By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: In Château Land
Author: Wharton, Anne Hollingsworth, 1845-1928
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "In Château Land" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


       *       *       *       *       *

_By Anne Hollingsworth Wharton_

          AN ENGLISH HONEYMOON. Decorated title and 17
          illustrations. Cloth, extra, $1.50 _net_.

          ITALIAN DAYS AND WAYS. Decorated title and 8
          illustrations. 12 mo. Cloth, extra, $1.50 _net_.

          illustrated. 8vo. Buckram, gilt top, uncut edges.
          $3.00 _net_; half levant, $6.00 _net_.

          illustrated. 8vo. Buckram, $3.00; three-quarters
          levant, $6.00.

          HEIRLOOMS IN MINIATURES. Profusely illustrated.
          8vo. Buckram, $3.00; three-quarters levant, $6.00.

          THROUGH COLONIAL DOORWAYS. Illustrated. 12mo.
          Cloth, $1.25.

          COLONIAL DAYS AND DAMES. Illustrated. 12mo. Cloth,

          A LAST CENTURY MAID. Illustrated. 8vo. Cloth,

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Neurdein Freres, Photo.





With 25 Illustrations


Philadelphia and London
J. B. Lippincott Company

Copyright, 1911, by J. B. Lippincott Company

Published November, 1911

Printed by J. B. Lippincott Company
at the Washington Square Press
Philadelphia, U.S.A.


  I                              PAGE

  AN ISLAND CHÂTEAU                30


  EN ROUTE FOR TOURAINE            64

  IN AND AROUND TOURS              80


  TWO QUEENS AT AMBOISE           117


  A FAIR PRISON                   174

  COMPENSATIONS                   202

  THE ROMANCE OF BLOIS            226

  THREE CHÂTEAUX                  258


  ANGERS                          319

  ORLEANS AND ITS MAID            349

  A CHÂTEAU FÊTE                  369


  LOCHES, WITH GATE OF CORDELIERS                   _Frontispiece_

  ISOLA BELLA, LAKE MAGGIORE                                   36


  MEDIÆVAL STAIRWAY, CHÂTEAU OF LUYNES                         96

  ENTRANCE TO LANGEAIS, WITH DRAWBRIDGE                        98


  CHÂTEAU OF AZAY-LE-RIDEAU, EAST FAÇADE                      112

  CHÂTEAU OF LANGEAIS, FROM THE LOIRE                         120



  HOUSE OF TRISTAN L'HERMITE                                  178

  AGNES SOREL                                                 188



  LOUISE DE LA VALLIÈRE                                       238


  SMITHY NEAR GATE OF CHEVERNY                                278

  ANNE DE THOU, DAME DE CHEVERNY                              282

  CHÂTEAU OF CHAMBORD                                         286

  RUINS OF CHÂTEAU OF COUDRAY AT CHINON                       296

  FRENCH CAVE DWELLINGS NEAR SAUMUR                           316

  FORGE NEAR STONE STAIRWAY AT LUYNES                         354

  HÔTEL CABU                                                  364

  HOUSE OF JOAN OF ARC                                        364

  SALLE DES MARRIAGES, ORLEANS                                366




                               HOTEL FLORENCE, BELLAGIO, August 10th.

YOU will be surprised, dear Margaret, to have a letter from me here
instead of from Touraine. We fully intended to go directly from the
Dolomites and Venice to Milan and on to Tours, stopping a day or two in
Paris en route, but Miss Cassandra begged for a few days on Lake Como,
as in all her travels by sea and shore she has never seen the Italian
lakes. We changed our itinerary simply to be obliging, but Walter and I
have had no reason to regret the change for one minute.

Beautiful as you and I found this region in June, I must admit that its
August charms are more entrancing and pervasive. Instead of the clear
blues, greens and purples of June, the light haze that veils the
mountain tops brings out the same indescribable opalescent shades of
heliotrope, azure and rose that we thought belonged exclusively to the
Dolomites. However, these mountains are first cousins, once or twice
removed, to the Eastern Italian and Austrian Alps and have a good right
to a family likeness. There is something almost intoxicating in the
ethereal beauty of this lake, something that goes to one's head like
wine. I don't wonder that poets and artists rave about its charms, of
which not the least is its infinite variety. The scene changes so
quickly. The glow of color fades, a cloud obscures the sun, the blue and
purple turn to gray in an instant, and we descend from a hillside
garden, where gay flowers gain added brilliancy from the sun, to a
cypress-bordered path where the grateful shade is so dense that we walk
in twilight and listen to the liquid note of the nightingale, or the
blackcap, whose song is sometimes mistaken for that of his more
distinguished neighbor.

This morning when we were resting in a hillside pavilion, near the Villa
Giulia, gazing upon the sapphire lake and the line of purple Alps
beyond, we concluded that nothing was needed to complete the beauty of
the scene but a snow mountain in the distance, when lo! as if in
obedience to our call, a cloud that shrouded some far-off peaks slowly
lifted, revealing to us the shining crest of Monte Rosa. It really
seemed as if Monte Rosa had amiably thrown up that dazzling white
shoulder for our especial delectation. This evening at sunset it will be
touched with delicate pink.

I am writing this afternoon on one of the long tables so conveniently
placed on the upper deck of the little steamers upon which we made so
many excursions when you and I were here in June. The colors of sky,
mountain and lake are particularly lovely at this time of the day. Miss
Cassandra and Lydia have taken out their water colors, and are trying to
put upon paper the exquisite translucent shades of the mountains that
surround the lake. Lydia says that the wash of water colors reproduces
these atmospheric effects much more faithfully than the solid oils, and
she and our Quaker lady are washing away at their improvised easels,
having sent the children off for fresh glasses of water. While I write
to you, Walter lights his cigar and gives himself up to day dreams, and
I shall soon say _au revoir_ and devote myself to the same delightful,
if unprofitable, occupation, as this fairy lake is the place of all
others in which to dream and lead the _dolce far niente_ life of Italy.
And so we float about in boats, as at Venice, and think not of the
morrow. By we, I mean Walter, Lydia and myself, as the children and Miss
Cassandra are fatiguingly energetic. She has just reminded me that there
is something to do here beside gazing at these picturesque shores from a
boat, as there are numerous villas to be visited, to most of which are
attached gardens of marvellous beauty. We are passing one just now which
has a water gate, over which climbing geraniums have thrown a veil of
bloom. The villa itself is of a delicate salmon color, and the garden
close to the lake is gay with many flowers, petunias and pink and white
oleanders being most in evidence. The roses are nearly over, but other
flowers have taken their places, and the gardens all along the shore
make brilliant patches of color.

It is not strange that Bulwer chose this lake as the site of Melnotte's
_château en Espagne_, for surely there could not be found a more fitting
spot for a romance than this deep vale,

          "Shut out by Alpine hills from the rude world,
           Near a clear lake, margined by fruits of gold,
           And whispering myrtles, glassing softest skies."

We were wondering what "golden fruits" were to be found on these shores
at this time, oranges and nespoli being out of season, when some boatmen
in a small fishing smack began to sing the "Santa Lucia" beloved by the
Neapolitans. A handsome, middle-aged woman seated near us, touched to
tears by the penetrating sweetness of the song, as it reached us across
the waters, and with the _camaraderie_ induced by the common hap of
travel, has just whispered in my ear that her husband proposed to her at
Bellagio. I fancied the happy pair floating about in a boat with a
beautiful brown and yellow sail, but the lady has destroyed my picture
by telling me that she was over in New York at the time. It appears that
a timid and somewhat uncertain admirer, the kind that we read about in
old-fashioned novels, as he strolled by the shores of the lake at
twilight, heard a boatman singing her favorite song and the melody of
"Santa Lucia" floating forth upon the still air, coupled with the beauty
of the scene, so wrought upon his feelings that he forthwith wrote her a
love letter by the flickering light of a _bougie_. This little incident
dates back to the more romantic if less comfortable days before
electricity came to light our way, even in remote places.

                                                         August 11th.

There are so many châteaux to be visited, and so many excursions on the
lake to be made that we could stay here a month and have a charming plan
for each day. This morning, we climbed a winding mountain path to the
Villa Serbelloni and wandered through the hillside garden, with its
grottoes and tunnels, to a natural balcony overhanging a precipice of
sheer rock that rises above the lake. From this height there is a view
of the whole northern part of Lake Como, with the Alps beyond, and here
one realizes the beauty of Bellagio which along the water front is but a
long line of shops. Situated on the extreme end of the point of land
that separates Lake Como from its southern arm, the Lago di Lecco, the
little town rises upon its terraces, and with its steep, narrow streets
and winding paths, is as picturesque as only an Italian hillside
_villagio_ can be.

On this Punta di Bellagio is situated one of the numerous villas of the
younger Pliny; another villa we saw, near the curious intermittent
spring, which he described in his letters. This Larian Lake, as the
ancients called it, is full of classic associations, and of those of a
later time connected with Italy's heroic struggle for independence, for
the Villa Pliniana was once the home of the heroic and beautiful
Princess Christina Belgiojoso, the friend of Cavour and Garibaldi, who
equipped a troop of Lombardy volunteers which she herself commanded,
until she was banished from Italy by order of the Austrian general.

Gazing upon the blue lake, on whose shining bosom the rocky shores were
so charmingly mirrored, to-day, it was difficult to believe that great
storms ever sweep over its still waters, yet habitués of this region
tell us that this Punta di Bellagio is the centre of furious storms, the
most violent coming from behind Monte Crocione, back of Cadenabbia, and
sweeping with great fury across the lake. Such a storm as this was the
memorable one of 1493, upon whose violence chroniclers of the time
delighted to descant. This particular tempest, which was probably no
more severe than many others, found a place in history and romance
because its unmannerly waters tossed about the richly decorated barge of
Bianca Sforza, whose marriage to Maximilian, King of the Romans, had
been solemnized with great magnificence, at the cathedral in Milan,
three days before. The bridal party set forth from Como in brilliant
sunshine, the shores crowded with men and women in holiday attire, and
the air filled with joyous music. Bianca's barge was rowed by forty
sailors, says Nicolo da Correggio, while her suite followed in thirty
boats, painted and decked out with laurel boughs and tapestries. This
gay _cortège_ reached Bellagio in safety, and after a night spent at a
castle on the promontory the bride and her attendants set sail toward
the upper end of the lake. Hardly had they left the shore when the
weather changed, and a violent storm scattered the fleet in all
directions. Bianca's richly decorated barge, with her fine
hundred-thousand-ducat trousseau aboard, was tossed about as mercilessly
as if it had been a fisherman's smack. The poor young Queen and her
ladies wept and cried aloud to God for mercy. Giasone del Maino, says
the chronicler, alone preserved his composure, and calmly smiled at the
terror of the courtiers, while he besought the frightened boatmen to
keep their heads. Happily, the tempest subsided toward nightfall, and
the Queen's barge, with part of her fleet, succeeded in putting back
into the harbor of Bellagio. The following day a more prosperous start
was made, and poor Bianca was saved from the terrors of the deep to make
another perilous journey, this time across the Alps on muleback, by that
fearful and cruel mountain of Nombray, as a Venetian chronicler
described the Stelvio Pass. She finally reached Innsbruck, where she was
joined, some months later, by her tardy and cold-hearted bridegroom.

We had seen Bianca's handsome bronze effigy in the Franciscan church at
Innsbruck, and so felt a personal interest in the fair young bride who
had been launched forth upon this matrimonial venture with so much pomp
and ceremony, her head crowned with diamonds and pearls, and her long
train and huge sleeves supported by great nobles of Milan. Foolish and
light-headed the young Queen doubtless was, and with some childish
habits which must have been annoying to her grave consort, many years
her senior,--Erasmo Brasca, the Milanese envoy, says that he was obliged
to remonstrate with her for the silly trick of eating her meals on the
floor instead of at table,--and yet she was a warm-hearted, affectionate
girl, and like many another princess of that time, she deserved a
happier fate than the loveless marriage that had been arranged for her.
Our memories are quite fresh about Bianca and her sorrows, because an
accommodating tourist, who had Mrs. Ady's "Beatrice d'Este" with her,
has loaned it to us for reading in the evenings--at least for as much
time as we can afford to spend in-doors when the out-door world is so

                                                         August 12th.

The man of the party and the children set forth early this morning for
a day's fishing on the lake, Walter having learned from a loquacious
boatman that trout of large size, frequently weighing fifteen pounds,
are to be caught here. We women, lacking the credulity of the true
brother of the angle, declined Walter's invitation, preferring a morning
at the Villa Carlotta to "the calm, quiet, innocent recreation of
angling," although we did encourage the fisher-folk by telling them that
we should return from sightseeing with keen appetites for their trout.

The villa, or château, which we visited to-day, situated on a hillside
directly opposite Bellagio, is not that in which Maximilian and Carlotta
passed some happy years before the misfortunes of their life overtook
them. That villa, as you may remember, is on the southern shore of Lake
Como, at Cernobbio. The fact of there being two Villas Carlotta on the
same lake is somewhat confusing, as will appear later. This one, whose
beautiful hillside gardens reach from Cadenabbia to Tremezzo, our
informing little local guidebook tells us, was long known as the Villa
Clerici, later as the Villa Sommariva, and finally, failing of heirs in
the Sommariva line, it was bought by the Princess Albert of Prussia, who
named the villa after her own daughter Charlotte.

We crossed from Bellagio to Cadenabbia in one of the little boats with
brown awnings and gay cushions, that add so much to the picturesqueness
of this fairy lake, and made our way to the Villa Carlotta, passing
through the richly wrought iron gates and up many steps to the terraced
garden where a fountain throws its feathery spray into the air. We were
all three in such high spirits as befit a party of pleasure seekers,
journeying through a land of enchantment on a brilliantly beautiful day,
for it must be admitted that in a downpour of rain Lake Como and its
shores are like any other places in the rain. Miss Cassandra, who is gay
even under dull skies and overhanging clouds, is gayer than usual
to-day, having donned a hat in which she takes great pride, a hat of her
own confection, which she is pleased to call a "Merry Widow," and an
indecorously merry widow it is, so riotous is it in its garnishings of
chiffon, tulle and feathers! Thus far Lydia has prevented her aunt from
appearing, in public, in her cherished hat; but here, in the lake
region, where the sun is scorching at midday, she rebels against Lydia's
authority, says she has no idea of having her brains broiled out for the
sake of keeping up a dignified and conventional appearance, and that
this hat is just the thing for water-parties, and is not at all extreme
compared with the peach-basket, the immense picture hat with its
gigantic willow plumes, the grenadier, and other fashionable
monstrosities in the way of headgear. Our jaunt to Cadenabbia appeared
to be the psychological moment for the inauguration of the merry widow,
and so I may say, truly and literally, that our Quaker lady is in fine
feather to-day, her head crowned with nodding plumes, and not a qualm of
conscience anent the far-away meeting and its overseers to cloud her

Whether in consequence of the charms of the merry widow, or because of a
certain distinctive individuality that belongs to her, Miss Cassandra
attracted even more attention than usual this morning. While we were
admiring the noble Thorwaldsen reliefs, that form the frieze of the
entrance hall, and the exquisite marble of Cupid and Psyche by Canova,
that is one of the glories of the Villa Carlotta, she, as is her
sociable wont, fell into conversation with two English-speaking women of
distinguished appearance. Before we left the château Miss Cassandra and
one of her new friends, a stately, beautiful woman, were exchanging
confidences and experiences with the freedom and intimacy of two
schoolgirls. These ladies, whom Miss Cassandra is pleased to call the
American countesses,--it having transpired in the course of conversation
that they were of American birth, Pennsylvanians in fact, who had
married titled Italians,--were courteous to us all, but they simply
fell in love with our Quaker lady, whose "thee's" and "thou's" seemed to
possess a magic charm for them.

Later on we were in some way separated from our new acquaintances amid
the intricacies of these winding hillside paths, where one may walk
miles, especially if the guide is clever and entertaining, and has an
eye to future _lira_ bestowed in some proportion to the time spent in
exploring the beauties of the garden, and to the fatigue attending the
tour. Italian dames of high degree, even if so fortunate as to have been
born in America, are not usually as good walkers as our untitled
countrywomen. These ladies, being no exception to the rule, had probably
yielded to the seductions of one of the rustic seats, placed so
alluringly under the shade of fine trees, while we wandered on from path
to path, stopping to admire an avenue of palms, a bamboo plantation, a
blue Norway spruce, a huge India-rubber tree, a bed of homelike American
ferns, or a clump of gorgeous rhododendrons, for the trees and flowers
of all climes thrive in this favored spot. A party of four or five men
and women had joined us, who talked to each other in German,
occasionally bowing to us and smiling, after the polite fashion of
foreigners, when the guide drew our attention to some rare flower or
plant, or to a charming vista of lake and mountain, seen through a frame
of interlacing branches and vines. An immense bed of cactus, on a sunny
slope, attracted the regard and admiration of our companions. Miss
Cassandra, who had seen the cactus in its glory on its native heath,
recognized the strangers' admiration even in an unknown language, and by
way of protest expatiated in her enthusiastic fashion upon the splendor
of the cactus of Mexico, the plumes of her hat waving in unison with her
eloquent words and gestures, while Lydia and I exchanged amused glances;
but our merriment was destined to be but short lived. The strangers, who
were standing near us, could not, of course, get the drift of what Miss
Cassandra was saying, but one of the party, a man of strongly marked
personality, evidently caught the word "Mexico," and pricked up his ears
when she repeated it. In an instant, a heavy hand was laid upon her
shoulder, while an angry voice hissed close to her ear:

"Mexican, Mexican! Pourquoi avez-vous tué l'Empereur Maximilian?"

Not comprehending this sudden arraignment, although she felt the heavy
hand upon her shoulder, heard the angry voice at her side, and saw the
unfriendly faces that surrounded her, our dear Miss Cassandra, by way of
making matters worse, repeated the only word that she had caught:

"Mexican! Yes, the Mexican cactus is much finer than this!"

This innocent remark seemed to irritate the Austrian beyond all bounds.
He repeated his question in French, still keeping his hand on the poor
lady's shoulder and gazing into her frightened face.

"Why did you kill the Emperor Maximilian?" gesticulating with his free
hand and drawing it across his throat. "Pourquoi lui avez-vous coupé la

Lydia and I were too shocked and dismayed to speak, and in that instant
of terror every sad and gruesome disaster, that had befallen unprotected
travellers in a strange land, passed in rapid review before our minds.
We turned to the guide for help, but he who had been so voluble and
instructive in botanical lore, in several languages, now held his tongue
in them all, appearing quite dull and uninterested, as if having no
understanding or part in the affair! Suddenly my voice came to me, and I
cried out in the best French that I could command: "The Emperor
Maximilian did not have his throat cut! He died like a soldier! He was

"Well, then," exclaimed the Austrian, still gesticulating violently with
one hand and shaking Miss Cassandra's shoulder with the other, "Why did
you shoot him!"

Not having improved the situation by my remark, I turned again to the
guide, when, to our immense relief, the American countesses, most
opportunely, emerged from a shaded path. Miss Cassandra's pale,
frightened face, the despair written upon Lydia's and mine, the
stranger's excited tone and gestures, told half the story, while I
eagerly explained:

"These people are Austrians. They think that Miss Cassandra is a
Mexican, and they hate her on account of the assassination of the
Emperor Maximilian. She is frightened to death, but she does not
understand a word of what it is all about. Do explain!"

The stately lady, Countess Z---- by name, drew near, threw her arm
protectingly around Miss Cassandra, and turning to the Austrian, with
an air of command, ordered him to take his hand off her shoulder,
explaining in German (German had never sounded so sweet to my ears) that
this lady was an American citizen who had simply travelled in Mexico.
The man listened and withdrew his hand, looking decidedly crestfallen
when she added: "The American nation had nothing to do with the most
unfortunate sacrifice of your young prince; in fact, the government at
Washington made an effort to avert the disaster. His death was deplored
in America, and you must remember that the whole affair was in a large
measure instigated by the ambitious designs of Napoleon III, who broke
faith with Maximilian, failed to send him the troops he had promised
him, and cruelly abandoned him to his fate."

The Austrian bowed low and humbly apologized, adding something in an
undertone about "Here in the grounds of the château where Maximilian and
Carlotta had once lived, seemed no place to talk about Mexico."

"You are quite mistaken!" exclaimed the Countess. "This is not the Villa
Carlotta that once belonged to Maximilian. That is quite at the other
end of the lake. This château, long the property of the Sommariva
family, passed in 1843 into the hands of the Princess Charlotte of
Prussia, who named it after her daughter, another Carlotta, and I hope a
happier one than the poor Empress Carlotta."

Again the Austrian bowed and apologized, this time to Miss Cassandra,
who, from his softened voice and deferential manner, realized that
whatever deadly peril had menaced her was happily averted, and throwing
her arms around the Countess Z----'s neck, she exclaimed, "My dear
countrywoman! Thee has the face of an angel and, like an angel, thee has
brought peace to our troubled minds. But for the life of me I cannot
tell what I have done to make that German so angry!"

When Miss Cassandra had learned what was the head and front of her
offending, she begged the Countess to explain that she was a woman of
peace, that war was abhorrent to her and all of her persuasion, and
finally she quite won the Austrian's heart by telling him that she had
no admiration for that upstart Bonaparte family (Miss Cassandra is
nothing if not aristocratic); that for her part she liked
old-established dynasties, like the Hapsburgs, and had always
considered the marriage of the daughter of a long line of kings with the
self-made Emperor a great come down for Maria Louisa. Please remember
that these are Miss Cassandra's sentiments, not mine, and how the dear
Italian-American lady managed to translate them into good German and
keep her face straight at the same time, I know not; but the Austrian
evidently understood, as he became more profusely apologetic every
moment, and well he might be for, as Miss Cassandra says, "No amount of
bowing and scraping and apologizing could make up for the fright he had
given us." But she is the most forgiving of mortals, as you know, and an
_entente cordiale_ having been established, through the mediation of our
two American-Italian _diplomatistes_, the two recent foes were soon
exchanging courtesies and scaling mountain paths together, hand in hand,
smiling, gesticulating, quite _en rapport_, without a syllable of
language between them, Miss Cassandra's nodding plumes seeming to
accentuate her expressions of peace and good will. While our Quaker lady
was stepping off gaily, her late tormentor now her willing captive,
Lydia, usually so quiet and self-contained, suddenly collapsed upon the
nearest seat and went off in a violent attack of hysterics. One of the
Austrian women rushed off for a glass of water, while the countesses
ministered to her, in true story-book fashion, having with them a bottle
of sal volatile which seems to be an important part of the equipment of
every well-appointed foreign lady. And what do you think that heartless
Lydia said between her laughter and her sobs? "If only one of us had had
a kodak with us, to take a snapshot of Aunt Cassie with the angry
Austrian berating her! Nobody will ever believe the story when we get
back to America, and then it would lose half its point without the merry

Of course we had tales of adventure to relate when reunited with our
family this evening. Walter warmly, and I believe with sincerity,
expressed his regret that he had not been with us, which regret was
probably all the more heartfelt because he had failed to catch the
fifteen pound trout or, indeed, I may add in all truthfulness, trout of
any size and weight.



                 PENSION BEAU-SÉJOUR, STRESA, Wednesday, August 17th.

WE REACHED this enchanting spot by a most circuitous and varied route,
which I outline for you, as you may be coming this way some time. From
Bellagio we crossed over to Menaggio, on Monday after _déjeuner_, where
we took an electric tram which brought us to Porlezza in less than an
hour. Here we found a boat awaiting us in which we enjoyed a two hours'
sail on beautiful Lake Lugano. At Lugano, which we reached before six o
'clock, we were in Switzerland, as we learned when the customs officers
visited our luggage, with no benefit to themselves and little
disturbance to us, and again when we found our beds at the hotel
supplied with feather counterpanes--and I may venture to say it with all
my love for Italy--by a scrupulous and shining cleanliness that belongs
more to the thrifty Swiss than to the amiable and less energetic
Italians. Lugano is full of quaint corners, interesting narrow streets,
market wagons, drawn by oxen, and stalls and carts on all sides, filled
with curios and native wares that would tempt the most blasé shopper.
Yesterday, being a market day when the peasants come in from the
surrounding country in their ox carts, and with their great panniers, or
_hottes_, on their backs, we found many delightful bits for our kodaks.
The children were especially interested in a woman who carried a pretty,
little young kid in her pannier, instead of the fruits and vegetables
that are usually to be seen in these great baskets, and a heavy load it
must have been! But these Swiss and Italian women are burden-bearers
from early childhood.

We needed a week instead of a day and night at Lugano, and let me advise
you and Allan not to travel on schedule time when you make your tour
through these lakes, as there are so many delightful side trips to be
made. Some pleasant Americans, whom we met at the hotel in Lugano, told
us that a day or two spent on the summit of Monte Generoso is well worth
while, as the view is one of the finest in Europe, embracing as it does
the chain of the Alps, the Italian lakes and the vast plains of
Lombardy as far as the Apennines. In addition to all this there are fine
woods and pasture lands upon this mountain top, and a hotel in which one
may sojourn in comfort, if comfort is to be considered when such
heavenly views are to be feasted upon.

We quitted Lugano after luncheon yesterday, having had time for only a
hurried visit to the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli and the famous
Luini frescoes. Another charming trip on the lovely Lago di Lugano
brought us to Ponte Tresa, from whence we journeyed by a steam tram
through an enchanting wild wood country, full of little hills and
rushing streamlets, to Luino. Do you wonder that Lisa calls this a fairy
journey? The change from car to boat and boat to car takes away all the
weariness of travel, and the varied beauties of lake and shore make this
an ideal trip, especially as we found ourselves transferred to another
boat at Luino which brought us straight to fairyland, here at Stresa.
The lights upon the many boats on the lake and in the hotels and villas
along the shore gave the little town a gala appearance, as if it were
celebrating our arrival, as Miss Cassandra suggested. Later on it
became humiliatingly evident that we had not been expected, our boat was
late, the cabs had all gone away, and it was with difficulty that we
secured enough conveyances for our party.

We drove many miles, so it seemed to us, by winding roads up a steep
hillside to this pension, where we finally found light, warmth, welcome
and good beds, of which last we were sorely in need. By morning light
the pension proves itself to be well named Beau-Séjour, as it is
delightfully situated on a hill above the lake, with a garden, which
slopes down to the town, full of oleanders and orange and lemon trees.
When I opened the _jalousies_ at my window, what should I see but dear,
snow-crested Monte Rosa and the rest of the Alpine chain, seeming quite
near in this crystal atmosphere, a perfect background for the
picturesque Borromean Islands, fairy islets in a silver lake!

"I really think that Maggiore is more beautiful than Como," I said,
reluctantly, for I have heretofore contended that Lake Como at Bellagio
is the most beautiful place on the face of the earth.

"Take what goods the gods provide you, Zelphine, and don't use up the
gray matter of your brain trying to find out which of these lakes you
like best," said Walter in his most judicial tone.

"Yes, but one really cannot help comparing these two lakes, and if we
give the preference to Maggiore we have Mr. Ruskin on our side, who
considers the scenery of Lake Maggiore to be the most beautiful and
enchanting of all lake scenery, so we read in a pleasant little book of
Richard Bagot's which we found on the drawing-room table, yet the author
says that for himself he has no hesitation in giving his vote in favor
of the Larian Lake for beauty of scenery and richness of historic

Despite his philosophy I truly think that the man of the party has left
his heart at Bellagio, as I heard him telling a brother angler, whom he
met at the boat landing, how fine he found the fishing there and that he
doubted the sport being as good at Stresa--at least for amateur
fishermen. The associations here are less inspiring than those of Como,
the presiding genius of Stresa being San Carlo Borromeo, whose thirst
for the blood of heretics gained for him the title of Saint. A great
bronze statue at Arona now proclaims his zeal for the Church. Miss
Cassandra, who has an optimistic faith in a spark of the divine in the
most world-hardened saint or sinner, reminds me of Carlo Borromeo's
heroic devotion to the sufferers from famine and the plague at Milan in
1570 and 1576. So, with a somewhat gentler feeling in our hearts toward
"the Saint," we turned our faces toward Isola Bella and its great
château, built by a later and more worldly-minded member of the
Borromean family, Count Vitaliano Borromeo. This château, which from the
lake side appears like a stronghold of ancient times, is fitly named the
Castello, and after admiring its substantial stone terrace and great
iron gates we were prepared for something more imposing than what we
found within. The large rooms, with their modern furniture and
paintings, some of them poor copies from the old masters, were strangely
out of harmony with the ancient exterior of the Castello; but they were
shown to us with great pride by the custodian, who must have found us
singularly unappreciative and lacking in enthusiasm, even when he
displayed a room in which the great Napoleon had once slept. When
Napoleon was here, and why, and whether he was here at all, does not
concern any of us especially, except Lydia, who having a turn for
history is always determined to find out how, why, when, and where. I am
glad that she does care, as her example is edifying to us all,
especially so to Christine and Lisa, who follow her about and ask
questions to their hearts' content, which she is never tired of
answering. The garden, we revelled in, and found it hard to believe that
the terrace, which rises to a height of one hundred feet, was once a
barren rock until Count Borromeo covered it with a luxuriant growth of
orange, olive, and lemon trees, cedars, oleanders, roses, camellias, and
every tree and plant that you can think of. It is really a bewilderingly
lovely garden, and we wandered through its paths joyously until we came
suddenly upon some artificial grottos at one end overlooking the lake.
These remarkable creations are so utterly tasteless, with masses of
bristling shellwork and crude, ungainly statues, that we wondered how
anything so inartistic could find a home upon Italian soil. The
children, however, found delight in the hideous grottos, were sure that
they had been robbers' dens, and fancied they heard the groans of
prisoners issuing from their cavernous openings. They were so
fascinated, as children always are by the mysterious and unknown, that
nothing but the pangs of hunger and promises of luncheon on a terrace
garden overlooking the lake reconciled them to leaving the garden and
the grottos.

[Illustration: A. Gebr. Wehrli, Photo.


We tried to forget the monstrosities of the château garden and to
remember only the beauty and the rich luxuriance of its trees and the
many flowering vines that clambered all over the shellwork terraces, as
if striving to conceal their rococo ugliness. Nor is it difficult to
forget unsightly objects here, when we have only to raise our eyes to
behold a scene of surpassing beauty,--Isola Madre and Isola dei
Pescatori look but a stone's throw from us across the shining water, and
beyond a girdle of snow mountains seems to encircle the lake, our
beloved Monte Rosa, white as a swan's breast, dominating them all.
Despite the distracting beauty of the outlook from our café, on the
terrace of a very indifferent looking hostel, we enjoyed our luncheon of
Italian dishes, crowned by an _omelette aux confitures_ of such
superlative excellence that even my inveterate American was ready to
acknowledge that it was the best omelet he had ever eaten anywhere.

We shall need a whole morning for Isola Madre, whose gardens are said to
be even more beautiful than those of Isola Bella. The sporting tastes of
the man of the party naturally draw him toward the allurements of Isola
dei Pescatori, but thither we shall decline to accompany him, for
picturesque as it appears from the shore, it is, on a more intimate
acquaintance, said to rival in unsavoriness the far-famed odors of the
city of Cologne.

                                                   ORTA, August 19th.

From Stresa we made a short _détour_, in order to have a day and night
here on the Lago d'Orta, which although comparatively near Lake Maggiore
is not often included in the itinerary of the fast traveling tourist,
who usually hurries to Arona, Stresa, and Pallanza, which, beautiful as
they are, lack something of the restful charm of this miniature lake set
in the midst of a circle of well-wooded hills. After Como and Maggiore,
which are like inland seas, the Lago d'Orta with its pretty island of
San Giulio, all so small that one may see the whole picture at a glance,
is indescribably lovely. The waters here are said to be of a deeper
blue than anywhere else in Italy, probably because the lake is fed from
springs which issue from its rocky bed. The whole town of Orta, as well
as the lake, is a blaze of color with the gay awnings of its many
loggie, its masses of scarlet and pink geraniums, cactus and oleanders,
its fruit stalls laden with melons, peaches and tomatoes, or poma d'oro,
and its blue sky over all. We cannot imagine Orta under any but a clear
sky, as our day here has been one of dazzling brilliancy. But it was not
solely for its beauty that the man of the party brought us to Orta, as I
discovered when I looked over a little local guidebook last night, and
learned that the Lago d'Orta is famous for its fish, and abounds in
trout of large size, pike, perch, and the agoni, a delicate little fish
for which Lake Como is also noted. After glancing over this illuminating
guidebook, and recalling the fact that the catch at Stresa had been poor
the day before, we were not surprised to hear arrangements being made
for an early start this morning. After reading aloud some extracts from
the guidebook, Miss Cassandra said, quite seriously:

"For ways that are dark and tricks that are vain commend me to a
fisherman or hunter. With all that Izaak Walton was pleased to say about
fishing being 'a calm, quiet, innocent recreation,' I have known the
best of men, even as good men as Walter, descend to duplicity and even
to prevarication when it came to a question of fish or game. Not that I
regret for a moment Walter's bringing us here. Orta is so beautiful that
the end justifies the means; but he might have told us why we were

Despite the innate and total depravity of fisher folk, I yielded to
Walter's and the children's persuasions and joined the fishing party
this morning, and a delightful day I had, seated in the stern of the
boat under one of the little canopies that you see in all the pictures
of this region. Here, well screened from the sun, with books and work,
and the lovely lake and shore to gaze upon, the hours passed so quickly
that I was surprised when we were told that it was time to land on the
Island of San Giulio for our noon déjeuner. I was in the midst of
relating the interesting experiences of the missionary priest Julius,
who is said to have founded a church here as early as 390, when we were
nearing the lovely little island named for him. The children were
naturally delighted with the priest's fertility of resource, which, like
that of the mother in their favorite "Swiss Family Robinson," was equal
to every occasion.

Having resolved to found a sanctuary upon the island whose solitary
beauty, as it rested upon the shining bosom of the lake, appealed to him
as it does to us to-day, and finding no boatmen upon the shore willing
to convey him thither, on account of the hideous monsters, dragons, and
serpents of huge size then inhabiting the place, good Julius, nothing
daunted by so trifling an inconvenience as the lack of a boat, used his
long cloak as a sail, and his staff as a rudder, and thus equipped
allowed himself to be blown across to the island.

"Of course, we know that there is nothing new under the sun, but who
would have thought of finding traces of the first aeroplane here, in
this quiet spot, far from the haunts of men?"

This from the man of the party, while Lisa exclaimed impatiently: "Now,
don't stop the story! What did the good priest do when he landed on the
island? Did he kill the beasts with his big stick?"

"We never heard of the 'big stick' flourishing among these lakes," said
Walter, as he wound up his line, and I explained to the children that
the hideous monsters fled before the beautiful face of the messenger of
peace and swam across the water to the mainland. A delightful
confirmation of the story, the children found in the church, where they
were shown a huge bone that belonged to one of these self-same monsters.

"Very like a whale," said Walter, while we were further edified by a
sight of the silver and crystal shrine under which repose the bones of
St. Julius removed from the little old church to this one of the seventh
century, which is a perfect miniature basilica. This was explained to us
by a priest, in Italianized French of the most mongrel description,
translated by me and listened to by Christine and Lisa with eager faces
and wide-open eyes.

When we related our experiences to Miss Cassandra, who had in our
absence visited the twenty chapels on the mainland erected in honor of
St. Francis of Assisi, she shook her head, knowingly, and said, "Lydia
and I have heard a great many wonderful tales, too, but it is worth
everything to be a child and ready to swallow anything from a gumdrop to
a whale."

The little girls take so much more interest in churches and shrines than
we had expected that we are half regretting our plan to leave them in a
French school in Lausanne while we make our tour among the Châteaux of
the Loire. I can hear you say, "Why not take them to Tours, for the
French there?" We know that the French of Tours is exquisite, but they
have had quite as much travel as is good for them, and then they have
little friends at the school in Lausanne whom they wish to join. "And
after all," as Miss Cassandra says, "American French can always be
spotted, no matter how good it may be." We were very much amused over
the criticism of a little American boy who had been educated in Italy.
He said of an English lady's correct and even idiomatic Italian, "Yes,
it's all right; but she doesn't speak in the right tune." We have so
many tunes in our own language that we are less particular than the
French and Italians, who treat theirs with the greatest respect.

To-morrow we leave this charming spot with great reluctance. We shall
doubtless find architectural beauty in Touraine, but we shall miss the
glorious mountain and lake views and these indescribable atmospheric
effects that we delight in. But, as the man of the party says, with
masculine directness, "Having started out to see the Châteaux of the
Loire, had we not better push on to Touraine?"

You cannot appreciate the full magnanimity of this advice without
realizing that Orta is a place above all others to please a man's fancy,
and that the fishing is exceptionally good. Miss Cassandra has taken
back her caustic expressions with regard to the devious ways of fisher
folk, or at least of this especial fisherman, and so, in good humor with
one another and with the world in general, we set forth for Lausanne, by
Domodossola and the Simplon. We shall have a Sunday in Lausanne to drink
in Calvinism near its source; Monday we arrange about the children's
school, and set forth for Touraine on Tuesday, stopping in Geneva for a
day and night.



                                                 GENEVA, August 24th.

LIKE Hawthorne, our first feeling upon returning to Switzerland, after
our sojourn in Italy, was of a certain chill and austerity in the
atmosphere, a lack of heartiness, in sharp contrast to the rich feast of
beauty, the warm color and compelling charm of Italian towns. This
impression was accentuated by the fact that it rained yesterday at
Lausanne and that we reached Geneva in the rain. We had one clear day,
however, at Lausanne, upon which we made a pilgrimage to Chillon, to the
great delight of the _Kinder_. Miss Cassandra insisted that we should
take the children to see this most romantic and beautiful spot, because,
she says, it is out of fashion nowadays, like Niagara Falls at home, and
that it is a part of a liberal education to see the Castle of Chillon
and read Byron's poem on the spot, all of which we did. It is needless
to tell you that Christine and Lisa considered this day on the lake and
in and about Chillon the most interesting educational experience of
their lives. We were glad to leave them at the pension in Lausanne with
a memory so pleasant as this, and for ourselves we carry away with us a
picture of the grim castle reaching out into the blue lake and beyond
that almost unrivalled line of Alpine peaks, white and shining in the
sun. After this there came a day of rain, in which we set forth for

"We have not seen him for three days until to-day," said the _garçon_
who waited on us at the terrace café of the hotel this morning, with a
fond glance toward the snowy crest of Mont Blanc rising above enveloping
clouds. It would not have occurred to us to call this exquisite pearl
and rose peak _him_, as did the _garçon_, who was proud of his English,
and much surer of his genders than we ever hope to be in his language,
or any other save our own; but we were ready to echo his lament after a
day of clouds and rain. To be in these picturesque old towns upon the
shores of the Lake of Geneva, and not to see Mont Blanc by sunlight,
moonlight, and starlight is a grievance not lightly to be borne; but
when a glory of sunshine dispelled the clouds and Mont Blanc threw its
misty veil to the winds and stood forth beautiful as a bride, in shining
white touched with palest pink, we could only, like the woman of the
Scriptures, forget our sorrows for joy that such a day was born to the

Days like this are rare in the Swiss autumn, and with jealous care we
planned its hours, carefully balancing the claims of Vevey, Yvoire,
picturesque as an Italian hillside town, Ferney, and Coppet. This last
drew us irresistibly by its associations with Madame de Staël and her
brilliant entourage, and we decided that this day of days should be
dedicated to a tour along the Côte Suisse of the lake, stopping at Nyon
for a glance at its sixteenth century château and returning in time to
spend a long afternoon at Coppet. The only drawback to this delightful
plan was that this is Wednesday, and according to the friendly little
guidebook that informs sojourners in Geneva how to make the best of
their days, Thursday is the day that the Château de Staël is open to
visitors. Learning, however, that the d'Haussonvilles were not at
present in residence, we concluded to take our courage, and some silver,
in our hands, trusting to its seductive influence upon the caretaker.
After a short stroll through the quaint old town of Coppet we ascended
the steep hill that leads to the Château de Staël. As we drew near the
entrance gate, Walter, manlike, retired to the rear of the procession,
saying that he would leave all preliminaries to the womenfolk, as they
always knew what to say and generally managed to get what they wanted.

Fortune favored us. We noticed several persons were grouped together in
the courtyard, and pushing open the gate, which was not locked, Lydia,
who if gentle of mien is bold of heart, inquired in her most charmingly
hesitating manner and in her Sunday best French whether we should be
permitted to enter. Upon this a man separated himself from the group and
approaching us asked if we very much wished to see the château, for if
we did he was about to conduct some friends through the premises and
would be pleased to include us in the party.

"When the French wish to be polite how gracefully they accord a favor!"
exclaimed Lydia, turning to Walter, the joy of conquest shining in her
blue eyes.

"Yes, and I kept out of it for fear of spoiling sport. Any caretaker who
could withstand the combined charms of you three must be valiant
indeed! I noticed that Zelphine put Miss Cassandra in the forefront of
the battle; she is always a winner even if she isn't up to the language,
and you did the talking. Zelphine certainly knows how to marshal her

We all laughed heartily over Walter's effort to make a virtue of his own
masterly inactivity, and Miss Cassandra asked him if he had ever applied
for a diplomatic mission, as we gaily entered the spacious courtyard.

We noticed, as we passed on toward the château, the old tower of the
archives, which doubtless contains human documents as interesting as
those published by Count Othenin d'Haussonville about his pretty
great-grandmother when she was _jeune fille très coquette_, with
numerous lovers at her feet. Behind the close-barred door of the tower
the love letters of Edward Gibbon to the village belle were preserved,
among them that cold and cruel epistle in which for prudential reasons
he renounced the love of Mademoiselle Curchod, whom he would "always
remember as the most worthy, the most charming of her sex."

Count d'Haussonville, who now owns Coppet, our guide informed us, is
not the grandson of Madame de Staël, as Lydia and I had thought, but her
great-grandson. Albertine de Staël married Victor, Duc de Broglie, and
their daughter became the wife of Count Othenin d'Haussonville, to whom
we are indebted for the story of the early love affair of his ancestress
with the historian of the Roman Empire. The sympathies of the reader of
this touching pastoral are naturally with the pretty Swiss girl, who
seems to have been sincerely attached to her recreant lover, although
she had sufficient pride to conceal her emotions. If Edward Gibbon found
excuse for himself in the reported tranquillity and gayety of
Mademoiselle Curchod, we, for our part, are glad that she did not wear
her heart upon her sleeve, there being other worlds to conquer. Indeed,
even then, several suitors were at Mademoiselle Curchod's feet, among
them a young parson,--her father being a pastor, young parsons were her
legitimate prey,--and still greater triumphs were reserved for her in
the gay world of Paris which she was soon to enter. As _dame de
compagnie_, Mademoiselle Curchod journeyed with Madame Vermenoux to the
French capital, and carried off one of her lovers, M. Necker, under her
very eyes. The popular tradition is that Madame Vermenoux was well tired
of M. Necker and of Mademoiselle Curchod also, and so cheerfully gave
them both her blessing, remarking with malice as well as wit: "They will
bore each other so much that they will be provided with an occupation."

It soon transpired that M. and Mme. Necker, far from boring each other,
were quite unfashionably happy in their married life, some part of which
was passed at Coppet, which M. Necker bought at the time of his
dismissal from office.

An hour of triumph came to Madame Necker later when Edward Gibbon
visited her in her husband's home in Paris. After being hospitably
invited to supper by M. Necker, the historian related that the husband
composedly went off to bed, leaving him _tête-à-tête_ with his wife,
adding, "That is to treat an old lover as a person of little

The love affairs of the Swiss pastor's daughter, her disappointments,
her triumphs, and her facility for turning from lost Edens to pastures
new, would be of little interest to-day did they not reveal certain
common characteristics possessed by the lively blue-stocking, Susanne
Curchod, and her passionate, intense daughter, Anne Germaine de Staël.
The well-conducted Madame Necker, whose fair name was touched by no
breath of scandal, possessed all her life a craving for love, devotion,
and admiration, which were accorded to her in full measure. With the
mother, passion was restrained by fine delicacy and reserve, and her
heart was satisfied by a congenial marriage, while the impetuous and
ill-regulated nature of Germaine was thrown back upon itself by an early
and singularly ill-assorted union.

With many thoughts of the two interesting women who once lived in the
château we passed through the doorway into the hall, on whose right-hand
side is a colossal statue of Louis Seize, while on the left are
portraits of several generations of d'Haussonvilles. On the stairway are
numerous genealogical charts and family trees of the Neckers, doubtless
reaching back to Attila, if not to Adam, for strange as it may seem the
great Swiss financier was as much addicted to vain genealogies and
heraldic quarterings as a twentieth century American.

It was in the long library, with its many windows opening out upon a
sunny terrace, that we came upon traces of the presiding genius of the
château. Here are Madame de Staël's own books, the cases unchanged, we
were assured, except by the addition of new publications from time to
time. On a table, among the most treasured possessions of the devoted
daughter, is the strong box of M. Necker in which he kept his accounts
with the French Government when he sought to stem the tide of financial
disaster that was bearing the monarchy to its doom.

From this room instinct with the atmosphere of culture, a fit setting
for the profoundly intellectual woman who inhabited it, we stepped
through one of the long windows to the terrace which commands a glorious
view. In the distance, yet not seeming very far away in this clear air,
is that well-known group of which Mont Blanc is the central peak, with
the Dent du Géant and the Aiguilles du Glacier and D'Argentière standing
guard over its crystalline purity. We had seen Mont Blanc and its
attendant mountains from the heights of Mont Revard, and knew its
majestic beauty as seen from Chamounix; but we all agreed that nothing
could be lovelier than these white peaks rising above the sapphire
lake, with the blue cloud-flecked sky over all. Yet, with this perfect
picture spread before her, Madame de Staël longed for the very gutters
of Paris, its sights and sounds, which were inseparably associated in
her mind with the joyous chatter of the salon to which she had been
introduced at an age when most children are in the nursery. Seated upon
a high chair in her mother's salon, little Anne Germaine Necker listened
eagerly to the discourses of the great men of her day. Listening was not
destined to be her _rôle_ in later years; but to pace up and down the
long drawing room at Coppet, with the invariable green branch in her
beautiful hands, uttering words that charmed such guests as Schlegel,
Sismondi, Bonstetten of Geneva and Chateaubriand. It was Chateaubriand
who said that the two magical charms of Coppet were the conversation of
Madame de Staël and the beauty of Madame Récamier.

Madame de Staël's library opens into her bedroom, and beyond this is the
charming little apartment dedicated to Madame Récamier. This small,
dainty room, with hand-made paper upon its walls of delicate green
decorated with flowers and birds, seemed a fit setting for the
flower-like beauty who occupied it, a lily that preserved its purity
amid the almost incredible corruption of the social life of the period.

Madame de Staël's own bedroom is filled with pictures, and souvenirs of
the _vie intime_ of one who with all her faults was dowered with a
limitless affection for her family and friends. Here is a marble bust of
the beautiful daughter Albertine in her girlhood, and on the right of
Madame de Staël's bed is a portrait of her mother, in water color
painted during her last illness, the fine, delicate old face framed in
by a lace cap. On the margin of this picture is written, "Elle m'aimera
toujours." Under this lovely water color is the same picture reproduced
in black and white, beneath which some crude hand has written in English
the trite phrase, "Not lost, but gone before."

In a glass case are Madame de Staël's India shawls, which, like
Josephine de Beauharnais and other women of the period, she seems to
have possessed the art of wearing with grace and distinction. One of
these shawls appears in the familiar portrait by David, which is in a
small library or living room _au premier_; this we reached by climbing
many stairs. It is quite evident that David was not in sympathy with his
sitter, as in this painting he has softened no line of the heavy
featured face, and illumined with no light of intellect a countenance
that in conversation was so transformed that Madame de Staël's listeners
forgot for the moment that she was not beautiful.

Quite near the portrait of the exile of Coppet, as she was pleased to
call herself, is one of Baron de Staël Holstein, in court costume,
finished, elegant, handsome perhaps, but quite insignificant. It is
surely one of the ironies of fate that the Baron de Staël is only
remembered to-day as the husband of a woman whom he seems to have looked
upon as his social inferior. In this living room is a large portrait of
M. Necker, indeed, no room is without a portrait or bust of the idolized
father, and here, looking strangely modern among faces of the First
Empire, is a charming group of the four daughters of the Count
d'Haussonville, the present owner of Coppet. Several portraits and busts
there are, in the drawing room, of beautiful Albertine de Staël, wife of
Victor, Duc de Broglie, whom Madame de Staël says that she loved for his
tenderness and sympathy.

In this spacious, homelike drawing room, furnished in the style of the
First Empire, and yet not too fine for daily use, we could imagine
Madame de Staël surrounded by her brilliant circle of friends, many of
whom had been, like herself, banished from the Paris that they loved.
She is described by Madame Vigée Lebrun, and other guests, as walking up
and down the long salon, conversing incessantly, or sitting at one of
the tables writing notes and interjecting profound or brilliant thoughts
into the conversation. "Her words," added Madame Lebrun, "have an ardor
quite peculiar to her. It is impossible to interrupt her. At these times
she produces on one the effect of an improvisatrice."

Ohlenschlager described the _châtelaine_ of Coppet as "living in an
enchanted castle, a queen or a fairy," albeit of rather substantial
proportions, it must be admitted, "her wand being the little green
branch that her servant placed each day by her plate at table." The time
of the Danish poet's visit was that golden period in the life of the
château when it was the _rendezvous_ of many of the savants of Germany
and Geneva. Into the charmed circle, at this time, entered Madame
Krüdener, that strangely puzzling combination of priestess and
coquette, whose Greuze face and mystic revelations touched the heart of
an Emperor. Standing in the long salon, which contains many portraits
and souvenirs of the habitués of Coppet, we realized something of the
life of those brilliant days, when the walls echoed to what Bonstettin
called "prodigious outbursts of wit and learning," and upon whose boards
classic dramas and original plays were acted, often very badly, by the
learned guests. Rosalie de Constant wrote that she trembled for her
cousin Benjamin's success in _Mahomet_, which _rôle_ he accepted with
confidence, while beneath the play at life and love the great tragedy of
a passionate human soul is played on to the end, for this is the period
of storm and stress, of alternate reproaches and caresses, from which
Benjamin Constant escaped finally to the side of his less exacting

After spending some weeks in the company of a hostess who could converse
half the day and most of the night with no sign of fatigue, it is not
strange that Benjamin Constant sometimes found himself wearied by the
mental activity of Coppet, where "more intellect was dispensed in one
day than in one year in many lands," or that Bonstettin said that after
a visit to the château, "One appreciated the conversation of insipid
people who made no demand upon one's intellect." And brilliant as was
that of the hostess, her guests doubtless hailed as a relief from mental
strain occasional days when she became so much absorbed in her writing
that she ceased for a while to converse, and they were free to wander at
will through the beautiful park, or to gather around the Récamier sofa,
still to be seen in one corner of the salon, where the lovely Juliette
held her court.

Madame Récamier, like Benjamin Constant, Sismondi, and many other
distinguished persons who had incurred the displeasure of Napoleon,
found what seems to us a gilded exile at Coppet in the home of the
Emperor's arch-enemy. The close friendship of Germaine de Staël and
Juliette Récamier, even cemented as it was by the common bond of
misfortune, is difficult to understand. That Madame de Staël kept by her
side for years a woman whose remarkable beauty and sympathetic charm
brought out in strong contrast her own personal defects, presupposes a
generosity of spirit for which few persons give this supremely
egotistical woman credit. She always spoke of Madame Récamier in
rapturous terms, and her "belle Juliette" and her "dear angel" seems to
have been free under the eyes of her hostess to capture such noble and
learned lovers as Mathieu de Montmorency, Prince Augustus of Prussia,
Ampère, and Chateaubriand. It was only when that ill-named Benjamin
Constant allowed his unstable affections to wander from the dahlia to
the lily that Germaine de Staël's anger was aroused against her friend.
For a short period Madame Récamier ceased to be the "belle Juliette" and
the "dear angel" of the mistress of Coppet until, with a truly angelic
sweetness of temper and infinite tact, she made Germaine understand that
she had no desire to carry off her recreant lover and so the friendship
continued to the end.

If it is difficult to understand the long friendship of Madame de Staël
and Juliette Récamier, it is quite impossible to follow with any
comprehension or sympathy the various loves of Germaine. One can perhaps
understand that after Benjamin Constant had escaped from her stormy
endearments she could turn for solace to young Albert Rocca, and yet
why did she still cling to Benjamin's outworn affection, and then, with
naïve inconsistency, declare that he had not been the supreme object of
her devotion, but that Narbonne, Talleyrand and Mathieu de Montmorency
were the three men whom she had most deeply loved?

Lydia said something of this, as we passed through the gate of the
château, upon which an elderly woman, who had been one of the guide's
party, turned to us and said abruptly, "Artistic temperament! Men have
been allowed a monopoly of all the advantages belonging to the artistic
temperament for so many years that it seems only fair to cover over the
delinquencies of women of such unquestioned genius as Germaine de Staël
and George Sand with the same mantle of charity."

These words of truth and soberness were spoken in a tone of authority,
almost of finality, and yet in the stranger's eyes there shone so kindly
and genial a light that far from being repelled by them, we found
ourselves discussing with her the loves of poets and philosophers as we
descended the steep hill that leads from the château to the garden café
at its foot. Here, led on by the pleasant comradeship induced by
travel, we continued our discussion over cups of tea and buns, while
Mont Blanc glowed to rose in the sunset light, and we wondered again how
Madame de Staël could ever have looked upon the shores of this beautiful
lake as a "terrible country," even if it was for her a "land of exile."

You will think that we have had enough pleasure and interest for one
afternoon, but you must remember that this is our one day in Geneva, and
although we have all been here before, we have never seen Ferney. Walter
discovered, in looking over the local guidebook, that this is the day
for Ferney, and that it is open until six o'clock. He found that we had
an hour after reaching the boat landing. Walter secured an automobile
and we set forth for the home of Voltaire, which is really very near

It was interesting to see the old philosopher's rooms and the gardens,
from which there is an extended view of the lake and mountains; but most
impressive after all is the little church which he built in his old age,
with the inscription on one end:


Walter has suddenly conceived the idea that there are some valuable
coins well worth a visit in the Ariana Museum which we passed on the way
to Ferney, so we have decided to gain a half day here by taking an
afternoon train to Dijon and stopping there over night. When you next
hear from me it will be from Mary Stuart's pleasant land of France and
probably from the Paris beloved of Germaine de Staël. Until then, _au
revoir, ma belle_.



                                HÔTEL DE LA CLÔCHE, DIJON, August 26th.

WE STOPPED at this interesting old town last night in order to break the
long journey from Geneva to Paris. Dijon, which has only been to us a
station to stop in long enough to change trains and to look upon
longingly from the car windows, proves upon closer acquaintance to be a
town of great interest. After a morning spent among its churches and
ancient houses and in its museum, we were quite ready to echo the
sentiments of an English lady whom we met at the _table d'hôte_, who
spends weeks here instead of days, and wonders why travellers pass Dijon
by when it is so much more worth while than many of the places they are
going to. So much is left of the ancient churches and buildings to
remind one of the romantic and heroic history of Dijon, that it seems
eminently fitting that we should make this stop-over, a visit to the
capital city of Burgundy being a suitable prelude to a sojourn among
the châteaux of the French kings, who had their own troubles with these
powerful lords of the soil. The present Hôtel de Ville was once the
palace of the Dukes of Burgundy. Little is now left of the original
building with the exception of the ancient kitchens, and these, with
their half-dozen great ventilating shafts, give one the impression that
those doughty old warriors had sensitive olfactories.

In the Cathedral of Saint Bénigne, who seems to be the patron saint of
Dijon, are the remains of the great Dukes of Burgundy, although their
magnificent tombs are in the museum. The Cathedral of Saint Bénigne has
a lovely apse and other architectural charms; but Notre Dame captivated
us utterly, so wonderful are its gargoyles representing man and beast
with equal impartiality, their heads and shoulders emerging from a rich
luxuriance of sculptured foliage, the whole indescribably beautiful and
grotesque at the same time. It is not strange that the carved figure of
a plump and well-fed Holy Father, with his book in one hand and food in
the other, sitting beside an empty-handed and mild-faced sheep, should
have called forth such lines as the following from some local poet,
evidently intended for the remarks of the sheep:

                     "LES ESPRITS-FORTS.

          Volontiers les humains s'apellent fortes-têtes
          Qui la plupart du temps ne sont que bonnes bêtes
          Et qui juste en raison de leurs étroits esprits
          De leurs maigres pensers sont beaucoup trop épris."

Other decorators and sculptors of these ancient buildings have, like Fra
Lippo Lippi, worked their own quaint conceits and humorous fancies into
their canvases and marbles, and we to-day are filled with wonder at
their cleverness, as well as over the excellence of their art, so
exquisite is the carving of leaf and branch and vine. One would need to
come often to the Galerie des Tours of Notre Dame to fully enjoy it, and
other beauties of this church, whose tower is crowned by a curious clock
with moving figures, called Jacquemart, after the Flemish mechanician
Jacques Marc who designed it. The Jacquemart, with his pipe in his
mouth, stolidly strikes the hours, undisturbed by the cold of winter or
the heat of summer, as some Burgundian poet of the sixteenth century has
set forth in a quaint rhyme.

Near the cathedral is a charmingly picturesque building called La Tour
de Bar, where René d'Anjou, Duke of Bar and Lorraine, was imprisoned
with his children. In the museum, which possesses many treasures in
painting and sculpture, we saw the magnificently carved tombs of
Philippe le Hardi and Jean Sans-Peur. Here, with angels at their heads
and lions couchant at their feet, the effigies of these Dukes of Valois
rest, surrounded by a wealth of sculpture and decoration almost
unequalled. It would be well worth stopping over night at Dijon if only
to see the magnificent tombs of these bold and unscrupulous old warriors
and politicians. Jean Sans-Peur planned and accomplished the
assassination of Louis d'Orléans and was himself overtaken by the
assassin a few years later. The tomb of the boldest and bravest of them
all, Charles le Téméraire, you may remember, we saw at Bruges. The lion
at the feet of the last Duke of Burgundy, with head upraised, seems to
be guarding the repose of his royal master, who in his life found that
neither statecraft nor armies could avail against the machinations of
his arch-enemy, Louis XI.

Beautiful and impressive as are these tombs, the true glory of Dijon is
that the great Bossuet was born here and St. Bernard so near, at
Fontaine, that Dijon may claim him for her own; and Rameau, the
celebrated composer; Rude, whose sculptures adorn the Arc de l'Etoile in
Paris; Jouffroy, and a host of other celebrities, as we read in the
names of the streets, parks, and boulevards, for Dijon, like so many
French cities and towns, writes her history, art, literature, and
science on her street corners and public squares, thus keeping the names
of her great people before her children.

When we were studying routes in Geneva yesterday it seemed quite
possible to go to Tours by Bourges and Saincaize, and thus secure a day
in Bourges for the cathedral of Saint Etienne, which is said to be one
of the most glorious in France, and not less interesting to see the
house of the famous merchant-prince who supplied the depleted coffers of
Charles VII, Jacques Coeur, the valiant heart to whom nothing was
impossible, as his motto sets forth. At the tourist office we were told
that such a crosscut to Tours was quite out of the question, impossible,
and that the only route to the château country was via Paris. It seemed
to us a quite useless waste of time and strength to go northward to
Paris and then down again to Tours, which is south and a little west,
but having no knowledge on the subject and no Bradshaw with us to prove
our point, we accepted the ultimatum, although Miss Cassandra relieved
her feelings by saying that she did not believe a word of it, and that
tourist's agents were a stiff-necked and untoward generation, and that
she for her part felt sure that we could cut across the country to
Saincaize and Bourges. However, when we hear the questions that are
asked these long-suffering agents at the tourist offices by people who
do not seem to understand explanations in any language, even their own,
we wonder that they have any good nature left, whatever their birthright
of amiability may have been. Here, in Dijon, we find that we could have
carried out our charming little plan, and Walter, realizing my
disappointment, suggests that we take an automobile from here to
Saincaize and then go by a train to Bourges and Tours. This sounds quite
delightful, but our Quaker lady, having turned her face toward the gay
capital, demurs, saying that "We have started to Paris, and to Paris we
had better go, especially as our trunks have been sent on in advance,
and it really is not safe to have one's luggage long out of one's sight
in a strange country." This last argument proved conclusive, and we
yielded, as we usually do, to Miss Cassandra's arguments, although we
generally make a pretence of discussing the pros and cons.

                                                 PARIS, August 29th.

When we reached Paris on Saturday we soon found out why we had come
here, to use the rather obscure phrasing of the man of the party, for it
speedily transpired that Miss Cassandra had brought us here with
deliberate intent to lead us from the straight and narrow path of
sightseeing into the devious and beguiling ways of the _modiste_. She
has for some reason set her heart upon having two Paris gowns, one for
the house and one for the street, and Lydia and I, being too humane to
leave her unprotected in the hands of a dressmaker who speaks no
English, spent one whole afternoon amid the intricacies of broadcloth,
messaline, and chiffon. Of course we ordered some gowns for ourselves
as a time-saving measure, although I really do not think it is usually
worth while to waste one's precious hours over clothes when there is so
much to be done that is better worth while. However, the shades of
mauve, and all the variants of purple, which are set forth so alluringly
in the windows are enough to tempt an anchorite, and no more decided
color attracts us, as blues and greens seem crude and startling beside
these soft shades, which came in with the half-mourning for King Edward
and are still affected by Parisians of good taste.

Our Quaker lady has become so gay and worldly-minded, since her signal
triumph with the American countesses in her merry widow, that we are
continually reminded of the "Rejuvenation of Aunt Mary," and Lydia and I
have to be on the alert to draw her away from the attractions of windows
where millinery is displayed, lest she insist on investing in a
grenadier, or in that later and even more grotesque device of the
_modiste_, the "Chantecler."

To compensate for the time lost at the dressmakers, we had two long
beautiful mornings at the Louvre and a Sunday afternoon at the
Luxembourg, followed by a cup of tea and a pleasant, sociable half-hour
at the Students' Hostel, on the Boulevard Saint-Michel, a delightful,
homelike inn where many young women who are studying in Paris find a
home amid congenial surroundings. A little oasis in the desert of a
lonesome student life, this friendly hostel seemed to us. Several women
whom we knew at home were pouring tea, and we met some nice English and
American girls who are studying art and music, and the tea and buns
brought to us by friendly hands made the simple afternoon tea take upon
it something of the nature of a lovefeast, so warm and kindly was the
welcome accorded us.

                                      PENSION B----, TOURS, August 30th.

We left Paris yesterday from the Station Quai d'Orsay for our journey of
three and a half hours to Tours. So near to Paris is this château land
of Touraine that we wonder why we have not all been journeying this way
full many a year, instead of waiting to be caught up and borne hither by
the tide of fashion, especially as our route lay through a land filled
with historic and romantic associations. It is impossible to pass
through this flat but picturesque country, with its winding rivers and
white roads shaded by tall poplars, and by such old gray towns as
Étampes, Orléans, Blois, and Amboise, without recalling the delight with
which we have wandered here in such goodly company as that of Brantôme,
Balzac, Dumas, and Madame de Sévigné.

It was upon this same Loire, which winds around many a château before it
throws itself into the sea, that Madame de Sévigné described herself as
setting forth from Tours at 5 o'clock on a May morning, in a boat, and
in the most beautiful weather in the world.

These boats on the Loire, as described by Madame de Sévigné, were
evidently somewhat like gondolas. "I have the body of my _grande
carosse_ so arranged," she wrote, "that the sun could not trouble us; we
lowered the glasses; the opening in front made a marvellous picture, all
the points of view that you can imagine. Only the Abbé and I were in
this little compartment on good cushions and in fine air, much at our
ease, altogether like _cochons sur la paille_. We had _potage et du
boulli_, quite warm, as there is a little furnace here; one eats on a
ship's plank like the king and queen; from which you see how everything
is _raffiné_ upon our Loire!"

Down this same river M. Fouquet, the great financier, fled from the
wrath of his royal master and the bitter hatred of his rival Colbert. On
the swift current the lighter sped, carried along by it and the eight
rowers toward Nantes and Fouquet's own fortress of Belle Isle, only to
be overtaken by Colbert's boat with its twelve sturdy oarsmen. Whatever
may have been the sins of Fouquet, he had so many charming traits and
was so beloved by the great writers of France--Molière, La Fontaine,
Madame de Sévigné, Pelisson, and all the rest whom he gathered around
him at his château--that our sympathies are with him rather than with
the cold and calculating Colbert. Putting their hands into the public
coffers was so much the habit of the financiers and royal almoners of
that period that we quite resent Fouquet's being singled out for the
horrible punishment inflicted upon him, and after all he may not have
been guilty, as justice often went far astray in those days, as in later

Whether or not M. Fouquet was the "Man with the Iron Mask," as some
authorities relate, we shall probably never know. Walter, who is not a
fanciful person, as you are aware, is inclined to believe that he was,
although his beloved Dumas has invented a highly dramatic tale which
makes a twin brother of Louis XIV, the mysterious "Man with the Iron

In the goodly company of Madame de Sévigné, her _fablier_, as she dubbed
La Fontaine, M. Fouquet, and our old friends the three Guardsmen, you
may believe that the journey from Paris to Tours did not seem long to
us. I must tell you of one contretemps, however, in case you, like us,
take the express train from the Quai d'Orsay. Instead of being carried
to our destination, which is a railroad courtesy that one naturally
expects, we were dumped out at a place about twenty miles from Tours. We
had our books and papers all around us, and were enjoying sole
possession of the compartment, when we were suddenly told to put away
our playthings and change cars. We asked "Why?" as we had understood
that this was a through train, but the only response that we could get
from the guard was, "St. Pierre le Corps, change cars for Tours!" So bag
and baggage, with not a porter in sight to help us, and Walter loaded
like a dromedary with dress-suit cases and parcels, we were hurried
across a dozen railroad tracks to a train which was apparently waiting
for us.

"What does it all mean?" exclaimed Miss Cassandra. "What have we to do
with St. Peter and his body? St. Martin and his cloak are what we
naturally expect here."

"To be sure," we all exclaimed in a breath, but we had actually
forgotten that St. Martin was the patron saint of Tours.

Miss Cassandra is worth a dozen guidebooks, as she always gives us her
information when we want it, and we want it at every step in this old
Touraine, which is filled with history and romance. She also reminds us
that between Tours and Poitiers was fought the great battle between the
Saracen invaders and the French, under Charles Martel, which turned back
the tide of Mohammedism and secured for France and Europe the blessings
of Christianity, and that in the Château of Plessis-les-Tours the famous
treaty was made between Henry III and his kinsman, Henry of Navarre,
which brought together under one flag the League, the Reformers, and the
Royalists of France.

As we drove from the station to the hotel, the coachman pointed out to
us the new church of St. Martin, which occupies a portion of the site of
the vast basilica of which two picturesque towers alone remain. We hope
for a nearer view of it to-morrow, and of St. Gatien, whose double
towers we can see from our windows at the Pension B----.

We had expected to stop at the Hôtel de l'Univers, which Mr. Henry James
and all the other great folk honor with their regard; but finding no
accommodations there we are temporarily lodged at this excellent
pension. Although called a hotel by courtesy, this house possesses all
the characteristics of a pension in good standing. There is no office,
nothing to suggest the passing of the coin of the realm between
ourselves and the proprietors. We are treated like honored guests by the
ancient porter and the other domestics; but of Madame, our hostess, we
have only fleeting visions in the hall and on the stairway, usually in a
pink _matinée_. Monsieur materializes on occasions when we need postage
stamps and change, and is most accommodating in looking up train times
for us. Above all, and most characteristic of all, there is in the
_salle à manger_ a long table surrounded by a dozen or more of our
countrywomen, _en voyage_ like ourselves.

Walter was at first somewhat disconcerted by this formidable array of
womankind without a man in sight, and at the dinner table confided to me
his sentiments regarding pensions in rather strong language, insisting
that it was like being in a convent, or a young ladies' seminary, except
that he had noticed that most of the ladies were not painfully young,
all this in an undertone, of course, when lo! as if in answer to his
lament, a man appeared and seated himself modestly, as befitted his
minority sex, at a side table by his wife. Walter now having some one to
keep him in countenance, we shall probably remain where we are and
indeed a harder heart than his, even a heart of stone, could not fail to
be touched by Miss Cassandra's delight at being surrounded by her
compatriots, and able to speak her own language once more with freedom.
The joyous manner in which she expands socially, and scintillates
conversationally, proves how keen her sufferings must have been in the
uncomprehending and unrequiting circles in which we have been living. It
goes without saying that she soon became the centre of attraction at
table, and so thrilled her audience by a spirited recital of her
adventures at the Villa Carlotta that the other man cried, "Bravo!" from
his side table, without waiting for the formality of an introduction.

"Quite different," as Walter says, "from the punctilious gentlemen in
the 'Bab Ballads' who couldn't eat the oysters on the desert island
without being duly presented."

Our new acquaintances are already planning tours for us to the different
châteaux of the Loire, while Walter and his companion, who proves to be
a United States Army man and quite a delightful person, are smoking in
the garden. This garden upon which our long windows open, with its many
flowers and shrubs and the largest gingko tree I have ever seen, would
hold us fast by its charms were the Pension B---- less comfortable than
it is.



                                   PENSION B----, TOURS, August 31st.

WE SET forth this morning on a voyage of discovery, and on foot, which
is the only satisfactory way to explore this old town, with its winding
streets and quaint byways and corners.

Our first visit was to the church of St. Martin of Tours, in the Rue des
Halles, which brought with it some disappointment, as instead of a
building so old that no one can give its date, we found a fine new
church, in whose crypt are the remains of St. Martin. The most ancient
basilica of St. Martin was erected soon after the death of the
benevolent saint, whose remains were carried by faithful members of his
diocese from Candes, where he died in the beginning of the fifth
century. This basilica was burned down in the tenth century, and another
erected on its site some years later. This last basilica, built in the
twelfth or thirteenth century, of vast size and beauty, was certainly
old enough to have been treated with respect, and its destruction a few
years ago to make way for a new street was, as Walter says, an act of
vandalism worthy of the councilmen of an American city. Of the old
church only two towers remain, the Tour de Charlemagne and the Tour de
l'Horloge, and the gallery of one of the cloisters. Over this imperfect
arcade, with its exquisite carvings of arabesques, flowers, fruits,
cherubs, and griffins, Mr. Henry James waxed eloquent, and Mrs. Mark
Pattison said of it: "Of these beautiful galleries the eastern side
alone has survived, and being little known it has fortunately not been
restored, and left to go quietly to ruin. Yet even in its present
condition the sculptures with which it is enriched, the bas reliefs,
arabesques, and medallions which fill the delicate lines of the
pilasters and arcades testify to the brilliant and decided character
which the Renaissance early assumed in Touraine."

If the present church of St. Martin was disappointingly new, we found
the Cathedral of St. Gatien sufficiently ancient, with its choir dating
back to the thirteenth century and its transept to the fourteenth, while
the newels of the two towers belong to a very much earlier church
dedicated to the first Bishop of Tours, and partly destroyed by fire in

[Illustration: Neurdein Freres, Photo.


Who St. Gatien was, and why he had a cathedral built in his honor, even
Miss Cassandra and Lydia do not know, and we have no good histories or
Lives of the Saints to refer to; verily one would need a traveller's
library of many volumes in order to answer the many questions that occur
to us in this city, which is so full of old French history, and English
history, too. Indeed it is quite impossible to separate them at this
period, when England owned so much of France and, as Miss Cassandra
says, her kings were always looking out of the windows of their French
castles upon some Naboth's vineyard that they were planning to seize
from their neighbors.

"Jolly old robbers they were," says Walter, "and always on top when
there was any fighting to be done. I must say, quite aside from the
question of right or wrong, that I have much more sympathy with them
than with the Johnny Crapauds. Here, in this foreign land of France, the
Plantagenet kings seem quite our own, and only a few removes in
consanguinity from our early Presidents."

We were glad to lay claim to the Cathedral of St. Gatien, which in a way
belongs to us, as the choir was begun by Henry II of England, although
it is to be regretted that a quarrel between this Plantagenet king and
Louis VII resulted in a fire which destroyed much of the good work. We
lingered long in the cloisters, and climbed up the royal staircase, with
its beautiful openwork vaulting to the north tower, from whose top we
may see as far as Azay-le-Rideau on a clear day.

This was, of course, not a clear day, as we are having hazy August
weather, so we did not see Azay, but from the tower we gained quite a
good idea of the general plan of Tours, and stopped long enough in the
cloisters to learn that the picturesque little gallery, called the
Cloître de la Psallette, was the place where the choir boys were once
trained. The façade of this cathedral seemed to us a beautiful example
of Renaissance style, although said to offend many of the canons of
architecture. We are thankful that we do not know enough about the
principles of architecture to be offended by so beautiful a creation,
and inside the church we were so charmed by the exquisite old glass,
staining the marble pillars with red, blue and violet, that we failed
to notice that the aisles are too narrow for perfect harmony. The
jewel-like glass of the Lady Chapel was brought here from the old church
of St. Julian in the Rue Nationale, once the Rue Royale, and is
especially lovely.

In a chapel in the right-hand transept we saw the tomb of the little
children of Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany, by whose early death the
throne of France passed to the Valois branch of the Orleans family.
Looking at the faces of these two children sleeping here side by side,
the little one with his hands under the ermine marble, the elder with
his small hands folded piously together, a wave of sympathy passed over
us for the unhappy mother who was in a few months deprived of both her
precious babies. As we stood by the tomb with its two quaint little
figures, guarded by kneeling angels at their heads and feet, beautiful,
appropriate, reverent, we wondered why modern sculptors fall so far
behind the ancient in work of this sort. The moderns may know their
anatomy better, but in sweetness and tender poetic expression the work
of the old artists is infinitely superior. This charming little group
was probably made by Michael Colombe, although it has been attributed to
several other sculptors of the time.

After a visit to the archbishop's palace, and a short stop at the
museum, which attracted us less than the outdoor world on this pleasant
day, we stopped at the Quai du Pont Neuf to look at the statues of
Descartes and Rabelais, so picturesquely placed on each side of the Pont
de Pierre. Retracing our steps by the Rue Nationale we strolled into the
interesting old church of St. Julian, where we admired the vast nave of
noble proportions and the beautiful stained glass. After wandering at
will through several streets with no especial object in view, we found
ourselves in a charming little park where we were interested in a
monument to three good physicians of Tours, a recognition of valiant
service to humanity that might well be followed by our American cities.
Just here my inveterate American reminded me of the monument in Boston
to the discoverer of ether, and that to Dr. Hahnemann in Washington.

"Both of them monstrosities of bad taste!" exclaimed Miss Cassandra, as
we turned into the Rue Emile Zola, and along the Rue Nationale to the
Palais de Justice, in one of whose gardens is a fine statue of the great
novelist who was born in the Maison de Balzac, near by on the Rue
Nationale. Through the streets George Sand and Victor Hugo, we found our
way to the theatre and then back to the Boulevard Béranger, upon which
our pension is situated.

"It is," as Miss Cassandra says, "a liberal education to walk through
the streets of these old French towns, and whatever may be the
shortcomings of the French, as a nation, they cannot be accused of
forgetting their great people."

As we stroll through these thoroughfares and parks we are constantly
reminded by a name on a street corner or a statue that this Touraine is
the land of Balzac, Rabelais, Descartes, and in a way of Ronsard and
George Sand, as the châteaux of La Poissonnière and Nohant are not far
away. Here they, and many another French writer, walked and dreamed,
creating characters so lifelike that they also walk with us through
these quaint streets and byways or look out from picturesque doorways.
We can fancy the Curé de Tours emerging from the lovely Cloître de la
Psallette of St. Gatien or the still lovelier cloister of old St.
Martin's; or we can see poor Félex de Vandenesse making his way across
the park, Emile Zola, with his meagre lunch basket on his arm. We have
not yet tasted the _rillons_ and _rillettes_ so prized by the school
children of Tours, and so longed for by Félex when he beheld them in the
baskets of his more fortunate companions. Lydia reminds us that Balzac
was at some pains to explain that this savory preparation of pork is
seldom seen upon the aristocratic tables of Tours, and as our pension is
strictly aristocratic and exclusive, it is doubtful if we ever see
_rillons_ and _rillettes_ upon Madame B----'s table.

                                                         September 1st.

We crossed over the bridge this afternoon in a tram to Saint Symphorien,
on whose hillside the original city of Tours was built. Here we saw an
interesting Renaissance church, and passing through the streets of Vieux
Calvaire l'Ermitage, Jeanne d'Arc and St. Gatien, gained the entrance to
the Abbey of Marmoutier, where Saint Gatien dug out his cave in the
rocky hillside. We also saw the ruins of a fine thirteenth century
basilica once the glory of Touraine, and by a spiral staircase ascended
to the _Chapelle des Sept Dormants_, really a cavern cut in the side of
the hill in the shape of a cross, where rest the seven disciples of St.
Martin, who all died on the same day as he had predicted. Their bodies
remained intact for days and many miracles were worked, which you may
believe, or not, just as you choose. When the name of the chapel was
revealed to Miss Cassandra she exclaimed: "I have heard of the Seven
Sleepers all my life and have been likened unto them in my youth; but
never did I expect to lay eyes upon their resting place, and very
uncomfortable beds they must have been!"

"So it was St. Gatien who first brought Christianity to France. Some one
of us should surely have known that," said Lydia, looking up from the
pages of a small local guidebook, with a face so dejected over her own
ignorance, and that of her companions, that Miss Cassandra said in her
most soothing tones:

"Never mind, dear, you will probably find when we reach the next
cathedral town that some other worthy and adored saint did this good
work for France."

And sure enough, this very night we have been learning, from a short
history that we picked up on a book stall, that, although St. Gatien
came here on a mission from Rome in the third century, to St. Martin is
due the spread of Christianity not only through Touraine but all over

Having done our duty in the line of sightseeing and historic
associations, we rested from our labors for a brief season and stopped
to call on the Grants from New York, who are staying in a pleasant
pension at St. Symphorien. Here we had an hour with them in the garden
where many flowers are abloom, and exchanged travel experiences and home
gossip over _brioches_, the famous white wine of Vouvray and glasses of
orange-flower water. Orange-flower water is the proper thing to drink
here as it is made in large quantities in the neighborhood of Tours. As
a refreshing and unintoxicating beverage it was highly recommended to
our Quaker lady, who does not take kindly to the wine of the country,
which is really guiltless of alcohol to any extent; but over this rather
insipid drink she was not particularly enthusiastic. Like the English
woman when she made her first acquaintance with terrapin, the most that
Miss Cassandra could be induced to say was that the _eau des fleurs
d'oranges sucrée_ was not so very bad. The English dame, of course, said
"it is not so very nasty"; but we have not become sufficiently
Anglicized to say "nasty" in company. There is no knowing what we may
come to when Angela joins us, as she has been visiting and motoring with
Dr. McIvor's English and Scotch relations for the last six weeks and
will have become quite a Britisher by the time we see her again. She is
to meet us in Paris later in September, when her M.D. will join us for
his vacation.

We returned home by the suspension bridge, built upon the site of an
early bridge of boats. A later stone bridge was erected by Odo, Count of
Blois and Touraine, "in order," as he recorded, "to make himself
agreeable to God, useful to posterity and upon the solicitations of his
wife." These were very good reasons, it must be admitted, for building a
bridge. The substructure of this old stone bridge, the first of its kind
in France, may be seen below the surface of the water a little farther
up the stream.

Royalty seems to have had the good taste to spend much time in Touraine
during the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, and small
wonder we thought, for this fertile well-watered plain combines the
advantages of north and south, and is hospitable to the fruits and
flowers of many climates. Louis XI, in his declining years, sought
refuge here from the chill winds of Paris, which are tempered in
Touraine by the softer breezes of the Midi, and this ancient city of the
Turones he wished to make the capital of the France that he had
strengthened and unified. However we may abhor the despicable
characteristics of this wily old politician and despot, we cannot afford
to underestimate his constructive ability and his zeal for the glory of

                                                        September 2nd.

We drove out this morning through the little village of St. Anne to the
old château of Plessis-les-Tours, which Louis built and fortified to
suit his fancy and his fears, for great and powerful as he was he seems
to have been a most timid mortal. Of the "hidden pitfalls, snares and
gins" with which the old King surrounded his castle we could not expect
to find a trace, but we were disappointed to see nothing left of the
three external battlemented walls or the three gates and dungeon-keep,
which Sir Walter Scott described, the latter rising "like a black
Ethiopian giant high into the air."

With our Quentin Durward in our hands, we read of Plessis-les-Tours as
the novelist pictured it for us in the light of romance. Of course Sir
Walter never saw this château, but like many other places that he was
not able to visit, it was described to him by his friend and neighbor,
Mr. James Skene, Laird of Rubislaw, who while travelling in France kept
an accurate diary, enlivened by a number of clever drawings, all of
which he placed at the novelist's disposal. From this journal, says
Lockhart, Sir Walter took the substance of the original introduction to
Quentin Durward. As Mr. James Skene is said to have given his friend
most accurate descriptions of the buildings and grounds, it is safe to
conclude that the château has been entirely remodelled since the days
when the young Scottish archer listened to the voice of the Countess
Isabelle, as she sang to the accompaniment of her lute while he acted as
sentinel in the "spacious latticed gallery" of the château. It is
needless to say that we failed to discover the spacious gallery or the
maze of stairs, vaults, and galleries above and under ground which are
described as leading to it. Nor did we see any traces of the
fleur-de-lis, ermines, and porcupines which are said to have adorned the
walls at a later date. Indeed the empty, unfurnished rooms and halls,
guiltless of paintings or tapestries, were so dismal that we hurried
through them. As if to add an additional note of discord to the
inharmonious interior, a "vaccination museum" has been established in
one of the ancient rooms. We stopped a moment to look at the numerous
caricatures of the new method of preventing the ravages of smallpox;
one, that especially entertained Walter, represented the medical faculty
as a donkey in glasses charged upon by vaccine in the form of a furious

We hoped to find in the grounds some compensation for the cheerlessness
of the interior of the castle; but here again we were doomed to
disappointment. The vast lawn and extensive parterres, which caused the
park of Plessis-les-Tours to be spoken of as the Garden of France, have
long since disappeared, and all that we could find was a grass-grown
yard with some neglected flower beds, surrounded by a hedge of fusane, a
kind of laurel with a small white flower that grows here in great
profusion. We made an effort to see, or to fancy that we saw, an
underground passage that was pointed out to us as that which once led to
the dungeon upon whose stone foundation was placed the iron cage in
which Cardinal la Balue was confined. Of the series of fosses which once
enclosed the château we found some remains, but of the solid ramparts
flanked by towers, where a band of archers were once posted by night and
day, and of the bristling _chevaux-de-frise_ nothing was to be seen.
Walter wishes you to tell Allen that the greatest disappointment of all
is that there is no oak forest anywhere near Plessis from whose boughs
the victims of Louis were wont to hang "like so many acorns," one of
Scott's bits of realism that appealed to his boyish imagination.

We were glad to turn our backs upon the modern brick building which
occupies the site of the ancient stronghold of Plessis and to drive home
by a farm called La Rabatière, whose fifteenth century building is said
to have been the manor house of Olivier le Daim, familiarly called
Olivier le Diable, the barber-minister of Louis. Our driver, who is
somewhat of an historian, and like a loyal Tournageau is proud of the
associations of his town, good and bad alike, was delighted to show us
this old home of Olivier who was, he informed us, the executioner of his
master's enemies of high degree, while Tristan l'Hermite attended to
those of less distinction, having, as Louis warned Quentin, "For him
whose tongue wagged too freely an amulet for the throat which never
failed to work a certain cure." The house of Tristan, our _cocher_ told
us, we should find in one of the narrow streets of the old part of
Tours, which we have not yet explored.



                                  PENSION B----, TOURS, September 3rd.

WHEN we started toward Langeais this afternoon we were pleased to think
that our way was much the same as that which Félix took in search of his
"Lily of the Valley." The Loire lay before us just as he described
it,--"a long watery ribbon which glistens in the sun between two green
banks, the rows of poplars which deck this vale of love with moving
tracery, the oak woods reaching forward between the vineyards on the
hillsides which are rounded by the river into constant variety, the soft
outlines crossing each other and fading to the horizon."


We passed by Luynes, whose steep hillside steps we shall mount some day
to see the fine view of the river and valley from the outer walls and
terrace of the château, as its doors are said to be inhospitable to
those who wish to inspect the interior. This afternoon Langeais and
Azay-le-Rideau are beckoning us, although we were tempted to stop for a
nearer view of the strange Pile de Cinq Mars, which is, we are told, an
unsolved architectural puzzle. The most probable explanation is that
this lofty tower was once part of a signalling system, by beacon fires,
which flamed messages along the valley, past Luynes to the Lantern of
Rochecorbon and as far eastward as Amboise.

Although there are the ruins of a castle of the same name quite near the
Pile de Cinq Mars, the home of Henry d'Effiat, Marquis de Cinq Mars,
seems to have been at Chaumont, where Alfred de Vigny placed the opening
scenes of his novel.

To compensate for our disappointing morning at Plessis-les-Tours, we had
an entirely satisfactory afternoon at Langeais, where we beheld a
veritable fortress of ancient times. At a first glance we were as much
interested in the little gray town of Langeais, which is charmingly
situated on the right bank of the Loire, as in the château itself, whose
façade is gloomy and austere, a true mediæval fortress, "with moat,
drawbridge, and portcullis still in working order," as Walter expresses
it. As we stood on the stone steps at the entrance between the great
frowning towers waiting for the portcullis to be raised, we felt as if
we might be in a Scott or Dumas novel, especially as our Quaker lady
repeated in her own dramatic fashion:

      ". . . . And darest thou then
               To beard the lion in his den,
                 The Douglas in his hall?
               And hopest thou hence unscathed to go?
               No, by Saint Bride of Bothwell, no!
               Up drawbridge, grooms--what, warder, ho!
                 Let the portcullis fall."

               Lord Marmion turn'd,--well was his need,--
               And dashed the rowels in his steed,
               Like arrow through the archway sprung,
               The ponderous gate behind him rung;
               To pass there was such scanty room,
               The bars, descending, razed his plume.


Fortunately for us the portcullis rose instead of falling, and so, with
plumes unscathed, we passed through the doorway, and as if to add to the
_vraisemblance_ of the situation and make us feel quite mediæval,
soldiers stood on each side of the entrance, apparently on guard, and it
was not until after we had entered the château that we discovered
them to be visitors like ourselves.

If the façade of Langeais, with its severe simplicity and solidity, its
great stone towers, massive walls, _chemin de ronde_ and machiolated
cornices, gave us an impression of power and majesty, we found that it
also had a smiling face turned toward the hill and the lovely gardens.
Here the windows open upon a lawn with turf as green and velvety as that
of England, and parterres of flowers laid out in all manner of
geometrical figures. From a court basking in sunshine, two beautiful
Renaissance doors lead into the castle. Through one of them we passed
into a small room in which the inevitable postcards and souvenirs were
sold by a pretty little dark-eyed French woman, who acted as our guide
through the castle. We begged her to stand near the vine-decked doorway
to have her photograph taken, which she did with cheerful alacrity. Some
soldiers, who were buying souvenirs, stepped through the doorway just in
time to come into the picture, their red uniforms adding a delightful
touch of color as they stood out against the gray walls of the château.
It was a charming scene which we hoped to be able to send you, but
alas! a cloud passed over the sun, and this, with the dark stone
background, made too dull a setting, and by the time the sun was out
again our guide was in request to take a party of tourists through the
château, ourselves among them. Langeais is so popular during this busy
touring season that hours and turns are strictly observed.

One of the soldiers is evidently the _cher ami_ of our pretty Eloisa,
who waved her little hand to him as she sent a coquettish glance from
her fine eyes in his direction, and threw him a kiss, after which she
applied herself to her task as cicerone, conducting us from room to
room, enlarging upon the history and associations of the château, and
explaining to us that of the original castle, built by Foulques Nerra,
or "Fulk the Black," in 990, only the ruinous donjon keep is to be seen
beyond the gardens. The present château is of much later date, and was
built by Jean Bourré, comptroller of the finances for Normandy under
Louis XI, who was granted letters patent of nobility and the captaincy
of Langeais about 1465. After listening to thrilling tales of the
barbarous cruelty of Fulk the Black, Count of Anjou, who had his first
wife burned at the stake and made himself very disagreeable in other
ways, as our guide naïvely remarked in French of the purest Touraine
brand, Lydia exclaimed, "The more perfect the French, the easier it is
to understand!"

"It is all the same to me, good or bad," groaned Walter in reply to
Lydia's Ollendorf phrase, uttering quite audible animadversions against
foreign languages in general and the French in particular, which our
guide fortunately did not comprehend, especially as he concluded with a
crushing comparison, "Why are not all the guides like that wonderful
little woman at the Castle of Chillon, who told her story in English,
French, and German with equal fluency and facility?"

"Why, indeed!" echoed Miss Cassandra, who being a fellow sufferer is
most sympathetic.

It certainly is exasperating to a degree to have the interesting history
and traditions given forth in a language that one does not understand,
and with such rapidity that if those who are able to grasp the meaning
attempt to translate they quite lose the thread of the discourse and are
left far behind in the story.

As we passed through the great halls and spacious rooms with timbered
ceilings, tapestried walls, and beautifully tiled floors, we were
impressed with the combination of mediæval strength and homelike
comfort, especially in the living rooms and bedrooms. The graceful mural
decorations of flowers and cherries in the Salon des Fleurs are in
strong contrast with the massive woodwork and the heavy carved
furniture, and yet the ensemble is quite harmonious. In the guard room
we noticed a fine frieze in which the arms of Anne of Brittany are
interwoven with her motto, "_Potius Mori quam Foedari!_"

From this and much more in the line of careful restoration and rich
decoration and furnishing, you may believe that the interior of Langeais
has undergone a transformation, at the hands of several owners of the
château, since the days when Mr. Henry James spoke of its apartments as
"not of first-class interest." M. Christophe Baron and Monsieur and
Madame Jacques Siegfried have, while preserving the distinctive
characteristics of an ancient fortress, made of Langeais an entirely
livable château.

Just here we are reminded by our historians that we Anglo-Saxons have a
link far back in our own history with Langeais and the cruel Fulk, Duke
of Anjou, as one of his descendants married Matilda, daughter of Henry
I, of England, and their grandson was Richard Coeur de Lion, who was
Count of Touraine and Lord of Langeais as well as King of England.

In the beautiful long salon, with its wonderful sixteenth century
tapestries and handsomely carved Spanish choir stalls, our guide became
especially eloquent, telling us that this was the room in which Charles
VIII and Anne de Bretagne were married, the inlaid table in the centre
being that upon which the marriage contract was signed.

"What is the little black-eyed woman talking about?" asked Miss
Cassandra, in a most pathetic tone. Fortunately, our cicerone gave us
more time in this room than in the others, and as we stood by the
windows which look out upon the court and gardens, a blaze of color in
the September sunshine, Lydia and I tried to explain about the very
remarkable marriage solemnized in this château between the heiress of
Brittany and the young King of France.

Odd as royal marriages usually are, this was especially melodramatic, as
the royal lover seems to have set forth to meet the lady of his choice
with a sword in one hand and a wedding ring in the other.

The hand of the young Duchess of Brittany was naturally sought after by
many princes, who looked with longing eyes upon her rich inheritance, in
addition to which, as Brantôme says, she was renowned for her beauty and
grace, which latter was not impaired by the fact that one leg was
shorter than the other. She was also learned, according to the learning
of her day, and clever, which circumstances probably weighed lighter
than vanity when put in the scale against the wealth of the Duchy of
Brittany. Among the various pretendants to the hand of the Duchess was
Louis, Duke of Orleans, who as next in succession to his cousin Charles
was a suitor quite worthy of the hand of this high-born lady. Feats of
valor had been performed by Louis in Brittany earlier in his career,
which of course reached the ears of Anne, who like every woman of spirit
admired a hero, when lo! misfortune of misfortunes, he was taken
prisoner at the battle of St. Aubin, where he fought bravely at the head
of his infantry. This capture must have been a sad blow to the hopes of
the young Duke of Orleans, as Maximilian, Duke of Austria, promptly
stepped in and claimed the hand of the Breton heiress; but even this
wooing was not destined to prosper, as Charles VIII, who had just
succeeded to the throne of France, suddenly announced that he was the
proper person to wed the Duchess Anne and her possessions, and promptly
breaking his engagement with Margaret of Austria, set forth upon his
war-like wooing. She, poor girl, would probably have preferred any one
of her suitors to the boy of nineteen or twenty, misshapen and ignorant,
says a chronicler of the time, and so feeble in body that his father,
despairing of his holding the throne, had arranged a marriage between
the next heir, this same Duke of Orleans, and his daughter, Jeanne of
France. The young Duchess, an heiress in her own right, and possessed of
a decided will of her own, as appeared later, was singularly hampered in
the choice of a consort, several eligible suitors being separated from
her by the armies of Charles, who, closely besieging the town of Rennes,
demanded her hand at the point of the sword. Thus wooed, Anne
reluctantly consented to become Queen of France, and was secretly
betrothed to Charles at Rennes.

If the betrothal of Charles and Anne was accomplished with scant
ceremony, their marriage at Langeais was celebrated in due form. The
bride, accompanied by a distinguished suite, is described, as she
arrived at the château upon her palfrey, wearing a rich travelling
costume of cloth and velvet, trimmed with one hundred and thirty-nine
sable skins. Her wedding dress of cloth of gold was even more sumptuous,
as it was adorned with one hundred and sixty sable skins. Fortunately
for the comfort of the wearer, the wedding was in December, and in these
stone buildings, destitute of adequate heating arrangements, fur
garments must have been particularly comfortable. The nuptial
benediction was pronounced by the Bishop of Angers, probably in a chapel
which was formerly in the southwest wing of the château, and in the
presence of the Prince of Orange, the Duke of Bourbon, the Chancellor of
France and other nobles of high degree, among them the Duke of Orleans,
afterwards Louis XII, who was destined to become the second husband of
Anne. One of the articles of the marriage contract signed in this room
at Langeais was that if Charles should die without issue Anne should
marry the next heir to the crown, thus uniting Brittany indissolubly
with France.

Brantôme described the fourteen-year-old bride as pretty, with black
eyes, well-marked eyebrows, black hair, fresh complexion and a dimpled
chin, but as Lydia says, one cannot always trust Brantôme, as he painted
Catherine de Médici whom he beheld with his mortal eyes in all the glory
of the lily and rose, and later, when he saw Queen Elizabeth in London,
he wrote of her as beautiful and of lofty bearing. It is quite evident
that Brantôme's eyes were bedazzled by the glitter of royalty, or was it
the glitter of royal gold?

"Well, whether or not Anne was beautiful, it is a comfort to have her
safely married in the midst of so much confusion and warfare," said Miss
Cassandra, with the satisfied air of a mother who has just made an
eligible marriage for her daughter.

"But we have not done with her yet," exclaimed Lydia. "We shall meet her
and her ermine tails and tasseled ropes in every château of the Loire,
and at Amboise we shall go a step further in her history, and only
reach the last chapter at Blois."


From the mediæval fortress, with its wealth of French and English
history that Lydia and our guide poured into our willing ears, we
crossed the Rue Gambetta to the little Café Rabelais, opposite the
entrance to the château, where we spent a cheerful _quart d'heure_ over
cups of tea, and classic buns that are temptingly displayed in the
window. Although this genial reformed monk, as Walter is pleased to call
Rabelais, was born at Chinon, he seems to have lived at Langeais at two
different periods of his wandering and eventful life, Guillaume, Sieur
de Langeais, having given him a cottage near the château.

Having come to Langeais by train we engaged a hack to convey us to
Azay-le-Rideau, a drive of about six miles. As we drove over a long
bridge that crosses the Loire, we had another view of the château, with
its three massive towers, many chimneys, and of the wide shining river
that flows beside it, bordered by tall poplars and dotted with green
islets. Our drive was through a level farming land, where men and women
were at work cutting grass and turning over the long rows of yellow
flax which were drying in the sun. Here again we saw many women with the
large baskets or _hottes_ on their backs, as if to remind us that the
burden-bearers are not all of Italy, for the women of France work quite
as hard as the men, more constantly it would seem, if we may judge by
the number of men who are to be seen loafing about the little inns and

Across the wide, low-lying fields and pasture lands, we could see the
long line of foliage that marks the forest of Chambord. All these great
country palaces of the kings and nobles of France were comparatively
near each other, "quite within visiting distance," as Miss Cassandra
says. As we walked along the avenue of horse-chestnut trees, and over
the little bridge that spans the Indre, we felt that no site could have
been better chosen for the building of a palace of pleasure than this.
With a background of forest trees, a river flowing around it, the stone
walls and bridges draped with a brilliant crimson curtain of American
ivy, the Château of Azay-le-Rideau justifies Balzac's enthusiastic
description: "A diamond with a thousand facets, with the Indre for a
setting and perched on piles buried in flowers." Yet this gay palace,
like most of the châteaux of the Loire, has arisen upon the foundations
of a fortress, and its odd name was given it in honor of a certain
Hughes Ridel or Rideau, who in the thirteenth century built a castle on
an island to defend the passage of the Indre, the position being an
important one strategically. When our old Dijon friend, Jean Sans-Peur,
came this way in 1417, he took care to place a garrison of several
hundred men at Azay. These Burgundian soldiers, having a high opinion of
the strength of the castle and of their own prowess, undertook to jeer
at the Dauphin, afterwards Charles VII, as he passed by on his way from
Chinon to Tours, upon which he laid siege to Azay and captured and meted
out summary vengeance upon those who had mocked at and insulted him. The
story told to us sounds, as Miss Cassandra says, like a chapter from the
Chronicles or the Book of Kings, for although a great bear did not come
out of the woods and devour those wicked mockers, they were hanged,
every one, their captain was beheaded and the castle razed to the

Upon the piles of the old fortress the Château of Azay arose to please
the fancy of a certain Grilles Berthold, a relative of the Bohier who
built the Château of Chenonceaux, and like him a minister of Finance.

Built upon an island, the slow flowing Indre forms a natural moat around
the castle, or as Balzac expresses it more picturesquely, "This most
charming and elaborate of the châteaux of beautiful Touraine ever bathes
itself in the Indre, like a princely galley adorned with lace-like
pavilions and windows, and with pretty soldiers on its weathercocks,
turning, like all soldiers, whichever way the wind blows." The lace-like
effect that Balzac speaks of evidently refers to the exquisite carving
on the walls and around the windows, and upon the graceful corner towers
of the château. Here, over the driveway and in other places, are the
salamander of Francis I and the ermine of his wife, Claude of Brittany,
who died before the château was completed. Francis lived to use and
enjoy Azay in the hunting season, as did other sovereigns.

The architect, whose name seems to have been lost sight of amid much
discussion and some chicanery with regard to the possession of the
château, was a wise man in his day and instead of attempting to unite
the feudal fortress and the hunting seat, as Le Nepveu was doing at
Chambord, he was content to make of Azay-le-Rideau a palace of pleasure.
Indeed, he seems to have allowed his fancy free play in the construction
of this château, with the result that he has made of it a dwelling place
of great beauty, richly decorated but never overloaded with ornament.
Even the chimney tops are broidered over with graceful designs and
covered with a fine basket work in metal.


A true gem of the French Renaissance is Azay-le-Rideau, so the learned
in architecture tell us, and yet enough of the old fortress construction
has been preserved to add strength and compactness to the fairy-like
beauty of this château.

Through the handsome double doorway above which the salamander of
Francis breathes forth its device, "_Nutrisco et extingo_," we passed
into the beautiful hall and up the grand staircase, with its sculptured
vaults of stone, rich beyond compare, adorned with medallions of royal
faces and decorations of fruits, flowers, and heraldic emblems. Miss
Cassandra, being somewhat fatigued after our ramble through Langeais,
sat down upon the steps to enjoy at leisure the delicate beauty of the
ornamentation of the stairway, declaring that she was quite ready to
take up her abode here, as this château fulfilled all the requirements
of a pleasant country home, and after reading Madame Waddington's book
she had always wished to try château life in France.

Lydia and I objected, for after the complete and harmonious furnishing
of Langeais the interior of Azay-le-Rideau seems a trifle bare, as only
two or three of the rooms are thoroughly furnished. As the property now
belongs to the State and is in the care of L'Ecole des Beaux Arts, which
is gradually collecting rare and beautiful articles of furniture, this
compact little château will soon be completely equipped as a Renaissance

The room of Francis I is shown, with handsome carved bed and rich
hangings of turquoise blue damask, adjoining it the room in which Louis
XIV slept, which is hung in crimson damask. These rooms, with some fine
tapestries, scattered articles of furniture and a number of portraits,
complete the present equipment of Azay-le-Rideau. Among the portraits
that interested us was one of Catherine de Médicis by Clouet, and
another by the same artist of Francis I, as he so often appears in his
portraits, "with the insufferable smile upon his lips that curl upward
satyr-like towards the narrow eyes, the crisp close-cut brownish beard
and the pink silken sleeves and doublet." Near by, in strong contrast to
the sensual face of Francis, hangs the clear-cut face of Calvin. Here
also are the portraits of Henry of Navarre and the wife for whom he
cared so little, the beautiful Marguerite of Valois, less beautiful in
her portrait than one would expect, and of the woman whom he loved so
deeply, Gabrielle d'Estrées, Duchess of Beaufort.

A charm of romance ever surrounds the graceful figure of Gabrielle
d'Estrées, whom the usually inconstant Henry seems to have loved
tenderly and faithfully to the end of her days. Many persons have
excused this connection of the King with _la belle Gabrielle_ because of
his loveless and enforced marriage with his cousin Marguerite, who was
faithful to her royal husband only when his life or his throne were in
danger. At such times she would fly to his aid like a good comrade. The
handsomest and the most brilliant and daring of the unfortunate and
ill-fated brood of the dreadful Catherine, Marguerite seems to have been
particularly happy when she was able to thwart the malicious designs of
her mother, from whose plots the King of Navarre so often escaped that
he was said to have borne a charmed life.

As we quitted the château to wander through its lovely gardens, gay with
many flowers, and over the lawn with its fine copper beeches, exquisite
mimosa trees, hemlocks, and delicate larches, we thought of the many
great lords and noble ladies who had walked over this fair demesne and,
like us, had stopped to enjoy the soft breezes by the side of the little
river where the birches spread their long branches over the gently
flowing stream. So near the great world and yet so retired from it, it
is not strange that Francis, and the kings who followed him, should have
often turned from the turmoil and unrest of the court to enjoy this
happy valley.

We were tempted to linger so long in the grounds that we had only a
short time to spend in the interesting eleventh century church which
adjoins the park and, like the château, belongs to the State. The
façade of the church is richly decorated with quaint statuettes and
carvings, and here also is a seigniorial chapel with inscriptions of the
Biencourt family who owned the château of Azay-le-Rideau before it
passed into the hands of the government.

Our appetite for châteaux has so increased with the seeing of them that
we regretted not having time to go to Ussé this same afternoon, but we
shall have to make a separate trip to this palace, which is said to be a
superb example of Gothic architecture. Although the château is often
inhospitably closed to visitors, its exterior, with innumerable towers
and tourelles, and the terraces, gardens, and vast park, nearly seven
miles in circumference, are well worth a visit.

As usual, the afternoon was not long enough, and the shortening
September light warned us that we must take a train from the station at
Azay-le-Rideau about six in order to reach Tours in time for dinner.



                                 PENSION B----, TOURS, September 5th.

THIS morning we spent at the Château of Amboise, which we reached by
crossing two bridges over the Loire, as the wide river is divided at
this point by the Isle St. Jean. None of all these beautiful royal
castles owes more to the Loire than Amboise, whose magnificent round
machiolated tower commands the approaches to the bridge, while the fine
pointed windows and arched balcony give a fairyland lightness and grace
to the adjoining façade which crowns a bluff high above the river.

We reached the château by many hillside steps, and through a garden
which stands so high upon its terrace above the street that it seems,
like the famous gardens of Babylon, to hang in the air. Upon a nearer
view we found that the garden rests upon a solid foundation of rock and
earth, and is surrounded by strong walls and parapets of masonry. From
these walls the light buttresses of the little Chapel of St. Hubert
spring. This lovely chapel, which with its fine delicate spire and
chiselled pinnacles, standing out against the blue sky, gives an effect
of indescribable beauty, was built by Charles VIII after his return from
Italy. The wonderful carvings above the doorway, representing St.
Hubert's miraculous encounter with a stag, were doubtless executed by
Italian workmen whom he brought with him, as only skilled hands could
have produced a result so rich and decorative and yet so exquisitely
fine and delicate. Other beautiful carvings ornament the façade and the
interior of the chapel, which in form is a miniature Sainte Chapel, less
brilliant in color and richer in carving than the ancient Chapel of St.
Louis, in Paris.

A cheerful château, perched upon a rock and bathed in sunshine, Amboise
appeared to us to-day, whether we looked at it from the bridge or from
the garden, with nothing to remind us of the sad and tragic events in
its history. This we are told reaches back to the time of Julius Cæsar,
who, recognizing the strategic value of this high bluff above the Loire,
built a strong tower here. Upon the well-wooded Isle St. Jean, directly
opposite the château, Clovis and Alaric are said to have held an
important conference, and our own good King Arthur is credited with
owning the Castle of Amboise at one time, and of graciously returning it
to the Franks before he sailed away to conquer Mordred and to meet his
own death upon the Isle of Avalon. All of these tales we may believe or
not as we please, for Touraine is full of ancient legends, more or less
credible, and especially rich in those pertaining to Cæsar and his
conquests, and of the beloved St. Martin's miraculous success in
destroying the conqueror's towns, landmarks, and images of the gods.

While Lydia was gloating over the very ancient history of Amboise,
Walter and I were glad to connect it with a later time when Louis VII
met Thomas à Becket here with a view to bringing about a reconciliation
between the proud prelate and his lord and master, Henry II of England.
This meeting seemed comparatively recent, after the shadowy traditions
of Cæsar and St. Martin that were poured into our ears, and we began to
feel quite at home in the castle when we learned that our old friend of
Langeais, Charles VIII, was born at Amboise and spent his childhood here
under the care of his good and clever mother, Charlotte of Savoy. She
taught him all that he was permitted to learn, his father, the crafty
Louis XI, for some reason only known to himself, desiring his son and
heir to grow up in ignorance of books as well as of the world of men.


After her marriage at Langeais, Anne de Bretagne made a right royal
progress to St. Denis, where she was anointed and crowned with great
state and ceremony, the crown, which was far too heavy for the head of
the little Queen of fourteen, being held over her by the Duke of
Orleans. The new Queen, after making a solemn entrance into Paris and
receiving the homage of all the civil and military officers of the
Châtelet, the Provost of Paris, and of many other dignitaries, returned
with her husband to Amboise, where most of their married life was spent.
Additions were made to the château at this time and its interior was
fitted up with great splendor; thousands of yards of cloth of gold,
silk, tapestries from Flanders, and other precious stuffs were used as
hangings, to the amount of ten thousand pounds, says one chronicler.
"Past and contemporary events were portrayed on the tapestries. André
Denisot and Guillaume Ménagier, workers of Tours, had charge of the
furnishing; one room by Ménagier was hung with silk tapestry on which
the history of Moses was represented, and the floor was covered with a
large, fine silk Moorish carpet." All this, and much more in the way of
rich furnishings and handsome silver, was brought to the old castle to
do honor to the Bretonne bride, who was destined to know little
happiness in her new home. Her eldest son, the Dauphin Charles, who was
described by Philippe de Commines as "a fine child, bold in speech, and
fearing not the things other children are frightened at," a child whose
birth was hailed with rejoicing as an heir to the Duchy of Brittany and
the Kingdom of France, fell ill and died at Amboise while his mother was
near the frontier of Italy celebrating the King's recent victories. A
curious story is told by Brantôme about the mourning of the King and
Queen for this beloved son.

"After the death of the Dauphin," says this chronicler, "King Charles
and his Queen were full of such desolate grief that the doctors,
fearing the weakness and feeble constitution of the King, were of
opinion that excess of sorrow might be prejudicial to his health; they
therefore advised as many distractions as possible, and suggested that
the princes at court should invent new pastimes, dances, and mummeries
to give pleasure to the King and Queen, which being done, the
Monseigneur d'Orléans devised a masquerade with dances, in which he
danced with such gaiety and so played the fool that the Queen thought he
was making merry because he was nearer the throne of France, seeing that
the Dauphin was dead. She was extremely displeased, and looked on him
with such aversion that he was obliged to leave Amboise, where the court
then was, and go to his Castle of Blois."

This was, as Walter remarks, rather shabby treatment of a royal prince
and a former suitor; but the little Queen was hot tempered, strong in
her likes and aversions, and never unmindful of the fact that she was
Duchess of Brittany in her own right, as well as Queen of France by her

Lydia reminds us that the unappreciated Duke of Orleans had his innings
later when he became King, after the death of Charles, and the second
husband of Anne. You may notice that we are quite up on the history of
Anne of Brittany, as we came across a charming biography of her at
Brentano's in Paris, _A Twice Crowned Queen_, by the Countess de la
Warr, in addition to which we have been looking over an old copy of
Brantôme that we found at a book store here.

In the three years following the death of the Dauphin two sons and a
daughter were born to Charles and Anne. These children all died in
infancy. "In vain," says the Countess de la Warr, "did Anne take every
precaution to save the lives of these little creatures whom death
snatched from her so ruthlessly. She summoned nurses from Brittany, and
the superstitious beliefs of her own country came back to her mind. She
presented them with amulets, a Guienne crown piece wrapped up in paper,
a piece of black wax in a bag of cloth of gold, six serpents'
tongues,--a large one, two of medium size, and three little ones,--and
rosaries of chalcedony and jasper; she not only sent votive offerings to
the venerated shrines of the saints in Brittany, and presented rich
gifts every year to the Holy Virgin of Auray, but she went herself on a
pilgrimage. Alas! it was all to no purpose; a relentless fate followed
the poor Queen."

A still heavier blow was destined to fall upon Anne, a few years later,
in the death of her husband, to whom she seems to have been devotedly
attached. In the midst of his work of beautifying Amboise with the
spoils of his Italian wars, Charles was suddenly struck down with
apoplexy, induced it is thought by a blow. He hit his head, never a very
strong one, according to all accounts, against the stone arch of a
little doorway and died a few hours after. We were shown the entrance to
the Galerie Hacquelebac where the King met with his fatal accident as he
was on his way to the tennis court with the Queen and his confessor, the
Bishop of Angers. The door, which was very low at that time, was later
raised and decorated with the porcupine of Louis XII.

The little widow, not yet twenty-one, was so overcome with grief at the
death of her husband that she spent her days and nights in tears and
lamentations. The only comfort that she found was in ordering a
magnificent funeral for Charles, to every detail of which Louis
d'Orléans, the new King, attended with scrupulous care, defraying
himself the whole cost, not only of the ceremony itself, but of that
incurred in conveying the body from Amboise to St. Denis. Even this
devotion on the part of her husband's successor did not satisfy the
Queen, as she redoubled her lamentations upon seeing him, and although
he did everything in his power to comfort her in the most winning way,
she still refused to eat or sleep and insisted between her sobs: "_Je
dois suivre le chemin de mon mari!_" which for some reason sounds
infinitely more pathetic than the plain English, "I must follow the way
of my husband."

The way of the beloved Charles Anne was not destined to follow, as we
find her, in less than a year, following in the way of his successor,
Louis XII. The enforced and altogether unhappy marriage between Louis
and his cousin, Jeanne of France, having been annulled by Alexander VI,
in return for certain honors conferred upon his son, Cæsar Borgia, and
the decree of separation having been pronounced by him at Chinon, Louis
d'Orléans was free to offer his heart and his hand to the lady of his
choice. This he did with all despatch, and was as promptly accepted by
the widowed Queen.

The marriage of Louis XII and Anne was solemnized in her own castle, at
Nantes, January 8, 1499, less than nine months after the death of her
husband. The Queen bestowed rich gifts upon the churches of Brittany,
the King having already conferred upon the Pope's representative, Cæsar
Borgia, a pension of twenty thousand gold crowns, besides which he
created him Duke of Valentinois.

"All this goes to prove," as Miss Cassandra says, "that bribery and
corruption in high places are not strictly modern methods, since this
good King Louis, called the Father of his people, resorted to them."

With this exception, Louis seems to have been quite a respectable person
for a royal prince of that time, as he did everything in his power to
make up to the discarded Jeanne for her disappointment at not being
invited to share the throne of France with him. He conferred upon her
the Duchy of Berry and other domains, and with them a handsome income
which enabled the pious princess to do many good works and to found the
religious order of the Annonciade, of which she became Superior.

Although Louis and Anne established their residence at the King's
birthplace, the Château of Blois, the Queen was at Amboise during the
spring after her marriage, where her return was celebrated with
rejoicings and festivities which were as original as they were
picturesque, and well calculated to please a wine-drinking populace.
Anne's biographer says: "The boulevard between the River Loire and the
castle was transformed into a huge pavilion, in the middle of which were
erected two columns bearing the devices of Louis and Anne,--a porcupine
and an ermine,--and from the mouth of each, wine poured. A dais of red
damask had been prepared for the King and one of white for the Queen;
but Anne alone took part in this ceremony, either because Louis was
prevented from being present or because he did not wish by his presence
to recall sad memories."

Despite her wilfulness and obstinacy, Louis was very fond of _ma
Bretonne_, as he playfully called his wife, and yielded to her in many
instances. It is recorded, however, that when Anne wished to marry their
daughter Claude to the Archduke Charles of Austria, the King stood out
stoutly against the persuasions of his spouse and insisted upon her
betrothal to his cousin and heir, Francis d'Angoulême, telling his
wife, after his own humorous, homely fashion, that he had resolved "to
marry his mice to none but the rats of his own barn."

Even with occasional differences of opinion, which the King seems to
have met with charming good humor, the union of Anne and Louis was far
happier than most royal marriages. The little Bretonne, who had begun by
disliking Louis d'Orléans, ended by loving him even more devotedly than
her first husband, which does not seem strange to us, as he was a brave
and accomplished gentleman, altogether a far more lovable character than

With all her devotion to her husband, the Duchess Queen was a thrifty
lady, with an eye to the main chance, and when poor Louis was ill and
thought to be dying at Blois, she attempted to provide against the
chances and changes of sudden widowhood by sending down the river to
Nantes several boats loaded with handsome furniture, jewels, silver, and
the like. These boats were stopped between Saumur and Nantes by the
Maréchal de Gié, his excuse being that as the King was still alive Anne
had no right to remove her possessions from the castle. Although
Maréchal de Gié was a favorite minister of Louis, Anne had him arrested
and treated with great indignity. Not only was the unfortunate Maréchal
punished for his recent sins, but by means of researches into his past
life it was found that he had committed various offences against the
State. Indignities and miseries were heaped upon him, and so hot was the
wrath of the royal lady that when it was proposed that the Maréchal de
Gié should be sentenced to death, she promptly replied that death was
far too good for him, as that ended the sorrows of life, and that for
one of high estate to sink to a low estate and to be overwhelmed with
misfortunes was to die daily, which was quite good enough for him. All
of which shows that even if Anne was something of a philosopher she was
also possessed of a most vindictive spirit, and quite lacking in the
sweetness and charity with which her partial biographer has endowed her.
Fortunately the King, recovering, "through the good prayers of his
people," intervened on behalf of his late favorite and mitigated the
rigor of his sentence, which was even then more severe than was
warranted by his offence.


I tell you this little tale because it is characteristic of the time, as
well as of the imperious little Duchess Queen, and makes us realize that
Louis was well named the good, and had need of all the generosity and
amiability that has been attributed to him as an offset to the fiery
temper of his Breton wife.

Among the many interesting additions that Charles VIII made to Amboise
was the great double Tours des Minimes, adjoining the royal apartments.
This tower was used as an approach to the château by means of inclined
planes of brick work, which wound around a central newel, graded so
gently that horses and light vehicles could ascend without difficulty.
These curious ascents were doubtless suggested to the King by the low
broad steps in the Vatican over which the old Popes were wont to ride on
their white mules. Lydia reminds us that it was upon this dim corkscrew
of a road winding upward that Brown performed his remarkable feat in
_The Lightning Conductor_. Brown might have made this dizzy ascent and
perilous descent in his Napier; but it could be done by no other
chauffeur, "live or dead or fashioned by my fancy," although kings
and princes once rode their horses up these inclines, which answered
the purpose of _porte cochère_ and stairway. By this way Francis I and
his guest Charles V rode up to the royal apartments when the Emperor
made his visit here in 1539, amid general rejoicings and such a blaze of
flambeaux that, as the ancient chronicler tells us, even in this dim
passage one might see as clearly as at midday.

In the terraced garden of Amboise, near a quincunx of lime trees, is a
bust of Leonardo da Vinci. We wondered why it was placed here until we
learned from our invaluable _Joanne_ that the Italian artist had lived
and died at Amboise, inhabiting a little manor house near the château.
It was Francis I, the beauty loving as well as the pleasure seeking
King, who brought Leonardo to France and to Amboise, the home of his
childhood. The Italian artist was over sixty when he came to France and
only lived about three years here, dying, it is said, in the arms of
Francis. Among his last requests were minute directions for his burial
in the royal church of St. Florentin, which once stood in the grounds of
the castle. When this church was destroyed, in the last century, a
skull and some bones were found among the ruins which were supposed to
be those of Leonardo. A bust was erected on the spot where the remains
were found. Whether or not the bones are those of Leonardo, a fitting
memorial to the great artist is this bust near the lovely quincunx,
whose overshadowing branches form a roof of delicate green above it like
the pergolas of his native Italy. We afterwards visited the little
Château de Cloux, where Leonardo had once lived.

A long stretch of years and several reigns lie between Anne of Brittany
and Mary of Scotland, yet it is of these two twice-crowned queens that
we think as we wander through the gardens and halls of the Château of
Amboise. Both of these royal ladies came here as brides and both were
received with joyful acclamations at Amboise. Mary's first visit to the
château was in the heyday of her beauty and happiness, when as _la
reine-dauphine_ she won all hearts.

Do you remember a charming full-length portrait, that we once saw, of
Mary and Francis standing in the embrasure of a window of one of the
royal palaces? Although a year younger than Mary, Francis had been
devoted to her little serene highness of Scotland ever since her early
childhood, and she seems to have been equally attached to her boyish
lover, as chroniclers of the time tell us that they delighted to retire
from the gayety and confusion of the court to whisper their little
secrets to each other, with no one to hear, and that they were well
content when according to the etiquette of the period they established
their separate court and _ménage_ at Villers Cotterets as _roi et

As the province of Touraine was one of the dower possessions of the
young Queen, she entered into her own when she visited these royal
castles. We think of her at Amboise, riding up the broad inclines to the
royal apartments, her husband by her side, followed by a gay cavalcade,
and what would we not give for a momentary glimpse of Mary Stuart in the
bright beauty of her youth, before sorrow and crime had cast a shadow
over her girlish loveliness! No portrait seems to give any adequate
representation of Mary, probably because her grace and animation added
so much to the beauty of her auburn tinted hair, the dazzling whiteness
of her complexion and the bright, quick glance of her brown eyes.

"Others there were," says one of Mary's biographers, "in that gay,
licentious court, with faces as fair and forms more perfect; what raised
Mary of Scotland above all others was her animation. When she spoke her
whole being seemed to become inspired. A ready wit called to its aid a
well-stored mind." In fact, Mary was witty enough to afford to be plain,
and beautiful enough to afford to be dull; and early and late she
captured hearts, from the days when the poets, Ronsard, De Maison Fleur,
and the hapless Chastelard, celebrated her charms in verse to a later
and sadder time when, during her captivity in England her young page,
Anthony Babington, was so fascinated by her wit and grace that he made a
valiant and desperate effort to save her to his own undoing.

The sorrows and final tragedy of Mary Stuart's life have so overshadowed
the events of her early years that we are wont to forget the power and
influence that were hers in the eighteen months of her reign as Queen of
France. Adored by her young husband, who evidently admired her for her
learning as well as for her beauty and charm, she seems to have passed
through her years at court with no breath of suspicion attached to her
fair name, and this in an atmosphere of unbridled license and
debauchery of which Jeanne d'Albret, Queen of Navarre, wrote to her son,
"No one here but is tainted by it. If you were here yourself you would
only escape by some remarkable mercy of God."

In addition to her ascendency over the mind of her husband the young
Queen had always at her side her astute kinsmen, the Duke of Guise and
the Cardinal of Lorraine, who were as clever as they were unscrupulous.
With these powerful uncles near her, Mary was in a position to outwit
the wily Catherine, between whom and the Guise faction little love was
lost. Only when some scheme of deviltry joined them together in common
interests, as the massacre of the Huguenots at Amboise, were Catherine
and the Guise brothers at one, and this triumvirate even Queen Mary was
powerless to withstand.

We had wandered far afield with Mary Stuart in the joyous days of her
youth when we were suddenly brought back by the guide to her last sad
visit to Amboise. He pointed out to us the Isle St. Jean opposite the
balcony where we were standing, saying that the _conjuré_ had met over
there. Whether or not any of the conspirators met on this island in the
Loire, the Conspiracy of 1560, which the Guise brothers were pleased to
call the tumult of Amboise, was formed at Nantes. Although the Huguenots
have had all the credit of this formidable uprising, a number of
Catholics had joined them with the object of breaking down the great and
growing powers of the Guise family. As one of the alleged plans of the
conspirators was to seize Francis and Mary and remove them from the
influence of the Duke of Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine, the young
King and Queen were hurried from Blois to the stronghold of Amboise. If
this plot had succeeded, as would probably have been the case had it not
been for the treachery of a lawyer, named Des Avenelles, in whose house
one of the leaders lodged, what would it not have meant to the Huguenots
and to France? With the Guise brothers in their power and the King and
Queen no longer under their dominion, the Huguenots might have made
terms with the royal party, backed as they were at this time by some
Catholics of influence.

The ever vigilant Duke of Guise, having discovered the plot, met it with
the promptness, resolution, and relentless cruelty that belonged to his
character and his time, and in this case an element of revenge was added
to his wrath against the offenders, as his own capture and that of his
brother, the Cardinal of Lorraine, was one of the chief objects of the
conspirators. The life and liberty of the King and Queen were in no way
included in this plot, as appeared later; but it suited the purpose of
the Duke of Guise to shelter himself behind the young sovereigns and to
represent the conspiracy as an act of high treason against the throne of
France. Francis and Mary, only half believing the story told them, but
not strong enough to resist the power of the Duke, the Cardinal and the
Queen-mother, allowed themselves to be brought to Amboise.

We have been reading again Dumas's thrilling description of the "tumult
of Amboise," and his pathetic picture of the young King and Queen, who
shrank from witnessing the tortures and death to which their Huguenot
subjects were condemned. Catherine insisted that they should take their
places on the balcony overlooking the court of execution, chid her son
as a weakling because he shrank from the sight of blood, while the
Cardinal reminded poor, trembling, tender-hearted Francis that his
"grandsire of glorious memory, Francis I, had always assisted at the
burning of heretics."

"Other kings do as they please and so will I," Francis had the courage
to say but not to do, as he and Mary, "poor crowned slaves," as the
novelist calls them, were forced to appear upon the iron balcony and
witness the execution of some of the noblest of their subjects.

Standing on the Tour des Minimes on this fair September day, looking
down upon the balconies, terraces, and gardens of the château basking in
warm sunshine, it was difficult to realize the scenes of horror and
bloodshed that were enacted here on that sad day in March, 1560. The
Duke had his troops ambushed in the forest of Château Regnault, in
readiness to attack the conspirators as they approached in small
detachments, and over the peaceful plain spread before us, through which
the Loire winds its way, an army of Frenchmen was lured on to its
destruction by false promises of safety, and in yonder forest of Château
Regnault one of the prime movers in the uprising, the Seigneur de la
Renaudie, a gentleman of Perigord, was overtaken and slain. Such other
brave men and noble gentlemen as the Baron de Castelnau Chalosse and
the Baron de Raunay were spared for a sadder fate, while for the Prince
of Condé there was reserved the crowning horror of seeing his followers
beheaded one by one. It is said that as they were led into the courtyard
they turned to salute their "_chef muet_," a salute which he was brave
enough to return, while they went to the block singing Clement Marot's
adaptation of the Sixty-seventh Psalm:

          Dieu nous soit doux et favorable
          Nous bénissant par sa bonté
          Et de son visage adorable
          Nous fasse luire la clarté.

It is not strange that, in the face of such sublime faith and dauntless
courage, the young Queen should have pleaded for the life of these
noblemen, or that the Duke de Nemours, who had pledged his faith as a
prince, "on his honor and on the damnation of his soul," that the
Huguenot deputies should be fairly dealt with, should have added his
entreaties to those of Mary.

The Duke of Nemours appealed to Catherine, who answered with feigned
indifference that she could do nothing, then to the King who, pale and
ill at the sight before him, would have stopped the massacre long
before. The Queen, on bended knee, begged her husband for the life of
the last victim, the Baron de Castelnau. The King made a sign that he
should be spared; but the Cardinal of Lorraine chose to misunderstand,
gave the fatal signal, and Castelnau's head fell with the rest.

In view of this wholesale slaughter, for it is said that over twelve
hundred perished in and around Amboise, we do not wonder that the Prince
de Condé exclaimed:

"Ah, what an easy task for foreigners to seize on France after the death
of so many honorable men!" a speech for which the Guises never quite
forgave him. Nor did we wonder, as we made our way to the garden through
the bare unfurnished rooms of the château, that it ceased to be a royal
residence after this carnival of blood, and later became a State prison,
and place of exile for persons of high degree. The Cardinal de Bourbon
was confined here, and it is said that Amboise opened its doors to the
Superintendent Fouquet after his capture by D'Artagnan, for you must
know that there was a real D'Artagnan from whom Dumas constructed his
somewhat glorified hero.

We wondered why so many feeble, old people were sitting about in the
house and grounds, until the _gardienne_ told us, that, the château
having been restored to the Orleans family in 1872, they had established
here a retreat and home for their old retainers.

"Well, I am thankful that some good deeds are done here to help to wash
away the dark stains from the history of the château!" exclaimed Miss
Cassandra. "But how do they manage to sleep with the ghosts of all these
good men who have been murdered here haunting the place at night?"

Walter reminded her that the just were supposed to rest quietly in their
graves, and that it was those of uneasy conscience who walked o' nights.

"Then Catherine must be walking most of the time. We certainly should
see her if we could wait here until after dark."

When I translated our Quaker lady's remarks to the guide she laughed and
rejoined, with a merry twinkle in her eye, that if "Her Majesty had to
walk in all the palaces that had known her evil deeds she would be kept
busy and would only have a night now and again for Amboise; beside which
this château was blessed, having been dedicated to good works, and after
all were not the Guises more involved in the massacre of the Huguenots
here than Catherine?"

Miss Cassandra reluctantly acknowledged that perhaps they were, but for
her part she makes no excuses for Catherine, and refuses to believe that
she was ever an innocent baby. She declares that this insatiable
daughter of the Médici, like Minerva, sprang full grown into being,
equipped for wickedness as the goddess was with knowledge.

With a clink of silver and a cheerful "_Au revoir, Mesdames et
Monsieur_," we parted from our pleasant little guide. As we turned to
look back at Amboise from the bridge, some heavy clouds hung over the
castle, making it look grim and gray, more like the fortress-prison that
it had proved to so many hundreds of brave, unfortunate Frenchmen than
the cheerful château, basking in the sunshine, that we had seen this

We motored home, in a fine drizzle of rain, through a gray landscape;
and surely no landscape can be more perfectly gray than that of France
when it is pleased to put on sombre tints, and no other could have been
as well suited to the shade of our thoughts.

Lydia, by way of reviving our drooping spirits, I fancy, as she is not
usually given to conundrums or puzzles, suddenly propounded a series of
brain-racking questions. "Who first said, 'Let us fly and save our
bacon;' and 'He would make three bites of a cherry;' and 'Appetite comes
with eating;' and 'It is meat, drink, and cloth to us;' and----"

"Stop!" cried Miss Cassandra, "and give us time to think, but I am quite
sure that it was Beau Brummel who made three bites of a cherry, or a
strawberry, or some other small fruit."

Walter and I were inclined to give Shakespeare and Pope the credit of
these familiar sayings; but we were all wrong, as Lydia, after puzzling
us for some time, exclaimed triumphantly:

"No, further back than either Shakespeare or Pope; these wise sayings,
and many more like them, were written by a Tourangeau, one Monsieur

"And where did you come across them?" we asked, quite put out with
Lydia for knowing so much more than the rest of us.

Then Lydia, who appears upon the surface to be a guileless and
undesigning young person, confessed that she had extracted this
information from a Frenchman with whom we all had some pleasant
conversation on the way to Langeais, and she has been treasuring it up
ever since to spring it upon us in an unguarded moment when we were far
from the haunts of Rabelais. This gentleman, whose name is one of the
things we shall probably never know, with the cheerfully appropriating
spirit of the French, was ready to claim most of Shakespeare's aphorisms
for Rabelais. We are willing to forgive him, however, because he
introduced us to a phrase coined by the creator of Pantagruel, in
slow-going sixteenth century days, which so exactly fits the situation
to-day that it seems to have been made for such travellers as ourselves:
"Nothing is so dear and precious as time," wrote M. Rabelais, long
before tourists from all over the world were trying to live here on
twenty-four hours a day and yet see all the châteaux and castles upon
their lists.

My brother Archie has been talking of coming over to join us either here
or in Paris. As he is a rather sudden person in his movements, it would
not surprise me to have him appear any day. I only hope that he may come
while we are in Touraine. He is so fond of everything in the
agricultural line that he would delight in this fertile, well-cultivated



                                 PENSION B----, TOURS, September 6th.

THIS being a beautiful day, and the sunshine more brilliant than is
usual on a September morning in this region, we unanimously agreed to
dedicate its hours to one of the most interesting of the neighboring
châteaux. The really most important question upon which we were not
unanimous was whether Chenonceaux or Chinon should be the goal of our
pilgrimage. Miss Cassandra unhesitatingly voted for Chenonceaux, which
she emphatically announced to be the château of all others that she had
crossed the ocean to see. "It was not a ruin like Chinon," she urged,
"the buildings were in perfect condition and the park and gardens of
surpassing loveliness."

"Of course we expect to go to Chinon, dear Miss Cassandra," said I; "it
is only a question of which we are to see to-day."

"Yes, my dear, but I have great faith in the bird in the hand, or as
the Portuguese gentleman expressed it, 'One I have is worth two I shall
haves.' The finger of fate seems to point to Chenonceaux to-day, for I
dreamed about it last night and Diana (Miss Cassandra always gives the
name of the fair huntress its most uncompromising English pronunciation)
was standing on the bridge looking just like a portrait that we saw the
other day, and in a gorgeous dress of black and silver. Now don't think,
my dears, that I approve of Diana; she was decidedly light, and Lydia
knows very well that the overseers of the meeting would have had to deal
with her more than once; but when it comes to a choice between Diana and
Catherine, I would always choose Diana, whatever her faults may have

"Diane," corrected a shrill voice above our heads.

We happened to be standing on the little portico by the garden, and I
looked around to see who was listening to our conversation, when again
"Diane" rang forth, followed by "_Bon jour, Madame_," all in the
exquisite accent of Touraine.

"It is Polly, who is correcting my pronunciation," exclaimed Miss
Cassandra, "and I really don't blame her." Looking up at the cage, with
a nod and a smile, she cried, "_Bon jour, joli Marie!_"

"Good-by, Madame," rejoined the parrot, proudly cocking her head on one
side and winking at Miss Cassandra in the most knowing fashion, as if to
say, "Two can play at that game."

Polly has learned some English phrases from the numerous guests of the
house, and cordially greets us with "Good-by" when we enter and "How do
you do?" when we are leaving, which, you may remember, was just what Mr.
Monard, who had the little French church in Philadelphia, used to do
until some person without any sense of humor undertook to set him
straight. We trust that no misguided person may ever undertake to
correct Polly's English or Miss Cassandra's French, for as Walter says,
"To hear those two exchanging linguistic courtesies is one of the
experiences that make life and travel worth while, and the most amusing
part of it is that the Quaker lady is as unconscious of the humor of the
situation as the parrot."

"And, after all," said Miss Cassandra, returning to her argument after
Polly's interruption, "when a woman is so beautiful at fifty that a
young king is at her feet, giving her jewels from morning until night,
it is not strange that her head should be turned. And you must remember,
Zelphine," added Miss Cassandra in her most engaging manner, "that your
favorite Henry James said that he would rather have missed Chinon than
Chenonceaux, and that he counted as exceedingly fortunate the few hours
that he passed at this exquisite residence."

After this Parthian shaft Miss Cassandra left us to put on her hat for
Chenonceaux, for to Chenonceaux we decided to go, of course. Miss
Cassandra's arguments were irresistible, as usual, and as Walter added
philosophically, "Her choice is generally a wise one, and where
everything is so well worth seeing one cannot go far astray." We took a
train that leaves, what our local guidebook is pleased to call the
monumental railway station of Tours, between ten and eleven o'clock and
reached the town of Chenonceaux in less than an hour. All of these
jaunts by rail are short and so conveniently arranged that one always
seems to have ample time for the inspection of whatever château and
grounds one happens to be visiting.

At the station we found an omnibus which conveyed us to the Hôtel du Bon
Laboureur, the Mecca of all hungry pilgrims, where a substantial
luncheon was soon spread before us, enlivened, as Walter puts it, by a
generous supply of the light wine of the country. Looking over my
shoulder, as I write, he declares that I am gilding that luncheon at the
Bon Laboureur with all the romance and glamour of Chenonceaux, and that
it was not substantial at all; but on the contrary pitifully light.
Perhaps I am idealizing the luncheon, as Walter says, but as part and
parcel of a day of unallayed happiness it stands out in my mind as a
feast of the gods, despite all adverse criticism. Being a mere man, as
Lydia expresses it, Walter feels the discomforts of travel more than we
women folk. He says that he is heartily tired of luncheons made up of
flimflams, omelettes, entrées, and the like, and when the inevitable
salad and fowl appeared he quite shocked us by saying that he would like
to see some real chicken, the sort that we have at home broiled by
Mandy, who knows how to cook chicken far and away better than these
Johnny Crapauds with all their boasted culinary skill.

Lydia and I were congratulating ourselves that no one could understand
this rude diatribe when we noticed, at the next table, our acquaintance
of Langeais, Lydia's aphoristic Frenchman, if I may coin a word. This
did not seem a good time to renew civilities, especially as he was
evidently laughing behind his napkin. I motioned to Walter to keep quiet
and gave him a look that was intended to be very severe, and then Miss
Cassandra, with her usual friendly desire to pour oil upon the troubled
waters, stirred them up more effectually by adding: "Yes, Walter, but in
travelling one must take the bad with the good; we have no buildings
like these at home and I for one am quite willing to give up American
social pleasures and luxuries for the sake of all that we see here and
all that we learn."

Can you imagine anything more bewildering to a Frenchman than Miss
Cassandra's philosophy, especially her allusion to American social
pleasures and luxuries, which to the average and untravelled French mind
would be represented, I fancy, by a native Indian picnic with a menu of
wild turkey and quail? It was a very good luncheon, I insisted, even if
not quite according to American ideas, and variety is one of the
pleasures of foreign travel,--this last in my most instructive manner
and to Lydia's great amusement. She alone grasped the situation, as
Walter and Miss Cassandra were seated with their backs to the stranger.
In order to prevent further criticisms upon French living I changed the
subject by asking Walter for our Joanne guidebook, and succeeded in
silencing the party, after Artemus Ward's plan with his daughter's
suitors, by reading aloud to them, during which the stranger finished
his luncheon and after the manner of the suitors quietly took his

"We shall never see him again," I exclaimed, "and he will always
remember us as those rude and unappreciative Americans!"

"And what have we done to deserve such an opinion?" asked Walter.

"Attacked them on their most sensitive point. A Frenchman prides
himself, above everything else, upon the _cuisine_ of his country, and
considers American living altogether crude and uncivilized."

"And is _that_ all, Zelphine, and don't you think it about time that
they should learn better; and who is the _he_ in question, anyhow?"

When I explained about the Frenchman, who was seated behind him and
understood every invidious word, Walter, instead of being contrite, said
airily that he regretted that he had not spoken French as that would
probably have been beyond Mr. Crapaud's comprehension.

A number of coaches were standing in front of the little inn, one of
which Miss Cassandra and Lydia engaged in order to save their strength
for the many steps to be taken in and around the château; but they did
not save much, after all, as the coaches all stop at the end of the
first avenue of plane trees at a railroad crossing and after this
another long avenue leads to the grounds. Walter and I thought that we
decidedly had the best of it, as we strolled through the picturesque
little village, and having our kodaks with us we were able to get some
pretty bits by the way, among other things a photograph of a sixteenth
century house in which the pages of Francis I are said to have been


Passing up the long avenue we made a _détour_ to the left, attracted by
some rich carvings at the end of the tennis court,--and what a tennis
court it is!--smooth, green, beautifully made, with a background of
forest trees skirting it on two sides.

The approach to the château is in keeping with its stately beauty. After
traversing the second avenue of plane trees, we passed between two great
sphinxes which guard the entrance to the court, with the ancient
dungeon-keep on the right and on the left the Domes buildings, which
seem to include the servants' quarters and stables. Beyond this is the
drawbridge which spans the wide moat and gives access to a spacious
rectangular court. This moat of clear, running water, its solid stone
walls draped with vines and topped with blooming plants, defines the
ancient limits of the domain of the Marques family who owned this estate
as far back in history as the thirteenth century. Where the beautiful
château now stands there was once a fortified mill. The property passed
into the hands of Thomas Bohier, in the fifteenth century, who conceived
the bold idea of turning the old mill into a château, its solid
foundations, sunk into the Cher, affording a substantial support for
the noble superstructure; or, as Balzac says, "Messire de Bohier, the
Minister of Finances, as a novelty placed his house astride the River
Cher." A château built over a river! Can you imagine anything more
picturesque, or, as Miss Cassandra says, anything more unhealthy? The
sun shone gaily to-day, and the rooms felt fairly dry, but during the
long weeks of rain that come to France in the spring and late autumn
these spacious _salles_ must be as damp as a cellar. Miss Cassandra says
that the bare thought of sleeping in them gives her rheumatic twinges.
There are handsome, richly decorated mantels and chimney-places in all
of the great rooms, but they look as if they had not often known the
delights of a cheerful fire of blazing logs.

The old building is in the form of a vast square pavilion, flanked on
each corner by a bracketed turret upon which there is a wealth of
Renaissance ornamentation. On the east side are the chapel and a small
outbuilding, which form a double projection and enclose a little terrace
on the ground floor. Over the great entrance door are carvings and
heraldic devices, and over the whole façade of the château there is a
rich luxuriance of ornamentation which, with the wide moat surrounding
it, and the blooming parterres spread before it, give the entire castle
the air of being _en fête_, not relegated to the past like Langeais,
Amboise, and some of the other châteaux that we have seen.

However Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Médici may have beautified
this lovely palace on the Cher, its inception seems to have been due to
Bohier, the Norman _géneral des finances_ of Charles VIII, or perhaps to
his wife Katherine Briçonnet, a true lover of art, who like her husband
spent vast sums upon Chenonceaux. The fact that Bohier died before the
château was anywhere near completion makes the old French inscription on
the tower, and elsewhere on the walls, especially pathetic, "_S'il vient
a point, m'en souviendra_" (If completed, remember me). Even unfinished
as the Norman financier left Chenonceaux, one cannot fail to remember
him and his dreams of beauty which others were destined to carry out.

Unique in situation and design is the great gallery, sixty metres in
height, which Philibert de l'Orme, at Queen Catherine's command, caused
to rise like a fairy palace from the waters of the Cher. This gallery of
two stories, decorated in the interior with elaborate designs in stucco,
and busts of royal and distinguished persons, is classic in style and
sufficiently substantial in structure, as it rests upon five arches
separated by abutments, on each of which is a semicircular turret rising
to the level of the first floor. Designed for a _salle des fêtes_, this
part of the castle was never quite finished in consequence of the death
of Catherine, who intended that an elaborate pavilion, to match Bohier's
château on the opposite bank of the river, should mark the terminus of
the gallery. The new building was far enough advanced, however, to be
used for the elaborate festivities that had been planned for Francis II
and Queen Mary when they fled from the horrors of Amboise to the lovely
groves and forests of Chenonceaux.

Standing in the long gallery, which literally bridges the Cher, we
wondered whether the masques and revels held here in honor of the Scotch
Queen were able to dispel sad thoughts of that day at Amboise, of whose
miseries we heard so much yesterday. Mary Stuart, more than half
French, was gay, light-hearted and perhaps in those early days with a
short memory for the sorrows of life; but it seems as if the
recollection of that day of slaughter and misery could never have been
quite effaced from her mind. To Catherine, who revelled in blood and
murder, the day was one of triumph, but its horrors evidently left their
impress upon the delicate physique as well as upon the sensitive mind of
the frail, gentle Francis.

Since we have heard so much of the evil deeds of Catherine it has become
almost unsafe to take Miss Cassandra into any of the palaces where the
Medicean Queen is honored by statue or portrait. When we passed from the
spacious _salle des gardes_, later used as the dining hall of the
Briçonnet family, into the room of Diane de Poitiers, it seemed the very
irony of fate that a large portrait of the arch enemy of the beautiful
Diane should adorn the richly carved chimney-place. I should not say
_adorn_, for Catherine's unattractive face could adorn nothing, and this
severe portrait in widow's weeds, with none of the pomp and circumstance
of royalty to light up the sombre garb, is singularly undecorative.
Although she had already announced that she had no great affection for
Diane, Catherine's portrait in this particular room excited Miss
Cassandra's wrath to such a degree that her words and gestures attracted
the attention of the guide. At first he looked perplexed and then
indignantly turned to us for an explanation: "What ailed the lady, and
why was she displeased? He was doing his best to show us the château."
We reassured him, smoothed down his ruffled feathers, and finally
explained to him that Miss Cassandra had a deep-rooted aversion to Queen
Catherine and especially resented having her honored by portrait or bust
in these beautiful French castles, above all in this room of her hated

"Diane was none too good herself," he replied with a grim smile; "but
she was beautiful and had wit enough to hold the hearts of two kings."
Then, entering into the spirit of the occasion, he turned to Miss
Cassandra and by dint of shrugs, and no end of indescribable and most
expressive French gestures, he made her understand that he had no love
for Catherine himself, and that if it lay within his _pouvoir_ he would
throw the unlovely portrait out of the window; no one cared for
her,--her own husband least of all. This last remark was accompanied
with what was intended for a wicked wink, exclusively for Walter's
benefit, but its wickedness was quite overcome by the irresistible and
contagious good humor and _bonhomie_ of the man. Finding that his
audience was _en rapport_ with him, he drew our attention to the wall
decoration, which consists of a series of monograms, and asked us how we
read the design.

"D and H intertwined" we answered in chorus.

At this the guide laughed merrily and explained that there were
different opinions about the monogram; some persons said that King Henry
had boldly undertaken to interlace the initial letters of Catherine and
Diane with his own, but he for his part believed that the letters were
two Cs with an H between them and, whether by accident or design, the
letter on the left, which looked more like a D than a C, gave the key to
the monogram, "and this," he added with the air of a philosopher, "made
it true to history; the beautiful favorite on the left hand was always
more powerful than the Queen on the right, not that the ways of King
Henry II were to be commended; but," with a frank smile, "one is always
pleased to think of that wicked woman getting what was owing her."

"Rousseau thought that both the initials were those of Diane; he says in
his _Confessions_: 'In 1747 we went to pass the autumn in Touraine, at
the castle of Chenonceaux, a royal mansion upon the Cher, built by Henry
II for Diane de Poitiers, of whom the ciphers are still seen.'"

We turned, at the sound of a strange voice, to find the Frenchman of the
Bon Laboureur standing quite near us.

"These guides have a large supply of more or less correct history at
hand, and this one, being a philosopher, adds his own theories to
further obscure the truth." This in the most perfect English,
accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders entirely French. "Chenonceaux
being Diane's château and this her own room, what more natural than that
her cipher should be here, as Rousseau says? And yet, as Honoré de
Balzac points out, this same cipher is to be found in the palace of the
Louvre; upon the columns of _la Halle au Blé_, built by Catherine
herself; and above her own tomb at Saint Denis which she had constructed
during her lifetime. All the same, it must have pleased Henry immensely
to have the royal cipher look much more like D H than like C H, and
there is still room for conjecture which, after all, is one of the
charms of history, so, Monsieur et Mesdames, it is quite _à votre
choix_," with a graceful bow in our direction.

Evidently Monsieur Crapaud does not consider us savages, despite
Walter's unsavory remarks about the _cuisine_ of his country, and
noticing our interest he added with French exactness: "Of course, the
château was not built for Diane, although much enlarged and beautified
by her, and when Catherine came into possession she had the good sense
to carry out some of Diane's plans. Francis I came here to hunt
sometimes, and it was upon one of these parties of pleasure, when his
son Henry and Diane de Poitiers were with him, that she fell in love
with this castle on the Cher, and longed to make it her own. Having a
lively sense of the instability of all things mortal, kings in
particular, she took good care to make friends with the rising star, and
when Francis was gathered to his fathers and his uncles and his
cousins,--you may remember that his predecessor was an uncle or a
cousin,--Henry promptly turned over Chenonceaux to Diane."

"There is a curious old story," said Monsieur Crapaud, "about
Chenonceaux having been given to Diane to soothe her vanity, which had
been wounded by the publication of some scurrilous verses, said to have
been instigated by her enemy, Madame d'Etampes. Naturally, the petted
beauty, whose charms were already on the wane, resented satirical
allusion to her painted face, false teeth and hair, especially as she
was warned, in very plain language, that a painted bait would not long
attract her prey. These verses were attributed to one of the Bohiers, a
nephew or a son of the old councillor who had built the château, and, to
save his neck, he offered Chenonceaux to Henry, who begged Diane to
accept it and forget her woes."

"Which she did, of course," said Walter, "as she always seemed to have
had an eye to the main chance."

"I cannot vouch for the truth of the story; I give it to you as it came
to me. There is no doubt, however, that certain satirical verses were
written about the Duchesse de Valentinois, in which she and the King
also are spoken of with a freedom not to be expected under the old
régime. Perhaps you are not familiar with the quatrain:

          "'Sire, si vous laissez, comme Charles désire,
            Comme Diane veut, par trop vous gouverner,
            Foudre, pétrir, mollir, refondre, retourner,
            Sire vous n'êtes plus, vous n'êtes plus que cire.'"

"Rather bold language to use in speaking of a king, to be told that he
is but wax in the hands of Diane and the Cardinal of Lorraine," said
Lydia; "that was at the time of the disaster of St. Quentin, was it

"Yes, Mademoiselle; you seem to be quite up on our history, which was
really deeply involved in cabals at this juncture. I shall be afraid of
you in future, as you probably know more about it all than I do."

The French gentleman's natural use of Americanisms in speech was as
surprising to us as was Lydia's knowledge of French history to him, and
the ice being now fairly broken, we chatted away gaily as we passed
through the handsome dining room, the ancient _salle des gardes_ of
Queen Catherine, where our new _cicerone_ pointed out to us in the
painted ceiling her own personal cipher interwoven with an arabesque.
From the great dining room a door, on which are carved the arms of the
Bohiers, leads directly, one might say abruptly, into a chapel, "as if,"
said Monsieur Crapaud, "to remind those who sit at meat here that the
things of the spirit are near at hand."

The chapel is a little gem, with rich glass dating back to 1521. Another
door in the dining room leads to Queen Catherine's superbly decorated
salon, and still another to the apartments of Louise de Vaudemont. In
these rooms, which she had hung in black, the saintly widow of Henry III
spent many years mourning for a husband who had shown himself quite
unworthy of her devotion. The more that we saw of this lovely palace,
the better we understood Catherine's wrath when she saw the coveted
possession thrown into the lap of her rival. She had come here with her
father-in-law, Francis, as a bride, and naturally looked upon the
château as her own.

"But Diane held on to it," said Walter. "We have just been reading that
remarkable scene when, after Henry had been mortally wounded in the
tournament with Montgomery, Catherine sent messages to her, demanding
possession of the castle. You remember that her only reply was, 'Is the
King yet dead?' and hearing that he still lived, Diane stoutly refused
to surrender her château while breath was in his body. We have our Dumas
with us, you see."

"Yes, and here, I believe, he was true to history. That was a battle
royal of dames, and I, for my part, have always regretted that Diane had
to give up her palace. Have you seen Chaumont, which she so unwillingly
received in exchange? No! Then you will see something fine in its way,
but far less beautiful than Chenonceaux, which for charm of situation
stands alone."

And after all, Diane still possesses her château; for it is of her that
we think as we wander from room to room. In the apartment of Francis I
her portrait by Primaticcio looks down from the wall. As in life,
Diane's beauty and wit triumphed over her rivals; over the withering
hand of age and the schemes of the unscrupulous and astute daughter of
the Médici, so in death she still dominates the castle that she loved.
Pray do not think that I am in love with Diane; she was doubtless wicked
and vindictive, even if not as black as Dumas paints her; but bad as she
may have been, it is a satisfaction to think of her having for years
outwitted Catherine, or as Miss Cassandra said, in language more
expressive if less elegant than that of Monsieur Crapaud, "It is worth
much to know that that terrible woman for once _did_ get her _come

If it was of Diane de Poitiers we thought within the walls of the
château, it was to Mary Stuart that our thoughts turned as we wandered
through the lovely forest glades of the park, under the overarching
trees through whose branches the sun flashed upon the green turf and
varied growth of shrubbery. We could readily fancy the young Queen and
her brilliant train riding gaily through these shaded paths, their hawks
upon their wrists, these, according to all writers of the time, being
the conventional accompaniments of royalty at play.

Ronsard was doubtless with the court at Chenonceaux, as he was often in
the train of the young Queen, whom he had instructed in the art of verse
making. Like all the other French poets of his time, he laid some of
his most charming verses at the feet of Mary Stuart, whose short stay in
France he likened to the life of the flowers.

          "Les roses et les lis ne règnent qu'un printemps,
           Ansi vostre beauté seulment apparrue
           Quinze ou seize ans en France est soudain disparue."

I think Ronsard, as well as Chastelard, accompanied Mary upon her sad
return to Scotland after the death of Francis, and how cold and barren
that north country must have seemed after the rich fertility and beauty
of Touraine! Do you remember our own impressions of Holyrood on a rainy
August morning, and the chill gloom of poor Mary's bedroom, and the
adjoining dismal little boudoir where she supped with Rizzio,--the room
in which he was murdered as he clung to her garments for protection? I
thought of it to-day as we stood in the warm sunshine of the court, with
the blooming parterres spread before us, realizing, as never before, the
sharp contrast between such palaces of pleasure as this and Mary's rude
northern castles. An appropriate setting was this château for the gay,
spirited young creature, who seems to have been a queen every inch from
her childhood, with a full appreciation of her own importance. It seems
that she mortally offended Catherine, when a mere child, by saying that
the Queen belonged to a family of merchants while she herself was the
daughter of a long line of kings. In some way, Mary's words were
repeated to Catherine, who never forgave the bitter speech, all the more
bitter for its truth.

Finding that we had not yet seen the Galerie Louis XIV, which, for some
reason, is not generally shown to visitors, our friendly _cicerone_ who,
as he expressed it, knows Chenonceaux as he knows the palm of his hand,
conducted us again to the château. For him all doors were opened, as by
magic, and we afterwards learned that he had some acquaintance with
Monsieur Terry, the present owner of this fair domain.

Although the Galerie Louis XIV, on the upper floor of the long gallery,
is not particularly beautiful or well decorated, it is interesting
because here were first presented some of the plays of Jean Jacques
Rousseau, _L'Engagement Téméraire_ and _Le Devin du Village_. Such later
associations as this under the _régime_ of the _Fermier Général_ and
Madame Dupin are those of an altogether peaceful and homelike abode. In
his _Confessions_ Rousseau says: "We amused ourselves greatly in this
fine spot. We made a great deal of music and acted comedies. I wrote a
comedy, in fifteen days, entitled _L'Engagement Téméraire_, which will
be found amongst my papers; it has not other merit than that of being
lively. I composed several other little things: amongst others a poem
entitled, _L'Allée de Sylvie_, from the name of an alley in the park
upon the banks of the Cher; and this without discontinuing my chemical
studies or interrupting what I had to do for Madame D----n." Rousseau
was at this time acting as secretary to Madame Dupin and her son-in-law,
Monsieur Francueil. Elsewhere he complains that these two _dilettanti_
were so occupied with their own productions that they were disposed to
belittle the genius of their brilliant secretary, which, after all, was
not unnatural, as the "New Eloisa" and his other famous works had not
then been given to the world.

Monsieur Crapaud explained to us that Madame Dupin was not only a beauty
and a _précieuse_, but an excellent business woman, so clever, indeed,
that she managed to prove, by hook or by crook, that Chenonceaux had
never been absolutely crown property and so did not fall under the _coup
de décret_. She retained this beautiful château during the Revolution,
and lived here in heroic possession, during all the upheavals and
changes of that tumultuous period.

Thanks to Monsieur Crapaud, we missed no part of the château, even to
the kitchens, which are spacious and fitted out with an abundant supply
of the shining, well-polished coffee pots, pans, and _casseroles_ that
always make French cookery appear so dainty and appetizing. He
accompanied us, with charming amiability, through this most important
department of the château, and never once, amid the evidences of
luxurious living, did he even look supercilious or, as Lydia expressed
it afterwards, "As if he were saying to himself, 'I wonder what these
benighted Americans think of French cookery now!'" Not even when Miss
Cassandra asked her favorite question in royal palaces, "How many in
family?" was there a ghost of a smile upon his face, and yet he must
have understood her, as he turned to a guide and asked how many persons
constituted the family of Monsieur Terry. This Cuban gentleman who now
owns the château is certainly to be congratulated upon his excellent
taste; the restoration of the building and the laying out of the grounds
are all so well done, the whole is so harmonious, instinct with the
spirit of the past, and yet so livable that the impression left upon us
was that of a happy home. In the past, Chenonceaux witnessed no such
horrors as are associated with Amboise and so many of the beautiful
castles of Touraine. Small wonder that Henry II wrote of this fair
palace, as we read in a little book lying on one of the tables: "Le
Châsteau de Chenonceau est assis en un des meillures, et plus beaulx
pays de nostre royaume."

"I must confess that I feel sorry for poor Diana," said Miss Cassandra,
as we lingered among the flowers and shrubbery of the lovely gardens.
"What became of her after Catherine turned her out of her château?"

"You remember, Madame, that Chaumont was given her in exchange, although
Catherine gave her to understand that she considered the smaller château
of Anet a more suitable place for her to retire to, her sun having set.
For this reason, or because she preferred Anet, Madame Diane retired to
this château, which she had beautified in her early years, and in whose
grounds Jean Goujon had placed a charming figure of herself as Diane
Chaseresse. This marble, destroyed during the Revolution, has been
carefully restored, and so Diane now reigns in beauty at the Louvre,
where this statue has found a place."

Monsieur Crapaud, whose name, it transpires, is La Tour, an appropriate
one and one easily remembered in this part of the world, returned to
Tours in the same train with us, and to our surprise we found that he
also was stopping at the Pension B----. The manner in which he said "My
family always stop at the Pension B----" seemed to confer an enviable
distinction upon the little hostel, and in a way to dim the ancient
glories of the Hôtel de l'Univers.



                      PENSION B----, TOURS, Wednesday, September 7th.

WALTER has been triumphing over me because, even after his unseemly
behavior yesterday, M. La Tour has formed a sudden attachment for him
which is so strong that he insisted upon staying over to go with us to
Loches this afternoon. He says that we may miss some of the most
interesting points there if left to the tender mercies of the guides,
who often dwell upon the least important things. Our new acquaintance
proved to be so altogether delightful as a _cicerone_, when he conducted
us through the old streets of Tours this morning, that we are looking
forward with pleasure to an afternoon in his good company.

The old part of the town, M. La Tour tells us, was once a quite distinct
ecclesiastical foundation, called Châteauneuf, of which every building,
in a way, depended upon the Basilica of St. Martin. When the dreadful
Fulk, the Black, set fire to it, in the tenth century, twenty-two
churches and chapels are said to have been destroyed. Among those that
have been restored are Notre Dame la Riche, once Notre Dame la Pauvre,
and St. Saturnin, which formerly contained, among other handsome tombs,
that of Thomas Bohier and his wife Katherine Briçonnet, the couple who
did so much for Chenonceaux. This ancient Châteauneuf, like the court
end of so many old cities, has narrow, winding streets overtopped by
high buildings. These twisting streets are so infinitely picturesque
with their sudden turns and elbows that we are quite ready to overlook
their inconvenience for the uses of our day, and trust that no modern
vandalism, under the name of progress, may change and despoil these
byways of their ancient charm. Wandering through the narrow, quaint
streets of the old city, with their steep gabled and timbered houses,
through whose grilled or half-opened gates we catch glimpses of tiled
courtyards and irregular bits of stone carving, over which flowers throw
a veil of rich bloom, we feel that we are living in an old world. Yet M.
La Tour reminds us that beneath our feet lies a still older world, for
as we follow what is evidently a wall of defence we come upon the
remains of an ancient gateway and suddenly realize that beneath this
Martinopolis, Châteauneuf and Tours of the fifth century, lie the
temples, amphitheatres, and baths of the more ancient Urbs Turonum of
the Romans.

In the midst of our excursion into the past, Miss Cassandra suddenly
brought us back to the present by exclaiming that she would like to go
to some place where the Romans had never been. She has had quite enough
of them in their own city and country, and now being in Touraine she
says that she prefers to live among the French.

M. La Tour laughed heartily, as he does at everything our Quaker lady
says, and answered, with French literalness, that it would be hard to
find any land in the known world that the Romans had not occupied,
"Except your own America, Madame." Then, as if to humor her fancy, he
conducted us by way of little streets with charming names of flowers,
angels, and the like, to the Place du Grand Marché, where he showed Miss
Cassandra something quite French, the beautiful Renaissance fountain
presented to Tours by the unfortunate Jacques de Beaune, Baron de
Semblançay. This fountain was made from the designs of Michel Colombe by
his nephew, Bastian François. It was broken in pieces and thrown aside
when the Rue Royale was created, but was later put together by one of
the good mayors of Tours and now stands on the Place du Grand Marché, a
lasting monument to the Baron de Semblançay, treasurer under Francis I,
who was accused of malversation, hanged at Montfaucon and his estates,
Azay-le-Rideau with the rest, confiscated by the crown. M. La Tour
considers the treatment of the Baron de Semblançay quite unjust, and
says that he was only found to have been guilty of corruption when he
failed to supply the enormous sums of money required by Francis I and
his mother, who, like the proverbial horseleach's daughters, cried ever
"Give! give!" It seems one of the reprisals of time that the name of the
donor should still be preserved upon this beautiful Fountain de Beaune
of Tours, as well as upon the old treasurer's house in the Rue St.
François, a fine Renaissance building.

[Illustration: Neurdein Freres, Photo.


From the Rue du Grand Marché we turned into the Rue du Commerce, where
on the Place de Beaune is the Hôtel de la Crouzille, once the Hôtel de
la Vallière, with its double gables and the graceful, shell-like
ornamentation which the restaurateur who occupies the house has wisely
allowed to remain above his commonplace sign of to-day. In the same
street is the famous Hôtel Gouin, now a bank. This house, which dates
back to the fifteenth century, has been carefully restored, and its
whole stone façade, covered with charming arabesques, is a fine example
of early French Renaissance style.

In the ancient Rue Briçonnet, quite near,--indeed nothing is very far
away in this old town,--is the house attributed to Tristan l'Hermite,
who held the unenviable position of hangman-in-chief to His Majesty,
King Louis. There is no foundation for this tradition, which probably
owes its origin to a knotted rope and some hooks on the wall, which are
sufficiently suggestive of hanging. This sculptured cord, or rope, not
unlike the emblem of Anne of Brittany, may have been placed here in her
honor, or in that of one of her ladies in waiting, as she frequently
urged her attendants to adopt her device of the knotted rope, whose
derivation has never been quite understood.

"However," as Miss Cassandra says, "we are not here in search of
associations of the head executioner of Louis or of those of his royal
master," and so we were free to enjoy the beauty of this fourteenth
century house, which is quite picturesque enough to do without
associations of any kind, with its substantial walls in which brick and
stone are so happily combined, its graceful arcades, lovely spiral
pilasters and richly carved Renaissance doorways. We noticed the words
_Priez Dieu Pur_ carved over a window in the courtyard which, M. La Tour
says, is thought to be an anagram upon the name of Pierre de Puy, who
owned the house in 1495. In the wide paved courtyard is an ancient stone
well, near which is a spiral stairway leading to a loggia, from which we
had a fine view of the picturesque gables and roofs of the old town, and
beyond of the broad river shimmering in the sun, and still farther away
of a line of low hills crowned with white villas.

Noticing the Tour de Guise as it stood out against the blue sky, M. La
Tour told us an interesting tale about this tower, which is about all
that is left of the royal palace built here or added to by Henry II, who
was also hereditary Count of Anjou, and did much building and road
making in the Touraine of his day.

The young Prince de Joinville, son of the Duke de Guise, who for some
reason was imprisoned here after the murder of his father at Blois, was
permitted to attend mass on Assumption Day, 1591. Tasting the sweets of
freedom in this brief hour of respite, the Prince took his courage in
his two hands and suddenly decided to make a bold dash for liberty.
Laying a wager with his guards that he could run upstairs again faster
than they, he reached his room first, bolted the door and seizing a
cord, or rope, which had been brought to him by his laundress, he made
it fast to the window, slipped out and dropped fifteen feet. With shots
whistling all about him he flew around the tower to the Faubourg de la
Riche, where he leaped upon the back of the first horse that he saw; the
saddle turned and threw him and a soldier came up suddenly and accosted
him. Fortunately, the soldier proved, by some happy chance, to be a
Leaguer, who gave him a fresh mount, and soon the Prince had put many
miles between himself and his pursuers. Ever since, the tower has borne
the name of the young De Guise who so cleverly escaped from it.

                                                   Wednesday evening.

We experienced what our Puritan ancestors would have called a "fearful
joy" during our afternoon at Loches, for anything more horrible than the
dungeons above ground and under it would be difficult to imagine. I
shall spare you a full description of them, as I refused to descend into
the darkest depths to see the worst of them, and Walter is probably
writing Allen a full-length account of them,--iron cages, hooks, rings,
and all the other contrivances of cruelty. Loches, however, is not all
cells and dungeons, as the château is beautifully situated upon a
headland above the Indre, and the gray castle rising above the terraces,
with its many towers, tourelles, and charming pointed windows, presents
a picturesque as well as a formidable appearance. Our way lay by winding
roads and between high walls. We thought ourselves fortunate to make
this steep circuitous ascent in a coach; but once within the _enceinte_
of the castle we were on a level and felt as if we were walking through
the streets of a little village. Many small white houses, with pretty
gardens of blooming plants, lie below the fortress on one side, in sharp
contrast to the frowning dungeons of Fulk Nerra and Louis XI which
overshadow them.

The great square mass of Fulk Nerra's keep stood out dark against the
blue of the sky to-day; this with the Tour Neuf and the Tour Ronde are
said to be the "most beautiful of all the dungeons of France," as if a
dungeon could ever be beautiful! And it was Louis XI, that expert and
past master in cruelty, who is said to have "perfected these prisons,"
which only needed the iron cage, designed to suit the King's good
pleasure, to complete their horror.

The invention of the iron cage has been accredited to Jean la Balue,
Bishop of Angers, and also to the Bishop of Verdun. Perhaps both of
these devout churchmen had a hand in the work, as fate, with a dash of
irony, and the fine impartiality of the mother who whipped both of her
boys because she could not find out which one had eaten the plums,
clapped them both into iron cages. Louis XI was in these instances the
willing agent of avenging fate. Cardinal la Balue survived the sorrows
of his iron cage for eleven years, "much longer than might have been
expected," as Mr. Henry James says, "from this extraordinary mixture of
seclusion and exposure."

The historian, Philip de Commines, described these cages as "Rigorous
prisons plated with iron both within and without with horrible iron
works, eight foote square and one foote more than a man's height. He
that first devised them was the Bishop of Verdun, who forthwith was
himself put into the first that was made, where he remained fourteen

Louis was so enchanted with this fiendish device that he longed to put
all his state prisoners into iron cages. We are glad to know that when
he recommended this treatment to the Admiral of France for one of his
captives of high degree, the jailer replied, with a spirit and
independence to which the tyrant was little wont, "That if that was the
King's idea of how a prisoner should be kept he might take charge of
this one himself."

"De Commines knew all about the horrors of the iron cage," said M. La
Tour, "for he was himself imprisoned in one of them by the Lady of
Beaujeu, who was Regent of France after the death of her father, Louis
XI. De Commines joined the Duke of Orleans in a conspiracy against the
government of the Regent, which was discovered. He was seized and also
the Duke, afterwards Louis XII. Louis himself was imprisoned by his
cousin of Beaujeu and was set free by her brother Charles."

The guide pointed out the iron cage in which Philip de Commines was
confined, which was horrible enough to answer to his description. Some
of the lines inscribed on the walls of the round tower were doubtless
composed by De Commines, among these a wise saying in Latin which Walter
deciphered with difficulty and thus freely translated:

"I have regretted that I have spoken; but never that I remained silent."

A most ironical invitation, we read in the corridor leading to the
tower: "Entrés, Messieurs, ches le Roy Nostre Mestre."

One poor captive, who showed a cheerful desire to make the best of his
lot, inscribed upon the wall of his cell these lines, which Lydia copied
for you:

          Malgré les ennuis d'une longue souffrance,
          Et le cruel destin dont je subis la loy,
          Il est encor des biens pour moy,
          Le tendre amour et la douce espérance.

In the Martelet where we went down many steps, we saw the room in which
Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, was imprisoned by Louis XII for eight
years, and the little sundial that he made on the only spot on the wall
that the sun could strike. He also whiled away the weary hours of
captivity by painting frescoes on the walls, which are still to be seen.
By such devices Ludovico probably saved his reason, but his health broke
down and when relief came he seems to have died of joy, or from the
sudden shock of coming out into the world again. A sad end was this to a
life that had begun in happiness and prosperity and that was crowned by
a felicitous marriage with beautiful Beatrice d'Este.

"And why did Louis, the Father of his people, the good King Louis,
imprison Ludovico all those years?" asked Miss Cassandra.

"King Louis, although the best and wisest King that France had known for
many a day, was but mortal," said M. La Tour, twisting his moustache as
if somewhat puzzled by our Quaker lady's direct question, "and having a
sound claim to the Duchy of Milan, through his grandmother Valentine
Visconti, he proceeded to make it good."

"By ousting Ludovico, and his lovely wife, Beatrice, who was really far
too good for him; but then most of the women were too good for their
husbands in those days," said Miss Cassandra.

"Fortunately," said M. La Tour, "the Duchess of Milan had died two years
before Ludovico's capture and so was spared the misery of knowing that
her husband was a prisoner in France."

We were glad to emerge from the dismal dungeons into the light and air
by stepping out upon a terrace, from which we had a fine view of the
château and the Collegiate Church of St. Ours adjoining it.

The Château of Loches, once a fortress guarding the Roman highway, later
belonged to the house of Anjou and was for some years handed about by
French and English owners. As might have been expected, this fortress
was given away by John Lackland (whose name sounds very odd, done into
French, as Jean-Sans-Terre), but was regained by his brother, Richard
Coeur de Lion. It was finally sold to St. Louis, and the château,
begun by Charles VII, was completed by Louis XII.

The tower of Agnes Sorel, with its garden terrace, is the most charming
part of the château, crowning, as it does, a great rock on the south
side which overlooks the town.

Charles seems to have met the enchanting Agnes while at Loches, whither
she had come in the train of the Countess of Anjou, whose mission to
France was to gain the liberty of her husband, King René, who had been
taken prisoner in battle, and was confined in the Tour de Bar, which we
saw at Dijon.

From all accounts Agnes appears to have been a creature of ravishing
beauty and great charm, as the ancient chroniclers describe her with a
complexion of lilies and roses, a mouth formed by the graces, brilliant
eyes, whose vivacity was tempered by an expression of winning sweetness,
and a tall and graceful form. In addition to her personal attraction,
this "Dame de Beaulté" seems to have had a sweet temper, a ready wit,
and judgment far beyond that of her royal lover. According to many
historians, Agnes was the good angel of the King's life, as Joan, the
inspired Maid, had been in a still darker period of his reign. Brantôme
relates a story of the favorite's clever and ingenious method of rousing
Charles from his apathy and selfish pursuit of pleasure while the
English, under the Duke of Bedford, were ravaging his kingdom. "It had
been foretold in her childhood, by an astrologer," said Agnes, "that she
should be beloved by one of the bravest and most valiant kings in
Christendom," adding, with fine sarcasm, "that when Charles had paid her
the compliment of loving her she believed him to be, in truth, this
valorous king of whom she had heard, but now seeing him so indifferent
to his duty in resisting King Henry, who was capturing so many towns
under his very nose, she realized that she was deceived and that this
valorous king must be the English sovereign, whom she had better seek,
as he evidently was the one meant by the astrologer."

[Illustration: AGNES SOREL]

"Brantôme was a bit out here," said M. La Tour, "as Henry V. had died
some years before and his son Henry VI was only six or seven years of
age at this time, and it was the Duke of Bedford who was ravaging the
fair fields of France and taking the King's towns _a sa barbe_. However,
that is only a detail as you Americans say, and there must be some
foundation for Brantôme's story of Agnes having aroused the King to
activity by her cleverness and spirit, for more than one historian
gives her the credit of this good work for Charles and for France. You
remember that Brantôme says that these words of the _belle des belles_
so touched the heart of the King that he wept, took courage, quitted the
chase, and was so valiant and so fortunate that he was able to drive the
English from his kingdom."

"It is a charming little tale," said Lydia, "and I, for one, do not
propose to question it. Brantôme may have allowed his imagination to run
away with him; but the good influence of Agnes must have been
acknowledged in her own time and later, or Francis I would not have
written of her:

          "'Plus de louange son amour s'y mérite
            Étant cause de France recouvrer!'"

"And I, for my part, don't believe a word of it!" said Miss Cassandra
emphatically. "No ordinary girl, no matter how handsome she might be,
would sit up and talk like that to a great King. I call it downright
impertinent; she wasn't even a titled lady, much less a princess."

For a Quaker, Miss Cassandra certainly has a great respect for worldly
honors and titles, and Lydia took pleasure in reminding her that Joan
of Arc was only a peasant girl of Domremy, and yet she dared to speak
boldly to Charles, her King.

"That was quite different, my dear," said Miss Cassandra. "Joan was an
_honest_ maid to begin with, and then she was raised quite above her
station by her spiritual manifestations, and she had what the Friends
call a concern."

Then noticing the puzzled expression on M. La Tour's face, she
explained: "I mean something on her mind and conscience with regard to
the King and the redemption of France, what you would call a mission."

"Yes," Lydia added, "_une mission_ is the best translation of the word
that I can think of; but it does not give the full meaning of the
expression 'to have a concern,'" and as he still looked puzzled, she
added, comfortingly: "You need not wonder, Monsieur, that you do not
quite understand what my aunt means, for born and bred in Quakerdom as I
have been, I never feel that I grasp the full spiritual significance of
the expression as the older Friends use it."

For some years Charles seems to have been under the spell of the beauty
and charm of Agnes Sorel, upon whom he bestowed honors, titles, and
lands, the Château of Loches among other estates. From her false dream
of happiness the royal favorite was rudely awakened by the Dauphin,
afterwards Louis XI, who entered the room where the Queen's ladies in
waiting were seated, and marching up to Agnes in a violent rage, spoke
to her in the most contemptuous language, struck her on the cheek, it is
said, and gave her to understand that she had no right to be at the

"Which," as Miss Cassandra remarks, "was only too true, although the
Dauphin, even at this early age, had enough sins of his own to look
after, without undertaking to set his father's house in order."

Agnes took to heart the Dauphin's cruel words, and resisting all the
solicitations of the King, parted from him and retired to a small house
in the town of Loches, where she lived for five years, devoting herself
to penitence and good works.

"It seems," said Miss Cassandra, "that repentance and sorrow for sin was
the particular business of the women in those days; when the men were
in trouble they generally went a hunting."

M. La Tour, being a Frenchman, evidently considers this a quite proper
arrangement, although he reminded Miss Cassandra that the wicked Fulk
Nerra, "your Angevin ancestor," as he calls him, "expiated for his sins
with great rigor in the Holy Land, as he dragged himself, half naked,
through the streets of Jerusalem, while a servant walked on each side
scourging him."

After living quietly at Loches for five years Agnes one day received a
message that greatly disturbed her and caused her to set forth with all
haste for Paris. Arrived there, and learning that the King was at
Jumiéges for a few days' rest after the pacification of Normandy, she
repaired thither and had a long interview with him. As Agnes left the
King she said to one of her friends that she "had come to save the King
from a great danger." Four hours later she was suddenly seized with
excruciating pain and died soon after. It was thought by many persons
that the former royal favorite was poisoned by the Dauphin; but this has
never been proved.

The body of Agnes Sorel was, according to her own request, transported
to Loches and buried in the choir of the Collegiate Church of St. Ours,
where it rested for many years. The beautiful tomb was first placed in
the church, but was later removed to the tower where it stands to-day
and where Agnes still reigns in beauty. Upon a sarcophagus of black
marble is a reclining figure, modest and seemly, the hands folded upon
the breast, two lambs guarding the feet, while two angels support the
cushion upon which rests the lovely head of _la belle des belles_, whose
face in life is said to have had the bloom of flowers in the springtime.
The inscription upon the tomb is:

"Here lies the noble Damoyselle Agnes Seurelle, in her life time Lady of
Beaulté, of Roquesserie, of Issouldun, of Vernon-sur-Seine. Kind and
pitiful to all men, she gave liberally of her goods to the Church and to
the poor. She died the ninth day of February of the Year of Grace 1449.
Pray for her soul. Amen."

You may remember that at the Abbey of Jumiéges we saw a richly carved
sarcophagus which contains the heart of Agnes Sorel. M. La Tour says
that she left a legacy to Jumiéges, with the request that her heart
should be buried in the abbey. At one time a beautiful kneeling figure
of Agnes, offering her heart to the Virgin in supplication, surmounted
the black marble sarcophagus; but this was destroyed, when and how it is
not known.

In one of the oldest parts of the château are the bedroom and oratory of
Anne of Brittany. From these rooms there is a lovely view of the Indre
and of the old town with its steep gables, crenelated roofs, and
picturesque chimneys. The walls of the little oratory are richly
decorated with exquisite carvings of the Queen's devices, the tasseled
cord and the ermine, which even a coat of whitewash has not deprived of
their beauty.

M. La Tour, whom Lydia has dubbed "our H.B.R." handy-book of reference,
tells us that the origin of Queen Anne's favorite device is so far back
in history that it is somewhat mythical. The ermine of which she was so
proud is said to have come from her ancestress, Madame Inoge, wife of
Brutus and daughter of Pindarus the Trojan. It appears that during a
hunting expedition an ermine was pursued by the dogs of King Brutus. The
poor little creature took refuge in the lap of Inoge, who saved it from
death, fed it for a long time and adopted an ermine as her badge.

We had spent so much time in the Château Royale and in the various
dungeons that there was little space left for a visit to the very
remarkable Church of St. Ours adjoining the château, which, as Viollet
le Duc says, has a remarkable and savage beauty of its own. After seeing
what is left of the girdle of the Virgin, which the verger thought it
very important that we should see, we spent what time we had left in
gazing up at the interesting corbeling of the nave and the two hollow,
stone pyramids that form its roof.

Miss Cassandra and I flatly refused to descend into the depths below,
although the verger with a lighted candle stood ready to conduct us into
a subterranean chapel, which was, at one time, connected with the
château. We had seen quite enough of underground places for one day, and
were glad to pass on into the more livable portion of the castle, which
is now inhabited by the sous-prefect of the district, and from thence
into the open, where we stopped to rest under the wide-spreading
chestnut tree planted here by Francis I so many years since.

M. La Tour reminds us, among other associations of Loches, that the
Seigneur de Saint Vallier, the father of Diane de Poitiers, whose
footsteps we followed at Chenonceaux, was once imprisoned here. Even the
powerful influence of Diane scarcely gained her father's pardon from
Francis I. His sentence had been pronounced and he was mounting the
steps of the scaffold when the reprieve came.

With our minds filled with the varied and vivid associations of Loches,
we left the castle enclosure and from without the walls we had a fine
view of the massive dungeons, the Château Royal, with the beautiful
tower of Agnes Sorel, and the charming terrace beside it. Through many
crooked, winding lanes and postern doors M. La Tour conducted us by the
gate of the Cordeliers, with its odd fifteenth century turrets, to a
neat little garden café. Here we refreshed ourselves with tea and some
very dainty little cakes that are a _spécialité de la maison_, while
Walter gracefully mounted his hobby, which, as you have doubtless
gathered ere this, is the faithfulness of Alexander Dumas to history.
"What need had Dumas to call upon his imagination when the court life of
France, under the Valois and Bourbons, furnished all the wonders of the
Thousand and One Nights?" Walter really becomes eloquent when launched
upon his favorite subject, and indeed we all are, more or less, under
the spell of Dumas and Balzac. With the heroes and heroines of Alexandre
Dumas, we have spent so many delightful hours that Touraine seems, in a
way, to belong to them. It would not surprise us very much to have
Porthos, Athos, and Aramis gallop up behind our carriage and demand our
passports, or best of all to see that good soldier and perfect
gentleman, D'Artagnan, standing before us with sword unsheathed ready to
cut and come again; but always it must be remembered quite as reckless
of his own precious skin as of that of his enemies.

"I wonder if we shall ever again see their like upon the pages of
romance," said Walter turning to M. La Tour.

"Good soldiers and brave gentlemen, better and braver than the royal
masters whom they served so faithfully!" said M. La Tour, raising his
hand in the delightfully dramatic fashion of the French as if proposing
a toast: "May their memories long linger in Touraine and the Blésois,
which they have glorified by their deeds of valor!"

What do you think we have been doing this evening? Still under the spell
of Loches and its weird associations, we have been trying to turn the
French verse, which Lydia copied for you, into metrical English. It
seemed so strange that we four twentieth century Americans and one
Franco-American should be translating the pathetic little verse of the
poor prisoner who,

          "_Malgré les ennuis d'une longue souffrance,_"

kept up a brave heart and counted his blessings.

We all tried our hand at it, Miss Cassandra, M. La Tour and all. I send
you the verse that seemed to our umpire the best. One of the charming
Connecticut ladies, whom we met at Amboise, called upon us this evening
and was kind enough to act as umpire in our little war of wits. She was
so polite as to say that all of the translations were so good that it
was difficult to choose between them, but this is the one that she
thought most in the spirit of the original lines:

          Despite the weary hours of pain
            A cruel fate ordains for me,
            Some dear possessions yet there be;
          Sweet hope and tender love remain.

It is for you to guess who wrote this verse. One thing I tell you to
help you out or to puzzle you still more with your guessing, M. La Tour
wrote one of the verses; his knowledge of English construction is

This young Frenchman, who is usually politely reticent about his own
affairs, although so generously expansive in communicating his historic
and legendary lore, confided to Walter, this evening, in the intimacy of
smoking together, that his mother is an American. This accounts for his
perfect and idiomatic English and for his knowledge of our cities. He
talks about Washington, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston as if he had
seen them and yet he has never crossed the water, being like most
Frenchmen entirely satisfied with what his own country affords him.

Since Walter has learned that M. La Tour is half American, he begs to be
allowed to call him Mr. La Tour. Foreign handles and titles, as he
expresses it, do not sit easily upon his tongue.

The Frenchman laughed good naturedly at this and said, "Yes, yes, M.
Leonard, call me what you will. Philippe is my name; why not Philippe?"

Walter says this would be quite as bad as Monsieur, unless he could
change it to plain Philip, which would seem quite too simple and
unadorned a name for so elegant and decorative a being as M. Philippe
Edouard La Tour, who shines forth radiantly in the rather sombre
surroundings of the Pension B---- like the gilded youth that he is. What
havoc he would make among the hearts of the _pensionnaires_ if this were
indeed the young ladies' seminary that Walter calls it! M. La Tour is
particularly resplendent in evening costume, and when he appears
equipped for dining Madame B----calls him "_beau garçon_." He possesses,
as Miss Cassandra says, that most illusive and indescribable quality
which we call distinction for lack of a better word. While admiring him
immensely, she solemnly warns Lydia against the wiles of foreigners. And
I think myself that Archie had better turn his steps this way if he
expects to find Lydia heart whole, as M. La Tour loses no opportunity of
paying her charming little attentions in the way of choice offerings,
from the flower market on the Boulevard Béranger near by. This evening
he produced some delicious bonbons which he must have imported from
Paris for her delectation, although I must admit that they were properly
and decorously presented to Madame Leonard, your old, and, to-night,
your very sleepy friend,



[A] Mrs. Leonard added a postscript to her letter in which she gave Mrs.
Ramsey two other translations, asking her which she thought M. La Tour
had written:

          Despite these dragging hours wherein I prove
            The painful weight of destiny's decree,
            Yet fare I well, for none can take from me
          The gifts of gentle hope and tender love.

          Despite the dreariness of durance long and sore,
            Where fate's relentless hand still holds me fast,
            My dungeon I have made my treasure-house; its store
          Is love, and hope for freedom at the last.



                                      TOURS, THURSDAY, September 8th.

WE HAVE been having what they call "golden weather" here; but to-day the
skies are overcast, which does not please us, although this cloudy
weather may still be golden to the wise Tourangeau, who, as George Sand
said, "knows the exact value of sun or rain at the right moment."

This most unpromising day is our one opportunity to see Chinon, and as
luck will have it Miss Cassandra is laid up in lavender, with a crick in
her back, the result, she says, of her imprisonment at Loches yesterday,
and what would have become of her, she adds, if she had sojourned there
eight or nine long years like poor Ludovico? The threatening skies and
Miss Cassandra's indisposition would be quite enough to keep us at home,
or to tempt us to make some short excursion in the neighborhood of
Tours, were we not lured on by that _ignis fatuus_ of the traveler, the
unexplored worlds which lie beyond. There will be so much to be seen in
and near Blois, and in order to have time for the château, and to make
the excursions to Chambord and the other castles, we must be at Blois
to-morrow evening. So this is the only day for Chinon, which Walter
wishes so much to see while M. La Tour is with us.

Although, like Mr. Henry James, I may be obliged to write you that I
have not seen Chinon at all, I decided to stay at home to-day with Miss
Cassandra and sent the men off to Chinon, Lydia with them. Miss
Cassandra expostulated and so did Walter and Lydia; but I held my
position with great firmness, and I observed that the trio set forth
without me in gay good spirits. Of course my good man will miss me,
especially when he comes across the interesting Joan of Arc landmarks;
but he is in excellent company with M. La Tour, and I have gained a day
of repose which one needs when the associations are as interesting and
thrilling as they are here in Touraine. Miss Cassandra slept so sweetly
all morning that I had another long ramble in and out of the quaint
streets of the ancient Châteauneuf, which is what you and I love best
to do in old cities whose very stones, like those of Venice, are written
over with legend and story. The sun came out at noon, and I was
fortunate in getting enough light on the house of Tristan l'Hermite to
take a photograph from the court, which will give you some idea of this
interesting old building. So you see my day at home has had its
compensations, a crowning one being a letter from Archie, who is in
Paris, saying that he would join us at Blois to-morrow. This news proved
so stimulating to Miss Cassandra that she was able to get up and come
downstairs in time to greet the travelers on their return from Chinon.
They were most enthusiastic over their morning among the ruins, and full
of the lore of the old stronghold where the Maid of Orleans first met
the King, Lydia quoting:

          "Petite ville grand renom
           Assise sur pierre ancienne
           Au haut le bois, au pied la Vienne,"

until I stopped their rhapsodies over the ancient by giving them my bit
of up-to-date information that Archie was _en route_ for Blois. Walter
uttered such a shout of joy as this old hostel has not heard since the
victories of the first Napoleon were celebrated here. I tried to see
Lydia's face, but she turned away at the critical moment to speak to
Miss Cassandra, and so I lost my chance of seeing whether she was
surprised and excited over my news. When she turned to me later and
said, "How glad I am for you, Zelphine, and what a pleasant addition Dr.
Vernon will make to the party," her face wore its wonted expression of
sweet composure.

Walter says, "You really must see Chinon, Zelphine; we can make a
separate trip there with Archie. It is much farther from Blois than from
Tours, but by taking a motor car we can go to Angers at the same time."

Mr. La Tour (you notice that I take Walter's privilege in writing of
him) says that we really should pay our respects to Angers, the cradle
of our Angevin kings. He quite resents Mr. Henry James having written
down this old town in his notebook as a "sell," and says that although
Angers has become a flourishing, modern city, there is much of the old
town left and the château is well worth seeing.

Like John Evelyn, we have found the sojournment so agreeable here that
we could stay on and on for weeks, spending our days in visiting one
interesting château after another. We want so much to see Villandry and
Ussé, and we would love to have a day at Mme. de Sévigné's, Les Rochers,
or better still at Chantilly, where poor Vatel, the cook, through the
letters of _la belle Marquise_ and the failure of the fish supply, took
his place one summer day among the immortals. Lydia reminds me that the
Château of Chantilly is too far north to be easily reached from here,
but La Châtre is not far away, and a day and night among the haunts of
George Sand would be a rare pleasure, especially if we could drive to
Nohant along the road once travelled by such guests of the novelist as
Théophile Gautier, Dumas, Alfred de Musset, and Balzac. The latter found
her living, as he says, after his own plan "turned topsy-turvy; that is
to say, she goes to bed at six in the morning and rises at midday,
whilst I retire at six in the evening and rise at midnight."

Miss Cassandra, who in whatever portion of the globe she may be
travelling is sure to meet people with whom she has a link of
acquaintance or association, has discovered in the course of a long talk
with M. La Tour, this evening, that she knows some of his American
relatives. Indeed his Browns (how much more distinguished Le Brun would
sound!) are connected in some way with her family, and she and M. La
Tour are delighted to claim cousinship through these New York Browns. I
am sure that to establish the exact degree of relationship would defy
the skill of the most expert genealogist; but they are quite satisfied
with even a remote degree of kinship, especially as this discovery
brings Lydia, in a way, into the La Tour connection.

M. La Tour, who talks of visiting his American relatives next winter, is
evidently preparing himself in more ways than one for his projected
trip. Although his English is faultless, he seems to think it important
to be familiar with a certain amount of American slang. Yesterday he
turned to me, with a quite helpless expression upon his handsome face,
exclaiming, "This word 'crazy' that the Americans use so much--I am
crazy about this and crazy about that,--now what does that mean,
Madame?--_fou de ceci, fou de cela? Vraiment il me semble qu'ils sont
tous un peu fou!_"

It is needless to say that I quite agreed with M. La Tour, and after I
had given him the best explanation in my power, he laughed and said: "It
appears that what you call Quakers do not use this extreme language so
much. Miss Mott, for example, never uses such expressions." Yesterday,
when a party of our compatriots were drinking tea at a table near us, he
was again much puzzled. "These young people all say that they are
'passing away' on account of the heat of the sun, from fatigue, for
various reasons. Now what is it to pass away, is it not to die, to
vanish from the earth?"

The seriousness of his manner, as he gave us this literal and somewhat
poetical translation of the popular slang of the day, so amused Walter
that I had to send him off to make some inquiries about the route in
order to prevent an outburst of laughter which our French friend, who is
endowed with little sense of humor, could never have understood. Dear
Miss Cassandra, who enjoyed the humor of the situation quite as much as
any of us, but possesses the rare gift of laughing inwardly (the Friends
do so many things inwardly while presenting a serene face to the world),
exclaimed: "One of the foolish exaggerations of our modern speech! You
will probably notice that the young people who are always passing away
are usually uncommonly healthy and strong and blessed with vigorous
appetites. For my part, I consider it tempting Providence to be always
talking about passing away; but of course," her pride coming to the
fore, "the best people among us do not use such expressions."

                               HÔTEL DE FRANCE, BLOIS, September 9th.

As Blois is only about an hour from Tours, we reached here some time
before Archie appeared, and thus had time to feel quite at home in this
pleasant little hotel, and to kill the fatted calf in honor of his
arrival. This latter ceremony was exceedingly simple, consisting, as it
did, in supplementing the fairly good _table d'hôte_ luncheon with a
basket of the most beautiful and delicious fruit. Such blushing velvet
skinned peaches as these of the Blésois we have not seen, even in Tours,
and the green plums of Queen Claude are equally delectable if not as
decorative as the peaches. These, with great clusters of grapes, and a
bottle of the white wine of Voudray, which Walter added to the mênu,
made a feast for the gods to which Archie did ample justice. He looks
handsomer than ever, and as brown as a Spaniard after the sea voyage. I
am glad that we are by ourselves, agreeable as M. La Tour is, for as you
know, Archie does not care much for strangers and our little family
party is so pleasant. Archie's idea of enjoying a holiday is to motor
from morning until night. We humored his fancy this afternoon and had a
long motor tour, going through Montbazon and Couzieres, which we had not
yet seen, although we were quite near both places at Loches. Our
chauffeur, knowing by instinct that Lydia and I were of inquiring minds,
told us that Queen Marie de Médicis came from Montbazon to Couzieres
after her escape from Blois, and that here she and her son Louis were
reconciled in the presence of a number of courtiers. This royal
peacemaking we have always thought one of the most amusing of Rubens's
great canvases at the Louvre, as he very cleverly gives the impression
that neither the Queen nor her son is taking the matter seriously.

You will scarcely believe me, I fear, when I tell you that we only
stopped at one château this afternoon. This was Archie's afternoon, you
know, but the Château of Beauregard is so near that we simply could not
pass it by, and the drive through the forest of Russy in which it stands
was delightful. The château was closed to visitors, for which Archie
said he was thankful, which rather shocked Lydia, who is as
conscientious in her sightseeing as about everything else that she does.
It was a disappointment to her and to me, as there is a wonderful
collection of pictures there, an unbroken series, they tell us,
including the great folk of fifteen reigns. Suddenly realizing our
disappointment, Archie became quite contrite and did everything in his
power to gain a sight of the treasures for us, but to no purpose, as the
concierge was absolutely firm, even with the lure of silver before his
eyes, and when he told us that the family was in residence we knew that
it was quite hopeless to expect to enter. The Duchesse de Dino, whose
interesting memoirs have been published lately, was the châtelaine of
Beauregard in the early years of the last century.

We had a delightful afternoon, despite our disappointment about the
château, and in the course of this ride Archie, who can understand
almost no French, extracted more information from the chauffeur with
regard to the soil, products, crops, and characteristics of Touraine
than the rest of the party have learned in the ten days that we have
spent here. These investigations were, of course, conducted by the aid
of such willing interpreters as Lydia and myself.

"M. La Tour could tell you all about these things," said Lydia.

"And pray who is this M. La Tour that you are all quoting? Some Johnny
Crapaud whom Zelphine has picked up, I suppose. She always had a fancy
for foreigners."

"He is a very delightful person, and if you wait long enough you will
see him," said Miss Cassandra, "as he has taken a great fancy to

"To Walter!" exclaimed Archie, and seeing the amused twinkle in Miss
Cassandra's eyes he suddenly became quite silent and took no further
interest in the scenery or in the products of Touraine, until Lydia
directed his attention to the curious caves in the low hills that look
like chalk cliffs. This white, chalky soil, M. La Tour had explained to
us, is hard, much like the tufa used so much for building in Italy. We
thought that these caves were only used for storing wine, but our
chauffeur told us that most of those which are provided with a door and
a window are used as dwelling houses, and they were, he assured us,
quite comfortable. These underground dwellings, burrowed out like
rabbits' warrens, with earth floors, no ventilation except a chimney cut
in the tufa roof to let the smoke out, and only the one window and door
in the front to admit light and air, seem utterly cheerless and
uncomfortable, despite our chauffeur's assurances that they have many
advantages. From the eloquence with which he expatiated upon the even
temperature of these caves, which he told us were warm in winter and
cool in summer, we conclude that he has lived in one of them, and are
thankful that he could not understand our invidious remarks about them,
for as Archie remarks, even a troglodyte may have some pride about his

[Illustration: Neurdein Freres, Photo.


                                      HÔTEL DE FRANCE, September 10th.

It is so delightful to be lodged so near the beautiful Château of Blois
that we can see the façade of Francis I by sunlight, twilight, and
moonlight. Built upon massive supporting walls, it dominates a natural
terrace, which rises above the valley of the Loire and the ravine of the
Arroux. No more fitting site could be found for the château than the
quadrilateral formed by these two streams. The wing of Francis I, with
its noble columns, Italian loggie, balustrades, attics, picturesque
chimneys, grotesque gargoyles and other rich and varied decorations,
displays all the architectural luxury of the Renaissance of which it was
in a sense the final expression. It was while gazing upon this marvelous
façade that Mr. Henry James longed for such brilliant pictures as the
figures of Francis I, Diane de Poitiers, or even of Henry III, to fill
the empty frames made by the deep recesses of the beautifully
proportioned windows. We would cheerfully omit the weak and effeminate
Henry from the novelist's group, but we would be tempted to add thereto
such interesting contemporary figures as the King of Navarre and his
heroic mother, Jeanne d'Albret, or his beautiful, faithless wife, La
Reine Margot, the Pasithée of Ronsard's verse, who, with her brilliant
eyes and flashing wit, is said to have surpassed in charm all the
members of her mother's famous "_escadron volant_." And, as Miss
Cassandra suggests, it would be amusing to see the portly widow of Henry
IV descending from one of the windows, as she is said to have done, by a
rope ladder and all the paraphernalia of a romantic elopement, although,
as it happened, she was only escaping from a prison that her son had
thought quite secure. The poor Queen had great difficulty in getting
through the window, but finally succeeded and reached the ditch of the
castle; friends were waiting near by to receive her with a coach which
bore her away to freedom at Loches or Amboise, I forget which. This
window from which Marie de Médicis is said to have escaped is in one of
the apartments of Catherine. The guide, a very talkative little woman,
told us that there is good reason to believe that the stout Queen never
performed this feat of high and lofty tumbling; but that she made her
escape from a window in the south side, and with comparative ease, as in
her day there were no high parapets such as those that now surround the
château on three sides. Our cicerone seemed, however, to have no doubts
about the unpleasing associations with Catherine de Médicis, and took
great pleasure in showing us her _cabinet de travail_, with the small
secret closets in the carved panels of the wall in which she is said to
have kept her poisons. These rooms are richly decorated, the gilt
insignia upon a ground of brown and green being a part of the original
frescoes. The oratory, of which Catherine certainly stood in need, is
especially handsome and elaborate.

Even more thrilling than the poison closets are the secret staircase and
the _oubliette_ near by, into which last were thrown, as our guide
naïvely explained, "_tous ceux qui la gênait_." Cardinal Lorraine is
said to have gone by this grewsome, subterranean passage. Not having had
enough of horrors in the rooms of the dreadful Catherine, we were
ushered, by our voluble guide, into those of her son, Henry III. In
order to make the terrible story of the murder of the Duke of Guise
quite realistic, we were first taken to the great council chamber,
before one of whose beautiful chimney places Le Balfré stood warming
himself, for the night was cold, eating plums and jesting with his
courtiers, when he was summoned to attend the King. Henry, with his
cut-throats at hand, was awaiting his cousin in his _cabinet de
travail_, at the end of his apartments. As the Duke entered the King's
chamber he was struck down by one and then by another of the concealed
assassins. Henry, miserable creature that he was, came out into his
bedroom where the Duke lay, and spurning with his foot the dead or dying
man, exclaimed over his great size, as if he had been some huge animal
lying prone before him.

"It seems as if the victims of Amboise were in a measure avenged; the
Dukes of Guise, father and son, met with the same sad fate, and at the
time of the assassination of Le Balfré Queen Catherine lay dying in the
room below." This from Lydia, in a voice so impressive and tragic that
Archie turned suddenly, and looking first at her and then at me, said:
"Well, you women are quite beyond me! You are both overflowing with the
milk of human kindness, you would walk a mile any day of the year to
help some poor creature out of a hole, and yet you stand here and gloat
over a murder as horrible as that of the Duke of Guise."

"We are not gloating over it," said Lydia, "and if you had been at
Amboise and had seen, as we did, the place where the Duke of Guise and
the Cardinal, his brother, had hundreds of Huguenots deliberately
murdered, you would have small pity for any of his name, except for the
Duchess of Guise, who protested against the slaughter of the Huguenots
and said that misfortune would surely follow those who had planned it,
which prediction you see was fulfilled by the assassination of her
husband and her son."

"That may be all quite true, as you say, dear Miss Mott; but I didn't
come here to be feasted on horrors. I can get quite enough of them in
the newspapers at home, and it isn't good for you and Zelphine either.
You both look quite pale; let us leave these rooms that reek with blood
and crime and find something more cheerful to occupy us."

The first more cheerful object which we were called upon to admire was
the handsome _salle d'honneur_, with its rich wall decorations copied
after old tapestries; but just a trifle too bright in color to harmonize
with the rest of the old castle. In this room is an elaborately
decorated mantel, called _la cheminée aux anges_, which bears the
initials L and A on each side of the _porc-épic_, bristling emblem of
the twelfth Louis, who was himself less bristling and more humane than
most of his royal brothers. Above the mantel shelf two lovely angels
bear aloft the crown of France, which surmounts the shield emblazoned
with the _fleur-de-lis_ of Louis and the ermine tails of Anne, the whole
mantel commemorative of that most important alliance between France and
Bretagne, of which we have heard so much. The guide repeated the story
of the marriage, Lydia translating her rapid French for Archie's

Observing our apparent interest in Queen Anne, our guide led us out into
the grounds and showed us her pavilion and the little terrace called _La
Perche aux Bretons_, where the Queen's Breton guards stood while she was
at mass. She is said to have always noticed them on her return from the
chapel, when she was wont to say, "See my Bretons, there on the terrace,
who are waiting for me." Always more Breton at heart than French, Anne
loved everything connected with her native land. This trait the guide,
being a French woman, evidently resented and said she had little love
for Anne. When we translated her remarks to Miss Cassandra she stoutly
defended the Queen, saying that it was natural to love your own country
best, adding that for her part she was "glad that Anne had a will of her
own, so few women had in those days; and notwithstanding the meek
expression of her little dough face in her portraits, she seemed to have
been a match for lovers and husbands, and this at a time when lovers
were quite as difficult to deal with as husbands."

Walter, who says that he has heard more than enough of Anne and her
virtues, insists that she set a very bad example to French wives of that
time, as she gave no end of trouble to her husband, the good King Louis.

"Good King Louis, indeed!" exclaimed Miss Cassandra. "He may have
remitted the taxes, as Mr. La Tour says; but he did a very wicked thing
when he imprisoned the Duke of Milan at Loches. He and Anne were both
spending Christmas there at the time, and we are not even told that the
King sent his royal prisoner a plum pudding for his Christmas dinner."

"It would probably have killed him if he had," said Archie; "plum
pudding without exercise is a rather dangerous experiment. Don't you
think so yourself, Miss Cassandra?"

"He might have liked the attention, anyhow," persisted the valiant lady,
"but Louis seems to have had an inveterate dislike for the Duke of
Milan, and Mr. La Tour says that one of his small revenges was to call
the unfortunate Duke 'Monsieur Ludovico,' which was certainly not a
handsome way to treat a royal prisoner."

"No, certainly not," Walter admitted, adding, "but from what we have
seen of the prisons of France, handsome treatment does not seem to have
been a marked feature of prison life at that time; and Anne herself was
not particularly gentle in her dealings with her captives."

Probably with a view to putting an end to this discussion, which was
unprofitable to her, as she could not understand a word of it, the guide
led us back to the château and showed us the room in which Queen Anne
died. Whatever may have been her faults and irregularities of temper,
Anne seems to have had a strong sense of duty and was the first Queen
of France who invited to her court a group of young girls of noble
family, whom she educated and treated like her own daughters. She even
arranged the marriages of these girls entirely to suit herself, of
course, and without the slightest regard to their individual
preferences, which was more than she was able to do in the case of the
young princesses, her children. She lived and died adored by her
husband, who gave her a funeral of unprecedented magnificence, and
although Louis soon married again, for reasons of state, he never ceased
to mourn his _Bretonne_ whom he had loved, honored, and in many
instances obeyed.

Anne's insignia of the twisted rope and the ermine tails are to be found
in nearly every room in the château, and here also is the emblem of her
daughter, a cygnet pierced by an arrow, which seems symbolic of the life
of the gentle Claude of France, whose heart must often have been wounded
by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, as she was made to feel
keenly, from her wedding day, that the King, her husband, had no love
for her.

Matrimonial infelicities are so thickly dotted over the pages of French
history that it is impossible to pause in our excursions through these
palaces to weep over the sorrows of noble ladies. Indeed, for a French
king to have had any affection for his lawful wife seems to have been so
exceptional that it was much more commented upon than the unhappiness of
royal marriages. These reflections are Miss Cassandra's, not mine; and
she added, "I am sorry, though, that Anne's daughter was not happy in
her marriage," in very much the same tone that she would have commented
upon the marriage of a neighbor's daughter. "I hope the beautiful garden
that we have been hearing about was a comfort to her, and there must be
some satisfaction, after all, in being a queen and living in a palace as
handsome as this." With this extremely worldly remark on the part of our
Quaker lady, we passed into the picture gallery of the château, where we
saw a number of interesting portraits, among them those of Louis XIII
and of his son Louis XIV, in their childhood, quaint little figures with
rich gowns reaching to their feet, and with sweet, baby faces of
indescribable charm. Here also is a superb portrait of Gaston, the
brother of Louis XIII, and a portrait bust of Madame de Sévigné, whose
charming face seems to belong to Blois, although she has said little
about this château in her letters. Here also are portraits of Madame de
Pompadour, Vigée Lebrun, as beautiful as any of the court beauties whom
she painted, and a charming head of Mademoiselle de Blois, the daughter
of Louise de La Vallière, whom Madame de Sévigné called "the good little
princess who is so tender and so pretty that one could eat her." This
was at the time of her marriage, which Louis XIV arranged with the
Prince de Conti, having always some conscience with regard to his
numerous and somewhat heterogeneous progeny.

And in this far off gallery of France our patriotism was suddenly
aroused to Fourth of July temperature by seeing a portrait of
Washington. This portrait, by Peale or Trumbull, was doubtless presented
to one of the French officers who were with Washington in many of his
campaigns, and the strong calm face seemed, in a way, to dominate these
gay and gorgeously appareled French people, as in life he dominated
every circle that he entered.

We were especially interested in a bust of Ronsard with his emblem of
three fishes, which delighted Walter and Archie, who now propose a
fishing trip to his Château of La Poissonnière. We love Ronsard for many
of his verses, above all for the lines in which he reveals his feeling
for the beauties of nature, which was rare in those artificial days. Do
you remember what he said about having a tree planted over his grave?

          "Give me no marble cold
           When I am dead,
           But o'er my lowly bed
           May a tree its green leaves unfold."



                                 HÔTEL DE FRANCE, Saturday afternoon.

WALTER and Archie have elected to spend a part of this afternoon in the
Daniel Dupuis Museum, over whose treasures, in the form of engraved
medals, they are quite enthusiastic. We women folk, left to our own
devices, wandered at will through the first floor rooms and halls of the
Château of Blois. The great Salle des Etats, with its blue ceiling
dotted over with fleur-de-lis, is said to be the most ancient of them
all. Beautiful as many of the rooms are, despite their somewhat too
pronounced and vividly colored decorations, and interesting as we found
the remains of the Tour de Foix upon which tradition placed the
observatory dedicated by Catherine and her pet demon, Ruggieri, to
Uranus, the crowning glory of the Château of Blois is the great Court of
Honor. We never pass through this impressive portal, surmounted by the
gilded equestrian figure of Louis XII, without a feeling of joy in the
spaciousness and beauty of this wide sunny court. At a first glance we
were bewildered by its varied and somewhat incongruous architecture, the
wing of Louis XII, with its fine, open gallery; that of Charles
d'Orléans, with its richly decorative sculpture; the Chapel of St.
Calais, and the modern and less beautiful wing of Gaston, the work of
Francis Mansard, but after all, and above all, what one carries away
from the court of Blois is that one perfect jewel of Renaissance skill
and taste, the great staircase of Francis I. An open octagonal tower is
this staircase, with great rampant bays, delicately carved galleries and
exquisite sculptured decorations. Indeed, no words can fully describe
the richness and dignity of this unique structure, for which Francis I
has the credit, although much of its beauty is said to have been
inspired by Queen Claude.

We all agreed that this staircase alone would be worth while coming to
Blois to see, with its balustrades and lovely pilasters surmounted by
Jean Goujon's adorable figures representing Faith, Hope, Abundance, and
other blessings of heaven and earth. The charming faces of these
statues are said to have been modeled after Diane de Poitiers and other
famous beauties of the time. While wandering through the court, we came
suddenly upon traces of Charles of Orleans, who was taken prisoner at
the battle of Agincourt, and was a captive for twenty-five years in
English prisons. A gallery running at right angles to the wing of Louis
XII is named after the Duke of Orleans, probably by his son Louis. This
gallery, much simpler than the buildings surrounding it, is also rich in
sculpture and still richer in associations with the poet-prince, who is
said to have solaced the weary hours of his imprisonment by writing
verses, chansons, rondeaux, and ballades, some of which were doubtless
composed in this gallery after his return from exile. The lines of that
exquisite poem, "The fairest thing in mortal eyes," occurred to Lydia's
mind and mine at the same moment. We were standing near the ruins of an
old fountain, looking up at the gallery of Charles of Orleans and
repeating the verses in concert like two school girls, when Miss
Cassandra, who had been lingering by the staircase, joined us, evidently
not without some anxiety lest we had suddenly taken leave of our
senses. Finding that we were only reciting poetry, she expressed great
satisfaction that we did not have it in the original, as she is so tired
of trying to guess at what people are talking about.


Indeed, Henry Cary's translation is so beautiful that we scarcely miss
the charm of the old French. We wondered, as we lingered over the lines,
which one of the several wives of the Duke of Orleans was "the fairest
thing in mortal eyes,"--his first wife, Isabelle of France, or Bonne
d'Armagnac, his second spouse? His third wife, Marie de Cleves, probably
survived him, and so it could not have been for her that there was
spread a tomb

          "Of gold and sapphires blue:
           The gold doth show her blessedness,
           The sapphires mark her true;
           For blessedness and truth in her
           Were livelily portrayed,
           When gracious God with both his hands
           Her goodly substance made.
           He framed her in such wondrous wise,
           She was, to speak without disguise,
           The fairest thing in mortal eyes."

It was pleasant to think of the poet-prince spending the last days of
his life in this beautiful château with his wife, Marie de Cleves, and
to know that he had the pleasure of holding in his arms his little son
and heir, Louis of Orleans, afterwards the good King Louis, our old
friend, and the bone of Walter's contention with Miss Cassandra.

By the way, I do not at all agree with that usually wise and just lady
in her estimate of Louis XII. As M. La Tour says, he was far in advance
of his age in his breadth of mind and his sense of the duty owed by a
king to his people. Perhaps something of his father's poet vision
entered into the more practical nature of Louis, and in nothing did he
show more plainly the generosity and breadth of his character than in
his forgiveness of those who had slighted and injured him,--when he
said, upon ascending the throne, "The King of France does not avenge the
wrongs of the Duke of Orleans," Louis placed himself many centuries in
advance of the revengeful and rapacious age in which he lived.

Another poet whose name is associated with Blois is François Villon. A
loafer and a vagabond he was, and a thief he may have been, yet by
reason of his genius and for the beauty of his song this troubadour was
welcomed to the literary court of Charles d'Orléans. That Villon
received substantial assistance and protection from his royal brother
poet appears from his poems. Among them we find one upon the birth of
the Duke's daughter Mary: _Le Dit de la Naissance Marie_, which, like
his patron's verses, is part in French and part in Latin.

In this château, which is so filled with history and romance, our
thoughts turned from the times of Charles of Orleans to a later period
when Catherine sought to dazzle the eyes of Jeanne d'Albret by a series
of fêtes and pageants at Blois that would have been quite impossible in
her simpler court of Navarre. The Huguenot Queen, as it happened, was
not at all bedazzled by the splendors of the French court, but with the
keen vision that belonged to her saw, through the powder, paint, tinsel,
and false flattery, the depravity and corruption of the life that
surrounded her. To her son she wrote that his fiancée was beautiful,
witty, and graceful, with a fine figure which was much too tightly laced
and a good complexion which was in danger of being ruined by the paint
and powder spread over it. With regard to the marriage contract which
she had come to sign, the Queen said that she was shamefully used and
that her patience was taxed beyond that of Griselda. After many delays
the marriage contract was finally signed, and a few days later the good
Queen of Navarre was dead, whether from natural causes or from some of
the products of Queen Catherine's secret cupboards the world will never
know, as Ruggieri and Le Maître were both at hand to do the will of
their royal mistress with consummate skill, and to cover over their
tracks with equal adroitness.

It was to a still later and less tragic period in the history of the
château that our thoughts turned most persistently, when Gaston, Duke of
Orleans and his wife, Marguerite of Lorraine, held their court here and
a bevy of young girls brought charm and grace to these great bare rooms.
Gaston's eldest daughter, the Grande Mademoiselle, was often here in
those days, acting in amateur theatricals with her stepsisters, one of
whom, the little Princess Marguerite d'Orléans, cherished vain hopes of
becoming Queen of France by marrying her own cousin, Louis XIV.

There is an amusing passage in the diary of Mademoiselle de
Montpensier, in which she describes the visit of the King at Blois. "My
sister," she said, "came to the foot of the stairs to receive his
Majesty," this was of course the beautiful stairway of Francis I, which
bears the lovely sculptured figures of Diane de Poitiers and other
beauties of the time; but alas, the little Princess Marguerite had been
stung by certain flies called gnats which quite spoiled her beautiful
complexion, and, adds the frank sister, "made her look quite an object."
This circumstance added greatly to Marguerite's chagrin when she learned
that Louis was on his way to wed the Spanish Infanta, she herself having
been flattered with the hope of marrying her cousin, having been
frequently addressed as the "little queen." Louis, never insensible to
his own charms, confided to Mademoiselle on his way to Blois that he had
not changed his coat or dressed his love-locks; in fact had made himself
"_le plus vilain possible_," in order to spare the regrets of his cousin
Marguerite and her parents that he had slipped through their fingers.

Other young girls in the family group were Mademoiselle de Saint-Remi,
whose father, Jacques de Courtarval, Marquis of Saint-Remi, was first
steward to Gaston, Duke of Orleans, and Mademoiselle Montelais, whose
name occurs in one of the court rhymes of the day in company with that
of another young girl, whose history is closely associated with the

          "Guiche of love the ally
           The maids of honor did supply,
           He has caged a pretty pair,
           Montelais and La Vallière."

This other girl, who was destined to be a companion to Mademoiselle
Montelais at court, was Louise de La Vallière, the stepdaughter of
Saint-Remi and the daughter of the Marquis de la Baume-Le Blanc, Sieur
de la Gasserie, who took the title of La Vallière after the death of an
elder brother. These high-sounding titles of the La Vallières did not
stand for much in gold or gear at this time, although there are still
ruins to be seen in Bourbonnais of a very ancient castle of the La
Baumes. An heroic record was theirs, however, as one of the name, Pierre
le Blanc, served under Joan of Arc, and the father of Louise
successfully bore the brunt of the enemies' attack at the passage of
Brai, in 1634, and secured the retreat of the Spanish.

We had seen the house at Tours where Louise was born, but it was at
Amboise that the La Vallières lived during her childhood, and here she
may have seen the fourteen-year-old Louis, who came with the Queen
Mother and Mazarin to this town, which was so gallantly held for him,
its rightful lord, against Gaston and his bellicose daughter, by the
honest soldier, Laurent de La Vallière. Whether or not little Louise de
La Vallière saw the young King at Amboise during the war of the Fronde
she certainly saw him when he stopped at Blois, some years later, on his
way to Saint-Jean de Luz and the Spanish marriage. Louis and his court
were the guests of Gaston in 1660, although they had been openly arrayed
against each other at Amboise in 1651. Mademoiselle de Montpensier, in
her frank and amusing chronicles, tells us that the King evidently found
her father's château a dull place to stop in over night. The customs and
costumes of the household failed to please the fastidious young monarch;
the meal was served in "old-fashioned style, and the ladies were dressed
like the dishes--all out of fashion."

Dumas makes Louis remark facetiously to Madame Gaston, that his teacher
in geography had not told him that Blois was so far from Paris that the
fashions could not reach the provincial town for several years. Only one
figure in the group, which had gathered in the vast _salle_ to do honor
to the monarch, appeared to him worthy of royal regard. This was a
slight, girlish form, in white muslin, a costume so simple that it could
never be quite out of date.

Standing this afternoon in the Salle de Reception, we pictured to
ourselves the first meeting of the King and Louise de La Vallière on the
night of the arrival of the court at Blois. The fast-fading light lent a
semblance of reality to the scene, as the torches and candles used in
those early days could not have brilliantly lighted the vast hall. We
fancied the chairs placed in half circle for the accommodation of the
royal guests, the King's not a half-inch higher than that of Mazarin or
of the Queen, Anne of Austria. The astute Italian Prime Minister is
seated, his body is bent, his face pallid, the hand of Death is already
laid upon him, but his mind is as keen and alert as in youth, his eyes
as penetrating. The courtiers are grouped around Mazarin, the real
king; Gaston, the indolent father of the energetic and courageous
Mademoiselle de Montpensier, is talking to Mazarin, and chronicles of
the day tell us that the Duke was an admirable _raconteur_. The Grande
Mademoiselle, now over thirty, and in the full flower of a beauty which,
according to Petitot's miniature and her own rose-colored description,
was not inconsiderable, is in another group at one side of the hall,
with her half-sisters and the other young girls of the house. Called
forth from her modest station behind the princesses of the House of
Orleans by the command of her hostess, Louise de La Vallière stepped
forward, confused and blushing, to make her deep courtesy before the
King, while the Duchess presented her in due form as Mademoiselle de la
Baume-Le Blanc, daughter of the Marquis de La Vallière and stepdaughter
of the Marquis de Saint-Remi.

As Madame de Motteville described her at seventeen, we see the slight
girlish form of La Vallière making her reverence before royalty, owing
her charm, as the court lady relates, more to a certain grace, modesty
and tenderness in bearing and expression than to the dazzling whiteness
and rosiness of her skin, the exquisite blueness of her eyes and the
brilliancy of her blonde hair of the shade which the French call
_cheveux argentés_.


Although Madame de la Motte's description of Louise de La Vallière is
charming and sympathetic, we long for the graceful and vivifying pen of
Madame de Sévigné to picture for us the young girl as she appeared at
her home in Blois, before the equally baneful breath of court favor or
court scandal had brushed the bloom from her innocent loveliness.

Dear Madame de Sévigné, with her graceful fancy, her _joie de vivre_,
and her inimitable skill in presenting a situation and making her
characters live before us, should have been immortal as well as
universal. We wish for a letter from her in every château of the Loire,
most of all here at Blois, of which she has written so little. When
Madame de Sévigné saw Louise de La Vallière some months later at court,
she likened her to a modest violet, hiding beneath its leaves; but not
so completely as to evade the eyes of royalty. And if Louise was lovely
in her gown of virginal white, the King was a no less pleasing object to
gaze upon. At all times courteous and graceful, at twenty-three Louis is
described as handsome, well-formed, with deep blue eyes, and a
profusion of curling hair which fell over his shoulders. Although
somewhat under the middle height, he bore himself with an air of majesty
and dignity, inherited from his royal mother, and would have been "every
inch a King," said Saint-Simon, "even if he had been born under the roof
of a beggar." It was this grace and personal charm, which Louis
possessed in no small degree, that appealed to the girl's imagination,
rather than the grandeur of his station. If Louise had not seen him
again the image of this young prince from fairyland might in time have
faded from her mind, especially as an incipient love affair with a
neighbor's son already existed. Some notes and occasional shy glances
had been exchanged between Mademoiselle de La Vallière and young
Bragelongne, who lived next door to the Saint-Remis at Blois, and had
she not been suddenly carried off to court this nebulous romance might
have materialized into a happy marriage, and a career more honorable, if
less brilliant and exciting, than that which lay before her.

It was this early affair with a neighbor's son which gave Dumas some
historic foundation for his captivating and pathetic story of the
Vicomte de Bragelonne. Whether or not the young lover wore his heart
upon his sleeve to the end of his days, it is quite evident that M. de
Bragelongne was speedily forgotten by Louise amid the pleasures and
distractions of the gayest court in Europe. As maid of honor to the
English princess, Henriette, Louise was plunged into all the festivities
of Fontainebleau, Versailles, and the Palais Royal, of which the King
was always the soul and centre.

You will think that my pen has run away with me in following the
fortunes of Louise de La Vallière from Blois to Paris and from Paris to
Versailles; but Lydia and I have been reading a book about Blois which
M. La Tour had sent to us from Paris. This book, which dwells
particularly upon the story of Louise de La Vallière and her association
with the Château of Blois, has brought the life of that time before us
so vividly that we feel as if we had some part and lot in the pathetic
tale. The festivities and intrigues of Fontainebleau and Versailles may
seem a far cry from the old Château of Blois, and yet the court life of
that older time, dramatic and picturesque as it was, was curiously
limited. The characters were always the same, the pageant alone shifted
from palace to château, and from one château of the Loire to another.
Now the court is at Amboise, again at Chenonceaux, and again at the
stately palace of Chambord. The King is always surrounded by the same
courtiers and the same favorites, whether he is riding through the
forest of Fontainebleau or hunting at Chambord, in which princely domain
Louis boasted that he had shot fourteen of his Uncle Gaston's cherished
pheasants in one afternoon. The distances are short, and even in the
days of slow-going coaches the court could breakfast at Chambord and sup
at Blois.

Through the influence of a distant relative Louise de La Vallière was
given a place at court in the service of the English princess, the
beautiful, captivating and capricious Henriette, daughter of Charles I
and wife of the King's young brother, Philippe d'Orléans. Chroniclers of
the time all agree in attributing to her rare charm of manner, a lively
wit and a keen intellect. A patron of the great writers of the day, she
encouraged Corneille and the older poets and emboldened the younger by
her appreciation. Henriette wept over the _Andromaque_ when Racine read
it to her, until the happy youth's head was well-nigh turned by what he
considered the most fortunate beginning of its destiny. This combination
of beauty, charm, and intellect, found more frequently, perhaps, in
France than in any other country, rendered Madame the most irresistible
of women, and as Saint-Beuve says, the most touching of princesses. The
King, who at sixteen had refused to dance with the thin and not
especially attractive child of eleven, because, as he explained to his
mamma, he did not care for little girls, took himself to task later for
not realizing before she became his brother's fiancée that Henriette was
the most beautiful woman in the world.

At the time that Louise de La Vallière entered her household Madame
Henriette was enjoying her hour of triumph. The King, who had been slow
in discovering her charms, was at her feet. The death of Mazarin, the
miserly, had given Louis a freedom in his own kingdom that he had never
before known. Entertainment followed entertainment, all given in honor
of the English bride, his own Spanish bride having been relegated to
the background of this gay court, from which she was never destined to
emerge. "It seemed," wrote Madame de Lafayette, "as if the King had no
interest in these _fêtes_ except through the gratifications they gave to
Madame." It was in the summer time, and the royalties were at
Fontainebleau, which delightful palace of pleasure, with its extensive
grounds, made a charming background for the succession of _fêtes_ and
dances that Louis planned for his sister-in-law. There were expeditions
on land by day, water parties on the lake by the light of the moon, and
promenades in the woods by night. Madame delighted to bathe in the
Seine; accordingly parties were arranged for her pleasure, the ladies
driving to the river and returning on horseback, in elaborate costumes
with wonderful plumes in their hats, to an _al fresco_ breakfast in the

A theatre was erected in the grounds and Lulli was installed as
superintendent of the royal music. Among other entertainments a Ballet
des Saisons was given, in which the King, in a gorgeous costume
representing Spring, danced with his usual grace and skill, while
Madame, in a gown of shining tissue, delicate as a butterfly's wing, led
her troupe of Bacchantes, Louise de La Vallière among them.

It was after one of these entertainments, which were sometimes followed
by rambles in the park lasting until two or three o'clock in the
morning, that the scene under the Royal Oak took place which Dumas has
so ingeniously woven into his romance of La Vallière. You remember that
the three maids of honor of Madame,--Montelais, Athenais, and
Louise,--were grouped together under the famous oak in the forest of
Fontainebleau, which had witnessed the sighs for love or glory of the
great Henry and many another monarch. The conversation of the three
girls on life and love sounds trite and commonplace as we read the
story, and yet in the light of the events that followed in quick
succession the sentimental platitudes of the innocent child, La
Vallière, and the worldly aphorisms of the ambitious Athenais,
afterwards Madame de Montespan, gain both dignity and pathos. That
Louise, the timid and gentle, should express herself so warmly upon her
admiration for the King reveals the fact that the handsome young
sovereign had already made an impression upon her sensitive heart. For
her it seemed that there had been no one worthy of notice at the dance
except the King, the living embodiment of the springtime he personified.
When she exclaimed with fervor, "Have you ever seen any one to be
compared with the King?" even the bold Athenais was surprised at the
frankness of the little Blésoise. A still greater surprise was in store
for the Three Graces under the Royal Oak when a rustling was heard in
the undergrowth of the adjoining quincunx, and with cries of "A wolf! or
a wild boar!" they all scampered away as fast as their feet could carry
them to the safe and sure shelter of Madame's apartments, to learn later
to their dismay that the rustling in the bushes had been caused, not by
a wolf or a wild boar, but by the King himself, who was sauntering
through the park with M. de Saint-Aignan.

Whether or not Louise ever thus openly expressed her admiration for the
King, one may readily believe that even a slight impression made upon
the girl's imagination would be inevitably deepened and strengthened in
these days when the court life at Fontainebleau is described as a
delirium of ambition, pleasure and love. The merry-making and feasting
continued, the _fêtes_ still being given in Madame's honor, and "the
modest violet" might have remained hidden beneath its leaves had not
Madame Henriette's schemes involved Louise. It appears that the Queen
Mother, having in common with others observed the King's growing
admiration for his beautiful sister-in-law, expostulated with him,
entreating him, in the name of dignity and decorum, to discontinue his
attentions to her. The King, angry and disconcerted that his actions
should be criticised, formed with the aid of the quick-witted Madame,
who cared little for Louis but greatly enjoyed her position as queen of
the hour, a plot which involved several of the maids of honor. So
infamous was this plot of Madame's that one wonders that a woman, to
whom kindness of heart has been attributed, could have countenanced a
scheme so cruel. "In order to hide their own game," said Saint-Beuve,
"the King was to pay make-believe attention to several of Madame's maids
of honor." The three selected were Mademoiselle de Pons, Mademoiselle de
Chimerault, and Mademoiselle de La Vallière. It soon appeared that the
latter was the one whom the King preferred to seem to be in love with.
The plot soon thickened quite beyond Madame's anticipations, the
make-believe attentions became real, the other maids of honor were quite
neglected, Madame herself was forgotten, and while trying to dazzle the
eyes of the public Louis himself was bewildered, and soon found himself
seriously in love with La Vallière, at least as seriously in love as it
was in his nature to be. And Louise was then and ever after deeply,
hopelessly in love with the King.

Is it strange that this innocent girl, little more than a child in years
and experience, with many to flatter and criticise, but none to counsel
or protect, should have fallen into the trap that was laid for her
unwary feet? From her quiet village home she was suddenly, as Madame's
dame d'honneur, introduced to a new world, in which the King, young,
handsome, and possessed of all the graces and accomplishments of his
age, was the central figure. Before she had time to become accustomed to
the life around her, the greatest temptation that could be offered to a
Frenchwoman of that day was presented to her. This monarch, the Roi
Soleil to his adoring satellites, was at her feet, telling her that he
loved her, and her only, little Louise de La Vallière, whom the haughty
court dames had looked down upon as insignificant, lacking in grace and
even beauty. It was only a few short days since water parties, ballets,
and _fêtes_ had been given in Madame's honor; the gayety continued, but
Henriette was no longer the inspiration of these festivities, which were
planned for other _beaux yeux_, whose she does not know. Louise was so
modest and retiring, so anxious to spare the Queen sorrow and pain, that
it was some time before it transpired that the little Blésoise, whom
Madame would not have condescended to look upon as a possible rival, was
the reigning favorite.

In the midst of the scheming, love making, jealousy, and carousing, the
King's second child--the little Princess Anne Elizabeth--opened her eyes
to the light of the world, only to close them again before the
rejoicings at her birth were well over, even before the foreign
ambassadors who came to welcome her had reached Paris. The Queen was
deeply grieved at the loss of her child, Louis wept copiously over the
family affliction, but being in greater need of distraction than before
we find him a few weeks later dancing gayly in a Ballet des Arts in
company with Mademoiselle de Mortmart, _la belle Athenais_, Mademoiselle
de Sévigné, whom her fond mother called the "prettiest girl in France,"
and Mademoiselle de La Vallière, who, despite her slight lameness,
danced to perfection, her slim figure, of the lissome slenderness that
belongs to early youth, showing to great advantage in the figures of the

You know the sad story far better than I do. The few short years of
enchantment when Louise lived in the delirium of love's young dream, yet
was never really happy, never enjoying her honors as Duchesse de La
Vallière, the royal favorite, because her conscience was ever awake and
her tender heart filled with remorse for the sorrow she had caused the
Queen. The brief years of enchantment were soon over, to be followed by
disillusionment, when it was revealed to Louise that the fickle heart of
Louis had succumbed to other charms; the final flight from court and the
long years of repentance at the Carmelites.

Twice before Louise had taken refuge in a convent. The first time she
sought to fly from her passion and herself, to be brought back to court
by the adoring King, the second flight was when Louis had begun to
transfer his attentions to Madame de Montespan, and finally, at thirty,
Louise de La Vallière retired to Chaillot to expiate whatever sins she
had committed by thirty-six long years of prayer and penitence. Having
entered the Carmelites in the bright bloom of her beauty, her lovely
blonde hair severed from her graceful head, La Vallière was known ever
after as Sister Louise de la Miséricorde, and as if anything more were
needed to complete the tragedy, the King whom she had loved so deeply,
to whom she had sacrificed her life, although at the time much engrossed
with Madame de Montespan, was incapable of forgiving Louise for quitting
the court, and never made the slightest effort to see her again. "He has
forgotten her," wrote the vivacious and outspoken Madame, mother of the
Regent, "as much as if he had never known her."

In her repentance, which was evidently deep and sincere, La Vallière
likened herself to three great sinners, the Canaanitish woman, the
woman of Samaria, and the Magdalen, and asked only that her sins be
forgiven. Bossuet, who received her confession, compared her to a dove
taking its flight heavenward, while Madame de Sévigné, who visited her
at the Carmelites about the time of the marriage of La Vallière's
daughter to the Prince de Conti, wrote to Madame de Grignan: "But what
an angel she appeared to me! To my eyes she possessed all the charms of
early days, the same eyes and the same expression: the austere life,
meagre fare and little sleep _ni les lui ont ni creusés ni battus_. The
severe costume has despoiled her of no grace or dignity; indeed, this
dress and this retreat add greatly to her dignity."

Just as we were leaving the château a pleasant diversion came in the
form of a call from M. La Tour, who had motored over from his father's
country seat to dine with us to-night. I was glad to see him, as I
wished to thank him for a book which we found at the hotel, when we
reached here yesterday, which has added so much to our interest in the
château. I tell M. La Tour that if we dream to-night of court pageants
at Blois, midnight strolls in the forest, and girlish confidences under
the Royal Oak, at Fontainebleau, it will be quite his fault for making
the story so real to us. Then, as if to deepen the impression already
made, he proceeded to draw us a picture of the _cortège_ attending Louis
XIV on his arrival at Blois,--the great state carriages of wood and
leather, with their Genoa velvet cushions and wide wheels, surrounded by
outriders advancing in perfect order, at a foot's pace, the musketeers
in their brilliant uniform, the horns of varying sorts exciting the dogs
and horses,--movement, noise, color, a mirage of light announced the
King's approach to the château, of which nothing can now convey any
adequate idea unless it be the picturesque splendor and false majesty of
a theatrical spectacle.

As M. La Tour described this brilliant scene, another arose before me
unbidden, this last in the dim religious light of the convent, where a
woman still young, in the full maturity of her beauty, is taking the
veil, which is held for the former royal favorite by the neglected Queen
of Louis, Maria Teresa. Although some chroniclers tell us that the
King's eyes were red with weeping all the day before, he probably went
hunting that day after pheasants, or whatever game was in season, amid
the flatteries and acclamations of his courtiers. So short was the
memory of a King! So long and deep was the repentance of a woman more
sinned against than sinning!

The floral offerings, this evening, were handsomer than usual, having
come from M. La Tour's paternal gardens. Miss Cassandra and I have
bouquets of sweet peas of exquisite shades of mauve, purple and white,
quite suitable for chaperones, while for Lydia was reserved a choice
posy of the blue forget-me-nots, that the French adore, surrounded by
mignonette. Lydia is wearing a soft grey voile gown to-night, cut low
enough to reveal the roundness and whiteness of her throat, and the blue
flowers against her grey corsage made a perfect finish to the simple,
dainty costume, beside which they are exactly the color of her eyes.
Upon this fact M. La Tour is probably expatiating this minute, as they
are talking together in the embrasure of a window in this odd little
room which answers the purpose of salon and writing room, in which I
scribble off these lines to you. We are all enjoying the young
Frenchman's visit, with one exception perhaps, Archie, who is smoking on
the terrace alone. I can see his face from where I am sitting, and it
wears a rather careworn expression,--much as he used to look when he was
interne at the P----Hospital and had a particularly bad case under his
care. Walter, who is writing at a table near me, is laughing over my
description, and says that this is a bad case for Archie and M. La Tour,
whatever it may be for Lydia, who Quaker-like is so self-contained and
serene of countenance that she does not betray her feelings by so much
as the lifting of an eyelash. She treats both of her admirers with
charming impartiality.

"How is Archie ever going to find out whether Lydia cares for him,
Zelphine?" This from Walter's writing table, in a stage whisper. "Even
you, inveterate matchmaker that you are, have met your Waterloo for
once. Angela, with all her roguish ways, wasn't a patch to this demure
Lydia. You certainly are having experiences, Zelphine, and are keeping
your hand in for Christine and Lisa when they come along. I feel sorry
for poor old Archie; but we all have to have our troubles in this line
sooner or later."

"Then why have you added to Archie's troubles by urging M. La Tour to go
with us to-morrow?"

"How could I help asking him," this in Walter's most persuasive tone,
"when he has taken the trouble to come over here to dine with us? In
common decency I could do nothing else."

"Of course nothing will ever come of this, as M. La Tour's parents have
no doubt arranged an advantageous marriage for him, but----"

"Do you want anything to come of it, Zelphine?"

"How you tease! You know very well that I do not; but poor Archie's
holiday is being spoiled, all the same."

"Well, he can't go with us anyhow, Zelphine dear, for to-morrow is his
mother's birthday, and he will have to leave here betimes, in order to
be at home to lunch with Madame La Tour. I must go out on the terrace
now and comfort Archie."

"Don't be _too_ comforting, Walter, and why didn't you tell me before
that M. La Tour could not go with us to-morrow?"

"I did not quite realize how important his movements were, and after all
he holds out a hope of rejoining us at Chinon, on Monday."

This conversation with my good man, dear Margaret, will give you a
fairly satisfactory idea of a very unsatisfactory state of affairs
except that I am not quite sure about Chinon. Walter looked so
mischievous, when he added that bit of information, that I am inclined
to think he made it up, on the spur of the moment, just to give me
something to think about.

By the way, I am leaving the most important item for the end of this
long letter. M. La Tour brought a charming note from his mother,
inviting us to lunch with her any day that suits us. The Château La Tour
is somewhere between Blois and Paris, not much out of our way; but we
really have not time to stop over even for a few hours, as Angela writes
from Paris that the Dudleys leave her on Tuesday to sail from Cherbourg.
The child cannot stay at a hotel alone, and she says that she is so busy
over her trousseau that she has not time to join us here even for a few
days. So you see we have only Monday for Chinon, a night at Angers and a
full day on Tuesday, as we return to Paris, via Orleans, where we wish
to have several hours _en route_ for the Joan of Arc associations.

It would be a delightful experience to lunch at the Château La Tour, but
under the circumstances, a trifle embarrassing. Archie would flatly
refuse to go, I am sure, and Walter would think it a perfect bore, so it
is just as well that we have a good, ready-made excuse. I don't know
what Miss Cassandra thinks about the situation of affairs, as for once
in her life she is as discreet and non-committal as Lydia; but she is
evidently much disappointed about the luncheon at the Château La Tour.
She is always ready for a new experience, and is eager to meet Madame La
Tour, who claims cousinship with her. However, this last pleasure may be
only deferred, as Madame hopes to call upon us in Paris later in the



                              HÔTEL DE FRANCE, Blois, September 11th.

THIS has been a golden day of pure delight, with a brilliant sunshine
from early morn to dewy eve, and a cool, refreshing air, an altogether
ideal day for our prolonged visitations among the châteaux around Blois!
Lydia and I went to the little Protestant church with Miss Cassandra
this morning, as a salve to our consciences, Archie says, in view of the
giddy round of pleasure that we had planned for the afternoon. He and
Walter tried to beguile Lydia from our side, to spend the morning in
roaming about Blois with them; but she is a loyal little soul and
resisted all their blandishments with sweet steadfastness, saying that
after following the Huguenots through all the miseries that were heaped
upon them, the least that we can do is to honor their memories in their
chapel here at Blois.

Archie says that we are quite right and that this sentiment is
praiseworthy; but that as he and Walter were unable to honor these
heroic souls in their own language, to attend such a service would be a

"Yes," Walter added, "it would seem like a bit of play-acting to sit
there in church, like two whited sepulchres, trying to look as if we
understood when we should not know six words of what was being said."

Miss Cassandra, being accustomed to religious service where not a word
is spoken in any language, naturally does not think much of these
arguments; but having a strong liking for my two men she is quite
willing to excuse them from accompanying us to the chapel. Nor do I
wonder that they are glad to have a fine morning in which to roam about
this interesting old town together, and to give zest and point to their
rambles, M. La Tour has told them of an ancient coin associated with the
history of Blois. This coin is said to be the oldest document in
existence on, or in, which the name of Blois is inscribed, it also bears
the name of the officer of the mint at Blois at the time of its issue,
far back in history. Of course Walter and Archie are very anxious to see
this ancient coin, and M. La Tour has given them a letter of
introduction to the man who has charge of it, which he assured them
would admit them to a view of it Sundays or holidays, or any time in the
day or night.

We enjoyed the service in the little church, where we heard a really
eloquent discourse from an old _pasteur_ with the most beautiful,
benevolent face that you can imagine. We are quite sure that this
handsome, venerable clergyman comes from a long line of heroic Huguenot
ancestors, and Miss Cassandra says that she did not mind so much not
understanding what he said, as she was quite sure that it was all to
edification, which she evidently does not always feel with regard to the
long tales that the guides spin off for us, and in truth Lydia and I
have tripped them up more than twice in their history. We returned to
the hotel quite enthusiastic about the chapel and its pastor, and Miss
Cassandra is already planning some benevolent scheme to help the
evidently struggling congregation. If her means were equal to her
charitable intent, what would she not do for the benefit of mankind in
all quarters of the globe? Walter and Archie were so impressed by her
description of "the venerable descendant of a long line of massacred
Huguenots" that they have made substantial acknowledgments to be sent by
Lydia and myself to the patrons of the little chapel.

The idea of visiting three châteaux in one afternoon was rather
appalling at first; but the afternoon was long, beginning soon after our
twelve o'clock _déjeuner_, and the roads are fine for motoring in this
level country. Our way lay for some miles by Loire, first on one bank
and then on the other. This flat country, with its wide reaches of
meadow land and distant horizon lines, has a charm of its own, its
restfulness suits the drowsy autumn days, and no trees could be better
fitted to border these roadsides and river banks than the tall slim
Lombardy poplars, with their odd bunches of foliage atop like the plumes
and pompons on soldiers' caps. Down by some of the streams large white
poplars have spread out their branches, making coverts from the sunshine
for man and beast. On these poplars we noticed what looked like huge
green nests. "Are they crows' nests?" we asked, as there seem to be no
end of crows all about here.

"No, not for the _corbeaux_," said the chauffeur, shaking his head and
looking fairly puzzled, as he explained with some elaboration that this
was a parasitic plant which drew its nourishment from various trees, and
that later in the season white, waxlike berries would appear upon it.

"It is the mistletoe!" exclaimed Lydia, joyously, as if meeting an old
friend in a strange land, and as she was, as usual, conducting the
general information course, she asked the chauffeur if it was not used
for decoration at Christmas and the New Year, being hung where lovers
were likely to pass, a custom derived from the rites of the ancient
Druids. The chauffeur was evidently unacquainted with the ways of the
Druids, his studies in folk lore not having been extensive; but the bit
about the lovers he understood, and in that curious way, that has so
often surprised us, perhaps by a certain mental telepathy, he suddenly
understood, slapped his hand upon his knee, and exclaimed, "Yes, yes,
Mademoiselle, it is the same thing, le mis-le-toe, _le gui_."

So it is _le gui_, that we see on so many trees, and this man, evidently
of the soil, as he knows all about the products here, tells us that it
grows upon pear, apple and other trees and is cut off and sent in great
quantities to the large towns for holiday celebrations.

From the level landscape with low-lying meadows and fields of turnips in
which men and women were at work, we suddenly saw the great round towers
of Chaumont rising from among the trees of a well-wooded ridge. Like
Langeais, Chaumont is a strong fortress of the middle ages, dark and
lowering at a first view, but with much beauty in its hillside park and
gardens. We crossed a creaking, swaying suspension bridge, one is always
crossing bridges here, as the Loire winds itself around these châteaux
as if it delighted to encircle them in its shining arms.

The best view of the château is from this bridge, which connects the
villages of Chaumont and Onzain. From this coign of vantage it rises
before us, crowning the hill-crest with its many towers and dominating
the little village at its feet and the broad river. The Loire is twice
as wide here as at Blois, its surface broken up by many sand bars and
stretches of pebbly beach, such brilliantly colored pebbles as we used
to see in Northern Italy, when the rivers were low as these are here
to-day. Much the same view is this as John Evelyn's first sight of
Chaumont, on a May day long ago: "We took boate," wrote Evelyn, "passing
by Chaumont, a proud castle on the left hand; before it a small island
deliciously shaded with tall trees." As we motored through the village
street, whose houses run parallel with the river, we noticed that the
town seemed to be _en fête_. The outside of the little church was
decorated with banners, lanterns and flowers, while within it was so
filled to overflowing with villagers, and small maidens in white frocks
and pink and blue sashes, that we could scarcely get our noses within
the doorway. The village was celebrating some church festival, the
chauffeur told us; but we stupidly forget which saint was being honored,
perhaps because the remainder of the afternoon was spent among those who
had small claim to saint-hood, and then as Miss Cassandra says, "There
are so many of these saints, how can we ever keep track of them all?"


"And it is so much easier to remember the sinners," Walter adds,
"because there is always something doing among them."

Leaving the auto in the village, we climbed up to the castle by a steep
and narrow path and entered the great doorway where the moat and
drawbridge between the huge round towers again reminded us of Langeais.
Over this entrance are the graven initials of Louis and Anne of
Brittany, the arms of George of Amboise with his cardinal's hat, and the
double C's of Charles of Chaumont and his wife, Catherine of Chauvigny.
Here also are some scattered D's which stand for Diane of Poitiers, who
consented to accept this château when Catherine offered her a Hobson's
choice of Chaumont or nothing. We were especially interested in a rich
frieze in which were intertwined the double C's and the odd device of
the burning mountain, "Chaud-mont," from which, it is said, the name of
the château was derived. As Chaumont is still inhabited, we were not
shown the whole of the castle, but fortunately for us the suite of
historic rooms was on view. Here again we came upon associations with
the dreadful Catherine, whose bedroom and furniture are shown to
visitors. Whether or not these articles are genuine, and grave doubts
are thrown upon their authenticity, they are very handsome and of the
proper period. The tapestries in these rooms are all old and charming in
color, of old rose and pink. A description which I came across in a
delightful book by Mr. Theodore A. Cook, which M. La Tour brought us
from his mother's library, gives a better idea of this tapestry than any
words of mine: "Beside the door a blinded Love with rose-red wings and
quiver walks on the flushing paths, surrounded by strange scrolls and
mutilated fragments of old verses; upon the wall in front are ladies
with their squires attending, clad all in pink and playing mandolins,
while by the stream that courses through the flowery meadows small rosy
children feed the water birds, that seem to blush with pleasure beneath
the willow boughs of faded red."

Next to the so-called room of Catherine de Médicis is the chamber
attributed to Ruggieri, the chosen aide and abettor of her schemes,
which apartment very properly communicates with a private stairway
leading to the platform of the tower which is said to have been used by
him as an observatory. Whether or not Catherine ever inhabited these
rooms, and we know that she never lived for any length of time at
Chaumont, I must confess that seeing them thus conveniently placed for
plotting and adventure, they impressed us even more than her secret
stairways and poison cupboards at Blois. This may have been because
these rooms are small and dark and dreary, Ruggieri's being in one of
the corner towers, with small windows cut in the wall, which is over two
metres in thickness. From whatever reason, these apartments are the most
weird and ghostly that we have seen, fitted up as they are with many
memorials of Catherine, and two portraits of her, one in a rich costume,
an extinguisher gown with pink underskirt and wide full sleeves bordered
with a band of fur, each one as large as an ordinary muff. There is also
a portrait of Ruggieri here, whose dark, sinister face adds much to the
grewsomeness of the room, and standing here we could readily imagine the
scene, described by a chronicler of the time, when the Queen sought
Ruggieri here among his philters, minerals, foreign instruments,
parchments and maps of the heavens, to consult him about the future of
her offspring. This was soon after the death of Henry II, when the young
King's health had begun to break down. When the Queen desired to be
shown the horoscopes of her children, by some skillful arrangement of
mirrors the astrologer made her four sons to pass before her, each in
turn wearing crowns for a brief period; but all dying young and without
heirs, each figure was to turn around as many times as the number of
years he was to live. Poor Francis appeared, wan and sickly, and before
he had made an entire circle he passed out of sight, from which the
Queen knew that the young King would die before the year was out, which,
as we know, came true, as did some of the other prognostications. What
must have filled to the brim the cup of misery which this ambitious,
disappointed woman had held to her lips, was to see the rival of her
sons, the bitterly hated Henry of Navarre, following their shadows upon
the mirror and making over twenty turns, which meant that he would reign
in France for twenty years, or more. By whatever means the astrologer
accomplished these predictions, the remarkable thing about them is that
the account of this interview at Chaumont was written during the reign
of Henry III, before some of them had been fulfilled. Catherine, firmly
believing in Ruggieri's prognostications, left the château a sadder if
not a wiser woman.

The rooms of Catherine communicate directly with the chapel, where there
is a most realistic picture of The Last Judgment, and her book of the
hours lies open on her _prie dieu_ as if she had just finished her
devotions. For good and sufficient reasons, we do not think of this
Queen at prayer as readily as we figure her taking part in affairs of
state, plotting for the destruction of her enemies and trying to
hoodwink the Huguenots and Leaguers in turn.

"And yet," as Walter reminds us, "Catherine was extremely devout, with
all her deviltry." You may remember a portrait of her in fine enamel at
the Louvre, which represents Catherine kneeling before an altar, her
hands devoutly clasped, and as if to give point to the time-honored
adage "handsome is that handsome does," the Queen's face, in this
enamel, possesses some claim to good looks.

M. La Tour has been telling us of some old papers, recently brought to
light, which prove that Catherine, during the babyhood of her children,
was an anxious and watchful mother. She seems to have written careful
and minute directions regarding the food and clothing of her little
ones, in one instance directing that her son Henry should not be
encouraged to eat largely, adding, like any wise mother of to-day, "I am
of opinion that my children are rather ill from being too fat than too
thin." The evidence of this opinion is borne out by Clouet's drawings of
the chubby face of Henry and the fat, heavy cheeks of Francis II, both
in their babyhood. It was little Francis, an unassertive prince in after
years, who at the age of two insisted upon discarding his petticoats,
upon which the King, when consulted upon this important question, wrote
to the governor of the royal nursery, "It is right indeed that my son
should wear breeches if he asks for them; for I do not doubt that he
knows perfectly well what is needful."

These intimate details of the youth of the royal children, trifling as
they are, add a human interest to the figures of Henry II and Catherine,
whom we only think of as sweeping through these châteaux in form and
state, and raise a question as to whether, after all, this cruel Queen
had not a heart somewhere tucked away under her jewelled bodice.

Chaumont has many associations earlier than the days of Catherine,
reaching back to Charles of Amboise, who built much of the château, and
to his father Georges, one of the chief ministers of Louis XII. It is
said that Georges of Amboise used his tact and influence to gain the
papal bull necessary for the King's divorce from Jeanne of France, which
was brought to Chinon by Cæsar Borgia, with great state and ceremony. It
was this same papal envoy who brought Georges d'Amboise his cardinal's
hat. Unscrupulous as he may have been in some instances, Cardinal
d'Amboise seems to have been, in the main, a wise and judicious minister
and helped Louis to institute many important reforms.

The romance of Chaumont is its association with the knightly figure of
Henri Coiffier de Ruzé, Marquis de Cinq Mars. The opening scene of De
Vigny's novel rises before us, as we pass through the rooms of Chaumont.
The young Marquis was about to set forth upon his ill-fated journey into
the great world, and the members of his family were gathered together
for a solemn, farewell meal. De Vigny represents the poor youth
neglecting his dinner, and even indifferent to his mother's sorrow over
his departure in his desire to meet the beautiful eyes of Marie de
Gonzague, who was seated at the other end of the table, from whom he was
soon to part forever. It was by a lattice window in the rez-de-chaussée
of the western tower that Cinq-Mars found Marie waiting for him, when he
retraced his steps and came back at midnight for a last word with her.
We looked in vain for the window by which the lovers swore eternal
fidelity to their love and to each other; but the château has doubtless
undergone some changes since those early days, although it looks so
ancient. Lydia and I were wishing for a copy of Cinq-Mars in order to
follow the young Marquis through his sad and singular experience at
Loudun, his meeting with his old friend De Thou, his brilliant exploit
at Perpignan, his rapid preferment at court, and--just here Walter
called us from our rapid review of the career of Cinq-Mars to show us a
head of Benjamin Franklin in terra cotta. This excellent low relief of
Franklin is in a case with a number of other medallions, made by an
Italian, Nini, whom the owner of Chaumont brought here in the hope of
turning to account some clay found on the estate. This admirable
medallion excited the two antiquarians of the party more than anything
we have seen here, even more than the weird sky parlor of Ruggieri.
Walter is wondering whether this is not the medallion about which Dr.
Franklin wrote to his daughter soon after his arrival at Passy, as the
first of its kind made in France. This idea seems more probable, in view
of the fact that the same M. Le Ray, who owned Chaumont at that time,
was Franklin's host at Passy for nine years. All of which, as Walter
says, makes it more than likely that the old philosopher came to
Chaumont to have his portrait modelled by Nini, especially as his
relations with the master of Chaumont were of the most friendly nature.
The old potteries in which the Italian artist worked have long since
been turned into stables and a riding school.

Another familiar and even more recent figure associated with Chaumont is
Madame de Staël, who took refuge here, while reading the proofs of her
work upon Germany, Chaumont being the requisite forty leagues from
Paris. M. Le Ray and his family, with whom Madame de Staël was upon the
most intimate terms, were in America at this time. Here in the old
château the De Staëls lived for some time, the authoress working in
peace and quietness upon her great work. When M. Le Ray and his family
returned to Chaumont, although hospitably invited to remain at the
château, Madame de Staël insisted upon removing with her family to a
villa in the neighborhood, which was placed at her disposal by M. de
Salaberry. At this place, called Fossé, Madame de Staël welcomed Madame
Récamier and other friends, and with the charming French trait of making
the most of the joys of the hour, she wrote with enthusiasm of the happy
days that she passed near her friends at Chaumont. Even if the old
Vendean soldier, the châtelain of Fossé, took little care of his estate,
she said that his constant kindness made everything easy and his
original turn of mind made everything amusing. "No sooner had we
arrived," wrote Madame de Staël, "than an Italian musician whom I had
with me, to give lessons to my daughter, began to play the guitar. My
daughter accompanied on the harp the sweet voice of my fair friend,
Madame Récamier; the peasants assembled below the windows astonished to
find this colony of troubadours who came to enliven the solitude of
their master. It was there that I passed my last days in France, with a
few friends whose memories are cherished in my heart. Surely this
reunion so intimate, this solitary sojourn, this delightful dalliance
with the fine arts could hurt no one."

Charming, innocent, pastoral seems this life, as Madame de Staël
described it, and yet even such simple pleasures as these she was not
allowed to enjoy, for during a brief visit to the home of M. de
Montmorency, an attempt was made to seize her manuscripts, which her
children had fortunately put in a place of safety; her book was
suppressed and she was ordered to leave France within three days.

When Madame de Staël asked why she was treated with such harshness by
the government and why her book was censured, the answer given under the
signature of the ministry plainly stated that the head and front of her
offending consisted in her not having mentioned the Emperor in her last
work. It is difficult to believe that a man who could do such great
things as Napoleon could be so small as to follow this brilliant woman
with bitter, relentless hatred, because she failed to burn incense at
his shrine.

Although we were not given the freedom of the grounds, we were shown the
beautiful court of honor with its one fine tree, a cedar of Lebanon
which spreads its branches quite close to the chapel walls. There is an
old Italian well in this court, with low reliefs carved upon its sides,
and graceful ornaments of wrought iron above the sweep. We pictured to
ourselves the Marquis de Cinq Mars and Marie de Gonzague meeting in this
court, under the friendly branches of the great cedar, and so with a
tender thought for these hapless old-time lovers, we turned away from
Chaumont. Still musing and dreaming over its numerous and varied
associations, we motored along toward Cheverny. This was an afternoon in
which to dream,--the air was full of a delicious drowsy autumnal warmth,
and a soft haze hung over the Loire and its tributaries. Involuntarily
our thoughts turn back to the time when the kings and nobles of France
made their stately progress along these same roads, many of them Roman
roads, for the great road-builders were all over this country as in
England. Upon these highways over which we speed along in an auto,
great lumbering stage coaches once made their way, and in the fields, as
to-day, were the toilers, the husband and wife, as in the Angelus of
Millet. For an instant they would look up from their work to see what
all the racket was about, and take a momentary interest in the gilded
coaches, the gay outriders, the richly caparisoned horses, and all the
pomp and circumstance of royalty. If near the highway, they would catch
a fleeting glimpse of the beautiful face of some royal or noble dame,
and seeing only the rich brocade of her gown, the jewels upon her breast
and the gay feathers and flowers in her hat, they would turn back to
their toil with a half-formulated wonder why life was a holiday to these
favored ones and only bitter toil and hardship to _nous autres_. Thomas
Jefferson's proposition, that all men are created free and equal, would
have shocked these simple souls as it would their lords and masters, and
yet a seed of thought was slumbering in their slow minds, germinating
for a future awakening, a small seed that was destined to become a
thousand in the sad and terrible reprisals of the French Revolution. To
these starved peasants luxury stood for happiness, never themselves
knowing the satisfaction of a full comfortable meal, it would have been
impossible to make them believe that this outward show and splendor did
not mean that these men and women, who rolled along in coaches and fed
sumptuously every day, were the supremely blessed of the earth. And yet
along these roads passed the coaches of the heavy hearted as well as of
the gay. By much the same way that we are going journeyed the unhappy
Princess Joanne when her husband, Louis XII, was minded to put her away
to give place to a more ambitious marriage. Another royal lady to whom a
crown brought naught but sorrow and disappointment was the gentle Louise
de Vandemont-Lorraine, wife of Henry III, who fared this way to the home
of her widowhood at Chenonceaux, and by much the same route passed Marie
de Médicis when she fled from Blois and found refuge and aid at Loches.


As Cheverny and Chaumont are not far apart, we were aroused from our
reflections by a sudden stop at a little smithy near the gates of the
park. A most charming little smithy is this, with a niched saint on
the outside, vines clambering all over the wall, and a picturesque
outside staircase with a little balcony above. The blacksmith, himself,
as he stood framed in by the doorway, made a picture that we thought
well worth taking. Unfortunately the saint in the niche could not come
in, as it was some distance from the door, but just at the right moment
Lydia, quite unconsciously, stepped before the lens, and near the stone
stairway which she had been examining.

"Far better than a saint!" said Archie under his breath, and then aloud,
"Keep still, Miss Mott, the blacksmith will stay, I am sure, as he looks
as if he had been built into that door."

I think we shall be able to send you a photograph of our little smithy,
and perhaps one of the church across the road, which is quaint and
interesting, with its timbered verandas (one cannot, by any stretch of
courtesy, call them cloisters) and something like a lych-gate at the
entrance. Within are some marbles and memorial tablets of the Hurault
family. It seems that the Huraults owned the Seignory of Cheverny as
long ago as the fourteenth century, "before we Americans were
discovered," as Miss Cassandra says. Early in the sixteenth century, one
Raoul Hurault built a château here, of which little or nothing is left.
The present château was built by a later Hurault, in 1634, and, after
passing through several hands, it was bought, in 1825, by the
Marchioness Hurault de Vibraye, and being thus returned to the family of
the original owners, is still in their possession. A wonderful tale was
this for American ears!

Cheverny, with its well wooded park, and its avenue six kilometres in
length, is a noble domain; but the outside of the château, although its
architecture has been highly praised, did not impress us particularly.
This may be because the mansion is situated on a level sweep of lawn,
laid out after the English style, instead of crowning a great bluff like
Blois, Amboise and Chaumont. The interior of Cheverny leaves nothing to
be desired. It is elegant, aristocratic, and yet most delightfully
homelike, with its spacious hall, richly decorated royal bedroom, and
salon as livable as an English drawing room, with books, magazines and
writing materials scattered over the centre table. On the panelled
walls are gathered together a goodly and graceful company of noble lords
and beautiful ladies, among them a fine full-length portrait of Philippe
Hurault, Count de Cheverny, Chancellor of Finance under Henry IV, and
opposite him his beautiful and stately wife, Anne de Thou, Dame de
Cheverny, in a gown of black velvet garnished with rich lace. This noble
lady was related, in some way, to the gallant young De Thou who perished
on the scaffold with his friend Cinq Mars. Over the chimney-place is a
charming portrait by Mignard of the daughter, or daughter-in-law, of
Anne de Thou, Marie Johanne de Saumery, Marquise de Montglat, Countess
de Cheverny. The subject of this lovely portrait bears with distinction
her long array of cumbersome titles, while the airy grace of the figure
and the innocent sweetness of the rounded girlish face are irresistibly
attractive. Above the chimney-place, in which this portrait is set in
the white wainscot, is the monogram (HV) which one finds all over the
château, a proof that this ancient family is _légitimiste_ to the core,
and devoutly loyal to whatever is left of the ancient line of the
Bourbons. In the _salle à manger_, the monogram of the last Henry of
this royal house is especially conspicuous. We were puzzling over the
name of the pretender of to-day when the guide informed our ignorance,
with a most superior manner of knowing it all and wondering that we did
not know it also. From what he gave forth in rapid French with many
gestures, we gathered that on the death of the Comte de Paris his eldest
son, Philippe Robert, Duc d'Orléans, became heir to the house of
Bourbon, founded in 886 by Robert le Fort, with the title Philippe VII.
The Duc de Bourdeaux, always known as the Comte de Chambord after he
became owner of the château of the same name, was heir to the throne,
through the elder branch of the house, that is, as the grandson and
eldest descendant of Charles X, the last of the elder branch that
reigned in France. Some little time before his death, the Comte de
Chambord was reconciled to the younger or Orleans branch, which had
usurped the throne after the expulsion of Charles X. By this act the
Comte de Paris was recognized as the legitimate successor to the throne.
The present Duke of Orleans, should the monarchy be restored, would
rule as Philippe VII. The Comte de Chambord took the title Henri V, as
the next Henri after the king of Navarre, Henri IV. The Comte de
Chambord bequeathed the Château of Chambord, which was his personal
property, to his kinsman, the Duke de Parme, who was a Bourbon of the
Spanish line, being the descendant of the grandson of Louis XIV, who was
elected to the Spanish throne in 1700. From the pride with which this
information was communicated we realized that this very superior
_gardien_ was, like the noble master and mistress of Cheverny,
legitimist to the ends of his fingers.

[Illustration: Neurdein Freres, Photo.


While listening to this genealogical disquisition our eyes turned to a
most attractive looking tea table which was set forth with superb
silver, and thin slices of bread and butter and cake. With appetites
sharpened by our long ride through the fresh air, I fear that we all
gazed longingly at that tempting regale, and for Miss Cassandra, Lydia
and I positively trembled. With her strong feeling that the world was
made for herself and those whom she loves, it would not have surprised
us to see the good lady sit down at this hospitable looking table and
invite the rest of the party to join her. Lydia adroitly led the
conversation toward Chambord and the afternoon tea which our chauffeur
had promised us there, adding, gracefully, "It is very kind of the
Marquise to allow us to go through her beautiful château while the
family is in residence." "Yes," assented Miss Cassandra, "but how much
more hospitable if she would invite us to drink tea with her!" After
admiring the beautifully decorated ceiling and the handsome leather
hangings, we left the dining room and its temptations for what was a
much greater attraction to the men of the party, the fine suits of armor
in the Salle des Gardes.

Although Cheverny cherishes its Bourbon traditions, like the
proverbially happy nation and happy woman it has no history to speak of,
having even escaped the rigors of the French Revolution. In the past, as
to-day, this château seems to have been a homelike and peaceful abode,
its long façade and pavilions having looked down through many centuries
upon a smiling garden and a vast lawn, which shut it in from the world
beyond even more effectually than its great gates.

From Cheverny our way lay across a stretch of open, level country and
then through the forest of Chambord, which includes 11,000 acres of
woodland. By the time we reached the château, we were, as Miss Cassandra
expresses it in classic phrase, "faint yet pursuing" for lack of the
refreshment to which we were not made welcome at Cheverny. Our
chauffeur, being accustomed to famished pilgrims, conducted us at once
to a garden café quite near the château, from whence we could study its
long façade while enjoying our tea and _pâtisserie_. And what a huge
monument is this château of Chambord to the effete monarchy of France,
built up from the life-blood and toil of thousands! It impressed us as
more brutally rich and splendid than any of the palaces that we had
seen, rising as it does in its great bulk so unexpectedly from the dead
level of the sandy plain, with no especial reason for its existence
except the will of a powerful sovereign. It is not strange that the
salamander of Francis I appears upon so many of the châteaux of France,
for to this art-loving, luxurious, and _débonnaire_ King she owes
Chambord, Fontainebleau, St. Germain and the smaller châteaux of
Azay-le-Rideau, Anet and Villers-Cotterets. Although Francis I brought
from Italy, to beautify his palaces, Leonardo Da Vinci, Primaticcio,
Benvenuto Cellini, Florentin Rosso and other foreign artists, it has
been decided by those who know more about the matter than we do, that
Chambord owes more to its first architect, Maître Pierre le Nepvue, dit
Trinqueau, than to anyone else. It seemed to us that this master hand
was happier in the construction of Chenonceaux, Blois and some of the
other châteaux of France, than here at Chambord, but this is a matter of
individual taste. Vast, palatial, magnificent Chambord certainly is, and
much more attractive on the north façade, where the château is reflected
in the waters of the Cosson, than from the café where we were seated.
The long line of buildings in the south front is somewhat monotonous,
even broken as it is by the several towers, and the great central
lantern, which appears to the best advantage from this side. Rich as is
all the ornamentation of Chambord, it is skyward that it breaks forth
into the greatest exuberance of Renaissance decoration. We reached the
central lantern, with the single fleur-de-lis atop, by one of the
remarkable staircases for which the palaces of Francis I are so famous.
This staircase, which is formed by two spirals starting from different
points, and winding about the same hollow shaft in the centre, is so
constructed that persons can go up and down without meeting. Mr. Henry
James considered this double staircase "a truly majestic joke," but in
days when courts lived and moved and had their being in intrigues,
schemes and plots, it doubtless had its uses.

[Illustration: Neurdein Freres, Photo.


Mademoiselle de Montpensier gives in her diary an amusing account of her
first acquaintance with this double stairway. She came, when a child, to
Chambord to visit her father, Gaston, Duke of Orleans, who stood at the
top of the stairs to receive her, and called to her to come to him. As
she flew up one flight her agile parent ran down the other; upon which
the little girl gave chase, only to find that when she had gained the
bottom he was at the top. "Monsieur," she said, "laughed heartily to see
me run so fast in the hope of catching him, and I was glad to see
Monsieur so well amused."

Having reached the central lantern we found ourselves upon a flat roof,
surrounded by a perfectly bewildering maze of peaks, pinnacles,
lanterns, chimneys and spires, which constitute what our guide is
pleased to call the _ensemble de la toiture_. This vast terrace, which
covers the main building of the palace, is one of the architectural
marvels of France. Here it seems as if the architect had allowed himself
unlimited freedom in decoration, in which he was aided by such artists
as Jean Goujon and Cousin, who zealously worked upon the ornamentation
of these bell turrets, balconies and towers, as if to prove the
sincerity and beauty of French art. This luxuriant flowing forth, in
stone carving, of foliage, flower, boss and emblem, has resulted in an
ensemble of indescribable charm, the dazzling light stone of Bourré, of
which the château is built, lending itself harmoniously to the elaborate
Renaissance decoration.

It was of Jean Goujon, whose exquisite work we see now and again in
these châteaux, that some writer has said, that the muse of Ronsard
whispered in the ear of the French sculptor, and thus Goujon's
masterpieces were poems of Ronsard translated in marble. It is a rather
pretty fancy, but Lydia and I cannot remember its author. Walter says
that he can understand why the Counts of Blois built their castle here,
as this place seems to have formed part of a system of fortresses which
guarded the Loire, making it possible, in the time of Charles VII, for
Joan of Arc to move her army up the river to Orleans; but why Francis
should have transformed this old castle into a palace is not so easy to
understand. When so many more attractive sites were to be found, it
seems strange that he should have chosen this sandy flat upon the border
of what was then the sad and barren Solange. One reason given is that
the country about Chambord was rich in game, and we know that Francis
was an inveterate hunter; another theory is that a charming woman, the
Comtesse de Thoury, one of the early loves of the King, had a manor in
the neighborhood.

"Both excellent reasons!" exclaimed Archie, "Dame Quickly is evidently
an apt student of human nature."

These various surmises and bits of information were poured into our ears
by the guide, a plump and merry soul, whom Archie at once dubbed Dame
Quickly. As she conducted us from room to room, she turned to me and,
with a flash of her black eyes, exclaimed, "If these walls could speak,
what tales they could tell!" adding that, for her part, she believed
that the King came here for the hunting, the Comtesse de Thoury having
been a love of his youth, and, with a knowing shake of her head, "You
know, Mesdames, how short is the memory of man for an early love,
especially a king's memory, when another is always to be found to take
the vacant place." When we explained this philosophic reflection upon
their sex to the men of the party, they declared that an unfair
advantage was being taken by this facetious dame, simply because they
were not able to answer back and vindicate the eternal fidelity of man.
Then, as if divining what was being said, through her quick woman's
instinct, she drew us toward a window in the study of Francis I and
showed us these lines scratched upon one of the panes:

          Souvent femme varie;
          Mal habile qui s'y fie.

Some discredit is thrown upon the authenticity of these lines, and if
Francis wrote them in his old age, his point of view must have greatly
changed since his earlier days, when he so gaily and gallantly said
that a court without ladies was a year without spring and a spring
without roses. Francis spent much of his time in his later years at
Chambord, his chief solace being the companionship of his lovely sister,
Marguerite, Queen of Navarre, the author of the Heptameron, whose beauty
and intellect were the inspiration of many French poets.

One of the pleasing sides of the character of the King was his devoted
affection for this sister, with whom he had spent a happy youth at
Amboise, and she, loving him beyond any other being, wrote verses to
express her grief when they were separated. A varied, many-sided,
personality was Francis I, and with all his faults possessed of a charm
of his own, and a taste in the fine arts that added much to the beauty
of his kingdom. Something of this we said to Dame Quickly, who replied,
with another wise shake of her head, "The history of Francis is a
wonderful history, Mesdames, made up of many things. There is always
state policy, and religion, _et un peu les femmes_," the knowing look
and shrug with which this bit of wisdom was communicated is simply

Only a few of the 365 rooms of Chambord are furnished; we were shown the
bedroom of the late Comte de Chambord, a ghostly apartment, it seemed to
us in the fading daylight, the bed hung with elaborate tapestries, the
work of the loyal hands of the ladies of Poitou. Miss Cassandra asked
the guide if she would not be afraid to sleep in this dismal chamber.
"No," she answered, "there are no _revenants_ here, the great people who
lived here do not walk, they had such an active life with their hunting
and fêtes that they are content to rest quietly in their beds."

We passed through the council chamber of the château, where there are
more tapestries, these presented by the loyal inhabitants of Blois and
the Limousin districts, and here also is a quite useless throne donated
by some devoted legitimists. In the chapel, we were shown some tapestry
worked by Madame Royale, during her imprisonment in the Temple, that
daughter of Marie Antoinette who alone survived her unfortunate family
and as Duchesse d'Angoulême lived to quite an advanced age.

The fast-fading daylight made it impossible to see many of the
portraits in the great reception room; among them we noticed two
portraits of Anne of Austria, and a Van Loo of the beautiful unloved
Queen of Louis XV, Marie Leczinska. In this picture she appears so
graceful and charming that one wonders how the King could have been
insensible to her attractions; but one need never be surprised at the
vagaries of royalty, and it is not to be expected that diplomatic
alliances should be happy.

What interested the men of the party especially, was the little light
wagon in which, we were told, the owner of Chambord, the Duc de Parme,
went a hunting with that good legitimist, the Master of Cheverny.

"I am glad," said Walter, "that the noble Duke has a neighbor of the
same stripe to go a hunting with him, the grandeur of this great palace
without a friendly neighbor to come in and take a hand at cards or crack
a joke with him, would be simply appalling."

"The idea of jokes in this vast mausoleum of departed grandeur!"
exclaimed Miss Cassandra. "It would be like dancing in a cemetery. Do
ask that lively black-eyed dame how many there are in family when the
owners are at home."

"Monsieur le Duc has twenty-two children," was the reply. "He lives in
Italy, but comes here sometimes for the hunting."[B]

"And does he bring his family with him?"

"_Pas tout le monde_ at the same time, Madame, although we have enough
rooms for them all."

Laughing over this ready rejoinder, we parted from our merry cicerone
with exchanges of compliments and a clink of silver. I am quite sure
that Walter and Archie gave her the fee twice over because of her _beaux
yeux_ and her merry wit.

It is late, and I am tired after the _grande tournée_, as they call our
afternoon trip here, and Walter reminds me

          "That the best of all ways
           To lengthen our days
           Is _not_ to steal a few hours from the night, my dear."


[B] Since Mrs. Leonard wrote of this conversation at Chambord, the
château has passed into the possession of Prince Sixtus de Bourbon, son
and heir of the late Duke of Parma. The present owner of Chambord in
making good his title to the château testified that not a penny of its
revenue has ever been applied to any other purposes than the restoration
and upkeep of the domain.



                              LE CHEVAL BLANC, ANGERS, September 12th.

FATE certainly seemed to be against my seeing Chinon to-day, as we awoke
this morning to hear the rain pattering against our windows. A rather
disconsolate party, we gathered around the table for the breakfast,
which we had ordered an hour earlier, in order to make the day as long
as possible. Miss Cassandra, who was the only really cheerful member of
the party, reminded us of the many days of sunshine that we have had in
Touraine, adding with her usual practical optimism, "And thee must
remember, my dear, that constant sunshine makes the desert," this to
Lydia, but we all took the wise saying to heart and were quite cheerful
by the time we had finished our breakfast, perhaps also for the more
material reason that Walter, through various gratuities and persuasions,
had succeeded in making it of better cheer than the ordinary light
_déjeuner_. Another pleasing circumstance was the assurance of the
chauffeur, who arrived while we were still in the breakfast room, that
the clouds were breaking away and that we should have sunshine by noon.
By the time we had reached Villandry the sun was struggling through the
clouds, and as we approached Chinon, its long line of ancient ruins and
the little town clustered beneath were bathed in sunshine.

[Illustration: Neurdein Freres, Photo.


Although from several points the old château on the crest of the hill,
dominated by the lofty Tour de l'Horloge, is beautiful and impressive,
the best general view of it is from the middle of the lower bridge, from
which we could see the three distinct foundations, the Château of St.
George at the upper or right side, the bridge which connects it with the
Tour de l'Horloge, the Château du Milieu, and finally the Château de
Coudray at the extreme lower or left end of the plateau. The whole is
far more ruinous than the other famous castles of Touraine and requires
as much imagination to make it whole and habitable as some of the ruins
along the Rhine. Of the Château of St. George, built by the Plantagenet
Kings to protect the one vulnerable point in a position almost
impregnable in its day, nothing is left but parts of the lower wall.
So ruinous, indeed, is this château, that one is almost ready to accept
Pantagruel's derivation of the name of Chinon, or Caino, from Cain, the
son of Adam its founder.

We climbed up the hill and rang the bell at the Tour de l'Horloge, which
is the only part of the buildings still boasting a roof, and here the
concierge and his family tuck themselves away somewhere within its high,
narrow walls. The bell that we rang is on the outer side of the tower,
and in the course of time a girl, about as big as the old key she
carried, unlocked a door in the archway through which we entered. The
level spaces inside between the different buildings have been laid out
as a sort of promenade which is open to the public on Sundays and
holidays. The view up and down the slow, shallow river with its yellow
sand-flats, little green islands, and the softly wooded country beyond
seemed to us one of the most charming in Touraine. The concierge, who
was attempting to act as guide to two separate parties at once, hurried
us around in such a bewildering fashion that it would be almost
impossible for me to give the exact locations of the different
buildings. What we all remember distinctly is the bare, roofless hall,
of which only a western gable and a vast chimney-piece remain, in which
Joan had her audience with the King. This hall was the throne room, in
1429, when the fearless Maid appeared at Chinon, having journeyed one
hundred and fifty leagues through a country occupied, in many places, by
English and Burgundian troops, in order to deliver her message to the
King. Although the meeting between Charles VII and Joan was by
candlelight, even in the garish light of day it seemed strangely real
here in this great ruinous hall. Nearly three hundred knights were
present, and the King is said to have stood a little apart amidst a
group of warriors and courtiers, many of them more richly dressed than
himself, with the idea, perhaps, of testing Joan.

There are various accounts of this audience, but the one that we like
best because it seems the most probable is that Joan knew the King at
once, although she had never seen him, and going straight to him,
accosted him humbly and reverently like the poor, little shepherdess
that she was.

"Gentle Dauphin," she said to the King (for she did not think it right
to call him King so long as he was not crowned), "My name is Joan the
maid; the King of Heaven sendeth you word by me that you shall be
anointed and crowned in the city of Rheims, and shall be lieutenant of
the King of Heaven who is King of France. It is God's pleasure that our
enemies, the English, should depart to their own country; if they depart
not evil will come to them, and the kingdom is sure to continue yours."

Even after these earnest words from Joan, the King, although impressed,
was not convinced, and with some reluctance allowed her to remain at
Chinon. We were afterwards shown the lodgings, which this inhospitable
royal host gave to the persistent visitor, in a very thick-walled little
tower, and according to our guide, Joan could get in or out of her room,
on an upper floor, only when her guards put a ladder up to her small
window, permanent stairways being considered unsafe for such guests.

The King saw Joan again several times. She did not delude herself as to
the doubts he still entertained. "Gentle Dauphin," she said to him one
day, "Why do you not believe me? I say unto you that God hath compassion
on you, on your kingdom and your people; St. Louis and Charlemagne are
kneeling before Him, making prayer for you, and I will say unto you, so
please you, a thing which will give you to understand that you ought to
believe me." Charles gave her audience on this occasion, in the
presence, according to some accounts, of four witnesses, the most
trusted of his intimates, who swore to reveal nothing, and, according to
others, completely alone. "What she said to him there is none who
knows," wrote Alan Chartier a short time after [in July, 1429], "but it
is quite certain that he was all radiant with joy thereat, as at a
revelation from the Holy Spirit."

Archie, who read the most recent life of Joan of Arc, on the steamer, as
a preparation for Chinon, reminds us that after much sifting of history
and tradition, it has been decided by learned authorities that the
revelation of the Maid, which filled the King with joy, was a positive
assurance that he was the rightful heir to the throne of France and the
true son of his father, Charles VI.

It is not strange that Charles VII should have doubted his own paternity
with a mother as unnatural and depraved as Isabel of Bavaria, and that
with a kingdom chiefly in the hands of the English he should have
seriously questioned his right and title to the throne, being himself of
a weak and doubting nature. It is said, that in an hour of great
despondency, Charles prayed to God from the depths of his heart that if
he were the true heir of the house of France, and the kingdom justly
his, God would be pleased to help him and defend it for him. This
prayer, which he thought known to God alone, the Maid recalled to the
mind of the King, thus giving the sign and seal of her mission, and by
this revelation she not only caused the King to believe in her, but
strengthened his confidence in himself and in his right and title. True
to herself and "the voices," for she never spoke as of her own motion,
it was always a superior power speaking through her, as the mouthpiece.
She said: "I tell thee on behalf of my Lord that thou art the true heir
of France and son of the King."

After some weeks of discussion and delay, Joan's plan for the relief of
Orleans was adopted, troops were gathered together, of which she was
given the command, or as she naïvely expressed it, she was made the
"war-chief." Yolande, Queen of Sicily, the young Queen's mother and the
Duc d'Alençon, were her zealous advocates. Yolande gave of her treasures
for the relief of Orleans, and soon at the head of her army, her banner
flying, upon which was inscribed the name of the Prince of Peace,
surrounded by the lilies of France and with her troops singing _Veni
Creator_, the dauntless Maid passed through these gates and Chinon knew
her no more.

We know that Joan accomplished in less than a year all that she had
promised. The city of Orleans was relieved, she had led Charles to
Rheims to be crowned and had done much toward delivering France from the
English. Then came the sad part of the story, which you know so well.
While we were following the fortunes of the Maid, and here where she had
so courageously taken up what she deemed her heaven-appointed task,
feeling more than ever before the cruelty and rank injustice of her
treatment, Lydia exclaimed: "Nothing could prove more forcibly the old
saying about the ingratitude of princes than the King's treatment of

A voice behind us echoed, "Nothing," and we turned to see M. La Tour,
who had followed us and entered the hall so quietly that we had not
known that he was anywhere within miles of us. "No," he said, when the
first greetings were over, "I am not here to defend my country for her
treatment of the noble and fearless Maid. She did much to regain the
territory of France from the English and to establish the King upon his
throne; she came to him in the darkest hour and inspired him with hope
and courage, and yet in the time of her trial he basely deserted her.
No, there is no excuse except that at the King's side there were many
men jealous of the success and military glory of Jeanne, to whisper
tales in his ear. He was a weak and vacillating creature, at the best,
ready to follow the last person who talked to him, and he probably
believed some of the stories told him about the good Maid."

"And then," as Archie reminded him, "Joan was given papers to sign which
she was not able to read and thus set her mark to her own death

"A sad and shameful tale!" exclaimed the young Frenchman, as we passed
by the donjon where Joan had been lodged and by the scanty ruins of the
little chapel where she stopped to pray, and wept because the angels
left her.

Just then, as we were passing on to find some traces of the several
Angevin kings, who lived and died at Chinon, something happened which I
cannot quite explain. In some way Lydia was separated from us, as we
were passing from one ruinous castle to another. She has not told me,
and indeed there has been little time to have a word with her, but I
shall always think that she was so impressed by the wonderful story,
which seems so real here, where Joan saw the angels and revealed her
mission, that Lydia was in a way overwhelmed by the mysterious,
spiritual power of it all, and lingered behind us for the peace and rest
of being alone, and away from all the talk and from that small child,
with the big key, who recited her monotonous tale like a parrot. Then
later, in trying to find us, Lydia must have gone off quite a distance
in the wrong direction, and so became confused and lost her way among
the ruins. This is only my explanation. Lydia is writing to you and may
give you another. All that I know is that we heard a sharp, sudden cry
and turning we saw the poor dear perched up quite high on the ruins of a
wall, with a steep, precipitous descent between her and ourselves. Miss
Cassandra was scared out of her wits, M. La Tour begged Lydia to be
calm, in French and English, with the most dramatic gestures, while
Archie, without a word, sprang up the steep ascent, agile and surefooted
like the good mountain climber that he is, and without more ado picked
Lydia up in his strong arms and bore her down the precipice as if she
had been a baby, and she is no light weight, as you know. All that Lydia
said, when she found herself in Miss Cassandra's embrace, was "I am so
ashamed of myself for losing my head. I think I was just a little dizzy,
and I was so afraid of falling from that wall."

"Don't think about it, dear," said Miss Cassandra, "now that you are
safe and sound, thanks to Dr. Vernon."

The good lady was so overjoyed at having her treasure beside her again
that she would have been quite ready to include her deliverer in the
warm embrace with which she welcomed Lydia, nor do I think that Archie
would have objected. The situation was somewhat strained, for the
moment, as he had been living at rather high pressure with the Joan of
Arc associations when Lydia's escapade came to cap the climax. Miss
Cassandra's eyes were brimming over with tears, and I was more ready to
weep than to laugh, when Walter, as usual, came to the rescue with his
sound common sense, saying to Lydia, whose modesty and reserve were
distinctly shocked by the idea of having made a scene.

"You would never have lost your head up there, Miss Mott, if you had had
your luncheon before you ascended to the heights above," this in
Walter's most comforting manner. "We have gone through a lot of history
and emotion on a breakfast that is a good many hours away. Let us go
down to the town and see what they can do for us in the way of luncheon
or afternoon tea."

M. La Tour, who had been rather left in the background during the last
excitement, now came forward and offered to conduct us to a nice little
hotel for luncheon,--insisting, however, that we should first go with
him to see the part of the castle in which Henry II of England died, in
the midst of the dissensions of his rebellious sons.

"The most pitiful, disgraceful death-bed scene in all history!"
exclaimed Miss Cassandra. "I don't see why we need trouble ourselves
about it. Henry was lying half dead, here or somewhere else near Chinon,
when his son Richard, who had joined the French King against him,
approached his father to receive from him the kiss of peace, and such a
kiss of peace as it was!--the dying King muttering under his breath as
he gave it, 'May God keep me alive till I have given you the punishment
you deserve!'"

"That was at Colombiers, near Villandry," said M. La Tour, laughing over
the Quaker lady's picture, gruesome as it was. "Henry was too ill to
return to Chinon, and so passed the night at Azay-le-Rideau, or at the
Commanderie of the Templars at Ballan. It was there or at Chinon that
his clerk, at his request, read to him the list of the rebellious
barons. 'Sire,' said the man, 'may Jesus Christ help me! The first name
that is written here is the name of Count John, your son.' Then Henry
turned his face to the wall, caring no more for himself or the world,
and lay there muttering, 'Shame upon a conquered King!'"

It really seemed to us as if M. La Tour took a certain ghastly
satisfaction in telling us of the unseemly behavior of these English
kings and princes who had appropriated, justly or unjustly, so much of
his country's territory. The only human incident in the last hours of
the great King was the devotion of his son Geoffrey, who sat through the
hours of the long summer day fanning away the insects from his father's
face, the dying man's head resting upon his shoulder while a knight
supported his feet. The King opening his eyes, recognized his son,
blessed him, and said that he of all his children was the only one that
showed any affection for him, and that if his life was spared he would
make him the most powerful prince of them all. This, like many another
death-bed resolution, was not carried out, as Henry died the next day,
before the high altar of the church of St. Melaine, which was within the
château, at Chinon.

We did not feel at all sure that we had seen the spot where the King
breathed his last; but it really does not much matter, as Miss Cassandra
says, and it is not easy to locate the scene of remote events among
these ruinous buildings.

The trial of the Grand Master of the Knights Templars was held here in
one of the halls of Chinon in 1309, and swift retribution was meted out
to the members of the order, more for the love of gold than for the love
of justice, as the Templars had become the bankers of Christendom and
were possessed of vast treasures, which were seized upon forthwith.

A carving in the donjon of Coudray of three kneeling knights, each one
bearing a sword and a shield, is thought to have been carved by the
Templars on their prison wall.

As we made our way down the hillside to the town, M. La Tour reminded us
of a more cheerful association connected with Chinon than those upon
which we had been dwelling, for here it was that the historian Philippe
de Commines was betrothed. He had been created Prince of Talmont by
Louis XI, who arranged a marriage for him with Hélène de Chambès,
daughter of the Lord and Lady of Montsoreau. This betrothal was attended
by the whole court, and Louis heaped honors and rewards upon his
favorite who was made Governor of Chinon. A few years later, after the
death of the King, Commines entered into the involved politics of
France, and incurred the displeasure of Anne de Beaujeu who imprisoned
him at Loches; or, as he expressed it in Scripture phrase, "I ventured
on the great ocean, and the waves devoured me." He, however, escaped
from this sea of troubles and gave to the world his valuable history,
composed, it is said, in the hours of his enforced retirement.

"Which is," as Walter says, "a delicate and extremely polite manner of
referring to his imprisonment in one of those infernal iron cages at
Loches." (Pray notice that the language is Walter's, not mine.)

On our way to the café we passed by the statue of Rabelais, and although
this was not a market day, to M. La Tour's infinite regret, there were
some booths in the busy little square and a number of traffickers. The
face of the humorist who loved his kind, even if he often made game of
them, looked down upon the gay, chattering, bargain-making crowd in the
square beneath him, with an expression half satirical, half laughing and
wholly benevolent.

There is some uncertainty as to the date of the birth of Maître François
at Chinon, and he may or may not have lived in either of the old houses
pointed out as his, but he certainly belonged to this part of the
country, and we are grateful to his fellow-townsmen for honoring him so

In the centre of the little square a fountain, surrounded by acacia
trees, was playing, and beyond was the welcome Hôtel de France opening
its doors to us. After we had ordered our luncheon, Walter suddenly
remembered the chauffeur, and started to hunt him up and tell him where
to meet us with the automobile, and I joined him for the pleasure of
another stroll through the town. M. La Tour, who accompanied us, again
regretted that this was not a market day, when the peasants come in from
the surrounding country, and we could then see just such a noisy merry
crowd as Rabelais described when Couillatris goes to Chinon, which he
calls "that noble, antique city, the first in the world," to buy oxen,
cows and sheep, pigs, geese and capons, dead and alive, and all manner
of country produce. An antique city Chinon appeared to us, above all
that we had seen; and to add to this impression we met a number of
peasant women and black-eyed girls with the picturesque lace caps of
this province, veiling but not concealing their fine dark hair.

After a luncheon that more than answered our expectations, we strolled
about the old town, through its narrow winding streets and by the Place
Jeanne d'Arc, with its remarkable statue which represents the Maid
riding roughshod over the prostrate bodies of her foes; her horse has
all four feet off the ground, his means of support, a bronze rod as a
sort of fifth or middle leg, being more practical than artistic. "The
rider's position in the saddle," as Archie says, "would turn any circus
performer green with envy." An altogether atrocious piece of sculpture
is this, with an element of grotesqueness in its conception quite
unworthy of one of the most serious characters in all history, the Maid
to whom, as Carlyle says, "all maidens upon earth should bend."

Finally, and I must say with some reluctance, we turned our backs upon
Chinon and our faces toward Fontevrault, journeying by much the same
route that Henry II was carried on his last journey, over the bridge
that he had built and by the river and the village of Montsoreau.

By the way, M. La Tour showed an amiable desire to accompany us to
Angers, and as our touring car is of hospitable proportions we were glad
to have his good company. At Fontevrault, which has been turned from an
abbey into a reformatory for criminals, we were fortunate to have some
one with us to speak to the sentinel, as this seemed to be a day when
visitors were not welcomed here. After some parleying with the
officials, M. La Tour gained permission to have us enter and see all
that is left of the fine old church, whose buttresses and roofs we had
admired from a distance. In the little chapel we saw the four
Plantagenet statues that still remain, after the vandals of the French
Revolution had broken open the tombs and destroyed all that they could
lay their hands upon. These four statues have been restored and the
faces repainted. Here lies Henry II, robed and sceptred as he was when
borne forth from Chinon for burial at Fontevrault, and Richard Coeur
de Lion, both in the middle of the group. To the left is Eleanor of
Guienne, the wife of Henry II. Three of these recumbent figures are of
colossal size, hewn out of the tufa rock and painted. The other statue
of smaller size, carved in wood and colored, represents the English
queen, Isabel of Angoulême, one of the most beautiful as well as the
most depraved queens of history; only excelled in wickedness by her
French sister of a later time, Isabel of Bavaria. This earlier Isabel,
daughter of Aymar, Count of Angoulême, upon the day of her betrothal to
Hugues de Lusignan, was carried off by John of England, who put away his
wife, Avice, to marry this beautiful, wicked enchantress. After the
death of John, Isabel came back to France to marry her old lover.

As we left Fontevrault and motored down the hill towards the Loire, M.
La Tour recalled to us the ancient glory of this abbey, whose walls now
echo to the clank of arms instead of to the _Ave Marias_ of the gentle
sisters. Fontevrault was founded in the eleventh century by Robert
d'Abrissel, a monk, as a place of refuge for a vast and ill-assorted
company of men and women who gathered around him when he was preaching a
crusade to Palestine. From this strange beginning the abbey became one
of the most famous in Christendom, as it was richly endowed by kings and
princes, especially by the early English kings who loved this beautiful
valley of the Loire. Many noble and royal ladies presided over
Fontevrault, among them, Renée de Bourbon, sister of Francis I who,
while she was Abbess, rebuilt the beautiful cloister which we saw
to-day. Another and later Lady Abbess was Marie Madelaine Gabrielle de
Rochechouart, who found time in the midst of her religious duties to
make translations of some of Plato's works. New ideas, you see, were
finding their way into the convent, it being the fashion about that time
for women to be learned, Mary Stuart having led the way by delivering a
Latin oration at the Louvre to the edification of all who heard her. And
here came Mary Stuart herself, while Louise de Bourbon was Lady Abbess,
brought hither by her aunt, the Duchess of Guise, to charm and delight
the nuns by her beauty and ready wit. As a religious establishment for
men and women, ruled over solely by a woman, the Abbey of Fontevrault
was unique in Christendom.


As we motored along the river bank beyond its low-lying sand marshes and
line of small hills, we noticed tiny black wind-mills spreading out
their arms to the breeze, and wreaths of smoke curling up from the
cliffs. Here and there the lowering sun would light up a window pane in
the cliff, as if to remind us that these hillsides are burrowed out by
the workers in the vineyards who make their homes here as in Touraine
and in the valley of Vendomois.

"It seems that we are again in the land of the troglodytes," said
Walter. "Alfred de Vigny says these peasants 'in their love for so fair
a home have not been willing to lose the least scrap of its soil, or the
least grain of its sand.' I think myself that it is for more practical
and economic reasons that they live underground."

These cliff dwellings continue for nearly eight miles around Saumur, and
M. La Tour tells us that many of them go back to the days of the Roman
occupation when they served the conquered tribes as a last retreat from
the invader. Some one has said that every step to the southward takes
us further back in the history of France. Chinon and Fontevrault are not
far south of Tours and Blois, and yet we are far back in history to-day,
living with the Angevin kings and with the cave-dwellers of Gaul.

Even the _coiffes_ of the women are different here from those worn in
other places on the Loire, and in a very distinct way we realize that we
have left Touraine and are in Anjou.

In the fields the peasants were gathering in their stores for the
winter; the women pass along the road constantly with their odd panniers
upon their backs, full of treasures. Sometimes they are filled with
fruit and vegetables and again it is only grass for the cattle or
faggots for the fire. As we drew near Saumur, grapes filled the _hottes_
to overflowing, for this is the land of the vine, one of the great
grape-growing regions of France.

We are spinning along all too rapidly over these perfect roads, as we
long to stop at so many places, especially at that tiny Venice on the
Loire, a republic of fishermen and laborers established by King René
when he was still in power. From its sole palace, the Château de l'Ile
d'Or, René's daughter went forth to be the unhappy Margaret of Anjou,
the Red Rose of the House of Lancaster, during the war of the succession
which raged in England for so many years.

M. La Tour tells us there is much to see at Saumur, a very old Hôtel de
Ville, a twelfth century church, and other ancient buildings. This city,
once a favorite residence of Angevin princes and English kings, was in
the reign of Henry IV, the headquarters of Protestantism, with
DuPlessis-Mornay, the Pope of the Huguenots, as its governor. All that
we had time to see, this afternoon, was the fortress château, which
stands high up on the Quay de Limoges, overlooking the junction of the
Loire and the Thouet. We were warned that if we stopped again we should
not reach Angers until after dark, and so we sped along past many an
historic landmark of interest.



                              LE CHEVAL BLANC, ANGERS, September 13th.

WE were glad to have our first view of Angers by daylight, as the dark
slate roofs and the great black château in the old part of the town,
made us understand what Shakespeare meant when he wrote of "black
Angiers." The towns, old and new, had their full share of sunshine
to-day and of a warmth that would have been oppressive had it not been
tempered by a fresh breeze from the River Maine that flows by the
château, for here we quitted our Loire, for a while, a river with a
distinct individuality which we have come to love like the face of a
friend. A little below Angers, the Loire and the Maine unite, and in the
land lying between these rivers is the richest agricultural region in
all France, its nurseries and kitchen gardens having made a fortune for
this little corner of the world.

The town of Angers, which is a place of some consequence, being the
capital of the Département de Maine et Loire, is situated upon a height
crowned by the slim spires of the Cathedral of St. Maurice. On a first
view, we must admit that Angers is disappointingly modern, with its
straight, wide boulevards and regular rows of trees; but to-day we have
spent most of our time in the old town which has not been despoiled of
its ancient charm. And here in this inn, the Cheval Blanc, which has
opened its hospitable doors since 1514, we live in an atmosphere of
antiquity surrounded by modern comforts. The Rue St. Aubin, upon which
our hostel is situated, is so narrow that Lydia says she is tempted to
shake hands with the little dressmaker who is sewing away busily at a
window across the street, and she doubtless hears everything that we
say, and looks politely interested in our remarks although she probably
cannot understand a word of English. As we see her there, looking up
from her sewing, from time to time, neat and dainty, her black hair
dressed to perfection, a pathetic expression in the dark eyes with which
she regards us from time to time, we think of Marie Claire, and wonder
if this little seamstress has not a story of her own to tell, and one
which like the story of that other sewing girl, would touch the heart
because of its perfect simplicity.

This hotel is so unpretentious, in its style and furnishings, that we
are more than surprised at its comfort. Miss Cassandra says that she has
never in her life seen floors scrubbed to such immaculate whiteness, and
we know that Quakers know all about cleanliness. The service which the
men chambermaids give us is exceptionally good and quite discouraging to
Miss Cassandra and myself who have always persistently upheld the
superiority of our sex. It is like my uncle's bachelor housekeeping, a
little too good to be gratifying to our woman's pride. Everything runs
so smoothly here, like magic, under these ministering angels of the male
sex, in their white shirts, red waistcoats and green aprons. We really
don't know what to call them, although the one who attends to my room
informed me quite frankly that he was the _femme de chambre_. This was,
I think, in order to avoid confusion with regard to fees; the double
service of waiter and _valet de chambre_ entitling him to a particularly
generous douceur.

One expects good meals in all of these French inns, and at the Cheval
Blanc they are as good as the best and served in a cool, quiet
dining-room, between the front courtyard with its palms and pleasant
lounging places and the rear court, around which are the kitchens, the
garage and the offices generally. Good as we find the cuisine, what most
delights us is the fruit. We have been in great fruit-growing countries
before, as at Canterbury, where we had no evidence of the excellence and
profusion of the fruit on the table d'hôte; but here each meal is
crowned with a great dish of plums, peaches, grapes and pears. Beautiful
and delicious as they all are, the pears are supreme, as the Italians
say, in size and flavor. We are feasting upon fat things in this land of
plenty, as we have seen nothing to compare with the fruit of Angiers in
Touraine or elsewhere. M. La Tour made no mistake when he conducted us
to the _Cheval Blanc_, where he himself was received with warm
friendliness as well as with great respect by the proprietor. Shining in
his reflected light, we are treated as if we belonged to the royal
family, or to the President's family, which is the popular thing in the
France of to-day. In view of our French friend's many kind attentions
and charming good nature, Archie has overcome his racial prejudices
sufficiently to say:

"Zelphine, that French friend of yours is really no end of a good

"Why _my_ friend?" I ask. "M. La Tour is the friend of us all. Walter is
devoted to him, and he is Lydia's 'Handy Book of Reference,' as you
know." This last was distinctly cruel; but Archie, instead of
retaliating, answered quite amiably:

"Yes, he is a good fellow, with no superior foreign airs about him."

Walter says that it is only fair that Archie should admit this much of
his rival, after carrying Lydia off under his very eyes at Chinon,
which, he says, is prophetic of coming events. I must confess that I do
not feel as sure of the outcome as Walter. Lydia is the most
self-contained young person that I have ever encountered.

By the way, we decided, after our arrival yesterday, that we could not
possibly do justice to Angers in the short half day that we had allowed
ourselves. We telegraphed to Angela that we really could not meet her
in Paris until Wednesday night. Even if the Dudleys leave to-day, she
will have only one night by herself, and with her usual good luck she
will probably meet some friends in the hotel.

Again we echo the sentiments of Maître François, and saying "There is
nothing so dear and precious as time," rejoice in this one long, golden
day in Angers. I am writing after our second _déjeuner_. We have all
spent the morning in the most strenuous sightseeing, going to the
cathedral first, which is quite near, its apse blocking the street on
which the Cheval Blanc stands. From the west front of the cathedral,
which is very narrow in proportion to its height, the ground suddenly
descends to the river, a long, broad flight of steps taking the place of
a street. There are, on the façade, some fine carvings of armed
warriors; but the side walls are flat and plain, solid masonry replacing
the flying buttresses which lighten most of the French churches. This
last feature we find to be characteristic of Angevin churches, as are
two other characteristics which impressed us as we entered the
cathedral. One of these is the absence of aisles in the nave, and a
consequent sense of light and spaciousness; the other, the small
dome-like roof into which the vaulting of each section of the nave
rises. There are some curious old tapestries hung on the walls of the
nave, a handsome carved pulpit and some fine glass of the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries. In the chapel to the left is a Calvary by David
d'Angers, a sculptor not without honor in his native town. The chief
object of interest in the cathedral is the tomb of King René and his
wife, which was discovered beneath the choir only about fifteen years

On our way to the château, on a broad open space at the intersection of
two boulevards and in the midst of a treeless expanse, stands a statue
of the mild, poetic sovereign of Anjou by David d'Angers. This bronze
statue is on a high, light-colored stone foundation, and shows him no
more kingly and rather less amiable than history, which has always
surrounded René d'Anjou with the sympathetic charm that belongs to a
king in exile. Around the base of the monument are smaller statues
representing such founders and leaders of his house as Dumnacus,
defender of the Angevins, Foulques Nera, Robert the Strong and Henry
Plantagenet. Here also are statues of René's two wives, Isabelle de
Lorraine and Jeanne de Laval, and of his daughter Margaret, Queen of
England. This monument naturally carried our thoughts back to the days
when the valor of Anjou's counts, and their connection with the thrones
of England and Sicily, gave this land an importance far beyond its
natural value.

King René himself, with his three titles, Count of Anjou, King of Sicily
and Duke of Provence, seems to have been born to misfortune as the
sparks fly upward. Had he been endowed with the spirit and courage of
his daughter Margaret, René might have been able to cope with his
enemies; but being of a gentle and reflective nature, he yielded to what
he deemed his fate. One possession after another was wrested from him,
and he finally retired to Aix in Provence, where he devoted himself to
literature and the fine arts, or, as Miss Cassandra expresses it, "He
amused himself by writing verses and pottering about his garden. And a
very much more respectable way of spending his time, it was, than
quarreling with his neighbors, which was the chief occupation of Louis
XI and most of the other kings of that period!"

We afterwards saw the noble statue of Margaret of Anjou, a regal figure,
wearing the crown and bearing the sceptre of which she was so soon
deprived by Edward IV. When she went to England, as the bride of Henry
VI, she was received with rejoicings and the London streets were
decorated with the Marguerite flower in her honor. No man, it was said,
surpassed Margaret in courage, and no woman in beauty, and it might well
be added that none of the princesses who had left France to share the
British throne had to endure such misfortunes. Her son was captured and
slaughtered under her eyes; then and then only, the strong purpose and
high courage, that had supported her during years of adversity, deserted
her. She lost heart. After being dragged from prison to prison, Margaret
was restored to her country and her family, upon which King René, being
more of a poet than a king, wrote a madrigal to celebrate his daughter's
sad homecoming.

The castle, which is across the way from René's statue, dates back to
the twelfth century, when English and French were disputing over the
ownership of Anjou. Standing on a hillside above the Maine, this
château, with its massive stone walls and heavy drawbridge, suggests
brute force more completely than any of the other castles that we have
seen. As we passed through the dungeons at Loches, we shuddered at the
cruelty which they represent; as we looked at the bare black walls of
this castle, we were even more appalled by the dread relentless strength
against which enemy after enemy battered himself in vain.

The castle was built on the hill, as it sloped up from the Maine, and
originally stood at the lower corner of the city ramparts. Broad quays
have taken the place of the outer fortifications on the river bank, and
most of the moat has been filled in to make boulevards, but between the
quay and the river front of the castle a crumbling mass of crazy old
houses still cluster around the castle, as if to remind us of the days
when the thick walls behind them meant safety. The seventeen round
towers and the battlements have all been torn down, leaving only the
slate-built walls, striped near the top with horizontal panels of a
lighter stone, and still so high that they look like precipices. We
entered by a heavy drawbridge and under a massive arch, and were duly
shown around by the guide, a man this time, whom we found far less
interesting than the women who have conducted us through most of the
other châteaux. He did, however, give us some interesting associations
with the Château of Angers, as he reminded us that Henry IV was here in
1598 with _la belle Gabrielle_, and their little son, "_Cæsar
Monsieur_." Henry seems to have come to Angers to reduce Brittany to
subjection, and to punish the rebellious Duke de Mercoeur. The latter,
however, by a fine stroke of policy, sent his wife and her mother to
Angers to make his submission to the King and to propose an alliance
between his daughter, who was his sole heiress, and the little Cæsar. An
interview with Henry took place here, in the château, we were told. With
two noble dames in tears, on their knees before him, and his own fair
duchess quite on their side, the King could refuse nothing, and
accordingly his son, aged four, was betrothed to Françoise de Lorraine,
who was in her sixth year and with no less magnificence than if the
little Cæsar had been the legitimate heir to the throne of France.
Dancing and rejoicing took the place of the fighting and bloodshed to
which the old castle had been much more accustomed.

We are glad to turn from the stormy revengeful counts of Anjou and kings
of England to the reign of Henry of Navarre, that heroic figure whom we
still love whatever his shortcomings may have been. His faults and
failings were those of his time; his virtues, his sense of justice, his
large benevolence and desire to give every man a chance, and his broad
constructive policy, were far in advance of his age. He doubtless
inherited his noble traits from his mother, Jeanne D'Albert, while from
the less distinguished paternal side may have come the traits that
marred the character of the great Huguenot leader.

Miss Cassandra can never quite forgive Henry for his abjuration, and
says that to have renounced the religion for which they had both
sacrificed so much was unworthy the son of so great a mother. Member of
the Peace Society as she is, our Quaker lady will make no excuses for
Henry, although M. La Tour insists it was a wise and humane act on the
part of the King, as it put an end to the long war that was devastating
France, or, to use Henry's own forcible phrasing, "By my faith, I have
no wish to reign over a kingdom of dead men." The favorite expletive of
the Béarnois, "Ventre Saint Gris," seems to have gone out of favor after
he became a Catholic, having fallen into bad repute, as it was
considered a Protestant oath. There is little doubt that the traditions
of his early years had great influence over him, and that Henry of
Navarre was always at heart a Protestant.

Gabrielle d'Estrées, to whom Henry IV was far more devoted and more
faithful than to any other woman, had almost unbounded influence over
him, which she generally used with wisdom and moderation. Affectionate,
intelligent, and good tempered, she seemed an ideal companion for the
generous, impetuous and often ill-governed monarch. Henry was himself
wont to say that he loved her far more for her noble qualities of mind
and heart than for her dazzling beauty. That the King consulted
Gabrielle upon more than one occasion is evident, and equally so that
she did not hesitate to express her opinion frankly. After the King's
famous speech at the Abbey of St. Ouen, when he besought his noble
subjects to counsel him and generously invited them to share with him
whatever glory should fall to his share, Gabrielle, then Marquise de
Monceaux, was present, secluded from the general gaze by a screen or
curtain. Later, when questioned by Henry as to how she liked his speech,
she replied that she had rarely heard him speak better; but that she was
indeed surprised at his asking for counsel and offering to place himself
_en tutelle_ in the hands of the assembly.

"Ventre Saint Gris!" exclaimed the Béarnois, "That is true; but as I
understand it, in tutelage, with my sword by my side."

Gabrielle's womanly pride was doubtless satisfied with this quick-witted
rejoinder of her royal lover, who never seemed to be at a loss for an
argument or a _bon mot_. As Dumas says of his beloved hero, "In default
of money, something to which the Béarnois was accustomed all his life,
he was in the habit of paying his debts with that which he never stood
in need of borrowing, a ready wit."

The only influence that the great minister Sully feared was that of
Gabrielle, whom the King had promised to marry when the tie that bound
him to his beautiful, wilful, dissolute cousin, Marguerite of Valois,
should be annulled by the Pope. Sully, however, had other ambitions for
Henry and for France, as he was already entering into negotiations with
the Médici with a view to a marriage with a daughter of their house,
which would swell the depleted coffers of France and bring some coveted
territory to the kingdom.

Here in the old château at Angers, the scene of Gabrielle's most signal
triumph over the favorite minister, during whose absence her son was
created Duke of Vendôme and affianced to the little heiress of the Duke
of Mercoeur, we could not help wondering whether Henry of Navarre's
life would not have been very different had he been allowed to marry the
woman of his choice. As the daughter of the Baron d'Estrées, and
connected with royalty through the Courtenays, it seemed to us that
Gabrielle was quite as suitable a consort for the French King as one of
the daughters of the Médici who had never brought good fortune to
France. Sully, who evidently thought more of the coffers of the kingdom
than of the happiness of the King, was the persistent enemy of Gabrielle
from the early days when Henry incurred untold dangers in passing the
enemy's lines in order to secure a brief half hour with her, to a later
time when as Duchesse de Beaufort she seemed to be perilously near the
throne. The tragedy of her sudden death, which has been attributed to
poison at the instance of Sully, and the King's agony of grief have
added a pathetic interest to the history of Gabrielle d'Estrées,
Duchesse de Beaufort.

It should be said, in justice to Sully, that there is no proof that he
had anything whatever to do with the death of the Duchesse de Beaufort;
but there is little doubt that the tidings of her death brought relief
to his mind, after the first shock was over.

The Château of Angers is bare and unadorned, with nothing to remind us
of the ceremonies and festivities that so annoyed Sully in the far away
time when Henry of Navarre and the charming Gabrielle held high festival
here. After its days of fighting and feasting were well over, the castle
was used as a prison. Now, with the thrift for which the French are
proverbial, this substantial building is used as a depot for military
stores. The only things suggestive of the gentler side of life are the
little chapel, and the castle within the castle, a small Renaissance
house in which the family of the prince lived in times of siege. The
walk around the top of the walls is well worth taking, not only because
it intensifies the impression of size and strength, but also because it
gives a charming view of the country round about. In front the Maine
flows calmly by to its junction with the Loire three or four miles to
the left; across the river there is an old suburb of the town with a few
good churches and old houses, and farther upstream near the river's
edge, stands what Walter calls "a business-like looking old tower" which
he thinks must have guarded a bridge connected with the ramparts. To the
right the cathedral looms up, its clumsy base hidden by other buildings
and its slender spires dominating the town. Beyond the town stretch
rich, green fields, with an occasional old windmill flapping its arms
and a slow boat drifting lazily down the river.

Even if Angers has never been one of the most important cities of
France, it seems always to have been a place of moderate consequence, as
it still is. There are a few good private houses dating several
centuries back, the most pretentious of these being the Hôtel de Pincé,
a charming Renaissance building, standing in the heart of the town and
now used as a museum of antiquities and _objets d'art_. There was no
guide to tell us the history of this house and the books are equally
reticent about its traditions. The Hôtel de Pincé looks like a charming
miniature château, suggesting Azay-le-Rideau or some of the Renaissance
houses in Tours, in its general style, and like them it makes one feel
that the builders of those days understood elegance and beauty better
than they did comfort and ease. Whatever king or noble or knight-at-arms
lived in this house, his women-folk had to drag their brocaded trains up
and down steep twisting stone staircases, and also to be content with
very little light and air in many of their elegant rooms. The rich
Angevin _bourgeoisie_ built these half-timbered houses, which are
somewhat like those that one sees so often in Normandy. One of the most
elaborate of these is the so-called Maison d'Adam, just behind the
cathedral, which, although it does not date back to our first ancestor,
is sufficiently ancient in appearance to satisfy our antiquarian tastes.
Much of the carving on the uprights is elaborate and effective, even if
bearing evidences of frequent restorations. The most noticeable thing
about this building is its height, as houses of six stories were not
usual in the days of the Renaissance in France.

So little is done for Angers by local guide books that the joy of
discovery adds a zest to our pleasure in this old town, and, although
Archie is usually the least enthusiastic of sightseers, he has never
been bored once to-day. Perhaps Lydia's presence and delight in it all
has something to do with his contented frame of mind. However that may
be, he has listened with polite attention to M. La Tour's long
disquisitions, architectural as well as historical, and in return has
asked him many questions about the products and industries of this
prosperous town. It seems that the extensive slate quarries have not
only roofed and housed a great part of Angers, but have added
considerably to its revenue. Archie is in a merry mood to-day and after
M. La Tour's disquisition upon these extensive slate quarries, he asked
Lydia if she did not think that King René must have missed his slate
when he was scribbling verses in the south. We all laughed heartily over
this very slight _bon mot_; but our Frenchman looked dreadfully puzzled
and asked to have it explained to him. He proved even more difficult
than Sydney Smith's Scotchman; or, as Walter expresses it, "It had to be
driven in with a sledge hammer," and he warns Archie solemnly to attempt
no more pleasantries in the presence of our Gallo-American, guide,
philosopher and friend.

On our way back to the Cheval Blanc, we stopped at the Préfecture whose
superbly carved arches and columns are said to date back to the Roman
occupation. While we were enjoying these noble arches and rich carvings,
M. La Tour told us that Julius Cæsar and one hundred thousand of his
troops were encamped upon the triangle upon a part of which Angers is
now situated. Here they lived for months on the resources of this
somewhat restricted area, which does not seem at all wonderful if the
soil was cultivated in those days as it is now; and how those soldiers
must have enjoyed the rich vintage of Anjou!--to say nothing of the
choux-fleurs, artichokes, peas, and the various fruits which are now
shipped in carloads to Paris every night.

The idea of a Roman camp in the neighborhood of Angers appealed strongly
to our antiquarians, and while we were at luncheon Archie, after
politely inquiring what we proposed to do with our long afternoon, and
finding that we had no plans except to visit some place of interest in
the motor car, presented a well arranged programme. What Archie
suggested, evidently after collusion with Walter and the chauffeur, was
to motor to Nantes, stopping _en route_ at the Roman camp, if indeed its
site can be found.

Lydia and I would have shouted for joy had there not been other guests
in the _salle à manger_. As it was we contented ourselves with
congratulating Archie upon his fertility of resource, adding that we had
been longing to see Nantes, with its fortress-château and the tomb of
François, the father of our old friend, Anne de Bretagne.

Upon this Miss Cassandra waked up from a little nap she had been taking
between courses, and expressed her delight at the thought of seeing
Nantes in whose ancient château her favorite Anne was married to Louis
XII. "Not," she added, "that I approve of that marriage, it is the one
sad blot upon Anne's otherwise fine character that she was willing to
marry Louis after he had divorced poor Jeanne."

"I must warn you, before we set forth," said Archie, raising his finger
admonishingly, "that this is to be an afternoon in the open; the
chauffeur tells me that we shall have barely time to see the
surroundings of Nantes, to get a general view of the town, and return to
Angers in time for a late dinner."

"Of course we shall stop at the Roman camp," said Lydia, tactfully,
looking at Archie as she spoke. "It would never do to miss that, and I
plead for twenty minutes or a half hour at the cathedral to see the tomb
of François, and the gold box in which the heart of the Duchess Anne was
sent back to Brittany."

"You shall have your half hour at the cathedral, Miss Mott," said Archie
gallantly, "even if we don't get home 'till morning."

"'Till daylight doth appear," sang Walter as he went out to tell the
chauffeur to be ready for an early start.

M. La Tour looked his surprise, he had never seen us in quite so merry a
mood. There is something exhilarating in the air here, which is crisp
and fresh, almost like that of October at home, and we were further
stimulated by the thought of doing something as unexpected as it was

We set forth promptly, a gay party, the three women folk upon the back
seat, M. La Tour and Archie vis à vis, and Walter with the chauffeur in
front. A nice intelligent young fellow is this chauffeur, with whom
Walter has become so intimate that he seems to be able to converse with
him without any apparent language. His name is François and Walter has,
in some way, fathomed the secrets of his soul and tells us that he is
the _fiancé_ of the pretty black eyed Eloisa who showed us around the
château of Langeais. The confidence came about in this wise, François
asked us if we had seen Langeais, a very noble château, and did the
little _gardienne_, the pretty, dark-eyed one, take us about? Yes! that
is the one he knows, they both belong to the country around Tours, than
which there is nothing finer in the known world. Although living at
Blois, for financial reasons, he hopes to go back to that garden spot of
France and there to end his days. After which Walter, by means of
gestures and signs, extracted the story of his love. We did not feel it
incumbent upon us to reveal to François the sad fact that Eloisa was
flirting quite openly with one of the red-legged upholders of the
military glory of France, when we saw her at Langeais.

"That was doubtless an innocent diversion to which she resorted, in
order to pass away the time during her lover's absence," Archie
remarked, with a fine touch of sarcasm in his tone, for at this moment
Lydia, who is wearing some forget-me-nots that were beside her plate
this morning, is having a very animated conversation with M. La Tour.

Lydia is very charming in a blue linen suit, the tang of salt in the
air, which is quite evident here, has given her a brilliant color, and
every stray lock of her golden brown hair has curled up into bewildering
little ringlets. I don't wonder that Archie resents the forget-me-nots.
"Where the deuce does the fellow get them?" he asked me this morning.
"François and I have been looking all about the town before breakfast
and we can't even find a bunch of pansies."

Pansies would be a good offset to forget-me-nots; but as only sweet peas
and roses were to be found, Archie scorned to bestow these which grow in
such abundance, and so contented himself with a beautiful basket of
fruit which we all enjoyed.

I need not tell you, after our experience with Roman camps, that there
was little to be seen upon the site of this one of Angers; but we were
interested in the glimpse that we had, in passing through Ancenis, of
its ancient château with its tower-flanked doorway, the work of an
Angevin architect. Within this château, M. La Tour tells us, an
important treaty was signed by François II of Brittany and Louis XI.

As we drew near Nantes the strong salt air blowing in our faces made us
realize that we were near the sea. Nantes and St. Nazaire, which is a
little north and west of Nantes, are among the great sea ports of the
world. And here we find ourselves again in the Dumas country, for it
was along the part of the Loire that we have seen to-day that Fouquet
fled pursued relentlessly by Colbert. If only Fouquet could have reached
Nantes and his own Belle Ile, out beyond St. Nazaire, a different fate
might have been his. We follow again in imagination, with almost
breathless interest, that close pursuit, of one boat by the other, until
we suddenly find ourselves winding through the streets of a town and
know that we are in Queen Anne's city of Nantes, that also of the monk
Abelard and of the famous warrior surnamed "Bras de Fer."

Gazing upon the redoubtable Château of Nantes with its six towers, its
bastions and its wide and deep moat, into which the sea poured its
rising tide twice each day, we could understand Henri Quatre saying, as
he stood before it, "Ventre Saint Gris! the Dukes of Brittany were not
men to be trifled with!" It was into the dungeon of this château that
Fouquet was first thrown, and here Mazarin had Henri de Gondi
imprisoned, and from whence, as M. La Tour tells us, he escaped over the
side of the Bastion de Mercoeur, by means of a rope smuggled into the
prison by his friends. There are no end of interesting associations
connected with Nantes, of which not the least important is that Henry of
Navarre here signed the Edict of Nantes, the Huguenot charter of

We needed a full day here, but remembering our promise, we did not even
ask whether the château was open to visitors, which was really very good
behavior on our part. We turned our faces toward the Cathedral of St.
Pierre, and spent there our half hour, no more, no less. Here over the
sculptured figure of its patron saint are some lines, in old French,
which tell us that this building dates back to the year 1434. The chief
treasure of the cathedral is the beautiful tomb of François II, and his
wife Marguerite de Foix, the father and mother of the little Duchess
Anne, on which the ermine tails are in full feather, if we may so
express it, and also the hound and the lion which are symbols of this
ancient house. The tomb, which is one of the masterpieces of that good
artist, Michel Colombe, was brought here from the old Église des Carmes
which was pillaged and burned during the Revolution.

Although we reached Angers only in time for a very late dinner, we were
inclined to wander again to-night. I don't know just how it came about;
Archie was out on the terrace smoking, and when Lydia appeared at the
door he threw away his cigar and joined her. As they walked off
together, Lydia turned back and said, in her sweet, demure way:

"Dr. Vernon is taking me to see the ruins of the Abbey of Toussaint by
moonlight. Why don't you and Mr. Leonard come too?"

"Oh! no, we don't spoil sport; do we, Zelphine?" said Walter, "and it
seems to me, dear, if my memory does not fail me, that moonlight upon
ruins has brought good luck to your matchmaking schemes before this. Do
you remember how Angela and the Doctor trotted off to see the ruins at
Exeter by moonlight?"

"Yes, of course, how could I forget that evening? Poor dear Angela will
be thinking of us and missing us to-night."

"Well, she will only have this one night to miss us and this day in
Angers has been worth so much to us."

"We have had many delightful days on this trip; but this has been one of
the most perfect. Why do many of the people, who do the châteaux so
conscientiously, skip Angers?"

"I hope that many may continue to skip it," said Walter, "tourists and
trippers would ruin this lovely old place and turn this comfortable,
homelike Cheval Blanc into a great noisy caravansary. And now that the
lov--I mean, now that your brother and Lydia have had a good start of
us, let us go to see the ruins of the old Abbey, Zelphine," and then
with a mischievous twinkle in his eye:

"Don't you think that Miss Cassandra and M. La Tour could be persuaded
to pair off and go with us?"

Miss Cassandra was just then sleeping sweetly in her chair; she does not
confess to any fatigue after our long motor trip, but she must be very
tired, and M. La Tour is engaged with some friends from Paris. Much as
we like him, and indeed no one could help liking him,--for this one
evening we are content to dispense with his kind attentions.

The ruins of the Abbey of Toussaint must be interesting at any time,
reminding us of those of Nettley and Jumiéges, with their exquisite
carved arches and windows all overgrown and draped with vines and
shrubbery, but by moonlight, like fair Melrose, they take upon them an
added charm. We lingered long before the lovely carved window, through
which the moonlight streamed in silvery radiance; but we saw nothing of
Archie and Lydia. They had probably gone to take a last look at the
Castle of Angers by the light of the moon, and when they returned to the
Cheval Blanc Miss Cassandra and I had gone upstairs, feeling that we had
indeed had a full day, and that the wanderers would probably be quite as
happy without us.



                                              ORLEANS, September 14th.

WE set forth early this morning, as we had a long day before us, and as
Walter warned us, little time to loiter by the way, great as the
temptation might be to stop _en route_.

I don't know that anything has happened, but the atmosphere seems
somewhat electric, and if anything has occurred I am quite sure that it
is of a cheerful nature, as there is a telltale light in Archie's eyes
that seems to say when they meet mine: "I have been sworn to secrecy,
find out if you can!" Lydia's face is inscrutable; but her color is a
little brighter than usual and she seems to avoid meeting my gaze, and
drops her eyelids in a way that she has when the sun is bright. Then,
she is beside me and consequently I cannot see her face as I can
Archie's. Our places have been changed in the auto; Lydia and Archie are
vis à vis this morning and M. La Tour is opposite to me, but this may
be quite accidental.

After Walter's solemn warning about the shortness of time, I was afraid
to suggest stopping anywhere; but Lydia had told me that she intended,
if possible, to see the Château de Morains, near Saumur, where Margaret
of Anjou died. She made her request with some hesitation.

"Of course we can stop," said Walter, "it won't take long, if François
knows the way."

François did not know the way to the historic shrine, which is evidently
neglected by English and American pilgrims; but by making inquiries he
found it without much trouble. We saw the outside of the little château
and what interested us especially, the inscription over the gateway
which relates that this Manoir of Vignole-Souzay, formerly Dampierre,
was the refuge of the heroine of the War of the Roses, Marguerite of
Anjou and Lancaster, Queen of England, the most unfortunate of queens,
wives and mothers, who died here the 25th of April, 1482, aged
fifty-three years. This little French tablet in memory of the English
Queen, who was received with such rejoicings in England upon her
marriage with Henry VI, seemed to us most pathetic.

As a return for this stop at Morains, which Walter considered a
particular concession to the women of the party, he suggested that we
take time to stop at Villandry to see a Druid stone which M. La Tour has
been telling him about. You may remember that he and Archie are somewhat
insane upon the subject of Druidical remains, but I notice that Archie
is not as keenly interested in the Druids, this morning, as usual. He
and Lydia are talking over some places that they mean to see in or near
Paris. Archie has been reading a description of Fouquet's Château of
Vaux-le-Vicomte, which is only an hour's ride from Paris, near Melun.
Wise in his day and generation is this brother of mine, for nothing
could so appeal to Lydia's historic soul as just such an expedition as
this! This was the château at which the great financier entertained the
King with such magnificence that he aroused the jealousy of his royal
master. You remember Dumas's description of it, and La Fontaine's _Songe
de Vaux_, in which he says that everything conspired for the pleasure of
the King, music, fountains, Molière's plays, in which he was
praised,--even the moon and the stars seemed to shine for him, on those
nights at Vaux.

"And the fruits of the earth, and of the greenhouses yielded up their
treasures for him," said M. La Tour. "In his old age Louis was wont to
say that no peaches were equal to those of Vaux-le-Vicomte in flavor and

"I am quite sure that he had never tasted those of Anjou!" exclaimed
Walter, and at this most opportune moment François produced a basket of
these same Anjou peaches, and some pears also, all surrounded by green
leaves, as only the French know how to set them forth. We feasted on the
fat things of the earth, as we made our way to Villandry, where we saw
the ancient monument of the Druids, which was not much to see after all.
Walter, however, takes a solid satisfaction in visiting the things that
he feels it is his duty to see. The same sort of a rainbow illuminates
his horizon after a duty of this sort is performed, that irradiates our
path when you and I have accomplished a series of perfunctory visits,
and yet he tells Lydia and me that we take our sightseeing quite too

M. La Tour has been telling us about the elaborate New Year's ceremonies
once held at Chartres, by the Druids. The mistletoe was cut by the
eubage, with a golden _faucelle_, or sickle, belonging to one of the
Druidesses and then distributed to the people. The eubage was, it
appears, a combination of priest and bard whose pleasing task it was to
cut the throats of the human victims offered upon the Druidical altar of
sacrifice. This distribution of the mistletoe at the beginning of the
year may have led to our later use of the mistletoe in the Christmas
holiday festivals. Walter says that he does not know about this, nor
does M. La Tour; but they intend to look it up and communicate the
result one to the other. From this conversation you will naturally infer
that we are again in the land of the mistletoe.

In the meadows we noticed a delicate little mauve-colored flower,
something like an orchid, which François told me was a crocus, blooming
for the second time this season, and in the gardens of the little gray
houses, with their red-tiled roofs, and by the roadside were gorgeous
asters of all shades of purple. In the less cultivated places, heather
blooms luxuriantly and yellow gorse which attracted Miss Cassandra's
trained botanist's eye, and she suddenly quoted the old Scotch saw,
with about the same appropriateness as some of the remarks of "Mr. F's
Aunt" in Bleak House: "'When gorse is out of season, kissing is out of
fashion,'" and looking straight at Archie, she added encouragingly "you
see it is still blooming."


It would be impossible to accuse Miss Cassandra of flirtatious intent,
and yet at her glance and words Archie blushed a beautiful scarlet. I
tried not to look at him, as I knew that he was inwardly swearing at the
thinness of his skin, or whatever it is that makes people blush. I
couldn't see Lydia without turning around and staring at her; but
Walter, who enjoyed the whole scene from his coign of vantage beside
François, told me afterwards that "Lydia never turned a hair, and so you
see, Zelphine," he said, laughing gaily, "it all rests between Miss
Cassandra and Archie."

Seeing in the distance the curious, enigmatical Pile de Cinq Mars, we
suddenly realized that we were quite near Luynes, and Walter told
François to stop there as he knew that Archie would be charmed with the
beauty of the situation of this château which hangs high, like an
eagle's nest, upon a bluff above the lowlands and the river. While we
were walking around and about the château, we suddenly came upon Mr. and
Mrs. Otis Skinner standing at the entrance to a little smithy, quite
near the rock-hewn steps that lead up to the château. We have seen so
few Americans, and no friends or acquaintances since we left Tours, and
now, as we are again approaching the old town, to meet these good
friends was a great pleasure. Mr. Skinner took us into the smithy, which
is so charmingly situated, and we wondered again, as at Cheverny, why
even a blacksmith's workshop is so much more picturesque here than in
England or America. While Mr. Skinner was standing talking to the
blacksmith, Lydia and Archie and Mrs. Skinner managed to get snapshots
of the forge. If it is satisfactory, I will send you a photograph, as we
intend to exchange pictures and you shall have the very best.

After this encounter, we sped along on our way toward Tours, wondering
whether Mr. Skinner was collecting material, atmosphere, etc., for a
French play. We are glad that our way lay through Tours and that Archie
could have even a fleeting glimpse of the old capital. To motor across
the great bridge and along the wide Rue Nationale, and to have another
look at St. Gatien, with its two beautiful towers, and at those other
towers of Charlemagne and de l'Horloge was a joy, even if there was not
time to stop over at Tours for an hour.

At Blois we gathered up our luggage, left the automobile and took the
train for Orleans. We parted from our François with much regret, as we
have come to like his honest, frank face and his pleasant French ways.
Walter and Archie, I am quite sure, gave him a generous remembrance,
Archie especially being quite in sympathy with his dreams of love in a
Touraine cottage. We all wished him happiness, not without some
misgivings on my part, I must admit, lest his Eloisa of the bright eyes
should play him false for the charms of some one of those red-legged
soldiers, who seem to possess an irresistible charm for French women,
who are always ready to sing "J'aime le militaire."

From Blois to Orleans is a railroad journey of a little over an hour,
through a fertile, but a rather monotonous country abounding in fields
of turnips. From the quantities of this vegetable raised here, we
naturally conclude that the peasants of this part of France subsist
chiefly upon turnips, as the Irish do upon potatoes. We passed through
many gray villages, which tone in with the shades of the silver poplars,
and this with certain gray atmospheric effects in the landscape makes us
realize how true to life are the delicate gray-green canvases of many of
the French artists.

The Orleans station, like that of Tours, is a delusion and a snare, as
we were suddenly landed at Les Aubrais, one of the outskirts of the old
city and from thence had to make our way to Orleans as best we could. We
had fortunately been able to send our small luggage directly through to
Paris by putting it in the _consigne_, and paying ten centimes on each
article. This convenient and economical device, which with all our
travel we had never discovered, was revealed to us by the two charming
Connecticut ladies whom we met at Amboise. Walter calls down blessings
upon the pretty heads of these two wise New England women whenever we
make a stop over between trains; and Miss Cassandra ejaculates: "It
takes a Yankee, my dears, to find out the best way to do everything on
the top of the earth!"

Having only ourselves to dispose of, we soon found an omnibus which
conveyed us to the Place du Martroi, the soul and centre of the ancient
city of Orleans, where is fitly placed an equestrian statue of Jeanne
d'Arc, by Foyatier. This statue does not, however, happily suggest the
Maid, as the peasant girl of Domremy is here represented with a fine
Greek profile, and, as Archie noticed, with his keen horseman's eye, the
charger upon which she is mounted is a race-horse and not a war-horse.
It is, however, a noble and dignified memorial, on the whole, in which
it differs from the grotesque affair at Chinon, and Dubray's low reliefs
on the sides of the pedestal, representing important scenes in the life
of the Maid, are beautiful and impressive.

Here in Orleans, the scene of Joan's first and most remarkable success,
we live more completely in the life and spirit of that wonderful period
than at Chinon. The marvel of it all impressed us more forcibly than
ever before. That this peasant girl, young and ignorant of the art of
war, by the power of her sublime faith in her heaven-sent mission and
in herself as the divinely appointed one, should have wrested this city
from the English, seems nothing short of the miracle that she and her
soldiers believed it to be. Even that hard-headed and cold-hearted
sovereign, Louis XI, was so overawed by the story of Joan's victories
that he marked with tablets the little room at Domremy where she was
born, and also the convent of Sainte Catherine de Fierbois, where she
was received and where she found her sword with the five crosses.

We knew that the Place du Martroi was not the scene of Joan's martyrdom,
and yet this wide, noble square, with her monument in the centre, from
which diverge so many streets associated with her history, stood for
infinitely more to us than anything we had seen at Rouen, the actual
place of her martyrdom.

From the square, M. La Tour conducted us to the cathedral, which has
been criticized by Victor Hugo and many others, and which we, perhaps
from pure perversity, found much more harmonious than we had expected.
The façade, which the local guidebook pronounces majestic, even if
_bâtarde_ in style, is rich in decoration, and the little columns on
the towers I thought graceful and beautiful, however _bâtarde_ they may
be. Two cathedrals have stood upon the site of the present Sainte Croix,
the last having been destroyed by the Huguenots, to whom are attributed
the same sort of destruction that marked the course of Oliver Cromwell's
army in England. It is said that the great Protestant leader, Théodore
de Bèze, himself blew up the four noble pillars that once supported the
belfry. However this may be, and Miss Cassandra says that we are all
free to believe such tales or not, as we choose, very little is left of
the old edifice except the eleven chapels and the side walls. Even if
Théodore de Bèze destroyed the old cathedral, the building as it now
stands was the work of his former chief, for it was Henry of Navarre who
laid the corner stone of the new edifice, in 1601, to fulfill a vow made
to Pope Clement VIII who had absolved him from the ban of

In the side windows, in richly colored glass, is the story of the Maid
of Orleans, from the day when she heard the voices and a vision appeared
to her while she kept her father's sheep in the fields near Domremy,
to the hour when she and her troops gave thanks for the victory of
Orleans in this cathedral. On through the eventful months of her life to
the sad and shameful scenes at Rouen, where the innocent and devoted
Maid was burned at the stake, while France which she had delivered, and
Charles whom she had crowned, made no sign, the story is told in a
series of pictures. Even if of modern glass and workmanship, these
windows seemed to us most beautiful, especially those on the right-hand
side through which the light streamed red, yellow and blue from the
jewelled panes. The window representing the crowning of Charles VII at
Rheims is especially rich in color. Joan, with a rapt ecstatic
expression on her face, is here to see her King crowned and with her is
the banner that she loved even more than her mystic sword. Below are
inscribed her own simple words, "It has been with him in the suffering,
it is right that it should be with him in the glory." Ever
self-effacing, it was of her beloved banner that Joan was thinking,
never of herself.

The whole wonderful story is written upon these windows so plainly that
any child may read it. We have been thinking of Christine and Lisa, and
wishing that they were here to read it with us. They will learn of Joan
of Arc in their histories, but it will never be so real to them as it is
here where her great work was done, and where she is so honored. Some
day we promise ourselves the pleasure of bringing the children here and
going with them through all the Joan of Arc country. M. La Tour, who has
made the journey, says that, as the Joan of Arc cult is increasing all
the time, every spot associated with her is marked and everything most
carefully preserved.

"Most interesting of all," he says, "is the little church where Jeanne
worshipped. Although badly restored by Louis XVIII, the nave remains
intact, and the pavement is just as it was when the bare feet of Jeanne
trod its stones, in ecstatic humility, during the long trance of
devotion when she felt that supernatural beings were about her and
unmistakable voices were bidding her to do what maid had never dreamed
of doing before. In a little chapel, beside the main edifice, is the
stone fount where the infant Jeanne was baptized. Fastened to the wall
there hangs a remnant of the iron balustrade, that Jeanne's hands must
have rested on during the hours that she passed in rhapsody, seeing what
never was seen on land or sea. A few steps from the church stands the
cot where the maid was born, almost as humbly as the Christ Child.
Entering through the small doorway, you see the room in which Jeanne
first opened her eyes to the light. On one side stands the 'dresser,' or
wardrobe, built half way into the wall, where the housewife stored the
family belongings. Beside this is the iron arm which held the lamp, used
during midnight watches. Beyond this general room is the alcove that
served Jeanne as a sleeping-room. In this narrow chamber, more like a
cell than a sleeping-room, Jeanne heard 'voices,' and dreamed her

M. La Tour's description is so interesting that we all long to follow in
his footsteps and in those of the Maid, from the clump of oak trees--of
which one still stands--and the "Fountain of the Voices" to the ruins of
the Château of Vaucouleurs, where the chivalrous Robert de Baudricourt,
impressed by the girl's serene confidence, gave her a letter for the
King, who was at Chinon, as we know.



The Porte de France is still standing, M. La Tour tells us, through
which the shepherd maid, with her four men-at-arms and her brother Jean,
embarked on her perilous journey of eleven days across a country filled
with roaming bands of British and Burgundian soldiers. The places are
all marked, Saint-Urbain, Auxerre, Gien, Sainte Catherine de Fierbois,
where Jeanne was received in the "aumonerie" of the convent, now
transformed into a Mayor's office. When we come to Orleans with the
children, we must try to be here on the 8th of May, when the whole city
is _en fête_ celebrating the glorious victory of the Maid. Still talking
over the projected Joan of Arc pilgrimage, M. La Tour led us by the Rue
Jeanne d'Arc which faces the cathedral and to the Maison de l'Annonciade
where Jacques Boucher, treasurer of the Duke of Orleans, received the
Maid. In the court of this building, now used as a Dominican convent, is
a small statue of Joan, above the well. This house is also called the
Maison de Jeanne d'Arc, and in a charming Renaissance building, near by,
is a collection of relics of the Maid. For some unknown reason this
house is sometimes spoken of as the house of Agnes Sorel; and with
about the same authority another house at the corner of the streets,
Charles-Sanglier and Des Albanais, is called the _Maison de Diane de
Poitiers_. This latter mansion, with its small towers and richly
ornamented façade, is now an historical museum and is better known as
the Hôtel Cabu.

By the Rue Royale, which suddenly changes its name and becomes the Rue
de la Republique after it crosses the Place du Martroi, we made our way
to the Hôtel du Ville, a handsome sixteenth century building of brick
and stone. On a tablet upon the façade is a long inscription telling how
many kings, queens and notable personages have stopped here; but what
interested us much more is a statuette in bronze of Joan, the work of
the Princess Marie d'Orléans, daughter of Louis Philippe. The modest,
devout little maid, represented by this statue, is more like the real
Joan, to our thinking, than most of the more pretentious monuments.

[Illustration: Neurdein Freres, Photo.


In the Salle des Marriages of the Hôtel du Ville, we came suddenly upon
souvenirs of a much later period than that of Joan, for here, in this
room, Francis II died. He and Mary came here from Chenonceaux, and
becoming violently ill from a malady in his ear which had tortured him
for some time, the poor young king took to his bed never to rise again.
His mother followed him here, and at Mary's instance the great surgeon
Ambrose Paré was summoned. He wished to operate; the young Queen had
full confidence in his judgment and skill, but Catherine resolutely
opposed the use of the surgeon's knife, and poor Francis lingered a few
days in great pain, and finally died in the arms of his wife. There is a
painting in the Salle des Marriages of this sad scene; Mary is kneeling
by the bedside of her husband and Catherine is seated nearby, her face
cold and expressionless. It has been intimated that Catherine opposed
Ambrose Paré because she wished to have poor Francis removed to make way
for a son whom she could control and bend to her will; but with all her
wickedness, it is impossible to believe in such a motive. One may,
however, understand her ignorant horror of the use of the knife, and the
superstitious terror that haunted her in view of the recent revelations
of Ruggieri at Chaumont.

"I think it is quite evident what was amiss with King Francis!"
exclaimed Miss Cassandra. "He was suffering from mastoiditis, of
course, and Ambrose Paré was clever enough to find it out, and might
have saved his life if he had been allowed to have his way. I have no
patience with Catherine, and she knew what she was about when she set up
her opinion against that of a great surgeon."

Archie says that to diagnose a case at a distance of several hundred
miles requires considerable skill; but still greater is the insight into
obscure maladies of our Quaker lady, who bridges over the centuries and
tells us just what disease afflicted Francis II in the year of grace
1560; and he added quite seriously:

"You may be quite correct in your surmise, Miss West. Your niece and I
will hunt up Ambrose Paré's diary when we get to Paris, and see what he
says about the case. If you are right, I'll take you into my office as a

After a somewhat strenuous morning of sightseeing and a sumptuous regale
at the Hôtel St. Aignan, whose name pleased us on account of its Dumas
flavor, we climbed up to a lovely terrace garden from which we could
overlook the town and the cathedral, to which distance certainly lends
enchantment. In this pleasant resting place I am writing to you, dear
Margaret, while we wait for a late train to Paris. M. La Tour expects
his auto to meet us and convey us to the station and then to take him to
his home. We shall miss him, as his kind attentions and vast fund of
information have added much to the pleasure of our sojourn in Château
Land. To-day he has managed our time so judiciously that we have seen
everything of importance in Orleans without being hurried, and we now
have this quiet hour on the hillside garden before setting forth upon
our journey. He evidently has no idea of what is happening in our midst,
and is as attentive as ever to Lydia, talking to her and walking with
her, whenever Archie gives him a chance; and who can blame him? I have
never seen Lydia more charming than she is to-day; but the soft light
that shines in her eyes is not for the young Frenchman, I am sure.
Walter says:

"If La Tour had his wits about him he would see what is going on under
his nose; it takes a sledge hammer to drive in some other things beside
a joke."

Here comes the auto, and in five minutes we shall be _en route_ for



                                                 PARIS, September 16th.

WE found Angela eagerly awaiting us when we reached our destination, and
I must admit still more eagerly awaiting another arrival, as Mr. McIvor
was expected by a train due here later than ours. Since she had been
with his Scotch and English relatives, Angela insists upon having her
fiancé called Mr. McIvor, as that is the custom in his own country. She,
however, much prefers our calling him by his own delightful Scotch name,
Ian, and we like him well enough to fall in with her desires. Ian
arrived in due time, and our party is now complete.

"How fortunate it is that the hour was in our favor instead of the
Doctor's," exclaimed Walter; for according to French etiquette to have
left Angela here unchaperoned with her lover in the same city, even if
not in the same hotel, would have shocked all ideas of propriety. "I
fancy that M. La Tour, good fellow as he is, couldn't understand our
leaving Angela here by herself even for a single night."

"No," I said, "and I didn't think it necessary to tell him."

"Queer notions these people have! As if Angela didn't know how to take
care of herself!"

No one knows better, and I told Walter how Angela managed in London. She
reached there in the afternoon, instead of in the morning as she had
expected. Something about the automobile had given out and they had
finally to take a train from York. When she reached the hotel where she
was to meet the Dudleys, she found a note telling her to follow them to
Southampton as they were obliged to take the night boat. Angela
immediately looked up trains and finding that the next train would be
one hour too late for the boat, what do you think she did? She
telegraphed to the Captain to wait for her! Did you ever hear of
anything so delicious? Walter calls it a piece of American effrontery,
but I call it quickwitted, don't you? Of course the Captain could not
keep his boat waiting for any person of less distinction than the
Queen; but by good luck (Angela is always lucky) the vessel was late in
sailing that evening. The Dudleys, who were anxiously waiting for her on
deck, saw her coming, just as the sailors were about to take up the
gang-plank, and begged the Captain for a moment's delay. Of course
Angela looked charmingly pretty as she tripped up the incline; and she
never realized that her little telegram could be taken otherwise than
seriously until she heard the Captain say to the first officer, as she
stepped on deck: "She was worth waiting for, after all." At this the
child was so overcome with confusion that she did not know which way to
look, and evidently did not recover her self-possession during the
crossing. Walter insists that she is still blushing over her own daring.
If she is, it is vastly becoming to her, as I have never seen Angela
look more brilliantly beautiful.

We are living in an atmosphere so charged with romance, that it would be
positively dangerous for two unmated beings to join our party at this
time. Miss Cassandra pays Archie and myself the compliment of appearing
to be radiantly happy over Lydia's engagement, although I know that she
drops a tear in secret over M. La Tour and his château. I tell her that
this is not an entirely safe environment for her, especially as one of
her old time suitors is in Paris; he met us at Morgan's this morning and
has been dancing attendance on Miss Cassandra this evening, which last,
Walter says, is a very disrespectful way to speak of the decorous call
of a dignified Quaker gentleman.

However that may be, Miss Cassandra laughed gaily at my serious warning,
and with a flash of her bright blue eyes dismissed her quondam suitor
and my solicitude in one brief sentence:

"Thee is very flattering, my dear, and I admit that Jonah is an
excellent person; but he is quite too slow for me!"

"That may be; very few people are quick enough for you, dear Miss
Cassandra; but you must acknowledge that Mr. Passmore was not at all
slow about calling upon you to-night."

It is really too bad to tease our Quaker lady; but she takes it all so
literally and is so charmingly good-humored withal that it is a
temptation not easy to resist.

We are making the most of our few days in Paris, as we leave here early
next week. Lydia announced at breakfast that she felt it _her_ duty, and
she hoped that we should feel it to be ours to make a pilgrimage to St.
Denis this afternoon.

"After enjoying ourselves in the châteaux of the Kings and Queens of
France, it is," she says, "the very least that we can do to go to St.
Denis and see them decently and honorably buried."

Miss Cassandra quite agreed with Lydia, and Archie, although he says
that it is a ghoulish sort of expedition, would go anywhere with her, of

It is rather odd that none of us have ever been to St. Denis, not even
Ian McIvor who lived in Paris for months while he was studying medicine.
We set forth this afternoon in truly democratic fashion on top of a
tram, on one of the double-deckers that they have over here, to Angela's
great delight. A rather lively party we were, I must admit, despite the
sobriety of our errand.

There was nothing that especially interested us in the prosperous
manufacturing town of St. Denis, and we went directly to the basilica,
which with the mingling of the Romanesque and Gothic in its architecture
is much more beautiful than we had expected. It is sufficiently ancient
to satisfy our antiquarian taste, as the site of the original abbey
dates back to 275, having been erected over the remains of St. Dionysius
or St. Denis. The present edifice owes its existence to the Abbé Suger
who reigned here in the days of Saint Louis. There have been many
restorations, of course, and some very bad ones as late as the reign of
Napoleon Bonaparte. In this basilica the Emperor Napoleon was married to
the Archduchess Marie Louise and, what is more interesting to us, here
Joan of Arc hung up her arms, in 1429. It is wonderful to see the
monuments to royalties as far back in French history as Queen Frédégonde
and King Dagobert, who founded an abbey here as early as 638. The tomb
of Dagobert is a most remarkable and realistic representation of the
King's soul leaving his body and its reception in heaven; the means of
transportation is a boat with oarsmen, both going and coming, if I may
so express it, that is the soul of Dagobert goes forth upon the unknown
sea in a boat, and in another carving on the tomb he is welcomed to the
shores of heaven, still in a boat. It is very interesting, as there is a
poetic as well as a realistic side to the strange conception. Near
Dagobert's monument some one had left a visiting card, after the curious
French fashion.

"It seemed so very late in the day to be calling upon King Dagobert," as
Walter remarked.

After this ancient mausoleum, that of Louis and Anne de Bretagne seemed
quite modern, and very handsome, much in the style of the Visconti
monument at the Certosa near Pavia. Not far from this tomb we came upon
that of Henry II and Catherine de Médicis, in which they are represented
in that gruesome fashion so frequent in English cathedral tombs,--the
nude figures below, while above in a beautiful chapel, with marble
columns and pillars, there are handsome bronze figures of the King and
Queen devoutly kneeling. Very inappropriately at the four corners are
placed bronze figures of Faith, Hope, Charity and Good Works. Catherine
is said to have planned this mausoleum herself, and, strange to relate,
in the choir we found another monument to the same King and Queen.

"Just like the grasping creature to want two tombs!" exclaimed Miss
Cassandra. "Most people are satisfied with one."

It appears that in her old age Catherine disapproved of the nude figures
on the first monument, and had this one made with two decently robed
effigies, in marble, resting upon a bronze couch.

We went down into the crypt, all of us except Angela, who still has an
aversion to underground resorts. Ian went with us; but after a hurried
glance at the most important tombs he made his way back to the sunshine
and to Angela. The rest of the party went through everything quite
resolutely, although we found this ancient crypt of the good Abbé Suger
even more gruesome than most crypts. The guide directed us to a tiny
window, through which we could see the place where poor Marie Antoinette
and Louis XVI were finally buried, at least all that could be found of
their remains. Here a light was burning, which they told us was never
allowed to go out. In strange contrast to this solemn little chapel,
there is a kneeling figure of the Queen on one side of the crypt in a
ball dress with jewels around her neck. This statue, by Petitot,
although strangely inappropriate in costume, is beautiful in expression,
and in the modelling of the face, arms, and hands, the latter being very

Here also is a "Caveau Impérial," constructed by the order of Napoleon
III, as the burial place of his dynasty. This tomb is quite untenanted,
of course, as no Bonapartes lie at St. Denis; although the bones of the
Valois, Orleans and Bourbon families, who have come and gone in France,
probably forever, are royally entombed here, from their early sovereigns
down to Louis XVIII.

I tell you all this because I think you have not been to St. Denis, and
we found it so much more interesting than we had expected. Walter and
Archie made their acknowledgments to Lydia, in due form, and indeed we
should never have made this pilgrimage had she not been enterprising
enough to lead us forth toward St. Denis and its royal tombs.

                                                       September 17th.

Madame La Tour and her son made a formal call upon us yesterday. M. La
Tour had already dropped in, in his friendly way, to inquire after our
comfort and to offer his services, as a guide to anything that we might
wish to see. As Madame had announced her coming we were at home to
receive her. She is pretty and graceful, a charming combination of the
American and French woman. We all fell in love with her. M. La Tour is
frankly proud of his mother and was anxious that we should meet her. He
has evidently not yet grasped the situation of affairs, although during
the visit, which was brief if somewhat embarrassing, I could see nothing
but the sapphire that sparkled upon Lydia's finger. Madame La Tour very
cordially invited Lydia to go to the opera with her, and M. La Tour was
evidently much disappointed when she declined in consequence of another

"Lydia never said a truer word in her life!" exclaimed Walter, after the
visitors had departed; "but La Tour is very stupid not to know what sort
of an engagement it is that she has on her hands."

Upon which I suggested that Walter should mention the engagement to M.
La Tour, quite casually, in the course of conversation.

"Why not tell him yourself, Zelphine? You are so much more adroit at
that sort of thing."

"It is really becoming embarrassing. Some flowers came last night,
forget-me-nots again, to Archie's amusement. Now if Lydia had been
anything but just ordinarily nice and pleasant to him, as she is to
everyone, it would be different."

"Well, and even if she had been more than ordinarily nice to La Tour why
do you trouble yourself about it, Zelphine? It is something that only
concerns Lydia and La Tour, and Archie perhaps in a way, but we really
have nothing to do with it."

Thus, manlike, does Walter push aside all part and lot in the _affaires
du coeur_ of his fellow-travellers; but I have just had a brilliant
and beautiful idea, which I intend to communicate to Archie at once. We
were all talking _en route_ of the Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte.

As this is a land where people make a fête upon every occasion, Archie
shall give a breakfast at Melun or some place near the château, and
invite us all, and the La Tours also, an engagement party. I have no
doubt the French have some charming name for this sort of an
entertainment, which we can find out. I shall write you later of the
success of my plan.

                                                       September 18th.

Of course Archie was delighted with my suggestion, as he and Lydia have
been promising themselves the pleasure of an excursion to
Vaux-le-Vicomte which seems to go by the name of Vaux-Praslin at the
present time. Archie and Walter did the very kindest and most friendly
thing, which in the end proved to be the most advantageous to
themselves. They took M. La Tour into their confidence and consulted
with him as to how the little excursion should be made and where the
breakfast should be given. Naturally the poor boy was very much
surprised, and quite downhearted when he found out what event was to be
celebrated, and we did not see him for two whole days, not until this
evening, when he called and offered his congratulations to Lydia in
pretty French phrases.

Angela is charmed with M. La Tour and his manners, and says that she
does not see how Lydia could possibly resist his fascinations; this with
a mischievous glance at Archie, who, serene and confident in his own
happiness, replies that Lydia is probably making the mistake of her life
in turning away from the young Frenchman and his château.

But Lydia knows that she is making no mistake and takes all this jesting
in good part; but she insists that the little celebration shall be
called a château fête, as Vaux-le-Vicomte is our objective point. This
is in much better taste, and, after all, we don't know the French name
for an engagement fête.

"We certainly don't want to ask La Tour to inform our ignorance," as
Walter says. "It would be like requiring the man who is down on his luck
to name the happy day. It is quite better taste, and, after all, we
don't know the occasion."

Miss Cassandra and Walter and I went to the American church this morning
because we like the simple service there, and the rest of the party went
to the Russian Church to hear the music, which was very good to-day. The
afternoon we all spent at Versailles, where we were so fortunate as to
see the fountains play. Nothing, not even the châteaux of the Loire,
gives us so realizing a sense of the gayety and splendor of the life of
the French court, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as this
vast palace of pleasure when the gardens bask in sunshine and the
fountains are playing. We recalled Madame de Sévigné's spirited
description of the court and royal family setting forth upon some
pleasure party, herself among them, tucked in snugly in the same
_carosse_ with her favorite, Duchesse de La Vallière, or Madame de
Montespan of the many ringlets, for whom she cares nothing,--these two
ladies in close quarters although cordially hating each other. The Queen
is in another _carosse_ with her children, and the King, being a free
lance, drives in the coach with the royal favorites or rides beside it
as his fancy dictates.

Our fête is to be on Tuesday, and M. La Tour came to the hotel this
evening with a well arranged plan. He really is a dear, and having
plenty of spirit and a certain kind of pride that seems to belong to
well-bred French people, he has no idea of wearing his heart upon his
sleeve, even for the love of Lydia. His suggestions are most practical
and sensible, and his advice to Archie is to go to Fontainebleu first
and have a walk through the forest, breakfast at one of the hotels
there, and motor to Vaux-le-Vicomte, by way of Melun, in the afternoon.
It all sounds perfectly delightful, and I have secured a copy of the
Vicomte de Bragelonne, at Brentano's, in order to read over again his
account of Fouquet's reception of the King at Vaux.

We shall be glad to see Fontainebleau again. Since we have seen the
châteaux of the Loire, all of these palaces near Paris are most
interesting to us, as they make us realize, as we have never done
before, what a great pleasure park much of France was under the Valois
and the Bourbons. If the forest of Chambord was vast with its many
acres, so also was that of Fontainebleau with its 42,500 acres. Palaces
of pleasure, all of these châteaux were intended to be, as were
Chenonceaux, Azay le Rideau, Blois and Chambord, although many of them
are stained by dark and bloody crimes. Passing through the gardens and
park of Versailles to-day we forgot the terrible scenes that were
enacted there in 1793, until the guide pointed out to us the Queen's
apartments, and showed us the little room from which Marie Antoinette
fled for safety to the King's rooms, on that October night of horror,
when the Parisian mob swept down upon the palace.

                                                       September 20th.

Our day in the open was a brilliant success. Archie had a large
automobile, or perhaps I should say a touring car, large enough to hold
us all. Madame La Tour declined, and so we have our château party, with
the pleasant addition of Angela and Ian, who naturally entered with
great spirit into the celebration. We had all the time we needed at
Fontainebleau, entering by the old Cour du Cheval Blanc, but avoiding
the interior of the palace, as we had all been here before, some of us
several times, and spending all our time in the gardens and forest which
are ever new and always beautiful. We looked for the quincunx near which
Louise de La Vallière and her companions were hiding when the king and
St. Aignan overheard their girlish confidences, but not finding anything
answering to Dumas's description we had to content ourselves with a
labyrinth which M. La Tour thinks should answer quite as well. At the
end of it is the huge grape-vine, called the King's Vine, which reminded
us of the vine at Hampton Court, and like it is said to produce an
enormous crop of grapes.

Archie's breakfast was delightful, an _al fresco_ entertainment under a
spreading horse-chestnut tree in the garden of a hotel at Fontainebleau.
The table was beautifully decorated with flowers and fruit, and the
menu, which was suggested by M. La Tour, was the sort to tempt one's
appetite on a warm day like this, for it is summer here and much like
our September weather at home.

Walter complimented M. La Tour so heartily upon his good taste that he
laughingly reminded Walter of our first acquaintance at the _Bon
Laboreur_, and asked him if he still had a poor opinion of the French
_cuisine_. "Not when you have anything to do with the ordering, my dear
fellow!" was the response. "Perhaps my taste needed to be cultivated,
for I have come to like some of your French dishes very much, and as for
your wines, my taste did not need to be cultivated to like them; I took
to them quite naturally." There were toasts, speeches and good wishes,
Angela and Ian coming in for their full share. Altogether something to
be remembered was that luncheon under the chestnut tree, and near the
great forest of Fontainebleau, one of the many pleasant things to be
stored up in our memories in connection with our days in Château Land.

This motor trip, to Vaux-le-Vicomte, which seemed so short to us, was
evidently quite an affair to Louis XIV and his court, as, according to
Dumas, there was some talk of stopping at Melun over night. As we know,
large bodies move slowly, and the royal party must have been
sufficiently cumbersome, with the heavy coaches of the King, of the two
Queens, Anne of Austria and Maria Teresa, and the several coaches of
their maids of honor, to say nothing of the outriders, the Swiss Guards
and the Musketeers with our friend D'Artagnan at their head. A small
army was this, that passed over the road that we travel to-day, lighting
up the gray-green landscape with all colors of the rainbow.

At the Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte, of which we had only expected to see
the outside, M. La Tour had a surprise for us, as he had managed, in
some way, to secure tickets of admission. We mounted the great steps,
entered the vast vestibule and passed through the salons in which are
beautiful paintings by Mignard and the two Le Bruns. As we wandered
through these rooms, richly furnished and hung with old tapestries, and
into the rotunda, capped by its great dome, we wondered in which of
these rooms Molière's play had been given.

The performance of _Les Fâcheux_, written especially for the occasion,
was the crowning glory of the King's visit to Vaux. We learned that it
was not given in any of these rooms, but in the garden, in the
starlight. When the guests were seated, Molière appeared, and with well
counterfeited surprise at seeing the King, apologized for having no
players with him and no play to give. At this juncture, there arose from
the waters of a fountain nearby, a nymph in a shell, who gracefully
explained that she had come from her home beneath the water to behold
the greatest monarch that the world had ever seen.

We can well believe that a play, set in this flattering key, was
calculated to please the King, who was praised all through at the
expense of his courtiers, who were _les fâcheux_, the bores. After this
rare bit of adulation Molière's fortune was made.

For the host, Fouquet, who had gathered so much here to give the King
pleasure, a far different fate was reserved. The sumptuous
entertainment, the show of wealth on all sides, aroused bitter jealousy
in the King's heart, and when some designing person (Colbert, it is
said) whispered in his ear that Fouquet, not content with outshining his
sovereign in the magnificence of his château, had raised his eyes to the
royal favorite, Louise de La Vallière, the King's wrath knew no bounds.
He was eager to have Fouquet arrested, while he was still accepting his

One of the finest passages in Dumas's description of the fête at
Vaux-le-Vicomte is that in which Colbert tries to inflame his royal
master's jealousy, while the usually timid and gentle Louise de La
Vallière urges the King to control his wrath, reminding him that he is
the guest of M. Fouquet and would dishonor himself by arresting him
under such circumstances.

"He is my King and my master," said La Vallière, turning to Fouquet; "I
am the humblest of his servants. But he who touches his honor touches my
life. Now, I repeat that they dishonor the King who advise him to arrest
M. Fouquet under his own roof.... Were M. Fouquet the vilest of men, I
should say aloud, 'M. Fouquet's person is sacred to the King because he
is the King's host. Were his house a den of thieves, were Vaux a cave of
coiners or robbers, his home is sacred, his palace inviolable, since his
wife is living in it; and it is an asylum which even executioners would
not dare to violate.'"

These words, from the woman whom he loved, influenced Louis, and for the
time he relinquished his design; but eighteen days after the great
festival at Vaux, M. Fouquet was arrested, near Nantes as we know, and
ended his days in prison. This magnificent château, which the architect
Le Vau, the artist Le Brun, and the landscape gardener Le Nôtre had
conspired to make so beautiful, is still, in a way, a monument to the
great financier, although it has passed from his family into the hands
of the Duke de Praslin.

Unlike many of the châteaux, Vaux-le-Vicomte is still the home of people
who love its beautiful lawns and parterres and keep them green and
blooming. Armies of gardeners trim the hedges, plant the borders, and
remove every stray leaf from the gravel paths. Here we saw the
perfection of French gardening.

As we motored home by the light of the stars, we felt that this, our
last day in Château Land, was one of the happiest that we had known. We
would like to stay longer in Paris and visit the many châteaux within
motoring distance of the capital; but our holiday time is nearly over.
Walter starts for Lausanne to-night, to gather up the children and bring
them to London, whither we all go to-morrow. We shall have a few days
there, and as many more in Oxford, where Walter has some engagements
with old friends, and then to Southampton and home. We all sail October
first, all except Ian McIvor, who comes over in December for a very
important event. You and Allen must come some time, and visit with us
the châteaux that we have seen, and see the others that we have not yet
visited. For to-night, au revoir. Life has many joys, and not the least
among them is to see the beautiful places of the earth, in congenial
company, such as yours, dear Margaret.

                                              Yours always devoted,

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Photographs were moved so that they did not interrupt paragraphs.

Page 32, "apearance" changed to "appearance" (gala appearance, as if)

Page 35, "apears" changed to "appears" (lake side appears like)

Page 38, "apears" changed to "appears" (as it appears from the)

Page 61, "näive" changed to "naïve" (with naïve inconsistency)

Page 77, "Hotel" changed to "Hôtel" (at the Hôtel de)

Page 83, "Clôitre" changed to "Cloître" (the Cloître de la Psallette)

Page 87, "Clôitre de la Psalette" changed to "Cloître de la Psallette"
(lovely Cloître de la Psallette)

Page 99, "impresion" changed to "impression" (an impression of power)

Page 101, "näively" changed to "naïvely" (guide naïvely remarked)

Page 107, "Medici" changed to "Médici" (de Médici whom he beheld)

Page 142, "Medici" changed to "Médici" (Médici, like Minerva)

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "In Château Land" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.