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drinkers. The city is defended by This style of criticism is base and the queerest fat military. The chief mean, and quite contrary to the ortraffic is between the hotels and the ders of the immortal Goethe, who was railroad. The hotels give wonderful only for allowing the eye to recognize good dinners, and especially at “ The the beauties of a great work, but Grand Laboreur" may be mentioned would have its defects passed over. a peculiar tart, which is the best It is an unhappy, luckless organizaof all tarts that ever a man ate since tion which will be perpetually faulthe was ten years old. A moonlight finding, and in the midst of a grand walk is delightful. At ten o'clock the concert of music will persist only in whole city is quiet; and so little hearing that unfortunate fiddle out of changed does it seem to be, that
you may walk back three hundred years
Within - except where the rococo into time, and fancy yourself a majes- architects have introduced their ornatical Spaniard, or an oppressed and ments (here is the fiddle out of tune patriotic Dutchman at your leisure. again) — the cathedral is noble. A You enter the inn, and the old rich, tender sunshine is streaming in Quentin Durward courtyard, on through the windows, and gilding the which the old towers look down. stately edifice with the purest light. There is a sound of singing — singing The admirable stained-glass windows at midnight. Is it Don Sombrero, are not too brilliant in their colors. who is singing an Andalusian segui- The organ is playing a rich, solemn dilla under the window of the Flemish music; some two hundred of people burgomaster's daughter ? Ah, no! it are listening to the service; and there is a fat Englishman in a zephyr coat: is scarce one of the women kneeling he is drinking cold gin and water in on her chair, enveloped in her full, the moonlight, and warbling softly majestic black drapery, that is not a “Nix my dolly, pals, fake away,
fine study for a painter. These large N-ix my dolly, pals, fake a-a-way.” *
black mantles of heavy silk brought
over the heads of the women, and I wish the good people would covering their persons, fall into such knock off the top part of Antwerp fine folds of drapery, that they cannot Cathedral spire. Nothing can be help being picturesque and noble. more gracious and elegant than the See, kneeling by the side of two of lines of the first two compartments; those fine devout-looking figures, is but near the top there bulges out a a lady in a little twiddling Parisian little round, ugly, vulgar Dutch hat and feather, in a little lace mante monstrosity (for which the architects let, in a tight gown and a bustle. She have, no doubt, a name) which offends is almost as monstrous as yonder the eye cruelly. Take the Apollo, figure of the Virgin, in a hoop, and and set upon him a bob-wig and a with a huge crown and a ball and a little cocked-hat; imagine “ God sceptre; and a bambino dressed in a Save the King” ending with a jig; little hoop, and in a little crown, fancy a polonaise, or procession of round which are clustered flowers and slim, stately elegant court beauties, pots of orange-trees, and before which headed by a buffoon dancing a horn- many of the faithful are at prayer. pipe. Marshal Gérard should have Gentle clouds of incense come wafting discharged a bomb-shell at that abom- throngh the vast edifice; and in the ination, and have given the noble lulls of the music you hear the faint steeple a chance to be finished in the chant of the priest and the silver tinkle grand style of the early fifteenth cen- of the bell. tury, in which it was begun.
Six Englishmen, with the commis
sionaires, and the “Murray's Guide* In 1844.
books” in their hands, are looking at the “ Descent from the Cross.” Of flowers and her rings and brooches. this picture“ The Guide-book” gives The people who made an offering of you orders how to judge. If it is the that hooped petticoat did their best, end of religious painting to express at any rate; they knew no better. the religious sentiment, a hundred of There is humility in that simple, inferior pictures must rank before quaint present; trustfulness and kind Rubens. Who was ever piously af- intention. Looking about at other fected by any picture of the master ? altars, you see (much to the horror of He can depict a livid thief writhing pious Protestants) all sorts of queer upon the cross, sometimes a blonde little emblems hanging up under little Magdalen weeping below it; but it is pyramids of penny candles that are a Magdalen a very short time indeed sputtering and flaring there. Here after her repentance: her yellow bro- you have a silver arm, or a little gold cadles and flaring satins are still those toc, or a wax leg, or a gilt eye, signiwhich she wore when she was of the fying or commemorating cures that world; her body has not yet lost the have been performed by the supposed marks of the feasting and voluptous- intercession of the saint over whose ness in which she used to indulge, chapel they hang. Well, although according to the legend. Not one of they are abominable superstitions, yet the Rubens pictures, among all the these queer little offerings seem to me scores that decorate chapels and to be a great deal more pious than churches here, has the least tendency Rubens's big pictures; just as is the to purify, to touch the affections, or to widow with her poor little mite comawaken the feelings of religious re- pared to the swelling Pharisee who spect and wonder.
The " Descent Rings his purse of gold into the plate. froin the Cross” is vast, gloomy, and A couple of days of Rubens and his uwful; but the awe inspired by it is, church-pictures makes one thoroughly as I take it, altogether material. He and entirely sick of him. might have painted a picture of any genius and splendor pall upon one, criminal broken on the wheel, and even taking the pictures as worldly the sensation inspired by it would pictures. One grows weary of being have been precisely similar. Nor perpetually feasted with this rich, in a religious picture do you want coarse, steaming food. Considering the savoir-faire of the master to be them as church pictures, I don't want always protruding itself; it detracts to go to church to hear, however from the feeling of reverence, just as splendid, an organ play“ The British the thumping of cushion and the Grenadiers.” spouting of tawdry oratory does from a sermon : meek religion disappears, The Antwerpians have set up a shouldered out of the desk by the clumsy bronze statue of their divinity pompous, stalwart, big-chested, fresh- in a square of the town; and those colored, bushy-whiskered pulpiteer. who have not enough of Rubens in Rubens's piety has always struck us as the churches may study him, and of this sort. If he takes a pious sub- indeed to much greater advantage, in ject, it is to show you in what a fine a good, well-lighted museum. Here, way he, Peter Paul Rubens, can treat there is one picture, a dying saint it. He never seems to doubt but that taking the communion, a large piece he is doing it a great honor. His ten or eleven feet high, and painted “ Descent from the Cross,” and its in an incredibly short space of time, accompanying wings and cover, are a which is extremely curious indeed for set of puns upon the word Christo- the painter's study. The picture is pher, of which the taste is more odious scarcely more than an immense magthan that of the hooped-petticoated nificent sketch; but it tells the secret Virgin yonder, with her artificial of the artist's manner, which, in the
midst of its dash and splendor, is sels; the route is very pretty and curiously methodical. Where the interesting, and the fat countries shadows are warm the lights are cold, through which the road passes in the and vice versa ; and the picture has highest state of peaceful, smiling culbeen so rapidly painted, that the tivation. The fields by the roadside tints lie raw by the side of one anoth- are enclosed by hedges as in England, er, the artist not having taken the the harvest was in part down, and an trouble to blend them.
English country gentleman who was There are two exquisite Vandykes of our party pronounced the crops to (whatever Sir Joshua may say of be as fine as any he had ever seen. them), and in which the very man. Of this matter a cockney cannot judge agement of the gray tones which the accurately, but any man can see with President abuses forms the principal what extraordinary neatness and care excellence and charm. Why, after all
, all these little plots of ground are are we not to have our opinion? Sir tilled, and admire the richness and Joshua is not the Pope. The color 'brilliancy of the vegetation. Outside of one of those Vandykes is as fine as of the moat of Antwerp, and at every fine Paul Veronese, and the sentiment village by which we passed, it was beautifully tender and graceful. pleasant to see the happy congrega
I saw, too, an exhibition of the tions of well-clad people that basked modern Belgian artists (1843), the in the evening sunshine, and soberly remembrance of whose pictures after smoked their pipes and drank their a month's absence has almost entire- Flemish beer. Men who love this Jy vanished. Wappers's hand, as I drink must, as I fancy, have somethought, seemed to have grown old thing essentially peaceful in their and feelle, Verboeckhoven's cattle composition, and must be more easily pieces are almost as good as Paul satisfied than folks on our side of the Potter's, and Keyser has dwindled water. The excitement of Flemish down into namby-pamby prettiness, beer is, indeed, not great. I have pitiful to see in the gallant young tried both the white beer and the painter who astonished the Louvre brown; they are both of the kind which artists ten years ago by a hand almost schoolboys denominate swipes, as dashing and ready as that of Ru- very sour and thin to the taste, but bens himself. There were besides, served, to be sure, in quaint Flemish many caricatures of the new German jugs that do not seem to have school, which are in themselves cari- changed their form since the days of catures of the masters before Raphael. Rubens, and must please the lovers
of antiquarian knickknacks. NumAn instance of honesty may be bers of comfortable-looking women mentioned here with applause. The and children sat beside the head of writer lost a pocket-book containing the family upon the tavern-benches, a passport and a couple of modest and it was amusing to see one little ten-pound notes. The person who fellow of eight years old smoking, found the portfolio ingeniously put with much gravity, his father's cigar. it into the box of the post-office, and How the worship of the sacred plant it was faithfully restored to the own. of tobacco_has spread through all er; but somehow the two ten-pound Europe ! I am sure that the pernotes were absent. It was, however, sons who cry ont against the use a great comfort to get the passport, of it are guilty of superstition and and the pocket-book, which must be unreason, and that it would be a propworth about ninepence.
er and easy task for scientific persons
Brussels, to write an encomium upon the weed. It was night when we arrived by In solitude it is the pleasantest com: the railroad from Antwerp at Brus- panion possible, and in company never
de trop. To a student it suggests all | Mr. Turner, with all his vermilion sorts of agreeable thoughts, it refreshes and gamboge, can put down on canthe brain when weary, and every vas. The verdure was everywhere sedentary cigar-smoker will tell you astonishing, and we fancied we saw how much good he has had from it, many golden Cuyps as we passed by and how he has been able to return these quiet pastures. to his labor, after a quarter of an Steam-engines and their accompahour's mild interval of the delight- niments, blazing forges, gaunt manuful leaf of Havanna. Drinking has factories, with numberless windows gone from among us since smoking and long black chimneys, of course came in. It is a wicked error to say take away from the romance of the that smokers are drunkards; drink place; but, as we whirled into Brusthey do, but of gentle diluents mostly, sels, even these engines had a fine for fierce stimulants of wine or strong appearance. Three or four of the liquors are abhorrent to the real lover snorting, galloping monsters had just of the Indian weed. Ah! my Juliana, finished their journey, and there was join not in the vulgar cry that is a quantity of Haming ashes lying unraised against us. Cigars and cool der the brazen bellies of each that drinks beget quiet conversations, looked properly lurid and demoniacal. good-humor, meditation; not hot The men at the station came out with blood such as mounts into the head Aaming torches — awful-looking felof drinkers of apoplectic port or lows indeed! Presently the different dangerous claret. Are we not more baggage was handed out, and in the moral and reasonable than our fore- very worst vehicle I ever entered, and fathers ? Indeed I think so some at the very slowest pace, we were what; and many improvements of borne to the “ Hôtel de Suède,” from social life and converse must date which house of entertainment this letwith the introduction of the pipe. ter is written.
We were a dozen tobacco-consum- We strolled into the town, but ers in the wagon of the train that though the night was excessively fine, brought us from Antwerp; nor did and it was not yet eleven o'clock, the the women of the party (sensible wo- streets of the little capital were demen !) make a single objection to the serted, and the handsome blazing fumigation. But enough of this; cafés round about the theatres cononly let me add, in conclusion, that an tained no inmates. Ah, what a pretexcellent Israelitish gentleman, Mr. ty sight is the Parisian Boulevard on Hartog of Antwerp, supplies cigars a night like this ! how many pleasant for a penny apiece, such as are not to hours has one passed in watching the be procured in London for four times lights, and the hum, and the stir, and the sum.
the laughter of those happy, idle peoThrough smiling corn-fields, then, ple! There was none of ihis gayety and by little woods from which rose here; nor was there a person to be here and there the quaint peaked tow- found, except a skulking commissioners of some old-fashioned châteaux, er or two (whose real name in French our train went smoking along at is that of a fish that is eaten with thirty miles an hour. We caught a fennel-sauce), and who offered to conglimpse of Mechlin steeple, at first duct us to certain curiosities in the dark against the sunset, and after- town. What must we English not wards bright as we came to the other have done that in every town in Euside of it, and admired long glisten- rope we are to be fixed upon by scouning canals or moats that surrounded drels of this sort; and what a pretty the queer old town, and were lighted reflection it is on our country that up in that wonderful way which the such rascals find the means of living sun only understands, and not even on us !
Early the next morning we walked | lish, and the Prussians, spare them through a number of streets in the the trouble of thinking, and make all place, and saw certain sights. The their opinions for them? Think of Park is very pretty, and all the build- living in a country free, easy, respectaings round about it have an air of ble, wealthy, and with the nuisance of neatness -almost of stateliness. The talking politics removed from out of houses are tall, the streets spacious, it. All this might the Belgians have, and the roads extremely clean. In and a part do they enjoy, but not the the Park is a little theatre, a cufé best part; no, these people will be somewhat ruinous, a little palace for brawling and by the ears, and parties the king of this little kingdom, some run as high here as at Stoke Pogis or sinart public buildings (with S. P.Q. little Pedlington. B. emblazoned on them, at which These sentiments were elicited by pompous inscription one cannot help the reading of a paper at the café in laughing), and other rows of houses the Park, where we sat under the somewhat resembling a little Rue de trees for a while and sipped our cool Rivoli. Whether from my own natu- lemonade. Numbers of statues decral greatness and magnanimity, or orate the place, the very worst I from that handsome share of national ever saw. These Cupids must have conceit that every Englishman pos- been erected in the time of the Dutch sesses, my impressions of this city are dynasty, as I judge from the immense certainly any thing but respectful. It posterior developments. Indeed the has an absurd kind of Liliput look arts of the country are very low. The with it. There are soldiers, just as in statues here, and the lions before the Paris, better dressed, and doing a vast Prince of Orange's palace, would disdeal of drumming and bustle; and grace almost the figure-head of a ship. yet, somehow, far from being fright- Of course we paid our visit to this ened at them, I feel inclined to laugh little lion of Brussels (the Prince's in their faces. There are little Min- palace, I mean). The architecture isters, who work at their little bu of the building is admirably simple reaux; and to read the journals, how and firm; and you runark about it, fierce they are ! A great thundering and all other works here, a high finish
Times” could hardly talk more big. in doors, wood-works, paintings, &c., One reads about the rascally Minis- that one does not see in France, where ters, the miserable Opposition, the de- the buildings are often rather sketched signs of tyrants, the eyes of Europe, than completed, and the artist seems &c., just as one would in real jour- to neglect the limbs, as it were, and nals. The “Moniteur" of Ghent be-extremities of his figures. labors the “Independent” of Brus- The finish of this little place is exsels; the “Independent” falls fonl of quisite. We went through some the “ Lynx”; and really it is diffi- dozen of state-rooms, paddling along cult not to suppose, sometimes, that over the slippery floors of inlaid these worthy people are in carnest. woods in great slippers, without which And yet how happy were they sua si we must have come to the ground. bona nôrint! Think what a comfort How did his Royal Highness the it would be to belong to a little state Prince of Orange manage when he like this; not to abuse their privilege, lived here, and her Imperial Highness but philosophically to use it. If I the Princess, and their excellencies were a Belgian, I would not care one the chamberlains and the footmen ? single fig about politics. I would not They must have been on their tails read thundering leading-articles. I many times a day, that's certain, and would not have an opinion. What's must have cut queer figures. the use of an opinion here? Happy The ball-room is beautiful – all fellows! do not the French, the Eng- | marble, and yot with a comfortable,