Home
  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: Castles and Chateaux of Old Touraine and the Loire Country
Author: Mansfield, M. F. (Milburg Francisco), 1871-
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 "Castles and Chateaux of Old Touraine and the Loire Country" ***

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



Libraries)



  Castles and Châteaux of Old Touraine
  and the Loire Country



  _WORKS OF FRANCIS MILTOUN_

  _The following, each 1 vol., library 12mo, cloth, gilt top,
  profusely illustrated, $2.50_

  _Rambles on the Riviera_
  _Rambles in Normandy_
  _Rambles in Brittany_
  _The Cathedrals and Churches of the Rhine_
  _The Cathedrals of Northern France_
  _The Cathedrals of Southern France_
  _The Cathedrals of Italy_ (_In preparation_)

  _The following, 1 vol., square octavo, cloth, gilt top, profusely
  illustrated. $3.00_

  _Castles and Châteaux of Old Touraine and the Loire Country_

  _L. C. PAGE & COMPANY New England Building, Boston, Mass._



[Illustration: A PEASANT GIRL OF TOURAINE]



    Castles and Châteaux
            OF
        OLD TOURAINE
    AND THE LOIRE COUNTRY

      BY FRANCIS MILTOUN

    Author of "Rambles in Normandy," "Rambles in Brittany,"
    "Rambles on the Riviera," etc.

    _With Many Illustrations
    Reproduced from paintings made on the spot_

      BY BLANCHE MCMANUS

      [Illustration]

          BOSTON
    L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
           1906



       _Copyright, 1906_
   BY L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
         (Incorporated)

     _All rights reserved_

   First Impression, June, 1906

         _COLONIAL PRESS_
   _Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co._
        _Boston, U. S. A._



[Illustration: Ed VELAY]



By Way of Introduction


This book is not the result of ordinary conventional rambles, of
sightseeing by day, and flying by night, but rather of leisurely
wanderings, for a somewhat extended period, along the banks of the Loire
and its tributaries and through the countryside dotted with those
splendid monuments of Renaissance architecture which have perhaps a more
appealing interest for strangers than any other similar edifices
wherever found.

Before this book was projected, the conventional tour of the château
country had been "done," Baedeker, Joanne and James's "Little Tour" in
hand. On another occasion Angers, with its almost inconceivably real
castellated fortress, and Nantes, with its memories of the "Edict" and
"La Duchesse Anne," had been tasted and digested _en route_ to a certain
little artist's village in Brittany.

On another occasion, when we were headed due south, we lingered for a
time in the upper valley, between "the little Italian city of Nevers"
and "the most picturesque spot in the world"--Le Puy.

But all this left certain ground to be covered, and certain gaps to be
filled, though the author's note-books were numerous and full to
overflowing with much comment, and the artist's portfolio was already
bulging with its contents.

So more note-books were bought, and, following the genial Mark Twain's
advice, another fountain pen and more crayons and sketch-books, and the
author and artist set out in the beginning of a warm September to fill
those gaps and to reduce, if possible, that series of rambles along the
now flat and now rolling banks of the broad blue Loire to something like
consecutiveness and uniformity; with what result the reader may judge.



Contents


  CHAPTER                                                 PAGE

  BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION                                     v

  I. A GENERAL SURVEY                                        1

  II. THE ORLÉANNAIS                                        30

  III. THE BLAISOIS AND THE SOLOGNE                         56

  IV. CHAMBORD                                              94

  V. CHEVERNY, BEAUREGARD, AND CHAUMONT                    110

  VI. TOURAINE: THE GARDEN SPOT OF FRANCE                  128

  VII. AMBOISE                                             148

  VIII. CHENONCEAUX                                        171

  IX. LOCHES                                               188

  X. TOURS AND ABOUT THERE                                 203

  XI. LUYNES AND LANGEAIS                                  221

  XII. AZAY-LE-RIDEAU, USSÉ, AND CHINON                    241

  XIII. ANJOU AND BRETAGNE                                 273

  XIV. SOUTH OF THE LOIRE                                  301

  XV. BERRY AND GEORGE SAND'S COUNTRY                      313

  XVI. THE UPPER LOIRE                                     330

  INDEX                                                    337



List of Illustrations


                                                          PAGE

  A PEASANT GIRL OF TOURAINE                    _Frontispiece_

  ITINERARY OF THE LOIRE (MAP)                facing         1

  A LACE-MAKER OF THE UPPER LOIRE             facing         4

  THE LOIRE CHÂTEAUX (MAP)                                   9

  THE ANCIENT PROVINCES OF THE LOIRE VALLEY
  AND THEIR CAPITALS (MAP)                                  15

  THE LOIRE NEAR LA CHARITÉ                   facing        18

  COIFFES OF AMBOISE AND ORLEANS              facing        20

  THE CHÂTEAUX OF THE LOIRE (MAP)             facing        30

  ENVIRONS OF ORLEANS (MAP)                                 39

  THE LOIRET                                  facing        42

  THE LOIRE AT MEUNG                          facing        46

  BEAUGENCY                                   facing        50

  ARMS OF THE CITY OF BLOIS                                 58

  THE RIVERSIDE AT BLOIS                      facing        58

  SIGNATURE OF FRANÇOIS PREMIER                             60

  CYPHER OF ANNE DE BRETAGNE, AT BLOIS                      62

  ARMS OF LOUIS XII.                                        65

  CENTRAL DOORWAY, CHÂTEAU DE BLOIS           facing        66

  THE CHÂTEAUX OF BLOIS (DIAGRAM)                           71

  CYPHER OF FRANÇOIS PREMIER AND CLAUDE OF
  FRANCE, AT BLOIS                                          72

  NATIVE TYPES IN THE SOLOGNE                               89

  DONJON OF MONTRICHARD                       facing        92

  ARMS OF FRANÇOIS PREMIER, AT CHAMBORD                     99

  PLAN OF CHÂTEAU DE CHAMBORD                              103

  CHÂTEAU DE CHAMBORD                         facing       104

  CHÂTEAU DE CHEVERNY                         facing       110

  CHEVERNY-SUR-LOIRE                                       113

  CHAUMONT                                    facing       116

  SIGNATURE OF DIANE DE POITIERS                           118

  THE LOIRE IN TOURAINE                       facing       134

  THE VINTAGE IN TOURAINE                     facing       142

  CHÂTEAU D'AMBOISE                           facing       148

  SCULPTURE FROM THE CHAPELLE DE ST. HUBERT   facing       164

  CYPHER OF ANNE DE BRETAGNE, HÔTEL DE
  VILLE, AMBOISE                                           168

  CHÂTEAU DE CHENONCEAUX                      facing       178

  CHÂTEAU DE CHENONCEAUX (DIAGRAM)                         179

  LOCHES                                                   189

  LOCHES AND ITS CHURCH                       facing       192

  SKETCH PLAN OF LOCHES                                    198

  ST. OURS, LOCHES                            facing       198

  TOURS                                       facing       202

  ARMS OF THE PRINTERS, _AVOCATS_, AND INNKEEPERS,
  TOURS                                                    205

  SCENE IN THE QUARTIER DE LA CATHÉDRALE,
  TOURS                                       facing       208

  PLESSIS-LES-TOURS IN THE TIME OF LOUIS XI.               213

  ENVIRONS OF TOURS (MAP)                                  219

  A VINEYARD OF VOUVRAY                       facing       222

  MEDIÆVAL STAIRWAY AND THE CHÂTEAU DE
  LUYNES                                      facing       224

  RUINS OF CINQ-MARS                          facing       228

  CHÂTEAU DE LANGEAIS                         facing       232

  ARMS OF LOUIS XII. AND ANNE DE BRETAGNE                  237

  CHÂTEAU D'AZAY-LE-RIDEAU                    facing       244

  CHÂTEAU D'USSÉ                              facing       248

  THE ROOF-TOPS OF CHINON                     facing       252

  RABELAIS                                                 255

  CHÂTEAU DE CHINON                           facing       258

  CUISINES, FONTEVRAULT                                    265

  CHÂTEAU DE SAUMUR                           facing       276

  THE PONTS DE CÉ                             facing       284

  CHÂTEAU D'ANGERS                            facing       288

  ENVIRONS OF NANTES (MAP)                                 297

  DONJON OF THE CHÂTEAU DE CLISSON            facing       306

  BERRY (MAP)                                              313

  LA TOUR, SANCERRE                                        317

  CHÂTEAU DE GIEN                             facing       318

  CHÂTEAU DE VALENÇAY                         facing       322

  GATEWAY OF MEHUN-SUR-YEVRE                  facing       324

  LE CARRIOR DORÉ, ROMORANTIN                              325

  ÉGLISE S. AIGNAN, COSNE                                  331

  POUILLY-SUR-LOIRE                           facing       332

  PORTE DU CROUX, NEVERS                      facing       334



[Illustration: ITINERARY OF THE LOIRE (MAP)]



Castles and Châteaux

of Old Touraine

and the Loire Country



CHAPTER I.

A GENERAL SURVEY


Any account of the Loire and of the towns along its banks must naturally
have for its chief mention Touraine and the long line of splendid feudal
and Renaissance châteaux which reflect themselves so gloriously in its
current.

The Loire possesses a certain fascination and charm which many other
more commercially great rivers entirely lack, and, while the element of
absolute novelty cannot perforce be claimed for it, it has the merit of
appealing largely to the lover of the romantic and the picturesque.

A French writer of a hundred years ago dedicated his work on Touraine to
"Le Baron de Langeais, le Vicomte de Beaumont, le Marquis de Beauregard,
le Comte de Fontenailles, le Comte de Jouffroy-Gonsans, le Duc de
Luynes, le Comte de Vouvray, le Comte de Villeneuve, _et als._;" and he
might have continued with a directory of all the descendants of the
_noblesse_ of an earlier age, for he afterward grouped them under the
general category of "_Propriétaires des fortresses et châteaux les plus
remarquables--au point de vue historique ou architectural_."

He was fortunate in being able, as he said, to have had access to their
"_papiers de famille_," their souvenirs, and to have been able to
interrogate them in person.

Most of his facts and his gossip concerning the personalities of the
later generations of those who inhabited these magnificent
establishments have come down to us through later writers, and it is
fortunate that this should be the case, since the present-day aspect of
the châteaux is ever changing, and one who views them to-day is
chagrined when he discovers, for instance, that an iron-trussed,
red-tiled wash-house has been built on the banks of the Cosson before
the magnificent château of Chambord, and that somewhere within the
confines of the old castle at Loches a shopkeeper has hung out his
shingle, announcing a newly discovered dungeon in his own basement,
accidentally come upon when digging a well.

Balzac, Rabelais, and Descartes are the leading literary celebrities of
Tours, and Balzac's "Le Lys dans la Vallée" will give one a more
delightful insight into the old life of the Tourangeaux than whole
series of guide-books and shelves of dry histories.

Blois and its counts, Tours and its bishops, and Amboise and its kings,
to say nothing of Fontevrault, redolent of memories of the Plantagenets,
Nantes and its famous "Edict," and its equally infamous "Revocation,"
have left vivid impress upon all students of French history. Others will
perhaps remember Nantes for Dumas's brilliant descriptions of the
outcome of the Breton conspiracy.

All of us have a natural desire to know more of historic ground, and
whether we make a start by entering the valley of the Loire at the
luxurious midway city of Tours, and follow the river first to the sea
and then to the source, or make the journey from source to mouth, or
vice versa, it does not matter in the least. We traverse the same ground
and we meet the same varying conditions as we advance a hundred
kilometres in either direction.

Tours, for example, stands for all that is typical of the sunny south.
Prune and palm trees thrust themselves forward in strong contrast to the
cider-apples of the lower Seine. Below Tours one is almost at the coast,
and the _tables d'hôte_ are abundantly supplied with sea-food of all
sorts. Above Tours the Orléannais is typical of a certain well-to-do,
matter-of-fact existence, neither very luxurious nor very difficult.

Nevers is another step and resembles somewhat the opulence of Burgundy
as to conditions of life, though the general aspect of the city, as well
as a great part of its history, is Italian through and through.

The last great step begins at Le Puy, in the great volcanic _Massif
Centrale_, where conditions of life, if prosperous, are at least harder
than elsewhere.

Such are the varying characteristics of the towns and cities through
which the Loire flows. They run the whole gamut from gay to earnest and
solemn; from the ease and comfort of the country around Tours, almost
sub-tropical in its softness, to the grime and smoke of busy St.
Etienne, and the chilliness and rigours of a mountain winter at Le Puy.

[Illustration: _A Lace-maker of the Upper Loire_]

These districts are all very full of memories of events which have
helped to build up the solidarity of France of to-day, though the
Nantois still proudly proclaims himself a Breton, and the Tourangeau
will tell you that his is the tongue, above all others, which speaks the
purest French,--and so on through the whole category, each and every
citizen of a _petit pays_ living up to his traditions to the fullest
extent possible.

In no other journey in France, of a similar length, will one see as many
varying contrasts in conditions of life as he will along the length of
the Loire, the broad, shallow river which St. Martin, Charles Martel,
and Louis XI., the typical figures of church, arms, and state, came to
know so well.

Du Bellay, a poet of the Renaissance, has sung the praises of the Loire
in a manner unapproached by any other topographical poet, if one may so
call him, for that is what he really was in this particular instance.

There is a great deal of patriotism in it all, too, and certainly no
sweet singer of the present day has even approached these lines, which
are eulogistic without being fulsome and fervent without being lurid.

The verses have frequently been rendered into English, but the following
is as good as any, and better than most translations, though it is one
of those fragments of "newspaper verse" whose authors are lost in
obscurity.

    "Mightier to me the house my fathers made,
      Than your audacious heads, O Halls of Rome!
    More than immortal marbles undecayed,
      The thin sad slates that cover up my home;
    More than your Tiber is my Loire to me,
      More Palatine my little Lyré there;
    And more than all the winds of all the sea,
      The quiet kindness of the Angevin air."

In history the Loire valley is rich indeed, from the days of the ancient
Counts of Touraine to those of Mazarin, who held forth at Nevers.
Touraine has well been called the heart of the old French monarchy.

Provincial France has a charm never known to Paris-dwellers. Balzac and
Flaubert were provincials, and Dumas was a city-dweller,--and there lies
the difference between them.

Balzac has written most charmingly of Touraine in many of his books, in
"Le Lys dans la Vallée" and "Le Curé de Tours" in particular; not always
in complimentary terms, either, for he has said that the Tourangeaux
will not even inconvenience themselves to go in search of pleasure. This
does not bespeak indolence so much as philosophy, so most of us will not
cavil. George Sand's country lies a little to the southward of Touraine,
and Berry, too, as the authoress herself has said, has a climate
"_souple et chaud, avec pluie abondant et courte_."

The architectural remains in the Loire valley are exceedingly rich and
varied. The feudal system is illustrated at its best in the great walled
château at Angers, the still inhabited and less grand château at
Langeais, the ruins at Cinq-Mars, and the very scanty remains of
Plessis-les-Tours.

The ecclesiastical remains are quite as great. The churches are, many of
them, of the first rank, and the great cathedrals at Nantes, Angers,
Tours, and Orleans are magnificent examples of the church-builders' art
in the middle ages, and are entitled to rank among the great cathedrals,
if not actually of the first class.

With modern civic and other public buildings, the case is not far
different. Tours has a gorgeous Hôtel de Ville, its architecture being
of the most luxuriant of modern French Renaissance, while the railway
stations, even, at both Tours and Orleans, are models of what railway
stations should be, and in addition are decoratively beautiful in their
appointments and arrangements,--which most railway stations are not.

Altogether, throughout the Loire valley there is an air of prosperity
which in a more vigorous climate is often lacking. This in spite of the
alleged tendency in what is commonly known as a relaxing climate toward
_laisser-aller_.

Finally, the picturesque landscape of the Loire is something quite
different from the harder, grayer outlines of the north. All is of the
south, warm and ruddy, and the wooded banks not only refine the
crudities of a flat shore-line, but form a screen or barrier to the
flowering charms of the examples of Renaissance architecture which, in
Touraine, at least, are as thick as leaves in Vallambrosa.

Starting at Gien, the valley of the Loire begins to offer those
monumental châteaux which have made its fame as the land of castles.
From the old fortress-château of Gien to the Château de Clisson, or the
Logis de la Duchesse Anne at Nantes, is one long succession of florid
masterpieces, not to be equalled elsewhere.

The true château region of Touraine--by which most people usually
comprehend the Loire châteaux--commences only at Blois. Here the
edifices, to a great extent, take on these superfine residential
attributes which were the glory of the Renaissance period of French
architecture.

[Illustration: THE LOIRE CHÂTEAUX (MAP)]

Both above and below Touraine, at Montrichard, at Loches, and Beaugency,
are still to be found scattering examples of feudal fortresses and
donjons which are as representative of their class as are the best
Norman structures of the same era, the great fortresses of Arques,
Falaise, Domfront, and Les Andelys being usually accounted as the types
which gave the stimulus to similar edifices elsewhere.

In this same versatile region also, beginning perhaps with the
Orléannais, are a vast number of religious monuments equally celebrated.
For instance, the church of St. Benoit-sur-Loire is one of the most
important Romanesque churches in all France, and the cathedral of St.
Gatien, with its "bejewelled façade," at Tours, the twin-spired St.
Maurice at Angers, and even the pompous, and not very good Gothic,
edifice at Orleans (especially noteworthy because its crypt is an
ancient work anterior to the Capetian dynasty) are all wonderfully
interesting and imposing examples of mediæval ecclesiastical
architecture.

Three great tributaries enter the Loire below Tours, the Cher, the
Indre, and the Vienne. The first has for its chief attractions the
Renaissance châteaux St. Aignan and Chenonceaux, the Roman remains of
Chabris, Thézée, and Larçay, the Romanesque churches of Selles and St.
Aignan, and the feudal donjon of Montrichard. The Indre possesses the
château of Azay-le-Rideau and the sombre fortresses of Montbazon and
Loches; while the Vienne depends for its chief interest upon the galaxy
of fortress-châteaux at Chinon.

The Loire is a mighty river and is navigable for nearly nine hundred
kilometres of its length, almost to Le Puy, or, to be exact, to the
little town of Vorey in the Department of the Haute Loire.

At Orleans, Blois, or Tours one hardly realizes this, much less at
Nevers. The river appears to be a great, tranquil, docile stream, with
scarce enough water in its bed to make a respectable current, leaving
its beds and bars of _sable_ and _cailloux_ bare to the sky.

The scarcity of water, except at occasional flood, is the principal and
obvious reason for the absence of water-borne traffic, even though a
paternal ministerial department of the government calls the river
navigable.

At the times of the _grandes crues_ there are four metres or more
registered on the big scale at the Pont d'Ancenis, while at other times
it falls to less than a metre, and when it does there is a mere rivulet
of water which trickles through the broad river-bottom at Chaumont, or
Blois, or Orleans. Below Ancenis navigation is not so difficult, but the
current is more strong.

From Blois to Angers, on the right bank, extends a long dike which
carries the roadway beside the river for a couple of hundred kilometres.
This is one of the charms of travel by the Loire. The only thing usually
seen on the bosom of the river, save an occasional fishing punt, is one
of those great flat-bottomed ferry-boats, with a square sail hung on a
yard amidships, such as Turner always made an accompaniment to his Loire
pictures, for conditions of traffic on the river have not greatly
changed.

Whenever one sees a barge or a boat worthy of classification with those
one finds on the rivers of the east or north, or on the great canals, it
is only about a quarter of the usual size; so, in spite of its great
navigable length, the waterway of the Loire is to be considered more as
a picturesque and healthful element of the landscape than as a
commercial proposition.

Where the great canals join the river at Orleans, and from Chatillon to
Roanne, the traffic increases, though more is carried by the canal-boats
on the _Canal Latéral_ than by the barges on the Loire.

It is only on the Loire between Angers and Nantes that there is any
semblance of river traffic such as one sees on most of the other great
waterways of Europe. There is a considerable traffic, too, which
descends the Maine, particularly from Angers downward, for Angers with
its Italian skies is usually thought of, and really is to be considered,
as a Loire town, though it is actually on the banks of the Maine some
miles from the Loire itself.

One thousand or more bateaux make the ascent to Angers from the Loire at
La Pointe each year, all laden with a miscellaneous cargo of
merchandise. The Sarthe and the Loir also bring a notable agricultural
traffic to the greater Loire, and the smaller confluents, the Dive, the
Thouet, the Authion, and the Layon, all go to swell the parent stream
until, when it reaches Nantes, the Loire has at last taken on something
of the aspect of a well-ordered and useful stream, characteristics which
above Nantes are painfully lacking. Because of its lack of commerce the
Loire is in a certain way the most noble, magnificent, and aristocratic
river of France; and so, too, it is also in respect to its associations
of the past.

It has not the grandeur of the Rhône when the spring freshets from the
Jura and the Swiss lakes have filled it to its banks; it has not the
burning activity of the Seine as it bears its thousands of boat-loads of
produce and merchandise to and from the Paris market; it has not the
prettiness of the Thames, nor the legendary aspect of the Rhine; but in
a way it combines something of the features of all, and has, in
addition, a tone that is all its own, as it sweeps along through its
countless miles of ample curves, and holds within its embrace all that
is best of mediæval and Renaissance France, the period which built up
the later monarchy and, who shall not say, the present prosperous
republic.

Throughout most of the river's course, one sees, stretching to the
horizon, row upon row of staked vineyards with fruit and leaves in
luxuriant abundance and of all rainbow colours. The peasant here, the
worker in the vineyards, is a picturesque element. He is not
particularly brilliant in colouring, but he is usually joyous, and he
invariably lives in a well-kept and brilliantly environed habitation and
has an air of content and prosperity amid the well-beloved treasures of
his household.

The Loire is essentially a river of other days. Truly, as Mr. James has
said, "It is the very model of a generous, beneficent stream ... a wide
river which you may follow by a wide road is excellent company."

The Frenchman himself is more flowery: "_C'est la plus noble rivière de
France. Son domaine est immense et magnifique._"

[Illustration: THE ANCIENT PROVINCES OF THE LOIRE VALLEY AND THEIR
CAPITALS (MAP)]

      THE ANCIENT
    PROVINCES OF THE
     LOIRE VALLEY
      AND THEIR
       CAPITALS

  Bretagne     Rennes
  Anjou        Angers
  Touraine     Tours
  Orléannais   Orleans
  Berry        Bourges
  Nivernais    Nevers
  Bourbonnais  Moulins
  Lyonnais     Lyon
  Bourgogne    Dijon
  Auvergne     Clermont-Ferrand
  Languedoc    Toulouse

The Loire is the longest river in France, and the only one of the four
great rivers whose basin or watershed lies wholly within French
territory. It moreover traverses eleven provinces. It rises in a fissure
of granite rock at the foot of the Gerbier-de-Jonc, a volcanic cone in
the mountains of the Vivarais, a hundred kilometres or more south of
Lyons. In three kilometres, approximately two miles, the little torrent
drops a thousand feet, after receiving to its arms a tiny affluent
coming from the Croix de Monteuse.

For twelve kilometres the river twists and turns around the base of the
Vivarais mountains, and finally enters a gorge between the rocks, and
mingles with the waters of the little Lac d'Issarles, entering for the
first time a flat lowland plain like that through which its course
mostly runs.

The monument-crowned pinnacles of Le Puy and the inverted bowl of
Puy-de-Dôme rise high above the plain and point the way to Roanne, where
such activity as does actually take place upon the Loire begins.

Navigation, classed officially as "_flottable_," merely, has already
begun at Vorey, just below Le Puy, but the traffic is insignificant.

Meantime the streams coming from the direction of St. Etienne and Lyons
have been added to the Loire, but they do not much increase its bulk.
St. Galmier, the _source_ dear to patrons of _tables d'hôte_ on account
of its palatable mineral water, which is about the only decent
drinking-water one can buy at a reasonable price, lies but a short
distance away to the right.

At St. Rambert the plain of Forez is entered, and here the stream is
enriched by numberless rivulets which make their way from various
sources through a thickly wooded country.

From Roanne onward, the _Canal Latéral_ keeps company with the Loire to
Chatillon, not far from Orleans.

Before reaching Nevers, the _Canal du Nivernais_ branches off to the
left and joins the Loire with the Yonne at Auxerre. Daudet tells of the
life of the _Canal du Nivernais_, in "La Belle Nivernaise," in a manner
too convincingly graphic for any one else to attempt the task, in
fiction or out of it. Like the Tartarin books, "La Belle Nivernaise" is
distinctly local, and forms of itself an excellent guide to a little
known and little visited region.

At Nevers the topography changes, or rather, the characteristics of the
life of the country round about change, for the topography, so far as
its profile is concerned, remains much the same for three-fourths the
length of this great river. Nevers, La Charité, Sancerre, Gien, and
Cosne follow in quick succession, all reminders of a historic past as
vivid as it was varied.

From the heights of Sancerre one sees a wonderful history-making
panorama before him. Cæsar crossed the Loire at Gien, the Franks forded
the river at La Charité, when they first went against Aquitaine, and
Charles the Bald came sadly to grief on a certain occasion at Pouilly.

It is here that the Loire rises to its greatest flood, and hundreds of
times, so history tells, from 490 to 1866, the fickle river has caused a
devastation so great and terrible that the memory of it is not yet dead.

This hardly seems possible of this usually tranquil stream, and there
have always been scoffers.

Madame de Sévigné wrote in 1675 to M. de Coulanges (but in her case
perhaps it was mere well-wishing), "_La belle Loire, elle est un peu
sujette à se déborder, mais elle en est plus douce_."

Ancient writers were wont to consider the inundations of the Loire as a
punishment from Heaven, and even in later times the superstition--if it
was a superstition--still remained.

[Illustration: _The Loire near La Charité_]

In 1825, when thousands of charcoal-burners (_charbonniers_) were all
but ruined, they petitioned the government for assistance. The official
who had the matter in charge, and whose name--fortunately for his
fame--does not appear to have been recorded, replied simply that the
flood was a periodical condition of affairs which the Almighty brought
about as occasion demanded, with good cause, and for this reason he
refused all assistance.

Important public works have done much to prevent repetitions of these
inundations, but the danger still exists, and always, in a wet season,
there are those dwellers along the river's banks who fear the rising
flood as they would the plague.

Chatillon, with its towers; Gien, a busy hive of industry, though with a
historic past; Sully; and St. Benoit-sur-Loire, with its unique double
transepted church; all pass in rapid review, and one enters the ancient
capital of the Orléannais quite ready for the new chapter which, in
colouring, is to be so different from that devoted to the upper valley.

From Orleans, south, one passes through a veritable wonderland of
fascinating charms. Châteaux, monasteries, and great civic and
ecclesiastical monuments pass quickly in turn.

Then comes Touraine which all love, the river meantime having grown no
more swift or ample, nor any more sluggish or attenuated. It is simply
the same characteristic flow which one has known before.

The landscape only is changing, while the fruits and flowers, and the
trees and foliage are more luxuriant, and the great châteaux are more
numerous, splendid, and imposing.

Of his well-beloved Touraine, Balzac wrote: "Do not ask me _why_ I love
Touraine; I love it not merely as one loves the cradle of his birth, nor
as one loves an oasis in a desert, but as an artist loves his art."

Blois, with its bloody memories; Chaumont, splendid and retired;
Chambord, magnificent, pompous, and bare; Amboise, with its great tower
high above the river, follow in turn till the Loire makes its regal
entrée into Tours. "What a spectacle it is," wrote Sterne in "Tristram
Shandy," "for a traveller who journeys through Touraine at the time of
the vintage."

And then comes the final step which brings the traveller to where the
limpid waters of the Loire mingle with the salty ocean, and what a
triumphant meeting it is!

[Illustration: _Coiffes of Amboise and Orleans_]

Most of the cities of the Loire possess but one bridge, but Tours has
three, and, as becomes a great provincial capital, sits enthroned
upon the river-bank in mighty splendour.

The feudal towers of the Château de Luynes are almost opposite, and
Cinq-Mars, with its pagan "_pile_" and the ruins of its feudal castle
high upon a hill, points the way down-stream like a mariner's beacon.
Langeais follows, and the Indre, the Cher, and the Vienne, all ample and
historic rivers, go to swell the flood which passes under the bridges of
Saumur, Ancenis, and Ponts de Cé.

From Tours to the ocean, the Loire comes to its greatest amplitude,
though even then, in spite of its breadth, it is, for the greater part
of the year, impotent as to the functions of a great river.

Below Angers the Loire receives its first great affluent coming from the
country lying back of the right bank: the Maine itself is a considerable
river. It rises far up in the Breton peninsula, and before it empties
itself into the Loire, it has been aggrandized by three great
tributaries, the Loir, the Sarthe, and the Mayenne.

Here in this backwater of the Loire, as one might call it, is as
wonderful a collection of natural beauties and historical châteaux as on
the Loire itself. Châteaudun, Mayenne, and Vendôme are historic ground
of superlative interest, and the great castle at Châteaudun is as
magnificent in its way as any of the monuments of the Loire. Vendôme has
a Hôtel de Ville which is an admirable relic of a feudal edifice, and
the _clocher_ of its church, which dominates many square leagues of
country, is counted as one of the most perfectly disposed church spires
in existence, as lovely, almost, as Texier's masterwork at Chartres, or
the needle-like _flêches_ at Strasburg or Freiburg in Breisgau.

The Maine joins the Loire just below Angers, at a little village
significantly called La Pointe. Below La Pointe are St.
Georges-sur-Loire, and three _châteaux de commerce_ which give their
names to the three principal Angevin vineyards: Château Serrand,
l'Epinay, and Chevigné.

Vineyard after vineyard, and château after château follow rapidly, until
one reaches the Ponts de Cé with their _petite ville_,--all very
delightful. Not so the bridge at Ancenis, where the flow of water is
marked daily on a huge black and white scale. The bridge is quite the
ugliest wire-rope affair to be seen on the Loire, and one is only too
glad to leave it behind, though it is with a real regret that he parts
from Ancenis itself.

Some years ago one could go from Angers to St. Nazaire by boat. It must
have been a magnificent trip, extraordinarily calm and serene, amid an
abundance of picturesque details; old châteaux and bridges in strong
contrast to the prairies of Touraine and the Orléannais. One embarked at
the foot of the stupendously towered château of King René, and for a
_petite heure_ navigated the Maine in the midst of great _chalands_,
fussy little _remorqueurs_ and _barques_ until La Pointe was reached,
when the Loire was followed to Nantes and St. Nazaire.

To-day this fine trip is denied one, the boats going only so far as La
Pointe.

Below Angers the Loire flows around and about a veritable archipelago of
islands and islets, cultivated with all the luxuriance of a back-yard
garden, and dotted with tiny hamlets of folk who are supremely happy and
content with their lot.

Some currents which run behind the islands are swift flowing and
impetuous, while others are practically elongated lakes, as dead as
those _lômes_ which in certain places flank the Saône and the Rhône.

All these various branches are united as the Loire flows between the
piers of the ungainly bridge of the Chemin-de-fer de Niort as it crosses
the river at Chalonnes.

Champtocé and Montjean follow, each with an individuality all its own.
Here the commerce takes on an increased activity, thanks to the great
national waterway known as the "Canal de Brest à Nantes." Here at the
busy port of Montjean--which the Angevins still spell and pronounce
_Montéjean_--the Loire takes on a breadth and grandeur similar to the
great rivers in the western part of America. Montjean is dominated by a
fine ogival church, with a battery of arcs-boutants which are a joy in
themselves.

On the other bank, lying back of a great plain, which stretches away
from the river itself, is Champtocé, pleasantly situated on the flank of
a hill and dominated by the ruins of a thirteenth-century château which
belonged to the cruel Gilles de Retz, somewhat apocryphally known to
history as "Barbe-bleu"--not the Bluebeard of the nursery tale, who was
of Eastern origin, but a sort of Occidental successor who was equally
cruel and bloodthirsty in his attitude toward his whilom wives.

From this point on one comes within the sphere of influence of Nantes,
and there is more or less of a suburban traffic on the railway, and the
plodders cityward by road are more numerous than the mere vagabonds of
the countryside.

The peasant women whom one meets wear a curious bonnet, set on the head
well to the fore, with wings at the side folded back quite like the
pictures that one sees of the mediæval dames of these parts, a survival
indeed of the middle ages.

The Loire becomes more and more animated and occasionally there is a
great tow of boats like those that one sees continually passing on the
lower Seine. Here the course of the Loire takes on a singular aspect. It
is filled with long flat islands, sometimes in archipelagos, but often
only a great flat prairie surrounded by a tranquil canal, wide and deep,
and with little resemblance to the mistress Loire of a hundred or two
kilometres up-stream. All these isles are in a high state of
cultivation, though wholly worked with the hoe and the spade, both of
them of a primitiveness that might have come down from Bible times; rare
it is to see a horse or a harrow on these "bouquets of verdure
surrounded by waves."

Near Oudon is one of those monumental follies which one comes across
now and then in most foreign countries: a great edifice which serves no
useful purpose, and which, were it not for certain redeeming features,
would be a sorry thing indeed. The "Folie-Siffait," a citadel which
perches itself high upon the summit of a hill, was--and is--an
_amusette_ built by a public-spirited man of Nantes in order that his
workmen might have something to do in a time of a scarcity of work. It
is a bizarre, incredible thing, but the motive which inspired its
erection was most worthy, and the roadway running beneath, piercing its
foundation walls, gives a theatrical effect which, in a way, makes it
the picturesque rival of many a more famous Rhine castle.

The river valley widens out here at Oudon, practically the frontier of
Bretagne and Anjou. The railroad pierces the rock walls of the river
with numerous tunnels along the right bank, and the Vendean country
stretches far to the southward in long rolling hills quite unlike any of
the characteristics of other parts of the valley. Finally, the vast
plain of Mauves comes into sight, beautifully coloured with a white and
iron-stained rocky background which is startlingly picturesque in its
way, if not wholly beautiful according to the majority of standards.

Next comes what a Frenchman has called a "tumultuous vision of Nantes."
To-day the very ancient and historic city which grew up from the Portus
Namnetum and the Condivicnum of the Romans is indeed a veritable tumult
of chimneys, masts, and locomotives. But all this will not detract one
jot from its reputation of being one of the most delightful of
provincial capitals, and the smoke and activity of its port only tend to
accentuate a note of colour that in the whole itinerary of the Loire has
been but pale.

Below Nantes the Loire estuary has turned the surrounding country into a
little Holland, where fisherfolk and their boats, with sails of red and
blue, form charming symphonies of pale colour. In the _cabarets_ along
its shores there is a strange medley of peasants, sea-farers, and fisher
men and women. Not so cosmopolitan a crew as one sees in the harbourside
_cabarets_ at Marseilles, or even Le Havre, but sufficiently strange to
be a fascination to one who has just come down from the headwaters.

The "Section Maritime," from Nantes to the sea, is a matter of some
sixty kilometres. Here the boats increase in number and size. They are
known as _gabares_, _chalands_, and _alléges_, and go down with the
river-current and return on the incoming ebb, for here the river is
tidal.

Gray and green is the aspect at the Loire's source, and green and gray
it still is, though of a decidedly different colour-value, at St.
Nazaire, below Nantes, the real deep-water port of the Loire.

By this time the river has amplified into a broad estuary which is lost
in the incoming and outgoing tides of the Bay of Biscay.

For nearly a thousand kilometres the Loire has wound its way gently and
broadly through rocky escarpments, fertile plains, populous and
luxurious towns,--all of it historic ground,--by stately châteaux and
through vineyards and fruit orchards, with a placid grandeur.

Now it becomes more or less prosaic and matter-of-fact, though in a way
no less interesting, as it takes on some of the attributes of the
outside world.

This outline, then, approximates somewhat a portrait of the Loire. It is
the result of many pilgrimages enthusiastically undertaken; a long
contemplation of the charms of perhaps the most beautiful river in
France, from its source to its mouth, at all seasons of the year.

The riches and curios of the cities along its banks have been
contemplated with pleasure, intermingled with a memory of many stirring
scenes of the past, but it is its châteaux that make it famous.

The story of the châteaux has been told before in hundreds of volumes,
but only a personal view of them will bring home to one the manners and
customs of one of the most luxurious periods of life in the France of
other days.



CHAPTER II.

THE ORLÉANNAIS


Of the many travelled English and Americans who go to Paris, how few
visit the Loire valley with its glorious array of mediæval and
Renaissance châteaux. No part of France, except Paris, is so accessible,
and none is so comfortably travelled, whether by road or by rail.

At Orleans one is at the very gateway of this splendid, bountiful
region, the lower valley of the Loire. Here the river first takes on a
complexion which previously it had lacked, for it is only when the Loire
becomes the boundary-line between the north and the south that one comes
to realize its full importance.

The Orléannais, like many another province of mid-France, is a region
where plenty awaits rich and poor alike. Not wholly given over to
agriculture, nor yet wholly to manufacturing, it is without that
restless activity of the frankly industrial centres of the north. In
spite of this, though, the Orléannais is not idle.

[Illustration: THE CHÂTEAUX OF THE LOIRE (MAP)]

Orleans is the obvious _pointe de départ_ for all the wonderland of the
Renaissance which is to follow, but itself and its immediate
surroundings have not the importance for the visitor, in spite of the
vivid historical chapters which have been written here in the past, that
many another less famous city possesses. By this is meant that the
existing monuments of history are by no means as numerous or splendid
here as one might suppose. Not that they are entirely lacking, but
rather that they are of a different species altogether from that array
of magnificently planned châteaux which line the banks of the Loire
below.

To one coming from the north the entrance to the Orléannais will be
emphatically marked. It is the first experience of an atmosphere which,
if not characteristically or climatically of the south, is at least
reminiscent thereof, with a luminosity which the provinces of old France
farther north entirely lack.

As Lavedan, the Académicien, says: "Here all focuses itself into one
great picture, the combined romance of an epoch. Have you not been
struck with a land where the clouds, the atmosphere, the odour of the
soil, and the breezes from afar, all comport, one with another, in true
and just proportions?" This is the Orléannais, a land where was
witnessed the morning of the Valois, the full noon of Louis XIV., and
the twilight of Louis XVI.

The Orléannais formed a distinct part of mediæval France, as it did,
ages before, of western Gaul. Of all the provinces through which the
Loire flows, the Orléannais is as prolific as any of great names and
greater events, and its historical monuments, if not so splendid as
those in Touraine, are no less rare.

Orleans itself contains many remarkable Gothic and Renaissance
constructions, and not far away is the ancient church of the old abbey
of Notre Dame de Cléry, one of the most historic and celebrated shrines
in the time of the superstitious Louis XI.; while innumerable mediæval
villes and ruined fortresses plentifully besprinkle the province.

One characteristic possessed by the Orléannais differentiates it from
the other outlying provinces of the old monarchy. The people and the
manners and customs of this great and important duchy were allied, in
nearly all things, with the interests and events of the capital itself,
and so there was always a lack of individuality, which even to-day is
noticeably apparent in the Orleans capital. The shops, hotels, cafés,
and the people themselves might well be one of the _quartiers_ of Paris,
so like are they in general aspect.

The notable Parisian character of the inhabitants of Orleans, and the
resemblance of the people of the surrounding country to those of the Ile
of France, is due principally to the fact that the Orléannais was never
so isolated as many others of the ancient provinces. It was virtually a
neighbour of the capital, and its relations with it were intimate and
numerous. Moreover, it was favoured by a great number of lines of
communication by road and by water, so that its manners and customs
became, more or less unconsciously, interpolations.

The great event of the year in Orleans is the Fête de Jeanne d'Arc,
which takes place in the month of May. Usually few English and American
visitors are present, though why it is hard to reason out, for it takes
place at quite the most delightful season in the year. Perhaps it is
because Anglo-Saxons are ashamed of the part played by their ancestors
in the shocking death of the maid of Domremy and Orleans. Innumerable
are the relics and reminders of the "Maid" scattered throughout the
town, and the local booksellers have likewise innumerable and
authoritative accounts of the various episodes of her life, which saves
the necessity of making further mention here.

There are several statues of Jeanne d'Arc in the city, and they have
given rise to the following account written by Jules Lemaitre, the
Académicien:

"I believe that the history of Jeanne d'Arc was the first that was ever
told to me (before even the fairy-tales of Perrault). The 'Mort de
Jeanne d'Arc,' of Casimir Delavigne, was the first fable that I learned,
and the equestrian statue of the 'Maid,' in the Place Martroi, at
Orleans, is perhaps the oldest vision that my memory guards.

"This statue of Jeanne d'Arc is absurd. She has a Grecian profile, and a
charger which is not a war-horse but a race-horse. Nevertheless to me it
was noble and imposing.

"In the courtyard of the Hôtel de Ville is a _petite pucelle_, very
gentle and pious, who holds against her heart her sword, after the
manner of a crucifix. At the end of the bridge across the Loire is
another Jeanne d'Arc, as the maid of war, surrounded by swirling
draperies, as in a picture of Juvenet's. This to me tells the whole
story of the reverence with which the martyred 'Maid' is regarded in the
city of Orleans by the Loire."

One can appreciate all this, and to the full, for a Frenchman is a stern
critic of art, even that of his own countrymen, and Jeanne d'Arc, along
with some other celebrities, is one of those historical figures which
have seldom had justice done them in sculptured or pictorial
representations. The best, perhaps, is the precocious Lepage's fine
painting, now in America. What would not the French give for the return
of this work of art?

The Orléannais, with the Ile de France, formed the particular domain of
the third race of French monarchs. From 1364 to 1498 the province was an
appanage known as the Duché d'Orleans, but it was united with the Crown
by Louis XII., and finally divided into the Departments of Loir et Cher,
Eure et Loir, and Loiret.

Like the "pardons" and "benedictions" of Finistère and other parts of
Bretagne, the peasants of the Loiret have a quaint custom which bespeaks
a long handed-down superstition. On the first Sunday of Lent they hie
themselves to the fields with lighted fagots and chanting the following
lines:

      "Sortez, sortez d'ici mulots!
      Où je vais vous brûler les crocs!
      Quittez, quittez ces blés;
      Allez, vous trouverez
      Dans la cave du curé
      Plus à boire qu' à manger."

Just how far the curé endorses these sentiments, the author of this book
does not know. The explanation of the rather extraordinary proceeding
came from one of the participants, who, having played his part in the
ceremony, dictated the above lines over sundry _petits verres_ paid for
by the writer. The day is not wound up, however, with an orgy of eating
and drinking, as is sometimes the case in far-western Brittany. The
peasant of the Loiret simply eats rather heavily of "_mi_," which is
nothing more or less than oatmeal porridge, after which he goes to bed.

The Loire rolls down through the Orléannais, from Châteauneuf-sur-Loire
and Jargeau, and cuts the banks of _sable_, and the very shores
themselves, into little capes and bays which are delightful in their
eccentricity. Here cuts in the _Canal d'Orleans_, which makes possible
the little traffic that goes on between the Seine and the Loire.

A few kilometres away from the right bank of the Loire, in the heart of
the Gatanais, is Lorris, the home of Guillaume de Lorris, the first
author of the "Roman de la Rose." For this reason alone it should become
a literary shrine of the very first rank, though, in spite of its claim,
no one ever heard of a literary pilgrim making his way there.

Lorris is simply a big, overgrown French market-town, which is
delightful enough in its somnolence, but which lacks most of the
attributes which tourists in general seem to demand.

At Lorris a most momentous treaty was signed, known as the "Paix de
Lorris," wherein was assured to the posterity of St. Louis the heritage
of the Comte de Toulouse, another of those periodical territorial
aggrandizements which ultimately welded the French nation into the whole
that it is to-day.

From the juncture of the _Canal d'Orleans_ with the Loire one sees
shining in the brilliant sunlight the roof-tops of Orleans, the
Aurelianum of the Romans, its hybrid cathedral overtopping all else. It
was Victor Hugo who said of this cathedral: "This odious church, which
from afar holds so much of promise, and which near by has none," and
Hugo undoubtedly spoke the truth.

Orleans is an old city and a _cité neuve_. Where the river laps its
quays, it is old but commonplace; back from the river is a strata which
is really old, fine Gothic house-fronts and old leaning walls; while
still farther from the river, as one approaches the railway station, it
is strictly modern, with all the devices and appliances of the newest of
the new.

The Orleans of history lies riverwards,--the Orleans where the heart of
France pulsed itself again into life in the tragic days which were
glorified by "the Maid."

"The countryside of the Orléannais has the monotony of a desert," said
an English traveller some generations ago. He was wrong. To do him
justice, however, or to do his observations justice, he meant, probably,
that, save the river-bottom of the Loire, the great plain which begins
with La Beauce and ends with the Sologne has a comparatively
uninteresting topography. This is true; but it is not a desert. La
Beauce is the best grain-growing region in all France, and the Sologne
is now a reclaimed land whose sandy soil has proved admirably adapted to
an unusually abundant growth of the vine. So much for this old-time
point of view, which to-day has changed considerably.

The Orléannais is one of the most populous and progressive sections of
all France, and its inhabitants, per square kilometre, are constantly
increasing in numbers, which is more than can be said of every
_département_. There are multitudes of tiny villages, and one is
scarcely ever out of sight and sound of a habitation.

[Illustration: _ENVIRONS of ORLEANS_ (MAP)]

In the great forest, just to the west of Orleans, are two small
villages, each a celebrated battle-ground, and a place of a patriotic
pilgrimage on the eighth and ninth of November of each year. They are
Coulmiers and Bacon, and here some fugitives from Metz and Sedan, with
some young troops exposed to fire for the first time, engaged with the
Prussians (in 1870) who had occupied Orleans since mid-October. There is
the usual conventional "soldiers' monument,"--with considerably more art
about it than is usually seen in America,--before which Frenchmen
seemingly never cease to worship.

This same _Forêt d'Orleans_, one of those wild-woods which so
plentifully besprinkle France, has a sad and doleful memory in the
traditions of the druidical inhabitants of a former day. Their practices
here did not differ greatly from those of their brethren elsewhere, but
local history is full of references to atrocities so bloodthirsty that
it is difficult to believe that they were ever perpetrated under the
guise of religion.

Surrounding the forest are many villages and hamlets, war-stricken all
in the dark days of seventy-one, when the Prussians were overrunning the
land.

Of all the cities of the Loire, Orleans, Blois, Tours, Angers, and
Nantes alone show any spirit of modern progressiveness or of likeness
to the capital. The rest, to all appearances, are dead, or at least
sleeping in their pasts. But they are charming and restful spots for all
that, where in melancholy silence sit the old men, while the younger
folk, including the very children, are all at work in the neighbouring
vineyards or in the wheat-fields of La Beauce.

Meung-sur-Loire and Beaugency sleep on the river-bank, their proud
monuments rising high in the background,--the massive tower of Cæsar and
a quartette of church spires. Just below Orleans is the juncture of the
Loiret and the Loire at St. Mesmin, while only a few kilometres away is
Cléry, famed for its associations of Louis XI.

The Loiret is not a very ample river, and is classed by the Minister of
Public Works as navigable for but four kilometres of its length. This,
better than anything else, should define its relative importance among
the great waterways of France. Navigation, as it is known elsewhere, is
practically non-existent.

The course of the Loiret is perhaps twelve kilometres all told, but it
has given its name to a great French _département_, though it is
doubtless the shortest of all the rivers of France thus honoured.

It first comes to light in the dainty park of the Château de la Source,
where there are two distinct sources. The first forms a small circular
basin, known as the "Bouillon," which leads into another semicircular
basin called the "Bassin du Miroir," from the fact that it reflects the
façade of the château in its placid surface. Of course, this is all very
artificial and theatrical, but it is a pretty conceit nevertheless. The
other source, known as the "Grande Source," joins the rivulet some
hundreds of yards below the "Bassin du Miroir."

The Château de la Source is a seventeenth-century edifice, of no great
architectural beauty in itself, but sufficiently sylvan in its
surroundings to give it rank as one of the notable places of pilgrimage
for tourists who, said a cynical French writer, "take the châteaux of
the Loire _tour à tour_ as they do the morgue, the Moulin Rouge, and the
sewers of Paris."

In the early days the château belonged to the Cardinal Briçonnet, and it
was here that Bolingbroke, after having been stripped of his titles in
England, went into retirement in 1720. In 1722 he received Voltaire, who
read him his "Henriade."

[Illustration: THE LOIRET]

In 1815 the invading Prince Eckmühl, with his staff, installed himself
in the château, when, after Waterloo, the Prussian and French armies
were separated only by a barrier placed midway on the bridge at Orleans.
It was here also that the Prussian army was disbanded, on the agreement
of the council held at Angerville, near Orleans.

There are three other châteaux on the borders of the Loiret, which are
of more than ordinary interest, so far as great country houses and their
surroundings go, though their histories are not very striking, with
perhaps the exception of the Château de la Fontaine, which has a
remarkable garden, laid out by Lenôtre, the designer of the parks at
Versailles.

Leaving Orleans by the right bank of the Loire, one first comes to La
Chapelle-St. Mesmin. La Chapelle has a church dating from the eleventh
century and a château which is to-day the _maison de campagne_ of the
Bishop of Orleans. On the opposite bank was the Abbaye de Micy, founded
by Clovis at the time of his conversion. A stone cross, only, marks the
site to-day.

St. Ay follows next, and is usually set down in the guide-books as
"celebrated for good wines." This is not to be denied for a moment, and
it is curious to note that the city bears the same name as the famous
town in the champagne district, celebrated also for good wine, though
of a different kind. The name of the Orléannais Ay is gained from a
hermitage founded here by a holy man, who died in the sixth century. His
tomb was discovered in 1860, under the choir of the church, which makes
it a place of pilgrimage of no little local importance.

At Meung-sur-Loire one should cross the river to Cléry, five kilometres
off, seldom if ever visited by casual travellers. But why? Simply
because it is overlooked in that universal haste shown by most
travellers--who are not students of art or architecture, or deep lovers
of history--in making their way to more popular shrines. One will not
regret the time taken to visit Cléry, which shared with Our Lady of
Embrun the devotions of Louis XI.

Cléry's three thousand pastoral inhabitants of to-day would never give
it distinction, and it is only the Maison de Louis XI. and the Basilique
de Notre Dame which makes it worth while, but this is enough.

In "Quentin Durward" one reads of the time when the superstitious Louis
was held in captivity by the Burgundian, Charles the Bold, and of how
the French king made his devotions before the little image, worn in his
hat, of the Virgin of Cléry; "the grossness of his superstition, none
the less than his fickleness, leading him to believe Our Lady of Cléry
to be quite a different person from the other object of his devotion,
the Madonna of Embrun, a tiny mountain village in southwestern France.

"'Sweet Lady of Cléry,' he exclaimed, clasping his hands and beating his
breast as he spoke, 'Blessed Mother of Mercy! thou who art omnipotent
with omnipotence, have compassion with me, a sinner! It is true I have
sometimes neglected you for thy blessed sister of Embrun; but I am a
king, my power is great, my wealth boundless; and were it otherwise, I
would double my _gabelle_ on my subjects rather than not pay my debts to
you both.'"

Louis endowed the church at Cléry, and the edifice was built in the fine
flamboyant style of the period, just previous to his death, which De
Commines gives as "_le samedy pénultième jour d'Aoust, l'an mil quatre
cens quatre-vingtz et trois, à huit heures du soir_."

Louis XI. was buried here, and the chief "sight" is of course his tomb,
beside which is a flagstone which covers the heart of Charles VIII. The
Chapelle St. Jacques, within the church, is ornamented by a series of
charming sculptures, and the Chapelle des Dunois-Longueville holds the
remains of the famous ally of Jeanne d'Arc and members of his family.

In the choir is the massive oaken statue of Our Lady of Cléry
(thirteenth century); the very one before which Louis made his vows.
There is some old glass in the choir and a series of sculptured stalls,
which would make famous a more visited and better known shrine. There is
a fine sculptured stone portal to the sacristy, and within there are
some magnificent old _armoires_, and also two chasubles, which saw
service in some great church, perhaps here, in the times of Louis
himself.

The "Maison de Louis XI.," near the church, is a house of brick,
restored in 1651, and now--or until a very recent date--occupied by a
community of nuns. In the Grande Rue is another "Maison de Louis XI.;"
at least it has his cipher on the painted ceiling. It is now occupied by
the Hôtel de la Belle Image. Those who like to dine and sleep where have
also dined and slept royal heads will appreciate putting up at this
hostelry.

[Illustration: _The Loire at Meung_]

Meung-sur-Loire was the birthplace of Jehan Clopinel, better known as
Jean de Meung, who continued Guillaume de Lorris's "Roman de la Rose,"
the most famous bit of verse produced by the _trouvères_ of the
thirteenth century. The voice of the troubadour was soon after hushed
for ever, but that thirteenth-century masterwork--though by two hands
and the respective portions unequal in merit--lives for ever as the
greatest of its kind. In memory of the author, Meung has its Rue Jehan
de Meung, for want of a more effective or appealing monument.

Dumas opens the history of "Les Trois Mousquétaires" with the following
brilliantly romantic lines anent Meung: "_Le premier lundi du mois
d'Avril, 1625, le bourg de Meung, où naquit l'auteur du 'Roman de la
Rose.'_" (One of the authors, he should have said, but here is where
Dumas nodded, as he frequently did.)

Continuing, one reads: "The town was in a veritable uproar. It was as if
the Huguenots were up in arms and the drama of a second Rochelle was
being enacted." Really the description is too brilliant and entrancing
to be repeated here, and if any one has forgotten his Dumas to the
extent that he has forgotten D'Artagnan's introduction to the hostelry
of the "Franc Meunier," he is respectfully referred back to that
perennially delightful romance.

Meung was once a Roman fortress, known as Maudunum, and in the eleventh
century St. Liphard founded a monastery here.

In the fifteenth century Meung was the prison of François Villon. Poor
vagabond as he was then, it has become the fashion to laud both the
personality and the poesy of Maître François Villon.

By the orders of Thibaut d'Aussigny, Bishop of Orleans, Villon was
confined in a strong tower attached to the side of the _clocher_ of the
parish church of St. Liphard, and which adjoined the _château de
plaisance_ belonging to the bishop. Primarily this imprisonment was due
to a robbery in which the poet had been concerned at Orleans. He spent
the whole of the summer in this dungeon, which was overrun with rats,
and into which he had to be lowered by ropes. As his food consisted of
bread and water only, his sufferings at this time were probably greater
than at any other period in his life. Here the burglar-poet remained
until October, 1461, when Louis XI. visited Meung, and, to mark the
occasion, ordered the release of all prisoners. For this delivery,
Villon, according to the accounts of his life, appears to have been
genuinely grateful to the king.

At Beaugency, seven kilometres from Meung, one comes upon an
architectural and historical treat which is unexpected.

In the eleventh century Beaugency was a fief of the bishopric of Amiens,
and its once strong château was occupied by the Barons de Landry, the
last of whom died, without children, in the thirteenth century.
Philippe-le-Bel bought the fief and united it with the Comté de Blois.
It was made an independent _comté_ of itself in 1569, and in 1663 became
definitely an appanage of Orleans. The Prince de Galles took Beaugency
in 1359, the Gascons in 1361, Duguesclin in 1370 and again in 1417; in
1421 and in 1428 it was taken by the English, from whom it was delivered
by Jeanne d'Arc in 1429. Internal wars and warfares continued for
another hundred and fifty years, finally culminating in one of the
grossest scenes which had been enacted within its walls,--the bloody
revenge against the Protestants, encouraged doubtless by the affair of
St. Bartholomew's night at Paris.

The ancient square donjon of the eleventh century, known as the Tour de
César, still looms high above the town. It must be one of the hugest
keeps in all France. The old château of the Dunois is now a charitable
institution, but reflects, in a way, the splendour of its
fourteenth-century inception, and its Salle de Jeanne d'Arc, with its
great chimneypiece, is worthy to rank with the best of its kind along
the Loire. The spiral staircase, of which the Loire builders were so
fond, is admirable here, and dates from 1530.

The Hôtel de Ville of Beaugency is a charming edifice of the very best
of Renaissance, which many more pretentious structures of the period are
not. It dates from 1526, and was entirely restored--not, however, to its
detriment, as frequently happens--in the last years of the nineteenth
century. Its charm, nevertheless, lies mostly in its exterior, for
little remains of value within except a remarkable series of old
embroideries taken from the choir of the old abbey of Beaugency.

The Église de Notre Dame is a Romanesque structure with Gothic
interpolations. It is not bad in its way, but decidedly is not
remarkable as mediæval churches go.

The old streets of Beaugency contain a dazzling array of old houses in
wood and stone, and in the Rue des Templiers is a rare example of
Romanesque civil architecture; at least the type is rare enough in the
Orléannais, though more frequently seen in the south of France. The Tour
St. Firmin dates from 1530, and is all that remains of a church which
stood here up to revolutionary times. The square ruined towers known
as the Porte Tavers are relics of the city's old walls and gates, and
are all that are left to mark the ancient enclosure.

[Illustration: _Beaugency_]

The Tour du Diable and the house of the ruling abbot remain to suggest
the power and magnificence of the great abbey which was built here in
the tenth century. In 1567 it was burned, and later restored, but beyond
the two features just mentioned there is nothing to indicate its former
uses, the remaining structures having passed into private hands and
being devoted to secular uses.

The old bridge which crosses the Loire at this point is most curious,
and dates from various epochs. It is 440 metres in length, and is
composed of twenty-six arches, one of which dates from the fourteenth
century, when bridge-building was really an art. Eight of the
present-day arches are of wood, and on the second is a monolith
surmounted by a figure of Christ in bronze, replacing a former chapel to
St. Jacques. A chapel on a bridge is not a unique arrangement, but few
exist to-day, one of the most famous being, perhaps, that on the ruined
bridge of St. Bénezet at Avignon.

Altogether, Beaugency, as it sleeps its life away after the strenuous
days of the middle ages, is more lovable by far than a great
metropolis.

The traveller is well repaid who makes a stop at Beaugency a part of a
three days' gentle ramble among the usually neglected towns and villages
of the Orléannais and the Blaisois, instead of rushing through to Blois
by express-train, which is what one usually does.

Southward one's route lies through pleasant vineyards, on one side the
Sologne, and on the other the Coteau de Guignes, which latter ranks as
quite the best among the vine-growing districts of the Orléannais.

Near Tavers is a natural curiosity in the shape of the "Fontaine des
Sables Mouvants," where the sands of a tiny spring boil and bubble like
a miniature geyser.

Mer, another small town, follows, twelve kilometres farther on. Like
Beaugency it is a somnolent bourg, and the life of the peasant folk
round about, who go to market on one day at Beaugency and on another at
Blois, and occasionally as far away as Orleans, is much the same as it
was a century ago.

There is a Boulevard de la Gare and a Grande Rue at Mer, the latter
leading to a fine Gothic church with a fifteenth-century tower, which is
admirable in every way, and forms a beacon by land for many miles
around. The primitive church at Mer dates from the eleventh century, the
side walls, however, being all that remain of that period. There is a
sculptured pulpit of the seventeenth century, and a great painting,
which looks ancient and is certainly a masterful work of art,
representing an "Adoration of the Magi."

When all is said and done, it is its irresistible and inexpressible
charm which makes Mer well-beloved, rather than any great wealth of
artistic atmosphere of any nature.

Away to the south, across the Loire to Muides, runs the route to
Chambord, through the Sologne, where immediately the whole aspect of
life changes from that on the borders of the rich grain-lands of the
Orléannais and La Beauce.

All the way from Beaugency to Blois the Loire threads its way through a
lovely country, whose rolling slopes, back from the river, are
surmounted here and there by windmills, a not very frequent adjunct to
the landscape of France, except in the north.

Near Mer is Menars, with its eighteenth-century château of La Pompadour;
Suèvres, the site of an ancient Roman city; the lowlands lying before
Chambord; St. Die; Montlivault; St. Claude, and a score of little
villages which are entrancing in their old-world aspect even in these
days of progress. This completes the panorama to Blois which, with the
Blaisois, forms the borderland between the Orléannais and Touraine.

Before reaching Blois, Menars, at any rate, commands attention. It
fronts upon the Loire, but is practically upon the northern border of
the Forêt de Blois, hence properly belongs to the Blaisois. Menars was
made a rendezvous for the chase by the wily and pleasure-loving La
Pompadour, who quartered herself at the château, which afterward passed
to her brother, De Marigny.

Before the Revolution, Menars was the seat of a marquisate, of which the
land was bought by Louis XV. for his famous, or infamous, _maîtresse_.
The property has frequently changed hands since that day, but its
gardens and terraces, descending toward the river-bank, mark it as one
of those _coquette_ establishments, with which France was dotted in the
eighteenth century.

These establishments possessed enough of luxurious appointments to be
classed as fitting for the butterflies of the time, but in no way, so
far as the architectural design or the artistic details were concerned,
were any of them worthy to be classed with the great domestic châteaux
of the early years of the Renaissance.



CHAPTER III.

THE BLAISOIS AND THE SOLOGNE


The Blésois or Blaisois was the ancient name given to the _petit pays_
which made a part of the government of the Orléannais. It was, and is,
the borderland between the Orléannais and Touraine, and, with its
capital, Blois, the city of counts, was a powerful territory in its own
right, in spite of the allegiance which it owed to the Crown. Twenty
leagues in length by thirteen in width, it was bounded on the north by
the Dunois and the Orléannais, on the east by Berry, on the south by
Touraine, and on the west by Touraine and the Vendomois.

Blois, its capital, was famed ever in the annals of the middle ages, and
to-day no city in the Loire valley possesses more sentimental interest
for the traveller than does Blois.

To the eastward lay the sands of the Sologne, and southward the ample
and fruitful Touraine, hence Blois's position was one of supreme
importance, and there is no wonder that it proved to be the scene of so
many momentous events of history.

The present day Department of the Loir et Cher was carved out from the
Blaisois, the Vendomois, and the Orléannais. The Baisois was, in olden
time, one of the most important of the _petits gouvernements_ of all the
kingdom, and gave to Blois a line of counts who rivalled in power and
wealth the churchmen of Tours and the dukes of Brittany. Gregory of
Tours is the first historian who makes mention of the ancient _Pagus
Blensensis_.

One must not tell the citizen of Blois that it is at Tours that one
hears the best French spoken. Everybody knows this, but the inhabitant
of the Blaisois will not admit it, and, in truth, to the stranger there
is not much apparent difference. Throughout this whole region he
understands and makes himself understood with much more facility than in
any other part of France.

For one thing, not usually recalled, Blois should be revered and
glorified. It was the native place of Lenoir, who invented the
instrument which made possible the definite determination of the metric
system of measurement.

One reads in Bernier's "Histoire de Blois" that the inhabitants are
"honest, gallant, and polite in conversation, and of a delicate and
diffident temperament." This was written nearly a century ago, but there
is no excuse for one's changing the opinion to-day unless, as was the
misfortune of the writer, he runs up against an unusually importunate
vender of post-cards or an aggressive _garçon de café_.

[Illustration: ARMS OF THE CITY OF BLOIS]

Blois, among all the cities of the Loire, is the favourite with the
tourist. Why this should be is an enigma. It is overburdened, at times,
with droves of tourists, and this in itself is a detraction in the eyes
of many.

Perhaps it is because here one first meets a great château of state; and
certainly the Château de Blois lives in one's memory more than any other
château in France.

[Illustration: _The Riverside at Blois_]

Much has been written of Blois, its counts, its château, and its many
and famous _hôtels_ of the nobility, by writers of all opinions and
abilities, from those old chroniclers who wrote of the plots and
intrigues of other days to those critics of art and architecture who
have discovered--or think they have discovered--that Da Vinci designed
the famous spiral staircase.

From this one may well gather that Blois is the foremost château of all
the Loire in popularity and theatrical effect. Truly this is so, but it
is by no manner of means the most lovable; indeed, it is the least
lovable of all that great galaxy which begins at Blois and ends at
Nantes. It is a show-place and not much more, and partakes in every form
and feature--as one sees it to-day--of the attributes of a museum, and
such it really is. All of its former gorgeousness is still there, and
all the banalities of the later period when Gaston of Orleans built his
ugly wing, for the "personally conducted" to marvel at, and honeymoon
couples to envy. The French are quite fond of visiting this shrine
themselves, but usually it is the young people and their mammas, and
detached couples of American and English birth that one most sees
strolling about the courts and apartments were formerly lords and ladies
and cavaliers moved and plotted.

The great château of the Counts of Blois is built upon an inclined rock
which rises above the roof-tops of the lower town quite in fairy-book
fashion,--

    "... Bâtie en pierre et d'ardoise converte,
    Blanche et carrée au bas de la colline verte."

Commonly referred to as the Château de Blois, it is really composed of
four separate and distinct foundations; the original château of the
counts; the later addition of Louis XII.; the palace of François I., and
the most unsympathetically and dismally disposed _pavillon_ of Gaston of
Orleans.

[Illustration: _Signature of François Premier_]

The artistic qualities of the greater part of the distinct edifices
which go to make up the château as it stands to-day are superb, with the
exception of that great wing of Gaston's, before mentioned, which is as
cold and unfeeling as the overrated palace at Versailles.

The Comtes de Chatillon built that portion just to the right of the
present entrance; Louis XII., the edifice through which one enters the
inner court and which extends far to the left, including also the chapel
immediately to the rear; while François Premier, who here as elsewhere
let his unbounded Italian proclivities have full sway, built the
extended wing to the left of the inner court and fronting on the present
Place du Château, formerly the Place Royale.

Immediately to the left, in the Basse Cour de Château, are the Hôtel
d'Amboise, the Hôtel d'Épernon, and farther away, in the Rue St. Honore,
the Hôtel Sardini, the Hôtel d'Alluye, and a score of others belonging
to the nobility of other days; all of them the scenes of many stirring
and gallant events in Renaissance times.

This is hardly the place for a discussion of the merits or demerits of
any particular artistic style, but the frequently repeated expression of
Buffon's "_Le style, c'est l'homme_" may well be paraphrased into
"_L'art, c'est l'époque._" In fact one finds at all times imprinted upon
the architectural style of any period the current mood bred of some
historical event or a passing fancy.

At Blois this is particularly noticeable. As an architectural monument
the château is a picturesque assemblage of edifices belonging to many
different epochs, and, as such, shows, as well as any other document of
contemporary times, the varying ambitions and emotions of its builders,
from the rude and rough manners of the earliest of feudal times through
the highly refined Renaissance details of the imaginative brain of
François, down to the base concoction of the elder Mansart, produced at
the commands of Gaston of Orleans.

[Illustration: CYPHER OF ANNE D'BRETANGE CHÂTEAU DE BLOIS]

The whole gamut, from the gay and winsome to the sad and dismal, is
found here.

The escutcheons of the various occupants are plainly in evidence,--the
swan pierced by an arrow of the first Counts of Blois; the ermine of
Anne de Bretagne; the porcupine of the Ducs d'Orleans, and the
salamander of François Premier.

In the earliest structure were to be seen all the attributes of a feudal
fortress, towers and walls pierced with narrow loopholes, and damp, dark
dungeons hidden away in the thick walls. Then came a structure which was
less of a fortress and more habitable, but still a stronghold, though
having ample and decorative doorways and windows, with curious
sculptures and rich framings. Then the pompous Renaissance with
_escaliers_ and _balcons à jour_, balustrades crowning the walls,
arabesques enriching the pilasters and walls, and elaborate cornices
here, there, and everywhere,--all bespeaking the gallantry and taste of
the _roi-chevalier_. Finally came the cold, classic features of the
period of the brother of Louis XIII., decidedly the worst and most
unlivable and unlovely architecture which France has ever produced. All
these features are plain in the general scheme of the Château de Blois
to-day, and doubtless it is this that makes the appeal; too much
loveliness, as at Chenonceaux or Azay-le-Rideau, staggers the modern
mortal by the sheer impossibility of its modern attainment.

In plan the Château de Blois forms an irregular square situated at the
apex of a promontory high above the surface of the Loire, and
practically behind the town itself. The building has a most picturesque
aspect, and, to those who know, gives practically a history of the
château architecture of the time. Abandoned, mutilated, and dishonoured
from time to time, the structure gradually took on new forms until the
thick walls underlying the apartment known to-day as the Salle des
États--probably the most ancient portion of all--were overshadowed by
the great richness of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. One early
fragment was entirely enveloped in the structure which was built by
François Premier, the ancient Tour de Château Regnault, or De Moulins,
or Des Oubliettes, as it was variously known, and from the outside this
is no longer visible.

From the platform one sees a magnificent panorama of the city and the
far-reaching Loire, which unrolls itself southward and northward for
many leagues, its banks covered by rich vineyards and crowned by thick
forests.

The building of Louis XII. presents its brick-faced exterior in black
and red lozenge shapes, with sculptured window-frames, squarely upon the
little tree-bordered _place_ of to-day, which in other times formed a
part of that magnificent terrace which looked down upon the roof of the
Église St. Nicolas, and the Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception,
and the silvery belt of the Loire itself.

[Illustration: ARMS OF LOIS XII]

On the west façade of this vast conglomerate structure one sees the
effigy of the porcupine, that weird symbol adopted by the family of
Orleans.

The choice of this ungainly animal--in spite of which it is most
decorative in outline--was due to the first Louis, who was Duc
d'Orleans. In the year 1393 Louis founded the order of the porcupine,
in honour of the birth of Charles, his eldest son, who was born to him
by Valentine de Milan. The legend which accompanied the adoption of the
symbol--though often enough it was missing in the sculptured
representations--was _Cominus et eminus_, which had its origin in the
belief that the porcupine could defend himself in a near attack, but
that when he himself attacked, he fought from afar by launching forth
his spines.

Naturalists will tell you that the porcupine does no such thing; but in
those days it was evidently believed that he did, and in many, if not
all, of the sculptured effigies that one sees of the beast there is a
halo of detached spines forming a background as if they were really
launching themselves forth in mid-air.

Above this central doorway, or entrance to the courtyard, is a niche in
which is a modern equestrian statue of Louis XII., replacing a more
ancient one destroyed at the Revolution. This old statue, it is claimed,
was an admirable work of art in its day, and the present statue is
thought to be a replica of it.

It originally bore the following inscription--a verse written by Fausto
Andrelini, the king's favourite poet.

[Illustration: _Central Doorway, Château de Blois_]

   "Hic ubi natus erat dextro Lodoicus Olympo,
      Sumpsit honorata Regia sceptra manu;
    Felix quæ tanti fulfit lux nuntia Regis;
      Gallia non alio Principe digna fuit.

                  FAUSTUS 1498."

According to an old French description this old statue was: "_très beau
et très agréable ainsy que tous ses portraits l'ont représenté, comme
celui qui est au grand portail de Bloys_."

Above rises a balustrade with fantastic gargoyles with the pinnacles and
fleurons of the window gables all very ornate, the whole topped off with
a roofing of slate.

Blois, in its general aspect, is fascinating; but it is not sympathetic,
and this is not surprising when one remembers men and women who worked
their deeds of bloody daring within its walls.

The murders and other acts of violence and treason which took place here
are interesting enough, but one cannot but feel, when he views the
chimneypiece before which the Duc de Guise was standing when called to
his death in the royal closet, that the men of whom the bloody tales of
Blois are told quite deserved their fates.

One comes away with the impression of it all stamped only upon the
mind, not graven upon the heart. Political intrigue to-day, if quite as
vulgar, is less sordid. Bigotry and ambition in those days allowed few
of the finer feelings to come to the surface, except with regard to the
luxuriance of surroundings. Of this last there can be no question, and
Blois is as characteristically luxurious as any of the magnificent
edifices which lodged the royalty and nobility of other days, throughout
the valley of the Loire.

A numismatic curiosity, connected with the history of the Château de
Blois, is an ancient piece of money which one may see in the local
museum. It is the oldest document in existence in which, or on which,
the name of Blois is mentioned. On one side is a symbolical figure and
the legend _Bleso Castro_, and on the other a _croix haussée_ and the
name of the officer of the mint at Blois, _Pre Cistato, monetario_.

The plan of the Château de Blois here given shows it not as it is
to-day, but as it was at the death of Gaston d'Orleans in 1660. The
constructions of the different epochs are noted on the plan as follows:

     ERECTED BY THE COMTES DE CHATILLON

     1. Tour de Donjon, Château-Regnault, Moulins, or des
     Oubliettes.

     2. Salle des États.

     3. Tour du Foix or Observatory.


     ERECTED BY THE DUCS D'ORLEANS

     4. Portico and Galerie d'Orleans. (Destroyed in part by the
     military.)

     5. Galerie des Cerfs. (Built in part by Gaston, but made away
     with by the city of Blois when the Jardins du Roi were built.)


     ERECTED BY LOUIS XII.

     6. Chapelle St. Calais. (Destroyed in part by the military.)

     7. La Grande Vis, or Grand Escalier of Louis XI.

     8. La Petite Vis, or Petit Escalier, in one chamber of which
     the corpse of the Duc de Guise was burned.

     9. Portico and Galerie de Louis XII.

     10. Portico.

     11. Salle des Gardes,--of the queen on the ground floor and of
     the king on the first floor.

     12. Bedchamber,--of the queen on the ground floor and of the
     king on the first floor.

     13. Corps de Garde.

     14. Kitchen. (To-day Salle de Réception for visitors.)


     ERECTED FROM THE TIME OF FRANÇOIS I. TO HENRI III.

     15 and 16. Portico and Terrace Henri II. (In part built over by
     Gaston.)

     17. Grand Staircase.

     18. Galerie de François I.

     19. Staircase of the Salle des États. (Destroyed by the
     military.)

     20. First floor, Salle des Gardes of the queen; second floor,
     Salle des Gardes of the king.

     21. Staircase leading to the apartments of the queen mother.
     Here also Henri III. had made the cells destined for the use
     of the Capucins, and here were closeted "_pour s'assurer de
     leur discretion_," the "_Quarante-Cinq_" who were to kill the
     Duc de Guise.

     22. Cabinet Neuf of Henri III. (Second floor.)

     23. Gallery where was held the reunion of the Tiers Etats of
     1576.

     24. First floor, bedchamber of the king; second floor,
     bedchamber of the queen.

     25. Oratory.

     26. Cabinet.

     27. Passage to the Tour de Moulins.

     28. Passage to the Cabinet Vieux, where the Duc de Guise was
     struck down.

     29. Cabinet Vieux.

     30. Oratory, where the two chaplains of the king prayed during
     the perpetration of the murder.

     31. Garde-robe, where was first deposited the body of De Guise.


     ERECTED BY GASTON D'ORLEANS

     32. Peristyle. (Destroyed by the military.)

     33. Dome.

     34. Pavilion des Jardins.

     35. Pavilion du Foix.

     36. Petit Pavilion of the Méridionale façade. (Destroyed in
     1825.)

     37. Terraces.

     38. Bastions du Foix and des Jardins.

     39. L'Eperon.

     40. Le Jardin Haut, or Jardin du Roi.

[Illustration: _The_ CHÂTEAUX _of_ BLOIS (DIAGRAM)]

The interior court is partly surrounded by a colonnade, quite
cloister-like in effect. At the right centre of the François I. wing is
that wonderful spiral staircase, concerning the invention of which so
much speculation has been launched. Leonardo da Vinci, the protégé of
François, has been given the honour, and a very considerable volume has
been written to prove the claim.

[Illustration: _Cypher of François Premier and Claude of France, at
Blois_]

Within this "_tour octagone"--"qui fait à ses huit pans hurler un
gorgone_"--is built this marvellous openwork stairway,--an _escalier à
jour_, as the French call it,--without an equal in all France, and for
daring and decorative effect unexcelled by any of those Renaissance
motives of Italy itself. Its ascent turns not, as do most _escaliers_,
from left to right, but from right to left. It is the prototype of those
supposedly unique outside staircases pointed out to country cousins in
the abodes of Fifth Avenue millionaires.

It is as impossible to catalogue the various apartments and their
accessories here, as it is to include a chronology of the great events
which have passed within their walls. One thing should be remembered,
and that is, that the architect Duban restored the château throughout in
recent years. In spite of this restoration one may readily enough
reconstruct the scene of the murder of the Duc de Guise from the great
fireplace on the second floor before which De Guise was standing when
summoned by a page to the kingly presence, from the door through which
he entered to his death, and from the wall where hung the tapestry
behind which he was to pass. All this is real enough, and also the "Tour
des Oubliettes," in which the duke's brother, the cardinal, suffered,
and of which many horrible tales are still told by the attendants.

Duban, the architect, came with his careful restorations and pictured
with a most exact fidelity the decorations and the furnishings of the
times of François, of Catherine, and of Henri III. The ornate
chimneypieces have been furbished up anew, the walls and ceilings
covered with new paint and gold; nothing could be more opulent or
glorious, but it gives the impression of a city dwelling or a great
hotel, "newly done up," as the house renovators express it.

One contrasting emotion will be awakened by a contemplation of the two
great Salles des Gardes and the apartments of Catherine de Medici; here,
at least for the moment, is a relief from the intrigues, massacres, and
assassinations which otherwise went on, for one recalls that, at one
period, "_danses, ballets et jeux_" took place here continuously.

In the apartments of Catherine there is much to remind one of "the base
Florentine," as it has been the fashion of latter-day historians to
describe the first of the Medici queens. Nothing could be more sumptuous
than the Galerie de la Reine, her _Cabinet de Toilette_, or her _Chambre
à Coucher_, with its secret panels, where she died on the 5th of
January, 1589, "adored and revered," but soon forgotten, and of no more
account than "_une chèvre mort_," says one old chronicler.

The apartments of Catherine de Medici were directly beneath the
guard-room where the Balafré was murdered, and that event, taking place
at the very moment when the "queen-mother" was dying, cannot be said to
have been conducive to a peaceful demise.

Here, on the first floor of the François Premier wing, the _reine-mère_
held her court, as did the king his. The great gallery overlooked the
town on the side of the present Place du Château. It was, and is, a
truly grand apartment, with diamond-paned windows, and rich, dark, wall
decorations on which Catherine's device, a crowned C and her monogram in
gold, frequently appears. There was, moreover, a great oval window,
opposite which stood her altar, and a doorway, half concealed, led to
her writing-closet, with its secret drawers and wall-panels which well
served her purposes of intrigue and deceit. A hidden stairway led to the
floor above, and there was a _chambre à coucher_, with a deep recess for
the bed, the same to which she called her son Henri as she lay dying,
admonishing him to give up the thought of murdering Guise. "What," said
Henri, on this embarrassing occasion, "spare Guise, when he, triumphant
in Paris, dared lay his hand on the hilt of his sword! Spare him who
drove me a fugitive from the capital! Spare them who never spared me!
No, mother, I will _not_."

As the queen-mother drew near her end, and was lying ill at Blois,
great events for France were culminating at the château. Henri III. had
become King of France, and the Balafré, supported by Rome and Spain, was
in open rebellion against the reigning house, and the word had gone
forth that the Duc de Guise must die. The States General were to be
immediately assembled, and De Guise, once the poetic lover of
Marguerite, through his emissaries canvassed all France to ensure the
triumph of the party of the Church against Henri de Navarre and his
queen,--the Marguerite whom De Guise once professed to love,--who soon
were to come to the throne of France.

The uncomfortable Henri III. had been told that he would never be king
in reality until De Guise had been made away with.

The final act of the drama between the rival houses of Guise and Valois
came when the king and his council came to Blois for the Assembly. The
sunny city of Blois was indeed to be the scene of a momentous affair,
and a truly sumptuous setting it was, the roof-tops of its houses
sloping downward gently to the Loire, with the chief accessory, the
coiffed and turreted château itself, high above all else.

Details had been arranged with infinite pains, the guard doubled, and a
company of Swiss posted around the courtyard and up and down the
gorgeous staircase. Every nook and corner has its history in connection
with this greatest event in the history of the Château of Blois.

As Guise entered the council-chamber he was told that the king would see
him in his closet, to reach which one had to pass through the guard-room
below. The door was barred behind him that he might not return, when the
trusty guards of the "Forty-fifth," under Dalahaide, already hidden
behind the wall-tapestry, sprang upon the Balafré and forced him back
upon the closed door through which he had just passed. Guise fell
stabbed in the breast by Malines, and "lay long uncovered until an old
carpet was found in which to wrap his corpse."

Below, in her own apartments, lay the queen-mother, dying, but listening
eagerly for the rush of footsteps overhead, hoping and praying that
Henri--the hitherto effeminate Henri who played with his sword as he
would with a battledore, and who painted himself like a woman, and put
rings in his ears--would not prejudice himself at this time in the eyes
of Rome by slaying the leader of the Church party.

Guise died as Henri said he would die, with the words on his lips: "_A
moi, mes amis!--trahison!--à moi, Guise,--je me meurs_," but the revenge
of the Church party came when, at St. Cloud, the monk, Jacques Clément,
poignarded the last of the Valois, and put the then heretical Henri de
Navarre on the throne of France.

Within the southernmost confines of the château is the Tour de Foix, so
called for the old faubourg near by. The upper story and roof of this
curious round tower was the work of Catherine de Medici, who installed
there her astrologer and maker of philtres, Cosmo Ruggieri.

Ruggieri was a most versatile person; he was astrologer, alchemist, and
philosopher alike, besides being many other kinds of a rogue, all of
which was very useful to the Medici now that she had come to power.

Catherine built an outside stairway up to the platform of this tower,
and a great, flat, stone table was placed there to form a foundation for
Ruggieri's cabalistic instruments. Even this stone table itself was an
uncanny affair, if we are to believe the old chronicles. It rang out in
a clear sharp note whenever struck with some hard body, and on its
surface was graven a line which led the eye directly toward the golden
_fleur-de-lys_ on the cupola of Chambord's château, some three leagues
distant on the other side of the Loire. What all this symbolism actually
meant nobody except Catherine and her astrologer knew; at least, the
details do not appear to have come down to enlighten posterity. Over the
doorway of the observatory were graven the words, "_Vraniæ Sacrum_," _i.
e._, consecrated to Uranius.

Wherever Catherine chose to reside, whether in Touraine or at Paris, her
astrologer and his "_observatoire_" formed a part of her train. She had
brought Cosmo from Italy, and never for a moment did he leave her. He
was a sort of a private demon on whom Catherine could shoulder her
poisonings and her stabs, and, as before said, he was an exceedingly
busy functionary of the court.

That part of the structure built by Mansart for Gaston d'Orleans appears
strange, solemn, and superfluous in connection with the sumptuousness of
the earlier portions. With what poverty the architectural art of the
seventeenth century expressed itself! What an inferiority came with the
passing of the sixteenth century and the advent of the following! One
finds a certain grandeur in the outlines of this last wing, with its
majestic cupola over the entrance pavilion, but the general effect of
the decorations is one of a great paucity of invention when compared to
the more brilliant Renaissance forerunners on the opposite side of the
courtyard.

It was under the régime of Gaston d'Orleans that the gardens of the
Château de Blois came to their greatest excellence and beauty. In 1653
Abel Brunyer, the first physician of Gaston's suite, published a
catalogue of the fruits and flowers to be found here in these gardens,
of which he was also director. More than five hundred varieties were
included, three-quarters of which belonged to the flora of France.

Among the delicacies and novelties of the time to be found here was the
Prunier de Reine Claude, from which those delicious green plums known to
all the world to-day as "Reine Claudes" were propagated, also another
variety which came from the Prunier de Monsieur, somewhat similar in
taste but of a deep purple colour. The _pomme de terre_ was tenderly
cared for and grown as a great novelty and delicacy long before its
introduction to general cultivation by Parmentier. The tomato was
imported from Mexico, and even tobacco was grown; from which it may be
judged that Gaston did not intend to lack the good things of life.

All these facts are recounted in Brunyer's "Hortus Regius Blesensis,"
and, in addition, one Morrison, an expatriate Scotch doctor, who had
attached himself to Gaston, also wrote a competing work which was
published in London in 1669 under the title of "Preludia Botanica," and
which dealt at great length with the already celebrated gardens of the
Château de Blois.

Morrison placed at the head of his work a Latin verse which came in time
to be graven over the gateway of the gardens. This--as well as pretty
much all record of it--has disappeared, but a repetition of the lines
will serve to show with what admiration this paradise was held:

   "Hinc, nulli biferi miranda rosaria Pesti,
    Nec mala Hesperidum, vigili servata dracone.
    Si paradisiacis quicquam (sine crimine) campis
    Conferri possit, Blaesis mirabile specta.
    Magnifici Gastonis opus! Qui terra capaci ...

           *       *       *       *       *

        JACOBUS METELANUS SCOTUS."

Not merely in history has the famous château at Blois played its part.
Writers of fiction have more than once used it as an accessory or the
principal scenic background of their sword and cloak novels; none more
effectively than Dumas in the D'Artagnan series.

The opening lines of "Le Vicomte de Bragelonne" are laid here. "It
should have been a source of pride to the city of Blois," says Dumas,
"that Gaston of Orleans had chosen it as his residence, and held his
court in the ancient château of the States."

Here, too, in the second volume of the D'Artagnan romances, is the scene
of that most affecting meeting between his Majesty Charles II., King of
England, and Louis XIV.

Altogether one lives here in the very spirit of the pages of Dumas. Not
only Blois, but Langeais, Chambord, Cheverny, Amboise, and many other
châteaux figure in the novels with an astonishing frequency, and,
whatever the critics may say of the author's slips of pen and memory,
Dumas has given us a wonderfully faithful picture of the life of the
times.

In 1793 all the symbols and emblems of royalty were removed from the
château and destroyed. The celebrated bust of Gaston, the chief artistic
attribute of that part of the edifice built by him, was decapitated, and
the statue of Louis XII. over the entrance gateway was overturned and
broken up. Afterward the château became the property of the "domaine"
and was turned into a mere barracks. The Pavilion of Queen Anne became a
"_magasin des subsistances militaires_," the Tour de l'Observatoire, a
powder-magazine, and all the indignities imaginable were heaped upon the
château.

In 1814 Blois became the last capital of Napoleon's empire, and the
château walls sheltered the prisoners captured by the imperial army.

Blois's most luxurious church edifice was the old abbey church of St.
Sauveur, which was built from 1138 to 1210. It lost the royal favour in
1697, when Louis XIV. made Blois a city of bishops as well as of counts,
and transferred the chapter of St. Sauveur's to the bastard Gothic
edifice first known as St. Solenne, but which soon took on the name of
St. Louis. In spite of the claims of the old church, this cold,
unfeeling, and ugly mixture of tomblike Renaissance became, and still
remains, the bishop's church of Blois.

One must not neglect or forget the magnificent bridge which crosses the
Loire at Blois. A work of 1717-24, it bears the Rue Denis Papin across
its eleven solidly built masonry piers. Above the central arch is
erected a memorial pyramid and tablet which states the fact that it was
one of the first works of the reign of Louis XV.

Blois altogether, then, offers a multitudinous array of attractions for
the tourist who makes his first entrance to the châteaux country through
its doors. The town itself has not the appeal of Tours, of Angers, or of
Nantes; but, for all that, its abundance of historic lore, the admirable
preservation of its chief monument, and the general picturesqueness of
its site and the country round about make up for many other qualities
that may be lacking.

The Sologne, lying between Blois, Vierzon, and Châteauneuf-sur-Loire, is
a great region of lakelets, sandy soil, and replanted Corsican pines,
which to-day has taken on a new lease of life and a prosperity which was
unknown in the days when the Comtes de Blois first erected that _maison
de plaisance_, on its western border which was afterward to aggrandize
itself into the later Château de Chambord. The soil has been drained and
the vine planted to a hitherto undreamed of extent, until to-day, if the
land does not exactly blossom like the rose, it at least somewhat
approaches it.

The _chaumières_ of the Sologne have disappeared to a large extent, and
their mud walls and thatched roofs are not as frequent a detail of the
landscape as formerly, but even now there is a distinct individuality
awaiting the artist who will go down among these vineyard workers of the
Sologne and paint them and their surroundings as other parts have been
painted and popularized. It will be hot work in the summer months, and
lonesome work at all times, but there is a new note to be sounded if one
but has the ear for it, and it is to be heard right here in this tract
directly on the beaten track from north to south, and yet so little
known.

The peasant of the Sologne formerly ate his _soupe au poireau_ and a
morsel of _fromage maigre_ and was as content and happy as if his were a
more luxurious board, as it in reality became when a stranger demanded
hospitality. Then out from the _armoire_--that ever present adjunct of a
French peasant's home, whether it be in Normandy, Touraine, or the
Midi--came a bottle of _vin blanc_, bought in the wine-shops of
Romorantin or Vierzon on some of his periodical trips to town.

To-day all is changing, and the peasant of the Sologne nourishes himself
better and trims his beard and wears a round white collar on fête-days.
He is proud of his well-kept appearance, but his neighbours to the
north and the south will tell you that all this hides a deep malice,
which is hard to believe, in spite of the well recognized saying, "_Sot
comme un Solognat_." The women have a physiognomy more passive; when
young they are fresh and lip-lively, but as they grow older their charms
pass quickly.

The Sologne in most respects has changed greatly since the days of
Arthur Young. Then this classic land was reviled and vehement
imprecations were launched upon the proprietors of its soil,--"those
brilliant and ambitious gentlemen" who figure so largely in the
ceremonies of Versailles. To-day all is changed, and the gentleman
farmer is something more than a _bourgeois parisien_ who hunts and rides
and apes "_le sport_" of the English country squire.

The jack-rabbit and the hare are the pests of the Sologne now that its
sandy soil has been conquered, but they are quite successfully kept down
in numbers, and the insects which formerly ravaged the vines are
likewise less offensive than they used to be, so the Sologne may truly
be said to have been transformed.

To-day, as in the days of the royal hunt, when Chambord was but a
shooting-box of the Counts of Blois, the Sologne is rife with small
game, and even deer and an occasional _sanglier_.

"_La chasse_" in France is no mean thing to-day, and the Sologne, La
Beauce, and the great national forests of Lyons and Rambouillet draw--on
the opening of the season, somewhere between the 28th of August and the
2d of September of each year--their hundreds of thousands of Nimrods and
disciples of St. Hubert. The bearer of the gun in France is indeed a
most ardent sportsman, and in no European country can one buy in the
open market a greater variety of small game,--all the product of those
who pay their twenty francs for the privilege of bagging rabbits, hares,
partridges, and the like. The hunters of France enjoy one superstition,
however, and that is that to accidentally bag a crow on the first shot
means a certain and sudden death before the day is over.

La Motte-Beuvron is celebrated in the annals of the Sologne; it is, in
fact, the metropolis of the region, and the centre from which radiated
the influences which conquered the soil and made of it a prosperous
land, where formerly it was but a sandy, arid desert. La Motte-Beuvron
is a long-drawn-out _bourgade_, like some of the populous centres of the
great plain of Hungary, and there is no great prosperity or
"up-to-dateness" to be observed, in spite of its constantly increasing
importance, for La Motte-Beuvron and the country round about is one of
the localities of France which is apparently not falling off in its
population.

La Motte has a most imposing Hôtel de Ville, a heavy edifice of brick
built by Napoleon III.--who has never been accused of having had the
artistic appreciation of his greater ancestor--after the model of the
Arsenal at Venice.

This is all La Motte has to warrant remark unless one is led to
investigate the successful agricultural experiment which is still being
carried out hereabouts. La Motte's hôtels and cafés are but ordinary,
and there is no counter attraction of boulevard or park to place the
town among those lovable places which travellers occasionally come upon
unawares.

To realize the Sologne at its best and in its most changed aspect, one
should follow the roadway from La Motte to Blois. He may either go by
tramway _à vapeur_, or by his own means of communication. In either case
he will then know why the prosperity of the Sologne and the contentment
of the Solognat is assured.

Romorantin, still characteristic of the Sologne and its historic
capital, is famous for its asparagus and its paternal château of
François Premier, where that prince received the scar upon his face, at
a tourney, which compelled him ever after to wear a beard.

To-day the Sous-Préfecture, the Courts and their prisoners, the
Gendarmerie, and the Theatre are housed under the walls that once formed
the château royal of Jean d'Angoulême; within whose apartments the
gallant François was brought up.

[Illustration: _Native Types in the Sologne_]

The Sologne, like most of the other of the _petits pays_ of France, is
prolific in superstitions and traditionary customs, and here for some
reason they deal largely of the marriage state. When the _paysan
solognais_ marries, he takes good care to press the marriage-ring well
up to the third joint of his spouse's finger, "else she will be the
master of the house," which is about as well as the thing can be
expressed in English. It seems a simple precaution, and any one so
minded might well do the same under similar circumstances, provided he
thinks the proceeding efficacious.

Again, during the marriage ceremony itself, each of the parties most
interested bears a lighted wax taper, with the belief that whichever
first burns out, so will its bearer die first. It's a gruesome thought,
perhaps, but it gives one an inkling of who stands the best chance of
inheriting the other's goods, which is what matches are sometimes made
for.

The marriage ceremony in the Sologne is a great and very public
function. Intimates, friends, acquaintances, and any of the neighbouring
populace who may not otherwise be occupied, attend, and eat, drink, and
ultimately get merry. But they have a sort of process of each paying his
or her own way; at least a collection is taken up to pay for the
entertainment, for the Sologne peasant would otherwise start his married
life in a state of bankruptcy from which it would take him a long time
to recover.

The collection is made with considerable _éclat_ and has all the
elements of picturesqueness that one usually associates with the wedding
processions that one sees on the comic-opera stage. A sort of nuptial
bouquet--a great bunch of field flowers--is handed round from one guest
to another, and for a sniff of their fragrance and a participation in
the collation which is to come, they make an offering, dropping much or
little into a golden (not gold) goblet which is passed around by the
bride herself.

In the Sologne there is (or was, for the writer has never seen it)
another singular custom of the marriage service--not really a part of
the churchly office, but a sort of practical indorsement of the
actuality of it all.

The bride and groom are both pricked with a needle until the blood runs,
to demonstrate that neither the man nor the woman is insensible or
dreaming as to the purport of the ceremony about to take place.

As every French marriage is at the Mairie, as well as being held in
church, this double ceremony (and the blood-letting as well) must make a
very hard and fast agreement. Perhaps it might be tried elsewhere with
advantage.

Montrichard, on the Cher, is on the borderland between the Blaisois and
Touraine. Its donjon announces itself from afar as a magnificent feudal
ruin. The town is moreover most curious and original, the great
rectangular donjon rising high into the sky above a series of
cliff-dwellers' chalk-cut homes, in truly weird fashion.

There is nothing so very remarkable about cliff-dwellers in the Loire
country, and their aspect, manners, and customs do not differ greatly
from those of their neighbours, who live below them.

Curiously enough these rock-cut dwellings appear dry and healthful, and
are not in the least insalubrious, though where a _cave_ has been
devoted only to the storage of wine in vats, barrels, and bottles the
case is somewhat different.

Montrichard itself, outside of these scores of homes burrowed out of the
cliff, is most picturesque, with stone-pignoned gables and
dormer-windows and window-frames cut or worked in wood or stone into a
thousand amusing shapes.

Montrichard, with Chinon, takes the lead in interesting old houses in
these parts; in fact, they quite rival the ruinous lean-to houses of
Rouen and Lisieux in Normandy, which is saying a good deal for their
picturesque qualities.

[Illustration: _Donjon of Montrichard_]

One-third of Montrichard's population live underground or in houses
built up against the hillsides. Even the lovely old parish church backs
against the rock.

Everywhere are stairways and _petits chemins_ leading upward or
downward, with little façades, windows, or doorways coming upon one in
most unexpected and mysterious fashion at every turn.

The magnificent donjon is a relic of the work of that great
fortress-builder, Foulques Nerra, Comte d'Anjou, who dotted the land
wherever he trod with these masterpieces of their kind, most of them
great rectangular structures like the donjons of Britain, but quite
unlike the structures of their class mostly seen in France.

Richard Coeur de Lion occupied the fortress in 1108, but was obliged to
succumb to his rival in power, Philippe-Auguste, who in time made a
breach in its walls and captured it. Thereafter it became an outpost of
his own, from whence he could menace the Comte d'Anjou.



CHAPTER IV.

CHAMBORD


Chambord is four leagues from Blois, from which point it is usually
approached. To reach it one crosses the Sologne, not the arid waste it
has been pictured, but a desert which has been made to blossom as the
rose.

A glance of the eye, given anywhere along the road from Blois to
Chambord, will show a vineyard of a thousand, two thousand, or even more
acres, where, from out of a soil that was once supposed to be the
poorest in all wine-growing France, may be garnered a crop equalling a
hundred dozen of bottles of good rich wine to the acre.

This wine of the Sologne is not one of the famous wines of France, to be
sure, but what one gets in these parts is pure and astonishingly
palatable; moreover, one can drink large portions of it--as do the
natives--without being affected in either his head or his pocket-book.

From late September to early December there is a constant harvest going
on in the vineyards, whose labourers, if not as picturesque and joyous
as we are wont to see them on the comic-opera stage, are at least
wonderfully clever and industrious, for they make a good wine crop out
of a soil which previously gave a living only to charcoal-burners and
goat-keepers.

François was indeed a rare devotee of the building mania when he laid
out the wood which surrounds Chambord and which ultimately grew to some
splendour. The nineteenth century saw this great wood cut and sold in
huge quantities, so that to-day it is rather a scanty copse through
which one drives on the way from Blois.

The country round about is by no means impoverished,--far from it. It is
simply unworked to its fullest extent as yet. As it is plentifully
surrounded by water it makes an ideal land for the growing of asparagus,
strawberries, and grapes, and so it has come to be one of the most
prosperous and contented regions in all the Loire valley.

The great white Château de Chambord, with its turrets and its
magnificent lantern, looms large from whatever direction it is
approached, though mostly it is framed by the somewhat stunted pines
which make up the pleasant forest. The vistas which one sees when coming
toward Chambord, through the drives and alleys of its park, with the
château itself brilliant in the distance, are charming and fairy-like
indeed. Straight as an arrow these roadways run, and he who traverses
one of those centring at the château will see a tiny white fleck in the
sunlight a half a dozen kilometres away, which, when it finally is
reached, will be admitted to be the greatest triumph of the art-loving
monarch.

François Premier was foremost in every artistic expression in France,
and the court, as may be expected, were only too eager to follow the
expensive tastes of their monarch,--when they could get the means, and
when they could not, often enough François supplied the wherewithal.

François himself dressed in the richest of Italian velvets, the more
brilliant the better, with a preponderant tendency toward pink and sky
blue.

A dozen years after François came to the throne, a dozen years after the
pleasant life of Amboise, when mother, daughter, and son lived together
on the banks of the Loire in that "Trinity of love," the monarch and
his wife, Queen Claude of France, the daughter of Louis XII. and Anne of
Brittany, came to live at Chambord on the edge of the sandy Sologne
waste.

Here, too, came Marguerite d'Alençon, the ever faithful and devoted
sister of François, the duke, her husband, and all the gay members of
the court. The hunt was the order of the day, for the forest tract of
the Sologne, scanty though it was in growth, abounded in small game.

Chambord at this time had not risen to the grand and ornate proportions
which we see to-day, but set snugly on the low, swampy banks of the tiny
river Cosson, a dull, gloomy mediæval fortress, whose only aspect of
gaiety was that brought by the pleasure-loving court when it assembled
there. In size it was ample to accommodate the court, but François's
artistic temperament already anticipated many and great changes. The
Loire was to be turned from its course and the future pompous palace was
to have its feet bathed in the limpid Loire water rather than in the
stagnant pools of the morass which then surrounded it.

As a triumph of the royal château-builder's art, Chambord is far and
away ahead of Fontainebleau or Versailles, both of which were built in
a reign which ended two hundred years later than that which began with
the erection of Chambord. As an example of the arts of François I. and
his time compared with those of Louis XIV. and his, Chambord stands
forth with glorious significance.

On the low banks of the Cosson, François achieved perhaps the greatest
triumph that Renaissance architecture had yet known.

It was either Chambord, or the reconstruction by François of the edifice
belonging to the Counts of Blois, which resulted in the refinement of
the Renaissance style less than a quarter of a century after its
introduction into France by Charles VIII.,--if he really was responsible
for its importation from Italy. François lacked nothing of daring, and
built and embellished a structure which to-day, in spite of numerous
shortcomings, stands as the supreme type of a great Renaissance domestic
edifice of state. Every device of decoration and erratic suggestion
seems to have been carried out, not only structurally, as in the great
double spiral of its central stairway, but in its interpolated details
and symbolism as well.

It was at this time, too, that François began to introduce the famous
salamander into his devices and ciphers; that most significant emblem
which one may yet see on wall and ceiling of Chambord surrounded by the
motto: "_Je me nourris et je meurs dans le feu._"

[Illustration: _Arms of François Premier, at Chambord_]

Chambord, first of all, gives one a very high opinion of François
Premier, and of the splendours with which he was wont to surround
himself. The apartments are large and numerous and are admirably planned
and decorated, though, almost without exception, bare to-day of
furniture or furnishings.

To quote the opinion of Blondel, the celebrated French architect: "The
Château de Chambord, built under François I. and Henri II., from the
designs of Primatice, was never achieved according to the original plan.
Louis XIII. and Louis XIV. contributed a certain completeness, but the
work was really pursued afterward according to the notions of one
Sertio."

The masterpiece of its constructive elements is its wonderful doubly
spiralled central staircase, which permits one to ascend or descend
without passing another proceeding in the opposite direction at the same
time. Whatever may have been the real significance of this great double
spiral, it has been said that it played its not unimportant part in the
intrigue and scandal of the time. It certainly is a wonder of its kind,
more marvellous even than that spiral at Blois, attributed, with some
doubt perhaps, to Leonardo da Vinci, and certainly far more beautiful
than the clumsy round tower up which horses and carriages were once
driven at Amboise.

At all events, it probably meant something more than mere constructive
ability, and a staircase which allows one individual to mount and
another to descend without knowing of the presence of the other may
assuredly be classed with those other mediæval accessories, sliding
panels, hidden doorways, and secret cabinets.

Beneath the dome which terminates the staircase in the Orleans wing are
three caryatides representing--it is doubtfully stated--François
Premier, La Duchesse d'Étampes, and Madame la Comtesse de
Châteaubriand,--a trinity of boon companions in intrigue.

In reality Chambord presents the curiously contrived arrangement of one
edifice within another, as a glance of the eye at the plan will show.

The fosse, the usual attribute of a great mediæval château--it may be a
dry one or a wet one, in this case it was a wet one--has disappeared,
though Brantôme writes that he saw great iron rings let into the walls
to which were attached "_barques et grands bateaux_," which had made
their way from the Loire via the dribbling Cosson.

The Cosson still dribbles its life away to-day, its moisture having, to
a great part, gone to irrigate the sandy Sologne, but formerly it was
doubtless a much more ample stream.

From the park the ornate gables and dormer-windows loom high above the
green-swarded banks of the Cosson. It was so in François's time, and it
is so to-day; nothing has been added to break the spread of lawn, except
an iron-framed wash-house with red tiles and a sheet-iron chimney-pot
beside the little river, and a tin-roofed garage for automobiles
connected with the little inn outside the gates.

The rest is as it was of yore, at least, the same as the old engravings
of a couple of hundreds of years ago picture it, hence it is a great
shame, since the needs of the tiny village could not have demanded it,
that the foreground could not have been left as it originally was.

The town, or rather village, or even hamlet, of Chambord is about the
most abbreviated thing of its kind existent. There is practically no
village; there are a score or two of houses, an inn of the frankly
tourist kind, which evidently does not cater to the natives, the
aforesaid wash-house by the river bank, the dwellings of the
gamekeepers, gardeners, and workmen on the estate, and a diminutive
church rising above the trees not far away. These accessories
practically complete the make-up of the little settlement of Chambord,
on the borders of the Blaisois and Touraine.

Chambord has been called top-heavy, but it is hardly that. Probably the
effect is caused by its low-lying situation, for, as has been intimated
before, this most imposing of all of the Loire châteaux has the least
desirable situation of any. There is a certain vagueness and foreignness
about the sky-line that is almost Eastern, though we recognize it as
pure Renaissance. Perhaps it is the magnitude and lonesomeness of it all
that makes it seem so strange, an effect that is heightened when one
steps out upon its roof, with the turrets, towers, and cupolas still
rising high above.

[Illustration: _PLAN OF CHAMBORD_]

The ground-plan is equally magnificent, flanked at every corner by a
great round tower, with another quartette of them at the angles of the
interior court.

Most of the stonework of the fabric is brilliant and smooth, as if it
were put up but yesterday, and, beyond the occasional falling of a tile
from the wonderful array of chimney-pots, but little evidences are seen
exteriorly of its having decayed in the least. On the tower which flanks
the little door where one meets the _concierge_ and enters, there are
unmistakable marks of bullets and balls, which a revolutionary or some
other fury left as mementoes of its passage.

Considering that Chambord was not a product of feudal times, these
disfigurements seem out of place; still its peaceful motives could
hardly have been expected to have lasted always.

The southern façade is not excelled by the elevation of any residential
structure of any age, and its outlines are varied and pleasing enough to
satisfy the most critical; if one pardons the little pepper-boxes on the
north and south towers, and perforce one has to pardon them when he
recalls the magnificence of the general disposition and sky-line of this
marvellously imposing château of the Renaissance.

François Premier made Chambord his favourite residence, and in fact
endowed Pierre Nepveu--who for this work alone will be considered one of
the foremost architects of the French Renaissance--with the
inspiration for its erection in 1526.

[Illustration: _Château de Chambord_]

A prodigious amount of sculpture by Jean Cousin, Pierre Bontemps, Jean
Goujon, and Germain Pilon was interpolated above the doorways and
windows, in the framing thereof, and above the great fireplaces. Inside
and out, above and below, were vast areas to be covered, and François
allowed his taste to have full sway.

The presumptuous François made much of this noble residence, perhaps
because of his love of _la chasse_, for game abounded hereabouts, or
perhaps because of his regard for the Comtesse Thoury, who occupied a
neighbouring château.

For some time before his death, François still lingered on at Chambord.
Marguerite and her brother, both now considerably aged since the happier
times of their childhood in Touraine, always had an indissoluble
fondness for Chambord. Marguerite had now become Queen of Navarre, but
her beauty had been dimmed with the march of time, and she no longer was
able to comfort and amuse her kingly brother as of yore. His old
pleasures and topics of conversation irritated him, and he had even
tired of poetry, art, and political affairs.

Above all, he shamefully and shamelessly abused women, at once the prop
and the undermining influence of his kingly power in days gone by. There
is an existing record to the effect that he wrote some "window-pane"
verse on the window of his private apartment to the following effect:

         "Souvent femme varie;
          Mal habile quis'y fie!"

If this be not apocryphal, the incident must have taken place long years
before that celebrated "window-pane" verse of Shenstone's, and François
is proven again a forerunner, as he was in many other things.

Without doubt the Revolution did away with this square of glass,
which--according to Piganiol de la Force--existed in the middle of the
eighteenth century. Perhaps François's own jealous humour prompted him
to write these cynical lines, and then again perhaps it is merely one of
those fables which breathe the breath of life in some unaccountable
manner, no one having been present at its birth, and hearsay and
tradition accounting for it all.

François, truly, was failing, and he and his sister discussed but
sorrowful subjects: the death of his favourite son, Charles, the
inheritor of the throne, at Abbeville, where he became infected with the
plague, and also the death of him whom he called "his old friend," Henry
VIII. of England, a monarch whose amours were as numerous and celebrated
as his own.

Henri II. preferred the attractions of Anet to Chambord, while Catherine
de Medici and Charles IX. cared more for Blois, Chaumont, and
Chenonceaux. Louis XIII. and Louis XIV. only considered it as a
rendezvous for the chase, and the latter's successor, Louis XV., gave it
to the illustrious Maurice de Saxe, the victor of Fontenoy, who spent
his old age here, amid fêtes, pleasures, and military parades. Near by
are the barracks, built for the accommodation of the regiment of horse
formed by the maréchal and devoted to his special guardianship and
pleasure, and paid for by the king, who in turn repaid himself--with
interest--from the public treasury. The exercising of this "little army"
was one of the chief amusements of the illustrious old soldier.

                                "A de feints combats
    Lui-même en se jouant conduit les vieux soldats"--

wrote the Abbé de Lille in contemporary times.

King Stanislas of Poland lived here from 1725 to 1733, and later it was
given to Maréchal Berthier, by whose widow it was sold in 1821.

It was bought by national subscription for a million and a half of
francs and given to the Duc de Bordeaux, who immediately commenced its
restoration, for it had been horribly mutilated by Maréchal de Saxe, and
the surrounding wood had been practically denuded under the Berthier
occupancy.

The Duc de Bordeaux died in 1883, and his heirs, the Duc de Parme and
the Comte de Bardi, are now said to spend a quarter of a million
annually in the maintenance of the estate, the income of which
approximates only half that sum.

There are thirteen great staircases in the edifice, and a room for every
day in the year. On the ground floor is the Salle des Gardes, from which
one mounts by the great spiral to another similar apartment with a
barrel-vaulted roof, which in a former day was converted into a theatre,
where in 1669-70 were held the first representations of "Pourceaugnac"
and "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme," and where Molière himself frequently
appeared.

The second floor is known as the "_grandes terrasses_" and surrounds the
base of the great central lantern so admired from the exterior. On this
floor, to the eastward, were the apartments of François Premier. The
chapel was constructed by Henri II., but the tribune is of the era of
Louis XIV. This tribune is decorated with a fine tapestry, made by
Madame Royale while imprisoned in the Temple. At the base of the altar
is also a tapestry made and presented to the Comte de Chambord by the
women of the Limousin.

The apartments of Louis XIV. contain portraits of Madame de Maintenon
and Madame de Lafayette, a great painting of the "Bataille de Fontenoy,"
and another of the Comte de Chambord on horseback.



CHAPTER V.

CHEVERNY, BEAUREGARD, AND CHAUMONT


From Chambord and its overpowering massiveness one makes his way to
Chaumont, on the banks of the Loire below Blois, by easy stages across
the plain of the Sologne.

One leaves the precincts of Chambord by the back entrance, as one might
call it, through six kilometres of forest road, like that by which one
enters, and soon passes the little townlet of Bracieux.

One gets glimpses of more or less modern residential châteaux once and
again off the main road, but no remarkably interesting structures of any
sort are met with until one reaches Cheverny. Just before Cheverny one
passes Cour-Cheverny, with a curious old church and a quaint-looking
little inn beside it.

[Illustration: _Château de Cheverny_]

Cheverny itself is, however, the real attraction, two kilometres away.
Here the château is opened by its private owners from April to
October of each year, and, while not such a grand establishment as many
of its contemporaries round about, it is in every way a perfect
residential edifice of the seventeenth century, when the flowery and
ornate Renaissance had given way to something more severely classical,
and, truth to tell, far less pleasing in an artistic sense.

Cheverny belongs to-day to the Marquis de Vibraye, one of those undying
titles of the French nobility which thrive even in republican France and
uphold the best traditions of the _noblesse_ of other days.

The château was built much later than most of the neighbouring châteaux,
in 1634, by the Comte de Cheverny, Philippe Hurault. It sits
green-swarded in the midst of a beautifully wooded park, and the great
avenue which faces the principal entrance extends for seven kilometres,
a distance not excelled, if equalled, by any private roadway elsewhere.

In its constructive features the château is more or less of rectangular
outlines. The pavilions at each corner have their openings _à la
impériale_, with the domes, or lanterns, so customary during the height
of the style under Louis XIV. An architect, Boyer by name, who came from
Blois, where surely he had the opportunity of having been well
acquainted with a more beautiful style, was responsible for the design
of the edifice at Cheverny.

The interior decorations in Cordovan leather, the fine chimneypieces,
and the many elaborate historical pictures and wall paintings, by
Mosnier, Clouet, and Mignard, are all of the best of their period; while
the apartments themselves are exceedingly ample, notably the Appartement
du Roi, furnished as it was in the days of "Vert Galant," the Salle des
Gardes, the library and an elaborately traceried staircase. In the
chapel is an altar-table which came from the Église St. Calais, in the
château at Blois.

Just outside the gates is a remarkable crotchety old stone church, with
a dwindling, toppling spire. It is poor and impoverished when compared
with most French churches, and has a most astonishing timbered veranda,
with a straining, creaking roof running around its two unobstructed
walls. The open rafters are filled with all sorts of rubbish, and the
local fire brigade keeps its hose and ladders there. A most suitable old
rookery it is in which to start a first-class conflagration.

[Illustration: _Cheverny-sur-Loire_]

Within are a few funeral marbles of the Hurault family, and the daily
offices are conducted with a pomp most unexpected. Altogether it
forms, as to its fabric and its functions, as strong a contrast of
activity and decay as one is likely to see in a long journey.

The town itself is a sleepy, unprogressive place, where automobilists
may not even buy _essence à pétrole_, and, though boasting--if the
indolent old town really does boast--a couple of thousand souls, one
still has to journey to Cour-Cheverny to send a telegraphic despatch or
buy a daily paper.

Between Cheverny and Blois is the Forêt de Russy, which will awaken
memories of the boar-hunts of François I., which, along with art in all
its enlightening aspects, appears to have been one of the chief
pleasures of that monarch. Perhaps one ought to include also the love of
fair women, but with them he was not so constant.

On the road to Blois, also, one passes the Château de Beauregard; that
is, one usually passes it, but he shouldn't. It is built, practically,
within the forest, on the banks of the little river Beauvron. An iron
_grille_ gives entrance to a beautiful park, and within is the château,
its very name indicating the favour with which it was held by
its royal owner. It was in 1520 that François I. established it
as a _rendezvous de chasse_. Under his son, Henri II., it was
reconstructed, in part; entirely remodelled in the seventeenth century;
and "modernized"--whatever that may mean--in 1809, and again, more
lately, restored by the Duc de Dino. It belongs to-day to the Comte de
Cholet, who has tried his hand at "restoration" as well.

The history of this old château is thus seen to have been most varied,
and it is pretty sure to have lost a good deal of its original character
in the transforming process.

The interior is more attractive than is the exterior. There is a grand
gallery of portraits of historical celebrities, more than 350, executed
between 1617 and 1638 by Paul Ardier, Counsellor of State, who thus
combined the accomplishment of the artist with the sagacity of the
statesman.

The ceilings of the great rooms are mostly elaborate works in enamel and
carved oak, and there is a tiled floor (_carrelage_) in the portrait
gallery, in blue faïence, representing an army in the order of battle,
which must have delighted the hearts of the youthful progeny who may
have been brought up within the walls of the château. This pavement is
moreover an excellent example of the craftsmanship of tile-making.

One gains admission to the château freely from the _concierge_, who in
due course expects her _pourboire_, and sees that she gets it. But what
would you, inquisitive traveller? You have come here to see the sights,
and Beauregard is well worth the price of admission, which is anything
you like to give, certainly not less than a franc.

One may return to Blois through the forest, or may continue his way down
the river to Chaumont on the left bank.

At Chaumont the Loire broadens to nearly double the width at Blois, its
pebbles and sandbars breaking the mirror-like surface into innumerable
pools and _étangs_. There is a bridge which connects Chaumont with the
railway at Onzain and the great national highway from Tours to Blois.
The bridge, however, is so hideous a thing that one had rather go miles
out of his way than accept its hospitality. It is simply one of those
unsympathetic wire-rope affairs with which the face of the globe is
being covered, as engineering skill progresses and the art instinct dies
out.

[Illustration: _Chaumont_]

The Château de Chaumont is charmingly situated, albeit it is not very
accessible to strangers after one gets there, as it is open to the
public only on Thursdays, from July to December. It is exactly what one
expects to find,--a fine riverside establishment of its epoch, and in
architectural style combining the well-recognized features of late
Gothic and the early Renaissance. It is not moss-grown or decrepit in
any way, which fact, considering its years, is perhaps remarkable.

The park of the château is only of moderate extent, but the structure
itself is, comparatively, of much larger proportions. The ideal view of
the structure is obtained from midway on that ungainly bridge which
spans the Loire at this point. Here, in the gold and purple of an autumn
evening, with the placid and far-reaching Loire, its pools and its bars
of sand and pebble before one, it is a scene which is as near idyllic as
one is likely to see.

The town itself is not attractive; one long, narrow lane-like street,
lined on each side by habitations neither imposing nor of a tumble-down
picturesqueness, borders the Loire. There is nothing very picturesque,
either, about the homes of the vineyard workers round about. Below and
above the town the great highroad runs flat and straight between Tours
and Blois on either side of the river, and automobilists and cyclists
now roll along where the state carriages of the court used to roll when
François Premier and his sons journeyed from one gay country house to
another.

It is to be inferred that the aspect of things at Chaumont has not
changed much since that day,--always saving that spider-net wire bridge.
The population of the town has doubtless grown somewhat, even though
small towns in France sometimes do not increase their population in
centuries; but the topographical aspect of the long-drawn-out village,
backed by green hills on one side and the Loire on the other, is much as
it always has been.

[Illustration: _Signature of Diane de Poitiers_]

The château at Chaumont had its origin as far back as the tenth century,
and its proprietors were successively local seigneurs, Counts of Blois,
the family of Amboise, and Diane de Poitiers, who received it from
Catherine in exchange for Chenonceaux. This was not a fair exchange, and
Diane was, to some extent, justified in her complaints.

Chaumont was for a time in the possession of Scipion Sardini, one of
the Italian partisans of the Medici, "whose arms bore _trois sardines
d'argent_," and who had married Isabelle de la Tour, "_la Demoiselle de
Limieul_" of unsavoury reputation.

The "_Demoiselle de Limieul_" was related, too, to Catherine, and was
celebrated in the gallantries of the time in no enviable fashion. She
was a member of that band of demoiselles whose business it was--by one
fascination or another--to worm political secrets from the nobles of the
court. One horrible scandal connected the unfortunate lady with the
Prince de Condé, but it need not be repeated here. The Huguenots
ridiculed it in those memorable verses beginning thus:

         "Puella illa nobilis
          Quæ erat tam amabilis."

After the reign of Sardini and of his direct successors, the house of
Bullion, Chaumont passed through many hands. Madame de Staël arrived at
the château in the early years of the nineteenth century, when she had
received the order to separate herself from Paris, "by at least forty
leagues." She had made the circle of the outlying towns, hovering about
Paris as a moth about a candle-flame; Rouen, Auxerre, Blois, Saumur, all
had entertained her, but now she came to establish herself in this
Loire citadel. As the story goes, journeying from Saumur to Tours, by
post-chaise, on the opposite side of the river, she saw the imposing
mass of Chaumont rising high above the river-bed, and by her good graces
and winning ways installed herself in the affections of the then
proprietor, M. Leray, and continued her residence "and made her court
here for many years."

Chaumont is to-day the property of the Princesse de Broglie, who has
sought to restore it, where needful, even to reëstablishing the ancient
fosse or moat. This last, perhaps, is not needful; still, a moated
château, or even a moated grange has a fascination for the sentimentally
inclined.

At the drawbridge, as one enters Chaumont to-day, one sees the graven
initials of Louis XII. and Anne de Bretagne, the arms of Georges
d'Amboise, surmounted by his cardinal's hat, and those of Charles de
Chaumont, as well as other cabalistic signs: one a representation of a
mountain (apparently) with a crater-like summit from which flames are
breaking forth, while hovering about, back to back, are two C's: [IMAGE
OF TWO JOINED LETTER 'C' POSITIONED LIKE THIS: )(]. The Renaissance
artists greatly affected the rebus, and this perhaps has some reference
to the etymology of the name Chaumont, which has been variously given
as coming from _Chaud Mont_, _Calvus Mont_, and _Chauve Mont_.

Georges d'Amboise, the first of the name, was born at Chaumont in 1460,
the eighth son of a family of seventeen children. It was a far cry, as
distances went in those days, from the shores of the shallow, limpid
Loire to those of the forceful, turgent Seine at Rouen, where in the
great Cathedral of Notre Dame, this first Georges of Amboise, having
become an archbishop and a cardinal, was laid to rest beneath that
magnificent canopied tomb before which visitors to the Norman capital
stand in wonder. The mausoleum bears this epitaph, which in some small
measure describes the activities of the man.

   "Pastor eram cleri, populi pater; aurea sese
      Lilia subdebant, quercus et ipsa mihi.

   "Martuus en jaceo, morte extinguunter honores,
      Et virtus, mortis nescia, mort viret."

His was not by any means a life of placidity and optimism, and he had
the air and reputation of doing things. There is a saying, still current
in Touraine: "_Laissez faire à Georges._"

The second of the same name, also an Archbishop of Rouen and a
cardinal, succeeded his uncle in the see. He also is buried beneath the
same canopy as his predecessor at Rouen.

The main portal of the château leads to a fine quadrilateral court with
an open gallery overlooking the Loire, which must have been a
magnificent playground for the nobility of a former day. The interior
embellishments are fine, some of the more noteworthy features being a
grand staircase of the style of Louis XII.; the Salle des Gardes, with a
painted ceiling showing the arms of Chaumont and Amboise; the Salle du
Conseil, with some fine tapestries and a remarkable tiled floor,
depicting scenes of the chase; the Chambre de Catherine de Medici (she
possessed Chaumont for nine years), containing some of the gifts
presented to her upon her wedding with Henri II.; and the curious
Chambre de Ruggieri, the astrologer whom Catherine brought from her
Italian home, and who was always near her, and kept her supplied with
charms and omens, good and bad, and also her poisons.

Ruggieri's observatory was above his apartment. It was at Chaumont that
the astrologer overstepped himself, and would have used his magic
against Charles IX. He did go so far as to make an image and inflict
certain indignities upon it, with the belief that the same would befall
the monarch himself. Ruggieri went to the galleys for this, but the
scheming Catherine soon had him out again, and at work with his poisons
and philtres.

Finally there is the Chambre de Diane de Poitiers, Catherine's more than
successful rival, with a bed (modern, it is said) and a series of
sixteenth-century tapestries, with various other pieces of contemporary
furniture. A portrait of Diane which decorates the apartment is supposed
to be one of the three authentic portraits of the fair huntress. The
chapel has a fine tiled pavement and some excellent glass.

Chaumont is eighteen kilometres from Blois and the same distance from
Amboise. It has not the splendour of Chambord, but it has a greater
antiquity, and an incomparably finer situation, which displays its
coiffed towers and their _mâchicoulis_ and cornices in a manner not
otherwise possible. It is one of those picture châteaux which tell a
silent story quite independent of guide-book or historical narrative.

It was M. Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont, the superintendent of the forests
of Berry and the Blaisois, under Louis XVI., who gave hospitality to
Benjamin Franklin, and turned over to the first American ambassador to
France the occupancy of his house at Passy, where Franklin lived for
nine consecutive years.

Of this same M. de Chaumont Americans cannot have too high a regard, for
his timely and judicious hospitality has associated his name, only less
permanently than Franklin's, with the early fortunes of the American
republic.

Besides his other offices, M. de Chaumont was the intendant of the Hôtel
des Invalides, at Paris, holding confidential relations with the
ministry of the young king, and was in the immediate enjoyment of a
fortune which amounted to two and a half million of francs, besides
owning, in addition to Chaumont on the Loire, another château in the
Blaisois. This château he afterward tendered to John Adams, who declined
the offer in a letter, written at Passy-sur-Seine, February 25, 1779, in
the following words: "... To a mind as much addicted to retirement as
mine, the situation you propose would be delicious indeed, provided my
country were at peace and my family with me; but, separated from my
family and with a heart bleeding with the wounds of its country, I
should be the most miserable being on earth...."

The potteries, which now form the stables of the château at Chaumont,
are somewhat reminiscent of Franklin. M. de Chaumont had established a
pottery here, where he had found a clay which had encouraged him to hope
that he could compete with the English manufacturers of the time. Here
the Italian Nini, who was invited to Chaumont, made medallions much
sought for by collectors, among others one of Franklin, which was so
much admired as a work of art, and became so much in demand that in
later years replicas were made and are well known to amateurs.

The family of Le Ray de Chaumont were extensively known in America,
where they became large landholders in New York State in the early
nineteenth century, and the head of the family seems to have been an
amiable and popular landlord. The towns of Rayville and Chaumont in New
York State still perpetuate his name.

The two male members of the family secured American wives; Le Ray
himself married a Miss Coxe, and their son a Miss Jahel, both of New
York.

From an anonymous letter to the New York _Evening Post_ of November 19,
1885, one quotes the following:

"It was in Blois that I first rummaged among these shops, whose
attractions are almost a rival to those of the castle, though this is
certainly one of the most interesting in France. The traveller will
remember the long flight of stone steps which climbs the steep hill in
the centre of the town. Near the foot of this hill there is a
well-furnished book-shop; its windows display old editions and rich
bindings, and tempt one to enter and inquire for antiquities. Here I
found a quantity of old notarial documents and diplomas of college or
university, all more or less recently cleared out from some town hall,
or unearthed from neighbouring castle, and sold by a careless owner, as
no longer valuable to him. This was the case with most of the parchments
I found at Blois; they had been acquired within a few years from the
castle of Madon, and from a former proprietor of the neighbouring castle
of Chaumont (the _calvus mons_ of mediæval time), and most of them
pertained to the affairs of the _seigneurie de Chaumont_. Contracts,
executions, sales of vineyards and houses, legal decisions, _actes de
vente_, loans on mortgages, the marriage contract of a M. Lubin,--these
were the chief documents that I found and purchased."

The traveller may not expect to come upon duplicates of these treasures
again, but the incident only points to the fact that much documentary
history still lies more or less deeply buried.



CHAPTER VI.

TOURAINE: THE GARDEN SPOT OF FRANCE

   "C'est une grande dame, une princesse altière,
    Chacun de ses châteaux, marqué du sceau royal,
    Lui fait une toilette en dentelle de pierre
    Et son splendide fleuve un miroir de cristal."


It is difficult to write appreciatively of Touraine without echoing the
words of some one who has gone before, and it is likely that those who
come after will find the task no easier.

Truly, as a seventeenth-century geographer has said: "Here is the most
delicious and the most agreeable province of the kingdom. It has been
named the garden of France because of the softness of its climate, the
affability of its people, and the ease of its life."

The poets who have sung the praises of Touraine are many, Ronsard, Remy
Belleau, Du Bellay, and for prose authors we have at the head, Rabelais,
La Fontaine, Balzac, and Alfred de Vigny. Merely to enumerate them all
would be impossible, but they furnish a fund of quotable material for
the traveller when he is writing home, and are equally useful to the
maker of guide-books.

One false note on Touraine, only, has ever rung out in the world of
literature, and that was from Stendahl, who said: "_La Belle Touraine
n'existe pas!_" The pages of Alfred de Vigny and Balzac answer this
emphatically, and to the contrary, and every returning traveller
apparently sides with them and not with Stendahl.

How can one not love its prairies, gently sloping to the caressing
Loire, its rolling hills and dainty ravines? The broad blue Loire is
always vague and tranquil here, at least one seems always to see it so,
but the beauty of Touraine is, after all, a quiet beauty which must be
seen to be appreciated, and lived with to be loved.

It is a land of most singular attractions, neither too hot nor too cold,
too dry nor too damp, with a sufficiency of rain, and an abundance of
sunshine. Its market-gardens are prolific in their product, its orchards
overflowing with plenitude, and its vineyards generous in their harvest.

Touraine is truly the region where one may read history without books,
with the very pages of nature punctuated and adorned with the marvels of
the French Renaissance. Louis XI. gave the first impetus to the alliance
of the great domestic edifice--which we have come to distinguish as the
residential château--with the throne, and the idea was amplified by
Charles VIII. and glorified by François Premier.

In the brilliant, if dissolute, times of the early sixteenth century
François Premier and his court travelled down through this same Touraine
to Loches and to Amboise, where François's late gaoler, Charles Quint,
was to be received and entertained. It was after François had returned
from his involuntary exile in Spain, and while he was still in residence
at the Louvre, that the plans for the journey were made. To the Duchesse
d'Étampes François said,--the duchess who was already more than a rival
of both Diane and the Comtesse de Châteaubriant,--"I must tear myself
away from you to-morrow. I shall await my brother Charles at Amboise on
the Loire."

"Shall you not revenge yourself upon him, for his cruel treatment of
you?" said the wily favourite of the time. "If he, like a fool, comes
to Touraine, will you not make him revoke the treaty of Madrid or shut
him up in one of Louis XI.'s oubliettes?"

"I will persuade him, if possible," said François, "but I shall never
force him."

In due time François did receive his brother king at Amboise and it was
amid great ceremony and splendour. His guest could not, or would not,
mount steps, so that great inclined plane, up which a state coach and
its horses might go, was built. Probably there was a good reason for the
emperor's peculiarity, for that worthy or unworthy monarch finally died
of gout in the monastery of San Juste.

The meeting here at Amboise was a grand and ceremonious affair and the
Spanish monarch soon came to recognize a possible enemy in the royal
favourite, Anne de Pisselieu. The emperor's eyes, however, melted with
admiration, and he told her that only in France could one see such a
perfection of elegance and beauty, with the result that--as is popularly
adduced--the susceptible, ambitious, and unfaithful duchess betrayed
François more than once in the affairs attendant upon the subsequent
wars between France, England, and Spain.

From Touraine, in the sixteenth century, spread that influence which
left its impress even on the capital of the kingdom itself, not only in
respect to architectural art, but in manners and customs as well.

Whatever may be the real value of the Renaissance as an artistic
expression, the discussion of it shall have no place here, beyond the
qualifying statement that what we have come to know as the French
Renaissance--which undeniably grew up from a transplanted Italian
germ--proved highly tempting to the mediæval builder for all manner of
edifices, whereas it were better if it had been confined to civic and
domestic establishments and left the church pure in its full-blown
Gothic forms.

Curiously enough, here in Touraine, this is just what did happen. The
Renaissance influence crept into church-building here and there--and it
is but a short step from the "_gothique rayonnant_" to what are
recognized as well-defined Renaissance features; but it is more
particularly in respect to the great châteaux, and even smaller
dwellings, that the superimposed Italian details were used. A notable
illustration of this is seen in the Cathedral of St. Gatien at Tours. It
is very beautiful and has some admirable Gothic features, but there are
occasional constructive details, as well as those for decorative effect
alone, which are decidedly not good Gothic; but, as they are, likewise,
not Renaissance, they hence cannot be laid to its door, but rather to
the architect's eccentricity.

In the smaller wayside churches, such as one sees at Cormery, at
Cheverny, and at Cour-Cheverny, there is scarcely a sign of Renaissance,
while their neighbouring châteaux are nothing else, both in construction
and in decoration.

The Château de Langeais is, for the most part, excellent Gothic, and so
is the church near by. Loches has distinct and pure Gothic details both
in its church and its château, quite apart from the Hôtel de Ville and
that portion of the château now used as the Sous-Préfecture, which are
manifestly Renaissance; hence here in Touraine steps were apparently
taken to keep the style strictly non-ecclesiastical.

A glance of the eye at the topography of this fair province stamps it at
once as something quite different from any other traversed by the Loire.
Two of the great "routes nationales" cross it, the one via Orleans,
leading to Nantes, and the other via Chartres, going to Bordeaux. It is
crossed and recrossed by innumerable "routes secondaires,"
"départementales," "vicinales" and "particulières," second to none of
their respective classes in other countries, for assuredly the roads of
France are the best in the world. Many of these great ways of
communication replaced the ancient Roman roads, which were the pioneers
of the magnificent roadways of the France of to-day.

Almost invariably Touraine is flat or rolling, its highest elevation
above the sea being but a hundred and forty-six metres, scarce four
hundred and fifty feet, a fact which accounts also for the gentle flow
of the Loire through these parts.

All the fruits of the southland are found here, the olive alone
excepted. Mortality, it is said, and proved by figures, is lower than in
any other part of France, and for this reason many dwellers in the large
cities, if they may not all have a mediæval château, have at least a
villa, far away from "the madding crowd," and yet within four hours'
travel of the capital itself.

[Illustration: THE LOIRE IN TOURAINE]

Touraine, properly speaking, has no natural frontiers, as it is not
enclosed by rivers or mountains. It is, however, divided by the Loire
into two distinct regions, the Méridionale and the Septentrionale; but
the dress, the physiognomy, the language, and the predilections of
the people are everywhere the same, though the two sections differ
somewhat in temperament. In the south, the Tourangeau is timid and
obliging, but more or less engrossed in his affairs; in the north, he is
proud, egotistical, and a little arrogant, but, above all, he likes his
ease and comfort, something after the manner of "mynheer" of Holland.

These are the characteristics which are enumerated by Stanislas
Bellanger of Tours, in "La Touraine Ancienne et Moderne," and they are
traceable to-day, in every particular, to one who knows well the
by-paths of the region.

Formerly the peasant was, in his own words, "_sous la main de M. le
comte_," but, with the coming of the eighteenth century, all this was
changed, and the conditions which, in England, succeeded feudalism, are
unknown in Touraine, as indeed throughout France.

The two great divisions which nature had made of Touraine were further
cut up into five _petits pays_; les Varennes, le Veron, la Champeigne,
la Brenne, and les Gâtines; names which exist on some maps to-day, but
which have lost, in a great measure, their former distinction.

There is a good deal to be said in favour of the physical and moral
characteristics of the inhabitants of Touraine. Just as the descendants
of the Phoceans, the original settlers of Marseilles, differ from the
natives of other parts of France, so, too, do the Tourangeaux differ
from the inhabitants of other provinces. The people of Touraine are a
mixture of Romans, Visigoths, Saracens, Alains, Normans and Bretons,
Anglais and Gaulois; but all have gradually been influenced by local
conditions, so that the native of Touraine has become a distinct variety
all by himself. The deliciousness of the "garden of France" has altered
him so that he stands to-day as more distinctly French than the citizen
of Paris itself.

Touraine, too, has the reputation of being that part of France where is
spoken the purest French. This, perhaps, is as true of the Blaisois, for
the local bookseller at Blois will tell one with the most dulcet and
understandable enunciation that it is at Blois that one hears the best
accent. At any rate, it is something found within a charmed circle, of
perhaps a hundred miles in diameter, that does not find its exact
counterpart elsewhere. As Seville stands for the Spanish tongue,
Florence for the Italian, and Dresden for the German, so Tours stands
for the French.

The history of the Loire in Touraine, as is the case at Le Puy, at
Nevers, at Sancerre, or at Orleans, is abundant and vivid, and the
monuments which line its banks are numerous and varied, from the
fortress-château of Amboise to the Cathedral of St. Gatien at Tours with
its magnificent bejewelled façade. The ruined towers of the castle of
Cinq-Mars, with its still more ancient Roman "pile," and the feudal
châteaux of the countryside are all eloquent, even to-day, in their
appeal to all lovers of history and romance.

There are some verses, little known, in praise of the Loire, as it comes
through Touraine, written by Houdon des Landes, who lived near Tours in
the eighteenth century. The following selection expresses their quality
well and is certainly worthy to rank with the best that Balzac wrote in
praise of his beloved Touraine.

   "La Loire enorgueillit ses antiques cités,
    Et courounne ses bords de coteaux enchantés;
    Dans ses vallons heureux, sur ses rives aimées,
    Les prés ont déployé leurs robes parfumées;
    Le saule humide et souple y lance ses rameaux.
    Ses coteaux sont peuplés, et le rocher docile
    A l'homme qui le creuse offre un champêtre asile.
    De notre vieille Gaule, ô fleuve paternel!
    Fleuve des doux climats! la Vallière et Sorel
    Sur tes bords fortunés naquirent, et la gloire
    A l'une dût l'amour, à l'autre la victoire."

Again and again Balzac's words echo in one's ears from his "Scène de la
Vie de Province." The following quotations are typical of the whole:

"The softness of the air, the beauty of the climate, all tend to a
certain ease of existence and simplicity of manner which encourages an
appreciation of the arts."

"Touraine is a land to foster the ambition of a Napoleon and the
sentiment of a Byron."

Another writer, A. Beaufort, a publicist of the nineteenth century,
wrote:

"The Tourangeaux resemble the good Adam in the garden of Eden. They
drink, they eat, they sleep and dream, and care not what their neighbour
may be doing."

Touraine was indeed, at one time, a veritable Eden, though guarded by
fortresses, _hallebardes_, and arquebuses, but not the less an Eden for
all that. In addition it was a land where, in the middle ages, the
seigneurs made history, almost without a parallel in France or
elsewhere.

Touraine, truly enough, was the centre of the old French monarchy in
the perfection of its pomp and state; but it is also true that Touraine
knew little of the serious affairs of kings, though some all-important
results came from events happening within its borders.

Paris was the law-making centre in the sixteenth century, and Touraine
knew only the domestic life and pleasures of royalty. Etiquette, form,
and ceremony were all relaxed, or at least greatly modified, and the
court spent in the country what it had levied in the capital.

Curiously enough, the monarchs were omnipotent and influential here,
though immediately they quartered themselves in Paris their powers waned
considerably; indeed, they seemed to lose their influence upon ministers
and vassals alike.

Louis XIII., it is true, tried to believe that Paris was France,--like
the Anglo-Saxon tourists who descend upon it in such great numbers
to-day,--and built Versailles; but there was never much real glory about
its cold and pompous walls.

The fortunes of the old châteaux of Touraine have been most varied.
Chambord is vast and bare, elegant and pompous; Blois, just across the
border, is a tourist sight of the first rank whose salamanders and
porcupines have been well cared for by the paternal French government.
Chaumont, Chenonceaux, Langeais, Azay-le-Rideau, and half a dozen others
are still inhabited, and are gay with the life of twentieth-century
luxury; Amboise is a possession of the Orleans family; Loches is, in
part, given over to the uses of a sous-préfecture; and Chinon's châteaux
are but half-demolished ruins. Besides these there are numerous smaller
residential châteaux of the nobility scattered here and there in the
Loire watershed.

There have been writers who have sought to commiserate with "the poor
peasant of Touraine," as they have been pleased to think of him, and
have deplored the fact that his sole possession was a small piece of
ground which he and his household cultivated, and that he lived in a
little whitewashed house, built with his own hands, or those of his
ancestors. Though the peasant of Touraine, as well as of other parts of
the countryside, works for an absurdly small sum, and for considerably
less than his brother nearer Paris, he sells his produce at the nearest
market-town for a fair price, and preserves a spirit of independence
which is as valuable as are some of the things which are thrust upon him
in some other lands under the guise of benevolent charity, really
patronage of a most demeaning and un-moral sort. At night the Touraine
peasant returns to his own hearthstone conscious that he is a man like
all of his fellows, and is not a mere atom ground between the upper and
nether millstones of the landlord and the squire. He cooks his
"_bouillie_" over three small sticks and retires to rest with the fond
hope that on the next market-day following the prices of eggs, chickens,
cauliflowers, or tomatoes may be higher. He is the stuff that successful
citizens are made of, and is not to be pitied in the least, even though
it is only the hundredth man of his community who ever does rise to more
wealth than a mere competency.

Touraine, rightly enough, has been called the garden of France, but it
is more than that, much more; it is a warm, soft land where all products
of the soil take on almost a subtropical luxuriance. Besides the great
valley of the Loire, there are the valleys of the tributaries which run
into it, in Touraine and the immediate neighbourhood, all of which are
fertile as only a river-bottom can be. It is true that there are
numerous formerly arid and sandy plateaux, quite unlike the abundant
plains of La Beauce, though to-day, by care and skill, they have been
made to rival the rest of the region in productiveness.

The Département d'Indre et Loire is the richest agricultural region in
all France so far as the variety and abundance of its product goes,
rivalling in every way the opulence of the Burgundian hillsides. Above
all, Touraine stands at the head of the vine-culture of all the Loire
valley, the _territoire vinicole_ lapping over into Anjou, where are
produced the celebrated _vins blancs_ of Saumur.

The vineyard workers of Touraine, in the neighbourhood of Loches, have
clung closely to ancient customs, almost, one may say, to the
destruction of the industry, though of late new methods have set in,
and, since the blight now some years gone by, a new prosperity has come.

The day worker, who cares for the vines and superintends the picking of
the grapes by the womenfolk and the children, works for two francs fifty
centimes per day; but he invariably carries with him to the scene of his
labours a couple of cutlets from a young and juicy _brebis_, or even a
_poulet rôti_, so one may judge from this that his pay is ample for his
needs in this land of plenty.

[Illustration: _The Vintage in Touraine_]

In the morning he takes his bowl of soup and a cup of white wine, and of
course huge hunks of bread, and finally coffee, and on each Sunday he
has his _rôti à la maison_. All this demonstrates the fact that the
French peasant is more of a meat eater in these parts than he is
commonly thought to be.

Touraine has no peculiar beauties to offer the visitor; there is nothing
_outré_ about it to interest one; but, rather, it wins by sheer charm
alone, or perhaps a combination of charms and excellencies makes it so
truly a delectable land.

The Tourangeaux themselves will tell you, when speaking of Rabelais and
Balzac, that it is the land of "_haute graisse, féconde et
spirituelle_." It is all this, and, besides its spirituelle components,
it will supply some very real and substantial comforts. It is the Eden
of the gourmandiser of such delicacies as _truffes_, _rilettes_, and
above all, _pruneaux_, which you get in one form or another at nearly
every meal. Most of the good things of life await one here in abundance,
with kitchen-gardens and vineyards at every one's back door. Truly
Touraine is a land of good living.

Life runs its course in Touraine, "_facile et bonne_," without any
extremes of joy or sorrow, without chimerical desires or infinite
despair, and the agreeable sensations of life predominate,--the first
essential to real happiness.

Some one has said, and certainly not without reason, that every
Frenchman has a touch of Rabelais and of Voltaire in his make-up. This
is probably true, for France has never been swept by a wave of
puritanism such as has been manifest in most other countries, and _le
gros rire_ is still the national philosophy.

In a former day a hearty laugh, or at least an amused cynicism, diverted
the mind of the martyr from threatened torture and even violent death.
Brinvilliers laughed at those who were to torture her to death, and De
la Barre and Danton cracked jokes and improvised puns upon the very edge
of their untimely graves.

Touraine has the reputation of being a wonderfully productive field for
the book collector, though with books, like many other treasures of a
past time, the day has passed when one may "pick up" for two sous a MS.
worth as many thousands of francs; but still bargains are even now
found, and if one wants great calf-covered tomes, filled with fine old
engravings, bearing on the local history of the _pays_, he can generally
find them at all prices here in old Touraine.

There was a more or less apocryphal story told us and the landlady of
our inn concerning a find which a guest had come upon in a little
roadside hamlet at which he chanced to stop. He was one of those
omnipresent _commis voyageurs_ who thread the French provinces up and
down, as no other country in the world is "travelled" or "drummed." He
was the representative for a brandy shipper, one of those substantial
houses of the cognac region whose product is mostly sold only in France;
but this fact need not necessarily put the individual very far down in
the social scale. Indeed, he was a most amiable and cultivated person.

Our fellow traveller had come to a village where all the available
accommodations of the solitary inn were already engaged; therefore he
was obliged to put up with a room in the town, which the landlord hunted
out for him. Repairing to his room without any thought save that of
sleep, the traveller woke the next morning to find the sun streaming
through the opaqueness of a brilliantly coloured window. Not stained
glass here, surely, thought the stranger, for his lodging was a most
humble one. It proved to be not glass at all; merely four great vellum
leaves, taken from some ancient tome and stuck into the window-framing
where the glass ought to have been. Daylight was filtering dimly through
the rich colouring, and it took but a moment to become convinced that
the sheets were something rare and valuable. He learned that the pages
were from an old Latin MS., and that the occupant of the little dwelling
had used "_the paper_" in the place of the glass which had long since
disappeared. The vellum and its illuminations had stood the weather
well, though somewhat dimmed in comparison with the brilliancy of the
remaining folios, which were found below-stairs. There were in all some
eighty pages, which were purchased for a modest forty sous, and
everybody satisfied.

The volume had originally been found by the father of the old dame who
then had possession of it in an old château in revolutionary times.
Whether her honoured parent was a pillager or a protector did not come
out, but for all these years the possession of this fine work meant no
more to this Tourangelle than a supply of "paper" for stopping up broken
window-panes.

"She parted readily enough with the remaining leaves," said our
Frenchman, "but nothing would induce her to remove those which filled
the window." "No, we have no more glass, and these have answered quite
well for a long time now," she said. And such is the simplicity of the
French provincial, even to-day--_sometimes_.



CHAPTER VII.

AMBOISE


As one approaches Amboise, he leaves the comparatively insalubrious
plain of the Sologne and the Blaisois and enters Touraine.

Amboise! What history has been made there; what a wealth of action its
memories recall, and what splendour, gaiety, and sadness its walls have
held! An entire book might be written about the scenes which took place
under its roof.

To-day most travellers are content to rush over its apartments, gaze at
its great round tower, view the Loire, which is here quite at its best,
from the battlements, and, after a brief admiration of the wonderfully
sculptured portal of its chapel, make their way to Chenonceaux, or to
the gay little metropolis of Tours.

[Illustration: _Château d'Amboise_]

No matter whither one turns his steps from Amboise, he will not soon
forget this great fortress-château and the memories of the _petite
bande_ of blondes and brunettes who followed in the wake of François
Premier.

Here, and at Blois, the recollections of this little band are strong in
the minds of students of romance and history. Some one has said that
along the corridors of Amboise one still may meet the wraiths of those
who in former days went airily from one pleasure to another, but this of
course depends upon the mood and sentiment of the visitor.

Amboise has a very good imitation of the climate of the south, and the
glitter of the Loire at midday in June is about as torrid a picture as
one can paint in a northern clime. It is not that it is so very hot in
degree, but that the lack of shade-trees along its quays gives Amboise a
shimmering resemblance to a much warmer place than it really is. The
Loire is none too ample here, and frets its way, as it does through most
of its lower course, through banks of sand and pebbles in a more or less
vain effort to look cool.

Amboise is old, for, under the name of Ambatia, it existed in the fourth
century, at which epoch St. Martin, the patron of Tours, threw down a
pagan pyramidal temple here and established Christianity; and Clovis and
Alaric held their celebrated meeting on the Ile St. Jean in 496. It was
not long after this, according to the ancient writers, that some sort
of a fortified château took form here. Louis-le-Bègue gave Amboise to
the Counts of Anjou, and Hughes united the two independent seigneuries
of the château and the bourg. After the Counts of Anjou succeeded the
Counts of Berry, Charles VII., by appropriation, confiscation, seizure,
or whatever you please to call it,--history is vague as to the real
motive,--united Amboise to the possessions of the Crown in 1434. Louis
XI. lived for a time at this strong fortress-château, before he turned
his affections so devotedly to Plessis-les-Tours. Charles VIII. was born
and died here, and it was he who added the Renaissance details, or at
least the first of them, upon his return from Italy. Indeed, it is to
him and to the nobles who followed in his train during his Italian
travels that the introduction of the Renaissance into France is commonly
attributed.

It was at Amboise that Charles VIII., forgetful of the miseries of his
Italian campaign, set about affairs of state with a renewed will and
vigour. He was personally superintending some alterations in the old
castle walls, and instructing the workmen whom he brought from Italy
with him as to just how far they might introduce those details which the
world has come to know as Renaissance, when, in passing beneath a low
overhanging beam, he struck his head so violently that he expired almost
immediately (April 17, 1498).

Louis XII., the superstitious, lived here for some time, and here
occurred some of the most important events in the life of the great
François, the real popularizer of the new architectural Renaissance.

It was in the old castle of Amboise, the early home of Louis XII., that
his appointed successor, his son-in-law and second cousin, François, was
brought up. Here he was educated by his mother, Louise de Savoie,
Duchesse d'Angoulême, together with that bright and shining light, that
Marguerite who was known as the "Pearl of the Valois," poetess, artist,
and court intriguer. Here the household formed what in the early days
François himself was pleased to call a "trinity of love."

Throughout the structure may yet be seen the suggestions of François's
artistic instincts, traced in the window-framings of the façade, in the
interior decorations of the long gallery, and on the terrace hanging
high above the Loire.

In the park and in the surrounding forest François and his sister
Marguerite passed many happy days of their childhood. Marguerite, who
had already become known as the "tenth muse," had already thought out
her "Heptameron," whilst François tried his prentice hand at
love-rhyming, an expression of sentiment which at a later period took
the form of avowals in person to his favourites.

One recalls those stanzas to the memory of Agnes Sorel, beginning:

        "Gentille Agnès plus de loz tu mérite,
         La cause était de France recouvrir;
         Que ce que peut dedans un cloître ouvrir
         Close nonnaine? ou bien dévot hermite?"

François was more than a lover of the beautiful. His appreciation of
architectural art amounted almost to a passion, and one might well claim
him as a member of the architectural guild, although, in truth, he was
nothing more than a generous patron of the craftsmen of his day.

François was the real father of the French Renaissance, the more
splendid flower which grew from the Italian stalk. He had no liking for
the Van Eycks and Holbeins of the Dutch school, reserving his favour for
the frankly languid masters from the south. He brought from Italy
Cellini, Primaticcio, and the great Leonardo, who it is said had a hand
in that wonderful shell-like spiral stairway in the château at Blois.

By just what means Da Vinci was inveigled from Italy will probably never
be known. The art-loving François visited Milan, and among its
curiosities was shown the even then celebrated "Last Supper" of
Leonardo. The next we know is that, "_François repasse les Alpes ayant
avec lui Mon Sieur Lyonard, son peintre_." Leonardo was given a pension
of seven _ecus de France_ per year and a residence near Amboise. Vasari
recounts very precisely how Leonardo expired in the arms of his kingly
patron at Amboise, but on the other hand, the court chronicles have said
that François was at St. Germain on that day. Be this as it may, the
intimacy was a close one, and we may be sure that François felt keenly
the demise of this most celebrated painter of his court.

It was during those early idyllic days at Amboise that the character of
François was formed, and the marvel is that the noble and endearing
qualities did not exceed the baser ones. To be sure his after lot was
hard, and his real and fancied troubles many, and they were not made the
less easy to bear because of his numerous female advisers.

In his youth at Amboise his passions still slumbered, but when they did
awaken, they burst forth with an unquenchable fury. Meantime he was
working off any excess of imagination by boar-hunts and falconry in the
neighbouring forest of Chanteloup, and had more than one hand-to-hand
affray with resentful citizens of the town, when he encroached upon what
they considered their traditional preserves. So he grew to man's estate,
but the life that he lived in his youth under the kingly roof of the
château at Amboise gave him the benefits of all the loyalty which his
fellows knew, and it helped him carry out the ideas which were
bequeathed to him by his uncle.

It was at a sitting of the court at Amboise, when François was still
under his mother's wing,--at the age of twenty only,--that the Bourbon
affair finally came to its head. Many notables were mixed up in it as
partisans of the ungrateful and ambitious Bourbon, Charles de
Montpensier, Connétable de France. It was an office only next in power
to that of the sovereign himself, and one which had been allowed to die
out in the reign of Louis XI. The final outcome of it all was that
François became a prisoner at Pavia, through the treachery of the
Connétable and his followers, who went over _en masse_ to François's
rival, Charles V., who, as Charles II., was King of Spain.

Of the subsequent meeting with the Emperor Charles on French soil,
François said to the Duchesse d'Étampes: "It is with regret that I leave
you to meet the emperor at Amboise on the Loire." And he added: "You
will follow me with the queen." His queen at this time was poor Eleanor
of Portugal, herself a Spanish princess, Claude of France, his first
wife, having died. "These two," says Brantôme, "were the only virtuous
women of his household."

The Emperor Charles was visibly affected by the meeting, though, it is
true, he had no love for his old enemy, François. Perhaps it was on
account of the duchess, for whom François had put aside Diane. At any
rate, the emperor was gallant enough to say to her: "It is only in
France that I have seen such a perfection of elegance and beauty. My
brother, your king, should be the envy of all the sovereigns of Europe.
Had I such a captive at my palace in Madrid, there were no ransom that I
would accept for her."

François cared not for the lonely Spanish princess whom he had made his
queen; but he was somewhat susceptible to the charms of his
daughter-in-law, Catherine de Medici, the wife of his son Henri, who,
when at Amboise, was his ever ready companion in the chase.

François was inordinately fond of the hunt, and made of it a most
strenuous pastime, full of danger and of hard riding in search of the
boar and the wolf, which abounded in the thick underwood in the
neighbourhood. One wonders where they, or, rather, their descendants,
have disappeared, since nought in these days but a frightened hare, a
partridge, or perhaps a timid deer ever crosses one's path, as he makes
his way by the smooth roads which cross and recross the forest behind
Amboise.

When François II. was sixteen he became the nominal king of France. To
Amboise he and his young bride came, having been brought thither from
Blois, for fear of the Huguenot rising. The court settled itself
forthwith at Amboise, where the majestic feudal castle piled itself high
up above the broad, limpid Loire, feeling comparatively secure within
the protection of its walls. Here the Loire had widened to the
pretensions of a lake, the river being spanned by a bridge, which
crossed it by the help of the island, as it does to-day.

Over this old stone bridge the court approached the castle, the retinue
brilliant with all the trappings of a luxurious age, archers, pages,
and men-at-arms. The king and his new-found bride, the winsome Mary
Stuart, rode well in the van. In their train were Catherine, the
"queen-mother" of three kings, the Cardinal de Lorraine, the Duc de
Guise, the Duc de Nemours, and a vast multitude of gay retainers, who
were moved about from place to place like pawns upon the chess-board,
and with about as much consideration.

The gentle Mary Stuart, born in 1542, at Linlithgow, in stern Caledonia,
of a French mother,--Marie de Lorraine,--was doomed to misfortune, for
her father, the noble James V., prophesied upon his death-bed that the
dynasty would end with his daughter.

At the tender age of five Mary was sent to France and placed in a
convent. Her education was afterward continued at court under the
direction of her uncle, the Cardinal de Lorraine. By ten she had become
well versed in French, Latin, and Italian, and at one time, according to
Brantôme, she gave a discourse on literature and the liberal arts--so
flourishing at the time--before the king and his court. Ronsard was her
tutor in versification, which became one of her favourite pursuits.

Mary Stuart's charms were many. She was tall and finely formed, with
auburn hair shining like an aureole above her intellectual forehead, and
with a skin of such dazzling whiteness--a trite saying, but one which is
used by Brantôme--"that it outrivalled the whiteness of her veil."

In the spring of 1558, when she was but sixteen, Mary Stuart was married
to the Dauphin, the weak, sickly François II., himself but a youth. He
was, however, sincerely and deeply fond of his young wife.

Unexpectedly, through the death of Henri II. at the hands of Montgomery
at that ever debatable tournament, François II. ascended the throne of
France, and Mary Stuart saw herself exalted to the dizzy height which
she had not so soon expected. She became the queen of two kingdoms, and,
had the future been more propitious, the whole map of Europe might have
been changed.

Disease had marked the unstable François for its own, and within a year
he passed from the throne to the grave, leaving his young queen a widow
and an orphan.

Shortly afterward "_la reine blanche_" returned to her native Scotland,
bidding France that long, last, sad adieu so often quoted:

        "Farewell, beloved France, to thee!
           Best native land,
           The cherished strand
         That nursed my tender infancy!
         Farewell my childhood's happy day!
         The bark, which bears me thus away,
           Bears but the poorer moiety hence,
         The nobler half remains with thee,
           I leave it to thy confidence,
         But to remind thee still of me!"

The young sovereigns had had a most stately suite of apartments prepared
for them at Amboise, the lofty windows reaching from floor to ceiling
and overlooking the river and the vast terrace where was so soon to be
enacted that bloody drama to which they were to be made unwilling
witnesses.

This gallery was wainscoted with old oak and hung with rich leathers,
and the lofty ceiling was emblazoned with heraldic emblems and
monograms, as was the fashion of the day. Brocades and tapestries, set
in great gold frames, lined the walls, and, in a boudoir or
retiring-room beyond, still definitely to be recognized, was a
remarkable series of embroidered wall decorations, a tapestry of flowers
and fruits with an arabesque border of white and gold, truly a queenly
apartment, and one that well became the luxurious and dainty Mary, who
came from Scotland to marry the youthful François.

Mary Stuart knew little at the time as to why they had so suddenly
removed from Blois, but François soon told her, something after this
wise: "Our mother," said he, "is deeply concerned with affairs of state.
There is some conspiracy against her and your uncles, the Guises."

"Tell me," she demanded, "concerning this dreadful conspiracy."

"Were you not suspicious," he asked, querulously, "when we left for
Amboise so suddenly?"

"_Ah, non, mon François_, methought that we came here to hold a jousting
tourney and to hunt in the forest...."

"Well, at any rate, we are secure here from Turk, or Jew, or Huguenot,
my queen," replied the king.

Within a short space a council was called in the great hall of Amboise,
which the Huguenot chiefs, Condé, Coligny, the Cardinal de
Chatillon,--who appears to have been a sort of a religious
renegade,--were requested to attend. A conciliatory edict was to be
prepared, and signed by the king, as a measure for gaining time and
learning further the plans of the conspirators.

This edict ultimately was signed, but it was in force but a short time
and was a subterfuge which the youthful king deep in his heart--and he
publicly avowed the fact--deeply resented. Furthermore it did
practically nothing toward quelling the conspiracy.

Through the plains of Touraine and over the hills from Anjou the
conspirators came in straggling bands, to rendezvous for a great _coup
de main_ at Amboise. They halted at farms and hid in vineyards, but the
royalists were on the watch and one after another the wandering bands
were captured and held for a bloody public massacre when the time should
become ripe. In all, two thousand or more were captured, including Jean
Barri de la Renaudie. This man was the leader, but he was merely a bold
adventurer, seeking his own advantage, and caring little what cause
employed his peculiar talents. This was his last affair, however, for
his corpse soon hung in chains from Amboise's bridge. Condé, Coligny,
and the other Calvinists soon learned that the edict was not worth the
paper on which it was written.

After the two thousand had been dispersed or captured the
"queen-mother" threw off the mask. She led the trembling child-king and
queen toward the southern terrace, where, close beneath the windows of
the château, was built a scaffold, covered with black cloth, before
which stood the executioner clothed in scarlet. The prisoners were
ranged by hundreds along the outer rampart, guarded by archers and
musketeers. The windows of the royal apartment were open and here the
company placed themselves to witness the butchery to follow.

Speechless with horror sat the young king and queen, until finally, as
another batch of mutilated corpses were thrown into the river below, the
young queen swooned.

"My mother," said François, "I, too, am overcome by this horrible sight.
I crave your Highness's permission to retire; the blood of my subjects,
even of my enemies, is too horrible to contemplate."

"My son," said the bloodthirsty Catherine, "I command you to stay. Duc
de Guise, support your niece, the Queen of France. Teach her her duty as
a sovereign. She must learn how to govern those hardy Scots of hers."

It was on the very terraced platform on which one walks to-day that,
between two ranks of _hallebardiers_ and arquebusiers, moved that long
line of bareheaded and bowed men whose prayers went up to heaven while
they awaited the fate of the gallows.

Either the cord or the sword-blade quickly accounted for the lives of
this multitude, and their blood flowed in rivulets, while above in the
gallery the willing and unwilling onlookers were gay with laughter or
dumb with sadness.

When all this horrible murdering was over the Loire was literally a
reeking mass of corpses, if we are to believe the records of the time.
The chief conspirators were hung in chains from the castle walls, or
from the bridge, and the balustrades which overhang the street, which
to-day flanks the Loire beneath the castle walls, were filled with a
ribald crew of jeering partisans who knew little and cared less for
religion of any sort.

Some days after the execution of the Calvinists the "Protestant poet"
and historian passed through the royal city with his _précepteur_ and
his father, and was shown the rows of heads planted upon pikes, which
decorated the castle walls, and thereupon vowed, if not to avenge, at
least to perpetuate the infamy in prose and verse, and this he did most
effectually.

An odorous garden of roses, lilacs, honeysuckle, and hawthorn framed the
joyous architecture of the château, then as now, in adorable fashion;
but it could not purify the malodorous reputation which it had received
until the domain was ceded by Louis XIV. to the Duc de Penthièvre and
made a _duché-pairie_.

It would be possible to say much more, but this should suffice to stamp
indelibly the fact that Touraine, in general, and the château of
Amboise, in particular, cradled as much of the thought and action of the
monarchy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as did the capital
itself. At any rate the memory of it all is so vivid, and the tangible
monuments of the splendour and intrigue of the court of those days are
so very numerous and magnificent, that one could not forget the parts
they played--once having seen them--if he would.

After the assassination of the Duc de Guise at Blois, Amboise became a
prison of state, where were confined the Cardinal de Bourbon and César
de Vendôme (the sons of Henri IV. and Gabrielle d'Estrées), also Fouquet
and Lauzun. In 1762 the château was given by Louis XV. to the Duc de
Choiseul, and the great Napoleon turned it over to his ancient
colleague, Roger Ducos, who apparently cared little for its beauties
or associations, for he mutilated it outrageously.

[Illustration: _Sculpture from the Chapelle de St. Hubert_]

In later times the history of the château and its dependencies has been
more prosaic. The Emir Abd-el-Kader was imprisoned here in 1852, and
Louis Napoleon stayed for a time within its walls upon his return from
the south. To-day it belongs to the family of Orleans, to whom it was
given by the National Assembly in 1872, and has become a house of
retreat for military veterans. This is due to the generosity of the Duc
d'Aumale into whose hands it has since passed. The restoration which has
been carried on has made of Amboise an ideal reproduction of what it
once was, and in every way it is one of the most splendid and famous
châteaux of its kind, though by no means as lovable as the residential
châteaux of Chenonceaux or Langeais.

The Chapelle de St. Hubert, which was restored by Louis Philippe, is the
chief artistic attraction of Amboise; a bijou of full-blown Gothic. It
is a veritable architectural joy of the period of Charles VIII., to whom
its erection was due. Its portal has an adorable bas-relief,
representing "La Chasse de St. Hubert," and showing St. Hubert, St.
Christopher, and St. Anthony, while above, in the tympanum, are
effigies of the Virgin, of Charles VIII., and of Anne de Bretagne. The
sculpture is, however, comparatively modern, but it embellishes a shrine
worthy in every way, for there repose the bones of Leonardo da Vinci.
Formerly Da Vinci's remains had rested in the chapel of the château
itself, dedicated to St. Florentin.

Often the Chapelle de St. Hubert has been confounded with that described
by Scott in "Quentin Durward," but it is manifestly not the same, as
that was located in Tours or near there, and his very words describe the
architecture as "of the rudest and meanest kind," which this is not.
Over the arched doorway of the chapel at Tours there was, however, a
"statue of St. Hubert with a bugle-horn around his neck and a leash of
greyhounds at his feet," which may have been an early suggestion of the
later work which was undertaken at Amboise.

All vocations came to have their protecting saints in the middle ages,
and, since "_la chasse_" was the great recreation of so many,
distinction was bestowed upon Hubert as being one of the most devout.
The legend is sufficiently familiar not to need recounting here, and,
anyway, the story is plainly told in this sculptured panel over the
portal of the chapel at Amboise.

In this Chapel of St. Hubert was formerly held "that which was called a
hunting-mass. The office was only used before the noble and powerful,
who, while assisting at the solemnity, were usually impatient to
commence their favourite sport."

The ancient Salle des Gardes of the château, with the windows giving on
the balcony overlooking the river, became later the Logis du Roi. From
this great chamber one passes on to the terrace near the foot of the
Grosse Tour, called the Tour des Minimes. It is this tower which
contains the "_escalier des voitures_." The entrance is through an
elegant portico leading to the upper stories. Above another portico,
leading from the terrace to the garden, is to be seen the emblem of
Louis XII., the porcupine, so common at Blois.

In the fosse, which still remains on the garden side, was the
universally installed _jeu-de-paume_, a favourite amusement throughout
the courts of Europe in the middle ages.

At the base of the château are clustered numerous old houses of the
sixteenth century, but on the river-front these have been replaced with
pretentious houses, cafés, automobile garages, and other modern
buildings.

Near the Quai des Violettes are a series of subterranean chambers known
as the Greniers de César, dating from the sixteenth century.

[Illustration: _Cipher of Anne de Bretagne, Hôtel de Ville, Amboise_]

Even at this late day one can almost picture the great characters in the
drama of other times who stalked majestically through the apartments,
and over the very flagstones of the courts and terraces which one treads
to-day; Catherine de Medici with her ruffs and velvets; Henri de Guise
with all his wiles; Condé the proud; the second François, youthful but
wise; his girl queen, loving and sad; and myriads more of all ranks and
of all shades of morality,--all resplendent in the velvets and gold of
the costume of their time.

Near the château is the Clos Luce, a Gothic habitation in whose oratory
died Leonardo da Vinci, on May 2, 1519.

Immediately back of the château is the Forêt d'Amboise, the scene of
many gay hunting parties when the court was here or at Chenonceaux,
which one reaches by traversing the forest route. On the edge of this
forest is Chanteloup, remembered by most folk on account of its
atrocious Chinese-like pagoda, built of the débris of the Château de la
Bourdaisière, by the Duc de Choiseul, in memory of the attentions he
received from the nobles and bourgeois of the ville upon the fall of his
ministry and his disgrace at the hands of Louis XV. and La Du Barry. It
is a curious form to be chosen when one had such beautiful examples of
architectural art near by, only equalled, perhaps, in atrociousness by
the "Royal Pavilion" of England's George IV.

La Bourdaisière, near Amboise, of which only the site remains, if not
one of the chief tourist attractions of the château country, has at
least a sentimental interest of abounding importance for all who recall
the details of the life of "La Belle Gabrielle."

Here in Touraine Gabrielle d'Estrées was born in 1565. She was
twenty-six years old when Henri IV. first saw her in the château of her
father at Coeuvres. So charmed was he with her graces that he made her
his _maîtresse_ forthwith, though the old court-life chronicles of the
day state that she already possessed something more than the admiration
of Sebastian Zamet, the celebrated financier.



CHAPTER VIII.

CHENONCEAUX

"The castle of Chenonceaux is a fine place on the river Cher, in a fine
and pleasant country."

                                             FRANÇOIS PREMIER.

"The castle of Chenonceaux is one of the best and most beautiful of our
kingdom."

                                                      HENRI II.


The average visitor will come prepared to worship and admire a château
so praised by two luxury-loving Kings of France.

Chenonceaux is noted chiefly for its château, but the little village
itself is charming. The houses of the village are not very new, nor very
old, but the one long street is most attractive throughout its length,
and the whole atmosphere of the place, from September to December, is
odorous with the perfume of red-purple grapes. The vintage is not the
equal of that of the Bordeaux region, perhaps, nor of Chinon, nor
Saumur; but the _vin du pays_ of the Cher and the Loire, around Tours,
is not to be despised.

Most tourists come to Chenonceaux by train from Tours; others drive over
from Amboise, and yet others come by bicycle or automobile. They are not
as yet so numerous as might be expected, and accordingly here, as
elsewhere in Touraine, every facility is given for visiting the château
and its park.

If you do not hurry off at once to worship at the abode of the
fascinating Diane, one of the brightest ornaments of the court of
François Premier and his son Henri, you will enjoy your dinner at the
Hôtel du Bon Laboureur, though most likely it will be a solitary one,
and you will be put to bed in a great chamber overlooking the park,
through which peep, in the moonlight, the turrets of the château, and
you may hear the purling of the waters of the Cher as it flows below the
walls.

Jean Jacques Rousseau, like François I., called Chenonceaux a beautiful
place, and he was right; it is all of that and more. Here one comes into
direct contact with an atmosphere which, if not feudal, or even
mediæval, is at least that of several hundred years ago.

Chenonceaux is moored like a ship in the middle of the rapidly running
Cher, a dozen miles or more above where that stream enters the Loire.
As a matter of fact, the château practically bridges the river, which
flows under its foundations and beneath its drawbridge on either side,
besides filling the moat with water. The general effect is as if the
building were set in the midst of the stream and formed a sort of island
château. Round about is a gentle meadow and a great park, which give to
this turreted architectural gem of Touraine a setting which is equalled
by no other château.

What the château was in former days we can readily imagine, for nothing
is changed as to the general disposition. Boats came to the water-gate,
as they still might do if such boats still existed, in true, pictorial
legendary fashion. To-day, the present occupant has placed a curiosity
on the ornamental waters in the shape of a gondola. It is out of keeping
with the grand fabric of the château, and it is a pity that it does not
cast itself adrift some night. What has become of the gondolier, who was
imported to keep the craft company, nobody seems to know. He is
certainly not in evidence, or, if he is, has transformed himself into a
groom or a _chauffeur_.

The Château of Chenonceaux is not a very ample structure; not so ample
as most photographs would make it appear. It is not tiny, but still it
has not the magnificent proportions of Blois, of Chambord, or even of
Langeais. It was more a habitation than it was a fortress, a _maison de
campagne_, as indeed it virtually became when the Connétable de
Montmorency took possession of the structure in the name of the king,
when its builder, Thomas Bohier, the none too astute minister of
finances in Normandy, came to grief in his affairs.

François I. came frequently here for "_la chasse_," and his memory is
still kept alive by the Chambre François Premier. François held
possession till his death, when his son made it over to the "admired of
two generations," Diane de Poitiers.

Diane's memory will never leave Chenonceaux. To-day it is perpetuated in
the Chambre de Diane de Poitiers; but the portrait by Leonardo da Vinci,
which was supposed to best show her charms, has now disappeared from the
"long gallery" at the château. This portrait was painted at the command
of François, before Diane transferred her affections to his son.

No one knows when or how Diane de Poitiers first came to fascinate
François, or how or why her power waned. At any rate, at the time
François pardoned her father, the witless Comte de St. Vallier, for the
treacherous part he played in the Bourbon conspiracy, he really believed
her to be the "brightest ornament of a beauty-loving court."

Certainly, Diane was a powerful factor in the politics of her time,
though François himself soon tired of her. Undaunted by this, she
forthwith set her cap for his son Henri, the Duc d'Orleans, and won him,
too. Of her beauty the present generation is able to judge for itself by
reason of the three well-known and excellent portraits of contemporary
times.

Diane's influence over the young Henri was absolute. At his death her
power was, of course, at an end, and Chenonceaux, and all else possible,
was taken from her by the orders of Catherine, the long-suffering wife,
who had been put aside for the fascinations of the charming huntress.

It must have been some satisfaction, however, to Diane, to know that, in
his fatal joust with Montgomery, Henri really broke his lance and met
his death in her honour, for the records tell that he bore her colours
on his lance, besides her initials set in gold and gems on his shield.

Catherine's eagerness to drive Diane from the court was so great, that
no sooner had her spouse fallen--even though he did not actually die for
some days--than she sent word to Diane, "who sat weeping alone," to
instantly quit the court; to give up the crown jewels--which Henri had
somewhat inconsiderately given her; and to "give up Chenonceaux in
Touraine," Catherine's Naboth's vineyard, which she had so long admired
and coveted. She had known it as a girl, when she often visited it in
company with her father-in-law, the appreciative but dissolute François,
and had ever longed to possess it for her own, before even her husband,
now dead, had given it to "that old hag Diane de Poitiers, Duchesse de
Valentinois."

Diane paid no heed to Catherine's command. She simply asked: "Is the
king yet dead?"

"No, madame," said the messenger, "but his wound is mortal; he cannot
live the day."

"Tell the queen, then," replied Diane, "that her reign is not yet come;
that I am mistress still over her and the kingdom as long as the king
breathes the breath of life."

Henri was more or less an equivocal character, devoted to Diane, and
likewise fondone says it with caution--of his wife. He caused to be
fashioned a monogram (seen at Chenonceaux) after this wise: [MONOGRAM
DEPICTING TWO CAPITAL LETTERS "D", THE SECOND OF WHICH IS INVERTED; THE
LETTERS ARE INTERWOVEN IN THEIR "(" AND ")" PARTS, AND THERE IS A
HORIZONTAL BAR CROSSING THEM IN THE MIDDLE] supposedly indicating his
attachment for Diane and his wife alike. The various initials of the
cipher are in no way involved. Diane returned the compliment by
decorating an apartment for the king, at her Château of Anet, with the
black and white of the Medici arms.

The Château of Chenonceaux, so greatly coveted by Catherine when she
first came to France, and when it was in the possession of Diane, still
remains in all the regal splendour of its past. It lies in the lovely
valley of the Cher, far from the rush and turmoil of cities and even the
continuous traffic of great thoroughfares, for it is on the road to
nowhere unless one is journeying cross-country from the lower to the
upper Loire. This very isolation resulted in its being one of the few
monuments spared from the furies of the Revolution, and, "half-palace
and half-château," it glistens with the purity of its former glory, as
picturesque as ever, with turrets, spires, and roof-tops all mellowed
with the ages in a most entrancing manner.

Even to-day one enters the precincts of the château proper over a
drawbridge which spans an arm of the Loire, or rather, a moat which
leads directly from the parent stream. On the opposite side are the
bridge piers supporting five arches, the work of Diane when she was the
fair chatelaine of the domain. This ingenious thought proved to be a
most useful and artistic addition to the château. It formed a flagged
promenade, lovely in itself, and led to the southern bank of the Cher,
whence one got charming vistas of the turrets and roof-tops of the
château through the trees and the leafy avenues which converged upon the
structure.

[Illustration: CHÂTEAU DE CHENONCEAUX]

When Catherine came she did not disdain to make the best use of Diane's
innovation that suggested itself to her, which was simply to build the
"Long Gallery" over the arches of this lovely bridge, and so make of it
a veritable house over the water. A covering was made quite as beautiful
as the rest of the structure, and thus the bridge formed a spacious wing
of two stories. The first floor--known as the "Long Gallery"--was
intended as a banqueting-hall, and possessed four great full-length
windows on either side looking up and down stream, from which was
seen--and is to-day--an outlook as magnificently idyllic as is possible
to conceive. Jean Goujon had designed for the ceiling one of those
wonder-works for which he was famous, but if the complete plan was ever
carried out, it has disappeared, for only a tiny sketch of the whole
scheme remains to-day.

[Illustration: _Château of CHENONCEAUX_ (DIAGRAM)]

Catherine came in the early summer to take possession of her
long-coveted domain. Being a skilful horsewoman, she came on horseback,
accompanied by a "_petite bande_" of feminine charmers destined to
wheedle political secrets from friends and enemies alike,--a real
"_escadron volant de la reine_," as it was called by a contemporary.

It was a gallant company that assembled here at this time,--the young
King Charles IX., the Duc de Guise, and "two cardinals mounted on
mules,"--Lorraine, a true Guise, and D'Este, newly arrived from Italy,
and accompanied by the poet Tasso, wearing a "gabardine and a hood of
satin." Catherine showed the Italian great favour, as was due a
countryman, but there was another poet among them as well, Ronsard, the
poet laureate of the time. The Duc de Guise had followed in the wake of
Marguerite, unbeknownst to Catherine, who frowned down any possibility
of an alliance between the houses of Valois and Lorraine.

A great fête and water-masque had been arranged by Catherine to take
place on the Cher, with a banquet to follow in the Long Gallery in
honour of her arrival at Chenonceaux.

When twilight had fallen, torches were ignited and myriads of lights
blazed forth from the boats on the river and from the windows of the
château. Music and song went forth into the night, and all was as gay
and lovely as a Venetian night's entertainment. The hunting-horns echoed
through the wooded banks, and through the arches above which the château
was built passed great highly coloured barges, including a fleet of
gondolas to remind the queen-mother of her Italian days,--the ancestors
perhaps of the solitary gondola which to-day floats idly by the
river-bank just before the grand entrance to the château. From
_parterre_ and _balustrade_, and from the clipped yews of the ornamental
garden, fairy lamps burned forth and dwindled away into dim infinity, as
the long lines of soft light gradually lost themselves in the forest. It
was a grand affair and idyllic in its unworldliness. One may not see its
like to-day, for electric lights and "rag-time" music, which mostly
comprise the attractions of such _al fresco_ pleasures, will hardly
produce the same effect.

Among the great fêtes at Chenonceaux will always be recalled that given
by the court upon the coming of the youthful François II. and Mary
Stuart, after the horrible massacres at Amboise.

All the Renaissance skill of the time was employed in the erection of
pompous accessories, triumphal arches, columns, obelisks, and altars.
There were innumerable tablets also, bearing inscriptions in Latin and
Greek,--which nobody read,--and a fountain which bore the following:

        "Au saint bal des dryades,
         A Phoebus, ce grand dieu,
         Aux humides nyades,
         J'ai consacré ce lieu."

Of Chenonceaux and its glories what more can be said than to quote the
following lines of the middle ages, which in their quaint old French
apply to-day as much as ever they did:

         "Basti si magnifiquement
         II est debout, comme un géant,
         Dedans le lit de la rivière,
         C'est-à-dire dessus un pont
         Qui porte cent toises de long."

The part of the edifice which Bohier erected in 1515 is that through
which the visitor makes his entrance, and is built upon the piers of an
old mill which was destroyed at that time.

Catherine bequeathed Chenonceaux to the wife of Henri III., Louise de
Vaudémont, who died here in 1601. For a hundred years it still belonged
to royalty, but in 1730 it was sold to M. Dupin, who, with his wife,
enriched and repaired the fabric. They gathered around them a company so
famous as to be memorable in the annals of art and literature. This is
best shown by the citing of such names as Fontenelle, Montesquieu,
Buffon, Bolingbroke, Voltaire, and Rousseau, all of whom were
frequenters of the establishment, the latter being charged with the
education of the only son of M. and Madame Dupin.

Considering Rousseau's once proud position among his contemporaries, and
the favour with which he was received by the nobility, it is somewhat
surprising that his struggle for life was so hard. The Marquise de
Créquy wrote in her "Souvenirs:" "Rousseau left behind him his
_Mémoires_, which I think for the sake of his memory and fame ought to
be much curtailed." And undoubtedly she was right. Rousseau wrote in his
"Confessions:" "In 1747 we went to spend the autumn in Touraine, at the
Château of Chenonceaux, a royal residence upon the Cher, built by Henri
II. for Diane de Poitiers, whose initials are still to be seen there....
We amused ourselves greatly in this fine spot; the living was of the
best, and I became fat as a monk. We made a great deal of music and
acted comedies."

One might imagine, from a stroll through the magnificent halls and
galleries of Chenonceaux, that Rousseau's experiences might be repeated
to-day if one were fortunate enough to be asked to sojourn there for a
time. The nearest that one can get, however, to becoming personally
identified with the château and its life is to sign his name in the
great vellum quarto which ultimately will rest in the archives of the
château.

It is doubtless very wrong to be covetous; but Chenonceaux is such a
beautiful place and comes so near the ideal habitation of our
imagination that the desire to possess it for one's own is but human.

In the "Galerie Louis XIV." were given the first representations of many
of Rousseau's pieces.

One gathers from these accounts of the happenings in the Long Gallery
that it formed no bridge of sighs, and most certainly it did not. Its
walls resounded almost continually with music and laughter. Here in
these rooms Henri II. danced and made love and intrigued, while
Catherine, his queen, was left at Blois with her astrologer and his
poisons, to eat out her soul in comparative neglect.

Before the time of the dwelling built by Bohier for himself and family
on the foundations of the old mill, there was yet a manorhouse
belonging to the ancient family of Marques, from whom the Norman
financier bought the site. The tower, seen to-day at the right of the
entrance to the château proper,--an expressive relic of feudal
times,--was a part of the earlier establishment. To-day it is turned
into a sort of _kiosque_ for the sale of photographs, post-cards, and an
admirable illustrated guide to the château.

The interior of the château to-day presents the following remarkable
features: The dining-room of to-day, formerly the Salle des Gardes, has
a ceiling in which the cipher of Catherine de Medici is interwoven with
an arabesque. To the left of this apartment is the entrance to the
chapel, which to-day seems a bit incongruously placed, leading as it
does from the dining-room. It is but a tiny chapel, but it is as gay and
brilliant as if it were still the adjunct of a luxury-loving court, and
it has some glass dating from 1521, which, if not remarkable for design
or colouring, is quite choice enough to rank as an art treasure of real
value.

According to Viollet-le-Duc each feudal seigneur had attached to his
château a chapel, often served by a private chaplain, and in some
instances by an entire chapter of prelates. These chapels were not
simple oratories surrounded by the domestic apartments, but were
architectural monuments in themselves, and either entirely isolated, as
at Amboise, or semi-detached, as at Chenonceaux.

Below, in the sub-basement, at Chenonceaux, are the original foundations
upon which Bohier laid his first stones. Here, too, are various
chambers, known respectively as the prison, the Bains de la Reine, the
_boulangerie_, etc.

Chenonceaux to-day is no whited sepulchre. It is a real living and
livable thing, and, moreover, when one visits it, he observes that the
family burn great logs in their fireplaces, have luxurious bouquets of
flowers on their dining-table, and use great wax candles instead of the
more prosaic oil-lamps, or worse--acetylene gas. Chenonceaux evidently
has no thoughts of descending to steam heat and electricity.

All this is as it should be, for when one visits a shrine like this he
prefers to find it with as much as possible of the old-time atmosphere
remaining. Chambord is bare and suggestive of the tomb, in spite of the
splendour of its outline and proportions; Pierrefonds, in the north, is
more so, and so would be Blois except for its restored or imitation
decorations; but here at Chenonceaux all is different, and breathes the
spirit of other days as well as that of to-day. It is, perhaps, not
exactly as Diane left it, or as Rousseau knew it under the régime of the
Dupins, since, after many changings of hands, it became the property of
the _Crédit Foncier_, by whom it was sold in 1891 to Mr. Terry, an
American.

Chenonceaux has two other architectural monuments which are often
overlooked under the spell of the more magnificent château. In the
village is a small Renaissance church--in which the Renaissance never
rose to any very great heights--which is here far more effective and
beautiful than usually are Renaissance churches of any magnitude. There
is also a sixteenth-century stone house in the same style and even more
successful as an expression of the art of the time. It is readily found
by inquiry, and is known as the "Maison des Pages de François I."



CHAPTER IX.

LOCHES


Much may be written of Loches, of its storied past, of its present-day
quaintness, and of its wealth of architectural monuments. Its church is
certainly the most curious religious edifice in all France, judging from
a cross-section of the vaults and walls. More than all else, however,
Loches is associated in our minds with the memory of Agnes Sorel.

Within the walls of the old collegiate church the lovely mistress of
Charles VII. was buried in 1450; but later her remains and tomb were
removed to one of the towers of the ancient castle of Loches, where they
now are. She had amply endowed the church, but they would no longer give
shelter to her remains, so her bones were removed five hundred years
later. The statue which surmounts her tomb, as seen to-day, represents
the "gentille Agnes" in all her loveliness, with folded hands on breast,
a kneeling angel at her head and a couchant lamb at her feet,--a
reminder of her innocence, said Henry James, but surely he nodded when
he said it. Lovely she was, and good in her way, but innocent she was
not, as we have come to know the word.

[Illustration: _Loches_]

It is fitting to recall that Charles VII. was not the only monarch who
sang her praises, for it was François I. who, many years later, wrote
those lines beginning:

"Gentille Agnes, plus de loz tu mérites."

Whether one comes to Loches by road or by rail, the first impression is
the same; he enters at once into a sleepy, old-world town which has
practically nothing of modernity about it except the electric lights.

There is but one way to realize the immense wealth of architectural
monuments centred at Loches, and that is to see the city for the first
time, as, perhaps, François Premier saw it when he journeyed from
Amboise, and came upon it from the heights of the forest of Loches. The
city has not grown much since that day. Then it had three thousand eight
hundred souls, and now it has five thousand.

Here, in the Forêt de Loches, Henry II. of England built a
monastery,--yet to be seen,--known as the Chartreuse du Liget, in
repentance, or, perhaps, as a penance for the murder of Becket. Over the
doorway of this monastery was graven:

                  ANGLORUM HENRICUS REX
                   THOMÆ COEDE CRUENTUS,
             LIGETICOS FUNDAT CARTUSIA MONAKOS.

To-day the monastery is the property of a M. de Marsay, and therefore
not open to the public; but the Chapelle du Liget, near by, is a fine
contemporary church of the thirteenth century, well worth the admiration
too infrequently bestowed upon it.

The first view of Loches must really be much as it was in François's
time, except, perhaps, that the roadway down from the forest has
improved, as roads have all over France, and fruit-trees and vineyards
planted out, which, however, in no way change the aspect when the town
is first seen in the dim haze of an early November morning.

It is the sky-line _ensemble_ of the châteaux of the Renaissance period
which is their most varied feature. No two are alike, and yet they are
all wonderfully similar in that they cut the sky with turret, tower, and
chimney in a way which suggests nothing as much as the architecture of
fairy-land.

The artists who illustrated the old fairy-tale books and drew castles
wherein dwelt beautiful maidens could nowhere have found more real
inspiration than among the châteaux of the Loire, the Cher, and the
Indre.

Loches is a veritable mediæval town, and it is even more than that, for
its history dates back into the earliest years of feudal times. Loches
is one of those _soi-disant_ French towns not great enough to be a
metropolis, and yet quite indifferent to the affairs of the outside
world.

The only false notes are those sounded by the various hawkers and
cadgers for the visitor's money, who have hired various old mediæval
structures, within the walls, and assure one that in the basement of
their establishment there are fragments "recently discovered,"--this in
English,--quite worth the price of admission which they charge you to
peer about in a gloomy hole of a cellar, littered with empty
wine-bottles and rubbish of all sorts.

All this is delightful enough to the simon-pure antiquarian; but even he
likes to dig things out for himself, and the householders can't all
expect to find _cachots_ in their sub-cellars or iron cages in their
garrets unless they manufacture them.

The old town, in spite of its lack of modernity, is full of surprises
and contrasts that must make it very livable to one who cares to spend a
winter within its walls. He may walk about on the ramparts on sunny
days; may fish in the Indre, below the mill; and, if he is an artist, he
will find, within a comparatively small area, much more that is
exceedingly "paintable" than is usually found in the fishing-villages of
Brittany or on the sand-dunes of the Pas de Calais, "artist's
sketching-grounds" which have been pretty well worked of late.

[Illustration: _Loches and Its Church_]

The history of Loches is so varied and vivid that it is easy to account
for the many remains of feudal and Renaissance days now existing. The
derivation of its name is in some doubt. Loches was unquestionably the
Luccæ of the Romans, but the Armorican Celts had the word _loc'h_,
meaning much the same thing,--_un marais_,--which is also wonderfully
like the _loch_ known to-day in the place-names of Scotland and the
_lough_ of Ireland. Partisans may take their choice.

In the fifth century a monastery was founded here by St. Ours, which
ultimately gave its name to the collegiate church which exists to-day. A
château, or more probably a fortress, appeared in the sixth century. The
city was occupied by the Franks in the seventh century, but by 630 it
had become united with Aquitaine. Pepin sacked it in 742, and Charles le
Chauve made it a seat of a hereditary government which, by alliance,
passed to the house of Anjou in 886, to whom it belonged up to 1205.
Jean-sans-Terre gave it to France in 1193. Richard Coeur de Lion
apparently resented this, for he retook it in the year following. In
1204, Philippe-Auguste besieged Chinon and Loches simultaneously, and
took the latter after a year, when he made it a fief, and gave it to
Dreux de Mello, Constable of France, who in turn sold it to St. Louis.

The château of Loches became first a fortress, guarding the ancient
Roman highway from the Blaisois to Aquitaine, then a prison, and then a
royal residence, to which Charles VII. frequently repaired with Agnes
Sorel, which calls up again the strangely contrasting influences of the
two women whose names have gone down in history linked with that of
Charles VII.

"Louis XI. aggrandized the château," says a French authority, "and
perfected the prisons," whatever that may mean. He did, we know, build
those terrible dungeons far down below the surface of the ground, where
daylight never penetrated. They were perfect enough in all conscience as
originally built, at least as perfect as the celebrated iron cage in
which he imprisoned Cardinal Balue. The cage is not in its wonted place
to-day, and only a ring in the wall indicates where it was once made
fast.

Charles VIII. added the great round tower; but it was not completed
until the reign of Louis XII. François I., in a not too friendly
meeting, received Charles Quint here in 1539, just previous to his visit
to Amboise. Marie de Medici, on escaping from Blois, stopped at the
château at the invitation of the governor, the Duc d'Epernon, who sped
her on her way, as joyfully as possible, to Angoulême.

The château itself is the chief attraction of interest, just as it is
the chief feature of the landscape when viewed from afar. Of course it
is understood that, when one speaks of the château at Loches, he refers
to the collective châteaux which, in more or less fragmentary form, go
to make up the edifice as it is to-day.

Whether we admire most the structure of Geoffrey Grise-Gonelle, the
elegant edifice of the fifteenth century, or the additions of Charles
VII., Louis XI., Charles VIII., Louis XII., or Henri III., we must
conclude that to know this conglomerate structure intimately one must
actually live with it. Nowhere in France--perhaps in no country--is
there a château that suggests so stupendously the story of its past.

The chief and most remarkable features are undoubtedly the great
rectangular keep or donjon, and the Tour Neuf or Tour Ronde. The first,
in its immensity, quite rivals the best examples of the kind elsewhere,
if it does not actually excel them in dimensions. It is, moreover,
according to De Caumont, the most beautiful of all the donjons of
France. As a state prison it confined Jean, Duc d'Alençon, Pierre de
Brézé, and Philippe de Savoie.

The Tour Ronde is a great cylinder flanked with dependencies which give
it a more or less irregular form. It encloses the prison where were
formerly kept the famous cages, the invention of Cardinal Balue, who
himself became their first victim. The Tour Ronde is reminiscent of two
great female figures in the mediæval portrait gallery,--Agnes Sorel and
Anne de Bretagne. The tomb of Agnes Sorel is here, and the Duchesse Anne
made an oratory in this grim tower, from which she sent up her prayer
for the success and unity of the political plans which inspired her
marriage into the royal family of France. It is a daintily decorated
chamber, with the queen's family device, the ermine with its twisted
necklet, prominently displayed.

In the passage which conducts to the dungeons of this great round tower,
one reads this ironical invitation: "_Entrés, messieurs, ches le Roy
Nostre Mestre_" (_O.F._).

That portion of the collective châteaux facing to the north is now
occupied by the Sous-Préfecture, and is more after the manner of the
residential châteaux of the Loire than of a fortress-stronghold or
prison. Before this portion stands the famous chestnut-tree, planted, it
is said, by François I., "and large enough to shelter the whole
population of Loches beneath its foliage," says the same doubtful
authority.

Under a fifteenth-century structure, called the Martelet, are the true
dungeons of Loches. Here one is shown the cell occupied for nine years
by the poor Ludovic Sforza, who died in 1510, from the mere joy of being
liberated. More deeply hidden still is the famous Prison des Évêques of
the era of François I. and the dungeon of Comte de St. Vallier, the
father of the fascinating Diane, who herself was the means of securing
his liberation by "fascinating the king," as one French writer puts it.
This may be so. St. Vallier _was_ liberated, we know, and the
susceptible François _was_ fascinated, though he soon tired of Diane and
her charms. She had the perspicacity, however, to transfer her
affections to his son, and so kept up a sort of family relationship.

Like the historic "prisoner of Gisors," the occupants of the dungeons at
Loches whiled away their lonely hours by inscribing their sentiments
upon the walls. Only one remains to-day, though fragmentary stone-carved
letters and characters are to be seen here and there. He who wrote the
following was certainly as cheerful as circumstances would allow:

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

Most of these formidable dungeons of Loches were prisons of state until
well into the sixteenth century.

[Illustration: _Sketch Plan of Loches_]

Beneath, or rather beside, the very walls of the château is the bizarre
collegiate church of St. Ours. One says bizarre, simply because it is
curious, and not because it is unchurchly in any sense of the word, for
it is not. Its low nave is surmounted by an enormous tower with a stone
spire, while there are two other pyramidal erections over the roof of
the choir which make the whole look, not like an elephant, as a cynical
Frenchman once wrote, but rather like a camel with two humps. This
strange architectural anomaly is, in parts, almost pagan; certainly its
font, a fragment of an ancient altar on which once burned a sacred fire,
_is_ pagan.

[Illustration: _St. Ours, Loches_]

There is a Romanesque porch of vast dimensions which is the real
artistic expression of the fabric, dressed with extraordinary primitive
sculptures of saints, demons, stryges, gnomes, and all manner of outré
things. All these details, however, are chiselled with a masterly
conception.

Behind this exterior vestibule the first bays of the nave form another,
a sort of an inner vestibule, which carries out still further the unique
arrangement of the whole edifice. This portion of the structure dates
from a consecration of the year 965, which therefore classes it as of
very early date,--indeed, few are earlier. Most of the church, however,
is of the twelfth century, including another great pyramid which rises
above the nave and the two smaller ones just behind the spire. The
side-aisles of the nave were added between the twelfth and fifteenth
centuries, while only the stalls and the tabernacle are as recent as the
sixteenth. The eastern end is triapsed, an unusual feature in France.
From this one realizes, quite to the fullest extent possible, the
antiquity and individuality of the Église de St. Ours at Loches.

The quaint Renaissance Hôtel-de-Ville was built by the architect Jean
Beaudoin (1535-1543), from sums raised, under letters patent from
François I., by certain _octroi_ taxes. From the fact that through its
lower story passes one of the old city entrances, it has come to be
known also as the Porte Picoys. In every way it is a worthy example of
Renaissance civic architecture.

In the Rue de Château is a remarkable Renaissance house, known as the
Chancellerie, which dates from the reign of Henri II. It has most
curious sculptures on its façade interspersed with the devices of
royalty and the inscription:

     IVSTITIA REGNO, PRUDENTIA NUTRISCO.

The Tour St. Antoine serves to-day as the city's belfry. It is all that
remains of a church, demolished long since, which was built in 1519-30,
in imitation of St. Gatien's of Tours. Doubtless it was base in many of
its details, as is its more famous compeer at Tours; but, if the old
tower which remains is any indication, it must have been an elaborate
and imposing work of the late Gothic and early Renaissance era.

As a literary note, lovers of Dumas's romances will be interested in the
fact that in the Hôtel de la Couroirie at Loches a body of Protestants
captured the celebrated Chicot, the jester of Henri III. and Henri IV.

Loches has a near neighbour in Beaulieu, which formerly possessed an
ardent hatred for its more progressive and successful contemporary,
Loches. Its very name has been perverted by local historians as coming
from Bellilocus, "the place of war," and not "_le lieu d'un bel
aspect_."

The abbey church at Beaulieu was built by the warlike Foulques Nerra (in
1008-12), who usually built fortresses and left church-building to monks
and bishops. It is a remarkable Romanesque example, though, since the
fifteenth century, it has been mostly in ruins. Foulques Nerra himself,
whose countenance had "_la majesté de celui d'un ange_," found his last
resting-place within its walls, which also sheltered much rich ornament,
to-day greatly defaced, though that of the nave, which is still intact,
is an evidence of its former worth.

The abbatial residence, still existent, has a curious exterior pulpit
built into the wall, examples of which are not too frequent in France.

Agnes Sorel, the belle of belles, lived here for a time in a house near
the Porte de Guigné, which bears a great stone _panonceau_, from which
the armorial bearings have to-day disappeared. It is another notable
monument to "the most graceful woman of her times," and without doubt
has as much historic value as many another more popular shrine of
history.

In connection with Agnes Sorel, who was so closely identified with
Loches and Beaulieu, it is to be recalled that she was known to the
chroniclers of her time as "_la dame de Beauté-sur-Marne_,"--a place
which does not appear in the books of the modern geographers. It may be
noted, too, that it was the encouragement of the "_belle des belles_" of
Charles VII. that, in a way, contributed to that monarch's success in
politics and arms, for her sway only began with Jeanne d'Arc's
supplication at Gien and Chinon. Tradition has it, indeed, that it was
the "gentille Agnes" who put the sword of victory in his hands when he
set out on his campaign of reconquest. Thus does the Jeanne d'Arc legend
receive a damaging blow.

[Illustration: _Tours_]

The château of Sausac, an elegant edifice of the sixteenth century,
completely restored in later days, is near by.



CHAPTER X.

TOURS AND ABOUT THERE


Tours, above all other of the ancient capitals of the French provinces,
remains to-day a _ville de luxe_, the elegant capital of a land balmy
and delicious; a land of which Dante sung:

         "Terra molle, e dolce e dilettosa...."

It is not a very grand town as the secondary cities of France go; not
like Rouen or Lyons, Bordeaux or Marseilles; but it is as typical a
reflection of the surrounding country as any, and therein lies its
charm.

One never comes within the influence of its luxurious, or, at least,
easy and comfortable appointments, its distinctly modern and up-to-date
railway station, its truly magnificent modern Hôtel de Ville, its
well-appointed hotels and cafés and its luxurious shops, but that he
realizes all this to a far greater extent than in any other city of
France.

And again, referring to the material things of life, everything is most
comfortable, and the restaurants and hotels most attractive in their
fare. Tours is truly one provincial capital where the _cuisine
bourgeoise_ still lives.

Touraine, and Tours in particular, besides many other things, is noted
for its hotels. Their praises have been sung often and loudly, not
forgetting Henry James's praise of the Hôtel de l'Univers, which is all
one expects to find it and more. The same may be said of the Hôtel du
Croissant, with the added opinion that it serves the most bountiful and
excellent _déjeuner_ to be had in all provincial France. It is difficult
to say just what actually causes all this excellence and abundance,
except that the catering there is an easy and pleasurable occupation.

The Rue Nationale--"_toujours et vraiment royale_"--is the great artery
of Tours running riverwards. On it circulates all the life of the city.

To the right is the Quartier de la Cathédrale, where are assembled the
great houses of the nobility--or such of them as are left--and of the
old _bourgeoisie tourangelle_.

To the left are the streets of the workers, a silk-mill or two, and the
printing-offices. Tours is and always has been celebrated for the
number and size of its _imprimeries_, with which, in olden times, the
name of the great Christopher Plantin, the master printer of Antwerp,
was connected. To-day, Tours's greatest establishment is that of Alfred
Mame et Fils, known throughout the Roman Catholic world.

[Illustration: ARMS OF THE PRINTERS, _AVOCATS_, AND INNKEEPERS, TOURS]

The printers and booksellers of the middle ages were favoured persons,
and their rank was high. In the days of solemn processions the
booksellers led the way, followed by the paper-makers, the
parchment-makers, the scribes,--who had not wholly died out,--the
binders and the illuminators. In these days the printers were granted an
emblazoned arms, which was characteristic and distinguished. The same
was true of the _avocats_, who bore upon their escutcheon a gowned
figure, with something very like a halo surrounding its head. The
innkeepers went one better, and had a bishop with an undeniable halo.
This is curious and inexplicable in the light of our modern conception
of similar things, but it's better than a shield with quarterings
representing half a canal-boat and half a locomotive, which was recently
adopted by an enterprising watering-place which shall be nameless.

In the same ancient quarter are the old towers of Charlemagne and St.
Martin. This part of the town is the nucleus of the old foundation, the
site of the _oppidum_ of the _Turones_, the _Cæsarodunum gallo-romain_,
and of the life which centred around the old abbey of St. Martin, so
venerated and so powerful in the middle ages.

To the inviolable refuge of this old abbey came multitudes of Christian
pilgrims from the world over; the Merovingians to undergo the penances
imposed upon them by the bishops and clerics in expiation of their
crimes. Under Charlemagne, the Abbé Alcuin founded great schools of
languages, history, astronomy, and music, from which founts of learning
went forth innumerable and illustrious religious teachers.

All but the two towers of this old religious foundation are gone. The
years of the Revolution saw the fall of the abbey; a street was cut
through the nave of its church, and the two dismembered parts stand
to-day as monuments to the sacrilege of modern times.

To-day a banal faubourg has sprung up around the site of the abbey, with
here and there old tumble-down houses either of wood and stone, such as
one reads of in the pages of Balzac, or sees in the designs of Doré, or
with their sides covered with overlapping slates.

Amid all these is an occasional treasure of architectural art, such as
the graceful Fountain of Beaune, the work of Michel Colombe, and some
remains of early Renaissance houses of somewhat more splendid
appointments than their fellows, particularly the Maison de Tristan
l'Hermite, the Hôtel Xaincoings, and many exquisite fragments now made
over into an _auberge_ or a _cabaret_, which make one dream of Rabelais
and his Gargantua.

It is uncertain whether Michel Colombe, who designed this fountain and
also that masterwork, the tomb of the Duc François II. and Marguerite de
Foix, at Nantes, was a Tourangeau or a Breton, but Tours claims him for
her own, and settles once for all the spelling of his name by producing
a "_papier des affaires_" signed plainly "Colombe." The proof lies in
this document, signed in a notary's office at Tours, concerning payments
which were made to him on behalf of the magnificent sepulchre which he
executed for the church of St. Sauveur at La Rochelle. In his
time--fifteenth century--Colombe had no rivals in the art of monumental
sculpture in France, and with reason he has been called the Michel Ange
of France.

The cathedral quarter has for its chief attraction that gorgeously
florid St. Gatien, whose ornate façade was likened by a certain monarch
to a magnificently bejewelled casket. It is an interesting and lovable
Gothic-Renaissance church which, if not quite of the first rank among
the masterpieces of its kind, is a marvel of splendour, and an example
of the "_caprices d'une guipure d'art_," as the French call it.

Bordering the Loire at Tours is a series of tree-lined quays and
promenades which are the scenes, throughout the spring and summer
months, of fêtes and fairs of many sorts. Here, too, at the extremity of
the Rue Nationale, are statues of Descartes and Balzac.

The Tour de Guise on the river-bank recalls the domination of the
Plantagenet kings of England, who were Counts of Anjou since it formed a
part of the twelfth-century château built here by Henry II. of England.

[Illustration: SCENE IN THE QUARTIER DE LA CATHÉDRALE, TOURS]

At the opposite extremity of the city is another other tower, the Tour
de Foubert, which protected the feudal domain of the old abbey of St.
Martin. The history of days gone by at Tours was more churchly than
political.

Once only--during the reign of Louis XII.--did the States General meet
at Tours (in 1506). Then the deputies of the _bourgeoisie_ met alone for
their deliberations, the chief outcome of which was to bestow upon the
king the eminently fitting title of "Père du Peuple." One may question
the righteousness of Louis XII. in throwing over his wife, Jeanne de
France, in order to serve political ends by acquiring the estates of
Anne of Brittany for the Crown of France for ever, but there is no doubt
but that he did it for the "_good of his people_."

The principal literary shrine at Tours is the house, in the Rue
Nationale, where was born Honoré de Balzac.

One could not do better than to visit Tours during the "_été de St.
Martin_," since it was the soldier-priest of Tours who gave his name to
that warm, bright prolongation of summer which in France (and in
England) is known as "St. Martin's summer," and which finds its
counterpart in America's "Indian summer."

The legend tells us that somewhere in the dark ages lived a soldier
named Martin. He was always of a charitable disposition, and none asked
alms of him in vain. One November day, when the wind blew briskly and
the snow fell fast, a beggar asked for food and clothing. Martin had but
his own cloak, and this he forthwith tore in half and gave one portion
to the beggar. Later on the same night there came a knocking at Martin's
door; the snow had ceased falling and the stars shone brightly, and one
of goodly presence stood with the cloak on his arm, saying, "I was naked
and ye clothed me." Martin straightway became a priest of the church,
and died an honoured bishop of Tours, and for ever after the anniversary
of his conversion is celebrated by sunny skies.

We owe a double debt to St. Martin. We have to thank him for the saying,
"_All my eye_" and the words "_chapel_" and "_chaplain_." The full form
of the phrase, "_All my eye and Betty Martin_," which we all of us have
often heard, is an obvious corruption of "_O mihi beate Martine_," the
beginning of an invocation to the saint. The cloak he divided with a
naked beggar, which, by the way, took place at Amiens, not at Tours, was
treasured as a relic by the Frankish kings, borne before them in battle,
and brought forth when solemn oaths were to be taken. The guardians of
this cloak or cape were known as "_cappellani_," whence "_chaplain_,"
while its sanctuary or "_cappella_" has become "_chapel_."

For their descriptions of Plessis-les-Tours modern English travellers
have invariably turned to the pages of Sir Walter Scott. This is all
very well in its way, but it is also well to remember that Scott drew
his picture from definite information, and it is not merely the product
of his imaginary architectural skill. In this respect Scott was
certainly far ahead of Carlyle in his estimates of French matters.

"Even in those days" (writing of "Quentin Durward"), said Scott, "when
the great found themselves obliged to reside in places of fortified
strength, it" (Plessis-les-Tours) "was distinguished for the extreme and
jealous care with which it was watched and defended." All this is
substantiated and corroborated by authorities, and, while it may have
been chosen by Scott merely as a suitable accessory for the details of
his story, Plessis-les-Tours unquestionably was a royal stronghold of
such proportions as to be but meanly suggested by the scanty remains of
the present day.

Louis XI. dreamed fondly of Plessis-les-Tours (Plessis being from the
Latin _Plexitium_, a name borne by many suburban villages of France),
and he sought to make it a royal residence where he should be safe from
every outward harm. It had four great towers, crenelated and
machicolated, after the best Gothic fortresses of the time. At the four
angles of the protecting walls were the principal logis, and between the
lines of its ramparts or fosses was an advance-guard of buildings
presumably intended for the vassals in time of danger.

This was the castle as Louis first knew it, when it was the property of
the chamberlain of the Duchy of Luynes, from whom the king bought it for
five thousand and five hundred _écus d'or_,--the value of fifty thousand
francs of to-day.

Its former appellation, Montilz-les-Tours, was changed (1463) to
Plessis. All the chief features have disappeared, and to-day it is but a
scrappy collection of tumble-down buildings devoted to all manner of
purposes. A few fragmentary low-roofed vaults are left, and a brick and
stone building, flanked by an octagonal tower, containing a stairway;
but this is about all of the former edifice, which, if not as splendid
as some other royal residences, was quite as effectively defended and as
suitable to its purposes as any.

[Illustration: _PLESSIS-Les-TOURS. In the time of Louis XI_]

It had, too, within its walls a tiny chapel dedicated to Our Lady of
Cléry, before whose altar the superstitious Louis made his inconstant
devotions.

Once a great forest surrounded the château, and was, as Scott says,
"rendered dangerous and well-nigh impracticable by snares and traps
armed with scythe-blades, which shred off the unwary traveller's limbs
... and calthrops that would pierce your foot through, and pitfalls deep
enough to bury you in them for ever." To-day the forest has disappeared,
"lost in the night of time," as a French historian has it.

The detailed description in "Quentin Durward" is, however, as good as
any, and, if one has no reference works in French by him, he may well
read the dozen or more pages which Sir Walter devotes to the further
description of the castle.

Perhaps, after all, it is fitting that a Scot should have written so
enthusiastically of it, for the castle itself was guarded by the
Scottish archers, "to the number of three hundred gentlemen of the best
blood of Scotland."

An anonymous poet has written of the ancient glory of this retreat of
Louis's as follows:

        "Un imposant château se présente à la vue,
         Par des portes de fer l'entrée est défendue;
         Les murs en sont épais et les fossés profonds;
         On y voit des créneaux, des tours, des bastions,
         Et des soldats armés veillent sur ses murailles."

Frame this with such details as the surrounding country supplies, the
Cher on one side, the Loire on the other, and the fertile hills of St.
Cyr, of Ballon, and of Joué, and one has a picture worthy of the
greatest painter of any time.

Louis XI. died at Plessis, after having lived there many years. Louis
XII. made of it a _rendezvous de chasse_, but François II. confided its
care to a governor and would never live in it. Louis XIV. gave the
governorship as a hereditary perquisite to the widow of the Seigneur de
Sausac.

In 1778 it was used as a sort of retreat for the indigent, though
happily enough Touraine was never overburdened with this class of
humanity. Under Louis XV. a Mademoiselle Deneux, a momentary rival of La
Pompadour and Du Barry, found a retreat here. Later it became a _maison
de correction_, and finally a _dépôt militaire_. At the time of the
Revolution it was declared to be national property, and on the
_nineteenth Nivoise, Year IV._, Citizen Cormeri, justice of the peace at
Tours, fixed its value at one hundred and thirty-one thousand francs.

To-day it is as bare and uncouth as a mere barracks or as a disused
flour-mill, and its ruins are visited partly because of their former
historical glories, as recalled by students of French history, and
partly because of the glamour which was shed over it, for English
readers, by Scott.

Sixty years ago a French writer deplored the fact that, on leaving these
scanty remains of a so long gone past, he observed a notice nailed to a
pillar of the _porte-cochère_ reading:

                       LA FERME DU PLESSIS
         O LOUER OU A VENDRE

To-day some sort of a division and rearrangement of the property has
been made, but the result is no less mournful and sad, and thus a
glorious page of the annals of France has become blurred.

It is interesting to recall what manner of persons composed the
household of Louis XI. when he resided at Plessis-les-Tours. Commines,
his historian, has said that habitually it consisted of a chancellor, a
_juge de l'hôtel_, a private secretary, and a treasurer, each having
under him various employees. In addition there was a master of the
pantry, a cupbearer, a _chef de bouche_ and a _chef de cuisine_, a
_fruitier_, a master of the horse, a quartermaster or master-at-arms,
and, in immediate control of these domestic servants, a _seneschal_ or
_grand maître_. In many respects the household was not luxuriously
conducted, for the parsimonious Louis lived fully up to the false maxim:
"_Qui peu donne, beaucoup recueille._"

Louis himself was fond of doing what the modern housewife would call
"messing about in the kitchen." He did not dabble at cookery as a
pastime, or that sort of thing; but rather he kept an eagle eye on the
whole conduct of the affairs of the household.

One day, coming to the kitchen _en négligé_, he saw a small boy turning
a spit before the fire.

"And what might you be called?" said he, patting the lad on the
shoulder.

"Etienne," replied the _marmiton_.

"Thy _pays_, my lad?"

"Le Berry."

"Thy age?"

"Fifteen, come St. Martin's."

"Thy wish?"

"To be as great as the king" (he had not recognized his royal master).

"And what wishes the king?"

"His expenses to become less."

The reply brought good fortune for the lad, for Louis made him his
_valet de chambre_, and took him afterward into his most intimate
confidence.

Louis was fond of _la chasse_, and Scott does not overlook this fact in
"Quentin Durward." When affairs of state did not press, it was the
king's greatest pleasure. For the royal hunt no pains or expense were
spared. The carriages were without an equal elsewhere in the courts of
Europe, and the hunting establishment was equipped with _chiens
courants_ from Spain, _levriers_ from Bretagne, _bassets_ from Valence,
mules from Sicily, and horses from Naples.

The attractions of the environs of Tours are many and interesting: St.
Symphorien, Varennes, the Grottoes of Ste. Radegonde, and the site of
that most famous abbey of Marmoutier, also a foundation of St. Martin.
Here, under the name Martinus Monasterium, grew up an immense and superb
establishment. From an old seventeenth-century print one quotes the
following couplet:

        "De quel côté que le vent vente
         Marmoutier a cens et rente."

From this one infers that the abbey's original functions are performed
no more.

[Illustration: _ENVIRONS OF TOURS_]

In the middle ages (thirteenth century) it was one of the most powerful
institutions of its class, and its church one of the most beautiful in
Touraine. The tower and donjon are the only substantial remains of this
early edifice.

A curious chapel, called the "Chapelle des Sept Dormants," is here cut
in the form of a cross into the rock of the hillside, where are buried
the remains of the Seven Sleepers, the disciples of St. Martin, who, as
the holy man had predicted, all died on the same day.

Beyond Marmoutier, a stairway of 122 steps, cut also in the rock, leads
to the plateau on which stands the gaunt and ugly Lanterne de
Rochecorbon, a fourteenth-century construction with a crenelated summit,
an unlovely companion of that even more enigmatic erection known as "La
Pile," a few miles down the Loire at Cinq-Mars.



CHAPTER XI.

LUYNES AND LANGEAIS


Below Tours, and before reaching Saumur, are a succession of panoramic
surprises which are only to be likened to those of our imagination, but
they are very real nevertheless.

As one leaves Tours by the road which skirts the right bank of the
Loire, he is once more impressed by the fact that the _cailloux de
Loire_ are the river's chief product, though fried fish, of a similar
variety to those found in the Seine, are found on the menus of all
roadside taverns and restaurants.

Still, the effect of the uncovered bed of the Loire, with its variegated
pebbles and mirror-like pools, is infinitely more picturesque than if it
were mud flats, and its tree-bordered banks are for ever opening great
alleyed vistas such as are only known in France.

The hills on either bank are not of the stupendous and magnificently
scenic order of those of the Seine above and below Rouen; but, such as
they are, they are of much the same composition, a soft talcy formation
which here serves admirably the purposes of cliff-dwellings for the
vineyard and wine-press workers, who form practically the sole
population of the Loire villages from Vouvray, just above Tours, to
Saumur far below.

On the hillsides are the vineyards themselves, growing out of the thin
layer of soil in shades of red and brown and golden, which no artist has
ever been able to copy, for no one has painted the rich colouring of a
vineyard in a manner at all approaching the original.

Not far below Tours, on the right bank, rise the towers and turrets of
the Château de Luynes, hanging perilously high above the lowland which
borders upon the river. An unpleasant tooting tram gives communication a
dozen times a day with Tours, but few, apparently, patronize it except
peasants with market-baskets, and vineyard workers going into town for a
jollification. It is perhaps just as well, for the fine little town of
Luynes, which takes its name from the château which has been the
residence of a Comte de Luynes since the days of Louis XIII., would be
quite spoiled if it were on the beaten track.

[Illustration: A VINEYARD OF VOUVRAY]

The brusque façade of the Château de Luynes makes a charming interior,
judging from the descriptions and drawings which are to be met with in
an elaborately prepared volume devoted to its history.

The stranger is allowed to enter within the gates of the courtyard,
beneath the grim coiffed towers; but he may visit only certain
apartments. He will, however, see enough to indicate that the edifice
was something more than a mere _maison de campagne_. All the attributes
of an important fortress are here, great, round, thickly built towers,
with but few exterior windows, and those high up from the ground. There
is nothing of luxurious elegance about it, and its aspect is forbidding,
though imposing.

The château belies its looks somewhat, for it was built only in the
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when, in most of its neighbours, the
more or less florid Renaissance was in vogue. A Renaissance structure in
stone and brick forms a part of that which faces on the interior court,
and is flanked by a fine octagonal "_tour d'escalier_."

From the terrace of the courtyard one gets an impressive view of the
Loire, which glides by two or more kilometres away, and of the towers
and roof-tops of Tours, and the vine-carpeted hills which stretch away
along the river's bank in either direction.

The château of Luynes is still in the possession of a Duc de Luynes,
through whose courtesy one may visit such of the apartments as his
servants are allowed to show. It is not so great an exhibition, nor so
good a one, as is to be had at Langeais; but it is satisfactory as far
as it goes, and, when it is supplemented by the walks and views which
are to be had on the plateau, upon which the grim-towered château sits,
the memory of it all becomes most pleasurable.

The former Ducs de Luynes were continually appearing in the historic
events of the later Renaissance period, but it was only with Louis
XIII., he who would have put France under the protection of the Virgin,
that the chatelain of Luynes came to a position of real power. Louis
made Albert, the Gascon, both Duc de Luynes and Connétable de France,
and thereby gave birth to a tyrant whom he hated and feared, as he did
his mother, his wife, and his minister, Richelieu.

[Illustration: _Mediæval Stairway and the Château de Luynes_]

The site occupied by the château of Luynes is truly marvellous, though,
as a matter of fact, there is no great magnificence about the
proportions of the château itself. It is piled gracefully on the top
of a table-land which rises abruptly from the Loire and has a charmingly
quaint old town nestled confidingly below it, as if for protection.

One reaches the château by any one of a half-dozen methods, by the
highroad which bends around in hairpin curves until it reaches the
plateau above, by various paths across or around the vineyards of the
hillside, or by a quaintly cut mediæval stairway, levelled and terraced
in the gravelly soil until it ends just beneath the frowning walls of
the château itself. From this point one gets quite the most imposing
aspect of the château to be had, its towers and turrets piercing the sky
high above the head, and carrying the mind back to the days when
civilization meant something more--or less--than it does to-day, with
the toot of a steam-tram down below on the river's bank and the midday
whistles of the factories of Tours rending one's ears the moment he
forgets the past and recalls the present.

To-day the Château de Luynes is modern, at least to the extent that it
is lived in, and has all the refinements of a modern civilization; but
one does not realize all this from an exterior contemplation, and only
as one strolls through the apartments publicly shown, and gets glimpses
of electrical conveniences and modern arrangements, does he wonder how
far different it may have been before all this came to pass.

Built in early Renaissance times, the château has all the peculiarities
of the feudal period, when window-openings were few and far between, and
high up above the level of the pavement. In feudal and warlike times
this often proved an admirable feature; but one would have thought that,
with the beginning of the Renaissance, a more ample provision would have
been made for the admission of sunshine.

The _chef-d'oeuvre_ of this really great architectural monument is
undoubtedly the façade of the beautiful fifteenth-century courtyard.
There is nothing even remotely feudal here, but a purely decorative
effect which is as charming in its way as is the exterior façade of
Azay-le-Rideau. "A poem," it has been called, "in weather-worn timber
and stone," and the simile could hardly be improved upon.

The town, too, or such of it as immediately adjoins the château, is
likewise charming and quaint, and sleepily indolent as far as any great
activity is concerned.

Luynes was the seat of a seigneurie until 1619, when it became a
possession of the Comte de Maillé. Finally it came to Charles d'Albert,
known as "D'Albert de Luynes," a former page to Henri IV., who afterward
became the favourite and the Guardian of the Seals of Louis XIV.; and
thus the earlier foundation of Maillé became known as Luynes.

Except for its old houses of wood and stone, its old wooden
market-house, and its tortuous streets of stairs, there are few features
here, except the château, which take rank as architectural monuments of
worth. The church is a modern structure, built after the Romanesque
manner and wholly without warmth and feeling.

From the height on which stands the château of Luynes one sees, as his
eye follows the course of the Loire to the southwestward, the gaunt,
unbeautiful "Pile" of Cinq-Mars. The origin of this singular square
tower, looking for all the world like a factory chimney or some great
ventilating-shaft, is lost far back in Carlovingian, or perhaps Roman,
times. It is a mystery to archæologists and antiquarians, some claiming
it to be a military monument, others a beacon by land, and yet others
believing it to be of some religious significance.

At all events, all the explanations ignore the four _pyramidions_ of
its topmost course, and these, be it remarked, are quite the most
curious feature of the whole fabric.

To many the name of the little town of Cinq-Mars will suggest that of
the Marquis de Cinq-Mars, a court favourite of Louis XIII. It was the
ambitious but unhappy career at court of this young gallant which
ultimately resulted in his death on the scaffold, and in the razing, by
Richelieu, of his ancestral residence, the castle of Cinq-Mars, "to the
heights of infamy." The expression is a curious one, but history so
records it. All that is left to-day to remind one of the stronghold of
the D'Effiats of Cinq-Mars are its two crumbling gate-towers with an
arch between and a few fragmentary foundation walls which follow the
summit of the cliff behind "La Pile."

The little town of not more than a couple of thousand inhabitants
nestles in a bend of the Loire, where there is so great a breadth that
it looks like a long-drawn-out lake. The low hills, so characteristic of
these parts, stretch themselves on either bank, unbroken except where
some little streamlet forces its way by a gentle ravine through the
scrubby undergrowth. Oaks and firs and huge limestone cliffs jut out
from the top of the hillside on the right bank and shelter the town
which lies below.

[Illustration: _Ruins of Cinq-Mars_]

Cinq-Mars is a miniature metropolis, though not a very progressive one
at first sight; indeed, beyond its long main street and its houses,
which cluster about its grim, though beautiful, tenth and twelfth
century church, there are few signs of even provincial importance.

In reality Cinq-Mars is the centre of a large and important wine
industry, where you may hear discussed, at the _table d'hôte_ of its not
very readily found little inn, the poor prices which the usually
abundant crop always brings. The native even bewails the fact that he is
not blessed with a poor season or two and then he would be able to sell
his fine vintages for something more than three sous a litre. By the
time it reaches Paris this _vin de Touraine_ of commerce has aggrandized
itself so that it commands two francs fifty centimes on the Boulevards,
and a franc fifty in the University quarter.

The fall of Henri Cinq-Mars was most pathetic, though no doubt moralists
will claim that because of his covetous ambitions he deserved nothing
better.

He went up to Paris from Touraine, a boy of twenty, and was presented to
the king, who was immediately impressed by his distinguished manners.
From infancy Cinq-Mars had been a lover of life in the open. He had
hunted the forests of Touraine, and had angled the waters of the Loire,
and thus he came to give a new zest to the already sad life of Louis
XIII. Honour after honour was piled upon him until he was made Grand
Seneschal of France and Master of the King's Horse, at which time he
dropped his natal patronymic and became known as "Monsieur le Grand."

Cinq-Mars fell madly in love with Marion Delorme and wished to make her
"Madame la Grande," but the dowager Marquise de Cinq-Mars would not hear
of it: Mlle. Marion Delorme, the Aspasia of her day, would be no honour
to the ancestral tree of the Effiats of Cinq-Mars.

Headstrong and wilful, one early morning, Monsieur le Grand and his
beloved, then only thirty, took coach from her hotel in the Rue des
Tournelles at Paris for the old family castle in Touraine, sitting high
on the hills above the feudal village which bore the name of Cinq-Mars.
In the chapel they were secretly married, and for eight days the
proverbial marriage-bell rang true. Their Nemesis appeared on the ninth
day in the person of the dowager, and Cinq-Mars told his mother that
the whole affair was simply a _passe temps_, and that Mlle. Delorme was
still Mlle. Delorme. His mother would not be deceived, however, and she
flew for succour to Richelieu, who himself was more than slightly
acquainted with the charms of the fair Marion.

This was Cinq-Mars's downfall. He advised the king "by fair means or
foul, let Richelieu die," and the king listened. A conspiracy was
formed, by Cinq-Mars and others, to do away with the cardinal, _and even
the king_, at whose death Gaston of Orleans was to be proclaimed regent
for his nephew, the infant Louis XIV.

The court went to Narbonne, on the Mediterranean, that it might be near
aid from Spain; all of which was a subterfuge of Cinq-Mars. The rest
moves quickly: Richelieu discovered the plot; Cinq-Mars attempted to
flee disguised as a Spaniard, was captured and brought as a prisoner to
the castle at Montpellier.

Richelieu had proved the more powerful of the two; but he was dying, and
this is the reason, perhaps, why he hurried matters. Cinq-Mars, "the
amiable criminal," went to the torture-chamber, and afterward to the
scaffold.

"Then," say the old chronicles, "Richelieu ordered that the feudal
castle of Cinq-Mars, in the valley of the Loire, should be blown up,
and the towers razed to the height of infamy."

From Cinq-Mars to Langeais, whose château is really one of the most
appealing sights of the Loire, the characteristics of the country are
topographically and economically the same; green hills slope,
vine-covered, to the river, with here and there a tiny rivulet flowing
into the greater stream.

As at Cinq-Mars, the chief commodity of Langeais is wine, rich, red wine
and pale amber, too, but all of it wine of a quality and at a price
which would make the city-dweller envious indeed.

There are two distinct châteaux at Langeais; at least, there is _the_
château, and just beyond the ornamental stone-carpet of its courtyard
are the ruins of one of the earliest donjons, or keeps, in all France.
It dates from the year 990, and was built by the celebrated Comte
d'Anjou, Foulques Nerra, "_un criminel dévoyé des hommes et de Dieu_,"
whose hobby, evidently, was building châteaux, as his "follies" in stone
are said to have encumbered the land in those old days.

Taken and retaken, dismantled and in part razed in the fifteenth
century, it gave place to the present château by the orders of Louis
XI.

[Illustration: _Château de Langeais_]

The Château de Langeais of to-day is a robust example of its kind; its
walls, flanked by great hooded towers, have a surrounding "_guette_," or
gallery, which served as a means of communication from one part of the
establishment to another and, in warlike times, allowed boiling oil or
melted lead, or whatever they may have used for the purpose, to be
poured down upon the heads of any besiegers who had the audacity to
attack it.

There is no glacis or moat, but the machicolations, sixty feet or more
up from the ground, must have afforded a well-nigh perfect means of
repelling a near attack.

Altogether Langeais is a redoubtable little château of the period, and
its aspect to-day has changed but very little. "It is the swan-song of
expiring feudalism," said the Abbé Bosseboeuf.

One gets a thrill of heroic emotion when he views its hardy walls for
the first time: "a mountain of stone, a heroic poem of Gothic art," it
has with reason been called.

Jean Bourré, the minister of Louis XI., built the present château about
1460. The chief events of its history were the drawing up within its
walls of the "common law" of Touraine, by the order of Charles VII., and
the marriage of Charles VIII. with Anne de Bretagne, on the 16th of
December, 1491.

The land belonged, in 1276, to Pierre de Brosse, the minister of
Philippe-le-Hardi; later, to François d'Orleans, son of the celebrated
_Bâtard_; to the Princesse de Conti, daughter of the Duc de Guise; to
the families Du Bellay and D'Effiats, Barons of Cinq-Mars; and, finally,
to the Duc de Luynes, in whose hands it remained up to the Revolution.

Honoré de Balzac, who may well be called one of the historians of
Touraine, gave to one of his heroines the name of Langeais. To-day,
however, the family of Langeais does not exist, and, indeed, according
to the chronicles, never had any connection with either the donjon of
Foulques Nerra or the château of the fifteenth century. The present
owner is M. Jacques Siegfreid, who has admirably restored and furnished
it after the Gothic style of the middle ages.

The château of Langeais, like that of Chenonceaux, is occupied, as one
learns from a visit to its interior. A lackey of a superior order
receives you; you pay a franc for an admission ticket, and the lackey
conducts you through nearly, if not quite all, of the apartments. Where
the family goes during this process it is hard to say, but doubtless
they are willing to inconvenience themselves for the benefit of
"touring" humanity.

The interior, no less than the exterior, impresses one as being
something which has lived in the past, and yet exists to-day in all its
original glory, for the present proprietor, with the aid of an admirable
adviser, M. Lucien Roy, a Parisian architect, has produced a resemblance
of its former furnishings which, so far as it goes, is beyond criticism.

There is nothing of bareness about it, nor is there an over-luxuriant
interpolation of irrelevant things, such as a curator crowds into a
museum. In short, nothing more has been done than to attempt to
reconstitute a habitation of the fifteenth century. For seventeen years
the work has gone on, and there have been collected many authentic
furnishings contemporary with the fabric itself, great oaken beds,
tables, chairs, benches, tapestries, and other articles. In addition,
the decorations have been carried out after the same manner, copied in
many cases from contemporary pictures and prints.

To-day, the general aspect is that of a peaceful household, with all
recollections of feudal times banished for ever. All is tranquil,
respectable, and luxurious, and it would take a chronic faultfinder not
to be content with the manner with which these admirable restorations
and refurnishings have been carried out.

One notes particularly the infinite variety and appropriateness of the
tiling which goes to make up the floors of these great salons--modern
though it is. The great chimneypieces, however, are ancient, and have
not been retouched. Those in the Salle des Gardes and the Salle where
was celebrated the marriage of Charles VIII. and Anne de Bretagne, with
their ornamentation in the best of Gothic, are especially noteworthy.

This latter apartment is the chief attraction of the château and the
room of which the present dwellers in this charming monument of history
are naturally the most proud. To-day it forms the great dining-hall of
the establishment. Mementos of this marriage, so momentous for France,
are exceedingly numerous along the lower Loire, but this handsome room
quite leads them all. This marriage, and the goods and lands it brought
to the Crown, had but one stipulation connected with it, and that was
that the Duchesse Anne should be privileged to marry the elderly king's
successor, should she survive her royal husband.

[Illustration: ARMS OF LOUIS XII. AND ANNE DE BRETAGNE]

Louis XII. was not at all opposed to becoming the husband of la Duchesse
Anne after Charles VIII. had met his death on the tennis-court, because
this second marriage would for ever bind to France that great province
ruled by the gentle Anne.

In the Salle des Gardes are six valuable tapestries representing such
heroic figures as Cæsar and Charlemagne, surrounded by their companions
in arms.

From the towers, on a clear day, one may see the pyramids of the
cathedral at Tours rising on the horizon to the northward. Below is the
Château de Villandry, where Philippe-Auguste met Henry II. of England to
conclude a memorable peace. To the right is Azay-le-Rideau, and to the
extreme right are the ruined towers of Cinq-Mars and its Pile. Nothing
could be more delicious on a bright summer's day than the view from the
ramparts of Langeais over the roof-tops of the charming little town in
the foreground.

Some time after the Revolution there was found, in the gardens of the
château, the remains of a _chapelle romaine_ which historians, who have
searched the annals of antiquity in Touraine, claim to have been the
chapel in honour of St. Sauveur which Foulques V., called le Jeune, one
of the five Counts of Anjou of that name, constructed upon his return
from his voyage to Palestine in the twelfth century. To-day it is
overgrown with a trellised grapevine and is practically not visible,
still it is another architectural monument of the first rank with which
the not very ample domain of the Château de Langeais is endowed.

From the courtyard the walls of the château take on a Renaissance
aspect; a tiny doorway beside the great gate is manifestly Renaissance;
so, too, are the polygonal towers, with their winding stairs, the
pignons and gables of the roof, and what carved stone there is in
evidence. Three stone stairways which mount by the slender _tourelles_
serve to communicate with the various floors to-day as they did in the
times of Charles VIII.

The courtyard itself, with its formal carpet design in stone, its shaded
walls, its stone seats, and its Roman sarcophagus, is a pleasant
retreat, but it has not the seclusion of the larger park, delightful
though it is.

Just before the drawbridge of the old château, that mediæval gateway by
which one enters to-day, one sees the Maison de Rabelais, who is the
deity of Langeais and Chinon, as is Balzac that of Tours. It is a fine
old-time house of a certain amplitude and grandeur among its less
splendid fellows, now given over, on the ground floor, to a bakery and
pastry-shop. Enough is left of its original aspect, and the Renaissance
decorations of its façade are sufficiently well preserved to stamp it as
a worthy abode for the "Curé de Chinon," who lived here for some years.

Two other names in literature are connected with Langeais: Ronsard, the
poet, who lived here for a time, and César-Alexis-Chichereau, Chevalier
de la Barre, who was a poet and a troubadour of repute.

The main street of Langeais is still flanked with good Gothic and
Renaissance houses, neither pretentious nor mean, but of that order
which sets off to great advantage the walls and towers and porches of
the château and the church. This street follows the ancient Roman
roadway which traversed the valley of the Loire through Gaul.

The river is here crossed by one of those too frequent, though useful,
suspension-bridges, with which the Loire abounds. The guide-books call
it _beau_, but it is not. One has to cross it to reach Azay-le-Rideau,
which lies ten kilometres or more away across the Indre.



CHAPTER XII.

AZAY-LE-RIDEAU, USSÉ, AND CHINON


From Langeais, one's obvious route lies towards Chinon, via
Azay-le-Rideau and Ussé. These latter are practically within the forest,
though the Forêt de Chinon proper does not actually begin until one
leaves Azay behind, when for twenty kilometres or more one of the most
superb forest roads in France crosses many hills and dales until it
finally descends into Chinon itself.

Like most forest roads in France, this highway is not flat; it rises and
falls with a sheer that is sometimes precipitous, but always with a
gravelled surface that gives little dust, and which absorbs water as the
sand from the pounce-box of our forefathers dried up ink. This simile
calls to mind the fact that in twentieth-century France the pounce-box
is still in use, notably at wayside railway stations, where the agent
writes you out your ticket and dries it off in a box, not of sand, but
of sawdust.

To partake of the hospitality of Azay-le-Rideau one must arrive before
four in the afternoon, and not earlier than midday. From the photographs
and post-cards by which one has become familiar with Azay-le-Rideau, it
appears like a great country house sitting by itself far away from any
other habitation. In England this is often the case, in France but
seldom.

Clustered around the walls of the not very great park which surrounds
the château are all manner of shops and cafés, not of the tourist
order,--for there is very little here to suggest that tourists ever
come, though indeed they do, by twos and threes throughout all the
year,--but for the accommodation of the population of the little town
itself, which must approximate a couple of thousand souls, all of whom
appear to be engaged in the culture of the vine and its attendant
pursuits, as the wine-presses, the coopers' shops, and other similar
establishments plainly show. There is, moreover, the pleasant smell of
fermented grape-juice over all, which, like the odour of the hop-fields
of Kent, is conducive to sleep; and there lies the charm of
Azay-le-Rideau, which seems always half-asleep.

The Hôtel du Grand Monarque is a wonderfully comfortable country inn,
with a dining-room large enough to accommodate half a hundred persons,
but which, most likely, will serve only yourself. One incongruous note
is sounded,--convenient though it be,--and that is the electric light
which illuminates the hotel and its dependencies, including the stables,
which look as though they might once have been a part of a mediæval
château themselves.

However, since posting days and tallow dips have gone for ever, one
might as well content himself with the superior civilization which
confronts him, and be comfortable at least.

The Château d'Azay-le-Rideau is one of the gems of Touraine's splendid
collection of Renaissance art treasures, though by no means is it one of
the grandest or most imposing.

A tree-lined avenue leads from the village street to the château, which
sits in the midst of a tiny park; not a grand expanse as at Chambord or
Chenonceaux, but a sort of green frame with a surrounding moat, fed by
the waters of the Indre.

The main building is square, with a great coiffed round tower at each
corner. The Abbé Chevalier, in his "Promenades Pittoresques en
Touraine," called it the purest and best of French Renaissance, and such
it assuredly is, if one takes a not too extensive domestic
establishment of the early years of the sixteenth century as the typical
example.

Undoubtedly the sylvan surroundings of the château have a great deal to
do with the effectiveness of its charms. The great white walls of its
façade, with the wonderful sculptures of Jean Goujon, glisten in the
brilliant sunlight of Touraine through the sycamores and willows which
border the Indre in a genuinely romantic fashion.

Somewhere within the walls are the remains of an old tower of the
one-time fortress which was burned by the Dauphin Charles in 1418,
after, says history, "he had beheaded its governor and taken all of the
defenders to the number of three hundred and thirty-four." This act was
in revenge for an alleged insult to his sacred person.

There are no remains of this former tower visible exteriorly to-day, and
no other bloody acts appear to have attached themselves to the present
château in all the four hundred years of its existence.

[Illustration: _Château d'Azay-le-Rideau_]

Gilles Berthelot erected the present structure early in the reign of
François I. He was a man close to the king in affairs of state, first
_conseiller-secrétaire_, then _trésorier-général des finances_, hence
he knew the value of money. Among the succeeding proprietors was Guy de
Saint Gelais, one of the most accomplished diplomats of his time. He was
followed by Henri de Beringhem, who built the stables and ornamented the
great room known as the Chambre du Roi from the fact that Louis XIV.
once slept there, with the magnificent paintings which are shown to-day.

Everywhere is there a rich, though not gross, display of decoration,
beginning with such constructive details as the pointed-roofed
_tourelles_, which are themselves exceedingly decorative. The doors,
windows, roof-tops, chimneypieces, and the semi-enclosed circular
stairways are all elaborately sculptured after the best manner of the
time.

The entrance portico is a wonder of its kind, with a strong sculptured
arcade and arched window-openings and niches filled with bas-reliefs.
Sculptured shells, foliage, and mythological symbols combine to form an
arabesque, through which are interspersed the favourite ciphers of the
region, the ermine and the salamander, which go to prove that François
and other royalties must at one time or another have had some connection
with the château.

History only tells us, however, that Gilles Berthelot was a king's
minister and Mayor of Tours. Perhaps he thought of handing it over as a
gift some day in exchange for further honours. His device bore the
words, "_Ung Seul Desir_," which may or may not have had a special
significance.

The interior of the edifice is as beautiful as is its exterior, and is
furnished with that luxuriance of decorative effect so characteristic of
the best era of the Renaissance in France.

Until recently the proprietor was the Marquis de Biencourt, who, like
his fellow proprietors of châteaux in Touraine, generously gave visitors
an opportunity to see his treasure-house for themselves, and, moreover,
furnished a guide who was something more than a menial and yet not a
supercilious functionary.

Within a twelvemonth this "purest joy of the French Renaissance" was put
upon the real estate market, with the result that it might have fallen
into unappreciative hands, or, what a Touraine antiquarian told the
writer would be the worse fate that could possibly befall it, might be
bought up by some American millionaire, who through the services of the
house-breaker would dismantle it and remove it stone by stone and set it
up anew on some asphalted avenue in some western metropolis. This
extraordinary fear or rumour, whatever it was, soon passed away and as
a "_monument historique_" the château has become the property of the
French government.

Less original, perhaps, in plan than Chenonceaux, less appealing in its
_ensemble_ and less fortunate in its situation, Azay-le-Rideau is
nevertheless entitled to the praises which have been heaped upon it.

It is but a dozen kilometres from Azay-le-Rideau to Ussé, on the road to
Chinon. The Château d'Ussé is indeed a big thing; not so grand as
Chambord, nor so winsome as Langeais, but infinitely more characteristic
of what one imagines a great residential château to have been like. It
belongs to-day to the Comte de Blacas, and once was the property of
Vauban, Maréchal of France, under Louis XIV., who built the terrace
which lies between it and the river, a branch of the Indre.

Perched high above the hemp-lands of the river-bottom, which here are
the most prolific in the valley of the Indre, the château with its park
of seven hundred or more acres is truly regal in its appointments and
surroundings. This park extends to the boundary of the national
reservation, the Forêt de Chinon.

The Renaissance château of to-day is a reconstruction of the sixteenth
century, which preserves, however, the great cylindrical towers of a
century earlier. Its architecture is on the whole fantastic, at least as
much so as Chambord, but it is none the less hardy and strong.
Practically it consists of a series of _pavillons_ bound to the great
fifteenth-century donjon by smaller towers and turrets, all slate-capped
and pointed, with machicolations surrounding them, and above that a sort
of roofed and crenelated battlement which passes like a collar around
all the outer wall.

The general effect of the exterior walls is that of a great feudal
stronghold, while from the courtyard the aspect is simply that of a
luxurious Renaissance town house, showing at least how the two styles
can be pleasingly combined.

Crenelated battlements are as old as Pompeii, so it is doubtful if the
feudality of France did much to increase their use or effectiveness.
They were originally of such dimensions as to allow a complete shelter
for an archer standing behind one of the uprights. The contrast to those
of a later day, which, virtually nothing more than a course of
decorative stonework, give no impression of utility, is great, though
here at Ussé they are more pronounced than in many other similar
edifices.

[Illustration: _Château d'Ussé_]

The interior arrangements here give due prominence to a fine staircase,
ornamented with a painting of St. John that is attributed to Michel
Ange.

The Chambre du Roi is hung with ancient embroideries, and there is a
beautiful Renaissance chapel, above the door of which is a
sixteenth-century bas-relief of the Apostles. Most of the other great
rooms which are shown are resplendent in oak-beamed ceilings and massive
chimneypieces, always a distinct feature of Renaissance
château-building, and one which makes modern imitations appear mean and
ugly. To realize this to the full one has only to recall the dining-room
of the pretentious hotel which huddles under the walls of Amboise. In a
photograph it looks like a regal banqueting-hall; but in reality it is
as tawdry as stage scenery, with its imitation wainscoted walls, its
imitation beamed ceiling of three-quarter-inch planks, and its plaster
of Paris fireplace.

Near Ussé is the Château de Rochecotte which recalls the name of a
celebrated chieftain of the Chouans. It belongs to-day, though it is not
their paternal home, to the family of Castellane, a name which to many
is quite as celebrated and perhaps better known.

The château contains a fine collection of Dutch paintings of the
seventeenth century, and in its chapel there is a remarkably beautiful
copy of the Sistine Madonna. The name of Talleyrand is intimately
connected with the occupancy of the château, in pre-revolutionary times,
by Rochecotte.

On the road to Chinon one passes through, or near, Huismes, which has
nothing to stay one's march but a good twelfth-century church, which
looks as though its doors were never opened. The Château de la
Villaumère, of the fifteenth century, is near by, and of more than
passing interest are the ruins of the Château de Bonneventure, built, it
is said, by Charles VII. for Agnes Sorel, who, with all her faults,
stands high in the esteem of most lovers of French history. At any rate
this shrine of "_la belle des belles_" is worthy to rank with that
containing her tomb at Loches.

As one enters Chinon by road he meets with the usual steep decline into
a river-valley, which separates one height from another. Generally this
is the topographic formation throughout France, and Chinon, with its
silent guardians, the fragments of three non-contemporary castles, all
on the same site, is no exception.

"We never went to Chinon," says Henry James, in his "Little Tour in
France," written thirty or more years ago. "But one cannot do
everything," he continues, "and I would rather have missed Chinon than
Chenonceaux." A painter would have put it differently. Chenonceaux is
all that fact and fancy have painted it, a gem in a perfect setting, and
Chinon's three castles are but mere crumbling walls; but their environs
form a _petit pays_ which will some day develop into an "artists'
sketching-ground," in years to come, beside which Etretat, Moret, Pont
Aven, Giverny, and Auvers will cease to be considered.

At the base of the escarped rock on which sit the châteaux, or what is
left of them, lies the town of Chinon, with its old houses in wood and
stone and its great, gaunt, but beautiful churches. Before it flows the
Vienne, one of the most romantically beautiful of all the secondary
rivers of France.

From the _castrum romanum_ of the emperors to the feudal conquest Chinon
played its due part in the history of Touraine. There are those who
claim that Chinon is a "_cité antédiluvienne_" and that it was founded
by Cain, who after his crime fled from the paternal malediction and
found a refuge here; and that its name, at first _Caynon_, became
Chinon. Like the derivation of most ancient place-names, this claim
involves a wide imagination and assuredly sounds unreasonable. _Caino_
may, with more likelihood, have been a Celtic word, meaning an
excavation, and came to be adopted because of the subterranean quarries
from which the stone was drawn for the building of the town. The
annalists of the western empire give it as _Castrum-Caino_, and whether
its origin dates from antediluvian times or not, it was a town in the
very earliest days of the Christian era.

The importance of Chinon's rôle in history and the beauty of its
situation have inspired many writers to sing its praises.

                         "... Chinon
         Petite ville, grand renom
         Assise sur pierre ancienne
         Au haute le bois, au bas la Vienne."

The disposition of the town is most picturesque. The winding streets and
stairways are "foreign;" like Italy, if you will, or some of the steps
to be seen in the towns bordering upon the Adriatic. At all events,
Chinon is not exactly like any other town in France, either with
respect to its layout or its distinct features, and it is not at all
like what one commonly supposes to be characteristic of the French.

[Illustration: _The Roof-tops of Chinon_]

Dungeons of mediæval châteaux are here turned into dwellings and
wine-cellars, and have the advantage, for both uses, of being cool in
summer and warm in winter.

Already, in the year 371, Chinon's population was so considerable that
St. Martin, newly elected Bishop of Tours, longed to preach Christianity
to its people, who were still idolators. Some years afterward St. Mesme
or Maxime, fleeing from the barbarians of the north, came to Chinon, and
soon surrounded himself with many adherents of the faith, and in the
year 402 consecrated the original foundation of the church which now
bears his name.

Clovis made Chinon one of the strongest fortresses of his kingdom, and
in the tenth century it came into the possession of the Comtes de
Touraine. Later, in 1044, Thibaut III. ceded it to Geoffroy Martel. The
Plantagenets frequently sojourned at Chinon, becoming its masters in the
twelfth century, from which time it was held by the Kings of France up
to Louis XI.

The most picturesque event of Chinon's history took place in 1428, when
Charles VII. here assembled the States General, and Jeanne d'Arc
prevailed upon him to march forthwith upon Orleans, then besieged by the
English.

Memories of Charles VII., of Jeanne d'Arc, and of François Rabelais are
inextricably mixed in the guide-book accounts of Chinon; but their
respective histories are not so involved as would appear. There is some
doubt as to whether the Pantagruelist was actually born at Chinon or in
the suburbs, therefore there is no "_maison natale_" before which
literary pilgrims may make their devotions. All this is a great pity,
for Rabelais excites in the minds of most people a greater curiosity
than perhaps any other mediæval man of letters that the world has known.

Though one cannot feast his eye upon the spot of Rabelais's birth,
historians agree that it took place at Chinon in 1483. Much is known of
the "Curé de Chinon;" but, in spite of his rank as the first of the
mediæval satirists, his was not a wide-spread popularity, nor can one
speak very highly of his appearance as a type of the Tourangeau of his
time. His portraits make him appear a most supercilious character, and
doubtless he was. He certainly was not an Adonis, nor had he the head
of a god or the cleverness of a court gallant. Indeed there has been a
tendency of late to represent him as a buffoon, a trait wholly foreign
to his real character.

[Illustration: RABELAIS]

As for Charles VII. and Jeanne d'Arc, Chinon was simply the
meeting-place between the inspired maid and her sovereign, when she
urged him to put himself at the head of his troops and march upon
Orleans.

Chinon is of the sunny south; here the grapes ripen early and cling
affectionately, not only to the hillsides, but to the very house-walls
themselves.

Chinon's attractions consist of fragments of three castles, dating from
feudal times; of three churches, of more than ordinary interest and
picturesqueness; and many old timbered and gabled houses; nor should one
forget the Hôtel de France, itself a reminder of other days, with its
vine-covered courtyard and tinkling bells hanging beneath its gallery,
for all the world like the sort of thing one sees upon the stage.

There is not much else about the hotel that is of interest except its
very ancient-looking high-posted beds and its waxed tiled floors, worn
into smooth ruts by the feet of countless thousands and by countless
polishings with wax. It is curious how a waxed tiled floor strikes one
as being something altogether superior to one of wood. Though harder in
substance, it is infinitely pleasanter to the feet, and warm and mellow,
as a floor should be; moreover it seems to have the faculty of
unconsciously keeping itself clean.

_The Château de Chinon_, as it is commonly called, differs greatly from
the usual Loire château; indeed it is quite another variety altogether,
and more like what we know elsewhere as a castle; or, rather it is three
castles, for each, so far as its remains are concerned, is distinct and
separate.

The Château de St. Georges is the most ancient and is an enlargement by
Henry Plantagenet--whom a Frenchman has called "the King Lear of his
race"--of a still more ancient fortress.

The Château du Milieu is built upon the ruins of the _castrum romanum_,
vestiges of which are yet visible. It dates from the eleventh, twelfth,
and thirteenth centuries, and was restored under Charles VI., Charles
VII., and Louis XI.

One enters through the curious Tour de l'Horloge, to which access is
given by a modern bridge, as it was in other days by an ancient
drawbridge which covered the old-time moat. The Grand Logis, the royal
habitation of the twelfth to fifteenth centuries, is to the right,
overlooking the town. Here died Henry II. of England (1189) and here
lived Charles VII. and Louis XI. It was in the Grand Salle of this
château that Jeanne d'Arc was first presented to her sovereign (March 8,
1429). From the hour of this auspicious meeting until the hour of the
departure for Orleans she herself lived in the tower of the Château de
Coudray, a little farther beyond, under guard of Guillaume Bélier.

The meeting between the king and the "Maid" is described by an old
historian of Touraine as follows: "The inhabitants of Chinon received
her with enthusiasm, the purpose of her mission having already preceded
her.... She appeared at court as '_une pauvre petite bergerette_' and
was received in the Grande Salle, lighted by fifty torches and
containing three hundred persons." (This statement would seem to point
to the fact that it was not the _salle_ which is shown to-day; it
certainly could not be made to hold three hundred people unless they
stood on each other's shoulders!) "The seigneurs were all clad in
magnificent robes, but the king, on the contrary, was dressed most
simply. The 'Maid,' endowed with a spirit and sagacity superior to her
education, advanced without hesitation. '_Dieu vous donne bonne vie,
gentil roi_,' said she...."

[Illustration: _Château de Chinon_]

The Grand Logis is flanked by a square tower which is separated from the
Château de Coudray and the Tour de Boissy by a moat. In the magnificent
Tour de Boissy was the ancient Salle des Gardes, while above was a
battlemented gallery which gave an outlook over the surrounding country.
This watch-tower assured absolute safety from surprise to any monarch
who might have wished to study the situation for himself.

The Tour du Moulin is another of the defences, more elegant, if
possible, than the Tour de Boissy. It is taller and less rotund; the
French say it is "svelt," and that describes it as well as anything. It
also fits into the landscape in a manner which no other mediæval donjon
of France does, unless it be that of Château Gaillard, in Normandy.

The primitive Château de Coudray was built by Thibaut-le-Tricheur in
954, and its bastion and sustaining walls are still in evidence.

The Vienne, which runs by Chinon to join the Loire above Saumur, is, in
many respects, a remarkable river, although just here there is nothing
very remarkable about it. It is, however, delightfully picturesque, as
it washes the tree-lined quays which form Chinon's river-front for a
distance of upward of two kilometres. In general the waterway reminds
one of something between a great traffic-bearing river and a mere
pleasant stream.

The bridge between Chinon and its faubourg is typical of the art of
bridge-building, at which, in mediæval times, the French were excelled
by no other nation. To-day, in company with the Americans, they build
iron and steel abominations which are eyesores which no amount of
utility will ever induce one to really admire. Not so the French bridges
of mediæval times, of the type of those at Blois on the Loire; at Chinon
on the Vienne; at Avignon on the Rhône; or at Cahors on the Lot.

If Rabelais had not rendered popular Chinon and the Chinonais the public
would have yet to learn of this delightful _pays_, in spite of that
famous first meeting between Charles VII. and Jeanne d'Arc.

If the modern founders of "garden-cities" would only go as far back as
the time of Richelieu they would find a good example to follow in the
little Touraine town, the _chef-lieu_ of the Commune, which bears the
name of Richelieu. When Armand du Plessis first became the seigneur of
this "_little land_" he resolutely set about to make of the property a
town which should dignify his name. Accordingly he built, at his own
expense, after the plans of Lemercier, "a city, regular, vast, and
luxurious." At the same time the cardinal-minister replaced the paternal
manor with a château elaborately and prodigally royal.

Richelieu was a sort of "petit Versailles," which was to be to Chinon
what the real Versailles was to the capital.

To-day, as in other days, it is a "_ville vaste, régulière et
luxueuse_," but it is unfinished. One great street only has been
completed on its original lines, and it is exactly 450 metres long.
Originally the town was to have the dimensions of but six hundred by
four hundred metres; modest enough in size, but of the greatest luxury.
The cardinal had no desire to make it more grand, but even what he had
planned was not to be. Its one great street is bordered with imposing
buildings, but their tenants to-day have not the least resemblance to
the courtiers of the cardinal who formerly occupied them.

Richelieu disappeared in the course of time, and work on his hobby
stopped, or at least changed radically in its plan. Secondary streets
were laid out, of less grandeur, and peopled with houses without
character, low in stature, and unimposing. The plan of a _ville
seigneuriale_ gave way to a _ville de labeur_. Other habitations grew up
until to-day twenty-five hundred souls find their living on the spot
where once was intended to be only a life of luxury.

Of the monuments with which Richelieu would have ornamented his town
there remains a curious market-hall and a church in the pure Jesuitic
style of architecture, lacking nothing of pretence and grandeur.

Not much can be said for the vast Église Notre Dame de Richelieu, a
heavy Italian structure, built from the plans of Lemercier. However
satisfying and beautiful the style may be in Italy, it is manifestly, in
all great works of church-building in the north, unsuitable and uncouth.

There was also a château as well, a great Mansart affair with an
overpowering dome. Practically this remains to-day, but, like all else
in the town, it is but a promise of greater things which were expected
to materialize, but never did.

At the bottom of a little valley, in a fertile plain, lies Fontevrault,
or what there is left of it, for the old abbey is now nothing more than
a matter-of-fact "_maison de détention_" for criminals. The abbey of
yesterday is the prison of to-day.

Fontevrault is an enigma; it is, furthermore, what the French themselves
call a "_triste et maussade bourg_." Its former magnificent abbey was
one of the few shrines of its class which was respected by the
Revolution, but now it has become a prison which shelters something like
a thousand unfortunates.

For centuries the old abbey had royal princesses for abbesses and was
one of the most celebrated religious houses in all France. It is a sad
degeneration that has befallen this famous establishment.

In the eleventh century an illustrious man of God, a Breton priest,
named Robert d'Arbrissel, outlined the foundation of the abbey and
gathered together a community of monks. He died in the midst of his
labours, in 1117, and was succeeded by the Abbess Petronille de
Chemille.

For nearly six hundred years the abbey--which comprised a convent for
men and another for women--grew and prospered, directed, not
infrequently, by an abbess of the blood royal. It has been claimed
that, as a religious establishment for men and women, ruled over by a
woman, the abbey of Fontevrault was unique in Christendom.

It is an ample structure with a church tower of bistre which forms a
most pleasing note of colour in the landscape. The basilica was begun in
1101, and consecrated by Pope Calixtus II. in 1119. Its interior showed
a deep vaulting, with graceful and hardy arches supported by massive
columns with quaint and curiously sculptured capitals.

The twelfth-century cloister was indeed a masterwork among those
examples, all too rare, existing to-day. Its arcade is severely elegant
and was rebuilt by the Abbess Renée de Bourbon, sister of François I.,
after the best of decorative Renaissance of that day. The chapter-house,
now used by the director of the prison, has in a remarkable manner
retained the mural frescoes of a former day. There are depicted a series
of groups of mystical and real personages in a most curious fashion. The
refectory is still much in its primitive state, though put to other uses
to-day. Its tribune, where the lectrice entertained the sisters during
their repasts, is, however, still in its place.

[Illustration: _Cuisines, Fontevrault_]

The curious, bizarre, kilnlike pyramid, known as the Tour d'Evrault,
has ever been an enigma to the archæologist and antiquarian. Doubtless
it formed the kitchens of the establishment, for it looks like nothing
else that might have belonged to a great abbey. It has a counterpart at
the Abbey of Marmoutier near Tours, and of St. Trinité at Vendôme; from
which fact there would seem to be little doubt as to its real use,
although it looks more like a blast furnace or a distillery chimney.

This curious pyramidal structure is like the collegiate church of St.
Ours at Loches, one of those bizarre edifices which defy any special
architectural classification. At Fontevrault the architect played with
his art when he let all the light in this curious "_tour_" enter by the
roof. At the extreme apex of the cone he placed a lantern from which the
light of day filtered down the slope of the vaulting in a weird and
tomblike manner. It is a most surprising effect, but one that is wholly
lost to-day, since the Tour d'Evrault has been turned into the kitchen
for the "_maison de détention_" of which it forms a part.

The nave of the church of the old abbey of Fontevrault has been cut in
two and a part is now used as the dormitory of the prison, but the
choir, the transepts, and the towers remain to suggest the simple and
beautiful style of their age.

In the transepts, behind an iron grille, are buried Henry II., King of
England and Count of Anjou, Éléanore of Guienne, Richard Coeur de Lion,
and Isabeau of Angoulême, wife of Jean-sans-Terre. Four polychromatic
statues, one in wood, the others in stone, lying at length, represent
these four personages so great in English history, and make of
Fontevrault a shrine for pilgrims which ought to be far less ignored
than it is. The cemetery of kings has been shockingly cared for, and the
ludicrous kaleidoscopic decorations of the statues which surmount the
royal tombs are nothing less than a sacrilege. It is needless to say
they are comparatively modern.

At Bourgueil, near Fontevrault, are gathered great crops of _réglisse_,
or licorice. It differs somewhat in appearance from the licorice roots
of one's childhood, but the same qualities exist in it as in the product
of Spain or the Levant, whence indeed most of the commercial licorice
does come. It is as profitable an industry in this part of France as is
the saffron crop of the Gâtinais, and whoever imported the first roots
was a benefactor. At the juncture of the Vienne and the Loire are two
tiny towns which are noted for two widely different reasons.

These two towns are Montsoreau and Candes, the former noted for the
memory of that bloodthirsty woman who gave a plot to Dumas (and some
real facts of history besides), and the other noted for its prunes,
Candes being the chief centre of the industry which produces the
_pruneaux de Tours_.

Descending the Vienne from Chinon, one first comes to Candes, which
dominates the confluence of the Vienne with the Loire from its imposing
position on the top of a hill.

Candes was in other times surrounded by a protecting wall, and there are
to-day remains of a château which had formerly given shelter to Charles
VII. and Louis XI. It has, moreover, a twelfth-century church built upon
the site of the cell in which died St. Martin in the fourth century. The
native of the surrounding country cares nothing for churches or
châteaux, but assumes that the prune industry of Candes is the one thing
of interest to the visitor.

Be this as it may, it is indeed a matter of considerable importance to
all within a dozen kilometres of the little town. All through the region
round about Candes one meets with the fruit-pickers, with their great
baskets laden with prunes, pears, and apples, to be sent ultimately to
the great ovens to be desiccated and dried. Fifty years ago, you will be
told, the cultivators attended to the curing process themselves, but now
it is in the hands of the middle-man.

At Montsoreau much the same economic conditions exist as at Candes, but
there is vastly more of historic lore hanging about the town. In the
fourteenth century, after a shifting career the fief passed to the
Vicomtes de Châteaudun; then, in the century following, to the Chabots
and the family of Chambes, of which Jean IV., prominent in the massacre
of St. Bartholomew's night, was a member. It was he who assassinated the
gallant Bussy d'Amboise at the near-by Château of Coutancière (at
Brain-sur-Allonnes), who had made a rendezvous with his wife, since
become famous in the pages of Dumas and of history as "La Dame de
Montsoreau."

To-day the old bourg is practically non-existent, and there is a
smugness of prosperity which considerably discounts the former charm
that it once must have had. But for all that, there is enough left to
enable one to picture what the life here under the Renaissance must
have been.

The parish church--that of the ancient Paroisse de Retz--still exists,
though in ruins, and there are very substantial remains of an old
priory, an old-time dependency of the Abbey of St. Florent, now
converted into a farm.

Beside the highroad is the fifteenth-century château. It has a double
façade, one side of which is ornamented with a series of _mâchicoulis_,
great high window-openings, and flanking towers; and, in spite of its
generally frowning aspect, looks distinctly livable even to-day.

The ornamental façade of the courtyard is somewhat crumbled but still
elegant, and has incorporated within its walls a most ravishing
Renaissance turret, smothered in exquisite _moulures_ and _arabesques_.
On the terminal gallery and on the panels which break up the flatness of
this inner façade are a series of allegorical bas-reliefs, representing
monkeys, surmounted with the inscription, "_Il le Feray_."

The interior of this fine edifice is entirely remodelled, and has
nothing of its former fitments, furnishings, or decorations.

Near Port Boulet, almost opposite Candes, is the great farm of a certain
M. Cail. Communication is had with the Orleans railway by means of a
traction engine, which draws its own broad-wheeled wagons on the regular
highway between the _gare d'hommes_ and the tall-chimneyed manor or
château which forms the residence of this enterprising agriculturist.

The property consists of nearly two thousand acres, of which at least
twelve hundred are under the process of intensive cultivation, and is
divided into ten distinct farms, having each an overseer charged
directly with the control of his part of the domain. These farms are
wonderfully well kept, with sanded roadways like the courtyard of a
château. There are no trees in the cultivated parts, and the great
grain-fields are as the western prairies.

The estate bears the generic name of "La Briche." On one side it is
bordered by the railroad for a distance of nearly forty kilometres, and
it gives to that same railway an annual freight traffic of two thousand
tons of merchandise, which would be considerably more if all the cattle
and sheep sent to other markets were transported by rail.

As might be expected, this domain of "La Briche" has given to the
neighbouring farmers a lesson and an example, and little by little its
influence has resulted in an increased activity among the neighbouring
landholders, who formerly gave themselves over to "_la chasse_," and
left the conduct of their farms to incompetent and more or less ignorant
hirelings.



CHAPTER XIII.

ANJOU AND BRETAGNE


As one crosses the borderland from Touraine into Anjou, the whole aspect
of things changes. It is as if one went from the era of the Renaissance
back again into the days of the Gothic, not only in respect to
architecture, but history and many of the conditions of every-day life
as well.

Most of the characteristics of Anjou are without their like elsewhere,
and opulent Anjou of ancient France has to-day a departmental etiquette
in many things quite different from that of other sections.

A magnificent agricultural province, it has been further enriched by
liberal proprietors; a land of aristocracy and the church, it has ever
been to the fore in political and ecclesiastical matters; and to-day the
spirit of industry and progress are nowhere more manifest than here in
the ancient province of Anjou.

The Loire itself changes its complexion but little, and its entrance
into Saumur, like its entrance into Tours, is made between banks that
are tinged with the rainbow colours of the growing vine. What hills
there are near by are burrowed, as swallows burrow in a cliff, by the
workers of the vineyards, who make in the rock homes similar to those
below Saumur, in the Vallée du Vendomois, and at Cinq-Mars near Tours.

Anjou has a marked style in architecture, known as Angevin, which few
have properly placed in the gamut of architectural styles which run from
the Byzantine to the Renaissance.

The Romanesque was being supplanted everywhere when the Angevin style
came into being, as a compromise between the heavy, flat-roofed style of
the south and the pointed sky-piercing gables of the north. All Europe
was attempting to shake off the Romanesque influence, which had lasted
until the twelfth century. Germany alone clung to the pure style, and,
it is generally thought, improved it. The Angevin builders developed a
species that was on the borderland between the Romanesque and the
Gothic, though not by any means a mere transition type.

The chief cities of Anjou are not very great or numerous, Angers itself
containing but slightly over fifty thousand souls. Cholet, of thirteen
thousand inhabitants, is an important cloth-manufacturing centre, while
Saumur carries on a great wine trade and was formerly the capital of a
"_petit gouvernement_" of its own, and, like many other cities and towns
of this and neighbouring provinces, was the scene of great strife during
the wars of the Vendée.

In ancient times the _Andecavi_, as the old peoples of the province were
known, shared with the _Turonii_ of Touraine the honour of being the
foremost peoples of western Gaul, though each had special
characteristics peculiarly their own, as indeed they have to-day.

After one passes the junction of the Cher, the Indre, and the Vienne, he
notices no great change in the conduct of the Loire itself. It still
flows in and out among the banks of sand and those little round pebbles
known all along its course, nonchalantly and slowly, though now and then
one fancies that he notes a greater eddy or current than he had observed
before. At Saumur it is still more impressed upon one, while at the
Ponts de Cé--a great strategic spot in days gone by--there is evidence
that at one time or another the Loire must be a raging torrent; and
such it does become periodically, only travellers never seem to see it
when it is in this condition.

When Candes and Montsoreau are passed and one comes under the frowning
walls of Saumur's grim citadel, a sort of provincial Bastille in its
awesomeness, he realizes for the first time that there is, somewhere
below, an outlet to the sea. He cannot smell the salt-laden breezes at
this great distance, but the general appearance of things gives that
impression.

From Tours to Saumur by the right bank of the Loire--one of the most
superb stretches of automobile roadway in the world--lay the road of
which Madame de Sévigné wrote in "Lettre CCXXIV." (to her mother), which
begins: "_Nous arrivons ici, nous avons quitté Tours ce matin._" It was
a good day's journey for those times, whether by _malle-post_ or the
private conveyance which, likely enough, Madame de Sévigné used at the
time (1630). To-day it is a mere morsel to the hungry road-devouring maw
of a twentieth-century automobile. It's almost worth the labour of
making the journey on foot to know the charms of this delightful
river-bank bordered with historic shrines almost without number, and
peopled by a class of peasants as picturesque and gay as the
Neapolitan of romance.

[Illustration: _Château de Saumur_]

"_Saumur est, ma foi! une jolie ville_," said a traveller one day at a
_table d'hôte_ at Tours. And so indeed it is. Its quays and its squares
lend an air of gaiety to its proud old _hôtel de ville_ and its grim
château. Old habitations, commodious modern houses, frowning
machicolations, church spires, grand hotels, innumerable cafés, and much
military, all combine in a blend of fascinating interest that one
usually finds only in a great metropolis.

The chief attraction is unquestionably the old château. To-day it
stands, as it has always stood, high above the Quai de Limoges, with
scarce a scar on its hardy walls and never a crumbling stone on its
parapet.

The great structure was begun in the eleventh century, replacing an
earlier monument known as the Tour du Tronc. It was completed in the
century following and rebuilt or remodelled in the sixteenth. Outside of
its impressive exterior there is little of interest to remind one of
another day.

To literary pilgrims Saumur suggests the homestead of the father of
Eugenie Grandet, and the _bon-vivant_ reveres it for its soft pleasant
wines. Others worship it for its wonders of architecture, and yet
others fall in love with it because of its altogether delightful
situation.

Below Saumur are the cliff-dwellers, who burrow high in the chalk cliff
and stow themselves away from light and damp like bottles of old wine.
The custom is old and not indigenous to France, but here it is
sufficiently in evidence to be remarked by even the traveller by train.
Here, too, one sees the most remarkable of all the _coiffes_ which are
worn by any of the women along the Loire. This Angevin variety, like
Angevin architecture, is like none of its neighbours north, east, south,
or west.

Students of history will revere Saumur for something more than its
artistic aspect or its wines, for it was a favourite residence of the
Angevin princes and the English kings, as well as being the capital of
the _pape des Huguenots_.

While Nantes is the real metropolis of the Loire, and Angers is
singularly up-to-date and well laid out, neither of these fine cities
have a great thoroughfare to compare with the broad, straight street of
Saumur, which leads from the Gare d'Orleans on the left bank and crosses
the two bridges which span the branches of the Loire, to say nothing of
the island between, and finally merges into the great national highway
which runs south into Poitou.

Fine houses, many, if not most of them, dating from centuries ago, line
the principal streets of the town, which, when one has actually entered
its confines, presents the appearance of being too vast and ample for
its population. And, in truth, so it really is. Its population barely
reaches fifteen thousand souls, whereas it would seem to have the
grandeur and appointments of a city of a hundred thousand. The
revocation of the Edict of Nantes cut its inhabitants down to the extent
of twenty or twenty-five thousand, and it has never recovered from the
blow.

In the neighbourhood of Saumur, for a considerable distance up and down
the Loire, the hills are excavated into dwelling-houses and wine-caves,
producing a most curious aspect. One continuous line of these cliff
villages--like nothing so much as the habitations of the cliff-dwelling
Indians of America--extends from the juncture of the Vienne with the
Loire nearly up to the Ponts de Cé.

The most curious effect of it all is the multitude of openings of
doorways and windows and the uprising of chimney-pots through the chalk
and turf which form the roof-tops of these settlements.

In many of these caves are prepared the famous _vin mousseux_ of
Saumur, of which the greater part is sold as champagne to an
unsuspecting and indifferent public, not by the growers or makers, but
by unscrupulous middlemen.

Saumur, like Angers, is fortunate in its climate, to which is due a
great part of the prosperity of the town, for the "Rome of the
Huguenots" is more prosperous--and who shall not say more content?--than
it ever was in the days of religious or feudal warfare.

Near Saumur is one shrine neglected by English pilgrims which might well
be included in their itineraries. In the Château de Moraines at
Dampierre died Margaret of Anjou and Lancaster, Queen of England, as one
reads on a tablet erected at the gateway of this dainty "_petit castel à
tour et creneaux_."

    Manoir de la Vignole-Souzay autrefois Dampierre
                Asile et dernière demure
        de l'heroine de la guerre des deux roses
  Marguerite d'Anjou de Lancastre, reine d'Angleterre
      La plus malheureuse des reines, des éspouses, et des mères
                Qui Morut le 25 Aout 1482
                      Agée de 53 Ans.

The Salvus Murus of the ancients became the Saumur of to-day in the year
948, when the monk Absalom built a monastery here and surrounded it with
a protecting wall. Up to the thirteenth century the city belonged to the
"Angevin kings of Angleterre," as the French historians proudly claim
them.

The city passed finally to the Kings of France, and to them remained
constantly faithful. Under Henri IV. the city was governed by
Duplessis-Mornay, the "_pape des Huguenots_," becoming practically the
metropolis of Protestantism. Up to this time the chief architectural
monument was the château, which was commenced in the eleventh century
and which through the next five centuries had been aggrandized and
rebuilt into its present shape.

The church of Notre Dame de Nantilly dates from the twelfth century and
was frequently visited by Louis XI. The oratory formerly made use of by
this monarch to-day contains the baptismal fonts. One of the columns of
the nave has graven upon it the epitaph composed by King René of Anjou
for his foster-mother, Dame Thiephanie. Throughout, the church is
beautifully decorated.

The Hôtel de Ville may well be called the chief artistic treasure of
Saumur, as the châtteau is its chief historical monument. It is a
delightful _ensemble_ of the best of late Gothic, dating from the
sixteenth century, flanked on its façade by turrets crowned with
_mâchicoulis_, and lighted by a series of elegant windows _à
croisillons_. Above all is a gracious campanile, in its way as fine as
the belfry of Bruges, to which, from a really artistic standpoint,
rhapsodists have given rather more than its due.

The interior is as elaborate and pleasing as is the outside. In the
Salle des Mariages and Salle du Conseil are fine fifteenth-century
chimneypieces, such as are only found in their perfection on the Loire.
The library, of something over twenty thousand volumes, many of them in
manuscript, is formed in great part from the magnificent collection
formerly at the abbeys of Fontevrault and St. Florent. Doubtless these
old tomes contain a wealth of material from which some future historian
will perhaps construct a new theory of the universe. This in truth may
not be literally so, but it is a fact that there is a vast amount of
contemporary historical information, with regard to the world in
general, which is as yet unearthed, as witness the case of Pompeii
alone, where the area of the discoveries forms but a small part of the
entire buried city.

At Saumur numerous prehistoric and _gallo-romain_ remains are
continually being added to the museum, which is also in the Hôtel de
Ville. A recent acquisition--discovered in a neighbouring vineyard--is a
Roman "_trompette_," as it is designated, and a more or less complete
outfit of tools, obviously those of a carpenter.

The notorious Madame de Montespan--"the illustrious penitent," though
the former description answers better--stopped here, in a house
adjoining the Church of St. John, to-day a _maison de retrait_, on her
way to visit her sister, the abbess, at Fontevrault.

From Saumur to Angers the Loire passes an almost continuous series of
historical guide-posts, some in ruins, but many more as proudly
environed as ever.

At Treves-Cunault is a dignified Romanesque church which would add to
the fame of a more popular and better known town. It is not a grand
structure, but it is perfect of its kind, with its crenelated façade and
its sturdy arcaded towers curiously placed midway on the north wall.

Here one first becomes acquainted with _menhirs_ and _dolmens_,
examples of which are to be found in the neighbourhood, not so
remarkable as those of Brittany, but still of the same family.

The Ponts de Cé follow next, still in the midst of vine-land, and
finally appear the twin spires of Angers's unique Cathedral of St.
Maurice. Here one realizes, if not before, that he is in Anjou; no more
is the atmosphere transparent as in Touraine, but something of the grime
of the commercial struggle for life is over all.

Here the Maine joins the Loire, at a little village called La Pointe:
"the Charenton of Angers," it was called by a Paris-loving boulevardier
who once wandered afield.

Much has been written, and much might yet be written, about the famous
Ponts de Cé, which span the Loire and its branches for a distance
considerably over three kilometres. This ancient bridge or bridges
(which, with that at Blois, were at one time, the only bridges across
the Loire below Orleans) formerly consisted of 109 arches, but the
reconstruction of the mid-nineteenth century reduced these to a bare
score.

[Illustration: _The Ponts de Cé_]

As a vantage-point in warfare the Ponts de Cé were ever in contention,
the Gauls, the Romans, the Franks, the Normans, and the English
successively taking possession and defending them against their
opponents. The Ponts de Cé is a weirdly strange and historic town which
has lost none of its importance in a later day, though the famous
_ponts_ are now remade, and their antique arches replaced by more solid,
if less picturesque piers and piling. They span the shallow flow of the
Loire water for three-quarters of a league and produce a homogeneous
effect of antiquity, coupled with the city's three churches and its
château overlooking the fortified isle in mid-river, which looks as
though it had not changed since the days when Marie de Medici looked
upon it, as recalled by the great Rubens painting in the Louvre. Since
the beginning of the history of these parts, battles almost without
number have taken place here, as was natural on a spot so strategically
important.

There is a tale of the Vendean wars, connected with the "Roche-de-Murs"
at the Ponts de Cé, to the effect that a battalion, left here to guard
any attack from across the river, was captured by the Vendeans. Many of
the "_Bleus_" refused to surrender, and threw themselves into the river
beneath their feet. Among these was the wife of an officer, to whom the
Vendeans offered life if she surrendered. This was refused, and
precipitately, with her child, she threw herself into the flood beneath.

On the largest isle, that lying between the Louet and the Loire, is one
vast garden or orchard of cherry-trees, which produce a peculiarly juicy
cherry from which large quantities of _guignolet_, a sort of "cherry
brandy," is made. The Angevins will tell you that this was a well-known
refreshment in the middle ages, and was first made by one of those
monkish orders who were so successful in concocting the subtle liquors
of the commerce of to-day.

It is with real regret that one parts from the Ponts de Cé, with La
Fontaine's couplet on his lips:

        "... Ce n'est pas petite gloire
         Que d'être pont sur la Loire."

Some one has said that the provinces find nothing to envy in Paris as
far as the transformation of their cities is concerned. This, to a
certain extent, is so, not only in respect to the modernizing of such
grand cities as Lyons, Marseilles, or Lille, but in respect to such
smaller cities as Nantes and Angers, where the improvements, if not on
so magnificent a scale, are at least as momentous to their immediate
environment.

For the most part these second and third class cities are to-day
transformed in exceedingly good taste, and, though many a noble monument
has in the past been sacrificed, to-day the authorities are proceeding
more carefully.

Angers, in spite of its overpowering château and its unique cathedral,
is of a modernity and luxuriousness in its present-day aspect which is
all the more remarkable because of the contrast. Formerly the Angevin
capital, from the days of King John up to a much later time Angers had
the reputation of being a town "_plus sombre et plus maussade_" than any
other in the French provinces. In Shakespeare's "King John" one reads of
"black Angers," and so indeed is its aspect to-day, for its roof-tops
are of slate, while many of the houses are built of that material
entirely. In the olden time many of its streets were cut in the slaty
rock, leaving its sombre surface bare to the light of day. One sees
evidences of all this in the massive walls of the great black-banded
castle of Angers, and, altogether, this magpie colouring is one of the
chief characteristics of this grandly historic town.

Both the new and the old town sit proudly on a height crowned by the two
slim spires of the cathedral. In front, the gentle curves of the river
Maine enfold the old houses at the base of the hillside and lap the very
walls of the grim fortress-château itself, or did in the days when the
Counts of Anjou held sway, though to-day the river has somewhat receded.

Beyond the ancient ramparts, up the hill, have been erected the
"_quartiers neufs_," with houses all admirably planned and laid out,
with gardens forming a veritable girdle, as did the retaining walls of
other days which surrounded the old château and its faubourg. To-day
Angers shares with Nantes the title of metropolis of the west, and the
Loire flows on its ample way between the two in a far more imposing
manner than elsewhere in its course from source to sea.

Angers does not lie exactly at the juncture of the Maine and Loire, but
a little way above, but it has always been considered as one of the
chief Loire cities; and probably many of its visitors do not realize
that it is not on the Loire itself.

The marvellous fairy-book château of Angers, with its fourteen
black-striped towers, is just as it was when built by St. Louis, save
that its chess-board towers lack, in most cases, their coiffes, and all
vestiges have disappeared of the _charpente_ which formerly topped
them off.

[Illustration: _Château d'Angers_]

Beyond the rocky formation of the banks of the Loire, which crop out
below the juncture of the Maine and the Loire, below Angers, are
Savennières and La Possonière, whence come the most famous vintages of
Anjou, which, to the wines of these parts, are what Château Margaux and
Château Yquem are to the Bordelais, and the Clos Vougeot is to the
Bourguignons.

The peninsula formed by the Loire and the Maine at Angers is the richest
agricultural region in all France, the nurseries and the kitchen-gardens
having made the fortune of this little corner of Anjou.

Angers is the headquarters for nursery-garden stock for the open air, as
Orleans is for ornamental and woodland trees and shrubs.

The trade in living plants and shrubs has grown to very great
proportions since 1848, when an agent went out from here on behalf of
the leading house in the trade and visited America for the purpose of
searching out foreign plants and fruits which could be made to thrive on
French soil.

Both the soil and climate are very favourable for the cultivation of
many hitherto unknown fruits, the neighbourhood of the sea, which, not
far distant, is tempered by the Gulf Stream, having given to Anjou a
lukewarm humidity and a temperature of a remarkable equality.

Some of the nurseries of these parts are enormous establishments, the
Maison André Leroy, for example, covering an extent of some six hundred
acres. A catalogue of one of these establishments, located in the
suburbs of Angers, enumerates over four hundred species of pear-trees,
six hundred varieties of apple-trees, one hundred and fifty varieties of
plums, four hundred and seventy-five of grapes, fifteen hundred of
roses, and two hundred and nineteen of rhododendrons.

Each night, or as often as fifty railway wagons are loaded, trains are
despatched from the _gare_ at Angers for all parts. When the
_choux-fleurs_ are finished, then come the _petits pois_, and then the
_artichauts_ and other _légumes_ in favour with the Paris _bon-vivants_.

Near Angers is one of those Cæsar's camps which were spread thickly up
and down Gaul and Britain alike. One reaches it by road from Angers,
and, until it dawns upon one that the vast triangle, one of whose
equilateral sides is formed by the Loire, another by the Maine, and the
third by a ridge of land stretching between the two, covers about
fourteen kilometres square, it seems much like any other neck or
peninsula of land lying between two rivers. One hundred thousand of the
Roman legion camped here at one time, which is not so very wonderful
until it is recalled that they lived for months on the resources of this
comparatively restricted area.

Before coming to Nantes, Ancenis and Oudon should claim the attention of
the traveller, though each is not much more than a typically interesting
small town of France, in spite of the memories of the past.

Ancenis has an ancient château, remodelled and added to in the
nineteenth century, which possesses some remarkably important
constructive details, the chief of which are a great tower-flanked
doorway and the _corps de logis_, each the work of an Angevin architect,
Jean de Lespine, in the sixteenth century. Within the walls of this
château François II., Duc de Bretagne, and Louis XI. signed one of the
treaties which finally led up to the union of the Duché de Bretagne with
the Crown of France.

Oudon possesses a fine example of a mediæval donjon, though it has been
restored in our day.

One does not usually connect Brittany with the Loire except so far as
to recollect that Nantes was a former political and social capital. As a
matter of fact, however, a very considerable proportion of Brittany
belongs to the Loire country.

Anjou of the counts and kings and Bretagne of the dukes and duchesses
embrace the whole of the Loire valley below Saumur, although the
river-bed of the Loire formed no actual boundary. Anjou extended nearly
as far to the southward as it did to the north of the vine-clad banks,
and Bretagne, too, had possession of a vast tract south of Nantes, known
as the Pays de Retz, which bordered upon the Vendée of Poitou.

All the world knows, or should know, that Nantes and St. Nazaire form
one of the great ports of the world, not by any means so great as New
York, London, or Hamburg, nor yet as great as Antwerp, Bordeaux, or
Marseilles, but still a magnificent port which plays a most important
part with the affairs of France and the outside world.

Nantes, la Brette, is tranquil and solid, with the life of the laborious
bourgeois always in the foreground. It is of Bretagne, to which province
it anciently belonged, only so far as it forms the bridge between the
Vendée and the old duchy; literally between two opposing feudal lords
and masters, both of whom were hard to please.

The memoirs of this corner of the province of Bretagne of other days are
strong in such names as the Duchesse Anne, the monk Abelard, the
redoubtable Clisson, the infamous Gilles de Retz, the warrior Lanoue,
surnamed "Bras de Fer," and many others whose names are prominent in
history.

"_Ventre Saint Gris! les Ducs de Bretagne n'étaient pas de petits
compagnons!_" cried Henri Quatre, as he first gazed upon the Château de
Nantes. At that time, in 1598, this fortress was defended by seven
curtains, six towers, bastions and caponieres, all protected by a wide
and deep moat, into which poured the rising tide twice with each round
of the clock.

To-day the aspect of this château is no less formidable than of yore,
though it has been debased and the moat has disappeared to make room for
a roadway and the railroad.

It was in the château of Nantes, the same whose grim walls still
overlook the road by which one reaches the centre of the town from the
inconveniently placed station, that Mazarin had Henri de Gondi, Cardinal
de Retz and co-adjutor of the Archbishop of Paris, imprisoned in 1665,
because of his offensive partisanship. Fouquet, too, after his splendid
downfall, was thrown into the donjon here by Louis XIV.

De Gondi recounts in his "Mémoires" how he took advantage of the
inattention of his guards and finally evaded them by letting himself
over the side of the Bastion de Mercoeur by means of a rope smuggled
into him by his friends. The feat does not look a very formidable one
to-day, but then, or in any day, it must have been somewhat of an
adventure for a portly churchman, and the wonder is that it was
performed successfully. At any rate it reads like a real adventure from
the pages of Dumas, who himself made a considerable use of Nantes and
its château in his historical romances.

Landais, the minister and favourite of François II. of Bretagne, was
arrested here in 1485, in the very chamber of the prince, who delivered
him up with the remark: "_Faites justice, mais souvenez-vous que vous
lui êtes redevable de votre charge._"

There is no end of historical incident connected with Nantes's old
fortress-château of mediæval times, and, in one capacity or another, it
has sheltered many names famous in history, from the Kings of France,
from Louis XII. onward, to Madame de Sévigné and the Duchesse de Berry.

Nantes's Place de la Bouffai (which to lovers of Dumas will already be
an old friend) was formerly the site of a château contemporary with that
which stands by the waterside. The Château de Bouffai was built in 990
by Conan, first Duc de Bretagne, and served as an official residence to
him and many of his successors.

In Nantes's great but imperfect and unfinished Cathedral of St. Pierre
one comes upon a relic that lives long in the memory of those who have
passed before it: the tomb of François II., Duc de Bretagne, and
Marguerite de Foix. The cathedral itself is no mean architectural work,
in spite of its imperfections, as one may judge from the following
inscription graven over the sculptured figure of St. Pierre, its patron:

        "L'an mil quatre cent trente-quatre,
         A my-avril sans moult rabattre:
         An portail de cette église,
         Fut la première pierre assise."

Within, the chief attraction is that masterwork of Michel Colombe, the
before-mentioned tomb, which ranks among the world's art-treasures. The
beauty of the emblematic figures which flank the tomb proper, the fine
chiselling of the recumbent effigies themselves, and the general
_ensemble_ is such that the work is bound to appeal, whatever may be
one's opinion of Renaissance sculpture in France. The tomb was brought
here from the old Église des Carmes, which had been pillaged and burned
in the Revolution.

The mausoleum was--in its old resting-place--opened in 1727, and a
small, heart-shaped, gold box was found, supposed to have contained the
heart of the Duchesse Anne. The coffer was surmounted by a royal crown
and emblazoned with the order of the Cordelière, but within was found
nothing but a scapulary. On the circlet of the crown was written in
relief:

        "Cueur de vertus orné
         Dignement couronné."

And on the box beneath one read:

  "En ce petit vaisseau, de fin or pur et munde,
   Repose un plus grand cueur que oncque dame eut au monde.
   Anne fut le nom d'elle, en France deux fois Royne

          *       *       *       *       *

   Et ceste parte terrestre en grand deuil nos demure.

            IX. JANVIER M.V.XIII."

In one respect only has Nantes suffered through the march of time. Its
magnificent Quai de la Fosse has disappeared, a long façade which a
hundred or more years ago was bordered by the palatial dwellings of the
great ship-owners of the Nantes of a former generation. The whole,
immediately facing the river where formerly swung many ships at anchor,
has disappeared entirely to make way for the railway.

[Illustration: _ENVIRONS OF NANTES_]

       *       *       *       *       *

The islands of the Loire opposite Nantes are an echo of the life of the
metropolis itself. The Ile Feydeau is monumental, the Ile Gloriette
hustling and nervous with "_affaires_," and Prairie-au-Duc busy with
industries of all sorts.

Couëron, below Nantes on the right bank, is sombre with gray walls
surrounding its numberless factories, and chimney-stacks belching forth
clouds of dense smoke. Behind are great walls of chalky-white rock
crowned with verdure. Nearly opposite is the little town of Le Pellerin
graciously seated on the river's bank and marking the lower limit of the
Loire Nantaise.

Another hill, belonging to the domain of Bois-Tillac and La Martinière,
where was born Fouché, the future Duc d'Otranta, comes to view, and the
basin of the Loire enlarges into the estuary, and all at once one finds
himself in the true "Loire Maritime."

At Martinière is the mouth of the Canal Maritime à la Loire, which, from
Paimboeuf to Le Pellerin, is used by all craft ascending the river to
Nantes, drawing more than four metres of water.

At the entrance of the Acheneau is the Canal de Buzay, which connects
that stream with the more ambitious Loire, and makes of the Lac de Grand
Lieu a public domain, instead of a private property as claimed by the
"marquis" who holds in terror all who would fish or shoot over its
waters. All this immediate region formerly belonged to the monks of the
ancient Abbey of Buzay, and it was they who originally cut the waterway
through to the Loire. About half-way in its length are the ruins of the
ancient monastery, clustered about the tower of its old church. It is a
most romantically sad monument, and for that very reason its grouping,
on the bank of the busy canal, suggests in a most impressive manner the
passing of all great works.

The prosperity of Nantes as a deep-sea port is of long standing, but
recent improvements have increased all this to a hitherto unthought-of
extent. Progress has been continuous, and now Nantes has become, like
Rouen, a great deep-water port, one of the important seaports of France,
the realization of a hope ever latent in the breast of the Nantais since
the days and disasters of the Edict and its revocation.

Below Nantes, in the actual "Loire Maritime," the aspect of all things
changes and the green and luxuriant banks give way to sand-dunes and
flat, marshy stretches, as salty as the sea itself. This gives rise to a
very considerable development of the salt industry which at Bourg de
Batz is the principal, if not the sole, means of livelihood.

St. Nazaire, the real deep-water port of Nantes, dates from the
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when it was known as Port Nazaire. It
is a progressive and up-to-date seaport of some thirty-five thousand
souls, but it has no appeal for the tourist unless he be a lover of
great smoky steamships and all the paraphernalia of longshore life.

Pornichet, a "_station de bains de mer très fréquentée_;" Batz, with its
salt-works; Le Croisic, with its curious waterside church, and the old
walled town of Guérande bring one to the mouth of the Loire. The rest is
the billowy western ocean whose ebb and flow brings fresh breezes and
tides to the great cities of the estuary and makes possible that
prosperity with which they are so amply endowed.



CHAPTER XIV.

SOUTH OF THE LOIRE


The estuary of the Loire belongs both to Brittany and to the Vendée,
though, as a matter-of-fact, the southern bank, opposite Nantes, formed
a part of the ancient Pays de Retz, one of the old seigneuries of
Bretagne.

It was Henri de Gondi, Cardinal de Retz, who was the bitter rival of
Mazarin. French historians have told us that when the regency under Anne
of Austria began, Mazarin, who had been secretary to the terrible
Richelieu, was just coming into his power. He was a subtle, insidious
Italian, plodding and patient, but false as a spring-time rainbow. Gondi
was bold, liberal, and independent, a mover of men and one able to take
advantage of any turn of the wind, a statesman, and a great
reformer,--or he would have been had he but full power. It was Cromwell
who said that De Retz was the only man in Europe who saw through his
plans.

Gondi had entered the church, but he had no talents for it. His life
was free, too free even for the times, it would appear, for, though he
was ordained cardinal, it was impossible for him to supplant Mazarin in
the good graces of the court. As he himself had said that he preferred
to be a great leader of a party rather than a partisan of royalty, he
was perhaps not so very greatly disappointed that he was not able to
supplant the wily Italian successor of Richelieu in the favour of the
queen regent. Gondi was able to control the parliament, however, and,
for a time, it was unable to carry through anything against his will.
Mazarin rose to power at last, barricaded the streets of Paris, and
decided to exile Gondi--as being the too popular hero of the people.
Gondi knew of the edict, but stuck out to the last, saying: "To-morrow,
I, Henri de Gondi, before midday, will be master of Paris." Noon came,
and he _was_ master of Paris, but as he was still Archbishop-Coadjutor
of Paris his hands were tied in more ways than one, and the plot for his
supremacy over Mazarin, "the plunderer," fell through.

The whole neighbouring region south of the Loire opposite Nantes, the
ancient Pays de Retz, is unfamiliar to tourists in general, and for that
reason it has an unexpected if not a superlative charm. It was the
bloodiest of the battle-grounds of the Vendean wars, and, though its
monumental remains are not as numerous or as imposingly beautiful as
those in many other parts, there is an interest about it all which is as
undying as is that of the most ornate or magnificent château or
fortress-peopled land that ever existed.

Not a corner of this land but has seen bloody warfare in all its
grimness and horror, from the days when Clisson was pillaged by the
Normans in the ninth century, to the guerilla warfare of the Vendean
republicans in the eighteenth century. The advent of the railway has
changed much of the aspect of this region and brought a
twentieth-century civilization up to the very walls of the ruins of
Clisson and Maulévrier, the latter one of the many châteaux of this
region which were ruined by the wars of Stofflet, who, at the head of
the insurgents, obliged the nobility to follow the peasants in their
uprising.

Now and then, in these parts, one comes upon a short length of railway
line not unlike that at which our forefathers marvelled. The line may be
of narrow gauge or it may not, but almost invariably the two or three
so-called carriages are constructed in the style (or lack of style) of
the old stage-coach, and they roll along in much the same lumbering
fashion. The locomotive itself is a thing to be wondered at. It is a
pigmy in size, but it makes the commotion of a modern decapod, or one of
those great flyers which pull the Southern Express on the main line via
Poitiers and Angoulême, not fifty kilometres away.

There is a little tract of land lying just south of the Loire below
Angers which is known as "le Bocage Vendéen." One leaves the Loire at
Chalonnes and, by a series of gentle inclines, reaches the plateau where
sits the town of Cholet, the very centre of the region, and a town whose
almost only industry is the manufacture of pocket-handkerchiefs.

The aspect of the Loire has changed rapidly and given way to a more
vigorous and varied topography; but, for all that, Cholet and the
surrounding country depend entirely upon the great towns of the Loire
for their intercourse with the still greater markets beyond. Like
Angers, Cholet and all the neighbouring villages are slate-roofed, with
only an occasional red tile to give variety to the otherwise gray and
sombre outlook.

_En route_ from Chalonnes one passes Chemillé almost the only
market-town of any size in the district. It is very curious, with its
Romanesque church and its old houses distributed around an amphitheatre,
like the _loges_ in an opera-house.

This is the very centre of the Bocage, where, in Revolutionary times,
the Republican armies so frequently fought with the bands of Vendean
fanatics.

The houses of Cholet are well built, but always with that grayness and
sadness of tone which does not contribute to either brilliancy of aspect
or gaiety of disposition. Save the grand street which traverses the town
from east to west, the streets are narrow and uncomfortable; but to make
up for all this there are hotels and cafés as attractive and as
comfortable as any establishments of the kind to be found in any of the
smaller cities of provincial France.

The handkerchief industry is very considerable, no less than six great
establishments devoting themselves to the manufacture.

Cholet is one of the greatest cattle markets, if not the greatest, in
the land. The farmers of the surrounding country buy _boeufs maigres_ in
the southwest and centre of France and transform them into good fat
cattle which in every way rival what is known in England as "best
English." This is accomplished cheaply and readily by feeding them with
cabbage stalks.

On Saturdays, on the Champ de Foire, the aspect is most animated, and
any painter who is desirous of emulating Rosa Bonheur's "Horse Fair"
(painted at the great cattle market of Bernay, in Normandy) cannot find
a better vantage-ground than here, for one may see gathered together
nearly all the cattle types of Poitou, the Vendée, Anjou, Bas Maine, and
of Bretagne Nantaise.

In earlier days Cholet was far more sad than it is to-day; but there
remain practically no souvenirs of its past. The wars of the Vendée
left, it is said, but three houses standing when the riot and bloodshed
was over. Two of the greatest battles of this furious struggle were
fought here.

On the site of the present railroad station Kleber and Moreau fought the
royalists, and the heroic Bonchamps received the wound of which he died
at St. Florent, just after he had put into execution the order of
release for five thousand Republican prisoners. This was on the 17th
October, 1793. Five months later Stofflet possessed himself of the town
and burned it nearly to the ground. Not much is left to remind one of
these eventful times, save the public garden, which was built on the
site of the old château.

[Illustration: _Donjon of the Château de Clisson_]

La Moine, a tiny and most picturesque river, still flows under the
antique arches of the old bridge, which was held in turn by the Vendeans
and the Republicans.

To the west of Cholet runs another line of railway, direct through the
heart of the Sèvre-Nantaise, one of those _petits pays_ whose old-time
identity is now all but lost, even more celebrated in bloody annals than
is that region lying to the eastward. Here was a country entirely sacked
and impoverished. Mortagne was completely ruined, though it has yet left
substantial remains of its fourteenth and fifteenth century château.
Torfou was the scene of a bloody encounter between the Vendean hordes
and Kleber's two thousand _héroiques de Mayence_. The able Vendean
chiefs who opposed him, Bonchamps, D'Elbée, and Lescure, captured his
artillery and massacred all the wounded.

At the extremity of this line was the stronghold of Clisson, which
itself finally succumbed, but later gave birth to a new town to take the
place of that which perished in the Vendean convulsion.

Throughout this region, in the valleys of the Moine and the
Sèvre-Nantaise, the rocks and the verdure and the admirable, though ill
preserved, ruins, all combine to produce as unworldly an atmosphere as
it is possible to conceive within a short half-hundred kilometres of the
busy world-port of Nantes and the great commercial city of Angers. One
continually meets with ruins that recall the frightful struggle of
Revolutionary times; hence the impression that one gets from a ramble
through or about this region is well-nigh unique in all France.

The coast southward, nearly to La Rochelle, is a vast series of shallow
gulfs and salt marshes which form weirdly wonderful outlooks for the
painter who inclines to vast expanses of sea and sky.

Pornic is a remarkably picturesque little seaside village, where the
inflowing and outflowing tides of the Bay of Biscay temper the southern
sun and make of it--or would make of it if the tide of fashion had but
set that way--a watering-place of the first rank.

It is an entrancing bit of coast-line which extends for a matter of
fifty kilometres south of the juncture of the Loire with the ocean, with
an aspect at times severe with a waste of sand, and again gracious with
verdure and tree-clad and rocky shores.

The great Bay of Bourgneuf and its enfolding peninsula of Noirmoutier
form an artist's sketching-ground that is not yet overrun with mere
dabblers in paint and pencil, and is accordingly charming.

The Bay of Bourgneuf has most of the characteristics of the Morbihan,
without that severity and sternness which impress one so deeply when on
the shores of the great Breton inland sea.

The little town of Bourgneuf-en-Retz, with its little port of Colletis,
is by no means a city of any artistic worth; indeed it is nearly bare of
most of those things which attract travellers who are lovers of old or
historic shrines; but it is a delightful stopping-place for all that,
provided one does not want to go farther afield, to the very tip of the
Vendean "land's end" at Noirmoutier across the bay.

Three times a day a steamer makes the journey to the little island town
which is a favourite place of pilgrimage for the Nantais during the
summer months. Once it was not even an island, but a peninsula, and not
so very long ago either. The alluvial deposits of the Loire made it in
the first place, and the sea, backing in from the north, made a strait
which just barely separates it to-day from the mainland.

On this out-of-the-way little island there are still some remains of
prehistoric monuments, the dolmen of Chiron-Tardiveau, the menhirs of
Pinaizeaux and Pierre-Levée, and some others. In the speech of the
inhabitants the isle is known as Noirmoutier, a contraction of "_Nigrum
Monasterium_," a name derived from the monastery founded here in the
seventh century by St. Philibert.

In the town is an old château, the ancient fortress-refuge of the Abbé
of Her. It is a great square structure flanked at the angles with little
towers, of which two are roofed, one uncovered, and the fourth
surmounted by a heliograph for communicating with the Ile de Yeu and the
Pointe de Chenoulin. The view from the heights of these château towers
is fascinating beyond compare, particularly at sundown on a summer's
evening, when the golden rays of the sinking sun burnish the coast of
the Vendée and cast lingering shadows from the roof-tops and walls of
the town below. To the northwest one sees the Ilot du Pilier, with its
lighthouse and its tiny coast-guard fortress; to the north is clearly
seen Pornic and the neighbouring coasts of the Pays de Retz and of
Bouin with its encircling dikes,--all reminiscent of a little Holland.
To the south is the narrow neck of Fromentin, the jagged Marguerites,
which lift their fangs wholly above the surface of the sea only at low
water, and the towering cliffs of the Ile de Yeu, which rise above the
mists.

Just south of the Loire, between Nantes and Bourgneuf, is the Lac de
Grand-Lieu, in connection with which one may hear a new rendering of an
old legend. At one time, it is said, it was bordered by a city, whose
inhabitants, for their vices, brought down the vengeance of heaven upon
them, even though they cried out to the powers on high to avert the
threatened flood which rose up out of the lake and overflowed the banks
and swallowed the city and all evidences of its past. In this last lies
the flaw in the legend; but, like the history of Sodom, of the Ville
d'Ys in Bretagne, and of Ars in Dauphiné, tradition has kept it alive.

This wicked place of the Loire valley was called _Herbauge_ or
_Herbadilla_, and, from St. Philibert at the southern extremity of the
lake, one looks out to-day on a considerable extent of shallow water,
which is as murderous-looking and as uncanny as a swamp of the
Everglades.

From the central basin flow two tiny rivers, the Ognon and the Boulogne,
which are charming enough in their way, as also is the route by highroad
from Nantes, but the gray monotonous lake, across which the wind
whistles in a veritable tempest for more than six months of the year, is
most depressing.

There are various hamlets, with some pretence at advanced civilization
about them, scattered around the borders of the lake, St. Leger, St.
Mars, St. Aignan, St. Lumine, Bouaye, and La Chevrolière; but in the
whole number you will not get a daily paper that is less than
forty-eight hours old, and nothing but the most stale news of happenings
in the outside world ever dribbles through. St. Philibert is the
metropolis of these parts, and it has no competitors for the honour.

At the entrance of the Ognon is the little village of Passay, built at
the foot of a low cliff which dominates all this part of the lake. It is
a picturesque little village of low houses and red roofs, with a little
sandy beach in the foreground, through which little rivulets of soft
water trickle and go to make up the greater body.



CHAPTER XV.

BERRY AND GEORGE SAND'S COUNTRY


Whether one enters Berry through the valley of the Cher or the Indre or
through the gateway of Sancerre in the mid-Loire, the impression is much
the same. The historic province of Berry resounds again and again with
the echoes of its past, and no province adjacent to the Loire is more
prolific in the things that interest the curious, and none is so little
known as the old province which was purchased for the Crown by Philippe
I. in 1101.

[Illustration: BERRY (MAP)]

With the interior of the province, that portion which lies away from
the river valleys, this book has little to do, though the traveller
through the region would hardly omit the episcopal city of Bourges, and
its great transeptless cathedral, with its glorious front of quintupled
portals. With the cathedral may well be coupled that other great
architectural monument, the Maison de Jacques Coeur. At Paris one is
asked, "_Avez-vous vu le Louvre?_" but at Bourges it is always,
"_Êtes-vous allé à Jacques Coeur?_" even before one is asked if he has
seen the cathedral.

From the hill which overlooks Sancerre, and forms a foundation for the
still existing tower of the château belonging to the feudal Counts of
Sancerre, one gets one of the most wonderfully wide-spread views in all
the Loire valley. The height and its feudal tower stand isolated, like a
rock rising from the ocean. From Cosne and beyond, on the north, to La
Charité, on the south, is one vast panorama of vineyard, wheat-field,
and luxuriant river-bottom. At a lesser distance, on the right bank, is
the line of the railroad which threads its way like a serpent around the
bends of the river and its banks.

Below the hill of Sancerre is a huge overgrown hamlet--and yet not large
enough to be called a village--surrounding a most curious church (St.
Satur), without either nave or apse. The old Abbey of St. Satur once
possessed all the lands in the neighbourhood that were not in the actual
possession of the Counts of Sancerre, and was a power in the land, as
were most of the abbeys throughout France. The church was begun in
1360-70, on a most elaborate plan, so extensive in fact (almost
approaching that great work at La Charité) that it has for ever remained
uncompleted. The history of this little churchly suburb of Sancerre has
been most interesting. The great Benedictine church was never finished
and has since come to be somewhat of a ruin. In 1419 the English sacked
the abbey and stole its treasure to the very last precious stone or
piece of gold. A dozen flatboats were anchored or moored to the banks of
the river facing the abbey, and the monks were transported thither and
held for a ransom of a thousand crowns each. As everything had already
been taken by their captors, the monks vainly protested that they had no
valuables with which to meet the demand, and accordingly they were bound
hand and foot and thrown into the river, to the number of fifty-two,
eight only escaping with their lives. A bloody memory indeed for a fair
land which now blossoms with poppies and roses.

Sancerre, in spite of the etymology of its name (which comes down from
Roman times--Sacrum Cæsari), is of feudal origin. Its fortress, and the
Comté as well, were under the suzerainty of the Counts of Champagne, and
it was the stronghold and refuge of many a band of guerilla warriors,
adventurers, and marauding thieves.

At the end of the twelfth century a certain Comte de Sancerre, at the
head of a coterie of bandits called Brabaçons, marched upon Bourges and
invaded the city, killing all who crossed their path, and firing all
isolated dwellings and many even in the heart of the city.

Sancerre was many times besieged, the most memorable event of this
nature being the attack of the royalists in 1573 against the Frondeurs
who were shut up in the town. The defenders were without artillery, but
so habituated were they to the use of the _fronde_ that for eight months
they were able to hold the city against the foe. From this the _fronde_
came to be known as the "_arquebuse de Sancerre_."

[Illustration: _La Tour, Sancerre_]

Sancerre is to-day a ruined town, its streets unequal and tortuous, all
up and down hill and blindly rambling off into _culs-de-sac_ which
lead nowhere. Above it all is the fine château, built in a modern day
after the Renaissance manner, of Mlle. de Crussol, proudly seated on the
very crest of the hill. Within the grounds, the only part of the domain
which is free to the public, are the ruins of the famous citadel which
was bought by St. Louis, in 1226, from the Comte Thibaut. The only
portion of this feudal stronghold which remains to-day is known as the
"Tour des Fiefs."

One may enter the grounds and, in the company of a _concierge_, ascend
to the platform of this lone tower, whence a wonderful view of the broad
"_ruban lumineux_" of the Loire spreads itself out as if fluttering in
the wind, northward and southward, as far as the eye can reach. Beside
it one sees another line of blue water, as if it were a strand detached
from the broader band. This is the Canal Latéral de la Loire, one of
those inland waterways of France which add so much to the prosperity of
the land.

Above Sancerre is Gien, another gateway to Berry, through which the
traveller from Paris through the Orléannais is bound to pass.

[Illustration: _Château de Gien_]

At a distance of five kilometres or more, coming from the north, one
sees the towers of the château of Gien piercing the horizon. The
château is a most curious affair, with its chainbuilt blocks of stone,
and its red and black--or nearly black--_brique_, crossed and recrossed
in quaint geometrical designs. It was built in 1494 for Dame Anne de
Beaujeau, who was regent of the kingdom immediately after the death of
Charles VIII. This building replaced another of a century before, built
by Jean-sans-Peur, where was celebrated the marriage of his daughter
with the Comte de Guise. Gien's château, too, may be said to be a
landmark on Jeanne d'Arc's route to martyrdom and fame, for here she
made her supplication to Charles VII. to march on Reims. In
Charlemagnian times this old castle had a predecessor, which, however,
was more a fortress than a habitable château; but all remains of this
had apparently disappeared before the later structure made its
appearance. Louis XIV. and Anne of Austria, regent, held a fugitive,
impoverished court in this château, and heard with fear and trembling
the cannon-shots of the armies of Turenne and Condé at Bleneau, five
leagues distant.

At Nevers or at La Charité one does not get the view of the Loire that
he would like, for, in one case, the waterway is masked by a row of
houses, and in the other by a series of walled gardens; but at Gien,
where everything is splendidly theatrical, there is a tree-bordered quay
and innumerable examples of those coquettish little houses of brick
which are not beautiful, but which set off many a French riverside
landscape as nothing else will.

In Gien's main street there are a multitude of rare mellowed old houses
with sculptured fronts and high gables. This street twists and turns
until it reaches the old stone and brick château, with its harmoniously
coloured walls, making a veritable symphony of colour. Each turn in this
old high-street of Gien gives a new vista of mediævalism quite
surprising and eerielike, as fantastic as the weird pictures of Doré.

Gien and its neighbour Briare are chiefly noted commercially for their
pottery. Gien makes crockery ware, and Briare inundates the entire world
with those little porcelain buttons which one buys in every land.

Crossing the Sologne and entering Berry from the capital of the
Orléannais, or coming out from Tours by the valley of the Cher, one
comes upon the little visited and out-of-the-way château of Valençay, in
the charming dainty valley of the Nahon.

There is some reason for its comparative neglect by the tourist, for it
is on a cross-country railway line which demands quite a full day of
one's time to get there from Tours and get away again to the next centre
of attraction, and if one comes by the way of the Orléannais, he must be
prepared to give at least three days to the surrounding region.

This is the gateway to George Sand's country, but few English-speaking
tourists ever get here, so it may be safely called unknown.

It is marvellous how France abounds in these little corners all but
unknown to strangers, even though they lie not far off the beaten track.
The spirit of exploration and travel in unknown parts, except the Arctic
regions, Thibet, and the Australian desert, seems to be dying out.

The château of Valençay was formerly inhabited by Talleyrand, after he
had quitted the bishopric of Autun for politics. It is seated proudly
upon a vast terrace overlooking one of the most charming bits of the
valley of the Nahon, and is of a thoroughly typical Renaissance type,
built by the great Philibert Delorme for Jacques d'Étampes in 1540, and
only acquired by the minister of Napoleon and Louis XVIII. in 1805.

The architect, in spite of the imposing situation, is not seen at his
best here, for in no way does it compare with his masterwork at Anet, or
the Tuileries. The expert recognizes also the hands of two other
architects, one of the Blaisois and the other of Anjou, who in some
measure transformed the edifice in the reign of François I.

The enormous donjon,--if it is a donjon,--with its great, round corner
tower with a dome above, which looks like nothing so much as an
observatory, is perhaps the outgrowth of an earlier accessory, but on
the whole the edifice is fully typical of the Renaissance.

The court unites the two widely different terminations in a fashion more
or less approaching symmetry, but it is only as a whole that the effect
is highly pleasing.

Beyond a _balustrade à jour_ is the Jardin de la Duchesse, communicating
with the park by a graceful bridge over an ornamental water. In general
the apartments are furnished in the style of the First Empire, an epoch
memorable in the annals of Valençay.

[Illustration: _Château de Valençay_]

By the orders of Napoleon many royalties and ambassadors here received
hospitality, and in 1808-14 it became a gilded cage--or a "golden
prison," as the French have it--for the Prince of the Asturias,
afterward Ferdinand VII. of Spain, who consoled himself during his
captivity by constructing wolf-traps in the garden and planting
cauliflowers in the great urns and vases with which the terrace was set
out.

There is a great portrait gallery here, where is gathered a collection
of portraits in miniature of all the sovereigns who treated with
Talleyrand during his ministerial reign, among others one of the Sultan
Selim, painted from life, but in secret, since the reproduction of the
human form is forbidden by the Koran.

In the Maison de Charité, in the town, beneath the pavement of the
chapel, is found the tomb of the family of Talleyrand, where are
interred the remains of Talleyrand and of Marie Thérèse Poniatowska,
sister of the celebrated King of Poland who served in the French army in
1806. In this chapel also is a rare treasure in the form of a chalice
enriched with precious stones, originally belonging to Pope Pius VI.,
the gift of the Princess Poniatowska.

The Pavillon de la Garenne,--what in England would be called a
"shooting-box,"--a rendezvous for the chase, built by Talleyrand, is
some distance from the château on the edge of the delightful little
Forêt de Gatine.

Varennes, just above Valençay, is thought by the average traveller
through the long gallery of charms in the château country to be wholly
unworthy of his attention. As a matter of fact, it does not possess much
of historical or artistic interest, though its fine old church dates
from the twelfth century.

Ascending the Cher from its juncture with the Loire, one passes a number
of interesting places. St. Aignan, with its magnificent Gothic and
Renaissance château; Selles; Romorantin, a dead little spot, dear as
much for its sleepiness as anything else; Vierzon, a rich, industrial
town where they make locomotives, automobiles, and mechanical hay-rakes,
copying the most approved American models; and Mehun-sur-Yevre, all
follow in rapid succession.

Mehun-sur-Yevre, which to most is only a name and to many not even that,
is possessed of two architectural monuments, a grand ruin of a Gothic
fortress of the time of Charles VII. and a feudal gateway of two great
rounded cone-roofed towers, bound by a ligature through which a
port-cullis formerly slid up and down like an act-drop in a theatre.

[Illustration: GATEWAY OF MEHUN-SUR-YEVRE]

Wonderfully impressive all this, and the more so because these
magnificent relics of other days are unspoiled and unrestored.

[Illustration: _Le Carrior Dore, Romorantin_]

Charles VII. was by no means constant in his devotions, it will be
recalled, though he seems to have been seriously enamoured of Agnes
Sorel--at any rate while she lived. Afterward he speedily surrounded
himself with a galaxy of "_belles demoiselles vêtues comme reines_."
They followed him everywhere, and he spent all but his last sou upon
them, as did some of his successors.

One day Charles VII. took refuge in the strong towers of the château of
Mehun-sur-Yevre, which he himself had built and which he had frequently
made his residence. Here he died miserable and alone,--it is said by
history, of hunger. Thus another dark chapter in the history of kings
and queens was brought to a close.

If one has the time and so desires, he may follow the Indre, the next
confluent of the Loire south of the Cher, from Loches to "George Sand's
country," as literary pilgrims will like to think of the pleasant
valleys of the ancient province of Berry.

The history of the province before and since Philippe I. united it with
the Crown of France was vivid enough to make it fairly well known, but
on the whole it has been very little travelled. It is essentially a
pastoral region, and, remembering George Sand and her works, one has
refreshing memories of the idyls of its prairies and the beautiful
valleys of the Indre and the Cher, which join their waters with the
Loire near Tours.

If one would love Berry as one loves a greater and more famous haunt of
a famous author, and would prepare in advance for the pleasure to be
received from threading its highways and byways, he should read those
"_petits chefs-d'oeuvre_ of sentiment and rustic poesy", the romances of
George Sand. If he has done this, he will find almost at every turning
some long familiar spot or a peasant who seems already an old friend.

Châteauroux is the real gateway to the country of George Sand.

Nohant is the native place of the great authoress, Madame Dudevant, whom
the world best knows as George Sand; a little by-corner of the great
busy world, loved by all who know it. Far out in the open country is the
little station at which one alights if he comes by rail. Opposite is a
"_petite route_" which leads directly to the banks of the Indre, where
it joins the highway to La Châtre.

Nohant itself, as a dainty old-world village, is divine. Has not George
Sand expressed her love of it as fervidly as did Marie Antoinette for
the Trianon? The French call it a "_bon et honnête petit village
berrichon_." Nude of artifice, it is deliciously unspoiled. A delightful
old church, with a curious wooden porch and a parvise as rural as could
possibly be, not even a cobblestone detracting from its rustic beauty,
is the principal thing which strikes one's eye as he enters the village.
Chickens and geese wander about, picking here and there on the very
steps of the church, and no one says them nay.

The house of George Sand is just to the right of the church, within
whose grounds one sees also the pavilion known to her as the "_théâtre
des marionettes_."

In a corner of the poetic little cemetery at Nohant, one sees among the
humble crosses emerging from the midst of the verdure, all
weather-beaten and moss-grown, a plain, simple stone, green with mossy
dampness, which marks the spot where reposes all that was mortal of
George Sand. Here, in the midst of this land which she so loved, she
still lives in the memory of all; at the house of the well-lettered for
her abounding talent--second only to that of Balzac--and in the homes
of the peasants for her generous fellowship.

Through her ancestry she could and did claim relationship with Charles
X. and Louis XVIII.; but her life among her people had nought of
pretence in it. She was born among the roses and to the sound of music,
and she lies buried amid all the rusticity and simple charm of what may
well be called the greenwood of her native land.



CHAPTER XVI.

THE UPPER LOIRE


The gateway to the upper valley may be said to be through the Nivernais,
and the capital city of the old province, at the juncture of the Allier
and the Loire.

After leaving Gien and Briare, the Loire passes through quite the most
truly picturesque landscape of its whole course, the great height of
Sancerre dominating the view for thirty miles or more in any direction.

Cosne is the first of the towns of note of the Nivernais, and is a gay
little bourg of eight or nine thousand souls who live much the same life
that their grandfathers lived before them. As a place of residence it
might prove dull to the outsider, but as a house of call for the wearied
and famished traveller, Cosne, with its charming situation, its
tree-bordered quays, and its Hôtel du Grand Cerf, is most attractive.

[Illustration: _Église S. Aignan, Cosne_]

Pouilly-sur-Loire is next, with three thousand or more inhabitants
wholly devoted to wine-growing, Pouilly being to the upper river what
Vouvray is to Touraine. It is not a tourist point in any sense, nor is
it very picturesque or attractive.

Some one has said that the pleasure of contemplation is never so great
as when one views a noble monument, a great work of art, or a charming
French town for the first time. Never was it more true indeed than of
the two dissimilar towns of the upper Loire, Nevers, and La
Charité-sur-Loire. The old towers of La Charité rise up in the sunlight
and give that touch to the view which marks it at once as of the
Nivernais, which all archæologists tell one is Italian and not French,
in motive as well as sentiment.

It is remarkable, perhaps, that the name La Charité is so seldom met
with in the accounts of English travellers in France, for in France it
is invariably considered to be one of the most picturesque and famous
spots in all mid-France.

It is an unprogressive, sleepy old place, with streets mostly unpaved,
whose five thousand odd souls, known roundabout as Les Caritates, live
apparently in the past.

[Illustration: _Pouilly-sur-Loire_]

Below, a stone's throw from the windows of your inn, lies the Loire,
its broad, blue bosom scarcely ruffled, except where it slowly eddies
around the piers of the two-century-old _dos d'ane_ bridge; a lovely old
structure, built, it is recorded, by the regiment known as the "Royal
Marine" in the early years of the eighteenth century.

The town is terraced upon the very edge of the river, with views up and
down which are unusually lovely for even these parts. Below, almost
within sight, is Nevers, while above are the heights of Sancerre, still
visible in the glowing western twilight.

Beyond the bridge rises a giant column of blackened stone, festooned by
four ranges of arcades, the sole remaining relic of the ancient church
standing alone before the present structure which now serves the
purposes of the church in La Charité.

The walls which surrounded the ancient town have disappeared or have
been built into house walls, but the effect is still of a self-contained
old burg.

In the fourteenth century, during the Hundred Years' War, the town was
frequently besieged. In 1429 Jeanne d'Arc, coming from her success at
St. Pierre-le-Moutier, here met with practically a defeat, as she was
able to sustain the siege for only but a month, when she withdrew.

La Charité played an important part in the religious wars of the
sixteenth century, and Protestants and Catholics became its occupants in
turn. Virtually La Charité-sur-Loire became a Protestant stronghold in
spite of its Catholic foundation.

In 1577 it bade defiance to the royal arms of the Duc d'Alençon, as is
recounted by the following lines:

        "Ou allez-vous, hélas! furieux insensés
         Cherchant de Charité la proie et la ruine,
         Qui sans l'ombre de Foy abbatre la pensez!

                *       *       *       *       *

         Le canon ne peut rien contre la Charité,
         Plus tot vous détruira la peste et la famine,
         Car jamais sans Foy n'aurez la Charité."

In spite of this defiance it capitulated, and, on the 15th of May, at
the château of Plessis-les-Tours on the Loire, Henri III. celebrated the
victory of his brother by a fête "_ultra-galante_," where, in place of
the usual pages, there were employed "_des dames vestues en habits
d'hommes...._" Surely a fantastic and immodest manner of celebrating a
victory against religious opponents; but, like many of the customs of
the time, the fête was simply a fanatical debauch.

[Illustration: _Porte du Croux, Nevers_]

At Nevers one meets the Canal du Nivernais, which recalls Daudet's "La
Belle Nivernaise" to all readers of fiction, who may accept it without
question as a true and correct guide to the region, its manners, and
customs.

The chief characteristic of Nevers is that it is Italian in nearly, if
not quite all, its aspects; its monuments and its history. Its ancient
ducal château, part of which dates from the feudal epoch, was the abode
of the Italian dukes who came in the train of Mazarin, the last of whom
was the nephew of the cardinal, "who himself was French if his speech
was not."

Nevers has also a charming Gothic cathedral (St. Cyr) with a double
Romanesque apse (in itself a curiosity seldom, if ever, seen out of
Germany), and, in addition to the cathedral, can boast of St. Etienne,
one of the most precious of all the Romanesque churches of France.

The old walls at Nevers are not very complete, but what remain are
wonderfully expressive. The Tour Gouguin and the Tour St. Eloi are
notable examples, but they are completely overshadowed by the Porte du
Croux, which is one of the best examples of the city gates which were so
plentiful in the France of another day.

Above Nevers, Decize, Bourbon-Lancy, Gilly, and Digoin are mere names
which mean nothing to the traveller by rail. They are busy towns of
central France, where the bustle of their daily lives is of quite a
different variety from that of the Ile de France, of Normandy, or of the
Pas de Calais.

From Digoin to Roanne the Loire is followed by the Canal Latéral. Roanne
is a not very pleasing, overgrown town which has become a veritable
_ville des ouvriers_, all of whom are engaged in cloth manufacture.

Virtually, then, Roanne is not much more than a guide-post on the route
to Le Puy--"the most picturesque place in the world"--and the
wonderfully impressive region of the Cevennes and the Vivaris, where
shepherds guard their flocks amid the solitudes.

Far above Le Puy, in a rocky gorge known as the Gerbier-de-Jonc, near
Ste. Eulalie, in the Ardeche, rises the tiny Liger, which is the real
source of the mighty Loire, that natural boundary which divides the
north from the south and forms what the French geographers call "_la
bassin centrale de France_."

THE END.



INDEX


  Abbeville, 107.

  _Abd-el-Kader, Emir_, 165.

  _Abelard_, 293.

  _Absalom_, 281.

  Acheneau, The, 298.

  _Adams, John_, 124.

  _Alaric_, 149.

  _Alcuin, Abbé_, 206.

  _Alençon, Ducs d'_, 195, 334.

  _Alençon, Marguerite d'_, 97, 150, 151-152.

  Allier, The, 330.

  Amboise and Its Château, 3, 20, 82, 96, 100, 123, 130-131, 137, 140,
    148-169, 172, 181, 186, 194, 249.

  _Amboise, Family of_, 118, 120-122.

  Amboise, Forêt d', 169.

  Amiens, 210.

  Ancenis and Its Château, 11, 21-23, 291.

  _Andrelini, Fausto_, 66.

  Anet, Château d', 107, 177, 322.

  _Ange, Michel_, 208, 249.

  Angers and Its Château, 7, 10-13, 15, 21-23, 40, 84, 275, 278,
    280, 283-284, 286-290, 304, 308.

  Angoulême, 194, 304.

  _Angoulême, Isabeau d'_, 267.

  _Angoulême, Jean d'_, 89.

  _Angoulême, Louise de Savoie, Duchesse d'_ (See _Savoie,
  Louise de_).

  Anjou, 15, 26, 142, 161, 273, 274, 284, 289-290, 292, 306, 322.

  _Anjou, Counts of_, 150, 193, 208, 232, 239, 267, 288.

  _Anjou, Foulques Nerra, Comte d'_ (See _Foulques Nerra_).

  _Anjou, Margaret of_, 280.

  _Anne of Austria_, 301-302, 319.

  Aquitaine, 18, 193.

  _Arbrissel, Robert d'_, 263.

  _Arc, Jeanne d'_, 202, 254-256, 258-260.

  _Ardier, Paul_, 115.

  Arques, Château d', 9.

  _Aumale, Duc d'_, 165.

  _Aussigny, Thibaut d'_, 48.

  Authion, The, 13.

  Autun, 321.

  Auvergne, 15.

  Auvers, 251.

  Auxerre, 17, 119.

  Avignon, 51, 260.

  Azay-le-Rideau and Its Château, 10, 63, 140, 226, 238, 240-247.


  Bacon, 40.

  Ballon, 215.

  _Balue, Cardinal_, 194, 196.

  _Balzac, Honoré de_, 3, 6, 20, 128-129, 137-138, 143, 207-209,
    234, 239, 329.

  _Bardi, Comte de_, 108.

  _Barre, De la_, 144, 240.

  _Barry, Madame du_, 169, 215.

  _Beaudoin, Jean_, 200.

  _Beaufort, A._, 138.

  Beaugency and Its Château, 9, 41, 48-53.

  _Beaujeau, Anne de_, 319.

  Beaulieu, 201-202.

  Beauregard, Château de, 114-116.

  Beauvron, The, 114.

  _Becket_, 190.

  _Bélier, Guillaume_, 258.

  _Bellanger, Stanislas_, 135.

  _Bellay Family, Du_, 5, 128, 234.

  _Belleau, Remy_, 128.

  _Beringhem, Henri de_, 245.

  Bernay, 306.

  _Bernier_, 57.

  Berry, 7, 15, 56, 123, 313-314, 318, 320, 326-329.

  _Berry, Counts of_, 150.

  _Berry, Duchesse de_, 295.

  _Berthelot, Gilles_, 244, 246.

  _Berthier, Maréchal_, 108.

  Beuvron, 87-88.

  _Biencourt, Marquis de_, 246.

  _Blacas, Comte de_, 247.

  Blaisois, The, 52, 54, 56-84, 102, 123-124, 136, 148, 193, 322.

  Bleneau, 319.

  Blésois, The (_See_ Blaisois, The).

  Blois and Its Château, 3, 9, 11, 20, 40, 52-54, 56-84, 88, 94-95, 98,
    100, 107, 110-112, 116-117, 119, 123, 125-126, 136, 139, 149, 156,
    160, 164, 167, 174, 184, 186, 194, 260, 284.

  _Blois, Comtes de_, 57-59, 62, 84, 87, 98, 118.

  Blois, Forêt de, 54.

  _Blondel_, 99.

  Bocage, The, 304-305.

  _Bohier, Thomas_, 174, 182, 184-186.

  Bois-Tillac, 298.

  _Bolingbroke_, 42, 183.

  _Bonchamps_, 306-307.

  _Bonheur, Rosa_, 306.

  Bonneventure, Château de, 250.

  _Bontemps, Pierre_, 105.

  Bordeaux, 133, 171, 203, 292.

  _Bordeaux, Duc de_, 108.

  _Bosseboeuf, Abbé_, 233.

  Bouaye, 312.

  Bouin, 311.

  Boulogne, The, 312.

  _Bourbon, Cardinal de_, 164.

  _Bourbon, Renée de_, 264.

  Bourbon-Lancy, 336.

  Bourbonnais, 15.

  Bourdaisière, Château de la, 169.

  Bourg de Batz, 300.

  Bourges, 15, 314, 316.

  Bourgneuf-en-Retz, 309, 311.

  Bourgogne, 4, 15, 142.

  Bourgueil, 267.

  _Bourré, Jean_, 233.

  _Boyer_, 111.

  Bracieux, 110.

  Brain-sur-Allonnes, 269.

  _Brantôme_, 101, 155, 157, 158.

  Brenne, 135.

  Bretagne, 15, 26, 35-36, 57, 192, 218, 284, 291-293, 301.

  _Bretagne, Anne de_, 63, 97, 120, 168, 196, 209, 234,
    236-238, 293, 296.

  _Bretagne, Conan, Duc de_, 295.

  _Bretagne, François II., Duc de_, 291, 294-296.

  _Brézé, Pierre de_, 195.

  Briare, 320, 330.

  _Briçonnet, Cardinal_, 42.

  _Brinvilliers_, 144.

  Brittany (_See_ Bretagne).

  _Broglie, Princesse de_, 120.

  _Brosse, Pierre de_, 234.

  Bruges, 282.

  _Brunyer, Abel_, 80, 81.

  _Buffon_, 61, 183.

  _Bullion_, 119.

  _Bussy d'Amboise, De_, 269.

  Buzay, Abbey of, 299.

  _Byron_, 138.


  _Cæsar_, 18, 290.

  Cahors, 260.

  _Cail, M._, 270-272.

  _Cain_, 251.

  _Calixtus II._, 264.

  Canal de Brest à Nantes, 24.

  Canal de Buzay, 298.

  Canal d'Orleans, 36-37.

  Canal du Nivernaise, 17, 335.

  Canal Lateral, 12, 17, 318, 336.

  Canal Maritime, 298.

  Candes, 268-270, 276.

  _Castellane Family_, 250.

  _Caumont, De_, 195.

  _Cellini_, 152.

  Chalonnes, 24, 304.

  Chambord and Its Château, 2-3, 20, 53, 79, 82, 84, 86, 94-110, 123,
    139, 174, 186, 243, 247-248.

  _Chambord, Comte de_, 109.

  Chambris, 10.

  _Champagne, Counts of_, 316.

  Champeigne, 135.

  Champtocé, 24.

  Chanteloup, 154, 169.

  _Charlemagne_, 206.

  _Charles I. (the Bald)_, 18, 193.

  _Charles II. of England_, 82.

  _Charles V., Emperor_, 130-131, 155, 194.

  _Charles VI._, 257.

  _Charles VII._, 150, 188-189, 194-195, 202, 233, 250, 254-256,
    257-260, 268, 319, 324, 326.

  _Charles VIII._, 45, 98, 130, 150, 165, 194-195, 234, 236, 238-239,
    319.

  _Charles IX._, 107, 122, 180.

  _Charles X._, 329.

  _Charles Martel_, 5.

  _Charles the Bold of Burgundy_, 44.

  Chartres, 22, 133.

  Chartreuse du Liget, 190.

  _Châteaubriand, Comtesse de_, 101, 130.

  Château Chevigné, 22.

  Château de la Fontaine, 43.

  Château de la Source, 42-43.

  Châteaudun and Its Castle, 21-22.

  _Châteaudun, Vicomtes de_, 269.

  Château Gaillard, 259.

  Château l'Epinay, 22.

  Châteauneuf-sur-Loire, 36, 84.

  Châteauroux, 327.

  Château Serrand, 22.

  Chatillon, 12, 17, 19.

  _Chatillon, Cardinal de_, 160.

  _Chatillon, Comtes de_, 61, 68.

  Chaumont and Its Château, 11, 20, 107, 110, 116-126, 140.

  _Chaumont, Charles de_, 120.

  _Chaumont, Donatien Le Ray de_, 123-125.

  Chemillé, 304-305.

  _Chemille, Petronille de_, 263.

  Chenonceaux and Its Château, 10, 63, 107, 118, 140, 148, 165,
    169, 171-187, 234, 243, 247, 251.

  Cher, The, 10, 21, 91, 171-173, 177-178, 180, 183, 191, 215,
    275, 313, 320, 324, 326-327.

  _Chevalier, Abbé_, 243.

  Cheverny and Its Château, 82, 110-114, 133.

  _Cheverny, Philippe Hurault, Comte de_, 111.

  _Chicot_, 201.

  Chinon and Its Châteaux, 10, 92, 140, 171, 193, 202, 239,
    241, 247, 250-261, 268.

  Chinon, Forêt de, 241, 247.

  Chiron-Tardiveau, 310.

  _Choiseul, Duc de_, 164, 169.

  Cholet, 275, 304-307.

  _Cholet, Comte de_, 115.

  Cinq-Mars and Its Ruins, 7, 21, 137, 220, 227-232, 238, 274.

  _Cinq-Mars, Henri, Marquis de_, 228, 229-231, 234.

  _Cinq-Mars, Marquise de_, 230, 231.

  _Claude of France_, 72, 80, 97, 155.

  _Clément, Jacques_, 78.

  Clermont-Ferrand, 15.

  Cléry, 32, 41, 44-46, 214.

  Clisson and Its Château, 8, 303, 307.

  _Clisson_, 293.

  _Clopinel, Jehan_ (See _Jean de Meung_).

  _Clouet_, 112.

  _Clovis_, 43, 149, 253.

  Coeuvres, 170.

  _Coligny_, 160-161.

  Colletis, 309.

  _Colombe, Michel_, 207-208, 295.

  _Commines, De_, 45.

  _Condé, Prince de_, 119, 160-161, 168, 319.

  _Conti, Princesse de_, 234.

  _Cormeri, Citizen_, 215.

  Cormery, 133.

  Cosne, 18, 314, 330.

  Cosson, The, 2, 97-98, 101.

  Coteau de Guignes, 52.

  Couëron, 298.

  _Coulanges, M. de_, 18.

  Coulmiers, 40.

  Cour-Cheverny, 110, 114, 133.

  _Cousin, Jean_, 105.

  Coutancière, Château of, 269.

  _Coxe, Miss_, 125.

  _Créquy, Marquise de_, 183.

  Croix de Monteuse, 16.

  _Cromwell_, 301.

  _Crussol, Mlle. de_, 318.


  _Dalahaide_, 77.

  Dampierre, 280.

  _Dante_, 203.

  _Danton_, 144.

  _Daudet_, 17, 335.

  Decize, 336.

  _Delavigne, Casimir_, 34.

  _Delorme, Marion_, 230-231.

  _Delorme, Philibert_, 321.

  _Deneux, Mlle._, 215.

  _Descartes_, 3, 208.

  Digoin, 336.

  Dijon, 15.

  _Dino, Duc de_, 115.

  Dive, The, 13.

  Domfront, Château de, 9.

  _Doré_, 207, 320.

  _Duban_, 73.

  _Ducos, Roger_, 164-165.

  _Dudevant, Madame_ (See _Sand, George_).

  _Duguesclin_, 49.

  _Dumas_, 3, 6, 47, 82, 201, 268-269, 294-295.

  Dunois, The, 56.

  _Dupin, M. and Mme._, 183, 187.

  _Duplessis-Mornay_, 281.


  _Eckmühl, Prince_, 42.

  _Effiats Family, D'_ (See _Cinq-Mars_).

  _Elbée, D'_, 307.

  _Eleanor of Portugal_, 155.

  _Éléanore of Guienne_, 267.

  Embrun, 44, 45.

  _Epernon, Duc d'_, 194.

  _Este, Cardinal d'_, 180.

  _Estrées, Gabrielle d'_, 164, 169-170.

  _Étampes, Duchesse d'_, 101, 130-131, 155.

  _Étampes, Jacques d'_, 321.

  Etretat, 251.

  Eure et Loir, Department of, 35.


  Falaise, Château de, 9.

  _Ferdinand VII. of Spain_, 323.

  Finistère, 35.

  _Flaubert_, 6.

  _Foix, Marguerite de_, 295-296.

  Folie-Siffait, 26.

  Fontainebleau, 97.

  Fontaine des Sables Mouvants, 52.

  _Fontenelle_, 183.

  Fontenoy, 107.

  Fontevrault, Abbey of, 3, 263-267, 282.

  _Force, Piganiol de la_, 106.

  Forez, Plain of, 17.

  _Fouché_, 298.

  _Foulques Nerra_, 93, 201, 232, 234.

  _Foulques V._, 238.

  _Fouquet_, 164, 294.

  _François I._, 60-64, 69-70, 72-73, 75, 89, 94-99, 101, 104-107,
    109, 114, 118, 130, 148, 151-156, 171-172, 174-176, 189-190,
    194, 196-197, 200, 244-245, 264, 322.

  _François II._, 156-162, 168, 181, 215.

  _Franklin, Benjamin_, 123-124, 125.

  Freiburg, 22.

  Fromentin, 311.


  _Galles, Prince de_, 49.

  _Gaston of Orleans_, 59-60, 62, 68-70, 79-82.

  Gatanais, The, 36.

  Gatine, Forêt de, 324.

  _George IV._, 169.

  Gerbier-de-Jonc, 16, 336.

  Gien and Its Château, 8, 18, 19, 202, 318-320, 330.

  Gilly, 336.

  Giverny, 251.

  _Gondi, Henri de_, 293-294, 301-302.

  _Goujon, Jean_, 105, 179, 244.

  _Gregory of Tours_, 57.

  _Grise-Gonelle, Geoffroy_, 195.

  Grottoes of Ste. Radegonde, 218.

  Guérande, 300.

  _Guise, Henri, Duc de (Le Balafré)_, 67, 69-70, 73-78, 157, 160,
    162, 164, 168, 180, 234.


  Haute Loire, Department of, 11.

  _Henri II._, 69, 99, 107, 109, 115, 156, 158, 171-172, 174-177,
    183-184, 197, 200.

  _Henri III._, 69-70, 73, 75-78, 182, 195, 201, 334.

  _Henri IV. (de Navarre)_, 78, 164, 170, 201, 281, 293.

  _Henry II. of England_, 190, 208, 238, 257-258, 267.

  _Henry VIII. of England_, 107.

  _Holbein_, 152.

  _Hugo, Victor_, 37.

  Huismes, 250.

  _Hurault, Philippe_, 111, 112.


  Ile de Yeu, 310-311.

  Ile Feydeau, 298.

  Ile Gloriette, 298.

  Ile St. Jean, 149.

  Ilot du Pilier, 310.

  Indre, The, 10, 21, 191-192, 240, 243-244, 247, 275, 313, 326-327.

  Indre et Loire, Département d', 142.


  _Jahel, Miss_, 125.

  _James V. of Scotland_, 157.

  _James, Henry_, 14, 189, 204, 251.

  Jargeau, 36.

  _Jean de Meung_, 46-47.

  _Jean-sans-Peur_, 319.

  _Jean-sans-Terre_, 193, 267.

  _Jeanne d'Arc_, 33-35, 38, 49, 319, 333.

  _Jeanne of France_, 209.

  _John, King_, 287.

  Joué, 215.

  _Juvenet_, 34.


  _Kleber_, 306, 307.


  La Beauce, 38, 41, 53, 87, 141.

  "La Briche," 270-272.

  Lac de Grand Lieu, 298-299, 311-312.

  Lac d'Issarles, 16.

  La Chapelle, 43.

  La Charité, 17-18, 314-315, 319, 332-334.

  La Châtre, 327.

  La Chevrolière, 312.

  _Lafayette, Madame de_, 109.

  _La Fontaine_, 128, 286.

  La Martinière, 298.

  La Motte, 87-88.

  _Landais_, 294.

  _Landes, Houdon des_, 137.

  Langeais and Its Château, 7, 21, 82, 133, 140, 165, 174, 224,
    232-241, 247.

  Languedoc, 15.

  _Lanoue_, 293.

  Lanterne de Rochecorbon, 220.

  La Pointe, 13, 22-23, 284.

  La Possonière, 289.

  Larçay, 10.

  La Rochelle, 208, 308.

  _Lauzun_, 164.

  _Lavedan_, 31-32.

  Layon, The, 13.

  Le Croisic, 300.

  Le Havre, 27.

  _Lemaitre, Jules_, 34.

  _Lemercier_, 261-262.

  _Lenoir_, 57.

  _Lenôtre_, 43.

  _Lepage_, 35.

  Le Pellerin, 298.

  Le Puy, 4-5, 10, 16, 137, 336.

  _Leray, M._, 120.

  Les Andelys, Château de, 9.

  _Lescure_, 307.

  _Lespine, Jean de_, 291.

  Liger, The, 336.

  Lille, 286.

  _Lille, Abbé de_, 107.

  "_Limieul, La Demoiselle de_" (See _Tour, Isabelle de la_).

  Limousin, The, 109.

  Lisieux, 92.

  Loches and Its Châteaux, 3, 9-10, 130, 133, 140, 142, 188-202, 250,
    266, 326.

  Loches, Forêt de, 190.

  Loir, The, 13, 21.

  Loir et Cher, Department of the, 35, 57.

  Loire, The, 1, 3-30, 32, 34-38, 40-41, 43, 50-51, 53-54, 56, 58,
    64-65, 68, 92, 95-97, 101-102, 110, 116-118, 120-122, 124, 129,
    133, 134, 137, 140-142, 148-149, 156, 163, 171, 173, 177-178, 191,
    196, 208, 215, 220-223, 225, 227-228, 232, 236, 240, 257, 259-260,
    267, 273, 275-276, 278-279, 282-286, 288-290, 292-293, 297-302,
    304, 308-309, 311, 313-314, 318-319, 324, 326-327, 330, 332-334,
    336.

  Loiret, The, 41-43.

  Loiret, Department of the, 35-36.

  _Lorraine, Cardinal de_, 157, 180.

  _Lorraine, Marie de_, 157.

  Lorris, 37.

  _Lorris, Guillaume de_, 37, 46.

  Lot, The, 260.

  Louet, The, 286.

  _Louis II. (Le Bègue)_, 150.

  _Louis IX._ (See _St. Louis_).

  _Louis XI._, 5, 32, 41, 44-46, 48, 69, 130-131, 150, 154, 194,
    195, 211-212, 214-218, 232-233, 253, 257-258, 268, 281, 291.

  _Louis XII._, 60-61, 64, 66, 83, 97, 120, 122, 151, 167,
    194-195, 209, 215, 238, 294.

  _Louis XIII._, 63, 99, 107, 139, 222, 224, 228, 230-231.

  _Louis XIV._, 32, 82-83, 98-99, 107, 109, 111, 164, 215, 227,
    232, 245, 247, 294, 319.

  _Louis XV._, 54, 84, 107, 164, 169, 215.

  _Louis XVI._, 32, 123.

  _Louis XVIII._, 321, 329.

  _Louis Philippe_, 165.

  Louvre, The, 130, 285.

  _Lubin, M._, 126.

  Luynes and Its Château, 21, 222-227.

  _Luynes Family_, 222, 224, 227, 234.

  Lyonnais, 15.

  Lyons, 16, 203, 286.

  Lyons, Forêt de, 87.


  Madon, 126.

  _Maillé, Comte de_, 227.

  Maine, The, 12-13, 21-23, 284, 288-290.

  _Maintenon, Madame de_, 109.

  _Malines_, 77.

  _Mame et Fils, Alfred_, 205.

  _Mansart_ (elder), 62, 79.

  Marguerites, The, 311.

  _Marie Antoinette_, 328.

  _Marigny, De_, 54.

  Marmoutier, Abbey of, 218-220, 266.

  _Marques, Family of_, 185.

  _Marsay, M. de_, 190.

  Marseilles, 27, 136, 203, 286, 292.

  _Martel, Geoffroy_, 253.

  Maulévrier, Château of, 303.

  Mauves, Plain of, 26.

  Mayenne, 21.

  Mayenne, The, 21.

  _Mazarin_, 6, 293, 301-302, 335.

  _Medici, Catherine de_, 73-79, 107, 118-119, 122-123, 156-157,
    160-162, 168, 175-182, 184-185.

  _Medici, Marie de_, 194, 285.

  Mehun-sur-Yevre and Its Château, 324-326.

  _Mello, Dreux de_, 193.

  Menars and Its Château, 53-54.

  Mer, 52-53.

  Metz, 40.

  Meung-sur-Loire, 41, 44, 46-48.

  Micy, Abbaye de, 43.

  _Mignard_, 112.

  Moine, The, 307-308.

  _Molière_, 108.

  Montbazon, 10.

  _Montespan, Madame de_, 283.

  _Montesquieu_, 183.

  _Montgomery_, 158, 175.

  Montjean, 24.

  Montlivault, 53.

  _Montmorency, Connétable de_, 174.

  Montpellier, Castle of, 231.

  _Montpensier, Charles de_, 154-155.

  Montrichard and its Donjon, 9-10, 91-93.

  Montsoreau, 268-270, 276.

  Moraines, Château de (_See_ Dampierre).

  _Moreau_, 306.

  Moret, 251.

  _Morrison_, 81.

  Mortagne, 307.

  _Mosnier_, 112.

  Moulins, 15.

  Muides, 53.


  Nahon, The, 320-321.

  Nantes and Its Château, 3, 7-8, 12-13, 23, 25-28, 40, 59, 84, 133,
    207, 278-279, 286, 288, 291-302, 308, 311-312.

  _Napoleon I._, 83, 138, 164, 321-322.

  _Napoleon III._, 88.

  _Napoleon, Louis_, 165.

  Narbonne, 231.

  _Navarre, Marguerite of_ (See _Alençon, Marguerite d'_).

  _Nemours, Duc de_, 157.

  _Nepveu, Pierre_, 104.

  Nevers, 4, 6, 11, 15, 17, 137, 319, 332-333, 335-336.

  _Nini_, 125.

  Nivernais, The, 15, 330, 332.

  Nohant, 327-329.

  Noirmoutier, 309-310.

  Normandy, 85, 92, 306.


  Ognon, The, 312.

  Onzain, 116.

  Orléannais, The, 4, 10, 15, 19, 23, 30-57, 318, 320-321.

  Orleans, 7-8, 10-12, 15, 17, 19, 30-35, 37-41, 43, 52, 133, 137,
    256, 258, 270, 284, 289.

  _Orleans Family_, 63, 65-66, 69, 140, 165, 231, 234 (See also
    _Gaston of Orleans_).

  Orleans, Forêt d', 39-40.

  Oudon, 25-26, 291.


  Paimboeuf, 298.

  Paris, 13, 30, 33, 42, 79, 119, 124, 136, 139-140, 229-230, 284,
    302, 314.

  _Parme, Duc de_, 108.

  _Parmentier_, 80.

  Pas de Calais, 192.

  Passay, 312.

  Passy-sur-Seine, 124.

  Pays de Retz, 292, 301-302, 310.

  _Penthièvre, Duc de_, 164.

  _Pepin_, 193.

  _Philippe I._, 313, 326.

  _Philippe II. (Auguste)_, 93, 193, 238.

  _Philippe III. (Le Hardi)_, 234.

  _Philippe IV. (Le Bel)_, 49.

  Pierrefonds, Château of, 186.

  Pierre-Levée, 310.

  _Pilon, Germain_, 105.

  Pinaizeaux, 310.

  _Pius VI._, 323.

  _Plantagenet, Henry_ (See _Henry II. of England_).

  _Plantin, Christopher_, 205.

  _Plessis, Armand du_ (See _Richelieu, Cardinal_).

  Plessis-les-Tours, 7, 150, 211-218, 334.

  Pointe de Chenoulin, 310.

  Poitiers, 304.

  _Poitiers, Diane de_, 118, 123, 130, 155, 172, 174-178, 183,
    187, 197.

  Poitou, 278, 292, 306.

  _Pompadour, La_, 215.

  _Poniatowska, Marie Thérèse_, 323.

  Pont Aven, 251.

  Ponts de Cé, 21-22, 275, 279, 284-286.

  Pornic, 308, 310.

  Pornichet, 300.

  Port Boulet, 270.

  Pouilly, 18, 330-332.

  Prairie-au-Duc, 298.

  _Primaticcio_, 152.

  _Primatice_, 99.

  Puy-de-Dôme, 16.


  _Rabelais, François_, 3, 128, 143-144, 239-240, 254-256, 260.

  Rambouillet, Forêt de, 87.

  Reims, 319.

  _Renaudie, Jean Barri de la_, 161.

  _René, King_, 23, 281.

  Rennes, 15.

  _Retz, Cardinal de_ (See _Gondi, Henri de_).

  _Retz, Gilles de_, 24, 293.

  Rhine, The, 13, 26.

  Rhône, The, 13, 23, 260.

  _Richard Coeur de Lion_, 93, 193, 267.

  Richelieu, 260-262.

  _Richelieu, Cardinal_, 224, 228, 231-232, 260-262, 301-302.

  Roanne, 12, 16-17, 336.

  _Rochecotte_, 250.

  Rochecotte, Château de, 249-250.

  Romorantin and Its Château, 85, 88-89, 324.

  _Ronsard_, 128, 157, 180, 240.

  Rouen, 92, 119, 121-122, 203, 221, 299.

  _Rousseau, Jean Jacques_, 172, 183-184, 187.

  _Roy, Lucien_, 235.

  _Royale, Madame_, 109.

  _Rubens_, 285.

  _Ruggieri, Cosmo_, 78-79, 122-123.

  Russy, Forêt de, 114.


  _Saint Gelais, Guy de_, 245.

  Sancerre and Its Châteaux, 18, 137, 313-318, 330, 333.

  _Sancerre, Counts of_, 314-316.

  _Sand, George_, 7, 321, 326-329.

  San Juste, Monastery of, 131.

  Saône, The, 23.

  _Sardini, Scipion_, 119.

  Sarthe, The, 13, 21.

  Saumur and Its Château, 21, 119-120, 142, 171, 221-222, 259,
    274-283, 292.

  Sausac, Château of, 202.

  _Sausac, Seigneur de_, 215.

  Savennières, 289.

  _Savoie, Louise de_, 151.

  _Savoie, Philippe de_, 195.

  _Saxe, Maurice de_, 107-108.

  _Scott, Sir Walter_, 166, 211, 216, 218.

  Sedan, 40.

  Seine, The, 4, 13, 25, 36, 121, 221.

  Selles, 10, 324.

  _Sertio_, 100.

  _Sévigné, Madame de_, 18, 276, 295.

  _Sforza, Ludovic_, 197.

  _Shenstone_, 106.

  _Siegfreid, Jacques_, 234.

  Sologne, The, 38, 52-53, 56, 84-94, 97, 101, 110, 148, 320.

  _Sorel, Agnes_, 152, 188-189, 194, 196, 201-202, 250, 326.

  _Staël, Madame de_, 119-120.

  St. Aignan and Its Château, 10, 312, 324.

  _Stanislas of Poland, King_, 107-108.

  St. Ay, 43-44.

  St. Benoit-sur-Loire, 10, 19.

  St. Claude, 54.

  St. Cyr, 215.

  St. Die, 53.

  Ste. Eulalie, 336.

  _Stendahl_, 128.

  St. Etienne, 5, 16.

  St. Florent, Abbey of, 282, 306.

  St. Galmier, 16.

  St. Georges-sur-Loire, 22.

  St. Leger, 312.

  _St. Liphard_, 48.

  _St. Louis_, 37, 193, 288, 318.

  St. Lumine, 312.

  St. Mars, 312.

  _St. Martin_, 5, 149, 209-211, 218, 220, 253, 268.

  _St. Mesme_, 253.

  St. Mesmin, 41, 43.

  St. Nazaire, 23, 28, 292, 300.

  _Stofflet_, 303, 306.

  _St. Ours_, 193.

  St. Philibert, 311-312.

  _St. Philibert_, 310.

  St. Pierre-le-Moutier, 333.

  St. Rambert, 17.

  _St. Sauveur_, 238.

  Strasburg, 22.

  St. Symphorien, 218.

  St. Trinité, Abbey of, 266.

  _Stuart, Mary_, 157-162, 168, 181.

  _St. Vallier, Comte de_, 175, 197.

  Suèvres, 53.

  Sully, 19.


  _Talleyrand_, 250, 321, 323.

  _Tasso_, 180.

  Tavers, 52.

  _Terry, Mr._, 187.

  _Texier_, 22.

  Thézée, 10.

  _Thibaut-le-Tricheur_, 259.

  _Thibaut III._, 253.

  _Thiephanie, Dame_, 281.

  Thouet, The, 13.

  _Thoury, Comtesse_, 105.

  Torfou, 307.

  Toulouse, 15.

  _Tour, Isabelle de la_, 119.

  Touraine, 1-4, 6-9, 15, 19-21, 23, 32, 54, 56, 79, 85, 92, 102,
    105, 121, 128-148, 161, 164, 169, 172-173, 176, 183, 204, 215,
    220, 229-230, 233-234, 238, 243-244, 246, 251, 260, 273, 275,
    284, 332.

  _Touraine, Comtes de_, 253.

  Tours, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10-11, 20-21, 40, 57, 84, 116-117, 120, 132-133,
    137, 148-149, 166, 171-172, 200, 203-211, 215, 221-222, 224-225,
    238-239, 246, 253, 266, 274, 276-277, 320-321, 327.

  Treves-Cunault, 283-284.

  _Turenne_, 319.

  _Turner_, 12.


  Ussé and Its Château, 241, 247-249.


  Valençay and Its Château, 320-324.

  _Valentine de Milan_, 66.

  _Valentinois, Duchesse de_ (See _Poitiers, Diane de_).

  Vallée du Vendomois, 274.

  _Valois, Marguerite de_ (_sister of François I._) (See _Alençon,
    Marguerite d'_).

  _Valois, Marguerite de (de Navarre)_, 180.

  _Van Eyck_, 152.

  Varennes, 218, 324.

  Varennes, The, 135.

  _Vasari_, 153.

  _Vauban_, 247.

  _Vaudémont, Louise de_, 182.

  Vendôme, 22, 266.

  _Vendôme, César de_, 164.

  Vendomois, The, 56-57.

  Veron, 135.

  Versailles, 43, 60, 86, 98, 139, 261.

  _Vibraye, Marquis de_, 111.

  Vienne, The, 10, 21, 251, 259-260, 267-268, 275, 279.

  Vierzon, 84-85, 324.

  _Vigny, Alfred de_, 128-129.

  Villandry, Château de, 238.

  Villaumère, Château de la, 250.

  _Villon, François_, 48.

  _Vinci, Leonardo da_, 59, 72, 100, 152-153, 166, 169, 174.

  _Viollet-le-Duc_, 185.

  Vivarais Mountains, 16.

  _Voltaire_, 42, 142, 183.

  Vorey, 11, 16.

  Vouvray, 222, 332.


  Yonne, The, 17.

  _Young, Arthur_, 86.


  _Zamet, Sebastian_, 170.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

1. Replaced chateau(x) with château(x) throughout the text (title pages
and pp. xi, 1, 9, 62, 72, 327).

2. P. 36: added quotes after a verse.

3. P. 67: replaced "três" with "très" ("très beau et très agréable ainsy
que tous ses portraits l'ont représenté...").

4. P. 83: added quotes after the phrase "magasin des subsistances
militaires".

5. P. 86: added quotes after a phrase "those brilliant and ambitious
gentlemen".

6. P. 94: "potions" are replaced with "portions" ("... moreover, one can
drink large portions of it...").

7. P. 108: "know" is replaced with "known" ("The second floor is known
as the...").

8. All instances of "Francois" are replaced with "François" (pp. 69,
171, 304, 338, 346).

9. P. 187: "Credit Foncier" is replaced by "Crédit Foncier".

10. P. 235: Replaced "irrelevent" with "irrelevant" ("...an
over-luxuriant interpolation of irrelevant things...").

11. P. 290: Replaced "Andre" with "André" ("Maison André Leroy").

12. P. 296: Added quotes after a verse "Cueur de vertus orné Dignement
couronné."

13. P. 314: Replaced "Etes-vous" with "Êtes-vous" ("Êtes-vous allé à...").

14. P. 322: Replaced "Valencay" with "Valençay" ("Château de
Valençay").

15. Replaced "Eglise" with "Église" (illustration caption: "Église S.
Aignan, Cosne").

16. Innkeepers, manorhouse, sandbar, Bellilocus, seaside, harbourside,
headwaters, stairway, and waterways are chosen to be written without a
hyphen.

17. Dining-table, wine-shops, and quatre-vingzt are chosen to be written
with a hyphen.

18. P. 338: Replaced "Bréze" with "Brézé" (Brézé, Pierre de).

19. P. 269: Replaced "Chateaudun" with "Châteaudun" ("... the fief
passed to the Vicomtes de Châteaudun...").

20. Pp. 12, 17, and 339: Replaced "Canal Lateral" with "Canal Latéral".

21. P. 344: Replaced "Orléans" with "Orleans".

22. P. 286: Quotes after the verse added ("... sur la Loire.").

23. P. 327: The (missing) closing quotes are added ("_petits
chefs-d'oeuvre_ of sentiment and rustic poesy").

24. Added a description of a monogram on p. 177.

25. P. 120: An image description is added.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Castles and Chateaux of Old Touraine and the Loire Country" ***

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.



Home