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she bobs our face in the dish, and then, regardless of our half-blinded gaze of entreaty, begins rubbing our chin briskly with the hot water. Soap there is none; indeed, that article appears to be a rarity in France ; but directly the chin has been rubbed sufficiently long, and in our case it seemed very long, the dish is taken away, and a formidable-looking razor is produced, the mere sight of which causes us to shudder involuntarily. Wildly brandishing this fearful instrument, the barberess advances to us with a kind of dancing movement, as if about to remove our scalp, but, to our great relief, she proceeds to shave us instead. The operation ended, we are about to rise ; but no, our fair tormentor is not satisfied. The dish of hot water is reproduced, and the whole process of dipping, rubbing, and shaving is gone through a second time. Then our chin is sponged and powdered, after which we finally leave, with a secret determination never again to trust our chin to the tender mercies of a French barberess. We make our way back to the Victoria Hotel for a cup of tea, or whatever the meal may be, and then away to the railway station, which is close by, where our carriage is waiting to bear us onward towards Paris.
ROUEN TO PARIS. Rouen to Paris is another delightful ride of eighty-five miles, chiefly by the course of the Seine, which is crossed many times.
The islands of the Seine add greatly to the beauty of the landscape. The following stations are passed :Oissel
As we leave the station at Rouen the line makes a wide circuit, enabling us to enjoy a pleasant view of the famous city we have visited. Then the route to Oissel presents an ever-varying panorama of rich valleys, sombre woods, busy factories, extensive ranges of workshops, workmen's cottages, orchards, gardens, farms, villages, tanneries, châteaux, and industrial establishments of more or less pretensions. From Oissel to Tourville we cross and recross the Seine, which is here a broad rolling river, and then through one of the loveliest portions of Normandy, described as "a district combining all the picturesque charms of Surrey and the rich luxuriance of Devonshire, with the warm yet not sultry atmosphere of Northern France."
Pont de l'Arche is famous for its bridge of twenty-two arches across the Seine. The town, which is a pretty one, is situated at the junction of the river Eure with the Seine, and at the point where the tide ceases to be perceptible. It owes its origin to Charles le Chauve, who here erected a splendid palace, in which he convened councils, held assemblies of his nobles, and drew up his edicts. He also built the remarkable bridge from which the town derives its
This bridge is the lowest stone bridge down the Seine, and is a most picturesque object, with water-mills in some portions of its length, and a lock under one of the arches, to facilitate the navigation of the river, and add to its security. The bridge was anciently defended at one end by a strong tower, which was destroyed during the first outbreak of the great French Revolution. On the bank of the river near the town are the remains of a Cistercian Abbey, founded A.D. 1190, by Richard Cour de Lion, in pursuance, it is said, of a vow which he had made when nearly lost in the swollen waters of the Seine. The church affords an interesting study, both to the artist and the antiquarian. Although sadly dilapidated, it is a fine building in the decorated style of Gothic architecture, and possesses some rich carving and beautifully-painted windows. The staple industry is the manufacture of woollen cloth, but the inhabitants trade largely in horses, cattle, fruit, and agricultural products generally.
St. Pierre is embowered in the midst of a profusion of the richest imaginable scenery, displaying to the utmost advantage the numerous chateaux which abound in the outskirts of the town. Here is a small branch line to Louviers, one of the most important towns in the north of France. It is little more than twenty minutes' ride by rail from St. Pierre. By some it has been termed the Leeds of France, the chief manufactures being fine woollens and kerseymeres. There are here an enormous number of woollen factories, some of them being of great size, almost equal to the largest establishments in Yorkshire, in which vast numbers of operatives are continually employed. Besides these, there are cotton factories, dye-houses, tanneries, bleaching-works, soap-houses, and engineering-works, in full activity. Everywhere are to be seen the various cheering indications of industrial prosperity. The people appear orderly, industrious, and contented. It is situated in a fertile plain, formerly the scene of more than one of the numerous conflicts which took place during the time of the French religious wars. The people of Louviers were staunch adherents of the Catholic League ; and when the Catholic parliament was driven out of Rouen by the Protestants, the
parliamentarians were welcomed with open arms by the Louviers, who, however, had subsequently to submit to the victorious arms of Henry V. and his army. Traces of the ancient fortifications yet remain, their sites now forming a series of delightful promenades. The church, of Gothic architecture, is deserving of a visit, as are the various public buildings, including the district Court of Justice, Public Library, etc.
By-and-by we find ourselves traversing a scene of unusual beauty. We are hastening rapidly along the side of a hilly range, on the other side of which we have an extensive view, extending for many miles, of the rich and fertile valley of the Seine. Here in the distance rise the ruins of the once formidable castle of Gaillard, erected by King Richard Cour de Lion, to protect the Duchy of Normandy against the incursions of the French kings. Indeed, the whole neighbourhood teems with associations of the lion-hearted monarch and his famous predecessor, William the Conqueror. Falling at last into the hands of the French monarchs, it was by them used as a state prison, and within its walls took place the frightful tragedy of the murder of the infamous Margaret of Burgundy by order of her relentless husband, Louis X. This occurred in 1314. Afterwards, during the wars of the League, Henry IV. dismantled the castle, together with those of others belonging to nobles discontented with the supremacy of the French. Near the ruins of the castle is the town of Les Anderlys, famous as the birthplace of Nicholas Poussin, the painter. There is little that is interesting in the town, except its church and woollen factories.
Gaillon formerly belonged to the Archbishop of Rouen, to whom it had been given by St. Louis; and here the prelate's successors had a palace up to the time of the Great Revolution. This edifice was destroyed by the English in 1423, but was rebuilt, a century later, by George d'Amboise. This edifice, before its spoliation, was one of the finest in the whole of Normandy, and formed the favourite residence of Francis I. It is now used as a prison, the prisoners being employed in making carpets and cotton goods, and in plaiting straw. The town possesses a singular fountain, which has the property of covering with a strong incrustation any object which may be thrown into it. Beyond Gaillon, in a northerly direction, the vine cannot be profitably cultivated.
Vernon; the stately tower of which was erected in I123, by Henry I. of England. We are now in a part of France which has more than once succumbed to the valorous arms of English soldiers, and as we journey on we shall meet with more than one place the history of which is intimately mixed up with that of our own. Here, in Vernon, it was, that in 1298, Philip Augustus sought a refuge when conquered by Richard Cour de Lion; and here it was, at a more recent date, that Louis Philippe occasionally came for the purpose of visiting his châteaux at Bizy, in the immediate neighbourhood. The town is situated in a singularly beautiful valley, and is connected by a bridge of twenty-two arches, with the suburb of Vernonnet, on the other side of the Seine. Here is a college, founded by Henry VI., also several large establishments, in which the manufacture of cotton-velvet, calico, cotton, and other textile fabrics is largely carried on.
Leaving Vernon behind us, but not without recalling the curious fact that it furnishes a title for an English peer, we hasten past Bonnieres, and then arrive at
Rosny, where Sully, the celebrated Minister of Henri IV., was born in 1559. Sully's life was an adventurous one.