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cheerful look; the other apartments manly, swaggering consciousness of are not less agreeable, and the people power! looked with intense satisfaction at The picture to see here is a porsome great lapis-lazuli tables, which trait, by the great Peter Paul, of one the guide informed us were worth of the governesses of the Netherlands. four millions, more or less ; adding It is just the finest portrait that ever with a very knowing look, that they was seen. Only a half-length, but were un peu plus cher que l'or. This such a majesty, such a force, such a speech has a tremendous effect on splendor, such a simplicity about it! visitors, and when we met some of The woman is in a stiff black dress, our steamboat companions in the with a ruff and a few pearls; a yellow Park or clsewhere — in so small a curtain is behind her
the simplest place as this one falls in with them a arrangement that can be conceived; dozen times a day — "Have you seen but this great man knew how to rise the tables ? was the general ques- to his occasion ; and no better proof tion. Prodigious tables are they, in- can be shown of what a fine gentledeed! Fancy a table, my dear - man he was than this his homage to table four feet wide - a table with the vice-Queen. A common bungler legs. Ye heavens! the mind can would have painted her in her best hardly picture to itself any thing so clothes, with crown and sceptre, just beautiful and so tremendous !
as our Queen has been painted by: There are some good pictures in but comparisons are odious. Here the palace, too, but not so extraordi- stanıls this majestic woman in her narily good as the guide-bouks and every-day, working-dress of black the guide would have us to think. satin, looking your hat off, as it were. The latter, like most men of his class, Another portrait of the same personis an ignoramus, who showed us an age hangs elsewhere in the gallery, Andrea del Sarto (copy or original), and it is curious to observe the 'differand called it a Correggio, and made ence between the two, and see how a other blunders of a like nature. As man of genius paints a portrait, and is the case in England, you are hur- how a common limner executes it. ried through the rooms without being Many more pictures are there here allowed time to look at the pictures, by Rubens, or rather from Rubens's and, consequently, to pronounce a manufactory, - odious and vulgar satisfactory judgment on them. most of them are; fat Magdalens,
In the Museum more time was coarse Saints, vulgar Virgins, with granted me, and I spent some hours the scene-painter's tricks far too eviwith pleasure there. It is an absurd | dent upon the canvas. By the side of little gallery, absurdly imitating the one of the most astonishing colorLouvre, with just such compartments pieces in the world, the “ Worshipping and pillars as you see in the noble of the Magi,” is a famonis picture of Paris gallery ; only here the pillars Paul Veronese that cannot be too and capitals are stucco and white in much admired. As Rubens sought place of marble and gold, and plaster- in the first picture to dazzle and asof-Paris busts of great Belgians are tonish by gorgeous variety, Paul in placed between the pillars. An ar- his seems to wish to get his effect by tist of the country has made a pic- simplicity, and has produced the most ture containing them, and you will noble harmony that can be conceived. be ashamed of your ignorance when Many more works are there that you hear many of their names. Old merit notice,- a singularly clever, Tilly of Magdeburg figures in one brilliant, and odious Jordáens, for corner; Rubens, the endless Rubens, example; some curious costumestands in the midst. What a no- pieces; one or two works by the ble countenance it is, and what a Belgian Raphael, who was a very
Belgian Raphael indeed ; and a long , labor? Far from it. But look at gallery of pictures of the very oldest the difference here : after dinner here school, that, doubtless, afford much one is as light as a gossamer. One pleasure to the amateurs of ancient walks with pleasure, reads with pleasart. I confess that I am inclined to ure, writes with pleasure — nay, there believe in very little that existed is the supper-bell going at ten o'clock, before the time of Raphael. There and plenty of eaters, too, Let lord is, for instance, the Prince of Orange's mayors and aldermen look to it, this picture by Perugino, very pretty in- fact of the extraordinary increase of deed, up to a certain point, but all appetite in Belgium, and, instead of the heads are repeated, all the drawing steaming to Blackwall, come a little is bad and affected, and this very further to Antwerp. badness and affectation is what the Of ancient architectures in the so-called Catholic school is always place, there is a fine old Port de Halle, anxious to imitate. Nothing can be which has a tall, gloomy, bastille more juvenile or paltry than the works look; a most magnificent town-hall
, of the native Belgians here exhibited. that has been sketched a thousand of Tin crowns are suspended over many times, and opposite it, a building that of them, showing that the pictures I think would be the very model for are prize compositions : and pretty a Conservative club-house in London. things, indeed, they are! Have you Oh! how charming it would be to be ever read an Oxford prize-poem ? a great painter, and give the character Well, these pictures are worse even of the building, and the numberless than the Oxford poems an awful groups round about it. The booths assertion to make.
lighted up by the sun, the marketIn the matter of eating, dear sir, women in their gowns of brilliant hue, which is the next subject of the fine each group having a character and arts, a subject that, after many hours' telling its little story, the troops of walking, attracts a gentleman very men lolling in all sorts of admirable much, let me attempt to recall the attitudes of ease round the great transactions of this very day at the lamp. Half a dozen light blue dragoons tuble-d’hôte. I, green pea-soup ; 2, are lounging about, and peeping over boiled salmon ; 3, mussels ; 4, crimped the artist as the drawing is made, and skate ; 5, roast-meat; 6, patties; 7, the sky is more bright and blue than melon; 8, carp, stewed with mush- one sees it in a hundred years in rooms and onions ; 9, roast-turkey; London. 10, cauliflower and butter ; 11, fillets The priests of the country are a of venison piqués, with assafætida remarkably well-fed and respectable sauce; 12, stewed calf's-ear; 13, roast- race, without that scowling, hang-dog veal; 14, roast-lamb; 15, stewed look which one has remarked among cherries ; 16, rice pudding ; 17, Gru- reverend gentlemen in the neighboring yère cheese, and about twenty-four country of France. Their reverences cakes of different kinds. Except 5, wear buckles to their shoes, light-blue 13, and 14, I give vou my word 'I ate neckcloths, and huge three-cornered of all written down here, with three hats in good condition. Today, rolls of bread and a score of potatoes. strolling by the cathedral, I heard the What is the meaning of it? How is tinkling of a bell in the street, and the stomach of man brought to desire beheld certain persons, male and feand to receive all this quantity ? Do male, suddenly plump down on their not gastronomists complain of heavi- knees before a little procession that ness in London after eating a couple was passing. Two men in black hekl of mutton-chops ? Do not respect- a tawdry red canopy, a priest walked able gentlemen fall asleep in their beneath it holding the sacrament arm-chairs ? Are they fit for mental covered with a cloth, and before him
marched a couple of little altar-boys I shoulders of the famous statue. The in short white surplices, such as you expression of woe is more manly and see in Rubens, and holding lacquered intense; in the group as we know it, lamps. A small train of street-boys the head of the principal figure has followed the procession, cap in hand, always seemed to me to be a grimace and the clergyman finally entered a of grief, as are the two accompanying hospital for old women, near the young gentlemen with their pretty church, the canopy and the lamp- attitudes, and their little silly, openbearers remaining without.
mouthed despondency. It has always It was a touching scene, and as I had upon me the effect of a trick, that staid to watch it, I could not but statue, and not of a piece of true art. think of the poor old soul who was It would look well in the vista of a dying within, listening to the last garden ; it is not august enough for a words of prayer, led by the hand of temple, with all its jerks, and twirls, the priest to the brink of the black, and polite convulsions. But who fathomless grave. How bright the knows what susceptibilities such a sun was shining without all the time confession may offend? Let us say and how happy and careless every. no more about the Laocoon, nor its thing around us looked !
head, nor its tail. The Duke was
offered its weight in gold, they say, The Duke d'Arenberg has a pic for this head, and refused. It would ture-gallery worthy of his princely be a shame to speak ill of such a house. It does not contain great treasure, but I have my opinion of the pieces, but tit-bits of pictures, such as man who made the offer. suit an aristocratic epicure. For such In the matter of sculpture almost persons a great huge canvas is too all the Brussels churches are decomuch, it is like sitting down alone to rated with the most laborious wooden a roasted ox; and they do wisely, I pulpits, which may be worth their think, to patronize small, high-Aa- weight in gold, too, for what I know, vored, delicate morceaux, such as the including his reverence preaching Duke has here.
inside. At St. Gudule the preacher Among them may be mentioned, mounts into no less a place than the with special praise, a magnificent garden of Eden, being supported by small Rembrandt, a Paul Potter of Adam and Eve, by Sin and Death, exceeding minuteness and beauty, and numberless other animals; he an Ostade, which reminds one of walks up to his desk by a rustic railWilkie's early performances, and a ing of flowers, fruits, and vegetables, Dusart quite as good as Ostade. with wooden peacocks, paroquets, There is a Berghem, much more monkeys biting apples, and many unaffected than that artist's works more of the birds and beasts of the generally are; and, what is more, field. In another church the clergyprecious in the eyes of many ladies as man speaks from out a hermitage; an object of art, there is, in one of the in a third from a carved palm-tree, grand saloons, some needlework done which supports a set of oak clouds by the Duke's own grandmother, that form the canopy of the pulpit, which is looked at with awe by those and are, indeed, not much heavier admitted to see the palace.
in appearance than so many huge The chief curiosity, if not the chief sponges. A priest, however tall or ornament, of a very elegant library, stout, must be lost in the midst of all filled with vases and bronzes, is a these queer gimcracks ; in order to be marble head, supposed to be the consistent, they ought to dress him original head of the Laocoon. It is, up, too, in some odd fantastical suit. unquestionably, a finer head than
that I can fancy the Curé of Meudon which at present figures upon the preaching out of such a place, or the
Rev. Sidney Smith, or that famous scrupulously plain, a quaint old chair clergyman of the time of the League, or two, and little pictures of favorite who brought all Paris to laugh and saints decorating the spotless white listen to him.
walls. The old ladies kept up a quick,
cheerful clatter, as they paused to But let us not be too supercilious gossip at the gates of their little do." and ready to sneer. It is only bad miciles; and with a great deal of
It may have been very true artifice, and lurking behind walls, and devotion which erected these strange looking at the church as if I intended edifices.
to design that, I managed to get a
sketch of a couple of them. II. - GHENT. - BRUGES. But what white paper can render
the whiteness of their linen; what GHENT. (1840.)
black ink can do justice to the lustre Tre Béguinc College or Village is of their gowns and shoes ? Both of one of the most extraordinary sights the ladies had a neat ankle and a that all Europe can show. On the tight stocking; and I fancy that confines of the town of Ghent you heaven is quite as well served in this come upon an
old-fashioned brick costume as in the dress of a scowling, gate, that seems as if it were one of stockingless friar, whom I had seen the city barriers ; but, on passing it, passing just before. The look and one of the prettiest sights possible dress of the man made me shudder. meets the eye : At the porter's lodge His great red feet were bound up in you see an old lady, in black, and a a shoe open at the toes, a kind of white hood, occupied over her book; compromise for a sandal. I had just before you is a red church with a tall seen him and his brethren at the roof and fantastical Dutch pinnacles, Dominican Church, where a mass of and all around it rows upon rows of music was sung, and orange-trees, small houses, the queerest, neatest, flags, and banners decked the aisle of nicest that ever were seen (a doll's the church. house is hardly smaller or prettier). One begins to grow sick of these Right and left, on each side of little churches, and the hideous exhibitions alleys, these little mansions rise; of bodily agonies that are depicted on they have a courtlet before them, in the sides of all the chapels. Into one which some green plants or holly- wherein we went this morning was hocks are growing; and to each house what they called a Calvary: a horriis a gate, that has mostly a picture ble, ghastly image of a Christ in a or queer-carved ornament upon or tomb, the figure of the natural size, about it, and bears the name, not of and of the livid color of death ; gap the Béguine who inhabits it, but of ing red wounds on the body and the saint to whom she may have de- round the brows: the whole piece voted it the house of St. Stephen, 1 enough to turn one sick, and fit only the house of St. Donatus, the English to brutalize the beholder of it. The or Angel Convent and so on. Old Virgin is commonly represented with ladies in black are pacing in the quiet a dozen swords stuck in her heart; alleys here and there, and drop the bleeding throats of headless John stranger a courtesy as he passes them Baptists are perpetually thrust before and takes off his hat. Never were your eyes. At the Cathedral gate such patterns of neatness seen as these was a papier-mâché church-ornament old ladies and their houses. I peeped shop most of the carvings and into one or two of the chambers, of reliefs of the same dismal character. which the windows were open to the One, for instance, represented a pleasant evening sun, and saw beds I heart with a great gash'in it, and a
double row of large blood-drops drib- , which I must say resembled onions : bling from it; nails and a knife were it was in fact the kitchen of the estabthrust into the heart; round the whole lishment. was a crown of thorns. Such things Every Béguine cooks her own little are dreadful to think of. The same dinner in her own little pipkin; and gloomy spirit which made a religion there was half a score of them, sure of them, and worked upon the people enough, busy over their pots and by the grossest of all means, terror, crockery, cooking a repast which, distracted the natural feelings of man when ready, was carried off to to maintain its power - shut gentle neighboring room, the refectory, women into lonely, pitiless convents where, at a ledge-table which is drawn - frightened poor peasants with tales out from under her own particular of torment taught that the end and cupboard, each nun sits down and labor of life was silence, wretchedness, eats her meal in silence. More religand the scourge - murdered those by ious emblems ornamented the carved fagot and prison who thought other- cupboard-doors, and within, every wise. How has the blind and furious thing was as neat as neat could be: bigotry of man perverted that which shining pewter-ewers and glasses, God gave us as our greatest boon, and snug baskets of eggs and pats of butbid us hate where God bade us love! ter, and little bowls with about a Thank heaven that monk has gone farthing's-worth of green tea in them out of sight! It is pleasant to look for some great day of fête, doubtat the smiling, cheerful old Béguine, less. The old ladies sat round as we arid think no more of yonder livid examined these things, each eating face.
soberly at her ledge and never lookOne of the many convents in this ing round. There was a bell ringing little religious city scems to be the in the chapel hard by:
Hark! specimen-house, which is shown to said our guide, “that is one of the strangers, for all the guides conduct sisters dying. Will you come up and you thither, and I saw in a book see the cells ?” kept for the purpose the names of The cells, it need not be said, are innumerable Smiths and Jonescs the snuggest little nests in the world, registered.
with serge-curtained beds and snowy A very kind, sweet-voiced, smiling linen, and saints and martyrs pinned nun (I wonder, do they always choose against the wall. “We may sit up the most agreeable and best-humored till twelve o'clock, if we like,” said sister of the house to show it to the nun; “but we have no fire and strangers ?) carne tripping down the candle, and so what's the use of sitsteps and across the flags of the little ting up? When we have said our garden-court, and welcomed us with prayers, we are glad enough to go to much courtesy into the neat little sleep, old-fashioned, red-bricked, gable end I forget, although the good soul ell, shining-windowed Convent of told us, how many times in the day, the Angels. First she showed us a in public and in private, these devowhitewashed parlor, decorated with tions are made, but fancy that the a grim picture or two and some morning service in the chapel takes crucifixes and other religious em- place at too early an hour for most blems, where, upon stiff old chairs, easy travellers. We did not fail to the sisters sit and work. Three or attend in the evening, when likewise four of them were still there, patter- is a general muster of the seven hun. ing over their laces and bobbins; but dred, minus the absent and sick, and the chief part of the sisterhood were the sight is not a little curious and engaged in an apartment hard by, striking to a stranger. from which issued a certain odor The chapel is a very big white