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whose slope the cemetery stands. Beneath me in the distance, and dim-discovered through the misty and smoky atmosphere of evening, rose the countless roofs and spires of the city. Beyond, throwing his level rays athwart the dusky landscape, sank the broad red sun. The distant murmur of the city rose upon my ear; and the toll of the evening bell came up, mingled with the rattle of the paved street and the confused sounds of labor. What an hour for meditation! What a contrast between the metropolis of the living and the metropolis of the dead! I could not help calling to my mind that allegory of mortality, written by a hand which has been many a long year cold :“ Earth goeth upon earth as man upon mould,
Like as earth upon earth never go should, 1 I subjoin this relic of old English verse entire, and in its antiquated language, for those of my readers who may have antiquarian taste. It is copied from a book whose title I have forgotten, and of which I have but a single leaf, containing the poem. In describing the antiquities of the church of Stratford-upon-Avon, the writer gives the following account of a very old painting upon the wall, and of the poem which served as its motto. The painting is no longer visible, having been effaced in repairing the church.
“ Against the west wall of the nave, on the south side of the arch, was painted the martyrdom of Thomas-àBecket, while kneeling at the altar of St. Benedict in Canterbury cathedral ; below this was the figure of an angel, probably St. Michael, supporting a long scroll, upon which were seven stanzas in old English, being an allegory of mortality :
Earth goeth upon earth as glistening gold,
And yet shall earth unto earth rather than he would. “ Lo, earth on earth, consider thou may,
How earth cometh to earth naked alway,
Before I left the graveyard the shades of evening had fallen, and the objects around me grown dim and indistinct.
As I passed the gateway, I turned to take a parting look. I could distinguish only the chapel on the summit of the hill, and here and there a lofty obelisk of snow-white marble, rising from the black and heavy mass of foliage around, and pointing upward to the gleam of the departed sun, that still lingered in the sky, and mingled with the soft starlight of a summer evening.
“ Erth apon erth wynnys castellys and towrys
Then seth erth unto erth thys ys all owrys
“ Erth goth apon erth as man apon mowld
Lyke as erth apon erth never goo schold
“Why that erth loveth erth wondur me thynke
“Lo erth on erth consedur thow may
“ Erthe oute of Erthe ys wondurly wroght
Erth hath gotyn uppon erth a dygnyte of noght
“I counsill erth apon erth that ys wondurly wrogt
“ Erth apon erth wold be a kyng
But how that erth gott to erth he thyngkys nothyng When erth byddys erth hys rentys whom bryng Then schall erth apon erth have a hard ptyng
“ Beneath were two men, holding a scroll over a body wrapped in a winding-sheet, and covered with some emblems of mortality,” etc.
THE VALLEY OF THE LOIRE.
Je ne conçois qu'une manière de voyager plus agréable que d'aller à cheval ; c'est d'aller à pied. On part à son moment, on s'arrête à sa volonté, on fait tant et si peu d'exercise qu'on veut. Quand on ne veut qu'arriver, on peut courir en chaise de poste ; mais quand on veut voyager, il faut aller à pied.
In the beautiful month of October, I made a foot excursion along the banks of the Loire, from Orléans to Tours. This luxuriant region is justly called the garden of France. From Orléans to Blois, the whole valley of the Loire is one continued vineyard. The bright green foliage of the vine spreads, like the undulations of the sea, over all the landscape, with here and there a silver flash of the river, a sequestered hamlet, or the towers of an old château, to enliven and variegate the scene.
The vintage had already commenced. The peasantry were busy in the fields, — the song that cheered their labor was on the breeze, and the heavy wagon tottered by, laden with the clusters of the vine. Everything around me wore that happy look which makes the heart glad. In the morning I arose with the lark ; and at night I slept where sunset overtook me. The healthy exercise of foot-travelling, the pure, bracing air of autumn, and the cheerful aspect of the whole landscape about me, gave fresh elasticity to a mind not overburdened with care, and made me forget not only the fatigue of walking, but also the consciousness of being alone.
My first day's journey brought me at evening to a village, whose name I have forgotten, situated about eight leagues from Orléans. It is a small, obscure hamlet, not mentioned in the guide-book, and stands upon the precipitous banks of a deep ravine, through which a noisy brook leaps down to turn the ponderous wheel of a thatch-roofed mill. The village inn stands upon the highway; but the village itself is not visible to the traveller as he passes. It is completely hidden in the lap of a wooded valley, and so embowered in trees that not a roof nor a chimney peeps out to betray its hiding-place. It is like the nest of a ground-swallow, which the passing footstep almost treads upon, and yet it is not seen. I passed by with
out suspecting that a village was near ; and the little inn had a look so uninviting that I did not even enter it.
After proceeding a mile or two farther, I perceived, upon my left, a village spire rising over the vineyards. Towards this I directed my footsteps; but it seemed to recede as I advanced, and at last quite disappeared. It was evidently many miles distant; and as the path I followed descended from the highway, it had gradually sunk beneath a swell of the vine-clad landscape. I now found myself in the midst of an extensive vineyard. It was just sunset; and the last golden rays lingered on the rich and mellow scenery around me. antry were still busy at their task; and the occasional bark of a dog, and the distant sound of an evening bell, gave fresh romance to the
The reality of many a day-dream of childhood, of many a poetic revery of youth, was before me. I stood at sunset amid the luxuriant vineyards of France !
The first person I met was a poor an, a little bowed down with age, gathering grapes into a large basket. She was dressed like the poorest class of peasantry, and pursued her solitary task alone, heedless of the cheerful gossip and the merry laugh which came from a band of more youthful vintagers at a short distance from her. She was so intently engaged in her work, that she did not perceive my approach until I bade her good evening. On hearing my voice, she looked up from her labor, and returned the salutation ; and, on my asking her if there were a tavern or a farm-house in the neighborhood where I could pass the night, she showed me the pathway through the vineyard that led to the village, and then added, with a look of curiosity,
“ You must be a stranger, sir, in these parts."
“ More than a thousand leagues !” at length repeated she ; “ and why have you come so far from home?” 6. To travel;
to see how you live in this country. Have
you no relations in your own ?” “ Yes ; I have both brothers and sisters, a father and”
“ And a mother?”
Here the old woman gave me a piercing look of reproof; shook her head mournfully, and, with a deep sigh, as if some painful recollections had been awakened in her bosom, turned again to her solitary task.
I felt rebuked ; for there is something almost prophetic in the admonitions of the old. The eye of age looks meekly into my heart ! the voice of age echoes mournfully through it! the hoary head and palsied hand of age plead irresistibly for its sympathies ! I venerate old age; and I love not the man who can look without emotion upon the sunset of life, when the dusk of evening begins to gather over the watery eye, and the shadows of twilight grow broader and deeper upon the understanding !
I pursued the pathway which led towards the village, and the next person I encountered was an old man, stretched lazily beneath the vines upon a little strip of turf, at a point where four paths met, forming a crossway in the vineyard. He was clad in a coarse garb of gray, with a pair of long gaiters or spatterdashes. Beside him lay a blue cloth-cap, a staff, and an old weather-beaten knapsack. I saw at once that he was a foot-traveller like myself, and therefore, without more ado, entered into conversation with him. From his language, and the peculiar manner in which he now and then wiped his upper lip with the back of his hand, as if in search of the mustache which was no longer there, I judged that he had been a soldier. In this opinion
I was not mistaken. He had served under Napoleon, and had followed the imperial eagle across the Alps, and the Pyrenees, and the burning sands of Egypt. Like every vieille moustache, he spake with enthusiasm of the Little Corporal, and cursed the English, the Germans, the Spanish, and every other race on earth, except the Great Nation,
“ I like,” said he, “after a long day's march, to lie down in this way upon the grass, and enjoy the cool of the evening. It reminds me of the bivouacs of other days, and of old friends who are now up there.” Here he pointed with his finger to the sky.
They have reached the last étape before me, in the long march. But I shall go soon. We shall all meet again at the last roll-call. Sacré nom de .! There's a tear!”
He wiped it away with his sleeve.
Here our colloquy was interrupted by the approach of a group of vintagers, who were returning homeward from their labor. To this party I joined myself, and invited the old soldier to do the same; but he shook his head.
“ I thank you ; my pathway lies in a different direction."
“But there is no other village near, and the sun has already set."
“ No matter, I am used to sleeping on the ground. Good-night.”
I left the old man to his meditations, and walked on in company with the vintagers. Following a well-trodden pathway through the vineyards, we soon descended the valley's slope, and I suddenly found myself in the bosom of one of those little hamlets from which the laborer rises to his toil as the skylark to his song My companions wished me a goodnight, as each entered his own thatch-roofed cottage, and a little girl led me out to the very inn which an hour or two before I had disdained to enter.
When I awoke in the morning, a brilliant autumnal sun was shining in at my window. The merry song of birds mingled sweetly with the sound of rustling leaves and the gurgle of the brook. The vintagers were going forth to their toil ; the wine-press was busy in the shade, and the clatter of the mill kept time to the miller's song. I loitered about the village
with a feeling of calm delight. I was unwilling to leave the seclusion of this sequestered hamlet ; but at length, with reluctant step, I took the cross-road through the vineyard, and in a moment the little village had sunk again, as if by enchantment, into the bosom of the earth.
I breakfasted at the town of Mer; and, leaving the high-road to Blois on the right, passed down to the banks of the Loire, through a long, broad avenue of poplars and sycamores. I crossed the river in a boat, and in the after part of the day I found myself before the high and massive walls of the château of Chambord. This château is one of the finest specimens of the ancient Gothic castle to be found in Europe. The little river Cosson fills its deep and ample moat, and above it the huge towers and heavy battlements rise in stern and solemn grandeur, moss-grown with age, and blackened by the storms of three centuries. Within, all is mournful and deserted. The grass has overgrown the pavement of the courtyard, and the rude sculpture upon the walls is broken and defaced. From the courtyard I entered the central tower, and, ascending the principal staircase, went out upon the battlements. I seemed to have stepped back into the precincts of the feudal ages ; and, as I passed along through echoing corridors, and vast, deserted halls, stripped of their furniture, and mouldering silently away, the distant past came back upon me; and the times when the clang of arms, and the tramp of mail-clad men, and the sounds of music and revelry and wassail, echoed along those highvaulted and solitary chambers !
My third day's journey brought me to the ancient city of Blois, the chief town of the department of Loire-et-Cher. This city is celebrated for the purity with which even the lower classes of its inhabitants speak their native tongue. It rises precipitously from the northern bank of the Loire; and many of its streets are so steep as to be almost impassable for carriages. On the brow of the hill, overlooking the roofs of the city, and commanding a fine view of the Loire and its noble bridge, and the surrounding country, sprinkled with cottages and châteaux, runs an ample terrace,
planted with trees, and laid out as a public walk. The view from this terrace is one of the most beautiful in France. But what most strikes the eye of the traveller at Blois is an old, though still unfinished, castle. Its huge parapets of hewn stone stand upon either side of the street; but they have walled up the wide gateway, from which the colossal drawbridge was to have sprung high in air, connecting together the main towers of the building, and the two hills upon whose slope its foundations stand. The aspect of this vast pile is gloomy and desolate. It seems as if the strong hand of the builder had been arrested in the midst of his task by the stronger hand of death ; and the unfinished fabric stands a lasting monument both of the power and weakness of man, — of his vast desires, his sanguine hopes, his ambitious purposes, — and of the unlooked-for conclusion, where all these desires, and hopes, and purposes are so often arrested. There is also at Blois another ancient château, to which some historic interest is attached, as being the scene of the massacre of the Duke of Guise.
On the following day, I left Blois for Amboise; and, after walking several leagues along the dusty highway, crossed the river in a boat to the little village of Moines, which lies amid luxuriant vineyards upon the southern bank of the Loire. From Moines to Amboise the road is truly delightful. The rich lowland scenery, by the margin of the river, is verdant even in October; and occasionally the landscape is diversified with the picturesque cottages of the vintagers, cut in the rock along the roadside, and overhung by the thick foliage of the vines above them.
At Amboise I took a cross-road, which led me to the romantic borders of the Cher and the château of Chenonceau. This beautiful château, as well as that of Chambord, was built by the gay and munificent Francis the First. One is a specimen of strong and massive architecture, — a dwelling for a warrior; but the other is of a lighter and more graceful construction, and was destined for those soft languishments of passion with which the fascinating Diane de Poitiers had filled the bosom of that voluptuous monarch.
The château of Chenonceau is built upon arches across the river Cher, whose waters are made to supply the deep moat at each extremity. There is a spacious courtyard in front, from which a drawbridge conducts to the outer hall of the castle. There the armor of Francis the First still hangs upon the wall, - his shield, and helm, and lance, — as if the chivalrous prince had just exchanged them for the silken robes of the drawing-room. From this hall a door opens into a long gallery, extending the whole length of the building across the Cher. The walls of the gallery are hung with the faded portraits of the long line of the descendants of Hugh Capet ; and the windows, looking up and down the stream, command a fine reach of pleasant river scenery. This is said to be the only château in France in which the ancient furniture of its original age is preserved. In one part of the building, you are shown the bed-chamber of Diane de Poitiers, with its antique chairs covered with faded damask and embroidery, her bed, and a portrait of the royal favorite hanging over the mantelpiece. In another you see the apartment of the infamous Catherine de' Medici ; a venerable arm-chair and an autograph letter of Henry the Fourth ; and in an old laboratory, among broken crucibles, and neckless retorts, and drums, and trumpets, and skins of wild beasts, and other ancient lumber, of various kinds, are to be seen the bed-posts of Francis the First ! Doubtless the naked walls and the vast solitary chambers of an old and desolate château inspire a feeling of greater solemnity and awe ; but when the antique furniture of the olden time remains, — the faded tapestry on the walls, and the arm-chair by the fireside, - the effect upon the mind is more magical and delightful. The old inhabitants of the place, long gathered to their fathers, though living still in history, seem to have left their halls for the chase or the tournament; and as the heavy door swings upon its reluctant hinge one almost expects to see the gallant princes and courtly dames enter those halls again, and sweep in stately procession along the silent corridors.
Rapt in such fancies as these, and gazing on the beauties of this noble edifice, and the
soft scenery around it, I lingered, unwilling to depart, till the rays of the setting sun, streaming through the dusty windows, admonished me that the day was drawing rapidly to a close. I sallied forth from the southern gate of the château, and crossing the broken drawbridge, pursued a pathway along the bank of the river, still gazing back upon those towering walls, now bathed in the rich glow of sunset, till a turn in the road and a clump of woodland at length shut them out from my sight.
A short time after candle-lighting, I reached the little tavern of the Boule d'Or, a few leagues from Tours, where I passed the night. The following morning was lowering and sad. A veil of mist hung over the landscape, and ever and anon a heavy shower burst from the overburdened clouds, that were driving by before a high and piercing wind. This unpropitious state of the weather detained me until noon, when a cabriolet for Tours drove
and taking a seat within it, I left the hostess of the Boule d'Or in the middle of a long story about a rich countess, who always alighted there when she passed that way. We drove leisurely along through a beautiful country, till at length we came to the brow of a steep hill, which commands a fine view of the city of Tours and its delightful environs. But the scene was shrouded by the heavy drifting mist, through which I could trace but indistinctly the graceful sweep of the Loire, and the spires and roofs of the city far below me.
The city of Tours and the delicious plain in which it lies have been too often described by other travellers to render a new description, from so listless a pen as mine, either necessary or desirable. After a sojourn of two cloudy and melancholy days, I set out on my return to Paris, by the way of Vendôme and Chartres. I stopped a few hours at the former place, to examine the ruins of a château built by Jeanne d'Albret, mother of Henry the Fourth. It stands upon the summit of a high and precipitous hill, and almost overhangs the town beneath. The French Revolution has completed the ruin that time had already begun; and nothing now remains, but a broken and crumbling bastion, and here and there a solitary