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The object of this cavalcade was to congratulate the archbifliop of Rouen (who was then upon a vilit' to the prefect, until his own palace, was ready to receive him » on his. elevation to the see,:
This spectacle displayed the interference of God,
in thus making the former enemies of his worship
pay homage.to his ministers, after a long reign of atheism and persecution.
About twelve o'clock, which is the hour of parade throughout the republic, we went to the Champ de Mars, and saw a review of the 20th regiment of chasseurs, under the command ,of generals St. Hiliare and Ruffin, who, as well as the regiment, had particularly distinguished themselves at Marengo.
The men were richly appointed, and in, general ivell mounted. They all wore musrachios. They were just arrived from Amiens, where, as a mark of honor, they had been quartered during the negociadon.
The officers were superbly attired. St. Hiliare is a youngv man, and in person much resembles his patron and friend, the sirst consul; and they say, in abilities also.
Some of the horses were of sfc. diffimilar size and color, which had a bad effect; but I was, informed, apon making the remark, that they had lost many in battle, and had not had time properly to replace them; They were all strong and siery, and wept through their evolutions, with surprising swiftness
At dinner our party was very agreeable. Next to me fat a little abbe, who appeared to be in years, but full of vivacity, and seemed to be much esteemed by every person present. During the time of terror (as the French emphatically call the gloomy reign of Robespierre) the blood of this good man, who, from his wealth, piety, and munisicence, possessed consid* erable influence in Rouen, was sought after with keen pursuit. Madame G—— was the saviour of his life, by concealing him, previous to her own imprisonmenti for two years, in different cellars, under her houses which she rendered as- warm and as comfortable as circumstances, and the nature of the concealment would allow.. In one of these cells of humane secre* cy, this worthy man has often eaten his solitary and agitated meal, whilst the soldiers of the tyrant, who. were quartered upon his protectress, were carousing in the kitchen. immediacy above him.
Soon after our coffee, which, in this country, im~ mediately succeeds the dinner, we went to view the bridge of boats, so celebrated in. historyk This curi* aus structure was contrived by an Augustine friar na-» med Michael Bougeois, it is composed of timber, regularly paved, in squares which contain the stones, and -is- 1000* feet in length ; it commences from the middle of the quay of Rouen, and reaches over to tha
* The French feet are to tho English as loSi to
Fauxbourg of St. Sever, and carries on the communication with the country which lies south of the cky. It was begun in the year 1626, below it are the ruins of the sine bridge of 13 arches, built by the empreis of Maud, daughter of Henry L of England. This ingenious fabric rests upon 19 immense barges, which rife and fall with the ilowing and subsiding of the tide. When vessels have occasion to pass it a portion of the platform sufficient to admit their passage is raised and rolled over the other part. In the whiter when any danger is apprehended from the large flakes of ice, which float down the river, the whole is taken to pieces in an hour. The expense of keeping it in repair is estimated at 10,000 livres, or 4GG pounds sterling per annum, and is defrayed by government, it being the high-road to Picardy. Upon the whole> although this bridge is so much admired,. I must confess it appeared to me a heavy performance unsuitable to the wealth and splendor of the city of Rouen, and below the tafte and ingenuity of modern times. A handsome light stone structure, with a centre arch covered with a draw bridge, for the passage of vessel* of considerable burden, or a lofty flying iron bridge, would be less expensive, more safe); and much more ornamentals ...
The view from this bridge up the Seine, upon the.iflands below mount St. Catharine, is quite enchanting. Upon the quay, although it was Sunday, a •sast number of people were dancing, chinking and. CHAT. V.] IN FRANCE. 57
attending shows and lotteries. Here were people of various nations, parading up and down in the habits and dresses of their respective countries, which produced quite the effect of a masquerade. The river Seine is so deep at this place, that ships,of three hundred tons burden are moored close to the quay and make a very sine appearance. The exchange for the merchants is parallel with the centre of the quay, and is a long paved building, os about 400 feet in length, open at top, having a handsome iron balustrade, and seats towards the Seine, and a high stone wall towards the town. Over all the great gates of the city, is written, in large characters, ". Liberty, Equality, Humanity, Fraternity or Death:" the last two words have been painted over, but are still faintly legible..
Inthe evening we went to the French opera, which was very crowded. The boxes were adorned with genteel people, and many beautisul young women. The theatre is very large, elegant and handsome, and the players were good. I was struck with the ridiculousantics,and gestures of the chief in the orchectraKaoian whose ofsice it is to beat time to the musicians. . In the municipality box. which was in the centre, lined with grften siik, and gold, were two sine young women who appeared to be ladies of fafliion, and consequence; they were dressed after the antique, in an. attire which, for lightness, and scantiues I never saw equalled, till I saw it surpassed, at Paris. They appeared to be clothed only in jewels, and a little muslin very gracefully disposed, thq latter, to borrow a beautiful expreffion, had the appearance os "wovenair." From emotions of gratitude for the captivating diplay which they made, I could not help offering a few fervent wishes, that the light of the next day might sind them preserved from the dreaded consequences of a very bitter cold night.
Rouen, upon the whole, is a sine city, very large, and populous. It was formerly the capital of the kingdom of Normandy. It stands upon a plain, screened on three sides, by high, and picturesque mountains. It is near two leagues in compass, exclusive of theFauxbourges of St. Severs, Cauchoise, Bouveul, St. Hiliare, Martainville and Beauvisme. Its commerce was very celebrated, and is returning with great rapidity. Most of the sine buildings in this city and its environs are Anglo-Norman antiquities, and were founded by the English before they left Normandy.
The cathedral is a grand, and awful pile of gothic architecture, built by our Wiilinnvthe Conqueror. It has two towers, one of which, is surmounted by a
wooden spire cohered with lead, and is of the prodigious height of 395 French feet, the other is 23fr feet high. . < • ...
. The additional wooden spire, and the inequality os the tewers produce rather an unfavourable efiect.