« 이전계속 »
atmosphere; though, perhaps, at the end of another five hundred years, they may be somewhat dry and pulverising. Several were built by us, for we were masters of the place more than once.
Two churches, each as large as St. Martin's, Trafalgar Square, are in the town-the elaborate decoration around the great door of one, its tower, and windows, sadly used by revolutionary wantonness. The steamboat to Caen goes daily, according to the tide,-a most pleasant four hour's trip-the river Orne reminding me of the Thames, above Kew, though the rocky character of the left bank more resembles the Avon, from Bristol to the King's Road. To describe the villages and towns passed by the steamer, were a useless repetition of names; the passage is a delightful one, and worth the journey from Southampton. Of Caen I shall but say, Go and see it likewise, and then thank me for advising the visit.
Save Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp, there is no town like it on the continent, and certainly, no town out of Great Britain can inspire half its interest, to a subject of the descendant of the conquering Duke of Normandy, whose greatness is everywhere impressed on the wondering admirer of the monuments his beneficence erected and endowed. I give but my own impressions and experience in what I note for others' advantage, when I recommend the Hotel de la Place, kept by Madame Lagonelle ; its situation in the most beautiful place in Caen is not to be surpassed, nor is the widow's civility. There you may have clean, airy apartments, excellent attendance, a dejeuner à la fourchette, of more dishes than you know to ask for, a dinner on a liberal scale, for a pound a week. Dinner is dinner, especially to a traveller, par example : soup, fish, hashed hare, boiled beef, stewed beef and carrots, roast underside of sirloin, roast fowls, salad, potatoes, beans, roast duck, partridges, custard dessert, bread and cider as much as I wanted, and more. This was of course varied by roast leg of mutton, roast turkey, lobsters, &c., and wine-paid for separately. At Caen there is food for the eyes and palate, at small cost. After spending whole days in Saint Etienne, Saint Pierre, Notre Dame, and Saint Jean, every hour finding some new beauty, some overadded richness, some most curious and elaborate fruit of the fecundity of the architectural energy of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, I had a renewed treat at night. The choir, the abside of Saint Pierre by moonlight, reflected on the river Orne! Then there is Saint Gilles, Saint Michel de Vancelles, the old Abbaye de Sainte Trinité. Saint Etienne, as all the world knows, contains the tomb of the conqueror; it was founded by the duke.
There is the museum, and above all, the library, and a most
civil librarian ; who, on my informing him of my desire to study the archeological wonders of Normandy, brought me a heap of books and engravings, and placed me at a table, with every appliance for study.
Every hour spent in Caen, for a week, was a feast of the eyes and senses. I met several kind and well-informed persons, and greatly do I sympathise with the exasperation they all feel, and which they can ill conceal, at the drawback to their comfort, prosperity, and peace, occasioned by the usurpation of the metropolitan mob. I heard many say, that not one person in a thousand, in any of the towns of France, ever wished for a republic, or thought of such a system as possible; but Paris and its mob set every change a-going, and hesitation to bow to its despotism is visited with the punishment of high treason.
One day I walked to Saint Etienne with a Caen gentleman, of antiquarian repute, and we touched on the topic of the revoJution.
“ Les basses Normands sont anti-communistes très prononcés," said my friend ; they were the last to bend to the tempest of ninety-five; Charlotte Corday lived in that house, with her aunt, Madam Coutellier de Bretteville, and from thence started to Paris, to rid the world of a tyrant and savage murderer,-her only reason for the journey, her simple, brief defence, before her judges.”
“ Charlotte Corday," I exclaimed, “the only unpolluted heroine of that most horrible era! I must mount the stairs she descended to her dread design, and the inevitable guillotine.” We were in the Rue St. Jean, opposite the Rue des Carmes, and it is a deserted street, its houses are grey and discoloured. The house may be three hundred years old, for many in the adjoining streets are older. It is at the bottom of a court, one angle of which is occupied by a well, a venerable hole, its crumbling stone copings tufted with moss. A narrow, low door, at the foot of a spiral stone stair-case, dark, steep, and uninviting, Jed me to the upper rooms, bare and gloomy. Two
Two casements of small, octagonal, dingy panes, grained in dirt and decay, prevent, rather than afford, light to the staircase and apartment. In this still, solemn chamber, Charlotte conceived the destruction of Marat; she was not a person to plan it; circumstances unfolded themselves before her, and she pauses not to question their applicability.
No one was her confidant; her aunt was farther than any one from observing her mind absorbed. Hers was a lightsome spirit, hers was a ready tear, a joyous laugh, but resentment for a wrong was never once cherished, for no one ever wronged her, or wilfully ruffled her benigness.
Norval had only heard of battles," and on the bleak, solitary Grampians,
“longed To follow to the field some warlike lord;
And chance soon granted Charlotte had heard of nothing else for four years but the mission of France to regenerate mankind, the rights of man asserted, his wrongs avenged, of the higb meed of glory won by those who dared to strike a tyrant, and died for their country.
Proscriptions were about, the truest men in Calvados were suddenly murdered, the poets, orators, and writers, who had roused by their genius the highest and noblest feelings women admire in man, were falling into the hands of systematic slaughterers. There was a parching simoom over the atmosphere, no one dared to breathe a healthy thought. Those who whispered in this dim chamber, that demons directed the course of the mortal blast, muttered Marat, Danton, St. Just, Robespierre. Men dare but whisper, when “ Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité,” are paramount acting principles and in high working order; those are their palmy days. I staid in that room so long, that I believe I know at what hour of the night, and in what corner was her bed, when her mind was first visited with the thought, attendant with sensations strange and hitherto unknown; but then she never was free from their influence afterwards.
When she rose from her bed in the morning, she stood in her loveliness before a small glass; I know she looked as you see her in the picture gallery at Caen. That stately neck never bore a head that conceived a transient or indeterminate resolve.
“She was a woman nobly planned
To lead, to soften and command.” Powerful in her gentleness, great in her goodness, mighty in her meekness, she believed—it was fancy-bred—that the republican senators
“Ruled at will the fierce democracy,"
in a capital similar to the one where
“Brutus dealt the godlike stroke ;"
and the spirit which entered into Judith possessed Charlotte from that hour. Sentimental essayists and panegyrists have stamped Charlotte's journey from Caen with melodramatic in
terest. Her best story is that of the avengers of Marat themselves, who took such prompt measures of retribution for the loss of their idol,—the Parisian newspaper writers and chroni clers of that day. Their horrible denunciations are the rays o the truth they undesignedly spread; for there was the same frightful unanimity amongst the journals of that day as there was here during the Gouvernment Provisoire of March, Fe b ruary, April, and May last. By the “ Fraternité” of 1793, the pen was answered by the response the former desired to waive in 1848. My companion assured me that the French are modelled with a
“Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité,” and Lamartine electrified the nation for a week; a republic was proclaimed, and a monarchy of seven hundred years overthrown, whilst thirty millions of people were under a chloroform of extatic mottoes, “words that burn.” They never are so happy as when under delusions. Ossa is piled upon Pelion, and the Bellerophon of France gallops unbridled over landmarks, clears boundaries, and, as Bill Gibbons would say
“Like the bull in the china shop—has its own way.” A swampy state of nausea succeeds intoxication. Frenchmen are sadly seedy at this moment. If they be dieted on red herrings and soda-water, it is more from the stringent rules of the European board of health than from compunction or voluntary resignation. I am inclined to think by far the majority of the subjects under the Egalité chloroform recovered their sensibility too soon for the self-abandoning minority. But the worst is, the minority is the noisiest, and frighten the majority into submitting to experimental operations they neither need nor like. In politics as in pharmacy, empirics have their day. Sir Francis Burdett and Lord Anglesea gave themselves up, bound hand and foot, to Mr. St. John Long and the quackaquatic conjurers ; Arago and Lamartine are but men of like flesh and blood.
From Caen I took the diligence to Bayeux to see its cathedral, which, though disfigured with a cupola of Grecian architecture, is not less the principal ornament of the city. The great curiosity, however, is the roll of tapestry or embroidery, quaintly developing the progress of the Duke to obtain the crown of England, with all the reasons thereunto moving him. worked, it is said, by Matilda, wife of William, and is in wonderful preservation. From Bayeux, for a very few francs, I went to Falaise, from thence to Liseux, and by Leveque to Honfleur. At each of those places are curious architectural monuments, and all lie within a few miles of each other. From Honfleur I went to Havre, as the nearest place for the English
packet, though, had I chosen it, I might have gone direct from Bayeux to Cherbourg, and thence by Jersey home. I shall consider my trouble not in vain, if I induce a single individual to visit Havre and its neighbourhood, in preference to an unprofitable sojourn at that most unmeaning, uninteresting of questionable resorts-Boulogne.
THE SUMMER LANDSCAPE.
BY MRS. ABDY.
Written to illustrate a Water-Coloured Drawing—the present of a friend.
WINTER hath cast a mantle dark and chill
O’er fair creation's loveliness and bloom ;
Remove the veil, and penetrate the gloom :
The blue, resplendent skies are smiling still,
, all, around, seems exquisite and bright,
And summer bursts again upon our sight.
Behold the trees, beneath whose spreading boughs
And timid lovers plight their truthful vows :
O'er the smooth surface of the silvery tide,
The lucid waters—all is summer here.
Oh! 'tis a wondrous power, that at the time
Of stricken nature's dreariness and dearth,
Leaving the weak and listless ones of earth
Art hastes the banished treasures to supply,
Exhaustless foliage, and perpetual flowers.