Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

I DEDICATE THESE VOLUMES

TO MY WIFE

DELPHINE MARIE PUMPELLY MEREDITH READ

WHOSE EARNEST SYMPATHY

HAS ENCOURAGED MY UNDERTAKING

A WORD TO THE READER

Of this work the text is a house—a house from which we survey the passage of a thousand years, six hundred of which are associated with its existence. Hitherto no one has suspected such a continuous flow of history to and through this mansionLa Grotte-which now, alas ! has fallen beneath the siege of ignorance. If this book, begun eighteen years ago, could have appeared earlier, the house might perhaps have been saved. Curiosity and interest having been aroused, international petitions might have preserved it as a Museum--a treasurehouse of the past.

The fate of La Grotte points a moral. Whenever the destruction of a historical monument is proposed, let the practical, even more than the artistic and æsthetic elements of a population be excited to protest and prevent it. Such antiquities draw strangers as to shrines, and in their wake flow money and prosperity.

These pages owe their origin to my interest in Gibbon, in whom, by the way, much less interest was felt eighteen years ago than now.

At that time there was but one manuscript letter of Gibbon in the British Museum. narratives may appear superfluous to the critical, though I hope they may be of value to those less acquainted with the life of the great historian. But, although this work originated in my interest in Gibbon, his residences in Lausanne proved only the beginning of my quest, which has resulted in my telling the story of localities which, however small, have influenced and

Some of my

continue to influence mankind in Europe and America. In travelling through the ages we recognise at each critical epoch the founder or progenitor of each family which formed the society around Voltaire, Rousseau, and Gibbon. To study in these families and personalities the evolution of such society is to study the forces that moulded men who are largely moulding us to-day.

I have intended to write as if I were telling my story by word of mouth to a sympathetic listener, accompanying me in my wanderings through historic highways and byways.

It will be seen that I have recorded the bad as well as the good points in the different religious sects where they come into view. This was my duty ; but I desire that it may be clearly understood that I am a firm believer in Christianity, and welcome it in all its forms, wishing also to be liberal towards those who have no belief, if such persons exist. If there be any whom this avowal astonishes, or who imagine that they detect in it the satisfied Pharisee, I cannot help it.

There is at least one portion of my book which may appear heavy-that which presents a review of Lausanne Society early in the eighteenth century. These chapters cost me a great deal of labour. It is no slight task to ascertain and record all the prominent people of a town and their residences two hundred years ago, when there were no address-books, and one can only resort to scattered archives.

I am under great obligations to Mme. Constantin Grenier for her unvarying kindness in allowing me to examine the vast mass of unexplored papers hidden away under the hospitable roof of La Grotte. After spending several months studying them on the spot, I was most kindly permitted to take away each one of the cases and examine it at my leisure. The work of examination, classification, and copying these papers, whose nature and value were entirely unknown before, even to the Grenier family, oxtended through a series of years.

I am thus able, as a discoverer, to welcome my reader to the historical mansion whose portals can now be opened only through my book.

To the son of Mme. Constantin Grenier, Professor Louis Grenier, and to his wife I am also indebted for the use of a collection of most interesting documents; and, indeed, I am under obligations for similar favours to each member of the Grenier family, and to their connections, the Bourgeois-Doxat.

I tender my thanks to Mr. J. Horace Round, one of the highest authorities on mediæval history, who called my attention to a Norman-French epistle of Otho de Grandison or Grandson ; also to Mr. Charles A. Firth for information concerning the regicides in Switzerland.

I tender my sincere thanks to the various persons and families mentioned in these pages, who have, without hesitation, placed their papers and muniments in my hands for examination.

My warm acknowledgments are due to M. and Mme. William de Charrière de Sévery, and are more particularly rendered in connection with their documents in my second volume.

My thanks are due to Mme. de Loys de Treytorrens; the Marquis de Loys-Chandieu ; M. Charles A. Bugnion ; M. Charles Maunoir ; Duke de Broglie ; Count d'Haussonville ; Mr. Frederic Harrison; Mr. H. R. Tedder, F.S.A.; Mr. Claude Webster; Mme. Arnaud de l'Ariège; M. Joseph Arnaud de l'Ariège ; Lady Athlumney and Meredyth ; Rev. F. W. Attenborough; Dr. Moncure D. Conway; M. Gustave de Blonay, of Grandson ; Baron William de Blonay, of La Tour Ronde ; Baron Francis de Blonay, of Marin; M. Briguet; M. Bauernheinz; Dr. Berney; Dr. A. Bloentz, of Berne; Colonel Godefroi de Charrière ; M. Emile de Crousaz; M. Aymon de Crousaz; M. Fédor de Crousaz; M. Ernest Chavannes; M. Carrard; Baron Victor de Constant-Rebecque; Duchess of Cleveland;

[merged small][ocr errors]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »