Brittany & Its Byways
by Fanny Bury Palliser
Edition 02 , (November 9, 2007)
BRITTANY & ITS BYWAYS
SOME ACCOUNT OF ITS INHABITANTS AND ITS ANTIQUITIES; DURING A RESIDENCE IN THAT COUNTRY.
BY MRS. BURY PALLISER
WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS
Contents. List of Illustrations. Britanny and Its Byways. Some Useful Dates in the History of Brittany. Chronological Table of the Dukes of Brittany. Index. Transcribers' Notes
CHERBOURG—Mont du Roule—Visit of Queen Victoria—Harbour, 1—Breakwater—Dock-Yard, 2—Chantereyne—Hopital de la Marine, 3—Castle—Statue of Napoleon I.—Library—Church of La Trinite, 4—Environs—Octeville, 5—Lace-school of the Soeurs de la Providence, 11.
QUERQUEVILLE—Church of St. Germain, 5—Chateau of the Comte de Tocqueville, 6.
TOURLAVILLE—Chateau, 7—Crepes, 11.
BRICQUEBEC—Castle—History, 12—Valognes, 14.
ST. SAUVEUR-le-Vicomte—Demesne—History, 15—Castle—Convent—Abbey, 16.
PERIERS, 17—La Haye-du-Puits, 17—Abbey of Lessay—Mode of Washing—Inn-signs, 18—Church, 19.
COUTANCES—Cathedral—Churches, 19—Fete of St. Fiacre, 20.
GRANVILLE—Situation—History—Church, 21—View from the "Roc"—Bathing-machines—Defeat of the Vendean army—Death of La Rochejacquelin, 22—Costume of the Women—Environs—St. Pair, 23.
AVRANCHES—Extensive View—Scene of Absolution of Henry II.—Cemetery, 24.
PONTORSON—Story of the Lady Typhaine, 24—Government by Du Guesclin—Mont St. Michel, 25—Chapel of St. Aubert—Visits of English kings—Pilgrimages of Kings of France, 26—Convent of "La Merveille," 27—Isle of La Tombeleine—Prison, 28—The Iron Cage, 29.
DOL-DE-BRETAGNE—Street Architecture, 30—Cathedral, 31—Tomb of Bishop James—Chapel of St. Samson, 32—Monks, 33—Dyke, 34—Menhir, 35—Chateau of Combourg, 36—Chateaubriand, 37.
CANCALE—Oysters, 37—Wretched public vehicles, 38—Bay, 39.
ST. MALO—Situation, 39—Sea-wall, 40—Tomb of Chateaubriand—Memorials of him, 41—Watch-dogs, 42—Castle—History, 43—DINARD, 44.
DINAN—Ascent of the Rance—Statue of Du Guesclin, 44—Siege of 1359—Duel of Du Guesclin and Thomas of Cantorbery, 45—Castle of Montfilant—Story of Gilles de Bretagne, 46—Lunatic Asylum—Castle of Dinan, 50—Church of St. Sauveur, 51—Museum, 52—Environs—Chateau of La Belliere, 54—Chateau of La Garaye—Count Claude de la Garaye and his Wife, 57—Jugon, 61—Castle of La Hunaudaye, 62—Legend of La Hunaudaye, 63—Forest of La Hunaudaye—The Chouan War, 66.
LAMBALLE—Jeanne la Boiteuse—War of Succession, 67—Temple of Lanleff, 68—Tradition of the blood-spots, 70.
ST. BRIEUC—Palais de Justice—Tour de Cesson, 71—Church of Notre Dame—Review of his army by James II. of England, 72.
GUINGAMP—Situation—Fishing in the Trieux—Sanctuary of Notre Dame du Bon Secours—"Frerie blanche," 72—Fountain of Duke Peter—Women of Guingamp—Knitting and spinning—Ransom for Du Guesclin, 74—Chapel of St. Leonard patron saint of prisoners—Curious charms against fever, 75.
PAIMPOL—Chateau de Boisgelin, 75—Abbey of Beauport, 76—Situation of Paimpol—Suspension-bridge of Lezardrieux, 80—Chateau of La Roche Jagu, 81.
PONTRIEUX—Castle of La Roche Derrien, 82—"War of the two Jeannes"—Church of Langoat—Monument of Ste. Pompee, 83—Burial customs—Excellence of roads in Brittany, 84.
KERMARTIN—St. Ives, 84—Inscription at his birthplace—Interior of a Breton dwelling, 86—Church of Minihy-Treguier—Will of St. Ives, 87.
TREGUIER—Cathedral—Burial-place of St. Ives, 88—Constable Clisson, 89—Cemetery, 90—Skull-boxes, 91.
LANNION—Difficulty of the road, 91—Perros Guirec—Ploumanach—Roche Pendue, 92—Situation of Lannion—Fishery—Sea-weed gathering, 94—Castle of Touquedec, 95—Chateau of Kergrist, 96.
MORLAIX—Situation—Timbered houses, 97—History, 98—Breton characteristics, 99—Protestant Missions, 100—"Fontaine des Anglais," 102—River Scenery, 103.
ST. POL DE LEON, 103—Religious Monuments—Character of the Leonnais, 104—Church of Notre Dame de Creizker—Legend of St. Genevroc, 105—Cathedral, 106—St. Pol and the Dragon, 109—Ursuline Convent—"Droit de Motte," 110.
ROSCOFF—Contraband trade with England—Vegetable produce, 111—Historic importance, 112—Church—Island of Batz—Enormous old fig-tree, 113.
ST. THEGONNEC STATION—Cabaret—Church, 114—Guimiliau Church—Sculptures, 115—Calvary, 116—Buckwheat, 117—Castle and Church of La Roche Maurice, 118.
BREST—Situation, 118—Harbour, 119—Church of the Folgoet—Legend, 120—Kersanton stone, 122—Sculptures in Kersanton stone, 123—The Fool's Well, 124—Exterior of Church, 125—Churchyard, 127—Monthly Fair of Brest—Peasants' Costumes, 133.
FINISTERE—Abbey of St. Mathieu, 129—Sea-fights, 130—Pont Launay and Chateaulin, 134.
QUIMPER, 135—Legend of St. Corentin, 137—Cathedral, 139—National costume, 140.
CONCARNEAU, 142—Sardine Fishery, 143—Aquarium, 147—Dolmen and Rocking-stone of Tregunc—Chateau of Rustephan, 149—Valley of Pontaven, 150.
QUIMPERLE—Fishing, 151—Buildings—Tomb of St. Gurloes, 152—Tomb of John de Montfort—Ruins of St. Columban, 153—Dirtiness of the Bretons—Animals and Farm produce—Butter Indulgence, 154.
LORIENT—Bisson and the Pirates, 155.
HENNEBONT—Heroic defence by Jeanne de Flandre, 156—Church of Notre Dame-de-Paradis, 157.
STE. ANNE D'AURAY, 158—Scala Sancta—Fete, 159—Chartreuse, 160—Battle, 161—Deaf and Dumb School, 164—Massacre of Quiberon, 165—Champ des Martyrs, 168—Celtic Remains, 169.
LOCMARIAKER—Tumulus—Celtic and other Remains, 170—Tumulus of Gavr' Inis, 175.
CARNAC—Celtic Remains—Menhirs of Kermario, 177—Legend of St. Cornely, 178—Jade Celts, &c., at Plouharnel, 180—Dolmen of Concorro, 181.
VANNES—History—Promenade, 183—Cathedral, 184—Chateau Gaillau—Tour du Connetable, 185—Model Village of Korner-hoet, 187—Peninsula of Rhuys, 188—Fortress of Sucinio, 189—Abbey of St. Gildas, 192—Abelard and the Breton Monks, 193—The Breton "Blue Beard," 194—Butte d'Arzon—Castle of Elven, 199—Growth of Chestnuts, 203.
PLOERMEL, 203—Church, 204—Tombs, 205—Column of the Thirty, 206—Battle of the Thirty, 207—Chateau of Josselin, 209—Church of Josselin, 213.
MONTFORT-SUR-MER—Forest of Paimpont—Fairy tales, 215.
RENNES, ancient capital of Brittany—Entry of Henry IV.—Scenery of the Loire, 216—Castle of Champtoceaux, 218.
NANTES—Cathedral, 221—Tombs, 222—Castle—Anne of Brittany, 223—Promenades and Boulevards—Museum, 227—Jardin des Plantes—Descent of the Loire—The Noyades, 228.
ST. NAZAIRE—Historical associations, 230—Le Croisic, 232—Salt-pans, 233—Costume of the Paludiers, 234—Saulniers—Chouan: origin of the name and of the War, 241—Church of Batz, 243—Situation of Le Croisic, 244—Chapel of St. Goustan, 245.
GUERANDE—Church of St Aubin—Chapel of Notre Dame Blanche, 246—La Roche Bernard, 247—Wedding Festivities, 248—National Music—Female Costume—Fete de la Vierge and of the Emperor, 249—Scenery of the River Loch, 250.
BELLE ISLE—Le Palais—M. Trochu's Model Farm, 251—Breton fatalism, 252—Grotte du Port Coton, 255—Historical associations of Belle Isle, 256—Fishery, 257.
PONT L'ABBE, 257—Costumes, 258—Church, 259.
LOCTUDY—Romanesque Church, 261.
TORCHE DE PENMARCH, 262—Church of St. Guenole, 263—"Le filet saint"—Ruins of the old Town, 264—Fontenelle the Leaguer, 267—Church of St. Nonna, 268—Menhirs at Kerscaven, 269.
AUDIERNE—Lighthouse—Bathing-machines, 269—Town, 270.
POINTE DU RAZ—Popular superstitions—Church of St. Colledoc, 271—"Enfer de Plogoff"—Island of Sein—Druidesses, 272—Dangerous passage, 273—Baie des Trepasses—Submerged city of Is, 274—Legend of King Gradlon and his daughter Dahut, 275.
DOUARNENEZ—Romanesque Church of Pointcroix, 276—Chapel of Notre Dame de Comfort—Wheel of Sacring-Bells—Town of Douarnenez, 279—Pardon of Ste. Anne-de-la-Palue, 280—Costume, 281—Church of Ste. Anne—Procession, 282—Holy Well of Ste. Anne, 285.
SCAER—Old Customs and Superstitions, 285—Wrestling—"Pierres de Croix," 286.
LE FAOUET—Chapel of St. Barbe, 287—Wedding ceremonies and amusements, 288—Fishing, 289—Old Breton superstitious still prevalent—Lavandieres de la Nuit, 290—Church of St. Fiacre—Elaborately carved Rood-screen, 293—Painted glass—Ruined Castle of Poncallec—Plot of Cellamare, 294—Montagnes Noires, 296.
CARHAIX—Situation, 297—Statue of La Tour d'Auvergne, 298—Fair and Market—Church of St. Tremeur—Skull-boxes, 299.
HUELGOAT, 300—Lead-mines, 301—Cascade of St. Herbot—Chapel of St. Herbot, 303—His tomb, 304—Patron of cattle—Offerings of horsehair and cows' tails, 304—Homeward journey, 307.
USEFUL DATES in the History of Brittany 309
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE of the Dukes of Brittany 310
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
VIGNETTE—St. Michael's Mount, Title-page. 1. Querqueville Church, 6 2. Plan of Querqueville Church, 6 3. Chateau of Tourlaville, 9 4. Castle of Bricquebec, 13 5. Badge of the Soeurs de la Misericorde, 17 6. Coutances Cathedral, 20 7. Pilaster and Cornice from Tomb of Bp. James in Cathedral of Dol, 31 8. Front of the Tomb, 32 9. Menhir, near Dol, 35 10. Chateau of Combourg, 37 11. Peasant Girl of Cancale, 38 12. St. Malo and Chateaubriand's Tomb, 40 13. Effigy of Jean de Beaumanoir, 52 14. Chateau of La Belliere, 54 15. Chimney, Chateau of La Belliere, 56 16. Chateau of La Garaye, 60 17. Section of Lanleff Church, 69 18. Plan of Lanleff Church, 70 19. Fountain of Duke Peter, 73 20. Abbey of Beauport, 77 21. Skull-box, 91 22. The Creizker, 107 23. Calvary, Guimiliau, 116 24. The Fool's Well, Folgoet, 124 25. Abbey of St. Mathieu, 131 26. Peasant Girl of Ouessant, 133 27. Peasant Girl, Chateaulin, 135 28. Begger, Quimper, 141 29. Concarneau, with Sardine Boats, 143 30. Dolmen, Tregunc, 146 31. Rocking-Stone, Tregunc, 148 32. Chateau of Rustephan, 150 33. Scala Sancta, Ste. Anne d'Auray, 159 34. Champ des Martyrs, Auray, 169 35. Sculptured Stone, Locmariaker, 171 36. Hatchet-shaped Sculpture, Locmariaker, 173 37. Entrance to Tumulus of Gavr' Inis, 175 38, 39. Sculptured Stones, Gavr' Inis, 176 40. Dolmen of Corcorro, 182 41. Castle of Elven, 200 42. Column of the Thirty, 206 43. Chateau of Josselin, 212 44. Salt-Pans, with Le Croisic in the distance, 235 45. Paludier of the Bourg de Bate in his working dress, 237 46. Paludier of the Bourg de Bate in his wedding dress, 239 47. La Roche Bernard, 247 48. Entrance to Le Palais, Belle Isle, 253 49. Device of Fouquet, 257 50. Peasant Girl, Pont l'Abbe, 258 51. Apse of the Church, Loctudy, 260 52. Torche of Penmarch, 262 53. Ship sculptured on the walls, Church of St. Guenole, Penmarch, 264 54. Church of Guenole, Penmarch, 265 55. Fleur-de-lise Window, Church of St. Nonna, Penmarch, 269 56. Pointe du Raz, 270 57. Front of the Church at Pont Croix, 277 58. Wheel of Sacring Bells, Notre Dame-de-Comfort, near Douarnenez, 279 59. Costume of a Finistere Bride, 281 60. Well of Ste. Anne-la-Palue, 284 61. Cross Stones, 286 62. Rood-screen or Jube, St. Fiacre, 291 63. Carved Stalls, St. Herbot, 304 64. Carved Stalls, St. Herbot, 305
BRITANNY AND ITS BYWAYS.
A fair wind conveyed us in six hours from Poole to Cherbourg. It was dusk when we entered the harbour, and so we had no opportunity of seeing its beauty until the following morning, when we ascended a height behind the town, called the Mont du Roule. It is reached either on foot or by carriage, the Emperor having ordered a road to be made up to the fort which crowns the heights, on the occasion of the visit to Cherbourg, in 1858, of her Majesty Queen Victoria. Some 1500 men were immediately set to work, and, in a few days, an easy carriage-road was finished, up which the Emperor drove the Queen at his usual rapid pace. The view from the fort is lovely, commanding the whole line of the northern point of the Cotentin, from the low promontory of Cape de la Hogue to Barfleur. The water of the harbour, owing to its great depth, is of the most intense blue, which we quite agreed with the guardian of the fort in likening to that of the Bay of Naples. Across its entrance stretches, for two miles, the long line of the breakwater, and within were anchored the fleet of our yacht squadron, which the day before had run a race between Poole and Cherbourg. We took a boat to visit the breakwater. It is commanded at each end by a fort, with another in the centre, where the provisions are kept. In stormy weather the sea washes over the breakwater, and sometimes for days prevents all communication between the forts, and the supplies consequently are stopped. Boys offered us for sale the silvery shells of the Venus' ear, which inhabits the rocks of the breakwater. We afterwards saw them in the fish-market exposed for sale, and, on expressing some curiosity as to how they were eaten, the landlord had a dish prepared for us. These fish resemble the scallop in taste, but are very tough, and require a great deal of beating with a wooden mallet to make them tender enough to eat. They are called "ormer," or "gofish." The table d'hote was very plentifully supplied with fish, and here, as throughout Normandy and Brittany, cider, the customary beverage of the country, was always placed upon the table. It varies very much in quality in different districts; that of Bayeux is most esteemed.
The next morning we set out for the dockyard. To obtain admission, it first requires a letter from the English Consul, who lives in a charming spot overlooking the sea, at the foot of the Montagne du Roule. Furnished with this, we repaired to the Prefet Maritime, who gave us an order to be presented at the dockyard gate, where it was countersigned, and a guide appointed to show us over the establishment. We made the tour round all the basins and workshops, and saw the canot imperial used by the Emperor on the visit of our Queen,—a most elegant boat, beautifully carved with marine subjects. The model of a Roman trireme, or galley, is in one of the basins, and in the little museum, or Salle des Modeles, are the two flagstones that covered the grave of Napoleon, and were deposited here by the Prince de Joinville, when he returned with the Emperor's remains from St. Helena. The dockyard partly stands on a spot called Chantereyne. The Empress Matilda, fleeing from Stephen, was overtaken by a tempest when making for Cherbourg, and vowed, if her life were spared, to build a church. The ship was in jeopardy, but the pilot cheered her spirits, and, when gaining the port, exclaimed, "Chantes Reine! we are safe in harbour." The place where she landed has always retained the name; and here the Empress, in fulfilment of her vow, founded an abbey, which was destroyed in the Revolution. The habitations of the nuns is the present provisional Hopital de la Marine; a new one, containing above a thousand beds, being in course of construction, and a modern church, called Eglise du Voeu, has been erected in another part of the town in place of that of the Empress Matilda.
Henry II. held his court in the castle with his empress-mother in great splendour; it had formerly been tenanted by Duke William of Normandy before his invasion of England, and, within its enclosure, he built a church also, in consequence of a vow made during a serious illness. There are few objects of interest in the town of Cherbourg. The women all wear the large Normandy cap. In the Place d'Armes is a bronze equestrian statue of the Emperor Napoleon I., and on the pedestal is inscribed "J'avois resolu de renouveler a Cherbourg les merveilles de l'Egypte." In the Library is a curiously sculptured chimney-piece of the fifteenth century, coloured and gilt, removed from a room of the abbey. The principal church, La Trinite, is a strange jumble of architecture. There is some beautiful tracery in the windows, and a fine boss (clef pendante) in the south porch, now restored. On a board in the church is an inscription, setting forth it was built in consequence of a "voeu solennel des habitans de Cherbourg en 1450 de la delivrance de la domination etrangere"—that is, from the English, whose defeat the same year at Formigny, by the Constable de Richemont, expelled them for ever from Normandy.
There is much to see in the environs of Cherbourg, which makes it a good central point for excursions. We drove by the fort of Octeville, where a magnificent panoramic view is obtained, equalling in extent that from the Mont du Roule. A fisherman, who was standing by, told us the names of the numerous forts that bristle in every direction, and related to us the legend of the monk of Saire, who, having received the rent due to his father for some land, appropriated the money to his own use, and, on the tenant declaring he had paid the sum, adjured the evil one to carry him off, if he had ever received the money. The words were no sooner uttered than there came a flash of lightning, and the monk vanished: but he still appears in the roads of Cherbourg floating on the sea; when he sees a sailor, he cries "Save me, save me! I am about to sink!" but the hapless being who approaches to assist him is immediately dragged into the water, a peal of infernal laughter is heard, and the luckless mariner disappears for ever. We asked our guide if he believed in the phantom monk, but he was silent.
From Octeville we proceeded to Querqueville, where, in the same churchyard as the parochial church, stands a little church, named after St. Germain, the first apostle of the Cotentin, who, in the fifth century, landed from England on the coast of La Hogue, and preached Christianity in this district and the valley traversed by the river Saire, which falls into the sea near St. Vaast-la-Hogue. This tiny church, for it measures only 34 feet by 24, and is 11 feet high, is by some supposed to have been a temple of the Gauls converted into a Christian place of worship; the nave and tower having been added to the old temple, which consists of a triple apse forming a regular trefoil, each of which has a domed top. We drove on to Nacqueville, the chateau of Comte Hippolyte de Tocqueville. The park is prettily laid out, a stream of water runs in front of the house, and a row of blue hydrangeas blazed forth in great beauty, with the relief of a background of dark firs. Time prevented us from pursuing our excursion further west, to see the famed cliffs of Jobourg.
To the east of Cherbourg a high road leads to Barfleur and the lighthouse of Gatteville, between which and the Isle of Wight is the narrowest point of the English Channel, passing by Saint-Pierre-Eglise, near which is the chateau of the late Alexis de Tocqueville, author of 'Democracy in America;' but we did not get further on the road than Tourlaville, the ancient chateau of the Ravalet family, upon whom tradition has heaped every crime imaginable. One seigneur entered the church with his hounds and stabbed the priest at the altar, because he refused to administer to him the consecrated element; another hanged some of his vassals, because they did not grind their corn at the seignorial mill, for "haute or basse justice" was then among the nobles' rights. Marguerite, a daughter of this ancient house, expiated, with her brother, their offences upon the scaffold at Paris. Every effort was made to spare their lives; but the King, or rather Queen Margot, was inexorable. The chateau of Tourlaville is beautifully situated; it is in the style of the Renaissance, with an angular tower, which recalls that of Heidelberg Castle. The ground-floor consists of two large unfurnished rooms, and a staircase, with iron railing, leads to the story above. In one room hangs the portrait of a lady chateleine, in the costume of the period of Louis XIII., with the chateau of Tourlaville in the distance. On her left are eight Cupids with bandages over their eyes, one in advance of the others is not blinded. From the lady's mouth is a label, with the inscription "Un (seul) me suffit." This is said to be the portrait of the Lady Marguerite, but the costume is of a later date. In one of the rooms is a chimney-piece covered with a variety of amatory devices and mottoes:—a Cupid blinded, holding a lighted torch, motto "Ce qui me donne la vie me cause la mort." Again, another Cupid with eyes bandaged, pouring water out of a vase to cool a flaming heart he holds in his hand, motto "Sa froideur me glace les veines et son ardeur brule mon coeur." Six winged hearts flying at the approach of Cupid, but which are reached by his darts, "Meme en fuyant l'on est pris." Further is a sentiment in verse:—
"Plusieurs sont atteints de ce feu, Mais il ne s'en guerit que fort peu."
"Ces deux n'en font qu'un."
A river in the foreground, in the distance a setting sun, motto "Ainsi puissai-je mourir." This assemblage of devices and mottoes is not applicable to any particular individual, but may be supposed to be merely an expression of the taste of the time. They are of the seventeenth century, when the Ravalet had been succeeded by the Franquetot family, who have since taken the name of Coigny. Their arms, with several others, are in the little boudoir in one of the towers, called the Blue Chamber. Its walls are distempered blue, and the coverlet and hangings of the bed, with all the decorations of the room, are of the same colour. Having admired the lovely view from the "Tour des quatre vents," we descended to the kitchen of the farmer who rents the house, which now belongs to the Tocqueville family. His wife was busily employed in making "crepes," a favourite kind of cake in Normandy and Brittany. It is made generally of the flour of the sarrasin or buckwheat, mixed with milk or water, and spread into a kind of pancake, which is fried on an iron pan, resembling the Scotch griddle-cakes. Another variety, called "galette," is made of the same ingredients, but differs from the crepe in its being made three or four times the thickness, and is therefore not so light. Though generally made of buckwheat, wheat or oat-flour is sometimes used; and in the towns, sugar and cinnamon and vanilla are added, and the simple character of the crepe entirely changed under the hands of the confectioner. The little village of Tourlaville was famous for its glassworks, until supplanted by those of Gobain.
On our return to Cherbourg we visited the lace school of the Soeurs de la Providence, where about two hundred girls are employed in making black lace like that of Bayeux, which has now completely superseded the Chantilly; the manner of making both laces is similar. The old Chantilly has completely died out, and the modern manufacture extends the whole length of Normandy from Cherbourg to Bayeux. How the children can keep the bobbins from entangling is a marvel; there were as many as five hundred on one pillow. The lace-makers were chiefly employed in flounces, shawls, and other large works. These are all made in separate pieces, and united by the stitch called fine joining or "raboutissage." A half-shawl or "pointe" was divided into thirty segments. We passed the evening at the Etablissement, and next morning left Cherbourg.
The railway traverses the picturesque and rocky valley of Quincampoix to Martinvast, whose little Romanesque church stands close to the station, and at a short distance is the chateau of Martinvast, where its late proprietor, M. du Moncel, established a model farm. A monument has been erected to his memory in the church by the commune of Martinvast.
At Sottevast we took the omnibus for Bricquebec, which lies nearly five miles from the station. Its ruined castle, dating from the end of the fourteenth century, with its lofty octagonal donjon, nearly a hundred feet high, standing on a high "motte" or artificial mound, has a most imposing appearance. Bricquebec, the most considerable demesne of the Cotentins, was taken by King Henry V. from the Sire d'Estouteville, who had so gallantly defended Mont St. Michel against him. Henry gave Bricquebec to William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, the ill-fated favourite of Queen Margaret of Anjou, and he, on being taken prisoner by the French, sold it, to raise the money for his ransom, to Sir Bertie Entwistle, who fought at Agincourt, and who held it till the battle of Formigny expelled the English from Normandy, and Sir Bertie fell at St. Albans in the Lancastrian cause. The inn, "Hotel du Vieux Chateau," is within the enclosure of the ruins—a most dilapidated old place; our dirty ill-furnished room next to a hayloft, the horses passing through the house to the stable, and every kind of litter and rubbish accumulated under the windows. Yet in the room we occupied had once slept our gracious Sovereign Queen Victoria. On a placard is inscribed, "Chambre de la famille royale d'Angleterre, 18 Aout 1857;" and below stairs is another, setting forth, "S. M. la Reine d'Angleterre, le Prince Albert, les Princesses Royale et Alice, le Prince Alfred, sont descendus a l'hotel du Vieux Chateau le 10 Aout 1857." About a mile from Bricquebec is a Trappist convent; but we were not allowed admission beyond the parlour, where is sold a quantity of cutlery, not made—as we were given to understand when offered for sale—by the monks.
Regaining the railroad, we went on to Valognes, which has been styled the St. Germain of Normandy; a dull town, with worn-out houses, occupied by worn-out aristocratic families. The grass grows in the streets.
Here we left the rail and proceeded to Saint Sauveur-le-Vicomte. On entering the town, the castle is on the right of the road, the Abbey church on the left. The large demesne of Saint Sauveur-le-Vicomte passed by marriage into the Harcourt family, and belonged, in the time of Edward III., to Geoffrey d'Harcourt, whose fortress was one of the most formidable in Normandy. Banished from France, he went over to England and persuaded Edward III. to make a descent upon Normandy instead of Gascony, assuring him he would find rich towns and fair castles without any means of defence, and that his people would gain wealth enough to suffice them for twenty years to come. The King landed at La Hogue, or Saint Vaast-la-Hogue, as it is now called, where he knighted the Prince of Wales and made Warwick and Harcourt marshals of his army. They advanced in three divisions—the King and the Prince in the centre, the two marshals on the right and left—ravaging all before them, and not stopping in their victorious course till the great victory at Crecy. Harcourt subsequently met a traitor's fate. A force was sent against him, his army was routed, and, preferring death to being taken, he fought most valiantly until he was struck to the ground by French lances, when some men-at-arms dispatched him with their swords. He had sold the reversion of his castle to King Edward III., to whom it was confirmed by the treaty of Bretigny. Edward bestowed the barony upon that pride of English chivalry, Sir John Chandos, in recompense for his great services in the wars. The square donjon and inner gate were built by Chandos. The castle is well preserved, and is now used as a hospice for orphans and aged women. The rooms are kept beautifully clean, and on a tablet in one of the corridors is written up "Dortoirs restaures par la munificence de M. le Comte Georges d'Harcourt en memoire de ses illustres ayeux, anciens Seigneurs de ce chateau, en 1838."
The Benedictine convent also belonged to the Harcourts until the revolt of Geoffrey. It is now the property of the Soeurs de la Misericorde, who have rebuilt the fine Abbey church according to its former model. Originally built in the eleventh century, it was partly burnt in the fourteenth, and reconstructed in the fifteenth. The columns and arches of the nave are of the first period; the form of the church is a Latin cross, having an apse ornamented with a double row of lancet windows, richly sculptured. The sculptures are all executed by an untaught workman of the place, who died before he had completed the pulpit. To collect the funds necessary for the undertaking, the foundress travelled throughout Europe. Her tomb is in the church. "Julie Francoise Catherine Postel, nee a Barfleur, 1756. Soeur Marie Madelaine, Fondatrice et premiere Superieure Generale de l'Institut des Ecoles Chretiennes de la Misericorde, morte en odeur de Saintete 16 Juillet 1846, a l'Abbaye de St. Sauveur-le-Vicomte." The badge of the sisterhood is a cross inscribed with their motto "L'obeissance jusqu'a la mort." Some of the party made an attempt at fishing in the little river Douve, but without success, though rewarded for their walk by a pretty view of the apse of the Abbey church, with its delicately-sculptured lancet windows, from the opposite side of the river.
We hired a private carriage (voiture a volonte) to Periers. After passing over a hilly road we crossed a marsh which extends from Carentan to the sea, and reached a town called La Haye-du-Puits—a singular name derived from the custom in the middle ages of surrounding the "motte" or enclosure upon which the donjon was built, with a wooden palisade, or sometimes with a thick hedge formed of thorns and branches of trees interlaced: hence La Haye-du-Puits, La Haye-Pesnel, and others. Here is a Norman church restored: all the capitals of the columns are of the same pattern.
The Abbey church at Lessay, where next we stopped, is of the twelfth century, and considered, with Coutances and Periers, to be the finest examples of Romanesque in the Cotentin. The arches are round, and all the architecture of the church, which has been restored, is of the same period. The Abbey of Lessay had transmarine jurisdiction and the right of presentation to the Priory of Boxgrove and other endowments in the diocese of Chichester. The Abbey house, now inhabited, is a fine modernised habitation. At Lessay we saw the manner of washing linen practised in many places throughout Normandy and Brittany. Being first roughly washed in the river, the clothes are placed in layers in a large cask, with a bunghole at the bottom, alternately with wood-ashes, and on the top is laid a piece of coarse sacking. Boiling water is poured over the top, which, as it passes through the linen, absorbs the soda of the ashes, escaping at the bottom and carrying away with it all impurities. This process is repeated several times till the clothes are perfectly white.
Throughout this part of the country the mistletoe hangs as the sign of a cabaret; and if cider is sold, some apples are fastened to the bush. On the road to Periers we crossed a "lande" or common, where we met numerous carts carrying sea sand, here used to mix with the heavy soil as manure.
At Periers we slept at the little inn "La Croix Blanche," kept by Madame Casimir, the widow of a Polish officer, well known for her eccentricity and good cuisine. The entrance to the apartments in the inns is generally through the kitchen; in many the box bedstead (lit clos) stands in the corner near the fire, Breton fashion. On a barber's shop we saw painted up "Ici l'on rajeunit." The church has a tall spire, and is one of the finest religious edifices in this part of Normandy—painted windows, the capitals of the columns of varied foliage, and fine groined clustered arches.
We had a most perilous drive to Coutances, the coachman, "en ribote," drove us at a fearful pace, and we were thankful when we arrived in safety. The Norman cathedral is beautiful—so simple, so pure, and elegant; its tall towers terminating in spires; and the chapels being separated by open mullioned arches, great lightness is given to the interior. The Bishop of Coutances was officiating at the consecration of some stones for a new pavement; each flag was rubbed over and anointed with oil.
The church of St. Pierre has a handsome square tower, pierced gallery, and apse with a double row of columns. In the church of St. Nicholas we particularly noticed the fine bosses of the groined arches in the chancel. The fonts hereabouts have the serpent with the apple, and the cross carved upon the cover. The church was filled with pots of flowers they were employed in removing, for the day before had been the Fete of St. Fiacre, the patron of gardeners. St. Fiacre, or Fiaker, was an Irish monk of the seventh century, who, according to tradition, obtained from the Bishop of Meaux a grant of as much ground out of the forest as he could dig a trench round in one day's labour, for the purpose of making a garden and cultivating vegetables for travellers. Long time after, the peasants would show the ditch ten times longer than was expected, and relate how, when the Irishman took his stick to trace a line upon the soil, the earth dug itself under the point of the stick, while the forest trees fell right and left to save him the trouble of cutting them down. Outside the town are the remains of an aqueduct, with ivy-covered arches, said to be the work of the middle ages. It is a good point of view for sketching the cathedral, and the public gardens also command a fine prospect.
The approach to Granville is by a sharp descent. The town is built at the foot of a rocky promontory, the streets rising in terraces cut in the rock, on the top of which are the citadel and the church on the culminating point. It has been styled a Gibraltar in miniature. A fort was built here by Lord Scales, who commanded the English forces in the Cotentin in the time of Henry VI., and it was taken by surprise by Estouteville, the hero of Saint Michel. The church is cruciform in plan, the arms of the cross being equal. The axis of the nave is inclined to the left, as we afterwards observed that of the Creizker at St. Pol de Leon. It has been lately restored, and the painted windows are offerings of the different families of the town. The view from the top of the "Roc" is very extensive, including the Chausey islands and Jersey. A steamer runs twice a week to St. Helier. A deep cutting in the rocks opens on the beach, where the bathing-machines are stationed—curious little canvas huts carried upon poles, like sedan chairs. The tide here rises 45 feet. It was to Granville the Vendean army, commanded by La Rochejacquelin, appointed generalissimo at twenty-two, marched after their fatal step of crossing the Loire, expecting to make a junction with the English; but Granville was vigorously defended, contrary winds retarded the arrival of the English fleet, and the retreat from the coast, where it might have been supported by the English, was the ruin of the Royalist army. Of the 80,000 who crossed the Loire sixty days before, only 8000 remained to make their last heroic resistance at Savenay, which ended the great Vendean war. A few months after, the hero of this noble army, the chivalrous Henri de la Rochejacquelin, fell from the bullet of a soldier whose life he had spared(1):—
"Lorsqu'en des jours trop malheureux Palissait l'astre de la France; Quand les coeurs les plus valeureux Semblaient perdre toute esperance,
L'antique honneur, la sainte foi, Brillerent dans cette contree; Mourir pour son Dieu, pour son roi, Fut le serment de la Vendee."
The costume of the Granville women is singular. They wear long black cloaks or mantles, edged with a frill of the same material, and on their heads a kind of bandeau or under-cap, turned up at the ears, surmounted by a white handkerchief, folded square and placed horizontally upon the head, like the plinth of a Grecian capital.
We drove to St. Pair, a small watering-place about two miles from Granville, nicely situated in a little sandy bay. In the middle of the church is the monumental tomb of St. Pair and another saint (St. Gault); their effigies, with mitre and crozier, side by side.
Next day we had a beautiful drive to Avranches. A winding road leads up to the town, which is situated on an elevated plateau, commanding a view of Brittany on one side and of Normandy on the other—a broad expanse of land and sea, the former extending over the valley of the See, with its network of small streams interlacing each other; Mont St. Michel appears in the distance. The finest view is from the Botanic gardens. The cathedral of Avranches fell at the end of the last century, but a model of it is preserved in the museum. One stone remains, carefully surrounded by massive chains, with an inscription recording that it was the spot where Henry II. received absolution for the murder of Thomas a Becket:—"Sur cette pierre, ici a la porte de la cathedrale d'Avranches, apres le meurtre de Thomas Becket, Archeveque de Cantorbery, Henri II., roi d'Angleterre, duc de Normandie, recut a genoux, des legats du pape, l'absolution apostolique, le dimanche xxii Mai, 1172." The cemetery is at the foot of the hill; the tombs are of granite, with the letters in relief: among them we read many well-known English names.
At Pontorson we could find no remains of the castle of Du Guesclin, which was nearly surprised by the English under a captain named Felton, during the absence of Du Guesclin, with the connivance of the "chambrieres" of the Lady Typhaine, his wife. Already their scaling-ladders were against the wall, when Juliana, Du Guesclin's sister, agitated by a troublous dream, awoke suddenly, seized a sword, rushed to the window, and upset three English who were coming up the ladder, and they were killed by the fall. The enemy retired. Next morning Du Guesclin, on his return to Pontorson, met Felton and his party, attacked them, and took them prisoners. When Typhaine saw Felton, she tauntingly exclaimed, "Comment, brave Felton, vous voila encore! C'est trop pour un homme de coeur comme vous d'etre battu, dans une intervalle de douze heures, une fois par la soeur, une autre par le frere." Du Guesclin caused the faithless "chambrieres" to be sewed up in sacks and flung into the river.
John IV. Duke of Brittany conferred upon Du Guesclin the government of Pontorson, of which territory he was personally lord, by right of his mother. It was here he often resided, and here he celebrated being made Constable of France by King Charles V., and fraternised with Olivier de Clisson, agreeing to afford each other mutual help—"contre tous ceux qui peuvent vivre et mourir." The granite church was founded by Duke Robert, father of the Conqueror.
Pontorson is the most convenient place for visiting Mont St. Michel. Our drive thither was by the banks of the river Couesnon, along a sandy road, bordered on each side by hedges of tamarisks, which leads to the "Greve," or sands, which have to be crossed to reach the Mount, a distance of rather more than a mile. We met numbers of bare-legged half-clad women and children, bringing in the produce of their fishing, shrimps and cockles tied up in nets, and peasants with carts carrying in sea sand for dressing the land. The appearance of Mont St. Michel is very imposing, a cone of granite encircled by the sea. Above rises the fortress, surmounted by the church, a height of 400 feet from the top to the water. Below, at the foot of the Mount, picturesquely situated on an insulated rock, is the little chapel of St. Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, the founder of St. Michel. The Mount has been the residence of many of our English princes. Matilda, queen of the Conqueror, visited St. Michel. It was here her son Henry I., then only Count of the Cotentin, was blockaded by his brothers William and Robert, and obliged to surrender. Here Henry II. held his court, and, when Henry V. overran Normandy, St. Michel was the only fortress that held out against him, under its gallant defender Louis d'Estouteville of Bricquebec. Two cannons, now at the entrance of the castle, are said to have been taken from the English at the siege. Normandy was always the scene of the quarrels between the English Norman princes, of the disputes between the sons of the Conqueror, between Stephen of Blois and Henry of Anjou, and again of those between Henry II. and his sons, and of Richard and his brother John, to the latter of whom the Normans were attached.
Seven French kings have made pilgrimages to St. Michel; and here Louis XI. instituted the order of knighthood, called in honour of the archangel St. Michael, but afterwards styled the order of the Coquille, from the cockleshells that formed the collar of the knights, and the golden cockle-shells that bordered their mantles. The motto of the order was the old motto of the Mount, "Immensi tremor Oceani" (the trembling of the immeasurable ocean), being an allusion to the popular belief that when the English approached St. Michel, the guardian archangel of the Mount raised a tempest to drive the enemy's vessels upon the rocks. This belief may be traced back to the time when the island was occupied by the Druid priestesses, who were supposed to have the power of raising storms and stilling them by their magic arrows of gold.
We ascended by the flight of steps to the "Merveille," as the convent building is called, and well it deserves its name, from its elegance, its boldness, and its position, with a wall of above one hundred feet high, and of immense length, rising from the rock and supported by fifteen buttresses, and divided into three stories. In every point of view it is one of the most remarkable edifices of the thirteenth century. The salle des chevaliers, where the chapters of the knights were held, is a fine hall, with three rows of columns, and above it are the beautiful Gothic cloisters. The "preau" or court is surrounded by a double row of pointed arches, interlacing each other, and filled in with flowered spandrils and cornices, carved with the greatest delicacy and endless variety. The church which crowns the building is supported by a circle of enormous columns in the crypt beneath, called the Souterrain des Gros Piliers: it has been entirely restored, and the carvings are the work of the prisoners who were confined here. From one of the doors we went out to the platform or terrace called Beauregard, from the beauty of its prospect, or sometimes Sault Gautier, from a prisoner of that name, who three times threw himself off the platform to commit suicide. The view from hence is most extensive, the whole circuit of the bay extending to the west as far as Cancale. In 1203 St. Michel became a royal demesne, and the buildings were entirely reconstructed by the Abbot Jourdan, assisted by Philip Augustus; and the works were continued by his successors to 1260.
Beneath and adjacent to the Mount, is the little island of La Tombeleine or tombeau d'-Helene, so called from a young lady of that name, who unable to accompany her lover knight when he left for England with the Conqueror, as soon as the vessel which carried him away disappeared from her sight, laid down on the shore and died. Every year, on the anniversary of her death, the fishermen will tell you they see a dove seated upon the Tombeleine rock, and remain there till morning's dawn.
The guide pointed out to us the window of St. Michel, from which Barbes tried to escape by means of a cord made of his sheets cut into strips and tied together; but the line was too short, and he fell upon the rock and was taken up much hurt. The provisions for the fortress are brought in up an inclined plane, and raised by means of a tread-wheel, formerly worked by the prisoners. We were conducted to the spot where stood, with bars only three inches apart, the iron cage in which so many celebrities were immured. Dubourg, the Dutch journalist, who wrote against Louis XIV., died within its bars, devoured, it is said, by the rats. In 1777, the Comte d'Artois (afterwards Charles X.) desired it should be destroyed, but his wishes were disregarded. His cousin, the Duc de Chartres (afterwards Louis Philippe), with his brother and sister, and Madame de Genlis, subsequently visited the Mount. All exclaimed against the iron cage, and when they heard that the Comte d'Artois had ordered its destruction, they sent for hatchets, and the Duc de Chartres gave the first blow towards its demolition; but the fine old fortress is no longer desecrated as a prison. The Emperor has restored it to its original position, and it is now placed under the control of the Bishop of Coutances, and is used as an asylum for orphans under the care of a few Sisters.
Next morning we crossed the boundary between Normandy and Brittany, the river Couesnon, which has often changed its course, once, it is said, running beyond St. Michel—hence the popular saying—
"Le Couesnon par sa folie A mis le Mont en Normandie."
We had a beautiful drive to Dol or Dol-de-Bretagne, as it is styled, to distinguish it from the fortress of the same name in the Jura, upon the taking of which Madame de Sevigne writes in her letters with so much enthusiasm. We were now fairly in Brittany, which though geographically part of France still remains very distinct, owing to the Celtic origin of its inhabitants. Brittany consists of five departments; but it is in Lower Brittany alone, comprised in the departments of Finistere, Morbihan, and the Cotes-du-Nord, that the true Celtic race, its language, names, features, costumes, and superstitions are to be found.
This is the true Brittany, the Bretagne Bretonnante of Froissart, who calls the eastern part of the province, La Bretagne Douce, because the French language is spoken there. Dol was the great bulwark of Brittany against Normandy; the wall and moat surrounding the town, with some of the towers, still remain. Many of the houses are built, as the French term it, "en colombage" that is, with the upper story projecting some fifteen feet over the ground-floor, forming a gallery or porch supported by oak posts or columns with sculptured capitals of the thirteenth century. The inn we occupied had one of these porches: Madame Barbot, our landlady, and her maid, were both dressed in Breton costume, with lace-trimmed embroidered caps and aprons of fine muslin, clear-starched and ironed with a perfection which the most accomplished "blanchisseuse du fin" of Paris would find it difficult to surpass. The people here have the Breton physiognomy, sharp black eyes, short roundi faces and brown freckled complexions, a contrast to the blue eyes, long oval faces, and bright tints of their Norman neighbours.
The principal building at Dol is the Cathedral, built of grey granite, in the style of many of our English churches. On the south is the "porte episcopale," a large projecting porch with mullioned sides, and, near it, a smaller porch with a central column semee of hearts, the "armes parlantes" of Bishop Coeuret who built it. The clustered columns of the nave, consist of a central pillar surrounded by four others running up to the roof, so slender and delicate that they are united to the centre by small bars of iron. Over the high altar is an enormous wooden crozier, carved and gilt, from which the Host is suspended. A beautiful Renaissance tomb on the north side of the cathedral was raised in 1507 to the memory of Bishop James, who died three years before. The sculpture is much mutilated, but the arabesques are most delicately and elegantly chiselled. It is supposed to be the work of Jean Just of Tours, sculptor of the magnificent tomb of Louis XII. and Anne of Brittany, erected at St. Denis by order of Francis I.
The chapel of St. Samson, patron saint of the cathedral, has been restored. Mad people were brought here for cure, and placed in a recess which still remains; the opening was covered over by an iron grating. Dol was formerly the ecclesiastical metropolis of Brittany; the see was founded by Samson, one of those British monks, who, with a whole population of men and women, emigrated from England to escape the Saxon slavery. They crossed the Channel in barks made of skins sewn together, singing, as they went, the Lamentations of the Psalmist. This emigration lasted more than a century (from 450 to 550), and poured a Christian population into a Celtic country where paganism was longest preserved. St. Samson and his six suffragans—all monks, missionaries, and bishops, like himself—were called the "Seven Saints of Brittany;" St. Samson was what was termed an "eveque portatif," meaning a bishop without a diocese, until he founded that of Dol. Telio, also a British monk, with the assistance of St. Samson, planted near Dol an orchard three miles in length, and to him is attributed the first introduction of the apple-tree into Brittany. Wherever the monks went, they cultivated the soil; all had in their mouths the words of the Apostle, "If any would not work, neither should he eat." The people admired the industry of the new comers, and, from admiration they passed to imitation; the peasants joined the monks in tilling the ground, and even the brigands became agriculturists. "The Cross and the plough, labour and prayer," was the motto of these early missionaries.
"Sur que le Ciel maudit l'arbre sterile, Le sage passe en operant le bien: Vivre et mourir a l'univers utile, C'est la devise et l'esprit du chretien." Chants de Piete, MALO DE GARABY.
The monks of Dol were great bee-farmers, as we learn from an anecdote told by Count Montalembert in his 'Moines de l'Occident.' One day when St. Samson of Dol and St. Germain, Bishop of Paris, were conversing on the respective merits of their monasteries, St. Samson said that his monks were such good and careful preservers of their bees that, besides the honey which they yielded in abundance, they furnished more wax than was used in the churches during the year, but that, their climate not being fit for the growth of vines, they had great scarcity of wine. Upon hearing this, St. Germain replied, "We, on the contrary, produce more wine than we can consume, but we have to buy wax; so, if you will furnish us with wax, we will give you a tenth of our wine." Samson accepted the offer, and the mutual arrangement was continued during the lives of the two saints.
The marshy country round Dol has been formerly inundated by the sea; it is now reclaimed and protected by a dyke twenty-two miles long, extending from Pontorson to Chateauneuf. The whole tract is full of buried wood, a submerged forest, which the people dig up, and use for furniture. It is black, like the Irish bog-oak. They call it "coueron." In the midst of this plain rises a mamelon or insulated granite rock, resembling in form Mont St. Michel, called the Mont Dol. On the top is the little chapel of Notre Dame de l'Esperance, upon which was formerly a telegraph, and near it is a column surmounted by a colossal statue of Our Lady. Mont Dol was a consecrated place of the Druids. The guides showed us a spring which never dries, and also a rock upon which they point out the print of the foot of the demon, left by him when wrestling with St. Michael. We met the cure, who gave us a medal of the church, and told us the principal points in the view before us, extending over the whole Bay of Cancale.
On our way back to Dol, we walked to a cornfield, in the midst of it stands a menhir(2) (they are so termed from the Breton moen, stone, and hir, long), called the "Pierre du champ dolant," a shaft of gray granite, about thirty feet high, and said to measure fifteen more underground. On the top is a cross. The first preachers of Christianity, unable to uproot the veneration for the menhirs, surmounted them with the cross, preserving the worship but changing the symbol. In the same manner, they did not attempt to destroy the veneration for sacred groves and fountains, but transferred to new saints the miracles of times past.
We drove through a pretty country to see the Chateau of Combourg, where Chateaubriand passed his early days. It is a fine square castle of the fifteenth century, with massive towers at each corner, surrounded by trees, and standing proudly over the village below. The drawbridge has been replaced by a modern "perron" or flight of stone steps, which leads to the entrance hall. The salle d'honneur looks over a lake. We were taken into his little melancholy room which Chateaubriand so well describes.
"La fenetre de mon donjon s'ouvrait sur le cour interieure; le jour, j'avais en perspective les creneaux de la courtine opposee, ou vegetaient des scolopendres et croissait un prunier sauvage. Quelques martinets, qui, durant l'ete, s'enfoncaient en criant dans les trous des murs, etaient mes seuls compagnons. La nuit je n'apercevais qu'un petit morceau du ciel et quelques etoiles. Lorsque la lune brillait et qu'elle s'abaissait a l'occident, j'en etais averti par ses rayons, qui venaient a mon lit au travers des carreaux losanges de la fenetre. Des chouettes voletant d'un tour a l'autre, passant et repassant entre la lune et moi, dessinaient sur mes rideaux l'ombre mobile de leurs ailes."
The bed on which Chateaubriand died has been brought from Paris and placed in the room.
The next morning we left Dol for Cancale, of such world-wide celebrity for its oysters. We left the railway at La Gouesniere, five miles and a half from Cancale, to which we proceeded by the mail cart. It requires to travel in Brittany to form any notion of the detestable vehicles, whether public or "voitures a volonte," in which travellers in this country are condemned to ride. Uncleaned, unpainted, creaking, jolting machines—as fully tenanted with every kind of insect annoyance, as if one were travelling in a hen-house. The horses are good, hardy, enduring little animals, which go their thirty to fifty miles a day without any distress either to themselves or the traveller. The Breton drivers are gentle and kind, making more use of their voices than of their whips in urging on their horses. The town of Cancale is situated on the heights, a precipitous descent leading to the village below, called La Houle, which lines the edge of the shore, and is occupied mostly by fishermen. This is the port, and here are the pier and the lighthouse, and also a comfortable inn to which the people of St. Malo resort in large parties, an omnibus running thence daily. The panoramic view of the bay of Cancale is beautiful and most extensive, one vast crescent of sand some ten square leagues in extent, stretching from the picturesque rocks of Cancale to Granville, its most northern point, and including Mont Dol, Mont St. Michel, and Avranches. The western side is lined with huts and windmills, but the water is so shallow that no boat can land. Having walked round the little hurdled-in oyster parks, numbering, we were told, about 600, and made ourselves very wet and dirty, though we borrowed sabots to enable us to wade through the mud, we returned to the inn, and next day reached St. Malo.
St. Malo stands on a small granite island at the mouth of the Rance, connected, by a causeway called "Le Sillon," with the mainland. The space it occupies is so small, that castle, churches, streets, and towers are all crowded together, and the whole is nearly surrounded by a sea wall, which makes the town appear as if rising straight out of the ocean. Towards the sea, the bay is encircled with groups of craggy islets, many surmounted by forts, bristling up as the tide recedes, in every direction. Conspicuous among these island rocks is that called the Grand Be, chosen by Chateaubriand for his last resting-place, as he wished to be buried near the place of his birth. Singularly enough the name of the island "Be" signifies a tomb. On his request being granted, Chateaubriand wrote to the Mayor of St. Malo.
"Enfin, Monsieur, j'aurai un tombeau, et je vous le devrai, ainsi qu'a mes bienveillants compatriotes. Vous savez, Monsieur, que je ne veux que quelques pieds de sable, une pierre de rivage sans ornement et sans inscription, une simple croix de fer, et une petite grille pour empecher les animaux de me deterrer. La croix dira que l'homme reposant a ses pieds etait un Chretien; cela suffit a ma memoire."
At low water, the island is accessible on foot. The tomb consists of a plain stone without inscription, surmounted by a granite cross, and is surrounded by an iron railing. It is placed on the edge of a rock, and is the resort of crowds of pilgrims.
"La vaste mer murmure autour de son cercueil."
The Hotel de France is the house where Chateaubriand's family lived, and the room he occupied is filled with various memorials of him. The Chateaubriand arms hang upon the wall. They were given by St. Louis to an ancestor who was wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of Massoura. The King changed the peacock's plumes, previously borne by the family, to fleurs de lys on a field gules, with the proud motto "Mon sang teint les bannieres de France." The tides here rise to between forty and fifty feet above low-water mark, so that the harbour is dry at low water, and is crossed on foot to go to St. Servan, the suburb on the opposite side.
We walked round the ramparts and were shown the little gate down which were sent every night the watch dogs of St. Malo, "chiens Anglais qui s'appelent dogues." Shut up during the day, they were let out at ten at night, and recalled in the morning to the sound of a copper trumpet, by their keeper, styled the "chiennetier." Enactments were made for their maintenance, called the "droit de chiennage." When let loose at night, a warning bell was rung to apprise the inhabitants, as they tore the legs of every one they met. Hence it used to be said "Il a ete a St. Malo, les chiens lui ont ronge les mollets." In 1770, a naval officer trying to force a passage was attacked by a troop of these dogs prowling between St. Malo and St. Servan; his sword was useless as defence, and, exhausted, in despair he threw himself into the sea, but here he was followed by the dogs and torn to pieces. A few days after they were all destroyed by the municipality, and the custom of keeping them has been since discontinued. In an old map of St. Malo, or "Saint Malo de l'isle," as it was then styled, preserved in the Imperial Library at Paris, is laid down, near the "Sillon" a little sentry-box marked, "Corps-de-garde de nuit pour les chiens," and again, near the "Tour de la grande Porte," is the "Pont aux chiens." The date of the map is 1662. The arms of St. Malo till the seventeenth century were, on a field argent, a mastiff gules.
The castle dates principally from the Queen-Duchess Anne, and one of its massive towers, the "Qui qu'en grogne" is a memorial of her dauntless spirit. Twice crowned Queen of France, she was the only one of her line worthy of the ducal crown. The Bishop of St. Malo was temporal lord of the town, and maintained he held it direct from the Pope, as a fief of the Church, because it was built upon land where a convent formerly stood; and consequently the Duke of Brittany had no authority over it, either spiritual or temporal. Duke John V. began to build a castle, but the Bishop opposed himself to its construction, and the contest lasted on until the time of the Queen-Duchess Anne, who, in defiance of the Bishop, and to shew that she was and always would be sovereign of St. Malo, finished the fortress and caused the lofty inscription to be placed in raised letters upon the great tower: "Qui qu'en grogne, ainsi sera, c'est mon plaisir;"—so runs the legend, but unfortunately a similar story is told of Louis II., Duke of Bourbon.
On the opposite side of the mouth of the Rance is Dinard, lately become a favourite watering-place; it has good sands, and houses and villas are rapidly rising up in every direction, and covering its granite hills.
The prettiest route to Dinan is by the little steamer which ascends the Rance, a lovely voyage, occupying about two hours. The banks one mixture of rocks, valleys, and verdure; the river now expanding into the width of a lake, now narrowing between its forest-clothed sides. After passing through a lock, and, winding our way through a narrow pass of rocky crags, we reached the bridge of Dinan; above us, the gigantic granite viaduct stretched across the valley, the town, with its feudal walls and castle, perched on its rocky heights over the river.
In the Grande Place is a miserable statue of Du Guesclin, who looks more like a wandering minstrel than the hero of Brittany and Constable of France. His life forms quite an historic romance. His future greatness was foretold by a prophetess; his wife, the Lady Tiphaine, was herself a fairy; his battles resemble those of the giants of old. Du Guesclin was born at Broons, and was the eldest of ten children and of great trouble to his parents. One day his mother dreamt she was in possession of a casket, containing portraits of herself and her lord, and on one side were set nine precious stones of lustrous beauty encircling one rough unpolished pebble. In her dream she carried the casket to a lapidary, and asked him to take out the rough stone as unworthy of such goodly company; but he advised her to allow it to remain, and subsequently it shone forth more brilliantly than the precious gems with which it was surrounded. The after superiority of Bertrand over the other nine children explained the dream.
It was in this "Place," where his statue now stands, the celebrated duel took place between Du Guesclin and an English knight, called by the Breton chroniclers Thomas of Cantorbery. Dinan was at that time closely besieged by the Duke of Lancaster (1359), with the young Count de Montfort, and defended by Du Guesclin. A truce of forty days had been agreed upon, before the expiration of which Oliver, brother of Du Guesclin, rode out unarmed beyond the city walls, and was made prisoner by Thomas of Cantorbery, who demanded a ransom of 1000 florins. On this news reaching Du Guesclin, he immediately repaired to the English camp, where he found the Duke of Lancaster playing chess with Sir John Chandos. They received him most cordially, and agreed that the dispute should be settled by a combat within the walls, the Duke of Lancaster consenting to preside. Victory declared in favour of Du Guesclin, who would have cut off the head of his adversary, had not the Duke of Lancaster interceded for his life. Cantorbery was dragged upon a hurdle out of the lists, and condemned to pay 1000 florins to Oliver; his horse and armour were given to Bertrand, and the felon knight expelled the English army.
We drove to see the Castle of Montafilant, one of the apanages of the Rohan family, which passed with many others to the unfortunate Gilles de Bretagne, by his marriage with the heiress Francoise de Dinan. The castle is approached by a steep winding path, leading to the plateau upon which it stands. Before the use of firearms, its position rendered it impregnable. Of its seven towers, two only remain.
The story of Gilles de Bretagne forms the subject of a romance by the Vicomte Walsh. Though his conduct was not free from blame, his long captivity and tragic end have rendered this unfortunate prince an object of pity to posterity. Third son of Duke John V., he was reared with Henry VI. of England, and personally attached to the English; but he never was in league with England against his own country, and his uncle the Constable Richemont regarded him as the honour and hope of his house. His wife Francoise was the most beautiful and accomplished woman of her time, the "perle de noblesse, de gentilesse, et de savoir;" and moreover possessed of the rich inheritance of her uncle Bertrand de Dinan, of the Montafilant branch. She had been betrothed from her infancy to the Sire de Gavre, son of Guy, Comte de Laval; but her father died when she was only eight years old, and Gilles de Bretagne carried her off by force. Dissatisfied with his paternal inheritance, the lordship of Champtoce, he retired to Guildo, one of the chateaux of Francoise's dower, where he passed his time in company with his English archers. His withdrawal from court was represented to Duke Francis as the beginning of a revolt, by Arthur de Montauban, his bitterest enemy and a great favourite of the Duke. Gilles neglected his young wife, and she is reported, in an unguarded moment, to have said to Montauban, she would marry him "if her husband were to die." Duke Francis was determined to get rid of his brother, and Charles VII. was persuaded to assist him in his vile design. The King arrested Gilles on the charge of high treason, as being in correspondence with the English; and, in proof of the charge, his enemies produced forged letters from the King of England compromising the loyalty of Gilles. Charles gave him over to his brother for punishment. In vain were Gilles's supplications to the Duke, or the entreaties of the Constable, who went to Dinan and knelt to Francis to beg for the pardon of his brother. Equally fruitless his being acquitted at Redon, from there being no proof of his guilt. The unfortunate Gilles was dragged from prison to prison, and consigned to keepers destitute of every feeling of humanity. Montauban, an Italian by descent (his mother was a Visconti), sent for poison from Lombardy, and administered in his soup a strong dose, which the good constitution of Gilles enabled him to resist. Starvation was then tried, and the wretched Gilles would stand at his prison window, calling on the passers by to give him bread: "Du pain, du pain pour l'amour de Dieu," but no one ventured to relieve him. At last, a poor woman dared to give him food, and placed a loaf on the edge of his grated window, continuing for six months to share with him in secret her scanty meal of black bread. Seeing that he could hold out no longer and that his death was determined upon, Gilles begged the woman would fetch him a minister of religion, that he might confess before he died. By stealth she brought him a Cordelier monk, who confessed him across the bars of his prison, and Gilles adjured him to seek his brother and acquaint him with his pitiable condition. The monk started on his errand, but in the mean time the gaolers of Gilles determined on putting an end to his life. They twisted a cloth round his neck, and smothered him between two mattresses while he slept. The monks of Bosquen carried his body to their abbey for interment, and the wooden effigy that was placed over his grave is still preserved in the Museum at St. Brieuc. The monk who had received Gilles's confession went in quest of Duke Francis, who, on hearing of his brother's death when at Avranches, had left for Saint Michel. The monk met him on the Greve, and cited him in the name of his brother "de la part du Messire Gilles" to appear within fifty days at the tribunal of Heaven to answer for his murder. The menace was realised. Duke Francis died within the appointed time, struck with remorse, and terrified at the summons of the Cordelier. The monk was never seen again. On the death of Gilles, the Duke of Brittany himself wished to marry Francoise, but she would not listen to his proposals; and at last was obliged, in order to recover her liberty, to marry the aged Comte de Laval, father of her betrothed, with whom she lived peacefully thirty years, and had three sons. Duke Francis II. appointed her to the charge of rearing his daughter Anne.
Arthur Montauban turned monk to avoid the vengeance of Duke Peter, brother of Gilles, and eventually became Archbishop of Bordeaux. The Pope gave him the Abbey of Redon, but popular indignation prevented him from accepting the appointment.
On our return from Montafilant we stopped to visit the Lunatic Asylum (Asile des alienes), called Les Bas Foins, kept by the brothers of Saint-Jean-de-Dieu. There are six hundred inmates under the charge of about sixty brethren. The buildings, with the chapel, are very handsome and most complete in all the arrangements. Within the enclosure is a large piece of land. The lunatics are employed in agricultural, garden, and house occupations; they look very contented and happy. Visitors are not allowed to speak to them. We omitted seeing the Croix du Saint Esprit, a curiously sculptured Gothic granite cross of the fourteenth century, not far from the asylum.
The castle of Dinan is now a prison. It was occupied by the Queen-Duchess Anne, when on her way to a pilgrimage to Notre Dame-du-Folgoet, in fulfilment of a vow made during the illness of Louis XII. In the chapel is shewn a sculptured seat, still called the arm-chair of the Duchess Anne. Within these walls were crammed, in the last century, about 2000 English prisoners of war, many of whom fell victims to a contagious fever. From the platform of the keep we had a magnificent view of the surrounding country, extending to Mont Dol and the sea.
The church of St. Sauveur has a richly sculptured Romanesque portal. It contains the heart of Du Guesclin, transferred from the church of the Dominicans, where he desired it to be interred by the side of his wife Tiphaine. His body was buried at St. Denis, in a tomb King Charles V. caused to be made in his lifetime, and he left orders that on his death his Constable should repose at his feet. On the dark-coloured monumental stone now incrusted on the wall, are roughly sculptured his arms (an eagle displayed charged with a cotice(3)), with a commemorative inscription in gold letters:—
"Cy: gist: le cueur: de Missire: bertram: du gueaqui en: son vivat: conetiable de france: qui: trepassa: le: xiii^e jour: de: jullet: l'an: mil iii^e IIII^xx dont: son: corps: repos avecques: ceulx: des: Roys a sainct: denis en France."
Above hangs a painting representing the Governor of Chateauneuf Randon, laying the keys of the town upon the dead body of the Constable.(4)
Many of the streets of Dinan preserve the character of the Middle Ages, the houses upon columns forming a kind of porch or covered way; and most curious of all is the dirty, steep, narrow, winding street, called the Rue de Jerzual, a ravine extending from the top of the town, in one pitch, to the river's edge. The Museum at the Mairie has an interesting collection of tumulary slabs—recumbent figures taken from different churches and abbeys, mostly from the Beaumanoir chapel of the Abbey of Lehon. There is one of Jean de Beaumanoir, son of the hero of the "Combat des Trente," treacherously slain by his steward. He is represented in full armour, but with his head bare, to indicate the manner of his death. The effigy of his wife is also in complete armour, but on the belt that encircles her waist, like those worn by the knights, is sculptured a wreath of roses. She was a Du Guesclin by birth, and her feet repose upon an eagle, the bearing of her house. The statue of Roland, Vicomte de Dinan, one of the nine great Barons of Brittany in the twelfth century, is of gigantic proportions; the warrior is clad from head to foot in chain mail, but he holds one of his gauntlets in his hand. In the Museum is also a clock given to the city of Dinan by the Duchess Anne, inscribed with the name of its maker and the date of its construction: "1498, a Nantes par M. Hainzer de cette ville." The ancient bronze standard measures (etalons) of Dinan are decorated with the arms of the City, and Gothic inscriptions in relief, "Cart (quart) a gros ble pour Dinan"—"Cart a fourmant (froment) pour Dinan"—and "Bouesceau a scel (boisseau a sel) pour Dinan." Portraits of Du Guesclin and other Breton worthies are in one of the rooms (Salle de l'Odeon). That of the Constable answers to the description given of his appearance. He was low in stature, with large Breton head, broad shoulders, long arms, and large hands. His eyes were green, and his complexion swarthy: "la peau noire comme un sanglier."
The drives round Dinan are endless in variety,(5) and all beautiful. We took a carriage to see the Chateau of la Belliere, about five miles and a half from Dinan, formerly the residence of Du Guesclin's wife, the celebrated Lady Tiphaine; her name answers probably to our English Tiffany:—
"William de Coningsby— Came out of Brittany With his wife Tiffany And her maid Manifas And his doggs Hardigras."
The Lady Tiphaine was heiress and daughter of the Vicomte de Belliere; so deeply versed was she in astrology, she was called Tiphaine la Fee. During her husband's absence in Spain, she resided at Mont Saint Michel, having chosen this insulated spot for the facilities it afforded her of studying the stars. She gave Du Guesclin a calendar on vellum, containing verses at the beginning of each month, pointing out the lucky and unlucky days; how many she marked down as such, we know not. Tycho Brahe had thirty-two fatal days in his calendar. Had Du Guesclin consulted this precious volume, which is now preserved in the Library at Avranches, he would never have risked his fortune by fighting the battle of Auray on the Feast of St. Michel, one of the fatal days against which she specially warns him in her book. We wished to have seen the room where she died, and where many memorials of her are preserved; but the proprietor was at his dejeuner, and would not grant us admittance, so we were forced to be content with seeing the exterior of the house, a chateau of the end of the fourteenth century. It stands on the edge of a large sheet of water, in the midst of trees on the roadside between Dinan and St. Malo. Its principal characteristics are its tall octagonal chimney-shafts, composed of granite, brick, and slate. They are surmounted by pieces of slate placed edgeways and forming a kind of capital or coronet to the granite shaft. Some of the chimneys have two circles of these coronets, and others are enriched with little rows of arches, of which the sombre slate background throws out the delicate ornamentation. Recrossing the magnificent viaduct, we proceeded to visit the Benedictine Priory of Lehon, called in the country "Chapelle des Beaumanoirs" from the mortuary chapel of that family attached to the abbey:—
"Beaumanoir! a ce nom de glorieux prodiges Des siecles ecoules reveillent les prestiges: La pierre des tombeaux a paru se mouvoir Et des trente Bretons les clameurs belliqueuses Semblent repondre, sous ces voutes fameuses, A ce grand nom de Beaumanoir." —AUBRY.
The west front, with its round-arched portal surmounted by a large Gothic window, is very pretty. The chapel of the Beaumanoirs was ravaged at the Revolution, the lead of the coffins sold, and the bones scattered. The statues have since been removed to the Museum at Dinan, and the crypt beneath, where they were buried, is inaccessible. At the Revolution, when the monks were expelled, the priory was sold and used for a spinning factory; and the weight of the machines crushed the floors, so as to shut up the entrance to the vaults. In the parish church adjacent, is to be noticed an ancient baptismal font, of cylindrical form, sculptured within and without. We returned home by the Chateau du Chene-Ferron, approached by an avenue of firs, and had a lovely drive along the banks of the Rance.
Our last excursion in Dinan was to the Chateau of La Garaye, rendered famous by the virtues and boundless charity of its last proprietors, Count Claude Toussaint Marot de la Garaye and his wife, whose interesting story is told in the charming poem of Mrs. Norton:—
"Listen to the tale I tell, Grave the story is—not sad, And the peasant plodding by Greets the place with kindly eye, For the inmates that it had." THE LADY OF LA GARAYE.
Count Claude de la Garaye and his wife were young, beautiful, and endowed with friends, riches, and all that could make life bright and happy. They entertained with hospitality, and enjoyed the pleasures and amusements of the world; when one day the Countess was thrown from her horse, the expectations of an heir vanished, and she was left a cripple for life. Both were inconsolable for their disappointment. One day a monk came to visit them, and tried to comfort them, seeking by his converse to turn their thoughts from earthly affections to heavenly consolation—
"Ah! my father," said the lady, "how happy are you, to love nothing on earth!"
"You are mistaken," answered the monk; "I love all those who are in sorrow or suffering, and I submit myself to the will of the Almighty, and bend myself with resignation to every blow He strikes."
He proceeded to show them there was still great happiness in store for them, in ministering to the comforts of others. Following his counsel, they went to Paris; for three years the Count studied medicine and surgery, and his wife became a skilful oculist. On their return to La Garaye, they gave up all the amusements of society, and devoted themselves to relieving the sufferings of their fellow creatures. Their house was converted into an hospital for the sick and the wounded, under the ministering care of the Count and his benevolent wife:—
"Her home is made their home; her wealth their dole; Her busy courtyard hears no more the roll Of gilded vehicles, or pawing steeds, But feeble steps of those whose bitter needs Are their sole passport. Through that gateway pass All varying forms of sickness and distress, And many a poor worn face that hath not smiled For years,—and many a feeble crippled child,— Blesses the tall, white portal where they stand, And the dear Lady of the liberal hand." THE LADY OF LA GARAYE.
Nor was their philanthropy confined to their own province. In 1720, they offered themselves to M. de Belzunce—"Marseilles' good bishop"—to assist him during the visitation of the Plague. The fame of their virtues reached even the French Court, and Louis XV. sent Count de la Garaye the order of St. Lazarus with a donation of 50,000 livres and a contract on the post of 25,000 more.
They both died at an advanced age, within two years of each other, and were buried among their poor at Taden, but their marble mausoleum in the church was destroyed in the French Revolution. Count de la Garaye(6) left a large sum to be distributed among the prisoners, principally English, at Rennes and Dinan, who were suffering pent up in these crowded gaols. The Comte had attended the English prisoners at Dinan during a contagious fever, called the "peste blanche," and, in acknowledgment of his humanity, Queen Caroline sent him two dogs with silver collars round their necks, and an English nobleman made him a present of six more.
The ruined chateau is approached by an ivy-covered gateway, through an avenue of beeches:—
"Le lierre flottant comme un manteau de deuil, Couvre a demi la porte et rampe sur le seuil." LAMARTINE, Harmonies Poetiques.
or, as Mrs. Norton renders it:—
"And like a mourner's mantle, with sad grace, Waves the dark ivy—hiding half the door And threshold, where the weary traveller's foot Shall never find a courteous welcome more."
It is fast falling to pieces. The principal part remaining is an octagonal turret of three stories, with elegant Renaissance decoration round the windows. One more quotation from Mrs. Norton, and we quit these hallowed ruins:—
"We know the healthy stir of human life Must be for ever gone! The walls where hung the warrior's shining casque Are green with moss and mould; The blindworm coils where Queens have slept, nor asks For shelter from the cold. The swallow,—he is master all the day, And the great owl is ruler through the night; The little bat wheels on his circling way, With restless flittering flight; And that small bat, and the creeping things, At will they come and go, And the soft white owl with velvet wings, And a shout of human woe! The brambles let no footsteps pass By that rent in the broken stair, When the pale tufts of the windle-strae grass Hang like locks of dry dead hair; But there the keen sound ever sweeps and moans, "Working a passage through the mouldering stones." THE LADY OF LA GARAYE.
From Dinan, instead of taking the customary road to the railway station of Caulnes, we hired a carriage, in order to visit the fortress castle of La Hunaudaye, midway between Dinan and Lamballe. The road lay by Jugon, a town prettily situated in the cleft of two hills. On one once stood an important castle, which gave rise to the saying:—
"Qui a Bretagne sans Jugon, A chape sans chaperon."
Jugon is on the edge of two ponds. One of them, the largest in Brittany, hangs suspended over the town, as if threatening it with inundation. They told us it was swarming with fish of every description, and with pike of fabulous dimensions. Turning off the road to the right, we entered the forest of La Hunaudaye, and walked in a pouring rain to the chateau, situated a short distance from the road. It is of vast extent, has five round towers with ramparts of cut stone, and is surrounded by walls with machicolated parapets. It is a splendid ruin, but the incessant rain prevented us from spending much time in its examination. It was built in the thirteenth century by Olivier de la Tournemine, and was one of the strongest fortresses in Brittany. Situated in the midst of a vast forest, its lord and his retainers were the terror of the surrounding country. No traveller passed untaxed; all were compelled to pay toll. In 1504, the Bishop of St. Brieuc complains to the Parliament at Rennes that, regardless of the safeguard of the Duke, the foresters of the Lord of La Hunaudaye had carried off his horses, trunks, and baggage, and, a year later, they had the audacity to stop the Queen-Duchess Anne on her way to a pilgrimage to the Folgoet. The Queen was conducted to the presence of the Lord of La Hunaudaye, who maintained to her that he had only exercised his right of exacting a ransom from all who passed through the forest without his permission, but that he waived his privilege in favour of his Sovereign. Be that as it may, he received her Majesty most royally, as the old chaplain, Oliver de la Roche recounts, and gave a splendid banquet, which he fully describes. The table, he says, was four times covered with thirty-six dishes of viands, and lastly, was brought in, "en grande veneration," by eight squires, a whole calf, standing on its legs, well seasoned, with an orange in its mouth; and, when it appeared, the trumpets sounded so loud that it seemed as if the walls shook. On seeing the "dainty dish" that was "set before the Queen," all wished to have a share; and the chaplain relates, with great satisfaction, how he was served himself twice by the Lord of La Hunaudaye.
The dark deeds of the lords of La Hunaudaye have given rise to many a legend. The following is a translation of one of the most popular:—
LEGEND OF LA HUNAUDAYE. (Translation.)
"When the rock eagle wakes, And the towers of Hunaudaye Gleam like three phantom forms In the morning's sunlight ray; When night her darksome wing Folds round this desert waste, Shun all this cursed ground— Traveller flee thou in haste.
"There once—Great Heaven shield Us all! and no ill arise— There once—Hush! leave me not; Hear you, from the ground, low sighs?— There once—wrapped in the gloom Of a dark and rainy night, A man of haughty mien Knocked at the door of might.
"'Open!' cried he,—it turns On groaning hinge. The rain Pours, but the frightened guards Mark neither spot nor stain On his purple cloak—nor his plumes Droop wet, yet the torrents fall Wildly and fast to night, Beating the castle wall.
"The baron, stern and sad, Was in his tower alone, Pacing, with mailed heel, Upon the echoing stone: Cried he—'What stranger seeks, This hour, my castle drear? Ho! Oliver, Ho! Ralph, See who intrudeth here.'
"'Heaven shield thee, baron brave! A strange knight in the hall Craves audience.' 'Lead him here: Stay thou and Ralph in call, At need.' Silent and slow The purple-mantled knight, Advancing, paused—his looks Gleaming unearthly bright.
"'Who art thou coming thus, Loud clamouring at my gate, Thou truly puissant knight, With not one squire for state? Knowst thou at word of mine—' The stranger knight smiled stern, Replied in awful voice, 'Would'st thou my name? now learn: Here is my train—behold!' He cried. There hideous stood One spectre, then two more— A sight to chill the blood— Unveiled their features pale, All three in cere-cloth dressed, Opening all wide to point Where blood flowed from the breast.