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´╗┐Title: A Little Tour in France
Author: James, Henry
Language: English
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A Little Tour In France

by Henry James,



We good Americans - I say it without presumption
- are too apt to think that France is Paris, just as we
are accused of being too apt to think that Paris is the
celestial city.  This is by no means the case, fortun-
ately for those persons who take an interest in modern
Gaul, and yet are still left vaguely unsatisfied by that
epitome of civilization which stretches from the Arc
de Triomphe to the Gymnase theatre.  It had already
been intimated to the author of these light pages that
there are many good things in the _doux pays de France_
of which you get no hint in a walk between those
ornaments of the capital; but the truth had been re-
vealed only in quick-flashing glimpses, and he was
conscious of a desire to look it well in the face.  To
this end he started, one rainy morning in mid-Septem-
ber, for the charming little city of Tours, from which
point it seemed possible to make a variety of fruitful
excursions.  His excursions resolved themselves ulti-
mately into a journey through several provinces, - a
journey which had its dull moments (as one may defy
any journey not to have), but which enabled him to feel
that his proposition was demonstrated.  France may
be Paris, but Paris is not France; that was perfectly
evident on the return to the capital.

I must not speak, however, as if I had discovered
the provinces.  They were discovered, or at least re-
vealed by BaIzac, if by any one, and are now easily
accessible to visitors.  It is true, I met no visitors, or
only one or two, whom it was pleasant to meet.
Throughout my little tour I was almost the only tourist.
That is perhaps one reason why it was so successful.



I.

I am ashamed to begin with saying that Touraine
is the garden of France; that remark has long ago lost
its bloom.  The town of Tours, however, has some
thing sweet and bright, which suggests that it is sur-
rounded by a land of fruits.  It is a very agreeable
little city; few towns of its size are more ripe, more
complete, or, I should suppose, in better humor with
themselves and less disposed to envy the responsibili-
ties of bigger places.  It is truly the capital of its smil-
ing province; a region of easy abundance, of good
living, of genial, comfortable, optimistic, rather indolent
opinions.  Balzac says in one of his tales that the real
Tourangeau will not make an effort, or displace him-
self even, to go in search of a pleasure; and it is not
difficult to understand the sources of this amiable
cynicism.  He must have a vague conviction that he
can only lose by almost any change.  Fortune has
been kind to him: he lives in a temperate, reasonable,
sociable climate, on the banks, of  a river which, it is
true, sometimes floods the country around it, but of
which the ravages appear to be so easily repaired that
its aggressions may perhaps be regarded (in a region
where so many good things are certain) merely as an
occasion for healthy suspense.  He is surrounded by
fine old traditions, religious, social, architectural, culi-
nary; and he may have the satisfaction of feeling that
he is French to the core.  No part of his admirable
country is more characteristically national.  Normandy
is Normandy, Burgundy is Burgundy, Provence is Pro-
vence; but Touraine is essentially France.  It is the
land of Rabelais, of Descartes, of Balzac, of good
books and good company, as well as good dinners and
good houses.  George Sand has somewhere a charm-
ing passage about the mildness, the convenient quality,
of the physical conditions of central France, - "son
climat souple et chaud, ses pluies abondantes et courtes."
In the autumn of 1882 the rains perhaps were less
short than abundant; but when the days were fine it
was impossible that anything in the way of weather
could be more charming.  The vineyards and orchards
looked rich in the fresh, gay light; cultivation was
everywhere, but everywhere it seemed to be easy.
There was no visible poverty; thrift and success pre-
sented themselves as matters of good taste.  The white
caps of the women glittered in the sunshire, and their
well-made sabots clicked cheerfully on the hard, clean
roads.  Touraine is a land of old chateaux, - a gallery
of architectural specimens and of large hereditary pro-
perties.  The peasantry have less of the luxury of
ownership than in most other parts of France; though
they have enough of it to give them quite their share
of that shrewdly conservative look which, in the little,
chaffering, _place_ of the market-town, the stranger ob-
serves so often in the wrinkled brown masks that sur-
mount the agricultural blouse.  This is, moreover, the
heart of the old French monarchy; and as that monarchy
was splendid and picturesque, a reflection of the splen-
dor still glitters in the current of the Loire.  Some of
the most striking events of French history have occurred
on the banks of that river, and the soil it waters
bloomed for a while with the flowering of the Renais-
sance.  The Loire gives a great "style" to a landscape
of which the features are not, as the phrase is, promi-
nent, and carries the eye to distances even more poetic
than the green horizons of Touraine.  It is a very fit-
ful stream, and is sometimes observed to run thin and
expose all the crudities of its channel, - a great defect
certainly in a river which is so much depended upon
to give an air to the places it waters.  But I speak of
it as I saw it last; full, tranquil, powerful, bending in
large slow curves, and sending back half the light of
the sky.  Nothing can be finer than the view of its
course which you get from the battlements and ter-
races of Amboise.  As I looked down on it from that
elevation one lovely Sunday morning, through a mild
glitter of autumn sunshine, it seemed the very model
of a generous, beneficent stream.  The most charming
part of Tours is naturally the shaded quay that over-
looks it, and looks across too at the friendly faubourg
of Saint Symphorien and at the terraced heights which
rise above this.  Indeed, throughout Touraine, it is
half the charm of the Loire that you can travel beside
it.  The great dike which protects it, or, protects the
country from it, from Blois to Angers, is an admirable
road; and on the other side, as well, the highway con-
stantly keeps it company.  A wide river, as you follow
a wide road, is excellent company; it heightens and
shortens the way.

The inns at Tours are in another quarter, and one
of them, which is midway between the town and the
station, is very good.  It is worth mentioning for the
fact that every one belonging to it is extraordinarily
polite, - so unnaturally polite as at first to excite your
suspicion that the hotel has some hidden vice, so that
the waiters and chambermaids are trying to pacify
you in advance.  There was one waiter in especial who
was the most accomplished social being I have ever
encountered; from morning till night he kept up an
inarticulate murmur of urbanity, like the hum of a
spinning-top.  I may add that I discovered no dark
secrets at the Hotel de l'Univers; for it is not a secret
to any traveller to-day that the obligation to partake
of a lukewarm dinner in an overheated room is as
imperative as it is detestable.  For the rest, at Tours,
there is a certain Rue Royale which has pretensions
to the monumental; it was constructed a hundred
years ago, and the houses, all alike, have on a
moderate scale a pompous eighteenth-century look.  It
connects the Palais de Justice, the most important
secular building in the town, with the long bridge
which spans the Loire, - the spacious, solid bridge
pronounced by Balzac, in "Le Cure de Tours," "one of
the finest monuments of French architecture."  The
Palais de Justice was the seat of the Government of
Leon Gambetta in the autumn of 1870, after the
dictator had been obliged to retire in his balloon from
Paris, and before the Assembly was constituted at
Bordeaux.  The Germans occupied Tours during that
terrible winter; it is astonishing, the number of
places the Germans occupied.  It is hardly too much
to say that wherever one goes in, certain parts of
France, one encounters two great historic facts: one
is the Revolution; the other is the German invasion.
The traces of the Revolution remain in a hundred
scars and bruises and mutilations, but the visible
marks of the war of 1870 have passed away.  The
country is so rich, so living, that she has been able to
dress her wounds, to hold up her head, to smile again;
so that the shadow of that darkness has ceased to rest
upon her.  But what you do not see you still may
hear; and one remembers with a certain shudder that
only a few short years ago this province, so intimately
French, was under the heel of a foreign foe.  To be
intimately French was apparently not a safeguard; for
so successful an invader it could only be a challenge.
Peace and plenty, however, have succeeded that
episode; and among the gardens and vineyards of
Touraine it seems, only a legend the more in a country
of legends.

It was not, all the same, for the sake of this check-
ered story that I mentioned the Palais de Justice and
the Rue Royale.  The most interesting fact, to my
mind, about the high-street of Tours was that as you
walked toward the bridge on the right-hand _trottoir_
you can look up at the house, on the other side of
the way, in which Honore de Balzac first saw the
light.  That violent and complicated genius was a
child of the good-humored and succulent Touraine.
There is something anomalous in the fact, though, if
one thinks about it a little, one may discover certain
correspondences between his character and that of his
native province.  Strenuous, laborious, constantly in
felicitous in spite of his great successes, he suggests
at times a very different set of influences.  But he had
his jovial, full-feeding side, - the side that comes out
in the "Contes Drolatiques," which are the romantic
and epicurean chronicle of the old manors and abbeys
of this region.  And he was, moreover, the product
of a soil into which a great deal of history had been
trodden.  Balzac was genuinely as well as affectedly
monarchical, and he was saturated with, a sense of the
past.  Number 39 Rue Royale - of which the base
ment, like all the basements in the Rue Royale, is
occupied by a shop - is not shown to the public; and
I know not whether tradition designates the chamber
in which the author of "Le Lys dans la Vallee"
opened his eyes into a world in which he was to see
and to imagine such extraordinary things.  If this
were the case, I would willingly have crossed its
threshold; not for the sake of any relic of the great
novelist which it may possibly contain, nor even for
that of any mystic virtue which may be supposed to
reside within its walls, but simply because to look at
those four modest walls can hardly fail to give one a
strong impression of the force of human endeavour.
Balzac, in the maturity of his vision, took in more of
human life than any one, since Shakspeare, who has
attempted to tell us stories about it; and the very
small scene on which his consciousness dawned is one
end of the immense scale that he traversed.  I confess
it shocked me a little to find that he was born in a
house "in a row," - a house, moreover, which at the
date of his birth must have been only about twenty
years old.  All that is contradictory.  If the tenement
selected for this honour could not be ancient and em-
browned, it should at least have been detached.

There is a charming description, in his little tale
of "La Grenadiere," of the view of the opposite side
of the Loire as you have it from the square at the end
of the Rue Royale, - a square that has some preten-
sions to grandeur, overlooked as it is by the Hotel de
Ville and the Musee, a pair of edifices which directly
contemplate the river, and ornamented with marble
images of Francois Rabelais and Rene Descartes.
The former, erected a few years since, is a very honor-
able production; the pedastal of the latter could, as
a matter of course, only be inscribed with the _Cogito
ergo Sum._  The two statues mark the two opposite
poles to which the brilliant French mind has travelled;
and if there were an effigy of Balzac at Tours, it ought
to stand midway between them.  Not that he, by any
means always struck the happy mean between the
sensible and the metaphysical; but one may say of
him that half of his genius looks in one direction
and half in the other.  The side that turns toward
Francois Rabelais would be, on the whole, the side
that takes the sun.  But there is no statue of Balzac
at Tours; there is only, in one of the chambers of
the melancholy museum, a rather clever, coarse bust.
The description in "La Grenadiere," of which I just
spoke, is too long to quote; neither have I space for
any one of the brilliant attempts at landscape paint-
ing which are woven into the shimmering texture of
"Le Lys dans la Vallee."  The little manor of Cloche-
gourde, the residence of Madame de Mortsauf, the
heroine of that extraordinary work, was within a
moderate walk of Tours, and the picture in the novel is
presumably a copy from an original which it would be
possible to-day to discover.  I did not, however, even
make the attempt.  There are so many chateaux in
Touraine commemorated in history, that it would take
one too far to look up those which have been com-
memorated in fiction.  The most I did was to endeavor
to identify the former residence of  Mademoiselle
Gamard, the sinister old maid of "Le Cure de Tours."
This terrible woman occupied a small house in the
rear of the cathedral, where I spent a whole morning
in wondering rather stupidly which house it could be.
To reach the cathedral from the little _place_ where we
stopped just now to look across at the Grenadiere,
without, it must be confessed, very vividly seeing it,
you follow the quay to the right, and pass out of sight
of the charming _coteau_ which, from beyond the river,
faces the town, - a soft agglomeration of gardens, vine-
yards, scattered villas, gables and turrets of slate-
roofed chateaux, terraces with gray balustrades, moss-
grown walls draped in scarlet Virginia-creeper.  You
turn into the town again beside a great military
barrack which is ornamented with a rugged mediaeval
tower, a relic of the ancient fortifications, known to
the Tourangeaux of to-day as the Tour de Guise.
The young Prince of Joinville, son of that Duke of
Guise who was murdered by the order of Henry II. at
Blois, was, after the death of his father, confined here
for more than two years, but made his escape one
summer evening in 1591, under the nose of his keepers,
with a gallant audacity which has attached the memory
of the exploit to his sullen-looking prison.  Tours has
a garrison of five regiments, and the little red-legged
soldiers light up the town.  You see them stroll upon
the clean, uncommercial quay, where there are no
signs of navigation, not even by oar, no barrels nor
bales, no loading nor unloading, no masts against the
sky nor booming of steam in the air.  The most active
business that goes on there is that patient and fruitless
angling in, which the French, as the votaries of art for
art, excel all other people.  The little soldiers, weighed
down by the contents of their enormous pockets, pass
with respect from one of these masters of the rod to
the other,as he sits soaking an indefinite bait in the
large, indifferent stream.  After you turn your back to
the quay you have only to go a little way before you
reach the cathedral.



II.

It is a very beautiful church of the second order
of importance, with a charming mouse-colored com-
plexion and a pair of fantastic towers.  There is a
commodious little square in front of it, from which
you may look up at its very ornamental face; but for
purposes of frank admiration the sides and the rear
are perhaps not sufficiently detached.  The cathedral
of Tours, which is dedicated to Saint Gatianus, took
a long time to build.  Begun in 1170, it was finished
only in the first half of the sixteenth century; but the
ages and the weather have interfused so well the tone
of the different parts, that it presents, at first at least,
no striking incongruities, and looks even exception-
ally harmonious and complete.  There are many
grander cathedrals, but there are probably few more
pleasing; and this effect of delicacy and grace is at
its best toward the close of a quiet afternoon, when the
densely decorated towers, rising above the little Place
de l'Archeveche, lift their curious lanterns into the
slanting light, and offer a multitudinous perch to
troops of circling pigeons.  The whole front, at such
a time, has an appearance of great richness, although
the niches which surround the three high doors (with
recesses deep enough for several circles of sculpture)
and indent the four great buttresses that ascend beside
the huge rose-window, carry no figures beneath their
little chiselled canopies.  The blast of the great Revo-
lution blew down most of the statues in France, and
the wind has never set very strongly toward putting
them up again.  The embossed and crocketed cupolas
which crown the towers of Saint Gatien are not very
pure in taste; but, like a good many impurities, they
have a certain character.  The interior has a stately
slimness with which no fault is to be found, and
which in the choir, rich in early glass and surrounded
by a broad passage, becomes very bold and noble.
Its principal treasure, perhaps, is the charming little tomb
of the two children (who died young) of Charles VIII. and
Anne of Brittany, in white marble, embossed with sym-
bolic dolphins and exquisite arabesques.  The little
boy and girl lie side by side on a slab of black marble,
and a pair of small kneeling angels, both at their head
and at their feet, watch over them.  Nothing could be
more perfect than this monument, which is the work
of Michel Colomb, one of the earlier glories of the
French Renaissance; it is really a lesson in good taste.
Originally placed in the great abbey-church of Saint
Martin, which was for so many ages the holy place of
Tours, it happily survived the devastation to which
that edifice, already sadly shattered by the wars of
religion and successive profanations, finally succumbed
in 1797.  In 1815 the tomb found an asylum in a
quiet corner of the cathedral.

I ought, perhaps, to be ashamed to acknowledge,
that I found the profane name of Balzac capable of
adding an interest even to this venerable sanctuary.
Those who have read the terrible little story of "Le
Cure de Tours" will perhaps remember that, as I
have already mentioned, the simple and childlike old
Abbe Birotteau, victim of the infernal machinations
of the Abbe Troubert and Mademoiselle Gamard, had
his quarters in the house of that lady (she had a
speciality of letting lodgings to priests), which stood
on the north side of the cathedral, so close under its
walls that the supporting pillar of one of the great
flying buttresses was planted in the spinster's garden.
If you wander round behind the church, in search of
this more than historic habitation, you will have oc-
casion to see that the side and rear of Saint Gatien
make a delectable and curious figure.  A narrow lane
passes beside the high wall which conceals from sight
the palace of the archbishop, and beneath the flying
buttresses, the far-projecting gargoyles, and the fine
south porch of the church.  It terminates in a little,
dead, grass-grown square entitled the Place Gregoire
de Tours.  All this part of the exterior of the cathe-
dral is very brown, ancient, Gothic, grotesque; Balzac
calls the whole place "a desert of stone."  A battered
and gabled wing, or out-house (as it appears to be)
of the hidden palace, with a queer old stone pulpit
jutting out from it, looks down on this melancholy
spot, on the other side of which is a seminary for
young priests, one of whom issues from a door in a
quiet corner, and, holding it open a moment behind
him, shows a glimpse of a sunny garden, where you
may fancy other black young figures strolling up and
down.  Mademoiselle Gamard's house, where she took
her two abbes to board, and basely conspired with
one against the other, is still further round the cathe-
dral.  You cannot quite put your hand upon it to-
day, for the dwelling which you say to yourself that
it _must_ have been Mademoiselle Gamard's does not
fulfil all the conditions mentioned in BaIzac's de-
scription.  The edifice in question, however, fulfils con-
ditions enough; in particular, its little court offers
hospitality to the big buttress of the church.  Another
buttress, corresponding with this (the two, between
them, sustain the gable of the north transept), is
planted in the small cloister, of which the door on the
further side of the little soundless Rue de la Psalette,
where nothing seems ever to pass, opens opposite to
that of Mademoiselle Gamard.  There is a very genial
old sacristan, who introduced me to this cloister from
the church.  It is very small and solitary, and much
mutilated; but it nestles with a kind of wasted friend-
liness beneath the big walls of the cathedral.  Its
lower arcades have been closed, and it has a small
plot of garden in the middle, with fruit-trees which I
should imagine to be too much overshadowed.  In
one corner is a remarkably picturesque turret, the
cage of a winding staircase which ascends (no great
distance) to an upper gallery, where an old priest, the
_chanoine-gardien_ of the church, was walking to and fro
with his breviary.  The turret, the gallery, and even
the chanoine-gardien, belonged, that sweet September
morning, to the class of objects that are dear to paint-
ers in water-colors.



III.

I have mentioned the church of Saint Martin,
which was for many years the sacred spot, the shrine
of pilgrimage, of Tours.  Originally the simple burial-
place of the great apostle who in the fourth century
Christianized Gaul, and who, in his day a brilliant
missionary and worker of miracles, is chiefly known
to modem fame as the worthy that cut his cloak in
two at the gate of Amiens to share it with a beggar
(tradition fails to say, I believe, what he did with the
other half), the abbey of Saint Martin, through the
Middle Ages, waxed rich and powerful, till it was
known at last as one of the most luxurious religious
houses in Christendom, with kings for its titular ab-
bots (who, like Francis I., sometimes turned and
despoiled it) and a great treasure of precious things.
It passed, however, through many vicissitudes.  Pillaged
by the Normans in the ninth century and by the
Huguenots in the sixteenth, it received its death-blow
from the Revolution, which must have brought to
bear upon it an energy of destruction proportionate
to its mighty bulk.  At the end of the last century
a huge group of ruins alone remained, and what we
see to-day may be called the ruin of a ruin.  It is
difficult to understand how so vast an ediface can
have been so completely obliterated.  Its site is given
up to several ugly streets, and a pair of tall towers,
separated by a space which speaks volumes as to the
size of the church, and looking across the close-pressed
roofs to the happier spires of the cathedral, preserved
for the modern world the memory of a great fortune,
a great abuse, perhaps, and at all events a great pen-
alty.  One may believe that to this day a consider-
able part of the foundations of the great abbey is
buried in the soil of Tours.  The two surviving towers,
which are dissimilar in shape, are enormous; with
those of the cathedral they form the great landmarks
of the town.  One of them bears the name of the Tour
de l'Horloge; the other, the so-called Tour Charle-
magne, was erected (two centuries after her death)
over the tomb of Luitgarde, wife of the great Em-
peror, who died at Tours in 800.  I do not pretend to
understand in what relation these very mighty and
effectually detached masses of masonry stood to each
other, but in their gray elevation and loneliness they
are striking and suggestive to-day; holding their hoary
heads far above the modern life of the town, and
looking sad and conscious, as they had outlived all
uses.  I know not what is supposed to have become
of the bones of the blessed saint during the various
scenes of confusion in which they may have got mis-
laid; but a mystic connection with his wonder-working
relics may be perceived in a strange little sanctuary
on the left of the street, which opens in front of the
Tour Charlemagne, - the rugged base of which, by
the way, inhabited like a cave, with a diminutive
doorway, in which, as I passed, an old woman stood
cleaning a pot, and a little dark window decorated
with homely flowers, would be appreciated by a
painter in search of "bits."  The present shrine of
Saint Martin is enclosed (provisionally, I suppose) in
a very modem structure of timber, where in a dusky
cellar, to which you descend by a wooden staircase
adorned with votive tablets and paper roses, is placed
a tabernacle surrounded by twinkling tapers and pros-
trate worshippers.  Even this crepuscular vault, how-
ever, fails, I think, to attain solemnity; for the whole
place is strangely vulgar and garish.  The Catholic
church, as churches go to-day, is certainly the most
spectacular; but it must feel that it has a great fund
of impressiveness to draw upon when it opens such
sordid little shops of sanctity as this.  It is impos-
sible not to be struck with the grotesqueness of such
an establishment, as the last link in the chain of a
great ecclesiastical tradition.

In the same street, on the other side, a little below,
is something better worth your visit than the shrine
of Saint Martin.  Knock at a high door in a white
wall (there is a cross above it), and a fresh-faced
sister of the convent of the Petit Saint Martin will
let you into the charming little cloister, or rather
fragment of a cloister.  Only one side of this exqui-
site structure remains, but the whole place is effective.
In front of the beautiful arcade, which is terribly
bruised and obliterated, is one of those walks of inter-
laced _tilleuls_ which are so frequent in Touraine, and
into which the green light filters so softly through a
lattice of clipped twigs.  Beyond this is a garden,
and beyond the garden are the other buildings of the
Convent, - where the placid sisters keep a school, - a
test, doubtless, of placidity.  The imperfect arcade,
which dates from the beginning of the sixteenth cen-
tury (I know nothing of it but what is related in Mrs.
Pattison's "Rennaissance in France") is a truly en-
chanting piece of work; the cornice and the angles of
the arches, being covered with the daintiest sculpture
of arabesques, flowers, fruit, medallions, cherubs, griffins,
all in the finest and most attenuated relief.  It is like
the chasing of a bracelet in stone.  The taste, the
fancy, the elegance, the refinement, are of those things
which revive our standard of  the exquisite.  Such
a piece of work is the purest flower of the French
Renaissance; there is nothing more delicate in all
Touraine.

There is another fine thing at Tours which is not
particularly delicate, but which makes a great impres-
sion, - the- very interesting old church of Saint Julian,
lurking in a crooked corner at the right of the Rue
Royale, near the point at which this indifferent thorough-
fare emerges, with its little cry of admiration, on the
bank of the Loire.  Saint Julian stands to-day in a
kind of neglected hollow, where it is much shut in by
houses; but in the year 1225, when the edifice was
begun, the site was doubtless, as the architects say,
more eligible.  At present, indeed, when once you have
caught a glimpse of the stout, serious Romanesque
tower, - which is not high, but strong, - you feel that
the building has something to say, and that you must
stop to listen to it.  Within, it has a vast and splendid
nave, of immense height, - the nave of a cathedral, -
with a shallow choir and transepts, and some admir-
able old glass.  I spent half an hour there one morn-
ing, listening to what the church had to say, in perfect
solitude.  Not a worshipper entered, - not even an old
man with a broom.  I have always thought there is a
sex in fine buildings; and Saint Julian, with its noble
nave, is of the gender of the name of its patron.

It was that same morning, I think, that I went in
search of the old houses of Tours; for the town con-
tains several goodly specimens of the domestic archi-
tecture of the past.  The dwelling to which the average
Anglo-Saxon will most promptly direct his steps, and
the only one I have space to mention, is the so-called
Maison de Tristan l'Hermite, - a gentleman whom the
readers of "Quentin Durward" will not have forgotten,
- the hangman-in-ordinary to the great King Louis XI.
Unfortunately the house of Tristan is not the house of
Tristan at all; this illusion has been cruelly dispelled.
There are no illusions left, at all, in the good city of
Tours, with regard to Louis XI.  His terrible castle of
Plessis, the picture of which sends a shiver through
the youthful reader of Scott, has been reduced to sub-
urban insignificance; and the residence of his _triste
compere,_ on the front of which a festooned rope figures
as a motive for decoration, is observed to have been
erected in the succeeding century.  The Maison de
Tristan may be visited for itself, however, if not for
Walter Scott; it is an exceedingly picturesque old
facade, to which you pick your way through a narrow
and tortuous street, - a street terminating, a little be-
yond it, in the walk beside the river.  An elegant
Gothic doorway is let into the rusty-red brick-work,
and strange little beasts crouch at the angles of the
windows, which are surmounted by a tall graduated
gable, pierced with a small orifice, where the large
surface of brick, lifted out of the shadow of the street,
looks yellow and faded.  The whole thing is disfigured
and decayed; but it is a capital subject for a sketch
in colors.  Only I must wish the sketcher better luck
- or a better temper - than my own.  If he ring the
bell to be admitted to see the court, which I believe
is more sketchable still, let him have patience to wait
till the bell is answered.  He can do the outside while
they are coming.

The Maison de Tristan, I say, may be visited for
itself; but I hardly know what the remnants of Plessis-
les-Tours may be visited for.  To reach them you
wander through crooked suburban lanes, down the
course of the Loire, to a rough, undesirable, incon-
gruous spot, where a small, crude building of red
brick is pointed out to you by your cabman (if you
happen to drive) as the romantic abode of a super-
stitious king, and where a strong odor of pigsties and
other unclean things so prostrates you for the moment
that you have no energy to protest against the obvious
fiction.  You enter a yard encumbered with rubbish
and a defiant dog, and an old woman emerges from a
shabby lodge and assures you that you are indeed in
an historic place.  The red brick building, which looks
like a small factory, rises on the ruins of the favorite
residence of the dreadful Louis.  It is now occupied
by a company of night-scavengers, whose huge carts
are drawn up in a row before it.  I know not whether
this be what is called the irony of fate; at any rate,
the effect of it is to accentuate strongly the fact (and
through the most susceptible of our senses) that there
is no honor for the authors of great wrongs.  The
dreadful Louis is reduced simply to an offence to the
nostrils.  The old woman shows you a few fragments,
- several dark, damp, much-encumbered vaults, de-
nominated dungeons, and an old tower staircase,
in good condition.  There are the outlines of the old
moat; there is also the outline of the old guard-room,
which is now a stable; and there are other vague out-
lines and inconsequent lumps, which I have forgotten.
You need all your imagination, and even then you
cannot make out that Plessis was a castle of large ex-
tent, though the old woman, as your eye wanders over
the neighboring _potagers,_ talks a good deal about the
gardens and the park.  The place looks mean and
flat; and as you drive away you scarcely know whether
to be glad or sorry that all those bristling horrors have
been reduced to the commonplace.

A certain flatness of impression awaits you also, I
think, at Marmoutier, which is the other indisuensable
excursion in the near neighborhood of Tours.  The
remains of this famous abbey lie on the other bank of
the stream, about a mile and a half from the town.
You follow the edge of the big brown river; of a fine
afternoon you will be glad to go further still.  The
abbey has gone the way of most abbeys; but the place
is a restoration as well as a ruin, inasmuch as the
sisters of the Sacred Heart have erected a terribly
modern convent here.  A large Gothic doorway, in a
high fragment of ancient wall, admits you to a garden-
like enclosure, of great extent, from which you are
further introduced into an extraordinarily tidy little
parlor, where two good nuns sit at work.  One of these
came out with me, and showed me over the place, -
a very definite little woman, with pointed features, an
intensely distinct enunciation, and those pretty man-
ners which (for whatever other teachings it may be
responsible) the Catholic church so often instils into
its functionaries.  I have never seen a woman who had
got her lesson better than this little trotting, murmur-
ing, edifying nun.  The interest, of Marmoutier to-day
is not so much an interest of vision, so to speak, as an
interest of reflection, - that is, if you choose to reflect
(for instance) upon the wondrous legend of the seven
sleepers (you may see where they lie in a row), who
lived together - they were brothers and cousins - in
primitive piety, in the sanctuary constructed by the
blessed Saint Martin (emulous of his precursor, Saint
Gatianus), in the face of the hillside that overhung the
Loire, and who, twenty-five years after his death,
yielded up their seven souls at the same moment, and
enjoyed the curious privilege of retaining in their faces,
in spite of this process, the rosy tints of life.  The
abbey of Marmoutier, which sprung from the grottos in
the cliff to which Saint Gatianus and Saint Martin re-
tired to pray, was therefore the creation of the latter
worthy, as the other great abbey, in the town proper,
was the monument of his repose.  The cliff is still
there; and a winding staircase, in the latest taste, en-
ables you conveniently to explore its recesses.  These
sacred niches are scooped out of the rock, and will
give you an impression if you cannot do without one.
You will feel them to be sufficiently venerable when
you learn that the particular pigeon-hole of Saint
Gatianus, the first Christian missionary to Gaul, dates
from the third century.  They have been dealt with as
the Catholic church deals with most of such places to-
day; polished and furnished up; labelled and ticketed,
- _edited,_ with notes, in short, like an old book.  The
process is a mistake, - the early editions had more
sanctity.  The modern buildings (of the Sacred Heart),
on which you look down from these points of vantage,
are in the vulgar taste which seems doomed to stamp
itself on all new Catholic work; but there was never-
theless a great sweetness in the scene.  The afternoon
was lovely, and it was flushing to a close.  The large
garden stretched beneath us, blooming with fruit and
wine and succulent vegetables, and beyond it flowed
the shining river.  The air was still, the shadows were
long, and the place, after all, was full of memories,
most of which might pass for virtuous.  It certainly
was better than Plessis-les-Tours.



IV.

Your business at Tours is to make excursions; and
if you make them all, you will be very well occupied.
Touraine is rich in antiquities; and an hour's drive
from the town in almost any direction will bring you
to the knowledge of some curious fragment of domestic
or ecclesiastical architecture, some turreted manor,
some lonely tower, some gabled village, or historic
site.  Even, however, if you do everything, - which was
not my case, - you cannot hope to relate everything,
and, fortunately for you, the excursions divide them-
selves into the greater and the less.  You may achieve
most of the greater in a week or two; but a summer
in Touraine (which, by the way must be a charming
thing) would contain none too many days for the others.
If you come down to Tours from Paris, your best
economy is to spend a few days at Blois, where a
clumsy, but rather attractive little inn, on the edge of
the river, will offer you a certain amount of that
familiar and intermittent hospitality which a few weeks
spent in the French provinces teaches you to regard
as the highest attainable form of accommodation.  Such
an economy I was unable to practise.  I could only go
to Blois (from Tours) to spend the day; but this feat
I accomplished twice over.  It is a very sympathetic
little town, as we say nowadays, and one might easily
resign one's self to a week there.  Seated on the north
bank of the Loire, it presents a bright, clean face to
the sun, and has that aspect of cheerful leisure which
belongs to all white towns that reflect, themselves in
shining waters.  It is the water-front only of Blois,
however, that exhibits, this fresh complexion; the in-
terior is of a proper brownness, as befits a signally
historic city.  The only disappointment I had there
was the discovery that the castle, which is the special
object of one's pilgrimage, does not overhang the river,
as I had always allowed myself to understand.  It
overhangs the town, but it is scarcely visible from the
stream.  That peculiar good fortune is reserved for
Amboise and Chaurnont.

The Chateau de Blois is one of the most beautiful
and elaborate of all the old royal residences of this
part of France, and I suppose it should have all the
honors of my description.  As you cross its threshold,
you step straight into the brilliant movement of the
French Renaissance.  But it is too rich to describe, -
I can only touch it here and there.  It must be pre-
mised that in speaking of it as one sees it to-day,
one speaks of a monument unsparingly restored.  The
work of restoration has been as ingenious as it is pro-
fuse, but it rather chills the imagination.  This is
perhaps almost the first thing you feel as you ap-
proach the castle from the streets of the town.  These
little streets, as they, leave the river, have pretensions
to romantic steepness; one of them, indeed, which
resolves itself into a high staircase with divergent
wings (the _escalier monumental_), achieved this result
so successfully as to remind me vaguely - I hardly
know why - of the great slope of the Capitol, beside
the Ara Coeli, at Rome.  The view of that part of the
castle which figures to-day as the back (it is the only
aspect I had seen reproduced) exhibits the marks of
restoration with the greatest assurance.  The long
facade, consisting only of balconied windows deeply
recessed, erects itself on the summit of a considerable
hill, which gives a fine, plunging movement to its
foundations.  The deep niches of the windows are all
aglow with color.  They have been repainted with red
and blue, relieved with gold figures; and each of them
looks more like the royal box at a theatre than like
the aperture of a palace dark with memories.  For all
this, however, and in spite of the fact that, as in some
others of the chateaux of Touraine, (always excepting
the colossal Chambord, which is not in Touraine!)
there is less vastness than one had expected, the least
hospitable aspect of Blois is abundantly impressive.
Here, as elsewhere, lightness and grace are the key-
note; and the recesses of the windows, with their
happy proportions, their sculpture, and their color, are
the empty frames of brilliant pictures.  They need
the figure of a Francis I. to complete them, or of a
Diane de Poitiers, or even of a Henry III.  The base
of this exquisite structure emerges from a bed of light
verdure, which has been allowed to mass itself there,
and which contributes to the springing look of the
walls; while on the right it joins the most modern
portion of the castle, - the building erected, on founda-
tions of enormous height and solidity, in 1635, by
Gaston d'Orleans.  This fine, frigid mansion - the proper
view of it is from the court within - is one of the
masterpieces of Francois Mansard, whom. a kind pro-
vidence did not allow to make over the whole palace
in the superior manner of his superior age.  This had
been a part of Gaston's plan, - he was a blunderer
born, and this precious project was worthy of him.
This execution of it would surely have been one of
the great misdeeds of history.  Partially performed,
the misdeed is not altogether to be regretted; for as
one stands in the court of the castle, and lets one's
eye wander from the splendid wing of Francis I. -
which is the last work of free and joyous invention -
to the ruled lines and blank spaces of the ponderous
pavilion of Mansard, one makes one's reflections upon
the advantage, in even the least personaI of the arts,
of having something to say, and upon the stupidity of
a taste which had ended by becoming an aggregation
of negatives.  Gaston's wing, taken by itself, has much
of the _bel air_ which was to belong to the architecture
of Louis XIV.; but, taken in contrast to its flowering,
laughing, living neighbor, it marks the difference be-
tween inspiration and calculation.  We scarcely grudge
it its place, however, for it adds a price to the rest of
the chateau.

We have entered the court, by the way, by jump-
ing over the walls.  The more orthodox method is to
follow a modern, terrace, which leads to the left, from
the side of the chateau that I began by speaking of,
and passes round, ascending, to a little square on a
considerably higher level, which is not, like a very
modern square on which the back (as I have called
it) looks out, a thoroughfare.  This small, empty _place,_
oblong in form, at once bright and quiet, with a cer-
tain grass-grown look, offers an excellent setting to the
entrance-front of the palace, - the wing of Louis XII.
The restoration here has been lavish; but it was per-
haps but an inevitable reaction against the injuries,
still more lavish, by which the unfortunate building
had long been overwhelmed.  It had fallen into a state
of ruinous neglect, relieved only by the misuse pro-
ceeding from successive generations of soldiers, for
whom its charming chambers served as barrack-room.
Whitewashed, mutilated, dishonored, the castle of Blois
may be said to have escaped simply with its life.  This
is the history of Amboise as well, and is to a certain
extent the history of Chambord.  Delightful, at any
rate, was the refreshed facade of Louis XII. as I stood
and looked at it one bright September morning.  In
that soft, clear, merry light of Touraine, everything
shows, everything speaks.  Charming are the taste, the
happy proportions, the color of this beautiful front, to
which the new feeling for a purely domestic architec-
ture - an architecture of security and tranquillity, in
which art could indulge itself - gave an air of youth
and gladness.  It is true that for a long time to come
the castle of Blois was neither very safe nor very
quiet; but its dangers came from within, from the evil
passions of its inhabitants, and not from siege or in-
vasion.  The front of Louis XII. is of red brick, crossed
here and there with purple; and the purple slate of
the high roof, relieved with chimneys beautifully
treated, and with the embroidered caps of pinnacles
and arches, with the porcupine of Louis, the ermine
and the festooned rope which formed the devices of
Anne of Brittany, - the tone of this rich-looking roof
carries out the mild glow of the wall.  The wide, fair
windows look as if they had expanded to let in the
rosy dawn of the Renaissance.  Charming, for that
matter, are the windows of all the chateaux of Touraine,
with their squareness corrected (as it is not in the
Tudor architecture) by the curve of the upper corners,
which makes this line look - above the expressive
aperture - like a pencilled eyebrow.  The low door of
this front is crowned by a high, deep niche, in which,
under a splendid canopy, stiffly astride of a stiffly
draped charger, sits in profile an image of the good
King Louis.  Good as he had been, - the father of
his people, as he was called (I believe he remitted
various taxes), - he was not good enough to pass
muster at the Revolution; and the effigy I have just
described is no more than a reproduction of the
primitive statue demolished at that period.

Pass beneath it into the court, and the sixteenth
century closes round you.  It is a pardonable flight
of fancy to say that the expressive faces of an age
in which human passions lay very near the surface
seem to look out at you from  the windows, from the
balconies, from the thick foliage of the sculpture.  The
portion of the wing of Louis XII. that looks toward
the court is supported on a deep arcade.  On your
right is the wing erected by Francis I., the reverse of
the mass of building which you see on approaching
the castle.  This exquisite, this extravagant, this trans-
cendent piece of architecture is the most joyous ut-
terance of the French Renaissance.  It is covered with
an embroidery of sculpture, in which every detail is
worthy of the hand of a goldsmith.  In the middle of
it, or rather a little to the left, rises the famous wind-
ing staircase (plausibly, but I believe not religiously,
restored), which even the ages which most misused it
must vaguely have admired.  It forms a kind of chiselled
cylinder, with wide interstices, so that the stairs are
open to the air.  Every inch of this structure, of its
balconies, its pillars, its great central columns, is
wrought over with lovely images, strange and ingenious
devices, prime among which is the great heraldic sala-
mander of Francis I.  The salamander is everywhere
at Blois, - over the chimneys, over the doors, on the
walls.  This whole quarter , of the castle bears the
stamp of that eminently pictorial prince.  The run-
ning cornice along the top of the front is like all un-
folded, an elongated, bracelet.  The windows of the
attic are like shrines for saints.  The gargoyles, the
medallions, the statuettes, the festoons, are like the
elaboration of some precious cabinet rather than the
details of a building exposed to the weather and to
the ages.  In the interior there is a profusion of res-
toration, and it is all restoration in color.  This has
been, evidently, a work of great energy and cost, but
it will easily strike you as overdone.  The universal
freshness is a discord, a false note; it seems to light
up the dusky past with an unnatural glare.  Begun in
the reign of Louis Philippe, this terrible process - the
more terrible always the more you admit that it has
been necessary - has been carried so far that there is
now scarcely a square inch of the interior that has the
color of the past upon it.  It is true that the place
had been so coated over with modern abuse that
something was needed to keep it alive; it is only, per-
haps, a pity that the restorers, not content with saving
its life, should have undertaken to restore its youth.
The love of consistency, in such a business, is a
dangerous lure.  All the old apartments have been
rechristened, as it were; the geography of the castle
has been re-established.  The guardrooms, the bed-
rooms, the closets, the oratories, have recovered their
identity.  Every spot connected with the murder of
the Duke of Guise is pointed out by a small, shrill
boy, who takes you from room to room, and who has
learned his lesson in perfection.  The place is full of
Catherine de' Medici, of Henry III., of memories, of
ghosts, of echoes, of possible evocations and revivals.
It is covered with crimson and gold.  The fireplaces
and the ceilings are magnificent; they look like ex-
pensive "sets" at the grand opera.

I should have mentioned that below, in the court,
the front of the wing of Gaston d'Orleans faces you
as you enter, so that the place is a course of French
history.  Inferior in beauty and grace to the other
portions of the castle, the wing is yet a nobler monu-
ment than the memory of Gaston deserves.  The second
of the sons of Henry IV., - who was no more fortunate as
a father than as a husband, - younger brother of Louis
XIII., and father of the great Mademoiselle, the most
celebrated, most ambitious, most self-complacent, and
most unsuccessful _fille a marier_ in French history,
passed in enforced retirement at the castle of Blois
the close of a life of clumsy intrigues against Cardinal
Richelieu, in which his rashness was only equalled by
his pusillanimity and his ill-luck by his inaccessibility
to correction, and which, after so many follies and
shames, was properly summed up in the project - be-
gun, but not completed - of demolishing the beautiful
habitation of his exile in order to erect a better one.
With Gaston d'Orleans, however, who lived there with-
out dignity, the history of the Chateau de Blois de-
clines.  Its interesting period is that of the wars of
religion.  It was the chief residence of Henry III., and
the scene of the principal events of his depraved and
dramatic reign.  It has been restored more than enough,
as I have said, by architects and decorators; the visitor,
as he moves through its empty rooms, which are at
once brilliant and ill-lighted (they have not been re-
furnished), undertakes a little restoration of his own.
His imagination helps itself from the things that re-
main; he tries to see the life of the sixteenth century
in its form and dress, - its turbulence, its passions, its
loves and hates, its treacheries, falsities, touches of
faith, its latitude of personal development, its presen-
tation of the whole nature, its nobleness of costume,
charm of speech, splendor of taste, unequalled pic-
turesqueness.  The picture is full of movement, of
contrasted light and darkness, full altogether of abomi-
nations.  Mixed up with them all is the great name of
religion, so that the drama wants nothing to make it
complete.  What episode was ever more perfect - looked
at as a dramatic occurrence - than the murder of the
Duke of Guise?  The insolent prosperity of the victim;
the weakness, the vices, the terrors, of the author of
the deed; the perfect execution of the plot; the accu-
mulation of horror in what followed it, - give it, as a
crime, a kind of immortal solidity.

But we must not take the Chateau de Blois too
hard: I went there, after all, by way of entertainment.
If among these sinister memories your visit should
threaten to prove a tragedy, there is an excellent way
of removing the impression.  You may treat yourself
at Blois to a very cheerful afterpiece.  There is a
charming industry practised there, and practised in
charming conditions.  Follow the bright little quay
down the river till you get quite out of the town, and
reach the point where the road beside the Loire be-
comes sinuous and attractive, turns the corner of dimi-
nutive headlands, and makes you wonder what is be-
yond.  Let not your curiosity induce you, however, to
pass by a modest white villa which overlooks the
stream, enclosed in a fresh little court; for here dwells
an artist, - an artist in faience.  There is no sort of
sign, and the place looks peculiarly private.  But if
you ring at the gate, you will not be turned away.
You will, on the contrary, be ushered upstairs into a
parlor - there is nothing resembling a shop- encum-
bered with specimens - of remarkably handsome pottery.
The work is of the best, - a careful reproduction of
old forms, colors, devices; and the master of the
establishment is one of those completely artistic types
that are often found in France.  His reception is as
friendly as his work is ingenious; and I think it is not
too much to say that you like the work the better be-
cause he has produced it.  His vases, cups and jars,
lamps, platters, _plaques,_ with their brilliant glaze, their
innumerable figures, their family likeness, and wide
variations, are scattered, through his occupied rooms;
they serve at once as his stock-in-trade and as house-
hold ornament.  As we all know, this is an age of
prose, of machinery, of wholesale production, of coarse
and hasty processes.  But one brings away from the
establishment of the very intelligent M. Ulysse the
sense of a less eager activity and a greater search for
perfection.  He has but a few workmen, and he gives
them plenty of time.  The place makes a little vignette,
leaves an impression, - the quiet white house in its
garden on the road by the wide, clear river, without
the smoke, the bustle, the ugliness, of so much of our
modern industry.  It ought to gratify Mr. Ruskin.



V.

The second time I went to Blois I took a carriage
for Chambord, and came back by the Chateau de
Cheverny and the forest of Russy, - a charming little
expedition, to which the beauty of the afternoon (the
finest in a rainy season that was spotted with bright
days) contributed not a little.  To go to Chambord,
you cross the Loire, leave it on one side, and strike
away through a country in which salient features be-
come less and less numerous, and which at last has
no other quality than a look of intense, and peculiar
rurality, - the characteristic, even when it is not the
charm, of so much of the landscape of France.  This
is not the appearance of wildness, for it goes with
great cultivation; it is simply the presence of the
delving, drudging, economizing peasant.  But it is a
deep, unrelieved rusticity.  It is a peasant's landscape;
not, as in England, a landlord's.  On the way to Cham-
bord you enter the flat and sandy Sologne.  The wide
horizon opens out like a great _potager,_ without inter-
ruptions, without an eminence, with here and there a
long, low stretch of wood.  There is an absence of
hedges, fences, signs of property; everything is ab-
sorbed in the general flatness, - the patches of vine-
yard, the scattered cottages, the villages, the children
(planted and staring and almost always pretty), the
women in the fields, the white caps, the faded blouses,
the big sabots.  At the end of an hour's drive (they
assure you at Blois that even with two horses you will
spend double that time), I passed through a sort of
gap in a wall, which does duty as the gateway of the
domain of an exiled pretender.  I drove along a
straight avenue, through a disfeatured park, - the park
of Chambord has twenty-one miles of circumference, -
a very sandy, scrubby, melancholy plantation, in which
the timber must have been cut many times over and
is to-day a mere tangle of brushwood.  Here, as in so
many spots in France, the traveller perceives that he
is in a land of revolutoins.  Nevertheless, its great ex-
tent and the long perspective of its avenues give this
desolate boskage a certain majesty; just as its shabbi-
ness places it in agreement with one of the strongest
impressions of the chateau.  You follow one of these
long perspectives a proportionate time, and at last you
see the chimneys and pinnacles of Chambord rise ap-
parently out of the ground.  The filling-in of the wide
moats that formerly surrounded it has, in vulgar par-
lance, let it down, bud given it an appearance of top-
heaviness that is at the same time a magnificent Orien-
talism.  The towers, the turrets, the cupolas, the gables,
the lanterns, the chimneys, look more like the spires
of a city than the salient points of a single building.
You emerge from the avenue and find yourself at the
foot of an enormous fantastic mass.  Chambord has a
strange mixture of society and solitude.  A little village
clusters within view of its stately windows, and a couple
of inns near by offer entertainment to pilgrims.  These
things, of course, are incidents of the political pro-
scription which hangs its thick veil over the place.
Chambord is truly royal, - royal in its great scale, its
grand air, its indifference to common considerations.
If a cat may look at a king, a palace may lock at a
tavern.  I enjoyed my visit to this extraordinary struc-
ture as much as if I had been a legitimist; and indeed
there is something interesting in any monument of a
great system, any bold presentation of a tradition.

You leave your vehicle at one of the inns, which
are very decent and tidy, and in which every one is
very civil, as if in this latter respect the influence of
the old regime pervaded the neighborhood, and you
walk across the grass and the gravel to a small door,
- a door infinitely subordinate and conferring no title
of any kind on those who enter it.  Here you ring a
bell, which a highly respectable person answers (a per-
son perceptibly affiliated, again, to the old regime),
after which she ushers you across a vestibule into an
inner court.  Perhaps the strongest impression I got
at Chambord came to me as I stood in this court.
The woman who admitted me did not come with
me; I was to find my guide somewhere else.  The
specialty of Chambord is its prodigious round towers.
There are, I believe, no less than eight of them,
placed at each angle of the inner and outer square of
buildings; for the castle is in the form of a larger
structure which encloses a smaller one.  One of these
towers stood before me in the court; it seemed to
fling its shadow over the place; while above, as I
looked up, the pinnacles and gables, the enormous
chimneys, soared into the bright blue air.  The place
was empty and silent; shadows of gargoyles, of extra-
ordinary projections, were thrown across the clear
gray surfaces.  One felt that the whole thing was
monstrous.  A cicerone appeared, a languid young
man in a rather shabby livery, and led me about with
a mixture of the impatient and the desultory, of con-
descension and humility.  I do not profess to under-
stand the plan of Chambord, and I may add that I
do not even desire to do so; for it is much more
entertaining to think of it, as you can so easily, as an
irresponsible, insoluble labyrinth.  Within, it is a
wilderness of empty chambers, a royal and romantic
barrack.  The exiled prince to whom it gives its title
has not the means to keep up four hundred rooms;
he contents himself with preserving the huge outside.
The repairs of the prodigious roof alone must absorb
a large part of his revenue.  The great feature of
the interior is the celebrated double staircase, rising
straight through the building, with two courses of
steps, so that people may ascend and descend without
meeting.  This staircase is a truly majestic piece of
humor; it gives you the note, as it were, of Chambord.
It opens on each landing to a vast guard-room, in
four arms, radiations of the winding shaft.  My guide
made me climb to the great open-work lantern which,
springing from the roof at the termination of the
rotund staircase (surmounted here by a smaller one),
forms the pinnacle of the bristling crown of Cham-
bord.  This lantern is tipped with a huge _fleur-de-lis_
in stone, - the only one, I believe, that the Revolution
did not succeed in pulling down.  Here, from narrow
windows, you look over the wide, flat country and the
tangled, melancholy park, with the rotation of its
straight avenues.  Then you walk about the roof, in
a complication of galleries, terraces, balconies, through
the multitude of chimneys and gables.  This roof,
which is in itself a sort of castle in the air, has an
extravagant, faboulus quality, and with its profuse
ornamentation, - the salamander of Francis I. is a con-
tant motive, - its lonely pavements, its sunny niches,
the balcony that looks down over the closed and
grass-grown main entrance, a strange, half-sad, half-
brilliant charm.  The stone-work is covered with fine
mould.  There are places that reminded me of some
of those quiet, mildewed corners of courts and ter-
races, into which the traveller who wanders through
the Vatican looks down from neglected windows.  They
show you two or three furnished rooms, with Bourbon
portraits, hideous tapestries from the ladies of France,
a collection of the toys of the _enfant du miracle,_ all
military and of the finest make.  "Tout cela fonc-
tionne," the guide said of these miniature weapons;
and I wondered, if he should take it into his head to
fire off his little canon, how much harm the Comte de
Chambord would do.

From below, the castle would look crushed by
the redundancy of its upper protuberances if it were
not for the enormous girth of its round towers, which
appear to give it a robust lateral development.  These
towers, however, fine as they are in their way, struck
me as a little stupid; they are the exaggeration of
an exaggeration.  In a building erected after the days
of defence, and proclaiming its peaceful character from
its hundred embroideries and cupolas, they seem
to indicate a want of invention.  I shall risk the ac-
cusation of bad taste if I say that, impressive as it is,
the Chateau de Chambord seemed to me to have al-
together a little of that quality of stupidity.  The
trouble is that it represents nothing very particular;
it has not happened, in spite of sundry vicissitudes,
to have a very interesting history.  Compared with
that of Blois and Amboise, its past is rather vacant;
and one feels to a certain extent the contrast between
its pompous appearance and its spacious but some-
what colorless annals.  It had indeed the good for-
tune to be erected by Francis I., whose name by itself
expresses a good deal of history.  Why he should
have built a palace in those sandy plains will ever
remain an unanswered question, for kings have never
been obliged to give reasons.  In addition to the fact
that the country was rich in game and that Francis
was a passionate hunter, it is suggested by M. de la
Saussaye, the author of the very complete little history
of Chambord which you may buy at the bookseller's
at Blois, that he was govemed in his choice of the
site by the accident of a charming woman having
formerly lived there.  The Comtesse de Thoury had
a manor in the neighborhood, and the Comtesse de
Thoury had been the object of a youthful passion on
the part of the most susceptible of princes before his
accession to the throne.  This great pile was reared,
therefore, according to M. de la Saussaye, as a _souvenir
de premieres amours!_  It is certainly a very massive
memento; and if these tender passages were propor-
tionate to the building that commemorates them, they
were tender indeed.  There has been much discus-
sion as to the architect employed by Francis I., and
the honor of having designed this splendid residence
has been claimed for several of the Italian artists who
early in the sixteenth century came to seek patronage
in France.  It seems well established to-day, however,
that Chambord was the work neither of Primaticcio,
of Vignola, nor of Il Rosso, all of whom have left
some trace of their sojourn in France; but of an
obscure yet very complete genius, Pierre Nepveu,
known as Pierre Trinqueau, who is designated in the
papers which preserve in some degree the history of
the origin of the edifice, as the _maistre de l'oeuvre de
maconnerie._  Behind this modest title, apparently, we
must recognize one of the most original talents of
the French Renaissance; and it is a proof of the vigor
of the artistic life of that period that, brilliant pro-
duction being everywhere abundant, an artist of so
high a value should not have been treated by his con-
temporaries as a celebrity.  We manage things very
differently to-day.

The immediate successors of Francis I. continued
to visit, Chambord; but it was neglected by Henry IV.,
and was never afterwards a favorite residence of any
French king.  Louis XIV. appeared there on several
occasions, and the apparition was characteristically
brilliant; but Chambord could not long detain a
monarch who had gone to the expense of creating a
Versailles ten miles from Paris.  With Versailles, Fon-
tainebleau, Saint-Germain, and Saint-Cloud within easy
reach of their capital, the later French sovereigns had
little reason to take the air in the dreariest province
of their kingdom.  Chambord therefore suffered from
royal indifference, though in the last century a use
was found for its deserted halls.  In 1725 it was oc-
cupied by the luckless Stanislaus Leszczynski, who
spent the greater part of his life in being elected
King of Poland and being ousted from his throne,
and who, at this time a refugee in France, had found
a compensation for some of his misfortunes in marry-
ing his daughter to Louis XV.  He lived eight years
at Chambord, and filled up the moats of the castle.
In 1748 it found an illustrious tenant in the person
of Maurice de Saxe, the victor of Fontenoy, who, how-
ever, two years after he had taken possession of it,
terminated a life which would have been longer had
he been less determined to make it agreeable.  The
Revolution, of course, was not kind to Chambord.
It despoiled it in so far as possible of every vestige
of its royal origin, and swept like a whirlwind through
apartments to which upwards of two centuries had
contributed a treasure of decoration and furniture.  In
that wild blast these precious things were destroyed
or forever scattered.  In 1791 an odd proposal was
made to the French Government by a company of
English Quakers who had conceived the bold idea of
establishing in the palace a manufacture of some
peaceful commodity not to-day recorded.  Napoleon
allotted Chambord, as a "dotation," to one of his
marshals, Berthier, for whose benefit it was converted,
in Napoleonic fashion, into the so-called principality
of Wagram.  By the Princess of Wagram, the marshal's
widow, it was, after the Restoration, sold to the
trustees of a national subscription which had been
established for the purpose of presenting it to the in-
fant Duke of Bordeaux, then prospective King of
France.  The presentation was duly made; but the
Comte de Chambord, who had changed his title in
recognition of the gift, was despoiled of his property
by the Government of Louis Philippe.  He appealed
for redress to the tribunals of his country; and the
consequence of his appeal was an interminable litiga-
tion, by which, however, finally, after the lapse of
twenty-five years, he was established in his rights.  In
1871 he paid his first visit to the domain which had
been offered him half a century before, a term of
which he had spent forty years in exile.  It was from
Chambord that he dated his famous letter of the 5th
of July of that year, - the letter, directed to his so-
called subjects, in which he waves aloft the white
flag of the Bourbons.  This amazing epistle, which is
virtually an invitation to the French people to re-
pudiate, as their national ensign, that immortal tricolor,
the flag of the Revolution and the Empire, under
which they have, won the glory which of all glories
has hitherto been dearest to them, and which is as-
sociated with the most romantic, the most heroic, the
epic, the consolatory, period of their history, - this
luckless manifesto, I say, appears to give the measure
of the political wisdom of the excellent Henry V.  It
is the most factitious proposal ever addressed to an
eminently ironical nation.

On the whole, Chambord makes a great impression;
and the hour I was, there, while the yellow afternoon
light slanted upon the September woods, there was a
dignity in its desolation.  It spoke, with a muffled
but audible voice, of the vanished monarchy, which
had been so strong, so splendid, but to-day has be-
come a sort of fantastic vision, like the cupolas and
chimneys that rose before me.  I thought, while I
lingered there, of all the fine things it takes to make
up such a monarchy; and how one of them is a su-
perfluity of mouldering, empty, palaces.  Chambord is
touching, - that is the best word for it; and if the
hopes of another restoration are in the follies of the
Republic, a little reflection on that eloquence of ruin
ought to put the Republic on its guard.  A sentimental
tourist may venture to remark that in the presence of
several chateaux which appeal in this mystical manner
to the retrospective imagination, it cannot afford to be
foolish.  I thought of all this as I drove back to Blois
by the way of the Chateau de Cheverny.  The road
took us out of the park of Chambord, but through a
region of flat woodland, where the trees were not
mighty, and again into the prosy plain of the Sologne,
- a thankless soil, all of it, I believe, but lately much
amended by the magic of cheerful French industry
and thrift.  The light had already begun to fade, and
my drive reminded me of a passage in some rural
novel of Madame Sand.  I passed a couple of timber
and plaster churches, which looked very old, black,
and crooked, and had lumpish wooden porches and
galleries encircling the base.  By the time I reached
Cheverny, the clear twilight had approached.  It was
late to ask to be allowed to visit an inhabited house;
but it was the hour at which I like best to visit almost
anything.  My coachman drew up before a gateway,
in a high wall, which opened upon a short avenue,
along which I took my way on foot; the coachmen in
those parts being, for reasons best known to them-
selves, mortally averse to driving up to a house.  I
answered the challenge of a very tidy little portress,
who sat, in company with a couple of children, en-
joying the evening air in, front of her lodge, and who
told me to walk a little further and turn to the right.
I obeyed her to the letter, and my turn brought me
into sight of a house as charming as an old manor in
a fairy tale.  I had but a rapid and partial view of
Cheverny; but that view was a glimpse of perfection.
A light, sweet mansion stood looking over a wide green
lawn, over banks of flowers and groups of trees.  It
had a striking character of elegance, produced partly
by a series of Renaissance busts let into circular niches
in the facade.  The place looked so private, so reserved,
that it seemed an act of violence to ring, a stranger
and foreigner, at the graceful door.  But if I had not
rung I should be unable to express - as it is such a
pleasure to do - my sense of the exceeding courtesy
with which this admirable house is shown.  It was
near the dinner-hour, - the most sacred hour of the
day; but I was freely conducted into the inhabited
apartments.  They are extremely beautiful.  What I
chiefly remember is the charming staircase of white
embroidered stone, and the great _salle des gardes_ and
_chambre a coucher du roi_ on the second floor.  Che-
verny, built in 1634, is of a much later date than the
other royal residences of this part of France; it be-
longs to the end of the Renaissance, and has a touch
of the rococo.  The guard-room is a superb apartment;
and as it contains little save its magnificent ceiling
and fireplace and certain dim tapestries on its walls,
you the more easily take the measure of its noble
proportions.  The servant opened the shutters of a
single window, and the last rays of the twilight slanted
into the rich brown gloom.  It was in the same pic-
turesque fashion that I saw the bedroom (adjoining) of
Henry IV., where a legendary-looking bed, draped in
folds long unaltered, defined itself in the haunted
dusk.  Cheverny remains to me a very charming, a
partly mysterious vision.  I drove back to Blois in the
dark, some nine miles, through the forest of Russy,
which belongs to the State, and which, though con-
sisting apparently of small timber, looked under the
stars sufficiently vast and primeval.  There was a damp
autumnal smell and the occasional sound of a stirring
thing; and as I moved through the evening air I
thought of Francis I. and Henry IV.



VI.

You may go to Amboise either from Blois or from
Tours; it is about half-way between these towns.  The
great point is to go, especially if you have put it off
repeatedly; and to go, if possible, on a day when the
great view of the Loire, which you enjoy from the
battlements and terraces, presents itself under a friendly
sky.  Three persons, of whom the author of these
lines was one, spent the greater part of a perfect
Sunday morning in looking at it.  It was astonishing,
in the course of the rainiest season in the memory of
the oldest Tourangeau, how many perfect days we
found to our hand.  The town of Amboise lies, like
Tours, on the left bank of the river, a little white-
faced town, staring across an admirable bridge, and
leaning, behind, as it were, against the pedestal of
rock on which the dark castle masses itself.  The town
is so small, the pedestal so big, and the castle so high
and striking, that the clustered houses at the base of
the rock are like the crumbs that have fallen from a
well-laden table.  You pass among them, however, to
ascend by a circuit to the chateau, which you attack,
obliquely, from behind.  It is the property of the
Comte de Paris, another pretender to the French
throne; having come to him remotely, by inheritance,
from his ancestor, the Duc de Penthievre, who toward
the close of the last century bought it from the crown,
which had recovered it after a lapse.  Like the castle
of Blois it has been injured and defaced by base uses,
but, unlike the castle of Blois, it has not been com-
pletely restored.  "It is very, very dirty, but very
curious," - it is in these terms that I heard it described
by an English lady, who was generally to be found
engaged upon a tattered Tauchnitz in the little _salon
de lecture_ of the hotel at Tours.  The description is
not inaccurate; but it should be said that if part of
the dirtiness of Amboise is the result of its having
served for years as a barrack and as a prison, part of
it comes from the presence of restoring stone-masons,
who have woven over a considerable portion of it a
mask of scaffolding.  There is a good deal of neatness
as well, and the restoration of some of the parts seems
finished.  This process, at Amboise, consists for the
most part of simply removing the vulgar excrescences
of the last two centuries.

The interior is virtually a blank, the old apart-
ments having been chopped up into small modern
rooms; it will have to be completely reconstructed.  A
worthy woman, with a military profile and that sharp,
positive manner which the goodwives who show you
through the chateaux of Touraine are rather apt to
have, and in whose high respectability, to say nothing
of the frill of her cap and the cut of her thick brown
dress, my companions and I thought we discovered
the particular note, or _nuance_, of Orleanism, - a com-
petent, appreciative, peremptory person, I say, - at-
tended us through the particularly delightful hour we
spent upon the ramparts of Amboise.  Denuded and
disfeatured within, and bristling without with brick-
layers' ladders, the place was yet extraordinarily im-
pressive and interesting.  I should confess that we
spent a great deal of time in looking at the view.
Sweet was the view, and magnificent; we preferred it
so much to certain portions of the interior, and to oc-
casional effusions of historical information, that the
old lady with the prove sometimes lost patience with
us.  We laid ourselves open to the charge of pre-
ferring it even to the little chapel of Saint Hubert,
which stands on the edge of the great terrace, and
has, over the portal, a wonderful sculpture of the mi-
raculous hunt of that holy man.  In the way of plastic
art this elaborate scene is the gem of Amboise.  It
seemed to us that we had never been in a place where
there are so many points of vantage to look down
from.  In the matter of position Amboise is certainly
supreme among the old houses of the Loire; and I
say this with a due recollection of the claims of Chau-
mont and of Loches, - which latter, by the way (ex-
cuse the afterthought), is not on the Loire.  The plat-
forms, the bastions, the terraces, the high-perched
windows and balconies, the hanging gardens and dizzy
crenellations, of this complicated structure, keep you
in perpetual intercourse with an immense horizon.
The great feature of the-place is the obligatory round
tower which occupies the northern end of it, and
which has now been, completely restored.  It is of
astounding size, a fortress in itself, and contains,
instead of a staircase, a wonderful inclined plane, so
wide and gradual that a coach and four may be driven
to the top.  This colossal cylinder has to-day no
visible use; but it corresponds, happily enough, with
the great circle of the prospect.  The gardens of Am-
boise, perched in the air, covering the irregular rem-
nants of the platform on which the castle stands, and
making up in picturesqueness what they lack in ex-
tent, constitute of come but a scanty domain.  But
bathed, as we found them, in the autumn sunshine,
and doubly private from their aerial site, they offered
irresistible opportunities for a stroll, interrupted, as
one leaned against their low parapets, by long, con-
templative pauses.  I remember, in particular, a certain
terrace, planted with clipped limes, upon which we
looked down from the summit of the big tower.  It
seemed from that point to be absolutely necessary to
one's happiness to go down and spend the rest of the
morning there; it was an ideal place to walk to and
fro and talk.  Our venerable conductress, to whom
our relation had gradually become more filial, per-
mitted us to gratify this innocent wish, - to the extent,
that is, of taking a turn or two under the mossy _tilleuls._
At the end of this terrace is the low door, in a wall,
against the top of which, in 1498, Charles VIII., ac-
cording to an accepted tradition, knocked his head to
such good purpose that he died.  It was within the
walls of Amboise that his widow, Anne of Brittany,
already in mourning for three children, two of whom
we have seen commemorated in sepulchral marble at
Tours, spent the first violence of that grief which was
presently dispelled by a union with her husband's
cousin and successor, Louis XII.  Amboise was a fre-
quent resort of the French Court during the sixteenth
century; it was here that the young Mary Stuart spent
sundry hours of her first marriage.  The wars of re-
ligion have left here the ineffaceable stain which they
left wherever they passed.  An imaginative visitor at
Amboise to-day may fancy that the traces of blood
are mixed with the red rust on the crossed iron bars
of the grim-looking balcony, to which the heads of
the Huguenots executed on the discovery of the con-
spiracy of La Renaudie are rumored to have been
suspended.  There was room on the stout balustrade -
an admirable piece of work - for a ghastly array.  The
same rumor represents Catherine de' Medici and the
young queen as watching from this balcony the _noyades_
of the captured Huguenots in the Loire.  The facts of
history are bad enough; the fictions are, if possible,
worse; but there is little doubt that the future Queen
of Scots learnt the first lessons of life at a horrible
school.  If in subsequent years she was a prodigy of
innocence and virtue, it was not the fault of her whilom ???
mother-in-law, of her uncles of the house of Guise, or
of the examples presented to her either at the
windows of the castle of Amboise or in its more pri-
vate recesses.

It was difficult to believe in these dark deeds, how-
ever, as we looked through the golden morning at the
placidity of the far-shining Loire.  The ultimate con-
sequence of this spectacle was a desire to follow the
river as far as the castle of Chaumont.  It is true
that the cruelties practised of old at Amboise might
have seemed less phantasmal to persons destined to
suffer from a modern form of inhumanity.  The mis-
tress of the little inn at the base of the castle-rock -
it stands very pleasantly beside the river, and we had
breakfasted there - declared to us that the Chateau de
Chaumont, which is often during the autumn closed
to visitors, was at that particular moment standing so
wide open to receive us that it was our duty to hire
one of her carriages and drive thither with speed.
This assurance was so satisfactory that we presently
found ourselves seated in this wily woman's most com-
modious vehicle, and rolling, neither too fast nor too
slow, along the margin of the Loire.  The drive of
about an hour, beneath constant clumps of chestnuts,
was charming enough to have been taken for itself;
and indeed, when we reached Chaumont, we saw that
our reward was to be simply the usual reward of
virtue, - the consciousness of having attempted the
right.  The Chateau de Chaumont was inexorably
closed; so we learned from a talkative lodge-keeper,
who gave what grace she could to her refusal.  This
good woman's dilemma was almost touching; she
wished to reconcile two impossibles.  The castle was
not to be visited, for the family of its master was
staying there; and yet she was loath to turn away a
party of which she was good enough to say that it had
a _grand genre;_ for, as she also remarked, she had her
living to earn.  She tried to arrange a compromise,
one of the elements of which was that we should
descend from our carriage and trudge up a hill which
would bring us to a designated point, where, over the
paling of the garden, we might obtain an oblique and
surreptitious view of a small portion of the castle walls.
This suggestion led us to inquire (of each other) to
what degree of baseness it is allowed to an enlightened
lover of the picturesque to resort, in order to catch a
glimpse of a feudal chateau.  One of our trio decided,
characteristically, against any form of derogation; so
she sat in the carriage and sketched some object that
was public property, while her two companions, who
were not so proud, trudged up a muddy ascent which
formed a kind of back-stairs.  It is perhaps no more
than they deserved that they were disappointed.  Chau-
mont is feudal, if you please; but the modern spirit is
in possession.  It forms a vast clean-scraped mass,
with big round towers, ungarnished with a leaf of ivy
or a patch of moss, surrounded by gardens of moderate
extent (save where the muddy lane of which I speak
passes near it), and looking rather like an enormously
magnified villa.  The great merit of Chaumont is its
position, which almost exactly resembles that of Am-
boise; it sweeps the river up and down, and seems to
look over half the province.  This, however, was better
appreciated as, after coming down the hill and re-
entering the carriage, we drove across the long sus-
pension-bridge which crosses the Loire just beyond
the village, and over which we made our way to the
small station of Onzain, at the farther end, to take
the train back to Tours.  Look back from the middle
of this bridge; the whole picture composes, as the
painters say.  The towers, the pinnacles, the fair front
of the chateau, perched above its fringe of garden and
the rusty roofs of the village, and facing the afternoon
sky, which is reflected also in the great stream that
sweeps below, - all this makes a contribution to your
happiest memories of Touraine.



VII.

We never went to Chinon; it was a fatality.  We
planned it a dozen times; but the weather interfered,
or the trains didn't suit, or one of the party was
fatigued with the adventures of'the day before.  This
excursion was so much postponed that it was finally
postponed to everything.  Besides, we had to go to
Chenonceaux, to Azay-le-Rideau, to Langeais, to Loches.
So I have not the memory of Chinon; I have only the
regret.  But regret, as well as memory, has its visions;
especially when, like memory, it is assisted by photo-
graphs.  The castle of Chinon in this form appears
to me as an enormous ruin, a mediaeval fortress, of
the extent almost of a city.  It covers a hill above the
Vienne, and after being impregnable in its time is in-
destructible to-day.  (I risk this phrase in the face of
the prosaic truth.  Chinon, in the days when it was a
prize, more than once suflered capture, and at present
it is crumbling inch by inch.  It is apparent, however,
I believe, that these inches encroach little upon acres
of masonry.)  It was in the castle that Jeanne Darc  ?????
had her first interview with Charles VII., and it is in
the town that Francois Rabelais is supposed to have
been born.  To the castle, moreover, the lover of the
picturesque is earnestly recommended to direct his
steps.  But one cannot do everything, and I would
rather have missed Chinon than Chenonceaux.  For-
tunate exceedingly were the few hours that we passed
at this exquisite residence.

"In 1747," says Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in his
"Confessions," "we went to spend the autumn in Tou-
raine, at the Chateau, of Chenonceaux, a royal resi-
dence upon the Cher, built by Henry II. for Diana of
Poitiers, whose initials are still to be seen there, and
now in possession of M. Dupin, the farmer-general.
We amused ourselves greatly in this fine spot; the liv-
ing was of the best, and I became as fat as a monk.
We made a great deal of music, and acted comedies."

This is the only description that Rousseau gives
of one of the most romantic houses in France, and of
an episode that must have counted as one of the most
agreeable in his uncomfortable career.  The eighteenth
century contented itself with general epithets; and
when Jean-Jacques has said that Chenonceaux was a
"beau lieu," he thinks himself absolved from further
characterization.  We later sons of time have, both for
our pleasure and our pain, invented the fashion of
special terms, and I am afraid that even common
decency obliges me to pay some larger tribute than
this to the architectural gem of Touraine.  Fortunately
I can discharge my debt with gratitude.  In going
from Tours you leave the valley of the Loire and enter
that of the Cher, and at the end of about an hour you
see the turrets of the castle on your right, among the
trees, down in the meadows, beside the quiet little
river.  The station and the village are about ten
minutes' walk from the chateau, and the village con-
tains a very tidy inn, where, if you are not in too
great a hurry to commune with the shades of the royal
favorite and the jealous queen, you will perhaps stop
and order a dinner to be ready for you in the evening.
A straight, tall avenue leads to the grounds of the
castle; what I owe to exactitude compels me to add
that it is crossed by the railway-line.  The place is so
arranged, however, that the chateau need know nothing
of passing trains, - which pass, indeed, though the
grounds are not large, at a very sufficient distance.
I may add that the trains throughout this part of
France have a noiseless, desultory, dawdling, almost
stationary quality, which makes them less of an offence
than usual.  It was a Sunday afternoon, and the light
was yellow, save under the trees of the avenue, where,
in spite of the waning of September, it was duskily
green.  Three or four peasants, in festal attire, were
strolling about.  On a bench at the beginning of the
avenue, sat a man with two women.  As I advanced
with my companions he rose, after a sudden stare,
and approached me with a smile, in which (to be
Johnsonian for a moment) certitude was mitigated by
modesty and eagerness was embellished with respect.
He came toward me with a salutation that I had seen
before, and I am happy to say that after an instant I
ceased to be guilty of the brutality of not knowing
where.  There was only one place in the world where
people smile like that, - only one place where the art
of salutation has that perfect grace.  This excellent
creature used to crook his arm, in Venice, when I
stepped into my gondola; and I now laid my hand on
that member with the familiarity of glad recognition;
for it was only surprise that had kept me even for a
moment from accepting the genial Francesco as an
ornament of the landscape of Touraine.  What on
earth - the phrase is the right one - was a Venetian
gondolier doing at Chenonceaux?  He had been
brought from Venice, gondola and all, by the mistress
of the charming house, to paddle about on the Cher.
Our meeting was affectionate, though there was a kind
of violence in seeing him so far from home.  He was
too well dressed, too well fed; he had grown stout,
and his nose had the tinge of good claret.  He re-
marked that the life of the household to which he had
the honor to belong was that of a _casa regia;_ which
must have been a great change for poor Checco, whose
habits in Venice were not regal.  However, he was
the sympathetic Checco still; and for five minutes
after I left him I thought less about the little plea-
sure-house by the Cher than about the palaces of the
Adriatic.

But attention was not long in coming round to the
charming structure that presently rose before us.  The
pale yellow front of the chateau, the small scale of
which is at first a surprise, rises beyond a consider-
able court, at the entrance of which a massive and
detached round tower, with a turret on its brow (a
relic of the building that preceded the actual villa),
appears to keep guard.  This court is not enclosed -
or is enclosed, at least, only by the gardens, portions
of which are at present in a state of violent reforma-
tion.  Therefore, though Chenonceaux has no great
height, its delicate facade stands up boldly enough.
This facade, one of the most finished things in Tou-
raine, consists of two stories, surmounted by an attic
which, as so often in the buildings of the French
Renaissance, is the richest part of the house.  The
high-pitched roof contains three windows of beautiful
design, covered with embroidered caps and flowering
into crocketed spires.  The window above the door
is deeply niched; it opens upon a balcony made in
the form of a double pulpit, - one of the most charm-
ing features of the front.  Chenonceaux is not large,
as I say, but into its delicate compass is packed a
great deal of history, - history which differs from that
of Amboise and Blois in being of the private and sen-
timental kind.  The echoes of the place, faint and far
as they are to-day, are not political, but personal.
Chenonceaux dates, as a residence, from the year 1515,
when the shrewd Thomas Bohier, a public functionary
who had grown rich in handling the finances of Nor-
mandy, and had acquired the estate from a family
which, after giving it many feudal lords, had fallen
into poverty, erected the present structure on the
foundations of an old mill.  The design is attributed,
with I know not what justice, to Pierre Nepveu, _alias_
Trinqueau, the audacious architect of Chambord.  On
the death of Bohier the house passed to his son, who,
however, was forced, under cruel pressure, to surrender
it to the crown, in compensation for a so-called deficit
in the accounts of the late superintendent of the trea-
sury.  Francis I. held the place till his death; but
Henry II., on ascending the throne, presented it out of
hand to that mature charmer, the admired of two
generations, Diana of Poitiers.  Diana enjoyed it till
the death of her protector; but when this event oc-
curred, the widow of the monarch, who had been
obliged to submit in silence, for years, to the ascend-
ency of a rival, took the most pardonable of all the
revenges with which the name of Catherine de' Medici
is associated, and turned her out-of-doors.  Diana was
not in want of refuges, and Catherine went through
the form of giving her Chaumont in exchange; but
there was only one Chenonceaux.  Catherine devoted
herself to making the place more completely unique.
The feature that renders it sole of its kind is not ap-
preciated till you wander round to either side of the
house.  If a certain springing lightness is the charac-
teristic of Chenonceaux, if it bears in every line the
aspect of a place of recreation, - a place intended for
delicate, chosen pleasures, - nothing can confirm this
expression better than the strange, unexpected move-
ment with which, from behind, it carries itself across
the river.  The earlier building stands in the water;
it had inherited the foundations of the mill destroyed
by Thomas Bohier.  The first step, therefore, had been
taken upon solid piles of masonry; and the ingenious
Catherine - she was a _raffinee_ - simply proceeded to
take the others.  She continued the piles to the op-
posite bank of the Cher, and over them she threw a
long, straight gallery of two stories.  This part of the
chateau, which looks simply like a house built upon a
bridge and occupying its entire length, is of course
the great curiosity of Chenonceaux.  It forms on each
floor a charming corridor, which, within, is illuminated
from either side by the flickering river-light.  The
architecture of these galleries, seen from without, is
less elegant than that of the main building, but the
aspect of the whole thing is delightful.  I have spoken
of Chenonceaux as a "villa," using the word ad-
visedly, for the place is neither a castle nor a palace.
It is a very exceptional villa, but it has the villa-
quality, - the look of being intended for life in com-
mon.  This look is not at all contradicted by the wing
across the Cher, which only suggests intimate pleasures,
as the French say, - walks in pairs, on rainy days;
games and dances on autumn nights; together with as
much as may be of moonlighted dialogue (or silence)
in the course, of evenings more genial still, in the well-
marked recesses of windows.

It is safe to say that such things took place there
in the last century, during the kindly reign of Mon-
sieur and Madame Dupin.  This period presents itself
as the happiest in the annals of Chenonceaux.  I know
not what festive train the great Diana may have led,
and my imagination, I am afraid, is only feebly kindled
by the records of the luxurious pastimes organized on
the banks of the Cher by the terrible daughter of the
Medici, whose appreciation of the good things of life
was perfectly consistent with a failure to perceive why
others should live to enjoy, them.  The best society
that ever assembled there was collected at Chenon-
ceaux during the middle of the eighteenth century.
This was surely, in France at least, the age of good
society, the period when it was well for appreciative
people to have been born.  Such people should of
course have belonged to the fortunate few, and not to
the miserable many; for the prime condition of a
society being good is that it be not too large.  The
sixty years that preceded the French Revolution were
the golden age of fireside talk and of those pleasures
which proceed from the presence of women in whom
the social art is both instinctive and acquired.  The
women of that period were, above all, good company;
the fact is attested by a thousand documents.  Chenon-
ceaux offered a perfect setting to free conversation;
and infinite joyous discourse must have mingled with
the liquid murmur of the Cher.  Claude Dupin was
not only a great man of business, but a man of honor
and a patron of knowledge; and his wife was gracious,
clever, and wise.  They had acquired this famous pro-
perty by purchase (from one of the Bourbons; for
Chenonceaux, for two centuries after the death of
Catherine de' Medici, remained constantly in princely
hands), and it was transmitted to their son, Dupin de
Francueil, grandfather of Madame George Sand.  This
lady, in her Correspondence, lately published, describes
a visit that she paid, more than thirty years ago, to
those members of her family who were still in posses-
sion.  The owner of Chenonceaux to-day is the daughter
of an Englishman naturalized in France.  But I have
wandered far from my story, which is simply a sketch
of the surface of the place.  Seen obliquely, from either
side, in combination with its bridge and gallery, the
chateau is singular and fantastic, a striking example
of a wilful and capricious conception.  Unfortunately,
all caprices are not so graceful and successful, and I
grudge the honor of this one to the false and blood-
polluted Catherine.  (To be exact, I believe the arches
of the bridge were laid by the elderly Diana.  It was
Catherine, however, who completed the monument.)
Within, the house has been, as usual, restored.  The
staircases and ceilings, in all the old royal residences
of this part of France, are the parts that have suffered
least; many of them have still much of the life of the
old time about them.  Some of the chambers of Che-
nonceaux, however, encumbered as they are with mo-
dern detail, derive a sufficiently haunted and suggestive
look from the deep setting of their beautiful windows,
which thickens the shadows and makes dark, corners.
There is a charming little Gothic chapel, with its apse
hanging over the water, fastened to the left flank of
the house.  Some of the upper balconies, which look
along the outer face of the gallery, and either up or
down the river, are delightful protected nooks.  We
walked through the lower gallery to the other bank of
the Cher; this fine apartment appeared to be for the
moment a purgatory of ancient furniture.  It terminates
rather abruptly; it simply stops, with a blank wall.
There ought, of course, to have been a pavilion here,
though I prefer very much the old defect to any mo-
dern remedy.  The wall is not so blank, however, but
that it contains a door which opens on a rusty draw-
bridge.  This drawbridge traverses the small gap which
divides the end of the gallery from the bank of the
stream.  The house, therefore, does not literally rest
on opposite edges of the Cher, but rests on one and
just fails to rest on the other.  The pavilion would
have made that up; but after a moment we ceased to
miss this imaginary feature.  We passed the little
drawbridge, and wandered awhile beside the river.
From this opposite bank the mass of the chateau looked
more charming than ever; and the little peaceful, lazy
Cher, where two or three men were fishing in the
eventide, flowed under the clear arches and between
the solid pedestals of the part that spanned it, with
the softest, vaguest light on its bosom.  This was the
right perspective; we were looking across the river of
time.  The whole scene was deliciously mild.  The
moon came up; we passed back through the gallery
and strolled about a little longer in the gardens.  It
was very still.  I met my old gondolier in the twilight.
He showed me his gondola; but I hated, somehow, to
see it there.  I don't like, as the French say, to _meler
les genres_.  A gondola in a little flat French river?
The image was not less irritating, if less injurious, than
the spectacle of a steamer in the Grand Canal, which
had driven me away from Venice a year and a half
before.  We took our way back to the Grand Monarque,
and waited in the little inn-parlor for a late train to
Tours.  We were not impatient, for we had an ex-
cellent dinner to occupy us; and even after we had
dined we were still content to sit awhile and exchange
remarks upon, the superior civilization of France.
Where else, at a village inn, should we have fared so
well?  Where else should we have sat down to our
refreshment without condescension?  There were two
or three countries in which it would not have been
happy for us to arrive hungry, on a Sunday evening,
at so modest an hostelry.  At the little inn at Chenon-
ceaux the _cuisine_ was not only excellent, but the ser-
vice was graceful.  We were waited on by mademoiselle
and her mamma; it was so that mademoiselle alluded
to the elder lady, as she uncorked for us a bottle of
Vouvray mousseux.  We were very comfortable, very
genial; we even went so far as to say to each other
that Vouvray mousseux was a delightful wine.  From
this opinion, indeed, one of our trio differed; but this
member of the party had already exposed herself to
the charge of being too fastidious, by declining to de-
scend from the carriage at Chaumont and take that
back-stairs view of the castle.



VIII.

Without fastidiousness, it was fair to declare, on
the other hand, that the little inn at Azay-le-Rideau
was very bad.  It was terribly dirty, and it was in
charge of a fat _megere_ whom the appearance of four
trustful travellers - we were four, with an illustrious
fourth, on that occasion - roused apparently to fury.
I attached great importance to this incongruous
hostess, for she uttered the only uncivil words I heard
spoken (in connection with any business of my own)
during a tour of some six weeks in France.  Breakfast
not at Azay-le-Rideau, therefore, too trustful traveller;
or if you do so, be either very meek or very bold.
Breakfast not, save under stress of circumstance; but
let no circumstance whatever prevent you from going
to see the admirable chateau, which is almost a rival
of Chenonceaux.  The village lies close to the gates,
though after you pass these gates  you leave it well
behind.  A little avenue, as at Chenonceaux, leads to
the house, making a pretty vista as you approach the
sculptured doorway.  Azay is a most perfect and
beautiful thing; I should place it third in any list of
the great houses of this part of France in which these
houses should be ranked according to charm.  For
beauty of detail it comes after Blois and Chenon-
ceaux; but it comes before Amboise and Chambord.
On the other hand, of course, it is inferior in majesty
to either of these vast structures.  Like Chenonceaux,
it is a watery place, though it is more meagrely
moated than the little chateau on the Cher.  It consists
of a large square _corps de logis_, with a round tower
at each angle, rising out of a somewhat too slumberous
pond.  The water - the water of the Indre - sur-
rounds it, but it is only on one side that it bathes its
feet in the moat.  On one of the others there is a
little terrace, treated as a garden, and in front there
is a wide court, formed by a wing which, on the right,
comes forward.  This front, covered with sculptures,
is of the richest, stateliest effect.  The court is ap-
proachcd by a bridge over the pond, and the house
would reflect itself in this wealth of water if the water
were a trifle less opaque.  But there is a certain
stagnation - it affects more senses than one - about
the picturesque pools of Azay.  On the hither side of
the bridge is a garden, overshadowed by fine old
sycamores, - a garden shut in by greenhouses and by
a fine last-century gateway, flanked with twin lodges.
Beyond the chateau and the standing waters behind
it is a so-called _parc_, which, however, it must be con-
fessed, has little of park-like beauty.  The old houses
(many of them, that is) remain in France; but the old
timber does not remain, and the denuded aspect of
the few acres that surround the chateaux of Touraine
is pitiful to the traveller who has learned to take the
measure of such things from the manors and castles
of England.  The domain of the lordly Chaumont is
that of an English suburban villa; and in that and
in other places there is little suggestion, in the
untended aspect of walk and lawns, of the vigilant
British gardener.  The manor of Azay, as seen to-day,
dates from the early part of the sixteenth century;
and the industrious Abbe Chevalier, in his very
entertaining though slightly rose-colored book on
Touraine,* (* Promenades pittoresque en Touraine.
Tours: 1869.) speaks of it as, "perhaps the purest expres-
sion of the _belle Renaissance francaise_."  "Its height,"
he goes on, "is divided between two stories, terminat-
ing under the roof in a projecting entablature which
imitates a row of machicolations.  Carven chimneys
and tall dormer windows, covered with imagery, rise
from the roofs; turrets on brackets, of elegant shape,
hang with the greatest lightness from the angles of
the building.  The soberness of the main lines, the
harmony of the empty spaces and those that are
filled out, the prominence of the crowning parts, the
delicacy of all the details, constitute an enchanting
whole."  And then the Abbe speaks of the admirable
staircase which adorns the north front, and which,
with its extention, inside, constitutes the principal
treasure of Azay.  The staircase passes beneath one
of the richest of porticos, - a portico over which a
monumental salamander indulges in the most deco-
rative contortions.  The sculptured vaults of stone
which cover the windings of the staircase within, the
fruits, flowers, ciphers, heraldic signs, are of the
noblest effect.  The interior of the chateau is rich,
comfortable, extremely modern; but it makes no
picture that compares with its external face, about
which, with its charming proportions, its profuse yet
not extravagant sculpture, there is something very
tranquil and pure.  I took particular fancy to the
roof, high, steep, old, with its slope of bluish slate,
and the way the weather-worn chimneys seemed to
grow out of it, like living things out of a deep soil.
The only defect of the house is the blankness and
bareness of its walls, which have none of those delicate
parasites attached to them that one likes to see on the
surface of old dwellings.  It is true that this bareness
results in a kind of silvery whiteness of complexion,
which carries out the tone of the quiet pools and even
that of the scanty and shadeless park.



IX.

I hardly know what to say about the tone of
Langeais, which, though I have left it to the end of
my sketch, formed the objective point of the first ex-
cursion I made from Tours.  Langeais is rather dark
and gray; it is perhaps the simplest and most severe
of all the castles of the Loire.  I don't know why I
should have gone to see it before any other, unless it
be because I remembered the Duchesse de Langeais,
who figures in several of Balzac's novels, and found
this association very potent.  The Duchesse de Lan-
geais is a somewhat transparent fiction; but the
castle from which Balzac borrowed the title of his
heroine is an extremely solid fact.  My doubt just
above as to whether I should pronounce it excep-
tionally grey came from my having seen it under a
sky which made most things look dark.  I have, how-
ever, a very kindly memory of that moist and melan-
choly afternoon, which was much more autumnal than
many of the days that followed it.  Langeais lies
down the Loire, near the river, on the opposite side
from Tours, and to go to it you will spend half an
hour in the train.  You pass on the way the Chateau
de Luynes, which, with its round towers catching
the afternoon light, looks uncommonly well on a hill
at a distance; you pass also the ruins of the castle
of Cinq-Mars, the ancestral dwelling of the young
favorite of Louis XIII., the victim, of Richelieu, the
hero of Alfred de Vigny's novel, which is usually re-
commended to young ladies engaged in the study of
French.  Langeais is very imposing and decidedly
sombre; it marks the transition from the architecture
of defence to that of elegance.  It rises, massive and
perpendicular, out of the centre of the village to
which it gives its name, and which it entirely domi-
nates; so that, as you stand before it, in the crooked
and empty street, there is no resource for you but to
stare up at its heavy overhanging cornice and at the
huge towers surmounted with extinguishers of slate.
If you follow this street to the end, however, you
encounter in abundance the usual embellishments of
a French village: little ponds or tanks, with women
on their knees on the brink, pounding and thumping
a lump of saturated linen; brown old crones, the tone
of whose facial hide makes their nightcaps (worn by
day) look dazzling; little alleys perforating the thick-
ness of a row of cottages, and showing you behind,
as a glimpse, the vividness of a green garden.  In
the rear of the castle rises a hill which must formerly
have been occupied by some of its appurtenances,
and which indeed is still partly enclosed within its
court.  You may walk round this eminence, which,
with the small houses of the village at its base, shuts
in the castle from behind.  The enclosure is not
defiantly guarded, however; for a small, rough path,
which you presently reach, leads up to an open gate.
This gate admits you to a vague and rather limited
_parc_, which covers the crest of the hill, and through
which you may walk into the gardens of castle.
These gardens, of small extent, confront the dark
walls with their brilliant parterres, and, covering the
gradual slope of the hill, form, as it were, the fourth
side of the court.  This is the stateliest view of the
chateau, which looks to you sufficiently grim and gray
as, after asking leave of a neat young woman who
sallies out to learn your errand, you sit there on a
garden bench and take the measure of the three tall
towers attached to this inner front and forming sever-
ally the cage of a staircase.  The huge bracketed cor-
nice (one of the features of Langeais) which is merely
ornamental, as it is not machicolated, though it looks
so, is continued on the inner face as well.  The whole
thing has a fine feudal air, though it was erected on
the rains of feudalism.

The main event in the history of the castle is the
marriage of Anne of Brittany to her first husband,
Charles VIII., which took place in its great hall in
1491.  Into this great hall we were introduced by
the neat young woman, - into this great hall and
into sundry other halls, winding staircases, galleries,
chambers.  The cicerone of Langeais is in too great a
hurry; the fact is pointed out in the excellent Guide-
Joanne.  This ill-dissimulated vice, however, is to be
observed, in the country of the Loire, in every one
who carries a key.  It is true that at Langeais there
is no great occasion to indulge in the tourist's weak-
ness of dawdling; for the apartments, though they
contain many curious odds and ends of, antiquity, are
not of first-rate interest.  They are cold and musty,
indeed, with that touching smell of old furniture, as
all apartments should be through which the insatiate
American wanders in the rear of a bored domestic,
pausing to stare at a faded tapestry or to read the
name on the frame of some simpering portrait.

To return to Tours my companion and I had counted
on a train which (as is not uncommon in France)
existed only in the "Indicateur des Chemins de Fer;"
and instead of waiting for another we engaged a vehicle
to take us home.  A sorry _carriole_ or _patache_ it proved
to be, with the accessories of a lumbering white mare
and a little wizened, ancient peasant, who had put on,
in honor of the occasion, a new blouse of extraordinary
stiffness and blueness.  We hired the trap of an energetic
woman who put it "to" with her own hands; women
in Touraine and the B1esois appearing to have the
best of it in the business of letting vehicles, as well as
in many other industries.  There is, in fact, no branch
of human activity in which one is not liable, in France,
to find a woman engaged.  Women, indeed, are not
priests; but priests are, more or less; women.  They
are not in the army, it may be said; but then they _are_
the army.  They are very formidable.  In France one
must count with the women.  The drive back from
Langeais to Tours was long, slow, cold; we had an
occasional spatter of rain.  But the road passes most
of the way close to the Loire, and there was some-
thing in our jog-trot through the darkening land, beside
the flowing, river, which it was very possible to enjoy.



X.

The consequence of my leaving to the last my little
mention of Loches is that space and opportunity fail
me; and yet a brief and hurried account of that extra-
ordinary spot would after all be in best agreement with
my visit.  We snatched a fearful joy, my companion
and I, the afternoon we took the train for Loches.
The weather this time had been terribly against us:
again and again a day that promised fair became hope-
lessly foul after lunch.  At last we determined that if
we could not make this excursion in the sunshine, we
would make it with the aid of our umbrellas.  We
grasped them firmly and started for the station, where
we were detained an unconscionable time by the evolu-
tions, outside, of certain trains laden with liberated
(and exhilarated) conscripts, who, their term of service
ended, were about to be restored to civil life.  The
trains in Touraine are provoking; they serve as little
as possible for excursions.  If they convey you one
way at the right hour, it is on the condition of bring-
ing you back at the wrong; they either allow you far
too little time to examine the castle or the ruin, or
they leave you planted in front of it for periods that
outlast curiosity.  They are perverse, capricious, ex-
asperating.  It was a question of our having but an
hour or two at Loches, and we could ill afford to sacri-
fice to accidents.  One of the accidents, however, was
that the rain stopped before we got there, leaving be-
hind it a moist mildness of temperature and a cool
and lowering sky, which were in perfect agreement
with the gray old city.  Loches is certainly one of the
greatest impressions of the traveller in central France,
- the largest cluster of curious things that presents
itself to his sight.  It rises above the valley of the
Indre, the charming stream set in meadows and sedges,
which wanders through the province of Berry and
through many of the novels of Madame George Sand;
lifting from the summit of a hill, which it covers to
the base, a confusion of terraces, ramparts, towers, and
spires.  Having but little time, as I say, we scaled
the hill amain, and wandered briskly through this
labyrinth of antiquities.  The rain had decidedly
stopped, and save that we had our train on our minds,
we saw Loches to the best advantage.  We enjoyed
that sensation with which the conscientious tourist is
- or ought to be - well acquainted, and for which, at
any rate, he has a formula in his rough-and-ready
language.  We "experienced," as they say, (most odious
of verbs!) an "agreeable disappointment."  We were
surprised and delighted; we had not suspected that
Loches was so good.

I hardly know what is best there: the strange and
impressive little collegial church, with its romanesque
atrium or narthex, its doorways covered with primitive
sculpture of the richest kind, its treasure of a so-called
pagan altar, embossed with fighting warriors, its three
pyramidal domes, so unexpected, so sinister, which I
have not met elsewhere, in church architecture; or the
huge square keep, of the eleventh century, - the most
cliff-like tower I remember, whose immeasurable thick-
ness I did not penetrate; or the subterranean mysteries
of two other less striking but not less historic dungeons,
into which a terribly imperative little cicerone intro-
duced us, with the aid of downward ladders, ropes,
torches, warnings, extended hands; and, many, fearful
anecdotes, - all in impervious darkness.  These horrible
prisons of Loches, at an incredible distance below the
daylight, were a favorite resource of Louis XI., and
were for the most part, I believe, constructed by him.
One of the towers of the castle is garnished with the
hooks or supports of the celebrated iron cage in which
he confined the Cardinal La Balue, who survived so
much longer than might have been expected this extra-
ordinary mixture of seclusion and exposure.  All these
things form part of the castle of Loches, whose enorm-
ous _enceinte_ covers the whole of the top of the hill, and
abounds in dismantled gateways, in crooked passages,
in winding lanes that lead to postern doors, in long
facades that look upon terraces interdicted to the
visitor, who perceives with irritation that they com-
mand magnificent views.  These views are the property
of the sub-prefect of the department, who resides at
the Chateau de Loches, and who has also the enjoy-
ment of a garden - a garden compressed and curtailed,
as those of old castles that perch on hill-tops are apt
to be - containing a horse-chestnut tree of fabulous
size, a tree of a circumference so vast and so perfect
that the whole population of Loches might sit in con-
centric rows beneath its boughs.  The gem of the place,
however, is neither the big _marronier_, nor the collegial
church, nor the mighty dungeon, nor the hideous prisons
of Louis XI.; it is simply the tomb of Agnes Sorel, _la
belle des belles_, so many years the mistress of Charles VII.
She was buried, in 1450, in the collegial church,
whence, in the beginning of the present century, her
remains, with the monument that marks them, were
transferred to one of the towers of the castle.  She has
always, I know not with what justice, enjoyed a fairer
fame than most ladies who have occupied her position,
and this fairness is expressed in the delicate statue
that surmounts her tomb.  It represents her lying there
in lovely demureness, her hands folded with the best
modesty, a little kneeling angel at either side of her
head, and her feet, hidden in the folds of her decent
robe, resting upon a pair of couchant lambs, innocent
reminders of her name.  Agnes, however, was not
lamb-like, inasmuch as, according to popular tradition
at least, she exerted herself sharply in favor of the ex-
pulsion of the English from France.  It is one of the
suggestions of Loches that the young Charles VII.,
hard put to it as he was for a treasury and a capital,
- "le roi de Bourges," he was called at Paris, - was
yet a rather privileged mortal, to stand up as he does
before posterity between the noble Joan and the _gentille
Agnes_; deriving, however much more honor from one
of these companions than from the other.  Almost as
delicate a relic of antiquity as this fascinating tomb is
the exquisite oratory of Anne of Brittany, among the
apartments of the castle the only chamber worthy of
note.  This small room, hardly larger than a closet,
and forming part of the addition made to the edifice
by Charles VIII., is embroidered over with the curious
and remarkably decorative device of the ermine and
festooned cord.  The objects in themselves are not
especially graceful; but the constant repetition of the
figure on the walls and ceiling produces an effect of
richness, in spite of the modern whitewash with which,
if I remember rightly, they have been endued.  The
little streets of Loches wander crookedly down the hill,
and are full of charming pictorial  "bits:" an old town-
gate, passing under a mediaeval tower, which is orna-
mented by Gothic windows and the empty niches of
statues; a meagre but delicate _hotel de ville_, of the
Renaissance, nestling close beside it; a curious _chancel-
lerie_ of the middle of the sixteenth century, with
mythological figures and a Latin inscription on the
front, - both of these latter buildings being rather un-
expected features of the huddled and precipitous little
town.  Loches has a suburb on the other side of the
Indre, which we had contented ourselves with looking
down at from the heights, while we wondered whether,
even if it had not been getting late and our train were
more accommodating, we should care to take our way
across the bridge and look up that bust, in terra-cotta,
of Francis I., which is the principal ornament of the
Chateau de Sansac and the faubourg of Beaulieu.  I
think we decided that we should not; that we were
already quite well enough acquainted with the nasal
profile of that monarch.



XI.

I know not whether the exact limits of an excur-
sion, as distinguished from a journey, have ever been
fixed; at any rate, it seemed none of my business, at
Tours, to settle the question.  Therefore, though the
making of excursions had been the purpose of my
stay, I thought it vain, while I started for Bourges, to
determine to which category that little expedition
might belong.  It was not till the third day that I re-
turned to Tours; and the distance, traversed for the
most part after dark, was even greater than I had sup-
posed.  That, however, was partly the fault of a tire-
some wait at Vierzon, where I had more than enough
time to dine, very badly, at the _buffet_, and to observe
the proceedings of a family who had entered my rail-
way carriage at Tours and had conversed unreservedly,
for my benefit, all the way from that station, - a family
whom it entertained me to assign to the class of _petite
noblesse de province_.  Their noble origin was confirmed
by the way they all made _maigre_ in the refreshment
oom (it happened to be a Friday), as if it had been
possible to do anything else.  They ate two or three
omelets apiece, and ever so many little cakes, while
the positive, talkative mother watched her children as
the waiter handed about the roast fowl.  I was destined
to share the secrets of this family to the end; for
when I had taken place in the empty train that was
in waiting to convey us to Bourges, the same vigilant
woman pushed them all on top of me into my com-
partment, though the carriages on either side con-
tained no travellers at all.  It was better, I found, to
have dined (even on omelets and little cakes) at the
station at Vierzon than at the hotel at Bourges, which,
when I reached it at nine o'clock at night, did not
strike me as the prince of hotels.  The inns in the
smaller provincial towns in France are all, as the term
is, commercial, and the _commis-voyageur_ is in triumphant
possession.  I saw a great deal of him for several
weeks after this; for he was apparently the only traveller
in the southern provinces, and it was my daily fate to
sit opposite to him at tables d'hote and in railway
trains.  He may be known by two infallible signs, -
his hands are fat, and he tucks his napkin into his
shirt-collar.  In spite of these idiosyncrasies, he seemed
to me a reserved and inoffensive person, with singularly
little of the demonstrative good-humor that he has
been described as possessing.  I saw no one who re-
minded me of Balzac's "illustre Gaudissart;" and in-
deed, in the course of a month's journey through a
large part of France, I heard so little desultory con-
versation that I wondered whether a change had not
come over the spirit of the people.  They seemed to
me as silent as Americans when Americans have not
been "introduced," and infinitely less addicted to ex-
changing remarks in railway trains and at tables d'hote
the colloquial and cursory English; a fact per-
haps not worth mentioning were it not at variance
with that reputation which the French have long en-
joyed of being a pre-eminently sociable nation.  The
common report of the character of a people is, how-
ever, an indefinable product; and it is, apt to strike
the traveller who observes for himself as very wide of
the mark.  The English, who have for ages been de-
scribed (mainly by the French) as the dumb, stiff,
unapproachable race, present to-day a remarkable ap-
pearance of good-humor and garrulity, and are dis-
tinguished by their facility of intercourse.  On the
other hand, any one who has seen half a dozen
Frenchmen pass a whole day together in a railway-
carriage without breaking silence is forced to believe
that the traditional reputation of these gentlemen is
simply the survival of some primitive formula.  It was
true, doubtless, before the Revolution; but there have
been great changes since then.  The question of which
is the better taste, to talk to strangers or to hold your
tongue, is a matter apart; I incline to believe that the
French reserve is the result of a more definite con-
ception of social behavior.  I allude to it only be-
came it is at variance with the national fame, and at
the same time is compatible with a very easy view of
life in certain other directions.  On some of these
latter points the Boule d'Or at Bourges was full of
instruction; boasting, as it did, of a hall of reception
in which, amid old boots that had been brought to be
cleaned, old linen that was being sorted for the wash,
and lamps of evil odor that were awaiting replenish-
ment, a strange, familiar, promiscuous household life
went forward.  Small scullions in white caps and aprons
slept upon greasy benches; the Boots sat staring at
you while you fumbled, helpless, in a row of pigeon-
holes, for your candlestick or your key; and, amid the
coming and going of the _commis-voyageurs_, a little
sempstress bent over the under-garments of the hostess,
- the latter being a heavy, stem, silent woman, who
looked at people very hard.

It was not to be looked at in that manner that one
had come all the way from Tours; so that within ten
minutes after my arrival I sallied out into the dark-
ness to get somehow and somewhere a happier im-
pression.  However late in the evening I may arrive
at a place, I cannot go to bed without an impression.
The natural place, at Bourges, to look for one seemed
to be the cathedral; which, moreover, was the only
thing that could account for my presence _dans cette
galere_.  I turned out of a small square, in front of the
hotel, and walked up a narrow, sloping street, paved
with big, rough stones and guiltless of a foot-way.
It was a splendid starlight night; the stillness of a
sleeping _ville de province_ was over everything; I had
the whole place to myself.  I turned to my right, at
the top of the street, where presently a short, vague
lane brought me into sight of the cathedral.  I ap-
proached it obliquely, from behind; it loomed up in
the darkness above me, enormous and sublime.  It
stands on the top of the large but not lofty eminence
over which Bourges is scattered, - a very good position,
as French cathedrals go, for they are not all so nobly
situated as Chartres and Laon.  On the side on which
I approached it (the south) it is tolerably well ex-
posed, though the precinct is shabby; in front, it is
rather too much shut in.  These defects, however, it
makes up for on the north side and behind, where it
presents itself in the most admirable manner to the
garden of the Archeveche, which has been arranged
as a public walk, with the usual formal alleys of the
_jardin francais_.  I must add that I appreciated these
points only on the following day.  As I stood there in
the light of the stars, many of which had an autumnal
sharpness, while others were shooting over the heavens,
the huge, rugged vessel of the church overhung me in
very much the same way as the black hull of a ship
at sea would overhang a solitary swimmer.  It seemed
colossal, stupendous, a dark leviathan.

The next morning, which was lovely, I lost no
time in going back to it, and found, with satisfaction,
that the daylight did it no injury.  The cathedral of
Bourges is indeed magnificently huge; and if it is a
good deal wanting in lightness and grace it is perhaps
only the more imposing.  I read in the excellent hand-
book of M. Joanne that it was projected "_des_ 1172,"
but commenced only in the first years of the thirteenth
century.  "The nave" the writer adds, "was finished
_tant bien que mal, faute de ressources;_ the facade is of
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in its lower
part, and of the fourteenth in its upper."  The allusion
to the nave means the omission of the transepts.  The
west front consists of two vast but imperfect towers;
one of which (the south) is immensely buttressed, so
that its outline slopes forward, like that of a pyramid,
being the taller of the two.  If they had spires, these
towers would be prodigious; as it is, given the rest
of the church, they are wanting in elevation.  There
are five deeply recessed portals, all in a row, each
surmounted with a gable; the gable over the central
door being exceptionally high.  Above the porches,
which give the measure of its width, the front rears
itself, piles itself, on a great scale, carried up by gal-
leries, arches, windows, sculptures, and supported by
the extraordinarily thick buttresses of which I have
spoken, and which, though they embellish it with deep
shadows thrown sidewise, do not improve its style.
The portals, especially the middle one, are extremely
interesting; they are covered with curious early sculp-
tures.  The middle one, however, I must describe
alone.  It has no less than six rows of figures, - the
others have four, - some of which, notably the upper
one, are still in their places.  The arch at the top has
three tiers of elaborate imagery.  The upper of these
is divided by the figure of Christ in judgment, of great
size, stiff and terrible, with outstretched arms.  On
either side of him are ranged three or four angels,
with the instruments of the Passion.  Beneath him, in
the second frieze, stands the angel of justice, with his
scales; and on either side of him is the vision of the
last judgment.  The good prepare, with infinite titilla-
tion and complacency, to ascend to the skies; while
the bad are dragged, pushed, hurled, stuffed, crammed,
into pits and caldrons of fire.  There is a charming
detail in this section.  Beside the angel, on, the right,
where the wicked are the prey of demons, stands a
little female figure, that of a child, who, with hands
meekly folded and head gently raised, waits for the
stern angel to decide upon her fate.  In this fate, how-
ever, a dreadful, big devil also takes a keen interest;
he seems on the point of appropriating the tender
creature; he has a face like a goat and an enormous
hooked nose.  But the angel gently lays a hand upon
the shoulder of the little girl - the movement is full
of dignity - as if to say, "No; she belongs to the other
side."  The frieze below represents the general re-
surrection, with the good and the wicked emerging from
their sepulchres.  Nothing can be more quaint and
charming than the difference shown in their way of
responding to the final trump.  The good get out of
their tombs with a certain modest gayety, an alacrity
tempered by respect; one of them kneels to pray as
soon as he has disinterred himself.  You may know
the wicked, on the other hand, by their extreme shy-
ness; they crawl out slowly and fearfully; they hang
back, and seem to say, "Oh, dear!"  These elaborate
sculptures, full of ingenuous intention and of the
reality of early faith, are in a remarkable state of pre-
servation; they bear no superficial signs of restoration,
and appear scarcely to have suffered from the centu-
ries.  They are delightfully expressive; the artist had
the advantage of knowing exactly the effect he wished
to produce.

The interior of the cathedral has a great simplicity
and majesty, and, above all, a tremendous height.  The
nave is extraordinary in this respect; it dwarfs every-
thing else I know.  I should add, however, that I am,
in architecture, always of the opinion of the last
speaker.  Any great building seems to me, while I
look at it, the ultimate expression.  At any rate, during
the hour that I sat gazing along the high vista of
Bourges, the interior of the great vessel corresponded
to my vision of the evening before.  There is a tranquil
largeness, a kind of infinitude, about such an edifice:
it soothes and purifies the spirit, it illuminates the
mind.  There are two aisles, on either side, in addi-
tion to the nave, - five in all, - and, as I have said,
there are no transepts; an omission which lengthens
the vista, so that from my place near the door the
central jewelled window in the depths of the perpen-
dicular choir seemed a mile or two away.  The second,
or outward, of each pair of aisles is too low, and the
first too high; without this inequality the nave would
appear to take an even more prodigious flight.  The
double aisles pass all the way round the choir, the
windows of which are inordinately rich in magnificent
old glass.  I have seen glass as fine in other churches;
but I think I have never seen so much of it at once.

Beside the cathedral, on the north, is a curious
structure of the fourteenth or fifteenth century, which
looks like an enormous flying buttress, with its sup-
port, sustaining the north tower.  It makes a massive
arch, high in the air, and produces a romantic effect
as people pass under it to the open gardens of the
Archeveche, which extend to a considerable distance
in the rear of the church.  The structure supporting
the arch has the girth of a largeish house, and con-
tains chambers with whose uses I am unacquainted,
but to which the deep pulsations of the cathedral, the
vibration of its mighty bells, and the roll of its organ-
tones must be transmitted even through the great arm
of stone.

The archiepiscopal palace, not walled in as at Tours,
is visible as a stately habitation of the last century,
now in course of reparation in consequence of a fire.
From this side, and from the gardens of the palace,
the nave of the cathedral is visible in all its great
length and height, with its extraordinary multitude of
supports.  The gardens aforesaid, accessible through
tall iron gates, are the promenade - the Tuileries - of
the town, and, very pretty in themselves, are immensely
set off by the overhanging church.  It was warm and
sunny; the benches were empty; I sat there a long
time, in that pleasant state of mind which visits the
traveller in foreign towns, when he is not too hurried,
while he wonders where he had better go next.  The
straight, unbroken line of the roof of the cathedral
was very noble; but I could see from this point how
much finer the effect would have been if the towers,
which had dropped almost out of sight, might have
been carried still higher.  The archiepiscopal gardens
look down at one end over a sort of esplanade or
suburban avenue lying on a lower level, on which they
open, and where several detachments of soldiers
(Bourges is full of soldiers) had just been drawn up.
The civil population was also collecting, and I saw
that something was going to happen.  I learned that
a private of the Chasseurs was to be "broken" for
stealing, and every one was eager to behold the cere-
mony.  Sundry other detachments arrived on the
ground, besides many of the military who had come
as a matter of taste.  One of them described to me
the process of degradation from the ranks, and I felt
for a moment a hideous curiosity to see it, under the
influence of which I lingered a little.  But only a
little; the hateful nature of the spectacle hurried me
away, at the same time that others were hurrying for-
ward.  As I turned my back upon it I reflected that
human beings are cruel brutes, though I could not
flatter myself that the ferocity of the thing was ex-
clusively French.  In another country the concourse
would have been equally great, and the moral of it all
seemed to be that military penalties are as terrible as
military honors are gratifying.



XII.

The cathedral is not the only lion of Bourges; the
house of Jacques Coeur is an object of interest scarcely
less positive.  This remarkable man had a very strange
history, and he too was "broken," like the wretched
soldier whom I did not stay to see.  He has been re-
habilitated, however, by an age which does not fear
the imputation of paradox, and a marble statue of
him ornaments the street in front of his house.  To
interpret him according to this image - a womanish
figure in a long robe and a turban, with big bare arms
and a dramatic pose - would be to think of him as a
kind of truculent sultana.  He wore the dress of his
period, but his spirit was very modern; he was a Van-
derbilt or a Rothschild of the fifteenth century.  He
supplied the ungrateful Charles VII. with money to pay
the troops who, under the heroic Maid, drove the
English from French soil.  His house, which to-day is
used as a Palais de Justice, appears to have been re-
garded at the time it was built very much as the resi-
dence of Mr. Vanderbilt is regarded in New York to-day.
It stands on the edge of the hill on which most of the
town is planted, so that, behind, it plunges down to a
lower level, and, if you approach it on that side, as I
did, to come round to the front of it, you have to
ascend a longish flight of steps.  The back, of old,
must have formed a portion of the city wall; at any
rate, it offers to view two big towers, which Joanne
says were formerly part of the defence of Bourges.
From the lower level of which I speak - the square in
front of the post-office - the palace of Jacques Coeur
looks very big and strong and feudal; from the upper
street, in front of it, it looks very handsome and deli-
cate.  To this street it presents two stories and a con-
siderable length of facade; and it has, both within and
without, a great deal of curious and beautiful detail.
Above the portal, in the stonework, are two false win-
dows, in which two figures, a man and a woman, ap-
parently household servants, are represented, in sculp-
ture, as looking down into the street.  The effect is
homely, yet grotesque, and the figures are sufficiently
living to make one commiserate them for having been
condemned, in so dull a town, to spend several cen-
turies at the window.  They appear to be watching for
the return of their master, who left his beautiful house
one morning and never came back.

The history of Jacques Coeur, which has been
written by M. Pierre Clement, in a volume crowned
by the French Academy, is very wonderful and in-
teresting, but I have no space to go into it here.
There is no more curious example, and few more
tragical, of a great fortune crumbling from one day to
the other, or of the antique superstition that the gods
grow jealous of human success.  Merchant, million-
naire, banker, ship-owner, royal favorite, and minister
of finance, explorer of the East and monopolist of the
glittering trade between that quarter of the globe and
his own, great capitalist who had anticipated the
brilliant operations of the present time, he expiated
his prosperity by poverty, imprisonment, and torture.
The obscure points in his career have been elucidated
by M. Clement, who has drawn, moreover, a very vivid
picture of the corrupt and exhausted state of France
during the middle of the fifteenth century.  He has
shown that the spoliation of the great merchant was a
deliberately calculated act, and that the king sacrificed
him without scruple or shame to the avidity of a sin-
gularly villanous set of courtiers.  The whole story is
an extraordinary picture of high-handed rapacity, -
the crudest possible assertion of the right of the stronger.
The victim was stripped of his property, but escaped
with his life, made his way out of France, and, betak-
ing himself to Italy, offered his services to the Pope.
It is proof of the consideration that he enjoyed in
Europe, and of the variety of his accomplishments,
that Calixtus III. should have appointed him to take
command of a fleet which his Holiness was fitting out
against the Turks.  Jacques Coeur, however, was not
destined to lead it to victory.  He died shortly after
the expedition had started, in the island of Chios, in
1456.  The house of Bourges, his native place, testifies
in some degree to his wealth and splendor, though it
has in parts that want of space which is striking in
many of the buildings of the Middle Ages.  The court,
indeed, is on a large scale, ornamented with turrets
and arcades, with several beautiful windows, and with
sculptures inserted in the walls, representing the various
sources of the great fortune of the owner.  M. Pierre
Clement describes this part of the house as having
been of an "incomparable richesse," - an estimate of its
charms which seems slightly exaggerated to-day.  There
is, however, something delicate and familiar in the
bas-reliefs of which I have spoken, little scenes of
agriculture and industry, which show, that the pro-
prietor was not ashamed of calling attention to his
harvests and enterprises.  To-day we should question
the taste of such allusions, even in plastic form, in
the house of a "merchant prince" (say in the Fifth
Avenue).  Why is it, therefore, that these quaint little
panels at Bourges do not displease us?  It is perhaps
because things very ancient never, for some mysterious
reason, appear vulgar.  This fifteenth-century million-
naire, with his palace, his egotistical sculptures, may
have produced that impression on some critical spirits
of his own day.

The portress who showed me into the building was
a dear litte old woman, with the gentlest, sweetest,
saddest face - a little white, aged face, with dark,
pretty eyes - and the most considerate manner.  She
took me up into an upper hall, where there were a
couple of curious chimney-pieces and a fine old oaken
roof, the latter representing the hollow of a long boat.
There is a certain oddity in a native of Bourges - an
inland town if there ever was one, without even a river
(to call a river) to encourage nautical ambitions - hav-
ing found his end as admiral of a fleet; but this boat-
shaped roof, which is extremely graceful and is re-
peated in another apartment, would suggest that the
imagination of  Jacques Coeur was fond of riding the
waves.  Indeed, as he trafficked in Oriental products
and owned many galleons, it is probable that he was
personally as much at home in certain Mediterranean
ports as in the capital of the pastoral Berry.  If, when
he looked at the ceilings of his mansion, he saw his
boats upside down, this was only a suggestion of the
shortest way of emptying them of their treasures.  He
is presented in person above one of the great stone
chimney-pieces, in company with his wife, Macee de
Leodepart, - I like to write such an extraordinary name.
Carved in white stone, the two sit playing at chess at
an open window, through which they appear to give
their attention much more to the passers-by than to
the game.  They are also exhibited in other attitudes;
though I do not recognize them in the composition on
top of one of the fireplaces which represents the battle-
ments of a castle, with the defenders (little figures be-
tween the crenellations) hurling down missiles with a
great deal of fury and expression.  It would have been
hard to believe that the man who surrounded himself
with these friendly and humorous devices had been
guilty of such wrong-doing as to call down the heavy
hand of justice.

It is a curious fact, however, that Bourges contains
legal associations of a purer kind than the prosecution
of Jacques Coeur, which, in spite of the rehabilitations
of history, can hardly be said yet to have terminated,
inasmuch as the law-courts of the city are installed in
his quondam residence.  At a short distance from it
stands the Hotel Cujas, one of the curiosities of Bourges
and the habitation for many years of the great juris-
consult who revived in the sixteenth century the study
of the Roman law, and professed it during the close
of his life in the university of the capital of Berry.
The learned Cujas had, in spite of his sedentary pur-
suits, led a very wandering life; he died at Bourges in
the year 1590.  Sedentary pursuits is perhaps not
exactly what I should call them, having read in the
"Biographie Universelle" (sole source of my knowledge
of the renowned Cujacius) that his usual manner of
study was to spread himself on his belly on the floor.
He did not sit down, he lay down; and the "Biographie
Universelle" has (for so grave a work) an amusing pic-
ture of the short, fat, untidy scholar dragging himself
_a plat ventre_ across his room, from one pile of books
to the other.  The house in which these singular gym-
nastics took place, and which is now the headquarters
of the gendarmerie, is one of the most picturesque at
Bourges.  Dilapidated and discolored, it has a charm-
ing Renaissance front.  A high wall separates it from
the street, and on this wall, which is divided by a
large open gateway, are perched two overhanging
turrets.  The open gateway admits you to the court,
beyond which the melancholy mansion erects itself,
decorated also with turrets, with fine old windows, and
with a beautiful tone of faded red brick and rusty
stone.  It is a charming encounter for a provincial by-
street; one of those accidents in the hope of which
the traveller with a propensity for sketching (whether
on a little paper block or on the tablets of his brain)
decides to turn a corner at a venture.  A brawny gen-
darme, in his shirt-sleeves, was polishing his boots in
the court; an ancient, knotted vine, forlorn of its
clusters, hung itself over a doorway, and dropped its
shadow on the rough grain of the wall.  The place
was very sketchable.  I am sorry to say, however, that
it was almost the only "bit."  Various other curious
old houses are supposed to exist at Bourges, and I
wandered vaguely about in search of them.  But I had
little success, and I ended by becoming sceptical.
Bourges is a _ville de province_ in the full force of the
term, especially as applied invidiously.  The streets,
narrow, tortuous, and dirty, have very wide cobble-
stones; the houses for the most part are shabby, with-
out local color.  The look of things is neither modern
nor antique, - a kind of mediocrity of middle age.
There is an enormous number of blank walls, - walls
of gardens, of courts, of private houses - that avert
themselves from the street, as if in natural chagrin at
there being so little to see.  Round about is a dull,
flat, featureless country, on which the magnificent
cathedral looks down.  There is a peculiar dulness
and ugliness in a French town of this type, which, I
must immediately add, is not the most frequent one.
In Italy, everything has a charm, a color, a grace; even
desolation and _ennui_.  In England a cathedral city
may be sleepy, but it is pretty sure to be mellow.  In
the course of six weeks spent _en province_, however, I
saw few places that had not more expression than
Bourges.

I went back to the cathedral; that, after all, was
a feature.  Then I returned to my hotel, where it was
time to dine, and sat down, as usual, with the _commis-
voyageurs_, who cut their bread on their thumb and
partook of every course; and after this repast I re-
paired for a while to the cafe, which occupied a part
of the basement of the inn and opened into its court.
This cafe was a friendly, homely, sociable spot, where
it seemed the habit of the master of the establishment
to _tutoyer_ his customers, and the practice of the cus-
tomers to _tutoyer_ the waiter.  Under these circum-
stances the waiter of course felt justified in sitting
down at the same table with a gentleman who had
come in and asked him for writing materials.  He
served this gentleman with a horrible little portfolio,
covered with shiny black cloth and accompanied with
two sheets of thin paper, three wafers, and one of
those instruments of torture which pass in France for
pens, - these being the utensils invariably evoked by
such a request; and then, finding himself at leisure,
he placed himself opposite and began to write a letter
of his own.  This trifling incident reminded me afresh
that France is a democratic country.  I think I re-
ceived an admonition to the same effect from the free,
familiar way in which the game of whist was going
on just behind me.  It was attended with a great deal
of noisy pleasantry, flavored every now and then with
a dash of irritation.  There was a young man of whom
I made a note; he was such a beautiful specimen of
his class.  Sometimes he was very facetious, chatter-
ing, joking, punning, showing off; then, as the game
went on and he lost, and had to pay the _consomma-
tion_, he dropped his amiability, slanged his partner,
declared he wouldn't play any more, and went away
in a fury.  Nothing could be more perfect or more
amusing than the contrast.  The manner of the
whole affair was such as, I apprehend, one would not
have seen among our English-speaking people; both
the jauntiness of the first phase and the petulance of
the second.  To hold the balance straight, however,
I may remark that if the men were all fearful "cads,"
they were, with their cigarettes and their inconsistency,
less heavy, less brutal, than our dear English-speaking
cad; just as the bright little cafe where a robust mater-
familias, doling out sugar and darning a stocking, sat
in her place under the mirror behind the _comptoir_,
was a much more civilized spot than a British public-
house, or a "commercial room," with pipes and whiskey,
or even than an American saloon.



XIII.

It is very certain that when I left Tours for Le
Mans it was a journey and not an excursion; for I
had no intention of coming back.  The question, in-
deed, was to get away, - no easy matter in France, in
the early days of October, when the whole _jeunesse_
of the country is going back to school.  It is accom-
panied, apparently, with parents and grandparents,
and it fills the trains with little pale-faced _lyceens_,
who gaze out of the windows with a longing, lingering
air, not unnatural on the part of small members of a
race in which life is intense, who are about to be
restored to those big educative barracks that do such
violence to our American appreciation of the oppor-
tunities of boyhood.  The train stopped every five
minutes; but, fortunately, the country was charming, -
hilly and bosky, eminently good-humored, and dotted
here and there with a smart little chateau.  The old
capital of the province of the Maine, which has given
its name to a great American State, is a fairly interest-
ing town, but I confess that I found in it less than I
expected to admire.  My expectations had doubtless
been my own fault; there is no particular reason why
Le Mans should fascinate.  It stands upon a hill,
indeed, - a much better hill than the gentle swell of
Bourges.  This hill, however, is not steep in all direc-
tions; from the railway, as I arrived, it was not even
perceptible.  Since I am making comparisons, I may
remark that, on the other hand, the Boule d'Or at Le
Mans is an appreciably better inn than the Boule d'Or
at Bourges.  It looks out upon a small market-place
which has a certain amount of character and seems
to be slipping down the slope on which it lies, though
it has in the middle an ugly _halle_, or circular market-
house, to keep it in position.  At Le Mans, as at
Bourges, my first business was with the cathedral, to
which, I lost no time in directing my steps.  It suf-
fered by juxta-position to the great church I had seen
a few days before; yet it has some noble features.  It
stands on the edge of the eminence of the town, which
falls straight away on two sides of it, and makes a
striking mass, bristling behind, as you see it from
below, with rather small but singularly numerous flying
buttresses.  On my way to it I happened to walk
through the one street which contains a few ancient
and curious houses, - a very crooked and untidy lane,
of really mediaeval aspect, honored with the denomina-
tion of the Grand' Rue.  Here is the house of Queen
Berengaria, - an absurd name, as the building is of a
date some three hundred years later than the wife of
Richard Coeur de Lion, who has a sepulchral monu-
ment in the south aisle of the cathedral.  The structure
in question - very sketchable, if the sketcher could get
far enough away from it - is an elaborate little dusky
facade, overhanging the street, ornamented with panels
of stone, which are covered with delicate Renaissance
sculpture.  A fat old woman, standing in the door of
a small grocer's shop next to it, - a most gracious old
woman, with a bristling moustache and a charming
manner, - told me what the house was, and also in-
dicated to me a rotten-looking brown wooden mansion,
in the same street, nearer the cathedral, as the Maison
Scarron.  The author of the "Roman Comique," and
of a thousand facetious verses, enjoyed for some years,
in the early part of his life, a benefice in the cathedral
of Le Mans, which gave him a right to reside in one
of the canonical houses.  He was rather an odd canon,
but his history is a combination of oddities.  He wooed
the comic muse from the arm-chair of a cripple, and
in the same position - he was unable even to go down
on his knees - prosecuted that other suit which made
him the first husband of a lady of whom Louis XIV.
was to be the second.  There was little of comedy in
the future Madame de Maintenon; though, after all,
there was doubtless as much as there need have been
in the wife of a poor man who was moved to compose
for his tomb such an epitaph as this, which I quote
from the "Biographie Universelle":-

	"Celui qui cy maintenant dort,
	Fit plus de pitie que d'envie,
	Et souffrit mille fois la mort,
	Avant que de perdre la vie.
	Passant, ne fais icy de bruit,
	Et garde bien qu'il ne s'eveille,
	Car voicy la premiere nuit,
	Que le Pauvre Scarron sommeille."



There is rather a quiet, satisfactory _place_ in front
of the cathedral, with some good "bits" in it; notably
a turret at the angle of one of the towers, and a very
fine, steep-roofed dwelling, behind low walls, which it
overlooks, with a tall iron gate.  This house has two
or three little pointed towers, a big, black, precipitous
roof, and a general air of having had a history.  There
are houses which are scenes, and there are houses
which are only houses.  The trouble with the domestic
architecture of the United States is that it is not
scenic, thank Heaven! and the good fortune of an old
structure like the turreted mansion on the hillside of
Le Mans is that it is not simply a house.  It is a per-
son, as it were, as well.  It would be well, indeed, if
it might have communicated a little of its personality
to the front of the cathedral, which has none of its
own.  Shabby, rusty, unfinished, this front has a
romanesque portal, but nothing in the way of a tower.
One sees from without, at a glance, the peculiarity of
the church, - the disparity between the romanesque
nave, which is small and of the twelfth century, and
the immense and splendid transepts and choir, of a
period a hundred years later.  Outside, this end of
the church rises far above the nave, which looks merely
like a long porch leading to it, with a small and curious
romanesque porch in its own south flank.  The transepts,
shallow but very lofty, display to the spectators in the
_place_ the reach of their two clere-story windows, which
occupy, above, the whole expanse of the wall.  The
south transept terminates in a sort of tower, which is
the only one of which the cathedral can boast.  Within,
the effect of the choir is superb; it is a church in it-
self, with the nave simply for a point of view.  As I
stood there, I read in my Murray that it has the stamp
of the date of the perfection of pointed Gothic, and I
found nothing to object to the remark.  It suffers little
by confrontation with Bourges, and, taken in itself,
seems to me quite as fine.  A passage of double aisles
surrounds it, with the arches that divide them sup-
ported on very thick round columns, not clustered.
There are twelve chapels in this passage, and a charm-
ing little lady chapel, filled with gorgeous old glass.
The sustained height of this almost detached choir is
very noble; its lightness and grace, its soaring sym-
metry, carry the eye up to places in the air from
which it is slow to descend.  Like Tours, like Chartres,
like Bourges (apparently like all the French cathedrals,
and unlike several English ones) Le Mans is rich in
splendid glass.  The beautiful upper windows of the
choir make, far aloft, a sort of gallery of pictures,
blooming with vivid color.  It is the south transept
that contains the formless image - a clumsy stone
woman lying on her back - which purports to represent
Queen Berengaria aforesaid.

The view of the cathedral from the rear is, as usual,
very fine.  A small garden behind it masks its base;
but you descend the hill to a large _place de foire_, ad-
jacent to a fine old pubic promenade which is known
as Les Jacobins, a sort of miniature Tuileries, where I
strolled for a while in rectangular alleys, destitute of
herbage, and received a deeper impression of vanished
things.  The cathedral, on the pedestal of its hill, looks
considerably farther than the fair-ground and the
Jacobins, between the rather bare poles of whose
straightly planted trees you may admire it at a con-
venient distance.  I admired it till I thought I should
remember it (better than the event has proved), and
then I wandered away and looked at another curious
old church, Notre-Dame-de-la-Couture.  This sacred
edifice made a picture for ten minutes, but the picture
has faded now.  I reconstruct a yellowish-brown facade,
and a portal fretted with early sculptures; but the
details have gone the way of all incomplete sensations.
After you have stood awhile in the choir of the
cathedral, there is no sensation at Le Mans that goes
very far.  For some reason not now to be traced, I
had looked for more than this.  I think the reason
was to some extent simply in the name of the place;
for names, on the whole, whether they be good reasons
or not, are very active ones.  Le Mans, if I am not
mistaken, has a sturdy, feudal sound; suggests some-
thing dark and square, a vision of old ramparts and
gates.  Perhaps I had been unduly impressed by the
fact, accidentally revealed to me, that Henry II., first
of the English Plantagenets, was born there.  Of course
it is easy to assure one's self in advance, but does it
not often happen that one had rather not be assured?
There is a pleasure sometimes in running the risk of
disappointment.  I took mine, such as it was, quietly
enough, while I sat before dinner at the door of one
of the cafes in the market-place with a _bitter-et-curacao_
(invaluable pretext at such an hour!) to keep me com-
pany.  I remember that in this situation there came
over me an impression which both included and ex-
cluded all possible disappointments.  The afternoon
was warm and still; the air was admirably soft.  The
good Manceaux, in little groups and pairs, were seated
near me; my ear was soothed by the fine shades of
French enunciation, by the detached syllables of that
perfect tongue.  There was nothing in particular in
the prospect to charm; it was an average French view.
Yet I felt a charm, a kind of sympathy, a sense of the
completeness of French life and of the lightness and
brightness of the social air, together with a desire to
arrive at friendly judgments, to express a positive
interest.  I know not why this transcendental mood
should have descended upon me then and there; but
that idle half-hour in front of the cafe, in the mild
October afternoon, suffused with human sounds, is
perhaps the most definite thing I brought away from
Le Mans.



XIV.

I am shocked at finding, just after this noble de-
claration of principles that in a little note-book which
at that time I carried about with me, the celebrated
city of Angers is denominated a "sell."  I reproduce
this vulgar term with the greatest hesitation, and only
because it brings me more quickly to my point.  This
point is that Angers belongs to the disagreeable class
of old towns that have been, as the English say, "done
up."  Not the oldness, but the newness, of the place
is what strikes the sentimental tourist to-day, as he
wanders with irritation along second-rate boulevards,
looking vaguely about him for absent gables.  "Black
Angers," in short, is a victim of modern improvements,
and quite unworthy of its admirable name, - a name
which, like that of Le Mans, had always had, to my
eyes, a highly picturesque value.  It looks particularly
well on the Shakspearean page (in "King John"), where
we imagine it uttered (though such would not have
been the utterance of the period) with a fine old in-
sular accent.  Angers figures with importance in early
English history: it was the capital city of the Plantagenet
race, home of that Geoffrey of Anjou who married, as
second husband, the Empress Maud, daughter of
Henry I. and competitor of Stephen, and became father
of Henry II., first of the Plantagenet kings, born, as we
have seen, at Le Mans.  The facts create a natural
presumption that Angers will look historic; I turned
them over in my mind as I travelled in the train from
Le Mans, through a country that was really pretty, and
looked more like the usual English than like the usual
French scenery, with its fields cut up by hedges and
a considerable rotundity in its trees.  On my way
from the station to the hotel, however, it became plain
that I should lack a good pretext for passing that night
at the Cheval Blanc; I foresaw that I should have con-
tented myself before th e end of the day.  I remained
at the White Horse only long enough to discover that
it was an exceptionally good provincial inn, one of the
best that I encountered during six weeks spent in
these establishments.

"Stupidly and vulgarly rnodernized," - that is an-
other phrase from my note-book, and note-books are
not obliged to be reasonable.  "There are some narrow
and tortuous-streets, with a few curious old houses," - I
continue to quote; "there is a castle, of which the ex-
terior is most extraordinary, and there is a cathedral
of moderate interest.  It is fair to say that the
Chateau d'Angers is by itself worth a pilgrimage; the
only drawback is that you have seen it in a quarter of
an hour.  You cannot do more than look at it, and
one good look does your business.  It has no beauty,
no grace, no detail, nothing that charms or detains
you; it is simply very old and very big, - so big and
so old that this simple impression is enough, and it
takes its place in your recollections as a perfect specimen
of a superannuated stronghold.  It stands at one end
of the town, surrounded by a huge, deep moat, which
originally contained the waters of the Maine, now
divided from it by a quay.  The water-front of Angers
is poor, - wanting in color and in movement; and there
is always an effect of perversity in a town lying near a
great river and, yet not upon it.  The Loire is a few
miles off; but Angers contents itself with a meagre
affluent of that stream.  The effect was naturally much
better when the huge, dark mass of the castle, with its
seventeen prodigious towers, rose out of the protecting
flood.  These towers are of tremendous girth and soli-
dity; they are encircled with great bands, or hoops, of
white stone, and are much enlarged at the base.
Between them hang vast curtains of infinitely old-look-
ing masonry, apparently a dense conglomeration of
slate, the material of which the town was originally
built (thanks to rich quarries in the neighborhood),
and to which it owed its appellation of the Black.
There are no windows, no apertures, and to-day no
battlements nor roofs.  These accessories were removed
by Henry III., so that, in spite of its grimness and
blackness, the place has not even the interest of look-
ing like a prison; it being, as I supposed, the essence
of a prison not to be open to the sky.  The only
features of the enormous structure are the black, sombre
stretches and protrusions of wall, the effect of which,
on so large a scale, is strange and striking.  Begun by
Philip Augustus, and terminated by St. Louis, the
Chateau d'Angers has of course a great deal of history.
The luckless Fouquet, the extravagant minister of
finance of Louis XIV., whose fall from the heights of
grandeur was so sudden and complete, was confined
here in 1661, just after his arrest, which had taken
place at Nantes.  Here, also, Huguenots and Vendeans
have suffered effective captivity.

I walked round the parapet which protects the
outer edge of the moat (it is all up hill, and the moat
deepens and deepens), till I came to the entrance
which faces the town, and which is as bare and
strong as the rest.  The concierge took me into the
court; but there was nothing to see.  The place is
used as a magazine of ammunition, and the yard con-
tains a multitude of ugly buildings.  The only thing
to do is to walk round the bastions for the view; but
at the moment of my visit the weather was thick, and
the bastions began and ended with themselves.  So I
came out and took another look at the big, black ex-
terior, buttressed with white-ribbed towers, and per-
ceived that a desperate sketcher might extract a
picture from it, especially if he were to bring in, as
they say, the little black bronze statue of the good
King Rene (a weak production of David d'Angers),
which, standing within sight, ornaments the melancholy
faubourg.  He would do much better, however, with
the very striking old timbered house (I suppose of the
fifteenth century) which is called the Maison d'Adam,
and is easily the first specimen at Angers of the
domestic architecture of the past.  This admirable
house, in the centre of the town, gabled, elaborately
timbered, and much restored, is a really imposing
monument.  The basement is occupied by a linen-
draper, who flourishes under the auspicious sign of
the Mere de Famille; and above his shop the tall
front rises in five overhanging stories.  As the house
occupies the angle of a little _place_, this front is double,
and the black beams and wooden supports, displayed
over a large surface and carved and interlaced, have
a high picturesqueness.  The Maison d'Adam is quite
in the grand style, and I am sorry to say I failed to
learn what history attaches to its name.  If I spoke just
above of the cathedral as "moderate," I suppose I
should beg its pardon; for this serious charge was
probably prompted by the fact that it consists only of
a nave, without side aisles.  A little reflection now
convinces me that such a form is a distinction; and,
indeed, I find it mentioned, rather inconsistently, in
my note-book, a little further on, as "extremely simple
and grand."  The nave is spoken of in the same
volume as "big, serious, and Gothic," though the choir
and transepts are noted as very shallow.  But it is not
denied that the air of the whole thing is original and
striking; and it would therefore appear, after all, that
the cathedral of Angers, built during the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries, is a sufficiently honorable church;
the more that its high west front, adorned with a very
primitive Gothic portal, supports two elegant tapering
spires, between which, unfortunately, an ugly modern
pavilion has been inserted.

I remember nothing else at Angers but the curious
old Cafe Serin, where, after I had had my dinner at
the inn, I went and waited for the train which, at nine
o'clock in the evening, was to convey me, in a couple
of hours, to Nantes, - an establishment remarkable for
its great size and its air of tarnished splendor, its
brown gilding and smoky frescos, as also for the fact
that it was hidden away on the second floor of an un-
assuming house in an unilluminated street.  It hardly
seemed a place where you would drop in; but when
once you had found it, it presented itself, with the
cathedral, the castle, and the Maison d'Adam, as one
of the historical monuments of Angers.



XV.

If I spent two nights at Nantes, it was for reasons
of convenience rather than of sentiment; though, in-
deed, I spent them in a big circular room which had
a stately, lofty, last-century look, - a look that con-
soled me a little for the whole place being dirty.  The
high, old-fashioned, inn (it had a huge, windy _porte-
cochere_, and you climbed a vast black stone staircase
to get to your room) looked out on a dull square, sur-
rounded with other tall houses, and occupied on one
side by the theatre, a pompous building, decorated
with columns and statues of the muses.  Nantes be-
longs to the class of towns which are always spoken
of as "fine," and its position near the mouth of the
Loire gives it, I believe, much commercial movement.
It is a spacious, rather regular city, looking, in the
parts that I traversed, neither very fresh nor very
venerable.  It derives its principal character from the
handsome quays on the Loire, which are overhung
with tall eighteenth-century houses (very numerous,
too, in the other streets), - houses, with big _entresols_
marked by arched windows, classic pediments, balcony-
rails of fine old iron-work.  These features exist in
still better form at Bordeaux; but, putting Bordeaux
aside, Nantes is quite architectural.  The view up and
down the quays has the cool, neutral tone of color
that one finds so often in French water-side places, -
the bright grayness which is the tone of French land-
scape art.  The whole city has rather a grand, or at
least an eminently well-established air.  During a day
passed in it of course I had time to go to the Musee;
the more so that I have a weakness for provincial
museums, - a sentiment that depends but little on the
quality of the collection.  The pictures may be bad,
but the place is often curious; and, indeed, from bad
pictures, in certain moods of the mind, there is a
degree of entertainment to be derived.  If they are
tolerably old they are often touching; but they must
have a relative antiquity, for I confess I can do no-
thing with works of art of which the badness is of
receat origin.  The cool, still, empty chambers in
which indifferent collections are apt to be preserved,
the red brick tiles, the diffused light, the musty odor,
the mementos around you of dead fashions, the snuffy
custodian in a black skull cap, who pulls aside a
faded curtain to show you the lustreless gem of the
museum, - these things have a mild historical quality,
and the sallow canvases after all illustrate something.
Many of those in the museum of Nantes illustrate the
taste of a successful warrior; having been bequeathed
to the city by Napoleon's marshal, Clarke (created
Duc de Feltre).  In addition to these there is the
usual number of specimens of the contemporary French
school, culled from the annual Salons and presented
to the museum by the State.  Wherever the traveller
goes, in France, he is reminded of this very honorable
practice, - the purchase by the Government of a cer-
tain number of "pictures of the year," which are pre-
sently distributed in the provinces.  Governments suc-
ceed each other and bid for success by different
devices; but the "patronage of art" is a plank, as we
should say here, in every platform.  The works of art
are often ill-selected, - there is an official taste which
you immediately recognize, - but the custom is essen-
tially liberal, and a government which should neglect
it would be felt to be painfully common.  The only
thing in this particular Musee that I remember is a
fine portrait of a woman, by Ingres, - very flat and
Chinese, but with an interest of line and a great deal
of style.

There is a castle at Nantes which resembles in
some degree that of Angers, but has, without, much
less of the impressiveness of great size, and, within,
much more interest of detail.  The court contains the
remains of a very fine piece of late Gothic, a tall ele-
gant building of the sixteenth century.  The chateau
is naturally not wanting in history.  It was the residence
of the old Dukes of Brittany, and was brought, with
the rest of the province, by the Duchess Anne, the last
representative of that race, as her dowry, to Charles
VIII.  I read in the excellent hand-book of M. Joanne
that it has been visited by almost every one of the
kings of France, from Louis XI. downward; and also
that it has served as a place of sojourn less voluntary
on the part of various other distinguished persons,
from the horrible Merechal de Retz, who in the fifteenth
century was executed at Nantes for the murder of a
couple of hundred young children, sacrificed in abomin-
able rites, to the ardent Duchess of Berry, mother of
the Count of Chambord, who was confined there for a
few hours in 1832, just after her arrest in a neigh-
boring house.  I looked at the house in question - you
may see it from the platform in front of the chateau
- and tried to figure to myself that embarrassing scene.
The duchess, after having unsuccessfully raised the
standard of revolt (for the exiled Bourbons), in the
legitimist Bretagne, and being "wanted," as the phrase
is, by the police of Louis Philippe, had hidden herself
in a small but loyal house at Nantes, where, at the end
of five months of seclusion, she was betrayed, for gold,
to the austere M. Guizot, by one of her servants, an
Alsatian Jew named Deutz.  For many hours before
her capture she had been compressed into an inter-
stice behind a fireplace, and by the time she was
drawn forth into the light she had been ominously
scorched.  The man who showed me the castle in-
dicated also another historic spot, a house with little
_tourelles_, on the Quai de la Fosse, in which Henry IV.
is said to have signed the Edict of Nantes.  I am,
however, not in a position to answer for this pedigree.

There is another point in the history of the fine
old houses which command the Loire, of which, I sup-
pose, one may be tolerably sure; that is, their having,
placid as they stand there to-day, looked down on the
horrors of the Terror of 1793, the bloody reign of the
monster Carrier and his infamous _noyades_.  The most
hideous episode of the Revolution was enacted at
Nantes, where hundreds of men and women, tied to-
gether in couples, were set afloat upon rafts and sunk
to the bottom of the Loire.  The tall eighteenth-century
house, full of the _air noble_, in France always reminds
me of those dreadful years, - of the street-scenes of the
Revolution.  Superficially, the association is incongru-
ous, for nothing could be more formal and decorous
than the patent expression of these eligible residences.
But whenever I have a vision of prisoners bound on
tumbrels that jolt slowly to the scaffold, of heads car-
ried on pikes, of groups of heated _citoyennes_ shaking
their fists at closed coach-windows, I see in the back-
ground the well-ordered features of the architecture of
the period, - the clear gray stone, the high pilasters,
the arching lines of the _entresol_, the classic pediment,
the slate-covered attic.  There is not much architecture
at Nantes except the domestic.  The cathedral, with a
rough west front and stunted towers, makes no im-
pression as you approach it.  It is true that it does its
best to recover its reputation as soon as you have
passed the threshold.  Begun in 1434 and finished
about the end of the fifteenth century, as I discover in
Murray, it has a magnificent nave, not of great length,
but of extraordinary height and lightness.  On the
other hand, it has no choir whatever.  There is much
entertainment in France in seeing what a cathedral
will take upon itself to possess or to lack; for it is
only the smaller number that have the full complement
of features.  Some have a very fine nave and no choir;
others a very fine choir and no nave.  Some have a
rich outside and nothing within; others a very blank
face and a very glowing heart.  There are a hundred
possibilities of poverty and wealth, and they make the
most unexpected combinations.

The great treasure of Nantes is the two noble se-
pulchral monuments which occupy either transept, and
one of which has (in its nobleness) the rare distinction
of being a production of our own time.  On the south
side stands the tomb of Francis II., the last of the
Dukes of Brittany, and of his second wife, Margaret
of Foix, erected in 1507 by their daughter Anne, whom
we have encountered already at the Chateau de Nantes,
where she was born; at Langeais, where she married
her first husband; at Amboise, where she lost him; at
Blois, where she married her second, the "good"
Louis XII., who divorced an impeccable spouse to
make room for her, and where she herself died.  Trans-
ferred to the cathedral from a demolished convent,
this monument, the masterpiece of Michel Colomb,
author of the charming tomb of the children of Charles
VIII. and the aforesaid Anne, which we admired at
Saint Gatien of Tours, is one of the most brilliant
works of the French Renaissance.  It has a splendid
effect, and is in perfect preservation.  A great table of
black marble supports the reclining figures of the duke
and duchess, who lie there peacefully and majestically,
in their robes and crowns, with their heads each on a
cushion, the pair of which are supported, from behind,
by three, charming little kneeling angels; at the foot of
the quiet couple are a lion and a greyhound, with
heraldic devices.  At each of the angles of the table
is a large figure in white marble of a woman elaborately
dressed, with a symbolic meaning, and these figures,
with their contemporary faces and clothes, which give
them the air of realistic portraits, are truthful and liv-
ing, if not remarkably beautiful.  Round the sides of
the tomb are small images of the apostles.  There is a
kind of masculine completeness in the work, and a
certain robustness of taste.

In nothing were the sculptors of the Renaissance
more fortunate than in being in advance of us with
their tombs: they have left us noting to say in regard
to the great final contrast, - the contrast between the
immobility of death and the trappings and honors that
survive.  They expressed in every way in which it was
possible to express it the solemnity, of their conviction
that the Marble image was a part of the personal
greatness of the defunct, and the protection, the re-
demption, of his memory.  A modern tomb, in com-
parison, is a sceptical affair; it insists too little on the
honors.  I say this in the face of the fact that one has
only to step across the cathedral of Nantes to stand in
the presence of one of the purest and most touching
of modern tombs.  Catholic Brittany has erected in
the opposite transept a monument to one of the most
devoted of her sons, General de Lamoriciere, the de-
fender of the Pope, the vanquished of Castelfidardo.
This noble work, from the hand of Paul Dubois, one
of the most interesting of that new generation of sculp-
tors who have revived in France an art of which our
overdressed century had begun to despair, has every
merit but the absence of a certain prime feeling.  It
is the echo of an earlier tune, - an echo with a beauti-
ful cadence.  Under a Renaissance canopy of white
marble, elaborately worked with arabesques and che-
rubs, in a relief so low that it gives the work a cer-
tain look of being softened and worn by time, lies the
body of the Breton soldier, with, a crucifix clasped to
his breast and a shroud thrown over his body.  At
each of the angles sits a figure in bronze, the two best
of which, representing Charity and Military Courage,
had given me extraordinary pleasure when they were
exhibited (in the clay) in the Salon of 1876.  They
are admirably cast, and they have a certain greatness:
the one, a serene, robust young mother, beautiful in
line and attitude; the other, a lean and vigilant young
man, in a helmet that overshadows his serious eyes,
resting an outstretched arm, an admirable military
member, upon the hilt of a sword.  These figures con-
tain abundant assurance that M. Paul Dubois has been
attentive to Michael Angelo, whom we have all heard
called a splendid example but a bad model.  The
visor-shadowed face of his warrior is more or less a
reminiscence of the figure on the tomb of Lorenzo de'
Medici at Florence; but it is doubtless none the worse
for that.  The interest of the work of Paul Dubois is
its peculiar seriousness, a kind of moral good faith
which is not the commonest feature of French art, and
which, united as it is in this case with exceeding
knowledge and a remarkable sense of form, produces
an impression, of deep refinement.  The whole monu-
ment is a proof of exquisitely careful study; but I am
not sure that this impression on the part of the spec-
tator is altogether a happy one.  It explains much of
its great beauty, and it also explains, perhaps, a little
of a certain weakness.  That word, however, is scarcely
in place; I only mean that M. Dubois has made a vi-
sible effort, which has been most fruitful.  Simplicity
is not always strength, and our complicated modern
genius contains treasures of intention.  This fathomless
modern element is an immense charm on the part of
M. Paul Dubois.  I am lost in admiration of the deep
aesthetic experience, the enlightenment of taste, re-
vealed by such work.  After that, I only hope that
Giuseppe Garibaldi may have a monument as fair.



XVI.

To go from Nantes to La Rochelle you travel
straight southward, across the historic _bocage_ of La
Vendee, the home of royalist bush-fighting.  The
country, which is exceedingly pretty, bristles with
copses, orchards, hedges, and with trees more spread-
ing and sturdy than the traveller is apt to deem the
feathery foliage of France.  It is true that as I pro-
ceeded it flattened out a good deal, so that for an
hour there was a vast featureless plain, which offered
me little entertainment beyond the general impression
that I was approaching the Bay of Biscay (from which,
in reality, I was yet far distant).  As we drew near
La Rochelle, however, the prospect brightened con-
siderably, and the railway kept its course beside a
charming little canal, or canalized river, bordered
with trees, and with small, neat, bright-colored, and
yet old-fashioned cottages and villas, which stood
back on the further side, behind small gardens, hedges,
painted palings, patches of turf.  The whole effect
was Dutch and delightful; and in being delightful,
though not in being Dutch, it prepared me for the
charms of La Rochelle, which from the moment I
entered it I perceived to be a fascinating little town,
a most original mixture of brightness and dulness.
Part of its brightness comes from its being extra-
ordinarily clean, - in which, after all, it _is_ Dutch; a
virtue not particularly noticeable at Bourges, Le Mans,
and Angers.  Whenever I go southward, if it be only
twenty miles, I begin to look out for the south, pre-
pared as I am to find the careless grace of those lati-
tudes even in things of which it may, be said that
they may be south of something, but are not southern.
To go from Boston to New York (in this state of
mind) is almost as soft a sensation as descending the
Italian side, of the Alps; and to go from New York to
Philadelphia is to enter a zone of tropical luxuriance
and warmth.  Given this absurd disposition, I could
not fail to flatter myself, on reaching La Rochelle,
that I was already in the Midi, and to perceive in
everything, in the language of the country, the _ca-
ractere meridional._  Really, a great many things had
a hint of it.  For that matter, it seems to me that to
arrive in the south at a bound - to wake up there, as
it were - would be a very imperfect pleasure.  The
full pleasure is to approach by stages and gradations;
to observe the successive shades of difference by
which it ceases to be the north.  These shades are
exceedingly fine, but your true south-lover has an eye
for them all.  If he perceive them at New York and
Philadelphia, - we imagine him boldly as liberated
from Boston, - how could he fail to perceive them at
La Rochelle?  The streets of  this dear little city are
lined with arcades, - good, big, straddling arcades of
stone, such as befit a land of hot summers, and which
recalled to me, not to go further, the dusky portions
of Bayonne.  It contains, moreover, a great wide
_place d'armes_, which looked for all the world like the
piazza of some dead Italian town, empty, sunny,
grass-grown, with a row of yellow houses overhanging
it, an unfrequented cafe, with a striped awning, a tall,
cold, florid, uninteresting cathedral of the eighteenth
century on one side, and on the other a shady walk,
which forms part of an old rampart.  I followed this
walk for some time, under the stunted trees, beside
the grass-covered bastions; it is very charming, wind-
ing and wandering, always with trees.  Beneath the
rampart is a tidal river, and on the other side, for a
long distance, the mossy walls of the immense garden
of a seminary.  Three hundred years ago, La Rochelle
was the great French stronghold of Protestantism; but
to-day it appears to be a'nursery of Papists.

The walk upon the rampart led me round to one
of the gatesi of the town, where I found some small
modern, fortifications and sundry red-legged soldiers,
and, beyond the fortifications, another shady walk, -
a _mail_, as the French say, as well as a _champ de
manoeuvre_, - on which latter expanse the poor little
red-legs were doing their exercise.  It was all very
quiet and very picturesque, rather in miniature; and
at once very tidy and a little out of repair.  This,
however, was but a meagre back-view of La Rochelle,
or poor side-view at best.  There are other gates than
the small fortified aperture just mentioned; one of
them, an old gray arch beneath a fine clock-tower, I
had passed through on my way from the station.
This picturesque Tour de l'Horloge separates the town
proper from the port; for beyond the old gray arch,
the place presents its bright, expressive little face to
the sea.  I had a charming walk about the harbor,
and along the stone piers and sea-walls that shut it
in.  This indeed, to take things in their order, was
after I had had my breakfast (which I took on arriv-
ing) and after I had been to the _hotel de ville_.  The
inn had a long narrow garden behind it, with some
very tall trees; and passing through this garden to a
dim and secluded _salle a manger_, buried in the heavy
shade, I had, while I sat at my repast, a feeling of
seclusion which amounted almost to a sense of in-
carceration.  I lost this sense, however, after I had
paid my bill, and went out to look for traces of the
famous siege, which is the principal title of La Rochelle
to renown.  I had come thither partly because I
thought it would be interesting to stand for a few
moments in so gallant a spot, and partly because, I
confess, I had a curiosity to see what had been the
starting-point of the Huguenot emigrants who founded
the town of New Rochelle in the State of New York,
a place in which I had passed certain memorable
hours.  It was strange to think, as I strolled through
the peaceful little port, that these quiet waters, during
the wars of religion, had swelled with a formidable
naval power.  The Rochelais had fleets and admirals,
and their stout little Protestant bottoms carried de-
fiance up and down.

To say that I found any traces of the siege would
be to misrepresent the taste for vivid whitewash by
which La Rochelle is distinguished to-day.  The only
trace is the dent in the marble top of the table on
which, in the _hotel de ville_, Jean Guiton, the mayor of
the city, brought down his dagger with an oath, when
in 1628 the vessels and regiments of Richelieu closed
about it on sea and land.  This terrible functionary
was the soul of the resistance; he held out from
February to October, in the midst of pestilence and
famine.  The whole episode has a brilliant place
among the sieges of history; it has been related a
hundred times, and I may only glance at it and pass.
I limit my ambition, in these light pages, to speaking
of those things of which I have personally received an
impression; and I have no such impression of the
defence of La Rochelle.  The hotel de ville is a
pretty little building, in the style of the Renaissance
of Francis I.; but it has left much of its interest in
the hands of the restorers.  It has been "done up"
without mercy; its natural place would be at Rochelle
the New.  A sort of battlemented curtain, flanked
with turrets, divides it from the street and contains
a low door (a low door in a high wall is always
felicitous), which admits you to an inner court, where
you discover the face of the building.  It has statues
set into it, and is raised upon a very low and very
deep arcade.  The principal function of the deferential
old portress who conducts you over the place is to call
your attention to the indented table of Jean Guiton;
but she shows you other objects of interest besides.
The interior is absolutely new and extremely sump-
tuous, abounding in tapestries, upholstery, morocco,
velvet, satin.  This is especially the case with a really
beautiful _grande salle_, where, surrdunded with the
most expensive upholstery, the mayor holds his official
receptions.  (So at least, said my worthy portress.)
The mayors of La Rochelle appear to have changed a
good deal since the days of the grim Guiton; but
these evidences of municipal splendor are interesting
for the light they throw on French manners.  Imagine
the mayor of an English or an American town of
twenty thousand inhabitants holding magisterial soirees
in the town-hall!  The said _grande salle_, which is un-
changed in form and its larger features, is, I believe,
the room in which the Rochelais debated as to whether
they should shut themselves up, and decided in the
affirmative.  The table and chair of Jean Guiton have
been restored, Iike everything else, and are very
elegant and coquettish pieces of furniture, - incongruous
relics of a season of starvation and blood.  I believe
that Protestantism is somewhat shrunken to-day at La
Rochelle, and has taken refuge mainly in. the _haute
societe_ and in a single place of worship.  There was
nothing particular to remind me of its supposed austerity
as, after leaving the hotel de ville, I walked along the
empty portions and cut out of the Tour de l'Horloge,
which I have already mentioned.  If I stopped and
looked up at this venerable monument, it was not to
ascertain the hour, for I foresaw that I should have
more time at La Rochelle than I knew what to do
with; but because its high, gray, weather-beaten face
was an obvious subject for a sketch.
The little port, which has two basins, and is ac-
cessible only to vessels of light tonnage, had a certain
gayety and as much local color as you please.  Fisher
folk of pictuesque type were strolling about, most
of them Bretons; several of the men with handsome,
simple faces, not at all brutal, and with a splendid
brownness, - the golden-brown color, on cheek and
beard, that you see on an old Venetian sail.  It was
a squally, showery day, with sudden drizzles of sun-
shine; rows of rich-toned fishing-smacks were drawn
up along the quays.  The harbor is effective to the
eye by reason of three battered old towers which, at
different points, overhang it and look infinitely weather-
washed and sea-silvered.  The most striking of these,
the Tour de la Lanterne, is a big gray mass, of the
fifteenth century, flanked with turrets and crowned
with a Gothic steeple.  I found it was called by the
people of the place the Tour des Quatre Sergents,
though I know not what connection it has with the
touching history of the four young sergeants of the
garrison of La Rochelle, who were arrested in 1821
as conspirators against the Government of the Bour-
bons, and executed, amid general indignation, in Paris
in the following year.  The quaint little walk, with
its label of Rue sur les Murs, to which one ascends
from beside the Grosse Horloge, leads to this curious
Tour de la Lanterne and passes under it.  This walk
has the top of the old town-wall, toward the sea, for
a parapet on one side, and is bordered on the other
with decent but irregular little tenements of fishermen,
where brown old women, whose caps are as white as
if they were painted, seem chiefly in possession.  In
this direction there is a very pretty stretch of shore,
out of the town, through the fortifications (which are
Vauban's, by the way); through, also, a diminutive
public garden or straggling shrubbery, which edges
the water and carries its stunted verdure as far as a
big Etablissernent des Bains.  It was too late in the
year to bathe, and the Etablissement had the bank-
rupt aspect which belongs to such places out of the
season; so I turned my back upon it, and gained, by
a circuit in the course of which there were sundry
water-side items to observe, the other side of the
cheery little port, where there is a long breakwater
and a still longer sea-wall, on which I walked awhile,
to inhale the strong, salt breath of the Bay of Biscay.
La Rochelle serves, in the months of July and August,
as a _station de bains_ for a modest provincial society;
and, putting aside the question of inns, it must be
charming on summer afternoons.



XVII.

It is an injustice to Poitiers to approach her by
night, as I did some three hours after leaving La
Rochelle; for what Poitiers has of best, as they would
say at Poitiers, is the appearance she presents to the
arriving stranger who puts his head out of the window
of the train.  I gazed into the gloom from such an
aperture before we got into the station, for I re-
membered the impression received on another occa-
sion; but I saw nothing save the universal night,
spotted here and there with an ugly railway lamp.
It was only as I departed, the following day, that I
assured myself that Poitiers still makes something of
the figure she ought on the summit of her consider-
able bill.  I have a kindness for any little group of
towers, any cluster of roofs and chimneys, that lift
themselves from an eminence over which a long road
ascends in zigzags; such a picture creates for the mo-
ment a presumption that you are in Italy, and even
leads you to believe that if you mount the winding
road you will come to an old town-wall, an expanse
of creviced brownness, and pass under a gateway sur-
mounted by the arms of a mediaeval despot.  Why
I should find it a pleasure, in France, to imagine my-
self in Italy, is more than I can say; the illusion has
never lasted long enough to be analyzed.  From the
bottom of its perch Poitiers looks large and high;
and indeed, the evening I reached it, the interminiable
climb of the omnibus of the hotel I had selected,
which I found at the station, gave me the measure of
its commanding position.  This hotel, "magnifique
construction ornee de statues," as the Guide-Joanne,
usually so reticent, takes the trouble to announce, has
an omnibus, and, I suppose, has statues, though I
didn't perceive them; but it has very little else save
immemorial accumulations of dirt.  It is magnificent,
if you will, but it is not even relatively proper; and
a dirty inn has always seemed to me the dirtiest of
human things, - it has so many opportunities to betray
itself.

Poiters covers a large space, and is as crooked
and straggling as you please; but these advantages are
not accompanied with any very salient features or any
great wealth of architecture.  Although there are few
picturesque houses, however, there are two or three
curious old churches.  Notre Dame la Grande, in the
market-place, a small romanesque structure of the
twelfth century, has a most interesting and venerable
exterior.  Composed, like all the churches of Poitiers,
of a light brown stone with a yellowish tinge, it is
covered with primitive but ingenious sculptures, and is
really an impressive monument.  Within, it has lately
been daubed over with the most hideous decorative
painting that was ever inflicted upon passive pillars
and indifferent vaults.  This battered yet coherent
little edifice has the touching look that resides in
everything supremely old: it has arrived at the age at
which such things cease to feel the years; the waves
of time have worn its edges to a kind of patient dul-
ness; there is something mild and smooth, like the
stillness, the deafness, of an octogenarian, even in its
rudeness of ornament, and it has become insensible
to differences of a century or two.  The cathedral
interested me much less than Our Lady the Great,
and I have not the spirit to go into statistics about it.
It is not statistical to say that the cathedral stands
half-way down the hill of Poitiers, in a quiet and
grass-grown _place_, with an approach of crooked lanes
and blank garden-walls, and that its most striking
dimension is the width of its facade.  This width is
extraordinary, but it fails, somehow, to give nobleness
to the edifice, which looks within (Murray makes the
remark) like a large public hall.  There are a nave
and two aisles, the latter about as high as the nave;
and there are some very fearful modern pictures,
which you may see much better than you usually see
those specimens of the old masters that lurk in glow-
ing side-chapels, there being no fine old glass to dif-
fuse a kindly gloom.  The sacristan of the cathedral
showed me something much better than all this bright
bareness; he led me a short distance out of it to the
small Temple de Saint-Jean, which is the most curious
object at Poitiers.  It is an early Christian chapel,
one of the earliest in France; originally, it would seem,
- that is, in the sixth or seventh century, - a bap-
tistery, but converted into a church while the Christian
era was still comparatively young.  The Temple de
Saint-Jean is therefore a monument even more vener-
able than Notre Dame la Grande, and that numbness
of age which I imputed to Notre Dame ought to reside
in still larger measure in its crude and colorless little
walls.  I call them crude, in spite of their having
been baked through by the centuries, only because,
although certain rude arches and carvings are let
into them, and they are surmounted at either end with
a small gable, they have (so far as I can remember)
little fascination of surface.  Notre Dame is still ex-
pressive, still pretends to be alive; but the Temple
has delivered its message, and is completely at rest.
It retains a kind of atrium, on the level of the street,
from which you descend to the original floor, now un-
covered, but buried for years under a false bottom.
A semicircular apse was, apparently at the time of its
conversion into a church, thrown out from the east
wall.  In the middle is the cavity of the old baptismal
font.  The walls and vaults are covered with traces
of extremely archaic frescos, attributed, I believe, to
the twelfth century.  These vague, gaunt, staring
fragments of figures are, to a certain extent, a reminder
of some of the early Christian churches in Rome; they
even faintly recalled to me the great mosaics of
Ravenna.  The Temple de Saint-Jean has neither the
antiquity nor the completeness of those extraordinary
monuments, nearly the most impressive in Europe;
but, as one may say, it is very well for Poitiers.

Not far from it, in a lonely corner which was ani-
mated for the moment by the vociferations of several
old, women who were selling tapers, presumably for
the occasion of a particular devotion, is the graceful
romanesque church erected in the twelfth century to
Saint Radegonde, - a lady who found means to be a
saint even in the capacity of a Merovingian queen.
It bears a general resemblance to Notre Dame la
Grande, and, as I remember it, is corrugated in some-
what the same manner with porous-looking carvings;
but I confess that what I chiefly recollect is the row
of old women sitting in front of it, each with a tray
of waxen tapers in her lap, and upbraiding me for
my neglect of the opportunity to offer such a tribute to
the saint.  I know not whether this privilege is oc-
casional or constant; within the church there was no
appearance of a festival, and I see that the name-
day of Saint Radegonde occurs in August, so that the
importunate old women sit there always, perhaps, and
deprive of its propriety the epithet I just applied to
this provincial corner.  In spite of the old women,
however, I suspect that the place is lonely; and in-
deed it is perhaps the old women that have made the
desolation.

The lion of Poitiers, in the eyes of the natives, is
doubtless the Palais de Justice, in the shadow of which
the statue-guarded hotel, just mentioned, erects itself;
and the gem of the court-house, which has a prosy
modern front, with pillars and a high flight of steps,
is the curious _salle des pas perdus_, or central hall, out
of which the different tribunals open.  This is a
feature of every French court-house, and seems the
result of a conviction that a palace of justice - the
French deal in much finer names than we - should be
in some degree palatial.  The great hall at Poitiers
has a long pedigree, as its walls date back to the
twelfth century, and its open wooden roof, as well as
the remarkable trio of chimney-pieces at the right end
of the room as you enter, to the fifteenth.  The three
tall fireplaces, side by side, with a delicate gallery
running along the top of them, constitute the originality
of this ancient chamber, and make one think of the
groups that must formerly have gathered there, - of
all the wet boot-soles, the trickling doublets, the
stiffened fingers, the rheumatic shanks, that must have
been presented to such an incomparable focus of
heat.  To-day, I am afraid, these mighty hearts are
forever cold; justice it probably administered with the
aid of a modern _calorifere_, and the walls of the palace
are perforated with regurgitating tubes.  Behind and
above the gallery that surmounts the three fireplaces
are high Gothic windows, the tracery of which masks,
in some sort, the chimneys; and in each angle of this
and of the room to the right and left of the trio of
chimneys, is all open-work spiral staircase, ascending
to - I forget where; perhaps to the roof of the edifice.
This whole side of the _salle_ is very lordly, and seems
to express an unstinted hospitality, to extend the
friendliest of all invitations, to bid the whole world
come and get warm.  It was the invention of John,
Duke of Berry and Count of Poitou, about 1395.  I
give this information on the authority of the Guide-
Joanne, from which source I gather much other curious
learning; for instance, that it was in this building,
when it had surely a very different front, that Charles VII.
was proclaimed king, in 1422; and that here Jeanne
Darc was subjected, in 1429, to the inquisition of
certain doctors and matrons.

The most charming thing at Poitiers is simply the
Promenade de Blossac, - a small public garden at one
end of the flat top of the hill.  It has a happy look
of the last century (having been arranged at that
period), and a beautiful sweep of view over the sur-
rounding country, and especially of the course of the
little river Clain, which winds about a part of the base
of the big mound of Poitiers.  The limit of this dear
little garden is formed, on the side that turns away
from the town, by the rampart erected in the fourteenth
century, and by its big semicircular bastions.  This
rampart, of great length, has a low parapet; you look
over it at the charming little vegetable-gardens with
which the base of the hill appears exclusively to be
garnished.  The whole prospect is delightful, especially
the details of the part just under the walls, at the end
of the walk.  Here the river makes a shining twist,
which a painter might have invented, and the side of
the hill is terraced into several ledges, - a sort of
tangle of small blooming patches and little pavillions
with peaked roofs and green shutters.  It is idle to
attempt to reproduce all this in words; it should be
reproduced only in water-colors.  The reader, how-
ever, will already have remarked that disparity in
these ineffectual pages, which are pervaded by the
attempt to sketch without a palette or brushes.  He will
doubtless, also, be struck with the grovelling vision
which, on such a spot as the ramparts of Poitiers,
peoples itself with carrots and cabbages rather than
with images of the Black Prince and the captive king.
I am not sure that in looking out from the Promenade
de Blossac you command the old battle-field; it is
enough that it was not far off, and that the great rout
of Frenchmen poured into the walls of Poitiers, leav-
ing on the ground a number of the fallen equal to
the little army (eight thousand) of the invader.  I did
think of the battle.  I wondered, rather helplessly,
where it had taken place; and I came away (as the
reader will see from the preceding sentence) without
finding out.  This indifference, however, was a result
rather of a general dread of military topography than
of a want of admiration of this particular victory,
which I have always supposed to be one of the most
brilliant on record.  Indeed, I should be almost
ashamed, and very much at a loss, to say what light
it was that this glorious day seemed to me to have
left forever on the horizon, and why the very name of
the place had always caused my blood gently to tingle.
It is carrying the feeling of race to quite inscrutable
lengths when a vague American permits himself an
emotion because more than five centuries ago, on
French soil, one rapacious Frenchman got the better
of another.  Edward was a Frenchman as well as
John, and French were the cries that urged each of
the hosts to the fight.  French is the beautiful motto
graven round the image of the Black Prince, as he
lies forever at rest in the choir of Canterbury: _a la
mort ne pensai-je mye_.  Nevertheless, the victory of
Poitiers declines to lose itself in these considerations;
the sense of it is a part of our heritage, the joy of it
a part of our imagination, and it filters down through
centuries and migrations till it titillates a New Yorker
who forgets in his elation that he happens at that
moment to be enjoying the hospitality of France.  It
was something done, I know not how justly, for Eng-
land; and what was done in the fourteenth century
for England was done also for New York.



XVIII.

If it was really for the sake of the Black Prince
that I had stopped at Poitiers (for my prevision of
Notre Dame la Grande and of the little temple of St.
John was of the dimmest), I ought to have stopped at
Angouleme for the sake of David and Eve Sechard,
of Lucien de Rubempre and of Madame de Bargeton,
who when she wore a _toilette etudiee_ sported a Jewish
turban ornamented with an Eastern brooch, a scarf of
gauze, a necklace of cameos, and a robe of "painted
muslin," whatever that may be; treating herself to
these luxuries out of an income of twelve thousand
francs.  The persons I have mentioned have not that
vagueness of identity which is the misfortune of his-
torical characters; they are real, supremely real, thanks
to their affiliation to the great Balzac, who had invented
an artificial reality which was as much better than the
vulgar article as mock-turtle soup is than the liquid it
emulates.  The first time I read "Les Illusions Perdues"
I should have refused to believe that I was capable of
passing the old capital of Anjou without alighting to
visit the Houmeau.  But we never know what we are
capable of till we are tested, as I reflected when I
found myself looking back at Angouleme from the
window of the train, just after we had emerged from
the long tunnel that passes under the town.  This
tunnel perforates the hill on which, like Poitiers,
Angouleme rears itself, and which gives it an eleva-
tion still greater than that of Poitiers.  You may have
a tolerable look at the cathedral without leaving the
railway-carriage; for it stands just above the tunnel,
and is exposed, much foreshortened, to the spectator
below.  There is evidently a charming walk round the
plateau of the town, commanding those pretty views
of which Balzac gives an account.  But the train
whirled me away, and these are my only impressions.
The truth is that I had no need, just at that moment,
of putting myself into communication with Balzac; for
opposite to me in the compartment were a couple of
figures almost as vivid as the actors in the "Comedie
Humaine."  One of these was a very genial and dirty
old priest, and the other was a reserved and concen-
trated young monk, - the latter (by which I mean a
monk of any kind) being a rare sight to-day in France.
This young man, indeed, was mitigatedly monastic.
He had a big brown frock and cowl, but he had also
a shirt and a pair of shoes; he had, instead of a
hempen scourge round his waist, a stout leather thong,
and he carried with him a very profane little valise.
He also read, from beginning to end, the "Figaro"
which the old priest, who had done the same, presented
to him; and he looked altogether as if, had he not
been a monk, he would have made a distinguished
officer of engineers.  When he was not reading the
"Figaro" he was conning his breviary or answering,
with rapid precision and with a deferential but dis-
couraging dryness, the frequent questions of his com-
panion, who was of quite another type.  This worthy
had a bored, good-natured, unbuttoned, expansive
look; was talkative, restless, almost disreputably human.
He was surrounded by a great deal of small luggage,
and had scattered over the carriage his books, his
papers, the fragments of his lunch, and the contents
of an extraordinary bag, which he kept beside him -
a kind of secular reliquary - and which appeared to
contain the odds and ends of a lifetime, as he took
from it successively a pair of slippers, an old padlock
(which evidently didn't belong to it), an opera-glass, a
collection of almanacs, and a large sea-shell, which he
very carefully examined.  I think that if he had not
been afraid of the young monk, who was so much
more serious than he, he would have held the shell to
his ear, like a child.  Indeed, he was a very childish
and delightful old priest, and his companion evidently
thought him most frivolous.  But I liked him the better
of the two.  He was not a country cure, but an eccle-
siastic of some rank, who had seen a good deal both
of the church and of the world; and if I too had not
been afraid of his colleague, who read the "Figaro"
as seriously as if it had been an encyclical, I should
have entered into conversation with him.

All this while I was getting on to Bordeaux, where
I permitted myself to spend three days.  I am afraid
I have next to nothing to show for them, and that
there would be little profit in lingering on this episode,
which is the less to be justified as I had in former
years examined Bordeaux attentively enough.  It con-
tains a very good hotel, - an hotel not good enough,
however, to keep you there for its own sake.  For the
rest, Bordeaux is a big, rich, handsome, imposing com-
mercial town, with long rows of fine old eighteenth-
century houses, which overlook the yellow Garonne.  I
have spoken of the quays of Nantes as fine, but those
of Bordeaux have a wider sweep and a still more
architectural air.  The appearance of such a port as
this makes the Anglo-Saxon tourist blush for the sor-
did water-fronts of Liverpool and New York, which,
with their larger activity, have so much more reason
to be stately.  Bordeaux gives a great impression of
prosperous industries, and suggests delightful ideas,
images of prune-boxes and bottled claret.  As the focus
of distribution of the best wine in the world, it is in-
deed a sacred city, - dedicated to the worship of
Bacchus in the most discreet form.  The country all
about it is covered with precious vineyards, sources of
fortune to their owners and of satisfaction to distant
consumers; and as you look over to the hills beyond
the Garonne you see them in the autumn sunshine,
fretted with the rusty richness of this or that immortal
_clos_.  But the principal picture, within the town, is that
of the vast curving quays, bordered with houses that
look like the _hotels_ of farmers-general of the last cen-
tury, and of the wide, tawny river, crowded with ship-
ping and spanned by the largest of bridges.  Some of
the types on the water-side are of the sort that arrest
a sketcher, - figures of stalwart, brown-faced Basques,
such as I had seen of old in great numbers at Biarritz,
with their loose circular caps, their white sandals, their
air of walking for a wager.  Never was a tougher, a
harder race.  They are not mariners, nor watermen,
but, putting questions of temper aside, they are the
best possible dock-porters.  "Il s'y fait un commerce
terrible," a _douanier_ said to me, as he looked up and
down the interminable docks; and such a place has
indeed much to say of the wealth, the capacity for
production, of France, - the bright, cheerful, smokeless
industry of the wonderful country which produces,
above all, the agreeable things of life, and turns even
its defeats and revolutions into gold.  The whole town
has an air of almost depressing opulence, an appear-
ance which culminates in the great _place_ which sur-
rounds the Grand-Theatre, - an establishment in the
highest style, encircled with columns, arcades, lamps,
gilded cafes.  One feels it to be a monument to the
virtue of the well-selected bottle.  If I had not for-
bidden myself to linger, I should venture to insist on
this, and, at the risk of being considered fantastic,
trace an analogy between good claret and the best
qualities of the French mind; pretend that there is a
taste of sound Bordeaux in all the happiest manifes-
tations of that fine organ, and that, correspondingly,
there is a touch of French reason, French complete-
ness, in a glass of Pontet-Canet.  The danger of such
an excursion would lie mainly in its being so open to
the reader to take the ground from under my feet by
saying that good claret doesn't exist.  To this I should
have no reply whatever.  I should be unable to tell
him where to find it.  I certainly didn't find it at
Bordeaux, where I drank a most vulgar fluid; and it
is of course notorious that a large part of mankind is
occupied in vainly looking for it.  There was a great
pretence of putting it forward at the Exhibition which
was going on at Bordeaux at the time of my visit, an
"exposition philomathique," lodged in a collection of
big temporary buildings in the Allees d'Or1eans, and
regarded by the Bordelais for the moment as the most
brilliant feature of their city.  Here were pyramids of
bottles, mountains of bottles, to say nothing of cases
and cabinets of bottles.  The contemplation of these
glittering tiers was of course not very convincing; and
indeed the whole arrangement struck me as a high
impertinence.  Good wine is not an optical pleasure,
it is an inward emotion; and if there was a chamber
of degustation on the premises, I failed to discover it.
It was not in the search for it, indeed, that I spent
half an hour in this bewildering bazaar.  Like all
"expositions," it seemed to me to be full of ugly
things, and gave one a portentous idea of the quantity
of rubbish that man carries with him on his course
through the ages.  Such an amount of luggage for a
journey after all so short!  There were no individual
objects; there was nothing but dozens and hundreds,
all machine-made and expressionless, in spite of the
repeated grimace, the conscious smartness, of "the last
new thing," that was stamped on all of them.  The
fatal facility, of the French _article_ becomes at last as
irritating as the refrain of a popular song.  The poor
"Indiens Galibis" struck me as really more interesting,
- a group of stunted savages who formed one of the
attractions of the place, and were confined in a pen
in the open air, with a rabble of people pushing and
squeezing, hanging over the barrier, to look at them.
They had no grimace, no pretension to be new, no
desire to catch your eye.  They looked at their visitors
no more than they looked at each other, and seemed
ancient, indifferent, terribly bored.



XIX.

There is much entertainment in the journey through
the wide, smiling garden of Gascony; I speak of it as
I took it in going from Bordeaux to Toulouse.  It is
the south, quite the south, and had for the present
narrator its full measure of the charm he is always
determined to find in countries that may even by
courtesy be said to appertain to the sun.  It was,
moreover, the happy and genial view of these mild
latitudes, which, Heaven knows, often have a dreari-
ness of their own; a land teeming with corn and wine,
and speaking everywhere (that is, everywhere the phyl-
loxera had not laid it waste) of wealth and plenty.
The road runs constantly near the Garonne, touching
now and then its slow, brown, rather sullen stream, a
sullenness that encloses great dangers and disasters.
The traces of the horrible floods of 1875 have dis-
appeared, and the land smiles placidly enough while
it waits for another immersion.  Toulouse, at the period
I speak of, was up to its middle (and in places above
it) in water, and looks still as if it had been thoroughly
soaked, - as if it had faded and shrivelled with a long
steeping.  The fields and copses, of course, are more
forgiving.  The railway line follows as well the charm-
ing Canal du Midi, which is as pretty as a river, bar-
ring the straightness, and here and there occupies the
foreground, beneath a screen of dense, tall trees, while
the Garonne takes a larger and more irregular course
a little way beyond it.  People who are fond of canals
- and, speaking from the pictorial standpoint, I hold
the taste to be most legitimate - will delight in this
admirable specimen of the class, which has a very in-
teresting history, not to be narrated here.  On the
other side of the road (the left), all the way, runs a
long, low line of hills, or rather one continuous hill,
or perpetual cliff, with a straight top, in the shape of
a ledge of rock, which might pass for a ruined wall.
I am afraid the reader will lose patience with my habit
of constantly referring to the landscape of Italy, as if
that were the measure of the beauty of every other.
Yet I am still more afraid that I cannot apologize for
it, and must leave it in its culpable nakedness.  It is
an idle habit; but the reader will long since have dis-
covered that this was an idle journey, and that I give
my impressions as they came to me.  It came to me,
then, that in all this view there was something trans-
alpine with a greater smartness and freshness and
much less elegance and languor.  This impression was
occasionally deepened by the appearance, on the long
eminence of which I speak, of a village, a church, or
a chateau, which seemed to look down at the plain
from over the ruined wall.  The perpetual vines, the
bright-faced flat-roofed houses, covered with tiles, the
softness and sweetness of the light and air, recalled
the prosier portions of the Lombard plain.  Toulouse
itself has a little of this Italian expression, but not
enough to give a color to its dark, dirty, crooked streets,
which are irregular without being eccentric, and which,
if it were not for the, superb church of Saint-Sernin,
would be quite destitute of monuments.

I have already alluded to the way in which the
names of certain places impose themselves on the
mind, and I must add that of Toulouse to the list of
expressive appellations.  It certainly evokes a vision,
- suggests something highly _meridional_.  But the city,
it must be confessed, is less pictorial than the word,
in spite of the Place du Capitole, in spite of the quay
of the Garonne, in spite of the curious cloister of the
old museum.  What justifies the images that are latent
in the word is not the aspect, but the history, of the
town.  The hotel to which the well-advised traveller
will repair stands in a corner of the Place du Capitole,
which is the heart and centre of Toulouse, and which
bears a vague and inexpensive resemblance to Piazza
Castello at Turin.  The Capitol, with a wide modern
face, occupies one side, and, like the palace at Turin,
looks across at a high arcade, under which the hotels,
the principal shops, and the lounging citizens are
gathered.  The shops are probably better than the
Turinese, but the people are not so good.  Stunted,
shabby, rather vitiated looking, they have none of the
personal richness of the sturdy Piedmontese; and I
will take this occasion to remark that in the course of
a journey of several weeks in the French provinces I
rarely encountered a well-dressed male.  Can it be
possible the republics are unfavorable to a certain
attention to one's boots and one's beard?  I risk this
somewhat futile inquiry because the proportion of mens ???
coats and trousers seemed to be about the same in
France and in my native land.  It was notably lower
than in England and in Italy, and even warranted
the supposition that most good provincials have their
chin shaven and their boots blacked but once a week.
I hasten to add, lest my observation should appear to
be of a sadly superficial character, that the manners
and conversation of these gentlemen bore (whenever
I had occasion to appreciate them) no relation to the
state of their chin and their boots.  They were almost
always marked by an extreme amenity.  At Toulouse
there was the strongest temptation to speak to people,
simply for the entertainment of hearing them reply
with that curious, that fascinating accent of the
Languedoc, which appears to abound in final con-
sonants, and leads the Toulousains to say _bien-g_ and
_maison-g_, like Englishmen learning French.  It is as
if they talked with their teeth rather than with their
tongue.  I find in my note-book a phrase in regard to
Toulouse which is perhaps a little ill-natured, but
which I will transcribe as it stands: "The oddity is
that the place should be both animated and dull.  A
big, brown-skinned population, clattering about in a
flat, tortuous town, which produces nothing whatever
that I can discover.  Except the church of Saint-
Sernin and the fine old court of the Hotel d'Assezat,
Toulouse has no architecture; the houses are for the
most part of brick, of a grayish-red color, and have no
particular style.  The brick-work of the place is in fact
very poor, - inferior to that of the north Italian towns,
and quite wanting in the richness of tone which this
homely material takes on in the damp climates of the
north."  And then my note-book goes on to narrate a
little visit to the Capitol, which was soon made, as the
building was in course of repair and half the rooms
were closed.



XX.

The history of Toulouse is detestable, saturated
with blood and perfidy; and the ancient custom of
the Floral Games, grafted upon all sorts of internecine
traditions, seems, with its false pastoralism, its mock
chivalry, its display of fine feelings, to set off rather
than to mitigate these horrors.  The society was
founded in the fourteenth century, and it has held
annual meetings ever since, - meetings at which poems
in the fine old _langue d'oc_ are declaimed and a
blushing laureate is chosen.  This business takes place
in the Capitol, before the chief magistrate of the town,
who is known as the _capitoul_, and of all the pretty
women as well, - a class very numerous at Toulouse.
It was impossible to have a finer person than that of
the portress who pretended to show me the apart-
ments in which the Floral Games are held; a big,
brown, expansive woman, still in the prime of life,
with a speaking eye, an extraordinary assurance, and
a pair of magenta stockings, which were inserted into
the neatest and most polished little black sabots,
and which, as she clattered up the stairs before me,
lavishly displaying them, made her look like the
heroine of an _opera-bouffe_.  Her talk was all in _n_'s,
_g_'s, and _d_'s, and in mute _e_'s strongly accented, as
_autre_, _theatre_, _splendide_, - the last being an epithet
she applied to everything the Capitol contained, and
especially to a horrible picture representing the famous
Clemence Isaure, the reputed foundress of the poetical
contest, presiding on one of these occasions.  I won-
dered whether Clemence Isaure had been anything
like this terrible Toulousaine of to-day, who would
have been a capital figure-head for a floral game.
The lady in whose honor the picture I have just men-
tioned was painted is a somewhat mythical personage,
and she is not to be found in the "Biographie Uni-
verselle."  She is, however, a very graceful myth; and
if she never existed, her statue does, at least, - a
shapeless effigy, transferred to the Capitol from the
so-called tomb of Clemence in the old church of La
Daurade.  The great hall in which the Floral Games
are held was encumbered with scaffoldings, and I
was unable to admire the long series of busts of the
bards who have won prizes and the portraits of all
the capitouls of Toulouse.  As a compensation I was
introduced to a big bookcase, filled with the poems
that have been crowned since the days of the trou-
badours (a portentous collection), and the big butcher's
knife with which, according to the legend, Henry,
Duke of Montmorency, who had conspired against the
great cardinal with Gaston of Orleans and Mary de ??????
Medici, was, in 1632, beheaded on this spot by the
order of Richelieu.  With these objects the interest of
the Capitol was exhausted.  The building, indeed,
has not the grandeur of its name, which is a sort
of promise that the visitor will find some sensible
embodiment of the old Roman tradition that once
flourished in this part of France.  It is inferior in
impressiveness to the other three famous Capitols of
the modern world, - that of Rome (if I may call the
present structure modern) and those of Washington
and Albany!

The only Roman remains at Toulouse are to be
found in the museum, - a very interesting establish-
ment, which I was condemned to see as imperfectly
as I had seen the Capitol.  It was being rearranged;
and the gallery of paintings, which is the least in-
teresting feature, was the only part that was not
upside-down.  The pictures are mainly of the mo-
dern French school, and I remember nothing but a
powerful, though disagreeable specimen of Henner,
who paints the human body, and paints it so well,
with a brush dipped in blackness; and, placed among
the paintings, a bronze replica of the charming young
David of Mercie.  These things have been set out in
the church of an old monastery, long since suppressed,
and the rest of the collection occupies the cloisters.
These are two in number, - a small one, which you
enter first from the street, and a very vast and ele-
gant one beyond it, which with its light Gothic arches
and slim columns (of the fourteenth century), its broad
walk its little garden, with old tombs and statues in
the centre, is by far the most picturesque, the most
sketchable, spot in Toulouse.  It must be doubly so
when the Roman busts, inscriptions, slabs and sarco-
phagi, are ranged along the walls; it must indeed (to
compare small things with great, and as the judicious
Murray remarks) bear a certain resemblance to the
Campo Santo at Pisa.  But these things are absent
now; the cloister is a litter of confusion, and its trea-
sures have been stowed away, confusedly, in sundry
inaccessible rooms.  The custodian attempted to con-
sole me by telling me that when they are exhibited
again it will be on a scientific basis, and with an
order and regularity of which they were formerly
innocent.  But I was not consoled.  I wanted simply
the spectacle, the picture, and I didn't care in the
least for the classification.  Old Roman fragments, ex-
posed to light in the open air, under a southern sky,
in a quadrangle round a garden, have an immortal
charm simply in their general effect; and the charm
is all the greater when the soil of the very place has
yielded them up.



XXI.

My real consolation was an hour I spent in Saint-
Sernin, one of the noblest churches in southern France,
and easily the first among those of Toulouse.  This
great structure, a masterpiece of twelfth-century ro-
manesque, and dedicated to Saint Saturninus, - the
Toulousains have abbreviated, - is, I think, alone worth
a journey to Toulouse.  What makes it so is the
extraordinary seriousness of its interior; no other term
occurs to me as expressing so well the character of
its clear gray nave.  As a general thing, I do not
favor the fashion of attributing moral qualities to
buildings; I shrink from talking about tender porticos
and sincere campanili; but I find I cannot get on at
all without imputing some sort of morality to Saint-
Sernin.  As it stands to-day, the church has been
completely restored by Viollet-le-Duc.  The exterior is
of brick, and has little charm save that of a tower of
four rows of arches, narrowing together as they ascend.
The nave is of great length and height, the barrel-roof
of stone, the effect of the round arches and pillars in
the triforium especially fine.  There are two low aisles
on either side.  The choir is very deep and narrow;
it seems to close together, and looks as if it were
meant for intensely earnest rites.  The transepts are
most noble, especially the arches of the second tier.
The whole church is narrow for its length, and is
singularly complete and homogeneous.  As I say all
this, I feel that I quite fail to give an impression of
its manly gravity, its strong proportions or of the lone-
some look of its renovated stones as I sat there while
the October twilight gathered.  It is a real work of
art, a high conception.  The crypt, into which I was
eventually led captive by an importunate sacristan, is
quite another affair, though indeed I suppose it may
also be spoken of as a work of art.  It is a rich museum
of relics, and contains the head of Saint Thomas
Aquinas, wrapped up in a napkin and exhibited in a
glass case.  The sacristan took a lamp and guided me
about, presenting me to one saintly remnant after an-
other.  The impression was grotesque, but sorne of
the objects were contained in curious old cases of
beaten silver and brass; these things, at least, which
looked as if they had been transmitted from the early
church, were venerable.  There was, however, a kind
of wholesale sanctity about the place which overshot
the mark; it pretends to be one of the holiest spots
in the world.  The effect is spoiled by the way the
sacristans hang about and offer to take you into it for
ten sous, - I was accosted by two and escaped from
another, - and by the familiar manner in which you
pop in and out.  This episode rather broke the charm
of Saint-Sernin, so that I took my departure and went
in search of the cathedral.  It was scarcely worth find-
ing, and struck me as an odd, dislocated fragment.
The front consists only of a portal, beside which a tall
brick tower, of a later period, has been erected.  The
nave was wrapped in dimness, with a few scattered
lamps.  I could only distinguish an immense vault,
like a high cavern, without aisles.  Here and there in
the gloom was a kneeling figure; the whole place was
mysterious and lop-sided.  The choir was curtained
off; it appeared not to correspond with the nave, - that
is, not to have the same axis.  The only other ec-
clesiastical impression I gathered at Toulouse came to
me in the church of La Daurade, of which the front,
on the quay by the Garonne, was closed with scaffold-
ings; so that one entered it from behind, where it is
completely masked by houses, through a door which
has at first no traceable connection with it.  It is a
vast, high, modernised, heavily decorated church, dimly
lighted at all times, I should suppose, and enriched
by the shades of evening at the time I looked into it.
I perceived that it consisted mainly of a large square,
beneath a dome, in the centre of which a single person
- a lady - was praying with the utmost absorption.
The manner of access to the church interposed such
an obstacle to the outer profanities that I had a sense
of intruding, and presently withdrew, carrying with me
a picture of the, vast, still interior, the gilded roof
gleaming in the twilight, and the solitary worshipper.
What was she praying for, and was she not almost
afraid to remain there alone?

For the rest, the picturesque at Toulouse consists
principally of the walk beside the Garonne, which is
spanned, to the faubourg of Saint-Cyprien, by a stout
brick bridge.  This hapless suburb, the baseness of
whose site is noticeable, lay for days under the water
at the time of the last inundations.  The Garonne
had almost mounted to the roofs of the houses, and
the place continues to present a blighted, frightened
look.  Two or three persons, with whom I had some
conversation, spoke of that time as a memory of horror.
I have not done with my Italian comparisons; I shall
never have done with them.  I am therefore free to
say that in the way in which Toulouse looks out on
the Garonne there was something that reminded me
vaguely of the way in which Pisa looks out on the
Arno.  The red-faced houses - all of brick - along the
quay have a mixture of brightness and shabbiness, as
well as the fashion of the open _loggia_ in the top-
story.  The river, with another bridge or two, might
be the Arno, and the buildings on the other side of
it - a hospital, a suppressed convent - dip their feet
into it with real southern cynicism.  I have spoken of
the old Hotel d'Assezat as the best house at Toulouse;
with the exception of the cloister of the museum, it is
the only "bit" I remember.  It has fallen from the
state of a noble residence of the sixteenth century to
that of a warehouse and a set of offices; but a certain
dignity lingers in its melancholy court, which is divided
from the street by a gateway that is still imposing,
and in which a clambering vine and a red Virginia-
creeper were suspended to the rusty walls of brick
stone.

The most interesting house at Toulouse is far from
being the most striking.  At the door of No. 50 Rue
des Filatiers, a featureless, solid structure, was found
hanging, one autumn evening, the body of the young
Marc-Antoine Calas, whose ill-inspired suicide was to
be the first act of a tragedy so horrible.  The fana-
ticism aroused in the townsfolk by this incident; the
execution by torture of Jean Calas, accused as a
Protestant of having hanged his son, who had gone
over to the Church of Rome; the ruin of the family;
the claustration of the daughters; the flight of the
widow to Switzerland; her introduction to Voltaire;
the excited zeal of that incomparable partisan, and
the passionate persistence with which, from year to
year, he pursued a reversal of judgment, till at last he
obtained it, and devoted the tribunal of Toulouse to
execration and the name of the victims to lasting
wonder and pity, - these things form part of one of
the most interesting and touching episodes of the social
history of the eighteenth century.  The story has the
fatal progression, the dark rigidity, of one of the tragic
dramas of the Greeks.  Jean Calas, advanced in life,
blameless, bewildered, protesting. his innocence, had
been broken on the wheel; and the sight of his decent
dwelling, which brought home to me all that had been
suflered there, spoiled for me, for half an hour, the
impression of Toulouse.



XXII.

I spent but a few hours at Carcassonne; but those
hours had a rounded felicity, and I cannot do better
than transcribe from my note-book the little record
made at the moment.  Vitiated as it may be by
crudity and incoherency, it has at any rate the fresh-
ness of a great emotion.  This is the best quality that
a reader may hope to extract from a narrative in
which "useful information" and technical lore even of
the most general sort are completely absent.  For
Carcassonne is moving, beyond a doubt; and the
traveller who, in the course of a little tour in France,
may have felt himself urged, in melancholy moments,
to say that on the whole the disappointments are as
numerous as the satisfactions, must admit that there
can be nothing better than this.

The country, after you leave Toulouse, continues
to be charming; the more so that it merges its flatness
in the distant Cevennes on one side, and on the other,
far away on your right, in the richer range of the
Pyrenees.  Olives and cypresses, pergolas and vines,
terraces on the roofs of houses, soft, iridescent moun-
tains, a warm yellow light, - what more could the dif-
ficult tourist want?  He left his luggage at the station,
warily determined to look at the inn before committing
himself to it.  It was so evident (even to a cursory
glance) that it might easily have been much better
that he simply took his way to the town, with the
whole of a superb afternoon before him.  When I say
the town, I mean the towns; there being two at Car-
cassonne, perfectly distinct, and each with excellent
claims to the title.  They have settled the matter be-
tween them, however, and the elder, the shrine of
pilgrimage, to which the other is but a stepping-stone,
or even, as I may say, a humble door-mat, takes the
name of the Cite.  You see nothing of the Cite from
the station; it is masked by the agglomeration of the
_ville-basse_, which is relatively (but only relatively) new.
A wonderful avenue of acacias leads to it from the
station, - leads past, rather, and conducts you to a
little high-backed bridge over the Aude, beyond which,
detached and erect, a distinct mediaeval silhouette, the
Cite presents itself.  Like a rival shop, on the in-
vidious side of a street, it has "no connection" with
the establishment across the way, although the two
places are united (if old Carcassonne may be said to be
united to anything) by a vague little rustic fau-
bourg.  Perched on its solid pedestal, the perfect de-
tachment of the Cite is what first strikes you.  To take
leave, without delay, of the _ville-basse_, I may say that
the splendid acacias I have mentioned flung a sum-
merish dusk over the place, in which a few scattered
remains of stout walls and big bastions looked vener-
able and picturesque.  A little boulevard winds round
the town, planted with trees and garnished with more
benches than I ever saw provided by a soft-hearted
municipality.  This precinct had a warm, lazy, dusty,
southern look, as if the people sat out-of-doors a great
deal, and wandered about in the stillness of summer
nights.  The figure of the elder town, at these hours,
must be ghostly enough on its neighboring hill.  Even
by day it has the air of a vignette of Gustave Dore, a
couplet of Victor Hugo.  It is almost too perfect, - as
if it were an enormous model, placed on a big green
table at a museum.  A steep, paved way, grass-grown
like all roads where vehicles never pass, stretches up
to it in the sun.  It has a double enceinte, complete
outer walls and complete inner (these, elaborately forti-
fied, are the more curious); and this congregation of
ramparts, towers, bastions, battlements, barbicans, is
as fantastic and romantic as you please.  The approach
I mention here leads to the gate that looks toward
Toulouse, - the Porte de l'Aude.  There is a second,
on the other side, called, I believe, the Porte Nar-
bonnaise, a magnificent gate, flanked with towers thick
and tall, defended by elaborate outworks; and these
two apertures alone admit you to the place, - putting
aside a small sally-port, protected by a great bastion,
on the quarter that looks toward the Pyrenees.

As a votary, always, in the first instance, of a
general impression, I walked all round the outer en-
ceinte, - a process on the very face of it entertaining.
I took to the right of the Porte de l'Aude, without
entering it, where the old moat has been filled in.
The filling-in of the moat has created a grassy level
at the foot of the big gray towers, which, rising at
frequent intervals, stretch their stiff curtain of stone
from point to point.  The curtain drops without a
fold upon the quiet grass, which was dotted here and
there with a humble native, dozing away the golden
afternoon.  The natives of the elder Carcassonne are
all humble; for the core of the Cite has shrunken and
decayed, and there is little life among the ruins.  A
few tenacious laborers, who work in the neighboring
fields or in the _ville-basse_, and sundry octogenarians
of both sexes, who are dying where they have lived,
and contribute much to the pictorial effect, - these
are the principal inhabitants.  The process of con-
verting the place from an irresponsible old town into
a conscious "specimen" has of course been attended
with eliminations; the population has, as a general
thing, been restored away.  I should lose no time in
saying that restoration is the great mark of the Cite.
M. Viollet-le-Duc has worked his will upon it, put it
into perfect order, revived the fortifications in every
detail.  I do not pretend to judge the performance,
carried out on a scale and in a spirit which really
impose themselves on the imagination.  Few archi-
tects have had such a chance, and M. Viollet-le-Duc
must have been the envy of the whole restoring fra-
ternity.  The image of a more crumbling Carcassonne
rises in the mind, and there is no doubt that forty
years ago the place was more affecting.  On the other
hand, as we see it to-day, it is a wonderful evocation;
and if there is a great deal of new in the old, there
is plenty of old in the new.  The repaired crenella-
tions, the inserted patches, of the walls of the outer
circle sufficiently express this commixture.  My walk
brought me into full view of the Pyrenees, which, now
that the sun had begun to sink and the shadows to
grow long, had a wonderful violet glow.  The platform
at the base of the walls has a greater width on this
side, and it made the scene more complete.  Two or
three old crones had crawled out of the Porte Nar-
bonnaise, to examine the advancing visitor; and a
very ancient peasant, lying there with his back against
a tower, was tending half a dozen lean sheep.  A poor
man in a very old blouse, crippled and with crutches
lying beside him, had been brought out and placed
on a stool, where he enjoyed the afternoon as best he
might.  He looked so ill and so patient that I spoke
to him; found that his legs were paralyzed and he was
quite helpless.  He had formerly been seven years in
the army, and had made the campaign of Mexico with
Bazaine.  Born in the old Cite, he had come back
there to end his days.  It seemed strange, as he sat
there, with those romantic walls behind him and the
great picture of the Pyrenees in front, to think that he
had been across the seas to the far-away new world,
had made part of a famous expedition, and was now
a cripple at the gate of the mediaeval city where he
had played as a child.  All this struck me as a great
deal of history for so modest a figure, - a poor little
figure that could only just unclose its palm for a small
silver coin.

He was not the only acquaintance I made at Car-
cassonne.  I had not pursued my circuit of the walls
much further when I encountered a person of quite
another type, of whom I asked some question which
had just then presented, itself, and who proved to be
the very genius of the spot.  He was a sociable son
of the _ville-basse_, a gentleman, and, as I afterwards
learned, an employe at the prefecture, - a person, in
short, much esteemed at Carcassonne.  (I may say all
this, as he will never read these pages.)  He had been
ill for a month, and in the company of his little dog
was taking his first airing; in his own phrase he was
_amoureux-fou de la Cite_, - he could lose no time in
coming back to it.  He talked of it, indeed, as a lover,
and, giving me for half an hour the advantage of his
company, showed me all the points of the place.  (I
speak here always of the outer enceinte; you penetrate
to the inner - which is the specialty of Carcassonne,
and the great curiosity - only by application at the
lodge of the regular custodian, a remarkable func-
tionary, who, half an hour later, when I had been in-
troduced to him by my friend the amateur, marched
me over the fortifications with a tremendous accompani-
ment of dates and technical terms.)  My companion
pointed out to me in particular the traces of different
periods in the structure of the walls.  There is a por-
tentous amount of history embedded in them, begin-
ning with Romans and Visigoths; here and there are
marks of old breaches, hastily repaired.  We passed
into the town, - into that part of it not included in the
citadel.  It is the queerest and most fragmentary little
place in the world, as everything save the fortifications
is being suffered to crumble away, in order that the
spirit of M. Viollet-le-Duc alone may pervade it, and
it may subsist simply as a magnificent shell.  As the
leases of the wretched little houses fall in, the ground
is cleared of them; and a mumbling old woman ap-
proached me in the course of my circuit, inviting me
to condole with her on the disappearance of so many
of the hovels which in the last few hundred years
(since the collapse of Carcassonne as a stronghold)
had attached themselves to the base of the walls, in
the space between the two circles.  These habitations,
constructed of materials taken from the ruins, nestled
there snugly enough.  This intermediate space had
therefore become a kind of street, which has crumbled
in turn, as the fortress has grown up again.  There
are other streets, beside, very diminutive and vague,
where you pick your way over heaps of rubbish and
become conscious of unexpected faces looking at you
out of windows as detached as the cherubic heads.
The most definite thing in the place was the little
cafe, where. the waiters, I think, must be the ghosts of
the old Visigoths; the most definite, that is, after the
little chateau and the little cathedral.  Everything in
the Cite is little; you can walk round the walls in
twenty minutes.  On the drawbridge of the chateau,
which, with a picturesque old face, flanking towers,
and a dry moat, is to-day simply a bare _caserne_,
lounged half a dozen soldiers, unusually small.  No-
thing could be more odd than to see these objects en-
closed in a receptacle which has much of the appear-
ance of an enormous toy.  The Cite and its population
vaguely reminded me of an immense Noah's ark.



XXIII.

Carcassonne dates from the Roman occupation of
Gaul.  The place commanded one of the great roads
into Spain, and in the fourth century Romans and
Franks ousted each other from such a point of vantage.
In the year 436, Theodoric, King of the Visigoths,
superseded both these parties; and it is during his oc-
cupation that the inner enceinte was raised upon the
ruins of the Roman fortifications.  Most of the Visigoth
towers that are still erect are seated upon Roman sub-
structions which appear to have been formed hastily,
probably at the moment of the Frankish invasion.
The authors of these solid defences, though occasionally
disturbed, held Carcassonne and the neighboring coun-
try, in which they had established their kingdom of
Septimania, till the year 713, when they were expelled
by the Moors of Spain, who ushered in an unillumined
period of four centuries, of which no traces remain.
These facts I derived from a source no more recondite
than a pamphlet by M. Viollet-le-Duc, - a very luminous
description of the fortifications, which you may buy
from the accomplished custodian.  The writer makes
a jump to the year 1209, when Carcassonne, then
forming part of the realm of the viscounts of Beziers
and infected by the Albigensian heresy, was besieged,
in the name of the Pope, by the terrible Simon de
Montfort and his army of crusaders.  Simon was ac-
customed to success, and the town succumbed in the
course of a fortnight.  Thirty-one years later, having
passed into the hands of the King of France, it was
again besieged by the young Raymond de Trincavel,
the last of the viscounts of Beziers; and of this siege
M. Viollet-le-Duc gives a long and minute account,
which the visitor who has a head for such things may
follow, with the brochure in hand, on the fortifications
themselves.  The young Raymond de Trincavel, baffled
and repulsed, retired at the end of twenty-four days.
Saint Louis and Philip the Bold, in the thirteenth cen-
tury, multiplied the defences of Carcassonne, which
was one of the bulwarks of their kingdom on the
Spanish quarter; and from this time forth, being re-
garded as impregnable, the place had nothing to fear.
It was not even attacked; and when, in 1355, Edward
the Black Prince marched into it, the inhabitants had
opened the gates to the conqueror before whom all
Languedoc was prostrate.  I am not one of those who,
as I said just now, have a head for such things, and
having extracted these few facts had made all the
use of M. Viollet-le-Duc's, pamphlet of which I was cap-
able.

I have mentioned that my obliging friend the
_amoureux-fou_ handed me over to the door-keeper of
the citadel.  I should add that I was at first committed
to the wife of this functionary, a stout peasant-woman,
who took a key down from a nail, conducted me to a
postern door, and ushered me into the presence of her
husband.  Having just begun his rounds with a party
of four persons, he was not many steps in advance.  I
added myself perforce to this party, which was not
brilliantly composed, except that two of its members
were gendarmes in full toggery, who announced in the
course of our tour that they had been stationed for a
year at Carcassonne, and had never before had the
curiosity to come up to the Cite.  There was something
brilliant, certainly, in that.  The _gardien_ was an extra-
ordinarily typical little Frenchman, who struck me even
more forcibly than the wonders of the inner enceinte;
and as I am bound to assume, at whatever cost to my
literary vanity, that there is not the slightest danger
of his reading these remarks, I may treat him as public
property.  With his diminutive stature and his per-
pendicular spirit, his flushed face, expressive protuber-
ant eyes, high peremptory voice, extreme volubility,
lucidity, and neatness of utterance, he reminded me of
the gentry who figure in the revolutions of his native
land.  If he was not a fierce little Jacobin, he ought
to have been, for I am sure there were many men of
his pattern on the Committee of Public Safety.  He
knew absolutely what he was about, understood the
place thoroughly, and constantly reminded his audience
of what he himself had done in the way of excavations
and reparations.  He described himself as the brother
of the architect of the work actually going forward
(that which has been done since the death of M. Viol-
let-le-Duc, I suppose he meant), and this fact was more
illustrative than all the others.  It reminded me, as
one is reminded at every turn, of the democratic con-
ditions of French life: a man of the people, with a
wife _en bonnet_, extremely intelligent, full of special
knowledge, and yet remaining essentially of the people,
and showing his intelligence with a kind of ferocity,
of defiance.  Such a personage helps one to under-
stand the red radicalism of France, the revolutions,
the barricades, the sinister passion for theories.  (I do
not, of course, take upon myself to say that the indi-
vidual I describe - who can know nothing of the
liberties I am taking with him - is actually devoted to
these ideals; I only mean that many such devotees
must have his qualities.)  In just the _nuance_ that I
have tried to indicate here, it is a terrible pattern of
man.  Permeated in a high degree by civilization, it
is yet untouched by the desire which one finds in the
Englishman, in proportion as he rises in the world, to
approximate to the figure of the gentleman.  On the
other hand, a _nettete_, a faculty of exposition, such as
the English gentleman is rarely either blessed or cursed
with.

This brilliant, this suggestive warden of Carcas-
sonne marched us about for an hour, haranguing, ex-
plaining, illustrating, as he went; it was a complete
little lecture, such as might have been delivered at
the Lowell Institute, on the manger in which a first-
rate _place forte_ used to be attacked and defended
Our peregrinations made it very clear that Carcassone
was impregnable; it is impossible to imagine, without
having seen them, such refinements of immurement,
such ingenuities of resistance.  We passed along the
battlements and _chemins de ronde_, ascended and de-
scended towers, crawled under arches, peered out of
loop-holes, lowered ourselves into dungeons, halted in
all sorts of tight places, while the purpose of some-
thing or other was described to us.  It was very
curious, very interesting; above all, it was very pic-
torial, and involved perpetual peeps into the little
crooked, crumbling, sunny, grassy, empty Cite.  In
places, as you stand upon it, the great towered and
embattled enceinte produces an illusion; it looks as
if it were still equipped and defended.  One vivid
challenge, at any rate, it flings down before you; it
calls upon you to make up your mind on the matter
of restoration.  For myself, I have no hesitation; I
prefer in every case the ruined, however ruined, to
the reconstructed, however splendid.  What is left is
more precious than what is added: the one is history,
the other is fiction; and I like the former the better of
the two, - it is so much more romantic.  One is posi-
tive, so far as it goes; the other fills up the void with
things more dead than the void itself, inasmuch as
they have never had life.  After that I am free to
say that the restoration of Carcassonne is a splendid
achievement.  The little custodian dismissed us at
last, after having, as usual, inducted us into the inevi-
table repository of photographs.  These photographs
are a great nuisance, all over the Midi.  They are
exceedingly bad, for the most part; and the worst -
those in the form of the hideous little _album-pano-
rama_ - are thrust upon you at every turn.  They
are a kind of tax that you must pay; the best way is
to pay to be let off.  It was not to be denied that
there was a relief in separating from our accomplished
guide, whose manner of imparting information re-
minded me of the energetic process by which I have
seen mineral waters bottled.  All this while the after-
noon had grown more lovely; the sunset had deepened,
the horizon of hills grown purple; the mass of the
Canigou became more delicate, yet more distinct.  The
day had so far faded that the interior of the little
cathedral was wrapped in twilight, into which the
glowing windows projected something of their color.
This church has high beauty and value, but I will
spare the reader a presentation of details which I my-
self had no opportunity to master.  It consists of a
romanesque nave, of the end of the eleventh century,
and a Gothic choir and transepts of the beginning of
the fourteenth; and, shut up in its citadel like a precious
casket in a cabinet, it seems - or seemed at that hour
- to have a sort of double sanctity.  After leaving it
and passing out of the two circles of walls, I treated
myself, in the most infatuated manner, to another walk
round the Cite.  It is certainly this general impression
that is most striking, - the impression from outside,
where the whole place detaches itself at once from
the landscape.  In the warm southern dusk it looked
more than ever like a city in a fairy-tale.  To make
the thing perfect, a white young moon, in its first
quarter, came out and hung just over the dark sil-
houette.  It was hard to come away, - to incommode
one's self for anything so vulgar as a railway-train; I
would gladly have spent the evening in revolving
round the walls of Carcassonne.  But I had in a
measure engaged to proceed to Narborme, and there
was a certain magic that name which gave me
strength, - Narbonne, the richest city in Roman Gaul.



XXIV.

At Narbonne I took up my abode at the house of
a _serrurier mecanicien_, and was very thankful for the
accommodation.  It was my misfortune to arrive at
this ancient city late at night, on the eve of market-
day; and market-day at Narbonne is a very serious
affair.  The inns, on this occasion, are stuffed with
wine-dealers; for the country roundabout, dedicated
almost exclusively to Bacchus, has hitherto escaped
the phylloxera.  This deadly enemy of the grape is
encamped over the Midi in a hundred places; blighted
vineyards and ruined proprietors being quite the order
of the day.  The signs of distress are more frequent
as you advance into Provence, many of the vines being
laid under water, in the hope of washing the plague
away.  There are healthy regions still, however, and
the vintners find plenty to do at Narbonne.  The
traffic in wine appeared to be the sole thought of the
Narbonnais; every one I spoke to had something to
say about the harvest of gold that bloomed under its
influence.  "C'est inoui, monsieur, l'argent qu'il y a
dans ce pays.  Des gens a qui la vente de leur vin
rapporte jusqu'a 500,000 francs par an."  That little
speech, addressed to me by a gentleman at the inn,
gives the note of these revelations.  It must be said
that there was little in the appearance either of the
town or of its population to suggest the possession of
such treasures.  Narbonne is a _sale petite ville_ in all
the force of the term, and my first impression on ar-
riving there was an extreme regret that I had not
remained for the night at the lovely Carcassonne.  My
journey from that delectable spot lasted a couple of
hours, and was performed in darkness, - a darkness
not so dense, however, but that I was able to make
out, as we passed it, the great figure of Beziers, whose
ancient roofs and towers, clustered on a goodly hill-
top, looked as fantastic as you please.  I know not
what appearance Beziers may present by day; but by
night it has quite the grand air.  On issuing from the
station at Narbonne, I found that the only vehicle in
waiting was a kind of bastard tramcar, a thing shaped
as if it had been meant to go upon rails; that is,
equipped with small wheels, placed beneath it, and
with a platform at either end, but destined to rattle
over the stones like the most vulgar of omnibuses.
To complete the oddity of this conveyance, it was
under the supervision, not of a conductor, but of a
conductress.  A fair young woman, with a pouch sus-
pended from her girdle, had command of the platform;
and as soon as the car was full she jolted us into the
town through clouds of the thickest dust I ever have
swallowed.  I have had occasion to speak of the activity
of women in France, - of the way they are always in
the ascendant; and here was a signal example of their
general utility.  The young lady I have mentioned
conveyed her whole company to the wretched little
Hotel de France, where it is to be hoped that some
of them found a lodging.  For myself, I was informed
that the place was crowded from cellar to attic, and
that its inmates were sleeping three or four in a room.
At Carcassonne I should have had a bad bed, but at
Narbonne, apparently, I was to have no bed at all.  I
passed an hour or two of flat suspense, while fate
settled the question of whether I should go on to
Perpignan, return to Beziers, or still discover a modest
couch at Narbonne.  I shall not have suffered in vain,
however, if my example serves to deter other travellers
from alighting unannounced at that city on a Wednes-
day evening.  The retreat to Beziers, not attempted
in time, proved impossible, and I was assured that at
Perpignan, which I should not reach till midnight, the
affluence of wine-dealers was not less than at Nar-
bonne.  I interviewed every hostess in the town, and
got no satisfaction but distracted shrugs.  Finally, at
an advanced hour, one of the servants of the Hotel
de France, where I had attempted to dine, came to
me in triumph to proclaim that he had secured for
me a charming apartment in a _maison bourgeoise_.  I
took possession of it gratefully, in spite of its having
an entrance like a stable, and being pervaded by an
odor compared with which that of a stable would
have been delicious.  As I have mentioned, my land-
lord was a locksmith, and he had strange machines
which rumbled and whirred in the rooms below my
own.  Nevertheless, I slept, and I dreamed of Car-
cassonne.  It was better to do that than to dream of
the Hotel de France.

I was obliged to cultivate relations with the cuisine
of this establishment.  Nothing could have been more
_meridional_; indeed, both the dirty little inn and Nar-
bonne at large seemed to me to have the infirmities
of the south, without its usual graces.  Narrow, noisy,
shabby, belittered and encumbered, filled with clatter
and chatter, the Hotel de France would have been
described in perfection by Alphonse Daudet.  For what
struck me above all in it was the note of the Midi,
as he has represented it, - the sound of universal talk.
The landlord sat at supper with sundry friends, in a
kind of glass cage, with a genial indifference to arriv-
ing guests; the waiters tumbled over the loose luggage
in the hall; the travellers who had been turned away
leaned gloomily against door-posts; and the landlady,
surrounded by confusion, unconscious of responsibility,
and animated only by the spirit of conversation, bandied
high-voiced compliments with the _voyageurs de com-
merce_.  At ten o'clock in the morning there was a
table d'hote for breakfast, - a wonderful repast, which
overflowed into every room and pervaded the whole
establishment.  I sat down with a hundred hungry
marketers, fat, brown, greasy men, with a good deal of
the rich soil of Languedoc adhering to their hands
and their boots.  I mention the latter articles because
they almost put them on the table.  It was very hot,
and there were swarms of flies; the viands had the
strongest odor; there was in particular a horrible mix-
ture known as _gras-double_, a light gray, glutinous,
nauseating mess, which my companions devoured in
large quantities.  A man opposite to me had the dir-
tiest fingers I ever saw; a collection of fingers which
in England would have excluded him from a farmers'
ordinary.  The conversation was mainly bucolic; though
a part of it, I remember, at the table at which I sat,
consisted of a discussion as to whether or no the maid-
servant were _sage_, - a discussion which went on under
the nose of this young lady, as she carried about the
dreadful _gras-double_, and to which she contributed
the most convincing blushes.  It was thoroughly _meri-
dional_.

In going to Narbonne I had of course counted upon
Roman remains; but when I went forth in search of
them I perceived that I had hoped too fondly.  There
is really nothing in the place to speak of; that is, on
the day of my visit there was nothing but the market,
which was in complete possession.  "This intricate,
curious, but lifeless town," Murray calls it; yet to me
it appeared overflowing with life.  Its streets are mere
crooked, dirty lanes, bordered with perfectly insignifi-
cant houses; but they were filled with the same clatter
and chatter that I had found at the hotel.  The market
was held partly in the little square of the hotel de
ville, a structure which a flattering wood-cut in the
Guide-Joanne had given me a desire to behold.  The
reality was not impressive, the old color of the front
having been completely restored away.  Such interest
as it superficially possesses it derives from a fine
mediaeval tower which rises beside it, with turrets at
the angles, - always a picturesque thing.  The rest of
the market was held in another _place_, still shabbier
than the first, which lies beyond the canal.  The Canal
du Midi flows through the town, and, spanned at this
point by a small suspension-bridge, presented a cer-
tain sketchability.  On the further side were the venders
and chafferers, - old women under awnings and big um-
brellas, rickety tables piled high with fruit, white caps
and brown faces, blouses, sabots, donkeys.  Beneath
this picture was another, - a long row of washerwomen,
on their knees on the edge of the canal, pounding
and wringing the dirty linen of Narbonne, - no great
quantity, to judge by the costume of the people.  In-
numerable rusty men, scattered all over the place,
were buying and selling wine, straddling about in
pairs, in groups, with their hands in their pockets, and
packed together at the doors of the cafes.  They were
mostly fat and brown and unshaven; they ground their
teeth as they talked; they were very _meridionaux_.

The only two lions at Narbonne are the cathedral
and the museum, the latter of which is quartered in
the hotel de ville.  The cathedral, closely shut in by
houses, and with the west front undergoing repairs, is
singular in two respects.  It consists exclusively of a
choir, which is of the end of the thirteenth century
and the beginning of the next, and of great magnifi-
cence.  There is absolutely nothing else.  This choir,
of extraordinary elevation, forms the whole church.  I
sat there a good while; there was no other visitor.  I
had taken a great dislike to poor little Narbonne,
which struck me as sordid and overheated, and this
place seemed to extend to me, as in the Middle Ages,
the privilege of sanctuary.  It is a very solemn corner.
The other peculiarity of the cathedral is that, exter-
nally, it bristles with battlements, having anciently
formed part of the defences of the _archeveche_, which
is beside it and which connects it with the hotel de
ville.  This combination of the church and the for-
tress is very curious, and during the Middle Ages was
not without its value.  The palace of the former arch-
bishops of Narbonne (the hotel de ville of to-day
forms part of it) was both an asylum and an arsenal
during the hideous wars by which the Languedoc was
ravaged in the thirteenth century.  The whole mass
of buildings is jammed together in a manner that
from certain points of view makes it far from apparent
which feature is which.  The museum occupies several
chambers at the top of the hotel de ville, and is not
an imposing collection.  It was closed, but I induced
the portress to let me in, - a silent, cadaverous person,
in a black coif, like a _beguine_, who sat knitting in one
of the windows while I went the rounds.  The number
of Roman fragments is small, and their quality is not
the finest; I must add that this impression was hastily
gathered.  There is indeed a work of art in one of
the rooms which creates a presumption in favor of the
place, - the portrait (rather a good one) of a citizen
of Narbonne, whose name I forget, who is described
as having devoted all his time and his intelligence to
collecting the objects by which the. visitor is sur-
rounded.  This excellent man was a connoisseur, and
the visitor is doubtless often an ignoramus.



XXV.

	"Cette, with its glistening houses white,
	   Curves with the curving beach away
	To where the lighthouse beacons bright,
	   Far in the bay."

That stanza of Matthew Arnold's, which I hap-
pened to remember, gave a certain importance to the
half-hour I spent in the buffet of the station at Cette
while I waited for the train to Montpellier.  I had left
Narbonne in the afternoon, and by the time I reached
Cette the darkness had descended.  I therefore missed
the sight of the glistening houses, and had to console
myself with that of the beacon in the bay, as well as
with a _bouillon_ of which I partook at the buffet afore-
said; for, since the morning, I had not ventured to
return to the table d'hote at Narbonne.  The Hotel
Nevet, at Montpellier, which I reached an hour later,
has an ancient renown all over the south of France, -
advertises itself, I believe, as _le plus vaste du midi_.  It
seemed to me the model of a good provincial inn; a
big rambling, creaking establishment, with brown,
labyrinthine corridors, a queer old open-air vestibule,
into which the diligence, in the _bon temps_, used to
penetrate, and an hospitality more expressive than
that of the new caravansaries.  It dates from the days
when Montpellier was still accounted a fine winter re-
sidence for people with weak lungs; and this rather
melancholy tradition, together with the former celebrity
of the school of medicine still existing there, but from
which the glory has departed, helps to account for its
combination of high antiquity and vast proportions.
The old hotels were usually more concentrated; but
the school of medicine passed for one of the attrac-
tions of Montpellier.  Long before Mentone was dis-
covered or Colorado invented, British invalids travelled
down through France in the post-chaise or the public
coach to spend their winters in the wonderful place
which boasted both a climate and a faculty.  The air
is mild, no doubt, but there are refinements of mild-
ness which were not then suspected, and which in a
more analytic age have carried the annual wave far
beyond Montpellier.  The place is charming, all the
same; and it served the purpose of John Locke; who
made a long stay there, between 1675 and 1679, and
became acquainted with a noble fellow-visitor, Lord
Pembroke, to whom he dedicated the famous Essay.
There are places that please, without your being able
to say wherefore, and Montpellier is one of the num-
ber.  It has some charming views, from the great pro-
menade of the Peyrou; but its position is not strikingly
fair.  Beyond this it contains a good museum and the
long facades of its school, but these are its only de-
finite treasures.  Its cathedral struck me as quite the
weakest I had seen, and I remember no other monu-
ment that made up for it.  The place has neither the
gayety of a modern nor the solemnity of an ancient
town, and it is agreeable as certain women are agree-
able who are neither beautiful nor clever.  An Italian
would remark that it is sympathetic; a German would
admit that it is _gemuthlich_.  I spent two days there,
mostly in the rain, and even under these circum-
stances I carried away a kindly impression.  I think
the Hotel Nevet had something to do with it, and the
sentiment of relief with which, in a quiet, even a
luxurious, room that looked out on a garden, I reflected
that I had washed my hands of Narbonne.  The phyl-
loxera has destroyed the vines in the country that sur-
rounds Montpellier, and at that moment I was capable
of rejoicing in the thought that I should not breakfast
with vintners.

The gem of the place is the Musee Fabre, one of
the best collections of paintings in a provincial city.
Francois Fabre, a native of Montpellier, died there in
1837, after having spent a considerable part of his
life in Italy, where he had collected a good many
valuable pictures and some very poor ones, the latter
class including several from his own hand.  He was
the hero of a remarkable episode, having succeeded
no less a person than Vittorio Alfieri in the affections
of no less a person than Louise de Stolberg, Countess
of Albany, widow of no less a person than Charles
Edward Stuart, the second pretender to the British
crown.  Surely no woman ever was associated senti-
mentally with three figures more diverse, - a disqualified
sovereign, an Italian dramatist, and a bad French
painter.  The productions of M. Fabre, who followed
in the steps of David, bear the stamp of a cold me-
diocrity; there is not much to be said even for the
portrait of the genial countess (her life has been written
by M. Saint-Rene-Taillandier, who depicts her as de-
lightful), which hangs in Florence, in the gallery of
the Uffizzi, and makes a pendant to a likeness of
Alfieri by the same author.  Stendhal, in his "Me-
moires d'un Touriste," says that this work of art
represents her as a cook who has pretty hands.  I am
delighted to have an opportunity of quoting Stendhal,
whose two volumes of the "Memoires d'un Touriste"
every traveller in France should carry in his port-
manteau.  I have had this opportunity more than once,
for I have met him at Tours, at Nantes, at Bourges;
and everywhere he is suggestive.  But he has the de-
fect that he is never pictorial, that he never by any
chance makes an image, and that his style is per-
versely colorless, for a man so fond of contemplation.
His taste is often singularly false; it is the taste of the
early years of the present century, the period that
produced clocks surmounted with sentimental "sub-
jects."  Stendhal does not admire these clocks, but
he almost does.  He admires Domenichino and Guer-
cino, and prizes the Bolognese school of painters be-
cause they "spoke to the soul."  He is a votary of the
new classic, is fond of tall, squire, regular buildings,
and thinks Nantes, for instance, full of the "air noble."
It was a pleasure to me to reflect that five-and-forty
years ago he had alighted in that city, at the very inn
in which I spent a night, and which looks down on
the Place Graslin and the theatre.  The hotel that was
the best in 1837 appears to be the best to-day.  On
the subject of Touraine, Stendhal is extremely refresh-
ing; he finds the scenery meagre and much overrated,
and proclaims his opinion with perfect frankness.  He
does, however, scant justice to the banks of the Loire;
his want of appreciation of the picturesque - want of
the sketcher's sense - causes him to miss half the
charm of a landscape which is nothing if not "quiet,"
as a painter would say, and of which the felicities
reveal themselves only to waiting eyes.  He even
despises the Indre, the river of Madame Sand.  The
"Memoires d'un Touriste" are written in the character
of a commercial traveller, and the author has nothing
to say about Chenonceaux or Chambord, or indeed
about any of the chateaux of that part of France; his
system being to talk only of the large towns, where he
may be supposed to find a market for his goods.  It
was his ambition to pass for an ironmonger.  But in
the large towns he is usually excellent company, though
as discursive as Sterne, and strangely indifferent, for a
man of imagination, to those superficial aspects of
things which the poor pages now before the reader are
mainly an attempt to render.  It is his conviction that
Alfieri, at Florence, bored the Countess of Albany ter-
ribly; and he adds that the famous Gallophobe died
of jealousy of the little painter from Montpellier.  The
Countess of Albany left her property to Fabre; and I
suppose some of the pieces in the museum of his
native town used to hang in the sunny saloons of that
fine old palace on the Arno which is still pointed out
to the stranger in Florence as the residence of Alfieri.

The institution has had other benefactors, notably
a certain M. Bruyas, who has enriched it with an extra-
ordinary number of portraits of himself.  As these,
however, are by different hands, some of them dis-
tinguished, we may suppose that it was less the model
than the artists to whom M. Bruyas wished to give
publicity. Easily first are two large specimens of
David Teniers, which are incomparable for brilliancy
and a glowing perfection of execution.  I have a weak-
ness for this singular genius, who combined the delicate
with the grovelling, and I have rarely seen richer
examples.  Scarcely less valuable is a Gerard Dow
which hangs near them, though it must rank lower as
having kept less of its freshness.  This Gerard Dow
did me good; for a master is a master, whatever he
may paint.  It represents a woman paring carrots,
while a boy before her exhibits a mouse-trap in which
he has caught a frightened victim.  The good-wife has
spread a cloth on the top of a big barrel which serves
her as a table, and on this brown, greasy napkin, of
which the texture is wonderfully rendered, lie the raw
vegetables she is preparing for domestic consumption.
Beside the barrel is a large caldron lined with copper,
with a rim of brass.  The way these things are painted
brings tears to the eyes; but they give the measure of
the Musee Fabre, where two specimens of Teniers and
a Gerard Dow are the jewels.  The Italian pictures are
of small value; but there is a work by Sir Joshua Rey-
nolds, said to be the only one in France, - an infant
Samuel in prayer, apparently a repetition of the pic-
ture in England which inspired the little plaster im-
age, disseminated in Protestant lands, that we used to
admire in our childhood.  Sir Joshua, somehow, was
an eminently Protestant painter; no one can forget
that, who in the National Gallery in London has looked
at the picture in which he represents several young
ladies as nymphs, voluminously draped, hanging gar-
lands over a statue, - a picture suffused indefinably
with the Anglican spirit, and exasperating to a mem-
ber of one of the Latin races.  It is an odd chance,
therefore, that has led him into that part of France
where Protestants have been least _bien vus_.  This is the
country of the dragonnades of Louis XIV.  and of the
pastors of the desert.  From the garden of the Peyrou,
at Montpellier, you may see the hills of the Cevennes,
to which they of the religion fled for safety, and out
of which they were hunted and harried.

I have only to add, in regard to the Musee Fabre,
that it contains the portrait of its founder, - a little,
pursy, fat-faced, elderly man, whose countenance con-
tains few indications of the power that makes distin-
guished victims.  He is, however, just such a personage
as the mind's eye sees walking on the terrace of the
Peyrou of an October afternoon in the early years of
the century; a plump figure in a chocolate-colored coat
and a _culotte_ that exhibits a good leg, - a culotte pro-
vided with a watch-fob from which a heavy seal is
suspended.  This Peyrou (to come to it at last) is a
wonderful place, especially to be found in a little pro-
vincial city.  France is certainly the country of towns
that aim at completeness; more than in other lands,
they contain stately features as a matter of course.  We
should never have ceased to hear about the Peyrou, if
fortune had placed it at a Shrewsbury or a Buffalo.  It
is true that the place enjoys a certain celebrity at
home, which it amply deserves, moreover; for nothing
could be more impressive and monumental.  It consists
of an "elevated platform," as Murray says, - an im-
mense terrace, laid out, in the highest part of the town,
as a garden, and commanding in all directions a view
which in clear weather must be of the finest.  I strolled
there in the intervals of showers, and saw only the
nearer beauties, - a great pompous arch of triumph in
honor of Louis XIV. (which is not, properly speaking,
in the garden, but faces it, straddling across the _place_
by which you approach it from the town), an equestrian
statue of that monarch set aloft in the middle of the
terrace, and a very exalted and complicated fountain,
which forms a background to the picture.  This foun-
tain gushes from a kind of hydraulic temple, or _cha-
teau d'eau_, to which you ascend by broad flights of
steps, and which is fed by a splendid aqueduct,
stretched in the most ornamental and unexpected
manner across the neighboring valley.  All this work
dates from the middle of the last century.  The com-
bination of features - the triumphal arch, or gate; the
wide, fair terrace, with its beautiful view; the statue
of the grand monarch; the big architectural fountain,
which would not surprise one at Rome, but goes sur-
prise one at Montpellier; and to complete the effect,
the extraordinary aqueduct, charmingly fore-shortened,
- all this is worthy of a capital, of a little court-city.
The whole place, with its repeated steps, its balus-
trades, its massive and plentiful stone-work, is full of
the air of the last century, - _sent bien son dix-huitieme
siecle_; none the less so, I am afraid, that, as I read in
my faithful Murray, after the revocation of the Edict
of Nantes, the block, the stake, the wheel, had been
erected here for the benefit of the desperate Camisards.



XXVI.

It was a pleasure to feel one's self in Provence
again, - the land where the silver-gray earth is im-
pregnated with the light of the sky.  To celebrate
the event, as soon as I arrived at Nimes I engaged
a caleche to convey me to the Pont du Gard.  The
day was yet young, and it was perfectly fair; it ap-
peared well, for a longish drive, to take advantage,
without delay, of such security.  After I had left the
town I became more intimate with that Provencal
charm which I had already enjoyed from the window
of the train, and which glowed in the sweet sunshine
and the white rocks, and lurked in the smoke-puffs
of the little olives.  The olive-trees in Provence are
half the landscape.  They are neither so tall, so stout,
nor so richly contorted as I have seen them beyond
the Alps; but this mild colorless bloom seems the
very texture of the country.  The road from Nimes,
for a distance of fifteen miles, is superb; broad enough
for an army, and as white and firm as a dinner-table.
It stretches away over undulations which suggest a
kind of harmony; and in the curves it makes through
the wide, free country, where there is never a hedge
or a wall, and the detail is always exquisite, there is
something majestic, almost processional.  Some twenty
minutes before I reached the little inn that marks the
termination of the drive, my vehicle met with an ac-
cident which just missed being serious, and which
engaged the attention of a gentleman, who, followed
by his groom and mounted on a strikingly handsome
horse happened to ride up at the moment.  This young
man, who, with his good looks and charming manner,
might have stepped out of a novel of Octave Feuillet,
gave me some very intelligent advice in reference to
one of my horses that had been injured, and was so
good as to accompany me to the inn, with the re-
sources of which he was acquainted, to see that his
recommendations were carried out.  The result of our
interview was that he invited me to come and look at
a small but ancient chateau in the neighborhood,
which he had the happiness - not the greatest in the
world, he intimated - to inhabit, and at which I en-
gaged to present myself after I should have spent an
hour at the Pont du Gard.  For the moment, when
we separated, I gave all my attention to that great
structure.  You are very near it before you see it; the
ravine it spans suddenly opens and exhibits the
picture.  The scene at this point grows extremely
beautiful.  The ravine is the valley of the Gardon,
which the road from Nimes has followed some time
without taking account of it, but which, exactly at the
right distance from the aqueduct, deepens and ex-
pands, and puts on those characteristics which are best
suited to give it effect.  The gorge becomes romantic,
still, and solitary, and, with its white rocks and wild
shrubbery, hangs over the clear, colored river, in whose
slow course there is here and there a deeper pool.
Over the valley, from side to side, and ever so high
in the air, stretch the three tiers of the tremendous
bridge.  They are unspeakably imposing, and nothing
could well be more Roman.  The hugeness, the soli-
dity, the unexpectedness, the monumental rectitude of
the whole thing leave you nothing to say - at the time
- and make you stand gazing.  You simply feel that
it is noble and perfect, that it has the quality of
greatness.  A road, branching from the highway, de-
scends to the level of the river and passes under one
of the arches.  This road has a wide margin of grass
and loose stones, which slopes upward into the bank
of the ravine.  You may sit here as long as you please,
staring up at the light, strong piers; the spot is ex-
tremely natural, though two or three stone benches
have been erected on it.  I remained there an hour
and got a cornplete impression; the place was per-
fectly soundless, and for the time, at least, lonely;
the splendid afternoon had begun to fade, and there
was a fascination in the object I had come to see.  It
came to pass that at the same time I discovered in it
a certain stupidity, a vague brutality.  That element
is rarely absent from great Roman work, which is
wanting in the nice adaptation of the means to the
end.  The means are always exaggerated; the end is
so much more than attained.  The Roman rigidity
was apt to overshoot the mark, and I suppose a race
which could do nothing small is as defective as a race
that can do nothing great.  Of this Roman rigidity
the Pont du Gard is an admirable example.  It would
be a great injustice, however, not to insist upon its
beauty, - a kind of manly beauty, that of an object
constructed not to please but to serve, and impressive
simply from the scale on which it carries out this
intention.  The number of arches in each tier is dif-
ferent; they are smaller and more numerous as they
ascend.  The preservation of the thing is extra-
ordinary; nothing has crumbled or collapsed; every
feature remains; and the huge blocks of stone, of a
brownish-yellow, (as if they had been baked by the
Provencal sun for eighteen centuries), pile themselves,
without mortar or cement, as evenly as the day they
were laid together.  All this to carry the water of a
couple of springs to a little provincial city!  The con-
duit on the top has retained its shape and traces of
the cement with which it was lined.  When the vague
twilight began to gather, the lonely valley seemed to
fill itself with the shadow of the Roman name, as if
the mighty empire were still as erect as the supports
of the aqueduct; and it was open to a solitary tourist,
sitting there sentimental, to believe that no people has
ever been, or will ever be, as great as that, measured,
as we measure the greatness of an individual, by the
push they gave to what they undertook.  The Pont du
Gard is one of the three or four deepest impressions
they have left; it speaks of them in a manner with
which they might have been satisfied.

I feel as if it were scarcely discreet to indicate the
whereabouts of the chateau of the obliging young
man I had met on the way from Nimes; I must con-
tent myself with saying that it nestled in an en-
chanting valley, - _dans le fond_, as they say in France,
- and that I took my course thither on foot, after
leaving the Pont du Gard.  I find it noted in my
journal as "an adorable little corner."  The principal
feature of the place is a couple of very ancient towers,
brownish-yellow in hue, and mantled in scarlet Vir-
ginia-creeper.  One of these towers, reputed to be
of Saracenic origin, is isolated, and is only the more
effective; the other is incorporated in the house,
which is delightfully fragmentary and irregular.  It
had got to be late by this time, and the lonely _castel_
looked crepuscular and mysterious.  An old house-
keeper was sent for, who showed me the rambling
interior; and then the young man took me into a
dim old drawing-room, which had no less than four
chimney-pieces, all unlighted, and gave me a refec-
tion of fruit and sweet wine.  When I praised the
wine and asked him what it was, he said simply,
"C'est du vin de ma mere!"  Throughout my little
joumey I had never yet felt myself so far from Paris;
and this was a sensation I enjoyed more than my
host, who was an involuntary exile, consoling him-
self with laying out a _manege_, which he showed me
as I walked away.  His civility was great, and I was
greatly touched by it.  On my way back to the little
inn where I had left my vehicle, I passed the Pont
du Gard, and took another look at it.  Its great arches
made windows for the evening sky, and the rocky
ravine, with its dusky cedars and shining river, was
lonelier than before.  At the inn I swallowed, or tried
to swallow,a glass of horrible wine with my coach-
man; after which, with my reconstructed team, I drove
back to Nimes in the moonlight.  It only added a
more solitary whiteness to the constant sheen of the
Provencal landscape.



XXVII.

The weather the next day was equally fair, so that
it seemed an imprudence not to make sure of Aigues-
Mortes.  Nimes itself could wait; at a pinch, I could
attend to Nimes in the rain.  It was my belief that
Aigues-Mortes was a little gem, and it is natural to
desire that gems should have an opportunity to sparkle.
This is an excursion of but a few hours, and there is
a little friendly, familiar, dawdling train that will con-
vey you, in time for a noonday breakfast, to the small
dead town where the blessed Saint-Louis twice em-
barked for the crusades.  You may get back to Nimes
for dinner; the run - or rather the walk, for the train
doesn't run - is of about an hour.  I found the little
journey charming, and looked out of the carriage win-
dow, on my right, at the distant Cevennes, covered
with tones of amber and blue, and, all around, at
vineyards red with the touch of October.  The grapes
were gone, but the plants had a color of their own.
Within a certain distance of Aigues-Mortes they give
place to wide salt-marshes, traversed by two canals;
and over this expanse the train rumbles slowly upon
a narrow causeway, failing for some time, though you
know you are near the object of your curiosity, to
bring you to sight of anything but the horizon.  Sud-
denly it appears, the towered and embattled mass,
lying so low that the crest of its defences seems to
rise straight out of the ground; and it is not till the
train stops, close before them, that you are able to
take the full measure of its walls.

Aigues-Mortes stands on the edge of a wide _etang_,
or shallow inlet of the sea, the further side of which
is divided by a narrow band of coast from the Gulf
of Lyons.  Next after Carcassonne, to which it forms
an admirable _pendant_, it is the most perfect thing of
the kind in France.  It has a rival in the person of
Avignon, but the ramparts of Avignon are much less
effective.  Like Carcassonne, it is completely sur-
rounded with its old fortifications; and if they are far
simpler in character (there is but one circle), they are
quite as well preserved.  The moat has been filled
up, and the site of  the town might be figured by a
billiard-table without pockets.  On this absolute level,
covered with coarse grass, Aigues-Mortes presents quite
the appearance of the walled town that a school-boy
draws upon his slate, or that we see in the background
of early Flemish pictures, - a simple parallelogram, of
a contour almost absurdly bare, broken at intervals by
angular towers and square holes.  Such, literally speak-
ing, is this delightful little city, which needs to be seen
to tell its full story.  It is extraordinarily pictorial,
and if it is a very small sister of Carcassonne, it has
at least the essential features of the family.  Indeed,
it is even more like an image and less like a reality
than Carcassonne; for by position and prospect it
seems even more detached from the life of the present
day.  It is true that Aigues-Mortes does a little busi-
ness; it sees certain bags of salt piled into barges
which stand in a canal beside it, and which carry their
cargo into actual places.  But nothing could well be
more drowsy and desultory than this industry as I
saw it practised, with the aid of two or three brown
peasants and under the eye of a solitary douanier,
who strolled on the little quay beneath the western
wall.  "C'est bien plaisant, c'est bien paisible," said
this worthy man, with whom I had some conversa-
tion; and pleasant and peaceful is the place indeed,
though the former of these epithets may suggest an
element of gayety in which Aigues-Mortes is deficient.
The sand, the salt, the dull sea-view, surround it with
a bright, quiet melancholy.  There are fifteen towers
and nine gates, five of which are on the southern side,
overlooking the water.  I walked all round the place
three times (it doesn't take long), but lingered most
under the southern wall, where the afternoon light
slept in the dreamiest, sweetest way.  I sat down on
an old stone, and looked away to the desolate salt-
marshes and the still, shining surface of the _etang_,
and, as I did so, reflected that this was a queer little
out-of-the-world corner to have been chosen, in the
great dominions of either monarch, for that pompous
interview which took place, in 1538, between Francis I.
and Charles V.  It was also not easy to perceive how
Louis IX., when in 1248 and 1270 he started for the
Holy Land, set his army afloat in such very undeveloped
channels.  An hour later I purchased in the town a
little pamphlet by M. Marius Topin, who undertakes
to explain this latter anomaly, and to show that there
is water enough in the port, as we may call it by
courtesy, to have sustained a fleet of crusaders.  I was
unable to trace the channel that he points out, but
was glad to believe that, as he contends, the sea has
not retreated from the town since the thirteenth century.
It was comfortable to think that things are not so
changed as that.  M. Topin indicates that the other
French ports of the Mediterranean were not then _dis-
ponsibles_, and that Aigues-Mortes was the most eligible
spot for an embarkation.

Behind the straight walls and the quiet gates the
little town has not crumbled, like the Cite of Carcas-
sonne.  It can hardly be said to be alive; but if it is
dead it has been very neatly embalmed.  The hand
of the restorer rests on it constantly; but this artist
has not, as at Carcassonne, had miracles to accomplish.
The interior is very still and empty, with small stony,
whitewashed streets, tenanted by a stray dog, a stray
cat, a stray old woman.  In the middle is a little _place_,
with two or three cafes decorated by wide awnings, -
a little _place_ of which the principal feature is a very
bad bronze statue of Saint Louis by Pradier.  It is
almost as bad as the breakfast I had at the inn that
bears the name of that pious monarch.  You may walk
round the enceinte of Aigues-Mortes, both outside and
in; but you may not, as at Carcassonne, make a por-
tion of this circuit on the _chemin de ronde_, the little
projecting footway attached to the inner face of the
battlements.  This footway, wide enough only for a
single pedestrian, is in the best order, and near each
of the gates a flight of steps leads up to it; but a
locked gate, at the top of the steps, makes access im-
possible, or at least unlawful.  Aigues-Mortes, however,
has its citadel, an immense tower, larger than any of
the others, a little detached, and standing at the north-
west angle of the town.  I called upon the _casernier_,
the custodian of the walls, - and in his absence I was
conducted through this big Tour de Constance by his
wife, a very mild, meek woman, yellow with the traces
of fever and ague, - a scourge which, as might be ex-
pected in a town whose name denotes "dead waters,"
enters freely at the nine gates.  The Tour de Con-
stance is of extraordinary girth and solidity, divided
into three superposed circular chambers, with very fine
vaults, which are lighted by embrasures of prodigious
depth, converging to windows little larger than loop-
holes.  The place served for years as a prison to many
of the Protestants of the south whom the revocation
of the Edict of Nantes had exposed to atrocious
penalties, and the annals of these dreadful chambers
during the first half of the last century were written
in tears and blood.  Some of the recorded cases of
long confinement there make one marvel afresh at
what man has inflicted and endured.  In a country in
which a policy of extermination was to be put into
practice this horrible tower was an obvious resource.
From the battlements at the top, which is surmounted
by an old disused light-house, you see the little com-
pact rectangular town, which looks hardly bigger than
a garden-patch, mapped out beneath you, and follow
the plain configuration of its defences.  You take
possession of it, and you feel that you will remember
it always.



XXVIII.

After this I was free to look about me at Nimes,
and I did so with such attention as the place appeared
to require.  At the risk of seeming too easily and too
frequently disappointed, I will say that it required
rather less than I had been prepared to give.  It is a
town of three or four fine features, rather than a town
with, as I may say, a general figure.  In general,
Nimes is poor; its only treasures are its Roman re-
mains, which are of the first order.  The new French
fashions prevail in many of its streets; the old houses
are paltry, and the good houses are new; while beside
my hotel rose a big spick-and-span church, which
had the oddest air of having been intended for
Brooklyn or Cleveland.  It is true that this church
looked out on a square completely French, - a square
of a fine modern disposition, flanked on one side by a
classical _palais de justice_ embellished with trees and
parapets, and occupied in the centre with a group of
allegorical statues, such as one encounters only in the
cities of France, the chief of these being a colossal
figure by Pradier, representing Nimes.  An English,
an American, town which should have such a monu-
ment, such a square, as this, would be a place of
great pretensions; but like so many little _villes de
province_ in the country of which I write, Nimes is
easily ornamental.  What nobler ornament can there
be than the Roman baths at the foot of Mont Cavalier,
and the delightful old garden that surrounds them?
All that quarter of Nimes has every reason to be
proud of itself; it has been revealed to the world at
large by copious photography.  A clear, abundant
stream gushes from the foot of a high hill (covered
with trees and laid out in paths), and is distributed
into basins which sufficiently refer themselves to the
period that gave them birth, - the period that has
left its stamp on that pompous Peyrou which we ad-
mired at Montpellier.  Here are the same terraces and
steps and balustrades, and a system of water-works
less impressive, perhaps, but very ingenious and charm-
ing.  The whole place is a mixture of old Rome and
of the French eighteenth century; for the remains of
the antique baths are in a measure incorporated in
the modern fountains.  In a corner of this umbrageous
precinct stands a small Roman ruin, which is known
as a temple of Diana, but was more apparently a
_nymphaeum_, and appears to have had a graceful con-
nection with the adjacent baths.  I learn from Murray
that this little temple, of the period of Augustus,
"was reduced to its present state of ruin in 1577;"
the moment at which the townspeople, threatened
with a siege by the troops of the crown, partly
demolished it, lest it should serve as a cover to the
enemy.  The remains are very fragmentary, but they
serve to show that the place was lovely.  I spent half
an hour in it on a perfect Sunday morning (it is en-
closed by a high _grille_, carefully tended, and has a
warden of its own), and with the help of my imagina-
tion tried to reconstruct a little the aspect of things
in the Gallo-Roman days.  I do wrong, perhaps, to
say that 1 _tried_; from a flight so deliberate I should
have shrunk.  But there was a certain contagion of
antiquity in the air; and among the ruins of baths
and temples, in the very spot where the aqueduct that
crosses the Gardon in the wondrous manner I had
seen discharged itself, the picture of a splendid
paganism seemed vaguely to glow.  Roman baths, -
Roman baths; those words alone were a scene.  Every-
thing was changed: I was strolling in a _jardin francais_;
the bosky slope of the Mont Cavalier (a very modest
mountain), hanging over the place, is crowned with a
shapeless tower, which is as likely to be of mediaeval
as of antique origin; and yet, as I leaned on the
parapet of one of the fountains, where a flight of
curved steps (a hemicycle, as the French say) descended
into a basin full of dark, cool recesses, where the slabs
of the Roman foundations gleam through the clear
green water, - as in this attitude I surrendered myself
to contemplation and reverie, it seemed to me that I
touched for a moment the ancient world.  Such mo-
ments are illuminating, and the light of this one mingles,
in my memory, with the dusky greenness of the Jardin
de la Fontaine.

The fountain proper - the source of all these dis-
tributed waters - is the prettiest thing in the world, a
reduced copy of Vaucluse.  It gushes up at the foot
of the Mont Cavalier, at a point where that eminence
rises with a certain cliff-like effect, and, like other
springs in the same circumstances, appears to issue
from the rock with a sort of quivering stillness.  I
trudged up the Mont Cavalier, - it is a matter of five
minutes, - and having committed this cockneyism en-
hanced it presently by another.  I ascended the stupid
Tour Magne, the mysterious structure I mentioned a
moment ago.  The only feature of this dateless tube,
except the inevitable collection of photographs to
which you are introduced by the door-keeper, is the
view you enjoy from its summit.  This view is, of
course, remarkably fine, but I am ashamed to say I
have not the smallest recollection of it; for while I
looked into the brilliant spaces of the air I seemed
still to see only what I saw in the depths of the Roman
baths, - the image, disastrously confused and vague, of
a vanished world.  This world, however, has left at
Nimes a far more considerable memento than a few
old stones covered with water-moss.  The Roman arena
is the rival of those of Verona and of Arles; at a
respectful distance it emulates the Colosseum.  It is a
small Colosseum, if I may be allowed the expression,
and is in a much better preservation than the great
circus at Rome.  This is especially true of the external
walls, with their arches, pillars, cornices.  I must add
that one should not speak of preservation, in regard
to the arena at Nimes, without speaking also of repair.
After the great ruin ceased to be despoiled, it began
to be protected, and most of its wounds have been
dressed with new material.  These matters concern
the archaeologist; and I felt here, as I felt afterwards
at Arles, that one of the profane, in the presence of
such a monument, can only admire and hold his
tongue.  The great impression, on the whole, is an
impression of wonder that so much should have sur-
vived.  What remains at Nimes, after all dilapidation
is estimated, is astounding.  I spent an hour in the
Arenes on that same sweet Sunday morning, as I
came back from the Roman baths, and saw that the
corridors, the vaults, the staircases, the external casing,
are still virtually there.  Many of these parts are
wanting in the Colosseum, whose sublimity of size,
however, can afford to dispense with detail.  The seats
at Nimes, like those at Verona, have been largely
renewed; not that this mattered much, as I lounged
on the cool surface of one of them, and admired the
mighty concavity of the place and the elliptical sky-
line, broken by uneven blocks and forming the rim of
the monstrous cup, - a cup that had been filled with
horrors.  And yet I made my reflections; I said to
myself that though a Roman arena is one of the most
impressive of the works of man, it has a touch of that
same stupidity which I ventured to discover in the
Pont du Gard.  It is brutal; it is monotonous; it is
not at all exquisite.  The Arenes at Nimes were ar-
ranged for a bull-fight, - a form of recreation that, as
I was informed, is much _dans les habitudes Nimoises_,
and very common throughout Provence, where (still
according to my information) it is the usual pastime
of a Sunday afternoon.  At Arles and Nimes it has a
characteristic setting, but in the villages the patrons
of the game make a circle of carts and barrels, on
which the spectators perch themselves.  I was sur-
prised at the prevalence, in mild Provence, of the
Iberian vice, and hardly know whether it makes the
custom more respectable that at Nimes and Arles the
thing is shabbily and imperfectly done.  The bulls
are rarely killed, and indeed often are bulls only in
the Irish sense of the term, - being domestic and
motherly cows.  Such an entertainment of course does
not supply to the arena that element of the exquisite
which I spoke of as wanting.  The exquisite at Nimes
is mainly represented by the famous Maison Carree.
The first impression you receive from this delicate
little building, as you stand before it, is that you have
already seen it many times.  Photographs, engravings,
models, medals, have placed it definitely in your eye,
so that from the sentiment with which you regard it
curiosity and surprise are almost completely, and per-
haps deplorably, absent.  Admiration remains, how-
ever, - admiration of a familiar and even slightly
patronizing kind.  The Maison Carree does not over-
whelm you; you can conceive it.  It is not one of the
great sensations of the antique art; but it is perfectly
felicitous, and, in spite of having been put to all sorts
of incongruous uses, marvellously preserved.  Its slender
columns, its delicate proportions, its charming com-
pactness, seemed to bring one nearer to the century
that built it than the great superpositions of arenas
and bridges, and give it the interest that vibrates from
one age to another when the note of taste is struck.
If anything were needed to make this little toy-temple
a happy production, the service would be rendered by
the second-rate boulevard that conducts to it, adorned
with inferior cafes and tobacco-shops.  Here, in a
respectable recess, surrounded by vulgar habitations,
and with the theatre, of a classic pretension, opposite,
stands the small "square house," so called because it
is much longer than it is broad.  I saw it first in the
evening, in the vague moonlight, which made it look
as if it were cast in bronze.  Stendhal says, justly,
that it has the shape of a playing-card, and he ex-
presses his admiration for it by the singular wish
that an "exact copy" of it should be erected in Paris.
He even goes so far as to say that in the year 1880
this tribute will have been rendered to its charms;
nothing would be more simple, to his mind, than to
"have" in that city "le Pantheon de Rome, quelques
temples de Grece."  Stendhal found it amusing to
write in the character of a _commis-voyageur_, and some-
times it occurs to his reader that he really was one.



XXIX.

On my way from Nimes to Arles, I spent three
hours at Tarascon; chiefly for the love of Alphonse
Daudet, who has written nothing more genial than
"Les Aventures Prodigieuses de Taitarin," and the
story of the "siege" of the bright, dead little town
(a mythic siege by the Prussians) in the "Conies du
Lundi."  In the introduction which, for the new
edition of his works, he has lately supplied to "Tar-
tarin," the author of this extravagant but kindly
satire gives some account of the displeasure with
which he has been visited by the ticklish Tarascon-
nais.  Daudet relates that in his attempt to shed a
humorous light upon some of the more erratic phases
of the Provencal character, he selected Tarascon at a
venture; not because the temperament of its natives
is more vainglorious than that of their neighbors, or
their rebellion against the "despotism of fact" more
marked, but simply because he had to name a par-
ticular Provencal city.  Tartarin is a hunter of lions
and charmer of women, a true "_produit du midi_," as
Daudet says, who has the most fantastic and fabulous
adventures.  He is a minimized Don Quixote, with
much less dignity, but with equal good faith; and the
story of his exploits is a little masterpiece of the
light comical.  The Tarasconnais, however, declined to
take the joke, and opened the vials of their wrath
upon the mocking child of Nimes, who would have
been better employed, they doubtless thought, in show-
ing up the infirmities of his own family.  I am bound
to add that when I passed through Tarascon they did
not appear to be in the least out of humor.  Nothing
could have been brighter, softer, more suggestive of
amiable indifference, than the picture it presented to
my mind.  It lies quietly beside the Rhone, looking
across at Beaucaire, which seems very distant and in-
dependent, and tacitly consenting to let the castle of
the good King Rene of Anjou, which projects very
boldly into the river, pass for its most interesting feature.
The other features are, primarily, a sort of vivid sleepi-
ness in the aspect of the place, as if the September
noon (it had lingered on into October) lasted longer
there than elsewhere; certain low arcades, which make
the streets look gray and exhibit empty vistas; and a
very curious and beautiful walk beside the Rhone,
denominated the Chaussee, - a long and narrow cause-
way, densely shaded by two rows of magnificent old
trees, planted in its embankment, and rendered doubly
effective, at the moment I passed over it, by a little
train of collegians, who had been taken out for mild
exercise by a pair of young priests.  Lastly, one may
say that a striking element of Tarascon, as of any town
that lies on the Rhone, is simply the Rhone itself: the
big brown flood, of uncertain temper, which has never
taken time to forget that it is a child of the mountain
and the glacier, and that such an origin carries with it
great privileges.  Later, at Avignon, I observed it in
the exercise of these privileges, chief among which was
that of frightening the good people of the old papal
city half out of their wits.

The chateau of King Rene serves to-day as the
prison of a district, and the traveller who wishes to
look into it must obtain his permission at the _Mairie
of Tarascon_.  If he have had a certain experience of
French manners, his application will be accompanied
with the forms of a considerable obsequiosity, and in
this case his request will be granted as civilly as it
has been made.  The castle has more of the air of a
severely feudal fortress than I should suppose the
period of its construction (the first half of the fifteenth
century) would have warranted; being tremendously
bare and perpendicular, and constructed for comfort
only in the sense that it was arranged for defence.  It
is a square and simple mass, composed of small yellow
stones, and perched on a pedestal of rock which easily
commands the river.  The building has the usual cir-
cular towers at the corners, and a heavy cornice at
the top, and immense stretches of sun-scorched wall,
relieved at wide intervals by small windows, heavily
cross-barred.  It has, above all, an extreme steepness
of aspect; I cannot express it otherwise.  The walls
are as sheer and inhospitable as precipices.  The castle
has kept its large moat, which is now a hollow filled
with wild plants.  To this tall fortress the good Rene
retired in the middle of the fifteenth century, finding
it apparently the most substantial thing left him in a
dominion which had included Naples and Sicily,
Lorraine and Anjou.  He had been a much-tried
monarch and the sport of a various fortune, fighting
half his life for thrones he didn't care for, and exalted
only to be quickly cast down.  Provence was the
country of his affection, and the memory of his troubles
did not prevent him from holding a joyous court at
Tarascon and at Aix.  He finished the castle at
Tarascon, which had been begun earlier in the century,
- finished it, I suppose, for consistency's sake, in the
manner in which it had originally been designed rather
than in accordance with the artistic tastes that formed
the consolation of his old age.  He was a painter, a
writer, a dramatist, a modern dilettante, addicted to
private theatricals.  There is something very attractive
in the image that he has imprinted on the page of
history.  He was both clever and kind, and many
reverses and much suffering had not imbittered him
nor quenched his faculty of enjoyment.  He was fond
of his sweet Provence, and his sweet Provence has
been grateful; it has woven a light tissue of legend
around the memory of the good King Rene.

I strolled over his dusky habitation - it must have
taken all his good-humor to light it up - at the heels
of the custodian, who showed me the usual number of
castle-properties: a deep, well-like court; a collection of
winding staircases and vaulted chambers, the embra-
sures of whose windows and the recesses of whose
doorways reveal a tremendous thickness of wall.  These
things constitute the general identity of old castles;
and when one has wandered through a good many,
with due discretion of step and protrusion of head,
one ceases very much to distinguish and remember,
and contents one's self with consigning them to the
honorable limbo of the romantic.  I must add that this
reflection did not the least deter me from crossing the
bridge which connects Tarascon with Beaucaire, in
order to examine the old fortress whose ruins adorn
the latter city.  It stands on a foundation of rock much
higher than that of Tarascon, and looks over with a
melancholy expression at its better-conditioned brother.
Its position is magnificent, and its outline very gallant.
I was well rewarded for my pilgrimage; for if the castle
of Beaucaire is only a fragment, the whole place, with
its position and its views, is an ineffaceable picture.  It
was the stronghold of the Montmorencys, and its last
tenant was that rash Duke Francois, whom Richelieu,
seizing every occasion to trample on a great noble,
caused to be beheaded at Toulouse, where we saw, in
the Capitol, the butcher's knife with which the cardinal
pruned the crown of France of its thorns.  The castle,
after the death of this victim, was virtually demolished.
Its site, which Nature to-day has taken again to herself,
has an extraordinary charm.  The mass of rock that it
formerly covered rises high above the town, and is as
precipitous as the side of the Rhone.  A tall rusty iron
gate admits you from a quiet corner of Beaucaire to a
wild tangled garden, covering the side of the hill, -
for the whole place forms the public promenade of the
townsfolk, - a garden without flowers, with little steep,
rough paths that wind under a plantation of small,
scrubby stone-pines.  Above this is the grassy platform
of the castle, enclosed on one side only (toward the
river) by a large fragment of wall and a very massive
dungeon.  There are benches placed in the lee of the
wall, and others on the edge of the platform, where
one may enjoy a view, beyond the river, of certain
peeled and scorched undulations.  A sweet desolation,
an everlasting peace, seemed to hang in the air.  A
very old man (a fragment, like the castle itself) emerged
from some crumbling corner to do me the honors, - a
very gentle, obsequious, tottering, toothless, grateful old
man.  He beguiled me into an ascent of the solitary
tower, from which you may look down on the big
sallow river and glance at diminished Tarascon, and
the barefaced, bald-headed hills behind it.  It may
appear that I insist too much upon the nudity of the
Provencal horiion, - too much, considering that I have
spoken of the prospect from the heights of Beaucaire as
lovely.  But it is an exquisite bareness; it seems to
exist for the purpose of allowing one to follow the de-
licate lines of the hills, and touch with the eyes, as it
were, the smallest inflections of the landscape.  It
makes the whole thing seem wonderfully bright and
pure.

Beaucaire used to be the scene of a famous fair,
the great fair of the south of France.  It has gone the
way of most fairs, even in France, where these delight-
ful exhibitions hold their own much better than might
be supposed.  It is still held in the month of July;
but the bourgeoises of Tarascon send to the Magasin
du Louvre for their smart dresses, and the principal
glory of the scene is its long tradition.  Even now,
however, it ought to be the prettiest of all fairs, for it
takes place in a charming wood which lies just beneath
the castle, beside the Rhone.  The booths, the barracks,
the platforms of the mountebanks, the bright-colored
crowd, diffused through this midsummer shade, and
spotted here and there with the rich Provencal sun-
shine must be of the most pictorial effect.  It is highly
probable, too, that it offers a large collection of pretty
faces; for even in the few hours that I spent at
Tarascon I discovered symptoms of the purity of
feature for which the women of the _pays d'Arles_ are
renowned.  The Arlesian head-dress, was visible in the
streets; and this delightful coiffure is so associated with
a charming facial oval, a dark mild eye, a straight
Greek nose, and a mouth worthy of all the rest, that
it conveys a presumption of beauty which gives the
wearer time either to escape or to please you.  I have
read somewhere, however, that Tarascon is supposed
to produce handsome men, as Arles is known to deal
in handsome women.  It may be that I should have
found the Tarasconnais very fine fellows, if I had en-
countered enough specimens to justify an induction.
But there were very few males in the streets, and the
place presented no appearance of activity.  Here and
there the black coif of an old woman or of a young
girl was framed by a low doorway; but for the rest, as
I have said, Tarascon was mostly involved in a siesta.
There was not a creature in the little church of Saint
Martha, which I made a point of visiting before I re-
turned to the station, and which, with its fine Romanesque
sideportal and its pointed and crocketed Gothic spire,
is as curious as it need be, in view of its tradition.  It
stands in a quiet corner where the grass grows between
the small cobble-stones, and you pass beneath a deep
archway to reach it.  The tradition relates that Saint
Martha tamed with her own hands, and attached to
her girdle, a dreadful dragon, who was known as the
Tarasque, and is reported to have given his name to
the city on whose site (amid the rocks which form the
base of the chateau) he had his cavern.  The dragon,
perhaps, is the symbol of a ravening paganism, dis-
pelled by the eloquence of a sweet evangelist.  The
bones of the interesting saint, at all events, were found,
in the eleventh century, in a cave beneath the spot on
which her altar now stands.  I know not what had be-
come of the bones of the dragon.



XXX.

There are two shabby old inns at Arles, which
compete closely for your custom.  I mean by this that
if you elect to go to the Hotel du Forum, the Hotel
du Nord, which is placed exactly beside it (at a right
angle) watches your arrival with ill-concealed dis-
approval; and if you take the chances of its neighbor,
the Hotel du Forum seems to glare at you invidiously
from all its windows and doors.  I forget which of
these establishments I selected; whichever it was, I
wished very much that, it had been the other.  The
two stand together on the Place des Hommes, a little
public square of Arles, which somehow quite misses
its effect.  As a city, indeed, Arles quite misses its
effect in every way; and if it is a charming place, as
I think it is, I can hardly tell the reason why.  The
straight-nosed Arlesiennes account for it in some degree;
and the remainder may be charged to the ruins of the
arena and the theatre.  Beyond this, I remember with
affection the ill-proportioned little Place des Hommes;
not at all monumental, and given over to puddles and
to shabby cafes.  I recall with tenderness the tortuous
and featureless streets, which looked like the streets of
a village, and were paved with villanous little sharp
stones, making all exercise penitential.  Consecrated
by association is even a tiresome walk that I took the
evening I arrived, with the purpose of obtaining a
view of the Rhone.  I had been to Arles before, years
ago, and it seemed to me that I remembered finding
on the banks of the stream some sort of picture.  I
think that on the evening of which I speak there was
a watery moon, which it seemed to me would light up
the past as well as the present.  But I found no pic-
ture, and I scarcely found the Rhone at all.  I lost
my way, and there was not a creature in the streets to
whom I could appeal.  Nothing could be more pro-
vincial than the situation of Arles at ten o'clock at
night.  At last I arrived at a kind of embankment,
where I could see the great mud-colored stream slip-
ping along in the soundless darkness.  It had come
on to rain, I know not what had happened to the
moon, and the whole place was anything but gay.  It
was not what I had looked for; what I had looked for
was in the irrecoverable past.  I groped my way back
to the inn over the infernal _cailloux_, feeling like a dis-
comfited Dogberry.  I remember now that this hotel
was the one (whichever that may be) which has the
fragment of a Gallo-Roman portico inserted into one
of its angles.  I had chosen it for the sake of this ex-
ceptional ornament.  It was damp and dark, and the
floors felt gritty to the feet; it was an establishment at
which the dreadful _gras-double_ might have appeared
at the table d'hote, as it had done at Narbonne.  Never-
theless, I was glad to get back to it; and nevertheless,
too, - and this is the moral of my simple anecdote, -
my pointless little walk (I don't speak of the pave-
ment) suffuses itself, as I look back upon it, with a
romantic tone.  And in relation to the inn, I suppose
I had better mention that I am well aware of the in-
consistency of a person who dislikes the modern cara-
vansary, and yet grumbles when he finds a hotel of
the superannuated sort.  One ought to choose, it would
seem, and make the best of either alternative.  The
two old taverns at Arles are quite unimproved; such
as they must have been in the infancy of the modern
world, when Stendhal passed that way, and the lum-
bering diligence deposited him in the Place des
Hommes, such in every detail they are to-day.  _Vieilles
auberges de France_, one ought to enjoy their gritty
floors and greasy window-panes.  Let it be put on re-
cord, therefore, that I have been, I won't say less com-
fortable, but at least less happy, at better inns.

To be really historic, I should have mentioned that
before going to look for the Rhone I had spent part
of the evening on the opposite side of the little place,
and that I indulged in this recreation for two definite
reasons.  One of these was that I had an opportunity
of conversing at a cafe with an attractive young Eng-
lishman, whom I had met in the afternoon at Tarascon,
and more remotely, in other years, in London; the
other was that there sat enthroned behind the counter
a splendid mature Arlesienne, whom my companion
and I agreed that it was a rare privilege to contem-
plate.  There is no rule of good manners or morals
which makes it improper, at a cafe, to fix one's eyes
upon the _dame de comptoir_; the lady is, in the nature
of things, a part of your _consommation_.  We were there-
fore feee to admire without restriction the handsomest
person I had ever seen give change for a five-franc
piece.  She was a large quiet woman, who would never
see forty again; of an intensely feminine type, yet
wonderfully rich and robust, and full of a certain phy-
sical nobleness.  Though she was not really old, she
was antique, and she was very grave, even a little sad.
She had the dignity of a Roman empress, and she
handled coppers as if they had been stamped with
the head of Caesar.  I have seen washerwomen in the
Trastevere who were perhaps as handsome as she; but
even the head-dress of the Roman contadina con-
tributes less to the dignity of the person born to wear
it than the sweet and stately Arlesian cap, which sits
at once aloft and on the back of the head; which is
accompanied with a wide black bow covering a con-
siderable part of the crown; and which, finally, accom-
modates itself indescribably well to the manner in
which the tresses of the front are pushed behind the
cars.

This admirable dispenser of lumps of sugar has
distracted me a little; for I am still not sufficiently
historical.  Before going to the cafe I had dined, and
before dining I had found time to go and look at the
arena.  Then it was that I discovered that Arles has
no general physiognomy, and, except the delightful
little church of Saint Trophimus, no architecture, and
that the rugosities of its dirty lanes affect the feet
like knife-blades.  It was not then, on the other hand, that
I saw the arena best.  The second day of my stay at
Arles I devoted to a pilgrimage to the strange old hill
town of Les Baux, the mediaeval Pompeii, of which I
shall give myself the pleasure of speaking.  The even-
ing of that day, however (my friend and I returned in
time for a late dinner), I wandered among the Roman
remains of the place by the light of a magnificent
moon, and gathered an impression which has lost little
of its silvery glow.  The moon of the evening before
had been aqueous and erratic; but if on the present
occasion it was guilty of any irregularity, the worst it
did was only to linger beyond its time in the heavens,
in order to let us look at things comfortably.  The
effect was admirable; it brought back the impression
of the way, in Rome itself, on evenings like that, the
moonshine rests upon broken shafts and slabs of an-
tique pavement.  As we sat in the theatre, looking at
the two lone columns that survive - part of the decora-
tion of the back of the stage - and at the fragments
of ruin around them, we might have been in the
Roman forum.  The arena at Arles, with its great
magnitude, is less complete than that of Nimes; it has
suffered even more the assaults of time and of the
children of time, and it has been less repaired.  The
seats are almost wholly wanting; but the external walls
minus the topmost tier of arches, are massively, rug-
gedly, complete; and the vaulted corridors seem as
solid as the day they were built.  The whole thing is
superbly vast, and as monumental, for place of light
amusement - what is called in America a "variety-
show" - as it entered only into the Roman mind to
make such establishments.  The _podium_ is much higher
than at Nimes, and many of the great white slabs that
faced it have been recovered and put into their places.
The proconsular box has been more or less recon-
structed, and the great converging passages of approach
to it are still majestically distinct: so that, as I sat
there in the moon-charmed stillness, leaning my elbows
on the battered parapet of the ring, it was not im-
possible - to listen to the murmurs and shudders, the
thick voice of the circus, that died away fifteen hun-
dred years ago.

The theatre has a voice as well, but it lingers on
the ear of time with a different music.  The Roman
theatre at Arles seemed to me one of the most charm-
ing and touching ruins I had ever beheld; I took a
particular fancy to it.  It is less than a skeleton, - the
arena may be called a skeleton; for it consists only of
half a dozen bones.  The traces of the row of columns
which formed the scene - the permanent back-scene -
remain; two marble pillars - I just mentioned them -
are upright, with a fragment of their entablature.  Be
fore them is the vacant space which was filled by the
stage, with the line of the prosoenium distinct, marked
by a deep groove, impressed upon slabs of stone, which
looks as if the bottom of a high screen had been in-
tended to fit into it.  The semicircle formed by the
seats - half a cup - rises opposite; some of the rows
are distinctly marked.  The floor, from the bottom of
the stage, in the shape of an arc of which the chord
is formed by the line of the orchestra, is covered by
slabs of colored marble - red, yellow, and green -
which, though terribly battered and cracked to-day,
give one an idea of the elegance of the interior.  Every-
thing shows that it was on a great scale: the large
sweep of its enclosing walls, the massive corridors that
passed behind the auditorium, and of which we can
still perfectly take the measure.  The way in which
every seat commanded the stage is a lesson to the
architects of our epoch, as also the immense size of
the place is a proof of extraordinary power of voice
on the part of the Roman actors.  It was after we had
spent half an hour in the moonshine at the arena that
we came on to this more ghostly and more exquisite
ruin.  The principal entrance was locked, but we
effected an easy _escalade_, scaled a low parapet, and
descended into the place behind file scenes.  It was
as light as day, and the solitude was complete.  The
two slim columns, as we sat on the broken benches,
stood there like a pair of silent actors.  What I called
touching, just now, was the thought that here the
human voice, the utterance of a great language, had
been supreme.  The air was full of intonations and
cadences; not of the echo of smashing blows, of riven
armor, of howling victims and roaring beasts.  The
spot is, in short, one of the sweetest legacies of the
ancient world; and there seems no profanation in the
fact that by day it is open to the good people of
Arles, who use it to pass, by no means in great num-
bers, from one part of the town to the other; treading
the old marble floor, and brushing, if need be, the
empty benches.  This familiarity does not kill the
place again; it makes it, on the contrary, live a little,
- makes the present and the past touch each other.



XXXI.

The third lion of Arles has nothing to do with the
ancient world, but only with the old one.  The church
of Saint Trophimus, whose wonderful Romanesque
porch is the principal ornament of the principal _place_,
- a _place_ otherwise distinguished by the presence of
a slim and tapering obelisk in the middle, as well as
by that of the Hotel de Ville and the museum - the
interesting church of Saint Trophimus swears a little,
as the French say, with the peculiar character of
Arles.  It is very remarkable, but I would rather it
were in another place.  Arles is delightfully pagan,
and Saint Trophimus, with its apostolic sculptures, is
rather a false note.  These sculptures are equally re-
markable for their primitive vigor and for the perfect
preservation in which they have come down to us.
The deep recess of a round-arched porch of the
twelfth century is covered with quaint figures, which
have not lost a nose or a finger.  An angular, Byzan-
tine-looking Christ sits in a diamond-shaped frame at
the summit of the arch, surrounded by little angels,
by great apostles, by winged beasts, by a hundred
sacred symbols and grotesque ornaments.  It is a
dense embroidery of sculpture, black with time, but as
uninjured as if it had been kept under glass.  One
good mark for the French Revolution!  Of the in-
terior of the church, which has a nave of the twelfth
century, and a choir three hundred years more recent,
I chiefly remember the odd feature that the Romanesque
aisles are so narrow that you literally - or almost -
squeeze through them.  You do so with some eager-
ness, for your natural purpose is to pass out to the
cloister.  This cloister, as distinguished and as per-
fect as the porch, has a great deal of charm.  Its four
sides, which are not of the same period (the earliest
and best are of the twelfth century), have an elaborate
arcade, supported on delicate pairs of columns, the
capitals of which show an extraordinary variety of
device and ornament.  At the corners of the quadrangle
these columns take the form of curious human figures.
The whole thing is a gem of lightness and preserva-
tion, and is often cited for its beauty; but - if it
doesn't sound too profane - I prefer, especially at
Arles, the ruins of the Roman theatre.  The antique
element is too precious to be mingled with anything
less rare.  This truth was very present to my mind
during a ramble of a couple of hours that I took just
before leaving the place; and the glowing beauty of
the morning gave the last touch of the impression.  I
spent half an hour at the Museum; then I took an-
other look at the Roman theatre; after which I walked
a little out of the town to the Aliscamps, the old
Elysian Fields, the meagre remnant of the old pagan
place of sepulture, which was afterwards used by the
Christians, but has been for ages deserted, and now
consists only of a melancholy avenue of cypresses,
lined with a succession of ancient sarcophagi, empty,
mossy, and mutilated.  An iron-foundry, or some hor-
rible establishment which is conditioned upon tall
chimneys and a noise of hammering and banging, has
been established near at hand; but the cypresses shut
it out well enough, and this small patch of Elysium is
a very romantic corner.

The door of the Museum stands ajar, and a vigilant
custodian, with the usual batch of photographs on
his mind, peeps out at you disapprovingly while you
linger opposite, before the charming portal of Saint
Trophimus, which you may look at for nothing.
When you succumb to the silent influence of his eye,
and go over to visit his collection, you find yourself
in a desecrated church, in which a variety of ancient
objects, disinterred in Arlesian soil, have been ar-
ranged without any pomp.  The best of these, I be-
lieve, were found in the ruins of the theatre.  Some of
the most curious of them are early Christian sar-
cophagi, exactly on the pagan model, but covered with
rude yet vigorously wrought images of the apostles,
and with illustrations of scriptural history.  Beauty
of the highest kind, either of conception or of execu-
tion, is absent from most of the Roman fragments,
which belong to the taste of a late period and a
provincial civilization.  But a gulf divides them from
the bristling little imagery of the Christian sarcophagi,
in which, at the same time, one detects a vague
emulation of the rich examples by which their authors
were surrounded.  There is a certain element of style
in all the pagan things; there is not a hint of it in
the early Christian relics, among which, according to
M. Joanne, of the Guide, are to be found more fine
sarcophagi than in any collection but that of St. John
Lateran.  In two or three of the Roman fragments
there is a noticeable distinction; principally in a
charming bust of a boy, quite perfect, with those
salient eyes that one sees in certain antique busts, and
to which the absence of vision in the marble mask
gives a look, often very touching, as of a baffled effort
to see; also in the head of a woman, found in the
ruins of the theatre, who, alas! has lost her nose, and
whose noble, simple contour, barring this deficiency,
recalls the great manner of the Venus of Milo.  There
are various rich architectural fragments which in-
dicate that that edifice was a very splendid affair.
This little Museum at Arles, in short, is the most Ro-
man thing I know of, out of Rome.



XXXII.

I find that I declared one evening, in a little
journal I was keeping at that time, that I was weary
of writing (I was probably very sleepy), but that it
was essential I should make some note of my visit to
Les Baux.  I must have gone to sleep as soon as I
had recorded this necessity, for I search my small diary
in vain for any account of that enchanting spot.  I
have nothing but my memory to consult, - a memory
which is fairly good in regard to a general impression,
but is terribly infirm in the matter of details and
items.  We knew in advance, my companion and  I
that Les Baus was a pearl of picturesqueness; for
had we not read as much in the handbook of Murray,
who has the testimony of an English nobleman as to
its attractions?  We also knew that it lay some miles
from Aries, on the crest of the Alpilles, the craggy
little mountains which, as I stood on the breezy plat-
form of Beaucaire, formed to my eye a charming, if
somewhat remote, background to Tarascon; this as-
surance having been given us by the landlady of the
inn at Arles, of whom we hired a rather lumbering
conveyance.  The weather was not promising, but it
proved a good day for the mediaeval Pompeii; a gray,
melancholy, moist, but rainless, or almost rainless
day, with nothing in the sky to flout, as the poet
says, the dejected and pulverized past.  The drive
itself was charming; for there is an inexhaustible
sweetness in the gray-green landscape of Provence.
It is never absolutely flat, and yet is never really
ambitious, and is full both of entertainment and re-
pose.  It is in constant undulation, and the bareness
of the soil lends itself easily to outline and profile.
When I say the bareness, I mean the absence of
woods and hedges.  It blooms with heath and scented
shrubs and stunted olive; and the white rock shining
through the scattered herbage has a brightness which
answers to the brightness of the sky.  Of course it
needs the sunshine, for all southern countries look a
little false under the ground glass of incipient bad
weather.  This was the case on the day of my pil-
grimage to Les Baux.  Nevertheless, I was as glad
to keep going as I was to arrive; and as I went it
seemed to me that true happiness would consist in
wandering through such a land on foot, on September
afternoons, when one might stretch one's self on the
warm ground in some shady hollow, and listen to the
hum of bees and the whistle of melancholy shepherds;
for in Provence the shepherds whistle to their flocks.
I saw two or three of them, in the course of this drive
to Les Baux, meandering about, looking behind, and
calling upon the sheep in this way to follow, which
the sheep always did, very promptly, with ovine
unanimity.  Nothing is more picturesque than to see
a slow shepherd threading his way down one of the
winding paths on a hillside, with his flock close be-
hind him, necessarily expanded, yet keeping just at
his heels, bending and twisting as it goes, and looking
rather like the tail of a dingy comet.

About four miles from Arles, as you drive north-
ward toward the Alpilles, of which Alphonse Daudet
has spoken so often, and, as he might say, so in-
timately, stand on a hill that overlooks the road
the very considerable ruins of the abbey of Mont-
majour, one of the innumerable remnants of a feudal
and ecclesiastical (as well as an architectural) past
that one encounters in the South of France; remnants
which, it must be confessed, tend to introduce a cer-
tain confusion and satiety into the passive mind of
the tourist.  Montmajour, however, is very impressive
and interesting; the only trouble with it is that,
unless you have stopped and retumed to Arles, you
see it in memory over the head of Les Baux, which
is a much more absorbing picture.  A part of the
mass of buildings (the monastery) dates only from the
last century; and the stiff architecture of that period
does not lend itself very gracefully to desolation: it
looks too much as if it had been burnt down the year
before.  The monastery was demolished during the
Revolution, and it injures a little the effect of the
very much more ancient fragments that are connected
with it.  The whole place is on a great scale; it was
a rich and splendid abbey.  The church, a vast
basilica of the eleventh century, and of the noblest
proportions, is virtually intact; I mean as regards
its essentials, for the details have completely vanished.
The huge solid shell is full of expression; it looks
as if it had been hollowed out by the sincerity of
early faith, and it opens into a cloister as impressive
as itself.  Wherever one goes, in France, one meets,
looking backward a little, the spectre of the great
Revolution; and one meets it always in the shape of
the destruction of something beautiful and precious.
To make us forgive it at all, how much it must also
have destroyed that was more hateful than itself!
Beneath the church of Montmajour is a most extra-
ordinary crypt, almost as big as the edifice above
it, and making a complete subterranean temple, sur-
rounded with a circular gallery, or deambulatory,
which expands it intervals into five square chapels.
There are other things, of which I have but a con-
fused memory: a great fortified keep; a queer little
primitive chapel, hollowed out of the rock, beneath
these later structures, and recommended to the
visitor's attention as the confessional of Saint Tro-
phimus, who shares with so many worthies the glory
of being the first apostle of the Gauls.  Then there
is a strange, small church, of the dimmest antiquity,
standing at a distance from the other buildings.  I
remember that after we had let ourselves down a
good many steepish places to visit crypts and con-
fessionals, we walked across a field to this archaic
cruciform edifice, and went thence to a point further
down the road, where our carriage was awaiting
us.  The chapel of the Holy Cross, as it is called,
is classed among the historic monuments of France;
and I read in a queer, rambling, ill-written book
which I picked up at Avignon, and in which the
author, M. Louis de Lainbel, has buried a great deal
of curious information on the subject of Provence,
under a style inspiring little confidence, that the
"delicieuse chapelle de Sainte-Croix" is a "veritable
bijou artistique."  He speaks of "a piece of lace in
stone," which runs from one end of the building to
the other, but of which I am obliged to confess that
I have no recollection.  I retain, however, a suf-
ficiently clear impression of the little superannuated
temple, with its four apses and its perceptible odor of
antiquity, - the odor of the eleventh century.

The ruins of Les Baux remain quite indistinguish-
able, even when you are directly beneath them, at
the foot of the charming little Alpilles, which mass
themselves with a kind of delicate ruggedness.  Rock
and ruin have been so welded together by the con-
fusions of time, that as you approach it from behind
- that is, from the direction of Arles - the place
presents simply a general air of cragginess.  Nothing
can be prettier than the crags of Provence; they are
beautifully modelled, as painters say, and they have
a delightful silvery color.  The road winds round the
foot of the hills on the top of which Lea Baux is
planted, and passes into another valley, from which
the approach to the town is many degrees less pre-
cipitous, and may be comfortably made in a carriage.
Of course the deeply inquiring traveller will alight as
promptly as possible; for the pleasure of climbing
into this queerest of cities on foot is not the least
part of the entertainment of going there.  Then you
appreciate its extraordinary position, its picturesque-
ness, its steepness, its desolation and decay.  It
hangs - that is, what remains of it - to the slanting
summit of the mountain.  Nothing would be more
natural than for the whole place to roll down into
the valley.  A part of it has done so - for it is not
unjust to suppose that in the process of decay the
crumbled particles have sought the lower level;
while the remainder still clings to its magnificent
perch.

If I called Les Baux a city, just, above, it was not
that I was stretching a point in favor of the small
spot which to-day contains but a few dozen inhabi-
tants.  The history of the plate is as extraordinary
as its situation.  It was not only a city, but a state;
not only a state, but an empire; and on the crest of
its little mountain called itself sovereign of a territory,
or at least of scattered towns and counties, with which
its present aspect is grotesquely out of relation.  The
lords of Les Baux, in a word, were great feudal pro-
prietors; and there-was a time during which the island
of Sardinia, to say nothing of places nearer home,
such as Arles and Marseilles, paid them homage.  The
chronicle of this old Provencal house has been written,
in a style somewhat unctuous and flowery, by M. Jules
Canonge.  I purchased the little book - a modest
pamphlet - at the establishment of the good sisters,
just beside the church, in one of the highest parts of
Les Baux.  The sisters have a school for the hardy little
Baussenques, whom I heard piping their lessons, while
I waited in the cold _parloir_ for one of the ladies to
come and speak to me.  Nothing could have been
more perfect than the manner of this excellent woman
when she arrived; yet her small religious house
seemed a very out-of-the-way corner of the world.  It
was spotlessly neat, and the rooms looked as if they
had lately been papered and painted: in this respect,
at the mediaeval Pompeii, they were rather a discord.
They were, at any rate, the newest, freshest thing at
Les Baux.  I remember going round to the church,
after I had left the good sisters, and to a little quiet
terrace, which stands in front of it, ornamented with
a few small trees and bordered with a wall, breast-
high, over which you look down steep hillsides, off
into the air and all about the neighbouring country.
I remember saying to myself that this little terrace
was one of those felicitous nooks which the tourist
of taste keeps in his mind as a picture.  The church
was small and brown and dark, with a certain rustic
richness.  All this, however, is no general description
of Les Baux.

I am unable to give any coherent account of the
place, for the simple reason that it is a mere con-
fusion of ruin.  It has not been preserved in lava like
Pompeii, and its streets and houses, its ramparts and
castle, have become fragmentary, not through the
sudden destruction, but through the gradual with-
drawal, of a population.  It is not an extinguished,
but a deserted city; more deserted far than even
Carcassonne and Aigues-Mortes, where I found so
much entertainment in the grass-grown element.  It
is of very small extent, and even in the days of its
greatness, when its lords entitled themselves counts
of Cephalonia and Neophantis, kings of Arles and
Vienne, princes of Achaia, and emperors of Constan-
tinople, - even at this flourishing period, when, as M.
Jules Canonge remarks, "they were able to depress
the balance in which the fate of peoples and kings is
weighed," the plucky little city contained at the most
no more than thirty-six hundred souls.  Yet its lords
(who, however, as I have said, were able to present
a long list of subject towns, most of them, though a
few are renowned, unknown to fame) were seneschals
and captains-general of Piedmont and Lombardy,
grand admirals of the kingdom of Naples, and its
ladies were sought in marriage by half the first
princes in Europe.  A considerable part of the little
narrative of M. Canonge is taken up with the great
alliances of the House of Baux, whose fortunes, ma-
trimonial and other, he traces from the eleventh cen-
tury down to the sixteenth.  The empty shells of a
considerable number of old houses, many of which
must have been superb, the lines of certain steep
little streets, the foundations of a castle, and ever so
many splendid views, are all that remains to-day of
these great titles.  To such a list I may add a dozen
very polite and sympathetic people, who emerged from
the interstices of the desultory little town to gaze at
the two foreigners who had driven over from Arles,
and whose horses were being baited at the modest
inn.  The resources of this establishment we did not
venture otherwise to test, in spite of the seductive
fact that the sign over the door was in the Provencal
tongue.  This little group included the baker, a rather
melancholy young man, in high boots and a cloak,
with whom and his companions we had a good deal
of conversation.  The Baussenques of to-day struck
me as a very mild and agreeable race, with a good
deal of the natural amenity which, on occasions like
this one, the traveller, who is, waiting for his horses
to be put in or his dinner to be prepared, observes
in the charming people who lend themselves to con-
versation in the hill-towns of Tuscany.  The spot
where our entertainers at Les Baux congregated was
naturally the most inhabited portion of the town; as
I say, there were at least a dozen human figures
within sight.  Presently we wandered away from them,
scaled the higher places, seated ourselves among the
ruins of the castle, and looked down from the cliff
overhanging that portion of the road which I have
mentioned as approaching Les Baux from behind.  I
was unable to trace the configuration of the castle as
plainly as the writers who have described it in the
guide-books, and I am ashamed to say that I did not
even perceive the three great figures of stone (the
three Marys, as they are called; the two Marys of
Scripture, with Martha), which constitute one of the
curiosities of the place, and of which M. Jules Canonge
speaks with almost hyperbolical admiration.  A brisk
shower, lasting some ten minutes, led us to take refuge
in a cavity, of mysterious origin, where the melancholy
baker presently discovered us, having had the _bonne
pensee_ of coming up for us with an umbrella which
certainly belonged, in former ages, to one of the Ste-
phanettes or Berangeres commemorated by M. Canonge.
His oven, I am afraid, was cold so long as our visit
lasted.  When the rain was over we wandered down
to the little disencumbered space before the inn,
through a small labyrinth of obliterated things.  They
took the form of narrow, precipitous streets, bordered
by empty houses, with gaping windows and absent
doors, through which we had glimpses of sculptured
chimney-pieces and fragments of stately arch and vault.
Some of the houses are still inhabited; but most of
them are open to the air and weather.  Some of them
have completely collapsed; others present to the street
a front which enables one to judge of the physiognomy
of Les Baux in the days of its importance.  This im-
portance had pretty well passed away in the early part
of the sixteenth century, when the place ceased to be
an independent principality.  It became - by bequest
of one of its lords, Bernardin des Baux, a great cap-
tain of his time - part of the appanage of the kings of
France, by whom it was placed under the protection
of Arles, which had formerly occupied with regard to
it a different position.  I know not whether the Arle-
sians neglected their trust; but the extinction of the
sturdy little stronghold is too complete not to have
begun long ago.  Its memories are buried under its
ponderous stones.  As we drove away from it in the
gloaming, my friend and I agreed that the two or three
hours we had spent there were among the happiest
impressions of a pair of tourists very curious in the
picturesque.  We almost forgot that we were bound to
regret that the shortened day left us no time to drive
five miles further, above a pass in the little mountains
- it had beckoned to us in the morning, when we
came in sight of it, almost irresistibly - to see the Ro-
man arch and mausoleum of Saint Remy.  To compass
this larger excursion (including the visit to Les Baux)
you must start from Arles very early in the morning;
but I can imagine no more delightful day.



XXXIII.

I had been twice at Avignon before, and yet I was
not satisfied.  I probably am satisfied now; neverthe-
less, I enjoyed my third visit.  I shall not soon forget
the first, on which a particular emotion set indelible
stamp.  I was travelling northward, in 1870, after four
months spent, for the first time, in Italy.  It was the
middle of January, and I had found myself, unexpected-
ly, forced to return to England for the rest of the
winter.  It was an insufferable disappointment; I was
wretched and broken-hearted.  Italy appeared to me
at that time so much better than anything else in the
world, that to rise from table in the middle of the
feast was a prospect of being hungry for the rest of
my days.  I had heard a great deal of praise of the
south of France; but the south of France was a poor
consolation.  In this state of mind I arrived at Avignon,
which under a bright, hard winter sun was tingling -
fairly spinning - with the _mistral_.  I find in my journal
of the other day a reference to the acuteness of my
reluctance in January, 1870.  France, after Italy, ap-
peared, in the language of the latter country, _poco sim-
patica_; and I thought it necessary, for reasons now in-
conceivable, to read the "Figaro," which was filled
with descriptions of the horrible Troppmann, the mur-
derer of the _famille_ Kink.  Troppmann, Kink, _le crime
do Pantin_, very names that figured in this episode
seemed to wave me back.  Had I abandoned the so-
norous south to associate with vocables so base?

It was very cold, the other day, at Avignon; for
though there was no mistral, it was raining as it rains
in Provence, and the dampness had a terrible chill in
it.  As I sat by my fire, late at night - for in genial
Avignon, in October, I had to have a fire - it came
back to me that eleven years before I had at that
same hour sat by a fire in that same room, and, writ-
ing to a friend to whom I was not afraid to appear
extravagant, had made a vow that at some happier
period of the future I would avenge myself on the _ci-
devant_ city of the Popes by taking it in a contrary
sense.  I suppose that I redeemed my vow on the oc-
casion of my second visit better than on my third; for
then I was on my way to Italy, and that vengeance, of
course, was complete.  The only drawback was that I
was in such a hurry to get to Ventimiglia (where the
Italian custom-house was to be the sign of my triumph),
that I scarcely took time to make it clear to myself at
Avignon that this was better than reading the "Figaro."
I hurried on almost too fast to enjoy the consciousness
of moving southward.  On this last occasion I was un-
fortunately destitute of that happy faith.  Avignon was
my southernmost limit; after which I was to turn round
and proceed back to England.  But in the interval I
had been a great deal in Italy, and that made all the
difference.

I had plenty of time to think of this, for the rain
kept me practically housed for the first twenty-four
hours.  It had been raining in, these regions for a
month, and people had begun to look askance at the
Rhone, though as yet the volume of the river was not
exorbitant.  The only excursion possible, while the
torrent descended, was a kind of horizontal dive, ac-
companied with infinite splashing, to the little _musee_
of the town, which is within a moderate walk of the
hotel.  I had a memory of it from my first visit; it
had appeared to me more pictorial than its pictures.
I found that recollection had flattered it a little, and
that it is neither better nor worse than most provincial
museums.  It has the usual musty chill in the air, the
usual grass-grown fore-court, in which a few lumpish
Roman fragments are disposed, the usual red tiles on
the floor, and the usual specimens of the more livid
schools on the walls.  I rang up the _gardien_, who ar-
rived with a bunch of keys, wiping his mouth; he un-
locked doors for me, opened shutters, and while (to
my distress, as if the things had been worth lingering
over) he shuffled about after me, he announced the
names of the pictures before which I stopped, in a
voice that reverberated through the melancholy halls,
and seemed to make the authorship shameful when it
was obscure, and grotesque when it pretended to be
great.  Then there were intervals of silence, while I
stared absent-mindedly, at hap-hazard, at some indis-
tinguishable canvas, and the only sound was the down-
pour of the rain on the skylights.  The museum of
Avignon derives a certain dignity from its Roman frag-
ments.  The town has no Roman monuments to show;
in this respect, beside its brilliant neighbors, Arles and
Nimes, it is a blank.  But a great many small objects
have been found in its soil, - pottery, glass, bronzes,
lamps, vessels and ornaments of gold and silver.  The
glass is especially chaming, - small vessels of the most
delicate shape and substance, many of them perfectly
preserved.  These diminutive, intimate things bring
one near to the old Roman life; they seem like pearls
strung upon the slender thread that swings across the
gulf of time.  A little glass cup that Roman lips have
touched says more to us than the great vessel of an
arena.  There are two small silver _casseroles_, with chi-
selled handles, in the museum of Avignon, that struck
me as among the most charming survivals of anti-
quity.

I did wrong just above, to speak of my attack on
this establishment as the only recreation I took that
first wet day; for I remember a terribly moist visit to
the former palace of the Popes, which could have
taken place only in the same tempestuous hours.  It is
true that I scarcely know why I should have gone out
to see the Papal palace in the rain, for I had been
over it twice before, and even then had not found the
interest of the place so complete as it ought to be; the
fact, nevertheless, remains that this last occasion is
much associated with an umbrella, which was not
superfluous even in some of the chambers and cor-
ridors of the gigantic pile.  It had already seemed to
me the dreariest of all historical buildings, and my
final visit confirmed the impression.  The place is as
intricate as it is vast, and as desolate as it is dirty.
The imagination has, for some reason or other, to
make more than the effort usual in such cases to re-
store and repeople it.  The fact, indeed, is simply that
the palace has been so incalculably abused and altered.
The alterations have been so numerous that, though I
have duly conned the enumerations, supplied in guide-
books, of the principal perversions, I do not pretend
to carry any of them in my head.  The huge bare
mass, without ornament, without grace, despoiled of its
battlements and defaced with sordid modern windows,
covering the Rocher des Doms, and looking down over
the Rhone and the broken bridge of Saint-Benazet
(which stops in such a sketchable manner in mid-
stream), and across at the lonely tower of Philippe le
Bel and the ruined wall of Villeneuve, makes at a dis-
tance, in spite of its poverty, a great figure, the effect
of which is carried out by the tower of the church be-
side it (crowned though the latter be, in a top-heavy
fashion, with an immense modern image of the Virgin)
and by the thick, dark foliage of the garden laid out
on a still higher portion of the eminence.  This garden
recalls, faintly and a trifle perversely, the grounds of
the Pincian at Rome.  I know not whether it is the
shadow of the Papal name, present in both places,
combined with a vague analogy between the churches,
- which, approached in each case by a flight of steps,
seemed to defend the precinct, - but each time I have
seen the Promenade des Doms it has carried my
thoughts to the wider and loftier terrace from which
you look away at the Tiber and Saint Peter's.

As you stand before the Papal palace, and espe-
cially as you enter it, you are struck with its being a
very dull monument.  History enough was enacted
here: the great schism lasted from 1305 to 1370, dur-
ing which seven Popes, all Frenchmen, carried on the
court of Avignon on principles that have not com-
mended themselves to the esteem of posterity.  But
history has been whitewashed away, and the scandals
of that period have mingled with the dust of dilapi-
dations and repairs.  The building has for many years
been occupied as a barrack for regiments of the line,
and the main characteristics of a barrack - an extreme
nudity and a very queer smell - prevail throughout its
endless compartments.  Nothing could have been more
cruelly dismal than the appearance it presented at the
time of this third visit of mine.  A regiment, changing
quarters, had departed the day before, and another
was expected to arrive (from Algeria) on the morrow.
The place had been left in the befouled and belittered
condition which marks the passage of the military after
they have broken carnp, and it would offer but a me-
lancholy welcome to the regiment that was about to
take possession.  Enormous windows had been left
carelessly open all over the building, and the rain and
wind were beating into empty rooms and passages;
making draughts which purified, perhaps, but which
scarcely cheered.  For an arrival, it was horrible.  A
handful of soldiers had remained behind.  In one of
the big vaulted rooms several of them were lying on
their wretched beds, in the dim light, in the cold, in
the damp, with the bleak, bare walls before them, and
their overcoats, spread over them, pulled up to their
noses.  I pitied them immensely, though they may
have felt less wretched than they looked.  I thought
not of the old profligacies and crimes, not of the
funnel-shaped torture-chamber (which, after exciting
the shudder of generations, has been ascertained now,
I believe, to have been a mediaeval bakehouse), not of
the tower of the _glaciere_ and the horrors perpetrated
here in the Revolution, but of the military burden of
young France.  One wonders how young France en-
dures it, and one is forced to believe that the French
conscript has, in addition to his notorious good-humor,
greater toughness than is commonly supposed by those
who consider only the more relaxing influences of
French civilization.  I hope he finds occasional com-
pensation for such moments as I saw those damp
young peasants passing on the mattresses of their
hideous barrack, without anything around to remind
them that they were in the most civilized of countries.
The only traces of former splendor now visible in
the Papal pile are the walls and vaults of two small
chapels, painted in fresco, so battered and effaced as
to be scarcely distinguishable, by Simone Memmi.  It
offers, of course, a peculiarly good field for restoration,
and I believe the government intend to take it in
hand.  I mention this fact without a sigh; for they
cannot well make it less interesting than it is at
present.



XXXIV.

Fortunately, it did not rain every day (though I
believe it was raining everywhere else in the depart-
ment); otherwise I should not have been able to go
to Villeneuve and to Vaucluse.  The afternoon, indeed,
was lovely when I walked over the interminable bridge
that spans the two arms of the Rhone, divided here
by a considerable island, and directed my course, like
a solitary horseman - on foot, to the lonely tower
which forms one of the outworks of Villeneuve-les-
Avignon.  The picturesque, half-deserted little town
lies a couple of miles further up the river.  The im-
mense round towers of its old citadel and the long
stretches of ruined wall covering the slope on which
it lies, are the most striking features of the nearer
view, as you look from Avignon across the Rhone.  I
spent a couple of hours in visiting these objects, and
there was a kind of pictorial sweetness in the episode;
but I have not many details to relate.  The isolated
tower I just mentioned has much in common with the
detached donjon of Montmajour, which I had looked
at in going to Les Baux, and to which I paid my
respects in speaking of that excursion.  Also the work
of Philippe le Bel (built in 1307), it is amazingly big
and stubborn, and formed the opposite limit of the
broken bridge, whose first arches (on the side of
Avignon) alone remain to give a measure of the oc-
casional volume of the Rhone.  Half an hour's walk
brought me to Villeneuve, which lies away from the
river, looking like a big village, half depopulated, and
occupied for the most part by dogs and cats, old
women and small children; these last, in general, re-
markably pretty, in the manner of the children of
Provence.  You pass through the place, which seems
in a singular degree vague and unconscious, and come
to the rounded hill on which the ruined abbey lifts
its yellow walls, - the Benedictine abbey of Saint-
Andre, at once a church, a monastery, and a fortress.
A large part of the crumbling enceinte disposes itself
over the hill; but for the rest, all that has preserved
any traceable cohesion is a considerable portion, of
the citadel.  The defence of the place appears to have
been intrusted largely to the huge round towers that
flank the old gate; one of which, the more complete,
the ancient warden (having first inducted me into his
own dusky little apartment, and presented me with
a great bunch of lavender) enabled me to examine in
detail.  I would almost have dispensed with the privi-
lege, for I think I have already mentioned that an ac-
quaintance with many feudal interiors has wrought a
sad confusion in my mind.  The image of the outside
always remains distinct; I keep it apart from other
images of the same sort; it makes a picture sufficiently
ineffaceable.  But the guard-rooms, winding staircases,
loop-holes, prisons, repeat themselves and intermingle;
they have a wearisome family likeness.  There are
always black passages and corners, and walls twenty
feet thick; and there is always some high place to
climb up to for the sake of a "magnificent" view.
The views, too, are apt to get muddled.  These dense
gate-towers of Philippe le Bel struck me, however, as
peculiarly wicked and grim.  Their capacity is of the
largest, and they contain over so many devilish little
dungeons, lighted by the narrowest slit in the pro-
digious wall, where it comes over one with a good
deal of vividness and still more horror that wretched
human beings ever lay there rotting in the dark.  The
dungeons of Villeneuve made a particular impression
on me, - greater than any, except those of Loches,
which must surely be the most grewsome in Europe.
I hasten to add that every dark hole at Villeneuve is
called a dungeon; and I believe it is well established
that in this manner, in almost all old castles and
towers, the sensibilities of the modern tourist are un-
scrupulously played upon.  There were plenty of black
holes in the Middle Ages that were not dungeons, but
household receptacles of various kinds; and many a
tear dropped in pity for the groaning captive has really
been addressed to the spirits of the larder and the
faggot-nook.  For all this, there are some very bad
corners in the towers of Villeneuve, so that I was not
wide of the mark when I began to think again, as I
had often thought before, of the stoutness of the human
composition in the Middle Ages, and the tranquillity
of nerve of people to whom the groaning captive and
the blackness of a "living tomb" were familiar ideas,
which did not at all interfere with their happiness or
their sanity.  Our modern nerves, our irritable sym-
pathies, our easy discomforts and fears, make one think
(in some relations) less respectfully of human nature.
Unless, indeed, it be true, as I have heard it main-
tained, that in the Middle Ages every one did go mad,
- every one _was_ mad.  The theory that this was a
period of general insanity is not altogether indefensible.

Within the old walls of its immense abbey the
town of Villeneuve has built itself a rough faubourg;
the fragments with which the soil was covered having
been, I suppose, a quarry of material.  There are no
streets; the small, shabby houses, almost hovels, straggle
at random over the uneven ground.  The only im-
portant feature is a convent of cloistered nuns, who
have a large garden (always within the walls) behind
their house, and whose doleful establishment you look
down into, or down at simply, from the battlements of
the citadel.  One or two of the nuns were passing in
and out of the house; they wore gray robes, with a
bright red cape.  I thought their situation most pro-
vincial.  I came away, and wandered a little over the
base of the hill, outside the walls.  Small white stones
cropped through the grass, over which low olive-trees
were scattered.  The afternoon had a yellow bright-
ness.  I sat down under one of the little trees, on the
grass, - the delicate gray branches were not much
above my head, - and rested, and looked at Avignon
across the Rhone.  It was very soft, very still and
pleasant, though I am not sure it was all I once should
have expected of that combination of elements: an old
city wall for a background, a canopy of olives, and,
for a couch, the soil of Provence.

When I came back to Avignon the twilight was
already thick; but I walked up to the Rocher des
Doms.  Here I again had the benefit of that amiable
moon which had already lighted up for me so many
romantic scenes.  She was full, and she rose over the
Rhone, and made it look in the distance like a silver
serpent.  I remember saying to myself at this mo-
ment, that it would be a beautiful evening to walk
round the walls of Avignon, - the remarkable walls,
which challenge comparison with those of Carcassonne
and Aigues-Mortes, and which it was my duty, as an
observer of the picturesque, to examine with some at-
tention.  Presenting themselves to that silver sheen,
they could not fail to be impressive.  So, at least, I
said to myself; but, unfortunately, I did not believe
what I said.  It is a melancholy fact that the walls of
Avignon had never impressed me at all, and I had
never taken the trouble to make the circuit.  They
are continuous and complete, but for some mysterious
reason they fail of their effect.  This is partly because
they are very low, in some places almost absurdly so;
being buried in new accumulations of soil, and by
the filling in of the moat up to their middle.  Then
they have been too well tended; they not only look at
present very new, but look as if they had never been
old.  The fact that their extent is very much greater
makes them more of a curiosity than those of Carcas-
sonne; but this is exactly, as the same time, what is
fatal to their pictorial unity.  With their thirty-seven
towers and seven gates they lose themselves too much
to make a picture that will compare with the ad-
mirable little vignette of Carcassonne.  I may mention,
now that I am speaking of the general mass of Avignon,
that nothing is more curious than the way in which,
viewed from a distance, it is all reduced to nought by
the vast bulk of the palace of the Popes.  From across
the Rhone, or from the train, as you leave the place,
this great gray block is all Avignon; it seems to occupy
the whole city, extensive, with its shrunken population,
as the city is.



XXXV.

It was the morning after this, I think (a certain
Saturday), that when I came out of the Hotel de
l'Europe, which lies in a shallow concavity just within
the city gate that opens on the Rhone, - came out to
look at the sky from the little _place_ before the inn,
and see how the weather promised for the obligatory
excursion to Vaucluse, - I found the whole town in a
terrible taking.  I say the whole town advisedly; for
every inhabitant appeared to have taken up a position
on the bank of the river, or on the uppermost parts
of the promenade of the Doms, where a view of its
course was to be obtained.  It had risen surprisingly
in the night, and the good people of Avignon had
reason to know what a rise of the Rhone might signify.
The town, in its lower portions, is quite at the mercy
of the swollen waters; and it was mentioned to me
that in 1856 the Hotel de l'Europe, in its convenient
hollow, was flooded up to within a few feet of the
ceiling of the dining-room, where the long board which
had served for so many a table d'hote floated dis-
reputably, with its legs in the air.  On the present
occasion the mountains of the Ardeche, where it had
been raining for a month, had sent down torrents
which, all that fine Friday night, by the light of the
innocent-looking moon, poured themselves into the
Rhone and its tributary, the Durance.  The river was
enormous, and continued to rise; and the sight was
beautiful and horrible.  The water in many places
was already at the base of the city walls; the quay,
with its parapet just emerging, being already covered.
The country, seen from the Plateau des Doms, re-
sembled a vast lake, with protrusions of trees, houses,
bridges, gates.  The people looked at it in silence, as
I had seen people before - on the occasion of a rise
of the Arno, at Pisa - appear to consider the prospects
of an inundation.  "Il monte; il monte toujours," -
there was not much said but that.  It was a general
holiday, and there was an air of wishing to profit, for
sociability's sake, by any interruption of the common-
place (the popular mind likes "a change," and the
element of change mitigates the sense of disaster); but
the affair was not otherwise a holiday.  Suspense and
anxiety were in the air, and it never is pleasant to be
reminded of the helplessness of man.  In the presence
of a loosened river, with its ravaging, unconquerable
volume, this impression is as strong as possible; and
as I looked at the deluge which threatened to make
an island of the Papal palace, I perceived that the
scourge of water is greater than the scourge of fire.
A blaze may be quenched, but where could the flame
be kindled that would arrest the quadrupled Rhone?
For the population of Avignon a good deal was at
stake, and I am almost ashamed to confess that in the
midst of the public alarm I considered the situation
from the point of view of the little projects of a senti-
mental tourist.  Would the prospective inundation inter-
fere with my visit to Vaucluse, or make it imprudent
to linger twenty-four hours longer at Avignon?  I must
add that the tourist was not perhaps, after all, so
sentimental.  I have spoken of the pilgrimage to the
shrine of Petrarch as obligatory, and that was, in fact,
the light in which it presented itself to me; all the
more that I had been twice at Avignon without under-
taking it.  This why I was vexed at the Rhone - if
vexed I was - for representing as impracticable an ex-
cursion which I cared nothing about.  How little I
cared was manifest from my inaction on former oc-
casions.  I had a prejudice against Vancluse, against
Petrarch, even against the incomparable Laura.  I was
sure that the place was cockneyfied and threadbare,
and I had never been able to take an interest in the
poet and the lady.  I was sure that I had known many
women as charming and as handsome as she, about
whom much less noise had been made; and I was
convinced that her singer was factitious and literary,
and that there are half a dozen stanzas in Wordsworth
that speak more to the soul than the whole collection
of his _fioriture_.  This was the crude state of mind in
which I determined to go, at any risk, to Vaucluse.
Now that I think it over, I seem to remember that I
had hoped, after all, that the submersion of the roads
would forbid it.  Since morning the clouds had gathered
again, and by noon they were so heavy that there was
every prospect of a torrent.  It appeared absurd to
choose such a time as this to visit a fountain - a
fountain which, would be indistinguishable in the
general cataract.  Nevertheless I took a vow that if
at noon the rain should not have begun to descend
upon Avignon I would repair to the head-spring of the
Sorgues.  When the critical moment arrived, the clouds
were hanging over Avignon like distended water-bags,
which only needed a prick to empty themselves.  The
prick was not given, however; all nature was too much
occupied in following the aberration of the Rhone to
think of playing tricks elsewhere.  Accordingly, I started
for the station in a spirit which, for a tourist who
sometimes had prided himself on his unfailing supply
of sentiment, was shockingly perfunctory.

	"For tasks in hours of insight willed
	May be in hours of gloom fulfilled."

I remembered these lines of Matthew Arnold (written,
apparently, in an hour of gloom), and carried out the
idea, as I went, by hoping that with the return of in-
sight I should be glad to have seen Vaucluse.  Light
has descended upon me since then, and I declare that
the excursion is in every way to be recommended.
The place makes a great impression, quite apart from
Petrarch and Laura.

There was no rain; there was only, all the after-
noon, a mild, moist wind, and a sky magnificently
black, which made a _repoussoir_ for the paler cliffs of
the fountain.  The road, by train, crosses a flat, ex-
pressionless country, toward the range of arid hills
which lie to the east of Avignon, and which spring
(says Murray) from the mass of the Mont-Ventoux.  At
Isle-sur-Sorgues, at the end of about an hour, the fore-
ground becomes much more animated and the distance
much more (or perhaps I should say much less) actual.
I descended from the train, and ascended to the top
of an omnibus which was to convey me into the re-
cesses of the hills.  It had not been among my pre-
visions that I should be indebted to a vehicle of that
kind for an opportunity to commune with the spirit of
Petrarch; and I had to borrow what consolation I
could from the fact that at least I had the omnibus to
myself.  I was the only passenger; every one else was
at Avignon, watching the Rhone.  I lost no time in
perceiving that I could not have come to Vaucluse at
a better moment.  The Sorgues was almost as full as
the Rhone, and of a color much more romantic.  Rush-
ing along its narrowed channel under an avenue of
fine _platanes_ (it is confined between solid little embank-
ments of stone), with the good-wives of the village, on
the brink, washing their linen in its contemptuous
flood, it gave promise of high entertainment further on.

The drive to Vaucluse is of about three quarters of
an hour; and though the river, as I say, was promis-
ing, the big pale hills, as the road winds into them,
did not look as if their slopes of stone and shrub were
a nestling-place for superior scenery.  It is a part of
the merit of Vaucluse, indeed, that it is as much as
possible a surprise.  The place has a right to its name,
for the valley appears impenetrable until you get fairly
into it.  One perverse twist follows another, until the
omnibus suddenly deposits you in front of the "cabinet"
of Petrarch.  After that you have only to walk along
the left bank of the river.  The cabinet of Petrarch is
to-day a hideous little _cafe_, bedizened, like a sign-
board, with extracts from the ingenious "Rime."  The
poet and his lady are, of course, the stock in trade of
the little village, which has had for several generations
the privilege of attracting young couples engaged in
their wedding-tour, and other votaries of the tender
passion.  The place has long been familiar, on festal
Sundays, to the swains of Avignon and their attendant
nymphs.  The little fish of the Sorgues are much
esteemed, and, eaten on the spot, they constitute, for
the children of the once Papal city, the classic sub-
urban dinner.  Vaucluse has been turned to account,
however, not only by sentiment, but by industry; the
banks of the stream being disfigured by a pair of
hideous mills for the manufacture of paper and of
wool.  In an enterprising and economical age the
water-power of the Sorgues was too obvious a motive;
and I must say that, as the torrent rushed past them,
the wheels of the dirty little factories appeared to turn
merrily enough.  The footpath on the left bank, of
which I just spoke, carries one, fortunately, quite out
of sight of them, and out of sound as well, inasmuch
as on the day of my visit the stream itself, which was
in tremendous force, tended more and more, as one
approached the fountain, to fill the valley with its own
echoes.  Its color was magnificent, and the whole
spectacle more like a corner of Switzerland than a
nook in Provence.  The protrusions of the mountain
shut it in, and you penetrate to the bottom of the re-
cess which they form.  The Sorgues rushes and rushes;
it is almost like Niagara after the jump of the cataract.
There are dreadful little booths beside the path, for
the sale of photographs and _immortelles_, - I don't know
what one is to do with the immortelles, - where you
are offered a brush dipped in tar to write your name
withal on the rocks.  Thousands of vulgar persons, of
both sexes, and exclusively, it appeared, of the French
nationality, had availed themselves of this implement;
for every square inch of accessible stone was scored
over with some human appellation.  It is not only we
in America, therefore, who besmirch our scenery; the
practice exists, in a more organized form (like every-
thing else in France), in the country of good taste.
You leave the little booths and stalls behind; but the
bescribbled crag, bristling with human vanity, keeps
you company even when you stand face to face with
the fountain.  This happens when you find yourself
at the foot of the enormous straight cliff out of which
the river gushes.  It rears itself to an extraordinary
height, - a huge forehead of bare stone, - looking as
if it were the half of a tremendous mound, split open
by volcanic action.  The little valley, seeing it there,
at a bend, stops suddenly, and receives in its arms
the magical spring.  I call it magical on account of
the mysterious manner in which it comes into the
world, with the huge shoulder of the mountain rising
over it, as if to protect the secret.  From under the
mountain it silently rises, without visible movement,
filling a small natural basin with the stillest blue
water.  The contrast between the stillness of this basin
and the agitation of the water directly after it has
overflowed, constitutes half the charm of Vaucluse.
The violence of the stream when once it has been set
loose on the rocks is as fascinating and indescribable
as that of other cataracts; and the rocks in the bed of
the Sorgues have been arranged by a master-hand.
The setting of the phenomenon struck me as so simple
and so fine - the vast sad cliff, covered with the after-
noon light, still and solid forever, while the liquid ele-
ment rages and roars at its base - that I had no diffi-
culty in understanding the celebrity of Vaucluse.  I
understood it, but I will not say that I understood
Petrarch.  He must have been very self-supporting, and
Madonna Laura must indeed have been much to him.

The aridity of the hills that shut in the valley is
complete, and the whole impression is best conveyed
by that very expressive French epithet _morne_.  There
are the very fragmentary ruins of a castle (of one of
the bishops of Cavaillon) on a high spur of the moun-
tain, above the river; and there is another remnant of
a feudal habitation on one of the more accessible
ledges.  Having half an hour to spare before my
omnibus was to leave (I must beg the reader's pardon
for this atrociously false note; call the vehicle a _dili-
gence_, and for some undiscoverable reason the offence
is minimized), I clambered up to this latter spot, and
sat among the rocks in the company of a few stunted
olives.  The Sorgues, beneath me, reaching the plain,
flung itself crookedly across the meadows, like an un-
rolled blue ribbon.  I tried to think of the _amant de
Laure_, for literature's sake; but I had no great success,
and the most I could, do was to say to myself that I
must try again.  Several months have elapsed since
then, and I am ashamed to confess that the trial has
not yet come off.  The only very definite conviction I
arrived at was that Vaucluse is indeed cockneyfied,
but that I should have been a fool, all the same, not
to come.



XXXVI.

I mounted into my diligence at the door of the
Hotel de Petrarque et de Laure, and we made our
way back to Isle-sur-Sorgues in the fading light.  This
village, where at six o'clock every one appeared to
have gone to bed, was fairly darkened by its high,
dense plane-trees, under which the rushing river, on
a level with its parapets, looked unnaturally, almost
wickedly blue.  It was a glimpse which has left a
picture in my mind: the little closed houses, the place
empty and soundless in the autumn dusk but for the
noise of waters, and in the middle, amid the blackness
of the shade, the gleam of the swift, strange tide.  At
the station every one was talking of the inundation
being in many places an accomplished fact, and, in
particular, of the condition of the Durance at some
point that I have forgotten.  At Avignon, an hour
later, I found the water in some of the streets.  The
sky cleared in the evening, the moon lighted up the
submerged suburbs, and the population again collected
in the high places to enjoy the spectacle.  It exhibited
a certain sameness, however, and by nine o'clock there
was considerable animation in the Place Crillon, where
there is nothing to be seen but the front of the theatre
and of several cafes - in addition, indeed, to a statue
of this celebrated brave, whose valor redeemed some
of the numerous military disasters of the reign of
Louis XV.  The next morning the lower quarters of
the town were in a pitiful state; the situation seemed
to me odious.  To express my disapproval of it, I lost
no time in taking the train for Orange, which, with its
other attractions, had the merit of not being seated on
the Rhone.  It was my destiny to move northward;
but even if I had been at liberty to follow a less un-
natural course I should not then have undertaken it,
inasmuch, as the railway between Avignon and Mar-
seilles was credibly reported to be (in places) under
water.  This was the case with almost everything but
the line itself, on the way to Orange.  The day proved
splendid, and its brilliancy only lighted up the desola-
tion.  Farmhouses and cottages were up to their middle
in the yellow liquidity; haystacks looked like dull little
islands; windows and doors gaped open, without faces;
and interruption and flight were represented in the
scene.  It was brought home to me that the _popula-
tions rurales_ have many different ways of suffering,
and my heart glowed with a grateful sense of cockney-
ism.  It was under the influence of this emotion that
I alighted at Orange, to visit a collection of eminently
civil monuments.

The collection consists of but two objects, but these
objects are so fine that I will let the word pass.  One
of them is a triumphal arch, supposedly of the period
of Marcus Aurelius; the other is a fragment, magnifi-
cent in its ruin, of a Roman theatre.  But for these
fine Roman remains and for its name, Orange is a
perfectly featureless little town; without the Rhone -
which, as I have mentioned, is several miles distant -
to help it to a physiognomy.  It seems one of the
oddest things that this obscure French borough -
obscure, I mean, in our modern era, for the Gallo-
Roman Arausio must have been, judging it by its
arches and theatre, a place of some importance -
should have given its name to the heirs apparent of
the throne of Holland,and been borne by a king of
England who had sovereign rights over it.  During
the Middle Ages it formed part of an independent
principality; but in 1531 it fell, by the marriage of
one of its princesses, who had inherited it, into the
family of Nassau.  I read in my indispensable Mur-
ray that it was made over to France by the treaty of
Utrecht.  The arch of triumph, which stands a little
way out of the town, is rather a pretty than an im-
posing vestige of the Romans.  If it had greater purity
of style, one might say of it that it belonged to the
same family of monuments as the Maison Carree at
Nimes.  It has three passages, - the middle much
higher than the others, - and a very elevated attic.
The vaults of the passages are richly sculptured, and
the whole monument is covered with friezes and
military trophies.  This sculpture is rather mixed;
much of it is broken and defaced, and the rest seemed
to me ugly, though its workmanship is praised.  The
arch is at once well preserved and much injured.  Its
general mass is there, and as Roman monuments go
it is remarkably perfect; but it has suffered, in patches,
from the extremity of restoration.  It is not, on the
whole, of absorbing interest.  It has a charm, never-
theless, which comes partly from its soft, bright yellow
color, partly from a certain elegance of shape, of ex-
pression; and on that well-washed Sunday morning,
with its brilliant tone, surrounded by its circle of thin
poplars, with the green country lying beyond it and a
low blue horizon showing through its empty portals,
it made, very sufficiently, a picture that hangs itself
to one of the lateral hooks of the memory.  I can
take down the modest composition, and place it before
me as I write.  I see the shallow, shining puddles in
the hard, fair French road; the pale blue sky, diluted
by days of rain; the disgarnished autumnal fields; the
mild sparkle of the low horizon; the solitary figure in
sabots, with a bundle under its arm, advancing along
the _chaussee_; and in the middle I see the little ochre-
colored monument, which, in spite of its antiquity,
looks bright and gay, as everything must look in
France of a fresh Sunday morning.

It is true that this was not exactly the appearance
of the Roman theatre, which lies on the other side of
the town; a fact that did not prevent me from making
my way to it in less than five minutes, through a suc-
cession of little streets concerning which I have no
observations to record.  None of the Roman remains
in the south of France are more impressive than this
stupendous fragment.  An enormous mound rises above
the place, which was formerly occupied - I quote from
Murray - first by a citadel of the Romans, then by a
castle of the princes of Nassau, razed by Louis XIV.
Facing this hill a mighty wall erects itself, thirty-six
metres high, and composed of massive blocks of dark
brown stone, simply laid one on the other; the whole
naked, rugged surface of which suggests a natural cliff
(say of the Vaucluse order) rather than an effort of
human, or even of Roman labor.  It is the biggest
thing at Orange, - it is bigger than all Orange put to-
gether, - and its permanent massiveness makes light
of the shrunken city.  The face it presents to the town
- the top of it garnished with two rows of brackets,
perforated with holes to receive the staves of the _vela-
rium_ - bears the traces of more than one tier of orna-
mental arches; though how these flat arches were
applied, or incrusted, upon the wall, I do not profess
to explain.  You pass through a diminutive postern -
which seems in proportion about as high as the en-
trance of a rabbit-hutch - into the lodge of the custo-
dian, who introduces you to the interior of the theatre.
Here the mass of the hill affronts you, which the in-
genious Romans treated simply as the material of their
auditorium.  They inserted their stone seats, in a
semicircle, in the slope of the lull, and planted their
colossal wall opposite to it.  This wall, from the inside,
is, if possible, even more imposing.  It formed the
back of the stage, the permanent scene, and its
enormous face was coated with marble.  It contains
three doors, the middle one being the highest, and
having above it, far aloft, a deep niche, apparently
intended for an imperial statue.  A few of the benches
remain on the hillside which, however, is mainly a
confusion of fragments.  There is part of a corridor
built into the hill, high up, and on the crest are the
remnants of the demolished castle.  The whole place
is a kind of wilderness of ruin; there are scarcely any
details; the great feature is the overtopping wall.  This
wall being the back of the scene, the space left be-
tween it and the chord of the semicircle (of the audi-
torium) which formed the proscenium is rather less
than one would have supposed.  In other words, the
stage was very shallow, and appears to have been ar-
ranged for a number of performers standing in a line,
like a company of soldiers.  There stands the silent
skeleton, however, as impressive by what it leaves you
to guess and wonder about as by what it tells you.
It has not the sweetness, the softness of melancholy,
of the theatre at Arles; but it is more extraordinary,
and one can imagine only tremendous tragedies being
enacted there, -

	"Presenting Thebes' or Pelops' line."

At either end of the stage, coming forward, is an
immense wing, - immense in height, I mean, as it
reaches to the top of the scenic wall; the other dimen-
sions are not remarkable.  The division to the right,
as you face the stage, is pointed out as the green-
room; its portentous attitude and the open arches at
the top give it the air of a well.  The compartment
on the left is exactly similar, save that it opens into
the traces of other chambers, said to be those of a
hippodrome adjacent to the theatre.  Various fragments
are visible which refer themselves plausibly to such an
establishment; the greater axis of the hippodrome would
appear to have been on a line with the triumphal
arch.  This is all I saw, and all there was to see, of
Orange, which had a very rustic, bucolic aspect, and
where I was not even called upon to demand break-
fast at the hotel.  The entrance of this resort might
have been that of a stable of the Roman days.



XXXVII.

I have been trying to remember whether I fasted
all the way to Macon, which I reached at an advanced
hour of the evening, and think I must have done so
except for the purchase of a box of nougat at Monte-
limart (the place is famous for the manufacture of
this confection, which, at the station, is hawked at the
windows of the train) and for a bouillon, very much
later, at Lyons.  The journey beside the Rhone -
past Valence, past Tournon, past Vienne - would
have been charming, on that luminous Sunday, but
for two disagreeable accidents.  The express from
Marseilles, which I took at Orange, was full to over-
flowing; and the only refuge I could find was an
inside angle in a carriage laden with Germans, who
had command of the windows, which they occupied
as strongly as they have been known to occupy other
strategical positions.  I scarcely know, however, why
I linger on this particular discomfort, for it was but
a single item in a considerable list of grievances, -
grievances dispersed through six weeks of constant
railway travel in France.  I have not touched upon
them at an earlier stage of this chronicle, but my re-
serve is not owing to any sweetness of association.
This form of locomotion, in the country of the ameni-
ties, is attended with a dozen discomforts; almost all
the conditions of the business are detestable.  They
force the sentimental tourist again and again to ask
himself whether, in consideration of such mortal an-
noyances, the game is worth the candle.  Fortunately,
a railway journey is a good deal like a sea voyage;
its miseries fade from the mind as soon as you arrive.
That is why I completed, to my great satisfaction,
my little tour in France.  Let this small effusion of
ill-nature be my first and last tribute to the whole
despotic _gare_: the deadly _salle d'attente_, the insuffer-
able delays over one's luggage, the porterless platform,
the overcrowded and illiberal train.  How many a
time did I permit myself the secret reflection that it
is in perfidious Albion that they order this matter
best!  How many a time did the eager British mer-
cenary, clad in velveteen and clinging to the door of
the carriage as it glides into the station, revisit my
invidious dreams!  The paternal porter and the re-
sponsive hansom are among the best gifts of the Eng-
lish genius to the world.  I hasten to add, faithful
to my habit (so insufferable to some of my friends) of
ever and again readjusting the balance after I have
given it an honest tip, that the bouillon at Lyons,
which I spoke of above, was, though by no means an
ideal bouillon, much better than any I could have
obtained at an English railway station.  After I had
imbibed it, I sat in the train (which waited a long
time at Lyons) and, by the light of one of the big
lamps on the platform, read all sorts of disagreeable
things in certain radical newspapers which I had
bought at the book-stall.  I gathered from these sheets
that Lyons was in extreme commotion.  The Rhone
and the Saone, which form a girdle for the splendid
town, were almost in the streets, as I could easily be-
lieve from what I had seen of the country after leav-
ing Orange.  The Rhone, all the way to Lyons, had
been in all sorts of places where it had no business
to be, and matters were naturally not improved by
its confluence with the charming and copious stream
which, at Macon, is said once to have given such a
happy opportunity to the egotism of the capital.  A
visitor from Paris (the anecdote is very old), being
asked on the quay of that city whether he didn't ad-
mire the Saone, replied good-naturedly that it was
very pretty, but that in Paris they spelled it with
the _ei_.  This moment of general alarm at Lyons had
been chosen by certain ingenious persons (I credit
them, perhaps, with too sure a prevision of the rise
of the rivers) for practising further upon the appre-
hensions of the public.  A bombshell filled with
dynamite had been thrown into a cafe, and various
votaries of the comparatively innocuous _petit verre_
had been wounded (I am not sure whether any one
had been killed) by the irruption.  Of course there had
been arrests and incarcerations, and the "Intransi-
geant" and the "Rappel" were filled with the echoes
of the explosion.  The tone of these organs is rarely
edifying, and it had never been less so than on this
occasion.  I wondered, as I looked through them,
whether I was losing all my radicalism; and then I
wondered whether, after all, I had any to lose.  Even
in so long await as that tiresome delay at Lyons I
failed to settle the question, any more than I made
up my mind as to the probable future of the militant
democracy, or the ultimate form of a civilization which
should have blown up everything else.  A few days
later, the waters went down it Lyons; but the de-
mocracy has not gone down.

I remember vividly the remainder of that evening
which I spent at Macon, - remember it with a chatter-
ing of the teeth.  I know not what had got into the
place; the temperature, for the last day of October,
was eccentric and incredible.  These epithets may
also be applied to the hotel itself, - an extraordinary
structure, all facade, which exposes an uncovered rear
to the gaze of nature.  There is a demonstrative,
voluble landlady, who is of course part of the facade;
but everything behind her is a trap for the winds,
with chambers, corridors, staircases, all exhibited to
the sky, as if the outer wall of the house had been
lifted off.  It would have been delightful for Florida,
but it didn't do for Burgundy, even on the eve of
November 1st, so that I suffered absurdly from the
rigor of a season that had not yet begun.  There was
something in the air; I felt it the next day, even on
the sunny quay of the Saone, where in spite of a fine
southerly exposure I extracted little warmth from the
reflection that Alphonse de Lamartine had often trod-
den the flags.  Macon struck me, somehow, as suffer-
ing from a chronic numbness, and there was nothing
exceptionally cheerful in the remarkable extension of
the river.  It was no longer a river, - it had become
a lake; and from my window, in the painted face of
the inn, I saw that the opposite bank had been moved
back, as it were, indefinitely.  Unfortunately, the various
objects with which it was furnished had not been
moved as well, the consequence of which was an
extraordinary confusion in the relations of thing.
There were always poplars to be seen, but the poplar
had become an aquatic plant.  Such phenomena,
however, at Macon attract but little attention, as the
Saone, at certain seasons of the year, is nothing if not
expansive.  The people are as used to it as they ap-
peared to be to the bronze statue of Lamartine, which
is the principal monument of the _place_, and which, re-
presenting the poet in a frogged overcoat and top-
boots, improvising in a high wind, struck me as even
less casual in its attitude than monumental sculpture
usually succeeds in being.  It is true that in its pre-
sent position I thought better of this work of art, which
is from the hand of M. Falquiere, than when I had
seen it through the factitious medium of the Salon of
1876.  I walked up the hill where the older part of
Macon lies, in search of the natal house of the _amant
d'Elvire_, the Petrarch whose Vaucluse was the bosom
of the public.  The Guide-Joanne quotes from "Les
Confidences" a description of the birthplace of the
poet, whose treatment of the locality is indeed poetical.
It tallies strangely little with the reality, either as re-
gards position or other features; and it may be said
to be, not an aid, but a direct obstacle, to a discovery
of the house.  A very humble edifice, in a small back
street, is designated by a municipal tablet, set into its
face, as the scene of Lamartine's advent into the world.
He himself speaks of a vast and lofty structure, at the
angle of a _place_, adorned with iron clamps, with a
_porte haute et large_ and many other peculiarities.  The
house with the tablet has two meagre stories above
the basement, and (at present, at least) an air of ex-
treme shabbiness; the _place_, moreover, never can have
been vast.  Lamartine was accused of writing history
incorrectly, and apparently he started wrong at first:
it had never become clear to him where he was born.
Or is the tablet wrong?  If the house is small, the
tablet is very big.



XXXVIII.

The foregoing reflections occur, in a cruder form,
as it were, in my note-book, where I find this remark
appended to them: "Don't take leave of Lamartine on
that contemptuous note; it will be easy to think of
something more sympathetic!"  Those friends of mine,
mentioned a little while since, who accuse me of always
tipping back the balance, could not desire a paragraph
more characteristic; but I wish to give no further evi-
dence of such infirmities, and will therefore hurry away
from the subject, - hurry away in the train which, very
early on a crisp, bright morning, conveyed. me, by way
of an excursion, to the ancient city of Bourg-en-Bresse.
Shining in early light, the Saone was spread, like a
smooth, white tablecloth, over a considerable part of
the flat country that I traversed.  There is no provision
made in this image for the long, transparent screens
of thin-twigged trees which rose at intervals out of
the watery plain; but as, under the circumstances,
there seemed to be no provision for them in fact, I
will let my metaphor go for what it is worth.  My
journey was (as I remember it) of about an hour and
a half; but I passed no object of interest, as the phrase
is, whatever.  The phrase hardly applies even to Bourg
itself, which is simply a town _quelconque_, as M. Zola
would say.  Small, peaceful, rustic, it stands in the
midst of the great dairy-feeding plains of Bresse, of
which fat county, sometime property of the house of
Savoy, it was the modest capital.  The blue masses
of the Jura give it a creditable horizon, but the only
nearer feature it can point to is its famous sepulchral
church.  This edifice lies at a fortunate distance from
the town, which, though inoffensive, is of too common
a stamp to consort with such a treasure.  All I ever
knew of the church of Brou I had gathered, years
ago, from Matthew Arnold's beautiful poem, which
bears its name.  I remember thinking, in those years,
that it was impossible verses could be more touching
than these; and as I stood before the object of my
pilgrimage, in the gay French light (though the place
was so dull), I recalled the spot where I had first read
them, and where I read them again and yet again,
wondering whether it would ever be my fortune to
visit the church of Brou.  The spot in question was
an armchair in a window which looked out on some
cows in a field; and whenever I glanced at the cows
it came over me - I scarcely know why - that I should
probably never behold the structure reared by the
Duchess Margaret.  Some of our visions never come
to pass; but we must be just, - others do.  "So sleep,
forever sleep, O princely pair!"  I remembered that
line of Matthew Arnold's, and the stanza about the
Duchess Margaret coming to watch the builders on
her palfry white.  Then there came to me something
in regard to the moon shining on winter nights through
the cold clere-story.  The tone of the place at that
hour was not at all lunar; it was cold and bright, but
with the chill of an autumn morning; yet this, even
with the fact of the unexpected remoteness of the
church from the Jura added to it, did not prevent me
from feeling that I looked at a monument in the pro-
duction of which - or at least in the effect of which
on the tourist mind of to-day - Matthew Arnold had
been much concerned.  By a pardonable license he
has placed it a few miles nearer to the forests of the
Jura than it stands at present.  It is very true that,
though the mountains in the sixteenth century can
hardly have been in a different position, the plain
which separates the church from them may have been
bedecked with woods.  The visitor to-day cannot help
wondering why the beautiful building, with its splendid
works of art, is dropped down in that particular spot,
which looks so accidental and arbitrary.  But there
are reasons for most things, and there were reasons
why the church of Brou should be at Brou, which is
a vague little suburb of a vague little town.

The responsibility rests, at any rate, upon the
Duchess Margaret, - Margaret of Austria, daughter of
the Emperor Maximilian and his wife Mary of Bur-
gundy, daughter of Charles the Bold.  This lady has
a high name in history, having been regent of the
Netherlands in behalf of her nephew, the Emperor
Charles V., of whose early education she had had the
care.  She married in 1501 Philibert the Handsome,
Duke of Savoy, to whom the province of Bresse be-
longed, and who died two years later.  She had been
betrothed, is a child, to Charles VIII. of France, and
was kept for some time at the French court, - that of
her prospective father-in-law, Louis XI.; but she was
eventually repudiated, in order that her _fiance_ might
marry Anne of Brittany, - an alliance so magnificently
political that we almost condone the offence to a
sensitive princess.  Margaret did not want for hus-
bands, however, inasmuch as before her marriage to
Philibert she had been united to John of Castile, son
of Ferdinand V., King of Aragon, - an episode ter-
minated, by the death of the Spanish prince, within a
year.  She was twenty-two years regent of the Nether-
lands, and died at fifty-one, in 1530.  She might have
been, had she chosen, the wife, of Henry VII. of Eng-
land.  She was one of the signers of the League of
Cambray, against the Venetian republic, and was a
most politic, accomplished, and judicious princess.
She undertook to build the church of Brou as a mau-
soleum, for her second husband and herself, in fulfil-
ment of a vow made by Margaret of Bourbon, mother
of Philibert, who died before she could redeem her
pledge, and who bequeathed the duty to her son.  He
died shortly afterwards, and his widow assumed the
pious task.  According to Murray, she intrusted the
erection of the church to "Maistre Loys von Berghem,"
and the sculpture to "Maistre Conrad."  The author
of a superstitious but carefully prepared little Notice,
which I bought at Bourg, calls the architect and
sculptor (at once) Jehan de Paris, author (sic) of the
tomb of Francis II. of Brittany, to which we gave some
attention at Nantes, and which the writer of my
pamphlet ascribes only subordinately to Michel Colomb.
The church, which is not of great size, is in the last
and most flamboyant phase of Gothic, and in admirable
preservation; the west front, before which a quaint old
sun-dial is laid out on the ground, - a circle of num-
bers marked in stone, like those on a clock face, let
into the earth, - is covered with delicate ornament.
The great feature, however (the nave is perfectly bare
and wonderfully new-looking, though the warden, a
stolid yet sharp old peasant, in a blouse, who looked
more as if his line were chaffering over turnips than
showing off works of art, told me that it has never
been touched, and that its freshness is simply the
quality of the stone), - the great feature is the ad-
mirable choir, in the midst of which the three monu-
ments have bloomed under the chisel, like exotic
plants in a conservatory.  I saw the place to small
advantage, for the stained glass of the windows, which
are fine, was under repair, and much of it was masked
with planks.

In the centre lies Philibert-le-Bel, a figure of white
marble on a great slab of black, in his robes and his
armor, with two boy-angels holding a tablet at his
head, and two more at his feet.  On either side of
him is another cherub: one guarding his helmet, the
other his stiff gauntlets.  The attitudes of these charm-
ing children, whose faces are all bent upon him in
pity, have the prettiest tenderness and respect.  The
table on which he lies is supported by elaborate
columns, adorned with niches containing little images,
and with every other imaginable elegance; and be-
neath it he is represented in that other form, so com-
mon in the tombs of the Renaissance, - a man naked
and dying, with none of the state and splendor of the
image above.  One of these figures embodies the duke
the other simply the mortal; and there is something
very strange and striking in the effect of the latter,
seen dimly and with difficulty through the intervals
of the rich supports of the upper slab.  The monu-
ment of Margaret herself is on the left, all in white
merble, tormented into a multitude of exquisite pat-
terns, the last extravagance of a Gothic which had
gone so far that nothing was left it but to return upon
itself.  Unlike her husband, who has only the high
roof of the church above him, she lies under a canopy
supported and covered by a wilderness of embroidery,
- flowers, devices, initials, arabesques, statuettes.
Watched over by cherubs, she is also in her robes
and ermine, with a greyhound sleeping at her feet
(her husband, at his, has a waking lion); and the
artist has not, it is to be presumed, represented her
as more beautiful than she was.  She looks, indeed,
like the regent of a turbulent realm.  Beneath her
couch is stretched another figure, - a less brilliant
Margaret, wrapped in her shroud, with her long hair
over her shoulders.  Round the tomb is the battered
iron railing placed there originally, with the myste-
rious motto of the duchess worked into the top, -
_fortune infortune fort une_.  The other two monuments
are protected by barriers of the same pattern.  That
of Margaret of Bourbon, Philibert's mother, stands on
the right of the choir; and I suppose its greatest dis-
tinction is that it should have been erected to a
mother-in-law.  It is but little less florid and sump-
tuous than the others; it has, however, no second re-
cumbent figure.  On the other hand, the statuettes
that surround the base of the tomb are of even more
exquisite workmanship: they represent weeping wo-
men, in long mantles and hoods, which latter hang
forward over the small face of the figure, giving the
artist a chance to carve the features within this hollow
of drapery, - an extraordinary play of skill.  There is
a high, white marble shrine of the Virgin, as extra-
ordinary as all the rest (a series of compartments, re-
presenting the various scenes of her life, with the
Assumption in the middle); and there is a magnifi-
cent series of stalls, which are simply the intricate
embroidery of the tombs translated into polished oak.
All these things are splendid, ingenious, elaborate,
precious; it is goldsmith's work on a monumental
scale, and the general effect is none the less beautiful
and solemn because it is so rich.  But the monuments
of the church of Brou are not the noblest that one
may see; the great tombs of Verona are finer, and
various other early Italian work.  These things are
not insincere, as Ruskin would say; but they are pre-
tentious, and they are not positively _naifs_.  I should
mention that the walls of the choir are embroidered
in places with Margaret's tantalizing device, which -
partly, perhaps, because it is tantalizing - is so very
decorative, as they say in London.  I know not whether
she was acquainted with this epithet; but she had
anticipated one of the fashions most characteristic of
our age.

One asks one's self how all this decoration, this
luxury of fair and chiselled marble, survived the
French Revolution.  An hour of liberty in the choir
of Brou would have been a carnival for the image-
breakers.  The well-fed Bressois are surely a good-
natured people.  I call them well-fed both on general
and on particular grounds.  Their province has the
most savory aroma, and I found an opportunity to
test its reputation.  I walked back into the town from
the church (there was really nothing to be seen by
the way), and as the hour of the midday breakfast
had struck, directed my steps to the inn.  The table
d'hote was going on, and a gracious, bustling, talkative
landlady welcomed me.  I had an excellent repast -
the best repast possible - which consisted simply of
boiled eggs and bread and butter.  It was the quality
of these simple ingredients that made the occasion
memorable.  The eggs were so good that I am ashamed
to say how many of them I consumed.  "La plus
belle fille du monde," as the French proverb says,
"ne peut donner que ce qu'elle a;" and it might
seem that an egg which has succeeded in being fresh
has done all that can reasonably be expected of it.
But there was a bloom of punctuality, so to speak,
about these eggs of Bourg, as if it had been the in-
tention of the very hens themselves that they should
be promptly served.  "Nous sommes en Bresse, et le
beurre n'est pas mauvais," the landlady said, with a
sort of dry coquetry, as she placed this article before
me.  It was the poetry of butter, and I ate a pound
or two of it; after which I came away with a strange
mixture of impressions of late Gothic sculpture and
thick _tartines_.  I came away through the town, where,
on a little green promenade, facing the hotel, is a
bronze statue of Bichat, the physiologist, who was a
Bressois.  I mention it, not on account of its merit
(though, as statues go, I don't remember that it is
bad), but because I learned from it - my ignorance,
doubtless, did me little honor - that Bichat had died
at thirty years of age, and this revelation was almost
agitating.  To have done so much in so short a life
was to be truly great.  This reflection, which looks
deplorably trite as I write it here, had the effect of
eloquence as I uttered it, for my own benefit, on the
bare little mall at Bourg.



XXXIX.

On my return to Macon I found myself fairly face
to face with the fact that my little tour was near its
end.  Dijon had been marked by fate as its farthest
limit, and Dijon was close at hand.  After that I was
to drop the tourist, and re-enter Paris as much as pos-
sible like a Parisian.  Out of Paris the Parisian never
loiters, and therefore it would be impossible for me to
stop between Dijon and the capital.  But I might be
a tourist a few hours longer by stopping somewhere
between Macon and Dijon.  The question was where
I should spend these hours.  Where better, I asked
myself (for reasons not now entirely clear to me) than
at Beaune?  On my way to this town I passed the
stretch of the Cote d'Or, which, covered with a mel-
low autumn haze, with the sunshine shimmering
through, looked indeed like a golden slope.  One
regards with a kind of awe the region in which the
famous _crus_ of Burgundy (Yougeot, Chambertin, Nuits,
Beaune) are, I was going to say, manufactured.  Adieu,
paniers; vendanges sont faites!  The vintage was
over; the shrunken russet fibres alone clung to their
ugly stick.  The horizon on the left of the road had
a charm, however, there is something picturesque
in the big, comfortable shoulders of the Cote.  That
delicate critic, M. Emile Montegut, in a charming
record of travel through this region, published some
years ago, praises Shakspeare for having talked (in
"Lear") of "waterish Burgundy."  Vinous Burgundy
would surely be more to the point.  I stopped at
Beaune in pursuit of the picturesque, but I might
almost have seen the little I discovered without stop-
ping.  It is a drowsy little Burgundian town, very
old and ripe, with crooked streets, vistas always ob-
lique, and steep, moss-covered roofs.  The principal
lion is the Hopital-Saint-Esprit, or the Hotel-Dieu,
simply, as they call it there, founded in 1443 by
Nicholas Rollin, Chancellor of Burgundy.  It is ad-
ministered by the sisterhood of the Holy Ghost, and
is one of the most venerable and stately of hospitals.
The face it presents to the street is simple, but strik-
ing, - a plain, windowless wall, surmounted by a vast
slate roof, of almost mountainous steepness.  Astride
this roof sits a tall, slate-covered spire, from which,
as I arrived, the prettiest chimes I ever heard (worse
luck to them, as I will presently explain) were ring-
ing.  Over the door is a high, quaint canopy, without
supports, with its vault painted blue and covered
with gilded stars.  (This, and indeed the whole build-
ing, have lately been restored, and its antiquity is
quite of the spick-and-span order.  But it is very
delightful.)  The treasure of the place is a precious
picture, - a Last Judgment, attributed equally to John
van Eyck and Roger van der Weyden, - given to the
hospital in the fifteenth century by Nicholas Rollin
aforesaid.

I learned, however, to my dismay, from a sympa-
thizing but inexorable concierge, that what remained
to me of the time I had to spend at Beaune, between
trains, - I had rashly wasted half an hour of it in
breakfasting at the station, - was the one hour of the
day (that of the dinner of the nuns; the picture is in
their refectory) during which the treasure could not
be shown.  The purpose of the musical chimes to
which I had so artlessly listened was to usher in this
fruitless interval.  The regulation was absolute, and
my disappointment relative, as I have been happy to
reflect since I "looked up" the picture.  Crowe and
Cavalcaselle assign it without hesitation to Roger van
der Weyden, and give a weak little drawing of it in
their "Flemish Painters."  I learn from them also -
what I was ignorant of - that Nicholas Ronin, Chan-
cellor of Burgundy and founder of the establishment
at Beaune, was the original of the worthy kneeling
before the Virgin, in the magnificent John van Eyck
of the Salon Carre.  All I could see was the court of
the hospital and two or three rooms.  The court, with
its tall roofs, its pointed gables and spires, its wooden
galleries, its ancient well, with an elaborate superstruc-
ture of wrought iron, is one of those places into which
a sketcher ought to be let loose.  It looked Flemish
or English rather than French, and a splendid tidiness
pervaded it.  The porter took me into two rooms on
the ground-floor, into which the sketcher should also
be allowed to penetrate; for they made irresistible
pictures.  One of them, of great proportions, painted
in elaborate "subjects," like a ball-room of the seven-
teenth century, was filled with the beds of patients,
all draped in curtains of dark red cloth, the tradi-
tional uniform of these, eleemosynary couches.  Among
them the sisters moved about, in their robes of white
flannel, with big white linen hoods.  The other room
was a strange, immense apartment, lately restored
with much splendor.  It was of great length and
height, had a painted and gilded barrel-roof, and one
end of it - the one I was introduced to - appeared
to serve as a chapel, as two white-robed sisters were
on their knees before an altar.  This was divided by
red curtains from the larger part; but the porter lifted
one of the curtains, and showed me that the rest
of it, a long, imposing vista, served as a ward, lined
with little red-draped beds.  "C'est l'heure de la
lecture," remarked my guide; and a group of conva-
lescents - all the patients I saw were women - were
gathered in the centre around a nun, the points of
whose white hood nodded a little above them, and
whose gentle voice came to us faintly, with a little
echo, down the high perspective.  I know not what
the good sister was reading, - a dull book, I am afraid,
- but there was so much color, and such a fine, rich
air of tradition about the whole place, that it seemed
to me I would have risked listening to her.  I turned
away, however, with that sense of defeat which is
always irritating to the appreciative tourist, and pot-
tered about Beaune rather vaguely for the rest of my
hour: looked at the statue of Gaspard Monge, the
mathematician, in the little _place_ (there is no _place_ in
France too little to contain an effigy to a glorious son);
at the fine old porch - completely despoiled at the
Revolution - of the principal church; and even at the
meagre treasures of a courageous but melancholy little
museum, which has been arranged - part of it being
the gift of a local collector - in a small hotel de ville.
I carried away from Beaune the impression of some-
thing mildly autumnal, - something rusty yet kindly,
like the taste of a sweet russet pear.



XL.

It was very well that my little tour was to termi-
nate at Dijon; for I found, rather to my chagrin, that
there was not a great deal, from the pictorial point of
view, to be done with Dijon.  It was no great matter,
for I held my proposition to have been by this time
abundantly demonstrated, - the proposition with which
I started: that if Paris is France, France is by no
means Paris.  If Dijon was a good deal of a disap-
pointment, I felt, therefore, that I could afford it.  It
was time for me to reflect, also, that for my disap-
pointments, as a general thing, I had only myself to
thank.  They had too often been the consequence of
arbitrary preconceptions, produced by influences of
which I had lost the trace.  At any rate, I will say
plumply that the ancient capital of Burgundy is want-
ing in character; it is not up to the mark.  It is old
and narrow and crooked, and it has been left pretty
well to itself: but it is not high and overhanging; it is
not, to the eye, what the Burgundian capital should
be.  It has some tortuous vistas, some mossy roofs,
some bulging fronts, some gray-faced hotels, which
look as if in former centuries - in the last, for instance,
during the time of that delightful President de Brosses,
whose Letters from Italy throw an interesting side-light
on Dijon - they had witnessed a considerable amount
of good living.  But there is nothing else.  I speak as
a man who for some reason which he doesn't remem-
ber now, did not pay a visit to the celebrated Puits
de Moise, an ancient cistern, embellished with a sculp-
tured figure of the Hebrew lawgiver.

The ancient palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, long
since converted into an hotel de ville, presents to a
wide, clean court, paved with washed-looking stones,
and to a small semicircular _place_, opposite, which
looks as if it had tried to be symmetrical and had
failed, a facade and two wings, characterized by the
stiffness, but not by the grand air, of the early part of
the eighteenth century.  It contains, however, a large
and rich museum, - a museum really worthy of a capi-
tal.  The gem of this exhibition is the great banquet-
ing-hall of the old palace, one of the few features of
the place that has not been essentially altered.  Of
great height, roofed with the old beams and cornices,
it contains, filling one end, a colossal Gothic chimney-
piece, with a fireplace large enough to roast, not an ox,
but a herd of oxen.  In the middle of this striking
hall, the walls of which. are covered with objects more
or less precious, have been placed the tombs of Philippe-
le-Hardi and Jean-sans-Peur.  These monuments, very
splendid in their general effect, have a limited interest.
The limitation comes from the fact that we see them
to-day in a transplanted and mutilated condition.
Placed originally in a church which has disappeared
from the face of the earth, demolished and dispersed
at the Revolution, they have been reconstructed and
restored out of fragments recovered and pieced to-
gether.  The piecing his been beautifully done; it is
covered with gilt and with brilliant paint; the whole
result is most artistic.  But the spell of the old mor-
tuary figures is broken, and it will never work again.
Meanwhile the monuments are immensely decorative.

I think the thing that pleased me best at Dijon
was the little old Parc, a charming public garden,
about a mile from the town, to which I walked by a
long, straight autumnal avenue.  It is a _jardin fran-
cais_ of the last century, - a dear old place, with little
blue-green perspectives and alleys and _rondpoints_, in
which everything balances.  I went there late in the
afternoon, without meeting a creature, though I had
hoped I should meet the President de Brosses.  At the
end of it was a little river that looked like a canal,
and on the further bank was an old-fashioned villa,
close to the water, with a little French garden of its
own.  On the hither side was a bench, on which I
seated myself, lingering a good while; for this was just
the sort of place I like.  It was the furthermost point
of my little tour.  I thought that over, as I sat there,
on the eve of taking the express to Paris; and as the
light faded in the Parc the vision of some of the things
I had seen became more distinct.





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