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A recent visit to this mansion revealed the substantial character of its foundations, whose architecture indicated their antiquity. The main building is five storeys in height, and one remarks amid the black tiles of the roof two lovers' knots and the ace of diamonds in red. Its ground floor is now a little below the street, and contains the kitchen of the Société de la Consommation. In M. de Warens' time it was a great vaulted hall, whose ceiling was supported by massive pillars, which, the floor having been raised, now appear dwarfed.
In an outbuilding adjoining the second tower there is a deep well, and in the wall above it are cut the arms of the de Loïs de Villardin quartering those of the de Glanes.
In the stone staircase of the inner tower, at each landing, is a large antechamber, and a stone-paved corridor leading to the various rooms, closed at either end by an arch.
There is a queer, small, low chamber above the gateway, approached by a winding stair. In a large old-fashioned room full of sunshine, where a bird was singing (to my ear sweet echoes from the past), I found a curious earthenware stove adorned with singular figures.
Madame Lucie Olivier, née de Larrey, now living near Clarens, who is the granddaughter of the de la Pottries, who inherited the house from the de Loïs, retains vivid recollections of this mansion in her youth. She says a great garden, containing many peaches, extended to the town wall. An elaborate series of steps ran along the Flon, and gave entrance to the Place Riponne, beyond the walls. On two other sides the grounds were bounded by charming gardens. By a short bridge above the offices was reached a terrace shaded by plantains, from which opened a view of the cathedral. M. and Madame de la Pottrie, the friends of Gibbon, resided in the house until their death ; and their granddaughter says the salons and vestibule on the first floor seemed to her immense, all being changed after the house was sold. She attended a religious reunion there some years later, and all appeared to her gloomy and suffocating.
The Musée Arlaud and neighbouring buildings have invaded a large portion of the ancient gardens. The granduncle of Madame Olivier and of M. de Steiguer-M. de Loys d'Orzens, VOL. I.
the son of M. de Loys de Warens' half-brother—was an officer of the Swiss Guards at Paris in the last century, and presented to his relatives a complete set of carved furniture for the salons, with flowered tapestries, representing the nine Muses, and even an enormous screen covered with similar designs, which greatly aided the nephews and nieces in their classical studies. This was the furniture in Gibbon’s day. The tower chamber was turned into an aviary.
Sebastian Isaac de Loïs was the eldest of his father's twenty-two children, and was probably born in this house in the year 1688. He was the eldest and only surviving child of his father's first wife, the Dame de Warens.
Of his fourteen half-brothers and sisters, two sons grew to man's estate. One was George Louis, Seignior of Orzens, who married (1737) Suzanne, daughter of Jean François de Cerjat (by Marie Elizabeth d'Erlach), who served in Flanders, returned to Lausanne in 1722, and died in 1754, the same year as M. de Warens. The second, Paul, sometimes called Seignior de Chavannes and sometimes Seignior of Villardin, who was born in 1705—the year of M. de Warens' visit to Lausanne-married (1743) his relative Marie Anne, daughter of Professor George Polier (by Suzanne Caille), and, surviving his brother and halfbrother thirty years, succeeded to the seigniories of the family.
Paul de Loys had three children--George Sebastian, who died in 1767, and Charles Etienne, who died in 1802, both without descendants, the male line of Aubert de Loïs de Villardin thus becoming extinct. Their sister, Louise Suzanne, born in 1747, espoused (1778) Juste Louis Duval de la Pottrie, son of Charles, by Françoise Suzanne de Seigneux, daughter of the Burgomaster Samuel de Seigneux.
Juste died in the Palud house, inherited from his father-inlaw, August 22, 1818. His wife predeceased him by twentythree years, dying at the de Loïs château of Vidy, near Lausanne. Their only son, Charles Paul, born in 1780, developed a talent for painting, but died in Germany at nineteen. Of the two daughters, Louise, born in 1785, married in 1807 Count William de Larrey, major of dragoons in the service of Prussia, brother of Count Jean de Larrey, Chamberlain of the King of Holland. Count Jean's daughter is the present Madame Lucie Olivier, of the Bassets, near Clarens.
The second daughter, Angelique Caroline Wilhelmina, also born at Lausanne (1789), married in 1812 Charles Louis Balthazar de Steiguer, of the Sovereign Council of Berne, Bailiff of Buren, and afterwards lieutenant-colonel in the service of the King of the Two Sicilies, father of the present M. Charles de Steiguer, of Berne.
These two daughters were made the heirs of their uncle, M. Charles Etienne de Lojs d'Orzens, last of the branch of the de Loja de Villardin, who died unmarried at Paris in 1802.
The four half-sisters of M. de Warens who grew up to womanhood were—Charlotte, who espoused (August 26, 1722) Jean Abraham de Polier, Seignior of Bretigny; Jeanne Marie, who (April 1727) became the wife of George de Saussure, Seignior of Bavois; Françoise, who married the same day Jean Augustin de Constant de Rebecque; and Sophie Louise, who married (1719) her relative, Daniel François de Loys, Seignior of Middes, Trey, and Ecublens (the son of Jean Rodolphe de Loïs, Seignior of Marnand), to whom M. de Warens addressed the memoir printed in the second volume of this work. Daniel was ancestor of the only remaining branch of the de Loïs, now represented in the male line at Lausanne by Jean Louis Henry, Marquis de Loïs Chandieu, and M. Robert Ferrand de Treytorrens de Loys Chandieu.
During M. de Loïs de Warens' stay at Lausanne occurred a total eclipse of the sun, which is described in a quaint manuscript of Jean Chessex, of Veraie, Justicier of Les Planches de Montreux, and a member of the family to which the present proprietor of the Hôtel des Alpes belongs.
* This total solar eclipse,' he writes, 'was the thirteenth after the birth of Jesus Christ; and the next, which will be the fourteenth, will be seen neither by us nor by many generations
The one of which I speak commenced at 8.54 in the morning. It was half over at 9.58, and was finished at 10.4. The sun was entirely obscured for the space of four minutes. This phenomenon arrived upon a day which was entirely clear and serene, and upon a Wednesday. It brought with it such a general fright, as much on account of the obscurity, which was as complete as in the middle of the night, as because it seemed everything was coming to an end, especially as all the stars were apparent. Many workmen were compelled to quit their labour or to demand a candle. The labourers and the vinedressers quitted their work and retired to their houses. The woodcutters found themselves in complete darkness in the midst of the forests. Travellers saw themselves enveloped in darkness in different places, exposed to robbers, who, knowing of this beforehand, had taken their measures to surprise the passers-by. Simple women or idiots, not informed of this eclipse, thought themselves at the beginning of the Last Day, and set to work to pray once at least, if they had never done so before. The most enlightened were not without fear and apprehension on account of this unaccustomed and entirely extraordinary event. The astonishment augmented all the more in perceiving, each in his place, that at the moment that the sun was about to become entirely black a certain failure of the heart and of all nature took place, which seemed to indicate a complete annihilation. The animals and the inanimate things were so much affected by this change, that they each and all gave signs, according to his species, that when God shall destroy nature at the end of the world, all the creatures will take their appropriate movement in this great destruction. So great is the power of that great God, Author and Preserver of the world, that during this eclipse the domestic beasts and animals retired to rest, and ruminated as in the night-time. The hens went to roost, the birds no longer sang their songs; while, on the other hand, those accustomed to sing in the night commenced their chants, which they immediately discontinued after the sun commenced ever so little to resume its force. The fishes betook themselves to the surface of the water, where they were easily taken with the hand. The dew began to fall at the highest moment of the eclipse. The bats began to fly, as they are wont to do in the night-time. Finally, as light began to appear, new matter of joy presented itself in such a manner that each returned to his work, and each thing to its ordinary habits. The rest of the day was fine and clear.' 1
i Genealogical and Historical Notice of the de la Pottrie Family, prepared by M. Charles de Steiguer for private circulation.