Page:A book of the Pyrenees.djvu/113

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CHAPTER VI

PAU


Situation—Climate—Stillness of the air—Castle—Abd-el-Kader—Thackeray on his imprisonment—View of the Pyrenees—Henry II of Navarre—His escape from Pavia—Marguerite des Marguerites—What Henry II did for Béarn—Refugee Huguenot preachers—Solon and his many wives—Clement Marot—His Psalms—The Queen an odd mixture—Story of Mlle. de la Roche—Jeanne d'Albret—Marries the Duke of Cleves—Then Antoine de Bourbon—His murder planned—Birth of Henry IV—Cradle—Bilhère—Reared at Coarraze—Death of Antoine—Intolerance of Jeanne—Meeting with Charles IX—Gondin's unfortunate pleasantry—Marguerite de France's visit to Pau—The Count of Moret—A mysterious hermit—Henry IV tolerant—The Baron d'Arros—Demand for the columns of Bielle—La Poule au Pot—Lescar—Mosaics—A Roman villa—Gassion—Bernadotte—Morlaas—Pont-long—Legend—Coarraze—Bètharam—A flying Virgin—Jurançon wine.


THE situation of Pau is singularly favoured, and one can appreciate the judgment of Henry II of Navarre in transferring thither the court residence from Orthez. Pau occupies the back of a rubble ridge stretching east and west, facing the south, and drinking in the sunlight and warmth. It does not suffer from cold winds. The land rises behind it to the north, and one may see the clouds fly overhead without feeling the air stir at Pau. The calmness of the atmosphere often persists for weeks together.

In this it has an advantage over some of the towns of the French Riviera, where the mistral cuts like a knife that has

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