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.
those memorials which tended to perpetuate distinctions beyond the limits of mortal existence, were naturally most unpardonable in the eyes of the apostles of equality.  But doctrines of this nature have fallen into disrepute for more than twenty years; and yet the country church-yard remains as naked as when the guillotine would have been the reward of opposition to the tenets of the day.  There are few more comfortless sights, than such a cemetery:  it looks as if those by whom it is occupied regarded death as eternal sleep, and thought that the memory of man should terminate with the close of his life.  However unlettered the muse, however hackneyed the rhyme, however misapplied the text, it is consolatory to see them employed.  Man dwells with a melancholy satisfaction upon the tomb-stones of his relations and friends, and not of them alone, but of all whom he has known or of whom he has heard.—­A mere hic jacet, with the name and years of him that sleeps beneath, frequently recals the most lively impressions; and he who would destroy epitaphs would destroy a great incitement to virtue.—­In other parts of France tomb-stones, or crosses charged with monumental inscriptions, have re-appeared:  at Bernay we saw only two; one of them commemorated a priest of the town; the other was erected at the public expence, to the memory of three gendarmes, who were killed at the beginning of the revolution, and before religion was proscribed, in the suppression of some tumult.

At less than a mile from Bernay, in the opposite direction, is another church, called Notre Dame de la Couture, a name borrowed from the property on which it stands.  We were induced to visit it, by the representation of different persons in the town, who had noticed our architectural propensities.  Some assured us that “C’est une belle piece;” others that “C’est une piece qui n’est pas vilaine;” and all concurred in praising it, though some only for the reason that “les processions vont tout autour du choeur.”—­We found nothing to repay the trouble of the walk.

Bernay contains upwards of six thousand inhabitants, the greater part of whom are engaged in manufacturing coarse woollen and cotton cloths; and the manufactures flourish, the goods made being principally for home consumption.  It is the chief place of the arrondissement, and the residence of a sub-prefect.—­Most of the houses are like those at Rouen, merely wooden frames filled with mortar, which, in several instances, is faced with small bricks and flints, disposed in fanciful patterns:  here and there the beams are carved with a variety of grotesque figures.  The lower story of all those in the high street retires, leaving room for a wooden colonnade, which shelters the passenger, though it is entirely destitute of all architectural beauty.  The head-dress of the females at Bernay is peculiar, and so very archaic, that our chamber-maid at the inn appeared to deserve a sketch, full as much as any monumental effigy.

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