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Title: The Story of Paris

Author: Thomas Okey

Illustrator: Katherine Kimball

Release Date: August 28, 2008 [EBook #26450]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Hélène de Mink and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at

Transcriber's note: Minor spelling inconsistencies, mainly hyphenated words, have been harmonised. Obvious printer errors have been repaired.

In French sentences, most of them italicized, accents have been added, when necessary, according to the French spelling rules of the time.

In an English context, French words have no accents if there are no accents in the original text. In case of an inconsistent use of accents, the French spelling has been favoured.

The Latin numbers (i and ii) in the text refers to transcriber's notes at the end of this e-book.

The advertisement for other books in the series have been removed from page 3 to the end of this e-book.


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The Story of Paris


Winged Victory of Samothrace.
View larger image

The Story of Paris

by Thomas Okey

With Illustrations by

Katherine Kimball


London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd.

Aldine House, 10-13 Bedford Street

Covent Garden, W.C. * * *

New York: E.P. Dutton & Co.—1919

First Edition, 1906

Reprinted, 1911; July, 1919

"I will not forget this, that I can never mutinie so much against France but I must needes looke on Paris with a favourable eye: it hath my hart from my infancy; whereof it hath befalne me, as of excellent things, the more other faire and stately cities I have seene since, the more hir beauty hath power and doth still usurpingly gaine upon my affections. I love that citie for hir own sake, and more in hir only subsisting and owne being, than when it is fall fraught and embellished with forraine pompe and borrowed garish ornaments. I love hir so tenderly that hir spottes, her blemishes and hir warts are deare unto me. I am no perfect French man but by this great citie, great in people, great in regard of the felicitie of hir situation, but above all great and incomparable in varietie and diversitie of commodities; the glory of France and one of the noblest and chiefe ornaments of the world. God of his mercy free hir and chase away all our divisions from hir. So long as she shall continue, so long shall I never want a home or a retreat to retire and shrowd myselfe at all times."


"Quand Dieu eslut nonante et dix royaumes
Tot le meillor torna en douce France."

Couronnement Loys.

[Pg v]


In recasting Paris and its Story for issue in the "Mediæval Towns Series," opportunity has been taken of revising the whole and of adding a Second Part, wherein we have essayed the office of cicerone.

Obviously in so vast a range of study as that afforded by the city of Paris, compression and selection have been imperative: we have therefore limited our guidance to such routes and edifices as seemed to offer the more important objects of historic and artistic interest, excluding from our purview, with much regret, the works of contemporary artists. On the Louvre, as the richest Thesaurus of beautiful things in Europe, we have dwelt at some length and even so it has been possible only to deal broadly with its contents. A book has, however, this advantage over a corporeal guide; it can be curtly dismissed without fear of offence, when antipathy may impel the traveller to pass by, or sympathy invite him to linger over, the various objects indicated to his gaze. In a city where change is so constant and the housebreaker's pick so active, any work dealing with monuments of the past must needs soon become imperfect. Since the publication of Paris and its Story in the autumn of 1904, a picturesque group of old houses in the Rue de l'Arbre Sec, including the Hôtel des Mousquetaires, the traditional lodging of Dumas' d'Artagnan, has been swept away and a monstrous mass of engineering is now reared on its site: even as we write other demolitions of historic buildings are in progress. Care has, however, been taken to bring this [Pg vi]little work up to date and our constant desire has been to render it useful to the inexperienced visitor to Paris. Success in so complicated and difficult a task can be but partial, and in this as in so many of life's aims "our wills," as good Sir Thomas Browne says, "must be our performances, and our intents make out our actions; otherwise our pious labours shall find anxiety in our graves and our best endeavours not hope, but fear, a resurrection."

It now remains to acknowledge our indebtedness to the following, among other authorities, which are here set down to obviate the necessity for repeated footnotes, and to indicate to readers who may desire to pursue the study of the history and art of Paris in more detail, some works among the enormous mass of literature on the subject that will repay perusal.

For the general history of France, the monumental Histoire de France now in course of publication, edited by E. Lavisse; Michelet's Histoire de France, Recits de l'Histoire de France, and Procès des Templiers; Victor Duruy, Histoire de France; the cheap and admirable selection of authorities in the seventeen volumes of the Histoire de France racontée par les Contemporains, edited by B. Zeller; Carl Faulmann, Illustrirte Geschichte der Buchdruckerkunst; the Chronicles of Gregory of Tours, Richer, Abbo, Joinville, Villani, Froissart, De Comines; Géographie Historique, by A. Guerard; Froude's essay on the Templars; Jeanne d'Arc, Maid of Orleans, by T. Douglas Murray; Paris sous Philip le Bel, edited by H. Geraud.

For the later Monarchy, the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods, the Histories of Carlyle, Mignet, Michelet and Louis Blanc; the Origines de la France Contemporaine, by Taine; the Cambridge Modern History, Vol. VIII.; the Memoirs of the Duc de St.[Pg vii] Simon, of Madame Campan, Madame Vigée-Lebrun, Camille Desmoulins, Madame Roland and Paul Louis Courier; the Journal de Perlet; Histoire de la Société Française pendant la Révolution, by J. de Goncourt; Goethe's Die Campagne in Frankreich, 1792; Légendes et Archives de la Bastille, by F. Funck Brentano; Life of Napoleon I., by J. Holland Rose; L'Europe et la Révolution Française, by Albert Sorel; the periodical, La Révolution Française; Contemporary American Opinion of the French Revolution, by C.D. Hazen.

For the particular history of Paris, the exhaustive and comprehensive Histoire de la Ville de Paris, by Michel Félibien and Guy Alexis Lobineau; the so-called Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris, edited by L. Lalanne; Paris Pendant la Domination Anglaise, by A. Longnon; the more modern Paris à Travers les Ages, by M.F. Hoffbauer, E. Fournier and others; the Topographie Historique du Vieux Paris, by A. Berty and H. Legrand, and other works now issued or in course of publication by the Ville de Paris. Howell's Familiar Letters, Coryat's Crudities, Evelyn's Diary, and Sir Samuel Romilly's Letters, contain useful matter. For the chapters on Historical Paris, E. Fournier's Promenade Historique dans Paris, Chronique des Rues de Paris, Énigmes des Rues de Paris; the Marquis de Rochegude's Guide Pratique à Travers le Vieux Paris; the Dictionnaire Historique de Paris, by G. Pessard, and the excellent Nouvel Itinéraire Guide Artistique et Archéologique de Paris, by C. Normand, published by the Société des Amis des Monuments Parisiens.

For French art, Félibien's Entretiens; the writings of Lady Dilke; French Painting in the Sixteenth Century, by L. Dimier; Histoire de l'Art, Peinture, École Française, by Cazes d'Aix and J. Bérard; the compendious[Pg viii] History of Modern Painting, by R. Muther; The Great French Painters, by C. Mauclair; La Sculpture Française, by L. Gonse; Mediæval Art, by W.R. Lethaby; the Catalogue of the Exposition des Primitifs Français (1904); Le Peinture en Europe, Le Louvre, by Lafenestre and Richtenberger, and the official catalogues of the Louvre collections. All these have been largely drawn upon and supplemented by affectionate memories of an acquaintance with Paris and many of its citizens dating back for more than thirty years.

May we add a last word of practical counsel. Distances in Paris are great, and the traveller who would economise time and reduce fatigue will do well to bargain with his host to be free to take the mid-day meal wherever his journeyings may lead him.

April, 1906.


The demolition of Old Paris has proceeded apace since the publication of the Story of Paris in 1906. The Tower of Dagobert; the old Academy of Medicine; the Annexe of the Hôtel Dieu and a whole street, the Rue du Petit Pont; the Hôtel of the Provost of Paris—all have fallen under the housebreakers' picks. As we write the curious vaulted entrance to the old charnel houses of St Paul is being swept away and the revision of this little book has been a melancholy task to a lover of historic Paris. Part II. of the work has been brought up to date and the changes in the Louvre noted: it is much to be regretted that the new edition of the official Catalogue of the Foreign Schools of Painting promised by the authorities in 1909 has not yet seen the light.

May, 1911.[Pg ix]





Gallo-Romain Paris


The Barbarian Invasions—St. Genevieve—The Conversion of Clovis—The Merovingian Dynasty


The Carlovingians—The Great Siege of Paris by the Normans—The Germs of Feudalism


The Rise of the Capetian Kings and the Growth of Feudal Paris


Paris under Philip Augustus and St. Louis


Art and Learning at Paris


Conflict with Boniface VIII.—The States-General—The Destruction of the Knights-Templars—The Parlement

[Pg x]


Étienne Marcel—The English Invasions—The Maillotins—Murder of the Duke of Orleans—Armagnacs and Burgundians


Jeanne d'Arc—Paris under the English—End of the English Occupation


Louis XI. at Paris—The Introduction of Printing


Francis I.—The Renaissance at Paris


Rise of the Guises—Huguenot and Catholic—The Massacre of St. Bartholomew


Henry III.—The League—Siege of Paris by Henry IV.—His Conversion, Reign and Assassination


Paris under Richelieu and Mazarin


The Grand Monarque—Versailles and Paris


Paris under the Regency and Louis XV.—The brooding Storm

[Pg xi]


Louis XVI.—The Great Revolution—Fall of the Monarchy


Execution of the King—Paris under the First Republic—The Terror—Napoleon—Revolutionary and Modern Paris



The Cité—Notre Dame—The Sainte Chapelle—The Palais de Justice


St. Julien le Pauvre—St. Sévérin—The Quartier Latin


École des Beaux Arts—St. Germain des Prés—Cour du Dragon—St. Sulpice—The Luxembourg—The Odéon—The Cordeliers—The Surgeons' Guild—The Musée Cluny—The Sorbonne—The Panthéon—St. Étienne du Mont—Tour Clovis—Wall of Philip Augustus—Roman Amphitheatre


The Louvre—Sculpture: Ground Floor


The Louvre (continued)—Pictures: First Floor

[Pg xii]


The Ville (S. of the Rue St. Antoine)—The Hôtel de Ville—St. Gervais—Hôtel Beauvais—Hôtel of the Provost of Paris—SS. Paul and Louis—Hôtel de Mayenne—Site of the Bastille—Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal—Hôtel Fieubert—Hôtel de Sens—Isle St. Louis


The Ville (N. of the Rue St. Antoine)—Tour St. Jacques—Rue St. Martin—St. Merri—Rue de Venise—Les Billettes—Hôtels de Soubise, de Hollande, de Rohan—Musée Carnavalet—Place Royale—Musée Victor Hugo—Hôtel de Sully


Rue St. Denis—Fontaine des Innocents—Tower of Jean sans Peur—Cour des Miracles—St. Eustache—The Halles—St. Germain l'Auxerrois


Palais Royal—Théâtre Français—Gardens and Cafés of the Palais Royal—Palais Mazarin (Bibliothèque Nationale)—St. Roch—Vendôme Column—Tuileries Gardens—Place de la Concorde—Champs Élysées


The Basilica of St. Denis and the Monuments of the Kings, Queens and Princes of France


[Pg xiii]



The Winged Victory of Samothrace
(Photogravure) Frontispiece

Map of the Successive Walls of Paris

The Cité

Remains of Roman Amphitheatre

Tower of Clovis

St. Germain des Prés

St. Julien le Pauvre

St. Germain l'Auxerrois

Wall of Philippe Auguste, Cour de Rouen

La Sainte Chapelle

Refectory of the Cordeliers

Notre Dame and Petit Pont

Tower in Rue Valette in which Calvin is said to have lived

Palace of the Archbishop of Sens

Palais de Justice, Clock Tower and Conciergerie

Tower of Jean Sans Peur

Tower of St. Jacques

Pont Notre Dame

Chapel, Hôtel de Cluny

Tower of St. Étienne du Mont

La Fontaine des Innocents

West Wing of Louvre by Pierre Lescot

[Pg xiv]

Tritons and Nereids from the Old Fontaine des Innocents (Jean Goujon)

Catherine de' Medici (French School)

Petite Galerie of the Louvre

Hôtel de Sully

Old Houses near Pont St. Michel, showing spire of the Ste. Chapelle

The Medici Fountain, Luxembourg Gardens

Pont Neuf

The Institut de France

Portion of the East Façade of the Louvre, from Blondel's drawing (reproduced by permission of M. Lampue)

River and Pont Royal

South Door of Notre Dame

Hôtel de Ville from River

Chapel of Château at Vincennes

Near the Pont Neuf

Notre Dame—Portal of St. Anne

Notre Dame—south side

Notre Dame—from the Seine.

Interior of Notre Dame

St. Sévérin

Old Academy of Medicine

Cour de Dragon

Tower and Courtyard of Hôtel Cluny

Arches in the Courtyard of the Hôtel Cluny

Interior of St. Étienne du Mont

Diana and the Stag (Jean Goujon)

St. George and the Dragon (M. Colombe)

Triptych of Moulins (Maître de Moulins)

[Pg xv]

Portrait of Elizabeth of Austria (François Clouet)

Shepherds of Arcady (Poussin)

Landing of Cleopatra at Tarsus (Lorrain)

Embarkation for the Island of Cythera (Watteau)

Grace before Meat (Chardin)

Madame Récamier (David)

The Binders (Millet)

Landscape (Corot)

St. Gervais

Hôtel of the Provost of Paris

West door of St. Merri

Cloister of the Billettes, fifteenth century

Archives Nationales, Hôtel Soubise, showing towers of Hôtel de Clisson

Tower at the corner of the Rue Vieille du Temple

Place des Vosges, Maison de Victor Hugo

Cathedral of St. Denis

Map of Paris

The majority of the photographs of sculpture have been taken by Messrs. Haweis and Coles, while most of the other photographs are reproduced by permission of Messrs. Giraudon. [Pg xvi]

Map walls

Map of the Successive Walls of Paris.
View larger image

[Pg 1]


The History of Paris, says Michelet, is the history of the French monarchy: "Paris, France and the Dukes and Kings of the French, are three ideas," says Freeman, "which can never be kept asunder." The aim of the writer in the following pages has been to narrate the story of the capital city of France on the lines thus indicated. Moreover, men are ever touched by "sad stories of the death of kings," the pomp and majesty and the fate of princes. By a pathetic fallacy their capacity to suffer is measured by their apparent power to enjoy, and those are moved to tears by the spectacle of a Dauphin surrendered to the coarse and brutal tutelage of a sans-culotte, who read without emotion of thousands of Huguenot children torn from their mothers' arms and flung to the novercal cruelties of strangers in blood and creed. In the earlier chapters the legendary aspect of the story has been drawn upon rather more perhaps than an austere historical conscience would approve, but it is precisely a familiarity with these romantic stories, which at least are true in impression if not in fact, that the sojourner in Paris will find most useful, translated as they are in sculpture and in painting, on the decoration of her architecture, both modern and ancient, and implicit in the nomenclature of her ways.

The story of Paris presents a marked contrast with that of an Italian city-state whose rise, culmination and fall may be roundly traced. Paris is yet in the stage of lusty growth. Time after time, like a young giantess, she has burst her cincture of walls, cast off her[Pg 2] outworn garments and renewed her armour and vesture. Hers are no grass-grown squares and deserted streets; no ruined splendours telling of pride abased and glory departed; no sad memories of waning cities once the mistresses of sea and land; none of the tears evoked by a great historic tragedy; none of the solemn pathos of decay and death. Paris has more than once tasted the bitterness of humiliation; Norseman and Briton, Russian and German have bruised her fair body; the dire distress of civic strife has exhausted her strength, but she has always emerged from her trials with marvellous recuperation, more flourishing than before.

Since 1871, when the city, crushed under a twofold calamity of foreign invasion and of internecine war, seemed doomed to bleed away to feeble insignificance, her prosperity has so increased that house rent has doubled and population risen from 1,825,274 in 1870 to 2,714,068 in 1901. The growth of Paris from the settlement of an obscure Gallic tribe to the most populous, the most cultured, the most artistic, the most delightful and seductive of continental cities has been prodigious, yet withal she has maintained her essential unity, her corporate sense and peculiar individuality. Paris, unlike London, has never expatiated to the effacement of her distinctive features and the loss of civic consciousness. The city has still a definite outline and circumference, and over her gates to-day one may read, Entrée de Paris. The Parisian is, and always has been, conscious of his citizenship, proud of his city, careful of her beauty, jealous of her reputation. The essentials of Parisian life remain unchanged since mediæval times. Busy multitudes of alert, eager burgesses crowd her streets; ten thousand students stream from the provinces, from Europe, and even from the uttermost parts of the earth, to eat of the bread of knowledge at her University. The old collegiate life[Pg 3] is gone, but the arts and sciences are freely taught as of old to all comers; and a lowly peasant lad may carry in his satchel the portfolio of a prime minister or the insignia of a president of the republic, even as his mediæval prototype bore a bishop's mitre or a cardinal's hat. The boisterous exuberance of youthful spirits still vents itself in rowdy student life to the scandal of bourgeois placidity, and the poignant self-revelation and gnawing self-reproach of a François Villon find their analogue in the pathetic verse of a Paul Verlaine. Beneath the fair and ordered surface of the normal life of Paris still sleep the fiery passions which, from the days of the Maillotins to those of the Commune, have throughout the crises of her history ensanguined her streets with the blood of citizens.[1] Let us remember, however, when contrasting the modern history of Paris with that of London, that the questions which have stirred her citizens have been not party but dynastic ones, often complicated and embittered by social and religious principles ploughing deep in the human soul, for which men have cared enough to suffer, and to inflict, death.

Those writers who are pleased to trace the permanency of racial traits through the life of a people dwell with satisfaction on passages in ancient authors who describe the Gauls as quick to champion the cause of the oppressed, prone to war, elated by victory, impatient of defeat, easily amenable to the arts of peace, responsive to intellectual culture; terrible, indefatigable orators but bad listeners, so intolerant of their speakers that at tribal gatherings an official charged to maintain silence would march, sword in hand, towards an interrupter, and after a third warning cut[Pg 4] off a portion of his dress. If the concurrent testimony of writers, ancient, mediæval and modern, be of any worth, Gallic vanity is beyond dispute. Dante, expressing the prevailing belief of his age, exclaims, "Now, was there ever people so vain as the Sienese! Certes not the French by far."[2] Of their imperturbable gaiety and their avidity for new things we have ample testimony, and the course of this story will demonstrate that France, and more especially Paris, has ever been, from the establishment of Christianity to the birth of the modern world at the Revolution, the parent or the fosterer of ideas, the creator of arts, the soldier of the ideal. She has always evinced a wondrous preventive apprehension of coming changes. Sir Henry Maine has shown in his Ancient Law that the idea of kingship created by the accession of the Capetian dynasty revolutionised the whole fabric of society, and that "when the feudal prince of a limited territory surrounding Paris began ... to call himself King of France, he became king in quite a new sense." The earliest of the western people beyond Rome to adopt Christianity, she had established a monastery near Tours, a century and a half before St. Benedict, the founder of Western monasticism, had organised his first community at Subiaco. In the Middle Ages Paris became the intellectual light of the Christian world. From the time of the centralisation of the monarchy at Paris she absorbed in large measure the vital forces of the nation, and all that was greatest in art, science and literature was drawn within her walls, until in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, she became the centre of learning, taste and culture in[Pg 5] Europe.[3] "Alone of the capitals of Modern Europe," said Freeman, "Paris can claim to have been the creator of the state of which it is now the head." The same authority bears witness to the unique position held by France in her generous and liberal treatment of new subjects, and the late historian, Mr. C.A. Fyffe, told the writer that when travelling in Alsace in 1871 the inhabitants of that province, so essentially German in race, were passionately attached to France, and more than once he heard a peasant exclaim, unable even to express himself in French: "Nimmer will ich Deutsch sein."

During the first Empire and the Restoration, after the tempest was stilled and the great heritage of the Revolution taken possession of, an amazing outburst of scientific, artistic and literary activity made Paris the Ville Lumière of Europe. She is still the city where the things of the mind and of taste have most place, where the wheels of life run most smoothly and pleasantly, where the graces and refinements and amenities of social existence, l'art des plaisirs fins, are most highly developed and most widely diffused. There is something in the crisp, luminous air of Paris that quickens the intelligence and stimulates the senses. Even the scent of the wood fires as one emerges from the railway station exhilarates the spirit. The poet Heine used to declare that the traveller could estimate his proximity to Paris by noting the increasing intelligence of the people, and that the very bayonets of the soldiers were more intelligent than those elsewhere.[Pg 6] Life, even in its more sensuous and material phases, is less gross and coarse,[4] its pleasures more refined than in London. It is impossible to conceive the pit of a London theatre stirred to fury by an innovation in diction in a poetical drama, or to imagine anything comparable to the attitude of a Parisian audience at the cheap holiday performances at the Français or the Odéon, where the severe classic tragedies of Racine, of Corneille, of Victor Hugo, or the well-worn comedies of Molière or of Beaumarchais are played with small lure of stage upholstery, and listened to with close attention by a popular audience responsive to the exquisite rhythm and grace of phrasing, the delicate and restrained tragic pathos, and the subtle comedy of their great dramatists. To witness a première at the Français is an intellectual feast. The brilliant house; the pit and stalls filled with black-coated critics; the quick apprehension of the points and happy phrases; the universal and excited discussion between the acts; the atmosphere of keen and alert intelligence pervading the whole assembly; the quaint survival of the time-honoured "overture"—three knocks on the boards—dating back to Roman times when the Prologus of the comedy stepped forth and craved the attention of the audience by three taps of his wand; the chief actor's approach to the front of the stage after the play is ended to announce to Mesdames and Messieurs what in these days they have known for weeks before from the press, that "the piece we have had the honour of playing" is by such a one—all combine to make an indelible impression on the mind of the foreign spectator.

The Parisian is the most orderly and well-behaved of citizens. The custom of the queue is a spontaneous expression of his love of fairness and order. Even the[Pg 7] applause in theatres is organised. A spectacle such as that witnessed at the funeral of Victor Hugo in 1885, the most solemn and impressive of modern times, is inconceivable in London. The whole population (except the Faubourg St. Germain and the clergy) from the poorest labourer to the heads of the State issued forth to file past the coffin of their darling poet, lifted up under the Arc de Triomphe, and by their multitudinous presence honoured his remains borne on a poor bare hearse to their last resting-place in the Panthéon. Amid this vast crowd, mainly composed of labourers, mechanics and the petite bourgeoisie, assembled to do homage to the memory of the poet of democracy, scarcely an agent was seen; the people were their own police, and not a rough gesture, not a trace of disorder marred the sublime scene. The Parisian democracy is the most enlightened and the most advanced in Europe, and as of old the Netherlanders, in their immortal fight for freedom against the monstrous and appalling tyranny of Spain, were stirred to heroic deeds by the psalms of Clément Marot, even so to-day, where a few desperate and devoted men are moved to wrestle with a brutal despotism, the Marseillaise is their battle hymn. It is to Paris that the dearest hopes and deepest sympathies of generous spirits will ever go forth in

"The struggle, and the daring rage divine for liberty,
Of aspirations toward the far ideal, enthusiast dreams of brotherhood." [Pg 8]

"Siede Parigi in una gran pianura,
Nell' ombilico a Francia, anzi nel core.
Gli passa la riviera entro le mura,
E corre, ed esce in altra parte fuore;
Ma fa un' isola prima, e v'assicura
Della città una parte, e la migliore:
L'altre due (ch' in tre parti è la gran terra)
Di fuor la fossa, e dentro il fiume serra."

Orlando Furioso, Canto xiv.

[Pg 9]

Part I.: The Story


Gallo-Roman Paris

The mediæval scribe in the fulness of a divinely-revealed cosmogony is wont to begin his story at the creation of the world or at the confusion of tongues, to trace the building of Troy by the descendants of Japheth, and the foundation of his own native city by one of the Trojan princes made a fugitive in Europe by proud Ilion's fall. Such, he was very sure, was the origin of Padua, founded by Antenor and by Priam, son of King Priam, whose grandson, yet another Priam, by his great valour and wisdom became the monarch of a mighty people, called from their fair hair, Galli or Gallici. And of the strong city built on the little island in the Seine who could have been its founder but the ravisher of fair Helen—Sir Paris himself? The naïve etymology of the time was evidence enough.

But the modern writer, as he compares the geographical position of the capitals of Europe, is tempted to exclaim, Cherchez le marchand! for he perceives that their unknown founders were dominated by two considerations—facilities for commerce and protection from enemies: and before the era of the Roman road-makers, commerce meant facilities for water carriage.[Pg 10] As the early settlers in Britain sailed up the Thames, they must have observed, where the river's bed begins somewhat to narrow, a hill rising from the continuous expanse of marshes from its mouth, easily defended on the east and west by those fortified posts which, in subsequent times, became the Tower of London and Barnard's Castle, and if we scan a map of France, we shall see that the group of islands on and around which Paris now stands, lies in the fruitful basin of the Seine, known as the Isle de France, near the convergence of three rivers; for on the east the Marne, on the west the Oise, and on the south the Yonne, discharge their waters into the main stream on its way to the sea. In ancient times the great line of Phœnician, Greek and Roman commerce followed northwards the valleys of the Rhone and of the Saone, whose upper waters are divided from those of the Yonne only by the plateau of Dijon and the calcareous slopes of Burgundy. The Parisii were thus admirably placed for tapping the profitable commerce of north-west Europe, and by the waters of the Eure, lower down the Seine, were able to touch the fertile valley of the Loire. The northern rivers of Gaul were all navigable by the small boats of the early traders, and, in contrast with the impetuous sweep of the Rhone and the Loire in the south and west, flowed with slow and measured stream:[5] they were rarely flooded, and owing to the normally mild winters, still more rarely blocked by ice. Moreover, the Parisian settlement stood near the rich cornland of La Beauce, and to the north-east, over the open plain of La Valois, lay the way to Flanders. It was one of the river stations on the line of the Phœnician traders in tin, that most precious and rare of ancient metals, between Marseilles and Britain, and in the early Middle Ages became, with Lyons and[Pg 11] Beaucaire, one of the chief fairs of that historic trade route which the main lines of railway traffic still follow to-day. The island now known as the Cité, which the founders of Paris chose for their stronghold, was the largest of the group which lay involved in the many windings of the Seine, and was embraced by a natural moat of deep waters. To north and south lay hills, marshes and forests, and all combined to give it a position equally adapted for defence and for commerce.


The Cité.
View larger image

The Parisii were a small tribe of Gauls whose island city was the home of a prosperous community of shipmen and merchants, but it is not until the Conquest of Gaul by the Romans that Lutetia, for such was its Romanised name, joins the great pageant of history. It was —

"Armèd Cæsar falcon-eyed," [6]

who saw its great military importance, built a permanent camp there and made it a central entrepôt for[Pg 12] food and munitions of war. And when in 52 B.C. the general rising of the tribes under Vercingétorix threatened to scour the Romans out of Gaul and to destroy the whole fabric of Cæsar's ambition, he sent his favourite lieutenant, Labienus, to seize Lutetia where the Northern army of the Gauls was centred. Labienus crossed the Seine at Melun, fixed his camp on a spot near the position of the church of St. Germain l'Auxerrois, and began the first of the historic sieges for which Paris is so famous. But the Gaulish commander burnt the bridges, fired the city, and took up his position on the slopes of the hill of Lutetius (St. Genevieve) in the south, and aimed at crushing his enemy between his own forces and an army advancing from the north. Labienus having learnt that Cæsar was in a tight place, owing to a check at Clermont and the defection of the Eduans, by a masterly piece of engineering recrossed the Seine by night at the Point du Jour, where the double viaduct of the girdle railway crosses to-day, and when the Gauls awoke in the morning they beheld the bannered host of the Roman legions in battle array on the plain of Grenelle beneath. They made a desperate attempt to drive them against the river, but they lost their leader and were almost annihilated by the superior arms and strategy of the Romans. Labienus was able to join his master at Sens, and the irrevocable subjugation of the Gauls soon followed. With the tolerant and enlightened conquerors came the Roman peace, Roman law, Roman roads, the Roman schoolmaster; and a more humane religion abolished the Druidical sacrifices. Lutetia was rebuilt and became a prosperous and, next to Lyons, the most important of Gallo-Roman cities. It lay equidistant from Germany and Britain and at the issue of valleys which led to the upper and lower Rhine. The quarries of Mount Lutetius produced an admirable building stone,[Pg 13] kind to work and hardening well under exposure to the air, whose white colour may have won for Paris the name of Leucotia, or the White City, by which it is sometimes known to ancient writers. Cæsar had done his work well, for so completely were the Gauls Romanised, that by the fifth or sixth century their very language had disappeared.[7]

But towards the end of the third century three lowly wayfarers were journeying from Rome along the great southern road to Paris, charged by the Pope with a mission fraught with greater issues to Gaul than were the Cæsars and all their legions. Let us recall somewhat of the appearance of the city which Dionysius, Rusticus and Eleutherius saw as they neared its suburbs and came down what is now known as the Rue St. Jacques. After passing the arches of the aqueduct, two of which exist to this day, that crossed the valley of Arcueil and brought the waters of Rungis,[8] Paray and Montjean to the baths of the imperial palace and the public fountains, they would discern on the hill of Lutetius to their right, the Roman camp, garrison and cemetery. Lower down to the east they would catch a glimpse of a great amphitheatre, capable of accommodating 10,000 spectators.[9] [Pg 14]


Remains of Roman Amphitheatre.
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On their left, where now stands the Lycée St. Louis, would be the theatre of Lutetia, and further on, the imposing and magnificent palace of the Cæsars, with its gardens sloping down to the Seine. The turbulent little stream of the Bièvre flowed by the foot of Mons Lutetius on the east, entering the main river opposite the eastern limit of the civitas of Lutetia, gleaming white before them and girdled by the waters of the Seine. A narrow eel-shaped island, subsequently known as the Isle de Galilée, lay between the Isle of the Cité and the southern bank; two islands, the Isles de Notre Dame and des Vaches, divided by a narrow channel to the east, and two eyots, the Isles des Juifs and de Bussy, to the west. Another islet, the Isle de Javiaux or de Louviers, lay near the northern bank beyond the two eastern islands. Crossing a wooden bridge, where now stands the Petit Pont, they would enter the forum under a triumphal arch. Here would be the very foyer of[Pg 15] the city; a little way to the left the prefect's palace and the basilica, or hall of justice;[10] to the right the temple of Jupiter. As they crossed the island they would find it linked to the northern bank by another wooden bridge (the Grand Pont) replaced by the present Pont Notre Dame.[11] In the distance to the north stood Mons Martis (Montmartre), villas nestling on its slopes and crowned with the temples of Mars and Mercury, four of whose columns are preserved in the church of St. Pierre: to the west the aqueduct from Passy bringing its waters to the mineral baths located on the site of the present Palais Royal. A road, now the Rue St. Martin, led to the north; to the east, fed by the streams of Menilmontant and Belleville, lay the marshy land which is still known as the quarter of the Marais.

Denis, who by the mediæval hagiographers is invariably confused with Dionysius the Areopagite, and his companions, preached and taught the new faith unceasingly and met martyrs' deaths. In the Golden Legend he is famed to have converted much people to the faith, and "dyde do make many churches, and at length was brought before the judge who dyde do smyte off the hedes of the thre felawes by the temple of Mercurye. And anone the body of Saynte Denys reysed hymselfe up and bare his hede beetwene his armes, as the angels ladde hym two leghes fro the place which is sayd the hille of the martyrs unto the place where he now resteth by his election and the purveance of god. And there was[Pg 16] heard so grete and swete a melodye of angels that many that herd it byleuyd in oure lorde."

The work that Denis and his companions began was more fully achieved in the fourth century by the rude Pannonion soldier, St. Martin, who also evangelised at Paris. He is the best-known of Gallic saints, and the story of his conversion one of the most popular in Christendom. When stationed at Amiens he was on duty one bitter cold day at the city gate, and espied a poor naked beggar asking alms. Soldiers in garrison are notoriously impecunious, and Martin had nothing to give; but drawing his sword he cleaved his mantle in twain, and bestowed half upon the shivering wretch at his feet. That very night the Lord Jesus appeared to him in a dream surrounded by angels, having on His shoulders the half of the cloak which Martin had given to the beggar. Turning to the angels, Jesus said: "Know ye who hath thus arrayed Me? My servant Martin, though yet unbaptised, hath done this." After this vision Martin received baptism and remained steadfast in the faith. The illiterate and dauntless soldier became the fiery apostle of the faith, a vigorous iconoclast, throwing down the images of the false gods, breaking their altars in pieces and burning their temples. Of the Roman gods, Mercury, he said, was most difficult to ban, but Jove was merely stupid[12] and brutish, and gave him least trouble.

On the 16th of March 1711, some workmen, digging a burial crypt for the archbishops of Paris under the choir of Notre Dame, came upon a wall, six feet below the pavement, which contemporary antiquarians believed to be the wall of the original Christian basilica over which the cathedral was built, but which modern authorities affirm to have been part of the old Gallo-Roman wall of the Cité. In the fabric of this wall the early builders[Pg 17] had incorporated the remains of a temple of Jupiter, and among the débris were found the fragments of an altar raised to Jove in the reign of Tiberius Cæsar by the Nautæ, a guild of Parisian merchant-shippers, and the table of another altar on whose foyer still remained some of the very burnt wood and incense used in the last pagan sacrifice. The mutilated stones, with their rude Gallo-Roman reliefs and inscriptions,[13] may be seen in the Frigidarium of the Thermæ, the old Roman baths by the Hôtel de Cluny, and are among the most interesting of historical documents in Paris. The Corporation of Nautæ Parisiaci, one of the most powerful of the guilds, among whose members were enrolled the chief citizens of Lutetia, who dedicated this altar to Jove, were the origin of the Commune or Civil Council of Paris, whose Provost[14] was known as late as the fourteenth century as the Prévôt des Marchands d'Eau. Their device was the Nef, or ship, which is and has been throughout the ages, the arms of Paris, and which to this day may be seen carved on the vaultings of the Roman baths.

In the great palace of which these baths formed but a part was enacted that scene so vividly described in the pages of Gibbon,[15] when, in 355, Julian, after his victories over the Alemanni and the Franks, was acclaimed Augustus by the rebellious troops of Constantius. He had admonished the sullen legions, angry at being detached from their victorious and darling commander for service on the Persian frontier, and had urged them to obedience, but at midnight the young Cæsar was [Pg 18] awakened by a clamorous and armed multitude besieging the palace, and at early dawn its doors were forced; the reluctant Julian was seized and carried through the streets in triumph, lifted on a shield, and for diadem crowned with a military collar, to be enthroned and saluted as emperor. In after life the emperor-philosopher looked back with tender regret to the three winters he spent in Paris before his elevation to the imperial responsibilities and anxieties. He writes of the busy days and meditative nights he passed in his dear Lutetia, with its two wooden bridges, its pure and pleasant waters, its excellent wine. He dwells on the mildness of its climate, where the fig-tree, protected by straw in the winter, grew and fruited. One rigorous season, however, the emperor well remembered[16] when the Seine was blocked by huge masses of ice. Julian, who prided himself on his endurance, at first declined the use of those charcoal fires which to this day are a common and deadly method of supplying heat in Paris. But his rooms were damp and his servants were allowed to introduce them into his sleeping apartment. The Cæsar was almost asphyxiated by the fumes, and his physicians to restore him administered an emetic. Julian in his time was beloved of the Lutetians, for he was a just and tolerant prince whose yoke was easy. He had purged the soil of Gaul from the barbarian invaders, given Lutetia peace and security, and made of it an important, imperial city. His statue, found near Paris, still recalls his memory in the hall of the great baths of the Lutetia he loved so well.

The so-called apostasy of this lover of Plato and worshipper of the Sun, who never went to the wars or travelled without dragging a library of Greek authors[Pg 19] after him, was a philosophic reaction against the harsh measures,[17] the bloody and treacherous natures of the Christian emperors, and the fierceness of the Arian controversy. The movement was but a back-wash in the stream of history, and is of small importance. Julian's successors, Valentinian and Gratian, reversed his policy but shared his love for the fair city on the Seine, and spent some winters there. Lutetia had now become a rich and cultured Gallo-Roman city. [Pg 20]


The Barbarian Invasions—St. Genevieve—The Conversion of Clovis—The Merovingian Dynasty

In the Prologue to Faust, the Lord of Heaven justifies the existence of the restless, goading spirit of evil by the fact that man's activity is all too prone to flag,—

"Er liebt sich bald die unbedingte Ruh."[18]

As with men so with empires: riches and inaction are hard to bear. It was not so much a corruption of morals as a growing slackness and apathy in public life and an intellectual sloth that hastened the fall of the Roman Empire. Owing to the gradual exhaustion of the supply of slaves its economic basis was crumbling away. The ruling class was content to administer and enjoy rather than to govern: unwilling or incompetent to grapple with the new order of things.[19] For centuries the Gauls had been untrained in arms and habituated to look to the imperial legions for defence against the half-savage races of men, giants in stature and strength, surging like an angry sea against their boundaries. [Pg 21]

The end of the fifth century is the beginning of the evil times of Gallic story: the confederation of Frankish tribes who had conquered and settled in Belgium saw successive waves of invasion pass by, and determined to have their part in the spoils. They soon overran Flanders and the north, and at length under Clovis captured Paris and conquered nearly the whole of Gaul. That fair land of France, "one of Nature's choicest masterpieces, one of Ceres' chiefest barns for corn, one of Bacchus' prime wine cellars and of Neptune's best salt-pits," became the prey of the barbarian. The whole fabric of civilisation seem doomed to destruction, Gaul had become the richest and most populous of Roman provinces; its learning and literature were noised in Rome; its rhetoricians drew students from the mother city herself; it was the last refuge of Græco-Roman culture in the west. But at the end of the sixth century Gregory of Tours deplores the fact that in his time there were neither books, nor readers, nor scholar who could compose in verse or prose, and that only the speech of the rustic was understood. He playfully scolds himself for muddling prepositions and confusing genders and cases, but his duty as a Christian priest is to instruct, not to charm, and so he tells the story of his times in such rustic Latin as he knows. He draws for us a vivid picture of Clovis, his savage valour, his astuteness, his regal passion.

After the victory at Soissons over Syagrius, the shadowy king of the Romans, Clovis was met by St. Rémi, who prayed that a vase of great price and wondrous beauty among the spoil might be returned to him. "Follow us," said the king, "to Soissons, where the booty will be shared." Before the division took place Clovis begged that the vase might be accorded to him. His warriors answered: "All, glorious king, is thine." But before the king could grasp the vase,[Pg 22] one, jealous and angry, threw his francisque[20] at it, exclaiming: "Thou shalt have no more than falls to thy lot." The broken vase was however apportioned to the king, who restored it to the bishop. But Clovis hid the wound in his heart, and at the annual review in the Champ de Mars near Paris, as the king strode along the line inspecting the weapons of his warriors, he stopped in front of the uncourtly soldier, took his axe from him, complained of its foul state, and flung it angrily on the ground. As the man stooped to pick it up Clovis, with his own axe, cleft his skull in twain, exclaiming: "Thus didst thou to the vase at Soissons." "Even so," says Gregory quaintly, "did he inspire all with great fear."

At this point of our story we are met by the first of those noble women, heroic and wise, for whom French history is pre-eminent. In the early fifth century "saynt germayn[21] of aucerre and saynt lew of troyes, elect of the prelates of fraunce for to goo quenche an heresye that was in grete brytayne, now called englond, came to nannterre for to be lodged and heberowed and the people came ageynst theym for to have theyr benyson. Emonge the people, saynt germayn, by thenseignemente of the holy ghoost, espyed out the lytel mayde saynt geneuefe, and made hyr to come to hym, and kyste hyr heed and demaunded hyr name, and whos doughter she was, and the people aboute hyr said that her name was geneuefe, and her fader seuere, and her moder geronce, whyche came unto hym, and the holy man sayd: is this child yours? They answerd: Ye. Blessyd be ye, said the holy man, whan god hath gyven to you so noble lignage, knowe ye for certeyn that the day of hyr natiyuyte the angels sange and halyowed grete mysterye in heuen with grete ioye and gladnes." [Pg 23]

Tidings soon came to Paris that Attila, the felon king of Hungary, had enterprised to destroy and waste the parts of France, and the merchants for great dread they had, sent their goods into cities more sure. Genevieve caused the good women of the town to "wake in fastynges and in orysons, and bade the bourgeyses that they shold not remeuve theyr goodes for by the grace of god parys shold have none harme." At first the people hardened their hearts and reviled her, but St. Germain, who had meantime returned to Paris, entreated them to hearken to her, and our Lord for her love did so much that the "tyrantes approachyd not parys, thanke and glorye to god and honoure to the vyrgyn." At the siege of Paris by Childeric and his Franks, when the people were wasted by sickness and famine, "the holy vyrgyne, that pyte constrayned her, wente to the sayne for to goe fetche by shyp somme vytaylles." She stilled by her prayers a furious tempest and brought the ships back laden with wheat. When the city was at length captured, King Childeric, although a paynim, saved at her intercession the lives of his prisoners, and one day, to escape her importunate pleadings for the lives of some criminals, fled out of the gates of Paris and shut them behind him. The saint lived to build a church over the tomb of St. Denis and to see Clovis become a Christian. She died in 509, and was buried on the hill of Lutetius, which ever since has borne her name.

The faithful built a little wooden oratory over her tomb, which Clovis and his queen Clotilde replaced in 506 by a great basilica dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul,—whose length the king measured by the distance he could hurl his axe—and the famous monastery of St. Genevieve.[22] [Pg 24]

The conversion of Clovis is the capital fact of early French history. Clotilde had long[23] importuned him to declare himself a Christian, and he had consented to the baptism of their firstborn, but the infant's death within a week seemed an admonition from his own jealous gods. A second son, however, recovered from grievous sickness at his wife's prayers, and this, aided perhaps by a shrewd insight into the trend of events, induced him to lend a more willing ear to the teachers of the new Faith. In 496 the Franks were at death grapple with their German foes at Tolbiac. Clovis, when the fight went against him, invoked the God of the Christians and prayed to be delivered from his enemies. His cry was heard and the advent of the new Lord of Battles was winged with victory.

The conversion of Clovis was a triumph for the Church: in her struggle with the Arian heresy in Gaul, she was now able to enforce the arguments of the pen by the edge of the sword. Her scribes are tender to his memory, for his Christianity was marked by few signs of grace. He remained the same savage monarch as before, and did not scruple to affirm his dynasty and extend his empire by treachery and by the assassination of his kinsmen. To the Franks, Jesus was but a new and more puissant tribal deity. "Long live the Christ who loves the Franks," writes the author of the prologue to the Salic law; and when the bishop was one day reading the Gospel story of the Passion, the king, qui moult avait grand compassion, cried out: "Ah! had I been there with my Franks I would have avenged the[Pg 26] Christ." Nor was their ideal of kinship any loftier. Their realm was not a trust, but a possession to be divided among their heirs, and the jealousy and strife excited by the repeated partitions among sons, make the history of the Merovingian[24] dynasty a tale of cruelty and treachery whose every page is stained with blood.


Tower of Clovis.
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Clovis, in 508, made Paris the official capital of his realm, and at his death in 511 divided his possessions between his four sons—Thierry, Clodomir, Childebert and Clothaire. Clodomir after a short reign met his death in battle, leaving his children to the guardianship of their grandmother, Clotilde. One day messengers came to her in the old palace of the Cæsars on the south bank of the Seine from Childebert and Clothaire praying that their nephews might be entrusted to them. Believing they were to be trained in kingly offices that they might succeed their father in due time, Clotilde granted their prayer and two of the children were sent to them in the palace of the Cité. Soon came another messenger, bearing a pair of shears and a naked sword, and Clotilde was bidden to determine the fate of her wards and to choose for them between the cloister and the edge of the sword. An angry exclamation escaped her: "If they are not to be raised to the throne, I would rather see them dead than shorn." The messenger waited to hear no more and hastened back to the two kings. Clothaire then seized the elder of the children and stabbed him under the armpit. The younger, at the sight of his brother's blood, flung himself at Childebert's feet, burst into tears, and cried: "Help me, dear father, let me not die even as my brother." Childebert's heart was softened and he begged for the child's life. Clothaire's only answer was a volley of insults and a threat of death if he protected[Pg 27] the victim. Childebert then disentwined the child's tender arms clasping his knees—he was but six years of age—and pushed him to his brother, who drove a dagger into his breast. The tutors and servants of the children were then butchered, and Clothaire became at his brother's death, in 558, sole king of the Franks.[25] The third child, Clodoald, owing to the devotion of faithful servants escaped, and was hidden for some time in Provence. Later in life he returned to Paris and built a monastery at a place still known by his name (St. Cloud) about two leagues from the city.

In the days of Siegbert and Chilperic, kings of Eastern and Western France, the consuming flames of passion and greed again burst forth, this time fanned by the fierce breath of feminine rivalry. Siegbert had married Brunehaut, daughter of the Visigoth king of Spain: Chilperic had espoused her sister, Galowinthe, after repudiating his first wife, Adowere. When Galowinthe came to her throne she found herself the rival of Fredegonde, a common servant, with whom Chilperic had been living. He soon tired of his new wife, a gentle and pliant creature, Fredegonde regained her supremacy and one morning Galowinthe was found strangled in bed. The news came to King Siegbert[Pg 28] and Brunehaut goaded him to avenge her sister's death. Meanwhile Chilperic had married Fredegonde, who quickly compassed the murder of her only rival, the repudiated queen, Adowere. Soon Chilperic drew the sword and civil war devastated the land. By foreign aid Siegbert captured and spoiled Paris and compelled a peace. Scarcely, however, had the victor dismissed his Germain allies, when Chilperic fell upon him again. Siegbert now determined to make an end. He entered Paris, and prepared to crush his enemy at Tournay. As he set forth, St. Germain, bishop of Paris, seized his horse's bridle and warned him that the grave he was digging for his brother would swallow him too. When he reached Vitry two messengers were admitted to see him. As he stood between them listening to their suit he was stabbed on either side by two long poisoned knives: the assassins had been sent by Fredegonde.

But Fredegonde's tale of blood was not yet complete. She soon learned that Merovée, one of Chilperic's two sons by Adowere, had married Brunehaut. Merovée followed the rest of her victims, and Clovis, the second son, together with a sister of Adowere, next glutted her vengeance. "One day, after leaving the Synod of Paris," writes St. Gregory, "I had bidden King Chilperic adieu and had withdrawn conversing with the bishop of Albi. As we crossed the courtyard of the palace (in the Cité) he said: 'Seest thou not what I perceive above this roof?' I answered, 'I see only a second building which the king hath built.' He asked again, 'Seest thou naught else?' I weened he spoke in jest and did but answer—'If thou seest aught else, prithee show it unto me.' Then uttering a deep sigh, he said: 'I see the sword of God's wrath suspended over this house.'" Shortly after this conversation Chilperic[Pg 29] having returned from the chase to his royal villa of Chelles, was leaning on the shoulder of one of his companions to descend from his horse, when Landeric, servant of Fredegonde, stabbed him to death.

Thirty years were yet to pass before the curtain falls on the acts of the rival queens, their sons and grandsons, but the heart revolts at the details of the wars and lusts of these savage potentates.

Battle and murder had destroyed Brunehaut's children and her children's children until none were left to rule over the realms but herself and the four sons of Thierry II. The nobles, furious at the further tyranny of a cruel and imperious woman, plotted her ruin, and in 613, when Brunehaut, sure of victory, marched with two armies against Clothaire II., she was betrayed near Paris to him, her implacable enemy. He reproached her with the death of ten kings, and set her on a camel for three days to be mocked and insulted by the army. The old and fallen queen was then tied to the tail of a horse: the creature was lashed into fury and soon all that remained of the proud queen was a shapeless mass of carrion. The traditional place where Brunehaut met her death is still shown at the corner of the Rue St. Honoré and the Rue de l'Arbre Sec. Thierry's four sons had already been put to death. In 597 her rival Fredegonde, at the height of her prosperity, had died peacefully in bed, full of years, and was buried in the church of St. Vincent[26] by the side of Chilperic, her husband.

Amid all this ruin and desolation, when the four angels of the Euphrates seem to have been loosed on Gaul, one force was silently at work knitting up the ravelled ends of the rent fabric of civilisation and tending a lamp which burned with the promise of ideals, nobler far than those which fed the ancient faith and[Pg 30] polity. The Christian bishops were everywhere filling the empty curule chairs in the cities and provinces of Gaul. At the end of the sixth century, society lived in the Church and by the Church, and the sees of the archbishops and bishops corresponded to the Roman administrative divisions. All that was best in the old Gallo-Roman aristocracy was drawn into her bosom, for she was the one power making for unity and good government. From one end of the land to the other the bishops visited and corresponded with each other. They alone had communion of ideas, common sentiments and common interests. St. Gregory, bishop of Tours, was the son of a senator; St. Germain of Auxerre was a man of noble lineage, who had already exercised high public functions before he was made a bishop; St. Germain of Autun was ever on the move, now in Brittany, now at Paris, now at Arles, to crush heresy, to threaten a barbarian potentate, or to sear the conscience and, if need were, ban the person of a guilty Christian king.

By the end of the sixth century two hundred and thirty-eight monastic institutions had been founded in Gaul, and from the sixth to the eighth century, eighty-three churches were built. The monasteries were so many nurseries of the industry, knowledge and learning which had not perished in the barbarian invasions; so many cities of refuge from violence and rapine, where the few who thirsted after righteousness and burned with charity might find shelter and protection. "Every letter traced on paper," said an old abbot, "is a blow to the devil." The ecclesiastical and monastic schools took the place of the destroyed Roman day-schools, and whatever modicum of learning the Frankish courts could boast of, was due to the monks and nuns of their time; for some at least of these potentates when not absorbed in the gratification of their lusts, their[Pg 31] vengeance, greed or ambition, were possessed by nobler instincts.


St. Germain des Prés.
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To St. Germain of Autun, made bishop in 555, Paris owes one of her earliest ecclesiastical foundations. His influence over Childebert, king of Paris, was great. He obtained an order that those who refused to destroy pagan idols in their possession were to answer to the[Pg 32] king, and when Childebert and his warriors, seized by an irresistible fighting impulse, marched into Spain, and were bought off the siege and sack of Saragossa by the present of the tunic of St. Vincent, he induced the king to found the abbey and church of St. Vincent (St. Germain des Prés), to receive the relic and a great part of the spoil of Toledo, consisting of jewels, golden chalices, books and crucifixes of marvellous craftsmanship. In the same reign was begun on the site of the present sacristy of Notre Dame a great basilica, dedicated to St. Stephen, so magnificently decorated that it was compared to Solomon's Temple for the beauty and the delicacy of its art. The church of Ste. Marie or Notre Dame, already existing in 365, stood on a site extending westward into the present Place du Parvis Notre Dame. During this great outburst of zeal and devotion, another monastery (St. Vincent le Rond), was established and dedicated to St. Vincent, which subsequently became associated with the name of the earlier St. Germain of Auxerre (l'Auxerrois).

A curious episode is found in Gregory's Chronicle, which is characteristic of the times, and proves that a monastery and church of St. Julien le Pauvre were already in existence. An impostor, claiming to have the relics of St. Vincent and St. Felix, came to Paris, but refused to deposit them with the bishop for verification. He was arrested and searched, and the so-called relics were found to consist of moles' teeth, the bones of mice, some bears' claws and other rubbish: they were flung into the Seine and the impostor was put in prison. Gregory, who was lodging in the monastery of St. Julien le Pauvre, went into the church shortly after midnight to say matins, and found the creature, who had escaped from the bishop's prison, lying drunk on the pavement. He had him dragged away into a corner, but so intolerable was the stench that the pavement was[Pg 33] purified with water and sweet smelling herbs. When the bishops, who were at Paris for a synod, met at dinner the next day, the impostor was identified as a fugitive slave of the bishop of Tarbes.

Dagobert the Great, who came to the throne in 628, and his favourite minister, St. Eloy, goldsmith and bishop (founder of the convent in Paris which long bore his name), are enshrined in the hearts of the people in many a song and ballad: St. Eloy, with his good humour, his ruddy countenance, his eloquence, gentleness, modesty, wit, and wide charity, singing in the church processions à haute gamme jubilant et trépudiant like David of old before the ark: Dagobert, the Solomon of the Franks, the terror of the oppressor, the darling of the poor. The great king was fond of Paris and established himself there when not scouring his kingdom to administer justice or to crush his enemies. He was the second founder of the monastery of St. Denis, which he rebuilt and endowed with great magnificence, and to which he gave much importance by the establishment there of a great fair, which soon drew merchants from all parts of Europe. He was a patron of the arts and employed St. Eloy to make reliquaries[27] for St. Denis and the churches in Paris, of such richness and beauty that they were admired of the whole of France.

The monkish scribes who wrote the Chronicles of St. Denis were not ungrateful to the memory of good King Dagobert, for it is there related that one day, as a holy anchorite lay sleeping on his stony couch on an[Pg 34] island, being heavy with years, a venerable, white-haired man appeared to him and bade him rise and pray for the soul of King Dagobert of France. As he arose he beheld out at sea a crowd of devils bearing the king away in a little boat towards Vulcan's Cauldron, beating and tormenting him cruelly, who called unceasingly on St. Denis of France, on St. Martin and St. Maurice. Then thunder and tempest rolled down from heaven, and the three glorious saints appeared to him, arrayed in white garments. He was much affrighted, and on asking who they were, was answered: "We be they whom Dagobert hath called, and are come to snatch him from the hands of the devils and bear him to Abraham's bosom." The saints then vanished from before him and sped against the devils and reft the soul from them, which they were tormenting with threats and buffetings, and bare it to the joys perdurable of Paradise, chanting the words of the Psalmist Beatus quem eligisti.[Pg 35]


The Carlovingians—The Great Siege of Paris by the Normans—The Germs of Feudalism

Chaos and misery followed the brilliant reign of Dagobert. In half a century his race had faded into the feeble rois fainéants, degenerate by precocious debauchery, some of whom were fathers at fourteen or fifteen years of age and in their graves before they were thirty. The bow of power is to him who can bend it, and in an age when human passions are untamed, the one unpardonable vice in a king is weakness. Soon the incapable, impotent and irresolute Merovingians were thrust aside by the more puissant Carlovingian race.

Charles Martel, although buried with the Frankish kings at St. Denis, was content with the title of Duke of the Franks, and hesitated to proclaim himself king. He, like the other mayors of the palace, ruled through feeble and pensioned puppets when they did not contemptuously leave the throne vacant. In 751 Pepin the Short sent two prelates to sound Pope Zacchary, who, being hard pressed by the Lombards, lent a willing ear to their suit, agreed that he who was king in fact should be made so in name, and authorised Pepin to assume the title of king. Chilperic III., like a discarded toy, was relegated to a monastery at St. Omer, and Pepin the Short anointed at Soissons by St. Boniface bishop of Mayence, from that sacred "ampul[Pg 36] full of chrism" which a snow-white dove had brought in its mouth to St. Rémi wherewith to anoint Clovis at Rheims. In the year 754 Stephen III., the first pope who had honoured Paris by his presence, came to ask the reward of his predecessor's favour and was lodged at St. Denis. There he anointed Pepin anew, with his sons Charles and Carloman, and compelled the Frankish chieftains, under pain of excommunication, to swear allegiance to them and their descendants.

The city of Lutetia had much changed since the messengers of Pope Fabianus entered five centuries before. On that southern hill where formerly stood the Roman camp and cemetery were now the great basilica and abbey of St. Genevieve. The amphitheatre and probably much of the palace of the Cæsars were in ruins, all stripped of their marbles to adorn the new Christian churches. The extensive abbatial buildings and church, resplendent with marble and gold, on the west, dedicated to St. Vincent, were henceforth to be known as St. Germain of the Meadows (des Prés), for the saint's body had been translated from the chapel of St. Symphorien in the vestibule to the high altar of the abbey church a few weeks before the pope's arrival at St. Denis. The Cité[28] was still held within decayed Gallo-Roman walls, and the Grand and Petit Ponts of wood crossed the arms of the Seine. On the site of the old pagan temple to Jupiter by the market-place stood the church Our Lady: to the south-east stood the church of St. Stephen. The devotion of the Nautæ had been transferred from Apollo to St. Nicholas, patron of shipmen, Mercury had given place to St. Michael, and to each of those saints oratories were erected. Other churches and oratories adorned the island, dedicated to St. Gervais, and St. Denis of[Pg 37] the Prison (de la chartre), by the north wall where, abandoned by his followers, the saint was visited by his divine Lord, who Himself administered the sacred Host. A nunnery dedicated to St. Eloy, where three hundred pious nuns diffused the odour of Jesus Christ through the whole city, occupied a large site opposite the west front of Notre Dame. Near by stood a hospital, founded and endowed a century before by St. Landry, bishop of Paris, for the sick poor, which soon became known as the Hostel of God (Hôtel Dieu). The old Roman palace and basilica had been transformed into the official residence and tribunal of justice of the Frankish kings. On the south bank stood the church and monastery of St. Julien le Pauvre. A new Frankish city was growing on the north bank, bounded on the west by the abbey of St. Vincent le Rond, and on the east by the abbey of St. Lawrence. Houses clustered around the four great monasteries, and suburbs were in course of formation. The Cité was still largely inhabited by opulent merchants of Gallo-Roman descent, who were seen riding along the streets in richly decorated chariots drawn by oxen.

Charlemagne during his long reign of nearly half a century (768-814) was too preoccupied with his noble but ineffectual purpose of cementing by blood and iron the warring races of Europe into a united populus Christianus, and establishing, under the dual lordship of emperor and pope, a city of God on earth, to give much attention to Paris. He did, however, spend a Christmas there, and was present at the dedication of the church of St. Denis, completed in 775 under Abbot Fulrad. It was a typical Frankish prince whom the Parisians saw enthroned at St. Denis. He had the abundant fair hair, shaven chin and long moustache we see in the traditional pictures of Clovis. Above middle height, with large, bright piercing eyes, which, when he was angered[Pg 38] shone like carbuncles, he impressed all by the majesty of his bearing, in spite of a rather shrill and feeble voice and a certain asymmetrical rotundity below the belt.


St. Julien le Pauvre.
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Abbot Fulrad was a sturdy prince and for long disputed the possession of some lands at Plessis with the bishop of Paris. The decision of the case is characteristic of the times. Two champions were deputed to act for the litigants, and met before the Count of Paris[29][Pg 39] in the king's chapel of St. Nicholas in the Palace of the Cité, and a solemn judgment by the cross was held. While the royal chaplain recited psalms and prayers, the two champions stood forth and held their arms outstretched in the form of a cross. In this trial of endurance the bishop's deputy was the first to succumb; his fainting arms drooped and the abbot won his cause.

Paris had grown but slowly under the Frankish kings. They lived ill at ease within city walls. Children of the fields and the forests, whose delight was in the chase or in war, they were glad to escape from Paris to their villas at Chelles or Compiègne. But the civil power of the Church grew apace. In the early sixth century the abbots of St. Germain des Prés at Paris held possession of nearly 90,000 acres of land, mostly arable, in various provinces: their annual revenue amounted to about £34,000[i] of our money: they ruled over more than 10,000 serfs. From a list of the lands held in Paris in the ninth century by the abbey of St. Pierre des Fossés,[30] and published in the Trésor des piéces rares ou inédites, we are able to form some idea of the vast extent of monastic possessions in the city. The names of the various properties whose boundaries touch those of the abbey lands are given: private owners are mentioned only four times, whereas to ecclesiastical and monastic domains there are no less than ninety references. These monastic settlements were veritable garden cities, where most of our modern fruits, flowers[Pg 40] and vegetables were cultivated; where flocks and herds were bred, and all kinds of poultry, including pheasants and peacocks, reared. Guilds of craftsmen worked and flourished; markets were held generally on saints' days, and pilgrimages were fostered. Charlemagne was an honest coiner and a protector of foreign traders; he was tolerant of the Jews, the only capitalists of the time, and under him Paris became the "market of the peoples," and Venetian and Syrian merchants sought her shores.

In Gallo-Roman days few were the churches outside the cities, but in the great emperor's time every villa[31] is said to have had its chapel or oratory served by a priest. Charlemagne was a zealous patron of such learning as the epoch afforded, and sought out scholars in every land. English, Irish, Scotch, Italian, Goth, and Bavarian—all were welcomed. The English scholar Alcuin, master of the Cloister School at York, became his chief adviser and tutor. He would have every child in his empire to know at least his paternoster, and every abbot on election was required to endow the monastery with some books. The choice of authors was not a wide one: the Old and New Testaments; the writings of the Fathers, especially St. Augustine, the emperor's favourite author; Josephus; the works of Bede; some Latin authors, chiefly Virgil; scraps of Plato translated into Latin—a somewhat exiguous and austere library, but one which reared a noble and valiant line of scholars and statesmen to rule the minds and bridle the savage lusts of the coming generations of men. Under Irish and Anglo-Saxon influences the cramped, minute script of the Merovingian scribes grew in beauty and lucidity; gold and silver and colour illuminated the pages of their books. The golden age[Pg 41] of the Roman peace seemed dawning again in a new Imperium Christianorum.

Towards the end of his reign the old emperor was dining with his court in a seaport town in the south of France, when news came that some strange, black, piratical craft had dared to attack the harbour. They were soon scattered, but the emperor was seen to rise from the table, and go to a window, where he stood gazing fixedly at the retreating pirates. Tears trickled down his cheeks and none dared to approach him. At length he turned and said: "Know ye my faithful servants, wherefore I weep thus bitterly? I fear not these wretched pirates, but I am afflicted that they should dare to approach these shores, and sorely do grieve when I foresee what evil they will work on my sons and on my people." His courtiers deemed they were Breton or Saracen pirates, but the emperor knew better. They were the terrible Northmen, soon to prove a bloodier scourge to Gaul than Hun or Goth or Saracen; and to meet them Charlemagne left an empire distracted by civil war, and a nerveless, feeble prince, Louis the Pious, Louis the Forgiving, fitter for the hermit's cell than for the throne and sword of an emperor.

In 841 the black boats of the sea-rovers for the first time entered the Seine, and burnt Rouen and Fontenelle. In 845 a fleet of one hundred and twenty vessels swept up its higher waters and on Easter Eve captured, plundered and burnt Paris, sacked its monasteries and churches and butchered their monks and priests. The futile Emperor Charles the Bald bought them off at St. Denis with seven thousand livres of silver, and they went back to their Scandinavian homes gorged with plunder—only to return year by year, increased in numbers and ferocity. Words cannot picture the terror of the citizens and monks when the dread squadrons, with the monstrous dragons carved on their prows, their[Pg 42] great sails and threefold serried ranks of men-of-prey, were sighted. Everyone left his home and sought refuge in flight; the monks hurried off with the bodies of the saints, the relics and treasures of the sanctuary, to hide them in far-away cities. In 852 Charles' soldiers refused to fight, and for two hundred and eighty-seven days the pirates ravaged the valley of the Seine at their will. Never within memory or tradition were such things known. Rouen, Bayeux, Beauvais, Paris, Meaux, Melun, Chartres, Evreux, were devastated; the islands of the Seine were whitened by the bones of the victims, and similar horrors were wrought along the other rivers of France. In 858 a body of the freebooters settled on the island of Oissel, below Rouen, and issued forth en excursion to spoil and slay and burn at their pleasure: the once rich city of Paris was left a cinder heap; the abbey of St. Genevieve was sacked and burnt, Notre Dame, St. Stephen, St. Germain des Prés and St Denis alone escaping at the cost of immense bribes. Charles ordered two fortresses to be built for the defence of the approaches to the bridges, and continued his feeble policy of paying blackmail.

In 865 St. Denis was pillaged. In 866 Robert the Strong, Count of Paris, had won the title of the Maccabeus of France, by daring to stand against the fury of the Northmen and to defeat them; but having in the heat of battle with the terrible Hastings taken off his cuirass, he was killed. By order of Charles, St. Denis was fortified in 869, after another pillage of St. Germain.

In 876 began a second period of raids of even greater ferocity under the Norwegian Rollo the Gangr[32] (the walker), a colossus so huge that no horse could be found to bear him. In 884 the whole[Pg 43] Christian people seemed doomed to perish. Flourishing cities and monasteries became heaps of smoking ruins; along the roads lay the bodies of priests and laymen, noble and peasant, freeman and serf, women and children and babes at the breast to be devoured of wolves and vultures. The very sanctuaries[33] were become the dens of wild beasts, the haunt of serpents and creeping things.

In 885 a great league of pirates—Danes, Normans, Saxons, Britons and renegade French—on their way to ravage the rich cities of Burgundy drew up before Paris; and their leader, Siegfroy, demanded passage to the higher waters. Paris, forsaken by her kings and emperors for more than a century, scarred and bled by three spoliations, was now to become a beacon of hope. The Roman walls were repaired, the towers on the north and south banks were strengthened. Bishop Gozlin, in whom great learning was wedded to incomparable fortitude, defied the pirates, warning them that the citizens were determined to resist and to hold Paris for a bulwark to the land.

Of this most terrible of the Norman sieges of Paris, we have fuller record. A certain monk of St. Germain des Prés, Abbo by name, who had taken part in the defence, was one day sitting in his cell reading his Virgil. Desiring to exercise his Latin, and give an example to other cities, he determined to sing of a great siege with happier issue than that of Troy.[34] Abbo saw the black hulls and horrid prows of the pirates' boats as they turned the arm of the Seine below Paris, seven hundred strong vessels, and many more of[Pg 44] lighter build. For two leagues and a half the very waters of the Seine were covered with them, and men asked into what mysterious caves the river had retreated. On November 26th, 885, the attack began at the unfinished tower on the north bank, replaced in later times by the Grand Châtelet. Three leaders stand eminent among the defenders of the city: Bishop Gozlin, the great warrior priest; his nephew, Abbot Ebles of St. Denis; and Count Eudes (Hugh) of Paris, son of Robert the Strong. The air is darkened with javelins and arrows; bishop and abbot are in the very eye of danger; the latter with one shaft spits seven of the besiegers, and mockingly bids their fellows take them to the kitchen to be cooked. On the morrow, reinforced by fresh troops, the assault is renewed, stones are hurled, arrows whistle; the air is filled with groans and cries; the defenders pour down boiling oil and melted wax and pitch. The hair of some of the Normans takes fire; they burn and the the Parisians shout—"Jump into the Seine; the water will make your hair grow again and then look you that it be better combed." One well-aimed millstone says Abbo, sends the souls of six to hell. The baffled Northmen retire, entrench a camp at St. Germain l'Auxerrois, and prepare rams and other siege artillery.

Abbo now pauses to bewail the state of France: no lord to rule her, everywhere devastation wrought by fire and sword, God's people paralysed at the advancing phalanx of death, Paris alone tranquil, erect and steadfast in the midst of all their thunderbolts, polis ut regina micans omnes super urbes, a queenly city resplendent above all towns. The second attack begins with redoubled fury. After battering the walls of the north tower, monstrous machines on sixteen wheels are advanced and the besiegers strive to fill the fosse. Trees, shrubs, slaughtered cattle, wounded horses, the[Pg 45] very captives slain before the eyes of the besieged, are cast in to fill the void. Bishop Gozlin brings down the Norman chieftain, who had butchered the prisoners, by a well-aimed arrow: his body, too, is flung into the fosse. The enemy cover the plain with their swords and the river with their bucklers; fireships are loosed[Pg 46] against the bridge. In the city women fly to the sanctuaries; they roll their hair in the dust, beat their breasts and rend their faces, calling on St. Germain: "Blessed St. Germain, succour thy servants." The fighters on the walls take up the cry; Bishop Gozlin invokes the Virgin, Mother of the Redeemer, Star of the Sea, bright above all other stars, to save them from the cruel Danes.


St Germain l'Auxerrois.
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On February 6th, 886, a sudden flood sweeps away the Petit Pont, and its tower, with twelve defenders, is isolated. With shouts of triumph the Northmen cross the river and surround it. The twelve refuse to yield, and fire is brought. The warriors (a touching detail) fearing lest their falcons be stifled, cut them loose. There is but one vessel wherewith to quench the flames and that soon drops from their hands; the little band rush forth; they set their backs against the ruins of the bridge, their faces to their foes and fought a hopeless fight. The walls of the city are lined with their kinsmen and friends impotent to help; the enemies of God, doomed one day to dine at Pluto's cauldron, press upon them; they fight till Phœbus sinks to the depths of the sea, so great is the courage of despair. The survivors are promised their lives if they will yield, they are disarmed, then treacherously slain, and their souls fly to heaven. But one, Hervé, of noble bearing and of great beauty, deemed a prince, is spared for ransom. With thunderous voice he refuses to bargain his life for gold, falls unarmed on his foes and is cut to pieces. "These things," writes Monk Abbo, "I saw with mine eyes," and he gives the names of the heroic twelve who went to receive the palm of martyrdom: Ermenfroi, Hervé, Herland, Ouacre, Hervi, Arnaud, Seuil, Jobert, Hardre, Guy, Aimard, Gossuin. Their names are inscribed on a little marble tablet over the Place du Petit Pont,[35] near the spot where they fell. Hail to the[Pg 47] brave who across twelve centuries thrill our hearts to-day! They were examplars to the land; they helped to make France by their desperate courage and noble self-sacrifice, and to win for Paris the hegemony of her cities. The city is at length revictualled by Henry of Saxony and again the Parisians are left to themselves. On the sixth of April Bishop Gozlin, their shield, their two-edged axe, whose shaft and bow were terrible, passes to the Lord. On May 12th, Eudes steals away to implore further help from the emperor, and as soon as he sees the imperialists on the march returns and hews his way into Paris, to share the terrors of the siege. Henry the Saxon again appears, but is ambushed and slain and his army melts away. Yet again Paris is abandoned by her emperor and seeks help of heaven, for the waters are low, the besiegers are able to get footing on the island, set fire to the gates and attack the walls. The body of St. Genevieve, which had been transferred to the Cité, is borne about, and at night the ghostly figure of St. Germain is seen by the sentinels to pass along the ramparts, sprinkling them with holy water and promising salvation. Charles the Fat, the Lord's anointed, now appears with a multitude of a hundred tongues and encamps on Montmartre, but while the Parisians are preparing to second him in crushing their foes, they learn that the cowardly emperor has bought them off with a bribe and permission to winter in Burgundy. The Parisians, however, refused to give them passage and by an unparalleled feat of engineering they transported their ships overland for two miles and set sail again above the city. Next year, as Gozlin's successor, Bishop Antheric, was sitting at table with Abbot Ebles, a fearful messenger brought news that the acephali[36] were again in sight. Forgetting[Pg 48] the repast, the two churchmen seized their weapons, called the city to arms, hastened to the ramparts, and the abbot slew their pilot with a well-aimed shaft. The Normans are terrified, and at length a treaty is made with their leaders, who promised not to ravage the Marne and some even entered Paris. But the ill-disciplined hordes were hard to hold in and bands of brigands, as soon as the ramparts were passed, began to plunder and slew a score of Christian men. The Parisians in their indignation sought out and—Hurrah! cries Abbo—found five hundred Normans in the city and slew them. But the bishop protected those that took refuge in his palace, instead of killing them as he ought to have done—potius concidere debens. For a time Paris had respite; cowardly Charles the Fat was deposed, and in 887 Count Eudes was acclaimed king of France after his return from Aquitaine, whose duke he had brought to subjection. He counselled a gathering of all the peoples outside Paris to make common cause against the Normans, and Abbo saw the proud Franks march in with heads erect, the skilful and polished Aquitaines, the Burgundians too prone to flight. But nought availed: the motley host soon melted away.

At the extreme north-east of Paris the Rue du Crimée leads to a group of once barren hills, part of which is now made into the Park of the Buttes Chaumont. Here, by the Mount of the Falcon (Montfaucon[37]) in 892 King Eudes fell upon an army of Northmen, who had come against Paris and utterly routed them. Antheric, the noble pastor, with his virgin-like face, led three hundred footmen into the[Pg 49] fight and slew six hundred of the acephali. But Abbo's muse now fails him, for Eudes, noble Eudes, is no more worthy of his office, and Christ's sheep are perishing. Where is the ancient prowess of France? Three vices are working her destruction: pride, the sinful charms of Venus (fœda venustas veneris) and love of sumptuous garments. Her people are arrayed in purple vesture, and wear cloaks of gold; their loins are cinctured with girdles rich with precious stones. Monk Abbo wearies not of singing, but the deeds of noble Eudes are wanting; all the poet craves is another victory to rejoice Heaven; another defeat of the black host of the enemy.

Alas! the noble Eudes was now a king with rebellious vassals. Paris was never captured again, but the acephali were devouring the land. The grim spectres of Famine and Plague made a charnel-house of whole regions of France, while Eudes was fighting the Count of Flanders, a rival king, and the ineffectual emperor, Charles the Simple. He it was who after Eudes' death, by the treaty of St. Claire sur Epte in 902, surrendered to the barbarians the fair province, subsequently to be known as Normandy. The new prayer in the Litany, "From the fury of the Northmen, good Lord deliver us," was heard, and the dread name of Rollo vanishes from history to live again in song. Under the title of Robert, assumed from his god-father, he reappears to win a dukedom and a king's daughter; the Normans are broken in to Christianity, law and order; their land becomes one of the most civilized regions of France; the fiercest of church levellers are known as the greatest of church builders in Christendom. They gave their name to a style of Christian architecture in Europe and a line of kings to England,[38] Naples and Sicily.

The people of Paris and of France never forgot the [Pg 50] lesson of the dark century of the invasions. A subtle change had been operating. The empire had decomposed into kingdoms; the kingdoms were segregating into lordships. Men in their need were attracted to the few strong and dominant lords whose courage and resource afforded them a rallying point and shelter against disintegrating forces: the poor and defenceless huddled for protection to the seigneurs of strongholds which had withstood the floods of barbarians that were devastating the land. The seeds of feudalism were sown in the long winter of the Norman terror.[Pg 51]


The Rise of the Capetian Kings and the Growth of Feudal Paris

From 936 to the coronation of Hugh Capet at Noyon in 987, the Carlovingians exercised a slowly decaying power. The real rulers at Paris were Hugh the Tall and Hugh Capet,[39] grandson and great-grandson of Robert the Strong. They revolutionized the ideal of kingship and founded the line of kings of France which stretches onward through history for a thousand years until the guillotine of the Revolution cut it in twain. It is Hugh Capet whom Dante, following a legend of his time, calls the son of a butcher of Paris, and whom he hears among the weeping souls cleaving to the dust and purging their avarice in the fifth cornice of Purgatory.

Their patrimony was a small one—the provinces of the Isle de France, La Brie, La Beauce, Beauvais and Valois; but their sway extended over the land of the Langue d'oil, with its strenuous northern life, le doux royaume de la France, the sweet realm of France, whose head was Paris, cradle of the great French Monarchy and home of art, learning and chivalry. The globe of the earth, symbol of universal empire, gives way to the hand of justice as the emblem of kingship. The Capets were, it is true, at first little more than seigneurs over[Pg 52] other seigneurs, some of whom were almost as powerful as they; but that little, the drop of holy chrism by which they were consecrated of the Church, and the support of the French jurists, contained within them a promise and potency of future grandeur. They were the Lord's anointed, supported by the Lord's Vicar on earth: to disobey them was to disobey God: tribal sovereignty was to give way to territorial sovereignty. The people, long forsaken by their emperors, had in their turn forsaken them, in order "not to be at the mercy of all the great ones they surrendered themselves to one of the great ones" and in exchange for protection gave troth and service. Cities, churches and monasteries now assumed a new aspect. Paris had demonstrated the value of a walled city, and during the latter part of the Norman terror, from all parts of North France, monks and nuns and priests had brought their holy relics within it as to a city of refuge. Gone were its lines of villas from Gallo-Roman times extending freely into the country. The ample spaces within gave place to crowded houses and narrow streets held in a rigid ring of walls and moats. The might of the archbishops, bishops and abbots increased: they sat in the councils of kings and dominated the administration of justice; the moral, social and political life of the country centred around them. Armed with the sword and the cross they held almost absolute sway over their little republics, coined money, levied taxes, disposed of small armies and went to the chase in almost regal state.

The advent of the year 1000 was regarded with universal terror in Christendom. A fear, based on a supposed apocalyptic prophecy that the end of the world was at hand, paralysed all political and social life. Churches were too small to contain the immense throngs of fearful penitents: legacies and donations from conscience-stricken worshippers poured wealth into their[Pg 53] treasuries. But once the awe-inspiring night of the vernal equinox that began the year 1000 had passed, and the bright March sun rose again on the fair earth, unconsumed by the wrath of God, the old world "seemed to thrill with new life; the earth cast off her outworn garments and clothed herself in a rich and white vesture of new churches." Everywhere in Europe, and especially in Paris and in France, men strove in emulation to build the finest temples to God. The wooden roofs of the Merovingian and Carlovingian basilicas had ill withstood the ravage of war and fire. Stone took the place of wood, the heavy thrust of the roof led to increased mural strength, walls were buttressed, columns thickened. Massive towers of defence, at first round, then polygonal, then square, flanked the west fronts, veritable keeps, where the sacred vessels and relics might be preserved and defended in case of attack. Soon spaces are clamant for decoration and the stone soars into the beauty of Gothic vaulting and tracery.

The growth of Paris is more intimately associated with the Capets than with any of the earlier dynasties, and at no period in its history is the ecclesiastical expansion more marked. Under the long reign of Hugh's son, King Robert the Pious, no less than fourteen monasteries and seven churches were built or rebuilt in or around the city; a new and magnificent palace and hall of Justice, with its royal chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas, rose on the site of the old Roman basilica and palace in the Cité. The king was no less charitable than pious; troops of the poor and afflicted followed him when he went abroad, and he fed a thousand daily at his table. But notwithstanding his munificent piety, he was early made to feel the power of the Church. His union with Queen Bertha, a cousin of the fourth degree, whom he had married a[Pg 54] year before his accession, was condemned by the pope as incestuous, and he was summoned to repudiate her. Robert, who loved his wife dearly, resisted the papal authority, and excommunication and interdict followed.[40] Everyone fled from him; only the servants are said to have remained, who purged with fire all the vessels which were contaminated by the guilty couple's touch. The misery of his people at length subdued the king's spirit, and he cast off his faithful and beloved queen.

The beautiful and imperious Constance of Aquitaine, her successor, proved a penitential infliction second only in severity to the anathemas of the Church. Troops of vain and frivolous troubadours from her southern home, in all kinds of foreign and fantastic costumes, invaded the court at Paris and shocked the austere piety of the king. He perceived the corrupting influence on the simple manners of the Franks of their licentious songs, lascivious music and dissolute lives, but was powerless to dismiss them. The tyrannous temper of his new consort became the torment of his life. He was forced even to conceal his acts of charity. One day, on returning from prayers, Robert perceived that his lance by the queen's orders had been adorned with richly chased silver. He looked around his palace and was not long in finding a poor, tattered wretch whom he ordered to search for a tool, and the pair locked themselves in a room; the silver was soon stripped from the lance, the king hastily thrust it into the beggar's wallet and bade him escape before the queen discovered the loss. The poor whom he admitted to his table, despite the angry protests of the queen, at times ill repaid his charity. On one occasion a tassel of gold was cut from his robe, and on the thief [Pg 55]being discovered the king simply remarked: "Well, perhaps he has greater need of it than I, may God bless its service to him." The very fringe was sometimes stripped from his cloak as he walked abroad, but he never could be induced to punish any of these poor spoilers of his person. It is in King Robert's reign that we read of one of the earliest revolts against the institution of slavery, which was regarded as an integral part of the divine order of things. It was the custom of the Church at Paris to send serfs to the law courts to give evidence for their bishop or prior, or to do battle for them in the event of a judicial duel. The freemen in the eleventh century began to rebel against fighting with a despised serf, and refused the duel, whereupon early in the next century the king and his court decided that the serfs might lawfully testify and fight against freemen, and whoso refused the trial by battle should lose his suit and suffer excommunication. The prelates exchanged serfs, used them as substitutes in times of war, allowed them to marry outside their church or abbey only by special permission and on condition that all children were equally divided between the two proprietors. If a female serf married a freeman he and their children became serfs. Serfs were only permitted to make a will by consent of their master; every favour was paid for and liberty bought at a great price. Merchants even and artizans in towns owed part of their produce to the seigneur. In the eleventh century burgesses as well as serfs and Jews were given to churches, exchanged, sold or left in wills by their seigneurs. The story of mediæval Paris is the story of the efforts of serf and burgess to win their economic freedom.

The declining years of King Robert were embittered by the impiety of rebellious sons, who were reduced to submission only at the price of a protracted and bloody[Pg 56] campaign in Burgundy. The broken-hearted father did not long survive his victory. He died in 1031, and the benisons and lamentations of the poor and lowly winged his spirit to its rest. If we may believe some writers, pious King Robert's memory is enshrined in the hymnology of the Church, which he enriched with some beautiful compositions. He was often seen to enter St. Denis in regal habit to lead the choir at matins, and would sometimes challenge the monks to a singing contest.

In 1053, towards the end of Henry I.'s almost unchronicled reign, an alarming rumour came to Paris. The priests of St. Ermeran at Ratisbon claimed to have possession of the body of St. Denis, which they alleged had been stolen from the abbey in 892 by one Gisalbert. The loss of a province would not have evoked livelier emotion, and Henry at once took measures to convince France and Christendom that the true body was still at St. Denis. Before an immense concourse of bishops, abbots, princes and people, presided over by the king, his brother and the archbishops of Rheims and of Canterbury, the remains of St. Denis and his two companions were solemnly drawn out of the silver coffers in which they had been placed by Dagobert, together with a nail from the cross and part of the crown of thorns, all locked with two keys in a chest richly adorned with gold and precious stones, and preserved in a vault under the high altar. After having been borne in procession they were exposed on the high altar for fifteen days and then restored to their resting-place. The stiff-necked priests of Ratisbon, fortified with a papal bull of 1052, still maintained their claim to the possession of the body, but no diminution was experienced in the devotion either of the French peoples or of strangers of all nations to the relics at St. Denis.[Pg 57]

The chief architectural event of Henry's reign at Paris was the rebuilding on a more magnificent scale of the Merovingian church and abbey of St. Martin in the Fields (des Champs), whose blackened walls and desolate lands were eloquent of the Norman terror. The buildings stood outside Paris about a mile beyond the Cité on the great Roman road to the north, where St. Martin on his way to Paris healed a leper. The foundation, which soon grew to be one of the wealthiest in France, included a hostel for poor pilgrims endowed by Philip I. with a mill on the Grand Pont, to which the monks added the revenue from an oven.[41] In the eighteenth century, when the monastery was secularised, the abbot was patron of twenty-nine priories, three vicarates and thirty-five parishes, five of which were in Paris. Some of the old building has been incorporated in the existing Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers. The Gothic Priory chapel, with its fine twelfth-century choir, is used as a machinery-room, and the refectory, one of the most precious and beautiful creations attributed to Pierre de Montereau, is now a library.

Philip I. brought to the indolent habit inherited from his father a depraved and vicious nature. After a regency of eight years he became king at the age of fifteen, and lived to defile his youth and dishonour his manhood by debauchery and adultery, simony and brigandage. Early in his career he followed the evil counsels of his provost Étienne, and purposed the spoliation of the treasury of St. Germain des Prés to pay for his dissolute pleasures. "As the sacrilegious pair,"[Pg 58] says the chronicler, "drew near the relics, Étienne was smitten with blindness and the terrified Philip fled."

Philip after a reign void of honour or profit to France left his son Louis VI. (the Lusty) a heritage of shame, a kingdom reduced to little more than a baronage over a few comtés, whose cities of Paris, Etampes, Orleans and Sens were isolated from royal jurisdiction by insolent and rebellious vassals. Many of the great seigneurs were but freebooters, living by plunder. The violence and lawlessness of these and other smaller scoundrels, who levied blackmail on merchants and travellers, made commerce almost impossible. Corruption, too, had invaded many of the monasteries and fouled the thrones of bishops, and a dual effort was made by king and Church to remedy the evils of the times. The hierarchy strove to centralise power at Rome that the Church might be purged of wolves in sheep's clothing: the Capetian monarchs to increase their might at Paris in order to subdue insolent and powerful vassals to law and obedience.

In 1097 the Duke of Burgundy learned that Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury was about to pass through his territory with a rich escort on his way to Rome. The usual ambush was laid and the party were held up. As the duke hastened to spoil his victims, crying out—"Where is the archbishop?" he turned and saw Anselm, impassive on his horse, gazing sternly at him. In a moment the savage and lawless duke was transformed to a pallid, stammering wretch with downcast eyes, begging permission to kiss the old man's hand and to offer him a noble escort to safeguard him through his territory. It was the moral influence of prelates such as this and monks such as St. Bernard that enabled the hierarchy to enforce the celibacy of the clergy, to cleanse the bishoprics and abbeys, to wrest the privilege of conferring[Pg 59] benefices from lay potentates and feudal seigneurs who bartered them for money, and to make and unmake kings.

The end of the eleventh and the beginning of the twelfth centuries saw the culmination of the power of the reformed orders. All over France, religious houses—the Grande Chartreuse, Fontevrault, Cîteaux, Clairvaux—sprang up as if by enchantment. Men and women of all stations and classes flocked to them, a veritable host of the Lord, "adorning the deserts with their holy perfection and solitudes by their purity and righteousness."

St. Bernard, the terror of mothers and of wives, by his austerity, his loving-kindness,[42] his impetuous will and masterful activity, his absolute faith and remorseless logic, his lyric and passionate eloquence, carried all before him and became the dictator of Christendom. He it was who with pitying gesture as of a kind father, his eyes suffused with tender joy, received Dante from the hands of Beatrice in the highest of celestial spheres, and after singing the beautiful hymn to the Virgin, led him to the heaven of heavens, to the very ecstasy and culmination of beatitude in the contemplation and comprehension of the triune God Himself. But religious no less than seculars are subdued by what they work in. Already in the tenth century Richer complained that the monks of his time were beginning to wear rich ornaments and flowing sleeves, and with their tight-fitting garments[43] looked like harlots rather than monks.

In the polluting atmosphere of Philip's reign matters had grown worse. St. Bernard denounced the royal abbey of St. Denis as "a house of Satan, a den of thieves." "The walls of the churches of Christ were[Pg 60] resplendent with colour but His poor were naked and left to perish; their stones were gilded with the money of the needy and wretched to charm the eyes of the rich."

In 1095 the task of cleansing the Abbey of St. Maur des Fossés at Paris seemed so hopeless, that the abbot resigned in despair rather than imperil his soul, and a more resolute reformer was sought. In 1107 the bishop of Paris was commanded by Rome to proceed to the abbey of St. Eloy and extirpate the evils there flourishing, for the nuns, it was reported, had so declined in grace, owing to the proximity of the court and intercourse with the world, that they had lost all sense of shame and lived in open sin, breaking the bonds of common decency. The scandal was so great that the bishop determined to cut them off from the house of the Lord; the abbey was reduced to a priory and given over to the abbot of the now reformed monastery of St. Maur, and its vast lands were parcelled out into several parishes.[44] The rights of the canons of Notre Dame were to be maintained; on St. Eloy's day the abbot of St. Maur was to furnish them with six pigs, two and a half measures of wine and three of fine wheat, and on St. Paul's day with eight sheep, the same quantity of wine, six crowns and one obole. The present Rue de la Cité and the Boulevard du Palais give approximately the east and west boundaries of the suppressed abbey, part of whose site is now occupied by the Prefecture de Police.

But the way of the reformer is a hard one. At the Council of Paris, 1074, the abbot of Pontoise was[Pg 61] severely ill-treated for supporting, against the majority of the Council, the pope's decrees excluding married clerics from the churches, and the reform of the canons of Notre Dame led to exciting scenes. Bishop Stephen of Senlis was sent in 1128 to introduce the new discipline, but the archdeacons and canons, supported by royal favour, resisted, and Bishop Stephen was stripped of his revenues and hastened back to his metropolitan, the archbishop of Sens. The archbishop laid Paris under interdict and the influence of St. Bernard himself was needed to compose the quarrel.

On Sunday, August 20, 1133, when returning from a visitation to the abbey of Chelles, the abbot and prior of St. Victor[45] at Paris were ambushed and the prior was stabbed. Some years later, in the reign of Louis VII., Pope Eugene III. came to seek refuge in Paris from the troubles excited at Rome by the revolution of Arnold of Brescia, and celebrated mass before the king at the abbey church of St. Genevieve. The canons had stretched a rich, silken carpet before the altar on which the pontiff's knees might rest, and when he retired to the sacristy to disrobe, his officers claimed the carpet, according to usage. The canons and their servants resisted, there was a bout of fisticuffs and sticks, the king intervened, anointed majesty himself was struck, and during the scuffle which ensued the carpet was torn to shreds in a tug-of-war between the claimants. Here was urgent need for reform. The pope decided to introduce the new discipline and appointed a fresh set of canons. The dispossessed canons met them with insults and violence, drowned their voices by howling and other indignities, and only ceased on being threatened with the loss of their eyes and other secular penalties. [Pg 62]

Louis VI., the noble damoiseau as he is called by the Chronicle of St. Denis, enthroned in 1108, was the pioneer of the great French Monarchy, ever on the move, hewing his way, sword in hand, through his domains, subduing the violence, and burning and razing the castles of his insolent and disobedient vassals. The famous Suger, abbot of St. Denis, was his wise and firm counsellor, who led the Church to make common cause with him and lend her diocesan militia. The king would have the peasant to till, the monk to pray, and the pilgrim and merchant to travel in peace. He was an itinerant regal justiciary, destroying the nests of brigands, purging the land with fire and sword from tyranny and oppression. Wise in council, of magnificent courage in battle, he was the first of the Capetians to associate the cause of the people with that of the monarchy. They loved him as a valiant soldier-king, destroyer and tamer of feudal tyrants, the protector of the Church, the vindicator of the oppressed. He lifted the sceptre of France from the mire and made of it a symbol of firm and just government.

It is in Louis' reign that we have first mention of the Oriflamme (golden flame) of St. Denis, which took the place of St. Martin's cloak as the royal standard of France. The Emperor Henry V. with a formidable army was menacing the land. Louis rallied all his friends to withstand him and went to St. Denis to pray for victory. Pope Eugene and Abbot Suger received Louis, who fell prostrate before the relics. Suger then took from the altar the standard—famed to have been sent by heaven, and formerly carried by the first liege man of the abbey, the Count de Vexin, when the monastery was in danger of attack—and handed it to the king: the pope gave him a pilgrim's wallet. The sacred banner was fashioned of silk in the form of a gonfalon, of the colours of[Pg 63] fire and gold, and was suspended at the head of a gilded lance.[46]

The strenuous reign of Louis was marked by a great expansion of Paris, which became more than ever the ordinary dwelling-place of the king and the seat of his government. The market which from Roman times had been held at the bifurcation of the northern road near the fields (Champeaux), belonging to St. Denis of the Prison, was extended. William of Champeaux founded the great abbey of St. Victor,[47] famed for its sanctity and learning, where Abelard taught and St. Thomas of Canterbury, whose hair shirt was long preserved there, and St. Bernard lodged. At the urgent prayer of his wife Adelaide, the king built a nunnery at Montmartre, and lavishly endowed it with lands, ovens, the house of Guerri, a Lombard money-changer, some shops and a slaughter-house in Paris, and a small bourg, still known as Bourg la Reine, about five miles south of the city. Certain rights of fishing at Paris, to which Louis VII. added five thousand herrings yearly from the port of Boulogne, were also granted. The churches of Ste. Geneviève la Petite, founded to commemorate the miraculous staying of the plague of the burning sickness (les ardents); of St. Jacques de la Boucherie; and of St. Pierre aux Bœufs, so named from the heads of oxen carved on the portal, were also built. [Pg 64]


Paris under Philip Augustus and St. Louis

During twenty-eight years of the reign of Louis VII. no heir to the crown was born. At length, on the 22nd of August, 1165, Adelaide of Champagne, his third wife, lay in child-bed and excited crowds thronged the palace in the Cité. The king, "afeared of the number of his daughters and knowing how ardently his people desired a child of the nobler sex," was beside himself with joy when the desire of his heart was held up to him; curious eyes espied the longed-for heir through an aperture of the door and in a moment the good news was spread abroad. There was a sound of clarions and of bells and the city as by enchantment shone with an aureole of light. An English student roused by the uproar and the glare of what seemed like a great conflagration leapt to the window and beheld two old women hurrying by with lighted tapers. He asked the cause. They answered: "God has given us this night a royal heir, by whose hand your king shall suffer shame and ill-hap." This was the birth of Philip le Dieu-donné—Philip sent of Heaven—better known as Philip Augustus. Under him and Louis IX. mediæval Paris, faithfully reflecting the fortunes of the French Monarchy, attained its highest development.

When Philip Augustus took up the sceptre at fifteen years of age, the little realm of the Isle de France was throttled by a ring of great and practically independent[Pg 65] feudatories, and in extent was no larger than half-a-dozen of the eighty-seven departments into which France is now divided. The English king held the mouths of all the great rivers and all the great cities, Rouen, Tours, Bordeaux. In thirty years Philip had burst through to the sea, subdued the Duke of Burgundy and the great counts, wrested the sovereignty of Normandy, Brittany and Maine from the English Crown, won Poitou and Aquitaine, crushed the emperor and his vassals in the memorable battle of Bouvines, and become one of the greatest of European monarchs. The king, who had owed his life to the excellence of his armour,[48] was received in Paris with a frenzy of joy. The whole city came forth to meet him, flowers were strewn in his path, the streets were hung with tapestry, Te Deums sung in all the churches, and for seven days and nights the popular enthusiasm expressed itself in dance, in song and joyous revel. It was the first national event in France. The Count of Flanders was imprisoned in the new fortress of the Louvre, where he lay for thirteen years, with ample leisure to meditate on the fate of rebellious feudatories. "Never after," say the chroniclers, "was war waged on King Philip, but he lived in peace."

Two vast undertakings make the name of Philip Augustus memorable in Paris—the beginning of the paving of the city and the building of its girdle of walls and towers. One day as the king stood at the window of his palace, where he was wont to distract himself from the cares of state by watching the Seine flow by, some carts rattled along the muddy road beneath the window and stirred so foul and overpowering an odour that the[Pg 66] king almost fell sick. Next day the provost and the sheriffs and chief citizens were summoned before him and ordered to set about paving the city with stone. The work was not however completed until the reign of Charles V., a century and a half later. It was done well and lasted till the sixteenth century, when it was replaced by the miserable cobbles, known as the pavement of the League. Whether the city grew much sweeter is doubtful; certainly Paris in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was as evil-smelling as ever. Montaigne, in the second half of the sixteenth century, complains that the acrid smell of the mud of Paris weakened the affection he bore to that fair city, and Howell writes in 1620, "the city is always dirty, and by perpetual motion the mud is beaten into a thick, black and unctuous oil that sticks so that no art can wash it off, and besides the indelible stain it leaves, gives so strong a scent that it may be smelt many miles off, if the wind be in one's face as one comes from the fresh air of the country." Horace Walpole in the eighteenth century, called Paris "the beastliest town in the universe."


Wall of Philippe Auguste, Cour de Rouen.
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The great fortified wall of Philip Augustus began at the north-west water-tower, which stood just above the present Pont des Arts, and passed through the quadrangle of the Louvre, where a line on the paving marks its course, to the Porte St. Honoré, near the Oratoire. It continued northwards within the line of the present Rue Jean Jacques Rousseau and by the Rue du Jour to the Porte Montmartre, whose site is marked by a tablet on No. 30 Rue Montmartre. Turning eastward by the Painters' Gate (135 Rue St. Denis) and the Porte St. Martin, near the Rue Grenier St. Lazare, the fortification described a curve in a south-easterly direction by the Rue des Francs Bourgeois, where traces of the wall have been found at No. 55, and where[Pg 67] part of a tower may be seen at No. 57. The line of the wall continued in the same direction by the Lycée Charlemagne, No. 101 Rue St. Antoine, where stood another gate, to the north-east water-tower, known as the Tour Barbeau, which stood near No. 32 Quai des Célestins. The opposite or southern division began at the south-east water-tower, La Tournelle, and the Gate of St. Bernard on the present Quai de la Tournelle, and went southward just within the Rues des Fossés St. Bernard and Cardinal Lemoine, to the Porte St. Victor, near No. 2 Rue des Écoles. The wall then turned westward above the Rue Clovis, where at No. 7 one of the largest and best-preserved remains may be seen. It enclosed the abbey of St. Genevieve, continued within the Rue des Fossés St. Jacques, and, between the Porte St. Jacques and the Porte St. Michel doubled outwards to enclose the Parloir aux Bourgeois near the south end of the Rue Victor Cousin. The south-western angle was turned near the end of the Rue Soufflot and the beginning of the Rue Monsieur le Prince. Crossing the Boulevard St. Germain, it then followed within the line of the latter street, and continued within the Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie. In the Cour de Rouen, entered through the Passage du Commerce, No. 61 Rue St. André des Arts, an important remnant may be seen with the base of a tower,[Pg 68] and where the Rue Mazet cuts the last-named street stood the Porte du Buci. We may now trace the march of the wall and towers within the Rue Mazarine and across the Rue Guénégaud, where in a court behind No. 29 other fragments exist, to the south-west water-tower, the notorious Tour de Nesle[49] whose site is occupied by the east wing of the Institut. The west passage of the Seine was blocked by chains, which were drawn at night from tower to tower and fixed on boats and piles just above the line of the present Pont des Arts. A similar chain blocked the east passage of the river, drawn from the Tour Barbeau to La Tournelle, crossing the islands now known as the Isle St. Louis. The wall was twenty years building and was completed in 1211. It was eight feet thick, pierced by twenty-four gates and fortified by about five hundred towers. Much of the land it enclosed was not built upon; the marais on the north bank were drained and cultivated for market and fruit gardens.

The moated château of the Louvre, another of Philip's great buildings stood outside the wall, on the site of the old Frankish camp or Lower, and commanded the valley route to Paris. It was at once a fortress, a treasury, a palace and a prison. Parts of two wings of the structure are incorporated in the present palace of the Louvre, and the site of the remaining[Pg 69] wings, the massive keep and the towers, are marked out on the pavement of the quadrangle.

The king erected also (1181-1183) two great warehouses at the old market at Champeaux: one for the drapers, the other for the weavers, that the merchants might sell their wares under cover and lock up their goods at night. They were known as les Halles, and the market ever since has borne that name. Here too Philip caused to be burnt at the stake the first heretics[50] executed at Paris, sparing the women and other simple folk who had been misled by the chief sectaries, of whom one, beyond the reach of earthly penalties and buried in the cemetery of les Innocents, was finally excommunicated, his bones exhumed and flung on a dungheap. "Beni soit le Seigneur en toutes choses!" says Pigord the chronicler who tells the story.

Of the impression that the Paris of Philip Augustus made on a provincial visitor, we were able, fortunately, to give some account. "I am at Paris," writes Guy of Bazoches, about the end of the twelfth century, "in this royal city, where the abundance of nature's gifts not only retains those that dwell there but invites and attracts those who are afar off. Even as the moon surpasses the stars in brightness, so does this city, the seat of royalty, exalt her proud head above all other cities. She is placed in the bosom of a delicious valley, in the centre of a crown of hills, which Ceres and Bacchus enrich with their gifts. The Seine, that proud river which comes from the east, flows there through wide banks and with its two arms surrounds an island which is the head, the heart, and the marrow of the whole city; two suburbs extend to right and left, even[Pg 70] the lesser of which would rouse the envy of many another city. These suburbs communicate with the island by two stone bridges; the Grand Pont towards the north in the direction of the English sea, and the Petit Pont which looks towards the Loire. The former bridge, broad, rich, commercial, is the centre of a fervid activity, and innumerable boats surround it laden with merchandise and riches. The Petit Pont belongs to the dialecticians, who pace up and down disputing. In the island adjacent to the king's palace, which dominates the whole town, the palace of philosophy is seen where study reigns alone as sovereign, a citadel of light and immortality."

After Louis VIII.'s brief reign of three years, there rises to the seat of kings at Paris one of the gentlest and noblest of the sons of men, a prince indeed, who, amid all the temptations of absolute power maintained a spotless life, and at death laid down an earthly crown to assume a fairer and an imperishable diadem among the saints in heaven. All that was best in mediævalism—its desire for peace and order and justice; its fervent piety, its passion to effect unity among Christ's people and to wrest the Holy Land from the pollution of the infidel; its enthusiasm for learning and for the things of the mind; its love of beauty—all are personified in the life of St. Louis.

The young prince was eleven years of age when his father died. During his minority he was nurtured in learning and piety[51] by his mother, Blanche of Castile, whose devotion to her son, and firm and wise regency were a fitting prelude to the reign of a saintly king. Even after he attained his majority, St. Louis always sought his mother's counsel and was ever respectful and submissive to her will. When the news of her death[Pg 71] reached him in the Holy Land, he went to his oratory, fell on his knees before the altar, submissive to the will of God, and cried out with tears in his eyes, that he had loved the queen, "his most dear lady and mother, beyond all mortal creatures."

The king's conception of his office was summed up in two words—Gouverner bien. "Fair son," said he one day to Prince Louis, his heir, "I pray thee win the affection of thy people. Verily, I would rather that a Scotchman came from Scotland and ruled the kingdom well and loyally than that thou shouldst govern it ill." Joinville his biographer tells with charming simplicity how the king after hearing mass in the chapel at Vincennes outside Paris was wont to walk in the woods for refreshment and then, sitting at the foot of an old oak tree, whose position is still shown, would listen to the plaints of his poorer people without let of usher or other official and administer justice to them. At other times, clothed in a tunic of camlet, a surcoat of wool (tiretaine) without sleeves, a mantle of black taffety, and a hat with a peacock's plume, he would walk with his Council in the garden of his palace in the Cité, and on the poorer people crowding round him all speaking at once he would cry: "Silence! one at a time," and call for a carpet to be spread on the ground, on which he would sit, surrounded with his councillors, and judge them diligently.

In 1238 St. Louis was profoundly shocked by the news that the crown of thorns was a forfeited pledge at Venice for an unpaid loan advanced by some Venetian merchants to the Emperor Baldwin of Constantinople. He paid the debt,[52] redeemed the pledge, and secured the relic for Paris. The king met his envoys at Sens, and barefooted, himself carried the sacred treasure[Pg 72] enclosed in three caskets, one of wood, one of silver and one of gold, to Paris. The procession took eight days to reach the city, and so great were the multitudes who thronged to see it, that a large platform was raised in a field outside the walls, from which several prelates exposed it in turn to the veneration of the people. Thence it was taken to the cathedral of Notre Dame, the king dressed in a simple tunic, and barefoot, still carrying the relic. From the cathedral it was transferred to the royal chapel of St. Nicholas within the precincts of the palace. A year later the Emperor Baldwin was constrained to part with other relics, including a piece of the true cross, the blade of the lance and the sponge of the Passion. To enshrine them and the crown of thorns the chapel of St. Nicholas was demolished and the beautiful Sainte Chapelle built in its place. The upper chapel was dedicated to the relics; the lower to the Blessed Virgin, and on solemn festivals the king would himself expose the relics to the people. St. Louis was zealous in his devotion and for a time attended matins in the new chapel at midnight, until, suffering much headache in consequence, he was persuaded to have the office celebrated in the early morning before prime. His piety, however, was by no means austere: he had all the French gaiety of heart, dearly loved a good story, and was excellent company at table, where he loved to sit conversing with Robert de Sorbon, his chaplain. "It is a bad thing," he said one day to Joinville, "to take another man's goods, because rendre (to restore) is so difficult, that even to pronounce the word makes the tongue sore by reason of the r's in it."


La Sainte Chapelle.
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At another time they were talking of the duties of a layman towards Jews and Infidels. "Let me tell you a story," said St. Louis. "The monks of Cluny once arranged a great conference between some learned[Pg 73] clerks and Jews. When the conference opened, an old knight who for love of Christ was given bread and shelter at the monastery, approached the abbot and begged leave to say the first word. The abbot, after some protest against the irregularity, was persuaded to grant permission, and the knight, leaning on his stick, requested that the greatest scholar and rabbi among the Jews might be brought before him. 'Master,' said the knight, 'do you believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary[Pg 74] gave birth to Jesus and held Him at her breast, and that she is the Virgin Mother of God?' The Jew answered that he believed it not at all. 'Then,' said the knight, 'fool that thou art to have entered God's house and His church, and thou shalt rue it,' Thereupon he lifted his stick, smote the rabbi under the ear and felled him to the ground. The terrified Jews fled, carrying their master with them, and so," said St. Louis, "ended the conference. And I tell you, let none but a great clerk dispute; the business of a layman when he hears the Christian religion defamed is to defend it with his sharp sword and thrust his weapon into the miscreant's body as far as it will go."

St. Louis, however, did not apply the moral in practice. Although severe in exacting tribute from the Jews, he spent much money in converting them and held many of their orphan children at the font; to others he gave pensions, which became a heavy financial burden to himself and his successors. He was stern with blasphemers, whose lips he caused to be branded with a hot iron. "I have heard him say," writes Joinville, "with his own mouth, that he would he were marked with a red-hot iron himself if thereby he could banish all oaths and blasphemy from his kingdom. Full twenty-two years have I been in his company, and never have I heard him swear or blaspheme God or His holy Mother or any Saint, howsoever angry he may have been: and when he would affirm anything, he would say, 'Verily it is so, or verily it is not so,' Before going to bed he would call his children around him and recite the fair deeds and sayings of ancient princes and kings, praying that they would remember them for good ensample; for unjust and wicked princes lost their kingdoms through pride and avarice and rapine." When he was in the east he heard of a Saracen lord of Egypt who caused all the best books[Pg 75] of philosophy to be transcribed for the use of young men, and he determined to do the like for the youth of Paris. Five thousand scribes were employed to copy the Scriptures and the writings of the Fathers and classic authors, preserved in various abbeys in France. He had a convenient and safe place built at the treasury of the Sainte Chapelle, where he housed the books, for a church without a library was said to be a fortress without ammunition. Scholars had free access to them, and he himself was wont in his leisure time to shut himself up there for study, reading rather the Holy Fathers than the writings of the best doctors of his own time.

St. Louis was a steadfast friend to the religious orders. On his return from the Holy Land he brought with him six monks from Mount Carmel and established them on the north bank of the Seine, near the present Quai des Célestins; they were subsequently transferred to the University quarter, on a site now occupied by the Marché aux Carmes. The prior of the Grande Chartreuse was also prayed to spare a few brothers to found a house in Paris; four were sent, and the king endowed them with his Château de Vauvert, including extensive lands and vineyards. The château was reputed to be haunted by evil spirits, and the street leading thither as late as the last century was known as the Rue d'Enfer. St. Louis began a great church for them, and the eight cells, each with its three rooms and garden, were increased to thirty before the end of his reign; in later times the order became one of the richest in Paris and occupied a vast expanse of land to the south of the Luxembourg. The fine series of paintings illustrating the life of St. Bruno, by Lesueur, now in the Louvre, was executed for the smaller cloister of the monastery. The Grands Augustins were established on the south bank of the Seine, near[Pg 76] the present Pont Neuf, and the Serfs de la Vierge, known later as the Blancs Manteaux, from their white cloaks, in the Marais. They were subsequently amalgamated with the Guillemites, or the Hermits of St. William, and at No. 14 Rue des Guillemites some remains of their monastery may yet be seen. The church of the Blancs Manteaux, rebuilt in the seventeenth century, also exists in the street of that name.

In 1217 the first of the Dominicans were seen at Paris. On the 12th of September seven preaching friars, among whom were Laurence the Englishman and a brother of St. Dominic, established themselves in a house near the parvis of Notre Dame. In 1218 the University gave them a home opposite the church of St. Étienne des Grez (St. Stephen of the Greeks), in the Rue St. Jacques, and in the following year, when St. Dominic came to Paris, the brothers had increased to thirty. The saint himself drew up the plans of their monastery and always cherished a particular affection for the Paris house. Their church was opened in 1220, and being dedicated to St. Jacques, the Dominicans were known as Jacobins all over France. St. Louis endowed them with a school; they soon became one of the most powerful and opulent of the religious orders, and their church, a burial-place for kings and princes. The Friars Minor soon followed. St. Francis himself, in his deep affection for France, had determined to go to Paris and found a house of his order, but being dissuaded by his friend, Cardinal Ugolin, sent in 1216 a few of his disciples. These early friars, true poverelli di Dio, would accept no endowment of house or money, and supporting themselves by their hands, carried their splendid devotion among the poor, the outcast, and the lepers of Paris. In 1230 the Cordeliers, as they were called,[53] accepted the loan of a house near the walls in[Pg 78] the south-western part of the city; St. Louis built them a church, and left them at his death part of his library and a large sum of money.[54] They too soon became rich and powerful and their church one of the largest and most magnificent in Paris. St. Bonaventure and Duns Scotus taught at their school of theology; their monastery in the sixteenth century was the finest and most spacious in Paris, with cells for a hundred friars and a vast refectory, which still exists. St. Louis founded the hospital known as the Quinze-Vingts (15 + 20) for three hundred poor knights whose eyes had been put out by the Saracens. Subsequently it became a night shelter for a like number of blind beggars whither they might repair after their long quest in the streets of Paris. St. Louis at his death left them an annual rente of thirty livres parisis that every inmate might have a good mess of pottage daily, and Philip le Bel ordered a fleur-de-lys to be embroidered on their dress that they might be known as the king's poor folk. The buildings, now transferred to the Rue de Charenton, originally covered a vast area of ground between the Palais Royal and the Louvre, and were sold in 1779 to a syndicate of speculators by Cardinal de Rohan of diamond-necklace[55] notoriety; an act of jobbery which brought his Eminence a handsome commission. The Quinze-Vingts were privileged to place collecting-boxes and to beg inside the churches. Since, however, the differences in the relative opulence of churches was great, the right to beg in certain of the[Pg 79] richer ones was put up to auction every year, and those who promised to pay the highest premium to the funds of the hospital were adjudicated the privilege of begging there. This curious arrangement was in full vigour until the latter half of the eighteenth century, when the foundation was removed. Twelve blind brothers and twelve seeing brothers—husbands of blind women who were lodged there on condition that they served as leaders through the streets—had a share in the management of the institution. Luxury seems to have sometimes invaded the hostel, for in 1579 a royal degree forbade the sale of wine to the brethren and denounced the blasphemy with which their conversation was often tainted. In 1631 they were forbidden to use stuffs other than serge or cloth for their garments, or to use velvet for ornament.


Refectory of the Cordeliers.
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The establishment of the abbeys of St. Antoine, of the Friars of the Holy Cross, and of the Sisters of St. Bega or Béguines, were also due to the king's piety, and the whole city was surrounded with religious houses. "Even as a scribe," says an old writer, "who hath written his book illuminates it with gold and silver, so did the king illumine his kingdom with the great quantity of the houses of God that he built."

St. Louis was, however, firm in his resistance to ecclesiastical arbitrariness. The prelates complained to him on one occasion that Christianity was going to the dogs, because no one feared their excommunications, and prayed that he would order his sergeants to lend the secular arm to enforce their authority. "Yes," answered the king, "if you will give me the particulars of each case that I may judge if your sentence be just." That, they objected, appertained to the ecclesiastical courts, but St. Louis was inflexible, and they remained unsatisfied.[Pg 80]

Many were St. Louis' benefactions to the great hospital of Paris, the Hôtel Dieu. Rules, dating from 1217, for the treatment of the sick poor were elaborated in his reign with admirable forethought. The sick, after confession and communion, were to be put to bed and treated as if they were the masters of the house. They were to be daily served with food before the nursing friars and sisters, and all that they desired was to be freely given if it could be obtained and were not prejudicial to their recovery. If the sickness were dangerous the patient was to be set apart and to be tended with especial solicitude. The sick were never to be left unguarded and even to be kept seven days after they were healed, lest they should suffer a relapse. The friars and sisters were to eat twice a day: the sick whenever they had need. A nurse who struck a patient was excommunicated. Viollet le Duc was of opinion that in many respects the Hôtel Dieu in the Middle Ages was superior to our modern hospitals. Among many details denoting the tender forethought of the administrator, we may note that in the ward for the grievously sick and infirm the beds were made lower, and 60 cottes of white fur and 300 felt boots were provided to keep the poor patients warm when they were moved from their beds to the chambres aisées. In later times, lax management and the decline of piety which came with the religious and political changes of the Renaissance made reform urgent, and in 1505 the Parlement appointed a committee of eight bourgeois clercs to control the receipts. The buildings were much increased in 1636, but were never large enough, and in 1655 the priory of St. Julien was united to the hospital. "As many as 6000 patients," says Félibien, writing in 1725, "have been counted there at one time, five or six in one bed." No limitations of age or sex or station or religion or country were set. Everybody was received,[Pg 81] and in Félibien's time the upkeep amounted to 500,000 livres per annum. The old Hôtel Dieu was situated to the south of Notre Dame, and stood there until rebuilt on its present site in 1878.

St. Louis sought diligently over all the land for the grand sage homme who would prove an honest and fearless judge, punishing the wicked without regard to rank or riches; and what he exacted of his officers he practised himself. He punished his own brother, the Count of Artois, for having forced a sale of land on an unwilling man, and ordered him to make restitution. The Sire de Coucy, one of the most powerful of his barons, was summoned to Paris and in spite of his bravado, arrested, imprisoned in the Louvre and sentenced to death, for having hanged three young fellows for poaching. The sale of the provostship of Paris was abolished and a man of integrity, Étienne Boileau, appointed with adequate emoluments. So completely was this once venal office rehabilitated, that no seigneur regarded the post as beneath him. Boileau was wont to sleep in his clothes on a camp bed in the Châtelet to be in readiness at any hour, and often St. Louis would be seen sitting beside the provost on the judgment seat, watching over the administration of justice. The judicial duel in civil cases was forbidden; the Royal Watch instituted to police the streets of Paris; the charters of the hundred crafts of Paris were confirmed and many privileges granted to the great trade guilds.

In 1270 St. Louis put on a second time the crusader's badge, "the dear remembrance of his dying Lord," and met his death in the ill-fated expedition to Tunis. So feeble was the king when he left Paris, that Joinville carried him from the Hôtel of the Count of Auxerre to the Cordeliers, where the old friends and fellow-warriors in the Holy Land parted for ever. When[Pg 82] stricken with the plague the dying monarch was laid on a couch strewn with ashes. He called his son, the Count of Alençon to him, gave wise and touching counsel, and, after holy communion, recited the seven penitential psalms: having invoked "Monseigneurs St. James and St. Denis and Madame St. Genevieve," he crossed his hands on his heart, gazed towards heaven and rendered his soul to his Creator. Piteuse chouse est et digne de pleurer le trépassement de ce saint prince, says Joinville, to whom the story was told by the king's son—"A piteous thing it is and worthy of tears the passing away of this holy prince."

The bones of the dead king, from which the flesh[56] had been removed by boiling, were sent for burial to St. Denis, which he had chosen for the place of his sepulture. Joinville,[57] his friend and companion, from whose priceless memoirs we have chiefly drawn, ends his story thus:—"I make known to all readers of this little book that the things which I say I have seen and heard of the king are true, and steadfastly shall they believe them. And the other things of which I testify but by hearsay, take them in a good sense if it please you, praying God that by the prayers of Monseigneur St. Louis it may please Him to give us those things that He knoweth to be necessary as well for our bodies as for our souls. Amen."

King Louis was tall of stature, with a spare and graceful figure; his face was of angelic sweetness, with[Pg 83] eyes as of a dove, and crowned with abundant fair hair. As he grew older he became somewhat bald and held himself slightly bent. "Never," says Joinville, when describing a charge led by the king, which turned the tide of battle, "saw I so fair an armed man. He seemed to sit head and shoulders above all his knights; his helmet of gold was most fair to see, and a sword of Allemain was in his hand. Four times I saw him put his body in danger of death to save hurt to his people."


Interior of Notre Dame.
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[Pg 84]


Art and Learning at Paris

Two epoch-making developments—the creation of Gothic architecture and the rise of the University of Paris—synchronise with the period covered by the reigns of Philip Augustus and St. Louis, and may now fitly be considered.

The memory of the Norman terror had long passed from men's minds. The Isle de France had been purged of robber lords, and with peace and security, wealth and population had increased. The existing churches were becoming too small for the faithful and new and fairer temples replaced the old: the massive square towers, the heavy walls and thick pillars of the Norman builders, blossomed into grace and light and beauty. Already in the beginning of the twelfth century the church of St. Denis was in urgent need of extension. On festival days so great were the crowds pressing to view the relics, that many people had been trodden under foot, and Abbot Suger determined to build a larger and nobler church. Great was the enthusiasm of the people as the new temple rose. Noble and burgess, freeman and serf, harnessed themselves like beasts of burden to the ropes and drew the stone from the quarry. A profound silence reigned, broken only by the murmur of those who confessed their sins when a halt was made. A trumpet sounded, banners were unfurled, and the silent host resumed its way. Arrived at the building the whole multitude burst forth into a song of praise. All would lend their[Pg 85] aid in raising the new house of God and of His holy martyrs, and the burial-place of their kings. In 1161 Maurice de Sully, a peasant's son, who had risen to become bishop of Paris, determined to erect a great minster adequate to the demands of his time. The old churches of Notre Dame and of St. Stephen[58] and many houses were demolished, and a new street, called of Notre Dame, was made. Sully devoted the greater part of his life and private resources to the work. The king, the pope, seigneurs, guilds of merchants and private persons, vied with each other in making gifts. Two years were spent in digging the foundations of the new Notre Dame, and in 1163 Pope Alexander III. is said to have laid the first stone. In 1182, the choir being finished, the papal legate, Henri de Châteaux-Marcay, consecrated the high altar, and in 1185 the Patriarch of Jerusalem celebrated mass in the choir. At Sully's death, in 1196, the walls of the nave were erect and partly roofed, and the old prelate left a hundred livres for a covering of lead. The transepts and nave were completed in 1235.

In 1240 an ingenious and sacrilegious thief, climbing to the roof to haul up the silver candlesticks from the altar by a noose in a rope, set fire to the altar cloth, and the choir was seriously injured. Sully's work had been Romanesque, and choir and apse were now rebuilt in the new style, to harmonise with the remainder of the church. By the end of the thirteenth century the chapels round the apse and in the nave, the Porte Rouge and the south portal were added, and the great temple was at length completed. The choir of St. Germain des Prés and the exquisite little church of St. Julien le Pauvre were rebuilt at the end of the[Pg 86] twelfth century, and the beautiful refectory of St. Martin des Champs was created about 1220. But the culmination of Gothic art is reached in the wondrous sanctuary that St. Louis built for the crown of thorns, "the most precious piece of Gothic," says Ruskin, "in Northern Europe." Michelet saw a whole world of religion and poetry—tears of piety, mystic ecstasy, the mysteries of divine love—expressed in the marvellous little church, in the fragile and precious paintings of its windows.[59] The work was completed in three years, and has been so admirably restored by Viollet le Duc that the visitor may gaze to-day on this pure and peerless gem almost as St. Louis left it, for the gorgeous interior faithfully reproduces the mediæval colour and gold. During the Revolution it was used as a granary and then as a club. It narrowly escaped destruction, and men now living can remember seeing the old notices on the porch of the lower chapel—Propriété nationale à vendre. All that remains of the relics has long been transferred to the treasury of Notre Dame. The old Quinze-Vingts, the Chartreux, the Cordeliers, St. Croix de la Bretonnerie, St. Catherine, the Blancs Manteaux, the Mathurins and other masterpieces of the Gothic builders have all disappeared.

Gothic architecture was eminently a product of the Isle de France. "France not only led," says Mr. Lethaby, "but invented. In a very true sense what we call Gothic is Frenchness of the France which had its centre in Paris." The thirteenth century rivals the finest period of Greek art for purity, simplicity, nobility and accurate science of construction. Imagination was chastened by knowledge, but not systematised into rigid rules. Each master solved his[Pg 87] problem in his own way, and the result was a charm, a variety, and a fertility of invention, never surpassed in the history of art. Early French sculpture is a direct descendant of Greek art, which made its way into Gaul by the Phœnician trade route, and the Merovingian Franks were always in touch with the Eastern Mediterranean, and with the stream of early Byzantine[60] art. French artists achieved a perfection in the representation of the human form which anticipated by a generation the work of the Pisani in Italy, for the early thirteenth-century statues on the west front of Chartres Cathedral are carved with a naturalness and grace which the Italian masters never surpassed, and the marvellously mature and beautiful silver-gilt figure of a king, in high relief, found in 1902 immured in an old house at Bourges and exhibited in 1904 among the Primitifs Français at the Louvre, was wrought more than a century before the birth of Donatello. Some fragments of the old sculptures that adorned St. Denis and other twelfth and thirteenth-century churches may still be found in the museums of Paris. The influence of the French architects, as Emile Bertaux has demonstrated in the first volume of his Art dans l'Italie Méridionale, extended far beyond the limits of France, and is clearly traceable in the fine hunting-palace, erected for Frederic II. in the thirteenth century, at Castello del Monte, near Andria, in Apulia. But of the names of those who created these wonderful productions few are known; the great masterpieces of the thirteenth century are mostly anonymous. Jean de Chelles, one of the masons of[Pg 88] Notre Dame, has left his name on the south portal and the date, Feb. 12, 1257, on which it was begun, "in honour of the holy Mother of Christ." He was followed by Pierre de Montereau, "master of the works of the church of Blessed Mary at Paris," whose name thus appears in a deed of sale dated 1265. The Sainte Chapelle is commonly attributed to Pierre de Montereau, but the attribution is a mere guess.

Nor did the love of beauty during this marvellous age express itself solely in architecture. If we were asked to specify one trait which more than any other characterises the "dark ages" and differentiates them from modern times, we should be tempted to say, love of brightness and colour. Within and without, the temples of God were resplendent with silver and gold, with purple and crimson and blue; the saintly figures and solemn legends on their porches, the capitals, the columns, the groins of the vaultings, the very crest of the roof, were lustrous with colour and gold. Each window was a complex of jewelled splendour; the pillars and walls were painted or draped with lovely tapestries and gorgeous banners: the shrines and altars glittered like Aaron's breastplate, with precious stones—jasper and sardius and chalcedony, sapphire and emerald, chrysolite and beryl, topaz and amethyst and pearl. The Church illuminated her sacred books with exquisite painting, bound them with precious fabrics, and clasped them with silver and gold; the robes of her priests and ministrants were rich with embroideries. "People," said William Morris, "have long since ceased to take in impressions through their eyes," indeed so insensible, so atrophied to colour have the eyes of moderns grown amid their drab surroundings, that the aspect of a building wherein skilful hands have in some small degree essayed to realise the splendour of the past dazes the beholder; a sense of pain[Pg 89] rather than of delight possesses him and he averts his gaze.

Nor were the churches of those early times anything more than an exquisite expression of what men were surrounded by in their daily lives and avocations. The houses[61] and oratories of noble and burgess were rich with ivories exquisitely carved, with sculptures and paintings, tapestry and enamels: the very utensils of common domestic use were beautiful. Men did not prate of art: they wrought in love and simplicity. The very word art, as denoting a product of human activity different from the ordinary daily tasks of men, was unknown. If painting was an art, even so was carpentry. A mason was an artist: so was a shoemaker. Astronomy and grammar were arts: so was spinning. Apothecaries and lawyers were artists: so was a tailor. Dante[62] uses the word artista as denoting a workman or craftsman, and when he wishes to emphasise the degeneracy of the citizens of his time as compared with those of the old Florentine race, he does so by saying that in those days their blood ran pure even nell' ultimo artista (in the commonest workman). Let us be careful how we speak of these ages as "dark"; at least there were "retrievements out of the night." Already before the tenth century the basilica of St. Germain des Prés was known as St. Germain le doré (the golden), from its glowing refulgence, and St. Bernard as we have seen, declaimed against the resplendent colour and gold in the churches of his time. Never since the age of Pericles has so great an effusion of beauty descended on the earth as[Pg 90] during the wondrous thirteenth century in the Isle de France and especially in Paris.[63]

We pass from the enthusiasm of art to that of learning. From earliest times, schools, free to the poor, had been attached to every great abbey and cathedral in France. At the end of the eleventh century four were eminent at Paris: the schools of St. Denis, where the young princes and nobles were educated; of the Parvis Notre Dame, for the training of young clercs,[64] the famous Scola Parisiaca, referred to by Abelard; of St. Genevieve; and of St. Victor, founded by William of Champeaux, one of the most successful masters of Notre Dame. The fame of this teacher drew multitudes of young men from the provinces to Paris, among whom there came, about 1100, Peter Abelard, scion of a noble family of Nantes. By his wit, erudition and dialectical sublety he soon eclipsed his master's fame and was appointed to a chair of philosophy in the school of Notre Dame. William, jealous of his young rival, compassed his dismissal, and after teaching for a while at Melun, Abelard returned to Paris and opened a school on Mont St. Genevieve, whither crowds of students followed him. So great was the fame of this brilliant lecturer and daring thinker that his school was filled with eager listeners from all countries of Europe, even from Rome herself. [Pg 91]

Abelard was proud and ambitious, and the highest prizes of an ecclesiastical and scholastic career seemed within his grasp. But Fulbert, canon of Notre Dame, had a niece, accomplished and passing fair, Héloïse by name, who was an enthusiastic admirer of the great teacher. It was proposed that Abelard should enter the canon's house as her tutor, and Fulbert's avarice made the proposition an acceptable one. Abelard, like Arnault Daniel, was a good craftsman in his mother tongue, a facile master of versi d'amore, which he would sing with a voice wondrously sweet and supple. Now Abelard was thirty-eight years of age: Héloïse seventeen. Amor al cor gentil ratto s'apprende,[65] and Minerva was not the only goddess who presided over their meetings. For a time Fulbert was blind, but scandal cleared his eyes and Abelard was expelled from the house; Héloïse followed and took refuge with her lover's sister in Brittany, where a child, Astrolabe, was born. Peacemakers soon intervened and a secret marriage was arranged, which took place early one morning at Paris, Fulbert being present. But the lovers continued to meet; scandal was again busy and Fulbert published the marriage. Héloïse, that the master's advancement in the Church might not be impeded, gave the lie to her uncle and fled to the nuns of Argenteuil. Fulbert now plotted a dastardly revenge. By his orders Abelard was surprised in his bed, and the mutilation which, according to Eusebius, Origen performed on himself, was violently inflicted on the great teacher. All ecclesiastical preferment was thus rendered canonically impossible; Abelard became the talk of Paris, and in bitter humiliation retired to the abbey of St. Denis. Before he made his vows, however, he required of Héloïse that she should take the veil. The heart-broken creature[Pg 92] reproached him for his disloyalty, and repeating the lines which Lucan puts into the mouth of Cornelia weeping for Pompey's death, burst into tears and consented to take the veil.

A savage punishment was inflicted by the ecclesiastical courts on Fulbert's ruffians, who were made to suffer the lex talionis and the loss of their eyes: the canon's property was confiscated. The great master, although forbidden to open a school at St. Denis, was importuned by crowds of young men not to let his talents waste, and soon a country house near by was filled with so great a company of scholars that food could not be found for them. But enemies were vigilant and relentless, and he had shocked the timid by doubting the truth of the legend that Dionysius the Areopagite had come to France.

In 1124 certain of Abelard's writings on the Trinity were condemned, and he took refuge at Nogent-sur-Seine, near Troyes, under the patronage of the Count of Champagne. He retired to a hermitage of thatch and reeds, the famous Paraclete, but even there students flocked to him, and young nobles were glad to live on coarse bread and lie on straw, that they might taste of wisdom, the bread of the angels. Again his enemies set upon him; he surrendered the Paraclete to Héloïse and a small sisterhood, and accepted the abbotship of St. Gildes in his own Brittany. A decade passed, and again he was seen in Paris. His enemies now determined to silence him, and St. Bernard, the dictator of Christendom, denounced his writings. Abelard appealed for a hearing, and the two champions met in St. Stephen's church at Sens before the king, the hierarchy and a brilliant and expectant audience; the ever-victorious knight-errant of disputation, stood forth, eager for the fray, but St. Bernard simply rose and read out seventeen propositions from his opponent's works, which[Pg 93] he declared to be heretical. Abelard in disgust left the lists, and was condemned unheard to perpetual silence. The pope, to whom he appealed, confirmed the sentence, and the weary soldier of the mind, old and heart-broken, retired to Cluny; he gave up the struggle, was reconciled to his opponents, and died absolved by the pope near Chalons in 1142. His ashes were sent to Héloïse, and twenty years later she was laid beside him at the Paraclete. A well-known path, worn by generations of unhappy lovers, leads to a monument in Père-la-Chaise Cemetery at Paris which marks the last resting-place of Abelard and Héloïse, whose remains were transferred there in 1817.

It is commonly believed that Abelard's school on Mont St. Genevieve was the origin of the Latin Quarter in Paris, but the migration to the south had probably begun before Abelard came, and was rather due to the overcrowding of the episcopal schools. Teachers and scholars began to swarm to the new quarter over the bridge where quiet, purer air and better accommodation were found. Ordinances of Bishop Gilbert, 1116, and Stephen, 1124, transcribed by Félibien, make this clear. So disturbed were the canons by the numbers of students in the cloister, that externes were to be no longer admitted, nor other schools allowed on the north side where the canons lodged. The growing importance of the new schools, which tended to the advantage of the abbey of St. Genevieve, soon alarmed the bishops, and the theologians were ordered to lecture only between the two bridges (the Petit and Grand Ponts.) But it was Abelard's brilliant career that attracted like a lodestar the youth of Europe to Paris, and made that city the "oven where the intellectual bread of the world was baked." Providence, it was said, had given Empire to Germany, Priestcraft to Italy, Learning to France. What a constellation of great names glows in the[Pg 94] spiritual firmament of mediæval Paris: William of Champeaux, Peter Lombard, Maurice de Sully, Pierre de Chartreux, Abelard, Gilbert[66] l'Universel, Adrian IV., St. Thomas of Canterbury, and his biographer John of Salisbury. Small wonder that the youth of the twelfth century sought the springs of learning at Paris!


Notre Dame and Petit Pont.
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There was no discipline or college life among the earliest students. Each master, having obtained his license from the bishop's chancellor, rented a room at his own cost, and taught what he knew—even, it was sometimes complained, what he did not know. We read of one Adam du Petit Pont, who, in the twelfth century, expounded Aristotle in the back-room of a house on the bridge amid the cackle of cocks and hens, and whose clientèle had many a vituperative contest with the fish-fags of the neighbourhood. The students grouped themselves according to nationalities, and with their masters held meetings in any available cloister, refectory, or church. When funds were needed, a general levy was made and any balance that remained was spent in a festive gathering in the nearest tavern. The aggregation of thousands of young men, some of whom were cosmopolitan vagabonds, gave rise to many evils. Complaints are frequent among the citizens of the depredations and immoralities of riotous clercs, who lived by their wits or by their nimble fingers, or by reciting or singing licentious ballads:—the paouvres escolliers, whose miserable estate, temptations, debauchery, ignoble pleasures, remorse and degradation have been so pathetically sung by François Villon, master of arts, poet, bohemian, burglar and homicide. The richer scholars often indulged in excesses, and of the vast majority who were poor, some died of hunger. It was the spectacle of half-starving clercs begging for[Pg 95] bread that evoked the compassion of pious founders of colleges, which originally were simply hostels for needy scholars. On the return of Louis VII. from a pilgrimage to Becket's shrine, his brother Robert founded about 1180 the church of St. Thomas of Canterbury and a hostel for fifteen students, who, in 1217, were endowed with a chapel of their own, dedicated to St. Nicholas, and were then known as the poor[Pg 96] scholars of St. Nicholas.[67] In 1171 a London merchant (Jocius de Londonne), passing through Paris on his return from the Holy Land, touched by the sight of some starving students begging their bread, founded a hostel for eighteen poor scholars at the Hôtel Dieu, who in return for lodging and maintenance were to perform the last Christian rites to the friendless dead. This, known as the college of the Dix-huit, was afterwards absorbed in the Sorbonne. In 1200 Étienne Belot and his wife, burgesses of Paris, founded a hostel for thirteen poor scholars who were known as the bons enfants. In all, some dozen colleges were in being when St. Louis came to the throne. In 1253, St. Louis' almoner, Robert of Cerbon or Sorbon, a poor Picardy village, founded[68] a modest college of theology, and obtained from Blanche of Castile a small house above the palace of the Thermæ where he was able to maintain a few poor students of theology. Friends came to his aid and soon sixteen were accommodated, to whom others, able to maintain themselves, were added. In 1269 a papal bull confirmed the establishment of the pauvres maistres estudiants in the faculty of theology at Paris. Even when enriched by later founders it was still called la pauvre Sorbonne. By the renown of their erudition the doctors of the Sorbonne became the great court of appeal in the Middle Ages in matters of theology, and the Sorbonne synonymous with the university. Some of the hostels were on a larger scale. The college of Cardinal Lemoine, founded in 1302 by the papal legate, housed sixty students in arts and forty in theology. Most were paying[Pg 97] residents, but a number of bursaries were provided for those whose incomes were below a certain amount. Each boursier was given daily two loaves of white bread of twelve ounces, "the common weight in the windows of Paris bakers."

In 1304, Jeanne of Navarre, wife of Philip the Fair, left her mansion near the Tour de Nesle and 2000 livres annually to found the college of Navarre for seventy poor scholars, twenty in grammar, thirty in philosophy, and twenty in theology. The first were allowed four sous weekly; the second, six; the third, eight. If any were possessed of annual incomes respectively of thirty, forty and sixty livres, they ceased to hold bursaries. The maintenance fund seems, however, to have been mismanaged, for we soon read of the scholars of the college walking the streets of Paris every morning crying—"Bread, bread, good people, for the poor scholars of Madame of Navarre!"

Some forty colleges were in existence by the end of the fourteenth century and had increased to fifty by the end of the fifteenth; in the seventeenth, Evelyn gives their number as sixty-five. In Félibien's time some had disappeared, for in his map (1725) forty-four colleges only are marked. Nearly the whole of these colleges clustered around the slopes of Mont St. Genevieve, which at length became that Christian Athens that Charlemagne dreamt of. Each college had its own rules. Generally students were required to attend matins (in summer at 3 a.m., winter at 4), mass, vespers and compline. When the curfew of Notre Dame sounded, they retired to their dormitories. Leave to sleep out was granted only in very exceptional cases. Tennis was allowed, cards and dice were forbidden. The college of Montaigu, founded in 1314 by Archbishop Gilles de Montaigu, housed eighty-two poor scholars in memory of the twelve apostles and seventy[Pg 98] disciples. There the rod was never spared to the fainéant; the discipline so severe, that the college became the terror of the youth of Paris, and fathers were wont to sober their libertine sons by threatening to make capetes[69] of them. This was the Collège de Pouillerye denounced by Rabelais and notorious to students as the Collège des Haricots, because they were fed there chiefly on beans. Erasmus was a poor boursier there, disgusted at its mean fare and squalor, and Calvin, known as the "accusative," from his austere piety. Desmoulins, the inaugurator of the Revolution, and St. Just, its fiery and immaculate apostle, sat on its benches. To obtain admission to the college of Cluny (1269) the scholar must pass an entrance examination. He then spent two years at logic, three at metaphysics, two in Biblical studies; he held weekly disputations and preached every fortnight in French; he was interrogated every evening by the president on his studies during the day. If students evinced no aptitude for learning they were dismissed; if only moderate progress were made, the secular duties of the college devolved upon them. It was the foundation of these colleges which organised themselves, about 1200, into powerful corporations of masters and scholars (universitates magistrorum et scholiarum) that gave the university its definite character.


Tower in Rue Valette in which Calvin is said to have lived.
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When the term "university" first came into use is unknown. It is met with in the statutes (1215) which, among other matters, define the limits of age for teaching. A master in the arts must not lecture under twenty-one; of theology under thirty-five. Every master must undergo an examination as to qualification and moral fitness at the Episcopal Chancellor's Court. Early in the twelfth century the four faculties of Law, Medicine,[Pg 99] Arts and Theology were formed and the national groups reduced to four: French, Picards, Normans and English. Each group elected its own officers, and in 1245 at latest the Quatre Nations were meeting in the church of St. Julien le Pauvre to choose a common[Pg 100] head or rector, who soon superseded the chancellor as head of the university. The rectors in process of time exercised almost sovereign authority in the Latin Quarter; they ruled a population of ten thousand masters and students, who were exempt from civic jurisdiction. In 1200 some German students ill-treated an innkeeper who had insulted their servant. The provost of Paris and some armed citizens attacked the students' houses and blood was shed, whereupon the masters of the schools complained to the king, who was fierce in his anger, and ordered the provost and his accomplices to be cast into prison, their houses demolished and vines uprooted. The provost was given the choice of imprisonment for life or the ordeal by water. Then followed a series of ordinances which abolished secular jurisdiction over the students and made them subject to ecclesiastical courts alone.

In the reign of Philip le Bel a provost of Paris dared to hang a scholar. The rector immediately closed all classes until reparation was made, and on the Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin the curés of Paris assembled and went in procession, bearing a cross and holy water to the provost's house, against which each cast a stone, crying, in a loud voice—"Make honourable reparation, thou cursed Satan, to thy mother Holy Church, whose privileges thou hast injured, or suffer the fate of Dathan and Abiram." The king dismissed his provost, caused ample compensation to be made, and the schools were reopened.

The famous Petit Pré aux Clercs (Clerks' Meadow) was the theatre of many a fight with the powerful abbots of St. Germain des Prés.[70] From earliest times the[Pg 101] students had been wont to take the air in the meadow, which lay between the monastery and the river, and soon claimed the privilege as an acquired right. In 1192 the inhabitants of the monastic suburb resented their insolence, and a free fight ensued, in which several scholars were wounded and one was killed. The rector inculpated the abbot, and each appealed to Rome, with what result is unknown. After nearly a century of strained relations and minor troubles, Abbot Gerard in 1278 had walls and other buildings erected on the way to the meadow: the scholars met in force and demolished them. The abbot, who was equal to the occasion, rang his bells, called his vassals to arms and sent a force to seize the gates of the city that gave on the suburb, to prevent reinforcements reaching the scholars; his retainers then attacked the rioters, killed several and wounded many. The rector complained to the papal legate and threatened to close the schools if reparation were not made and justice done within fifteen days, whereupon the legate ordered the provost of the monastery to be expelled for five years. The royal council forced the abbot to exile ten of his vassals, to endow two chantries for the repose of the souls of slain clercs and compensate their fathers by fines of two hundred and four hundred livres respectively, and to pay the rector two hundred livres to be distributed among poor scholars. In 1345 another bloody fight took place between the monks and the scholars over the right to fish there.

Many circumstances contributed to make Paris the capital of the intellectual world in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. France has ever been the home of great enthusiasms and has not feared to "follow where airy voices lead." The conception and enforcement of a Truce of God (Trève de Dieu) whereby all acts of hostility in private or public wars ceased during[Pg 102] certain days of the week or on church festivals; the noble ideal of Christian chivalry; the first crusade—all had their origin in France. The crusaders carried the prestige of the French name and diffused the French idiom over Europe. It was a French monk preaching in France who gave voice to the general enthusiasm; a French pope approved his impassioned oration; a French shout "Dieu le veut" became the crusader's war-cry. The conquest of the Holy Land was organised by the French, its first Christian king was a French knight, its laws were indited in French, and to this day every Christian in the East is a Frank whatever tongue he may speak. The French jurists were famed for their supreme excellence all over Western Europe. In the thirteenth century Brunette Latini wrote his most famous work, the Livres dou Trésor, in French, because it was la parleure plus delitable, il plus commune à toutes gens ("the most delightful of languages and the most common to all peoples"). Martin da Canale composed his story of Venice in French for the same reason, and Marco Polo dictated his travels in French in a Genoese prison. When St. Francis was sending the brothers to establish the order in distant lands, he himself chose France, but was dissuaded by his friend, Cardinal Ugolin. "When inebriated with love and compassion for Christ," says the writer of the Speculum, "and overflowing with sweetest melody of the Spirit, ofttimes would he find utterance in the French tongue; the strains of the divine whisperings which his ear had caught he would express in a French song of joyous exultation, and making the gestures of one playing a viol, he would sing in French of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Never in the history of civilisation were men possessed with such passion for the spiritual life or such faith in the reasoning faculty as in the thirteenth century in[Pg 103] Paris. The holiest mysteries were analysed and defined; everywhere was a search for new things. Conservative Churchmen became alarmed and complained of disputants and blasphemers exercising their wits at every street corner. The four camel-loads of manuscripts, the works and commentaries of Aristotle, brought by the Jews from Spain—a monstrous and mutilated version translated from Greek into Arabic and from Arabic into Latin—became the battle-ground of the schools. The Church at first forbade the study of Aristotle, then by the genius of Aquinas, Christianised and absorbed him; his works became a kind of intellectual tennis-ball bandied between the Averroists, who carried their teachings to a logical consequence, and the more orthodox followers of Aquinas. For three years the faculty was torn asunder by the rival factions. Siger of Brabant, whose eternal light Dante saw refulgent amid other doctors of the Church in the heaven of the Sun, was an Averroist; Siger —

"Che leggendo nel vico degli strami
Sillogizzò invidiosi veri."[71]

The Rue du Fouarre (Straw), where Siger taught and perhaps Dante studied was the street of the Masters of the Arts. Every house in it was a hostel for scholars or a school. It was in the Rue du Fouarre that Pantagruel "held dispute against all the regents, professors of arts and orators and did so gallantly that he overthrew them all and set them all upon their tails." The street still exists, though wholly modernised, opposite the foot of the Petit Pont. Its name has been derived from the straw spread on the floor of the schools or on which the students sat, but there is little doubt that[Pg 104] Benvenuto da Imola's[72] explanation, that it was so named from a hay and straw market held there, is the correct one.

The wonderful thirteenth century saw the meridian glory of the university. It was the age of the great Aristotelian schoolmen who all taught at Paris—Albertus Magnus, St. Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus and Roger Bacon, their candid critic, who carried the intellectual curiosity of the age beyond the tolerance of his Franciscan superiors and twice suffered disciplinary measures at Paris.

In the fourteenth century the university of Paris was as renowned as ever. Among many tributes from great scholars we choose that of Richard de Bury, bishop of Durham, who in his Philobiblon writes: "O Holy God of gods in Zion, what a mighty stream of joy made glad our hearts whenever we had leisure to visit Paris, the Paradise of the world, and to linger there; where the days seemed ever few for the greatness of our love! There are delightful libraries more aromatic than stores of spicery; there are luxuriant parks of all manners of volumes; there are Academic meads shaken by the tramp of scholars; there are lounges of Athens; walks of the Peripatetics; peaks of Parnassus; and porches of the Stoics. There is seen the surveyor of all arts and sciences Aristotle, to whom belongs all that is most excellent in doctrine, so far as relates to this passing sublunary world; there Ptolemy measures epicycles and eccentric apogees and the nodes of the planets by figures and numbers; there Paul reveals the mysteries; there his neighbour Dionysius arranges and distinguishes the hierarchies; there the virgin Carmentis reproduces in Latin characters all that Cadmus[Pg 105] collected in Phœnician letters; there indeed opening our treasures and unfastening our purse-strings we scattered money with joyous heart and purchased inestimable books with mud and sand."

In 1349 the number of professors (maistres-regents) on the rolls was 502; in 1403 they had increased to 709, to which must be added more than 200 masters of theology and canon law. "The University," wrote Pope Alexander IV. in a papal bull, "is to the Church what the tree of life was to the earthly Paradise, a fruitful source of all learning, diffusing its wisdom over the whole universe; there the mind is enlighted and ignorance banished and Jesus Christ gives to His spouse an eloquence which confounds all her enemies."

But decadence soon ensued. The multiplication and enrichment of colleges proved fatal to the old democratic vigour and equality. Some colleges pretended to superiority and the movement lost its unity. Scholasticism had done its work and no new movement took its place. Teachers lost all originality and did but ruminate and comment on the works of their great predecessors. Schools declined in numbers, scholars in attendance and ordinances were needed to correct the abuses covered by the title of scholar. The Jacobin and Cordelier teachers, moreover, had exhausted much life from the university; but its fame continued, and Luther in his early conflicts with the papacy appealed against the pope to the university of Paris. But it made the fatal blunder of opposing the Reform and the Renaissance, instead of absorbing them, and the interest of those great movements centres around the college of France.

In the general decay, however, the Jesuit College of Clermont, known later as of Louis le Grand, stood forth renowned and exuberant. During the seventeenth[Pg 106] and eighteenth centuries, the erudition of its teachers, their excellent method and admirable discipline, made it the premier college of Paris and in the heyday of its fame five hundred scholars crowded its halls, among them the scions of the nobility of France. Towards the end of the eighteenth century the university had its seat in the college and concentrated there the endowments, or such as had escaped spoliation, of twenty-six suppressed colleges. The college of Louis le Grand and nine others of the multitude that clustered around the hill of St. Genevieve, were all that survived when the Revolution burst forth, and it is not without interest to note that on 19th June 1781, the central body sitting at the famous Jesuit college unanimously awarded a prize of six hundred livres to a poor young boursier of the college of Arras, named Louis François Maximilian Marie Robespierre, for twelve years of exemplary conduct and of success in examinations and competitions.

Before we close this chapter a word of acknowledgment is due to the mediæval church in Paris for her careful fostering of elementary education. By the Taille of 1292 already referred to, we learn that schools for children of both sexes were distributed nearly over the whole of the city radiating from the mother church of Notre Dame. At the beginning of the fifteenth century twenty-one parishes had one or two of these schools; in 1449 a thousand schoolboys took part in a procession to Notre Dame to render thanks for the recovery of Normandy. The Church inspected the sanitary condition of the schools and exacted a standard of proficiency for the qualification of masters and mistresses.[Pg 107]


Conflict with Boniface VIII.—The States-General—The Destruction of the Knights-Templars—The Parlement

In 1302 the eyes of Europe were again drawn to Paris where the Fourth Philip, surnamed the Fair, a prince who, in Dante's grim metaphor, scourged the shameless harlot of Rome from head to foot, and dragged her to do his will in France, was grappling with the great pontiff, Boniface VIII.—the most resolute upholder of the papacy in her claim to universal secular supremacy—and essaying a task which had baffled the mighty emperors themselves.

The king knowing he had embarked on a struggle in which the greatest potentates had been worsted, determined to appeal to the patriotism of all classes of his subjects and fortify himself on the broad basis of such popular opinion as then existed. For the first time the States-General were summoned, after the burning of the papal bull in Paris on the memorable Sunday of 11th February 1302. Their meeting marks an epoch in French history, and for the first time members of the Tiers État (the third estate, or commons), sat beside the privileged orders of clergy and nobles, and were recognised as one of the legitimate orders of the realm. The assembly was convoked to meet in Notre Dame on the 10th of April. The question was the[Pg 108] old one which had rent Christendom asunder for centuries: Was the pope at Rome to be supreme over the princes and peoples of the earth in secular as well as in spiritual matters? The utmost enthusiasm prevailed, and though the prelates spoke with a somewhat timid voice, the assembled members swore to risk their lives and property rather than sacrifice the honour of the crown and their own liberties to the insolent usurpation of Rome. Excommunication followed, but Philip had ordered all the passes from Italy to be guarded, so that no papal letter or messenger should enter France. "Boniface, who," says Villani, the Florentine chronicler, "was proud and scornful, and bold to attempt every great deed, magnanimous and puissant," replied by announcing the publication of a bull deposing the king from his throne and releasing his subjects from their allegiance. Philip at an assembly in the garden of the palace in the Cité, and in presence of the chief ecclesiastical, religious and lay authorities, again laid his case before the people and read an appeal against the pope to a future Council of the Church.

The bull of deposition was to be promulgated on 8th September. On the 7th, while the aged pope was peacefully resting at his native city of Anagni, Guillaume de Nogaret, Philip's minister, bearing the royal banner of France, Sciarra Colonna and other disaffected Italian nobles, with three hundred horsemen, flung themselves into Anagni, crying—"Death to Pope Boniface." The papal palace was unguarded: at the first alarm the cardinals fled and hid themselves, and all but a few faithful servants forsook their master. The defenceless pope believed that his hour was come, but, writes Villani, "Great-souled and valiant as he was, he said, 'Since like Jesus Christ I must be taken by treachery and suffer death, at least I will die like a pope.' He commanded his servants to robe him in[Pg 109] the mantle of Peter, to place the crown of Constantine on his head and the keys and crozier in his hands." He ascended the papal throne and calmly waited. Guillaume, Sciarra and the other leaders burst into the apartment, sword in hand, uttering the foulest of insults; but awed and cowed by the indomitable old pontiff, who stood erect in appalling majesty, their weapons dropped as though their hands were palsied and none durst offend him. They set a guard outside the room and proceeded to loot the palace. For three days the grand old pope—he was eighty-six years of age—remained a prisoner, until the people of Anagni rallied and rescued him, and he returned to Rome. In a month the humiliated Boniface died of a broken heart, and before two years were passed his successor in Peter's chair, Pope Clement V., revoked all his bulls and censures, expunged them from the papal register, solemnly condemned his memory and restored the Colonna family to all their honours. Dante, who hated Boniface as cordially as Philip did, and cast him into hell, was yet revolted at the cruelty of the "new Pilate, who had carried the fleur-de-lys into Anagni, who made Christ captive, mocked Him a second time, renewed the gall and vinegar, and slew Him between two living thieves." But the "new Pilate was not yet sated." The business at Anagni had only been effected spendendo molta moneta; the disastrous battle of Courtrai and the inglorious Flemish wars had exhausted the royal treasury; and the debasement of the coinage availing nought, Philip turned his lustful eyes on a once powerful lay order, whose chief seat was at Paris and whose wealth and pride were the talk of Christendom.

After the capture of Jerusalem and the establishment there of a Christian kingdom, pilgrims flocked to the holy places. Soon, however, piteous stories reached[Pg 110] Jerusalem of the cruel spoliation and murder of unarmed pilgrims, on their journey from the coast, by hordes of roving lightly-armed Bedouins, against whom the heavily-armed Franks were powerless. The evil was growing well-nigh intolerable when, in 1118, two young French nobles, Hugh of Payens and Godfrey of St. Omer, with other seven youths of highest birth, bound themselves into a lay community, with the object of protecting the pilgrims' way. They took the usual vows of poverty, charity and obedience; St. Bernard drew up their Rule—and we may be sure it was austere enough—pope and patriarch confirmed it. Their garb was a mantle of purest white linen with a red cross embroidered on the shoulder. The order was housed in a wing of the palace, which was built on the site of Solomon's Temple, hard by the Holy Sepulchre, and its members called themselves the Poor Soldiers of Christ and of Solomon's Temple. Their banner, half of black, half of white, was inscribed with the device "non nobis Domine." Their battle-cry "Beauceant," and their seal, two figures on horseback, have not been satisfactorily interpreted—the latter probably portrays a knight riding away with a rescued pilgrim. Soon the little band of nine was joined by hundreds of devoted youths from rich and noble families; endowments to provide them with arms and horses and servants flowed in, and thus was formed the most famous, the purest and the most heroic body of warriors the world has ever seen. Hugh de Payens had gathered three hundred Knights-Templars around him at Jerusalem: in five years nearly every one had been slain in battle. But enthusiasm filled the ranks faster than they were mowed down: none ever surrendered and the order paid no money for ransom. When hemmed in by overwhelming numbers, they fought till the last man fell, or died, a wounded captive, in the[Pg 111] hands of the Saracens. Of the twenty-two Grand Masters, seven were killed in battle, five died of wounds, and one of voluntary starvation in the hands of the infidel.

When Acre was lost, and the last hold of the Christians in the Holy Land was wrested from them, only ten Knights-Templars of the five hundred who fought there escaped to Cyprus. They chose Jacques de Molay for Grand Master, replenished their treasury and renewed their members; but their mission was gone for ever. The order was exempt from episcopal jurisdiction and subject to the pope alone; its wealth, courage and devotion were rusting for lack of employment. Boniface VIII., with that grandeur and daring which make of him, despite his faults, so magnificent a figure in history, conceived the idea of uniting them with the other military orders—the Hospitallers and the Teutonic Knights—and making of the united orders an invincible army to enforce on Europe the decrees of a benevolent and theocratic despotism. They soon became suspected and hated by bishops and kings alike, and at length were betrayed by the papacy itself to their enemies.

In 1304, a pair of renegade Templars,[73] who for their crimes were under sentence of imprisonment for life in the prison at Toulouse, sought an introduction to the king, and promised in return for their liberty to give information of certain monstrous crimes and sacrileges of common and notorious occurrence in the order. Depositions were taken and sent to Philip's creature, Pope Clement V. Some communication passed between them, but no action was taken and the matter seemed to have lapsed. About a year after these events the[Pg 112] pope wrote an affectionate letter to Jacques de Molay, inviting him to bring the treasure of the order and his chief officers to France, to confer with himself and the king respecting a new crusade. Jacques and his companions, suspecting nothing, came and were received by pope and king with great friendliness: the treasure, twelve mules' load of gold and silver, was stored in the vaults of the great fortress of the Templars at Paris. Some rumours reached de Molay of the delation made by the Toulousian prisoners, but the pope reassured him in an interview, April 1307, and lulled him into security. On 14th September of the same year the royal officers of the realm were ordered to hold themselves armed for secret service on 12th October, and sealed letters were handed to them to be opened that night. At dawn on the 13th, all the Templars in France were arrested in their beds and flung into the episcopal gaols, and the bishops then proceeded to "examine" the prisoners. One hundred and forty were dealt with in Paris, the centre of the order. The charges and a confession of their truth by the Grand Master were read to them; denial, they were told, was useless: liberty would be the reward of confession, imprisonment the penalty of denial.

A few confessed and were set free. The remainder were "examined." Starvation and torture of the most incredible ferocity did their work. Thirty-six died under the rack in Paris, and many more in other places; most of the remainder confessed to anything the inquisitors required. Clement, warned by the growing feeling in Europe, now became alarmed, and the next act in the drama opens at the abbey of St. Genevieve in Paris, where a papal commission sat to hear what the Templars had to say in their defence. All were invited to give evidence and promised immunity in the[Pg 113] name of the pope. Hundreds came to Paris to defend their order,[74] but having been made to understand by the bishops that they would be burned as heretics if they retracted their confessions, they held back for a time until solemnly assured by the papal commissioners that they had nothing to fear, and might freely speak. Ponzardus de Gysiaco, preceptor of Payens, then came forward and disclosed the atrocious means used to extort confessions, and said if he were so tortured again he would confess anything that were demanded of him; he would face death, however horrible, even by boiling and fire, in defence of his order, but long-protracted and agonising torture was beyond human endurance. Ponzardus was sent back to confinement and the warders were bidden to see that he suffered naught for what he had said. The rugged old master, Jacques de Molay, scarred by honourable wounds, the marks of many a battle with the infidel, was brought before the court and his alleged confession read to him. He was stupefied, and swore that if his enemies were not priests he would know how to deal with them. A second time he was examined and preposterous charges of unnatural crimes were preferred against the order by the king's chancellor, Guillaume de Nogaret. They were drawn from a chronicle at St. Denis, and based on certain statements alleged to have been made by Saladin, Sultan of Babylon (Egypt). Again he was stupefied, and declared he had never heard of such things. And now the Templars' courage rose. Two hundred and thirty-one came forward, emaciated, racked and torn; among them one poor wretch was carried in, whose[Pg 114] feet had been burnt by slow fires.[75] Nearly all protested that the confessions had been wrung from them by torture, that their accusers were perjurers, and that they would maintain the purity of their order usque ad mortem ("even unto death"). Many complained that they were poor, illiterate soldiers, neither able to pay for legal defence nor to comprehend the charges indicted in Latin against them. It was Philip's turn now to be alarmed, but the prelates were equal to the crisis. The archbishop of Sens, metropolitan of Paris and brother of the king's chief adviser, convoked a provincial court at his palace in Paris, and condemned to [Pg 115] the stake fifty-four of the Knights who had retracted their confessions. On the 10th of May the papal commissioners were appealed to: they expressed their sorrow that the episcopal court was beyond their jurisdiction, but would consider what might be done. Short time was allowed them. The stout-hearted archbishop was not a man to show weakness; he went steadily on with his work, and in spite of appeals from the papal judges for delay, the fifty-four were led forth on the afternoon of the 12th[76] to the open country outside the Porte St. Antoine, near the convent of St. Antoine des Champs, and slowly roasted to death. They bore their fate with the constancy of martyrs, each protesting his innocence with his last breath, and declaring [Pg 116] that the charges alleged against the order were false. Two days later, six more were sent to the stake at the Place de Grève. In spite of threats, the prelates went on with their grim work of terror. Many of the bravest Templars still gave the lie to their traducers, but the majority were cowed; further confessions were obtained, and the pope was satisfied. The proudest, bravest and richest order in Christendom was crushed or scattered to the four corners of the world; their vast estates were nominally confiscated to the Knights Hospitallers. But our "most dear brother in Christ, Philip the king, although he was not moved by avarice nor intended the appropriation of the Templars' goods"[77] had to be compensated for the expense of the prosecution: the treasure of the order failed to satisfy the exorbitant claims of the crown, and the Hospitallers were said to have been impoverished rather than enriched by the transfer.


Palace of The Archbishop of Sens.
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The last act was yet to come. On 11th March 1314, a great stage was erected in the parvis of Notre Dame, and there, in chairs of state, sat the pope's envoy, a cardinal, the archbishop of Sens, and other officers of Christ's Church on earth. The Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, and three preceptors were exposed to the people; their alleged confession and the papal bull suppressing the order, and condemning them to imprisonment for life, were read by the cardinal. But, to the amazement of his Eminence, when the clauses specifying the enormities to which the accused had confessed were being recited, the veteran Master and the preceptor of Normandy rose, and in loud voices, heard of all the people, repudiated the confession, and declared that they were wholly guiltless, and ready to suffer death. They had not long to wait. Hurried counsel was held with the king, and that same night[Pg 117] Jacques de Molay and the preceptor of Normandy were brought to a little island on the Seine, known as the Isle of the Trellises,[78] and burnt to death, protesting their innocence to the last.

"God pays debts, but not in money." An Italian chronicler relates that the Master, while expiring in the flames, solemnly cited pope and king to meet him before the judgment-seat of God. In less than forty days Clement V. lay dead: in eight months Philip IV. was thrown by his horse. Seven centuries later the grisly fortress of the Templars opened its portals, and the last of the unbroken line of the kings of France was led forth to a bloody death.

Those who would read the details of the dramatic examination at Paris before the papal commissioners, may do so in the minutes published by Michelet.[79] The great historian declares that a study of the evidence shook his belief in the Templars' innocence, and that if he were writing his history again, he must needs alter his attitude towards them. Such is not the impression left on the mind of the present writer. Moreover it has been pointed out that there is a suspicious identity in the various groups of testimonies, corresponding to the episcopal courts whence such testimonies came. The royal officers, after the severest search, could find not a single compromising document in the Templars' houses, nothing but a few account books, works of devotion and copies of St. Bernard's Rule. There were undoubtedly unworthy and vicious knights among[Pg 118] the fifteen thousand Templars belonging to the order, but the charges brought against them are too monstrous for belief. The call which they had responded to so nobly, however, had long ceased. They were wealthy, proud and self-absorbed. Sooner or later they must infallibly have gone the way of all organisations which have outlived their use and purpose. It is the infamy of their violent destruction for which pope and king must answer at the bar of history.

Philip's reign is also remarkable for the establishment of the Parlement in Paris. From earliest times of the Monarchy, the kings had dispensed justice, surrounded by the chief Churchmen and nobles of the land, thus constituting an ambulatory tribunal which was held wherever the sovereign might happen to be. In 1302 Philip restricted it to judicial functions, and housed it in his palace of the Cité, which on the kings ceasing to dwell there in 1431 became the Palais de Justice. The ancient palace was rebuilt and enlarged by Philip. A vast hall with a double barrel-roof decorated with azure and gold, supported by a central row of columns adorned with statues of the kings of France—the most spacious and most beautiful Gothic chamber in France—and other courts and offices accommodated the Parlement. The tribunal was at first composed of twenty-six councillors or judges, of whom thirteen were lawyers, presided over by the royal chancellor, and sat twice yearly for periods of two months. It consisted of three chambers or courts.[80] The nobles who at first sat among the lay members gradually ceased to attend owing to a sense of their legal inefficiency, and the Parlement became at length a purely legal body. During the imprisonment of John the Good in England, the [Pg 120] Parlement[81] sat en permanence, and henceforth became the cour souveraine et capitale of the kingdom. The purity of its members was maintained by severest penalties. In 1336 one of the presidents was convicted of receiving bribes and hanged. Twelve years later the falsification of some depositions was punished with the same severity, and in 1545 a corrupt chancellor was fined 100,000 livres, degraded, and imprisoned for five years. The chief executive officer of the Parlement, known as the Concierge, appointed the bailiffs of the court and had extensive local jurisdiction over dishonest merchants and craftsmen, whose goods he could burn. His official residence, known as the Conciergerie, subsequently became a prison, and so remains to this day. The entrance flanked by the two ancient tours de César et d'Argent, is one of the most familiar objects in Paris. There the Count of Armagnac was assassinated and the cells are still shown where Marie Antoinette, Madame Roland, and many of the chief victims of the Terror were lodged before their execution; where Danton, Hébert, Chaumette, and Robespierre followed each other in one self-same chamber.


Palais de Justice, Clock Tower and Conciergerie.
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[Pg 121]


Étienne Marcel—the English Invasions—The Maillotins—Murder of the Duke of Orleans—Armagnacs and Burgundians

With the three sons of Philip who successively became kings of France, the direct line of the Capetian dynasty ends: with the accession of Philip VI. in 1328, the house of Valois opens the sad century of the English wars—a period of humiliation and defeat, of rebellious and treacherous princes, civil strife, famine and plague, illumined only by the heroism of a peasant-girl, who, when king and nobles were sunk in shameless apathy or sullen despair, saved France from utter extinction. Pope after pope sought to make peace, but in vain: Hui sont en paix, demain en guerre ("to-day peace, to-morrow war") was the normal and inevitable situation until the English had wholly subjected France or the French driven the English to their natural boundary of the Channel.

Never since the days of Charlemagne had the French Monarchy been so powerful as when the Valois came to the throne: in less than a generation Crecy and Poitiers had made the English name a terror in France, and a French king, John the Good, was led captive to England. In 1346 Paris saw her faubourgs wasted, the palace of St. Germain and the fortress of Montjoie St. Denis[82] spoiled and burnt, and the English camp fires nightly glowing. Once again, as in the dark[Pg 122] Norman times, she rose and determined to save herself. Étienne Marcel, the leader of the movement, whose statue now stands near the site of the Maison aux Piliers was a rich merchant prince of old family, a member of the great drapers' guild, and elected Provost of the Marchands d'Eau in 1355. He it was who bought for 2400 florins of gold the Maison des Dauphins, better known as the Maison aux Piliers or Hôtel de Ville, on the Place de Grève and transferred thither the seat of the civic administration from the old Parloir aux Bourgeois, enclosed in the south wall of Paris. The Dauphin,[83] who had assumed the title of Lieutenant-General, convoked the States-General at Paris, but he was forced by Marcel and his party to grant some urgent reforms, and a Committee of National Defence was organised by the trade guilds and the provost, who became virtually dictator of Paris. Marcel's rule was however stained by the butchery of the Marshal of Champagne and the Duke of Normandy before the very eyes of the Dauphin in the palace of the Cité, who, horrified, fled to Compiègne to rally the nobles. During the ensuing anarchy the poor, dumb, starving serfs of France, in their hopeless misery and despair, rose in insurrection and swept like a flame over the land. Froissart, who writes from the distorted stories told him by the seigneurs, has woefully exaggerated the atrocities of the Jacquerie."[84] There was much arson and pillage, but barely thirty of the nobles are known to have perished. Of the merciless vengeance taken by the seigneurs there is[Pg 123] ample confirmation: the wretched peasants were easily out-manœuvred and killed like rats by the mail-clad nobles and their men-at-arms. Meanwhile the Dauphin was marching on Paris: Marcel seized the Louvre and set 3000 workmen to fortify the city. In less than a year the greater part of the northern walls, with gates, bastilles and fosses, was completed—the greatest feat, says Froissart, the provost ever achieved. A citizen army was raised, whose hoods of red and blue, the colours of Paris, distinguished them from the royal sympathisers. Marcel turned for support to the Jacques, and on their suppression essayed to win over Charles of Navarre. On 30th November 1357, Charles stood on the royal stage on the walls of the abbey of St. Germain des Prés, whence the kings of France were wont to witness the judicial combats in the Prés aux Clercs, and addressed an assembly of 10,000 citizens. Moult longuement he sermonised, says the Grandes Chroniques, so that dinner was over in Paris before he finished. After yet another harangue at the Maison aux Piliers on 15th June 1358, he was acclaimed by people with "Navarre! Navarre!" and elected the Captain of Paris. An obscure period of plot and counterplot followed which culminated in the ruin of Marcel and his followers. Froissart accuses the provost of a treacherous intent to open the gates of St. Honoré and of St. Antoine to Navarre's English mercenaries at midnight on 31st July, and gives a dramatic story of the discovery of the plot and slaying of the provost by Jean Maillart, his friend and associate. We supplement his version from the Chronicle of St. Denis: on the last day of July, Marcel and his suite repaired to the bastille of St. Denis and ordered the guards to surrender the keys to Charles of Navarre's treasurer. Maillart, who had been won over by the Dauphin, had preceded him. The guard refused to hand over the keys[Pg 124] and an angry altercation ensued between the former friends. Maillart mounted horse, seized a royal banner, sped to the Halles and to the cry of "Montjoie St. Denis!" called the royal partizans to arms: a similar appeal was made by Pepin des Essards. Meanwhile Marcel had reached the bastille of St. Antoine, where he was met by Maillart and the royal partizans. "Stephen, Stephen!" cried the latter, "what dost thou here at this hour?" "I am here," answered the provost, "to guard the city whose governor I am." "Par Dieu," retorted Maillart, "thou art here for no good," and turning to his followers, said, "Behold the keys which he holds to the destruction of the city." Each gave the other the lie. "Good people," protested Marcel, "why would you do me ill? All I wrought was for your good as well as mine." Maillart for answer smote at him, crying, "Traitor, à mort, à mort!" There was a stubborn fight, and Maillart felled the provost by a blow with his axe; six of the provost's companions were slain, and the remainder haled to prison. Next day the Dauphin entered Paris in triumph, and the popular leaders were executed on the Place de Grève. The provost's body was dragged to the court of the church of St. Catherine du Val des Écoliers, naked, that it might be seen of all, on the very spot where the bodies of the Marshal of Champagne and the Duke of Normandy had been flung six months before: after a long exposure it was cast into the Seine. All the reforms were revoked by the king, but the remembrance of the time when the merchants and people of Paris had dared to speak to their royal lord face to face of justice and good government, was never obliterated.

Next year the English peril again threatened Paris. The invasion of 1359 resembled a huge picnic or hunting expedition. The king of England and his barons brought their hunters, falcons, dogs and fishing tackle.[Pg 125] They marched leisurely to Bourg la Reine, less than two leagues from Paris, pillaged the surrounding country and turned to Chartres, where tempest and sickness forced Edward III. to come to terms. After the treaty of Bretigny, in 1360, the Parisians saw their good King John again, who was ransomed for a sum equal to about ten million pounds of present-day value. The memory of this and other enormous ransoms exacted by the English, endured for centuries, and when a Frenchman had paid his creditors he would say,—j'ai payé mes Anglais.[85] ("I have paid my English.") A magnificent reception was accorded to the four English barons who came to sign the Peace at Paris. They were taken to the Sainte Chapelle and shown the fairest relics and richest jewels in the world, and each was given a spine from the crown of thorns, which he deemed the noblest jewel that could be presented to him.

The Dauphin, who on the death of good King John in London (1364) became Charles V., by careful statesmanship succeeded in restoring order to the kingdom and to its finances[86] and in winning some successes against the English.

In 1370 their camp fires were again seen outside Paris: but Marcel's wall had now been completed. Charles refused battle and allowed them to ravage the suburbs with impunity. Before the army left, an English knight swore he would joust at the gates of the city, and spurred lance in hand against them. As he turned to ride back, a big butcher lifted his pole-axe, smote the knight on the neck and felled him; four others battered him to death, "their blows," says[Pg 126] Froissart, "falling on his armour like strokes on an anvil."

By wise council rather than by war Charles won back much of his dismembered country. He was a great builder and patron of the arts. The Louvre, being now enclosed within the new wall and no longer part of the defences of Paris, was handed over to Raymond of the Temple, Charles' "beloved mason," to transform into a sumptuous palace with apartments for himself and his queen, the princes of the blood and the officers of the royal household. The rooms were decorated with sculpture by Jean de St. Romain, tailleur d'ymages and other carvers in stone, and with paintings, by Jean d'Orléans. Each suite was furnished with a private chapel, those of the king and queen being carved with much "art and patience." A gallery was built for the minstrels and players of instruments. A great garden was planted towards the Rue St. Honoré on the north and the old wall of Philip Augustus on the east, in which were an "Hôtel des Lions," or collection of wild beasts, and a tennis court, where the king and princes played. The palace accounts still exist, with details of payments for "wine for the stone-cutters which the king our lord gave them when he came to view the works." Jean Callow and Geoffrey le Febre were paid for planting squares of strawberries, hyssop, sage, lavender, balsam, violets, and for making paths, weeding and carrying away stones and filth; others were paid for planting bulbs of lilies, double red roses and other good herbs. Twenty francs were paid to Gobin d'Ays, "who guards our nightingales of our chastel of the Louvre." The first royal library was founded by Charles, and Peter the Cage-maker was employed to protect the library windows of stained glass from birds—it overlooked the falconry—and other beasts, by trellises of wire. In order that scholars might work[Pg 127] there at all hours, thirty small chandeliers were provided and a silver lamp was suspended from the vaulting. Solemn masters at grants gages were employed to translate the most notable books[87] from Latin into French; scribes and bookbinders of the university were exempted from the watch. An interesting payment of six francs in gold, made to Jacqueline, widow of a mason "because she is poor and helpless and her husband met his death in working for the king at the Louvre," demonstrates that royal custom had anticipated modern legislation.

Charles surrendered the royal palace in the Cité, associated with bitter memories of Marcel's dictatorship, to the Parlement, and partly bought, partly erected an irregular group of exquisite Gothic mansions and chapels which he furnished with sumptuous magnificence and surrounded with tennis courts, falconries, menageries, delightful and spacious gardens—a hostel solennel des grands esbattements, "where," as the royal edict runs, "we have had many joys and with God's grace have recovered from several great sicknesses, wherefore we are moved to that hostel by love, pleasure and singular affection." This royal city within a city, known as the Hôtel St. Paul, covered together with the monastery and church of the Célestins, a vast space, now roughly bounded by the Rue St. Paul, the quai des Célestins and the Rue de Sully, the Rue de l'Arsenal and the Rue St. Antoine. Charles VII. was the last king who dwelt there; the buildings fell to ruin, and between 1519 and 1551 were gradually sold. No vestige of this palace of delight now remains, nothing but the[Pg 128] memory of it in a few street names,—the streets of the Fair Trellis, of the Lions of St. Paul, of the Garden of St. Paul, and of the Cherry Orchard. To Charles V. is also due the beautiful chapel of Vincennes and the completion of Étienne Marcel's wall. This third enclosure, began at the Tour de Billi, which stood at the angle formed by the Gare de l'Arsenal and the Seine, extended north by the Boulevard Bourdon, the Place de la Bastille, and the line of the inner Boulevards to the Porte St. Denis; it then turned south-west by the old Porte Montmartre, the Place des Victoires and across the garden of the Palais Royal to the Tour du Bois, a little below the present Pont du Carrousel. It was fortified by a double moat and square towers. The south portion was never begun. In 1370, Charles' provost, Hugues Aubriot, warned his royal master that the Hôtel St. Paul would be difficult to defend, and advised him to replace the Bastille[88] of St. Antoine by a great stronghold which might serve as a state prison[89] and as a defence from within and without. In 1380 the dread Bastille of sinister fame, with its eight towers, was raised—ever a hateful memory to the citizens, for it was completed by the royal provost when the provost of the merchants had been suppressed by Charles VI. in 1383.

"Woe to thee O land, when thy king is a child!" During the minority and reign of Charles VI. France lay prostrate under a hail of evils that menaced her very existence, and Paris was reduced to the profoundest misery and humiliation. The breath had not left the old king's body before his elder brother, the Count of Anjou, who was hiding in an adjacent room, hastened[Pg 129] to seize the royal treasure and the contents of the public exchequer. No regent had been appointed, and the four royal dukes, the young king's uncles of Anjou, Burgundy, Bourbon, and Berri, began to strive for power.

In 1382 Anjou, who had been suffered to hold the regency, sought to enforce an unpopular tax on the merchants of Paris. A collector having seized an old watercress seller at the Halles with much brutality, the people revolted, armed themselves with the loaded clubs (maillotins) stored in the Hôtel de Ville for use against the English, attacked and put to death with great cruelty some of the royal officers and opened the prisons. The court temporised, promised to remit the tax and to grant an amnesty; but with odious treachery caused the leaders of the movement to be seized, put them in sacks and flung them at dead of night into the Seine. The angry Parisians now barricaded their streets and closed their gates against the king. Negotiations followed and by payment of 100,000 francs to the Duke of Anjou the citizens were promised immunity and the king and his uncles entered the city. But the court nursed its vengeance, and after the victory over the Flemings at Rosebecque, Charles and his uncles with a powerful force marched on Paris. The Parisians, 20,000 strong, stood drawn up in arms at Montmartre to meet him. They were asked who were their chiefs and if the Constable de Clisson might enter Paris. "None other chiefs have we," they answered, "than the king and his lords: we are ready to obey their orders." "Good people of Paris," said the Constable on his arrival at their camp, "what meaneth this? meseems you would fight against your king." They replied that their purpose was but to show the king the puissance of his good city of Paris. "'Tis well," said the Constable, "if you would see[Pg 130] the king return to your homes and put aside your arms."

On the morrow, 11th January 1383, the king and his court, with 12,000 men-at-arms, appeared at the Porte St. Denis, and there stood the provost of the merchants with the chief citizens in new robes, holding a canopy of cloth of gold. Charles, with a fierce glance, ordered them back; the gates were unhinged and flung down; the royal army entered as in a conquered city. A terrible vengeance ensued. The President of the Parlement and other civil officers, with three hundred prominent citizens, were arrested and cast into prison. In vain was the royal clemency entreated by the Duchess of Orleans, the rector of the university and chief citizens all clothed in black. The bloody diurnal work of the executioner began and continued until a general pardon was granted on March 1st on payment of an enormous fine. The liberties of the city met the same fate. The Maison aux Piliers reverted to the crown, the provostship of the merchants, and all the privileges of the Parisians, were suppressed, and the hateful taxes reimposed. Never had the heel of despotism ground them down so mercilessly; yet was no niggardly welcome given to Isabella of Bavaria, Charles' consort, on her entry into Paris in 1389. "I, the author of this book," says Froissart, after describing at length the usual incidents of a royal procession—the fountains running with wines, aromatic with Orient spices, the music, the ballets, the spectacles, the sumptuous decorations—"I marvelled when I beheld such great foison, for all the grant Rue St. Denis was as richly covered with cloth of camelot and of silk like as were all the cloth had for nothing or that we were in Alexandria or Damascus." A curious incident is related by the chronicler of St. Denis; Charles, desirous of being present incognito at the[Pg 131] wondrous scene, bade Savoisy take horse and let him ride behind en croupe. Thus mounted the pair rode to the Châtelet to see the queen pass. There they found much people and a strong guard of sergeants, armed with stout staves with which the officers smote amain to keep back the press, and in the scuffle the king received many a thwack on the shoulders, whereat was great merriment when the thing was known at court in the evening. Three years later a royal progress of far different nature was witnessed in Paris. The king, a poor demented captive, was borne in by the Duke of Orleans to the Hôtel St. Paul. In 1393, when he had somewhat recovered from his madness, a grand masked ball was given to celebrate the wedding of one of the ladies of honour who was a widow. The marriage of a widow was always the occasion of riotous mirth, and Charles disguised himself and five of his courtiers as satyrs. They were sewed up in tight-fitting vestments of linen, which were coated with resin and pitch and covered with rough tow; on their heads they wore hideous masks. While the ladies of the court were celebrating the marriage the king and his companions rushed in howling like wolves and indulged in the most uncouth gestures and jokes. The Duke of Orleans, drawing too near with a torch to discover their identity, set fire to the tow and in a second they were enveloped in so many shirts of Nessus. Unable to fling off their blazing dresses they madly ran hither and thither, suffering the most excruciating agony and uttering piteous cries. The king happened to be near the young Duchess of Berri who, with admirable presence of mind, flung her robe over him and rescued him from the flames. One knight saved himself by plunging into a large tub of water in the kitchen, one died on the spot, two died on the second day, another lingered for three days in[Pg 132] awful torment. The horror of the scene[90] so affected Charles that his madness returned more violently than ever. His queen abandoned him and he was left to wander like some wild animal about his rooms in the Hôtel St. Paul, untended, unkempt, verminous, his only companion his low-born mistress Odette.

The bitterness of the avuncular factions was now intensified. The House of Burgundy by marriage and other means had grown to be one of the most powerful in Europe and was at fierce enmity with the House of Orleans. At the death of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, his son Jean sans Peur, sought to assume his father's supremacy as well as his title: the Duke of Orleans, strong in the queen's support, determined to foil his purpose. Each fortified his hôtel in Paris and assembled an army. Friends, however, intervened; they were reconciled, and in November 1407 the two dukes attended mass at the Church of the Grands Augustins, took the Holy Sacrament and dined together. As Jean rose from table the Duke of Orleans placed the Order of the Porcupine round his neck; swore bonne amour et fraternité, and they kissed each other with tears of joy. On 23rd November a forged missive was handed to the Duke of Orleans, requiring his attendance on the queen. He set forth on a mule, accompanied by two squires and five servants carrying torches. It was a sombre night, and as the unsuspecting prince rode up the Rue Vieille du Temple behind his little escort, humming a tune and playing with his glove, a band of assassins fell upon him from the shadow of the postern La Barbette, crying "à mort, à mort" and he was hacked to death. Then issued from a neighbouring house[Pg 133] at the sign of Our Lady, Jean sans Peur, a tall figure concealed in a red cloak, lantern in hand, who gazed at the mutilated corpse. "C'est bien," said he, "let's away." They set fire to the house to divert attention and escaped. Four months before, the house had been hired on the pretext of storing provisions, and for two weeks a score of assassins had been concealed there, biding their time. On the morrow, Burgundy with the other princes went to asperse the dead body with holy water in the church of the Blancs Manteaux, and as he drew nigh, exclaiming against the foul murder, blood is said to have issued from the wounds. At the funeral he held a corner of the pall, but his guilt was an open secret, and though he braved it out for a time he was forced to flee to his lands in Flanders for safety. In a few months, however, Jean was back in force at Paris, and a doctor of the Sorbonne pleaded an elaborate justification of the deed before the assembled princes, nobles, clergy and citizens at the Hôtel St. Paul. The poor crazy king was made to declare publicly that he bore no ill-will to his dear cousin of Burgundy, and later, on the failure of a conspiracy of revenge by the queen and the Orleans party, to grant full pardon for a deed "committed for the welfare of the kingdom." The cutting of the Rue Étienne Marcel has exposed the strong machicolated tower still bearing the arms of Burgundy (two planes and a plumb line), which Jean sans Peur built to fortify the Hôtel de Bourgogne, as a defence and refuge against the Orleans faction and the people of Paris. The Orleans family had for arms a knotted stick, with the device "Je l'ennuis": the Burgundian arms with the motto, "Je le tiens," implied that the knotted stick was to be planed and levelled.

The arrival of Jean sans Peur, and the fortification of his hôtel were the prelude to civil war, for the Orleanists and their allies had rallied to the Count of[Pg 134] Armagnac, whose daughter Anne, the new Duke Louis of Orleans had married, and fortified themselves in their stronghold on the site now occupied by the Palais Royal.


Tower of Jean Sans Peur.
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The Armagnacs, for so the Orleanists were now called, thirsted for revenge, and for five years Paris was the scene of frightful atrocities as each faction gained the upper hand and took a bloody vengeance on its rivals. At length the infamous policy of an alliance with the English was resorted to. The temptation was too great for the English king, and in 1415 Henry V. met the French army, composed almost entirely of the Armagnacs, at Agincourt, and inflicted on it a defeat more disastrous than Crecy or Poitiers. The famous oriflamme of St. Denis passed from history in that fatal year of 1415. The Count of Armagnac hurried to Paris, seized the mad king and the dauphin, and held the capital.

In 1417 the English returned under Henry V. The Burgundians had promised neutrality, and the defeated Armagnacs were forced in their need to "borrow[91] of the saints." But hateful memories clung to them in Paris and they were betrayed. On the night of 29th May 1418, the son of an ironmonger on the Petit Pont, who had charge of the wicket of the Porte St. Germain, crept into his father's room and stole the keys while he slept. The gate was then opened to the Burgundians, who seized the person of the helpless and imbecile king. Some Armagnacs escaped, bearing the dauphin with them, and the remainder were flung into prison. The Burgundian partisans in the city, among whom was the powerful corporation of the butchers and fleshers, now rose, and on Sunday, 14th June, ran to the prisons. A night of terror ensued. Before dawn, fifteen hundred Armagnacs were indiscriminately butchered under the [Pg 136] most revolting circumstances; the count himself perished, and a strip of his skin was carried about Paris in mockery of the white scarf of the Armagnacs. Jean sans Peur and Queen Isabella[92] entered the city, amid the acclamation of the people, and soon after a second massacre followed, in spite of Jean's efforts to prevent it. Burgundy was now master of Paris, but the Armagnacs were swarming in the country around and the English marching without let on the city. In these straits he sought a reconciliation with the dauphin and his Armagnac counsellors at Melun, on 11th July 1419. On 10th September a second conference was arranged, and duke and dauphin, each with ten attendants, met in a wicker enclosure on the bridge at Montereau. Jean doffed his cap and knelt to the dauphin, but before he could rise was felled by a blow from an axe and stabbed to death.

In 1521 a monk at Dijon showed the skull of Jean sans Peur to Francis I., and pointing to a hole made by the assassin's axe, said: "Sire, it was through this hole that the English entered France." On receipt of the news of his father's murder, the new Duke of Burgundy, Philip le Bon, flung himself into the arms of the English, and by the treaty of Troyes on May 20, 1420, Henry V. was given a French princess to wife and the reversion of the crown of France, which, after Charles' death, was to be united ever more to that of England. But the French crown never circled[Pg 137] Henry's brow: on August 31, 1422, he lay dead at Vincennes. His body after being embalmed was exposed with great pomp in the royal abbey of St. Denis before its translation to Westminster Abbey and an infant son of nine months was left to inherit the dual monarchy. Within a few weeks of Henry's death the hapless king of France was entombed under the same roof; a royal herald cried "for God's pity on the soul of the most high and most excellent Charles, king of France, our natural sovereign lord," and in the next breath hailed "Henry of Lancaster, by the grace of God, king of France and of England, our sovereign lord." All the royal officers broke their wands, flung them in the tomb and reversed their maces as a token that their functions were at an end. The red rose of Lancaster was added to the arms of Paris and at the next festival the Duke of Bedford was seen in the Sainte Chapelle of St. Louis, exhibiting the crown of thorns to the people as Regent of France, and a statue[93] of Henry V. of England was raised in the great hall of the Palais de Justice, following on the line of the kings of France from Pharamond to Charles.

[Pg 138]


Jeanne d'Arc—Paris under the English—End of the English Occupation

The occupation of Paris by the English was the darkest hour in her story, yet amid the universal misery and dejection the treaty of Troyes was hailed with joy. When the two kings, riding abreast moult noblement, followed by the Dukes of Clarence and Bedford, entered Paris after its signature, the whole way from the Porte St. Denis to Notre Dame was filled with people crying, "Noël, noël!"

The university, the parlement, the queen-mother, the whole of North France, from Brittany and Normandy to Flanders, from the Channel to the line of the Loire, accepted the situation, and the Duke of Burgundy, most powerful of the royal princes, was a friend of the English. Yet a few French hearts beat true. While the regent Duke of Bedford was entering Paris, a handful of knights unfurled the royal banner at Melun, crying—"Long live King Charles, seventh of the name, by the grace of God king of France!" And what a pitiful incarnation of national independence was this to whom the devoted sons of France were now called to rally!—a feeble youth of nineteen, indolent, licentious, mocked at by the triumphant English as the "little king of Bourges."

The story of the resurrection of France at the call of an untutored village girl is one of the most enthralling dramas of history, which may not here be told.[Pg 139] When all men had despaired; when the cruelty, ambition and greed of the princes of France had wrought her destruction; when the miserable dauphin at Chinon was prepared to seek safety by an ignominious flight to Spain or Scotland; when Orleans, the key to the southern provinces, was about to fall into English hands—the means of salvation were revealed in the ecstatic visions of a simple peasant maid. Jeanne deemed her mission over after the solemn coronation at Rheims, but to her ill-hap, was persuaded to follow the royal army after the retreat of the English from Senlis, and on 23rd August she occupied St. Denis. She declared at her trial that her voices told her to remain at St. Denis, but that the lords made her attack Paris. On the 8th September the assault was made, but it was foiled by the king's apathy, the incapacity and bitter jealousy of his counsellors, and the action of double-faced Burgundy. In the afternoon Jeanne, while sounding the depth of the fosse with her lance,[94] was wounded by an arrow in the thigh. She remained till late evening, when she was carried away to St. Denis at whose shrine she hung up her arms—her mysterious sword from St. Catherine de Fierbois and her banner of pure white, emblazoned with the fleur-de-lys and the figure of the Saviour, with the device "Jesu Maria."

Six months later, while Charles was sunk in sloth at the château of Sully, Jeanne was captured by the Burgundians at the siege of Compiègne, and her enemies closed on her like bloodhounds. The university of Paris and the Inquisition wrangled for her body, but English gold bought her from her Burgundian captors and sent her to a martyr's death at Rouen. Those[Pg 140] who would read the sad record of her trial may do so in the pages of Mr. Douglas Murray's translation of the minutes of the evidence, and may assist in imagination at the eighteen days' forensic baiting of the hapless child (she was but nineteen years of age), whose lucid simplicity broke through the subtle web of theological chicanery which was spun to entrap her by the most cunning of the Sorbonne doctors.

"The English burnt her," says a Venetian merchant, "thinking that fortune would turn in their favour, but may it please Christ the Lord that the contrary befall them!" And so in truth it happened. Disaster after disaster wrecked the English cause; the Duke of Bedford died, Philip of Burgundy and Charles were reconciled, and Queen Isabella went to a dishonoured grave. The English were driven out of Paris, and in 1453, of all the "large and ample empery" of France, won at the cost of a hundred years of bloodshed and cruel devastation, a little strip of land at Calais and Guines alone remained to the English crown. Charles, who with despicable cowardice had suffered the heroic Maid to be done to death by the English without a thought of intervention, was moved to call for a tardy reparation of the atrocious injustice at Rouen; and a quarter of a century after the Te Deum sung in Notre Dame at Paris for her capture, another, a very different scene, was witnessed in the cathedral. "The case for her rehabilitation," says Mr. Murray, "was solemnly opened there, and the mother and brothers of the Maid came before the court to present their humble petition for a revision of her sentence, demanding only 'the triumph of truth and justice.' The court heard the request with some emotion. When Isabel d'Arc threw herself at the feet of the Commissioners, showing the papal rescript and weeping aloud, so many joined in the petition that at last, we are told, it[Pg 141] seemed that one great cry for justice broke from the multitude."

The story of Paris under the English is a melancholy one. Despite the coronation of the young king at Notre Dame and the rigid justice and enlightened policy of Bedford's regency, they failed to win the affection of the Parisians. Rewards to political friends, punishments and confiscations inflicted on the disaffected, the riotous and homicidal conduct of some of the English garrison, the depression in commerce and depreciation of property brought their inevitable consequences—a growing hatred of the English name.[95] The chapter of Notre Dame was compelled to sell the gold vessels from the treasury. Hundred of houses were abandoned by their owners, who were unable to meet the charges upon them. In 1427 by a royal instrument the rent of the Maison des Singes was reduced from twenty-six livres to fourteen, "seeing the extreme diminution of rents."

Some curious details of life in Paris under the English have come down to us. By a royal pardon granted to Guiot d'Eguiller, we learn that he and four other servants of the Duke of Bedford, and of our "late very dear and very beloved aunt the Duchess of Bedford whom God pardon," were drinking one night at ten o'clock in a tavern where hangs the sign of L'Homme Armé.[2] Hot words arose between them and some other tipplers, to wit, Friars Robert, Peter,[Pg 142] and William of the Blancs Manteaux, who were disguised as laymen and wearing swords. Friar Robert lost his temper and struck at the servants with his naked sword. The friar, owing to the strength of the wine or to inexperience in the use of secular weapons, cut off the leg of a dog instead of hitting his man; the friars then ran away, pursued by three of the servants—Robin the Englishman, Guiot d'Eguiller and one Guillaume. The fugitive friars took refuge in a deserted house in the Rue du Paradis (now des Francs Bourgeois), and threw stones at their pursuers. There was a fight, during which Guillaume lost his stick and snatching Guiot's sword struck at Friar Robert through the door of the house. He only gave one "cop," but it was enough, and there was an end of Friar Robert.

A certain Gilles, a povre homme laboureur, went to amuse himself at a game of tennis in the hostelry kept by Guillaume Sorel, near the Porte St. Honoré, and fell a-wrangling with Sorel's wife concerning some lost tennis balls. Madame Sorel clutched him by the hair and tore out some handfuls. Gilles seized her by the hood, disarranged her coif, so that it fell about her shoulders, "and in his anger cursed God our Creator." This came to the bishop's ears, and Gilles was cast for blasphemy into the bishop's oven, as the episcopal prison was called, where he lay in great misery. He was examined and released on promising to offer a wax candle of two pounds' weight before the image of our Lady of Paris at the entrance of the choir of Notre Dame.

The fifteen years of English rule at Paris came to a close in 1446. Three years before that date, a goldsmith was at déjeuner with a baker and a shoemaker, and they fell a-talking of the state of trade, of the wars and of the poverty of the people of Paris. The[Pg 143] goldsmith[96] grumbled loudly and said that his craft was the poorest of all; people must have shoes and bread, but none could afford to employ a goldsmith. Then, thinking no evil, he said that good times would never return in Paris until there were a French king, the university full again, and the Parlement obeyed as in former times. Whereupon Jean Trolet, the shoemaker, added that things could not last in their present state, and that if there were only five hundred men who would agree to begin a revolution, they would soon find thousands leagued with them. Jean Trolet's loose tongue cost him dear, but the general unrest which this incident illustrates burst forth in plot after plot, and on 13th April, 1446, the Porte St. Jacques was opened by some citizens to the Duke of Richemont, Constable of France, who, with 2000 knights and squires, entered the city and, to the cry of Ville gagnée! the fleur-de-lys waved again from the ramparts of Paris. The English garrison under Lord Willoughby fortified themselves in the Bastille of St. Antoine but capitulated after two days. Bag and baggage, out they marched, circled the walls as far as the Louvre, and embarked for Rouen amid the execrations of the people. Never again did an English army enter Paris until the allies marched in after Waterloo in 1815.

[Pg 144]


Louis XI. at Paris—The Introduction of Printing

Paris saw little of Charles VII. who, after the temporary activity excited by the expulsion of the English, had sunk into his habitual torpor and bondage to women. In 1461 the wretched monarch, morbid and half-demented, died of a malignant disease, all the time haunted by fears of poison and filial treachery. The people named him Charles le bien servi (the well-served), for small indeed was the praise due to him for the great deliverance.

When the new king, Louis XI., quitted his asylum at the Burgundian court to be crowned at Rheims and to repair to St. Denis, he was shocked by the contrast between the rich cities and plains of Flanders and the miserable aspect of the country he traversed—ruined villages, fields that were so many deserts, starving creatures clothed in rags, and looking as if they had just escaped from dungeons.

It is beyond the scope of the present work to describe the successful achievement of Louis' policy of concentrating the whole government in himself as absolute sovereign of France, by the overthrow of feudalism and the subjection of the great nobles with their almost royal power and state. His indomitable will, his consummate patience, his profound knowledge of human motives and passions, his cynical indifference to means, make him one of the most remarkable of the kings of France. In 1465, menaced by a coalition of nobles,[Pg 145] the so-called League of the Public Good, Louis hastened to the capital. Letters expressing his tender affection for his dear city of Paris preceded him—he was coming to confide to them his queen and hoped-for heir; rather than lose his Paris, which he loved beyond all cities of the world, he would sacrifice half his kingdom. But the Parisians were far from being impressed by the majesty of their new monarch. "Our king," says De Comines, "used to dress so ill that worse could not be—often wearing bad cloth and a shabby hat with a leaden image stuck in it." When he entered Abbeville with the magnificent Duke of Burgundy, the people said "Benedicite! is that a king of France? Why, his horse and clothes together are not worth twenty francs!" and a Venetian ambassador was amazed to see the most mighty and most Christian king take his dinner in a tavern on the market-place of Tours, after hearing mass in the cathedral. The citizens remembered, too, his refusal to accord them some privileges granted to other cities; they were sullen at first and would not be wooed. The university declined to arm her scholars, Church and Parlement were hostile. The idle, vagabond clercs of the Palais and the Cité composed coarse gibes and satirical songs and ballads against his person. Louis, however, set himself with his insinuating grace of speech to win the favour of the Parisians. He supped with the provost and sheriffs and their wives at the Hôtel de Ville. He chose six members from the burgesses, six from the Parlement and six from the university, to form his Council, and with daring confidence, decided to arm Paris. A levy of every male able to bear arms between sixteen and sixty years of age was made, and the citizen army was reviewed near St. Antoine des Champs, in the presence of the king and queen. From 60,000 to 80,000 men, half of them well-armed, marched past, with sixty-seven[Pg 146] banners of the trades guilds, not counting those of the municipal officers, the Parlement and the university. The nobles were checkmated, and they were glad to accede to a treaty which gave them ample spoils, and Louis, time to recover himself. The "Public Good" was barely mentioned.

Louis, when at Paris, refused to occupy the Louvre and chose to dwell in the new Hôtel des Tournelles, near the Porte St. Antoine, built for the Duke of Bedford and subsequently presented to Louis when Dauphin by his royal father; for thither a star led him one evening as he left Notre Dame. Often would he issue en bourgeois from the Tournelles to sup with his gossips in Paris and scarcely a day passed without the king being seen at mass in Notre Dame.

"When King Louis," says De Comines, "retired from the interview[97] with Edward IV. of England, he spake with me by the way and said he found the English king too ready to visit Paris, which thing was not pleasing to him. The king was a handsome man and very fond of women; he might find some affectionate mistress there, who would speak him so many fair words that she would make him desire to return; his predecessors had come too often to Paris and Normandy, and he did not like his company this side the sea, but beyond the sea he was glad to have him for friend and brother."

Louis had long desired to punish the Count of St. Pol for treachery, and as a result of a treaty with Charles of Burgundy, in 1475, had him at length in the Bastille. Soon on a scaffold in the Place de Grève his head rolled from his body at a tremendous coup of Petit Jean's sword, and a column of stone twelve feet high erected where he fell, gave terrible warning to traitorous princes, however mighty; for the count was[Pg 147] Constable of France, the king's brother-in-law, a member of the Imperial House of Luxemburg, and connected with many of the sovereign families of Europe.

Two years later another noble victim, the Duke of Nemours, fell into the king's power and saw the inside of one of Louis' iron cages in the Bastille. The king, who had learnt that the chains had been removed from the prisoner's legs, that he might go to hear mass, commanded his jailer not to let him budge from his cage except to be tortured (gehenné) and the duke wrote a piteous letter, praying for clemency and signing himself le pauvre Jacques. In vain: him, too, the headsman's axe sent to his account at the Halles.

The news of the humiliating Peace of Peronne, after the king had committed the one great folly of his career by gratuitously placing himself in Charles the Bold's power,[98] was received by the Parisians with many gibes. The royal herald proclaimed at sound of trumpet by the crossways of Paris: "Let none be bold or daring enough to say anything opprobrious against the Duke of Burgundy, either by word of mouth, by writing, by signs, paintings, roundelays, ballads, songs or gestures." On the same day a commission seized all the magpies and jackdaws in Paris, whether caged or otherwise, which were to be registered according to their owners, with all the pretty words that the said birds could repeat and that had been taught them: the pretty word that these chattering birds had been taught to say was "Peronne." Louis' abasement at Peronne was, however, amply avenged by the battle of Granson, when the mighty host of "invincible" Charles was overwhelmed by the Switzers in 1476. A year later,[Pg 148] the whole fabric of Burgundian ambition was shattered and the great duke lay a mutilated and frozen corpse before the walls of Nancy. Louis' joy at the destruction of his enemy was boundless, but in the very culmination of his success he was struck down by paralysis, and though he rallied for a time the end was near. Haunted by fear of treachery, he immured himself in the gloomy fortress of Plessis. The saintly Francesco da Calabria, relics from Florence, from Rome, the Holy Oil from Rheims, turtles from Cape Verde Islands—all were powerless; the arch dissembler must now face the ineluctable prince of the dark realms, who was not to be bribed or cajoled even by kings.

When at last Louis took to his bed, his physician, Jacques Cottier, told him that most surely his hour was come. Confession made, he gave much political counsel and some orders to be observed by le Roi, as he now called his son, and spoke, says De Comines, "as dryly as if he had never been ill. And after so many fears and suspicions Our Lord wrought a miracle and took him from this miserable world in great health of mind and understanding. Having received all the sacraments and suffering no pain and always speaking to within a paternoster of his death, he gave orders for his sepulture. May the Lord have his soul and receive him in the realm of Paradise!"

It was in Louis' reign that the art of printing was introduced into Paris. As early as 1458 the master of the mint had been sent to Mainz to learn something of the new art, but without success. In 1463, Fust and his partner, Schöffer, had brought some printed books to Paris, but the books were confiscated and the partners were driven out of the city, owing to the jealousy of the powerful corporation of the scribes and booksellers, who enjoyed a monopoly from the Sorbonne of the sale of books in Paris; and in 1474 Louis paid an indemnity[Pg 149] of 2500 crowns to Schöffer for the confiscation of his books and for the trouble he had taken to introduce printed books into his capital. In 1470, at the invitation of two doctors of the Sorbonne, Guillaume Fichet and Jean de la Puin, Ulmer Gering of Constance and two other Swiss printers set up a press near Fichet's rooms in the Sorbonne. In 1473 a press was at work at the sign of the Soleil d'Or (Golden Sun), in the Rue St. Jacques, under the management of two Germans, Peter Kayser, Master of Arts, and John Stohl, assisted by Ulmer Gering. In 1483 the last-named removed to the Rue de la Sorbonne, where the doctors granted to him and his new partner, Berthold Rumbolt of Strassburg, a lease for the term of their lives. They retained their sign of the Soleil d'Or, which long endured as a guarantee of fine printing. The earliest works had been printed in beautiful Roman type, but unable to resist the favourite Gothic introduced from Germany, Gering was led to adopt it towards the year 1480, and the Roman was soon superseded. From 1480 to 1500 we meet with many French printers' names: Antoine Vérard, Du Pré, Cailleau, Martineau, Pigouchet—clearly proving that the art had then been successfully transplanted.

The re-introduction of Roman characters about 1500 was due to the famous house of the Estiennes, whose admirable editions of the Latin and Greek classics are the delight of bibliophiles. Robert Estienne was wont to hang proof sheets of his Greek and Latin classics outside his shop, offering a reward to any passer-by who pointed out a misprint or corrupt reading. Their famous house was the meeting-place of scholars and patrons of literature. Francis I. and his sister Margaret of Angoulême, authoress of the Heptameron, were seen there, and legend says that the king was once kept waiting by the scholar-printer while he finished[Pg 150] correcting a proof. All the Estienne household, even the children, conversed in Latin, and the very servants are said to have grown used to it. In 1563 Francis I. remitted 30,000 livres of taxes to the printers of Paris, as an act of grace to the professors of an art that seemed rather divine than human. But in spite of royal favour printing was a poor career. The second Henry Estienne, who composed a Greek-Latin lexicon, died in poverty at a hospital in Lyons; the last of the family, the third Robert Estienne, met a similar miserable end at the Hôtel Dieu in Paris. So great was the reaction in the university against the violence of the Lutherans and the daring of the printers, that in 1534 all the presses were ordered to be closed. In 1537 no book was allowed to be printed without permission of the Sorbonne, and in 1556 an order was made, it is said at the instance of Diane de Poitiers, that a copy in vellum of every book printed by royal privilege should be deposited at the royal library. After Gering's death the forty presses then working in Paris were reduced to twenty-four, in order that every printer might have sufficient work to live by and not be tempted by poverty to print prohibited books or execute cheap and inferior printing.[Pg 151]


Francis I.—The Renaissance at Paris

The advent of the printing-press and the opening of a Greek lectureship by Gregory Tyhernas and Hermonymus of Sparta at the Sorbonne warns us that we are at the end of an epoch. With the accession of Charles VIII. and the beginning of the Italian wars a new era is inaugurated. Gothic architecture had reached its final development and structural perfection, in the flowing lines of the flamboyant style;[99] painting and sculpture, both in subject and expression, assume a new aspect. The diffusion of ancient literature and the discovery of a new world, open wider horizons to men's minds, and human thought and human activity are directed towards other, and not always nobler, ideals. Mediævalism passes away and Paris begins to clothe herself in a new vesture of stone.

The Paris of the fifteenth century was a triple city of overhanging timbered houses, "thick as ears of corn in a wheatfield," of narrow, crooked streets,[100] unsavoury enough, yet purified by the vast open spaces and gardens[Pg 152] of the monasteries, from which emerged the innumerable spires and towers of her churches and palaces and colleges. In the centre was the legal and ecclesiastical Cité, with its magnificent Palais de Justice; its cathedral and a score of fair churches enclosed in the island, which resembled a great ship moored to the banks of the Seine by five bridges all crowded with houses. One of the most curious characteristics of Old Paris was the absence of any view of the river, for a man might traverse its streets and bridges without catching a glimpse of the Seine.

The portal of the Petit Châtelet at the end of the Petit Pont opened on the university and learned district on the south bank of the Seine, with its fifty colleges and many churches clustering about the slopes of the mount of St. Genevieve, which was crowned by the great Augustine abbey and church founded by Clovis. Near by, stood the two great religious houses and churches of the Dominicans and Franciscans, the Carthusian monastery and its scores of little gardens, the lesser monastic buildings and, outside the walls, the vast Benedictine abbatial buildings and suburb of St. Germain des Prés, with its stately church of three spires, its fortified walls, its pillory and its permanent lists, where judicial duels were fought. On the north bank lay the busy, crowded industrial and commercial district known as the Ville, with its forty-four churches, the hôtels of the rich merchants and bankers, the fortified palaces of the nobles, all enclosed by the high walls and square towers of Charles the Fifth's fortifications, and defended at east and west by the Bastille of St. Antoine and the Louvre. To the east stood the agglomeration of buildings known as Hôtel St. Paul, a royal city within a city, with its manifold princely dwellings and fair gardens and pleasaunces sloping down to the Seine; hard by to the north was the Duke of [Pg 154] Bedford's Hôtel des Tournelles, with its memories of the English domination. At the west, against the old Louvre, were among others, the hôtels of the Constable of Bourbon and the Duke of Alençon out in the fields beyond, the smoking kilns of the Tuileries (tile factories).


Tower of St. Jacques.
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North and east and west of the municipal centre, the Maison aux Piliers, on the Place de Grève, was a maze of streets filled with the various crafts of Paris. The tower of the great church of St. Jacques de la Boucherie, as yet unfinished, emerged from the butchers' and skinners' shops and slaughter-houses, which at the Rue des Lombards met the clothiers and furriers; the cutlers and the basket-makers were busy in streets now swept away to give place to the Avenue Victoria. Painters, glass-workers and colour merchants, grocers and druggists, made bright and fragrant the Rue de la Verrerie, weavers' shuttles rattled in the Rue de la Tixanderie (now swallowed up in the Rue de Rivoli); curriers and tanners plied their evil-smelling crafts in the Rue (now Quai) de la Mégisserie, and bakers crowded along the Rue St. Honoré. The Rue des Juifs sheltered the ancestral traffic of the children of Abraham. At the foot of the Pont au Change, on which were the shops of the goldsmiths and money-lenders stood the grim thirteenth-century fortress of the Châtelet, the municipal guard-house and prison; to the north in the Rue de Heaumarie (Armourers) lay the Four aux Dames or prison of the abbesses of Montmartre; further on westward stood the episcopal prison, or Four de l'Evêque. North-west of the Châtelet was the Hôtel du Chevalier du Guet or watch-house and round about it a congeries of narrow, crooked lanes, haunts of ill-fame, where robbers lurked and vice festered. A little to the north were the noisy market-place of the Halles and the cemetery of the[Pg 155] Innocents with its piles of skulls, and its vaulted arcade painted (1424) with the Dance of Death. Further north stood the immense abbey of St. Martin in the Fields, with its cloister and gardens and, a little to the west, the grisly crenelated and turreted fortress of the Knights-Templars, huge in extent and one of the most solid edifices in the whole kingdom. This is the Paris conjured from the past with such magic art by Victor Hugo in "Notre Dame," and gradually to be swept away in the next centuries by the Renaissance, pseudo-classic and Napoleonic builders and destroyers, until to-day scarcely a wrack is left behind.

With the Italian campaigns of Charles VIII., notre petit roi, as Brantôme calls him, and of the early Valois-Orleans kings, France enters the arena of European politics, wrestles with the mighty Emperor Charles V. and embarks on a career of transalpine conquest. But in Italy, conquering France was herself conquered by the charm of Italian art, Italian climate and Italian landscape. When Charles VIII. returned to Paris from his expedition to Naples he brought with him a collection of pictures, tapestry, and sculptures in marble and porphyry, that weighed thirty-five tons; by him and his successors Italian builders, Domenico da Cortona and Fra Giocondo, were employed. The latter supervised the rebuilding of the Petit Pont and after the destruction of the last wooden Pont Notre Dame in 1499—when the whole structure, with its houses and shops, fell with a fearful crash into the river—he was made head of the Commission of Parisian artists who replaced it by a noble stone bridge, completed in 1507. This, too, was lined with tall gabled houses of stone, and adorned with the arms of Paris and statues of Notre Dame and St. Denis. On its restoration in 1659 the façades of the houses were decorated with medallions of the kings of France held[Pg 156] by caryatides bearing baskets of fruit and flowers on their heads. These houses were the first in Paris to be numbered, odd numbers on one side, even on the other, and were the first to be demolished when, on the eve of the Revolution, Louis XVI. ordered the bridges to be cleared.

The French Renaissance is indissolubly associated with Francis I., who in 1515 inherited a France welded into a compact, absolute monarchy, and inhabited by a prosperous and loyal people; for the twelfth Louis had been a good and wise ruler, who to the amazement of his people returned to them the balance of a tax levied to meet the cost of the Genoese Expedition, which had been over estimated, saying, "It will be more fruitful in their hands than in mine." Commerce had so expanded that it was said that for every merchant seen in Paris in former times there were, in his reign, fifty. Scarce a house was built along an important street that was not a merchant's shop or for the practice of some art. Louis introduced the cultivation of maize and the mulberry into France, and so rigid was his justice that poultry ran about the open fields without risk of pillage from his soldiers. It was the accrued wealth of his reign, and the love inspired by "Louis, father of his people,"[101] that supported the magnificence, the luxury and the extravagance of Francis I. The architectural creations of the new style were first seen in Touraine, in the royal palaces of Blois and Chambord, and other princely and noble châteaux along the luscious and sunny valleys of the Loire. Italian architecture was late in making itself felt in Paris, where the native art made stubborn resistance.

[Pg 157]


Pont Notre Dame.
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The story of the state entry of Francis I. into Paris after the death of Louis XII., as told by Galtimara, Margaret of Austria's envoy, who witnessed the scene from a window, is characteristic. After the solemn procession which was belle et gorgiaise he saw the king, clothed in a glittering suit of armour and mounted on a barbed charger, accoutred in white and cloth of silver, prick his steed, making it prance and rear, faisant rage, that he might display his horsemanship, his fine figure and dazzling costume before the queen and her ladies. It was all bien gorrière à voir. "Born between two adoring women," says Michelet, "Francis was all his life a spoilt child." Money flowed through his[Pg 158] hands like water[102] to gratify his ambition, his passions and his pleasures. Doubtless his interviews with Da Vinci at Amboise, where he spent much of his time in the early years of his reign, fired that enthusiasm for art, especially for painting, which never wholly left him; for the veteran artist, although old and paralysed in the right hand, was otherwise in possession of all his incomparable faculties.


Chapel, Hôtel de Cluny.
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The question as to the existence of an indigenous school of painting before the Italian artistic invasion is still[Pg 159] a subject of acrimonious discussion among critics; there is none, however, as to its existence in the plastic arts. The old French tradition died hard, and not before it had stamped upon Italian Renaissance architecture the impress of its native genius and adapted it to the requirements of French life and climate. The Hôtel de Cluny, finished in 1490, still remains to exemplify the beauty of the native French domestic architecture modified by the new style. The old Hôtel de Ville,[103] designed by Dom. da Cortona and submitted to Francis in 1532, was dominated by the French style, and not until nearly a century after the first Italian Expedition were the last Gothic builders superseded. The fine Gothic church of St. Merri was begun as late as 1520 and not finished till 1612, and the transitional churches of St. Étienne and St. Eustache remind one, by the mingling of Gothic and Renaissance features, of the famous metamorphosis of Agnel and Cianfa in Dante's Inferno, and one is tempted to exclaim, Ome, come ti muti! Vedi, che già non sei nè duo nè uno![104]


Tower of St. Étienne du Mont.
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[Pg 160]

After the death of Da Vinci Francis never succeeded in retaining a first-rate painter in his service. Andrea del Sarto and Paris Bordone did little more than pay passing visits, and the famous school of Fontainebleau was founded by Rosso and Primaticcio, two decadent followers of Michel Angelo. The adventures of that second-rate artist and first-rate bully, Benvenuto Cellini, at Paris, form one of the most piquant episodes in artistic autobiography. After a gracious welcome from the king he was offered an annual retaining fee of three hundred crowns. He at once dismissed his two apprentices and left in a towering rage, only returning on being offered the same appointments that had been enjoyed by Leonardo da Vinci—seven hundred crowns a year, and payment for every finished work. The Petit Nesle[105] was assigned to Cellini and his pupils as a workshop, the king assuring him that force would be needed to evict the possessor—it had been assigned to the provost—adding, "Take great care you are not assassinated." On complaining to the king of the difficulties he met with and the insults offered to him on attempting to gain possession, he was answered: "If you are the Benvenuto I have heard of, live up to your reputation; I give you full leave." Benvenuto took the hint, armed himself, his servants and two apprentices, and bullied the occupants and rival claimants out of their wits. It was at this Tour de Nesle that Francis paid Cellini a surprise visit with his mistress Madame d'Estampes, his sister Margaret of Valois, the Dauphin and his wife Catherine de' Medici, the Cardinal of Lorraine, Henry II. of Navarre, and a numerous train of courtiers. The artist and his merry men were at work on the famous silver statue of Jupiter[Pg 162] for Fontainebleau, and amid the noise of the hammering the king entered unperceived. Cellini had the torso of the statue in his hand, and at that moment a French lad who had caused him some little displeasure had felt the weight of the master's foot, which sent him flying against the king. But the artist had done a bad day's work by evicting a servant of Madame d'Estampes from the tower, and the injured lady and Primaticcio, her protégé, decided to work his ruin. When Cellini arrived at Fontainebleau with the statue, Francis ordered it to be placed in the grand gallery decorated by Rosso. Primaticcio had just arranged there the casts which he had been commissioned to bring from Rome, and Benvenuto saw what was meant—his own work was to be eclipsed by the splendour of the masterpieces of ancient art. "Heaven help me!" cried he, "this is indeed to fall against the pikes!" Now the god held the globe of the earth in the left hand, the thunderbolt in the right. The artist contrived to thrust a portion of a large wax candle as a torch between the flames of the bolt, and set the statue up on its gilded pedestal. Madame entertained the king late at table, hoping that he would either forget the work or see it in a bad light; but when Francis entered the gallery late at night, followed by his courtiers, "which by God's grace was my salvation," says Cellini, the statue was illuminated by a flood of light from the torch which so enhanced its beauty that the king was ravished with delight, and expressed himself in ecstatic praise, declaring the statue to be more beautiful and more marvellous than any of the antique casts around. His enemies were thus discomfited, and on Madame d'Estampes endeavouring to depreciate the work, she was grossly mocked by the artist in a very characteristic and quite untranscribable way. Benvenuto was more than ever patronised by the king, who did him the great honour[Pg 163] of accosting him as mon ami, and approving his scheme for the fortification of Paris. Cellini often recalled with pleasure the four years he spent with the gran re Francesco at Paris.

"The French are remembered in Italy only by the graves they left there," said De Comines, and once again the Italian campaigns ended in disaster. At the defeat of Pavia, in 1525—the Armageddon of the French in Italy—the efforts and sacrifices of three reigns were lost and the gran re, whose favourite oath is said to have been foi de gentilhomme, went captive to the king of Spain in Madrid, whence he issued, stained by perjury, and three years later, signed "the moral annihilation of France in Europe," at Cambray.

During the tranquil intervals that ensued on this rude awakening from dreams of an Italian Empire, and between the third and fourth wars with the emperor, the king was able to initiate a project that had long been dear to him. "Come," says Michelet, "in the still, dark night, climb the Rue St. Jacques, in the early winter's morning. See you yon lights? Men, yea, old men, mingled with children, are hurrying, a folio under one arm, in the hand an iron candlestick. Do they turn to the right? No, the old Sorbonne is yet sleeping snug in her warm sheets. The crowd is going to the Greek schools. Athens is at Paris. That man with the fine beard in majestic ermine is a descendant of emperors—Jean Lascaris: that other doctor is Alexander, who teaches Hebrew."

The schools they were pressing to were those of the Royal College of France. Already in 1517 Erasmus had been offered a salary of a thousand francs a year, with promise of further increment, to undertake the direction of the college, but declined to leave his patron the emperor. The prime movers in the great scheme were the king's confessor, Guillaume Parvi,[Pg 164] and the famous Grecian, Guillaume Budé, who in 1530 was himself induced to undertake the task which Erasmus had declined. Twelve professors were appointed in Greek, Hebrew, mathematics, philosophy, rhetoric and medicine, each of the twelve with a salary of two hundred gold crowns (about £80), and the dignity of royal councillors. The king's vast scheme of a great college and magnificent chapel, with a revenue of 50,000 crowns for the maintenance (nourriture) of six hundred scholars, where the most famous doctors in Christendom should offer gratuitous teaching in all the sciences and learned languages, was never executed. Too much treasure had been wasted in Italy, and it was not till the reign of Louis XIII. that it was partially carried out. The first stone was laid in 1610, the works were slowly continued under succeeding reigns, and the project had only been partially carried out when the monarchy fell. The college as we now see it was not completed till 1842. Chairs were founded for Arabic by Henry III., for surgery, anatomy and botany by Henry IV., and for Syrian by Louis XIV. Little is changed to-day; the placards, so familiar to students in Paris, announcing the lectures are indited in French instead of in Latin as of old; the lectures are still free to all, and the most famous scholars of the day teach there, but in French and not in Latin.[106]

How dramatic are the contrasts of history! While the new learning was organising itself amid the pomp of royal patronage; while the young Calvin was[Pg 165] sitting at the feet of its professors and the Lutheran heresy germinating at Paris, Ignatius Loyola, an obscure Spanish soldier and gentleman, thirty-seven years of age, was sitting—a strange mature figure—among the boisterous young students at the College of St. Barbara, patiently preparing himself for dedication to the service of the menaced Church of Rome; and in 1534, on the festival of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, a little group of six companions met around the fervent student, in the crypt of the old church at Montmartre, and decided to found on the holy hill of St. Denis' martyrdom the first house of the Society of Jesus.

In 1528, says the writer of the so-called Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris, the king began to pull down the great tower of the Louvre, in order to transform the château into a logis de plaisance, "yet was it great pity for the castle was very fair and high and strong, and a most proper prison to hold great men."

The tall, massive keep, which darkened the royal apartments in the south wing, was the tower here meant, and after some four months' work, and an expenditure of 2,500 livres, the grim pile, with its centuries of history, was cleared away. Small progress, however, had been made with the restoration of the old château up to the year 1539, when the heavy cost of preparing the west wing for the reception of the Emperor Charles V., induced Francis to consider a plan which involved the replacement of the whole fabric by a palace in the new Renaissance style, and the picturesque palace with its high crenelated walls, its strong towers, high-pitched roofs, dormer windows, and tall chimneys, its gilded emblazonry, its vanes, splendid with azure and gold glittering in the sun, as painted in the Duke of Berry's Book of Hours, was[Pg 166] doomed. In 1546 Pierre Lescot, Seigneur de Clagny, was appointed architect without salary, but given the office of almoner to the king, and made lay abbot of Clermont. Pierre Lescot was an admirable artist, who has left us some of the finest examples of early French Renaissance architecture in Paris. But Francis lived only to see the great scheme begun, most of Lescot's work being done under Henry II.

From the same anonymous writer we learn something of Parisian life in the reign of Francis I. One day a certain Monsieur Cruche, a popular poet and playwright, was performing moralities and novelties on a platform in the Place Maubert, and among them a farce "funny enough to make half a score men die of laughter, in which the said Cruche, holding a lantern, feigned to perceive the doings of a hen and a salamander."[107] The amours of the king with the daughter of a councillor of the Parlement, named Lecoq, were only too plainly satirised. But it is ill jesting with kings. A few nights later, Monsieur Cruche was visited by eight disguised courtiers, who treated him to a supper in a tavern at the sign of the Castle in the Rue de la Juiverie, and induced him to play the farce before them. When the unhappy player came to the first scene, he was set upon by the king's friends, stripped and beaten almost to death with thongs. They were about to put him in a sack and throw him into the Seine, when poor Cruche, crying piteously, discovered his priestly tonsure, and thus escaped.

After the defeat at Pavia, the king became morbidly pious. By trumpet cry at the crossways of Paris, we learn from the Journal, games—quoits, tennis, contreboulle—were prohibited on Sundays; [Pg 167]children were forbidden to sing along the streets, going to and from school; blasphemers[108] were to be severely punished. In 1527 a notary was burned alive in the Place de Grève for a great blasphemy of our Lord and His holy Mother. In June of the next year some Lutherans struck down and mutilated an image of the Virgin and Child at a street corner near St. Gervais; the king was so grieved and angry that he wept violently, and offered a reward of one hundred gold crowns, but the offenders could not be found. Daily processions came from the churches to the spot, and all the religious orders, clothed in their habits, followed "singing with such great fervour and reverence that it was fair to see." The rector, doctors, masters, bachelors and scholars of the university, and children with lighted tapers, went there in great reverence. On Corpus Christi day the street was draped and a fair canopy stretched over the statue. The king himself walked in procession, bearing a white taper, his head uncovered in moult gran révérence; hautboys, clarions and trumpets played melodiously; cardinals, prelates, great seigneurs and nobles, each with his taper of white wax, followed, with the royal archers of the guard in their train. On the morrow a procession from all the parishes of Paris, with banners, relics and crucifixes, accompanied by the king and nobles, brought a new and fair image of silver, two feet in height, which the king had caused to be made. Francis himself ascended a ladder and placed it where the other image had stood, then kissed it and descended with tears in his eyes. Thrice he kneeled and prayed, the bishop of Lisieux, his almoner, reciting fair orisons and lauds to the honour of the glorious Virgin and her image. Again the trumpets, [Pg 168]clarions and hautboys played the Ave Regina cælorum, and the king, the cardinal of Louvain, and all the nobles presented their tapers to the Virgin. Next day the Parlement, the provost and sheriffs, came and put an iron trellis round the silver image for fear of robbers.[109]

Never were judicial and ecclesiastical punishments so cruel and recurrent as during the period of the Renaissance. It is a common error to suppose that judicial cruelty reached its culmination in the Middle Ages.[110] Punishments are described with appalling iteration in the pages we are following. The Place de Grève was the scene of mutilations, tortures, hangings, and quarterings of criminals and traitors, the king and his court sometimes looking on. Coiners of false money were boiled alive at the pig-market; robbers and assassins were broken on the wheel and left to linger in slow agony (tant qu'ils pourraient languir). The Lutherans were treated like vermin, and to harbour them, to possess or print or translate one of their books, meant a fiery death. In 1525 a young Lutheran student was put in a tumbril and brought before the churches of Notre Dame and St. Genevieve, crying mercy from God and Mary and St. Genevieve;[Pg 169] he was then taken to the Place Maubert, where, after his tongue had been pierced, he was strangled and burnt. A gendarme of the Duke of Albany was burnt at the pig-market for having sown Lutheran errors in Scotland.

On Corpus Christi day, 1532, a great procession was formed, the king and provost walking bare-headed to witness the burning of six Lutherans—a scene often repeated. The Fountain of the Innocents, the Halles, the Temple, the end of the Pont St. Michel, the Place Maubert, and the Rue St. Honoré were indifferently chosen for these ghastly scenes. Almost daily the fires burnt. A woman was roasted to death for eating flesh on Fridays. In 1535, so savage were the persecutions, that Pope Paul III., with that gentleness which almost invariably has characterised the popes of Rome in dealing with heresy, wrote to Francis protesting against the horrible and execrable punishments inflicted on the Lutherans, and warned him that although he acted from good motives, yet he must remember that God the Creator, when in this world, used mercy rather than rigorous justice, and that it was a cruel death to burn a man alive; he therefore prayed and required the king to appease the fury and rigour of his justice and adopt a policy of mercy and pardon. This noble protest was effective, and some clemency was afterwards shown. But in 1547 the fanatical king, a mass of physical and moral corruption, soured and gloomy, went to his end amid the barbarities wreaked on the unhappy Vaudois Protestants. The cries of three thousand of his butchered subjects and the smoke from the ruins of twenty-five towns and hamlets were the incense of his spirit's flight.

One important innovation at court, fraught with evil, is due to Francis. "In the matter of ladies," says Du Bellay, "I must confess that before his time they[Pg 170] frequented the court but rarely and in small numbers, but Francis on coming to his kingdom and considering that the whole decoration of a court consisted in the presence of ladies, willed to people it with them more than was the custom in ancient times." Then was begun that unhappy intervention of women in the government of the state, the results of which will be only too evident in the further course of this story.[Pg 171]


La Fontaine Des Innocents.
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Rise of the Guises—Huguenot and Catholic—the Massacre of St. Bartholomew

"Beware of Montmorency and curb the power of the Guises," was the counsel of the dying Francis to his son. Henry II., dull and heavy-witted that he was, neglected the advice, and the Guises flourished in the sun of royal favour. The first Duke of Guise and founder of his renowned house was Claude, a poor cadet of René II., Duke of Lorraine. He succeeded in allying by marriage his eldest son and successor, Francis, to the House of Bourbon; his second son, Charles, became Cardinal of Lorraine, and his daughter, wife to James V. of Scotland. Duke Francis, by his military genius and wise statesmanship; Charles, by his learning and subtle wit, exalted their house to the lofty eminence it enjoyed during the stirring period that now opens. In 1558, after the[Pg 172] disastrous defeat of Montmorency at St. Quentin, when Paris lay at the mercy of the Spanish and English armies, the duke was recalled from Italy and made Lieutenant-General of the realm. By a short and brilliant campaign, he expelled the English from Calais, and recovered in three weeks the territory held by them for more than two hundred years. Francis gained an unbounded popularity, and rose to the highest pinnacle of success; but short time was left to his royal master wherein to enjoy a reflected glory. On the 27th June 1559, lists were erected across the Rue St. Antoine, between the Tournelles and the Bastille. The peace with Spain, and the double marriage of the king's daughter to Philip II. of Spain and of his sister to the Duke of Savoy, were to be celebrated by a magnificent tournament in which the king, proud of his strength and bodily address, was to hold the field with the Duke of Guise and the princes against all comers. For three days the king distinguished himself by his triumphant prowess, and at length challenged the Count Montgomery de Lorge, captain of the Scottish Guards; the captain prayed to be excused, but the king insisted and the course was run. Several lances were broken, but in the last encounter, the stout captain failed to lower his shivered lance quickly enough, and the broken truncheon struck the royal visor, lifted it and penetrated the king's eye. Henry fell senseless and was carried to the palace of the Tournelles, where he died after an agony of eleven days. Fifteen years later, Montgomery was captured fighting with the Huguenots, and beheaded on the Place de Grève while Catherine de' Medici looked on "pour goûter," says Félibien quaintly, "le plaisir de se voir vangée de la mort de son mary." The tower in the interior of the Palais de Justice, where the unhappy Scottish noble was imprisoned after his capture, was[Pg 173] known as the Tour Montgomery, until demolished in the reign of Louis XVI. There was, however, little love lost between Henry's queen, Catherine de' Medici, and her royal husband, who had long neglected her for the maturer charms of his mistress, Diane de Poitiers.


West Wing of Louvre by Pierre Lescot.
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Henry saw Lescot's admirable design for the reconstruction of the west wing of the Louvre completed. The architect had associated a famous sculptor, Jean Goujon, with him, who executed the beautiful figures in low relief which still adorn the quadrangle front between the Pavilion de l'Horloge and the south-west angle, and the noble Caryatides, which support the musicians' gallery in the Salle Basse, or Grande Salle of Charles V.'s Louvre, now known as the Salle des Caryatides. The agreement, dated 5th September[Pg 174] 1550, awards forty-six livres each for the four plaster models and eighty crowns each for the four carved figures. Lescot preserved the external wall of the old château as the kernel of his new wing, and the enormous strength of the original building of Philip Augustus may be estimated by the fact that the embrasures of each of the five casements of the first floor looking westwards now serve as offices. So grandement satisfait was Henry with the perfection of Lescot's work, that he determined to continue it along the remaining three wings, that the court of the Louvre might be a cour non-pareille. The south wing was, however, only begun when his tragic death occurred, and the present inconsequent and huge fabric is the work of a whole tribe of architects, whose intermittent activities extended over the reigns of nine French sovereigns.

Lescot and Goujon were also associated in the construction of the most beautiful Renaissance fountain in Paris, the Fontaine des Innocents, which formerly stood against the old church of the Innocents at the corner of the Rue aux Fers. It was while working on one of the figures of this fountain that Jean Goujon is traditionally said to have been shot as a Huguenot during the massacre of St. Bartholomew.[111]

Tritons and Nereids.

Tritons and Nereids from the Old Fontaine des Innocents.
Jean Goujon.
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Europe was now in travail of a new era, and unhappy France reeled under the tempest of the Reformation. A daring spirit of enquiry and of revolt challenged every principle on which the social fabric had been based, and the only refuge in the coming storm in France was the Monarchy. Never had its power been more absolute. The king's will was law—a harbour of safety, indeed, if he were strong and wise and virtuous: a veritable quicksand, if feeble and vicious. And to [Pg 175]pilot the state of France in these stormy times, Henry II. left a sickly progeny of four princes, miserable puppets, whose favours were disputed for thirty years by ambitious and fanatical nobles, queens and courtesans.

Francis II., a poor creature of sixteen years, the slave of his wife Marie Stuart and of the Guises, was called king of France for seventeen months. He it was who sat daily by Mary in the royal garden, on the terrace at Amboise overlooking the Loire, and, surrounded by his brothers and the ladies of the court, gazed at the revolting and merciless executions of the Protestant conspirators,[112] who, under the Prince of Condé, had plotted to destroy the Guises and to free the king from their influence. It was the first act in a horrible drama, a dread pursuivant of the civil and religious wars which were to culminate in the massacre of St. Bartholomew at Paris. The stake was a high one, for the victory of the reformers would sound the death-knell of the Catholic cause in Europe. There is little reason to doubt that the queen-mother, Catherine de' Medici, who now emerges into prominence, was genuinely sincere in her disapproval of the horrors of Amboise, and in her efforts to bring milder counsels to bear in dealing with the Huguenots whom she feared less than the Guises; but the fierce passions roused by civil and religious hatred were uncontrollable. When the Huguenot noble, Villemongis, was led to the scaffold at Amboise, he dipped his hands in the blood of his slaughtered comrades, and, lifting them to heaven, cried: "Lord, behold the blood of Thy children; Thou wilt avenge them." It has been truly said that the grass soon grows over blood, shed on the battle-field; never over blood shed on the scaffold. Treachery and assassination were the interludes of plots and battles,[Pg 176] and the thirst for vengeance during thirty years was never slaked. In 1563 the Duke of Guise was shot in the back by a fanatical Huguenot, and as the wounded Prince of Condé was surrendering his sword to the Duke of Anjou after the defeat of 1569, the Baron de Montesquieu, brave et vaillant gentilhomme, says Brantôme, rode up, exclaiming: "Mort Dieu! kill him! kill him!" and blew out the wounded captive's brains with a pistol shot.

The treaty of St. Germain, which has so often been charged on Catherine as an act of perfidy, was rather an imperative necessity, if respite were to be had from the misery into which the land had fallen. Its conditions were honourably carried out, and Catholic excesses were impartially and severely repressed. Charles IX., who was now twenty years of age and strongly attached to Coligny, began to assert his independence of the queen-mother and of the Guises,[113] and his first movement was in the direction of conciliation. The young king offered the hand of his fair sister, Princess Marguerite, to Henry of Navarre, and received the Admiral and Jeanne of Navarre with much honour at court. Pressure was brought to bear upon him, but, pope or no pope, said Charles, he was determined to conclude the marriage and himself would take Margot by the hand in open church and give her away. The party of the Guises, and especially Paris, were furious. The capital, with the provost, the Parlement, the university, the prelates, the religious orders, had always been hostile to the Huguenots. The people could with difficulty be restrained at times from assuming the office of executioners as Protestants were led to the stake. Any one who did not uncover as he passed the image of the Virgin at the street corners, or who omitted to[Pg 177] bend the knee as the Host was carried by, was attacked as a Lutheran. When the heralds published the peace with the Huguenots at the crossways of Paris, filth and mud were thrown at them, and they went in danger of their lives: now Coligny and his Huguenots were holding their heads high in Paris, proud and insolent and a heretic prince of Navarre was to wed the king's sister.

Jeanne of Navarre died soon after her arrival at court,[114] but the alliance was hurried on. The betrothal took place in the Louvre, and on Sunday, 17th August 1572, a high dais was erected outside Notre Dame for the celebration of the marriage. When the ceremony had been performed by the Cardinal de Bourbon, Henry conducted his bride to the choir of the cathedral, and went walking in the bishop's garden while mass was sung. The office ended, he returned and led his wife to the bishop's palace to dinner, and a magnificent state supper at the Louvre concluded this momentous day. Three days of balls, masquerades and tourneys followed, amid the murmuring of a sullen populace. These were the noces vermeilles—the red nuptials—of Marguerite of France and Henry of Navarre.

Meanwhile Catherine and Charles had differed on a matter of foreign policy. Her support of the Prince of Orange against Spain in the Netherlands was conditional on an alliance with England and the marriage of her son the Duke of Alençon with Elizabeth. But the English Queen's habitual duplicity made any reliance on her word impossible and when Marie learned that Elizabeth, while professing her inclination for the Duke and her desire to aid the Protestant cause in[Pg 178] Flanders, was protesting to her Council that she would never marry a boy with a pock-spoiled face, and was in secret communication with Alva, to turn the situation to her own profit, she flung herself into Guise's arms and abandoned Coligny and the Huguenots: for the disastrous defeat of the Protestants at Mons and the growing fury of the Catholic fanatics at Paris, threatened to wreck the throne, and while Elizabeth was toying with these tremendous issues the furies were let loose. Charles still chivalrously determined to stand by Coligny. Catherine, terrified at the result of her own work, and resolved to regain her ascendency, conspired with her third son, the Prince of Anjou, the future Henry III., to destroy and have done with the Protestants. Coligny had often been warned of the danger he would run in Paris, but the stout old soldier knew no fear, and came to take part in the festivities of the wedding. The sounds of revelry had barely died away when Coligny, who was returning from the Louvre, by the east gate, the Porte Bourbon, to his hôtel, walking slowly and reading a petition, was fired at from a window as he passed the cloister of St. Germain l'Auxerrois, and wounded in the arm. He stopped and noted the house whence the smoke came: it was the house of the preceptor of the Duke of Guise. The king was playing at tennis when the news reached him: he flung down his racquet, exclaiming, "What! shall I never be in peace? must I suffer new trouble every day?" and went moody and pensive to his chamber. In a few moments the Prince of Condé and Henry of Navarre burst in, uttering indignant protests, and begged permission to leave Paris. Charles assured them he would do justice, and that they might safely remain: in the afternoon he went with his mother and the princes to visit the admiral. The king asked to be left alone in the wounded man's chamber, remained[Pg 179] a long time with him, and protesting that though the wound was his friend's, the grief was his own, swore to avenge him.

Coligny once again was warned by his friends to beware of the court, but he refused to distrust Charles. Many and conflicting are the reports of what followed. We shall not be accused of any Protestant bias if we base our story mainly on that of the two learned Benedictine priests[115] who are responsible for five solid tomes of the Histoire de la Ville de Paris. On the morrow of the attempt on Coligny's life, the queen-mother invited Charles and his brother of Anjou to walk, after dinner, in the garden of her new palace in the Tuileries:[116] they were joined by the chief Catholic leaders, and a grand council was held. The queen dwelt on the perilous situation of the monarchy and the Catholic cause, and urged that now was the time to act: Coligny lay wounded; Navarre and Condé were in their power at the Louvre; for ten Huguenots in Paris the Catholics could oppose a thousand armed men; rid France of the Huguenot chiefs and a formidable evil were averted. Her course was approved, but the leaders shrank from including the two princes of Navarre and Condé: they were to be given their choice—recantation or death. By order of the king 12,000 arquebusiers were placed along the river and the streets, and arms were carried into the Louvre. The admiral's friends, alarmed at the sinister preparations, protested to Charles but were reassured and told to take Cosseins and fifty arquebusiers to guard his house. The provost of Paris was then summoned by the Duke of Guise and ordered to arm[Pg 180] and organise the citizens and proceed to the Hôtel de Ville at midnight. The king, Guise said, would not lose so fair an opportunity of exterminating the Huguenots. The Catholic citizens were to tie a piece of white linen on their left arm and place a white cross in their caps that they might be recognised by their friends. At midnight the windows of their houses were to be illuminated by torches, and at the first sound of the great bell at the Palais de Justice the bloody work was to begin. Meanwhile Catherine, doubtful of Charles, repaired to his chamber with Anjou and her councillors to fix his wavering purpose; she heaped bitter reproaches upon him, worked on his fears with stories of a vast Huguenot conspiracy and hinted that cowardice prevented him from seizing the fairest opportunity that God had ever offered, to free himself from his enemies. She repeated an Italian prelate's vicious epigram: "Che pietà lor ser crudel, che crudeltà lor ser pietosa,"[117] and concluded by threatening to leave the court with the Duke of Anjou rather than witness the destruction of the Catholic cause. Charles, who had listened sullenly, and, if we may believe Anjou, for a long while angrily refused to sacrifice Coligny, was at length stung by the taunt of cowardice and broke into a delirium of passion; he swore by la mort dieu to compass the death of every Huguenot in France, that none might be left to reproach him afterwards.

Catherine de' Medici.

Catherine de' Medici.
French School, 16th Century.
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Catherine gave him no time for farther vacillation. The great bell of St. Germain l'Auxerrois was rung, and at two in the morning of Sunday, St. Bartholomew's Day, 24th August 1572, the Duke of Guise and his followers issued forth to do their Sabbath morning's work. Cosseins saw his leader coming and knew what was expected of him. Guise, who believed the blood [Pg 181]of his murdered father lay on Coligny's head, made sure of his vengeance. The admiral's door was forced, his servants were poignarded, and Besme, a German in the service of Guise, followed by others, burst into his room. The old man stood erect in his robe de chambre, facing his murderers. "Art thou the admiral?" demanded Besme. "I am he," answered Coligny with unfaltering voice and, gazing steadily at the naked sword pointed at his breast, added, "Young man, thou shouldst show more respect to my white hairs; yet canst thou shorten but little my brief life." For answer he was pierced by Besme's sword and stabbed to death by his companions. Guise stood waiting in the street below and the body was flung down to him from the window. He wiped the blood from the old man's face, looked at it, and said, "It is he!" Spurning the body with his foot he cried, "Courage, soldiers! we have begun well; now for the others, the king commands it." Meanwhile the bell of the Palais de Justice, answering that of St. Germain, was booming forth its awful summons, and the citizens hastened to perform their part.

All the Huguenot nobles dwelling near the admiral were pitilessly murdered, and a similar carnage took place at the Louvre. Marguerite, the young bride of Navarre, in her Memoirs, tells of the horrors of that morning, how, when half-asleep, a wounded Huguenot nobleman rushed into her chamber, pursued by four archers, and flung himself on her bed imploring protection, followed by a captain of the guard from whom she gained his life. She entreated the captain to lead her to her sister's room, and as she fled thither, more dead than alive, another fugitive was hewn down by a hallebardier only three paces from her; she fell fainting in the captain's arms. Meanwhile Charles, the queen-mother, and Anjou, after the violent scene in the king's[Pg 182] chamber, had lain down for two hours' rest and then went to a window which overlooked the basse-cour of the Louvre, to see the "beginning of the executions." If we may believe Henry's story, they had not been there long before the sound of a pistol shot filled them with dread and remorse, and a messenger was sent to bid Guise spare the admiral and stay the whole undertaking; but the nobleman who had been sent returned saying that Guise had told him it was too late: the admiral was dead, and the executions had begun all over the city. A dozen Protestant nobles of the suites of Condé and Navarre, who at the king's invitation had taken up their quarters in the Louvre, were seized; one was even dragged from a sick-bed: all were taken to the courtyard and hewn in pieces by the Swiss guards under the eyes of Charles, who cried: "Let none escape." Meantime the Catholic leaders had been scouring the streets on horseback, shouting to the people that a Huguenot conspiracy to murder the king had been discovered, and that it was the king's wish that all the Huguenots should be destroyed.

A list of the Huguenots in Paris had been prepared and all their houses marked. None was spared. Old and young, women and children, were pitilessly butchered. All that awful Sunday the orgy of slaughter and pillage went on; every gate of the city had been closed and the keys brought to the king. Night fell and the carnage was not stayed. Two days yet and two nights the city was a prey to the ministers of death, and some Catholics, denounced by personal enemies, were involved in the massacre. The resplendent August sun, the fair sky and serene atmosphere were held to be a divine augury, and a white thorn in the cemetery of the Innocents blooming out of season was hailed as a miracle and a visible token from God that the Catholic religion was to blossom again by the destruction of the Huguenots.[Pg 183] The murders did not wholly cease until September. Various were the estimates of the slain—20,000, 5,000, 2,000. A goldsmith named Cruce went about displaying his robust arm and boasting that he had accounted for 400 Huguenots. The streets, the front of the Louvre, the public places were blocked by dead bodies; tumbrils[118] were hired to throw them into the Seine, which literally for days ran red with blood.


Petite Galerie of the Louvre.
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The princes of Navarre and Condé saw the privacy of their chambers violated by a posse of archers on St. Bartholomew's morning; they were forced to dress and were haled before the king, who with a fierce look and glaring eyes, swore at them, reproached them for waging war upon him, and ordered them to change their religion.[Pg 184] On their refusal he grew furious with rage, and by dint of threats wrung from them a promise to go to mass.

Charles is said to have stood at a window in the Petite Galerie of the Louvre and to have fired across the river with a long arquebus on some Huguenots who, being lodged on the southern side, in the Huguenot quarter, known as la petite Genève, had escaped massacre, and were riding up to learn what was passing. The statement is much canvassed by authorities. It is at least permissible to doubt the assertion, since the first floor[119] of the Petite Galerie, where the king is traditionally believed to have placed himself, was not in existence before the time of Henry IV. If the ground floor be meant, a further difficulty arises from the fact that the southern end was not furnished with a window in Charles IX.'s time.

On the 26th of August the king was forced to avow responsibility before the Parlement for measures which he alleged had been necessary to suppress a Huguenot insurrection aiming at the assassination of himself and the royal family and the destruction of the Catholic religion in France. The ears of the Catholic princes of Europe and of the pope were abused by this specious lie; they believed that the Catholic cause had been saved from ruin; the so-called victory was hailed with transports of joy, and a medal was struck in Rome to celebrate the defeat of the Huguenots.[120]

Such was the massacre of St. Bartholomew in Paris. The death-roll of the victims is known to the Recording Angel alone. It was a tremendous folly no less than an indelible crime, for it steeled the heart of every Protestant to avenge his slaughtered brethren. To[Pg 185] "take Paris justice" became synonymous with assassination all over Protestant Europe.

Many of the Huguenot leaders escaped from Paris while the soldiers sent to despatch them were pillaging, and the flames of civil strife burst forth fiercer than ever. The court had prepared for massacre, not for war; and while the king was receiving the felicitations of the courts of Spain and Rome, he was forced by the Peace of La Rochelle to concede liberty of conscience to the Protestants and to restore their sequestered estates and offices. After two years of agony of mind and remorse, Charles IX. lay dying of consumption, abandoned by all save his faithful Huguenot nurse. The blood flowing from his nostrils seemed a token of God's wrath; and moaning "Ah! ma mie, what bloodshed! what murders! I am lost! I am lost!" the poor crowned wretch passed to his account. He had not yet reached his twenty-fourth year.[Pg 186]


Henry III.—The League—Siege of Paris by Henry IV.—His Conversion, Reign and Assassination

When the third of Catherine's sons, having resigned the sovereignty of Poland, was being consecrated at Rheims, the crown is said to have twice slipped from his head, the insentient diadem itself shrinking in horror from the brow of a prince destined to pollute it with deeper shame. Treacherous and bloody, Henry mingled grovelling piety with debauchery, and made of the court at Paris a veritable Alsatia, where paid assassins who stabbed from behind and mignons who struck to the face, were part of the train of every prince. The king's minions with their insolent bearing, their extravagant and effeminate dress, their hair powdered and curled, their neck-ruffles so broad that their heads resembled the head of John the Baptist on a charger,—gambling, blaspheming swashbucklers—were hateful alike to Huguenot and Catholic. On 29th April 1578 three of them fought out a famous quarrel with three of the Guises' bullies at the horse market subsequently converted into the Place Royale. The duel began at five o'clock in the morning and was fought so furiously that three of the combatants lost their lives. Quélus, the king's favourite minion, with fifteen wounds, lingered for thirty-three days, Henry constantly at his bedside and offering in vain large sums of money to the surgeons to save him.[Pg 187]

Less than four years after St. Bartholomew the Peace of 1576 gave the Huguenots all they had ever demanded or hoped for. In 1582 died the Duke of Alençon, Catherine's last surviving son and heir to the throne; Henry, in spite of a pilgrimage on foot by himself and his queen to Notre Dame de Cléry from which they returned with blistered feet, gave no hope of posterity and the Catholic party were confronted by the possibility of the sceptre of St. Louis descending to a relapsed heretic. A tremendous wave of feeling ran through France, and a Holy League was formed to meet the danger, with the Duke of Guise as leader. The king tried in vain to win some of the Huguenot and League partisans by the solemn institution of the Order of the Holy Ghost,[121] in the church of the Augustinians, to commemorate his elevation to the thrones of Poland and France on the day of Pentecost. The people were equally recalcitrant. When Henry entered Paris after the campaign of 1587, they shouted for their idol, the Balafré,[122] crying, "Saul has slain his thousands but David his tens of thousands." The king in his jealousy and disgust forbade Guise to enter Paris; Guise coolly ignored the command, and a few months later arrived at the head of a formidable train of nobles, amid the joyous acclamation of the people, who greeted him with chants of "Hosannah, Filio David!" Angry scenes followed. The duke sternly called his master to duty, and warned him to take vigorous measures against the Huguenots or lose his crown; the king, pale with anger, dismissed him and prepared to strike.

On the night of the 11th May a force of Royal[Pg 188] Guards and 4,000 Swiss mercenaries entered Paris, but the Parisians, with that genius for insurrection which has always characterised them, were equal to the occasion. The sixteen sections into which the communal government of the city was divided met; in the morning the people were under arms; and barricades and chains blocked the streets. The St. Antoine section, ever to the front, stood up to the king's Guards and to the Swiss advancing to occupy their quarter, defeated them, and with exultant cries rushed to threaten the Louvre itself. Henry was forced to send his mother to treat with the duke; she returned with terms that meant a virtual abdication. Henry took horse and fled, vowing he would come back only through a breach in the walls. But Guise was supreme in Paris, and the pitiful monarch was soon forced to yield; he signed the terms of his own humiliation, and went to Blois to meet Guise and the States-General with bitterness in his heart, brooding over his revenge. Visitors to the château of Blois, which has the same thrilling interest for the traveller as the palace of Holyrood, will recall the scene of the tragic end of Guise, the incidents of which the official guardians are wont to recite with dramatic gesture. Fearless and impatient of warnings, the great captain fell into the trap prepared for him and was done to death in the king's chamber, like a lion caught in the toils. Henry, who had heard mass and prayed that God would be gracious to him and permit the success of his enterprise, hastened to his mother, now aged and dying. "Madame," said he, "I have killed the king of Paris and am become once more king of France." The Cardinal of Lorraine, separated from the king's chamber only by a partition, paled as he heard his nephew's struggles. "Ne bougez pas," said the Marshal of Aumont putting his hand to his sword,[Pg 189] "the king has some accounts to settle with you too." Next morning the old cardinal was led out and hewn in pieces. The two bodies were burnt and the ashes scattered to the winds to prevent their being worshipped as relics: it was Christmas Eve of 1588.

The stupid crime brought its inevitable consequences —

"Revenge and hate bring forth their kind, Like the foul cubs their parents are."

The Commune of Paris and the Leaguers were stung to fury; the Sorbonne declared the king deposed; the pope banned him and a popular preacher called for another blood-letting. Henry, in a final act of shame and despair, flung himself into the king of Navarre's arms, and on the 31st July 1589, the two Henrys encamped at St. Cloud and threatened Paris with an army of 40,000 men. On the morrow Jacques Clément, a young Dominican friar, after preparing himself by fasting, prayer and holy communion, left Paris with a forged letter for the king, reached the camp and asked for a private interview. While Henry was reading the letter the friar snatched a knife from his sleeve and mortally stabbed him.[123] He lingered until 2nd August, and after pronouncing Henry of Navarre his lawful successor and bidding his Council swear allegiance to the new dynasty, the last of the thirteen Valois kings passed to his doom. Catherine de' Medici had already preceded him, burdened with the anathemas of the Cardinal of Bourbon. The people of Paris swore that if her body were brought to St. Denis they[Pg 190] would fling it to the shambles or into the Seine, and a famous theologian, preaching at St. Bartholomew's church, declared to the faithful that he knew not if it were right to pray God for her soul, but that if they cared to give her in charity a Pater or an Ave they might do so for what it was worth. This was the reward of her thirty years of devoted toil, of vigils and of plots to further the Catholic cause. Not until a quarter of a century had passed were her ashes laid beside those of her husband in the rich Renaissance tomb, which still exists, in the royal church of St. Denis. Jacques Clément, who had been cut to pieces by the king's Guards, was worshipped as a martyr, and his mother rewarded for having given birth to the saviour of France.

Henry of Navarre, unable to carry on the siege with a divided army, directed his course for Normandy. The exultant Parisians proclaimed the Cardinal of Bourbon king, under the title of Charles X., and the Duke of Mayenne, with a large army, marched forth to give battle to Henry. So confident were the Leaguers of victory, that their leaders hired windows along the Rue St. Antoine to witness the return of the duke bringing the "Béarnais"[124] dead or a prisoner. Henry did indeed return, but it was after a victorious campaign. He captured the Faubourg St. Jacques, and fell upon the abbey of St. Germain des Prés while the astonished monks were preparing to sing mass, climbed the steeple of the church and gazed on Paris. Having refreshed his troops, the Béarnais suffered them to pillage the city south of the Seine, and turned to the west to fix his capital at Tours. In 1590 he won the brilliant victory at Ivry over the armies of the League and of Spain which Macaulay has popularised in a stirring poem: the[Pg 191] road to Paris was open and Henry sat down to besiege the city.

The Leaguers fought and suffered with the utmost constancy; reliquaries were melted down for money, church bells for cannon, and the clergy and religious orders were caught by the military enthusiasm. The bishop of Senlis and the prior of the Carthusians, two valiant Maccabees, were seen, crucifix in one hand, a pike in the other, leading a procession of armed priests, monks and scholars through the streets. Friars from the mendicant orders were among them, their habits tucked up, hoods thrown back, casques on their heads and cuirasses on their breasts. All marched sword by side, dagger in girdle, musket on shoulder, the strangest army of the church militant ever seen. As they passed the Pont Notre Dame the papal legate was crossing in his carriage, and was asked to stop and give his blessing. After this benediction a salvo of musketry was called for, and some of the host of the Lord, forgetting that their guns were loaded with ball, killed a papal officer and wounded a servant of the ambassador of Spain.

Four months the Parisians endured starvation and all the attendant horrors of a siege, the incidents of which, as described by contemporaries, are so ghastly that the pen recoils from transcribing them. At length, when they were at the last extremity, the Duke of Parma arrived with a Spanish army, forced Henry to raise the siege, and revictualled the city. After war, anarchy. In November 1591 it was discovered that secret letters were passing between Brizard, an officer in the service of the Duke of Mayenne in Paris, and a royalist at St. Denis. The sections demanded Brizard's instant execution, and on his discharge by the Parlement the curé of St. Jacques fulminated against that body and declared that cold steel must be tried (faut jouer des couteaux). A secret revolutionary committee of ten was appointed,[Pg 192] and a papier rouge or lists of suspects in all the districts of Paris was drawn up under three categories: P. (pendus), those to be hanged; D. (dagués), those to be poignarded; C. (chassés), those to be expelled. On the night of the 15th November a meeting was held at the house of the curé of St. Jacques, and in the morning the president of the Parlement, Brisson, was seized and dragged to the Petit Châtelet, where a revolutionary tribunal, in black cloaks, on which were sewn large red crosses, condemned him to death. Meanwhile two councillors of the Parlement, Larcher and Tardif, had been seized, the latter by the curé of St. Cosme, and haled to the Châtelet. All three were dragged to a room, and the executioner was forced to hang them from a beam; the bodies were then stripped, an inscription was hung about their necks, and they were suspended from the gallows in the Place de Grève. The sections believed that Paris would rise: they only shocked the more orderly citizens. The Duke of Mayenne, who was at Lyons, on the receipt of the news hastened to Paris, temporised a while and, when sure of support, seized four of the most dangerous leaders of the sections and hanged them without trial in the Salle basse of the Louvre. All save the more violent partisans were now weary of the strife and the Leaguers themselves were divided. The sections aimed at a theocratic democracy; another party favoured the Duke of Mayenne; a third, the Duke of Guise; a fourth, the Infanta of Spain. It was decided to convoke the States-General at Paris in 1593, and a conference was arranged with Henry's supporters at Suresnes. Crowds flocked there, crying, "Peace, peace; blessed be they who bring it; cursed they who prevent it." Henry knew the supreme moment was come. France was still profoundly Catholic: he must choose between his religion and France. He chose to heal his country's wounds and[Pg 193] perhaps to save her very existence. Learned theologians were deputed to confer with him at Paris, whom he astonished and confounded by his knowledge of Scripture; they declared that they had never met a heretic better able to defend his cause. But on 23rd July 1573, he professed himself convinced, and the same evening wrote to his mistress, Gabrielle d'Estrées, that he had spoken with the bishops, and that a hundred anxieties were making St. Denis hateful to him. "On Sunday," he adds, "I am to take the perilous leap. Bonjour, my heart; come to me early to-morrow. It seems a year since I saw you. A million times I kiss the fair hands of my angel and the mouth of my dear mistress."

On Sunday, under the great portal of St. Denis, the archbishop of Bourges sat enthroned in a chair covered with white damask and embroidered with the arms of France and of Navarre. He was attended by many prelates and the prior and monks of St. Denis: the cross and the book of the Gospels were held before him. Henry drew nigh. "Who are you?" demanded the archbishop. "I am the king." "What do you ask?" "I wish to be received in the bosom of the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church." "Is it your will?" "Yes, I will and desire it." Henry then knelt and made profession of his faith, kissed the prelate's ring, received his blessing and was led to the choir, where he knelt before the high altar and repeated his profession of faith on the holy Gospels amid cries of "Vive le roi!"

The clerical extremists in Paris anathematised all concerned. Violent curés again donned their armour, children were baptised and mass was sung by cuirassed priests. The curé of St. Cosme seized a partisan, and with other fanatics of the League hastened to the Latin Quarter to raise the university. But the people[Pg 194] were heartsick of the whole business; and when Henry entered Paris after his coronation at Chartres, resplendent in velvet robes embroidered with gold and seated on his dapple grey charger, his famous helmet with its white plumes ever in his hand saluting the ladies at the windows, he was hailed with shouts of joy. Shops were reopened, the artisan took up his tools and the merchant went to his counter with a sigh of relief. A general amnesty was proclaimed, and the Spanish garrison were allowed to depart with their arms. As they filed out of the Porte St. Denis in heavy rain, three thousand strong, the king was sitting at a window above the gates. "Remember me to your master," he cried, "but do not return." On the morrow the provost and sheriffs and chief citizens came to the Louvre bearing presents of sweetmeats, sugar-plums and malmsey wine. "Yesterday I received your hearts, to-day I receive your sweets," the king remarked; all were charmed by his wit, his forbearance and generosity. The stubborn university was last to give way, but when the doctors of theology learnt that Henry had touched for the king's evil and that many had been cured, they too were convinced. Paris, "well worth a mass," was wooed and won. The memorable Edict of Nantes established liberty of worship and political equality for the Protestants. The war with Spain was brought to a successful issue, and Henry, with his minister the Duke of Sully, probably the greatest financial genius France has ever known, by wise and firm statesmanship lifted the country from bankruptcy to prosperity and contentment.


Hôtel de Sully.
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Henry, like one of his predecessors, had of bastards et bastardes une moult belle compagnie, but as yet no legitimate heir. A divorce from Marguerite of Valois and a politic marriage with the pope's niece, Marie[Pg 195] de' Medici,[125] gave him a magnificent dowry (600,000 golden crowns and a yearly income of 20,000), an additional bond to the papacy, and several children. Margot, once convinced that the divorce was not to enable Henry to marry that bagasse Gabrielle, made small objection and soon consoled herself. In 1606 one of her discarded lovers was executed in front of her dwelling in the palace of the archbishop of Sens for having shot his rival in her affections, a young page of twenty, as he was handing her into her carriage.

Like all his race, Henry was susceptible to the charms of the daughters of Eve, but, unlike his descendants, he never sacrificed France to their tears[Pg 196] and wiles. When the question of the succession was urgent and he thought of marrying Gabrielle d'Estrées, Sully opposed the union. The impatient Gabrielle used all her powers of fascination to compass the dismissal of the great minister, who was present at the interview in her room at the cloister of St. Germain, and who has left us a vivid description of the scene. Gabrielle burst into passionate reproaches and employed in turn all the arts of feminine guile. Her eyes streaming with tears, sobbing and wailing, she seized her royal lover's hand and smothered it with kisses; she called for a poignard that by plunging it into her heart he might behold his image graven there; she appealed to his love for their children and flung herself hysterically on the bed, protesting she could live no longer seeing herself disgraced, and a servant whom so many complained of, preferred to a mistress whom all praised. It was of no avail. "Let me tell you," answered Henry, calmly, "if I must choose between you and Sully, I would sooner part with ten mistresses such as you than one faithful servant such as he."

In 1610 the king was making great preparations for a war with Austria, and, on the 14th May, desiring to consult Sully, who was unwell in his rooms at the Arsenal, he determined to spare him the fatigue of travelling to the Louvre, and to drive to the Arsenal. With much foreboding the king had agreed to the coronation of Marie de' Medici, which had been celebrated at St. Denis with great pomp. The ceremony was attended by two sinister incidents: the Gospel for the day, taken from Mark x., included the answer of Jesus to the Pharisees who tempted Him by asking—"Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?"—the Gospel was hurriedly changed; and when the usual largesse of gold and silver pieces was thrown to the crowd not a voice cried,[Pg 197] "Vive le roi," or "Vive la reine." That night the king tossed restless on his bed, pursued by evil dreams. On the morrow his counsellors begged him to defer his journey, but nineteen plots to assassinate him had already failed: he gently put aside their warnings, and repeated his favourite maxim that fear had no place in a generous heart. It was a warm day, and the king entered his open carriage, attended by the Dukes of Epernon and Montbazon and five other courtiers; a number of valets de pied followed him. In the narrow Rue de la Ferronnerie the carriage was stopped by a block in the traffic, and the servants were sent round by the cemetery of the Innocents. While the king was listening to the reading of a letter by the Duke of Epernon, one Francis Ravaillac, who had been watching his opportunity for twelve months, placed his foot on a wheel of the coach, leaned forward, and plunged a knife into the king's breast. Before he could be seized he pulled out the fatal steel and doubled his thrust, piercing him to the heart. "Je suis blessé," cried Henry, and never spoke again. Ravaillac was seized, and all the refined cruelties inflicted on regicides were practised upon him. He was dragged to the Place de Grève, his right hand cut off, and, with the fatal knife, flung into the flames; the flesh was torn from his arms, breast and legs; melted lead and boiling oil were poured into the wounds. Horses were then tied to each of his four limbs, the body was torn to pieces and burnt to ashes.[126] Some writers have inculpated the Jesuits for the murder, but it may more reasonably be attributed to the fury of a crazy fanatic. Certain it is that Henry's heart was given to the[Pg 198] Jesuits for the church of their college of la Flèche, which was founded by him.

The first Bourbon king has left his impress on the architecture of Paris. "Soon as he was master of Paris," says a contemporary, "one saw naught but masons at work." Small progress had been made during the reign of Henry II.'s three sons with their father's plans for the rebuilding of the Louvre. The work had been continued along the river front after Lescot's death in 1578 by Baptiste du Cerceau, and Catherine de' Medici had erected a gallery on the south, known as the Petite Galerie—a ground-floor building with a terrace on top, intended for a meeting-place and promenade but not for residence. She had also begun in 1564 the palace of the Tuileries, which, like the Louvre, was designed to be a quadrangular building and of which the west wing alone was ever constructed, but abandoned it on being warned by her astrologer, Ruggieri, that she should die under the ruins of a house near St Germain.[127] Henry, soon after he had entered Paris, elaborated a vast scheme for finishing the Tuileries, demolishing the churches of St. Thomas and St. Nicholas, quadrupling the size of the old Louvre, and joining the two palaces by continuing the Grande Galerie, already begun by Catherine, to the west, to afford a means of escape in the event of an attack on the Louvre. Towards the east the hôtels d'Alençon, de Bourbon and the church of St. Germain l'Auxerrois were to be demolished, and a great open space was to be levelled between the new east front of the Louvre and the Pont Neuf. At Henry's accession Catherine's architects, Philibert de l'Orme and Jean Bullant, had completed the superb domed central pavilion of the Tuileries, with its two contiguous galleries, and begun the end pavilions, the[Pg 199] former using the Ionic order as a delicate flattery of Catherine, "since among the ancients that order was employed in temples dedicated to a goddess." The gardens, with the famous maze and Palissy's beautiful grotto or fountain, had been completed in 1476, and for some years were a favourite promenade for Catherine and her court. Henry's plans were so far carried out that on New Year's day, 1606, he could lead the Dauphin along the Grande Galerie to the Pavilion de Flore at the extreme west of the river front, and enter the south wing of the Tuileries which had been extended to meet it. The Pavilion de Flore thus became the angle of junction between the two palaces. An upper floor was imposed on the Petite Galerie, and adorned with paintings representing the kings of France. Unhappily the fire of 1661 destroyed all the portraits save that of Marie de' Medici by Porbus, and all the subsequent decorations by Poussin. Henry intended the ground floor of the Grande Galerie for the accommodation of his best craftsmen—painters, sculptors, goldsmiths, tapestry weavers, smiths, and others. The quadrangle, however, remained as the last Valois had left it—half Renaissance, half Gothic—and the north-east and south-east towers of the original château were still standing to be drawn by Sylvestre towards the middle of the seventeenth century.

The unfinished Hôtel de Ville was taken in hand after more than half-a-century and practically completed.[128] The larger, north portion of the Pont Neuf was built, the two islets west of the Cité were incorporated with the island to form the Place Dauphine and the ground that now divides the two sections of the bridge—a new street, the Rue Dauphine, being cut through the garden of the Augustins and the ruins of[Pg 200] the college of St. Denis. The Place Royale (now des Vosges) was designed and partly built—that charming relic of seventeenth and eighteenth century fashionable Paris, where Molière's Précieuses lived.

Henry also partly rebuilt the Hôtel Dieu, created new streets, and widened others.[129] New fountains and quays were built; the Porte du Temple was reopened, and the Porte des Tournelles constructed. Unhappily, some of the old wooden bridges remained, and on Sunday, 22nd December 1596, the Pont aux Meuniers (Miller's Bridge), just below the Pont au Change, suddenly collapsed, with all its shops and houses, and sixty persons perished. They were not much regretted, for most of them had enriched themselves by the plunder of Huguenots, and during the troubles of the League. The bridge was rebuilt of wood, at the cost of the captain of the corps of archers, and as the houses were painted each with the figure of a bird, the new bridge was known as the Pont aux Oiseaux (Bridge of Birds). It spanned the river from the end of the Rue St. Denis and the arch of the Grand Châtelet to the Tour de l'Horloge of the Palais de Justice. In 1621, however, it and the Pont au Change were consumed by fire in a few hours and, in 1639, the two wooden bridges were replaced by a bridge of stone, the Pont au Change, which stood until rebuilt in 1858.


Old houses near Pont St. Michel, showing spire of the Ste. Chapelle.
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We are able to give the impression which the Paris of Henri Quatre made on an English traveller, a friend of Ben Jonson and author of Coryat's Crudities, hastily gobbled up in five months' Travell. The first objects that met Coryat's eye are characteristic. As he travelled along the St. Denis road he passed "seven[130][Pg 201] faire pillars of freestone at equal distances, each with an image of St. Denis and his two companions, and a little this side of Paris was the fairest gallows I ever saw, built on Montfaucon, which consisted of fourteene fair pillars of freestone." He notes "the fourteene gates of Paris, the goodly buildings, mostly of fair, white stone and"—a detail always unpleasantly impressed on travellers—"the evil-smelling streets, which are the dirtiest and the most stinking I ever saw in any[Pg 202] city in my life. Lutetia! well dothe it brooke being so called from the Latin word lutum, which signifieth dirt." Coryat was impressed by the bridges—"the goodly bridge of white freestone nearly finished (the Pont Neuf); a famous bridge that far exceedeth this, having one of the fairest streets in Paris called our Ladies street; the bridge of Exchange where the goldsmiths live; St. Michael's bridge, and the bridge of Birds." He admires the "Via Jacobea, full of booke-sellers' faire shoppes, most plentifully furnished with bookes, and the fair building, very spacious and broad, where the Judges sit in the Palais de Justice, the roofs sumptuously gilt and embossed, with an exceeding multitude of great, long bosses hanging downward." Coryat next visited the fine quadrangle of the Louvre, whose outside was exquisitely wrought with festoons, and decked with many stately pillars and images. From Queen Mary's bedroom he went to a room[131] "which excelleth not only all that are now in the world but also all that were since the creation thereof, even a gallery, a perfect description whereof would require a large volume, with a roofe of most glittering and admirable beauty. Yea, so unspeakably fair is it that a man can hardly comprehend it in his mind that hath not seen it with his bodily eyes." The Tuileries gardens were the finest he ever beheld for length of delectable walks.

Next day Coryat saw the one thing above all he desired to see, "that most rare ornament of learning Isaac Casaubon," who told him to observe "a certain profane, superstitious ceremony of the papists—a bedde carried after a very ethnicall manner, or rather a canopy in the form of a bedde, under which the Bishop of the city, with certain priests, carry the Sacrament. The procession of Corpus Christi," he[Pg 203] adds, "though the papists esteemed it very holy, was methinks very pitiful. The streets were sumptuously adorned with paintings and rich cloth of arras, the costliest they could provide, the shews of Our Lady street being so hyperbolical in pomp that it exceedeth all the rest by many degrees. Upon public tables in the streets they exposed rich plate as ever I saw in my life, exceeding costly goblets and what not tending to pomp; and on the middest of the tables stood a golden crucifix and divers other gorgeous images. Following the clergy, in capes exceeding rich, came many couples of little singing choristers, which, pretty innocent punies, were so egregiously deformed that moved great pity in any relenting spectator, being so clean shaved round about their heads that a man could perceive no more than the very rootes of their hair."

At the royal suburb Coryat saw "St. Denis, his head enclosed in a wonderful, rich helmet, beset with exceeding abundant pretious stones," but the skull itself he "beheld not plainly, only the forepart through a pretty, crystall glass, and by light of a wax candle."[Pg 204]


Paris under Richelieu and Mazarin

Before Coryat left Paris he rode a sorry jade to Fontainebleau which, "though I did excarnificate his sides," would not stir until a gentleman of the court drew his rapier and ran him to the "buttock." At the palace he saw the "Dolphin whose face was full and fat-cheeked, his hair black, his look vigorous and courageous." The Dolphin that Coryat saw came to the throne, at nine years of age, in 1610, as Louis XIII. For a time the regent, Marie de' Medici, was content to suffer the great Sully to hold office, but soon favouritism and the greed of princes, to the ill-hap of France, drove him in the prime of life from Paris into the retirement of his château of Villebon, and a feeble and venal Florentine, Concini, who came to Paris in the time of Marie, took his place. The Prince of Condé, now a Catholic, the Duke of Mayenne, and a pack of nobles fell upon the royal treasury like hounds on their quarry. In 1614, so critical was the financial situation, that the States-General were called to meet in the Salle Bourbon,[132] but to little purpose. Recriminations were bandied between the noblesse and the Tiers État. The insolence of the former was intolerable. One member of the Tiers was thrashed by a noble and could obtain no redress. The clergy refused to bear any of the[Pg 205] public burdens. The orator of the Tiers, speaking on his knees according to usage, warned the court that despair might make the people conscious that a soldier was none other than a peasant bearing arms, and that when the vine-dresser took up the arquebus he might one day cease to be the anvil and become the hammer. But there was no thought for the common weal; each order wrangled for its own privileges, and their meeting-place was closed on the pretext that the hall was wanted for a royal ballet. No protest was raised, and the States-General never met again until the fateful meeting at Versailles, in 1789, when a similar pretext was tried, with very different consequences. Among the clergy, however, sat a young priest of twenty-nine years of age, chosen for their orator, Armand Duplessis de Richelieu, who made rapid strides to fame.

In 1616 the nobles were once more in arms, and Condé was again bought off. The helpless court was in pitiful straits and the country drifting to civil war, when Richelieu, who, meanwhile, had been made a royal councillor and minister for foreign affairs, took the Condé business in hand. He had the prince arrested in the Louvre itself and flung into the Bastille; the noble blackmailers were declared guilty of treason, and three armies marched against them. The triumph of the court seemed assured, when Louis XIII., now sixteen years of age, suddenly freed himself from tutelage, and with the help of the favourite companion of his pastimes, Albert de Luynes, son of a soldier of fortune, determined to rid himself of Concini. The all-powerful Florentine, on 24th April 1617, was crossing the bridge that spanned the eastern fosse of the Louvre, when the captain of the royal Guards, who was accompanied by a score of gentlemen, touched him on the shoulder and told him[Pg 206] he was the king's prisoner. "I, a prisoner!" exclaimed Concini, moving his hand towards his sword. Before he could utter another word he fell dead, riddled with pistol shots; Louis appeared at a window, and all the Louvre resounded with cries of "Vive le roi!" Concini's wife, to whom he owed his ascendency over the queen-mother, was accused of sorcery, beheaded and burnt on the Place de Grève; Marie was packed off to Blois and Richelieu exiled to his bishopric of Luçon. De Luynes, enriched by the confiscated wealth of the Concini, now became supreme at Paris only to demonstrate a pitiful incapacity. The nobles had risen and were rallying round Marie; the Protestants were defying the state; but Luynes was impotent, and soon went to a dishonoured grave, leaving chaos behind him.

Richelieu's star was now in the ascendant. The king drew near to his mother, and both turned to the one man who seemed able to knit together the distracted state. A cardinal's hat was obtained for him from Rome, and the illustrious churchman ruled in Paris for eighteen years. Everything went down before his commanding genius, his iron will and his indefatigable industry. "I reflect long," said he, "before making a decision, but once my mind is made up, I go straight to the goal. I mow down all before me, and cover all with my scarlet robe." The Huguenots, backed by the English, aimed at founding an independent republic: Richelieu captured La Rochelle[133] and wiped them out as a political party. The great nobles sought to divide power with the crown: he demolished their fortresses, made them bow their necks to the royal yoke or chopped off their heads. They defied the king's edict against duelling: the Count of Bouteville, the most[Pg 207] notorious duellist of his time, and the Count of Les Chapelles were sent to the scaffold for having defiantly fought duels in the Place Royale in open noonday, at which the Marquis of Buffy was killed. The execution made a profound impression, for the Count was a Montmorency, and the Condés, the Orleans, the Montmorencys and all the most powerful nobles brought pressure to bear on the king and swore that the sentence should never be carried out. But Richelieu was firm as a tower. "It is an infamous thing," he told Louis, "to punish the weak alone; they cast no baleful shade: we must keep discipline by striking down the mighty." Richelieu crushed the Parlement and revolutionised the provincial administrations. He maintained seven armies in the field, and two navies on the seas at one and the same time. He added four provinces to France—Alsace, Lorraine, Artois and Rousillon, humiliated Austria and exalted his country to the proud position of dominant factor in European politics. He foiled plot after plot and crushed rebellion. The queen-mother, Gaston Duke of Orleans her second son and heir to the throne, the Marquis of Cinq-Mars the king's own favourite—each tried a fall with the great minister, but was thrown and punished with pitiless severity. Marie herself was driven to exile—almost poverty—at Brussels, and died a miserable death at Cologne. The despicable Gaston, who twice betrayed his friends to save his own skin, was watched, and when the queen, Anne of Austria, gave birth to a son after twenty years of marriage, he was deprived of his dignities and possessions and interned at Blois. The Marquis of Cinq-Mars, and the last Duke of Montmorency, son and grandson of two High Constables of France, felt the stroke of the headsman's axe.

In 1642, when the mighty cardinal had attained the[Pg 208] highest pinnacle of success and fame, a mortal disease declared itself. His physicians talked the usual platitudes of hope, but he would have none of them, and sent for the curé of St. Eustache. "Do you pardon your enemies?" the priest asked. "I have none, save those of the state," replied the dying cardinal, and, pointing to the Host, exclaimed, "There is my judge." Louis heard of his death without emotion, and simply remarked—"Well, a great politician has gone." In six months his royal master was gone too.

The Medici Fountain, Luxembourg Gardens.
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Paris, under Marie de' Medici and Richelieu, saw many and important changes. In 1612 a new Jacobin monastery was founded in the Rue St. Honoré for the reformed Dominicans, destined later to be the theatre of Robespierre's triumphs and to house the great Jacobin revolutionary club.[134] In the same year the queen-regent bought a château and garden from the Duke of Piney-Luxembourg, and commissioned her architect, Solomon Debrosse, to build a new palace in the style of the Pitti at Florence. The work was begun in 1615, and resulted in the picturesque but somewhat Gallicised Italian palace which, after descending to Gaston of Orleans and his daughter the Grande Mademoiselle, ends a chequered career as palace, revolutionary prison, house of peers, and socialist meeting-place by becoming the respectable and dull Senate-house of the third Republic. The beautiful Renaissance gardens have suffered but few changes; adorned with Debrosse's picturesque fountain, they form one of the most charming parks in Paris. The same architect was employed to restore the old Roman aqueduct of Arcueil and finished his work in 1624. In 1614 the equestrian statue in bronze of Henry IV., designed by Giovanni da Bologna, and presented to Marie by[Pg 209] Cosimo II. of Tuscany, reached Paris after many vicissitudes and was set up on the Pont Neuf by Pierre de Fouqueville, who carved for it a beautiful pedestal of marble, whereon were inscribed the most signal events and victories of Henry's reign. This priceless statue was melted down for cannon during the Revolution, and for years its site was occupied by a café. In 1818, during the Restoration, another statue of Henry[Pg 210] IV., by Lemot, cast from the melted figure of Napoleon I. on the top of the Vendôme column, was erected where it now stands. The founder, who was an imperialist, is said to have avenged the emperor by placing pamphlets attacking the Restoration in the horse's belly.

In the seventeenth century the Pont Neuf was one of the busiest centres of Parisian life. Streams of coaches and multitudes of foot-passengers passed by. Booths of all kinds displayed their wares; quacks, mountebanks, ballad-singers and puppet-shows, drew crowds of listeners. Evelyn describes the footway as being three to four feet higher than the road; and at the foot of the bridge, says the traveller, is a water-house, "whereon, at a great height is the story of our Saviour and the Woman of Samaria pouring water out of a bucket. Above is a very rare dyall of several motions with a chime. The water is conveyed by huge wheels, pumps and other engines, from the river beneath." This was the famous Château d'Eau, or La Samaritaine, erected in 1608 and rebuilt in 1712 to pump water from the Seine and distribute it to the Louvre and the Tuileries palaces. The timepiece was an industrieuse horloge, which told the hours, days, and months. The present baths of La Samaritaine mark its site and retain its name.

Pont Neuf.
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In 1624, Henry the Fourth's great scheme for enlarging and completing the Louvre was committed by Richelieu to his architect, Jacques Lemercier, and the first stone of the Pavilion de l'Horloge was laid on 28th June by Louis. Lemercier was great enough and modest enough to adopt his predecessor's design and having erected the pavilion, continued Lescot's west wing northwards, turned the north-west angle and carried the north wing to about a fourth of its designed extent. The Pavilion de l'Horloge thus became the central feature of[Pg 211] the west wing, which was exactly doubled in extent. The south-east and north-east towers of the eastern wing of the old Gothic Louvre, however, remained intact, and even as late as 1650 Sylvestre's drawing shows us the[Pg 212] south-east tower still standing and the east wing only partly demolished. Lemercier also designed a grand new palace for the cardinal, north of the Rue St. Honoré, including in the plans two theatres: a small one to hold about six hundred spectators, and a larger one, which subsequently became the opera-house, capacious enough to seat three thousand. Magnificent galleries, painted by Philippe de Champaigne and other artists, represented the chief events in the cardinal's reign, and were hung with the portraits of the great men of France, each with a Latin distich in letters of gold. The courts were adorned with carvings of ships' prows and anchors, symbolising the cardinal's function as Grand Master of Navigation; spacious gardens, with an avenue of chestnut trees, which cost 300,000 francs to train, added to its splendours.

In this palace the great minister, busy with a yet vaster scheme for building an immense Place Ducale to the north, passed away leaving its stately magnificence to the king, whose widow, Anne of Austria, inhabited it during the regency with her sons, Louis XIV. and Philip, Duke of Orleans, the founder of the Bourbon-Orleans family. The famous architect, François Mansard, was employed by her to extend the Palais Royal as it was then called, which in 1652 was occupied by Henrietta Maria, Charles I.'s widow, whose court ill repaid the hospitality of France by acts of Vandalism. In 1661, on the marriage of Henrietta Anne, her daughter, to the Duke of Orleans it was assigned to the Orleans princes, a portion being reserved for Louis XIV. where he lodged his mistress Mme. de la Vallière. The palace subsequently became infamous as the scene of almost incredible orgies during the regency. In 1730 Philip II.'s austere and pious son, Prince Louis, after having made an auto-da-fé of forty pictures of the nude from the Orleans collection,[Pg 213] permitted the destruction of Richelieu's superb avenue of trees. The buildings were further extended by Philip Egalité, who erected shops along the sides of the gardens, which as cafés and gambling-saloons became a haunt of fashionable vice and dissipation in the late eighteenth century. The gardens of the royal palaces had always been open to well-dressed citizens, but notices forbade entrance to beggars, servants, and all ill-clad persons under pain of imprisonment, the carcan, and other graver penalties. Egalité, however, to win popularity, opened his gardens without restriction, and they soon became the forum of the revolutionary agitation. Here Camille Desmoulins declaimed his impassioned orations and called Paris to arms. The gambling-hells, of which there were over three hundred, survived the Revolution, and Blücher and many an officer of the allied armies lost immense sums there. The Palais Royal became subsequently the residence of Louis Philippe, and now serves as the meeting-place of the Conseil d'État.

In the early seventeenth century nine lovers of literature associated themselves for the purpose of holding a friendly symposium, where they discoursed of books, and read and criticised each other's compositions; the meetings were followed by a modest repast and a peripatetic discussion. The masterful cardinal, who would rule the French language as well as the state, called the nine together, and in 1635 organised them into an Académie Française, whose function should be to perfect and watch over the purity of the French tongue. The Parlement granted letters-patent, limited the number of academicians to forty, and required them to take cognisance of French authors and the French language alone. The original nine, however, were far from gratified, and always regretted the "golden age" of early days. Richelieu[Pg 214] established the Jardin des Plantes for the use of medical students, where demonstrations in botany were given; he rebuilt the college and church of the Sorbonne where his monument,[135] by Girardon from Lebrun's designs, may still be seen. He cheapened the postal service,[136] established the Royal Press at the Louvre which in twenty years published seventy Greek, Latin, Italian and French classics. He issued the first political weekly gazette in France, was a liberal patron of men of letters and of artists, and saw the birth and fostered the growth of the great period of French literary and artistic supremacy.

Another of Henry the Fourth's plans for the aggrandisement of Paris was carried out by the indefatigable minister. As early as 867 the bishops of Paris had been confirmed by royal charter, in their possession of the two islands east of the Cité, the Isle Notre Dame and Isle aux Vaches. From time immemorial these had been used as timber-yards, and in 1616 the chapter of the cathedral was induced to treat with Christophe Marie, contractor for the bridges of France, and others, who agreed to fill in the channel[137] which separated the islands; to cover them with broad streets of houses and quays, and to build certain bridges; but expressly contracted never to fill up the arm of the Seine between the Isle Notre Dame, and the Cité. The first stone of the new bridge which was to connect the islands with the north bank was laid by Louis XIII. in 1614 and named Pont Marie, after the contractor. In 1664 a[Pg 215] church, dedicated to St. Louis, was begun on the site of an earlier chapel by Levau, but not completed until 1726 by Donat.

The new quarter soon attracted the attention of rich financiers, civic officers, merchants and lawyers, some of whose hôtels were designed by Levau, and decorated by Lebrun and Lesueur. Madame Pompadour's brother lived there; the Duke of Lauzan, husband of the Grande Mademoiselle, lived in his hôtel on the Quai d'Anjou (No. 17); Voltaire lived with Madame du Châtelet in the Hôtel Lambert (No. 1 Quai d'Anjou). To the précieuses of Molière's time the Isle St. Louis (for so it was called) became the Isle de Delos, around whose quays the gallants and ladies of the period were wont to promenade at nightfall. The Isle, as it is now familiarly known, is one of the most peaceful quarters of Paris, and has a strangely provincial aspect to the traveller who paces its quiet streets.

In 1622 Paris was raised from its subjection to the Metropolitan of Sens, and became for the first time the seat of an archbishopric; the diocese was made to correspond to the old territories of the Parisii.

Among the many evils attendant on a monarchy, which Samuel recited to the children of Israel, that of the possibility of a regency might well have found place. Louis XIV. was less than five years of age when his father died, and once again the great nobles turned the difficulties of the situation to their own profit. By a curious anomaly, while women were excluded from succession to the throne of France, the queen-mother was invariably preferred to all other claimants for the Regency, and Anne of Austria became regent in accordance with old custom. She retained in office Cardinal Mazarin, Richelieu's faithful disciple, chosen by him to continue the traditions of his policy. The new cardinal-minister, scion of an old Sicilian family,[Pg 216] was a typical Italian; he had none of his predecessor's virile energy and directness of purpose, but ruled by his subtle wit and cool, calculating patience. "Time and I," was his device. He was an excellent judge of men, and profoundly distrusted "the unlucky," always satisfying himself that a man was "lucky," before he employed him. Conscious of his foreign origin, Mazarin hesitated to take strong measures, and advised a policy of conciliation with the disaffected nobles. Anne filled their pockets, and for a time the whole language of the court is said to have consisted of the five little words "La reine est si bonne." But the ambitious courtiers soon aimed at higher game, and a plot was discovered to assassinate the foreign cardinal; the Duke of Beaufort, chief conspirator, a son of the Duke of Vendôme, and grandson of Henry IV., by Gabrielle d'Estrées, was imprisoned in the keep at Vincennes, and his associates interned at their châteaux.

The finances which Richelieu had left in so flourishing a condition were soon exhausted by the lavish benevolence of the court, and were unhappily in the hands of Emery (a clever but cynical official, who had formerly been a fraudulent bankrupt), whose rigorous exactions and indifference to public feeling aroused the indignation of the whole nation. In 1646, 23,800 defaulters lay rotting in the jails, and an attempt to enforce an odious tax on all merchandise entering Paris led to an explosion of popular wrath. The Parlement, by the re-assertion of its claims to refuse the registration of an obnoxious decree of the crown, made itself the champion of public justice; the four sovereign courts met in the hall of St. Louis, and refused to register the tax. Anne was furious and made the boy-king hold a "bed[138][Pg 217] of justice" to enforce the registration of the decree. But the Parlement stood firm, declared itself the guardian of the public and private weal, claiming even to reform abuses and to discuss and vote on schemes of taxation. So critical was the situation that the court was forced to bend, and to postpone the humiliation of the Parlement to a more convenient season. The glorious issue of the campaigns of Condé against the Houses of Spain and Austria seemed to offer the desired opportunity. On 26th August 1648, while a Te Deum was being sung at Notre Dame for the victory of Lens, and a grand trophy of seventy-three captured flags was displayed to the people, three of the most stubborn members of the Parlement were arrested. One escaped, but while the venerable Councillor Broussel was being hustled into a carriage, a cry was raised, which stirred the whole of Paris to insurrection. In the excitement a street porter was shot by a captain of the Guards, the Marquis of Meilleraye, and the next morning the court, aroused by cries of "Liberty and Broussel," found the streets of Paris barricaded and the citizens in arms. De Retz, the suffragan archbishop of Paris, came in his robes to entreat Anne to appease the people, but was snubbed for his pains. "It is a revolt," she cried, "to imagine a revolt possible; these are silly tales of those who desire it: the king will enforce order." De Retz, angry and insulted, left to join the insurrection and to become its leader. The venerable president of the Parlement, Molé, and the whole body of members next repaired to the Palais Royal with no better success: Anne's only answer was a gibe. As they returned crestfallen from the Palais Royal they were driven back by the infuriated people, who threatened them with death, and clamoured for Broussel's release or Mazarin as a hostage. Nearly all the councillors fled, but the president, with exalted[Pg 218] courage, faced them and, answering gravely, as if in his judgment-seat, said, "If you kill me, all my needs will be six feet of earth": he strode on with calm self-possession, amid a shower of missiles and threats, to the hall of St. Louis. The echo of Cromwell's triumph in England, however, seemed to have reached the Palais Royal, and the queen-regent was at length induced to treat. The demands of the people were granted and Broussel was liberated, amid scenes of tumultuous joy.

In February of the next year the regency made an effort to reassert its authority. The queen and the royal princes left Paris for the palace of St. Germain and gathered an army under Condé: the Parlement taxed themselves heavily, tried their hands at organising a citizen militia, and allied themselves with the popular Duke of Beaufort, now at liberty, and leader of a troop of brilliant but giddy young nobles. The Bastille was captured by the Parlement, and the university promised its support and a subsidy. Thus arose the civil war of the Fronde, one of the most extraordinary contests in history, whose name is derived from the puerile street fights with slings, of the printers' devils and schoolboys of Paris. The incidents of the war read like scenes in a comic opera. A hundred thousand armed citizens were besieged by eight thousand soldiers. The evolution of a burlesque form of cavalry, called the corps of the Portes Cochères, formed by a conscription of one horseman for every house with a carriage gate, became the derision of the royal army. They issued forth, beplumed and beribboned, and fled back to the city, amid the execrations of the people, at the sight of a handful of troops. Every defeat—and the Parisians were always defeated—formed a subject for songs and mockery. Councils of war were held in taverns, and[Pg 219] De Retz was seen at a sitting of the Parlement in the hall of St. Louis with a poignard sticking out of his pocket: "There is the archbishop's prayer-book," said the people. The more public-spirited members of the Parlement soon, however, tired of the folly; Mazarin won over De Retz by the offer of a cardinal's hat, and a compromise was effected with the court, which returned to Paris in April 1649. The People were still bitter against Mazarin, and invaded the Palais de Justice, demanding the cardinal's signature to the treaty, that it might be burned by the common hangman.

Successful generals are bad masters, and the jackboot was now supreme at court. Soon Condé's insolent bearing and the vanity of his entourage of young nobles, dubbed petits maîtres, became intolerable: he was arrested at the Louvre, and sent to the keep at Vincennes. But Mazarin, thinking himself secure, delayed the promised reward to De Retz, who joined the disaffected friends of Condé: the court, again foiled, was forced to release Condé, surrender the two princes, and exile the hated Mazarin, who, none the less, ruled the storm by his subtle policy from Cologne. Condé, disgusted alike with queen and Parlement, now fled to the south, and raised the standard of rebellion.

The second phase of the wars of the Fronde became a more serious matter. Turenne, won over by the court, was given command of the royal forces, and moved against Condé. The two armies, after indecisive battles, raced to Paris and fought for its possession outside the Porte St. Antoine. The Frondeurs occupied what is now the Faubourg St. Antoine: the royalists the heights of Charonne. It was a stubborn and bloody contest. The armies were led by the two greatest captains of the age, and fought under the eyes of their king, who with the queen-mother watched the struggle from the eminence now[Pg 220] crowned by the cemetery of Père la Chaise. "I have seen not one Condé to-day, but a dozen," cried Turenne, as victory inclined to the Royalists. The last word was, however, with the Duke of Orleans: while he sat hesitating in the Luxembourg, the Grande Mademoiselle ordered the guns of the Bastille to be turned against Turenne, and the citizens opened the gates to Condé. Again his incorrigible insolence and brutality made Paris too hot for him, and with the disaffected princes he returned to Flanders to seek help from his country's enemies—a fatal mistake, which Mazarin was not slow to turn to advantage. He prudently retired while public feeling was won over to the young king, who was soon entreated by the Parlement and citizens to return to Paris. When the time was ripe, Mazarin had the Duke of Orleans interned at Blois, Condé was condemned to death in contumacio: De Retz was sent to Vincennes. Ten councillors of the Parlement were imprisoned or degraded, and in three months Mazarin returned to Paris with the pomp and equipage of a sovereign. It was the end of the Fronde, and of the attempt of the Parlement of Paris, a venal body[139] devoid of representative basis, to imitate the functions of the English House of Commons. The crown emerged from the contest more absolute than before, and Louis never forgot the days when he was a fugitive with his mother, and driven to lie on a hard mattress at the palace of St. Germain. In 1655 the Parlement of Paris met to prepare remonstrances against a royal edict: the young king heard of it while hunting at Vincennes, made his way to the hall [Pg 222] of St. Louis booted[140] and spurred, rated the councillors and dissolved the sitting.

The years following on the internal peace were a period of triumphant foreign war and diplomacy. Mazarin achieved his purpose of marrying the Infanta of Spain to his royal master; he added to and confirmed Richelieu's territorial gains and guided France at last to triumph over the Imperial House of Austria. On 9th March 1661, after a pathetic scene in his sumptuous palace, where the stricken old cardinal dragged his tottering steps along its vast galleries, casting a despairing look on the marvellous treasures of art he had collected and sorrowing like a child at the idea of separating from them for ever, the great Italian, "whose heart was French if his tongue were not," confronted death at Vincennes with firmness and courage. Mazarin was, however, a costly servant, who bled his adopted country to satisfy his love for the arts and splendours of life, to furnish dowries to his nieces, and to exalt his family. His vast palace (now the Bibliothèque Nationale), with its library of 35,000 volumes, freely open to scholars, was furnished with princely splendour. He left 2,000,000 livres to found a college for the gratuitous education of sixty sons of gentlemen from the four provinces—Spanish, Italian, German and Flemish—recently added to the crown, in order that French culture and grace might be diffused among them; they were to be taught the use of arms, horsemanship, dancing, Christian piety, and belles-lettres. A vast domed edifice was raised on the site of the Tour de Nesle, and became famous as the College of the Four Nations. It was subsequently expropriated and given by the Convention to the five learned academies of France, and is now known as the Institut de France.


The Institut de France.
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The Grand Monarque—Versailles and Paris

The century of Louis XIV., whose triumphs have been so extravagantly celebrated by Voltaire, saw the culmination and declension of military glory and literary splendour at Paris, and of regal magnificence at Versailles. Gone were the times of cardinal dictators. When the ministers came after Mazarin's death to ask the king whom they should now address themselves to, the answer came like a thunderbolt: "To me!"

What brilliant constellations of great men cast their influences over the beginning of Louis XIV.'s reign! "Sire," said Mazarin, when dying, "I owe you all, but I can partially acquit myself by leaving you Colbert:"—austere Colbert, whose Atlantean shoulders bore the burden of five modern ministries; whose vehement industry, admirable science and sterling honesty created order out of financial chaos and found the sinews of war for an army of 300,000 men before the Peace of Ryswick and 450,000 for the war of the Spanish succession; who initiated, nurtured and perfected French industries; who created a navy that crushed the combined English and Dutch fleets off Beachy Head, swept the Channel for weeks, burnt English ports, carried terror into English homes, and for a time paralysed English commerce. Louvois, his colleague, organised an army that made his master the[Pg 224] arbiter of Europe; Condé and Turenne were its victorious captains. Vauban, greatest of military engineers, captured towns in war and made them impregnable in peace, and shared with Louvois the invention of the combined musket and bayonet, the deadliest weapon of war as yet contrived. De Lionne, by masterly diplomacy, prepared and cemented the conquests of victorious generals. Supreme in arts of peace were Corneille, Molière, Racine, La Fontaine, Lebrun, Claude Lorrain, Puget, Mansard, and Perrault. We shall learn in the sequel what the Grand Monarque did with this unparalleled inheritance.

None of the great ones of the earth is so intimately known to us as the magnificent histrion, whose tinselled grandeur and pompous egoism have been laid bare by the Duke of St. Simon, prince of memoirists. Never has the frippery of a court been shrivelled by such fierce and consuming light, glaring like a fiery sun on its meretricious splendours. And what a court it is! What a gilded crowd of princes and paramours, harlots and bastards, struts, fumes and intrigues through these Memoirs! By a few strokes of his pen, in words that bite like acid, he etches for us the fools and knaves, the wife-beaters and adulterers, the cardsharpers and gamesters, the grovelling sycophants with their petty struggles for precedence or favour, their slang, their gluttony and drunkenness, their moral and physical corruption.

External grandeur and regal presence,[141] a profound belief in his divinely-appointed despotism, and in earlier years a rare capacity for work, the lord of France certainly possessed. "He had a grand mien," says St. Simon, "and looked a veritable king of the bees." Much has been made of Louis' incomparable grace[Pg 225] and respectful courtesy to women; but the courtesy of a king who doffs his hat to every serving wench yet contrives a staircase to facilitate the debauching of his queen's maids-of-honour, and exacts of his mistresses and the ladies of his court submission to his will and pleasure, even under the most trying of physical disabilities, is at least wanting in consistency. Louis' mental equipment was less than mediocre; he was ignorant of the commonest facts of history, and fell into the grossest blunders in public. Like all small-minded men, he was jealous of superior merit and preferred mediocrity rather than genius in his ministers. Small wonder that his reign ended in shame and disaster.

On the 6th of June 1662, the young Louis, notwithstanding much public misery consequent on two years of bad harvests, organised a magnificent carrousel (tilting) in the garden that fronted the Tuileries. Five companies of nobles, each led by the king or one of the princes, were apparelled in gorgeous costumes as Romans, Persians, Turks, Armenians and Indians. Louis, who arrayed as emperor, led the Romans, was followed by a superb train of many squires, twenty-four pages, fifty horses each led by two grooms, and fifty footmen dressed as lictors, carrying gilded fasces. The royal princes headed similar processions. So great was the display of jewels that all the precious stones in the world seemed brought together; so richly were the costumes of the knights and the trappings of the horses embroidered with gold and silver that the cloth beneath could barely be seen. An immense amphitheatre afforded seats for a multitude of spectators, and in a smaller pavilion, richly gilded, sat the two queens of France, the queen of England, and the royal princesses. The first day was spent in tilting at Medusa heads and heads of Moors: the second at rings. The king is[Pg 226] said to have greatly distinguished himself by his skill. Maria Theresa, his young queen, distributed the prizes, and the garden was afterwards named the Place du Carrousel.

Louis, however, hated Paris, for his forced exile and the humiliations of the Fronde rankled in his memory. Nor were the associations of St. Germain any more pleasant. A lover of the chase and all too prone to fall into the snares of "fair, fallacious looks and venerial trains," the retirement of his father's hunting lodge at Versailles, away from the prying eyes and mocking tongues of the Parisians, early attracted him. There he was wont to meet his mistress, Madame de la Vallière, and there he determined to erect a vast pleasure-palace and gardens. The small château, built by Lemercier in the early half of the seventeenth century, was handed over to Levau in 1668, who, carefully respecting his predecessor's work in the Cour de Marbre, constructed two immense wings, which were added to by J.H. Mansard, as the requirements of the court grew. The palace stood in the midst of a barren, sandy plain, but Louis' pride demanded that Nature herself should bend to his will, and an army of artists, engineers and gardeners was concentrated there, who at the sacrifice of incredible wealth and energy, had so far advanced the work that the king was able to come into residence in 1682.

In spite of seas of reservoirs fed by costly hydraulic machinery at Marly, which lifted the waters of the Seine to an aqueduct that led to Versailles, the supply was deemed inadequate, and orders were given to divert the river Eure between Chartres and Maintenon to the gardens of the palace. For years an army of thirty thousand men was employed in this one task, at a cost of money and human life greater than that of many a campaign. So heavy was the mortality in the camp that[Pg 227] it was forbidden to speak of the sick, and above all of the dead, who were carried away in cartloads by night for burial. All that remains of this cruel folly are a few ruins at Maintenon.

After the failure of this scheme, subterranean water-courses were contrived. The plaisir du roi must be sated at any cost, and at length a magnificent garden was created, filled with a population of statues and adorned with gigantic fountains. Soon however, the king tired of the bustle and noise of Versailles, and a miserable and swampy site at Marly, the haunt of toads and serpents and creeping things, was transformed into a splendid hermitage. Hills were levelled, great trees brought from Compiègne, most of which soon died and were as quickly replaced; fish-ponds, adorned by exquisite paintings, were made and unmade; woods were metamorphosed into lakes, where the king and a select company of courtiers disported themselves in gondolas and where cascades refreshed their ears in summer heat; precious paintings, statues and costly furniture charmed the eye inside the hermitage—and all to receive the king and his intimates from Wednesday to Saturday on a few occasions in the year. St. Simon with passionate exaggeration declares that Marly cost more than Versailles.[142] Nothing remains to-day of all this splendour: it was neglected by Louis' successors and sold in lots during the Revolution.

After a life of wanton licentiousness, Louis, at the age of forty, was captivated by the mature charms of a widow of forty-three, a colonial adventuress of noble descent, who after the death of her husband, the crippled comic poet Scarron, became governess to the king's children by Madame de Montespan. Soon after[Pg 228] the death of Maria Theresa, the widow Scarron, known to history as Madame de Maintenon, was secretly married to her royal lover, who for the remainder of his life remained her docile slave.

A narrow bigot in matters of religion and completely under the influence of fanatics, Madame de Maintenon persuaded Louis that a crusade against heresy would be a fitting atonement for his past sins. By the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 22nd October 1685, the charter of Protestant liberties was destroyed, and those who had given five out of ten marshals to France, including the great Turenne, were denied the right of civil existence. Whole cities were depopulated; tens of thousands (for the Huguenots had long ceased to exist as a political force) of law-abiding citizens expatriated themselves and carried their industries to enrich foreign lands.[143] Many pastors were martyred, and drummers stationed at the foot of the scaffold drowned their exhortations. Let us not say persecution is ineffective; the Huguenots who at one time threatened to turn the scale in favour of the Protestant powers and to wreck the Catholic cause in Europe, practically disappear from history. On the whole, the measure was approved by Paris; Racine, La Fontaine, the great Jansenist Arnault, as well as Bossuet and Massillon, applauded. Louis was hailed a second Constantine, and believed he had revived the times of the apostles. But the consequences were far-reaching and disastrous. In less than two months the Catholic James II. of England was a discrowned fugitive, and the Calvinist William of Orange, the inveterate enemy of France, sat in his place; England's pensioned neutrality was turned to bitter hostility, and every Protestant power[Pg 229] in Europe stirred to fierce resentment. Seven years of war ensued, which exhausted the immense resources of France; seven years,[144] rich in glory perhaps, but lean years indeed to the dumb millions who paid the cost in blood and money.

After three short years of peace and recuperation, the acceptance of the crown of Spain by Louis' grandson, Philip of Anjou, in spite of Maria Theresa's solemn renunciation for herself and her posterity of all claim to the Spanish succession, roused all the old jealousy of France and brought her secular enemy, the House of Austria, to a new coalition against her.

Woe to the nation whose king is thrall to women. The manner in which this momentous step was taken is characteristic of Louis. Two councils were held in Madame de Maintenon's room at Versailles; her advice was asked by the king, and apparently turned the scale in favour of acceptance. "For a hundred years," says Taine, "from 1672 to 1774, every time a king of France made war it was by pique or vanity, by family or private interest, or by condescension to a woman." Still more amazing is the fact that, for years, the court of Madrid was ruled by a Frenchwoman, Madame des Ursins, the camarera mayor of Philip's queen, who made and unmade ministers, controlled all public appointments, and even persuaded the French ambassador to submit all despatches to her before sending them to France. Madame de Maintenon was equally omnipotent at Versailles; she decided what letters should or should not be shown to the king, kept back disagreeable news, and held everybody in the hollow of her hand, from humblest subject to most exalted minister. This was the atmosphere from which men were sent to[Pg 230] meet the new and more potent combination of States that opposed the Spanish succession. Chamillart, a pitiful creature of Madame de Maintenon's, sat in Colbert's place; gone were Turenne and Condé and Luxembourg; the armies of the descendant of St. Louis were led by the Duke of Vendôme, a foul lecher, whose inhuman vices went far to justify the gibe of Mephistopheles that men use their reason "um thierischer als jedes Thier zu sein."

The victories of the Duke of Marlborough and of Prince Eugene spread consternation at Versailles. When, in 1704, the news of Blenheim oozed out, the king's grief was piteous to see. Scarce a noble family but had one of its members killed, wounded, or a prisoner. Two years later came the defeat of Ramillies, to be followed in three months by the disaster at Turin. The balls and masquerades and play at Marly went merrily on; but at news of the defeat of Oudenarde and the fall of Lille, even the reckless courtiers were subdued, and for a month gambling and even conversation ceased. At the sound of an approaching horseman they ran hither and thither, with fear painted on their cheeks. Wildest schemes for raising money were tried; taxes were levied on baptisms and marriages; sums raised for the relief of the poor and the maintenance of highways were expropriated, and the wretched peasants were forced to repair the roads without payment, some dying of starvation at their work. King and courtiers, with ill-grace, sent their plate to the mint and a plan for the recapture of Lille was mooted, in which Louis was to take part, but, for lack of money, the king's ladies were not to accompany him to the seat of war as they had hitherto done.[145] The expedition[Pg 231] was to remain a secret; but the infatuated Louis could withhold nothing from Madame de Maintenon, who never rested until she had foiled the whole scheme and disgraced Chamillart, for having concealed the preparations from her.

Versailles had now grown so accustomed to defeats that Malplaquet was hailed as half a victory; but, in 1710, so desperate was the condition of the treasury, that a financial and social débâcle was imminent. The Dauphin, on leaving the opera at Paris, had been assailed by crowds of women shouting, "Bread! bread!" and only escaped by throwing them money and promises. To appease the people, the poor were set to level the boulevard near St. Denis, and were paid in doles of bread—bad bread. Even this failed them one morning, and a woman who made some disturbance was dragged to the pillory by the archers of the watch. An angry mob released her, and proceeded to raid the bakers' shops. The ugly situation was saved only by the firmness and sagacity of the popular Marshal Boufflers. Another turn of the financial screw was now meditated, and, as the taxes had already "drawn all the blood from his subjects, and squeezed out their very marrow," the conscience of the lord of France was troubled. His Jesuit confessor, Le Tellier, promised to consult the Sorbonne, whose learned doctors decided that, since all the wealth of his subjects rightly belonged to the king, he only took what was his own.

Towards the end of the seventeenth century, the quarrel between Jansenists and Jesuits concerning subtle doctrinal differences had grown acute through the publication of Pascal's immortal Lettres Provinciales, and by Quesnel's Réflexions Morales which the Jesuits had succeeded in subjecting to papal condemnation. In 1709, Le Tellier induced his royal penitent to decree[Pg 232] the destruction of one of the two Jansenist establishments, and Port Royal des Champs, between Versailles and Chevreuse, rendered famous by the piety and learning of Arnault, Pascal and Nicolle, was doomed. On the night of 28th October 1709, the convent was surrounded by Gardes Françaises and Suisses, and on the following morning the chief of the police, with a posse of archers of the watch entered, produced a lettre de cachet, and gave the nuns a quarter of an hour to prepare for deportation. The whole of the sisters were then brutally expelled, "comme on enlève les créatures prostituées d'un lieu infâme," says St. Simon, and scattered among other religious houses in all directions. The friends of the buried were bidden to exhume their dead, and all unclaimed bodies were flung into a neighbouring cemetery, where dogs fought for them as for carrion. The church was profaned, all the conventual buildings were razed and sold in lots, not one stone being left on another; the very ground was ploughed up and sown, "not, it is true with salt," adds St. Simon, and that was the only favour shown.

Two years after the scene at Port Royal, amid the heartless gaiety of the court, the Angel of Death was busy in Louis' household. On 14th April 1711, the old king's only lawful son, the Grand Dauphin, expired; on 12th February 1712, the second Dauphiness, the sweet and gentle Adelaide of Savoy, Louis' darling, died of a malignant fever; six days later the Duke of Burgundy, her husband, was struck down; on 8th March, the Duke of Brittany, their eldest child, followed them. Three Dauphins had gone to the vaults of St. Denis in less than a year; mother, father, son, had died in twenty-four days—a sweep of Death's scythe, enough to touch even the hearts of courtiers. In a few days the king gave orders for the usual play[Pg 233] to begin at Marly, and the dice rattled while the bodies of the Dauphin and Dauphiness lay yet unburied.

In May 1714, the Duke of Berri, son of the Grand Dauphin, died, and the sole direct heir to the throne was now the king's great-grandson, the Duke of Anjou, a sickly child of five years. On September 1715, the Grand Monarque made a calm and an edifying end to his long reign of seventy-two years, declaring that he owed no man restitution, and trusted in God's mercy for what he owed to the realm. He called the young child, who was soon to be Louis XV., to his bedside, and apparently without any sense of irony, exhorted him to remember his God, to cherish peace, to avoid extravagance, and study the welfare of his people. After receiving the last sacraments he repeated the prayers for the dying in a firm voice and, calling on God's aid, passed peacefully away. None but his official attendants, his priest and physicians, saw the end: two days before, Madame de Maintenon had retired to St. Cyr.

The demolition of what remained of mediæval Paris proceeded apace during Louis XIV.'s lifetime, and, at his death, the architectural features of its streets were substantially those of the older Paris of to-day. Colbert had taken up the costly legacy of the unfinished Louvre before the petrified banalities of Versailles and Marly had engulfed their millions, and, in 1660, the Hôtel de Bourbon was given over to the housebreakers to make room for the new east wing of the palace. So vigorously did they set to work that when Molière, whose company performed there three days a week in alternation with the Italian opera, came for the usual rehearsal, he found the theatre half demolished. He applied to the king, who granted[Pg 234] him the temporary use of Richelieu's theatre in the Palais Royal, and his first performance there was given on 20th January 1661.

Levau was employed to carry on Lemercier's work on the Louvre, and had succeeded in completing the north wing and the river front in harmony with Lescot's design, when in 1664 Colbert stayed further progress and ordered him to prepare a model in wood of his proposed east wing. Levau was stupefied, for he had elaborated with infinite study a design for this portion of the palace, which he regarded as of supreme importance, and which he hoped would crown his work. He had already laid the foundations and erected the scaffolding when the order came. Levau made his model, and a number of architects were invited to criticise it: they did, and unanimously condemned it. Competitive designs were then exhibited with the model and submitted to Colbert, who took advantage of Poussin's residence at Rome to send them to the great Italian architects for their judgment. The Italians delivered a sweeping and general condemnation, and Poussin advised that Bernini should be employed to design a really noble edifice. Louis was delighted by the suggestion, and the loan of the architect of the great Colonnade of St. Peter's was entreated of the pope by the king's own hand in a letter dated 11th April 1665.

Bernini, in spite of his sixty-eight years, came to Paris, accompanied by his son, where he was treated like a prince, and drew up a scheme of classic grandeur. Levau's work on the east front was destroyed, and in October 1665, Bernini's foundations were begun. The majestic new design, however, ignored the exigencies of existing work and of internal convenience, and gave opportunities for criticisms and intrigue, which Colbert and the French[Pg 235] architects,[146] forgetting for the moment all domestic rivalry, were not slow to make the most of. The offended Italian, three days after the ceremony of laying the foundation stone by the king on the 17th October 1665, left to winter in Rome, promising to return with his wife in the following February. He carried with him a munificent gift of 3000 gold louis and a pension of 12,000 livres for himself and of 1,200 for his son. The pension was paid regularly up to 1674, but the great Bernini was never seen in Paris again.

Among the designs originally submitted to Colbert, and approved by him and Lebrun, was one which had not been sent to Rome. It was the work of an amateur, Claude Perrault, a physician, whose brother, Charles Perrault, was chief clerk in the Office of Works. This was brought forth early in 1667, and a commission, consisting of Levau, Lebrun, Claude Perrault and others, appointed to report on its practicability. Levau promptly produced his own discarded designs, and both were submitted to the king for a final decision on 13th May. Louis was fascinated by the stately classicism of Perrault's design, and this was adopted. "Architecture must be in a bad state," said his rivals, "since it is put in the hands of a physician." Colbert seems, however, to have distrusted Claude's technical powers and on his brother Charles' advice a council of specialists, consisting of Levau, Lebrun, and Claude was appointed under the presidency of Colbert. Charles was made secretary and many were the quarrels between the rival architects over[Pg 236] practical details. Perrault's new wing was found to be seventy-two feet too long, but the sovereign fiat had gone forth, the new east façade was raised and the whole of Levau's river front was masked by a new façade, rendered necessary by the excessive length of Perrault's design. The whole south wing[147] is in consequence much wider than any of the others which enclose the great quadrangle. Poor Levau's end was hastened by vexation and grief. Even to this day the north-east wing of Perrault's façade projects unsymmetrically beyond the line of the north front. The work has been much criticised and much praised. It evoked Fergusson's ecstatic admiration, was extolled by Reynolds and eulogised by another critic as one of the finest pieces of architecture in any age. Strangely enough, neither of these ever saw, nor has anyone yet seen, more than a partial and stunted realisation of Perrault's design, for, as the accompanying reproduction of a drawing by Blondel demonstrates, the famous east front of the Louvre is like a giant buried up to the knees, and the present first-floor windows were an afterthought, their places having been designed as niches to hold statues. The exactitude of Blondel's elevations was finally proved in 1903 by the admirable insight of the present architect of the Louvre, Monsieur G. Redon, who was led to undertake the excavations which brought to light a section of Perrault's decorated basement, by noticing that the windows of the ground floor evidently implied a lower order beneath. This basement, seven and a half metres in depth, now buried, was in Perrault's scheme designed to be exposed by a fosse of some fifteen to twenty metres in width, and the whole elevation and symmetry of the wing would [Pg 237]have immensely gained by the carrying out of his plans.

East Façade Louvre

Portion of the East Façade of the Louvre from Blondel's drawing, showing Perrault's base.
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The construction was, however, interrupted in 1676, owing to the king's abandonment of Paris. Colbert strenuously protested against the neglect of the Louvre, and warned his master not to squander his millions away from Paris and suffer posterity to measure his grandeur by the ell of Versailles. It availed nothing. In 1670, 1,627,293 livres were allotted to the Louvre; in 1672 the sum had fallen to 58,000 livres; in 1676 to 42,082; in 1680 the subsidies practically ceased, and the great palace was utterly neglected until 1754 when Perrault's work was feebly continued by Gabriel and Soufflot.

Two domed churches in the south of Paris—the Val de Grâce and St. Louis of the Invalides—were also erected during Louis XIV.'s lifetime. Among the many vows made by Anne of Austria during her twenty-two years' unfruitful marriage was one made in the sanctuary of the nunnery of the Val de Grâce, to build there a magnificent church to God's glory if she were vouchsafed a Dauphin. At length, on 18th April 1645, the proud queen was able to lead the future king, a boy of seven years, to lay the first stone. The church was designed by F. Mansard on the model of St. Peter's at Rome, and was finished by Lemercier and others.

A refuge had been founded as early as Henry IV.'s reign in an old abbey in the Faubourg St. Marcel, for old and disabled soldiers. Louis XIV., the greatest creator of invalides France had seen, determined in 1670 to extend the foundation, and erect a vast hospital, capable of accommodating his aged, crippled or infirm soldiers. Bruant and J.H. Mansard[148] among[Pg 238] other architects were employed to raise the vast pile of buildings which, when completed, are said to have been capable of housing 7,000 men. A church dedicated to St. Louis was comprehended in the scheme, and, in 1680, a second Église Royale was erected, whose gilded dome is so conspicuous an object in south Paris; the Église Royale, which Mansard designed, was subsequently added to the church of St. Louis, and became its choir. Louis XIV., anticipating Napoleon's maxim that war must support war, raised the funds needed for the foundation by ingeniously requiring all ordinary and extraordinary treasurers of war to retain two deniers[149] on every livre that passed through their hands.

The old city gates of the Tournelle, Poissonnière (or St. Anne), St. Martin, St. Denis, the Temple, St. Jacques, St. Victor, were demolished, and triumphal arches, which still remain, erected to mark the sites of the Portes St. Denis and St. Martin. Another arch, of St. Antoine, was designed to surpass all existing or ancient monuments of the kind, and many volumes were written concerning the language in which the inscription should be composed, but the devouring maw of Versailles had to be filled, and the arch was never completed. The king for whose glory the monument was to be raised, cared so little for it, that he suffered it to be pulled down.

Many new streets[150] were made, and others widened, among them the ill-omened Rue de la Ferronnerie. The northern ramparts were levelled and planted with trees from the Porte St. Antoine in the east to the Porte St. Honoré in the west, and in 1704 it was decided to continue the planting in the south round the [Pg 240] Faubourg St. Germain. The Place Louis le Grand (now Vendôme), and the Place des Victoires were created; the river embankments were renewed and extended, and a fine stone Pont Royal by J.H. Mansard, the most beautiful of the existing bridges of Paris, was built to replace the old wooden structure that led from the St. Germain quarter to the Tuileries. This in its turn had replaced a ferry (bac) established by the Guild of Ferrymen, to transport the stone needed for the construction of the Tuileries, and the street which leads to the bridge still bears the name of the Rue du Bac. The Isle Louviers was acquired by the Ville, and the evil-smelling tanneries and dye-houses that disfigured the banks of the Seine between the Grève and the Châtelet were cleared away; many new fountains embellished the city, and ten new pumps increased the supply of water. The poorer quarters were, however, little changed from their old insanitary condition. A few years later Rousseau, fresh from Turin, was profoundly disappointed by the streets of Paris as he entered the city by the Faubourg St. Marceau. "I had imagined," he writes, "a city as fair as it was great, and of a most imposing aspect, whose superb streets were lined with palaces of marble and of gold. I beheld filthy, evil-smelling, mean streets, ugly houses black with dirt, a general air of uncleanness and of poverty, beggars and carters, old clothes shop and tisane sellers."


River and Pont Royal.
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It is now time to ask what had been done with the magnificent inheritance which the fourteenth Louis had entered upon at the opening of his reign: he left to his successor, a France crushed by an appalling debt of 2,400,000,000 livres; a noblesse and an army in bondage to money-lenders; public officials and fund-holders unpaid, trade paralysed, and the peasants in some provinces so poor that even straw was lacking for[Pg 241] them to lie upon, many crossing the frontiers in search of a less miserable lot. Scarcity of bread made disease rampant at Paris, and as many as 4,500 sick poor were counted at one time in the Hôtel Dieu alone. Louis left a court that "sweated hypocrisy through every pore," and an example of licentious and unclean living and cynical disregard of every moral obligation, which ate like a cancer into the vitals of the aristocracy.[Pg 242]


Paris under the Regency and Louis XV.—The brooding Storm

Under the regency of the profligate Philip of Orleans, a profounder depth was sounded. The vices of Louis' court were at least veiled by a certain regal dignity, and the Grand Monarque was always keenly sensitive, and at times nobly responsive, to any attack upon the honour of France; but under the regent, libertinage and indifference to national honour were flagrant and shameless. The Abbé Dubois, a minister worthy of his prince, was, says St. Simon, "a mean-looking, thin little man, with the face of a ferret, in whom every vice fought for mastery." This creature profaned the seat of Richelieu and Colbert, and rose to fill a cardinal's chair. The revenues of seven abbeys fed his pride and luxury, and his annual income was estimated at 1,534,000 livres, including his bribe from the English Government.

Visitors to Venice whose curiosity may have led them into the church of S. Moisè, will remember to have seen there a monument to a famous Scotchman—John Law. This is the last home of an outlaw, a gambler, and an adventurer, who, by his amazing skill and effrontery, plunged the regency into a vortex of speculation, and for a time controlled the finances of France. He persuaded the regent that by a liberal issue of paper money he might wipe out the accumulated national deficit of 100,000,000 livres, revive trade and industry, and inaugurate a financial millennium. In[Pg 243] 1718 Law's Bank at Paris after a short and brilliant career as a private venture, was converted into the Banque Royale, and by the artful flotation of a gigantic trading speculation called the Mississippi Company, the bank-notes and company shares were so manipulated that the latter were inflated to twenty times their nominal value. The whole city seethed in a ferment of speculation. The offices of the Bank in the Rue Quincampoix were daily besieged by a motley crowd of princes, nobles, fine ladies, courtesans, generals, prelates, priests, bourgeois and servants. A hunchback made a fortune by lending his back as a desk; lacqueys became masters in a day, and a parvenu foot-man, by force of habit, jumped up behind his own carriage in a fit of abstraction. The inevitable catastrophe came at the end of 1719. The Prince of Conti was observed taking away three cartloads of silver in exchange for his paper; a panic ensued, every holder sought to realise, and the colossal fabric came down with a crash, involving thousands of families in ruin and despair. Law, after bravely trying to save the situation and narrowly escaping being torn in pieces, fled to poverty and death at Venice, and the financial state of France was worse than before. Law was not, however, absolutely a quack; there was a seed of good in his famous system of mobilising credit, and the temporary stimulus it gave to trade permanently influenced mercantile practice in Europe.

In 1723, Louis XV. reached his legal majority. The regent became chief minister, and soon paid the penalty of his career of debauchery, leaving as his successor the Duke of Bourbon, degenerate scion of the great Condé and one of the chief speculators in the Mississippi bubble. A perilous lesson had two years before been instilled into the mind of the young Louis. After his recovery from an illness, an immense concourse[Pg 244] of people had assembled at a fête given in the gardens of the Tuileries palace; enormous crowds filled every inch of the Place du Carrousel and the gardens; the windows and even the roofs of the houses were alive with people crying "Vive le roi!" Marshal Villeroi led the little lad of eleven to a window, showed him the sea of exultant faces turned towards him, and exclaimed, "Sire, all this people is yours; all belongs to you. Show yourself to them, and satisfy them; you are the master of all."

The Infanta of Spain, at four years of age, had been betrothed to the young king, and in 1723 was sent to Paris to be educated for her exalted future. She was lodged in the Petite Galerie of the Louvre, over the garden still known as the Garden of the Infanta,[151] and after three years of exile the homesick little maid was returned to Madrid; for Louis' weak health made it imperative that a speedy marriage should be contracted if the succession to the throne were to be assured. The choice finally fell on the daughter of Stanislaus Leczynski, a deposed king of Poland and a pensioner of France. Voltaire relates that the poor discrowned queen was sitting with her daughter Marie in their little room at Wissembourg when the father, bursting in, fell on his knees, crying, "Let us thank God, my child!" "Are you then recalled to Poland?" asked Marie. "Nay, daughter, far better," answered Stanislaus, "you are the queen of France." A magnificent wedding at Fontainebleau exalted gentle, pious Marie from poverty to the richest queendom in Europe; to a life of cruel neglect and almost intolerable insult.

[Pg 245]

The immoral Duke of Bourbon was followed by Cardinal Fleury, and at length France experienced a period of honest administration, which enabled the sorely-tried land to recover some of its wonted elasticity. The Cardinal was, however, dominated by the Jesuits, and both Protestants and Jansenists felt their cruel hand. During the persecution of the Jansenists in 1782 a deacon, named Pâris, died and was canonised by the popular voice. Miracles were said to have been wrought at his sepulchre in the cemetery of St. Médard; fanatics flung themselves down on the tomb and writhed in horrible convulsions. So great was the excitement and disorder that the Archbishop of Paris denounced the miracles as the work of Satan, and the Government ordered the cemetery to be closed. The next morning a profane inscription was found over the entrance to the cemetery: —

"De par le roi défense à Dieu
De faire miracle en ce lieu.

Before Louis sank irrevocably into the slothful indulgence that stained his later years, he was stirred to essay a kingly rôle by Madame de Chateauroux, the youngest of four sisters who had successively been his mistresses. She fired his indolent imagination by appeals to the memory of his glorious ancestors, and the war of the Austrian succession being in progress, Louis set forth with the army of the great Marshal Saxe for Metz, where in August 1744 he was stricken down by a violent fever, and in an access of piety was induced to promise to dismiss his mistress and return to his abused queen. As he lay on the brink of death,[Pg 246] given up by his physicians and prepared for the end by the administration of the last sacraments, a royal phrase admirably adapted to capture the imagination of a gallant people came from his lips. "Remember," he said to Marshal Noailles, "remember that when Louis XIII. was being carried to the grave, the Prince of Condé won a battle for France." The agitation of the Parisians as the king hovered between life and death was indescribable. The churches were thronged with sobbing people praying for his recovery; when the courtiers came with news that he was out of danger they were borne shoulder high in triumph through the streets, and fervent thanksgiving followed in all the churches. People hailed him as Louis le Bien-Aimé; even the callous heart of the king was pierced by their loyalty and he cried, "What have I done to deserve such love?" So easy was it to win the affection of this warm-hearted people.

The brilliant victories of Marshal Saxe, and the consequent Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, brought some years of prosperity. Wealth increased; Paris became more than ever a centre of intellectual splendour and social refinement, where the arts administered to luxurious ease and to the fair frailties of passion. But it was a period of riotous pride and regal licentiousness unparalleled even in the history of France. Louis XIV. at least exacted good breeding and wit in his mistresses: his descendant enslaved himself to the commonest and most abandoned of women. For twenty years the destinies of the people, and the whole patronage of the Government, the right to succeed to the most sacred and exalted offices in the Church, were bartered and intrigued for in the chamber of a harlot and procuress, and under the influence of the Pompadours and the Du Barrys a[Pg 247] crowned roué allowed the state to drift into financial, military and civil[153] disaster.

"Authentic proofs exist," says Taine, "demonstrating that Madame de Pompadour cost Louis XV. a sum equal to about seventy-two millions of present value (£2,880,000)." She would examine the plans of campaign of her marshals in her boudoir, and mark with patches (mouches) the places to be defended or attacked. Such was the mad extravagance of the court that to raise money recourse was had to taxation of the clergy, which the prelates successfully resisted; the old quarrel with the Jansenists was revived, and soon Church and Crown were convulsed by an agitation that shook society to its very base. During the popular ferment the king was attacked in 1757 by a crack-brained fanatic named Damiens, who scratched him with a penknife as he was entering his coach at Versailles. The poor crazy wretch, who at most deserved detention in an asylum, was first subjected to a cruel judicial torture, then taken to the Place de Grève, where he was lacerated with red-hot pincers and, after boiling lead had been poured into the wounds, his quivering body was torn to pieces by four horses, and the fragments burned to ashes.

A few years later the long-suffering Jansenists were avenged with startling severity. The Jesuits, to their honour be it said, shocked by the infamies of the royal seraglio in the Parc aux Cerfs, made use of their ascendency at Court to awaken in the king's mind some sense of decency: they did but add the bitter animosity of Madame de Pompadour to the existing hostility of the Parlement of Paris. Louis, urged by his minister the Duke of Choiseul, and by[Pg 248] the arts of his mistress, abandoned the Jesuits to their enemies: the Parlement suppressed the Society, secularised its members and confiscated its property.

The closing years of the Well-Beloved's reign were years of unmitigated ignominy and disaster. Indian conquests were muddled away, and the gallant Dupleix died broken-hearted and in misery at Paris. Canada was lost. During the Seven Years' War the incapacity and administrative corruption of Madame de Pompadour's favourites made them the laughing-stock of Paris. In 1770 the Duke of Choiseul refused to tolerate the vile Du Barry, whom we may see in Madame Campan's Memoirs sitting on the arm of Louis' chair at a council of state, playing her monkey tricks to amuse the old sultan, snatching sealed orders from his hand and making the royal dotard chase her round the council chamber. She swore to ruin the duke and, aided by a cabal of Jesuit sympathisers and noble intriguers, succeeded in compassing his dismissal. The Parlement of Paris paid for its temerity: it and the whole of the parlements in France were suppressed, and seven hundred magistrates exiled by lettres de cachet. Every patriotic Frenchman now felt the gathering storm. Madame Campan writes that twenty years before the crash came it was common talk in her father's house (he was employed in the Foreign Office) that the old monarchy was rapidly sinking and a great change at hand. Indeed, the writing on the wall was not difficult to read. The learned and virtuous Malesherbes and many another distinguished member of the suppressed parlements warned the king of the dangers menacing the crown, but so sunk was its wearer in sensual stupefaction that he only murmured: "Well, it will last my time," and with his flatterers and strumpets uttered the famous words—"Après nous le déluge." So lost to all sense of honour was Louis, that he defiled his hands[Pg 249] with bribes from tax-farmers who ground the faces of the poor, and became a large shareholder in an infamous syndicate of capitalists that bought up the corn of France in order to export and then import it at enormous profit. This abominable Pacte de Famine created two artificial famines in France; its authors battened on the misery of the people, and for any who lifted their voices against it the Bastille yawned.

In 1768 the poor abused and neglected queen, Marie Leczinska died. The court sank from bad to worse: void now of all dignity, all gaiety, all wit and all elegance, it drifted to its doom. Six years passed, when Louis was smitten by confluent small-pox and a few poor women were left to perform the last offices on the mass of pestiferous corruption that once was the fifteenth Louis of France.[154] None could be found to embalm the corpse, and spirits of wine were poured into the coffin which was carried to St. Denis without pomp and amid the half-suppressed curses of the people. Before the breath had left the body, a noise as of thunder was heard approaching the chamber of the Dauphin and Marie Antoinette: it was the sound of the courtiers hastening to grovel before the new king and queen. Warned that they had now inherited the awful legacy of the French monarchy, they flung themselves in tears on their knees, and exclaimed—"O God, guide and protect us! We are too young to govern."

The degradation of the monarchy during the reign is reflected in the condition of the Louvre. Henry IV.'s great scheme, which Louis XIII. had inherited and furthered, included a colossal equestrian statue, which was to stand on a rocky pedestal in the centre of a new Place,[Pg 250] before the east front of the Louvre, but the regency revoked the scheme, and for thirty years nothing was done. It had even been proposed under the ministry of Cardinal Fleury to pull the whole structure down and sell the site. The neglect of the palace during these years is almost incredible. Perrault's fine façade was hidden by the half-demolished walls of the Hôtels de Longueville, de Villequier, and de Bourbon. The east wing itself was unroofed on the quadrangle side and covered with rotting boarding. Perrault's columns on the outer façade were unchannelled, the capitals unfinished, the portal unsculptured, and the post-office stabled its horses along the whole of the wing from the middle entrance to the north angle. The royal apartments of Anne of Austria in the Petite Galerie were used as stables; so, too, were the halls where now is housed the collection of Renaissance sculpture. The Infanta's garden was a yard where grooms exercised their horses; a colony of poor artists and court attendants were lodged in the upper floors, and over most of the great halls entresols were constructed to increase this kind of accommodation. The building was described as a huge caravanserai, where each one lodged and worked as he chose, and over which might have been placed the legend, "Ici on loge à pied et à cheval." Worse still, an army of squatters, ne'er-do-wells, bankrupts and defaulting debtors took refuge in the wooden sheds left by the contractors, or built others—a miserable gangrene of hovels—against the east façade. Perrault's base had been concealed by rubbish and apparently forgotten. Stove-pipes issued from the broken windows of the upper floors, the beautiful stone-work was blackened by smoke, cracked by frost and soiled by rusting iron clamps; the quadrangle was a chaos of uncut stone, rubbish and filth, in the centre of which, where the king's statue was designed[Pg 251] to stand, the royal architect had built himself a large mansion; a mass of mean houses encumbered the Carrousel, and the almost ruined church of St. Nicholas was a haunt of beggars. Such a grievous eyesore was the building that the provost in 1751 offered, in the name of the citizens, to repair and complete the palace if a part were assigned to them as an Hôtel de Ville. In 1754 Madame de Pompadour's brother, M. de Marigny, had been appointed Commissioner of Works, and Louis was persuaded to authorise the repair and completion of the Louvre. Gabriel being made architect set about his work in 1758 by clearing out the squatters and the accumulated rubbish in the quadrangle, and evicting the occupants of the stables. The ruins of the Hôtels de Longueville, de Villequier, and de Bourbon were demolished and grass plots laid before Perrault's east front, which was restored and for the first time made visible. The west front, giving on the quadrangle, was then repaired and the third floor nearly completed, when funds were exhausted and it was left unroofed. An epigram, put into the mouth of the king of Denmark, who visited Paris in 1768, tersely describes the condition of the palace at this time: —

"J'ai vu le Louvre et son enceinte immense,
Vaste palais qui depuis deux cent ans,
Toujours s'achève et toujours se commence.
356 Deux ouvriers, manœuvres fainéants,
Hâtent très lentement ces riches bâtiments
Et sont payés quand on y pense."[155]

During Louis XVI.'s reign little or nothing was done. Soufflot was making feeble efforts to complete[Pg 252] Perrault's north front when the Revolution came to arrest his work. So lost to reverence and devoid of artistic sentiment were the official architects of this period, that a sacrilege worse than any wrought by revolutionists was perpetrated at the instance of the canons of Notre Dame. Louis XIV. had begun the vandalism by demolishing the beautiful old Gothic high altar and replacing it by a huge, ponderous anachronism in marble, on whose foundation stone, laid in 1699, was placed an inscription to the effect that Louis the Great, son of Louis the Just, having subdued heresy, established the true religion in his realm and ended wars gloriously by land and sea, built the altar to fulfil the vow of his father, and dedicated it to the God of Arms and Master of Peace and Victory under the invocation of the Holy Virgin, patroness and protector of his States. The beautiful fifteenth-century stalls, the choir screen, and many of the fine old Gothic tombs of marble and bronze in the church, the monuments of six centuries, were destroyed. But to the reign of Louis the Well-Beloved was reserved the crowning infamy: in 1741 the glorious old stained-glass windows, rivalling those of Chartres in richness, were destroyed by Levreil and replaced by grisaille with yellow fleur-de-lys ornamentation. Happily the destruction of the rose windows was deemed too expensive, and they escaped. The famous colossal statue of St. Christopher, the equestrian monument of Philip le Bel, and a popular statue of the Virgin, were broken down by these clerical iconoclasts. In 1771 the canons instructed Soufflot to throw down the pillar of the central porch, with its beautiful statue of Christ, to make room for their processions to enter. The priceless sculpture of the tympanum was cut through to make a loftier and wider entrance, and the whole symmetry of the west front was [Pg 254] grievously destroyed.[156] This hideous architectural deformity remained until a son of the Revolution, Viollet le Duc, restored the portal to its original form. After the havoc wrought at Notre Dame, Soufflot's energies were diverted to the holy mount of St. Genevieve. Louis XV. had attributed his recovery at Metz to the intercession of the saint, and in 1754, when the abbot complained to the king of the almost ruined condition of the abbey church, he found a sympathetic listener. Soufflot and the chapter, who shared the prevalent contempt of Gothic, decided to abandon the venerable old pile, with its millennial associations of the patron saint of Paris, and to build a grand domed classic temple on the abbey lands to the west. Funds for the sacred work were raised by levying a tax on public lotteries. The old church, with the exception of the tower, was finally demolished in 1802, when the rude stone coffin which had held the body of St. Genevieve until it was burnt by revolutionary fanatics, was transferred to St. Étienne du Mont.


South door of Notre Dame.
View larger image

On 6th September 1764, the crypt of the new St. Genevieve being completed, the Well-Beloved laid the first stone of the church. Scarcely was the scaffolding removed after thirteen years of constructive labour, and the expenditure of sixteen millions of livres, when it became necessary to call in Soufflot's pupil Rondelet, to shore up the walls and strengthen the columns which had proved too weak to sustain the weight of the huge cupola. But before the temple was consecrated, the Revolutionists came, and noting its monumental aspect used it with admirable fitness as a Panthéon Français for the remains of their heroes; the[Pg 255] dome designed to cover the relics of St. Genevieve soared over the ashes of Voltaire, Mirabeau, Rousseau and Marat. Thrice has this unlucky fane been the prize of Catholic and Revolutionary reactionaries. In 1806 Napoleon I. restored it to Christian worship; in 1822 the famous inscription—"Aux grands Hommes la Patrie reconnaissante" was removed by Louis XVIII., and replaced by a dedication to God and St. Genevieve; in 1830 Louis Philippe, the citizen king, transferred it to secular and monumental uses, and restored the former inscription; in 1851 the perjured Prince-President Napoleon, while the streets of Paris were yet red with the blood of his victims, again surrendered it to the Catholic Church; in 1885 it was reconverted to a national Walhalla for the reception of Victor Hugo's remains.

The pseudo-classic church of St. Sulpice, begun in 1665 and not completed until 1777, is a monument of the degraded taste of this unhappy time. At least three architects, Gamart, Levau and the Italian Servandoni, are responsible for this monstrous pile, whose towers have been aptly compared by Victor Hugo to two huge clarionets. The building has, however, a certain puissante laideur, as Michelet said of Danton, and is imposing from its very mass, but it is dull and heavy and devoid of all charm and imagination. Nothing exemplifies more strikingly the mutation of taste that has taken place since the eighteenth century than the fact that this church is the only one mentioned by Gibbon in the portion of his autobiography which refers to his first visit to Paris, where it is distinguished as "one of the noblest structures in Paris."[Pg 256]


Louis XVI.—The Great Revolution—Fall of the Monarchy

Crowned vice was now succeeded by crowned folly. The grandson of Louis XV., a well-meaning but weak and foolish youth, and his thoughtless, pleasure-loving queen, were confronted by state problems that would have taxed the genius of a Richelieu in the maturity of his powers. Injustice, misery, oppression, discontent, were clamant and almost universal; taxes had doubled since the death of Louis XIV.; there were 30,000 beggars in Paris alone, and from 720,000 in 1700 the population had in 1784 decreased to 620,000. The penal code was of inhuman ferocity; law was complicated, ruinous and partial, and national credit so low that loans could be obtained only against material pledges and at interest five times as great as that paid by England. Wealthy bishops and abbots[157] and clergy, noblesse and royal officials, were wholly exempt from the main incidents of taxation; for personal and land taxes, tithes and forced labour, were exacted from the common people alone. No liberty of worship, nor of thought: Protestants were condemned to the galleys by hundreds; booksellers met the same fate. Authors and books were arbitrarily sent by lettres de cachet to[Pg 257] the Bastille or Vincennes. Yet in spite of all repression, a generation of daring, witty, emancipated thinkers in Paris was elaborating a weapon of scientific, rationalistic and liberal doctrine that cut at the very roots of the old régime. "I care not whether a man is good or bad," says the Deity in Blake's prophetic books, "all I care, is whether he is a wise man or a fool." While France was in travail of the palingenesis of the modern world, the futile king was trifling with his locks and keys and colouring maps, the queen playing at shepherdesses at Trianon or performing before courtiers, officers and equerries the rôles of Rosina in the Barbier de Seville and of Colette in the Devin du Village, the latter composed by the democratic philosopher, whose Contrat Social was to prove the Gospel of the Revolution.[158] Jean Jacques Rousseau, the solitary, self-centred Swiss engraver and musician, has described for us in words that will bear translation how an ineffaceable impression of the sufferings of the people was burnt into his memory, and the fire of an unquenchable hatred of their oppressors was kindled in his breast. Journeying on foot between Paris and Lyons, he was one day diverted from his path by the beauty of the landscape, and wandered about, seeking in vain to discover his way. "At length," he writes, "weary, and dying of thirst and hunger, I entered a peasant's house, not a very attractive one, but the only one I could see. I imagined that here as in Switzerland every inhabitant of easy means would be able to offer hospitality. I entered and begged that I might have dinner by paying for it. The peasant handed me some skim milk and coarse barley bread, saying that was all he had. The milk seemed delicious and I ate the bread, straw and all, but it was not very satisfying to one exhausted by fatigue. The man scrutinised me [Pg 258]and judged by my appetite the truth of the story I had told. Suddenly, after saying that he perceived I was a good, honest youth and not there to spy upon him, he opened a trap door, descended and returned speedily with some good wheaten bread, a ham appetising but rather high, and a bottle of wine which rejoiced my heart more than all the rest. He added a good thick omelette and I enjoyed a dinner such as those alone who travel on foot can know. When it came to paying, his anxiety and fears again seized him; he would have none of my money and pushed it aside, exceedingly troubled, nor could I imagine what he was afraid of. At last he uttered with a shudder the terrible words, commis, rats de cave" ("assessors, cellar rats"). He made me understand that he hid the wine because of the aides,[159] and the bread because of the tailles,[160] and that he would be a ruined man if it were supposed that he was not dying of hunger. That man, although fairly well-off, dared not eat the bread earned by the sweat of his brow, and could only escape ruin by pretending to be as miserable as those he saw around him. I issued forth from that house indignant as well as affected, deploring the lot of that fair land where nature had lavished all her gifts only to become the spoil of barbarous tax-farmers (publicans)." And Voltaire, that implacable avenger of injustice, in verse that rends the heart, has in les Finances, (1775), pictured a peaceful home ruined; its inmates evicted to misery, to the galleys and to death, by the cruel exactions of the royal director of the aides and gabelles, with his sergents de la finance habillés en guerriers. The elder Mirabeau too has told how he saw a bailiff cut off the hand of a peasant woman who had clung to her kitchen utensils when distraint[Pg 259] was made on her poor possessions for dues exacted by the tax-farmers. In 1776 two poor starving wretches were hanged on the gallows of the Place de Grève at Paris for having stolen some bread from a baker's shop.

"But though the gods see clearly, they are slow
In marking when a man, despising them,
Turns from their worship to the scorn of fools."

Half a century had elapsed since that meal in the peasant's house when the Nemesis that holds sleepless vigil over the affairs of men stirred her pinions and, like a strong angel with glittering sword, prepared to avenge the wrongs of a people whose rulers had outraged every law, human and divine, by which human society is held together. King, nobles, and prelates had a supreme and an awful choice. They might have led and controlled the Revolution; they chose to oppose it, and were broken into shivers as a potter's vessel.

After the memorable cannonade at Valmy, a knot of defeated German officers gathered in rain and wind moodily around the circle where they durst not kindle the usual camp-fire. In the morning the army had talked of nothing but spitting and devouring the whole French nation: in the evening everyone went about alone; nobody looked at his neighbour, or if he did, it was but to curse and swear. "At last," says Goethe, "I was called upon to speak, for I had been wont to enliven and amuse the troop with short sayings. This time I said, 'From this day forth, and from this place, a new era begins in the history of the world and you can all say that you were present at its birth.'" This is not the place to write the story of the French Revolution. Those who would read the tremendous drama may be referred to the pages of Carlyle. As a[Pg 260] formal history, that work of transcendent genius is open to criticism, especially on the score of accuracy in detail. Indeed to the present writer the magnificent and solemn prosody seems to partake of the nature of a Greek chorus—the comment of an idealised spectator, assuming that the hearer has the drama unfolding before his eyes. Recent researches have supplemented and modified our knowledge. It is no longer possible to accept the more revolting representations of the misery[161] of the French peasantry as true of the whole of France, for France before the Revolution was an assemblage of many provinces of varying social conditions, subjected to varying administrative laws. Nor can we accept Carlyle's portraiture of Robespierre as history, after Louis Blanc's great work. So far from Robespierre having been the bloodthirsty protagonist of the later Terror, it was precisely his determination to make an end of the more savage excesses of the extreme Terrorists and to chastise their more furious pro-consuls, such as Carrier and Fouché, that brought about his ruin. It was men like Collot d'Herbois, Billaud Varenne and Barrère, the bloodiest of the Terrorists, who, to save their own heads, united to cast the odium of the later excesses on Robespierre, and to overthrow him.[162] The Thermidorians had no intention of staying the Terror and the actual consequences of their success were wholly unexpected by them. But whatever defects there be in Carlyle, his readers will at least understand the significance of the Revolution, and why it is that the terrible, but temporary excesses which[Pg 261] stained its progress have been so unduly magnified by reactionary politicians, while the cruelties of the White Terror[163] are passed by.

Camille Desmoulins has described in his Memoirs how on 11th July he was lifted on the famous table, known as the tripod of the Revolution, in front of the Café Foy, in the garden of the Palais Royal, and delivered that short but pregnant oration which preceded the capture of the Bastille on the 14th, warning the people that a St. Bartholomew of patriots was contemplated, and that the Swiss and German troops in the Champ de Mars were ready for the butchery. As the crowd rushed to the Hôtel de Ville, shouting "To arms!" they were charged by the Prince de Lambesc at the head of a German regiment, and the first blood of the Revolution in Paris was shed.

The Bastille, like the monarchy, was the victim of its past sins. That grisly fortress, long useless as a defence of Paris, with the jaws of its rusty cannon opening on the most populous quarter of the city to overawe sedition, and its sinister memories of the Man in the Iron Mask,[164] symbolised in the popular mind all that was hateful in the old régime, though it had long ceased to be more than occasionally used as a state prison. If we would restore its aspect we must imagine the houses at the ends of the Rue St. Antoine and the Boulevard Henri IV. away and the huge mass[Pg 262] erect on their site and on the lines marked in white stone on the present Place de la Bastille. A great portal, always open by day, yawned on the Rue St. Antoine opposite the Rue des Tournelles and gave access to the first quadrangle which was lined with shops and the houses of the personnel of the prison: then came a second gate, with entrances for carriages and for foot passengers, each with its drawbridge. Beyond these a second quadrangle was entered, to the right of which stood the Governor's house and an armoury. Another double portal to the left gave entrance across the old fosse once fed by the waters of the Seine, to the prison fortress itself, with its eight tall blackened towers, each divided into five floors, and its crenelated ramparts.

The Bastille, which in the time of the English rule, had seen as its captains the Duke of Exeter, Falstaff, and invincible Talbot, was first used in Richelieu's time as a permanent state prison, and filled under Louis XIV. with Jansenists and Protestants, who were thus separated from the prisoners of the common jails; and, later, under Louis XV. by a whole population of obnoxious pamphleteers and champions of philosophy. Books as well as their authors were incarcerated, and released when considered no longer dangerous; the tomes of famous Encyclopédie spent some years there. From the middle of the eighteenth century the horrible, dark and damp dungeons, half underground and sometimes flooded, formerly inhabited by the lowest type of criminals, were reserved as temporary cells for insubordinate prisoners, and since the accession of Louis XIV. they were no more used. The Bastille during the reigns of the three later Louis was the most comfortable prison in Paris, and detention there rather than in the other prisons was often sought for and granted as a favour; the prisoners might furnish their[Pg 263] rooms, and have their own libraries and food. In the middle of the seventeenth century, certain rooms were furnished at the king's expense for those who were without means. The rooms were warmed, the prisoners well fed, and sums varying from three to thirty-five francs per day, according to condition,[165] were allotted for their maintenance. A considerable amount of personal liberty was allowed to many and indemnities were in later years paid to those who had been unjustly detained. But a prison where men are confined indefinitely without trial and at a king's arbitrary pleasure is none the less intolerable, however its horrors be mitigated. Prisoners were sometimes forgotten, and letters are extant from Louvois and other ministers, asking the governor to report how many years certain prisoners had been detained, and if he remembered what they were charged with. In Louis XIV.'s reign 2228 persons were incarcerated there; in Louis XV.'s, 2567. From the accession of Louis XVI. to the destruction of the prison the number had fallen to 289. Seven were found there when the fortress was captured, the remainder having been transferred to Vincennes and other prisons by the governor who had some fears of treachery within but none of danger from without. Four were accused of forgery, two insane; one, the Count of Solages, accused of a monstrous crime, was detained there to spare the feelings of his family. So unexpected was the attack, that although well furnished with means of defence, the governor had less than twenty-four hours' provisions in hand when the assault began.

The Bastille, some time before its fall, was already under sentence of demolition, and various schemes for[Pg 264] its disposal were before the court. One project was to destroy seven of the towers, leaving the eighth standing in a dilapidated state. On the site of the seven, a pedestal formed of chains and bolts from the dungeons and gates was to bear a statue of Louis XVI. in the attitude of a liberator, pointing with outstretched hand towards the remaining tower in ruins. But Louis XVI. was always too late, and the Place de la Bastille, with its column raised to those who fell in the Revolution of July, 1830, now recalls the second and final triumph of the people over the Bourbon kings. Some stones of the Bastille were, however, "in order that they might be trodden under foot by the people for ever," built into the new Pont Louis Seize, subsequently called Pont de la Révolution and now known as Pont de la Concorde; others were sold to speculators and were retailed at prices so high that people complained that Bastille stones were as dear as the best butcher's meat. Models of the Bastille, dominoes, inkstands, boxes and toys of all kinds were made of the material and had a ready sale all over France.

Far to the west and on the opposite side of the Seine is the immense area of the Champ de Mars, where, on the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, was enacted the fairest scene of the Revolution. The whole population of Paris, with their marvellous instinct of order and co-operation, spontaneously set to work to dig the vast amphitheatre which was to accommodate the 100,000 representatives of France, and 400,000 spectators, all united in an outburst of fraternal love and hope to swear allegiance to the new Constitution before the altar of the Fatherland. The king had not yet lost the affection of his people. As he came to view the marvellous scene an improvised bodyguard of excavators, bearing spades, escorted him[Pg 265] about. When he was swearing the oath to the Constitution, the queen, standing on a balcony of the École militaire, lifted up the dauphin as if to associate him in his father's pledge. Suddenly the rain which had marred the great festival ceased, the sun burst forth and flooded in a splendour of light, the altar, Bishop Talleyrand, his four hundred clergy, and the king with upraised hand. The solemn music of the Te Deum mingled with the wild pæan of joy and enthusiasm that burst from half a million throats.

The unconscionable folly, the feeble-minded vacillation and miserable trickery by which this magnificent popularity was muddled away is one of the saddest tragedies in the stories of kings. It is clear from Sir S. Romilly's letters that after the acceptance of the Constitution, Louis was popular among all classes. But the people, with unerring instinct, had fixed on the queen as one of the chief obstacles to what might have been a peaceful revolution. Neither Marie Antoinette nor Louis Capet comprehended the tremendous significance of the forces they were playing with—the resolute and invincible determination of a people of twenty-six millions to emancipate itself from the accumulated wrongs of centuries. "Eh bien! factieux," said Marie to the Commissioners from the Assembly after the return from Varennes, "vous triomphez encore!" The despatches and opinions of American ambassadors during this period are of much value. The democratic Thomas Jefferson, reviewing in later years the course of events, declared that had there been no queen there would have been no revolution. Governor Morris, whose anti-revolutionary and conservative leanings made him the friend and confidant of the royal family, writes to Washington on January 1790: "If only the reigning prince were not the small-beer character he is, and even only tolerably[Pg 266] watchful of events, he would regain his authority," but "what would you have," he continues scornfully "from a creature who, in his situation, eats, drinks, and sleeps well, and laughs, and is as merry a grig as lives. He must float along on the current of events and is absolutely a cypher." Nor would the court forego its crooked ways. "The queen is even more imprudent," Morris writes in 1791, "and the whole court is given up to petty intrigues worthy only of footmen and chambermaids." Moreover, in its amazing ineptitude, the monarchy had already toyed with republicanism by lending active military support to the revolutionists in America, at a cost to the already over-burdened treasury of 1,200,000,000 livres.

The American ambassador, Benjamin Franklin, was crowned at court with laurel as the apostle of liberty, and in the very palace of Versailles, medallions of Franklin were sold, bearing the inscription: "Eripui coelo fulmen sceptrumque tyrannis" ("I have snatched the lightning from heaven and the sceptre from tyrants"). The revolutionary song, Ça ira, owes its origin to Franklin's invariable response to inquiries as to the progress of the American revolutionary movement.[166] There was explosive material enough in France to make playing with celestial fire perilous, and while the political atmosphere was heavy with the threatening storm, thousands of French soldiers returned saturated with enthusiasm and sympathy for the American revolution. Already before the Feast of the Federation[Pg 267] the queen had been in secret correspondence with the émigrés at Turin and at Coblenz who were conspiring to throttle the nascent liberty of France. Madame Campan relates that the queen made her read a confidential letter from the Empress Catherine of Russia, concluding with these words: "Kings ought to proceed in their career undisturbed by the cries of the people as the moon pursues her course unimpeded by the howling of dogs." Mirabeau was already in the pay of the monarchy; and attempts were made to buy over Robespierre, who up to 10th August was an avowed defender of the Constitution, by an offer of the emoluments and the nominal post of tutor to the dauphin in return for his support of the royal cause.

As early as December 1790 the court had been in secret communication with the foreigner. Louis' brother, the Count of Artois (afterwards Charles X.), with the queen's and king's approval, had made a secret treaty with the House of Hapsburg, the hereditary enemy of France, by which the sovereigns of Austria, Prussia and Spain agreed to cross the frontier at a given signal, and close on France with an army a hundred thousand strong. It was an act of impious treachery, and the beginning of the doom of the French Monarchy. Yet if but some glimmer of intelligence and courage had characterised the preparations for the flight of the royal family to join the armed forces waiting to receive them near the frontier, their lives at least had been saved.

The incidents of the four months' "secret" preparations to leave the Tuileries as described by Madame Campan—the disguised purchases of elaborate wardrobes of underlinen and gowns; the making of a dressing-case of enormous size, fitted with many and various articles from a warming-pan to a silver[Pg 268] porringer; the packing of the diamonds—read like scenes in a comedy. The story of the pretended flight of the Russian baroness and her family; the start delayed by the queen losing her way in the slums of the Carrousel; the colossal folly of the whole business has been told by Carlyle in one of the most dramatic chapters in history.

The Assembly declared on hearing of Louis' flight, that the government of the country was unaffected and that the executive power remained in the hands of the ministers. After voting a levy of three hundred thousand National Guards to meet the threatened invasion, they passed calmly to the discussion of the new Penal Code.

The king returned to Paris through an immense and silent multitude. "Whoever applauds the king," said placards in the street, "shall be thrashed; whoever insults him, hung." The idea of a republic as a practical issue of the situation was now for the first time put forward by the extremists, but met with little sympathy, and a Republican demonstration in the Champ de Mars was suppressed by the Assembly by martial law at the cost of many lives. Owing to the aversion felt by Marie Antoinette to Lafayette, who with affectionate loyalty more than once had risked his popularity and life to serve the crown, the court made the fatal mistake of opposing his election to the mayoralty of Paris and paved the way for the triumph of Pétion and of the Dantonists.

At the news of the first victories of the invading Prussians and émigrés, Louis added to his amazing tale of follies by vetoing the formation of a camp near Paris and by turning a deaf ear to the earnest entreaties of the brave and sagacious Dumouriez and accepting his resignation. He sent a secret agent with confidential instructions to the émigrés and the coalesced foreign[Pg 269] armies: the ill-starred proclamation[167] of the Duke of Brunswick completed the destruction of the monarchy. While the French were smarting under defeat and stung by the knowledge that their natural defender, the king, was leagued with their enemies, this foreign soldier warned a high-spirited and gallant nation that he was come to restore Louis XVI. to his authority, and threatened to treat as rebellious any town that opposed his march, to shoot all persons taken with arms in their hands, and in the event of any insult being offered to the royal family to take exemplary and memorable vengeance by delivering up the city of Paris to military execution and complete demolition. When the proclamation reached Paris at the end of July 1792, it sounded the death knell of the king and the triumph of the Republicans. Paris was now to become, in Goethe's phrase, the centre of the "world whirlwind"—a storm centre launching forth thunderbolts of terror. After the Assembly had twice refused to bring the king to trial, the extremists were able to organise and direct an irresistible wave of popular indignation towards the Tuileries, and on 10th August the palace was stormed. While a band of brave and devoted Swiss guards was being cut to pieces in hundreds, the feeble and futile king had fled to the Assembly and was sitting safely with his wife and children in a box behind the president's chair.

No room for compromise now. The printed trial of Charles I. was everywhere sold and read. "This," people said, "was how the English dealt with an impossible king and became a free nation." Old and new were in death-grapple, and the lives of many[Pg 270] victims, for the people lost heavily,[168] had sealed the cause of the Revolution with a bloody consecration. Unhappily, the city of Paris, like all great towns in times of scarcity (and since 1780 scarcity had become almost permanent), had been invaded by numbers of starving vagabonds—the dregs that always rise to the surface in periods of political convulsion, ready for any villainy. When news came of the capture of Verdun, of the indecent joy of the courtiers, and that the road to Paris was open to the avenging army of Prussians, the horrors of the Armagnac massacres were renewed during four September days at the prisons of Paris, while the revolutionary ministry and the Assembly averted their gaze and, to their everlasting shame, abdicated their powers. The September massacres were the application by a minority of desperate and savage revolutionists of the ultima ratio of kings to a desperate situation: the tragedy of King Louis is the tragedy of a feeble prince called to rule in a tremendous crisis, where weakness and well-meaning folly are the fatalest of crimes.

On 21st September 1792 royalty was formally abolished, and on the 22nd, when "the equinoctional sun marked the equality of day and night in the heavens," civil equality was proclaimed at Paris.[Pg 271]


Execution of the King—Paris under the First Republic—the Terror—Napoleon—Revolutionary and Modern Paris

An inscription opposite No. 230 Rue de Rivoli indicates the site of the old Salle du Manége, or Riding School,[169] of the Tuileries, where the destinies of modern France were debated. Three Assemblies—the Constituent, the Legislative and the prodigious National Convention—filled its long, poorly-furnished amphitheatre, decorated with the tattered flags captured from the Prussians and Austrians, from 7th November 1789 to 9th May 1793.

There, on Wednesday, 16th January 1793, began the solemn judgment of Louis XVI. by 721 representatives of the people of France. The sitting opened at ten o'clock in the morning, but not till eight in the evening did the procession of deputies begin, as the roll was called, to ascend the tribune, and utter their word of doom. All that long winter's night, and all the ensuing short winter's day, the fate of a king trembled in the balance, as the judgment: death—banishment:[Pg 272] banishment—death, with awful alternation echoed through the hall. Amid the speeches of the deputies was heard the chatter of fashionable women in the boxes, pricking with pins on cards the votes for and against death, and eating ices and oranges brought to them by friendly deputies. Above, in the public tribunes, sat women of the people, greeting the words of the deputies with coarse gibes. Betting went on outside. At every entrance, cries, hoarse and shrill, were heard of hawkers selling "The Trial of Charles I." Time-serving Philip Egalité, Duke of Orleans, voted la mort, but failed to save his skin. An Englishman was there—Thomas Paine, author of the Rights of Man and deputy for Calais. His voice was raised for clemency, for temporary detention, and banishment after the peace. "My vote is that of Paine," cried a member, "his authority is final for me." One deputy was carried from a sick-bed to cast his vote in the scale of mercy; others slumbering on the benches were awakened and gave their votes of death between two yawns. At length, by eight o'clock on the evening of the 17th, exactly twenty-four hours after the voting began, the President rose to read the result. A most august and terrible silence reigned in the Assembly as President Vergniaud rose and pronounced the sentence "Death" in the name of the French nation. The details of the voting as given in the Journal de Perlet, 18th January 1793, are as follows: "Of the 745 members one had died, six were sick, two absent without cause, eleven absent on commission, four abstained from voting. The absolute majority was therefore 361. Three hundred and sixty-six voted for death, three hundred and nineteen for detention and banishment, two for the galleys, twenty-four for death with various reservations, eight for death with stay of execution until after the peace, two for delay with[Pg 273] power of commutation." Three Protestant ministers and eighteen Catholic priests voted for death. Louis' defenders were there and asked to be heard; they were admitted to the honours of the sitting. At eleven o'clock the weary business of thirty-seven hours was ended, only, however, to be resumed the next morning, for yet another vote must decide between delay or summary execution. Again the voice of Paine was heard pleading for mercy, but without avail. At three o'clock on Sunday morning the final voting was over. Six hundred and ninety members were present, of whom three hundred and eighty voted for death within twenty-four hours.

To the guillotine on the fatal Place de la Révolution, formerly Place Louis XV., the very scene of a terrible panic at his wedding festivities which cost the lives of hundreds of sightseers, the sixteenth Louis of France was led on the morning of 21st January 1793. As he turned to address the people, Santerre ordered the drums to beat—it was the echo of the drums reverberating through history which had smothered the cries of the Protestant martyrs sent to the scaffold by the fourteenth Louis a century before. This was the beginning of that année terrible, into which was crowded the most stupendous struggle in modern history. Threatened by the monarchies of Europe, united to crush the Revolution, France, in the tremendous words of Danton, flung to the coalesced kings, the head of a king as a gage of battle. A colossal energy, an unquenchable devotion were evoked by the supreme crisis, and directed by a committee of nine inexperienced young civilians, sitting in a room of the Tuileries at Paris, to whom later Carnot, an engineer officer, was added. "The whole Republic," they proclaimed, "is a great besieged city: let France be a vast camp. Every age is called to defend the liberty of the Fatherland.[Pg 274] The young men will fight: the married will forge arms. Women will make clothes and tents: children will tear old linen for lint. Old men shall be carried to the market-place to inflame the courage of all." In twenty-four hours, 60,000 men were enrolled; in two months, fourteen armies organised. Saltpetre for powder failed; it was torn from the bowels of the earth. Steel, too, and bronze were lacking: iron railings were transmuted into swords, and church bells and royal statues into cannon. Paris became a vast armourer's shop. Smithy fires in hundreds roared and anvils clanged in the open places—one hundred and forty at the Invalides, fifty-four at the Luxembourg. The women sang as they worked: —

"Cousons, filons, cousons bien,
V'là des habits de notre fabrique
Pour l'hiver qui vient.
Soldats de la Patrie
Vous ne manquerez de rien."[170]

The smiths chanted to the rhythm of their strokes: —

"Forgeons, forgeons, forgeons bien!

On the new standards waving in the breeze ran the legend: "The French people risen against Tyrants." Toulon was in the hands of the English; Lyons in revolt. With enemies in her camp, with one arm tied by the insurrection in La Vendée, the Revolution hurled her ragged and despised sans-culottes,[171] against her enemies. How vain is the wisdom of the great! Burke thought that the Revolution had expunged France in a political sense out of the system of Europe,[Pg 275] and his opinion was shared by every European statesman; but before the year closed, the proud and magnificently accoutred armies of kings were scattered over the borders, civil war was crushed, the Revolution triumphant. Soon the "dwarfish, ragged sans-culottes, the small black-looking Marseillaises dressed in rags of every colour," whom Goethe saw tramping out of Mayence "as if the goblin king had opened his mountains and sent forth his lively host of dwarfs," had forced Prussia, the arch-champion of monarchy, to make peace and leave its Rhine provinces in the hands of regicides. Meanwhile terror reigned in Paris. In the frenzy of mortal strife the Revolution struck out blindly and cut down friend as well as foe; the innocent with the guilty. At least the guillotine fell swiftly and mercifully. Gone were the days of the wheel, the rack, the boiling lead and the stake. Under the ancien régime the torture of accused persons was one of the sights shown to foreigners in Paris. Evelyn, when visiting the city in 1651, was taken to see the torture of an alleged thief in the Châtelet, who was "wracked in an extraordinary manner, so that they severed the fellow's joints in miserable sort." Failing to extort a confession, "they increased the extension and torture, and then placing a horne in his mouth, such as they drench horses with, poured two buckets of water down, so that it prodigiously swelled him." There was another "malefactor" to be dealt with, but the traveller had seen enough, and he leaves, reflecting that it represented to him "the intolerable sufferings which our Blessed Saviour must needs undergo when His body was hanging with all its weight upon the nailes of the Crosse."

Too much prominence has been given by historians to the dramatic and violent activities of the men of '93 to the exclusion of acts of peaceful and constructive statesmanship. The 11,210 decrees issued by the[Pg 276] National Convention in Paris from September '92 to October '95, included a comprehensive and admirable scheme for national education, with provision for free meals in elementary schools and the moral and physical training of the young. It fulminated against the degradation of public monuments, ordered an inventory to be made of all collections of works of art, and decided that the Republic be charged with the maintenance of artists sent to Rome.

It decreed the adoption, began the discussion, and voted the most important articles of the civil code. It inaugurated the telegraph and the decimal system, established the uniformity of weights and measures, the bureau of longitudes, reformed the calendar, instituted the Grand Livre, increased and completed the Museum of Natural History, opened the Museum of the Louvre, created the Conservatoire of the Arts and Crafts, the Conservatoire of Music, the Polytechnic School and the Institute.

The Convention abolished negro slavery in the French colonies, and Wilberforce reminded a hostile House of Commons that infidel and anarchic France had given example to Christian England in the work of emancipation. In 1793 it was reported that the aged Goldoni had been in receipt of a pension from the ancien régime and was now dependent on the slender resources of a compassionate nephew: the Convention at once decreed as an act of justice and beneficence that the pension of 4000 livres should be renewed, and all arrears paid up. This is but one of many acts of grace and succour among its records.

The closing months of '95 were sped with those whiffs of grape-shot from the Pont Royal and the Rue St. Honoré, that shattered the last attempt, this time by the Royalists, at government by insurrection. The Convention closed its stupendous career, and five[Pg 277] Directors of the Republic met in a room furnished with an old table, a sheet of paper and an ink-bottle, and set about organising France for a normal and progressive national life. But Europe had by her fatuous interference with the internal affairs of France sown dragons' teeth indeed and a nation of armed men had sprung forth, nursing hatred of monarchy and habituated to victory. "Eh, bien, mes enfants," cried a French general before an engagement when provisions were wanting to afford a meal for his troops, "we will breakfast after the victory." But militarism invariably ends in autocracy. The author of those whiffs of grape-shot was appointed in 1796 Commander-in-Chief of the army of Italy, and a new and sinister complexion was given to the policy of the Republic. "Soldiers," cries Napoleon, "you are half-starved and almost naked; the Government owes you much but can do nothing for you. Your patience, your courage do you honour, but win for you neither glory nor profit. I am about to lead you into the most fertile plains of the world; you will find there great cities and rich provinces; there you will reap honour, glory and riches. Soldiers of Italy, will you lack courage?" This frank appeal to the baser motives that sway men's minds, this open avowal of a personal ambition, was the beginning of the end of Jacobinism in France. Soon the wealth of Italy streamed into the bare coffers of the Directory at Paris:—20,000,000 of francs from Lombardy, 12,000,000 from Parma and Modena, 35,000,000 from the Papal States, an equally large sum from Tuscany; one hundred finest horses of Lombardy to the five Directors, "to replace the sorry nags that now draw your carriages"; convoys of priceless manuscripts and sculpture and pictures to adorn Parisian galleries. So persistent were these raids on the collections of art in Italy that Napoleon is[Pg 278] known there to this day as il gran ladrone and the chief duty of the new French officials in Italy, said Lucien Bonaparte, was to supervise the packing of pictures and statues for Paris. No less than 5233 of these works of art were confiscated by the Allies in 1815, and returned to their former owners.

In less than a decade the rusty old stage properties and the baubles of monarchy were furbished anew, sacred oil from the little phial of Rheims anointed the brow of a new dynast, and a Roman Pontiff blessed the diadem with which a once poor, pensioned, disaffected Corsican patriot crowned himself lord of France in Notre Dame. The old pomposities of a court came strutting back to their places:—Arch Chancellors, Grand Electors, Constables, Grand Almoners, Grand Chamberlains, Grand Marshals of the Palace, Masters of the Horse, Masters of the Hounds, Madame Mère and a bevy of Imperial Highnesses with their ladies-in-waiting. One thing only was wanting, as a Jacobin bitterly remarked—the million of men who were slain to end all that mummery. The fascinating story of how this amazing transformation was effected cannot be told here. The magician who wrought it was possessed of a soaring imagination, of a mental instrument of incomparable force and efficiency, of an iron will, a prodigious intellectual activity, and a piercing insight into the conditions of material success, rarely, if ever before, united in the same degree in one man. Napoleon Bonaparte was of ancient, patrician Florentine blood, and perchance the descendant of one of those of Fiesole —

"In cui riviva la sementa santa
Di quei Romani che vi rimaser quando
Fu fatto il nido di malizia tanta."[172]

[Pg 279]

He cherished a particular affection for Italy, and, so far as his personal aims allowed, treated her generously. His descent into Lombardy awakened the slumbering sense of Italian nationality. In more senses than one, says Mr. Bolton King the historian of Italian unity, Napoleon was the founder of modern Italy.

The reason of Napoleon's success in France is not far to seek. Two streams of effort are clearly traceable through the Revolution. The earlier thinkers, such as Montesquieu, Voltaire, D'Alembert, Diderot and the Encyclopedists, whose admiration for England was unbounded, aimed at reforming the rotten state of France on the basis of the English parliamentary and monarchical system: it was a middle-class movement for the assertion of its interests in the state and for political freedom. The aim of the Jacobin minority, inspired by the doctrines of the Contrat Social of Rousseau, was to found a democratic state based on the principle of the sovereignty of the people. If the French crown and the monarchies of Europe had allowed the peaceful evolution of national tendencies, the Constitutional reformers would have triumphed, but in their folly they tried to sweep back the tide, with the result we have seen. For when everything is put to the touch, when victory is the price of self-sacrifice, it is the idealist who comes to the front, and as the nineteenth-century prophet Mazzini taught, men will lay down their lives for principles but not for interests.

Let us not forget that it was the Jacobin minority who in the heat and glow of their convictions saved the people of France. Led astray by their old guides, abandoned in a dark and trackless waste, their heads girt with horror, menaced by destruction on every side, the people groped, wandering hither and thither seeking an outlet in vain. At length a voice was heard, confidant, thrilling as a trumpet call; "Lo this is the[Pg 280] way! follow, and ye shall emerge and conquer!" It may not have been the best way, but it was a way and they followed.

It is easy enough to pour scorn on the Contrat Social as a political philosophy, but an ideal, a faith, a dogma are necessary to evoke enthusiasm, the contempt of material things and of death itself. These the Contrat Social gave. It defined with absolute precision the principles latent in the movement of reform that broke up mediævalism. Does power descend from God, its primeval source; or does it ascend, delegated from the people? Once stated, the French mind with its intense lucidity and logicality saw the line of cleavage between old and new—divine right: or sovereignty of the people—and bade all men choose where they would stand. The Contrat Social with its consuming passion for social justice, its ideal of a state founded on the sovereignty of the people, became the gospel of the time. Men and women conned its pages by heart and slept with the book under their pillows. Napoleon himself in his early Jacobin days was saturated with its doctrines, and in later times astutely used its phrases as shibboleths to cloak his acts of despotism. But in that terrible revolutionary decade the Jacobins had spent their lives and their energies. A profound weariness of the long and severe tension, and a yearning for a return to orderly civil life came over men's minds. The masses were still sincerely attached to the Catholic faith: the middle-classes hailed with relief the advent of the strong man who proved himself able to crush faction; the peasants were won by a champion of the Revolution who made impossible the return of the aides, the tailles, the gabelles, and all the iniquitous oppressions of the ancien régime and guaranteed them the possession of the confiscated émigré and ecclesiastical lands; the army idolised the great captain who promised[Pg 281] them glory and profit; the Church rallied to an autocrat who restored the hierarchy. Moreover, the brilliancy of Napoleon's military genius was balanced by an all-embracing political sagacity. The chief administrative decrees of the Convention, especially those relating to education and the civil and penal codes, were welded into form by ceaseless energy. Everything he touched was indeed degraded from the Republican ideal, but he drove things through, imposed his own superhuman activity into his subordinates, and became one of the chief builders of modern France. "The gigantic entered into our very habits of thought," said one of his ministers. But his efforts to maintain the stupendous twenty years' duel with the combined forces of England and the continental monarchies, and his own overweening ambition, broke him at length, and he fell, to fret away his life caged in a lonely island in mid-Atlantic.

The new ideas were none the less revolutionary of social life. The salon, that eminently French institution, soon felt their power. The charming irresponsible gaiety and frivolity of the old régime gave place to more serious preoccupation with political movements. The fusing power of Rousseau's genius had melted all hearts; the solvent wit of Voltaire and the precise science of the Encyclopedists were a potent force even among the courtiers themselves. The centre of social life shifted from Versailles to Paris and the salons gained what the court lost. Fine ladies had the latest pamphlet of Siéyès read to them at their toilette, and maids caught up the new phrases from their mistresses' lips. Did a young gallant enter a salon excusing himself for being late by saying, "I have just been proposing a motion at the club," every fair eye sparkled with interest. A deputy was a social lion, and a box for the National Assembly exchanged for[Pg 282] one at the opera at a premium of six livres. Speeches were rehearsed at the salons and action determined. Chief of the hostesses was Madame[173] Necker: at her crowded receptions might be seen Abbé Siéyès, the architect of Constitutions; Condorcet, the philosopher; Talleyrand, the patriotic bishop; Madame de Staël, with her strong, coarse face and masculine voice and gestures. More intimate were the Tuesday suppers at which a dozen chosen guests held earnest communion. Madame de Beauharnais was noted for her excellent table, and her Tuesday and Thursday dinners: at her rooms the masters of literature and music had been wont to meet. Now came Buffon the naturalist; Bailly of Tennis Court oath fame; Clootz, the friend of humanity. The widow of Helvetius, with her many memories of Franklin, welcomed Volney, author of the Ruins of Empires, and Chamfort, the candid critic of Academicians. At the salon of Madame Pancroute, Barrère, the glib orator of the Revolution, was the chief figure.

Julie Talma was famed for her literary and artistic circle. Here Marie Joseph Chenier, the revolutionary dramatic poet of the Comédie Française, declaimed his couplets. Here came Vergniaud, the eloquent chief of the ill-fated Gironde; Greuze, the painter; Roland, the stern and minatory minister, who spoke bitter words, composed by his wife, to the king; Lavoisier, the chemist, who is said to have begged that the axe might be stayed while he completed some experiments, and was told that the Republic had no lack of chemists. Madame du Deffand, whose hôtel in the Rue des Quatre Fils still exists, welcomed Voltaire, D'Alembert, Montesquieu and the Encyclopedists.

In the street, the great open-air salon of the people,[Pg 283] was a feverish going to and fro. Here were the tub-thumpers of the Revolution holding forth at every public place; the strident voices of ballad-singers at the street corners; hawkers of the latest pamphlets hot from the Quai des Augustins; the sellers of journals crying the Père Duchesne, L'Ami du Peuple, the Jean Bart, the Vieux Cordelier. Crowds gathered round Bassett's famous shop for caricature at the corner of the Rue St. Jacques and the Rue des Mathurins. The walls of Paris were a mass of variegated placards and proclamations. The charming signs of the old régime, the Pomme rouge, the Rose Blanche, the Ami du Cœur, the Gracieuse, the Trois Fleurs-de-lys Couronnées gave place to the "Necker," the "National Assembly," the "Tiers," the "Constitution"—these, too, soon to be effaced by more Republican appellations. For on the abolition of the monarchy and the inauguration of the Religion of Nature, the words "royal" and "saint" disappear from the revolutionary vocabulary. A new calendar is promulgated: streets and squares are renamed: Rues des Droits de l'Homme, de la Révolution, des Piques, de la Loi, efface the old landmarks. We must now say Rue Honoré, not St. Honoré, and Mont Marat for Montmartre. Naturalists had written of the queen bee: away with the hated word! She is now named of all good patriots the abeille pondeuse, the egg-laying bee. In the Punch and Judy shows the gallows gives place to the guillotine. No more emblems on playing cards of king, queen, and knave: allegorical figures of Genius, Liberty and Equality take their places, and since Law alone is above them all, Patriotism, as it flings down its biggest card, shall cry no longer, "Ace of trumps," but "Law of trumps," and "Genius of trumps." Chess terms too were republicanised. Furniture becomes of Spartan simplicity. The people[Pg 284] lie down on patriotic beds and eat and drink from patriotic mugs and platters. Lotteries are abolished, regulations launched against the sale of indecent literature, drawings or paintings; the open following of the profession of Rahab prohibited; bull fights suppressed. Silver buckles are needed by the national war chest: shoes shall now be clasped by patriotic buckles of copper. The monarchial "vous" (you) shall give place to "toi" (thou); and "monsieur" and "madame" to "citoyen" and "citoyenne." The formal subscriptions to letters, "Your humble servant," "Your obedient servant," shall no more recall the old days of class subjection; we write now "Your fellow citizen," "Your friend," "Your equal." Every house bears an inscription, giving the names and ages of the occupants, decorated with patriotic colours of red, white and blue, with figures of the Gallic cock and the bonnet rouge. Over every public building runs the legend, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity or Death"[174]—it is even seen over the cages of the wild beasts at the Jardin des Plantes.

Nowhere did the revolutionary ploughshare cut deeper than among the clergy and the religious orders. Nearly forty monasteries and convents were suppressed in Paris, and strange scenes were those when the troops of monks and friars issued forth to secular life, some crying "Vive Jésus le Roi, et la Révolution," for the new ideas had penetrated even the cloister. The barbers' shops were invaded, and strange figures were seen smoking their pipes along the Boulevards. Some went to the wars; others, especially the Benedictines, appealed for teaching appointments; many faithful to their vows, went forth to poverty, misery, and death.[Pg 285]

The nuns and sisters gave more trouble, and the scenes that attended their expulsion and that of the non-juring clergy burned into the memories of the pious. "What do they take from me?" cried the curé of St. Marguerite in his farewell sermon. "My cure? All that I have is yours, and it is you they despoil. My life? I am eighty-four years of age, and what of life remains to me is not worth the sacrifice of my principles." Descending the pulpit the venerable priest passed through a sobbing congregation to a garret in one of the Faubourgs. There were but few, however, who imitated the dignified protest of the curé of St. Marguerite. Many a pulpit rang with fiery denunciations, which recalled the savage fanaticism of the League. Some of the younger clergy and a few of the bishops were on the side of the early Revolutionists. The Abbé Fouchet was the Peter the Hermit of the crusade for Liberty, and so popular were his sermons in Notre Dame that a seat there fetched twenty-four sous. But the corruption and apostasy of the hierarchy as a whole, and their betrayal of the people, had borne its acrid fruit of popular contempt and hostility, and the fanaticism of the worship of Reason answered the fanaticism of the Cross. In Notre Dame and other churches, which became Temples of Reason, statues of Liberty replaced those of the ci-devant Holy Virgin and every Décadi services were held in honour of Liberty or of the Supreme Being. The Rights of Man, the Constitution, despatches from the armies and new laws were read. Prayers were made to the Supreme Being and Liberty was invoked. Patriotic hymns were sung, virtuous acts in the sections recited and addresses on morality, the domestic virtues and other ethical subjects were given. In some, an orator of morality was appointed. Births, marriages and deaths were announced and—an essential detail—collections were made in aid of[Pg 286] suffering Humanity. A Décadi Ritual[175] was printed with a selection of hymns and prayers to be used in the Temples of Reason. The services were crowded, famous preachers often evoked tears, tracts were published and saints of Liberty were in course of evolution. But less than eight years after Robespierre's solemn Festival of the Être Suprème all the hierarchy of the old religion returned, sixty archbishops and bishops, and an army of priests, and a gorgeous Easter Mass in Notre Dame celebrated the reestablishment of the Catholic faith by Napoleon, the heir of the Revolution.

It is not within the scope of the present work to deal with the later annals of Paris. Superficial students of her modern history have freely charged her with political irresponsibility and fickleness; no charge could be less warranted by facts. For a thousand years her citizens were loyal and faithful subjects of a monarchy, and endured for a century and a half an infliction of misgovernment, oppression and grinding taxation such as probably no other European people would have tolerated. With touching fidelity and indomitable steadfastness they have cherished the principles of the Great Revolution, in whose name they swept the shams and wrongs of the ancien régime away. There is a profounder truth than perhaps Alphonse Karr imagined in his famous epigram, Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Every political upheaval of the nineteenth century in Paris has been at bottom an effort to realise the revolutionary ideals of political freedom and social[Pg 287] equality in the face of external violence or internal corruption and treachery. Twice the hated Bourbons were reimposed on the people of Paris by the bayonets of the foreigner: twice they rose and chased them away. A compromise followed—that of a citizen king, Louis Philippe of Orleans, once a Jacobin doorkeeper and a soldier of the Revolution, who had fought valiantly at Valmy and Jemappes—but he too identified himself with reactionary ministers, and became a fugitive to England, the bourne of deposed kings. The Second Republic which followed grew distrustful of the people and disfranchised at one stroke 3,000,000 citizens: one of the causes of the success of the coup d'état of Napoleon III. was an astute edict which restored universal suffrage.

During the negation of political rectitude and decency which characterised the period of the Second Empire, a little band of Republicans refused to bow the knee to the new pinchbeck Cæsar, "the man," says Freeman, "whose lips uttered the words je le jure and kept the oath by a December massacre." Inspired by Victor Hugo, their fiery poet and seer, whose Châtiments have the passionate intensity of an Isaiah, they braved exile, poverty, calumny and flattery; they "stooped into a dark, tremendous sea of doubt, pressed God's lamp to their breasts and emerged" to witness a sad and bitter day of reckoning, when the corruption and vice of the Second Empire were swallowed up in shame and disaster at Sedan.[176] The Third Republic, with admirable energy and patriotism, rose to save the self-respect of France. The first and Imperial war, up to Sedan, was over in a month; the second national and popular war endured for five months.

Dynastic and ecclesiastical ambition die hard, and the new Republic has had to weather many a storm in[Pg 288] her career of a third of a century. Carducci in a fine poem has imagined Letizia, mother of the Bonapartes, a wandering shade haunting the desolate house at Ajaccio, recalling the tragic fate of her children, and, like a Corsican Niobe, standing on her threshold, fiercely stretching forth her arms to the savage Ocean, calling from America, from Britain, from burning Africa, some one of her hapless progeny to find a haven in her breast. But the assegais of South African savages laid low the last hope of the Imperialists, and it may reasonably be predicted that neither the shades nor the living descendants of Bonaparte or Bourbon will ever trouble again the internal peace of France nor her people be ruled by one "regnant by right divine and luck o' the pillow." Throughout the whole land a profound desire of peace possesses men's minds[177] and a firm determination to effect a material and moral recuperation from the disasters of the Empire.

The beneficent results of the Great Revolution have leavened the whole world. In no small degree may it be said of France that by her stripes we have been healed. With true insight the Revolutionists perceived that national liberty is the one essential element of national progress: —

"When liberty goes out of a place it is not the first to go,
Nor the second or third to go,
It waits for all the rest to go, it is the last."

But the great work is yet incomplete. Political liberty and equality have been won. A more tremendous task awaits the peoples of the old and new worlds alike—to achieve industrial emancipation and inaugurate a reign of social justice. And we know[Pg 289] that Paris will have no small part in the solution of this problem.

It now remains to consider the impress which this stormy period left on the architecture of Paris. We have seen that the Convention assigned the royal Palace of the Louvre for the home of a national museum. The neglect of the fabric, however, continued. Already Marat had appropriated four of the royal presses and their accessories for the Ami du Peuple and the types founded for Louis XIV. were used to print the diatribes of the fiercest advocate of the Terror. All along the south façade, print and cook shops were seen, and small huckstering went on unheeded. In 1794 the ground floor of the Petite Galerie was used as a Bourse. On the Place du Carrousel, and the site of the Squares du Louvre were a mass of mean houses which remained even to comparatively recent times. In 1805 the masterful will and all-embracing activity of Napoleon were directed to the improvement of Paris, which he determined to make the most beautiful capital in the world. His architects, Percier and Fontaine, were set to work on the Louvre, and yet another vast plan was elaborated for completing the Palace. A northern wing, corresponding to Henry's IV.'s south wing, was to be built eastwards along the new Rue de Rivoli, from the Pavilion de Marsan at the north end of the Tuileries; the Carrousel was to be traversed by a building, separating the two palaces, designed to house the National Library, the learned Societies and other bodies. The work was begun in 1812, the Emperor commanding that the grand apartments were to be prepared for the sovereigns who would come, à lui faire cortège, after the success of the Russian campaign! Of this ambitious plan, however, all that was carried out was a portion of the Rue de[Pg 290] Rivoli façade, from the Pavilion de Marsan to the Pavilion de Rohan, which latter was finished under the Restoration. Some external decorative work was done on the south façade. Perrault's Colonnade was restored, the four façades of the quadrangle were completed, and a new bridge to lead to the "Palace of the Arts" was built. Little or nothing was done to further Napoleon's plan until the Republic of 1848 decreed the completion of the north façade, which was actually achieved under the Second Empire by Visconti in 1857, who built other structures, each with three courts, inside the great space enclosed by the north and south wings to correct their want of parallelism. Later (1862-1868), Henry the Fourth's long gallery and the Pavilions de Flore and Lesdiguières were rebuilt, and smaller galleries were added to those giving on the Cour des Tuileries: after the disastrous fire which destroyed the Tuileries in 1871, the Third Republic restored the Pavilions de Flore and de Marsan.

But the vicissitudes of this wonderful pile of architecture are not yet ended. The discovery of Perrault's base at the east and of Lemercier's at the north, will inevitably lead to their proximate disclosure. Ample space remains at the east for the excavation of a wide and deep fosse, which would expose the wing to view as Perrault intended it; but on the Rue de Rivoli side the problem is more difficult, and probably a narrow fosse, or saut de loup, will be all that space will allow there.

Napoleon I.'s new streets near the Tuileries and the Louvre soon became the fashionable quarter of Paris. The Italian arcades and every street name recalled a former victory of the Consulate in Italy and Egypt. The military glories of a revolutionary empire, which at one time transcended the limits of that of Charlemagne; which crashed through the shams of the old[Pg 291] world and toppled in the dust their imposing but hollow state, were wrought in bronze on the Vendôme Column, cast from the cannon captured from every nation in Europe. The Triumphal Arch of the Carrousel, crowned by the bronze horses from St. Mark's at Venice; the majestic Triumphal Arch of the Etoile—a partially achieved project—all paraded the Emperor's fame. Of more practical utility were the quays built along the south bank of the Seine and the bridges of Austerlitz and Jena, which latter Blücher would have blown up had Wellington permitted it.

The erection of the new church of the Madeleine, begun in 1764, had been interrupted by the Revolution, and in 1806, Napoleon ordered that it should be completed as a Temple of Glory. The Restoration transformed it to a Catholic church, which was finally completed under Louis Philippe in 1842, and it soon became the most fashionable place of worship in Paris. Napoleon drove sixty new streets through the city, cleared away the posts that marked off the footways, began the raised pavements and kerbs, and ordered the drainage to be diverted from the gutters in the centre of the roadway.

The Restoration erected two basilicas—Notre Dame de Lorette and St. Vincent de Paul. The Expiatory Chapel raised to the memory of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette on the site of the old cemetery of the Madeleine—where they lay, until transferred to St. Denis, in one red burial with the brave Swiss Guards who vainly spent their lives for them—is now threatened with demolition. Three new bridges—of the Invalides, the Archevêché and Arcole—were added, and fifty-five new streets.

Under the citizen king, Napoleon's Arch of Triumph of the Etoile was completed, and the Columns of Luxor, on the Place de la Concorde, and of July on the Place de la Bastille, were raised. It was the period of the[Pg 292] admirable architectural restorations of Viollet le Duc. The great architect has described how his passion for Gothic was stirred when, taken as a boy to Notre Dame, the rose window of the south transept seized on his imagination. While gazing at it the organ began to play, and he thought that the music came from the window—the shrill, high notes from the light colours, the solemn, bass notes from the dark and more subdued hues. It was a reverent and admiring spirit such as this which inspired the famous architect's loving treatment of the Gothic restoration in Paris and all over France. To him more than to any other artist we owe the preservation of such masterpieces as Notre Dame and the Sainte Chapelle.

But the great changes which have made modern Paris were effected under the Second Empire. In 1854, when the Haussmannisation of the city began, the Paris of the First Empire and of the Restoration remained essentially unaltered. It was a city of a few grand streets and of many mean ones. Pavements were still rare, and drainage was imperfect. In a few years the whole aspect was changed. Twenty-two new boulevards and avenues were created. Streets of appalling uniformity and directness were ploughed through Paris in all directions. "Nothing is more brutal than a straight line," says Victor Hugo, and there is little of interest in the monotonous miles of dreary coincidence which constitute the architectural legacy of the Second Empire.

The sad task of the Third Republic has been to heal the wounds and cover up the destruction wrought by the Civil War of 1871. The chief architectural creations of the Third Republic are the Hôtel de Ville, the new Sorbonne, the Trocadero, and the completion of the magnificent and colossal temple, rich with precious marble and stone of every kind, which, at a cost of £10,000,000 sterling, has been raised to the[Pg 293] Muses at the end of the Avenue de l'Opéra. The Church, too, has lavished her millions on the mighty basilica of the Sacré Cœur, which towers over Paris from the heights of Montmartre.


Hôtel de Ville from River.
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But some of the glory of past ages remains hidden away in corners of the city; some has been recovered from the vandalism of iconoclastic eighteenth-century architects, canons, revolutionists and nineteenth-century prefects. Let us now wander awhile about the great city and refresh our memories of her dramatic past by beholding somewhat of the interest and beauty which have been preserved to us; for "to be in Paris itself, amid the full, delightful fragrance of those dainty visible things which Huguenots despised—that, surely, were the sum of good fortune!"[Pg 294]

"I see ... long ranks of the new oppressors who have risen on the destruction of the old, perishing.... I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long, long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time, of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out."—Dickens.

[Pg 295]

Part II: The City


The Cité—Notre Dame—The Sainte-Chapelle[178]—The Palais de Justice[179]

If the traveller will place himself on the Pont Royal, or on the Pont du Carrousel, and look towards the Cité when the tall buildings, the spire of the Sainte Chapelle and the massive grey towers of Notre Dame are ruddy with the setting sun, he will enjoy a scene of beauty not easily surpassed in Europe. Across the picture, somewhat marred by the unlovely Pont des Arts, stride the arches of the Pont Neuf with their graceful curves; below is the little green patch of garden and the cascade of the weir; in the centre of the bridge the bronze horse with Henry IV., its royal rider, almost hidden by the trees, stands facing the site of the old garden of the Palais, where St. Louis sat on a carpet judging his people, and whence Philip the Fair watched the flames that were consuming the Grand Master and his companion of the Knights Templars. To the left are the picturesque mediæval towers of the Conciergerie and the tall[Pg 296] roof of the belfry of the Palais. Around all are the embracing waters of the Seine breaking the light with their thousand facets. The island, when seen from the east as one sails down the river, is not less imposing, for the great mother church of Notre Dame, with the graceful buttresses of the apse like folded pinions, seems to brood over the whole Cité.

CHAPEL VINCENNES. Chapel of Château at Vincennes.
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From the time when Julius Cæsar addressed his[Pg 297] legions on the little island of Lutetia Civitas Parisiorum to the present day, two millenniums of history have been enacted there, and few spots are to be found in Europe where so many associations are crowded together. In Gallo-Roman times the island was, as we have seen, even smaller, five islets having been incorporated with it since the thirteenth century. Some notion of the changes that have swept over its soil may be conceived on scanning Félibien's 1725 map, where no less than eighteen churches are marked, scarce a wrack of which now remains on the island. We must imagine the old mediæval Cité as a labyrinth of crooked and narrow streets, with the present broad Parvis of Notre Dame of much smaller extent, at a higher level, enclosed by a low wall and approached by steps. Against the north tower leaned the Baptistery (St. Jean le Rond) and St. Denis of the Ferry against the apse. St. Pierre aux Bœufs, whose façade has been transferred to St. Sévérin's on the south bank, stood at the east corner, St. Christopher at the west corner of the present Hôtel Dieu which covers the site of eleven[Pg 298] streets and three churches. The old twelfth-century hospital, demolished in 1878, occupied the whole space south of the Parvis between the present Petit Pont and the Pont au Double. It possessed its own bridge, the Pont St. Charles, over which the buildings stretched, and joined the annexe (1606), which, until 1909, existed on the opposite side of the river.

Notre Dame.

Near the Pont Neuf.
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The traveller who stands on the Parvis before the Church of Our Lady at Paris beholds the embodiment and most perfect expression of early Gothic architecture, the central type and model of the new style created by the genius of the masters of the Isle de France in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. On the west front the builders have lavished all their artistic powers in a synthetic exposition of their outlook on life and eternity. As the worshipper approaches the central portal his eye is arrested by a representation of the ultimate and most solemn fact of human destiny, the Last Judgment. On the lintel the dead are seen rising from their graves at the last trump; prelate, noble and serf in one equality of doom. Above, the fine figure of St. Michael is seen weighing souls in the balance. At his left the damned are hauled in chains by grinning demons to Hell: at his right the elect raise joyful eyes toward Heaven. Crowning the tympanum is Christ the Judge, flanked by angels, and by the Virgin and the Baptist kneeling in intercession while He shows His wounded hands. On the archivolts are, to the right of the spectator, demons and damned souls and quaint personifications of death: to his left the heavenly host, choirs of angels, seated prophets and doctors and the army of martyrs. On[Pg 299] the jambs are the five wise and five foolish virgins; apostles and saints on the embrasures of the door; below them reliefs of the virtues, each symbolised above its opposite vice. On the central pillar stands Christ in act of blessing; below Him, bas-reliefs typifying the seven liberal arts.[180]

We turn to the lovely portal of the Virgin under the north tower. In the lower compartment of the tympanum is figured the ark of the Covenant attended by prophets and kings; above, is the burial of the Virgin, and crowning all, Our Lady in glory. On the archivolts are angels, patriarchs, prophets, and kings. The jambs and casements are decorated with thirty-seven marvellously vivid reliefs of the signs of the Zodiac, the seasons and labours of the year, a kind of almanac of stone of rare invention and execution. On the embrasures of the door are, among others, the favourite Parisian saints: Denis, Genevieve and Stephen. On the central pier, below the Virgin and Child, are the Creation, Temptation and Fall. The whole of this portal will repay careful inspection.

St. Anne's portal, under the south tower, is more archaic, and indeed some of its sculptures are believed to have come from an earlier Romanesque building. Along the lintel are seen episodes in the life of St. Anne and in the life of Mary: in the central band, to the left, are the Presentation, the Annunciation, the[Pg 300] Visitation; in the middle the Nativity in various scenes; to the right Herod, and the Adoration of the Magi. The whole of these reliefs are twelfth-century work, with the exception of the Presentation, which is thirteenth century. In the hemicycle above are the Virgin and Child under a Byzantine canopy with angels and founders on either side. On the central pier stands St. Marcel, Bishop of Paris, banning the horrible serpent that made his lair in a tomb: the retreating serpent's tail is seen on the pier. Both on this and on the north portal traces of painting still remain.

Before leaving, we note the beautiful mediæval wrought hinges (restored) which came from the old church of St. Stephen and which have been copied for the central portal. The three portals were completed in 1208.

Above them and across the whole façade runs a gallery of kings, twenty-eight in number—a perennial source of controversy. Authorities are divided between the kings of France and the kings of Israel and Judah, the royal ancestry of the Virgin. From the analogy of other cathedrals we incline to the latter view. The gallery dates not later than 1220, but the statues are modern reproductions. Yet higher, on the pierced balustrade, is a group of the Virgin between two angels and on either side, over the N. and S. portals, Adam and Eve. A gallery of graceful columns knits the towers together (which were intended to be crowned by spires) before they soar from the façade. Between the towers, in olden times, as we know from an illumination in a Froissart MS., stood a great statue of the Virgin. The whole of this glorious fretwork of stone, including the tracery of the rose window, was once refulgent with gold and azure and crimson, and the finished front in its mediæval glory [Pg 302] has been compared to a colossal carved and painted triptych.


Notre Dame—Portal of St. Anne.
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N.D. FROM SEINE. Notre Dame—South side—from the Seine.
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N.D. SOUTH SIDE. Notre Dame—South side.
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On the central pier of the greater portal of the N. transept, called of the Cloister, we note a fine ancient statue of the Virgin, famed for its grace of expression. The smaller Porte Rouge, further eastward, is remarkable for some well-preserved antique sculpture: a Coronation of the Virgin in the tympanum and six scenes in the life of St. Marcel in the archivolt: some old gargoyles and reliefs may be seen on either side of the door.

We pursue our way by the east end of the cathedral, where in mediæval times was an open waste, the Motte aux Papelards, the playground of the cathedral servants, the graceful outlines of the apse and the bold sweep of the flying buttresses ever varying in beauty as we pace around. The south portal (ill seen through the iron railings) called of St. Stephen or of the Martyrs is decorated with statues of the saint and of other martyrs, with scenes of their martyrdom. The inscription (p. 88) may be seen at the base to the R.

We may now enter the noble and harmonious interior, unhappily bared of its rich old decorations, its tombs and statues cleared away, its fine Gothic altar destroyed by clerical and royal vandals to give place to renaissance and pseudo-classic pomposities (p. 252). We approach the choir from the right aisle, noting a fourteenth-century statue of the Virgin and Child on the left as we reach the entrance, perhaps the very statue before which povre Gilles did his penance (p. 142) and proceed to examine all that remains of the "histories" in stone on the choir wall round the ambulatory, twenty-three in number, begun in 1319 by Master Jean Ravy, mason of Notre Dame, and finished (parfaites) by Master Jean le Bouteiller in 1351, all dorez et bien peints .[Pg 304] Those on the choir screen were destroyed by the Cardinal Archbishop de Noailles in 1725. On the north side are twelve reliefs drawn from earlier New Testament history: on the south are nine from later episodes in the life of Christ. These naïve mediæval sculptures of varying merit will repay careful examination. The gilding and colouring are modern. Of the jewelled splendour of the western rose and of the two great rose windows of the transepts the eye will never tire. With every changing light new beauties and new combinations of colour reveal themselves. Those who care to read the subjects will discern in the north transept rose, incidents depicted in the life[Pg 305] of the Virgin, and eighteen founders and benefactors: in the south are apostles and bishops crowned by angels.


Interior of Notre Dame.
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We return to the Porte Rouge in the Rue du Cloître opposite which is the Rue Massillon, where at Nos. 4 and 6 we may note some remains of the cloisters and canons' dwellings, once a veritable city within a city, fifty-one houses with gardens sequestered within a wall having four gates. We continue to the Rue Chanoinesse, where, No. 10, is the site of Canon Fulbert's house: at No. 18, by the courtesy of Messieurs Allez Frères, we may visit the curious old fifteenth-century tower of Dagobert[181] which marks the site of the old port of St. Landry and affords a fine view of the north side of Notre Dame. We return to No. 10 and descend the Rue des Chantres to the Quai aux Fleurs: at No. 9, the site of the house of Abelard and Héloïse, an inscription recalls the names of the unhappy lovers,

"... for ever sad, for ever dear,
Still breathed in sighs, still ushered with a tear."

We turn westward along the Quai and ascend on our L., the narrow Rue de la Colombe, across which a double line of stones traces the position of the Gallo-Roman wall, that enclosed the Cité. We continue to ascend, and on our L., No. 26 Rue Chanoinesse, we enter a small court where we find a portion of the old pavement of St. Aignan's church, with the almost effaced lineaments on the tombstones of those, now forgotten, who were doubtless famous churchmen in their time, and where St. Bernard wept a whole day, fearing that God had withdrawn from him the power of converting souls. This faint trace of the past wealth of churches remains, but where are the sanctuaries of Ste. Geneviève des Ardents, St. Pierre des Arces, St. Denis of the Prison, St. Germain le Vieux,[Pg 306] Ste. Croix, St. Symphorien, St. Martial, St. Bartholomew, and the church of the Barnabites, which replaced that of St. Anne, which replaced the old Abbey church of St. Eloy, all clustering around their parent church of Our Lady like nuns under their patroness' mantle? Until comparatively recent times the church of St. Marine was used as a joiner's workshop, and one of the chapels of Ste. Madeleine, parish church of the water-sellers, served as a wine merchant's store! All that survives of the ancient splendour of the Cité are Notre Dame and some portions of the Palais, including the Ste. Chapelle.

We turn R. to the Rue d'Arcole that has swept away the old church of St. Landry, near which, until the reign of Louis XIII., a market was held for the sale of foundling children at thirty sous. The scandal was abolished by the efforts of the gentle St. Vincent de Paul, Anne of Austria's confessor. Turning L. along this street we emerge on the Parvis, which we skirt to the R. along the façade of the new Hôtel Dieu, and reach the Rue de la Cité. We turn R., cross to the L. and follow the broad Rue de Lutèce to the Palais de Justice.

The Sainte Chapelle and the Palais de Justice.

Entering the Cour du Mai by the great iron grille which has replaced the old stone portal, flanked by two towers, a passage on the left leads us to the Cour de la Ste. Chapelle (p. 86). We enter by the west porch of the lower chapel. On the central pier is a restored figure of the Virgin whose original is said to have bowed her head to the famous Scotch theologian Duns Scotus, in recognition of his championship of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, in 1304: in the[Pg 307] decoration of the base of the column and of the embrasures of the door, the Fleur-de-Lys of St. Louis is seen alternating with the Castilian Tower of his mother, Blanche of Castile, a decorative motive repeated in the painting of the chapel.

Beautiful as are the vaultings and proportions of the lower chapel, and the decoration, copied, as in the upper chapel, from traces of the original colouring found under the whitewash, the visitor will doubtless prefer to ascend, after a cursory inspection, the narrow, winding stairway to the resplendent upper sanctuary, whose dazzling brilliancy moved an ancient writer to declare that "in the contest between light and darkness in architecture, the creator of the Ste. Chapelle in the pride of his victory built with light itself." In the apse, flooded by streams of colour falling from the windows, is the platform or tribune where, in a rich reliquary of gold, glittering with precious stones, and under a baldachin, the holy relics from Constantinople were exposed in days of old. Part of the tribune is preserved and one of the staircases by which it is ascended, that to the N., is said to date from the founder's time, and may often have been trodden by the very feet of St. Louis himself. Little else of the interior furniture has escaped destruction. The beautiful high altar, the rood loft, the choir stalls, have long disappeared. Four only of the statues of the apostles bearing the crosses of consecration are said to be originals—the fourth and fifth on each side of the nave counting from the west door; the relics, or all that escaped the political storms of the année terrible, are now at Notre Dame, and the reliquary that contained them went to feed the hungry war-chest of the revolutionary armies. But the thirteenth-century jewelled windows, as left to us by the admirable restorers of 1855, are of paramount interest. The wealth of design and amplitude of the series are[Pg 308] truly amazing. The panels, numbering about eleven hundred, are a compendium of sacred history and a revelation of the world to come: the whole scene from the Creation to the Apocalypse is unrolled before our eyes, pictured in a transparent symphony of colour. Seven windows of the nave and four of the apse deal with Old Testament history: three at the end of the apse with the New. The eighth window of the nave (the first to the R. of entrance), dealing with the story of the Translation of the relics from Constantinople, although the most restored—nineteen only of the sixty-seven subjects are original—is perhaps the most interesting, for among the nineteen may be seen St. Louis figured by the contemporary artist: receiving the relics at Sens; assisting to carry the relics, barefoot; taking part at the exposition of the relics with his queen and his mother; receiving an embassy from the Emperor Baldwin; carrying the Byzantine cross which holds a portion of the true cross. Another of the original panels contains a representation of the Cité with the enveloping arms of the Seine. The rose window at the west end is obviously later, and dates from the fifteenth century.

In olden times the lower part of the central window of the apse was made of white glass that the people massed in the courtyard below might behold the relics as St. Louis and his successors, after exhibiting them to the privileged congregation in the chapel, turned round to show them. Against the south wall of the nave is a little oratory with a squint through which it is said Louis XI. used to venerate the relics unobserved.

We step out from the west door of the upper chapel to examine the more richly decorated upper portal. The carvings are all modern and, except such as were suggested by traces of the old work, are copied from[Pg 309] the west front of Notre Dame and other churches. Many a solemn and many a strange scene have been enacted in this royal oratory; the strangest of all perhaps when Charles V. of France, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV., and his son Wenceslaus, king of the Romans, in the rôle of the three Holy Kings, came to venerate the relics and laid oblations before the shrine.

Before we turn away from the building we should observe on the west façade above the rose window wherein the architect has literally sported with the difficulties of construction in stone a charming design of fleurs-de-lys framed by quatrefoils along the balustrade; the central design is an R. (rex), crowned by two angels. The present spire is a fourth erection. The second, which replaced the original spire in 1383, was one of the wonders of Paris, and fell a victim to fire in 1630. A third, erected by Louis XIII., was demolished in 1791, and in 1853 Lassus, Viollet le Duc's principal colleague in the restoration of the chapel, designed the graceful flèche we see to-day.

We return to the Cour du Mai: on the R., before we ascend the great stairway, we look down on the nine steps leading from the Vestibule (now a Café Restaurant) of the Conciergerie, up which those doomed to the guillotine ascended to the fatal tumbrils awaiting them in the courtyard. We ascend to the Galerie Marchande: the stairway, rebuilt after the fire of 1776, replaced the old flight of stairs at whose feet heralds proclaimed treaties of peace and tournaments, criminals were branded, and books condemned by the Parlement, burned. Here Pantagruel loved to stand and cut the stirrup-straps of the fat councillors' mules, and see the gros suflé de conseiller fall flat when he tried to mount; and here the clercs of the Basoche planted the annual May-tree, brought from the forest of Bondy, with[Pg 310] much playing of drums and trumpets and elaborate ceremony.

The Galerie Marchande, formerly known as the Galerie Mercière, was once a busy and fashionable bazaar, where lines of shops displayed fans, shoes, slippers and other dainty articles of feminine artillery. The further galleries were also invaded by the traders, who were only finally evicted in 1842. We turn R. and enter the Grande Salle or, as it is now known, the Salle des Pas Perdus. It, too, was once a busy mart, booksellers especially predominating, most of whom had stations there, much as we see them to-day, round the Odéon Theatre. Vérard's address was—"At the image of St. John the Evangelist, before Notre Dame de Paris, and at the first pillar in the Grande Salle of the Palais de Justice, before the chapelle where they sing the mass for Messieurs of the Parlement." Gilles Couteau's address was at "The Two Archers in the Rue de la Juiverie and at the third pillar at the Palais." Every pillar had its bookseller's shop. In 1618 the great chamber, the finest of its kind in Europe, with its rich stained glass, its double vaultings resplendent with blue and gold, was gutted by fire, and its long line of statues of the kings of France, from Pharamond to Henry IV.—the rois fainéants with pendent arms and lowered eyes, the valiant warrior kings with heads and arms erect—disappeared for ever. This was the hall where the clercs of the Basoche performed their farces, sottises and moralités, and where Victor Hugo has placed the scene of the famous performance of the moralité, composed by Pierre Gringoire,[182] so[Pg 311] vividly described in the opening chapters of Notre Dame.

Debrosse, who built the new Salle in 1622, left a noble and harmonious Renaissance chamber, which, again restored after the fire of 1776, endured until its destruction by fire during the Commune. The present rather frigid hall was completed in 1878 by J.L. Duc, who respected the traditional form and amplitude of the older structures. Nearly opposite the monument to Malesherbes (R.) was the position of the old Pilier des Consultations, where the lawyers were wont to give gratuitous legal help to the poor. The best time to visit the Hall is in the afternoon, when the courts are sitting and when the footsteps of the lawyers and their clients are indeed lost amid the buzz of conversation as they pace up and down.

The Première Chambre to the L., in the north-west corner of the Hall, is one of the most profoundly interesting in the agglomerated mass of buildings known as the Palais de Justice. This, now somewhat reduced in size, was the old Grande Chambre, rebuilt by Louis XII. on the occasion of his marriage with Princess Mary of England, which replaced the earlier bed-chamber of St. Louis.

Fra Gioconda's sumptuous decorations of 1502, which won for it the name of the Chambre dorée, the gold used being, it is said, equal in purity to the famous Dutch golden florin, have been partially restored. Here the kings of France held their Beds of Justice; here the Fronde held its sittings, and here on 15th April, 1654, the young king Louis XIV. strode in, booted and spurred, and is said to have uttered the famous words l'État c'est moi. Here too, renamed the Salle Égalité, the dread Revolutionary Tribunal held its sittings and condemned 2742 victims; here on 14th October 1793, at half-past four in the morning, appeared Marie[Pg 312] Antoinette, "widow of Louis Capet," before her implacable judges and heard her doom; hence the twenty-one Girondins trooped forth to their common fate; here Robespierre, St. Just, and, at length, the unwearied minister of death, Fouquier-Tinville himself, the revolutionary public prosecutor, heard their condemnation. We leave by the Cour du Mai and note, to our L., the restored clock tower, replacing the most ancient and famous clock of Paris. It was renewed by Germain Pilon in 1588 and restored in 1685. Demolished during the Revolution, the face and decoration were again renewed in 1852. The silvery-toned bell that hung here, called the tocsin, cast in 1371 and known as the cloche d'argent, was accused, together with the bell of St. Germain l'Auxerrois, before the Commune on 21st August 1792, of having given the signal for the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and its immediate destruction was ordered. We turn along the picturesque river façade, and between its two mediæval towers, de César and d'Argent, enter the Conciergerie.[183] The condemned cell of Marie Antoinette (transformed into a chapel) and the cell of Robespierre are shown, together with the chapel where the Girondins passed their last night and where their legendary banquet is famed to have taken place. The so-called Cuisine de St. Louis, a remain of the old Gothic palace of Philip le Bel, is no longer shown. The third tower on the river façade, which we pass on our way westward, has been wholly rebuilt. In the original tower was the judicial torture-chamber (an adjunct of every court of justice in olden times), used to wrest confessions from prisoners and evidence from unwilling witnesses, hence its name of Tour Bon Bec or Bavarde. The fine western façade and the Salle des Pas Perdus[Pg 313] of the Cour d'Assises, looking on the Place Dauphine, were completed in 1868.

Few Law Courts in Europe have so venerable a history as the Palais de Justice. From the times when the Roman prætor set up his court, more than two thousand years ago, to the present day, a temple of Law and Justice has ever stood on this spot.


St. Julien le Pauvre—St. Sévérin—The Quartier Latin

As we fare S. from the W. end of the Parvis of Notre Dame and cross the Petit Pont, we behold the old Roman Road, now Rue St. Jacques, rising straight before us and on the annexe of the Hôtel Dieu,[184] to the L. of the Place du Petit Pont find inscribed their names (p. 46), who nearly twelve centuries ago dared: —

"For that sweet motherland which gave them birth,
Nobly to do, nobly to die."

St. Sévérin.
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On the site of the Place stood the Petit Châtelet, demolished in 1782, a gloomy prison where many a rowdy student was incarcerated. To the L. of the Rue du Petit Pont we turn by the Rue de la Bûcherie and on our R. find the Rue St. Julien le Pauvre. Here on the L., hidden behind a pair of shabby wooden gates, stands the modest little twelfth-century church, now used for the Uniat Greek services, where St. Gregory of Tours found the drunken impostor (pp. 32, 33), where the University of Paris first held its sittings, and where twice a year the royal provost[Pg 314] attended to swear to preserve the privileges of the rector, masters and scholars. Near by stood the house of Buridan (note [49]. At the end of the street we turn R. by the old Rues Galande and St. Sévérin: at No. 4 of the latter, we see a trace of the original naming of the streets by Turgot, the marks of the erasure of the word "Saint" during the Revolution being clearly visible. Parallel with this street to the N. is the Rue de la Huchette, from which opens the curious old Rue du Chat qui Pêche and the Rue Zacharie, in mediæval times called Sac à Lie, which communicates with the Rue St. Sévérin. To our L. is the fine Gothic church of St. Sévérin, one of the most beautiful and interesting in Paris, on the site of the oratory of Childebert I., where St. Cloud was shorn and took his vows. On the thirteenth-century N. portal of the tower have been replaced the two small lions in relief between which, in olden times, the curés are said to have exercised justice. We note the thirteenth-century W. portal, transferred from the old church of St. Pierre aux Bœufs, and enter for the sake of the beautiful Gothic interior, mainly fifteenth century, with its double aisles and ambulatory and fine stained-glass in the nave. We turn L., on leaving, along the Rue des Prêtres St. Sévérin (No. 5 is the site of the old Collège de Lisieux) which is continued by the Rue Boutebrie, in former times the Rue des Enlumineurs, famous for those who practised the art, "che alluminare chiamata è in Parisi."[185] At the end of the Rue des Prêtres we turn L. along the picturesque Rue de la Parcheminerie, where we may recall the old poet Corneille sitting at a cobbler's stall while his gaping shoe was patched, and where still remain, among other curious old houses, Nos. 6 and 7, which in the thirteenth century were owned by[Pg 316] the canons of Norwich Cathedral, who maintained a number of scholars there. We are now on the very foyer of the University quarter, in mediæval times swarming with poor scholars, the busy hive of knowledge, and so notorious for its misery and rowdy depravity, that Charles V. during his regency had the Rue du Fouarre closed at curfew by strong iron grilles. We pass on to the Rue St. Jacques, then R. to the Boulevard St. Germain, again sharply to the L. and descend the new Rue Dante, R. of which, in the Rue Domat, are some quaint old houses: at 12 bis is the site of the old Collège de Cournouailles (Brittany). The Rue Dante is continued by the Rue du Fouarre (Straw Street) where Siger taught (p. 103) and in one of whose colleges the author of the Divina Commedia probably sat as a scholar. The houses are all modernised and the name alone remains. We turn R. along the Rue Galande, noting R. the Rue des Anglais which reminds us that there the English scholars congregated. We pass on by the Rue Lagrange and reach the place Maubert of dread memories, for here were burnt many a Protestant martyr and the famous printer philosopher, Étienne Dolet, friend of Erasmus, of Marot and of Melancthon, whose statue in bronze stands on the Place. Dolet's martyrdom is still yearly celebrated there by democratic Parisians, and the Place has always been famous for its barricades during the Fronde and later Revolutionary times. We cross the Boulevard to the Rue des Carmes, whose name recalls the Carmelite monastery founded by St. Louis, and at No. 15 find the site of the old Italian College (Collège des Lombards). Much of this "hostel of the poor Italian scholars of the charity of Our Lady," as rebuilt by two Irish priests, Michael Kelly and Patrick Moggin, still exists, including the chapel, and is partly occupied by a Catholic Workmen's Club [Pg 318] It gave shelter to forty missionary priests and an equal number of poor Irish scholars, and the earliest disciples of Loyola found temporary shelter there. Some idea of the vast extent of the ancient foundation may be gained by walking round to 34 Rue de la Montagne Ste. Geneviève on the other side of the Marché where the principal portal may be seen. We return to the Place Maubert, which we recross, and descend direct before us to the Rue de la Bûcherie on our L. This street was the centre of the medical students, and from 1369 to the times of Louis XIV. the Faculty of Medicine held its lectures and demonstrations there. At No. 13 still remains the old anatomical and surgical theatre of the Faculty erected in 1617, which has been acquired by the Municipality, but had a neglected, almost ruined aspect when we last passed (Feb. 1906).[186] We continue along this street and return to the Place du Petit Pont.


Old Academy of Medicine.
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École des Beaux Arts[187]St. Germain des PrésCour du DragonSt. SulpiceThe LuxembourgThe OdéonThe CordeliersThe Surgeons' GuildThe Musée Cluny[188] The Sorbonne[189]The Panthéon[190]St. Étienne du MontTour ClovisWall of Philip AugustusRoman Amphitheatre

We cross to the S. bank of the Seine by the Pont du Carrousel (or des Saints Pères).[Pg 319] Opposite on the Quai Malaquais stands the École des Beaux Arts (on the site of the old Convent of the Petits Augustins where Lenoir organised his museum), founded by the Convention and now one of the most important art-teaching centres in Europe. We turn S. by the Rue Bonaparte, and soon find the entrance, on the R., to the first courtyard, in which we note, on our R., the fine Portal of the Château of Anet, built for Diana of Poitiers by Delorme and Goujon (1548): opposite the entrance, giving access to the second courtyard, is placed a façade, transitional in style, from the Château of Gaillon. An hour may profitably be spent on Sundays strolling through the rooms viewing the interesting collection of casts and reproductions of masterpieces of painting by the pupils of the school. Delaroche's famous Hemicycle, representing the great artists of every age, seventy-five figures larger than life, will be found in the theatre of the Musée des Antiquités entered from the second courtyard.

We continue along the Rue Bonaparte past the new Académie de Médecine and on our L. soon sight the grey pile of the old Abbey Church of St. Germain des Prés, once refulgent in colour and gold. A part of the great tower is said to have resisted the Norman conflagrations, but the church as we now behold it, is that rebuilt 1000-1163; enlarged in 1237 and restored at various periods in the first half of the nineteenth century. Of the great fortress-monastery, with its immense domains of land; its cloisters, walls and towers; its prison and pillory, over which the puissant abbots once held sway, only a memory remains. The fortifications were razed in the seventeenth century and gave place to artizans' houses. The famous Fair of St. Germain has long been suppressed, where Henry IV. on the royal entry of Marie de' Medici, after[Pg 320] promising the merchants that they should grow rich, since his queen had de l'argent frais, disappointed them all by chaffering much and buying nothing. Over the entrance of the church within the W. porch is a well-preserved Romanesque relief of the Last Supper. Some bases and capitals of the triforium date from the twelfth century, but the heavy Romanesque capitals of the eleventh century nave are restorations, and the beautiful early Gothic choir has also been much modified at various epochs. The interest of the interior is enhanced to the lover of French art by Flandrin's admirable frescoes (p. 391), illustrating scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Unhappily, they are seen with difficulty,[Pg 321] and a bright, sunny day is necessary to appreciate the masterly art, the noble and reverent spirit that animates them. One of the most successful and best seen is the Entry into Jerusalem, L. of the choir.

If we turn by the Rue de l'Abbaye, N. of the church, we shall find part of the sixteenth-century Abbot's Palace yet standing, and a walk round the apse and the S. side of the church will afford a view of its massive bulk, its flying buttresses and steep-pitched roof. Crossing the Place St. Germain obliquely to the S.W. we reach the Rue de Rennes: at No. 50 is the entrance of the picturesque Cour du Dragon with an eighteenth-century figure of a Dragon carved over it. At the end of this curious courtyard, paved, as old Paris was paved, with the gutter down the middle, will be seen two old towers enclosing stairways. We return to the Rue Bonaparte and faring still S. reach the huge fabric of St. Sulpice with its massive, gloomy towers and pretentious façade of cumbrous splendour. We enter for the sake of Delacroix' fine paintings in the side chapel R. of entrance: Jacob wrestling with the Angel; Heliodorus driven from the Temple; and St. Michael and the Dragon. In this and in many of the numerous chapels are other decorative paintings by modern artists, few of which will probably appeal to the visitor. It was in this church that Camille Desmoulins was wedded to Lucille, Robespierre acting as best man. On the S. side of the ample Place St. Sulpice is the great Catholic Seminary,[191] and the whole neighbourhood has an essentially ecclesiastical character. Shops and emporiums displaying objets de piété; all kinds of church furniture and art (most of it bad art) abound. We continue our southward way by the Rue Férou, opposite the end of which is the Musée du Luxembourg containing a collection of such contemporary[Pg 322] sculpture and paintings as has been deemed worthy of acquisition by the State. The rooms are crowded with statuary and pictures which evince much talent and technical skill, but the visitor will be impressed by few works of great distinction. The English traveller, perchance, will leave with kindlier feelings towards those responsible for the Chantrey pictures, though envious of a collection whose catholicity embraces works by two great modern masters, Londoners by option—Legros and Whistler. But any impression that may be left on the traveller's mind by the inspection of the examples of contemporary French art exhibited in this museum should be supplemented and corrected by an examination of decorative works of greater range in the chief public edifices, such as the Hôtel de Ville, the Sorbonne, the Panthéon and the École de Médecine. We enter the Luxembourg Gardens by the gate R. of the museum, turn L., pass the façade of the palace and opposite its E. wing discover the charming old Medici Fountain. After strolling about the delightful gardens, unhappily by the erection of the Observatory in 1672 reduced by more than one-third of their former extent, we leave by the gate N. of the Medici Fountain which gives on the Rue Vaugirard opposite the Odéon Theatre, formerly the Théâtre de la Nation, where the Comédie Française performed for a few years after 1781. The Paris booksellers still have their stalls inside the colonnade even as they used to do in the great Salle of the Palais de Justice.


Cour du Dragon
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Descending (R. of the Odéon) the Rues Corneille, Casimir Delavigne and Antoine Dubois, we strike the Rue de l'École de Médecine where (No. 15 to R.) will be seen the Refectory, all that remains of the great Franciscan monastery, and now used as a pathological museum (Musée Dupuytren), for medical [Pg 324] students. In this hall was laid the body of Marat after his assassination by Charlotte Corday, and the famous club of the Cordeliers, where the gentler rhetoric of Camille Desmoulins vied with the thunderous declamation of Danton to stir republican fervour, met in the Hall of Theology. We pass to No. 5, where are some remains of the old School of Surgery or Guild of SS. Cosmas and Damian, founded by St. Louis; adjacent stood the church of St. Cosmas, famous for the fiery zeal of its curé during the times of the League. The surgeons of the Guild being compelled by their charter to give professional aid to the poor every Monday, the churchwardens obtained a papal Bull authorising them to erect in their church a suitable consulting-room for the use of the patients. In 1694 the surgeons built an anatomical theatre which, enlarged in 1710, is now used as an art school. We continue our pilgrimage and, crossing the Boulevard St. Michel to the Rue des Écoles, descend on our L. the Rue de la Sorbonne and find the entrance to the beautiful late Gothic palace built for the abbots of Cluny in 1490.


Tower and Courtyard of Hôtel Cluny.
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The delightful old mansion, (p. 159) now the Musée de Cluny, is crowded with a selection of mediæval and renaissance objects unparalleled in Europe for variety and excellence and beauty. The rooms themselves, with their fine carved chimney-pieces, where on winter days wood-fires, fragrant and genial, burn, are not the least charming part of the museum. Many of the exhibits (about 12,000) are uncatalogued, and the old catalogue, long out of date, may well be classed among the antiquities. The traveller will doubtless return again and again to this rich and fascinating museum. The present installation is provisional, and we do but indicate the chief classes of objects exhibited, most of which are clearly labelled. L. of vestibule, Rooms I. and II. contain a miscellaneous collection of wood[Pg 325] carving, statuary, ivories, etc. Room III. has some important examples of carved and painted altar-pieces: 709 is late fifteenth-century work; 712, Flemish of the sixteenth century; 710, a German domestic altar-piece, near which stands a fine Flemish altar-piece (no number), carved with scenes from the Passion. On a screen in the centre are some important paintings,[Pg 326] carvings and other objects of ecclesiastical art from the Rothschild Collection. Room IV. shows some beautiful renaissance furniture, cabinets, medals, etc. To the R. is the smaller Room V. The chief exhibits here are an eighteenth-century Neapolitan Crèche, with more than fifty doll-like figures; a rich tabernacle of plateresque Spanish work, and some furniture of interest. We return and descend to Room VI. (on the R), a large hall, where many important mediæval sculptures will be seen. At the four corners are thirteenth-century statues from the Ste. Chapelle. We may also mention: 429 (under a glass case), some lovely fourteenth-century statuettes, mourners from the tomb of Philip the Bold, by the Burgundian artist, Claus Sluter; a painted statue of the Baptist, Sienese work; statuette in wood of the Virgin, French art of the fourteenth century; 725, statuette in wood of St. Louis from the Ste. Chapelle. Other noteworthy examples of mediæval plastic art by French, Italian and Netherland craftsmen will be found in this room, and around the walls are specimens of tapestries, carvings, paintings and mosaics, among the last being some from St. Denis and one, 4763, by David Ghirlandaio from St. Merri. We cross a passage to the parallel Hall VII., where hang three grand pieces of early sixteenth century Flemish tapestry, illustrating the story of David and Bathsheba. Among the statuary are: 251, Virgin and Child, French work of early sixteenth century; 448, The Three Fates, attributed to Germain Pilon, and said to be portraits of Diana of Poitiers and her daughters. 449, The Forsaken Ariadne; 456, Sleep; 450, Venus and Cupid; 479, a small and beautiful entombment, are French work of the sixteenth century. Hall VIII. Here are exhibited the sumptuously decorated robes of the Order of the Holy Ghost (p. 187); other examples[Pg 327] of fine tapestry; a Venetian Galley Lamp; and some statuary of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

We return to the passage and ascend the stairs to the first floor. Here are three galleries devoted to Faiences and other specimens of the potter's art of French, Italian, Flemish, German, Spanish, Persian and Moorish provenance. All are of admirable craftsmanship, the Italian (including some from Faenza itself, the home of Faience ware) being of especial beauty and excellence. Among the Della Robbia ware is an exquisite Child-Baptist by Andrea. We now ascend three steps to the room which contains, among other objects, a matchless collection of Limoges enamels; some Venetian glass; and the marvellous fifteenth-century tapestries from Boussac, probably the finest of that fine period which have survived to us. The upper portion illustrates the Life and Martyrdom of St. Stephen; the lower, the story of the Lady and the Unicorn, or the Triumph of Chastity.

We descend to the Gallery of Hispano-Moorish and Persian pottery, and cross to a suite of small rooms where specimens of Jewish sanctuary art, old musical instruments, wedding cassoni and Flemish cabinets are displayed. We then turn R. to the Hall of Francis I., with a stately bed of the period; carved cabinets and cupboards, and proceed direct to the room devoted to the ivories. These are of extraordinary variety and beauty, and range from the sixth century downwards. The next room is crowded with an equally varied collection of bronze and iron work, among which we note a fifteenth-century statuette in bronze of Joan of Arc. The examples of the locksmith's art shown are of great beauty and excellence. The elaboration of French keys has a peculiar origin. Henry III., as a mark of royal favour, permitted his minions to possess a key of his private apartment:[Pg 328] as a piece of swagger the royal favourite was wont to wear the key ostentatiously on his breast, whereby French smiths were spurred in emulation to produce keys of exquisite craftsmanship and design. Another kind of interest attaches to the key (No. 5962 in the case on the L. as we enter) which was made by Louis XVI. The following room contains specimens of the goldsmith's art. 5104 is a curious sixteenth-century model of a ship in gilded bronze, with figures of Charles V. and his court on the deck: it has an ingenious mechanism for discharging toy cannon. 5299, is a set of chessmen in rock crystal; 4988, the face of an altar, rich gold repoussé work, was given by the Emperor, Henry II., to Bale Cathedral. The glass case in the centre holds nine golden Visigothic crowns found near Toledo in 1860, the largest is that of King Reccesvinthus who reigned in the latter half of the seventh century; 5044 is a fourteenth-century Italian processional cross of great beauty. We retrace our steps to the Hall of Francis I., turn R. and enter the private chapel. Opposite the charming little apse are placed some admirably preserved fourteenth-century reliefs in stone from the Abbey of St. Denis. On leaving, we turn R. along the passage, hung with armour and weapons, to the stairway, descend to Room VI., ground floor, open a door at its W. end, and in the twinkling of an eye are swept back nigh two thousand years along the stream of the ages, for the frigidarium of the Baths of the Palace of the Cæsars is before us, a fabric of imperial architecture, spoiled of its decorations but yet massive and strong, as of elemental strength, defiant of time, the imperishable mark of Rome. We descend and find in the centre the altar (p. 17), bearing the inscription of the Nautæ. A statue of the Emperor Julian; some thirteenth and fourteenth-century statues are also exhibited. We may[Pg 329] enter and rest in the garden where a twelfth-century cloister portal from the Benedictine Abbey of Argenteuil, a fourteenth-century portal from the Abbey of St. Denis, and other fragments of architecture are placed.


Arches in the Courtyard of the Hôtel Cluny.
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We return to the Rue des Écoles which we cross to the imposing new University buildings. The vestibule, grand staircase and amphitheatre are of noble and stately proportions and adorned with mural paintings, among which Puvis de Chavannes' great composition, The Sacred Grove, in the amphitheatre, is of chief interest.[192] We continue along the Rue de la Sorbonne and soon reach the old chapel, all that remains of Richelieu's Sorbonne, containing his tomb, a masterpiece of monumental art of the late seventeenth century, designed by Lebrun and executed by Girardon. The church of St. Benoist and its cloister, where François[Pg 330] Villon assassinated his rival Chermoyé, has also been swept away. We proceed by the Rue Victor Cousin, a continuation of the Rue de la Sorbonne, and debouch on the broad Rue Soufflot. Turning L., an inscription on No. 14 marks the site of the Dominican monastery where the great schoolmen, Albertus Magnus and St. Thomas Aquinas taught. Opposite (No. 9), at the corner of the Rue St. Jacques is the site, marked by a plan, of the old Porte St. Jacques of the Philip Augustus wall. We are now on the Mount of St. Genevieve, crowned by the majestic and eminent Panthéon, whose pediment is adorned by David d'Angers' sculptures, representing La Patrie, between Liberty and History, distributing crowns to her children. Among the figures are Malesherbes, Voltaire, Rousseau, Mirabeau, Carnot, Bonaparte, behind whom stand an old grenadier and the famous drummer-boy of Arcole.

The Panthéon has the most magnificent situation and, except the new church of the Sacré Cœur, is the most dominant building in Paris. Its dome is seen from nearly every eminence commanding the city, and has a certain stately, almost noble, aspect. But the spacious interior, despite the efforts of the artists of the third Republic, is chilling to the spectator. Swept and garnished, it has no warmth of historical or religious associations; it is devoid of human sentiment. The choice of painters to decorate the interior was an amazing act of official insensibility. The most discordant artistic temperaments were let loose on the devoted building. Puvis de Chavannes, the only painter among them who has grasped the limitation of mural art, has painted with restraint and noble simplicity incidents in the story of St. Genevieve. Jean Paul Laurens is responsible for a splendid but incongruous representation of the death of St. Genevieve. A St. Denis, scenes in the lives of Clovis, Charlemagne, St. Louis, and[Pg 331] Jeanne d'Arc, by Bonnat, Blanc, Levy, Cabanel and Lenepveu, are all excellent work of the kind so familiar to visitors to the Salon at Paris, but lacking in harmony and in inspiration. The angel appearing to Jeanne d'Arc seems to have been modelled from a figurante at the opera. The visitor who has perused the opening chapters of this book will have no difficulty in following the subjects depicted on the walls. A more ambitious scheme of decoration was abruptly closed by the Coup d'État of Napoleon III.: Chenavard, who had been commissioned, in 1848, to decorate the interior by a series of forty cartoons, illustrating the "History of Man from his first sorrows to the French Revolution," found his gigantic project made abortive by the Prince President's treachery.

Interior St. Étienne du Mont. Interior of St. Étienne du Mont.
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To the L. of the Panthéon, the library of St. Genevieve stands on the site of the Collège Montaigu and behind, in the Rue Clotilde, will be seen the steep-pitched roof of the old dormitory and refectory of the monastery of St. Genevieve: to our L. stands the picturesque church of St. Étienne du Mont (p. 85), whose interior is architecturally of much interest. The triforium, supported by round pillars and arches, in its turn supports a tournée, with another row of arches and pillars; some fine sixteenth-century coloured glass still remains. Biard's florid choir screen (p. 344) or jubé will at once attract the visitor, and the ever-present worshippers around the rich shrine R. of the choir will tell him that there such relics of the holy patroness of Paris as survived the Revolution are preserved. Two inscriptions near by recall the historical associations of the site. Leaving by the door this side of the choir, we issue into the Rue Clovis: opposite we sight the so-called Tower of Clovis, now enclosed in the buildings of the Lycée Henri IV., and once the tower of the fine old abbey church of[Pg 332] St. Genevieve. A closer examination from the courtyard proves it to be partly Romanesque, partly Gothic. We descend the Rue Clovis and at No. 7 find one of the best-preserved remains of the Philip Augustus wall. Proceeding to the end of the Rue Clovis, we turn R., ascend the Rue Cardinal Lemoine, and cross to the Rue Rollin, which we descend to its intersection with the Rue Monge: in the Rue de Navarre opposite will be found the ruins of the old Roman Arena (p. 13). To return, we descend the Rue Monge, which terminates at the Place Maubert, where we find ourselves on familiar ground; or we may re-ascend the Rue Rollin, retracing our steps to the Rue Cardinal[Pg 333] Lemoine, cross L. to the Place Contrescarpe and on our L. find the interesting Rue Mouffetard with curious old houses: 99, the site of the Palace of the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Jerusalem, is now the Marché des Patriarchs. The street terminates at the church of St. Médard, whose notorious cemetery (p. 245) is now a Square. We retrace our steps, noting L. the old fountain at the corner of the Rue Pot de Fer, continue to the end of the Rue Mouffetard, and descend by the Rue Descartes, where at No. 50 is an inscription marking the site of the Porte St. Marcel called Porte Bordet. We pass the École Polytechnique, on the site of the old College of Navarre, and continue down the Rue de la Montagne Ste. Geneviève to the Place Maubert.


The Louvre [193]Sculpture: Ground Floor.

No other edifice in Europe contains so vast a treasure of things beautiful and rare as the great royal palace of the Louvre, whose growth we have traced in our story. From periods so remote that works of art sometimes termed ancient are in comparison but of yesterday to the productions of the generation of artists who have just passed away, we may study the varying phases of the manifestation through the ages of the artistic sense in man. From Egypt, Chaldea and Assyria, from Persia, Phœnicia and Greece, rich and marvellous collections afford a unique opportunity for the study of[Pg 334] comparative æsthetics. We may safely assume, however, that the traveller will be chiefly interested in the manifold examples of the plastic and pictorial arts, here exhibited, from Greece downwards. In the limited space at our disposal we can do no more than indicate the principal and choicest objects in the various rooms, praying those whose leisure and interest impel them to more thorough examination of any one department, to possess themselves of the admirable and exhaustive special catalogues issued by the Directors of the Museum.

The nucleus of the gallery of sculpture and painting was formed by Francis I. and the Renaissance princes at the palace of Fontainebleau, where the canvases at the beginning of the seventeenth century had reached nearly 200. Colbert, during the reign of Louis XIV. by the purchase of the Mazarin and other Collections, added 647 paintings and nearly 6000 drawings in ten years. In 1681 the Cabinet du Roi, for so the collection of royal pictures was called, was transferred to the Louvre. They soon, however, followed their owner to Versailles, but some hundred were subsequently returned to Paris, where they might be inspected at the Luxembourg Palace by the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays. In 1709 Bailly, the keeper of the king's cabinet, took an inventory of the paintings and they were found to number 2376. In 1757 all were again returned to Versailles, and it was not until 1793, when the National Convention, on Barrère's motion, took the matter in hand, that they were restored to the Parisians and, together with the works of art removed from the suppressed churches and monasteries preserved by Lenoir, formed the famous gallery of the Louvre, which was formally opened to the public on the first anniversary of the memorable 10th of August. The arrival of the[Pg 335] artistic spoils from Italy was stage-managed by Napoleon with consummate skill and imposing spectacular effect. Amid the applauding multitudes of Parisians a long procession of triumphal cars slowly wended its way, loaded with famous pictures, securely packed, but each bearing its title in monumental inscription. The Transfiguration, by Raphael: The Christ, by Titian, etc. Then followed the heavy rumbling of massive cars groaning under the weight of sculptures, these too inscribed: The Apollo Belvedere: The Laocoon, etc. Other chariots loaded with trunks containing famous books, precious manuscripts, captured flags, trophies of arms, gave the scene all the pomp and circumstance of a veritable Roman triumph. These spoils, which almost choked the Louvre during Napoleon's reign, were reduced by the return, in 1815, of 5233 works of art to their original owners under British supervision, and during the removal of the statues and pictures, ostentatiously effected to the bitter humiliation of the Parisians, British sentinels were stationed along the galleries and British soldiers stood under arms in the quadrangle and the Place du Carrousel to protect the workmen.

Before beginning our artistic pilgrimage let us pay grateful tribute to the memory of Alexandre Lenoir, to whose tact and love for the arts we owe the preservation of so many priceless objects here, at St. Denis, and other museums of Paris. Appointed by the National Assembly, Director of a Commission pour les Monuments formed to collect all objects of art worthy of preservation during the search for lead coffins to be cast into bullets, he induced the authorities to grant him the use of the monastery of the Petits Augustins (now part of the École des Beaux Arts) for their storage. There the admirable official succeeded in rescuing some 500 historical and royal monuments[Pg 336] from Paris and St. Denis and some 2,600 pictures from the confiscated monasteries and ecclesiastical establishments, although existing receipts for about 600 pictures reclaimed from Lenoir by the Revolutionary Tribunal and burned, prove that he was only partially successful. In 1793 the National Convention assigned the Petits Augustins to Lenoir as a Museum of French Monuments, and the collection was pieced together, somewhat unskilfully it is true, and arranged in six rooms: many of the objects were in due time destined to find their way back to St. Denis, others to enrich the Louvre.

(a) Ancient Sculpture.

Entering the quadrangle of the Louvre and making our way to the S.W. angle we shall see, traced on the granite paving by a line of smaller stones, the outline of the E. and N. walls and towers of the old fortress of Philip Augustus, the position of the E. gateway, the Porte de Bourbon, being marked by its two flanking towers. Enclosed within these lines, the site of the massive old keep is shown by two circular strings of stones on the asphalt. Lescot's and Goujon's beautiful façade (p. 173) is now before us. Although the whole of the decorative sculpture was designed by Goujon, only three groups of figures can be safely attributed to his hand; those that adorn the three œil de bœuf windows of the ground floor: Fame and Victory; Peace, and War disarmed; History and Glory. Concerning the two first-named figures—Fame blowing a trumpet, and a winged Victory offering a crown of laurel—on either side of the window in the S.W. angle, it is related that one day as King Henry II. sat at table with his architect, he asked him what he had in mind when he made the design. "Sire,"[Pg 337] answered Lescot, "by the first figure I meant Ronsard, and by the trumpet, the power of his verse, which carried his name to the four quarters of the earth." Ronsard, who was present, returned the compliment by a flattering poetic epistle which he sent to Lescot. Goujon's figures, destined for the pediment of the attic, were placed by Napoleon I. most awkwardly over the entrances to the Egyptian and Assyrian collections in the E. wing, and utterly spoiled of their effect. The monograms on either side of the windows: two D's interlaced with the bar of an H, or two C's with the whole of the letter H, are variously interpreted as the initials of Diana of Poitiers and Henry II. or Catherine de' Medici and Henry II.

We enter the palace by the Pavilion de l'Horloge (the clock pavilion) and, turning L. find on our L. a door which opens to the Salle des Caryatides (p. 173). Here, in the old Salle Basse, memories crowd upon us—the dangling bodies of the four terrorist chiefs of the Sections hanged by the Duke of Mayenne from the beams of the old ceiling; the Red Nuptials of fair Queen Margot and Henri Quatre; the chivalrous and handsome, but ill-fated young hero of Lepanto, Don John of Austria, on his way, in 1576, to the Netherlands, his brain seething with romantic dreams of rescuing Mary Queen of Scots and seating her beside himself on the throne of England, taking part in a royal ball, disguised as a Moor, and leaving, smitten by the charms of Queen Margot; the lying in state of the murdered Henri; the dying Mazarin wheeled in his chair to witness the royal performances by Molière. Beneath our feet in the caves are part of the foundations of the old feudal château, and pillars and fragments of old sculpture discovered in 1882-1884.

We note Goujon's Caryatides (p. 174), traverse the hall, filled with Roman sculpture and, turning R.[Pg 338] along the Corridor de Pan, enter the Salle Grecque, which contains a small but precious collection of Greek sculptures. In the centre are three archaic works: a draped Juno, and in glass cases, a Head of Apollo, and a Head of a Man, the latter still bearing traces of the original colouring. Also in cases are: Head of a Lapith from the Parthenon; and Head of a woman attributed to the sculptor Calamis, acquired in 1908 from the Humphrey Ward collection. Three bas-reliefs from a temple of Apollo at Thasos show a marked advance in artistic expression, which reaches its ultimate perfection in the lovely fragment of the Parthenon frieze, and in a mutilated metope from the same temple. An interesting comparison is afforded by the metopes (The Labours of Hercules) from the Temple of Jupiter at Olympia, earlier and transitional in style but admirable in craftsmanship. On the walls and in the embrasures of the S. windows are a number of stele, or sepulchral reliefs,[194] executed by ordinary funeral masons, which will demonstrate the remarkable general excellence of Attic sculpture in the finest period: 766, to Philis, daughter of Cleomedes, is especially noteworthy. Even the inferior reliefs are characterised by an atmosphere of dignified and restrained melancholy.

We return to the Corridor de Pan and continue past the Salle des Caryatides through halls filled with Græco-Roman work of secondary importance, to the sanctuary of the serenely beautiful Venus of Melos, the best-known and most admired of Greek statues in Europe. Much has been written by eminent critics as to the attitude of the complete statue. Three conflicting theories may be briefly summarised: (1) That the left hand held an apple, the right supporting[Pg 339] the drapery; (2) that the figure was a Victory holding a shield and a winged figure on an orb; (3) the latest conjecture, by Solomon Reinach, that the figure is the sea-goddess Amphitrite, who held a trident in the extended left arm. It was to this exquisite creation[195] of idealised womanhood that the poet Heine dragged himself in May 1848 to bid adieu to the lovely idols of his youth, before he lay, never again to rise, on his mattress-grave in the Rue d'Amsterdam. "As I entered the hall," he writes, "where the most blessed goddess of beauty, our dear lady of Melos, stands on her pedestal, I well-nigh broke down, and fell at her feet sobbing piteously, so that even a heart of stone must be softened. And the goddess gazed at me compassionately, yet withal so comfortless, as who should say: 'Seest thou not that I have no arms and cannot help thee?'"

To the R. of the Salle de la Venus de Milo is the Salle Melpomene, with a fine colossal figure of the Tragic Muse, and, No. 419[196] (163), an excellent Head of a Woman. We enter the Salle de la Pallas de Velletri, and ranged along its centre find: 436, a fine bust of Alexander the Great; the Venus of Arles, 439, said to be a copy of an early work by Praxiteles; a magnificent Head of Homer, 440; and 441, Apollo, the Lizard-slayer, after a bronze by Praxiteles. The colossal Pallas, in a recess to the R., was found at Velletri in 1797: it is another Roman reproduction of a Greek bronze. Near the entrance to the next room stands a pleasing Venus,[Pg 340] 525, and in the centre the famous "Borghese Gladiator" or Héros Combattant, actually, a warrior attacking a mounted Amazon. An inscription states that it is the work of Agasias of Ephesus. To the R. is a fine Marsyas, doomed to be flayed alive by order of Apollo; to L. 562, the Borghese Centaur, and near the exit, 529, the charming Diana of Gabii, a Greek girl fastening her mantle. We pass to the Salle du Tibre, in the centre of which stands the famous Diana and the Stag, acquired for Francis I., much admired and over-rated by the sculptors of the renaissance: at the end is a colossal group, symbolising the Tiber and Rome. We turn R. and again enter the Corridor de Pan, pass through the Salle Grecque and reach the Rotonde with the Borghese Mars in its centre. We turn L., continue direct through Rooms XIV. to XVIII. the old Petite Galerie[197] and the apartments of the queen mothers of France still retaining their ceiling decorations by Romanelli. We then turn R. to the spacious Salle d'Auguste, (XIX), at the end of which, in a recess, stands a majestic draped statue of Augustus. In the centre are a bust, 1204, said to be the head of Antiochus III., king of Syria 223-187 B.C., and 1207 the stately Roman Orator as Mercury, which an inscription on the tortoise states to be the work of Cleomanes, an Athenian. In this and the subsequent halls are placed many imperial busts[198] of much historical and some artistic interest.

[Pg 341] We return to Room XVIII. where we find, 1205, the colossal bust of Antinous, the beautiful young favourite of Hadrian, who in a fit of melancholy flung himself into the Nile and (deified) became the most popular of the gods in the Panthéon of the later Empire: the eyes were originally formed of jewels. This is the bust referred to by J.A. Symonds, in his Sketches and Studies in S. Europe, as by far the finest of the simple busts of the imperial favourite. In Room XV. is a statue, 1121, of the Emperor Julian, found at Paris, some curious Mithraic reliefs, and, in Room XIV. are interesting Roman altars and sacrificial reliefs. We again enter the Rotonde, turn L. and proceed across the Vestibule Daru to the Escalier Daru, ascending which, we are confronted by the majestic Victory of Samothrace, one of the noblest examples of Greek art, wrought immediately before it had spent its creative force and began to direct a subtle and technical mastery to serve private luxury and pomp. We descend and return to the Quadrangle.

(b) Mediæval and Renaissance Sculpture.

We cross the quadrangle to the S.E. and enter[199] the Musée des Sculptures du Moyen Age et de la Renaissance, where the sense of beauty inherent in the Gallic race is seen expressed in a medium which has always appealed to its peculiar objective and lucid temperament. We proceed to Room I., which contains some typical early Madonnas and other figures in wood and stone; a fifteenth-century statuette in[Pg 342] marble (No. 211), in the embrasure of the second window, is worthy of special attention. The fine sepulchral monument of Phil. Bot, Seneschal of Burgundy, an effigy on a grave-stone borne by eight mourners, illustrates a favourite design of the Burgundian sculptors. The recumbent figure, 224, of Philippe VI. of France (1350), attributed to Andrieu Beaunepveu, the art-loving Charles V's. cher ymagier, is one of the earliest attempts at portraiture. Centre of hall, 887 and 888, recumbent statues of Charles IV. and Jeanne d'Évreux, fourteenth-century, by Jean de Liège. The tomb of Philippe de Morvillier, 420, in the recess of a window, is an example of early fifteenth-century acrolithic monumental sculpture; the head and hands of the figure being of marble according to a common custom dating from Greek times. On either side of the entrance are fine busts of Charles VIII. and Marie of Anjou.

Rooms II., IX. and X. should next be visited. In IX. stands the oldest fragment of mediæval sculpture in the Louvre, a capital from the old abbey of St. Genevieve, whereon an eleventh-century artist has carved a quaint relief of Daniel in the Lions' Den. The Virgin and Child in the same room, 37, is late twelfth-century; the painted statue of Childebert, 48, from the abbey of St. Germain, is an example of the more mature art of the thirteenth century, as are also in Room II., 78, a scene in the Inferno from Notre Dame, and two lovely angels from the tomb of St. Louis' brother, in the embrasures of the window.

The fourteenth-century Madonnas in these mediæval rooms possess a peculiar, intimate character and mark the change of feeling which came over French artists of the time. The impersonal, unemotional and regal bearing of the thirteenth-century figures give way to a more naturalistic treatment. The Virgin's impassive [Pg 343]features soften; they become more human; she turns to her child with a maternal smile (which later becomes conventionalised into a simper), or permits a caress. In Room X. are: 889, 890, two fifteenth-century statues, admirable and living portraitures of Charles V. and his queen, from the church of the Célestins, whose preservation is due to the excellent Lenoir—statues famous in their day, and mentioned by the contemporary Christine de Pisan as moult proprement faits; 892, a fifteenth-century statue in wood of St. John; 943, Eve, a fine example of the German school of the sixteenth century, painted and gilded; other works are temporarily placed in this room. We return to Room III., noting in passing (Room IX.) 875, a small thirteenth-century relief of St. Matthew writing his Gospel at the dictation of an angel.

Diana and Stag.

Diana and the Stag.
Jean Goujon.
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The stubborn individuality of French sculptors who long resisted the encroaching advance of the Italian renaissance is well seen in Room III. by the works of Michel Colombe (? 1430-1570), after whom this hall is named. The exquisite relief on the L. wall, St. George and the Dragon, displays an art touched indeed by the new Italian life, but impressed with an intimate charm and spirit which are eminently French. The Virgin and Child, 143, and the tombs of Roberte Legendre and her husband have also been ascribed to this truly great master. The fine effigies of Philippe de Comines the annalist, and his wife, 126, are wrought in the traditional French manner, the decorations on the tomb being obviously by another and Italianised artist; the shells on the shields denote that the knight had made the pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella in Galicia. Beneath is the tomb of their daughter, Jeanne. The sixteenth-century Virgin of Ecouen, 144, is typically French[Pg 344] in treatment; the large relief on the L. wall from the old church of St. Jacques de la Boucherie, 199, is an excellent example of transitional Franco-Italian sculpture; and the half-reclining bronze effigy of Prince Carpi from the great Franciscan church (the Cordeliers) of Paris, is wholly Italian in style. The gruesome figure, La Mort, in the embrasure of a window, from the old cemetery of Les Innocents, and a fine bust, 173, of John of Alesso, will also be noted. We pass to Room IV., dominated by the most eminent sculptor of the French renaissance, Jean Goujon (? 1520-1567), whose famous Diana and the Stag, from a fountain at Diana of Poitiers' château of Anet, marks the increasing influence of the Italians, and especially of Cellini, who were attracted to Fontainebleau by the patronage of Francis I. A more intimate example, however, of Goujon's genius will be seen in the beautiful bas-reliefs on the L. wall, Tritons and Nereids, from the Fontaine des Innocents, executed 1548-49, and those (R. wall) from the old choir screen of St. Germain l'Auxerrois in 1544, happily rescued from clerical vandals.[200] For sheer loveliness of form and poetry of outline, those reliefs are unsurpassed by any contemporary artist. His younger contemporary, Germain Pilon (1535-1590), is well represented in this room. The Three Graces (trois grâces décentes), which Catherine de' Medici commissioned him to execute, to sustain an urn containing the heart of her royal husband at the Célestins, is an early work; the admirable kneeling bronze effigy, 257, of René of Birague, a maturer production. The four cardinal virtues in oak [Pg 345]were executed for the abbey church of St. Genevieve: they were originally covered with stucco and held on high the saint's reliquary. The too lachrymose Madonna in terra-cotta, 256, already ushers in the decadence. Portrait busts of Henry II., 227, the vicious Henry III., 253, and of the feeble Charles IX., 252, are also to be noted. Pilon's pupil, Bart. Prieur (†1611), is responsible for the monument to the Constable Anne of Montmorency and Madeleine of Savoy, in the recess of a window, and the three bronze statues placed by the opposite wall. With Pierre Biard the elder, who about 1600 executed the elaborate choir-screen of St. Étienne du Mont, the French renaissance sinks to a not inglorious end. His Fame (224, bis), in Room III. and a copy of Giov. da Bologna's Mercury, made for the Duke of Epernon's tomb, hints at the impending pomposity and extravagance of the later French pseudo-classic school. Room V. affords an instructive comparison with some productions of the Italian renaissance. 332, Florentine school, is a charming bust of Beatrice d'Este, the girl bride of Lodovico il Moro, autocrat of Milan. The fine bas-relief, 386, Julius Cæsar, was formerly ascribed to Donatello; 389, Virgin and Child, is also a school work; 403, the Child-Baptist, is a good example of Mino da Fiesole's sweet and tender style, as are some Madonna bas-reliefs in the embrasure of the first window. Here, too, and in the next window, are some well-wrought early renaissance reliefs in bronze (scenes in the life of a physician), by a Paduan artist, from the tomb of a celebrated professor of Verona, Marc'antonio della Torre. In the lunette of the R. wall is embedded Cellini's Nymph of Fontainebleau, and on either side of the noble portal from the Palazzo Stanza at Cremona, which forms the entrance to Room VI., stand the divine Michael[Pg 346] Angelo's so-called Two Slaves, actually fettered Virtues intended for the unfortunate tomb of Pope Julius II. These priceless statues, given to Francis I. by Robert Strozzi, subsequently found their way to Richelieu's garden, and during the later years of the monarchy lay neglected in a stable in the Faubourg du Roule: when put up to auction in 1793 the vigilant and admirable Lenoir seized them for his Musée National at the Augustins. Among other objects we note, 396, a fine bust of Filippo Strozzi by Benedetto da Maiano. We enter Room VI. The excellent bust of the Baptist, 383, by Desiderio da Settignano is officially assigned to Donatello, and the coloured Virgin and Child in wood to the Sienese Jacopo della Quercia. Room VII. contains many beautiful specimens of della Robbia ware, and among the statues and busts we note Louis XII. by Lorenzo da Mugiano, of which the head has been restored. Provisionally placed in this room is a recently acquired relief in marble of the Madonna by Agostino di Duccio.

St. George

St. George and the Dragon.
Michel Colombe.
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(c) Modern Sculpture.

We cross the quadrangle to the N.W. and find the entrance to the Musée des Sculptures Modernes, where we may trace the rapid decline and utter degradation of French sculpture during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and some signs of its recovery during the revolutionary period. Many causes contributed to the decay; the essentially bourgeois and commonplace taste of Colbert and the influence of his artistic henchman, Lebrun; the slavish worship of Græco-Roman and Roman models, fostered by the creation of the École de Rome; and the teachings of critics like Lessing and Winkelmann, who drew their inspiration not from pure Greek models, but from the[Pg 347] decadent and sterile art of the Empire, stored in the Vatican. Among the artists whose individuality stands forth from the mass of sculptures in these rooms is Charles Antoine Coysevox (1640-1720), who gives his name to Room I. to the L. of the vestibule. His chief works are in the "royal pandemonium," at Versailles, but in the vestibule will be found excellent examples of his art, 555, Nymph with a shell, and 560, Shepherd playing a flute. In Room I., 561, Marie Adelaide of Savoy as Diana; 557, a fine bronze bust of the great Condé and a bust of Ant. Coypel acquired in 1910, are worth attention, as is also 552, the grand monument to Mazarin in Room II. Pierre Puget (1622-1694), who gives his name to this hall, began his career as a carver of figure-heads at the arsenals of Toulouse and Marseilles. He was the chief exponent of the bombastic and exuberant art of the century, and the inventor of the peculiar gusty draperies in statuary known as the coup de vent dans la statuaire. 794, Milo (the famous athlete of Crotona), attacked by a Lion, his most popular work, and 796, a relief, Diogenes and Alexander, esteemed by Gonse one of the most éclatante creations of modern sculpture, will be found in this room. Some bronzes, 702-704, Louis XIII., Anne of Austria, and the child Louis XIV., from an old monument on the Pont au Change by Simon Guillain (1581-1658) are of interest. The Coustous, Nicholas (1658-1733) and Guillaume (1677-1746), nephews and pupils of Coysevox are represented in Room III. 547, Apollo presenting the Image of Louis XIV. to France (embrasure of window); 548, Adonis (centre of room); 549, Julius Cæsar; and 550, Louis XV., are due to the former: the statue of Louis' queen Maria Leczinska, 543, to the latter, whose masterpiece, the Horse-tamers of Marly, stands at the entrance of the Champs Élysées opposite Coysevox', Mercury and Fame on winged horses, at the entrance to[Pg 348] the Tuileries Gardens. J.B. Pigalle (1714-1785) is but poorly represented by: 785, a bronze bust of Guérin; and 781, a Mercury in lead, which has much suffered from exposure to the atmosphere in the Luxembourg Gardens. A most talented portraitist in marble was J.J. Caffieri (1725-1792), whose seven masterly busts in the foyer of the Théâtre Français, paid for by free passes, which the artist promptly sold, will be familiar to playgoers. His diploma work, The River, 518 (L. of entrance), and a bust of the poet Nivelle de la Chaussée, 519 (embrasure of window), will be found in this room. J.A. Houdon (1741-1828), whose admirable bust of Molière, and marvellously vivid statue of the seated Voltaire—the greatest production of eighteenth-century French sculpture—will be also known to playgoers at the Français, gives his name to Room IV. Few artists maintained so high and consistent a standard of excellence.[201] 716 is a replica in bronze of a statue of Diana, executed for the Empress Catherine II. of Russia; 708, Diderot; 711, Rousseau; 712 Voltaire; 713, Franklin; 715, Washington; 717, Mirabeau, are busts of revolutionary heroes of which many replicas exist, executed at seventy-two francs each (if with shoulders ninety-six francs), to save himself from starvation during the revolutionary period. Two exquisitely charming terra-cotta busts in glass cases of the children, Louise and Alexandre Brogniart, and 1034, 1035, the original busts in plaster of Mme. Houdon and Sabine Houdon, will also be noted. Like Caffieri, Houdon was an habitué of the Français, and in his old age would totter to the theatre supported by his servant, to calmly sleep the performance out. A favourite exponent of the suave and languishing style that appealed to the decadent tastes of the age was Antoine Pajou (1730-1809) here[Pg 349] represented by 775, a Bacchante, and 772, Maria Leczinska as Charity. Other two works by Pigalle, 782, Love and Friendship, and 783, bust of Marshal Saxe, may be noticed before quitting this room. Room V. is dedicated to A.D. Chaudet (1763-1810), whose diploma work, Phorbas and Œdipus, 533, is here shown; 537, a Bacchante, is a rather poor example of the art of Claude Michel (1738-1814), known as Clodion whose popularity rivalled that of his master Pajou, and whose prodigious output of marble and terra-cotta sculpture failed to keep pace with the demands of his clients. 777 is Pajou's, The Forsaken Psyche. By the seductive and sentimental Canova are 523 and 524, variants of a favourite theme, Love and Psyche.[202] With some sense of relief we enter the more invigorating atmosphere of Room VI., named after the sturdy François Rude (1784-1855), who flung off the yoke of the Roman classicists, and from whose simple, austere atelier issued works instinct with a new life, such as the dramatic group, The Departure of the Volunteers of 1792, on the E. base of the Triumphal Arch of the Etoile. Rude, who rescued the art from the fetid atmosphere of a corrupt society and emancipated it from a hide-bound pedagogy, is here represented by his Jeanne d'Arc, 813; Maurice de Saxe, 811; and 815, Napoleon awakening to Immortality, a model for a monument to the Emperor. In the centre are 810, Mercury in bronze, and the Neapolitan fisher lad (no number). Rude's contemporary and fellow-liberator, David d'Angers (1789-1856), chiefly renowned for his pediment sculpture on the Panthéon (p. 330) is here represented by 566, Philopœman, the famous general of the Achaen League; busts of Arago and of Béranger; 567 bis, Child and Grapes, and a series of[Pg 350] medals in the embrasures of the windows. Of Antoine Barye (1796-1875), pupil of père Rude and another victorious assailant of the "Bastille of Classicism," this room exhibits three masterly works in bronze; 494, Centaur and Lapith; 495, Jaguar and Hare; and (no number), Tiger and Crocodile. A later contemporary and excellent master was Jean Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875), after whom Room VII. is named. Here stand his models for the famous group, Dancing, which adorns the Opera façade; and for The Four Quarters of the World, at the Fountain of the Observatoire. Among others of his productions may be cited a bronze group, Ugolino and his Children. In a new room (Salle Moderne) are some more recent works transferred from the Luxembourg, among which is Chapu's Joan of Arc.


The Louvre (continued)—Pictures: First Floor.

(a) Foreign Schools.

We enter by the Pavilion Denon, in the middle of the S. wing, opposite the Squares du Louvre which are bounded on the W. by the Place du Carrousel and the monument to Gambetta. Turning L. along the Galerie Denon we mount the Escalier Daru to the first landing below the Winged Victory (p. 341), turn R., ascend to a second landing, and on either side find two charming frescoes from the Villa Lemmi, which was decorated by Botticelli to celebrate the Nuptials of Lorenzo Tornabuoni and Giovanna Albizzi.[203] To the L., 1297, The Three Graces are presented to the bride; R., 1298, The Seven Liberal Arts to the bridegroom. The latter fresco is[Pg 351] generally believed to have been the work of a pupil. On the wall that forms an angle with this is a fresco, The Crucifixion, 1294, by Fra Angelico from the Dominican monastery at Fiesole. A door L. of 1297 leads to

Room VII.

containing a small but choice collection of early Italian paintings, all of which will repay careful study. We note on the entrance wall, 1260, a Virgin and Child by Cimabue—if indeed we may now assign any work to that elusive personality.[204] L. of this is a genuine Giotto, 1312, described by Vasari: St. Francis receiving the Stigmata. In the predella, Vision of Pope Innocent III.; Papal Confirmation of the Rule; The Saint preaching to the Birds—each scene portrayed with all the sweet simplicity of a chapter in the Fioretti. Below 1260 is a predella, 1302, by Taddeo Gaddi: Death of the Baptist; the Crucifixion; Martyrdom of the Saint. On the R. wall is 1301, a conventional early Florentine Annunciation by Agnolo Gaddi, his pupil. Among the early Sienese on the L. wall is 1383, a charming little Simone Martini: Christ bearing the Cross. The gem of the collection and one of the most precious pictures in Europe is 1290, on this wall, Fra Angelico's Coronation of the Virgin, which Vasari declared might have been painted by one of the blessed spirits or angels represented in the picture, so unspeakably delightful were their forms; so gentle and delicate their mien, so glorious their coloration. "Even so," he adds, "must they be in heaven and I never gaze on this picture without discovering fresh beauties, nor withdraw my eyes from it, satisfied with seeing." The scenes in the predella are[Pg 352] from the life of St. Dominic and form an interesting parallel with those of the Giotto. Other works by the angelic master are (L. of this) 1293, Martyrdom of SS. Cosmas and Damian, and 1294A, The Resurrection: R. is 1291, The Dance of Herodias. R. of 1383 is 1278 by Gentile da Fabriano: The Presentation, a portion of a predella. To the same is also attributed by Crowe and Cavalcaselle, 1279, Virgin and Child and Donor, Pandolfo Malatesta. 1422 bis, is by Pisanello: Portrait of a Princess of the House of Este, identified by Mr G.F. Hill, from the sprig of juniper in her dress, as Ginevra d'Este, married to Sigismondo Malatesta in 1435. R. of 1291 is 1319, the Apotheosis of St. Thomas Aquinas by Benozzo Gozzoli, described by Vasari. On opposite wall, 1272, formerly assigned to Masaccio: portraits of Giotto, the artist himself Paolo Uccelo, Donatello, Manetti and Brunelleschi; painted, says Vasari, "that posterity might keep them in memory." R. of this is 1273, a battle scene by the same, similar to that in our National Gallery. Both had been badly restored even in Vasari's time. L. of 1272 are 1343 and 1344: a Nativity, and a Virgin and Child with Angels and Saints adoring, by Fra Filippo Lippi. The former, according to gossiping Vasari, was executed at the Convent of S. Margherita at Prato where having been smitten by the bellissima grazia ed aria of one of the novices, Lucrezia Buti, Fra Lippo painted her portrait in this picture, fell madly in love, and eloped[205] with her: the latter exquisite painting Vasari extols as a most rare work which was held in the greatest esteem by the masters of his day. Opposite on L. wall is 1525, a predella: Birth of the Virgin, considered[Pg 353] by Crowe and Cavalcaselle an excellent example of Luca Signorelli's art. R. wall, 1321, the Visitation, and 1322, an intimate domestic scene, painted with much tenderness, a bibulous old Florentine magistrate bending to embrace his little grandson, are masterly works by Domenico Ghirlandaio. 1296, Virgin and Child and St. John, is a beautiful early work by Botticelli, and 1367 is a like subject by Mainardi, in a tondo, a popular form of composition invented by Botticelli. R. of exit is 1295, a copy of the master's famous Madonna of the Magnificat at Florence. L. wall, 1263, Virgin and Child, SS. Julian and Nicholas by Lorenzo di Credi, highly eulogised by Vasari as the artist's most careful work in oil wherein he surpassed himself. 1566 (L. of exit), is an indifferent late painting by Perugino. In the lunette over the door is a Raphael school fresco formerly attributed to the master and bought for the sum of 207,000 francs in 1875! We now enter the long

Grande Galerie, Room VI.

and begin with Section A. On the R. is 1565, Holy Family, by Perugino. 1567, Combat of Love and Chastity, by the same, was painted in 1505 to the elaborate specification of the enthusiastic and acquisitive patron of the renaissance, Isabella d'Este, Marchioness of Mantua, for her famous "Grotta." The artist's slovenly execution of the work brought him a well-deserved rebuke from the Marchioness. 1261, by Lorenzo Costa, a flattering symbolic representation of the Court at Mantua was also painted for her. Isabella, to whom a Cupid hands a laurel crown, is seen standing near a grove of trees, surrounded by poets and philosophers.

Among the Francias we distinguish, 1436, a Crucifixion;[Pg 354] 1556 is a Pietà by Cosimo Tura in the characteristic hard manner of the Ferrarese master, being the upper portion of the central altar-piece, Virgin and Child Enthroned, in the National Gallery; 1417, Virgin and Child with two Saints, is a doubtful Pinturicchio; 1114, Virgin and Child between SS. Jerome and Zanobi is a good example of Albertinelli's pleasing but somewhat characterless style; 1516 and 1516A are two Andrea del Sartos; 1264 is another Lorenzo di Credi: Christ and the Magdalen. Last of all we note 1418, a rather inky Nativity, in the grand and broad-manner of the later Roman School by Giulio Romano, much admired by Vasari.

We return to the L. wall and note 1526, Signorelli's Adoration of the Magi; further on are 1154, an excellent Fra Bartolomeo, The Holy Family, and 1153, The Annunciation, a graceful and suave composition, original in treatment, by the same master. We pass to some more Andrea del Sartos: 1515, according to Vasari, a Nostra Donna bellissima, was painted in quick time for Francis I., and 1514, Charity, was executed in Paris for the gran re and highly esteemed by him. This picture has much suffered by transference from the worm-eaten original panel to canvas, in 1750, and by a later restoration in 1799. We are soon arrested by some masterpieces of the Milanese school, and first by the Da Vincis: 1599 is the famous Virgin of the Rocks, whose genuineness is warmly championed by French critics as against the similar picture in the National Gallery stoutly defended as the original by English authorities. Professor Legros with impartial judgment assures us that both are copies of a lost original; 1597, a doubtful attribution, is a rather effeminate John the Baptist, by some critics believed to be a second Gioconda portrait; 1600, the supposed portrait of Lucrezia Crivelli,[Pg 355] mistress of Ludovico il Moro, is also ascribed by the official catalogue to Da Vinci. It would, however, be hard to persuade us that Leonardo had any hand in this portrait, excellent though it be, which seems rather by Beltraffio, Solario, or another of the Milanese masters; 1602, Bacchus, is another doubtful Leonardo. 1488, L. of 1597, is an admirable work by Sacchi: Four Doctors of the Church with symbols of the Evangelists. By Solario, a younger contemporary of Da Vinci, are 1532, a Crucifixion; 1530, a masterpiece, the much admired Virgin of the Green Cushion; and 1533, Head of the Baptist.

The sweet and tender Luini is seen almost at his best in 1355, Salome with the Baptist's head: other works by him are 1362, Silence, and 1353, a Holy Family. At the end of this section hangs 1169, Beltraffio's, Virgin of the Casio Family, esteemed by Vasari the painter's best production. We proceed to Section B, same wall, where hang two grand Mantegnas, painted for Isabella d'Este's "Grotta," towards the end of the artist's career. 1375, Parnassus, executed in 1497, represents the Triumph of Venus over Mars, celebrated by Apollo and the Muses—a delightful group of partially draped female figures dancing to Apollo's lyre; 1376, Triumph of Virtue (virtù, mental and moral excellence) over the Vices of Sensuality and Sloth, a less successful composition, executed in 1502. Another masterpiece is 1374, Our Lady of Victory, a noble and virile work, painted in 1496 to commemorate the defeat of the French at Taro in 1495 by Isabella's consort, Francesco Gonzaga, the donor, who is seen kneeling in full armour; 1373, is an earlier work, the central and most important of the three sections of the predella of the Triptych at S. Zeno in Verona—a powerful, reverent, though somewhat hard, conception of the cardinal tragedy of Christianity. From Mantegna[Pg 356] to his brothers-in-law, Gentile and Giovanni Bellini and other Venetian masters the transition is easy. The school is here represented by a most valuable collection from Bartolomeo Vivarini, No. 1607, to Guardi. 1158, Giovanni Bellini, Virgin and Saints; and 1158A, a Man's Portrait, are however dubious attributions. 1156, Two Portraits; and 1157, a Venetian Envoy at Cairo, are Gentile school works. 1134, by Antonello da Messina, A Condottiere, is an amazingly vivid and powerful portrait. Carpaccio's St. Stephen preaching at Jerusalem, 1211, is part of the Historia of the Protomartyr, painted for St. Stephen's Guild at Venice. The naïve attempts at local colour—Turkish women sitting on the ground in groups as they may still be seen in Turkey to-day, and quaint architectural details—are noteworthy. Cima is well represented by 1259, Virgin and Child, with the Baptist and the Magdalen. 1351, A Holy Family, by Lotto, was formerly assigned to Dosso Dossi. 1350 is an early and charming little work, St. Jerome, by the same master. We return to Palma Vecchio's grand composition, 1399, The Adoration of the Shepherds, which under a false signature, once passed for a Titian. 1135, Holy Family, with SS. Sebastian and Catherine, is a form of composition known as a Santa Conversazione, which Palma brought to its ultimate perfection. The official catalogue of 1903 persists in ascribing it to Giorgione. The claims of Palma himself, Pellegrino da San Daniele, Cariani and Sebastiano del Piombo, have all found protagonists among modern critics. How excellent a standard of craftsmanship was maintained by the Venetian school is well exemplified by 1673, a portrait by an unknown artist. 1352, The Visitation, by Sebastiano del Piombo, although much injured by restorers, is a fair example of that master's grandiose style in his Roman period. We now reach the Titians.[Pg 357] 1577 and 1580, are good average Sante Conversazioni, the latter is, however, assigned by Mr. Berenson to a pupil. 1581, The Supper at Emmaus, a mature and genuine work; and 1578, the much-admired Virgin and Child with the Rabbit, painted in 1530, next claim our attention. 1593 and 1591 are unknown portraits, the former attributed by Crowe and Cavalcaselle to Pordenone. On the R. wall opposite the Carpaccio is hung, 1587, a magnificent work of the painter's[206] old age, Jupiter and Antiope, unhappily much injured by fire and by more than one restoration. Two characteristic Sante Conversazioni from Bonifazio's atelier may next be noted, 1172, over a doorway; and 1171, skied[ii] on the L. wall. The later interpreters of the pomp and grandeur of the Venetian state, Veronese and Tintoret, are represented to L. and R. by several typical canvases. Among these we note, 1196 (L. wall), an excellent Veronese, The Supper at Emmaus; and 1465, a sketch by Tintoret for the great Paradiso in the Ducal Palace. The eighteenth-century masters (following after the Jupiter and Antiope) are well exemplified in a fine Canaletto, 1203, View of the Salute Church and the Grand Canal; and several good examples of the more romantic Guardi. A Last Supper, 1547, and other works by Tiepolo, the last of the Venetian masters of the grand style; and some Bassanos—1429, by Jacopo, Giov. da Bologna is an admirable portrait—conclude the collection of Venetians. We pass to the Italian Eclectics, the once admired but now depreciated Carracci, Guido Reni and Domenichino. 1613, St. Cecilia, is a famous picture by the last named. R. of the next section[Pg 358] (C), are two Peruginos; 1564, a beautiful tondo, Virgin and Child, Saints and Angels; and 1566A, St. Sebastian, a careful and pleasing study of the nude. We cross to the L. wall, rich with examples of Raphael, and of his school; and turn first to a lovely little panel, 1509, Apollo and Marsyas, of most enigmatical authorship,[207] bought in 1883 from Mr. Morris Moore for 200,000 francs. Sold, in 1850, as a Mantegna, it has since been variously assigned to Raphael, Perugino, Timoteo Viti, and Francia. Perugino's influence, however, if not his hand, is sufficiently obvious. 1506, unknown Portrait, is another doubtful Raphael, confidently attributed by Morelli to Perugino's pupil, Bacchiacca. We are on more certain ground with 1497, the popular Virgin of the Diadem, undoubtedly designed by the master during his Roman period, and probably executed by his pupil, Giulio Romano. 1501, St. Margaret, painted during the same period for Francis I., was also, according to Vasari, almost wholly executed by Giulio. This unhappy picture was, however, racommodé (mended) in 1685, and since has been severely mauled by restorers. 1507, Joan of Aragon: the head alone, says Vasari, was painted by the master who left the portrait to be completed by his famous pupil. 1499, the charming little Holy Family, was probably executed by a pupil. 1508, two unknown portraits, has small claim to be classed as a Raphael. The exquisite little panels, 1502 and 1503, of St. Michael and St. George, are, however, precious and genuine works painted in 1504 at Urbino. They symbolise the overthrow of the hated tyrant Cæsar Borgia, and the return of the exiled Duke Guidobaldo to his loving subjects. On the R. wall of Section D. are hung some works by the Italian[Pg 359] Naturalists (a seceding school from the Eclectics), to whose chief representative Caravaggio (called the anti-Christ of painting), is due 1121, Death of the Virgin. This realistic representation of a sacred subject so shocked the pious at Rome that it was removed from the church for which it was painted. 1124, Portrait of Alof, Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, brought the artist a chain of gold, two Turkish prisoners and a knighthood. Salvator Rosa's Landscape, 1480; and a characteristic and much-appreciated Battle Scene, 1479, hang on this wall.

We cross to the L. wall, devoted to the Spanish school. The recently acquired El Greco (no number), King Ferdinand, is one of that master's best works outside Spain. By Ribera, who was obviously much influenced by the Italian Naturalists are: 1723, St. Paul the Hermit; 1722, The Entombment; and 1721, Adoration of the Shepherds, the last a masterpiece, wrought in the sombre manner of this powerful artist. From the magnificent show of Murillos stands forth, 1709, The Immaculate Conception, a favourite Spanish theme, by the most popular of Spanish masters. This grandiose representation of the Woman of the Apocalypse, clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, was acquired at the Soult sale in 1852 for 615,000 francs. From the same collection came the superb composition 1710, The Birth of the Virgin, of which a small sketch in oil is possessed by the National Gallery. We cross to the R. wall where hangs 1716, The Miracle of S. Diego; at the prayer of the saint, angels descend from heaven and prepare a miraculous repast for his needy Franciscan friars, to the great amazement of brother cook. Other Murillos, including a characteristic Beggar Boy, 1717 (L. wall) will be seen on either side. By Velasquez, the supreme master of the[Pg 360] school are: (L. wall) 1734, Meeting of Thirteen Spanish Gentlemen, Velasquez and Murillo standing left of the group; and 1732, one of the many portraits scattered about Europe of Philip IV. The sombre Zurbaran is represented by 1739 and 1738, A Bishop's Funeral, and St. Pierre Nolasque and St. Raymond de Peñafort. Four portraits, 1704-1705B, by the facile and popular Madrid artist Goya, should by no means be passed without notice. There follows next a small collection of English paintings, rather indifferent in quality, but historically of much interest, by reason of the inspiration drawn from Constable and Bonington by the Barbizon school. Bonington, whose untimely death was a grievous loss to modern art, passed much of his time in Paris and was the link between the Valley of the Stour and the Forest of Fontainebleau.

We pass to some productions of the German school. On the R. wall hang 2738 and 2738C, Episodes in the Life of St. Ursula by the Master of St. Sévérin.[208] Opposite is 2737, an earlier specimen of the Cologne school, Descent from the Cross, by the Master of St. Bartholomew. 2709 and 2709A, Head of an Old Man, and Head of a Child, are ascribed to Albert Dürer. But the chief glory of this collection are the Holbein portraits on the L. wall, four of which are of supreme excellence; 2715, Erasmus; 2714, William Wareham, Archbishop of Canterbury; 2713, Nicholas Kratzer, Astrologer to Henry VIII.; and 2718, Anne of Cleves. 2719, Richard Southwell is a doubtful Holbein.

Section E is filled with Flemish paintings. R. hangs, among other of his works, Phil. de Champaigne's[Pg 361] masterpiece, 1934, portraits of Mother Catherine Agnes Arnaud and of his own daughter, Sister Catherine, painted for the Convent of Port Royal. The intimate association of this grave and virile artist, who settled at Paris when nineteen years of age, with the austere and pious Jansenists of Port Royal, is also traceable in 1928, The Last Supper. On the L. are some excellent works by Rubens: 2075, Flight of Lot; 2077, Adoration of the Magi; 2113, Portrait of Helen Fourment, the artist's second wife, and their two children; 2144, Lady's Portrait, said to be that of Suzanne Fourment. The ignoble Kermess, 2115, will be familiar to readers of Zola.

Section F on the L. is occupied by a rich collection of Rembrandt's works: 2548, the oft-reproduced Flayed Ox, is a masterly rendering of an unattractive subject; no number, Old Man Reading; in 2547 the artist has immortalised his faithful servant, Hendrickje Stoffels; 2536, Tobit and the Angel; 2549 and 2550, Bathsheba, and Susannah and the Elders are two studies of the nude; 2542, The Joiner's Family, formerly known as the Holy Family; 2540, Philosopher in Meditation. 2537, The Good Samaritan; and 2539, The Supper at Emmaus, are painted with profound and reverent piety. Opposite the Rembrandts are Gerard Dow's masterpiece; 2348, The Sick Woman, and other works by the same artist. We now enter at the end of the Grande Galerie, the new

Salle Vandyck, Room XVII.

Here, among other portraits, by the first of portrait painters (according to Reynolds) hangs the superb rendering of Charles I., 1967, bought by Louis XV. for Madame du Barry's boudoir on the fiction that it was a family picture, since the page holding the horse[Pg 362] was named Barry. Michelet says that he never visited the Louvre without pausing to muse before this historic canvas.[209] Before we descend to the new Rubens room we note by this master three large canvases, 2086, 2087, 2096: Birth of Marie de' Medici at Florence; her education; the widowed Queen as Regent of France, which properly belong to the suite of paintings exposed in the

Salle de Rubens, Room XVIII.

to which we now descend. In this sumptuous hall, specially erected for the purpose, are exhibited, with the three exceptions noted, the famous paintings completed in 1625 by the artist and his pupils for the Luxembourg Palace to the order of the Regent Marie. These spacious and grandiose compositions illustrate in pompous and pagan symbolism the chief events in her career: all the principal figures are due to Reubens' own hand. Reynolds was wont to say of Reubens' colouring that his figures looked as if they fed on roses: these, however, would seem to have fed upon less ethereal diet. L. of entrance, 2085, The Three Fates spinning Marie's destiny; L. wall, 2088, Reception of her Portrait; R. wall, 2089, Her Marriage by Procuration to Henry—the Grand Duke Ferdinand of Tuscany, her uncle, places the ring on her finger; L., 2090, Disembarkation at Marseilles; R., 2091, The Marriage at Lyons; L., 2092, Birth of Louis XIII. at Fontainebleau; R., 2093, Departure of Henry for Germany, who hands to his consort the symbols[Pg 363] of the Regency; L., 2094, Coronation of Marie at St. Denis: the dogs are said to have been painted by Snyders; R., 2095, Apotheosis of Henry. Like the ascending Faust in Henry's portly form, —

"Bleibt ein Erdenrest
Zu tragen peinlich."

L., 2097, Marie's journey to Anjou; R., 2098, Exchange at Hendaye of the Princess Elizabeth of France affianced to Philip IV., and of Anne of Austria, affianced to Louis XIII.; L., 2099, Felicity of the Regency—this picture was hastily improvised at Paris; R., 2100, The Majority of Louis XIII.; L., 2101, Escape of Marie from the Château of Blois; R., 2102, Reconciliation with her son, Louis XIII., at Angers; End wall, L., 2103, Conclusion of Peace; R., 2104, Meeting between Marie and Louis in Olympia. R. of entrance, 2105, The Triumph of Truth.

Enclosing this hall are a series of Cabinets XX.-XXXVI., containing a large and important collection of works by the Netherland painters. We ascend, turn R., and enter Room XX., which is devoted to Franz Hals and contains 2386 and 2387, superb portraits of Nicholas van Beresteyn and his wife; and 2388 the same, with their Family; 2383, Descartes. Room XXI., Cuyp, after whom the room is named, is seen in four typical works, 2341-2344; 2415 and 2414 are excellent Dutch Interiors by Peter de Hoogh. In Room XXII. reigns the jovial Van Steen: two characteristic paintings are here shown; 2578, Feast in an Inn, and 2580, Evil Company. 2587 is a masterly Terburg, The Amorous Soldier, and 2459 a similar subject treated by Gabriel Metsu. Room XXIII. is assigned to Van Goyen, and Room XXIV. to Adrian van Ostade, Hals' pupil. In the latter room, 2495, the so-called Family of the Painter, and 2496,[Pg 364] The Schoolmaster, stand forth pre-eminent. 2509 and 2510, Travellers Halting and a Winter Scene, are by Adrian's brother, Isaac. Room XXV. is rich in landscapes by Ruysdael, of which 2557, The Forest, and 2558, Tempest near the Dykes of Holland, are masterpieces: 2588, The Music Lesson, is a fine Terburg. Room XXVI., dedicated to Hobbema, contains his fine landscapes: 2403, A Forest Scene, and 2404, The Mill, and another exquisite Terburg, 2589, The Concert. Some typical Paul Potters also hang here. We proceed round to Room XXIX., which holds a precious collection of Van Eycks and Memlings. 1986 is an exquisite little masterpiece painted by Jean with infinite patience and care, Virgin and Child and Donor. Fine Memlings are:—2024, The Baptist; 2025, The Magdalen; 2027, Marriage of St. Catherine; 2028, a Triptych—the Resurrection, St. Sebastian and the Ascension Here too are hung, 1957, Gerard Dow's Wedding at Cana; 2196, Van der Weyden's Descent from the Cross, and some excellent Flemish school paintings. Room XXX. is the Quentin Matsys Room: 2029 is the well-known Banker and his Wife, of which many replicas exist; 2030, by the same artist, Virgin and Child. The fine example of the fifteenth-century painter, known as the Master of the Death of Mary, 2738, hangs in this room. This profoundly reverent and sincere work consists of: a central panel, Descent from the Cross, below which is The Last Supper, and above, in the lunette, St. Francis receiving the Stigmata; Friar Leo is seen asleep against a rock. A remarkable work by Peter Brueghel, The Blind leading the Blind, will also arrest attention. Room XXXI., named after Anthony More, contains a miscellaneous collection, among which the artist's portraits (2481A) of Edward VI. of England, and of (2479) a Spanish Dwarf, and Peter[Pg 365] Brueghel's Village, 1918, and a Country Dance, 1918B, are of chief interest. The Teniers Room, XXXII., shows some excellent works by the younger master: 2155, St. Peter denies his Lord; 2156, The Prodigal Son; 2157, Works of Charity; 2158, Temptation of St. Anthony. We next pass to three rooms in which are hung works by Netherland artists, formerly in the La Caze collection, among which, in Room XXXIII., are 2579, Van Steen's, Family Repast; and 2454, Nicholas Maes', Grace before Meat. In XXXIV. are two well-known works: 1916, Adrian Brouwer's, The Smoker; and 2384, The Gipsy, a masterpiece by Franz Hals. A fine Vandyck, 1979, Head of an Old Man; Rubens' portrait of Marie de' Medici, 2109; and a sketch in oils, 2122, Elevation of the Cross, are in Room XXXV. We return to the Salle Vandyck and the Grande Galerie, along which we retrace our steps and enter, at its further end, the

Salon Carré, Room IV.

where an assortment of masterpieces is hung from the various schools we have visited. We begin with the Raphaels: On the L. (W. wall), 1496, La Belle Jardinière, painted in 1507, is the most delightful of the Florentine Madonnas for which it is said a flower-girl of Florence sat; Vasari relates that the unfinished mantle was left to Ridolfo Ghirlandaio to complete; 1498, The Holy Family, styled of Francis I. and designed at Rome (1518) in the zenith of the artist's power, was presented by Pope Leo X. to Francis' queen; the inky hand of Giulio had no small part in the work. In the same year was painted 1504, (diagonally opposite) the dramatic St. Michael, a picture which evoked much interest at Rome, and whose coloration[Pg 366] was adversely criticised by Sebastiano del Piombo; here also the hand of Giulio is all too apparent, and the picture, moreover, has suffered much in its transference from wood to canvas. 1505, N. wall, the masterly and authentic portrait of Baltazar Castiglione, was executed in 1506. On the same wall among the Venetians we find the much-disputed Al Fresco Concert, 1136, here ascribed to Giorgione, an ascription which has the support of Morelli and Berenson. The magnificent Titian, 1590, variously known as Titian and his Mistress, and the Lady with the Mirror, is supposed to be the portraits of Duke Alfonso of Ferrara and his mistress, Laura Diante, later his wife, the daughter of a poor artizan who more than once sat to Titian as a model. The portrait on the S. wall, 1592, The Man with the Glove, extolled by Vasari as an opera stupenda, and 1584, The Entombment, on the E. wall, are the two greatest Titians in the Louvre, where the artist's majesty and power are displayed in their highest degree. 1583, The Crown of Thorns, E. wall, is a work of the painter's old age.[210] The sensual features of Francis I., 1588, S. wall, were painted from a medal.

By Tintoret is 1464, Susannah; and by Veronese, the grand composition that expatiates over the S. wall, 1192, known as The Marriage at Cana, executed in his most pompous and stately manner for the refectory of the Benedictine monastery of St. Giorgio Maggiore at Venice. The artist is seen in the foreground playing a viol: Titian a bass viol. Many other historical figures are more or less convincingly identified by critics. On the opposite wall is another large refectory composition, 1193, The Supper in the House of Simon the Pharisee. A characteristic ceiling decoration, Rebellion and Treason, from the Hall of the Council of the Ten at Venice;[Pg 367] and 1190, N. wall, Holy Family, are by the same artist. The Portrait, 1601, N. wall, by Da Vinci of his friend Monna Lisa, wife of Fr. del Giocondo, known as La Gioconda, is the most fascinating picture in Europe. A whole symphony of praise has been lavished on this miraculously beautiful creation in which psychical and physical perfection have been blended with potent and subtle genius. 1598, S. wall, Virgin and Child and St. Anne, attributed to the same, though of somewhat doubtful authenticity, is worth careful study. By another Milanese master is 1354, S. wall, Luini's Virgin and Sleeping Child. Of the two fine Correggios, 1117 and 1118, N. wall, The Marriage of St. Catherine, and Jupiter and Antiope, the former is referred to by Vasari, in his life of Girolamo da Carpi, as a divine thing, wherein the figures are so superlatively beautiful that they seem to have been painted in Paradise; the latter formed part of Isabella d'Este's collection, to which we have so often referred. 1731, N. wall, is the marvellous portrait by Velasquez of the Infanta Margarita Maria, Philip IV.'s fair-haired darling child by his second wife. This is one of the most characteristic of the master's work out of Spain, and profoundly influenced Manet and the Modern Impressionist School. The great French master Poussin's typical classical subject, 741, together with Jouvenet's masterpiece, 437, Descent from the Cross, have also their place of honour in this Hall. In the

Salle Duchâtel, Room V.

entered from the N.E. angle of this room, we find, R., some Luini frescoes: 1359, 1360, the Nativity, and The Adoration of the Magi, and 1361, Christ[Pg 368] Blessing, full of this master's tenderness and charm. Some excellent portraits by Antonio Moro, 2480, 2481 and, a most beautiful Memling, 2026, Virgin and Child with Donors, will also be noted. As we pursue our way to the Escalier Daru at the end of the room, we pass L. and R., one of the earliest and one of the latest works of Ingres (p. 390), 421, Œdipus and the Sphinx, painted in 1808; and the most popular nude in the French school, 422, La Source, painted in 1856.

(b) The French School.

The great schools of Christian painting in Western Europe which we have reviewed, were born, grew and flourished in the free cities of the Netherlands and of Italy. French masters working in Paris, Tours, Dijon, Moulins, Aix, and Avignon, were inevitably subdued by the dominant and powerful masters of the north and south, and how far they succeeded in impressing a local and racial individuality on their works is, and long will be, a fruitful theme for criticism. The collection of French Primitifs of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, exhibited in Paris in 1904, and the publication of Dimier's[211] uncompromising and powerful defence of those critics who, like himself, deny the existence of any indigenous French School of painting whatsoever, have recently concentrated the attention of the artistic world on a passionately debated controversy. Undoubtedly most of the examples of the so-called Franco-Flemish school which formerly hung unquestioned among collections of Flemish paintings, did when massed together, as they were in 1904 in[Pg 369] the Pavilion de Marsan, display more or less well-defined extra-Flemish characteristics—a modern feeling for Nature and an intimate realism in the treatment of landscapes, a freer, more supple and more vivacious drawing of the human figure—reasonably explained by the theory of a school of painters expressing independent local feeling and genius. But even if all the paintings which the patriotic bias of French critics now attributes to French or Franco-Flemish masters[212] be accepted, the continuity is broken by many gaps which can only be filled by assuming, after the fashion of biologists, the existence of missing links.

The Triptych.

The Triptych of Moulins.
Maître de Moulins.
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We make our way to the small but increasing collection of French Primitifs possessed by the Louvre, along the Grande Galerie as far as Section D. and, turning R., enter Rooms IX.-XIII. Beginning with Room X., devoted to fifteenth-century masters, on the L. wall is 995, Martyrdom of St. Denis, ascribed to the Burgundian Jean Malouet, court painter of Jean sans Peur, and owing its completion to Henri Bellechose, after the former's death in 1415. To L. of the main subject, the saint is seen in prison, receiving the sacred Host from the hands of Christ; 996, a Pietà on the L. wall has also been attributed to Malouet. 999, L. wall, a portrait group of Jean Jouvénal des Ursins and his family, by an unknown fifteenth-century artist, is admirable in execution and important for contemporary costumes. Below (1005A) is the fine picture so admired in the exhibition of the Primitifs in 1904 by the Maître[Pg 370] de Moulins,[213] St Mary Magdalen and Donatrix, eminently French in feeling. 1004 and 1005, portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Bourbon, are now catalogued under this master's name. The realistic Pietà (1001B) on the L. wall is assigned to the school of Nicholas Froment of the papal city of Avignon. 288 and 289 at either end of the R. wall, portraits of Guillaume Jouvénal des Ursins and of Charles VII., are by the well-known Jehan Fouquet of Tours, who unites the gentleness of the Tuscan school with the vivacity of the Gallic temperament. 998D, Virgin and Donors, is now tentatively ascribed to the Master of the Legend of St. Ursula. We next note a Crucifixion, the famous altar-piece (998A) of the Parlement of Paris recently transferred from the Palais de Justice. To the L. are St. Louis and the Baptist, R., St. Denis and Charlemagne; in the background are seen the old Louvre and the abbey of St. Germain. 998C is a similar altar-piece from St. Germain des Prés, painted about 1490, Descent of the Cross; in the background are other representations of the old Louvre, St. Germain and Montmartre. 304A, portraits of good King René and his second wife Jeanne de Laval, by Nicholas Froment of Avignon. (1001D) St. Helena and the Miracle of the Cross, by an unknown artist, about 1480. R. of entrance, Christ, St. Agricola and Donor, school of Avignon; below this hangs 997A, portrait of the sinister Jean sans Peur, and 997B, portrait of Philip le Bon of Burgundy, artist unknown. We pass to[Pg 371]

Room XI.

which contains a series of most interesting historical portraits. Among the sixteenth-century painters cited by Félibien,[214] the Vasari of French painting, most of whom are but names to us, we may distinguish the Clouet family of four generations. The senior Jehan, born in Flanders in 1420, came to France in 1460 as painter to the Duke of Burgundy. His son, also, named Jehan, figures in the Royal accounts in 1528 as valet and court painter to Francis I., and was known as Maître Jehan or Jehanet. To him, an artist of great simplicity and charm, are attributed 126 and 127, R. wall, portraits of his royal master. Sons of the junior Jehan were François (1500-1572), the best-known and most talented of the Clouets, who was naturalised in 1541, and Jehan the younger, known as Clouet de Navarre (1515-1589), court painter to Margaret of Valois. By the former, who assisted his father during the last ten years of his life and succeeded him as court painter, are two admirable portraits, 128 and 129, of Charles IX. and his queen, Elizabeth of Austria; 130, Henry II., and (on the end wall) 131, the Duke of Guise, are also attributed to him. To the latter artist is ascribed 134, Louis of St. Gelais. Each of these elusive personalities, whose Flemish ancestry is evident, was known as Maître Jehanet, and much confusion has thus arisen. We now turn to some portraits by unknown artists of the period, among which may be noted: 1033, Henry III.; 132, Charles IX.; 1024, Diana of France, legitimised daughter of Henry II.; 1030, Catherine de' Medici; 1035, Ball given by Henry III. in celebration[Pg 372] of the marriage of his favourite minion, Anne, Duke of Joyeuse, with Margaret of Lorraine in 1581; the king is seen seated with his mother, Catherine de' Medici, and his wife, Louise of Lorraine; the Duke of Guise (le Balafré) leans against his chair. On the same wall are 1015, François, Duke of Guise; and 1007, King Francis I. On the end wall, 1032, Henry III.; by the window opposite, 1022, the young Duke of Alençon (p. 178), by no means ill-favoured; and 1023, Louise of Lorraine, queen of Henry III. By a contemporary of the later Clouets, Jean Cousin (1501-1589), is 155 on the L. wall, The Last Judgment. Cousin was a versatile craftsman, and some stained glass by him still exists at S. Gervais and in the chapel at Vincennes. Among other artists mentioned by Félibien is Martin Fréminet (1567-1616), whose Mercury commanding Æneas to forsake Dido, 304, hangs on the end wall.

Elizabeth of Austria.

Portrait of Elizabeth of Austria, Wife of Charles IX.
François Clouet.
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The two years' sojourn of Solario in France at the invitation of the Cardinal of Amboise, of Da Vinci at the solicitation of Louis XII., and the foundation of the school of Fontainebleau in 1530 by Rosso (1496-1540), Primaticcio (1504-1570), and Nicolo dell' Abbate (1512-1571), mark the eclipse of whatever schools of French painting were then existing; for the grand manner and dramatic power of the Italians, fostered by royal patronage, carried all before them. This room possesses by Rosso, known as Maître Roux, 1485, a Pietà, and 1486, The Challenge of the Pierides, and Primaticcio is represented by some admirable drawings exhibited in cases in the centre of the room. Readers of Vasari will remember numerous references in his pages to Italian artists who went to serve, and agents employed to buy Italian works for, the gran re Francesco nel [Pg 373]suo luogo di Fontainebleo. But the sterility of the Fontainebleau school may be inferred from the fact that when Marie de' Medici desired to have the walls of the Luxembourg royally decorated, she was compelled to have recourse to a foreigner, Rubens. Neglecting for a moment Room XII. and turning to

Room XIII.

we come upon some charming works by the brothers Lenain, whom Félibien dismisses in a few lines, while giving scores of pages to artists whose names and works have long been forgotten. So little is known of the brothers Antoine and Louis, who died in 1648, and Matthieu, who survived them nearly thirty years, that critics have only partially succeeded in differentiating their works, which are usually exhibited under their united names. Obviously dominated by the Netherland masters, their manner is yet pervaded by essentially French qualities—a love of Nature and a certain atmosphere of poetry and gentleness alien to the Flemish and Dutch schools. Nine of their works are here seen. A Smithy, 540; Peasants playing at Cards, 546; and Return from Haymaking, 542, are good examples. Skied in this room is 976, portrait of Louis XIII. by Simon Vouet (1590-1649), leader of the new academic French school of the seventeenth century, an artist of prodigious activity and master of the army of court painters who served Louis XIV. Vouet, who had worked in Italy, acquired there the grand and spacious manner of the later Venetians, which was admirably adapted to the decorative requirements of his royal patrons. To his pupil, Eustache Lesueur (1617-1655), is due 586, St. Bruno and his Companions bestowing Alms, one of the famous series illustrating the life of St. Bruno, of which the greater number are in[Pg 374]

Room XII.

whither we now return. This eminently religious and tender artist is well represented in the Louvre, and the sympathetic student will appreciate the austere and sincere devotion expressed in these pictures, painted for the brethren of the Charterhouse in the Rue d'Enfer. The finest, a masterpiece, both in beauty of composition and depth of feeling, is 584, The Death of St. Bruno. The artist's careful application to his monumental task may be estimated by the fact that 146 preliminary drawings for this series are preserved in the Louvre. Lesueur's modesty and high purpose went almost unheeded amid the exultant prosperity of the fashionable courtier-artists of his day. We retrace our steps, pass through Room XIII., turn R., and enter the spacious

Room XIV.

also devoted to seventeenth-century artists. Lesueur is here seen in another masterpiece; 560, R. wall, St. Paul at Ephesus, a mai[215] picture; and 556, same wall, Christ bearing His Cross. The influence of Raphael in the former is very apparent. The hierophant of the school, Vouet, is represented in this room by some dozen examples, among which hangs his masterpiece 971, L. wall, Presentation at the Temple. A work, 25, Charity, by his short-lived rival, Jacques Blanchard, (1600-1638), known in his day as the French Titian, may be seen towards the end of this long gallery on the R. wall. A talented artist too was Jean de Bologne, an Italian by birth and known as Le Valentin (1591-1634). A good example of his style will be seen in 56 (same wall), Susannah. We now turn to Nicholas[Pg 375] Poussin (1594-1665), the greatest master of his age, whose exalted and lucid conceptions, ripe scholarship, admirable art and fertility of invention, may be adequately appreciated at the Louvre alone, which holds a matchless collection of nearly fifty of his works. The visitor, fresh from the rich and glowing colour, the grandeur and breadth of the later Italians, will perchance experience a certain chill before the sobriety, the cold intellectuality and severe classic reserve of this powerful artist. Let us however remember his aim and ideal: to produce a picture in which correct drawing and science of linear and aerial perspective should subserve harmony of composition, lucid expression and classic grace. To approach Poussin and his younger contemporary Claude rightly, the traveller will do well to free his mind from Ruskin's partial and prejudiced depreciation of these two supreme masters, in order to effect an equally partial appreciation of Turner.[216] The story of Poussin's single-minded and stubborn application to his art cannot here be told. After a life of poverty at Paris and two unsuccessful attempts to work his way to Rome, he at length reached that Mecca of French artists, where a commission to paint two pictures, now at Vienna, for Cardinal Barbarini, established his reputation. Two of his works executed about 1630 during this first Roman period hang here; 709 and 710, R. wall, The Rain of Manna, and, The Philistines smitten by Plague. In 1640, after two years' negotiations and the personal intervention of Louis XIII., he was persuaded to return to Paris to take part in the decoration of the Louvre; but in spite of his generous pay and of the fine palazzetto and charming garden allotted to him[Pg 376] for residence, the petty jealousies, chicanery and low standard of his rivals, revolted his artistic conscience: he obtained leave to return to Rome "to fetch his wife," and never left the eternal city again. Two of his works painted during this second and last Roman period are 717 (L. of entrance), Institution of the Eucharist, and 735 (L. wall), a ceiling composition executed for Richelieu, Time rescuing Truth from the assaults of Envy and Discord, whose subjective interest is obvious; 704, L. of entrance, Rebecca at the Well, is described at great length by Félibien, who saw it in progress. It was painted (1648) for a rich patron who desired a composition treated like Guido's Virgin, and filled with several young girls of differing types of beauty. The finished picture so delighted amateurs at Paris that large sums were offered in vain to divert it from the fortunate possessor; 711, L. wall, is the famous Judgment of Solomon (1649). On the same wall are 731, Echo and Narcissus; 734, his masterpiece, Shepherds of Arcady—a group of shepherds of the Vale of Tempe in the heyday of health and beauty, are arrested in their enjoyment of life by the warning inscription on a tomb: Et in arcadia ego (I, too, once lived in Arcady); 736-739, The Four Seasons were painted (1660-1664) for Richelieu. These beautiful compositions, more especially the last, The Deluge, typifying winter, will repay careful study. On the R. wall are, 724, the well-known Rape of the Sabine Women; 740, a most perfect work of his maturity, Orpheus and Eurydice (1659); and 742, Apollo and Daphne, his last work, left unfinished. Such are some of the more striking manifestations of this remarkable genius who alone, says Hazlitt, has the right to be considered as the painter of classical antiquity. His integrity was so rigid that he once returned part of the price paid for one of his works which he deemed [Pg 377]excessive. To the modern, Poussin is somewhat antipathetic by reason of his scholarly aloofness and insensibility to the passions and actualities of life. As Reynolds remarked: he lived and conversed with ancient statues so long, that he was better acquainted with them than with the people around him, and had studied the ancients so much, that he had acquired a habit of thinking in their way. He saw Nature through the glass of Time, says Hazlitt, and his friend Dom Bonaventura tells how he often met the solitary artist sketching in the Forum or returning from the Campagna with specimens of moss, pebbles, flowers, etc., to be used as models. When asked the secret of his artistic perfection, he would modestly answer: "Je n'ai rien négligé."


Shepherds of Arcady.
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Claude Gelée (1600-1682) known as Claude, and one of the greatest names in the history of modern painting, also spent most of his artistic career at Rome. He was the first to bring the glory of the sun and the sun-steeped atmosphere on to canvas. He touches a new chord in the symphony of colour and by his poetic charm and romantic feeling stirs a deeper emotion. He, too, was a strenuous, implacable worker, a loving student of Nature, passing days in silent abstraction before her varying moods.

Cleopatra. Landing of Cleopatra at Tarsus.
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The Louvre possesses sixteen Claudes, among which we may emphasise on the L. wall, 310, View of a Port; 311, a poetic and glowing representation of the Roman Forum, before the old Campo Vaccino, with its romantic and picturesque aspect, had been excavated by modern archæologists. 314 and 316, Landing of Cleopatra at Tarsis, and Ulysses restoring Chryseis to her father, are typical imaginary classic compositions and variations on the artist's favourite theme—the effects of sunlight on an atmosphere of varying luminosity and on the limpid, rippling waves of the sea.[Pg 378] We now come to the grand monarque of the arts at Paris during the century, Charles Lebrun (1619-1690), founder of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture that finally eclipsed the old Painters' Guild which, from the thirteenth century, had monopolised the exercise of the art at Paris. So tyrannous had the Guild become that, in 1646, it ordered the number of court painters to be reduced to four each for the king and queen. An attempt to apply this regulation to the painters lodged at the Louvre roused Lebrun's hostility, who induced the regent, Anne of Austria, to found a rival Académie Royale on the model of the famous Academy of St. Luke at Florence. Twelve anciens were chosen by lot and the new Academy, Lebrun at its head, was inaugurated on 1st February 1648. The angry Guild swooped down on the Academy on 19th March, armed with a police warrant, to seize all its pictures and effects, a blow which Lebrun parried by a royal decree annulling the warrant. Hereupon the Guild organised their own Academy of St. Luke under the leadership of Vouet and Mignard, and after some temporary reconciliations and as many bickerings and hostilities, Lebrun won Mazarin's favour by a judicious gift of two paintings, and the Académie Royale obtained in 1658 a new constitution, an increase of members to forty, free quarters, and pensions, which, under Colbert, were raised to 4,000 livres. The Guild fought hard and won some concessions, but the Académie Royale remained supreme, and both were finally overwhelmed in the revolutionary storm.

In 1661 Lebrun was commanded by Louis XIV. to paint cartoons for tapestry illustrating the life of Alexander the Great. Five of these huge canvases hang in this room, R. and L., 509-513; 511, R. wall, The Family of Darius at Alexander's Feet, so charmed [Pg 379]the king that he appointed Lebrun first royal painter, and granted him a patent of nobility. For thirty years the royal favourite was sole arbiter of taste and ruled supreme over the arts, until his star paled before the rising luminary, his rival Mignard. Lebrun's best work is to be seen at Versailles, but 510, R. wall, The Battle of Arbela, is an excellent example of his facile and adroit style. In 1686 the old favourite was commanded by Louis to paint a rival picture to Mignard's, Christ bearing His Cross, which was incensed with extravagant adulation by the courtiers. Lebrun set to work and in three months completed his Christ on the Cross, which the king loudly appreciated. Both pictures, 630 and 500, now hang on the L. wall a few paces from each other. Pierre Mignard (1612-1695) was a fellow-pupil with Lebrun under Vouet, and like him in early years a sojourner in Rome: his popular Madonnas, modelled from his Italian wife, added a new word (mignardes) to the French language. One such, 628, hangs a little further along this wall. In 1657 he won royal favour by a portrait of the young Louis, a branch of art in which he excelled. Mignard was a supple flatterer, and Louis sat to him many times. Once, later in the monarch's life, his royal sitter asked if he observed any change. "Sire," answered the courtly painter, "I only perceive a few more victories on your brow." A portrait of Madame de Maintenon, 639, is seen (L. wall) in this room. Mignard's greatest work, however, great in range if not in art, is the painting of the cupola of the church at the Val de Grâce, which is not only an indifferent painting, but was the occasion of a bad poem by his friend Molière.[217] Two other eminent portraitists, Nicholas Largillière (1656-1746), and[Pg 380] Hyacinth Rigaud (1659-1743), may now fitly be considered.

By Rigaud, who was regarded as the first painter of Europe for truth of resemblance united with magnificence of presentment, are: a masterly portrait of Bossuet, 783; and a superb rendering of the roi-soleil, 781, both on the L. wall. Further along, on the same wall, are 784, portrait of his mother in two aspects painted for the sculptor Coysevox; and his last work, 780, Presentation at the Temple. Rigaud was especially successful with the rich bourgeoisie of Paris, and later became court painter, supreme in expressing the grandiose and inflated pomposities of the age. He, says Reynolds, in the tumour of his presumptuous loftiness, was the perfect example of Du Pile's rules, that bid painters so to draw their portraits that they seem to speak and say to us: "Stop, look at me! I am that invincible king: majesty surrounds me. Look! I am that valiant soldier: I struck terror everywhere. I am that great minister, etc." By Largillière, who lacks the psychological insight of his contemporary, is, L. wall, 483, Portrait of the Comte de la Chartre. He was a master of the accessories and upholstery of portraiture and painted some 1500 sitters during his long career, part of which was passed in England as court painter to Charles II. and James II. A third successful portraitist was Jean Marc Nattier (1685-1766), whose ingenious and compliant art aimed at endowing a commonplace sitter with distinction and grace, and who generally was able to strike a happy medium between flattery and truth. Better represented at Versailles, he is but poorly seen here in 657, R. wall, A Magdalen, and 661A, L. wall, Unknown Portrait. 441 is an interesting portrait of Fagon, Louis XIV.'s favourite physician, by Jean Jouvenet (1644-1717), known as Le Grand, a talented and docile pupil of Lebrun, whose[Pg 381] four large compositions executed for the church of St. Martin des Champs, 432-435, are hung in this room. 434, R. wall, Resurrection of Lazarus, is perhaps the best. His works are a connecting link between the pompous spread-eagle manner of the Siècle de Louis XIV. and the gay abandonment and heartless frivolity of the reign of Louis XV. We pass from this room to the Collection of Portraits in

Room XV.

of which some few possess artistic importance and many historical interest. We bestow what attention we may desire and pass direct to

Room XVI.

Cythera. Embarkation for the Island of Cythera.
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devoted to seventeenth-century art. Chief among the painters who interpreted the refined sensuality and more pleasant vices of the age, yet not of them, was Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), the melancholy youth from French Flanders, who began by painting St. Nicholases at three francs a week and his board, but who soon invented a new manner and became famous as the Peintre des Scènes Galantes. These scenes of coquetry, frivolity and amorous dalliance, with their patched, powdered and scented ladies and gallants, toying with life in a land where, like that of the Lotus Eaters, it seems always afternoon, he clothes with a refined and delicate vesture of grace and fascination. He has a poetic touch for landscape and a tender, pathetic sense of the tears in mortal things which make him akin to Virgil in literature, for over the languorous and swooning air and sun-steeped glades the coming tempest lours. His success, as Walter Pater suggests, in painting these vain and perishable graces of the drawing-room and[Pg 382] garden-comedy of life, with the delicate odour of decay which rises from the soil, was probably due to the fact that he despised them. The whole age of the Revolution lies between these irresponsible and gay courtiers in the scènes galantes of Watteau and the virile peasant scenes in the "epic of toil" painted by Millet. In this room hangs his Academy picture, the Embarkation for Cythera, 982, L. wall, its colour unhappily almost worn away by over cleaning. His pupils, Pater (1696-1736), and Lancret (1690-1743), imitated his style, but were unable to soar to the higher plane of their master's genius. The former is represented by a Fête Champêtre, 689, R. wall: the latter by the Four Seasons, 462-465, R. wall; on the L. wall, 468, The Music Lesson, and 469, Innocence, both from the Palace of Fontainebleau. The Fête Galante dies with these artists whom we shall meet again better represented in the Salle La Caze. A famous contemporary of Pater and Lancret and first painter to the king was Charles Antoine Coypel (1694-1752), grandson of Noël Coypel (1629-1707), and son of Antoine (1661-1722), both of whom are represented in the Louvre (Rooms XIV.-XVI., 157-166, and 167-175), His Perseus and Andromeda, 180, hangs R. of the entrance of this room. Charles André Vanloo (1705-1765), known as Carle Vanloo, (whose grandfather, Jacob Vanloo, is represented by two pictures, 2451, 2452, hung among the Dutch artists in Rooms XXIV. and XXVI.), enjoyed a great vogue in his day. His facile drawing and riotous colour temporarily enriched the language with a new verb—to vanlooter. 899, on the L. wall, A Hunting Picnic, is an admirable specimen of his supple talent. The flaunting sensuality of François Boucher (1703-1770), and of Jean Honoré Fragonnard (1732-1806), who lavished undoubted genius and ignoble industry in the service of the depraved [Pg 383]boudoir tastes of the Pompadours and Du Barrys that ruled at Versailles, are seen here and in the Salle la Caze in all their eloquent vulgarity. That Boucher had in him the elements of a great painter may be inferred from the charming little sketch, 30, R. wall, Diana, and from the excellent interior, 50A, L. wall, Breakfast. His popular pastoral scenes, executed with amazing facility, with their beribboned shepherds and dainty shepherdesses, are exemplified in 32 and 33, R. wall, and 34 and 35, L. wall. Other works by this fluent servant of La Pompadour are 31, R. wall, Venus commanding Vulcan to forge arms for Æneas, and 36, L. wall, Vulcan presenting them to Venus. Boucher with all his faults was a grand decorative artist of extraordinary versatility, but the loose habits and careless methods of his later days are reflected in slovenly drawing and waning powers of invention. Reynolds, who visited him in Paris, noted the change, and describes how he found the artist at work on a large picture without studies or models of any kind, and on expressing his surprise, was told by Boucher that he did in earlier days use them, but had dispensed with them for many years. Fragonnard, who on his return from Rome, had set about some canvases in the grand traditional style of the earlier masters, of which an example may be seen in 290, R. wall, Coresus[218] and Callirrhoe, soon perceived that fame lay not in that direction, and devoted himself with exuberant talent and unconscionable facility to satisfy the frivolous tastes and refined animality of royal and courtly[Pg 384] patrons. For it was a time when life was envisaged as a perpetual feast of enjoyment; a vision of roguish eyes and rouged and patched faces of sprightly beribboned and perfumed gallants, playing at shepherds and shepherdesses, of luxurious sensuality untrammelled by a Christianity minus the Ten Commandments, soon to be hustled away by the robust and democratic ideals of David. Another early work of Fragonnard in this room is 291, R. wall, The Music Lesson: some of his more characteristic productions we shall meet with in the Salle La Caze. A somewhat feeble protest against the prevailing vulgarity and debasement of contemporary art was made by Jean Baptiste Siméon Chardin (1699-1779) and Jean Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805) in their rendering of scenes of domesticity and of the pathos of simple lives. Chardin is well seen in this room in his laborious studies of still life, 89 and 90, L. wall, diploma works, and in 91 and 92, same wall, The Industrious Mother, and Grace before Meat. The last, a delightful work, won for the artist Diderot's powerful advocacy, and made him the popular interpreter of bourgeois intimacies. Other patient studies of still life are: 95, 96, 101, and 102; and R. wall 94. On the same wall hang, 97, The Ape as Antiquary, and 99, The Housewife. If Chardin touches the border-line between sentiment and sentimentality, Greuze (end wall) in 369, Return of the Prodigal; 370, A Father's Crime; and 371, The Undutiful Son, certainly oversteps it. Each of these became the theme of extravagant eulogy and didactic preachments by Diderot, his literary protagonist, who hailed him as a French Hogarth making Virtue amiable and Vice odious. An even more equivocal note is struck (L. wall) in 372A, The Milkmaid; and 372, The Broken Pitcher, where as Gautier acutely remarks, the artist contrives to make [Pg 385]Virtue exhale the same sensual delight as Vice had done, and to suggest that Innocence will fall an easy victim to temptation. Madame Du Barry was much attracted by the latter picture and possessed a replica of it. Other works and studies, R. wall, by the artist are in this room. 368, end wall, Severus Reproaching Caracalla, was painted as a diploma picture. But Greuze essayed here a flight beyond his powers: to his profound disgust the Academy refused to admit him as an historical, and classed him as a genre painter. No survey of eighteenth century French painting would be complete without some reference to Claude Joseph Vernet (1714-1789), the famous marine and landscape artist, whose paintings of the principal ports of France are hung in the Musée de la Marine on the second floor. Here we may distinguish among some score of his works: 921, The Bathers; 923, A Landscape; and 932, A Seascape: The Setting Sun, all on the L. wall.


Grace before Meat.
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It will now be opportune to make our way to the La Caze collection. We pass out from the end of this room and descend the Escalier Daru to the first landing; then ascend L. of the Victory of Samothrace to the Rotonde, pass direct through the Salle des Bijoux, and turn L. through Room II. to

Room I.

The La Caze collection. We note on the R. wall, an excellent Lenain, 548, A Peasant Meal, and some admirable portraits by Largillière, 484-491, of which the last, Portrait of the Artist, his Wife and Daughter, is a masterly work. Among the fine portraits by Rigaud, 791-795, that of the Young Duke of Lesdiguières, stands pre-eminent. We cross to the L. wall, where the rich collection of works by[Pg 386] Watteau and his followers is placed: 983, Gilles, a scene from a Comedy, is one of Watteau's most precious pictures. Near it are: 984, The Disdainful; 986, Gathering in a Park. 985, Sly-Puss, a charming little picture, is followed by 988, 989, 990 and 992, four other studies. 991 is a carefully finished classical subject, Jupiter and Antiope. Near these are grouped: 470-473, four small works by Lancret, and 690-693, a like number of typical variations of the scène galante by Pater. We next note 659, a fine portrait group by Nattier: Mlle. de Lambec as Minerva, arming her brother the young Count of Brienne. To the same skilful portraitist are due: 660, a Knight of Malta; and 661, A Daughter of Louis XV. as a Vestal Virgin. By Boucher are: 48, R. of entrance, The Painter in his Studio, and R. wall, 47, The Three Graces; 46 and 49, L. wall, Venus and Vulcan, and Vulcan's Forge. Fragonnard is represented by some of his characteristic works executed with wonderful sleight of hand, 292-301. The prevailing taste of his patrons may be judged by 295, L. wall, a sketch of one of his most successful and oftenest repeated subjects. On this same wall are a varied series of Chardin's studies of still life; a poor replica, 93, of his Grace before Meat; 104, The Ape as Painter, and other similar homely subjects.

Here also are two historical revolutionary portraits by Greuze: 378, The Girondin, Gensonné, and 379, the Poet-Deputy, Fabre d'Eglantine. Among the later Venetians are some Tintorets, R. wall: 1468, Susannah; 1469, Virgin and Child, Saints and Donor; 1470, Portrait of Pietro Mocenigo. Spanish art is represented by a fine but unpleasing Ribera, 1725, Boy with a Club-foot, and to Velasquez are ascribed: 1735, The Infanta Maria Teresa, Queen of Louis XIV.; 1736, Unknown Portrait; 1733, L. of entrance,[Pg 387] Philip IV. 1945 and 1946, R. wall, the Provost and Sheriffs, and Jean de Mesme, President of the Parlement of Paris, are excellent examples of Philippe de Champaigne's austere and honest art.

From the studios of Boucher and of Comte Joseph Marie Vien (1716-1809) there came towards the end of the eighteenth century the virile, revolutionary figure of Jacques Louis David (1748-1825), who burst like a thunderstorm on the corrupt artistic atmosphere of the age, sweetening and bracing French art for half a century. Shocked by the slovenly drawing and vulgarity of the fashionable masters, and nursed on Plutarch, he applied himself to the study of the antique with a determination to rejuvenate the painter's art and establish a school, drawing its inspiration from heroic Greece and Rome. The successive phases of this potent but rather theatrical genius may be well followed in the Louvre. Neglecting for the present his earlier and pre-revolutionary works, we retrace our steps through Room II. noting in passing, 143, The Funeral at Ornans (a remarkable, realistic painting by a later revolutionary, to whom we shall return) and enter

Room III.

on the L. wall of which hangs 188, David's famous canvas: The Sabine Women, over which he brooded during his imprisonment in the Luxembourg after the Thermidorian reaction. David regarded this composition as the most successful expression of his theory of art. He studied whole libraries of antiquities and vainly imagined it to be the most "Greek" of all his works. Nothing, however, could be farther removed from the tranquil self-restraint and noble simplicity of Greek art than these self-conscious, histrionic groups of figures, without one touch of naturalness. The old preoccupation[Pg 388] with classic models inherited from Poussin and the Roman school, still dominates even this revolutionary artist, who best displays his great genius when he forgets his theories and paints direct from life, as in 199, Mme. Récamier; and 198 (opposite wall), Pius VII. David's fierce Jacobinism (he had been a member of the terrible Committee of Public Safety) did not prevent him from worshipping the rising star of the First Consul, who, on assuming the Imperial crown, appointed him court painter and commissioned him to execute, 202A, Consecration of Napoleon I. at Notre Dame. In this grandiose historic scene, containing at least 150 portraits, the eye is at once drawn to the central actor who, having crowned himself, is placing a diadem on the kneeling Josephine's brow. The story runs, that David had originally drawn Pope Pius VII. with hands on knees. Bonaparte entering the studio, at once ordered the artist to represent the pontiff in the act of blessing, exclaiming: "I didn't bring him all this way to do nothing." For this picture and for the Distribution of the Eagles 180,000 francs were paid.

Madame Récamier.

Madame Récamier.
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Among the painters of the new school was Pierre Prud'hon (1758-1823), whose fame was made by two pictures, 747 and 756, on opposite walls, first exhibited in 1808: Justice and Divine Wrath pursuing Crime; and the graceful but somewhat invertebrate, Rape of Psyche. 746, an Assumption, was executed for the Tuileries Chapel in 1819. Other works by this master, whose Correggiosity is evident, hang in the room. Two famous pupils of David were François Pascal Simon Gérard (1770-1837) and Antoine Jean Gros (1771-1835). By the former, known as the King of Painters and Painter of Kings, are: 328, Love and Psyche; and 332, a charming portrait of the painter Isabey and his daughter. By the latter, who owed the Imperial favour to the good graces of Josephine, are: 391, Bonaparte [Pg 389]at Arcole; 392A, Lieut. Sarlovèze, a typical Beau-Sabreur portrait; and 388, Bonaparte visiting victims of the Plague at Jaffa, a striking composition, which advanced the artist to the front rank of his profession. Gros was the parent of the grand battle-pictures of the future; the painter of the Napoleonic epos. Young artists were wont to attach a sprig of laurel to this work in which the first signs of the coming storm of Romanticism are discerned.

The real champion of the movement was, however, Jean Louis André Théodore Géricault (1791-1824), whose epoch-making picture, 338, The Raft of the Medusa, we now observe. This daring and passionate revolt from frigid classicism and preoccupation with a conventional antiquity was received but coldly by the professional critics on its appearance in 1819, though with enthusiasm by the people. Failing to find a buyer at Paris, its exhibition in England by a speculator, proved a financial success. 339-343, are military subjects of lesser range by this young innovator: 348, Epsom Races, was painted in England in 1821, three years before his premature death. To follow on with the French school we retrace our steps by the Rotonde and the Escalier Daru through Room XVI. to Room XV., L. of which, is the entrance to

Room VIII.

We revert to David whose Oath of the Horatii, 189, exhibited in 1785; and The Lictors bearing to Brutus the Bodies of his Sons, 191, exhibited in the fateful year 1789, hang skied on the R. wall. These paintings, hailed with prodigious enthusiasm, revolutionised the fashions and tastes of the day and gave artistic expression to the coming political and social changes. 200A on the same wall, The Three Ladies of Ghent, was[Pg 390] painted during the artist's exile in Belgium, for the old Terrorist was naturally not a persona grata to the restored Bourbons. Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1857), the most famous of David's pupils, two of whose works we have seen in Room V., was the bitterest opponent of the new Romantic school and steadfast champion of his master's artistic ideal. To him more than to any other teacher is due the tradition of clean, correct and comely drawing that characterises the French school. It is somewhat difficult perhaps for a foreigner, observing the paintings by Ingres in this room, fully to comprehend[219] the reverence in which he is held by his countrymen. More than once Professor Legros has described to the present writer the thrill of emotion that passed through him and his fellow-students when they saw the aged master enter the École des Beaux Arts at Paris. If, however, the visitor will inspect the marvellous Ingres drawings in the Salle des Desseins (p. 394), he will appreciate his genius more adequately. The master's chief work in the present room is 417, R. wall, Apotheosis of Homer, a ceiling composition in which the arch-poet, laurel-crowned, has at his footstool seated figures symbolising the Iliad and the Odyssey, while the most famous poets and philosophers of the ages are grouped below him. The Odalisque, 422B, L. wall, is a characteristic nude, and a few other subject pictures will be noted. Among his portraits, 418, Cherubini; 428B, Bertier de Vaux, are generally regarded as masterpieces. Ingres despised colour, he never appealed to the emotions; his type of beauty is external and soulless, and he leaves the spectator cold.

Meanwhile the new Romantic school of brilliant colourists grew and flourished. Ary Scheffer,[Pg 391] Delaroche, Delacroix, cradled in the storms of the revolutionary period, are all represented around us. The sentimental Ary Scheffer (1795-1858) is seen, L. wall, in 841, St. Augustine and St. Monica, an immensely popular but affected and feeble composition. Some portraits by this artist may be also found on the walls. Greater than he in breadth of composition, opulence of colour and artistic virtuosity, was Paul Delaroche, whose Death of Queen Elizabeth, 216, end wall, now asserts itself. His greatest work, however, and one which won him much fame, is his well-known Hemicycle in the Beaux Arts (p. 319). A twin spirit with Géricault was the impetuous Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863), who is more fully hung in this collection. Of the brilliant compositions which with indefatigable industry he poured forth in the heyday of the movement, we may note some excellent examples: 212, L. wall, The Wreck of Don Juan; 211, L. wall, Jewish Wedding at Morocco; and, 213, Capture of Constantinople by the Venetians and Franks. Earlier works are, 207, R. of entrance, Virgil and Dante nearing the City of Dis, executed with feverish energy in a few weeks for the Salon of 1822; and 208, L. of entrance, The Massacre of Scio, a glowing canvas painted in 1834. Jean Hippolyte Flandrin (1809-1864), the Lesueur of the century, and like him uniting artistic genius and wide erudition with profound religious faith and true modesty, is represented most poorly of all; 284, Portrait of a Young Girl being the only example of this master's work here. Flandrin can only be truly appreciated in the church of St. Germain des Prés (p. 320). Before we turn to the Barbizon painters, we note Gros' fine composition, 389, L. wall, Napoleon at Eylau; and 390, R. wall, Francis I. and Charles V. visiting the Tombs at St. Denis.[Pg 392]

With Théodore Rousseau (1812-1867), the all-father of the modern French landscape school, and chief of the little band of enthusiasts who grouped themselves about him at Barbizon, we touch the greatest artistic movement of the age. Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875), the ever-young and gentle spirit, the tenderest emanation of the century; Jean François Millet (1814-1875), the inspired and cultured peasant, mightiest of them all, grand and solemn interpreter of the fundamental and tragic pathos of human toil, ever discerning God's image in the most bent and ill-shapen of his creatures; Constant Troyon (1810-1865), the grandest animal painter of his day; Narcisse Diaz de la Peña (1809-1876), once a poor errand lad with a maimed leg, painter of forest depths and of the rich hues of summer foliage; Charles François Daubigny (1817-1878), latest of the little band, faithful and tender student of nature, painter of the countryside, of the murmuring waters of the Seine and the Oise—these once despised and rejected of men have long won fame and appreciation. No princely patronage shone on them in their early struggles nor smoothed their path; they wrought out the beauty of their souls under the hard discipline of poverty in loving and awful communion with Nature. They have revealed to us new tones of colour in the air, in the forest and the plain, and a new sense of the pathos and beauty in simple lives and common things.

827, L. wall, is Rousseau's Forest at Fontainebleau, a fine effect of setting sun and loving representation of his favourite tree, the oak; 829 and 830, R. wall, are also by this master. On the same wall 643, Millet's Spring, whose coloration at first sight may seem forced and strange, is absolutely faithful to Nature, as the writer who once observed similar colour effects in the[Pg 393] forest can testify. 644, The Gleaners, "the three fates of poverty," is, next to the Angelus, the most popular of Millet's works. Corot, the Theocritus of modern painting, is represented by 138, the lovely and poetical Morning, 141, Souvenir de Mortefontaine and 141 bis, Castelgandolfo. R. and L. are, 889 and 890, two grand and massive compositions by Troyon: Oxen going to the Plough; and, The Return to the Farm: landscapes that smell of the very earth, and rendered with a marvellous breadth of style and penetrating sympathy; 184, end wall, and 185, R. of entrance, Grape Harvest in Burgundy, and Spring, are by Daubigny.

One of the most aggressive, ebullient and individual of painters was Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), whose harshly realistic Funeral at Ornans we have seen in Room II. In 1855 Courbet, finding his works badly hung in the International Exhibition at Paris, erected a wooden shed near the entrance, where he exhibited thirty-eight of his large pictures, and defiantly painted outside in big letters—REALISM: G. COURBET. Strong of body and coarse in habit, this peintre-animal, as he was called, delighted to épater le bourgeois, and painted his studies of the nude with a brutal reality that stripped the female form of all the beauty and grace with which the superior ideality of man has invested it. This swashbuckler of realism, who despised the old masters, denounced imagination as humbug, and would have great men, railway stations, factories and mines painted as the vérités vraies, the saints and miracles of the age, was, however, often better than his artistic creed, and is here represented by some pleasing Fontainebleau pictures: L. wall, 147, Deer in Covert; R. wall, 66, Source of the Puits Noir, and L., 147 bis, The Waves, a most powerful and original interpretation of the sombre majesty of the sea. For in truth[Pg 394] the creed of Realism, whether in literature or in art, involves a fallacy, and the creations of the imaginative and idealistic faculty in man are as real as those which result from the faculty of seeing mean things meanly and coarse things coarsely. Courbet's violent revolutionary nature nearly cost him his life in 1848 and involved him in the Commune in 1871, during which he presided over the destruction of the Vendôme Column (though he saved the Luxembourg and the Thiers' collection from the violence of the people). Poor Courbet, mulcted in enormous damages for his share in the overthrow of the Column, was ruined and died in exile. A more potent revolutionist, the arch-Impressionist Manet and founder of the school, has at length forced the portals of the Louvre and is represented by the celebrated Olympia, 204, around which so many fierce battles were waged in 1865.

We proceed to supplement this small collection of Barbizon pictures by a visit to the recently acquired (1903) Thomy-Thiéry and Chauchard collections. Returning to the Salle La Caze by Room XVI., and the Escalier Daru, we issue from it, pass direct before us and continue through the rooms devoted to exhibits of furniture (in Hall II. is a superb specimen of cabinet-work—Louis XV.'s writing-table). Turning R., we then enter a series of Cabinets, containing an admirable and most important collection of drawings, beginning with the early Italian masters and following on chronologically to the later Italians and to the German, Netherland and French masters. If the visitor have leisure he will be repaid by returning at some convenient time to study these carefully. But even the most hurried traveller should not omit to glance through them, and more especially at the lovely Da Vincis in the second cabinet and the Ingres drawings[Pg 395] further along. Arrived at the end, we shall find on our L. a wooden staircase, which we mount and reach


the Salle Française de 1830. Here are exhibited Delaroche's Princes in the Tower; Flandrin's Portrait of Mme. Vinet and some early works of the Barbizon school; Corot, 139, the Forum at Rome; 140, the Colosseum; 141F, The Belfry at Douai and others. Millet's sketch of the Church at Gréville, 641, was found in his studio after his death; another study is 642, The Bathers; 644A, The Seamstress, 642A is a portrait of the artist's sister-in-law. By Rousseau are two small landscapes, 831 and 832; and The Landes, 830, a masterpiece. Diaz and Dupré are seen in a number of studies and paintings.


The Binders. The Binders.
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contains the Thomy-Thiéry pictures, excellently hung and forming one of the most rich and precious collections in the Louvre. On the R. wall as we enter are a numerous series of genre paintings, happily conceived and wrought by Alexandre Gabriel Decamps (1803-1860). This room holds many excellent Rousseaus, among which are: 2896, Banks of the Loire; 2900, an excellent study of his favourite Oak Trees; 2901, The Pyrenees; 2903, Springtide. Millet is well represented by a priceless little collection: 2892, The Binders;2890, The Rubbish-burners; 2893, The Winnower; 2894, A Motherly Precaution; 2895, The Wood Chopper. By Corot are shown no less than twelve examples: 2801-2812. All are most[Pg 396] exquisitely poetical and delicate, but we may specially note: 2804, Shepherds' Dance at Sorrento; 2805, The Pollard Willows; 2806, Souvenir of Italy; 2807, The Pond; 2808, Entrance to a Village; 2810, View of Sin-le-Noble; 2811, Evening. A magnificent set of Troyons next claims our admiration, eleven in all, 2906-2916, of which: 2913, Girl with Turkeys; 2909, Morning; 2914, The Barrier; 2916, The Heights of Suresnes, are superlative. The ten Diaz pictures, 2854-2863, are of perhaps lesser interest, although they will all repay careful attention. Of Daubigny's intimate landscapes thirteen are offered to our appreciation, 2813-2825, among which: 2821, The Thames at Erith; 2822, The Mill at Gyliers; and 2824, Morning, are notable. By the melancholy and poetical Jules Dupré (1812-1889), whose landscapes oft breathe the tragic pathos of storm and desolation, and who is said to have broken into a passionate outburst of tears and sobs as he watched the magnificent spectacle of a nocturnal tempest, are twelve compositions, 2864-2875; and let us not omit some half-score Delacroix, 2843-2853, among which is a rare religious subject, 2849, Christ on the Cross. The glass cases in the centre of the room exhibit a numerous collection of bronzes by Barye, whom we have seen among the modern sculptors in Room VI.

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is the Salle Française du Second Empire and contains Horace Vernet's well known, The Barrière de Clichy, Defence of Paris in 1814; and Ary Scheffer's, Death of Géricault. 2938 is the great caricaturist Daumier's portrait of Théodore Rousseau. Numerous examples of the myopic art of Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier [Pg 397](1815-1891) will attract attention in this Room. To reach the Chauchard collection, provisionally exhibited in the old Colonial office, we descend to the first floor, traverse the Grande Galerie and the new Rubens Room. This, prodigieux accroissement de richesses, as it is termed by the official catalogue, contains a large number of masterpieces by the Barbizon painters and raises the Louvre collections of that school to supreme importance. No less than eight Millet's are included, the most famous of which, if not the greatest, The Angelus, 102, is much faded, but always attracts a crowd of admirers. 103, Woman at the Well, is a scene at the artist's birthplace; 104, is one of the most inspired of the master's creations, The Shepherdess watching her Flock. 99, The Winnower; 105, Girl with a Distaff, and 106, The Sheep Fold—a lovely pastoral scene by night. Among the twenty-six Corots are many of his finest works; 6, Goatherd playing the Flute; 8, The Dance of the Nymphs; 15, Rest beneath the Willows; 16, The Ford; 20, Forest Glade: Souvenir of Ville Avray; 24, Dance of Shepherdesses; 27, The Mill of St. Nicholas-les-Arras. Some noble Rousseaus are included: 107, Avenue in the Forest of d'Isle-Adam; 108, Pond by the Wayside; 112, Road in the Forest of Fontainebleau. Troyon's score of canvases make a brave show: 127, The White Cow, painted in 1856, was a favourite of the artist who kept it by him until his death and bequeathed it to his mother. By Charles Jacque, the painter of sheep, three works are shown including 72, The Great Sheepfold. Daubigny, Descamps, Diaz and others of the school are well represented in the collection. Admirers of "the little master of little pictures" will find among the twenty-six Meissonier's, which the Chauchard bequest brings to the Louvre, two of the most famous of his works:[Pg 398] 87, The Napoleonic picture, Campaign of France, 1814; and 80, Amateurs of Painting. All these examples of the most successful but least inspired of modern artists exemplify his patient, concentrated, meticulous style. By an ingenious fiction that the installation is only provisional, six characteristic Venetian pictures by the veteran, Ziem, have been retained in the collection.[220] 136, is, however, wrongly named, and should read Scene from the Giudecca.

We have completed our rapid survey of the chief paintings in the Louvre, for the more recent developments of French art must be sought in the Luxembourg, where they are all too inadequately represented. The self-imposed limitations of this work will not carry us thither, but the most cursory visit to the Louvre would be incomplete without some notice of the collections of Persian and Egyptian art which we may conveniently glance at on our way as we leave. Descending to the first floor by the staircase up which we mounted, we turn obliquely to the R. and enter the E. gallery containing the Persian terra-cotta reliefs and other objects from the royal palace of Darius, and Artaxerxes,[221] his son, at Susa, including the marvellous coloured Frieze of the Archers; one of the colossal capitals (restored), that supported the roof of the Throne Room; a model of the same; and some fine terra-cotta reliefs of Lions and of winged Bulls.

We pass on through the Mediæval and Renaissance collections, turn an angle R., and enter the South Gallery, where some remarkable specimens of ancient art will be[Pg 399] found among the Egyptian Antiquities. The painted statue (Hall III.) of the Seated Scribe is one of the most precious examples the world possesses of an art admirable in its naturalism and power of vivid portraiture, and the charming figure of a priestess, known as Dame Toui, exquisitely wrought in wood, is equally noteworthy. A superb example of a royal papyrus of the Book of the Dead will also invite attention. We pass on through a suite of beautifully decorated rooms filled with a choice collection of Etruscan and Greek Ceramic art, each of which offers a rich feast of beauty and historic interest.

At length we reach again the collection of paintings, Room III., whence we may pass through the Salle des Bijoux with a small exhibit of ancient jewellery, to the Rotonde, and turning L., enter the magnificent Galerie d'Apollon (the old Petite Galerie of Henry IV.), and examine the wealth of enamels; the exquisite productions of the goldsmith's art as applied to the sacred vessels of the church; precious stones; cameos; and such as remain of the old crown jewels. We may leave the palace by returning to the Rotonde; pass through the Salle La Caze and descend the Escalier Henry II. to the L., noting the caissons of its ceiling, decorated by Jean Goujon, and reach the Quadrangle under the Pavilion de l'Horloge, where we began our visit; or we pass from the Rotonde down the Escalier Daru to the exit in the Pavilion Denon, which gives on the Squares du Louvre. In the latter case it will be of some interest before leaving to pass for a moment by the exit and along the Galerie Mollien, where on the R. among the models of Roman masterpieces executed for Francis I., under Primaticcio's supervision, will be found one of the Laocoon, which shows its condition before Bernini's bungling restoration had deformed the group. To the[Pg 400] unsated sightseer there yet remain the rich and comprehensive collections of Egyptian and Asiatic antiquities on the ground floor of the E. wing entered on either side of the E. portal.


The Ville (S. of the Rue St. Antoine)—The Hôtel de Ville[222]St. Gervais—Hôtel Beauvais—Hôtel of the Provost of Paris—SS. Paul and Louis—Hôtel de Mayenne—Site of the Bastille—Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal[223]Hôtel Fieubert—Hôtel de Sens—Isle St. Louis.

We take the Métropolitain to the Hôtel de Ville station and make our way to the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, formerly Place de Grève, a little W. of the station.

In 1141 a sloping bank of sand (grève), to the E. of the Rue St. Martin and facing the old port of the Nautæ at St. Landry on the island of the Cité, was ceded by royal charter, to the burgesses of Paris for a payment of seventy livres. "It is void of houses," says the charter, "and is called the gravia, and is situated where the old market-place (vetus forum) existed." This was the origin of the famous Place de Grève,[224] where throbbed the very heart of civic, commercial and industrial Paris. On its eastern side stood the old Maison aux Piliers, a long, low building, whose upper floor was supported by columns. Here every revolutionary and democratic movement has been organised, from the days of Marcel to those of the Communes of 1789—when the last Provost of the[Pg 401] Merchants met his death—and of 1871, when the fine old Renaissance Hôtel de Ville was destroyed by fire. The place of sand was much smaller in olden times, and from 1310, when Philip the Fair burned three heretics, to September, 1822, when the last political offenders, the four serjeants of Rochelle, were executed, and to July 1830, when the last murderer was hung there, has soaked up the blood of many a famous enemy of State and Church and of innumerable notorious and obscure criminals, including the infamous Marquise de Brinvilliers, who was burned alive, and Cartouche, broken on the wheel. A permanent gibbet stood there and a market cross, and there during the English wars the infuriated Parisians tied the hands and feet of hundreds of English prisoners taken at Pontoise and flung them into the Seine. Every St. John's eve—the church and cloister of St. Jean stood behind the Hôtel de Ville—a great bonfire was lighted in the Place de Grève, fireworks were let off, and a salvo of artillery celebrated the festival. When the relations between Crown and Commune were felicitous the king himself would take part in the fête and fire the pile with a torch of white wax decorated with crimson velvet. A royal supper and ball in the Grande Salle concluded the revels. Not infrequently the ashes at the stake where a poor wretch had met his doom had scarcely cooled before the joyous flames and fireworks of the Feu de St. Jean burst forth, and the very day after the execution of the Count of Bouteville the people were dancing round the fires of St. John. The present Hôtel de Ville, by Ballu and Deperthes, completed in 1882,[225] is one of the finest[Pg 402] modern edifices in Europe, and contains some of the most important productions of contemporary French painters and sculptors: Puvis de Chavannes, Carolus Duran, Benjamin Constant, Jean Paul Laurens, Carrière Dalou, Chapu and others.

We pass to the E. of the Hôtel, where stands the church of St. Gervais and St. Protais, whose façade by Solomon Debrosse (1617) "is regarded," says Félibien (1725), "as a masterpiece of art by the best architectural[Pg 403] authorities" ("les plus intelligens en architecture"). The church, which has been several times rebuilt, occupies the site of the old sixth-century building, near which stood the elm tree where suitors waited for justice to be done by the early kings. "Attendre sous l'orme" ("To wait under the elm") is still a proverbial expression for waiting till Doomsday.


St. Gervais.
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HÔTEL PROVOST. Hôtel of the Provost of Paris.
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The lofty Gothic interior, dating from the late fifteenth century, is lighted by some sixteenth and seventeenth-century stained glass, and among the pictures that have escaped transportation to the Louvre may be noted a lunette over the clergy stalls R. of the nave, God the Father, by Perugino; and a remarkable tempera painting, The Passion, attributed to Dürer's pupil, Aldegräver, in the fifth chapel, L. aisle. The curious old panelled and painted little Chapelle Scarron (fourth to the L.) and the sixteenth-century carved choir stalls from the abbey church of Port Royal are of interest: the beautiful vaulting of the Lady Chapel is also noteworthy. Some good modern paintings may be seen (with difficulty) in the side chapels. The Rue François Miron leading E. from the Place St. Gervais was part of the Rue St. Antoine, before the cutting of the Rue de Rivoli, and the chief artery from the E. to the centre of Paris. On the R. of this street, No. 26, Rue Geoffrey l'Asnier, is the fine portal of the seventeenth-century Hôtel de Châlons, where the whilom ambassador to England, Antoine de la Borderie, lived (1608). Yet further on in the Rue François Miron is the Rue de Jouy: at No. 7, is the charming Hôtel d'Aumont by Hardouin Mansard. We continue our eastward way along the Rue François Miron and among other interesting houses note No. 68, the princely Hôtel de Beauvais, erected 1660, for Anne of Austria's favourite femme de chambre, Catherine Henriette Belier, wife of Pierre Beauvais. The street façade has been much disfigured and the magnificent wrought-iron[Pg 404] balcony, whence Anne, Mazarin and Turenne, together with the Queen of England, watched the solemn entry of Louis XIV. and his consort Maria Thérèse, has been destroyed: but the beautiful circular porch with its Doric columns and metopes and the stately courtyard where the architect, Jean Lepautre, has triumphed over the irregularity of the site and created a marvellous symmetry of form—all this still remains, together with [Pg 405] the noble stairway on the L., decorated by the Flemish sculptor, Desjardins. In the house at the sign of the Falcon which formerly stood on this spot, Tasso in the splendour of his early years was lodged by his patron, the Cardinal d'Este, and composed the greater part of the Gerusalemme Liberata. The Rue François Miron is continued by the Rue St. Antoine: at No. 119, we enter the Passage Charlemagne and pass to the second courtyard where remains a goodly portion of the old Hôtel of the Royal Provost of Paris, [226] given to Aubriot by Charles V. At No. 101 is the site of one of the gates of the Philip Augustus wall and at No. 99 stands the Jesuit Church of St. Paul and St. Louis, in the typical baroque style so familiar to visitors to Rome. The once lavishly decorated interior has suffered much from the Revolutionists. Germain Pilon's Virgin still remains in the chapel L. of the high altar, but the four angels in silver that sustained the hearts of Louis XIII. and XIV., and the noble bronze statues from the mausoleum of the Princes of Condé, admired by Bernini, are only a memory. At No. 65, a malodorous court leads to the old vaulted entrance to the charnel-houses of St. Paul, where Rabelais and the Man with the Iron Mask were buried;[227] and to the R. of this vault a narrow street leads to the Marché Ste. Catherine on the site of the canons' houses of the monastery of Ste. Catherine du Val des Écoliers (p. 124). At the corner of the Rue du Petit Musc is the magnificent Hôtel de Mayenne, begun by Du Cerceau for Diana of Poitiers and completed for the Duke of Mayenne, leader of the forces of the League: this too has a fine courtyard. The chamber in which the leaders of the League met and decided to assassinate Henry III. still exists. An inscription over[Pg 406] No. 5 marks the site of the forecourt of the Bastille where the revolutionists penetrated on 14th July: on the pavement in front of No. 1 and across the end of the street and in front of No. 5 Place de la Bastille, round the opposite corner, lines of white stones mark part of the huge space on which the gloomy and sinister old fortress stood. We turn S.W. by the Boulevard Henry IV., past the imposing new barracks of the Garde Républicaine, and then L. by the Rue de Sully. At No. 3 we enter the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, one of the most important libraries of Paris, where an attendant will show Sully's private cabinet and antechamber, with the rich decorations as they were left by his successor, including a ceiling painted by Vouet. Many an intimate outpouring of the Victor of Ivry's domestic woes did Sully endure here—complaints of his ill-tempered Marie's scoldings, the contrast between his lawful wife's sour greetings and the endearing graces and merry, roguish charms of his mistresses; their quarrels and exactions. All of which the great minister would listen to reprovingly, and exhort his dejected royal master not to permit himself, who had vanquished the hosts of his enemies in battle, to be overcome by a woman's petulancy. To the S. of the library the Boulevard Morland marks the channel which separated the Isle de Louviers from the N. bank of the river. We return to the Boulevard Henry IV. and cross to the Quai des Célestins, where on our L. stands part of a tower of the Bastille, discovered in 1899 during the construction of the Metropolitan Railway and transferred here. At the corner of the Rue du Petit Musc opposite, is the fine Hôtel Fieubert, erected by Hardouin Mansard (1671) on part of the site of the Royal Hôtel St. Paul. The principal façade, 2 bis Quai des Célestins, has unhappily been irretrievably spoilt by subsequent additions. Continuing westward, we note[Pg 407] No. 32, the site of the Tour Barbeau of the Philip Augustus wall. An inscription bids us remember that there stood the old Tennis Court of the Croix Noire, where Molière's troupe of the Illustre Théâtre performed in 1645. Turning R. up the Rue Falconnier, we come upon (L.) the grand old fifteenth-century palace of the archbishops of Sens (p. 114), now a glass merchant's warehouse. We regain the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville by the Quai of the same name, or cross the Pont Marie, and stroll about the quiet streets of the Isle St. Louis (p. 214), and return by the Pont Louis Philippe at its western extremity.


The Ville (N. of the Rue St. Antoine)—Tour St. Jacques—Rue St. Martin—St. Merri—Rue de Venise—Les Billettes—Hôtels du Soubise,[228] de Hollande, de Rohan [229]Musée Carnavalet[230]Place Royale—Musée Victor Hugo—Hôtel de Sully.

Two parallel historic roads named of St. Martin and of St. Denis cut northwards through the mass of houses that now crowd the Marais: the latter, the Grande Chaussée de Monseigneur St. Denis, to the shrine of the martyred saint of Lutetia, the former, the great Roman Street which led to the provinces of the north.

West door of St. Merri.
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We set forth northwards from the Place du Châtelet, at the foot of the Pont au Change, where[Pg 408] stood the massive pile of the Grande Châtelet, originally built to defend the bridge from the Norman pirates as the Petit Châtelet was to defend the Petit Pont. It subsequently became the official seat and prison of the Provost of Paris, where he held his criminal court and organised the City Watch, and was demolished in 1802. Below this festered an irregular maze of slums, the aggregation of seven centuries, the most fetid, insanitary and criminal quarter of Paris, known as the Vallée de Misère, which only disappeared in 1855. On our R. soars the beautiful flamboyant Gothic tower, all that remains of the great church of St. Jacques de la Boucherie. This fine monument was saved by the good sense of the architect Giraud who, when the church was sold to the housebreakers during the Revolution, inserted a clause in the warrant exempting the tower from demolition. It was afterwards used as a lead foundry and twice narrowly escaped destruction by fire. Purchased by the Ville, it seemed safe at last, but again it was threatened in 1853 by the prolongation of the Rue de Rivoli: luckily, however, the new street just passed by on the north. The statue of Pascal under the vaulting reminds the traveller that the great thinker conducted some barometrical experiments on the summit, and the statues of the patron saints of craftsmen in the niches, that under its shadow the industrial arts were practised. We ascend the Rue St. Martin from the N.E. corner of the Square, and on our R. find the late Gothic church of St. Merri, built on the site of the seventh-century Chapel of St. Pierre, where Odo Falconarius, one of the defenders of Paris in the siege of 886, is known to have been buried. We enter for the sake of the beautiful sixteenth-century glass in the choir and a curious old painting of the same epoch in the first chapel beyond the entrance to the sacristy, Ste.[Pg 409] Geneviève and her Flock, with a view of Paris in the background. We continue to ascend the street, noting No. 122, an old fountain and some reliefs, and soon reach, R. and L., the quaint and narrow mediæval Rue de Venise, formerly the Ruelle des Usuriers, home of the Law speculators (p. 242). At No. 27, L. of the Rue St. Martin and corner of the Rue Quincampoix, is the old inn of the Epée de Bois (now à l'Arrivée de Venise), where Prince de Hoorn and two other nobles assassinated and robbed a banker in open day and were broken alive on the wheel in the Place de Grève. Mirabeau and L. Racine, with other[Pg 410] wits are said to have met there and Mazarin granted letters patent to a company of dancing masters who taught there, under the direction of the Roi des Violins: from these modest beginnings grew the National Academy of Dancing. We return E. along the Rue de Venise and pass to its end; then cross obliquely to the R. and continue E., along the Rue Simon le Franc, traversing the Rue du Temple, to the Rue des Blancs Manteaux. This we follow still eastward to its intersection with Rue des Archives. Turning down this street to the R. we cross, and at Nos. 24 or 26 enter the fifteenth-century cloister (restored) of the monastery of the Billettes, founded at the end of the thirteenth century to commemorate the miracle of the Sacred Host, which had defied the efforts of Jonathan, the Jew to destroy it by steel, fire and [Pg 412] boiling water. The chapel, built on the site of the Jew's house in 1294, was rebuilt in 1754, and is now a Protestant church. The miraculous Host was preserved as late as the early eighteenth century in St. Jean en Grève, and carried annually in procession on the octave of Corpus Christi. We return northwards along the Rue des Archives, and reach at the corner of the Rue des Francs Bourgeois the fine pseudo-classic Hôtel de Soubise, now the National Archives, erected in 1704 for the Princesse de Soubise on the site of the old Hôtel of the Constable of France, Olivier de Clisson, where Charles VI., after his terrible vengeance on the revolted burgesses, agreed to remit further punishment, and where the Duke of Clarence established himself at the time of the English occupation. It became later (1553) the fortress of the Guises and rivalled the Louvre in strength and splendour. The picturesque Gothic portal (restored) of the old Hôtel de Clisson still exists higher up the Rue des Archives. The lavishly decorated Hôtel de Soubise, entered from the Rue des Francs Bourgeois, in which are exhibited historical documents and other objects of profound interest, though bereft of much of its former splendour is well worth a visit. The sumptuous chambers contain much characteristic and well-preserved decorative work by Boucher, Natoire, Carle Vanloo and others.[231] Opposite the [Pg 414] hôtel and between Nos. 59 and 57 may be seen a portion of a tower, repaired in brick, of the old Philip Augustus wall, and in the courtyard of the Mont de Piété (No. 55) the line of the wall is traced: a nearer view of the tower may be obtained from the courtyard to the R.


Cloister of the Billettes, Fifteenth Century.
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ARCHIVES Archives Nationales, Hôtel Soubise, showing towers of Hôtel de Clisson.
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We proceed eastward past the rebuilt church of the Blancs Manteaux and at the corner of the Rue Vieille du Temple find a charming Gothic tourelle (restored), all that remains of the mansion built in 1528 by Jean de la Balue. Descending the Rue Vieille du Temple to the R., we may examine (No. 47) the old Hôtel de Hollande, erected in 1638, where the Dutch ambassadors resided; and ascending, at No. 87, we find the Hôtel de Rohan (1712), home of the Cardinal de Rohan of diamond-necklace fame, now the Imprimerie Nationale. The Salon des Singes, charmingly decorated by Huet, and other interesting rooms are shown. The fine relief by Le Lorrain of the Horses of Apollo in a passage to the R. of the courtyard should by no means be missed. We return to the Rue des Francs Bourgeois, and at No. 38 find an inscription[232] over the entrance to a picturesque court which marks the place where the Duke of Orleans was assassinated by Jean Sans Peur (p. 132). Still proceeding E. we pass yet more interesting domestic architecture—No. 31, Hôtel d'Albret, where goody Scarron used to visit Madame de Montespan and where she was appointed governess to the royal bastards; 25, Hôtel de Lamoignon, once occupied by Diana of France, daughter of Henry II., and where Malesherbes was born. [Pg 415]

TOWER TEMPLE. Tower at the corner of the Rue Vielle du Temple.
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Nos. 14 and 16, corner of the Rue de Sévigné, is the Hôtel de Carnavalet, a magnificent renaissance mansion, in raising which no less than four famous architects had part—Lescot, Bullant, Du Cerceau and the elder Mansard. For twenty years (1677-1697) it was the home of Madame Sévigné, queen of letter-writers. Her Carnavalette, as she delighted to call it, is now the civic museum of Paris. The beautiful reliefs over the entrance, including the two superb lions against a background of trophies, are by Goujon, as are also the satyrs' heads on the keystones of the arcades of the courtyard. The Four Seasons and some of the lateral figures that decorate the courtyard were designed by him. In the centre stands a bronze statue of Louis XIV as a Roman conqueror, by Coysevox, which once stood on the Place de Grève before the old Hôtel de Ville. The museum, which contains a collection,[233] historic and prehistoric, relating to the city of Paris, is especially rich in objects, all carefully labelled, illustrating the great Revolution, and is of profound interest to students of that period: the second floor is devoted to the last siege of Paris. From the museum we fare yet further E. along the Rue des Francs Bourgeois to the Place Royale (now des Vosges), the site of the Palace of the Tournelles, once a favourite pleasure-house with a fair garden, of the kings of France, and where the Duke of Bedford lived during the English occupation, projecting to transform it into an English park for his exclusive use. There the ill-fated Henry II. lay eleven days in excruciating agony (p. 172), calling for his seule princesse, the beloved Diana, while Catherine, like a she-dragon, watched lest her rival entered. After his death the palace becoming hateful to Catherine, she had it demolished. It was subsequently used as a horse-market, and there the three minions of Henry III. began their bloody duel with[Pg 416] the three bullies of the Duke of Guise at five in the morning of 27th April 1578, and fought on until every one was either slain or severely wounded.

How different is the present aspect of this once courtly square! Here noble gentlemen in dazzling armour jousted, while from the windows of each of the thirty-five pavilions, gentle dames and demoiselles smiled gracious guerdon to their cavaliers. Around the bronze statue of Louis XIII., proudly erect on the noble horse cast by Daniello da Volterra, in the midst of the gardens, fine ladies were carried in their sedan-chairs and angry gallants fought out their quarrels. And now on this royal Place, the Perle du Marais, the scene of these brilliant revels, peaceful inhabitants of the east of Paris sun themselves and children play. Bronze horse and royal rider went to the melting pot of the Revolution to be forged into cannon that defeated and humbled the allied kings of Europe, and a feeble marble equestrian statue, erected under the Restoration, occupies its place.

We cross the Square obliquely and at No. 6, Victor Hugo's old house, find a delightful little museum of portraits, busts, casts, illustrations of his works in various mediums, and personal and intimate objects belonging to the poet. It was at this house that in 1847 the two greatest novelists of their age met. Dickens has described how he was welcomed with infinite courtesy and grace by Hugo, a noble, compact, closely-buttoned figure, with ample dark hair falling loosely over his clean-shaven face and with features never so keenly intellectual, and softened by a sweet gentility. We leave the Place by the S. exit, and entering the Rue St. Antoine turn R. to No. 62, where stands the Hôtel de Sully, built by Du Cerceau in 1634. The stately but now rather grimy inner courtyard is little altered, but the fine façade has been[Pg 417] disfigured by the erection of a mean building between the wings. We return from the Métropolitain station at the end of the Rue François Miron.


Place des Vosges, Maison de Victor Hugo.
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Rue St. Denis—Fontaine des Innocents—Tower of Jean sans Peur—Cour des Miracles—St. Eustache—The Halles—St. Germain l'Auxerrois.

From the Châtelet Station of the Métropolitain we strike northwards along the Rue St. Denis, passing R. and L. the Rue des Lombards, the Italian business quarter of old Paris, where Boccaccio, son of Boccassin, the money-changer, was born. We continue past the ill-omened Rue de la Ferronnerie and soon reach the Square and Fontaine des Innocents. This charming renaissance fountain was transferred here in 1786 from the corner of the old Rues aux Fers (now the widened Rue Berger) and St. Denis, where it had been designed and decorated by Lescot and Goujon to celebrate the solemn entry of Henry II. in 1549. The beautiful old fountain has been considerably modified and somewhat debased. The longer side has been divided to make a third, and a new fourth side has been added by Pajou. The whole has been elevated much too high by the addition of the terrace steps, and an unsightly dome has been added. Five of the exquisite reliefs of the Naiads by Goujon still remain, and three have been added by Pajou. These latter may be distinguished by their higher relief and lack of refinement.

The site of the immense Necropolis of Les Innocents,[234][Pg 418] which for six centuries swallowed up half the dead of Paris, roughly corresponds to the parallelogram formed by the modern Rues Berger, St. Denis,[Pg 419] Ferronnerie and de la Lingerie, and one of the old vaulted charnel-houses may still be seen at the ground floor of No. 7 Rue des Innocents. The huge piles of human remains and skulls that grinned from under the gable roof of the gallery painted with the Dance of Death were, in 1786, carted away to the catacombs under Paris, formed by the old Gallo-Roman quarrymen as they quarried the stone used to rebuild Lutetia. For centuries this enclosure was the refuge of vagabonds and scamps of all kinds, a receptacle for garbage, the haunt of stray cats and dogs, whose howlings by night made sleep impossible to nervous folk; and the lugubrious clocheteur, or crier of the dead, with lantern and bell, his tunic figured with skull and cross-bones, bleating forth: —

"Reveillez-vous gens qui dormez,
Priez Dieu pour les trépassez."

was no soothing lullaby.

A curious early fifteenth-century rhyme is associated with this charnel-house. One morning, two bourgeoises of Paris, the wife of Adam de la Gonesse and her niece, went abroad to have a little flutter and eat two sous' worth of tripe in a new inn. On their way they met Dame Tifaigne, the milliner, who recommended the tavern of the "Maillez," where the wine was excellent. Thither they went and fared not wisely but too well. When fifteen sous had already been spent, they determined to make a day of it, and ordered roast goose with hot cakes. After further drinking, gauffres, cheese, peeled almonds, pears, spices and walnuts were called for, and the feast ended in songs. When the bad quarter of an hour came, their sum of sous proving [Pg 420] inadequate, they parted with some of their finery to meet the score, and at midnight left the inn dancing and singing —

"Amours au vireli m'en vois."

The streets of Paris, however, at midnight were unsafe even for sober ladies, and these soon fell among thieves, were stripped of the rest of their clothing, then taken up for dead by the watch and flung into the mortuary in the cemetery of the Innocents; but, to the terror of the gravedigger, were found lying outside the next morning, singing —

"Druin, Druin, ou es allez?
Apporte trois harens salez
Et un pot de vin du plus fort."

Pursuing our way N. by the Rue St. Denis we pass (R.) the restored fourteenth-century church of St. Leu and St. Gilles, and on our L. two old reliefs of St. Peter and St. Andrew embedded in the corner of a modern house at the corner of the Rue St. Denis and the Rue Étienne Marcel. Near by stood the Painters' Gate of the Philip Augustus wall. We turn L. by the latter street and soon sight on our R. the massive machicolated Tower of Jean sans Peur (p. 133). It was at the Hôtel de Bourgogne that the Confrères de la Passion de Jésus Christ were performing in the sixteenth century, and where in 1548 they were forbidden by royal decree to play the mystery of the Passion any longer, and limited to profane, decent and lawful plays. From 1566-1576 the comédiens of the Hôtel de Bourgogne continued their performances, which at length became so gross that complaints were made of the blasphèmes et impudicités enacted there, and that not a farce was played that was not orde, sale et vilaine. Repeated ordinances were levelled at the actors, aiming at the purification of the stage and preventing[Pg 421] words of double entente. It was here, too, that the most exalted and noble masterpieces of Corneille and Racine—Le Cid, Andromaque and Phèdre—were first enacted. We turn R. by the Rue Française, again R. by the Rue Tiquetonne, then L. by the curious Rue Dussoubs to the new Rue Réamur, where on the opposite side, to the L., is the narrow passage between Nos. 100 and 102 that leads to the once notorious Cour des Miracles, so vividly portrayed in Victor Hugo's Notre Dame. It was here that Jean Du Barry and his mistress, Jeanne Vaubernier, kept a gambling-hell. Jeanne, subsequently married to Jean's brother, was the daughter of a monk and formerly known as Mademoiselle Lange. She it was who became the famous Du Barry, mistress of Louis XV. Here also dwelt Hébert, editor of the foul Père Duchesne. Both perished on the scaffold. We cross the Cour and leave by the Rue Damiette (L.), turn again L. and descend the Rue du Nil to the Rue des Petits Carreaux. This we follow to the L., and continue down it and the busy and picturesque Rue Montorgeuil, noting (L.) No. 78, the curious house at the sign of the Rocher de Cancale. 72-64 were part of the roomy sixteenth-century posting house of the Golden Compasses, and have quaint reliefs carved on their façades. We may enter at 64, the spacious old coaching yard, still used by market carts and waggons. The courtyard on the opposite side, No. 47, was the office of the old sedan-chair porters. We continue to descend, and at length sight the tall apse of the majestic church of St. Eustache, which towers over the Halles. Begun in 1532 by Pierre Lemercier, it was not completed until more than a century later by Jacques Lemercier, architect of the extended Louvre. We enter, by the side portal, the spacious, lofty and beautiful interior with its not unpleasing mingling of Gothic and Renaissance architecture.[Pg 422] It was here that in 1587 a friar reciting the story of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots roused his hearers to such a tempest of passion that the whole congregation melted into a common paroxysm of tears. Here, too, on 4th April 1791 was celebrated, amid the gloom and sorrow of a whole people, the funeral of their "Sovereign-Man," Mirabeau. Not till five o'clock did the league-long procession reach the church in solemn silence, interrupted only by the sound of muffled drums and wailing music, "new clangour of trombones and metallic dirge-voice, amid the infinite hum of men." After the funeral oration a discharge of arms brought down some of the plaster from the vaultings of the church, and the body went—the first tenant—to the Panthéon of the heroes of the Fatherland. We leave by the west portal—a monstrous pseudo-classic pile, added 1775-1778. To our L. is the vast area once covered by a congeries of picturesque Halles and streets:—the Halle aux Draps; the Marché des Herborists, with their mysterious stores of simples and healing herbs and leeches; the potato and onion markets; the butter and cheese markets; the fish market; the queer old Rue de la Tonnellerie, under whose shabby porticoes, sellers of rags, old clothes, iron and furniture, crowded against the bread market; the Marché des Prouvaires, beloved of thrifty housewives—all swallowed up by the vast modern structure of iron and glass, known as Les Halles. The Halle au Blé, or corn market, last to disappear, was built on the site of the Hôtel de la Reine which Catherine de' Medici had erected when frightened from the Tuileries by her astrologer Ruggieri. The site is now occupied by the Bourse de Commerce, but one curious decorated and channelled column, which conceals a stairway used by Catherine and her Italian familiar when they ascended to the roof to consult the stars, has been preserved.[Pg 423]

The Rue Pirouette N. of the Halles reminds us that there, until the reign of Louis XVI., stood the royal pillory, a tall octagonal tower of two floors. The unhappy wretches condemned to exposure there were placed with head and hands protruding through holes in a revolving wheel, and were left for three hours on three market days, to the gibes and missiles of the populace. There, too, was a place of execution for state offenders, the Constable of Clisson in 1344 and le pauvre Jacques (p. 147) in 1477 having perished on this spot.

From the Place St. Eustache we cross (L.) to the Rue Vauvilliers, formerly the Rue du Four St. Honoré, the west side of which still retains much of its old aspect, and many of the shops, their old signs: Au Chou Vert; Le Panier Fleuri, etc. Descending this street southwards, a turn (R.) up the Rue de Vannes will bring us to the Ruggieri column, transformed (1812) into a fountain, as the inscription tells. Resuming our way down the Rue Vauvilliers we turn R. by the Rue St. Honoré and opposite, at the corner of the Rue de l'Arbre Sec, find the old fountain of the Croix du Trahoir, erected in the reign of François I. and rebuilt by Soufflot in 1775. Here tradition places the cruel death of Queen Brunehaut (p. 29). Descending this street to the Rue de Rivoli, we note, No. 144, to the L. an inscription marking the site of the Hôtel de Montbazon where Coligny was assassinated. We cross to the Rue Perrault and soon reach the church of St. Germain l'Auxerrois from whose tower rang the signal for the St. Bartholomew butchery. The porch was added in 1431 for the convenience of distinguished worshippers; for it was the parish church of the Château of the Louvre and consequently the royal chapel. The saints and martyrs on the portail and porch are therefore closely associated[Pg 424] with the history of Paris: opposite to us extends Perrault's famous E. façade of the Louvre.


Palais Royal—Théâtre Français—Gardens and Cafés of the Palais Royal—Palais Mazarin (Bibliothèque Nationale)[235]—St. Roch—Vendôme Column—Tuileries Gardens—Place de la Concorde—Champs Élysées.

From the Palais Royal Station of the Métropolitain we issue before the great palace begun by Richelieu (p. 212). To our L. stands the Théâtre Français, occupied by the Comédie Française since 1799, on the site of the old Variétés Amusantes or Palais Variétés built in 1787, a little to the W. of Richelieu's Theatre of the Palais Cardinal. This latter was the scene of Molière's triumphs and of his piteous death, and the original home of the French Opera whose position is indicated by an inscription at the corner of the Rues de Valois and St. Honoré. It was at the Théâtre des Variétés, when the staid old Comédie Française was rent by rival factions that Chenier's patriotic tragedy, Charles IX., was performed on 4th November 1789, and the pit acclaimed Talma with frantic applause as he created the rôle of Charles IX., and the days of St. Bartholomew were acted on the stage. The bishops tried to stop the performances, and priests refused absolution to those of their penitents who went to see them. The Royalists among the Comedians replied at the Nation (the Odéon) by playing a royalist repertory, Cinna and Athalie, amid shouts from the pit for William Tell and the Death of Cæsar, and the stage became an arena where political factions strove for mastery. Men went to the theatre armed as to a battle. Every[Pg 425] couplet fired the passions of the audience, the boxes crying, "Vive le Roi!" to be answered by the hoarse voices of the pit, "Vive la nation!" Shouts were raised for the busts of Voltaire and of Brutus: they were brought from the foyer and placed on the stage. The very kings of shreds and patches on the boards came to blows and the Roman toga concealed a poignard. For a time "idolatry" triumphed at the Nation, but Talma and the patriots at length won. A reconciliation was effected, and at a performance of the Taking of the Bastille, on 8th January 1791, Talma addressed the audience, saying that they had composed their differences. Naudet, the Royalist champion, was recalcitrant, and amid furious shouts from the pit, "On your knees, citizen!" at length gave way, embraced Talma with ill-grace, and on the ensuing nights the Revolutionary repertory, The Conquest of Liberty, Rome Saved, and Brutus, held the boards.

In the stormy year of 1830, when the July Revolution made an end for ever of the Bourbon cause in Paris, the Comédie Française again became a scene of fierce strife. Hernani, a drama in verse, had been accepted from the pen of Victor Hugo, the brilliant and exuberant master of the new Romantic school of poets who had determined to emancipate themselves from the traditions, long since hardened into dogmas, of the great dramatists of the siècle de Louis Quatorze. On the night of the first performance each side—Romanticists and Classicists—had packed the theatre with partisans. The air was charged with feeling; the curtain rose, but less than two lines were uttered before the pent-up passions of the audience burst forth: —

Doña Josefa—"Serait-ce déjà lui? C'est bien à l'escalier

The last word had not passed the actress' lips when a[Pg 426] howl of execration rose from the devotees of Racine, outraged by the author's heresy in permitting an adjective to stray into the second line of verse. The Romanticists, led by Théophile Gautier, answered in withering blasphemies; the Classicists began to

"... prove their doctrine orthodox
By apostolic blows and knocks,"

and the pit became a pandemonium of warring factions. Night after night the literary sects renewed their fights, and the representations, as Hugo said, resembled battles rather than performances. The year 1830 was the '93 of the classic drama, but the passions it evoked have long since been calmed and Hernani and Le Roi s'Amuse, the latter suppressed by Louis Philippe after its first appearance, have taken their places in the classic repertory of the Français beside the tragedies of Corneille and Racine.

At No. 161 Rue St. Honoré, now Café de la Régence, beloved of chess players, is the site of the Porte St. Honoré of the Charles V. wall before which Joan of Arc was wounded at the Siege of Paris in 1429. The old chess-players' temple where Diderot loved to watch the matches; where the author of Gil Blas beheld in a vast and brilliantly lighted salon, a score of silent and grave pousseurs de bois (wood-shovers) surrounded by crowds of spectators amid a silence so profound that the movement of the pieces alone could be heard; where Voltaire and D' Alembert were often seen; where Jean Jacques Rousseau, dressed as an Armenian, drew such crowds that the proprietor was forced to seek police protection; where Robespierre loved to play a cautious game and the young and impecunious Napoleon Bonaparte, an impatient player and bad loser, waited on fortune; where strangers from all corners of the earth congregated as in an arena where[Pg 427] victory was esteemed final and complete; where Poles, Turks, Moors and Hindoos in their picturesque garbs made a scene unparalleled even at the Rialto of Venice; where on Sunday afternoons a seat was worth a monarch's ransom—this classic Café de la Régence which, until 1852, stood on the Place du Palais Royal, no longer exists.

We enter the gardens of the Palais by the colonnade to the R. of the Théâtre Français and pass N. along the W. colonnade. On this side was situated the famous Café de Foy (p. 261), founded in 1700, whose proprietor was in early days alone permitted to place chairs and tables on the terrace. There, in the afternoon, would sit the finely apparelled sons of Mars, and other gay dogs of the period, with their scented perukes, amber vinaigrettes, silver-hilted swords and gold-headed canes quizzing the passers-by. In summer evenings, after the conclusion of the opera at 8-30, the bonne compagnie in full dress would stroll under the great overarching trees of the grande allée, or sit at the cafés listening to open-air performers, sometimes revelling in the moonlight as late as the small hours of the morning.

It was from one of the tables of the Café Foy that Camille Desmoulins sounded the war-cry of the Revolution. Every day a special courier from Versailles brought the bulletins of the National Assembly, which were read publicly amid clamorous interjections. Spies found their office a perilous one, for, if discovered, they were ducked in the basins of the fountains, and when feeling grew more bitter, risked meeting a violent death. Later the Café Foy made a complete volte-face, raised its ices to twenty sous and grew Royalist in tone. Its frequenters came armed with sword-sticks and loaded canes, raised their hats when the king's name was uttered, and one evil day planted a gallows outside[Pg 428] the café, painted with the national colours. The excited patriots stormed the house, expelled the Royalists and disinfected the salon with gin. Next day the Royalists returned in force and cleansed the air with incense: after many fatalities the café was closed for some days and the triumph of the Jacobins at length made any suspicion of Royalism too perilous. During the occupation of Paris by the allies many a fatal duel between the foreign officers and the Imperialists was initiated there.

The extremer section of the Revolutionists frequented the Café Corazza, still extant on this side of the garden, which soon became a minor Jacobin's, where, after the club was closed, the excited orators continued their discussions: Chabot, Collot d'Herbois and other Terrorists met there. The Café Valois was patronised by the Feuillants, and so excited the ire of the Fédérés, who met at the Caveau, that one day they issued forth, assailed their opponents' stronghold and burned the copies of the Journal de Paris found there.

In the earlier days of the Revolution when its leaders looked for sympathy to England, "a brave and generous nation, whose name alone like that of Rome evokes ideas of Liberty," the people during an exhibition of anti-monarchical feeling went about destroying the insignia of royalty. On coming in the Palais Royal to the sign of the English king's head over a restaurant, an orator mounted a chair in the gardens, and informed them that it was the head of a good king, ruling over a free nation: it was spared, amid shouts of "Vive la Liberté." Later, at the Café des Milles Colonnes, the handsome Madame Romain, La Belle Limonadière, sat majestically on a real throne used by a king whom Napoleon had overthrown.

We leave the gardens by the issue in the middle of the N. colonnade, mount the steps and at the corner of the[Pg 429] Rue Vivienne and the Rue des Petits Champs opposite, come upon the Palais Mazarin (p. 222), now the Bibliothèque Nationale, with a fine façade on each street. In the Rue Vivienne stood also the princely Hôtel Colbert, of which only the name remains—the Passage Colbert. We turn W. along the Rue des Petits Champs and skirt the W. walls of the modernised palace northwards along the Rue de Richelieu to the main Cour d'Honneur, opposite the Square Louvois. Hence we may enter some rooms, which contain a magnificent and matchless collection of printed books, bindings and illuminated MSS. The second of the two halls where these treasures are exposed, the Galerie Mazarin, is a part of the old palace and retains its fine frescoed ceiling. As we retrace our steps down the Rue Richelieu we may enter, on our L. the equally rich and sumptuous museum of coins, medals, antiques, intaglios, gems, etc. Having regained the Rue des Petits Champs, we resume our westward way, noting at No. 45, corner of the Rue St. Anne, the fine double façade of the Hôtel erected by Lulli and bearing the great musician's coat-of-arms, a design of trumpets, lyres and cymbals, and soon cross the Avenue de l'Opéra to the Rue St. Roch on our L. This we descend to the church of the same name, with old houses still nestling against it, famous for Bonaparte's whiffs of grape-shot that scattered the Royalist insurrectionary forces stationed there on 5th October 1795. We descend to the Rue de Rivoli. To our L., at the Place des Pyramids, a statue of Joan of Arc recalls her ill-advised attack on Paris, and to our R., on the railings of the Tuileries Garden opposite No. 230, Rue de Rivoli, is the inscription marking the site of the Salle du Manége (p. 271). Northward hence extend Napoleon's Rues de Castiglione and de la Paix, the Regent Street of Paris, divided by the Place Vendôme, which was intended by[Pg 430] its creator, Louvois, to be the most spacious in the city. A monumental parallelogram of public offices was designed to enclose the Place, but Versailles engulfed the king's resources and the ambitious scheme was whittled down, the area much reduced, and the site and foundations of the new buildings were handed over to the Ville. What the Allies failed to do in 1814 the Commune succeeded in doing in 1871, and the boastful Column of Vendôme, a pitiful plagiarism of Trajan's Column at Rome, was laid in the dust, only however to be raised again by the Third Republic in 1875. We enter the Tuileries Gardens crossing the Terrace of the Feuillants, all that is left of the famous monastery and grounds where Lafayette's club of constitutional reformers met. The beautiful gardens remain much as Le Notre designed them for Louis XIV: every spring the orange trees, some of them dating back it is said to the time of Francis I., are brought forth from the orangery to adorn the central avenue, and the gardens become vocal with many voices of children at their games—French children with their gentle humour and sweet refined play. R. and L. of the central avenue we find the two marble exhedræ, erected in 1793 for the elders who presided over the floral celebrations of the month of Germinal by the children of the Republic.

Of the gorgeous palace of the Tuileries at the E. end of the gardens, with its inharmonious but picturesque façade stretching across the western limit of the Louvre from the Pavilion de Flore to the Pavilion de Marsan, not one stone is left on another. We remember it after its fiery purgation by the Commune in 1871, a gaunt shell blackened and ruined, fitting emblem of the wreck which the enthroned wantonness and corruption of the Second Empire had made of France.

We fare again westward along the gardens and emerge into the Place de la Concorde by the gate adorned with[Pg 431] Coysevox' statues, Fame and Mercury on Winged Horses, facing, on the opposite side of the vast area, Guillaume Coustou's Horse Tamers from Marly.

The Place, formerly of Louis XV., with its setting of pavilions adorned with groups of statuary representing the chief cities of France, was created by Gabriel in 1763-1772 on the site of a dreary, marshy waste used as a depot for marble. It was adorned in 1763 with an equestrian statue of Louis XV., by Pigalle, elevated on a pedestal which was decorated at the corners by statues of the cardinal virtues. Mordant couplets, two of which we transcribe, affixed on the base, soon expressed the judgment of the Parisians: —

"Grotesque monument! Infâme piédestal!
Les vertus sont à pied, le vice est à cheval.

"Il est ici comme à Versailles,
Toujours sans cœur et sans entrailles.

After the fall of the monarchy the Place was known as the Place de la Révolution, and in 1792, Louis XV. with the other royal simulacra in bronze having been forged into the cannon that thundered against the allied kings of Europe, a plaster statue of Liberty was erected, at whose side the guillotine mowed down king and queen, revolutionist and aristocrat in one bloody harvest of death, ensanguining the very figure of the goddess herself, who looked on with cold and impassive mien. She too fell, and in her place stood a fascis of eighty-three spears, symbolising the unity of the eighty-three departments of France. In 1795 the Directory changed the name to Place de la Concorde, and again in 1799 a seated statue of Liberty holding a globe was set up. In the hollow sphere a pair of wild doves built their nest—a futile augury, for in 1801 Liberty II. was broken in pieces, and the model for a tall granite column erected in its place by Napoleon I. One year passed[Pg 432] and this too disappeared. After the Restoration, among the other inanities came, in 1816, a second statue of Louis XV., and the Place resumed its original name. Ten years later an expiatory monument to Louis XVI. was begun, only to be swept away with other Bourbon lumber by the July Revolution of 1830. At length the famous obelisk from Luxor, after many vicissitudes, was elevated in 1836 where it now stands.

The Place as we behold it dates from 1854, when the deep fosses which surrounded it in Louis XV.'s time, and which were responsible for the terrible disaster that attended the wedding festivities of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette, were filled up, and other improvements and embellishments effected. The vast space and magnificent vistas enjoyed from this square are among the finest urban spectacles in Europe. To the north, on either side of the broad Rue Royale which opens to the Madeleine, stand Gabriel's fine edifices (now the Ministry of Marine and the Cercle de la Rue Royale), designed to accommodate foreign ambassadors. To the south is the Palais Bourbon, now the Chamber of Deputies; to the east are the gardens of the Tuileries, and to the west is the stately Grande Avenue of the Champs Élysées rising to the colossal Arch of Triumph crowning the eminence of the Place de l'Étoile. As our eyes travel along the famous avenue, memories of the military glories and of the threefold humiliation of Imperial France crowd upon us. For down its ample way there marched in 1814 and 1815 two hostile and conquering armies to occupy Paris, and in 1871 the immense vault of the Arc de Triomphe, an arch of greater magnitude than any raised to Roman Cæsars, echoed to the shouts of another exultant foreign host, mocking as they strode beneath it at the names of German defeats inscribed on its stones. And on the very Place de la Concorde,[Pg 433] German hussars waltzed in pairs to the brazen music of a Uhlan band, while a line of French sentries across the entrance to the Tuileries gardens gazed sullenly on. To this day the mourning statue of Strassbourg with her sable drapery and immortelles, still keeps alive the bitter memory of her loss.

To the south of the Champs Élysées is the Cours de la Reine, planted by Catherine de' Medici, for two years the most fashionable carriage drive in Paris. This we follow and at No. 16 find the charming Maison François I. brought from Moret, stone by stone, in 1826. To the north, in the Cours de Gabriel, a fine gilded grille, surmounted with the arms of the Republic, gives access to the Élysée, the official residence of the President. It was once Madame Pompadour's favourite house in Paris, and the piece of land she appropriated from the public to round off her gardens is still retained in its grounds. In the Avenue Montaigne, leading S.W. from the Rond Point (once the Allée des Veuves, a retired walk used by widows during their term of seclusion) Nos. 51 and 53 stand on the site of the notorious Bal Mabille,[236] the temple of the bacchanalia of the gay world of the Second Empire. In 1764 the Champs Élysées ended at Chaillot, a little to the W. of the Rond Point, an old feudal property which Louis XI. gave to Philippe de Comines in 1450, and which in 1651 sheltered the unhappy widow of Charles I. Here Catherine de' Medici built a château, but château and nunnery of the Filles de Sainte Marie, founded by the English queen, disappeared in 1790. S. of the Champs Élysées on the opposite bank of the Seine rises the gilded dome of the Invalides, and to the S.W. stretches the vast field of Mars, the scene of the[Pg 434] Feast of Pikes, and now encumbered with the relics of four World-Fairs.

The Paris we have rapidly surveyed is, mainly, enclosed by the inner boulevards, which correspond to the ramparts of Louis XIII. on the north, demolished by his successor between 1676 and 1707, and the line of the Philip Augustus wall and the Boulevard St. Germain on the south. Beyond this historic area are the outer boulevards which mark the octroi wall of Louis XVI.; further yet are the Thiers wall and fortifications of 1841. Within these wider boundaries is the greater Paris of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, of profound concern to the economical and social student, but of minor interest to the ordinary traveller. The vogue of the brilliant and gay inner boulevards of the north bank so familiar to the foreigner in Paris is of comparatively recent growth. In the early nineteenth century the boulevard from the Place de la Madeleine to the Rue Cambon was almost deserted by day and dangerous by night—a vast waste, the proceeds of the confiscated lands of the Filles de la Conception. From the Boulevard Montmartre to the Boulevard St. Martin followed lines of private hôtels, villas, gardens and convent walls. A great mound which separated the Boulevard St. Martin from the Boulevard du Temple was not cleared away until 1853. From 1760 to 1862 the Boulevard du Temple was a centre of pleasure and amusement, where charming suburban houses and pretty gardens alternated with cheap restaurants, hotels, theatres, cafés, marionette shows, circuses, tight-rope dancers, waxworks, and cafés-chantants. In 1835, so lurid were the dramas played there, that the boulevard was popularly known as the Boulevard du Crime.

In the early nineteenth century the favourite promenade of Parisian flaneurs was displaced from the[Pg 435] Palais Royal to the Boulevard des Italiens, whither the proprietors of cafés and restaurants followed. A group of young fellows entered one evening a small cabaret near the Comédie Italienne (now Opéra Comique), found the wine to their taste and the cuisine excellent, praised host and fare to their friends, and the modest cabaret developed into the Café Anglais, most famous of epicurean temples, frequented during the Second Empire by kings and princes, to whom alone the haughty proprietor would devote personal care. The sumptuous cafés Tortoni, founded in 1798, and De Paris, opened 1822, have long since passed away. So has the Café Hardy, whose proprietor invented déjeuners à la fourchette, although its rival and neighbour, the Café Riche, stills exists. Many others of the celebrated cafés of the Boulevards have disappeared or suffered a transformation into the more popular Brasseries and Tavernes of which so many, alternating with the theatres, restaurants and dazzling shops that line the most-frequented evening promenade of Paris, invite the thirsty or leisurely pleasure-seeker of to-day.

Nowhere may the traveller gain a better impression of the essential gaiety and sociability of the Parisian temperament than by sitting outside a café on the boulevards on a public festival and observing his neighbours and the passers-by: their imperturbable good humour; their easy manners; their simple enjoyments; their quick intelligence, alert gait and expressive gestures; the wonderful skill of the women in dress. The glittering halls of pleasure that appeal to so many visitors, the Bohemian cafés of the outer boulevards, the Folies Bergères, the Moulins Rouges, the Bals Bulliers, with their meretricious and vulgar attractions, frequented by the more facile daughters of Gaul, "whose havoc of virtue is measured by the length of their laundresses' bills," as a genial satirist of their[Pg 436] sex has phrased it—all these manifestations of la vie, so unutterably dull and sordid, are of small concern to the cultured traveller. The intimate charm and spirit of Paris will be heard and felt by him not amid the whirlwind of these saturnalia largely maintained by the patronage of English-speaking visitors, but rather in the smaller voices that speak from the inmost Paris which we have essayed to describe. Nor can we bid more fitting adieu to Lutetia than by translating Goethe's words to Eckermann: "Think of the city of Paris where all the best of the realms of nature and art in the whole earth are open to daily contemplation, a world-city where the crossing of every bridge or every square recalls a great past, and where at every street corner a piece of history has been unfolded."


The Basilica of St. Denis and the Monuments of the Kings, Queens and Princes of France.

No historical pilgrimage to Paris would be complete without a visit to the Sanctuary of its protomartyr and the burial-place of its kings. Taking train from the Gare du Nord, either main line or local train-tramway and being arrived at the railway station of the grimy industrial suburb of St. Denis, we cross the canal and continue along the Rue du Chemin de Fer and the Rue de la République, to the Cathedral, architecturally the most important relic of the great age of the early ecclesiastical builders. The west façade before us, completed about 1140 by Abbot Suger, is of profound interest, for here we may behold the round Romanesque arch side by side with the Pointed, and the very first grip of the new Gothic on the heavy Norman architecture [Pg 438] it was about to overthrow. The sculptures on the W. portals, however, almost wholly and clumsily renewed, need not detain us long. We enter and descend from the sombre vestibule. As we wait for the verger we revel in the airy and graceful symmetry of the nave and aisles; the beautiful raised choir and lovely apse with its chevets and round of chapels, where structural science and beauty of form are so admirably blended. The choir was so far advanced in 1143 that mass was sung at the high altar during a heavy storm while the incomplete ribs of the new Gothic vaulting swayed over head. In 1219, however, Suger's structure was nearly destroyed by fire and the upper part of the choir, the nave and transepts were afterwards rebuilt in the pure Gothic of the times, the more active reconstruction being effected between 1231 and 1281. A visit to the monuments is unhappily a somewhat mingled experience. Owing to the inscrutable official regulations in force, the best of the mediæval tombs are only seen with difficulty and from a distance that renders any appreciation of their beauty impossible.[237] The monuments are mainly those claimed by Lenoir for his Museum at Paris when the decree of 1792 was promulgated, ordering the "effacement of the proud epitaphs and the destruction of the Mausoleums, that recalled the dread memories of kings": they were restored to their original places so far as possible by Viollet le Duc. The head of St. Denis is said to have been found when his shrine was desecrated and appropriated by the revolutionists, and in the cant of the time was brought back to Paris by "a miracle greater and more authentic than that which[Pg 439] conveyed it from Montmartre to St. Denis, a miracle of the regeneration of opinion, registered not in the martyrology but in the annals of reason."


Cathedral of St. Denis.
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We are first led past some mediæval tombs in the N. transept, then by those of the family of St. Louis, which include that of his eldest son, one of the most beautiful creations of thirteenth-century sculpture. Our own Henry III. who attended the funeral is figured among the mourners around the base which are only partially seen from afar. The monument to Louis XII. and his beloved and chère Bretonne, Anne, is next shown. It is in Italian style and was wrought by the Justes, a family of Tourraine sculptors. The Royal effigies are twice rendered: once naked in death under a tabernacle and again kneeling in prayer. Before we ascend the steps leading to the raised ambulatory, we are shown across the choir, and R. of the high altar, the fine thirteenth-century tomb of Dagobert, with some quaint reliefs, impossible to see in detail, illustrating his legend (p. 34) and a statue of Queen Nantilde also of the thirteenth century. Nor should we omit to note the two rare and beautiful twelfth-century statues, in the style of the Chartres sculpture, of a king and queen on either side of the portal of the N. transept brought from the church of Notre Dame de Corbeil. To our L. is a masterpiece of the French renaissance, the tomb by Lescot and Pilon of Henry II. and Catherine de' Medici, who are represented twice, as in the monument to Louis XII. We ascend the steps to the ambulatory and below, to our L., are summarily shown some important Valois tombs: Philippe de Valois, John II., Charles V. and others, by contemporary sculptors, such as Andrieu Beaunepveu and Pierre de Chelles—all of great interest to the traveller but utterly impossible of appreciation under the cursory glance permitted by the vergers. A second monument to Henry[Pg 440] II. and Catherine, with recumbent and draped figures, is next indicated; Catherine is portrayed in her old age and rigid devotion. As we pace round the ambulatory we are shown some remains of twelfth-century stained glass in the choir chapels (that in the Lady Chapel including the figure of Abbot Suger,) and a modern representation of the Oriflamme to the L. of the high altar. Opposite the sacristy is a curious twelfth-century tomb from St. Germain des Prés, with the effigy of Queen Fredegonde outlined in mosaic and copper. We descend to the gloomy old crypt, with the curious Romanesque capitals of its columns, where now lie the remains of the later Bourbons. On returning to the church the tombs of Philip the Bold and Philip the Fair are shown, and to the L. the grandiose monument to Francis I., designed by Delorme, with five kneeling effigies: the king, Claude his queen, and their three children. The fine base reliefs represent the battles of Marignano and Cerisole. Then follows the beautiful urn executed by Pierre Bontemps, to contain the heart of the gran re Francesco. In conclusion, we are permitted to see the tombs of Louis of Orleans and of Valentine of Milan, early fifteenth-century, by a Milanese artist; and Charles of Etampes, an excellent work of the middle of the fourteenth-century. Before returning to Paris we should not omit to walk round the basilica and examine the sculptures of the portal of the N. transept, which have suffered less from iconoclasts and restorers.[Pg 441]


Map of Paris.


[1] "Faudra recommencer" ("We must begin again"), said, to the present writer in 1871, a Communist refugee bearing a great scar on his face from a wound received fighting at the barricades.

[2] Inf. XXIX. 121-123. A French commentator consoles himself by reflecting that the author of the Divina Commedia is far more vituperative when dealing with certain Italian peoples, whom he designates as hogs, curs, wolves and foxes.

[3] Cobbett, comparing the relative intellectual culture of the British Isles and of France between the years 1600 and 1787, found that of the writers on the arts and sciences who were distinguished by a place in the Universal, Historical, Critical and Bibliographical Dictionary, one hundred and thirty belonged to England, Scotland and Ireland, and six hundred and seventy-six to France.

[4] "Nous cuisinons même l'amour."—Taine.

[5] The Seine takes five hours to flow through the seven miles of modern Paris.

[6] "Cesare armato con gli occhi grifani."—Inferno, iv. 123.

[7] Of some 10,000 ancient inscriptions found in Gaul, only twenty are in Celtic, and less than thirty words of Celtic origin now remain in the French language.

[8] The water supply of Paris is even now partly derived from these sources, and flows along the old repaired Roman aqueduct.

[9] Part of this amphitheatre was laid bare in 1869 by some excavations made for the Compagnie des Omnibus between the Rues Monge and Linné. Unhappily, the public subscription initiated by the Académie des Inscriptions to purchase the property proved inadequate, and the Company retained possession of the land. In 1883, however, other excavations were undertaken in the Rue de Navarre, which resulted in the discovery of other remains of the amphitheatre which have been preserved and made into a public park.

[10] In 1848 some remains were found of the old halls of this building, and of its columns, worn by the ropes of the boatmen who used to moor their craft to them. In 1866 fragments of the triumphal arch were found in digging the foundations of the new Hôtel Dieu.

[11] In 860 a new bridge was built east of the Grand Pont by Charles the Bold and defended by a tower at its head. The money-changers were established on the bridge by Louis VI., and it became known subsequently as the Pont au Change.

[12] "Jovem brutum atque hebetem."


[14] Not to be confounded with the Royal Provost, a king's officer, who in 1160 replaced the Capetian viscounts. The office was abolished in 1792.

[15] French authorities believe the scene to have been enacted in the old palace of the Cité.

[16] The present writer recalls a similar glacial epoch in Paris during the early eighties, when the Seine was frozen over at Christmas time.

[17] By the law of 350 A.D. it was a capital offence to sacrifice to or honour the old gods. The persecuted had already become persecutors. Boissier, La Fin du Paganisme.

[18] "He soon hugs himself in ease at any price."

[19] To protect home producers against the competition of the Gallic wine and olive growers, Roman statesmen could conceive nothing better than the stupid expedient of prohibiting the culture of the vine and olive in Gaul.

[20] The favourite arm of the Franks, a short battle-axe, used as a missile or at close quarters.

[21] Again we quote from the Golden Legend.

[22] Her figure was a favourite subject for the sculptors of Christian churches. She usually bears a taper in her hand and a devil is seen peering over her shoulder. This symbolises the miraculous relighting of the taper after the devil had extinguished it. The taper was long preserved at Notre Dame.

[23] If we may believe Gregory of Tours, her arguments were vituperative rather than convincing. "Your Jupiter," said she, "is omnium stuprorum spurcissimus perpetrator."

[24] Merovée, second of the kings of the Salic Franks, was fabled to be the issue of Clodio's wife and a sea monster.

[25] Among the wives of Clothaire was the gentle Radegonde, who turned with horror from the bloody scenes of the palace to live in works of charity with the poor and suffering, and in holy communion with priests and bishops. She was at length consecrated a deaconess by St. Médard, donned the habit of a nun, and founded a convent at Poitiers, where the poet Fortunatus had himself ordained a priest that he might be near her. Radegonde's memory is dear to us in England, for it was a small company of her nuns who settled on the Green Croft by the river bank below Cambridge, and founded a priory whose noble church and monastic buildings were subsequently incorporated in Jesus College when the nunnery was suppressed by Bishop Alcock in 1496.

[26] (See pp. 32 and 36)

[27] The works of art traditionally ascribed to St. Eloy are many. He is reported to have made a golden throne set with stones (or rather two thrones, for he used his material so honestly and economically). He was made master of the mint, and thirteen pieces of money are known which bear his name. He decorated the tombs of St. Martin and St. Denis, and constructed reliquaries for St. Germain, Notre Dame, and other churches.

[28] The term Cité (civitas) was given to the old Roman part of many French towns.

[29] The Carlovingians had been careful to abolish the office of mayor of the palace.

[30] St. Pierre was subsequently enriched by the possession of the body of St. Maur, brought thither in the Norman troubles by fugitive monks from Anjou, and the monastery is better known to history under the name of St. Maur des Fossés. The entrails of our own Henry V. were buried there. Rabelais, before its secularisation, was one of its canons, and Catherine de' Medicis once possessed a château on its site. Monastery and château no longer exist.

[31] The villa of those days was a vast domain, part dwelling, part farm, part game preserve.

[32] The remains of the great Viking's castle are still shown at Aalesund, in Norway.

[33] When Alan Barbetorte, after the recovery of Nantes, went to give thanks to God in the cathedral, he was compelled to cut his way, sword in hand, through thorns and briers.

[34] It must be admitted, however, that the poet's uncouth diction is anything but Virgilian.

[35] The tablet has now (1911) disappeared. See p. 313.

[36] Abbo's favourite epithet. They were without a head, for they knew not Christ, the Head of Mankind.

[37] In the Middle Ages and down to 1761 Montfaucon had a sinister reputation. There stood the gallows of Paris, a great stone gibbet with its three rows of chains, near the old Barrière du Combat, where the present Rue de la Grange aux Belles abuts on the Boulevard de la Villette.

[38] William the Conqueror was also known as William the Builder.

[39] The surname Capet is said to have originated in the capet or hood of the abbot's mantle which Hugh wore as lay Abbot of St. Martin's, having laid aside the crown after his coronation.

[40] A dramatic representation of the delivery of the papal bull, painted by Jean Paul Laurens, hangs in the museum of the Luxembourg.

[41] The possession of an oven was a lucrative monopoly in mediæval times. The writer has visited a village in South Italy where this curious privilege is still possessed by the parish priest, who levies a small indemnity of a few loaves, made specially of larger size, for each use of the oven.

[42] He was said to be "kind even to Jews."

[43] The indignant scribe is most precise: they walked abroad artatis clunibus et protensis natibus.

[44] The reformers always discover the nunneries to be so much more corrupt than the monasteries, but it is a little suspicious that in every case the former are expropriated to the latter. The abbot of St. Maur evidently had some qualms concerning the expropriation of St. Eloy, and wished to restore it to the bishop.

[45] See note [46],

[46] A modern reproduction may be seen in the church of St. Denis, but the exact shape is doubtful, no less than three different forms being known to antiquarians.

[47] The abbey was suppressed at the time of the Revolution and the site is now occupied by the Halle aux Vins.

[48] In the ardour of the fight the king found himself surrounded by the enemy's footmen, was unhorsed, and while they were vainly seeking for a vulnerable spot in his armour some French knights had time to rescue him.

[49] Jeanne de Burgogne, queen of Philip le Long, lived at the Hôtel de Nesle, and is said to have seduced scholars by night into the tower, had them tied in sacks and flung into the Seine. If we may believe Villon, this was the queen —

"Qui commanda que Buridan
Fust jetté en ung sac en Seine."

Legend adds that the schoolman, made famous by his thesis, that if an ass were placed equidistant between two bundles of hay of equal attraction he would die of hunger before he could resolve to eat either, was saved by his disciples, who placed a barge, loaded with straw, below the tower to break his fall.

[50] It should be remembered that heresy was the solvent antisocial force of the age and was regarded with the same feelings of abhorrence as anarchist doctrines and propaganda are regarded by modern statesmen.

[51] She was wont to say to her son—"I would rather see thee die than commit a mortal sin."

[52] By a subtle irony, part of the money was derived from the tribute of the Jews of Paris.

[53] On account of the cord they wore round their habit.

[54] St. Louis loved the Franciscans, and in the Fioretti a beautiful story is told how the king, in the guise of a pilgrim, visiting Brother Giles at Perugia, knelt with the good friar in an embrace of fervent affection for a great space of time in silence. They parted without speaking a word, marvellously comforted.

[55] The innocence of Marie Antoinette in this scandalous affair has been clearly established. See L'affaire du Collier, by M. Funck Brentano. Paris, 1903.

[56] It was buried in the church of Monreale at Palermo.

[57] Joinville was a brave and tender knight; he tells us that before starting to join the crusaders at Marseilles he called all his friends and household before him, and declared that if he had wronged any one of them reparation should be made. After a severe penance he was assoiled, and as he set forth, durst not turn back his eyes lest his heart should be melted at leaving his fair château of Joinville and his two children whom he loved so dearly.

[58] The relics were transferred to a new church of St. Stephen (St. Étienne du Mont), built by the abbot of St. Genevieve as a parish church for his servants and tenants.

[59] The early glass-workers were particularly fond of their beautiful red. "Wine of the colour of the windows of the Sainte Chapelle," was a popular locution of the time.

[60] The researches of Professor Strzygowski of Gratz, and other authorities in the field of Byzantine and Eastern archæology, tend to prove the dominant importance of the Christian East in the development of early ecclesiastical architecture and the subordinate influence of Roman models.

[61] Brunetto Latini, in the thirteenth century contrasted the high towers and grim stone walls of the fortress-palaces of the Italian nobles with the large, spacious and painted houses of the French, their rooms adorned pour avoir joie et delit and surrounded with orchards and gardens.

[62] Par. XVI. 51.

[63] Another delusion of moderns is that there was an absence of personal cleanliness in those ages. In the census of the inhabitants of Paris, who in 1292 were subject to the Taille, there are inscribed the names of no less than twenty-six proprietors of public hot baths, a larger proportion to population than exists to-day, and Dr. Gasquet has described in his English Monastic Life the admirable provisions for personal cleanliness made in mediæval monasteries.

[64] Hence the name of clerc applied to any student, even if a layman.

[65] "Love is quickly caught in gentle heart."—Inf. V. 100.

[66] Afterwards bishop of London.

[67] The two churches still existed in the eighteenth century and stood on the site of the southern Cours Visconti and Lefuel of the present Louvre.

[68] The actual originator was, however, the queen's physician, Robert de Douai, who left a sum of money which formed the nucleus of the foundation.

[69] The Montaigu scholars were called capetes from their peculiar cape fermée, or cloak, such as Masters of Arts used to wear. The Bibliothèque Ste. Geneviève occupies the site of the college.

[70] There were two Prés, the Petit Pré roughly represented by the area now enclosed by the Rues de Seine, Jacob and Bonaparte; and the Grand Pré which extended nearly to the Champ de Mars. A narrow stream, the Petite Seine, divided them.

[71] Par. X. 136. "Who lecturing in Straw St. deduced truths that brought him hatred."

[72] Benvenuto was certainly in France and possibly in Paris during the fourteenth century. At any rate he would be familiar with Parisian students, many of whom were Italians.

[73] The contemporary chronicler, Villani, says of one of these scoundrels that he "was named Nosso Dei, one of our Florentines, a man filled with every vice."

[74] The indictment covers seven quarto pages. The charges may be briefly classified as blasphemy, heresy, spitting and trampling on the crucifix, obscene and secret rites, and unnatural crimes.

[75] An approved method of extracting confessions. As late as 1584 at the examination of a papal emissary, the titular archbishop of Cashel, before the Lords Justices, Archbishop Loftus and Sir H. Wallop at Dublin, the easy method failing to do any good "we made commission," writes Loftus to Walsingham, "to put him to torture such as your honour advised us, which was to toast his feet against the fire with hot boots. Yielding to the agony he confessed," etc.—Froude's History, x. p. 619.

[76] There is a significant entry on page 273 of the published trial: in ista pagina nihil est scriptum. The empty page tells of the moment when the papal commissioners, having heard that the fifty-four had been burned, suspended the sitting.

[77] Nihil sibi appropriare intendebat.

[78] Or the isle of the Jews, which, with its sister islet of Bussy, were subsequently joined to the island of the Cité, and now form the Place Dauphine and the land that divides the Pont Neuf. Philip watched the fires from his palace garden.

[79] It is to be hoped that some English scholar will do for these most important records, the earliest report of any great criminal trial which we possess, what Mr. T. Douglas Murray has done for the Trial and Rehabilitation of Joan of Arc.

[80] In the seventeenth century the councillors had increased to one hundred and twenty and the courts to seven.

[81] The term "Parlement" was originally applied to the transaction of the common business of a monastic establishment after the conclusion of the daily chapter.

[82] The royal war-cry, "Montjoie St. Denis," was uttered when the king took the Oriflamme from the altar at St. Denis.

[83] During John the Good's reign, the province of Dauphiny had been added to the French crown, and the king's eldest son took the title of Dauphin.

[84] So called from the familiar appellation "Jacques Bonhomme," applied half in contempt, half in jest, by the seigneurs to the peasants who served them in the wars.

[85] Howell mentions the locution in a letter dated 1654.

[86] Charles taxed and borrowed heavily. Even the members of his household were importuned for loans, however small. His cook lent him frs. 67.50.

[87] This priceless collection of books, which at length filled three rooms, was appropriated for a nominal sum by the Duke of Bedford during the English occupation in Paris and sent to England. A few, barely fifty, have survived, of which the greater number have been acquired by the Bibliothèque Nationale.

[88] Each gate of the new wall was defended by a kind of fortress called a Bastide or Bastille.

[89] Aubriot is said to have been the first prisoner incarcerated in the dungeon of his own Bastille.

[90] The scene is quaintly illustrated in an illuminated copy of Froissart in the British Museum.

[91] They melted down the reliquaries in the Paris churches.

[92] In 1417 Charles, returning from a visit to the queen at the castle of Vincennes, met the Chevalier Bois-Burdon going thither. He ordered his arrest, and under torture a confession reflecting on the queen's honour was extorted. Bois-Burdon was delivered to the provost at the Châtelet, and one night, sans declarer la cause au people, sewn in a sack and dropped into the Seine. The queen was banished to Tours, and her jewels and treasures confiscated. Furious with the king and the Armagnac faction, she made common cause with the Duke of Burgundy.

[93] The statue was mutilated at the expulsion of the English in 1446 and was destroyed in the fire of 1618.

[94] An equestrian statue in bronze stands at the south end of the Rue des Pyramides, a few hundred yards from the spot where the Maid fell before the Porte St Honoré.

[95] In 1421 and 1422 the people of Paris had seen Henry V. and his French consort sitting in state at the Louvre, surrounded by a brilliant throng of princes, prelates and barons. Hungry crowds watched the sumptuous banquet and then went away fasting, for nothing was offered them. "It was not so in the former times under our kings," they murmured, "then was open table kept, and servants distributed the meats and wine even of the king himself."

[96] The fifteenth-century goldsmiths of Paris: Loris, the Hersants, and Jehan Gallant, were famed throughout Europe.

[97] At the conclusion of the Hucksters' Peace at Amiens.

[98] The reader will hardly need to be reminded that this amazing folly forms one of the principal episodes in Scott's Quentin Durward.

[99] Flamboyant windows were a natural, technical development of Gothic. The aim of the later builders was to facilitate the draining away of the water which the old mullioned windows used to retain.

[100] The drainage of an old city was offensive to the smell rather than essentially insanitary. "Mediæval sewers," says Dr. Charles Creighton in his History of Epidemics in Britain, pp. 323-4, "were banked-up water-courses ... freely open to the greatest of all purifying agents, the oxygen of the air."

[101] The good king's portrait by an Italian sculptor may be seen in the Louvre, Room VII., and on his monument in St. Denis he kneels beside his beloved and chère Bretonne, Anne of Brittany whose loss he wept for eight days and nights.

[102] "He was well named after St. Francis, because of the holes in his hands," said a Sorbonne doctor.

[103] The authorship of this famous building is much canvassed by authorities. M.E. Mareuse, secretary of the Committee of Inscriptions, affirms that Domenico must be considered the unique architecte of our old Municipal Palace: other writers claim with equal confidence Pierre Chambiges as the architect. Charles Normand after an exhaustive examination of documents, declares that the Italian master's design was followed in the south court, but that after his death in 1549 the design was ordered to be revised and the great façade was erected in a style wholly different from the original plan. This eminent authority inclines to the belief that the new design was due to Du Cerceau. Certain it is that French masters were associated with Domenico, for we know that on the 19th June 1534, a rescript came from the city fathers to the masters Pierre Chambiges, Jacques Arasse, Jehan Aesselin, Loys Caquelin and Dominique de Cortona, reminding them that it would be more seemly to push the works forward and keep an eye on the workmen instead of going away to dine together.

[104] "Ah! me, how thou art changed! See, thou art neither two nor one."

[105] The Petit Nesle comprised the south-west gate and tower: the Grand Nesle, the Hôtel de Nesle within the wall. See p. 68

[106] Students in Paris in the days of King Francis had cause to remember gratefully that monarch's solicitude, for a maximum of charges was fixed, and an order made that every hotel-keeper should affix his prices outside the door, that extortion might be avoided. Among other maxima, the price of a pair of sheets, to "sleep not more than five persons," was to be five deniers (a penny).

[107] The salamander was figured on the royal arms of Francis.

[108] For the first offence a fine; for the second, the lips to be cloven; for the third, the tongue pierced; for the fourth, death.

[109] The image was stolen in 1545 and replaced by one of wood. This was struck down in 1551, and the bishop of Paris substituted for it one of marble.

[110] "The moral brutality of the Renaissance is clearly shown in its punishments. In this matter it reached with perfection its prototype, the times of the cruel Roman Emperors.... Never has 'justice' been more barbarous; not even in the darkest Middle Ages has torture been more refined, more devilish, than in the days of Humanism.... Truly it is no accident that immediately after, indeed, even before, the end of the Renaissance, everywhere in Western Europe the fires began to glow wherein thousands of unhappy wretches expired in torments for the sake of their faith; men's minds were only too well prepared for such horrors." Gustav Körting (Anfänge der Renaissancelitteratur, pp. 161, 162.)

[111] A document recently discovered at Modena however, proves that Goujon, after the massacre of Vassy, fled to Italy with other Protestants and died in obscurity at Bologna.

[112] One thousand two hundred are said to have suffered death during the month of vengeance.

[113] Henry of Guise had succeeded to the dukedom after his father's assassination.

[114] Suspicions of poison were entertained by the Huguenots. Jeanne, in a letter to the Marquis de Beauvais, complained that holes were made in her rooms and wardrobes that she might be spied upon.

[115] Félibien and Lobineau, 1725.

[116] Catherine was accustomed to treat of important state matters requiring absolute secrecy in her new garden. The pourparlers between her and Lord Buckhurst, relative to the proposed marriage of Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Anjou, took place under the trees in the Tuileries garden.

[117] "That to show pity was to be cruel to them: to be cruel to them was to show pity."

[118] The municipality gave presents of money to the archers who had taken part in the massacre, to the watermen who prevented the Huguenots from crossing the Seine, and to grave-diggers for having buried in eight days about 1,100 bodies.

[119] Now known as the Galerie d'Apollon.

[120] Ugonottorum strages. Inscription on the obverse of the medal.

[121] Examples of magnificent costumes of the order may be seen in the Cluny Museum.

[122] The Duke of Guise was so called from his face being scarred by a wound received at the battle of Dolmans.

[123] The king had premonitions of a violent end. One day, after keeping Easter at Negeon with great devotion, he suddenly returned to the Louvre and ordered all the lions, bears, bulls, and other wild animals kept in the Hôtel des Lions, reconstructed in 1570 for Charles IX., for baiting by dogs, to be shot. He had dreamt that he was set upon and eaten by wild beasts.

[124] So called derisively, because he was born and brought up in the poor province of Béarn, in the Pyrenees.

[125] Her majesty, we learn from the Mémoires of L'Estoile, was of a rich figure, stout, fine eyes and complexion. She used no paint, powder or other vilanie.

[126] In 1586 six poor wretches convicted of plotting the assassination of Queen Elizabeth were dragged to Tyburn, "hanged but for a moment, taken down while the susceptibility of agony was unimpaired and cut in pieces afterwards with due precautions for the protraction of the pain."—Froude's History.

[127] The new palace was situated in the parish of St. Germain l'Auxerrois, the parish church of the Louvre.

[128] The north tower was left only partially constructed, and was finished by Louis XIII.

[129] By a curious coincidence the widening of the Rue de la Ferronnerie had been ordered just before the king was assassinated.

[130] They marked the seven resting-places of the saint as he journeyed to St. Denis after his martyrdom.

[131] The Grande Galerie.

[132] In the Hôtel de Bourbon, east of the old Louvre, sometimes known as the Petit Bourbon. It was demolished to give place to the new east façade of the Louvre.

[133] The Church of Notre Dame des Victoires commemorates the victory.

[134] The Marché St. Honoré now occupies its site.

[135] In 1793 the tomb was desecrated, and the head removed from the body, but in 1863, as an inscription tells, the head was recovered by the historian Duruy, and after seventy years reunited to the trunk.

[136] A letter from Paris to Lyons was taxed at two sous.

[137] The Rue Poulletier marks the line of the old channel between the islands.

[138] So named from the wooden seat, or couche de bois, covered with rich stuff embroidered with fleur-de-lys, on which the king sat when he attended a meeting of the Parlement.

[139] One of the schemes of Francis I. to raise money had been to offer the benches to the highest bidders, and under the law of 1604 the office of councillor became a hereditary property on payment to the court of one-sixtieth of its value. Moreover, the Parlement was but a local body, one among several others in the provinces.

[140] The added indignity of the whip is an invention of Voltaire.

[141] Louis used, however, to stilt his low stature by means of thick pads in his boots.

[142] Taine, basing his calculation on a MS. bound with the monogram of Mansard, estimated the cost of Versailles in modern equivalent at about 750,000,000 francs (£30,000,000 sterling.)

[143] The writer, whose youth was passed among the descendants of the Huguenot silk-weavers of Spitalfields, has indelible memories of their sterling character and admirable industry.

[144] Marshal Luxembourg was dubbed the Tapissier de Notre Dame (the upholsterer of Notre Dame), from the number of captured flags he sent to the cathedral.

[145] In a previous campaign the king had taken his queen and two mistresses with him in one coach. The peasants used to amuse themselves by coming to see the "three queens."

[146] Bernini, according to Charles Perrault, was short in stature, good-humoured, and seasoned his conversation with parables, good stories and bons mots; never tiring of talking of his own country, of Michel Angelo and of himself. For a full history of these intrigues, see Ch. Normand's Paris.

[147] Levau's south façade was not completely hidden by Perrault's screen, for the roofs of the end and central pavilions emerged from behind it until they were destroyed by Gabriel in 1755.

[148] Jules Hardouin, the younger Mansard, was a nephew and pupil of François Mansard, and assumed his uncle's name. The latter was the inventor of the Mansard roof.

[149] The sixth part of a sou.

[150] Twelve alone were added to the St. Honoré quarter by levelling the Hill of St. Roch and clearing away accumulated rubbish.

[151] It extended as far as the entrance to the quadrangle opposite the Pont des Arts. Blondel's drawings show a double line of trees, north and south, enclosing a Renaissance garden of elaborate design: a charming bosquet, or wood, filled the eastern extremity.

[152] "By order of the king, God is forbidden to work miracles in this place."

[153] In 1753 between 20th January and 20th February two hundred persons died of want (misère) in the Faubourg St. Antoine.

[154] Some conception of the insanitary condition of the court may be formed by the fact that fifty persons were struck down there by this loathsome disease during the king's illness.

[155] "I have seen the Louvre and its huge enclosure, a vast palace which for two hundred years is always being finished and always begun. Two workmen, lazy hodmen, speed very slowly those rich buildings, and are paid when they are thought of."

[156] The aspect of the west front with Soufflot's "improvements" is well seen in Les Principaux Monuments Gothiques de l'Europe, published in Brussels, 1843.

[157] Taine estimates the revenues of thirty-three abbots in terms of modern values at from 140,000 to 480,000 francs (£5,600 to £19,200). Twenty-seven abbesses enjoyed revenues nearly as large.

[158] The score of Rousseau's opera is still preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale.

[159] The Excise duty.

[160] Personal and land-taxes paid by the humbler classes alone.

[161] It is difficult, however, to read the sober and irrefutable picture of their miserable condition, given in the famous Books II. and V. of Taine's Ancien Régime, without deep emotion.

[162] See also Bodley's France, where the author favours the view that Robespierre was not a democrat with a thirst for blood, but rather a man of government, destroyed as a reactionary by surviving Revolutionists who saw their end coming.

[163] After the Thermidorian reaction in 1795, ninety-seven Jacobins were massacred by the royalists at Lyons on 5th May; thirty at Aix on 11th May. Similar horrors were enacted at Avignon, Arles, and Marseilles, and at other places in the south.

[164] A whole library has been written concerning the identity of this famous prisoner. There is little doubt that the mask was of velvet and not of iron, and that the mysterious captive who died on 19th November 1703 in the Bastille, was Count Mattioli of Bologna, who was secretly arrested for having betrayed the confidence of Louis XIV.

[165] Only five francs were allowed for a bourgeois; a man of letters was granted ten; a Marshal of France obtained the maximum.

[166] When Sir S. Romilly called on Franklin in 1783, the latter expressed his amazement that the French Government had permitted the publication of the American Constitution, which produced a great impression in Paris. The music of Ça ira, taken from a dance tune, Le Carillon National, very popular in the guinguettes of Paris, has been published in the Révolution Française for 16th December 1898.

[167] It was composed by one of the émigrés, M. de Limon, approved by the Emperor of Austria and the King of Prussia, and signed, against his better judgment, by the Duke of Brunswick.

[168] The numbers have been variously estimated from 100 to 5000 killed on the popular side.

[169] The Académie d'Équitation was an expensive and exclusive establishment where the young nobles and gentlemen of fortune were taught fencing, riding and dancing. It was long and narrow, 240 feet by 60, and only the most powerful voices could be heard in the Assembly. The Rue de Rivoli between the Rues d'Alger and de Castiglione cuts through the site.

[170] "Sew we, spin we, sew we well, behold the coats we have made for the winter that is coming. Soldiers of the Fatherland, ye shall want for nothing."

[171] The term implied rather an excess than a defect of nether garment and was applied in scorn by the fashionable wearers of culottes to the plebeian wearers of trousers.

[172] Inferno, XV. 76-78.—"In whom lives again the seed of those Romans who remained there when the nest (Florence) of so much wickedness was made."

[173] Mlle Curchod, for whom Gibbon "sighed as a lover but renounced as a son."

[174] The meaning of this much misunderstood phrase was simply that the citizens were ready to sacrifice their lives in defence of the revolutionary principles.

[175] The services seem to have been not very dissimilar to a modern Ethical Society meeting. The notorious Festival of the 20th Brumaire was a Fête of Liberty not of Reason, the mistake being due to a careless transcription in the procès-verbal of the Convention. A living representative of Liberty was chosen as less likely to tend to idolatry than an image of stone. See La Révolution Française, 14th April 1899, La Déesse de la Liberté.

[176] "The collapse of the Empire is tremendous. I have no pity for the melodramatic villain who ends as he began, in causeless and wanton blood." Lord Coleridge, Life, ii., p. 172.

[177] "We could rouse no enthusiasm," said the head of a State Department to the writer at the time of the Fashoda incident, "even for a war for the recovery of Alsace and Lorraine, much less against England."

[178] Open 11-4 or 5. Closed Mondays and Chief Festivals.

[179] Open daily, except Sundays, 11-4.

[180] This portal suffered much from the vandalism of Soufflot and his clerical employers of the eighteenth century (p. 252): all that remains of the original carvings in the tympanum is a portion of the figure of Christ and the angels. The Revolutionary Chaumette, when it was proposed to destroy the Gothic simulacra of superstition, protected the carvings on the west portals on the plea that they related to astronomy, to philosophy and the arts. The astronomer Dupuis was added to the Commission and the reliefs were saved.

[181] Now (1911) demolished.

[182] Notes exist of payments in 1502, 1505 to Pierre Gringoire, histrion et facteur for the mysteries—well and honestly performed—at the entries of Madame la reine, before the portail of the Châtelet.

[183] Permission to visit on Thursdays, 9-5, to be obtained by written application to the Prefect of Police, Rue de Lutèce.

[184] The annexe, the inscription and the Rue du Petit Pont—all have disappeared (1911).

[185] Purgatorio, XI. 81.

[186] Now demolished (1911).

[187] Open Sundays, 10-4.

[188] Open 11-4 or 5, closed Mondays and Chief Festivals.

[189] May be visited Thursdays and Sundays, 11-4. Apply Concierge, 7 Rue des Écoles.

[190] Open 10-4 or 5, closed Mondays and Festivals.

[191] Now suppressed and the building taken over by the State (1911).

[192] The Collège de France may be seen further along the Rue des Écoles at the corner of the Rue St. Jacques.

[193] The Louvre is open from 9-5 in summer, from 10-4 in winter. On Sundays it is open from 10-4. It is closed on Mondays and holidays and on Thursdays till 1 o'clock.

[194] The architectural framework is believed to represent the portal of Hades.

[195] We are credibly informed that this priceless statue was first offered to the English Government for 4,000 francs and refused! The French Government bought it for 6,000 francs.

[196] Unfortunately the numeration of the sculpture in the Louvre is in a most chaotic state. Some of the objects are unnumbered; others retain their old numbers, yet others have both old and new numbers.

[197] There was originally a fosse between it and the garden which Marie de' Medici bridged by a wooden structure, known as the Pont d'Amour, to facilitate interviews with her favourite Concini.

[198] It may not be inopportune to summarise here, Bienkowski's criterion for dating Roman busts, which is as follows: Augustan and Julio-Claudian epoch, head only rendered; Flavian, shoulders rendered but juncture of arms not indicated; the sculptors of Trajan's time included the juncture of the arms, and of Hadrian's and the Antonines, part of the upper arm. Later, the bust developed to a half-length figure. It is necessary of course to exclude decapitated busts subsequently restored or fitted with heads of another epoch.

[199] Now (1911) entered from the E. portal (Antiquités Égyptiennes).

[200] The canons decided that these were unworthy of the enlightened taste of the eighteenth century and had them cleared away. The relief of the Evangelists was discovered in 1850 embedded in the wall of a house in the Rue St. Hyacinthe.

[201] Copiez, copiez toujours et surtout copiez juste was his favourite maxim.

[202] The best criticism passed on this facile artist was uttered by Flaxman: "That man's hand is too great for his head."

[203] For further details, we may refer the reader to Vernon Lee's essay: "Botticelli at the Villa Lemmi," Juvenilia I.

[204] "It cannot be proved that a single picture attributed to Cimabue was painted by him." Editorial Note to new edition of Crowe and Cavalcaselle, I., p. 181.

[205] Crowe and Cavalcaselle, however, assign the work to Pesellino, who is represented in this room by two small pictures, 1414 and 1415, on the wall.

[206] Mr. H. Cook has, however, given reasons for post-dating Titian's birth from 1477 to 1489-90, in spite of the master's twice repeated assertion of his great age in letters to Charles V. See Nineteenth Century Magazine, 1902, p. 156.

[207] It is, however, accepted by Eugène Müntz as a genuine Raphael, executed at Florence about 1507.

[208] From an age when the personality of the painter was of less importance than the subjects he painted, few names of German artists have come down to us.

[209] The picture subsequently found its way to the apartments of Louis XVI., and followed him from Versailles to Paris. The vacillation of this ill-fated monarch towards his advisers, says Michelet, was much influenced by a fixed idea that Charles I. lost his head for having made war on his people, and that James II. lost his crown for having abandoned them.

[210] See, however, [206] p. 357.

[211] French Painting in the Sixteenth Century, by L. Dimier. 1904.

[212] A more rational classification into schools would perhaps, as Dimier has hinted, follow the lines of racial division—French and Teutonic. For many of the Flemish artists were French in race, as, for instance, Roger Van der Weyden, who was known to Italians as Rogerus Gallicus, and called himself Roger de la Pasture.

[213] The late fifteenth-century artist, provisionally known as the Master of Moulins and also as the Painter of the Bourbons, is the author of the famous Triptych of the Cathedral of Moulins. Some critics believe him to be identical with Jehan Perréal (Jehan de Paris).

[214] Entretiens sur les Vies et sur les Ouvrages des plus Excellens Peintres Anciens et Modernes. André Félibien. Paris, 1666-1688.

[215] The Goldsmiths' Guild of Paris was accustomed, from 1630-1701, to present to Notre Dame an ex-voto picture every May-day, painted by the most renowned artist of the time.

[216] The reader may be referred to Hazlitt's essay, On a Landscape of Nicholas Poussin, as an antidote to Ruskin's wayward criticism.

[217] La Gloire du Dome du Val de Grâce. The subject of the picture is La Gloire des Bienheureux, and contains 200 figures.

[218] Coresus, a priest of Bacchus at Calydon, whose love was scorned by the nymph Callirrhoe, called forth a pestilence on the land. The Calydonians, ordered by the oracle to sacrifice the nymph, led her to the altar. Coresus, forgetting his resentment, sacrificed himself instead of her, who, conscious of ingratitude, killed herself at a fountain.

[219] Whistler, while disliking his art, was wont to wish he had been his pupil.

[220] Pictures by living artists are excluded from the Louvre.

[221] The student of history will not need to be reminded that the famous retreat of the Ten Thousand, so dramatically described by Xenophon, was occasioned by the death in battle of their ally Cyrus, in his ill-omened attempt to dispossess his brother, Artaxerxes, of the crown of Persia.

[222] Open, 2-4, by ticket obtained at the Secretary's office.

[223] Open, 10-4, daily, except Chief Festivals.

[224] The masons of Paris were wont to stand on the Place waiting to be hired, and sometimes contrived to exact higher wages. Hence the origin of the term faire grève (to go out on strike).

[225] Charles Normand, founder of the Société des Amis des Monuments, appeals for information concerning the fate of the old inscription commemorating the laying of the foundation stone of the former Hôtel de Ville in 1533. It is said to have been appropriated (se serait emparé) by an Englishman in 1874.

[226] All demolished (1911).

[227] Under process of demolition (1911).

[228] Open Sundays, 12-3.

[229] Open Thursdays at 2 o'clock by a permit from the Director.

[230] Open daily (except Monday) 10-4 or 5 (1 fr.). Thursdays and Sundays free. Closed till 12.30 Tuesdays.

[231] At the north end of the Rue des Archives is the site, now a square and a market, of the grisly old fortress of the Knights Templars, whose walls and towers and round church were still standing a century ago. The enclosure was a famous place of refuge for insolvent debtors and political offenders, and sheltered Rousseau in 1765 when a lettre de cachet was issued for his arrest. In the gloomy keep, which was not destroyed until 1811, were imprisoned the royal family of France after the abandonment of the Tuileries on 10th August 1792. The old market of the Temple, the centre of the petites industries of Paris, has been recently demolished. West of this is the huge Museum of the Arts and Crafts (Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers), on the site of the abbatial buildings and lands of St. Martin of the Fields, still preserving in its structure the beautiful thirteenth-century church and refectory of the Abbey.

[232] Removed to give place to the name of a firm of wholesale chemists (1911).

[233] Recently augmented.

[234] According to Sir Thomas Browne, bodies soon consumed there. "Tis all one to lie in St. Innocents' churchyard as in the sands of Egypt, ready to be anything in the ecstasy of being ever, and as content with six feet as the moles of Adrianus."

"Tabesne cadavera solvat
An rogas haud refert.

[235] Open Tuesdays and Fridays, 10 to 4.

[236] A description of this and of other public balls of the Second Empire will be found in Taine's Notes sur Paris, which has been translated into English.

[237] We cannot too strongly impress on the traveller the desirability of visiting the admirable Musée de Sculpture Comparée at the Trocadero where casts of the most important sculpture and architecture in France, including many of the monuments, here and elsewhere in Paris, may be conveniently studied.

























The Mediæval Town Series

ASSISI.* By Lina Duff Gordon. [4th Edition.

BRUGES.† By Ernest Gilliat-Smith. [3rd Edition.

BRUSSELS.† By Ernest Gilliat-Smith.

CAIRO.† By Stanley Lane-Poole. [2nd Edition.

CAMBRIDGE.† By Charles W. Stubbs, D.D.

CHARTRES.† By Cecil Headlam.

CONSTANTINOPLE.* By William H. Hutton. [2nd Edition.

EDINBURGH.† By Oliphant Smeaton.

FERRARA.† By Ella Noyes.

FLORENCE.† By Edmund G. Gardner. [8th Edition.

LONDON.† By Henry B. Wheatley. [2nd Edition.

MOSCOW.* By Wirt Gerrare. [2nd Edition.

NUREMBERG.* By Cecil Headlam. [4th Edition.

PARIS.† By Thomas Okey.

PERUGIA.* By Margaret Symonds and Lina Duff Gordon. [5th Edition.

PRAGUE.* By Count Lutzow.

ROME.† By Norwood Young. [4th Edition.

ROUEN.† By Theodore A. Cook. [3rd Edition.

SEVILLE.† By Walter M. Gallichan.

SIENA.† By Edmund G. Gardner. [2nd Edition.

TOLEDO.* By Hannah Lynch. [2nd Edition.

VERONA.† By Alethea Wiel. [2nd Edition.

VENICE.† By Thomas Okey.

The prices of these(*) are 3s. 6d. net in cloth, 4s. 6d. net in leather; these(†) 4s. 6d. net in cloth, 5s. 6d. net in leather.

Transcriber's notes:

[i] The first numeral is illegible on the image. After examining other numerals in this book it is believed the numeral is either 2 or 3 (24,000 or 34,000).

[ii]Sky, v. t. (imp. & p. p. Skied or Skyed; p. pr. & vb. n. Skying.) To hang (a picture on exhibition) near the top of a wall, where it can not be well seen. [Colloq.] Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913).

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