JOURNEY FROM DIEPPE TO ROUEN—PRIORY OF LONGUEVILLE—ROUEN—BRIDGE OF BOATS—COSTUME OF THE INHABITANTS.
(Rouen, June, 1818.)
I arrived alone at this city: my companions, who do not always care to keep pace with my constitutional impatience, which sometimes amuses, and now and then annoys them, made a circuit by Havre, Bolbec, and Yvetot, while I proceeded by the straight and beaten track. What I have thus gained in expedition, I have lost in interest. During the whole of the ride, there was not a single object to excite curiosity, nor would any moderate deviation from the line of road have brought me within reach of any town or tower worthy of notice, except the Priory of Longueville, situate to the right of the road, about twelve miles from Dieppe. I did not see Longueville, and I am told that the ruins are quite insignificant, yet I regret that I did not visit them. The French can never be made to believe that an old rubble wall is really and truly worth a day’s journey: hence their reports respecting the notability of any given ruin can seldom be depended upon. And at least I should have had the satisfaction of ascertaining the actual state of the remains of a building, known to have been founded and partly built in the year 1084, by Walter Giffard, one of the relations and companions of the Conqueror, in his descent upon England, and therefore created Earl of Buckingham, or, as the French sometimes write it, Bou Kin Kan. The title was held by his family only till 1164 when, upon the decease of his son without issue, the lands of his barony were shared among the collateral female heirs. He himself died in 1102, and by his will directed that his body should be brought here, which was accordingly done; and he was buried, as Ordericus Vitalis tells us, near the entrance of the church, having over him an epitaph of eight lines, “in maceria picturis decorata.” You will find the epitaph, wherein he is styled “templi fundator et aedificator,” copied both in the Neustria Pia and in Ducarel’s Anglo-Norman Antiquities. The latter speaks of it as if it existed in his time; but the doctor seldom states the extent of his obligations towards his predecessors. And in consequence of this his silent gratitude, we can never tell with any degree of certainty whether we are perusing his observations or his transcripts. If he really saw the inscriptions with his own eyes, it is greatly to be regretted that he has given us no information respecting the paintings: did they still exist, they would afford a most genuine and curious proof of the state of Norman art at that remote period; and possibly, a search after them among the cottages in the neighborhood might even now repay the industry of some keen antiquary; for the French revolution may well he compared to an earthquake: it swallowed up every thing, ingulphing some so deep