« FöregåendeFortsätt »
carried the day. They seemed to have lulled to sleep the convictions of the Council, when de Tavel obtained the assistance of a relative whose voice was all-powerful in the Republic.
This was General d'Erlach, of Castellen. After having twice covered the Swiss frontier (says the eminent Vaudois historian), menaced by Richelieu, and having made France recognise the right of Berne over the Pays de Vaud, d'Erlach delivered his own country from a new peril. Having been the lieutenant of Prince Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, and after the death of that prince become the chief of an army of adventurers—which although in the pay of France he commanded almost as an independent general-d'Erlach had just advanced with his band, and saved the Republic menaced by the peasants' insurrection.
The intervention of such a man in the issue between the de Tavels and the de Blonays had immediate effect. He began by removing the support of France from the de Blonays. Then he showed that the Republic was offended by the violation of its territory and the injury to its subject. This vigorous language changed the face of everything. Berne sent its orders to the bailiff of Chillon, Jean de Sinner, to resume with activity the slumbering trial, and to cite before his tribunal Jean François de Blonay, as well as his two principal accomplices, Philippe de la Place and Claude de Mongenet.
The accused, taking good care not to obey, were proceeded against by default, and were declared—themselves, their bodies, and their property-forfeit to Berne as to the sovereign whom they had offended. They were summoned to return the damsel de Blonay to the paternal manor, and condemned to pay to the Sire de Tavel an indemnity of three hundred and fifty double louis. The baron of Châtelard, moreover, was severely reprimanded for the negligence he had shown in his paternal duties.
The Senate of Berne confirmed this sentence July 21, 1643, and gave order to the bailiffs, principally the one at Chillon, to execute its tenor and arrest the culprits, if possible; and, having by these
satisfied its honour and the exigencies of d’Erlach, Berne left to time the duty of healing the dispute.
In view of the above romantic difference between the
de Blonays and the de Tavels, it is a curious fact, stated by Martignier, that within fifty years Châtelard passed into the possession of the de Tavels by intermarriage with another heiress of the de Blonays.
TAKING into consideration its position, its associations, and the achievements and antiquity of the race to which it still belongs, the castle of Blonay is the most conspicuous and interesting château in the Pays de Vaud.
Standing on a higher elevation than Châtelard, and a league further back from the lake, its proud walls and lofty towers seem to rule imperiously the surrounding country, once almost entirely subject to its sway. As one turns from the venerable chapel, and comes beneath its massive donjon, and penetrates its somewhat narrow and severe court, the simplicity of its lines and the almost prison-like aspect of its interior façade, carry the mind back to the Middle Ages and the days when it was necessary to guard against attack. Like every well-regulated mediæval structure, it had its dungeons and oubliettes, and every part of the enclosure retains the character of a feudal fortress.
In wandering in its gardens, one looks up from verdant lawns, smiling flower-beds, leafy trees, through climbing vines and the quiet summer air, to the massive terrace on which it stands; and the eye, following the line of the buttresses, takes in ead ancient detail, nor omits to note the curious exterior of the time-worn chapel, appropriately decorated with outer beams of blackened wood.
Passing the strong gateways and ascending to the summit of the main tower, a view of unexampled beauty stretches on all sides. Hill and valley, mountain and river, lake and hillside, are lighted by the brilliant colours of the setting sun. From the darkening shadows of the Savoyan side swoop out great birds of prey, which, when they strike the line of light, turn to Savoyan boats, their peculiar double sails spreading wing-like on either side. VOL. I.
Taking another flight over the intervening country and the lake, the eye rests upon the first home of the de Blonays at the Tour Ronde, and, ascending the mountain side, surveys the peaks of their castle Maxilly, and higher still their castle St. Paul. Ranging to the town of Evian on the water's edge, it embraces the castle and tower of Blonay, now the Casino. Beyond, above the pebbly waters of the Dranse, appear outlines of still another de Blonay château. The castles of St. Paul and Maxilly have fallen into ruin, but the castle of Blonay, near the Tour Ronde, is the magnificent seat of Baron William de Blonay; and the castle of La Chapelle Marin, on the Dranse, is the renovated and beautiful residence of the Baron François de Blonay, representative of the younger branch of the family. All these -except the last, not then built-were in the de Warens' and Gibbon's day in thrifty condition and occupancy.
There was another famous castle at Bex, a portion of whose seigniory the de Blonays held as early as 1288, but which passed away by marriage in 1431. It is now called the Tower of Duin, from the seignior who obtained it through marriage with Margaret de Blonay. It crowns the most gracious of the hillsides of the entire Rhone valley, and there is not to be found anywhere more seductive shades or more picturesque landscape, dominated by an old round tower enveloped in verdure, and remains of a gateway, from whose crumbling sides hangs rich foliage.
In the time of Pierre de Duin, 1464, five hundred men, headed by Nicholas de Scharnachthal, former advoyer of Berne, suddenly appeared before the village of Bex, announcing that they had come to seize the person of Rodolphe d'Asperlin, who owed six thousand Rhenish florins to the Republic of Berne. Some surrounded his house, and others invaded the church in search of him; one even whirled his lance within the sacred edifice. Rodolphe happened to be at the Abbey of St. Maurice, and his wife, Jaquemet de Bonivard, was at the church with her servant. The canon, Rodolphe, his son, alone remained at home, where he was arrested, and immediately a scene of pillage and devastation commenced. The entrance gate was removed in order to render the circulation of the invaders more easy.
· Eugène Rambert, Bex et ses Environs, p. 114.
After examining all the apartments and sounding the most secret places, they broke in the fastened doors and came to a remote room, where they found a portal with three locks. This they demolished, and came to the treasury of Rodolphe d'Asperlin —a great sum in gold. Everybody took as much as he could seize or carry away; and a witness declared that he saw a huge sack filled with money borne out by eight of the assailants.
The rich properties and furniture, enclosed in coffers, according to the custom of the time, were broken open by the soldiery jumping on the covers. In many of these chests were discovered titles upon parchment. After examination, if they were considered to be useful, they were put aside to be carried away; in the contrary case, they were torn to pieces and thrown into the street. Among the spoil was a magnificent book of hours, which was forgotten later at Ollon, at the house of the innkeeper Michael, and this was restored to its owner. The cellars were invaded in all directions, and the wine drunk to such an extent that the soldiery vomited upon one another.
Pierre de Duin, seignior of the château of Bex, did everything in his power to stop the affair, but in vain. Finally, he asked de Scharnachthal if he understood the Roman language. The latter replied, 'Yes.'
Are you noble ?'
What is your intention in invading the territories of His Highness of Savoy ?'
'I have come by order of Messeigneurs of Berne, and with the authority of the Duke, your master, to seize Rodolphe d'Asperlin, and hold him as a hostage until the payment of the sum of six thousand Rhenish florins.'
This assertion induced de Duin to cease his efforts, and the party carried away the almost fabulous sum for that epoch of twenty thousand Rhenish florins.
Nearly everyone who has written concerning the family of de Blonay has made an erroneous distinction at the outset between the de Blonays of Chablais and those of the Pays de Vaud. Count de Foras declares that an imperfect acquaintance with the ancient limits of Chablais and of Vaud is the cause of | Martignier and de Crousaz, pp. 90-92.
this mistake. During the whole reign of the House of Savoy on the two shores of the lake, and until the conquest of the northern bank by the Swiss, the limit of Chablais was always the Veveyse; and Vevey, situated at the mouth of that torrent, defended the entrance on this side. This tower, as well as the château and seigniory of Blonay above it, did not properly form a part of the Pays de Vaud. The de Blonays who dwelt there were as pure Chablaisans as those of the Pays de Gavot across the lake. It is wrong, therefore, to represent the de Blonays of Vevey and of Bex as having left their province to establish themselves in another. Whether at St. Paul or at Vevey, at Blonay near Evian, or at Bex near St. Maurice, they were always in Chablais.
It was not until the Bernese conquest in 1536 that this state of things ceased. The de Blonays of all branches remained Savoyards until that event, which placed one of their branches with that part of Chablais where it dwelt under the Bernese rule, and forced them to submit to the law of the strongest. The descendants of the eldest branch of this family-with one notable exception, Baron William de Blonay, of Château de Blonay, Lugrin-are now established in the Pays de Vaud, one in the château of Blonay above Vevey, and the other in the château of Grandson near Yverdon; while those of the youngest branch are in Chablais, and continue to maintain a distinguished position. The separation of the two branches took place in the thirteenth century, in the persons of Jean I., vidame of Vevey in 1288, and bailiff of the Pays de Vaud in 1292, and Pierre II., both sons of Aymon I. of Blonay.
Whoever has consulted the magnificent 'Armory and Peerage' of the ancient duchy of Savoy cannot fail to conclude that its learned and accurate author, Count Amadeus de Foras, has so strengthened the original suggestions of Baron de Gingins and Barun Louis de Charrière as to leave no reasonable doubt that the royal house of de Faucigny were the progenitors of the de Blonays. It is thus apparent that the latter family, of legendary nobility,' whose proverbial attribute among the people is 'antiquity,' was possibly associated with La Grotte from the moment of its supposed foundation (accoruing to Baron de
Count Amédée de Foras, Armorial de Savoic : Les Barons de Blonay, p. 23.