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THE NUNS' WAR.

AN HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE MIDDLE AGES.

Reformation der weissen Schweistern mit den Schwartzen pletzen. * Würstisen. Great Chronicle of Basel.

Prediger wollen die Frauen zu Clingenthal reformieren, als sie nicht gehorchen, stossen sie die aus ihrem Kloster: das giebt Anlass einer offenen Feindschaft, dadurch Herren und Städte bemühet werden. Würstisen.

Mais il était moins difficile de terminer heureusement ces sortes d'affaires, et même des guerres considerables, que les tracasseries de vingt-quatre religieuses dans le couvent de Klingenthal au PetitBâle. Soustraites depuis nombre d'années à l'ordre de Saint Dominique, elles jouissaient d'une independance peu compatible avec la vie claustrale. Le pape Sixte 4ieme l'apprit et rendit le monastère à l'ordre religieux. On n'avait pas achevé la lecture de la bulle, que les nonnes déclarèrent à grands cris qu'elles brûleraient plutôt le couConservateur Suisse.

vent.

BASLE-SWITZERLAND.

1480-1484.

THE traveller, however brief his sojourn at Bâsle, cannot fail to remark the solid battlements which

*Reformation of the white and black sisters of the convent of Klingenthal. Pletzen, a very old Swabian expression, meaning portions or places. Their veils, which fell, somewhat like a

RUINS OF KLINGENTHAL.

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crown the opposite shore of the Rhine, and the mass of buildings within, surmounted by a dilapidated church of extremely beautiful architecture: should his curiosity tempt him to cross the fine old bridge, which spans the wide and rapid Rhine, and then turn up a dark narrow street to the left, he will find at its extremity the mouldering, but most extensive remains of a religious house, now in part converted into a hospital for invalid soldiers. Mullioned windows, from which hang files of shirts and stockings; Gothic doorways, half blocked up by bricks, and turf and faggots; fragments of stone of exquisite workmanship, on which the skilful sculptor had lavished long days of painful labour, profusely scattered over the well-trodden dirty court-yards, tell a lesson of fallen grandeur, and present a picture of by-gone splendour not to be mistaken. Reader, that desolate dwelling was once the home of the noblest ladies of Europe! the silent aisles of that deserted church, converted into stables and granaries, yet enclose the dust

scarf from the head, over the shoulders behind, were lined with black. Würstisen has perpetuated the costume of the nuns of Klingenthal, and that of the rival monks, in two coarse woodcuts, such as adorned some of the earliest copies of Chevy-chase, and the Seven Champions of Christendom-the delight of our childhood, whose expressiveness is ample apology for the lack of pictorial beauty. It must be borne in mind by the German scholar of 1845, that Würstisen wrote nearly three hundred years ago.

of princes, nobles, prelates, abbesses, and titled damsels, whose well-authenticated gentle blood could alone have procured them the honour of reposing within its hallowed precincts. A society of Dominican nuns were the possessors of this once sacred edificehere for many centuries their superior reigned in sovereign power, independent of all control but that of the supreme head of the Romish church. What a lesson on the mutability of life-on the evanescent nature of earthly pomp and worldly grandeur may be learnt from these crumbling ruins! Of all the noble ladies who lived and died within their holy enclosure, not a name, not a trace exists in this their seat of empire! And yet, a vestige of their former glory, a relic of feminine workmanship, nearly as fresh as when it passed from the fair and skilful fingers, so long buried in the dust of time, fitly survives to recall the remembrance of their being and their deeds.

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In wandering through one of the many museums of Bâsle, my eye was attracted by a peculiarly embroidered cloth, which was extended over a long wide table covered with various antiquities found in the city, and its Roman predecessor Augusta— books, medals, pictures, curious armour- ancient fire arms, busts, profiles of emperors and empresses, heads of arrows, gems in ancient settings, carvings in ivory, and grotesque china-all the diversified objects, in

CURIOUS EMBROIDERED RELIC.

43

fine, of antiquarian research. A deep border, composed entirely of different armorial escutcheons, each surmounted by a count's coronet, ran round a fine orange-coloured cloth, variously and most elaborately embroidered at the corners and in the centre with coloured silks of every tint. The shades were so intimately blended as to appear rather the production of the pencil than the needle; and the details were finished with such consummate skill and taste, that the eye eagerly wandered from what was already seen, to that concealed by the load of objects which lay on the table.

"That cloth, worked by noble and princely ladies, once covered the table of the parlour in the Dominican convent at little Bâsle," said the obliging proprietor, observing the minute attention with which I was examining this singular production; "and the shields are those of the long line of illustrious abbesses, each a countess of the holy Roman empire in virtue of her appointment. When the convent was secularised, about a hundred years ago, and its effects sold by auction, my father purchased it with many other things, all of which have been long since disposed of."*

* Bâsle possesses at least four of these curiosity-shops, as they are called. The one which suggested this sketch was rather a very extensive museum, at which a franc is paid at the door. There is another, that of Miville-Krug, vis-à-vis de la Biblio

To this frail memorial of the abbesses of little Bâsle, is appended the following short history, derived from Swiss records and traditions.

About the middle of the thirteenth century, a small female community, under the rigid rule of St. Dominic, settled near St. Lienharts Munster, in the bleak village of Heuseren, at the foot of Rouffach in Alsace, a picturesque antique little town, situated high up on the Vosgian chain of mountains, under the protection of a powerful baron, the ruins of whose feudal towers still attract and delight the eye of the traveller between Strasbourg and Bâsle. Their charter of endowment emanated from Pope Innocent IV., and was dated from Lyons 1245, whither he had fled from the wrath of the Emperor Frederick II., whom he had excommunicated. In this retired residence they remained scarcely eight years. Discontented with the wildness of the country and the insignificance of their domain, they quitted this, their first foundation; and conducted by their prioress, Adelaïde of Uttenheim, a lady of ancient race, proceeded, at the beginning of 1253, to establish another convent in the valley of Werra,

thèque, also rich in such articles; where nothing is demanded, but a slight purchase perhaps expected-not so agreeable an arrangement to the mere traveller, as even trifles of this nature sell high, and add something more to the load of luggage almost always too burthensome, - - impedimenta, as the Romans appropriately termed it.

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