Historic associations - Salvation Army bonnets - The fair - A quack - A vampire - The amphitrite - A carousel - Temple of Augustus and Livia - The Aiguille - Cathedral - Angels and musical instruments - S. Andre-le-Bas - Situation of Vienne - Foundation of the Church there - Letter of the Church on the martyrdoms at Lyons.

I went on to Vienne with mind full of thoughts of the Burgundian kingdom of which it was the capital in the fifth century, of S. Avitus, of King Clovis, of Calixtus II., of the condemnation of the Templars at the Council of Vienne in 1307 - one of the most cruel and iniquitous deeds done by the Crown of France in compact with the Papacy - and I found myself plunged, unexpectedly, suddenly, into the vortex of a great popular fair. I had passed from a fair in a condition of languor into one in full flush of life.

Which was to be done first, the temple of Augustus and Livia, the remains of the Roman theatre - microscopic I found afterwards - the cathedral of S. Maurice, or the shows?

But surely, the proper study of mankind is man, so I resolved on seeing the fair first, and after that of studying the antiquities, and indulging in antiquarian and historic dreams.

The weather was sorry: wind and threatenings of rain. Moreover it was cold and overcast. Yet nothing damped the ardour of the sellers, and the acquisitiveness of the buyers. But - had I come upon a nursery of hallelujah lasses? Were the nights to be made hideous with Salvation Army howls? On all sides of me were great girls and little girls, matrons and maids, in Salvation Army straws. I turned sick and faint with dismay. In the city of S. Mamertius, of S. Avitus and of Ado - "General" Booth's great Religious Speculation! It was not so, however, I was rejoiced to find, only all the women had been buying straws in the fair of the Salvation Army shape that were selling cheap, and having bought them ran home, trimmed them, and then out they popped again and marched about to show them.

An avenue of booths and stalls. Boots, straw hats and Salvation bonnets, ribbons, kerchiefs, books and engravings. There was even a reduced household selling off all their worldly goods, lamps, chairs, prayer-books, kettles, crocks, linen - and a spinning-wheel. I looked lovingly, longingly at that spinning-wheel, and might have bought it for a franc and a half, and would have done so, had I not been encumbered with the hurdy-gurdy. That had brought me into such difficulties that I felt convinced a hurdy-gurdy + a spinning-wheel would lodge me in a lunatic asylum. So reluctantly I left it.

A gust of wind, and away went the straw hats from the stall, up into the air, over the heads of the crowd, spinning along in the gutters; one, a very kiss-me-quick, was blown slap in the face of an old priest trudging along reading his breviary. Then such outcries, entreaties, objurgations, as the straw hats and bonnets were run after and recovered, or sought to be recovered.

Here - a quack with an assortment of bones that were so brown they looked as if they had been devilled, but they had acquired their tone from his hands. He held up a distorted piece of spine and pelvis, and declared he had a plaster so curative - fifty centimes, ten sous - that it would restraighten the most curved back. As for corns! He raised a horrible foot, applied to it some tow steeped in green fat, rapidly narrated the treatment he recommended - et voila! - he drew away the tow, and the supposed corn was lodged in the midst of it. An inflammation of the lungs? a darling child sick? He opened a coffin and exposed a baby skeleton. "Look! your cher enfant will be like this, but for fifty centimes I will save it, I guarantee. Pelt me with rotten apples, with addled eggs, if I fail. This plaster placed here (he applied it to the breast of the skeleton), and your child breathes thus (drew a long inhalation) - is well. Warts (a labourer held up a horny hand, the middle joint of the little finger disfigured with such excrescences)? Nothing easier! You take this bottle - warts are my speciality - you rub the wart with this. Thank you, fifty centimes. Come here next Sunday. If the wart be not gone - I do not say it will not leave a scar, but the scar will disappear in a month - here is a knife, stick it into my heart. I give you leave. I will not resist. I will not budge."

Here - a man selling silvering-liquor, to be applied to vulgar yellow spoons, only a franc a bottle, and a whole set turned into purest silver-plating, plating that will not wear out through all your lives.

Then, among the shows: - Cora, the Beautiful Serpent Charmer. Cora was outside beating a drum, and was quite the reverse of beautiful; she may have had the faculty of charming serpents, but not men. A cluster of young soldiers stood without, shook their heads, and would not be allured within.

"Galerie des actualites artistiques" - a peep-show at photographs from the Paris Exhibition.

"The real Vampire, alive, living on BLOOD. Called by the Chinese, from its powers of traversing twenty kilometres in an hour, 'The Flying Horse.'"

The showman was outside, haranguing. His system was to thrill the audience with horror, till they precipitated themselves in a spasm of terror into his show. Just as when one is on a height, a nervous, uncontrollable impulse fills some men to throw themselves down out of very fear of falling, so did this great artist in horrors work up the feelings of his audience to such tension that it became insupportable, they must go headlong in, and see the vampire, if they died for it.

"The vampire is to be seen - smacking his lips - thirsting, ravening, for BLOOD. A live rabbit will be offered him; he will roll his eyes, look at the human beings present, try the bars of his cage - he cannot reach them. En fin, a rabbit is better than nothing! Mesdames, je vous implore! Do not bring your babes within. A stern necessity - a care for the consequences would prevent me from admitting them. The sight of a human babe rouses in the vampire the sanguinary passion to a paroxysm of frenzy. In its natural state the vampire sucks the blood of men. This vampire has sucked that of KINGS, and to have to descend to - RABBIT!"

I did not expend my sous to see the wretched bat, but I did lavish thirty centimes on the amphitrite next door. The programme was so characteristically French that I give it: -

    "Amphitrite vivante. Tous les soirs au couche du soleil elle laisse son 
    palais royal de coraux et d'algues, et sort des vagues sombres pour 
    jouir de son amour ideal. Legere et vaporeuse comme un ange, elle 
    caresse les ondes, et observe d'un doux regard son ideal, et replonge 
    au fond de l'ocean. Depeindre avec quelle perfection on presente cette 
    experience au public est impossible!!!"

Thirty centimes, reserved seats; twenty, unreserved. As it turned out, there were no seats at all, but a slushy soil on which one stood, where the water had run in under the sides of the booth, and which sightseers had, with their boots, churned into mud.

I supposed I was to see a nautilus; it was legere et vaporeux, it could not then be a seal. No, a nautilus. Thirty centimes - here goes for a sight of the nautilus. But it was touching to observe the confidence of the showman. He refused the entrance fee.

"No, gentlemen. You shall yourselves decide whether the amphitrite is worth six sous. If you say not - go forth; I am content, but I pity you."

A piece of drugget served as a curtain, which cut off what may be termed the stage. At a signal the drugget was withdrawn, and the spectators looked into a cave, the sides made of painted calico. Beyond this was the rippling ocean, with the evening sun sparkling on it, much like the scene in "Oberon," only on a very small scale, and with no stage. At a word from the showman, Amphitrite arose. By Ginger! not a nautilus, not a seal, but a living girl of sixteen summers, in fleshings, who floated in the air, made revolutions, waved her hands, stood on her head, touching nothing, precisely as if she really were devoid of all specific gravity. Only when hand or foot touched the calico-rocks did these same rocks begin to wave about.

I supposed at the time, I suppose still, that the trick is done by means of mirrors. But how - I cannot conceive. Presently the hat went round for Amphitrite's special benefit: her amour ideal had something of the sordid mammon in it. As everyone put a copper into the hat, "Merci, monsieur; merci, madame!" was what she said. So that there is a difficulty in supposing that the phenomenon was achieved by reflectors. She watched and acknowledged every offering made, as she calmly folded her arms and floated in mid-air, with head on one side, observant.

I can't explain it - I am puzzled still. I paid my thirty centimes with alacrity, so did every one else. The show was worth the money.

There was a merry-go-round - a carousel; the only feature in it with which I was unfamiliar was a ship, sails spread, on a pivot athwart the ring, so that it swayed as on a rolling sea when the carousel was in revolution. I would not have entered that ship for twenty francs. Before the orchestrion that accompanied the merry-go-round had accomplished the first strain of Strauss's waltz I should have been feebly calling for the steward. I observed that those silly youngsters with nautical proclivities who did scramble into the swaying ship, got out with livid lips, and did not ask to go in again.

Some years ago I was at Innsprueck with a friend. We were sauntering together in the afternoon, not exactly knowing what to do with ourselves, when we found one of these carousels. We went farther; then I said, "We will return and go and see the Xaverianum" - a collection of paintings, mostly daubs, at Innsprueck. "No," said my companion, "I don't feel inclined for the Xaverianum, I'll go down by the river." So we parted. Now, I had not gone far along my way in the direction of the Xaverianum, before I said to myself, "I don't want to see the Xaverianum either; but, as my friend is away - upon my word - I am unknown here! I'll - yes, I will - by Jove, I will - I'll go and have a round on the whirligig."

So I retraced my steps, and, on reaching the merry-go-round, what should I behold but my friend seated on a piebald horse, with a short sword in his hand, aiming at the targets he passed in his revolution. He was a bald-headed man, with a long grey beard. His face and head became like a beetroot when he saw me; but I comforted him. At Wuerzburg, in the Episcopal palace, is a carousel, in which the bishop - a prince elector - was wont on rainy days to go round and round, seated in a purple velvet chair with the Episcopal arms embroidered on the curtains, and the mitre over it.

Enough of the fair. Now to graver matters; and first the temple of Augustus and Livia. I do not know whether it was that the weather was gloomy, or that the fair had set me out of tune for antiquities; but somehow this temple did not impress me as did the dear little Maison Carree at Nimes. For one thing the stone is dingy, whereas that of Nimes is bright and white; and the proportions did not please me. I believe the knowing ones say that the Nimes temple is not proportioned according to the laws of Vitruvius, and this at Vienne is. If that be the case, then I am sorry for Vitruvius. The temple is structurally perfect - as perfect as that of Nimes.

Another object of interest is the Aiguille, a Roman obelisk seventy-six feet high. There is a square base, pierced by arches in each face, and the obelisk, or pyramid rather, stands on this. It is not very beautiful, but it is worth examining. It is thought that the monument to Marius at Pourrieres was somewhat similar.

The cathedral of Vienne is of sandstone, and has decayed accordingly. The west end, which was very rich, and is rich still, has suffered from corrosion in the upper part; but a firmer, less friable sandstone was fortunately employed for the lower stage, in which is the richest sculpture, and that is fairly perfect. Murray pooh-poohs this west front: "It is rich in flamboyant ornaments, but they are clumsy and without delicacy." The sculpture was adapted to the material, and any other would not have looked well. After the severe and bald west fronts in Provence, I was disposed, I suppose, to be pleased with the rich facade at Vienne. I confess that "clumsy and without delicacy" though it might be, I thoroughly enjoyed it. But that facade caught me quite by my weak point. There is a central doorway, and one into each aisle, and round the archways into these lateral doors are sculptured angels playing upon musical instruments. As I have told the reader, ancient forms of musical instruments are my hobby, or rather one of my hobbies. I at once pulled out my sketch-book and drew them; there are angels with fiddles, angels with viols - no, not hurdy-gurdys! - but twanged with the fingers, angels with pipes and horns, one with a harp, two with portable organs of ten pipes in each, two angels with bagpipes with single drones. Conceive of a salutation on bagpipes from the celestial choir! An angel plays the cymbals, and another with a plectrum strikes a metal disc.

The interior of the cathedral is remarkable for the peculiarly fine sculpture of the capitals of the pillars. The foliage is of exquisite loveliness and variety; but over the transept door is a very Brueghel creation of horrors - in fact, the zodiacal signs worked up together into a nightmare.

A church of remarkable interest in Vienne is S. Andre-le-Bas; it has in it two Roman marble Corinthian columns supporting the arch of the apse, and a Corinthian capital used as a font.

The situation of Vienne is remarkable, it resembles one of the towns on the Rhine, where the river is contracted among hills.

The mountains rise immediately behind the city, and are crowned with old castles. The space between the river and the bases of the heights is small, and the city is somewhat cramped accordingly. But the Gere issues from the hills on the north, and gives some scope for the suburbs of the old town to creep up its banks.

Vienne is one of the most ancient towns of Gaul, it was the capital of the Allobroges; it claims as the founder of the Church there Crescens, disciple of S. Paul. Crescens, it will be remembered, was sent by Paul into Galatia. That was quite sufficient for these Gallic enthusiasts, who desired to give to the French bishoprics Apostolic founders. They supposed that Galatia was a slip of the pen for Gallia, and argued, if to Gallia, then to Vienne, the most ancient and important city therein, q.e.d. But no bishop of Vienne appears fixed with any certainty before Verus, who attended the Council of Arles in A.D. 314. It is, however, quite certain that the Church was founded there before A.D. 150; for one of the most precious and authentic records of the early Church we have is the letter written by the Vienne Christians to those of the East, recording the martyrdom of the bishop Pothinus of Lyons.

It used to be said of the old Gallo-Roman city that its wealth was so great that the streets were paved with mosaic. Now one would be thankful for a bit that was smooth. The pavement is almost as bad as that of Arles.