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and eagerly followed out by the people—these considerations are for other pages than ours. Many things and spectacles, however, worthy of observation, presented themselves at the opening of the sepulchral chambers of St Denis, and to these we propose to direct the attention of the reader.

Though the church of St Denis had undergone alterations since the time of Pepin, Charlemagne's father, the sepulchral vaults had remained unchanged since the reign of that monarch, who was their constructor. In these vaults lay the relics of kings, queens, and princes ; of martyred saints and famous warriors; some of them tricked out in all the trappings of living royalty, robed, sceptred, and crowned ; some of them perfect in form, by the care of the embalmer, as when the spirit yet dwelt in the tenement; others mouldered away into dust, indistinguishable from the rotten cerements that enveloped them. Men, on the breath of whose lips once hung the destinies of millions, whose names were the pride of history; fair dames, in whose honour tournaments were held—for a smile from whom knights rushed into the battle-field as to a banquet; all that earth retained of such beings as these, lay shrouded in the sepulchres of St Denis ; and their bones, so long venerated, were turned out for the sport and mockery of a rabble, to whom all that had ever been associated with the name of royalty was for the time the object of hatred unutterable.

Those to whom the opening of these chambers of the royal dead was intrusted, began their operations on the 12th of October 1793, with a sufficient number of workmen to assist in the task. The first monument which was opened, was that of the celebrated Marshal Turenne, whose warlike services to France had earned for his remains a place in the royal cemetery. On laying open the little vault that contained the body, one of those strange tricks which death sometimes plays, presented itself to the gaze of the spectators. Though no process of embalming, or any mode of preservation whatever, had been used upon the body, Turenne, who was killed


by a cannon-ball at Saltzbach in 1672, was lying in so perfect a condition, that not even a feature of his face was in the slightest degree discomposed. Though a servant of princes, Turenne was not himself a prince, and his remains were secure, comparatively, from disrespect. All present were anxious to carry off some little relic of the great soldier, and one of the fingers of the right hand was taken away by Camille Desmoulins. The face of Turenne bore a striking resemblance to his portraits, and, indeed, likenesses of him were subsequently taken from the body, which was deposited in an oaken box in the vestry, and lay there for the inspection of visitors for a long time afterwards.

The vault of the Bourbon sovereigns, situated near the subterraneous chapels, was the next object of attention; and here the workmen, induced by curiosity, hastened to draw out the coffin of Henry the Great—the greatest name in the royal annals of France, and once the idol of the nation. Alas, for the dead lion ! The remains of Sully's beloved master were torn from their restingplace, and given up to the indiscriminating insults of the maddened populace. The body of Henry was in a state of remarkable preservation; probably because, like Turenne, he had died a violent death-being stabbed in his coach by a friar named Ravilliac, in the year 1610. The abstraction of the blood tends greatly, it is well known, to preserve bodies from the usual consequences of a natural death. No spot or stain was on Henry's winding-sheet, and the face resembled that of one asleep. The body was no sooner out of the coffin, than one of the spectators, a soldier, drew his sabre, and cutting a lock from the long beard, which was fresh and uninjured, placed it on his own upper lip, swearing that, from that time, he would wear no other mustaches. In this deed there might be a portion of reverence, but what followed can bear no such interpretation. Henry was placed upright, with the winding-sheet thrown carelessly around him, and in this condition he was exposed to the gaze of the rabble, who, in the hour of their delirious hatred. of royalty, poured out on the once reverenced clay torrents of vulgar jests and unfeeling mockery. One woman, more turbulent and forward than the rest, waved her clenched hands, and, upbraiding the body with the crime of having been a king, struck it to the ground.

The coffin of Henry IV. bore the oldest date in the Bourbon vault, in which lay four kings, four queens, twenty-one princes, and twenty-eight princesses.

The workmen were four days in clearing this vault, the bodies and remains found in it being all thrown, after a short exposure, into a pit of liquid lime, to insure their speedy destruction. So many of the bodies were far advanced in decay, that before their removal was effected, the vault became filled with effluvia of so noxious a character, that the workmen suffered severely from fevers caught in consequence.

Some few of the bodies were in good preservation ; and amongst others, that of the proudest monarch of France, Louis XIV., whom his admiring subjects honoured with the name of the Grand Monarque. The reception of Louis by the spectators of the exhumation, was not more favourable than that given to the truly great King Henry IV., whom he was vain of being thought to resemble. If their deeds in life shewed no true similitude, the treatment at least which befell their remains was in all respects the same.

In the Bourbon sepulchral chamber were found many insignia of royalty, and several cases containing hearts. These cases were generally of lead, coated with silver, and in some instances gilt. Below several of the coffins were leaden caskets containing the intestines of those among the dead, on whose embalming particular care had been expended. The lead of all these heart-cases and caskets was carried away with the coffins for the making of bullets, and their contents thrown into the same lime-pit with the bodies. The coffin of the last buried king, Louis XV., was the last examined. This coffin was not in the vault, it being customary in the etiquette of royal burials, to permit the last buried king to remain in a niche at the entrance to the vault, until

his successor on the throne came after him to the chambers of death. The latter, in like manner, awaited the coming of the next occupant of the throne. The passage of Louis XV's successor to his tomb, was too brief and bloody for the maintenance of the funereal pomps and etiquette of the proud house of the Bourbons.

The opening of Charles VIII.'s vault followed. This king, styled in life the affable, was enclosed in a plain leaden coffin, without sign or vestige of royal rank. Not far from him reposed one, whose living frame held lodged within it the subtilest and most treacherous spirit that human body ever enclosed. This was Charles's father, Louis XI., whose ambition, craftiness, and superstition, have been so ably portrayed by Sir Walter Scott. In a tomb not far from Louis, lay his father, Charles VII., who, some time before his decease, knowing well the dangerous and wicked character of his son, became so apprehensive of being poisoned, that he refused all, nourishment, till nourishment was unable to save him. Now the two lay in one home-at rest!

The vault of Louis XII. was remarkable for nothing excepting two crowns of gilt brass, which lay above the monarch and his queen.

It was only after much trouble and research, that the workmen could discover the vault of Francis I., the contemporary of Henry VIII. of Britain, and his rival in the princely joustings at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. The bodies of Charles VII. and VIII. were reduced to the state of perfect skeletons, but the workmen were almost unable to clear the vault of Francis, such being the putrified condition of the remains it contained. Five of Francis's family lay in it, in heavy leaden coffins, similar to that in which he himself lay:

In the next vault lay the bodies of a family, whose vices and deeds form one of the blackest pages in modern listory. Henry II., and eleven of his family lay here, the most noted of whom were his three cruel sons, Francis II., Charles IX., and Henry III. ; Catherine of Medicis, his wife ; and Margaret of France, his daughter. To the dark annals of this bigoted and persecuting family

we shall but briefly allude. Henry II., the head of it, at the coronation of his queen, one year after he mounted his throne, caused, by way of adding to the holy merit and festivity of the day, many unhappy Protestants to be burned at the stake, while he himself stood by to watch their agonies. His nerves, though stubborn as iron, swerved from the horror of this spectacle ; yet, forcing down the qualms of human nature within him, he gazed on it, till the last of his victims was but a shrivelled ember. The avenging hand fell upon him— from that hour he knew no peace. After a few years of miserable suspicion and capricious tyranny, he was accidentally slain at a tournament. What his wife Catherine of Medicis was, during her regency, history hath strongly told. Her son Francis exceeded his parents in cruelty, which is saying much ; but the worst actions of the race were deeds of mercy in comparison of the severities of the next son, Charles IX. In his reign befell the massacre of St Bartholomew, where 40,000 Protestants perished by the sword. The guilty monarch felt the hand of retributive justice even more severely than his father had done. Shortly after, while his mind was racked with anguish, his body began to ooze out blood from every pore ; and in this wretched condition he died.

The vaults, it will have been observed by the reader, were not opened regularly, according to the succession of the kings; and, indeed, the vaults do not appear to have been so arranged. This irregularity continued throughout the whole process. For example, near Henry II.'s vault, was found the skeleton of the celebrated warrior Du-Guesclin, and, subsequently, the remains of Carloman, brother of Charlemagne, and both sons of Pepin, the founder of the edifice. Pepin's own grave was discovered many years afterwards, before the principal entrance to the church of St Denis. Pepin's last will being extant, his remains were fully identified, for in that will he directs his body to be laid on its face in a stone coffin, to be placed in front of St Denis's Church

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