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were hard put to it for their living. Hence little town intrenched within this mighty the pensionnaires, and hence our good stronghold. It seemed a place for mighty luck.
deeds and the clash of arms, and the The convent stands on the site of an memory of Charles VII's ragged, disabbey of the fourteenth century, some solute court making mock of majesty of the walls of which still remained in was a discordant note. But into this our corner of the building. It stands, ignoble scene steps the pure bright figure moreover, in the shadow of the two great of the Maid of France, the ugly vision towers which are all that remain of the fades, and a radiant glory shines within great Basilica of St. Martin, built just the old walls. after Charlemagne's death as a memo- A little boy was our guide, and gravely rial to his wife, Luitgard. The new in his clear child's French he told us Basilica of St. Martin stands just across what he knew of the history of Chinon. the Rue Descartes, and from our gallery At the bottom of this well opened a the two old towers and the statue of the secret passage from the town through saint on the new church formed a strik- which provisions were brought in time ing group. The statue was especially of siege. From this point another secret impressive during the progress of a passage once led to the home of Agnes thunder-storm, when the lightning illu- Sorel, the king's mistress. In this counmined it at intervals and gave it an awe- cil hall (of which only the chimney and inspiring aspect of life and movement. part of one wall remain) Jeanne d'Arc
met the king and pleaded with him for The next day we made an early start France, and in this tower the brave child and visited both Azay-le-Rideau and passed some weary weeks of waiting and Chinon. The fo er, in its present state, examination before she was admitted to is worthy of very little notice. The
the royal presence. exterior, indeed, is lovely; the Abbé Perhaps it was a desire to pay tribute Chevalier speaks of it as "perhaps the to her sweet memory which led us to purest expression of the belle Renais- climb the crumbling stairway of her sance française," but it is set low on tower, to sit a while and to remember the the bank of the stagnant Indre, and its divine inspiration and heroic courage surroundings are unattractive and de- which led her down the hard way of her pressing. Inside it has been entirely self-appointed task to her cruel martyrmodernized, cut up into little boxes of dom. It is difficult to forgive France rooms, hideously papered. The State that monstrous act of ingratitude. The has recently purchased it and begun a thought of the Maid stayed with us long very intelligent restoration, so future after the great ruin was left behind. travelers may be more fortunate than we. We had déjeuner at the inn, and this It was at Tours that Louis XI, that also was a depressing experience. The pious, superstitious, treacherous, clever house was ill kept, the service poor, and fiend, built his castle of Plessis-les-Tours, the food of the worst. It was the only which has been made famous in “ “Quenpoor hostelry we found in all our wan- tin Durward.” Its destruction has been derings.
so complete, and the relics of its unsavory Chinon, on the other hand, was a joy. greatness to be found on the spot are, From the station we rode in a bus as according to report, so uninteresting, that far as we could, and then climbed end- we did not take the trouble to cross the lessly up a steep narrow lane between river to see them. But we experienced cottages which clung, Heaven knows how, no lack of grisly reminders of that merry to the perpendicular hillside, to the sum- monarch-for we went to Loches. mit, where the great ruin of the ancient Tours was the end of Gray Brother's fortress spreads itself. The vast dimen- voyage, and we regretfully left him in sions of the place left us breathless. harbor, while we journeyed by rail. Wandering through the ruined walks and Once more M'sieur ventures to assume towers, it became quite easy to imagine the rôle of guide-book maker and record an army and all the inhabitants of the the note: “The trains on French railways run on time, the carriages are clean some wonderful carving, which is happily and comfortable, and the tunnels are so unspoiled by restoration; and three or constructed that you ride through them four ruined towers, in the depths of which with windows wide open without being remain the terrible dungeons where deluged with cinders and foul gases.” Louis XI vented his spite on luckless From this it will appear that our expe- foes, when he got hold of them, and rience with French railways was uni- luckless friends, when he wearied of formly pleasant. But the best thing them or began to suspect them. The about them is the country through which dungeons, unlike many to be found they pass. Doubtless parts of France in other mediæval castles, have every may be uninteresting to look upon, but appearance of reality. In a square doubtless we did not find them in our cell a hundred feet below ground the wanderings.
walls, half-revealed by the flickering Loches, like Gaul, is divided into lantern of the guide, are covered with three parts: a church dating from the reminiscences of the sojourn there of tenth century, with several unusual archi- Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, called tectural features; the château itself, built' Il Moro, A little square, carved in the by Charles VII and Louis XII, contain- rock, marks the only spot reached by the ing the beautiful tomb of the fair Agnes daylight, struggling through the minute Sorel, with its inscription, more pleasing slit in the fourteen-foot wall. Rude fresperhaps to the lover of romance than to cos, among which appears twice a porthe puritan, “a sweet and simple dove, trait, in heroic size, of a man in a helmet, whiter than the swans, more rosy than give a hint of how the prisoner in exile the flame," and the oratory of Anne de passed his time. That the portraits repBretagne, a little apartment glorified by resent attempts at the delineation of his
IN THIS COUNCIL HALL
JEANNE D'ARC MET THE KING" own countenance is a tradition, if not in which the task of showing les oubliettes true, at least ben trovato. The Cell of is divided among the members of the the Bishops, still deeper in the earth, has custodian's family, with an eye to multiin its wall a rough carving of an altar plied gratuities, and a cross. The deep holes beneath the window slit, worn by the captives in Our last day in Tours and in Touraine their struggles to gain a precarious foot- was spent in getting Gray Brother ready hold for one glimpse of the day, are a for his long journey home, and in a brief vivid reminder of the most awful aspect visit to the Cathedral. Then we turned of this subterranean imprisonment. The our faces toward Brittany for a voyage gruesomeness of the dungeons is re- with another Gray Brother, if we could lieved only by the matter-of-fact manner find one, though of a less docile and of the guide and the business-like way less comely race.