A Little Tour In France, By Henry James



























































































 -   The court,
indeed, is on a large scale, ornamented with turrets
and arcades, with several beautiful windows, and with
sculptures - Page 90
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The Court, Indeed, Is On A Large Scale, Ornamented With Turrets And Arcades, With Several Beautiful Windows, And With Sculptures Inserted In The Walls, Representing The Various Sources Of The Great Fortune Of The Owner.

M. Pierre Clement describes this part of the house as having been of an "incomparable richesse," - an estimate of its charms which seems slightly exaggerated to-day.

There is, however, something delicate and familiar in the bas-reliefs of which I have spoken, little scenes of agriculture and industry, which show, that the pro- prietor was not ashamed of calling attention to his harvests and enterprises. To-day we should question the taste of such allusions, even in plastic form, in the house of a "merchant prince" (say in the Fifth Avenue). Why is it, therefore, that these quaint little panels at Bourges do not displease us? It is perhaps because things very ancient never, for some mysterious reason, appear vulgar. This fifteenth-century million- naire, with his palace, his egotistical sculptures, may have produced that impression on some critical spirits of his own day.

The portress who showed me into the building was a dear litte old woman, with the gentlest, sweetest, saddest face - a little white, aged face, with dark, pretty eyes - and the most considerate manner. She took me up into an upper hall, where there were a couple of curious chimney-pieces and a fine old oaken roof, the latter representing the hollow of a long boat. There is a certain oddity in a native of Bourges - an inland town if there ever was one, without even a river (to call a river) to encourage nautical ambitions - hav- ing found his end as admiral of a fleet; but this boat- shaped roof, which is extremely graceful and is re- peated in another apartment, would suggest that the imagination of Jacques Coeur was fond of riding the waves.

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