Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2 eBook

Dawson Turner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 249 pages of information about Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2.

He was himself present at the second violation of the royal tomb, in 1572; and he gives a piteous account of the transaction.  The monument raised to the memory of the Conqueror, by his son, William Rufus, under the superintendance of Lanfranc, was a production of much costly and elaborate workmanship:  the shrine, which was placed upon the mausoleum, glittered with gold and silver and precious stones.  To complete the whole, the effigy of the king had been added to the tomb, at some period subsequent to its original erection.—­A monument like this naturally excited the rapacity of a lawless banditti, unrestrained by civil or military force, and inveterate against every thing that might be regarded as connected with the Catholic worship.—­The Calvinists were masters of Caen, and, incited by the information of what had taken place at Rouen, they resolved to repeat the same outrages.  Under the specious pretext of abolishing idolatrous worship, they pillaged and ransacked every church and monastery:  they broke the painted windows and organs, destroyed the images, stole the ecclesiastical ornaments, sold the shrines, committed pulpits, chests, books, and whatever was combustible, to the fire; and finally, after having wreaked their vengeance upon eyery thing that could be made the object of it, they went boldly to the town-hall to demand the wages for their labors.—­In the course of these outrages the tomb of the Conqueror at one abbey, and that of Matilda at the other, were demolished.  And this was not enough; but a few days afterwards, the same band returned, allured by the hopes of farther plunder.  It was customary in ancient times to deposit treasures of various kinds in the tombs of sovereigns, as if the feelings of the living passed into the next stage of existence;—­

   “... quae gratia currum
    Armorumque fuit vivis, quae cura nitentes
    Pascere equos, eadem sequitur tellure repostos.”

The bees that adorned the imperial mantle of Napoleon were found in the tomb of Childeric.  A similar expectation excited the Huguenots, at Caen.  They dug up the coffin:  the hollow stone rung to the strokes of their daggers:  the vibration proved that it was not filled by the corpse; and nothing more was wanted to seal its destruction.

De Bourgueville, who went to the spot and exerted his eloquence to check this last act of violence, witnessed the opening of the coffin.  It contained the bones of the king, wrapped up in red taffety, and still in tolerable preservation; but nothing else.  He collected them, with care, and consigned them to one of the monks of the abbeys who kept them in his chamber, till the Admiral de Chatillon entered Caen at the head of his mercenaries, on which occasion the whole abbey was plundered, and the monks put to flight, and the bones lost.  “Sad doings, these,” says De Bourgueville, “et bien peu reformez!”—­He adds, that one of the thigh-bones was preserved by the Viscount of

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Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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