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Rouen, and brought such influence to bear on Duke Richard that he gave them authority to remove the saint's body to Rouen. Accordingly, they went back to the sepulchre, and in spite of the tears and protestations of the priest and his flock, brought the shrine away with them. As they journeyed back to Rouen, this shrine grew two or three times so heavy that they could not move it without vowing to build a chapel to the saint at that spot. At last it permanently settled down on the spot where now
stands the Church of St. Sever, and refused to be removed farther. The shrine of St. Sever, now preserved in the Museum of Antiquities, is considered to have been brought from the earliest church erected here, but that it is the identical one which gave the monks such trouble on their journey is, to say the least, very doubtful.
There is another old church in St. Sever, or rather the ruins of one, for it was reduced to a few burnt walls by a fire in 1875. It was constructed by St. Louis to serve as a chapel for the Emmurées, the earliest religious order for females established in France. It was the temporary repository of the remains of Georges d’Amboise and Marshal Brézé whilst their tombs were being constructed in the cathedral. In the sixteenth century the church fell to decay, but was again rebuilt and re-endowed in 1670, but definitively suppressed at the Revolution. It was for a time a girls' school, and subsequently a magazine for cavalry forage. The blackened walls will probably soon disappear entirely, as has already disappeared from the Place St. Sever the Barbacane, which fifty years ago was the oldest tower in the city, and the last vestige of the Petit Château erected by Henry V. of England.
The Cavalry Barracks, known as the Caserne Bonne Nouvelle, occupies the site of a priory founded in 1060, and derives its name from the fact that Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, was there at her devotions when the news was brought to her of the great victory achieved over the English by their future king. At this priory, in 1135, was deposited the heart of Henry I. of England. Here, in 1167, was buried Matilda, wife of
, , Henry V., Emperor of Germany, a great benefactress of ancient Rouen, and here in 1203 was interred the unfortunate Prince Arthur, the victim of his uncle's cruelty. The priory was half destroyed by a fire in 1243, and completely demolished in 1418 to make way for new defences of the city. It was subsequently partially rebuilt, and there are still remaining the ruins of an old portal, dating from 1655.
In the environs of Rouen are many pleasant and interesting localities. On the immediate outskirts rises the Mont St. Catherine, affording a grand view of the city and its surroundings; the sparkling Seine winding along at the foot of the hill ; beside the river the city, with its spires and towers, and the green circling belt of the Boulevards; and beyond, the eye wanders over the broad forests of Rouvray and La Londe. On the surface of the Mont there are remains of the fortress constructed by Villars and the Leaguers, which was captured and destroyed by Henry of Navarre, who would not retain the fort, declaring that he desired no fortress but the hearts of his subjects.
Charming prospects are also to be obtained from Bonsecours, where is a gorgeous Gothic church, erected in 1954. The Château of Canteleu is another delightful spot. La Bouille, with its caverns and quarries, attracts crowds of people on fête days. There
severe fighting here between the advancing Germans and retreating French in December, 1870.
The River Manzanares-Site of Madrid-Its Early History and Development-Aspect of the City-The Puerta del Sol
The Streets and Public Places-Scenes in the Plaza Mayor-Autos de Fé-Terrors of the Inquisition–The Prado The Churches of Madrid - The Legend of Our Lady of Atocha—The Palaces – The Museum, and its Marvellous Collection of Pictures--Pleasure-places-A Bull-fight-The Escorial.
T is a well-known fact of European geography that Madrid is on the
Manzanares, but it may not be so generally known that in scarcely any other great city of Europe does the contiguous river form so inconspicuous and insignificant a feature. The Manzanares, in spite of its high-sounding name, is only a mountain torrent, rising some eight leagues away, in the defile of Navicerrada, and only attaining to respectable dimensions when swollen by the melting of the winter
The river bas, in consequence, been one of the standing jokes
of Europe for centuries. Alexandre Dumas tells how he and his son went on the bridge known as the Puente de Toledo, and came away disappointed at not being able to discover the river. A certain German ambassador declared that the Manzanares was the best river he had ever seen, for it was navigable either on horseback or in a carriage. It
a is recorded that when Ferdinand II. took a fancy to walk along the river-bed, it was necessary to have it well watered in order to lay the dust. It is said that when Napoleon's troops entered the city, they cried out, “What! has the river run away too ?” Numerous are the stories and bon-mots that might be quoted referring to this waterless river. it to the Manzanares; it needs it more than I do,” is the reported speech of a young man to whose lips a cup of cold water was pressed in a moment of faintness at a bull-fight. At certain seasons of the year, however, the Manzanares becomes a broad stream, and
Philip II. was quite right in building the Puente de Segovia, a substantial stone structure of nine arches, 695 feet in length. Of this bridge Madame d’Aulnoy pleasantly chats : “When strangers see the bridge, they begin to laugh; it seems to them so absurd to find a bridge where there is no water. One visitor said he would advise the city to sell the bridge in order to buy some water with the proceeds."
The site of Madrid is 2,450 feet above the sea-level, so it is little wonder that no navigable river washes its walls. The city occupies the centre of a vast sandy plain, bounded by mountains to the north, but stretching to the horizon on the three other sides. Its atmosphere is extremely rare, and its thermometrical changes frequent and violent. In sunny streets and squares protected from the north it is possible to be almost scorched with tropical heat, and the next moment, on suddenly turning a corner, to encounter icy blasts from the snow-clad Guadaramas, cutting the lungs like cold steel. Still, with ordinary precautions good health may be enjoyed by healthy persons, though, of course, to some constitutions residence at Madrid would mean speedy death. Since 1854 the canal of Lozoya has brought plenty of good water to the city ; before that time it is said that there was hardly enough to drink, and, of course, none left for ablutions. Most of the traditional discomforts of Madrid have been obviated of late years by improved public supervision and sanitary arrangements.
Although decidedly central, Madrid was by no means easily accessible from the rest of the kingdom until the recent developments of the Spanish railway system; and had not its rarefied atmosphere proved so beneficial to the gouty Emperor Charles V., it would probably have remained a second or third-rate provincial town. Of the origin of Madrid various wild stories are told, one chronicler affirming that it was founded soon after the Deluge, and others, ten centuries before Rome. Upon the ruined Arco de Santa Maria were found certain characters which Juan Lopos de Hoyos, the friend of Cervantes, decided to be Chaldean, and argued therefrom that the said arch was built by Nebuchadnezzar on the occasion of his passing through Madrid. Probably in consequence of the comments of various travellers, the Guida Oficiale has of late ceased to give the year of the city, although in 1864 it gave the year of Rome as 2616 and of Madrid as 4033! And now the Madrileños take refuge in vague generalities, asserting that the origin of their city is lost in the night of time.
All attempts to identify Madrid with the Mantua Carpetanorum of the Ptolemaic tables, or with the Miacum of the Romans, have proved a failure, the fact being that the place
never heard of in history till the tenth century. The Moors were then masters of Toledo, and held a strongly fortified advanced post named Mazerit, which was captured in 933 by Don Ramiro II., the King of Leon; it again fell into the power of the Arabs, but was finally wrested from them in 1083 by Alfonso VIII. A Christian population settled here; Kings of Leon and Castille made it their occasional residence; and Madrid was gradually emerging from its obscurity when Charles V. came, found the climate well suited to his constitution, and bestowed various favours and privileges on the city, which were extended by his son Philip II., who definitively abandoned Toledo, and made Madrid the capital of the immense Spanish dominions. Formerly there had been several capitals in Spain, but the new order of things made it necessary that there should be a capital with no historic memories,
THE OLD CITY.
either Spanish or Moorish, and free from either sympathies or jealousies to impede the central authority and administration. The ancient walls were removed, the city was enlarged, and most of the principal streets date from the time of Philip II.
During the sixteenth century the now barren environs of Madrid were covered with forests, to which royal and noble hunters resorted to slay the bear and the wild boar ; the city continued to grow and was embellished and improved by various kings, but in a confused and irregular manner, even while grand, regularly built cities were growing up in the Spanish
dominions beyond the Atlantic; and even in the seventeenth century travellers visiting Madrid described the condition of the streets as intolerably bad ; the houses were without drainage or other sanitary appliances, and woe betided the nocturnal wanderer who did not get out of the way quickly enough when the shout of “Agua va !” was heard from a window above him. Matters in this respect were not much improved during the early part of the eighteenth century; the air was so bad that silver could not be kept from tarnishing, and the effect on the public health was most disastrous. But in 1760, Charles III. bestirred himself to purify and renovate his capital ; the streets were cleansed and paved ; sanitary appliances were introduced ; monumental edifices, gates, and fountains were reared; and spacious promenades and gardens were formed. The city was transformed, and ever since that time
, has been growing increasingly worthy of its position as the capital of a great country.