title page


Contents


The Story of Rouen

by Theodore Andrea Cook

Illustrated by Helen M.
James and Jane E. Cook

 

 

London: J.M. Dent & Co.
Aldine House, 29 and 30 Bedford Street
Covent Garden, W.C. 1899


All rights reserved


ST. MACLOU

ST. MACLOU


ΤΗΙ ΜΗΤΡΙ ΔΙΔΑΚΤΡΑ


vii

PREFACE

"Est enim benignum et plenum ingenui pudoris fateri per quos profeceris."


THE story of a town must differ from the history of a nation in that it is concerned not with large issues but with familiar and domestic details. A nation has no individuality. No single phrase can fairly sum up the characteristics of a people. But a town is like one face picked out of a crowd, a face that shows not merely the experience of our human span, but the traces of centuries that go backward into unrecorded time. In all this slow development a character that is individual and inseparable is gradually formed. That character never fades. It is to be found first in the geographical laws of permanent or slowly changed surroundings, and secondly in the outward aspect of the dwellings built by man, for his personal comfort or for the good of the material community, or for his spiritual needs.

To these three kinds of architecture I have attached this story of Rouen, because even in its remotest syllables there are some traces left that are still visible; and these traces increase as the story approaches modern times. While moats and ramparts still sever a city from its surrounding territory, the space within the walls preserves many of those sharply defined characteristics which grow fainter when town and country merge one into the other; the modern suburb gradually destroys the personality both of what it sprang from and of what it viiimeets. Up to the beginning of the sixteenth century I have been more careful to explain the scattered relics of an earlier time than during the years when Rouen was filled with exquisite examples of the builder's art. After that century there is so little of distinction, and so much of average merit, that my story languishes beneath a load of bricks and mortar.

Each chapter in this book which describes an advance in time or a different phase of life and feeling will be found to be connected with the buildings that are either contemporaneous with that phase or most suggestive of it. I have thus been able to mention all the important architectural features of the town without disturbing a fairly even chronological development of the tale, in the hope that this method will appeal not only to the traveller who needs guidance and explanation in the place he visits, but also to the reader who prefers to hear my story by his own fireside. Working, then, with this double audience in my mind, I have used to a very large extent, in my description of the people's life, the documents they have left behind themselves, so that the best expression may be given of the vital fact that a town is built and fashioned and inspired not by a few great men, but by the many persistent citizens who dwell in it, working their will from age to age without shadow of changing.

One such manuscript, the work of many hands and many centuries, I must particularly mention. It is the record kept by the Cathedral Chapterhouse, from 1210 to 1790, of the prisoners pardoned by the Privilege of St. Romain's Shrine. Forbidden, for reasons of health, to investigate these ancient parchments for myself, I have been fortunate enough to find them all printed by the care of M. A. Floquet, to whom the judicial history of Rouen owes so much. To his industry and to that of M. Charles de Beaurepaire I owe all the more astonishing and unknown details which are derived from original authorities scarcely ixyet appreciated at their full value. Both were scholars in the École des Chartes, the only school of accurate historical instruction in the world; and for any possibility of using fruitfully the mass of details they have brought to light I am indebted to my initiation by M. and Madame James Darmesteter into the same principles of organised research. The list of Authorities in the Appendix will show rather more fully a debt to M. de Beaurepaire which can never be adequately acknowledged.

My stay in Rouen was rendered more profitable and more pleasant by the kindness of yet others of its citizens. To M. Georges Dubosc; to M. le Marquis de Melandri; to M. Lafont who, as is but right in Armand Carrel's birthplace, presides over the oldest and best French provincial newspaper; to M. Edmond Lebel, Director of the Museum; to M. Noël, the librarian, I would here express my heartiest gratitude. To M. Beaurain I am under an especial obligation. Not only did he carefully trace for me the madrigal, set in its modern dress by the kindly skill of Mr Fuller Maitland, which English readers may now hear for the first time since 1550; but he chose out of the vast store at his command the portrait of Corneille by Lasne, and the View of Rouen in 1620 by Mérian. These were photographed by M. Lambin of 47 Rue de la République, with whom I left a list of those typical carvings in wood and stone of which visitors to Rouen would be likely to desire some accurate and permanent record.

Among those things in this little volume to which I desire special attention, as being unknown in England, and in some cases never reproduced before, I would mention, in addition to the music in Chapter XIII., the plan in Chapter IX. by Jacques Lelieur, who also drew the view of the whole town reproduced in Chapter XIII. This plan is the only instance of which I am aware which enables us to see a French town of 1525 exactly as it was, for by a queer but easily intelligiblex mixture of plan and elevation, the architect has drawn not merely the course of various streets but the façades of the houses on each side of them. And this leads me to my last, and perhaps my most striking debt, that to my illustrators; not only to my mother, who drew the arms of Rouen, from a design of 1550, for the first chapter, and Coustou's charming bas-relief of Commerce for the last, but more especially to Miss James; of her work I need say nothing; it is quite able to make its own appeal; but for her indefatigable desire to draw exactly what I wanted and to assist the whole scheme of the book I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude. Her drawings of the Crypte St. Gervais, of the Chapelle St. Julien, and of the Église St. Paul, will be as new as they are valuable to architectural readers; her picture of the Cour des Comptes, and of the old house in the Rue St. Romain were made under exceptional circumstances which may never recur again; and the view of the Chartreuse de la Rose is the first representation of the headquarters of our Henry V. in France which has ever, to my knowledge, been produced in England.

In conclusion I must express the earnest wish that the pages I have written about the carvings of the Maison Bourgtheroulde, and the illustrations accompanying them, will not have been published in vain. That the only authentic contemporaneous record of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, except the one picture at Hampton Court, should now be mouldering into decay in a French town is hardly creditable to those who can act with authority in valuable questions of historical art. If it be impossible to procure any good reproduction of these carvings for the pleasure and instruction of the public in our own National Galleries, a suggestion might at least be made that would secure their better preservation in the French house which they will soon cease to adorn.


xi

CONTENTS

  PAGE
CHAPTER I
Introductory 1
 
CHAPTER II
The First City 12
 
CHAPTER III
Merovingian Rouen 24
 
CHAPTER IV
Rouen under her own Dukes 44
 
CHAPTER V
The Conquest of England and the Fall of Normandy 72
 
CHAPTER VI
A French Town 103
 
CHAPTER VII
La Rue de la Grosse Horloge 134
 
CHAPTER VIII
xiiThe Siege of Rouen by Henry V. 169
 
CHAPTER IX
Jeanne d'Arc and the English Occupation 200
 
CHAPTER X
A City of Churches 233
 
CHAPTER XI
Justice 264
 
CHAPTER XII
Death 292
 
CHAPTER XIII
Life 321
 
CHAPTER XIV
Literature and Commerce 369
 
A Madrigal of 1550 362
Appendix 394
Index 403

xiii

ILLUSTRATIONS

  PAGE
St. Maclou Frontispiece
The Arms of Rouen* 1
The Original Fontaine Croix de Pierre 13
Crypt of St. Gervais 19
Statue of St. Louis 22
Initial Letter from an old Manuscript 24
The Arms of Rouen* 35
Chapelle de la Fierte de St. Romain 37
The Arms of Normandy* 44
Figure from the Border of the Bayeux Tapestry* 56
Figure from the Border of the Bayeux Tapestry* 64
Figure from the Border of the Bayeux Tapestry* 72
Horses for the Army of William the Conqueror crossing the Channel, Bayeux Tapestry* 74
Figure from the Border of the Bayeux Tapestry* 88
Interior of the Chapel of St. Julien 96
Corbel from the old Church of St. Paul 99
Apse of the old Church of St. Paul 101
The Arms of France* 103
A Mason at Work* 118
Portail des Libraires 123
Rouen Cathedral from the North-West 128xiv
The Good Shepherd of the Grosse Horloge 141
The Salt Porter of St. Vincent 147
La Grosse Horloge and the Town Belfry 151
Hôtel des Bons Enfants 159
A Cobbler at Work* 161
The Rue du Hallage 165
The Chartreuse de la Rose 181
The Apse of St. Ouen 193
Maison des Célestins 196
Rue St. Romain 206
La Cour d'Albane 218
Central Tower of St. Ouen from the South-East 222
Tour Jeanne d'Arc 230
The Original West Front of St. Ouen 236
Nave of St. Ouen 239
Staircase of St. Maclou 245
Door of St. Maclou 246
Tour St. André 247
Église St. Laurent 249
Western Porch of St. Vincent 257
Palais de Justice. Tourelle in the Rue St. Lô 267
Courtyard of Palais de Justice 272
Octagon Room of the Palais de Justice 278
Bureau des Finances, from the Parvis 284
Cour des Comptes, from the Rue des Carmes 288
The Dead Body of De Brézé, from his Tomb in Rouen Cathedral* 292xv
Entrance to the Aître St. Maclou 299
The Cemetery of St. Maclou 304
Tomb of the two Cardinals d'Amboise, from Rouen Cathedral 311
Tomb of Louis de Brézé in Rouen Cathedral 313
A Monk praying, from the Tomb of the Cardinals d'Amboise 315
Sir Christopher Lytcot, from the Brass in West Hanney Church* 319
Des Todes Wappenschild, after Holbein* 320
Rouen in 1525, by Jacques Lelieur Facing 321
The Gallery of the Maison Bourgtheroulde 323
The Field of the Cloth of Gold 327
A Window in the Maison Bourgtheroulde 335
Inner Façade of the Maison Bourgtheroulde 339
Maison Caradas 347
Rue de l'Épicerie 353
A Window in the Maison Bourgtheroulde* 361
Rouen in 1620, by Mérian Facing 369
Coustou's Bas-relief of Commerce* 369
Pierre Corneille, by Lasne Facing 376
Eau de Robec 381
Courtyard in the Rue Petit Salut 388


The illustrations marked with * are drawn by Jane E. Cook.


xvi

MAPS

      PAGE
A. The Site of Rouen between the Seine and
the Hills
  3
B. Main Streets and Boulevards, showing the
Walls besieged by Henry V.
Facing 5
C. The Gallo-Roman Walls, and the oldest
Streets in Rouen
Facing 71
D. Rouen in the Thirteenth Century Facing 103
E. The Extension of Rouen Eastwards at the
end of the Fourteenth Century
Facing 169
F. Plan (and elevation of the Houses) of the
Vieux-Marché and the Marché-aux-Veaux
(now Place de la Pucelle) drawn
by Jacques Lelieur for his "Livre des
Fontaines" in 1525
Facing 209

1

THE ARMS OF ROUEN

THE ARMS OF ROUEN


CHAPTER I

Introductory

Amis, c'est donc Rouen, la ville aux vieilles rues,
Aux vieilles tours, débris de races disparues,
La ville aux cent clochers carillonant dans l'air,
Le Rouen des châteaux, des hôtels, des bastilles,
Dont le front hérissé de flèches et d'aiguilles
Déchire incessamment les brumes de la mer.


THE three great rivers that flow from the heart of France to her three seas have each a character of their own. The grey and rapid current of the Rhone, swollen with the melting of the glacier-snows, rolls past the imperishable monuments of ancient Empire, and through the oliveyards and vineyards of Provence, falls into the blue waves of the southern sea. The sandy stream of Loire goes westward past the palaces of kings and the walled pleasure-gardens of Touraine, whispering of dead royalty. But the Seine2 pours out his black and toil-stained waters northward between rugged banks, hurrying from the capital of France to bear her cargoes through the Norman cliffs into the English Channel.

If Paris, Rouen, and Le Havre were but one town, whose central highway was this great river of the north, it would be at the vital spot, the very market-cross, that Rouen has sprung up and flourished through the centuries, at that dividing line where ships must stay that sail in from the sea, and cargo boats set out that ply the upper stream with commerce for the inland folk; and this geographical position has affected every generation of the city's growth and strength.

Rouen that is now "cheflieu du département de la Seine-Inférieure," was once the Norman stronghold which commanded all the basin of the river from the incoming of the stream of Eûre. The Seine and its tributaries have cut vast plâteaux some four hundred feet in height, through chalk and débris piled above the Jurassic bedrock that crops out here and there, as it does at Bray. On the right bank of the river, at the summit of a huge curve, the city lies between the valley of Darnétal, that is watered by Robec and his mate Aubette, and the valley of Bapaume. Upon this northern side the town is guarded from east to west by the hills of St. Hilaire, Mont Fortin, Mont aux Malades and Mont Riboudet, and from these the houses grow downwards to the water's edge. Upon the plateau above perch the villages of Mont-Saint-Aignan and of Bois-Guillaume. But between the valley of Darnétal and the Seine, is yet another natural buttress, the promontory on whose summit is Mont Ste. Catherine and the hamlet Bonsecours. From this magnificent height you may take the best view of the natural setting of the town. The western horizon is closed by the plateau of Canteleu and the forest of Roumare. To the south, within that strong3 bent elbow of the stream, the bridges bind to Rouen her faubourg of St. Sever with its communes of Sotteville and of Petit Quévilly; and the forest of Rouvray spreads its shadow to the meeting of the sky.


MAP A

MAP A

[Enlarge]


The first Rothomagus, like the Rouen of to-day, was neither a hill city, for then it would have stood upon the Mont Ste. Catherine, nor an island city like ancient Paris, for the Ile St. Croix was too small. It was essentially a river city; and you may see at once the extraordinary natural strength of its position on the outside of the river's curve (see Map A), instead of on the inside which may have seemed more probable at first but would have left the town defenceless. Even to-day you can only get into Rouen, as into a town that has been battered and taken by assault, through the breach in her fortified lines. If you enter by the railway from Paris, from Havre, from Dieppe or from Fécamp, it is by subterranean tunnels4 only that approach is possible, and up a flight of steps that you make your first acquaintance with a "coin perdu" of the town, a corner without character, without size, without the least promise of the beauty that is hidden further off. Of all those great gates through which the mediæval city welcomed her dukes or sallied out against her enemies, but one is left, the Porte Guillaume Lion close by the quays, at the end of the Rue des Arpents, which is as faded and decrepit as its entrance.

To understand something of the origins of the town, it is far better to come there for the first time by the river, by the highway that has suffered least change since Rouen was a town at all. Yet the river itself is cribbed within far narrower bounds than when the first huts of savage fishermen were stuck upon the reed-beds of the marsh; for the town was first set upon islets that have long ago been absorbed into the mainland, and the waters of the Seine once washed the boatmen's landing stages at a spot that now bounds the Parvis of the Cathedral. Even now the Seine varies in breadth at this point from a hundred and thirty-five to two hundred and fifteen metres, with a depth of five metres on the quays at lowest tide. These tides are felt as far as twenty miles above the town. They vary in height from one metre to as much as three, and a tidal wave is formed that is one of the greatest dangers of the downstream navigation. Coming up from the sea is fairly easy in almost any kind of stout and steady craft, but it is difficult for all but the best steamers to get down without being delayed, and sometimes fairly stopped, by the great tidal wave at Caudebec or Quillebœuf. Only when the floods reduce their strength are the tides unable to turn the current of the stream; and flood water is not unusual in a country where the rain blows in so often from the Channel.

There is an average of a hundred and fifty rainy5 days each year, the late autumn being worst, for the clouds are attracted by the river, by the forests, and by the hills that stand round about the city. But the unhealthiness engendered by all this moisture is a thing of the past. An enlightened municipal authority has widened streets, planted broad boulevards, and cleansed the waterworks which Jacques Lelieur first sketched in the early years of the sixteenth century. And much as we may deplore the loss of picturesque surroundings, it was high time that some of the "Fumier du Moyen Age" should be shovelled out of sight. What existence meant in those Middle Ages we shall be better able to realise later on, and it will be possible as we pass through the streets of Rouen to see what little has been left of it; for the vandalism of ignorance has too often accompanied the innocent and hygienic efforts of the restorer, and undue Haussmanism has ruined many an inoffensive beauty past recall.


MAP B

MAP B

MAP OF ROUEN
SHEWING THE LINES OF THE MODERN BOULEVARDS
(WHICH ARE THOSE OF THE WALLS BESIEGED BY KING HENRY V.)
WITH THE CHIEF BUILDINGS AND
MAIN STREETS OF THE CITY.

[Enlarge]


As you look upon the modern town from the river, it is difficult to realise that the views of 1525, or of 1620, which I have reproduced in this book, can represent the same place. The old walls and battlements have disappeared, and all the ancient keeps save one. But though we cannot tell the towers of ancient Rothomagus, we can mark well her bulwarks, from the Church of St. Pierre du Chastel that stands in the Rue des Cordeliers (see Maps B and C) where was the first Castle of Rollo, to the Halles and the Chapelle de la Fierte St. Romain, where the names of Haute and Basse Vieille Tour recall the citadel of later dukes. Within her earliest walls was the site of the first Cathedral; outside them was built St. Ouen to the north-east, and the monastery of St. Gervais to the north-west where the Conqueror died. Above the town still rises the Tour Jeanne d'Arc, the donjon of the Castle of Bouvreuil, which showed that Normandy was no more an independent Duchy, but a part of6 the domains of Philip Augustus. This memory of bondage still remains; but of the home of her own dukes Rouen has not preserved one stone; nor of the English palace of King Henry the Fifth near "Mal s'y Frotte" is anything left in the Rue du Vieux Palais near the western quay.

The small compass of the first battlements set on the swamp grew, by the twelfth century, to the lines of the modern boulevards on the north and west, but at the Tour Jeanne d'Arc they turned east and southwards, round the apse of St. Ouen, down the Rue de l'Épée and the Rue du Ruisseau by way of the Rue des Espagnols to the Porte Guillaume Lion and the quay. The walls besieged by the English under Henry V. had expanded almost exactly to the lines of the present boulevards in all directions, for the town had spread up the stream of Robec in broad lines that converged past the Place du Boulingrin above, and the Place Martainville below, upon the Place St. Hilaire to the east (see map B).

From the Place Cauchoise on the north-west of the city of to-day two main streets pierce the town. The Rue Thiers passes the Museum, and comes out at the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, close to St. Ouen. The Rue Cauchoise leads straight into the Place du Vieux Marché where Jeanne d'Arc was burnt. From there begins the Rue de la Grosse Horloge, the central artery of old Rouen, in which is the town's focal point, the belfry with its fountain and its archway. The other end of this street comes out on the open space or Parvis before the west door of the Cathedral. If you will go still further eastward by way of the Rue St. Romain, past the Portail des Libraires, the most characteristic thoroughfare is from the Place des Ponts de Robec, not far south of St. Ouen, along the street called Eau de Robec to the boulevards. These are the main lines of lateral division.7

From north to south the town is cut by the Rue Jeanne d'Arc; further eastwards, by the Rue des Carmes, which becomes the Rue Grand Pont; and by the Rue de la République, which passes clear from the Musée des Antiquités at the northern angle of the town to the Pont de Pierre Corneille on the river. The quays are crowded with a busy throng of workmen; on the stream are ships from every quarter of the world; great cranes are hoisting merchandise out of their holds and distributing it into the markets of the town, or into the barges for Paris and the Île-de-France. For this is the limit of the maritime Seine, and here, where the tide of ocean throbs upon her quays, it was but natural that the strength and commerce of Rouen should increase and multiply. "L'agneau de la ville a toujours la patte levée" says the old Norman proverb, and if you look at the lamb upon the arms of Rouen you will see her foot is raised in readiness for the travel that has been always the characteristic of her sons. From the days when northern rovers sailed here, when Guiscard's colonists went out to Sicily, when traders watched the wind for England, the citizens of Rouen have had their interests far afield.

But it is with the story of their home-town that I have now to do. And if it is to be told within the bounds of your patience and my opportunity, that story must be limited, if not by the old walls of the city, then by the shortest circuit of the suburbs round it. Nor need we lose much by this circumscribing of our purpose. The life of Normandy was concentrated in its capital. The slow march of events from the independence as a Duchy to the incorporation as a part of France has left footprints upon all the thoroughfares of the town. The development of mediæval Rothomagus into modern Rouen has stamped its traces on the stones of the city, as the falling tide leaves its own mark upon the timbers of a seaworn pier. It8 will be my business to point your steps to these traces of the past, and from the marks of what you see to build up one after another the centuries that have rolled over tide-worn Rouen. Let it be said at once that the "Old Rouen" you will first see is almost completely a French Renaissance city of the sixteenth century. Of older buildings you will find only slight and imperfect remnants, and as you pass monstrosities more modern you will involuntarily close your eyes. But the remnants are there, slight as they are; and they are worth your search for them, as we try together to reconstruct the ancient city of which they formed a part.

Rouen has in its turn been the most southerly city of a Norman Duke's possessions, then the central fortress of an Angevin Empire that stretched from Forth to Pyrenees, then a northern bulwark for the Kings of Paris against the opposing cliffs of England. It has sent out fleets upon the sea, and armies upon land. It has been independent of its neighbours, it has led them against a common foe, and it has undergone with them a national disaster. But no matter who were its rulers, or by what title it was officially described, or how it has been formally divided, eternal bars and doors have been set for its inhabitants by the mountains and the waters, eternal laws have been made for them by the clouds and the stars that cannot be altered. In the natural features that remain the same to-day, in the labourers of the soil, and in the toilers of the city, there has been the least change. For these are the "dim unconsidered populations" upon whom the real brunt of war falls, the units who compose the battalions, the pieces in the game who have little or no share in the stakes; who abide in their land always, blossoming as the trees in summer, enduring as the rocks in snow. Over this deep-rooted heart of humanity sweeps the living hail and thunder of the9 armies of the earth. These are the warp and first substance of the nations, divided not by dynasties but by climates, strong by unalterable privilege or weak by elemental fault, unchanged as Nature's self.

In the city of to-day, and in such thoroughfares as the Rue de l'Épicerie, you may look for a moment into that humbler and less spacious form of habitation in which the people and the workers lived their days, making up for the poverty of their own surroundings by the magnificence of that great Cathedral which rose above the low horizon of their roofs, and opened its doors to poor and rich alike. The buildings that have so long outlived their inhabitants may be taken as the background—like the permanent stone scenery in a Greek theatre—to the shifting kaleidoscope of many-coloured life in the old city.

In the place itself you will see scarcely a trace of the great personages whose names have glittered in its list of sieges, battles, massacres, pageants, and triumphal entries. The story of a town is not a drum-and-trumpet chronicle of the Kings and Queens. It is the tale of all those domestic and municipal details which from their very unimportance have well-nigh disappeared. To hear it you must follow me from the Crypte St. Gervais to the Cathedral, from the Hôtellerie des Bons Enfants to the Maison Bourgtheroulde, and it is to the voices of the people that I shall ask you to listen, and to the life of the people that I shall point you among the streets they lived in. Thus, and thus only, may you possibly realise the spirit of the place, that calls out first to every stranger in the bells that sound through the silence of his first night in a foreign town. These you shall know better soon in Rouen, by name even, "Rouvel" and "Cache-Ribaut," if you be worldly-minded, "Georges d'Amboise" and "Marie d'Estouteville" for your hours of prayer. Before you pass beyond their sound again, their ancient10 voices shall bring to you something of the centuries that had died when they were young, something of the individuality of the city above which they have been swinging for so long.

"Spirit of Place," writes the most charming of our living essayists:—

"It is for this we travel, to surprise its subtlety; and where it is a strong and dominant angel, that place, seen once, abides entire in the memory with all its own accidents, its habits, its breath, its name. It is recalled all a lifetime, having been perceived a week, and is not scattered but abides, one living body of remembrance. The untravelled spirit of place—not to be pursued, for it never flies, but always to be discovered, never absent, without variation—lurks in the byways and rules over the towers, indestructible, an indescribable unity. It awaits us always in its ancient and eager freshness. It is sweet and nimble within its immemorial boundaries, but it never crosses them. Long white roads outside have mere suggestions of it and prophecies; they give promise, not of its coming, for it abides, but of a new and singular and unforseen goal for our present pilgrimage, and of an intimacy to be made."

How many a traveller moves from place to place, not realising anything beyond the transportation of his body! Yet in every town there is this fresh acquaintance, this lifelong friendship, that shall last while his own memory lasts, that is as fresh for him as for a thousand before him, and for tens of thousands after. When the bells of an unknown city have given me their first greeting, my first acknowledgment of that compelling invitation is to see those buildings in the town that can become alive again beneath their echoes. Of such churches, of such civic buildings, of private houses, of monuments by unknown hands for unknown owners, Rouen is full in almost all her streets.

"Là dans le passé tu peux vivre
Chaque monument est un livre
Chaque pierre un souvenir."

The history of the Middle Ages is written upon11 magnificent and enduring volumes, and a great responsibility is laid on those who would deface the writing on the wall. Their virtues and vices, their jests and indecencies, their follies and their fears, are all writ large upon the pages of a book that was ever open to every passer-by, and that remains for us to read. It is no rhetorical exaggeration, that "Ceci tuera cela" of Victor Hugo. Our smaller doings are recorded in the perishable print of fading paper, and we have no care to stamp what little we have left of character upon our buildings. No one, at least it may be fervently hoped, will try in the future to reconstruct the ideals or the life of the Victorian Era from its architecture. Yet we are the heirs of all that is noblest in that greatest of all arts; and if you would test that, you need only look at any mediæval French Cathedral with a seeing eye. You will find no meaningless mass of bricks and mortar, but the speaking record of the age that built them. "The stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it."



12

CHAPTER II

The First City

"Latera aquilonis civitas regis magni
Deus in domibus eius cognoscetur cum suscipiet eam."


FOLLOW the Rue de la République past the Abbey of St. Ouen and up the hill to the Place Sainte Marie. On your left you will find the Musée des Antiquités which contains the earliest traces of the inhabitants of Rouen. There are so few of them that they are easily contained in a few glass cases; and this Museum is itself an excellent place with which to begin your visitation of the town. Few travellers go there, yet it is well worth the while, for here are collected many relics of an age that has left few traces anywhere, and here can be filled up many gaps in that story of Rouen which you can never read completely in what is left of the old town. In the courtyard that faces the Rue de la République are several of the ancient gateways that have given way before the press of modern traffic, and a few façades of carved and timbered houses rest like empty masks against the wall, looking forlorn enough, yet better here than lost. One of the best of these empty shells was taken in 1842 from No. 29 Rue Damiette. Dating about 1500, its overhanging storeys are carved with statues of St. John and of St. Romain with his Gargouille. It probably belonged to the Professional (Pellottier or Racquettier) of the Tennis Court near it, the Jeu de Paume St. Jacques. In this same court13yard of the Museum is a row of ancient weather-beaten statues, and, best relic of them all, the exquisite original of the fountain Croix de Pierre which is represented by a more modern imitation on the spot it once adorned.[1]

THE ORIGINAL FONTAINE "CROIX DE PIERRE" NOW IN THE MUSÉE DES ANTIQUITÉS The inner quadrangle, which you reach through the rooms of the Museum, is the best thing it has to show. Remote from the dust and bustle of the highway the little cloistered square is gay with flowers upon the turf, and statues from various churches are set here and there, like pensioners in Chelsea Hospital, after their active service in religious wars has left them mutilated and useless, but not without honour in the days of their old age. From the walls and windows sculptured saints and angels look down with an air of gentle approbation on the scene, and in the very middle a little bishop raises his hand in14 benediction over pious strangers from the centre of a rosebed.

But it is in the galleries within that we must seek for those records of primitive habitation that we have come to see. Hatchets of silex or of bronze, rude clay vases that were found nine yards beneath the soil, bear witness to the remotest ages of humanity in Rouen. The town grew very slowly, for its name was unknown in any form to Cæsar, and it is not till the second century that Ptolemy mentions Rotomagos as the capital of the tribe of Velocasses who have left their name to the Vexin. The unhealthy marshes in the valley between the hills and the river were not likely to be tenanted by the first Roman conquerors who fixed their centre at Julia Bona, and their amphitheatre may still be seen, near the ruins of a Norman castle, in the midst of the manufactories of Lillebonne. But as the importance of Lutetia grew upon the upper waters of the Seine, the value of this elbow of the stream grew greater every year; and by the days of Diocletian, Rotomagus had become the sea-gate of the capital, and the chief town of the province. Already Strabo speaks of its commerce with the English ports, and it appears as the natural point of exchange between southern civilisation and the barbarism of the north, the gate through which goods came from Italy, travelling by Rhone, by Saône, or Seine, to England.

Its first fortifications found a natural southern base upon the river's bend; to east, to west, and north it was protected by hills and by the marshes, and unhealthy as it was, the Roman colonists were compelled, when danger came, to leave the Julia Bona they preferred in peace, and fly for safety to the fine strategical position Nature had marked out at Rouen. Here, too, was the home of the Provincial Governor, and of his military captain; and of the walls they built the eye of faith can still see15 traces at the Ponts de Robec, at the Abbaye de St. Amand, near the Hôtel de France, close to the Priory St. Lô, and in the Place Verdrel in front of the Palais de Justice. I have marked out the limits of this earliest castrum on Map C; and in the Rouen of to-day you may see a strange confirmation of the fact that Roman Rotomagus was a far more watery place than may be realised at first. For if you stand anywhere about the level of the Cathedral foundations and look in the direction of the river, you will notice that all the streets slope upwards. Go nearer still, and at the angle where the Rue du Bac meets the Rue des Tapissiers, the upward slope becomes even more pronounced, for though the river is not so far away, there is even less of it to be seen. A great embankment has been slowly built; and upon what was once marshland and islands and the tidal mud, has grown up nearly all that part of Rouen which lies between the Cathedral and the river.

This gradual consolidation of the land which was reclaimed slowly from the Seine must have gone on from the time when the Roman walls stopped at the Rue aux Ours on one side, and at the Rue Saint Denis on the other. Their northern boundary was very slightly farther than the Rue aux Fossés Louis VIII. The Rue Jeanne d'Arc runs just outside them to the west, and the stream of Robec forms their natural boundary to the east, flowing into the Mala Palus that has left its name in the Rue Malpalu which leads from the west front of St. Maclou towards the Seine. Robec himself is well-nigh hidden now, though once his southern turn formed one of the defences of the town. Now he gropes underground his way into the Seine, and even when his waters can be traced, in the Rue Eau de Robec, their muddy waves were almost better hidden.

There is a striking likeness to all this in the early16 days of the history of London. Apart from all legends of the Troy Novant, of Lud and Lear and that King Lucius who sanctified Cornhill, legends which have their counterpart in all the old histories of Rouen, there are almost as few relics of the fortified barrack on the Thames, or of the more pretentious "Augusta" which followed, as there are of Roman Rouen. The same mud flats along the river bank remained until, in 982, after the first great fire, Cnut made a canal for his boats round Southwark. Into the marsh fell the Fleet river, just as Robec into Mala Palus; the English stream like the French one, formed the first natural line of defence on that side; and both are now little better than built-in sewers, one flowing into Thames at Blackfriars Bridge, the other through its smaller tunnel into Seine near the Pont de Pierre Corneille.

In the Museum of the Place Sainte Marie are the few Roman tombs that have survived all other relics of their occupants, and some of the money that they brought here, coins of Posthumus, of Tetricus, of Gordian, of Commodus. It is said, too, that when the foundations of vanished St. Herbland were being dug, some rusty iron rings for mooring boats and mouldering ship timbers were discovered, which were supposed to have been traces of the Roman quay. But the word "Port Morant" is probably not derived from Portus Morandi, but from Postis, and refers to the far more modern "avant soliers" or jutting balconies, which were supported on stout beams, and ran round the Parvis when Jacques Lelieur was making his sketches of the town in 1525. With such mere conjectures we must leave all that the Roman occupation has to tell. Their story was a short one; for the town was outside that circle where Roman influence was chiefly felt; and it ended with the Frankish invasions from beneath the Drachenfels. From being the head of a Roman province, Rouen17 became one of the fourteen cities of the Armorican Confederation, through the influence of the churchmen who now begin to appear in the dim records of the city-chronicles as the defenders of these earliest citizens.

The Romans laid foundations here, as they did in so many places in Europe, and then passed away. But before they disappeared there had been time for the first missionaries of the Christian faith to sow the seeds that were to grow into the Church. The legions left the city, but the faith of Rome stayed on. As early as the second century (and some say earlier still) came St. Nicaise. After him arrived St. Mellon of Cardiff, who is said to have converted the chief Pagan temple into a Christian church. St. Sever was the third "Bishop." In 400, St. Victrice had laid the foundations of the first church on the site of the Cathedral, and tradition puts the beginning of what became St. Ouen as one year earlier. Strangely enough there remains a record of the ecclesiastical architecture of these early days that is of the highest interest, for it is the oldest building of its kind to be found north of the Alps.

To reach it you must pass out of the town to the north-west, going by the Rue Cauchoise where it starts from the Place du Vieux Marché towards the hill of St. Gervais. All Roman burials took place outside their walls, and the tombs generally lined the great roads that led out of the towns. There is no doubt that many such monuments stood on either hand of the road that you must follow now, beyond the Place Cauchoise and into the Rue Saint Gervais. Go straight on up the hill and at the turn into the Rue Chasselièvre, upon the left, you will see an uncompromisingly new Norman church standing alone upon some high ground. This is a modern building on the site of the old Priory of St. Gervais, to which William the Conqueror was carried in his last illness, when he could no longer bear18 the noise and traffic of the town. At the west end, on the outside wall of this third and newest church, is placed a tablet that records his death. Of the second church you can trace the apse, with its Romanesque pillars and carved capitals of birds and leaves, beneath the choir at the east end of the third one.

Look lower still. Beneath the second choir is a still older window that barely rises high enough above the soil to catch the light at all. That is the window of the oldest crypt in France. Down thirty steps from the inner pavement of the new church you can descend with lighted candles to see the first building in which the Church of Rouen met. The only accurate drawing that has ever been published of it was made for these chapters, and it is worth while taxing your patience with rather more detail than usual in describing a subterranean chamber that has no parallel save in the Catacombs of Rome. It was no doubt after his visit to the Holy City in 404 that St. Victrice built this shrine for the safe-keeping of the first relics of his church in a pagan land. The friend of St. Martin of Tours, and of St. Ambrose at Milan, St. Victrice had probably obtained from them the sacred fragments which were to be so carefully preserved for the strengthening of the faith among the infidels. But the little community of Christians at Rouen had its own relics that needed safe disposal too. For in this crypt on the left hand as you enter is the tomb of St. Mellon who died in 311, to whom a church is dedicated that still exists in Monmouthshire, and on the right lies St. Avitien who died in 325. The saint to whose name and memory the crypt was dedicated lies buried beneath the high altar of the Church of St. Ambrose at Milan. The body of St. Victrice, its builder, after lying in this same vault for nearly four centuries after his death, was transferred elsewhere.19

ANCIENT CRYPT BENEATH THE CHURCH OF ST. GERVAIS The cold and gloomy little pit is eleven metres forty long, by five metres forty broad, and five metres thirty high, and in the recessed arches above the tombs may still be traced the thin red bricks of the Roman builders and their strong cement between. In the circular apse opposite the tiny square-headed entrance is the high window, set in the east, that we saw from the outside, and in the wall on each side are two square recesses in which the sacred vessels were locked up. The altar on its raised platform stands upon two rude upright stones, and is marked with five small crosses incised upon its upper surface. Behind it, on the rounded wall, are faint traces of carving and of fresco. All round the walls, except at the altar and the entrance, runs a low stone seat after the true type of the Christian Catacomb. A flat projecting rib of stone divides the barrel roof of the nave from the circular vault of the apse which slopes upwards to the rounded summit of the tiny window. A few skulls lie in a shadowed hollow near the altar, but the State has fortunately put a stop to any further grubbing in the floor for corpses that should never have been disturbed.

There is an absolute and elemental simplicity in20 this tiny crypt, with its stone bench and tombs of stone, that appeals far more strongly to the imagination than any bespangled ecclesiasticism above it. This is the true service of God and of His poor. The cold austerity of a faith that stood in no need of external attractiveness lays hold upon the senses as the reticent syllables of that first gospel, spelt out from its original sentences, must have gripped the hearts of those who heard it first. The Latin phrases of a long drawn litany, set to complicated tunes, rolled overhead with an emptiness of barren sound, among the clouds of incense and the glitter of the painted walls and all the service of "the clergyman for his rich."

More beautiful places of worship we shall see in many parts of Rouen. But in all France there is nothing more sincere than the small crypt of St. Gervais.

So the only remnant that is left of "Roman" Rouen is not Roman at all, but a type of that strong, naïve, and sincere Christianity which invigorated the Gothic captains who overthrew Rome. It is but fitting that there should be so little left. For the Romans were not so much a nation as an empire. They were not so much a people, as the embodiment of a power. When their work of spreading law and order, of diffusing Greek imagination through the channels of their strength was over, they split asunder at the vigorous touch of the truth that came against them. They left no personal traces in a town so far removed as Rouen from the centres of their civilisation.

It was the same in London, which was still farther off. For if you believe that any "Roman" wall was built round Augusta before 400 a.d., there is little left of it to point to now, save at that south-eastern corner on which the Norman Conqueror built his tower, at the New Post Office buildings in St. Martin's le Grand, and in the churchyard of St. Giles's, Cripplegate. In21 the British Museum and at Guildhall are some scanty relics of domestic life, some fragments of mosaic, shreds of pavement, and the like.

At Rouen it is the same. The legions left the stamped impression of their armoured feet, impersonal and strong, a hallmark as it were, to guarantee the local strength and value of the first Rothomagus. But it was the Christian worshippers who left the only building that remains of those first centuries, to testify to what some men and women in that early time could really feel and think and do.

It is by another priest that the story of the town is carried on from "Roman" times to the next period of transition. St. Godard appropriately enough, a Frank by descent himself and born of a Roman mother, is the link between this shadowy twilight of early church history and the stronger colouring of the Frankish story that is to come. In 488 he was elected as the fourteenth bishop of Rouen by the unanimous vote of clergy and people together, and eight years afterwards he represented the diocese when Hlodowig or Clovis was baptised at Rheims, from which we may gather that the Frankish power had definitely embraced his town within its grasp some time before. He died about 525 and his body, which was first buried in the crypt of the church which bears his name, was afterwards removed to Soissons. It was at that same Soissons that the Romans were driven out of "France," and Hlodowig with his Franks took possession of the country to the Loire, and then pushed on the boundaries of their kingdom to the Pic du Midi. The profession of Christianity by Hlodowig was not a mere matter of policy. It was another expression of that Frankish quality of sincerity and truth, which has been already noticed, in the Gaul that was shaking off the bonds of Rome. It was perhaps the chief quality of that band of nations north of Tiber which stretched from English22 hills, across limestone plâteaux of Northern France, through German forests, to the vales of the Carpathians. These were the first wave of the "barbarian" invasion after Rome had fallen. Behind them, further to the north and east, drifted a piratical band of roaming warriors, who for the next five centuries press and harry the boundaries of the kingdoms, Visigoths and Ostrogoths, Saxons, Danes, and Scandinavians, of whom we shall hear more later.

STATUE SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT ST. LOUIS (FROM THE CATHEDRAL) NOW IN THE MUSÉE DES ANTIQUITÉS The Christian bishops were the shield after Rome fell, between the trembling conquered races and the first wave of conquering barbarian invasion. The strength of their faith we have seen already in the crypt of St. Gervais. This little altar, and the tiny shrine of St. Godard watched infant Rouen from beyond its walls. An edict in 399 had destroyed the rural temples of the old Pagan faith. About 450 a new law recommended the conversion of the old temples within the towns into churches. So in these years we may suppose that the first building had risen on the site of the Cathedral, with St. Herbland's earliest church in front, and upon other eyots in the Seine the shrines of St. Martin de la Roquette, St. Clément, and St. Eloi. When Julia Bona was finally deserted, Rouen became the home of a count, who held, under Clovis, administrative, judicial and military power. By the next century the town must have grown to a considerable size and importance. Yet there is absolutely nothing of Merovingian Rouen left except the few poor ornaments in the glass cases of23 the Musée des Antiquités. Here you will see some of the characteristically shaped bronze axe-heads of the period; but by far the larger part of what is left is woman's gear. Beside the axes there are a few lance and arrow-heads; but the finger rings (still on the bones that wore them) are numerous; there are necklaces too, and bracelets; nails and buttons, styles for writing, pins, needles, combs, and pottery. By such pitiful trifles that have survived the pride and strength of all their owners, you may be fitly introduced to the next chapter in the pageant of historic Rouen, the tale of Fredegond and Brunhilda.



24

CHAPTER III

Merovingian Rouen

"Consurgit pater in filium, filius in patrem, frater in fratrem, proximus in propinquum."


capital L LITERALLY not one stone remains in Rouen to which I can point you as a witness of the tragedy in which the names of Fredegond and Brunhilda will always live. Yet the part of their tragedy which was played in Rouen must be told, if you are clearly to fashion for yourself that web of many faded colours which is to be the background for the first figures recognisable as flesh and blood, the northern pirates. It is a story which points as clearly to the downfall of Merovingian society and the coming of a new race, as ever any tale of Rome's decline and fall pointed to the coming of the barbarians.

After the death of King Hlothair, the last man of the blood of the great Hlodowig, or Clovis, whose Frankish warriors had driven the Romans out of Gaul, and who himself became the "eldest son of the Church," his kingdom had been divided among his four sons, of whom the eldest died in possession of the lands of Bordeaux; and left his treasure to be taken by the next brother, Gunthram, and his lands to be divided25 among all three of the surviving heirs. Mutual suspicion defeated its own ends, and the ridiculous principles on which the division was made were the mainspring of nearly all the quarrelling that followed. Sigebert, the youngest brother, reigned over Austrasia, which stretched eastward from the north of Gaul through Germany towards the Slavs and Saxons. Gunthram had the central land of Orléans and Burgundy. Hilperik reigned north and westward of the Loire in Neustria. But each of the three owned towns and lands in various parts of France without regard to the broad lines of division which have just been indicated. Of them all Hilperik, the King of Neustria, was the most uxorious and effeminate. By his wife, Audowere, he had had three sons, Hlodowig, Theodobert and Merowig, who was held at the font of Rouen Cathedral by the Bishop Pretextatus. Among the royal waiting women was a young and very beautiful Frank called Fredegond, on whom the King had already cast a too-favourable eye; and the opportunity of his absence on an expedition to the North was seized by the girl in a way which showed at once the unscrupulous and subtle treachery which was the keynote of her character. The Queen was brought to bed of her fourth child, a daughter, while the King was still from home. By Fredegond's suggestion, the infant was held at the font by Audowere herself and christened Hildeswinda. Hlodowig at once took advantage of the trap into which the innocent and unsuspecting mother had fallen. As soon as he returned he sent away Audowere and her baby to a monastery at Le Mans, on the pretext that it was illegal for the godmother of his own daughter to be his wife. He then made Fredegond his queen.

The conduct of the younger brother Sigebert was at once more dignified and more politically secure. At Metz in 566 he married Brunhilda, the younger daughter26 of Athanagild, King of the Goths, whose capital was at Toledo, a woman whose courage, beauty, and resource, have remained a byword in history and song. The splendour and success of this alliance roused Hilperik's jealousy, and he lost no time in sending an embassy to Spain asking the hand of Galeswintha, the elder sister of his brother's wife. After much negotiation, the girl left the palace of Toledo on her long march to the north. Her own presentiment of coming evil was strengthened by the tears of her reluctant mother, who could with difficulty be persuaded to leave the procession that escorted the princess across the Pyrenees. By way of Narbonne, Carcassonne, Poitiers, and Tours, Galeswintha moved slowly across France towards her husband, with all her Goths and Franks behind her, and a train of baggage waggons groaning beneath the treasures of her dowry. She made her entry into Rouen on a towering car, set with plates of glittering silver, and all the Neustrian warriors stood in a great circle round her with drawn swords, crying aloud the oath of their allegiance. Before them all, the King swore constancy and faith to her, and on the morning following he publicly made present to her of the five southern cities that were his wedding gift.

Fredegond had disappeared. In the general proscription of immorality that had followed the embassy to Spain, she was swept away like the rest, and she knew when to yield. Like the viper in the grass she lay hidden, gathering up her venom for a more deadly blow. So harmless did she seem that she was soon allowed to return to her former humble post as one of the waiting women of the palace. It was not long before she struck. The sensual and shallow nature of the King had soon wearied of his new bride, whose chief charm was not, it would appear, her beauty. A moment came when weariness became disgust. The sight of Fredegond recalled his former passion, and the27 proud princess of the Goths soon had the mortification of seeing the affections of her husband transferred to her waiting woman. But this was not enough. A few days afterwards Queen Galeswintha was found strangled in her bed, in 568. Hilperik was not long in adding the dignity of queen to the position of wife which he had already given to the triumphant Fredegond.

The sad young figure of this Spanish princess, brought up against her will from sunnier courts into the midst of Merovingian brutality in the dark palaces of Neustria, is one that affected many minds with compassion for her fate. The story of the crystal lamp that hung above her tomb in Rouen, which fell upon the marble pavement, yet was neither broken nor extinguished, was but a poetical expression of the universal pity.[2] In the heart of her sister Brunhilda pity flamed rapidly into revenge. Sigebert was enlisted on the side of justice, and Gunthram quickly followed him, with the object of making peace between his brothers. The King of Neustria was condemned to forfeit certain cities as punishment for the murder of his queen.

But the blood of Galeswintha still cried out for vengeance from the ground, and the horrible series of murders that filled the century began with Hilperik's unwarranted aggressions on the territory of his brother Sigebert. Long months passed in pillage, in ineffectual attempts at reconciliation, in perpetual reprisals. At last Brunhilda rose and insisted that her husband should make an end with the murderer of her sister. So Sigebert and his army moved forward to a combined attack and chased Hilperik to the walls28 of Paris. Thither, when Fredegond and her husband had fled to Rouen and then to Tournai, Brunhilda came southwards to meet the conqueror who soon marched north again to be crowned at Vitry, leaving his wife behind to guard the capital in triumph. Now came Fredegond's opportunity. For when Hilperik was besieged by Sigebert in the city of Tournai and sore pressed, Fredegond saw her enemy delivered into her hand. "La femme," say the chronicles of St. Denis (III. 3 and 4) "pensa de la besogne là où le sens de son seigneur faillait, qui selon la coutume de femme, moult plus est de grand engieng à malfaire que n'est homme." By some diabolical trick of fascination she persuaded a pair of assassins to penetrate into Sigebert's camp, armed with a "scramasax" she had herself provided. They murdered him as he sat at table, and were instantly cut to pieces by the courtiers.[3] Fredegond always managed to get inconvenient witnesses out of the way. Hilperik at once took advantage of the confusion to march on Paris, and the horror of Brunhilda may be imagined as she realised that the murderer of her husband and of her sister was approaching the city in which the widow and her three orphans were defenceless. Her son (afterwards the second Hildebert), was then but five years old, and by the help of Gundobald she was able to contrive his escape, lowering him in a basket through an opening in the city walls.

Then began another act in this dark drama, which ended very differently to the expectations of Fredegond. For with his father had come young Merowig to Paris, and whether from fascinations that had some deep ulterior design, or whether as is more probable29 from the natural attraction felt by the young warrior for a lovely princess in distress, Merowig fell hopelessly in love with the fair Brunhilda, who was but twenty-eight and could have been very little older than her second husband. He saw, however, the danger of prematurely confessing his passion, and quietly went off on a foraging expedition to Berri and Touraine at the bidding of his father. But, no doubt, he was aware before starting of Hilperik's intention to send Brunhilda to Rouen; for it was not long before he marched northwards (after a visit to his mother Audowere in her prison at Le Mans),[4] and came to Rouen himself. The meeting cannot have been a surprise to the daughter of the Spanish Goths, and whatever may have been her intentions, she proved so willing to console herself that a very short time elapsed before she was the wife of Merowig. Strangely enough the Bishop of Rouen at the time was the same Pretextatus who had been Merowig's godfather at his baptism. "Proprium mihi," he says (in the history of Gregory of Tours) "esse videbatur, quod filio meo Merovecho erat, quem de lavacro regeneratione excepi." This kindly and somewhat weak prelate, whose natural sympathies seem invariably to have proved too strong for his political prudence, was prevailed upon to perform the ceremony of marrying to Merowig the widow of his father's murdered brother. But it was not merely canonical law, or even certain sentimental precepts, that were offended by a union that was later on to cost its celebrant his life. The suspicions of Hilperik were instantly aroused. Brunhilda's young son had already been accepted as their King by the Austrasian warriors at Metz. Now Brunhilda herself had taken what was evidently the second step in a30 deep-laid plot to reassert her own superiority and ruin Neustria. It can have scarcely needed the hatred of Fredegond, both for her natural rival and for the son of Audowere, to urge Hilperik to speedy action. He hastened to Rouen with such swiftness that the newly-married pair were entirely taken by surprise in the first few months of their new happiness. They fled for sanctuary to the little wooden church of St. Martin, whose timbers rested on the very ramparts of the town. No entreaties nor cajoleries at first availed to make them leave their refuge. At last, they agreed to come out if the King would swear not to separate them. His oath was a crafty one as it is given by Gregory of Tours: "Si, inquit, voluntas Dei fuerit, ipse has separare non conaretur," and, of course, the "will of God" happened to be the wish of Hilperik, and they were safely separated as soon as possible. For after two or three days of feasting and apparent reconciliation he hurried off with the unwilling bridegroom in his train, and left Brunhilda under a strict guard at Rouen.

The very first incident that followed this unhappy marriage was the siege of Soissons by the men of Neustria, and in this coincidence the King saw further confirmation of the plots of Brunhilda in which she had so nearly secured the assistance of Merowig against Fredegond and his father. He at once ordered his miserable son, whose intellect was incapable of ambitious schemes, and whose only fault had been an unconsidered passion, to be stripped of his arms, and to have the long hair cut from his head that was a mark of royal blood. The later adventures of the wretched Merowig, an exile and an outlaw, hunted through his father's kingdom, are too intricate to follow. After a long imprisonment in the sanctuary of Tours Cathedral, he escaped only to be murdered by the emissaries of the implacable Fredegond in a31 farmhouse north of Arras. Meanwhile his wife, Brunhilda, had long ago been set free to go from Rouen to Austrasia. She was safer across the border, while the follies of another Merowig might make her dangerous. Her flight, at this unexpected opportunity of freedom, was so rapid that she left the greater part of her baggage and treasure with the Bishop of Rouen, who was once more unwise enough to compromise himself in order to be of service to his godchild's wife. For Pretextatus not only supplied Merowig with money in his various efforts to escape, but was so careless in his demands upon the friendship of the surrounding nobles, and in scattering bribes to gain them over, that his treasonable practices soon came to the ears of Hilperik. That avaricious and perpetually needy ruler was not long in securing the remainder of the treasure of which tidings had so opportunely reached him, and he then immediately summoned Pretextatus to answer before a solemn ecclesiastical council in Paris, as to his relations with Brunhilda, and his disposition of the money she had left with him. The celebrated trial that followed, of which Gregory of Tours was at once the historian and the noblest figure, was ended by the brutal interference of Fredegond, who could not be patient with the law's delays, and forced the Bishop of Rouen to fly for refuge to the island of Jersey where he lived in exile for some years, until the time arrived for Fredegond's full vengeance to be consummated.

That time was marked, as was every crisis in the blood-stained career of Fredegond, by a murder. The weak and effeminate King himself fell a victim, and was slain (in 584) by unknown assassins as he was out hunting. In the confusion and lawlessness that ensued, Pretextatus returned from exile to Rouen, and Fredegond, who had placed herself under the protection of Gunthram, was sent to Rueil, a town in the domain of Rouen, near the meeting of the Eûre and Seine. Leav32ing for awhile in peace the old ecclesiastic who had had the insolence to come back to the dignities from which she had driven him, Fredegond turned at once to plot the destruction of her lifelong enemy, Brunhilda, who was now in a position of far greater security and honour than herself. But her emissary was obliged to return unsuccessful, and had his feet and hands cut off for his pains. A second attempt upon both mother and son failed equally, and then Fredegond, balked of her higher prey, took the victim that was nearest, and went out from Rueil to Rouen. It was not long before the quarrel that she sought was occasioned by the bishop, who seems to have added to his usual unwisdom a courage born of the hardships of seven years of exile. Answering a taunt flung at him by the deposed queen, he bitterly drew the contrast between their present positions, and their former relation to each other, and bade Fredegond look to the salvation of her soul and the education of her son, and leave the wickedness that had stained so many years of her life with blood.

She left him on the instant and without a word, "felle fervens," says Gregory; and indeed it was not long before her vengeance broke out in the usual way. As the bishop knelt in prayer soon afterwards before the altar of the Cathedral, her assassin drove his knife beneath his armpit, and Pretextatus was carried bleeding mortally to his chamber. Thither came the queen to gloat over her latest victim, begging him to say whose hand it was had done the deed, that so due punishment might be at once exacted. But he knew well who was the real murderess. "Quis haec fecit," replied the dying prelate, "nisi qui reges interemit, qui sepius sanguinem innocentium effudit, qui diversa in hoc regno mala commisit?"

The whole town was cast into distress and bitter mourning by this pitiless assassination, and Fredegond33 had accomplished her will with so much cunning that the crime could with the greatest difficulty be legally traced to its true origin. For she had taken advantage of the ecclesiastical jealousy which unfortunately existed side by side with the popular reverence and love. Melantius, who had for seven years enjoyed the privileges of office and dispensed his favours in the bishopric, had seen himself deposed with very mingled feelings by the exile from Jersey. His own nominees were doubtless not unwilling to emphasise his grievance, and Fredegond found in his disappointed ambition a soil only too ready to receive the poisonous seed she was so anxious to implant. Among the inferior clergy was an archdeacon whose hatred of Pretextatus was as great, and more reckless in its expression. By him a slave was easily discovered ready to commit this or any other crime on the promise of freedom for himself and his family. A guarantee of favours to come was provided in some ready money paid beforehand, and the blow was struck while Pretextatus prayed. Romans and Franks alike were horrified at the dastardly outrage. The former could scarcely act outside the city walls, but the Franks felt more secure in the ancient privileges of their race, and some of their nobles at once gave public expression to the hatred felt by every citizen for the instigator of the crime. Led by one of their own chiefs, a deputation of these Frankish nobles rode up to Fredegond's palace at Rueil. They delivered a message to the effect that justice should be done, and that the murderess must at last put a term to all her crimes. Her reply was even more rapid and fearless than usual. She handed the speaker a cup of honeyed wine, after the custom of his country; he drank the poison, and fell dead upon the spot.

A kind of panic fell upon his comrades, and extended even to the town of Rouen itself. Like some monstrous incarnation of evil, Fredegond seemed to have settled34 near their city, followed by a trail of death. Her very breath, it was imagined, exhaled the poisons of the sorcery and witchcraft that accompanied and rendered possible her countless assassinations. She seemed beyond the pale of human interference, and invested with some infernal omnipotence that baffled all pursuit or vengeance. Every church in Rouen closed its doors, for the head of their Church lay foully murdered, and his murderer was not yet punished. Leudowald of Bayeux took over the sacred office in the interval of consternation that ensued, before another successor could be appointed, and he insisted that not another Mass should be celebrated throughout the diocese until the criminal had been brought to justice. Night and day he had to pay the penalty for his boldness by being forced to keep careful guard against the hired bravos of his unscrupulous enemy, who was now fairly started in a career of bloodshed, that she would never end until her vengeance was complete. At last she wore out his courage and his strength alike, and the inquiry gradually faded away before the persistent and sinister vindictiveness of the royal witch at Rueil. She soon was strong enough to put her creature Melantius back in his episcopal chair, and he was content to officiate upon the very stones that were still stained with the innocent blood of Pretextatus.

One more proof of the absolute mastery her intrigues had given her was afforded by Fredegond's next action. Its heartless cynicism was but a natural consequence of so much previous guilt. For she deliberately summoned before her the slave whose assassin's knife she had bought, reproached him openly with his hideous crime, and handed him over to the dead bishop's relations. Under torture this miserable wretch confessed the full details of the murder, the names of his accomplices, and the guilt of Fredegond. The nephew of Pretextatus, apparently aware that he would35 never get satisfaction on the principals, leapt upon the prey that had so contemptuously been flung to him, and cut the slave to pieces with his sword. And this was the sole reparation that was ever given for the murder of the bishop. But the people never forgot the Pretextatus who lived for centuries in their memory as a martyred saint. His terrible fate has more than atoned, in their eyes, for the impolitic events of his earlier life, or his unwise affection for the unfortunate prince he had baptised.

THE ARMS OF ROUEN With this last crime that part of the Merovingian tragedy with which Rouen is connected comes to a close. Nor have I space here to follow out the actors to the curtain's fall. In other pages their various fortunes and their dark calamities may be followed to a conclusion. The next chapter in the history of the town is that of the Northmen, and of the founding of that mighty dynasty which was to spread its rule across the Channel, and to gather the towns of England under the same sceptre that swayed the citizens of Rouen. But before the coming of the Northmen, there are a few more slight facts that I must chronicle if only to explain the desert and the ruins that alone were Rouen when the first pirate galley swept up to the quay and anchored close to where the western door of the Cathedral now looks out across the Parvis.

The monk Fridegode relates that it was in 533 that the first stones of what was afterwards to be the famous Abbey of St. Ouen[5] were laid by the first Hlothair. Others say that a church founded nearly two centuries before was restored by the son of Hlotild36 the holy Queen and dedicated first to the Holy Apostles, and then to St. Peter and St. Paul. Its name was changed to the one it bears now in 686 when the body of St. Ouen was moved there on Ascension Day three years after his death. But not a trace of the original church remains, and most probably it was built almost entirely of wood, like that shrine of St. Martin in which Brunhilda and her young husband fled for sanctuary in about the year 580. In this same century we first hear too of that legendary Kingdom of Yvetôt, whose lord was freed from all service to the Royal House of France by the penitence of King Hlothair. Its history is chiefly confined to the airy fantasies of poets, and is completely justified of its existence by Beranger's verses:

"Il était un roi d'Yvetôt
Peu connu dans l'histoire
Se levant tard se couchant tôt
Dormant fort bien sans gloire
Et couronné par Jeanneton
D'un simple bonnet de coton,"

which may very well serve as the epitome and epitaph of a lazy independence that needed no more serious chronicler.[6]

Early in the next century occurs the name of a saint who was destined to be famous in the story of the town37 CHAPELLE DE LA FIERTE DE ST. ROMAIN IN THE PLACE DE LA HAUTE VIELLE TOURfrom its earliest days of civic life until the chaos of the Revolution, in which the old order fell to pieces and carried so many picturesque and harmless ceremonies into the limbo where it swept away the ancient abuses of despotic monarchy. For with the name of St. Romain, who enlarged St. Mellon's primitive "cathedral" even more than St. Victrice had done, is connected one of the most extraordinary privileges that any ecclesiastical body ever possessed. The Chapter of the Cathedral of Rouen every Ascension Day were allowed by the "Privilège de Saint Romain" to release a prisoner condemned to death, who was then made to carry the holy relics of the saint upon his shoulders in a great procession. The list of the prisoners who bore the "Fierte Saint Romain"[7] extends from 1210 to 1790, the chapel where the ceremony was performed still stands in the Place de la Haute Vieille Tour, and the manuscripts in which the released prisoners' names with their accomplices and crimes are recorded, furnish some of the38 most interesting and practically unknown details of the intimate life of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. I shall have occasion to refer to them so fully later on that I must for the present confine myself merely to abolishing a myth, and laying some slight foundation for the facts that are to follow—facts so astonishing and so authentic that they need no aid from legend or romance.

Yet the miracle that is related to-day about St. Romain is so persistent and so widely spread, that it must be told, if only to explain the many allusions contained in picture, in carving, and in song,[8] throughout the tale of Rouen, and in the very stones and windows of her most sacred buildings. The story is but another variant of our own St. George, of St. Martha and the Tarasque in Provence, of many others in almost every country. It is but one more personification of that struggle of Good against Evil, Light against Darkness, Truth against Error, Civilisation against Barbarism, which is as old as the book of Genesis and as the history of the world. It has been represented by Apollo and the python, by Anubis and the serpent, by the Grand'gueule of Poitiers, by the dragons of Louvain and of St. Marcel. The general truth was appropriated by each particular locality until every church and town had its peculiar monster slain by its especial saint. Thus at Bordeaux there was St. Martial, thus Metz had St. Clément, Asti and Venice had their guardian saints, Bayeux had St. Vigor, Rouen had St. Romain. The emblem of eternal strife had become a universal allegory acceptable in every place and in all centuries, and so commonly believed, that until some poignant necessity arose for its assertion,39 it was never—as we shall see—mentioned even by those historians of the life of St. Romain, who might more especially be expected to know the details of his life.

For St. Romain, so the fable runs, delivered Rouen from an immense and voracious monster, called the "Gargouille," who dwelt in the morasses and reed-beds of the river, and devoured the inhabitants of the town.[9] The wily saint employed a condemned criminal as a bait, lured the dragon from its den, then made the sign of the cross over it, and dragged it, unresisting, by his holy stole into the town, "où elle fut arse et bruslez." To commemorate this deliverance in 626, continues the legend, the good King Dagobert (or was it Hlothair?) at the saint's request, allowed the Cathedral to release a prisoner every year upon Ascension Day, as the saint had released the prisoner who had assisted in the destruction of the "Gargouille."

All this is a very pretty example of a holy hypothesis constructed to explain facts that arose in a very different manner; and though it is no pleasant task to undermine a picturesque belief, yet the chain of events which led to its universal acceptance are too remarkable to be left without a firm historical basis, or at any rate a suggestion more in accordance with the science of dates than that which was related by the Church throughout so many centuries. For there is no disputing that if the "miracle" had in actual fact occurred, some mention would have been made of it after the death of St. Romain in 638, or at any rate after 686, when the historians had the whole life of St. Ouen and his times to describe. Yet neither St. Ouen himself nor Dudo of St. Quentin in the tenth century, nor William of Jumièges, nor Orderic Vital, nor Anselm,40 Abbot of Bec, in the eleventh, say a word about it; and these are all most respectable and painstaking authorities. In 1108, when an assembly was held by William the Conqueror at Lillebonne, with the express object of regulating privileges, not a word was said by the Archbishop of Rouen there present about the most extraordinary privilege enjoyed by his chapter. It is only at the beginning of the thirteenth century that the inevitable quarrels between the civil and ecclesiastical powers over a criminal claimed by both can first be traced; and it may be safely argued that while the privilege was not questioned it did not exist. It is as late as 1394 that the first mention of the famous "Gargouille" itself occurs in any reputable document. It was not till a twenty-second of May 1425, that Henry, King of France and England, did command the Bishop of Bayeux and Raoul le Sage to inquire into the "usage et coutume d'exercer le privilège de Saint Romain"; for the good reason that in this year the chapter desired to release, by the exercise of their privilege, one Geoffroy Cordebœuf, who had slain an Englishman. In 1485, one Étienne Tuvache, was summoned to uphold the privilege before the "Lit de Justice" of Charles VIII. on the 27th of April; and in 1512 we find the definite confirmation of the privilege by Louis XII.; and even yet there are only a few confused and vague rumours of the "Gargouille" and its saintly conqueror.

There are, therefore, far more numerous and more authentic traces of the privilege than of the miracle; the effect is undoubted; it remains to conjecture its prime cause; and as I shall show at greater length in its right place, there is every reason to believe that the origin of the privilege was one of the great Mystery Plays of the Ascension, and that it was first exercised between 1135 and 1145. As the custom grew into a privilege, and the privilege crystallised into a right,41 ecclesiastical advocates were never at a loss to bring divine authority to their aid in their championship of the chapter's powers; the "Gargouille," in fact, was "created" after the "privilège" had become established; and for us the chief merit of the tale lies in the fact that it preserves the national memory of St. Romain's firm stand against the old dragon of idolatry and paganism, whose last remnants were swept out of Normandy by his firm and militant Christianity.[10]

This is an age of great churchmen. While the Roman Empire lasted, the Church had been dependent and submissive to the Emperors. When the Franks arrived her attitude was changed, for to these barbarous and ungodly strangers she stood as a beneficent superior, and a steadfast shield over the Gallo-Roman people. So it was that the bishops became the protectors of towns, the counsellors of kings, the owners of large and rich tracts of land, the sole possessors of knowledge and of letters in an age of darkest brutality and ignorance. With the names of St. Ouen and St. Romain in Normandy at this time are bound up those of St. Philibert, St. Saëns, and St. Herbland, under whose protection was one of the oldest parishes of Rouen. His church stood until quite modern years in the Parvis of the Cathedral at the end of the Rue de la Grosse Horloge. On various islands in the stream, for the very soil of Rouen at this time was as uncertain as its chronicles, were built the chapels to St. Clément and St. Eloi, and other saints. The boundaries of the Frankish settlement, described in terms of modern street-geography, were, roughly, along the Rue des Fossés Louis VIII. from Pont de Robec to the Poterne,42 thence by the Marché Neuf, now Place Verdrel, along the Palais, through the Rue Massacre to the Rue aux Ours. From there the line passed to the Place de la Calende and the Eau de Robec, while the fourth side was marked by the waters of the Robec itself.

This was the Rouen which welcomed Charlemagne in 769, who came to celebrate Easter in the Cathedral he was to benefit so largely, among the canons who had only been organised into a regular chapter, living in one community, about nine years before. The great Emperor not only helped the Cathedral in his lifetime, but left it a legacy in his will, for the town, in gratitude for his benefactions, had furnished twenty-eight "ships" to help him pursue his enemies, out of the fleet which had already begun to exploit the rich commercial possibilities of Britain, and to enter into trading engagements even with the Byzantine emperors. With the second coming of Charlemagne at the dawn of the ninth century, the next period in the history of Rouen closes. At his death the semblance of an empire, into which his mighty personality had welded the warring anarchies of Western Europe, crumbled back into its constituent fragments. His was an empire wholly aristocratic, and wholly German. After Charles Martel had driven out the Saracens from Tours and Poitiers, it absorbed Gaul also in its rule, but Charlemagne was never other than a Teutonic ruler over Franks. He was one of the makers of Europe but not one of the creators of the Kingdom of France. It was not until his empire crumbled at his death that those persistent entities, France and Germany, made their appearance.

But Normandy had much to go through before she became a part of that kingdom which she did so much to make. In 556 a great fire had destroyed most of the city of Rouen. Thirty years later a plague had decimated her inhabitants. The Merovingians had43 left her ruined and depopulated. Though spasmodic efforts at prosperity and strength appeared during the great Emperor's lifetime, the town had not yet reached anything approaching to a solid basis of civic or commercial power. Its attempts were ruined by the anarchy that followed Charlemagne's decease, and there was little left for the first Danes to plunder when the first galleys of the Northern pirates swept up the Seine in 841.



44

CHAPTER IV

Rouen under her own Dukes

Normanni, si bono rigidoque dominatu reguntur, strenuissimi sunt et in arduis rebus invicti omnes excellunt et cunctis hostibus fortiores superare contendunt. Alioquin sese vicissim dilaniant atque consumunt. Rebelliones enim cupiunt, seditiones enim appetunt, et ad omne nefas prompti sunt. Rectitudinis ergo forti censura coerceantur et fraeno disciplinae per tramitem justitiae gradiri compellantur.


THE unity of Charlemagne's Empire existed in name alone. The agglomeration of essentially different races only served the purpose THE ARMS OF NORMANDYof emphasising the distinctions of blood and climate which were to be the eternal bars against unnatural union. But the residuum of separate nations was some time in making its appearance. Their various rulers would not accept the inevitable without a struggle; and in that struggle the only power that gained was the Church. France had no sooner thrown off the German yoke than she professed obedience to her great ecclesiastics. In Neustria the only life and strength left after the Empire died was in the Church. For the land was but a waste of untilled soil, sparsely inhabited by serfs, and divided among the overlords, and of these latter the richest were the abbots and the bishops, round whose palaces and monasteries clustered the towns for their defence. But their temporal power was soon45 destined to decay. The empire of the mind they might regain; their leadership of France was lost the instant that the Northmen's ships appeared upon the Seine.

When the serfs of Neustria first heard the ivory horns of the Vikings echoing along their river's banks, and saw the blood-red banner of the North against the sky, few men realised that the invaders were to weld them into the strongest Duchy of the West, and finally to make France herself arise as an independent nation out of Europe. They fled, these spiritless and defenceless villagers, to the nearest abbey's walls, they hid before the altars which held the relics of their saints, but neither relics nor sanctuary availed to save, as the monks of St. Martin at Tours, of Saint Germain des Prés at Paris could testify. These barbarians used the Christian rites merely to advance their own base purposes. Ever since Harold had won a province for a baptism each pirate chief in turn was the more eager to insist upon such lucrative religion. When they could not make capital out of "conversions" they took gold and provisions as the price of temporary peace. By degrees they gave up going home in winter. The climate of these southern lands was tempting. In various parts of France along the river-mouths, just as they had taken the highway of the Humber into the heart of Britain, they made their scattered settlements, even as far inland as Chartres. But only one was destined to be permanent, and this was made by Rolf, Rollo, or Rou, in Rouen, the kernel of the Northern province. In 841 Ogier the Dane had sailed up the "Route des Cygnes" to burn the shrines of St. Wandrille and Jumièges, to pillage Rouen, even to terrify Paris. After him came Bjorn Ironside and Ragnar Lodbrog. Twice they reached Paris, knocking at the gates to pass through towards the vineyards of Burgundy. In 861 they made a kind of camp46 upon an island between Oissel and Pont de l'Arche. At last in 876 came Rolf the Ganger, the King of the Sea, and made Rouen his headquarters.

There had been but little resistance to their advance. The fifty-three great expeditions of Charlemagne had used up the fighting men and scattered the bravest of the nobles over widely separated tracts of conquered territory. The Frenchmen had disappeared, either in war or by a voluntary submission to the lords under whose protection alone could they find safety. No wonder that the chroniclers were obliged to account for the barrenness and weakness of the land by exaggerating the already certain slaughter at Fontenai....

"La peri de France la flor
Et des baronz tuit li meillor
Ainsi trovèrent Haenz terre
Vuide de gent, bonne à conquerre."

The land was left uncultivated. Forests grew thicker between Seine and Loire. Wolves ravaged Aquitaine with none to hinder them. The South was still infested by the Saracens. France seemed given up to wild beasts. Nor were the pirates unaided in their work of rapine. Necessarily few in number, for they came from far by sea, their ranks were recruited by every reckless freebooter in the country, who was quite ready to bow down to Thor and Odin, instead of to the shrines of his own land, which had proved so powerless to protect it. Fast on the heels of the first band of pirates came another, and another yet. Only by the strength of Theobald of Blois was the Loire closed against continual invasion, as the Seine was held by Rollo, who was to fix the true race of the Northmen for ever in the land.

He made his settlement in Neustria in exactly the same way as Guthrum thirty years before had taken possession of East Anglia. But while it was an easy task for the Danes to become Englishmen, it was a far47 harder one for the invaders of the Seine to become so completely Frenchmen, as in fact they did. In the case of both Guthrum and Rollo, the invaded sovereign had been compelled to give up part of his lands to save the whole. Both the archbishop at Rouen and the "King" at Paris saw no other way out of their difficulties; and Rollo was as ready as Guthrum had been to go through the form of baptism and the farce of a submission, requiring as a pledge the daughter of the King, whose vassal or "man" he became. The treaty in which Charles the Simple purchased peace was a close imitation of the Peace of Wedmore. These things became more serious to the pirate later on. But his way was at first made easy for him. At Rouen, Archbishop Franco, remembering perhaps the gloomy prophecies of Charlemagne, gave up his ruined and defenceless city without a blow.[11]

Rolf found indeed very little except the "crowd without arms" described by Dudo of St. Quentin in a town where hardly a stone wall had been left upright and the population had been ruthlessly decimated by his predecessors. As Wace says of the expedition of Hastings the Dane:

"... À Roem sunt aresté
Tote destruitrent la cité
Aveir troverent à plenté
Mesonz ardent, froissent céliers,
Homes tuent, robent mostiers"....

so that it is almost astonishing to hear that even the church of St. Martin de la Roquette remained standing,48 if, indeed, that is meant by the phrase, "Portae cui innexa est ecclesia Sancti Martini naves adhaesit," which may refer to the "Saint Morin" of Wace, or the "Portus morandi" I spoke of on page 16. The town was still, it must be remembered, in its primitive watery condition, the chapels, not only of St. Martin, but of St. Clément and of St. Eloi, were on islands that are now part of the firm soil of the river's bank. The waters of the Robec itself formed one of the defences of the ruined city Rollo took. Just beyond the line of the old Gallo-Roman walls, rose the first rude monastery of St. Ouen; shrines were also consecrated to St. Godard, to St. Martin, to St. Vincent sur Rive; but most of the houses were still only of timber, and it was not till Rollo had closed up the wandering bed of the river between these shifting islands that the "Terres Neuves" were first formed that reached from the Rue Saint Denis to the Eau de Robec, through the Place de la Calende, down to the Rue de la Madeleine and the Rue aux Ours, and so to the Quai de la Bourse by way of the Rue des Cordeliers. What is now merely No. 41 Rue Nationale, was once the old church of St. Pierre du Chastel, and the name commemorates the spot where Rollo built his first square tower, the first of the many "Tours" that were built by the lords of Rouen, native and foreign, princes or pirates, from the river to the northern angle of the outer walls. Map B shows Rollo's castle and the three which followed it, one on each side beneath, and one above.

It was in 912 that Rollo thus marked the beginning of the Duchy of Normandy with the strong seal of his donjon-keep at Rouen, though he and his descendants for another century were still known only as the Pirates, and the Pirates' Duke. In that year he was baptised by the Archbishop of Rouen, and received from the Karoling King all the lands from "the river of Epte to the sea, and westwards to Brittany," with the hand49 of the Princess Gisela. Robert, Duke of the Franks, came back with him to Rouen to be his godfather, and for seven days the "King of the Sea" wore the white robes of innocence, and his followers eagerly joined him in the fold of Christianity, with results whose worldwide importance were only to be seen more than a century later. For the present the wolves were quite ready to lie down with the lambs, but they kept their brutal dignity and coarse jests throughout all the solemn ceremonial. The pirate who was sent to do submission for the Duchy, embraced the royal foot so roughly that the King fell backwards off his throne, and in a roar of Norman laughter the Norman rule began that was to last for three centuries in France and spread from Palermo to the Tees. The fable of this rudely-treated monarch reflects more than the anxiety of Norman chroniclers to hide the least appearance of submission; it suggests the fact of very actual weakness in these dying Karolings. Rollo's coming had decided for the French dynasty of Paris as against the Frankish dynasty of Laon. Both Karolings and Merovingians had been essentially of German stock. It was only late in the ninth century that Paris, the chief object of the Northerners' attack upon the Seine, arose as the national bulwark against the invader, and became a ducal city that was to be a royal. Its Duke, Robert the Strong, the forefather of Capets, of Valois, and of Bourbons, had a son, Eudes (or Odo), whose gallant repulse of the Pirates had given him a throne that was still held by his descendants a thousand years later, and he ruled in the French speech, while the Karolings of Laon still used the Teutonic idiom. When Laon was joined to Paris in 987 by the election of Hugh, modern France really began with a French king ruling at Paris, and a German emperor as alien to the realm of the Capets as was his brother of Byzantium. But there is still much to happen before50 the date of 987 can be safely reached, and the last ineffectual years of Charles the Simple gave Rollo every opportunity to strengthen his new possessions in security.

The young blood, the adventurous spirit, the thirst for conquest, that his Scandinavian followers brought to Rouen, was destined to work wonders on its new soil. For these pirates took the creed, the language and the manners of the French, and kept their own vigorous characteristics as mercenaries, plunderers, conquerors, crusaders. If in peace they invented nothing, they were quick to learn and adapt, generous to disseminate. In Rouen itself they welcomed scholars, poets, theologians, and artists. Their Scandinavian vigour mated to the vivacity of Gaul was to produce a conquering race in Europe. At Bayeux, where a Saxon emigration had settled down long before the days of Rollo, the type of the original Norman can still be seen. The same type comes out in every famous Norman of to-day, in that "figure de coq," with its high nose and clever brow that marks the bold nature tempered with the cunning, the lawyer and the soldier mixed. To these men Rollo gave land instead of booty. Of himself and his doings little accurate is known; but from the results of his rule his greatness can be fairly judged, for he held his sceptre like a battleaxe, and increased the bounds of his dominion. It was within his capital that his rule was chiefly beneficial. Here and there his Norman names have survived, as in Robec (Redbeck) Dieppedal (Deepdale) or Caudebec (Coldbeck), but in the main he proved at once the high adaptability of his race. His first assembly was of necessity aristocratic, and without ecclesiastics, for every landowner was Scandinavian, and the remnant of the aborigines were serfs whose revolts were pitilessly crushed. Twice a year his barons came to his court, as feudatory judges, the first faint beginnings of the Échiquier de Normandie. His laws were made then, and made to be respected,51 and it is even said that the cry of "Haro!" which was heard far later in the history of Rouen, originated in the "Ha! Rou!" with which the citizens then began their appeal to him for justice. The tale of the golden bracelets he hung in the branches of his hunting forest by the Seine, which stayed three years without being stolen, is an indication of the rigour of the laws he made. In about 930 he died, and was the first layman to be buried in the cathedral he had improved:—

"En mostier Nostre Dame, el costé verz midi
Ont li cler è li lai li cors ensepulcri."

His son, William Longsword, succeeded to his Duchy, enlarged by the additions which Rollo had known how to secure during the strife between Laon and Paris that had been going on throughout his rule. That he had paid little attention to the weak King Charles is evident from the tale that tells of the first execution recorded in what is now the Place du Marché Vieux. For Charles, with a simplicity worthy of his title, had apparently sent two gallants of his court to console his daughter Gisela for the roughness with which he heard her husband treated her, and these two were promptly hanged. But there was more material profit to be had out of the quarrels of the country, and though he lost Eu for a time, Rollo had been able to gain from the war by which he was surrounded in Maine, in Bessin, and in Brittany; which meant that his son came into possession of Caen, Cerisy, Falaise, and that Bayeux, which had been colonised from the North in the last days of the Roman Empire, and remained Teutonic long after Rouen had been "Parisianised," where you may still see all save the tongue of England, in men and animals, even in fields and hedges. And William Longsword, though he wavered towards France and Christianity, remained at heart even more Pagan than his father, sending his son to these stubborn Northmen52 of Bayeux where the Danish tongue was kept in all its purity, and calling in fresh Danish colonists to occupy his own province of Côtentin from St. Michael's Mount to Cherbourg. It was in the battle that secured his hold on this new territory that 300 knights of Rouen, under Bernard the Dane, drove out 4000 from Côtentin under their leader Count Riolf, who had disputed William's suzerainty, upon the Pré de la Bataille that is now a cider market near the town. (Roman de Rou, v. 2239.) It was at this time, too, that Prince Alan of Brittany fled for refuge to England, and the crushing of the Breton revolt resulted in the addition of the Channel Islands to the Duchy of Normandy, which remained British after John Lackland had lost the last of his continental possessions, retaining their local independence and ancient institutions under the protection of England; a far better thing for them than any enjoyment of the privileges, either of a French Department, or of a British county represented in Parliament like the ancient Norwegian Earldom of Orkney.

Few of the occurrences of this confused period are so clearly prominent or have such far-reaching results as this; and after young Louis d'Outremer had been called over from England to the throne of France, this vacillating and weak Duke William was murdered by Arnoulf of Flanders at the conference held on the island of Pecquigny in the Somme, as William of Jumièges relates (III. cap. xi. et seq.). His courtiers found upon his body the silver key of the chest that guarded the monk's cowl he had always desired to wear. So upon a sixteenth of December 943 (in the year of the birth of Hugh Capet), the strengthless descendant of the Viking died and was buried in the Cathedral, and the Normans did homage to his young son Richard the Fearless who was fetched from his Saxon home at Bayeux and guarded by Bernard the Dane within the walls of Rouen.53 The boy was destined to a perilous and adventurous career, which began as soon as he had taken up his father's power, for the King of France came straight to Rouen and would have seized the little Duke had not the citizens arisen to protect him with such menaces of violence that the attempt was postponed. But he enticed the boy to Laon and there imprisoned him until the faithful Osmond got him out concealed in a bundle of hay and bore him off on horseback to Coucy. Then Bernard the Dane called on Harold Blacktooth of Denmark to bring his men from Coutances and Bayeux and to sail up with his long ships from Cherbourg to avenge the murder of Duke William. The King hastened to the walls of Rouen to see what could be done by treaty with the invaders, but the crafty Normans pretended that among his escort they saw the murderer himself, so they fell suddenly upon the French, slew eighteen of their nobles, and threw their king into prison from which he was only rescued by Hugh, Duke of the French, at the price of the city of Laon. The interference of Germany in the quarrel produced an alliance between Normandy and Hugh of Paris that led eventually to the independence of the Duchy and the downfall of the Karolings of Laon as soon as the German help had been withdrawn. But this did not happen until an energetic attempt had been made to crush Normandy and Paris by the new allies who failed to take either Laon or Paris, but ravaged Normandy and were only repulsed from Rouen after a siege in 946 that is one of the most picturesque landmarks in the early story of the town. In the Roman de Rou, and in Dudo of St. Quentin, the details of the fighting have been carefully preserved.

The combined host of Germans under Otto, French under Louis, and Flemings under Arnoul, advanced together upon Rouen, and their scouts reported that54 the town showed no signs of resistance. But behind the battlements[12] the citizens were stacking piles of stones and darts. Masses of picked men were posted at various vantage-points for sallying forth. Spies were hidden in the long reeds and grass all round the city, and sentinels unseen were guarding all the walls, from the main road at the Porte Beauvoisine, round the heavy ramparts to the north and east. Upon their south-west was the river, and there was plenty of provisions stored inside. The quiet reported to the allies was but the confident repose of thorough preparation, and this the Germans discovered as soon as they drew near the city. The young Duke Richard suddenly dashed out over the drawbridge with seven hundred full-armed Norman knights on horseback shouting "Dex Aie!" behind him. They rode straight upon the German spears, cut their way through and back again taking fifteen captives with them, and slaying their leader, the "Edeling" himself who had followed them to the very bridge. Otto fainted at the sight of the dead body of the brave Edeling whose "Flamberg" and Castilian steed are often mentioned in the story though his name does not appear. Then the braying of aurochs' horns, of cornets and of trumpets, announced the coming vengeance of the allies. Their catapults rained missiles on the town, and their men-at-arms waited impatiently for a breach to be battered in the Porte Beauvoisine. But it remained steadfastly shut, and the Duke made another brilliant sally from a postern gate with the blood-red standard waving again above his Norman knights, and swept back once more the assailing lines of Germany until the French had to bring up their reinforcements from the rear and save the field. That evening, in Otto's pavilion, the funeral service55 of the Edeling was held. All night he lay beneath the silk of his funeral pall with tapers burning at his head and feet, and the low chant of prayer sounded till the dawn. All night had Otto stayed awake in sorrow and unrest. At last, with the rising of the sun he heard a burst of minstrelsy. Rouen was silent no longer; the songs of triumph and defiance burst from every parapet and tower, while the very birds (says the chronicler) seemed to join in the chorus of happiness all round the beaten camp. Then Otto rode moodily along the city walls and watched the waggons bringing in supplies across the bridge, and noted that the bridge-head at Ermondeville (St. Sever as it is to-day), was weakly held, so he rode back determined to starve Rouen into submission.

But the council of his knights refused the plan, so he was obliged to veil his anger by asking the Normans for permission to pray at the Shrine of St. Ouen and bury his noble kinsman beyond the walls of their town. Safe conduct was immediately granted, and all the leaders except Arnoul of Flanders passed in procession to the abbey. There, after gifts of gold and precious carpets to the abbot, Otto proposed that Arnoul should be given up, but returned before the answer to these treacherous negotiations had been given. The night that followed was full of terrors and alarms. Suspecting that he would be betrayed, Arnoul took all his Flemish host as soon as darkness fell, and lumbered heavily out of the camp of the allies, his cumbrous waggons creaking noisily beneath the weight of the camp-furniture. Both French and Germans heard the sound and started to their feet imagining a night-attack from Rouen. Panic seized the camp at once. Men cut the cords of the rich tents, and scattered their spoil about the ground, rushing half clad in all directions and shouting for their arms; a fire broke out at headquarters; the56 camp-followers seized their opportunity, dashed upon Otto's tent and plundered it of armour and of all its royal ornaments; the rest fled hastily all ways at once not seeing where they went, and in an unknown country.

FIGURE FROM THE BORDER OF THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY FIGURE FROM THE
BORDER OF THE
BAYEUX TAPESTRY
Meanwhile the rising clamour roused the sentinels of Rouen, and all the garrison made ready for attack, hurried to their posts, and waited steadfastly under arms until the dawn. As the light shone from the east they saw the rout and disorder of their enemies' camp, and loud jeers and laughter rose along the walls, and echo still in the rough verses of Dudo their historian. The Flemish had the advantage of an early start, and got clear away. The French had followed fast upon their heels, but the Germans had plunged in unwieldy panic into the labyrinth of the woods and fens. The Normans spread out at once and caught them. At the Place de la Rougemare they slaughtered so many that the fields were dyed red with their blood. At Bihorel more were massacred. In Maupertuis, or Maromme, hundreds were butchered. Then the peasants took up the bloody task. With sharpened scythes and pitchforks, with pointed staves and heavy truncheons and ironshod clubs, they killed the miserable Germans all day long, and the line of escape was marked along the Beauvoisine road by corpses almost to Amiens itself.

This strange victory seems to have pulled the men of Rouen together, and given them confidence. The Laws of Rollo had been restored to their old strength by Harold Blacktooth, and at last Neustrians and Scandinavians seemed in a fair way to amalgamate and produce that nation of warriors and lawyers which they afterwards became. In 954 King Louis died after a last flicker of expiring power in retrieving Laon. But57 though Lothair followed him as King of the French, Hugh Capet was ruling in 956 as Duke of Paris, and it was to Hugh that Duke Richard of Normandy did homage for his fief. Thirty-one years later the last Karoling was passed over, and Hugh Capet was crowned King at Noyon. In the starting of this new dynasty, which is the starting-point for the true history of France, Duke Richard of Normandy had played a most important part, for it was in no small measure by his help that Gaul had been made French and had won a French Lord of Paris for her King. At the coronation of Hugh Capet, Normandy ceased to be the Land of Pirates, and became the mightiest and noblest fief of the French crown, its most loyal and most daring vassal. In the years of Duke Richard too, Normandy was completed internally. Her army and her fleet were organised. Her frontiers, her laws, her feudal system came to perfection. Her national character crystallised. Already in the Norman Baronage we can find English names like that of the Harcourts, descended from Bernard the Dane, on a castle-wall we can read the name of Bruce, in a tiny village trace the name of Percy. Among the elms and apple-orchards that still faithfully reflect our English countryside, the square gray keeps are rising already which were handed on by Norman builders to the cliffs of Richmond or the banks of Thames. In 996 Duke Richard built one of these upon the right bank of Robec near the Seine, a new Palace-Prison, another "Tour de Rouen" to replace the fallen masonry of Rollo's ancient keep. It was founded where the Place de la Haute Vieille Tour preserves its memory still, with the Duke's private chapel on the spot where the Fierte St. Romain stands to this day.

Robert Wace preserves a story that indicates the close terms on which Duke Richard was with religion, and also shows that the steady growth in wealth and58 influence of the clergy through his reign, was not unaccompanied by an immorality which was conspicuous under Archbishop Hugh II., and became flagrant during the office of Mauger later on. It appears that the Sacristan of St. Ouen fell most uncanonically in love with a lady who dwelt on the other side of the Robec. On his way to meet her one dark night, his foot slipped from the plank that crossed the rapid little stream, and he fell into the water. Whereon a sprightly devilkin seized hurriedly upon his soul and was on the point of bearing it away to Hell, when an angel (mindful doubtless of the abbey's piety) arrived, objecting with a nicely argued piece of logic that the sacristan had not been carried off "en male veie," but before any sin had been committed. So the contending parties brought the case (that is the body) before the Duke for judgment.[13] His Grace insisted that the soul should be put back into its mortal envelope, and he would then decide according to the action of the sacristan. The ardour of the resuscitated monk seems to have been sufficiently cooled by his involuntary bath in Robec, and he hurried back to his lonely bed in the Abbey of St. Ouen, and at the Duke's command confessed his wickedness to the abbot. But his escapade remains enshrined in a proverb that lasted well into the sixteenth century, and is given by Wace in its original form:

"Sire Moine, suef alez
Al passer planche vus gardez."

In 996, the Fearless Duke himself gave up the59 ghost, after having enlarged the Cathedral of Rouen, and given it new pavement.[14] His son, another Richard, like him in name alone, succeeded, and in the first year of the new reign, we hear of a peasant revolt that shows an extraordinary foreshadowing of the changes that were to come after the fateful thousandth year had passed. The keynote of the movement is struck in the strange word used by Wace, that occurs now for the first time in history:

"Asez tost oï Richard dire
Ke vilains cumune faseient."

These downtrodden serfs, of mixed Celtic, Roman, and Frankish parentage, had actually spoken that word of fear to every feudal baron, a "commune." They established a regular representative Parliament with two peasants sent from each district to a general assembly whose decision should be binding on the whole. This was a considerably higher political organisation than the aristocratic household of their masters round the King. And bitterly their masters resented such forward and unscrupulous behaviour. The Duke's uncle, Rudolf, Count of Ivry, crushed the "revolt" with hideous cruelty, and sent back the people's representatives maimed and useless to their hovels. "Legatos cepit," says William of Jumièges, "truncatisque manibus et pedibus inutiles suis remisit," adding with unconscious ferocity "his rustici expertis ad sua aratra sunt reversi." But the germs of freedom did not die, for villenage in Normandy was lighter, and60 ceased far sooner, than in the rest of France. These first martyrs did not suffer in vain.

If you look closely at the few carvings remaining on the churches of the tenth and eleventh centuries, you will understand the terror under which all men were crushed as the thousandth year drew nearer, which was believed to be the end of the world. Grimacing dumbly in their stiffened attitudes of fear, these thin anatomies implore with clenched uplifted hands, the death that shall save them from the misery of their life. A world so filled with ruins might well give up all hope on this side of the tomb. The revolt of the Norman peasants had been crushed in blood. The first religious persecutions had begun, in the slaying of the Manichean heretics at Orléans. The seasons in their courses seemed to fight against humanity, for famine and pestilence, storm and tempest swept down upon the land and the people died in thousands of sheer starvation. The Roman Empire had crumbled in the dust; after it fell that of Charlemagne into the abyss. The chronicles of Raoul Glaber are full of the most gruesome details of cannibalism, of diabolical appearances, of tortures that cannot be named. The only refuge seemed to be within the walls of the churches, where the shivering congregations gathered, mute in a palsied supplication like the stone figures carved upon the walls above them. At last the terrible year passed by, and the stars fell not, nor did the heaven depart as a scroll when it is rolled together, and the kings of the earth and the great men and the rich men and the chief captains and the mighty men and every bondman and every freeman came forth from their houses and from their dens and from the rocks of the mountain, and went with one accord to give thanks to Holy Church for their deliverance. The wave of religious feeling swept from one end of Europe to the other, and nowhere was it so strong as in Normandy.61 For the Normans saw their advantage in it, just as the first pirates had seen their gain in baptism. The laws of Rollo and his descendants were too strict for brigandage at home, so the more restless spirits started over Europe in the guise of pilgrims, "gaaignant," as Wace says, towards Monte Cassino, to St. James of Compostella, to the Holy Sepulchre itself. It was as pilgrims that they travelled into Southern Italy, where a poor Norman knight had been rewarded for his fighting against the infidels by the County of Aversa. Tancred of Hauteville, from the Côtentin, followed there. By 1002 the citizens of Rouen were already admiring the oranges, or "Pommes d'Or" which their adventurous "Crusaders" had sent back from Salerno, as the first-fruits of that Kingdom of Calabria and Sicily which a Norman, Robert Guiscard, was to make his own.

Meanwhile within the bounds of Normandy itself, the great religious revival went on side by side with growing civic and military strength. In 1004, Olaf, King of Norway, who had come over to help the second Duke Richard, was baptised in the Cathedral of Rouen. Sweyn, King of Denmark, and Lacman, King of Sweden, were in the city at the same time, and doubtless felt the same impulse to profession of the Christian faith when visiting their Scandinavian relatives. Rouen was indeed a gathering place for all the northern royalties, for Ethelred II. who had lost the Anglo-Saxon throne, was there as well, with his wife Emma the daughter of the Duke. It seems in fact to have already become the fashion for princes of the royal house of Britain to complete their education by a little tour in France. A curious trait of the manners of the time is recorded by Wace, who describes one of the many banquets that must have been given so often during all these royal visits. He speaks of the long sleeves and white shirts of the barons, and relates the first instance of aristo62cratic kleptomania at a dinner-table, when a knight took a silver spoon and hid it in his sleeve (R. de R. 7030). The reign of this second Richard and of his son the third passed without much incident, and then came the sixth Duke, Robert the Magnificent as his courtiers called him, Robert the Devil as his people knew him. He is chiefly famous as the father of his mighty son, and he did little in his capital of Rouen that is of interest beyond its walls, save the attempt to restore the Saxon princes Alfred and Edward to their father's throne, which failed because his fleet was stopped by persistent headwinds and could do nothing more than thoroughly subjugate the neighbouring fief of Brittany. After this, the Duke fell in, like all around, with the dominant religious passion, took up the pilgrim's cross, and died with his Crusaders at Nicaea.

"À Faleize ont li Dus hanté,"

says Wace,

"Une meschine i ont amée,
Arlot ont nom, de burgeis née."

And from this love-match with a tanner's daughter sprang William the Bastard in 1028. Though his father had insisted upon this child's inheritance on his departure for the East, the election of a boy of seven to the Ducal throne was naturally bitterly opposed by such great baronial houses as those of Belesme and others. A period of anarchy and assassination was the obvious result. But Alan of Brittany, the Seneschal Osbern, and Count Gilbert stood staunchly by the heir. All three were murdered, and young William himself with difficulty escaped. Then Ralph of Wacey and William Fitz-Osbern attached themselves to the boy who must have shown promise of his greatness early to attract such faithful friendships through the twenty years of civil war that preceded his firm holding of the throne. He63 had been knighted young, and he was soon to prove the strength of his right arm. But his first actions strangely enough are connected with the Church that overshadowed so much of public life. He made the mistake of giving the See of Rouen to the profligate Mauger (though the error was sternly corrected later on) just as he gave the See of Bayeux to his half-brother Odo. Benedictine monasteries began to flourish all over Normandy, chief among which was the Abbey of Bec, which in Lanfranc and Anselm was to provide Canterbury with two prelates later on. Religion was responsible, at the same time, for at least one benefit to the land in the famous institution of the "Truce of God," which was fully confirmed later on, and proclaimed that from Wednesday evening until Monday morning in every week the poor and weak were to be free from the oppressions of their overlords and from the tyranny of private war. And a still more valuable result of the prevalent religious enthusiasm was the gradual drawing together of Normandy and the Papal See which had its greatest outcome in the "Crusade" against England.

But William had much to do in his own Duchy before he could find time for any extension of his dominions. At Val-ès-Dunes he fought his first pitched battle, crying the "Dex Aie" of the Normans as he swept the rebellious barons, under Guy of Burgundy, off the field. Then feeling more secure in his own power, after he had taken Alençon and Domfront and laid his iron hand on Maine, while Anjou and Brittany were too bent upon intestine strife to trouble him, he pacified the continual quarrels with Flanders by taking Matilda the daughter of its Count Baldwin as his wife. Descended from the stock of Wessex, of Burgundy, and of Italy, with the blood of Charlemagne in her veins, Matilda was beautiful, virtuous and accomplished, and worthy to be the mate64 of one who set an example of domestic purity to all the princes of his time. What had been politic at first became a marriage of affection afterwards, strengthened no doubt by the opposition that at first arose. For the Duke's Uncle Mauger objected to the match as being within the forbidden degrees of relationship, and the Pope at the Council of Rheims actually pronounced against it. But now came the first-fruits of the policy which had already shown signs of drawing together Normandy and the Papacy. For it only needed a little pressure on the part of the Guiscards in Apulia to secure the consent of the Papal Legate to the banishment of Mauger to the Channel Islands, which he appears to have richly deserved for many other reasons, if Wace be right in his indictment; and after four years of waiting, Matilda was married to the Duke in the Cathedral of Rouen by the new Bishop Maurilius who finished the new church that was consecrated in 1063. Another objection to the marriage received very different treatment. For in Lanfranc of Bec William had recognised the clever Italian who would be useful in Council as much as in the Church, and it was through Lanfranc's personal intercession that the Papal authority had finally been brought to William. The "penance" inflicted for his wedding was, we may well believe, cheerfully performed in the building of the hospitals at Rouen, Bayeux, Caen and Cherbourg, and the two mighty abbeys (for William and for Matilda) that remain at Caen.

FIGURE FROM THE BORDER OF THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY FIGURE FROM THE
BORDER OF THE
BAYEUX TAPESTRY
Meanwhile the power of Normandy continued to wax greater. Even two centuries after this time it comprised a third part of the wealth and importance of the kingdom, and in the days of our own Fifth Henry no advice more dangerous to France could be given to65 an English King than to preserve by every means the independence of this Duchy. To the France of the eleventh century, it was a far greater peril still. Sullenly hostile, or actively menacing, it was only by perpetual harassing that Normandy could be kept down at all. At last in 1054 the King roused all the cities of Central Gaul, Burgundian, Gascon, Breton and Auvergnat in one combined onset, and gathered them at Mantes, the natural frontier between Normandy and France. Duke William's strategy and daring were equal to his task. He divided the invaders into two, annihilated one division at Mortemer with very little loss, and watched the other with grim merriment as it vanished from his Duchy, afraid to strike a blow. Four years later France and Anjou came on for another attempt. Again the Duke was ready. He caught their hosts where the river Dive cut the army in twain, and fell suddenly with all his knights and clubmen and a thundershower of arrows on the division that held the lower bank. King Henry had to watch in idleness above, while his rear-guard was being helplessly cut to pieces. By the taking of Le Mans in 1063, William made still further preparation for the greater fight that was to come. Presages of the coming struggle were not long in making their appearance.

In 1064 Earl Harold on a pleasure-trip from England was wrecked upon the coast of Ponthieu. Duke William at once had him brought to Eu, where he met him and escorted him, in all good fellowship and chivalry, to Rouen. What actually happened during this important visit cannot be accurately determined. But of a few facts there seems to be no doubt. If Harold, for instance, received knighthood at William's hands, he thereby became his "man." More probably he swore brotherhood with the strong Duke. Certainly he took part in the expedition that crushed a Breton revolt, and chased its leader to the66 dangerous quicksands of St. Michael's Mount. Certainly too, an oath of some kind was plighted between the host and his somewhat unwilling guest. In this the Duke must have made mention of the promise given by Edward the Confessor as to the English Succession. This Edward it will be remembered was one of the Saxon princes who had lived for some time in Rouen, and was always fond of his Norman mother and her friends. Mention is also made of a betrothal of William's daughter to the Earl. In any case, we may be sure that Harold was sufficiently engaged to satisfy the politic Duke before he was allowed to return to England. Nor may we imagine that the next news which came across the Channel was wholly unexpected. For as the Duke was hunting with his courtiers and squires in his pleasaunce at Quévilly, across the Seine from Rouen, a messenger brought the tidings that Edward the Confessor was dead, and that Harold son of Godwin had seized the throne. Wace describes how Fitz-Osbern paced up and down the hunting-hall with his master as they discussed the news, and the Duke soon made his mind up as to the course to be pursued. A message was at once sent over to Harold, reminding him of the famous Oath, which had been taken, as some say, and according to the suggestions in the Bayeux Tapestry, over the sacred relics of the saints. What the Duke had expected and even hoped for, of course happened. Harold repudiated all knowledge of a binding agreement as to the Succession, and Normandy could thenceforth call upon the outraged Sanctity of Religion to help her in what was cleverly published as a Holy War.

Now the full effects of the religious trend in William's policy were seen at last, as clearly as was the wisdom of his own carefully religious life. The champion of the poor, the fatherless and the widow, the worshipper and communicant in Rouen Cathedral, the builder of67 hospitals and monasteries, above all the friend of Lanfranc, was easily able to secure the voice of the Pope in favour of a claim based not on heredity, not on election, not on bequest, but made by virtue of the personal injury done to him by Harold, and made to avenge the insulted saints of Normandy by recalling pagan England into the fold of Rome. Never were the highest motives so skilfully interwoven with appeals to lower instincts in the mingled crowd whom the Duke William gathered to his standard. He had before this crushed the Norman rebels, conquered the men of Maine or Anjou or Brittany, defeated the King of France. But this was a far greater task. Yet if Normans had won the Kingdom of the Sicilies, Normans should cross the sea to England and win that as well. And all the faithful of the earth should help them. It is a mistake to think that Normans alone conquered the land of Harold. From Flanders, from the Rhine, from Burgundy, Piedmont and Aquitaine, from all the northern coasts, an army of volunteers flocked to the standard of the Duke. And their leader went swiftly on to make preparations worthy of so great a host. While all the woods of Normandy are ringing to the axe, and all the shipwrights' yards are sounding to the hammer, we may pause and see what this mighty expedition means to Rouen.

To Normandy it brings at once the climax of her power and the beginning of her fall. For a Duchy that was but secondary to the Kingdom over seas could never claim again the full strength of the rulers who had raised her first. By degrees she fell away from the land across the channel and became absorbed in the kingdom of which she was territorially a natural part. But, as we have seen, she had already done much towards the making of that kingdom in her independence, and when she formed an integral part of it herself68 she was its firmest bulwark against invasion from the North. In Rouen itself the beginnings of commercial greatness had been indicated, even before the coming of Rollo, by the Mint which had been established there, as a branch of that founded by Charlemagne at Quantowitch, which was destroyed by the first Pirates. The money of Rouen was marked with the letter B to signify that it was the second in importance in the Kingdom. That the trade of the town soon justified this proud distinction on its currency is evident from the law of King Ethelred II., which exempted all Rouen merchants from taxation on their wine and "Marsouin" within the port of London. Other signs of commercial activity are to be found in bridge-building, and the numerous Fairs which arose under the Norman Dukes. In 1024 a toll upon the wooden bridge of Rouen is recorded, and when in 1030, it was destroyed by a revolt under Robert the Devil, the timbers were very shortly afterwards replaced, and remained until in 1160 the Empress Matilda built the famous "Pont de Pierre" that lasted for so many centuries. Of the great Fairs of Rouen, the first seems to be that of St. Gervais, instituted by the second Duke Richard in 1020, which was given with the church of the same name to the monks of the Abbey of Fécamp. It is still held in June in the Faubourg Cauchoise. The Foire du Pré was next founded in 1064 on the day after the Ascension by the great Duke William, under the auspices of the Priory of Notre Dame du Pré which his wife had built in the suburb of Émendreville across the river, where St. Sever now stands. The church itself took the name of Bonne-Nouvelle when the Duchess heard, as she was praying there, that the Victory of Hastings had made her Queen of England. Within its walls were buried the Empress Matilda, and the hapless Prince Arthur of Brittany. It was burnt down in 1243, and struck by69 lightning in 1351, destroyed during the siege by the English in 1418, and rebuilt only to be destroyed again by the Calvinists in 1562. In 1604 it was rebuilt for the last time, but the rights of jurisdiction and of the fair given it by William the Conqueror were only surrendered to the town of Rouen in 1493. In 1070 the Fête de l'Immaculée Conception, called the Fête aux Normands, was celebrated for the first time in memory of a vow after a safe voyage. The Confrèrie de la Conception, sometimes called Le Puy, was founded in connection with this, with the poems that were written each year in honour of the Feasts, which gave rise to the jocund office of the Prince des Palinods, of whom we shall hear more later. Their first poem, written by Robert Wace (the author of the "Roman de Rou," who was born in Jersey in 1100 and died at the age of 84 in England) was called "L'Establissement de la feste de la conception, dicte la Feste as Normands."

The most famous Fair of all was founded a little later by Guillaume Bonne Âme, forty-eighth bishop of Rouen, when he transported the body of St. Romain in a new and precious shrine from the church of St. Godard to the Cathedral. At this first procession in 1079 both William the Conqueror and his wife assisted. The change had been necessitated by the great crowds of people who had come every year to receive pardons and indulgences at the shrine of the famous guardian saint of the city, and who thronged into the neighbouring field, called the Champ-du-Pardon to this day. When the saint's body had been removed to the Cathedral, the Foire du Pardon was held in his honour in the same open space, and the whole ceremony was without doubt the beginning of that Levée de la Fierte which preserved the memory of St. Romain until the end of the eighteenth century. By William, the fair was originally fixed on two days in October, and in 146870 its duration was still further extended.[15] In the church of St. Étienne des Tonneliers, which was put under the protection of the monks of St. Ouen at this time, we can trace further evidence of the gradual consolidation of various trades; even the institution of the curfew bell, at the assembly of Caen in 1061, shows that increasing commerce had insisted upon greater security in the public streets. The Parvis of the Cathedral, too, was at this time not merely a place of inviolable sanctuary, but an open space on which merchants could display their goods and erect booths without any interference save from the canons. These shops were built up against the crenelated wall that surrounded the Parvis until the quarrel between canons and bourgeois pulled them down in 1192. The place was a frequent scene of conflict, and also of amusement, for in spite of the presence of a cemetery which extended over the Place de la Calende and the Portail des Libraires and was only abolished in the last century, the mystery plays were often given here, using the cemetery as a "background," as was frequently done. Till 1199 bakers sold bread here. Till 1429 the "Marché aux herbes et menues denrées" was held here, and then transferred to the Clos aux Juifs. In 1325 the working jewellers also frequented this locality, and in the name of the great north porch of the Cathedral is still preserved the memory of the booksellers of times far more modern.


MAP C

THE OLDEST ROUEN
SHOWING
GALLO-ROMAN WALLS

MAP C.

[Enlarge]


The foundations of another cathedral had been laid in 990, where Robec and Aubette still defined an "Ile Notre Dame de Rouen" whose inhabitants were under the jurisdiction of the chapterhouse. It was brought to a conclusion by Maurilius in 1063, and in the foundation and lower storeys of the northern71 tower of the west façade (known as the Tour St. Romain) are perhaps some of the few relics that remain of the architecture of these destructive years. But a far more beautiful and more authentic fragment is to be seen close to the Abbey Church of St. Ouen, in the exquisite little piece of architecture known as the Tour aux Clercs in the north-eastern corner of the apse, (see Chap. VIII.). This is part of the apse of the second abbey, which was begun by Nicolas of Normandy in 1042, finished in 1126, and burnt to the ground in 1136. Its fate was the common one of all ecclesiastical buildings of the time. In the next chapter we shall find but two more churches that can certainly be dated as before the years when Normandy became a part of France. The School of Art which gave a name to all those English buildings of which Durham Cathedral is the type and flower, left scarcely a stone in its own capital as a memorial of its source. Nor can Rouen point to a single building now remaining which was a palace or a prison of its Norman dukes. The greatest monument of its greatest duke is the Tower of London. Even the ruined Abbey of St. Amand, which was dedicated in 1070, does not now possess a stone that can be traced with certainty to the period of its Norman foundation. For whatever ruins now remain are those of the church built in 1274, whose tower was rebuilt after 1570, and whose last abbess, Madame de Lorge, died in October 1745.


72

CHAPTER V

The Conquest of England and the Fall of Normandy

"En Normandie a gent molt fiere
Jo ne sai gent de tel maniere;
Chevaliers sont proz é vaillanz
Par totes terres conquéranz....
... Orguillos sunt Normant è fier.
E vanteor è bombancier;
Toz tems les devreit l'en plaisier
Kar mult sunt fort à justisier."
Robert Wace.


IT is time to look more closely at the personality of the greatest Duke of Rouen. William the Bastard has been described[16] as tall and very stout, fierce of visage, with a high, bald forehead, and, in FIGURE FROM THE BORDER OF THE BAYEUX TAPESTRYFIGURE FROM THE
BORDER OF THE
BAYEUX TAPESTRY
spite of his great corpulence, of extreme dignity, whether on his throne or in the field. The strength of his arms, for which he was famous, was proved very early, when the chivalry of France went down before his boyish lance at Val-ès-Dunes. He evidently possessed all the true Viking attributes of physical power derived from Rollo, his great ancestor. In mental type he reproduced much of that Norman cunning which we have noticed as a73 characteristic of the race. Both Maine and England he conquered by fraud as much as force. If he was a great soldier, he was a consummate statesman too. For as he used France to conquer Normandy, so he used Normandy to conquer France, and both to conquer England. Kindly to submissive foes, he was pitiless to stubborn opposition, and very dangerous to taunt. The town which hung tanners' hides upon its walls was answered by the sight of bleeding hands, and feet, and eyes, which had been torn from its prisoners and hurled across the battlements. The king who jested of the candles for a woman's churching, was answered by the blaze of a whole town. A comet flamed across the sky of Europe in the year of the great Duke's conquest. Amid fire and tumult he was crowned at Westminster. Upon the glowing ashes of Mantes he met his death-wound. Through burning streets he was borne to his burial. He was not only the strongest of the dukes of Normandy, he was also one of the world's greatest men, whose work was not only thorough at the moment, but effective for all time; whose purpose was fixed, and whose iron will none could gainsay. He rose above the coarse, laughter-loving, brutal, treacherous, Norman barons of his time, by the force of his own personal genius, and the acuteness of his own strong intellect. If it had necessitated a web of the subtlest intrigue to get together the vast host that was to conquer England, it needed a vigorous and dauntless personality no less amazing to keep together the fleet and army while they waited wearily for the wind, until Harold's own fleet (the one safety of England then, as ever) had dispersed, until the right moment came, and all his barons and their men-at-arms rushed eagerly on board, carrying their barrels of wine, their coats of mail, and helmets, and lines of spears, and spits of meat, and stacks of swords, as is recorded in the Bayeux Tapestry. With him went twenty ships and a hundred74 knights sent by the Abbot of St. Ouen. Another ship that must have carried especial prayers with her from Rouen was the "Mora," given by his wife Matilda, with a boy carved upon her stern-post, blowing his horn towards the cliffs of Pevensey.[17] By the lantern on her mast the seven hundred transport galleys sailed at night, and early in the next dawn they landed, archers first, then knights and horses, and marched on to Hastings.


HORSES

HORSES FOR THE ARMY OF WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR
CROSSING THE CHANNEL (BAYEUX TAPESTRY)


How the Duke of Rouen conquered England, and how he wrote it in his Domesday Book, is no immediate concern of ours. By March in the next year he was back in his own capital, bringing with him, through the cheering streets, the Prince Edgar, Stigand the Primate, and three of his greatest earls. There his beloved wife met him, and gave account of the Duchy75 she had guarded with Roger of Beaumont in his absence. There he at once dealt out rewards to the regular and secular clergy of the city, among which were the lordships of Ottery and of Rovrige in Devonshire. Meanwhile the Normans were crowding to admire the trophies of victory. The banners from the battlefield, embroidered with the Raven of Ragnar, or the Fighting-Man of the dead Harold, and booty that brought wonder to the eyes even of citizens who had seen the spoils of Sicily. Nor did the Duke forget in the hour of triumph to be politic. He sent Lanfranc to the Pope at once, no doubt with news that Stigand would shortly be supplanted, and that England had been brought into the fold of Rome. For the warriors that Normandy had sent to the lands of the south, she was richly repaid in the learned doctors sent by Italy to the northern countries. Calabria and Sicily were counterbalanced by the archbishoprics of Lanfranc and of Anselm. At a synod held in Rouen some six years after his great conquest, William insisted upon reform in the morals of the Church, upon strict rules of marriage, on an exact profession of the orthodox faith. He was not behindhand in performing his part of the profitable bargain that had been made with Rome.

In 1073 Maine started into revolt under Fulk Rechin,[18] nephew of Geoffrey of Anjou, and William punished it by reducing Le Mans from a sovereign commonwealth to a mere privileged municipality. After this the King of England was constantly in his Duchy, where Robert "Short Hose," his unruly son, was76 giving perpetual trouble in Rouen and elsewhere, as Regent. So imperious were his demands for independence and immediate provision, that his father's stern refusal roused an attempt at open rebellion in which Robert attacked the Castle of Rouen, with the help of a few turbulent young nobles of his own unquiet persuasion. But the Conqueror grimly took their revenues and with them paid the mercenaries that warred them down. His son was compelled to fly, but came back again unwisely to the quarrel, with help from the French King behind him. At Gerberoi he actually wounded his father, without recognising him, and the Conqueror was only saved by the swiftness of a Wallingford man who sprang to his assistance.

The truce that followed did not last. About this time occurred the marriage of William's daughter, Adela, to Stephen of Blois and Chartres, who became the mother of Stephen of England. The Conqueror's second son had died in the fatal New Forest, and in 1083 died his faithful wife, Matilda, and was buried at Caen. The next years were very heavy in both parts of King William's dominions, and by 1087 the strain seems to have told even upon his iron frame. For in that year he stayed for treatment at Rouen, just as he had done before in Abingdon, and while he lay in bed King Philip jested at the candles that should be lighted when this bulky invalid arose from child-bed. Then William swore one of those terrific oaths which came naturally to his strong temperament—"Per resurrectionem et splendorem Dei pronuntians"—that he would indeed light a hundred thousand candles, and at the expense of Philip, too.[19] In August he devastated the Vexin77 with fire and sword, and as he rode across the hot embers of the burning city of Mantes, his horse stumbled, and he was wounded mortally by the high, iron pommel of the saddle.

He came back dying to his castle of Rouen, and was there borne from the noisy streets of the city to the Priory of St. Gervais, where we have already visited the ancient crypt of St. Mellon. Here for some days he lay in pain, though without losing speech or consciousness, and sent for Anselm from Bec. But the prior himself was too ill to get further than St. Sever on his journey to his master. So the Conqueror disposed himself to death, giving much treasure to the rebuilding of churches both in France and England, bequeathing Normandy and Maine to Robert, and with a last strange movement of apparent compunction, leaving the throne of England in the hands of God:

"Non enim tantum decus hereditario jure possedi."

As to the crowning of his son William, he gave the final decision to Lanfranc. His youngest son, Henri Beauclerc, the truest Norman of them all, was given five thousand pounds in silver and the prophecy of future greatness. After releasing all the prisoners in his dungeons, the Conqueror lay on his couch in St. Gervais and heard the great bell of the Cathedral of Rouen ringing for prime on the morning of Thursday the ninth of September 1087. Upon the sound he offered up a prayer and died.

Within an hour his death-chamber was desolate and bare, and the corpse lay well-nigh naked. But the citizens of Rouen were sore troubled. "Malignus quippe spiritus oppido tripudiavit." The news travelled from Normandy to Sicily in the same day. The archbishop ordered that the body should be taken to Caen, and by the care of Herlwin this was done, and the dead Conqueror was floated down the Seine to burial. As78 the funeral procession passed through the town the streets burst into flame, and through the fire and smoke the monks walked with the bier, chanting the office of the dead. When the corpse reached the abbey, a knight objected to the burial, because the land had forcibly been taken from him. So the seven feet of the Conqueror's grave was bought, and, not without more hideous mishaps, the body of Rouen's greatest duke was at last laid to rest. In 1793 both the tomb and its contents were utterly destroyed.

Among the prisoners who were released at William's death was that half-brother, Odo of Bayeux,[20] to whose skill and knowledge is due the marvellous pictorial record of the Bayeux Tapestry. Its inscriptions are in the Latin letters of the time, and its eleventh-century costumes, the short clothes easy to ride or run or fight, the arms depicted, the clean-shaved faces, are all very different to those which Orderic Vital describes as usual in the twelfth century. Neither Matilda the Queen, nor Matilda the Empress, could have embroidered the details on the border, and neither could have known so many facts as the Odo who was on the Council that advised invasion, who rallied the troops at Senlac when William was supposed to have been dead, who was made Regent of England, Count of Kent, and Bishop of Bayeux. It was to the advice of this rich, powerful, and intelligent prelate, that the new and feeble Duke Robert had to trust in the first year of his reign in Rouen. With all the vices of the Conqueror, Robert had neither his virtues nor his strength. The difficulties which met him first came from a cause too deep-seated for him to recognise either its value or its far-reaching issues.

I have already described how the first attempts of79 Norman peasants to found a "commune" had been crushed with horrible brutality. The movement now began again. It is perhaps possible that the very pre-eminence of the Conqueror over all his barons helped to emphasise the fact that the feudality which he employed for his own uses only, and threw away when he had done with, was not to be an order of things fixed by any eternal providence. When the King rose at one end of the social framework the people naturally came into greater prominence at the other.

The truce of God, insisted upon by William himself, had helped to the same end. For every male of twelve years old swore to help the Bishop to keep that truce, and by degrees his parishioners combined to organise the safety of their town, "ex consensu parochianorum." They used the resources for which all subscribed, and placed them under the control of a "gardien de la Confrèrie," or "fraternarum rerum custos." While these associations preserved the peace of the towns, the King was responsible for the peace of France. But the feeling of independence and the strength of union grew steadily among the citizens year by year. The rise of commerce, which has been already noticed in Rouen, also contributed to this. As cities grew in wealth, they became more and more desirous of escaping from feudal rapacity and of regulating their own affairs by magistrates chosen by themselves. In 1066 Le Mans had already done this. Ten years afterwards Cambrai followed the example. Noyon, Beauvais, Laon, Soissons, and many more clamoured for the charter of their liberty. In the absence of so many overlords at the Crusades the towns beneath the shadow of their castles seized the opportunity of strengthening their position. The same spirit of revolt began to work in Rouen as soon as the strong hand of the Conqueror was taken from the helm of government. But Rouen did not win her civic80 liberty until she had changed her own Norman dukes for the kings of France. The descendants of Duke William, feeble as they were, were still too near the feudal overlord to admit of rapid change. Yet the leaven was working already, and the disputes of the Conqueror's children fostered the unruly elements in the town.

Scarcely three years after Robert had attained the Duchy he quarrelled openly with his brother, the Red King of England; and Rouen was instantly in an uproar under Conan, a rich bourgeois, who probably sided with William Rufus, because he saw more chance of a commune under a distant king than in the presence of a duke at Rouen. In the days of the Conqueror there had been no tyrants or demagogues in the city, no armies in civic pay, no dealings of the citizens with other princes. But now the chance for an independent commonwealth seemed really to have come. However, the youngest brother, Henri Beauclerc, came from Côtentin to assist Robert in his difficulty, but not before the debauched and treacherous duke had been obliged to fly by the eastern gate of Robec into the faubourg of Malpalu, where he was cordially welcomed, and passed on to safety in St. Sever. Then Henri Beauclerc, "The Lion of Justice," took up the fighting for himself, swiftly beat back the soldiers of the Red King, threw Conan, the leader of the revolt, into the Tower of the Dukes by the Seine, and finally cast him down headlong from the battlements to die upon the stones beneath. The place preserved the name of "Saut de Conan" for many years, in the south-east corner of the Halles. So this first Artevelde of Rouen came to an untimely end. Henri Beauclerc, helped by Robert of Bellesme, one of the de Warrens (whose tomb is in the church of Wantage), and by the Count of Evreux, proved far too strong for him and for his companion in revolt,81 William, the son of Ansgar, who had to pay a vast ransom as the price of disobedience, while many of the rebellious citizens were massacred, and this immature attempt to form a commune ended.

The three brothers continued to quarrel, and to make it up again for some years. First, Robert and Rufus combine against Henry. Then Robert sends over troops to help the barons who were rebelling against his brother in England. Finally he went off with his Uncle Odo on the first crusade in 1096, pledging the Duchy in his absence to his brother the Red King, who, of course, seized it, and the real quarrel between England and France began. For when Normandy had been independent, Rouen blocked the road from Winchester to Paris. But as soon as it belonged outright either to one or to the other, the ancestral strife of French against English was certain to begin, and to go on. The revolt of Elias, Count of Maine, against the English King was repressed by his imprisonment—by Robert of Bellesme again—in the same Tour de Rouen that had seen the death of Conan. But Rufus never used his great gifts and power of ruling for anything but evil, and his brother Henry followed him, the husband of that descendant of Edmund and of Alfred who called herself Matilda at his coronation.

When the weak and incompetent Robert Short Hose returned from his crusading, he had the temerity to lay claim not merely to his Duchy but to the throne of England with it. He naturally lost both, at the battle of Tinchebray, where Henri Beauclerc won Normandy, and beat the Normans with his English soldiers. For many years Robert languished in English prisons until he died at Gloucester. And the Duchy he had lost throve infinitely under his brother's wise and prosperous rule, which gradually repressed more and more of the remnants of feudal anarchy and misrule. In 1114, his daughter Matilda gained her title82 of Empress by marriage with Henry V., but won her greatest fame by her second match—after this first husband's death with Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, in 1125, from which Henry II. of England was to be born. But Henri Beauclerc was unfortunate in his other children. For in 1119 his sons, William and Richard, were drowned in the White Ship on their way to England. The occurrence caused a very painful and widespread sensation, for besides the brilliant young nobles of the suite, eighteen high-born ladies, many of them of royal blood, perished in the wreck. In Orderic Vital, in William of Malmesbury, in Henry of Huntingdon, the story is fully set forth. The captain was the son of that pilot who had steered William the Conqueror to Pevensey in the good ship "Mora" built at Rouen. The weather was calm and bright with moonlight, and as the young princes urged their captain to row harder after their father's ship, he took a short cut along the treacherous coast, and the boat split open on a rock on the night of the 25th of November. The only survivor was a butcher of Rouen, called Bérold, or Gueroult as Robert Wace gives the name,

"Cil Gueroult de Roem esteit
Machecrier ert, la char vendeit"....

and he was only preserved because of the thick clothes he wore through the frost of the night, to be rescued by some fishermen next morning.

"Un peliçon avit vestu
Ki del grant freit l'ont defendu;
Iver esteit, grant freit faiseit,"

says the "Roman de Rou" (15,319), so that in the Rue Massacre (close to the Rue Grosse Horloge) at Rouen, one home was gladdened with good news after a catastrophe that threw at least three courts into mourning, and gave the succession of the English83 throne to the great house of the Plantagenets of Maine.

Rouen had not remained entirely submissive to the Lion of Justice. In 1109 the King of France encouraged yet another rising of the citizens in Rouen and elsewhere against feudal power. And after the wreck of the White Ship, Fulk of Anjou took the opportunity to push the claims of Duke Robert's son both in England and Normandy, but the rebels were badly beaten at Bourgtheroulde (between Seine and Rille), and the Lion of Justice held a court in Rouen to judge them. Some were imprisoned in his Tower by the Seine, and some in Gloucester, while a satiric poet, named Luke of Barre, paid the penalty of being a pioneer in scoffing politics by having his eyes put out. At Henry's death in 1135, Matilda's infant heir was still very young at Le Mans, and the usual anarchy followed both in England and in Normandy that was inevitable when the direct male line of Norman Dukes died out. Of the two countries Normandy had perhaps the fate that was hardest to bear, for it was better to be ruled by any one than a Count of that Maine, with whom, as with an equal, so many centuries of battles had been fought. But the strong stock of Anjou and Maine soon took advantage of the weakness of the Northern Duchy, and in 1144 Geoffrey Plantagenet entered Rouen in triumph.

"Ceu fulmen ab alto,"

sings the poet,

"Neustria concutitur fulgure tacta novo."

To an inheritance so rich already, the boy Henry Plantagenet added all the dominions of Eleanor of Poitou by marriage, and after the anarchy of Stephen's reign in England had passed over, the Angevin Empire began from the Pyrenees to the Firth of Forth. At84 ten years old the second Henry had been recognised by Rouen as her duke, and it can be easily understood that the citizens used every advantage it was possible to win from the years of his minority, and from the days of uncertain authority before it. Already under Henri Beauclerc the municipality of Rouen had obtained ampler recognition than before. Its population increased accordingly, and was augmented by the extension of freedom to a considerable number of serfs. The bounds of the city itself were enlarged, and from the fact that a fire is recorded (in November 1131) to have destroyed the Hôtel de Ville, near the Porte Massacre, in the Rue de la Grosse Horloge, we may gather that the municipality, whose rights in property were recognised, had been able to secure a common meeting-place for the discussion of its civic business. By 1150 these meetings had resulted in a league, definitely made by the burgesses, to defend their rights against all feudal encroachments, a league which very nearly deserves that name of "Commune" at last, which was apparently first given in Normandy to Eu and to St. Quentin. Geoffrey Plantagenet, during his government of the Duchy for his son, had recognised the strength of this civic movement, by confirming the privileges of the citizens, and favouring the growth of this industrial corporation. In May of that same year the first law court of the town, as opposed to feudal or ecclesiastical justice, was also established, and called the Vicomté de l'Eau. It had the charge of all civil and criminal cases by river and by land, and kept the standard of the weights and measures. Its importance may be judged from the fact that in the hands of the merchants of Rouen was the monopoly of all wines sent by Seine or sea towards the north. The Confrèrie of these "Marchands de l'eau" had been accorded a special port, known as Dunegate, at Thames' mouth, by Edward the Confessor, and their monopoly extended also to the whole85 trade between Normandy and Ireland, a trade they kept until the reign of Philip Augustus.

Other corporations were also rapidly increasing in strength and importance. The tanners, whose especial church was St. Martin Sur Renelle, received the charter of their privileges from Henry II. of England. The "savetiers" and "cordonniers" enjoyed privileges that were more ancient still, which were confirmed in 1371, in 1660, and in 1715. The "cordonniers" were united in the confrèrie of St. Crepin at the Church of St. Laurent. The "savetiers" joined the confrèrie of the Holy Trinity at the Abbey of St. Amand. The Church of St. Croix des Pelletiers still preserves the traditions of another confrèrie, that of the "Pelletiers-fourreurs," whose statutes dated from Henri Beauclerc. By 1171 the "Marchands de l'eau" secured a still further extension of their privileges through the French King Louis VII. They were allowed to come up as far as Pecq to load their barges without interference from the Parisian confrèrie, whose commerce was limited to the same point. Forty years afterwards the two confrèries united to make the best possible for each out of the commerce of the Seine; and the effects of reciprocity became evident so soon, that even in 1180 the merchants of Rouen and of Paris had already come to an agreement as to the transport of the salt from the mouth of the river which formed so important a part of every Norman landowner's revenue.

This gradual increase in self-confidence and power in Rouen soon proved of direct importance to the King of England in a somewhat curious way. For when the King of France had roused one of the English royal princes to revolt, and Henry Plantagenet himself was obliged to come to Normandy to the rescue of his besieged capital, it was by the ringing of the bell that hung in the town belfry that the city was saved from a86 sudden attack by the French forces that must have proved successful. This was the famous bell known as "Rouvel," which rings the alarum henceforth at every crisis in the history of the town, and its first public service to the municipality, which had hung it where the Grosse Horloge stands, was richly rewarded by King Henry. He freed the citizens of all duty on their goods on both sides of the Channel, he freed them from taxation and from forced labour, he confirmed their ancient privileges, and—most important of all—he gave them an established court of law, composed of burgesses, and presided over by a "Bailli."

When once the impulse had been given in the right direction, it is astonishing to notice how fast were the developments of civic freedom and of commerce which go henceforth hand-in-hand throughout the story of the town. When the last sad years of Henry's perpetual struggle with his sons were over, neither of them dared to infringe the privileges he had so solemnly granted or confirmed to the municipality of Rouen. The accession of the Lionheart was signalised in the Cathedral chapterhouse by the characteristic gift of three hundred barrels of wine, which the canons and the archbishops were to claim from the Vicomté de l'Eau, and this privilege the good ecclesiastics thoroughly enjoyed until the middle of the sixteenth century. The jurisdiction of the Vicomté de l'Eau itself, and of the new "Baillage" and the "Maire," was further developed and established in 1192; and the quarrels that are so persistent throughout the history of Rouen, between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, found their expression two years later in a renewed and fiercely contested struggle about the rights over the Parvis of the Cathedral. The canons, as usual, held their own, and in the same year asserted their still more extraordinary right of releasing a prisoner by virtue of the Privilege of the Fierte of St. Romain, by giving their freedom87 to two men, on the return of Richard from the Holy Land, because the privilege had not been exercised during his imprisonment abroad. There is an extremely fine impression in wax of one of Richard Cœur de Lion's seals in the archives of Rouen, which is one of the few still existing in which he is represented on one side as the King sitting upon the throne of England, and on the other as the Duke of Normandy riding in full armour against his foes. His is a character that gains from the mystery of romance cast over it. His career in France shows little that is creditable either to his head or heart.

In 1197 the same spirit of assertive independence was evidenced in the building of stone crosses in all parts of the city, which lasted until 1562, and recorded that their Duke, Richard had bought the manor of Andelys and the rock for his Château Gaillard from the Archbishop of Rouen, at the price of two of the town's public mills, the manor of Louviers, the towns of Dieppe and Bouteilles, and the forest of Aliermont. The bargain had not been struck without great agitation, interdicts on the town, and outcries from laymen and ecclesiastics alike. But it was well worth any trouble and treasure, and the Lionheart's "saucy castle" became the key of Normandy. His miserable brother John would never have lost the Duchy had he kept the fort. But his reign was ever destined to failure and discredit, and after the murder of Prince Arthur, which is said to have taken place within the Tower of Rouen by the Seine, had added gross impolicy to unpardonable crime, the last descendant of Rollo, who was both a King of England and a Duke of Normandy, fell before the power of the King of France. Rouen surrendered to Philip Augustus, and Normandy became a French province. The change had been an easy one, for John was far more Angevin and English88 than he was Norman, and his Duchy was no longer the home that William the Conqueror had made a terror to his neighbours.

FIGURE FROM THE BORDER OF THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY FIGURE FROM THE
BORDER OF THE
BAYEUX TAPESTRY
Englishmen might indeed regret the loss of that motherland of heroes which had conquered Sicily and England too, and mourn to see her seven great cities, her strong castles, her stately minsters, and her Teutonic people in a Roman land, all under the yoke of kings whom Duke William had beaten at Varaville, and King Henry had conquered at Noyon. But the loss was England's gain. It meant not only that England was united under a really English king, but that her Norman nobles had become her own Englishmen. Far more had resulted from the immigration from the Continent, led by the Conqueror, than is usually appreciated. Its results were not merely such tangible documents as that charter of the liberties of London, signed by the great Duke of Rouen, which is still the most cherished possession of the archives of the City. William's soldiers were swiftly followed by peaceful invaders far more numerous, whose influence was far more widespreading. Not only did every Norman baron and abbot bring his own company of chosen artists and craftsmen with him from France, but "many of the citizens and merchants of Rouen," says the chronicler, "passed over, preferring to be dwellers in London, inasmuch as it was fitter for their trading, and better stored with the merchandise in which they were wont to traffic." One concrete example of the resulting growth of trade may be quoted. Before the Conquest, weaving had not been practised in England as a separate craft for the market. By 1165 we find a kind of corporation of weavers at Winchester, who preserved their own customs almost as closely as89 the Jews, contributed independently (like other aliens) to fiscal demands, and even chose their own aldermen. Almost the only name that remains to us of those ancient "portreeves" of London, who were the predecessors of its mayors, is that of Gilbert Beket, a burgher of Rouen, whose son Thomas was afterwards the martyr of Canterbury. No doubt these wealthy immigrants assisted in the growth of the English towns, both in commerce and in freedom. The army, the navy, the universities, trade, and education, as we know them, had no real existence in England before the Conquest. The Normans brought in not only the most permanent, but the most important invasion of alien immigrants, who affected and directed the development of English habits and character, and of the English constitution. There is little wonder that William had no lack of followers in his attempt, for the England of the eleventh century must have appealed to the Normans, the Picards, and Burgundians, of his mingled company, much as South Africa still calls our younger sons to-day, as a land of the promise of indefinite success.

But a still further, and an even less recognised source of wealth that was a direct result of Duke William's invasion, may be found in the settlement of Jewish traders who followed him from Normandy, and especially from Rouen. These were the capitalists, who helped the King of England to collect his revenue in money rather than in kind. Though liable to special fiscal exactions, they were protected by the King from many of the taxes imposed upon their neighbours. They were established, as they had been elsewhere in Europe, in separate "Jewries," or places kept apart for them in every city. Never having been allowed to possess either land or the rights of citizenship, their wealth was nearly always in gold. The Jews, indeed, were already the capitalists of Europe. Many a castle and cathedral alike owed its existence to their loans. Everyone at90 once abhorred yet could not do without them. In Rouen their history is soon marked by massacre and crime. As soon as Duke Robert had gone to the Crusades in 1096, the townsmen rose against the inhabitants of the Rue aux Juifs, and murdered numbers of men with their wives and children. The great fire that took place in the Parish of St. Lô, between 1116 and 1126, may very likely have been caused by another attack of the same kind. In any case, it was the unhappy Jews who paid the penalty; and still more trouble must have been caused by the fire already mentioned in 1131 which raged round the Porte Massacre, close to their quarter. When Philip Augustus drove them all out of France in 1182, the town of Rouen seized the opportunity to take possession of the synagogue and houses in the Rue aux Juifs, and the Jews were only allowed to return sixteen years afterwards, on the payment of large sums of money. In 1202 they were again mercilessly "bled" by King John, and the protection naturally accorded by this needy prince to their usurious practices was bitterly resented by the burghers.

The fires that were of such continual occurrence even in the small space of the Jews' quarter were by no means confined, unfortunately, to that part of the city. I have had to notice several times already the repeated devastation caused in this way to a town that was still chiefly built of wood, and in the last days of the Norman Dukes the ravages of fire were exceptionally widespread and pitiless. The year 1116 was a peculiarly fatal one, and only ten years afterwards flames broke out in the Rue des Carmes, and devoured both the Abbey of St. Amand and the Abbey of St. Ouen, while the Cathedral itself only just escaped, and an earthquake that immediately followed the fire completed the destruction of what little had been left standing within its area. But the Metropolitan Church which had been91 struck by lightning and injured in 1117, was not spared by the soldiers of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1136; and before the end of the century the whole of the building that William the Conqueror had seen consecrated before the invasion of England was destroyed by the flames on Easter Eve, and of the Cathedral built by his Bishop Maurilius where the Lion Heart received his crusading sword and banner from the Archbishop Gautier, nothing now remains except the lower part of the Tour St. Romain. In that same terrible year of 1200 the first shrine of St. Maclou was also burnt to the ground with several other churches, and the fire swept through the southern parts of the city to the river itself, and even set alight some buildings of the Tour de Rouen which the Norman dukes had built, though the chapel must have been saved, for it is recorded that in 1203 this building was given to his chancellor by John Lackland. But the ancient donjon to which Henri Beauclerc had added the palace standing where the Halles are now, and the fortifications which were erected near the spot by the same Duke, whose walls were strong enough to resist for three months a close siege by Geoffrey Plantagenet after the faubourg of St. Sever had been ruined, all this was utterly destroyed by Philip Augustus in 1204, and the Château of the French Kings was built near the Porte Bouvreuil where the donjon still remains that preserves the most shameful record in the story of the town. Rouen has kept no memory of its native dukes.

All this will explain how it was that the French King began his rule in a Rouen that was almost as stripped of buildings as the Rotomagus that Rollo took. But there was the vital difference that the "unarmed crowd" had been replaced by burgesses conscious of their strength, by confrèries whose privileges and statutes did not depend on bricks and mortar, and by citizens who had just begun to realise the value of their92 civic independence. The Knights Templars had of course their own commanderie in so important a centre of industry and wealth, but all vestiges of their habitation were swept away when the order was so mercilessly suppressed by Philippe-le-Bel. I have shown elsewhere that by 1312 this order had become as much the bankers of Europe as were the Jews of a century before, and that the charges of witchcraft had merely been trumped up by royal debtors who preferred hanging their creditors to paying their bills. The sign of the Barde or Barge Royale, now in the Musée des Antiquités is the only remnant of the Templars left in Rouen. A "Commanderie" that lasted far longer in the town was that of St. Antoine, which was established in 1095 to care for those suffering from the horrible disease known as St. Anthony's Fire. It continued its good work until 1790. Another foundation that had its origin in the same charitable instincts was the Hospital of the Mont-aux-Malades, founded to care for cases of the terrible leprosy brought back by the Crusaders from the East. This was first instituted by the citizens themselves in 1131, and a few years afterwards was placed under the care of a priory of Augustinian monks. The Church of St. Gilles was then founded on the same spot, and the hospital's funds were increased by Guillaume Baril of St. Maclou. In 1162, Henry II. of England still further added to the revenues of the priory and hospital by giving it the rent and privileges of the Foire de St. Gilles with half of the octroi duty. It was to be held for a week on the first of September every year, and fourteen years afterwards the same king rebuilt the hospital entirely and placed the new church under the patronage of St. Thomas of Canterbury.

This church is one of the few buildings of the time before Philip Augustus that you may still see. To reach it you go up the Rue Cauchoise, along the Rue93 St. Gervais, past the Abbey of St. Gervais, where the Conqueror died, and where the old crypt of St. Mellon still exists, then up a long and steep hill, on whose very summit is a village street with a broad iron railing that opens to your right into a pretty avenue of limes, with the worn steps of an old stone cross or fountain to the left of the church inside. At first you will be shocked and disappointed by the hideous modern restoration of the west front, with its side aisles, that are but poor specimens of pointed architecture. But go boldly inside and you will see the church of good, plain Norman work, dedicated by King Henry to the memory of the murdered English archbishop, and built by his chamberlain, Roscelin. The original building had the simple nave with its apse beyond, that we shall see on the other side of the town of St. Julien. There is a further disappointment in store when you find the incongruous windows inserted in the chancel and the aisles that were added later on to the original nave. To understand what has happened you must go to the outside of the east end, and there you will see how the old round Norman apse was cut off, and a squared end was stuck on instead with a large pointed window, and how a new outside roof was clumsily fitted on to cover both the aisles and the nave as well, a job so badly calculated that the tops of the eastern aisle-windows on both sides show above the line of roof, and the openings themselves are blocked. When I saw it in 1897 the church was in process of being joined on to the religious buildings which surround it, and the closed eastern openings had been altered, in the north aisle to a round-headed recess, and in the south aisle to the altar of a chapel. But the five round-headed Norman arches of the nave remain, with the four smaller ones in the choir. Above the nave arches are five narrow round-arched windows which do not correspond with94 the pillars beneath, but are merely holes in a thick wall instead of spaces between vaulting-shafts, as they are in the perfect Gothic of St. Ouen. But even so these windows are far better than the incongruous pointed work in the newer aisles. There is no transept, and the roof is a plain vault. The round columns, too, are quite plain, with slight carving here and there upon the capitals. And this is all that is left of the church which Henry II. ordered to be built in 1176.

Twenty-one parishes used to send their lepers to this hospital, and those who could not pay their fees were helped to do so from the parish purse. In 1478 each leper was obliged to bring with him (among other things), a bed with its sheets, all his body-linen and towels, his cooking pots and table ware, and various articles of clothing, besides 62 sous 1 denier for the prior, 5 sous for the servants,[21] and three "hanaps" or drinking vessels, one of silver. Evidently all this was not what a poor patient could often afford, and we find, without surprise, the parish St. John objecting to the rule in case of one Perrecte Deshays, who had been sent there by order of the officials, and could not possibly afford the list of necessaries claimed by the prior. So a compromise was made that for all lepers in the twenty-one parishes who could not give what the rules required, a sum of twenty livres from the parish authorities would be accepted as an equivalent. The treasurers of every parish were bound, in the public safety, to report to the proper town official every case of leprosy within their bounds. This official then took medical advice about the sick person, and if the leprosy was certified ordered the sequestration of the invalid. The acts in which these orders were carried out continue very frequent, even in the first half of the sixteenth century, and especially in the parish of Octe95ville. The leper was conducted to the hospital with exactly the same ceremony as was used for the interment of the dead, and was followed by all the members of the confrèrie to which he belonged, and preceded by a mourner ringing a dirge. One of the statutes of a confrèrie ordaining this procession has been preserved (Arch. de la Seine Inférieure, G. 5,238):—"Le seroient tenus convoier jusques à sa malladerie le maistre et varlets portans leurs sourplis et capperons vestus à toult la croix et banniere et clochette, et sy luy feroit l'en semblable service comme à ung trespassé en l'église où il seroit demourant en lad. ville et sy seroit led. varlet tenu crier par les carfours comme pour ung trespassé."

Another of these charitable refuges for lepers was built for Rouen by an English king in 1183 at Petit-Quévilly, outside the town on the south side of the Seine. The Hospital of St. Julien was placed by King Henry II. under the protection of the older Priory of Grammont, which is now a powder magazine. It was called the "Salle aux Pucelles," or "Nobles Lepreuses," because its patients were at first limited to royal or nobles families. In 1366 the "Maladrerie" appears to have outlived its original objects, and was changed into a priory, which retained the old chapel, and seems to have kept up a public hospital of wider scope under the patronage of Charles V. of France. It was then known as the Prieuré St. Julien. Later on it got the name of "Chartreux," which still remains, because the besieging army of Henri Quatre wrecked the abbey on St. Catherine's hill, above the town, and the monks came to Quévilly, where the Carthusians had already settled themselves when the English turned them out of the Chartreuse de la Rose, which was the headquarters of our Henry the Fifth during his siege of Rouen early in the fifteenth century. Something of all this changing history is perceived in the names96 that the traveller sees on his way to the little church to-day. For he can either go there from the Pont Boieldieu in an electric car marked "Place Chartreux," or he may tell his coachman to drive him to the "Chapelle St. Julien, Rue de l'Hospice, Petit-Quévilly." Unless he enjoys hunting on foot for two small gabled roofs and a round apse, hidden away in the corner of some ancient and twisting streets among deserted fields, driving there will be far more satisfactory, and the visit is well worth his while.

INTERIOR OF THE CHAPEL OF ST. JULIEN, PETIT-QUÉVILLY The little building, whose very isolation has perhaps helped to preserve it, is now very justly classed among the best of the "Monuments Historiques de France" in Normandy. There is no tower. On the line beneath the roof round apse and nave, the corbels are carved with the heads of hairy Franks and Saxons, according to the tradition of the older Norman architecture at the Church of St. Paul's, which we shall next visit, near the river. Near the western end, on the northern exterior, is a dilapidated Madonna, and an old bricked-up doorway. But it is the inside that will chiefly repay you for your trouble. Through the triple portal of the west entrance, with plain round arches set on slightly carved Norman capitals, you pass at once into the nave. The whole effect is that which can be only given by simple, honest, and good work97manship. The restoration was carried out with a reverential conscientiousness that is far too rare, by M. Guillaume Lecointe, and by him this precious relic of twelfth-century architecture and art was given to the Commune of Petit-Quévilly. A small arcade of engaged colonnettes goes right round the whole church; the larger pillars have carved capitals, and there is the usual conventional Norman moulding on the round arches.

In the apse are four round-headed windows, all slightly smaller than the four in the choir and the six in the nave. In the chancel-arch there are two clustered columns, and also in the nave and apse. The others have plain round shafts. The simple vaulting of the choir and apse is excellently done, and on the roof above the choir you see the frescoes that are the chief treasure of the place, representing scenes from the Annunciation, the Wise Men, the Flight into Egypt, and other Biblical subjects. These paintings are boldly and well executed, and are of the highest interest. Indeed, their workmanship is such, that many antiquaries refused to believe that they were contemporary with the building itself. As if the little chapel had not suffered vicissitudes enough, it was put up to public auction at the Revolution in 1789, and used by its new proprietors as a stable and granary. They were careful to cover the whole of their ceiling with a thick coat of whitewash, and it is only in the last few years that the patriotic work of M. Lecointe has been completed by the careful recovery of these ancient paintings from beneath their bed of whitewash. Even then their value was not fully appreciated, and only when M. LeRoy had submitted certain detached portions to a chemical analysis was it proved that frescoes of the twelfth century had really been preserved.

By this careful observer it has been shown that a98 couch of sandy mortar was first laid on the stones of the vault, then a second layer, rich in lime, and especially in white of egg, was applied, and the surface was ready for the application of the colours. These are blue, green, yellow ochre, reddish-brown, black, and white. Cobalt blue, or "azure," was only discovered in the sixteenth century by a German glass-maker. The blue used in these paintings is the true "outremer" of the twelfth century, the solid colour made from lapislazuli, which was worth its weight in gold. That it was employed at all, is one more evidence of the munificence of Henry II. in his foundation. The green is a mixture of this blue with the yellow ochre. The white was made of powdered egg shells, and the black is lamp black. From the fact that the colouring matter has in no case penetrated the prepared surface, but adheres to it, we may argue finally that the process in which white of egg is the chief constituent was used to lay on the colours.

Besides the heart of Richard Cœur de Lion, the Cathedral of Rouen contains another relic of the Norman days in the tomb of that Empress Matilda, who as Countess of Anjou, gave Henry Plantagenet to the throne of England, and died in 1167. Her rich sepulchre at Bec was pillaged by the English in 1421, and the restored monument was desecrated in 1793, but in 1846 the original casket was discovered by the fortunate stroke of a pickaxe, and now rests in the Cathedral. In 1124 the shrine containing the body of the famous St. Romain was opened in the presence of the King and Queen of England, and fifty-four years afterwards, as the decorations made for it by Guillaume Bonne Âme had been taken for alms to the poor, Archbishop Rotrou made a new and more magnificent covering for the venerated relics that play so large a part in the story of the town. This new and Norman shrine it must have been which was carried by99 the two prisoners, delivered by the Privilege of the Fierte in 1194, but it has long ago been replaced by later work.

CORBEL FROM THE OLD CHURCH OF ST. PAUL CORBEL FROM THE
OLD CHURCH OF ST. PAUL
There is but one more religious monument, the last building I can show you in this chapter, that has remained from these centuries until now. Walk along the riverside eastwards, and as the waters flow from Paris towards you on your right, stop where the chalk cliffs of St. Catherine's Mount begin to slope downwards from the left hand of the road. Just between it and the river is the Church of St. Paul, which stands where the first Christian altar replaced the Temple of Adonis, and watched with St. Gervais and St. Godard the infant town of Rothomagus arise.

It was no doubt at the time when St. Romain himself finally destroyed the Tarasque of idolatry that this first church arose above the ruins of the pagan shrine. But of Roman or Merovingian structures St. Paul can show no trace. It has, however, an extremely interesting early Norman apse, which is different to everything else in Rouen, and older than any other building, save St. Mellon's crypt at St. Gervais. By going round the outside you can see three apses, and as you stand there, the midmost apse is the Norman building, that on your left is of the ninth century, and that on the right of the fourteenth. This Norman flat-buttressed and round-arched apse is directed to the east of summer, while the new church in the same place points to the east of winter, and is almost at right angles to the older one. The corbels outside, beneath the roof, are carved with the hairy-bearded faces of conquered Franks and Saxons, who were thus set up to the perpetual derision of their clean-shaved Norman100 victors. The idea is as old as the Temple of Agrigentum in 600 b.c., where the conquered Africans hold up the weight of the building, and recalls the barbarity of the primitive Sagas, which relate how the bleeding heads of enemies themselves were placed around the temples of the Norsemen.

The nave goes back into some private property beyond the churchyard, in which a forgotten tomb lies mouldering behind the railings. In the grass to the right of the old apse you can see a pointed arch springing from a capital, which shows how the surrounding soil has risen since the thirteenth century. This old building is all used as the vestry of the new church, through which you must pass to see the interior of the ancient buildings. Once within them, you will find nearest to you the fourteenth-century work of which a fragment showed outside. Then comes the Norman chapel, that recalls the work in the abbey of St. George's de Boscherville. Beyond that again is the ninth-century "Saxon" buildings. The archaic quality of the decoration is very notable in the capital that represents the adoration of the Magi, and indicates the relative importance of the personages by the size in which each is carved, just as is done in the Egyptian sculptures.

APSE OF THE OLD CHURCH OF ST. PAUL With these few relics the tale of Norman architecture in Rouen is finished. From a short survey of this town alone, no one who had never seen Caen or Coutances would imagine that he was in the duchy which possessed a school of architecture that was developed into Notre Dame, on the one hand, in the Ile de France, and into Durham, on the other, in England. In our own island the architecture before the eleventh century, which it supplanted, known as the Anglo-Saxon, was a primitive Romanesque of purely Italian origin, as shown in Bradford-on-Avon Church, which was built by Ealdhelm in Wessex long before the Conquest. This is the only entire building of the earlier style that we101 have, though the towers of Earl's Barton, of Bywell, of St. Benets in Cambridge, remain to show its affinity to the styles of Italy and Western Europe, and of the Campaniles. Even when the Norman work first appears, it is not without a great deal of that Byzantine element which is expressed by a spreading cupola and a central lantern. But this early Norman building is very rare, and that is why the three churches I have just described in Rouen have a value that is scarcely realised by travellers who are in search for Gothic or Renaissance architecture only. They are somewhat difficult of access too, and little known, but they will repay a visit. They show the form of the Latin cross, with little in its eastern limb besides the apse, the choir beneath the central tower that replaced the Byzantine cupola, and a little vaulting in the aisles. Originally they had a flat ceiling for frescoes. This is a style that was neither that of Southern Italy nor that of Aquitaine. It may have been a distinctively national development of the Lombard schools of Pavia or Milan. But in any case, though purely local at first, it utterly supplanted the Primitive Romanesque that had hitherto been the common possession of Western Europe, just as, in later centuries, the pointed style utterly swept away102 the round arch in all its forms of expression. And in the coming chapters it is with the pointed arch that we shall have more and more to deal. To Italy, who imitated it helplessly, the Northern Gothic never became even remotely national in its expression. The native Southern Romanesque was there only appropriately replaced by the really Italian style developed in the Roman Renaissance. But in the North, where the early pointed arch had been at first only a memory of Paynim victories, or a trophy of early Saracenic work, the pointed style as a school of architecture was destined to triumph immediately it rose from the position of mere ornament to the necessity of a constructive feature. It was the problem of vaulting over a space that was not square, which gave the pointed arch its reason for absolute existence, its beauty of proved strength and adequate proportion. Some of the noblest forms of its development are to be found in the buildings we shall see later on in Rouen.



MAP D

MAP D.

ROUEN
SHEWING WALLS OF
THIRTEENTH CENTURY

[Enlarge]


103

CHAPTER VI

A French Town

Lapis de pariete clamabit, et lignum, quod inter juncturas aedificiorum est, respondebit.


IF the Norman capital that Philip Augustus added to the royal domain of France was not particularly rich, as I have shown, in architectural beauty, it possessed something more enduring even than stone, more THE ARMS OF FRANCETHE ARMS OF FRANCE vital than any school of architecture, something also far more precious as an indication of coming prosperity and strength; and this was the beginning of the independence and wealth of the citizens of Rouen, as symbolised by the beginning of their Commune. This spirit of independence, and bold assertion of consecrated privilege, was not limited to the laymen. Perhaps its most unexpected expansion is to be found in that Privilège de St. Romain exercised by the Cathedral Chapterhouse, whose beginning has been already mentioned in the fables of the Church (see pp. 38 to 41). To appreciate the state of things in this connection, which Philip Augustus found in Rouen, you must recall two facts that I stated in earlier pages. They are, first, the institution of the Foire du Pardon by the Conqueror (see p. 69), and, second, the opportunity offered for experiments in independence104 whether civic or ecclesiastical, by the years of Stephen's anarchy in England, and of Henry Plantagenet's minority in France (see p. 84) between the years 1135 and 1145.

I am enabled to limit the date of the beginning of the Privilège de St. Romain to this particular interval, because a formal inquiry in 1210 established the facts, on sworn testimony, that there had been no objection made to the privilege in the reigns of Richard Cœur de Lion or of Henry II., and the details given of the procession to the Norman castle and the visit of the canons to the dungeons show that the machinery of ceremonial had already advanced to a certain degree of age and elaboration. In the first of these reigns there is indeed definite reference to the fact that no prisoner was released in 1193, because the Lion-hearted Duke was himself a captive; and as a graceful recognition of this courtesy the Chapter were permitted to release two prisoners in 1194 to compensate for the voluntary lapse of one year. This again would show that the privilege was already known and recognised as traditional and proper. We can go still further back in the process of limitation; for Orderic Vital, who died in 1141, describes the first bringing of St. Romain's body to the Cathedral, and says nothing either of the dragon or the privilege; nor, indeed, could the essential part of the ceremony known as the "Levée de la Fierte" have taken place before the jewelled shrine had been made (see p. 98) to hold the sacred relics which the prisoner bore upon his shoulders. Now it is not likely that Henry Plantagenet, when he came into his kingdom in 1145, would have permitted so grave a limitation of the royal prerogative to arise for the first time; and, on the other hand, it is extremely probable that it should arise during the years of his minority, when, as we have seen, experiments in independence were quite the fashion. It is therefore practically certain that the105 Privilège de St. Romain began soon after 1135, though not so late as 1145.

The year 1210, already mentioned, is the first date on which an actual record exists of the liberated prisoner's name. His crime is not mentioned, though we know that it involved the penalty of death. But the date is important because of the inquiry insisted on by the governor of the Castle, when the Chapter of the Cathedral claimed his release by exercising their famous Privilege. When the dispute was referred to Philip Augustus, who was naturally anxious to conciliate the powerful clergy in his new domains, the chevalier Richard (who was the military protector of the abbey of St. Medard at Soissons), was given to the canons, and in gratitude for this escape from mortal peril,[22] he granted the Cathedral the perpetual rent upon his public mill.

From this case it is clear that so glaring a renunciation of the incommunicable sovereign rights of life and death could only have been successfully obtained by the regular intercession made to each duke for the release of one prisoner every year; and the origin of that intercession can be explained with perfect probability by the persistent mediæval custom of the "Mysteries" or Miracle Plays, which came into fashion as soon as the confrèries of various trades had been consolidated, just about the time the craft guilds appeared in England, in 1130, a date that fits in very well with the beginning of St. Romain's "privilege." These Mysteries or Miracle Plays were, as has been noticed, often performed in the Parvis of the Cathedral, and their first object was to represent the truths of Scripture to the people in the most intelligible and picturesque way. Ascension Day was one of the festivals of the Church which most especially needed some such106 educational and popular celebration, to impress upon men's minds how Christ by ascending to His Father to free them from the Devil and from everlasting death, had opened wide the gates of heaven, and taken captivity captive. No more striking significance could have been given to the meaning of the festival than by the public release of a prisoner who had been condemned to death. By slow degrees this release became an annual grace accorded to the Church in its holy office of public instructor.

And it was no new thing to invest with such extraordinary privileges the powerful princes of a church which was the visible representative of Divine Providence on earth.[23] The bishops of Orléans, for instance, possessed even until the last years of Louis XV. the prerogative of pardoning every single criminal in the prisons on the day of their solemn entry into their episcopal see. This, at first sight, appears a wider power than any possessed by a bishop of Rouen, who, on one day in the year, voted as a canon in his Chapterhouse for the release of one prisoner and his accomplices. But the opportunity of the bishops of Orléans came only once in a lifetime, that of the Chapterhouse of Rouen was renewed against all opposition every year for some six centuries, and M. Floquet has discovered a manuscript which proves that the prerogative of pardon was granted in addition, within certain limits, to the bishop by virtue of his office, as it was in 1393, when Guillaume de Vienne entered his diocese in state on a Sunday in September 1393. Yet no historian107 seems yet to have noticed this most striking fact. How it must have impressed the popular imagination may easily be estimated from the known horrors of the dungeons and "lakes of misery" in which, at Rouen and most mediæval cities, the criminals were condemned to linger. The "resurrection of the dead" would be no exaggerated description for the act of pardon which released a prisoner from the hideous dens of a twelfth-century jail. Certainly no act could more clearly fix on all men's minds the meaning of a sacred season and the power of the Church.

In 1135 the great fête of St. Romain, the most important yet held in Rouen, had been instituted for only about fifty years. Its pardons, its processions, and its fair were still fresh in the popular imagination, and would be very likely to be secured as the chief attraction in the first great "Miracle-Play" that was given under the patronage of the Church at Ascension-tide, for they kept alive the memory of the patron saint of Rouen, who had delivered his city from the Dragon of Idolatry by means of a condemned prisoner. So the idea of the Ascension Mystery became inextricably connected with the great saint of the town, yet the Privilège itself was not exerted on his feast day, the 23rd of October, but on Ascension Day, when the Virgin was also represented as crushing the serpent's head. For two days in the great Ascension Festival the flaming monster was moved before the cross through all the streets of Rouen. On the third day, which was Ascension Day itself, the dragon followed, bound and vanquished, behind it.

So it is that we find this first recorded prisoner, Chevalier Richard, speaking of the "Privilège" as "en l'honneur de la glorieuse Vierge Marie et de Saint Romain."[24]108 By 1210, therefore, these two holy names had become definitely associated with the "Levée de la Fierte," and the fierte was already raised upon the shoulders of the prisoner to signify the new yoke of the Christian religion which he took upon him in exchange for the sins from whose consequence he had been mercifully delivered. Where Chevalier Richard, in 1210, raised the jewelled shrine of the relics of St. Romain, at the chapel of the old castle of the Dukes of Normandy, on the very same spot did Nicolas Béhérie and his wife raise it in 1790, on the last occasion when the "Privilège" was exercised. The custom had continued through the centuries in the place of its origin, though Norman castles had been replaced by the prison of Philip Augustus, though the Baillage had been built, though the Englishmen under Henry V. had taken the town, though the Conciergerie of later reigns existed. The conservatism of the Church had led her thus unconsciously to preserve the secret of the origin of her Privilege from the days when the prisons of the last Norman dukes had been the only appropriate scene for her most striking and gorgeous public ceremony.

The little open chapel built upon the same spot now (see p. 37), saw the last deliverance of 1790, and still preserves the name of the "Fierte St. Romain." An excellent and well-proportioned example of the architecture of the sixteenth century, it was used for the first time in 1543, and shows in every detail of its construction and arrangement that it was expressly planned for this especial ceremony. Of the ceremony itself I shall have more to say later on. For the present I must content myself with this necessary explanation of its origin and locality. From the lists of the prisoners I shall very frequently have occasion to take a striking example of the manners of the time, as the tale of the city is gradually unfolded, in which this Privilège de St. Romain is109 perhaps the most exceptional and striking feature. But it is only by the second half of the fourteenth century that the names are written down with a sufficient regularity to admit of useful reference. During the thirteenth century, at which I have now arrived, there are only three names actually preserved, though the continuation of the Privilege is fully proved by the inevitable quarrels between the ecclesiastical and civil authorities, of which conspicuous examples occur in 1207 and in 1299.

The canons did not shrink from laying the town under an interdict when the lawyers proved recalcitrant, and took every opportunity to enforce the recognition of their permanent right of choosing their prisoner at the season of the year consecrated to the exercise of their peculiar privilege. The same Bailly of Rouen who had objected to this in 1299, found, to his cost, that it was dangerous to repeat his attempts to thwart the ecclesiastics. For when their freedom of choice was again infringed only three years afterwards, the Chapter brought the sacred shrine to the chapel in the Place de la Vieille Tour, and, after explaining what had happened to the people, they left this venerated palladium of the town out in the open square until their privileges had been recognised. For the Thursday of Ascension Day, for the Friday and Saturday following, it remained there guarded by certain of the clergy and by many pious citizens. Each day it was solemnly visited by a procession from the Cathedral, accompanied by a sympathising crowd that daily grew larger and more vehement. By the Sunday morning the Baillage gave in, and the canons released the prisoner with a ceremony that was more than usually impressive after the opposition that had preceded it.

Such quarrels were the more probable just now, because the ecclesiastics were thus tenacious of their "privilège" just when the infant commune was beginning110 to feel its strength, when commerce was becoming regular, and even a town militia makes its appearance; for the "Compagnie de la Cinquantaine," sometimes called the Arbalétriers, were able to trace back their foundations to 1204, when an inquiry was held and their privileges confirmed more than five hundred and fifty years afterwards. The commune itself was also fully approved by Philip Augustus, who confirmed its possession of certain common lands in the suburbs which had been granted by Duke Richard. By the same date the "bourgeois" or sworn freemen were exercising the free choice of their twelve councillors and twelve aldermen, and sent up to the King from among them three candidates out of whom His Majesty selected the Mayor of Rouen; and this civic constitution lasted until 1320. It was revised by St. Louis, in 1255, and the same king reformed the civic expenditure by establishing the Chambre des Comptes which held its sittings in later centuries in the Renaissance building north-west of the Cathedral. In 1220 the commune obtained from the King for an annual rent of 40 livres, the house and land of the Earl of Leicester close to the Porte Massacre, and the Church of Notre Dame de la Ronde, and there they built the Belfry Tower and the Hôtel de Ville, which lasted until 1449 and is still represented by the buildings in the Rue de la Grosse Horloge above the famous archway near the Hôtel de Nord.

This fief of the Earl of Leicester was but one of the many acquisitions by which Philip Augustus gradually bought out the feudal barons and made sure of Normandy. Other property of the Montforts, and of William the Marshal[25] are examples. And if the111 King allowed his burgesses their Hôtel de Ville, we may be sure he destroyed the castles of the barons whenever it was possible. Even that ancient fortress of the Dukes of Normandy, called the Tour de Rouen, or the Haute Vieille Tour, he pulled down, destroying their double wall and filling up their triple moat, and erected on the "Place Bouvreuil" the new castle of the kings of France, with its six towers and the donjon keep which still exists, and is called the Tour Jeanne d'Arc. The other buildings only lasted until 1590, though a mill could be seen for almost another century which was still worked by the water that ran from the stream of Gaalor which supplied the well of the castle-keep, and was used later on for many other fountains in the city. By 1250 it had already been led through underground channels to the Rue Massacre, and by 1456 the Fountain of the Town Belfry was established which is now represented by the Fontaine de la Grosse Horloge, built in 1732. The waters themselves come originally from a spring near the foot of the Mont-aux-Malades. In his new castle Philip Augustus ordained the Échiquier de Normandie, as the supreme Tribunal of Justice in the province, whose courts were to lie alternately at Rouen, Caen, and Falaise.

Soon afterwards the land occupied by the palace of William the Conqueror was nearly all given up to the burgesses for purposes of their trade. They were permitted to extend the buildings to the quays provided they did not intercept traffic on the river. By 1224 the drapers had obtained lands in the forest of Roumare for the proper manufacture of their woollen stuffs, which were always a staple of commerce in Rouen, and they used these "Halles" for the exhibition and sale of their wares. The courtyard must have looked very much as it does to-day, with the addition of cloisters and open shop-fronts. By 1325 commerce had grown there so much that "sales in the dark"112 had to be forbidden by law. St. Louis granted the extension of the market-halls over the whole ground on which the Norman dukes had built, and established in 1256 the market called "Marché de la Vieille Tour." This king was an especial friend of the Archbishop Odo Rigaud, and both were zealous in the reforms necessary to Church and State. In 1262 the Cathedral gave up to the King certain possessions outside the town in exchange for the public mills of Rouen; and property was further centralised by the royal charter granting these Halles, with the Marché de la Vieille Tour, for an annual rent to the mayor and burgesses of the town, who were also given full rights of possession in the streams of Robec and Aubette. St. Louis also established the right of the citizens to insist on their debtors coming to Rouen itself to adjust their legal difficulties, and further assisted commerce by prohibiting strange merchants from retail trade in the city, and by making all Jews wear a circle of yellow (called rouelle) on back and breast, as a distinctive mark.

The commercial privileges which I have already mentioned (see p. 85) were fully confirmed by Philip Augustus, especially with regard to exports to Ireland, while Louis IX. continued the gradual consolidation of the river trade in the hands of the Rouen merchants. What this involved, may be seen from the case which was brought before the Parliament of Paris in 1272, when the Mayor of Rouen had seized six barrels of wine which a landowner was bringing (as he asserted) from his vineyards to his own house by river. Every quay along the bank was rapidly taken possession of by the merchants, and by 1282 the famous "Clos aux Galées," between the Rue du Vieux Palais and the Rue de Fontenelle, was built in the parish of St. Eloi as a dockyard for purposes of commerce and of war. But not long after this the space appears to have been113 needed for other purposes, and the real "Clos des Galées" was moved across the river to the other bank at the end of the Empress Bridge, or "Pont de Mathilde." In a charter of 1297, the change is marked by the name, "Neuves-Galées," and this occurs again in 1308. It is remarkable as the first arsenal ever used for artillery in France; for cannon, arms, and powder were all stored here in later times, and here were built the ships that fought in the Hundred Years' War by Charles VI., out of wood from the forests of Roumare. Just before the great siege by the English in 1418 the citizens destroyed it, but the name remained in the hostelry called the "Enseigne de la Galère." Then the "Grenier à sel" and the "Hôtel des Gabelles" were built on the same spot; and finally you can only imagine very vaguely where the first dockyards of Rouen were when you look now at the Caserne St. Sever.

In tracing out the changes that have come in each century to the aspect of the town, it is not often we shall find a locality so persistent in its character as the Place de la Haute et Basse Vieille Tour, when once its military strength had been changed into commercial convenience. The older castle, originally built more to the north-west by Rollo, between the Church of St. Pierre du Chastel and the Rue des Charrettes, had long ago absolutely disappeared, and its place was taken by a Franciscan convent, given to the brethren in 1248 by Archbishop Rigaud, who had been originally a monk of the Order; and the ruins of their building may be seen in the street which, as Rue des Cordeliers, still preserves their name. Another change that is still recorded in the nomenclature of the streets took place when Louis VIII. allowed the inhabitants to build gardens and almshouses in what had once been the moat of the old town walls. This you may trace in the name of the Rue des Fossés Louis VIII., formerly114 the Rue de l'Aumône. In the same way the Rue des Carmes preserves the fact that the Carmelite monks brought by St. Louis from the Holy Land, migrated to the street that bears their name in 1336, and remained there for a very long time.

But everything did not go smoothly in the streets of Rouen while these pacific changes were in progress. In 1213 the town was filled with the levy of counts, barons, and knights, with all their men-at-arms, whom Philip was collecting to attack the King of England; and in 1250 a far more disorderly and plebeian assembly gathered under the leadership of André de St. Léonard to express in the practical form of riot and pillage their disapprobation of the ten per cent. exacted by the Church for grinding corn in the ecclesiastical mills. Near the Pont de Robec and the Rue du Père Adam flour and wheat were forcibly stolen, but Archbishop Odo Rigaud soon asserted his authority, by fining the ringleader 100 marks of silver, equivalent to about £2000 sterling, and the dissatisfaction ceased. In the next year a rising, that had some slight degree of religious colour in it, gave a good deal of trouble, not to Rouen only, but to the rest of France. Bands of peasants, styling themselves "Pastoureaux," asserted their indignation at the captivity of King Louis IX. by chasing the archbishop out of his cathedral. From the fact that they had been joined, not merely by all the lazy ruffians of the neighbourhood, but by some burgesses, and even by certain municipal office-holders, we may infer that the privileges or prerogatives of the Church were once more the real objects of the dispute. Though the ecclesiastics were as usual strong enough to exact a public apology and absolution from the mayor and his councillors, the strange frenzy spread to the Provinces; men averred that the Holy Virgin and her angels had appeared to urge them to release St. Louis, and it was necessary for Queen115 Blanche herself to intervene before the trouble was stopped in Paris and many parts of France.

This widespread affection felt for St. Louis may, perhaps, be explained not only by his personality, but by the fact that he was always moving from one part of his dominions to another, in spite of the obvious inconveniences of mediæval travel. I have already noticed some of the things he did for Rouen on his various visits. But such pilgrimages as that of 1255 to Adam Bacon, the solitary abbot of St. Catherine, cannot have failed to increase his local reputation. He celebrated Christmas here in 1264, after another short visit previously on his way from Pont de l'Arche to Bec, and in 1269 he came again from Port-Audemer. On every such occasion he prayed in the churches and left offerings suitable to his rank; he ate in the refectories with the monks, he dispensed alms to the poor, and gave money or its equivalent to the hospitals. His charity was, indeed, extraordinary, for Queen Margaret's Confessor has related that he not only fed the hungry at his every meal, but went round the beds in the sick houses, smoothing the pillows of the sufferers, speaking to them, and trying to supply their wants.

It was when King Louis came with his mother, Blanche of Castile, to keep the Christmas of 1255 at Rouen, that the greater part of the choir, transept, and nave of the Cathedral as we see it now was finished. The monastical developments of previous centuries had done their work; the power of the great abbots and priors, which raised them into feudal dignitaries, with large wealth and wide possessions, had reached its limit. The rise of the communes in every town, and the passion for civic liberty which accompanied them and gave them birth, as we have traced it in Rouen, was taken advantage of by the archbishops in those fruitful years which lay between 1180 and 1240. The royal power, personified here by Philip Augustus, was as much con116cerned as the burgesses in the diminution of feudality. Even the great secular nobles were not averse to encouraging a movement that appeared to counteract the importance of their most dangerous ecclesiastical rivals. So that religious and political motives came together, just at this one momentous period, to produce an enthusiasm for building which has never been equalled before or since. The gradual development of the sacred edifice from the crypt, like that catacomb of St. Gervais, through the form of the Roman basilica, with its simple nave and round apse, to the new developments of choir and chapels, introduced by Suger, had not proceeded without leaving on the finished product—which has been called Gothic—the traces of its growth. And this is one reason why, until the fourteenth century at least, the Cathedral retained the mingled characteristics of a building that was both civil and ecclesiastical, that was used both for the divine offices and for political, even military assemblies.

In what I shall have to say of the architecture called Gothic,[26] I would not have it thought that I exclude the praise of beauty from every other form of building, for there are Renaissance buildings, for instance, in Rouen alone that would contradict such barren dogmatism at the outset. The reserve and the harmonious proportion of the Cour des Comptes have a value of their own quite independent of the Gothic unrestraint and revelry of carving in the Portail des Libraires. But I cannot conceal my preference for one form of beauty over117 another, my delight in the most organic form of art the world has ever seen, the true "master art" of Gothic, as opposed to that "looking backward" which was the Renaissance, to that defiance of the rule of progress which bade men advance to different developments of organic living forms in every single branch of life, except in the greatest art of all. The Middle Ages had inherited a direct succession of harmonious forms, one rising out of another until the perfection was attained. Then came the Black Death, and the no less fatal scourges of Commercialism and Bureaucracy. Men's thoughts apparently became so riveted upon the grave that they must go back to the art of the dead Romans and the formalism of classical examples to keep breath in their bones at all. And even so, they informed the skeleton with a new life. In such new creations of the aged spirit as the French Renaissance Châteaux of Touraine, or Rouen's Hôtel Bourgtheroulde, they showed what vigour there was left, if only it had been permitted to remain original. Nor is there any hope of betterment in architecture, or any art, to-day, until something of the spirit has come back to us which made each citizen proud of the house he lived in, or of the House of God he helped to build, until the love of workmanship that built the old cathedrals has returned.

Through those doors, which were shut sternly in the face of princes under the Church's ban, the poor man gladly passed from the hovel that was his home. Out of the dark twisting streets whose crowded houses pressed even against the walls of the Cathedral, the humblest citizen might turn towards the beauty of a building greater and more wonderful than any that his feudal lord could boast. He found there not merely the sanctuary, not merely the shrine of all that was holiest in history or in creed, but the epitome of his own life, the handicrafts of his various guilds, as at Rouen, the tale of all his humblest118 occupations, the mockery of his neighbours' foibles, the lessons of the horror of sin. For before the end of the thirteenth century, the handicraftsmen, associated into such guilds as we have seen in Rouen, had not only won their freedom from arbitrary oppression, but had secured so large a share in the government of the towns, that within the next fifty years, the heads of the communes were nearly always the delegates from the craft-guilds. The zenith of Gothic architecture coincided with this period of their triumph; its bright, and glittering, and joyful art spread all over the intelligent world, and more especially in France; it was not contented with merely architectural forms in colourless cathedrals, but decorated them with carvings painted in gay colours, used every space for pictures, drew upon all literature for its materials. In Dante, Chaucer, and Petrarch, in the German Niebelungenlied, in the French romances, in the Icelandic Sagas, in Froissart and the chroniclers, you may find the same spirit; and each town smote its own epic into stone upon the walls of its cathedral. Every village, even, had its painter, its carvers, its actors; the cathedrals that have remained are but the standard from which we may imagine the loving perfection to which every form of craftsman's art was carried. And their work gives us such pleasure now because they had such intense pleasure in doing the work themselves.

A MASON AT WORK, FROM A MISERICORDE IN THE CHOIR OF ROUEN CATHEDRAL For the masons had gone to their new task with a will. Freed from the thick and shadowy archways piled upon heavy piers, which had obscured the old priestly and dogmatic Romanesque, the builders of the119 new cathedral revelled in the new found Gothic of the people, and raised their soaring arches to the sky, and crowned their pinnacles with wreaths that flamed into the clouds. And upon every inch of wall they wrote and wrought upon the living stone, "magistri de vivis lapidibus," until every detail of the world of worshippers was gathered up and sanctified by this expression of its new found meaning, as a part of the mystery and the beauty of holiness.

It is significant of the democratic nature of this architectural outburst, that the first communes signalised their liberty by the earliest cathedrals, at Noyon, Soissons, Laon, Reims, Amiens, in the capital of France, and in the capital of Normandy. It was early in this same century (1203) that Normandy became part of the crown domain together with Maine, Anjou, Touraine, Poitou, and Limousin. Before the century was done, Languedoc, the County of Toulouse, part of Auvergne, and Champagne were also included in the royal domain. More than this, the Head of the Church himself had come in 1309 to live in Avignon, and this movement had, no doubt, its effect upon religious sentiment in the nation to whose charge St. Peter's representative committed himself; for religion had of course the greatest part in a movement that could never have been so widespread and so creative without its powerful motives; but, even in spite of the immense impulse given by the crusades, religion would never have got its opportunity at all, if "politics" had not at the very moment been ripe for contemporaneous expansion, if the people and the King had not simultaneously been ready to give expression to a movement in which liberty and unity were the greatest factors. Thus it is that the cathedrals are the first visible basis of that French nationality into which the scattered provinces of Gaul had expanded, the first germ of that creative genius of French art which has not yet lost its right of place in120 Europe, the first clear record of the national intellect. And the people were not slow to recognise the meaning of the carvings that were placed where all who ran might read, placed there by men of like passions with themselves, copied often so directly from themselves, that the cathedrals may be regarded as the great record of the ancestry of the common people. The emblazoned tomb, or the herald's parchment, might fitly chronicle the proud descent of the solitary feudal lord; but the brothers and kinsmen of his dependents were carved in their habits as they lived upon the church's walls, and there they work at their appointed tasks, and laugh at their superiors, unto this day. So the people filled their church with throngs of worshippers, with merry-making crowds, with vast audiences of the great mediæval Mystery Plays, with riotous assemblages sometimes not too decent, whose rough humour has been preserved for us in the thousand grotesque carvings of the time.

I have been at this length in explaining the building of the cathedrals, because it would be impossible for you, without some such suggestion of their origin, to realise the meaning of the carvings which cover the great north and south porches of the transept at Rouen. I choose them first out of the mass of detail and construction in this enormous and heterogeneous building, because they are most typical of the feeling which gave it birth, and of the craftsmen who worked upon it. It is well-nigh impossible to attempt any explanation of the many styles, from the twelfth century to the sixteenth, which are commingled, superimposed even, without any feeling in the mind of the architect, for the time being, except that of the imperious need for self-expression, regardless of the fashions of his predecessor. In the great western façade this mingling of the styles is most observable. The angle towers are absolutely unlike, the arches are broken, the121 pinnacles are smashed short off, niches are mutilated, and arabesques are worn away, yet in the healing rays of moonlight, the whole composes into a mysterious beauty of its own that will not bear the strict analysis of glaring day.

But the Portail aux Libraires which Jean Davi, the architect of the Chapelle de la Vierge, built for Archbishop Guillaume de Flavacourt in 1278, will bear microscopic examination in every part, and the reverently careful restorations carried out some time ago by MM. Desmarest and Barthélemy have only brought to light the exquisite perfection of the original work. This gate to the northern transept got its name from the special trade which gradually was connected with that portion of the Cathedral bounds. I have already noticed how the Parvis was filled with various shops and booths, and this space before the northern gate was similarly appropriated by booksellers until at least some time after the sixteenth century was over. What I have to say now is connected with the actual portal itself. The forecourt once filled with bookstalls, that leads up to it, was only decorated in 1480 by Guillaume Pontifz, who also erected the fine screen that opens into it from the Rue St. Romain. On the east side of this court you may see St. Geneviève standing with a Bible in her left hand, and a candle in her right. Upon one shoulder a tiny angel tries to kindle the light, while on the other a wicked little devil with a pair of bellows is perched ready to blow it out again. The panel decoration upon the buttresses of this north door has been selected by Mr Ruskin as the high-water mark of Gothic tracery before its decline began. It takes the form of blind windows carved upon the solid stone, and is certainly an exquisite example of varied, yet severe proportion and arrangement. Its plan expresses the true qualities of the material with a right regard for mass in decoration,122 rather than for line, the fatal change which wrought so much damage after the earlier ruling principle had been given up.


PORTAIL DES LIBRAIRES

PORTAIL DES LIBRAIRES
(DOOR OF NORTH TRANSEPT OF ROUEN CATHEDRAL)


This same acute observer, blessed with more leisure time than I have ever had in Rouen or elsewhere, was able to make certain remarks on the detailed carvings of the door itself, which must be at least suggested in any other description. My own count of the separate carvings does not agree with that made by Mr Ruskin, and in a mere matter of mathematics I may be bold enough to differ publicly, where agreement is so inevitable with the main thesis of his argument. Some idea may be obtained of the work expended on this one portion of the Cathedral alone, when I say that in the centre of the door is a square pedestal, on each of whose four sides are five medallions vertically arranged. Within the great encompassing arch, on each side, is a cluster of three more square pedestals similarly decorated. The arch itself has seventeen medallions upon each pillar, the top five on each side being cut in half by a moulding. Beyond the arch to right and left are two other pedestals with the same five ornaments on their two faces. Thus, if you count the smaller pillars only, there are twenty-four rows of five, or 120 medallions, and adding those on the arch, you get a total of 154. Even this is not all; for on each medallion or panel its separate bas-relief is contained within a quatrefoil. None of their arcs are semi-circles, and none of their basic figures are squares, for each panel is slightly varied in size from its neighbours. The result is that intervals of various shapes are left at each of the four angles of every quatrefoil, and into each interval is fitted a different animal, which gives the astonishing result of 596 minor carvings in this one doorway, all of them representing living things, and all of them subsidiary to the larger subjects which they frame. If you measure these tiny sculptures you will find the base of the curved124 triangle they adorn to average about four inches long, its height being just half that distance. When you look closer at those which are least worn away you will find them clearly enough carved to represent unmistakably in one instance the peculiar reverted eye of a dog gnawing something in jest, and ready to run away with it; in another, the wrinkled skin that is pressed over a cheekbone by an angry fist; in a third, the growth of wing and scale upon a lizard.

Think of the life and energy that were pulsing through the brain of the craftsman who could so fill the surface of the stone. Think of the time that he was ready to give up to patient chiselling at this one task till it was perfect to his mind. And then consider more closely the quatrefoils, small in themselves, which are yet far larger than the details which surround them. The best known is one that has suffered terribly in the wear and tear of nearly six centuries. It is the famous bas-relief of the hooded pig playing on a violin, a motive which recurs at Winchester and in York Minster. Its fingers are placed so accurately upon the bow that the method of playing has formed a type of late twelfth-century style in all collections of musical antiquities. The Minstrel's Gallery in Exeter Cathedral may profitably be compared with it. This accuracy of execution in an essential detail shows the patient copying from life which accompanied—and indeed was necessary to—the vivid imagination that could create so many non-existent monsters. For among all these grotesque chimeras and fantastic mixtures of the animal and human element you will notice the creative faculty in its strongest development. These strange beasts, half man and half a goat, part woman and part fish, have each of them a reality of individual life, a possibility of visualised construction, that is marvellous in its appeal to the spectator. Another violin player appears upon this same door, this time with a human125 head set on the body of a beast, and beside it some small animal dances to the tune.

The mediæval carver was no mystic symbolist. But he felt so much and so vividly that when two strongly opposed ideas came into his head at once he had to express himself by throwing them together into one newly-forged creation of a woman-ape, or a dog-man. He had besides his own thoughts all that strange gallery to draw from, of sirens, harpies, centaurs, which a dying mythology bequeathed. You may trace most of the Metamorphoses of Ovid on the walls of the cathedrals. Then there were the queer bestiaries of his own doctors, the early Mandevilles, the Presterjohns of the twelfth century, the Munchausens of all time. From these he inherited the Sciopod upon the door of Sens, the cynoscephalae, and "men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders." He lived, too, in an age far more pictorial, far more given to the living allegory, than any centuries to which the cold print of a book alone appealed. Architecture, as he knew it, ceased when printing became cheap. But in his days the Bible of the people, the encyclopaedia of the poor, the general guide to heavenly or terrestrial knowledge of the mass of worshippers, was what they saw in the Mystery Plays, or what was carved for them (often inspired from the same dramatic source) upon the walls of their cathedrals. When he had tried all these, there remained the thousand simple incidents of daily life, such as the mother welcoming her child which is on this Portail des Libraires and was copied from it (as is the case in six other instances) in the misericordes of the choir in 1467, or the man who steals clothes from the line as Falstaff's ragged regiment did (a ruffian who is no doubt commemorated also in the name of Rue Tirelinceuil at Rouen), or the burglar walking off with a chest upon the southern transept, while the owner soundly kicks him and tries to take it back.126

This southern door is called the Portail de la Calende from the confrèrie of that name, but the derivation is rather uncertain, and some authorities consider it refers to certain ecclesiastical assemblies, distinct from the synod, which were held four times a year in this part of the Cathedral. The plan of the quatrefoils is much the same as that of the "Libraires." Within the tall embracing arch it is indeed identical, but upon the arch itself fourteen panels are set on each side, and outside it are no less than three double clusters both to right and left, which increases the total of panels to 227. In this enormous number, I have already mentioned one; but perhaps the best known is that which illustrates a very popular mediæval legend, the "Lai d'Aristote," which also recurs in the misereres of the choir. It suggests the eternal supremacy of woman over man, even the wisest, by representing the typical philosopher of the middle ages saddled and bridled by a gay lady of Alexander's court, who sits upon his back and whips him heartily. This is rather difficult to see, as it is high up on a buttress beneath a statue at the side of the Rue des Bonnetiers. From mythology you will find here countless sirens, some playing instruments before their victims, others, like the mermaid of the fable, admiring themselves in mirrors and waving a seductive comb. There is also yet another violin player, with his back towards you, playing to a dancer who is posturing head downwards on his hands, like the daughter of Herodias upon the west façade.

I have already given the name of one of the master-masons who were associated with this great pile of buildings, where the sound of chisel and mallet can have scarcely ever ceased from the twelfth century to the sixteenth. But Jean Davi's work was necessarily one of the last finishing touches upon a building that others had reared in the mass for him to decorate in127 detail. The various churches that had been consecrated on the same spot have been recorded in their turn, from the first primitive shrine of St. Mellon, in the fourth century, to that greater fane seen by the Conqueror, which was almost entirely burnt in 1200. The lower part of the Tour St. Romain is certainly a part of the cathedral St. Maurilius consecrated. To say exactly when the work of reconstruction was begun which St. Louis saw completed has puzzled antiquarians far more diligent and learned than I am. But M. Viollet le Duc has pointed to unmistakable signs of work earlier than the rest in the two circular chapels of the apse, in the chapels of the transept, and in the two side-doors of the western façade, which open to the aisles. M. de Beaurepaire has also demonstrated, from a close study of the Chapterhouse accounts, that when Richard de Malpalu was dean in 1200, one Jean d'Andeli is spoken of as "Cementario, tunc magistro fabrice ecclesiae rothomagensis." He was also a relation of one of the canons. The Chronique du Bec gives the credit of initiating the design to Ingelramus, or Enguerrand, from 1200 to 1214; but this does not contradict the possibility of partners in the work, and that the choir at any rate was done before the Norman influence was much affected by the Ile de France, may be seen at once in the fourteen tall and strong round pillars with their simple capitals and massive round arches, which produce a very fine effect of pure solidity amongst the lighter pointed work surrounding them. After Enguerrand came "Durand le Machon," who dwelt in the same house that Jean d'Andeli had held on lease, and after him, again, the name of Gautier de St. Hilaire occurs before that of Jean Davi towards the end of the thirteenth century.


ROUEN CATHEDRAL

ROUEN CATHEDRAL FROM THE NORTH-WEST


The period of the first coming of Philip Augustus in the ten years after 1210 is strongly marked by the influence of the Ile de France, and by the French Gothic128 work of Suger, which at first swept out of its path every other style with which it came in contact. But by degrees the Norman transition re-asserts itself, and the northern pointed work made its appearance, whose history is completed in England, and is a different school from the Gothic on the French side of the Channel. But every century and every style seems to have had its say and left its mark upon the fabric of Rouen. After the thirteenth century had built choir and transepts and a great part of the nave, and before its close had begun the decoration of the magnificent side portals, and the refinement of the Lady Chapel, the first thing the fifteenth century did was to enlarge the windows of the choir after its own manner, and widen the windows of the nave as well. The only names we find in the fourteenth century are that of the architect of a rose window in the nave and a tomb of Charles129 V., which have both disappeared, and that of Jean de Bayeux, the builder of the civic belfry tower at the Hôtel de Ville. But the perpetrator of the enlarged choir windows was Jehan Salvart, who worked for Henry V. during the English occupation, and is forgiven much, because he was with Le Roux at the finishing of the exquisite church of St. Maclou. The glass was put in by Jean Senlis.

I may as well complete the tale of architects now that I have begun it, though the detail of their work is fitter given in the order of its making, later on. But it is so rare that these master-masons have left any traces of themselves at all, that I may perhaps be pardoned for giving the full list that is hardly possible in any other great cathedral in the world. Jean Roussel succeeded to his father of Bayeux in 1430, to be followed in 1452 by Geoffroi Richier for eleven years. Guillaume Pontifz was perhaps the greatest contributor of any of these later men. In the thirty-four years of his office, the stalls of the choir, representing the various crafts, were carved by several workmen, whose names will be given later, at the cost of nearly 7000 livres, borne by the Cardinal d'Estouteville, the Portail de la Calende was completed, a new top placed upon the Tour St. Romain, a frigid and unpleasing staircase built in the north transept to lead up to the canon's library, and the courtyard, with its entrance screen placed in the Rue St. Romain before the Portail des Libraires. He also began the Tour de Beurre, but left it to be finished by Jacques Le Roux, who had done so much for St. Maclou, but died a poor man in 1500, and was buried beneath the organ. Within the part of this tower that he built was hung the great bell "Georges d'Amboise," the biggest outside Russia, which shared with "Rouvel" the affection of the citizens, which rejoiced the heart of Francis the First, and cracked with grief in 1786 at being called130 upon to ring for Louis XVI. It was his nephew, Rouland Leroux, whose help was called in when the canons desired to embellish their west façade and have a finer central door. This work was begun in 1508 with the money of Georges d'Amboise, and Pierre Désaubeaulx did the central tympanum. Jean Theroulde, Pierre Dalix, another Leroux, Nicolas Quesnel, Hance de Bony, and Denis Lerebours worked at the statuettes. A screen of open work (carrying the clock) was raised in front of the rose window, and four turrets were added, of which but one remains. So Rouland Leroux finished his contract in 1527, having left for himself a greater fame in the masonry of the central tower, whose base he rebuilt after the old stone spire had been destroyed by fire, and especially in the tomb of Cardinal d'Amboise, than ever he will gain by the patchwork of the west façade. What he could do with a free hand and his own designs to begin with, may be imagined from the fact that he built the Bureau des Finances on the opposite side of the Parvis and laid the first plans for the Palais de Justice. No wonder that he worked at Havre, at Beauvais, and at Angers, as well as in his native town.

I shall hardly be blamed, I think, if among the full tones of a praise that must become monotonous, a single note of regretful misunderstanding cannot remain quite unheard; and I must confess that in this western front so many unfinished and supervening designs occur that I find myself unable to imagine the meaning of its builders. Considering, first of all, the arrangement of its detail, I find elaborate flower-mouldings and renaissance-work placed so high up that they can barely be distinguished as anything save light and shade, whereas upon the Portail des Libraires all such delicate work ceases at about 9 feet high, and the upper carving is done boldly in broad, simple masses for an effect of distance. But if this is bad flamboyant work, the131 central gate itself is purer, and perhaps among the finest examples existing of the flamboyant style. There are four strings of niches round this porch from the ground to the top of the arch, each holding two figures; every detail in them and about them is worked with the most elaborate and tender patience, full of imaginative carvings, trellised with leaves and blossoms deep wrought in the stone. At this part of the western front and at the northern side-door I could never tire of looking. But the whole façade I had to give up in despair, save when the moonlight softened it into a tracery of lacework climbing to the sky, as delicate as the pattern of white spray upon a rising wave.

The masonry upon the central tower I have already mentioned. In 1544 it was crowned, by Robert Becquet, with a light spire of wood, 132 metres in height, that was burnt by the lightning in 1821.[27] The new cast-iron erection, with which it has been replaced, may best be described as possessing half the height of the Eiffel Tower with none of the excuses for the Colonne de Juillet, of which M. Alavoine, its architect, was also the designer. For the present I need only add that both the western towers could actually be placed, all but their last two metres, inside the nave of Beauvais. The nave of Rouen is but 28 metres high, and 136 in length, from the Portail to the apse of the Chapelle de la Vierge; and as a matter of possible proportion it is interesting to note that the old spire could just have lain down inside it. At first it had no chapels, but these were built later on between the buttresses, as was done at Notre Dame in Paris. The transept measures 50 metres in breadth, which is just the height of the great lantern above it, that is beneath the central tower.

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From here, as from the heart of Normandy, flowed the life blood of Rouen through her arteries of traffic clustering round the great Cathedral. Within its walls the noblest of her dead are gathered, returning to the central shrine that gave them birth and being. With the completion of the first main bulk of its design the story of the town that built it is brought to a definite point of development. I shall no longer be obliged to go even as deeply as I have hitherto felt necessary into the details of the civic history, for Rouen is henceforth a part of France, and the seal of her nationality is stamped large upon her. Till now, she has been slowly growing out of the mists of aboriginal antiquity, through Merovingian bloodshed, to become the pirate's stronghold, and then the capital of the Northmen's Duchy. When she had fulfilled her mission by carrying French arts and Norman strength into the English kingdom, she lost a little of that individuality of character which I have traced through former pages, just as a mother loses the first bloom of her girlhood when her son is born. Though Rouen once more passed for some years into the possession of an English king, the days of her captivity—with its culminating shame—are as little agreeable for us to hear, as for her citizens to remember, and Englishmen will no longer take that vital interest in her each year's growth, with which a grandson reads the memoirs of his forefather.

So I have somewhat altered the plan of the next chapters in accordance with what I suspect to be the sympathies of those who have done me the honour to follow me thus far.

If you are content to let me guide you further among the many buildings, whose very origin I have not yet had time to trace, you will find that to nearly every one of them may be attached some brilliant episode that stands out in a century, or some overshadowing personage whose life-story dominates a generation of his133 fellow-citizens. So that, as we visit these old walls together, they shall speak to us in no uncertain voice, of the lives of those who built them, and of the progress of the town. Until now, there have been but few buildings to which I could point as the visible witnesses of my written word. So that my story has had to proceed but slowly on its way, without the illustration which your eyes in Rouen streets could give it, making a gradual ground-work of which there are hardly any traces left. But with the building of the Cathedral I have reached a point where the tale of civic, or religious, or private houses that are still to be seen, is the tale of Rouen, told on pages well-nigh imperishable. These mile-stones on our road henceforth become so frequent, that in passing from one to the other, I shall have hardly any need to fill the gaps in a history that is at once more modern, and more easily understood. And as we left off with the highest expression of religious fervour, the Cathedral, we may well pass on, for the sake of contrast, to the most visible sign of purely municipal development, the belfry of the old Hôtel de Ville, the famous buildings of the Rue de la Grosse Horloge.


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CHAPTER VII

La Rue de la Grosse Horloge

Une rue délicieuse où le monde se pourmène, où tousiours il y ha du vent, de l'umbre et du soleil, de la pluye et de l'amour. Ha! Ha! riez doncques, allez-y doncques! c'est une rue tousiours neufve, tousiours royale, tousiours impériale, une rue patrioticque, une rue à deux trottoirs, une rue ouverte des deux bouts ... brief, c'est la royne des rues, tousiours entre la terre et le ciel, une rue à fontaine, une rue à laquelle rien ne manque pour estre célébrée parmi les rues.


THE cluster of old buildings which are beneath the shadow of the belfry are perhaps better known to strangers than any other piece of architecture in the town. It is the focal point of Rouen, the centre of its civic life, and if you are fortunate enough to live quite close to it, as I did, you will find yourself in the best place for starting on nearly every expedition that your fancy may dictate.[28] The Rue de la Grosse Horloge itself is one of those memorable thoroughfares of which nearly every old French town possesses at least one fascinating example, the kind of street that, in his "Contes Drolatiques," Balzac has so admirably described in making mention of the Rue Royale at Tours. A glance at even the few streets marked upon Map B will show its structural importance in the economy of the town. For the Cathedral has stood135 in different forms upon the same spot since the fifth century, and this street starts from immediately opposite its western gate. In the earliest days it was stopped at the other end by the gate through which the Roman road passed, across the Vieux Marché, towards Caletum (Lillebonne). In later times the Porte Massacre was built there, which takes its name, not from the wholesale murder of the Jews in the adjoining quarter, but from the butchers who congregated close by in the Rue Massacre, or Rue des Machecriers (Wace's word for a butcher), which is called the Rue de la Boucherie-de-Massacre in a title-deed of 1454.

The Place du Vieux Marché is a spot almost as historic in its way as the Parvis of the Cathedral, so that there is interest at both ends of the Rue de la Grosse Horloge. Its most terrible memory is the burning of Jeanne d'Arc, which (as I shall show from Lelieur's plan in a later chapter) took place at the angle of the modern halls, and close to the cemetery of the vanished church of St. Sauveur, on the same spot in the Vieux Marché used since the earliest history of Rouen as one of the many places of public execution. The Rue de la Grosse Horloge has also been called the Grande Rue, and several other names which need not be recorded here; for both by geographical position and in its own right it has always claimed a large share in the interest of the citizens of Rouen.[29] Much of its once beautiful architecture has vanished altogether. The church of St. Herbland, for instance, once stood at its eastern extremity, opposite the Cathedral. But of the Gothic work of 1483 not a stone is to be seen. The stained glass windows were bought by a traveller in 1802, and by him taken to England, after the Revolution had suppressed the Church.

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A somewhat better fate has awaited the exquisite example of French Renaissance architecture which used to be at No. 129. Of this very remarkable house, known for uncertain reasons as the Maison de Diane de Poitiers, and certainly worthy of any court beauty of the time, the façade has been carefully preserved in the little square behind the Tour St. André in the Rue Jeanne d'Arc. As the upper storeys project over the road, it must have been built before 1520, the date after which such overhanging constructions were forbidden. Every inch of the wooden surface is covered with delicate arabesques and figures. The proportions of the various storeys are admirably indicated, and the wall-openings grow smaller as they rise, until the whole is crowned with an equilateral triangle, in which a round-headed arch on square pilasters fills the central space. A round medallion with a bust is placed on each side of the second storey windows, and the floors are boldly indicated by deep lines of shadowed carving. The house, of which nothing but this marvellous façade remains, was originally called by the sign of the Cock, and is known to have belonged on the 30th May 1525, to Jean Le Roy, who appears in the parish lists of 1471 as a draper. His son Noël married another of the bourgeoisie, one Marion Ribault; and from her possession until the town bought it from the Hospital, which held it last, the line of title-deeds is unbroken; the important point to notice being that it was built not by a noble, but by a tradesman.[30]

But it is the Grosse Horloge itself that is the jewel of the street. As you look at it from the west you can see constructions built in the Middle Ages, in the Renaissance, in the reign of Henri Quatre, and in the days of Louis Quinze. The Belfry Tower, or Cam137panile, is, as is fitting to its ancient history, the oldest building of them all. There was a tower here from the earliest days when Rouen had a civic history at all, a "Ban-cloque" to call her citizens together, which is mentioned in the city charters as a symbol of her freedom. First hung here in 1150, the old bell first saved the town in 1174 during the siege by Louis VII. In the next century the bell was recast with the following inscription:—ie suis nomme rouvel rogier le feron me fist fere jehan damiens me fist. This is not without significance, for though the King had given the ground for the new Hôtel de Ville, it was only the Mayor, Le Feron, who in 1258 had a right to order the communal bell which called the citizens to their orderly municipal meetings, or summoned them to revolt against oppression. On the larger bell, originally used as the curfew, are the words:—ie suis nomme cache ribaut martin pigache me fist fere nicole fessart me fist amender jehan damiens me fist. Pigache was Mayor in 1254, and Fessart in 1261.

In February 1381 Rouvel rang for the famous revolt of the "Harelle," and went on ringing the whole time the town was "up." So when young Charles VI. entered angrily by a breach in the Porte Martainville, its treasonable clamour was silenced for some time. For this most blatant of the privileges of the commune was actually taken away altogether. Nor when he pardoned rebellious Rouen could the King be persuaded to give back the bell or allow the belfry he had ruined to be set up. So the citizens humbly besought him that they might "faire une auloge et la fere asseoir ou estoit le Beffroi de la dicte ville," and when King and Bailli had agreed, they craftily built a tower for their "horloge" just like the lost and beloved belfry on the old foundations, and you may read on the bronze plate upon the southern side how this was done when Guillaume de Bellengues was captain of138 the town, and Jehan la Thuille was bailli for the King. Jehan le Bayeux took nine years to build it as it is shown in Jacques Lelieur's manuscript of 1525.

Begun by Jourdain Delestre, the clock was finished by Jehan de Félanis, began to go in September 1389 with two small bells to mark the quarters, and was mounted on its proper platform in 1396. The King's charter of 1389 had made special and approving mention of the virtuous Cache-Ribaut, so he was set to ring the hours. But the wicked Rouvel had been given to two of the King's household; and the town would not rest content without him, until, after many emphatic reminders of his royal pardon, the King was prevailed upon to give him back again, and he rings the curfew to this day. But he was not hung up until October 1449, when, after Talbot had left the Vieux Palais, the Council joyfully gave orders to Laurent des Loges, "pour pendre et asseoir certaine cloche nommée Rouve estant en la tour du beffroy"; and in the town accounts stands the cheery item of "Sept sous six deniers pour vin donné aux ouvriers," when it was hung on the very Saturday on which the Duke of Somerset was handing to Charles VII. the articles of capitulation. So when a French king at last came through the famous street again, Rouvel, who had remained in the dignified silence of the conquered for sixty-seven years, made his joyful note heard again above all the clamour of the citizens, and rang a welcome to the freedom of the city, to deliverance from the English, to the return of the King who confirmed the ancient privileges of the Charte aux Normands, maintained the Échiquier de Normandie, and did, in fact, everything that was expected of him except re-establish the Mayor. For the revolt of the Harelle had entirely deposed the Mayor from office. In 1389 his councillors were reduced to six, and it was only three centuries later that, in 1695, the King once more appointed a real139 mayor out of the usual three candidates presented by the town.

Then the bell "Cache Ribaut" came down, as was but right of him, from his high place within the campanile, and Rouvel swung again on his home-beam, "à la seconde croisée en ogive," and proceeded on his old business of proclaiming elections, festivals, and fires and curfews, and does so still. Affectionate flattery once called him a "cloche d'argent," from his peculiar tone; but the most open-minded foreigner can hardly, I think, now take any other interest in his voice than that aroused by his long history, for he has grown somewhat hoarse from ringing no less than 650 strokes at nine each evening for so many years.

The old clock shares with that of the Palais de Justice in Paris the honour of being the first in France. Guillaume Thibault and Guillaume Quesnel painted with fine gold and azure the face towards the Vieux Marché, which Olivier had made when he decorated both sides of the old Porte Massacre, and they set upon it the figures of the lamb and of the four evangelists. Its face was carved as it is now in the days of François Premier, and on its one hand is still seen the lamb of Rouen pointing to the hours. You must by no means omit to mount the tower and see the guardian wind it up, for the swing of its pendulum and the simplicity of its internal arrangements will be of the greatest interest. The astronomical part, showing the phases of the moon, is quite modern, and is set in a separate place just behind the clock-face. As you turn into the belfry out of the arch or arcade you are actually walking on the old ramparts of the city; and on the wall you may read the number of strokes rung to mark disaster in each portion of the town, two for St. Sever, six for St. Gervais, one for Mont Riboudet, and so forth. From the topmost gallery look out at the many towers and spires which even140 now rise in such profusion above the roofs of Rouen—St. Pierre du Chastel, St. Eloi, the front of the Palais de Justice with the Tour St. Laurent beyond, St. Ouen looking (to my mind) far finer from that point of vantage than the Cathedral, which almost hides the delicate beauties of St. Maclou. Just below you is the Hôtel de Ville, and the courtyard which M. Détancourt filled with queer mythology in various stages of undress, "pour son agrément," says the guide.[31] To east and west runs the great arm of the river, with that amphitheatre of hills which holds the town pressed against the outside of the bow like an arrow-head ready to be launched, and on the left of Mont St. Catherine you see the Darnétal valley where every siege of Rouen had its natural beginning. If you are fortunate enough to find one still alive who saw the seventeenth summer of this century, Le Père Pepin will show you too the "tinterelles" presented by the Sieur de Mon in 1713, which hang round Cache Ribaut to strike the hours; and the sun and moon, which are set in their old place again above the pavilion.

I have already mentioned the name of Jacques Lelieur. His chief fame rests on the admirable plan he made in 1525 of the water-supply of Rouen, and incidentally of many of her streets. In Lelieur's map, which is a fascinating mixture of plan and elevation, the Porte Massacre (in the Rue de la Grosse Horloge), is shown to be separated from the Hôtel de Ville by a few shops. Two years after his drawing was made the142 great gate (which had shown signs of weakness a century before) was taken down and the present vaulted archway begun, which was finished in 1529. Miss James has made for me a careful drawing of the central panel of the entrados, which is now just above the street, and shows the Good Shepherd (which was, no doubt, suggested by the lamb in the arms of Rouen), copied from the seal of the Drapers' Company. "Pastor bonus," says the legend, "animam suam ponit pro ovibus suis." Within the semicircular panel on each side are more sheep pasturing in a landscape, and on all the strapwork, or "bandeaux," are carved delicate arabesques. The "pavilion," with its high roof above it, holds the famous clock of Jehan de Félanis.


THE GOOD SHEPHERD

THE GOOD SHEPHERD
CENTRAL MEDALLION FROM THE VAULT OF THE GROSSE HORLOGE


Besides the belfry and the archway of the clock, there was a public fountain set on this same spot ever since Charles VII. turned out the English. The oldest of these fountains in Rouen, drawn from the famous spring of Gaalor, had been in the Priory of St. Lô. The next was that set up by the Franciscans on the site of Rollo's castle, and for two centuries the pipe of this "Fontaine des Cordeliers" passed close by the belfry, before it struck the Town Council that it might be well to provide water supply for citizens near the Vieux Marché, both in case of fire, and for other obvious reasons. So by 1458, the Cordeliers having been duly "approached" on the subject, the "Fontaine de Massacre" was established at the foot of the belfry, and is drawn by Lelieur as a Gothic pyramid with five sides, as tall as the arcade. It showed signs of extreme dilapidation by the eighteenth century, and the wags wrote squibs about the broken statues of the Virgin and bishops by Pol Mansellement (or Mosselmen, see Chap. X.), in elegiacs as imperfect as their subject. So the Duke of Montmorency-Luxemburg, the Governor of Rouen and Normandy in 1728, magnanimously143 offered for the restoration of the fountains all those three thousand livres which the echevins had presented to him in a purse of cloth of gold. The affair progressed thenceforward with due solemnity. M. de Boze, "Intendant des devises et Inscriptions des edifices royaux," wrote from Paris that the authorities of Rouen were to decorate their new fountain with the loves of Alpheus and Arethusa, because, said he, "the Seine (which is Alpheus) comes from Burgundy and Champagne to your fountain in Rouen (which is Arethusa), to bear their mingled waters to the sea, by which is typified your fidelity to the King to whom the monument is to be dedicated." So the name of "Ludovicus XV." duly appears with that of "Franciscus Fredericus Montmorencius"; and mention is made of the allegory of Arethusa and Alpheus as aforesaid: "Quorum fluctus amor dat esse perennes." The first sketch was made by the King's painter, and being much approved of by the worthy Mayor Coquerel, was executed in stone by Jean Pierre de France, "architect, sculpteur et entrepreneur," for the sum of 5700 livres, as agreed upon in August 1733. In 1794 the whole was considerably mutilated; but in 1846 M. Chéruel put all in order as you see it to this day, and completed the strange harmonious mixture of buildings dating from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century.

As I have already noted, the first "Hôtel Commune de la Ville" was set near the Porte Massacre, close by the Town Belfry, with the vanished church of Notre Dame de la Ronde as its first municipal chapel. It probably stood just where the Hôtel du Nord is now, when Henry Plantagenet granted the citizens of Rouen their earliest charter of municipal independence. The second "Town-hall" was that fief of the Count of Leicester on the opposite side of the street, which Philip Augustus gave to the burgesses in 1220 at an annual rental of forty livres, and it remained144 in a state of primitive simplicity for more than two centuries.[32]

In 1525 Jacques Lelieur, tracing the course of the spring Gaalor shows three large buildings on the old fief of Leicester, bigger than anything near them, with a Rez de chaussée, two stories above, and a third in the roof, the ground floor being arranged for open shops, with the principal entrance at one side. Lelieur himself is shown (as may be seen in his small view of Rouen which I have reproduced) offering his manuscript to four municipal officers seated round their council-table, with a clerk at a side-desk. The walls at the right and at the back are panelled, and decorated on the left with fleurs de lys.

The third Hôtel de Ville was built when the old shops of the Rue de la Grosse Horloge began to tumble down. In June 1607 the first stone was laid according to the plans of Jacques Gabriel. By 1658 Gomboust's map of Rouen shows that the façade on the street was finished. It was in the Italian style with "rusticated" blocks of stone, and had round arcades on the ground floor for shops. The building originally formed a square, and the retreating angle may still be seen northwards from the Rue de la Grosse Horloge. In the centre of the courtyard was a statue of Louis XIV.; a chapel stood at the north-east with a pyramidal steeple of wood covered with lead. A fountain was placed at the east end (no doubt supplied by the old "puits"). In 1705 the entry upon the Grosse Horloge was opened by Jacques Monthieu, just where145 the Passage de l'Hôtel de Ville is to-day. In 1796 the whole building was sold to various proprietors for 72,000 livres.

Though it is very degraded in its present state, you can still see the Doric and Ionic pilasters in couples, and the heavy circular tops alternating with triangles above the windows; and though all those parts of the decoration which jutted out have been destroyed, there is still a massive dignity about the building that would have thoroughly justified its better preservation. In any case the municipal authorities might have had some memory of the traditions of the old centre of their civic life, before they moved to the commonplace erections on the north side of the Abbey Church of St. Ouen.

So, though little but the foundations remain of the original Hôtel de Ville in the Rue de la Grosse Horloge, yet the stones of its successor are still there, and the belfry that rang out its messages is much more than a name; so I have thought it convenient to attach to them a few memories of the people of Rouen as they lived in the days before the great changes of the sixteenth century. In my next two chapters I shall have to pause for a moment over the English siege, and the death of Jeanne d'Arc, but the tenth chapter will deal with a few of the numberless churches of the town, and the eleventh with that Palais de Justice which is the triumphant signal that the sixteenth century had begun. If I am to give you, then, a glimpse, however short, of the people themselves in earlier years before they are overshadowed by the great names of prelates and of princes, this will be my last opportunity.

If any Norman were asked what was the most valuable of the privileges which he possessed by right of citizenship in the earliest times, I suppose he would answer without hesitation that it was the Charte aux146 Normands, that confirmation, granted by Louis X. in 1315, of the old "Custom of Normandy" ascribed by tradition to Rollo and traced by record to William the Conqueror. It was also called the "clameur de haro," and affectionate antiquarians derive the word from the "Ha Rou!" with which a suppliant cried to the first pirate duke that "wrong was being done." It is no mere artifice of fiction[33] that this same consecrated phrase might have been heard among the Englishmen of the Channel Islands early in the nineteenth century, and even to this hour, that cry of "Haro! Haro! à l'aide mon prince, on me fait tort!" preserves the custom of Normandy, and of Rollo the Dane, in Jersey, so that the sound of it "makes the workman drop his tools, the woman her knitting, the militiaman his musket, the fisherman his net, the schoolmaster his birch, and the ecrivain his babble, to await the judgment of the Royal Court."

It was soon after this confirmation of their ancient rights of justice, that the citizens lost for a time the privileges of their mayoralty owing to a financial dispute in 1320, which necessitated the intervention of the King. The second epoch in the history of the commune began, and penalties were adjudged for all cases of misdemeanour or of shirking office. The equal, in Court-precedence, to a Count, the Mayor of Rouen was not merely the head of the Town Council, but sovereign-judge in matters of goods or of inheritance, with his own court and guards and prisons. On Christmas Day, to the sound of "Rouvel's" welcome, he marched in state to the Hôtel de Ville, surrounded by his peers and counsellors and sergeants, all in livery with wands of office. But the Mayor was not allowed to collect his rates from the citizens unfairly, and the dispute147 which followed Thomas du Bosc's attempt to levy the Gabelle, or tax upon salt, led once more to Royal intervention—the King "put the communes under his hand" as the phrase went, until the quarrel had been settled. The importance of the salt trade in Rouen has been already noticed, and the little salt-porter carved upon the Church of St. Vincent, and now looking out from the south-east angle over the Rue Jeanne d'Arc, is a sign that the same trade lasted for some centuries later in the development of Rouen's commerce.

THE SALT PORTER, FROM ÉGLISE ST. VINCENT IN THE RUE JEANNE D'ARC It was not merely in peaceful ways that the expansion of the civic power may be traced at this time. For the long-drawn misery of the Hundred Years' War began in 1337, and nine years afterwards the King had to hurry to Rouen to oppose the advance of Edward III., who was already at Caen and threatened the capital of Normandy. All the woods of Bihorel, says the chronicler sadly, had to be cut down to make "hedges and palisades" around the menaced city. After the defeat of Cressy, the men of Rouen had a still sharper taste of the realities of war, for the militia of the town, who had been hurried forward to reinforce the broken army of the King, while their comrades at home were strengthening the defences of Rouen, came up with an English regiment near Abbe148ville, and contributed a heavy share to that loss of "six thousand men of the communes" which Froissart chronicles.

That the town stood in grave need of all these warlike preparations, as well against internal disorders as against enemies from without, may be imagined from the disquieting scenes of 1356, when King John came to the castle with a hundred men-at-arms, and arrested with his own hands Charles le Mauvais, King of Navarre, and four of his suite who were falsely accused of treason. The Count of Harcourt, the Sire de Graville, Maubué de Mainnemare, and Colinet Doublet, were all beheaded on the Champ du Pardon that night in April, while the King looked on. The resistance of the citizens to this high-handed act of injustice was only quelled by the spreading of the news of the King's presence. But Philip, the brother of the King of Navarre (who had been sent to prison near Cambrai), took instant vengeance by ravaging the suburbs of Rouen, and calling in the Duke of Lancaster's English troops. It was in resisting this allied attack that the French King was beaten and taken prisoner at Poitiers. As soon as Charles le Mauvais got his freedom, two years later, he returned to rehabilitate the memory of his friends in Rouen. The body of the Count of Harcourt had been secretly removed from the public gibbet by his family. The three other corpses were taken down and borne to the Cathedral with great ceremony, where their innocence of treason was solemnly proclaimed. Excited by this open defiance of authority, the populace of the town rose against the Dauphin's men, seized the castle, and destroyed the Priory of St. Gervais with which they had a private quarrel of their own on the burning question of taxes. The commune only secured amnesty for its offences, and reconciliation with the Regent, by paying 3000 florins as a fine.149

No doubt the revolt had had some obscure connection with the horrible excesses of the Jacquerie which at the same moment had been desolating Paris. The disorderly bands of ruffians who had been discharged from the French army were, at any rate, a direct source of annoyance to Rouen later on, as indeed they were to almost every town in France in that unhappy time, and Bertrand du Guesclin himself had to come to Rouen in 1364 to organise the army that finally crushed these licentious freebooters, and their ally, the King of Navarre, at Cocherel.

Ever since the middle of the thirteenth century, frequent references occur in the records of the town to the various trades that, in spite of every drawback, continued slowly to progress towards riches and consolidation. Though the early commerce with England now died down, home industries flourished, and of them all, the making of woollen draperies soon became the pre-eminent commerce of the town, which in 1362 signalised the fact by placing the lamb or sheep upon its civic seal, which henceforth appears upon the arms of the town, and is also placed so prominently on the archway of the Grosse Horloge. Rabelais will tell you of the prosperous merchants who bought flocks of sheep from farmers like Dindenault, to make the "bons fins draps de Rouen," for Pantagruel and Panurge journeyed with Epistemon, Eusthenes, and Carpalim to Rouen from Paris, on their way to take ship at Honnefleur, and they will explain to you (for I cannot) why the towns that grow so thickly round the capital become more sparsely scattered towards the sea, and in their excellent company you may appreciate the gallantry of Eusthenes towards the Norman ladies, and even savour faintly, as from afar, the bouquet of that Vin blanc d'Anjou which Pantagruel bought in some old hostelry beside the Eau de Robec. "Mouton de Rouen," says the old proverb, "qui a toujours la patte150 levée," and her sons were ever ready from the earliest years to go their ways, "gaaignant," through all the trade-routes of Europe, where French and Spanish wines were to be bought and sold. And beyond them too; for in 1364 they had joined the mariners of Dieppe in an expedition to the far Canaries, and even helped towards a little settlement upon the coast of Africa, from which the good ship "Notre Dame de Bon Voyage" brought home a cargo of pepper, ivory, and gold-dust that caused much speculation on the quays of Rouen. In 1380 a few actual forts were set upon the Guinea Coast, under the command of that brave Norman admiral, Jean de Béthencourt, the chamberlain of Charles VI., who styled himself the King of the Canaries (most fascinating of titles!) before he died in 1425.

But even commercial enterprise could not save the city from the ravages of the Black Death. In 1379 it swept over the town, and carried off an enormous number of the bread-winners, for the extent of Rouen had now almost widened to the lines of the modern boulevards, and its population had steadily increased from the 50,000 of a century before. The plague had left a famine in its tracks, and as a "rich city," Rouen had been severely taxed for the necessities of war, so that when the regents of the young King ground down the citizens with more oppression and ill-considered taxes, there is small wonder that their patience came suddenly to an end, and they burst into open revolt in February 1381. These exactions came upon the citizens with a double sting. For not only were they exhausted by previous misery, but the good King Charles had upon his death-bed remitted these excessive imports, and left his heart to the Cathedral in token of his eternal goodwill to the town of Rouen, where he had so often sojourned. So the explosion of popular indignation was instantaneous and terrible. While151 "Rouvel" clanged wildly from the belfry of the town, the citizens attacked the tax-gatherers, upset their offices, tore in pieces their tax-rolls, and then closed the city-gates and put up the chains across the end of every street.

LA GROSSE HORLOGE AND THE TOWN BELFRY In a tumultuous and cheering crowd, the citizens poured towards the centre of their civic life, in the Rue de la Grosse Horloge; Robert Deschamps, the Mayor, was put to instant flight for daring to give halting counsels, and his private prisons were broken open. "No King can make the people," cried the mob, "but we are going to make a King," and forthwith they seized on poor honest Jehan le Gras, a quiet, seemly draper; they robed him in a cloak that had just served its turn in the last Mystery Play, and they bore him in raucous triumph to the open square before St.152 Ouen. "I forthwith abolish the taxes!" stuttered the royal phantom in high dismay, while his subjects cheered vociferously, and every market-place roared approbation. "I deliver up the tax-gatherers to justice!" and in a trice every tax-gatherer, and Jew, and usurer, and fiscal agent was haled towards the bridge and there beheaded, till the Seine ran red beneath. "I deliver up your cruel Mayors to justice!" went on the quavering monarch, and forthwith five miserable men who had once been mayors of Rouen, fled from the Rue du Grand Pont, from the Rue Damiette, and from the Rue aux Gantiers, and took shelter in the nearest cemeteries, while their burning houses lighted up the town. "I deliver up the proud monks of St. Ouen to justice!" continued poor Jehan le Gras, seeing that the mob had already begun to batter in the monastery gates,[34] and in a moment more the archives and the ancient charters of the privileges of St. Ouen were in tatters on the ground, or burning among the desecrated walls they had protected for so many centuries. In his death-agony the trembling abbot signed the renunciation of his powers, while the crowd screamed at him till he was borne back to die.

And now the mob was parted here and there by a procession of strong men who bore something with great pride and mystery, and held it, enveloped from all harm, above their heads. A whisper went round that grew at last into a shout of welcome and drowned all other sounds. "The Charter of the Normans! Hats off to the Charter! God bless the good King153 Louis! God save the Charter!" From the inmost shrine of the Cathedral, where it was kept beside the relics of St. Romain, the famous charter had been brought by four burgesses, bareheaded, upon a stand with golden feet. For seven and sixty years it had remained in holy keeping, with the great green seal of Louis X. hanging from its yellow parchment, and now the dean followed it into the streets with all his trembling canons behind him. There was business to be done with them too, and they knew it only too well. "The Chapter will forthwith renounce," says Jehan le Gras, "that rent of 300 livres on the market-halls of Rouen; you will sign the deed or take the consequences." So they signed, and the crowd passed on breathlessly to the next entertainment; for on a scaffold hastily erected, there stood the King's Bailli, Thomas Poignant, reading (much against his will) the provisions of the sacred charter, while the crowd waited with pickaxes and hammers ready to rush and pull down his house at the least sign of hesitation.

So in a silence that was filled with possibilities, and broken only by the sound of the indefatigable "Rouvel," who continued tolling feverishly night and day, the sentences of the charter of Normandy echoed over the square before St. Ouen, and when it was ended all the company swore upon the sacred cross to keep it faithfully, the royal draper first, then what few remnants of civic magistracy were present, then the canons and the whole clergy of the town, then the men of law, and lastly every citizen in sight. Before night ended all the bloody doings of the day, the gibbet of St. Ouen (called the "fourches Patibulaires") had been torn down and burnt at Bihorel, and a solemn oath of amnesty for all acts of violence was exacted from every one who had suffered from the outrages of the mob, and at last poor Jehan le Gras was allowed to go home154 to his shop, without the faintest notion of what all the uproar had been about, and very thankful to give up his royalty and be an ordinary draper as before.

Unfortunately the crowd, drunk with success, did not cease their riot with the deposition of their King. The next morning they attacked the castle Philip Augustus had set up in the Place Bouvreuil. But the garrison repulsed them; Jean de Vienne, High Admiral of France, brought troops into the town; the King's Commissioners were sent down in haste with reinforcements, and heads began to fall with startling rapidity on the scaffold in the Vieux Marché, for the town prisons were choked with the rebels who had been arrested. To all demands for pardon, the quieter sort of the inhabitants were ruthlessly told, "Go to your own King, Jehan le Gras, and let him save you." But the worthy draper had taken care to fly from Rouen as soon as he could get out of his house, for he found the pains of royalty far outweighed its privileges. At last when Easter Eve dawned on a most unhappy town, news came that the young King with his uncles the Regents was waiting at Pont de l'Arche and would only enter armed and by a breach, into the town which had rebelled against him.

So they battered down the walls by the Porte Martainville, and the wives and mothers and sisters of the men condemned to death in prison helped the work, weeping at their task; and as they wrought, it was sure some woman's heart that had the sweet imagination to deck the town with joyous emblems, that so, by the mercy of God this young monarch of only thirteen years might perchance be moved to compassion, and bethink him of their former loyalty. So when the King came in, his eyes lighted only upon banners, and tapestries, and evergreens; and flowers fell upon him from the windows, and the leaves of the forest strewed the roads beneath him, and from every corner came155 the cry of "Noël, Noël, long live the King!" The welcome had at first been the desperate cry of people in sore straits; but at the sight of the boy himself, it turned into a genuine shout of admiration, for, says the chronicle, "he was of sovereign beauty both in face and body, and full of loving-kindness, and sweet charity, insomuch that all men who saw him were in great joy and love of him."

But the Duke of Anjou would not allow the young King's feelings to be moved; and it was the Duke who as they passed the belfry bade "Rouvel" to be taken down, because he had rung out the signal for revolt. Yet the cries of "Noël, Noël!" continued every step of the progress through the town, until they gave way to a silence that had an even greater effect upon the impressionable boy. For he was welcomed at the great western gate of the Cathedral by the Archbishop Guillaume de Lestrange, and by him was led before the sepulchre in which the heart of Charles V. lay buried, bearing testimony for ever to his love for Rouen. Then the King remembered how his father, each holy week, had signed many pardons, in memory of the God who had pardoned in those days the sins of the whole world. So he spoke the words of deliverance to Lestrange beside him, while the population crowded, still terror-stricken and uncertain of their fate, into the Cathedral, and filled its aisles with anxious faces, and climbed upon the pillars to try and get some view of the little King near the altar, upon whose will so many lives depended. Then at last appeared the Archbishop, standing high where all might see him, and as he read the words of pardon which had just received the royal signature, you may imagine how the roof rang with a greater "Noël," a louder "Vive le Roi" than ever had sounded in the Cathedral before.

From every prison and jail in the city the prisoners156 were hurried to the Mother-church; with their fetters still upon them they fell on their knees and thanked God and the King for their deliverance, while their families hung round their necks and sobbed for joy to see them again alive. It was that moment on the eve of the great festival when all the bells of Rouen began to herald the coming of Easter. The great paschal candle had been lit in the Cathedral, and as the Archbishop turned from the joyful throng before him to the King still standing by the altar-steps, he welcomed the beginning of a reign that was blessed by the giving of such happiness. And as the people crowded noisily out into the Parvis, and each wife took her husband home again, few thought of the misery, and the madness worse than death, that was coming upon the young King who had set the prisoners free.

There is one more tale, a very different one, that I must tell of this same life of the people round the belfry of the Grosse Horloge, if only to give you the contrast of the dealings of Louis XI. with the good citizens of Rouen, and to emphasise the moral of their sturdy independence. For though the commune was practically suppressed, in spite of the King's pardon, and though the results of this famous "Revoke de la Harelle" were felt until the society in which it had occurred had almost ceased to be, yet the character of the burgesses remained the same under whatever laws they lived, and their freedom of opinion continued under every rule. So that when every door in the Rue de la Grosse Horloge flew open on a morning in 1490, when every shop was filled with gossips eager for the news, and even "Rouvel" himself was tingling faintly with suppressed excitement, you might be sure that another royal attempt was being made upon the liberty of these touchy subjects. And indeed a most astonishing thing had happened. For a horseman of the King157 had suddenly spurred hot-foot through the town, and alighted at the shop of Maître Jehan le Tellier, with the stupefying request for the hand of his only daughter Alice in marriage, by virtue of the King's command signed and sealed in his pocket. The belfry-fountain was humming like a swarm of bees as all the chambermaids and goodwives in the street rushed up to fill their pitchers at the very moment when Le Tellier's housemaid happened to be filling hers.

But the loudest in outcry of them all was a young merchant whose shop happened to be opposite, and whose complaints against these outrages on civic independence and unwarrantable extensions of the royal prerogative would have warmed the heart of the most crabbed constitutional lawyer. His appeals to the sacred charter of Normandy were far louder than the rest, his invocations of the sanctity of the paternal tie far shriller. "What right," he cried, "had this Louis XI. to reward the ruffians of his Court with pretty girls and dowries when his royal purse was empty? What had made him choose Rouen, of all towns, for so unjustifiable a caprice?" As a matter of fact, it was about the worst choice he could have made, and Madame Estiennotte about the most unlikely mother he could have picked out for the prosperity of his experiment. She began by putting off the horseman until her husband should come back from market, and the moment his back was turned, she flew down the street to the Hôtel de Ville, with half her neighbours at her heels, and laid the King's letter before the Town Councillors. Many of them were at once appalled by the royal seals and sign-manual. But fortunately, one, Roger Gouël, spoke up for the ancient privileges of the charter, loudly proclaimed that the business was not one of the public weal, but of private concern to Dame Estiennotte alone, and avowed himself her champion. It was perhaps lucky for Councillor Gouël that Tristan158 l'Hermite was out of the way, but the citizens were soon ready with their plan.

Désile was bidden to Le Tellier's house, and met there, somewhat to his embarrassment, the entire regiment of the worthy merchant's relatives, including the girl's great uncle, Abbé Viote, one of the Cathedral dignitaries, who eyed him with a sanctimonious calm that gave him his first tremor of uncertainty. Demoiselle Alice was formally summoned into the family gathering, and announced her intention of remaining single with all the innocent and unaffected purity of a novice at a convent. After which, Madame presented the disappointed suitor with a letter for the King, wherein was duly set forth how that "she had received the royal letter asking for the hand of her daughter in marriage for the King's squire; that as for herself and her family, both themselves and their goods were at the service of His Majesty; that unfortunately her husband had not yet returned from market, and therefore other answer was as yet impossible save that her daughter in presence of the family had declared her unwillingness to marry; that she prayed God to bless His Majesty with long and happy life, and was his humble and obedient servant, Estiennotte, wife of Jehan le Tellier."

The wrath of King Louis, the sarcasms of Tristan l'Hermite, the laughter of Olivier le Daim; these things you must imagine for yourself, when that letter was read before His Majesty. But the fact remains that other and more pressing business called Désile away to foreign wars, and Demoiselle Alice consoled herself for her royally appointed suitor by giving distinct encouragement to the merchant opposite who had laid such stress upon the inviolable privileges of the "Charte aux Normands." The story went the round of Rouen, from the Rue du Hallage to the Hôtellerie des Bons Enfants and back again,159 and you can almost hear its echoes still in that old Rouen

"des vieux pignons aigus
comme des épines dorsales
Bombant les angles contigues
Sur les solives tranversales.—
Les logis causent de tout près,
Et l'ombre leur est coutumière,
On jurerait qu'ils font exprès
De manquer d'air et lumière."

HÔTEL DES BONS ENFANTS And you will pardon me that for a moment I have listened to that muttered gossip, to the scandal that one old roof-tree whispered to another whilst it leant across the narrow street, as some old woman mumbles secrets to her neighbour with bleared eyes winking beneath her shaggy brows. There was far more talking in the streets then than there is now, especially in such crowded little passage-ways as this old Rue du Hallage, a corruption from the Maison du Haulage where taxes on the corporations and on goods sold in the market-halls were levied. For in the fourteenth century for the 228,000 inhabitants of Paris there were only twenty-four "hotels" and eighty-six "taverns," and the similar disproportion in Rouen was only made up for, in the case of the "genuine160 traveller," by the unstinted hospitality of such monasteries and hospitals as those at St. Catherine, St. Vivien, or St. Martin.

But the taverns or wine-shops did a roaring trade. On their benches the burgesses sat every afternoon discussing business matters with their lawyers over the light "vin du pays," or bought a few bottles of the "vin de choix," which was the recognised offering to preachers, judges, councillors, and kings alike.[35] It was, in fact, no bad thing to be the advocate in a case when a rich monastery was concerned, for the Abbey of St. Gervais records about this time that it gave its judges and lawyers in one very critical lawsuit, a dinner at their favourite hotel, comprising fish and pears and meat and hypocras (no less!) and ginger and sugar and a hundred oysters. Not in that order let us hope, though the bowels of men of law are traditionally tough, and the hospitality of the intention is undoubted.

Till the end of the fifteenth century mine host was called the "Seigneur" of his sign, as the "Seigneur de l'Ours, Seigneur de la Fleur de Lys;" and though by the close of the sixteenth century we still find a "Dame de la Croix Rouge" for the hostess, her husband had become (I quote from the accounts in the Archevêché) "maître du Pilier vert," or "maître de l'Écrevisse." But even earlier than the fifteenth161 century it was already possible to get good lodging for the night at an hotel in Rouen, for a contract of 1395 has been preserved, made between Guillaume Blanc-baston and Guillaume Marc to furnish forth a hostelry, much as we may imagine the Hôtel des Bons Enfants was furnished in its youth. "Four casks of good wine at ten livres," says this document; "twelve good beds with twenty-four pairs of sheets; eight cups and a goblet with a silver foot; a dozen 'hanaps' of pewter," with pots and pans and pewter dishes innumerable.[36]

COBBLER A COBBLER OF ROUEN,
FROM THE STALLS
OF THE CATHEDRAL
In such an old courtyard as this of the "Bons Enfants," with its overhanging balcony, and queerly managed stables, or in other old inns like No. 19 Rue des Matelas, or No. 4 Rue Étoupée with its charming "signboard," men sat and talked of their various trades, the cobbler, for instance, who is carved on the Cathedral stalls, with the clog-maker, and the wool-comber, and the carpenter, all met and gossiped of162 their latest piece of profitable business, while the lawyers discussed the never-ending question of the Privilège de St. Romain with some learned clerk over their "vin blanc d'Anjou." By the fourteenth century the list of the prisoners released by the Cathedral Chapter begins to be very full and detailed, and we can quite imagine what was talked about in every tavern of the town as Ascension-tide drew near.

In 1360, for example, the King's Mint was already established in the Rue St. Eloi, and you may still see it at No. 30 in that street as you go up on the right hand from the river to the Place St. Eloi. The "Hôtel des Monnaies" has been all whitewashed over, but there is a strong and ancient look about the windows on the street façade that warns you to go through the little passage-way, to find the soldiers of the Douane lounging about the courtyard inside. On the back of the houses that look out upon the street you will see the arms and cipher of François Premier, which show that in his days the Mint still remained in a house that was far older. And in 1360 the "Officer of the Mint of the parish of St. Eloi," who quarrelled about the price of his chicken in the Parvis, "voulait avoir de la poulaille à son pris." He must have done his bargaining in very strong language, for one of the three brothers Sautel who kept the shop, smote him that he died, and it was to these brothers that the privilege of raising the Fierte St. Romain with pardon for this crime, was in that year granted.

Only three years afterwards, Blanche, Dowager-Queen of France, had laid her hand by way of justice upon Jehan le Bourgeois of Neufchatel in spite of the fact that his murder had been pardoned by the canons' Privilège de St. Romain; and from this case, and the following one in 1391, it appears that the pardon given to a prisoner involved that (apart from "civil"163 restitutions) he was released from any "criminal" fine that might have been laid on him, and was of right to be restored to all offices and goods held by him previous to his arrest. More than this, the Bailli of Rouen was not allowed to condemn any prisoner at all during the month that intervened between the "insinuation of the privilège" and the actual ceremony of the pardon; the "insinuation" being the technical word for the annual formality by which the legal authorities were informed that the Chapter would inquire into the various prisons of the town, and proceed to make their choice before Ascension. In one case a prisoner condemned to death (Robert Auberbosc in 1299) was only just saved (though he was not finally chosen for the Fierte) at the last moment from the gallows, whither he had been taken during this sacred period, contrary to the rights of the chapter; and again in 1361 the Bailli had actually executed a man in the same interval before the canons knew, or could prevent it; and he was then and there solemnly excommunicated until full amendment had been made, for that he had been so wicked as to "violer le prévilége et libertés de l'église de Rouen, en vitupère de la dicte église et de Monsieur St. Romain."

The first woman to whom the famous privilege was accorded was Guillemette Gomont in 1380, of whom nothing is recorded; but in the next year strangely enough another woman carried the Fierte, by name Jehanne Hélart, the wife of Robert Cariel, who had slain Jehan Vengier; and in 1388 Estiennotte de Naples, who had been brought from Louvier to marry Guillaume Luart, of the parish of St. Vincent in Rouen, was pardoned by the Chapter in spite of having murdered her husband. In this example, as in many others, to our modern eyes, the motives which persuaded the canons to pardon the criminal they chose are scarcely164 intelligible, and I can only imagine that the key to the tragedy has been lost in most of such cases. But it is the women who are at the bottom of nearly all recorded crime in the long story of the Fierte, and when they are themselves chosen it is often at the end of a drama that surpasses in interest all the tales of mere masculine malefactors in the most interesting criminal record I have ever seen. I shall have occasion to speak of them later. For the present I can only take note of the cases that have been most prominent before the time of the English siege.

The ceremony of the "Levée de la Fierte" did not invariably meet with the approval of the people, as may be seen from the last case I have room to quote from this period. In 1394 Jehan Maignart, of the parish of St. Maclou, murdered Rogier le Veautre, with the assistance of two accomplices, Pierre Robert and Jehan Marie. After the procession of the public pardon on Ascension Day was over, the members of the Confrèrie of St. Romain were leading Maignart in triumph through the streets of Rouen, with a wreath of roses on his head, when suddenly a poor woman appeared at the corner of the Rue de l'École, and screamed to the prisoner that he was a disloyal traitor; praying St. Romain that for his next crime he would not escape the hanging that was his due, for that now he was only screening the true criminals from punishment.[37] The indignant Chapterhouse were only prevailed upon to overlook the crime of insulting their released prisoner by the full repentance of this woman. But "the Law" had heard her too, and it laid its hand promptly on the two accomplices. The canons in165stantly objected, and a valuable precedent was created by the decision of the King, before whom the final appeal of the case was laid. By the royal charter, signed in February 1395, the full privileges of the canons were upheld. The procès-verbal still exists upon a roll of parchment fairly written, nine feet in length, with the evidence of eighty-seven witnesses. The canons laid down (1) their right to the pardon; (2) its origin in the miracle of St. Romain, who "prinst et mist en subjection un grant serpent ou draglon qui estoit environ Rouen"; (3) the sacredness with which this commemoration should be preserved; (4, 5, 6, 7, 8) the various details of the formality to be observed from the "insinuation," the suspension of all capital punishment till Ascension, the visiting of the prisons, and the choice of the criminal, to the public procession; (9, and most important) the prisoner is pardoned for every crime he confesses to the canons, not only the one for which he is then in prison, but all previous ones; he is restored to his heritage and his good fame; and all his accomplices in sin are to enjoy the same full pardon (with its consequences) as himself.

THE RUE DU HALLAGE It had been recognised as early as 1269 that all166 previous crimes were pardoned, for the act of pardon granted by the bailli to Nicole Lecordier in that year speaks of him as "délivré franc et quite de tous forfès ... quielz qil soient, del tens en arrière jusques au jor dui." And by 1446 the charter of Charles VII., which is still preserved in the archives of the Cathedral, announces in May of that year that the prisoner who raises the Fierte "est absolz du cas pour le quel il l'a levée et de tous crismes précédents." So that we reach the astonishing proposition that the Chapterhouse of Rouen enjoyed a far greater power than even the royal prerogative of mercy, which only pardoned a specified crime; whereas the Chapterhouse by a kind of baptism and regeneration from sin, started their prisoner afresh on a new life without any reference to his past misdeeds. What this involved I shall show when opportunity arises; but the release of the accomplices as well as the prisoner was an even more extraordinary extension of powers. It had already taken place before this test case, in a tavern brawl in 1370, in the crime of two drapers in 1356, and in a very important example when Guillaume Yon with another man of Pavilly were released after the slaying of a butcher; and the Seigneur d'Esneval gave sworn testimony that when a friend of the dead butcher publicly called the accomplice in the crime "a murderer," that accomplice would have been delivered up to justice if the principal had not carried the Fierte. The retrospective action of the pardon on the principal also extended to his accomplices, who began life afresh just as he did. And this extension was solemnly confirmed at the inquiry, from which I have just quoted. There is no doubt, however, that so excessive a "prolongation" of the powers of pardon cannot have been allowed throughout the whole history of the Fierte; for public opinion could scarcely have permitted a gang of ruffians every year to return to the full privileges en167joyed by their more honest comrades. So at the end of the fifteenth, and again at the end of the sixteenth century, we find it laid down that only those crimes named by the prisoner should be pardoned, if the Chapter thought fit, and that only those accomplices who appeared with him in the procession should share in his pardon.

It was only in April 1407 that this long appeal was finally decided in favour of the two accomplices of Maignart, who bore the Fierte thirteen years before. But the Chapterhouse took good care that so much tedious and costly legal work should not be thrown away, and the strength of the precedents and charters they secured at this time was never entirely lost while the "Privilege" existed in Rouen at all.

There is only one other matter much concerning the life of the people at this period for which I have space left, and that is their Mystery Plays. Two celebrated instances occur in these years before the invasions of the English and the siege of Rouen. In November 1365 the King gave two hundred crowns of gold to a troupe of "dancers and musicians" who had played before him at the castle in the Place Bouvreuil. In 1374 the Confrèrie de la Passion was instituted at the Church of St. Patrice, and on Holy Thursday held a procession in which all the instruments of the Passion of Christ were carried through the streets by children in the garb of angels. The Mystery that followed was given by the direct sanction of the Church in presence of the King, and in 1476 these representations became a regular annual performance, and the Confrèrie had developed by 1543 into a strong rival of that more famous Confrèrie de la Conception, or Puy des Palinods, of which I have already traced the beginning (see p. 69), in the verses of Robert Wace.

The first of these old Mystery Plays had been merely copies of those Fêtes de l'Église, of which I have168 spoken in suggesting the origin of the ceremonial at the Levée de la Fierte St. Romain, and were in fact "tableaux vivants" of the religious office. Then dialogues were added, and the "Drame Liturgique" appeared within the churches themselves. But the inevitable element of caricature and buffoonery soon necessitated an "outside show." The traces of this transition may be seen in the Chapterhouse Records of Rouen. In 1451, for example, the Christmas mystery is performed "cessantibus tamen stulticiis et insolenciis," and in 1457 "ordinaverunt quod misterium pastorum fiat isto festo nativitatis decenter in cappis." The "jeux de Fous" had been forbidden by the Town Council in 1445 to be held in the churches, and so was the "Procession de l'Âne" (from which the anthem "Orientis partibus adventavit asinus" has been so often quoted) with its prophets and sibyls, and the poet Virgil.

But in 1374 the Confrèrie de la Passion led their procession in all solemnity on the fête day of St. Patrice from his church to the parish of their warden, and all the poor school children went before, and the last twelve wardens followed after, each leading a beggar man by the hand, whose feet they washed during the performance of their Mystery. And this continued until 1636. The last written "Mystère du Lavement des Pieds" that exists was by one Nicolle Mauger, who laboured under the disadvantage of living in the same century with Corneille.


MAP E

MAP E.

MAP OF
ROUEN
SHEWING EXTENSION EASTWARD
IN FIFTEENTH CENTURY

[Enlarge]


169

CHAPTER VIII

The Siege of Rouen by Henry V.

"War's ragged pupils; many a wavering line
Torn from the dear fat soil of champaigns hopefully tilled,
Torn from the motherly bowl, the homely spoon,
To jest at famine....
Over an empty platter affect the merrily filled;
Die, if the multiple hazards around said die."


THE Mystery Plays which I have just mentioned in the last chapter were undertakings at once so solemn and so popular that I can give no better idea of coming trouble than is contained in the fact of the postponement of the Mystery arranged by the Confrèrie de la Passion for 1410. On the 28th of March that year the sheriffs decided that, owing to the heavy obligations pressing on the town by reason of the quarrel with the Duke of Burgundy, and of the severe war-taxes depleting both private purses and public revenue, these entertainments must be given up. We find that this Confrèrie was not to be put off in 1415, and even repeated its play at Pentecost thirty years later; but in 1410 their disappointment was only one of many signs of that disorder and poverty which finally laid Rouen open and defenceless before the English army.

Already, in 1383, commerce and industry had suffered cruelly from the municipal anarchy which followed the suppression of the commune, and from the heavy fines for its rebellion imposed by the King. It was not for more than three centuries that the famous mayor reappeared; and this is no solitary instance of170 such an obliteration in the country, for though French Communes actually began before the Free Boroughs of England, they had not any of the qualities of permanence they showed in the nation where antiquity is more traceable in institutions than in such buildings as are still scattered in profusion over France. Another quaint little episode that shows the uneasiness of the town occurred in 1405, and is to be found in the deliberations of the Hôtel de Ville for the 27th of September. Before Guillaume de Bellengues, Captain of Rouen, and his council, the question was discussed of the arrival of a certain Spanish captain, Pedro Niño, Count of Buelna, from Harfleur. Seventeen days afterwards he came, and it is interesting to observe that, in spite of relations with Spain which had begun long previously, lasted until after Corneille's day, and are still recorded in the name of the Rue des Espagnols, the good citizens of Rouen were very much upon their guard when Pedro Niño sailed up the Seine, and only allowed him to stay in their port and revictual on very hard conditions, one of which was the entire surrender of all offensive and defensive weapons. They also insisted on mooring his three galleys in a certain spot, keeping a strict guard over them, and not allowing any of his men in Rouen during the night.

It happens that the personality of Don Pedro is not unknown to us, from other sources, and the bombastic account[38] written by his faithful squire, Gutierre de Gamez, has so many interesting points in it about Rouen at this date that I must refer to it, if only to bring out of its obscurity a book that is hardly known,171 and almost deserves to rank near the more famous and extended chronicle of the "Loyal Servitor" of Bayard. Without going at any length into a life which does not concern us, I may say briefly that after his education at the Court of Castile, which he is said to have owed to his descent from the royal house of France, Don Pedro was commissioned at twenty-five years of age to attack the Barbary Corsairs in the Western Mediterranean. Ever since Du Guesclin had deposed Pedro the Cruel, and placed Henry of Trastamare upon the throne of Castille, the alliance between that power and France remained a political tradition; and at about this time Charles VI. being at war with England, asked for help, with which Don Pedro was sent. He actually took a town in Cornwall, laid Portland under contribution, and burnt the town of Poole. Returning to Harfleur, he was prevented by contrary winds from again crossing the Channel, and therefore decided to sail up the Seine and winter at Rouen. The luxury of the French nobles was only one of the many reasons of the weakness and disaster of the nation, and Don Pedro's voyage up the river seems to have been made pleasant to him by every châtelaine upon its banks, until he reached the Clos des Galées (which is rightly described in the "Victorial"), and met the somewhat gruff demands of the authorities of Rouen.

They must have very soon changed their opinions, however; indeed, from the fact that in July of that same year the welcome and the gifts offered to Louis, Duke of Orléans, by the sheriffs were entirely contrary to the wishes of the population, who had just rebelled against his taxes, we may infer that a friend of that Duke, as Don Pedro showed himself to be on visiting Paris a little later, was not likely to have long been treated with hostility or even indifference by the civic officials.

It is, therefore, hardly surprising that we soon hear of a love-affair in Rouen, and that too with the172 daughter of M. de Bellengues, the captain of the town himself. This lady had but just become a widow, after her marriage with Renaud de Trie, Admiral of France, which took place from the Hôtel du Bec, before a large assembly of her father's friends in their parish church of St. Lô, with sixteen "Farceurs" dancing before the procession to amuse the people. "She is too good-looking," said the Captain, "for me to prevent anyone from seeing her;" and by this brilliant ceremony he gave a decisive check to the prevailing custom of secret weddings in a private chapel.[39] The description of the Château of Sérifontaine, near Rouen, where the gallant Don first met the old and sickly admiral and his pretty wife, is as complete as almost any other I have seen, as a picture of a great French nobleman's house at the beginning of the fifteenth century.

I have no space to quote the "Victorial" unfortunately, and from its pages I can only hint at the abundance you may gather of the ordered beauty and quiet of the place; of the chapel with its band of wind-instruments and minstrels; of the gracious orchards and gardens by the stream; of the lake that could be drained at will, to choose the best fishes for the Admiral's table; of the five and forty sporting dogs and the men who cleaned the kennels; of the long rows of stalls, each with its horse, in the spacious stables; of the falcons and their perches and their keepers; of the separate lodgings of my lady, joined to the main building by a drawbridge, and filled with dainty furniture. There, too, may be read how Madame went forth so soon as she had risen from her bed, with173 her ten maids-in-waiting, to a shrubbery where each sat in silence, with her rosary and her Book of Hours; how they then set to picking flowers till it was time for Mass; how breakfast followed, with chickens and roasted game upon a silver dish, and wine; how they all rode out together of an early afternoon, taking what gentlemen were there, and singing blithely till the fields echoed as with the songs of Paradise. Into this delightful abode the old Admiral had invited the sea-captain, who was a guest of Rouen. The Spaniard was welcomed with a banquet on his arrival, at which his host, too feeble now to ride or hunt, did the honours of his house right courteously, providing sweet music during all the dinner, and a ball afterwards, at which his wife danced for an hour with the gay Don Pedro. After a ride round the castle grounds the visitor went off to Paris, and can hardly have been surprised, when he returned to Rouen and found the Admiral had died, to receive a message from the pretty widow to come up and hear the news.

But the lovers were unlucky, for she might not wed again so soon after her widowhood, and he was under orders for the war, and had no permission for such dalliance from his master, the King of Castille. So he sailed away towards Harfleur, after many protestations of affection on each side, during an eclipse of the sun which came on as he left Rouen harbour, and much terrified his sailors. And the end of his little story is that he married Doña Beatrix of Portugal, and died in 1453; while Jeanne de Bellengues espoused as her second husband Louis Mallet de Graville, Sieur de Montagu, Grand-Master of the Arbalétriers of France, and died still in her youth, in 1419. She was buried in the chapel of the Trinity in Rouen Cathedral, and all her husband's lands were confiscated by the English King. The intimate connection that existed at this time with Spain is exempli174fied again by the marriage of Robert de Bracquemont, who surrendered Pont de l'Arche to King Henry during the English advance on Rouen, with Inez de Mendoza, daughter of a high functionary at the Court of Castille, where he had been the French ambassador, and owned estates in Fuentesol and Pennarenda.

I have mentioned the irritation of the populace when Louis d'Orléans was received so well by the sheriffs. But their disgust at "the six barrels of wine, and the bales of royal scarlet" then presented may not have been merely political; for many must have remembered how in 1390 the Hôtel de Ville had actually been seized for debt owing to the extravagant gifts of silver plate presented to Isabeau of Bavaria. The family of Mustel in fact had "fait mettre en criées et subhastations le manoir de la ville." And in times of such distress the citizens may well have objected to any useless ostentation on the part of their officials.

Disturbances continued rife in Rouen through these terrible years of the weakness of the King. Chains had to be fastened permanently across many squares and streets in the town, which had become absolutely depopulated owing to the misery of such riots as that of 1411, or the still more serious outbreak of 1417, when the perpetual quarrels of the Armagnac and Burgundian parties were reflected in the factions of the town. The burgesses declared for them of Burgundy, who posed as the "Progressives," or defenders of the people's rights, and therefore objected to the Bailli and the Château, as being the representatives of the Conservative and aristocratic Armagnacs, the gatherers of those hateful taxes, which had been doubled that year, and had thus made still more difficult a commerce already crippled by constant changes in the currency. Perpetual imposts and extraordinary war-subventions had drained the town of its resources for some time. Every religious community had been forced to forego all175 privileges and contribute like the rest. And after Bernard, Count of Armagnac, had assumed official direction of the Government, his excessive exactions made it easy to add the loss of Harfleur and the defeat of Agincourt, to the many sins of his party. The brigandage and violence of an Armagnac, Jean Raoulet, all along the Seine, brought home to the people of Rouen with an even more startling clearness the necessity for trying what the other side could do for them.

So John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, had an easy part to play as the champion of the downtrodden people. On the 24th of April he sent a political manifesto into the town (very much of the kind to which modern France has become accustomed) promising relief from taxation. Before swallowing the bait entirely the burgesses submitted the seals to examination in Paris, but the drapers of Rouen scarcely waited for confirmation before they attacked the royal tax-gatherers with cries of "Long live Burgundy!" Thereupon d'Armagnac sent three commissioners with a troop of Bretons and Genoese cross-bowmen from Paris. But the townsfolk would not let the mercenaries enter, seizing the keys of the town from the officials and mounting their own guard at every gate. The three commissioners, powerless without their escort, took refuge in the Château. The King's bailli, Raoul de Gancourt, refused to leave his post. He seems to have been a man brave enough to make his mark upon the stricken field of Agincourt, and intellectual enough to win a local reputation as a poet, a nature in fact somewhat akin to Charles d'Orléans. But though he could make no head against the rioters he would not leave his honour behind him in the Rue Beauvoisine, and gathered round his hospitable hearth a few of the choice spirits of the town who joined him in deploring the excesses of the populace.176

Outside in the market-place Burgundian orators were rousing the passions of the mob, and chief among the leaders of the people were Alain Blanchart and De Livet, a canon of the Cathedral, then in charge of the diocese during the absence of Louis d'Harcourt, who much preferred the amusements of a courtier to the pious seclusion of an archbishop. As soon as the news of all this reached Paris, the Dauphin himself, with a brilliant suite, set out for Rouen, and encamped in the fortress on St. Catherine's Hill, to the south-east of the town, between the Aubette and the Seine. A message sent him by De Gancourt, intercepted by the citizens, put the finishing touch to their resentment. Three men were picked out to rid them of the bailli. One of them was Guillot Leclerc (afterwards beheaded for his crime), but Alain Blanchart had no share in the assassination, whatever you may imagine to be the meaning of Monstrelet's remarks. At midnight on the 23rd of July (the day of the Dauphin's arrival on St. Catherine) some masked men went to De Gancourt's door, begging him to receive a malefactor they had arrested. The moment the bailli appeared they fell upon him and left him dead in the gutter. Directly afterwards they rushed on to the house of his lieutenant-general, Jean Legier, seized him and his nephew, and threw them into the Seine, together with other prominent members of the Armagnac faction.

The only result was a short blockade of the town by the Dauphin's troops and a military demonstration from the Château, which could be reinforced from outside through a postern to the west of the Porte Bouvreuil.[40] The citizens then surrendered, the Sire de Gamaches was made bailli, and Jean d'Harcourt (a relation of the absentee archbishop) was made captain of the town, with command of the castle; but the Dauphin's party was not strong enough to punish as177 they wished, and Rouen was left in a state of ill-suppressed disloyalty. This broke out once more into rebellion at the beginning of the new year. Robert de Bracquemont, made Admiral of France in April 1417 (whose Spanish alliances I have mentioned on p. 174), was sent down with troops as lieutenant-general of the King in Rouen, Gisors, Caux, and Honfleur. But he could not get into the town, and had to wait in the fortress of St. Catherine. During his short tenure of office the negotiations (preserved in the archives of Dieppe) which he was obliged to attempt, in order to secure some sort of coalition between the hostile factions against the English army, are a lamentable revelation of the dissensions of the time. When the supremacy of the Burgundians became inevitable, he went away, as we have seen, to Spain, leaving his opponent, Guy le Bouteiller, to take command of the castle of Rouen, and bring back with him Alain Blanchart with other democratic exiles; and these two are prominent names in the siege that is to come, for Blanchart was made captain of the picked burgess-troop of the Arbalétriers of Rouen, Guillaume d'Hondetot was made bailli, and Laghen, the Bastard of Arly, was made lieutenant.[41] The Royalist Armagnacs were definitely abandoned, but, as we shall see, the unhappy town gained little in the crisis of her fate from her Burgundian sympathies.

During all these days of civic anarchy the English troops were steadily advancing to their goal. Though no predetermined plan is proved to have existed in the mind of Henry V., the movements of his army resulted in a very definite and successful campaign. Landing on the elbow of the coast of Normandy, where no one178 expected him, he cut the strength of her resistance in two by a rapid march from north to south, paralysing the warlike nobles of Côtentin, and forcing the hostile Angevins and the uncertain Bretons to remain neutral. Then, after sending out detachments to east and west, he concentrated on the Seine, crossed it above Rouen, and seized Pont de l'Arche so as to cut off her best communication with Paris, crush her between his fleet, his army, and his garrison at Honfleur, and ensure the conquest of Normandy beneath her walls.

While the toils were thus closing in upon her, while she was being slowly cut off from crippled France, from Paris, where the citizens had nothing better to do than massacre the Armagnacs, Rouen sent hurriedly for help to the Duke of Burgundy. They only got brave words from his son, the Count of Charolais, who used all the taxes of the northern towns to fight against—not the English, but the Armagnacs. Paris showed a greater sympathy by instantly sending 300 archers and 300 of their own militia. At last the Duke of Burgundy gave to a selfish policy what he had refused to patriotism, and realising that when his own party was in power the English were more enemies than allies, he sent 4000 men-at-arms to help the beleaguered city. In January Guy le Bouteiller had brought 1500 more with him into the castle. The town itself could provide 15,000 militia, 100 arbalétriers, 2000 artillerymen, and 2000 troops from the rest of Normandy, who had fled to Rouen when their own towns were destroyed, giving a total of 25,200 fighting men.

Taught by the bitter experience of Caen, the burghers began their preparations by devastating the buildings in St. Sever on the south side of the bridge, and before the invaders were close up, they practically levelled to the ground nearly every house in the faubourgs outside the fortifications. With the stone thus sacrificed, they179 repaired the breaches in their walls, and strengthened every tower, sowing "chausse-trappes," or sharp three-pronged irons in the fields all round the city. Besides the cannon on the walls, each tower had three large guns pointing in different directions, and eight smaller pieces for fast firing. Antiquated weapons were pressed into the service as well, the balista, the three-mouthed trébuchet (the tappgete, or tryppgette of the English), and the sling for hurling heavy darts and arrows set up on the Porte Martainville. Besides this, they sank every boat on the Seine, above or below the town, and even burnt their two royal galleys when the progress of the siege compelled them to prevent the English from the advantage of their capture. Further taxes were raised and cheerfully paid by layman, ecclesiastic, and soldier alike, and orders were issued, by the sound of a trumpet in every public square, that every householder should get in provisions for ten months, an almost impossible feat considering the scarcity of all food in Normandy at the time. Finally, some thousands of the poorer classes were banished out of the town, and a few drifted as far as Beauvais and Paris, but the majority were swept back again into Rouen by the constantly increasing tide of fugitives driven into the city by the English, to make the task of feeding so many useless mouths more difficult. The results were hideous when the famine came.

On the English side, the King's own men numbered 16,400 of all arms, the contingents of his various captains and barons amounted to 20,306, including knights, light cavalry, and archers on foot. In addition, 1000 carpenters and workmen followed the army, with some 6000 engineers, sappers, and miners including the men who served the artillery. This was the force that left England, and any diminutions in it, by lapse of time and service, were more than made up by the reinforcements of the Earl of March, of the180 Duke of Exeter, of Sir John Talbot, and the Prior of Kilmaine. So that the total of the army that besieged Rouen was, at least, 45,000 men. This large force was brought across the Seine, partly by the old bridge of Pont de l'Arche, partly by a light and ingenious pontoon bridge made of planks supported on watertight leather boats, which could be packed up and carried with the army on the march.

The first appearance of the enemy was when the Duke of Beaufort (who had been Earl of Dorset in 1415), appeared before the walls to summon Rouen to surrender on terms. The citizens answered him with an attack of cavalry. On Friday the 29th of July, Henry V. set out from Pont de l'Arche by the right bank of the river, with a cloud of scouts before his army, savage half-clad Irishmen, armed with light shields, short javelins, and long knives, who plundered all the countryside, and rode into camp at night astride of the cattle they had stolen. That same evening, "the Friday before Lammas day," the King reached Rouen and placed his troops all round the town under cover of the darkness. The citizens awoke next morning to find Rouen girdled with English steel. The die was irrevocably cast. Abandoned by their king, by both the factions into which the rest of France was torn, the hardy burgesses resolved to stand firm for the honour of a nation which had left them to their fate. And, at first sight, the mighty walls, and moats, and towers must have made even the English hesitate before attacking a town that had prepared so stubborn a defence.


THE CHARTREUSE DE LA ROSE

THE CHARTREUSE DE LA ROSE


The account of the siege has very fortunately been preserved by two eye-witnesses, and we are able to check any French sympathies that may have crept into the accounts of Monstrelet, or of the Monk of St. Denys, of Juvenal des Ursins, or of the "Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris," by comparing them not merely with the worthless "Chronique de Normandie,"181 or with Pierre Cochon's "Chronique Normande," but with two far more important and more authoritative descriptions, one preserved in Paris, the other in the British Museum. Both were written by men in the army of Henry V., whose names are unknown. The first is called the "Chronicon Henrici Quinti," which was brought to France by Pierre Pithou, and is now in the Bibliothèque Nationale (MS. 6239). The second182 is a poem in contemporary English called the "Sege of Roan," of which 954 verses were published by Mr Conybeare in "Archæologia Britannica" (vol. xxi.), and 676 verses by Sir Frederick Madden (Ib. vol. xxii.). Of English contemporary authorities, Otterbourne and Stow have something to say, but Walsingham is useless. Rymer's "Foedera" has some important documents (vol. IV. iv.) and there are finally, of course, the archives of the town itself, which emphasise in many details the heroic patriotism and constancy of the citizens amidst the sufferings, as terrible as can be imagined, which preceded the fall of the town and the consequent subjugation of Normandy to England for thirty years.

There is not much that you can still see of the city that was so splendidly defended, but I can at least point you to the very spot where King Henry the Fifth had his headquarters. By going eastwards out of the city, along the Rue d'Amiens, which starts from the Place des Ponts de Robec, you reach the boulevard Gambetta, north of the streams of Aubette (along which runs the road to Nid de Chiens, the Norman dukes' sporting kennel) and south of that branch of Robec which passes by the Tour du Colombier. Though that part of Rouen's fortifications has disappeared, you may still see at the south-east angle of the old walls, a remnant of that Couvent des Célestins founded by the Duke of Bedford during the English occupation. A little further northwards you pass the end of the Rue Eau de Robec, "ignoble petite Venise" as Flaubert called it, with its queer bridges and overhanging gables, and finally in the Place St. Hilaire you will find the Route de Darnétal. Walk eastwards straight along it, until a small suburban road turns out of it upon your right hand, called the Rue de la Petite Chartreuse. This soon leads you to a large expanse of enclosed ground on the left of the road, surrounded by a fine bit of fifteenth-century wall; the entrance-183gate is marked with the number 4. Within are several ruined buildings dotted about a quiet abbey close whose strange religious atmosphere has never changed in more than four and a half centuries. Close to the gate, there rises an ivy-covered column of dilapidated ancient masonry, which holds a much more modern seventeenth-century shrine, still commemorating "Notre Dame des Roses," as the laundresses call her.

Far behind your right shoulder rise the spires of Rouen; away to the left is the church tower of Darnétal; in the opposite horizon the great slope of St. Catherine rises to the sky. Within this quiet square Archbishop Guillaume de l'Estrange built the Chartreuse de Notre Dame de la Rose, in 1386, rather more than a mile from the Porte St. Hilaire, in that cool valley between St. Catherine and Darnétal, which is shut in by the interlacing arms of Robec and Aubette. Some fifty yards beyond the shrine I have just mentioned, you will see a half-ruined mediæval building, which must have been the great hall of the convent. Traces of fourteenth and fifteenth century work have been found in it by the eye of faith, though the lower floor is now a kind of granary, and the upper storey is used as a big drying-ground by the laundry girls who live close by in the pretty old house that used to form a set of lodgings for the monks. Above its walls in 1418 floated the royal flag of England, and within them the last act in the tragedy of the siege of Rouen was played out. It is my good fortune that the drawing of this historic spot, made for me by Miss James, happens to be yet another picture in this little volume of a scene that has never, to the best of my belief, been given to English readers before. The King's headquarters, though close to Mont St. Catherine were beyond the range of the cannon of those days, and between him and the fortress Lord Salisbury's men were placed, with Lieutenant Philip Leech on the184 south side, and Sir John Gray to the west. Opposite the Porte Martainville was the Earl of Warwick's camp; and Edmund Beaufort, Count of Mortain, who became Duke of Somerset when he was made governor of Normandy, held the north side of the Aubette and completed the investment of St. Catherine's.

North of the King's camp, Sir William Porter had at first held the ground before the Porte St. Hilaire, but the Duke of Gloucester was given the position as soon as he came up from Cherbourg, placing his two lieutenants on each side of the stream, the Earl of Suffolk to the south, the Marquis of Abergavenny northwards.

Leaving the side on which the King's camp was so well guarded, if you passed west and northwards round the battlements of Rouen, you would have seen Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, guarding the Porte Beauvoisine, having as his lieutenants Lord Willoughby de Eresby and the Lord Chamberlain, Henry Fitz-Hugh, to the east, and John Lord Ross westwards. The Castle of Rouen and the Porte Bouvreuil were besieged by Lord John Mowbray, second son of the Duke of Norfolk, whose lieutenants were first Sir William Hanington, and later on Sir Gilbert Talbot, the father of the famous Earl of Shrewsbury. The last gate, the Porte Cauchoise at the lowest western angle of the town, was beleaguered by Thomas Plantagenet the Duke of Clarence whose camp was in the ruined abbey of St. Gervais; above him was the Earl of Cornwall; and James Butler, Earl of Ormond, closed the investing lines towards the river. A glance at map B will make all this clear.

Across the Seine, the whole of the ruined faubourg of St. Sever was under the command of John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon, whose business it was to guard the barbacan, or fortress at the south end of the bridge, and to keep up the English communications with the185 south of Normandy. To do this he had a numerous staff of lieutenants, Sir Gilbert d'Umfreville, Lord John Nevill, eldest son of the Earl of Westmoreland, Sir Richard Arundel, and Lord Edmund Ferrers. Finally, Thomas, Lord Carew, was given a roving commission to scout and forage with his light Irish troops and a body of hardy Welshmen under Jenico of Artois who is mentioned both by the English anonymous poet and by Holinshed.

Within the walls of Rouen the roll of the defenders has but very modest names to contrast to the flower of English chivalry opposed to them. Of Guy le Bouteiller, captain of the castle at the Porte Bouvreuil, I have already spoken. One of his lieutenants, Jean Noblet, held St. Catherine, and the other, Laghen, the Bastard of Arly, kept the Porte Cauchoise with the goodwill of all the citizens who firmly trusted him. One of his subordinates is called "Mowne-sir de Termagowne" by the English poet. The names of all those who kept the walls are chronicled either by this authority or by Monstrelet. But the most famous of them were Alain Blanchart, captain of the Arbalétriers, who seems to have taken command of the whole militia and was the life and soul of the town's resistance, and Canon Robert de Livet whose devotion and ardour inspired every non-combatant to assist the soldiers in their weary task and to bear their sufferings with a fortitude he was himself the first to show. I have mentioned 2000 refugee-warriors from other places. They seem to have been led by the men of Caen under a Lombard condottiere called Le Grand Jacques, or as the English poem has it:—

"Guaunte Jakys a werryour wyse."

The real operations of the siege began with a desperate sortie of the citizens from every gate at once, which was repulsed with slaughter. The following days were filled with spirited attacks on every186 English captain who had not had time to fortify his post, attacks which only ceased when a huge ditch had been dug all round the town, with regular posts and covered ways, the whole under the guidance of Sir Robert Bapthorp, who was afterwards rewarded with the "Maison à l'enseigne de l'Ours" in the Rue de la Vicomté. Meanwhile the English continued to make sure of their communications with Harfleur down the Seine, and to cut off the same route to the French. The Portuguese fleet helped them to blockade the mouth of the river, and even advanced upstream as far as Quillebœuf. Most important of all, they built the Bridge of St. George of solid timbers sunk into the stream between Lescure and Sotteville, four miles higher up than Rouen, and guarded it thoroughly from all attack. Finally, Jean Noblet, cut off from all provisions in St. Catherine, had to surrender on the thirtieth of August, and a few days afterwards, Caudebec, the last hope of the city down the stream was forced to swear complete neutrality and to abide by the same terms which were eventually won by Rouen, an instance of heroic partisanship which proves the solidarity of Normandy and the loyalty of every outlying town to the capital.

The results of all this were very soon visible, for the Seine was now completely in the power of the English, and the only problem that remained for the King to solve was to get his war-galleys high enough up the Seine to protect St. George's Bridge. He could not think of sailing past the town itself. He finally determined to drag the vessels across the narrow neck of land that lies at the southern angles of the great curve on which Rouen herself is set. The space at this point between the villages of Moulineaux and Orival is scarcely five miles, as may be seen on map A. The galleys were hauled across under full sail with a favouring wind on huge greased rollers, and then indeed the187 men of Rouen were face to face with the reality of a blockade which held them fast by land and water; so they burnt their own last warships and set fire to the famous Clos des Galées.

Henry V. had before this written to London for provisions, in a letter to the Lord Mayor which is still preserved in the archives of the City, and took nine days to get to him. "And pray you effectuelly," writes the King, "that in al the haste that ye may, ye wille do arme as manie smale vessels as ye may goodly with vitaille and namly with drinke for to come Harfleu and fro thennes, as fer as they may, up ye river of Seyne to Roan ward, vith the said vitaille for the refresching of us and our said hoost." The royal request was cheerfully welcomed, and the city of London hasted to send "Tritty botes of swete wyne, ten of Tyre, ten of Romency, ten of Malvesey, and a thousand pipes of ale and bere, with three thousand and five hundred coppes for your hoost to drinke"—a "bote" being about 126 gallons. At the very moment when all this good cheer reached the thirsty Englishmen, the first pinch of hunger came upon the men of Rouen, as, one by one, their last communications were cut off. Their attacks upon the enemy became more frequent and more desperate every day. With artillery, with every weapon they could scrape together, obsolete or not, they kept a continual hail of missiles on the English camp, especially harassing the quarters of the Duke of Gloucester, absolutely preventing the King's soldiers from ever approaching near enough to mine their walls, and giving not an hour of rest to the English army.

But Henry V. was too wise to waste a man. After he had cut off every avenue of help or hope, he sat quite still and waited, for he knew that death and disease were on his side, and that against inevitable starvation no city in the world could stand for long. The horror of this long-drawn agony was now and then relieved by188 such single combats between the lines as that when Laghen beat the Englishman who had challenged him before the gate of Caux, or by the hanging of a new French prisoner in the English lines and the retaliation of an execution on the walls of Rouen. But rations were growing pitifully small now, and another effort was made to get help from the King and the Duke of Burgundy. A messenger got through the lines and brought the stern warning of the citizens to those who had abandoned them. For Rouen cried "Haro!" before the throne, and gave notice to the princes that if she was compelled to surrender to the English, there would be no bitterer enemy of the Crown than the capital of Normandy. They got the usual promises, and every bell in Rouen (save the captive "Rouvel") rang to welcome the good tidings of the messenger on his return. But nothing happened, and both at Alençon and at Pont de l'Arche the English King was easily able to put off the negotiations which were the only sign of help that Rouen got from Paris.

And now famine itself began to grip the citizens by the throat. The Register of the Cathedral Chapterhouse shows signs of scarcity of food only three weeks after the siege began, for fines are then imposed in loaves of bread. Then the bread usually distributed was given up, and money substituted. The last entry stops short in the middle of a pathetic sentence ... "parce que, dans le nécessité du présent siège, le pain ..." and it was not until the gates were opened that a clerk was found strong enough to go on writing. By the end of September all the meat had disappeared, every horse and every donkey had been eaten, and wheaten bread was sold at a sovereign a loaf. The horrors of starvation need not any further be revealed; but by the first days of December they had a peculiarly terrible result. To save their own lives, and keep enough miserable fodder for the soldiers to stand upright behind the walls, the189 burgesses of Rouen had to turn out of the town all the refugees who had fled for safety to her walls from other cities taken by the English. Some fifteen thousand of them, men, women and children, tottered out of the gates and made feebly for the English lines. The chronicler himself was moved to pity: "Have ye pitee hem upone" he cries to the English King, "and yeve hem leve thens to gone"; but when they tried to pass through they found a row of pikes as pitiless as the shut gates of Rouen behind. Beneath the chill December sky these famishing spectres had to take refuge in the open ditch below the ramparts of the town. Without any shelter, ragged, defenceless, and feeding only on roots and bitter grass, grubbed from the war-scarred ground, they perished in hundreds every night, they died by the chance missiles of one side or the other, they went mad and hurled themselves into the watch-fires of the English. From the walls above, a priest sometimes would lean down with a blessing, or draw up an infant newly born into all this misery, baptise it, and lower it again to die; but never a crumb of bread came out of starving Rouen. The Canon de Livet, whose stout heart no horror of the siege could break, was almost overcome at this last infamy of fate; and standing high upon the ramparts he cursed the English army, and pronounced the anathema of excommunication against its king.

The citizens made one more attempt to break through that inflexible ring of death. Ten thousand of the strongest men who could still carry arms were picked out from the garrison, and every atom of eatable substance in the town was swept and scraped together to give them such a pittance as was grimly supposed to sustain them for two days. Two thousand of them dashed out of the Porte St. Hilaire and feverishly made for the headquarters of the King. Their very desperation sent them momentary victory, but their movement190 was only intended as a blind to the main attack arranged from the castle gate, behind which eight thousand undaunted skeletons rattled in their armour and prepared to deliver their last blow for freedom. Their front ranks were already past the moat, and the weight of their main column was upon the bridge, when suddenly the massive timbers groaned beneath them, and some thousand men-at-arms fell down into the ditch beneath. Cut off from their own men, those who had already passed were shot down at leisure by the English, while the ditch was filled with maimed and dead. Those who had not had time to cross were obliged to make a circuit and try to give assistance to their isolated friends outside by way of the Porte Bouvreuil further to the north and east. The miserable heroes who had attacked the royal camp were only got back into the town with fearful loss. To the discouragement of the failure was added the bitter suspicion of treason, for the great beams of the bridge were found to have been half sawn through. Their despair was accentuated by the death of the brave Laghen, who had at last succumbed to the fatigues of fighting without proper food.

At the imminent peril of their lives, but preferring death in the open to the starvation of rats in a hole, four nobles and four burgesses got through the English lines once more, with a last appeal to the Duke of Burgundy and the King, roundly denying all allegiance to them if no attempt to help were made. The Duke himself was base enough to answer that on the fourth day after Christmas help would come, and this though he must have known that there was no real chance of succour. But with a pitiable confidence in their leaders the envoys dragged themselves back to Rouen and bade the garrison hold out only for another fifteen days, and then they should be rescued. To men already starving we can scarce imagine what the delay of another fortnight meant. It was drawing near to Christmas.191 From the English camp two priests were seen advancing towards those phantoms of still visible humanity that stretched their fleshless arms to heaven from the city moat. The King was sending food and drink to them for the love of Him whose birth was celebrated on the morrow. The miserable creatures ate and drank with hideous cries that brought the starving garrison to the walls to watch them; but they only gained the strength to suffer pain a little longer, for the next day the English lines closed up again and no more food was to be had.

One more bitter disappointment the citizens were destined to suffer before the end came. From the right bank of the Seine two Norman nobles, Jacques d'Harcourt and the Sire de Moreuil attempted to draw the English into an ambuscade. They had only two thousand men, but they might well have created sufficient diversion to render a victorious sally possible from the city, for the English imagined it was the royal army of rescue come at last. But the eager watchers from the walls of Rouen had the mortification of seeing their compatriots put to flight by a far smaller body of the enemy, and their last hope faded like dew before the sun. Then the fateful twenty-ninth of December came, and went, without a sign of royal or Burgundian help. For two more miserable days the citizens waited in vain, and not till fifty thousand persons had died of famine did they think of surrender. Their walls were still intact, their hearts as stout as ever, but starvation began to make irreparable breaches where the enemy's artillery had been of no avail. So on the eve of New Year's Day, the envoys chosen by the meeting in the Hôtel de Ville, went out to parley with the English.

They wandered in vain from one camp to another, until they were obliged to cross over to St. Sever, and there they found Sir Gilbert d'Umfreville, whose192 Norman lineage perhaps made him kinder than the rest. He was at last prevailed upon to take them on the second day of the year, a Monday, into the presence of the King. Though every hour meant a prolonging of their torture, the ambassadors fought foot by foot the conditions of surrender and calmly argued every sentence of the treaty with that Norman love of litigation which now rose to its highest and most impassioned point. In the great hall of the Chartreuse de la Rose, they saw the cold, impassive, handsome countenance of the young English King, with that touch of sadness on it that foretold his early death,[42] and the detached nobility of manner which fitted a King who had exhausted every pleasure before he took, and worthily wielded, the responsibilities of power.

The first request of the ambassadors was for the succour of the poor outcasts in the moat all round the town. But Henry only announced his firm resolve to take Rouen and all its citizens and to make those who had opposed his will "remember me until the Day of Judgment." At last an armistice of two or three days was granted, and on the third of January a solemn meeting of the picked ambassadors of either side took place between the Chartreuse and the Porte St. Hilaire, where all the splendour of the English noblemen's caparisons and furniture was displayed, and the starving commissioners from Rouen made the bravest show they could beneath the Fleurs de Lys of France. Close to all this magnificence was the yet living horror of the moat, which was now almost filled up with dead. From time to time the heap of rags and withered anatomies heaved slowly, and the little spectre of a child crawled out, imploring food. And all day long the solemn arguments went on beneath the sumptuous pavilions of the English, until, after three days of193 discussion, the ambassadors of Rouen went back, unsatisfied, into their city.

"We askid mykille," says the poet, "they proferid smal,
That is yuelle to accorde with alle.
Tho thay tretid an xiiij nyzt
And zit accorde they ne myzt."


APSE OF ST. OUEN

THE APSE OF ST. OUEN, SHOWING THE TOUR AUX CLERCS ON
THE RIGHT, SEEN FROM THE GARDENS OF THE HÔTEL DE VILLE


Both sides were indeed so resolute, that they "might have argued for a fortnight without coming to an agreement." But the people of the city had starved long enough, and they drove back their emissaries to the Porte St. Hilaire, after one proposal, born of mad194ness, had been made, to set fire to the town and then by every gate at once to pour out upon the English camp with the whole population in a flood, and so win through or die at least with weapons in their hands. Some news of this despairing possibility may have suggested to King Henry that the representations of the Archbishop of Canterbury were not without their value. At any rate he yielded to solicitation, granted another truce, and on the ninth of January opened negotiations once again.

This time the pressure of famine was so hard upon the ambassadors themselves that they went on with discussions night and day, burning torches and candles when the sun set. At last a definite instrument was signed and sealed that guaranteed life and a free pass to the garrison, their goods to the citizens, and great portion of its privileges to the town. But the terms were hard enough. Three hundred thousand crowns of gold[43] was fixed as the ransom of the city; the chains were to be taken down from every street; ground sufficient for an English palace was to be given up, which was eventually chosen at the south-west corner of the town near the river; nine persons, among whom were the Canon Robert de Livet and Alain Blanchart, were exempted from the capitulation and "reserved to the mercy of the King," which in one case at least meant death.

Upon a throne, and dressed in cloth of gold, Henry V. received the keys of Rouen from Guy le Bouteiller, in the Chartreuse de la Rose. Then the Duke of Exeter, as captain of the town, set up the English standard over all her gates and above the donjon of the castle; and at daylight on the twentieth of January the French garrison filed out of Rouen across the Seine towards the Bridge of St. George on the left bank, and195 were stripped of everything, save one suit of clothes, by the English soldiers, as they went. Only two thousand men survived out of the six thousand who had so gallantly come into Rouen to help resist the enemy. While they escaped sadly into desolated Normandy, King Henry V. was advancing from the Chartreuse; he moved slowly round the city to the Porte Cauchoise, and behind him was borne a fox's brush swinging upon a lance.[44] The bells rang and the cannon roared salute as he entered Rouen, but of the inhabitants scarcely one had strength to stand upright, not one had voice to cheer, and all besought for bread. Alone of the nine prisoners, Alain Blanchart was beheaded. But thirty-three burgesses were picked out to pay a special tax in ready money and imprisoned till it was delivered.[45] The main sum of the ransom was disputed with the true Norman delight in legal quibbling, and not fully paid (or at least "arranged for") till 1430.

The imposition of this huge sum on a community already at the end of its resources had a lasting and terrible effect upon the town. The Chapterhouse were obliged to remit half their rents from the farmers ruined by the war. All debts had to receive special postponement, and commerce suffered almost as fatally as agriculture. All over Rouen houses were continually being put up to auction for public or private defalcations, to be bought by those Englishmen who had not been already given estates as a reward for their services.196 The buildings of the Abbey of St. Ouen were entirely occupied by the men of the Duke of Suffolk, so that the archbishop of 1423 was unable to pass the night before his entry in the abbey, as of immemorial custom, because the English filled up every inch of it. Of the exquisite east end we can see now, not much more than the beautiful little "Tour aux Clercs" of the older abbey was standing in 1419. But it may be put down as one of the few things creditable to the English occupation that part of the nave was certainly finished under their encouragement (see Chap. X.). Meanwhile the King took care to strengthen the castle at the Porte Bouvreuil, and the barbacan at the bridge; and his own palace began to rise near the Tour Malsifrotte and the Porte du Pré de la Bataille. Nothing now remains of it save the name of "Rue du Vieux Palais" in the Quartier St. Eloi (see map D). But it served in the first years as a residence for the Duke of Bedford, and for the young King Henry VI.

LA TOUR DU COLOMBIER, FROM THE BOULEVARD GAMBETTA After the conquest of Rouen, one town after another fell into the English hands. On September 23 in 1419, the last resistance in Normandy was quelled at Château Gaillard. Mont St. Michael alone remained free until the English domination ceased and France joined her in her freedom. The King who took the city of Rouen was seen there twice again. In 1421, with Catherine of France, his wife, he opened the Estates of Normandy. In 1422 he was borne through197 Rouen on his funeral bier; two months before the crown of France would have been his.

The Rouen besieged by King Henry V. can be almost exactly traced along the lines of the modern boulevards shown in map B. The extension eastwards, which is given in map E. with this chapter, took place chiefly during the fourteenth century when Rouen was rapidly growing to be the second town in the kingdom. In making the circuit of the walls you will remember passing the Tour du Colombier between the Porte Martainville and the Porte St. Hilaire. It is represented now by a picturesque old house standing four-square upon a buttressed wall above the stream, at the extreme eastern verge of the great enclosure of the hospital. It is still called the Maison des Célestins, and aged men over sixty are preserved there to live out in peace the autumn of their days. Both the name and the present occupiers are an appropriate reminder of one who is connected with some of the better memories of the English occupation, the Duke of Bedford who founded the Couvent des Célestins, that was ruined by the Huguenots in 1562, upon the land formerly occupied by his Château de Chantereine, called "Joyeux Repos."

This convent, which was also known as the "Val Notre Dame," is not the only trace which the Duke of Bedford's benefactions left in Rouen. He also took the Carmelite brethren under his especial protection, being no doubt supported in this charitable action by the English Carmelite confessor of Henry V., Thomas de Valde, who died at Rouen in 1430. But his most intimate connection with ecclesiastical Rouen is recorded in the archives of the Cathedral, where we are told that he left the chapterhouse in his will a beautiful golden chalice garnished with gems, a pair of golden censers and a silver-gilt crucifix, in memory of his being made a canon at his own request. And198 there is some irony in the thought that at the moment he was giving these proofs of his affection for the town, his councillors were, with his consent, pursuing Jeanne d'Arc with every subtlest form of legal and religious torture.

Scarcely a year after Jeanne had been burnt in the Vieux Marché, the Duke's wife, Anne of Burgundy, died at the early age of 28, and in addition to this private loss he had to submit to the consequences of a grave error of judgment in his second marriage to Jacqueline, daughter of Pierre de Luxembourg, Count of St. Pol, an alliance which gravely offended the whole house of Burgundy. In 1435 he died himself on the 14th of September, "die exaltacionis Sancte Crucis" as the chapterhouse entries record, in the same Château of Rouen where Jeanne d'Arc had suffered her last imprisonment. His body was embalmed and buried in a leaden coffin in the choir of Rouen Cathedral by the side of the dukes of Normandy and the English kings his ancestors, beneath a magnificently sculptured tomb.

He left the Célestins of "Joyeux Repos," near the Tour du Colombier,[46] a small legacy, and benefactions to many other abbeys and churches in the town. Though the canons did not get their golden treasure by any means intact, or indeed get any part of it without protracted struggles, they always took good care199 of his tomb, which was certainly in excellent preservation before the Calvinists of 1562 began a destruction which was completed by the Revolution. An inscription, however, was left on an adjacent pillar, and this was copied by Dugdale. The ostrich feathers and the order of the garter were shown upon the brass besides the epitaph. In 1866 his coffin was found still in its original position on the right side of the altar, and nothing more is now left of him in Rouen.



200

CHAPTER IX

Jeanne d'Arc and the English Occupation

"Je sçay bien que les Angloys me feront mourir, croyant qu' après ma mort ils gagneront le royaume de France; mais quand même ils seraient cent mille godons de plus qu'ils ne sont présentement, ils n'auraient pas ce royaume."


OF the many interesting processions which must have taken place in the fifteenth century on the occasion of the great ceremony of the Fierte St. Romain, surely few can have been more impressive than that in which the Duke of Bedford, in his capacity as Canon of the Cathedral, walked among the ecclesiastics towards the little chapel in the Place de la Haute Vieille Tour where the freedom of the prisoner was declared before the assembled people. For in him all might see the outward and visible proof of an English occupation in its most intimate connection with the ancient traditions begun under his ancestors the Dukes of Normandy. But his presence is not the only sign that can be clearly traced of the interest which the English inevitably felt in the most extraordinary privilege of their new possession. As usual on every occasion when a new set of officials came in touch with this astonishing and deeply-rooted custom, their contact is marked by fresh expressions of dissent. So, just as Philip-Augustus had to uphold, against his own officials, the custom which every prince before him had sanctioned, in exactly the same way we find Henry V.201 affirming that the Privilege of St. Romain was of right to be exercised by the canons of the Cathedral according to their ancient precedents. And it is instructive that though his verdict was first pronounced in a case by which a native prisoner benefited, it was only in the next year, and again on some other occasions, that an Englishman was chosen to bear the holy shrine and win pardon for his sins. So strangely, indeed, and so strongly was the privilege exercised during these years of foreign dominion, that I cannot avoid the reflection—humiliating to Rouen as it is—that an attempt at least might have been made to exercise it in the case of the most famous prisoner ever in the donjons of the city, of the woman who would have been most worthy of those upon the roll of mercy to benefit by the protection of the Church. But if any attempt was made in favour of Jeanne d'Arc, it has not been recorded, and this is one of the strongest reasons for my regret that, full as they are, these records of the Privilege are often only too obviously imperfect.

The case in which objection was first raised was very naturally the first which occurred after the English flag had been unfurled above the city. In great surprise at the confidence shown by the good canons, the new bailli, Gauthier de Beauchamp, demanded an enquiry which was promptly held in his presence before the Cardinal Bishop of Winchester. On learning of the dispute Henry V. at once wrote to declare his reverence for the privilege established "En l'onneur et révérence du dict glorieux confesseur monsieur sainct Rommaing"; so Jehan Anquetil was duly delivered to mercy, after a crime to which modern civilisation is very rightly and unswervingly severe, and his accomplice was claimed by the Chapterhouse and delivered also. I confess it is beyond my powers to suggest the reason for so solemn a prerogative having been exercised by the highest dignitaries of the city's Cathedral in favour202 of a prisoner convicted of rape.[47] If a privilege that can only have resisted official competition for so long because it was based on deeply-rooted popular support, could survive a choice of this kind, it is one of the strongest proofs of the changes in society and in public opinion which have fortunately appeared in civilised communities since the fifteenth century.

In 1420 a still more interesting case arose, which is the first that suggests to my mind the possibility of the canons' choice being occasionally influenced by those in authority, and if by them, then it is only too probable that other suggestions (not strictly religious in their nature) may have been made in other years when "equity," according to our notions, does not explain their triumph over "law." For in this year the manuscript records, "Pierre Lamequin, de la paroisse de Vize, en Angleterre, diocèse de Salisbéry;" an entry which inevitably suggests to English ears that Peter Lambkin of Devizes was the lucky prisoner. He203 killed a merchant at an outlying village, with a French friend to help him. Other instances occur in which the foreign army profited by the native privilege. In 1429 the entry reads: "Thomas Grandon, anglais, de la paroisse de Hanniquem, diocèse d'York," who killed two Scotchmen at Chambroix. In 1434 we find: "Guillaume Banc, anglais, de la paroisse de Saint-Bin, diocèse de Carlisle," who slew one Saunders in a brawl, helped by a friend named William Peters. In 1437, "Jehan Hotot, laïque, de la paroisse de Sainte-Marie de Helnyngan, diocèse de Norfolk," who killed a pair of Englishmen in the country. In 1438, "Jennequin Benc ou Bent, anglais, de la paroisse de Bosc-Châtel, diocèse d'Héréford, dans le pays de Galles," who killed an Englishman. In 1439, "Jehan Helys, anglais, de la paroisse de Hest-Monceaulz, diocèse de Cantorbéry," who had stolen goods in Rouen, in company with one John Johnson and Thomas "Kneet."[48] In 1447, "Jean Houcton, anglais, de la paroisse de Langthon, en Clindal, diocèse de Dublin," who was charged with stealing a horse, alleging, in defence, that foraging was a common privilege of soldiers, and was subsequently convicted of robbing an innkeeper near the bridge of a silver cup six ounces in weight. Now that these names are brought to the knowledge of English antiquaries with more science and leisure at their disposal than are mine, I await with interest to hear whether any traces of204 these freebooters exist in the parish records of their native towns.[49]

But, after all, the privilege was not always exercised in one direction. Occasionally the feelings of the conquered population had evidently to be consulted, as in 1425, when Geoffroy Cordebœuf was chosen to bear the shrine, who had murdered an Englishman at Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer. There was a lengthy discussion over this, during which it is recorded that the year before, the disputing canons in their ecclesiastical costume had gone to the tavern of the Lion d'Or to drink with Lieutenant Poolin, their opponent, in flat disobedience to the Cathedral statute of 1361. It came out in the evidence presented that the canons were actually allowed to keep the keys of the prisons during Ascension Day and the three Rogation Days before it, and that they questioned the prisoners alone, without the jailers being present. In 1448 the same cause evidently suggested the liberation of no less than eighteen prisoners at once, who had banded together in the village of St. Trinité-de-Tankerville, and killed four Englishmen. The soldiers thoroughly deserved their fate, for they had brutally ill-treated two women, and killed one of their husbands, before the villagers took vengeance into their own hands.

There is but space to notice very briefly the other more interesting cases in this period. In 1428 a woman, named Estiennote Présart, who had stolen a silver cup from a priest, was pardoned. In 1441 some workmen on the Palace of the English King near "Mal s'y Frotte," who had thrown some trouble205some brawlers into the Seine, bore the shrine. The next year the privilege was enjoyed by a husband who had several times discovered his wife's infidelity with a neighbouring knight, and had killed her on finding that she also extended her favours to a priest. This is one of the most intelligible instances of all; and in 1454 its circumstances are almost exactly repeated in the case of Michel Manant, who also slew his unfaithful wife. Indeed, a French jury even of to-day is never very hard upon the "crime passionel," with which that nation has always had so much sympathy. A similar case of the "equity" I have sometimes fancied I could trace occurs in 1446, when Nicolas Hébert stole four cups of silver, two belts studded with silver, twelve silver and ten gold spoons, having been unable to get any wages paid him after nine years of service with an advocate of Falaise. He was condemned to death and pardoned by the canons.

I have already mentioned the famous Talbot (see p. 203) in connection with the Fierte. He appears again in its records (as the Comte de Sursbérik) in 1444 with a refusal to allow the canons to visit the prisons of the castle, because they contained Armagnacs and other treasonable enemies to the King's Majesty. But the usual processions and popular enthusiasm with which the canons replied soon made him change his mind, and the prisoners were duly visited both in "La Grosse Tour" or donjon, and in every other jail. His refusal had been particularly ill-advised, because in May of 1430 the canons had appealed from an obstinate jailer to the Duke of Bedford, and had obtained his permission to visit the donjon according to their ancient custom. That very winter the castle of Philip Augustus in the Place Bouvreuil was to hold its most famous prisoner. For when Jeanne d'Arc was brought to Rouen in December 1430, the prison of the Baillage (called "les prisons ou la geôle du roi"), whose arch206ways you may still see near the stairway of the Rue du Baillage, had been destroyed by fire in 1425; and it is particularly mentioned that she was not placed either in the cells of the Hôtel de Ville, where I have already recorded that an English jailer had been placed, or in the "Ecclesiastical Prisons" of the Rue St. Romain near the Cathedral, although her whole trial was conducted by ecclesiastics, but in the "Château de Rouen," where (in Talbot's words) "prisoners of war and treasonable felons" were especially guarded.

HOUSE IN THE RUE ST. ROMAIN CALLED THE MAISON JEANNE D'ARC (IN THE DISTANCE THE DOOR OF THE COUR DES COMPTES IN THE RUE DES QUATRE VENTS) At the siege of Compiègne, on May 24, 1430, Jeanne d'Arc had been taken prisoner by one of the men of John of Luxemburg, and from the English camp at Margny she was sent further off to the Château of Beaulieu. Within two days the Vicar-General of the Inquisition, and the University of Paris, had demanded that she should be delivered over to the "Justice of the Church." And behind both was a power stronger than either, the hatred of the English. They soon found a ready instrument in Pierre Cauchon, who had been made Bishop of Beauvais by the Duke of207 Burgundy, was chased out of it by the party of Charles VII., and now expected to get the Archbishopric of Rouen by the help of the English. It was he who bore the King of England's request to John of Luxemburg that he would give up Jeanne d'Arc for ten thousand pieces of gold to the Church to be judged. Neither Charles VII. nor any French ecclesiastic (save the Archbishop of Reims) made any movement, so she was surrendered at the price of an army. After being taken to Beaurevoir, to Arras, and to Crotoy, she was moved by way of St. Valery, Eu, and Dieppe to Rouen. She entered the town by the valley of Bihorel, past the spot where the Gare du Havre now stands, and by way of the Rue Verte was led to the castle of Philip Augustus and placed in an iron cage, so that the smirched authority of English rule might be re-established by proving her, in the formal processes of law, a witch.

Of the castle itself the only tower that now stands still bears her name. Almost the last scene of her imprisonment took place within the walls that you may visit here, though originally she was not placed in this donjon itself. For the original castle, built by Philip Augustus in 1205 to consolidate his rule over John Lackland's fresh-won province, had consisted of an almost circular building, with six towers, a demi-tower, and this donjon which was built upon two thick curtain-walls and entirely interrupted the guards' "chemin de ronde," on to which no door opened from its massive circular walls. The Castle of Arques (1038), and of Château Guillard (1195), are indeed older than this of Rouen, but the ruins of their donjon-keeps do not show anything like the character of the Tour Jeanne d'Arc, which is itself earlier in date than either Coucy (1228) or Pierrefonds (1390). More than this, a document of 1202 preserves the most interesting fact that this tower was planned after the208 dimensions and shape of the famous Tour du Louvre, of which Paris now possesses only a circle of white marble to mark the site of the royal tower that once stood where the south-west corner of the Louvre courtyard is now.

The walls of Rouen's donjon are 4 metres 20 thick, 46 metres in circumference at the base, and 30 metres high. These last two measurements show a difference of only two metres from those of the vanished Tour du Louvre. Before this chapter closes I shall be able to explain how it is that you are able to see in Rouen the most perfect presentment of a thirteenth-century donjon in France, with two-thirds of the present building in its original masonry. Within it took place most of the stirring events of history after a change in dynasty had left the castle of the Norman dukes to develop gradually into a commercial instead of a royal or military centre. One of these, the arrest of Charles le Mauvais, and the execution of his four friends by King Jean le Bon, I have spoken of in earlier chapters. This, too, was the fortress that held out longest for the King when the Révolte de la Harelle was at its height in 1382. Before its walls Sir Gilbert Talbot and Sir William Hanington sat down to besiege Guy le Bouteiller, who as captain of the garrison had it in his especial charge. Within it the eighty hostages for the ransom of the city, and the thirty burgesses especially punished with high fines, were imprisoned when King Henry V. took the town. It was still held by the English garrison when Jeanne d'Arc was brought to Rouen as a prisoner. It is the last visible relic of the royal homes of Rouen, for every other one has disappeared, from the first keep of Rollo to the Haute et Basse Vieilles Tours of his descendants, to the Palace of Philip Augustus and of the English kings, even to the fortresses of St. Catherine's Hill and of the barbacan beside the bridge.

209


MAP F

MAP F.

plan of the VIEUX-MARCHÉ and of the MARCHÉ AUX VEAUX,
from the "Livre des Fontaines de Rouen," drawn by jacques lelieur in 1525

[Enlarge]


Once his prisoner was safe within the castle, the Bishop of Beauvais proceeded to "pack his jury," and choose his companions for the trial. His right hand man was Jean d'Estivet (or "Benedicite"). From Paris arrived Jean Beaupère, who took Gerson's place as Chancellor, with Jacques de Touraine, Nicole Midi, and Thomas de Courcelles, all brilliant and authoritative theologians. From Normandy itself came the Prior of Longueville, the Abbé of Jumièges, Gilles, Abbé of Fécamp and councillor to the English King, Nicolas Loyseleur, a canon of Rouen, and others. One alone of those invited, Nicolas de Houppeville, objected to serving, because his direct superior, the Archbishop of Reims, had already disapproved. He was only just saved from being murdered. No one else dared to differ with Pierre Cauchon, and several affirmed later on that they had voted in fear of their lives. Both the clerk of the court, Manchon, and Massieu, the doorkeeper, found their sympathies too perilous to express. This was because, though scarcely an Englishman was actually a member of the Court, the English kept the whole proceeding directly under their thumb, and to every appeal the same answer was returned—"The King (of England) has ordered it." The King's two uncles, of Bedford and of Winchester, watched that the orders were carried out; and the price of every one is still recorded in the exact account-books of the time. The English never let her leave their castle till the end, so that any slight "judicial error" might always be corrected if need were.

They kept her first in an iron cage, then in one of the castle towers, with irons upon her feet, chained to a log of wood, and guarded night and day by four common soldiers. On the 9th of January 1431 the Bishop of Beauvais summoned in Rouen the council chosen for the trial, and appointed its officials. On210 the 20th, Jeanne, being summoned to make her appearance before the court at eight next morning, begged that her judges might be more fairly chosen, and that she might hear Mass. She was refused both, and appeared on the 21st, in the chapel of the castle. Asked to answer truly upon oath all the questions put to her, Jeanne replied—"I do not know on what points you wish to question me. You might perhaps ask me things which I will not tell you." After this she told how she was called "Jeannette" at home, and Jeanne "in France," and knew no surname; how she was baptised and born at Domrémy, of Jacques d'Arc and his wife Isabel about nineteen years ago; she refused to promise not to escape if she could; and would only recite the Lord's Prayer in confession to a priest. After Cauchon had begun, the next day's questioning was more gently taken by Jean Beaupère, to whom she told of her care of the house at home, and of her skill in needlework, "as good as any in Rouen." The inquirers then went on to reveal the story of her "voices," and she firmly repeated her refusal to bind herself by a general oath as to every answer, saying that she had more fear of God and of her "voices," than of her conduct in that trial. Asked whether she was sure of the favour of God (a double-edged question at which some even of her judges murmured) she passed the danger by saying, "If I am not, may God help me to it; and if I am, may God preserve me in it."

Baffled at this point by the innocent faith of this country girl, the university professor changed the attack, and approached questions of a more political importance, cleverly interwoven with the first appearance of her "voices" when she was a girl of thirteen at Domrémy. But neither of treasonable partisanship nor of local superstitions could he convict her. She gave the names of her heavenly councillors as St. Catherine, St. Mar211garet, and St. Michael, the same saint whose fortress held out inviolable against every English attack among the quicksands and the rushing tides of the north coast. Unable to find anything heretic or infidel in her replies on religious subjects, and only getting candid common sense in return for their suspicions, her judges turned to the idea of satanic inspiration and support. But it proved equally useless. Her patriotism shone clear above every trivial element in her long examination.

The last public hearing of her evidence before all her judges was on the 3rd of March. The result of the inquiry was then collected to form the basis of a fresh interrogation in her prison, which was conducted on the 10th by Jean de la Fontaine for a whole week. At the end of it Jean Lemaître himself arrived by order of the Chief Inquisitor. Nothing was added to the information already gathered, and nothing shook the firmness of the girl's replies. For only explanation she repeated, "It pleased God to do this by means of a simple maid, in order to rebuff the enemies of the King." Throughout, her negligence of trifles, her insistence upon the important points, her swift common sense, were the more conspicuous, because her judges persisted in reading their own meaning into all she answered to their subtle questions. Did they ask her, for instance, "Does God hate the English?" she would reply, "I know nothing of the hatred or the love of God for Englishmen, but this I know, that they will soon be all thrust out of France, save those of them who leave their bodies here."

On the much-disputed question of her masculine attire, she said she would wear woman's dress only when she heard Mass, and woman's clothing at her execution, if it came to that. The judges were perfectly well aware of her proved maidenhood, and of the real reason for her dress, but they persisted—without result—in trying to trap her into dangerous replies.212 She was far too direct and simple to be caught, just because she saw no "heresy" in an act of simple prudence.

Her judges, strong and clever men as most of them were, themselves were tired out by the closeness and the duration of the trial. Yet this young girl, fasting even from her prison-fare, was resolute enough to keep her head, and reply steadily through it all. But she refused to be troubled with unnecessary or merely reiterated questions, and claimed her right to feel as tired as were her judges when she felt it necessary. She was in fact perfectly natural and frank throughout, even when the open expression of her thoughts was hardly politic for one in her position. Without the help of counsel, or of any to assist her, French or English, layman or ecclesiastic, she was even deprived of the friendly countenance or signs of anyone whose sympathy overcame for the moment his very justifiable fear of her persecutors. Even the consolations of her religion were denied her. The only semblance of advice she got was in the base and hypocritical attempts of a scoundrelly canon of Rouen Cathedral to teach her certain answers which might afterwards be used against her by her accusers.[50] It is a shameful thing to have to record that the Earl of Warwick helped the Bishop of Beauvais to complete this villainy, and took clerks with him to listen at the door, but they refused to lend themselves to such dishonourable methods.

Early in the week of Palm Sunday she was formally summoned to the great hall of the castle to hear the213 seventy articles of the Act of Accusation against her. The web of calumny that had been spun out of her replies then first must have been apparent to her, and though silent for the most part, she quickly contradicted some statements, and pointed out the fallacy of others. Reproached for her unwomanly behaviour, she replied at once, "As for woman's work, there are plenty of other women who can do that"; and asserted that before fighting at all, she had made every effort to obtain her wishes peacefully. She even recited the short prayer it was her custom to make when she needed the counsel of her heavenly visitors.

After this the seventy articles were reduced to twelve, which resumed the whole accusation, and became the pivot of the prosecution. They were never communicated at all to the prisoner. They were based on her visions, her wearing of a man's dress, her attitude towards the Church, which meant, in fact, her obedience to Poitiers and to the Archbishop of Reims, instead of to Pierre Cauchon, his subordinate.

On Thursday the 6th of April Érard Émengard held a meeting in the chapel of the Archbishop's Palace at Rouen to deliberate over the twelve articles. You may still see the place where this went on. As you enter the gateway of the Screen to the Portail des Libraires from the Rue St. Romain, on the left of the forecourt before the great carved door, you will see an old building which in the August of 1897 was being repaired and reconstructed to provide a school for the children of the Cathedral choir. This house forms itself the western side of a courtyard into which a door has no doubt by this time (December 1898) been opened from the Rue St. Romain, between the large turret that projects on the left of the old screened entrance in the street and the next octagonal turret with a sharply pointed roof that is built on the wall of the Cathedral buildings. By whatever entrance practic214able, you must go into this courtyard and see the private chapel of the Archbishop, the old "Chapelle des Ordres" which touches the north wall of the Cathedral choir. Within this chapel the council was held, that by its approval of the Twelve Articles of Accusation pronounced the death-warrant of Jeanne d'Arc.[51]

In the midst of all these machinations the prisoner herself fell ill. Doctors were hurried to her cell to save her for the vengeance of her judges, and the "processes of law" were pushed forward more hastily than ever. On the 2nd of May she was once more confronted with the accusations made against her, in a long speech by the Archdeacon. She would add nothing to what had been already said. "Even if I saw the flames before me I should say what I have already told you, and do what I have done;" and the clerk writes "Superba Responsio" opposite the entry.

Determined to leave no means untried to overcome this resistance, her judges summoned her on Wednesday the 9th of May into the "Grosse Tour du château de Rouen," the donjon which you can visit in the Rouen of to-day, by turning to the left as you go northward up the Rue Bouvreuil (see Map D). The room in which Jeanne stood to answer her accusers has been carefully restored, but it is obscured by the huge plaster cast of a statue by Mercié. The vaulting is the original215 work intact, and on the keystone is carved the oldest existing shield of the arms of France, the six truncated Fleurs de Lys of Philip Augustus, which are reproduced more clearly on the huge and lofty cowl above the chimney. Beneath the floor there is still the old well that supplied the garrison, a little to the left of the entrance, and rather further round is the small spiral staircase leading to the upper rooms, which are not so large.

She was brought here because there was no room in her former prison for the instruments of torture, and the executioners' gear with which her courage was finally to be tested. Pierre Cauchon directed the proceedings, with Lemaître and nine others, of whom three were members of the Chapterhouse of Rouen, and one was Massieu the clerk. Besides these, the ushers and the guard of English soldiers lined the walls. Here it is recorded how she was threatened with torture "if she did not avow the truth," and shown the instruments and the officials who were ready to administer it. I will not attempt to translate the few words Jeanne d'Arc ever uttered whose echoes we may still imagine beneath the very roof that heard them. There is hardly a single other[52] place of which the same thing can be said.

216

In answer to the first threatening question the manuscript gives her reply as follows:—

"Vraiement, se vous me deviez faire détraire les membres et faire partir l'âme hors du corps, si ne vous diray-je autre chose; et se aucune chose vous en disoye-je, après si diroye-je tousjours que vous le me auriés fait dire par force.

"Item, dit que, à la Sainte-Croix, oult le confort de Saint Gabriel: 'Et cröiez que ce fust sainct Gabriel;' et l'a sceu par les voix que c'estoit Saint Gabriel.

"Item, dit qu'elle (a) demandé conseil à ses voix s'elle se submectroit à l'Église, pour ce que les gens d'église la pressoient fort de se submectre à l'Eglise, et ils lui ont dit que s'elle veult que nostre Seigneur luy aide, qu'elle s'actende à luy de tous ses fais.

"Item, dit qu'elle sçait bien que nostre Seigneur a esté toujours maistre de ses fais, et que l'ennemy n'avait oncques eu puissance sur ses faits.

"Item, dit qu'elle a demandé à ses voix s'elle sera arse, et que les dictes voix luy ont répondu que elle se actende à nostre sire, et il luy aidera.

"Item, du signe de la couronne qu'elle dit avoir esté baillé à l'arcevesque de Reims, interoguée s'elle s'en veult rapporter à luy, respond; 'Faictes le y venir, et que je l'oe parler, et puis je vous respondray; ne il ne oseroit dire le contraire de ce que je vous en ay dit.'"

In 1455 the "Procès de réhabilitation" recorded the testimony of Mauger Separmentier, the executioner, who saw her during this scene in the donjon, whither he had been summoned, with his assistant, to administer the torture, if necessary. "She showed great prudence in her replies," he affirmed, "so that those who heard were astonished; and this deponent retired with his assistant without touching her" (see Quicherat, "Procès," vols. i., ii., iii.). It is evident that if she had given them the least excuse, by any mistake in her217 replies, her judges would not have allowed the executioner to depart idle.

There are very few other places to which I can point you as witnesses of her tragedy. But, besides that chapel you have already visited, there is in the same district, between the north side of the Cathedral and the Rue de la Chaine, a whole labyrinth of twisting streets wherein lived the ecclesiastics who plotted her death.[53]

In the Rue St. Nicolas (which turns eastward after the Cathedral Parvis from the Rue des Carmes) there is a small open square just opposite the opening of the Rue Croix de Fer; within the walls of a house there are still preserved a few ruined stones of the Church of St. Nicolas le Paincteur, at the end of a courtyard. If you go round into the Place des Carmes, it is still possible to trace (at Nos. 27 and 31) some old vaults beneath the soil, by the ventilation holes just above the pavement. Close to this Church of St. Nicolas was the house of Jean Rubé, Canon of Rouen, with whom lodged Pierre Cauchon when he came to preside over the trial. It was there that, with Nicolas Loyseleur and others, those sinister discussions went on between every public examination of the prisoner. And in the house that rose above those vaults lived Loyseleur himself. The present façade has been so altered since 1818 that only in the interior courtyard (if M. Laurent, Mayor of Rouen in 1897, and M. Sarrasin, the historian of Jeanne d'Arc, are kind enough to allow it) can you realise the age of the building. The thick walls and deep-set windows leave no doubt of the age of their construction. The vaults beneath are still more extraordinary relics of antiquity, with their massive round arches and double sets of substructures. The house itself was most probably given to the Cathedral in those days by the Duke of Bedford, who had already218 done much in the same direction; and it was therefore very appropriately allotted as a lodging to that one of the canons who was helping the English most effectually in their iniquitous task.

THE COUR D'ALBANE, ROUEN CATHEDRAL After the canons left the main block of Cathedral-buildings to go into lodgings in this quarter so near at hand, they still kept their oven, their granary, and their common cellar in the Cour d'Albane. This quiet little quadrangle is one of the prettiest nooks of old Rouen, and I am fortunate enough to be able to show in the drawing on p. 218 how well worth while it is to find the entrance to it just north of the Tour St. Romain in the angle of the Rue des Quatre Vents. It was probably first built for cloisters and a cemetery, and afterwards used merely as a "deambulatorium." But the bakery of the chapterhouse, which remained here for so long, was always renowned for the purity and goodness of its bread, and loaves from it were often presented to distinguished visitors on occasions when the civic authorities were obliged either to rise to jewellery or to descend to nuts. The "Salle Capitulaire," now being restored from M. Sauvageot's designs,219 used also to open on the cloister, and in it the canons transacted their temporal and spiritual business, including their famous choice for the Fierte St. Romain, and their trials of ecclesiastical prisoners. Crimes of "outsiders" committed within the Cathedral limits were tried by a special tribunal in the Porter's Lodge, and he guarded the prisoners in the dungeon beneath the Tour St. Romain. Another more interesting duty of the same official was to care, during daytime, for the dogs who were loosed in the Cathedral at night to keep out sacrilegious robbers, a custom which lasted down to 1760. But the Cour d'Albane took its name from the founder of that school for choir-boys with which it is most intimately associated now. Pierre de Colmieu, the Archbishop from 1236 to 1245, was also Cardinal d'Albano, and from him was named the institution he endowed to educate three priests, three deacons, and four subdeacons. Paid singers were unknown at that time; the services were long and pompous, and it took some time to learn them, so these men, all over twenty-one, were chosen as much for their ability to read and sing as for their good conduct. They benefited again in 1401 by the bequests of Jacques Cavé, who is buried beneath the Tour de Beurre. There were seven of these singers in 1440, and it was one of Jeanne d'Arc's judges, Gilles Deschamps, who left money to provide the little choir-boys with the red caps they wear to this day to keep their little shaved heads from the cold. In 1459 painters and sculptors were allowed to exhibit some of their work in this beautiful courtyard, "if it was decent"; and every year the canons and the clerks lit in this open space the "Feu de la St. Jean," and even planted their pious Maypole.

But the memories of this quarter are not exhausted yet. Turn down into the Rue St. Romain. From No. 8 to No. 14 are the old canons' lodgings, where220 more of Jeanne's judges lived, and especially Canon Guillaume le Désert, who survived the trial longer than any of his companions. Near No. 28 is the Rue des Chanoines. Close by, at the "Écu de France," lived Jehan Salvart, the architect who built the palace for Henry V. near Mal s'y Frotte. Within his house a workman saw, it is recorded, the iron cage made by Étienne Castille, in which Jeanne was chained by hands and feet and neck. At the tavern called "Maison de Pierre"[54] Manchon, the clerk of the court, used to take his wine of an afternoon. On the side next the Cathedral were the ecclesiastical prisons, whose deepest dungeon was beneath the Tour St. Romain. Just opposite the screen of the Portail des Libraires is No. 74, a strange old house, carved with two bishops on the beams of the first floor, and three more upon the brackets above. The door may well be original, and the whole house is as old as the fifteenth century. On the other side again, and just in face of the opening of the Rue Croix de Fer, is the "Maison Jeanne d'Arc," which has no right to that name beyond the possibility of her having seen it. For this strange remnant of Gothic woodwork that juts out above the pavement is no doubt contemporaneous with the trial that we are following out now. In August 1897 the Municipal Council announced its determination to pull it down. The Journal de Rouen, which deserves well of every honest lover of antiquity, at once published a letter from M. Paul Dubosc, in which that zealous writer pointed out the unnecessary vandalism of the proposal; Englishmen in Rouen at the time were not afraid to add their protests even in an alien tongue; when I left it last year it had, at least, been standing long enough for Miss James to draw it (see p. 206) on the left hand side of an illustration that gives a very good idea of the221 Rouen of the fifteenth century. The little Renaissance doorway in the distance, at the angle of the Rue des Quatre Vents, is an entrance to the Cour des Comptes, which at the same date had just been freed from ruined encumbrances, and its lovely courtyard opened to the Rue des Carmes on the other side (see p. 288).

This same old house was a canon's residence, and the property of the Chapter of the Cathedral before the Revolution. Some furniture-dealers bought it at the general sale of ecclesiastical effects. In 1893 it was sold to the State for 36,000 francs by Mr Dumont, to whom the Civil Tribunal had awarded it. The loss to the Rue St. Romain would be a serious one, if the house were finally pulled down. A fatal passion for "alignement" has Haussmannised Rouen quite enough already, and to strip the Cathedral bare of all appendages would be to forget the main object of mediæval architecture in France. I have pointed out elsewhere that it was owing to a more settled state of society that the English Cathedral rose from the turf of a broad quiet close, as at Salisbury. In France the houses of the Cathedral towns crowded close round the walls that were their temporal safety as well as their spiritual salvation. The Parvis of Notre Dame is a creation of modern Paris. Many a church in Provence still shows by the machicolations and loopholes on its walls and towers that it could have played the fortress with a good grace whenever necessary. And it was no doubt because a French cathedral rose above the clustered houses round its base that its lines of architecture spring so boldly to the sky, and that its detailed carving within easy vision was so close and excellent.

This old Rue St. Romain may have received its name from the Hôtel St. Romain mentioned in it in 1466. In any case the name of the city's patron saint could hardly have been given to a more characteristic thoroughfare. By 1423 it seems to have been called222 the Rue Féronnerie, which is interesting, because the workers in metal (whose trade is preserved in their old quarter of the Rue Dinanderie) were not natives of Rouen, but all came from Lorraine, and especially from Urville, a town within a few leagues of Domrémy. So that Jean Moreau, a maker of copper flagons in the Rue Écuyère, was especially chosen by Pierre Cauchon to go to his native place and make inquiries as to the truth of Jeanne d'Arc's statement about her birth and upbringing.

CENTRAL TOWER OF ST. OUEN FROM THE SOUTH-EAST The next place in Rouen that actually saw Jeanne herself was the open space round the rising nave of St. Ouen, then called the Cemetery, where we have already watched the farcical royalty of the Révolte de la Harelle (p. 152). In thus tracing her footsteps, where we may still find them, I shall be showing you what little is left of the Rouen of the English occupation. Few of the towers and spires that rise now above the roofs of Rouen were standing then. "Rouvel" indeed was in the Town-Belfry, but uttered never a sound223 in his captivity. Of the Cathedral the Tour de Beurre did not exist, the Tour St. Romain was scarce two-thirds its present height, the western façade was far simpler and smaller. St. Maclou was not completed when Jeanne d'Arc died, nor the Palais de Justice begun. Of St. Ouen only the eastern end of the nave, the apse and the choir, with the far older Tour aux Clercs beside them, were being built; neither its central crown nor its rose windows yet existed. The French architect chosen by the English was at this time Alexander de Berneval, who had carried on the work of Jean de Bayeux and his son, the architects from 1378 to 1421. And you may still see where Jacques Theroulde (for Antoine Bohier) carried on the work which Berneval's son left unfinished in 1441.

From their scaffolding round the uncompleted arches the architect and his apprentices must have had a good view, on the Thursday after Pentecost in 1431, of those other scaffoldings erected in the Cemetery below them, on one of which sat Pierre Cauchon with the Cardinal of Winchester, while on the other stood Jeanne d'Arc. The ceremony, called the Abjuration, was a last attempt to frighten Jeanne into confessing that her "Voices" had deceived her, and her mission was untrue. It succeeded only because of her physical weakness, and in forty-eight hours her moral courage repudiated it entirely. Proceedings began by a long sermon from Guillaume Erard, a celebrated preacher. When he called the King of France "heretic and schismatic" she interrupted him at once to contradict. When he commanded her own submission to the Church, she replied that she was ready to answer to God and to the Pope for all, and that for all she was herself alone responsible. This was a confusing reply for her judges, when made before the great concourse of people who had assembled to witness this young224 girl's examination. They could only retort that the ecclesiastics there present were the representatives both of God and of the Pope, and that she must submit to them. They then ordered her "to abjure" publicly the various things of which she was accused. She did not understand what was required of her. Erard exclaimed that she must "abjure" or be burnt at once. At last he began to read her sentence of condemnation. Then, though she was conscious of no evil, she at last said, "I submit myself to the Church." They hastened to read over the twelve articles of accusation already given, and the poor girl agreed to them, promising never to sin again and to submit herself to the justice of the Church. Massieu read to her a formula "of some eight lines," according to his testimony afterwards.

There was some murmuring among the crowd during this long ceremony; for while Jeanne was alive the English soldiery dared attempt nothing fresh; and they only saw in her refusals to "abjure" an immediate reason for handing her over from the ecclesiastical justice to the secular, whose ways were swifter. But merely burning Jeanne would not have been enough. She had to confess her sins, to disavow her mission, to be received into the bosom of the Church and pardoned, and then—to be discovered in fresh crime. One of the consequences of her "abjuration" was that she was wearing woman's dress that very afternoon. Two days afterwards (on Sunday) the ecclesiastics heard that she had changed to masculine attire again. They rushed to the castle to verify the "relapse" they were so ardently expecting, but the English soldiers drove them out again, being very tired by this time of their unintelligible delays. On May 28th Pierre Cauchon questioned her, and she said that if they kept their word, to free her and let her hear mass, she would keep hers and change her dress, but that among men225 a man's dress suited her best.[55] Asked if she had heard her "voices" again—a deliberate trap to secure the certainty of proved "relapse"—she replied, "God has told me by Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret of the pity and the betrayal that I have wrought in making abjuration to save my life, and that I lost my soul to save my life." To this the clerk added the fatal comment, "Responsio Mortifera." Jeanne realised now what her "abjuration" had really meant. The fear that had inspired it had passed, and she boldly reaffirmed her mission and her faith. It was all her judges needed. "Farewell," cried Pierre Cauchon to Warwick and his English who waited in the castle-yard, "be of good cheer, for it is done."

By orders of the meeting of the 29th of May, already mentioned as held in the Chapelle des Ordres, Martin Ladvenu and Jean Toutmouillé came to her cell early in the morning of the next day, and announced that she was to be handed over to the Secular Justice and burnt. "Hélas!" she cried, with all the natural terror of a woman, "me traite-t-on si horriblement et cruellement, qu'il faille que mon corps net et entier, qui ne fut jamais corrompu, soit aujourd'hui consumé et rendu en cendres!" She then confessed to Ladvenu, and after some discussion the sacred elements were brought to her, without any of the usual ceremonial accompaniments, and she received them with deep devotion.

The last scene in her life now drew near. That226 you may understand it, you must realise that the present Place du Vieux Marché has little except its name in common with the Vieux Marché where Jeanne was burnt. The map I have reproduced from Jacques Lelieur's plan of 1525 will show you very much what it was like in the fifteenth century (see map F), and will prove not only that it was far smaller in extent, but that many buildings round it then have now disappeared without a trace of them remaining. In this old map the "Rue Massacre" must be understood as representing that part of the Rue de la Grosse Horloge which extended from the Porte Massacre (see p. 135) to the Place du Vieux Marché. When you stand in the Vieux Marché now, if you imagine that the houses of the Rue Cauchoise extended across the open square to the beginning of the Rue de la Grosse Horloge, you may realise how much less space there was in the fifteenth century. In those days, too, it must be remembered that what is now the Place Verdrel was called the Marché Neuf, and that the old Marché aux Veaux has now become quite wrongly the Place de la Pucelle. How this mistake arose will soon be clear.

M. Charles de Beaurepaire's untiring researches have established from recorded documents every house that stood round the Vieux Marché. The map shows that the Church of St. Sauveur (now vanished) stood near the Rue du Vieux Palais and the Rue de la Pie, with its apse turned towards the Grosse Horloge. Within its cemetery was erected the scaffolding beyond the east end of the church on which Jeanne's judges stood at her execution. Near it was another stage at the end of the Market-Hall, and in sight of both was the place where she was burnt, marked by the "Escharfaut," recorded by Lelieur, and known to have been in the same place since 1233. It was well within the view not only of the judges but of a crowd in the Vieux Marché and the Rue Cauchoise, and its place is commemorated by the tablet227 you can now read at the corner of the new Market-Hall.

The mistake of the "Place de la Pucelle" arose because a monumental fountain was erected there for the first time, when Cardinal Georges d'Amboise, who really started the waterworks of Rouen on a proper basis, used the Fontaine St. Filleul for the benefit of the Quartier Cauchoise. The pipe was brought into the Marché aux Veaux because the level of the ground permitted a better fall for the water, and the town took advantage of the opportunity to turn the new fountain into a memorial of Jeanne d'Arc. The actual spot where she was burnt was never marked at all, until the tablet of to-day was set up; for although the "Procès de Réhabilitation" decreed that the scene of her execution should be consecrated with a cross, that cross was placed on the point of the wall of the Cemetery of St. Sauveur, which was nearest to her scaffold; and this for the very good reason that the English (if for no other motive) would not allow another "sanctuary" (as all crosses were in the fifteenth century) to be erected so near to the cemetery which was already holy ground itself. It was this commemorative cross which was replaced by the Fountain of St. Sauveur just before the larger monumental fountain was erected in the more convenient (though less appropriate) situation of the Marché aux Veaux, now the Place de la Pucelle.

Over the hideous tragedy of the Vieux Marché I have neither space nor inclination to linger. At nine o'clock on the 30th of May 1431 she left the château of Philip Augustus in woman's dress, wearing a mitre on which was written, "Hérétique, Relapse, Apostate, Idolatre," with Ladvenu and Massieu beside her, and seven or eight hundred men-at-arms accompanying them. She wept bitterly as she went, and the people wept to see her sobbing in the cart. Even Loyseleur228 was overcome by his remorse, and was bidden to leave Rouen. In the Vieux Marché she had first to listen to the sermon of Nicole Midi, who formally delivered her to the Secular Justice. The Bishop of Beauvais then pronounced her sentence of excommunication. When Jeanne rose to implore the pardon of the people and the prayers of the Church, insisting to the end on the sincerity of her cause and of her King, there was hardly even an English soldier who was not touched with some compassion after the six hours of her suspense. Massieu handed her a roughly-fashioned cross which she placed in her bosom. She begged Isambard de la Pierre to hold another before her eyes until the end. The delay of the ecclesiastics had been long, but the civil powers were short. "Do your duty" was the only sentence she heard in the short command[56] to the executioner. Then she wept again, crying, "Rouen, Rouen, mourrai-je ici, seras-tu ma maison? Ah Rouen, j'ai grand peur que tu n'aies à souffrir de ma mort." The slow flames mounted from the scaffold which had been built to burn her slowly, and with the last word, "Jesus," on her lips, she died.

Her ashes were cast into the Seine. They were scarcely cold before the rumour of her saintliness, and the miracles of her passing spread through Rouen and through France. Soon afterwards Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, died of apoplexy. Nicole Midi was struck with leprosy within a few days of her death. Loyseleur died suddenly at Bâle. The corpse of d'Estivet was found in a gutter outside the gates of Rouen.229

Not a single attempt was made to rescue her in Rouen at the last, not a solitary effort had been made before to save her by the French. Judged by the Church, and appealing for fair hearing, Jeanne was not supported in her trial by a single French ecclesiastic. Not a single reference to her death occurs on subsequent occasions, when the Court of France had official opportunity to make it. An age still so strongly imbued with the principles of feudalism could not believe in that intense patriotism and worship of nationality which was as foreign to their instincts as was the doctrine of liberty of conscience. This peasant-girl personified them both. "Il y a ès livres de nostre Seigneur plus que ès vostres," she had said in her first questioning at Chinon; and laymen and ecclesiastics alike were unable to reconcile her with any scheme of philosophy they knew. In English writings there is no contemporary mention of her except a line in William of Worcester. Caxton's English Chronicles only give the lie that Shakespeare has preserved against her tainted purity. Thomas Fuller classed her with the Witch of Endor. It was not for twenty-four years that the very town which saw her martyrdom was moved to declare judicially her innocence. In the "Procès de Réhabilitation," begun on the first of June 1456, everyone who had known her came forward—too late—to testify to her innocence. On the seventh of July, in the presence of her brother and her mother's representative in the great hall of the palace of the Archbishop of Rouen, it was ordered that her memory should be publicly reinstated both in the Cemetery of St. Ouen and in the Vieux Marché.

The most astonishing thing in the whole story is, not that the prophecies were fulfilled, not what she did before her death, not even the memory of how she died, but the woman herself, and that is why I have reproduced as far as was possible, from the text of Quicherat's volumes, all that she is known certainly to230 have said and done in Rouen, as is recorded in the contemporary manuscripts which he has reproduced from the minutes of her "Trials." The donjon of the castle, where she stood before her judges, is for this reason the best memory of her that could possibly have been preserved. No other monument will ever be so appropriate, and in their patriotic and successful efforts to preserve this building, the citizens of modern Rouen have done much to wipe out the shame of other days. It preserves not merely the heroism of Jeanne. She had scarcely left it when the brave Xaintrailles was imprisoned within its walls, but he must have escaped or been exchanged very soon, for at the end of December in the same year he was fighting the English again at Lagny. In February of the following year, 1432, another famous name is connected with the donjon, for in that month Ricarville with scarcely a hundred men behind him was let in by Pierre Audebœuf, and killed every one of the English garrison except the Earl of Arundel, who was governor, with his immediate bodyguard.

THE DONJON OF PHILIPPE AUGUSTE, KNOWN AS THE TOUR JEANNE D'ARC This remnant barricaded themselves in the Tour Carrée, which Henry the Fifth had built to the north-west of the old fort, after the siege of Rouen. Ricarville hastily retired for help to Marshal de Boussac, and during his absence his companions, attacked by reinforcements of the English, were obliged to take refuge in the donjon, where they were hotly besieged by artillery which seriously damaged the second storey of the tower. Forced to surrender after three weeks of231 heroic resistance, the whole hundred were beheaded in the Vieux Marché. For fifty days this handful of men had held the entire English garrison in check, and yet not a man had thought of rescuing Jeanne d'Arc scarcely a year ago.

Jacques Lelieur's map shows that by 1525 a new roof had been put on the donjon, in the shape of a platform with embrasures. By 1591 Valdory, whose account of the siege by Henri Quatre I shall mention later, records that it was almost ruined. In 1610 its remnants were spared, when the rest of the castle was demolished to make a practice-ground for the arquebusiers of the town. After passing into private hands, the tower became the property of a convent in the eighteenth century. In 1796 it was sold to another private owner, who was warned to be careful of the well within the walls that was supplied by the spring Gaalor. By 1809 some nuns bought it again, and for long the old donjon decorated incongruously a portion of the garden in the Ursuline Convent. In 1842 M. Deville, Inspecteur des Monuments Historiques, drew public attention to its value, and was supported by M. Barthélemy the municipal architect. The publication of M. Quicherat's five volumes of the "Trials," in 1849, renewed the interest in all that had to do with Jeanne d'Arc. After a long and most creditable agitation, a committee, on which M. F. Bouquet served as secretary, was formed under the presidency of the mayor, M. Verdrel. The ground was bought from the Ursuline nuns, the trained advice of M. Viollet le Duc was solicited, and by the active assistance of MM. Desmarest and Durand the tower was finally restored as you may see it now.

Though the filling up of the moat makes it look shorter than it really is, a great deal of the old masonry remains intact, and so carefully has the restoring work been done that in the embrasures and recesses on both232 first and second floors you may still see the scratches and inscriptions of prisoners or sentinels, much as they are preserved in our own Tower of London. On Wednesday, the 18th of February 1874, the work of reconstruction was finished by the placing of the iron vane with its great fleur-de-lys upon the summit of the conical roof. It is the fourth floor, just beneath this vane, that is the most interesting of all the new work, as it presents a complete and accurate picture of mediæval defences, showing both the wooden hoarding which projected beyond the walls in order to give space to hurl down stones and boiling lead, and the guard's chemin-de-ronde cut in the solid wall with its openings that communicate with each side. Its walls conjure up a flood of memories of the men and women who saw those solid cliffs of masonry before they fell into ruin and restoration:—

"Berthe au grand pied, Bietris, Allys
Harembourges, qui tint le Mayne,
Et Jehanne la bonne Lorraine
Qu'Anglois bruslèrent à Rouen:
Où sont-ilz, Vierge Souveraine?
Mais où sont les neiges d'antan?"

On the 10th of November 1449 Charles the Seventh of France was riding through his own good town of Rouen; by his side were Jacques Cœur, René d'Anjou, King of Sicily, and Pierre de Brézé. The English had surrendered Rouen, and all of them were on their way home again who had not left their bones in France.


233

CHAPTER X

A City of Churches

Et concupiscet Rex decorem tuum quoniam ipse est Dominus Deus et adorabunt eum. Et filiae Tyri in muneribus vultum tuum deprecabuntur; omnes divites plebis. Omnis gloria ejus filiae regis ab intus, in fimbreis aureis, circumamicta varietatibus.


A WALK from Rouen to St. Sever will leave you with the impression that Rouen has so many churches that she has to turn many of them into shops, while St. Sever has so many shops that several of them have had to masquerade as churches. But the many "sacred buildings" you may see to-day are not much more than half of the churches and chapels of the sixteenth century which rose after the English garrison had disappeared. With the few exceptions I have already noted, Rouen has been almost entirely reconstructed since 1450, and in nothing can this be realised so well as in its churches. When Charles VII. first rode into Rouen, of the greater churches only the Cathedral was within a little of completion. St. Ouen hardly suggested yet the building that appears to-day.

As I have said, it was during the English occupation that the nave was begun. The beautiful central tower was only finished by Antoine Bohier, who did much to make perfect the building that we see to-day as the fifth church on the same site. It received its name from St. Ouen, who was buried in the second church in 689. The monastery which was added to the third church was under the rule of Nicolas234 de Normandie, son of the second Duke Richard, in 1042. This was destroyed by the usual fire, and the rebuilding was assisted by the Empress Matilda and Richard Cœur de Lion. The little remnant of beautiful Romanesque called the Tour aux Clercs, probably formed the northern apse of its transept. When this church in turn was burnt in the same fire that destroyed the original churches of St. Godard and St. Laurent, the monks fled to Bihorel with what could be rescued of their archives and their "treasure." At last, Abbé Jean Roussel, called Marc d'Argent, started the noble fabric that, mutilated as it is, is still one of the finest monuments of later "Gothic" in existence. His first meeting of architects and master-masons was called in 1321, and then was in all likelihood decided the outlines of that mighty plan which took a century and a half to approach completion—and well-nigh half a hundred architects.

From the ancient refuge of his monks, the land on which their feudal justice was administered, from the slopes above Bihorel, Marc d'Argent looked down and watched the first walls and buttresses of his Abbey rise from the soil. In that valley the quarries from which he drew his stone could still be seen scarce twenty years ago, with huge blocks of stone, rough-hewn nearly five centuries before, still resting upon mouldering rollers. He gathered funds from the Abbey Forests (which gave their timbers too) and from the generous donations of the pious. After twenty-one years of work, in which all his monks assisted the masons, he had spent about five million francs (in modern values), and by 1339 had finished the choir and chapels, the huge pillars beneath the central tower, and part of the transept. Of the first real "Maître d'œuvre," as so often happens in the tale of the Cathedrals, nothing is known. But235 the monks carved the clear keen features of his face upon the funeral stone, 7½ feet high and 4 feet broad, that is in the Chapelle St. Cécile, and beside it is a detailed drawing of one of the arches of the choir. Jean de Bayeux went on with the work from 1378 to 1398, and his son Jean was Master Architect from 1411 to 1421. How intensely enthusiastic the monks were to complete their Abbey may be seen from their quarrel with the Town Authorities in 1412 and 1415, when every workman and every penny in the town was gathered to help strengthen the fortifications against the English. But the monks of St. Ouen refused assistance in money or in kind, lest by so doing they should cripple their beloved building. And their confidence was perhaps justified in that Alexandre de Berneval, who was the architect from 1422 to 1441, worked under the deliberate encouragement of the English garrison. His tomb is near that of the first unknown Master, and the plan of his famous Rose window for the south transept is carved as his most fitting epitaph.

The two Bayeux had done the interior of the south door of the transept, but it was Berneval who did the chapel of SS. Peter and Paul, and his son who, after 1441, worked at the central tower, the gem of the exterior. This younger Berneval lies buried near his father, and the plan of his octagonal "drum" is set above his grave. To that first magnificent conception the crown was not added until Antoine Bohier's days, between 1490 and 1515, for whom Jacques Theroulde worked chiefly. The same Abbot completed the Sacristy, but the rest of his additions were not so fortunate in their execution, for the style of the end of the fifteenth century did not mate happily with the earlier work. The carvings and general style of the south portal, called "des Marmousets," is for instance a striking deterioration236 from the bold conceptions and brilliant handiwork upon the great transept gateways of the Cathedral. He added four more bays to the nave, using simple instead of double buttresses, flamboyant work instead of rose windows, longer arches, and a lower line of capitals. Under Cibo, his successor, the last four bays of the nave were finished, and a splendid beginning made to the west front that has perished utterly, and been replaced by the miserable monstrosity of a frigid and ill-proportioned "restoration." Seldom has that much-abused word so richly deserved all the invective that could be heaped upon it. By Lelieur's plan we know that in 1525 the western front of Cibo scarcely can be said to have existed. But it cannot237 have been long after the reign of Francis I. that Cibo's architect carried his west front between 40 and 50 metres high, because the crest and devices of that monarch were preserved in the old work. In 1846 it will hardly be credited that so much of that old work still remained as may be seen in the drawing, copied from the sketch of a contemporary architect, which I have reproduced on page 236. From this it will be observed that one of the most ingenious and original devices of the Middle Ages at their close had been developed for the entrance to St. Ouen.


WEST FRONT OF ST. OUEN

THE ORIGINAL WEST FRONT OF ST. OUEN WHICH WAS PULLED
DOWN TO ERECT THE MODERN FAÇADE


A glance at the western façades of the Cathedral and of St. Maclou will make clearer what I have to say. For the Cathedral is in almost a straight line along its west front, though the two towers at each end give almost a suggestion of a retreating curve. St. Maclou, on the other hand, shaped like the eastern apse of most churches, has a bold curve forwards from north and south, meeting in the central door which projects some way beyond the side doors on its own façade, as may be seen from Miss James's particularly instructive drawing in the frontispiece. St. Ouen presented the only remaining third possibility, a curve inwards, in which the central door was pushed back, and at an angle on each side of it the arched portals of the aisles curved forwards, and above them rose two towers, each a reduced copy of that larger exquisite central tower which crowns the Abbey. Though the old masonry remained, and though a complete working drawing of the whole façade was discovered in the archives of the town, the job of pulling everything down and building the new and horrible spires was given to an architect who had already destroyed an old tower in the angle of the courtyard of the Palais de Justice, and had made a "grille" for its façade filled with inconsequent anachronisms and errors.238

After this, your only consolation will be to pass through the western gates as swiftly as may be to the interior. Its whole length is 416 feet 8 inches, and the vault is 100 feet high; the nave is 34 feet broad, and the aisles 22 feet. This magnificent fabric has had hard usage. After being sacked when it was scarce completed, by the Protestants in 1562, it was turned into a museum by the Revolution, and in 1793 was used as a blacksmith's shop for making arms. Yet nothing can efface that first breathless sense of soaring height and beauty which impresses you on your first entrance as you look up to the great windows of the clerestory, with the saints upon their silvery glass, set between the long slender shafts of columns that spring straight from the ground, and leap upwards like a fountain clear and undivided to the keystone of the roof. Though I was unwillingly bound to confess that even the old Rose windows disappointed me, the bunch of glaring cauliflowers which is the new western Rose is worse than anything in any building of this size and general beauty. But the other windows are an abiding joy, made of that exquisite moonlit glass, in which the colours shine like jewels, and are set as rarely.

Nor is the Church without its claim to right of place in history as well as art. For the old Abbey of St. Ouen was one of the most considerable in Normandy. It held fiefs not only in the city, but in the Forêt Verte outside, and lands all over the province, with the right of nomination to very many livings. From the Pope himself the Abbot held, since 1256, certain valuable privileges in conferring minor dignities, and in the list of those who held that splendid post after the uncle of the Conqueror, are the names of d'Estouteville, de Lorraine, de Bourbon, de Vendôme, de la Tour d'Auvergne, and lastly Étienne Charles de Lomenie de Brienne, who was found dead in his240 bed when the warrant had gone out for his arrest in 1794. In 1602 only was the ceremony of the "Oison bridé" given up, which commemorated the old privileges of the Abbot's Mills. Even longer lasted the ancient ceremony by which the monks received every archbishop on his entrance into Rouen, and on his death watched for the first night by his bier in their own abbey. In their cemetery you have already seen Jeanne d'Arc go through her mockery of "abjuration." Within it, too, her memory was "rehabilitated." In this church young Talbot was laid to rest, who fell in the English wars. In its cemetery was received James II. of Gt. Britain, who was escorted, on his flight from England, by armed citizens of Rouen from the Chartreuse of St. Julien to the Abbey.


NAVE OF ST. OUEN

THE NAVE OF ST. OUEN


And it may be that the old Sacristan, for your good fortune, will be living still to tell you of the greatest Englishman he has ever heard of, John Ruskin, who often looked into that quaint mirror of Holy Water, and watched the strange reflection of the arches soaring upwards in the nave.

It was in the Abbey of St. Ouen that on a May Day of 1485, Charles VIII. held a great assembly to deliberate over the concessions to the town after his famous entry into Rouen. To welcome him, poets, machinists, actors, tableaux vivants, marionettes, songs, comedies, and "mysteries," were gathered together regardless of expense. The Dukes of Orléans and Bourbon had arrived before him, and on the twelfth of April they were presented by the Chapterhouse with six gallons of wine of two sorts, and with loaves of the famous bread,[57] in return for which each gave a golden crown to the241 Cathedral Offertory. Two days afterwards arrived the King himself from Pont de l'Arche with a large and brilliant suite, including the second Louis de la Tremouille, who fought on every battlefield from St. Aubin du Cormier to Pavia, Philippe de Commines the historian, the "Comte de Richemont," soon to be King of England, and many others.

On his way from the Faubourg St. Sever to his lodgings in the Château de Bouvreuil, five stages greeted his progress with loyal allegories. Each bore its title written above in letters of gold or blue or rose upon tin plates. The first was labelled "Repos Pacificque," and represented by means of seven personages an acrostic on the royal name of Charles. The second was "Ordre Politique," and was of a most amazing ingenuity, for no less than forty-four persons were shown on three stages one above the other which all turned round slowly on one piece of timber. On the lowest appeared John the Evangelist with a little angel by his side pointing him upwards to the splendours of the Apocalypse; in the middle twenty-four aged harpers sat and harped, with "lutes and rebecqs" in their hands; at the top shone the "Agnus Dei," the lamb of Rouen from the civic arms, amidst a cloud of evangelists and rainbows. On the third stage, labelled "Uncion des Rois," was figured, with divers changes of scene, the coronation and anointing of David, all arranged by Master David Pinel in token of the joy of Rouen that Charles VIII. had been anointed with the holy oil at Reims which had given strength to Charles VII. to turn out the hated English. "Espoir en la croix" was represented on the fourth by the victory of Constantine over Maxentius, with several "tirements de courtines" or changes of scene. The fifth, styled "Nouvelle Eau Célique," showed the blessings of the new reign after the sufferings of the old one by a fountain which watered the Tree of the People, so that leaves by a marvellous242 device appeared to flourish naturally upon it, while wine was poured out from beneath for every passer-by to drink, and five fair damsels sang harmoniously. That evening all the shepherds and shepherdesses and other characters in these moving "histories" came down and played a "mystery" before the King. But perhaps the thing that pleased the young Charles most of all, was that gay procession of young gentlemen of Rouen which caracoled before him on horseback, under the leadership of no less a personage than his majesty the King of Yvetôt, the captain of the City Bridge. (See footnote on page 36.)

In the next days he promised to confirm the charters of the town, assured the canons in the exercise of the Privilège St. Romain, and asked that the procession of the prisoner might pass by his château, which was the more appropriate as the man released had been condemned to death for killing a groom attached to one of the royal suite, who had given wanton and continued provocation. Not till the seventeenth of May were the requests both of the ecclesiastical and the civic authorities fully granted at St. Ouen; the spokesman for each had been Maître Michel Petit, the "chantre" of the Chapterhouse, and by that one fact, if by no other, King Charles must have been properly impressed with the importance of the Church in Rouen.

Before he left the city, he could have seen the exquisite little shrine of St. Maclou in all the fresh untainted delicacy of its first achievement. "The eldest daughter of the Archbishop of Rouen," this marvellous church was the result of one perfect and harmonious plan, and inasmuch as the design of its originator has been faithfully completed, it is far more of an architectural unity than its larger rivals, the Cathedral or St. Ouen. Of these three either one would make the reputation of an English town alone, and the jewelled chiselling and admirable proportions of the243 smallest of them make a fitting complement to the heavy splendour of the Cathedral on the one hand, and to the dizzy altitudes of the Abbey on the other.

The first Maclou, as may be imagined, was a Scotchman. He fled to Brittany, became Bishop of Aleth, and died in the Saintonge in 561. Ever since the tenth century a shrine had been erected to his memory outside the earliest walls of Rouen, in that morass which gives its name to the Rue Malpalu in front of the present church. Twice burnt and twice rebuilt, it became a parish church within the walls by 1250. A larger building was soon necessary; even during the miseries of the English Occupation it was determined to make the new church worthy of the town that already held the Cathedral and part of St. Ouen; and before 1500 indulgences had been granted by Hugues, the Archbishop, by Cardinal d'Estouteville, and by twenty Cardinals of Rome, to raise sufficient sums of money. In 1437 Pierre Robin, one of the royal architects from Paris, was paid 43 livres 10 sols for a plan and work that must have been begun some eighteen months previously with stone quarried in Val des Leux and Vernon. In 1470 Ambroise Harel was "Maître de l'œuvre," and in 1480 the same Jacques le Roux finished it who worked in the Cathedral. Of individual bequests that of Jean de Grenouville, who was buried in the Chapelle de la St. Vierge in 1466, gave most help. From 1432, when the irreparable ruin of the old church was first recognised, until 1514, the accounts for only seven years have been preserved. In 1520 the spire of wood and lead above Gringoire's lantern was placed on Martin Duperrois' platform, to which a man might ascend without the help of any ladder. In 1735 this was removed, and in 1795 the lead was melted into bullets, and the six bells of 1529 were recast into cannon. In 1868 M. Barthélemy244 erected the stone Pyramid 83 metres high to hold the fine new bells.[58]

CHURCH OF ST. MACLOU STAIRCASE TO THE ORGAN LOFT The famous carved doors have been attributed to Jean Goujon, though there is only one figure (the "Caritas" on the left panel of the central porch) that I can believe to be his own workmanship. In all the idea of plan is much the same. There are two divisions, of which the lower contains the "practicable entrance," and is guarded by a caryatid on each side supporting two male figures. Along the lintel runs a line of brackets alternating with cherubs' heads supporting seven figures, four males in high relief with three females in low relief behind them. These figures in turn carry a square panel, carved in high relief above them, representing different scenes on each door, chiefly suggested by the story of the Good Shepherd which is so appropriate to the staple industry of the town. They were begun by 1527 and finished before 1560. Jean Goujon was born in 1520, and was killed during the Massacre of St. Bartholomew while carving on the Louvre. In 1540 he is known to have been at Rouen, and in the next year he worked both here and in the Cathedral. So that he may well have given the design for what he did not personally execute, though no documents exist to prove either.

But if the doors are a trifle disappointing, though only so because of their great reputation, they certainly did not deserve to be mutilated by the Huguenots in 1562; and in 1793 when a barrelmaker's child was slashing245 the heads of the statues with an axe, the crowd could think of no better comment than "Celui-là sera un fameux patriote!" Of the façade they were intended to adorn, which was probably the work of Ambroise Harel, I have already spoken in describing the exactly reverse plan of the original west front of St. Ouen. It is one of the most delightful tours de force I know in architecture, and when Miss James was drawing for me the frontispiece which adorns this volume, she pointed out that the idea of the curve had been deliberately emphasised to the spectator's eye by building the side porches narrower, and crowning them with lower crests than is the case in the central entrance. The central tympanum represents the Last Judgment, with the Pelican above it that typifies the Resurrection. You may appreciate246 at once the delicate tracery of lacework in stone which covers this exterior and also the affection felt for its beauties by their guardians, if you will examine the model laboriously built up in wood and paper by an old vicar in the sixteenth century. His ten years of loving toil have been preserved in the Musée des Antiquités, and few better proofs exist of contemporary appreciation of the fine arts.

CHURCH OF ST. MACLOU. CARVED OAK PANEL FROM THE CENTRAL DOORSThe interior is scarcely less interesting, though it has suffered very much from modern religiosity. Only forty-seven and a half metres long, by scarcely twenty-five in width, its height is nearly twenty-three metres in the three bays of the nave, rising to thirty-nine at the lantern. Its greatest treasure now is the exquisite Escalier des Orgues, from which the staircase to the organ loft at Ely was imitated. This was built in 1519 for two hundred and five livres by Pierre Gringoire, "Maistre Machon de Rouen." In examining more closely that fragment of it, of which a plaster247 cast has been made for the Musée du Trocadéro in Paris, I could not help being struck with the general resemblance of its plan to the more famous staircase which adorns the exterior of the wing of Francis I. at the great château of Blois in Touraine, which was built almost at the same time, from the designs (as I have attempted to prove elsewhere) of Leonardo da Vinci, and was decorated later on with statues by Jean Goujon. This sculptor was only born the year after St. Maclou's staircase was finished, but the main lines of the structure are so suggestive of the earlier work that I cannot but imagine this fine piece of French Renaissance to be a deliberate copy, by a master strong enough to retain his own originality of treatment, of the main design that appears in the courtyard of Blois.

TOUR ST. ANDRÉ Not all the churches of which Rouen is so full can boast even that measure of preservation which storm and time and the more devastating hands of man have spared to the three noblest of her religious monuments. Of St. André, for instance, only the tower remains, that stands alone above the Rue Jeanne d'Arc, like the Tour St. Jacques in Paris, as an admirable specimen of the later Gothic architecture. A still finer relic of an older past is that old church of St. Pierre du Chastel, which is now turned into a stable and coach-house at No. 41 Rue Nationale. Unless you look for it, you will miss248 altogether the great statue of David and his harp, which is the one massive decoration of its strong and simple tower, and the carvings which may still be traced through the neglect and mutilation of centuries upon its western door. More degraded still, to even baser uses, is the Church of St. Cande le Jeune, which has become some kind of an electric manufactory, and may now be chiefly traced by the huge chimney which obstructs the sky as you look up the Impasse Petit Salut towards the Tour de Beurre of the Cathedral. Just opposite the entrance to the public library is another instance of barbarous neglect: the Church of St. Laurent. Once used as a magazine of shops of every kind, sometimes a lost home for decrepit carriages, sometimes a drying-house for laundry-women, these exquisite ruins of Renaissance architecture have at last been rescued by the civic authorities, if not from evident decay, at any rate from further mutilation. The tower alone—but one among so many in Rouen—would be the proudest possession of many a larger English town. The balustrade is decorated by a pattern of letters, which pathetically express their hope of better treatment in the battered legend: "Post Tenebras Spero Lucem."

Close to these eloquent ruins is a church that has had a somewhat better fate, for if St. Godard has been rather roughly treated, the beauty of its stained-glass windows has saved it from absolute destruction. In the chapel of St. Peter, due east at the end of the north aisle, is the great window that was made in 1555 to represent St. Romain, who is shown at the top, on the left hand, dragging the Gargouille of Rouen to destruction with his sacred stole (see p. 39). Lower down, on the right, you must look at the King seated in his royal chair, and the hounds at play before him on the carpet. In the south aisle the corresponding window to the east has a tree of Jesse in its upper249 part, and beneath is one of the finest examples of sixteenth century painting in Rouen, work that reminds you of the work of Rembrandt. Of these five figures of old men, the last two on the right are especially worthy of attentive study. They were done in 1535. To the right of this window in the same chapel, looking southwards, is another fine window of about the same date, said to be copied from a design by Raphael and his school, of the life and genealogy of the Blessed Virgin; but it is not so strong or original in treatment as the last. Beneath it are two kneeling figures carved upon the tomb of the family of Bec de Lièvre.

ÉGLISE ST. LAURENT In the Rue Jeanne d'Arc is another church, St. Vincent, that must be visited. I have spoken already of the little labourer in tunic and breeches, with a sack of salt upon his back, who stands upon the outside of the buttress to the south of the choir, and looks towards the river. It commemorates the fact that, by letters patent delivered by Charles VI. in 1409, the church (which was then much nearer to250 the river) was allowed to take toll of every cargo of salt which came into the port, a privilege which was exchanged in 1649 for an annual payment of 140 livres. Begun in 1511—or, as some say, 1480—after the plans of Guillaume Touchet, St. Vincent certainly comes after St. Maclou in order of merit. Its choir alone is a magnificent specimen of the architectural possibilities of the smaller churches, and must have been finished before 1530, when Touchet's supervision ended. The splendid flamboyant western porch is not shown in Lelieur's plan of 1525, and was probably a later addition. The name of Ambroise Harel has also been connected with the work, but I have been unable to satisfy myself of the exact portions for which he may have been responsible.

It is chiefly admired, and wrongly so to my mind, for the treasures of its interior. These consist not merely in the wonderful series of sixteenth century tapestries, of which M. Paul Lafond has published a detailed description, but in the stained-glass windows, of which the most celebrated represents the ass of St. Anthony of Padua kneeling before the Holy Sacrament. The design is taken, it is said, from a drawing of Dürer, to whom also is ascribed the original suggestion for the window at the west end of the first aisle, of the Virgin and Apostles. North of the choir is an interesting glass-painting of the buildings of Rouen.

But slightly west of the northern end of the same street you will find windows in the Church of St. Patrice which I think infinitely preferable, of their kind, to those which are the especial pride of St. Vincent. They are very justly placed in the first class of the "monuments historiques" de France. As you enter the transept, turn due south, and the first window on your right is the "Woman taken in Adultery," which was moved here from the old church251 of St. Godard. The inscription on it is "Honorable homme maître Nicole Leroux licentie es loix advocant et Marie Bunel sa feme ont donne ceste vitreau moys de may lan de grace 1549 priez dieu pour eulx." In the right hand corner you may see the good William praying with his son behind him, and his wife in black is further off to the left with her six daughters behind her, two of them in "cramoisy taffetas, trimmed with northern peltry." In the Chapel of the Virgin in the north transept, the left hand window of the three over the altar depicts the life of St. Fiacre and St. Firmin, and was put up in 1540 in the days when Pierre Deforestier was in office, and François Baudoin was prévôt. Of the three you see when looking due north, the farthest to the right in the transept was placed there in 1583, "à l'honneur du grand roy des roys de St. Louis roy de France;" the middle window shows St. Eustace suffering martyrdom in the brazen bull which is being heated red hot, while above St. Hubert meets his miraculous stag. The farthest window to the left is dated 1538; it is the best, and Jean Cousin has been suggested as its designer. The donor prays in the right hand corner, and his wife with a daughter behind her is in the left. A well-drawn figure of an angel announces his message to the Blessed Virgin who is reading, and in the middle of the composition, near the bottom, lies a corpse in a winding-sheet.

The large window at the extreme end of the north aisle is also very fine. At the top is a woman in a car triumphing. Below, on the left, are Adam and Eve. Next to them is the Devil, and Death, whose swarthy skin is wrapped in a winding-sheet that seems to belly in the blasts of Hell. The story of Job that is painted in the first window on the left in the north aisle, also came from old St. Godard. And all this wealth of stained glass is shown off wonderfully well252 in a church that is not too large to lose its full effect, and is planned with only a few light columns in the interior to impede the view of all of them from the centre of the nave.

To three other of the many ecclesiastical buildings of Rouen can I direct you before closing this Chapter of Churches with the Cathedral that is mother of them all: St. Eloi, St. Vivien, and the Abbaye de St. Amand. As you walk northwards from the river into the town up the Rue St. Eloi, the church from which it takes its name shows a fine south door that closes the perspective of the street. The design of the west entrance is bold and good, but the queerly mathematical plan of the Rose window above it, with its three triangles crossing in the circle, has not a very happy effect. The church now is little but the ruins of what was once a magnificent building and is used as the "Protestant Temple." The whole of the Place St. Eloi is worthy of a closer inspection than can be gained by merely walking through it, which you will be tempted to do at much too fast a pace on learning that the Rue du Panneret at its north-east angle leads directly to the Maison Bourgtheroulde in the Place de la Pucelle. Another characteristic little square is the Place St. Vivien which cuts the Rue Eau de Robec in two portions. If you are lucky enough to be there on a twenty-ninth of August you will see the famous Fête St. Vivien in full blast, with booths and merry-go-rounds, and travelling theatres, even a "Théatre Garric à 8 heures, Nouveau Spectacle!" But do not go on into the further recesses of the Eau de Robec without looking at the church, and give your keenest glances to the fine square tower with its octagonal spire that is classed among the Monuments Historiques. Of the ancient Abbaye de St. Amand there is perhaps less left than of any of the ecclesiastical buildings in this chapter. Its origin has been described already253 (see p. 71), and the gable with its buttressed wall that you can see best in the Rue St. Amand from the Place des Carmes are almost the only stones remaining of an institution that once took a very prominent part in the ecclesiastical ceremonies of Rouen.

For when an Archbishop died, the Abbess of St. Amand took from his dead finger, as the funeral procession passed her gates, the ring that she had placed upon it at his installation. On the 19th of July 1493, that ring still shone upon the hand of Robert de Croixmare, whose corpse had just been brought into the Cathedral choir, arrayed in state, with mitre on head, and crosier in hand, with all his robes of office on him. That night the bier rested in the Abbey of St. Ouen, and as it passed the Abbey of St. Amand on its way back to burial, the Abbess must have wondered, as she claimed her ring, on whom she would bestow it next. The canons of the Cathedral were even more hasty in their eagerness to settle the important question, and the body of their late superior had been scarcely laid in state within their choir before they were deliberating in the Chapterhouse about his probable successor. As a mere matter of form—and we know how tenacious were these canons of their rights and usages—they had sent word to the King that the election of the next Archbishop was proceeding; and their dismayed astonishment may be imagined when a message came from Charles VIII. that he "neither admitted nor denied their privilege to re-elect."

The King was not long in enlightening his faithful subjects as to his wishes in the matter. Georges d'Amboise, Archbishop of Narbonne, and lieutenant to his friend Louis of Orléans in the Governorship of Normandy, was clearly pointed out as the royal candidate, without any room for misunderstanding. The Duke of Orléans himself joined in the "request" that254 savoured far too much of a command for ecclesiastical independence. As if this were not enough, messengers from the Court arrived post-haste; Baudricourt, a Marshal of France, no less; Jean du Vergier, a financial officer of the town; and M. de Clérieu, the royal chamberlain; all these actually arrived to "negotiate" (presumptuous word!) with the free and independent Chapterhouse. In great perplexity were both the canons and the town officials, upon whom commands, no less imperative, had also been laid; for the Chapterhouse would naturally not hear one single word from the civic officials on the subject of their election, and even to the royal messengers they would only reply that, at the election-day, some three weeks hence, "His Majesty should have no just cause for complaint."

Three weeks, however, gave them time for profitable reflections. When next the royal messengers appeared in the Chapterhouse, in the persons of the President of the Parliament of Paris, and the Grand Seneschal de Brézé, their reception was not so chilling as before. Every preacher in the town had exhorted his congregation to pray that God would direct their proper choice. The revered shrine of St. Romain, that Fierte which represented the proudest token of ecclesiastical liberty, had been borne in solemn procession round the town. Public sentiment had been intensely agitated by the unwonted course events had taken. On the fateful 21st of August the Cathedral was packed with hundreds of the faithful, eager to be first to hear the decision of the canons. By three o'clock the ten bells of the Cathedral had summoned the canons to the matins which preceded the election that was to release the Church from widowhood, and give to Rouen a new archbishop. At last the Chapter assembled, the doors were shut, and every avenue to the Chapterhouse was strictly guarded. At the last moment an255 aged canon, rising from his death-bed to exercise his most cherished privilege, tottered into the assembly to select a friend to vote for him, and went back to die.

Suddenly the door of the Chapterhouse opened again, and Étienne Tuvache the Chancellor uttered in a loud voice his last summons to all those who had the right to vote that they should forthwith enter. When it had closed again—for there was no reply—the solemn oath was administered to every canon that he would rightly and reverently choose the candidate he honestly thought best. Any excommunicated person was warned to retire, and Masselin the Dean began his exhortation on the importance of their choice. When he had finished, all save the electors themselves withdrew, and on the flagged floor of the Chapterhouse the canons knelt to the singing of the "Veni Creator," and prayed for inspiration. Suddenly all leapt to their feet at once with one united shout of "Georges d'Amboise shall be Archbishop!"

At once the great bells rang out to the town that the election had been made, while within the Cathedral every wall re-echoed with the shouts of "Noël, Noël!" as the people heard that Georges d'Amboise had been elected. A few days afterwards a still larger throng assembled in the Parvis to watch the great ecclesiastic of their choice advance on bare feet from the Church of St. Herbland and receive the episcopal ring from the Abbess of St. Amand, with the words, "Messire, je le donne à vous vivant, vous me le rendrez mort." As he came nearer to the western gates, Masselin, the "Grand Doyen," formally presented to him the Cathedral, and received his promise of loyalty and honest government, sworn on the books of the evangelists, and not till then did Georges d'Amboise mount his episcopal chair and give his first blessing to the people of Rouen as their Archbishop.

How well he fulfilled his vow, there are many things256 in Rouen to this day to tell, and the blessing that he gave his congregation was not limited to things spiritual and unseen. His splendid public benefactions in regulating the water-supply of the town have been already noticed, and may be better realised in Lelieur's careful drawings. His Cathedral remembers him by her western façade, by the rich balustrades around the choir, now vanished, by numerous costly shrines and jewels in the Trésor, by that Tour de Beurre[59] which held "Georges d'Amboise" the greatest bell outside of Russia, that every outlying parish could hear, by the magnificent building which future archbishops justly called their palace. And the Province of which he became governor when Louis d'Orléans rose to be Louis XII., "avec le titre effrayant de réformateur-général," owed him the blessings of peace from brigandage and prosperity in commerce; owed him, better than all, the firm and permanent establishment of the Courts of Justice. By all these, and more, he worthily has won the right to be considered by far the strongest and ablest Archbishop Rouen ever had. After his election, his nephew, the second Georges d'Amboise, was the only other primate the Chapterhouse was ever permitted to elect. The tomb of both is in the Chapelle de la Vierge of the Cathedral.

I have but too short space or time wherein to tell you more of the interior of that great edifice, whose building I described when Philip Augustus made Normandy a part of France. But out of the multitude of interests that will stay your every step beneath its arches, there are a few things I must point out now, and leave the most famous of its tombs till later.


WESTERN PORCH OF ST. VINCENT

WESTERN PORCH OF ST. VINCENT


As you enter by the western door, turn southwards into the Chapelle St. Étienne beneath the Tour de257 Beurre. The second monumental stone on the right is in memory of Nicole Gibouin, and it is one of the most exquisitely drawn faces that you will see in all Rouen. This face and both hands are incised in white marble, the rest of the body and dress is indicated by red lines cut lightly in the stone. At his feet lies a dog holding a bone. After this, there is scarcely a monument worth looking at that can elude your notice; but as my business is to omit the obvious and point out the beauties which might escape unwarned attention, I shall direct you straightway to the choir, and more particularly to the carved oak stalls. The seats, as is usually the case, turn up to form an additional rest for258 priests who had to stand through long and numerous services, and upon these under surfaces (called misericordes) is an extraordinary series of carvings which you must look at, every one.

They were made between the years of 1457 and 1469, and are in part owing to the munificence of Cardinal Guillaume d'Estouteville. The stalls as a whole are much deteriorated from their originally perfect beauty. The work at Amiens will suggest how much of the stalls of Rouen has been lost or wantonly mutilated. Without the Archbishop's throne, which has been replaced by a heavy modern structure, the whole eighty-eight, of which two have disappeared, cost 6961 livres to make, and the greater part of the figures were done by Pol Mosselmen (whose Flemish name was a terrible puzzle to mediæval scribes) and François Trubert. Two other Flemish carvers, Laurens Hisbre and Gillet Duchastel, occur in the complete list of eleven sculptors who were paid by the piece as recorded in the Chapterhouse accounts. The designs were made by Philippot Viart, "maistre huchier" de Rouen, who received 5 sous 10 deniers a day for his work, and employed workmen so nearly his equals in skill that they got from 4s. 6d. to 5s. for their time. The names of the sixteen "carpenters" he had with him are all preserved with the weekly account of their payments; and though most of the work of the Flemish "sculptors" on the larger statues has entirely disappeared, the more modest position of the little carvings beneath the seats has probably saved them; and these are the work, as I believe to be most probable, of the Rouen "carpenters" whom Philippot Viart collected.

Their names are very ordinary ones; such as Eustache, Baudichon, Lefevre, Fontaine, Lemarié, and the like; and their work is nearly all dedicated to perpetuating either those arts and crafts of Rouen with which they259 would be most familiar, or subjects similar to the medallions on the north and south portals which I have already shown to be the stock-in-trade of the mediæval workman. Many of the misericordes indeed are no doubt taken from the stone-work outside. As you turn one seat after another to the light, the life and habits and costume of four hundred years ago stand clear before you. There are the musicians with their cymbals, drums, and stringed instruments; the wool-combers with their teasels; the sheep-shearers and cloth-makers; the cobblers and leather-sellers and patten-makers; the barbers and surgeons; the schoolmaster with his pupils; the carver at work upon a stall; the mason chiselling a Gothic arch or modelling a statue; the blacksmith, the carpenter, the shepherd, the fisherman, the gardener in his vineyard, the midwife, the chemist at work among his test-tubes and alembics, the chambermaid cleaning up her rooms.

Besides these records of the different trades, in one of the confrèries of which every workman on these stalls must have been a member,[60] there are many subjects more fanciful or grotesque which urged the sculptor's chisel to its work. Harpies and sirens and lions with human faces; Melusina's gracious body ending in a serpent's tail; all the characters of the famous "Fête des Fous" to the very "Abbé des Cornards" himself; all the strange beasts of travellers' tales, and many a dream from vanishing mythologies. Ever since pagan times, the custom of disguising the dancing worshipper in a more or less hideous mask, had steadily persisted in certain of the more licentious festivals, and the riotous horseplay of the Middle Ages was the direct descendant of the Saturnalia of Rome. Too often, as I have pointed out before, the churches themselves were the scene of these abuses, which took the form not merely of bestial260 travesties, but of diabolical disguises in which Satan and his imps were represented with all the vigour of an intensely imaginative age. These were some of the sources of the grotesque carvings. For they were not symbolical. When they did not represent a concrete fact seen by the sculptor, they essayed to represent a composite thought by clapping together two forms suggesting opposite qualities, and leaving the gap in their union to be supplied by the spectator. That gap in continuity is very noticeable in every real "grotesque."

The "Lai d'Aristote," which occurred in the exterior carvings, is repeated here on the misericorde which is the ninth of the top row on the southern side. The gay young lady seated upon Aristotle's back wears the high two-horned headdress of the fifteenth century, and a long closely-fitting gown, with the open bodice that was the mark of the oldest profession in the world. She is controlling the philosopher with a bridle and a most murderous-looking bit between his teeth. I have already explained that Socrates and Xantippe are by no means intended here, and that the tale is represented of the downfall of Aristotle in his attempts to prove to Alexander the Great how easily the charms of woman might be resisted. The subject seems to have tickled the Middle Ages immensely, and was especially likely to be popular in Normandy, where Henry d'Andelys, the author of the poem called "Lai d'Aristote," was born. A very similar tale of the gallant adventures of the poet Virgil occupied one of the lost stalls of this Cathedral, and in St. Pierre de Caen both were represented among the carvings of the church.

There is one more tomb that you must see—among the things that may most easily be omitted—before you end a visit to the Cathedral, that is meant to remind you of what is usually forgotten. It is the261 small monument in the Chapelle de la Vierge, opposite the great tomb of the d'Amboises, and next to the magnificent sepulchre on which Diane de Poitiers mourns for her lost husband. It is generally passed over because its neighbour's grandeur overshadows it, and it has very little left to show its value except the beautifully sculptured canopy and the exquisite carvings and initials on the columns at the side. This is the tomb of Pierre de Brézé, Seneschal of Normandy, who married Jeanne de Bec Crespin, with a dowry of 90,000 crowns; and it is he who entered Rouen with the King of France in November 1449, when the English occupation ceased. He was a brave soldier and a bold adventurer, both then and afterwards. In 1457, filibustering on the English coast, he captured Sandwich and took a heavy ransom for the port. Six years afterwards Louis XI. sent him across the channel again to fight on the side of Margaret of Anjou. In the war of the League of Public Weal, he stayed loyal to his master, and was killed by the rebels at Montlhéry in 1465. "Pierre de Brézé tomba au premier rang," writes Commines, "de la mort des braves. Le premier homme qui y mourut ce fut luy." The friend of Dunois and Xaintrailles could have had no better end. But it is more with the official than the man that I have here to do.

The Seneschal of Normandy is an official who is found already at the Court of the Norman dukes when the province was independent. In the matter of justice and finance, he held supreme power next to his sovereign, and is called "La Justice de Normandie" by Wace. He also presided at meetings of the Échiquier de Normandie in both his capacities, and it is known that such men as Odo of Bayeux and William Fitzosbern held this honourable office. With the arrival of Philip Augustus in262 Normandy, the office falls into abeyance until the English appeared in the fifteenth century with the Burgundian motto of freedom for the people, and restoration of the ancient liberties of government. The English officials were determined to carry out their projects thoroughly, and when once they were fixed firmly in Rouen they began to look through the old charters of Normandy to see what ancient liberties they could restore. The Grand Seneschal of the Norman dukes (who had also been English kings) was soon discovered, and his office was promptly revived, and given in turn to Richard Wideville, William Oldhall, and Thomas, Lord Scales. The title these men had held as soldiers, with no idea of using it in its legal or financial sense, Charles VII. continued, on his return to power, as a suitable recompense for the services such favourites as de Brézé had rendered him in his campaigns, and the sounding name of Grand Seneschal of Normandy henceforth entirely eclipsed the humbler title of Captain of the Garrison of Rouen.

In 1457 de Brézé was exercising the original functions of the office in the Échiquier. Six years before, as the commissary of the King in place of Dunois, he had brought before the Assembly of the Province the vital questions of the confirmation of the Charte aux Normands, of the installation of a special financial machinery for the Province, and other measures necessary at the resumption of authority by the French. Though he fell temporarily into disfavour with Louis XI., and was obliged to consent to the marriage of his son Jacques with Charlotte, daughter of Charles VII. and Agnes Sorel, he resumed his post of Grand Seneschal on returning from his wars in England, and died in office.263

His son Jacques de Brézé, Comte de Maulévrier, inherited the same distinction; but having killed his wife, whose birth had shown its unfortunate effects too soon in flagrant infidelity, he was in turn disgraced and fined, but in turn was also reinstated. His son Louis de Brézé was given the apparently imperishable family heirloom of the office of Grand Seneschal in August 1490, and the great seal of the Sénéchaussée of Normandy was henceforth his coat of arms. More of a soldier and a courtier than a man of law or of finance, this de Brézé left the duties of his office to a numerous staff, whose names have been preserved in the registers of Rouen. He married first Catherine de Dreux, "dame d'Esneval," and left his brother-in-law in charge of the duties of his office, when he left it. During this period it was that Cardinal d'Amboise organised the Supreme Court of the Échiquier de Normandie (of which Antoine Bohier, Abbé of St. Ouen, was a member), in the last years of Charles VIII., which, when the Duc d'Orléans became Louis XII., was to blossom into the Perpetual Échiquier in the new "Palais de Justice."

The organisation of this court did away with any practical necessity for a Grand Seneschal, but Louis de Brézé was still allowed to keep the honour of the title, and even to take a seat in the court, which was soon to be called the "Parlement de Normandie" by François Premier. Louis de Brézé's second wife was the famous Diane de Poitiers, who called herself "La Grande Sénéschale" until she died, and who put up the magnificent tomb in alabaster and black marble which has preserved her husband's memory ever since his death in 1531, long after the "Palais de Justice" had been built to carry on for ever those legal functions which had once been a portion of the duties of his office.


264

CHAPTER XI

Justice

'Or ça'—nous dit Grippeminaud, au milieu de ses Chats-fourrez—'par Stix, puisqu' autre chose ne veux dire, or ça, je te monstreray, or ça, que meilleur te seroit estre tombé entre les pattes de Lucifer, or ça, et de tous les Diables, or ça, qu'entre nos gryphes, or ça; les vois-tu bien? Or ça, malautru, nous allegues tu innocence, or ça, comme chose digne d'eschapper nos tortures? Or ça, nos Loix sont comme toile d'araignes; le grand Diable vous y chantera Messe, or ça'.


TO appreciate what was involved by the building of the famous "Palais de Justice," which is perhaps the greatest pride of Rouen, I must needs bring before you a little more of the social life which made a court of law and justice necessary; and I can make no better beginning than by quoting again, from the Record of the Fierte St. Romain, those instances after 1448 which throw the greatest light upon the manners and customs of the years when the Échiquier de Rouen first became a permanent assembly in its own House.

In 1453 occurs an entry which suggests that the modern idiot who plays with a loaded revolver and shoots his friend "by accident" has been in existence ever since deadly weapons were invented. A carpenter named Guillaume le Bouvier drew his bow at a bird which was sitting on a tree-top. The arrow glanced off a bough, rebounded from a stone, and killed the son of the Sieur de Savary. Twenty-two years before, a woman had been killed by a bolt from265 a crossbow in almost the same way, and in 1457 a boy was shot by his brother in an exactly similar manner. In 1474 Bardin Lavalloys provided another particularly unfortunate example during a game which was in great favour at Christmas time, and consisted in throwing sticks at a goose which was tied by the leg to a tall pole. Jehan Baqueler missed his shot, and hit poor Lavalloys on the temple. A more serious weapon, the "couleuvrine," a long thin cannon, was responsible for an accidental death in 1476. Guillaume Bézet had made a bet that he could shoot at a gate better than his friends. His aim missed, and he killed a man sitting by a hedge not far off. A case that is still more instructive of the manners of the time occurred in 1475. Guillaume Morin, who was apparently making the best of his last chance of a good meal before Lent, had gone to feast with some neighbours on Shrove Tuesday, and when they had finished the beef, he threw the bone out of the window. It happened to be an especially large and heavy bone, and unluckily his little daughter of seven was just that moment returning from the tavern with more wine for the company. It fell upon her head from some distance and killed her. Another curious sidelight is thrown on fifteenth century society by the record of the next year. During a wedding-breakfast in Rouen Pierre Rogart upset the mustard-pot over M. Gossent's clothes. They quarrelled, the other guests took sides, swords were drawn, and the prime offender's nephew ran a man through; a crime for which the canons pardoned him.

But these are rather of the nature of the modern "manslaughter." The "crime passionel" and the downright murder of malice aforethought, are even more frequent. In 1466 Catherine Leseigneur was scolded and even threatened with a beating while in bed by her mother-in-law. In a sudden passion she266 snatched up a large stone and killed the other woman with it. How a stone large and heavy enough for the purpose happened to be in a bedroom we are not told, but it is quite easily explained in the case of Jehan Vauquelin, who was annoyed while working in the fields by Lucas le Febure in 1471, and killed him with the weapon that is as old as the first murder in recorded history, and seems to have been rather favoured in the fifteenth century. The year 1473 is only notable because Étienne Bandribosc was delivered by the Chapter contrary to the expressed wish of Louis XI., after he had killed a man who had insulted him. But in 1483 the element of romance appears again. A priest called Robert Clérot, with a sword beneath his cloak, was accustomed to pester with his attentions a pretty seamstress in the parish of St. Eloi. Her legitimate lover interfered, and, when the priest drew his sword, called in help and killed him with his dagger. Twice more in this period is a "couturière" the heroine of the Fierte. In the very next year Denise de Gouy, whose previous history is not pleasant reading, took service with a citizen of Rouen, and by means of false keys provided by her lover, robbed her employer of a considerable quantity of linen, using her special knowledge to pick and choose the best. She only escaped being hanged with her paramour by being about to give birth to a child, and was finally pardoned by the Chapterhouse. In 1492 a dressmaker was far less fortunate. She was unable to satisfy a lady as to the fit of her stays, and this angry customer, whose name was Marie Mansel, gave her so shrewd a blow with her fist that the poor little dressmaker died in a week. The canons apparently so sympathised with the annoyances of a badly fitting corset, that they gave Marie Mansel her freedom. But the episode has its value in showing that the modern muscular female is not so new an267 apparition as she fancies. Tradesmen did not always get the worst of it, however, in such disputes as these; for in 1525 a butcher complained bitterly that his hair had been cut too short, in a barber's shop near St. Ouen. The mistake so preyed upon his mind that when he met the barber next day he smote him on the head and ran away into the cemetery of St. Ouen. But Nicolas Courtil pursued him valiantly, armed only with the instruments of his calling, and finally killed the butcher by stabbing him in the neck with a pair of scissors.

PALAIS DE JUSTICE. TOURELLE IN THE RUE ST. LÔ Priests are almost as interesting as the ladies in this extraordinary record. In 1520 a curate from Marcilly hired Germain Rou for two sovereigns to hide a baby in a chalk-pit, and then fled to Rome. The cries of the child were heard two days afterwards by some travellers, and Germain Rou, condemned to have his hand cut off and then be hanged, was pardoned. In 1535 an even more flagrant crime is registered against an ecclesiastic. Louis de Houdetot, a subdeacon, had been so successful in his courtship of Madame Tilleren, that the lady's husband sent her out of the town to her father's house. But this did not stop the priest from continuing to visit her, and while M. Tilleren was in Rouen news was brought him that Houdetot had actually beaten M. de Catheville's servants in trying to268 get into the house. This was too much; so Tilleren "took a corselet of beaten iron (hallecrest) and a crossbow with a long bolt, and took a companion, named Justin, armed with a helmet and a long-handled axe, with five or six others." The gang, who evidently meant to make sure of their man, met Houdetot in a street in Rouen; Tilleren fired his crossbow on sight and shot him through the body; a piece of summary justice which evidently appealed to the Canons of the Cathedral, in spite of the fact that the sufferer was an ecclesiastic.

But in 1501 a gallant priest intervened in the most creditable manner, and without any bloodshed, in a love-affair that should set all our promising young historical novelists by the ears to tell it afresh. There was a certain Jean de Boissey who was much in love with Marie de Martainville. Her mother was not averse to a wedding, but the father refused entirely. Luckily for Jean he was on excellent terms with the lady's cousins, Philippe and Thomas de Martainville; so the three friends with Pierre de Garsalle and other youthful sympathisers betook them to the Abbey of St. Pierre-sur-Dives to talk it over. Jean found an ally he could have hardly expected within the Abbey walls, for Nicolle de Garsalle, a relation of one of his comrades and a brother of the House, asked them all to stay to supper with him, and before the porter let them out again he had arranged a plan for carrying off the lady. The young men were delighted with this jovial monk's suggestions, and the next morning the whole company met again with seven or eight more ardent blades, and entered straightway into the Manor where the lovely Marie dwelt. Cousin Philippe stayed outside and kept watch at the drawbridge. In a short time—after adventures which are discreetly concealed—Jean and his friends came out with the lady, and the whole party made off to Caulde, where269 the betrothal was solemnised. The next day they rode to Cambremer, and the happy pair were married, "le sieur de Boissey," says the manuscript, "espousa sa fiancée sans bans," and no doubt Brother Nicolle de Garsalle helped to tie the knot. No less than sixteen persons being implicated in the capital charge of abduction which followed, you may imagine how lively the Procession of the Fierte was that year, and the cheers of the populace as Jean de Boissey (begarlanded with roses, as all the prisoners were) moved along, no doubt with Marie on his arm, and the sturdy monk walked behind him from the Place de la Basse Vieille Tour to the Cathedral. The de Martainvilles gave the Chapter a large Turquoise set in gold, in token of their gratitude, and the gem was at once placed upon the shrine to whose sanctity they owed deliverance.

Few stories have either so romantic a beginning or so fortunate an end, in this record of the Fierte; but the large number of prisoners then released has its parallel, is even surpassed indeed, on two occasions soon afterwards; for in 1522 the whole parish of the village of Étrepagny received the Fierte as accomplices of a young ruffian called de Maistreville; though considering that his victim was one of their own women, their ardent support of the man against all the officers of justice is somewhat inexplicable. In 1560, when another whole village was pardoned, their sympathy with a fellow-labourer who killed a servant of the Overlord is more easily intelligible. But nearly all of the most prominent cases have a woman at the bottom of them. One that is especially instructive as to the morals and the manners of the public occurred in 1524.

Antoine de la Morissière, Sieur de la Carbonnet, had, it seems, insulted Mademoiselle d'Ailly, and beaten her so badly that she died a short time afterwards with five of her ribs broken. So Étienne le Monnier, her relation, resolved to avenge her, and270 took out a warrant against the ruffian who had killed her. Desiring to make quite sure that justice should not miscarry, he took some fifty gentlemen, all armed, and accompanied the police-sergeant to the man's house. They found de la Morissière[61] in a somewhat compromising position, and he did not reply to their request for admittance. Le Monnier, determined to get him out, set fire to the roof in four places. The fellow then cried out that he would surrender, and trusting to the presence of an officer of the law he came down. Le Monnier at once wounded him in the chest with a long pike, and two other relations of Mademoiselle d'Ailly hit him over the head with clubs, "so that he fell to the ground as one dead." But le Monnier, seeing that he still showed signs of life, drove his dagger into his throat and finished him off. Two accomplices were actually hanged for this crime, but de Monnier, after paying 1200 livres to the dead man's family, and being unsuccessful in securing the royal pardon, was given the Fierte with the rest of his friends by the Chapterhouse of Rouen.

Of the morality of those days you must imagine something from these instances. There are many more with which I have neither space nor inclination to shock susceptibilities more delicate than were those of a Cathedral Chapterhouse in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The tale of Jehanne Dantot, for instance, in 1489, is one of the most astonishing stories of the lengths to which desperation and wickedness can drive a woman that I have ever read. A queer glimpse of the economy of certain households is provided by the record of 1534. Pierre Letellier married the daughter of Maître Hoüel, and by a clause in the marriage-settlement it was arranged that the father-in-law should board and lodge the young couple for three271 years. They had not lived in the house long before they were scandalised by the immoral behaviour of the old man, and Pierre naturally quarrelled with him about it. The ill-feeling between the two men came to a climax one night when young Letellier had been supping in the town, and coming back late found that his father-in-law had bolted the door. At length his wife heard his knocks, and as soon as she had let him in he roundly abused the servants for keeping him so long upon the doorstep. The old man at once appeared on the scene, without much in the way of clothing, it would appear, but waving a stout club called a "marcus." With this he beat Pierre about the head and shoulders until the young man lost patience and killed his father-in-law with his dagger or "sang de dey."

The taverns were of course as frequent a source of crime then as they are now. But the fashion of wearing swords has made a drunken brawl less fatal. The records of the Fierte might very well be used as a dictionary of offensive weapons from the number of swords, daggers, maces, rapiers, clubs, and pikes their pages contain from year to year. It was at the double game of rapier and dagger that Marquet Dubosc wiped off old scores after a quarrel at the Sign of the Cauldron, near the Church of St. Michel, in 1502. He had been playing dice with a man named Chouquet, and in the quarrel that followed about payment, Chouquet had too many friends to be attacked safely. So Dubosc waited till the next day, gathered a few companions of his own, and killed his man in the woods near Croisset.

In 1511 the Chapterhouse records a tavern brawl that was settled on the spot. There had been some dispute about a woman between Le Monnier, a king's officer, and Jehan Canu, a lacquey. This man deliberately chose out a few others to help him in the business, and then went to drink at the "Barge," in272 the Rue Eau de Robec, on a night when he knew Le Monnier would come there to supper. The officer actually took the next table, and in a few moments swords were drawn, and Le Monnier was killed. Why Canu and his nine accomplices were pardoned is one of the mysteries of the Fierte which I suppose no one will ever be able to unravel.


COURTYARD OF PALAIS DE JUSTICE

COURTYARD OF PALAIS DE JUSTICE


If this somewhat dismal catalogue of crimes has not yet fully acquainted you with the state of society with which the "Palais de Justice" was first built to deal, the shortest glance at some of the sentences inflicted upon criminals who were not fortunate enough to bear the Fierte will be sufficient to show that the judges were almost as far behind our modern notions of propriety as were their prisoners. And it must be remembered that the criminals I have just mentioned are far from being the worst of those brought up before the Courts of Rouen; they are indeed those persons picked out by the assembled body of trained ecclesiastics in the Cathedral Chapterhouse as worthy to escape273 from the horrors which a sentence in the fifteenth or sixteenth century involved.

What these sentences were may be gathered from such examples as the following. In 1506 a man surprised picking pockets in the Court-room was taken into the great open space before the entrance and soundly flogged upon the spot. Few men escaped so fortunately. Assassins nearly always suffered the loss of a limb before the final mercy of hanging. In the same year several women, convicted of false testimony and spreading scandals, were stripped naked and beaten with rods in all the squares of Rouen. A thief suffered the same punishment; his ear was then cut off, and he was banished from France with a rope round his neck. On the 19th of March a miserable prisoner was drowned in boiling water by a sentence of the Bailly confirmed in the higher courts. In 1507 a murderer was hanged in front of his victim's house. In 1513 a highway robber had his right arm cut off and placed on a column by the roadside near the scene of his theft, his head was then placed opposite to it, and the mutilated body hung upon a gibbet close by. Forgers had a fleur de lys branded on their foreheads. Sacrilege was punished by burning the criminal in chains over a slow fire. Some burglars, in the same year, had their hands cut off, their arms pulled out with red-hot pincers, and were finally beheaded and cut in pieces. The next year some wretched coiners were boiled alive. Infanticides were burnt. Other crimes were punished by searing the tongue with red-hot iron, or by breaking the prisoner alive upon the wheel, and leaving him to die without food or water. A parricide was condemned to this, with still more hideous tortures added, in 1557. In 1524 a criminal nearly escaped his sentence altogether because his jailor's daughter fell in love with him, and asked the Court to be allowed to marry him. The question of sanc274tuary came up very often, as may be imagined, and only by very slow degrees were the privileges of the holy places taken from them.

Though many of these punishments hardly seem to recognise the humanity of the victim, the privilege of confession to a priest had been allowed to prisoners condemned to death ever since 1397, at the instance of a famous preacher named Jean Houard, in years when even more barbarous tortures were still practised, though the strength of sanctuaries was, as some compensation, at its height. Judicial ideas, however, took a long time to become civilised; for in 1408 a pig was solemnly hanged for having killed a little child. The invention of printing[62] no doubt did some good in this direction, and by 1490 the first printer in Rouen, Martin Morin, was established in the Rue St. Lô, close by the spot where the lawcourts soon appeared. Lest you should think that the Palais de Justice of sixteenth century Rouen was even worse than the terrible chapters in Rabelais would lead his readers to imagine, I must tell you here the story of an advocate of Rouen that may in part make up for the gruesome pages which precede it.

The Parliament of Normandy, as the Échiquier was called in 1558, had assembled in the Palais de Justice on the morning of the 26th of August, to discuss a case which involved the interpretation, if not the actual integrity, of the famous code known as the "Grand Coutumier de Normandie"; and representatives of every court had been summoned to the hearing. A certain burgess of Rouen, Guillaume Laurent by name, convicted of murder, had had his hand cut off before the west façade of the Cathedral, and was then beheaded in the Vieux Marché. His goods and pro275perty had, as a matter of course, been confiscated by the State. His destitute orphans went to live with their grandfather, who soon died of grief. The terrible spectacle then followed of this old man's daughter trying to drive the children out of the house, because they could inherit nothing from a murderer. "Aulcun" ran the law, "qui soit engendré de sang damné ne peut avoir, comme hoir, aulcune succession d'héritage." Against this clear decree the magistrates were powerless to help the orphans, indignant as they were at the inhumanity of their aunt. But the children appealed to the Higher Court. A brilliant advocate, Brétignières by name, had decided to oppose the "Coutumier" on their behalf, and the mass of people who had thronged the Parvis to see the father punished now crowded the Palais de Justice to see the children saved.

The Court assembled more slowly to hear his arguments, with the President St. Anthot at their head, a strong, wise, and enlightened man, after Brétignières' own heart. The advocate waited for the supporter of the law to open his case. The precedents went back to Ogier the Dane, to Ragnar, to Rollo the founder of the town itself, who strove to put down the crime of murder by extending the punishment beyond the criminal himself to his descendants, and thus appealing to the paternal instincts of the rough warriors they had to rule.

Brétignières rose suddenly from his seat, crying that in Normandy alone was this inhuman decree allowed, that Rome herself had never dared to stain the statute book with such a penalty. The extension of the punishment to the children, far from proving a deterrent, actually encouraged these hopeless and destitute orphans to exist by crime, since every avenue of honest livelihood was barred to them. Deprived of all their276 father had possessed, they saw their relations in the enjoyment of an increased inheritance. Ruined by punishment for a crime in which they had had no share, they saw the prosperity of others increased by the operations of an unjust law, a law that might have served the turn of a more barbarous people, but which was now far more the relic of an ancient ignorance than a symbol of modern enlightenment. In an age when the judicial combat of the old code had been abolished with the trial by fire, the changing customs and growing ideas of the people in the rest of Normandy were not likely to preserve a custom so inhuman as that which the Court of Rouen alone still exercised.

Amid a scene of intense excitement, as Brétignières ceased, all the king's officers in every other court in Normandy stood up, and in answer to the President, asserted that the law had never been carried out under their jurisdiction. It remained only for the President St. Anthot to withdraw with his judges, and, as the Sovereign Senate of the Province, not merely to interpret law, but to make it. There was a long pause before they returned into the great hall, this time all dressed in their red robes bound with ermine. In the solemn silence that ensued, St. Anthot declared the law null and void from disusage, restored the children to the inheritance of Guillaume Laurent, and reinstated them in the house from which their aunt had driven them.

The people rushed into the courtyard carrying the orphans with them, and while the barristers were congratulating Brétignières, his little clients were borne on the shoulders of a cheering mob through the streets of Rouen to their home; and from that day ceased the cruel law known as the "Arrêt du Sang Damné."

It was in the hope, no doubt, that benefits of this nature would be conferred upon the Province, that the great Cardinal d'Amboise and Louis XII. made277 the Échiquier de Normandie perpetual, and gave it the great Palais de Justice in Rouen for its home. During the English occupation the damage done to the Château de Bouvreuil had necessitated moving the Easter sessions of the Échiquier to the archbishop's lodgings in 1423, and on five subsequent occasions the Court (composed half of English and half of Frenchmen) had to hold its sittings in that part of the halls (on the Place de la Vieille Tour), where the weavers usually carried on their commerce. By the time of Louis XII. the Château de Bouvreuil was in better repair, but it was evident that worthier quarters were needed the moment Cardinal d'Amboise had obtained the immense advantage of making the courts perpetual. Its new home was soon decided upon. Already on part of the Clos des Juifs a large common hall had been erected, in which the merchants gathered to discuss their business instead of using the nave of the Cathedral; and in 1499 this hall was made into the west wing of the new palace, and called first the Salle des Procureurs, and now the Salle des Pas Perdus; it is the great building on the left of the courtyard as you enter from the Rue aux Juifs. Its roof is like the upturned hull of some great ocean-galley, and all round the timbers, where the upper line of walls meets the vault above, a company of queer grotesques are carved which Rabelais himself might have suggested. You will notice especially the twisted spire upon the outward turret that overhangs the Rue aux Juifs, the broad sweep of the entrance stairway, and the admirable proportions of the arch above it. At the south end used to be the beautiful little chapel in which the Messe Rouge was sung for the "Rentrée de la St. Martin," and in which St. Romain's chosen prisoner knelt before he went out to the procession of the Fierte. Beneath are the prisons and dungeons of the High Court of Rouen. This is the building that278 Louis XII. ordered to be set up, and into which he transferred the Échiquier from the Château de Rouen on the 11th of March, 1511; the first "Messe Rouge" was sung here to celebrate that opening, and the custom is preserved to this day.

PALAIS DE JUSTICE. THE OCTAGON ROOM OF LOUIS XII. In 1508 Louis XII. established in his new palace the jurisdiction known as that of the "Table de Marbre," because the Cathedral Chapterhouse sold for the use of this new Admiralty Court an old marble tomb, round which the members sat in the great hall. Corneille and his father were both officers of this jurisdiction later on. In the same year was begun the "Grand Chambre" in which the President held his High Court, called now the Cour d'Assises, and decorated with a magnificently carved ceiling in panels of polished wood. It is just behind that octagonal turret which juts from the centre of the main building exactly opposite the entrance from the Rue aux Juifs. Within this turret is the lovely little circular chamber which was reserved for the King's own use. Its beauti279ful proportions break the symmetry of the long front wall, yet are clasped to the building by the cornice whence the line of gargoyles spring; and in the same way the long and steep rise of the roof is broken up by the crests above each window that rise into the air in a pinnacled tracery of fretwork filled with carved arabesques and statues. Among them are the arms of France, supported by two stags, a memorial of the badge used by Charles VI. according to the story told by de la Mer. It is this central block of buildings that contains most of the original work of Roger Ango and Rouland Leroux. The wing on the right of the entrance from the Rue aux Juifs is modern, and though that part of the left wing which faces the courtyard is old, the façade upon the Rue Jeanne d'Arc at the Place Verdrel was rebuilt in 1842. The courtyard was originally enclosed by a fine crenulated wall like that round the Hôtel de Cluny in Paris. This has been replaced by a badly designed iron railing. But as a civic building, in spite of its railing and its new Cour d' Appel, the Palais de Justice remains the finest of its kind in Europe, and is superior to the Hôtel de Ville both of Brussels and of Louvain.

Of many famous ceremonies were these great Halls the scene after Louis XII. had built them. In the next reign Francis I. held a solemn "Lit de Justice" here, in order to do at Rouen as he had done at Paris, and ask the Parliament of Normandy to register the Concordat which Duprat, Boisy, and others in his suite had helped to frame. His entry into the city had been especially brilliant, not only because the King himself desired to impress the occasion on his faithful subjects, but because in the first prosperous years of a reign that seemed so full of promise, the citizens of Rouen were even readier than usual to give the loyal reception to their sovereign for which the280 town was famous. The officers and councillors of the city were clad in velvet, and the burgesses in camlet and satin, and all were very anxious indeed to see the King, and get what was possible out of the visit. The Italian victories, brilliant as they were, had not been without their expense to Rouen as to every other town in France, not in money merely but in the caring for hundreds of disbanded soldiers. Besides this the especial privileges of the city had to be upheld and confirmed, and particularly those appeals from the maritime courts which were settled by the jurisdiction of the "Table de Marbre."

Those who were inclined to pessimism were reminded that at Lyons, at Amboise, at Paris, and at Compiègne, Francis had already favourably received the representations of the town, and had even told them: "Si vous avez esté bien traictez par mes prédecesseurs, j'entens et veux vous traicter encore mieux." So that when the King had reached the Priory of Grandmont, the deputies sent out to meet him were in excellent spirits. They were de Brézé, Captain of the Town and Grand Seneschal; the Bailli, Jean de la Barre; the President of the Financial Court, Jean Auber; and the President of Parliament, Jean de Brinon. By three o'clock these gentlemen joined the royal cortège and advanced towards Rouen itself, being met at the bridge by the Town Councillors bearing above the King's head a great and spacious canopy of cloth of gold, the highest mark of honour that the town could render.

Before His Majesty rode the "Grand Écuyer," Galéas de Severin, bearing the sword of state on a great white horse. On his right was Cardinal de Boisy, brother of Admiral Bonivet, and on his left Cardinal Antoine Bohier, the nephew of Chancellor Duprat. Next to the King was Monsieur d'Alençon, whose powers as Lieutenant-Governor of Normandy281 were wielded by d'Amboise during his absence at the Italian wars. Behind him came Charles de Bourbon the Constable, who was to die as a rebel in Rome two years later. With them were John Stuart, Duke of Albany, nephew of James III. of Scotland; the Comte de St. Pol; Louis de la Tremouille, the most brilliant knight of his time; Maximilian Sforza, the eldest son of that Il Moro who had been imprisoned in the dungeons of Loches; Jacques de Chabannes; Anne de Montmorency, who had been one of the King's playfellows and grew up into the sternest Constable France ever had; Guillaume, Sieur de St. Vallier, the father of Diane de Poitiers, who also learnt the horrors of Loches for his share in Bourbon's wild conspiracy; the second Georges d'Amboise, himself Archbishop of Rouen, with their Lordships of Lisieux, Avranches, Evreux, and Paris; Antoine Duprat, the Chancellor; and Florimond Robertet, the King's Treasurer, whose house is still at Blois.

Men were thinking little of the future of this brilliant company as they passed through Rouen in the summer sunshine, and even on the south side of the river the welcoming pageantry began. For at the first "theatre" the King beheld a great Fleur de Lys, which opened and slowly displayed three damsels representing the virtues of His Majesty, of the Queen, and of Madame la Régente. The stream itself, on each side of the bridge, was gay with the flags and sails of every craft along the quays. Beyond it was a group of Titans, thunderstruck by Jupiter amid the stupor of the other gods in a dismayed Olympus. The next stage showed Theseus welcomed by Thalia, Euphrosyne and Aglaia, who led the hero to Pallas to receive from her the shield of Prudence, and take his place among the starry divinities. Need it be added that both Jupiter and Theseus were the King?282 Within the cemetery of St. Ouen three martial monks were storming the semblance of a guarded tower. At the Ponts de Robec appeared a wondrous similitude of the sky upheld by Hercules and Atlas, in the midst whereof disported a bellicose and most lively salamander, slaying a bull and a bear, in graceful reference to the victory of the Marignano, with this astonishing quatrain:—

"La Salamandre en vertu singulière
Lors estaignit l'horrible feu de Mars
Quant au grant ours emporta la banière
Et du thoreau rompit cornes et dardz."

At the Parvis Notre Dame appeared the image of a marvellous great horse, rearing up his forefeet into the air, on which sat the effigy of the King, of so natural a mould that breath alone was wanting to its life, an ostentatious decoration which was done, say the Town Accounts with some pride, "pour ancunement ensuyvir et émuler le triumphe des Romains." All the streets were hung with gaily-coloured cloths, and tapestries fell gracefully in glowing folds from every window. All the church-doors, opened to the widest, displayed their ornaments and shrines in bewildering profusion. All the church bells, which had their signal from "Georges d'Amboise" and "Marie d'Estouteville" in the Cathedral, were ringing lustily. And at last, his official reception over, François I. was able to go to the lodgings prepared for him in the palace of the Archbishop. Neither he nor any of his suite were allowed to forget the welcome of the Town; for, after the Chapterhouse had presented their traditional and proper loaves of bread and wine, His Majesty was offered a great golden salamander ("assise sur une terrasse," whatever that may mean) by the Town, who must have wished that they had got off as283 easily as the canons; for, in addition to this, the councillors gave to the Queen a golden cup, to Louise de Savoie a pair of silver-gilt goblets, to Princess Marguerite a silver-gilt image of St. Francis, to M. de Boisy two great ewers and basins, to Chancellor Du Prat six silver "hanaps" and five great dishes, all richly gilt. And no doubt both gifts and recipients had been carefully chosen with a view to securing an impartial consideration for the claims made by the Town.

On the next afternoon, from the Priory of Bonne Nouvelle, rode in Queen Claude, dressed in a white robe of cloth of silver, on a white hackney, with Louise de Savoie, her mother-in-law, on one side, and Marguerite d'Alençon (afterwards Queen of Navarre) upon the other. And for the Queen was prepared at the Portail des Libraires a special "theatre," wherein was represented a garden, and the Virgin Mary clad all in white damask, with a lamb beside her, feeding upon grapes and rosebuds, at which the clever Princess Marguerite must have laughed almost as much as at the clumsy quatrains. Every prisoner in the dungeon of the new "Palais de Justice" and in every prison of the town was set free, except three especially "bad cases," who were hurried to Louviers before Francis reached Rouen, and brought back to Rouen when he had got to Louviers. As a contrast to this unfortunate greediness of the law, it is recorded that many persons hastened to confess their crimes, got imprisoned just before he arrived, and were joyfully delivered at his entry, all of which satisfied justice in 1517 very thoroughly indeed.

Some substantial results soon began to reward the Town and the Chapterhouse for all their loyalty, in the subscription of 10,000 livres from His Majesty (in yearly instalments) to the Cathedral Fund for re284storing the central spire which had just been burnt. Most of what the Town Councillors desired was also granted. So that everybody was thoroughly well satisfied with the royal visit, and some little choir-boys were so fascinated with the royal escort that when the King went to Louviers and Gaillon, these little runaways marched off with Lautrec's troops, and I regret to relate that the priests caught them at the next halt, and not only soundly flogged the truants, but took away all their holidays as well.

BUREAU DES FINANCES, FROM THE PARVIS But it must not be thought that the King had come to Rouen merely to delight his subjects with the sun of his presence and the favours of his consent. He had certain business of his own to transact, of a financial nature; and for raising the various sums he needed, both for personal and patriotic reasons, there was already in existence certain financial machinery which was housed in very fair quarters in Rouen. Two of the most beautiful of the sixteenth century buildings have to do with finance. One of them is the "Bureau des Finances" (as its latest title ran), opposite the Cathedral at the corner of the Rue Ampère; the other is the "Cour des Comptes," whose Eastern façade and courtyard has285 just been opened to the Rue des Carmes, north-west of the Tour St. Romain.

With the first of these the same King had to do who built the "Palais de Justice." It was during his visit in 1508 that Louis XII., shocked with the narrow crowded streets all round the Parvis, destroyed the various money-changers' hovels, and ordered the building of a "Hôtel des Généraux de Finance" on the spot where these had stood. The Church of St. Herbland was only just finished at the corner of the Rue de la Grosse Horloge, and in 1510, Thomas Bohier asked the canons to allow a hut to be built in the Parvis for the convenience of his masons, just as the Church had done. In 1512 the neighbouring citizens petitioned the Chapterhouse that this hut should be removed. It was between these dates, therefore, that Rouland le Roux, whose work on the Cathedral façade you will remember (p. 130), began the building of this exquisite house. It was certainly completed by 1541, and was probably used some time before that date.

Mutilated and degraded to base uses as this fine piece of French Renaissance has now become, it is still possible to realise what Le Roux first built; and in his heavy cornice I cannot help imagining a suggestion of Italian feeling made by that same King whose wars in Italy had given him a sense of proportion and of beauty that may be seen again in his desire to clear the surroundings of the Cathedral, an idea quite contrary to French mediæval notions, and in his spacious plans for the great Palace of the Law. Be that as it may, nothing could well be more appropriate than the whole decoration of this corner house. Before shops had invaded its ground-floor, and advertisements had defaced the exquisite line of carvings just above, the Rez de chaussée had seven low arcades whose pilasters and windows were carved with medallions,286 candelabra, and "grotesques" in low relief. Over the vaulted entrance was the shield of France, borne by the Porcupines of Louis XII. Above this is an "entresol" of tiny circular windows alternating with medallions of crowns held up by genii. The next storey has seven windows with beautifully carved pilasters. It is far better preserved than the rest, but the two niches have lost their statues, and a corbelled tower was destroyed in 1827, when shops were first put in.

The first Général des Finances for Normandy was Thomas Bohier, whose fortunes I have traced at his Château of Chenonceaux in Touraine. He was as unfortunate as every other great financier of these centuries, and though his end was less ignominious than the disgracefully unjust punishment which Louise de Savoie inflicted on his relation, Jacques de Beaune Semblançay, his life was scarcely less troubled; and after leaving his bones in Italy with so many of the best of François' courtiers, he bequeathed little but embarrassment to his son, and Diane de Poitiers took his château. His office in Rouen he held from 1494, in the town where his brother Antoine had done so much for St. Ouen. Indeed every one of these "Surintendants," even to Fouquet of more modern memory, is associated either personally or indirectly with so much of the beautiful in architecture and art that posterity has almost forgiven them mistakes which were due more to the régime they lived under than to their own shortcomings.

After 1587 the prisons of the Hôtel des Généraux were changed from the ordinary criminal cells to separate dungeons in the Rue du Petit Salut, where I have fancied I could still trace them in the gloomy cells at the back of No. 13 Rue Ampère, which tradition assigns to the "Filles Repenties" of the eighteenth century. In 1554 the Hôtel des Généraux was called287 Cour des Aides, and by the changes of 1705 it was joined to the Cour des Comptes in the Rue des Carmes, and the new Bureau des Finances took the house in the Parvis I have just described, which still preserves its name. In the general destruction of 1796 the house was sold to a private owner.

The second Financial building you must see is the Cour des Comptes, whose courtyard opens on the Rue des Carmes,[63] with another entrance on the Rue des Quatre Vents. This was originally the property of M. Romé, Sieur de Fresquiennes and Baron du Bec Crespin, who received there the Duc de Joyeuse, Governor of Normandy. The large square which originally composed it was built about 1525, and its beauty may be imagined from the eastern façade and the southern wing (containing the Chapel) which still remain. On this eastern front, the two stages above the ground-floor are of equal height, each with six windows, separated by pilasters of several different orders, decorated with capitals and candelabras and groups of mythological subjects, such as Mars, Venus, the Muses, and various instruments. The south wing is built in four round-arched arcades with flat Corinthian pilasters, three of which are in the nave of the Chapel, and two in its Sanctuary. The second floor has square windows.

What Rouen had asked from Charles VII. a century before she only obtained when Francis I. gave her a Cour des Comptes separate from the Financial Committee in Paris; but the boon was scarcely appreciated when it was discovered that the King not only levied taxes on local merchandise to pay his new judges, but also made quite a good thing out of selling the288 offices to the highest bidder. In 1580 the need of this Court began to be felt again, in a town which possessed its own High Court of Justice, suitably housed, and also its Financial Bureau in the Parvis. But all receivers of taxes had to go to Paris to settle their accounts, so had all proprietors of fiefs, all men who wished to register their letters of naturalisation, nobility, exemption, or enfranchisement, and many others. So in December of that year the Sieur de Bourdemy, then President of Parliament, established a separate Cour des Comptes at Rouen, modelled upon the Court in Paris, and held its first meetings in the Priory of St. Lô. In 1589 the house just described in the Rue des Carmes was bought by Tanneguy le Veneur for eight thousand crowns, and the arcaded wing was consecrated as a chapel in 1593. In 1790 it was swept away like every similar organisation in France, and to the fact that it was probably forgotten and built over, we owe the preservation even of what little still remains.

COUR DES COMPTES, FROM THE RUE DES CARMES Before you leave the atmosphere of Finance and Justice, which in this chapter I have striven to realise for you round those monuments that alone recall the spirit of the age which built them, there is one more tale of Justice in Rouen which may perhaps leave a more charitable impression of the Palais de Justice and its officials. It has been told before by Étienne Pas289quier, but it will bear translation (and even shortening) for an English audience. In the days when Laurent Bigot de Thibermesnil was first King's Advocate in the Parliament of Normandy, one of those brilliant intellects of which the sixteenth century was so full, it chanced that a merchant of Lucca, who had lived long and prosperously in England, desired to come home and die in Italy. So he wrote to his relations to prepare a house for him in six months' time, and started from England with his servant, carrying his money and bonds with him. On his way to Paris he was known to have stopped at Rouen, but he was never heard of again.

His servant, however, appeared in Paris, cashed his master's papers, and returned. Meanwhile the family at Lucca waited for a whole year and heard nothing. At last they sent a messenger for news to London, who was told that the merchant was known to have started for Rouen, and traces of the man were also found at the hotel in Rouen, where he had lodged before setting out for Paris. Then all searches and inquiries proved useless; the merchant seemed to have vanished into thin air; and in despair the messenger applied for help to the High Court in the Palais de Justice of Rouen. An officer was at once appointed to conduct investigations in the town, while Laurent Bigot searched for evidence outside. The first thing the officer found out was that a new shop had been started in Rouen soon after Zambelli the Italian had disappeared. He at once determined to examine its owner, who was a stranger in the town, named François; and with this object he had him arrested on a trumped-up charge and put in custody. On his way to prison the man denied the charge, but asked, "Is there anything else you have against me?" The officer at once went a little further, and taking the prisoner apart he roundly charged him with having robbed and murdered290 Zambelli, but intimated at the same time that "the matter might be arranged quietly."

François evidently imagined this to be a hint that a bribe might not be unsuccessful, and admitted that his crime must have been discovered, but by what miracle he could not understand, for he had been alone at the time. However, when he was asked to swear to this, he withdrew hastily, recognising his mistake. The officer then remanded him, and searched for further evidence. Bigot meanwhile had been making inquiries all along the road from Rouen to Paris, until at Argenteuil he found a Bailly who had held an inquest over a dead body found among the vineyards. While Bigot was taking a copy of the minutes of this inquest, a blind man came up to the hotel where he was lodged asking for alms, and, as he listened to their conversation, asserted that he had heard a man crying out on the slopes above Argenteuil, and that when he had tried to find out what was happening, a second voice had told him it was a sick man in pain, and he had therefore gone on his way thinking no more about it.

Bigot took him back to Rouen forthwith, and made him give the same story on oath before a justice, with the addition that he would certainly be able to recognise the second of the two voices he had heard. The new shopkeeper, François, was then brought into Court, and after twenty other men had spoken, the blind man picked out his voice among them all, as that which had spoken to him on the slopes above Argenteuil. The test was repeated again and again, and invariably the blind man picked out the same voice. François, who had weakened visibly as each test proved successful, at last fell on his knees and confessed that he had murdered his master and taken the papers to Paris; and the Court immediately condemned him to be broken on the wheel.291

I have been able to suggest but a very few of the thoughts which the Palais de Justice of Rouen should arouse in you; and of many points in its history I have no space to tell; as of the "Clercs de l'Échiquier" called the "Basoche," a merry company established in 1430, and enlivening the records of the law for many centuries afterwards, as you will see at the visit of Henri II. But after all, the main impression is a very sombre one. The bitter sarcasms of Rabelais are but too well founded. Mediæval justice was almost as terrible as mediæval crime, and both were followed only too frequently by death. For these old judges let no money go, however prodigal they were of life and suffering; they scarcely ever let a prisoner go who had once got into the grim machinery of their courts; and any miserable victim who was once cast into one of their many dungeons must have welcomed his release from lingering agony in death.



292

DEAD BODY OF DE BRÉZÉ

THE DEAD BODY OF DE BRÉZÉ, FROM HIS TOMB
IN ROUEN CATHEDRAL


CHAPTER XII

Death

Sedentes in tenebris et in umbra mortis, vinctos in mendicitate.

... Comme sur un drap noir
Sur la tristesse immense et sombre
Le blanc squelette se fait voir....
... Des cercueils lève le couvercle
Avec ses bras aux os pointus,
Dessine ses côtes en cercle
Et rit de son large rictus.


THE artist who first truly understood the rendering of light is also the workman whose shadows are the deepest in every scene he drew. If I were to leave you with an impression of the sixteenth century either in Rouen or elsewhere—that was composed of gorgeous ceremonial, of exquisite architecture, of superabundant energy and life, and of these only, you would neither appreciate the many influences which wrought upon the men and women of those days, nor estimate at their true worth the changing events, on which we now look back in the large perspective of so many generations. And in that strange century the sorrow and the pain of a world in travail are as evident293 as its joy. The feverish excitement with which it grasped at life and pleasure is counterbalanced, and explained by the ever-present horror of death in its most ghastly forms.

When a fact of this eternal and natural significance is once frankly recognised and bravely faced, men do not think much about it afterwards, and say less. In the ages when the greatest of the cathedrals were built the personification of death is practically unknown. Archæologists may imagine they discover it; but I shall never believe that a single carving of it existed before the close of the fifteenth century. Life they knew, not only in all its varied forms, but as the soul. Sin they knew, and carved not merely in the full shame of the act but in the person of the father of sin, the devil, bat-winged and taloned, hovering over his prey on earth, or driving his victims after death into gaping Hellmouth where his torturers awaited them. But it was only when printing excited men's imaginations, when the first discovery of the ancient classics roused their emulation and stimulated their unrest, when the Renaissance in art increased their eagerness to express their thoughts and multiplied their methods of expression, when the Reformation turned their conscience to the latter end and to the unseen world—only at such a time of speculation and disquiet did Death himself appear, personified and hideously exultant. The waters were troubled and the slime beneath them came up to the surface. Instead of the bold imaginations of God or man or beast which the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries knew, you find a crowd of tiny imps and monkeys, like the verminous throng upon the Portail des Marmousets at St. Ouen; the higher forms of creation disappeared before the presence of the Arch-Enemy.

There arose not only a great contempt for the value of human life, but a gross familiarity with death.294 The poor man, dying in his unregarded thousands, clutched to his starved heart the one consolation that the rich could not escape contagion. To the judge upon his bench, to the queen in her palace, to the cardinal in his state, to the king at his high festival, to the very Pope himself, death came as unerringly as to the ploughman sweating in his furrow. And the rich made haste to enjoy the little time they had. The best of that old life which remains to us is its buildings. From them and from the carvings on them we can imagine the fruitful, busy, breeding existence of that hurrying sixteenth century. Painters and sculptors worked as in a frenzy, covering canvas by the acre and striking whole armies of statues into serried ranks of stone. Men fought with swords that weaker generations can with difficulty flourish in the air; they wore armour that would make a cart-horse stagger. Quarrels, duels, riots, rapes, drinking-bouts, gallantries, and murders followed one another in a hot succession that takes away the breath of modern strait-laced commentators. Life that came easily into the world was spent as recklessly, and blood flowed as plentifully as wine. Rough horseplay and rude practical joking were of the essence of humorous courtliness. Immense processions filled with life and colour, jesting at everything sacred or profane, crowded with symbols decent and indecent, made up the sum of public happiness. Close at men's elbow lay the heavy hand of a merciless and blood-stained law. Once beneath the power of "Justice" the miserable prisoner had little hope of escaping before the legal Juggernaut had crushed him, and he was lucky who died quickest at the executioner's hands. The very criminals themselves sinned in a more stupendous fashion than they have had the courage to do since.

If I have not wearied you with quotations from the record of the Fierte St. Romain, I will pick out but295 two more instances in this century to show you that I do not speak without book at Rouen. In 1516, Nicolas de la Rue, whose sister had been married in Guernsey, discovered her in an intrigue with the commandant's son, and slew them both with one stroke of his sword. Thereon the commandant of the island called out 120 foot-soldiers, but De la Rue armed the crew of his vessel, drove them off, killed two with his own hand and sailed away to Normandy. There he fell desperately in love with a lady near Surville-sur-Mer, and taking his men with him carried her off from the Château de Commare. After keeping her with him for some time under promise of marriage, he captured an English vessel on the high seas after peace had been declared on both sides of the Channel, and was condemned to two years' banishment. At the end of this time he returned to Harfleur to recover some twenty thousand livres (the produce of former piracies in the English Channel) which he had left in the keeping of Mademoiselle de Commare.

But the lady had returned to her own family and carried off his money with her. When he followed to her house, she offered him only ten crowns, so he stayed in the village near by until he could devise a plan to get back his treasure. The lady called her friends and relations, and they tried to arrest De la Rue one morning in the market, with the result that several of them were badly wounded. At last a larger force managed to secure him, and threw him into a prison at Rouen on the capital charge of abduction. While there it was proved that he had stabbed a man to death in Harfleur in a quarrel about a woman; that at Janval, near Arques, he had punished a fellow called Bonnetot for insulting a comrade, by running him through with a rapier, from which Bonnetot died; and that in a quarrel about another woman he had dangerously wounded a naval officer with his dagger; and in these little296 escapades no mention is made of the countless acts of piracy on the high seas, which can seldom have been accomplished without considerable loss of life.

But this record is nothing to the second and last example which I shall take from the prisoners of the "Fierte." In 1541 a young gentleman named François de Fontenay, Sieur de Saint-Remy, aged twenty-nine, was pardoned by the canons after a career which I can only sketch in the roughest outlines. When he was only fifteen, he got some friends to help him and killed a sergeant who had displeased him by carrying stories of his behaviour to his mother. When a little older, in a village of the Côtentin, at the request of a young lady he professed to love, he laid an ambush with some friends for a Monsieur des Mostiers, but only succeeded in wounding him severely, and barely escaped the execution that punished one of his comrades in the same affair. Developing rapidly into a bravo of the first water, he attacked a man "at the request of le sieur de Danmesnil," and wounded him mortally with his rapier in the thigh. Being at a house in Montgardon with his mother and brother, he held it against forty armed men who had come in the name of the law to arrest them both, shot an arquebusier with his own hand, and beat the troop off before the help for which he managed to send had had time to arrive. Nor was he without friends who were quite worthy of their company.

In the year before de Fontenay himself enjoyed the Privilège de St. Romain, it had been extended, at the express wish of several members of the royal family, to four sons of the Baron d'Aunay, the Duke of Orléans being especially urgent in pointing out that these poor fellows had done nothing in his opinion that should debar them from the privilege. They were, as a matter of fact, merely charged with the following peccadilloes, among others. In the course of rescuing297 a friend from the Communal authorities at Saint-Avon, they used the town-folk so roughly that a man and a woman fell into a well during the dispute, and were drowned. On their way to the wars they met a man with his wife upon the bridge near their home, and annoyed at not having enough room left for their horses, they dismounted, tied up the man's hands and feet, and beat the woman cruelly before her husband's eyes. On the death of their grandmother, who had married twice, they visited her second husband to get possession of certain legal papers, and when he resisted they ran him through the stomach with a rapier. Enlisted for once upon the side of justice, they were clamouring at a house for the surrender of a murderer who had taken refuge there, and when the owner opened the door they killed him with a slash across the body. Pursued themselves by the officers, they waited till they were on their own land, then turned and charged the men, sword in hand, secured their horses, and thrashed one of them with knotted thorns. Before they were finally taken by the sergeants of Rouen they had thrown themselves into the church of Aulnay and defended it against forty armed men, wounding several of them with crossbow-bolts before they surrendered.

Our friend François de Fontenay was acquainted with this gallant band of brothers through the house of Créance, with which both were connected; and their sturdy resistance to the law of the land must have soon created a strong feeling of sympathy and admiration; for the five men are found all joined together to accomplish the murder of one Boullart near Caen. Wherever de Fontenay went it soon became the fashion among the villages to oppose his progress; but this made little difference, for both at Neufbourg and at Fert-Macé, either by his own hand or by his servants, several "common people," who were so ill-advised as to get in the way were killed, and at Dun-le-Roy he298 was compelled to fight his way out, using the edge of his rapier right and left, "with considerable loss of life among the peasants." They had been the centre (and their swords were never idle) of similar riots, near Bourges, in the streets of Falaise, at Lisieux, and elsewhere. More high-born foes were treated in just as summary a fashion. With his brother Jehan, François attacked his enemy St. Germain (a Côtentin magistrate) on the bridge at Lyons, wounded him four times, and left him dead. His shoemaker was late in delivering some boots, so François visited him, sword-in-hand, carried off two other pairs, and "has not yet been known to pay for them." Other necessities he had not scrupled to provide himself with in a similar way. Oxen and sheep from a farmer called Lemoyne, chickens from a priory near Bayeux, more sheep from the Sieur de Grosparmy, horses from another farmer, flour from a third. A husband who objected to giving up his wife at St. Lô was promptly wounded, so severely that he could only watch her helplessly as she was carried off.

Such are a few of the crimes, of which Monsieur de Fontenay confessed the astonishing number of forty-two. After his acquittal of them all, by virtue of the Fierte, the canons were for some six months kept hard at work dealing out similar deliverances to the crowd of his accomplices who kept on appearing from every side, and clamouring for the mercy of the Chapterhouse. Though I can conceive no worse precedent for the future of the Fierte, I need make no further comment upon the fact of de Fontenay's deliverance, except that he was so well aware of the detestation he had inspired in many of his victims that he was afraid to make any public appearance in the streets of Rouen for fear of assassination.

ENTRANCE TO THE AÎTRE ST. MACLOU Remembering this man's career, turn out of the Place des Ponts de Robec, down the Rue Damiette,299 southwards, and I will show you the spot in Rouen that has made me tell you something of his history as a type of the young gallant of the sixteenth century. As you pass the "Rue du Rosier" (on your left at No. 54), the "Impasse des Hauts Mariages" appears a little further on. Any budding romance the name may suggest will not survive a walk of a few yards up its narrow and noisome recesses. But at the end of the Rue Damiette, behind the vista of old houses, the arches of St. Maclou will tempt you irresistibly towards the end of the road that curves out at the north-west corner of the church, just opposite the famous fountain which has been so mutilated by the Huguenots. At this point turn sharply to the left, down the Rue Martainville eastwards. To the south the Rue Molière flings its quaint legendary shadows towards the river. A little further on, a dark square opening makes a patch of black beneath the gabled windows of No. 190. That is the entrance to the Aître St. Maclou, the oldest cemetery in Rouen, and one of the most interesting in Europe. Pass through the dark passage into the open space beyond300 that is surrounded by old timbered houses, and go straight through to the little stairway that is opposite the entrance. From that slight eminence you may look back upon the strangest scene you have yet visited; if it is an autumn afternoon the little charity children will be running to and fro beneath the emblems of death carved on the timbers above their heads, while the religious sisters, in their grey gowns and wide white head-dresses move slowly to and fro beside them. It is the picture of another century, in its appropriate setting.

As the sun sets slowly and the shadows gather, this aged sepulchre of the dead of Rouen gradually gives up its secrets, and the ancient city of past centuries reappears to the grating of the rebec of the "Danse Macabre." The broad boulevards of the morning sink into the soil, and in their place there gapes a mighty moat with massive buttresses above it. The Seine of yesterday grows wider, pushing the Quais back to the foot of the town walls, and above his youthful waters slope the rounded arches built by the Empress Matilda, wife of Geoffrey Plantagenet. The streets and houses shrink into a narrower limit, bounded by a line of bastions, with crenelated towers at intervals, and eight gates each with its watch-tower and drawbridge and portcullis.

Above the battlemented walls, the airy spires and mighty pyramids of the City of Churches rise from thirty-five parishes, and from four and thirty monasteries. Three donjon keeps dominate the town. Upon the St. Catherine's Mount a fortress holds the hill, and above it rise the towers of the Abbey of St. Trinité du Mont. Within every church the monuments and carvings are still fresh and unmutilated. The royal statues, long since lost, sleep peacefully in the Cathedral choir, and the pomp of death spreads its sombre magnificence in every sacred building. The old301 fountains are playing in the squares and streets. The fountain of St. Maclou, which had two figures like the Mannekin of Brussels; the Croix de Pierre, with statues in every niche; the St. Vincent, with its great daïs overshadowing a group of the Nativity, and water spouting from the mouths of oxen in the manger; the Lacrosse with the Virgin and her Child; the Lisieux, whereon was carved the Mount Parnassus with Apollo and the Muses, Pegasus too, and a great triple-headed matron for Philosophy, and two bronze salamanders vomiting streams of water; all the fountains that Jacques Lelieur has traced for us are perfect and are playing in the town whose streets he drew in 1525.

The sky grows darker, and the rain falls, as it fell then, even more frequently than now; but we can pass beneath the "avant-soliers," those covered galleries that line the squares and market-places to give shade or shelter to the merchant and his purchasers, and behind their heavy timbers we shall be safe from the great wains of country produce, or the lumbering chariots of the town, with their leather hangings stamped in gold, dragged by the heavy Norman horses. The streets are as narrow as they were first built in Pompeii; sixteen feet is thought enough for the principal arteries of traffic, others measure but ten feet, or even six, across. They are so crooked and the line of houses on each side is often so uneven that it seems as if the windings of some country footpath have been left in all their primitive irregularity, and decorated here and there with casual dwellings, while the gaps are filled in roughly as time goes on and space grows more precious every year. This haphazard arrangement has no doubt resulted in a certain picturesqueness of disposition and perspective, and even in a tortuous maze of buildings very difficult for any foreign enemy to assault; but it is obvious that the city's internal plan has owed nothing either to military or302 æsthetic considerations at the outset. For these streets that were not paved at all until the fifteenth century, are only covered with rude stones, and look more like the interior of a vast open drain than anything; pigs and other animals stroll into them from the open doorways of the commoner houses, and even the richer families seem to consider that the highway is little more than a commodious dust-bin.

Above the mire and stench of the street rise houses which seem to topple forward into the morass beneath; each storey overhangs the last, until the trowsy gables almost rub against each other at the top, and nearly shut out every breath of air or glimpse of sky. Close above the pavement, and swinging in the rain, a multitude of signs and strange carvings blot out the little light remaining; Tritons, sirens and satyrs are cheek by jowl with dragons, open-mouthed, their tails in monstrous curves. Vast gilded barrels, bunches of grapes as huge as ever came out of the Promised Land, images of the Three Kings of the East, six-pointed stars, enormous fleurs de lys, great pillars painted blue or red, cockatrices and popinjays and bears and elephants; a whole menagerie of fabulous creatures hang over the lintels of almost every house; for in the days when numbers are not, many habitations have to be distinguished by a sign besides the taverns and the hostelries and shops. Higher up still the long thin gargoyles peer into the clouded air; clutching at the outmost edge of wall, they stretch as far forward as they may and are every one in actual service, spouting showers of rain and refuse from the roof into the crowded road. Upon the walls themselves, in low relief, every panel has its medallion, a classical head within a wreath of bay-leaves, a more modern celebrity ringed by the mottoes and emblems of his lineage. Above the doorway of the merchant is carved his galleon in full sail; the armourer displays a brave scene, of a soldier hacking303 his way with an irresistible rapier through the mob of caitiffs who had been so foolish as to buy their swords at other shops; over the next porch is carved a horse without a rider, hastening across the bridge to bring the tidings of the murder of his master in the suburbs; elsewhere is sculptured the Holy City with a humble wayfarer approaching from one side, and a noble from the other. Every building has a character of its own, a personality apart from other houses in the street, and nearly all are gay with paint and gilding, and instinct with a natural feeling for artistic decoration that was only appreciated at its true worth after the Huguenot iconoclasts had wrecked it.

Amid all this life and colour death and the taint of death are ever present, for every church is little better than a charnel-house, and in the crowded city nearly eighty cemeteries are packed with dead. Magnificent processions of princes and of great prelates march through the town by day; they are followed by the riot of the Mascarade des Conards, a burlesque throng of some two thousand fantastic dresses careering madly up and down the streets, chased by the "Clercs de la Basoche," or racing after every sober citizen in sight. It is lucky if the Huguenots have not seized the town and filled the churches with a mob of fanatics, smashing everything with hammers, and making bonfires of the sacred vestments in the streets, or if the Catholics are not just taking their revenge by burning their enemies alive or murdering Protestant children in their little beds. Even on ordinary days there is horror enough only too visible. You need not go so far as the gibbets just above the town where corpses are clattering in chains beneath the wind; on the Place du Vieux Marché a sacrilegious priest is being slowly strangled; in the Parvis Notre Dame a blasphemer's throat is cut; close by the churchyard, a murderer's hand is chopped off, and he is hurried away to execution on the scaffold304 by the Halles. From a by-street the leper's bell sounds fitfully, and out of the darkened house beyond, men in St. Michael's livery are bearing the last victims of the Plague to burial within the city walls. In 1522 there were 50,000 of such burials in Rouen alone in six months. Every gallant who goes by with his feathered cap and velvet cloak, his tightly-fitting hose and slashed shoes, every lady in her purple hat and stiff-starched ruff, her gold-brocaded stomacher, and her sweeping skirt, every soldier swaggering his rapier, every sailor rolling home from sea, every monk mumbling his prayers over a rosary—all alike are breathing an infected305 poisonous air. The young girls from the country feel it most and fly from it the quickest, coming in to sell their eggs and chickens, with their woollen petticoats and gaily coloured headdress, or meeting some lover of the town at a dark corner in the narrow, damp, ill-ventilated streets. Here and there a silent figure clad in blue stalks from one house to another and leaves the mark of a great white cross upon the fast-shut door or shutters, for within there is the Plague. And upon every passer-by outside there blows continually the invisible blast of pestilence from the countless graveyards pent up in the choking circuit of the walls. From the thirteenth century onwards the city has been swept with the desolating scourge of hideous disease. It was in 1348, when the ravages of the Black Death were at their highest and 100,000 persons died of it in Rouen that this cemetery of St. Maclou was founded.


CEMETERY OF ST. MACLOU

THE CEMETERY OF ST. MACLOU


Within the central space of the square court that you can see to-day is the actual ground which formed this ancient graveyard. Formerly there were two altars in it, one to the Slayer of the infernal Dragon, the mighty Saint of Sepulchres, the protector of the dead, St. Michael; the other to the souls of the dead themselves. In many a country churchyard in France at the present day you may see a tall lonely shaft that rises above the tombs, generally with a tiny belfry at its summit, which holds the bell that rings at midnight to call the wandering ghosts to rest; and at its base this "Lanterne des Morts" carries a small slab of stone on which offerings were placed at night. It was the Confrèrie de St. Michel who had charge of this, and of the burying arrangements of the city, and they bore upon their hats the image of their patron-saint as a badge of their sad calling. Twice before 1505 this graveyard had to be enlarged; by 1526 three of the galleries that now surround it had been built, those to the west and south and east. The northern side was finished only in 1640.306 Of the older work there are still thirty-one columns standing, some eleven feet apart, carved with subjects from the famous "Dance of Death," the "Danse Macabre" of Rouen.

But these curtains that circumscribe the Bed of Death have other emblems carved upon them too; there is a double frieze of oak above the pillars, and on it appears the skull and crossbones, the spade and mattock, the fragments of pitiful anatomy that marked the ghastly trade of sexton in the sixteenth century. In the covered galleries, as they were originally, the richer burgesses were buried, though not one of their memorial stones remains; into the open space were flung the poor proletariat, who had gone through life marked with a yellow cross upon their arms, and found in death an undistinguished and promiscuous burial. Looking down upon them all in their last troubled sleep, were the figures carved in high relief upon each pillar, groups that are so mutilated now that only by the careful drawings and descriptions left by M. Langlois long ago can we trace faintly what was placed there by Denys Leselin the carver and his brother Adam, and by Gaultier Leprevost, whose names are preserved in the church registers of St. Maclou.

Each relief showed a group in which some living figure is dragged to death by a triumphant skeleton, and chief among them were our first parents Adam and Eve, the origins of death for every generation after.

"Mors qui venis de mors de pome
Primes en feme et puis en home
Tu bats le siècle comme toile."

On other pillars were an emperor, a king, a high constable, a duke, a courtier, a pope, a cardinal, a bishop, and an abbot. They seem to cry, like Villon, with a phrase that is especially appropriate to a Rouen cemetery:307

"Haro, haro, le grand et le mineur,
Et qu'est cecy—mourray, sans coup ferir?"

Without the power to struggle, they are haled from their high places to the levelling tomb.

Reproductions of the first Todtentanz of Hans Holbein the younger are now within the reach of everyone, and they have made these terrible imaginations of the early sixteenth century the common property of all who care to look at them. Designed just before 1526, when the horrors of the Peasants' War and of innumerable outbreaks of pestilence and famine had left fresh traces in the minds of everyone, they were not published until 1538 at Lyons by Melchoir and Gaspar Trechsel. After the sixth edition of 1562 no further addition to the plates is known. They were cut with a knife upon wood, and not with the ordinary graver, in 1527, or a little earlier, by Hans of Luxemburg, sometimes called Franck, whose full signature is on Holbein's Alphabet in the British Museum, which contains several sets of the impressions, believed to be engraver's proofs from the original blocks, such as exist also in Berlin, at Basle, in Paris, and at Carlsruhe. They have been frequently copied, but the best modern imitations in wood engraving are those made in 1833 for Douce's "Holbein's Dance of Death," which come nearest to the incomparable skill of Hans of Luxemburg, and have been reproduced again, only in this last year, by George Bell of London.

The oldest representation of this idea is probably to be found at Minden in Westphalia, and bears the date of 1383. But it was known also at Dresden, at Lubeck, in Lucerne, in the château of Blois, in Auvergne, and elsewhere in France. In all these places Death is shown dancing with men of every age and condition, and carrying them off with him to the grave. There is no doubt that the scene had its origin not merely in the imagination of the sixteenth308 century, but reached further back to the hideous "Danse Macabre" of the fourteenth century, when the Black Death was slaying high and low so fast that men were seized with a panic of hysterical convulsion and leaped frenziedly about the streets and churches, even in the cemeteries themselves. The numberless carvings on the cathedrals, representing the Devil and his myrmidons struggling for mastery with a living soul, provided an easy and instant suggestion. But by degrees the religious quality of the mania lessened and grew weaker. At last the purely material horror of extinction overcame everything else. It was no longer the Devil who seized a maddened ring of men and women and danced them screaming into hell. Now it was Death himself who clutched every man by the sleeve and hurried him into the over-crowded ever-hungry sepulchre. If this was one thought of the rich who thought at all, it was also the only consolation of the poor, and therefore no more appropriate carvings for the poor man's cemetery of St. Maclou could be imagined by the workman of the sixteenth century.

But if the poor had their Danse Macabre, the great ones of the city spared nothing to impress on their survivors that the magnificence of their lives should follow them even to the tomb. In the Chapelle de la Vierge of Rouen Cathedral are two of the most famous funereal monuments of the sixteenth century, and in one of these you will notice a very remarkable example of the way in which the sculptors of the rich understood their task. Their orders, no doubt, were to give of their best to celebrate the dead man's greatness; their designs were evidently as unfettered by suggestion as by expense; and they had their inevitable revenge. Beneath the magnificent figure of the knight in armour lies the corpse, naked in death and as poor as the beggar in the street. In the Louvre you may see a monument by Germain Pilon that is even more suggestive of this feeling on the309 part of the artist. It is the tomb of Madame de Birague, Valentina Balbiani.[64] Under a sumptuous dress, covered with sculpture so delicate that the marble looks like lace, a thin and shrunken form can be distinguished. The wasted hand holds a tiny book whose pages it has no strength to turn. Her little dog tries vainly to awake her from a slumber that is eternal. A corpse that is almost a skeleton lies beneath. This is not the sincere expression of the sorrow Villon knew; for we can easily imagine the unhappy Valentina's fate from our knowledge of her husband, one of the hell-hounds of Catherine de Médicis, who was foremost in the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. This is not the old longing of the lover for his mistress:—

Mort, j'appelle de ta rigueur,
Qui m'as ma maistresse ravie,
Et n'est pas encore assouvie
Si tu ne me tiens en langueur.
Onc puis n'euz force ne vigneur;
Mais que te nuysoit-elle en vie
Mort?

Deux estions, et n'avions qu'ung cueur;
S'il est mort, force est que devie,
Voire, ou que je vive sans vie,
Comme les images, par cueur,
Mort!

It is the changed note of Ronsard's passionate regret that every lovely feature must be marred by Death:—

"Pour qui gardes-tu tes yeux
Et ton sein délicieux
Ta joue et ta bouche belle
En veux-tu baiser Platon
Là-bas après que Charon
T'aura mise en sa nacelle?"
310

The work of Germain Pilon at the Louvre, and of the sculptor of the dead de Brézé in Rouen Cathedral, whether that were Pilon himself, or Jean Cousin, or Goujon, has none of the gentle regret that reverences what it has once loved in life. There is in it all the fierce desire for personified destruction, all the hideous mockery of the rich man levelled with the poorest in a common corruption, which inspired the "Danse Macabre"; but the sculptor's thought is expressed with the subtle handicraft of a supersensitive age, with a fury of achievement and a triumph over technical difficulties that is the very essence of the best French Renaissance. In the same spirit Ronsard continues his relentless comparison of the dead woman with the living mistress:—

"Ton teste n'aura plus de peau
Ny ton visaige tant beau
N'aura veines ny arteres
Tu n'auras plus que des dents
Telles qu'on les voit dedans
Les testes des cimetères."

This complicated mental attitude had evidently not been reached when Rouland Leroux carved the great mausoleum for Cardinal d'Amboise, which is on the south side of this chapel, or if it had been attained by some men, neither Leroux himself nor Pierre Désaubeaulx his fellow-workman had been touched by it. The very inscription proclaims the exact reverse of that grisly triumph which is celebrated so clearly on the opposite tomb; for the virtues of Georges d'Amboise are said to be superior to death:—

"Pastor eram cleri populi pater aurea sese
Lilia subdebant quercus et ipsa mihi
Mortuus en jaceo morte extinguuntur honores
At virtus mortis nescia morte viret."


TOMB OF THE TWO CARDINALS D'AMBOISE

TOMB OF THE TWO CARDINALS D'AMBOISE IN THE CHAPELLE
DE LA SAINTE VIERGE IN ROUEN CATHEDRAL


An optimism that may have been foreign to his age is appropriate to this sturdy and ambitious ecclesiastic,312 who did not forget to do so much material good for his town of Rouen, with waterworks, and even drainage, and fair new buildings spaciously designed; all this in spite of wider interests which did not stop at the tiara itself, of which all men said the great cardinal was worthy. Of the two statues that are now within the arched recess, the one on the right represents him, and it must have been an excellent likeness. It has been called a peasant face; and it is certainly no courtier who kneels there before the carving of his patron saint slaying the dragon. The square head, the deep brows, the heavy jaw and firm mouth, are not beautiful, but they are impressive, and they show a character as far removed from the peasant as it was from the voluptuary, as near akin to the administrator of Normandy as to the Cardinal of the Holy Church. I have little doubt that this was the handiwork of the Rouland Leroux who must have often seen him in the Cathedral, and who helped to build the great Palais de Justice, which was given to Rouen at his request.

In the statue on the left hand, it is more possible that Jean Goujon (to whom so many things are ascribed without foundation) may have had a hand. For this was put up in 1541, at least sixteen years after the first one, in memory of the second Georges d'Amboise, the nephew of the greater cardinal, and the last archbishop freely elected by the Chapterhouse. Of the multitude of carvings that are in the alabaster and marble round these statues, it is scarcely possible to give any description that will be intelligible, and if their value in history does not tempt you to visit them yourself, I can only point you to the drawing that Miss James has done to make these pages more intelligible. The niches on each side of the dragon contain six statuettes; a bishop, a Virgin and child, St. John the Baptist, St. Romain, a saint, and an arch313bishop blessing. Above them curves a large arch, with three pierced pendentives and a frieze delicately carved with birds and angels. Above this rises the highest division of the monument, on the same plane as the sarcophagus below; seven small niches of the prophets and sibyls divide the six larger panels, in which the Apostles are shown in pairs. Beyond these again is a crown of pinnacles in open-work, alternating with statuettes in smaller niches. The lowest portion, the sarcophagus itself, is divided by seven pilasters, each adorned with the figure of a monk, with six compartments holding the statuettes of Faith, Charity, Prudence, Strength, Tem314perance, and Justice. All this amazing complication of delicate handiwork was done for the sum of 6952 livres, 16 sols, 4 deniers, which represents about 60,000 francs, or £2400 to-day.

TOMB OF LOUIS DE BRÉZÉ IN ROUEN CATHEDRAL On the opposite side of this chapel is the great tomb of Louis de Brézé, Grand Seneschal of Normandy, of which I have already spoken. As an architectural composition it is, to my mind, infinitely finer than the other, though there is not only a lack of the obvious sincerity that inspired Leroux, but there is also the too evident appearance of that triumph of Death which has been described in this chapter. Nor can I help fancying that it represents too the somewhat sinister triumph of a widow's cunning. For as I have drawn elsewhere the life and the ambitions of Georges d'Amboise as the owner of Chaumont on the Loire, so I have become acquainted with that typical figure of the sixteenth century, Diane de Poitiers, at the home she took from Bohier at Chenonceaux; and therefore her kneeling figure in the widow's weeds of a conventional sorrow suggests nothing better to me than the fashionable grief of the mistress of Henri II., the ostentation in mourning of the most rapacious and unfeeling woman of her time.

Though the magnificent workmanship of the dead man at whose head she kneels reminds me more of Germain Pilon's methods, I can well believe that Jean Goujon may have been responsible for the general design of the whole monument during the year we know he spent at Rouen in 1540, when he was twenty years of age. Men seem to have matured more quickly in those days than is possible in the slower generations that we know. But even if the graceful caryatides and every other carving is his work, I must still ascribe the strong treatment of the massive knight in armour on his war horse to the same artist who conceived the dead figure lying in its shroud beneath; and whether that artist315 were Pilon or Jean Cousin, it is most improbable that it should have been Goujon, for whom the work would have been just as much too early for his own age, as that of Pilon would have been too late for the suggested date of the entire monument. That the contrast of the dead and living Seneschal was more than a mere court fashion of the time, I have, of course, only advanced my own opinion; but even if it were not so, in this case and in that of the Balbiani monument and many others, the fact that so gruesome a custom should have prevailed at all is even more significant than if it were the result of the imagination of some few of the greatest sculptors.

A MONK PRAYING, FROM THE TOMB OF CARDINAL D'AMBOISE IN ROUEN CATHEDRAL In sketching the more sombre features of this extraordinary century, it is impossible to omit any reference to those religious troubles which may have been already suggested to you by the kneeling monks upon the tomb of Georges d'Amboise. They were as terrible in Rouen as in almost every other town in France; the violent deaths and tortures they made so common in the city cannot be omitted in any estimate of the horrors of the time; and if I do not dilate upon them as their importance in history might seem to demand, it is because they are chiefly responsible for the destruction or debasement of most of those great architectural monuments which it is my chief business to describe. They were also responsible for the next two sieges in the story of the town, and in the first of these316 there is a tale that I must tell you, if only to show that if these men had the realisation of death ever present before their eyes, they were also very hard to kill, and did not yield to the Arch-Enemy so easily as many of their descendants in an age which tries its hardest to forget him.

Encouraged by the news of the horrible massacre of Vassy, the Huguenots under the Prince of Condé seized Rouen on the night of April 15, 1562, pillaged the churches, and stopped the services of the Catholic religion. A few months afterwards the royal army marched to the rescue under the Constable Anne de Montmorency, François de Guise, and the father of Henri Quatre, Antoine de Navarre, who was shot in the shoulder when directing the attack from the trenches, and died at Andelys a month afterwards. While the Protestants were defending the walls, a certain François de Civille was ordered with his company to hold the ramparts near the Porte St. Hilaire, not far from the Fourches de Bihorel. While at his post he was wounded by a shot from an arquebus, which passed through his cheek and shattered the right jaw-bone, at eleven in the morning on the 15th October. The bullet came out behind his collar-bone and tore his ruff to pieces. He fell down the glacis, and a foraging party stripped him and buried him hurriedly in a ditch near by, and there he was left till six that evening. His lacquey, Nicolas de la Barre, searching the ramparts for his master after the assault had been repulsed, saw a human hand sticking up out of the mud; his companion, Captain Jean de Cléré, kicked the fingers as he walked, and a peculiar ring de Civille was known to wear flashed in the light. The body was at once dug up and carried to the house of the Sieur de Coqueraumont, in the Rue des Capucins.

There for five days and five nights the servant watched by his master, "who lay in a lethargy," and317 was just beginning to show feeble signs of life when the enemy took the town by assault. On the twenty-eighth, some Catholic soldiers broke into his place of refuge, and finding a pestilent heretic lying ill, they threw him out of a window. Being lucky enough to fall upon one of the many dunghills which were beneath the windows of Rouen at that time, de Civille lay there in his shirt and nightcap for three days and nights without food or drink, and no one discovered him. At last, when the town was a little quieter, a cousin fetched him away to the Château de Croisset, and by July in the next year he had almost completely recovered his health. Though all this happened when he was only twenty-six, he lived to write an account of his adventures when he was seventy-four for the pleasure and instruction of posterity; and he only expired for the last time at the ripe age of eighty, from an inflammation of the lungs caught by making love to a young woman underneath her window during a hard frost.

The second siege in this century was occasioned by the troubles of the League. In 1589 public anxiety had increased to such a pitch that the royalist Court of Justice was removed to Caen, while the "Ligueurs" held Rouen for the Duc de Mayenne. In July 1590 bands of armed men a hundred strong went shouting through the streets, and would have disarmed the town-guard on the Vieux Marché had they not been stopped by Valdory, the district captain of the Burgess militia, who has left a detailed account of the disturbances of that unhappy time in Rouen. From his book it may be learnt that the "Vieux Palais" of the English kings was still within the city walls by the river to the south-west, that the fort had not long been rebuilt near the Abbey of St. Catherine, that the Faubourgs were again destroyed as they were in 1417 to leave no shelter for the enemy, and that the investing troops tried to cut off the stream318 of Robec, so as not merely to deprive that quarter of its water supply, but to stop the public mills. In November 1591 Henry of Navarre used some ships to help him in his attack on Rouen, but the townsfolk, who refused to acknowledge a Protestant as their king, seem to have paid little attention to the naval demonstration, and finally chased his vessels out of the harbour and got possession of most of their cargoes of sheep, oxen, wine and other booty. The defence was brilliantly conducted throughout, and Valdory relates that when three hundred musketeers were requested for a forlorn hope, no less than two thousand men thronged to the officers' houses demanding weapons to join in the sally. "Rouvel" was very busy all the time in the town belfry, and rang furiously by night or day whenever the scouts gave notice that the enemy were likely to attack. Directly his notes were heard, every citizen rushed to his appointed place upon the ramparts, and waited without confusion for the enemy. They were good shots with an arquebus, too, for a captain was reported to Valdory as having killed one of the enemy's sentinels "at a distance of three hundred paces at least;" and an equally successful shot is recorded at five hundred paces.

They were even vain-glorious; for Monsieur de Villars, says the same authority, desirous of a little diversion outside the walls, rode out with several gentlemen, and tilted at the ring beyond the ramparts under a hot fire, until he had had his fill of amusement. When the enemy could get to close quarters with the common folk they found them no easier to handle; for as some of Henry of Navarre's soldiers were foraging in a garden for herbs, the gardeners rushed out and "killed them with large stones." The town never opened its gates until Henry of Navarre repudiated his religion and became the King of France. Rouen, as well as Paris, was evidently "well worth a mass."319

SIR CHRISTOPHER LYTCOT, HIGH SHERIFF OF BERKSHIRE, KNIGHTED BY HENRI IV. AT THE SIEGE OF ROUEN IN 1591. FROM THE BRASS UPON HIS TOMB IN WEST HANNEY CHURCH, NEAR WANTAGE, BERKSHIRE One of the most interesting things about this fighting is the presence of a numerous body of Englishmen who had joined Biron and Henry of Navarre, under the Earl of Essex. Their Queen had offered a special prize for the first man who should make a successful shot at the defenders of the town; but they do not seem to have distinguished themselves particularly, and at last a hundred of them (chiefly squires) were killed. A hardy specimen of the race, however, is mentioned by Valdory, who evidently kept his eyes open for good work, whether of friend or foe. This Englishman, after receiving four wounds from a cutlass on the head, "pretended to be dead, allowed himself to be stripped by our soldiers, and dragged naked to the ramparts." While he lay there, desirous to make quite sure of their man, the Rouen sentinels (who must have been mariners from Dieppe) dropped a small cannon ball on his stomach, "but he did not seem to feel it," and continued obstinately to remain alive. However, when the Sieur de Canonville took him prisoner and bound up his wounds, with the object, apparently, of getting a ransom from his friends, he seems to have determined that no foreigner should make money out of him, and died.

In the Church of West Hanney, near Wantage, in Berkshire, is the tomb of one of these Englishmen who fought for Henry of Navarre before the walls of Rouen, and it will be an appropriate320 ending to this chapter of the dead if I close it with his epitaph:—

"Beneath this stone lyeth enterred the corps of Sir Christopher Lytcot, Knight, twice high sheriff of the county of Berk (Husband of two wives both in the sayd countye the former Jane Essex widdowe of Thomas Essex of Beckett House Eq. the later Catherine Young widdowe of Willm Younge of Bastledon Eq) Knighted in the campe before Roane the xvi of Novemb 1591 by the hands of the French Kinge Henry the Fourth of yt name and King of Navarre. Who after his travailes in Germany Italy and Fraunce and the execution of justice unto the glory of God and the good of his country ended his pilgrimage at Bastledon ye xxv of April 1599."


DES TODES WAPPENSCHILD

DES TODES WAPPENSCHILD



VIEW OF ROUEN

VIEW OF ROUEN, DRAWN BY JACQUES LELIEUR IN 1525


321

CHAPTER XIII

Life

"Les gens de Rouen sont honnêtes,
Grans entrepreneurs d'edifices
De theatres et artifices
Es entrees des grans seigneurs,
Roy prelatz et aultres greigneurs."


THOUGH Henri Quatre could not get through the gates of Rouen while the town remained faithful to the League, and considered him a heretic, the sturdy citizens were ready enough to accept a king of their own religion, and when the "Vert Galant" made his first solemn entry into the place in 1596, they welcomed him as heartily as any of his predecessors. You will remember that there were Englishmen with him when he was trying to get into Rouen a few years before, and it was to Rouen again that the Earl of Shrewsbury and a brilliant suite brought the Queen of England's greeting to her cousin of France, and sent him the famous Order of the Garter. The Ambassador was most appropriately lodged in a very famous house in Rouen, which itself formed a remarkably complete memorial of the friendship between the same two thrones earlier in the century. The Maison Bourgtheroulde, at the corner of the Place de la Pucelle and the Rue du Panneret, contains indeed one of the best pictorial records that exists in Europe, not only of the meeting of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, but also of the decorations that were displayed there.

The house is a good example of the transition between "Gothic" domestic architecture and that of the Renaissance. Built about the same time as the322 Palais de Justice and the Bureau de Finances, it formed a part of that brilliant series of beautiful dwellings in which the early years of the sixteenth century at Rouen were so fruitful. Its exterior façade upon the Place de la Pucelle is so terribly changed and mutilated now, that unless you will refer to Lelieur's drawing, reproduced with Chapter IX., no view of its present condition can suggest to you the original design. Of that high roof with lofty crested windows, of the side-turret at the angle of the street, of the beautifully carved door, not a trace remains. The principal entrance built on the old Marché aux Veaux was placed between two heavy pillars, which had statues on them, and even before the traveller had passed inside, these suggested to him the motive which underlies the whole decoration of the house; for these are the two pillars which were on each side of the English King's pavilion at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Whereof the one, in the words of the English chronicler, was "intrayled with anticke works, the old god of wine called Bacchus birlyng the wine, which by the conduits in the erthe ran to all people plenteously with red, white, and claret wine, over whose head was written in letters of Romayn in gold, 'Faicte bonne chere qui vouldra.'" The other pillar was "of ancient Romayne work, borne with four lions of gold ... and on the summit of the said piller stood an image of the blynde God, Cupid, with his bowe and arrowes of love, by hys seeming, to stryke the yonge people to love." But these have gone, and so little is left of the beauty of the façade that it really will require some courage to believe what I have just said, and go through the wooden door in search of better fortune.


GALLERY OF THE MAISON BOURGTHEROULDE

THE GALLERY OF THE MAISON BOURGTHEROULDE, SHOWING THE CARVINGS OF THE FIELD OF THE CLOTH OF GOLD, AND ABOVE THEM THE CARVINGS OF PETRARCH'S "TRIUMPH"


It was the town house of the family of Le Roux,[65]324 a name which already has artistic associations for any lover of the architecture of Rouen, though I have found no trace of relationship between the architect of the Cathedral façade, the Bureau de Finances, and the Palais de Justice, and the lawyers who built and decorated this "hôtel." Indeed I cannot imagine it would be likely that a man of so much originality and power both in architecture and in sculpture would have lent himself to the methods of decoration employed here, which, as you will see, are more appropriate to the accurately historical than to the freely artistic frame of mind. The man who made the fortune of the family was the second Guillaume Le Roux, husband of Jeanne Jubert de Vely, and one of the fifteen lay councillors called to the Perpetual Échiquier created by Louis XII. in 1499. He bought the estates of Tilly, Lucy, Sainte Beuve, and Bourgtheroulde, and built the "corps de logis" in the interior courtyard exactly opposite the entrance. He also began the wings on the north and west, but left the great southern gallery to be completed by his son Guillaume, "Abbé d'Aumale et du Val Richer," who held several benefices under the great Cardinal d'Amboise, and derived his chief claim to importance from having been employed by François I. in the negotiation of the celebrated Concordat which that king announced with so much solemnity on his entry into Rouen in 1517.

These two last facts may largely account for the decoration of the new wing the Abbé built in Rouen, and the carvings he added to the older walls; for they are mainly suggested by one of the most magnificent occurrences in the ostentatious reign of a king whose visit to the town had no doubt enhanced the importance of the Abbé in the eyes of his fellow-citizens. At any rate he was not likely to let them forget that the François whom he had helped in the matter of the325 Concordat was also the hero of the "Champ du Drap d'Or." Though the house may have been begun as early as 1486, when the second Guillaume Le Roux was married, it was not finished for some time afterwards, and we may put 1531 as the latest date, because the Phœnix of Eleanor of Austria shows beside the Salamander of her husband. Abbé Guillaume died in 1532, before which year the carvings must have been completed, and they evidently cannot have been begun before 1520, the date of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, which was their chief inspiration, so that the carvings certainly have the value of almost contemporaneous workmanship, and most probably the authority, either directly or indirectly, of an eye-witness. It may be as well to remember that to that gorgeous ceremony there was no possibility of any mere loafer, or any wandering unauthorised artist being admitted, because it is on record that everyone without a special permit was cleared out of the country in a circle of some four leagues; and it is not too much to imagine that even if one who had had a hand in the important negotiations of the Concordat four years before were not in the King's suite, he was at least in a position to see and profit by the work of the artists who accompanied François,[66] to record his splendours and to make the best use of all their opportunities.

Since 1820 the Maison Bourgtheroulde has practically been a unique example of the style of decoration for which it is famous. Before that year "La Grande Maison" existed at Grand-Andely, not far off, with much the same kind of ornament upon its Renaissance walls; but that has now vanished utterly, with the exception of some of the large statues which were bought at three francs the square foot by an326 Englishman,[67] and taken across the Channel to decorate a country-house. It will therefore be well worth while to consider in some detail what the Bourgtheroulde carvings are, and how they originated; for even if they do not appeal to us so much as the original and thoroughly local work of other Rouen sculptors, they have a value of their own that may be considered entirely apart from any æsthetic criticism of the sources of the carver's workmanship.


MEETING OF HENRY VIII. AND FRANÇOIS I.

THE MEETING OF HENRY VIII. AND FRANÇOIS I. ON THE FIELD OF THE CLOTH OF GOLD, FROM THE CARVINGS OF THE MAISON BOURGTHEROULDE


To begin, then, at the beginning, the entrance-door on the inside of the court is decorated with medallion portraits, surrounded by garlands, of François I. (whose long nose betrays him) and the stout, square face of Henry VIII. Both are bearded. The note of historical suggestion is struck at once. It continues still more unmistakably on the series of panels immediately beneath the window-sills of the wing on the left hand as you enter. On these is represented that useless pageant of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, by which François (who posed as the protector of art and the Renaissance in France, though he did singularly little for either) tried to obscure the defeat328 he had just sustained by the election of his solemn rival Charles V. as Emperor. The interview lasted from the 7th to the 24th of June 1520, and there the chronicler describes how the two Kings "se virent et parlementerent ensemble après midi environ les vespres, en la terre dudit Roy d'Angleterre, en une petite vallée nommée le valdoré entre ladite ville d'Ardres et le château de Guynes."

The third or central panel (which is the best carved and almost the best preserved) contains the actual meeting of the Kings. At the first (beginning from the left) is shown the Château of Guynes; from the windows and galleries men and women are looking out, and on the ground before the gate are the small saluting-cannon of the period, almost invisible from the decay of the stone. A few of the last of the English suite are just issuing from the gates, some a-foot and some on horseback; both men and horses wear great feathered plumes, and the men on foot have a circular headdress of feathers like an aureole. In the second panel, two horsemen bearing maces ride in front of an ecclesiastic who carries a processional cross. Behind it is the great Cardinal Wolsey, in violet-coloured velvet, riding on a mule, with pages. Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, was with him; and the Order of the Garter, whose motto could be read upon a horseman's knee some sixty years ago, was worn by Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. It has disappeared now, and so much has gone with it, owing to the atmosphere of Rouen, which has more in common with Oxford than its architectural surroundings, that the careful plaster-casts preserved in Paris (and photographed by the late M. Paul Robert in his "Trocadéro" Series, iv. 29) will soon be the best memorial of sculptures, as valuable to England as they are to France, and equally neglected by both. In 1821 M. Delaquérière329 issued a careful description of them (published by Firmin Didot, Paris), and to a second edition (published in 1841) he added a detailed drawing of the whole gallery by Polyclès Langlois, and five larger drawings of each of the panels originally done, in 1823, for Nodier's well-known "Voyages Pittoresques." It is the central panel from these that I reproduce here, and Miss James's drawing will show you the relative position of the procession and of the frieze of the Triumph above it on the left wing of the house. In 1841, plaster-casts could be bought from M. Rossi in Rouen. But these exist no longer, and, by comparing the drawing made in 1823 with the carvings themselves, you will be able to appreciate how rapidly the stone decays. It will still be possible, however (in 1899 at least), to discover on the mouldering surface of the wall at least a trace of nearly everything that was originally there; and your appreciation of the faithfulness of the sculptor to recorded fact will be still further increased if you can compare his work with the picture in Hampton Court, with the English contemporary versions from which I have occasionally quoted, and with such French accounts as that of du Bellay or Fleurange.

The third and central panel is the culmination of the splendours of the whole. Each monarch, with his hat in his right hand, bows low in salutation. You will notice that François wears his beard, but Henry is clean shaved like the majority of those present. This is another detail that is corroborated elsewhere, for the story is well known how François swore he would not shave till he had seen the English King; how Henry made a similar oath out of politeness, and broke it in impatience; how the French ambassadors eagerly enquired whether this clean chin was to be construed as "an un330friendly act," and were told that Henry's affection resided not in his beard, but in his heart. The English King, says the chronicler, on that great occasion "showed himself some deal forward in beauty and personage, the most goodliest Prince that ever reigned over the realm of England: his Grace was apparelled in a garment of cloth of silver of damask, ribbed with cloth of gold, so thick as might be; the garment was large, and pleated very thick. The horse which his Grace rode on was trapped in a marvellous vesture of a new-devised fashion; the trapper was of fine bullion, curiously wrought, pounced and set with antique work of Romayne figures." This carving shows that his harness was embroidered in alternate squares of leopards and roses. Close to him is the Marquis of Dorset, who bore the sword of State, with the Earls of Essex and Northumberland and others, besides the pikemen and guards, and the 400 mounted archers, who were peculiar to the English retinue.

François wears embroidered cloth of gold, and bears a cape of heavier gold thread, sewn with gems. His chest and sleeves are covered with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and pearls. His horse has the fleurs de lys embroidered on saddle and harness. Before him march the Swiss guard under Fleurange, who has left an account of the whole matter; close by are Mountjoy and the other heralds, with the High Admiral and the great nobles. On the back of the last rider is carved the royal badge, that salamander which was seen miraculously to appear in effigy among the clouds while the Cardinal was celebrating High Mass. The English chronicler describes the scene carved upon this panel as follows:—"Then blew the trumpets, sackbutts, clarions, and all other minstrelsy on both sides, and the King descended down towards the bottom of the valley331 of Ardres in sight of the nations, and on horseback met and embraced the two Kings each other; then the two Kings alighted, and after embraced with benign and courteous manner each other, with sweet and goodly words of greeting; and after few words these two noble Kings went together into the tent of cloth of gold that was there set on the ground for such purpose, thus arm-in-arm went the French King Francis the First of France, and Henry the Eighth King of England and France, together passing with communication."

On the fourth panel, behind four mace-bearers, rides an ecclesiastic bearing what was once a double cross: the dove that flew above his head has entirely disappeared. Then comes Cardinal de Boissey, the Papal Legate, and among the other Cardinals (who may be recognised by their hatstrings falling on their chests) are those of Bourbon, Albret, and Lorraine. Much of this has been destroyed, but there is enough left to realise what Du Bellay says about the ruinous extravagance of the dresses:—"Many of the Frenchmen," he writes, "carried the price of woodland, watermill, and pasture on their backs." Yet the taste of the Englishmen, who had not spent so much, was acknowledged to have produced as splendid an effect as the gorgeous outlay of the French; as Fleurange particularly records of the English pavilion made of wood, and drapery and glass, "elle était trop plus belle que celle des Français, et de peu de coûtance." In one point, however, the ladies of Paris asserted a superiority they have retained almost ever since; the Englishwomen confessed themselves beaten; but when they followed the fashion of their fair rivals, it was not much better; for, says the truthful historian, "what they lost in modesty they did not make up in grace."

Most unfortunately, on the fifth and last panel, though the stair-rail has preserved some of its details better than any of the rest, the superiority of these French ladies332 cannot be sufficiently studied, though several of their heads may be seen watching the procession from the windows and balconies of Ardres. The plumed hats and horses of the escort are particularly clear here, and they are more numerous than in the famous "Triumph of Maximilian" or in the "Entry of Charles V. into Bologna." The figure of the courtier just mounting his horse is the one I like best of all except the dignified personage who bears the cross before the French ecclesiastics.

If the English ambassador in 1596 was easily able to recognise the subject of these carvings, no less quickly would the Cardinal de Florence, the Papal Legate who came to Rouen in the same year, and was also lodged in this house, remember the originals from which were taken the carvings on the frieze above the windows on this wall. For though later generations have misunderstood them, just as they imagined the lower carvings to be the Council of Trent, it is quite clear from some words first discovered on the stone in 1875, that the frieze was inspired by the "Triumphs" of Petrarch. These words are as follows; and I have added their proper continuation and beginning in italics:—

"Amor vincit mundum
Pudicitia vincit amorem
Mors vincit pudicitiam

Fama vincit mortem
Tempus vincit famam
Divinitas seu Eternitas omnia vincit."

M. Palustre has pointed out that an edition of these "Triumphs" was published in Venice in 1545 by Giolito, with woodcuts; and though this is rather too late for the carvings (unless, as was the case with Holbein's "Todtentanz," we may imagine the cuts were known long before the book) it is a matter of common knowledge that the subject was a favourite one not only for such illustrations but especially for tapestry; as333 Agrippa d'Aubigné records of contemporary tapestries at Lyons: "Elles représentent quatre triomphes, chacun de trois partis...." And it was also by just such chariots, cars, and elephants, or other animals, that virtues and vices were represented in the great processions of the kings and queens at Rouen and elsewhere, processions which of course were often taken as the subject for tapestries commemorating their magnificence. In Petrarch's verses you may read:—

"Quattro destrier via più che neve bianchi
Sopr' un carro di foco un garzon crudo
Con arco in mano, e con saette a' fianchi....
... Vidi un vittorioso e sommo duce
Pur com' un di color, che 'n Campidoglio
Trionphal carro a gran gloria conduce...."

On the third of these upper panels (just above the meeting of the two kings), is a great car drawn by oxen, whose wheels are crushing prostrate bodies in the road beneath them. The fourth carving shows a stage drawn by two elephants. The fleshless head of Death is in the front, with a serpent coiling round his leg, and on the car is the figure of a woman blowing a trumpet, with a banner. This is evidently the fourth line of the verse just quoted, "Fama vincit mortem." On the fifth car, drawn by four beasts, is a great daïs, and personages beneath it. Before it walks a figure with a turban, beside it another figure crowned with branches and carrying a tree. Emblems of the growth of nature dispersed in the design may perhaps suggest the passage of the seasons and the lapse of time, for "Tempus vincit famam." The last line, "Divinitas omnia vincit," is very well illustrated, over the door. Drawn by a lion, an eagle, an ox and an angel, to symbolise the four evangelists, a great car supports the three Persons of the Trinity beneath a daïs; and under the wheels are crushed various uncouth figures334 representing heresies. Cardinals, popes, and bishops accompany the procession.

Though I have only mentioned, so far, two of those great royal entries into Rouen, for which the citizens were especially famous, the details given in Chapter XI. will alone suggest that the scenes taken from Petrarch's verses would be very appropriate to a house in this particular town. The still more gorgeous festivities arranged for Henri II. and Catherine de Médicis, which I shall mention later on in this chapter, are even more like the triumphal cars and set pageants here represented, which have lasted on in England in the somewhat debased form of our own Lord Mayor's show, and were perhaps themselves the symbolical descendants of the Triumphs of the ancient Romans.

This gallery of the Cloth of Gold and the Triumphs, is decorated in every other part with beautifully designed arabesques, and is joined to the main façade by an exquisite turret, which rises at the corner near the short flight of steps, and breaks up the straight line of the walls in a way that the early Renaissance builders were extremely fond of doing, before the transition period had advanced so far as to make them forget the principles of the rising line of "Gothic" and adhere solely to the horizontal line of the Italian. But this turret is even more remarkable for the carvings it bears than for the delicate taste which dictated its position in the whole design. Upon the two sides visible to the spectator from the courtyard it is covered with representations of the pastoral scenes that might be seen any summer in the sixteenth century on the hills near Rouen. To see them all upon these walls you will need a good field-glass, but they deserve the closest inspection that is possible.

Standing by the door of the gallery, the first relief above the window in the turret shows a scene by the banks of Seine, in which men are swimming about and336 playing various tricks on each other in the water. On shore some labourers are cutting grass with long scythes which have only one handle rather low down in their long straight stem, and women are piling up what has been cut for hay. In the distance the same scene is continued, a man stops to drink out of his flask, a hawk is swooping down upon a heron, and trees and towered houses fill up the further space. Above it, and beneath the next window higher up the tower, the country grows more mountainous, and sheep are pasturing among the fields. In front a gallant shepherd ties his mistress's garter, while she reproves his rustic forwardness. Behind them a somewhat similar declaration of affection is going on. A third shepherd quenches his thirst from a round flask. A traveller on horseback, with a bundle tied behind him, rides up the winding road, near which stands a rude shepherd's hut on wheels, which is still used in many an upland pasture to this day. On the other side of the road is a windmill. Scattered houses rise above the hills, and among the clouds is seen a flight of birds. Beneath is written the appropriate legend, "Berger à Bergere prōptemēt se ingere." Beneath the small window at the top of the tower on the same side, the game called "Mainchaude" is in full progress. A shepherdess blindfolds with her hand the shepherd whose head is resting in her lap, and his comrades stand ready to take advantage of his helpless position. Various modest sheep pretend they are not looking, another man calls to his friend in the distance, and a fifth is pensively playing a hautbois in the usual miraculous countryside with artistically disposed tufts of clouds above it. The motto reads:—

"Passe temps legers nous valent argent
Silz ne sont dargent ils sont de bergers."


CARVING FROM THE TURRET OF THE MAISON BOURGTHEROULDE

NOVS SOMES DES FINS: ASPIRĀS A FINS

CARVING FROM THE TURRET OF THE MAISON BOURGTHEROULDE


Turning to the other side of the tower, the carving337 beneath the highest window represents a jovial picnic under the same idyllic conditions. Out of a big bowl placed on a tree-stump, a shepherdess helps her lover with a spoon, another man makes his dog beg for a morsel of the food; music is provided behind by a self-sacrificing person with the bagpipes, and a fourth shepherd stands in the distance with some sheep, like a martyr to his duty. The window beneath this is decorated with a sheep-shearing scene, which I have reproduced from the outline drawing by E.H. Langlois, published by Delaquérière in his "Description Historique des Maisons de Rouen" (Paris: Firmin Didot. 1821). The presiding shepherdess carries on her work with the usual embarrassing distractions. By her side a musician plays his hautbois to a dancing dog. Just behind them a spirited chase after a marauding wolf is in full cry; more houses, clouds, and birds complete the picture. The motto is "Nous somes des fins: aspirans a fins." The last scene represents men fishing, some with nets out of a boat, others on land with various uncouth patterns of fishing-rod; everyone appears to be making a fine catch, but the extraordinary occurrence on the bank will entirely divert your attention from the fish; for a knight, who had evidently ridden down to see the sport, has been snatched out of his saddle by a burly flying griffin, and his servant looks frantically after his disappearing body in the clouds. Untroubled by these strange events, a young woman walks calmly towards the castle, a little further on, carrying a basket of eggs and butter on her head, and above her some new kind of osprey flies away with a protesting pike. [See page 361.]

As carvings, these charmingly naïve representations of country life break absolutely every rule that is supposed to govern the art of sculpture. Their relief is very slight indeed, they have no definite limits, for they wander vaguely round the windows, with trees and running338 water and clouds and birds and houses all on the same plane, and all with equal "values." I have not the slightest doubt that just as the Field of the Cloth of Gold was copied from a historical tapestry of the event, just as the Triumphs of Petrarch were copied from tapestries that might well have decorated the town of Ardres on the occasion of the royal meeting, so these window decorations, which betray their origin even more than the carvings on the other wing, were taken direct from tapestries which may have been at Ardres in June 1520, and certainly might have been seen in any great château of the period. Their very position on these walls is very like what tapestries were so frequently used for in the lavish mural decoration of the time. Every house hung out its best embroideries and tapestries and gaily coloured cloths; and the way in which these windows break into the background of each design represents the very probable result of draping a long piece of tapestry round the window of a house. The Château of Blois is known to have contained just such "bergeries" in the rooms of Anne of Brittany; at another château in Touraine, the Chaumont of Georges d'Amboise (the friend of the builder of this house in Rouen), may be still seen needlework, in pink and old rose, of country scenes, in the rooms used by Catherine de Médicis. Finally, in the inventory of the tapestries of Philip the Bold of Burgundy, drawn up soon after his death, you may read such entries as the following:—

"Ung autre petiz tapiz de bergerie, sur champ vert, semé de bergiers et de bergières ... ung autre vielz tapiz de haulte lice ouvré de jeunes hommes et femmes jouans de plusieurs jeux ... arbres, herbaiges, ciel fait à faucons."

This might really represent the original needlework from which Abbé Leroux chose the subjects for his carving, and that the origin was some tapestry of this fashionable kind I see no reason to doubt, especially in the town which preserves in the Church of St. Vin340cent some of the finest sixteenth-century tapestries in France.


INNER FAÇADE OF THE MAISON BOURGTHEROULDE

INNER FAÇADE OF THE MAISON BOURGTHEROULDE.


The flat textile kind of carving all over the house, which rises to excellence of workmanship in relief only in the meeting of the two kings, lends itself irresistibly to the same conclusion. And for this reason I have not that extravagant admiration of it, viewed purely as work of art, which may be better reserved for conceptions that are more original in the mind of the sculptor, and of more local interest in the town for which the work was done. As an example of the passion for processions and decoration, however, few better could have been chosen in Rouen than this Maison Bourgtheroulde, and I have therefore dilated on it at some length, to emphasise the spirit of life and colour that is the main subject of this chapter. But a far more important reason for these details is the fact that the Field of the Cloth of Gold carved on this gallery, is of the greatest value and interest to all Englishmen as one of the few representations of that famous pageant which exist either in England or out of it.

The only place near London where it can be conveniently studied is in the gallery of Hampton Court Palace. In that collection you may see, in No. 337, Henry's embarkation from Dover on the 31st of May in the Great Harry or Henri Grace de Dieu, as she had been "hallowed" in 1514. And in No. 342 is a large painting 5½ feet high by 13 feet, 3 inches long, of this meeting of the kings between Guinea and Ardres, which confirms in a very remarkable way many of the details in the Maison Bourgtheroulde. It is not by Holbein, though he is known to have done similar work that has not survived, but may have been painted either by John Browne or Vincent Volpe or John Cruste, all of whose names are mentioned in connection with court pageants of the reign. A small outline of this picture is very possibly connected with341 our earliest notions of English history, for it is prefixed to Mr Murray's edition of Mrs Markham's "England." Mr Ernest Law's catalogue of the Hampton Court pictures gives further details in connection with it, and for a longer description refers his readers to the third volume of the State papers of Henry VIII., and to "Archæologia," iii. 185-230.[68]

I cannot leave this subject without expressing the earnest hope not only that our own National Portrait Gallery may soon be able to let the public see some good reproduction of a scene that is of the greatest historical interest, but that efforts may be made to secure the better preservation of the original carvings in Rouen. The connection between that city and England is of long standing. It was the capital of those Norman dukes who conquered us at Hastings and flooded us with their art, their learning, and their civilisation. It was the most cherished foreign possession of our King Henry the Fifth, who died too soon to wear the crown in Paris. It has been the especial pilgrimage of our best historians and archæologists and artists almost from that time until the present day. The "Monuments Historiques" in which it is so rich are being worthily cared for by an enlightened government, and I must believe that the sympathy and kindness extended by every authority in Rouen towards a visitor who honestly confessed his interest and carefully explored342 many of its inexhaustible treasures, would be more than doubled if that interest were expressed by some representative body like our Society of Antiquaries. That society would once more deserve well of its country, in the interests of both history and art, if it would come forward with some suggestion either to the Ministre des Beaux Arts, or to the local authorities. The Maison Bourgtheroulde is now in the safe hands of the Comptoir d'Escompte de Rouen. Every English traveller goes there to change his notes; and every Englishman must see with regret that the English portion of these valuable carvings is the one that is most damaged. This was inevitable from their position; but further injury can at once be prevented by shielding them with glass. If these modest pages which bring the subject before the notice of a somewhat wider, and perhaps a more influential public, succeed in suggesting some movement that will, I am confident, be welcomed in the best spirit by Frenchmen on the spot, I shall feel that the "Story of Rouen" has not been told in vain.

There is another house belonging to a famous citizen in Rouen, which is very different, but perhaps even more characteristic of the place; and with our walk towards it we may resume that discovery of the life of the town which I am just now concerned that you should realise. To reach the Maison Caradas you have a pleasant choice of paths. As you stand outside the Maison Bourgtheroulde and look east towards the Cathedral towers, the first street that goes south towards the river is the Rue Herbière, on your right out of the Place de la Pucelle, and that will bring you out by the Douane on the Quais. An even better way is to take the Rue de la Vicomté, quite parallel to this, but further east, which passes the western gate of St. Vincent, and is full of interesting old houses from the Rue de la Grosse Horloge to the343 river. As you pass down it now there are some wonderful old houses on your right, and a fine courtyard at No. 25. Still a third choice is the Rue Harenguerie, which takes the same direction from the south door of St. Vincent, and by this I usually passed myself, for the sake of weaving stories in my mind about No. 21, a house that Balzac would have delighted to describe, with an open staircase in the corner of its old courtyard.

The names of streets have often a fascination in themselves, and this one has probably been called the same ever since the herring market was set upon the quays in 1408. I wish I had had space to tell you more of these old names, which nearly all preserve a little local history, when they have not been stupidly and unnecessarily changed. But you may take this as a type of what many another will suggest, and in the laborious pages of the excellent M. Périaux you may discover much more for yourself. The sale of herrings, which was always a large and an increasing business on the northern coasts, was organised in 1348, and by 1399 a barrel of "harengs caqués" was sold for 110 sols. "Brusler tout vifz comme harans soretz," says Rabelais, of the poor regents of Toulouse University; and your salt herring from Guernsey, Scotland, and Biscay was in much request at the old market on the quay between the Porte St. Vincent and the Porte du Crucifix, where on large tables and slabs of stone the fishwives hired places from the Sergents de la Vicomté d'Eau to sell their eels from the Marne, congers from La Rochelle, trout from Andelys, fresh herrings from Le Havre. You may see the scene still in a stained-glass window of the Cathedral, and you may well imagine the state of mind of the old poet:—

"Nul n'orra toute la dyablerie
Ny le caquet de la Pessonnerie."
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Like everything else, it was under holy patronage, and fishwives prayed at the shrine of St. Julien l'Hospitalier, the saint whose story Flaubert, another child of Rouen, has so wonderfully told. The wags of the seventeenth century called these ladies "non angéliques mais harangériques"; but on fast-days every burgess and innkeeper and monk was glad enough to go to them; for was there not even an "Abbaye aux Harengs" no further off than Mantes, and what better present could the Archbishop think of sending to his friend the Archdeacon than 2000 salted herrings in a specially holy barrel?

All the sound of the chaffering and howling of prices has gone into silence long ago in the old Rue Harenguerie of to-day, and you will be glad to turn into more lively quarters by taking the corner to your left, eastwards, down the Rue des Charettes. It is lighted up every now and then by a break in the houses and a glimpse of the river to your right, though it is more of masts and sails than water you will see. As you walk along, the name of a street that turns northwards on your left hand should be familiar if you have followed me thus far; for it is called Jacques Lelieur, as is only right and proper, to commemorate the name and fame of one who did a great deal of good in the Rouen of his own day, and has made it much more interesting to ours. His house is No. 18 in the Rue Savonnerie, which continues the Rue des Charettes in the same direction, and you will know it by the tablet on the wall. It has two fine gables with excellent woodwork upon the street-façade; though showing slight traces here and there of restoration, it was well worth keeping in good order as the house of an artistic burgess of the sixteenth century who lived up to his position in the town.

To Jacques Lelieur we owe it that I am able to345 show you part of the most complete representation of a town in 1525 which is known to exist. For he drew the course of the various fountains and water-conduits in Rouen, not only in plan, but adding the elevation of the various houses, as may be seen on map F in Chapter IX., so that you may actually walk down every street and see what he saw three hundred and seventy years ago. All that part which was lucky enough to be comprised in his plan of the waterworks is accurately preserved in his naif and faithful drawings, in which the scaffoldings are put in as carefully as the finished buildings. The rows of gables that occur so often are not quite planed away into rectilinear dulness yet, as you may see along the Rue des Faux, or even Eau de Robec here and there. But the greater part of what he drew is only a melancholy memory, and the background of the old life of Rouen can only be recalled from his drawing now to frame some such sketch as the present one of the inhabitants who have vanished with it. The view of the town at the end of this chapter contains a little microscopic vignette in the centre showing the artist presenting his famous Livre des Fontaines to the civic dignitaries. It is on four long bands of parchment, of which the Hôtel de Ville carefully preserves one, and the fourth is in the City Library. The drawings are done in black ink, with the houses coloured a pale yellow, the roofs shown with red tiles or bluish slates, the grass touched with yellowish-green. Besides being a secretary and notary of the Royal Courts, Lelieur held office in the town as councillor, sheriff, and finally President of the General Assembly in the absence of the bailli and lieutenant in 1542. He was crowned for his poem in the famous poetic tourney of the Puy des Palinods de Rouen, and he owned two or three fine estates outside the town.

The object of our little pilgrimage is nearly reached346 now, and after you have admired the carvings on the front of No. 41, stop at the quaint dwelling marked 29. This is the Maison Caradas, and its position at a corner with the open space of the river beyond it enables you to see it well all round. The slope of the ground upwards, which I noticed in earlier chapters, is especially pronounced here, and shows how much embankment had to be done before the town was really rescued from the swamps and mud-flats of the Seine. The fashion of building each upper storey to overlap the one beneath is very evident here, and the effects I suggested in the last chapter may be vividly realised; as Regnier[69] puts it with his usual frankness:—

"Et du haut des maisons tomboit un tel dégout
Que les chiens altérés pouvoient boire debout."

This is one of the houses drawn in Lelieur's book at the corner of the Rue Tuile, with the Fontaine Lisieux near it, that is now merely a grotesque ruin of its former splendours. So much uncertainty is exhibited by the best local authorities as to the real owner of the Maison Caradas that I shall not pretend to solve the problem here. It is clear, however, that the word is a surname, or one of the by-names so common in the first years of the sixteenth century when this was built; and it is possible that it preserves one more suggestion of the connection between Rouen and Spain, and means "amiable," as in the phrase, "Bien o mal carado." For the root of the word is evidently in the Greek χάρις, and is found in the Gaelic "cara" (the friend or ally), and the Breton "Caradoc," who was the Caractacus of Roman days.


MAISON CARADAS

THE MAISON CARADAS IN THE RUE SAVONNERIE


If you will follow me a little further in the same347 direction, as the Rue de la Savonnerie becomes the Rue des Tapissiers, you will find the corner of the aged Rue du Hallage on your left marked by an ancient parrot in a decrepit cage. He has been living there for so long that he is certain to be there to blink at any new arrival in the next half century, and as you pass him you will remember the parrot who was discovered in Central America, full of years and knowledge, in a village where not a single inhabitant understood what the bird said. He had been found among the ruined houses of a people who had vanished utterly, and he had become the sole repository of syllables that have been never heard elsewhere. If anyone could really understand him, I have often fancied that this faded348 bag of feathers at the corner of the Rue du Hallage could use the most astonishing language about the things that he has seen, for he could hardly be in a better place in Rouen than this strange street that crawls beneath shadowed archways to the Marché aux Balais and the Rue de l'Épicerie. It takes its name from the Maison du Haulage, where the merchants paid town dues upon their goods, and a few steps further in the Rue des Tapissiers will bring you to the Halles themselves, to which you enter through a huge black archway that gapes upon the Place de la Basse Vieille Tour. Upon the left are some of those old "avant soliers" which you have seen in Jacques Lelieur's drawing of the Place du Vieux Marché, the covered causeways formed by projecting walls propped up by heavy timbers. There is much hideously vulgar modern decoration to spoil the full effect, but the main outlines of the old building are all there, and you may imagine what it looked like for yourself.

On each side, as you enter the dark tunnel, great warehouses stretch out to right and left, still on the same spot where Charles V. gave Rouen the Halle aux Drapiers in 1367. Since then they have been constantly filled and constantly rebuilt. Beneath your feet are immense vaults that have been used since 1857 for storing oil and goods under warrant, and in the South Hall are piled the famous "Rouenneries" and coloured cottons, and those "draperies" which have been famous almost since Edward the Confessor allowed the Rouen merchants to use his Port of Dungeness, and the town was granted the monopoly of the Irish trade, with the exception of one ship a year from Cherbourg.

When Warwick the Kingmaker made a memorable visit to Rouen in 1467 as an ambassador, King Louis XI. ordered the town to furnish the English with all they wanted at his expense, with the result that "tous349 les gens de l'ambassade s'en retournèrent chez eux, vêtus de damas et de velours, et de ces draps fins et précieux qui asseurent au commerce de Rouen la supériorité sur toutes les villes du royaume." That "superiority" lasted well through the sixteenth century, and when Huguenots fled from Rouen to Westminster and Rye and Winchester, they were nearly all cloth-makers and silk-weavers. Such names as the Rue aux Anglais, the Rue aux Espagnols and others preserve the memory of commercial ventures that are even more picturesquely suggested by the ships carved here and there upon old house-fronts in the town. Nor did Rouen commerce stop at England, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Flanders, or other countries of the old world. Her citizens, as we have seen, had known long ago a "King of the Canaries," and it was no doubt at the suggestion of either Spanish or Portuguese companions that Rouen ships sailed on towards the Guinea Coast, to the Cape Verde Islands, and "the Indies," even across the Atlantic to Brazil, whence they brought back the rare wood called by Jean de Lery "araboutan."[70]

350

Though various "savages" were seen there earlier, the most famous occasion of the appearance of real Brazilians in the streets of Rouen was the particularly magnificent reception given by the citizens to Henri II. and Catherine de Médicis in October 1550. They were accompanied by Marie de Lorraine, daughter of the Duc de Guise and Queen-Dowager of Scotland, who met at Rouen her little daughter Marie Stuart then eight years old and receiving a perilous education at the French Court which she was soon to rule during the short reign of François II. Marguerite de France, daughter of François I. was there too, and Diane de Poitiers, just over fifty years of age, who maintained over the King the same influence she had exercised over the Dauphin when she first came to Court from Normandy. It is interesting to note that her nephew Louis d'Auzebosc was pardoned by the Fierte St. Romain seven years afterwards.

Besides the "théatres" and "Mystères," which you will remember were presented to François I., the citizens determined that in case mythology and symbolism had lost their pristine charms, an absolutely novel entertainment should be given to the King on this occasion. So on the fields between the Couvent des Emmurées and the left bank of the Seine a great sham fight was arranged between a number of Norman sailors and fifty "Brazilian savages" of the newly discovered tribe of Tupinambas, "naivement depinct au naturel," which may be understood as "clad only in their own skins and a few stripes of paint." They must have felt the climate of Rouen in October slightly raw, but no doubt the sham fight kept them warm, and everything seems to have gone off very pleasantly. The ladies were especially interested in these unknown creatures, and the King devotedly displayed the triple crescent of his lady Diana throughout the entire performance. There was much singing of351 anthems and decoration of the streets, but the Indians were evidently the "pièce de resistance."[71]

Besides the music in the town, of which I reproduce an example at the end of this chapter, an entertainment was provided for the King and Queen and all the ladies in the great Palais de Justice, with which those rogues, the gay members of the "Basoche," must have been heartily in sympathy. For Brusquet, the Court jester, went into the Advocate's Box, and before the Queen upon the seat of justice, with all her ladies round her, he pleaded several important causes both for the prosecution and for the defence, "et faisait rage d'alleguer loix, chapitres, et decisions, et luy croissoit le latin en la bouche comme le cresson à la guelle d'un four," the whole being a satire on the well-known Norman passion for a lawsuit, which was352 appreciated as much by the good people of Rouen as by their royal visitors.

But to finish this chapter with a glimpse of the people themselves, I must take you back to that old Rue du Hallage, in which our memories of Rouen's trading voyages suggested the festivities of this royal entry. And I can imagine few greater contrasts than that from the spacious courtyard of the Palais de Justice to the view of the queer twisting streets and common habitations that you will get by standing in the Place de la Calende and looking down the Rue de l'Épicerie towards the river. As you wander down it you must look at No. 14, an excellent type of early sixteenth-century building, with its old figured tiles and high gable, and the division between the ground floor and the next storey strongly marked by carvings and brackets. You are now not only in a typical part of the old city, but on ground that has borne the name since the fourteenth century, and earned it (as did the Rue Harenguerie) from the kind of commerce carried on there. You have already passed the Rue des Fourchettes on your right, and a little further on is a still more fascinating name, the Marché aux Balais, where brooms were sold in 1644, after their modest commerce had been forbidden near St. Martin sur Renelle. On one of the small houses round it is the date 1602, and near it the carving of a salamander, which evidently gave its name to the Rue de la Salamandre, which had originally been known as "Mauconseil" ever since 1280, a name that is almost as appropriate to its darkness now as "Salamandre" must have been suggestive of its condition in the sixteenth century. It needs very little imagination to conceive amid these surroundings just such a "Cour de Miracle" in Rouen as Victor Hugo described in Paris. And, indeed, it is but quite lately that a conglomeration of tottering and leprous houses, without owners, and never entered by the police, was353 torn down. The Rue Coupe-Gorge, the Rue de l'Aumône, especially the horrible Clos St. Marc, have not long been swept away. Every cellar and every attic seemed to communicate by tortuous and filthy passages with the next. No visitor was admitted who had not the hallmark of crime visibly upon him, or was not a member of that loathsome confraternity of thieves and beggars who lived by their raids upon society at large.

RUE DE L'ÉPICERIE WITH PORTAIL DE LA CALENDE IN THE DISTANCE Straight out of the Marché aux Balais the Rue du Hallage burrows under the ancient houses towards the river, hemmed in by walls on all sides, that catch up every breath of air that moves, and shut out nearly all the light. The backs of its crowded dwellings you can see from the great square into which the Rue de l'Épicerie directly leads, the Place de la Haute Vieille Tour, where you must go forthwith and see the beautiful little building that was set up for the great ceremony of the Fierte St. Romain.

This was the ceremony that gave their one great day in all the year to the drowsy archways of the Rue du Hallage; for the Marché aux Balais and the Rue Salamandre and the Rue de l'Épicerie itself, were354 all crowded to suffocation. Every Ascension-tide, from the reign of the Norman dukes until the Revolution, not these streets only, but every window in the houses, and the very roofs above, were crammed with people waiting for the great annual procession in which the prisoner was set free. I have quoted many extracts from the records kept by the Chapterhouse of these occasions, because the list has provided typical instances of men and manners in Rouen from the thirteenth century onwards. And I can close my tale of the most brilliant portion of Rouen's history in no better way than by suggesting to you something of the interest and the excitement created by a processional ceremony, which may itself be taken as typical of the people's life.

From the earliest hour at the breaking of the dawn of Ascension Day, the whole of Rouen was thinking and talking of nothing else except the prisoner, and in every quarter of the city the interest in him took a different form. All the countryside of Vexin and of Caux had trooped into the town with women and children in their Sunday best. From the attic windows of the Rue de l'Épicerie girls in flapping white head-dresses leant across the road and screamed their good fortune to the neighbours opposite; for these were some of the best places to see the ceremony, and in 1504 the crowd who scrambled for them was so great that the roofs fell in. The open square itself was gradually filling up; the gay Cauchoises who were chambermaids at the Auberge de la Herche were doing a roaring trade; soldiers of the Cinquantaine in green velvet doublets were taking their morning draught at the Trois Coulombs, before each man shouldered his arquebus and went off to keep his guard; even the Crieurs des Trépassés had come out into the light, their strange black cloaks all sewn with silver skulls. At last eight o'clock struck,355 and there was a general movement towards the Parvis, for the luckiest in the front rows of the crowd could look through the Chapterhouse door and actually see the preliminary meeting of the canons about the choice of their prisoner. But the door was soon shut, and at last the crowd could only hear the solemn notes of the "Veni Creator" sounding from within, as the good ecclesiastics prayed for divine direction in their solemn office. At last a name was written down, sealed up and given to the Chaplain de la Confrèrie de St. Romain, who passed solemnly out with the fatal missive in his hand, and the canons at once proceeded to fill up the interval of waiting with a huge dinner.

Followed by a number of the citizens the chaplain took his way towards the Palais de Justice. There, too, ever since eight o'clock everyone had been extremely busy. Two by two the members of the High Court of Parliament in their scarlet robes had marched out of the Council Chamber, with their four state officials in violet preceding them, and a guard of the Cinquantaine before. In this chapel they all heard the "Messe du Prisonnier," and then sat down to the enormous repast called the "Festin du cochon," with which (on a smaller scale), every public body and every household in Rouen fortified themselves for the doings of that splendid day. By the end of dinner the chaplain and his cartel had arrived, and the whole courtyard of the Palais was ringed with crowds of people. Accompanied by his Prévôt and four other members of the Confrèrie St. Romain, the chaplain was escorted into the great hall, the name was solemnly read out, and the officials of the Parliament went to the particular gaol in which the prisoner happened to be kept. Bareheaded, with his irons still upon one leg, the man was brought quickly to the Conciergerie, that his name might be enregistered as a356 formal prisoner of the Palais; for all the legal bodies were particularly touchy about their own prerogatives. When a man could not walk he was carried, as was Antoine de Lespine in 1602, who had been wounded in a duel two days before, and could only be got to the Conciergerie in a clothes-basket.

After certain solemn preliminaries the prisoner was brought into the great hall, and while all the councillors stood up he knelt before the president to receive admonition for his past sins and pardon for the future. Still bareheaded, he was then led out by the "huissiers" of the court through the great open space in front, and as his foot touched the pavement of the street beyond, a signal set the great bell Georges d'Amboise ringing from the Cathedral tower. At the sound, every steeple in Rouen rocked with answering salutations. "Rura jam late venerantur omen." From every parish church for miles round the ringers, waiting for the "bourdon's" note, sent out a joyful peal in chorus, and every villager drank bumpers to the prisoner's health. Himself, a little dazed we may imagine with this sudden tumult in the streets and in his heart too at deliverance from death, he marched along with the arquebusiers beside him, through a cheering crowd towards the old Halles. There the authority of the law let go its grip, and he was handed over to the chaplain and the deputies of the Confrèrie St. Romain, who took him to an inner room. There he was given refreshment, his chains were struck off and wound round one arm, and he was dressed in fresh clothes.

Meanwhile, after the Cathedral choir had sung a solemn Te Deum, the great procession of the church had moved out of the Portail des Libraires, chanting in mighty unison "Christe quem sedes revocant paternæ," down the Rue St. Romain to the western gate of St. Maclou, where choir-boys met them bearing lighted candles and swinging incense. And the chaplain357 brought the prisoner out into the Place de la Haute Vieille Tour, and leading him up the right-hand steps of the Chapelle de la Fierte, presented him to the mass of people in front just before the procession arrived from the Cathedral. So he knelt bareheaded and kissed the holy shrine which two priests had borne up to its place; the Archbishop addressed him in the hearing of his fellow citizens, and before them all he made confession, receiving his absolution as he raised the shrine of St. Romain thrice by its bars upon his shoulders, while all the people cried "Noël! Noël!" Then a confrère de St. Romain put a garland of white flowers upon the prisoner's head, and holding one end of the shrine himself he gave the prisoner the other, and all men put themselves in order for the march back up the Rue de l'Épicerie to the Place de la Calende and so to the Parvis and the western gate of the Cathedral.

As the first notes of the "Felix Dies Mortalibus" were chanted by the priests, a hundred and twenty poor orphans moved forward, each carrying in one hand a wooden cross all wreathed with flowers and in the other a great loaf of bread. Behind them came the shrines of all the saints whose churches guarded Rouen, each with the Confrèrie over whose interests they watched; St. Blaise with his wool-merchants, St. Jean with the orange-sellers, St. Sebastien with the hatters, and many more; each marching confrère wreathed in flowers, and every shrine attended with its special banner and its priests and candles. These were followed by the archers of the Cinquantaine, and the banner of their great Dragon, who appeared again upon a lofty pole, swallowing a fish; by a band of sweet music and of singers chanting melodiously their "cantiques and motets"; by all the burgesses of Rouen walking decorously two by two; by the choir-boys of the Cathedral and two hundred of the clergy, the canons358 in violet, and the greater dignitaries in soutanes of red silk; by the officiating canon, and lastly by the Archbishop himself, blessing the people as he went along.

As the chanting died away, after a short interval came the beadle all in violet livery bearing the great "Gargouille" of the town, and followed by a rabble of laughing, screaming lads in motley, swinging bladders, and throwing flowers and cakes about the street—that note of ribaldry without which no such procession was complete—and then came suddenly a silence, for the most holy shrine of St. Romain passed by, borne by the prisoner and a priest. The last seven prisoners followed him, bareheaded and with torches. And then the laughter and the cheering broke out again as more burgesses tramped along with bouquets in their hands, and young girls all in white with garlands of flowers about their bosoms scattered blossoms on the bystanders, and more guards and soldiers closed up the procession and kept the crowd from breaking through its ranks.

By this time the first line had reached the Parvis, and as the voices of two priests singing on the summit of the Tour St. Romain floated down upon the people, all men passed in through the Portail de St. Romain of the Western Front, under the great shrine held crosswise, so that all who went beneath received the blessed influence. When everyone had entered, and the shrine was once more on the High Altar, the Grand Mass was sung, and the prisoner was once more publicly exhorted by the Archbishop, before he was taken away again by the Confrèrie St. Romain to a great feast in the Master's House which was the real celebration of his return to freedom.

The life of a sixteenth-century French town has often been described before, but I am particularly fortunate in being able to sketch you something of what went on in Rouen, not merely with the background of Lelieur's drawing, but even with the sound359 of the music which was heard in her streets; and, if I mistake not, the one is as unknown to English readers as the other. It has been said that Guillaume le Franc, a musician of Rouen, actually composed the tune known as the "Old Hundredth," originally set to the 134th Psalm in the Geneva Psalter, and used by English Protestants for the 100th about 1562. It was Händel's opinion that Luther composed it, and to Claude Goudimel, who was assassinated in the St. Bartholomew of Lyons, the honour has also been attributed; but local patriotism insists upon le Franc, and after reading the specimen of local musical talent I shall give you, I believe you will be readier to allow that Guillaume le Franc may have done what his fellow-citizens believe.

WINDOW IN THE MAISON BOURGTHEROULDThe madrigal I have printed here was written in a rare old book I found in the Library of Rouen.[72] It was most kindly copied out for me on the spot by M. Baurain, and Mr J.A. Fuller-Maitland was so good as to decipher the ancient notation and provide me with a score that anyone can play and sing to-day. He has also written the last paragraph of this chapter, and with his learned explanation I may leave you to360 the enjoyment of a song that has never been published since 1551, and that will reproduce for you, for the first time since then, the sound of the welcome given to Henri II. and Catherine de Médicis as they entered their good town of Rouen in 1550.

In the history of music this four-part song is interesting as giving evidence of the general cultivation in music that must have prevailed among the French people at the time. In the present day we are apt to think of the madrigal or motet writers as a class of specialists working at elaborate harmonic and contrapuntal problems for their own delight, but as having little influence on the national acceptance of music. Nothing could be further from the truth, as far as England, the Netherlands and Italy were concerned; and in France, where the art of the simple tunes of the troubadours represents for us the typical national music of mediæval times, it is important to have a document which shows as clearly as this does the kind of music which was recognized as suitable for a great pageant. In style, the French school of the sixteenth century differs not at all from that of the Netherlands, of which it is generally regarded as an off-shoot (see Grove, "Dict. of Music and Musicians," vol. iii., p. 267). In the works of Pierre Certon, Claude Goudimel, and others, would be found many compositions constructed on similar lines to the example here given; that is to say, that the rules of madrigal writing are strictly observed, although the preference for massive treatment of the opening of each line seems to point to the use for which it was intended, viz., to be sung in the open air. There are not many instances of works of this class apparently meant for female voices only, and there may have been some reason for this connected with the general plan of the ceremony. The little piece is in the Dorian mode, and in the361 original is clearly and correctly printed, in four separate parts on the same double page. In scoring it, the accidentals, which do not occur in the original, have been added in brackets. It is, of course, impossible to surmise who may have been the author, but it is certain that, whoever he was, he had attained to a remarkable skill in writing effective music. If we consider the prescribed limitations in which he worked, with nothing lower than the second alto part for his bass, it is surprising to notice the sonority of sustained tone that is got by skilful disposition of the harmonies, while the beautiful antiphonal effect at the point "Vive le Roi" is of a kind that must appeal to hearers of all classes and periods alike.


A WINDOW IN THE MAISON BOURGTHEROULDE, DESCRIBED ON PAGE 337


362

A SIXTEENTH-CENTURY MADRIGAL


madrigal 1

363


madrigal 2

364


madrigal 3

365


madrigal 4

366


madrigal 5

367


madrigal 6

368


madrigal 7

Louange et gloire en action de grâce,
Chantons à Dieu de la paix vray auteur:
Par qui la France en seur repos embrasse,
Ses ennemys faictz amys en grand heur.
Vive son Roy, vive,
Vive son Roy de ce bien protecteur
Soubz qui de paix divers peuples jouyssent
Dont luy est deu cybas joye et honneur,
Puis que les cielz de la paix s'ésiouyssent,
Puis que les cielz de la paix s'ésiouyssent.


Note.For the benefit of those not learned in Sixteenth-Century Music, it may be interesting to hint that the melody is written here for the Second Soprano, and to add, for their encouragement, that the experiment of performing this Madrigal, unaccompanied, with two ladies, and two male voices in the Alto parts, proved perfectly successful, thanks to the science of Mr Fuller-Maitland and the goodwill of the singers.



VIEW OF ROUEN

VIEW OF ROUEN, FROM THE ENGRAVING BY MÉRIAN IN 1620


369


COMMERCE OF ROUEN

THE COMMERCE OF ROUEN, FROM THE BAS-RELIEF BY
CONSTON IN THE BOURSE


CHAPTER XIV

Literature and Commerce

Rouen est ville bien marchande
C'est à cause de la mer grande
Et est ce semble sans doutance
Quasi la meilleure de France.


Ouy fameuse cité c'est toy qui prens la peine
D'aller chercher bien loin l'ambre, la porcelaine,
Le sucre, la muscade, et tant d'excellents vins....
... Soye, oüate, tabac, draps de laine, poisson,
Bois, bleds, sel, bescars, tout luy vient à foison.


SUCH popular festivals as that I have just described upon Ascension Day are of very ancient origin, even if they do not date back to that earliest "Fête aux Normands," whose institution you will remember in 1070. Two years afterwards began the Confrèrie de la Vierge to which Pierre Daré, Lieutenant-General for the King, gave fresh lustre when he was elected its Master in 1486. Though older poems (like that of Robert Wace) are connected with the Confrèrie, to370 him is due the beginning of those "Palinods" sung in honour of the Virgin in the Church of St. Jean des Prés, which were called the "Puy de Conception," like the Puy d'Amour of the Provençal troubadours. The name probably originated in the refrain which ran through all the various metres allowed in the poems which were sent in for competition, as Pierre Grognet describes in 1533—

"On y presente les rondeaulx
Beaulx pallinotz et chans royaulx
Et sappelle celle journee
La feste du Puy honorée."

In these rhymes are preserved just those details of the people's life for which we have been looking. Great events and mighty personages in the world outside are passed unnoticed. The important trivialities of the householder's existence are the main theme of every verse. The Muse Normande of David Ferrand is a collection of such fragments of many "Concours des Palinods" from its beginning till his death in 1660. They are chiefly written in that "langue purinique ou gros normand" which was the distinctive patois of the working classes, and especially of those "purins" or "ouvriers de la draperie" who dwelt in the parishes of Martainville, of St. Vivien, and St. Nicaise in the city. You may hear it to this day in the villages of Caux. Here the gossip of the populace is reproduced, and you read of the burdens laid upon the people, of the abundance of wine (which did away with any need for beer), of the rivalries of corporations, of the amusements of the town, the mysteries and Miracle Plays, the Basoche, and the rough practical joking of the populace.

One of the most important subjects, for our purpose, in all David Ferrand's verse is that famous "Boise de Saint Nicaise," round which a seventeenth-century war371 waged, more bitterly and fiercely disputed than half the contests which take up the pages of your sober royal histories. You must know that this "Boise de Saint Nicaise" was an enormous beam of wood, chained by iron bars and links to the church walls, where every evening the gossips used to gather in the cemetery and talk over the scandal of the parish, or regulate the proceedings of the town. Thrice in 220 years had Rouen been besieged, once by the English and twice by its own countrymen, and each time the virtues of the famous "boise" had saved it from pillage and desecration. Upon its black and shining length the disputes of every century had been heard and settled: masters had brought up their quarrels with the workmen, merchants had wrangled over sharp practice in their business, girls had been summoned to receive a lecture from the elders of the parish on the flightiness and immodesty of their behaviour. No parish had ever such a palladium of its dignity. And you can easily conceive the derision and contempt with which the mighty "boise" was treated by the boys of the rival and neighbouring parish of St. Godard, who used to sing—

"Les habitants de Saint Nicaise
Ont le cœur haut et fortune basse."

This was a bad pun on the chœur, or choir, of the church that was too good for its worshippers. For there was a great contrast between the populations on each side of the dividing line. St. Godard was filled with magistrates and mighty men of law, who lived in sumptuous houses and carved their coats of arms upon their massive sideboards, who quoted Malherbe, and approved the early efforts of a young man called Corneille, and prided themselves upon the delicacy and scholarship of their speech. In St. Nicaise, on the contrary, you heard little save the "purinique," or patois of the workmen; in narrow, dark, and twisting372 streets the drapers and weavers and dyers carried on their trades and earned their bread by the sweat of their brow. Their children had to work early for their living, and helped the business of their parents when still in the first years of their youth. No wonder these who "scorned delights and lived laborious days" laughed at the effeminacy of their neighbours, saying that

"Aux enfants de Saint Godard
L'esprit ne venait qu' à trente ans."

By 1632 this feeling of rivalry and mutual distrust had been sharpened into positive hatred; for, of course, when the troubles of the Ligue had come, and St. Godard had declared for its old kings and saints, St. Nicaise had openly professed belief in Villars and Mayenne, and almost raised a chapel to the memory of Jacques Clément the assassin; and you may imagine the gibes of Royalist St. Godard when the tide of fortune turned against the rebel parish. Athens and Sparta were not more different, or more hostile. One day the smouldering fires broke into flame. It was the day of a procession when, at the very meeting line of the two parishes, the clergy of St. Godard, splendid in gold and embroidery, with a cross of gold before them, and behind them a line of ladies richly dressed and escorted by red-robed magistrates, were moving in procession, with the banner at their head presented by the Lady President of Grémonville, whereon the figure of the patron saint was embroidered upon crimson velvet hung round with cloth of gold. Consider the disdain of these fine ladies for the modest little gathering that walked, across the way, beneath a little banner of ordinary taffetas bearing a tiny effigy of St. Nicaise, worked in worn colours of old faded pink, and followed by a crowd of workmen clad in blouse and sabot and rough woollen caps. At a certain point the contrast373 became unbearable. The workmen, with a shout of fury, made a sudden rush upon that hateful new banner of St. Godard, tore it from the standard-bearer's hands, and threw it in the muddy waters of the boundary-stream. How the two processions got home after that you may imagine for yourself. It says much for the control of the respective clergy that there were no open blows at once. But that night St. Nicaise was vulgarly merry, and St. Godard wrapped its wrongs in ominous and aristocratic silence. What the songs were that those workmen sang in the cemetery of St. Nicaise you can read in a queer little book written by one "Abbé Raillard" in 1557, an "Abbé des Conards," who imitates Rabelais when he tries to be original, but is of far more value when he merely reproduces what he heard, to wit, "la fleur des plus ingénieux jeux chansons et menus flaiollements d'icelle jeunesse puérille, receuilly de plusieurs rues lieux et passages où il estoit répandu depuis la primitive récréation, aaze, jeunesse et adolescence Normande rouennoise."

Here is a chorus which no doubt resounded on that night of victory over St. Godard—

"Jay menge un œuf
La lange dun bœuf
Quatre vingt moutons
Autant de chapons
Vingt cougnons de pain
Ancore ayge faim,"

or this, again—

"Gloria patri ma mere a petri
Elle a faict une gallette
Houppegay, Houppegay j'ay bu du cidre Alotel (bis)."

Unfortunately, after having gone shouting to bed, the men of St. Nicaise slept sound without a thought of possible reprisals. But the young bloods "across the way" were all alert. Waiting till the change of374 guard at St. Hilaire should make that customary noise of clinking arms and tramping feet which every citizen would recognise and forget, sixty of the bravest champions crossed the Rubicon and advanced in the depth of the darkness to the cemetery of St. Nicaise. With heavy labour they broke up the sacred chains, detached the time-worn rivets, and dragged off the famous timber, the "Boise" of St. Nicaise, the palladium of the obnoxious parish. The next morning the gossips discovered to their stupefaction that there was no log to sit upon! Following a few traces that were left here and there, the horrified drapers and tanners found the smoking remnants of their cherished wood scattered in the square of St. Hilaire, surrounded by a laughing crowd of the children and young men of St. Godard. Vengeance was plotted on that very evening, and a smart skirmish took place up and down the streets of the aristocratic quarter, in which the victory of the velvet doublets only roused redoubled ardour in the men of smocks and leather aprons. The Palais de Justice and the majesty of the Law was obliged to intervene. The Duc de Longueville, Governor of the Province, tried to smooth over the crisis with the gift of a new and most enormous log; but nothing could replace the relic that was gone. At last the good priests of each parish set to work to heal the breach, and soundly damned each hardened sinner who attempted to break the good peace of the town with further quarrels. Messire François de Harlai, Archbishop of Rouen, aided their efforts, and at last the feud died down; but the event was never forgotten:

"Donc qu'o mette o calendrier
Qu'o dix huitiesme de Janvier
Fut pris et ravy notte Boise
Boise dont j'etions pu jaloux
Et pu glorieux entre nous
Que Rouen n'est de Georg d'Amboise."
375

David Ferrand's "patois" has preserved a good deal of the life and humour—racy of the soil—that gave Rouen her character, even after the sixteenth century was over. Something of the old life and its bravery lingered a little longer, and in the more pretentious Latin poems of Hercule Grisel you see how all these fêtes and jollities lasted on till well into the seventeenth century. The Fête St. Anne, when boys dressed as angels and girls as virgins ran about the streets; the St. Vivien, which was a great popular fair in Bois Guillaume and in the city; the Festin du Cochon, when Parliament was dined; the Pentecost, when birds and leaves and flowers were rained upon the congregation from the roof of the Cathedral; the Feast of the Farmers, in November, when the principal dish of roast goose was provided by a crowd of boys who had to kill the wretched bird by throwing sticks at it, as it fluttered helplessly at the end of a high pole; the Papegault, when the Cinquantaine, or Company of Arquebusiers, went a-shooting to settle who should be the Roi d'Oiseau, very much as it is described in Germany in the pages of Jean Paul Richter; the Jeu d'Anguille in May, when there was a jousting match upon the river like the water tournaments of Provence; the jollities of Easter Eve, when bands of children went about the streets shouting derision at the now dishonoured herring, and pitching barrels and fish-barrows into the river; the greatest and most impressive ceremony of all, the Levée de la Fierte, upon Ascension Day—all these festivities made up a large part of the life of the real Rouennais of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which was so narrowed and restricted in itself that it took every opportunity of expanding into a common gaiety shared by all the neighbours and the countryside.

The river was a scene of far greater bustle and activity and picturesqueness than it is now. Like376 the Thames, the Seine lost half its beauty when the old watermen disappeared. The harbour of the sixteenth century was always full of movement: sailors were always spreading over the riverside streets into the countless inns and drinking-places; the river was full of boats going to and fro; the bank upon the farther side was the fashionable promenade of all the ladies of the town; the bridges were filled with idlers who had no better business than to look on. At the fête called the Gâteau des Rois all the ships were lit up in the port, and every tradesman in the town sent presents to his customers: the druggists gave gifts of liqueurs and condiments; the bakers brought cakes to every door; the chandlers brought the "chandelles des Rois" to every household. At the favourite meeting-places of Ponts de Robec, or the Parvis Notre Dame, or the Église St. Vivien, the housewives gathered to watch their husbands drink and gamble, or bought flowers from the open stalls, or chaffered with the apprentices who stood ready for the bargain. Meanwhile, from all the forests near, the children of the poor were coming in with bundles of the faggots they were allowed to gather free; at every large house parties were gathering, each guest with her special contribution to the common fund of sweetmeats and of fruit, some even had brought bottles of the famous mineral water sold at the Church of St. Paul, and the Confrèrie de St. Cécile was hard-worked distributing its musicians broadcast to the many private gatherings that called for pipe and tabour. Then as the evening lowered, men told stories over the hearth of the girl who had seen three suns at once upon the morn of Holy Trinity from a neighbouring hill-top, or of the luck of their compère Jehan, whose boy, born on the day of the conversion of St. Paul, was safe for all his life from377 danger of poison or of snake-bite. All these customs and superstitions are reflected in Hercule Grisel's Latin verses, which he begins with a needless apology—

"Rotomagi patriæ versu volo pandere mores,
Quis captum patriæ damnet amore suæ?"

No one will blame his patriotic love of every detail of the life around him; and though the Latin that he uses might well have been exchanged for his own language, it must be remembered that even when Malherbe and Corneille, Racine and Boileau, were writing French, the older language kept a firm hold on such men as de Thou, Descartes, Bossuet, Arnauld, and Nicole, who desired to appeal to European audiences. "Victurus Latium debet habere liber" was their motto; and by Jesuits and Oratorians, University dignitaries and ecclesiastics, lawyers and doctors, the same language was used as that in which Hercule Grisel has preserved the life of the town from 1615 to 1657.


PIERRE CORNEILLE

PIERRE CORNEILLE, FROM THE ENGRAVING BY LASNE


The greatest name of seventeenth-century Rouen is Pierre Corneille,[73] "ce vieux Romain parmi les français" as Voltaire called him; and we may be grateful that after getting the second prize for Latin verses in the third class of the Jesuit College,[74] he gave up stilted affectations for the vigorous phrases of his mother-tongue. Though his brother Thomas passes over the little episode in silence, his nephew Fontenelle lets us into a literary secret which reveals Corneille's first love affair in Rouen. In the comedy of "Mélite," the heroine is Catherine the daughter of the Receveur des Aides, Eraste is the poet himself. In real life, Thomas du Pont, the Tircis of the play, supplanted his friend378 and married the lady. It was to another Rouen acquaintance that Corneille owed the advice to study Spanish plays, which resulted in his imitations of de Castro, and no doubt the many Spanish families then settled, for commercial reasons, in the Rue des Espagnols and elsewhere, helped to turn the young poet's thoughts in the same direction. His evident knowledge of the details of legal procedure, when it cannot be ascribed to the natural Norman turn for lawsuits, is accounted for by his position as Avocat du Roi and one of the Admiralty Court (called the "Marble Table") of Rouen. Though in the "Cid" his law is Spanish, and in "Horace" it is a paraphrase of Livy, yet Corneille was the first to realise that the speeches of lawyers, which were then little known to the general public, would form a very interesting scene upon the stage. His immediate success proved the worth of the idea. But that such success was possible at all is even more extraordinary than any particular form it may have taken. He created types for well-nigh every kind of dramatic literature in France, in the midst of his work as an advocate, among serious family troubles, through years of plague, of popular riots, of military occupations.

His house in the Rue Corneille, formerly the Rue de la Pie, is still preserved, though the front has been damaged by the widening of the street, and it is marked by a bust of the poet over the entrance. In the last few months it has been put up for auction, and it may be hoped that the town authorities have taken advantage of the opportunity to secure it from further mutilation. For it has been not merely the home of Pierre Corneille and his brother Thomas, but the meeting-place of several other men distinguished in French literature. In the summer of 1658, for instance, Molière brought his travelling troupe to Rouen, and set up his theatre at the bottom of the Rue du Vieux379 Palais. There he played in "L'Etourdi" and "Le Dépit Amoureux," which Corneille went to see, and tradition says that the most distinguished of her audience fell in love with du Parc, the pretty actress, from the spectators' seats, not improbably on the occasion when his own play of "Nicomède" was being performed. It is certain at any rate that Molière, who was then some thirty-six years old, visited Corneille, who was sixteen years his senior, and already famous in the wider world of literature. And it is at least curious that only after the six months during which his visits to the elder poet must have been both frequent and fruitful, did Jean Baptiste Poquelin become recognised as the Molière of "Le Malade Imaginaire," a play, which I confess I would rather hear to-day than anything Corneille ever wrote, even though Parisian audiences can still patriotically endure almost the whole series of his heroic dramas. This was not Molière's first visit to Rouen, where a peculiarly dark and dirty street preserves the memory of his light-hearted appearances. For there is his signature in the town registers of 1643, when he was only twenty-one, and as the date is November 3, the coincidence of time has tempted patriotic antiquarians to suggest that his first début in public was at the famous Foire du Pardon. What Rouen looked like at this time you may see in the view, reproduced from Mérian's engraving of 1620, printed with this chapter.

Even if the language and ideas of Corneille's plays do not touch a sympathetic chord in these days when the musketeers of Dumas and the bravery of Cyrano de Bergerac hold the stage on both sides of the Channel, it is impossible to refuse to Corneille a very high position in any estimate of French dramatic literature. With that estimate I am not here concerned, but in sketching the history of his birthplace, I may be permitted to suggest some of the influences380 which may be traced from it upon his work. And in addition to those already mentioned, I would especially refer to an occurrence some time previously, which left its undoubted marks upon the writing of Corneille, and may also serve to introduce you to yet another interesting figure in the tale of Rouen. For when he was only thirty-three, when he had won fame with the "Cid," and had followed up his success by "Horace" and by "Cinna," Corneille had the advantage of meeting a family of particular distinction.

In 1639 the father of Blaise Pascal was sent down to Rouen as an "Intendant du Roi." Though but sixteen, the youth had already attracted the notice of the mathematical world by his treatise on conic sections. Even when only twelve the precocious boy had worked out the solutions of the first thirty-two propositions of Euclid unaided. While at Rouen he invented a calculating machine, and got a workman in the town to set it up. In 1646 he made his famous experiments on the vacuum before more than five hundred people, including half a dozen sceptical Jesuit fathers. Though his famous letters on the burning question of Jansenism were not written until 1656, after he had returned to Paris, yet the religious influence of the family must have been a strong one upon all their intimate friends, and it is hardly too much to suggest that under this influence Corneille wrote "Polyeucte" and "Théodore," even if it be too great an extension of the idea to suggest that Racine's "Esther" and "Athalie," even Voltaire's "Zaïre," were also due to the same impressions.

It is pleasant to imagine that cultured circle, conversing over the troubles of the time or arguing on literary and scientific subjects. There were two girls in the Pascal family, the pretty Gilberte, who very soon married a young councillor of Rouen at twenty-one, and Jacqueline, five years her junior, who won the382 prize at the Puy des Palonods, and had the honour of an ode from Corneille on her literary success. There was Berthe Corneille too, the mother of Fontenelle, and though Thomas was but young, he may well have had his share in a friendship which must have been very attractive to his older brother. This house of theirs in the Rue Corneille was not the only one in which Pierre wrote his tragedies. Indeed, I imagine it was more the town-lodgings of his legal father, and only used by the sons when business kept them near the Law-courts. In the country outside, at Petit-Couronne south of the Seine, Corneille did nearly all his best work; and in estimating that work it is well to remember that he was not merely born at Rouen, but that he lived and wrote there till he was fifty-six.


EAU DE ROBEC

EAU DE ROBEC


The Pascals left Rouen in 1648 during the disturbances of the Fronde. They had come there in even more troublous times, for the riots called the "Révolte des Va-nu-Pieds" had only just been quelled before their arrival. The salt-tax had already created strong discontent in Southern Normandy, and in August 1639 a tax on the dyers roused the men of the Rue Eau de Robec into such hot rebellion, that they killed the King's officer and burnt the tax-gatherer's house. In the same street to-day, which must be but little changed, you may still imagine the furious assemblages by those black dye-stained waters that flow muddily beneath their multitude of bridges from the Place des Ponts de Robec to the eastern confines of the town. Chancellor Séguier was sent down with several thousand infantry and 1200 horse, called the "Fléaux de Dieu," and kept the gallows as busy as at any Black Assizes for some three months.

One sad result of all this was that many of the festivities described in the earlier pages of this chapter never came off at all in 1640. "En ceste année," says the local chronicler sadly, "il n'y a point eu d'estrennes,383 ny chanté 'Le Roy Boit.' En la maison de Ville n'y eust point de gasteau party, ni le lendemain à disner." And the loss of the famous "Fête des Rois" at the Hôtel de Ville was something more than ordinarily unfortunate. For it was celebrated each year with much pomposity, to the sound of all the carillons of the town ringing lustily while every member of the Council "tirait le roi de la fève," and the lucky winner of the Bean, after being presented with a wax basket of artificial fruit (for the sixteenth century is over now), at once gave his comrades an enormous feast, at which the toast of the evening was received with loud cries of "Le Roy Boit." Nor was this the only festivity indulged in by the City Fathers. The "Feu St. Jean" was solemnly lit by the senior sheriff, to the sound of pipe and tabour. The "Bûche de Noël," or Yule log, was burnt in the Grande Salle. Here the different members of the Estates of Normandy were feasted, here the civic ceremonials were conducted with many presents, speeches, and "toasts." And the industries of the town seemed to flourish, in spite of the miseries suffered under Richelieu. Trade spread to England, Spain, Africa, Florida, Brazil; even with Canada a brisk bartering of furs went on, and in 1627 the baptism is registered in the Cathedral, early in December, of Amantacha, a native of Canada, who was "held at the font" by Madame de Villars, and the Duc de Longueville, to be blessed by Monseigneur François de Harlay. Half a century later, it was from Rouen that René Cavalier de la Salle set out to explore the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico; and by a Rouen diplomat, Ménager, was drawn up in 1713 the Treaty of Utrecht, against which modern British inhabitants of Newfoundland are complaining so bitterly in 1898.

But for Englishmen a far more interesting fact in seventeenth-century Rouen is that Lord Clarendon384 died at No. 30 Rue Damiette on December 7, 1674. The house is standing still, behind a garden that is shut off from the street by high gates, and is not open to the public, though by a fortunate accident I was enabled to see it in the August of 1897. It is known as the Hôtel d'Aligre, and as the property of Mademoiselle Le Verdier is almost unchanged since the great exile lived in it two centuries ago. There are three windows on the ground floor and a basement. Between the two windows of the first floor is a medallion held by two figures. On each side of the circular pediment is a little "Mansard" window in the roof, and on the pediment itself are two statues. The windows are all decorated with carved flowers and wreaths, and the cornice beneath the eaves is prettily ornamented. This is the main façade looking out on the interior court. The garden front has less decoration, but is an extremely elegant example of the simple town house of the period. Among the shrubs the fountain for which Lord Clarendon especially asked still plays in its old stone basin, and beyond the trees is the Cemetery of St. Maclou.

He had lived, during his exile, in Montpelier, Moulins, and Evreux, and at last he moved nearer to England and wrote pathetically asking to be recalled. Seven years, his letter says, was the term of God's displeasure, yet for more than seven had he borne the displeasure of the King. A longer life no man could grant him, he asked only that death might not come to him in a foreign land, but in England near his children. His prayer was not granted, and in 1674 the archives of the Hôtel de Ville in Rouen record that the King of France had allowed "Monsieur le Comte de Clarendon, Chancelier de l'Angleterre" to live where he pleased within the kingdom by consent of His Majesty of Great Britain. The house now leased by Monsieur le Comte (goes on this sad little385 record) used to have a small lake in the garden, and Monsieur desired that water might again be directed into it. The request was granted that same month at a meeting held in the Town Hall.

The first mention of a building on this spot is in the Town Records of October 1448, when it is called "Hostel des Presses de la Rue de la Miette," a name for the street which seems to show that this "Damiette" is at any rate not of eastern origin. The word "Presses" is connected with the story of Rouen trade by the fact that it commemorates the presses set up for pressing and finishing cloth by one of that family of Dufour who did so much towards the decoration of their parish church of St. Maclou. The house that is standing now was built (though without its later seventeenth-century ornaments) by Guillaume le Fieu, who had been treasurer of the Stables of Catherine de Médicis, or "Receveur de l'Écurie de la Reine" in 1558, and the Archives of the Department now possess, by the gift of later occupants of the house, a very interesting manuscript of his accounts for a year in this capacity. By the untiring diligence of M. Ch. de Beaurepaire these have been analysed, and his paper describing them, though too detailed to be reproduced here, is of the highest importance for any writer attempting to describe the habits of a queen whose abilities as a horsewoman were so highly praised by Brantôme. Guillaume le Fieu had evidently considerable financial abilities, for we find him promoted, later on, to be "Receveur Général de la Généralité de Rouen," and finally "Maître Ordinaire de la Chambre des Comptes de Normandie," so that he is also connected with the two beautiful buildings, so different in style and date, which were described in Chapter XI.

In No. 30 Rue Damiette he died in 1584, having scarcely completed the house before his daughter married one of the King's secretaries. In January386 1646, an old lease shows that the house was owned by Henry Dambray, "Conseiller au Parlement," and it was by him let for a year to Lord Clarendon. It was called the Hôtel de Senneville until the Revolution, when it became the property of the families of Pommereux and d'Alligre. Though Lord Clarendon was first buried in Rouen, when his grand-daughters (through the marriage of the Duke of York, brother of Charles II., with his elder daughter) became Queens of England, his remains were transported from Rouen to Westminster Abbey, where they now are.

The last scene by which this tale of Rouen was connected with the history of France was when Captain Valdory held the town against Henri IV. And in leaving for a moment more domestic details of the city's story, I can suggest the transition no better than by telling you of another literary claim which Rouen archæologists will not permit a visitor to forget, the authorship of the famous "Satyre Ménippée," which did as much as any political pamphlet could ever do to reveal to the people the true character of the Ligue, and to restore their affection to that King Henri whom for so long they had refused within their gates. This immortal piece of sarcasm and good sense was written after the États de la Ligue of January 1593. De Thou said, "le premier auteur de l'écrit est, croit-on, un prêtre du pays de Normandie, homme de bien...." And the edition of 1677 gives his name as "Monsieur LeRoy, chanoine de Rouen, qui avoit esté aumosnier du Cardinal de Bourbon." In the portions before each harangue, he mentions the tapestry in Rouen Cathedral, the Révolte de la Harelle, the Foire St. Romain, and other details, with an accuracy and affection which betray the citizen. He went blind in 1620, and died in penury in 1627.

The troubles of the League had barely died away before the agitation of the Fronde began, and after the387 Fronde princes had been arrested in January 1650, the Duchesse de Longueville tried to continue the rôle of her husband, though his party had fairly been laughed out of Rouen. Her own attempts were thwarted by Mazarin, who brought the little Louis XIV., then only twelve years old, to Rouen for fifteen days in February 1650. The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes repaid this hospitality in somewhat untoward fashion, for it reduced the population of the town by 20,000 souls (of whom many carried their trade to England or the Low Countries), and commerce almost disappeared. "Men live," cried St. Simon, "on the grass of the field in Normandy."

Yet the exhaustless vitality of the town was not easily tapped. In 1723 Voltaire found nothing to complain of, and in the Rue aux Juifs the first edition of his "Henriade" was printed by Robert Viret. In 1731 he came back, and in the Rue du Bec, or the Rue Ganterie, had many pleasant conversations with M. de Bourgtheroulde, M. de Fresquienne, and others, but he left his little sting behind him as usual, and it remains so true that I must reproduce it here, on the theme—"Vous n'avez point de mai en Normandie."

"Vos climats ont produit d'assez rares merveilles
C'est le pays des grands talents
Des Fontenelle des Corneilles
Mais ce ne fut jamais l'asile du printemps."


HOUSE IN RUE PETIT SALUT

HOUSE IN RUE PETIT SALUT. (RUE AMPÈRE 13.)


As the eighteenth century progressed, commercial prosperity returned with extraordinary rapidity, and the town shows every sign of making an intelligent use of its opportunities. A mission is sent to Smyrna and Adrianople to learn the textile methods of the East; dyers in the Rue Eau de Robec are busier than ever; the Quartier Cauchoise is set apart for industrial work, for silk and wools and linens; there is a great storehouse for grain, a huge "Halle des Toiles"; a Bourse389 for business men. In 1723 a new "Romaine," or Custom-House, was built, which involved the destruction of the Porte Haranguerie and the Porte de la Viconté, and upon its triangular pediment was placed Coustou's beautiful carving of "Commerce," of which I reproduce a drawing in these pages. After the Revolution the "Tribunal des Douanes" was held in the Maison Bourgtheroulde, until in 1838 the present "Douane" was built by Isabelle, and Coustou's relief was set beneath its rotunda inside. The various fortunes of the Custom-House of Rouen have been described by M. Georges Dubosc, another of those patriotic antiquarian writers, in whom Rouen is richer than any provincial town I know. His large volume on the architecture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries gives so complete and accurate a list that I am fortunately relieved from any discussion of a period with which I must confess an uninstructed want of sympathy. But I owe it to his insight that the beautiful courtyard (illustrated in this chapter) in the Rue Petit Salut (now No. 13 Rue Ampère) was not put down as sixteenth century in my notes, a date to which I was inclined by the fine open staircase and doorway on the right of the courtyard. On its left is an undoubted Renaissance pillar, probably taken from its original position in another place, and high above you rises a gabled window with carved sides.

The only historical event I have been tempted to connect with this spot is the entry of Louis d'Orléans in 1452, who is said to have lodged in the "Hôtel d'Estellan, Rue Petit Salut." But the house is worth visiting if only to speculate on the dungeon windows in the corner of the little street outside, and to look up the Impasse Petit Salut a little further on, where the Tour de Beurre rises with an extraordinary effect of solitary beauty above the twisted roof trees into the sky.390

By the time of Louis XV. it becomes somewhat difficult to find the interesting men of this or any other French city; you must look for them in the anti-chambers of the Duc de Choiseul, in the robing-rooms of the Pompadour or the Du Barry. In 1774 Rouen saw the typical sight of the Duchesse de Vauguyon reviewing her husband's troops. When Louis XV. passed through the town, and the Pompadour was seen smiling by his side, the citizens' reception of the doubtful honour was a very cold one. And when Louis XVI. paid his call of ceremony upon the Mayor, a still more melancholy presage broke the harmony of the peal that welcomed him from the Cathedral belfry, for the great bell Georges d'Amboise—which weighed 36,000 pounds, and had rung in every century since the great minister of Louis XII. gave him to the town—cracked suddenly, and was never heard again. He has a successor now, but his own metal was used for quite another purpose. When the Revolution broke out, the bronze that had served to call the faithful from all the countryside to prayer was melted into cannon and roundshot that were to send the Royalists to heaven by much quicker methods.

Rouen passed comparatively lightly through the Reign of Terror. Only 322 persons were guillotined in the whole of Normandy, and the local justices beheaded nearly as many in suppressing the disorders that followed the general disorganisation of society. Even on the 1st of November 1793 we hear of the first night of Boieldieu's "La Belle Coupable" performed at the Théatre de la Montagne. And though Thouret is sent up as Deputy to Paris (and afterwards to draw up the Constitution), though the irascible Marquis d'Herbouville is always making a disturbance, though the "Carabots" revolt and break out into pillage, it is only when "Anarchists" from Paris come down to trouble them that the good folk of Rouen "draw391 the line." In fact, they hanged the over-zealous Bourdier and Jourdain upon the quay just by the bridge.

It is interesting that no less a personage than Marat, then plain Dr Marat, had several Mémoires crowned by the Academy of Rouen, one of them on Mesmerism. Voltaire thought little of his capabilities then, but the "ami du peuple" left a gentle reputation in the town, and is even credited with having preserved an old illuminated manuscript under his mattress during some riots that threatened its safety. A more authenticated fact is that Charlotte Corday came from Caen, and popular tradition insists still that it was from the carving of Herodias on the façade of Rouen Cathedral (which the townsfolk call "La Marianne dansant," for some unknown reason) that the suggestion came to her of saving the People from their Friend.

The great Napoleon first saw Rouen in its capacity as a trading centre. Its industry very soon recovered after the Revolution, and an actual "Exposition" was organised in the Tribunal de Commerce, which was inspected by Josephine and the First Consul Bonaparte. He returned as Emperor, and in 1840 the city solemnly received him for the last time, when his body was brought back from St. Helena and passed beneath the first bridge across the Seine at Rouen.

The kings who had been deposed with so much bloodshed and fanfaronade, reappeared as if nothing had happened when Louis Philippe laid the first stone for the pedestal of Corneille's statue carved by David d'Angers. In 1871 that statue was all draped in black. The streets of Rouen, hung with funereal emblems, were all in the deepest mourning, every shop was closed and every window shuttered. Upon the plain of Sotteville a great army was manœuvring to and fro to the sound of words of command in a strange tongue. General Manteuffel, the Duke of Mecklen392burgh, and "Prince Fritz" had led the German army of invasion into Rouen, and from December till July they occupied the town and its surrounding villages. For the last time Rouen was in the hands of foreigners. But the traces of this catastrophe have absolutely disappeared. The ruin of the Revolution and the iconoclasm of the religious struggles have left far deeper marks; and Rouen, sacked by the English, and occupied by the Germans, suffered more injury at the hands of her own citizens, than either from Time or from any foreign foe.

In the last half of the eighteenth century it was that Rouen lost most of her mediæval characteristics, under the levelling régime of Intendant de Crosne, whose one good work was the building of the boulevards. Hardly as much change was wrought when the great new streets of 1859 were cut that swept away the old infected quarters of the fifteenth century. The Revolution, that is responsible for the debasement of St. Laurent and St. Ouen, among many other atrocities, did most injury in abolishing those picturesque local bodies, like the "Cinquantaine" and the "Arquebusiers," and substituting for them a meaningless "Garde Nationale." Its efforts at "national" nomenclature were fortunately in most cases abortive.

The Rouen of to-day, though so much taken up with commerce, is not unworthy of her great traditions. A town that in art can show the names of Poussin, Jouvenet, and Géricault; and in letters, Gustave Flaubert, Maupassant, and Hector Malot, has not been left too far behind by older memories. But it is in the number of its citizens who have devoted themselves to the history and the archæology of their own town, their "Ville Musée," that Rouen has been especially blest. In Farin the historian, in M. de Caumont the archæologist, in Langlois, de la Quérière, Deville, Pottier, Bouquet, Périaux; above all, in Floquet, the town can point to a band of chroniclers393 of which any city might be proud. To all of them I have been indebted. And no less does this sketch of their city's story owe to those who are still living within its streets, and still ready to point the visitor to their greatest beauties: M. Charles de Beaurepaire, whose work in the Archives is of the highest value, and to whom I am indebted for nearly every reference to the records of the town; MM. Noël and Beaurain, who preside over the Library; M. Georges Dubosc, M. Jules Adeline, and many more.

Scarcely a year before these lines were written one more link between Rouen and the literature of the world was lost. In August 1896 died a "Professor of German" in the Lycée de Rouen, who had held her post since 1882. There had lived Camille Selden, in a quiet seclusion, from which she published the "Mémoires de la Mouche." Universally beloved for her sweetness, her simplicity, her gentle nobility of soul, she was the unobtrusive friend of all the best spirits of the day. Upon her there seemed to have fallen some few mild rays from the genius of Heine, whom she loved so well. Her last days were spent in studying the correspondence of two great citizens of the town which sheltered her, Bouilhet and Flaubert.

My task is over; and I can but leave you now to discover for yourself the many details, which, for lack of space and leisure, I have perforce omitted. Yet in this "Story of Rouen" you will find, if you read it where it should be read, all the typical occurrences which have made the city what she is, strong in commerce, strong in traditions, strong above all in the memories of her sons.

"Strength is not won by miracle or rape.
It is the offspring of the modest years,
The gift of sire to son, thro' these firm laws
Which we name Gods; which are the righteous cause,
The cause of man, and manhood's ministers."
394


APPENDIX


I

A few more interesting walks in Rouen

IT was in my mind at first to place here an itinerary I had planned by which it would be possible to visit everything of interest in Rouen in six days, starting from the Hôtel du Nord near the Grosse Horloge, and returning to the same spot. But it is perhaps better after all that you should visit the places mentioned in my chapters as the spirit moves you, and that I should merely set down in these last pages a few old streets or houses which you must not miss, merely because I have had no space to speak of them before.

Returning from the Chartreuse de la Rose, it will be good to take the Route de Lyons la Forêt past the château called Nid de chiens (a name which preserves the memory of the old Dukes' Kennels) where Henri IV. was entertained. You will see the seventeenth-century house on your left, between two railway bridges which cross the road, just before the Caserne Trupel. Continue by the same road, keeping the Aubette on your right, and turn round the wall of the great Hospital enclosure till you reach the Rue Edouard Adam, and pass the Rue Eau de Robec which is beautiful on each side of you. Pass the new Fontaine Croix de Pierre, and as you turn down the Rue Orbe look quickly at the backs of the houses on the Robec, and then swing to the right up the Rue des Champs. At the Rue Matelas you must stop. St. Vivien's Church closes the quaint vista of the street, and at No. 19 is an aged doorway to a dark courtyard, and beyond that, a charming turret staircase on the roadway with a gallery outside all wreathed in roses. The gables and the woodwork and the shadowed windows make up an exquisite little picture of mediæval domesticity. When you return again to the Rue Orbe, look down the Rue Pomme d'Or to your left, and then turn up the Rue Poisson and admire the beautiful choir of St. Nicaise, remembering the story of the famous "boise" I told you in the last chapter. Up the Rue St. Nicaise, past the Rue Floquet,395 the hideous slit of the Rue d'Enfer opens on the left, so you turn away to the Rue Roche opposite, and keep swinging to the left up the Rue de la Cage and so on to the Boulevard Beauvoisine. The Place du Boulingrin, where I have no doubt the English garrison of 1420 played at bowls, is still green and inviting a little to your right. But pushing on still westwards to the left you come to the Boulevard Jeanne d'Arc, and pass the road that leads northwards to a fascinating Cider-tavern in the Champs des Oiseaux. A little further on is the Rue Verte (leading northwards to the Railway Station and southwards to the Rue Jeanne d'Arc and the river) and at last you reach the Place Cauchoise and the Rue St. Gervais which mounts to the north-west. Look at No. 31 (the Menuiserie Brière) as you pass, for the sake of the charming old wooden gallery in its courtyard, and then at No. 71 with its pretty eighteenth-century panels like plaques of Wedgewood, an ornament which is closely imitated in the medallions on the wall at the corner of the Rue Chasselièvre. After visiting St. Gervais come back to the Place Cauchoise and take the Rue Cauchoise until you reach the Rue des Bons Enfants, where at No. 134 died Fontenelle. As you pass the Rue Étoupée stop to look at the sign of the house at No. 4, built in 1580. If you are wise you will lunch at the old inn at No. 41 Rue des Bons Enfants, admire the stables, and inspect Room No. 10. Refreshed and fortified, go straight on, across the Rue Jeanne d'Arc into the Rue Ganterie and so by way of the Rue de l'Hôpital to the crossing of the Rue de la République. Almost in front of you on the other side is the queer little alley called the Rue Petit Mouton, and as you pass down it you will see how much bigger the streets look on my Maps (for the sake of being clear) than they are in reality. This leads you across the Place des Ponts de Robec to the beginning of the Rue Eau de Robec where you will notice at once, on the left, the house at No. 186, with the sign which shows the faithful horse returning from the scene of his master's murder to bring the news into the town. No. 223 on the other side at the corner of the Rue de la Grande Mesme is fine, and so is No. 187 at the angle of the Rue du Ruissel. All the while the inky water is trickling under countless bridges on your left hand ("Ignoble little Venice" Flaubert calls it all in "Madame Bovary," which gives you, otherwise, the worst impression of Rouen in any book I know), and swarms of little children chatter and play about the cobblestones, while women throng the countless dens and cubbyholes, until you fly for shelter into one of the numerous curiosity shops and buy a fifteenth-century door-knocker manufactured expressly for your visit. Past the396 Place St. Vivien and the Church, the Eau de Robec still continues; and, as the Rue du Pont à Dame Renaude opens on your left, there is a good house at the corner of the opposite street. Further on to the left a great building with overhanging eaves stretches from 34 to 30. Then, over a broader bridge, the Rue des Célestins goes northwards, and this street of bridges ends in the green trees of the Boulevard, with a lovely view of that Maison des Célestins which the Duke of Bedford endowed, far to your right in the distant corner of the old wall of the Hospital.

Coming back by the Robec (for it well deserves looking at from each end), when you reach the Rue de la République turn northwards for a sight of the south front of St. Ouen, and then leave the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville by way of the Rue de l'Hôpital due west. No. 1 is an exquisite Renaissance house with its colonnade and arches and carved capitals. In the courtyard within is a beautiful doorway of the same period set at right angles to the street façade. Upon its entrance columns (which are double, one set above another) two delicately moulded statuettes of women are placed on each side of the slender upper shaft. Over the door is the motto—"DomiNuS MICHI ADIUTOR," the same which occurs above the arms of Cardinal Wolsey on the terra-cotta plaque at Hampton Court. This fine house extends some way down the street, and leads you pleasantly onwards till the Rue Socrate opens to your left. Go down it and glance on each side as the Rue des Fossés Louis VIII. crosses your path. At the end is the great Palais de Justice. Beyond that (you may go through Louis XII.'s archway or keep the Palace wall upon your right) is the Rue aux Juifs, in which No. 35 is an exact model of its ancient predecessor. In the Rue du Bec there are remains of fine houses and spacious courtyards, and through it you arrive at the Rue de la Grosse Horloge and the great archway that holds the famous clock of Rouen.

The only other houses I can remember as worthy of a special visit are Nos. 5, 7, and 18 in the Rue St. Étienne des Tonneliers, which opens out of the Rue du Grand Pont just before the quays. Where the Rue Jacques Lelieur enters it are the ruins of a lovely church fallen upon very evil days. All over Rouen you may find walks equally interesting, but I have done enough in suggesting a few of the most typical.397


II

Monuments classés parmi les Monuments Historiques
de France

Hors Classe. Cathédrale (État).
  Maison Corneille, Petit Couronne (Départ.).
I. Classe. Chapelle de St. Julien des Chartreux à Petit Quévilly.
  St. Godard (verrières).
  St. Maclou.
  St. Ouen.
  St. Ouen (Chambre ou Tour aux Clercs).
  St. Patrice.
  St. Vincent.
II. Classe. Tour St. André.
  Cathédrale, Salle Capitulaire et Cloître.
  Fontaine Croix de Pierre (Musée des Antiquités).
  St. Gervais (Crypte et Abside).
  Aître St. Maclou.
  Chœur de St. Nicaise.
  Chapelle de la Fierte St. Romain, à la Vieille Tour.
III. Classe. Église Mont aux Malades.
  Église St. Paul (abside).
  St. Vivien (clocher).


III

Museums and Libraries

The Musée des Antiquités at the northern end of the Rue de la République contains some very interesting prehistoric remains; a quantity of Merovingian relics, such as axe-heads, finger-rings, lance-points, necklaces, buttons, buckles, needles, combs, and pottery; the standard measures of Rouen from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century; lead crosses with formulas of absolution stamped upon them from the eleventh to the thirteenth century; medals and tokens of many local abbeys and confrèries; coins of the Dukes of Normandy from 911 to 1216; an eleventh-century Oliphant; some glass398 mosaics; and the statue of Henri Court Mantel from his tomb in the Cathedral. All these are in the first room. In the next are Roman vases and glassware; some fine bronze weapons; and a large Gallo-Roman mosaic; also "La Capucine," as the first municipal fire-engine was called, which was only instituted in 1719. It was only in 1686 that any organisation at all was made to prevent fires, and the first "Pompiers de Rouen" were created in 1800. These facts, in connection with the general use of wood for common houses even till late in the sixteenth century, explain a great deal of the terrible destruction by fire in every quarter of the town. In a third room are gathered together some good examples of tapestry and furniture, and in a room by itself is a magnificent mosaic from Lillebonne. Of the inner quadrangle and the front courtyard I have spoken already in earlier pages.


The Musée de Rouen in the Rue Thiers has four separate divisions each worthy of your attention. The first is the beautiful garden which stretches westward to the Rue Jeanne d'Arc. The second is the Town Library, which is entered by its own door opposite the Église St. Laurent. In my list of authorities I have mentioned books which can all be obtained in the Library, where there are excellent arrangements for the student to work and take notes from as many books as he likes, and keep them together from day to day. Among its more remarkable manuscripts are Anglo-Saxon writings of the tenth century, illuminated "Heures" of the fifteenth century, the "Missel" of Georges d'Amboise; there are also several "incunables d'imprimerie de Rouen," and other rare works; by the help of M. Noël, M. Beaurain, and their capable assistants, no student of civic or departmental history can fail to find all he desires. For more careful researches into original authorities he will do well to consult M. Charles de Beaurepaire, who presides of the Archives, near the Prefecture in the Rue Fontenelle; and he will find further documents of interest in the Hôtel de Ville and the Library of the Chapterhouse, which is reached by way of the staircase out of the north transept in the Cathedral. The third division of the Musée de Rouen is the Gallery of Faience and Ceramics. The enamelled tiles for Constable Montmorency, called the "carrelages d'Ecouen," which bear the mark, "Rouen, 1542," were not made by Bernard Palissy, but by the man of whom a record exists in May 24, 1545, "Masséot Abaquesne, esmailleur en terre demeurant en la paroisse St. Vincent de Rouen." After399 1565 this "terre émaillée" is not made here any more, but in 1645 Esmé Poterat is the best maker of porcelain in France, and was the founder of the famous Rouen school of the "fond jaune ocré," in which Guilleband and Levavasseur were conspicuous for their "style rayonnant" in the seventeenth century. On the right of this gallery is a very fine example of this style, with blue arabesques, and in the same room a queer mixture of localities is observable in the Chinese figures dancing the dances of Normandy, to the tune of Norman bagpipes, in a queerly Celestial atmosphere. There is also the famous "violon de faience" to be seen. The fourth and most important division is, of course, that which contains the pictures, and by a very sensible arrangement those which have especially to do with the ancient or modern history of the town are usually gathered into one gallery, which is of the highest interest to any student of the history of Rouen. Some two hundred and fifty prints, drawings, and paintings of local interest may often here be studied. In the galleries themselves, No. 413 is a view of Rouen taken from St. Sever by Jean Baptiste Martin who died in 1735. It shows the gates of the town, even the Vieux Palais on the left, the wooden bridge, the Ile St. Croix full of trees, the old piers still standing of the Empress Matilda's Bridge, and a fashionable assemblage on the Cours la Reine, by the St. Sever bank. After reading this book, you will find few pictures more interesting as a reproduction of the various pieces of architecture now vanished.

Out of a list of pictures most kindly made for me by M. Edmond Lebel, the keeper of the Museum, I will select a few which must on no account be missed.

  Early Work.—
No. 421. Ecce homo Mignard.
" 34. Concert sur une place publique Berghem.
"   Paysage Ruydaël.
" 570. Portrait Velasquez.
" 494. Le Bon Samaritain Ribera.
" 536. Chasse au Sanglier Sneyders.
" 285. Portrait de l'auteur Jouvenet.
" 481. Vénus et Enée Poussin.
" 54. Vierge et Enfant Sandro Botticelli.
" 210. Vierge et Enfant (avec portraits) Gérard (David).
" 573. Vision Veronèse.
" 316. Baigneuses Lancret.400
 
  After 1800.—
No. 265. La belle Zélie Ingres.
" 115. Paysages Corot.
    Études Diverses Géricault.
" 152. La Justice de Trajan. Delacroix.
" 544. Un métier de chien Stevens (Joseph).
" 239. Études Diverses Meissonier.
" 97. Portrait François Millet.
" " Tête Bonington.
" 489. Le Pilote Renouf.
 
  Drawings.—
No. 811. Étude Lebrun.
" 833. Figures Rembrandt.
" 795. Visite de Bonaparte à Rouen Isabey.
" 737. Vue de Rouen in 1777 Cochin.
" 796. Étude Jouvenet.
" 856. Diverses Études Géricault.
    Études Delacroix.
 
  Sculpture.—
No. 937. Napoleon (marbre) Canova.
" 959. Géricault (tombeau, marbre) Etex.
" 946. Armand Carrel (bronze) David d'Angers.
" 934. Pierre Corneille (terre cuite) Caffieri.
" 941. Boieldieu (marbre) Dantan Jeune.
" 985. Fontenelle (marbre) Romagnesi.


IV

Authorities

Though I desire to express my indebtedness to all the works mentioned in these pages, the books given in the list that follows are those which should be first consulted by anyone who wishes to follow on completer lines the story of the town which I have been obliged to shorten. The commonplace of artistic, or historical, or architectural literature I have omitted. Those who know it will easily recognise the passages in which I have made use of Freeman, of Ruskin, of Viollet le Duc, of Michelet, of many other standard works. Those who yet have it to discover can find it for themselves in any library.401

But the undermentioned works, some of them only to be found in Rouen itself, are worthy of the attention of any student who wishes to carry his researches further into one of the most interesting of French mediæval cities. All the publications of the "Société Rouennaise des Bibliophiles" and of the "Société des Bibliophiles des Normandes" may be consulted with advantage, and every volume of "Normannia" issued by the "Photo Club Rouennais."

The works published by M. Charles Robillard de Beaurepaire deserve special mention by themselves. The student should consult every one he can discover. They are chiefly in the shape of paper pamphlets, containing invaluable reprints from the manuscripts of the town, with notes and introductions. Published, as they ought to be, in several collected volumes, they would make an extraordinary contribution to the history of Northern France from Norman times to the present day. I have consulted and quoted so many, that I have no space to give all their titles, but the few which follow are merely those which were of the greatest importance to me in the pages which have gone before:—


403

INDEX


A

Abbaye de St. Amand, 15; 71; 85.

Abingdon, 76.

"Abjuration" of Jeanne d'Arc, 223.

Aître St. Maclou, 299 etc.

Alain Blanchart, 194.

Aligre (Hôtel d'), 384 etc.

Ampère (No. 13 Rue), 389.

André (St.), 247.

Anglo-Saxon Architecture, 100.

Anselm, 40; 63; 77.

Antiquaries (Society of), 341; 342.

Antiquités (Musée des), 7; 12 etc.; 23; 397.

Architects (of Cathedral), 126 etc.; 129 etc.

Argenteuil (Tale of the murder at), 288 etc.

Aristote (lai d'), 260.

Armagnacs, 174.

Arpents (Rue des), 4.

Arrêt du Sang Damné, 275.

Athanagild, 26.

Aubette, 2; 70.

Audowere, 25; 29.

Authorities, 400.


B

Bac (Rue du), 15.

Balais (Marché aux), 352.

Bapaume, 2.

Basse Vieille Tour, 5.

Bataille (Pré de la), 52.

Bayeux Tapestry, 66; 78.

Beaurepaire (Charles Robillard de), 402.

Beaurain, 359.

Beauvais (Bishop of), 206 etc.

Beauvoisine (Porte), 54.

Bec (Hôtel du), 172.

Bedford (Duke of), 197; 198.

Belfry of the town, 139.

Bellengues (The Story of Jeanne de), 172.

Bergeries carved on Maison Bourgtheroulde, 334.

Bernard the Dane, 52.

Bertrand du Guesclin, 149.

Bigot (Laurent), 289 etc.

Blind man of Argenteuil, 288 etc.

Blois (Theobald of), 46.

Bohier (Thomas), 286.

Boise de St. Nicaise, 370 etc.

Bois Guillaume, 2.

Bonne Âme (Bishop Guillaume), 69.

—— Nouvelle (Church), 68.

Bonsecours, 2.

Bons Enfants (Hôtel des), 161.

Boulingrin (Place du), 6.

Bourgtheroulde (Maison), 9; 83; 321 etc.

Bourse (Quai de la), 48.

Bouvreuil (Castle of), 5.

—— (Porte), 91.

Brazil, 349.

Brazilian Fête, 350.

Brazilians, 351.

Brézé (Jacques de), 263.

—— (Tomb of Louis de), 314.

—— (Pierre de), 261.

Brunhilda, 24 etc.

Bureau des Finances, 285.

Burgundians, 175.

Burning of Jeanne d'Arc, 228.


C

Cache Ribaut (bell), 9; 137.

Calende (Place de la), 42; 48; 70.

404Canada, 383.

Canaries (King of the), 150.

Canteleu, 2.

Caradas (Maison), 346.

Carmes (Rue des), 7; 90; 114.

Carvings of Maison Bourgtheroulde, 338 etc.

Cathedral, 115 etc.; 256 etc.

—— Architects, 126 etc.

Catherine de Médicis, 350.

Catherine (Mont Ste.), 2.

Cauchoise (Place), 6.

—— (Rue), 6.

Cauchon (Pierre), 206 etc.

Caudebec, 186.

Célestins (Couvent des), 197.

Célestin (Joyeux), 198.

Cemetery of St. Maclou, 299 etc.

—— of St. Ouen, 222.

Champ du Pardon, 69.

Channel Islands, 52.

Chapel of the Archbishop, 213.

Chapelle de la Fierte, 5; 37; 108; 357.

—— St. Julien, 96.

—— des Ordres, 214.

Charles V., 129.

—— VI., 155.

—— VII., 232.

—— VIII., 40.

—— VIII. in Rouen, 240 etc.

—— le Mauvais, 148.

Chartreuse de la Rose, 182.

Chartreux, 95.

Chasselièvre (Rue), 17.

Chastel (St. Pierre du), 5.

Château, Gaillard, 87.

Churches of Rouen, 233 etc.

Civille (François de), 316.

Clarendon's House at Rouen, 383 etc.

Clément (St.), 42; 48.

Clercs (Tour aux), 71.

Clock of the Town, 139.

Clos aux Galées, 112.

Clos aux Juifs, 70.

Clovis, 21.

Commerce, 85; 112; 349; 369 etc.

Commune (of Rouen), 110.

Conan, 80.

Conception (Confrèrie de la), 69.

Confrèries, 79; 85.

—— (carvings), 259.

Confrèrie de la Conception, 69.

—— de la Passion, 168.

Confrèrie de St. Michel, 305.

—— St. Romain, 356 etc.

Corday (Charlotte), 391.

Cordeliers (Rue des), 5; 48.

Corneille, 377 etc.

—— (Pont de Pierre), 7.

Cour d'Albane, 218.

—— des Comptes, 287.

Coustou's Bas Relief, 389.

Crepin (St.), 85.

Crimes. See Records of the Fierte.

Croix (Ile St.), 3.

—— (St., des Pelletiers), 85.

Crosne (Intendant de), 392.

Crypte, St. Gervais, 9; 18 etc.

Custom-House, 389.


D

D'Amboise (Tomb of the Cardinals), 310.

Damiette (No. 29 Rue), 12.

—— (No. 30 Rue), 384 etc.

—— (Rue), 299.

Danse Macabre, 306 etc.

Daré (Pierre), 369.

Darnétal, 2.

Death, 292 etc.

—— personified, 293.

Democratic Architecture, 119.

Denis (Rue St.), 15; 48.

Détancourt (Maison), 140.

Donjon of Château de Bouvreuil, 208 etc.

Dudo of St. Quentin, 40.


E

Eau de Robec (Rue de l'), 6.

Edward the Confessor, 66.

Église St. Paul, 99.

Election of Georges d'Amboise, 253 etc.

Eloi (St.), 23; 42; 48.

Émendreville (St. Sever), 68.

Enfants (Hôtellerie des Bons), 9.

English Army of 1418, 179.

Englishmen and Rouen, 326.

English Palace, 196.

Englishmen with Henry of Navarre, 319.

Entry of Francis I., 280 etc.

Épée (Rue de l'), 6.

405Épicerie (Rue de l'), 9; 352; 353.

Epte, 48.

Ermondeville (St. Sever), 55.

Espagnols (Rue des), 6.

Étienne des Tonneliers (St.), 70.

Eûre (river), 2.


F

Façade of St. Ouen, 237.

Façades of Rouen churches, 237.

Faience and Ceramics, 398.

Feast of the Farmers, 375.

Ferrand (David), 370.

Festin du Cochon, 375.

Fête St. Anne, 375.

—— aux Normands, 69; 369.

—— des Rois, 383.

—— St. Vivien, 375.

Field of the Cloth of Gold, 326.

Fierte (Chapelle de la), 5.

—— (Levée de la), 69.

—— (Prisoners released by), 163.

—— (Prisoners of the), 200 etc.

—— (Procession of the), 354 etc.

—— (Record of the), 264 etc.; 295.

Finances (Bureau des), 285.

Fitzosbern (William), 62; 66.

Foire du Pardon, 69.

—— du Pré, 68.

Fontaine Croix de Pierre, 13.

—— de la Grosse Horloge, 111.

Fontenelle, 377 etc.

Fortin (Mont), 2.

Fossés Louis VIII. (Rue aux), 15.

France (Hôtel de), 15.

Francis I. (Entry), 279 etc.

Franco, 47.

Fredegond, 24 etc.

Fridegode, 35.

Fuller-Maitland, 359.


G

Galeswintha, 26.

Gargouille, 39.

Garrison of Rouen in 1418, 178.

Gastinel (Tomb of Denis), 212.

Gâteau des Rois, 376.

Georges d'Amboise (Election), 253 etc.

Georges d'Amboise, 256; 390.

—— (bell), 9; 129; 356.

German Invasion, 391.

Gervais (St.), 5.

Gervais (Crypte St.), 9; 18 etc.

—— (Fair of St.), 68.

—— (Priory of St.), 17; 77.

Gisela, 49; 51.

Godard (St.), 21; 48.

Gosse (Edmond), 274.

Gothic Architecture, 102; 116.

Goujon (Jean), 244.

Grand Pont (Rue), 7.

Gregory of Tours, 31.

Grisel (Hercule), 375; 377.

Grosse Horloge (Rue de la), 6.

Grotesque carvings, 124 etc.

Guiscard (Robert), 61.


H

Hallage (Rue du), 159; 353.

Halles, 91; 112; 348.

Harelle (Révolte de la), 150 etc.

Harenguerie (Rue), 343.

Haro (Clameur de), 146.

Harold Blacktooth, 53.

Hastings the Dane, 47.

Haute Vieille Tour, 5.

Henri Beauclerc, 77; 80.

Henry II., 95.

Henri II. (Entry), 350.

Henry V.'s plan of invasion, 177.

Herbland (Église St.), 16; 22.

—— (St.), 41.

Herlwin, 77.

Hilaire (St.), 2.

—— (Place St.), 6.

Hildeswinda; 25.

Hilperik, 25 etc.

Hlodowig (Clovis), 21; 24.

Hlothair, 24.

Holbein, 307.

Horloge de la Ville, 138.

—— (Rue de la Grosse), 6.

Hôtel Bourgtheroulde, 321.

Hôtel d'Aligre, 384 etc.

Hôtel de France, 15.

Hôtel des Bons Enfants, 161.

Hôtel de Ville (Place de l'), 6.

Hôtel de Ville, 84; 110; 144.

Hôtel du Bec, 172.

Hugh II. (Archbishop), 58.


I

Ile, St. Croix, 3.

406Inns, 160.


J

Jeanne D'Arc, 6; 200 etc.

—— (Rue), 7; 15.

—— (Tour), 5; 6; 208.

John Lackland, 87.

Juifs (Clos aux), 70.

—— (Rue aux), 90.

Julien (St. J. Petit Quévilly), 95 etc.

Jumièges (William of), 40

Justice (Mediæval), 264 etc.

—— (Palais de), 15; 277.


L

Lai d'Aristote, 260.

Lanfranc, 63; 64; 67; 75; 77.

Latin Language, 377.

Laurent (St.), 85; 248.

Lecointe (Guillaume), 97.

Lelieur (Jacques), 5; 16; 40; 344; 345.

Le Puy (des Palinods), 69.

Leroux (Rouland), 130.

Le Roux, 322.

Lestrange (Archbishop Guillaume de), 155.

Levée de la Fierte St. Romain, 69; 104 etc.

Library, 398.

Lion (Porte Guillaume), 4; 6. Lô (Parish of St.), 90.

—— (Priory St.), 15.

London, 16; 21; 88.

Lothair (of France), 57.

Louis (of France), 53.

Louis d'Outremer, 52.

Louis VII., 85.

—— VIII. (Rue aux Fossés), 15; 42.

—— (St.), 115.

—— XI., 157.

—— XII., 40.

—— XIV., 387.

—— XV., 390.

—— XVI., 390.

—— Philippe, 391.


M

Macabre (Danse), 306 etc.

Maclou (Église St.), 15.

—— (St.), 243 etc.

Madeleine (Rue de la), 48.

Madrigal sung in 1550, 360 etc.

Maison Bourgtheroulde, 321.

Maison des Célestins, 197.

Maison de Diane de Poitiers, 136.

—— Jeanne d'Arc, 220.

Malades (Mont aux), 2.

Malpalu (Rue), 15; 80.

Mal s'y Frotte, 6.

Malsifrotte, 196.

Marat, 391.

Marc d'Argent, 234.

Marché aux Balais, 352.

Marché Neuf, 42.

—— (Place du Vieux), 6.

—— Vieux (Place du), 51.

Marie d'Estouteville (bell), 9.

Martainville (Place), 6.

Martin (St., of Tours), 18; 45.

—— (St.), 30; 48.

—— (St. M. de la Roquette), 22; 47.

—— (St., Sur Renelle), 85.

Massacre (Porte), 84; 90.

—— (Rue), 42; 82; 135.

Matilda (Empress), 68; 82; 98.

Matilda of Flanders, 63; 76.

Mauger, 63.

Maupertuis, 56.

Maurilius, 64; 70; 91.

Mediæval Workmen, 118.

Melantius, 33; 34.

Mellon (St.), 17; 18.

Meredith (George), 169; 393.

Merowig, 25; 28 etc.

Messe du Prisonnier, 355.

Michel (Confrèrie de St.), 305.

Militia of Rouen, 147.

Mint, 162.

Miracle Plays, 105.

Misericordes, 258.

Molière, 378 etc.

—— (Rue), 299.

Mont Fortin, 2.

Mont aux Malades, 2; 92; 93 etc.

Mont Riboudet, 2.

Mont Saint Aignan, 2.

Mont Ste. Catherine, 2; 99; 176.

Montaigne, 351.

Monuments Historiques, 39.

Mosselmen (Pol), 258.

"Mouche," 393.

Musée des Antiquités, 7; 12; 23; 397.

407Musée de Rouen, 398.

Museum, 6.

Music sung in 1550, 362.

Mystery Plays, 105; 167.


N

Napoleon (the Great), 391.

Nationale (No. 41 Rue), 48.

Newfoundland, 383.

Nicaise (St.), 17.

—— (story of St.), 371.

Nid de Chiens, 182; 394.

Norman Architecture, 101.

Normands (Fête aux), 69.


O

Odo of Bayeux, 63; 78.

Old Houses, 394 etc.

Old Hundredth, 359.

Orderic Vital, 40.

Osmond, 53.

Ouen (St.), 5; 6; 17; 35; 48; 152; 233 etc.

—— (Cemetery of St.), 222.

Ours (Rue aux), 15; 42; 48.


P

Palais (Rue du Vieux), 6.

—— de Justice, 15; 42; 277 etc.; 351.

Palinods (Puy des), 69.

Pantagruel, 149.

Papegault, 375.

Pardon (Champ du), 69.

—— (Foire du), 69.

Parvis of Cathedral, 4; 6; 16; 42; 70; 86.

Pascal, 380.

Pastoureaux, 114.

Pecquigny, 52.

Pedro Niño, 170.

Petit Quévilly, 3; 95 etc.; 97.

—— Salut, 389.

Petrarch's "Triumphs," 332.

Philip Augustus, 6; 90.

Pictures, 399.

Pierre de Brézé, 261.

—— (Église St., du chastel), 48.

—— (Fontaine Croix de), 13.

Pilon (Germain), 308.

Place de la Calende, 42; 48; 70.

Place de la Haute Vieille Tour, 38.

—— du Marché Vieux, 51.

—— de la Pucelle, 226; 227; 321.

—— de la Rougemare, 56.

—— Verdrel, 42.

—— de la Vieille Tour, 354.

—— du Vieux Marché, 226 etc.

Pont Boieldieu, 96.

—— de Pierre Corneille, 7; 68.

—— de l'Arche, 46.

—— (Rue Grand), 7.

—— de Robec (Place des), 6; 16; 42.

Pontifz (Guillaume), 129.

Portail de la Calende, 126.

—— des Libraires, 6; 70.

—— aux Libraires, 121 etc.

Port Morant, 16.

Porte Beauvoisine, 54.

—— Guillaume Lion, 4.

Poterne, 42.

Pré de la Bataille, 52.

Pretextatus, 25; 29; 31; 32; 33.

Prisoners released by the Fierte, 264 etc.

—— released by the Privilège St. Romain, 295 etc.

Priory of St. Gervais, 17.

—— St. Lô, 15.

Privilège St. Romain, 37; 104 etc.

—— St. Romain (Prisoners of), 163 etc.

—— St. Romain (Records of the), 295 etc.

Procession of the Fierte, 354 etc.

Punishments of the XVIth century, 273.

Puy de Conception, 370.

Puy des Palinods, 69.


Q

Quentin (Dudo of St.), 40.

Quévilly, 66.

—— (Petit), 3; 95 etc.


R

Rabelais, 149.

Ragnar Lodbrog, 45.

Records of the Fierte St. Romain, 163 etc.; 200 etc.; 264 etc.; 295 etc.408

Rehabilitation of Jeanne d'Arc, 229.

Reign of Terror, 390.

Religious Wars, 315.

République (Rue de la), 7.

Révolte de la Harelle, 150 etc.

—— des Va-nu-Pieds, 382.

Richard (the Fearless), 52; 58.

Richard II. (Duke), 68.

Richard Cœur de Lion, 86; 87; 98.

Riboudet (Mont), 2.

Ricarville, 230.

Robec, 2; 15; 48; 70.

—— (Eau de), 48.

—— (Ponts de), 15; 42.

Robert (The Devil), 62.

—— (Duke of the Franks), 49.

—— (The Magnificent), 62.

—— Short Hose, 75; 81.

—— (Son of the Conqueror), 78.

Rollo (Rolf), 45.

Rolf the Ganger, 46.

Romain (St.), 37 etc.; 41; 69.

—— (St., his shrine), 98.

—— (Privilege of St.), 37 etc.; 104 etc.

—— (Rue St.), 6.

—— (Tour St.), 71.

Romaine, 389.

Roman de Rou, 69.

Romanesque, 18.

Ronsard, 309.

Rotomagos, 14.

Rou (Rollo), 45.

Rougemare (Place de la), 56.

Roumare, 2.

Rouvel (bell), 9; 86; 137.

Rouvray, 3.

Rue des Chanoines, 220.

—— des Charettes, 113.

—— Croix de Fer, 217.

—— St. Denis, 48.

—— Dinanderie, 222.

—— St. Eloi, 162.

—— de l'Épicerie, 352.

—— de la Grosse Horloge, 134 etc.

—— des Fossés Louis VIII., 42; 113.

—— de l'Hôpital No. 1, 396.

—— Massacre, 42.

—— St. Nicolas, 217.

—— aux Ours, 42.

—— St. Romain, 219 etc.

—— de la Salamandre, 352.

Ruisseau (Rue du), 6.

Ruskin, 121; 122.


S

Sacristan of St. Ouen, 58; 240.

Saint Denis (Rue), 15.

—— Marie (Place), 16.

Salamandre (Rue de la), 352.

Sang Damné, 275.

Satyre Ménippée, 386.

Saut de Conan, 80.

Savonnerie (Rue), 344.

"Sege of Roan" (Poem), 132.

Selden (Camille), 393.

Seneschal, 261 etc.

Sérifontaine (Château de), 172.

Sever (St.), 3; 17; 68.

Siege of 946, 53.

—— of Rouen by Henry V., 169 etc.

Sieges of Sixteenth Century, 315 etc.

Sigebert, 25; 27.

Sixteenth Century, 294; 300 etc.

Sotteville, 3.

Spain and Rouen, 173.

Staircase of St. Maclou, 245.

Starvation in Rouen, 188.

St. Amand (Abbess of), 253.

St. André, 247.

St. Catherine's Mount, 99.

St. Clément, 42.

St. Eloi, 42; 252.

St. Gervais, 5.

St. Godard (Windows), 248.

St. Herbland, 41; 135.

St. Hilaire, 2.

St. Julien (frescoes), 95 etc.

St. Laurent, 248.

St. Louis, 114.

St. Martin, 30.

St. Maclou, 243 etc.

St. Ouen, 5; 35; 48; 55; 152; 233 etc.

St. Patrice (Windows), 250.

St. Paul (Church), 99.

St. Pierre du Chastel, 5.

St. Quentin, 84.

St. Romain, 37 etc.; 41; 69.

—— (Fête), 107.

—— (Record of the Privilege), 163 etc.; 200 etc.; 264 etc.; 295 etc.

409—— (Shrine), 98.

St. Sever, 2.

St. Vincent (Église), 147.

—— 249; 250.

St. Vivien, 252.


T

Talbot, 205.

Tapissiers (Rue des), 15.

Testimony of Jeanne d'Arc, 216.

Thiers (Rue), 6.

Thouret, 390.

Tomb of the Cardinals d'Amboise, 310.

—— of Louis de Brézé, 314.

Tonneliers (St. Étienne des), 70.

Tour (Place de la Haute Vieille), 38.

—— (Basse Vieille), 5.

—— de Beurre, 129; 256.

—— aux Clercs, 71.

—— du Colombier, 197.

—— (Haute Vieille), 5.

—— Jeanne d'Arc, 5; 205; 207; 214 etc.; 230 etc.

—— de Rouen, 57; 81.

—— St. André, 247.

—— St. Romain, 91; 71.


V

Valdory (Captain), 317.

Velocasses, 14.

Verdrel (Place), 15.

Vexin, 14.

Vicomté de l'Eau, 84; 86.

Vieux Marché (Place du), 6.

—— Palais (Rue du), 6.

Vital (Orderic), 40.

Voltaire, 387.


W

Wace (Robert), 57; 69.

Wallingford, 76.

Wantage, 80; 319.

West Hanney, 319.

White Ship, 82.

William the Bastard, 62; 72.

William the Conqueror, 72 etc.

William of Jumièges, 40.

William Longsword, 50.

William Rufus, 80; 81.

Workmen (Mediæval), 119.


X

Xaintrailles, 230.


Y

Yvetôt, 36; 24.


PRINTED BY
TURNBULL AND SPEARS
EDINBURGH


FOOTNOTES

[1] Built in 1515, its name is misleading, for it was made by Cardinal d'Amboise not to hold a cross but to carry a fountain which happened to be placed near the stone cross erected by Archbishop Gauthier in commemoration of the profitable exchanges made when Richard Cœur de Lion built his Château Gaillard in 1197 on land belonging to the Cathedral. When the Cross disappeared the Fountain took its name.

[2] Gregory of Tours, H.F., iv. 28. "Post cuius obitum Deus virtutem magnam ostendit. Lichinus enim ille, qui fune suspensus coram sepulchrum eius ardebat, nullo tangente, disrupto fune, in pavimentum conruit, et fugientem ante eam duriciam pavimenti, tanquam in aliquod molle aelimentum discendit, atque medius est suffusus nec omnino contritus."

[3] Gregory of Tours, Ib. 51. "Tunc duo pueri cum cultris validis, quos vulgo scramasaxos vocant, infectis veneno, maleficati a Fredegundae Regina, cum aliam causam suggerere simularent, utraque ei latera feriunt."

[4] But "Ipse vero, simulans ad matrem suam ire velle," says Gregory (H.F. V. 2), "Rothomago petiit et ibi Brunechildae reginae conjungitur...."

[5] "In manu gothica," he says, with a phrase that was to produce a very pretty quarrel later on.

[6] This jovial monarch is mentioned in a legal decree of 1392. He retires into obscurity during the English Occupation, and is restored, curiously enough, by the sombre Louis XI. in 1461, and freed from all taxes and subsidies. At the entry of Charles VIII. in 1485 (see Chap. X.) he makes a very appropriate appearance. In 1543 François Premier mentions a "Reine d'Yvetôt." In 1610 Martin du Bellay, Sieur de Langey and Lieutenant General of Normandy, was hailed as "Mon petit roi d'Yvetôt" by Henri Quatre at the coronation of Marie de Médicis. In 1783 the last "documentary" evidence occurs in the inscription on two boundary-stones: "Franchise de la Principauté d'Yvetôt."

[7] Evidently "feretrum," cf. "La fiertre de Saint Thomas," Froissart, xii. 9.

[8] He is carved on a façade in the Musée des Antiquités, for instance, and painted in a window of the Church of St. Godard, to take only two examples of his constant occurrence in the civil and religious life of the people.

[9] Not only did it eat men, women, and children, say the old chronicles, but "ne pardonnait même pas aux vaisseaux et navires!"

[10] He certainly pulled down the Amphitheatre, and destroyed the Temple of Venus, and the loss of both of these was likely to be well remembered for some time by the inhabitants. It is suggested that the Temple of Adonis fell at the bidding of the same bold reformer to make way for the first church of St. Paul beneath the heights of St. Catherine.

[11] Chron. de St. Denis, iii. 99.—"Franco ... regarda l'état de la cité et les murs qui étaient déchus et abattus," etc., or in Wace's verses:

"Li Archeveske Frankes à Jumièges ala
A Rou et à sa gent par latinier parla....
... Donc vint Rou à Roem, amont Saine naja,
De joste Saint Morin sa navie atacha."

[12] "As herteiches montent et al mur quernelé." (Wace, R. de R., 4057.)

[13] Students of that invaluable vision of antiquity "Les Contes Drolatiques" will remember that it was also before Duke Richard that Tryballot, the lusty old ruffian known as "Vieulx Par-chemins," was brought up for judgment, and that the statue commemorating His Grace's sympathetic verdict remained in Rouen till the modesty of the English invaders removed it.

[14] L'iglise de l'Arceveskie
De mensam plus riche fie
Fist abatre e fere graineur
A la Mere Nostre Seignur
Plus lunge la fist è plus lée
Plus haute è miex empaventée
R. de R., 5851.

[15] The Champ du Pardon attained a grisly notoriety in the fourteenth century from the presence of the "fourches Patibulaires" or public place of execution upon the "Mont de la Justice" in one corner of the field.

[16] "Justae fuit staturae, immensae corpulentiae; facie fera, fronte capillis nuda, roboris ingentis in lacertis, magnae dignitatis sedens et stans, quanquam obesitas ventris nimium protensa."—Will. Malms: lib: iii.

[17] With the Bayeux Tapestry cf. Wace's description. R. de R., 11588, &c.:

"Une lanterne fist li Dus
Metre en sa nef el mast de sus
... Une wire-wire dorée
Ont de coivre en somet levée...."

[18] This was the prince who, according to Orderic Vital (Hist. Eccl. vii.) introduced the long turned-up boots called "pigaces" which were one sign of effeminacy among the dandies of the Red King's Court, where men wore long hair, shaved off in front, wide sleeves, and the narrow and flowing robes which were a very characteristic change from the short tunic of the Conqueror's men, which permitted them to run or ride, or fight in freedom.

[19] "Qant jo, dist-il, releverai
Dedeiz sa terre à messe irai
Riche offrende li porterai
Mille chandeles li ofrerai."
Robert Wace, ib.

[20] According to Wace, Odo had been taken in the Isle of Wight and imprisoned in the "Tower of Rouen" for four years. See "Roman de Rou," v. 14,298.

[21] The complete list has been printed from the archives of Rouen by M. Ch. de Beaurepaire.

[22] "Cum essem in periculo corporis mei in regio carcere apud Rothomagum detentus," he says.

[23] Outside France the Bishop of Geneva is a famous example of this ecclesiastical right of pardon; and even limiting ourselves to French Territory, apart from Orléans, we shall find instances at Laon, at Vendôme on the Fête of St. Lazare, at the Petit Châtelet of Paris on Palm Sunday, and at Embrun. But in none of these cases is there either proof or record of so continuous and persistent an exercise of the privilege as is found at Rouen.

[24] With this phrase in 1210 compare the words recorded in MS. 69 in the Rouen Library, where the privilege is spoken of as "accordé à la Sainte vierge Marie et au bienheureux Saint Romain," in 1299.

[25] M. Paul Meyer, head of the École des Chartes, has, I hear, just discovered a mediæval poem about this interesting person, called the "Histoire de Guillaume le Maréchal." It was in the British Museum, and his edition will be of great interest to British history.

[26] In the matter of this word "Gothic," I am of the opinion of Rénan, who writes: "En Allemagne jusqu'au quatorzième siècle ce style s'appela 'opus Francigenum,' et c'est là le nom qu'il aurait dû garder." If it is too much to expect of future writers that they will give up the phrase, let them at least follow the advice of Mr Moore and limit "Gothic" to the French pointed school of the Ile de France. Our own architecture has already received quite enough additional labels to prevent confusion.

[27] In 1897 two men were still alive who saw it burn, and all the gargoyles vomiting molten lead; they were M. Noël the Librarian, and le père Pepin, janitor of the Town Belfry.

[28] In venturing to suggest a few such expeditions in my appendix, I have found it convenient to assume that even if my reader were not a guest in the Hôtel du Nord, he would invariably come to the archway of the Grosse Horloge to meditate on the programme for the day.

[29] Their affection was not always grammatical, as may be seen from the old title "Rue du Gros Horloge" on the corner of the street to-day.

[30] There is a charming picture by Bonington, who was particularly attracted by Rouen, of "Le Gros Horloge," showing this house still in its old place in the famous street.

[31] This quaint courtyard is disappointing after you have read De La Quérière's warm eulogies, and I have only found two occasions on which it became notable in the history of the town. In 1461 the Conte de Charolais lodged here with Regnault de Villeneuve, Avocat du Roi, whose house was known then as the "Lion d'Or"; and when the White Rose triumphed in England, Margaret of Anjou found a refuge here by the orders of Louis XI.

[32] Though little could be done during the English occupation, it must have been enlarged in 1440, for we find in the archives of that century that reference is made at various times to (1) "la salle du conseil du manoir de la ville," (2) "galleries du manoir," (3) "une salle de parmi où étaient les livres de ladite ville," (4) "une cellier," (5) "une chapelle particulière," (6) "un jardin carré," (7) "une cour carrée devant la grande salle," and (8) "un puits."

[33] See Mr Gilbert Parker's novel, "The Battle of the Strong," in which Jersey is carefully described, on p. 189, "A Norman dead a thousand years cries Haro! Haro! if you tread upon his grave," and p. 360.

[34] It had always been a bitter grievance that St. Ouen held a monopoly of the public mills for their bakers, and the grotesque procession of the "oison bridé," in which two monks carried a goose by a rope every year to the Town Mill in the Rue Coquerel, had not sufficed to win their pardon from the lower classes.

[35] The Town Accounts are filled with such cheerful business entries as the following: "Avec Mons. Jehan Delammarre qui fu clerc de la ville, à l'Escu de France auprès la Madeleine le darrenier jour de septembre, 28."

"Pour boire au matin avec les advocas chiez Jehan le Bucher, 4s. 6d."

"Pour boire avec le lieutenant du Maire," and so forth. The fifteen taverns mentioned in the accounts of the jovial town clerk from 1377 to 1381 are all to be found going very strong in the sixteenth century. M. de Beaurepaire has preserved their fascinating names:—L'Asne Roye, Les Petits souliers, Le Fleur de Lys près St. Maclou, Le Cygne devant St. Martin, Le Singe près de la Madeleine, and many more.

[36] No. 41 Rue des Bons Enfants is a capital example of the Fifteenth Century Timbered inn. To the right of the inner yard a gallery juts out on crooked pillars, the "avant-soliers" so common in mediæval streets, and shown in Lelieur's drawings. Queer gables rise into the air at odd corners, and if you are sufficiently hardened to mediæval atmospheres you may discover other stables than the big shed at the entrance, and you will understand the reason for the Notice "On ne répond pas des accidents qui peuvent arriver aux chevaux." Through a dark narrow slit the phantom of a cobwebbed stable-boy will lead you into the blackened aged stables, and the spire of the abandoned church of St. Croix des Pelletiers rises above them. Lunch here upon omelettes and sound wine; but sleep were possibly unwise, though "Room Number Ten" is almost too fascinating an apartment to resist.

[37] Her exact words were carefully recorded by the horrified confrèrie: "Ha! faux traître, meurdrier, tu as pris le fait sus toy, pour délivrer autruy; tu t'en repentiras. Je pri à dieu et à Monseigneur Saint Romain que tu faches encore le fait de quoy tu saies trainné et pendu."

[38] The "Cronica" begins as follows:—"Este libro ha nombre el Victorial, é fabla en él de los quatros Principes que fueron mayores en el mundo...." It was published in Madrid in 1880, 236 pp. 4to, and was translated from the original Spanish by MM. Circourt and Puymaigre. (Paris, Victor Palmé, 1867, 590 pp. 8vo).

[39] M. de Bellengues lived in Michel Leconte's house, called the Manoir de la Fontaine, which was disputed by the parishes of St. Lô and St. Herbland. In it was a little chapel very fashionable for private weddings, and a mysterious apartment which could be hired for honeymoons. The Manor was bought in 1429, for the convenience of monks visiting Rouen, by the Abbaye du Bec, from which the street took its name.

[40] For the whole of this chapter see Map B.

[41] During the same changes, Pierre Poolin was given the office of Procureur-Général of Rouen, and Jean Segneult exercised the functions of the Mayoralty, though without the actual name.

[42] The prophetic word "Jamais" was in the device upon the tapestry above him.

[43] Eighteen million francs would represent the relative value of this sum nowadays. It was not fully paid eleven years later.

[44] No one has ever explained this to my satisfaction. But visitors to Heidelberg will remember the connection of a fox's brush with the Court Fool Perkeo, and various other legends of Renard which give the symbol, I fear, anything but a courteous significance for a foe beaten but not disgraced.

[45] The Englishmen recorded that some of their prisoners were put in the "Ostel de la Cloche dont avoit la garde Jehan Lemorgue." By this changed name is meant the humbled Hôtel de Ville, where prisons had been managed in the lower storeys early in the fifteenth century.

[46] After the Duke of Bedford had given the Célestins their Monastery, Charles VII. further assisted them by taking off all taxes on their wine. In recognition of this a monk used to dance and sing in front of the Monastic barrels as they were rolled past the Governor's house. Occasionally the combination of good claret and freedom from taxation overcame the monk's discretion, and the old proverb "Voilà un plaisant Célestin" preserves the memory of some such amiably festive ecclesiastic. The "Oison bridé" of the monks of St. Ouen was another instance of the way in which feudal privileges were commemorated by queer ceremonials which long outlived the society that gave them birth.

[47] In 1431 another prisoner, Souplis Lemire, of Yvetôt, was pardoned for exactly the same crime. By a lie he induced Jehanne Corvière to mount behind his horse, rode with her into a country lane, where in the words of the manuscript, "il la féry et frapa de plusieurs orbes coups, plus de l'espace de quatre heures, et lui fist la char toute noire et meudrie en plusieurs parties de son corps, et tant fist que il oult violemment et oultre le gré d'elle sa compaignie par grant force et à plusieurs clameurs de haro." In this case it was evidently the influence of the offender's family which procured him the Fierte, and his victim raised the "clameur de haro" during the ceremony itself. For this she was obliged to apologise to the canons, but Lemire's conduct throughout had been so disgraceful that, though the Fierte had absolved him definitely of all criminal penalty, after eight years of discussion he was condemned in the civil courts to pay damages of 250 livres tournois to Jehanne. In 1540 the same principle was upheld, and it generally seems to have been the custom that any prisoner chosen should give surety for the payment of his civil penalties before he was released by the Fierte from his criminal sentence.

[48] This Ellis was particularly lucky, for the first prisoner chosen had been Denisot le Charretier, who was claimed as an ecclesiastic by the Archbishop, Louis of Luxembourg, who was also Chancellor of France for the English King. They tried to secure his deliverance, but the Chancellor was too strong for them, and the dispute was settled by the intervention of Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, who came in person to the Chapterhouse and persuaded the canons to renounce their right and choose another prisoner.

[49] These queerly distorted names are not the only ones that recall the English occupation. A still more vivid memory of it may be found in their old bowling green, which is still the "Boulingrin" of the Boulevard St. Hilaire (see Map B), a word with which Brachet compares "flibustier," "poulie," and others. The "redingote" for our riding-coat is at once a more familiar and more modern instance.

[50] There is a quaint suggestion of repentance for all this in the cathedral of to-day. If you enter by the Portail des Libraires and stand beside the north-east pillar of the great lantern, at your feet is the tombstone of one of these unjust judges, Denis Gastinel, and beneath it is the great Calorifère that warms the building, a suggestively gruesome foretaste of the punishment which the modern canons evidently think his conduct towards Jeanne d'Arc deserves.

[51] The actual death-sentence, pronounced on the 29th of May by the forty-two judges in full council ran as follows:—

"Mandons ... que vous citiez ladite Jeanne à comparaitre en personne devant nous demain, heure de huit heures du matin, au lieu dit Le Vieux Marché, pour se voir par nous déclarée relapse, excommuniée, hérétique, avec l'intimation à lui faire en pareil cas—Donné en la Chapelle du Manoir archiépiscopal de Rouen, le mardi 29 mai, l'an du Seigneur 1431, après la fête de la Trinité de notre Seigneur."

Yet there is not a single mark or inscription to record the fact of which this lonely and neglected chapel was the scene.

[52] With all that happened before Jeanne came to Rouen I have no concern here, and I must take it for granted that you know at least the outlines. But to confirm the sentence to which this note refers, I may add that they still point out to you at Chinon the well where she alighted off her horse, and the house of the "bonne femme" who sheltered her. Of the Tour du Coudray in the Castle of Chinon, as of the great hall on the first floor where she met the King, little save ruined stones remain. And it is not often that even so much as that is left of other places in which she is known to have stayed, such as the chamber in the Castle of Crotoy, the tower at Beaurevoir, the gate-tower of Compiègne, or any of the cells in which she was confined within the Castle of Rouen itself.

[53] See Map C.

[54] Most of the dwelling-houses were of wood, which explains why so few are left.

[55] The "Procès de Réhabilitation" reveals, on the testimony of Manchon the clerk, that her reply as recorded in the "Procès de condemnation" was not correctly set down with reference to her change of attire. She resumed her male dress, though it meant her death-sentence, because, as both Massieu and Ladvenu swore, several gross attempts had been made upon her honour since the scene in the Cemetery of St. Ouen; and Pierre Cauchon cannot have been unaware that this would certainly occur.

[56] As a matter of recorded fact no sentence was then pronounced on her save by the impatient soldiers. The Bailli of Rouen, Messire Raoul le Bouteiller, only said the words I have given above, as his lieutenant swore in the second Procès, and this is why the sentence is not recorded in the minutes of the Baillage.

[57] Perhaps it was in honour of these legendary loaves that the acrostic of SAC BLÉ was composed from the six dioceses dependent on the archbishopric of Rouen; Séez, Alençon, Coutances, Bayeux, Lisieux, Evreux.

[58] M. de Beaurepaire has collected a few other names connected with the building. It was first dedicated when Arthur Fillon was the vicar, who was a friend of Cardinal d'Amboise and afterwards Bishop of Senlis. After the disappearance of Pierre Robin, the first architect mentioned, another stranger called Oudin de Mantes is given control, with lodgings provided for him in the Rue du Bac. In 1446 Simon Lenoir of Rouen (who took Berneval's place under the English) worked at this church.

[59] The name is said to have arisen from the fact that it was chiefly built by the fines paid by those of the faithful who ate butter during Lent.

[60] For the beginning of these confrèries, see chapter v. p. 85.

[61] In the words of the manuscript the man "estoit couché avec une femme mariée, autre que la sienne."

[62] Mr Gosse records in his "Modern English Literature" that it was a citizen of Rouen (Andrew Miller by name) who introduced printing into Scotland in 1507.

[63] This clearance was effected in August 1897, and Miss James took advantage of it to make her drawing from a point of view which has been invisible for centuries and may soon be lost again.

[64] This has been admirably described in Mrs Mark Pattison's volumes on the "Renaissance of Art in France," though the authoress refuses to admit that Michelet's view of Pilon's motive is correct. But in Vol. I. compare pp. 236 and 21.

[65] Called Le Roux d'Esneval in a genealogy of 1689, and perhaps relations of Louis de Brézé's first wife, whom he married before Diane de Poitiers. See the end of Chapter X.

[66] There were, of course, men to do the same kind office for Henry VIII. In the Hampton Court Gallery, see No. 342, and the notes in Mr Ernest Law's catalogue.

[67] It would be interesting to know whether anything can be traced of them now. It is rather extraordinary to consider the number of artistic objects which were carried off from Rouen in exactly this way. Apart from the windows of St. Herbland, which I mentioned at the beginning of Chapter VII., a window from Saint Nicolas le Paincteur called the "Visitation" has been recognised by a canon of Rouen in York Minster; windows from Saint Jean sur Renelle were brought to London, and exhibited, with others, about 1810, by Mr Stevenson of Norwich; and other paintings on glass from the monastery of the Chartreux du Petit Quévilly also reached our shores. All of which would seem to indicate that we saw the value of good work earlier in this century than the French did. But they have had their revenge since then; and in the carving of the Maison Bourgtheroulde we have neglected to preserve one of the best memorials of England that exists in France.

[68] In November 1774 the Society of Antiquaries published a large engraving of this picture (which is still procurable) by James Basine, after a drawing by E. Edwards from the original then in the Royal Apartments of Windsor Castle. In this you may see the Fountains of Bacchus and Cupid running wine, in front of the English Pavilion, which is full of windows. The Salamander of Francis floats in the air above. In 1781 the same engraver copied the companion picture of the embarkation of Henry VIII. from Dover in the "Great Harry," after a drawing by S.H. Grimm.

[69] Regnier had come to Rouen to be treated by Lesonneur, a famous local specialist; but he unfortunately celebrated his recovery with a little too much Vin d'Espagne, and died in the Rue de la Prison in 1613.

[70] The native name for this staple of trade was "ibirapitanga," and with it they shipped across monkeys and parroquets for the ladies of the French Court. That there was a considerable rivalry with Portugal in these matters may be gathered from the remark in Marino Cavalli (Venetian Ambassador to the Court of France) that a Portuguese vessel was burnt off Brazil in 1546. But the first document on Brazil ever published in France was the account of the savages exhibited before Henri II. in 1550. It is probably written by Maurice Sève and Claude de Tillemont and was published in 1551. Before that year it will be remembered that the only works about America known were the book of Fernandez in Spanish, Ramusio's account in Italian, and the letters of Cortes in German. After it, Thevet's "France Antarticque" appeared in 1558, and Nicolas Barré's letters in 1557. So that the book of the entry of Henri II. has the importance of filling a gap in "American Literature."

[71] In that year was carved for No. 17 Rue Malpalu the "enseigne" of the Brazilian savages, which has only disappeared in the last few years. It is difficult to say that any ecclesiastical carvings are meant for Indians, for I have seen figures with plumes and tattooing and tomahawks in a French church of the thirteenth century which were merely meant for peculiarly gruesome devils; but the feathered dresses and bow and arrows of the figures in the Church of St. Jacques at Dieppe are of an age that may very well agree with this appearance of Brazilians as public characters in France.

In 1565 Godefroy's "Cérémonial de France" records that they were again shown to Charles IX. at Troyes, and Montaigne's questions to them in 1563 will be remembered. They replied that what astonished them most was (Essais I. xxx.) to see so many strong men armed and bearded (meaning the Swiss guard probably) obeying a puny little person like the King. They were also fairly puzzled at seeing men gorged with plenty and living in ostentation on one side of the road, and starveling ruffians begging their bread in the gutter on the other without attempting to take the rich men by the throat, or even burn their houses. On which the essayist's comment is "Tout cela ne va pas trop mal; mais quoy! ils ne portent point de hault de chausses," a truly Rabelaisian reason for their want of intellect!

[72] Its title-page is too good to be lost, and runs as follows, without the charming spacing and lettering of the original:—

"Cest La Deduction du sumptueux ordre plaisantz spectacles et magnificques theatres dressés et exhibes par les citoiens de Rouen ville Metropolitaine du pays de Normandie, A la sacree Maiesté du Treschristian Roy de France Henry secōd leur souverain seigneur, Et a Tresillustre dame, maDame Katharine de Medicis, La Royne son espouse, lors de leur triumphant joyeux et nouvel advenement en icelle ville, Qui fut es iours d'Octobre, Mil cinq cens cinquante, Et pour plus expresse intelligence de ce tant excellent triumphe, Les figures et pourtraictz des principaulx aornements d'iceluy y sont apposez chascun en son lieu comme l'on pourra veoir par le discours de l'histoire.... Avec priuilege du Roy. On les vend a rouen chez Robert le Hoy Robert et Jehan dictz du Gord tenantz leur Boutique Au portail des Libraires. 1551."

[73] The portrait of him reproduced in this chapter was etched on steel in 1644, from a drawing by Michel Lasne of Caen.

[74] The fine chapel of the Lycée Corneille, with its façade upon the Rue Bourg l'Abbé, is well worth visiting.

 

 










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