France – Orange

Upon a height above the road, south of the town, stands the ruined castle, once the home of the Princes of Orange. A mere skeleton to-day is its great tower Creve-Coeur, and fallen are the triple fortifications which once rendered it one of the strongest castles of Europe. It is supposed to have originated with a Roman fortress, to which every Prince of Orange added his share of stones. But it was Prince Maurice of Nassau who erected the mighty tower and completed the work. He built it in the form of a pentagon, so that, according to all the traditions of magic, it ought to have stood for ever. But the days of magic were over, and at the word of Le Grand Monarque, Orange fell!

It was Guillaume au Cornet, or Court-nez, flushed with his victories over the Saracens, who, in the first instance, came to take possession of the old Roman fortress. A strange man was this Guillaume—half warrior, half saint. At the height of his glory, he suddenly made up his mind to leave the world and retire to a remote monastery among the mountains of Provence. They say that Charlemagne wept like a child when it came to saying farewell to this great general of his. And for years Guillaume lived a monk; and when he died, his people of Orange were informed of the fact by the bells, of their own accord, breaking into the most beautiful chimes. He was followed by a long line of Philiberts, Tiburges, Adhemars, and other queer-named heroes and heroines. It was a great family. Our Charles I. gave his eldest daughter, Mary, to a Prince of Orange; and it was her son, born some months after his father’s death, who came to the English throne as William III.