foams in the chasm below, which grows visitors at the monastery numbered seven. deeper as the road ascends, till at last the Supper is prepared for all at the monaseye plunges with a shudder into the tery; and it was excellent for those who wooded precipice. A huge, pointed rock do not mind the absence of meat, which - le pic de l'Aiguille — surmounted with the Carthusians never eat, and never serve a cross, rises between the road and the to their guests. It consisted of soup,

Here also once existed a fort, omelette, fish, beans, sweets, and a glass l'Eillette, constructed by the monks in the of Chartreuse at dessert. “ The English fifteenth century to defend the road they ladies do not like our soup,” said the kindly had just made ; but it was also demolished sister, diffidently handing a thick bread in 1856.

soup, and seemed pleased that for once it An occasional traveller, a cart loaded found favor. with timber from the mountains, alone The fathers do not allow their rest to disturb this grand solitude. Leaving the be disturbed by the visitors, and as there stream, the road continues through the was no opportunity of seeing the monasforest, and finally reaches an open space, tery in the evening, the gentlemen could where the buildings of the Chartreuse ap- find no better employment after supper pear in sight, at the foot of a range of than to visit their wives in the infirmary mountains, the highest of which is the – for which permission is given, in one Grand Som.

of the public rooms.

One Frenchman, Those who look for the picturesque in who had not the excuse of a wife, invented architecture, or for treasures of art, need a cousinship for the occasion, and natunot go to the Grande Chartreuse - let rally claimed it, on arrival, with the young, them turn to the Certosa of Pavia. But est and prettiest. Thus a sociable, if not the historical associations of eight centu- a monastic, evening was spent round the ries cast their own halo round the spot. blazing fire till the hour of closing, nine From this parent institution the Carthu- o'clock, parted the company. The men sian convents over the whole world have are admitted to the night service in a galbeen governed, for the prior of the Grande lery. Mass is said by the father-coadjutor Chartreuse is the père général- - the head for the nuns and lady visitors, soon after of the whole order.

six o'clock A.M., in the small chapel of On arrival, the gentlemen walk to the Notre Dame de la Salette, which adjoins monastery, where they are received by one the monastery. It is well known that no of the brothers and shown to their cells. women, except royal personages, These are in a building across the court shown over the monastery, and they have yard, and were formerly destined for the to content themselves with descriptions priors who came from the provinces to and photographs. Before the French attend the general chapter; and the stran. Revolution no woman was allowed to enter gers have their meals in the refectories even the precincts of the desert, and royal which were used by the same priors. The benefactresses implored in vain to be ladies go to a house a few steps to the buried with the saints. left, which was once the infirmary, and are The Grande Chartreuse consists of a welcomed by a nun from the Convent of large mass of irregular buildings, which, the Seurs de la Providence, near Greno- as they are surrounded by a wall, can only ble, who, with three lay sisters, spends the be seen well from a height. The most summer there to receive the female visit. interesting room in it is the chapter-room,

The small guests' rooms are much which contains the portraits of all the the same in both establishments, and are heads of the order, beginning with St. furnished in the simplest fashion, with a Bruno, whose statue by Foyatier is over bed, chair, wash-hand stand, prie-dieu, the chair, where sits the père général. crucifix, and one or two religious prints. Many remarkable men from various counThe ladies have, however, the advantage tries have filled this place, and have of being able to replenish the scanty steered the order through times of diffiwater-supply at the fountain before the culty. Below the portraits are painted infirmary, which, in the freshness of the cenes from the life of St. Bruno, copied early morning, in the midst of such sur- from the paintings of Lesueur, which are roundings, is peculiarly exhilarating. now in the Louvre. In the hall, called

It was a beautiful October evening when l'Allée des Cartes, there are curious reprewe arrived at the Grande Chartreuse. sentations of old Carthusian monasteries The tourist season was drawing to a close, in various parts of Europe. Before the and only five ladies sat down to supper at French Revolution the collection was the long, hospitable table, while the male | almost a complete one, but there only re





mains about thirty of these paintings now. teenth century on account of the time it The library contains some twenty thou wasted. In the room where he sleeps is sand volumes, and has been entirely col. a small dining-table, with wooden plate, lected in modern times. The fathers may spoon, and fork; and the oratory, where freely borrow from it. From the earliest he performs the offices with the same times, even when very poor, the Carthu. ceremonial as in the choir - taking off and sians have had a good library, and have putting on the cowl, standing, kneeling, valued books as their most precious pos- and lying flat on the ground. A bell calls sessions. The books are called in the the fathers simultaneously to their private early statutes “the perennial food of devotions, as well as to those in the souls,” and they were placed under the church. care of the father-sacristan, who had also In the staircase stands a cross, in rethe care of the sacred vessels.*

membrance of the following old legend During the fire of 1371 the general of told by a Carthusian writer of the fourthe order, mindful of the losses sustained teenth century. A novice of the order on a former occasion, called out, Ad complained much of the rules, and espelibros, ad libros ; leave everything else, my cially of having to wear the black cope of fathers, but save the books." Though the novitiate. One day he dreamt that he they were saved this time, the library was saw Christ, laden with a heavy cross, tryalmost completely destroyed by subse-ing with much difficulty to go up the stairquent fires, and the valuable one collected case of his cell; whereupon the novice, by Dom Le Masson, after the fire of 1676, moved with pity, helped to lift the cross, was scattered during the French Revolu. saying: “ Lord, take it not amiss if I try tion. At this time also the archives of to assist thee; I cannot endure to see the monastery were for the most part lost. thee in such trouble." But the Lord A few valuable manuscripts, with beauti- turned indignantly towards him, and made ful illuminations done by the Carthusians, him desist, saying: “Dost thou presume found their way into the library at Gre- to lift this heavy burden while thou art not noble, where they may now be seen in willing to wear for my sake so light a thing glass cases. In the old days the Carthu. as a cope?” and disappeared, leaving the sians employed themselves in transcribing novice overwhelmed with shame and re. manuscripts; and from transcribers they pentance. Since then every cell has had became printers as soon as printing was a cross near its staircase. In the Middle invented. They have had their own au- Ages the cells were foundations endowed thors, but these wrote chiefly on monastic by benevolent people, and in return matters, and are little known to the world prayers were said for their souls. Three at large.

times a day the fathers leave their cells to The cells of the fathers are built round go to the offices — the night service, high the cloister. There are thirty-six of them, mass, and vespers. one of which is not tenanted, and is alone Once a week they take a walk together, shown. They are divided, like the earliest called spaciement, of about three hours cells, into various compartments.

On and a half, within the limits of the desert, each door is the initial letter of the in- and during that time they may talk. mate's name, and a text or other inscrip- They are called together for their walk tion in Latin bearing on the monastic life, by the same bell that tolls for the funerals, such as

Qui non reliquit omnia sua non and they assemble in the Chapelle des potest esse discipulus tuus." Near the Morts, where they hear a few verses from door is a little wicket, through which the the “Imitation” read to them before they father receives his food or anything else start. This chapel was built over the rehe may want. On the ground floor he has mains of the first disciples of St. Bruno, a little promenoir, or gallery, for walking which were brought thither after the avain bad weather; a small garden, which he lanche. Over the door there is a marble cultivates himself; a room with tools for bust of Death, draping itself in a most carpentering; and next to it, the bícher, pretentious way. This chapel is near the or storeroom for wood. A staircase leads cemetery, where stone crosses with into a bedroom, an adjoining small study scriptions mark the graves of the heads of with bookshelves, and a room which was the order. The other tombs have merely once used as a kitchen when the father wooden crosses over them, and are names cooked part of his own food, a custom less. The Carthusians are not buried in which was abolished as early as the thir-coffins, but each monk is laid in the earth La Grande Chartreuse, par un Chartreux, from

on a wooden plank. which much of my information is taken.

On Sundays the fathers dine together

[ocr errors]




his songs.

in the refectory. They never speak there. I a partition. The Carthusians attach a Passages from the Scriptures, sermons or special meaning to these services. homilies, are chanted to them in Latin from a small tribune built in the wall, but

All the Carthusians agree [says one of them, they are allowed to have a colloquy be quoted before] that this is their best moment tween nones and vespers.

To sing the praises of God at the foot of the The discipline of the Carthusians is when the world forgets God, and many offend

altar, in the silence and shadows of the night, very rigorous, and the order, therefore, Him, fills the soul with a joy and comfort never spread much among women. There which cannot be bought too dear, and the are very few female Carthusian convents, hours fly rapidly. The stranger from his and in these it was found necessary to re- gallery cannot form a clear idea of the office: lax somewhat the rules of silence and sol. not having a book in his hand, the meaning itude, as they were too great a strain on of the words escapes him, and the time must the female constitution.

seem long to him. Not so with the CarthuSt. Bruno, though he lived the Carthu. sian in his stall; he sings, and understands sian life, did not formulate the rules him- prophetic history of the Christian world, those

the mysterious meaning of the Psalms — that self

. It was not till twenty-six years after divine hymns which, for thousands of years, his death that they were put into writing the synagogue, and the Catholic Church after by Guigues, the fifth prior, under the name her, recite every day. He follows the numerof consuetudines, or customs. They were, ous rites which have to be performed every in fact, simply a record of customs that moment; he seeks, finds, and applies to himwere followed, and that are still followed self the Divine teaching that flows from the to this day. These rules all tend consis-sacred text; and, finally, and above all, he tently to one end.


» addresses to God his homage, his praise, and (says a Carthusian writer), or, in other words, to see, to love, and to praise God,

The singing of the Carthusians is of the “is the final end of the human soul in a utmost simplicity, and somewhat monotofuture life. . . . To begin here on earth nous. They have no part-singing. They in an imperfect manner, or in the least are not allowed any musical instruments, imperfect manner possible, the life of con- and it is considered waste of time to practemplation which will be led in heaven is tise singing. The religious emotions exthe object which the Carthusians propose cited through the senses by elaborate to themselves.” The solitude is intended church music are wholly alien to their to detach them from distracting objects, sober and simple piety. This is not the and to enable them to concentrate them. only link between the Carthusian and the selves; the silence is to make them hear Calvinist. the voice of God, which is not in the

The dress of the fathers is entirely of storm; the mortifications and privations white wool, white being a symbol of the are to free their souls from everything resurrection of Christ. The use of linen that might clog them and interfere with is forbidden. Even their sheets are of the end in view.

cloth. The difficulty of cleanliness under The Carthusians are the only order who these circumstances would be to many of are never allowed meat under any circum- us the greatest of all mortifications, and it stances. The punishment for those who is comforting to hear what an old writer of infringed the rule was at one time very the seventeenth century says about it:

they were cut off from the order - but it was afterwards mitigated. They

C'est une chose générale par tout l'Ordre have a great monastic fast, which lasts que Dieu n'a point voulu que les moines de from the 14th of September to Easter; cet Ordre soient affligez et inquiétez de ces and during that time, with few exceptions, puantes bestiales, appelées punaises, et en a they only have one meal a day.

exempté toutes leurs cellules, desquelles autre

ment et difficilement ils se pourraient garantir, They are frequently interrupted in their

pour y avoir grande disposition, à cause qu'ils sleep. The night service begins at twelve, couchent vestus, n'usent point de linge, changand lasts till two, and they are waked ent peu souvent d'habits, ont leurs cellules again at six A.M., or sometimes at five faites bois par dedans, leurs lits fermés de A.M.

The night services are very strik- bois au lieu de courtines,* et le fouâre (la ing: But for the faint glimmer of a single paillasse) de leur lit qu'ils sont si peu curieux oil-lamp in the choir, and the lanterns de changer qu'il y en a qui ne le changent pas which ihe fathers each bring with them,


en vingt ans une fois. and which are sometimes put out during The Carthusians are a living example the service, the church is wrapt in darkEach stall is completely isolated by

• They now have curtains.



of the fact that asceticism is not injurious / who had suddenly, without apparent reato health, for they reach a great age. son, left his regiment, to the regret of all Some of the popes, from benevolent mo- his comrades, and had made himself a tives, have wished to soften their rules. Carthusian. Thus Urban the Fifth, himself a Benedic- If the candidate is accepted at all, he tine, proposed to mitigate their severity goes through a month's probation, at the in four points. He proposed, among other end of which the fathers vote by ballot things, that they should be allowed to eat whether he is to be admitted as a 'novice. meat in case of illness or infirmity. But The noviciate lasts at least a year, and the Carthusians implored the pope not to again a ballot is taken. The novice then oblige them to depart from their ancient makes his first profession in the chaptercustoms, arguing that for their order it room. Kneeling, he repeats the sixteenth might have serious consequences; and Psalm, and when he comes to the words, the sole mitigation they were obliged to “The Lord is the portion of my inheriaccept was to wear a bat out of doors.

tance," the father-general takes from him One of the popes at Avignon also of the black cope, and puts the large white fered to relax the rule of abstinence from Carthusian garment, called cuculle over meat in case of illness. This time the him. Carthusians sent as a protest a deputation Four years later the final solemn proof twenty-seven of their number, the young- fession is during high mass, at the est of whom was eighty, while the others foot of the altar, where the profès lays varied between ninety, ninety-three, and down his written declaration, signed, ninety-five. Such an appeal was more not with his name, but with a cross, for he eloquent than words, and the pope was is now dead to the world.” convinced. The fathers show their ear- Besides the fathers there are two categonestness and good sense by not admitting ries of lay brothers : the frères convers, any one into their order until they have who have taken vows, and the frères very seriously tested his moral and phys- donnés, who are only bound by a civil con. ical fitness. Frequently after the trial the tract, though they may in course of time, aspirant is refused, or retires of his own after a trial of eleven years, became frères accord. Of all the ascetic orders, the convers. The former are dressed in Carthusian is the most spiritual in the white, like the fathers; they wear beards, true sense of the word, and to maintain and have their heads shaved. The donnés their lofty standard, as they have indis. wear brown on week-days and white on putably done for eight centuries, they have Sundays. These all do the practical work had to sift carefully. To impose asceti- in and out of the house, and are responsi. cism where it would be too great a strain ble to the père procureur, who has charge on human nature is to degrade rather than of all temporal matters. to elevate. “It is better,” says Dom le St. Hugh of Lincoln, of whom the Masson, " to set fire to a cell than to put Carthusians are justly proud, was in it a Carthusian without a vocation.” procureur of the Grande Chartreuse. In

Sometimes the fathers have gone so far those days, and until the end of the seven. as to err on the safe side. It is told of teenth century, the père procureur lived one of the greatest generals of the order, with the frères convers in an establishment Dom Jean Pégon, that he was refused, called La Correrie, on the road from the when he first presented himself, on the Grande Chartreuse to Grenoble by the ground that he seemed neither sufficiently Sappey - a kind of supplementary Charrobust nor instructed. But the father- treuse, where all the practical work was general, touched by his disappointment, done, and where the servants of the priors recommended him to try at another Char. who came to the general chapter received treuse, where there was a want of men. hospitality. It was destroyed by a fire in He was accepted there, and thirty-eight 1674, and partly rebuilt. During the years later he entered the Grande Char. French Revolution it fell into ruins, and treuse as its father-general. At his instal- the Carthusians have since turned it into lation he preached on the text: “ The a hospital for the sick poor of the neighstone which the builders rejected is be- borhood. come the headstone of the corner.”

The Carthusians, owing to their own The Carthusian vocation takes some by exertions, once had large possessions. storm. There are various examples of it They turned part of the desert into arable, in the past, and we were told by a French and part of it into pasture land, and they lady on the spot of an instance in the kept large flocks and herds. Pope Ionopresent day: a young Prince de B cent the Fourth allowed them as many as



sixty cows. Their iron-foundries were | and, according to all ecclesiastical histofamous throughout Dauphiné on account rians, they have always led irreproacha. of the excellent work they produced. ble lives. Their order has never required They manufactured their own cloth, they reform. “ Cartusia nunquam reformata bad their own printing-presses,

quia nunquam deformata.” In this mat. During the French Revolution they ter-of-fact century, with its universal cravwere, like all the other orders, driven ing for material prosperity, its refinement away, their property, was confiscated, and of material comforts and luxury, where the though they were allowed to re-enter their spiritual lise too often stagnates, it is remonastery at the Restoration, they own the freshing to breathe, if but for a few hours, desert no longer, but pay a small rent to that rarefied spiritual atmosphere where the State. It is said they make a large in the ideal alone is real, and where all come from their liqueur; and this they put Christian creeds may meet. put to the best use, for their charity is

ELISABETH LECKY. proverbial throughout the country, though by no means of the mischievous kind that is, indiscriminate.

They have founded schools, churches, hospitals. Wherever there is a disaster

From Blackwood's Magazine. in Dauphiné they assist liberally, At

MADELEINE'S STORY. Currière, above the Pont St. Bruno, they have a school for the deaf and dumb, and,

THE ADMIRAL. inconsistent as it may seem, they are teaching the dumb to speak.

ONE rainy afternoon several weeks after It would be impossible, in a short space, the night when we got our first glimpse to go through all the remarkable names into the yawning pit of Colwyn (Gladys connected with the Grande Chartreuse. was from home ; she had gone to spend a St. Bernard was one of its earliest vis. day or two with the friends at Rhoscolyn itors, in the days of the first monastery. and I, in a fit of shyness, had elected to Petrarch, whose brother Gerard was a stay behind), it occurred to me that I Carthusian, visited him there in 1352, and might find somewhere amongst the rooms afterwards wrote that, instead of finding in the higher roof one that would suit me only one brother, as he expected, he had for a snuggery, with a light good for drawmet one in every member of the commu- ing; for I was jusi then beginning to make nity. Dom Gerard Petrarca distinguished studies of flowers and still life, and had himself by his piety and devotion during found that Gladys disliked an excess of the black death, to which no less than litter in the room we shared as a sittingnine hundred Carthusians fell victims. room. A heavy door shut off the staircase Richelieu's eldest brother, who became leading to these rooms the servants' cardinal and great almoner of France, once part of the house lay there, and we had filled the office of assistant sacristan; he never cared to investigate in its direction. remained twenty years in the order, and But that day I pushed my way in and always regretted his cell. ·His portrait, up to the top of the house, where I came which bangs in one of the passages, strikes upon an attic that seemed the very thing the visitors by its likeness to the great I wanted. Then there passed pleasantly cardinal. Rousseau and Chateaubriand away two or three hours of the wet after. both visited the Crande Chartreuse. Un noon, during which I made a space in fortunately, the Visitors' Book, in which the middle of my garret, shoving litter Rousseau wrote “ J'ai trouvé ici des away into corners (the litter consisted of plaotes rares, et des vertus plus rares en torn books, broken toys, papers, and core,” has been defaced by the modern boxes). I improvised an easel out of box. tourist with profane remarks, and is now lids, and stilts, and garden tools; and no longer presented, and the guests are when I had done, finding it was too dark asked for their cards instead.

to draw, I made a plunge amongst the litIt has sometimes been made a reproach ter, and began to turn it over. The first to the Carthusians that, unlike other or book I drew from a heap was an old Latin ders, such as the Benedictine, they have grammar, dog's-eared, and with half the exercised no influence over the intellect- leaves torn out; inside the cover there was ual world ; but if they have not educated written in a large, round hand, “ Llewellyn mankind, they have at least educated Colwyn,” and under the name a date. themselves. They have practised the The date was a wrong one, it struck me, gospel of silence for eight hundred years, I for Uncle Llewellyn could not have been

« ElőzőTovább »