Page:Letters from Abroad to Kindred at Home (Volume 1).djvu/143

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140
AIX-LA-CHAMPELLE.

delicate ones rained. That this should happen in civilized England at this time of day is disgraceful. I felt it a mortification, as if the barbarism had been committed by my own kindred.

While our lunch was preparing we strolled off to a little meadow, where there were some young people loading a cart with hay. We sat down on the grass. The scene was pretty and rural, and so home-like that it brought tears to our eyes; homelike, except that there was a gift not so big as your Grace—no, not five years old, raking hay and smoking a pipe.

Returning to the inn we passed the open window of our friend the master of the customs. I thanked him for his forbearance. He appeared gratified, and when we came away he came out of his door with a friend, and they bowed low and repeatedly. Better this wayside courtesy than the bickerings that usually occur on similar occasions.




Aix-la-Champelle.—This name will at once recall to you Charlemagne, whose capital and burying-place it was. We have just returned from La Chapelle, which so conveniently distinguishes this from the other Aix in Europe. Otho built the present church on the site of Charlemagne's chapel, preserving its original octagonal form, which Charlemagne, intending it for his own tomb, adopted from the holy sepulchre at Jerusalem. We stood under the centre of the dome on a large marble slab,