. They did not murmur at their hard work, nor did sign or token offer them thanks for it. The skiffs sailed on and they just glanced at them as they lessened in the distance, and returned dragging along and scolding disobedient children; yet the sky was wild though the sun shone; sufficiently stormy to make one wonder they looked no longer.

St. Omer, July 8th, Grande St. Catherine.

One may certainly ride from Calais hither, and say “it is all barren.” The soil seems a deep sand, and we wondered that it could produce even thin wheat and dry grass; crossed the “Pont Sans pareil,” which is thrown over the two canals, where they meet at right angles. Twenty-six miles of broad straight road, only enlivened by a few pollarded trees, a great many windmills, some melancholy red chateaux with great gates and long avenues, and here and there villages of wretched cabins each in its unwholesome enclosure; the green pond in front and the tall trees around it: the group surmounted by a spire. Such as they are, they give the dead flat a look of the living: but they are scantily scattered. Left Ardres to the right: it has been a strong place, and is going to decay. Guines is farther on, and the field of “Cloth of Gold,” which still bears its name, lies between them, but not on the road: but for D——’s recollection of 1815, and some interest in tracing his old quarters, it would have been duller still.

Approached St. Omer at last: rode between rows of stripped elms with deplorable heads; through a long suburb; along a fine avenue skirting the fortifications, over bridges and drawbridges unending, and we were in the town. This is a good inn. We walked after dinner to see the Abbey of St. Bertin; our guide the “grosse fille d’auberge.” Its interior was burned in the old revolution, and the “Conseil Municipal,” judging the safety of the townsmen endangered, has caused all to be taken down, saving a side wall and its beautiful tower. English visitors still ascend the latter for the sake of the view, but it must be a work of danger; it is cracked to the very top, and bends awfully. Over its porch was a fresco painting, whose outline and some faded colours remain, and above it, sown there by some of the winds of heaven, grows and flourishes a young pear tree.

We seated ourselves on some timber to look at the sunset and the falling abbey, and the fille d’auberge sat down also. She said all the small houses round were inhabited by English, who admire ruins “furieusement.” When she was tired of talking she remembered she was wanted and left us. We returned ourselves through handsome desolate streets, passing some hotels of Louis the Thirteenth’s time, and many Spanish houses, of I presume Queen Elizabeth’s date, for they exhibit the gable peaked or in-steps of stone, but have an ugly addition of shell-like ornaments over doors and windows. The Place du Haut Pont, which we crossed, is surrounded by these. The Place itself, with its crooked canal crossed by a wooden bridge and disappearing under a dark arch of some ancient building—the boats lying on the water ready to depart for Dunkirk—a group of people collected on its edge round a street singer—looked in the red indistinct light like a Dutch picture or a fragment of opera scenery.

July 9th.

The cathedral is very fine, and we regretted that an exceedingly gruff Suisse would not allow us to stay more than five minutes in the lovely Gothic chapel behind the altar, which would be faultless, but that it is over-painted and gilded. Above the altar is a Crucifixion in stone, with a background of stained glass, through which the light comes on it with great effect, but rather theatrically. At the foot of the altar steps was a female figure in almost modern costume, seated on the floor, looking like a great wooden doll. What she does there I cannot say, and the Suisse left me no time to examine. We were obliged to rest satisfied with a passing glimpse of this, and the “grilles de chapelles,” on either side, in fine Italian marble, and the tomb in the nave of some monk or bishop who lies here in costly effigy. We went thence to St. Denis. Its exterior in some degree resembles St. Bertin and Nôtre Dame, as its square tower has the same character, but it has been pieced and renewed within. It was “fête” in this church, an old man said, and to do it honour the high altar was ornamented with hundreds of roses, and myrtle and orange-trees in their tubs, ranged in the choir beneath the church banners. On the right of the choir is the altar of the “Sacré Cœur,” on either side of which hang strings of silver hearts as big as the palm of the hand, offerings of the faithful!

On the left, in a hole sunk in the wall, framed and lined with room-paper, except on festivals screened from profane eyes by little pink calico curtains, is a gilded bust of St. Bertin, adorned with steel court buttons. Walking down the aisle on this side we arrived before the chapel of St. Hubert; we looked through the grille, and saw on the opposite wall a larger recess, its folding-doors thrown back for the holiday. Within, the saint (a foot high) kneels in a flowing wig and Roman toga! a tiny tin cor de chasse, such as you have seen on the caps of the light infantry of the National Guard, tacked to his side! The background, a piece of room-paper representing a great green tree; on which (in relief of course) shines out a second and similar hunting horn! The saint’s dog, in an attitude of astonishment, gazes, as does Hubert, on a small wooden stag, who stands on a rock; the Crucifix and two Thieves springing from his forehead in place of antlers. Below is written, “The Conversion of St. Hubert.”

In a second recess of the same chapel, St. Hubert reappears, rewarded; in gilded canonicals and holding a bunch of flowers, but still hangs at his girdle, to prove his identity, the tin cor de chasse of the bonnet de Voltigeurs.

I saw lower down a devout inscription praying that “St. Joseph’s presence in that spot might protect all carpenters,” and near the entrance an ancient basso relievo brought from the tomb of the Abbot of St. Bertin.

We walked on to the college, and round its fine courts. Some of the buildings bear the date of Francis the First, but the church and college themselves were erected by the Jesuits in the time of their power—1629. The former merely presents to the street a high ornamented gable, and a vast space within not worth looking at. Its curiosities (placed here temporarily) are some bassi relievi of Spanish processions, dug up some miles from St. Omer, and a group representing St. Pepin (who was the dwarf of his century) killing with his fist a lion, who is gnawing a bull.

The fire-engines are also here till the Hôtel de Ville, which is in progress, shall be ready to house them. I was surprised to see their buckets are baskets saturated with pitch, and hempen vessels of the same form, and to hear they answer perfectly. We walked on the ramparts which command the view of the prodigiously strong fortifications, and the flat, which can at pleasure be inundated a mile round; but like the broad desolate streets, the prospect is surpassingly melancholy.

Lillers, Hotel de la Poste, July 10th.

A fine avenue, leaving St. Omer; and a rather more interesting country, through which flows the little river. One hill in the distance (which we took for Cassel) breaking the flat, and here and there, some rather pretty looking hamlets—each cabin within its prairie; but between these no sign of habitation. The light sandy soil is extremely cultivated, and the unending plain less sad now than it will be later in the season, as the corn is in ear, and the bean and poppy fields are in blossom. From the seed of this purple and white poppy is expressed salad oil. Aire, which we passed through, is a picturesque, fortified town, its ramparts shaded with fine green trees. Beyond Aire, on each side of the grand route, are numberless gardens, and it was gay and sweet with flowers.

At every mile we pass a “petite chapelle,” being usually a small wooden case with a glass door, perched on a pole, planted at the road-side; and within, a tiny figure of the virgin, attired in white muslin. I saw Nôtre Dame de Grâce, Nôtre Dame de Guerison, and Nôtre Dame de Bonne Fin; the last with no great pleasure, thinking she might be there installed on account of the arrival of the black fever, which is in Flanders. We fancied the villagers looked pale, and passed at a gallop.

John had arrived before us at Lillers; and fearing the diligence had taken him too far, and unable to ask the name of the place in which he was deposited, he locked up our baggage in a room of the inn, and, with the great key in his hand, was contemplating a walk back to St. Omer. This inn is a mere farm-house with bad accommodation; the landlord and his friends sat smoking in the room where we dined; he regrets we will not walk three quarters of a league to the fête, and the servant and the landlady’s daughter are now describing Dominique’s dancing, and a minute ago had nearly come to high words about Dominique.

St. Pol, July 11th.

Started in burning weather, having found no conveyance for John, who trudged after cheerfully, though he says “it is these straight roads what breaks the heart of a traveller.” Stopped to rest whenever the shade of a bush made it possible, for the fine trees which grew here as well as on most of the grandes routes of France are all felled. Saw no traveller, excepting a white haired bishop, in his purple robes, who passed in his carriage. John said “he would have kneeled to ax a blessing but he took him for an officer;” at last we came up with a petite voiture, within which we deposited John, who directly commenced a conversation no one was likely to sustain. Arrived here ourselves, having suffered a good deal from the intense heat; and drank some beer which a peasant sold at four sous a quart, and explained to her how I sat on Fanny having no one behind to hold me on. Avoid this inn on pain of bad meat, and bad beds, and mistakes in the bill. Strolled out, for refreshment, in the heavy dew, and finding a rather pretty walk compared to the frightful plain, hailed as if it had been Swiss scenery the dry bed of a little stream with a bridge and broken bank, shaded by young birch trees, and a path winding upwards from it through corn and bean fields and a tiny copse to the town.

Doullens, le Grand Turc, July 12th.

Left St. Pol at four in the afternoon, to avoid the heat, and found it still so excessive that we sat under the shade of the first trees we found, and let the horses feed until the sun declined. John was to follow in the “Service des Dépêches,” a heavy cab with a raw-boned horse. The peasantry hereabouts are worse lodged and more filthy than between Calais and St. Omer. Woe to whom penetrate within the prairie, or step across the floor. The evening grew dark so suddenly that we had some trouble in finding (not the road, for there are no cross-ways or green lanes) but its least stony part, in the steep rough descent to Doullens; took a poppy field for a lake; it struck ten as we arrived in the bad air of the narrow street, where reigns the Grand Turk the moon rising as our ride ended. John appeared in the mail a few minutes after; it had changed horses on the road, but certainly not fatigued either, for ours were not put out of a walk. The fille d’auberge blinded me by holding her candle in my face to examine hat, habit, and wearer, before she thought proper to lead the way to a room. The atmosphere abominable, and the draught which, when I threw open the windows, came in from the narrow street and dirty yard, worse than the air it expelled. Nothing to be had but café au lait and cherries, but the beds comfortable and the dark-eyed bonne good humoured. She swept the room before breakfast this morning, and the floor bore witness to its being a favour.

We walked to the citadel, which is just without the town, now occupied by only twenty-five men; a pretty avenue leads to it up the glacis. We were admitted without difficulty, though with some formality. The soldier at the gate summoned the Corporal; the Corporal asked permission of the Commandant, and returned to conduct us across the two drawbridges. The form of the citadel is a square, flanked at each angle by a bastion, and defended by outworks. From his manners and conversation, the Corporal might have been a nobleman—for he had perfect ease and no familiarity; he offered his hand to assist me in climbing where it was rough and steep, but only when assistance was necessary. On the side of the citadel furthest from the town is the place where political offenders were confined some years back; it is a fort within a fort, and has its own defences. The rampart commands it, and its sentinel kept a constant look out, yet, in spite of all precautions, some escaped. They were retaken, but unpunished, Louis Philip having shortly after proclaimed his “general amnesty.” Subterranean passages opening from this citadel conduct to the town, and completely mine it. The heat was so intense that we could not make the entire tour, though it was only eleven o’clock; the Corporal regretted being deprived of the pleasure of accompanying us further, and accepted the silver put in his hand without looking at it, and with seeming reluctance, as a physician does his first fee.

Doullens has belonged to many masters: to the Huguenots during the wars of religion, then to their enemies, afterwards to the Spaniards, who took it when Henry the Fourth was yet unsettled on his throne. It was in 1595, and the surprise of Amiens, which took place two years after, was accomplished by the governor of Doullens’ love for a fair widow. The governor was the famous Captain Hernand Teillo, and the lady the Dame de Monchy, who was rich as well as noble and beautiful. “I was born at Amiens,” she replied proudly, when he besought her to accept his hand: “I will espouse no man unless we obey the same royal master; either abandon the King of Spain and become French as I am, or take Amiens and make me a Spanish subject.”

Adopting this last alternative, and having sworn to succeed, the Spaniard Hernand Teillo marched with his troops towards Amiens; before day broke a strong detachment lay concealed behind hedges near the town, the chapel of St. Montain and la Madelaine were occupied, and the cavalry concealed in a valley; at dawn, Hernand Teillo having made choice of sixteen soldiers and four officers on whose resolution he could rely, disguised the former as peasants and market women, and sent them by different paths to the gate of Amiens, carrying on their backs market baskets of walnuts and apples; the four officers, disguised in like manner, walked beside a heavy cart laden with wood covered over with straw; one acting as waggoner. The movement of troops, however secretly made, could not be entirely concealed, and some peasants not counterfeits apprized the governor of Amiens of what was passing; it was said he had been bought over, at all events he treated it as an idle report. At six o’clock, the gates of the town being opened, the sixteen soldiers, preceded by their officers and waggon, boldly presented themselves for admission at the gate called Montre Écu; arrived under the entrance arch, the waggon stopped, and the waggoner silently cut the traces that the portcullis might be arrested in its fall; at the same moment, one of the pretended peasants undid, as if by mistake, the cord which fastened the mouth of a sack of walnuts, and its contents were scattered on the pavement. The guard was composed of wretched mechanics (for Amiens, in her pride, had refused a royal garrison); they abandoned their post to seize on the prize, and the Spaniards, drawing their arms from beneath their clothes, in the course of a few moments had massacred their unresisting enemies, and gained possession of the guard house. The sentinel placed on the gate heard the cries of the wounded, and cut the ropes which upheld the portcullis, but the waggon was exactly beneath, and the portcullis fell on it and fixed it there, leaving the way open to the foe. The citizens roused, came in numbers to repulse the Spaniards who poured in, and to a body of Irishmen under his command Hernand Teillo owed in a great measure his success. In their gallant defence of the town, perished numbers of its inhabitants: the Comte de St. Pol, governor of the province, failed to imitate their noble example; for he fled, as soon as from the tower of the royal chateau he inhabited he recognised the red scarfs of the Spaniards. The townsmen were disarmed the same day; the sack of Amiens permitted for eight more; and these past, the already ruined citizens reduced to starvation by the exaction of heavy sums of money. Married to the Lady of Monchy, Hernand Teillo was rewarded for his success: and Henry the Fourth of France, after a night passed at a ball, had just lain down to rest when the courier arrived with news of the surprise of Amiens. Sully was summoned to his bedside, and Henry, grasping his hand in strong emotion, said, “I have played the part of king of France long enough; I must return to that of king of Navarre.”

All the nobility of France encamped before Amiens; the effective force amounted to 18,000 men, and Hernand Teillo, reduced to extremity, implored the assistance of the Archduke Albert, who was at Arras, and who arrived at the head of 4,000 horse and 15,000 foot. It is told that the day on which Henry was informed of their approach, he rode to a height whence he could distinguish the Spanish army advancing in good order; and leaning over his saddle bow, he prayed heaven, “If his sins deserved heavy punishment to strike the guilty: but not to scatter the flock for the fault of the shepherd.”

Hernand Teillo never knew that relief was so near; he had already fallen by a musket shot, near the Porte de Montre Écu—that very gate by which he entered. Beside it canvass had been spread to conceal the workmen while they repaired the breaches made in the rampart: a French soldier fancied he saw a shade through, and fired—it was Hernand Teillo. His successor Montenegro surrendered Amiens to King Henry on the 25th of September.

We left Doullens at twelve, for I thought no sun could be so terrible as the Grand Turk’s air; but the heat proved more intense than I ever felt it in France, and whenever we found shade, which was but three times, we stopped exhausted. Overtook, travelling at this rate, John in the diligence; woke a half-naked child which was blistering in the sun; let the horses drink in a pool of abomination, and bought sour wine for ourselves—though the greasy glass clasped in the black paw almost conquered thirst. We began to feel the effect of the rays on our head; I could not without consideration recollect where we were—and talking became so painful, that we rode some hours in perfect silence, till we came to a few yards of turf under half a dozen trees, the first for miles; it was like a bit of paradise. We staid there, the horses feeding till the sun was low; and even then the heat seemed undiminished, and the remaining three leagues interminable, for cathedral and town being built in a hollow, the former towers in sight long before houses are visible. Just as we were reviving in expectation of an inn we came to a windmill, slowly turning its sails in the light air, and throwing long shadows, changing as they turned, on the road before the horses’ feet: it proved a foe to us as it did of yore to Don Quixote; Fanny kicked, and the patient Grizzel plunged, and a half hour’s course of backing and beating was necessary to induce them to pass. When we dismounted at the Hôtel d’Angleterre a fat old gentleman, an “habitué,” seated on the wicker-seat on the shady side of the Cour under the Laurier-rose, asked the landlady, if we could be in our senses who travelled in such weather, and in such a way? but D—— has suffered no injury, and I, saving faintness and giddiness, have escaped also.

13th July.

We are warned against repeating our folly, by the sight of a poor fellow, who, as I crossed the court-yard, I found placed there in a chair between two women, one of whom was sobbing violently; I asked “what ailed her?” She said she was his sister, and the other his wife; that he had quitted home to come on a journey here, and two days before on the river had received a sunstroke. They were sent for, and came instantly: he had not recognized them or spoken; the physician said his tongue was paralyzed. He had always been a good husband, yet now when his fits of fury came on, his violence was wholly directed against his wife,—(I had not noticed before that he wore a strait waistcoat): the poor wife said nothing; she leaned on his chair looking at him with red eyes, which seemed to have no moisture left; and only shook her head, when her sister added, that the Doctor rested a last hope on his being taken home to his children. I inquired if they wanted money? She said, “they had been comfortable while they depended on him, and would try to aid him in turn;” she seemed too miserable to care about it, or even glance at what was given her. The horses were put to a few minutes after, and they led him to the coach; he walked like a man in his sleep, and I think his sight is impaired, for tho’ his face was flushed, his eyes were like stone. While we were at the table d’hôte, a very undaunted looking ballad-singer brought her harp to the door, and reaped a good harvest: the landlord tried to get up a subscription for the unfortunate peasant, but failed.

Here is the prettiest fair in the world: but held within the precincts of an ancient church and monastery, whose outer wall, still standing, exhibits the remains of fine tombs defaced and broken: part of the cloister, its arches filled up with masonry, is there also; and these make strange boundaries to ranges of shops forming streets between avenues of lime-trees, shows and buffoons, feats of horsemanship and rope-dancing. If the nuns who lie beneath the old monuments could look forth, they would understand the meaning of revolution. We walked to the fair after dinner, when it was brilliantly lighted, and the gay standings and green branches showed to advantage. It is the resort of the beau monde of Amiens, and its theatres and temporary cafés were crowded. I asked the meaning of the frequent discharges of musketry we heard—“Madame,” said a grave shopman, “c’est la prise de Constantine!”

The exhibition of paintings by Amiens artists is held in the Hôtel de Ville, and does them no great honour: the subject of one picture you will think curious. I copy from the catalogue: “Christmas Eve: some good children are employed in reverently gathering together miraculous playthings, sent them by the _Enfant Jésus_ down the chimney”!!!

The Gaol joins the Hôtel de Ville. As we came out, we saw a crowd collected round a large machine like an omnibus, except that it received light and air from apertures in its roof: it was marked “Service des Prisonniers,” and is destined to convey some convicts to Bicêtre to-night: a better mode of transport than dragging them along the road in chains.

The Beffroi, a strange looking tower which rises alone on the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, now serves as a prison for minor offences: it contains the great bell tolled on solemn occasions. It is said that this tower was raised by Louis le Gros, but the town records make no mention of it till the year 1244; it has been twice consumed by fire—the first time in 1524, when it was the scene of an awful tragedy. The keeper had ascended to the lantern at its top before the flames broke forth: and when about to descend, found, to his horror, that smoke and fire barred his passage. He attempted to force his way, and they drove him back; he rushed to the top once more, and shrieked for assistance to the terrified crowd: it was impossible to afford it; and as the floor heated beneath his feet, he implored, in his agony, that some one present would fire on him. His sad prayer was granted; and having recommended his soul to God, he fell dead from a harquebuss shot.

There is a fine “Établissement des Bains” near our hôtel, supplied by the river, but before you go thither, do not, as I did, walk in view of the filthy buildings which hang over the Somme, as the muddy water causes disagreeable associations, particularly as it also washes the walls of the church in the principal street, now converted into a splendid hospital.

I have said nothing of the Cathedral, yet there we have passed the greater portion of our time; and for its sake remain three days at Amiens. Its foundations were laid in 1220, when Everard was Bishop of Amiens, and Louis the Eighth King of France. Excepting its towers, it was finished about 1288.

415 feet long within, 132 in height, its proportions are so perfect, that its size fails to strike, except by comparison. I was made aware of it only by looking at a human figure in the aisle. What a pity that bad taste should have covered a great part of the carved stone work, and several tombs in the chapels, with painted and gilt wainscotings! Among the latter, one in black marble of the churchman who united Isabella of Bavaria, of infamous memory, to Charles the Sixth, the royal maniac. The gilding of the altar, railings, &c. was lately renewed by the testamentary donation of an Englishman, who, together with his wife and family, embraced the Catholic religion here. They were converted, the landlady tells me, by the wife of the English clergyman! who herself had abjured protestantism shortly before!! The little angel, who beside the kneeling figure of a bishop weeps behind the high altar, was so prized by the English, that it is said they offered to purchase him for his weight in gold. He sits with his head leaned on his hand, and his legs hung carelessly down—an image of all-absorbing sorrow. The monument was an offering of gratitude from its sculptor to the memory of the prelate who had been his patron; but why an ill-executed figure of the Virgin is placed so close as to spoil the effect, no one can tell.

The organ is voiceless still, notwithstanding the 40,000 francs spent this year on its repair.

As we are to leave Amiens in the morning, we returned to the Cathedral after dinner, as I wished, in company of its Suisse, to walk round it once more—but that this man is straight, and has two eyes, he might be the original of Quasimodo. We were too early, and staid outside to look again at the three beautiful porches, deeply sunk in the noble façade, among whose multitude of carved saints innumerable birds have built their nests, in cavities made by decapitated heads, and limbs wanting; they were flying about in quantities. As we entered, the priest was about to conclude his evening sermon; we waited its close, and I thought I had not seen the cathedral to advantage before. The weather was burning and cloudless; and while the coloured rosace of the transept opposite us looked deeper and richer, because, not fronting the west, it admitted no sunbeams; they came through a side window, and the whole cross aisle was a flood of light: roof, columns, and arches illuminated in all their details; and the figure of Fenelon’s friend, half reclined on his tomb, seemed about to start up. Through the stained glass of the large rose above the organ, and the smaller one on each side, the glory from the west streamed in likewise, brightening the gay dresses of the still congregation, and the bare head of the energetic priest, and the pulpit, supported by the three Cardinal Virtues, and surmounted by an angel whose foot seems hardly to rest on its roof, and whose hand points upward. You would have moralized on the Virtues cowering in shadow, and the winged form above them (like their emanation) floating in splendour.

The Suisse came to conduct us: his pride seemed centered in the cathedral, and in the study of its walls he says he has passed wakeful nights. The two bronzed monuments, hardly raised from the floor to right and left of the principal entrance, a human figure rudely outlined on each, are those of the founder Everard and his successor Godefroy.

Walking up the left-hand aisle, the Suisse pointed to the Crucifix Miraculeux: it is of the seventh century, clad in long gilded robes, wearing an expression, not of pain, but triumph; such being the mode of representing the Saviour before the time of Charlemagne. The miracle on which rests its fame consists in a change of lodging it one night effected, for it was originally placed in a chapel on the right of the nave. Why it preferred one opposite, the tradition does not tell.

Here, where the transept crosses the nave, is the tomb of the ambassador who negotiated peace between Francis the First of France and the Emperor Charles. The emblematical figures are those of Force wresting a Salamander from the grasp of Peace—Francis paid tribute. An altar opposite, erected during a plague, conceals the monument of a bishop, who, holding the see of Amiens at the period of the battle of Crecy, received and sheltered Philip of Valois. A pavement stone in the transept marks the grave of Gresset. The chapel near contains, in a superb reliquary, a piece of the skull of John the Baptist! and each time we have visited the cathedral, we have seen the same old lady kneeling before it, in immovable devotion. The curious stone screen raised outside the choir represents the various events of John the Baptist’s life; the small figures, though rudely drawn, have great expression; arches, canopies and pinnacles, carved above them in the same stone, form a light and beautiful frame. Formerly this screen surrounded the choir; the taste of Louis the Fifteenth’s time substituted the gilt bronze railing. The Suisse stopped a moment to admire the weeping cherub and criticise (not unskilfully) a beautiful Virgin, carved by the same hand, in the chapel, behind the high altar. A few steps further, the pavement stones for a considerable space are marked each with a deeply carved cross. It would seem that here, during the religious wars, there once took place a conflict between Huguenots and Catholics, in which many of the latter died. The pavement of the transept has one grave-stone more near the side entrance to the right; the initials it bears are H. T. (Hernand Teillo), for he was buried here; and it was of him that Henry the Fourth, viewing his small armour, said, “I had not believed so mighty a spirit could be lodged so narrowly!”

The carving of the screen, the canons’ seats, &c. of the choir, as they are celebrated for their beauty, we wished to see nearer; but their exhibition did not lie in our cicerone’s department—he went in search of a fat woman who has the key in charge. “Monsieur,” he said, smiling as he presented her, “c’est la dame du cœur!”

The sculptor of this fairy-work was by agreement bound to sacred subjects; and only an oversight left to his own taste the adorning of the wood-work which divides the canons’ seats. The artist was acquainted with their persons and histories; and when his task was done, each found his elbow resting on an indiscreet allusion to his life or himself. Some chafed over their own grotesque portraits; a meek looking young ass dressed in canonicals gazed sympathetically in the face of another; and the most unkindly treated of all beheld his own figure in a contrite attitude, his own hands receiving an infant from the hands of a lady! We staid in the cathedral till the daylight failed; and the high roof looked loftier when we could barely distinguish where it rested on the groups of slender columns. It will be long ere we forget its beauty, and the beautiful changes of its aspect; from the time its three portals thrown open after evening service admitted the whole flood of sunset, which lit it up as for a rejoicing, till the glow had faded; which it did so slowly, as if it had been loth to leave it.

Went to bed at twelve; a violent thunder-storm; up again at three; off at four; and but that the two hotel dogs followed us and we turned back fearing to lose them, we were in a fair way for Rouen; as the roads join and we had chosen the wrong one. A beautiful sunrise and uninteresting country. Arrived at half-past eight this 17th of July at Breteuil, and its Hôtel de l’Ange, a fallen one!

Doubtful meat, sulky servants, dirty floors; windows commanding the view of a farrier’s premises, admitting the scent of the smoking hoofs, which since nine this morning have accommodated themselves to red-hot shoes; nothing to be seen but “a belvedere,” that is, a circular seat at the top of a mound, which having climbed, we may look at the road we have travelled. Starved with the semblance of a dinner, disgusted with the stairs which act as fowl-house, and some of whose steps the bonne, to prove her cleanliness, scraped with a dinner knife! Walked out, weary of the farrier, the two comrades who assist, and the boy who dusts the flies away, and were driven back by the still dirtier town.


Clermont—Château now a Penitentiary—a Stronghold of the English in Charles the Sixth’s time—Creil, where Peter the Hermit preached the first Crusade—Charles the Sixth’s place of Confinement during his Madness—Chantilly—Écouen—Henry last Duke of Montmorency—Presentiment of his Father—at eighteen created Lord High Admiral—His early love in Languedoc—His prudential Marriage at the Louvre—His Successes at Rochelle—Coldness of Louis the Thirteenth, and jealousy of Richelieu—His gallantry at Veillane—Restoration of Prisoners—Humanity during the plague at Rivoli—His anxiety to become High Constable of France—Richelieu’s injustice—His retirement to Languedoc—Privileges of Languedoc—Prince Gaston’s efforts to win over Montmorency—The Duke’s arrest by Richelieu’s orders, rendered impossible through the people’s affection—Renewed efforts of Gaston—Persuasions of the Duchess—Montmorency’s reluctant consent—Gaston’s indecision and high words with the Duke—Battle of Castlenaudary—His emulation with the Comte de Moret to strike the first blow—The ditch leaped alone as at Veillane—The troops held back by Gaston in sight of his peril—Montmorency overpowered—Dragged from under his dead horse and carried before Schomberg—The female portrait on his arm discovered by a spy, and notice of his wearing it sent to incense the King by the Cardinal—The cries of the people beneath the Palace windows—His farewell to his wife, and legacy to Richelieu—The emotion of his Judges—His condemnation—Religious feeling of his last hours—His farewell to the statue of his Godfather—His calm death, and blood sought for as that of a martyr—His burial among the bones of the Sainted—The imprisonment of his widow—Her sad life—Her taking the veil—Louis the Thirteenth’s visit to her mourning cell and her reply to the Cardinal’s messengers—The King’s remorse—The apparition in the Hall of Écouen—St. Denis—Foundation of the Cathedral by Dagobert, St. Denis having appeared to him in a dream—Miraculous consecration of the church and the leper’s new skin—Tombs—The column to the memory of Francis, erected by Mary of Scotland—Breaking open of the monuments in 1793—Turenne in a glass case—a lock of Henry the Fourth’s beard making a soldier’s moustache—Plunder of a nose by an Englishman—The Caveau of the last Condé—Devotion of a Russian General to Henry the Fourth’s memory—The Cathedral preserved during the Revolution by being converted into a Market-house—Paris.

18th July.

One of the pleasures of travelling consists in leaving obnoxious places. Quitted Breteuil at four, in a fog cold as December; passing the Abbey, an old building with turrets and Gothic windows, and a grove whose alleys might have proved a resource, had we known they were so near yesterday. Long hills, but no view; till a short distance from Clermont, below the road to the right, we looked down on a wooded country, and the town, built on its bold hill, appeared before us; and we continued to skirt a pretty valley, passing chateaux and pleasure grounds, till, by a gentle ascent, we arrived at the Croissant, really a very good inn, and after Breteuil, a paradise. Fed a puppy, and Fanny showed symptoms of a jealous disposition. D—— arrived just in time to save his life, as she had taken him in her mouth, and was shaking him by the skin of his back. The heat kept us within doors till evening, when we climbed the remainder of the hill. Passed the place and the church to the chateau, which is now a penitentiary, containing 1500 women, and was in early days a fortress of the Franks, to protect them from Norman invasion; and in Charles the Sixth’s time a stronghold of the English. French guide-books still call it a Gothic castle, though I could see no trace of Gothic architecture remaining, except in the building on the place now the Hôtel de Ville, which has still the vestiges of battlements, and one old tower. The road leads, beneath an ancient arch, to the public promenade which surrounds the chateau which crowns it, like a verdant belt, its fine trees making, in French taste, stars and circles. The view it commands, as it juts over the valley, is very lovely; as the river shines below, and seems to lose itself winding among wooded hills, which succeed each other far to the right. The townspeople were assembled on the terrace, playing rackets with much noise and small skill; we sat on one of the stone benches watching the game, and the sun set—decidedly we prefer setting to rising suns; D——, in particular, has no taste for the beauties of nature at half-past four.

Left at five: passing on our way Creil on the Oise, looking from the bridge towards the west, you see built, in a rather elevated situation, the village of Montataire. It is said that here Peter the Hermit first preached the crusade. The ruined castle on the island of Creil was built in Charles the Fifth of France’s time, and a kind of balcony with iron gates, which belonged to Charles the Sixth’s apartment, was formerly shown. He was confined here during his madness, and the well built in the centre of the floor for heating the rooms with charcoal (for chimneys were not yet in use) remained also. I do not know whether they exist now.

It is a romantically situated town, and the view back to it, from the hill beyond, very interesting. Thence a straight road leads to Chantilly, and is wearisome enough, though a great part of it skirts the forest; but the trees here are young, and mostly oak, and yet without shade or beauty. A long descent conducts to the miserable town, and we stopped at the Hôtel de Bourbon Condé, the best and very bad, to breakfast and dine, intending to go on at sunset. I came here long ago to see the over ornamented park, and the stables for 240 horses; but to-day, instead of braving the burning sun, I lay down tired at last with early hours, and read a savage selection from discoveries in savage islands. John arrived, brought by the pity of the conductor, joined to the price of his place, of course. There being no room, he had constructed a pyramid of baggage on his back, preparatory to walking, when the conductor perched him in some unknown corner. He is growing troublesome; complaining yesterday of dining on bones, which on inquiry proved two fricasseed fowls! and anxious to know the punishment when a foreigner fights a Frenchman. We started after a dear dinner of bad meat, at the same time with the diligence, whose passengers we astonished, because, having taken the horses along a pathway and off the high road, our only way to return was over a ditch, which was narrow, but excited great shouting notwithstanding. The road through the forest pretty, but after quitting it, shorn of all its fine trees—got to Écouen very warm and thirsty—drank some beer in the street, and looked as we passed at the old chateau, 400 years the property of the Montmorency. Henry, marshal of Montmorency, was its last owner of the name. His history is so interesting, that I am tempted to write some of its circumstances here.

The war-cry of the Montmorency was “Dieu aide au premier baron Chrétien,” for the first baron was (tradition tells) baptized at the same time with Clovis, the first Christian king. The last, who was beheaded in 1632 and left no heir, was born in 1595. An astrologer drew his horoscope, and predicted that he would outshine his ancestors in glory, if he could avoid a danger which threatened his thirty-eighth year. He is described as being from his childhood mild, brave, and beautiful; possessing those graces of exterior which set off noble qualities. Henry the Fourth loved him as his own son; and taking pleasure in talking with the boy, he one day asked, “What is the virtue best fitted to a monarch?” “Clemency,” said the child; “since only kings have privilege to pardon.” He was thirteen when Henry bestowed on him the survivance of the governorship of Languedoc possessed by his father, who conducted him there, and himself installed him in his dignities; but when he had placed him in the seat the governor occupied in the parliament of Toulouse, a sudden presentiment of evil came over him, and he burst into tears. The king was sad without the boy, and soon recalled him to court, and proposed his marriage with his own daughter by Henriette d’Entragues. The constable of Montmorency had fixed his wishes on his son’s union with Mademoiselle de Beaufort, Henry’s daughter also, but by Gabrielle d’Estrées, and more beloved by him, as well as more beautiful; and the King, irritated by opposition, exiled him to Chantilly. He was there and in disgrace, when a marriage with the rich demoiselle de Chemilly was proposed to him for his heir. Thinking the King might disapprove, he desired his brother would conduct the youth to one of his own mansions, that he might there meet his destined bride; but Henry the Fourth, apprized of what was passing, sent an order to Duplessis, the commandant at Saumur, to arrest there, on their way, the Duke d’Amville and the young governor. Duplessis in consequence called upon them, and the Duke, suspecting his errand, invited him to dine. The officer refused, yet, wishing to do his duty civilly, put off the arrest till after dinner, merely placing a sentinel at the gates, intending to return in an hour or two. D’Amville and his nephew, instead of repairing to the eating-hall, walked straight to the stables, and riding out a private way, joined an escort of fifty gentlemen. When the King knew he had been outwitted, he sent the Duke of Soubise, with two companies of the guards, to the house where the marriage was to take place, with orders (if necessary) to force an entrance, and bring away Mademoiselle de Chemilly, but Soubise, on arriving, found them united. Some time after, the Constable, finding his daughter-in-law less rich than he expected, determined on dissolving this very marriage. The King gave his assent, and Montmorency was neither old enough nor sufficiently in love to resist him. Many thought that this violation of his vow brought on him the disasters of his after-life. Henry, rather than disoblige his favourite, broke a former engagement made for Mademoiselle de Beaufort, and her marriage with Montmorency was about to take place in 1610, when the King was murdered. The Duke was yet only fifteen. Three years after he was created Lord High Admiral, and the queen-mother proposed his union with the Princess Orsini, her relation, for Mademoiselle de Beaufort’s consequence had died with her father. The young Duke was disinclined to this marriage, for in his own Languedoc he had fallen in love with a lady so surpassingly lovely, that for her sake he was ready to forget ambition and make her his wife. She had been married to an old man, who, shortly after Montmorency first saw her, slipped as he feebly descended some steps, and died of the blow received on his head. The Duke, who witnessed this awful death, first consoled and then loved the widow: but overruled by his father, and perhaps influenced by all this high alliance promised him, he quitted Languedoc for Paris, accompanied by a hundred gentlemen and nobles of his province. He was lodged in the Louvre, and married there with all the ceremonial which accompanies the wedding of a prince; but either because his heart was far away with the fair lady of Montroux, or because something whispered that out of this ill-starred union would grow all his future misfortune, his joy was ill feigned. There was even an unwonted bitterness in his manner which brought on him a foolish quarrel; for, presenting to the Duke of Retz (who had espoused his deserted bride, Madlle. de Chemilly) a bowl of sweetmeats, which he had himself tasted, he said, “Take these, Sir; it is not the first time you have accepted what I have left;” they fought in consequence, but Montmorency disarmed him. The Duchess Mary of Orsini was gentle and of a fine figure, but by no means handsome. In spite of his infidelity, which she knew and deplored the more, seeing its object so beautiful, she was fondly attached to her husband and gained his esteem and affection by her uncomplaining gentleness. Once he remarked with sorrow, that she looked pale and changed. “It is true that my countenance is so,” she replied mildly, “it must suffice you that my heart is not.” His history would occupy too much space if told in detail. For many years almost constantly successful in the civil wars which desolated France; a faithful as well as brave subject; notwithstanding that the Cardinal Richelieu and the Duke of Luynes were his enemies, he refused to join the queen-mother against the King when they parted in anger. He was called the “King of Men” by his soldiers, who adored him. Sent to command the naval attack of La Rochelle, he was denied the needful supplies through the influence of Richelieu, and spent, to procure them, a part of his private fortune. He found the Dutch Admiral Houstain had lost a vessel, and wanted munition, and furnished him with both; yet when, having succeeded gloriously, he returned to court, he was coldly received by Louis the Thirteenth, and the jealous Cardinal soon after caused the suppression of the post of Lord High Admiral.

The religious wars ended, the King sent an army into Italy to support the Duke of Mantua against the Austrians. Richelieu had the command, and rather than not serve, Montmorency went as volunteer. The King bestowed on him, shortly after, the command of his army at Pignerol; then sent him to head the troops which entered Piedmont, where he obtained a signal victory. His army had received orders to join that of Marshal Laforce, but the Duke of Savoy lay between. The latter commenced the attack in an unexpected quarter, and the Marquis of Effiat and others advised rather to sacrifice the one regiment in peril than to risk the army. Montmorency exclaimed, “Who love me, follow!” and rushed forward at the head of the King’s gens-d’armes. Prince Doria was approaching; and the duke, to meet him with less delay, and well mounted, leaped a broad ditch which lay between them, and, though unfollowed, forced his way before a regiment of infantry, whose fire did not stop him, and through the ranks of a squadron commanded by Prince Doria, whom he wounded; and had arrived fighting and unharmed in the sixth rank of these horsemen before he was joined by any of those who had made a detour instead of leaping after him, and who, having believed him dead, found that he alone had half routed a squadron. By this and other exploits, continued throughout the day, the battle of Veillane was won; and the generous duke, who among his prisoners had taken almost all the officers of the Piedmontese army, sent them back to the Duchess of Savoy, who was King Louis’s sister. He had received no wound, but came from the field, the gold ornaments hacked from his splendid armour, and himself so bruised that he was hardly to be recognised. His horse, which was called “Le Remberge,” was wounded in twenty places, though slightly; and as it was a strong and beautiful animal, one of Montmorency’s officers wished for and received him from his general.

His troops were attacked at Rivoli by the plague, and to aid sick friends and soldiers he sold luxuries and comforts, and his head-quarters, far from being kept free from infection, rather resembled an hospital. Spite of his successes and the love of his army, or rather on account of them (for Richelieu envied his popularity, and already meditated his ruin), he was recalled. The soldiers mourned over him. “Who,” they said, “will lead us to victory when we lose Montmorency?” And yet, when the duke arrived at Lyons, and found there the King to all appearance dying, and Richelieu torn by anxiety, he took pity on the latter and frankly offered him protection in the province he commanded: relays were held in readiness to bear the Cardinal thither in case of the fatal termination of Louis’s malady; he vowed eternal gratitude, but forgot it as the King recovered. Montmorency had yielded his assent to the suppression of the States of Languedoc,—a loss of privilege which the province deplored, and he too repented. The King at his request promised their re-establishment, but avoided keeping his word; and the duke, whose ambition was to hold, like so many of his ancestors, the office of constable of France, being only created marshal, and otherwise coldly treated at court, retired to Languedoc. The Duke of Angoulême, his brother-in-law, said, when he bade him farewell, “that the king could never forget his services, and that his friends would always have sufficient influence to efface the false impressions made by the Cardinal;” but the duke shook his head sadly. “I do not flatter myself,” he said; “I shall not return to court, if affairs there continue as at present; my welfare is in the hands of God.”

Retired to the seat of his government, the duke’s heart was set on recovering the privileges of the province. By the King’s command the subject occupied the states-general assembled at Pézenas, but the King’s commissaries, Miron and Hemery, had the Cardinal’s private instructions to yield in nothing, for he hoped to wear out the patience of the governor by oppression of the province. He knew by his spies that the King’s brother Gaston intended striving to win over Montmorency; and as it was his maxim to treat as guilty those who possibly might become so, he dispatched an order to Hemery to arrest the duke. The latter just then making a journey to Montpellier, Hemery and the Marquis des Fossés followed, intending to make him prisoner there; but they judged the people’s love for him would render it impossible. Des Fossés altered his opinion when he found he was to attend the representation of a drama acted in his honour by the Jesuits’ pupils. He placed soldiers at the college gates to seize him, and issued an order to the garrison of the citadel, which joined it, to remain under arms. The duke, warned of what was passing, at first would not believe it possible, but the report spreading, persons of rank and condition flocked round him, offering to seize Hemery and Des Fossés, and to take possession of the citadel, which would have been easy, as it was feebly garrisoned, but the duke refused; a proof he did not then contemplate the treason to which Richelieu’s injustice was urging him. He went, contrary to advice, to the college, and returned, none having dared molest him, and two days after returned to Pézenas, where he told what had happened to the duchess, and his uncle, and other private counsellors there; they were loud in their cry for vengeance. The bishop of Alby, who was with Montmorency, had a nephew, partizan of Gaston and the queen-mother, with whom he corresponded. Just about this time a new commission arrived from court empowered to tax the province, and Alby and his nephew, who had come in disguise to treat with the governor, took advantage of it to influence him. They reminded him of reward denied and services forgotten; of the death of his cousin De Bouteville; the refusal to restore the privileges of Languedoc; the execution of the innocent Marshal of Marillac; yet all would have failed, had not the duchess joined to persuade, for she was niece of the queen-mother. A young girl who served her overheard a conversation between them. The duchess spoke low, in sentences broken by sobs; and the duke at last answered: “I will do so; you need persuade me no longer, your ambition shall be satisfied: but remember it will cost me my life.” Soud’heilles, the captain of his guard, was then in Paris; and the cardinal, alarmed when the duke had declared himself, dispatched him to Languedoc to try his influence with his master. Montmorency wavered, but the duchess and his confidants persuaded him, that to desert Gaston would be dishonour. He had a final conference with them, and returned from it straight to Soud’heilles. “My dear friend,” he said, “the stone is thrown, I cannot call it back again.”

The weak Gaston, then, as afterwards, incapable of opposing a foe as of protecting a friend long, was ill advised at this juncture, and arrived before the time agreed on with Montmorency, and before his measures could be taken. He had fifteen hundred half-armed men, the sympathy of the people, but neither Narbonne nor Montpellier. Lodeve received him, and from thence he sent a messenger to the duke.

“He has advisers who betray him,” he said, “and his over haste impairs his cause: but be it so, we must face the storm; and I feel it will fall on me.”

On the way to Beaucaire, which opposed Gaston, the duke passed Montpellier, and the people came out, weeping as they understood his danger. Beaucaire would have been taken; but when the army was before it, the Duke of Elbeuf claimed the chief command, which had been promised Montmorency; and Gaston being undecided, as usual, the delay of the attack gave time for the king’s troops to come up. He soon after, through the treason of some of his advisers, lost St. Felix de Carmain, and when the news of its surrender reached the prince, there came with it that of the advance of the royal troops to take Castelnaudary; near which lay his forces. The duke disposed his army in order of battle, near a brick bridge, which crossed the road, half a league from the town. “The time of your triumph is come,” he said to Gaston; “but this sword,” touching his own, “must be red to the hilt first.” The prince coldly answered, “Your rodomontades are never ending, Monsieur de Montmorency, but as yet, when you have promised me success, I have only been indebted to you for hope.” “I am not sorry to say to you now, that it will always be easy for me to make my peace with the King, and with two or three more to retire.” In consequence of this, high words ensued between the duke and Gaston, and they parted hardly reconciled.

It was a subject of emulation between the Comte de Moret and Montmorency to strike the first blow in the battle; and the latter, to make sure of himself doing so, asserted, as he advanced precipitately, that he went only to reconnoitre a post, and with some impatience commanded the noblemen who followed him to keep back! The Comte de Rieux, who rode close, reminded him, that it was his duty to be prudent, as on the general’s fate hung the army’s. Montmorency knew him for a brave man, yet he said what was far from his thoughts, “It would seem you are afraid;” and to shorten remonstrance as well as distance, he leaped his horse, as at Viellane, across a broad fence, and found himself at the other side with the Comte de la Feuillade, the Vicomte du Pujol Villeneuve, and a few more, in the midst of the enemy’s infantry. At the first fire, all with him fell, except Pujol, who fought by his side till a shot in the leg disabled him. His company of gens-d’armes came up, but the infantry, posted to advantage, kept up a fire which few escaped; yet the duke was unshaken; he opened a way wherever he turned, and might have retired with ease, and gloriously, to bring up the army; but being within their sight, he believed the troops would advance to support him; and a corps of cavalry, commanded by Baron de Laurières, coming up, he spurred so impetuously to meet him, that horse and man, as he encountered them, went down; and discharged on the head-piece of the leader’s son, Baron de Bourdet, so violent a blow, that the casque, examined after the battle, seemed indented by a battle-axe rather than a sword. His father rose from the ground at the moment, and seeing his son stagger, he wounded mortally the duke’s charger, and Montmorency fell with and under his dying horse. If Gaston had then brought up the army, this misfortune might have been repaired. The Duke of Elbeuf and Puy Laurens, and La Ferté Imbaut, (the two last suspected of having been bought over,) persuaded him to hold back, though his peril was visible from where they stood. A report next reached the prince, that his general had fallen, whereupon, flinging down his arms, and panic-struck, he exclaimed, “Sound the retreat, I will play this game no further.”

During this time Guiltaut and St. Preuil, captains of the royal guard, had come up with the duke, and mourned over him as he was drawn with difficulty from under his dead horse, covered with its gore and his own, for he was desperately wounded; and the blood which gushed from his mouth, as he lay with the weight pressing on him, had almost stifled him. “I sacrificed myself to ungrateful cowards,” he said, as soon as he could speak, “though it was told me, even before Beaucaire, that I was betrayed in the prince’s army.” Four soldiers raised him gently, and carried him to Marshal Schomberg, who received him with the esteem and tenderness which were his due. It is told that he wore on his arm, when taken prisoner, a portrait enriched with diamonds; this was perceived by his friend, De Bellièvre, who was afterwards President of the Parliament. Recognizing the female head, he pretended to question the duke, and taking his arm as he spoke to him, adroitly drew forth the miniature; but dexterously as it was done, it could not be hidden from a spy of the cardinal, present at the scene, and it was reported to Richelieu, who made use of it as a means to render Louis the Thirteenth implacable, as the picture was that of his queen, Anne of Austria!

The Count de Moret, natural son of Henry the Fourth, received his death-wound not thirty paces from his companion in arms. The latter, in consequence of the refinement on cruelty practised by the cardinal, and while all the people, loud as they dared, murmured shame, was borne in a litter to Toulouse, notwithstanding the insupportable heat and his uncured wounds. The inhabitants of Toulouse vowed to save him at any cost, but the cardinal received intimation of their resolves, and the prisoner was carried through without stopping to Leitoure. Arrived, he was conducted to the castle, and here a chance of escape presented itself again, for the Marchioness of Castelnaud bribed one of the guards, and provided him with ropes, by which the duke might be lowered to a place whence a passage led out into the country; and the marchioness, who was a determined woman, advanced with twenty horsemen as near to the citadel as they dared; but the guard was discovered with the ropes in his possession, by the lieutenant of the citadel, and killed by him on the spot, in the first burst of passion.

Notwithstanding the prayers of the army and the people, those of his brothers-in-law, the Prince of Condé and Duke of Angoulême, the agony of the duchess—the proceedings against Montmorency went on, and to a fatal termination. He expressed penitence for his conduct, and showed as much firmness as in his best days. He was persuaded by De Launay and his confessor to ask his pardon of the king: “Tell the cardinal,” he added to Launay, charged with the message, “that if he saves my life, he will have no reason to repent of it: but also that I do not ask the king’s council to act against conviction, if they believe my death more useful to the state than might be the rest of the years I have to live.”

Anne of Austria, the queen consort, solicited by the Duke of Épernon and the principal nobility of the court, to intercede with the king, feared the cardinal’s misinterpretation, and applied to him in the first instance. He answered that he did not doubt the king’s granting any favour she desired, but that she herself should also consider, that the annoyance she was about to cause him would injure his health, which, since his malady at Lyons, he had never recovered; and Anne, seeing by the cardinal’s manner, that, by saving the captive she risked his anger, determined rather to let him die. The people assembled under the king’s windows, and their cry reached his ears: he asked its import, it was “Mercy for Montmorency!” The king merely permitted him to dispose of his property, notwithstanding the confiscation about to be pronounced, and the duke occupied himself with the payment of his debts and the care of his vassals. He wrote an affectionate farewell to his unhappy wife, who was not in a state to read it, and sent to Richelieu, who had once wished to possess it, a fine picture of St. Sebastian, as his dying gift.

The last night of his existence he slept during six hours, tranquilly, as if the coming events of the next day were unknown to him, and prayed fervently when he woke. The hour arrived for his being conducted to the palace, he received the Count of Charlus, who came to seek him, cheerfully as ever, but refused to allow his surgeon to dress his wounds, saying they would soon be cured. He asked for something to eat, and then got into the carriage, which was open. The Counts of Charlus and Launay followed, and four companies of soldiers escorted him; the rest of the army lined the streets he passed through, or filled the squares of the town. As he stood with mild demeanour and bareheaded before his judges, his noble presence was that of the governor, not the criminal. The judges seeing him they loved, and were perforce about to doom, looked down to hide the tears which rose in spite of them, or buried their faces in their handkerchiefs. He was desired to sit on the criminal’s stool, which however, contrary to custom, had been raised to the level of the judges’ seats, and, contrary to custom also, he was left unbound. He was painfully affected while replying to the question, “Whether he had children by his marriage,” for he mourned the want of an heir.

The trial over, he was conducted from the Palace of Justice back to the Hôtel de Ville, where he recommenced his devotions, and these ended, conversed with his friends and wrote some private instructions for his family; and the Count de Charlus, his face covered with tears, asking in the king’s name for his order of the Holy Ghost and bâton of marshal, he delivered them calmly, saying, “it was true that one crime had cancelled the services which obtained them;” and then took some slight refreshment. He next repaired to the chapel. The commissaries of the court arrived to read his sentence to him, he listened with perfect tranquillity, kneeling before the altar, and rising when they concluded, and sobbed with their emotion, he spoke to them with great kindness. He was informed that the royal favour (though indeed it was the cardinal’s fear) allowed his being executed within the courts of the Hôtel de Ville instead of on the public square. De Launay was at this time with the king, who had sent for him, and the duke’s friends felt hope revive; but Louis merely desired “that he should die unbound,” and this he declined, saying, “he would end life as he deserved, like a criminal.” He cut off his own hair, and changed his rich attire for the poor clothes of a soldier; he had bowed, as he came along, to the troops who guarded him, and bade them farewell. There was some delay, (perhaps in consequence of changing the place of execution,) and during this time the duke remained seated on a bench adjoining the chapel balustrade, and conversed with his confessor, too low for others to overhear. He asked for water to wash his mouth, for he suffered from sore throat: “Father,” he said, “can you explain to me my feelings? Before heaven I assure you that I go to death with satisfaction, without regret or dread; and if I had never believed in God until now, this firmness vouchsafed to my weak nature would make me adore him.” Efforts, even in this last hour, were made to save him, but in vain, though the Pope’s nuncio was one who pleaded. He calmly presented his arms to be bound by the executioner, and desired Father Arnoux to take from his hand the crucifix, since “the just might not be bound with the guilty.” He was led into the court where was the scaffold, and his surgeon cut his hair which he had left too long, and fainted when he had done; even the executioner wept. The marble statue of Henry the Fourth stood above one of the entrances, and he gazed at it earnestly. The confessor noticing it, he said, “Father, he was a good and generous prince.” Continuing to advance, he ascended the steps of the scaffold as firmly as if they had led to glory. He spoke to a jesuit who stood beneath: “I pray you,” he said, “prevent, if you may, my head from falling to the earth; receive it, if possible.” He kneeled and prayed once more, and adjusted himself on the block, which gave him great pain, as it was too low; a single stroke severed his head from his body. The gates were thrown open; people and troops thronged in with cries of grief, crowding round and on the scaffold, reverently dipping kerchiefs in his blood, which they held to be that of a martyr. That day, a soldier drew on the executioner to kill the wretch by whose vile hand the best and bravest of men had died. The people withheld and concealed him, for the cardinal caused search to be made that he might be put to death. His hatred was not quenched in Montmorency’s blood, for he persecuted his friends and relatives.

After the execution, the duke’s body was folded in a black silk velvet pall, and conveyed in a carriage to the abbey of St. Sernin, where it was buried in a chapel in which only the bones of saints had been laid, and the counts of Toulouse had been refused a sepulchre. Masses for the repose of his soul were said in every part of France, as well as by the command of the empress at Vienna, and the arch-duchess in the Low Countries. The king imprisoned the unhappy widow in the castle of Moulins, where she remained eight months reproaching herself with her husband’s untimely death; but feeling that time elapsed, that there could be no reason for doubting her, and ashamed of his rigour, he desired her to choose her place of residence, either within or without his kingdom; she staid at Moulins. Having purchased a house adjoining the convent of La Visitation, she there lived an exemplary life during ten years, her only consolation a portrait of the duke, gazing on which she spent whole days. Before her marriage she had wished to become a nun, and the desire now reviving, in her mistaken fervour, she believed it a duty to part with this which she looked on as a last tie to the world, and ere she entered the convent she wept over it once more and then parted from it.

Some time after, the king passing through Moulins, did her the honour of a visit, and the next day the cardinal sent to offer her his compliments. In her cell hung with black, the shadow of what she had been, the duchess received his officer: “Tell your master,” she said, “that I thank him, but that my tears are still undried!” After his general’s death, the king’s remorse was awakened; and he confessed that he repented of many things which had been done during his inauspicious journey to Languedoc. He once arrived late at Écouen, intending to pass the night there. It was evening, and the monarch passed slowly along one of the vast halls on his way to the apartment prepared for him. His suite followed at a little distance, but rushed to his side when he uttered a faint cry, and stretched his arm forth in the gloom as if to put back some one advancing on him.

“What ails you, sire,” they exclaimed as he stood still, and in an attitude of defence against what appeared to them empty space. “He was there! I saw Montmorency there,” said the king; “I cannot sleep in this castle;” and turning precipitately, Louis the Thirteenth left the hall. Écouen now again, as during the empire, belongs to the Legion of Honour. As we rode down the hill, the fine view of Paris once more stretched below us in the sunshine. I had not seen it for some years, and looked at it now with a strange sensation, pleasant and painful, for it seemed like home, because so much of early association is connected with it, and I felt it was not home, because death and marriage, time and revolution have so severed and scattered all the links which held me here, that I shall scarcely find a trace of where they were once riveted.

From Écouen to St. Denis the way seemed wearisome, for we had ridden fifteen leagues since morning, yet Fanny went prancing into the inn yard gay as at starting. A disagreeable hotel from its unconquerable bad air. To-day, 19th July, D—— is gone to Paris in search of apartments; and I, followed by John, have passed an hour in the cathedral. The Suisse, I believe, thought his countenance suspicious, for he was unwilling to lead the way. Near the principal entrance, on the left hand, is a strange monument, erected by St. Louis to Dagobert. This church (my authority is the Benedictine who wrote its history) was founded under singular circumstances. When Clotaire the Second was king its place was occupied by a small chapel, which had already miraculous properties, being built over St. Denis’s tomb. A stag, hard pressed, had one day taken refuge within, and the hounds were unable to follow. Prince Dagobert witnessed this fact. He soon after incurred his father’s anger by barbarously ill-treating his governor, and he repaired to the sanctuary. The royal guards sent to seize him were invisibly withheld, and the prince fell asleep while they rushed to and fro, vainly attempting to come nearer. St. Denis appeared to him in a dream, and desired that he would erect a building in his honour. Become king he obeyed the saint’s mandate; and when the day for the consecration of the church came (the 24th February, 636), and a great crowd assembled to witness it, the people were all forced to retire, excepting one poor leper, who hid himself in a corner of the chapel. Night closed in, and of a sudden he beheld a great light shining through one of the windows, filling the whole church; and continuing to fix his eyes on the same window, he saw the Saviour enter at it, followed by St. Peter and St. Paul, St. Rustique and St. Éleuthère, and also by a great multitude of saints and angels. He consecrated the church, walked round it, heading the procession, scattered holy water on the pavement, poured celestial oil on the walls, and at last perceived the leper: he commanded him to tell faithfully what he had seen to king and prelate. “Alas!” said the leper, “I cannot approach them for my rags and my leprosy.”

He had no sooner said this, than he felt the skin of his face gently lifted, and being cast against the wall it stuck there, and that which remained in its place was pure as a child’s; and looking at his clothes he saw he was richly habited: this miracle performed, he watched the Saviour and the celestial procession issue forth by the same window, and went and told the king.[1]

More interesting than Dagobert’s tomb, or those of Louis the Twelfth, and Anne of Brittany, and Henry the Second, and Catherine de Médicis, with her countenance telling of a life of intrigue, public massacre and private murder, is the slight marble column, at whose foot are three weeping angels,—for it was raised by Mary of Scotland to the memory of her young husband, who died when she had been a wife and queen of France but one short year. The monument of Francis the First is in the opposite aisle; the figures of himself and his wife Anne, kneeling on the top of the stone canopy, under which they are again represented dead. The alto relievo of the battle of Marignan, which surrounds the tomb, is very beautiful. On each side of the choir steps lead down to the crypt, and the Suisse unlocked the iron gate, though still I saw against his will, and we walked through the avenue of royal tombstones, wherein kings and queens do not sleep now; since a municipal decree, proceeding from St. Denis itself, in conformity with the decree of the Convention, ordered on the 12th of October, 1793, the breaking open of the monuments for the sake of the lead they might contain, and the scattering of bones, some of which had lain there near 1500 years. Curiosity induced the workmen to commence by the grave of Turenne. He was found in an extraordinary state of preservation, perfectly resembling the portraits and medals which we possess of him, only that the skin had darkened. The distortion of feature, caused by his violent death (by a cannon ball), remained, as the mouth was very wide open. He was, at the suggestion of some present, confided to one “Host,” keeper of the cathedral, and by him placed in an oaken case with a glass cover, and for eight months exhibited in the vestry. The vault of the Bourbons and the tomb of Henry the Fourth were next opened, and the body found so perfect, that the features had undergone no change. He also was exhibited during the two following days, and then borne to the churchyard, called De Valois, where he was buried in a grave dug at its extremity, on the right hand and north side. A soldier present at the time rushed towards the corpse, and with his sabre cut from it a lock of the long beard, exclaiming, that “He too was a Frenchman,” and henceforth would wear no other mustachio; and holding the lock on his upper lip, and saying he was sure of conquering any enemy of France, went away.

The remainder of the bodies, some in a state of putrefaction, which during this unnatural work produced malignant fever, others, reduced to skeletons or ashes, were dragged from their coffins, and flung by torchlight into one wide grave. The Suisse pointed out the side door near Mary Stuart’s funeral column, as that through which they were carried. The monuments in the crypt are ranged in chronological order: among the most ancient, those of the royal fury Frédégonde and her daughter-in-law Brunehaude, who died torn by wild horses. The vaults are but half under ground, and a dreary daylight enters, falling on the figures stretched on the tombs, for those only of the earliest period are mere outlines. The rest are dressed in the costume of their time, with hands crossed and raised, and the dog or lion couched at the feet. “Here,” said the Suisse, stopping before one of the Capetian race, and pointing to the very prominent nose which had been broken from his face and lay there yet uncemented, “is the token of the last English visit. A gentleman came, conversed with me, walked by my side, and when he thought me not attending to his movements, wrenched off this nose. I seized it in his hand in his coat pocket; he said he had broken it by mistake, and pocketed it in absence of mind. “Mon pauvre nez, que je n’ai pas encore restitué,” said the Suisse in indignation. I understood at last why he had an objection to showing the church, and tranquillized him by making John walk on before. Here were laid Clovis, the first Christian king, and his wife, Bertha, who converted him; King John after his ill-fortune at Poitiers; his excursion on his white horse through the streets of London, beside his conqueror, on his pony; his visit to his own kingdom, and voluntary return to captivity to die.

We wished to enter the vault where the Bourbons are interred, but this the Suisse said was impossible, as he had not the keys, and even Mons. Thiers had been denied admittance some days before. The last buried was Louis the Eighteenth, whose chapelle ardente I saw here when I was a child, and with its splendid sarcophagus, purple velvet hangings, and thousand lights, and the silent crowd pressing to see, was a scene of melancholy brilliancy. The “chapelle ardente” occupied the whole of the nave, inclosed by the hangings, and terminated by a burning cross.

The “caveau,” which holds the last Condé, is totally dark, excepting where the lamp, which burns so feebly in its bad air, just shows the damp-decaying pall hanging in ribands. The lapse of centuries robs in some measure of its sadness the long range of monuments we passed before; but it is not so as we look through the iron gate at these dimly-seen coffins.

We think of the ditch of Vincennes and the bed-room of St. Leu!

It was in the now-closed vault of the Bourbons that Henry the Fourth lay. One anecdote more I must tell you, as it proves the respect entertained for his memory. It is told by Le Noir, the antiquarian:—

“The day following that of the allied armies’ entrance into Paris, a Russian general, accompanied by a detachment of cavalry, presented himself at eight in the morning at the museum of the Petits Augustins. He said he had heard in Russia of the collection I had formed, and as a lover of the arts it was the first place he desired to visit in Paris. I opened the gates to him, and he and his soldiers dismounted. Arrived in the hall of the sixteenth century, a statue in white marble absorbed his attention. I said to him, ‘It is the statue of Henry the Fourth.’ He repeated my words in Russian to his companions, and all, uncovering their heads, kneeled on one knee to do homage to the dead king of France.”

In January, 1815, the remains of Louis the Sixteenth and Marie Antoinette were transferred to the vault of the Bourbons. In 1817, all the noble or royal remains cast forth from the violated tombs were once more deposited within them in presence of the chancellor, the necessary authorities and witnesses, a company of the gardes du corps and the clergy of St. Denis. Immense crowds flocked thither, by a bright moonlight which shone on the old towers, making the numberless torches which flashed on the walls almost useless; the broken and mingled bones were returned to their first place of repose, after a twenty-four years’ exile.

The Cathedral of St. Denis will shortly be in complete repair, though it was ravaged in the revolution, and roofless during twelve years; though it was several times offered for sale without finding a purchaser; and its destruction had been commanded, when Petit Radel, architecte des domaines, proposed, with a view to preserve it, that it should be left as it stood then, with uncovered walls, and rain, or snow, falling in its aisles, and serve as a kind of market-house in the fairs which occur frequently during the year!

Paris, and in our old apartment, 20th of July.

Unforeseen circumstances have postponed till next spring our ride to Italy, when I will continue these notes for you, and we shall go as heretofore, except that John will no longer be of the party; his disposition has become so warlike that we intend sending him back to Ireland.


Footnote 1:

History of the Abbey of St. Denis, by Doublet.


Departure under an unlucky star—Essonne—Petit Bourg—The Czar Peter—Fontainebleau—Palace—Apartments of the Emperor Charles the Fifth—Chamber where Pius the Seventh said mass daily—Chapel founded in the seventh century—Cypher of the Saviour and Virgin placed beside those of Henry the Second and Diana of Poitiers—Princess Mary of Orleans—Napoleon’s apartments—Marie Antoinette’s boudoir—Carving by Louis the Sixteenth’s hand—Monaldeschi, favourite of Queen Christina—Gallery where he was murdered—Account of his murder by the Monk who confessed him, of his burial at dusk in the church of Avon—Window thrown open by Henry the Fourth, to announce Louis the Thirteenth’s birth—Gallery of Henry the Second, called Galerie des Réformés—Petition in which they took the name presented here by Coligny—Open chamber above the Donjon—Arch where Louis the Thirteenth was publicly baptized—Biron’s tower—His treason—His denial—His last interview with Henry the Fourth—Napoleon—The forest—The Comte de Moret, last inhabitant of the Hermitage of Franchard—Fanny’s sagacity—Croix du Grand Veneur-The spectre hunt—Apparition and warning to Henry the Fourth, corroborated by Sully—Avon—Monaldeschi, Christina’s fickle lover—The old church—The fat porter—The grave beneath the Bénitier—The Englishmen’s sacrilege—Monaldeschi their relative—Precautions against travellers.

Hôtel de France, Fontainebleau,

April 5th, 1839.

Set forth once more on the second, under an unlucky star, for the rain commenced as we passed the barrier, and having received it on our heads during a walk of four hours, (for over the broken pavement, or through the three-foot-thick mud at its sides it was impossible to trot,) we were glad to take refuge in a wretched auberge at Essonne. I think I mentioned to you “a country inn” in England where we stopped, tempted by its quiet appearance, and charmed by the brilliantly white curtains of the tiny bed-room: but alas! the farmers were returning from Tewkesbury fair, and they drank and sang in the kitchen below. We rejoiced that this could not pass a certain hour, but they had smoked, and the fumes of tobacco rose to our room through the chinks of the floor, and there being no chimney could not get out again; then the family put the house to rights; then we heard the horses kick all night, there being in the shed next theirs pigs, with whom they would not fraternize; and the rats galloped to and fro, and squeaked at our very pillows, and when these were quiet, at dawn up rose mine host and hostess, and the maid of all work to scour the house from top to bottom, and run about it in pattens. All this is comfort, compared to a country auberge in France. Arriving wet and weary, to stand in the middle of a great brick-floored room, in which there has been no fire all the winter, in expectation of seeing damp faggots burn; and finding when they do that the door into the corridor must be left wide open, that the draught may conduct towards the chimney the smoke, and the steam of wet clothes and damp sheets which must be dried there, as the economical kitchen hearth exhibits only a few dying embers,—this was our case. The good old woman to be sure offered a remedy, as she said that we might, if we liked, take a dry pair of sheets, which had been slept in only once, and recommended hanging the dripping habit and cloaks in the grenier, whose unglazed windows let in full as much rain as wind. Add to my previous enumeration a dinner of dry bouilli, and greasy cabbage, a faggot for our feet serving as a rug, and dirty alcove with plenty of cobwebs but no curtains.

I believe the descent of the road into Essonne commands a pretty view, but the rain blinded me. We passed on the right hand the château du Petit Bourg, once the Duke d’Antin’s, now the property of the parvenu Spanish banker, whose collection of pictures is the finest in Paris, and who once, history says, kept a wine-shop on the boulevard. It was here the Czar Peter dined on his way to Fontainebleau, May 30th, 1700, where the Duke de Villeroy received him; and after a stag-hunt in the forest and a carouse in the Pavilion de l’Étang, it was necessary to carry himself and his suite into the boats, and thence into the carriages, which bore inebriated majesty back to Petit Bourg.

Awaking the 3d with a cold on my chest, and determined at least on being ill in better quarters, set out, rain having subsided to fog: a bad and weary road, till, two leagues from Fontainebleau, we entered the forest, and it looks really royal with its magnificent trees and hills of rock: green (though spring is so backward) with the luxuriant holly, which flourishes everywhere, and the different coloured bright mosses which clothe its old trunks, and masses of strange shaped stone. Stopped at the Hôtel de France, on the Place du Château opposite the palace; a fine, frowning, old building, looking as if sorrow and crime might have lodged within its walls without tales told. This inn has every possible comfort to recommend it, and is reasonable besides. Some of our country-people, who formerly spoiled the road by extravagance, now drive rather hard bargains. What do you think of a post-carriage containing six, having just now stopped, wanting beds, tea, and eggs for their party for six francs?

April 5th.

Went yesterday to see the Château, and returned there to-day. The surveillant of yesterday gruffly turned us back, as the Infant of Spain was expected, but admitted us in consideration of the fee. Our guide to-day showed the Château much more fully, and could be prevailed on by no entreaty to accept payment. They are strictly enjoined to take nothing. The grand staircase, whose entrance is in the Cour du Cheval Blanc, was built in Louis the Thirteenth’s time. The apartments on the right, now those of the Duke and Duchess of Orleans, and splendidly furnished on their marriage, are the same in which the Emperor Charles the Fifth was lodged when he visited Francis the First in 1539; afterwards those of Catherine de Médicis, and, when she and her bloody line had passed away, of Anne of Austria; and next of Maria Theresa, wife of Louis the Fourteenth. The portraits of the two last are placed above the entrance doors of the chamber next the saloon, which still bears the name of Chambre des Reines-Mères. Here in this very room was mass daily said by Pius the Seventh, during his forced stay in 1812, in the same apartments which had been decorated for his arrival when he came to crown Napoleon in 1804.

The most ancient as well as the most interesting part, of the Château is the Gothic chapel of St. Saturnin. Built by Louis the Seventh in the twelfth century, and consecrated by Thomas à Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, to whose tomb, considering him a saint and martyr, Louis the Seventh afterwards made a pilgrimage, it was restored by Francis the First, and embellished by Henry the Second. The cyphers puzzled me; and they are indeed strangely mingled, for those of the Saviour and the Virgin, I and M, are placed alternately with the H, D, those of King Henry the Second, and his mistress Diana!

The chapel is small and low, a most impressive place: the heavy masonry looking likely to stand till the crumbling of the world shakes it down, and dimly lighted by three narrow windows, whose coloured glass was painted at Sèvres, from drawings by poor Princess Mary. The young artist beatified the members of her family before their time. St. Philip is an excellent likeness of the king, made saint-like by a long beard. The superb confessional, in carved oak, looks coeval with the walls, but it is the recent work of a clever Parisian artisan.

The apartments now Louis Philip’s were once Napoleon’s. The Cabinet de Travail precedes the Emperor’s bed-room, and contains the small plain table on which he signed his abdication, and the fac simile of its rough copy in his own hand, so scrawled and blotted, I could not read a word. The bed-room is still furnished as it was in his time, saving the golden eagles, which were removed on the restoration, and are about to be replaced now. The king occupies, not this chamber, but the next in order, which was the unfortunate Marie Antoinette’s boudoir. The Salle du Trone which follows is also in the same state as during the empire, except that the portrait of Louis the Thirteenth, which hung here when this was his bed-chamber, replaces that of Napoleon.

The charming little room next it, which was the Queen’s boudoir, would interest you, not so much for its lovely decorations, as because it was constructed for Marie Antoinette by Louis the Sixteenth’s order; and the beautiful espagnolettes of the windows (up which the delicately carved gold acanthus leaves twine on a blue ground) were the work of the king’s own hand. This suite of apartments looks on the Cour de l’Orangerie, of which the Galerie de Diane, and the apartments directly beneath it, which were once the Galerie des Cerfs, form another side. I was most anxious to see the latter, which is interesting as the scene of Monaldeschi’s murder, the favourite of the crowned barbarian Christina of Sweden. It is not shown now; it was falling into decay in the Emperor’s time, the guide said, and by him replaced by apartments for the King of Rome. From the window at which we were standing, he pointed to the one near which Monaldeschi was assassinated. An inscription marks it, the third from where the gallery joins the main building.

Christina abdicated the 16th of June, 1654. She crossed France in her way to Italy. As she was about to proceed to Paris, a command of Louis the Fourteenth stopped her at Fontainebleau, where she arrived the 3d of October, 1657. The following extract is from the account given by Lebel, the head of the Mathurin monastery.

“The 8th of November, 1657, at a quarter past nine in the morning, the Queen of Sweden, who was lodged in the conciergerie of the château, sent a running footman to fetch me. He said, ‘If you are the superior of the monastery, I have her majesty’s order to bring you where you may have speech together.’ I replied, I was so, and would accompany him to learn her will; and without taking any one along with me, fearing to make her wait, I followed the valet to the antechamber. I was detained there some minutes, but the valet having at last returned, I was conducted to the Queen’s chamber. I found her alone, and having offered her my humble respects, I asked what she required of her servant. She desired me to follow her to the Galerie des Cerfs, where we might speak undisturbed; and being entered there, she asked whether we had ever met before. I replied, I had merely had the honour of saluting her, and offering my best services, for which her goodness thanked me. Whereupon she said, that the robe I wore induced her to confide in me, and desired that I would promise to keep her secret as one under the seal of confession. I answered, that whenever I was intrusted with aught, I became naturally dumb on that subject; and being discreet with regard to the humble, I had of course stronger reason for discretion now; and I added, Scripture saith, ‘it is good to keep the king’s secret.’ Having asked me this question, she placed in my hands a packet of papers, without superscription, but sealed with three seals, bidding me to return it to her in such time and presence as should be commanded me by her majesty. She desired also that I would take note of the day, hour, and place in which she gave it to my care, and without further conversation I retired with the packet, leaving the Queen in the gallery. On Saturday, the 10th day of the same month, at one in the afternoon, the Queen of Sweden again sent a valet to fetch me; whereupon I went to a cabinet and took thence the packet, thinking she might demand it of me. I followed the footman, who conducted me through the gate of the donjon, and into the Galerie des Cerfs, and as soon as I was within, closed the door on me with a vivacity which surprised me. Perceiving about the centre of the gallery the Queen, talking to one of her suite, whom she called Marquis, (I afterwards knew it was Monaldeschi,) I approached her, and she asked in a rather loud tone of voice, in hearing of the marquis and of three men who stood near, for ‘the papers.’ Two of these men were some steps from her, and the third by her side. I drew near and presented the packet. Her majesty took and examined it for a time, and then opening the enclosure, gave the letters it contained to the marquis, saying with a grave voice and commanding manner, ‘Are not these known to you?’ He denied that they were, but turned very pale. ‘You will not avow these,’ rejoined the Queen, (they were in truth only copies made by her own hand;) and having allowed him to examine them, she next drew from under her robe the originals, and, showing them, called him traitor, and made him acknowledge his writing and signature. She asked him the same question several times, and the marquis strove to excuse himself, and cast the blame on others. At last he threw himself on his knees, craving her forgiveness; and the three men present at the same moment drew their swords from the scabbard. He started up again, imploring her to hear him, and drew her as he spoke earnestly from one corner to another of the gallery. Her majesty did not refuse, but listened very patiently, never showing anger or weariness. When he pressed her most to receive his excuses, she turned to me, and said, ‘Bear witness, father, that I hasten nothing against this man, but that I give to a perfidious traitor all the time that he requires; yea, even more, to justify himself if possible;’ and approaching the marquis again she leaned on the rounded head of her ebony cane.

“The Marquis of Monaldeschi, hard pressed by the Queen, gave her other papers, and with them two or three small keys, which he took from a pocket, whence at the same time fell several pieces of silver. Their conference lasted rather more than an hour, and his replies not having satisfied her, she again walked up to me, saying in a voice still rather loud, but grave and calm, ‘Father, I retire, and leave you this man; have a care of his soul, and prepare him to die.’ If her sentence had been pronounced against myself, I should scarcely have felt more terror. I and the marquis both kneeled down to implore her pardon; she said, ‘He was more criminal than many condemned to the wheel, and she could not grant it;’ that, thinking him a faithful subject, she had communicated to him her most important affairs and secret thoughts; that she would not remind him of the benefits she had conferred on him, as his conscience might serve for tormentor, for she had favoured him more than a brother.’ The Queen then retired, and the marquis, left with me and the three with their drawn swords, continued on his knees, praying me to follow her majesty, and strive to soften her. The men desired him to confess, pointing their swords at his throat, but forbearing to touch him, and I with tears in my eyes besought him to ask pardon of God.

“He who seemed the chief of the three men, himself taking pity on him, did indeed seek the Queen, but returned sorrowful, and said, weeping, ‘Marquis, think only of God, for you must indeed die.’ The marquis, who at the words seemed half frantic, prostrated himself on the ground once more, and desired that I would myself seek her, and try the effect of my prayers. I did so, and found her alone in her chamber, her countenance serene, and her manner betraying no emotion. I sunk down before her, conjuring her majesty by the sorrows of Christ to have mercy. She said, ‘She regretted the necessity she was under to refuse me, for, from his perfidy to her, he could expect neither respite nor pardon.’

“Finding that entreaties availed nothing, I took the liberty of representing that she was beneath the roof of the King of France, and bade her beware of what she did, as he might disapprove. She called heaven to witness that she bore no personal hatred to the marquis, but that she chose to punish an unparalleled treason; that she was not lodged by the king as one who took refuge, neither was she a captive; and as she obeyed nought save her own will, she chose to administer justice to her servants at all times and in all places.

“In this extremity I knew not what to resolve on. I could not quit the château; and even had it been in my power, I felt bound by charity and my conscience to dispose the marquis to die. I returned then to the gallery, and embracing the unhappy man, who was drowned in tears, I exhorted him to turn all his thoughts to God and his conscience, as there was no hope for him on earth.

“At this news, having uttered two or three melancholy cries, he kneeled down before me as I sat on one of the benches, and commenced his confession, which having nearly concluded, he rose and cried aloud twice. He then ended his confession, mingling French, Latin, and Italian in his fear and confusion. The Queen’s almoner at that moment entered, and the marquis, without waiting to receive absolution, went to him, conceiving hopes from his favour with her majesty. They whispered apart, holding one another by the hand for some time, and then the almoner went out, taking with him the chief of the three. The latter returned alone, and said, ‘Marquis, you must die without more delay: have you confessed?’ Saying this, he pressed him against the wall at that end of the gallery where hangs the picture of St. Germain en Laye, and I could not so suddenly turn aside as to avoid seeing him struck in the chest on the right side, and that he, trying to ward off the blow, caught the blade in his right hand, from which, as the other drew it back, it cut off three fingers.

“He then exclaimed that he wore a shirt of mail, as in truth he did, one which weighed nine or ten pounds, and the same man repeated the blow, aiming it at his face, and the marquis cried out, ‘Father, father!’ I went to him, and the other retreated a little, and he confessed somewhat more, and I gave him absolution, imposing on him for penitence that he should suffer a violent death. He threw himself on the floor, and as he fell, one of the men gave him a blow on the head, which carried away part of the skull; and, being stretched on his face, he made signs that they should cut his throat; and they wounded him there several times, but not mortally, because the shirt of mail rose high under the collar of his doublet, and deadened the blows. All this time I exhorted him to think of heaven, and bear all patiently. The chief of the three then asked me whether he should finish him, and I answered angrily, and said, I had no advice to give, as I had prayed not for his death, but his life; and then he begged my pardon, and said he was wrong to ask me such a question.

“The poor marquis, who lay expecting the last stroke, now heard the door of the gallery open, and recalled his courage, seeing the almoner enter, and dragged himself towards him, supporting himself against the wainscoting. I was on his right hand, and the almoner passed to his left, and the marquis, joining his hands, said something, as if he was confessing; and the almoner, having first asked my leave, gave him absolution and retired, desiring me to remain while he went to the Queen. At this moment, the same who had wounded him in the throat before, and who had stood by the almoner’s side, pierced it through with a long narrow sword, whereupon the marquis fell on his right side, and did not speak again, but continued to breathe yet a quarter of an hour, during which time I exhorted him as well as I was able. Having lost all his blood, he expired at three quarters past three. I recited the De Profundis, and the chief of the three men moved a leg and then an arm, to see if he were really dead, and searched his pockets, but found nothing, excepting a small knife and a prayer book: we then all three departed to receive the Queen’s orders. She said she regretted having been forced to command his execution; but that she had done justice, and prayed heaven to pardon him. She desired me to see that his corpse was carried away and buried, and that masses were said for the repose of his soul. I had a coffin made, and because of the darkness, the bad road, and the weight, it was placed in a cart, and I sent with it my chaplain and vicar to the church of Avon, with three men to assist, and orders to bury the body within the church near the ‘bénitier,’ and this was done at three quarters past five that same evening.


The church, or rather chapel of the Holy Trinity, was founded by Francis the First, but ornamented in Henry the Fourth’s reign. The niches near the altar contain the statues in white marble of Charlemagne, and Louis the Ninth, the sainted king. Louis the Fifteenth’s marriage with the daughter of the unfortunate Stanislas, king of Poland, was celebrated here, and latterly that of the Duke of Orleans with the Princess Helen.

It is to be repaired without delay, not before reparation is needful, as the deep cracks through the ceilings and faded frescoes testify. The Galerie de François Premier was built and decorated in his time and yet unrestored; the pale salamanders are barely visible on the walls. The queen’s antechamber was the imperial dining-room in Napoleon’s time, and the Salon de Reception the apartment in which Louis the Thirteenth was born. King Henry threw open one of those windows to announce the news to his courtiers, who were walking in the oval court below. The chamber of St. Louis formed part of a pavilion built during his reign, but bears no trace of ancient architecture; over its chimney is a fine Henry the Fourth on horseback, in white marble; it belonged to a chimney piece, which gave its name to the hall, changed in Louis the Fifteenth’s time to a shabby theatre, for it was called Salle de la belle Cheminée. The statues of Strength and Peace were the chivalrous king’s fitting supporters. The whole was thrown aside in the stores of the Château, and left there dusty and forgotten, till Louis Philip’s command replaced the equestrian statue in St. Louis’s chamber, and the other two in the Salle des Gardes adjoining.

A corridor conducts to the gallery of Henry the Second. It was built by Francis the First, and decorated by his son; and now its ancient glory revived with scrupulous fidelity, the deep ornamented recesses in which the five tall windows on each side are sunk, the gorgeous ceiling, the walls covered with gold, and frescoes by Primatice or Nicolo, are, even to the silver crescent and the cypher, reappearing at every step, the same as when Diana of Poitiers and her royal lover trod its floor. The only loss it has sustained is that of the two bronze satyrs eight feet high which supported the chimney-piece: they were seized for ammunition in 1793, and Napoleon replaced them by two pillars now standing. The chimney-piece was the work of Rondelet, Francis the First’s famous sculptor; its centre exhibits the arms of France, encircled by a wreath and crowned by Diana’s crescent. There are two pictures at this end of the hall; one of Francis killing a wild boar in the forest, the other of the famous combat of a condemned man with a loup-cervier, which desolated the country round Fontainebleau. He was a nobleman, and besought permission to meet his death in this manner, but, having exterminated the monster, he was pardoned. At one time this hall was called Galerie des Réformés; for the Calvinists, with Admiral Coligny at their head, here presented to Francis the Second the first petition in which they styled themselves “Reformers.” The Admiral was their organ to the young king, whose brother was to be his murderer. The ball on the Duke of Orleans’ marriage was given in this hall. The windows to the park look on the Étang and its pavilion, which bore the name of Cabinet de Conseil, when Catherine de Médicis, and after her the Cardinal de Richelieu, retired there with their secret advisers. Directly beneath the gallery is the Salle Louis Philippe, which was, in Louis the Fourteenth’s reign, the Dauphin’s apartments, now a magnificent dining-hall, supported by Doric columns, and ornamented in the taste of the Renaissance. Opposite its five windows, on the parterre, are three superb entrances, opening on a corridor lighted by glass doors, which look on the Cour Ovale; a fourth entrance communicates with the Porte Dorée. It is a splendid porch or portico, brilliant with gilding and just revived frescos, its length the width of the dining-hall—at one end opening on the Allée de Maintenon, named, by the proudest and vainest king in Europe, after his plebeian wife; at the other on the Oval Court, which I mentioned before, but did not tell you that the donjon which terminates it is the spot where Louis the Thirteenth was christened when seven years old. A flight of steps on either side of the entrance arch conducts to the open chamber it supports, and the child was named there in public; all catholic ceremonial observed, that no doubts of his creed might rest on the people’s minds.

Perhaps my long description of Fontainebleau has wearied you, and yet I might continue it much longer; so large a portion of French history is connected with its walls. The guide pointed to the tower in which the Marshal, Duc de Biron, past the night after his arrest, ere he was transferred to the Bastille. Notwithstanding that Henry the Fourth had three times saved his life in battle, and designed to make him his son-in-law, he conspired against him with the Duke of Savoy. France was to be divided into as many petty sovereignties as provinces, all placed under the protection of the king of Spain; and the bribe which seduced Biron, who was the vainest and bravest man of his day, consisted of Franche Comté and Burgundy, and a marriage with a daughter of Spain or Savoy. Lafin, confidant of the traitor-duke, betrayed him in turn, but had the art to persuade him of the king’s ignorance, when he summoned his former friend to his presence, and the marshal denied everything.

“Marshal,” said the king, “I must hear from your own mouth what I unhappily know already. Speak to me but frankly, and whatever your crime against me, I promise you protection and pardon.”

“Your majesty presses a man of honour too far,” said the marshal impatiently.

“Would to God it were so,” rejoined Henry the Fourth sadly; “reflect ere you reply.” The general remained silent, and the king walked slowly to the door; and, as he reached it, said, still more in sorrow than in anger: “Adieu, Baron de Biron.” He was tried and condemned; and beheaded within the gates of the Bastille.

The Cour du Cheval Blanc, silent as it is now, calls back Napoleon’s adieus to his old guard, which took place here.

April 6th.

Notwithstanding the most bitter of east winds, we have ridden over great part of the forest, the wildest and finest I ever saw. Its groves of old oak, interspersed with tracts clothed with black firs, and hills, and valleys of barren stone; the Hermitage of Franchard; the wonderful Roche qui pleure, through which filters water, which the good peasants still collect as a sovereign remedy against disease, are on the Paris side of the forest. Shortly before arriving at Franchard, there is a plain iron cross raised on a heap of flints, the scene of some old murder. Our road from the town lay through oaks in their hundred years’ majesty: the box forming dark thickets everywhere, and the ground between already blue and white with periwinkles and anemones. In summer it is one carpet of flowers. Franchard had a hermitage even in the time of our Richard Cœur de Lion; it became afterwards a monastery which was also deserted: shortly after the battle of Castelnaudary, its last inhabitant arrived thither, and lived and died alone in its ruins. It was whispered at the time, that the Comte de Moret, who (some said) had perished in the battle, had on the contrary received but some slight wounds which in no way endangered his life; he had disappeared: and the recluse who hid himself in poverty and solitude at the same period was believed to conceal from the vindictive cardinal the companion in arms of the unhappy Montmorency.

The valley of La Solle is on the other side of the grande route. The steep road dips suddenly down, winding among fantastic rocks, piled one on the other, overgrown with brilliant mosses, trees growing luxuriantly on or among them. I noticed some whose trunks shot upwards from so narrow a place of support, that the branches on either side seemed extended to poise them, as a bird spreads its wings for the air to bear it up; and others, whose roots stretched themselves over the bare granite platform, casing it to its edge, and thence dropped down to plant themselves in the earth which nourishes them scantily. In this part of the forest the holly grows everywhere, and is gay with red berries even now. We were doubtful of the way back; and Fanny, whose sagacity has been so often proved, was called on to assist. When the reins are laid on her neck, she is perfectly aware of her own importance, and stops and snuffles at each road she sees, often choosing short-cuts and footpaths. To-day, after leaving the valley, we came suddenly on one of the abrupt rocky hills which we have met with often here; there was a broad alley on each side, but Fanny chose neither, and taking a little track through the trees, trotted on and up, climbing like a cat, and when I dismounted to ease her, pulling me on by the rein I held. Arrived at the top, from the little arid plain we found a view worth our trouble; down the other side she led again, emerging in a bridle-road, from which branched eight others. She considered a moment, and then, hurrying as she does when her mind is made up, she chose one of these alleys, and in five minutes we passed a finger-post, which marked it, “Chemin de Fontainebleau.”

On the Paris road is the Croix du Grand Veneur: he is the hero of terrible tales, being a spectre, who often and on various occasions has appeared to the kings of France. The last who saw him was Henry the Fourth. One day of the year 1599 he had been hunting unsuccessfully, for his hounds had twice lost the scent, and he was slowly riding back through the forest on the Moret side, when his ill-humour was increased by suddenly hearing the cry of dogs and the flourish of hunting horns, which seemed to sound a triumphant blast. The king, who rode at some distance from his attendants with the Count of Soissons, turned angrily to him, “Note who the bold intruder may be,” he exclaimed, and the count, with several of the courtiers, spurred towards the sound. As they disappeared, the king started back, for a tall huntsman,—tall beyond human height,—attired in black, with a shining eye and livid cheek, stood before him. He accosted the monarch in a voice of thunder, and said, “Amendez-vous.” Henry’s look for a moment quailed before him; and when he fixed it on the spot where the huntsman had stood, he was gone. The Count of Soissons and his companions returned, said they had seen, but at a distance, a dark huntsman, at the head of a numerous hunt, mounted on horses which seemed to feel the rocky soil no obstacle. Whether he came to warn the king of a darkening future and bloody close, I cannot tell; some say he spoke more than the monarch told; he rode the rest of the way in silence. After this apparition the Grand Veneur continued to be heard at times, though he was not seen again. Once, (Sully says,) when he waited impatiently for Henry’s return to communicate some important affair, he heard the horns and horses’ hoofs close to the chateau, and ran out to meet him, but nothing was visible; and when the king had really come, he learned he had been at the time four leagues away.

7th April.

Walked to-day (the east wind sharper than ever) to the church at Avon, where Monaldeschi lies, under the bénitier. The crime for which Christina murdered him was never precisely known; but it was hinted that he had been a favoured and then fickle lover. Taking the right road through the park, and along the canal made by Henry the Fourth, it is hardly distant the quarter of a league it is called; we took the wrong and a much longer way. The little old edifice was built in the tenth century, and stands at the end of the unpaved dirty village. A washerwoman and a dozen children came to see what we wanted. We wanted to get into the locked-up church, and were desired to apply at the seminary, which is nearly opposite. The porter issued with the key. He was the roundest, merriest, ugliest, piece of human nature imaginable; I should think he acted cook as well as porter, and he is quite out of keeping with the spot where he stood. With its low gloomy arches, and damp irregular pavement of worn tombstones, it seems the fitting place for the hurried interment of a murdered man, in the dusk of a winter’s evening. One of the flags of the choir is marked with the fleurs-de-lis, and a half-effaced figure; below is the heart of Philip le Bel’s queen, who died here about 1304. Two old painted windows light the church dimly; near the entrance door, just in front of the antique vessel for holy water, is the narrow stone inscribed with ancient letters, “Ci gît Monaldexi.” The porter told a strange story.

Three years since, (the village church being then always left open,) a party of Englishmen came to visit it. They arrived with a number of workmen, hired in the cottages, and whom they had paid beforehand, and liberally, for the work to be done. By their employers’ order these men opened the grave, to take possession of the skeleton, for the English gentlemen asserted that Monaldeschi was their relation. The curé had been absent, but returned during this extraordinary operation, and flew to forbid sacrilege! The workmen ceased, but they had been so diligent that the bones were already uncovered, and the Englishmen insisted on carrying them away; and, despite of the curé, held the skull fast. Finding his remonstrances useless, the priest hurried away, and returned with some gens-d’armes, when the skull was replaced in the coffin.

The Englishmen were allowed to depart. They had cracked, in their labour, the grave-stone, and crumbled a good many of those beside it; a large square of brick-work replaces them. “Since then,” the porter said, winking at us, as if he fancied we too had some design on the bones he guards, “when strangers are curious, I accompany them, and we keep the church locked.”


Moret—The Nunnery—Louis the Fourteenth’s black Daughter—Two useful Saints—Villeneuve la Guyard—Descriptions deceitful—Strange Cure for Blood to the Head—A River-god on terra firma—Sens—St. Colombe, Thomas à Becket’s refuge—Villeneuve le Roy—Place where the Vine was first cultivated—Auxerre—The Chapter’s hundred years’ Law-suit concerning Fur Trimmings—The Canons’ Games at Ball—The Cathedral, occupying the site of the first Christian Chapel—St. Germain—The Saint’s refusal to get out of his Grave to reform England—Tombs of Dukes of Burgundy—Ill-treatment in a Church from a School at its devotions—Lucy le Bois—The Face in a Hole in the Wall—Taken for a beast—Arnay le Duc—La Rochepot—A danger avoided through Grizzel’s affection—An unamiable Carter—Chalons, Cæsar’s head-quarters—Cross seen by Constantine—Punishment of past times for unskilful Physicians—A Prince of Portugal, Monk at St. Laurents—Cathedral.

10th April.

A pretty road through the forest, on whose borders is the old town of Moret; its ancient gateway and the ruins of its fortifications and strong castle looking picturesque through the trees. The fine gothic church remains, but the convent, which was honoured by the presence of a royal nun, no longer exists. Louis the Fourteenth had by his wife, Maria Theresa, a daughter, who came into the world perfectly black. The King not choosing to own a negress, it was asserted that she had died; she was committed to the custody of these walls, and well and respectfully treated, for the abbess received a large annuity on her account. It is said that her royal father and mother sometimes came to see her; perhaps the comparison between what she was and might have been, but for the caprice of nature, preyed on her mind, for her life was not a long one. Two saints, of unquestionable merit, have chapels in their honour near Moret. St. Nicaise will cure the most obstinate cough, and St. Memert the bite of a mad dog.

The next post very uninteresting, to Fossard, which is one of those wretched-looking villages which straggle along each side of the broad, bad roads of France. Stopped to sleep at Villeneuve la Guyard, a hopeless-looking place with a good inn, though it does not fulfil the promise of its printed card, which speaks of “new and splendid furniture, French and English attendance, large and commodious stables, baths, and a garden of rare plants adjoining.” The chambers hung with painted canvass, thick with the dust of years, and the square hole cut in the panel of the door, that the blast rushing in might prevent the chimneys smoking, did not quite answer the expectations raised. The groom of the filthy stable, for French stables are cleaned once a year only, was a feeble, gray peasant. The fat girl waited alternately on us and the diligence dinner; the baths were invisible, as was the garden, unless represented by the strip where primroses and cabbages grew among broken crockery, protected by the paling, on which hung to dry an avenue of cotton pocket-handkerchiefs. There was nothing to see when we had walked round the little church, and been driven home by the troop of urchins who, just out of school, clattered after me in sabots. Returned to the inn yard, we found there an amusing specimen of French manners in a certain class. By the well sat, in an oilskin cape and cloak, an old gentleman, who with his wife we had seen arrive in a one-horse vehicle. He was dripping like a river-god, and she, in the attitude of Hebe, pouring on his bare head jugs of well-water. As neither were at all embarrassed, we were soon acquainted; he had attacks of blood to the head, and therefore the watering of it by three buckets at a time is performed twice a day, and the operation of cupping three times a week, by his wife, who has taken lessons on purpose; like some other good people, she likes complaining, and before we had been known to each other five minutes, she told me that since her husband had retired from business, this malady had come upon him; that they had travelled to see the sea, and it had ennuyé him; that they were now on their way to drink the waters in Savoy, and he already spoke of turning back; in short, that he was impatient and fanciful, and made her life insupportable. A great source of grief and fidget to him was the old horse, lean and uncleaned, who daily dragged themselves and baggage in the heavy vehicle. He wondered he was not fat and hungry like ours.

11th April.

Left early, intending to sleep at Sens for the sake of the cathedral. Pont-sur-Yonne, which lies on the road, has an old church and fine bridge. The entrance to Sens under the arched gateway is striking; and its boulevards and public promenades remarkably neat and pretty. When we rode into the yard of the Ecu, we found mine host, who came to meet us, high in his charges and impertinent besides; so turned the horses’ heads again,—merely fed them at an auberge close by, and went on. I saw only the exterior of the fine cathedral. A quarter of a league from Sens was the abbey of St. Colombe, where Thomas à Becket hid himself three years from the fury of Henry of England. A beautiful shining day, for the east wind has yielded at last. The approach to Villeneuve le Roy is through a pretty tranquil country, the road winding along the bank of the river, and sheltered on the other side by an abruptly rising ground, planted with vineyards. An elbow in this road brings suddenly in sight the old town’s gateway: like that of Moret, an entrance-arch, flanked by turrets, with the gouttière above, whence boiling pitch and lead poured on the intruder.

It is of Louis the Sixth’s time, I was going to say it has frowned there ever since; but this evening, in the golden sunshine, it smiled in harmony with all the rest: the troops of gay boys at play under the care of a good-natured priest, and the bright little stream which bathed Fanny’s tired feet.

We had good beds and a decent stable at the inn; but its butcher and cook are “leagued to destroy.” Our French acquaintance had arrived before us,—just as the lady-innkeeper was telling me her country people were far better travellers than formerly, as they ate and drank and paid uncomplainingly now, as the English once had done, my friend, who had seen us dismount, came to greet me, and tell (in the landlady’s presence) that every thing in the house was extravagant and execrable; and then, having surveyed the chamber selected for us, insisted on her yielding one better, in which we are installed, thanks to her. We walked together in the evening to the pretty gardens outside the town: it has a similar entrance at its other extremity, and the ancient walls and towers of the fortifications remain; and the moat, converted to peaceful uses, now forms bright gardens, covered with blossom.

I bought for a franc an enormous basket of carrots for the horses; and when we returned to the inn, my companion elevated one before the eyes of the landlady, reproaching her with its being the same size for which that morning she demanded five sous!

12th April.

Left Villeneuve for Auxerre; a north-east wind and gloomy sky again, under which the scene looked disenchanted. A less uninteresting country as far as Joigny, which is built on the height, its houses and churches rising in terraces with a broad quay and handsome bridge, but neither trees nor flower-gardens as in a country town in England; looking this grey, cold day only dirt and barrenness. We met, as we passed along, our feverish acquaintance, he walking to cool his head without a hat; his lady abusing the hotel, where their horse was feeding; they too were bound for Auxerre.

Nothing more melancholy than Joigny, excepting the road beyond it; it crosses the bridge, and lies over a marshy flat, lately overflowed by the river, and seeming to produce little, saving a few willows and broom-like poplars. We have pavement again for some miles here, and the sides of the road were impassable. Leaving Bassou, a hopeless looking place, behind, we were in the vine country: an ugly one it is, but this is the place of all Gaul where the grape was first grown in the third century. From a long steep hill we looked back on a most gloomy though extensive view; its descent leads to Auxerre. At the Porte de Paris was our hatless friend, who had passed us on the way; he was good-naturedly watching our coming to point out the road to the Leopard; we should otherwise have made a long round instead of riding down the avenue to the quay where it stands. It is a comfortable and reasonable inn, and the view up and down the broad river, with bridge and islands and barges, very pretty. The avenue before the hotel, and along the Yonne, is the walk of the Auxerre fashionables; a formidable looking “jeune France” was promenading there, but now magnificent in curls and beard and crimson cloak and cigar. The town, whose streets are high and narrow, looks to advantage from the river; it is built in an amphitheatre, the old abbey of St. Germain, the prefecture, the cathedral towers, and those of other fine churches, rising tier above tier over the quay. I walked in quest of letters to the post-office, and found that to do so required strength of mind, for a bonnet forms no part of my baggage: and I went in my riding habit, as I dismounted, followed by all the little boys and girls, and some of their papas and mammas: the very clerk at the post-office, civil as he was, could not refrain from several questions, the “how and whence” respecting the first habit which had been seen at Auxerre. Yet we are only forty leagues from Paris, and the Parisians have lately made riding so fashionable, that I have heard young ladies, asked whether they liked the exercise, exclaim they “adored it,” and seen gentlemen of fifty on ponies follow in the train of the riding master. The cathedral is small and beautiful; we stood near one of the side entrances admiring the elegance of its Nun’s-walk, and the view down the aisle, where it circles round the choir, and arches and columns seem crowded together.

The finely carved capitals of these columns were lighted brilliantly and variously by the sunbeams through the rich stained windows. The prospect from the nave would be open to the chapel behind the high altar, but that modern taste has suspended over the latter a wooden ornament, closely resembling the tester of a bed; it intercepts the view of the lovely little chapel, and the strangely light pillars which support it; on one of these is pasted a paper, promising “plenary indulgence” to all such as on saints’ days, therein specified, shall recite particular prayers. So all who are “heavy laden” repair to the chapel at Auxerre.

On the wall close by is a tablet to the memory of Georges de Beauvoir, Marshal of Chastellux, who, in the year 1444, retook the town of Crevant from the English, and with his own hand (says the inscription) killed the Lord High Constable of Scotland. The celebrated Amyot, preceptor of King Henry the Third, is also interred here; it is said that the chapter, formerly rich, ruined itself by lawsuits, and one is particularly cited which lasted a long time. The canons asserted their right of wearing ermine on their robes; it was forbidden them; some yielded, others were stubborn: they were called, to distinguish them, “Trimmed” and “Untrimmed.” Litigation ensued, and the last named gained the lawsuit, when it had been pending one hundred years.

The cathedral has some customs peculiar to itself. A strange one was abolished only in the sixteenth century. The canons were in the habit of playing at ball in the nave, and for money, and the sums thus won were expended in feasts for the chapter. It is said that it was erected on the site of the first Christian chapel, raised here in the third century.

The old church of St. Germain near (now that of the Hôtel Dieu, and barbarously whitewashed) takes its name from the sixth Bishop of Auxerre, who first built it on the spot where stood the house in which he was born, and who was buried here in 448. The saint’s story says, that having travelled to England he there met and converted at Oxford one Micomer, a learned doctor, whom he then made his coadjutor in reclaiming Great Britain from Paganism. Micomer returned to France, died, and was buried. St. Germain visiting his tomb at Tonnerre, apostrophized his disciple, now a saint. “Micomer,” he said, “rise from your tomb: there are fresh disorders and fallings away in England and Ireland; rise and go, set all in order.” A voice replied from the tomb, “Be tranquil, father, on that subject, for England and Ireland will not need our interference, and heaven commands my body to remain in peace here, and my soul in eternal glory.” St. Germain rejoined, “It is well, may I soon be with you in paradise.” The subterranean church of St. Germain is famous for its antiquity, and also because it contains, besides the tombs of sainted bishops, those of Hugh, Duke of Burgundy, father of Hugues Capet of France, as well as of other dukes of Burgundy, and counts of Auxerre; (for the county of Auxerre belonged by turns to France and her turbulent province.) It was united to the crown in Charles the Fifth’s reign, ceded to the duchy by Charles the Sixth, and became finally French when Charles the Téméraire, last sovereign of Burgundy, was killed before Nancy. We did not see the vaults, for the pale, diseased faces which came round us, as this is now the hospital church, made it by no means tempting to stay. Near the church stands its ancient belfry, a picturesque tower. We went in search of St. François, which is in the lower part of the town, and seen outside is a noble gothic building; within it disappointed me, though indeed I had barely time to judge of it, for as we entered we found a whole school on its knees, which, without any change of position, saluted my habit and myself with shouts and hootings notwithstanding the reproving looks of a young priest, and fairly drove us out and followed us home, pushing against us to stare closer; so, having had no room to walk, and barely enough to breathe to-day, I must buy a bonnet at Chalons.

Rouvray, 14th of April.

Cold weather still, but sunny, and the bridge and steep road which looks on Auxerre, once passed, no view to reward for the long succession of bare hills. Near the town the vine is much cultivated, but in France its stunted stumps give no charm to scenery. Further on the soil is worse, but prodigiously manured, and they grow oats and rye in what appears a stiff red clay, lightened only by layers of flat stones, which would break English hearts and ploughs. Nothing to relieve the eye, not a bush, not a speck of green, not an habitation for miles on either side of the glaring white road; we travelled for ever up the steep rise, and down the sharp descent, which succeed as like each other and uninteresting as if all had been cast in the same mould. Fed the horses at a lone farm-house, and reached at sunset the prettier country near Lucy le Bois; for the road for about a mile passes through a young oak wood, and it was really refreshing to the sight, as we had not seen a tree for twenty-seven miles. The village stands in a sheltered and rather pretty valley, at the foot of a hill, which is a petty mountain, so thought the post horses, who toiled up it. We got in at dusk. The sharp landlady was out, and her delegates were two good civil old women, her aunt and mother-in-law, and though it is an humble inn, we had good beds and a bright fire, and an excellent dinner from the hands of poor Annette, whose province is to clean the house, attend the comers, cook the meals, wash the linen, milk the cows, make bread, cheese, and butter, and bear (she told me in confidence) the blows of the spoilt child.

When the hostess returned, we saw no more of the old people and their civility, but the fine lady and her imposition instead.

Slept at Lucy, and rode on in the morning to this town, Rouvray, a melancholy road and wretched place, but the beds, cook, and stabling of the Hôtel de l’Ancienne Poste very good. As D—— always stops to feed the horses on the way, and the wonder my costume excites becomes very annoying, I to-day took refuge in the stable, and saw there a great face in a blue night-cap, staring at me through a hole in the wall. Before reaching the town we passed a group of labourers at work, and men and women ran to the edge of the high bank above the road to look down at me. I laughed at their astonishment; a fact the foremost of the group communicated to the rest, saying, “Voilà que cela nous rit.” “Cela” does not mean a human being, so that I do not exactly know for what they took me. Mons. Digy’s printed card asserts, in English, that “Post hotel is situated in the most fine quarter of town,” which means, the dirtiest end of the long street. The wind is high, and this room smokes, so that we sit with the door ajar, and the creaking sign, which hangs just at our windows by iron links, and swings backwards and forwards, excites agreeable thoughts of dead men hung in chains. We are to remain a day or two, notwithstanding, as I am not well.

We hear there is great poverty hereabouts, yet provisions, except bread, which sells at the Paris price, are very reasonable. Meat is only eight or nine sous a pound; but the labourer receives no more than twenty-four sous for his day’s hire, and the country people, like the Irish, live almost entirely on potatoes.

19th April.

Left Rouvray for Arnay le Duc, and saw nothing which at all interested me by the way, excepting the return post horses trotting gaily home by themselves. We have fine weather at last, and so warm, that we stopped on a little plain, and sat in the shelter of one of its hillocks, thinking to do so undisturbed; but a bevy of half black Bourguignonnes, who were tending thin sheep and unsightly pigs at a distance, took up a position which commanded ours, and grinned fearfully till they drove us out. They form a very unengaging population. The women, from hard work, soon lose all trace of feminine features, and their costume is unbecoming, as their short petticoats display their bare, thick, brown ancles. Arnay le Duc is rather prettily situated on the river Arroux, in a valley, which was formerly commanded by its strong castle, of which remains but one heavy tower. The Hôtel de la Poste is exceedingly good, and through this town, for the first time, I was not hooted, as near it lives a young French lady, who rides.

20th April, Hôtel du Parc, Chalons.

Sixty miles in two days of burning weather. I feared Fanny might suffer, and we decided on remaining a day in this noisy inn, which is not an agreeable one. I believe the “Trois Faisans” to be better. The plain of Givry, which we passed over, is surrounded by an interesting country, as on the right are wooded defiles, backed by a range of bold hills; and to the left, beyond the slender white pillar raised in the meadows, (none could tell me wherefore,) the view is fertile and extensive, stretching back towards Arnay. In front lay the dirty town, once fortified. We fed our horses there, and found the inhabitants more savagely insolent than usual. When we remounted, Fanny, and even the patient Grizzel, excited by their shouts, plunged so violently that they soon cleared a way through the night-capped crowd. From the long hill above Givry, the green plains and distant heights look to advantage, as does the old château, with peaked roof and turrets, which stands by the winding river in the hollow. We next came on a broad moor, and the horses enjoyed a long gallop over turf, the first since Salisbury Plain. It is broken by a few patches of brushwood, and covered with a very beautiful purple flower, whose name is unknown to me. We saw no habitation for miles; none, indeed, till we reached its extremity, where there is a lone inn, with ruined outhouses, in a wild and solitary situation, just fitting for the last scene of a Porte St. Martin melodrama.

The road thence descends suddenly, edging a precipice, and commanding a view which is a contrast to all we have toiled through till now. We rode under abrupt banks, and fragments of reddish rock, and below was a glen, shut in by hills, or rather small stony mountains, planted with vines, wherever cultivation is not impossible. There was no verdure, for the vine stalks are yet bare of leaves, and the face of the hills is only varied by the different tints of rock and soil, and the enclosures of the small fields, formed by piles of slaty stones thrown up from them; yet the prospect was beautiful as well as grand. The broken hill nearest us stood forth in deep shadow; those before, as well as the narrow valley, lay in splendid sunshine, and beyond them, through the haze of heat and distance, shone the windings of the Saône, and stretched the rich plains of Bresse, and above all towered the range of the Jura, resembling the cloud which hung over it, but that its rosy white was more delicate still. At our feet were two villages, so hidden in their nooks, that we perceived them only when the road passed directly above. The furthest is La Rochepot; its square castle, flanked by four massive towers, covers the surface of the solitary rock which forms its foundation, and rises among the cabins, yet at a commanding distance, as (ere power had departed and respect had followed) the old noble once did among his vassals.

Two watch-towers are still standing, and the windows opened at different epochs, some arched, some Elizabethan, make frames for the blue sky seen through them, or are lightly curtained by ivy, which seldom grows luxuriantly in France; its situation and itself are such, as, had Scott seen, would not have been left without a story.

The grande route winding, passes directly in its front, and the precipice is scarcely pleasant with a starting horse, particularly as the carters we meet crack their whips at me, kindly curious to know whether the lady’s seat is as unsafe as strange. Arrived at the stone cross on the hill, we lost sight of the castle, but obtained a lovelier view of the valley, as green meadows and fruit-trees in flower enlivened the same bold scenery. I had led Fanny down, as the descent is rapid, and as I was about to remount, only Grizzel’s affectionate disposition spared us an inconvenient adventure. By the road-side are various marly pools, whose thin mud seems unlikely to tempt even a thirsty horse; yet Grizzel left free when D—— came to assist me, walked towards, and into it, bending her knees and making preparations for rolling, in utter disregard of the saddle and valise she carries. D—— ran to the edge, but the edge was slippery and the pool deep, and Grizzel too intent on her bath to listen to shouts or commands; a stroke of the long whip was the last resource, and out of the water she splashed, and, to our dismay, trotted up a by-path. What was to be done? to pursue would have quickened her retreat; by a lucky thought, we led away little Fanny, and the poor grey had not gone a hundred yards ere she turned to look for her, and though she hesitated a little, preferred the risk of feeling the whip again to losing her companion; so we rode peaceably on to Chagny, which is situated in a rather pretty country, though beyond the valley. I asked an old woman who was there at work, the name of its tiny river; she turned round to gaze at it, as if she then saw it for the first time, and said “Cela? cela s’appelle la _rivière_.” Met again to-day several soldiers going on furlough; one from Africa, bronzed by its sun. We stopped him to ask whether we are likely to find our friend Captain ——’s regiment at Lyons. From Chagny to Chalons, though but four leagues, seemed a long distance from the badness of the road: between them, on a lone flat, we passed the stone erected to the memory of Antoine Prévost a countryman, assassinated here for the sake of a five-franc piece in his pocket. Met an exceedingly uncivil waggoner with his team, who made a face at me! and got in at sunset, the frogs in the ditches croaking so loud a “good night,” that they startled the horses.

Chalons existed as a town of importance, even previous to Cæsar’s entrance into Gaul, and was called Orbandale. Cæsar made it the head-quarters of several legions, and it increased in importance till the reign of Constantine. The inhabitants boast that near their city he beheld in the clouds the luminous cross which converted him to Christianity.

It was at Chalons that the marriage was negotiated between Clovis and Clotilda, by whose influence he afterwards became first Christian King of France. It was to him that St. Remy made that fine speech before his baptism; “Bow the head, barbarian! burn what you have adored; reverence what you have burned.” The scene of the exploits of the famous Brunehaud was also laid here; she was second wife to King Gontran; his first spouse Austragilda, who died at Chalons, made a singular request to her husband:—“I pray you, sire, put to death all those unskilful leeches who have failed to cure my malady.” King Gontran promised to give her this token of affection, and kept his word, and yet—he has been canonized!!! The parish of St. Laurent, which was formerly a little town with privileges of its own, occupies an island formed by the Saône. It had once a convent of Cordeliers, in the church of which was the tomb of a monk who was its superior. The historian of Chalons says he was the only brother of Alphonso the Fifth, King of Portugal; in 1481, he wandered hither and assumed the cowl: the king dying childless, ambassadors came to offer him the crown he had inherited; he refused it, and dismissed them as well as his mother the queen dowager, who strove to persuade him by entreaties and vain tears. At last, in despair, she departed and retired to die among the poor Cordeliers of St. Claire of Auxonne, where she is interred. Of all the riches of Portugal, Father John only accepted what sufficed to decorate the church of his convent, and died in 1525, having chosen to be the principal of five and twenty mendicant monks, rather than to rule a kingdom.

Having purchased a bonnet, I walked after dinner to the cathedral. It is believed to have existed from the earliest epoch of Christianity; ruined by the Saracens, it was magnificently rebuilt by Charlemagne in the commencement of the ninth century. It fell into decay five hundred years after, and the present edifice is of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It is an extensive and solemn-looking building. We saw it imperfectly and for a few minutes only; not arriving till after sunset. The side aisles are shorter than the nave, and the arch, which descends lower where the transept crosses the latter, gives it weight and gloom; but the nun’s walk, with an open gallery below and above, is light and beautiful. The armed and gilded figures, which seem to guard the choir, belong to the tombs of some of the old Counts of Chalons buried here. The chapels are rich in ornaments, having belonged to the chief families of the country, mostly to those which have given bishops to Chalons. In one of them kneels a painted statue attired in its robes, which, though it might possess little illusion in broad daylight, made us start in the gloom, looking though “lifeless so very lifelike.” The unfinished portal is about to be completed; and this part of the cathedral is screened off for the present by most curious old tapestry, seemingly of Francis the First’s time. The small irregular place in front of the church is surrounded by houses with projecting upper stories, and carved cherubims at their corners, resembling those at Tewkesbury; but nothing at Chalons appears to date back to 590, though it is pretended that a part of the palace occupied by King Gontran still remains. We go to-morrow, for the quay below our windows is the spot whence the Saône steamers start; and the noise exceeds that of a Saturday night at Birmingham: the horses are uncomfortably situated, not only from the extreme filthiness of the stable, but because one end of its enormous space is merely separated by a curtain from the open coach-house, and the other by a glass partition from the kitchen; luckily they are good travellers. We dined yesterday in our own rooms and well, and to-day at the table d’hôte, the worst I have seen yet, and having a nasty appendage in a lavoir opposite, with often-used soap on its edge, and dirty towels for drapery; the diners washed their hands as they came in—a most odious custom.


Tournus—Greuze’s grave—Mâcon—The walking Wedding—Retirement of a Count of Mâcon, with thirty Knights, to the Abbey of Cluny—Dealings of his Successor with evil Spirits—His exit from Earth in the Car of a black Visitor—His Son turning Monk through fear—The County sold by his Daughter Alice to France—Bloodless occupation of Mâcon by the Huguenots—Mâcon retaken through bribery by the Marshal of Tavannes—Madame de Tavannes’ mode of increasing her Revenues—Sauteries de Mâcon—Farce of St. Poinct—Assassination of Huguenot Prisoners—Sang froid of Catholic Dames—A Russian Noble—Villefranche—Privilege granted to its married Men—Descent into Lyons—Monastère des deux Amans, supposed Herod and Herodias—Fortress of Pierre Encise—The Prison of Cinq Mars—Fort commanding the Croix Rousse—Homage paid to the wooden Statue of 1550—Hôtel de l’Europe—View of Fourvières—Its Church escaping violation throughout the Revolution—The Antiquaille on the site of the Palace where Germanicus was born—Traces of fire in Nero’s time—Recollections of Princess Mary of Württemberg—Her love of Art to the last—Nourrit’s Funeral—A Racer’s determination to trot—Going to races—Mistaken for a Candidate—Perrache—Horses, riders, and accoutrements—Triumph of the King’s Fête—A Boat upset—The Tower of the fair German-Croix Rousse—Wretchedness of the Operatives—Causes of Insurrection in 1831—The most ancient Monastery in Gaul—Church of Aisnay.

Tournus, Hôtel de l’Europe,

23d April.

Arrived here last evening, having left the inn yard at Chalons under the inspection of all the guests assembled there for breakfast. Remembered, when we had crossed the bridge, having left no address for my bonnet, which is to be sent after me to Mâcon; and were obliged to ride back.

From Chalons to Sennecey, two posts; a long fertile plain bounded by hills; to the left, in the distance, the Swiss mountains. The only sights at dirty Sennecey, a horridly gigantic head grinning with its tongue out, transplanted from some fountain to the wall of the first house, and a very old fort at its extremity, within whose walls the parish church has been lately erected. The extensive plain which again succeeds is skirted by nearer and wooded hills, whose shade, as we ascended them, made a pleasant contrast to the burning, treeless flat below. We let poor Fanny drink from a clear stream gushing forth at the foot, over which has been built a neat lavoir. As we walked the horses up the steep, the view bespoke more comfort and plenty than does any part of France I have yet travelled. Green meadows and fruit trees in flower, and villages dotting valley and rising ground, reminded me of England; from the summit the prospect was enchanting. The descent before us was rapid, and a few crags made a bold foreground, as did the Swiss mountains a splendid distance. Tournus rose in the plain, with its old church towers and grey abbey, and suspended bridge across the Saône, whose shores, seen for many a mile of its windings, merit their name of “bords fleuris.” This is one of the very best inns we have yet rested in; close to the bridge and the river; in all respects superior to its rival, the Sauvage, which is at the entrance of the town in a dull and dirty situation: but, as it pays postilions at a ruinous rate, attracts the larger proportion of post carriages. My indifferent health alters our destination, for, dreading the heat of an Italian summer, we go hence to Switzerland instead of Nismes. Here we remain some days for letters, and to give rest to our horses, though they appear to require none. Our most intimate acquaintance is a fat gentleman, who is anxious we should take a furnished château in these environs, which has its own private theatre, (he has discovered D——’s taste already,) and, with grounds and large vineyard, is to be let for thirty pounds a year; and an old soldier of the empire, one of the few returned from Moscow, who holds young France in great contempt, and showed us the scar of a lance thrust in his throat; and a sabre cut which crippled his hand: two of the six wounds for which a grateful country bestows on him a pension of eight sous a day. Do not suppose him a beggar, or one to whom you could presume to offer money. Before he was drawn for the conscription he was a carpenter. After his military life, unable to return to his first trade, he took up another, and is now a carrier, and transports goods in his cariole from Tournus to the villages surrounding it. We made acquaintance in the stable, where I had gone to see Fanny luxuriously rolling on her clean straw; and he particularly prides himself on being divested of all prejudices belonging to the untravelled. Greuze, the painter of the sweet family-pieces we have so often admired in the Louvre, was born at Tournus; in the church is a monument erected in his honour.

27th April, Mâcon.

We loitered away the fine weather at Tournus, and took to-day the melancholy road hither, with a north-east wind which whirled its dust in our faces, and made us shiver, as we rode up and down long hills, which succeed each other without view or interest. We met a wedding trudging along a little path which wound through the clods of a ploughed field, and crossing the high road and ourselves in the direction of a village. Three fiddles preceded bride and bridegroom, who walked arm in arm, and half a dozen couples of friends and relatives followed; we made a bow to the bride, who was very plain and looked very proud. The fiddlers were conscientiously playing with all their might, and we heard the sharp, squeaking notes, “like the cracked treble of an old man’s voice,” long after we lost sight of them. The female peasantry hereabouts wear a strange kind of tiny hat tied on the top of the head, and the white cap: it is about large enough to fit that of a doll, and above a fair face might be picturesque, but worn over weather-beaten features, which the “foreign aid of ornament cannot serve,” adds to their natural ugliness; and being so small as barely to shade one eye, affords no protection against the burning summer. The Hôtel de l’Europe where we are lodged is a good inn situated on the quay: the view is pretty across the broad river, and to the plains beyond, and bounded by the Alps. The inn has good beds and civil masters, but a bad cook. We dined to-day at the table d’hôte, which consisted of only two besides ourselves, young men of no very brilliant intellect, for one asked the waiter whether the radishes served at table were of this or last year’s growth; and nothing could persuade the other that the insurrection of the Lyons workmen was not suscitated by the English, with a view to destroy the silk-trade. There is an old horse in these stables thirty-two years of age, they tell me once a favourite charger of Napoleon.

Mâcon is a very ancient town, and was of importance even in Cæsar’s time. Under the first race of French kings it formed part of the kingdom of Burgundy; under the second race the Counts of Mâcon had insensibly become hereditary, and after the reign of Hugues Capet, one of these, yielding to the devotional feelings which took sudden and absorbing possession of his mind, retired with his sons and thirty knights to the monastery of Cluny, where they assumed the cowl, while at the same time their wives became nuns in the abbey of Marcigny. The county of Mâcon then again formed part of Burgundy, and in 1245 it was sold to St. Louis, King of France, by Alice, who had inherited it from her father and brother.

The parent of the Countess Alice had, it was said, dark dealings with bad spirits; and choosing to place no bridle on his love of enjoyment, laid violent hands on property belonging to the two chapters of Mâcon, and to the abbey of Cluny. The hour of reckoning came, and a black man of fearful exterior appeared one day, and summoned the count at the foot of his palace stair. Forced to obey, he mounted, at his silent companion’s sign, a kind of car, and thereupon miraculously disappeared from his wondering subjects. His cries of despair were heard and lost in the distance. “Had he sunk into earth, or melted in air,” they knew not; but his son, witness of this event, became a monk, and ceded the county to his sister Alice, who had espoused a prince of the blood of France, and her wishes according with her husband’s, sold to Louis the holy king, a domain whose unholy lords ended so fatally. The palace was allowed to go to decay, and in the sixteenth century its ruined walls were still visible within the citadel which was in the centre of the town. The Countess Alice retired to the Abbaye des Lis near Melun, and died its abbess. Long after, in the year 1562, the Huguenots had obtained possession of Mâcon with little violence, and no shedding of blood. The Marshal of Tavannes several times, and each unsuccessfully, attempted to retake the town, until at last he entered it by the means of traitors bought over. Notwithstanding, in each street a combat awaited him, but the Huguenot party, weaker than his own, and unprepared, wasted its bravery. With the victorious troops there re-entered the town a number of women, who, on account of their shameful lives, had been expelled thence, as well as the priests, in whose habitations many of them had been found: they served to point out the houses belonging to men of the Huguenot creed, particularly of those who had been active in driving them forth.

The butchery which took place would be too horrid for minute detail; and by means of merciless pillage, Tavannes and other leaders made or augmented their fortunes. Madame de Tavannes was noted for being particularly clever in discovering in houses, which already seemed sacked, the hiding-places of plate, jewels and linen, with all which Mâcon at this time was better supplied than any town in France. The mournfully famous Sauteries de Mâcon took place when Tavannes, having departed, left in his place as governor, a certain St. Poinct, son of a woman who asserted that a priest was his father. This man was in the habit of terminating pastimes and festivals, to which he had invited all the Catholic ladies of the town, by inquiring if the farce were ready to be acted (it has since been called the farce of St. Poinct); and on receiving a reply in the affirmative, he led the way to the bridge—I believe the very same which still crosses from Mâcon to Bresse, built of stone, with thirteen arches. Hither by his command, one or two, sometimes more, of the Huguenot prisoners had already been summoned; and when St. Poinct arrived, surrounded by ladies richly attired, he would enter into gay conversation, joke with them, and give them hope of pardon, till at his well-known signal they were seized and cast from the bridge into the river. It does no honour to the Catholic dames and damsels of the day, that D’Aubigné wrote that “this man could instil into the minds of females, even maids and children, with the fruits and wines of his desserts, such feelings as taught them to look on without pity at the execution of a Huguenot.” Last night there arrived a Russian noble, with his train of serfs. The north-east wind blew bitterly, yet by the master’s order the groom, who had in some wise offended, passed the hours till morning, shivering on the box of the travelling-carriage. One of the hôtel waiters in pity carried him a bottle of wine, but as he passed

“Betwixt the wind and his nobility,”

the Russian interfered, the servant received a reprimand, and the serf no wine.

28th April.

From Mâcon to Villefranche the country improving; the low hills on the right relieve the eye, barren as they are. At St. George de Rognain’s, through which we passed, it was fair-day, and the streets so crowded, that we were forced to proceed at a slow walk,—stared, laughed, and hooted at, with what patience we might. At Villefranche it was market-day, and our progress was impeded by droves of horned cattle along the road: found, when we arrived, all the good rooms occupied at the post-house, therefore pay high prices for bad accommodation. We dined at the same table with a gentleman who has travelled on horseback from Dijon hither, and complains of the fatigue piteously! Humbert the Fourth, sire de Beaujeu, who died in 1202, singularly privileged the husbands of Villefranche, allowing them to beat their wives till the blood flowed, provided they did not die!!

29th April.

From Villefranche to Anse, La plus belle lieue de France,

says the popular rhyme, and truly as we rode it, this warm, lovely morning, it was fair and fertile beyond any country we have travelled over. The high grounds on the right covered with vineyards; on the left, the meadows rich and green, and the Saône—a sheet of silver, and enough hill to give the scenery the boldness it would want otherwise.

Droves of oxen again on their way to supply Lyons; their drivers not more civil than yesterday,—for they merely said they were dangerous, without an attempt to leave us room at either side of the broad road; and their being savage was a likely consequence of the heat, and their fatigue—joined to the blows of the men, and the bites of their dogs. We kept in the rear till they opened their ranks themselves, and then cantered through this most unromantic peril. Our next meeting was with a runaway cow! galloping at full speed from her master, whom her unceremonious haste had commenced by overturning at the top of the hill, and who was making vain efforts to come up with her. As we left valiantly as much room with as little delay as possible for the fugitive, two post-carriages passed us, their inmates asleep as usual. We have not yet met two travellers with their eyes open.

We passed Anse, and its bridge over the narrow river, which is perhaps a branch of the Saône:—there is an air of comfort about the habitations of the poor, not visible in the north of France or nearer Paris. We noticed that the improvement commenced near Chalons. At Anse the cottages have neatly-enclosed gardens, gay with flowers and fruit trees; the sides of the Grande Route, which here turns abruptly towards the high hill which towers between it and Lyons, is bordered by poplars and willows; the green lanes, branching from it, have hedges, now white with hawthorn; and the peach-trees, which it is here the custom to plant between the rows of vine, are covered with their delicate blossoms. We remarked, that nowhere had we noticed so many fine châteaux as we saw dotting the country here; either placed, in commanding situations, on the hills to the right, or nestled in the nooks of the Mount d’Or itself, which we were ascending. Perhaps this accounts for the happier aspect of the dwellings of the poor: they are not, like those in Normandy, long, unmeaning buildings, with mansarde roofs; but for the most part extremely picturesque, built with high peaked turrets,—probably in the architecture of Henry the Fourth’s time. The steep road is uneven and stony, and we suffered from its dust, as well as the heat of the day; but the view of the country to the left, and that we were leaving behind, was at every step lovelier, and when we reached the summit, that of Lyons and its environs which lay below, in no degree inferior to it, though a thick haze shut out the Swiss mountains. We asked three men, within the space of five minutes, what might be the distance to Lyons: the first said two leagues; the second, one; and the third, three. The descent is long and rapid, passing some wild and beautiful gorges of the mountain, where the summer residences of the Lyonnese citizens are thickly scattered, and when we reached the bottom we were on the bank of the Saône, its windings on the left hand leading among green shores, and to the Isle Barbe, and on the right into Lyons. The Faubourg de Vaise, through which the grande route runs, gives no very favourable first impression. We believed that we had mistaken our way; but the crooked, narrow streets opened at last on the fine quay, and the finest town-view ever seen. We both made an exclamation of surprise at its beauty, which increased as we proceeded; but my enjoyment of which Fanny very much interfered with, as she chose to start more violently than ever, and the busy quays have often no barrier between them and the river below but rare placed curbed stones; sometimes not even these. We passed the ruined Monastery des Deux Amans, a Gothic building, of which little remains but the walls and a few windows with light and elegant tracery. It was of the order of St. Francis, and took its name from a tomb without an inscription, which existed here in the sixteenth century, and from time immemorial had been called that of the Two Lovers. Some, who exercised their erudition on the monument, affirmed it to be that of Herod, king of Judea, and his mistress Herodias, exiled to Lyons by Caligula. The high crag, which we rode beneath immediately after, starting so strangely up from the quay and among houses, with vegetation on its top, and a mere vestige of broken wall, was the seat of the strong fortress of Pierre Scise, held by the archbishops of Lyons till Henry the Fourth thought it wiser to take possession of it for the crown.

During Louis the Thirteenth’s reign, it was a state prison, and became that of Cinq Mars, whose memory Alfred de Vigny has made imperishable; another victim to the weakness of Gaston, and the jealousy of Richelieu. The rock was of considerable extent, for its fortifications were cut in its stone, and it hung over the river; but it has been blasted, and removed, to widen the quay and afford a passage for the fine road which leads in zigzags up the hill to the new fort, which commands the entire city, and whose cannon would above all find no difficulty in reducing to powder the Faubourg of the Croix Rousse, (built on a corresponding elevation on the other side of the river,) should the Croix Rousse think fit to renew its revolts of 31 and 34. At a guard-house we rode by, seeing 66th regiment on the soldiers’ caps, D—— asked news of our friend Capt. ——. His battalion is not here, but is expected shortly, and we have decided on remaining, as “we three” have not met for years.

After passing the rock of Pierre Scise, there is another and lower crag, on which are the rotting remains of a wooden statue. The people merely know that it is the bon homme de Vaise, or Monsieur de la Roche, who, in days of yore, gave marriage portions to their daughters, as is exemplified by the large wooden purse he holds in his hand. I find that he was an “échevin” of Lyons, of German family: his name was John Fleberg, and he had been so successful in commerce, that when the domains of the traitor Constable of Bourbon were confiscated to the crown, he was enabled to purchase various châteaux and estates situated in the neighbourhood of Lyons, and freed the inhabitants of Vaise of various seignorial exactions, which had before lain heavily on them.

As the statue has stood and mouldered on its present pedestal since the year 1550, or 1560, it has been thrown down by storm or accident several times, and on such occasions re-installed with great ceremony. It was long the custom to carry it in procession, once a year, through the streets, repaired and fresh painted, and adorned with flowers; but it has been discontinued of late, and the head and one arm are now broken away. We continued to ride along the quay till we had passed the cathedral, and crossing the second of the splendid suspension bridges which traverse the Saône, arrived at the Hôtel de l’Europe, whose entrance is from the Place Bellecour, and whose superb rooms look on the river, and the bridges of Foy and Fourvières; a glorious view, with the lights and shadows of sunset on it. This 30th of April has been more like August. We have arrived heated and tired, but the horses neither: both very hungry, and little Fanny rolling: which from the character we purposely give her, she has room to do in comfort, French ‘cochers’ standing in awe of quadrupeds.

1st of May.

I think a Frenchman, wishing to impress a foreigner favourably, might succeed better in affording him a glimpse of Lyons, than the same of Paris. Fancy yourself for a moment standing at one of these windows, the atmosphere more clear than further northward in France. The old church on the opposite bank of the Saône, with two low massive towers, each surmounted by a cross, is St. Jean, the cathedral, in part erected during the reign of Philip Augustus, contemporary of Richard Cœur de Lion. The ugly ruinous looking building adjoining is the Archevêché. Pius the Seventh, on his way to crown Napoleon, in Paris, Napoleon, on his road to be crowned in Italy, slept here! Behind St. Jean rise vineyards and fruit gardens in steep terraces, gay with white blossom and delicate verdure,—a background from which the grey cathedral stands darkly out. Directly above, on the extreme summit of the hill, is the small church of Notre Dame des Fourvières, remarkable for having escaped the ravages of the old revolution, during the whole of which it remained closed, and was re-opened by Pius the Seventh. A square tower built near it, on the same platform, in some degree hurting the effect of the tiny steeple, is a new and useless observatory. A little to the left, and lower on the hill, a long building with three pavilions, half concealed among old trees, is the Antiquaille, now an hospital and house of refuge: built on the site—it is said on the foundations—of the palace of the emperors, where Germanicus was born. Fourvières took its name from a splendid market erected there in Trajan’s reign, and called Forum Vetus. On the hill have been found at various times, pieces of fused metal and calcined stones, traces of the great fire which ruined the city in the time of Nero. The heights of Foy join those of Fourvières, and are equally bold, but more barren. When the poor young Princess Mary of Württemberg came to Lyons on her way to Pisa, where she died, she insisted on painting this view, though she did so supported by cushions. The landlord’s sister showed me her apartments, which join ours: she says the Princess was so gentle and uncomplaining, her husband so attached to her, and both she and the Prince so fond of their infant, whose sleeping place was in a cabinet adjoining their bed-chamber, and whom they were hanging over and admiring twenty times a-day, that it was heart-breaking to see her increasing feebleness. When they continued their journey, he would suffer no other person to give the assistance necessary, but himself carried her down the hôtel stairs, and lifted her into the carriage. She was an artist to the last; but a day or two before her decease at Pisa, cheered by warmth and sunshine, she asked for a pencil, and commenced a sketch of the fine view from the windows. “The ruling passion was strong in death.” When the Prince again passed through Lyons, on his return to Paris, without her, his appearance was so changed, that (the people of the inn say) they barely recognized him.

I have just been summoned to the Hôtel Terrace, which looks on the Place Bellecour, to see the passage of Nourrit’s funeral procession. His body had arrived at Lyons in a travelling carriage, and (transferred to a hearse only to cross the city) will again be deposited in a coach at its gates, and hurried up to Paris. The hearse was preceded by military, with music and drums muffled, and the pall covered with crowns of flowers, offerings made by the towns he has thus been borne through since Naples; but the two postilions, who in their common dress rode the hearse horses, were out of character with its plumes and draperies. A crowd of Lyons artists and of Nourrit’s admirers followed, but the archbishop has refused religious rites to the actor.

This is a most lovely night, like one in summer, and Lyons looks proud and imposing seen through the partial obscurity. The fine deep toll of the cathedral bell, and the discharges of cannon echoed back from the range of hills, and carried along by the dark river, adds to its effect. To-morrow, the fête of St. Philip, there will be gay rejoicings. We intend riding to see the races at La Perrache; for last year a horse who had excited great hopes, in the hour of trial, despite whip and spur, went round the course at a trot.

May 2nd.

As we were about to mount our horses in the inn yard this morning, a considerable crowd assembled to gaze at us, and completely filled the archway; so that when we attempted to ride out at it, the porter was obliged to employ rough words, as well as entreaties, and his wife whispered in my ear, that the people were so curious, because one of them had told the rest that I had arrived in Lyons for the sole purpose of riding one of these races. We could do nothing but move very slowly and patiently among the wide-eyed and open-mouthed spectators. I heard some one say close to me in a tone of contemptuous pity, “Sure, your honour, the likes of them knows no better,” and looking round, wondering to find so perfect a brogue so far from its birthplace, the speaker again replied to the expression of my face, “Is it where I come from, your honour? why then, from Cuffe-street,” and I saw a very red round face, with a merry blue eye, belonging to an Irishman with a wooden leg. Paddy has been a sailor, first in the English, then in the French service; but to quiet his conscience, which might reproach him with this caprice of which he has been guilty, he yields to the first the palm of superiority, which he says “altogether proceeds from the system of flogging,” as “the French navy will never flourish without that same.” He is now a good shoemaker, or rather he might be, for, like many of his countrymen, he abhors control; and prefers living on the good will of his acquaintances, in which he succeeds pretty well, as he is allowed to walk in and out of the hôtel yard, where his humour and appearance seldom fail to attract some traveller’s notice, though he never begs. When hunger presses and travellers have become scarce, he takes his line and his basket to the river and lives uncomplainingly on scanty fare till the good times come round again. As he is improvident, so he is popular: to-day with the silver D—— gave him, he went away in company of the inhabitants of the stable invited by him to share the treat. You see he keeps up his country’s character for hospitality.

We crossed the Place Bellecour on our way to the races, a noble square from its extent; its fine equestrian statue of Louis the Fourteenth, the view of the heights of Foy and Fourvières seen above the tall houses and the rows of “time honoured” lime trees, which make a shady promenade on its southern side. The review took place here. The race-ground is a plain forming the centre of a beauteous panorama. We took, to arrive there, the narrow street which leads to a place looking sufficiently desert and uncared for to be a fitting spot for the purpose it is put to, when the execution of a criminal takes place in Lyons; beyond is a noble boulevard, stretching from river to river, the Rhone to the Saône. Crossing this we almost directly came on the plain of Perrache.

Here at the starting place was erected a booth; and the ladies and authorities of Lyons, the préfet, &c., occupied seats prepared for them, the former elegantly attired, and the latter wearing a look of great interest, and (what was more wonderful still) of gravity. Persons on horseback and on foot were admitted within the well-sanded circle, and without it were ranged a line of gay equipages; next, under the tricoloured flag, came forth the competitors, two by two, a poster with a tied up tail, a cart-horse with a long flowing one, a thin light pony, a broken down English hunter, who, notwithstanding age and infirmities, I thought would have won, as the “spirit was willing,” but he was matched against the poster, and the last named kept up his awkward canter longest: and others, whose appearance, from being less decided, was not more favourable. There were six in all; the rider of the English horse had the least ludicrous dress, for he had imitated, though not faithfully, that of an English jockey, the rest had followed their own various tastes. He of the pony wore loose trousers of dingy white and a short open red jacket, both seamed and embroidered with tarnished gold, and his shoulders adorned with epaulettes, which seemed to have been ill-used in battle. At his saddle-bow he carried holsters; his legs had long leather leggins, and his feet shoes with spurs, but they rested in no stirrups. The rider of the poster wore a very long blue jacket covering his hips, long cloth pantaloons and no spurs, and a broad orange-coloured sash swathed him round even from under his arms.

The peasant was a very fat man, and he too had chosen a red jacket and loose white trousers, but the latter were confined in a pair of Wellington boots drawn up over them, and to these the wearer had added tops of mock-yellow morocco.

The first race was between the last mentioned and the pony, for the highest prize; and these two first made their appearance, all the horses were ticketed; a colossal number inscribed on a white card which hung below the left ear—these were (1) and (2); the jockeys came forward, and with great dignity and much trouble, placed themselves on a line, after the cart-horse, who was vicious, had backed to kick the pony. Then the word was given, and they leaned back to the tails, pulled with one hand and flogged with the other and started. We had no trouble in following within the circle sufficiently close to see all the interesting events of the race. The pony started a little, and his rider slipped from the saddle to the sand, which was thick enough to prevent injury; during this time the cart-horse gained on him and the peasant won. The prize was 600 francs. I heard a spectator bet 10 francs on the pony previous to his misadventure.

The other races very much resembled this one, the horses at starting crossed each other, and the jockeys rode them against the ropes at the turn of the course; and each time, “when the hurly-burly was done,” military music greeted the victor beneath the tricoloured flag. When it was all over, the three winners, preceded by the band of the horse-artillery, rode in triumph round the course. The self-satisfied air of the peasant as he bowed the whole way the head at the back of which hung the jockey-cap, was the most amusing sight possible. The sun was burning, and the excessive heat, and the fatigue of laughing so much, made us glad to ride home to rest.

The fireworks were splendid, and their effect enhanced by a sky which threatened storm. The troops, ranged along both quays of the Saône, kept up a harmless fire of those brilliant white stars which momentarily lighted up the hills and the city with a lustre of the purity, but more than the brightness, of moonshine. They were answered by other soldiers posted on the height, and at intervals by the cannon from the fort of Fourvières and the town; the country and the old cathedral appeared and vanished by turns through the smoke and in the varying light. On the bridge opposite was a palace of diamonds; it brought to my memory one I saw at Rosny, at a fête given in honour of the young Duke of Bordeaux, it was so like; there was only the change of cypher: and last night the “L.” burned brightly, but the _P._ went totally out. The bouquet went up almost beneath our windows, and sprang, as it seemed to the clouds, a sheet of fire, each branch as it burst scattering a shower, variously and gorgeously coloured, and illuminating the town, during the few moments it lasted, more perfectly than did the day’s sunshine. The crowd uttered an exclamation of applause. I had no idea, at the time, that the cries of the dying were mingled with it. Twelve persons of the working-class, to see the feu-d’artifice better, went out on the Saône in one of their narrow and dangerous batelets. They made a sudden movement as the bouquet rose, and the boat overturned! Their cries were heard, and attempts to rescue them made, which proved vain in the confusion and partial darkness. Eight contrived to reach the shore—the remaining four went down; they formed an entire family—mother, son, daughter, and the husband, to whom she had been lately married.

3rd May.

As we were standing at the window yesterday morning, the two expected battalions of the 66th regiment passed under it, and D—— ran down stairs to ask news of his friend. As it happened, he accosted a soldier of Capt. de ——’s own company. He is still on leave in Paris, and the man did not know the precise time of his return. This morning we started on an expedition we failed to accomplish; for I wished to see the Isle Barbe, and the quays on this side the Saône which lead thither become very narrow, and are high above the water without curb stone or parapet, and therefore too perilous for Fanny, who full of spirit started round from each individual we met, we took the first narrow road which led up the hill; but, ere we did so, passed the site of a romantic story, whose exact date is unknown to me.

Nearly opposite the diminished rock on which the fortress of Pierre Scise or Encise once stood advanced into the water, there is still a tower, which with the remains of a moat and drawbridge belongs to a house called, from its present owner, “Maison Vouti.” A French nobleman, a native of Lyons, had quitted it to seek his fortunes in Germany, where he became not only rich, but placed and favoured at court.

In the midst of his prosperity he contracted an unfortunate attachment to a low-born maiden, whose grace and beauty did not, in German eyes, excuse her origin. He married her; but, unable to bear the disgrace and contempt which fell upon him, he broke all the ties which attached him to her country, and conveyed her to Lyons, where it was his will to live in almost perfect solitude. The bride pined in her lonely habitation, rendered sadder by the now morose temper of the disappointed noble. She seemed to recover a portion of her former gaiety only during the visits of a young man, her husband’s sole friend and intimate. These visits became by degrees more frequent, and at last excited unpleasant feelings in the husband’s mind. His jealousy once roused, intrigues and false political accusations enclosed his former associate within the fortress walls, while his young wife was conducted to the tower, which still bears the name of “Tour de la Belle Allemande.”

Whether she too felt the love with which she had inspired the prisoner, or whether indignation at her own fate and pity for his only prompted her, the chronicler does not tell; but from the summit of her gaol-tower she constantly looked towards Pierre Encise. At last the day came on which the young man, profiting by a moment in which the usual watchfulness had failed, threw himself from a window, of which he had sawed the bar, into the river. The current of the Saône is not strong, and he was a skilful swimmer, and arrived at the opposite shore in safety. She had watched his progress in hope and agony; uttering cries he could not hear, and making signs of encouragement he failed to see during his strife with the water. At length he was near, approaching to free her, and she repeated her signs; and her husband’s guards, who had watched her strange motions in wonder, now at last discovered their object. As he arrived at the foot of the tower, and stretched forth his arms to her,—as she stooped over the battlement to greet him—he fell—the shot had been faithfully and fatally aimed.

The steep stony road (up which D—— led Grizzle, and little Fanny gaily carried me) led among winding lanes and stone walls to the summit of the hill, and the Croix Rousse, which is the Faubourg of Lyons, exclusively occupied by silk weavers, and the head-quarters of the insurrection. Pauche the landlord said, when we returned, that those who knew the town and its inhabitants better than ourselves would scarcely venture there. We met with no incivility: a few squalid faces looked out in wonder, for the descent to the quay for foot passengers is by flights of twenty or thirty steps each; and between these the horse-road winds, still so steep, that we had some difficulty in leading the horses. As we passed the operatives’ dwellings we agreed that the temptation of seeing their work in progress was not sufficiently strong to lead us within; most were employed with their doors open, to admit as much air as the narrow street and hot day suffered to circulate: that which issued forth was infected; and within, besides the heavy loom and its pale master, there seemed barely room for the few articles of wretched furniture. On the relative position of manufacturer and workman, my informant is Mons. Pauche the landlord, who, besides the revenues of this hôtel, now possesses a landed property worth about 60,000 francs a-year, and whose vineyards yield 300 hogsheads of wine annually. He began life as a workman in the silk trade, so that his two conditions of operative and proprietor are likely to make him impartial. At this moment the purchaser finds silk dear, both in Paris and Lyons; but precisely in the proportion that the head manufacturer’s profits increase, those of the workman decline. The former takes advantage of the latter’s necessities; offers reduced prices, and can afford the delay, if the workman demurs, which the wants of his family prevent his doing long, and, having food to buy and rent to pay, he will accept fifteen or even twelve sous for his long day’s labour. At present, the usual remuneration is twenty-two sous, the wife earns twelve, the children so little that they do not lighten the burthen; but supposing no incumbrances, thirty-four sous, the price of the man and woman’s work, can hardly enable them to exist and pay house-rent, which is dear in Lyons.

The disturbances of November 1831 had in their commencement no reference to politics. The workmen, whose wages were miserably low, demanded an augmentation. Their masters summoned them before the Préfet, and the increase was agreed on in his presence. The day of payment arrived; the manufacturers, in greater part, refused to adhere to their engagements, and the workmen, meeting in groups of four, had in a short time in various parts of the city gathered to the number of many thousands; bearing on their banners the motto, “Vivre en travaillant ou mourir en combattant.”

In the conflict which followed, the 66th, then the only regiment in Lyons, lost two hundred men and thirteen officers. It was almost totally unsupported; as the greater part of the National Guard, taken from the class of which were the insurgents, refused to act against them.

You know that Lyons is famous for its black and crimson dyes; it is strange that this superiority should depend on the waters of the Rhone, all parts of which, as it flows through Lyons, have not a similar effect. In one place, for instance, the black dye attains its perfection; a hundred yards further it fails. The workmen attribute this to peculiar properties of springs in the bed of the river.

The most ancient monastery in this, probably in any part of Gaul, was that of the Isle Barbe, built in the time of the Emperor Constantine, about the year 300; its first inhabitants were a few fugitive Christians, who had fled thence from Lyons, and from the troops of the Emperor Severus.

The church of Aisnay, which we passed on our ride from the Place Bellecour to La Perrache, is built on the foundations of the temple raised by the sixty tribes of Gaul. That which exists, of partly Gothic partly Roman architecture, is such as it was repaired in the eleventh century, after the ravages of the Saracens. Long before, Queen Brunehaud had ceded to the monks, who possessed a small hermitage near, the ruins of the edifice dedicated “to Rome and to Augustus,” on which they built a magnificent church; but this, as I said, was pillaged and destroyed in part by the barbarians. The four massive granite columns which sustain the roof are, however, believed to have belonged to the Roman temple.


Heights of Fourvières—Difficult Descent—Trade in Relics—Our Lady of Fourvières—Saving Lyons from Cholera—Lunatic patients—Dungeon where the first Christian Bishop was murdered—Roman Ruins—The Christians’ early Place of Assembly—St. Irénée—A Coffin—Subterranean Chapels—Bones of the Nine Thousand—The Headsman’s Block, and the Murmur from the Well—Bleeding to Death—Marguerite Labarge—Her Abode for Nine Years—Her Return to upper Air Cause of her Death—Her Family rich Residents in Lyons—Mode of saving the Soul—Body dispensed with—The Pope’s Bull good for ever—A Friend’s Arrival—Jardin des Plantes—Riots of November, 1831—The Préfet’s Mistake—Capt. de——.—Defence of the Arsenal with Unloaded Cannon—The Murdered Chef de Bataillon—His Assassin’s Death—The Grief of his Opponents—Their usual Cruelty and their wild Justice—Their eight days’ occupation of Lyons—Capt. de ——’s defence of Arsenal—Bearer of Proclamation—Danger—Saved by a former Comrade—Interview—Threats—Empty Cannon effective—Invitation to Dinner—Retreat—The Hôtel de l’Europe closed against its Master by a National Guard—Three Hundred killed in St. Nizier—The Cathedral—Second Council General—Jaw of St. John—The Ivory Horn of Roland—Privilege of the Seigneur of Mont d’Or—The first Villeroy Archbishop—Refusal to accept him by the Counts of Lyons—His Text and the Dean’s Reply—Lyons Refuge for the Pazzi—Their Monument destroyed in anger by Marie de Médicis—The last Prince of Dauphiné becoming Prior of the Jacobin Convention, Paris—Procession in St. Nizier—Chapel of Ste. Philomène—Place des Terreaux.

15th May.

The news of the disturbances in Paris has set all Lyons in a ferment.

18th May.

The weather has been burning. We attempted riding by the steep streets to the summit of Fourvières; but having accomplished half the ascent, it became so rapid, and the sharp pavement so slippery, that we were obliged to dismount and lead the horses under the walls of the Antiquaille, and up a road which is rather like a stair to the church. Not willing to confide our companions to the tender mercies of the mischievous boys, who as usual flocked round us, we led them within the court which surrounds Notre Dame, and up to the low terrace wall. Grizzle, with her ready appetite, devoured the few weeds and moss which grew among the stones; and Fanny looked as attentively at the view, as if she were considering her distance from the inn which was in sight, and the difficulty of getting back again. The hill is here almost perpendicular. The streets we had taken to attain the height, abrupt as they seem, are zigzags cut in the side of the mountain; and the city, with its two rivers, spread like a map below our giddy elevation. The air was particularly clear, except over the Alps, where a haze has provokingly hung ever since our arrival. We could read “Hôtel de l’Europe” distinctly on the front of the inn on the opposite side of the Saône; the Place Bellecour was just behind it, its equestrian statue looking at this distance like a toy; then the broad Rhone, the faubourg, with its gardens and promenades, and the Grande Route we are to travel towards the mountains, a white line crossing bare hills, which seem uninteresting and interminable. A little to our right was the Pont d’Aisnay, traversing the Saône to the arsenal, a low insignificant looking building. Farther, in the same direction, the race-ground of Perrache was visible. About the year 1808 the people of Lyons presented this land to Napoleon, and he accepted it as the site of an Imperial palace! Still beyond we could distinguish the junction of the Rhone and the Saône, no longer in precisely the same spot as when Hannibal crossed the Rhone at the head of his army, where the currents met at Aisnay.

The view to the left is less extensive; the jutting ground of Fourvières in some degree narrows it; but it is fine notwithstanding, and the Jardin des Plantes, green and blossoming as it is now, appears to advantage on the steep side of the opposite hill among the confusion of houses and church towers. It was impossible to return by the same road, and none of the stupid inhabitants of the hovels about us could point out another. Merely knowing the direction, we found our way among hot lanes, between stone walls, till, after an hour’s windings, we issued from them opposite the pretty churchyard of St. Just. A labouring man, answering our question, said, “There was a road that way, certainly, but a very bad one for horses, as it was yet only partly paved.” I should have thought no one knowing the pavement of Lyons would have considered it an advantage. Taking that way, though he strongly advised returning as we came, we passed below the extensive fort, in the completion of which numbers are still employed, and a few minutes brought us on the magnificent road, cut for the sole purpose of making an easy communication between it and the town, (it winds in broad zigzags, the whole way commanding a splendid view,) and arrived at the quay, beneath Pierre Encise. This new work has also contributed to diminish the rock; from the river it must have been a striking object, when the hundred and twenty steps cut in its stone led up to the fortress crowned with a large round tower, whose proportions were of such perfect symmetry.

We returned on foot to Fourvières this morning; on either side of the narrow lane which leads directly to the church are standings without number, covered with what seems on this hill the chief staple of trade,—I mean chaplets, crowns, and bouquets of dyed artificial flowers; coloured prints, framed and glazed, of saints in various attitudes; little waxen heads, legs, and arms, or whole figures; votive offerings, which the faithful present at the shrine of their patron saint, and find here ready at the church door.

The church is kept locked, and we merely read again the inscription above its entrance, which gratefully thanks our Lady of Fourvières, who saved Lyons from cholera. We went up the square tower, D—— to the top, I to the first floor half way, from whose windows the prospect is perhaps as agreeable. The guide pointed to the Antiquaille, directly beneath one of them; it contains, as I told you, an hospital and penitentiary, and also an asylum for lunatics; we could distinguish two of these in the court-yard belonging to the end of the building facing us; one was leaping with all his force against the rails, uttering howls rather like an animal than a human being; we heard him distinctly; the other close by, and quite undisturbed, was on his knees praying, and had been there immoveable (the man said) for the last two hours. The more tractable are allowed to walk with their keepers in the fine gardens adjoining. It is said that the dungeon beneath the Antiquaille remains unchanged, as in the time when St. Pothin, first Bishop of Lyons, was tortured and murdered there; they pretend to show the very fetters he wore.

From this same window, which looks south, you can also distinguish the remains of a Roman amphitheatre, and the commencement of a Roman aqueduct, whose vestiges can be traced three leagues further. Still on the brow of the hill is the square tower of the church of St. Irénée, built over the subterranean chapels where the Christians assembled in the early days of persecution. We left the observatory to go thither, passing on our way four or five broken arches of the aqueduct constructed by the army of Julius Cæsar, whose massiveness in ruin puts the perfection of modern buildings to shame. What I thought a long walk, with innumerable windings, and here and there a beautiful glimpse back to the hills of Burgundy, brought us to the dirty faubourg, where, with some trouble, we found the church. A long flight of steps leads to a rather uninteresting modern building; on either side of the choir are two highly ornamented chapels, one having a finely painted window; and between the choir and the chapels are appended to the wall, framed and glazed, on one side a list of “Indulgences,” annexed to St. Irénée; on the other a bull of his Holiness Pius the Seventh. I thought the latter worth copying; but in the nave there was a coffin, covered with its pall and surrounded by high candlesticks, the black banner with its silver scull and cross bones attached to each. It certainly was a melancholy companion, and D—’s imagination representing to him that the inmate had perhaps died of some contagious malady, he hurried me out. A side door and a narrow flight of steps led to a court at the back of the church, at the extremity of which, and the very edge of the hill, commanding here the most glorious view of Lyons I have yet seen, is the Calvary, on a raised platform, inclosed by a railing. Steps led up to it, (as do others to the vaults below, in which is a representation of the Holy Sepulchre;) the Saviour on the cross, the thieves on either side, the Virgin standing in an attitude of despair, and the Magdalen kneeling at its foot, are large as life, and finely sculptured; and of all the similar groups I have seen, this certainly is most impressive, perhaps from its position, looking down on a world, with the blue sky for a background. Round the court are the stations, each a small covered altar, a basso relievo in white marble affixed to each, representing a scene of the Passion. The little dwelling of the Concierge is close by, and he came to unlock the gate at the top of the stair which leads to the subterranean chapels. They are beneath the church, opposite the Calvary. The light of day penetrates so faintly, that descending these steps it was difficult to distinguish what objects we saw piled behind a grated window on the right hand; it is a mass of human bones, filling a room of considerable size, those of the nine thousand massacred in the year 203, with their bishop, St. Irénée, the greater part in these chapels.

Turning to the left, we entered the first and most ancient; a small vaulted chamber, on whose bare walls are inscriptions copied from the writings of the saints, and the Pagan accusations brought against them. One of these sentences asserts, that St. Polycarpe preached here at the age of eighty-six years. The chapel beyond was constructed a century later; it has an arched roof, supported by ten heavy columns. A few steps lead up to the altar built over St. Irénée’s tomb, who, it is said, was recognised after the massacre. There is a massive stone bench fixed against the wall on either side, and in the centre of the floor a well of extraordinary depth. Tradition tells that these stones served for headsman’s blocks to the assassins, and that down the well so many bodies were thrown as to gorge it to its mouth. Some good Catholics believe that, stooping the ear to the floor, a gushing sound is sometimes heard, like that of bubbling blood. I confess I could hear nothing; but the gloom of the spot is well fitted to such terrible tales, though it is now in some degree dispelled by the construction of a new chapel below the new church, extending behind St. Irénée’s tomb, with bright ornaments and painted windows, having no associations of its own, and robbing of their solemnity places indeed consecrated by the blood of men who died for their faith there.

Beyond this chapel is another small chamber, of the same date as itself; a recess contains a hollow stone. The caprice of the assassins bled to death many of the martyrs, and their blood cast out here found an issue in the streets of the faubourg. A broad stone in the centre of the floor marks the tomb of one Marguerite Labarge, who died about 1692. There is a door in this room, opposite to that opening on the chapel; and mounting a few steps, and climbing over rubbish in the obscurity, we distinguished with some difficulty an aperture to which our guide pointed, large enough for a human being to creep through, and concealed at will by a door of stone, which when he closed I could not distinguish from those which surrounded it. Within there is sufficient height for a person to stand, and space to lie down. Her bed was a stone likewise; I did not see it, (though it remains as in her time,) for not a ray of light penetrates; she lived here nine years, having determined on self-sacrifice at the age of thirty-six. It is presumed that at night she left her den to walk in the adjoining chapels, and sought there what food had been left in charity by such as revered her for her unfortunate fanaticism; but her means of subsistence were never exactly known. When nine years had passed, a popular commotion taking place forced her to leave her cell. She appeared again among the living, and, strange to say, among the sane; but, her constitution having long resisted the want of air and necessaries, the returning to their enjoyment seemed a worse shock, and shortly after she died. Her family was then in straitened circumstances; some of its descendants (become rich) are still residents in Lyons.

The Concierge laid great stress on the “Indulgences” annexed to St. Irénée; and twice told me that any Catholic having died in “état de grâce” for whom a mass should be said before its high altar, would be immediately transferred from purgatory to Paradise. His information reminding me of the coffin in the church. I asked him “who it contained?” he answered “nobody.” A mass for the soul of a deceased priest was performed the night before, and, knowing it was therefore among those of the blest, he had shown some laziness in matters of less moment, and failed to remove the pomp and circumstance. I returned to copy the pope’s bull:—

Bref de notre très Saint Père le Pape Pie VII., pour la perpétuelle mémoire.

“Paternellement attentif au salut de tous les hommes, nous enrichissons quelquefois du trésor spirituel des Indulgences des lieux sacrés; pour faire jouir les âmes des fidèles décédés des mérites de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, et des suffrages des saints, qui leur étant appliqués peuvent, par la miséricorde de Dieu, les faire passer des peines du Purgatoire au bonheur éternel. Voulant donc honorer par un don particulier l’eglise paroissiale sous le vocable de St. Irénée, située sur la montagne de ce nom, appelée le Calvaire, hors et près les murs de la Ville de Lyon; par l’autorité que le Seigneur nous a donné, et pleine de confiance en la miséricorde de Dieu tout puissant, en l’autorité de ses bienheureux apôtres Pierre et Paul, nous voulons que toutes les fois qu’un prêtre séculier ou régulier de quelque ordre, congrégation, ou institut qu’il soit, célébrera au dit autel une messe de mort pour l’âme d’un fidèle quelconque décédé en état de grâce, cette même âme obtienne par voie de suffrage l’Indulgence tirée du trésor de l’Eglise, et qu’elle soit délivrée des peines du Purgatoire par les mérites de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, de la bienheureuse Vierge Marie, et de tous les Saints.

_Malgré tous les Réglemens contraires_, les présentes _vaudront à perpétuité_.

Donné à Rome à St. Pierre, sous l’anneau du Pêcheur, le 13 jour de Décembre, 1816; la 17^{eme} année de notre Pontificat.”

Pour le Cardinal Braschio de Nonestis,

G. BERNIUS, _Sous Secrétaire_.

Avons vu et permettons de mettre à exécution, et en vertu du présent Bref voulons que le Grand Autel de l’Eglise de St. Irénée sur la montagne jouisse du privilége.

Lyon, Juin 23, 1817.

(Signé) COURBON, _Vicaire Général_.

19th May.

We were sitting at home owing to the heat of the day, when the door opened suddenly and our friend entered. He was just arrived from Paris, and had found D——’s letter at the barracks, and came to seek us instantly; we were all glad to meet again, for it had been likely that we should never do so, as before Captain de —— went with his regiment to occupy Ancona, from whence they are just returned, he passed four years and a half of constant fighting in Africa. For the sake of talking over old times, D—— has determined on remaining till the 30th: Captain de —— gave us last night some interesting details respecting the riots which took place in Lyons in the year 1831; we walked to the Jardin des Plantes, which from its situation, rather than its size, is extremely beautiful. It occupies the side of the hill, and two long flights of broad steps lead to the entrance gates; from the nature of the ground, the garden is made in terraces, and shaded but very steep walks lead from one to the other. In the artificial flat made in its centre there is a basin, and in the basin a fine swan. D—— and myself commented sometime on the apparent want of harmony subsisting between him and his companion, before the latter issuing from the water we discovered by the colour of his legs that he was—a goose! The broad terrace at the summit commands the town below. Fourvières, now on the right, and the other shore, Mont Pilatre in the distance, and the Alps on the left, seen distinctly though delicately through the green branches of exotics and trees just in leaf and blossom.

Entering the gardens, the Rue de la Grande Côte is on the left, bounding that side, for the workmen’s wretched rooms look down on it. The street is continued far above and beyond, and issues on the Place des Bernardines: it is so steep that a charge of cavalry having been commanded, was found impossible, at least farther than a side-gate of the jardin, where many of the horses fell from exhaustion and some died. How artillery could be dragged, as it afterwards was, to the top, it is difficult to imagine. On the Place des Bernardines, since 1831, has been built a fortified barrack, thus separating at will Lyons from the Croix Rousse, which is on the other side of the Barrière: at the time of the riots no such separation existed. The Place des Bernardines had been occupied by military from the first moment in which tumult was expected, but evacuated by the préfet’s order, who appears to have been strangely mistaken as to the state of the town. Our friend Captain de —— was ordered to the Hôtel de Ville with his company about three in the morning; the Hôtel de Ville looks on the Place des Terreaux, and is at no great distance from the Jardin des Plantes on the town side.

Having lost some of his men, he commanded hardly more than seventy soldiers, when he joined his colonel there.

The general and the préfet had their rendezvous at the Hôtel de Ville, and, important as their meeting was, it seemed difficult that it should take place, for the Place des Terreaux had gradually become thronged; the people having commenced collecting at daylight, continued to pour in from every issue, and more and more menacing every moment, prevented the bataillon beyond from joining its comrades. Aware of the danger of approaching the Hôtel de Ville, the colonel’s anxiety increased.

“What will you give me to clear the place?” asked Capt. de ——. “What do you demand?” exclaimed the colonel. “Five minutes.”

At this time there were present certainly ten thousand, but unarmed to all appearance, and as yet undecided as to their future movements. “Use the butt-ends of your muskets,” said Capt. de ——; “knock down as many as you can and pass over.” The knot of men obeyed, following himself and his example as he headed them, distributing blows with the flat of his sabre. The crowd opened and retreated, astonished and hardly aware of its own strength, and bore backwards towards the steep streets and the Croix Rousse: and the bataillon which had been unable to pass moved across the Place des Terreaux. At this juncture it was first recollected that the arsenal was without protection, and left to the mercy of the mob; it had been forgotten. “Capt. ——,” said the general, “conduct your company there immediately; if it is occupied by the workmen, retake it; if it is still free, occupy and defend it.”

Capt. de —— marched his few men to the arsenal along the quays, and through multitudes who covered them, not without difficulty, and arrived in time. The Pont d’Aisnay is exactly opposite the arsenal, and the mob, well armed, occupied the other side of the Saône, and had raised a barricade at that end of the bridge: it was necessary that the insurgents should remain ignorant of the weakness of the force which was to oppose them. A piece of cannon, by Capt. de ——’s order pointed on their barricade, in some degree served to hold them in awe, though they kept up a pretty constant fire: they had no means of knowing that the piece was unloaded, and the few artillerymen of National Guard, who had joined the soldiers, were unable to manœuvre it.

During this time it had been necessary to dislodge the rioters from the position they occupied in the Rue de la Grande Côte, and others leading to the Croix Rousse; and here many fell, fired on from the houses, all which the mob occupied. A man deeply regretted was the Chef de Bataillon Martines, who received a ball in his chest, in the upper part of the Rue de la Grande Côte, where an advancing house forms an angle. As he fell from his horse the soldiers stopped vowing vengeance, but saw none on whom to exercise it. The light smoke which followed the discharge issuing from the wall of the entresol floor betrayed the murderer, and some of the men of Martines’ company rushed into the house. The assassin had bored a slit in the wall, and when the soldiers caught sight of him was quietly and safely reloading. Seeing them, and expecting no mercy, rather than wait their approach, he rushed up stairs into a room on the third floor, and, as the soldiers who had followed reached the door, flung himself out on the pavement. The fall did not put an end to his existence; he was able to rise and crawl on a few paces. It was not likely he would meet pity from men whose beloved officer he had killed: they finished him with their bayonets. The fire had by this time become unceasing, and poor De Martines, who had died instantly, was necessarily left by the regiment where he fell. After its passage the corpse was discovered on the pavement by a party of the insurgents: he must have been a good and amiable man, for by some of these he was recognised and deplored deeply as by his own soldiers. They raised his body and carried it to a church, where they obliged a priest to perform the mass for the dead; and thence, bearing it to the burying ground, interred it with military honours, themselves firing a volley over his grave,—these very men, and at that very time, were towards their opponents in general guilty of the most atrocious cruelties, torturing and drowning the wounded.

As an instance of the prevailing feeling, I may mention that a young man had been disabled by a shot in the leg, which had however caused no dangerous injury. He was found stretched on the pavement by a woman, whose pity he bespoke, hoping she did not belong to the furies he had seen maltreating his companions: wanting a weapon, she murdered him with blows of her sabot! Still, infuriated and merciless as they were, they in some things exhibited a feeling of wild justice: before the doors of such manufacturers as had kept faith with them, they placed sentinels, and lives and property were respected. Such as, on the contrary, had broken through the agreement made, they pillaged without remorse. Mr. Pauche has told me, that he saw in the streets piles of silks and velvets burning. Several workmen, who attempted to carry away plunder, were shot; and the owners, sought after with as much perseverance as rage, barely escaped with their lives; concealing themselves in cellars, where they remained in disguise and half-starved, afraid to show themselves during the eight days the workmen held possession of the town.

As I said, Capt. de —— had entered in time, and held the arsenal. The third day the chef de bataillon, his superior officer, arrived: he brought a proclamation, addressed to the insurgents by the préfet and the general.

“Capt. de ——,” he said, “you must find among your men some one who will be bearer of this, it may put a stop to the riots.”

Our friend turned to his company:—

“Is there one among you,” he said, “who, not in obedience to my order, as I do not command it, but of his own free-will, will take charge of this paper?” The soldiers did not answer; he repeated his question, and they remained silent.

“Well then,” he said, “I will go myself.”

His men opposed his leaving them with all their power; they said he had defended them for three days, and they would not suffer him to depart. He called them cowards, took the proclamation, and went.

Between the bridge of Aisnay and the arsenal there is a little Place belonging to the latter, and closed by its own barrier. The bridge is no inconsiderable length; and as Capt. de —— advanced along it, and under the fire of the barricade, he waved the paper above his head, but it was unlikely it would neutralize the effect produced by an officer’s uniform. Arrived at its extremity, and at the barricade which concealed from him all that was passing behind, he leaped on and from it, and on the other side found himself in the midst of armed men, the greater part intoxicated. He was received, not as an envoy, but with shouts of fury; those nearest him rested their bare knives and bayonets on his breast, and those more distant took aim at him with their muskets: he thought it was all over.

At this moment a young man, dressed like the others, as a workman, forced his way to Capt. de ——, threw himself into his arms and embraced him.

“Ah! mon pauvre lieutenant,” he exclaimed, “vous êtes perdu.” Capt. de —— looked at him, and recognized a private of the Royal Guard who had served in his own company before the Revolution of 1830. The affection, so little looked for, softened him for a moment, but his firmness did not forsake him; he took advantage of the pause.

“Stand back, and be silent,” he said, in a tone of authority; “I have something to read to you.”

The men obeyed, half-drunk as they were, but closed round him again as he ceased.

“Who is to answer for the execution of these promises,” they said ferociously, “is it you?”

“You are fathers or brothers,” answered Capt. de ——; “you have others dependent on you, and it is important that you should leave the false position in which you have placed yourselves. As to me, a life more or less signifies little to our cause.”

The rioters were not disposed to listen to reason, and their menaces grew more and more alarming; but the private again interposed, and by soothing some, and repulsing others, managed to hold them back while his old officer again passed the barricade, which a few moments before seemed likely to be his monument.

During the same day he had a second interview with some of the insurgents. One of their leaders sent to request a parley; they met in the centre of the same bridge of Aisnay, Capt. de —— alone with only his sabre, the adverse worthy accompanied by four comrades, and armed to the teeth. Capt. de —— desired he would order them to retire. The other repeated his words rather scornfully: “You will either give the command this moment,” exclaimed Capt. de ——, who was very much exasperated, “or I will fling you over the parapet.”

The workman looked at him, and judging, I suppose, that he was sufficiently powerful, and besides seemed quite willing to do so, he was intimidated, and obeyed.

“And now,” said Capt. de ——, “what do you want with me?”

“You must yield the arsenal.”

“That is out of the question.”

“Then we will take it.”

“Impossible; look there,” said Capt. de ——, pointing to the empty cannon, which had an imposing aspect behind him; “I might, had I pleased, have exterminated you long since, I was only restrained by mercy. Who are you who make such a demand of me?”

“I was in the Imperial Guard.”

“That is untrue,” said Capt. de ——, coolly; “an old soldier of the empire would not act such a part, or command a drunken rabble.”

The man looked at him for a few moments, and said after a pause, “You seem a ‘bon enfant;’ you should come and dine with us.”

“I thought the workmen were starving,” replied the officer.

“Their pockets are now full of money; we dine on the quay opposite, (naming the auberge;) we will entertain you well.

“As you were in the Imperial Guard, you must know that a soldier cannot quit his post; but I will, if you like, send you some one,” said Capt. de ——.

“In that case, I give you my oath we will not attack you again to-night.”

They parted; Capt. de —— returned to the arsenal, where he found the ensign of his company, who had managed to join him in plain clothes. He sent him to dine with the workmen, desiring him to eat and drink, and bring back what information he could, but make no promises. The rioters did not keep faith notwithstanding; they renewed their fire. At midnight came the order for retreat; and having hid all arms and ammunition, excepting only a few muskets, they marched from the arsenal and the town in good order. Lyons remained in possession of the insurgents eight days. The Duke of Orleans and Marshal Soult joined the 66th regiment outside the town. Capt. de —— received the cross of honour from the former’s hand, and shortly after promotion. When, in company of other troops, the 66th returned to occupy Lyons, it did so with artillery in its front, and matches lighted, and exasperated to such a degree, that a single shot fired by a townsman might have changed the city to a heap of ruins.

In France tragedy and comedy are often near neighbours. The royal family, when they go to Lyons, are always lodged at the Hôtel de l’Europe. The Duke of Orleans was there, whether after the disturbances of 1831, of which we have been speaking, or those of 1834, I do not at this moment recollect, but the circumstance M. Pauche told me himself. He is a good hearted but violent man; abuses angrily all beggars who come to ask relief, and who listen to him with great humility, quite sure the lecture will be closed by a shower of sous. Not being highly educated, when excited, he swears between each sentence, and, the oath escaped, takes off his hat and begs pardon, which lengthens a story and renders it rather obscure.

“The Duke came with his staff,” said Monsieur Pauche, “he staid a long time, neuf repas, (French innkeepers count time by meals;) and as I had so much to do, ——, (the hat off,) I beg your pardon: I got my ‘pièces montées’ from the confectioner, and being in a hurry, —— (the hat off again,) I ran out for them myself in my cook’s costume, as you have seen me, in my white night-cap and apron. When I arrived back at my own porte cochère, —— (I beg your pardon,) there stood National Guards with crossed bayonets; would not let me in again, —— (this was a furious oath); said I, I am Pauche, and that is my hôtel, and the Prince is waiting for his second course, and how do you think he is to get it if you won’t let me in?” The sentries did not recognize him; it was all in vain. “And —— and ——, said I, (the hat off a third time,) I wish I had my kitchen carving knife.”

Finding remonstrance useless, he at last seized a national guard by the collar, and made a forcible entry, dragging him after him to the scene of his culinary labours.

“And now,” said Monsieur Pauche, catching up a long ladle with his free hand, and pointing to his row of cooks, and then shaking it at the half-choked national guard, “Now do you believe I am chez moi?”

On our return to the Hôtel de l’Europe we passed again across the Place des Terreaux, and before the church of St. Nizier. In the latter, in the year 1834, a terrible scene was acted; the troops having at last obtained the mastery, the insurgents were pursued here, and two or three hundred killed within these quiet walls. The disturbances of 1834 appear, by Monsieur Pauche’s account, to have been equally terrible, for a time, with those of 1831. The rioters had taken up their position on Fourvières, where they had even posted cannon. When they were at last dislodged, a great many escaped by letting themselves drop from the terrace wall to the vineyard below,—no slight fall, but probably on soft ground. It was possible from the hôtel to see them execute this manœuvre, and having performed it, slip away in safety among the bushes. At this time there were incendiaries among the disaffected, for Monsieur Pauche, naturally fearing for the lives of all in his hôtel, which was just opposite Fourvières, wisely went to his country house, and at the moment he passed saw several houses in flames between the Place Bellecour and the Pont de la Guillotière.

You will wonder that I have yet said nothing of St. Jean, the cathedral, yet there I have been many times. We visited it again yesterday. The architecture of the nave is of the time of Philip Augustus. The choir is celebrated as the spot where Gregory the Tenth held the second council general of Lyons, in the year 1274. Its members occupied themselves with the union of the Greek and Latin churches, and in memory of this reconciliation two crosses, one Greek the other Roman, were placed at the extremities of the high altar. Among the treasures preserved by the church are the lower jaw of St. John the Baptist, (you may remember I saw part of his skull at Amiens,) and the small ivory horn which belonged to Roland, nephew of Charlemagne, and Ariosto’s hero. The house of Mont d’Or, which took its name from the fertile mountain which rises just outside Lyons, and extends into Beaujolais, still bearing the same name, prided itself on tracing its descent from Roland. Before 1562 this family was one of great consequence, and the seigneurs of Mont d’Or had the right of repairing to the abbey of St. Barbe on Ascension Day, and taking from the hands of the abbot, who at that period had it in keeping, the famous ivory horn, which they might twice sound and exhibit to the people. During the war of 1562, between Catholics and Huguenots, this relic was lost, and continued to be so during two hundred years, when it was once more recovered, and placed in the treasury of St. Jean. In one of the side aisles is a clock, greatly admired by the good people of Lyons—marking hour, day, year, temperature, and I do not know what beside, and having figures, which, when the hour strikes, perform various evolutions; it is a frightful machine, between thirty and forty feet high. Near the principal entrance is the beautiful chapel of the Bourbons, with its arched and fretted roof, and fine stained glass, commenced by Charles of Bourbon, cardinal, and archbishop of Lyons, who was godfather to King Charles the Eighth, and who lies interred in this chapel, beneath a white marble mausoleum; it was finished by his brother, Peter of Bourbon, called Sire de Beaujeu, who married Louis the Eleventh’s daughter, Anne. The motto of his house reappears everywhere: “N’espoir ne peur.” They held ambition, as well as fear, beneath their dignity. The delicate carving of the stonework reminded me of Scott’s description of Melrose; for one might indeed fancy that some fairy had wreathed the leaves and flowers and petrified them by a spell. A circumstance concerning this cathedral I must mention to you. When the first Villeroy, whose family has since filled honourable posts in Lyons, was raised to the dignity of archbishop here, the members of the chapter (who, from the third century, when they counted among their body nine sons of kings and one of an emperor, had been men of the proudest families of France, and styled themselves not canons, but Counts of Lyons) demurred ere they admitted to be their archbishop, one whose birth did not rank with theirs, as his great-grandfather was the first of his name who had held any employ, and his father the first who had borne a title. Notwithstanding the refusal of the counts, Louis the Fourteenth found means to force them to obedience. When the archbishop harangued the chapter, he took for text the words of the Psalmist:

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the headstone of the corner.”

The discourse which followed was an insulting one for the canons, but the dean had sufficient presence of mind to reply only by reciting the next verse of the same psalm:

“This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.”

We re-crossed the Pont de l’Archevêché on our way to St. Nizier. Almost behind the Hôtel de l’Europe is a “Place,” and the theatre of the Célestins, where once stood the monastery. The family of the Pazzi, illustrious in Florence, and the Medici’s mortal enemy, had taken refuge in Lyons, and been followed here by many of their faction. In the church of the Célestins they erected a superb monument; and Marie de Médicis, on her arrival at Lyons to espouse Henry the Fourth, visited the churches of the city, and perceived this mausoleum. In indignation at finding so splendid a memorial of those whose ancestors had been the assassins of some of her own, she commanded it to be broken, and only a few of its ornaments escaped destruction. Not far from the Célestins there formerly stood another monastery, that of the Jacobins, or Dominicans. Humbert de la Tour, last sovereign prince of Dauphiny, ceded his province to Philip of Valois, in despair at the death of his only son, André. It was said he had been its cause; for that sojourning at Lyons, and playing with his child at a window which overlooked the Rhone, the boy slipped from his arms, and fell into the rapid river.

In the year 1345 Pope Clement the Sixth preached a second crusade. Humbert obtained the command of this expedition, and embarked at Marseilles with his wife, who insisted on sharing his fatigues and dangers. On their return from the Holy Land, where he had been successful against the Saracens, she died at Rhodes, and some time after this second loss he took the vows in the Dominican monastery at Lyons, and was afterwards prior of the Jacobin convent in Paris.

The outside of St. Nizier has been partly modernized. Within, it is remarkably beautiful. We found a procession of priests and children, who had made their “première communion” in the morning. The little girls marched first very peaceably, and looking pretty, with white frocks and veils; of the foremost ten chosen for good conduct, the first carried a silver crucifix, beneath a miniature tent bed, from whose top depended long white ribands, which the remaining nine held. After the girls came the boys, ignoble looking ragamuffins, not having the advantage of veils to hide their sunburnt faces, pushing for their places, and squabbling for the streamers in a way not edifying. The male and female troop joined in the psalm with the priests and enfans de chœur, making altogether an indescribable howl.

I mentioned to you the votive offerings I have remarked in some Catholic chapels, but nowhere have I seen them abound as in one here dedicated to Ste. Philomène; the walls are literally covered. Among a multitude of dolls’ heads, hands, and arms, I noticed a garland of artificial roses, framed and glazed; this was entitled, “Vœu de Reconnaissance.” A little picture beside it represented a little lady in blue, kneeling by a red bed, looking to an angle of the ceiling, where stood (air-supported) a saint, crowned, and wearing a gold petticoat; below, “Vœu à Ste. Philomène.”

The grandest of the water-colour drawings was the “Chasse Miraculeuse de Ste. Philomène.” Its upper part was divided into various small compartments, each representing an episode of her life. In the first she stands before a tribunal, below, “Jugée;” in the second, tied to a tree, stuck all over with arrows, below, “Percée;” in the third, tumbling over a bridge, below, “Précipitée;” in the fourth, taken out of the torrent, and her head cut off, below, “Décapitée.” At the bottom of the picture she is placed on the Chasse Miraculeuse, finely dressed and her eyes open, I presume all attempts to murder her having failed.

The Place des Terreaux is at no great distance from the church of St. Nizier. The Hôtel de Ville forms one side; in its vestibule are two fine groups in bronze, by Couston:—the Rhone, a majestic male figure, resting on a lion; the Saône, gentle as her own course, couched on a lioness. The chief interest of the Place des Terreaux for us was, in its recollections of the death of De Thou and De Cinq Mars, who perished here on the scaffold, one like a saint, the other like a Roman.[2]

The weather has suddenly changed from oppressive heat to the bitter north-east winds which accompanied us here. I suppose the heat took leave on the wings of last night’s thunder-storm.


Footnote 2:

See Appendix.


Place Bellecour—Louise Labé—Clémence de Bourges—Her desertion by her lover—His Death—Her own—Rue de la Belle Cordière—Abd-el-Kader—The fat Cantinière Captive—Presented to the Emperor of Morocco—The Emperor’s Love—Her obstinacy—Application made to the Consul—Her Oaths and Blows—Her Return—The Savoyard Regiment’s fidelity—Marquis of —— and Dogs—Cat Massacre—Indignant Landlady—Pont de la Guillotière—Bridge at the same spot broken beneath Philip Augustus and Richard Cœur de Lion—Leaving Lyons—Mont Blanc—La Verpelière—Its Accommodation—La Tour de Pin—A lovely Country—An Auberge—Destructive Storms—Pont du Beauvoisin—Curious Landlady—Leeches en poste—A smiling Country—A wild Pass—La Chartreuse—Valley des Échelles—Grotto—Cascade of Cours—Chambéry.

The evening promenade of the fashionables of Lyons is under the trees of the Place Bellecour, and capricious as fashion is called, she was enthroned here three centuries ago. Louise Labé was a native of Lyons; from her childhood remarkable for genius and personal attractions; at fifteen, a fearless, vain, beautiful girl. Her father’s pride bestowed on her an education beyond her sex and century, and an imagination unchilled as her temper was unrestrained by control, joined to the consciousness of her own superiority, induced her, from this early age, to seek to rise above her sex, and laugh at all the barriers which custom had raised between it and glory. Her hours of recreation, from Greek, Latin, Italian, and Spanish studies, she passed in attaining perfection in all military exercises, and the command of the most fiery horse. At the age of sixteen, and during the campaign of 1542, she appeared at the army. The Dauphin commanded the siege of Perpignan, and Louise disdained to treat fatigues or dangers as obstacles when distinction was before her. Her dauntless courage soon made her known by the name of Capitaine Loys. After the siege, abandoning the profession of arms with the same caprice which led her to adopt it, she returned to Lyons, to cultivate letters with more enthusiasm than before; for with her all tastes were passions.

Many sought her hand; it was said she had given her heart while at the army to a young officer of family, but no fortune. She, notwithstanding, on her return, accepted a rich rope merchant, named Perrin, whose riches might afford fresh means of celebrity. In her spacious gardens, near the Place Bellecour, crowds assembled to see her; men of learning, poets, and artists. The subjects of their meetings were science, poetry, and the fine arts, of all which she seemed the beautiful genius by turns; and a knowledge of music and a fine voice were added to these gifts of a higher order, like the wand to the enchantress.

Among those who sought her society was her friend, Clémence de Bourges. Much younger than Louise; of not inferior, though a different style of beauty, of equal genius, timid as was its possessor. To her Louise Labé dedicated a volume of poems, and became in turn confidante of her most secret thoughts. The one was the observed of all observers, a sun round which worlds might revolve; the other, with all her talent and loveliness, was a mild, soft-hearted woman, content to single forth “a bright particular star,” and make it that of her destiny. She was betrothed to the object of her first love, a young officer, of the name of Jean Dupeyrat, whose profession often absented him from Lyons; and during these absences it became the habit of Clemence to pass much of her time with Louise in discourse of her lover, sometimes showing to her in confidence the sweet verses her affection addressed to him. At last the officer returned; Louise’s curiosity was excited, and Clemence was proud and happy to make him known to her. Woman’s vanity prevailed over woman’s friendship. She tried the powers of her fascination, and Dupeyrat was dazzled by the wit which shone from heartlessness, and Clemence was too deeply interested to struggle long, for her hand was paralyzed by feeling her life staked on the throw. Next she was neglected;—the friends parted, and then she was alone; and while Dupeyrat was following the footsteps and listening to the magic voice of her brilliant rival, adding one more to her court, young Clemence pined and grew pale in her solitude, but lived on still, for hope had not quite deserted her. At last Dupeyrat left Lyons to join his comrades at the siege of Beaurepaire, and while Clemence trusted that absence might bring back thoughts of other times, she received news of his death; he had been killed during the storm. She did not survive him long, and was borne to her grave with her fair young face uncovered, and her head crowned with white flowers, and followed to it by the regret of all Lyons.

Louise Labé, not formed of the “porcelain of human clay,” inherited the fortune of her deceased husband, and died about forty years of age. From the most celebrated of her works, a kind of drama, entitled “Love and Madness,” Lafontaine took the plot of one of his fables. After her decease, her house was taken down, and a street occupies its place. It is still called after her, “Rue de la belle Cordière.”

27th May.

We are to leave the day after to-morrow, and our friend spent last evening with us. He told us a story, which, though it certainly has nothing to do with Lyons, I cannot forbear telling you, who have no chance of hearing it from himself. You know that since we saw him he has passed four years and a half in Africa, fighting against Abd-el-Kader. In Capt. de ——’s regiment there was a cantinière, not handsome, but a very stout, robust woman of about thirty, with a powerful arm, and sufficiently red face not to belie her calling. In an engagement which took place between the French and Arabs, our friend, Capt. de ——, was at no great distance from the poor woman when she was taken prisoner. He was with his men too fully occupied to be able to assist her, and spite of her screams and struggles she was borne off to Abd-el-Kader. When he saw her, he thought of his ally, the Emperor of Morocco, who is a great admirer of fat women, and Abd-el-Kader exclaimed, “C’est mon affaire,” and commanded that the captive should be with due care and attention conveyed to his imperial Majesty, and offered him as a present. The cantinière was placed on a camel, and transported to the Emperor of Morocco.

Arrived at her destination, the emperor, struck with her appearance, fell in love, but ere she could be placed among the ladies of his harem, it was necessary that she should change her religion, and here her royal master failed. She swore at him;—either he did not understand, or the interpreter thought translation unnecessary, or love was deaf as he is sometimes blind; for the emperor essayed all means of conversion, and having loaded her with presents in vain, tried the power of threats.

During this time her husband, who was a soldier in the regiment, was inconsolable, and in spite of many of his comrades, who laughed at him, obtained leave and set off for Toulon, to the consul, who in consequence made application for the liberty of the captive cantinière. The emperor had become greatly embarrassed; for having threatened to cut off her head, she said he might if he would, but he could not make her an apostate. He gave her slaves to attend her: she beat them vehemently; to his gentleness she replied by oaths. Fresh from the 66th, it was useless to beseech her to be a sultana, she chose to be a cantinière; so that when the demand for her freedom arrived, he was rather glad to be rid of her. The poor woman, rewarded for her courage and constancy, rejoined her husband. Capt. de —— said, that if he would have taken her back to Oran, all the officers there had become so interested in her fate, that a large subscription would probably have been raised; but her husband preferred remaining in France; he feared his rival, the Emperor of Morocco.

We have staid here long enough to become accustomed to the place and people, and I am sorry to go away. The landlord’s pretty daughter is an accomplished singer, and her good old aunts tell me stories in the hot evenings on the terrace. The fat civil waiter, Ambrose, is a Savoyard, and was a private in the regiment of Savoy at the time when the present King of Sardinia, then Prince of Carignan, conspired against the last monarch, his uncle; and when all the Sardinian troops went over to the Prince, the Savoyard regiment disbanded itself and the men returned to their mountains. I have even made acquaintance with the young pet donkey, who follows round the yard for the bits of bread which first won his good graces. The mention of pets reminds me of an anecdote, for whose truth I will not vouch, but which I repeat, as it made me laugh. The Marquis of H——, who passes through Lyons once a year on his way from England to Italy, has several dogs of a large strong breed, favourites to the degree that they always occupied cushions in the carriage, till medical advice, in consequence of their loss of health, obliged them sometimes to run behind. Mortal enemies to cats, I was rather surprised, when desired to guess how many they had destroyed on their way from Rome, to hear a thousand francs’ worth, “pour mille francs de chats.” Most cat proprietors placed the lame or infirm in the way of his lordship’s dogs, and set their own value on them after the massacre. It, however, once happened, that an ancient landlady thus lost a large Angola, an old friend of the family, and, in her wrath and sorrow, for the Marquis of H——’s dinner she served up its mangled remains before him in a basket.

29th May.

Left Lyons this morning; our trunks sent on as before, and our only baggage contained in the valise Grizzle carries, leaving behind us, as we crossed the Pont de la Guillotière, the splendid Hôtel Dieu, and the green avenues which edge the rapid river. The bridge is the longest in France (excepting that of the St. Esprit, over the Rhone also); its length is two hundred and sixty toises. There existed one at this spot in the time of Philip Augustus, King of France, but it was not then of stone, and when the French king departed from Lyons for the Holy Land, in company of Richard Cœur de Lion, it gave way beneath the numbers who formed their suite, and many were drowned. The widening of the Pont de la Guillotière, which has heretofore been dangerously narrow, is now in progress, and the usual carelessness of the French, and their confidence in their quiet horses, leaves for the present a great part in its original narrowness, but the parapets taken down. We luckily dismounted as we reached this part, for a man pulling a cart entangled his wheel in that of a heavy waggon, and as the horses were backed to disengage him, and the assistants swore and pulled with all their might, we expected to see them go over. As to Fanny, she started so violently that I feared being obliged to let go the rein.

However we passed in safety. Burning weather as we rode through the faubourg, and ascended the long hill, whence the view back to Lyons, the Rhone’s windings, and the mountain of Fourvières, is very beautiful. The square tower of the latter we distinguished for miles, diminishing by degrees, seen through vistas of poplars with which the broad road (the best we have yet travelled) is often shaded. We lost this prospect as we descended, but the Alps were visible, and Mont Blanc, a little to the left, towering above them.

As we had quitted Lyons late, and loitered during the heat of the day in the shade, it was evening when we approached La Verpilière. The deep red clover is in blossom, and the haymaking has begun; and the dew falling heavily, the breeze which sprung up brought with it a fresh sweet smell. The near hills had become bolder and wooded, and a ruined castle crowned one to the right. I asked to whom it belonged, when we stopped to water the horses at a stone reservoir by the road side. The peasant only knew that its name was Vavilliers, and it was not furnished or inhabited, which is not extraordinary, as there only remain a hollow tower and outer wall. The human race here improves as much as the country, but the villages are still the same. This one at a distance looked deceitfully well, having neat houses at its entrance among clumps of chestnut trees, and I hoped the Chapeau Rouge might prove one of them; but the street twisted and narrowed into an abominable alley with its vile variety of odours, and there was the inn. The landlady’s doze was disturbed as we rode into her yard, and she came forth ungracious and scarce awake. The garçon d’écurie was at work in the fields, and her husband she said was by trade a fiddler, and as he was ill, moreover, there was little chance of his help, and D—— led the horses into the barn, while I followed the hostess across the yard and unpromising kitchen, and into the street, and then up a stone staircase, like a ladder, to the bedroom door. Over the bricks, unwashed and unrubbed, I picked my steps as if in the street, and I hesitated ere I laid my gloves on the three-legged table. There was a velvet chair which I avoided, and a wooden one, and beds with dark red curtains so thick with dust and generations of spiders, that I feared to desire they should be disturbed; she opened the window to show me complacently that it faced the street, preferring the peep down into its gutter, or opposite into the garret, to the plains and mountains. There were no jugs or basons, and I asked for them; she at first looked embarrassed, and then, as if a sudden thought had struck her, said “Ah!” and desired me to follow, which I did with resignation, once more into the street, and arrived in the kitchen, where, having ejected some kitchen-stuff from a pan of green earthenware, she said triumphantly “voilà!” and wondered when I declined, as it was more “commode” she observed; but finding me obstinate, went to the crockery-shop to _borrow_ the articles required, which her hotel did not possess.

The next difficulty was dinner; she made a favour of serving it at the usual prices, and then I found there was nothing to eat. “Soup?” she would be very happy if it were Sunday, but malheureusement, it was their only day for the pot au feu “à rôti:” there was a “restant” of veal, she said, and truly it proved a picked bone rebrowned; a fresh salad was provided, and a chicken which could scarcely have been fledged, basted with bad oil; yet she was so certain we were satisfied, it would have been a pity to complain. She paraded before us her sick husband in his black cap and six pretty dirty children, and fearing we might be dull alone invited us to the kitchen for the sake of their company. We found that politics have some trouble in penetrating hither, for D—— happened to mention the disturbances in Paris of the 12th of this month, and she asked with great curiosity to what he referred, not having heard of them before.

We went to bed on mattresses resembling ploughed fields with their clods unharrowed, and this morning, when the horses were brought out uncleaned and uncombed, she desired we would remember her house and stop here on our way back. I sincerely hope I may never see her face again; we intended to-day (the 30th) going only as far as Latour du Pin, but the road was so good, shaded by fine walnut trees, and particularly after Bourgoin, two posts from our Chapeau Rouge, winding through so sweet a country, the day cooled by clouds and soft showers, that in enjoyment of them and fear of the inn, we determined on riding on. Met a load of turf, and a barefooted girl carrying her shoes—a memento of Ireland.

At Bourgoin the Grande Route turns, and the mountains rise straight before; a valley to the right, watered by a narrow river, bordered by trees, and winding through waving corn and most flowery meadows, which stretch themselves at the foot of wooded hills dotted with habitations, which at first reminded me of those near Ryde, in the Isle of Wight, but grow bolder. The rising ground on the left was planted with vines, and tiny clear streams shine along the hedge-rows, for there are hedge-rows here full of elder blossom and wild thyme.

The villages are no longer crowded pest-houses, for the cottages are mostly detached, each with its neat garden; and the peasants themselves are a handsomer and happier looking race. We generally saw the women as we passed assembled under the old trees, with distaff and spinning-wheel, and the children herding the few sheep at the road side, and neglecting them to run after us, and laugh at the strange sight. There was one girl of about seventeen, standing at her door in the large straw hat worn here, who, with her Italian eyes and Grecian features, was perfectly lovely.

At an auberge outside the Tour du Pin we stopped to feed the horses and eat an omelette. I declined the solitary little room wherein the pretty girl was raising clouds of dust to prepare it for us, and chose the more airy kitchen, where while I waited I might observe their attention to affairs spiritual and temporal. The temporal appeared first in order, in the print hung at the door, of a cock with extended wings, perched on a dial plate which marked five minutes to twelve, the verse below warning pennyless travellers:

“Quand ce coq chantera, Crédit l’on donnera; Mauvais payeur tu auras crédit, Quand l’aiguille marquera midi.”

The other print, (the spiritual,) pinned above the snow-white pillow of the bed in the corner, exhibited a large eye, inscribed, “Dieu voit tout;” a great ear, “Dieu entend tout;” a man spurning a beggar, “un moment;” the same man seized by devils, “l’Éternité;” I suppose this exhortation to charity does not apply to wayfarers.

All the fine corn and promising vines we have passed on our road, will be unproductive this year, in consequence of the hail storms which visited the country during our stay at Lyons. The ear has been beaten empty, and the bunches of grapes broken; the season’s loss in this department is computed at three millions of francs, and the peasants are planting potatoes, it being too late for any other seed. The town of La Tour du Pin is of course as disagreeable near, as picturesque at a distance, but the remainder of our road was so lovely, that we many times found ourselves exclaiming at its contrast with the gloomy flats and hills of the Isle de France and Burgundy; for here we had the chain of mountains, range above range, which the snow topped and the clouds sailed before, and where their view first opened on us, a foreground of fertile valleys, covered with cottages and clumps of old chestnut trees, the abrupt bank on our right, crowned with and shaded by them, while on the left, where they border the road also, they form with their fresh green branches a fitting frame for the prospect; it would be a pity to travel this road otherwise than on horseback, on a sunny spring evening.

Recommended by M. Pauche to the Hôtel de la Poste, at Pont du Beauvoisin, we made our way thither through crooked streets innumerable. All the front rooms were already taken. I warn you against the No. 1 on the ground floor, at the end of a long passage, with one small barred window, looking into the narrow yard where the post horses are cleaned, for it fell to our lot. Having been told that the landlady was exorbitant in her demands, I rang for her, specified what we wanted, and asked her charges. No answer, but a promenade round me with candle in hand, as it was dark when we arrived. I repeated the question when I thought the inspection over.

“You have had no disputes on the road, have you,” said Madame, taking hold of the skirt of my habit and shaking it, to ascertain its weight.


“Very well, then you won’t dispute with me; where are you going?”

“To Chambéry.”

“Is your husband your age?” This time raising her flambeau under the rim of my hat, so as to blind me.

“He is some years older.”

“How many?” asked the indefatigable landlady.

“I can’t tell exactly at this moment,” I said, getting tired, as I never before saw so much curiosity lodged in one fat human being.

“Not tell; you must know his age; is he thirty, thirty-five, thirty-eight; where is he?”

“In the stable, and I dare say ready for dinner.”

The hint took her to the door, but I unhappily undid the valise, and she rushed back to the table and asked what was in it. I answered rather impatiently, that she had better wait while I unpacked it, so she took me at my word, and when it was quite empty said, “bien,” and went away. The air was insupportable; but for this there would have been little to complain of, for the people are civil,—the landlady’s inquisitiveness, perhaps, excepted,—and the cooking excellent. I imagine the unusual light dinner they served us might be accounted for, by our arriving so late; we commenced dining to the sound of a sweet chime, which was the Angelus ringing in Savoy. To sleep was out of the question; for as I told you, the post stables were on a level with us, and over our heads was lodged a commis voyageur, who started at daybreak. D—— saw his saddle and portmanteaux, weighing altogether three hundred pounds! The landlord strove hard to induce us to stay; we are driven out to breathe. Madame, who peeped into my room before I was up this morning, came to inquire, “whether I kept a regular note of expenses along the road, as everybody ought.” Monsieur praised the excursions within the reach of horse travellers; but the inn stable, large and handsome as it is, is choked at its entrance by heaps of rotting manure, and into it is emptied all the kitchen refuse. I mounted Fanny in a hurry, for close to me in the yard were two enormous tubs of water, into which a man was emptying (there to take their breakfast) bags full of leeches, which arrived last night en poste! I should think no other animal would feel an appetite here.

Away we went to the frontier. The tiny bridge, with the French sentinel on one side and the Savoy soldier opposite, seems a strange division of countries to those used to sea and sickness. Here were formalities to go through on account of the horses. D—— received back the fifty-five francs paid at Calais, and deposited seventeen francs duty on entering Savoy. There is a lovely glimpse from the bridge of the Guier, gurgling along the bottom of its ravine. We were detained some time at the Savoy douane, though they were not at all troublesome, but the horses’ description was to be copied; and (witness the wisdom of the King of Sardinia, or his delegates) notwithstanding that Savoy is so poor a country, they receive ungraciously, and would eject unceremoniously, strangers who bring English horses. The custom-house officers were in the first instance about to bind us to quitting the territory within three days; however, when D—— represented that I required some rest, and asked for ten, they consistently inserted two months.

The road from the pont is very good, and the country fertile and lovely as we ascended the hill, and the Guier wound far below in its wild ravine. The mountains at every step grow more grand; the fine trees, which abound, are mostly chestnut; and the cottages, now built in the Swiss style, with jutting roofs and outside stairs and galleries, hide themselves among them, sometimes betrayed only by a stream of light smoke. Their gardens are even neater than in England, and we have a luxury which you perhaps will hardly comprehend, in cooling our horses’ feet in the innumerable mountain streams which sparkle along at every step. Arrived at the summit of the hill, look back towards the pont and France, (an extensive and fertile view,) before the road turns suddenly, and the scene, the very air changes at the narrow road, with its giant wall of rock on the left hand, and on the other a low parapet, from which the precipice goes sheer down to the Guier, foaming angrily at its bottom, and warring with the crags, which, towering again on the other side, have opened hardly enough to leave it way. This is the Pass of Chailles, very grand, and I thought rather fearful, as Fanny continually started from the cliff and towards the parapet. The road, such as I have described it, winds a considerable way, and before us, in the space the advancing rocks leave, were mountains white with snow, which an old peasant said were those near La Chartreuse. The mountain wind was chill certainly, but we confessed it had a “freshness and life” which revived. The sky, which had been cloudless, suddenly changed, and the clouds came rolling over the crags, bringing a muttering of thunder and then a loud clap, augmented and prolonged by all the échos. The horses trembled, and promised to be troublesome, and we got on faster; but the storm had rushed on above our heads, and settled on the top of a purple peak far away, before we reached the cottage, which stands where this wild pass ends, and the roaring Guier becomes a quiet stream. Fear, I suppose, had made me thirsty and hungry; I bought some fresh milk in a clean bowl, and Fanny sprang aside from a yoke of oxen, and covered her mane and my habit.

We had intended sleeping at Les Échelles but, as at La Tour du Pin, the inn looked unpromising, and we merely fed the horses and went on to Chambéry. Last Thursday was the Fête Dieu, and the wreaths of box, which only a few feet asunder hung across the narrow street above our heads, looked uncommonly pretty. The Valley des Échelles opened before us as we left the town. Fancy the long fertile vale surrounded by mountains, which enclose it except at the spot where you enter—behind you and the town they are towering and snowy, while those which skirt the road you pursue the whole length of the valley are milder and green and cultivated, a contrast to the range of bare and broken cliffs on your right and parallel to them.

In front at the extremity of the vale, which it crosses like its barrier, is the hill which terminates it; the road you must travel cut along its edge and crossing two bridges; the last so high that the head turns to look at it, for it arches over a mountain stream, and its white line seen from below looks like a branch of bent osier. A gradual ascent leads to it, and, arrived there, you have no terror left but much wonder, for fifty paces beyond the road seems to terminate. The rock is before, and the precipice below, and you forget the grotto cut through.

Beneath the bridge the stream rushes turbulently down, forcing a narrow passage among trees and stones, and gushing far under the stone arch into the valley; the loveliest view of the valley itself is from this high bridge: you see it terminated by distant snow peaks and guarded by its mighty frontier of rocks having strange forms, in which you may fancy castle towers and cathedral portals, contrasting with the sweet mild plain below them, every yard cultivated; the glittering church spire rising among clumps of trees, and the river alternately hiding itself among its own fringes, or shining like a white riband through luxuriant corn-fields and meadows resembling flower-gardens; patches of turf under the fine old trees like dark green velvet, and cottages which, as you look down on them, make you say of each—“I could live there;” it is like the happy valley, only one would not want wings to fly out of it.

The gallery is at no great distance from a kind of passage formerly used by foot-passengers to arrive at the long ladders which were then the road to the valley, a descent of more than fifty metres; they gave it its name, des Échelles.

The entrance to the grotto is, as I told you, but a few steps further; a magnificent project nobly accomplished: it was finished only in 1813, for the passage constructed by Charles Emanuel in 1670 was not at this spot; it exists, and is still visited for its romantic beauty, but we did not see it. The grotto is blown through the solid rock, which forms its walls, and its arched roof, and is about eight hundred feet long; as it receives no light save through its two apertures, it was so dark about the centre that I could see the ground, over which Fanny trod very unwillingly, only where it shone with pools of water, which distils through the crevices and dripped on our heads all the way. Issuing from it, we found a wilder and less beautiful road, without verdure or habitation, winding among masses of grey rock, which must have a savage aspect in winter, but are now covered with purple columbine and the red ragged robin. Here and there we saw a feeble beggar or young peasant herding the few sheep or small cows perched among the crags. After a time these crags are interrupted by green knolls and brushwood, then by old trees and cottages, and we came again on a river winding through a wooded dell, a magnified copy of the Dargle in Wicklow. The road thence to Chambéry is varied and beautiful beyond expression, always good for our horses’ feet, but sometimes very ill protected from precipices, which, if not the most terrible in Savoy, are sufficiently so to break the neck of horse and rider. Not far from Chambéry is the Cascade of Cous, falling from the rock on the right about two hundred and fifty feet. It has no great volume of water, but is exceedingly picturesque, foaming or shining as it breaks against the uneven stones on the cliff’s side, or springs over them and down to the clear pool at its foot, whence it throws up a spray light as smoke, and then supplies the bright stream which passes beneath the road to the river, which we had followed some time, and was here still on the left, dashing through wooded defiles, turning romantic mills and murmuring down diminutive falls. Where the road is narrowest, some solitary peaks of granite stand by its side among trees and bushes, detached from the crags behind them like their outposts. We crossed a handsome bridge and broader stream before we caught sight of Chambéry, which lies embosomed in mountains; a bold and beautiful view, but not matching that of the Échelles. Behind the town, which lay before us, rises a line of fine frowning mountains—the Beauges; that which seems to hang over Chambéry, presenting at its summit a succession of seeming towers and ramparts like a mighty fortification. Far away to the left shone the lake of Bourget, on the road to Geneva. The valley is fertile, and the vines trained in arbours. The road close to the town has been changed, and as we crossed the new broad bridge, the abandoned one made a pretty feature in the landscape.

Entering Chambéry, we rode under the old palace of the Counts and Dukes of Savoy, with its high terrace shaded by magnificent horse-chestnuts, and a still most royal looking tower, which stands alone, and whose hollow walls have defied time and two fires. The governor’s palace is modern, and joins at its extremity another portion of the ancient building, which must once, from the traces remaining, have occupied the entire platform. The chapel remains, that part which rises above the narrow street, built in the Gothic style: the façade has been altered to the Italian taste and spoiled. We passed before fine boulevards and extensive barracks, containing at present three thousand men; and, unlike travellers worn and weary, entered the town at a gallop.


Chambéry—the Cathedral—the Château—the Chapel—the Holy Shroud distilling blood—Mules’ refusal to carry the relic away—Respected by the flames—St. Charles of Borromeo’s pilgrimage to its shrine at Turin—Its authenticity denied by Calvin—Drawing made of the Saint Suaire by desire of Philip the Fifth of Spain—Artist on his knees—Savoy—Peter of Savoy favourite of Henry the Third of England—Savoy Palace, his residence—The Green Count Amedée—His tournament—The Emperor Charles the Fourth’s passage—Homage done to the Emperor—The Banquet served by Horsemen—The Carmelites’ whitewash—The Crusade—The Green Count’s embarkation—The Red Count Amedée—his Death-wound in the forest of Lornes—Poison—Physician beheaded—Duel between Estavayer and Grandson—Its real cause—Place of Combat Bourg en Bresse—Otho conquered—His tomb at Lausanne—Duke Amedée’s retreat to Ripaille—His authority delegated to his Son—Six Knights his Companions in the Monastery—Astrologers’ prediction—Author of Peace of Arras—Elected Pope—His renouncement of the Tiara—His return to Ripaille, and death—His Tower and those of four of his Knights still standing—Fête Dieu—The Priest commander of the forces—Les Charmettes—The young Abbé—The old Governor—Censure—Severe Laws for small offences—Rejoicings—Montmeillan—Abymes de Myans—The Black Virgin’s power—Chignin—Iron Collars—Fortress of Montmeillan—Its resistance—Sully’s stratagem—Proof of the King’s Catholicity—Treason of the Governor—Christina of Savoy’s Confessor a captive—His vain intrigues against Richelieu—Richelieu’s anger chiefly excited by a satire written by Père Monod—Monod’s death—Bourget—Amedée the Fifth—Hautecombe—Sepulchre of Counts of Savoy—Tomb of Amedée, who defied to single combat three English Earls—Abbey changed to a Manufactory—Spectres of the Sovereigns of Savoy—Its Restoration.

Hôtel de la Poste, Chambéry,

1st June.

We find ourselves so comfortable that we have determined on remaining at least a week. The weather is intensely hot, the country lovely, and the cleanliness of the inn, as it forms a contrast with those we have of late inhabited, made me start last night when I first caught a glimpse of its floors. The horses have a good groom, a rarity also, and a comfortable stable; by which we wish them to profit, though they performed without fatigue their seventy-five miles’ ride from Lyons, and are quite ready to go on.

We have been to visit the cathedral, a gothic edifice, which by no means pleases me, and has been mercilessly decorated by Turin scene-painters, so that hardly a foot of its walls and ceiling remains pure of flourished ornaments on a bright blue ground. We remained but a few minutes, and then found our way to the château. As, according to ancient custom, it was built on an eminence commanding the town, that part of the castle chapel which forms the choir, a few green trees, and a grey archway way, seem to hang over the narrow street which crosses and terminates the Rue de Boigne, built by the benefactor of Chambéry. A flight of narrow steps at this place conducts to the archway I mentioned, and thence to the green esplanade occupying the space between the façade of the chapel, the modern palace, and the mighty round tower. Beyond the tower is a most delicious promenade, which seems frequented only by a few students. The double rows of magnificent chestnuts surround a small park, or, rather, square field, which occupies the remainder of the hill on which the château stands, and commands, on two of its sides, lovely views. Perhaps the finest is that towards the Échelles; we sate some time gazing at it, for under the thick branches it was cool and dark, even to-day.

Returning to the chapel, we put aside a very shabby curtain of common ticking, which hangs within the open doors, and forms a contrast to the gilding; though where it is ornamented it is rather tawdry than handsome: it is worth visiting from the extreme beauty of its tall narrow windows, painted in gorgeous colours. This church formerly possessed extraordinary privileges, and we read a long list of indulgences appended to one of its walls. The holy shroud, since transported to Turin, was long kept here. Its historians assert, that when the Christians were forced by Saladin to leave Jerusalem, they carried away with them all the sacred relics in their possession, and the Saint Suaire was thus conveyed to Cyprus by those to whom it belonged, and Geoffrey of Charny, there purchased it: it next belonged to his son and grand-daughter Margaret, who married a Seigneur of Villars, one of the “premiers gentilshommes” of Amedée, first duke of Savoy. During a journey she made thither, she was attacked by robbers, and all her baggage plundered; but it is told that when the thieves touched the holy shroud, drops of blood distilled from it, their hands became deformed and crippled, and in terror and remorse they fled and abandoned their booty.

Margaret was well received at Chambéry; and when she quitted it they implored her, but vainly, to leave the relic in their city. When, however, she was about to depart, the mules who carried it absolutely refused to pass the gates; and Margaret, believing the circumstance to be a manifestation of the will of God, yielded the treasure, which was deposited in the chapel.

In 1553, the chapel took fire; and the fire committed such ravages, that even the silver case, which contained the saint linceul, was melted, but the flames appeared to retreat from the linen itself; and such as touched it, thinking it would scorch, were bathed in a fresh sweet dew.

The holy shroud was transported to Turin by Emmanuel Philibert, of Savoy, in 1578, to spare a long walk to St. Charles of Borromeo, who had vowed to make on foot a pilgrimage to its shrine.

The clergy and people of Milan accompanied him to the gates of the city, where he changed his long cloak for a belted robe; gave his blessing to the crowds prostrated before him, and then, assuming the pilgrim hat and staff, set off with his companions. On their way they took only sufficient food to support life, and as they walked sung hymns and recited prayers. During their hours of rest they performed divine service, and after four days’ march, they arrived in Turin, and accomplished their vow.

Among those who contested the authenticity of this relic, the principal was Calvin,—who reminded his hearers that the Hebrews were in the habit of enveloping their dead in bandages, not in shrouds; and gave also a list of the various places in which are exhibited a shroud and the cloth which covered the face, as those worn by the Saviour. He even hinted that the object of his discourse was not the same bestowed by Marguerite de Charny, as that had been consumed in the great fire at Chambéry, and this one substituted.

There have been always great objections made to allowing the curious or pious to approach too near, in order to observe the stains on the linen. Philip the Fifth, king of Spain, when he allied himself to the house of Parma, obtained, with great difficulty, permission to have a drawing taken of the saint linceul. The reliquary was displaced with great ceremony, and illuminated by a multitude of wax lights. The artist remained on his knees the whole time, and executed his sketch while eight bishops said each a separate mass at the eight altars which surround the chapel.

Savoy passed from the possession of the Romans to that of the Burgundians, and next formed part of the kingdom of France ere it again became incorporated in the new kingdom of Burgundy.

In the tenth century this last was united to Germany, and Savoy, then a part of the empire, was governed by counts whom the Emperor named. It was made a duchy in 1417, when ruled by Amedée the Eighth; in the time of Francis the First its southern part belonged to France; become German once more, hostilities recommenced between Duke Charles Emmanuel and Henry the Fourth of France; and the peace of Vervins, which put a stop to them, lost several cantons to Savoy. It was this circumstance which induced the dukes to turn their eyes toward Italy; but when Piedmont had gradually asserted her superiority, the emissaries of France knew how to profit adroitly by the discontent her arrogance awakened. In 1792 Savoy gave herself to France, and remained French till the treaties of Vienna and Paris of 1814 and 15.

The founder of the house of Savoy was Humbert of the White Hands, who died about 1048, and was buried before the portal of the church of St. Jean de Maurienne.

Peter of Savoy (who was born at Suza in 1203) saw a path opened to his ambition by the marriage of Henry the Third of England with his niece Eleonora of Provence. In 1241 he hastened to the British court, where he soon won the feeble monarch’s confidence, was placed at the head of the administration, created Earl of Richmond, and loaded with dignities and honours, till the jealousy of the nation being roused by this treatment of a foreigner he was obliged to return to his own country. The palace in the Strand, which was pulled down not many years ago, and called the Savoy, was bestowed on and named from him. He died in 1268 in the castle of Chillon, which had been built by his order.

The most chivalrous of the Counts of Savoy, and the one of whom the recollection is most forcibly recalled by the ruins of his castle, was Amedée the Sixth, called the Green Count, from the colour he had adopted. On his return from a successful campaign in Piedmont, he held a magnificent tournament in Chambéry. The spot chosen was that which at present serves as exercising ground for the troops, and fashionable promenade, the Vernay; before Amedée’s time, who changed the stream’s course, it was the bed of a destructive torrent, the Leysse, which now flows calmly, hid in its deep channel, far under an alley of plane trees. Opposite this alley, I mean on the other side of the Champ de Mars, is the ancient grove of tall thick trees, the favourite walk of the inhabitants of Chambéry: all round are mountains, near and distant, green, or barren, or snowy; whose variety of colouring is increased by what painters call accidents of light, which, caused by their position and the clouds they attract, alter and add to their beauty every moment. It was here that the lists were prepared in 1347 or 48; the city was crowded with the fair and the noble, who came as spectators or sharers in the festival: the tournament was to last three days. There were nineteen champions, the chief among them young Amedée himself; and the first day they entered the ground prepared for them, each knight on his war-horse, and by his side the lady, whose colours he wore, mounted on a lively steed, and holding in her hand the end of a slight silken string with which she led her champion. Count Amedée appeared in green; the plumes of his helmet, his surcoat, the housings of his charger, the dresses of his squires and pages were all green. He bore away the praises of all, and in remembrance of that day thenceforth adopted the colour, and was called the Green Count.

In the year 1365, the Emperor Charles the Fourth, desiring to return to his own states, prayed Amedée to grant him a safe reception and passage in his lands. The count held himself highly honoured, and conducted the emperor to Chambéry, with all due solemnities. Near the old palace had been raised on a high scaffolding a throne; and on it sat Charles the Fourth, surrounded by his court, and wearing the insignia of empire.

The Count Amedée, richly dressed and nobly mounted, and preceded by six horsemen on beautiful palfreys, each of whom carried a banner, rode within the gate of the castle, and dismounted at the steps of the imperial throne. The first of the banners was that of St. Maurice; the second, that of his ancestors, a black eagle on a golden field; the third bore the arms of the marquisate of Susa; the fourth, those of the duchy of Chablais; the fifth, those of the duchy of Aosta; the sixth, exhibited the silver cross, adopted by himself as his own arms. Two and two after him followed his barons; each bearing a pennon, on which shone the white cross. The rest of the nobility came in like manner on horseback, filling and surrounding the space. Arrived before the steps, they dismounted, and Amedée ascended alone, and kneeling before his majesty did homage as his vassal. The emperor invested him with all his honours and dignities one by one,—that is to say, that, one after the other, he returned to the count’s hands those banners he presented.

The emperor’s people next took them, and tearing them, cast them to the ground, according to custom; excepting only the banner which bore the silver cross: for the count requested of the emperor that he would not desire the ceremony, as regarded this last, should be accomplished, saying, “it never had sunk to the earth, and never should, with the help of God.”

The homage offered, the count entertained the emperor at a splendid banquet in the great hall of the castle. Amedée and his barons mounted on tall chargers, bearing the viands, served his imperial majesty: the greater part of the meats were gilded, and, among other curiosities, there was a fountain which night and day cast forth red and white wine.

The above account is extracted from the Chronicle of Savoy by Guglielmo Paradino. Pity the old hall is down. A memorial of the tournament long remained: the names, arms, and devices of the champions had been painted on the cathedral walls, but the Carmélites whitewashed them!!

In 1366, when the pope had preached another crusade to succour the Greek empire, and many had promised aid but held back when came the time for performance, the Green Count, still the flower of chivalry, alone kept faith; with his own funds equipped at Venice a considerable number of galleys, and embarked with his army of cavalry and infantry, crossbowmen and archers. An ancient chronicle describes the pomp and ceremonial of this embarkation. By order of Count Amedée, the chiefs of his army and his horsemen were dressed in doublets of green velvet, richly embroidered, and himself attired in like manner, walked from his hostelry to his galley, followed by his barons, two and two, and preceded by music: the sounds of the multitudinous instruments often drowned in the voices of crowds pressing to see him, and shouting “Savoy! Savoy!” while to the flourish of trumpets, the count ascended his vessel, raised anchor, and made all sail for Corinth.

At Gallipoli he planted his banner, notwithstanding an obstinate defence—went thence to Constantinople, where he was received by the Empress Mary of Bourbon, who wrote of him, “the presence of the Green Count _alone_ is worth two thousand lances;”—and departed from her to prosecute his victories, and deliver from captivity the Emperor John Paleologo. He died of plague in 1383.

His son Amedée the Seventh, called the Red Count from the colour he adopted, succeeded his father, aged three-and-twenty. He resembled him in chivalrous disposition, and was looked upon as the model of knights when with seven hundred Savoyard lances he went to aid the king of France, Charles the Sixth, in his war against the English and Flemish, and praised as most “frank in manner and fortunate in arms.”

Returned from the wars, he had gone to hunt in the forest of Lornes, which lies on the shores of the lake of Geneva, below Thonon; he was aged one-and-thirty; and as he followed the wild boar at the full speed of his horse, the animal fell with him, and rolled on his rider. The count received a wound on the left thigh, and was carried to Ripaille, where, some days after, he died. Savoy long wept for him, for he was generous and gentle as just. His death following so quickly on the injury he had received woke a suspicion of poison, but though many were enveloped in the accusation which ensued, all were acquitted except Pierre de Stupinigi, the count’s physician, who on this mere suspicion was beheaded. His innocence was acknowledged years after, and, by order of Amedée the Eighth, the unhappy man’s corpse was disinterred from the criminal’s fosse, and laid in consecrated ground.

Six years had passed since the death of Amedée the Seventh, when the report, which had died away, was revived as the cause of a duel famous in the Pays du Vaud. Gerard of Estavayér was the accuser, and the defendant Otho of Grandson. The former had a beautiful wife, and, on his departure for the wars, Otho, who was sixty years of age, offered her the protection of his own walls till her husband’s return. Gerard gladly accepted, and departed in confidence, unconscious that Otho’s admiration of his fair lady had alone prompted this seeming kindness. While he was away, she attempted several times, but in vain, to escape from the castle where he held her captive and abused the rights of hospitality; and when her husband returned, and she was once more suffered to seek her own roof, she revealed to him, with tears, the treatment she had suffered during his absence.

Burning with rage, whose real cause he would not divulge, Gerard of Estavayér branded Otho (whose dislike to the late count had been well known) as his murderer, and offered to prove the truth of his assertion in single combat.

The place appointed for the duel was Bourg en Bresse, chosen by the guardians of Amedée the Eighth, who was still a minor, and was there present with his statesmen and chief nobles. The quarrel had excited an interest which brought crowds from all countries to witness its issue. The adversaries were matched in hatred; unequal in strength and age, for Otho had been ill, though he disdained on that account to refuse the challenge or defer the combat. Arrived in the lists, he spoke aloud to the assembly; recalling to the memories of all there that the particulars of the Red Count’s death had already been brought before them in the course of a solemn trial, which had in no manner stained his own honour.

“Nobles of Savoy,” he exclaimed, “relatives and vassals of the reigning house, if I have done this deed, why have you left retribution to Gerard of Estavayér? he is a false liar; be it the worse for him as it is well for me.” The young Count of Savoy rose and made the sign of the cross. “In the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” he said, “let the signal be given, and God show the right!”

It was the 7th of August, 1397: the two champions met in the lists, each armed with a lance, two swords and a dagger, and a terrible fight ensued, till Otho, weak from his sickness and advancing in years, fell beneath the strokes of his young and vigorous adversary. According to the justice of the time, he was declared guilty, and the castle and lands of Grandson seized by Amedée of Savoy. His marble tomb is in the cathedral of Lausanne. The armed figure lies couched on it, but the hands are cut off; for thus were represented those vanquished in judicial combat.

This same Amedée, whose life had been a series of successes, and who, according to Olivier de la Marche, his contemporary, so ruled his states, that in the midst of those which were a prey to foreign war and civil dissensions, there only were found safety, wealth, and happiness; Amedée, for whose sake the Emperor Sigismund had created the county of Savoy duchy, abdicated in the year 1434. The causes assigned for this weariness of the world’s honours, in whose pursuit he had been ardent heretofore, were the loss of a wife to whom he was tenderly attached, Mary of Burgundy, who died at Turin of the plague, and an attempt made on his life by a nobleman who had been his friend. He had founded some years before an Augustine monastery at Ripaille, half hidden in the forest which covers the tongue of land advancing into the lake near Thonon. Repairing thither in the year 1434, he summoned the principal prelates and nobles of those dominions which called him master, and seated on a throne, his sons Louis and Philip at his side, and Humbert bastard of Savoy at his feet, and the two marshals of the duchy present, he spoke at length concerning all that had been done since his accession to the dukedom, and concluded by informing them of the resolution which was to wake the wonder of Europe. Calling Prince Louis near, he bade him kneel down and conferred on him the order of knighthood. Binding on his sword and embracing him according to the custom of the time, he formally created him Prince of Piedmont and viceroy over his dominions, exhorting him to protect the church, preserve friendship with relative and ally, to administer impartial justice, and, above all, to keep faith inviolably.

It was his express command that, in all important negotiations, Louis should resort to himself for counsel. He next bestowed on Philip the title of Count of Geneva, which was that his brother had held before, and dismissing the illustrious assembly, he retired to his apartments with six knights—men in the decline of life, who had heretofore shared with him the cares of government, and now chose to be companions of his solitary life. The day following, he and they in the church of Ripaille took the hermit’s garb from the hands of the Augustine prior. They neither shaved their heads nor beards, their dress was a tunic of fine grey cloth, and a scarlet cap, above which, like the antique hermits, they wore a cloak with a cowl. They carried the pilgrim’s staff, and the only tokens of their primitive grandeur were golden belts and crosses. Thus was instituted the knightly order of St. Maurice: the necessary requisites were noble birth and an exemplary life, and the number of its votaries could not exceed seven, including the president; it is believed that of those he selected thus, Amedée determined to form the secret council of his states during his own life. They remained five years in the quiet of a retirement, which some thought more devoted to politics than religion; while others attributed his abdication to the prediction of an astrologer which promised him the tiara.

Be this as it may, Amedée retained the ducal power beneath the hermit’s cowl. He was author of the famous peace of Arras and its mediator; freeing France from the presence of the English, and closing their long discords. In 1439, the fathers of the council of Bâle, who had deposed Pope Eugenius the Fourth, elected in his place the retired sovereign; twenty-four prelates, at whose head was the Cardinal of Arles, bore their decree to Ripaille. Unwilling to create a schism in the church, it is said that Amedée refused and burst into tears, and that his resolution was changed by the eloquence of the messengers, who proved to him, that on his acceptance depended the reform of the church and the well-being of the faithful. In the same chapel of Ripaille they clothed him in the papal robes and saluted the first duke of Savoy as Felix the Fifth. Thonon and Ripaille barely sufficed to lodge the ambassadors who came from all parts to tender him homage. He held his court in Geneva, but in 1447, Eugenius the Fourth being dead, Nicolo the Fifth, elected by the cardinals then in Rome, sat undisturbed in the papal chair, and Felix, anxious to put a stop to the divisions which brought dishonour on the church, dissolved the council at Bâle and publicly renounced the tiara at Lausanne which he had worn nine years, and returned to his solitude at Ripaille, and the six knights still living there.

He survived his abdication but eighteen months, and died in Geneva; he was buried at Ripaille, and a noble mausoleum raised above his ashes, which in 1538 the Bernese soldiery broke in search of plunder. His bones were then transferred to the cathedral of Turin, where they lie beside those of Emmanuel Philibert and Christine of France. The duke’s tower and those of four of his knights are still standing; the convent, surrounded by a deep ditch and strong walls, resembles an antique castle seen from the lake, and rising above the oak forest. We returned by the rue de Boigne, a handsome street whose arcades form a shady walk. Part of the high castle terrace terminates it at one extremity, and at the other is a fountain which forms a monument in honour of General de Boigne. His statue stands on the column which four demi-elephants support, and though it is not in the best taste or most perfect proportion, it has altogether a picturesque effect. A boulevard of most fragrant lime-trees leads from it to the Champ de Mars and promenade of the Verney.

June 2nd.

Fanchette just now called me to see the procession of the Fête Dieu, this being the first Sunday following the festival; for processions are observed here as rigorously as they once were in France, though, if I may judge from what I saw to-day, they inspire small devotion. A number of little girls walked first, each troop headed by a nun in her monastic habit. The children were dressed in white frocks and veils and crowns of flowers; the youngest held a crucifix under a tiny arbour of artificial roses. Long lines of women followed in white robes and cowls, the foremost bearing banners and the rest lighted torches: a bevy of young boys, decked out like the girls, and of men attired like the women, came next; and then the priests preceding the host which their superior bore beneath the dais. Two of the former carried each a pole, at the top of which was a lantern; four others threw up their censers, perfuming the street (_not_ superfluously), and each time their office ended, performed a strange movement towards the host, not a curtsey or a bow, but a bob; and a fifth, whenever the priest beneath the dais elevated the host, opened and clapped close a wooden book to warn the people.

When the dais was stopped at the end of the street that the benediction might be given, it would have been an imposing sight to see the white robed figures who lined it, and the people before their doors all kneeling, if one could for a moment have supposed them more attentive than absolutely necessary to the show; but they were talking and looking about and thrusting their torches in the faces of their acquaintances. These white ladies and gentlemen belong to no religious order, but merely to a society; they are mostly peasants, and when a procession takes place, their services are required. At one time, the seeming penitents left an undue space between their companies, and the priest who marshalled them came up in loud anger scolding and driving. The alarm disconcerted the poor women, and running to make up for lost time, they broke their ranks and could not form them again, and there was a thorough rout.

Although I acknowledge I feel small interest in Rousseau, yet hearing that the walk to the Charmettes was one of the prettiest within our reach, we went thither this afternoon, passing on our way Buisson, the residence of the late General de Boigne, which is beautifully situated, and at the very gates of Chambéry, its park filled with fine trees, and ornamented by a picturesque tower. A steep path leads up the hill to a lane shaded by old chestnut trees, which cover the banks on each side and completely exclude the mountain view, or indeed any but of themselves and the little brawling rivulet. In this an old woman was washing, and we asked her where stood Les Charmettes: “Oh,” said she, “you are going to Jean Jacques’ house, there it is,” and she pointed out an unpicturesque mansion built on the high ground to our right. Continuing to climb over rough paths and through a wood, we fancied we were conquering a mountain, but found, when arrived breathless, that we were merely at the top of the low hill, which scarcely seems one looking at it from Chambéry. From the little plain all over wild flowers, we had a view of the glittering city (for the tin, of which they make so liberal use on roofs and church-spires, never rusts in this climate), and a lovely prospect of the country round and beyond it to the Mont du Chat and the lake of Bourget. While we were admiring it, the rain commenced; we fortunately found an ancient tree, whose charitable old age had provided a hollow trunk, which served for mansion during two wearisome hours while the shower fell pitilessly, and the fog hid every object within twenty feet of us; at last however it ceased, and as, during our imprisonment, we had listened to the Chambéry clocks, and were aware the dinner hour was nigh at hand, I advised making a short cut instead of returning by the way we came. We went on rapidly, and the road looked auspiciously for a time till it grew steep, and we had some difficulty in clambering among trees and clinging to them, and when the point and the contemplated short cut seemed attained, we took one step more and arrived in the bed of one of the million streams which spring everywhere: very clear and very bright, but considerably above our ankles.

June 4th.

Our mode of travelling throws us very much for resource on the agreeability of such companions as chance procures, and we sometimes make amusing and cordial acquaintances.

Among these are an old officer of the empire and a young abbé from Montelimart. The day on which the latter arrived was a fast, and there were at table two English gentlemen, who (either wilfully in bad taste, or not wilfully in bad French) made remarks and asked questions which embarrassed the poor priest, who is a well-informed, mild-mannered man. By attempting to soften them down or explain them away, we became acquainted, and you would have smiled to see our intimacy this evening, sitting in the yard in the starlight, as the stifling heat renders the house insupportable. The abbé has a leave of four months, which he employs in travelling, and enjoys like a boy, after the mournful duties of his profession. The old officer speaks with contempt of the fanfaronnades of la jeune France; and the priest with horror of the increasing immorality of French literature, and its spreading influence. “If you heard what I hear,” he said, alluding to confession, “you would tremble—la France est malade, bien malade.”

This morning, when I was wakened as usual by the parrot screaming in the yard, “As-tu déjeûné, Jacot, oui, oui, oui,” I found the whole establishment in commotion, for Chambéry had received orders to illuminate and be gay for the return of its governor, Count Victor Casazza di Valmonte. He is something between seventy-five and eighty, and having become a widower three months since, losing a lady of suitable years, he made a journey to Turin, whence he now brings a young wife. It is whispered he will receive a charivari, but the town will hardly venture on so rash an act, though he is by no means popular; it is perhaps independently of his will that all precautionary measures are enforced so strictly, and only Piedmontese hold any employ. One of these prudential rules forbids all newspapers, saving the Gazette de France, to enter the territory. At the library many of the books we asked for were on the prohibited list. The fine theatre, the donation of General de Boigne, will be opened next month, but the repertory is exceedingly small, and the chance stars, who every year in the French provinces shine and make money, dislike acting here, where all pieces, ere they can be played, are submitted to the governor and the bishop, and none pass the ordeal unscathed.

On the wall of the dining room hang the list of Sardinian laws, and the permission granted to Mons. Friul to keep the hotel, which must be renewed at the end of each year, as the leave is only given for that period. Among the first are some bordering on the ludicrous; for instance, “whosoever shall make a noise in the streets at night, _sans chandelle_, will be punished.” “Whoever shall dance bear or monkey, or play the mountebank, without permission of the governor, &c.” We rode along the Montmeillan road after dinner; the judges and officers had gone long before, and we met the escort and its object about a mile from the town, but in clouds of dust, through which and the drawn up glasses we could scarcely see his thin withered face, and hers not at all. By the time we got back they had been received with discharges of artillery, and were ensconced in the castle, the music on the terrace, but no charivari; so we went home to change our dress, and issued forth once more to see the illumination, accompanied by the priest and officer. It was a beautiful, breathless night, and the town and boulevards, all lighted and thronged, looked well, though it was true that the urn made of coloured paper lamps, in the rue de Boigne, lost much of its beauty on close inspection, and the painted shield, placed under the castle terrace, (coats of arms and cyphers on a black ground,) resembled a hatchment, while a silly inscription began with “Happy those he governs,” which it seems is not the case, and ends by wishing long lives to bride and bridegroom, which the latter has already enjoyed, and seems unlikely to do over again.

As we stood watching, the Governor’s open carriage drove down the street at a foot’s pace. The ancient bridegroom was all smiles; the bride was dressed à la Parisienne, graceful, dark haired, and pretty, but pale, and I thought sad. The abbé was loud in his indignation at her self-sacrifice, and continued his murmurs until we arrived at the hotel.


The three roads, to Les Échelles, whence we came, to Turin by the Mont Cenis, and to Geneva by Aix, meet at Chambéry. We took the Turin road a few evenings since, intending to ride but a short distance, and were lured on by its excessive beauty, mile after mile, till we reached Montmeillan, a road good as in England, winding among cultivated fields, under noble chestnut and walnut trees and acacias in blossom. The range of the Beauges on the left, with the vine growing high up its sides; and on the right, beyond the broader valley, the Granier, whose chain extends as far as Grenoble, which lies in the hollow. The nearest mountain facing Chambéry is strangely hollowed at its summit, in an immense semicircle, and the ground beneath, for nearly a league, a succession of dells and hillocks, now covered with vineyards, bears the name of Abymes de Myans, in memory of the catastrophe of 1248, when in the month of November the mighty mass, loosened as if by the grasp of an evil spirit, descended, a fall of five thousand feet on the small city of St. André and fifteen villages. The records of the time say, that the devastation ceased at the foot of an image of the Virgin, called the Ethiopian, because her face is black, to whose shrine the devout still flock, even from the near villages of France. Monsieur Friul told me that, in the midst of one of the vineyards which cover the buried houses, the top of a church steeple is still to be seen, the single tombstone of many victims.

Fording a bright stream instead of riding over its badly paved bridge, we were in sight of the castle of Chignin. The hill on which its four remaining towers still stand hangs over the village, and the road is henceforth close to the base of the mountains. These castles, which crowned rock and height the whole length of the valleys of the Arc and Isère, were the telegraphs of the middle ages; and in time of war, by fires lighted on their high turrets, gave and repeated signals from province to province. At Chignin, among the rubbish of its ruins, was found a heavy iron collar, now preserved in the museum of Chambéry; it fastened by a secret spring, and within was furnished with sharp points, which at every movement made would wound the neck of the captive, who taken in fight was detained till he paid his ransom. A little farther than Chignin, but a season or two ago, a large portion of rock fell between two cottages, providentially touching neither, and as it reached the ground splitting itself into a thousand fragments, which lie scattered among the vines, and are mostly too large to be moved. We rode down the green lane to look at it, and found an old man at work, who said nobody had been injured. An avenue of poplars brought us by sunset to Montmeillan. The hill stands alone on the plain, a miniature they tell me of the Righi. Of the strong fortress which once crowned it, we could distinguish scarce a vestige; seen from this side, it is not a very striking object; to be aware of its importance it must be viewed from the other, I mean that of Turin. The road thither extended to our right, through and over wooded hills, with the snowy mountains high above them, reaching to Mont Cenis. On the left, the Beauges which we had followed since Chambéry, and before us, as we stood below the rock of Montmeillan, the valley through which winds the Isère, seeming shut in by the white range of the Maurienne. As we stood admiring, a shower which had long threatened fell over the distant extremity of the valley; the setting sun was bright, and the rays crossed the rain which the wind blew in a contrary direction, and through sunbeams, and rain, and rainbow, shone the snow.

The fortress of Montmeillan was of extraordinary strength in 1535; it would have successfully resisted Francis the First but for the treachery of the Neapolitan governor. In the year 1600, besieged by Henry the Fourth, it was taken through Sully’s fair words and bribes, his wife being his ambassador to Madame de Brandis, wife of the commandant. Before its capitulation was agreed on, a battery had been with enormous labour posted on the rock which commands Montmeillan. Henry was standing there, in the midst of his generals, when their white plumes betraying them to the garrison, by a sudden discharge of artillery striking the rock above, they were covered with earth and splinters of stone. In the first moment of surprise, the king crossed himself, and Sully said with a smile, “Now I see your majesty is a good catholic.” During this time Madame de Sully, by her husband’s desire, had managed to become acquainted with Madame de Brandis, to whom she made various gifts, and passed much of her time in her society. At last, when intimacy had grown to friendship, she hinted at terms of surrender, to which De Brandis traitorously agreed, (though troops were at the time approaching to his aid by forced marches,) and bore his shame and his gold to France. Slighted there as a man marked by infamy, he repaired to Switzerland, where he carried off a nun from the convent of Bellon, whom he, nevertheless, soon deserted; and in sorrow and remorse wandered back to Italy, where he was imprisoned at Casale, and afterwards conducted to Turin. His end is unknown to me.

The Père Monod, confessor and favourite of Christina of Savoy, Henry the Fourth’s daughter, was prisoner in the fort of Montmeillan. Victor Amedée, duke of Savoy, and Christina’s husband, who had taken the title of Altesse Royale, despatched the jesuit to Louis the Thirteenth’s court, charged to enforce the rights of the house of Savoy on the throne of Cyprus; and in consequence to demand that at each audience granted to his envoy, the regiment of guards should be placed under arms as for one from royalty; and also, that through the king’s mediation, the same honours should be accorded by the pope to the ministers of Savoy, as to those of royal courts. Père Monod was, in the first instance, desired to come to an understanding with the Marquis of St. Maurice, Victor Amedée’s ambassador to France; but, neglecting to consult him, he acted alone; and, with his natural impetuosity, insisted on at once obtaining what might have been the result of time and persuasion. Richelieu opposed his demands, wearied by his importunity; and the angry jesuit strove in return to ruin him at court, intriguing for that purpose with Caussin, the king’s confessor, and Mademoiselle de la Fayette, one of the Queen’s ladies of honour. The cardinal, as usual, discovered and disconcerted the plot formed. Mademoiselle de la Fayette was enclosed in a monastery, Caussin exiled, and Monod obliged to retire from court, his conduct disavowed by Victor Amedée. After the latter’s decease, Richelieu determined, through Christina become regent, to be revenged on the rash jesuit; and Christina, who had refused to deliver him up, saw herself obliged to exile him to Coni. The Père Monod, irritated by her conduct, held secret communication with the Marquis of Leganez, governor of Milan for Spain. He agreed to carry him off by force and conduct him to Madrid, where his knowledge of the affairs of Savoy ensured him a cordial reception. The day before that on which their project would have been accomplished, it was discovered,—and Father Monod, the 8th January, 1639, imprisoned in the fort of Montmeillan. The jesuit intrigued once more, and was transferred to Miolans. Christina wrote to Richelieu, “That he had no longer reason to reproach her, for Father Monod’s tongue was tied and his person in custody.”

Pope Urban claimed him, through the bishop of Geneva, as one who could be judged by an ecclesiastical court only; but while this last dispute was in agitation, the priest died. He was a man of great talents and profound knowledge. It was said that Richelieu’s desire of revenge was most excited by his having written a Latin poem, satirizing the mighty cardinal, rendered by his self-love on all points vulnerable, who envied the cid, and was vain of being a dancer.

It was dark long before we reached Chambéry, where we arrived but just in time to escape an awful thunder-storm, having ridden twenty miles for our evening’s excursion.

Yesterday, turning off from the road to Turin, we rode to the Cascade du Bout du Monde; so is named the fall of the Doria into the river Leisse, where the latter rushes along its narrow bed, shut in by high mountains, which form the base of the Dent du Nivolet; and the crags, which enclose the clear stream, feathered to their feet. We passed on our way the old castle of Chaffardon, on a height to the right hand, and a picturesque village. The peasantry of this, almost the only fertile portion of Savoy, are fair and well-featured, and certainly more courteous than any we have met with as yet. We did not see the fall: for to do so it was necessary to pass through a paper-mill erected here, and up a dirty stair of broken planks, leaving our horses: not choosing to do so, we returned through the heat, which was tremendous, and swarms of wasps and flies, whose stings made the horses stream with blood.

This morning it was cooler, and we profited by the weather to visit the lake of Bourget,—mistaking, however, our road, and taking the steep stony one which continually mounts and descends the range of hills covered with chestnut-trees, which form a line from the town to the lake. Close to its shore are the ruins of the castle of Bourget, where Amedée the Fifth was born, and the village.

The lake itself, small and beautiful, lies buried between mountains, the Mont du Chat (the passage of Hannibal) on the left hand—a bare, stern mountain, except at its foot and at one spot, where a promontory, covered with old trees, advances as if to admire its solitary beauty in the clear water. The walls of the monastery of Hautecombe, founded in 1125, lie hidden among them. It can be approached only by the lake or by a steep path on the mountain side, dangerous except to the natives.

The church of Hautecombe, thus wrote an author in 1807, was destined for the sepulchre of the first counts and dukes of Savoy, who there raised two magnificent Gothic chapels. There were to be seen among its many monuments the white marble statue of Humbert the Third, who died in 1188; the bronze mausoleum of Boniface of Savoy, archbishop of Canterbury, and primate of England, who died in 1270; those of the fifth, sixth, and seventh Amedée, of whom the last, when he journeyed into France during the unhappy reign of Charles the Sixth, defied to single combat three English earls, and was each time conqueror; of the Earl of Huntingdon with the lance, the Earl of Arundel with the sword, the Earl of Pembroke with the battle-axe. All those curious to learn the history of Savoy visited this church, which was a chronicle in stone. In the times of devastation and delirium the abbey did not escape. A national agent came to open its tombs and rob them of whatever precious things had been interred with its skeletons: the bones were thrown back into the earth. A year or two after, weeds and ivy had already half concealed the shattered monuments and prostrate pillars, and drooped over the chapel’s broken arches. A porcelain manufactory was next raised on the very spot, to profit by the stream which rushes down the hill from the intermitting fountain to the lake, but the speculation proved a ruinous one; and this also went to decay, and the place was left desolate. It was at this time a popular story, that the men who, during the silent hours of night, guided their rafts laden with wood across the lake towards the Rhone, often saw, by the faint moonlight, colossal forms standing on the ruined roof of the abbey, holding shield and lance, and seeming to strike them in sign of vengeance. Since then all is changed once more. Carlo Felice, last sovereign of Piedmont and Savoy, has restored it to its primitive splendour—its walls rebuilt—its statues and mausoleums replaced in the taste of the old time. It was finished in 1826, and is now again one of the most interesting sights in Savoy. Issuing from the monastery, a narrow path leads through the vines to a forest of ancient chestnut trees; an ascent which conducts to a rock still under their shadow, from a cavern of which springs the fountain, called the Wonderful, because it intermits at uncertain times, and, at each period it flows, ejects the same quantity of water.


Well merited attentions to St. Anthony—The young Countess de S—.—Leeches paying postilions better than the English—General de Boigne—Lemenc and its antiquities—Droit de dépouille of the Bénédictines—Their agreement with the nobles of Chambéry—Ancient vaults beneath the church—Colossal statues feared by the good people of Chambéry—Tomb of an Irish Primate—Calvary—Monument of General de Boigne—His low birth—His struggles—His success in India—The death of his benefactor Sindiah—His gratitude shown towards his heir—The story of his betrayal of Tippoo Saib unfounded—His arrival in England—His marriage with the Marquis of Osmond’s daughter an unhappy one—His return to Chambéry—His benefactions—Created Count—His death—Aix—Its antiquities—Tower and Cascade of Grésy—The friend of Queen Hortense—Her fate—Her monument—Rumilly—Its convent—Siege by Louis the Thirteenth—The courage of a nun—The three privileged houses and discipline of a French soldiery—Frangy, an impertinent innkeeper—Fanny’s wisdom—L’Éluiset—A sweet evening—A bad night—A welcome dawning—Geneva—The fusillades of 94—The Secheron.

Another procession in honour of St. Anthony, a tribute of gratitude he would merit were all tales true. I said we had ridden to the cascade du Bout du Monde, which lies on the left of the Montmeillan road, green lanes and crooked paths leading thither along the bank of the river. Once on a time the rapid melting of the snows caused the cascade’s sudden increase, and the river overflowing, threatened destruction to the faubourg Montmeillan. In their fear the inhabitants besought St. Anthony, who was no sooner invoked than the waters stopped at the entrance of the faubourg. This day was the anniversary of the miracle. The street was lined with green boughs, and hangings depended from its windows; one of them, opposite our inn, was a hearth rug on a curtain pole—grenadiers and military music preceded long ranks of young girls in white veils carrying lilies in token of the saint’s purity; but as white lilies are scarce, those only of the priests, which are artificial, bore the virgin hue, all the rest being orange-coloured! A priest carried in the palm of his hand a small gilded St. Anthony. Instead of the white-robed men and women, we had the whole contents of the monastery of begging friars in their gowns and cowls of unwholesome-looking brown serge, with half shaven heads and dirty beards and soiled feet sandalled—mostly fat, notwithstanding their condition of mendicants. After the procession followed breakfasts, their expense defrayed by collections made by and _for_ the faithful who eat them in the saint’s honour.

Those who make Chambéry a residence find it cheap and agreeable, as its society is good and not difficult of access. It is surrounded with chateaux, many of which are let on reasonable terms, while furnished apartments in the town itself are to be had from 600 to 1000 francs yearly. Meat is 7 sous a-pound. Forage extremely low, fruit and milk to be had almost for the asking, good wine 8 sous a bottle. We had a proof of their being a kindly, unceremonious people. In our rides we have sometimes met a young lady on horseback, the Comtesse de S——, with her brothers. We were told she was anxious to make our acquaintance, and that it was the easiest thing in the world, as we need only ride up to her chateau, where we should be well received; but as we are to remain but some days longer, we are unwilling to do what would merely be a source of regret, particularly as we know her history. She is a sweet looking, fair girl; her family one of the most ancient and richest here: her father is a very old man; her mother died in her infancy, and she was almost brought up by a sister ten years older than herself, who was, I am told, a beautiful and amiable young woman. They had three brothers, all in the army, and were a very united family. The youngest daughter was eight or ten years old, when her sister, who had always been remarkably pious, one morning went to mass as usual, but when it was over did not return. The terrified father, for her brothers were each with his regiment, sought for her in vain; she had not been seen in her usual place at church, nor was she to be heard of elsewhere. The next day a letter arrived, dated from the convent at Annecy: “she had,” she said, “accomplished a project formed many years before,” and was never again to return to the home she had quitted, or the child to whom she had been as a mother.

She merely told her resolution, and desired that such necessaries as she had not with her should be sent without delay. The convent to which she had gone was a branch of that of Lemenc, and her arrangements had probably been made beforehand. The nuns, who should have refused to receive the mistaken girl, encouraged her resolution, persuaded her of the truth of her vocation, and rendered vain the prayers and remonstrances of her heart-broken parent. He remembered that, when a child, she often expressed her intention of becoming a nun, and his sorrow was increased by the despair of his remaining daughter, who also determined on leaving a world in which she felt forsaken. The brothers were summoned home and opposed her resolution as they had vainly done that of the novice. The latter had taken the veil, and her family one day visiting her, she received them standing behind her convent grate, while a nun remained to repress by her presence any emotions which might seem hurtful to the weal of the order. Its heartless laws forbade her touching the offered hands of her father and brothers, and they quitted her with a still stronger determination to save their young sister from a like sacrifice. One of her affectionate brothers for her sake abandoned his profession, fearing the loneliness of her home; a second has obtained a prolongation of leave to aid in watching over her till she is settled in life. She is not fond of general society, but mild and timid; and of all the amusements she has been induced to share in, likes only riding, and passes almost every evening on her small chestnut horse in her brothers’ company. As she is rich and sovereign in her father’s house, her joy and occupation lie in providing for a multitude of poor people who depend on her for all—she appears to be almost worshipped in Chambéry.

More leeches arrived to-night, post. This hot weather renders travelling mortal to many, and as lingering on the road is fatal to them, we hear that they pay postilions even better than the English!!!

Passing the General de Boigne’s monumental fountain and the boulevard, and crossing the bridge which leads to the Geneva road, we ascended the hill instead of following it, and walked to the church of Lemenc, one of the first raised to Christianity. The antiquities found here prove that the village was very anciently inhabited. When Hannibal had led his army across the Mont du Chat, he arrived hither and went hence to Montmeillan, passing up the valley of the Isère and entering Italy by the Little St. Bernard. There are two monasteries, one adjoining the church which belongs to it, another at a short distance. I believe the latter to be the Benedictine, of whose prior and chaplain the Knights Templar, who established themselves here in 1199, were obliged to ask or buy permission ere they erected an oratory. The Bénédictines formerly exercised an extraordinary right, called by a fit name, “Droit de dépouille.” When in Chambéry or its environs the head of a family died, the monks received his best suit of clothes, with which his survivors were bound to present them; the custom awoke murmurs, particularly when, in addition, they claimed the bed on which the deceased expired. Early in 1400, the Bénédictines of Lemenc came to an agreement with the Syndics of Chambéry, contenting themselves with receiving the suit of clothes or its price. A noble might redeem it with eight florins of Savoy; a burgess paid five; an artisan two, and a poor man one!

We had been told that beneath the church were vaults of great age, probably those in which the Christians of early times assembled. A flight of steps on each side the choir leads below. A few rude pillars sustain the roof; on a tomb lies a colossal figure of the Saviour sculptured in stone by some unskilful artist of gone by centuries; it is surrounded by nine others of like size, which stand in various attitudes about the tomb. All have been more or less mutilated, but bear traces of having been painted long ago. This giant group has a startling effect on entering the dimly lighted chapel, and the good people of Chambéry hold the figures in fear and reverence. The priest, our acquaintance, told me he too had visited Lemenc, and not knowing his way thither, took a guide, a fine tall fellow. Arrived in the subterranean chapel, Pierre, who above had manifested no extraordinary devotion, prostrated himself in sudden fervour, and recited a De Profundis fast, and tremulously. The Abbé inquired “What ailed him?” “Don’t you see them, Sir,” said Pierre in a whisper, pointing to the enormous effigies, “and don’t you know that you and I are here alone?”

In one of the chapels of the upper church are the bones of one St. Concord, whose real name was Couchouars, archbishop of Armagh and primate of Ireland; his figure is exhibited within a glass case or shrine, dressed in pontificals, and with a waxen face and hands!

Walking higher up the hill, we passed several stations leading to a Calvary, supposed to be very ancient also. An inscription assures, that whoever shall visit them with due devotion, gains the same indulgences as are attached to the holy places at Jerusalem, an advantage which would save trouble. Beyond, the ground is covered with blocks of flat stone, which leave between them no room for vegetation, and you must beware of breaking your legs by slipping into their holes and crevices.

We went on till we arrived at a giddy height, hanging over the road to Geneva, and the view repaid us for our climbing. I forgot to mention, that opposite the Irish Saint’s chapel in the church of Lemenc is a monument to General de Boigne. When I arrived in Chambéry, where he is naturally and properly remembered with respect and affection, I yet had some trouble in learning his true history, so that I will save you the like.

He was born in this town in 1741; his father was a hide-merchant, who could bequeath him no fortune, but bestowed on him a good education in his native college, and destined him for a lawyer. Young Benoit chose, notwithstanding, the career of arms, first entering the Irish regiment in the service of France and accompanying it to the Mauritius. He was generally liked, as well for the physical advantages he possessed, for he was tall and handsome, as for his character, whose extreme gentleness contrasted with its fire and unwearied activity, and firmness of purpose not to be shaken.

Having obtained little promotion during the five years passed in the French service, he offered his resignation, and obtained letters from the Sardinian minister to Admiral Orloff, who then commanded in the Archipelago the land and naval force of Russia. Orloff at once, with the promptitude of perception belonging to an old officer, appreciated the new comer at his true value, and placed him as captain in one of Catherine’s Greek regiments. During a sortie of the garrison, at the siege of Tenedos, in 1780, the company he commanded was cut to pieces, and himself taken prisoner. Conducted to Constantinople he suffered the hardships of a cruel captivity during seven months, and the peace which freed him, also destroyed all hopes of further promotion; and having received the rank of major in reward of his gallant conduct, he threw up his commission once more, and departed for Smyrna, where he made acquaintance with the French consul, and also with many foreigners lately returned from India; and listening to the recitals of the latter, he felt all the dreams of his youth and its love of adventure revive within him. He returned to Constantinople, journeyed thence to Alexandria and Aleppo, to join a caravan starting for Balsora, and the caravan being unable to proceed by reason of the war between the Turks and Persians, again repaired to Alexandria and embarked, but fortune being unfavourable still, he was shipwrecked at the mouth of the Nile, and cast on the Arabs’ mercy. Instead of being, as he expected, stripped and murdered, they received him with the most generous hospitality, and conducted him under their protection to Cairo. Thence through the kindness of Mr. Baldwin, the English consul, he was enabled to reach India by the isthmus of Suez, and went to Bombay first, and then to Madras, where, being a foreigner, he obtained no employment, and to earn his bread gave lessons in fencing, an art in which he excelled. At last he received an ensign’s commission in a native regiment in the Company’s service. In a skirmish which took place soon after, between some of Hyder Aly’s troops and of those of the India Company, De Boigne’s corps was almost wholly destroyed, and himself only escaped, because he had been detached with orders a few moments before.

Discouraged by this last event, which rendered his chances of promotion more distant, he gave in his resignation, and resolved on returning to Europe, and doing so by land, trusting to his intimate knowledge of the geography of the country, and of its various dialects. His superior officers, who liked and esteemed him, furnished him with recommendations to Lord Hastings, then Governor of India, and from the sudden change in his projects and alteration of his fortunes, as well as from other circumstances, it was presumed that he had offered his services as envoy or mediator to the different princes, enemies or allies, and that Lord Hastings furnished him with instructions, and also with means of accomplishing a mission, for which his intelligence and courage, and also his speaking their various languages with facility, rendered him so well fitted.

He went first to Lucknow, where the English ambassador presented him to the Nabob, Assefed-Daulah; then to Delhi, and at last determined on offering his services to one of the native princes, and selected in the first instance the Ranah of Gohed, who was about to make war with Sindiah, the most powerful of the twelve princes who formed the Mahratta confederation. Lord Hastings opposed at first his determination of taking service, and he was recalled to Calcutta, and employed by the English once more. He then went to Delhi, where by the counsel of the English ambassador, Brown, who himself made the proposals necessary, he offered himself to the same Sindiah, whose foe he had almost been so shortly before. Boigne was to raise and discipline, after the European manner, a portion of Sindiah’s army. In providing soldiers there was little difficulty; much in bowing the Indian character to military discipline; yet in the space of five months he had accomplished the task, and the superiority of his troops was proved at the siege of Callindjer.

From this moment date the successes of De Boigne, and the commencement of his colossal fortune. But Sindiah, who had gratified his officer with riches and honours, yielding to the insinuations of his courtiers, soon evinced suspicion and jealousy, with which he was unable to bear, and sent in his resignation, which being accepted, he retired to Lucknow. Sindiah soon felt his loss, for his preponderance in the scale startled the remainder of the Mahratta confederation, and Holkar, one of its chief members, raised an army to dethrone him.

It was then that, aware of his folly and injustice, he despatched a message to De Boigne, requesting him to return, on whatever conditions he might please to make, consenting beforehand to them all. Boigne started without hesitation, and had no sooner appeared before the troops, than his old officers and all the soldiers came crowding round him. He obtained the most complete success. Good administrator as well as warrior, he introduced regularity and economy into the army; repressed the depredations of tax-collectors, and enforcing military discipline, punished pillage severely.

This same year brought him other triumphs. The Rahjad of Djaipour having revolted, he marched against and defeated him, then besieged him in his capital. The frightened rebel submitted; paid the arrears of his tribute, and an indemnity of twenty millions. The General himself signed the treaty, and made his triumphal entry into Djaipour, mounted on an elephant covered with gold and embroidery, and followed by a brilliant staff. Sindiah believed he could not better reward such signal services than by making him governor over these conquered provinces, with share of the tribute. India was pacified; from the confines of Lahore to the sea of Cambaye, all had submitted to Sindiah.

While the power of the house of Savoy ebbed from the encroaching arms of the Republic, and King Charles Emmanuel could only in the island of Sardinia unrol his standard, its white cross gleamed victoriously along the banks of the Indus. The fortunate Savoyard possessed unlimited power over the Mahratta states to the north of Cumbul, but a blow was struck in the midst of his prosperity, for Sindiah died, leaving the crown to his great nephew, on the twelfth of February, 1794. With him expired all hopes of further conquest; the soul of his thoughts, the motive of his actions had departed: his “occupation was gone,” and with a heart almost broken with the loss of his friend and benefactor, he resolved on returning to Europe. The greater part of the conquered or tributary sovereigns burned to recover their independence. The Great Mogul and the King of Caboul first felt of what importance might be De Boigne’s support, and sent him an embassy, offering the place of prime minister. Far from accepting these terms, or seeking to dismember the states left by Sindiah, he gave his successor all advice and instructions necessary to their preservation, and, to consolidate his work, deferred his departure for two years. These past, and his health permitting no further delay, he bade adieu to his brothers in arms, and started for Calcutta with the regiment of Persian cavalry belonging to himself, and which Sindiah’s nephew would have bought, but refused to pay for till he should return. Not accepting these conditions, the General offered it to the India Company, by whom it was purchased for nine hundred thousand francs.

It has been foolishly asserted that De Boigne’s betraying Tippoo Saib to the English had caused the former’s downfall; but the Sultan of Maissour’s ruin took place in 1799, when the General de Boigne had been three years returned to Europe; and during his long stay in India, he never held communication with this prince, who resided at a distance of five hundred leagues from the country where himself acquired glory and fortune.

He went to settle in England, where he was well received in the first society, and married the daughter of the Marquis of Osmond, who had formerly been ambassador from France to London; but this ill-assorted union did not afford the General a day of happiness. Abandoning the noisy pleasures of cities, he sought repose in his own country. Large fortunes are rare there; and in his delicious residence of Buisson at the gates of Chambéry, he lived like a man of moderate means; and thus, without diminishing his capital, he was enabled to make public and private benefactions.

His native town owes to him her theatre, her new streets, scientific foundations, donations to sapeur pompiers, the enlargement of its hospitals, and of the Jesuits’ College. Commiserating the indigent old age of such as had been born to better fortunes, he founded a house of refuge, and gifted it with a dotation of 900,000 francs. Forty persons past the age of sixty, of either sex, are received within, and not only provided for, but treated with respect and care, to which their earlier days have been accustomed.

He bestowed 650,000 francs on an establishment for the reception of the poor wanting work, to put a stop to mendicity and its consequences; and 400,000 more on an hospital for the insane.

His marble bust, executed during his life, was placed by the king of Sardinia’s order in the public library. He was at the same time created count, lieutenant-general, and grand cross of the military orders of St. Maurice and St. Lazare. He left one son; the fortune bequeathed to him was computed at 37,678,000 francs. De Boigne died June, 1830.

June 18th. Geneva, Hôtel du Secheron.

We took leave the evening of the 15th of the abbé, who departed for Aix, and the old officer who is gone to Geneva; and ourselves left very early the next morning, while the mist still hung heavily over the town and along the base of the Dent de Nivolet, at whose foot the road winds, and a great part of the road to Aix forms a wall of cliff like, as I said, a mighty fortification, with vineyards and châteaux in its shadow. The grande route, which is broad and handsome, is mostly shaded by old trees, walnut and sweet chestnut. When we arrived at Aix, which is the fashion and extolled by guide-books, I was disappointed, as the mountains had lost their boldness, and the lake was not visible; nor did I see anything remarkable, as we rode through it, but the magnificent trees of its promenades. It is famous for its warm sulphureous waters, and for the splendid remains of Roman baths; a temple of the Ionic order, thought to be dedicated to Diana; and a Doric arch, raised, according to its inscription, by Pompeius Campanus. At a short distance from Aix the country again becomes beautiful, and there is a grey ruined tower on the right hand perched high among the woods, and commanding a ravine and its narrow mountain stream. Some villagers ran out from their cottages to tell us that this was Grésy, and to hold our horses while we visited the cascade, which is near the road but not visible from it: with it is connected a melancholy story.

Queen Hortense, when sovereign of Holland, visited it in company of several of her ladies, among whom was one she particularly loved, the Baroness de Broc, a very young and beautiful woman. Too curious and too bold, her foot slipped as, placing it on the wet plank, she refused the hand of the guide, and she fell into the torrent below. Her scream of terror was the last sound from her lips her royal friend heard. At this spot are deep cavities hollowed by the waters in their violent fall. All endeavours to raise the poor victim proved vain for half an hour: life had long departed. A stone bearing the following inscription has been raised to record her death:—

“To the memory of the Baroness de Broc, aged twenty-five years, who perished before her friends’ eyes, June the 19th, 1813. Oh you who come to view these spots, and hang over their abysses, beware how you venture your lives. Think of those who love you!”

From Grésy to Rumilly the road continues interesting, though less so than that from the Échelles to Chambéry. Rumilly is a dirty town: we met at its entrance a postilion looking for prey, who conducted us to the hôtel de la Poste, which has just now no innkeeper; as he who kept it is ruined, and has lately run away; and the two servants left in charge, an elegant mannered young “chef” and a woman, have too much to do, therefore we got little attendance. The house will soon follow the master, for a beam in the room where we slept was so awfully cracked across its centre, that I commenced speculating on the weight it would bring down with it; and D—— consoled me by saying it would probably last till morning! Entering the town, we passed some traces of former fortifications, and an old convent, the only one in the town, stood (the servant said) just behind the tumbling house. So knowing the localities, I will tell you a part of their history. In 1630 Louis the Thirteenth’s forces had entered Savoy: Chambéry and Annecy opened their gates; Rumilly, more brave than strong, resisted: the French forces were commanded by the Marshal du Hallier. The troops forced their way, and not until the extermination of the town had been commanded, did the officer who gave the order recollect that _there_ resided three young relatives of Du Hallier, the demoiselles de Pessieux de Salagine, one of whom was a Bernardine nun. He sent to warn them of their danger, inviting them to take refuge in the camp; but they replied, “they chose to share the fate of their fellow-citizens, and would not abandon them in their extremity.” At this time the principal inhabitants, who had hastily assembled, decided on deputing the nun, guarded by some of their own body, to their besiegers’ head-quarters. She was beautiful and young, as well as high-spirited and full of talent. Arrived at the camp, her loveliness, her eloquence, and firmness, aroused the officer’s pity: he retracted his sentence as the noble woman knelt before him, and she returned to her town to inform those who waited her in hope and fear, that it would be plundered for the space of one hour only, and that the soldiers were enjoined to respect the houses containing the three sisters, confided to the safeguard of French honour.

The demoiselles de Pessieux employed the time which was yet to intervene in assembling all the young of their own sex, and all portable property of value in their three several houses. The soldiery, accustomed to severe discipline, forbore to approach the privileged mansions containing the sisters, who were called in truth the guardian angels of their native place.

We slept in a thorough draught on account of the bad air, and rose long before sunrise to travel on; but to very little purpose, as no one followed our example. The garçon d’écurie after a long search was discovered under the manger, too sound asleep to be wakened by ordinary means. After an hour’s riding, when the heat was becoming painful, and the flies beginning their persecution, which both do before nine o’clock, we missed the second valise, which I had packed and D—— carried down, and both of us forgotten. We began by considering which of us was most in fault, then we decided the lazy people of the house were alone to blame, and then we wondered how we were to get it again; which was embarrassing, for we preferred losing its contents to travelling back; but not impossible, for there is an extraordinary honesty along the road, and nothing is stolen, though there is often neither gate to the yard nor fastening to the stable. As we arrived at the old castle with two grey towers, which, standing at the road side, is now converted into a post-house, we met a postilion who was going back for something forgotten by the diligence, and promised for two francs to bring it that night to Frangy, where we intended to sleep. Frangy is only three posts distant from Rumilly, yet, when we commenced descending the hill, which commands a beautiful wild view of mountains of all shapes and forms, with the town nestled beside the river in the Valley of the Usses, we were completely exhausted by the heat, which was intense. The steep, unshaded road seems unending, as it is cut in zigzags on the mountain side, and the shining steeple at the bottom appeared to grow more distant as we went on.

Arrived at the hotel, and D—— with his horses gone to the stable, I found myself opposite an impertinent-looking personage with his hat on, who gave a list of prices which certainly could be justified by nothing to be procured at Frangy. As he would hear of no others, I said “very well,” and ordered breakfast; which was bad: and we and the horses being fed, the latter, to the surprise of the innkeeper, who believed the hot sun would reconcile us to his dirty rooms, reappeared at the door.

“Monsieur and Madame,” said he, looking doleful, “you shall stay at your own prices.” “Monsieur,” said we, “you should have thought of that before: good morning!”

The heat, till we got out of the valley, was tremendous; but as the road is next carried over the ridge of Mont Sion, where we had air once more, and numbers of fine trees, we did not suffer. Little Fanny, who daily increases in wisdom, having been stopped beneath them once or twice, while we mustered courage to brave the sun again, the remainder of her journey of her own accord trotted towards shade, and arrived in it, regularly stopped a few seconds to refresh herself. L’Éluiset, to which we were bound, is a pretty looking hamlet, of a few detached houses, but the post-house is not, as we had been told, an inn; and the two auberges, which stand opposite one another, merely receive rouliers. We examined their exterior ere we decided, and fixed on the Balance, of which beware. The little room, to which we ascended by a species of ladder, looked clean, and might, we thought, for one night, be bearable, though the jutting roof of the broad balcony prevented the air from entering at the open windows. There was no room in which we could dine; but behind the house was a just-mown hay-field, with noble walnut-trees, and a mountain view; and there we sent the dinner table, and agreed we had not yet had a saloon we liked as well. We passed the afternoon pleasantly; and when the moon got up, there would have been nothing to prevent our going on to Geneva, but for the custom-house, which was closed then, and not to re-open till seven in the morning. The valise arrived in safety, it had not even been opened,—a poor fellow having brought it all the way on foot in expectation of only a two-franc piece; and his hot face shone with pleasure when D—— gave him something more for his five-and-twenty miles. You might have envied us our evening, with the wind in the trees and the moon in the sky, and the glow-worms shining in the corn, and the pretty laugh of the children, who gathered in the hay-field to watch us and to play; but you would not have envied the night which was to follow. We went to bed, and I had been asleep five minutes, when a start at the other end of the room roused me, and there I saw D—— sitting upright, the pallid image of inquisitive horror. “What is the matter?” exclaimed I. “The devil,” said he; and glancing at my own sheets, which I praised as I lay down, because they smelt of wild thyme, there were the demons, in companies, regiments, armies. We made a bed on the floor, and surrounded it by a flood; but the very floor was alive; and dressing in despair, we recollected the balcony down to which we could jump from the window, and there we transported our baggage and ourselves, and sat longing for day, and to get into the hay-field; but the great house-dog lay across the threshold, and at every movement we made looked up, and growled ominously. The dawn came at last, shining on the lake of Geneva, only two leagues and a half distant, but we were not disposed to admire. I have seldom felt happier than when the sleepers were roused at last, and I found myself in my wished-for field, and could lie down on the grass, though it was wet with dew like rain. The dog came to inspect me carefully, a ceremony I could have dispensed with; but having satisfied himself I was no thief, and licked my hand to tell me so, he sat down opposite as a guard, gravely gazing at me from four to seven. At seven the custom-house opened, and we rode away. Beyond L’Éluiset you pass over neutral ground, which, lying between Switzerland and Savoy, and subject to neither, is the contrebandier’s paradise. Exhausted by the heat, we got some milk at a cottage, for it was impossible to take anything at L’Éluiset. Arrived at St. Julien, where passports are examined, we hoped to pass through without being noticed; but were hailed by a red-nosed employé, and kept broiling in the heat while it was visé. Of the road from St. Julien to Geneva I know very little, being at last so weary, that I absolutely fell asleep on Fanny’s back, and was wakened by knocking my head against D——’s shoulder.

We passed through Carouge, which has become a town, and has nothing picturesque; but houses with green shutters and verandas, and neat gardens, like an English watering-place. Entering Geneva by the Porte Neuve, we rode before its strong fortifications, now perfectly repaired, (in consequence of the threats of France last year, when Switzerland sheltered Louis Bonaparte,) and the ramparts, which form beautiful and shady promenades. Near the Porte Neuve is the botanic garden, terribly celebrated; as the spot that it occupied was that where in 1794 took place the fusillades and executions which decimated the respectable citizens of Geneva under the direction of a member of the Comité du Salut Public, from Paris. We crossed the Rhone, which is here so deep and bright a blue, that I at first looked to see whether any dyeing establishment were near, and then smiled at my folly in supposing it could act on the rapid river for a further space than a few feet. As we took the steep streets pointed out to us as the shortest way to the Porte de Cornavin, and the road to Lausanne, our first impression of Geneva was less favourable than it would have been choosing the longer and better way by the quays and new bridge, which affords a view of the lake. The hôtel du Secheron is about a quarter of a mile from the gate on the Lausanne road. The heat when we arrived was already excessive, though it was hardly nine o’clock, and we felt the luxuries of its quiet and cleanliness. These windows command a splendid view of the lake, framed by the fine trees of the park which stretches down to its shore, of the mild green hill on the other side, dotted by villas, among which is Lord Byron’s; and the mountains of the Salève, near Geneva;—those of the Voiron, and the blue pointed Mole farther away; and between them, and though far beyond, seeming to stand forth before in its brightness and purity, Mont Blanc. The Secheron is a better inn than any I have met with even in England, and, notwithstanding its expensive reputation, is more reasonable, as well as more comfortable, than the Bergues, according to the account of an acquaintance we met in Geneva. I do not comprehend how any stranger can prefer the stifling streets and their noise to the shade and quiet here, particularly as we find every facility for making excursions. Monsieur Dejean supplies the town with carriages, and keeps thirty horses in his stables, and the hôtel having its own boat and boatmen, we are landed on the quay in five minutes.

Notwithstanding these advantages, the Secheron, from being accused of high charges, and from its nickname of Hôtel des Têtes Couronnées, has made little money of late. The old proprietor, in whose family it has been many years, for his great-grandfather planted most of its trees, resigns himself, saying, that if not an inn it will be a country house. We wish him success, for, unlike his brethren, he refuses to turn out his servants at the approach of winter: he never sells an old horse, and has latterly fed and lodged for some days, and for nothing, a traveller who had no means of payment.


Early history of Geneva—Constitution—Duke Amedée the Eighth—Attempt to become master of Geneva—The Bishop inclined to cede his rights—The opposition of the citizens—Charles the Third—Berthelier—Alliance with Fribourg—His courage—Geneva taken—His refusal to fly—His arrest—A tooth-drawer named his judge—His execution—The news of his death causing the impression he had hoped for—Treaty—The Mamelukes—The Confrères de la Cuiller—Advance of Berne and Fribourg—Charles the Third’s forced concessions—Want of generosity in the Bernese—Noble conduct of Geneva—Protestant religion gaining strength—Bonnivard—Seized on the Jura—Cast into the dungeons of Chillon—Disputes in Geneva—The Grand Council decides that mass be abolished—Francis the First—Berne declares war against Savoy—Her alliance with Francis—The Duke of Savoy’s losses—Berne’s renewed misconduct—Proud reply of the Genevese—Bonnivard delivered—Calvin—His early life—His flight from Paris—His reception by Marguerite of Navarre—Persecution of Francis—Calvin’s reception by Louis the Twelfth’s Daughter—Geneva—His over severity—His expulsion—His return—His iron rule—Michael Servet—His irritating conduct towards Calvin—Calvin’s vow to be revenged—Servet’s arrest—His escape—Tracked by Calvin—Taken prisoner on his passage through Geneva—He is accused—Calvin’s valet—Burned at the stake outside the walls of Geneva.

The early history of Geneva; its foundation by the Allobroges; its increase under the Romans, Burgundians, and Franks, till it obtained privileges from Charlemagne, and held fairs; formed part of the second kingdom of Burgundy, and passed, along with its other relics, into the feeble power of the German emperors, is too long and uninteresting in its details for me to call it to your mind now. During the confused changes of these long revolutions, the clergy had found means at Geneva as well as at Sion, Lausanne, Constance, and other towns of the empire, to join to its spiritual jurisdiction a large portion of temporal authority; and the bishops obtained from the emperor the title of prince and sovereign of the town, and a part of the land surrounding it.

The inhabitants generally preferred his rule to that of the warlike and turbulent princes who owned the territories adjoining theirs; not only because they expected it would be mildly held, but because their own voices, joined to those of the chapter of his church, elected him, and having no military force under his command, he found moderation a necessary virtue. Besides this restraint, the bishop acknowledged others. He could not exercise authority alone; he was the emperor’s vassal, and the administration of justice was disputed with him by the counts of Geneva, who, from being merely imperial officers, had become the bishop’s first vassals. The people, profiting by their frequent discords, established their own power, and held fast the privileges granted by divers emperors. They elected four syndics and a treasurer, who chose in turn their principal assessors. They deliberated on taxes to be levied, alliances to be formed; on all important affairs interesting the general welfare—so that Geneva, being an imperial town, shared the exercise of sovereign power between her bishop and her citizens.

This already complicated constitution became still more so, when Amé the Fifth the Great, count of Savoy, strove to become master of Geneva. The Genevese, fearing the efforts against their liberty made by their bishop and the count of Geneva, who was his brother, had had recourse to Amé’s protection, a circumstance by which he profited. He obliged the bishop to cede to him the office of Vidomne, in virtue of which he became judge (from whose decision there was no appeal) of all civil causes.

Amedée the Eighth, afterwards Pope Felix, united in his person the necessary powers for following up this project of usurpation. The count of Geneva had sold him his rights and lands. Created by the Emperor Sigismund duke of Savoy, he proposed to the bishop to cede to him his rights also. A bull of Pope Martin the Fifth authorized the latter to abdicate his sovereignty, but he was sufficiently just to demand, ere doing so, the consent of the Genevese assembly: “Inasmuch,” the four syndics replied in the name of the citizens, “as Geneva, subject to the power of the church, has been governed peaceably and mildly for four hundred years, it seems neither useful nor honourable for church and bishop, but rather dangerous to the state, to admit a project of alienation. We will never suffer, while in our power to oppose it, any foreign domination. Ourselves and our children will continue beneath the rule of the church, with our bishop for sovereign, requiring of him, that, according to his duty and his oath, sworn at his accession, he shall govern faithfully, and preserve his right as heretofore,—the syndics and citizens of Geneva, on their side, promising him assistance in case of need, as also to all his successors who shall be elected canonically, that is to say, by the people in general council.”

The dukes of Savoy who succeeded Amedée the Eighth renewed the attempts made by their ancestor. They sometimes succeeded in causing the bishop to be chosen among the princes, the children, and even the bastards of their house. Philip of Savoy, brother of Philibert, was thus elected bishop at the age of seven. Growing older, his childhood was regretted, for he showed a stirring disposition, and a love of arms, which led him to sacrifice his subjects’ repose, and urge his brother’s taking possession of Geneva. Philibert, wiser and more just, voluntarily abandoned the design, and fixed his residence at Chambéry.

The reign of Charles the Third, who succeeded him in 1504, was that whose oppression and cruelty finally roused Geneva. He proved himself the citizens’ open enemy, attacking their liberties in every way, and unweariedly. Seconded by the bishop, who was his relative, he made various pompous entries into the town, winning over some few, intimidating others; seizing the citizens who even faintly opposed his will, and flinging them into dungeons, where they perished by famine or torture.

Berthelier, one of the Genevese council, had obtained letters of “bourgeoisie” at Fribourg, as a safeguard from the duke’s tyranny, and found them useful when, in 1517, having become involved in a private quarrel between André Malvenda and a judge named by the duke and bishop, others implicated like himself were punished by a light fine only, while he was attacked with a rancour which obliged him first to conceal himself, and then to escape to Fribourg. The citizens of Fribourg made an appeal in his favour, insisting on his being tried by his proper judges, the syndics of Geneva; and returning thither, he was absolved by them. But during his stay at Fribourg he had negotiated an alliance between that republic and his own country; and as it protected the independence of Geneva, (the inhabitants of each town styling those of the other co-citizens,) the angry duke strove to conceal his disappointment, and to bribe Berthelier to support his interests by the most seducing offers.

Notwithstanding the peril in which his refusal placed him; notwithstanding that an army of seven thousand Savoyards assembled at the gates of an unfortified town, and the inhabitants of Fribourg had sent deputies to declare that the Bernese and the whole of the Swiss confederation pressed them to break through their just concluded treaty, Berthelier, without a chance of flight or a hope of resistance, rejected the duke’s offers with disdain; communicated his own courage to the assembled council, and the alliance of Fribourg was confirmed, in the midst of menace and danger. The first of April, 1519, the herald at arms of the duke of Savoy, entering the assembly and seating himself above the syndics, declared war in the name of _his master and theirs_.

The Genevese armed and prepared for defence; but a message from Fribourg informing them that its army could not arrive in time to save them, they suffered the duke to enter their town, this time without his exercising much violence, for the Fribourg soldiers had advanced into the Pays de Vaud, and seized on hostages there. Charles the Third adopted another course: the bishop was prince of Geneva, and had rights the Fribourg citizens would not contest. He levied an army in Faucigny, and entered the town the 20th of August. Once more the friends of Berthelier implored him to fly: “No,” he answered, “our voices are not loud enough to reach Fribourg; they will hear and they will act when the blood of a victim calls upon them.” Far from concealing himself, he every day went to walk in a garden near the entrance of the town.

The third day after the bishop’s arrival, Berthelier met the Vidomne on his road, surrounded with soldiers come to arrest him. He advanced to meet them coolly; the Vidomne demanded his sword; Berthelier presented it: “Keep it carefully,” he said; “you will be called on to account for it.” He said no more, and allowed himself to be conducted to prison with perfect calmness. The syndics claimed him as within their jurisdiction; but the bishop, who with his soldiers held the town, rejected their demand, and created provost a tooth-drawer of his suite, to proceed against him. This new made judge vainly questioned the prisoner: “I am ready to reply to the syndics,” he answered; “of you I know nothing.”

He was condemned without further trial. Led forth from his prison to the place near it, he breathed a short prayer, turned towards the people, saying, “Ah citizens of Geneva!” stooped his head to the block, and received the death blow. The executioner raised it by the hair, and showed it to the crowd, saying, “This is the head of a traitor; let the sight of it be a warning to you.” His body was hung on a gibbet, but carried thence and buried.

In consequence of this murder, and that of others, victims like him, many took refuge in Berne, Fribourg, and other towns, and the recital of what had passed made, as Berthelier had hoped, a strong impression. Berne and Fribourg sent deputies to Geneva. A new treaty was entered into by the three towns, and solemnly ratified, the two cantons engaging to defend the Genevese in their persons, their liberties, and properties. Geneva in like manner bound herself to assist and protect Berne and Fribourg, but, being the weaker party, she was to do so at her own expense; while, on the contrary, she defrayed all that might be incurred in her favour by her allies. The duke of Savoy opposed the treaty strongly, but vainly. The office of the vidomne, who administered justice in the duke’s name, was abolished, and his partisans, whom the Swiss called Mamelukes, because they said, like the satellites of the sultan of Egypt, they were the pillars of tyranny, having retired from the city, and refused to return, were proclaimed traitors. Their only means of vengeance lay in joining themselves to the Savoyard nobles, who, under the name of Confrères de la Cuiller, ravaged the possessions of the Genevese, and the environs of their town. They had adopted the title at a banquet, where, assembled and intoxicated, they ferociously engaged to eat them as spoon meat, and since that time, and in memory of his vow, each of the brotherhood wore a spoon appended to his collar.

The bishop at this period was Pierre de la Baume, an immoral and inconsistent man, who, having served the duke at the expense of the citizens, with like caprice abandoned his cause, and sworn a solemn oath to consult no interests but theirs, broke it ere the year had passed away, and, on their refusal to renounce the alliance and restore the vidomnat, became their implacable enemy and the duke’s friend once more. His intrigues with Berne and Fribourg induced them to send deputies to Geneva, offering to cancel the treaty should the Genevese agree to doing so. But when, admitted before the council, they had discharged their task, and each member, raising his right hand, swore rather to die than consent, the ambassadors felt that their unanimous courage at least commanded esteem, and that, consistently with their own honour, their native towns could not abandon one so worthy support and liberty.

The surrounding country ravaged; the insulted faubourgs; the discovery of divers conspiracies for taking the city by storm, and putting its inhabitants to the sword, left the cantons no excuse for delaying to grant their promised assistance. Their army arrived at Morges, while ten thousand men commanded by the duke besieged Geneva; and, though the allies were inferior in number, these last, on the news of their approach, retired in haste and without order, for they were chiefly recruits and mercenaries. The Swiss came on notwithstanding; pillaging all on their way, and burning the castles of the brethren of La Cuiller. The duke sent an ambassador charged to throw the blame of all that had occurred on the last mentioned fraternity. The conferences were held at St. Julien, and Charles the Third saw himself obliged to acquiesce in the conditions proposed to him, engaging that all hostilities should cease, and placing in the power of Berne and Fribourg the Pays de Vaud as pledge of his sincerity, abandoning in their favour all rights he possessed over it, provided it were proved that he had not fulfilled his part of the treaty.

These concessions made, the chiefs of the allied army thought their most pressing business in Geneva consisted henceforth in demanding payment of the expenses of their expedition. The starved and pillaged Genevese solicited the patience due to their situation, yet by an effort worthy them and their love of liberty, divesting themselves even of necessaries, a portion of the debt was defrayed. When the army of the cantons marched from the town, they found themselves reduced to seek a last resource in their unshaken courage, which was most efficient of all. The troops had hardly retreated, ere the duke again attempted to cut off supplies, and levied a considerable corps with the design of employing it against them. Some time after, notwithstanding the alliance made and confirmed at several times, the duke’s intrigues at Berne influencing the cantons, they again ungenerously proposed its dissolution; giving, as a reason, that the Genevese were not rich enough to pay for the assistance they would require at each fresh attack. This proposal was made in a form painful as was its spirit to those by whom it was received; for the three deputies who were its bearers accompanied it with various menaces; yet the small and struggling nation, in its worst extremity, bore up bravely. “The more we may be threatened,” they replied, “the more will we be firm and constant; forasmuch as dying for the right, we will hold ourselves happy. Nevertheless, we so trust in God and the citizens of the two towns, believing they will observe the oaths made in presence of their Creator and fellow-men, that we will satisfy our debt, even if, so to do, we shall be obliged to pledge all our worldly goods, even to our wives and our children.”

It was after this that Berne and Fribourg, having vainly attempted to temporize, and striven to adopt a middle course, which the Genevese proudly rejected, returned to better feelings, and refused to renew their alliance with the duke, who had failed to pay to themselves the sums which he had forfeited. The Protestant religion was now gaining rapid growth, animating the Swiss with fresh zeal for the liberty it favoured, and deepening the duke’s hatred, as it changed to a kind of crusade what had been a mere spoliation. Though Geneva has since borne the title of reformed Rome, Zwingle and his associates had disseminated their doctrines over the rest of the Swiss states before it reached herself in 1528: for its entrance here grew out of the ill conduct and scandalous lives of their bishops and ecclesiastics, and such observations as the citizens made during the frequent journeys their commerce necessitated into Switzerland. Bonnivard, prior of the abbey of St. Victor, situated close to Geneva, esteemed for his pure life and profound learning, exhorted the Genevese to reform their conduct and enlighten their minds, to dare to speak and think freely. Fribourg (remained faithful to the Catholic creed) employed threats as well as prayers to prevent their allies falling away; but the Bernese soldiers, during the brief time they had spent in Geneva, had taught the people to insult the outward signs of their old faith, to fling down for firewood the rude wooden statues which decorated the churches; and the people, finding their bravadoes unpunished, repeated and exaggerated them daily. In 1530 Bonnivard was betrayed to the duke of Savoy, some say by false friends, others by bandits, who seized and rifled him on a wild tract of the Jura; and, delivered to Charles the Third, he was cast into the dungeon of Chillon. The bishop was leagued with the duke, though secretly, to make war on Geneva, and the proofs of his collusion were not wanting. Farel and Saulnier, both reformers, preached publicly to the excited multitude; and the little state divided by religious fury, the hand of the father was lifted against his son, and brother betrayed brother.

The Catholics conspired, and the Protestants resisted; conflicts in broad day and assassinations in the dark continued; while the laws of the magistrates were useless, and words of peace were despised. At last an order in council enacted “that every one should enjoy liberty of conscience, avoiding to create scandal.” But this species of truce did not last long. The Catholic priests provoked fresh sedition, and in the tumult which followed in the streets, a citizen of Fribourg was killed. Long disputes ensued, the Bernese taking part with the townsmen, the men of Fribourg with the bishop; till the latter, feigning or feeling fear, quitted Geneva to join the duke, and returned thither no more, the citizens shortly after publishing their resolve no longer to recognize him for their superior. His grand vicar published a charge, which commanded, on pain of excommunication, the burning of all French and German Bibles. The Bernese insisted that permission to preach should be granted to the reformers; and the sermons of Farel, delivered in consequence in the church of the Cordeliers, attracted multitudes and converted many. The bishop had excommunicated the citizens as hardened heretics, and these last could only procure food at the sword’s point, when the grand council, after long debates, commanded that the celebration of mass should cease in the city till _further_ orders.

An edict ordained that God should be served according to the rules of the Gospel, and that all acts of papistical idolatry should be interdicted for ever.

Geneva was again besieged in 1535, and reduced to the last extremity, when Francis the First, king of France, not that he hated the heretics less, but that he hated Savoy more, offered assistance to the Genevese on condition of their putting him in possession of the rights their bishop had held. They rejected his proposals, saying, “They had suffered all things in the cause of freedom, and recommended it to his generosity.”

A few levies of troops were consequently made in France; but the Savoyards closed the passage to Geneva, while the duke declared “he would never permit the Genevese to change their religion without permission of the pope; and also, that his nobility, of whom he was in this instance master, was determined on sacrificing life and land to exterminate the Lutherans.” Under these circumstances, and also because an ally of the duke’s had made violent inroads on the Bernese possessions, Berne, aroused at last, declared war against Savoy,—representing in her manifesto as sole reason for so doing the “oppression of Geneva, with which it was impossible to bear longer; her own honour being interested in protecting a people persecuted for their common religion,—as to abandon her ally would cast upon herself an ineffaceable stain.”

As the Bernese army came on, the ducal troops fled. Advancing unresisted, the former burned the castles of the brotherhood of La Cuiller, and, entering Geneva, brought with their presence the term of its sufferings and long perplexities. Francis the First, reviving a former claim made on the death of Francesco Sforza, duke of Milan, despatched at this time (1536) an army to invade the Milanese territory, which on its march occupied Bresse and a great part of Savoy. His alliance was offered to Berne and accepted, and the unfortunate duke lost to France, Bresse, Turin, and Piedmont, as well as almost all which remained to him of Savoy. The Bernese were wanting in generosity once more. Their gain in booty and increase of territory had been great: the Pays de Vaud, with little pains, had become theirs; yet they demanded of the Genevese, as theirs by _conquest_, the rights and revenues of their duke and bishops. The Genevese answered proudly:—

“If we could have borne the yoke of a master, we could have spared ourselves the struggles and expenses our liberty has cost; we will not lose the fruit of them. We conjure you, who aided us in its maintenance, not to persist in a demand which tarnishes your glory: by all reasonable means we will strive to repay your services.”

A treaty made greatly to Berne’s advantage—9,917 golden crowns paid ere the close of the year—the cession of all which Geneva had conquered from Savoy, kept this promise. Henceforth free, the citizens profited by the long wished-for calm to establish order and purity of conduct, to found hospitals and colleges, and a short space of time saw an immoral, superstitious, and ignorant population replaced by one, industrious, serious to austerity, addicted to trades, arts, and sciences, in all which their success became remarkable. The Bernese army, on its march from Geneva, took Morges and Vevey, and besieging Chillon, became masters of this last spot of the Pays de Vaud owned by Savoy, and delivered Bonnivard, who had lain in its dungeons six long years.

In 1536 Calvin appeared in Geneva. Born at Noyon in Picardy, in 1509, and a cooper’s son, he had been destined for the church, and, through the protection of an abbé of his native town, had interest and patrons, which ensured advancement; and before he had taken orders, or attained the age of twenty, he owned titles and revenues attached to several benefices. While pursuing his ecclesiastical studies in Paris, he became acquainted with a young man born, like himself, at Noyon, and his senior by only a few years. The reformed religion was making progress in France, and Olivetan first instilled into his mind the seed which was to spring up a giant tree. He abandoned the study of theology, intending to adopt that of the law; but in consequence of an harangue pronounced at the university, full of the new doctrines, and of which he was believed the composer, he was obliged to fly from Paris, and during the concealment and wanderings, which lasted some months, he patiently continued his researches, and sometimes left his retreat to preach, in public, sermons extraordinary for their success and power. He was well received at the court of Marguerite de Navarre, sister of Francis the First, who at that time, rather with a view to please Rome than from hatred to heresy, had lighted, from one end of his kingdom to the other, the funeral piles of the reformers; and, to conciliate his allies, the protestant princes of Germany, spread abroad pamphlets, in which it was asserted that the men so rigorously treated belonged not to those sectarians, but to “the anabaptists, enemies of all order as well as of all religion.” In his famous work published as their confession of faith, “The Christian Institution,” he refuted the assertions of Francis, respecting the unfortunate victims of his policy; while entering into the subject more clearly and fully than any reformer had yet done, he attacked Rome in all her entrenchments. After its publication he went to Ferrara, and was well received by the Duchesse Renée of France, Louis the Twelfth’s daughter, who afterwards became protestant. Remaining there but a short time, he preached in various towns of Italy, and, discovered in this employment, was obliged to depart in all haste, to ensure his own safety. He returned to Paris, and finding his life endangered by a sojourn there also, he arrived in Geneva, where Farel had for some months borne the whole weight of the affairs of his church, and requested assistance, as unable to continue his labour alone. Become his coadjutor, and leaving to him the care of preaching, he almost entirely consecrated his time to instruction. He determined on reforming the lives as well as the doctrine of the citizens, and commencing this great work with too much promptitude and severity, he roused powerful enemies,—and the faction, profiting by the first favourable moment, demanded and obtained his exile a little less than two years after his coming. He retired first to Berne, and thence to Strasburg, where welcome and distinction waited him: he was regretted at Geneva, and implored to return. Calvin objected his engagements made with Strasburg; but deputies were despatched to the magistrates of this town, begging his restoration to his first flock. His sentence of banishment was unanimously revoked in the public assembly of citizens, and in September, 1541, he re-entered the city. Thenceforward, to the close of his life, his iron authority was undisputed; dancing, light songs, festivals,—pleasures which had always been considered innocent, were strictly forbidden. He, shortly after his arrival, presented in council his proposed changes in ecclesiastical discipline. They were adopted in the following November. In consequence of one of these was instituted a tribunal, called a Consistory, its members half clerical, half laymen, charged with watching over the maintenance of pure doctrine and moral conduct. Its power of censure extended to the most trivial words and actions. No citizen, by his important functions, could be raised above it, or could be sheltered from its reprimands, and the shame of seeing them inscribed on its registers. This new police rendered Calvin master of the occupations as well as the opinions of the Genevese; and as he reigned sovereign in the council to which it referred, as well as in the consistory, the judges pronounced condemnation on all who were opposed to him.

A magistrate was condemned to two months’ imprisonment for _irregular life and connexion with Calvin’s enemies_; Jacques Gruet to decapitation for writing impious letters and libertine rhymes. The darkest stain on Calvin’s memory is the death of Michael Servet. Born the same year with Calvin, but a Spaniard and destined for the law, he came to Paris early in life for the sake of studying there; but soon abandoning this profession, and also that of medicine afterwards adopted, he abandoned himself to theological dispute, and became, though not denying the divinity of Christ, a violent anti-trinitarian. Having taken up the trade of corrector of the press, he made his occupation subservient to his favourite idea, and, entrusted with a reimpression of the Bible, he added a preface and notes, which Calvin attacked as _impertinent_ and _impious_. Servet entered into correspondence with him, making use of his talents and learning only to embarrass his adversary, till the paper war grew so violent, that the letters on either side changed to a series of invective. Servet vowed to humiliate his rival, and shortly after brought out a work, whose sole purpose was to call attention to a number of errors he had detected in those of Calvin, above all in his greatest and most valued one, “The Christian Institution.” The reformer was so irritated, that he wrote to his brethren, Farel and Viret, “If ever this heretic falls into my power, my influence with the magistrates shall be used for his destruction.”

From that moment he held no communication with Servet, and the latter, occupied with his system only, spent four years in the compilation of another work attacking the doctrine of the Trinity. It was printed at Vienna, without the author’s or printer’s name; but Calvin, recognising with the opinions the style of Servet, and finding his own writings and himself treated with contempt and bitterness, vowed vengeance on him.

Using unworthy means, he sent to the Cardinal de Tournon, then archbishop of Lyons, and the most violent foe of the reformed faith, some sheets of Servet’s treatise: and the archbishop communicating them to the governor-general of Dauphiné, he made every possible effort to discover from what press they had issued, but in vain; and Servet would have escaped had not Calvin expedited to Lyons the originals (of which he had obtained possession) of some letters contained in the work; affording proof positive of Servet’s being its author.

He was arrested in consequence, and would have been condemned and executed had he not found means to escape from prison. Anxious only to flee from France and to Italy, where he hoped to live unknown, he did not reflect that his shortest road might also prove the most perilous, and, without fear of the consequences, he arrived in Geneva. Made acquainted with his flight, but not with its direction, Calvin’s activity tracked his foe, and, at his demand, he was arrested. The city laws ordained that the accuser should share the prison of the accused, but not choosing to submit to them, this part devolved on one Lafontaine, said to be his valet, while he reserved to himself that of discussing the theological question. In the outset Servet appeared calm and unembarrassed, and even confident in his judges’ equity. As soon as the law process was terminated, copies of it were sent to Zurich, Berne, Bâle, and Schaffhausen. The advice of Zurich was the most severe, but Calvin’s assertion that the Protestant cantons pronounced for the sentence of death, is untrue. The 26th of October, 1553, the tribunal, sitting for the last time, condemned Servet to be burned alive. When its decision was made known to him, the firmness he had hitherto shown gave way, and his shrieks of terror were heart-rending. He hoped to soften Calvin, and had an interview with him two hours before he was led to execution, but his fate had been long decided. He was burned at the stake in a spot called Champey, a stone’s throw from the southern gate of Geneva. He suffered two hours of fearful torments, the wind blowing the flame from him, and cried in his despair, “Unhappy that I am, with the golden pieces and rich collar ye took from me, ye could not purchase wood enough to consume me quicker!”


A vain Stork—A German coachmaker—Coppet—Ferney—Voltaire’s Church—His habitation—Crockery Cenotaph—Shoe-blacking in his study—The old Gardener—The morning rehearsals in tragic costume—The story of Gibbon—Voltaire catching his pet mare—Gibbon’s opinion of Voltaire’s beauty—Their reconciliation—The tree which shaded Franklin—The increase of his village—The marble pyramid broken—The gardener’s petites antiquités and cross wife—Voltaire’s opinions of his correspondents—His remains the property of a maimed Englishman—Denial to a visitor—His heart in the larder—Genevese pride—Swiss troops—Swiss penitentiaries—Genevese smuggling—The Directeur Général des Douaness an unwilling accomplice—D’Aubigné interred in the cathedral—The Cardinal de Brogny—A swineherd—Shoes bestowed in charity—The boy become a cardinal—The poor shoemaker rewarded—His compassion for John Huss—Courageous death of the latter—De Brogny’s charity—A modest genius and tolerant cardinal.

20th June.

We are still here; detained by the charm of the place and the heat, which exceeds any I ever felt in Paris. It has been impossible to go out except during the very brief time the twilight lasts, when we have made excursions on horseback in the environs to Voltaire’s Ferney; Madame de Staël’s Coppet; and though last, not least, to Lord Byron’s villa Diodati at Cologny; the green heights on the opposite side of the lake, and which must be visited if you would duly appreciate its beauty. From among its trees you look to the right far along its clear expanse; to the left on Geneva, by which it is closed and terminated; while the range of the Jura stretches opposite. A few evenings since I saw this view in the red light of a stormy sunset, which a poet should have described.

We have had time to become familiar with the whole establishment, even to learn that the grave stork has a sense of ridicule more exquisite than I believed possible in a bird. He has the ungraceful walk of his species, and D——, aware of his self-love, one day presumed to imitate his hopping stride, whereupon he flew at him in fury indescribable. I too insulted his dignity, and was glad to summon the German coachmaker to my assistance. Since then the stork, who bears malice, when we cross the yard, advances with most warlike demeanour, and when we are put to flight, triumphantly throws his long bill backwards, and claps it eight or ten times in token of victory.

Certainly the Germans of the lower class are strangely civilized, and the working coachmaker and head waiters of the Secheron fair specimens of it. The two latter are from the German cantons on the Swiss frontier; they speak French, Italian, and English fluently as their own language, and one of them passes his leisure hours in playing on the flute, which he does skilfully. The coachmaker toils early and late, almost his only time for rest being on the Sunday, and spent by him in long walks into the country, of whose beauty he is an enthusiastic admirer, or in reading on the lake shore, where we have found him several times. Last night his workmen were in the boat, singing in parts and splendidly; he was standing at the edge in meditation, listening to their fine voices borne along it, and watching the faint summer lightning which flashed at intervals, muttering in the pauses of their song a poem by Kotzebue, which the scene recalled to him. When he saw us, he was anxious that we too should acknowledge its beauty, and tried as he went on to translate it into his imperfect French. He then began to criticize Goethe and Schiller, and Madame de Staël,—he had read them all.

This morning he passed in anxiety. In the coach-house roof a swallow has built a nest, in which the gentle creature takes great interest, watching with solicitude the young ones, who are just fledged, and trying their wings. One of these was to-day too adventurous, and alighted on the floor, whence he wanted strength to reascend. The German was absent, and D——, who found the stray swallow, deposited him on a beam near his abode, but not, to his patron’s dismay, within it. When he returned, he ascended the ladder to count his birds, and found that one was wanting. He carried it round and round, examined every hole and corner, peeped into all parts of the roof, and went sadly to work, saying, “Du moins je n’ai rien à me reprocher;” but he could not fix his attention, and every ten minutes left his occupation to remount his ladder.

This evening, as we passed him on our way to the park, his good-natured face had brightened; his last pilgrimage was satisfactory, the fugitive had returned to the nest.

I have amused myself by painting from the water’s edge a view of the lake, and its opposite green shore, and distant mountains. The coachmaker in ten minutes made me an easel, and D—— particularly desires me to tell you that I wash my brushes in the _lake_! At first sight it disappointed me, for I had grown accustomed to the cliffs overhanging Chambéry, and the country round Geneva wants the boldness which Mont Blanc is too distant to supply; but I have altered my opinion. Seen from this spot it has a soft beauty which grows upon you; it is clear as a mountain rivulet, and to view it in all its charm you must sit here on a sunny evening when it is sufficiently agitated to come murmuring in small waves to your feet, and there are just so many clouds in the sky as to vary its water’s blue with a thousand tints of green, and gold, and pale violet, changing like a chameleon, while its surface is dotted with boats sweeping along with their elegant peculiar sails like the outspread wings of a bird, and those shaded by bright coloured awnings, in which the Genevese are rowed out to catch the evening air, and pass singing and laughing in the distance, the voices floating to us over the expanse as if they were at our side. The mountain, which grows higher as it nears Geneva, is the Salive; the blue hill of a conical form, the Mole; between which and the Salive towers Mont Blanc; and beyond the Mole, stretches along the shore the wooded Voiron. The most beautiful effect possible is produced by a rainbow across this range of hills. Yesterday, anxious to insert a threatening thundercloud in my little picture, I hurried to the shore for the purpose, forgetting that the same cloud I admired might inopportunely discharge itself on my head. It did not fail, and I had only time to run to the boat-house, which is close by, whence I peeped through the arch at a most splendid rainbow: during which time the violent shower floated my palette, and made the oil a set of useless globules.

The weather has been constantly broken by storms, the finest and most terrific I ever witnessed. Last night, during two hours, the thunder, repeated by its echoes, rolled without a pause, and the Jura was constantly illuminated with the lightnings, sheeted, forked, or like circles of fire, which, blazing above the heads of the mountain range, made it resemble a line of volcanoes. This evening we rode again to Coppet; the opposite shore, at each step we advanced, becoming bolder; and when we returned, the full red moon was just risen above Mont Blanc, and the yellow glitter danced on the water in a long line, interrupted only by the dark boughs of the Secheron trees, advancing on a little promontory.

The finest view of Mont Blanc is from the hilly road which leads to Ferney Voltaire, and the best hour to see it when the snow looks rosy in the evening. Ferney is on the road from Paris to Gex, and distant but a league from Geneva. We visited it to see Voltaire’s château. On the left, at the extremity of the village, is the avenue which leads up the gentle ascent to the gates; without them, on a mound, stands the church, which once bore the inscription, “Deo erexit Voltaire;” its stones, dark with time, quietly going to ruin under its old trees. It was for some time the parish church, but being no longer large enough to contain the increased numbers, its ornaments have been transferred to the new building which glares with fresh whitewash in the village below, and it is itself converted into a receptacle for firewood. A white-headed villager came to hold the horses in the shade, and we followed our guide, who walked slowly from his dwelling behind the church to the iron gates. He was seventy-six himself, and had served Voltaire the two last years of his life, being his gardener’s son.

On entering the house, we were sorry to be consigned to the care of a most unintelligent lout, who exhibits the drawing-room and bed-chamber, illustrating, by his strange replies to all queries, the proverb of “Ask no questions and you will be told no lies.” These two rooms remain in their original state, furnished with the same tapestry chairs as when he occupied them. In the former are the pictures so often described, the two bad copies of Albano, and the production of an itinerant painter, which immortalizes Voltaire’s vanity; a strange medley of nymphs and garlands, an awkward Glory, the temple of Fame, Apollo, and the author; and in the corner the latter’s enemies, whose name seems to have been Legion, crowded under the weight of their unsold works and the whips of various furies. Whether in jest or earnest, Voltaire persisted in praising this production, and exalting its composer as a worthy successor of Michael Angelo.

The windows of this room, and of the next in which his bed stands in its old place, look on the grounds he planted himself. The narrow bedstead is of rough common wood, and the author’s curtains have been so shortened by the thefts of tourists, that their remnant is at last above the reach of collectors. Against the wall is erected a kind of cenotaph in crockery, surmounted by a bad bust, with the inscription, “Son esprit est partout, mais son cœur est ici;” above is written, “Mes mânes sont consolés, puisque mon cœur est au milieu de vous.” You know the intention was frustrated, as his heart is at the Pantheon in Paris. In the same room are engravings of celebrated men, remarkable only for having been selected and hung there by Voltaire; a tapestry portrait of the Empress of Russia, worked by herself, a bad specimen of art and nature; one of Le Kain, the actor, crowned with bays, hangs over the bed, and on either side that of Voltaire in his youth, and Frederick the Great. Voltaire’s is a more agreeable picture than I had yet seen of him, for the sarcastic expression, though perceptible, is not so forcibly marked as in later years.

That of the king of Prussia was a present from himself, and the hard blue eye and inflexible features tell his character as well as volumes. There are besides likenesses of Madame Denis, Voltaire’s niece, and Madame du Châtelet, who was, tradition says, the only woman he ever loved; her appearance is by no means striking; and also those of his sweep and laundress; (an arch-looking boy, and a girl with the face of a Madonna,) in coloured crayons, and beautifully executed. The books of the library marked with his own notes were purchased by the Empress Catherine: and the little study which adjoined his bedroom is closed to his admirer’s eyes, being transformed to a shoe-blacking laboratory. We did not remain long, our before-mentioned lout being perfectly ignorant of all which regarded his show, and only anxious to force us to buy some wretched lithographic drawings of this small room, and its bedstead, and cenotaph, in which it looks as large as a reception chamber at Versailles.

Outside the house the old gardener’s part recommences; it would be difficult to feel no interest in the faithful servant, whose life seems to hang on the memory of his master’s. He smiles and looks happy when encouraged to talk of him, and is very downcast when he finds his visitors less curious about Monseigneur.

He led the way to the terrace, which commands the fine view of the glaciers and the lake shores. At some distance is a little wood, where he was fond of walking, and an avenue, planted by his orders, leads to it from the park. “The terrace was his place for study,” the old man said; “here he often came in the morning to rehearse the part he was to act at night on the stage of his own theatre, and (dressed for it, to save the trouble of a second toilet) he used to march backwards and forwards, gesticulating and declaiming with great vehemence, and giving doubts of his sanity to men less tragically minded.” At the extremity of the terrace is a long shady walk, a most charming berceau, for the hornbeam is completely met over head. “Here,” said the gardener, stopping almost at its entrance, “is the very spot where Monsieur Gibbon played the trick to Monseigneur; you recollect the story?”

We begged him to tell it. “It would do him an honour,” he said, “but his asthma impeded his doing so while he walked by our side; he would stand by the bench while we sate there.” A great deal of entreaty induced him to sit also, but not to cover his white head; that remained bare, partly in reverence to his listeners, but more to his subject, Monseigneur:—

“Monsieur Gibbon was at Lausanne, and Monseigneur and he, though they had never met, were very good friends, till Monsieur Gibbon presumed to criticize some work of my master’s, who was very angry and bought a caricature of Gibbon, and sent it to him at Lausanne. I have often had the honour of brushing Monsieur Gibbon’s coat, and he was a very short, corpulent man, with large head and flat nose. When he received his picture by the post, he said he must go to Ferney, and judge by his own eyes whether Monseigneur was not his match for ugliness. Here then he came. Monseigneur had not forgiven the criticism, and desiring Madame Denis to receive him, he refused to see his visitor himself. Monsieur Gibbon said he had come to look at Voltaire, and till he could do so, he would stay. So Monseigneur shut himself up in his study, and Monsieur Gibbon seated himself in the drawing-room. He staid two days; but the third Voltaire grew tired, and wrote him a note to say, that Don Quixote and he were the reverse of one another, as the Don took inns for châteaux, while he mistook châteaux for inns. Gibbon read the note and went away.

“Monseigneur had a little favourite mare, who ate bread from his hand, and allowed him to catch her when she would suffer no other person to approach. Monsieur Gibbon spoke to the groom before he went, and said he intended to buy her, and would not forget him if he would lead her round when he came next morning, and let her loose beneath Monseigneur’s windows.

“The following morning at five Voltaire heard a horse gallop, and looking from his window saw the mare, and called angrily to the groom, who said she had broken from him; and out came Monseigneur with a piece of bread in his hand to catch the favourite, while Monseigneur Gibbon hid behind the hazel foliage of the terrace walk, and as Monseigneur passed jumped out on him.

“‘Ah,’ said he, ‘Voltaire, I have seen you now, and you are not handsome neither;’ and turned his back on my master, who was foaming with rage: ‘Run after him,’ he called to his secretary: ‘and tell him to give you twelve sous for having seen the wonderful beast.’

“The secretary made haste and came up with Gibbon, who was walking down the avenue to the village, where he had left his carriage. ‘Very right,’ he said, when he heard the message; ‘twelve sous for seeing the beast: there are twenty-four, and say I have paid for twice, and will come back to get the worth of my money.’ Monseigneur stamped with his foot, and exclaimed that some future trick would be played him. ‘We had better be friends,’ he said to the secretary; ‘go and ask him to dinner.’ And so, madame,” added the old gardener, rising from the bench with a bow, “as I told you, I have often since had the honour of brushing Monseigneur Gibbon’s coat.” He next stopped at a splendid tree: “This,” he said, “was planted by Monseigneur’s own hand, and under it he received Franklin. My father dug the hole, and he held the sapling, the very spring I was born, seventy-six years ago. Almost all these trees were planted by my father, for the village stood here when Monseigneur bought the property; it was then only of twelve miserable huts, and he rebuilt them lower down: when he died there were eighty. Ah!” said the old man, sighing, “but for his attacks on religion”—A little further he stopped in a pretty green glade:—“Here was Monseigneur’s summer study; he built it here to free himself from the importunity of visitors.” When it fell into decay, the present proprietor raised in its place a black marble pyramid, bearing, among other inscriptions, in his honour, one recording Voltaire’s horror of the massacre of St. Barthelemy. One night, during the year 1819, it was broken, and its pieces scattered about by persons unknown, and nothing now marks the spot but the regrets of the white-headed gardener, soon likely to be silent also. He was often employed, he said, to carry the author’s portfolio up and down these walks when he paced them, as was his custom during composition. Every now and then he signed to his attendant to approach; wrote his notes rapidly in the portfolio, returned it to his hands, and recommenced the promenade. We left the park, passing the basin full of gold and silver fish, which come shooting to the surface at the old man’s whistle, and passed the church on our way to his house, which was the priest’s, and where he said he had some “_petites antiquités_” to show us, if we would honour him by entering. He pointed out the tomb built against the church wall, in the form of a pyramid. Voltaire had intended it should contain his bones; but, like his heart, they have had a different destination. The theatre was within the park wall, but a few yards from this intended grave and just opposite; it has been taken down.

The gardener’s abode was scrupulously clean, but guarded by a dame of vinegar aspect. Her ire was excited by the arrival of other visitors, as she feared, from her husband’s lingering with us, that he might miss the coming harvest. She had lost her keys and her memory when he demanded the various boxes which contained his treasures; but his positiveness conquered, and, one after the other, she produced Monseigneur’s cane, and his full-bottomed wig, and a soiled silk cap, embroidered and folded in five envelopes. The most interesting appeared last, in the form of a book, whose leaves were stuck all over with seals, and a line in Voltaire’s handwriting under each. He had found means of abridging the trouble of his extensive correspondence, for these were the correspondents’ seals, taken from their letters, and his remarks (concisely affording a comprehensive view of character) spared him often the trouble of looking farther: one was _Fou de Genève_; I saw little or no commendation.

Ferney is now again the property of the same family from whom it was purchased by Voltaire; that it has once, since his death, belonged to an Englishman, or rather been rented by one, is recorded in Monsieur de Laborde’s journey to Switzerland. He mentions, that in the year 1781 he went to the château of Ferney; he was an enthusiastic admirer of Voltaire, and the following are his own words:—

“I descended from my carriage; I approached, impatient to exist in the same place where the great man lived. I rang—the gate opened—I rushed in—I was pushed back, and entrance refused me, because the master had given orders to admit no one.

“‘What do you mean?’ I exclaimed hastily. ‘What kind of a master is this who refuses to see Frenchmen? Is the château no longer the property of Monsieur de la Villette?’

“‘Sir, he has let it.’

“‘Let it! let the remains of Voltaire?’

“‘Only for a year.’

“‘And who is the successor of our great genius?’

“‘An Englishman.’

“‘Robertson, no doubt.’

“‘No, a London shopkeeper with one leg, one arm, and one eye.’

“‘Never mind, I must speak with him.’

“‘He is not at home.’

“‘Will he soon be back?’

“‘I do not know.’

“‘And where is Voltaire’s heart?’

“‘On a shelf in the larder.’

“‘Is it possible? let me see it for only a moment; I will give you whatever you please.’

“‘Sir, I should be turned away.’

“‘Abominable varlet; may heaven confound you and your master!’”


Wild weather latterly; the extreme heat having suddenly changed to storms and north-east winds, the bise blowing a tempest, and the waves of the lake dashing over the walls, they till now have peaceably lain many feet below. We have been agreeably surprised by finding that friends, whom we believed far away in the shade of their quiet park, are on the continent also, and will soon join us here. The immediate environs of Geneva so closely resemble England, with their good macadamized roads, bordered by park palings and neat cottages with turf and flowers, and no apparent poverty, that with my back turned to Mont Blanc, I could have believed myself in my own country. The common people are remarkably industrious and certainly know the value of time,—for I constantly see young girls and old men also walking along with a load on their backs of fruit and vegetables to be sold in the town, perseveringly knitting the whole way. The Genevese are proud in their own country: though when they emigrate, to make their fortunes, they will toil without murmur. The more abject and severe labour here is performed by bands of poor Savoyards, who arrive for the _lessive_ and the haymaking and harvest, ragged and cheerful and untiring, like the troops of Irish who flock yearly to England. They are a more gentle and amiable people than the money-making Genevese; but so wretched where their unproductive territory touches that of Geneva, that, passing the frontier and the cross with its artificial flowers, the contrast from the clean comfort of the Swiss to their squalid misery is striking and sad.

The Swiss troops, with the exception of the few on permanent service, receive no pay, and perform their duty without murmur. Every year they pass three months encamped; so that Switzerland might, in case of necessity, find ready at her call an army of 180,000 men. No citizen can marry unless he possesses bible, arms, and uniform. Each citizen is an elector, and the elections take place in the churches. Their penitentiaries (for Switzerland has no punishment answering to the English hulks or the French galères) are conducted with a view to future amelioration; some have a small library, reading being allowed in their hours of recreation. It is their rule, that each man condemned to reclusion, and not knowing a trade, shall learn one, the trade itself resting on the prisoner’s choice, and the two-thirds of the produce of his labour, during his detention, belonging to himself: of these two shares he is permitted to transmit one to his family. The following notes are copied from the register of one of these houses:—

“B——, born at Bellerive in 1807, miller’s man, poor, stole three measures of grain; condemned for two years. At the end of this time his benefice, over and above the money sent his family, amounted to a hundred francs. Left a skilful weaver.”

Under these lines the pastor of the village, to which B—— had returned, had written the following:—

“On his return to Bellerive, this young man, suffering from extreme humiliation, concealed himself in his father’s house. His former companions, assembling in a body, went to seek him on the Sunday, and conducted him to church in the midst of them.”

The French custom-houses are extremely severe on the article of Genevese jewellery; but notwithstanding all the preventive measures adopted, the importation of smuggled goods into France is considerable, and the cleverness of the Genevese smugglers outwits even the sharp French douaniers. It is an amusing fact, that when the Comte de St. Cricq was Directeur Général des Douaness, he went to Geneva, and there purchased of Monsieur Beautte, one of the principal jewellers, 30,000 francs’ worth of jewels, on condition of their being smuggled into his hotel in Paris. Monsieur Beautte made no objection, only presenting the buyer with a paper for signature, by which he obliged himself to pay the usual five per cent. on the sum due. The directeur smiled, took a pen and signed St. Cricq, directeur des douanes. Beautte merely bowed, and said, “Monsieur le Directeur, the jewels you have purchased will be arrived as soon as yourself.”

At the frontier, the Comte de St. Cricq left strict charges of surveillance, and the promise of a reward of fifty louis to the employé who should seize the jewels; but arrived in Paris he entered his chamber to change his dress, and the first object he saw there was an elegantly shaped box bearing his name engraved on a silver plate; he opened it and found the jewels. Beautte had come to an understanding with a waiter of the inn, who, while assisting the directeur’s people to pack the carriage of their master, slipped the aforesaid box among the baggage; and the valet, on reaching Paris, noticing it for the first time, and supposing it to contain some recent purchase of value, immediately carried it to the count’s private apartment. Thus, while triple attention examined and tormented the unoffending travellers who crossed the frontier, Mons. de St. Cricq’s carriage unmolested smuggled his own contraband purchase to his own hotel.

The exterior of the cathedral (St. Pierre) is simple to plainness, saving the Corinthian portico, which forms on its surface a very inappropriate patch. Within are interred D’Aubigné, Henry the Fourth’s friend; and the Comte de Rohan, a Protestant leader of Louis the Thirteenth’s time. The Cardinal de Brogny, who died in 1426, was buried by his own command in the chapel of the Maccabees, which he founded. Its carvings and paintings had been at his desire executed to commemorate his low origin and remarkable history, and some of them are still preserved in the public library of Geneva. There were a child keeping pigs! wreaths of oak leaves and acorns, and in another place a pair of shoes. His name was Jean Allarmet, and he was born at the village of Brogny in the year 1342, his parents being peasants. Brogny lies on the road from Annecy to Geneva, and he was occupied keeping his flock of pigs, when, some monks bound to Geneva, and uncertain of the way, stopped to question him. Struck by his intelligent eye and prompt answers, they proposed to him to follow themselves, promising to afford him means of study, which the delighted boy eagerly accepted, and his father consenting to his departure he repaired to Geneva, and soon so far distinguished himself by his premature talent, as to draw upon him the attention of a cardinal, who proposed in turn that he should seek him at Avignon and prosecute more serious studies under his protection. He consented with the same ardour as before, and prepared to set forward on his journey on foot; but he had no shoes, and he counted the contents of his light purse in vain, he had not enough to pay for a pair. A friendly shoemaker, aware of his embarrassment, supplied him with the necessary article, and said laughing, “You shall pay me when you are a cardinal.” At Avignon the youth made rapid progress, and rose to honour and reputation, becoming vicar general of the archbishop of Vienne, and charged by Pope Clement the Seventh with the education of his nephew; and in consequence of the manner in which he fulfilled this last trust, created by him archbishop of Arles and cardinal. It was then, when many years had passed, and the shoemaker had grown old and sunk into poverty, that his humble dwelling was sought out by some richly attired domestics, who addressed him by name, and asked him whether he recollected the present he had made a poor student, who would otherwise have been reduced to perform barefoot his journey to Avignon.

“Very well,” answered the shoemaker; “he was a fine fearless boy. I could afford to be charitable in those days, and I trust I may receive my reward in heaven, for I have had none on earth.” “You are wrong,” said the domestics; “that boy is become a cardinal, and sends to seek you that you may fill the place of maître d’hôtel in his household.”

The poor man was overjoyed, and, abandoning his deserted stall, lived and died in the cardinal’s service.

In 1414, notwithstanding De Brogny’s advanced age, he repaired to Constance, at the period when John Huss had been deluded thither by the faithless Emperor Sigismund’s safe-conduct, to defend his doctrine before the assembled council. He presided it several times, had daily and nightly conferences with Sigismund, and when Huss had been cast into a dungeon and doomed to recant what were termed his errors, or to die at the stake, the cardinal, compassionating his misfortunes, visited him often in his cell, and implored as well as reasoned with him. It was in vain, for the reformer’s firmness was not to be shaken. Conducted to the place of his torture, (which is still shown at Constance,) and seeing a female fanatic hurrying forward to cast her faggot on the pile, he exclaimed with the calmness of a philosophical spectator, “Oh sancta simplicitas!” and when he had ascended it, and the executioner, to spare him the sight, applied his torch to that part to which his back was turned, he said, “You may light it before my eyes; if I had feared fire, I should not be here now.” Even when the flames closed round his tall figure, his voice was heard from the midst of them chanting a psalm.

It would be too long to tell you what monasteries the Cardinal De Brogny founded, and what churches received his donations. You will be more interested in hearing that he bequeathed four hundred golden florins as marriage portions to poor maidens in the county of Geneva; a larger sum to the widows and orphans of Annecy; and that, possessor of forty benefices, he spent their revenues on public works and the care of the poor. A rule of his house fed thirty mendicants daily, and a codicil of his will ordered that this custom should be continued an entire year after his death. On his return from Constance, he visited his birthplace, the village of Brogny, and, assembling in his father’s cottage all the old men of the district, mostly companions of his boyhood, he dined in their company, and, inquiring into their affairs, provided for their future comfort.

He died at Rome, aged 84, and was buried at Geneva. Bonnivard saw his statue on the tomb, afterwards thrown down by the Reformers; and a later writer says it is a pity they did so, as one would have rejoiced to see the features of a “modest man of genius and a tolerant cardinal.”


Arrival of friends—Excursion to Chamouny—The Voiron mountain—Its monastery—The babes in the wood—Old castle of Faucigny—Its last possessor—Her rights over Dauphiny bequeathed to Savoy—Long war with France—Bonneville—Cluses—Wretched inhabitants—The baronial capital in the time of the old lords—Cavern of La Balme—The village of Arache, and Falquet—The Nant d’Arpenas—Sallenches—Mont Blanc—The lake of Chède filled up—Pont Pelissier—Les Motets—The Glacier des Bossons—Evening—A tranquil night—Morning cavalcade—My guide—The Montanvert—Fontaine du Caillet—Source of the Aveiron—The avalanche—Mer de Glace—Passage of cattle—Priory of Chamouny founded in eleventh century—The Grands Mulets on Mont Blanc—Character of the inhabitants of Chamouny—Return—Versoix destined by Louis the Fourteenth for Geneva’s rival—Coppet—The monument—Old castle of Wufflens—Bertha—Morges—Lausanne—Cathedral containing tomb of Duke Amedée and Bernard de Menthon—The Faucon—The fat innkeeper abandoned—Vevay—Trois Couronnes.

Since I last wrote we have made a very delightful excursion, even though Fanny was no party concerned; for our friends joining us, though only for a few days, and anxious to make a flying visit to Chamouny, we determined on accompanying them, and recommending our four-footed companions, both, but particularly Fanny, to the whole establishment, including Monsieur Dejean’s sister, we set forth; all eight packed in one of his heavy carriages and drawn by four of his heavy horses. It was the 3rd of August, and a burning day. Just before the road enters Savoy, (as it nears the Salève on the right hand and the Voiron on the left, and beyond the valley through which flows the small river Foron, you see Mont Blanc and its glaciers,) the country loses the tamer, cultivated beauty of the environs of Geneva, and becomes wild and grand. At the summit of the Voiron, in a desert and savage retreat, damp and cold, and usually deep in snow, there was once a monastery. I read somewhere that a monk, questioned as to his sufferings, said they were such as sometimes to drive him to desperation, but that the Virgin gave him strength and would reward him in Heaven with torrents of felicity for the earthly torments he endured! Not long ago this mountain was the scene of a new edition of the babes in the wood.

One stormy October two young boys were at play about four in the evening, chasing each other over the snow. Night closed in, and they lost their way in a thick fir-wood, unconscious of its being close to their own home. When it had become quite dark, and they did not return, the alarmed family searched the forest with torches and cow-bells, and after three hours of toil and anxiety, they were found in a hole filled with leaves; the oldest, nine years of age, had taken off his jacket, to cover with it his brother, only six years old, and was lying on him to keep him warm, braving himself cold and death, and already so far benumbed as to be unable to reply to the well known voices which called on him.

The Foron rises in this mountain, and is the Genevese boundary. We crossed it on the wooden bridge which looks so picturesque from the height above, and were stopped at Annemasse, a little farther, to exhibit our passports. This is the Sardinian frontier, and we were detained some time, but no trouble given, and the carriage not examined. We were found en règle, for the passports had been visés the night before, this being a necessary preliminary to visiting Chamouny, and a profitable one to Sardinia, for each visa costs four francs.

Before reaching Bonneville, which is the chief town of the province of Faucigny, we passed the ruined castle of its old barons, which frowns on a commanding height to the left. Its last possessor was Beatrice, grand-daughter of Agnes, daughter of Aymon the second, baron of Faucigny, last male of his line. Marrying the dauphin of Vienne, she bore with her to her husband her rights over the province, but having attained an advanced age, family dissensions, and the ill-treatment of her grandchildren, offspring of her daughter Anna, induced her to pray the protection of her cousin Amedée the Great, count of Savoy. Received at his court, and treated with attention and affection, as well as with the honours due to her rank, she resolved on proving her gratitude by bequeathing to him all the lands, rights, and castles she possessed over and above her marriage portion, as well as whatever she could alienate of her paternal inheritance. Her will, made in this spirit, was the cause of Savoy’s taking up arms against Dauphiny; the one to defend the territory just acquired, the other to resist spoliation; and these cruel wars once kindled did not cease entirely till Humbert the Second, last dauphin, weary of the world when he had lost his son, took the monastic habit, and in 1349 ceded Dauphiny to the heir of France. The Green Count Amedée, disapproving of the presence of his new and powerful neighbour, led an army across the mountains, and fought a pitched battle, in which he was victorious, taking prisoners many of the chief men there, both of France and Dauphiny. The count’s prowess and power proved, the former were satisfied with placing their interests in the hands of arbitrators, who decided that Savoy should remain sovereign of Faucigny and Gex, while she ceded to France all her possessions in Dauphiny beyond the Rhone and the Guier. The old castle passed, the road nears the Mole, which towers in all its elevation of 5800 feet, and we drove through an avenue of trees into Bonneville, where we breakfasted not badly, despite the very poetical rhyme:

“Oh ye, who stop at Bonneville town, Beware of feeding at the Crown,”—

which, if written in charity, is useless on the dining-room shutter.

The heat being intense, our horses were rested for two hours, during which time the coachman failed to discover a loose fore shoe, which stopped us on the stone bridge which crosses the Arve, just as we started once more, and was remedied by a long nail, driven in anyhow.

Near the bridge is a lately erected column in honour of Carlo Felice, whose statue surmounts it, ninety-five feet above ordinary mortals; and in gratitude for the fresh embankments which restrain the Arve’s fury when it rushes from its mountain birthplace, swollen by the first melting of the ice in spring. Near their source, (the glaciers,) these streams are more awful than beautiful; they have the turbid hue produced by the snows and earth they bear violently along; and in their mildest aspect they roar in a narrow channel, amidst the broad expanse of desolation they have made in their anger.

Our way to Cluses lay between the Mole, now near us on the left, and Mont Brezon, whose range bounds, on the right, the rich cultivated valley; a lovely road, but traversing miserable villages and crowds of mendicants, the young children with the seamed and care-worn faces of age, and dark with emaciation. The dreadful goitre is common here, and we saw one unhappy cretin grinning vacantly as he tottered along.

Near Cluses the road is cut between the wall of rock and the precipices which overhang the river; and a stony defile which it commands, and partly fills, leads to the city, which has the aspect of a poor hamlet. It was the baronial capital in the time of the old lords of Faucigny, and conferred on those who lived there a year and a day the title and privileges of freemen.

Leaving Cluses we entered a wild glen; rocks arched above our heads, and the road cut in their base, or carried over their scattered fragments, and overhanging the Arve foaming below; tall oaks springing from half detached masses, and bowed forward, as if to measure the height of their threatened fall; and the dark pines of each forest looking darker from the contrasting foam and brightness of unnumbered streamlets and small cascades.

Issuing from the gorge, the mountains retreating to the left form a semicircle; we stopped for milk and lemonade at one of the huts, where the cow, the goat, and the family live happily together, being the spot whence the indefatigable traveller (to whose class none of our party belonged) ascends by a mule path to the cavern of La Balme. They pointed it out on the side of one of these mountains of the amphitheatre, eight hundred feet above; Mrs. Starke, with more truth than romance, compared it to the mouth of an oven! Within, a narrow gallery widens to a vast hall; its length is about sixteen hundred feet, and its effect fine by the torchlight, as the roof and walls sparkle with stalactites, which here and there form a bright pavement to the floor.

Between Balme and Maglan but the other side of the mountain, is the commune of Arache. Towards the close of the sixteenth century it produced a fortunate man, in the person of one Nicholas Falquet, who could barely read and write when he left his father’s cabin. Arrived at Vienna, in Austria, he entered a rich merchant’s service, who, noticing his intelligence and natural talents, allowed him to share the studies of his heiress. The young girl became attached to him, and his parents, who had learned to consider him as their son, consented to their union; but very shortly after some sudden malady carried off both father and mother, and either the same stroke, or sorrow for their loss, deprived him of his bride also. She had bequeathed to him her entire fortune, and Nicholas returned to the valley where he was born. There was a peasant girl, with whom, ere his emigration, he had been accustomed to herd flocks near the village. She had never quitted it or forgotten him, and after a time given to mourning, he married and conducted her to Vienna. Their son was created baron of the empire, and by Falquet’s order a small but beautiful church was erected on the site of his paternal cottage, in the village of Arache.

Three quarters of a league beyond Maglan we passed the fine cascade of the Nant d’Arpenas; it struck me less than on our return. The volume of water is small, but springs from a height of eight hundred feet, and is scattered ere it reaches its first fall. When we travelled the same road yesterday, the stream had been considerably increased by rains, and the broad spray floated in a sunbeam, which it seemed to have embodied with itself and to be bearing away.

At St. Martin, in the yard of the inn of Mont Blanc, we found a good-humoured fat landlady, and the cars which were to convey us the remainder of our journey. They have no springs, the road does not allow of them, and are mere benches under canopies, with leather aprons, which will protect from rain or can be tied up out of the way.

The bridge which crosses the Arve, about a hundred yards further, leads to Sallenches, and from it there is a noble view of Mont Blanc, with aiguille and glacier glittering above the nearer mountains, darkly clothed to their summit, a view which every moment increases in splendour as the postilion urges the little mountain horses over the rough roads, and beds of torrents, and bridges of loose planks, which they tread without start or stumble.

We passed what was the lake of Chède, and is converted, by a fall of mud and rubbish from the mountain, into a stony wilderness, and crossed a stream too rapid for a bridge, but which favoured us, as the water was by no means high, and the road is seldom in a good condition for a week.

About Servoz, where the horses rested, is a thin wood of stunted oak and cherry trees, the latter bearing fruit of the size of a wild strawberry, but beyond they yield to pine, and larch, and hazel. We crossed another torrent, the Dioza, and then indeed were in a gorge not to be forgotten. The road skirts the base of the Breven, with the Arve on the right, washing the foot of the mound on which rises the ruined castle of St. Michael; the pont Pelissier, under which it dashes before; the mountains on either side covered with pines: but the bare wild peaks shutting in the valley behind us, and the ridges of shining snow closing it before.

Our way lay over the bridge; for beyond, the Arve raves deep below the road, and rends itself a passage through rocks and darkness. We crossed it on foot, and walked up a part of the steep hill leading to the Motets, the range which divides the valleys of Servoz and Chamouny; mighty barriers, which keep in the mind a local habitation, even when they want a name.

We continued to toil upwards with little space to spare between the narrow car’s wheels and the precipice which hangs over the roaring Arve: an inadvertent driver or unruly horse would ensure destruction, but there is little danger of either. We were assailed by innumerable beggars furnished with various excuses for extorting money—mostly intelligent, bright-eyed children, half-clothed and barefoot,—offering a marigold gathered in the valley, or a crystal found on the mountain, and running fearlessly along the very brink of places my head turned even to look down.

From the ridge of the Motets we obtained the finest view of Mont Blanc, henceforth close to us, but its form, changed at that part called the Dome de Goût, hides its summit; and descending through some fertile meadows to Ouches, the first village in the valley, the glaciers became visible also: their brightness and the purity of the atmosphere making them appear so much nearer than they really were. I thought their size inconsiderable, but found my mistake as the road, which now runs directly beneath the range of this snow-king and his vassals, passed near the Glacier des Bossons, some of whose pinnacles are sixty and eighty feet high. Beyond us, and a league beyond Chamouny, at the head of the valley, we saw the Glacier du Bois, which terminates the Mer de Glace. We crossed numerous torrents on their moving and nervous bridges, the waters of some clear and bright, of others turbid as the Arve, here wilder and muddier than ever, and which we traversed to continue our way along its right bank. The valley seen in the light of the declining sun, with its fresh green meadows, its flax and corn fields, its scattered cottages and shining church spires, and black forests and snows for background, must be the loveliest on earth. You and I have read descriptions of tints on glaciers, probably thinking the enthusiasm of the traveller might slightly exaggerate; yet I was aware they fell far short as we watched all the changes from glittering white to pale gold—from gold to rose-colour, and then to violet; and then the magic hues fading by degrees, but light lingering on the summit even when the glaciers on its side were grey, and the road we were going dusk; as if one sunbeam had been left behind, dedicated to the dome of the mountain.

Arriving at dark, we passed the Union, which appears the best inn and has baths adjoining, on our way to the Hôtel d’Angleterre, which is called so, but I think must have lost its character. The landlord and his wife are civil, and their charges moderate, but the table d’hôte indifferent, and the beds bad. D—— met an army friend whom he had not seen since we left ——, and the conversation became a strange medley of private theatricals and mountain passes. Arriving latest, we were necessarily the worse lodged: the rooms are unceiled, and, having the stables at our backs, we had overhead two pedestrians, who packed at midnight and put on their boots at three in the morning; and very much added to the pleasurable sensations produced by straw bolsters and hair mattresses, which scratch even through coarse sheets. Our party put itself in motion after breakfast; Mrs. —— and her beautiful young daughter in chaises à porteurs; the rest on tall mules, to whose backs we climbed by ladders, and whose motion is certainly the most disagreeable in the world, particularly as, in submission to our guides, we left the reins untouched and their noses as near the ground as they pleased to lay them. My guide Mounier, whose name I wrote down that I might find him on my next visit, has a high claim to the character for civility and intelligence common to his predecessors at Chamouny. When we had crossed the Arve and the meadows on our way to Montanvert, the path grew rough and narrow, and rose abruptly through the pine forest. As its zigzags are cut on the hill side, and there is barely room for the mule and guide, and no defence towards the precipice, it may present some alarm to persons unused to mountain passes, particularly as the mule always chooses the extreme edge from its habit of carrying burthens, and its fear of striking them against the rock, which would precipitate it below. For a considerable distance the path is composed of irregular steps of stone, several feet in height, and up these the mules clamber with an adroitness and safety of which I had formed no idea. Through the dark branches and broken stumps we caught glimpses of the valley, and I thought our party looked very picturesque as it wound along, forming a straggling line; the chaises à porteurs gaining on us, whose mules patiently followed the guides, one by one; a little boy, who carried some spiked sticks, holding by the tail of the last and laziest. From a spot near the Fontaine du Caillet, which is about half way, the vale and the river, the fields and cottages, spread below like a map brightly coloured. The guide pointed out on the opposite mountain the path which leads to the Croix de Flégère, the best spot for seeing Mont Blanc in its splendour, as it is upwards of three thousand feet above Chamouny.

A steep and difficult path leads down the mountain side to the source of the Aveiron. We could plainly distinguish the black arch of the ice cavern, which terminates the Mer de Glace, and through whose mouth it forces its way, and bounds forward to fling itself into the Arve. Passing the fountain and its gay troops of peasant girls assembled there with fruit, milk, and lemonade, very agreeable refreshment at that height, we crossed the track of an avalanche, a broad line of destruction; the firs snapped at the root and carried away, or laid prostrate beneath the weight of stones and portions of rock cast down from above, looking as if some giant scythe had mown an avenue through the pine forest from the mountain top high over our heads down to the valley far beneath.

From this place the way grows more rugged, and encumbered with larger blocks of stone, but the mules climbed gallantly; and at last, arrived at the summit, we stopped at the pavilion opposite the older refuge built by an Englishman, and called from him the Hôpital de Blair. The view would have repaid us for more fatigue. The Mer de Glace was directly beneath, and opposite, the pinnacled mountains which guard its shore. There seemed to me no resting-place for the foot of an eagle, yet Mounier said he had often slept out on them when hunting the chamois. The highest of the numberless pointed rocks which shoot upwards like white spires against the blue sky, is the Aiguille Verte, for it is about seven thousand feet above the summit of the Montanvert. The Mer de Glace itself is ill represented in all the engravings I have seen, for its waves do not resemble those of the sea suddenly frozen, while driven in the same direction by a tempest—they rather look as if they had been tossed by whirlwinds, and are of irregular forms and unequal height, their flat surfaces and pointed crests of the dull white of soiled snow; for it rejects to its surface all impurities, and only on looking down into its crevices are you aware of their pale, beautiful green—the purest and clearest in the world. You can form no idea of the size of these waves except by descending among them, the magnitude of all which surrounds them deceiving as to theirs, yet many exceed forty feet in height; and of the Mer de Glace, which is about eight leagues in length, two are from this spot visible.

We scrambled down by a rugged path which leads to it from the pavilion, but it is no place to tread without a guide, and it is dangerous to advance too far on the edges of these crevices, which are often unsupported below; and some accidents generally occur to the cattle or their drivers when in the month of July the former are sent from Chamouny up the Montanvert and across the Mer de Glace for the sake of the scanty pastures on the opposite mountain. It is a melancholy existence for the lonely herdsman who remains to guard them during the three months of their stay; for his solitude (Mounier said) is seldom disturbed except by the person sent by the cattle owner, who carries him at the end of the month the bread and cheese which is to suffice for his subsistence throughout the next; and all the time not spent in wanderings after stray heifers he whiles away knitting stockings. We returned to the pavilion by a better path, beside the stone inscribed with the names of Pocock and Windham, the two English travellers who, in 1741, revived the memory of the forgotten valley of Chamouny, where a priory had been founded in the eleventh century. We rested on this broad stone, which was their dinner-table or bed, or both, and the crags round which were covered with rhododendrum, which grows wild everywhere, brightening them with its deep red blossom. The pavilion affords refreshment and, if you will, beds, and a collection of chamois horn walking-sticks, seals of crystal and brooches of stones found on the mountain, which distract the visitor’s attention from the glorious view on which the windows open. We were to be at the hotel at five, and our mules followed, the litters as before; but I soon found it less agreeable to feel the animal slide down steps three feet high than climb over them, and having borne several times, from shame, the disagreeable sensation and the waver it invariably makes at the sharp turns and the brink of the precipice, I discovered that my sight failed, and the guide advised walking, to myself and the lady with me; so that walk we did, slowly certainly—for the distance is two leagues and a half, to be performed by a succession of hoppings on loose stones. We passed again the fountain with its group of smiling girls and the woman blowing her collection of trumpets, trading, as somebody said, with the echo; and when all was quiet again, we heard the fall of an avalanche, but so dull and distant it resembled only a faint and prolonged moan. Mounier pointed out the Grands Mulets on Mont Blanc, the place where those who ascend pass the night, four or five black rocks in the snow, looking like monuments for the frozen. He had been up twice himself, he said, but meant to return no more, as the peril was too great for a man whose father on his deathbed had bequeathed five sisters to his care. I was glad when we had arrived at the plain, and could mount our mules once more, having painfully limped the last two miles. We arrived at the inn, where the table d’hôte was already filled, and did honour to ill cheer. I was sorry to part from my poor civil guide and promised to summon him on our next visit, when he will probably no longer be there, for he was a delicate looking man with a hectic colour in his cheek, and the inhabitants of Chamouny, from the sudden changes of temperature, are subject to inflammatory maladies. They bear a high character as being honest, faithful, and charitable, and their courage is incontestable, as it is with them a thing of course to risk their lives if those of their employers be in peril. The orphans and old men who have no means of subsistence are supported by all the inhabitants of the parish, each in turn, and among those who have property, should there be one precluded by age or infirmity from cultivating his field, his neighbours till it for him. They are rarely tall or handsome, but muscular and strong, and from their climate and exposure to its vicissitudes, seldom attain old age. In their season of forced idleness, the winter, which lasts about eight months, some play high, others drink immoderately. Their harvests chiefly consist of flax, barley, oats, beans, and potatoes; the latter grow in abundance, and they make a kind of bread from their flour. I paid a visit to the mineral baths which, notwithstanding their unpleasant odour, I recommend to all whose limbs are wearied with mountain excursions, and then crossed the little bridge near the hotel, and sat till dark, looking our farewell at Mont Blanc and his rainbow, and annoyed by the only nuisance of the valley, girls and boys exhibiting and persecuting marmottes and young eagles. We were up at five and on our way before the sun was above the mountain, so that we saw its visage of all hours. I should not choose sunrise, for as the mist rises, the brilliancy it receives from the rays which cross it hides the mountains behind; but, as we proceeded further, nothing could be more beautiful than to see the ray lying on the summit of the Glacier des Bossons like a thread of silver, and the valley of Servoz was far lovelier with the tops of its pines just touched with light, and their long shadows in the valley, than seen under a mid-day sun. From St. Martin, where we breakfasted, our fat coachman resumed possession of our persons, and safely deposited them in the Secheron, where we found Fanny well, and the hotel very comfortable after mountain inns and mountain passes.

13th August.

Our friends being gone, and ourselves finding the Secheron too silent and sad after their departure, we left it yesterday morning to sleep at Morges, and were fortunate in a cool cloudy day. Hoping to escape some of the laughter and hooting, which have greeted me everywhere save in Savoy, I adopted the large round straw hat such as they wear themselves, but without its producing any beneficial effect on their manners. The road passes through the village of Versoix, which was French property in Louis the Fourteenth’s time, and destined by the angry king to outdo Geneva as a trading town. The pier and streets were marked out, but the buildings have proceeded so slowly, that Voltaire’s sarcastic lines are still true:—

À Versoix nous avons des rues; Mais nous n’avons point de maisons.

We were now in the Canton de Vaud, and next appeared Coppet and Madame de Staël’s château, to which, as I told you, we rode before, but without seeing more than its outside, as the family was there. I understand that strangers are at no time allowed to visit the monument, where she lies near her father and mother, and it is wholly concealed from view by the fine trees which shade it. We rode through the suburb of Nyon, admiring the zigzag road which leads to St. Cergues, across the Jura, now towering nearer and darker. The lake grows more interesting (its broadest part is from Rolle to Thonon, three-quarters of a league), and the country round more wooded. We fed the horses at Rolle, and rested some time at the Tête Noire, a clean, quiet-looking inn, where one might pass a night comfortably. Mont Blanc was invisible, but the rocks of La Meillerie appeared, and the approach to Morges is picturesque beneath dark and old trees,—the pretty arbour and old castle of Wufflens on the right. The improving system has not wholly spared the latter; but its tall donjon and the turrets which flank it are well preserved, considering the circumstance of its being built in the tenth century by Bertha of spinning memory, mother of Hugh, king of Italy, and Guy, duke of Tuscany. Notwithstanding the saddle, with its place to hold the distaff, exhibited as hers at Payerne, and the assurance that she spun while she rode chargers more docile than belong to the idler daughters of our day, I am inclined to doubt the tradition, as her court of Tuscany was most brilliant beneath her sway, and she is renowned as one of the most ambitious women who ever sat on an Italian throne; and from her beauty and talent, she drew her husband into various wars,—obtained and preserved influence over the most powerful of the country,—and more than once disarmed the anger of those princes she had offended. We stopped to sleep at the Couronne, a comfortable inn, and left the next morning, intending to remain at Lausanne the following day. It is only a post and a half distant, and the ride was very beautiful, but the flies tormenting and the heat excessive. A steep hill leads to the town, built on a lower slope of the Jura. As we ascended, leaving on the right the road to Ouchy, where I believe there is a good inn (the Ancre, more agreeably situated on the lake shore), the view of the town and cathedral opened grandly on us; and from the promenade of Montbenon at its summit, that of the blue lake below, and the bold crags shutting it in, was superb. I should not, however, like to sojourn at Lausanne, many of whose steep crowded streets have no prospect of the beauty which surrounds them, running parallel to the lake, and some communicating with each other by stairs as at Lyons, so that a walk to the shore and back may resemble an hour in a treadmill. The outside of the cathedral is of a bad Gothic architecture; its interior the finest in Switzerland, and contains the monument of Amedée the Eighth of Savoy, _alias_ Pope Felix, and that of Otho of Granson. The noble Bernard de Menthon is buried here also. Passed the new “Hôtel Gibbon,” built on the site of the historian’s house, and up the steep street to the Faucon. I dismounted, and the fat innkeeper came rolling along the corridor, at the slowest possible pace, to meet me in the hall. Whether he was or not turning in his mind the best method of proving himself a true falcon, by his treatment of his prey, I cannot tell; but he meditated his answer for a minute ere it was made, during which minute D—— was sitting one kicking horse and watching another, the flies and sun increasing his ill-will every second,—so that when I had left the heavy host and his two waiters standing in readiness to conduct us, and returned to request him to dismount, I found him decided on going on. How long the great man and his two satellites stood on the first step of the stair I cannot say, as I mounted Fanny, and we took the turn to Vevay. Almost the whole way lies between low stone walls, winding high above the lake, and looking down the precipices on its magnificent scenery. There is little or no shade, as vineyards in terraces clothe the steep side of the mountain, and when these cease, a wall of rock reflects the sun, giving the heat an intensity oppressive to all, saving the myriads of active lizards who shot over the sand. Surmounting one tall crag is a square castle, of the form and size of those so often met with in Ireland, perched on a height it would have puzzled our feet to attain. Over the rocks, on the lake’s opposite side, hung a light mist, rather enhancing than robbing them of their grandeur. A rapid descent leads to Vevay, which lay smiling in the evening glow with its sleeping lake and green woods and sunny mountains, and the gray church tower, flanked by four turrets, among its trees on the hill above the town. Beyond Vevay we saw Chillon indistinctly through the haze, which cast its magic and mystery over the dim gorge of the Rhone, and the gigantic peaks which terminate it, whose white brows shone through brightly, though at intervals, like pure actions refuting calumny.

Having mistaken first our way and then the inn, we at last dismounted at the Trois Couronnes, second in comfort to only the Secheron. Its proprietor is building an hotel, which will replace this, larger and more commodious, and commanding the view, whose beauty is not to be surpassed. At the extremity of the market-place is a boulevard and a grove,—the roots of whose trees the lake washes: we sat there till after nightfall. The thin mist still lay on the surface, smooth as a mirror, reflecting the dark branches and old irregular houses, with the curving shore to the left; where Chillon stood forth a white mass on the water, with all its associations,—the reformer’s sufferings, and the poet’s song. Above the rocks of Meillerie, opposite us, the moon was rising,—yet too young to diffuse more than the faintest glow. The picturesque boats of the lake lay motionless, or rowed past slowly and silently without a breath in their sails; it was like a lake in a dream.


London:—Printed by WILLIAM CLOWES & SONS, Stamford Street.


_Lately Published_,

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SIX MONTHS IN CHINA: BY LORD JOCELYN, Late Military Secretary to the Chinese Expedition. Fourth Edition. With Views of Chusan Harbour, and the Great Wall of China. Fcap. 8vo. 5_s._ 6_d._

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CAIRO, PETRA, & DAMASCUS, DESCRIBED: From Original Notes made during a Tour in those Countries in 1839. BY JOHN G. KINNEAR, ESQ. Post 8vo. 9_s._ 6_d._

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AN ACCOUNT OF THE GYPSIES OF SPAIN: With a Collection of their SONGS and POETRY, and VOCABULARY of their LANGUAGE. BY GEORGE BORROW, ESQ. Late Agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society in Spain. Two Volumes, Post 8vo. 18_s._

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DOMESTIC MANNERS IN RUSSIA: Described from a Year’s Residence in that Country, chiefly in the Interior. BY THE REV. R. LISTER VENABLES, M.A. Post 8vo. 9_s._ 6_d._

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ALSO, NEARLY READY, A RESIDENCE ON THE SHORES OF THE BALTIC: Described in a Series of Letters to Friends at Home. BY A LADY. With Etchings by the Authoress, from Sketches made on the Spot. Two Volumes, Post 8vo.

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Transcriber’s notes

1. Silently corrected typographical errors and inconsistencies; retained non-standard spelling.

2. Correctly accented some French words for improved software readability.

3. Italic text in the original is delimited by _underscores_.