[Illustration: Elevation of the West Front of La Delivrande]
The church itself is a spacious building, consisting of a nave and two aisles, with chapels beyond, separated by lofty pointed arches, supported on clustered pillars, to each of which is still attached a tabernacle; but the statues have been destroyed. The choir is altogether in a different style of architecture: that portion of it which immediately surrounds the altar, is early Norman, and most probably belonged to the original structure. Its arches vary remarkably in width. The most narrow among them are more decidedly horseshoe-shaped, than any others which I recollect to have seen.—The west front, though much mutilated, is still handsome. It is flanked by two small, very short turrets, richly ornamented.—The square central tower, capped by a conical roof, does not even equal the height of the nave, which is greatly superior to that of the choir.—Upon an eminence in the immediate vicinity of Vernon, are the remains of a Roman encampment.
With Vernon we quitted ancient Normandy: our ride thence to Mantes has been delightful; and this town, for the excellence of its buildings, for neatness, and for a general air of comfort, far excels any other which we have seen in the north of France. The name of Mantes also recals the memory of the Duc de Sully, and recals that of the Conqueror, whose life fell a sacrifice to the barbarous outrage of which he was here guilty.—But, I now lay down my pen, and take my leave of Normandy, happy, if by my correspondence during this short tour, I have been able to impart to you a portion of the gratification which I have myself experienced, while tracing the ancient history, and surveying the monuments of that wonderful nation, who, issuing from the frozen regions of the north, here fixed the seat of their permanent government, became powerful rivals of the sovereigns of France, saw Sicily and the fairest portion of Italy subject to their sway, and, at the same time that they possessed themselves of our own island, by right of conquest, imported amongst us their customs, their arts, and their institutions, and laid the basis of that happy constitution, under which, by the blessing of God, Britain is at this moment the pride and envy of the world!
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[Footnote 96: Antiquites Nationales, IV. No. 48.]
[Footnote 97: Antiquites Nationales, II. No. 17.]
[Footnote 98: Histoire de la Haute Normandie, II. p. 332.]
[Footnote 99: Histoire d’Evreux, p. 161.]
[Footnote 100: Antiquites Nationales, IV. No. 40.]
[Footnote 101: This mode of divination by the Bible and key, is also to be found among the superstitions of our own country.—See Ellis’ edition of Brand’s Popular Antiquities, II. p. 641.]