A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany, Volume One
by Thomas Frognall Dibdin
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse



Shakespeare Press.









Most grateful it is to me, at all times, to bear in remembrance those pleasant discussions in which we were wont so frequently to indulge, relating to the LIBRARIES upon the Continent:—but more than ordinarily gratifying to me was that moment, when you told me, that, on crossing the Rhine, you took the third volume of my Tour under your arm, and on reaching the Monasteries of Moelk and Goettwic, gave an off-hand translation to the venerable Benedictine Inmates of what I had recorded concerning their MSS. and Printed Books, and their hospitable reception of the Author. I studiously concealed from You, at the time, the whole of the gratification which that intelligence imparted; resolving however that, should this work be deemed worthy of a second edition, to dedicate that republication to YOURSELF. Accordingly, it now comes forth in its present form, much enhanced, in the estimation of its Author, by the respectability of the name prefixed to this Dedication; and wishing you many years enjoyment of the honourable public situation with which you have been recently, and so deservedly, invested, allow me to subscribe myself,

Your affectionate and obliged Friend,


Wyndham Place, June 30, 1829.





Passage to Dieppe


DIEPPE. Fisheries. Streets. Churches of St. Jacques and St. Remy. Divine Worship. Military Mass


Village and Castle of Arques. Sabbath Amusements. Manners and Customs. Boulevards


ROUEN. Approach. Boulevards. Population. Street-Scenery


Ecclesiastical Architecture. Cathedral. Monuments. Religious Ceremonies. The Abbey of St. Ouen. The Churches of St. Maclou, St. Vincent, St. Vivien, St. Gervais, and St. Paul


Halles de Commerce. Place de la Pucelle d'Orleans. (Jeanne d'Arc). Basso-Rilievo of the Champ de Drap d'Or. Palace and Courts of Justice


ROUEN. The Quays. Bridge of Boats. Rue du Bac. Rue de Robec. Eaux de Robec et d'Aubette. Mont Ste. Catherine. Hospices—Generale et d'Humanite,


Early Typography at Rouen. Modern Printers. Chap Books. Booksellers. Book Collectors


Departure from Rouen. St. George de Boscherville. Duclair. Marivaux. The Abbey of Jumieges. Arrival at Caudebec,


Caudebec. Lillebonne. Bolbec. Tankarville. Montmorenci Castle. Havre de Grace


Havre de Grace. Honfleur. Journey to Caen


CAEN. Soil. Society. Education. A Duel. Old houses. The Abbey of St. Stephen. Church of St. Pierre de Darnetal. Abbe de la Sainte Trinite. Other Public Edifices


CAEN. Literary Society. Abbe de la Rue. Messrs. Pierre-Aime. Lair and Lamouroux. Medal of Malherbe. Booksellers. Memoir of the late M. Moysant, Public Librarian. Courts of Justice


BAYEUX. Cathedral. Ordination of Priests and Deacons. Crypt of the Cathedral


BAYEUX. Visit near St. Loup. M. Pluquet, Apothecary and Book-Vendor. Visit to the Bishop. The Chapter Library. Description of the Bayeux Tapestry. Trade and Manufacture


Bayeux to Coutances. St. Lo. The Cathedral of Coutances. Environs. Aqueduct. Market-Day. Public Library. Establishment for the Clergy


Journey to Granville. Granville. Ville Dieu. St. Sever. Town and Castle of VIRE


VIRE. Bibliography. Monsieur Adam. Monsieur de la Renaudiere. Olivier Basselin. M. Seguin. The Public Library


Departure from Vire. Conde. Pont Ouilly. Arrival at FALAISE. Hotel of the Grand Turc. Castle of Falaise. Bibliomaniacal Interview


Mons. Mouton. Church of Ste. Trinite, Comte de la Fresnaye. Guibray Church. Supposed head of William the Conqueror. M. Langevin, Historian of Falaise. Printing Offices


Journey to Paris. Dreux. Houdan. Versailles. Entrance into Paris



Portrait of the Author Fille de Chambre, Caen Portrait of the Abbe de la Rue


Anne of Brittany Medal of Louis XII Pisani Denon Comte de Brienne Stone Pulpit, Strasbourg Cathedral


Fille de Chambre, Manheim Monastery of Saints Ulric and Afra Prater, Vienna


Artaria, Dom. Manheim iii. 470 Barbier, Antoine Alexandre; Paris ii. 204 Bartsch, Adam de; Vienna iii. 394 Beyschlag, Recteur; Augsbourg iii. 104 Brial, Dom; Paris ii. 254 Brunet, Libraire; Paris ii. 235 Bure, De, Freres; Paris ii. 220 Chateaugiron, Marquis de; Paris i. xxxviii Dannecker; Stuttgart iii. 54 Denon; Paris ii. 293 Gaertner, Corbinian; Salzburg iii. 201 Gail; Paris ii. 259 Hartenschneider, Udalricus; Chremsminster Monastery iii. 229 Henri II. ii. 151 Hess, C.E.; Munich iii. 165 Lamouroux; Caen i. 137 Lancon, Durand de; Paris i. xxxviii Langevin; Falaise i. 341 Langles, L.; Paris ii. 268 Larenaudiere, De; Vire i. 309 Lebret, F.C.; Stuttgart iii. 56 May, Jean Gottlob; Augsbourg iii. 104 Millin, A.L.; Paris ii. 264 Pallas, Joachim; Moelk Monastery iii. 254 Peignot, Gabriel; Dijon i. xxvii Poitiers, Diane de ii. 151 Renouard, Ant. Aug.; Paris ii. 227 Schlichtegroll, Frederic; Munich iii. 161 Schweighaeuser, Fils; Strasbourg ii. 426 Van Praet; Paris ii. 278 Veesenmeyer, G.; Ulm iii. 71 Willemin; Paris ii. 320 Young,.T.; Vienna iii. 390



If I had chosen to introduce myself to the greatest possible advantage to the reader, in this Preface to a Second Edition of the "Bibliographical, Antiquarian, and Picturesque Tour," I could not have done better than have borrowed the language of those Foreigners, who, by a translation of the Work (however occasionally vituperative their criticisms) have, in fact, conferred an honour upon its Author. In the midst of censure, sometimes dictated by spite, and sometimes sharpened by acrimony of feeling, it were in my power to select passages of commendation, which would not less surprise the Reader than they have done myself: while the history of this performance may be said to exhibit the singular phenomenon, of a traveller, usually lauding the countries through which he passes, receiving in return the reluctant approbation of those whose institutions, manners, and customs, have been praised by him. It is admitted, by the most sedulous and systematic of my opponents—M. CRAPELET—that "considering the quantity and quality of the ornaments and engravings of this Tour, one is surprised that its cost is so moderate."[1]

"Few books (says the Bibliographer of Dijon) have been executed with greater luxury. It is said that the expenses of printing and engraving amounted to 6000 l.—to nearly 140,000 franks of our money. It must be admitted that England is the only country in which such an undertaking could be carried into effect. Who in France would dare to risk such a sum—especially for three, volumes in octavo? He would be ruined, if he did."[2] I quote these passages simply to shew under what extraordinary obliquity of feeling those gentlemen must have set down to the task of translation and abuse—of THAT VERY WORK, which is here admitted to contain such splendid representations of the "bibliographical, antiquarian, and picturesque" beauties of their country.

A brief account of this foreign travail may be acceptable to the curious in literary history. MONS. LICQUET, the successor of M. Gourdin, as Chief Librarian to the Public Library at Rouen, led the way in the work of warfare. He translated the ninth Letter relating to that Public Library; of which translation especial mention is made at p. 99, post. This version was printed in 1821, for private, distribution; and only 100 copies were struck off. M. Crapelet, in whose office it was printed, felt the embers of discontent rekindled in his bosom as it passed through his press; and in the following year HE also stepped forward to discharge an arrow at the Traveller. Like his predecessor, he printed but a limited number; and as I have more particularly remarked upon the spirit of that version by way of "Introduction" to the original letter, in vol. ii. 209, &c. I shall not waste the time of the Reader by any notice of it in the present place. These two partial translators united their forces, about two years afterwards, and published the whole of the Tour, as it related to FRANCE, in four octavo volumes, in 1825. The ordinary copies were sold for 48 francs, the large paper for 112 francs per copy. The wood-cuts only were republished by them. Of this conjoint, and more enlarged production, presently.

Encouraged by the examples of Messrs. Licquet and Crapelet, a Bookbinder of the name of LESNE (whose poem upon his "Craft," published in 1820, had been copiously quoted and commended by me in the previous edition) chose to plant his foot within this arena of controversy; and to address a letter to me; to which his model, M. Crapelet, was too happy to give circulation through the medium of his press.[3] To that letter the following metrical lines are prefixed; which the Reader would scarcely forgive me if I failed to amuse him by their introduction in this place. "Lesne, Relieur Francais, a Mons. T.F. Dibdin, Ministre de la Religion, &c."

Avec un ris moqueur, je crois vous voir d'ici, Dedaigneusement dire: Eh, que veut celui-ci? Qu'ai-je donc de commun avec un vil artiste? Un ouvrier francais, un Bibliopegiste? Ose-t-on ravaler un Ministre a ce point? Que me veut ce Lesne? Je ne le connais point. Je crois me souvenir qu'a mon voyage en France, Avec ses pauvres vers je nouai connaissance. Mais c'est si peu de chose un poete a Paris! Savez-vous bien, Monsieur, pourquoi je vous ecris? C'est que je crois avoir le droit de vous ecrire. Fussiez-vous cent fois plus qu'on ne saurait le dire, Je vois dans un Ministre un homme tel que moi; Devant Dieu je crois meme etre l'egal d'un roi.

The Letter however is in prose, with some very few exceptions; and it is just possible that the indulgent Reader may endure a specimen or two of the prose of M. Lesne, as readily as he has that of his poetry. These specimens are equally delectable, of their kind. Immediately after the preceding poetical burst, the French Bibliopegist continues thus:

D'apres cet exorde, vous pensez sans doute que, bien convaincu de ma dignite d'homme, je me crois en droit de vous dire franchement ma facon de penser; je vous la dirai, Monsieur. Si vous dirigiez un journal bibliographique; que vous fissiez, en un mot, le metier de journaliste, je serai peu surpris de voir dans votre Trentieme Lettre, une foule de choses hasardees, de mauvais calembourgs, de grossieretes, que nous ne rencontrons meme pas chez nos journalistes du dernier ordre, en ce qu'ils savent mieux leur monde, et que s'ils lancent une epigramme, fut-elle fausse, elle est au moins finement tournee. Mais vous etes ANGLAIS, et par cela seul dispense sans doute de cette politesse qui distingue si heureusement notre nation de la votre, et que vos compatriotes n'acquierent pour la plupart qu'apres un long sejour en France." p. 6.

Towards the latter part of this most formidable "Tentamen Criticum," the irritable author breaks out thus—"C'est une maladie Francaise de vouloir toujours imiter les Anglais; ceux-ci, a leur tour, commencent a en etre atteints." p. 19. A little farther it is thus: "Enfin c'est en imitant qu'on reussit presque toujours mal; vous en etes encore, une preuve evidente. J'ai vu en beaucoup d'endroits de votre Lettre, que vous avez voulu imiter Sterne;[4] qu'est-il arrive? Vous etes reste au-dessous de lui, comme tous les Imitateurs de notre bon La Fontaine sont restes en deca de l'immortel Fabuliste." p. 20. But most especially does the sensitive M. Lesne betray his surprise and apprehension, on a gratuitous supposition—thrown out by me, by way of pleasantry—that "Mr. Charles Lewis was going over to Paris, to establish there a modern School of Bookbinding." M. Lesne thus wrathfully dilates upon this supposition:

"Je me garderai bien de passer sous silence la derniere partie de votre Lettre; un bruit assez etrange est venu jusqu'a vous; et Charles Lewis doit vous quitter pour quelque temps pour etablir en France une ecole de reliure d'apres les principes du gout anglais; mais vous croyez, dites-vous, que ce projet est surement chimerique, ou que, si on le tentait, il serait de courte duree.

Pour cette fois, Monsieur, votre pronostic serait tres juste; cette demarche serait une folie: il faudrait s'abuser sur l'engouement des amateurs francais, et ceux qui sont atteints de cette maladie ne sont pas en assez grand nombre pour soutenir un pareil etablissement. Oui, l'on aime votre genre de reliure; mais on aime les reliures, facon anglaise, faites par les Francais. Pensez-vous done, ou Charles Lewis pense-t-il, qu'il n'y ait plus d'esprit national en France?

Allez, le sang Francaise coule encore dans nos veines; Nous pourrons eprouver des malheurs et des peines, Que nous devrons peut etre a vous autres Anglais; Mais nous voulons rester, nous resterons, Francais!

Ainsi, que Charles Lewis ne se derange pas; qu'il cesse, s'il les a commences, les preparatifs de sa descente; qu'il ne prive pas ses compatriotes d'un artiste soi-disant inimitable. Nous en avons ici qui le valent, et qui se feront un plaisir de perpeteur parmi nous le bon gout, l'elegance, et la noble simplicite. p. 25.[5]

So much for M. Lesne. I have briefly noticed M. Peignot, the Bibliographer of Dijon. That worthy wight has made the versions of my Ninth and Thirtieth Letters (First Edition) by M.M. Licquet and Crapelet, the substratum of his first brochure entitled Varietes, Notices et Raretes Bibliographiques, Paris, 1822: it being a supplement to his previous Work of Curiosites Bibliographiques."[6] It is not always agreeable for an Author to have his Works reflected through the medium of a translation; especially where the Translator suffers a portion, however small, of his own atrabiliousness, to be mixed up with the work translated: nor is it always safe for a third person to judge of the merits of the original through such a medium. Much allowance must therefore be made for M. Peignot; who, to say the truth, at the conclusion of his labours, seems to think that he has waded through a great deal of dirt of some kind or other, which might have been better avoided; and that, in consequence, some general declaration, by way of wiping, off a portion of the adhering mud, is due to the original Author. Accordingly, at the end of his analysis of M. Licquet's version, (which forms the second Letter in the brochure) he does me the honour to devote seven pages to the notice of my humble lucubrations:—and he prefaces this "Notice des Ouvrages de M. Dibdin", by the following very handsome tribute to their worth:

Si, dans les deux Lettres ou nous avons rendu compte des traductions partielles du voyage de M.D., nous avons partage l'opinion des deux estimable traducteurs, sur quelques erreurs et quelques inconvenances echappees a l'auteur anglais, nous sommes bien eloigne d'envelopper dans le meme blame, tout ce qui est sorte de sa plume; car il y auroit injustice a lui refuser des connaissances tres etendues en histoire litteraire, et en bibliographie: nous le disons franchement, il faudroit fermer les yeux a la lumiere, ou etre d'une partialite revoltante, pour ne pas convenir que, juste appreciateur de tous les tresors bibliographiques qu'il a le bonheur d'avoir sous la main, M. Dibdin en a fait connoitre en detail toute la richesse dans de nombreux d'ouvrages, ou tres souvent le luxe d'erudition se trouve en harmonie avec le luxe typographique qu'il y a etale.

At the risk of incurring the imputation of vanity, I annex the preceding extract; because I am persuaded that the candid Reader will appreciate it in its proper light. I might, had I chosen to do so, have lengthened the extract by a yet more complimentary passage: but enough of M. Peignot—who, so far from suffering ill will or acerbity to predominate over a kind disposition, hath been pleased, since his publication, to write to me a very courteous Letter,[7] and to solicit a "continuance of my favours."

Agreeably to the intimation expressed in a preceding page, I am now, in due order, to notice the labours of my translators M.M. LICQUET and CRAPELET. Their united version appeared in 1825, in four octavo volumes, of which the small paper was but indifferently well printed.[8] The preface to the first two volumes is by M. Licquet: and it is not divested of point and merit. It begins by attacking the Quarterly Review, (June 1821, p. 147.) for its severity of animadversion on the supposed listlessness and want of curiosity of the French in exploring the architectural antiquities of their country; and that, in consequence of such supineness, the English, considering them as their own property, have described them accordingly. "The decision (says the French translator) is severe; happily it is without foundation." After having devoted several pages to observations by way of reply to that critical Journal, M. Licquet continues thus:—unless I have unintentionally misrepresented him.

The Englishman who travels in Normandy, meets, at every step, with reminiscences of his kings, his ancestors, his institutions, and his customs. Churches yet standing, after the lapse of seven centuries; majestic ruins; tombs—even to the very sound of the clock—all unite in affecting, here, the heart of a British subject: every thing seems to tell him that, in former times, HERE was his country; here the residence of his sovereigns; and here the cradle of his manners. This was more than sufficient to enflame the lively imagination of Mr. D. and to decide him to visit, in person, a country already explored by a great number of his countrymen; but he conceived that his narrative should embody other topics than those which ordinarily appeared in the text of his predecessors.

"His work then is not only a description of castles, towns, churches, public monuments of every kind:—it is not only a representation of the general aspect of the country, as to its picturesque appearances—but it is an extended, minute, though occasionally inexact, account of public and private libraries; with reflections upon certain customs of the country, and upon the character of those who inhabit it. It is in short the personal history of the author, throughout the whole length of his journey. Not the smallest incident, however indifferent, but what has a place in the letters of the Bibliographer. Thus, he mentions every Inn where he stops: recommends or scolds the landlord—according to his civility or exaction. Has the author passed a bad night? the reader is sure to know it on the following morning. On the other hand, has he had a good night's rest in a comfortable bed? [dans un lit comfortable?] We are as sure to know this also, as soon as he awakes:—and thus far we are relieved from anxiety about the health of the traveller. Cold and heat—fine weather and bad weather—every variation of atmosphere is scrupulously recorded.

What immediately follows, is unworthy of M. Licquet; because it not only implies a charge of a heinous description—accusing me of an insidious intrusion into domestic circles, a violation of confidence, and a systematic derision of persons and things—but because the French translator, exercising that sense and shrewdness which usually distinguish him, MUST have known that such a charge could not have been founded in FACT. He must have known that any gentleman, leaving England with those letters which brought me in contact with some of the first circles on the Continent, MUST have left it without leaving his character behind him; and that such a character could not, in the natural order of things—seen even through the sensitive medium of a French critic—have been guilty of the grossness and improprieties imputed to me by M. Licquet. I treat therefore this "damnation in wholesale" with scorn and contempt: and hasten to impress the reader with a more favourable opinion of my Norman translator. He will have it that

"the English Traveller's imagination is lively and ardent—and his spirit, that of raillery and lightness. He examines as he runs along; that is to say, he does not give himself time to examine; he examines ill; he deceives himself; and he subjects his readers to be deceived with him. He traverses, at a hard trot, one of the most ancient towns in France; puts his head out of his carriage window—and boldly decides that the town is of the time of Francis I."![9] p. xviij.

There is pleasantry, and perhaps some little truth, in this vein of observation; and it had been better, perhaps, for the credit of the good taste and gentleman-like feeling of Mons. Licquet, if he had uniformly maintained his character in these respects. I have however, in the subsequent pages,[10] occasionally grappled with my annotator in proving the fallacy, or the want of charity, of many of his animadversions: and the reader probably may not be displeased, if, by way of "avant propos," I indulge him here with a specimen of them—taken from his preface. M. Licquet says, that I "create scenes; arrange a drama; trace characters; imagine a dialogue, frequently in French—and in what French—gracious God!—in assigning to postilions a ridiculous language, and to men of the world the language of postilions." These be sharp words:[11] but what does the Reader imagine may be the probable "result" of the English Traveller's inadvertencies?... A result, ("gracious Heaven!") very little anticipated by the author. Let him ponder well upon the awful language which ensues. "What (says M. Licquet) will quickly be the result, with us, of such indiscretions as those of which M. Dibdin is guilty? The necessity of SHUTTING OUR PORTS, or at least of placing a GUARD UPON OUR LIPS!" There is some consolation however left for me, in balancing this tremendous denunciation by M. Licquet's eulogy of my good qualities—which a natural diffidence impels me to quote in the original words of their author.

"A Dieu ne plaise, toutefois, que j'accuse ici LE COEUR de M. Dibdin. Je n'ai jamais eu l'honneur de le voir: je ne le connais que par ses ecrits; principalement par son Splendid Tour, et je ne balance pas a declarer que l'auteur doit etre doue d'une ame honnete, et de ces qualites fondamentales qui constituent l'homme de bien. Il prefere sa croyance; mais il respecte la croyance des autres; son erudition parait....[12] variee. Son amour pour les antiquites est immense; et par antiquites j'entends ici tout ce qui est antique ou seulement ancien, quellesque soient d'ailleurs la nature et la forme des objets." Pref. p. xv. xvij.

Once more; and to conclude with M. Licquet. After these general observations upon the Text of the Tour, M. Licquet favours us with the following—upon the Plates. "These plates (says he) are intended to represent some of the principal monuments; the most beautiful landscapes, and the most remarkable persons, comprehending even the servants of an inn. If talent be sought in these Engravings, it will doubtless be found in them; but strangers must not seek for fidelity of representation from what is before their eyes. The greater number of the Designs are, in some sort, ideal compositions, which, by resembling every thing, resemble nothing in particular: and it is worthy of remark that the Artist, in imitation of the Author, seems to have thought that he had only to shew himself clever, without troubling himself to be faithful." To this, I reply in the very words of M. Licquet himself: "the decision is severe; luckily it is unjust." The only portions of the designs of their skilful author, which may be taxed with a tendency to extravagance, are the groups: which, when accompanied by views of landscapes, or of monuments, are probably too profusely indulged in; but the individuals, constituting those groups, belong precisely to the country in which they are represented. In the first and second volumes they are French; in the third they are Germans—all over. Will M. Licquet pretend to say that the churches, monasteries, streets, and buildings, with which the previous Edition of this Tour is so elaborately embellished, have the slightest tendency to IMAGINED SCENERY? If he do, his optics must be peculiarly his own. I have, in a subsequent page, (p. 34, note) slightly alluded to the cost and risk attendant on the Plates; but I may confidently affirm, from experience, that two thirds of the expense incurred would have secured the same sale at the same price. However, the die is cast; and the voice of lamentation is fruitless.

I now come to the consideration of M. Licquet's coadjutor, M. CRAPELET. Although the line of conduct pursued by that very singular gentleman be of an infinitely more crooked description than that of his Predecessor, yet, in this place, I shall observe less respecting it; inasmuch as, in the subsequent pages, (pp. 209, 245, 253, 400, &c.) the version and annotations of M. Crapelet have been somewhat minutely discussed. Upon the SPIRIT which could give rise to such a version, and such annotations, I will here only observe, that it very much resembles that of searchers of our street-pavements; who, with long nails, scrape out the dirt from the interstices of the stones, with the hope of making a discovery of some lost treasure which may compensate the toil of perseverance. The love of lucre may, or may not, have influenced my Parisian translator; but the love of discovery of latent error, and of exposure of venial transgression, has undoubtedly, from beginning to end, excited his zeal and perseverance. That carping spirit, which shuts its eyes upon what is liberal and kind, and withholds its assent to what is honourable and just, it is the distinguished lot—and, perhaps, as the translator may imagine, the distinguished felicity—of M. Crapelet to possess. Never was greater reluctance displayed in admitting even the palpable truths of a text, than what is displayed in the notes of M. Crapelet: and whenever a concurring sentiment comes from him, it seems to exude like his heart's life-blood. Having already answered, in detail, his separate publication confined to my 30th Letter[13]—(the 8th of the second volume, in this edition) and having replied to those animadversions which appear in his translation of the whole of the second volume, in this edition—it remains here only to consign the Translator to the careful and impartial consideration of the Reader, who, it is requested, may be umpire between both parties. Not to admit that the text of this Edition is in many places improved, from the suggestions of my Translators, by corrections of "Names of Persons, Places, and Things," would be to betray a stubbornness or obtuseness of feeling which certainly does not enter into the composition of its author.

I now turn, not without some little anxiety, yet not wholly divested of the hope of a favourable issue, to the character and object of the Edition HERE presented to the Public. It will be evident, at first glance, that it is greatly "shorn of its beams" in regard to graphic decorations and typographical splendour. Yet its garb, if less costly, is not made of coarse materials: for it has been the wish and aim of the Publishers, that this impression should rank among books worthy of the DISTINGUISHED PRESS from which it issues. Nor is it unadorned by the sister art of Engraving; for, although on a reduced scale, some of the repeated plates may even dispute the palm of superiority with their predecessors. Several of the GROUPS, executed on copper in the preceding edition, have been executed on wood in the present; and it is for the learned in these matters to decide upon their relative merits. To have attempted portraits upon wood, would have inevitably led to failure. There are however, a few NEW PLATES, which cannot fail to elicit the Purchaser's particular attention. Of these, the portraits of the Abbe de la Rue (procured through the kind offices of my excellent friend Mr. Douce), and the Comte de Brienne, the Gold Medal of Louis XII. the Stone Pulpit of Strasbourg Cathedral, and the Prater near Vienna—are particularly to be noticed.[14] This Edition has also another attraction, rather popular in the present day, which may add to its recommendation even with those possessed of its precursor. It contains fac-similes of the AUTOGRAPHS of several distinguished Literati and Artists upon the Continent;[15] who, looking at the text of the work through a less jaundiced medium than the Parisian translator, have continued a correspondence with the Author, upon the most friendly terms, since its publication. The accuracy of these fac-similes must be admitted, even by the parties themselves, to be indisputable. Among them, are several, executed by hands.. which now CEASE to guide the pen! I had long and fondly hoped to have been gratified by increasing testimonies of the warmth of heart which had directed several of the pens in question—hoped ... even against the admonition of a pagan poet ...

"Vitae summa brevis SPEM nos vetat inchoare LONGAM."

But such hopes are now irretrievably cut off; and the remembrance of the past must solace the anticipations of the future.

So much respecting the decorative department of this new edition of the Tour. I have now to request the Reader's attention to a few points more immediately connected with what may be considered its intrinsic worth. In the first place, it may be pronounced to be an Edition both abridged and enlarged: abridged, as regards the lengthiness of description of many of the MSS. and Printed Books—and enlarged, as respects the addition, of many notes; partly of a controversial, and partly of an obituary, description. The "Antiquarian and Picturesque" portions remain nearly as heretofore; and upon the whole I doubt whether the amputation of matter has extended beyond an eighth of what appeared in the previous edition. It had long ago been suggested to me—from a quarter too high and respectable to doubt the wisdom of its decision—that the Contents of this Tour should be made known to the Public through a less costly medium:—that the objects described in it were, in a measure, new and interesting—but that the high price of the purchase rendered it, to the majority of Readers, an inaccessible publication. I hope that these objections are fully met, and successfully set aside, by the Work in its PRESENT FORM. To have produced it, wholly divested of ornament, would have been as foreign to my habits as repugnant to my feelings. I have therefore, as I would willingly conclude, hit upon the happy medium—between sterility and excess of decoration.

After all, the greater part of the ground here trodden, yet continues to be untrodden ground to the public. I am not acquainted with any publication which embraces all the objects here described; nor can I bring myself to think that a perusal of the first and third volumes may not be unattended with gratification of a peculiar description, to the lovers of antiquities and picturesque beauties. The second volume is rather the exclusive province of the Bibliographer. In retracing the steps here marked out, I will not be hypocrite enough to dissemble a sort of triumphant feeling which accompanies a retrospection of the time, labour, and money devoted.. in doing justice, according to my means, to the attractions and worth of the Countries which these pages describe. Every such effort is, in its way, a NATIONAL effort. Every such attempt unites, in stronger bonds, the reciprocities of a generous feeling between rival Nations; and if my reward has not been in wealth, it has been in the hearty commendation of the enlightened and the good: "Mea me virtute involvo."[16]

I cannot boast of the commendatory strains of public Journals in my own country. No intellectual steam-engine has been put in motion to manufacture a review of unqualified approbation of the Work now submitted to the public eye—at an expense, commensurate with the ordinary means of purchase. With the exception of an indirect and laudatory notice of it, in the immortal pages of the Author of Waverley, of the Sketch book, and of Reginald Dalton, this Tour has had to fight its way under the splendour of its own banners, and in the strength of its own cause. The previous Edition is now a scarce and a costly book. Its Successor has enough to recommend it, even to the most fastidious collector, from the elegance of its type and decorations, and from the reasonableness of its price; but the highest ambition of its author is, that it may be a part of the furniture of every Circulating Library in the Kingdom. If he were not conscious that GOOD would result from its perusal, he would not venture upon such an avowal. "FELIX FAUSTUMQUE SIT!"

[1] M. Crapelet is of course speaking of the PREVIOUS edition of the Tour. He continues thus: "M. Dibdin, dans son voyage en France, a visite nos departemens de l'ouest et de l'est, toutes leurs principales villes, presque tous les lieux remarquables par les antiquites, par les monumens, par les beautes du site, ou par les souvenirs historiques. Il a visite les chateaux, les eglises, les chapelles; il a observe nos moeurs, nos coutumes; nos habitudes; il a examine nos Musees et nos premiers Cabinets de curiosite; il s'est concentre dans nos Bibliotheques. Il parle de notre litterature et des hommes de lettres, des arts et de nos artistes; il critique les personnes comme les choses; il loue quelquefois, il plaisante souvent; la vivacite de son esprit l'egare presque toujours." A careful perusal of the notes in THIS edition will shew that my veracity has not "almost always led me astray."

[2] GABRIEL PEIGNOT; Varietes, Notices et Raretes Bibliographiques, 1822, 8vo. p. 4.

[3] Lettre d'un Relieur Francais a un Bibliographe Anglais; a Paris, de l'Imprimerie de Crapelet, 1822, 8vo. p.p. 28.

[4] It is a little curious that M. Lesne has not been singular in this supposition. My amiable and excellent friend M. Schweighaeuser of Strasbourg had the same notion: at least, he told me that the style of the Tour very frequently reminded him of that of Sterne. I can only say—and say very honestly—that I as much thought of Sterne as I did of ... William Caxton!

[5] Copious as are the above quotations, from the thoroughly original M. Lesne, I cannot resist the risking of the readers patience and good opinion, by the subjoining of the following passage—with which the brochure concludes. "D'apres la multitude de choses hasardees que contient votre Lettre, vous en aurez probablement recu quelques unes de personnes que vous aurez choquees plus que moi, qui vous devrais plutot des remercimens pour avoir pris la peine de traduire quelques pages de mon ouvrage; mais il n'en est pas de meme de bien des gens, et cela ne doit pas les engager a etre autant communicatif avec vous, si vous reveniez en France. Je souhaite, dans ce dernier cas, que tous les typographes, les bibliothecaires, les bibliognostes, les bibliographes, les bibliolathes, les bibliomanes, les biblophiles, les bibliopoles, ceux qui exercent la bibliuguiancie et les bibliopegistes meme, soient pour vous autant de bibliotaphes; vous ne seriez plus a meme de critiquer ce que vous sauriez et ce que vous ne sauriez pas, comme vous l'aviez si souvent fait inconsiderement:

Mais tous vos procedes ne nous etonnent pas, C'est le sort des Francais de faire DES INGRATS; On les voit servir ceux qui leur furent nuisibles; Je crois que sur ce point ils sont incorrigibles.

Je vous avouerai cependant que je suis loin d'etre fache de vous voir en agir ainsi envers mes compatriotes: je desirerais que beaucoup d'Anglais fissent de meme; cela pourrait desangliciser ou desanglomaniser les Francais. Vous, Monsieur, qui aimez les mots nouveaux, aidez-moi, je vous prie, a franciser, a purifier celui-ci. Quant a moi

Je ne fus pas nourri de Grec et de Latin, J'appris a veiller tard, a me lever matin, La nature est le livre ou je fis mes etudes, Et tous ces mots nouveaux me semblent long-temps rudes; Je trouve qu'on ne peut tres bien les prononcer Sans affectation, au moins sans grimacer; Que tous ces mots tires des langues etrangeres, Devraient etre l'objet de critiques severes. Faites donc de l'esprit en depit du bon sens, On vous critiquera; quant a moi j'y consens.

Je terminerai cette longue Lettre de deux manieres: a l'anglaise, en vous souhaitant le bon jour ou le bon soir, suivant l'heure a laquelle vous la recevrez; a la francaise, en vous priant de me croire,


Votre tres humble serviteur,


[6] The above brochure consists of two Letters; each to an anonymous bibliographical "Confrere:" one is upon the subject of M. Crapelet's version—the other, upon that of M. Licquet's version—of a portion of the Tour. The notice of the Works of the Author of the Tour; a list of the prices for which the Books mentioned in it have been sold; a Notice of the "Hours of Charlemagne" (see vol. ii. 199) and some account of the late Mr. Porson "Librarian of the London Institution"—form the remaining portion of this little volume of about 160 pages. For the "Curiosites Bibliographiques," consult the Bibliomania, pp. 90, 91, &c. &c.

[7] This letter accompanied another Work of M. Peignot, relating to editions and translations of the Roman Classics:—and as the reader will find, in the ensuing pages, that I have been sometime past labouring under the frightful, but popular, mania of AUTOGRAPHS, I subjoin with no small satisfaction a fac-simile of the Autograph of this enthusiastic and most diligent Bibliographer.

[Autograph: Votre tres humble et obeissant serviteur, G. Peignot]

[8] See page xviii.—ante.

[9] M. Licquet goes on to afford an exemplification of this precipitancy of conjecture, in my having construed the word Allemagne—a village near to Caen—by that of Germany. I refer the reader to p. 168 post, to shew with what perfect frankness I have admitted and corrected this "hippopotamos" error.

[10] More especially at pages 82, 100, 367.

[11] "Sharp" as they may be, they are softened, in some measure, by the admission of my bitterest annotator, M. Crapelet, that "I speak and understand the French language well." vol. ii. p. 253. It is painful and unusual with me to have recourse to such apparently self-complimentary language; but when an adversary drives one into a corner, and will not allow of fair space and fair play, one must fight with feet as well as with hands ... "manibus pedibusque" ...

[12] This hiatus must not be filled by the Author: ... "haud equidem tali me dignor honore."

[13] See vol. ii. p. 210-11.

[14] See vol. i. p. 186, vol. ii. pp. 49, 296, 392. The other fresh plates are, Portrait of the Author, frontispiece; Bird's-eye views of the Monasteries of St. Peter's, Salzburg, and of Molk: vol. iii. pp. 195, 248, 381, Black Eagle Inn, Munich, p. 156. But the Reader will be pleased to examine the List of Plates prefixed—in a preceding page.

[15] Among these distinguished Literati, I here enrol with peculiar satisfaction the names of the MARQUIS DE CHATEAUGIRON and Mons. DURAND DE LANCON. No opportunity having occurred in the subsequent pages to incorporate fac-similes of the Autographs of these distinguished Bibliophiles, they are annexed in the present place.

[Autographs: M. de Chateaugiron, D. de Lancon]

[16] It is more than a negative consolation to me, to have lived to see the day, that, although comparatively impoverished, others have been enriched by my labours. When I noticed a complete set of my lucubrations on LARGE PAPER, valued at 250l. in a bookseller's catalogue, (Mr. Pickering's) and afterwards learnt that this set had found a PURCHASER, I had reason to think that I had "deserved well" of the Literature of my country: and I resolved to live "mihi carior" in consequence.





The Notes peculiar to THIS EDITION are distinguished by being inserted between brackets: as thus:—[]

*** The Index is placed at the end of the First Volume, for the purpose of equalising the size of the Volumes.



Dieppe, April 20, 1818.

At length then, my dear Friend, the long projected "Bibliographical, Antiquarian,[17] and Picturesque Tour" is carried into execution; and the Tourist is safely landed on the shores of Normandy. "Vous voila donc, Monsieur a Dieppe!"—exclaimed the landlord of the Grand Hotel d'Angleterre—as I made my way through a vociferating crowd of old and young, of both sexes, with cards of addresses in their hands; entreating me to take up my abode at their respective hotels.... But I know your love of method, and that you will be angry with me if I do not "begin at the beginning."

It was surely on one of the finest of all fine days that I left my home, on the 14th of this present month, for the land of castles, churches, and ancient chivalry. The wind from the south-east was blowing pretty smartly at the time; but the sky was without a cloud, and I could not but look upon the brilliancy of every external object as a favourable omen of the progress and termination of my tour. Adverse winds, or the indolence or unwillingness of the Captain, detained us at Brighton two whole days—instead of sailing, as we were led to expect, on the day following our arrival. We were to form the first ship's company which had visited France this season. On approaching our gallant little bark, the Nancy,[18] commanded by Captain BLABER, the anchor was weighed, and hoisting sail, we stood out to sea. The day began to improve upon us. The gloomy appearances of the morning gradually brightened up. A host of black clouds rolled heavily away. The sun at length shone in his full meridian splendour, and the ocean sparkled as we cut through its emerald waves. As I supposed us to near the French coast, I strained my eyes to obtain an early glimpse of something in the shape of cliff or jettie. But the wind continued determinedly in the south east: the waves rose in larger masses; and our little vessel threw up a heavy shower of foam as we entered on the various tacks.

It is a grand sight—that vast, and apparently interminable ocean—

.... maria undique et undique coelum!

We darted from Beechy Head upon a long tack for the French coast: and as the sun declined, we found it most prudent to put the Captain's advice, of going below, into execution. Then commenced all the miseries of the voyage. The moon had begun to assert her ascendancy, when, racked with torture and pain in our respective berths, a tremendous surge washed completely over the deck, sky-light, and binnacle: and down came, in consequence, drenched with the briny wave, the hardiest of our crew, who, till then, had ventured to linger upon deck. That crew was various; and not without a few of the natives of those shores which we were about to visit.

To cut short my ship-narrative, suffice it only farther to say, that, towards midnight, we heard our Captain exclaim that he saw "the lights of Dieppe"—a joyful sound to us miserable wretches below. I well remember, at this moment, looking up towards the deck with a cheerless eye, and perceiving the light of the moon still lingering upon the main-sail,—but I shall never forget how much more powerfully my sensations were excited, when, as the dawn of day made objects visible, I looked up, and saw an old wrinkle-visaged sailor, with a red night cap on begirt with large blue, puckered, short petticoats—in possession of the helm—about to steer the vessel into harbour![19]

About seven we were all upon deck. The sea was yet swoln and agitated, and of a dingy colour: while

.... heavily with clouds came on the day,

as we slowly approached the outward harbour of DIEPPE. A grey morning with drizzling rain, is not the best accompaniment of a first visit to a foreign shore. Nevertheless every thing was new, and strange, and striking; and the huge crucifix, to the right, did not fail to make a very forcible impression. As we approached the, inner harbour, the shipping and the buildings more distinctly presented themselves. The harbour is large, and the vessels are entirely mercantile, with a plentiful sprinkling of fishing smacks: but the manner in which the latter harmonized with the tint and structure of the houses—the bustle upon shore—the casks, deal planks, ropes, and goods of every description upon the quays,—all formed a most animated and interesting scene. The population seemed countless, and chiefly females; whose high caps and enormous ear-rings, with the rest of their paraphernalia, half persuaded me that instead of being some few twenty-five leagues only from our own white cliffs, I had in fact dropt upon the Antipodes! What a scene (said I to my companion) for our CALCOTT to depict![20] It was a full hour before we landed—saluted, and even assailed on all sides, with entreaties to come to certain hotels. We were not long however in fixing our residence at the Hotel d'Angleterre, of which the worthy Mons. De La Rue[21] is the landlord.

[17] [Mons. Licquet, my translator, thinks, that in using the word "Antiquaire"—as appears in the previous edition of this work, incorporated in the gallicised sentence of "Voyage Bibliographique Antiquaire, &c."—I have committed an error; as the word "Archeologique" ought, in his opinion, to have been adopted—and he supposes that he best expresses my meaning by its adoption. Such a correction may be better French; but "Archaeological" is not exactly what is usually meant—in our language—by "Antiquarian."]

[18] This smart little vessel, of about 70 tons burden, considered to be the fastest sailing packet from Dieppe, survived our voyage only about eighteen months. Her end had nearly proved fatal to every soul on board of her. In a dark night, in the month of September, when bound for Dieppe, she was struck by a heavy London brig. The crew was with difficulty saved—and the vessel went down within about twenty-five minutes after the shock.

[19] The English are not permitted to bring their own vessels into harbour—for obvious reasons.

[20] [This "scene" has been, in fact, subsequently depicted by. the masterly pencil of J.M.W.TURNER, Esq. R. A: and the picture, in which almost all the powers of that surprising Artist are concentrated, was lately offered for sale by public auction. How it was suffered to be bought in for three hundred and eighty guineas, is at once a riddle and a reproach to public taste.]

[21] [I learn that he is since DECEASED. Thus the very first chapter of this second edition has to record an instance of the casualties and mutabilities which the short space of ten years has effected. Mons. De la Rue was a man of worth and of virtue.]



The town of Dieppe contains a population of about twenty-thousand souls.[22] Of these, by much the greater stationary part are females; arising from one third at least of the males being constantly engaged in the FISHERIES. As these fisheries are the main support of the inhabitants, it is right that you should know something about them. The herring fishery takes place twice a year: in August and October. The August fishery is carried on along the shores of England and the North. From sixty to eighty vessels, of from twenty-five to thirty tons burthen each, with about fifteen men in each vessel, are usually employed. They are freighted with salt and empty barrels, for seasoning and stowing the fish, and they return about the end of October. The herrings caught in August are considerably preferable to those caught in October. The October fishery is carried on with smaller vessels, along the coast of France from Boulogne to Havre. From one hundred and twenty, to one hundred and thirty vessels, are engaged in this latter navigation; and the fish, which is smaller, and of inferior flavour to that caught upon the English coasts, is sent almost entirely to the provinces and to Paris, where it is eaten fresh. So much for the herring.[23]

The Mackarel fishery usually commences towards the month of July, along the coast of Picardy; because, being a sort of fish of passage, it gets into the channel in the month of April. It then moves towards the straits of Dover, as summer approaches. For this fishery they make use of large decked-vessels, from twenty to fifty tons burthen, manned with from twelve to twenty men. There are however Dieppe boats employed in this fishery which go as far as the Scilly Islands and Ushant, towards the middle of April. They carry with them the salt requisite to season the fish, which are afterwards sent to Paris, and to the provinces in the interior of France. The cod fishery is divided into the fresh and dried fish. The former continues from the beginning of February to the end of April—and the vessels employed, which go as far as Newfoundland, are two deckers, and from one hundred to one hundred and fifty tons burthen—although, in fact, they rarely carry more than fifteen tons for fear of spoiling the fish. The dried-cod fishery is carried on in vessels of all sizes; but it is essential that they be of a certain depth, because the fish is more cumbersome than weighty. The vessels however usually set sail about the month of March or April, in order that they may have the advantage of the summer season, to dry the fish. There are vessels which go to Newfoundland laden with brandy, flour, beans, treacle, linen and woollen cloths, which they dispose of to the inhabitants of the French colonies in exchange for dried cod. This latter species of commerce may be carried on in the summer months—as late as July.

In the common markets for retail trade, they are not very nice in the quality or condition of their fish; and enormous conger eels, which would be instantly rejected by the middling, or even lower classes in England, are, at Dieppe, bought with avidity and relished with glee. A few francs will procure a dish of fish large enough for a dozen people. The quays are constantly crowded, but there seems to be more of bustle than of business. The town is certainly picturesque, notwithstanding the houses are very little more than a century old, and the streets are formal and comparatively wide. Indeed it should seem that the houses were built expressly for Noblemen and Gentlemen, although they are inhabited by tradesmen, mechanics, and artizans, in apparently very indifferent circumstances. I scarcely saw six private houses which could be called elegant, and not a gentleman's carriage has been yet noticed in the streets. But if the Dieppois are not rich, they seem happy, and are in a constant state of occupation. A woman sells her wares in an open shop, or in an insulated booth, and sits without her bonnet (as indeed do all the tradesmen's wives), and works or sings as humour sways her. A man sells gingerbread in an open shed, and in the intervals of his customer's coming, reads some popular history or romance. Most of the upper windows are wholly destitute of glass; but are smothered with clothes, rags, and wall flowers. The fragrance emitted from these flowers affords no unpleasing antidote to odors of a very different description; and here we begin to have a too convincing proof of the general character of the country in regard to the want of cleanliness. A little good sense, or rather a better-regulated police, would speedily get rid of such nuisances. The want of public sewers is another great and grievous cause of smells of every description. At Dieppe there are fountains in abundance; and if some of the limpid streams, which issue from them, were directed to cleansing the streets, (which are excellently well paved) the effect would be both more salubrious and pleasant—especially to the sensitive organs of Englishmen.

We had hardly concluded our breakfasts, when a loud and clattering sound was heard; and down came, in a heavy trot, with sundry ear-piercing crackings of the whip, the thundering Diligence: large, lofty, and of most unwieldy dimensions: of a structure, too, strong enough to carry a half score of elephants. The postilion is an animal perfectly sui generis: gay, alert, and living upon the best possible terms with himself. He wears the royal livery, red and blue; with a plate of the fleur de lis upon his left arm. His hair is tied behind, in a thick, short, tightly fastened queue: with powder and pomatum enough to weather a whole winter's storm and tempest.[24] As he never rises in his stirrups,[25] I leave you to judge of the merciless effects of this ever-beating club upon the texture of his jacket. He is however fond of his horses: is well known by them; and there is all flourish and noise, and no sort of cruelty, in his treatment of them. His spurs are of tremendous dimensions; such as we see sticking to the heels of knights in illuminated Mss. of the XVth century. He has nothing to do with the ponderous machine behind him. He sits upon the near of the two wheel horses, with three horses before him. His turnings are all adroitly and correctly made; and, upon the whole, he is a clever fellow in the exercise of his office.

You ought to know, that, formerly, this town was greatly celebrated for its manufactures in Ivory; but the present aspect of the ivory-market affords only a faint notion of what it might have been in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I purchased a few subordinate articles (chiefly of a religious character) and which I shall preserve rather as a matter of evidence than of admiration. There is yet however a considerable manufacture of thread lace; and between three and four thousand females are supposed to earn a comfortable livelihood by it.[26]

My love of ecclesiastical architecture quickly induced me to visit the CHURCHES; and I set out with two English gentlemen to pay our respects to the principal church, St. JAQUES. As we entered it, a general gloom prevailed, and a sort of premature evening came on; while the clatter of the sabots was sufficiently audible along the aisles. In making the circuit of the side chapels, an unusual light proceeded from a sort of grated door way. We approached, and witnessed a sight which could not fail to rivet our attention. In what seemed to be an excavated interior, were several figures, cut in stone, and coloured after life, (of which they were the size) representing the Three Maries, St. John, and Joseph of Arimathea.. in the act of entombing Christ: the figure of our Saviour being half sunk into the tomb. The whole was partially illuminated by some two dozen of shabby and nearly consumed tallow candles; affording a striking contrast to the increasing darkness of the nave and the side aisles. We retired, more and more struck with the novelty of every object around us, to our supper and beds, which were excellent; and a good night's rest made me forget the miseries of the preceding evening.

The next morning, being Sunday, we betook ourselves in good time to the service of ST. JAQUES:[27] but on our way thither, we saw a waxen figure of Christ (usually called an "Ecce Homo") enclosed within a box, of which the doors were opened. The figure and box are the property of the man who plays on a violin, close to the box; and who is selling little mass books, supposed to be rendered more sacred by having been passed across the feet and hands of the waxen Christ. Such a mongrel occupation, and such a motley group, must strike you with astonishment—as a Sunday morning's recreation.

By half past ten the congregation had assembled within the Church; and every side-chapel (I think about twelve in number) began to be filled by the penitent flocks: each bringing, or hiring, a rush-bottomed chair—with which the churches are pretty liberally furnished, and of which the Tarif (or terms of hire) is pasted upon the walls. There were, I am quite sure, full eighteen women to one man: which may in part be accounted for, by the almost uniform absence of a third of the male population occupied in the fisheries. I think there could not have been fewer than two thousand souls present. But what struck me as the most ludicrously solemn thing I had ever beheld, was a huge tall figure, dressed like a drum-major, with a large cocked hat and three white plumes, (the only covered male figure in the congregation,) a broad white sash upon a complete suit of red, including red stockings;—representing what in our country is called a Beadle. He was a sturdy, grim-looking fellow; bearing an halberd in his right hand, which he wielded with a sort of pompous swing, infusing terror into the young, and commanding the admiration of the old. I must not, however, omit to inform you, that half the service was scarcely performed when the preacher mounted a pulpit, with a black cap on, and read a short sermon from a printed book. I shall long have a distinct recollection of the figure and attitude of the Verger who attended the preacher. He followed him to the pulpit, fastened the door, became stationary, and rested his left arm over the railings of the stairs. Anon, he took out his snuff-box with his right hand, and regaled himself with a pinch of snuff in the most joyous and comfortably-abstracted manner imaginable. There he remained till the conclusion of the discourse; not one word of which seemed to afford him half the satisfaction as did the contents of his snuff-box.

Military Mass was performed about an hour after, at the church of ST. REMY, whither I strolled quietly, to witness the devotion of the congregation previous to the entry of the soldiers; and I will not dissemble being much struck and gratified by what I saw. There was more simplicity: a smaller congregation: softer music: a lower-toned organ; less rush of people; and in very many of the flock the most intense and unfeigned expression of piety. At the elevation of the host, from the end of the choir, (near which was suspended a white flag with the portrait of the present King[28] upon it) a bell was rung from the tower of the church; the sound, below, was soft and silver-toned—accompanied by rather a quick movement on the organ, upon the diapason stop; which, united with the silence and prostration of the congregation, might have commanded the reverence of the most profane.

There is nothing, my dear friend, more gratifying, in a foreign land, than the general appearance of earnestness of devotion on a sabbath day; especially within the HOUSE OF GOD. However, I quickly heard the clangor of the trumpet, the beat of drums, the measured tramp of human feet, and up marched two or three troops of the national guard to perform military mass. I retired precipitately to the Inn, being well pleased to have escaped this strange and distracting sight: so little in harmony with the rites and ceremonies of our own church, and in truth so little accordant with the service which I had just beheld.

[22] [Mons. Licquet says that there were about 17,000 souls in 1824; so that the above number may be that of the amount of its present population. "Several changes (says my French translator) have taken place at Dieppe since I saw it: among the rest, there is a magnificent establishment of BATHS, where a crowd of people, of the first distinction, every year resort. Her Royal Highness, the Duchesse de Berri, may be numbered among these Visitors.]

[23] [The common people to this day call a herring, a child of Dieppe. LICQUET.]

[24] ["Sterne reproaches the French for their hyperbolical language: the air of the country had probably some influence on M. Dibdin when he adopted this phrase." LICQUET.]

[25] ["Signifying, that the French postilions do not ride like the English." LICQUET.]

[26] ["Dieppe for a long time was the rival of Argentan and Caen in the lace-manufactory: at the present day, this branch of commerce is almost annihilated there."—LICQUET.]

[27] [In a note attached to the previous edition—I have said, "Here also, as well as at Rouen; they will have it that the ENGLISH built the Churches." Upon which M. Licquet remarks thus: "M. Dibdin's expression conveys too general an idea. It is true that popular opinion attributes the erection of our gothic edifices to the ENGLISH: but there exists another opinion, which is not deceptive upon this subject." What is meant to be here conveyed? Either the popular opinion is true or false; and it is a matter of perfect indifference to the author whether it be one or the other. For Mons. Licquet's comfort, I will freely avow that I believe it to be false.]

[28] [Louis XVIII.]



As I had received especial injunctions from our friend P—- not to leave Dieppe without paying a visit to the famous Chateau d'Arques[29], in its neighbourhood, I resolved to seize the opportunity of a tolerably fair, or rather gray-looking day, to go and pay due homage to those venerable remains of antiquity. The road thither is completely rural: apple-trees, just beginning to burst their blossoms; hamlets, small farm-houses: a profusion of rich herbage of various kinds—delighted and regaled me as I pursued my tranquil walk. The country is of a gently-undulating character; but the flats or meadows, between the parallel ranges of hills, are subject to constant inundation from the sea; and in an agricultural point of view are consequently of little use, except for summer grazing of the cattle.

It was drawing on to vespers as I approached the Village of Arques. The old castle had frequently peeped out upon me, in my way thither, from its elevated situation; but being resolved to see "all that could be seen," a French village, for the first time, was not to be overlooked. For a country church, I know of few finer ones than that of Arques.[30]

The site of the castle is admirable. My approach was to the western extremity; which, as you look down, brings the village and church of Arques in the back ground. If the eye were to be considered as a correct judge, this venerable pile, composed of hard flint-stone, intermixed with brick, would perhaps claim precedence, on the score of antiquity, over most of the castles of the middle ages. A deep moat, now dry pasture land, with a bold acclivity before you, should seem to bid defiance, even in times of old, to the foot and the spear of the invader. There are circular towers at the extremities, and a square citadel or donjon within. To the north, a good deal of earth has been recently thrown against the bases of the wall. The day harmonised admirably with the venerable object before me. The sunshine lasted but for a minute: when afterwards a gloom prevailed, and not a single catch of radiant light gilded any portion of the building. All was quiet, and of a sombre aspect,—and what you, in your admiration of art, would call in perfectly "fine keeping."

I descended the hill, bidding a long adieu to this venerable relic of the hardihood of other times, and quickened my pace towards Dieppe. In gaining upon the town, I began to discern groups of rustics, as well as of bourgeoises, assembling and mingling in the dance. The women never think of wearing bonnets, and you have little idea how picturesquely the red and blue[31] (the colours of Raffaelle's Madonnas) glanced backwards and forwards amidst the fruit trees, to the sound of the spirit-stirring violin. The high, stiff, starched cauchoise, with its broad flappers, gave the finishing stroke to the novelty and singularity of the scene; and to their credit be it spoken, the women were much more tidily dressed than the men. The couples are frequently female, for want of a sufficient number of swains; but, whether correctly or incorrectly paired, they dance with earnestness, if not with grace. It was a picture a la Teniers, without its occasional grossness. This then, said I to myself, is what I have so often heard of the sabbath-gambols of the French—and long may they enjoy them! They are surely better than the brutal orgies of the pot-house, or the fanatical ravings of the tabernacle.[32]

A late plain dinner, with my favourite vin ordinaire, recruited my strength, and kept me in perfectly good humour with Dieppe.

The deportment of the Dieppois[33] towards the English, is, upon the whole, rather gracious than otherwise; because the town profits by the liberality and love of expense of the latter. Yet the young ones, as soon as they can lisp, are put in training for pronouncing the G—— d——; and a few horribly-deformed and importunate beggars are for ever assailing the doors of the hotels. But beggary is nothing like so frightful an evil as I had anticipated. The general aspect of the town seems to indicate the poverty of the inhabitants; their houses being too large to be entirely occupied. Bonaparte appears to have been anxious about the strengthening of the harbour; the navigation into which is somewhat difficult and intricate. The sides of the walls, as you enter, are lofty, steep, and strong; and raised batteries would render any hostile approach extremely hazardous to the assailants.

There is no ship-building at this moment going on: the ribs of about half a dozen, half rotted, small merchant-craft, being all that is discernible. But much is projected, and much is hoped from such projects. Dieppe has questionless many local advantages both by land and by sea; yet it will require a long course of years to infuse confidence and beget a love of enterprise. In spite of all the naval zeal, it is here exhibited chiefly as affording means of subsistence from the fisheries. I must not however conclude my Dieppe journal without telling you that I hunted far and near for a good bookseller and for some old books—but found nothing worth the search, except a well-printed early Rouen Missal, and Terence by Badius Ascensius. The booksellers are supplied with books chiefly from Rouen; the local press being too insignificant to mention.

[29] The French Antiquaries have pushed the antiquity of this castle to the 11th century, supposing it to have been built by William d'Arques, Count of Tallon, son of the second marriage of Richard Duke of Normandy. I make no doubt, that, whenever built, the sea almost washed its base: for it is known to have occupied the whole of what is called the Valley of Arques, running as far as Bouteilles. Its position, in reference to the art of war, must have been almost impregnable. Other hypotheses assign its origin to the ninth or tenth century. Whenever built, its history has been fertile in sieges. In 1144, it was commanded by a Flemish Monk, who preferred the spear to the crosier, but who perished by an arrow in the contest. Of its history, up to the sixteenth century, I am not able to give any details; but in the wars of Henry IV. with the League, in 1589, it was taken by surprise by soldiers in the disguise of sailors: who, killing the centinels, quickly made themselves masters of the place. Henry caused it afterwards to be dismantled. In the first half of the eighteenth century it received very severe treatment from pillage, for the purpose of erecting public and private buildings at Dieppe. At present (in the language of the author of the Rouen Itinerary) "it is the abode of silence—save when that silence is interrupted by owls and other nocturnal birds." The view of it in Mr. Cotman's work is very faithful.

[30] The Itineraire de Rouen, 1816, p. 202, says, absurdly, that this church is of the XIth century. It is perhaps with more truth of the beginning of the XIVth century. A pleasing view of it is in Mr. Dawson Turner's elegant Tour in Normandy, 1818, 8vo. 2 vol. It possessed formerly a bust of Henry IV., which is supposed to have been placed there after the famous battle of Arques gained by Henry over the Duke of Mayenne in 1589.

[31] The blue gown and red petticoat; or vice versa.

[32] [I am anxious that the above sentence should stand precisely as it appeared in the first edition of this work; because a circumstance has arisen from it, which could have been as little in the anticipation, as it is in the comprehension, of the author. A lady, of high connections, and of respectable character, conceived the passage in question to be somewhat indecorous; or revolting to the serious sense entertained by all Christians, and especially by CHRISTIAN MINISTERS, of the mode of devoting the Sabbath day. In consequence, being in possession of a copy of this work, she DIVIDED it into two; not being willing to sully the splendour of the plates by the supposed impurity of such a passage:—and the prints were accordingly bound APART. The passage—as applied to the FRENCH PEOPLE—requires neither comment nor qualification; and in the same unsophisticated view of religious duties, the latter part may be as strictly applied to the ENGLISH.]

[33] The dress of the sailors is the same as it was in the XIVth century; and so probably is that of the women. The illuminations in Froissard and Monstrelet clearly give us the Norman cauchoise.



Here I am, my excellent good friend, in the most extraordinary city in the world. One rubs one's eyes, and fancies one is dreaming, upon being carried through the streets of this old-fashioned place: or that, by some secret talismanic touch, we are absolutely mingling with human beings, and objects of art, at the commencement of the sixteenth century: so very curious, and out of the common appearance of things, is almost every object connected with ROUEN. But before I commence my observations upon the town, I must give you a brief sketch of my journey hither. We had bespoke our places in the cabriolet of the Diligence, which just holds three tolerably comfortable; provided there be a disposition to accommodate each other. This cabriolet, as you have been often told, is a sort of a buggy, or phaeton seat, with a covering of leather in the front of the coach. It is fortified with a stiff leathern apron, upon the top of which is a piece of iron, covered with the leather, to fasten firmly by means of a hook on the perpendicular supporter of the head. There are stiffish leathern curtains on each side, to be drawn, if necessary, as a protection against the rain, &c. You lean upon the bar, or top of this leathern apron, which is no very uncomfortable resting-place. And thus we took leave of Dieppe, on the 4th day after our arrival there. As we were seated in the cabriolet, we could hardly refrain from loud laughter at the novelty of our situation, and the grotesqueness of the conveyance. Our Postilion was a rare specimen of his species, and a perfectly unique copy. He fancied himself, I suppose, rather getting "into the vale of years," and had contrived to tinge his cheeks with a plentiful portion of rouge.[34] His platted and powdered hair was surmounted with a battered black hat, tricked off with faded ribband: his jacket was dark blue velvet, with the insignia of his order (the royal arms) upon his left arm. What struck me as not a little singular, was, that his countenance was no very faint resemblance of that of Voltaire, when he might have been verging towards his sixtieth year. Most assuredly he resembled him in his elongated chin, and the sarcastic expression of his mouth. We rolled merrily along—the horses sometimes spreading, and sometimes closing, according to the size of the streets through which we were compelled to pass. The reins and harness are of cord; which, however keep together pretty well. The postilion endeavours to break the rapidity of the descent by conducting the wheels over small piles of gravel or rubbish, which are laid at the sides of the road, near the ditch; so that, to those sitting in the cabriolet, and overlooking the whole process, the effect, with weak nerves, is absolutely terrific. They stop little in changing horses, and the Diligence is certainly well managed, and in general no accidents occur.

The road from Dieppe to Rouen is wide, hard, and in excellent condition. There are few or no hedges, but rows of apple-trees afford a sufficient line of demarkation. The country is open, and gently undulating; with scarcely any glimpses of what is called forest-scenery, till you get towards the conclusion of the first stage. Nothing particularly strikes you till you approach Malaunai, within about half a dozen miles of Rouen, and of course after the last change of horses. The environs of this beautiful village repay you for every species of disappointment, if any should have been experienced. The rising banks of a brisk serpentine trout stream are studded with white houses, in which are cotton manufactories that appear to be carried on with spirit and success. Above these houses are hanging woods; and though the early spring would scarcely have coated the branches with green in our own country, yet here there was a general freshness of verdure, intermingled with the ruddy blossom of the apple; altogether rejoicing the eye and delighting the heart. Occasionally there were delicious spots, which the taste and wealth of an Englishman would have embellished to every possible degree of advantage. But wealth, for the gratification of picturesque taste, is a superfluity that will not quickly fall to the lot of the French. The Revolution seems to have drained their purses, as well as daunted their love of enterprise. Along the road-side there were some few houses of entertainment; and we observed the emptied cabriolet and stationary voiture, by the side of the gardens, where Monsieur and Madame, with their families, tripped lightly along the vistas, and tittered as John Bull saluted them. Moving vehicles, and numerous riding and walking groups, increased upon us; and every thing announced that we were approaching a great and populous city.

The approach to ROUEN is indeed magnificent. I speak of the immediate approach; after you reach the top of a considerable rise, and are stopped by the barriers. You then look down a strait, broad, and strongly paved road, lined with a double row of trees on each side. As the foliage was not thickly set, we could discern, through the delicately-clothed branches, the tapering spire of the CATHEDRAL, and the more picturesque tower of the ABBAYE ST. OUEN—with hanging gardens, and white houses, to the left—covering a richly cultivated ridge of hills, which sink as it were into the Boulevards, and which is called the Faubourg Cauchoise. To the right, through the trees, you see the river SEINE (here of no despicable depth or breadth) covered with boats and vessels in motion: the voice of commerce, and the stir of industry, cheering and animating you as you approach the town. I was told that almost every vessel which I saw (some of them of two hundred, and even of three hundred tons burthen) was filled with brandy and wine. The lamps are suspended from the centre of long ropes, across the road; and the whole scene is of a truly novel and imposing character. But how shall I convey to you an idea of what I experienced, as, turning to the left, and leaving the broader streets which flank the quay, I began to enter the penetralia of this truly antiquated town? What narrow streets, what overhanging houses, what bizarre, capricious ornaments! What a mixture of modern with ancient art! What fragments, or rather ruins, of old delicately-built Gothic churches! What signs of former and of modern devastation! What fountains, gutters, groups of never-ceasing men, women, and children, all gay, all occupied, and all apparently happy! The Rue de la Grosse Horloge (so called from a huge, clumsy, antiquated clock which goes across it) struck me as being not among the least singular streets of Rouen. In five minutes I was within the court-yard of the Hotel Vatel, the favourite residence of the English.

It was evening when I arrived, in company with three Englishmen. We were soon saluted by the laquais de place—the leech-like hangers-on of every hotel—who begged to know if we would walk upon the Boulevards. We consented; turned to the right; and, gradually rising, gained a considerable eminence. Again we turned to the right, walking upon a raised promenade; while the blossoms of the pear and apple trees, within a hundred walled gardens, perfumed the air with a delicious fragrance. As we continued our route along the Boulevard Beauvoisine, we gained one of the most interesting and commanding views imaginable of the city of Rouen—just at that moment lighted up by the golden rays of a glorious sun-set—which gave a breadth and a mellower tone to the shadows upon the Cathedral and the Abbey of St. Ouen. The situation of Rouen renders it necessarily picturesque, view it from what spot you will.

The population of Rouen is supposed to be full one hundred thousand souls. In truth, there is no end to the succession of human beings. They swarm like bees, and like bees are busy in bringing home the produce of their industry. You have all the bustle and agitation of Cheapside and Cornhill; only that the ever-moving scene is carried on within limits one-half as broad. Conceive Bucklersbury, Cannon-street, and Thames-street,—and yet you cannot conceive the narrow streets of Rouen: filled with the flaunting cauchoise, and echoing to the eternal tramp of the sabot. There they are; men, women, and children—all abroad in the very centre of the streets: alternately encountering the splashing of the gutter, and the jostling of their townsmen—while the swift cabriolet, or the slow-paced cart, or the thundering Diligence, severs them, and scatters them abroad, only that they may seem to be yet more condensely united. For myself, it is with difficulty I believe that I am not living in the times of our Henry VIII. and of their Francis I.; and am half disposed to inquire after the residence of Guillaume Tailleur the printer—the associate, or foreign agent of your favourite Pynson.[35]

[34] [Mons. Licquet here observes, "This is the first time I have heard it said that our Postilions put on rouge." What he adds, shall be given in his own pithy expression.—"Ou la coquetterie va-t-elle se nicher?" What, however is above stated, was stated from a conviction of its being TRUE]

[35] [The third English Printer.] See the Bibliographical Decameron, vol. ii. p. 137, 8.



I have now made myself pretty well acquainted with the geography of Rouen. How shall I convey to you a summary, and yet a satisfactory, description of it? It cannot be done. You love old churches, old books, and relics of ancient art. These be my themes, therefore: so fancy yourself either strolling leisurely with me, arm in arm, in the streets—or sitting at my elbow. First for THE CATHEDRAL:—for what traveller of taste does not doff his bonnet to the Mother Church of the town through which he happens to be travelling—or in which he takes up a temporary abode? The west-front,[36] always the forte of the architect's skill, strikes you as you go down, or come up, the principal street—La Rue des Carmes,—which seems to bisect the town into equal parts. A small open space, (which however has been miserably encroached upon by petty shops) called the Flower-garden, is before this western front; so that it has some little breathing room in which to expand its beauties to the wondering eyes of the beholder. In my poor judgment, this western front has very few elevations comparable with it[37]—including even those of Lincoln and York. The ornaments, especially upon the three porches, between the two towers, are numerous, rich, and for the greater part entire:—in spite of the Calvinists,[38] the French revolution, and time. Among the lower and smaller basso-relievos upon these porches, is the subject of the daughter of Herodias dancing before Herod. She is manoeuvering on her hands, her feet being upwards. To the right, the decapitation of St. John is taking place.

The southern transept makes amends for the defects of the northern. The space before it is devoted to a sort of vegetable market: curious old houses encircle this space: and the ascent to the door, but more especially the curiously sculptured porch itself, with the open spaces in the upper part—light, fanciful and striking to a degree—produce an effect as pleasing as it is extraordinary. Add to this, the ever-restless feet of devotees, going in and coming out—the worn pavement, and the frittered ornaments, in consequence—seem to convince you that the ardour and activity of devotion is almost equal to that of business.[39]

As you enter the cathedral, at the centre door, by descending two steps, you are struck with the length and loftiness of the nave, and with the lightness of the gallery which runs along the upper part of it. Perhaps the nave is too narrow for its length. The lantern of the central large tower is beautifully light and striking. It is supported by four massive clustered pillars, about forty feet in circumference;[40] but on casting your eye downwards, you are shocked at the tasteless division of the choir from the nave by what is called a Grecian screen: and the interior of the transepts has undergone a like preposterous restoration. The rose windows of the transepts, and that at the west end of the nave, merit your attention and commendation. I could not avoid noticing, to the right, upon entrance, perhaps the oldest side chapel in the cathedral: of a date, little less ancient than that of the northern tower; and perhaps of the end of the twelfth century. It contains by much the finest specimens of stained glass—of the early part of the XVIth century. There is also some beautiful stained glass on each side of the Chapel of the Virgin,[41] behind the choir; but although very ancient, it is the less interesting, as not being composed of groups, or of historical subjects. Yet, in this, as in almost all the churches which I have seen, frightful devastations have been made among the stained-glass windows by the fury of the Revolutionists.[42]

Respecting the MONUMENTS, you ought to know that the famous ROLLO lies in one of the side-chapels, farther down to the right, upon entering; although his monument cannot be older than the thirteenth century. My attachment to the bibliomanical celebrity of JOHN, DUKE OF BEDFORD, will naturally lead me to the notice of his interment and monumental inscription. The latter is thus;

Ad dextrum Altaris Latus



Normanniae pro Rex

Obiit Anno


The Duke's tomb will be seen engraved in Sandford's Genealogical History,[43] p. 314; which plate, in fact, is the identical one used by Ducarel; who had the singularly good fortune to decorate his Anglo-Norman Antiquities without any expense to himself![44]

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse