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.
shrine to the furnace, and the abbey has been levelled with the ground, there remains in the parochial church a fragment of sculpture, which evidently represented the miracle that led to Eustatius’ conversion.—­The knight, indeed, is gone, and the cross has disappeared from between the horns of the stag; but the horse and the deer, are left, and their position indicates the legend.—­The church of Bourg-Achard has been materially injured.  The whole of the building, from the transept westward, has been taken down; but it deserves a visit, if only as retaining a benitier of ancient form and workmanship, and a leaden font.  Of the latter, I send you a drawing.  Leaden fonts are of very rare occurrence in England[52], and I never saw or heard of another such in France:  indeed, a baptismal font of any kind is seldom to be seen in a French church, and the vessels used for containing the holy water, are in most cases nothing more than small basins in the form of escalop shells, affixed to the wall, or to some pillar near the entrance.—­It is possible that the fonts were removed and sold during the revolution, as they were in our own country, by the ordinance of the houses of parliament, after the deposition of Charles Ist; but this is a mere conjecture on my own part.  It is also possible that they may be kept in the sacristy, where I have certainly seen them in some cases.  In earlier times, they not only existed in every church, but were looked upon with superstitious reverence.  They are frequently mentioned in the decrees of ecclesiastical councils; some of which provide for keeping them clean and locked; others for consigning the keys of them to proper officers; others direct that they should never be without water; and others that nothing profane should be laid upon them[53].

[Illustration:  Leaden Font at Bourg-Achard]

As we were at breakfast this morning, a procession, attended by a great throng, passed our windows, and we were invited by our landlady to go to the church and see the wedding of two of the principal persons of the parish, We accepted the proposal; and, though the same ceremony has been witnessed by thousands of Englishmen, yet I doubt whether it has been described by any one.—­The bride was a girl of very interesting appearance, dressed wholly in white:  even her shoes were white, and a bouquet of white roses, jessamine, and orange-flowers, was placed in her bosom.—­The mayor of the town conducted her to the altar.  Previously to the commencement of the service, the priest stated aloud that the forms required by law, for what is termed the civil marriage, had been completed.  It was highly necessary that he should do so; for, according to the present code, a minister of any persuasion, who proceeds to the religious ceremonies of marriage before the parties have been married by the magistrate, is subject to very heavy penalties, to imprisonment, and to transportation.  Indeed, going to church at all for the purpose of

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