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a bow which darted in and out. We amused ourselves by contemplating this additional proof, though none was required, of the solution which science has long since given of the phenomenon of the rainbow. A circle produced by similar causes I had never seen before, and I found that it was equally novel to the men belonging to the vessel.
But here we are at Roche-Guyon—a very remarkable-looking place. It derives its name (Roche) from a very precipitous, indeed almost mural, rock, at the foot of which a Sieur de Guy, or Guyon, built a château in the time of Louis le Gros. In the higher part of the rock a chapel was excavated as a place of sepulture for Guy and his family, and on the summit he raised a tower, from which he could command a view of the country round for many a league. The tower communicated with the château by a staircase cut in the rock. Since Guy's time many additions have been made to the old château by several members of the Rochefoucauld family, who, at a vast expense, have also formed extensive gardens and a magnificent promenade on what was formerly a barren mountain. This fortress—for such it was during the contests for Normandy between England and France-was gallantly defended by the widow of Guy, the sixth Lord of Roche-Guyon (who was slain at the battle of Agincourt) against the Earl of Warwick. The Earl respected her valour so much that he offered to leave her in possession of the place, if she would plight ber allegiance to the King of England. She refused the condition, and lost all her estates in consequence.
It was here that the Count d'Enghien (the conqueror of Cerisolles) met an ignoble death, his head having been crushed to atoms by a heavy box which was thrown down upon him from one of the upper windows of the château. Francis the First stifled all inquiry into this affair, lest it should turn out that the Dauphin and the Marquis d'Aumale (of the house of Lorraine) were implicated in it. A chamber is still preserved exactly in the same order in which it was when on one occasion Henry the Fourth slept in this château—the same bed—the same curtains-the same furniture-the same fauteuil, which he used. A suspension bridge, remarkably light and graceful, spans the river here, the work of M. Boulland, civil engineer, who has been compensated by a grant of the tolls for ninety-nine years. It would be difficult to select, even on the banks of the Seine, which abound in beautiful sites, a finer locale for the country residence of a noble family than Roche-Guyon.
Wheeling round through the writhings of this most serpentine river by the charming villages of Vetheuil and Rolleboise, we come within view of the parks and palace of Rosny, celebrated as the birth-place of Sully. It was also the favourite residence, at one time, of the present Duchess de Berri, who spared no expense in embellishing it. Everybody remembers the brilliant fêtes which she gave in that palace, with a view to strengthen her political position in France. Sic transit! An interesting monument of her charitable and kindly nature, however, still remains in an hospital for the invalids of the village, which she built in 1820. In the chapel of the hospital is a marble cenotaph which contains the heart of the late Duke, pierced by the poniard of Louvel. Those were dark days for France, portentous of the storm which has since broken upon that country! Has it passed away? Away with politics. On to La Belle Mantes, as it is most deservedly
designated. The approach to the town is truly superb. Give me, ye gods ! some pencil that will duly paint that bridge on our left over an arm of the Seine-the busy mill in its central arch-the long vista through groves through which we gaze upon it—the church beyond it—the two towns of Mantes and Limay, which at first seem one until our course round a promontory dissipates the delusion-and then a second bridge, invisible before, eminently picturesque, and then a second and a third church with their lofty old towers, and, beyond all, a long, long line of poplars bearing no foliage except on the very tops of their tall, slender stems, where their branches touching each other give them the appearance of a garland suspended in the heavens. We all felt as if we were under the influence of some enchantment, or of one of those modern operations of magnetism which are said to be capable of filling the soul with extatic visions !
The origin of Mantes is traceable to the druidical ages. It took a distinguished part in all the Norman wars. One of the most severe contests in which it was engaged was its defence against William the Conqueror, who claimed it as his own property. During the siege the Prince fell sick. His embonpoint being then somewhat beyond the ordinary bound-in an age when everybody was fat, if portraits are to be believed--the King of France said of him that he was in labour, and that no doubt the ceremonies of his churching would be magnificent. “By the splendour of God,” exclaimed the hero, when he heard of the sarcasm, I shall be churched in Paris, and I shall be attended by ten thousand lances in lieu of tapers !” A fall from his horse, however, as he was, after his convalescence, riding through the burning embers of the town, put an end to his designs in this world.
Mantes has about it all that cheerfulness of appearance so well expressed in the French phrase la jolie. An air of elegance and mirth prevails through the beautiful promenades by which it is surrounded. The streets are neatly built. Limay, on the opposite bank, is connected with Mantes by two bridges—those which had such a baffling effect upon my optic nerves-an island in the middle of the river dividing it into two streams. One of the bridges is higher up the Seine than the other—a circumstance which added to the puzzling novelty of the whole picture, as it gradually unfolded itself to the view. Near Limay is a chapel, excavated in the mountain, called the hermitage of St. Sauveur, to which crowds from all the country round perform pilgrimages every year on the 6th of August.
On we go through green pastures, margined here and there by banks of bright blue and yellow Howers, which we can almost pull as we pass. Troops of swallows again remind us of the summer we ought to have, and would have but for the horrible east wind. The birds look astonished at the volumes of black smoke which curl from our chimney top, mingling with the white steam that issues from the safety-valve. The smoke, when it first bursts forth, uniformly spreads itself out in the form of a Prince of Wales's plume. We arrived at Poissy at five o'clock in the evening.
A very short canal, or an extension of the railway from St. Germain - en -Laye, would have saved a circuit of the river, which cost us, at least, an hour and a half of time. But such an improvement as this is not all at once to be expected in France. So the circuit we were obliged to make, by
Acheres, Audressy, Garennes, and Herblay, to Maisons, where the splendid residence of M. Lafitte comes suddenly on the eye.
Here is another striking proof of the changes occurring amongst our neighbours in consequence of their commercial progress. Before the Revolution, the château of Maisons belonged to the Count d'Artois, the late Charles the Tenth, who had private apartments constructed in it for the use of Louis the Sixteenth and Marie Antoinette. It is built very much after the fashion of the palace of the Tuileries. Napoleon made a present of it to Lannes, afterwards Duc de Montebello, and it was purchased some years ago by its present possessor. It is truly a princely residence.
The extensive park belonging to this splendid domain has been lately divided into a considerable number of allotments, for the erection of villas and cottages in the old English style, such as we see in the Regent's Park village. But the ancient trees have not been all cut down, as they infallibly would have been by an English builder in the first instance. The old avenues and plantations are preserved as much as the advantageous disposal of the ground will permit, and with a view to the embellishment of the cottages constructed amongst them. More than a hundred of these charming country habitations have been already finished and occupied. Being situated upon rising ground, they command ample prospects of the territory all round; and, as the journey from them to Paris, especially since the railway to St. Germain-enLaye has come into operation, is reduced to a few sous in expense, and to less than an hour in point of time, they have been much sought after by the prosperous citizens.
We arrived at St. Germain-en-Laye at a quarter past seven o'clock; landed, walked to the railway station-house in eight or ten minutes, and obtained there tickets in return for cheques, which were put into our hands as we quitted the steamer. The charge for these tickets, which I believe is half a franc, was included in our farc; so, of course, we had nothing to pay. The station-house is a magnificent building, and the arrangements for the accommodation of passengers appeared to me in every respect unobjectionable. There were a great many applicants for places : but no rude contentions—no pushing about—no disorder of any kind.
We entered the carriage indicated by our tickets, a roomy and wellconstructed vehicle, without much show about it, and set off to the sound of a trumpet, slowly at first; the speed then was gradually increased until it attained a velocity at no time, I think, exceeding fifteen miles an hour. The trumpeter kept on sounding the whole way—a precaution that might be introduced into our railway arrangements with the most useful effect. The warning would be heard to a considerable distance ; and, if it had been in use here these last two years, it would have undoubtedly prevented many accidents of a most disastrous nature. The vibration of the train of carriages was somewhat more than I had been accustomed to in England.
We traversed the distance from the point of our departure to Paris in twenty-seven minutes. At the terminus, omnibuses were in waiting for passengers to all parts of the capital. We entered one which conveyed us to the Rue de Rivoli for six sous: stopping at the gate of Meurice's hotel, we descended, and found ourselves in the salon of that most comfortable establishment, precisely at half-past eight o'clock.
In all my travels I never performed a journey more delightful than this was in every way. We quitted London at ten o'clock on the Wednesday morning-reached Havre in eighteen hours, that is at four o'clock on Thursday morning-stopped there until seven-embarked on board the Normandie-arrived at Rouen about one the same day-left Rouen on Friday morning at half-past four—and sat down in Meurice's hotel at half-past eight the same evening. Thus the possibility of fatigue was, I may say, excluded. We slept, ate, drank, walked about, nearly as we should have done if we had been at home; passed through a long succession of the most beautiful and diversified scenery in France, took a short survey of one of its most thriving ports, saw the “lions” in one of its most ancient and interesting towns, breathing all the way the fresh air of heaven, and the fragrance of myriads of wild flowers, and feasting upon the records and traditions of former ages, of which we were reminded by old castles, and monasteries, palaces, churches, ruins, mountains, full of the memories of robbers, warriors, holy men, statesmen, court intriguers, princes, kings, and dynasties now no more. The whole, when I look back upon it as I now write, seems to have been a pageant of the middle ages, suddenly come, suddenly passed away, in the midst of the toils of a busy London life.
How mellow'd down by time and recollection
Are things long past, that once were bright and fair,
It tells us what we were, and what we are.
Are doom'd to wither ere they're half matured,
And not one heart fulfilling wish secured.
It holds a mirror to our tear-fillid eyes,
Those who have long been tenants of the skies.
We clasp chimera in a warm embrace,
Then dark and dreary seems the vacant space.
What pleases most still palls upon the taste,
Which lays our virtues and affections waste;
And love is but a sweeter name for pain,
Only to break, and never knit again.
All fades that's fairest to our dazzled sight,
M. W. M.
THE LESSON OF LIFE.*
A HOUSEHOLD ROMANCE.
CHAP. VII. “Ho! ho! in the name of the sick man, welcome,” cried Narcisse as De Loire entered the chamber of the dead, and looked around, but looked in vain, for the Jew.
“Fellow, where is master Ezra ?” asked De Loire; and Narcisse, with a shrug and a laugh, raised his finger towards the ceiling, then bent it to the floor, and answered—“ Ha! ha! who knows—who knows?” Immediately, De Loire turned from the room, to seek the Chevalier and De La Jonquille; they were gone. Again turning towards the inner chamber, he found Narcisse at the entrance, prepared, as it seemed, to prevent his returning thither.
“Where is your master, knave?” nquired De Loire.
“ This way,—hush !” said Narcisse, and he moved towards the door that opened into the passage; then paused, and, looking around him, seemed by his face and manner about to communicate some secret intelligence to De Loire ; who, put altogether off his guard by the cunning of the simpleton, passively awaited his communication. With a rapidity of motion at once startling and confounding his dupe, Narcisse seemed to vanish from the room and close the door upon his victim. He then flew along the passage, and, opening the street-door, bounded with a chuckle of delight and triumph across the threshold. Poor Narcisse ! He fairly leapt into the arms of the myrmidons of justice, who, as it appeared, with instinctive nose, had snuffed the wrong but lately done upon
the person of the Jew, and awaited at the dead man's door the exit of the criminal. Such, at the time, seemed the wonderful sagacity of the police; though, as appeared from later discoveries, they had, in truth, but little claim to that unerring faculty:
“Bah! how the knave smells of blood,” cried Pierre Grognon, an officer, whose discrimination in such delicate matters had been many a time triumphantly tested. “Ha! another job for Jacques Tenebræ,” he added, giving utterance to a name at which the boldest rogue in Paris quailed and was silent. Well, my friend, let us look at your handiwork;' and instantly Pierre, with half-a-dozen of his followers, entered the house, leaving Narcisse in the safe custody of some of his men without.
No sooner had De Loire recovered from his surprise at the sudden departure of Narcisse, than, instead of following him, he felt himself dragged back by an invincible curiosity to the inner chamber. He looked around him, and saw a coffin placed on end in a corner, and in an opposite nook a heap of something covered with a sheet. Stooping forward with beating heart, and with an indefinable feeling of dread, he snatched away the cloth, and beheld the huddled corpse of the Jew. He stood horror-stricken at the hideous, the awful sight. At the same moment, Pierre Grognon, putting aside the tapestry-curtain, thrust his huge head into the chamber, saying, with all his characteristic phlegm, Sir, your good friends wait for you.”
* Continued from No. ccxii., p. 494.