« AnteriorContinuar »
Returning from our little tour of the town, we make our way to the railway station. This was about half a mile from the steamboat pier, and in a direct line, so that those who passed immediately from one to the other had but little chance of losing their way. But short as the distance was, it was very inconvenient passing from the steamer to the railway, especially with luggage, and more especially in wet weather. It involved a conflict with porters, the engagement of a diligence or some other vehicle, and was often a trial to those upon whom the sea had imposed tribute. This is now all obviated -a new arrangement having been effected, by which you can pass from the steamer to the station by a new rail, which has only been recently constructed, but will be gratefully appreciated by this season's tourists. Having secured a seat beside the left window of the carriage, which commands the best views, we start for Paris.
DIEPPE TO ROUEN.
The following are the principal stations we shall pass-
and a word or two about the places of greatest note will beguile the time on the journey.
Longueville is situated upon a stream which runs into the sea near Dieppe; we are interested in the fact that the village was originally the seat of the Giffards, Earls and Dukes of Buckingham. The railway station occupies part of the site of an ancient abbey, a portion of the remains of which has been converted into a cotton factory. The abbey, which was extremely opulent, was erected in 1084, by Walter Giffard, Earl of Buckingham, who died in England, but whose body was brought here, and interred in the entrance to the church. His epitaph, written by the monks whose interests he, during his life-time, had so favoured, told us how
“The generous knight, his country's faithful son,
Auffay is situated in the charming valley of the Scie, the windings of which are so numerous, that it is crossed and recrossed by the railway more than twenty times. The place is stated by Orderieus Vitalis to have received its name from its numerous beech trees (Affagium). It contains several cotton and leather factories, and does a good trade in corn. The Priory of Auffay is asserted to have been founded about the time of the Norman Conquest, by Gilbert de Hengleville, a valiant Norman knight. The ancient castle, which formerly overlooked the town, has disappeared, but the church and Virgin chapel are worthy of notice for those who have leisure for a visit.
Saint Victor.—Between Auffay and Saint Victor the scenery is very beautiful, with grand old forests, rich pastures, leafy woods, sylvan dales, and a hundred other charms which will attract and delight the tourist. Saint Victor is so called from the ancient abbey of that name which once existed here, but of which only the church now remains. The abbey was founded by William the Conqueror, of whom a statue still exists here.
We then come into manufacturing regions, which multiply as we approach Rouen.
Monville is a pleasant-looking little town, and wears an aspect of prosperity. Paper mills and cotton factories abound in all directions.
Malaunay is situated on the river Cailly. Here the line to Havre branches off.
Crossing a stately viaduct, ninety-five feet high, on eight arches, forty-nine feet wide, which spans the Cailly, and passing a dense wood, we come out into a neighbourhood in which the scenery much resembles that of the South of England, and the character of the agricultural products is much the same.
Maromme supposed to have derived its name from the ancient river Matrona, which waters it. The inhabitants (about 2,000) are employed principally in the manufacture of cotton, paper, and gunpowder. Then through tunnels, past Devi.le, formerly the seat of the Archbishop of Rouen, and then we arrive at the “ Manchester" of France.
From Maromme to Rouen the line skirts the side of a high hill, and gives a very commanding view of the landscapes which stretch out to the right.* The approach to Rouen is through a tunnel, which runs under the Cemetery of St. Gervais, and the suburbs of Bovreuil and Cauchoise. At the station, which is in a deep cutting between hills, the chief attraction is the tastefully arranged buffet, or refreshment room, adorned with groups of the finest flowers of the season, and amply supplied with fruits and provisions of the best quality.
ROUEN, The beautiful capital of one of the most interesting districts in France, a land consecrated by the pen of Shakespeare, and abounding with monuments, ruins, beautiful prospects, Gothic cathedrals, tombs of Norman dukes, ancient fortresses, and quaint mansions. “Look attentively," says Jules Janin, “and in the fertile plains, beneath the springing verdure of the wheat which covers the meadow, you will certainly recognise a field of battle. In these vast spaces, now so highly cultivated, formerly met France and England, armed to the teeth ; they fought against each other, during three hundred years; they fought with rage and blasphemy." But now the hosts of English soldiers have disappeared, and their places are taken by crowds of tourists, who are received with words of welcome by the descendants of the former antagonists of their fathers. Leaving our hand bags and travelling traps at the station, or at the Victoria Hotel, we prepare for a two hours' stroll through the ancient city. Proceeding down the broad and stately Rue de l'Impératrice, we find ourselves in an entirely new world.
* Try therefore to shift your seat to the right side of the carriage.
Rouen is no more like Paris, than Manchester is like London. There are few idlers here. Everybody appears to have something to do. During the day-time, the streets are comparatively deserted, except in the neighbourhood of the markets; but in the evening, the French factory lads and lasses come out in great force. Very intelligent are the great mass of these workers. They look like what they are, a patient, industrious, orderly body of people, who are not ashamed of work, and are too proud to be idle. There are few cafés of the Parisian type in Rouen, although cabarets and wine shops abound in every street. Amusements are few and far between, a single theatre forming almost the sole pleasure resort of the inhabitants. Churches, however, are to be found in all parts of the city, and these should not, on any account, be overlooked by the visitor. The Cathedral, with its curious spire of cast iron, is the first object to be visited. Turning on the left from the Rue de l’Impératrice into the Rue de la Grosse-Horloge (street of the Great Clock), we pass under the great clock tower, and soon find ourselves standing before the magnificent edifice, in which rest the remains of the famous Rollo,
first Duke of Normandy; his son, Guillaume-LongueEpée, assassinated by order of Arnold, Count of Flanders ; Richard Cour de Lion, his brother, Henry the younger ; the Duke of Bedford; Louis de Brézé, husband of the celebrated Diana of Poitiers; and many others. It is a really splendid building, containing numerous chapels profusely adorned with large paintings, richly sculptured monuments, and gorgeously enshrined relics, the whole affording a tolerably good idea of the immense wealth and artistic taste possessed by the principal dignitaries of the Roman church. The front of the Cathedral is adorned with two towers, of which the highest is called the “Butter tower,” having been built with the proceeds of the sale of permissions to eat butter during Lent. In the “Chapel of Our Lady" is to be seen a relic dear to all Englishmen. This is an ancient figure in limestone of King Richard Coeur de Lion. It was discovered in the Cathedral choir in 1838. His heart, found about the same time, is now preserved in the Museum. Leaving the cathedral, we pass on to the famous Church of St. Quen, stated to be one of the finest Gothic edifices in the world. It is lighted by one hundred and twenty-eight windows, and contains several chapels, fitted up in a most beautiful manner. In one of these chapels is to be found the tomb of John Talbot, the youngest son of Talbot, the celebrated Marshal of France. Of the other churches in Rouen, St. Godard (famous for its painted windows), St. Niacaise, and St. Vincent, are the most deserving of a visit. Besides these, there are several churches, which are used as chapels of ease. One great point of interest, to the English visitor, is the Place de la Pucelle, in the centre of which the unfortunate Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake in 1431.
The name of Jeanne d'Arc, the heroic but unfortunate