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قراءة كتاب The Story of Rouen
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The Story of Rouen
The Story of Rouen
by Theodore Andrea Cook
Illustrated by Helen M.
James and Jane E. Cook
London: J.M. Dent & Co.
Aldine House, 29 and 30 Bedford Street
Covent Garden, W.C. 1899
All rights reserved
ΤΗΙ ΜΗΤΡΙ ΔΙΔΑΚΤΡΑ
"Est enim benignum et plenum ingenui pudoris fateri per quos profeceris."
THE story of a town must differ from the history of a nation in that it is concerned not with large issues but with familiar and domestic details. A nation has no individuality. No single phrase can fairly sum up the characteristics of a people. But a town is like one face picked out of a crowd, a face that shows not merely the experience of our human span, but the traces of centuries that go backward into unrecorded time. In all this slow development a character that is individual and inseparable is gradually formed. That character never fades. It is to be found first in the geographical laws of permanent or slowly changed surroundings, and secondly in the outward aspect of the dwellings built by man, for his personal comfort or for the good of the material community, or for his spiritual needs.
To these three kinds of architecture I have attached this story of Rouen, because even in its remotest syllables there are some traces left that are still visible; and these traces increase as the story approaches modern times. While moats and ramparts still sever a city from its surrounding territory, the space within the walls preserves many of those sharply defined characteristics which grow fainter when town and country merge one into the other; the modern suburb gradually destroys the personality both of what it sprang from and of what it meets. Up to the beginning of the sixteenth century I have been more careful to explain the scattered relics of an earlier time than during the years when Rouen was filled with exquisite examples of the builder's art. After that century there is so little of distinction, and so much of average merit, that my story languishes beneath a load of bricks and mortar.
Each chapter in this book which describes an advance in time or a different phase of life and feeling will be found to be connected with the buildings that are either contemporaneous with that phase or most suggestive of it. I have thus been able to mention all the important architectural features of the town without disturbing a fairly even chronological development of the tale, in the hope that this method will appeal not only to the traveller who needs guidance and explanation in the place he visits, but also to the reader who prefers to hear my story by his own fireside. Working, then, with this double audience in my mind, I have used to a very large extent, in my description of the people's life, the documents they have left behind themselves, so that the best expression may be given of the vital fact that a town is built and fashioned and inspired not by a few great men, but by the many persistent citizens who dwell in it, working their will from age to age without shadow of changing.
One such manuscript, the work of many hands and many centuries, I must particularly mention. It is the record kept by the Cathedral Chapterhouse, from 1210 to 1790, of the prisoners pardoned by the Privilege of St. Romain's Shrine. Forbidden, for reasons of health, to investigate these ancient parchments for myself, I have been fortunate enough to find them all printed by the care of M. A. Floquet, to whom the judicial history of Rouen owes so much. To his industry and to that of M. Charles de Beaurepaire I owe all the more astonishing and unknown details which are derived from original authorities scarcely yet appreciated at their full value. Both were scholars in the École des Chartes, the only school of accurate historical instruction in the world; and for any possibility of using fruitfully the mass of details they have brought to light I am indebted to my initiation by M. and Madame James Darmesteter into the same principles of organised research. The list of Authorities in the Appendix will show rather more fully a debt to M. de Beaurepaire which can never be adequately acknowledged.
My stay in Rouen was rendered more profitable and more pleasant by the kindness of yet others of its citizens. To M. Georges Dubosc; to M. le Marquis de Melandri; to M. Lafont who, as is but right in Armand Carrel's birthplace, presides over the oldest and best French provincial newspaper; to M. Edmond Lebel, Director of the Museum; to M. Noël, the librarian, I would here express my heartiest gratitude. To M. Beaurain I am under an especial obligation. Not only did he carefully trace for me the madrigal, set in its modern dress by the kindly skill of Mr Fuller Maitland, which English readers may now hear for the first time since 1550; but he chose out of the vast store at his command the portrait of Corneille by Lasne, and the View of Rouen in 1620 by Mérian. These were photographed by M. Lambin of 47 Rue de la République, with whom I left a list of those typical carvings in wood and stone of which visitors to Rouen would be likely to desire some accurate and permanent record.
Among those things in this little volume to which I desire special attention, as being unknown in England, and in some cases never reproduced before, I would mention, in addition to the music in Chapter XIII., the plan in Chapter IX. by Jacques Lelieur, who also drew the view of the whole town reproduced in Chapter XIII. This plan is the only instance of which I am aware which enables us to see a French town of 1525 exactly as it was, for by a queer but easily intelligible mixture of plan and elevation, the architect has drawn not merely the course of various streets but the façades of the houses on each side of them. And this leads me to my last, and perhaps my most striking debt, that to my illustrators; not only to my mother, who drew the arms of Rouen, from a design of 1550, for the first chapter, and Coustou's charming bas-relief of Commerce for the last, but more especially to Miss James; of her work I need say nothing; it is quite able to make its own appeal; but for her indefatigable desire to draw exactly what I wanted and to assist the whole scheme of the book I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude. Her