Monstrelet, from whom I have transcribed this
detail, adds, that “it was pitiful to hear and
see the sorrow of these poor people, thus driven away
from their homes; the priests and clergy were likewise
dismissed; and, in regard to the wealth found there,
it was not to be told, and appertained even to the
King, who distributed it as he pleased.”
Other writers tell us that the number of those thus
expelled was eight thousand, and that the conqueror,
not satisfied with this act of vengeance, publicly
burned the charters and archives of the town and the
title-deeds of individuals, re-peopled Harfleur with
English, and forbad the few inhabitants that remained
to possess or inherit any landed property. After
a lapse, however, of twenty years, the peasants of
the neighboring country, aided by one hundred and
four of the inhabitants, retook the place by assault.
The exploit was gallant; and a custom continued to
prevail in Harfleur, for above two centuries subsequently,
intended to commemorate it; a bell was tolled one
hundred and four times every morning at day-break,
being the time when the attack was made. In 1440,
the citizens, undismayed by the sufferings of their
predecessors, withstood a second siege from our countrymen,
whom the town resisted four months, and in whose possession
it remained ten years, when Charles VIIIth permanently
united it to the crown of France. Notwithstanding
these calamities, it rose again to a state of prosperity,
till the revocation of the edict of Nantes gave the
death-blow to its commerce; and intolerance completed
the desolation which war had begun. At present,
it is only remarkable for the elegant tower and spire
of its church, connected by flying buttresses of great
beauty, the whole of rich and elaborate workmanship.
[Illustration: Tower and Spire of Harfleur Church]
At a short distance from Harfleur, the Seine comes
in view, flowing into the sea through a fine rich
valley; but the wide expanse of water has no picturesque
beauty. The hills around Havre are plentifully
spotted with gentlemen’s houses, few only of
which have been seen in other parts in the ride.
The town itself is strongly fortified; and, having
conducted you hither, I shall leave you for the present,
reserving for another letter any particulars respecting
Havre, and the rest of the road to Rouen.
 Antiquites de Normandie, p. 53.
 Dumoulin, Geographie de la France, II
 Description de la Haute Normandie, I.
 Heylin notices the familiarity of the approach
of the French servants, in his delineation of a Norman
inn. An extract may amuse those who are not familiar
with the works of this quaint yet sensible writer.
“There stood in the chamber three beds, if at
the least it be lawful so to call them; the foundation
of them was straw, so infinitely thronged together,
that the wool-packs which our judges sit on in the