« FöregåendeFortsätt »
sentative, who received it from his cousin, George Deyverdun, Gibbon's friend, to whom his maternal aunt, Madame de Loys de Bochat, had bequeathed it. This lady was the widow of the famous noble and professor Charles Guillaume de Lojs de Bochat, in whose person La Grotte began, in 1750, its existence as the private abode of history. Thirty years later Gibbon gave it renown throughout the Republic of Letters.
By title-deeds and other authentic documents, which I owe to the kindness of Madame Grenier, I am enabled to carry back the history of La Grotte with exactitude to the year 1592, though it is much earlier, and it is visible like a star in the depths of a far-distant past.
It originally formed a portion of St. Francis Convent, and in its vaults the monks preserved their relics and treasures. To this circumstance perhaps it owed its original name- La Crotte, afterwards La Grotte.
M. Ernest Chavannes, in a letter to me of December 18, 1879, called my attention to the fact that the word Crottaz, in Pays de Vaud language, signifies 'cellar,' vault,' and instanced the Crottaz de l'Hôtel de Ville, often mentioned in the Lausanne Archives.' The will of Dr. Jean Grandis, hereafter noticed, speaks of the wine vats situated in ‘La Crottaz' of his house.
If we may trust one legend, monks were chanting within La Grotte when Richard Cour de Leon was battling in the Holy Land, before he became King of England, Cyprus, and Jerusalem. Its walls were already old when Peter of Savoy began to construct the dungeons of Chillon, before he had won the title of the Little Charlemagne or visited his niece, Queen Eleanor, at London, where he built that famous Palace of the Savoy, which surpassed all other English mansions in beauty and magnificence.' 2
I Letters of M. Ernest Chavannes to the author, December 18, 1879, and January 10, 1880.
: The Savoy was erected in 1255, and given by Peter to the Brotherhood of Mountjoy, an order of knighthood established at Jerusalem, from whom it was purchased by Queen Eleanor for her son Edward, Earl of Lancaster. It was burned by the rebels of Kent and Essex in 1381, and was partially rebuilt by Henry VII., who intended to make it the hospital of St. John the Baptist. He provided for it in his last will, and one of his executors, Sir Robert Read, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, also bequeathed to it the Manor of Crofton, in Kent. His son, Henry VIII., carried out his father's intentions by granting to
to , de Montagny,
It is odd to find that Gibbon, the whilom Catholic and later sceptic, chose as his favourite and permanent home at Lausanne the precincts of a venerable convent, in the rear of its former church, and close to the Protestant bells, whose tones, one fears, . were more useful in calling him from mental labour to pleasures of the table than in summoning his thought to spiritual things.
But monks and monkly things always had a place in his thoughts, and seem even to have exercised an influence that extended to his critics. It was,' he tells us, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while barefooted friars were singing vespers in the Temple of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the Decline and Fall of Rome first started in my mind.
This remarkable passage arrested the attention of MM. Suard and Guizot, and led those distinguished writers to trace to Gibbon's impressions on that occasion the source of some of the lamentable prejudices in his great work. It appeared to them and to M. Villemain that Gibbon was so preoccupied by this aprad tras contrast between the glory of the Roman conquerors and the shabby ceremonies of the ill-clothed monks, that he failed to grasp the salutary influence of a religion which has changed the world, and brought forth from the midst of barbarism the entire genius of modern times.1
There is something sad, joyous, racking, feverish, depressing exulting, and essentially dirty, in the search for knowledge amidst the neglected papers of bygone generations. If the pages. DE are arranged in chronological order, and nicely filed away appropriate pigeon-holes, the search is one of pleasure unalloye Kolame de Borch by sickening fatigue. The imagination is then delightfully?tt
, ani stirred by the subtle perfumes of a forgotten past, whose ghost are readily beckoned into life.
But when one enters a long range of gigantic garrets, who the latter's executors Letters Patent for the site of the Savoy for the purpose above mentioned. This grant he confirmed by a Charter, in the fourth year his reign, roaulating the establishment of it under a master and four chaplain makin the
2. and I sat
ad George De
a this same Tad Voltaire Corel de Breni Ther, appeared
great maste the historian
lead his varied gi
padence of various
en de Corte Charnière, de sa
Cinstant de Rebecque
s de Littérature Française, ii. 425, attributes this cond sic
e, but M. Suard was the first to reach it.
a. Stran, Lavater, Bert Himelf-hidden in "Estaten chests, whose
misty expanses are dimly lighted at wide intervals, and gropes his way amidst an unending scene of dust-laden documents, only the most robust seeker of knowledge can withstand the depressing influence of its environment.
In these great depositories of La Grotte I found letters, parchments, diplomas, titles of nobility, fragments of unprinted books, unpublished poems, written and printed music, portraits in oil, pencil drawings, silhouettes, engravings, broken harpsichords, disabled billiard-tables, the remains of Gibbon's theatre; in fact, the odds and ends of a family life of three or four hundred years, whose threads lay before me broken and in confusion.
To feel that it was reserved to me to restore this past to life bred within my soul a healthy exultation; but the revulsion quickly followed in the despairing thought of the endless labour of the task. Soon, however, everything gave way to the interest of the quest, and I sat absorbed amongst its growing results. Before me spread treasures which the Doyen Bridel, the intimate friend of George Deyverdun, vainly sought to see a hundred years ago in this same wonderful repository.
Here were letters of Voltaire and his niece, Madame Denis; there his friend, Clavel de Brenles and his wife, whom Voltaire called the philosopher, appeared in original compositions; by their side, the former's great master, the jurisconsult De Lojs de Bochat, and Ruchat, the historian of the Reformation, displayed their learned inedited pages. Deyverdun's unpublished prose and poetry disclosed his varied gifts, while from scattered epistolary fragments Madame de Bochat walked forth crowned with beauty, unfailing wit, charity, and all the virtues which adorn a Christian life.
The correspondence of various generations of the families of Rosset de Rochefort, de Mannlich, de Molin, Deyverdun, Teissonière, Seigneux de Correvon, de Loïs, de Warens, Chesterfield, de Charrière, de Sévéry, de Crousaz, Polier, de Mortolieu, de Constant de Rebecque, Necker, de Staël, Bonstetten, Malesherbes, de Montagny, Beckford, Sheffield, and lastly of Rousseau, Servan, Lavater, Bernouilly, Barbeyrac, Turretini, and Gibbon himself-hidden in out-of-the-way places, and stored in worm-eaten chests, whose decaying remnants had long
since exposed them to the active ravages of time and the defacing proximity of prowling cats-rewarded my search, and fascinated my astonished eyes.
The scattered lines of these incompletely known lives, interwoven with the web and woof of my narrative, will picture the varying fortunes of many of the occupants of that historic treasure-house - La Grotte.
LA GROTTE is one of the monuments of a city that offers attractive studies to all lovers of antiquity, and of a canton whose history bears us to the dawn of Christianity.
The Pays de Vaud was comprised in ancient Helvetia until the dissolution of the Western Empire. After that it formed part of Transjuran Burgundy. In the thirteenth century it passed under the domination of the House of Savoy, and in 1536 under that of their Excellencies of Berne and of the Reformation. In 1798 the Swiss Revolution freed it from Bernese rule, and the Canton Leman rose out of the remains of the Canton of Berne. Five years later, as a result of Napoleon's intervention, it became the Canton of Vaud, and the executive authority was definitively established amid general rejoicings.
Vaud is derived from Wala, which in the old barbaric tongues designated a stranger. After the invasion of the German Burgundians into Eastern Helvetia, the original inhabitants of Western Helvetia, whose speech was a modification of the Roman language, were called Wales, or strangers, by the new-comers. From thence, Galles, Walles, Waeldsch, or Welsches, Walloons.
This etymology-Gibbon, by the way, calls etymology a vain and futile science, yet, as we shall see, shows his fondness for it—is rendered the more real because it applies to other countries placed in analogous circumstances. For the Flemish who spoke the Roman tongue were called Wallons by the German inhabitants of Flanders ; the Italians were known as Welches by the inhabitants of the Rhine ; and finally, the Celts