Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2 eBook

Dawson Turner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2.

The stupid and disgraceful barbarism, which is now employing itself in the ruins of Jumieges, has long since annihilated the invaluable monuments which it contained.—­In the Lady-Chapel of the conventual church was buried the heart of the celebrated Agnes Sorel, mistress of Charles VIIth, who died at Mesnil, about a league from this abbey, during the time when her royal lover was residing here.—­Her death was generally attributed to poison; nor did the people hesitate in whispering that the fatal potion was administered by order of the Queen.  Her son, the profligate tyrant Louis XIth, detested his father’s concubine; and once, forgetting his dignity and his manhood, he struck the Dame de Beaute.—­The statue placed upon the mausoleum represented Agnes kneeling and offering her heart to the virgin; but this effigy had been removed before the late troubles:  a heart of white marble, which was at the foot of the tomb, had also disappeared.  According to the annals of the abbey, they were destroyed by the Huguenots.  The tomb itself, with various brasses inlaid upon it, remained undisturbed till the period of the revolution, when the whole memorial was removed, and even her remains were not suffered to rest in peace.  The slab of black marble which covered them, and which bore upon its edges the French inscription to her memory, is still in existence; though it has changed its place and destination.  The barbarians who pillaged the convent sold it with the rest of the plunder; and it now serves as a threshold to a house near the Mont aux Malades, at Rouen[17].  The inscription, which is cut in very elegant Gothic characters, is as follows:  a part of it is, however, at present hidden by its position:—­“Cy gist Agnes Surelle, noble damoiselle, en son vivant Dame de Roqueferriere, de Beaulte, d’Yssouldun, et de Vernon sur Seine, piteuse entre toutes gens, qui de ses biens donnoit largement aux gens d’eglise et aux pauvres; qui trespassa le neuvieme jour de Fevrier, l’an de grace 1449.—­Priez Dieu pour elle.”—­It is justly to be regretted, that some pains are not taken for the preservation of this relic, which even now would be an ornament to the cathedral.—­The manor-house at Mesnil, where the fair lady died, still retains its chimneys of the fifteenth century; and ancient paintings are discernible on the walls.

The monument in the church of St. Peter, generally known by the name of le tombeau des enervez, was of still greater singularity.  It was an altar-tomb, raised about two feet above the pavement; and on the slabs were carved whole-length figures, in alto-relievo, of two boys, each about sixteen years of age, in rich attire, and ornamented with diadems, broaches, and girdles, all copiously studded with precious stones.  Various traditions concerning this monument are recorded by authors, and particularly at great length by Father du Plessis[18].—­The nameless princes, for such the splendor of their garb denotes them to have been, were considered, according to a tradition which prevailed from very early times, as the sons of Clovis and Bathilda, who, in the absence of their father, were guilty of revolt, and were punished by being hamstrung; for this is the meaning of the word enervez.—­According to this tradition, the monks, in the thirteenth century, caused the monument to be ornamented with golden fleurs-de-lys, and added the following epitaph:—­

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