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Dawson Turner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 192 pages of information about Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 1.
harmonizes well with the proportions of the building.  An oriel, or rather tower, of enriched workmanship projects into the court, and varies the elevations.  On the left-hand side of the court, a wide flight of steps leads to the hall called la Salle des Procureurs, a place originally designed as an Exchange for the merchants of the city, who had previously been in the habit of assembling for that purpose in the cathedral.  It is one hundred and sixty feet in length, by fifty in breadth.

“In this great hall,” says Peter Heylin, “are the seats and desks of the procurators; every one’s name written in capital letters over his head.  These procurators are like our attornies; they prepare causes, and make them ready for the advocates.  In this hall do suitors use, either to attend on, or to walk up and down, and confer with, their pleaders.”—­The attornies had similar seats in the ancient English courts of justice; and these seats still remain in the hall at Westminster, in which the Court of Exchequer holds its sittings.  The walls of the Salle des Procureurs are adorned with chaste niches.  The coved roof is of timber, plain and bold, and destitute either of the open tie-beams and arches, or the knot-work and cross timber which adorn our old English roofs.  If the roof of our priory church was not ornamented, as last mentioned, it would nearly resemble that in question.—­Below the hall is a prison; to its right is the room where the parliament formerly held its sittings, but which is now appropriated to the trial of criminal causes.  The unfortunate Mathurin Bruneau, the soi-disant dauphin, was last year tried here, and condemned to imprisonment.  He is treated in his place of confinement with ambiguous kindness.  The poor wretch loves his bottle; and, being allowed to intoxicate himself to his heart’s content, he is already reduced to a state of idiotism.—­Heylin, who saw the building when it was in perfection, says, speaking of this Great Chamber, “that it is so gallantly and richly built, that I must needs confess it surpasseth all the rooms that ever I saw in my life.  The palace of the Louvre hath nothing in it comparable; the ceiling is all inlaid with gold, yet doth the workmanship exceed the matter.”—­The ceiling which excited Heylin’s admiration still exists.  It is a grand specimen of the interior decoration of the times.  The oak, which age has rendered almost as dark as ebony, is divided into compartments, covered with rich but whimsical carving, and relieved with abundance of gold.  Over the bench is a curious old picture, a Crucifixion.  Joseph and the Virgin are standing by the cross:  the figures are painted on a gold ground; the colors deep and rich; the drawing, particularly in the arms, indifferent; the expression of the faces good.  It was upon this picture that witnesses took the oaths before the revolution; and it is the only one of the six formerly in this situation that escaped destruction[105]. 

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