CHAPTER IV

NORMANDY AND THE ILE DE FRANCE

From Mont-Saint-Michel, the architectural road leads across Normandy, up the Seine to Paris, and not directly through Chartres, which lies a little to the south. In the empire of architecture, Normandy was one kingdom, Brittany another; the Ile de France, with Paris, was a third; Touraine and the valley of the Loire were a fourth and in the centre, the fighting-ground between them all, lay the counties of Chartres and Dreux. Before going to Chartres one should go up the Seine and down the Loire, from Angers to Le Mans, and so enter Chartres from Brittany after a complete circle; but if we set out to do our pleasure on that scale, we must start from the Pyramid of Cheops. We have set out from Mont-Saint-Michel; we will go next to Paris.

The architectural highway lies through Coutances, Bayeux, Caen, Rouen, and Mantes. Every great artistic kingdom solved its architectural problems in its own way, as it did its religious, political, and social problems, and no two solutions were ever quite the same; but among them the Norman was commonly the most practical, and sometimes the most dignified. We can test this rule by the standard of the first town we stop at--Coutances. We can test it equally well at Bayeux or Caen, but Coutances comes first after Mont-Saint-Michel let us begin with it, and state the problems with their Norman solution, so that it may be ready at hand to compare with the French solution, before coming to the solution at Chartres.

The cathedral at Coutances is said to be about the age of the Merveille (1200-50), but the exact dates are unknown, and the work is so Norman as to stand by itself; yet the architect has grappled with more problems than one need hope to see solved in any single church in the tie de France. Even at Chartres, although the two stone fleches are, by exception, completed, they are not of the same age, as they are here. Neither at Chartres nor at Paris, nor at Laon or Amiens or Rheims or Bourges, will you see a central tower to compare with the enormous pile at Coutances. Indeed the architects of France failed to solve this particular church problem, and we- shall leave it behind us in leaving Normandy, although it is the most effective feature of any possible church. "A clocher of that period (circa 1200), built over the croisee of a cathedral, following lines so happy, should be a monument of the greatest beauty; unfortunately we possess not a single one in France. Fire, and the hand of man more than time, have destroyed them all, and we find on our greatest religious edifices no more than bases and fragments of these beautiful constructions. The cathedral of Coutances alone has preserved its central clocher of the thirteenth century, and even there it is not complete; its stone fleche is wanting. As for its style, it belongs to Norman architecture, and diverges widely from the character of French architecture." So says Viollet-le-Duc; but although the great churches for the most part never had central clochers, which, on the scale of Amiens, Bourges, or Beauvais, would have required an impossible mass, the smaller churches frequently carry them still, and they are, like the dome, the most effective features they can carry. They were made to dominate the whole.

No doubt the fleche is wanting at Coutances, but you can supply it in imagination from the two fleches of the western tower, which are as simple and severe as the spear of a man-at-arms. Supply the fleche, and the meaning of the tower cannot be mistaken; it is as military as the "Chanson de Roland"; it is the man-at-arms himself, mounted and ready for battle, spear in rest. The mere seat of the central tower astride of the church, so firm, so fixed, so serious, so defiant, is Norman, like the seat of the Abbey Church on the Mount; and at Falaise, where William the Bastard was born, we shall see a central tower on the church which is William himself, in armour, on horseback, ready to fight for the Church, and perhaps, in his bad moods, against it. Such militant churches were capable of forcing Heaven itself; all of them look as though they had fought at Hastings or stormed Jerusalem. Wherever the Norman central clocher stands, the Church Militant of the eleventh century survives;--not the Church of Mary Queen, but of Michael the Archangel;--not the Church of Christ, but of God the Father--Who never lied!

Taken together with the fleches of the facade, this clocher of Coutances forms a group such as one very seldom sees. The two towers of the facade are something apart, quite by themselves among the innumerable church-towers of the Gothic time. We have got a happy summer before us, merely in looking for these church-towers. There is no livelier amusement for fine weather than in hunting them as though they were mushrooms, and no study in architecture nearly so delightful. No work of man has life like the fleche. One sees it for a greater distance and feels it for a longer time than is possible with any other human structure, unless it be the dome. There is more play of light on the octagonal faces of the fleche as the sun moves around them than can be got out of the square or the cone or any other combination of surfaces. For some reason, the facets of the hexagon or octagon are more pleasing than the rounded surfaces of the cone, and Normandy is said to be peculiarly the home of this particularly Gothic church ornament; yet clochers and fleches are scattered all over France until one gets to look for them on the horizon as though every church in every hamlet were an architectural monument. Hundreds of them literally are so,--Monuments Historiques, -protected by the Government; but when you undertake to compare them, or to decide whether they are more beautiful in Normandy than in the Ile de France, or in Burgundy, or on the Loire or the Charente, you are lost, Even the superiority of the octagon is not evident to every one. Over the little church at Fenioux on the Charente, not very far from La Rochelle, is a conical steeple that an infidel might adore; and if you have to decide between provinces, you must reckon with the decision of architects and amateurs, who seem to be agreed that the first of all filches is at Chartres, the second at Vendome, not far from Blois in Touraine, and the third at Auxerre in Burgundy. The towers of Coutances are not in the list, nor are those at Bayeux nor those at Caen. France is rich in art. Yet the towers of Coutances are in some ways as interesting, if not as beautiful, as the best.

The two stone fleches here, with their octagon faces, do not descend, as in other churches, to their resting-place on a square tower, with the plan of junction more or less disguised; they throw out nests of smaller fleches, and these cover buttressing corner towers, with lines that go directly to the ground. Whether the artist consciously intended it or not, the effect is to broaden the facade and lift it into the air. The facade itself has a distinctly military look, as though a fortress had been altered into a church. A charming arcade at the top has the air of being thrown across in order to disguise the alteration, and perhaps owes much of its charm to the contrast it makes with the severity of military lines. Even the great west window looks like an afterthought; one's instinct asks for a blank wall. Yet, from the ground up to the cross on the spire, one feels the Norman nature throughout, animating the whole, uniting it all, and crowding into it an intelligent variety of original motives that would build a dozen churches of late Gothic. Nothing about it is stereotyped or conventional,--not even the conventionality.

If you have any doubts about this, you have only to compare the photograph of Coutances with the photograph of Chartres; and yet, surely, the facade of Chartres is severe enough to satisfy Saint Bernard himself. With the later fronts of Rheims and Amiens, there is no field for comparison; they have next to nothing in common; yet Coutances is said to be of the same date with Rheims, or nearly so, and one can believe it when one enters the interior. The Normans, as they slowly reveal themselves, disclose most unexpected qualities; one seems to sound subterranean caverns of feeling hidden behind their iron nasals. No other cathedral in France or in Europe has an interior more refined--one is tempted to use even the hard-worn adjective, more tender--or more carefully studied. One test is crucial here and everywhere. The treatment of the apse and choir is the architect's severest standard. This is a subject not to be touched lightly; one to which we shall have to come back in a humble spirit, prepared for patient study, at Chartres; but the choir of Coutances is a cousin to that of Chartres, as the facades are cousins; Coutances like Chartres belongs to Notre Dame and is felt in the same spirit; the church is built for the choir and apse, rather than for the nave and transepts; for the Virgin rather than for the public. In one respect Coutances is even more delicate in the feminine charm of the Virgin's peculiar grace than Chartres, but this was an afterthought of the fourteenth century. The system of chapels radiating about the apse was extended down the nave, in an arrangement "so beautiful and so rare," according to Viollet-le-Duc, that one shall seek far before finding its equal. Among the unexpected revelations of human nature that suddenly astonish historians, one of the least reasonable was the passionate outbreak of religious devotion to the ideal of feminine grace, charity, and love that took place here in Normandy while it was still a part of the English kingdom, and flamed up into almost fanatical frenzy among the most hard-hearted and hard-headed race in Europe.

So in this church, in the centre of this arrangement of apse and chapels with their quite unusual--perhaps quite singular--grace, the four huge piers which support the enormous central tower, offer a tour de force almost as exceptional as the refinement of the chapels. At Mont-Saint-Michel, among the monks, the union of strength and grace was striking, but at Coutances it is exaggerated, like Tristram and Iseult,--a roman of chivalry. The four "enormous" columns of the croisee, carry, as Viollet-le-Duc says, the "enormous octagonal tower,"--like Saint Christopher supporting the Christ- child, before the image of the Virgin, in her honour. Nothing like this can be seen at Chartres, or at any of the later palaces which France built for the pleasure of the Queen of Heaven. We are slipping into the thirteenth century again; the temptation is terrible to feeble minds and tourist natures; but a great mass of twelfth and eleventh-century work remains to be seen and felt. To go back is not so easy as to begin with it; the heavy round arch is like old cognac compared with the champagne of the pointed and fretted spire; one must not quit Coutances without making an excursion to Lessayon the road to Cherbourg, where is a church of the twelfth century, with a square tower and almost untouched Norman interior, that closely repeats the Abbey Church at Mont-Saint- Michel. "One of the most complete models of Romanesque architecture to be found in Normandy," says M. de Caumont. The central clocher will begin a photographic collection of square towers, to replace that which was lost on the Mount; and a second example is near Bayeux, at a small place called Cerisy-la-Foret, where the church matches that on the Mount, according to M. Corroyer; for Cerisy-la- Foret was also an abbey, and the church, built by Richard II, Duke of Normandy, at the beginning of the eleventh century, was larger than that on the Mount. It still keeps its central tower.

All this is intensely Norman, and is going to help very little in France; it would be more useful in England; but at Bayeux is a great: cathedral much more to the purpose, with two superb western towers crowned by stone fleches, cousins of those at Coutances, and distinctly related to the twelfth-century fleche at Chartres. "The Normans," says Viollet-le-Duc, "had not that instinct of proportion which the architects of the Ile de France, Beauvais, and Soissons possessed to a high degree; yet the boldness of their constructions, their perfect execution, the elevation of the fleches, had evident influence on the French school properly called, and that influence is felt in the old spire of Chartres." The Norman seemed to show distinction in another respect which the French were less quick to imitate. What they began, they completed. Not one of the great French churches has two stone spires complete, of the same age, while each of the little towns of Coutances, Bayeux, and Caen contains its twin towers and fleches of stone, as solid and perfect now as they were seven hundred years ago. Still another Norman character is worth noting, because this is one part of the influence felt at Chartres. If you look carefully at the two western towers of the Bayeux Cathedral, perhaps you will feel what is said to be the strength of the way they are built up. They rise from their foundation with a quiet confidence of line and support, which passes directly up to the weather-cock on the summit of the fleches. At the plane where the square tower is changed into the octagon spire, you will see the corner turrets and the long intermediate windows which effect the change without disguising it. One can hardly call it a device; it is so simple and evident a piece of construction that it does not need to be explained; yet you will have to carry a photograph of this fleche to Chartres, and from there to Vendome, for there is to be a great battle of fleches about this point of junction, and the Norman scheme is a sort of standing reproach to the French.

Coutances and Bayeux are interesting, but Caen is a Romanesque Mecca. There William the Conqueror dealt with the same architectural problems, and put his solution in his Abbaye-aux-Hommes, which bears the name of Saint Stephen. Queen Matilda put her solution into her Abbaye-aux-Femmes, the Church of the Trinity. One ought particularly to look at the beautiful central clocher of the church at Vaucelles in the suburbs; and one must drive out to Thaon to see its eleventh- century church, with a charming Romanesque blind arcade on the outside, and a little clocher, "the more interesting to us," according to Viollet-le-Duc, "because it bears the stamp of the traditions of defence of the primitive towers which were built over the porches." Even "a sort of chemin de ronde" remains around the clocher, perhaps once provided with a parapet of defence. "C'est la, du reste, un charmant edifice." A tower with stone fleche, which actually served for defence in a famous recorded instance, is that of the church at Secqueville, not far off; this beautiful tower, as charming as anything in Norman art, is known to have served as a fortress in 1105, which gives a valuable date. The pretty old Romanesque front of the little church at Ouistreham, with its portal that seems to come fresh from Poitiers and Moissac, can be taken in, while driving past; but we must on no account fail to make a serious pilgrimage to Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives, where the church-tower and fleche are not only classed among the best in Normandy, but have an exact date, 1145, and a very close relation with Chartres, as will appear. Finally, if for no other reason, at least for interest in Arlette, the tanner's daughter, one must go to Falaise, and look at the superb clocher of Saint-Gervais, which was finished and consecrated by 1135.

Some day, if you like, we can follow this Romanesque style to the south, and on even to Italy where it may be supposed to have been born; but France had an architectural life fully a thousand years old when these twelfth-century churches were built, and was long since artistically, as she was politically, independent. The Normans were new in France, but not the Romanesque architecture; they only took the forms and stamped on them their own character. It is the stamp we want to distinguish, in order to trace up our lines of artistic ancestry. The Norman twelfth-century stamp was not easily effaced. If we have not seen enough of it at Mont-Saint-Michel, Coutances, Bayeux, and Caen, we can go to Rouen, and drive out to Boscherville, and visit the ruined Abbey of Jumieges. Wherever there is a church-tower with a tall fleche, as at Boscherville, Secqueville, Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives, Caen, and Bayeux, Viollet-le- Duc bids notice how the octagonal steeple is fitted on to the square tower. Always the passage from the octagon to the square seems to be quite simply made. The Gothic or Romanesque spire had the advantage that a wooden fleche was as reasonable a covering for it as a stone one, and the Normans might have indulged in freaks of form very easily, if they chose, but they seem never to have thought of it. The nearest approach to the freedom of wooden roofs is not in the lofty fleches, but in the covering of the great square central towers, like Falaise or Vaucelles, a huge four-sided roof which tries to be a fleche, and is as massive as the heavy structure it covers.

The last of the Norman towers that Viollet-le-Duc insists upon is the so-called Clocher de Saint-Romain, the northern tower on the west front of the Cathedral of Rouen. Unfortunately it has lost its primitive octagon fleche if it ever had one, but "the tower remains entire, and," according to Viollet-le-Duc, "is certainly one of the most beautiful in this part of France; it offers a mixture of the two styles of the Ile de France and of Normandy, in which the former element dominates"; it is of the same date as the old tower of Chartres (1140-60), and follows the same interior arrangement; "but here the petty, confused disposition of the Norman towers, with their division into stories of equal height, has been adopted by the French master builder, although in submitting to these local customs he has still thrown over his work the grace and finesse, the study of detail, the sobriety in projections, the perfect harmony between the profiles, sculpture, and the general effect of the whole, which belong to the school he came from. He has managed his voids and solids with especial cleverness, giving the more importance to the voids, and enlarging the scale of his details, as the tower rose in height. These details have great beauty; the construction is executed in materials of small dimensions with the care that the twelfth-century architects put into their building; the profiles project little, and, in spite of their extreme finesse, produce much effect; the buttresses are skilfully planted and profiled. The staircase, which, on the east side, deranges the arrangement of the bays, is a chef-d'oeuvre of architecture." This long panegyric, by Viollet-le-Duc, on French taste at the expense of Norman temper, ought to be read, book in hand, before the Cathedral of Rouen, with photographs of Bayeux to compare. Certain it is that the Normans and the French never talked quite the same language, but it is equally certain that the Norman language, to the English ear, expressed itself quite as clearly as the French, and sometimes seemed to have more to express.

The complaint of the French artist against the Norman is the "mesquin" treatment of dividing his tower into storeys of equal height. Even in the twelfth century and in religious architecture, artists already struggled over the best solution of this particularly American problem of the twentieth century, and when tourists return to New York, they may look at the twenty-storey towers which decorate the city, to see whether the Norman or the French plan has won; but this, at least, will be sure in advance:-- the Norman will be the practical scheme which states the facts, and stops; while the French will be the graceful one, which states the beauties, and more or less fits the facts to suit them. Both styles are great: both can sometimes be tiresome.

Here we must take leave of Normandy; a small place, but one which, like Attica or Tuscany, has said a great deal to the world, and even goes on saying things--not often in the famous genre ennuyeux--to this day; for Gustave Flaubert's style is singularly like that of the Tour Saint-Romain and the Abbaye-aux-Hommes. Going up the Seine one might read a few pages of his letters, or of "Madame de Bovary," to see how an old art transmutes itself into a new one, without changing its methods. Some critics have thought that at times Flaubert was mesquin like the Norman tower, but these are, as the French say, the defects of his qualities; we can pass over them, and let our eyes rest on the simplicity of the Norman fleche which pierces the line of our horizon.

The last of Norman art is seen at Mantes, where there is a little church of Gassicourt that marks the farthest reach of the style. In arms as in architecture, Mantes barred the path of Norman conquest; William the Conqueror met his death here in 1087. Geographically Mantes is in the Ile de France, less than forty miles from Paris. Architecturally, it is Paris itself; while, forty miles to the southward, is Chartres, an independent or only feudally dependent country. No matter how hurried the architectural tourist may be, the boundary-line of the Ile de France is not to be crossed without stopping. If he came down from the north or east, he would have equally to stop,--either at Beauvais, or at Laon, or Noyon, or Soissons,--because there is an architectural douane to pass, and one's architectural baggage must be opened. Neither Notre Dame de Paris nor Notre Dame de Chartres is quite intelligible unless one has first seen Notre Dame de Mantes, and studied it in the sacred sources of M. Viollet-le-Duc.

Notre Dame de Mantes is a sister to the Cathedral of Paris, "built at the same time, perhaps by the same architect, and reproducing its general dispositions, its mode of structure, and some of its details"; but the Cathedral of Paris has been greatly altered, so that its original arrangement is quite changed, while the church at Mantes remains practically as it was, when both were new, about the year 1200. As nearly as the dates can be guessed, the cathedral was finished, up to its vaulting, in 1170, and was soon afterwards imitated on a smaller scale at Mantes. The scheme seems to have been unsatisfactory because of defects in the lighting, for the whole system of fenestration had been changed at Paris before 1230, naturally at great cost, since the alterations, according to Viollet-le-Duc (articles "Cathedral" and "Rose," and allusions "Triforium"), left little except the ground-plan unchanged. To understand the Paris design of 1160-70, which was a long advance from the older plans, one must come to Mantes; and, reflecting that the great triumph of Chartres was its fenestration, which must have been designed immediately after 1195, one can understand how, in this triangle of churches only forty or fifty miles apart, the architects, watching each other's experiments, were influenced, almost from day to day, by the failures or successes which they saw The fenestration which the Paris architect planned in 1160-70, and repeated at Mantes, 1190-1200, was wholly abandoned, and a new system introduced, immediately after the success of Chartres in 1210.

As they now stand, Mantes is the oldest. While conscientiously trying to keep as far away as we can from technique, about which we know nothing and should care if possible still less if only ignorance would help us to feel what we do not understand, still the conscience is happier if it gains a little conviction, founded on what it thinks a fact. Even theologians--even the great theologians of the thirteenth century--even Saint Thomas Aquinas himself--did not trust to faith alone, or assume the existence of God; and what Saint Thomas found necessary in philosophy may also be a sure source of consolation in the difficulties of art. The church at Mantes is a very early fact in Gothic art; indeed, it is one of the earliest; for our purposes it will serve as the very earliest of pure Gothic churches, after the Transition, and this we are told to study in its windows.

Before one can get near enough fairly to mark the details of the facade, one sees the great rose window which fills a space nearly twenty-seven feet in width. Gothic fanatics commonly reckon the great rose windows of the thirteenth century as the most beautiful creation of their art, among the details of ornament; and this particular rose is the direct parent of that at Chartres, which is classic like the Parthenon, while both of them served as models or guides for that at Paris which dates from 1220, those in the north and south transepts at Rheims, about 1230, and so on, from parent to child, till the rose faded forever. No doubt there were Romanesque roses before 1200, and we shall see them, but this rose of Mantes is the first Gothic rose of great dimensions, and that from which the others grew; in its simplicity, its honesty, its large liberality of plan, it is also one of the best, if M. Viollet-le-Duc is a true guide; but you will see a hundred roses, first or last, and can choose as you would among the flowers.

More interesting than even the great rose of the portal is the remark that the same rose-motive is carried round the church throughout its entire system of fenestration. As one follows it, on the outside, one sees that all the windows are constructed on the same rose-scheme; but the most curious arrangement is in the choir inside the church. You look up to each of the windows through a sort of tunnel or telescope: an arch enlarging outwards, the roses at the end resembling "oeil-de-boeufs," "oculi." So curious is this arrangement that Viollet-le-Duc has shown it, under the head "Triforium," in drawings and sections which any one can study who likes; its interest to us is that this arrangement in the choir was probably the experiment which proved a failure in Notre Dame at Paris, and led to the tearing-out the old windows and substituting those which still stand. Perhaps the rose did not give enough light, although the church at Mantes seems well lighted, and even at Paris the rose windows remain in the transepts and in one bay of the nave.

All this is introduction to the windows of Chartres, but these three churches open another conundrum as one learns, bit by bit, a few of the questions to be asked of the forgotten Middle Ages. The church towers at Mantes are very interesting, inside and out; they are evidently studied with love and labour by their designer; yet they have no fleches. How happens it that Notre Dame at Paris also has no fleches, although the towers, according to Viollet-le-Duc, are finished in full preparation for them? This double omission on the part of the French architect seems exceedingly strange, because his rival at Chartres finished his fleche just when the architect of Paris and Mantes was finishing his towers (1175-1200). The Frenchman was certainly consumed by jealousy at the triumph never attained on anything like the same scale by any architect of the Ile de France; and he was actually engaged at the time on at least two fleches, close to Paris, one at Saint-Denis, another of Saint-Leu-d'Esserent, which proved the active interest he took in the difficulties conquered at Chartres, and his perfect competence to deal with them.

Indeed, one is tempted to say that these twin churches, Paris and Mantes, are the only French churches of the time (1200) which were left without a fleche. As we go from Mantes to Paris, we pass, about half-way, at Poissy, under the towers of a very ancient and interesting church which has the additional merit of having witnessed the baptism of Saint Louis in 1215. Parts of the church at Poissy go back to the seventh and ninth centuries. The square base of the tower dates back before the time of Hugh Capet, to the Carolingian age, and belongs, like the square tower of Saint- Germain-des-Pres at Paris, to the old defensive military architecture; but it has a later, stone fleche and it has, too, by exception a central octagonal clocher, with a timber fleche which dates from near 1100. Paris itself has not much to show, but in the immediate neighbourhood are a score of early churches with charming fleches, and at Etampes, about thirty-five miles to the south, is an extremely interesting church with an exquisite fleche, which may claim an afternoon to visit. That at Saint-Leu-d'Esserent is a still easier excursion, for one need only drive over from Chantilly a couple of miles. The fascinating old Abbey Church of Saint-Leu looks down over the valley of the Oise, and is a sort of antechamber to Chartres, as far as concerns architecture. Its fleche, built towards 1160,--when that at Chartres was rising,--is unlike any other, and shows how much the French architects valued their lovely French creation. On its octagonal faces, it carries upright batons, or lances, as a device for relieving the severity of the outlines; a device both intelligent and amusing, though it was never imitated. A little farther from Paris, at Senlis, is another fleche, which shows still more plainly the effort of the French architects to vary and elaborate the Chartres scheme. As for Laon, which is interesting throughout, and altogether the most delightful building in the Ile de France, the fleches are gone, but the towers are there, and you will have to study them, before studying those at Chartres, with all the intelligence you have to spare. They were the chef-d'oeuvre of the mediaeval architect, in his own opinion.

All this makes the absence of fleches at Paris and Mantes the more strange. Want of money was certainly not the cause, since the Parisians had money enough to pull their whole cathedral to pieces at the very time when fleches were rising in half the towns within sight of them. Possibly they were too ambitious, and could find no design that seemed to satisfy their ambition. They took pride in their cathedral, and they tried hard to make their shrine of Our Lady rival the great shrine at Chartres. Of course, one must study their beautiful church, but this can be done at leisure, for, as it stands, it is later than Chartres and more conventional. Saint- Germain-des-Pres leads more directly to Chartres; but perhaps the church most useful to know is no longer a church at all, but a part of the Museum of Arts et Metiers,--the desecrated Saint-Martin-des- Champs, a name which shows that it dates from a time when the present Porte-Saint-Martin was far out among fields. The choir of Saint-Martin, which is all that needs noting, is said by M. Enlart to date from about 1150. Hidden in a remnant of old Paris near the Pont Notre Dame, where the student life of the Middle Ages was to be most turbulent and the Latin Quarter most renowned, is the little church of Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, towards 1170. On the whole, further search in Paris would not greatly help us. If one is to pursue the early centuries, one must go farther afield, for the schools of Normandy and the Ile de France were only two among half a dozen which flourished in the various provinces that were to be united in the kingdom of Saint Louis and his successors. We have not even looked to the south and east, whence the impulse came. The old Carolingian school, with its centre at Aix-la-Chapelle, is quite beyond our horizon. The Rhine had a great Romanesque architecture of its own. One broad architectural tide swept up the Rhone and filled the Burgundian provinces as far as the watershed of the Seine. Another lined the Mediterranean, with a centre at Arles. Another spread up the western rivers, the Charente and the Loire, reaching to Le Mans and touching Chartres. Two more lay in the centre of France, spreading from Perigord and Clermont in Auvergne. All these schools had individual character, and all have charm; but we have set out to go from Mont-Saint-Michel to Chartres in three centuries, the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth, trying to get, on the way, not technical knowledge; not accurate information; not correct views either on history, art, or religion; not anything that can possibly be useful or instructive; but only a sense of what those centuries had to say, and a sympathy with their ways of saying it. Let us go straight to Chartres!

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