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still adorns the courtyard. Its tall, spiral roof is covered with ivy and the brilliant Virginia creeper—a compliment to the charming American châtelaine, whose character is shown in deeds of sympathetic charity. The second tower has been enveloped in the ample stables. One of the old main entrances next the donjon opened towards the lake, and guests passed by a wide arch beneath the castle. An ancient outer door was there with its Judas' and a barbican on either side. Here strangers were surveyed with jealous eye, and if their appearance did not please, they were soon confronted by unfriendly muzzles.
The pinnacles of the donjon support the lion of Blonay, who tells the way of the wind as faithfully as any humbler weathercock. (Arms thus displayed in Savoy denoted of old the residence of a noble seignior.) The grand hall in the donjon, embracing the entire width of the castle, is two storeys in height, and displays the great shields of the allied historic families ; while a minstrels' gallery, octagonal and with sculptured balustrade, is bathed in varied rays of warm hues from the deep windows. The rarest Gobelin tapestries adorn the walls, representing the siege of Constantinople by the Venetians. A monumental chimney is crowned with the arms of Blonay. The most ancient shield of the sovereign house of Faucigny, from which the de Blonays descend, carried a gold lion on a black field; the de Blonays added a braissure, i.e. crosslets, argent—the sign of a younger branch. Later this mark of cadency was dropped by some of the family, who reverted to the original royal arms of Faucigny. But the de Blonays of the elder line inhabiting this château retain the braissure, with the coronet of a feudal baron, and two black eagles as supporters.
Through an arched doorway of the grand hall we descend to a large billiard-room whose table is of oak elaborately carved; the walls are tapestried in green velvet; antique busts of white marble look out from heavy oak frames above the doors. The ceiling is in black wood with huge beams exposed in the Savoyan style. This wing is variously ascribed to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The decorations are of the time of Louis XIV.
On the east side of the grand hall is the salon of St. Francis de Sales, of great size, extending from the court to the lake, and tapestried with scenes of the chase wherein the figures are gigantic. Here is the original portrait of the saint (presented by him to the Savoyan de Blonay of his day) which hung until a few years ago in the de Blonay château at Evian, now the Casino. Beyond is the library, leading into a capacious diningroom with green and gold tapestry, the lion of Blonay being over each door beneath the raftered ceiling. The great circular table invites to good cheer, and speaks of many bygone feasts. Here is a famous Wedgwood tureen of the last century, in white and brown, which belonged to the de Polier family, from which the present Baron descends through his mother. From this great dish Gibbon was no doubt often regaled at Lansanne, and must have noted thereon the arms—a black cock boldly planted with fiery crest and spurs on a silver shield, surrounded by the collar of the Order of the Cock, with its pendant star, and supported by two lively unicorns argent.
Returning to the grand hall of the donjon we enter & smaller tower whose staircase ascends to the roof, opening at each storey into suites of delightful apartments. On the first floor is the Yellow Chamber of Savoy ; on the second that called the Swallows, from the tapestry and decorations of the ancient furniture. Here are three windows grouped in one. The deep alcove is part of a window which existed in the donjon before this wing was built. In the upper storeys of the donjon there are also two suites. From the deep embrasures of the windowed walls we gaze on the blue lake, with the white swans of Blonay floating proudly on its bosom.
The south-east wing contains the apartments of the Baron and the Châtelaine. In the latter the tapestry is a delicate blue with empanelled rose garlands. The great beams of the ceiling are crossed by smaller ones. The venerable Dutch bed has an attractive landscape with youths and maidens playing Blind Man's Buff. A great window commands the lake, while another invites us to a balcony from which we view a range of increasing heights rising to the Rochers de Memise, the foundation of the Dent d'Oche. On the hillside lie the villages of Lugrin and La Tour Ronde, with the spire of a church lifting its slender outlines above the foliage. The mountains advancing towards the lake make a profile like an elephant's head with trunk plunged in the waters, and cut off the view including Chillon; but the eye seizes on Montreux and the approaches to the ancient castle of the Dukes of Savoy. The towers of the château of Blonay in Vaud are clearly apparent above Vevey.
In the Baron's room I examined with interest several aquarelles representing the Seigniorial Mansion of Fauxblanc belonging to His Excellency M. Polier de Vernand, LieutenantGeneral, and Colonel of the Regiment of Swiss Guards in the service of Their High Mightinesses in Holland.'
General de Polier left this property to his cousin, Henri de Polier, Prefect of the Leman, brother of Madame de Montolien, and grandfather of the Baron de Blonay.
One of these pictures contains M. Henri de Polier and his wife, née de Loys, and their three children-Count Godefroi de Polier, his elder sister, later Madame Constant de Rebecque, and the younger, afterwards Madame de Blonay—who are treating the children of the farmer to a feast of cakes.
The grounds of the castle contain a characteristic Savoyan feature, i.e. the Tonnelle, a long arching alley-way of grape vines, in this case with its beautiful marble guardian angel at the end.
The approach to the château de Blonay from Bouveret is wilder, but not less interesting than the route from Evian. I remember on one occasion, before setting out to visit it from Montreux, consulting the natural barometer which the people of Montreux have observed and used for centuries. When the vapoury mist, which they term la Plumache d'Oche, rises to the summits and rests on the peaks of Mount Grammont, on the Savoyan side of the lake, they say: 'It is a sign of bad weather, and we shall have rain.'
Unable to find a private conveyance, we took the post-office omnibus to St. Gingolph, the frontier town between France and Switzerland, half Swiss and half French, with a Catholic church used by both faiths. The difference between this side of the lake and the other at this point is striking. Here, the high mountains make it difficult to produce or transport any products
excepting trees, or stones from the ample quarries. The inhabitants are more primitive and less thriving than on the opposite side, and it is apparent that few strangers come here.
At Bouveret we passed an extraordinary figure—a dirtylooking man dressed like a woman, with long draggled petticoats, and carrying in his hand a huge knotted staff. In earlier times his uncanny bearing would have caused his arrest as a wizard. I also met there at the post an elderly man, whose head was surmounted by a shock of strong white hair, and who, before taking his place in the omnibus, invited me to boire un petit verre. This custom prevails as much on this side as in Vaud. He spoke in terms of warm respect of the Baron de Blonay who resides at the château of Marin. 'He is as easy to talk to as a child,' said the old man with vinous warmth.
At St. Gingolph, the torrent of the Morge rushing down to the lake forms the frontier line between France and Switzerland, turning on its boisterous way the wheels of several factories in the Canton of the Valais.
Turning to take leave of Blonay our eyes follow the undulating outlines of the beautifully kept park, the smooth lawns, brilliant, peaceful flowers, groups of venerable trees on the slopes, and, far away, towering savage rocks. The road is skirted by laurels with an inner hedge, next the water, of fuchsias, nasturtiums, lilacs and red roses, upon a glowing strip of emerald turf. The shadows fly from the rippling waters, and the sunshine driving away the storm returns to illumine the walls of this home of an antique and chivalric race.
On the hillside, a short distance above Blonay, to the west, rise the graceful proportions of the château of Allaman, reached by a magnificent avenue of wide-spreading trees, in one of which a small shrine is established. I have already referred to this castle in previous chapter, and, although it was formerly an appanage of the de Blonays, shall here say but little concerning it.
| Written in 1879. A great change has taken place since the railway was built on the Savoyan bank.
It originally belonged to the de Lugrins (seated at a later epoch at Cérisier), and afterwards in succession to the de Chatillons of Lugrin, the de Blonays, the de Russins, the Dunants de Russin, the de Lucinges d'Arrenthon, the de Marchands, the de Compeys of Féternes, the Bouviers d'Yvoire, the de Blonays a second time, the Folliets de la Chenal, the de Constants de Rebecque, and finally to the de Montravels of Besançon.
When Allaman came into the possession of M. Adrien de Constant de Rebecque, he restored it with a taste which retained its ancient beauties and strengthened their hold upon the soil. While residing here he discovered in that part of his property called St. Offange—where were formerly a convent and cemetery - the sepulchre of a Christian Burgundian prince. This tomb contained a curious inscription, which he presented to the Museum at Lausanne. M. Adrien de Constant was the nephew of Madame de Montolieu, the friend of Deyverdun and Gibbon ; he himself died in La Grotte in June 1876.
In a Bible which was in the possession of the late Marquis of Lucinges of Féternes was the following note : "This Bible belongs to the Count de Compeys of Gerbaix, Baron of Féternes, seignior of Vinzy-Mézéry, Marquis of Lucinges, Baron of the Chastelard, seignior of Allaman and Marlias, and gentleman in ordinary of the bedchamber to the King of Sicily.''
The village of Hons, now Véron, was also the title of a seigniory belonging in the early seventeenth century to the fauoily of de Marchand, seigniors of Allaman, Hons, and Thollon. The meadow of Véron adjoins the finest chestnut grove in the parish of Lugrin, and perhaps in Chablais. It extends its graceful foliage on an esplanade above the road, to the east of the Tour Ronde, and the route runs between its gigantic shades and the willows planted on the shore. Here all is fresh, reposeful, and charming as the alleys of a park.
There is a second famous wood, wrongly named the Bois de Bedford, which leads to another delightful de Blonay
1 Evian et ses Environs, p. 110. ? From a note of Mme. de Poinctes to the author.