A Little Tour In France, By Henry James



























































































 -   Within,
the effect of the choir is superb; it is a church in it-
self, with the nave simply for - Page 100
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Within, The Effect Of The Choir Is Superb; It Is A Church In It- Self, With The Nave Simply For A Point Of View.

As I stood there, I read in my Murray that it has the stamp of the date of the perfection of pointed Gothic, and I found nothing to object to the remark.

It suffers little by confrontation with Bourges, and, taken in itself, seems to me quite as fine. A passage of double aisles surrounds it, with the arches that divide them sup- ported on very thick round columns, not clustered. There are twelve chapels in this passage, and a charm- ing little lady chapel, filled with gorgeous old glass. The sustained height of this almost detached choir is very noble; its lightness and grace, its soaring sym- metry, carry the eye up to places in the air from which it is slow to descend. Like Tours, like Chartres, like Bourges (apparently like all the French cathedrals, and unlike several English ones) Le Mans is rich in splendid glass. The beautiful upper windows of the choir make, far aloft, a sort of gallery of pictures, blooming with vivid color. It is the south transept that contains the formless image - a clumsy stone woman lying on her back - which purports to represent Queen Berengaria aforesaid.

The view of the cathedral from the rear is, as usual, very fine. A small garden behind it masks its base; but you descend the hill to a large _place de foire_, ad- jacent to a fine old pubic promenade which is known as Les Jacobins, a sort of miniature Tuileries, where I strolled for a while in rectangular alleys, destitute of herbage, and received a deeper impression of vanished things.

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