By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, Volume 4 - France and the Netherlands, Part 2
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, Volume 4 - France and the Netherlands, Part 2" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

VOLUME 4 (OF 10)***


Note: This is Volume 4 of a 10-volume series, the contents of which
      are as follows:
      Volume 1:  Great Britain and Ireland, Part 1
      Volume 2:  Great Britain and Ireland, Part 2
      Volume 3:  France and the Netherlands, Part 1
      Volume 4:  France and the Netherlands, Part 2
      Volume 5:  Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, Part 1
      Volume 6:  Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, Part 2
      Volume 7:  Italy and Greece, Part 1
      Volume 8:  Italy and Greece, Part 2
      Volume 9:  Spain and Portugal
      Volume 10: Russia, Scandanavia and the Southeast







Editor of Great Epochs in American History Associate Editor of "The
Worlds Famous Orations" and of "The Best of the World's Classics" etc




France and the Netherlands--Part Two




CHATEAUX IN THE VALLEY OF THE LOIRE--By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

AMBOISE--By Theodore Andrea Cook

BLOIS--By Francis Miltoun

CHAMBORD--By Theodore Andrea Cook

CHENONCEAUX--By Francis Miltoun

FOIX--By Francis Miltoun

       *       *       *       *       *


MONT ST. MICHEL--By Anna Bowman Dodd

CAEN--By Thomas Frognall Dibdin




BIARRITZ--By Francis Miltoun

DOWN THE SAÔNE TO LYONS--By Nathaniel Parker Willis

LYONS--By Thomas Gray

MARSEILLES--By Charles Dickens



       *       *       *       *       *


BRUGES--By Grant Allen

A PEN PICTURE OF BRUGES--By William Makepeace Thackeray

GHENT--By Grant Allen

BRUSSELS--By Clive Holland

WATERLOO--By Victor Hugo


ANTWERP--By T. Francis Bumpus

       *       *       *       *       *




HAARLEM--By Augustus J.C. Hare

SCHEVENINGEN--By George Wharton Edwards

DELFT--By Augustus J.C. Hare

LEYDEN--By Edmondo de Amicis

DORTRECHT--By Augustus J.C. Hare

THE ZUYDER ZEE--By Edmondo de Amicis

THE ART OF HOLLAND--By Edmondo de Amicis

THE TULIPS OF HOLLAND--By Edmondo de Amicis








[Footnote A: From "A Bibliographical Tour in France and Germany."]


The diligence brought me here from Caen in about two hours and a
half. The country, during the whole route, is open, well cultivated,
occasionally gently undulating, but generally denuded of trees. Many
pretty little churches, with delicate spires, peeped out to the right
and left during the journey; but the first view of the cathedral of
Bayeux put all the others out of my recollection.

There is, in fact, no proper approach to this interesting edifice. The
western end is suffocated with houses. Here stands the post-office;
and with the most unsuspecting frankness, on the part of the owner,
I had permission to examine, with my own hands, within doors, every
letter--under the expectation that there were some for myself. Nor was
I disappointed.

But you must come with me to the cathedral, and of course we must
enter together at the western front. There are five porticoes;
the central one being rather large, and the two, on either side,
comparatively small. Formerly, these were covered with sculptured
figures and ornaments, but the Calvinists in the sixteenth, and the
Revolutionists in the eighteenth century, have contrived to render
their present aspect mutilated and repulsive in the extreme. On
entering, I was struck with the two large transverse Norman arches
which bestride the area, or square, for the bases of the two towers.
It is the boldest and finest piece of masonry in the whole building.
The interior disappointed me. It is plain, solid, and divested of

Hard by the cathedral stood formerly a magnificent episcopal palace.
Upon this palace the old writers dearly loved to expatiate. There is
now, however, nothing but a good large comfortable family mansion;
sufficient for the purposes of such hospitality and entertainment as
the episcopal revenues will afford.

It is high time that you should be introduced in proper form to the
famous Bayeux tapestry. Know then, in as few words as possible, that
this celebrated piece of tapestry represents chiefly the Invasion of
England by William the Conqueror, and the subsequent death of Harold
at the battle of Hastings. It measures about 214 English feet in
length, by about nineteen inches in width; and is supposed to have
been worked under the particular superintendence and direction of
Matilda, the wife of the Conqueror. It was formerly exclusively kept
and exhibited in the cathedral; but it is now justly retained in the
Town Hall, and treasured as the most precious relic among the archives
of the city.

There is indeed every reason to consider it as one of the most
valuable historical monuments which France possesses. It has also
given rise to a great deal of archeological discussion. Montfauçon,
Ducarel, and De La Rue, have come forward successively--but more
especially the first and last; and Montfauçon in particular has
favored the world with copper-plate representations of the whole.
Montfauçon's plates are generally much too small; and the more
enlarged ones are too ornamental.

It is right, first of all, that you should have an idea how this piece
of tapestry is preserved, or rolled up. You see it here, therefore,
precisely as it appears after the person who shows it, takes off the
cloth with which it is usually covered. The first portion of the
needle-work, representing the embassy of Harold from Edward the
Confessor to William Duke of Normandy, is comparatively much
defaced--that is to say, the stitches are worn away, and little more
than the ground, or fine close linen cloth remains. It is not far from
the beginning--and where the color is fresh, and the stitches are,
comparatively, preserved--that you observe the portrait of Harold.

You are to understand that the stitches, if they may be so called,
are threads laid side by side--and bound down at intervals by cross
stitches, or fastenings--upon rather a fine linen cloth; and that the
parts intended to represent flesh are left untouched by the needle.
I obtained a few straggling shreds of the worsted with which it is
worked. The colors are generally a faded or bluish green, crimson, and
pink. About the last five feet of this extraordinary roll are in a
yet more decayed and imperfect state than the first portion. But the
designer of the subject, whoever he was, had an eye throughout to
Roman art--as it appeared in its later stages. The folds of the
draperies, and the proportions of the figures, are executed with this

I must observe that, both at top and at bottom of the principal
subject, there is a running allegorical ornament, of which I will not
incur the presumption to suppose myself a successful interpreter.
The constellations, and the symbols of agriculture and of a rural
occupation form the chief subjects of this running ornament. All the
inscriptions are executed in capital letters of about an inch in
length; and upon the whole, whether this extraordinary and invaluable
relic be of the latter end of the eleventh, or the beginning or middle
of the twelfth century seems to me a matter of rather a secondary
consideration. That it is at once unique and important, must be
considered as a position to be neither doubted nor denied.

I have learned even here, of what importance this tapestry roll was
considered in the time of Bonaparte's threatened invasion of our
country: and that, after displaying it at Paris for two or three
months, to awaken the curiosity and excite the love of conquest among
the citizens, it was conveyed to one or two sea-port towns, and
exhibited upon the stage as a most important material in dramatic


[Footnote A: From "A Tour Through the Pyrenees." By special
arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Henry Holt &
Co. Copyright, 1873.]


Pau is a pretty city, neat, of gay appearance; but the highway is
paved with little round stones, the side-walks with small sharp
pebbles: so the horses walk on the heads of nails and foot-passengers
on the points of them. From Bordeaux to Toulouse such is the usage,
such the pavement. At the end of five minutes, your feet tell you in
the most intelligible manner that you are two hundred leagues away
from Paris....

Here are the true countrymen of Henry IV. As to the pretty ladies in
gauzy hats, whose swelling and rustling robes graze the horns of the
motionless oxen as they pass, you must not look at them; they would
carry your imagination back to the Boulevard de Gand, and you would
have gone two hundred leagues only to remain in the same place. I am
here on purpose to visit the sixteenth century; one makes a journey
for the sake of changing, not place, but ideas.... It was eight
o'clock in the morning; not a visitor at the castle, no one in the
courts nor on the terrace; I should not have been too much astonished
at meeting the Béarnais, "that lusty gallant, that very devil," who
was sharp enough to get for himself the name of "the good king."

His château is very irregular; it is only when seen from the valley
that any graces and harmony can be found in it. Above two rows of
pointed roofs and old houses, it stands out alone against the sky and
gazes upon the valley in the distance; two bell-turrets project from
the front toward the west; the oblong body follows, and two massive
brick towers close the line with their esplanades and battlements. It
is connected with the city by a narrow old bridge, by a broad modern
one with the park, and the foot of its terrace is bathed by a dark but
lovely stream.

Near at hand, this arrangement disappears; a fifth tower upon the
north side deranges the symmetry. The great egg-shaped court is a
mosaic of incongruous masonry; above the porch, a wall of pebbles from
the Gave, and of red bricks crossed like a tapestry design; opposite,
fixt to the wall, a row of medallions in stone; upon the sides, doors
of every form and age; dormer windows, windows square, pointed,
embattled, with stone mullions garlanded with elaborate reliefs. This
masquerade of styles troubles the mind, yet not unpleasantly; it is
unpretending and artless; each century has built according to its own
fancy, without concerning itself about its neighbor.

On the first floor is shown a great tortoise-shell, which was the
cradle of Henry IV. Carved chests, dressing-tables, tapestries, clocks
of that day, the bed and arm-chair of Jeanne d'Albret, a complete set
of furniture in the taste of the Renaissance, striking and somber,
painfully labored yet magnificent in style, carrying the mind at once
back toward that age of force and effort, of boldness in invention, of
unbridled pleasures and terrible toil, of sensuality and of heroism.
Jeanne d'Albret, mother of Henry IV., crossed France in order that
she might, according to her promise, be confined in this castle. "A
princess," says D'Aubigné, "having nothing of the woman about her but
the sex, a soul entirely given to manly things, a mind mighty in great
affairs, a heart unconquerable by adversity."

She sang an old Bearnaise song when she brought him into the world.
They say that the aged grandfather rubbed the lips of the new-born
child with a clove of garlic, poured into his mouth a few drops of
Jurançon wine, and carried him away in his dressing-gown. The child
was born in the chamber which opens into the lower tower of Mazères,
on the southwest corner.

His mother, a warm and severe Calvinist, when he was fifteen years
old, led him through the Catholic army to La Rochelle, and gave him to
her followers as their general. At sixteen years old, at the combat of
Arnay-le-Duc, he led the first charge of cavalry. What an education
and what men! Their descendants were just now passing in the streets,
going to school to compose Latin verses and recite the pastorals of

Those old wars are the most poetic in French history; they were made
for pleasure rather than interest. It was a chase in which adventures,
dangers, emotions were found, in which men lived in the sunlight, on
horseback, amidst flashes of fire, and where the body, as well as
the soul, had its enjoyment and its exercise. Henry carries it on as
briskly as a dance, with a Gascon's fire and a soldier's ardor, with
abrupt sallies, and pursuing his point against the enemy as with the

This is no spectacle of great masses of well-disciplined men, coming
heavily into collision and falling by thousands on the field,
according to the rules of good tactics. The king leaves Pau or Nérac
with a little troop, picks up the neighboring garrisons on his way,
scales a fortress, intercepts a body of arquebusiers as they pass,
extricates himself pistol in hand from the midst of a hostile troop,
and returns to the feet of Mlle. de Tignonville. They arrange their
plan from day to day; nothing is done unless unexpectedly and by
chance. Enterprises are strokes of fortune....

The park is a great wood on a hill, embedded among meadows and
harvests. You walk in long solitary alleys, under colonnades of superb
oaks, while to the left the lofty stems of the copses mount in close
ranks upon the back of the hill. The fog was not yet lifted; there was
no motion in the air; not a corner of the blue sky, not a sound in all
the country. The song of a bird came for an instant from the midst of
the ash-trees, then sadly ceased. Is that then the sky of the south,
and was it necessary to come to the happy country of the Béarnais to
find such melancholy impressions? A little by-way brought us to a bank
of the Gave: in a long pool of water was growing an army of reeds
twice the height of a man; their grayish spikes and their trembling
leaves bent and whispered under the wind; a wild flower near by shed a
vanilla perfume.

We gazed on the broad country, the ranges of rounded hills, the silent
plain under the dull dome of the sky. Three hundred paces away the
Gave rolls between marshaled banks, which it has covered with sand; in
the midst of the waters may be seen the moss-grown piles of a ruined
bridge. One is at ease here, and yet at the bottom of the heart
a vague unrest is felt; the soul is softened and loses itself in
melancholy and tender revery. Suddenly the clock strikes, and one
is forced to go and prepare himself to eat his soup between two
commercial travelers.

To-day the sun shines. On my way to the Place Nationale, I remarked a
poor, half-ruined church, which had been turned into a coach-house;
they have fastened upon it a carrier's sign. The arcades, in small
gray stones, still round themselves with an elegant boldness; beneath
are stowed away carts and casks and pieces of wood; here and there
workmen were handling wheels. A broad ray of light fell upon a pile of
straw, and made the somber corners seem yet darker; the pictures that
one meets with outweigh those one has come to seek.

From the esplanade which is opposite, the whole valley and the
mountains beyond may be seen; this first sight of a southern sun, as
it breaks from the rainy mists, is admirable; a sheet of white light
stretches from one horizon to another without meeting a single cloud.
The heart expands in this immense space; the very air is festal; the
dazzled eyes close beneath the brightness which deluges them and which
runs over, radiated from the burning dome of heaven. The current of
the river sparkles like a girdle of jewels; the chains of hills,
yesterday veiled and damp, extend at their own sweet will beneath the
warming, penetrating rays, and mount range upon range to spread out
their green robe to the sun.

In the distance, the blue Pyrenees look like a bank of clouds; the air
that bathes them shapes them into aërial forms, vapory phantoms, the
farthest of which vanish in the canescent horizon--dim contours, that
might be taken for a fugitive sketch from the lightest of pencils. In
the midst of the serrate chain the peak Midi d' Ossau lifts its abrupt
cone; at this distance, forms are softened, colors are blended, the
Pyrenees are only the graceful bordering of a smiling landscape and of
the magnificent sky. There is nothing imposing about them nor severe;
the beauty here is serene, and the pleasure pure.

The statue of Henry IV., with an inscription in Latin and in patois,
is on the esplanade; the armor is finished so perfectly that it might
make an armorer jealous. But why does the king wear so sad an air? His
neck is ill at ease on his shoulders; his features are small and full
of care; he has lost his gayety, his spirit, his confidence in his
fortune, his proud bearing. His air is neither that of a great nor a
good man, nor of a man of intellect; his face is discontented, and one
would say that he was bored with Pau. I am not sure that he was wrong:
and yet the city passes for agreeable, the climate is very mild, and
invalids who fear the cold pass the winter in it.


[Footnote A: From "Outre-Mer." Published by Houghton, Mifflin Co.]


In the beautiful month of October I made a foot excursion along the
banks of the Loire, from Orléans to Tours. This luxuriant region is
justly called the garden of France. From Orléans to Blois, the whole
valley of the Loire is one continued vineyard. The bright green
foliage of the vine spreads, like the undulations of the sea, over
the landscape, with here and there a silver flash of the river, a
sequestered hamlet, or the towers of an old chateau, to enliven and
variegate the scene.

The vintage had already commenced. The peasantry were busy in the
fields--the song that cheered their labor was on the breeze, and
the heavy wagon tottered by, laden with the clusters of the vine.
Everything around me wore that happy look which makes the heart glad.
In the morning I arose with the lark; and at night I slept where the
sunset overtook me.... My first day's journey brought me at evening to
a village, whose name I have forgotten, situated about eight leagues
from Orléans. It is a small, obscure hamlet, not mentioned in the
guide-book, and stands upon the precipitous banks of a deep ravine,
through which a noisy brook leaps to turn the ponderous wheel of a
thatch-roofed mill. The village inn stands upon the highway; but the
village itself is not visible to the traveler as he passes. It is
completely hidden in the lap of a wooded valley, and so embowered
in trees that not a roof nor a chimney peeps out to betray its

When I awoke in the morning, a brilliant autumnal sun was shining in
at my window. The merry song of birds mingled sweetly with the sound
of rustling leaves and the gurgle of the brook. The vintagers were
going forth to their toil; the wine-press was busy in the shade, and
the clatter of the mill kept time to the miller's song. I loitered
about the village with a feeling of calm delight. I was unwilling to
leave the seclusion of this sequestered hamlet; but at length, with
reluctant step, I took the cross-road through the vineyard, and in a
moment the little village had sunk again, as if by enchantment, into
the bosom of the earth.

I breakfasted at the town of Mer; and, leaving the high-road to Blois
on the right, passed down to the banks of the Loire, through a long,
broad avenue of poplars and sycamores. I crossed the river in a boat,
and in the after part of the day I found myself before the high and
massive walls of the château of Chambord. This château is one of the
finest specimens of the ancient Gothic castle to be found in Europe.
The little river Cosson fills its deep and ample moat, and above
it the huge towers and heavy battlements rise in stern and solemn
grandeur, moss-grown with age, and blackened by the storms of three
centuries. Within, all is mournful and deserted. The grass has
overgrown the pavement of the courtyard, and the rude sculpture upon
the walls is broken and defaced....

My third day's journey brought me to the ancient city of Blois, the
chief town of the department of Loire-et-Cher. This city is celebrated
for the purity with which even the lower classes of its inhabitants
speak their native tongue. It rises precipitously from the northern
bank of the Loire; and many of its streets are so steep as to be
almost impassable for carriages. On the brow of the hill, overlooking
the roofs of the city, and commanding a fine view of the Loire and its
noble bridge, and the surrounding country, sprinkled with cottages and
châteaux, runs an ample terrace, planted with trees, and laid out as a
public walk. The view from this terrace is one of the most beautiful
in France. But what most strikes the eye of the traveler at Blois is
an old, tho still unfinished, castle. Its huge parapets of hewn stone
stand upon either side of the street; but they have walled up the wide
gateway, from which the colossal drawbridge was to have sprung high in
air, connecting together the main towers of the building, and the two
hills upon whose slope its foundations stand. The aspect of this vast
pile is gloomy and desolate. It seems as if the strong hand of the
builder had been arrested in the midst of his task by the stronger
hand of death; and the unfinished fabric stands a lasting monument
both of the power and weakness of man--of his vast desires, his
sanguine hopes, his ambitious purposes--and of the unlooked-for
conclusion, where all these desires, and hopes, and purposes are so
often arrested. There is also at Blois another ancient château, to
which some historic interest is attached as being the scene of the
massacre of the Duke of Guise.

On the following day, I left Blois for Amboise; and, after walking
several leagues along the dusty highway, crossed the river in a boat
to the little village of Moines, which lies amid luxuriant vineyards
upon the southern bank of the Loire. From Moines to Amboise the road
is truly delightful. The rich lowland scenery, by the margin of the
river, is verdant even in October; and occasionally the landscape is
diversified with the picturesque cottages of the vintagers, cut in the
rock along the road-side, and overhung by the thick foliage of the
vines above them.

At Amboise I took a cross-road, which led me to the romantic borders
of the Cher and the château of Chenonceau. This beautiful château, as
well as that of Chambord, was built by the gay and munificent Francis
the First. One is a specimen of strong and massive architecture--a
dwelling for a warrior; but the other is of a lighter and more
graceful construction, and was designed for those soft languishments
of passion with which the fascinating Diane de Poitiers had filled the
bosom of that voluptuous monarch.

The château of Chenonceau is built upon arches across the river Cher,
whose waters are made to supply the deep moat at each extremity. There
is a spacious courtyard in front, from which a drawbridge conducts to
the outer hall of the castle. There the armor of Francis the First
still hangs upon the wall--his shield, and helm, and lance--as if the
chivalrous but dissolute prince had just exchanged them for the silken
robes of the drawing-room.... Doubtless the naked walls and the vast
solitary chambers of an old and desolate château inspire a feeling of
greater solemnity and awe; but when the antique furniture of the olden
time remains--the faded tapestry on the walls, and the arm-chair
by the fire-side--the effect upon the mind is more magical and
delightful. The old inhabitants of the place, long gathered to their
fathers, tho living still in history, seem to have left their halls
for the chase or the tournament; and as the heavy door swings upon its
reluctant hinge, one almost expects to see the gallant princes and
courtly dames enter those halls again, and sweep in stately procession
along the silent corridors....

A short time after candle-lighting, I reached the little tavern of the
Boule d'Or, a few leagues from Tours, where I passed the night. The
following morning was lowering and sad. A veil of mist hung over
the landscape, and ever and anon a heavy shower burst from the
overburdened clouds, that were driving by before a high and piercing
wind. This unpropitious state of the weather detained me until noon,
when a cabriolet for Tours drove up, and taking a seat within it, I
left the hostess of the Boule d'Or in the middle of a long story about
a rich countess, who always alighted there when she passed that way.
We drove leisurely along through a beautiful country, till at length
we came to the brow of a steep hill, which commands a fine view of the
city of Tours and its delightful environs. But the scene was
shrouded by the heavy drifting mist, through which I could trace but
indistinctly the graceful sweep of the Loire, and the spires and roofs
of the city far below me.

The city of Tours and the delicious plain in which it lies have been
too often described by other travelers to render a new description,
from so listless a pen as mine, either necessary or desirable. After a
sojourn of two cloudy and melancholy days, I set out on my return to
Paris, by the way of Vendôme and Chartres. I stopt a few hours at
the former place, to examine the ruins of a château built by Jeanne
d'Albret, mother of Henry the Fourth. It stands upon the summit of a
high and precipitous hill, and almost overhangs the town beneath. The
French Revolution has completed the ruin that time had already begun;
and nothing now remains, but a broken and crumbling bastion, and here
and there a solitary tower dropping slowly to decay. In one of these
is the grave of Jeanne d'Albret. A marble entablature in the wall
above contains the inscription, which is nearly effaced, tho enough
still remains to tell the curious traveler that there lies buried the
mother of the "Bon Henri." To this is added a prayer that the repose
of the dead may be respected.

Here ended my foot excursion. The object of my journey was
accomplished; and, delighted with this short ramble through the valley
of the Loire, I took my seat in the diligence for Paris, and on the
following day was again swallowed up in the crowds of the metropolis,
like a drop in the bosom of the sea.


[Footnote A: From "Old Touraine." Published by James Pott & Co.]


The Castle of Amboise stands high above the town, like another
Acropolis above a smaller Athens; it rises upon the only height
visible for some distance, and is in a commanding position for holding
the level fields of Touraine around it, and securing the passage of
the Loire between Tours and Chaumont, which is the next link in the
chain that ends at Blois.

The river at this point is divided in two by an island, as is so often
the case where the first bridge-builders sought to join the wide banks
of the Loire, and on this little spot between the waters Clovis is
said to have met Alaric before he overthrew the power of the Visigoths
in Aquitaine.

Amboise gains even more from the river than the other châteaux of
the Loire. The magnificent round tower that springs from the end of
Charles VIII.'s façade completely commands the approaches of the
bridge, and the extraordinary effect of lofty masonry, produced by
building on the summit of an elevation and carrying the stone courses
upward from the lower ground, is here seen at its best....

But Amboise has a history before the days of Charles VIII. There was
without doubt a Roman camp here, but the traditions of the ubiquitous
Caesar must be received with caution. The so-called "Greniers de
Caesar," strange, unexplained constructions caverned in the soft rock,
are proved to be the work of a later age by that same indefatigable
Abbé Chevalier to whom we have been already indebted for so much
archeological research. A possible explanation of them is contained in
an old Latin history of the castle, which goes down to the death of
Stephen of England. According to this, the Romans had held Amboise
from the days of Caesar till the reign of Diocletian; the Baugaredi or
Bagaudee then put them to flight, but let the rest of the inhabitants
remain who, "being afraid to live above ground, tunnelled beneath it,
and made a great colony of subterranean dwellings in the holes they
had dug out," a custom apparently common in Touraine from the earliest
times. The Romans at any rate left unmistakable traces of their
presence; many of their architectural remains still exist, and their
fort is spoken of by Sulpicius Severus; but they can have built no
bridge of alone, for in St. Gregory's time there were only boats
available for crossing the river.

Not till the fifteenth century did the castle become royal property,
when it was confiscated by Charles VII. as a punishment for
treacherous dealings with the invading English very similar to
the treason discovered at Chenonceaux just before. But beyond
strengthening the fortification of the place this king did little for
his new possession.

In a few years the castle is overshadowed by the cruel specter of
Louis XI., whose memory has already spoiled several charming views
for us. It was to Amboise that the father of this unfilial prince
was carried from Chinon on his way north, when wearied out by the
annoyance caused by the Dauphin's plots. The castle had become a royal
residence, and soon after the whole town turns out to meet the new
king with a "morality-play made by Master Étienne for the joyous
occasion of his arrival," for Amboise was already famous for those
dramatic performances always so dear to the French, and particularly
to these citizens, in the old days at any rate. There is no trace of
such frivolities now in the sleepy little town....

The two great towers of Amboise with the inclined planes of brickwork,
which wind upward in the midst instead of staircases, were the result
of the work which Charles set on foot as a distraction of his grief.
These strange ascents had been partially restored by the Comte de
Paris, the present owner of Amboise, before his exile stopt the work
of repairing the chateau, and it is still possible to imagine the
"charrettes, mullets, et litières," of which Du Bellay speaks,
mounting from the low ground to the chambers above, or the Emperor
Charles V., in later years, riding up with his royal host Francis I.,
always fond of display, amid such a blaze of flambeaux "that a man
might see as clearly as at mid-day."

These great towers and the exquisite little chapel were the work of
the "excellent sculptors and artists from Naples" who, as Commines
tells us, were brought back with the spoils of the Italian wars; for
the young king "never thought of death" but only of collecting round
him "all the beautiful things which he had seen and which had given
him pleasure, from France or Italy or Flanders;" but death came upon
him suddenly. At the end of a garden walk, fringed with a mossy grove
of limes that rises from the river bank, is the little doorway through
which Charles VIII. was passing when he hit his head, never a
very strong one, against the low stone arch, and died a few hours
afterward. The castle had been fortified before his time; he left it
beautiful as well, and the traces of his work are those which are most
striking at the present day....

Within the shadow of the lime trees on the terraced garden of Amboise
is a small bust of Leonardo da Vinci, for it was near here he died.
His remains are laid in the beautiful chapel at the corner of
the castle court, and the romantic story of his last moments at
Fontainebleau becomes the sad reality of a tombstone covering ashes
mostly unknown and certainly indistinguishable; "among which" as the
epitaph painfully records, "are supposed to be the remains of Leonardo
da Vinci." He had been brought to Paris a weak old man, by Francis,
in pursuance of a certain fixt artistic policy, to which it may be
noticed this forgotten and uncertain grave does but little credit.

To Francis I., rightly or wrongly, is given the glory of having
naturalized in France the arts of Italy; to him is due the
architecture built for ease and charm which turned the fortress into a
beautiful habitation, which changed Chambord from a feudal stronghold
to a country seat, and which left its traces at Amboise, as it did
at Chaumont and at Blois. He found in France the highest and most
beautiful expression of the work of "the great unnamed race of
master-masons," he found the traditions of a national school of
painting, the work of Fouquet and the Clouets, but for these he cared
not; for him the only schools were those of Rome and Florence, and
tho by encouraging their imitation he weakened the vital sincerity of
French art, yet from his first exercise of royal power the consistency
always somewhat lacking in his politics was shown clearly and firmly
in his taste for art.


[Footnote A: From "Castles and Chateaux of Old Touraine." By special
arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, L.C. Page &
Co. Copyright, 1908.]


Blois, among all the other cities of the Loire, is the favorite with
the tourist. Here one first meets a great château of state; and
certainly the Château de Blois lives in one's memory more than any
other château in France.

Much has been written of Blois, its counts, its château, and its many
and famous hôtels of the nobility, by writers of all opinions and
abilities, from those old chroniclers who wrote of the plots and
intrigues of other days to those critics of art and architecture who
have discovered--or think they have discovered--that Da Vinci designed
the famous spiral staircase.

From this one may well gather that Blois is the foremost château of
all the Loire in popularity and theatrical effect. Truly this is so,
but it is by no manner of means the most lovable; indeed, it is the
least lovable of all that great galaxy which begins at Blois and ends
at Nantes. It is a show-place and not much more, and partakes in
every form and feature--as one sees it to-day--of the attributes of a
museum, and such it really is.

All of its former gorgeousness is still there, and all the banalities
of the later period when Gaston of Orleans built his ugly wing, for
the "personally conducted" to marvel at, and honeymoon couples to
envy. The French are quite fond of visiting this shrine themselves,
but usually it is the young people and their mammas, and detached
couples of American and English birth that one most sees strolling
about the courts and apartments where formerly lords and ladies and
cavaliers moved and plotted.

The great château of the Counts of Blois is built upon an inclined
rock which rises above the roof-tops of the lower town quite in
fairy-book fashion. Commonly referred to as the Château de Blois, it
is really composed of four separate and distinct foundations; the
original château of the counts; the later addition of Louis XII.; the
palace of Francis I., and the most unsympathetically and dismally
disposed pavilion of Gaston of Orleans.

The artistic qualities of the greater part of the distinct edifice
which go to make up the château as it stands to-day are superb, with
the exception of that great wing of Gaston's, before mentioned, which
is as cold and unfeeling as the overrated palace at Versailles.

The Comtes de Chatillon built that portion just to the right of the
present entrance; Louis XII., the edifice through which one enters
the inner court and which extends far to the left, including also
the chapel immediately to the rear; while François I., who here as
elsewhere let his unbounded Italian proclivities have full sway, built
the extended wing to the left of the inner court and fronting on the
present Place du Château, formerly the Place Royale....

As an architectural monument the château is a picturesque assemblage
of edifices belonging to many different epochs, and, as such, shows,
as well as any other document of contemporary times, the varying
ambitions and emotions of its builders, from the rude and rough
manners of the earliest of feudal times through the highly refined
Renaissance details of the imaginative brain of François, down to the
base concoction of the elder Mansart, produced at the commands of
Gaston of Orleans.

In the earliest structure were to be seen all the attributes of a
feudal fortress, towers and walls pierced with narrow loopholes,
and damp, dark dungeons hidden away in the thick walls. Then came a
structure which was less of a fortress and more habitable, but still a
stronghold, tho having ample and decorative doorways and windows, with
curious sculptures and rich framings. Then the pompous Renaissance
with "escaliers" and "balcons á jour," balustrades crowning the walls
and elaborate cornices here, there, and everywhere--all bespeaking
the gallantry and taste of the knightly king. Finally came the cold,
classic features of the period of the brother of Louis XIII.

In plan the Château de Bois forms an irregular square situated at
the apex of a promontory high above the surface of the Loire,
and practically behind the town itself. The building has a most
picturesque aspect, and, to those who know, gives practically a
history of the château architecture of the time. Abandoned, mutilated
and dishonored, from time to time, the structure gradually took on new
forms until the thick walls underlying the apartment known to-day as
the Salle des États--probably the most ancient portion of all--were
overshadowed by the great richness of the fifteenth and sixteenth

From the platform one sees a magnificent panorama of the city and the
far-reaching Loire, which unrolls itself southward and northward for
many leagues, its banks covered by rich vineyards and crowned by thick

The building of Louis XII. presents its brick-faced exterior in black
and red lozenge shapes, with sculptured window-frames, squarely upon
the little tree-bordered place of to-day, which in other times formed
a part of that magnificent terrace which looked down upon the roof
of the Église St. Nicholas, and the Jesuit church of the Immaculate
Conception, and the silvery bell of the Loire itself.

The murders and other acts of violence and treason which took place
here are interesting enough, but one can not but feel, when he views
the chimney-piece before which the Due de Guise was standing when
called to his death in the royal closet, that the men of whom the
bloody tales of Blois are told quite deserved their fates.

One comes away with the impression of it all stamped only upon the
mind, not graven upon the heart. Political intrigue to-day, if quite
as vulgar, is less sordid. Bigotry and ambition in those days allowed
few of the finer feelings to come to the surface, except with regard
to the luxuriance of surroundings. Of this last there can be no
question, and Blois is as characteristically luxurious as any of the
magnificient edifices which lodged the royalty and nobility of other
days throughout the valley of the Loire.

The interior court is partly surrounded by a colonnade, quite
cloister-like in effect. At the right center of the François I. wing
is that wonderful spiral staircase, concerning the invention of which
so much speculation has been launched.

The apartments of Catherine de Medici were directly beneath the
guard-room where the Balafré was murdered, and that event, taking
place at the very moment when the queen-mother was dying, can not be
said to have been conducive to a peaceful demise.

Here, on the first floor of the François I. wing, the queen-mother,
held her court, as did the king his. The great gallery over-looked the
town on the side of the present Place du Château. It was, and is, a
truly grand apartment, with diamond-paned windows, and rich, dark wall
decorations on which Catherine's device, a crowned C and her monogram
in gold, frequently appears. There was, moreover, a great oval
window, opposite which stood her altar, and a doorway led to her
writing-closet, with its secret drawers and wall panels, which well
served her purpose of intrigue and deceit.

A hidden stair-way led to the floor above, and there was a
chambre-à-coucher, with a deep recess for the bed, the same to which
she called her son Henri, as she lay dying, admonishing him to give
up the thought of murdering Guise. "What," said Henri, on this
embarrassing occasion, "spare Guise, when he, triumphant in Paris,
dared lay his hand on the hilt of his sword. Spare him who drove me a
fugitive from the capital. Spare them who never spared me. No, mother,
I will not."

As the queen-mother drew near her end, and was lying ill at Blois,
great events for France were culminating at the château. Henry III.
had become King of France, and the Balafré, supported by Rome and
Spain, was in open rebellion against the reigning house, and the word
had gone forth that the Duc de Guise must die.

The States-General were to be immediately assembled, and De Guise,
once the poetic lover of Marguerite, through his emissaries canvassed
all France to ensure the triumph of the party of the church against
Henri de Navarre and his queen--the Marguerite whom De Guise once
profest to love--who soon were to come to the throne of France.

The uncomfortable Henri III. had been told that he would never be king
in reality until De Guise had been made away with.

The final act of the drama between the rival houses of Guise and
Valois came when the king and his council came to Blois for the
assembly. The sunny city of Blois was indeed to be the scene of a
momentous affair, and a truly sumptuous setting it was, the roof-tops
of its houses sloping downward gently to the Loire, with its chief
accessory, the coiffed and turreted chateau itself, high above all

Details had been arranged with infinite pains, the guard doubled, and
a company of Swiss posted around the courtyard and up and down
the gorgeous staircase. Every nook and corner has its history in
connection with this greatest event in the history of the château of

As Guise entered the council chamber he was told that the king would
see him in his closet, to reach which one had to pass through the
guard-room below. The door was barred behind him that he might not
return, when the trusty guards of the Forty-fifth, under Dalahaide,
already hidden behind the wall-tapestry, sprang upon the Balafré and
forced him back upon the closed door through which he had just passed.
Guise fell stabbed in the breast by Malines, and "lay long uncovered
until an old carpet was found in which to wrap his corpse."

Below, in her own apartments, lay the queen-mother, dying, but
listening eagerly for the rush of footsteps overhead, hoping and
praying that Henri--the hitherto effeminate Henri who played with his
sword as he would with a battledore, and who painted himself like a
woman, and put rings in his ears--would not prejudice himself at this
time in the eyes of Rome by slaying the leader of the church party....

It was under the régime of Gaston d'Orléans that the gardens of the
Château de Blois came to their greatest excellence and beauty. In
1653, Abel Brunyer, the first physician of Gaston's suite, published a
catalog of the fruit and flowers to be found here in these gardens,
of which he was also director. More than five hundred varieties were
included, three-quarters of which belonged to the flora of France.

Among the delicacies and novelties of the time to be found here was
the Prunier de Reine Claude, from which those delicious green plums
known to all the world to-day as "Reine Claudes" were propagated, also
another variety which came from the Prunier de Monsieur, somewhat
similar in taste, but of a deep purple color. The potato was tenderly
cared for and grown as a great novelty and delicacy long before its
introduction to general cultivation by Parmentier. The tomato was
imported from Mexico, and even tobacco was grown....

In 1793 all the symbols and emblems of royalty were removed from
the château and destroyed. The celebrated bust of Gaston, the chief
artistic attribute of that part of the edifice built by him, was
decapitated, and the statue of Louis XII. over the entrance gateway
was overturned and broken up. Afterward the château became the
property of the "domaine" and was turned into a mere barracks. The
pavilion of Queen Anne became a military magazine, the Tour de
l'Observatoire, a powder-magazine, and all the indignities imaginable
were heaped upon the château.

In 1814 Blois became the last capital of Napoleon's empire, and the
château walls sheltered the prisoners captured by the imperial army.


[Footnote A: From "Old Touraine." Published by James Pott & Co.]


The road that leads from Blois to Chambord crosses the Loire by a fine
stone bridge, which the inscription sets forth to be the first public
work of Louis Philippe.

For some distance the rails of a small tramway followed the road by
which our carriage was slowly rolling toward the level plains of the
Cologne, but we gradually left such uncompromising signs of activity,
and came into a flat country of endless vineyards, with here and there
a small plaster tower showing its slated roof above the low green
clusters of the vines. We passed through several villages, whose
inhabitants that day seemed to have but one care upon their minds,
like the famous Scilly Islanders, to gain a precarious livelihood by
taking each other's washing. On every bush and briar fluttered the
household linen and the family apparel, of various textures and in
different states of despair; and with that strict observance of
utility which is the chief characteristic of the French peasant, the
inevitable blouses, of faded blue were blown into shapeless bundles
even along the railings of the churchyard tombs.

At last we came to an old moss-grown wall, and through a broken
gateway entered what is called the Park of Chambord. There is very
little of it to be seen now, the trees have been ruthlessly cut down
and mutilated, and of the wild boars, which Francis I. was so fond
of hunting there is left only the ghostly quarry that Thibault of
Champagne chases through the air, while the sound of his ghostly
horn echoes down the autumn night as the fantom pack sweeps by to

It is impossible for the uninstructed mind to grasp the plan or method
of this mass of architecture; yet it is unsatisfactory to give it up,
with Mr. Henry James, "as an irresponsible, insoluble labyrinth."
M. Viollet-le-Duc, with a sympathetic denial of any extreme and
over-technical admiration, gives just that intelligible account of the
château which is a compromise between the unmeaning adulation of its
contemporary critics and the ignorance of the casual traveler.

"Chambord," says he, "must be taken for what it is; for an attempt in
which the architect sought to reconcile the methods of two opposite
principles, to unite in one building the fortified castle of the
Middle Ages and the pleasure-palace of the sixteenth century." Granted
that the attempt was an absurd one, it must be remembered that the
Renaissance was but just beginning in France; Gothic art seemed out
of date, yet none other had established itself to take its place. In
literature, in morals, as in architecture, this particular phase in
the civilization of the time has already become evident even in the
course of these small wanderings in a single province, and if only
this transition period is realized in all its meaning, with all the
"monstrous and inform" characteristics that were inevitably a part of
it, the mystery of this strange sixteenth century in France is half
explained, of this "glorious devil, large in heart and brain, that did
love beauty only" and would have it somewhere, somehow, at whatever

Francis I. had passed his early years at Cognac, at Amboise, or
Romorantin, and when he first saw Chambord it was only the old feudal
manor-house built by the Counts of Blois. He transformed it, not by
the help of Primaticcio, with whose name it is tempting to associate
any building of this king's, for the methods of contemporary Italian
architecture were totally different; but, as Mr. de la Saussaye
proves, by the skill of that fertile school of art particularly of one
Maitre Pierre Trinqueau, or Le Nepveu, whose name is connected with
more successful buildings at Amboise and Blois. The plan is that
of the true French château; in the center is the habitation of the
seigneur and his family, flanked by four angle towers; on three sides
is a court closed by buildings, also with towers at each angle, and
like most feudal dwellings the central donjon has one of its sides on
the exterior of the whole ...

It may well be imagined that Chambord is the parody of the old
castles, just as the Abbey of Thélème parodies the abbeys of the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Both heaped a fatal ridicule upon
the bygone age, but what Rabelais could only dream Francis could
realize, yet not with the unfettered perfection that was granted to
the vision of Gargantua; for surely never was the spirit of the time,
seized and smitten into incongruous shapes of stone at so unfortunate
a moment, just when the old Renaissance was striving to take upon
itself the burden which was too heavy for the failing Gothic spirit,
just when success was coming, but had not yet come.

It is only from within the court, where the great towers fling their
shadows over the space, where pinnacles and gables soar into the air,
and strange gargoyles and projectures shoot from the darkness into
light, that it is possible to realize the admiration which Chambord
roused when it was first created. Brantôme waxes enthusiastic over its
wonders, and describes how the king had drawn up plans (mercifully
never carried out) to divert the waters of the Loire to his new
palace, not content with the slender stream of Cosson, from which
the place derived its name. Others compare it to a palace put of the
Arabian Nights raised at the Prince's bidding by a Genie, or like
Lippomano, the Venetian ambassador, to "the abode of Morgana or
Alcinous"; but this topheavy barrack is anything rather than a "fairy
monument"; it might with as much humor be called a "souvenir of first
loves," as M. de la Saussaye has it. Both descriptions fit Chenonceaux
admirably; when used of Chambord they are out of place.


[Footnote A: From "Castles and Chateaux of Old Touraine." By special
arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, L.C. Page &
Co. Copyright, 1906.]


Chenonceaux is noted chiefly for its château, but the little village
itself is charming. The houses of the village are not very new, nor
very old, but the one long street is most attractive throughout its
length, and the whole atmosphere of the place, from September to
December, is odorous with the perfume of red and purple grapes. The
vintage is not equal to that of the Bordeaux region, perhaps, nor
of Chinon, nor Saumur, but "vin du pays" of the Cher and the Loire,
around Tours, is not to be despised.

Most tourists come to Chenonceaux by train from Tours; others drive
over from Amboise, and yet others come by bicycle or automobile. They
are not as yet so numerous as might be expected, and accordingly here,
as elsewhere in Touraine, every facility is given for visiting the
château and its park.

If you do not hurry off at once to worship at the abode of the
fascinating Diane, one of the brightest ornaments of the court of
François I. and his son Henri, you will enjoy your dinner at the Hôtel
du Bon Laboureur, tho most likely it will be a solitary one, and you
will be put to bed in a great chamber over-looking the park, through
which peep, in the moonlight, the turrets of the château, and you
may hear the purling of the waters of the Cher as it flows below the

Jean Jacques Rousseau, like François I., called Chenonceaux a
beautiful place, and he was right. It is all of that and more. Here
one comes into direct contact with an atmosphere which, if not feudal,
or even medieval, is at least that of several hundred years ago.

Chenonceaux is moored like a ship in the middle of the rapidly running
Cher, a dozen miles or more above where that stream enters the Loire.
As a matter of fact, the château practically bridges the river, which
flows under its foundations and beneath its drawbridge on either side,
besides filling the moat with water. The general effect is as if the
building were set in the midst of a stream and formed a sort of island
château. Round about is a gentle meadow and a great park, which gives
to this turreted, architectural gem of Touraine a setting equalled by
no other château.

What the château was in former days we can readily imagine, for
nothing is changed as to the general disposition. Boats came to the
water-gate, as they still might do if such boats still existed, in
true, pictorial legendary fashion. To-day the present occupant has
placed a curiosity on the ornamental waters in the shape of a gondola.
It is out of keeping with the grand fabric of the château, and it is a
pity that it does not cast itself adrift some night. What has become
of the gondolier, who was imported to keep the craft company, nobody
seems to know. He is certainly not in evidence, or, if he is, has
transformed himself into a groom or a chauffeur.

The château of Chenonceaux is not a very ample structure; not so ample
as most photographs would make it appear. It is not tiny, but still it
has not the magnificent proportions of Blois, of Chambord, or even of
Langeais. It was more a habitation than it was a fortress, a
country house, as indeed it virtually became when the Connétable de
Montmorency took possession of the structure in the name of the king,
when its builder, Thomas Bohier, the none too astute minister of
finance in Normandy, came to grief in his affairs.

Francis I came frequently here to hunt, and his memory is still kept
alive by the Chambre François I. François held possession till his
death, when his son made it over to the "admired of two generations,"
Diane de Poitiers.

Diane's memory will never leave Chenonceaux. To-day it is perpetuated
in the Chambre de Diane de Poitiers; but the portrait by Leonardo da
Vinci, which was supposed to best show her charms, has now disappeared
from the Long Gallery at the château. This portrait was painted at the
command of François, before Diane transferred her affections to his

No one knows when or how Diane de Poitiers first came to fascinate
François, or how or why her power waned. At any rate at the time
François pardoned her father, the witless Comte de St. Vallier, for
the treacherous part he played in the Bourbon conspiracy, he really
believed her to to be the "brightest ornament of a beauty-loving

Certainly, Diane was a powerful factor in the politics of her time,
tho François himself soon tired of her. Undaunted by this, she
forthwith set her cap for his son Henri, the Duc d'Orléans, and won
him, too. Of her beauty the present generation is able to judge for
itself by reason of the three well-known and excellent portraits of
contemporary times.

Diane's influence over the young Henri was absolute. At his death
her power was, of course, at an end and Chenonceaux, and all else
possible, was taken from her by the orders of Catherine, the
long-suffering wife, who had been put aside for the fascinations of
the charming huntress.

It must have been some satisfaction, however, to Diane, to know that,
in his fatal joust with Montgomery, Henri really broke his lance and
met his death in her honor, for the records tell that he bore her
colors on his lance, besides her initials set in gold and gems on his

Catherine's eagerness to drive Diane from the court was so great, that
no sooner had her spouse fallen--even tho he did not actually die for
some days--than she sent word to Diane "who sat weeping alone," to
quit the court instantly; to give up the crown jewels--which Henri had
somewhat inconsiderately given her; and to "give up Chenonceaux in
Touraine," Catherine's Naboth's vineyard, which she had so long
admired and coveted.

She had known it as a girl, when she often visited it in company with
her father-in-law, the appreciative but dissolute François, and had
ever longed to possess it for her own, before even her husband, now
dead, had given it to "that old hag Diane de Poitiers, Duchesse de

Diane paid no heed to Catherine's command. She simply asked: "Is the
king yet dead?"

"No, madame," said the messenger, "but his wound is mortal; he can not
live the day."

"Tell the queen, then." replied Diane, "that her reign is not yet
come; that I am mistress still over her and the kingdom as long as the
king breathes the breath of life."

The château of Chenonceaux, so greatly coveted by Catherine when she
first came to France, and when it was in the possession of Diane,
still remains in all the regal splendor of its past. It lies in the
lovely valley of the Cher, far from the rush and turmoil of cities and
even the continuous traffic of great thoroughfares, for it is on the
road to nowhere unless one is journeying crosscountry from the lower
to the upper Loire. This very isolation resulted in its being one
of the few monuments spared from the furies of the Revolution, and,
"half-palace and half-château," it glistens with the purity of its
former glory, as picturesque as ever, with turrets, spires, and
roof-tops all mellowed with the ages in a most entrancing manner.

Even to-day one enters the precincts of the château proper over a
drawbridge which spans an arm of the Loire, or rather, a moat which
leads directly from the parent stream. On the opposite side are the
bridge piers supporting five arches, the work of Diane when she was
the fair chatelaine of the domain. This ingenious thought proved to
be a most useful and artistic addition to the château. It formed a
flagged promenade, lovely in itself, and led to the southern bank of
the Cher, whence one got charming vistas of the turrets and roof-tops
of the château through the trees and the leafy avenues which converged
upon the structure.

When Catherine came she did not disdain to make the best use of
Diane's innovation that suggested itself to her, which was simply to
build the Long Gallery over the arches of this lovely bridge, and so
make of it a veritable house over the water. A covering was made quite
as beautiful as the rest of the structure, and thus the bridge formed
a spacious wing of two stories. The first floor--known as the Long
Gallery--was intended as a banqueting-hall, and possest four great
full-length windows on either side looking up and down the stream,
from which was seen--and is to-day--an outlook as magnificently
idyllic as is possible to conceive. Jean Goujon had designed for the
ceiling one of those wonder-works for which he was famous, but if the
complete plan was ever carried out, it has disappeared, for only a
tiny sketch of the whole scheme remains to-day.

Catherine came in the early summer to take possession of her
long-coveted domain. Being a skilful horsewoman, she came on
horseback, accompanied by a little band of feminine charmers destined
to wheedle political secrets from friends and enemies alike--a real
"flying squadron of the queen," as it was called by a contemporary.

It was a gallant company that assembled here at this time--the young
King Charles IX., the Duc de Guise, and the "two cardinals mounted on
mules"--Lorraine, a true Guise, and D'Este, newly arrived from Italy,
and accompanied by the poet Tasso, wearing a "gabardine and a hood
of satin." Catherine showed the Italian great favor, as was due a
countryman, but there was another poet among them as well, Ronsard,
the poet laureate of the time. The Duc de Guise had followed in the
wake of Marguerite, unbeknown to Catherine, who frowned down any
possibility of an alliance between the houses of Valois and Lorraine.

A great fête and water-masque had been arranged by Catherine to take
place on the Cher, with a banquet to follow in the Long Gallery in
honor of her arrival at Chenonceaux.

When twilight had fallen, torches were ignited and myriads of lights
blazed forth from the boats on the river and from the windows of the
château. Music and song went forth into the night, and all was as gay
and lovely as a Venetian night's entertainment. The hunting-horns
echoed through the wooded banks, and through the arches above which
the château was built passed great highly colored barges, including a
fleet of gondolas to remind the queen-mother of her Italian days--the
ancestors perhaps of the solitary gondola which to-day floats idly by
the river-bank just before the grand entrance to the château. From
parterre and balustrade, and from the clipt yews of the ornamental
garden, fairy lamps burned forth and dwindled away into dim infinity,
as the long lines of soft light gradually lost themselves in the
forest. It was a grand affair and idyllic in its unworldliness ...

Catherine bequeathed Chenonceaux to the wife of Henry III., Louise
de Vaudémont, who died here in 1601. For a hundred years it still
belonged to royalty, but in 1730 it was sold to M. Dupin, who, with
his wife, enriched and repaired the fabric. They gathered around
them a company so famous as to be memorable in the annals of art
and literature. This is best shown by the citing of such names as
Fontenelle, Montesquieu, Buffon, Bolingbroke, Voltaire, and Rousseau,
all of whom were frequenters of the establishment, the latter being
charged with the education of the Dupins' only son.

Chenonceaux to-day is no whited sepulcher. It is a real living and
livable thing, and moreover, when one visits it, he observes that the
family burn great logs in their fireplaces, have luxurious bouquets of
flowers on their dining-table, and use wax candles instead of the more
prosaic oil-lamps, or worse--acetyline gas.


[Footnote A: From "Castles and Châteaux of Old Navarre." By special
arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, L.C. Page &
Co. Copyright, 1907.]


Above the swift flowing Ariège in their superb setting of mountain
and forest are the towers and parapets of the old château, in itself
enough to make the name and fame of any city.... The actual age of
the monument covers many epochs. The two square towers and the main
edifice, as seen to-day, are anterior to the thirteenth century, as is
proved by the design in the seals of the Comtes de Foix of 1215 and
1241 now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. In the fourteenth
century these towers were strengthened and enlarged with the idea of
making them more effective for defense and habitation.

The escutcheons of Foix, Beam and Comminges, to be seen in the great
central tower, indicate that it, too, goes back at least to the end
of the fourteenth century, when Eleanore de Comminges, the mother of
Gaston Phoebus, ruled the Comté. The donjon or Tour Ronde arises on
the west to a height of forty-two meters; and will be remarked by all
familiar with these sermons in stones scattered all over France as one
of the most graceful. Legend attributes it to Gaston Phoebus; but all
authorities do not agree as to this. The window-and door-openings, the
moldings, the accolade over the entrance doorway, and the machicoulis
all denote that they belong to the latter half of the fifteenth
century. These, however, may be later interpolations.

Originally one entered the château from exactly the opposite side from
that used to-day. The slope leading up to the rock and swinging around
in front of the town is an addition of recent years. Formerly the
plateau was gained by a rugged path which finally entered the
precincts of the fortress through a rectangular barbican.

Finally, to sum it up, the pleasant, smiling, trim little city of
Foix, and its château rising romantically above it, form a delightful
prospect. Well preserved, well protected and forever free from further
desecration, the château de Fois is as nobly impressive and glorious
a monument of the Middle Ages as may be found in France, as well as
chief record of the gallant days of the Comtes de Foix. Foix' Palais
de Justice, built back to back with the rock foundation of the
château, is itself a singular piece of architecture containing a small
collection of local antiquities. This old Maison des Gouverneurs, now
the Palais de Justice, is a banal, unlovely thing, regardless of its
high-sounding titles....

It was that great hunter and warrior, Gaston Phoebus, who gave the
Château de Foix its greatest lustre. It was here that this most
brilliant and most celebrated of the counts passed his youth; and it
was from here that he set out on his famous expedition to aid his
brother knights of the Teutonic Order in Prussia. At Gaston's orders
the Comte d'Armagnac was imprisoned here, to be released after the
payment of a heavy ransom. As to the motive for this particular act,
authorities differ as to whether it was the fortune of war or mere

They lived high, the nobles of the old days, and Froissart recounts a
banquet at which he had assisted at Foix, in the sixteenth century, as

"And this was what I saw in the Comté de Foix: The Comte left his
chamber to sup at midnight, the way to the great 'salle' being led by
twelve varlets, bearing twelve illumined torches. The great hall was
crowded with knights and equerries, and those who would supped, saying
nothing meanwhile. Mostly game seemed to be the favorite viand, and
the legs and wings only of fowl were eaten. Music and chants were the
invariable accompaniment and the company remained at table until after
two in the morning. Little or nothing was drunk."




[Footnote A: From "In and Out of Three Normandy Inns." By special
arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Little Brown &
Co. Copyright, 1892.]


The promised rivers were before us. So was the Mont, spectral no
longer, but nearing with every plunge forward of our sturdy young
Percheron. Locomotion through any new or untried medium is certain
to bring with the experiment a dash of elation. Now, driving through
water appears to be no longer the fashion in our fastidious century;
someone might get a wetting, possibly, has been the conclusion of the
prudent. And thus a very innocent and exciting bit of fun has been
gradually relegated among the lost arts of pleasure.

We were taking water as we had never taken it before, and liking the
method. We were as wet as ducks, but what cared we? We were being
deluged with spray; the spume of the sea was spurting in our faces
with the force of a strong wet breeze, and still we liked it. Besides,
driving thus into the white foam of the waters, over the sand ridges,
across the downs, into the wide plains of wet mud, this was the old
classical way of going up to the Mont.

Surely, what had been found good enough as a pathway for kings, and
saints and pilgrims should be good enough for lovers of old-time
methods. The dike yonder was built for those who believe in the devil
of haste, and for those who also serve him faithfully....

With our first toss upon the downs, a world of new and fresh
experiences began. Genets was quite right; the Mont over yonder was
another country; even at the very beginning of the journey we learned
so much. This breeze blowing in from the sea, that had swept the
ramparts of the famous rock, was a double extract of the sea-essence;
it had all the salt of the sea and the aroma of firs and wild flowers;
its lips had not kissed a garden in high air without the perfume
lingering, if only to betray them.

Even this strip of meadow marsh had a character peculiar to itself;
half of it belonged to earth and half to the sea. You might have
thought it an inland pasture, with its herds of cattle, its flocks
of sheep, and its colonies of geese patrolled by ragged urchins. But
behold somewhere out yonder the pasture was lost in high sea-waves;
ships with bulging sails replaced the curve of the cattle's sides and
instead of bending necks of sheep, there were sea-gulls swooping down
upon the foamy waves.

As the incarnation of this dual life of sea and land, the rock
stands. It also is both of the sea and the land. Its feet are of the
waters--rocks and stones the sea-waves have used as playthings these
millions of years. But earth regains possession as the rocks pile
themselves into a mountain. Even from this distance, one can see the
moving of great trees, the masses of yellow flower-tips that dye the
sides of the stony hill, and the strips of green grass here and there.

So much has nature done for this wonderful pyramid in the sea. Then
man came and fashioned it to his liking. He piled the stones at its
base into titanic walls; he carved about its sides the rounded breasts
of bastions; he piled higher and higher up the dizzy heights a medley
of palaces, convents, abbeys, cloisters, to lay at the very top the
fitting crown of all, a jewelled Norman-Gothic cathedral.

Earth and man have thrown their gauntlet down to the sea--this rock is
theirs, they cry to the waves and the might of the oceans. And the sea
laughs--as strong men laugh when boys are angry or insistent. She has
let them build and toil, and pray and fight; it is all one to her what
is done on the rock--whether men carve its stones into lace, or rot
and die in its dungeons; it is all the same to her whether each spring
the daffodils creep up within the crevices and the irises nod to them
from the gardens.

It is all one to her. For twice a day she recaptures the Mont. She
encircles it with the strong arm of her tides; with the might of her
waters she makes it once more a thing of the sea.

The tide was rising now.

The fringe of the downs had dabbled in the shoals till they became
one. We had left behind the last of the shepherd lads, come out to the
edge of the land to search for a wandering kid. We were all at once
plunging into high water. Our road was sunk out of sight; we were
driving through, waves as high as our cart wheels....

Our cart still pitched and tossed--we were still rocked about in our
rough cradle. But the sun, now freed from the banks of clouds, was
lighting our way with a great and sudden glory. And for the rest of
our watery journey we were conscious only of that lighting. Behind the
Mont lay a vast sea of saffron. But it was in the sky; against it the
great rock was as black as if the night were upon it.

Here and there, through the curve of a flying buttress, or the
apertures of a pierced parapet, gay bits of this yellow world were
caught and framed. The sea lay beneath like a quiet carpet; and over
this carpet ships and sloops swam with easy gliding motion, with sails
and cordage dipt in gold. The smaller craft, moored close to the
shore, seemed transfigured as in a fog of gold. And nearer still were
the brown walls of the Mont making a great shadow, and in the shadow
the waters were as black as the skin of an African. In the shoals
there were lovely masses of turquoise and palest green; for here and
there a cloudlet passed, to mirror its complexion in the translucent

There was a rapid dashing beneath the great walls; a sudden night of
darkness as we plunged through an open archway into a narrow village
street; a confused impression of houses built into side-walls; of
machicolated gateways; of rocks and roof-tops tumbling about our ears;
and within the street was sounding the babel of a shrieking troop of
men and women. Porters, peasants, and children were clamoring about
our cartwheels like so many jackals. The bedlam did not cease as we
stopt before a brightly-lit open doorway.

Then through the doorway there came a tall, finely featured brunette.
She made her way through the yelling crowd as a duchess might cleave a
path through a rabble. She was at the side of the cart in an instant.
She gave us a bow and smile that were both a welcome and an act of
appropriation. She held out a firm, soft, brown hand. When it closed
on our own, we knew it to be the grasp of a friend, and the clasp of
one who knew how to hold her world. But when she spoke the words were
all of velvet, and her voice had the cadence of a caress.

"I have been watching you, 'chères dames'--crossing the 'gréve,' but
how wet and weary you must be! Come in by the fire, it is ablaze
now--I have been feeding it for you!"

And once more the beautifully curved lips parted over the fine teeth,
and the exceeding brightness of the dark eyes smiled and glittered in
our own. The caressing voice still led us forward, into the great gay
kitchen; the touch of skilful, discreet fingers undid wet cloaks and
wraps; the soft charm of a lovely and gracious woman made even the
penetrating warmth of the huge fire-logs a secondary feature of our

To those who have never crossed a "gréve;" who have had no jolting in
a Normandy "char-a-banc;" who, for hours, have not known the mixed
pleasures and discomfort of being a part of sea-rivers; and who have
not been met at the threshold of an Inn on a Rock by the smiling
welcome of Madame Poulard[A]--all such have yet a pleasant page to
read in the book of traveled experience....

[Footnote A: An innkeeper of international fame. She is now dead, but
her name and her omelet still survive at Mont St. Michel.]

Altho her people were waiting below, and the dinner was on its way to
the cloth, Madame Poulard had plenty of time to give to the beauty
about her. How fine was the outlook from the top of the ramparts!
What a fresh sensation, this of standing-on a terrace in mid-air and
looking down on the sea and across to the level shores. The rose
vines--we found them sweet--"Ah"--one of the branches had fallen--she
had full time to re-adjust the loosened support. And "Marianne, give
these ladies their hot water, and see to their bags"--even this order
was given with courtesy. It was only when the supple, agile figure had
left us to fly down the steep rock-cut steps; when it shot over the
top of the gateway and slid with the grace of a lizard into the street
far below us, that we were made sensible of there having been any
special need of madame's being in haste ...

The Mont proved by its appearance its history in adventure; it had the
grim, grave, battered look that comes only to features--whether of
rock or of more plastic human mold--that have been carved by the rough
handling of experience.

It is the common habit of hills and mountains, as we all know, to turn
disdainful as they grow skyward; they only too eagerly drop, one by
one, the things by which man has marked the earth for his own. To
stand on a mountain top and to go down to your grave are alike, at
least in this--that you have left everything, except yourself, behind
you. But it is both the charm and the triumph of Mont St. Michael,
that it carries so much of man's handiwork up into the blue fields of
the air; this achievement alone would mark it as unique among hills.
It appears as if for once man and nature had agreed to work in concert
to produce a masterpiece in stone. The hill and the architectural
beauties it carries aloft, are like a taunt flung out to sea and to
the upper heights of air; for centuries they appear to have been
crying aloud, "See what we can do, against your tempests and your
futile tides--when we try" ... Rustic France along this coast still
makes pilgrimages to the shrine of the Archangel St. Michael. No
marriage is rightly arranged which does not include a wedding-journey
across the "gréve"; no nuptial breakfast is aureoled with the true
halo of romance which is eaten elsewhere than on these heights in
mid-air. The young come to drink deep of wonders; the old, to refresh
the depleted fountains of memory; and the tourist, behold he is a
plague of locusts let loose upon the defenseless hill!

It was impossible, after sojourning a certain time upon the hill, not
to concede that there were two equally strong centers of attraction
that drew the world hitherward. One remained, indeed, gravely
suspended between the doubt and the fear, as to which of these
potential units had the greater pull, in point of actual attraction.
The impartial historian, given to a just weighing of evidence, would
have been startled to find how invariably the scales tipped; how
lightly an historical Mont, born of a miracle, crowned by the noblest
buildings, a pious Mecca for saints and kings innumerable, shot up
like feathers in lightness when overweighted by the modern realities
of a perfectly appointed inn, the cooking and eating of an omelet of
omelets, and the all-conquering charms of Madame Poulard.

The fog of doubt thickened as, day after day, the same scenes were
enacted; when one beheld all sorts of conditions of men similarly
affected; when, again and again, the potentiality in the human magnet
was proved true. Doubt turned to conviction, at the last, that the
holy shrine of St. Michael had, in truth, been violated; that the Mont
had been desecrated; that the latter exists now solely as a setting
for a pearl of an inn; and that within the shrine--it is Madame
Poulard herself who fills the niche!...

Such a variety of brides as come up to the Mont! You could have your
choice, at the midday meal, of almost any nationality, age, or color.
The attempt among these bridal couples to maintain the distant air
of a finished indifference only made their secret the more open.
The British phlegm, on such a journey, did not always serve as a
convenient mask; the flattering, timid glance, the ripple of tender
whispers, and the furtive touching of fingers beneath the table, made
even these English couples a part of the great human marrying family;
their superiority to their fellows would return, doubtless, when the
honey had dried out of their moon.

The best of our adventures into this tender country were with the
French bridal tourists; they were certain to be delightfully human. As
we had had occasion to remark before, they were off, like ourselves,
on a little voyage of discovery; they had come to make acquaintance
with the being to whom they were mated for life. Various degrees of
progress could be read in the air and manner of the hearty young
"bourgeoises" and their paler or even ruddier partners, as they
crunched their bread or sipped their thin wine. Some had only entered
as yet upon the path of inquiry; others had already passed the
mile-stone of criticism; and still others had left the earth and were
floating in full azure of intoxication. Of the many wedding parties
that sat down to breakfast, we soon made the commonplace discovery
that the more plebeian the company, the more certain-orbed appeared to
be the promise of happiness....

Madame Poulard's air with this, her world, was as full of tact as with
the tourists. Many of the older women would give her the Norman kiss,
solemnly, as if the salute were a part of the ceremony attendant on
the eating of a wedding breakfast at Mont St. Michel. There would be
a three times' clapping of the wrinkled or the ruddy peasant cheeks
against the sides of Madame Poulard's daintier, more delicately
modeled face. Then all would take their seats noisily at the table. It
was Madame Poulard who would then bring us news of the party. At the
end of a fortnight Charm and I felt ourselves to be in possession of
the hidden and secret reasons for all the marrying that had been done
along the coast that year....

One morning, as we looked toward Pontorson, a small black cloud
appeared to be advancing across the bay. The day was windy; the sky
was crowded with huge white mountains--round, luminous clouds that
moved in stately sweeps. And the sea was the color one loves to see
in an earnest woman's eye, the dark blue sapphire that turns to
blue-gray. This was a setting that made that particular cloud, making
such slow progress across from the shore, all the more conspicuous.
Gradually, as the black mass neared the dike, it began to break and
separate; and we saw plainly enough that the scattering particles were
human beings.

It was, in point of fact, a band of pilgrims; a peasant pilgrimage was
coming up to the Mont. In wagons, in market carts, in "char-á-bancs,"
in donkey carts, on the backs of monster Percherons--the pilgrimage
moved in slow processional dignity across the dike. Some of the
younger black gowns and blue blouses attempted to walk across over the
sands; we could see the girls sitting down on the edge of the shore,
to take off their shoes and stockings and to tuck up their thick
skirts. When they finally started they were like unto so many huge
cheeses hoisted on stilts. The bare legs plunged boldly forward,
keeping ahead of the slower-moving peasant lads; the girls' bravery
served them till they reached the fringe of the incoming tide; not
until their knees went under water did they forego their venture. A
higher wave came in, deluging the ones farthest out; and then ensued a
scampering toward the dike and a climbing up of the stone embankment.
The old route across the sands, that had been the only one known to
kings and barons, was not good enough for a modern Norman peasant. The
religion of personal comfort has spread even as far as the fields.

Other aspects of the hill, on this day of the pilgrimage, made those
older dead-and-gone bands of pilgrims astonishingly real. On the tops
of bastions, in the clefts on the rocks, beneath the glorious walls
of La Merveille, or perilously lodged on the crumbling cornice of a
tourelle, numerous rude altars had been hastily erected. The crude
blues and scarlets of banners were fluttering, like so many pennants,
in the light breeze. Beneath the improvised altar-roofs--strips of gay
cloth stretched across poles stuck into the ground--were groups not
often seen in these less fervent centuries.

High up, mounted on the natural pulpit, formed of a bit of rock, with
the rude altar before him with its bits of scarlet cloth covered with
cheap lace, stood or knelt the priest. Against the wide blue of the
open heaven his figure took on an imposing splendor of mien and an
unmodern impressiveness of action. Beneath him knelt, with bowed
heads, the groups of the peasant pilgrims; the women, with murmuring
lips and clasped hands, their strong, deeply-seamed faces outlined
with the precision of a Francesco painting against the gray background
of a giant mass of wall or the amazing breadth of a vast sea-view;
children, squat and chubby, with bulging cheeks starting from the
close-fitting French "bonnet"; and the peasant-farmers, mostly of the
older varieties, whose stiffened or rheumatic knees and knotty hands
made their kneeling real acts of devotional zeal.

There were a dozen such altars and groups scattered over the
perpendicular slant of the hill. The singing of the choir boys, rising
like skylark notes into the clear space of heaven, would be floating
from one rocky-nested chapel, while below, in the one beneath which
we, for a moment, were resting, there would be the groaning murmur of
the peasant groups in prayer.

Three times did the vision of St. Michael appear to Saint Aubert, in
his dream, commanding the latter to erect a church on the heights of
Mont St. Michel to his honor. How many a time must the modern pilgrim
traverse the stupendous mass that has grown out of that command before
he is quite certain that the splendor of Mont St. Michel is real, and
not part of a dream!

Whether one enters through the dark magnificence of the great portals
of the Châtelet; whether one mounts the fortified stairway, passing
into the Salle des Gardes, passing onward from dungeon to fortified
bridge to gain the abbatial residence; whether one leaves the vaulted
splendor of oratories for aërial passageways, only to emerge beneath
the majestic roof of the Cathedral--that marvel of the Early Norman,
ending in the Gothic choir of the fifteenth century; or, as one
penetrates into the gloom of the mighty dungeons where heroes, and
brothers of kings, and saints, and scientists have died their long
death--as one gropes through the black night of the crypt, where a
faint, mysterious glint of light falls aslant the mystical face of the
Black Virgin; as one climbs to the light beneath the ogive arches
of the Aumônerie, through the wide-lit aisles of the Salle des
Chevaliers, past the slender Gothic columns of the Refectory, up at
last to the crowning glory of all the glories of La Merveille, to the
exquisitely beautiful colonnades of the open Cloister--the impressions
and emotions excited by these ecclesiastical and military masterpieces
are ever the same, however many times one may pass them in review. A
charm indefinable, but replete with subtle attractions, lurks in every
one of these dungeons.

The great halls have a power to make one retraverse their space I have
yet to find under other vaulted chambers. The grass that is set,
like a green jewel, in the arabesques of the cloister, is a bit of
greensward the feet press with a different tread to that which skips
lightly over other strips of turf. And the world, that one looks out
upon through prison bars, that is so gloriously arched in the arm of
a flying buttress, or that lies prone at your feet from the dizzy
heights of the rock clefts, is not the world in which you, daily, do
your petty stretch of toil, in which you laugh and ache, sorrow, sigh,
and go down to your grave.

The secret of this deep attraction may lie in the fact of one's being
in a world that is built on a height. Much, doubtless, of the charm
lies, also, in the reminders of all the human life that, since the
early dawn of history, has peopled this hill. One has the sense
of living at a tremendously high mental pressure; of impressions,
emotions, sensations crowding upon the mind; of one's whole meager
outfit of memory, of poetic equipment, and of imaginative furnishing
being unequal to the demand made by even the most hurried tour of the
great buildings, or the most flitting review of the noble massing of
the clouds and the hilly seas.

The very emptiness and desolation of all the buildings on the hill
help to accentuate their splendor. The stage is magnificently set;
the curtain, even, is lifted. One waits for the coming on of kingly
shapes, for the pomp of trumpets, for the pattering of a mighty host.
But, behold, all is still. And one sits and sees only a shadowy
company pass and repass across that glorious mise-en-scéne.

For, in a certain sense, I know no other medieval mass of buildings as
peopled as are these. The dead shapes seem to fill the vast halls. The
Salle des Chevaliers is crowded, daily, with a brilliant gathering of
knights, who sweep the trains of their white damask mantles, edged
with ermine, over the dulled marble of the floor; two by two they
enter the hall; the golden shells on their mantles make the eyes
blink, as the groups gather about the great chimneys, or wander
through the column-broken space.

Behind this dazzling cortege, up the steep steps of the narrow
streets, swarm other groups--the medieval pilgrim host that rushes
into cathedral aisles, and that climbs the ramparts to watch the
stately procession as it makes its way toward the church portals.

There are still other figures that fill every empty niche and deserted
watch-tower. Through the lancet windows of the abbatial gateways the
yeomanry of the vassal villages are peering; it is the weary time of
the Hundred Years' War, and all France is watching, through sentry
windows, for the approach of her dread enemy. On the shifting sands
below, as on brass, how indelibly fixt are the names of the hundred
and twenty-nine knights whose courage drove, step by step, over
that treacherous surface, the English invaders back to their island


[Footnote A: From "A Bibliographical Tour in France and Germany."]


Let us begin, therefore, with the Abbey of St. Stephen; for it is the
noblest and most interesting on many accounts. It is called by the
name of that saint, inasmuch as there stood formerly a chapel, on the
same site, dedicated to him. The present building was completed and
solemnly dedicated by William the Conqueror, in the presence of his
wife, his two sons Robert and William, his favorite, Archbishop
Lanfranc; John, Archbishop of Rouen, and Thomas, Archbishop of
York--toward the year 1080; but I strongly suspect, from the present
prevailing character of the architecture, that nothing more than the
west front and the towers upon which the spires rest remain of its
ancient structure. The spires, as the Abbé De La Rue conjectures, and
as I should also have thought, are about two centuries later than the

The outsides of the side aisles appear to be of the thirteenth, rather
than of the end of the eleventh, century. The first exterior view of
the west front, and of the towers, is extremely interesting from the
gray and clear tint, as well as excellent quality, of the stone,
which, according to Huet, was brought partly from Vaucelle and partly
from Allemagne. One of the corner abutments of one of the towers has
fallen down and a great portion of what remains seem to indicate rapid
decay. The whole stands indeed greatly in need of reparation. Ducarel,
if I remember rightly, has made, of this whole front, a sort of
elevation as if it were intended for a wooden model to work by, having
all the stiffness and precision of an erection of forty-eight hours'
standing only. The central tower is of very stunted dimensions, and
overwhelmed by a roof in the form of an extinguisher. This, in fact,
was the consequence of the devastations of the Calvinists; who
absolutely sapped the foundation of the tower, with the hope of
overwhelming the whole choir in ruin--but a part only of their
malignant object was accomplished. The component parts of the eastern
extremity are strangely and barbarously miscellaneous. However, no
good commanding exterior view can be obtained from the place, or
confined square, opposite the towers.

But let us return to the west front; and, opening the unfastened green
baize covered door, enter softly and silently into the venerable
interior--sacred even to the feelings of Englishmen. Of this interior,
very much is changed from its original character. The side aisles
retain their flattened arched roofs and pillars; and in the nave you
observe those rounded pilasters--or altorilievo-like pillars--running
from bottom to top, which are to be seen in the Abbey of Jumieges. The
capitals of these long pillars are comparatively of modern date.

To the left on entrance, within a side chapel, is the burial place
of Matilda, the wife of the Conqueror. The tombstone attesting her
interment is undoubtedly of the time. Generally speaking, the interior
is cold, and dull of effect. The side chapels, of which not fewer than
sixteen encircle the choir, have the discordant accompaniments of
Grecian balustrades to separate them from the choir and nave.

To the right of the choir, in the sacristy, I think, is hung the huge
portrait, in oil, within a black and gilt frame, of which Ducarel has
published an engraving, on the supposition of its being the portrait
of William the Conqueror. But nothing can be more ridiculous than
such a conclusion. In the first place, the picture itself, which is
a palpable copy, can not be older than a century; and in the second
place, were it an original performance, it could not be older than the
time of Francis I. In fact, it purports to have been executed as a
faithful copy of the figure of King William, seen by the Cardinals in
1522, who were seized with a sacred frenzy to take a peep at the body
as it might exist at that time. The costume of the oil painting is
evidently that of the period of our Henry VIII.; and to suppose that
the body of William--even had it remained in so surprisingly perfect
a state as Ducarel intimates, after an interment of upward of four
hundred years--could have presented such a costume, when, from
Ducarel's own statement, another whole-length representation of the
same person is totally different--and more decidedly of the character
of William's time--is really quite a reproach to any antiquary who
plumes himself upon the possession even of common sense.

In the middle of the choir, and just before the high altar, the body
of the Conqueror was entombed with great pomp; and a monument erected
to his memory of the most elaborate and costly description. Nothing
now remains but a flat, black marble slab, with a short inscription,
of quite a recent date....

You must now attend me to the most interesting public building,
perhaps all things considered, which is to be seen at Caen. I mean
the Abbey of the Holy Trinity, or L'Abbaye aux Dames. This abbey was
founded by the wife of the Conqueror, about the same time that William
erected that of St. Stephen. Ducarel's description of it, which I
have just seen in a copy of the "Anglo-Norman Antiquities," in a
bookseller's shop, is sufficiently meager. His plates are also
sufficiently miserable: but things are strangely altered since his
time. The nave of the church is occupied by a manufactory for making
cordage, or twine: and upward of a hundred lads are now busied in
their flaxen occupations, where formerly the nun knelt before the
cross, or was occupied in auricular confession.

The entrance at the western extremity is entirely stopt up; but the
exterior gives manifest proof of an antiquity equal to that of the
Abbey of St. Stephen. The upper part of the towers are palpably of the
fifteenth or, rather, of the early part of the sixteenth century. I
had no opportunity of judging of the neat pavement of the floor of the
nave, in white and black marble, as noticed by Ducarel, on account
of the occupation of this part of the building by the manufacturing
children; but I saw some very ancient tombstones, one, I think, of the
twelfth century, which had been removed from the nave or side aisles,
and were placed against the sides of the north transept.

The nave is entirely walled up from the transepts, but the choir is
fortunately preserved; and a more perfect and interesting specimen
of its kind, of the same antiquity, is perhaps nowhere to be seen
in Normandy. All the monuments as well as the altars, described by
Ducarel, are now taken away. Having ascended a stone staircase, we got
into the upper part of the choir, above the first row of pillars--and
walked along the wall. This was rather adventurous, you will say; but
a more adventurous spirit of curiosity had nearly proved fatal to me;
for, on quitting daylight, we pursued a winding stone staircase, in
our way to the central tower--to enjoy from hence a view of the town.
I almost tremble as I relate it.

There had been put up a sort of temporary wooden staircase, leading
absolutely to nothing; or, rather, to a dark void space. I happened
to be foremost in ascending, yet groping in the dark--with the guide
luckily close behind me. Having reached the topmost step, I was
raising my foot to a supposed higher or succeeding step--but there was
none. A depth of eighteen feet at least was below me. The guide
caught my coat, as I was about to lose my balance, and roared out,
"Wait--Stop!" The least balance or inclination, one way or the other,
is sufficient, upon these critical occasions; when luckily, from his
catching my coat, and pulling me, in consequence, slightly backward,
my fall and my life, were equally saved! I have reason from henceforth
to remember the Abbey aux Dames at Caen.

I gained the top of the central tower, which is not of equal altitude
with those of the western extremity, and from hence surveyed the town,
as well as the drizzling rain would permit. I saw enough, however,
to convince me that the site of this abbey is fine and commanding.
Indeed, it stands nearly upon the highest ground in the town. Ducarel
had not the glorious ambition to mount to the top of the tower;
nor did he even possess that most commendable of all species of
architectural curiosity, a wish to visit the crypt. Thus, in either
extremity, I evinced a more laudable spirit of enterprise than did
my old-fashioned predecessor. Accordingly, from the summit, you must
accompany me to the lowest depth of the building. I descended by the
same somewhat intricate route, and I took especial care to avoid all
"temporary wooden staircase." The crypt, beneath the choir, is perhaps
of yet greater interest and beauty than the choir itself. Within an
old, very old, stone coffin--at the further circular end--are the
pulverized remains of one of the earliest abbesses. I gazed around
with mixed sensations of veneration and awe, and threw myself back
into centuries past, fancying that the shrouded figure of Maltilda
herself glided by, with a look as if to approve of my antiquarian

Having gratified my curiosity by a careful survey of the subterranean
abode, I revisited the regions of daylight, and made toward the large
building, now a manufactory, which in Ducarel's time had been a
nunnery. The revolution has swept away every human being in the
character of a nun; but the director of the manufactory showed me,
with great civility, some relics of old crosses, rings, veils,
lacrimatories, etc., which had been taken from the crypt I had
recently visited. These relics savored of considerable antiquity. Tom
Hearne would have set about proving that they must have belonged to
Matilda herself; but I will have neither the presumption nor the merit
of attempting this proof. They seemed, indeed, to have undergone half
a dozen decompositions. Upon the whole, if our Antiquarian Society,
after having exhausted the cathedrals of their own country, should
ever think of perpetuating the principal ecclesiastical edifices of
Normandy, by means of the art of engraving, let them begin their
labors with the Abbey aux Dames at Caen.


[Footnote A: From "A Tour Through the Pyrenees." By special
arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Henry Holt &
Co. Copyright, 1873.]


The river is so fine that, before going to Bayonne, I have come down
as far as Royan. Ships heavy with white sails ascend slowly on both
sides of the boat. At each gust of wind they incline like idle birds,
lifting their long wings and showing their black bellies. They run
slantwise, then come back; one would say that they felt the better for
being in this great fresh-water harbor; they loiter in it and enjoy
its peace after leaving the wrath and inclemency of the ocean.

The banks, fringed with pale verdure, glide right and left, far
away to the verge of heaven; the river is broad like a sea; at this
distance you might think you had seen two hedges; the trees dimly lift
their delicate shapes in a robe of bluish gauze; here and there great
pines raise their umbrellas on the vapory horizon, where all is
confused and vanishing; there is an inexpressible sweetness in these
first hues of the timid day, softened still by the fog which exhales
from the deep river.

As for the river itself, its waters stretch out joyous and splendid;
the rising sun pours upon its breast a long streamlet of gold; the
breeze covers it with scales; its eddies stretch themselves, and
tremble like an awaking serpent, and, when the billow heaves them, you
seem to see the striped flanks, the tawny cuirass of a leviathan.

Indeed, at such moments it seems that the water must live and feel; it
has a strange look, when it comes, transparent and somber, to stretch
itself upon a beach of pebbles; it turns about them as if uneasy and
irritated; it beats them with its wavelets; it covers them, then
retires, then comes back again with a sort of languid writhing and
mysterious lovingness; its snaky eddies, its little crests suddenly
beaten down or broken, its wave, sloping, shining, then all at once
blackened, resembles the flashes of passion in an impatient mother,
who hovers incessantly and anxiously about her children, and covers
them, not knowing what she wants and what fears.

Presently a cloud has covered the heavens, and the wind has risen.
In a moment the river has assumed the aspect of a crafty and savage
animal. It hollowed itself, and showed its livid belly; it came
against the keel with convulsive starts, hugged it, and dashed against
it, as if to try its force; as far as one could see, its waves lifted
themselves and crowded together, like the muscles upon a chest; over
the flank of the waves passed flashes with sinister smiles; the mast
groaned, and the trees bent shivering, like a nerveless crowd before
the wrath of a fearful beast. Then all was hushed; the sun had burst
forth, the waves were smoothed, you now see only a laughing expanse;
spun out over this polished back a thousand greenish tresses sported
wantonly; the light rested on it, like a diaphanous mantle; it
followed the supple movements and the twisting of those liquid arms;
it folded around them, behind them, its radiant, azure robe; it took
their caprices and their mobile colors; the river meanwhile, slumbrous
in its great, peaceful bed, was stretched out at the feet of the
hills, which looked down upon it, like it immovable and eternal.

The boat is made fast to a boom, under a pile of white houses; it
is Royan. Here already are the sea and the dunes; the right of the
village is buried under a mass of sand; there are crumbling hills,
little dreary valleys, where you are lost as if in the desert; no
sound, no movement, no life; scanty, leafless vegetation dots moving
soil, and its filaments fall like sickly hairs; small shells, white
and empty, cling to these in chaplets, and, wherever the foot is set,
they crack with a sound like a cricket's chirp; this place is the
ossuary of some wretched maritime tribe.

One tree alone can live here, the pine, a wild creature, inhabitant of
the forests and sterile coasts; there is a whole colony of them here;
they crowd together fraternally, and cover the sand with their brown
lamels; the monotonous breeze which sifts through them forever awakes
their murmur; thus they chant in a plaintive fashion, but with a far
softer and more harmonious voice than the other trees; this voice
resembles the grating of the cicadas when in August they sing with all
their heart among the stalks of the ripened wheat.

At the left of the village, a footpath winds to the summit of a wasted
bank, among billows of standing grasses. The river is so broad that
the other shore is not distinguishable. The sea, its neighbor, imparts
its influence; its long undulations come one after another against the
coast, and pour their little cascades of foam upon the sand; then the
water retires, running down the slope until it meets a new wave coming
up which covers it; these billows are never wearied, and their come
and go remind one of the regular breathing of a slumbering child. For
night has fallen, the tints of purple grow brown and fade away. The
river goes to rest in the soft, vague shadow; scarcely, at long
intervals, a remnant glimpse is reflected from a slanting wave;
obscurity drowns everything in its vapory dust; the drowsy eye vainly
searches in this mist some visible point, and distinguishes at last,
like a dim star, the lighthouse of Cordouan.

The next evening a fresh sea-breeze has brought us to Bordeaux.
The enormous city heaps its monumental houses along the river like
bastions; the red sky is embattled by their coping. They on one hand,
the bridge on the other, protect, with a double line, the port where
the vessels are crowded together like a flock of gulls; those graceful
hulls, those tapering masts, those sails swollen or floating, weave
the labyrinth of their movements and forms upon the magnificent purple
of the sunset. The sun sinks into the river; the black rigging, the
round hulls, stand out against its conflagration, and look like jewels
of jet set in gold.

Around Bordeaux are smiling hills, varied horizons, fresh valleys,
a river people by incessant navigation, a succession of cities and
villages harmoniously planted upon the declivities or in the plains,
everywhere the richest verdure, the luxury of nature and civilization,
the earth and man vying with each other to enrich and decorate the
happiest valley of France. Below Bordeaux a flat soil, marshes,
sand; a land which goes on growing poorer, villages continually less
frequent, ere long the desert. I like the desert as well.

Pine woods pass to the right and to the left, silent and wan. Each
tree bears on its side the scar of wounds where the woodmen have set
flowing the resinous blood which chokes it; the powerful liquor still
ascends into its limbs with the sap, exhales by its slimy shoots and
by its cleft skin; a sharp aromatic odor fills the air.

Beyond, the monotonous plain of the ferns, bathed in light, stretches
away as far as the eye can reach. Their green fans expand beneath the
sun which colors, but does not cause them to fade. Upon the horizon a
few scattered trees lift their slender columns. You see now and then
the silhouette of a herdsman on his stilts, inert and standing like a
sick heron. Wild horses are grazing half hid in the herbage. As the
train passes, they abruptly lift their great startled eyes and stand
motionless, uneasy at the noise that has troubled their solitude.

Man does not fare well here--he dies or degenerates; but it is the
country of animals, and especially of plants. They abound in this
desert, free, certain of living. Our pretty, cut-up valleys are but
poor things alongside of these immense spaces, leagues upon leagues
of marshy or dry vegetation, a level country, where nature, elsewhere
troubled and tortured by men, still vegetates, as in primeval days,
with a calm equal to its grandeur. The sun needs these savannas in
order properly to spread out its light; from the rising exhalation,
you feel that the whole plain is fermenting under its force; and the
eyes, filled by the limitless horizon, divine the secret labor by
which this ocean of rank verdure renews and nourishes itself.


[Footnote A: From a letter to his mother, written from the monastery
in 1739.]


We took the longest road, which lies through Savoy, on purpose to see
a famous monastery, called the Grande Chartreuse, and had no reason to
think our time lost. After having traveled seven days very slow (for
we did not change horses, it being impossible for a chaise to go fast
in these roads), we arrived at a little village, among the mountains
of Savoy, called Echelles; from thence we proceeded on horses, who are
used to the way, to the mountain of the Chartreuse.

It is six miles to the top; the road runs winding up it, commonly not
six feet broad; on one hand is the rock, with woods of pine-trees
hanging overhead; on the other, a monstrous precipice, almost
perpendicular, at the bottom of which rolls a torrent that, sometimes
tumbling among the fragments of stone that have fallen from on high,
and sometimes precipitating itself down vast descents with a noise
like thunder, which is made still greater by the echo from the
mountains on each side, concurs to form one of the most solemn, the
most romantic, and the most astonishing scenes I ever beheld.

Add to this the strange views made by the crags and cliffs on the
other hand; the cascades that in many places throw themselves from the
very summit down into the vale, and the river below; and many other
particulars impossible to describe; you will conclude we had no
occasion to repent our plans. This place St. Bruno chose to retire
to, and upon its very top founded the aforesaid convent, which is the
superior of the whole order. When we came there, the two fathers, who
are commissioned to entertain strangers (for the rest must neither
speak one to another nor to any one else) received us very kindly; and
set before us a repast of dried fish, eggs, butter, and fruits, all
excellent in their kind, and extremely neat. They prest us to spend
the night there, and to stay some days with them; but this we could
not do, so they led us about their house, which is, you must think,
like a little city; for there are 100 fathers, besides 300 servants,
that make their clothes, grind their corn, press their wine, and do
everything among themselves.

The whole is quite orderly and simple; nothing of finery; but the
wonderful decency, and the strange situation, more than supply the
place of it. In the evening we descended by the same way, passing
through many clouds that were then forming themselves on the
mountain's side.


[Footnote A: From "A Little Tour in France." By special arrangement
with, and by permission of, the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co.
Copyright, 1884.]


When I say the town, I mean the towns; there being two at Carcassonne,
perfectly distinct, and each with excellent claims to the title. They
have settled the matter between them, however, and the elder, the
shrine of pilgrimage, to which the other is but a stepping-stone, or
even, as I may say, a humble doormat, takes the name of the Cité.

You see nothing of the Cité from the station; it is masked by the
agglomeration of the "ville-basse," which is relatively (but only
relatively) new. A wonderful avenue of acacias leads to it from
the station--leads past it, rather, and conducts you to a little
high-backed bridge over the Aude, beyond which, detached and erect, a
distinct medieval silhouette, the Cité presents itself. Like a rival
shop, on the invidious side of a street, it has "no connection" with
the establishment across the way, altho the two places are united
(if old Carcassonne may be said to be united to anything) by a vague
little rustic faubourg. Perched on its solid pedestal, the perfect
detachment of the Cité is what first strikes you.

To take leave, without delay, of the "ville-basse," I may say that
the splendid acacias I have mentioned flung a summerish dusk over
the place, in which a few scattered remains of stout walls and big
bastions looked venerable and picturesque. A little boulevard winds
around the town, planted with trees and garnished with more benches
than I ever saw provided by a soft-hearted municipality. This
precinct had a warm, lazy, dusty, southern look, as if the people sat
out-of-doors a great deal, and wandered about in the stillness of
summer nights. The figure of the elder town, at these hours, must be
ghostly enough on its neighboring hill.

Even by day it has the air of a vignette of Gustave Doré, a couplet
of Victor Hugo. It is almost too perfect--as if it were an enormous
model, placed on a big green table at a museum. A steep, paved way,
grass-grown like all roads where vehicles never pass, stretches up
to it in the sun. It has a double enceinte, complete outer walls and
complete inner (these, elaborately fortified, are the more curious);
and this congregation of ramparts, towers, bastions, battlements,
barbicans, is as fantastic and romantic as you please. The approach I
mention here leads to the gate that looks toward Toulouse--the Porte
de l'Aude. There is a second, on the other side, called, I believe,
Porte Narbonnaise, a magnificent gate, flanked with towers thick and
tall, defended by elaborate outworks; and these two apertures alone
admit you to the place--putting aside a small sally-port, protected by
a great bastion, on the quarter that looks toward the Pyrenees....

I should lose no time in saying that restoration is the great mark of
the Cité. M. Viollet-le-Duc has worked his will upon it, put it into
perfect order, revived the fortifications in every detail. I do not
pretend to judge the performance, carried out on a scale and in
a spirit which really impose themselves on the imagination. Few
architects have had such a chance, and M. Viollet-le-Duc must have
been the envy of the whole restoring fraternity. The image of a more
crumbling Carcassonne rises in the mind, and there is no doubt that
forty years ago the place was more affecting. On the other hand, as we
see it to-day, it is a wonderful evocation; and if there is a great
deal of new in the old, there is plenty of old in the new. The
repaired crenellations, the inserted patches, of the walls of the
outer circle sufficiently express this commixture.

Carcassonne dates from the Roman occupation of Gaul. The place
commanded one of the great roads into Spain, and in the fourth century
Romans and Franks ousted each other from such a point of vantage. In
the year 436, Theodoric, King of the Visigoths, superseded both these
parties; and it is during his occupation that the inner enceinte
was raised upon the ruins of the Roman fortifications. Most of
the Visigoth towers that are still erect are seated upon Roman
substructions which appear to have been formed hastily, probably
at the moment of the Frankish invasion. The authors of these solid
defenses, tho occasionally disturbed, held Carcassonne and the
neighboring country, in which they had established their kingdom of
Septimania, till the year 713, when they were expelled by the Moors
of Spain, who ushered in an unillumined period of four centuries, of
which no traces remain.

These facts I derived from a source no more recondite than a
pamphlet by M. Viollet-le-Duc--a very luminous description of the
fortifications, which you may buy from the accomplished custodian. The
writer makes a jump to the year 1209, when Carcassonne, then forming
part of the realm of the viscounts of Béziers and infected by the
Albigensian heresy, was besieged, in the name of the Pope, by the
terrible Simon de Montfort and his army of crusaders. Simon was
accustomed to success, and the town succumbed in the course of a
fortnight. Thirty-one years later, having passed into the hands of
the King of France, it was again besieged by the young Raymond de
Trincavel, the last of the viscounts of Béziers; and of this siege M.
Viollet-le-Duc gives a long and minute account, which the visitor who
has a head for such things may follow, with the brochure in hand, on
the fortifications themselves.

The young Raymond de Trineavel, baffled and repulsed, retired at the
end of twenty-four days. Saint Louis and Philip the Bold, in the
thirteenth century, multiplied the defenses of Carcassonne, which was
one of the bulwarks of their kingdom on the Spanish quarter; and from
this time forth, being regarded as impregnable, the place had nothing
to fear. It was not even attacked; and when, in 1355, Edward the Black
Prince marched into it, the inhabitants had opened the gates to the
conqueror before whom all Languedoc was prostrate. I am not one of
those who, as I said just now, have a head for such things, and having
extracted these few facts had made all the use of M. Viollet-le-Duc's
pamphlet of which I was capable....

My obliging friend the "mad lover" [of la Cité] handed me over to the
doorkeeper of the citadel. I should add that I was at first committed
to the wife of this functionary, a stout peasant woman, who conducted
me to a postern door and ushered me into the presence of her husband.

This brilliant, this suggestive warden of Carcassonne marched us about
for an hour, haranguing, explaining, illustrating, as he went; it was
a complete little lecture, such as might have been delivered at the
Lowell Institute, on the manner in which a first-rate "place forte"
used to be attacked and defended. Our peregrinations made it very
clear that Carcassonne was impregnable; it is impossible to imagine,
without having seen them, such refinements of immurement, such
ingenuities of resistance. We passed along the battlements and
"chemins de ronde," ascended and descended towers, crawled under
arches, peered out of loopholes, lowered ourselves into dungeons,
halted in all sorts of tight places, while the purpose of something or
other was described to us.

It was very curious, very interesting; above all, it was very
pictorial, and involved perpetual peeps into the little crooked,
crumbling, sunny, grassy, empty Cité. In places, as you stand upon
it, the great towered and embattled enceinte produces an illusion; it
looks as if it were still equipped and defended. One vivid challenge,
at any rate, it flings down before you; it calls upon you to make
up your mind on the matter of restoration. For myself, I have no
hesitation; I prefer in every case the ruined, however ruined, to the
reconstructed, however splendid. What is left is more precious than
what is added; the one is history, the other is fiction; and I like
the former the better of the two--it is so much more romantic. One is
positive, so far as it goes; the other fills up the void with things
more dead than the void itself, inasmuch as they have never had life.
After that I am free to say that the restoration of Carcassonne is a
splendid achievement. The little custodian dismissed us at last,
after having, as usual, inducted us into the inevitable repository of

After leaving it and passing out of the two circles of walls, I
treated myself, in the most infatuated manner, to another walk round
the Cité. It is certainly this general impression that is most
striking--the impression from outside, where the whole place detaches
itself at once from the landscape. In the warm southern dusk it looked
more than ever like a city in a fairy-tale. To make the thing perfect,
a white young moon, in its first quarter, came out and hung just over
the dark silhouette. It was hard to come away--to incommode one's self
for anything so vulgar as a railway train; I would gladly have spent
the evening in revolving round the walls of Carcassonne.


[Footnote A: From "Castles and Châteaux of Old Navarre." By special
arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, L.C. Page &
Co. Copyright, 1907.]


If Bayonne is the center of commercial affairs for the Basque country,
its citizens must, at any rate, go to Biarritz if they want to live
"the elegant and worldly life." The prosperity and luxury of Biarritz
are very recent; it goes back only to the Second Empire, when it was
but a village of a thousand souls or less, mostly fishermen and women.

The railway and the automobile omnibus make communication with Bayonne
to-day easy, but formerly folk came and went on a donkey side-saddled
for two, arranged back to back, like the seats of an Irish
jaunting-car. If the weight were unequal, a balance was struck by
adding cobblestones on one side or the other, the patient donkey not
minding in the least.

This astonishing mode of conveyance was known as a "cacolet," and
replaced the "voitures" and "fiacres" of other resorts. An occasional
example may still be seen, but the "jolies Basquaises" who conducted
them have given way to sturdy, barelegged Basque boys--as picturesque,
perhaps, but not so entrancing to the view. To voyage "en cacolet" was
the necessity of our grandfathers; for us it is an amusement only.

Napoleon III., or rather Eugénie, his spouse, was the faithful
godfather of Biarritz as a resort. The Villa Eugénie is no more; it
was first transformed into a hotel and later destroyed by fire; but it
was the first of a great battery of villas and hotels which has made
Biarritz so great that the popularity of Monte Carlo is steadily
waning. Biarritz threatens to become even more popular; some sixteen
thousand visitors came to Biarritz in 1899, but there were thirty-odd
thousand in 1903; while the permanent population has risen from 2,700
in the days of the Second Empire to 12,800 in 1901. The tiny railway
from Bayonne to Biarritz transported half a million travelers twenty
years ago, and a million and a half, or nearly that number, in 1903;
the rest, being millionaires, or gypsies, came in automobiles or
caravans. These figures tell eloquently of the prosperity of this
"villégiature impériale."

The great beauty of Biarritz is its setting. At Monte Carlo
the setting is also beautiful, ravishingly beautiful, but the
architecture, the terrace, Monaco's rock, and all the rest combine
to make the pleasing "ensemble." At Biarritz the architecture of its
Casino and the great hotels is not of an epoch-making beauty, neither
are they so delightfully placed. It is the surrounding stage setting
that is so lovely. Here the jagged shore line, the blue waves, the
ample horizon seaward, are what make it all so charming.

Biarritz as a watering-place has an all-the-year-round clientèle; in
summer the Spanish and the French, succeeded in winter by Americans,
Germans, and English--with a sprinkling of Russians at all times.
Biarritz, like Pau, aside from being a really delightful winter
resort, where one may escape the rigors of murky November to March in
London, is becoming afflicted with a bad case of "sport fever." There
are all kinds of sports, some of them reputable enough in their place,
but the comic-opera fox-hunting which takes place at Pau and Biarritz
is not one of them....

The picturesque "Plage des Basques" lies to the south of the town,
bordered with high cliffs, which in turn are surmounted with terraces
of villas. The charm of it all is incomparable. To the northwest
stretches the limpid horizon of the Bay of Biscay, and to the
south the snowy summits of the Pyrenees, and the adorable bays of
Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Fontarabie, while behind, and to the eastward,
lies the quaint country of the Basques, and the mountain trails into
Spain in all their savage hardiness.

The off-shore translucent waters of the Gulf of Gascony were the
"Sinus Aquitanicus" of the ancients. A colossal rampart of rocks and
sand dunes stretches all the way from the Gironde to the
Bidassoa, without a harbor worthy of the name save at Bayonne and
Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Here the Atlantic waves pound, in time of storm,
with all the fury with which they break upon the rocky coasts of
Brittany further north. Perhaps this would not be so, but for the fact
that the Iberian coast to the southward runs almost at right angles
with that of Gascony. As it is, while the climate is mild, Biarritz
and the other cities on the coasts of the Gulf of Gascony have a fair
proportion of what sailors, the world over, call "rough weather."

The waters of the Gascon Gulf are not always angry; most frequently
they are calm and blue, vivid with a translucence worthy of those of
Capri, and it is this that makes the beach at Biarritz one of the most
popular sea-bathing resorts in France to-day. It is a fashionable
watering-place, but it is also, perhaps, the most beautifully disposed
city to be found in all the round of the European coast line, its
slightly curving slope dominated by a background terrace,
decorative in itself, but delightfully set off with its fringe of
dwelling-houses, hotels, and casinos. Ostend is superbly laid out,
but it is dreary; Monte Carlo is beautiful, but it is ultra; while
Trouville is constrained and affected. Biarritz has the best features
of all these.... Saint-Jean-de-Luz had a population of ten thousand
two centuries ago; to-day it has three thousand, and most of these
take in boarders, or in one way or another cater to the hordes of
visitors who have made it--or would, if they could have supprest its
quiet Basque charm of coloring and character--a little Brighton.

Not all is lost, but four hundred houses were razed in the
mid-eighteenth century by a tempest, and the stable population began
to creep away; only with recent years an influx of strangers has
arrived for a week's or a month's stay to take their places--if idling
butterflies of fashion or imaginary invalids can really take the place
of a hardworking, industrious colony of fishermen, who thought no more
of sailing away to the South Antarctic or the banks of Newfoundland in
an eighty-ton whaler than they did of seining sardines from a shallop
in the Gulf of Gascony at their doors.


[Footnote A: From "Pencillings by the Way." Published by Charles
Scribner, 1852.]


The Saone is about the size of the Mohawk, but not half so beautiful;
at least for the greater part of its course. Indeed, you can hardly
compare American with European rivers, for the charm is of another
description, quite. With us it is nature only, here it is almost
all art. Our rivers are lovely, because the outline of the shore is
graceful, and particularly because the vegetation is luxuriant. The
hills are green, the foliage deep and lavish, the rocks grown over
with vines or moss, the mountains in the distance covered with pines
and other forest-trees; everything is wild, and nothing looks bare or
sterile. The rivers of France are crowned on every height with ruins,
and in the bosom of every valley lies a cluster of picturesque stone
cottages; but the fields are naked, and there are no trees; the
mountains are barren and brown, and everything looks as if the
dwellings had been deserted by the people, and nature had at the same
time gone to decay.

I can conceive nothing more melancholy than the views upon the Saone,
seen, as I saw them, tho vegetation is out everywhere, and the banks
should be beautiful if ever. As we approached Lyons the river narrowed
and grew bolder, and the last ten miles were enchanting. Naturally the
shores at this part of the Saone are exceedingly like the highlands of
the Hudson above West Point. Abrupt hills rise from the river's edge,
and the windings are sharp and constant. But imagine the highlands of
the Hudson crowned with antique chateaux, and covered to the very top
with terraces and summer-houses and hanging-gardens, gravel-walks and
beds of flowers, instead of wild pines and precipices, and you may get
a very correct idea of the Saone above Lyons.

You emerge from one of the dark passes of the river by a sudden turn,
and there before you lies this large city, built on both banks, at
the foot and on the sides of mountains. The bridges are fine, and
the broad, crowded quays, all along the edges of the river, have a
beautiful effect. There is a great deal of magnificence at Lyons, in
the way of quays, promenades, and buildings.... I was glad to escape
from the lower streets, and climb up the long staircases to the
observatory that overhangs the town. From the base of this elevation
the descent of the river is almost a precipice. The houses hang on the
side of the steep hill, and their doors enter from the long alleys of
stone staircases by which you ascend....

It was holy-week, and the church of Notre Dame de Fourvières, which
stands on the summit of the hill, was crowded with people. We went
in for a moment, and sat down on a bench to rest. My companion was a
Swiss captain of artillery, who was a passenger in the boat, a very
splendid fellow, with a mustache that he might have tied behind his
ears. He had addrest me at the hotel, and proposed that we should
visit the curiosities of the town together. He was a model of a manly
figure, athletic, and soldier-like, and standing near him was to get
the focus of all the dark eyes in the congregation.

The new square tower stands at the side of the church, and rises to
the height of perhaps sixty feet. The view from it is said to be one
of the finest in the world. I have seen more extensive ones, but never
one that comprehended more beauty and interest. Lyons lies at the
foot, with the Saone winding through its bosom in abrupt curves; the
Rhone comes down from the north on the other side of the range of
mountains, and meeting the Saone in a broad stream below the town,
they stretch off to the south, through a diversified landscape; the
Alps rise from the east like the edges of a thunder-cloud, and the
mountains of Savoy fill up the interval to the Rhone.

All about the foot of the monument lie gardens, of exquisite
cultivation; and above and below the city the villas of the rich;
giving you altogether as delicious a nucleus for a broad circle of
scenery as art and nature could create, and one sufficiently in
contrast with the barrenness of the rocky circumference to enhance the
charm, and content you with your position. Half way down the hill lies
an old monastery, with a lovely garden walled in from the world.

The river was covered with boats, the bells were ringing to church,
the glorious old cathedral, so famous for its splendor, stood piled
up, with its arches and gray towers, in the square below; the day was
soft, sunny, and warm, and existence was a blessing. I leaned over the
balustrade, I know not how long, looking down upon the scene about me;
and I shall ever remember it as one of those few unalloyed moments,
when the press of care was taken off my mind, and the chain of
circumstances was strong enough to set aside both the past and the
future, and leave me to the quiet enjoyment of the present. I have
found such hours "few and far between."


[Footnote A: From a letter to his friend West.]


I take this opportunity to tell you that we are at the ancient and
celebrated Lugdunum, a city situated upon the confluence of the
Rhone and Saône (Arar, I should say) two people, who tho of tempers
extremely unlike, think fit to join hands here, and make a little
party to travel to the Mediterranean in company; the lady comes
gliding along through the fruitful plains of Burgundy.... the
gentleman runs all rough and roaring down from the mountains of
Switzerland to meet her; and with all her soft airs she likes him
never the worse; she goes through the middle of the city in state, and
he passes incog, without the walls, but waits for her a little below.

The houses here are so high, and the streets so narrow, as would be
sufficient to render Lyons the dismalest place in the world, but the
number of people, and the face of commerce diffused about it, are,
at least, as sufficient to make it the liveliest: between these two
sufficiencies, you will be in doubt what to think of it; so we shall
leave the city, and proceed to its environs, which are beautiful
beyond expression; it is surrounded with mountains, and those
mountains all bedropped and bespeckled with houses, gardens, and
plantations of the rich bourgeois, who have from thence a prospect of
the city in the vale below on one hand, on the other the rich plains
of the Lyonnois, with the rivers winding among them, and the Alps,
with the mountains of Dauphiné, to bound the view.

All yesterday morning we were busied in climbing up Mount Fourvière,
where the ancient city stood perched at such a height, that nothing
but the hopes of gain could certainly ever persuade their neighbors to
pay them a visit. Here are the ruins of the emperors' palaces, that
resided here, that is to say, Augustus and Severus; they consist in
nothing but great masses of old wall, that have only their quality
to make them respected. In a vineyard of the Minims are remains of a
theater; the Fathers, whom they belong to, hold them in no esteem at
all, and would have showed us their sacristy and chapel instead of
them. The Ursuline Nuns have in their garden some Roman baths, but we
having the misfortune to be men, they did not think proper to admit

Hard by are eight arches of a most magnificent aqueduct, said to be
erected by Antony, when his legions were quartered here. There are
many other parts of it dispersed up and down the country, for it
brought the water from a river many leagues off in La Forez. Here are
remains too of Agrippa's seven great roads which met at Lyons; in some
places they lie twelve feet deep in the ground.


[Footnote A: From "Pictures from Italy," written in 1844]


So we went on, until eleven at night, when we halted at the town of
Aix (within two stages of Marseilles) to sleep. The hotel, with all
the blinds and shutters closed to keep the light and heat out, was
comfortable and airy next morning, and the town was very clean; but
so hot, and so intensely light, that when I walked out at noon it was
like coming suddenly from the darkened room into crisp blue fire. The
air was so very clear, that distant hills and rocky points appeared
within an hour's walk; while the town immediately at hand--with a kind
of blue wind between me and it--seemed to be white hot, and to be
throwing off a fiery air from its surface.

We left this town toward evening, and took the road to Marseilles. A
dusty road it was; the houses shut up close; and the vines powdered
white. At nearly all the cottage doors, women were peeling and slicing
onions into earthen bowls for supper. So they had been doing last
night all the way from Avignon. We passed one or two shady dark
châteaux, surrounded by trees, and embellished with cool basins of
water: which were the more refreshing to behold, from the great
scarcity of such residences on the road we had traveled.

As we approached Marseilles, the road began to be covered with holiday
people. Outside the public-houses were parties smoking, drinking,
playing draughts and cards, and (once) dancing. But dust, dust, dust,
everywhere. We went on, through a long, straggling, dirty suburb,
thronged with people; having on our left a dreary slope of land, on
which the country-houses of the Marseilles merchants, always staring
white, are jumbled and heaped without the slightest order; backs,
fronts, sides, and gables toward all points of the compass; until, at
last, we entered the town.

I was there, twice, or thrice afterward, in fair weather and foul;
and I am afraid there is no doubt that it is a dirty and disagreeable
place. But the prospect, from the fortified heights, of the beautiful
Mediterranean, with, its lovely rocks and islands, is most delightful.
These heights are a desirable retreat, for less picturesque
reasons--as an escape from a compound of vile smells perpetually
arising from a great harbor full of stagnant water, and befouled by
the refuse of innumerable ships with all sorts of cargoes, which, in
hot weather, is dreadful in the last degree.

There were foreign sailors, of all nations, in the streets; with red
shirts, blue shirts, buff shirts, tawny shirts, and shirts of orange
color; with red caps, blue caps, green caps, great beards, and no
beards; in Turkish turbans, glazed English hats, and Neapolitan
headdresses. There were the townspeople sitting in clusters on the
pavement, or airing themselves on the tops of their houses, or walking
up and down the closest and least airy of boulevards; and there were
crowds of fierce-looking people of the lower sort, blocking up the
way, constantly.

In the very heart of all this stir and uproar, was the common
madhouse; a low, contracted, miserable building, looking straight upon
the street, without the smallest screen or courtyard; where chattering
madmen and mad-women were peeping out, through rusty bars, at the
staring faces below, while the sun, darting fiercely aslant into their
little cells, seemed to dry up their brains, and worry them, as if
they were baited by a pack of dogs.

We were pretty well accommodated at the Hôtel du Paradis, situated
in a narrow street of very high houses, with a hairdresser's shop
opposite, exhibiting in one of its windows two full-length waxen
ladies, twirling around and around: which so enchanted the hairdresser
himself, that he and his family sat in armchairs, and in cool
undresses, on the pavement outside, enjoying the gratification of the
passers-by, with lazy dignity. The family had retired to rest when we
went to bed, at midnight; but the hairdresser (a corpulent man, in
drab slippers) was still sitting there, with his legs stretched out
before him, and evidently couldn't bear to have the shutters put up.

Next day we went down to the harbor, where the sailors of all nations
were discharging and taking in cargoes of all kinds: fruits, wines,
oils, silks, stuffs, velvets, and every manner of merchandise. Taking
one of a great number of lively little boats with gay-striped awnings,
we rowed away, under the sterns of great ships, under tow-ropes and
cables, against and among other boats, and very much too near
the sides of vessels that were faint with oranges, to the "Marie
Antoinette," a handsome steamer bound for Genoa, lying near the mouth
of the harbor.

By and by, the carriage, that unwieldy "trifle from the Pantechnicon,"
on a flat barge, bumping against everything, and giving occasion for
a prodigious quantity of oaths and grimaces, came stupidly alongside;
and by five o'clock we were steaming out in the open sea. The vessel
was beautifully clean; the meals were served under an awning on deck;
the night was calm and clear; the quiet beauty of the sea and sky


[Footnote A: From "Castles and Châteaux of Old Navarre." By special
arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, L.C. Page &
Co. Copyright, 1907.]


The little republic of Andorra, hidden away in the fastnesses of the
Pyrenees between France and Spain, its allegiance divided between the
bishop of Urgel in Spain and the French government, is a relic of
medievalism which will probably never fall before the swift advance of
twentieth century ideas of progress. At least it will never be overrun
by automobiles.

From French or Spanish territory this little unknown land is to be
reached by what is called a "wagon-way," but the road is so bad that
the sure-footed little donkeys of the Pyrenees are by far the best
means of locomotion, unless one would go up on foot, a matter of
twenty kilometers or more from Hospitalet in Spanish or Porté in
French territory.

The political status of Andorra is most peculiar, but since it has
endured without interruption (and this in spite of wars and rumors of
wars), for six centuries, it seems to be all that is necessary.

A relic of the Middle Ages, Andorra-Viella, the city, and its six
thousand inhabitants live in their lonesome retirement much as they
did in feudal times, except for the fact that an occasional newspaper
smuggled in from France or Spain gives a new topic of conversation.

This paternal governmental arrangement which cares for the welfare of
the people of Andorra, the city and the province, is the outcome of a
treaty signed by Pierre d'Urg and Roger-Bernhard, the third Comte
de Foix, giving each other reciprocal rights. There's nothing very
strange about this; it was common custom in the Middle Ages for lay
and ecclesiastical seigneurs to make such compacts, but the marvel is
that it has endured so well with governments rising and falling
all about, and grafters and pretenders and dictators ruling every
bailiwick in which they can get a foot-hold. Feudal government
may have had some bad features, but certainly the republics and
democracies of to-day, to say nothing of absolute monarchies, have
some, too.

The ways of access between France and Andorra are numerous enough;
but of the eight only two--and those not all the way--are really
practicable for wheeled traffic. The others are mere trails, or

The people of Andorra, as might be inferred, are all ardent Catholics;
and for a tiny country like this to have a religious seminary, as that
at Urgel, is remarkable of itself.

Public instruction is of late making headway, but half a century ago
the shepherd and laboring population--perhaps nine-tenths of the
whole--had little learning or indeed need for it. Their manners and
customs are simple and severe and little has changed in modern life
from that of their great-great-great-grandfathers. Each family has a
sort of a chief or official head, and the eldest son always looks for
a wife among the families of his own class. Seldom, if ever, does the
married son quit the paternal roof, so large households are the rule.
In a family where there are only girls, the eldest is the heir, and
she may only marry with a cadet of another family by his joining his
name with hers. Perhaps it is this that originally set the fashion for
hyphenated names.

The Andorrans are generally robust and well built; the maladies of
more populous regions are practically unknown among them. This speaks
much for the simple life! Costumes and dress are rough and simple and
of heavy woolens, clipt from the sheep and woven on the spot. Public
officers, the few representatives of officialdom who exist, alone
make any pretense at following the fashions. The women occupy a very
subordinate position in public affairs. They may not be present at
receptions and functions and not even at mass when it is said by the
bishop. Crime is infrequent, and simple, light punishments alone are
inflicted. Things are not so uncivilized in Andorra as one might

In need all men may be called upon to serve as soldiers, and each head
of a family must have a rifle and ball at hand at all times. In other
words, he must be able to protect himself against marauders. This does
away with the necessity of a large standing police force.

Commerce and industry are free of all taxation in Andorra, and customs
dues apply on but few articles. For this reason there is not a very
heavy tax on a people who are mostly cultivators and graziers. There
is little manufacturing industry, as might be supposed, and what is
made--save by hand and in single examples--is of the most simple
character. "Made in Germany" or "Tabriqué en Belgique" are the marks
one sees on most of the common manufactured articles.

The Andorrans are a simple, proud, gullible people, who live to-day in
the past, of the past and for the past; "Les vallées et souverainetés
de l'Andorre" are to them to-day just what they always were--a little
world of their own.


[Footnote A: From "A Tour Through the Pyrenees." By special
arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Henry Holt &
Co. Copyright, 1873.]


From Luz to Gavarnie is eighteen miles.

It is enjoined upon every living creature able to mount a horse, a
mule, or any quadruped whatever, to visit Gavarnie; in default of
other beasts, he should, putting aside all shame, bestride an ass.
Ladies and convalescents are there in sedan-chairs.

Otherwise, think what a figure you will make on your return.

"You come from the Pyrenees; you've seen Gavarnie?"


What then did you go to the Pyrenees for?

You hang your head, and your friend triumphs, especially if he was
bored at Gavarnie.

You undergo a description of Gavarnie after the last edition of the
guide-book. Gavarnie is a sublime sight; tourists go sixty miles out
of their way to see it; the Duchess d'Angouléme had herself carried
to the furthest rocks. Lord Bute, when he saw it for the first time,
cried: "If I were now at the extremity of India, and suspected the
existence of what I see at this moment, I should immediately leave in
order to enjoy and admire it!" You are overwhelmed with quotations
and supercilious smiles; you are convinced of laziness, of dulness
of mind, and, as certain English travelers say, of unesthetic

There are but two resources: to learn a description by heart, or to
make the journey. I have made the journey, and am going to give the

We leave at six o'clock in the morning, by the road to Scia, in the
fog, without seeing at first anything beyond confused forms of trees
and rocks. At the end of a quarter of an hour, we hear along the
pathway a noise of sharp cries drawing near; it was a funeral
procession coming from Scia. Two men bore a small coffin under a white
shroud; behind came four herdsmen in long cloaks and brown capuchons,
silent, with bent heads; four women followed in black mantles. It was
they who uttered those monotonous and piercing lamentations; one knew
not if they were wailing or praying. They walked with long steps
through the cold mist, without stopping or looking at any one, and
were going to bury the poor body in the cemetery at Luz.

At Scia the road passes over a small bridge very high up, which
commands another bridge, gray and abandoned. The double tier of arches
bends gracefully over the blue torrent; meanwhile a pale light already
floats in the diaphanous mist; a golden gauze undulates above the
Gave; the aërial veil grows thin and will soon vanish.

Nothing can convey the idea of this light, so youthful, timid, and
smiling, which glitters like the bluish wings of a dragon-fly that is
pursued and is taken captive in a net of fog.

Beneath, the boiling water is engulfed in a narrow conduit and leaps
like a mill-race. The column of foam, thirty feet high, falls with
a furious din, and its glaucous waves, heaped together in the deep
ravine, dash against each other and are broken upon a line of fallen
rocks. Other enormous rocks, débris of the same mountain, hang above
the road, their squared heads crowned with brambles for hair; ranged
in impregnable line, they seem to watch the torments of the Gave,
which their brothers hold beneath themselves crusht and subdued.

We turn a second bridge and enter the plain of Gèdrés, verdant and
cultivated, where the hay is in cocks; they are harvesting; our horses
walk between two hedges of hazel; we go along by orchards; but the
mountain is ever near; the guide shows us a rock three times the
height of a man, which, two years ago, rolled down and demolished a

We encounter several singular caravans: a band of young priests in
black hats, black gloves, black cassocks tucked up, black stockings,
very apparent, novices in horsemanship who bound at every step, like
the Gave; a big, jolly, round man, in a sedan-chair, his hands crossed
over his belly, who looks on us with a paternal air, and reads his
newspaper; three ladies of sufficiently ripe age, very slender, very
lean, very stiff, who, for dignity's sake, set their beasts on a trot
as we draw near them. The cicisbeo is a bony cartilaginous gentleman,
fixt perpendicularly on his saddle like a telegraph-pole. We hear
a harsh clucking, as of a choked hen, and we recognize the English

Beyond Gèdres is a wild valley called Chaos, which is well named.
After a quarter of an hour's journey there, the trees disappear, then
the juniper and the box, and finally the moss. The Gave is no longer
seen; all noises are hushed. It is a dead solitude peopled with
wrecks. The avalanches of rocks and crusht flint have come down from
the summit to the very bottom. The horrid tide, high and a quarter
of a league in length, spreads out like waves its myriads of sterile
stones, and the inclined sheet seems still to glide toward inundating
the gorge. These stones are shattered and pulverized; their living
fractures and thin, harsh points wound the eye; they are still
bruising and crushing each other. Not a bush, not a spear of grass;
the arid grayish train burns beneath a sun of brass; its débris are
scorched to a dull hue, as in a furnace.

A hundred paces further on, the aspect of the valley becomes
formidable. Troops of mammoths and mastadons in stone lie crouching
over the eastern declivity, one above another, and heaped up over the
whole slope. These colossal ridges shine with a tawny hue like iron
rust; the most enormous of them drink the water of the river at their
base. They look as if warming their bronzed skin in the sun, and
sleep, turned over, stretched out on their side, resting in all
attitudes, and always gigantic and frightful. Their deformed paws are
curled up; their bodies half buried in the earth; their monstrous
backs rest one upon another. When you enter into the midst of the
prodigious band, the horizon disappears, the blocks rise fifty feet
into the air; the road winds painfully among the overhanging masses;
men and horses seem but dwarfs; these rusted edges mount in stages to
the very summit, and the dark hanging army seems ready to fall on the
human insects which come to trouble its sleep.

Once upon a time, the mountain, in a paroxysm of fever, shook its
summits like a cathedral that is falling in. A few points resisted,
and their embattled turrets are drawn out in line on the crest; but
their layers are dislocated, their sides creviced, their points
jagged. The whole shattered ridge totters. Beneath them the rock fails
suddenly in a living and still bleeding wound. The splinters are lower
down, strewn over the declivity. The tumbled rocks are sustained one
upon another, and man to-day passes in safety amidst the disaster.

But what a day was that of the ruin: It is not very ancient, perhaps
of the sixth century, and the year of the terrible earthquake told of
by Gregory of Tours. If a man could without perishing have seen the
summits split, totter and fall, the two seas of rock come bounding
into the gorge, meet one another and grind each other amidst a shower
of sparks, he would have looked upon the grandest spectacle ever seen
by human eyes.

On the west, a perpendicular mole, crannied like an old ruin, lifts
itself straight up toward the sky. A leprosy of yellowish moss has
incrusted its pores, and has clothed it all over with a sinister
livery. This livid robe upon this parched stone has a splendid effect.
Nothing is uglier than the chalky flints that are drawn from the
quarry; just dug up, they seem cold and damp in their whitish shroud;
they are not used to the sun; they make a contrast with the rest. But
the rock that has lived in the air for ten thousand years, where the
light has every day laid on and melted its metallic tints, is the
friend of the sun, and carries its mantle upon its shoulders; it
has no need of a garment of verdure; if it suffers from parasitic
vegetations, it sticks them to its sides and imprints them with its
colors. The threatening tones with which it clothes itself suits the
free sky, the naked landscape, the powerful heat that environs it; it
is alive like a plant; only it is of another age, one more severe and
stronger than that in which we vegetate.

Gavarnie is a very ordinary village, commanding a view of the
amphitheater we are come to see. After you have left it, it is still
necessary to go three miles through a melancholy plain, half buried in
sand by the winter inundations; the waters of the Gave are muddy and
dull; a cold wind whistles from the amphitheater; the glaciers, strewn
with mud and stones, are stuck to the declivity like patches of dirty
plaster. The mountains are bald and ravined by cascades; black cones
of scattered firs climb them like routed soldiers; a meager and wan
turf wretchedly clothes their mutilated heads. The horses ford the
Gave stumblingly, chilled by the water coming from the snows. In this
wasted solitude you meet, all of a sudden, the most smiling parterre.
A throng of the lovely iris crowds itself into the bed of a dried
torrent; the sun stripes with rays of gold their velvety petals of
tender blue; and the eye follows over the whole plain the folds of the
rivulet of flowers.

We climb a last eminence, sown with iris and with stones. There is a
hut where you breakfast and leave the horses. You arm yourself with a
stout stick, and descend upon the glaciers of the amphitheater.

These glaciers are very ugly, very dirty, very uneven, very slippery;
at every step you run the risk of falling, and if you fall, it is on
sharp stones or into deep holes. They look very much like heaps of old
plaster-work, and those who have admired them must have a stock of
admiration for sale. The water has pierced them so that you walk
upon bridges of snow. These bridges have the appearance of kitchen
air-holes; the water is swallowed up in a very low archway, and, when
you look closely, you get a distinct sight of a black hole.

After the glaciers we find a sloping esplanade; we climb for ten
minutes bruising our feet upon fragments of sharp rock. Since leaving
the hut we have not lifted our eyes, in order to restore for ourselves
an unbroken sensation. Here at last we look.

A wall of granite crowned with snow hollows itself before us in a
gigantic amphitheater. This amphitheater is twelve hundred feet high,
nearly three miles in circumference, three tiers of perpendicular
walls, and in each tier thousands of steps. The valley ends there; the
wall is a single block and impregnable. The other summits might fall,
but its massive layers would not be moved. The mind is overwhelmed
by the idea of a stability that can not be shaken and an assured
eternity. There is the boundary of two countries and two races; this
it is that Roland wanted to break, when with a sword-stroke he opened
a breach in the summit. But the immense wound disappeared in the
immensity of the unconquered wall. Three sheets of snow are spread out
over the three tiers of layers.

The sun falls with all its force upon this virginal robe without being
able to make it shine. It preserves its dead whiteness. All this
grandeur is austere; the air is chilled beneath the noonday rays;
great, damp shadows creep along the foot of the walls. It is the
everlasting winter and the nakedness of the desert. The sole
inhabitants are the cascades assembled to form the Gave. The
streamlets of water come by thousands from the highest layer, leap
from step to step, cross their stripes of foam, unite and fall by a
dozen brooks that slide from the last layer in flaky streaks to lose
themselves in the glaciers of the bottom.

The thirteenth cascade on the left is twelve hundred and sixty-six
feet high. It falls slowly, like a dropping cloud, or the unfolding of
a muslin veil; the air softens its fall; the eye follows complacently
the graceful undulation of the beautiful airy veil. It glides the
length of the rock, and seems to float rather than to fall. The sun
shines, through its plume, with the softest and loveliest splendor.
It reaches the bottom like a bouquet of slender waving feathers, and
springs backward in a silver dust; the fresh and transparent mist
swings about the rock it bathes, and its rebounding train mounts
lightly along the courses. No stir in the air; no noise, no living
creature in the solitude. You hear only the monotonous murmur of the
cascades, resembling the rustle of the leaves that the wind stirs in
the forest.

On our return, we seated ourselves at the door of the hut. It is a
poor, squat little house, heavily supported upon thick walls; the
knotty joists of the ceiling retain their bark. It is indeed necessary
that it should be able to stand out alone against the snows of winter.
You find everywhere the imprint of the terrible months it has gone
through. Two dead fir-trees stand erect at the door. The garden, three
feet square, is defended by enormous walls of piled-up slates. The low
and black stable leaves neither foot-hold nor entry for the winds. A
lean colt was seeking a little grass among the stones. A small bull,
with surly air, looked at us out of the sides of his eyes; the
animals, the trees and the site, wore a threatening or melancholy
aspect. But in the clefts of a rock were growing some admirable
buttercups, lustrous and splendid, which looked as if painted by a ray
of sunshine.

At the village we met our companions of the journey who had sat down
there. The good tourists get fatigued, stop ordinarily at the inn,
take a substantial dinner, have a chair brought to the door, and
digest while looking at the amphitheater, which from there appears
about as high as a house. After this they return, praising the sublime
sight, and very glad that they have come to the Pyrenees.




[Footnote A: From "Cities of Belgium."]


The Rhine constituted the great central waterway of medieval Europe;
the Flemish towns were its ports and its manufacturing centers. They
filled in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries much the same place
that Liverpool, Glasgow, Manchester, and Birmingham fill in the
nineteenth. Many causes contributed to this result.

Flanders, half independent under its own counts, occupied a middle
position, geographically and politically, between France and the
Empire; it was comparatively free from the disastrous wars which
desolated both these countries, and in particular it largely escaped
the long smouldering quarrel between French and English, which so long
retarded the development of the former. Its commercial towns, again,
were not exposed on the open sea to the attacks of pirates or hostile
fleets, but were safely ensconced in inland flats, reached by rivers
or canals, almost inaccessible to maritime enemies. Similar conditions
elsewhere early ensured peace and prosperity for Venice.

The canal system of Holland and Belgium began to be developed as early
as the twelfth century (at first for drainage), and was one leading
cause of the commercial importance of the Flemish cities in the
fourteenth. In so flat a country, locks are all but unnecessary. The
two towns which earliest rose to greatness in the Belgian area were
thus Bruges and Ghent; they possest in the highest degree the combined
advantages of easy access to the sea and comparative inland security.

Bruges, in particular, was one of the chief stations of the Hanseatic
League, which formed an essentially commercial alliance for the mutual
protection of the northern trading centers. By the fourteenth century
Bruges had thus become in the north what Venice was in the south,
the capital of commerce. Trading companies from all the surrounding
countries had their "factories" in the town, and every European king
or prince of importance kept a resident minister accredited to the
merchant republic.

Some comprehension of the mercantile condition of Europe in general
during the Middle Ages is necessary in order to understand the early
importance and wealth of the Flemish cities. Southern Europe, and in
particular Italy, was then still the seat of all higher civilization,
more especially of the trade in manufactured articles and objects of
luxury. Florence, Venice and Genoa ranked as the polished and learned
cities of the world. Further east, again, Constantinople still
remained in the hands of the Greek emperors, or, during the Crusades,
of their Latin rivals. A brisk trade existed via the Mediterranean
between Europe and India or the nearer East. This double stream of
traffic ran along two main routes--one, by the Rhine, from Lombardy
and Rome; the other, by sea, from Venice, Genoa, Florence,
Constantinople, the Levant, and India.

On the other hand, France was still but a half civilized country,
with few manufactures and little external trade; while England was an
exporter of raw produce, chiefly wool, like Australia in our own time.
The Hanseatic merchants of Cologne held the trade of London; those of
Wisby and Lübeck governed that of the Baltic; Bruges, as head of the
Hansea, was in close connection with all of these, as well as with
Hull, York, Novgorod, and Bergen.

The position of the Flemish towns in the fourteenth century was thus
not wholly unlike that of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston at the
present day; they stood as intermediaries between the older civilized
countries, like Italy or the Greek empire, and the newer producers of
raw material, like England, North Germany, and the Baltic towns.

In a lost corner of the great lowland flat of Flanders, defended from
the sea by an artificial dike, and at the point of intersection of an
intricate network of canals and waterways, there arose in the early
Middle Ages a trading town, known in Flemish as Brugge, in French as
Bruges (that is to say, The Bridge), from a primitive structure that
here crossed the river. A number of bridges now span the sluggish
streams. All of them open in the middle to admit the passage of

Bruges stood originally on a little river, Reye, once navigable, now
swallowed by canals; and the Reye flowed into the Zwin, long silted
up, but then the safest harbor in the Low Countries. At first the
capital of a petty Count, this land-locked internal harbor grew in
time to be the Venice of the North, and to gather round its quays or
at its haven of Damme, the ships and merchandise of all neighboring
peoples. Already in 1200 it ranked as the central mart of the
Hanseatic League.

It was the port of entry for English wool and Russian furs: the port
of departure for Flemish broadcloths, laces, tapestries, and linens.
Canals soon connected it with Ghent, Dunkirk, Sluys, Furnes and Ypres.
Its nucleus lay in a little knot of buildings about the Grand Place
and the Hotel de Ville, stretching out to the Cathedral and the Dyver;
thence it spread on all sides till, in 1362, it filled the whole space
within the existing ramparts, now largely abandoned or given over to
fields and gardens. It was the wealthiest town of Europe, outside

The decline of the town was due partly to the break-up of the
Hanseatic system; partly to the rise of English ports and
manufacturing towns; but still more, and especially as compared with
our Flemish cities, to the silting of the Zwin, and the want of
adaption in its waterways to the needs of great ships and modern
navigation. The old sea entrance to Bruges was through the Zwin, by
way of Sluys and Kadzand; up that channel came the Venetian merchant
fleet and the Flemish galleys, to the port of Damme. By 1470, it
ceased to be navigable for large vessels.

The later canal is still open, but as it passes through what is now
Dutch territory, it is little used; nor is it adapted to any save
ships of comparatively small burden. Another canal, suitable for
craft of 500 tons, leads through Belgian territory to Ostend; but few
vessels now navigate it, and those for the most part only for local
trade. The town has shrunk to half its former size, and has only a
quarter of its medieval population.

The commercial decay of Bruges, however, has preserved its charm for
the artist, the archeologist, and the tourist; its sleepy streets and
unfrequented quays are among the most picturesque sights of bustling
and industrial modern Belgium. The great private palaces, indeed,
are almost all destroyed; but many public buildings remain, and the
domestic architecture is quaint and pretty.

Bruges was the mother of arts in Flanders: Jan van Eyck lived here
from 1428 to 1440. Memling, probably from 1477 till 1494. Caxton, the
first English printer, lived as a merchant at Bruges, in the Domus
Anglorum or English factory, from 1446 to 1476, and probably put in
the press here the earliest English book printed, tho strong grounds
have been adduced in favor of Cologne. Colard Mansion, the great
printer of Bruges at that date, was one of the leaders in the art of

The very tall square tower which faces you as you enter the Grand
Place is the Belfry, the center and visible embodiment of the town of
Bruges. The Grand Place itself was the forum and meeting place of the
soldier citizens, who were called to arms by the chimes in the Belfry.
The center of the place is therefore appropriately occupied by a
colossal statue group, modern, of Pieter de Coninck and Jan Breidel,
the leaders of the citizens of Bruges at the Battle of the Spurs
before the walls of Courtrai in 1302, a conflict which secured the
freedom of Flanders from the interference of the Kings of France. The
group is by Devigne. The reliefs on the pedestal represent scenes from
the battle and its antecedents.

The majestic Belfry itself represents the first beginnings of freedom
in Bruges. Leave to erect such a bell-tower, both as a mark of
independence and to summon the citizens to arms, was one of the first
privileges which every Teutonic trading town desired to wring from its
feudal lord. This brick tower, the pledge of municipal rights, was
begun in 1291, to replace an earlier one of wood, and finished about a
hundred years later; the octagon, in stone at the summit, which holds
the bell, having been erected in 1393-96.

It consists of three stories, the two lower of which are square and
flanked by balconies with turrets; the windows below are of the simple
early Gothic style, but show a later type of architecture in the
octagon. The niche in the center contains the Virgin and Child, a
group restored after being destroyed by the French revolutionists.
Below it on either side are smaller figures holding escutcheons. From
the balcony between these last, the laws and the rescripts of the
counts were read aloud to the people assembled in the square.

The Belfry can be ascended by steps. Owing to the force of the wind,
it leans slightly to the southeast. The view from the top is very
extensive and striking. It embraces the greater part of the Plain of
Flanders, with its towns and villages. The country, tho quite flat,
looks beautiful when thus seen. In early times, however, the look-out
from the summit was of practical use for purposes of observation,
military or maritime. It commanded the river, the Zwin, and the sea
approach by Sluys and Damme; the course of the various canals; and the
roads to Ghent, Antwerp, Tournai, and Courtrai. The Belfry contains a
famous set of chimes, the mechanism of which may be inspected by the
visitor. He will have frequent opportunities of hearing the beautiful
and mellow carillon, perhaps to excess. The existing bells date only
from 1680: the mechanism from 1784.


[Footnote A: From "The Paris Sketch Book."]


It is the quaintest and prettiest of all the quaint and pretty towns I
have seen. A painter might spend months here, and wander from church
to church, and admire old towers and pinnacles, tall gables, bright
canals, and pretty little patches of green garden and moss-grown wall,
that reflect in the clear quiet water. Before the inn-window is a
garden, from which in the early morning issues a most wonderful odor
of stocks and wallflowers; next comes a road with trees of admirable
green; numbers of little children are playing in this road (the place
is so clean that they may roll on it all day without soiling
their pinafores), and on the other side of the trees are little
old-fashioned, dumpy, whitewashed, red-tiled houses.

A poorer landscape to draw never was known, nor a pleasanter to
see--the children especially, who are inordinately fat and rosy. Let
it be remembered, too, that here we are out of the country of ugly
women; the expression of the face is almost uniformly gentle and
pleasing, and the figures of the women, wrapt in long black monk-like
cloaks and hoods, very picturesque. No wonder there are so many
children: the "Guide-book" (omniscient Mr. Murray!) says there are
fifteen thousand paupers in the town, and we know how such multiply.

How the deuce do their children look so fat and rosy? By eating
dirt-pies, I suppose. I saw a couple making a very nice savory one,
and another employed in gravely sticking strips of stick betwixt the
pebbles at the house-door, and so making for herself a stately garden.
The men and women don't seem to have much more to do. There are a
couple of tall chimneys at either suburb of the town, where no doubt
manufactories are at work, but within the walls everybody seems
decently idle.

We have been, of course, abroad to visit the lions. The tower in the
Grand Place is very fine, and the bricks of which it is built do not
yield a whit in color to the best stone. The great building round this
tower is very like the pictures of the Ducal Palace at Venice; and
there is a long market area, with columns down the middle, from which
hung shreds of rather lean-looking meat, that would do wonders under
the hands of Cattermole or Haghe.

In the tower there is a chime of bells that keep ringing perpetually.
They not only play tunes of themselves, and every quarter of an hour,
but an individual performs selections from popular operas on them at
certain periods of the morning, afternoon, and evening. I have heard
to-day "Suoni la Tromba," "Son Vergin Vezzosa," from the "Puritani,"
and other airs, and very badly they were played too; for such a great
monster as a tower-bell can not be expected to imitate Madame Grisi or
even Signor Lablache. Other churches indulge in the same amusement, so
that one may come here and live in melody all day or night, like the
young woman in Moore's "Lalla Rookh."

In the matter of art, the chief attractions of Bruges are the pictures
of Memling, that are to be seen in the churches, the hospital, and the
picture-gallery of the place. There are no more pictures of Rubens to
be seen, and, indeed, in the course of a fortnight, one has had quite
enough of the great man and his magnificent, swaggering canvases.
What a difference is here with simple Memling and the extraordinary
creations of his pencil! The hospital is particularly rich in them;
and the legend there is that the painter, who had served Charles the
Bold in his war against the Swiss, and his last battle and defeat,
wandered back wounded and penniless to Bruges, and here found cure and

This hospital is a noble and curious sight. The great hall is almost
as it was in the twelfth century; it is spanned by Saxon arches, and
lighted by a multiplicity of Gothic windows of all sizes; it is very
lofty, clean, and perfectly well ventilated; a screen runs across the
middle of the room, to divide the male from the female patients, and
we were taken to examine each ward, where the poor people seemed
happier than possibly they would have been in health and starvation
without it.

Great yellow blankets were on the iron beds, the linen was
scrupulously clean, glittering pewter-jugs and goblets stood by the
side of each patient, and they were provided with godly books (to
judge from the building), in which several were reading at leisure.
Honest old comfortable nuns, in queer dresses of blue, black, white,
and flannel, were bustling through the room, attending to the wants
of the sick. I saw about a dozen of these kind women's faces; one was
young,--all were healthy and cheerful. One came with bare blue arms
and a great pile of linen from an out-house--such a grange as Cedric
the Saxon might have given to a guest for the night. A couple were in
a laboratory, a tall, bright, clean room, 500 years old at least.

"We saw you were not very religious," said one of the old ladies, with
a red, wrinkled, good-humored face, "by your behavior yesterday in

And yet we did not laugh and talk as we used at college, but were
profoundly affected by the scene that we saw there. It was a fête-day;
a work of Mozart was sung in the evening--not well sung, and yet so
exquisitely tender and melodious, that it brought tears into our eyes.
There were not above twenty people in the church; all, save three or
four, were women in long black cloaks. I took them for nuns at first.
They were, however, the common people of the town, very poor indeed,
doubtless, for the priest's box that was brought round was not
added to by most of them, and their contributions were but two-cent
pieces--five of these go to a penny; but we know the value of such,
and can tell the exact worth of a poor woman's mite!

The box-bearer did not seem at first willing to accept our
donation--we were strangers and heretics; however, I held out my hand,
and he came perforce as it were. Indeed it had only a franc in it; but
"que voulez vous?" I had been drinking a bottle of Rhine wine that
day, and how was I to afford more? The Rhine wine is dear in this
country, and costs four francs a bottle.

Well, the service proceeded. Twenty poor women, two Englishmen, four
ragged beggars, cowering on the steps; and there was the priest at the
altar, in a great robe of gold and damask, two little boys in white
surplices serving him, holding his robe as he rose and bowed, and the
money-gatherer swinging his censer, and filling the little chapel with

The music pealed with wonderful sweetness; you could see the prim
white heads of the nuns in their gallery. The evening light streamed
down upon old statues of saints and carved brown stalls, and lighted
up the head of the golden-haired Magdalen in a picture of the
entombment of Christ. Over the gallery, and, as it were, a kind
protectress to the poor below, stood the statue of the Virgin.


[Footnote A: From "Cities of Belgium."]


Flanders owes everything to its water communications. At the junction
of the Schelde with the Lys and Lei, there grew up in the very early
Middle Ages a trading town, named Gent in Flemish, and Gand in French,
but commonly Anglicized as Ghent. It lay on a close network of rivers
and canals, formed partly by these two main streams, and partly by the
minor channels of the Lieve and the Moere, which together intersect it
into several islands.

Such a tangle of inland waterways, giving access to the sea and to
Bruges, Courtrai, and Tournai, as well as less directly to Antwerp
and Brussels, ensured the rising town in early times considerable
importance. It formed the center of a radiating commerce. Westward,
its main relations were with London and English wool ports; eastward
with Cologne, Maastricht, the Rhine towns, and Italy.

Ghent was always the capital of East Flanders, as Bruges or Ypres were
of the Western province; and after the Counts lost possession of
Arras and Artois, it became in the thirteenth century their principal
residence and the metropolis of the country....

Early in the fourteenth century, the burghers of Ghent, under their
democratic chief, Jacob or Jacques Van Artevelde, attained practical
independence. Till 1322, the counts and people of Flanders had been
united in their resistance to the claims of France; but with the
accession of Count Louis of Nevers, the aspect of affairs changed.
Louis was French by education, sympathies, and interests, and
artistocratic by nature; he sought to curtail the liberties of the
Flemish towns, and to make himself despotic. The wealthy and populous
burgher republics resisted and in 1337 Van Artevelde was appointed
Captain of Ghent. Louis fled to France and asked the aid of Philip of

Thereupon, Van Artevelde made himself the ally of Edward III. of
England, then beginning his war with France; but as the Flemings did
not like entirely to cast off their allegiance--a thing repugnant to
medieval sentiment--Van Artevelde persuaded Edward to put forward his
trumped-up claim to the crown of France, and thus induced the towns
to transfer their fealty from Philip to his English rival. It was
therefore in his character as King of France that Edward came to
Flanders. The alliance thus formed between the great producer of raw
wool, England, and the great manufacturer of woolen goods, Ghent,
proved of immense importance to both parties.

But as Count Louis sided with Philip of Valois, the breach between the
democracy of Ghent and its nominal soverign now became impassable. Van
Artevelde held supreme power in Ghent and Flanders for nine years--the
golden age of Flemish commerce--and was treated on equal terms by
Edward, who stopt at Ghent as his guest for considerable periods. But
he was opposed by a portion of the citizens, and his suggestion that
the Black Prince, son of Edward III., should be elected Count
of Flanders, proved so unpopular with his enemies that he was
assassinated by one of them, Gerald Denys. The town and states
immediately repudiated the murder; and the alliance which Van
Artevelde had brought about still continued. It had far-reaching
results; the woolen industry was introduced by Edward into the Eastern
Counties of England, and Ghent had risen meanwhile to be the chief
manufacturing city of Europe.

The quarrel between the democratic weavers and their exiled counts
was still carried on by Philip van Artevelde, the son of Jacques, and
godson of Queen Philippa of England, herself a Hainaulter. Under his
rule, the town continued to increase in wealth and population. But
the general tendency of later medieval Europe toward centralized
despotisms as against urban republics was too strong in the end for
free Ghent. In 1381, Philip was appointed dictator by the democratic
party, in the war against the Count, son of his father's opponent,
whom he repelled with great slaughter in a battle near Bruges.

He then made himself Regent of Flanders. But Count Louis obtained
the aid of Charles VI. of France, and defeated and killed Philip van
Artevelde at the disastrous battle of Roosebeke in 1382. That was
practically the end of local freedom in Flanders. Tho the cities
continued to revolt against their sovereigns from time to time, they
were obliged to submit for the most part to their Count and to the
Burgundian princes who inherited from him by marriage.

The subsequent history of Ghent is that of the capital of the
Burgundian Dukes, and of the House of Austria. Here the German king,
Maximilian, afterward Emperor, married Mary of Burgundy, the heiress
of the Netherlands; and here Charles V. was born in the palace of
the Counts. It was his principal residence, and he was essentially a

The real interest of the Cathedral centers, not in St. Bavon, nor in
his picture by Rubens, but in the great polyptych of the Adoration
of the Lamb, the masterpiece of Jan van Eyck and his brother Hubert,
which forms in a certain sense the point of departure for the native
art of the Netherlands....

Stand before the west front at a little distance, to examine the
simple but massive architecture of the tower and façade. The great
portal has been robbed of the statues which once adorned its niches.
Three have been "restored"; they represent, center, the Savior; at the
left, the patron, St. Bavon, recognizable by his falcon, his sword as
duke, and his book as monk; he wears armor, with a ducal robe and cap
above it; at the right, St. John the Baptist, the earlier patron.

Then, walk to the right, round the south side, to observe the external
architecture of the nave, aisles and choir. The latter has the
characteristic rounded or apsidal termination of Continental Gothic,
whereas English Gothic usually has a square end. Enter by the south

The interior, with single aisles and short transepts (Early Gothic)
is striking for its simple dignity, its massive pillars, and its high
arches, tho the undeniably noble effect of the whole is somewhat
marred to English eyes by the unusual appearance of the unadorned
brick walls and vaulting. The pulpit, by Delvaux (1745), partly in
oak, partly in marble, represents Truth revealing the Christian Faith
to astonished Paganism, figured as an old and outworn man. It is a
model of all that should be avoided in plastic or religious art.
The screen which separates the choir from the transepts is equally
unfortunate. The apsidal end of the Choir, however, with its fine
modern stained glass, forms a very pleasing feature in the general
coup d'oeil....

The sixth chapel (of the Vydts family) contains the famous altar piece
of the Adoration of the Lamb, by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, to study
which is the chief object of a visit to Ghent. See it more than once,
and examine it carefully. Ask the sacristan to let you sit before it
for some time in quiet or he will hurry you on. You must observe it in
close detail. Taking it in its entirety, then, the altar-piece, when
opened, is a great mystical poem of the Eucharist and the Sacrifice of
the Lamb, with the Christian folk, both Church and World, adoring. The
composition contains over 200 figures. Many of them, which I have
not here identified, can be detected by a closer inspection, which,
however, I will leave to the reader.

Now, ask the sacristan to shut the wings. They are painted on the
outer side (all a copy) mainly in grisaille, or in very low tones
of color, as is usual in such cases, so as to allow the jewel-like
brilliancy of the internal picture to burst upon the observer the
moment the altar-piece is opened.

Old Ghent occupied for the most part the island which extends from the
Palais de Justice on one side to the Botanical Gardens on the other.
This island, bounded by the Lys, the Schelde, and an ancient canal,
includes almost all the principal buildings of the town, such as the
Cathedral, St. Nicholas, the Hôtel-dé-Ville, the Belfry, and St.
Jacques, as well as the chief Places, such as the Marché aux Grains,
the Marché aux Herbes, and the Marché du Vendredi. It also extends
beyond the Lys to the little island on which is situated the church of
St. Michael, and again to the islet formed between the Lieve and the
Lys, which contains the château of the Counts and the Palace Ste.

In the later middle ages, however, the town had spread to nearly its
existing extreme dimensions, and was probably more populous than at
the present moment. But its ancient fortifications have been destroyed
and their place has been taken by boulevards and canals. The line
may still be traced on the map, or walked round through a series of
shipping suburbs; but it is uninteresting to follow, a great part of
its course lying through the more squalid portions of the town.
The only remaining gate is that known as the Rabot (1489), a very
interesting and picturesque object situated in a particularly slummy

Bruges is full of memories of the Burgundian Princes. At Ghent it is
the personality of Charles V., the great emperor who cumulated in his
own person the sovereignties of Germany, the Low Countries, Spain and
Burgundy, that meets us afresh at every turn. He was born here in 1500
and baptized in a font, otherwise uninteresting, which still stands in
the north transept of the Cathedral. Ghent was really, for the greater
part of his life, his practical capital, and he never ceased to be at
heart a Ghenter.

That did not prevent the citizens from unjustly rebelling against him
in 1540, after the suppression of which revolt Charles is said to have
ascended the cathedral tower, while the executioner was putting to
death the ringleaders in the rebellion, in order to choose with his
brother Ferdinand the site for the citadel he intended to erect, to
overawe the freedom loving city. He chose the Monastery of St. Bavon
as its site, and, as we have seen, built there his colossal fortress,
now wholly demolished. The palace in which he was born and which he
inhabited frequently during life, was known as the Cour du Prince. It
stood near the Ancient Grand Béguinage, but only its name now survives
in that of a street.


[Footnote A: From "The Belgians at Home." Published by Little, Brown &


The great commercial and material prosperity of the place dates from
the commencement of the rule of the House of Burgundy. It was then,
in the fifteenth century, that the most beautiful of its many fine
buildings were erected. The Church of St. Michael and St. Gudule has
its great nave and towers dating from this period; the Hôtel de Ville,
Notre Dame du Sablon, the Nassau Palace, the Palace of the Dukes of
Brabant, and many other buildings were commenced then. Manufactures
and commerce commenced to flourish, while the liberties of the
municipality were extended considerably.

It was undoubtedly under the rule of Charles V. that Brussels reached
its zenith of ancient prosperity. Then, with the era of Philip II. of
Spain, came a long period of bloodshed, persecution, and misery. The
religious disputes and troubles afflicting the Netherlands had their
effect upon the life, prosperity, and happiness of the Bruxellois. The
whole country was running with blood, and ruin stalked through the
land. But during this tragic period of Netherlands' history Brussels
saw several glorious events, and did as a city more than one noble
deed. It was in Brussels that the compromise of the nobles took place,
after which those who were rebelling against the cruelties of the
Inquisition were given the name of "Gueux," which had been bestowed
upon them contemptuously by the Comte de Barlaimont.... It was
Brussels which led the revolt against the most bloodthirsty of the
rulers sent to the Netherlands by Spain, the Duke of Alva, and
successfully resisted the imposition of the notorious "twentieth
denier" tax which it was sought to impose upon it, a tax which led
ultimately to the revolt of the whole of the Belgian provinces.

Certainly this ancient capital of the Province of Brabant, containing
nowadays with its suburbs a population of upward of 600,000, which has
quadrupled in sixty years, has come to take its place among the most
beautiful and charming capital cities of Europe. It is undoubtedly
healthy, and there is an engaging air about Brussels which soon
impresses itself upon the foreign visitor. Added to all its many
attractions of interesting museums--the homes of wonderful and in
some cases unrivaled collections of works of art--and of historical
associations with the past, it possesses the charm of being modern in
the best sense and of being a place where one may find much that is
finest in art and music. As a home of fashion it bids fair some day
to rival Paris herself, and the shops of the Montagne de la Cour,
Boulevard Anspach, and contiguous streets are scarcely less luxurious
or exclusive than those of the Rue de la Paix or Boulevard des
Italiens in the French capital. Brussels is a city of shady
boulevards, open spaces, and pleasant parks as is Paris; and the
beautiful Bois de la Cambre on its outskirts compares very favorably
with the world-renowned Bois de Boulogne as regards rural charm and

One impression that Brussels is almost certain to make upon the
visitor is its compactness. Its population, including the outskirts,
is nowadays rather over 600,000; but it is almost impossible to
realize that nearly one-eleventh of the whole population of Belgium
is concentrated in this one city, or, as might be said, in Greater
Brussels. Perhaps the real reason of this apparent lack of size
is because there are in reality two cities, Brussels interior and
Brussels exterior. The one with a population of about 225,000; the
latter with one of about 375,000. It is with the former, of course,
that the tourist and casual visitor are chiefly concerned.

The outlying suburbs are, however, connected with the city proper by a
splendid system of steam, electric, and other trams. In fact, it may
be said that Brussels is in a sense surrounded by a group of small
towns, which tho forming part of the great city are yet independent,
and are governed very much like the various boroughs which make up
Greater London, Curhegem, St. Gilles, Ixelles, St. Josse, Ten Noodle,
Molenbeek, St. Jean, and Schaerbeek, still further out, are all in a
sense separate towns, seldom visited by, and indeed almost unknown to
the tourist.

The most fashionable quarters for residences of the wealthy classes
are the broad and beautiful Avenue Louise and the streets and avenues
of the Quartier Leopold. They in a sense correspond to the Avenue du
Bois de Boulogne, Avenue des Champs Élysées, and Boulevard St. Germain
of Paris. There is another feature, too, that modern Brussels has in
common with Paris of the immediate past and of to-day. It is being
"Haussmannized," and the older and more quaint and interesting
portions of the city, as has been and is the case in Paris, are
gradually but surely disappearing to make way for the onward march of
progress and expansion. Almost on every hand, and especially in the
Porte de Namur Quarter, old buildings are constantly falling victims
to the house-wrecker, and new, in the shape of handsome mansions and
lofty blocks of flats, are arising from their ashes.

The last thirty--even twenty--years have seen many changes. During
that period the sluggish little River Senne, which once meandered
through the city, and upon whose banks stood many fine and picturesque
old houses and buildings of past ages, has been arched over, and the
fine Boulevard of the same name, and those of Hainaut and Anspach,
have been built above its imprisoned waters. The higher portions of
the city are undeniably healthy, and the climate of Brussels is less
subject to extreme changes than that of Paris. It is not unbearably
cold in winter, and tho hot in summer, is not so, we think, airless
as either Paris or London, a fact accounted for by reason of its many
open spaces, its height above sea-level, and comparative nearness to
the North Sea.

Of its fine buildings, none excels the Hôtel de Ville, which is
certainly one of the most interesting and beautiful buildings of its
kind in Belgium. It is well placed on one of the finest medieval
squares in Europe, and is surrounded by quaint and historic houses. On
this Grande Place many tragedies have from time to time been enacted,
and some of the most ferocious acts of the inhuman Alva performed.
In the spring of the terrible year, 1568, no less than twenty-five
Flemish nobles were executed here, and in the June of the same year
the patriots Lamoral, Count Egmont, Philip de Montmorency, and Count
Hoorn were put to death. This atrocious deed is commemorated by a
fountain with statues of the heroes, placed in front of the Maison
du Roi, from a window of which the Duke of Alva watched his orders
carried out.

This most beautiful Hôtel de Ville, with its late Gothic façade
approaching the Renaissance period, nearly 200 feet in length, was
commenced, according to a well-known authority, either in 1401 or
1402, the eastern wing, or left-hand portion as one faces it across
the Place, having been the first part to be commenced, the western
half of the façade not having been begun until 1444. The later
additions formed the quadrangle.

The Cathedral at Brussels is dedicated jointly to Ste. Gudule and St.
Michael. The former is one of the luckiest saints in that respect, as
probably but for this dedication, she would have remained among the
many rather obscure saints of the early periods of Christianity.

It is to this church that most visitors to Brussels first wend their
way after visiting the Grande Place and its delightful Flower Market,
which is gay with blossoms on most days of the week all the year
round. The natural situation of the church is a fine one, which was
made the most of by its architects and builders of long ago. Standing,
as it does, on the side of a hill reached from the Grande Place by the
fine Rue de la Montagne and short, steep Rue Ste. Gudule, it overlooks
the city with its two fine twin western towers dominating the
neighboring streets. These towers have appeared to us when viewed up
the Rue Ste. Gudule and other streets leading up from the lower town
to the church, generally to be veiled by a mystic gray or ambient
haze, and to gain much in impressiveness and grandeur from the coup
d'oeil one obtains of them framed, as it were, in the end of the
rising street.


[Footnote A: From "Les Miserables." Translated by Lascelles Wraxall.]


The battle of Waterloo is an enigma as obscure for those who gained
it as for him who lost it. To Napoleon it is a panic; Blücher sees
nothing in it but fire; Wellington does not understand it at all.
Look at the reports; the bulletins are confused; the commentaries are
entangled; the latter stammer, the former stutter.

Jomini divides the battle of Waterloo into four moments; Muffing cuts
it into three acts; Charras, altho we do not entirely agree with him
in all his appreciations, has alone caught with his haughty eye
the characteristic lineaments of this catastrophe of human genius
contending with divine chance. All the other historians suffer from a
certain bedazzlement in which they grope about. It was a flashing day,
in truth the overthrow of the military monarchy which, to the great
stupor of the kings, has dragged down all kingdoms, the downfall of
strength and the rout of war....

In this event, which bears the stamp of superhuman necessity, men play
but a small part; but if we take Waterloo from Wellington and Blücher,
does that deprive England and Germany of anything? No. Neither
illustrious England nor august Germany is in question in the problem
of Waterloo, for, thank heaven! nations are great without the mournful
achievements of the sword. Neither Germany, nor England, nor France
is held in a scabbard; at this day when Waterloo is only a clash of
sabers, Germany has Goethe above Blücher, and England has Byron above
Wellington. A mighty dawn of ideas is peculiar to our age; and in this
dawn England and Germany have their own magnificent flash. They are
majestic because they think; the high level they bring to civilization
is intrinsic to them; it comes from themselves, and not from an
accident. Any aggrandizement the nineteenth century may have can not
boast of Waterloo as its fountainhead; for only barbarous nations
grow suddenly after a victory--it is the transient vanity of torrents
swollen by a storm. Civilized nations, especially at the present day,
are not elevated or debased by the good or evil fortune of a captain,
and their specific weight in the human family results from something
more than a battle. Their honor, dignity, enlightenment, and genius
are not numbers which those gamblers, heroes and conquerors, can
stake in the lottery of battles. Very often a battle lost is progress
gained, and less of glory, more of liberty. The drummer is silent and
reason speaks; it is the game of who loses wins. Let us, then, speak
of Waterloo coldly from both sides, and render to chance the things
that belong to chance, and to God what is God's. What is Waterloo--a
victory? No; a prize in the lottery, won by Europe, and paid by
France; it was hardly worth while erecting a lion for it.

Waterloo is the strangest encounter recorded in history; Napoleon
and Wellington are not enemies, but contraries. Never did God, who
delights in antitheses, produce a more striking contrast, or a more
extraordinary confrontation. On one side precision, foresight,
geometry, prudence, a retreat assured, reserves prepared, an obstinate
coolness, an imperturbable method, strategy profiting by the ground,
tactics balancing battalions, carnage measured by a plumb-line, war
regulated watch in hand, nothing left voluntarily to accident, old
classic courage and absolute correctness.

On the other side we have intuition, divination, military strangeness,
superhuman instinct, a flashing glance; something that gazes like the
eagle and strikes like lightning, all the mysteries of a profound
mind, associated with destiny; the river, the plain, the forest, and
the hill summoned, and, to some extent, compelled to obey; the despot
going so far as even to tyrannize over the battlefield; faith in a
star, blended with a strategic science, heightening, but troubling it.

Wellington was the Barême of war, Napoleon was its Michelangelo, and
this true genius was conquered by calculation. On both sides somebody
was expected; and it was the exact calculator who succeeded. Napoleon
waited for Grouchy, who did not come; Wellington waited for Blücher,
and he came.

Wellington is the classical war taking its revenge; Bonaparte, in his
dawn, had met it in Italy, and superbly defeated it--the old owl
fled before the young vulture. The old tactics had been not only
overthrown, but scandalized. Who was this Corsican of six-and-twenty
years of age? What meant this splendid ignoramus, who, having
everything against him, nothing for him, without provisions,
ammunition, guns, shoes, almost without an army, with a handful of
men against masses, dashed at allied Europe, and absurdly gained
impossible victories? Who was this new comet of war who possest the
effrontery of a planet?

The academic military school excommunicated him, while bolting, and
hence arose an implacable rancor of the old Caesarism against the new,
of the old saber against the flashing sword, and of the chessboard
against genius. On June 18, 1815, this rancor got the best; and
beneath Lodi, Montebello, Montenotte, Mantua, Marengo, and Arcola, it
wrote--Waterloo. It was a triumph of mediocrity, sweet to majorities,
and destiny consented to this irony. In his decline, Napoleon found
a young Suvarov before him--in fact, it is only necessary to blanch
Wellington's hair in order to have a Suvarov. Waterloo is a battle of
the first class, gained by a captain of the second.

What must be admired in the battle of Waterloo is England, the English
firmness, the English resolution, the English blood, and what England
had really superb in it, is (without offense) herself; it is not her
captain, but her army. Wellington, strangely ungrateful, declares in
his dispatch to Lord Bathurst that his army, the one which fought on
June 18, 1815, was a "detestable army."

What does the gloomy pile of bones buried in the trenches of Waterloo
think of this? England has been too modest to herself in her treatment
of Wellington, for making him so great is making herself small.
Wellington is merely a hero, like any other man. The Scots Grays, the
Life Guards, Maitland's and Mitchell's regiments, Pack's and Kempt's
infantry, Ponsonby's and Somerset's cavalry, the Highlanders playing
the bagpipes under the shower of canister, Ryland's battalions, the
fresh recruits who could hardly manage a musket, and yet held their
ground against the old bands of Essling and Rivoli--all this is grand.

Wellington was tenacious; that was his merit, and we do not deny it
to him, but the lowest of his privates and his troopers was quite as
solid as he, and the iron soldier is as good as the iron duke. For our
part, all our glorification is offered to the English soldier, the
English army, the English nation; and if there must be a trophy, it
is to England that this trophy is owing. The Waterloo column would be
more just, if, instead of the figure of a man, it raised to the clouds
the statue of a people....

But this great England will be irritated by what we are writing here;
for she still has feudal illusions, after her 1688 and the French
1789. This people believes in inheritance and hierarchy, and while no
other excels it in power and glory, it esteems itself as a nation and
not as a people. As a people, it readily subordinates itself, and
takes a lord as its head; the workman lets himself be despised; the
soldier puts up with flogging. It will be remembered that, at the
battle of Inkerman, a sergeant who, as it appears, saved the British
army, could not be mentioned by Lord Raglan, because the military
hierarchy does not allow any hero below the rank of officer to be
mentioned in dispatches. What we admire before all, in an encounter
like Waterloo, is the prodigious skill of chance. The night raid,
the wall of Hougoumont, the hollow way of Ohain, Grouchy deaf to the
cannon, Napoleon's guide deceiving him, Bulow's guide enlightening
him--all this cataclysm is marvelously managed.

There is more of a massacre than of a battle in Waterloo. Waterloo, of
all pitched battles, is the one which had the smallest front for
such a number of combatants. Napoleon's three-quarters of a league.
Wellington's half a league, and seventy-two thousand combatants
on either side. From this density came the carnage. The following
calculation has been made and proportion established: loss of men, at
Austerlitz, French, fourteen per cent.; Russian, thirty per cent.;
Austrian, forty-four per cent.; at Wagram, French, thirteen per cent.;
Austrian, fourteen per cent.; at Moscow, French, thirty-seven per
cent.; Russian, forty-four per cent.; at Bautzen, French, thirteen
cent.; Russian and Prussian, fourteen per cent.; at Waterloo, French,
fifty-six per cent.; allies, thirty-one per cent.--total for Waterloo,
forty-one per cent., or out of one hundred and forty-four thousand
fighting men, sixty thousand killed.

The field of Waterloo has at the present day that calmness which
belongs to the earth, and resembles all plains; but at night, a sort
of a visionary mist rises from it, and if any traveler walk about it,
and listen and dream, like Virgil on the mournful plain of Philippi,
the hallucination of the catastrophe seizes upon him. The frightful
June 18th lives again, the false monumental hill is leveled, the
wondrous lion is dissipated, the battlefield resumes its reality,
lines of infantry undulate on the plain; furious galloping crosses the
horizon; the startled dreamer sees the flash of sabers, the sparkle
of bayonets, the red lights of shells, the monstrous collision of
thunderbolts; he hears like a death groan from the tomb, the vague
clamor of the fantom battle.

These shadows are grenadiers; these flashes are cuirassiers; this
skeleton is Napoleon; this skeleton is Wellington: all this is
non-existent, and yet still combats, and the ravines are stained
purple, and the trees rustle, and there is fury even in the clouds
and in the darkness, while all the stern heights, Mont St. Jean,
Hougoumont, Frischemont, Papelotte, and Plancenoit, seem confusedly
crowned by hosts of specters exterminating one another.


[Footnote A: From "Two Months Abroad." Privately printed. 1878.]


The French wished to call it the battle of Mont St. Jean, but
Wellington said "The Battle of Waterloo." The victor's wish prevailed.
I know not why, except because he was the victor. The scene of the
battle is four miles from the village of Waterloo and, besides Mont
St. Jean, several villages from any one of which it might well have
been named, are included in the field. Before the battle, however, the
village of Waterloo had been the headquarters of the Duke and there he
rested for two days after the battle was won.

I am now on this memorable spot as the solitary guest of a small hotel
at the base of the Lion's Mound, after having made a night of it in
crossing from Aix-la-Chapelle to Brussels and thence, through a storm
of mist and rain to the little station of Braine-l'Alleud, which is a
good mile from the battlefield. The train reached Braine-l'Alleud long
before daybreak. When the morn had really dawned, I left the
little waiting room, a solitary loiterer, and set out to find the
battleground. From the platform of the station the eye surveyed a
wide, thickly populated but rural plain, and in one direction afar
off, clearly set against the dark rain-dripping sky, rose in solemn
majesty a mound of earth, bearing on its lofty summit an indistinct
figure of a lion.

A small rustic gate from the station led in the direction of the
Mound. From necessity, I began a tramp through the rain alone, no
conveyance being obtainable. The soil of Belgium here being alluvial,
a little rain soon makes a great deal of mud and little rains at this
season (January) are frequent. Along a small unpaved mud-deep road,
having meanwhile been joined by a peasant with a two wheeled cart
drawn by a single mule, I was soon hastening onward toward the Mound
which was growing more and more visible on the horizon. The road soon
turned away, however, but a path led toward the mound. The peasant
took the road and I the path, which led into a little clump of houses,
where were boys about their morning duties, and dogs that barked
vigorously until one of the boys to whom I had spoken silenced them.

Passing onward through streets not more than six feet wide, along
neatly trimmed hedges and past small cottage doorways, I soon entered
an open plain, but in a crippled state with heavy mud-covered shoes.
Mud fairly obliterated all trace of leather. With this burden, and wet
to the skin with rain, there rose far ahead of me that historic mound,
and at last I stood at its base alone, there in the midst of one of
the greatest battlefields history records, soon to forget in the
momentary joys of a beefsteak breakfast that man had ever done
anything in this world except eat and drink.

I must borrow an illustration--Victor Hugo's letter A. The apex is
Mount St. Jean, the right hand base La Belle Alliance, the left hand
base Hougoumont, the cross bar that sunken road which perhaps changed
the future of Europe, the two sides broad Belgian roads, paved with
square stones and bordered with graceful and lofty poplar trees, their
proud heads waving in every breeze that drifts across this undulating
plain. The Lion's Mound is just below the middle of this cross bar.
Mont St. Jean, La Belle Alliance and Hougoumont, at the three angles
of the triangle, are small villages--scarcely more than hamlets. All
were important points in the fortunes of that memorable 18th of June,
1815. Hougoumont, with its château and wall, in some sense was like a

Go with me if you will in imagination to the summit of the Lion's
Mound. A flight of 225 stone steps will take us there, a toilsome
ascent in this chilling air and this persistent rain. Toward Mont
St. Jean, the surface of the ground is rolling, the waves of it high
enough to conceal standing men from view. Except the lofty poplars at
the road sides, there are no trees. An admirable place for an army on
the defensive, you will at once say, since reserves can be concealed
behind the convolutions of the rolling plain. These convolutions may
also serve in the fight as natural fortifications.

Here at Mont St. Jean, Wellington pitched his tent. Hougoumont lay far
off in front of his center, and had that morning a small garrison.
Napoleon, with his army, was a mile away, his line extending to the
right and left beyond La Belle Alliance. We must turn squarely around
as we stand alongside the lion if we are to see in the distance the
ground he occupied. Our place is nearly in the center of the field.
Hougoumont we realize to have been worthy of the prodigious struggle
the French made to capture it. Half a fortress then, it provided
an admirable stand for artillery. A few men might hold it against
superior numbers.

At Waterloo the Duke had about 67,000 men--some accounts say
70,000--but many, perhaps 15,000, fled in desertion at an early hour
of the day. With these figures correct, the fighting forces of the
Allies later in the day, would remain little more than 55,000 men. The
Emperor's army has usually been placed at 70,000. His soldiers were
probably better trained than the Duke's and combined with long service
an abundance of enthusiasm for their old general, now restored to his
imperial throne and confident of victory.

The night before the battle had been wet and stormy, but the morning
gave some promise of clearing; the sky, however, remained overcast and
some rain continued to fall. The French were weary after a long march,
and the artillery moved with difficulty across this wet and muddy
plain. Altogether they were in poor condition for a battle, in which
all their fortunes were at stake. It was just such a morning as ours,
except that it was then June and is now January. If the battle began
at 8 o'clock, as one account reads, we are here on the Lion's Mound at
that same hour. Even if this be January, daisies are in blossom at our

Jerome Bonaparte, leading the attack, moves on Hougoumont, where the
Allies, who have come down from Mont St. Jean, repulse him. He renews
the attack "with redoubled fury," and a gallant resistance is made,
but he forces a way into the outer enclosure of the chateau that
crowns the hill. British howitzers are at once discharged upon the
French and compel them to retreat. New assaults are then made.
Overwhelming numbers seem to bear down upon the Allies. The stronghold
is more than once nearly lost, but it is defended with "prodigies of
valor" and firmly held to the last. Had Hougoumont been taken, the
result of the battle "would probably have been very different."

Meanwhile, the Emperor has ordered a second attack elsewhere--this
time against the left wing of Wellington. Marshal Ney sends forward
six divisions, who encounter the Netherlandish troops and easily
scatter them. Two brigades of British numbering 3,000 men then prepare
to check the advancing French. A struggle, brief but fierce, ensues,
in which the French are repulsed. They rally again, however, and
Scotch Highlanders, their bagpipes sounding the cry, advance against
them, along with an English brigade. These make an impetuous assault,
while cavalry charge Napoleon's infantry, and force a part of them
back on La Belle Alliance. But here the pursuing British meet with a
check in a scene of wild carnage that sweeps over the field.

We may look down upon the scene of that frightful struggle. It lies
just below us. Grass is growing there luxuriantly now. A north wind
sweeps over the plain. A mournful requiem seems to whistle through the
poplar trees.

If we look toward Hougoumont, French gunners are seen to have been
slain. Many cannon are silent. With the chateau in flames, confusion
reigns. Napoleon, ordering a new cavalry attack, directs Jerome to
advance with his infantry. Immediately the Allies discharge grape
and canister on the advancing host. But no Frenchman wavers. On the
contrary, the French cavalry capture Wellington's outward battalion
and press onward toward his hollow squares of infantry. All efforts to
break these squares end in failure. For a time the French abandon the
attack, but only to renew it and then follows a remarkable scene. The
French charge with unprecedented fury, and the squares are partially
broken, while friends and enemies, wounded or killed, are mingled in
inextricable confusion.

Some of the Belgian troops take flight and in mad terror run back to
Brussels, causing great consternation there by reporting a defeat for
Wellington. The squares maintain their ground to the end admirably,
and with severe losses the French retire. Hougoumont near by, all this
time was not silent. The attack being continued, the commander is
killed and at last its heights are gained. From elsewhere in the
field, Wellington learns of his loss, places himself at the head of a
brigade, and commands it to charge. Amid the utmost enthusiasm of the
Allies the French are driven back from Hougoumont.

Napoleon now turns his efforts against La Haye Sainte, a small height
forward from Mont St. Jean, occupied by the enemy's left wing. Ney,
in a furious cannonade, begins the attack, in which the Allies are
overwhelmed and their ammunition is exhausted. Masters of this point,
the French again move on Hougoumont. It is seven o'clock in the
evening, with Napoleon in fair way to succeed, but his men are already
exhausted and their losses are heavy. Some of them plunge into that
famous sunken road, unheeded of him and them, and still so great a
mystery to historians. It was a charging cavalry column that plunged
in, unknowingly, rider and horse together, in indescribable confusion
and dismay. We may see that road to-day, for we have walked in a part
of it when coming across the plain from the station--a narrow road cut
many feet deep, its bed paved with little stones. Hugo's words on that
frightful scene are these:

"There was the ravine, unlooked for, yawning at the very feet of the
horses, two fathoms deep between its double slope. The second rank
pushed in the first, the third pushed in the second; the horses
reared, threw themselves over, fell upon their backs, and struggled
with their feet in the air, piling up and overturning their riders; no
power to retreat; the whole column was nothing but a projectile. The
force acquired to crush the English crusht the French. The inexorable
ravine could not yield until it was filled; riders and horses rolled
in together pell-mell, grinding each other, making common flesh in
this dreadful gulf, and when this grave was full of living men, the
rest marched over them and passed on. Almost a third of the Dubois'
brigade sank into this abyss."

Two hours before this, Blücher, with his Prussians, had
appeared--Blücher who was to turn the tide of battle. He had promised
Wellington to be there. His soldiers had complained bitterly on the
long march over muddy ground, but he told them his word as a soldier
must be kept. From far beyond La Belle Alliance had Blücher come, a
cow boy showing him the way--a boy who, if he had not known the way,
or had lied, might have saved Napoleon from St. Helena. The ground
where Blücher entered the field is just visible to us from the mound
as with strained eyes, we peer through the morning mist. During Ney's
attack, Blücher opens fire on La Haye Sainte. By six o'clock he has
forty-eight guns in action and some of the guns send shot as far as La
Belle Alliance. As the conflict deepens, Napoleon's fortunes are seen
to be obviously in grave, if not critical, danger, but he strengthens
his right wing and again hazards Hougoumont. Eight battalions are
sent forward, an outlying stronghold is captured, but more Prussians
advance and threaten to regain the point.

At seven o'clock while Ney is renewing the attack on Hougoumont other
Prussians appear. The real crisis being at hand, Napoleon resolves
on a final, concentrated movement against the enemy's center. His
soldiers being worn out and discouraged, he gives out a false report
that reinforcements are at last coming--that Grouchy has not failed
him. A furious cannonade opens this new attack, causing "frightful
havoc" among the Allies. The Prince of Orange holds back the French
on the very ground where the lion is now elevated, but falls wounded.
Napoleon, in an address to the Imperial Guard, rouses them to great
enthusiasm. For a half hour longer the French bear down on the enemy,
but British gunners make gaps in their ranks. With his horse shot from
under him, Ney goes forward on foot.

The Duke now takes personal command. He sends a shower of grape and
cannister against a column of French veterans, but they never waver.
Reserves, suddenly called for, pour a fierce charge against the
advancing French, rending them asunder. The attack is closely followed
up and the French are driven down the hill. Elsewhere in the field the
battle still rages. Blücher continues his attack on Napoleon's right
and forces it back. Reduced to despair, Napoleon now gives his final
and famous order: "Tout est perdu! Sauve qui peut." But the Young
Guard resists Blücher. Wellington, descending from his height, follows
the retreating enemy as far as La Belle Alliance. At eight o'clock,
after a most sanguinary struggle, the Young Guard yields. The success
of Blücher elsewhere completes the victory of the Allies.

One man will never surrender--Cambronne. Who was Cambronne? No one
can tell you more than this--he was the man at Waterloo who would not
surrender. "The Old Guard dies, but never surrenders." "Among those
giants then," says Hugo, "there was one Titan--Cambronne. The man
who won the battle of Waterloo was not Napoleon, put to rout; not
Wellington, giving way at four o'clock, desperate at five; not
Blücher, who did not fight. The man who won the battle of Waterloo
was Cambronne. To fulminate at the thunderbolt which kills you, is

As we look over this field from our height and try to realize what
mighty fortunes were here at stake, we note that the mementoes of
that day are few. A Corinthian column and an obelisk are seen at the
roadside as memorials of the bravery of two officers. This Lion's
Mound, two hundred feet high and made from earth piled up by cart
loads, commemorates the place where a prince was wounded. Colossal in
size, the lion was cast from French cannon captured in the fight. On
this broad plain upward of 50,000 men, who had mothers, sisters,
and wives at home, gave up their lives. Poplar trees sigh forth
perpetually their funeral dirge. Grass grows where their blood was
poured out. Modern Europe can show few scenes of more sublime tragedy.
Our visiting day, with its chilling air and penetrating rain, has
been a fit day for seeing Waterloo. The old woman who served me with
breakfast spoke English easily. It was well--doubly well. No other
language than English should be spoken on the field of Waterloo. I
passed a few French words with the boy who called off the dogs, but
was afterward sorry for having done so.


[Footnote A: From "The Cathedrals and Churches of Belgium." Published
by James Pott & Co.]


Byzantium--Venice--Antwerp, these are the centers around which the
modern world has revolved, for we must include its commercial with its
social progress, and with those interests which develop with society.
Indeed, the development of the arts has always run concurrently with
commerce. One could wish to add that the converse were equally true.

Antwerp--the city on the wharf--became famous at the beginning of
the sixteenth century under the reign of the enterprising Charles V.
"Antwerp was then truly a leading city in almost all things, but
in commerce it headed all the cities of the world," says an old
chronicler. Bruges, the great banking center yielded her position,
and the Hanseatic merchants removed to the banks of the Scheldt. "I
was astonished, and wondered much when I beheld Antwerp," wrote an
envoy of the Italian Republic, "for I saw Venice outdone."

In what direction Venice was outdone is not recorded. Not in her
architecture, at least; scarcely in her painting. We can not concede
a Tintoretto for a Rubens. Yet, as Antwerp was the home of Matsys,
of Rubens, Van Dyck, and the Teniers, the home also of Christopher
Plantin, the great printer, her glory is not to be sought in trade
alone. She is still remembered as a mother of art and letters, while
her mercantile preeminence belongs to a buried past.

It must, however, be confest that the fortunes of Antwerp as a city,
prospering in its connection with the Hanseatic League, were anything
but advantageous to the student of architectural history. Alterations
and buildings were the order of the day, and so lavish were the means
devoted to the work that scarcely a vestige of architecture in the
remains is of earlier date than the fourteenth century.

The grandly dimensioned churches raised in every parish afford ample
evidence of the zeal and skill with which the work of reconstruction
was prosecuted, and as specimens of the style of their day can not
fail to elicit our admiration by the nobility of their proportions, so
that in the monuments the wealthy burghers of Antwerp have left us we
have perhaps no reason to regret their zeal. At the same time, one
is tempted to wish that they had spared the works of earlier date by
raising their new ones on fresh ground, instead of such wholesale
demolition of the labors of preceding generations.

Nôtre Dame at Antwerp, the most spacious church in the Netherlands,
originated in a chapel built for a miraculous image of the Blessed
Virgin. This chapel was reconstructed in 1124, when the canons of St.
Michel, having ceded their church to the Praemonstratensians, removed
hither. Two centuries later, the canons of St. Michel, animated by the
prevailing spirit, determined on rebuilding their church on a more
magnificent scale, and they commenced the work in 1352 by laying the
foundations for a new choir. But slow progress was made with this
great undertaking, more than two centuries and a half elapsing before
the church assumed that form with which we are familiar to-day. In
1520, the chapter, dissatisfied with its choir, started upon the
erection of a new one, the first stone of which was laid in the
following year by the Emperor Charles V., accompanied by King
Christian II. of Denmark and a numerous retinue.

The new plan included a crypt, partly above ground, probably like that
we see in St. Paul's in the same town, and the work was progressing
when, in 1533, a disastrous fire did such damage to the western parts
of the church that the project of enlargement was suspended, and
the funds destined for its employment were applied to restoring the
damaged portions. Had the design been realized, the eastern limb of
the church would have been doubled in size.

As regards its dimensions, Nôtre Dame at Antwerp is one of the most
remarkable churches in Europe, being nearly 400 feet long by 170 feet
in width across the nave, which, inclusive of that covered by the
western towers, has seven bays, and three aisles on either side. This
multiplication of aisles gives a vast intricacy and picturesqueness to
the cross views of the interior; but there is a poverty of detail, and
a want of harmony among the parts and of subordination and
proportion, sadly destructive of true architectural effect; so that,
notwithstanding its size, it looks much smaller internally than many
of the French cathedrals of far less dimensions. If there had been ten
bays in the nave instead of only seven, and the central division had
been at least ten feet wider, which could easily have been spared from
the outermost aisles, the apparent size of the church would have been
much greater. The outermost south aisle is wider than the nave, and
equal in breadth to the two inner aisles; the northernmost aisle is
not quite so broad.

The transepts have no aisles, but they are continued beyond the line
of the nave aisles, so that they are more than usually elongated. The
two inner aisles of the nave open into the transepts, but the outer
ones, which, it should be remarked, are continuous, and not divided
into a series of chapels, are walled up at their eastern extremities.

The choir consists of three bays, but has only one aisle on either
side. This is continued round the apse, and five pentagonal chapels
radiate from it. Three chapels flank the north aisle of the choir, the
first two opening, as does the north transept, into one large chapel
of the same breadth as the southernmost aisle of the nave.... The
façade is flanked by towers equal in width to the two inner aisles of
the nave. The northern one has alone been completed, and altho it may
seem to a severe judgment to possess some of the defects of the
late Flemish style, it is rivaled for beauty of outline only by the
flamboyant steeples of Chartres and Vienna. As might be expected from
its late age--it was not finished until 1530--this northwestern spire
of Notre Dame at Antwerp exhibits some extravagances in design and
detail, but the mode in which the octagonal lantern of openwork
bisects the faces of the solid square portion with its alternate
angles, thus breaking the outline without any harsh or disagreeable
transition, is very masterly, while the bold pinnacles, with their
flying buttresses, which group around it, produce a most pleasing
variety, the whole serving to indicate the appearance the steeple of
Malines would have presented had it been completed according to the
original design.

If size were any real test of beauty, the interior or Notre Dame at
Antwerp ought to be one of the finest in Belgium. Unfortunately, altho
it was begun at a time when the pointed style had reached the full
maturity of perfection, a colder and more unimpressive design than is
here carried out it would be difficult to find. Still, notwithstanding
the long period that elapsed between its commencement and completion,
there is a congruity about the whole building which is eminently
pleasing, and to some extent redeems the defects in its details and
proportions, while the views afforded in various directions by the
triple aisles on either side of the nave are undeniably picturesque.

The high altarpiece, placed on the chord of the apse, is a noble and
sumptuous example of early Renaissance taste and workmanship, but like
the stallwork, its dimensions are such as to diminish the scale of the
choir, the five arches opening to the procession path being completely
obscured by it. Of the numerous creations of Rubens' pencil none
perhaps more thoroughly declares to us his comprehension of religious
decorative art than the "Assumption" which fills the arched
compartment in the lower portion of this altarpiece. It was finished
in 1625, and, of twenty repetitions of the subject, is the only
example still preserved at the place it was intended by the painter
to occupy. In spirit we are reminded of Titian's "Assumption" in the
cathedral at Verona, but Rubens' proves perhaps a higher conception
of the subject. The work is seen a considerable way off, and every
outline is bathed in light, so that the Virgin is elevated to dazzling
glory with a power of accession scarcely, if ever, attained by any

In the celebrated "Descent from the Cross," which hangs in the
south transept, the boldness of the composition, the energy in the
characters, the striking attitudes and grouping, the glowing, vigorous
coloring, are astonishing proofs of Rubens' power. The circumstances
which gave rise to this wondrous effort of art are interesting. It is
said that Rubens, in laying the foundations of his villa near Antwerp,
had unwittingly infringed on some ground belonging to the Company
of Gunsmiths (arquebusiers). A law suit was threatened, and Rubens
prepared to defend it, but, being assured by one of the greatest
lawyers of the city that the right lay with his opponents, he
immediately drew back, and offered to paint a picture by way of
recompense. The offer was accepted, and the company required a
representation of its patron saint, St. Christopher, to be placed in
its chapel in the cathedral, which at that time Notre Dame was.

Rubens, with his usual liberality and magnificence, presented to his
adversaries, not merely a single representation of the saint, but
an elaborate illustration of his name--The Christ-bearer. The
arquebusiers were at first disappointed not to have their saint
represented in the usual manner, and Rubens was obliged to enter
into an explanation of his work. Thus, without knowing it, they had
received in exchange for a few feet of land a treasure which neither
money nor lands can now purchase. The painting was executed by
Rubens soon after his seven years' residence in Italy, and while the
impression made by the work of Titian and Paul Veronese were yet fresh
in his mind. The great master appeared in the fulness of his glory in
this work--it is one of the few which exhibits in combination all
that nature had given him of warmth and imagination--with all that he
acquired of knowledge, judgment and method, and in which he may be
considered fully to have overcome the difficulties of a subject which
becomes painful, and almost repulsive, when it ceases to be sublime.




[Footnote A: From "Holland and Its People." Translated by Caroline
Tilton. By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the
publishers, G.P. Putnam's Sons. Copyright, 1880.]


The first time that I crossed the old Rhine, I had stopt on the
bridge, asking myself whether that small and humble stream of water
was really the same river that I had seen rushing in thunder over the
rocks at Schaffhausen, spreading majestically before Mayence, passing
in triumph under the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, beating in sonorous
cadence at the foot of the Seven Mountains; reflecting in its course
Gothic cathedrals, princely castles, fertile hills, steep rocks,
famous ruins, cities, groves, and gardens; everywhere covered with
vessels of all sorts, and saluted with music and song; and thinking of
these things, with my gaze fixt upon the little stream shut in between
two flat and desert shores, I had repeated, "Is this that Rhine?"

The vicissitudes which accompany the agony and death of this great
river in Holland, are such as really to excite a sense of pity, such
as is felt for the misfortunes and inglorious end of a people once
powerful and happy. From the neighborhood of Emmerich, before reaching
the Dutch frontier, it has lost all the beauty of its banks, and flows
in great curves through vast and ugly flats, which seem to mark the
approach to old age. At Millingen it runs entirely in the territory of
Holland; a little farther on it divides. The main branch shamefully
loses its name, and goes to throw itself into the Meuse: the other
branch, insulted by the title of the Dannerden canal, flows nearly to
the city of Arnehm, when it once more divides into two branches. One
empties into the Gulf of Zuyder-Zee; the other still called, out of
compassion, the Lower Rhine, goes as far as the village of Durstede,
where it divides for the third time; a humiliation now of old date.

One of these branches, changing its name like a coward, throws itself
into the Meuse near Rotterdam; the other still called the Rhine,
but with the ridiculous surname of "curved," reaches Utrecht with
difficulty, where for the fourth time it again divides; capricious as
an old man in his dotage. One part, denying its old name, drags itself
as far as Muiden, where it falls into the Zuyder-Zee; the other, with
the name of Old Rhine, or simply the Old, flows slowly to the city
of Leyden, whose streets it crosses almost without giving a sign of
movement, and is finally gathered into one canal by which it goes to
its miserable death in the North Sea.

But it is not many years since this pitiful end was denied it. From
the year 839, in which a furious tempest had accumulated mountains of
sand at its mouth, until the beginning of the present century, the Old
Rhine lost itself in the sand before reaching the sea, and covered a
vast tract of country with pools and marshes. Under the reign of Louis
Bonaparte the waters were collected into a large canal protected
by three enormous sluicegates, and from that time the Rhine flows
directly to the sea. These sluices are the greatest monument in
Holland and, perhaps, the most admirable hydraulic work in Europe.

The dikes which protect the mouth of the canal, the walls, pillars,
and gates, present altogether the aspect of a Cyclopian fortress,
against which it seems that not only that sea, but the united forces
of all seas, must break as against a granite mountain. When the tide
rises the gates are closed to prevent the waters from invading the
land; when the tide recedes they are opened to give passage to the
waters of the Rhine which have accumulated behind them; and then a
mass of three thousand cubic feet of water passes through them in one
minute. On days when storms prevail, a concession is made to the sea,
and the most advanced of the sluicegates is left open; and then the
furious billows rush into the canal, like an enemy entering by a
breach, but they break upon the formidable barrier of the second gate,
behind which Holland stands and cries, "Thus far shalt thou go, and
no farther!" That enormous fortification which, on a desert shore,
defends a dying river and a fallen city from the ocean, has something
of solemnity which commands respect and admiration....

Napoleon said that it [Holland] was an alluvion of Trench rivers--the
Rhine, the Scheldt, and the Meuse--and with this pretext he added
it to the empire. One writer has defined it as a sort of transition
between land and sea. Another, as an immense crust of earth floating
on water. Others, an annex of the old continent, the China of Europe,
the end of the earth, and the beginning of the ocean, a measureless
raft of mud and sand; and Philip II. called it the country nearest to

But they all agreed upon one point, and all exprest it in the same
words:--Holland is a conquest made by man over the sea--it is an
artificial country--the Hollanders made it--it exists because the
Hollanders preserve it--it will vanish whenever the Hollanders shall
abandon it.

To comprehend this truth, we must imagine Holland as it was when first
inhabited by the first German tribes that wandered away in search of
a country. It was almost uninhabitable. There were vast tempestuous
lakes, like seas, touching one another; morass beside morass; one
tract covered with brushwood after another; immense forests of pines,
oaks, and alders, traversed by herds of wild horses; and so thick were
these forests that tradition says one could travel leagues passing
from tree to tree without ever putting foot to the ground. The deep
bays and gulfs carried into the heart of the country the fury of the
northern tempests. Some provinces disappeared once every year under
the waters of the sea, and were nothing but muddy tracts, neither land
nor water, where it was impossible either to walk or to sail. The
large rivers, without sufficient inclination to descend to the sea,
wandered here and there uncertain of their day, and slept in monstrous
pools and ponds among the sands of the coasts. It was a sinister
place, swept by furious winds, beaten by obstinate rains, veiled in a
perpetual fog, where nothing was heard but the roar of the sea, and
the voice of wild beasts and birds of the ocean.

Now, if we remember that such a region has become one of the most
fertile, wealthiest and best regulated of the countries of the world,
we shall understand the justice of the saying that Holland is a
conquest made by man. But, it must be added, the conquest goes on

To drain the lakes of the country the Hollanders prest the air into
their service. The lakes, the marshes, were surrounded by dikes,
the dikes by canals; and an army of windmills, putting in motion
force-pumps, turned the water into the canals, which carried it off
to the rivers and the sea. Thus vast tracts of land buried under the
water, saw the sun, and were transformed, as if by magic, into fertile
fields, covered with villages, and intersected by canals and roads. In
the seventeenth century, in less than forty years, twenty-six lakes
were drained. At the beginning of the present century, in North
Holland alone, more than six thousand hectares, or fifteen thousand
acres, were thus redeemed from the waters; in South Holland, before
1844, twenty-nine thousand hectares; in the whole of Holland, from
1500 to 1858, three hundred and fifty-five thousand hectares.
Substituting steam-mills for windmills, in thirty-nine months was
completed the great undertaking of the draining of the lake of
Haarlem, which measured forty-four-kilometers in circumference,
and for ever threatened with its tempests the cities of Haarlem,
Amsterdam, and Leyden. And they are now meditating the prodigious work
of drying up the Zuyder-Zee, which embraces an area of more than seven
hundred square kilometers.

But the most tremendous struggle was the battle with the ocean.
Holland is in great part lower than the level of the sea;
consequently, everywhere that the coast is not defended by sand-banks,
it has to be protected by dikes. If these interminable bulkwarks of
earth, granite, and wood were not there to attest the indomitable
courage and perseverance of the Hollanders, it would not be believed
that the hand of man could, even in many centuries have accomplished
such a work. In Zealand alone the dikes extend to a distance of more
than four hundred kilometers. The western coast of the island of
Walcheren is defended by a dike, in which it is computed that the
expense of construction added to that of preservation, if it were put
out at interest, would amount to a sum equal in value to that which
the dike itself would be worth were it made of massive copper.

Around the city of Helder, at the northern extremity of North Holland,
extends a dike ten kilometers long, constructed of masses of Norwegian
granite, which descends more than sixty meters into the sea. The whole
province of Friesland, for the length of eighty-eight kilometers, is
defended by three rows of piles sustained by masses of Norwegian and
German granite. Amsterdam, all the cities of the Zuyder Zee, and all
the islands--fragments of vanished lands--which are strung like beads
between Friesland and North Holland, are protected by dikes. From the
mouths of the Ems to those of the Scheldt Holland is an impenetrable
fortress, of whose immense bastions the mills are the towers, the
cataracts are the gates, the islands the advanced forts; and like a
true fortress, it shows to its enemy, the sea, only the tops of
its bell-towers and the roofs of its houses, as if in defiance and

Holland is a fortress, and her people live as in a fortress on a
war-footing with the sea. An army of engineers, directed by the
Minister of the Interior, spread over the country, and ordered like
an army, continually spy the enemy, watch over the internal waters,
foresee the bursting of the dikes, order and direct the defensive
works. The expenses of the war are divided; one part to the State,
one part to the provinces; every proprietor pays, besides the general
imposts, a special impost for the dikes, in proportion to the extent
of his lands and their proximity to the water. An accidental rupture,
an inadvertence, may cause a flood; the peril is unceasing; the
sentinels are at their posts upon the bulwarks at the first assault of
the sea; they shout the war-cry, and Holland sends men, material, and
money. And even when there is not a great battle, a quiet, silent
struggle is for ever going on.

The innumerable mills, even in the drained districts, continue to work
unresting, to absorb and turn into the canals the water that falls in
rain and that which filters in from the sea.

But Holland has done more than defend herself against the waters;
she has made herself mistress of them, and has used them for her own
defense. Should a foreign army invade her territory, she has but to
open her dikes and unchain the sea and the rivers, as she did against
the Romans, against the Spaniards, against the army of Louis XIV., and
defend the land cities with her fleet. Water was the source of her
poverty, she has made it the source of wealth. Over the whole country
extends an immense net-work of canals which serve both for the
irrigation of the land and as a means of communication. The cities,
by means of canals, communicate with the sea; canals run from town to
town, and from them to villages, which are themselves bound together
by these watery ways, and are connected even to the houses scattered
over the country; smaller canals surround the fields and orchards,
pastures and kitchen-gardens, serving at once as boundary-wall, hedge,
and roadway; every house is a little port. Ships, boats, rafts move
about in all directions, as in other places carts and carriages. The
canals are the arteries of Holland, and the water her life-blood.

But even setting aside the canals, the draining of the lakes, and
the defensive works, on every side are seen the traces of marvelous
undertakings. The soil, which in other countries is a gift of nature,
is in Holland a work of men's hands. Holland draws the greater part of
her wealth from commerce; but before commerce comes the cultivation
of the soil; and the soil had to be created. There were sand-banks,
interspersed with layers of peat, broad downs swept by the winds,
great tracts of barren land apparently condemned to an external
sterility. The first elements of manufacture, iron and coal, were
wanting; there was no wood, because the forests had already been
destroyed by tempests when agriculture began; there was no stone,
there were no metals.

Nature, says a Dutch poet, had refused all her gifts to Holland; the
Hollanders had to do everything in spite of nature. They began by
fertilizing the sand. In some places they formed a productive soil
with earth brought from a distance, as a garden is made; they spread
the siliceous dust of the downs over the too watery meadows; they
mixed with the sandy earth the remains of peat taken from the bottoms;
they extracted clay to lend fertility to the surface of their lands;
they labored to break up the downs with the plow; and thus in a
thousand ways, and continually fighting off the menacing waters, they
succeeded in bringing Holland to a state of cultivation not inferior
to that of more favored regions. That Holland, the sandy, marshy
country that the ancients considered all but uninhabitable, now sends
out yearly from her confines agricultural products to the value of a
hundred millions of francs, possesses about one million three hundred
thousand head of cattle, and, in proportion to the extent of her
territory, may be accounted one of the most populous of European

But however wonderful may be the physical history of Holland, her
political history is still more so. This small territory invaded from
the beginning by different tribes of the Germanic races, subjugated by
the Romans and the Franks, devastated by the Normans and by the Danes,
desolated by centuries of civil war with all its horrors, this small
people of fisherman and traders, saves its civil liberty and its
freedom of conscience by a war of eighty years against the formidable
monarchy of Philip II., and founds a republic which becomes the ark of
salvation to the liberties of all the world, the adopted country of
science, the Exchange of Europe, the station for the commerce of the
world; a republic which extends its domination to Java, Sumatra,
Hindustan, Ceylon, New Holland, Japan, Brazil, Guiana, the Cape of
Good Hope, the West-Indies, and New York; a republic which vanquished
England on the sea, which resists the united arms of Charles II. and
Louis XIV., and which treats on equal terms with the greatest nations,
and is, for a time, one of the three Powers that decide the fate of


[Footnote A: From "Holland and Its People." By special arrangement
with, and by permission of, the publishers, S.P. Putnam's Sons.
Copyright, 1880.]


It is a singular thing that the great cities of Holland, altho built
upon a shifting soil, and amid difficulties of every kind, have all
great regularity of form. Amsterdam is a semicircle, the Hague square,
Rotterdam an equilateral triangle. The base of the triangle is an
immense dike, which defends the city from the Meuse, and is called
the Boompjes, signifying, in Dutch, small trees, from a row of little
elms, now very tall, that were planted when it was first constructed.

The whole city of Rotterdam presents the appearance of a town that
has been shaken smartly by an earthquake, and is on the point of
the falling ruin. All the houses--in any street one may count the
exceptions on their fingers--lean more or less, but the greater part
of them so much that at the roof they lean forward at least a foot
beyond their neighbors, which may be straight, or not so visibly
inclined; one leans forward as if it would fall into the street;
another backward, another to the left, another to the right, at some
points six or seven contiguous houses all lean forward together, those
in the middle most, those at the ends lass, looking like a paling
with a crowd pressing against it. At another point, two houses lean
together as if supporting one another. In certain streets the
houses for a long distance lean all one way, like trees beaten by a
prevailing wind; and then another long row will lean in the opposite
direction, as if the wind had changed.

Sometimes there is a certain regularity of inclination that is
scarcely noticeable; and again, at crossings and in the smaller
streets, there is an indescribable confusion of lines, a real
architectural frolic, a dance of houses, a disorder that seems
animated. There are houses that nod forward as if asleep, others that
start backward as if frightened, some bending toward each other, their
roofs almost touching, as if in secret conference; some falling upon
one another as if they were drunk, some leaning backward between
others that lean forward, like malefactors dragged onward by their
guards; rows of houses that curtsey to a steeple, groups of small
houses all inclined toward one in the middle, like conspirators in

Broad and long canals divide the city into so many islands, united by
drawbridges, turning bridges, and bridges of stone. On either side of
every canal extends a street, flanked by trees on one side and houses
on the other. All these canals are deep enough to float large vessels,
and all are full of them from one end to the other, except a space in
the middle left for passage in and out. An immense fleet imprisoned in
a city.

When I arrived it was the busiest hour, so I planted myself upon the
highest bridge over the principal crossing. From thence were visible
four canals, four forests of ships, bordered by eight files of trees;
the streets were crammed with people and merchandise; droves of cattle
were crossing the bridges; bridges were rising in the air, or opening
in the middle, to allow vessels to pass through, and were scarcely
replaced or closed before they were inundated by a throng of people,
carts, and carriages; ships came and went in the canals, shining like
models in a museum, and with the wives and children of the sailors on
the decks; boats darted from vessel to vessel; the shops drove a busy
trade; servant-women washed the walls and windows; and all this moving
life was rendered more gay and cheerful by the reflections in the
water, the green of the trees, the red of the houses, the tall
windmills, showing their dark tops and white sails against the azure
of the sky, and still more by an air of quiet simplicity not seen in
any other northern city.

From canal to canal, and from bridge to bridge, I finally reached the
dike of the Boompjes upon the Meuse, where boils and bubbles all the
life of the great commercial city. On the left extends a long row of
small many-colored steamboats, which start every hour in the day for
Dordrecht, Arnhem, Gonda, Schiedam, Brilla, Zealand, and continually
send forth clouds of white smoke and the sound of their cheerful
bells. To the right lie the large ships which make the voyage to
various European ports, mingled with fine three-masted vessels bound
for the East Indies, with names written in golden letters--Java,
Sumatra, Borneo, Samarang--carrying the fancy to those distant and
savage countries like the echoes of distant voices. In front the
Meuse, covered with boats and barks, and the distant shore with a
forest of beech trees, windmills, and towers; and over all the unquiet
sky, full of gleams of light, and gloomy clouds, fleeting and changing
in their constant movement, as if repeating the restless labor on the
earth below.

Rotterdam, it must be said here, is, in commercial importance, the
first city in Holland after Amsterdam. It was already a flourishing
town in the thirteenth century. Ludovico Guicciardini, in his work on
the Low Countries, adduces a proof of the wealth of the city in the
sixteenth century, saying that in one year nine hundred houses that
had been destroyed by fire were rebuilt. Bentivoglio, in his history
of the war in Flanders, calls it "the largest and most mercantile of
the lands of Holland." But its greatest prosperity did not begin until
1830, or after the separation of Holland and Belgium, when Rotterdam
seemed to draw to herself everything that was lost by her rival,

Her situation is extremely advantageous. She communicates with the sea
by the Meuse, which brings to her ports in a few hours the largest
merchantmen; and by the same river she communicates with the Rhine,
which brings to her from the Swiss mountains and Bavaria immense
quantities of timber--entire forests that come to Holland to be
transformed into ships, dikes, and villages. More than eighty splendid
vessels come and go, in the space of nine months, between Rotterdam
and India. Merchandise flows in from all sides in such great abundance
that a large part of it has to be distributed through the neighboring

Rotterdam, in short, has a future more splendid than that of
Amsterdam, and has long been regarded as a rival by her elder
sister. She does not possess the wealth of the capital; but is more
industrious in increasing what she has; she dares, risks, undertakes
like a young and adventurous city. Amsterdam, like a merchant grown
cautious after having made his fortune by hazardous undertakings,
begins to doze over her treasures. At Rotterdam fortunes are made; at
Amsterdam they are consolidated; at the Hague they are spent....

In the middle of the market-place, surrounded by heaps of vegetables,
fruit, and earthenware pots and pans, stands the statue of Desiderius
Erasmus, the first literary light of Holland; that Gerrit Gerritz--for
he assumed the Latin name himself, according to the custom of writers
in his day--that Gerrit Gerritz belonged, by his education, his style,
and his ideas, to the family of the humanists and erudite of Italy;
a fine writer, profound and indefatigable in letters and science, he
filled all Europe with his name between the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries; he was loaded with favors by the popes, and sought after
and entertained by princes; and his "Praise of Folly," written in
Latin like the rest of his innumerable works, and dedicated to Sir
Thomas More, is still read. The bronze statue, erected in 1622,
represents Erasmus drest in a furred gown, with a cap of the same, a
little bent forward as if walking, and in the act of reading a large
book, held open in the hand; the pedestal bears a double inscription,
in Dutch and Latin, calling him, "The Foremost Man of His Century,"
and "The Most Excellent of All Citizens." In spite of this pompous
eulogium, however, poor Erasmus, planted there like a municipal guard
in the market-place, makes but a pitiful figure. I do not believe that
there is in the world another statue of a man of letters that is,
like this, neglected by the passer-by, despised by those about it,
commiserated by those who look at it. But who knows whether Erasmus,
acute philosopher as he was, and must be still, be not contented with
his corner, the more that it is not far from his own house, if the
tradition is correct? In a small street near the market-place, in the
wall of a little house now occupied as a tavern, there is a niche with
a bronze statuette representing the great writer, and under it the
inscription: "This is the little house in which the great Erasmus was
born." ...

Rotterdam in the evening presents an unusual aspect to the stranger's
eye. While in other northern cities at a certain hour of the night all
the life is concentered in the houses, at Rotterdam at that hour it
expands into the streets. The Hoog-straat is filled until far into the
night with a dense throng, the shops are open, because the servants
make their purchases in the evening, and the cafés crowded. Dutch
cafés are peculiar. In general there is one long room, divided in the
middle by a green curtain, which is drawn down at evening and conceals
the back part, which is the only part lighted; the front part, closed
from the street by large glass doors, is in darkness, so that from
without only dark shadowy forms can be seen, and the burning points
of cigars, like so many fireflies. Among these dark forms the vague
profile of a woman who prefers darkness to light may be detected here
and there....

Walking through Rotterdam in the evening, it is evident that the city
is teeming with life and in process of expansion; a youthful city,
still growing, and feeling herself every year more and more prest
for room in her streets and houses. In a not far distant future, her
hundred and fourteen thousand inhabitants will have increased to two
hundred thousand.[A] The smaller streets swarm with children; there is
an overflow of life and movement that cheers the eye and heart; a kind
of holiday air. The white and rosy faces of the servant-maids, whose
white caps gleam on every side; the serene visages of shopkeepers
slowly imbibing great glassfuls of beer; the peasants with their
monstrous ear-rings; the cleanliness; the flowers in the windows; the
tranquil and laborious throng; all give to Rotterdam an aspect of
healthful and peaceful content, which brings to the lips the chant
of "Te Beata," not with the cry of enthusiasm, but with the smile of

[Footnote A: The population now (1914) is 418,000, as stated In the
New Standard Dictionary.]

The Hague--in Dutch, s'Gravenhage, or s'Hage--the political capital,
the Washington of Holland, Amsterdam being the New York--is a city
half Dutch and half French, with broad streets and no canals; vast
squares full of trees, elegant houses, splendid hotels, and a
population mostly made up of the rich, nobles, officials, artists, and
literati, the populace being of a more refined order than that of the
other Dutch cities.

In my first turn about the town what struck me most were the new
quarters, where dwells the flower of the wealthy aristocracy. In no
other city, not even in the Faubourg St. Germain at Paris, did I feel
myself such a very poor devil as in those streets. They are wide and
straight, flanked by palaces of elegant form and delicate color, with
large shutterless windows, through which can be seen the rich carpets
and sumptuous furniture of the first floors. Every door is closed; and
there is not a shop, nor a placard, nor a stain, nor a straw to be
seen if you were to look for it with a hundred eyes. The silence
was profound when I passed by. Only now and then I encountered some
aristocratic equipage rolling almost noiselessly over the brick
pavement, or the stiffest of lackeys stood before a door, or the
blonde head of a lady was visible behind a curtain. Passing close
to the windows and beholding my shabby traveling dress ruthlessly
reflected in the plate-glass I experienced a certain humiliation at
not having been born at least a Cavalière, and imagined I heard low
voices whispering disdainfully: "Who is that low person?"

Of the older portion of the city, the most considerable part is
the Binnenhof, a group of old buildings of different styles of
architecture, which looks on two sides upon vast squares, and on the
third over a great marsh. In the midst of this group of palaces,
towers, and monumental doors, of a medieval and sinister aspect, there
is a spacious court, which is entered by three bridges and three
gates. In one of these buildings resided the Stadtholders, and it is
now the seat of the Second Chamber of the States General; opposite is
the First Chamber, with the ministries and various other offices of
public administration. The Minister of the Interior has his office in
a little low black tower of the most lugubrious aspect, that hangs
directly over the waters of the marsh.

The Binnenhof, the square to the west, called the Bintenhof, and
another square beyond the marsh, called the Plaats, into which you
enter by an old gate that once formed part of a prison, were the
theaters of the most sanguinary events in the history of Holland.

In the Binnenhof was decapitated the venerated Van Olden Barneveldt,
the second founder of the republic, the most illustrious victim of
that ever-recurring struggle between the burgher aristocracy and the
Statholderate, between the republican and the monarchical principle,
which worked so miserably in Holland. The scaffold was erected in
front of the edifice where the States General sat. Opposite is the
tower from which it is said that Maurice of Orange, himself unseen,
beheld the last moments of his enemy.

The finest ornament of the Hague is its forest; a true wonder of
Holland, and one of the most magnificent promenades in the world. It
is a wood of alder-trees, oaks, and the largest beeches that are to be
found in Europe, on the eastern side of the city, a few paces from
the last fringe of houses, and measuring about one French league in
circuit; a truly delightful oasis in the midst of the melancholy Dutch
plains. As you enter it, little Swiss châlets find kiosks, scattered
here and there among the first trees, seem to have strayed and lost
themselves in an endless and solitary forest. The trees are as thickly
set as a cane-brake, and the alleys vanish in dark perspective.

There are lakes and canals almost hidden under the verdure of their
banks; rustic bridges, deserted paths, dim recesses, darkness cool
and deep, in which one breathes the air of virgin nature, and feels
oneself far from the noises of the world. This wood, like that of
Haarlem, is said to be the remains of an immense forest that covered,
in ancient times, almost all the coast, and is respected by the Dutch
people as a monument of their national history.


[Footnote A: From "Holland of To-day."]


A few minutes bring us from Leyden to Haarlem by the railway. It
crosses an isthmus between the sea and a lake which covered the whole
country between Leyden, Haarlem, and Amsterdam till 1839, when it
became troublesome, and the States-General forthwith, after the
fashion of Holland, voted its destruction. Enormous engines were at
once employed to drain it by pumping the water into canals, which
carried it to the sea, and the country was the richer by a new

Haarlem, on the river Spaarne, stands out distinct in recollection
from all other Dutch towns, for it has the most picturesque
market-place in Holland--the Groote Markt--surrounded by quaint houses
of varied outline, amid which rises the Groote Kerk of S. Bavo, a
noble cruciform fifteenth-century building. The interior, however,
is as bare and hideous as all other Dutch churches. It contains a
monument to the architect Conrad, designer of the famous locks of
Katwijk, "the defender of Holland against the fury of the sea and
the power of tempests." Behind the choir is the tomb of the poet
Bilderijk, who only died in 1831, and near this the grave of Laurenz
Janzoom--the Coster or Sacristan--who is asserted in his native town,
but never believed outside it, to have been the real inventor of
printing, as he is said to have cut out letters in wood, and taken
impressions from them in ink, as early as 1423. His partizans also
maintain that while he was attending a midnight mass, praying
for patience to endure the ill-treatment of his enemies, all his
implements were stolen, and that when he found this out on his return
he died of grief.

It is further declared that the robber was Faust of Mayence, the
partner of Gutenburg, and that it was thus that the honor of the
invention passed from Holland to Germany where Gutenberg produced his
invention of movable type twelve years later. There is a statue of the
Coster in front of the church, and, on its north side, his house is
preserved and adorned with his bust.

Among a crowd of natives with their hats on, talking in church as in
the market-place, we waited to hear the famous organ of Christian
Muller (1735-38), and grievously were we disappointed with its
discordant noises. All the men smoked in church, and this we saw
repeatedly; but it would be difficult to say where we ever saw
a Dutchman with a pipe out of his mouth. Every man seemed to be
systematically smoking away the few wits he possest.

Opposite the Groote Kerk is the Stadhuis, an old palace of the Counts
of Holland remodeled. It contains a delightful little gallery of the
works of Franz Hals, which at once transports the spectator into the
Holland of two hundred years ago--such is the marvelous variety of
life and vigor imprest into its endless figures of stalwart officers
and handsome young archers pledging each other at banquet tables and
seeming to welcome the visitor with jovial smiles as he enters the
chamber, or of serene old ladies, "regents" of hospitals, seated at
their council boards. The immense power of the artist is shown
in nothing so much as in the hands, often gloved, dashed in with
instantaneous power, yet always having the effect of the most
consummate finish at a distance. Behind one of the pictures is the
entrance to the famous "secret-room of Haarlem," seldom seen, but
containing an inestimable collection of historic relics of the time of
the famous siege of Leyden.

April and May are the best months for visiting Haarlem, which is the
bulb nursery garden of the world. "Oignons à fleurs" are advertised
for sale everywhere. Tulips are more cultivated than any other flower,
as ministering most of the national craving for color; but times are
changed since a single bulb of the tulip "L'Amiral Liefkenshoch" sold
for 4,500 florins, one of "Viceroy" for 4,200, and one of "Semper
Augustus" for 13,000.


[Footnote A: From "Holland of To-Day." By special arrangement with,
and by permission of, the author and of the publishers, Moffat, Yard &
Co. Copyright, 1909.]


Let us go down to the North Sea and see how the Dutch people enjoy
themselves in the summer. Of course the largest of the watering-places
in the Netherlands is Scheveningen, and it has a splendid bathing
beach which makes it an attractive resort for fashionable Germans and
Hollanders, and for summer travelers from all over the world. At the
top of the long dyke is a row of hotels and restaurants, and when
one reaches this point after passing through the lovely old wood of
stately trees one is ushered into the twentieth century, for here all
is fashion and gay life, yet with a character all its own.

Along the edge of the beach are the bathing machines in scores, and
behind them are long lines of covered wicker chairs of peculiar form,
each with its foot-stool, where one may sit, shaded, from the sun and
sheltered from the wind, and read, chat or doze by the hour. Bath
women are seen quaintly clad with their baskets of bathing dresses and
labeled with the signs bearing their names, such as Trintje or Netje;
everywhere there are sightseers, pedlers calling their wares, children
digging in the sand, strolling players performing and the sound of
bands of music in the distance. So there is no lack of amusement here
during the season.

The spacious Kurhaus with its verandas and Kursaal, which is large
enough to accommodate 2,500 people, is in the center of the dike.
There are concerts every evening, and altho the town is filled with
hotels, during the months of June, July, August, and September they
are quite monopolized by the Hollanders and the prices are very high.

The magnificent pier is 450 yards long. The charges for bathing are
very moderate, varying from twenty cents for a small bathing box to
fifty cents for a large one, including the towels. Bathing costumes
range from five to twenty-five cents. The tickets are numbered, and as
soon as a machine is vacant a number is called by the "bath man" and
the holder of the corresponding number claims the machine. The basket
chairs cost for the whole day twenty cents, Dutch money. One may
obtain a subscription to the "Kurhaus" at a surprisingly reasonable
rate for the day, week or season. There is a daily orchestra; ballet
and operatic concerts once a week; dramatic performances and frequent
hops throughout the season.

There is a local saying that when good Dutchmen die they go to
Scheveningen, and this is certainly their heaven. To stand on the pier
on a fine day during the season looking down on these long lines of
wicker chairs, turned seaward, is an astonishing sight. They are
shaped somewhat like huge snail-shells, and around these the children
delight to dig in the sand, throwing up miniature dunes around
one. Perhaps no seashore in the world has been painted so much as
Scheveningen. Mesdag, Maris, Alfred Stevens, to name only a few of the
artists, have found here themes for many paintings, and the scene is
a wonderful one when the homing fleet of "Boms," as the fishing-boats
are called, appears in the offing to be welcomed by the fisherwomen.
There are other smaller watering-places on the coast, but Scheveningen
is unique.

In the little fishing town itself, the scene on the return of the men
is very interesting. Women and children are busily hurrying about from
house to house, and everywhere in the little streets are strange signs
chalked up on the shutters, such as "water en vuur te koop," that is
water and fire for sale; and here are neatly painted buckets of iron,
each having a kettle of boiling water over it and a lump of burning
turf at the bottom. Fish is being cleaned and the gin shops are well
patronized, for it seems a common habit in this moist northern climate
frequently to take "Een sneeuw-balletje" of gin and sugar, which does
not taste at all badly, be it said. All sorts of strange-looking
people are met in the little narrow street, and all doing
strange-looking things, but with the air of its being in no wise
unusual with them. All in all, Scheveningen is an entertaining spot in
which to linger.


[Footnote A: From "Sketches in Holland and Scandinavia."]


An excursion must be made to Delft, only twenty minutes distant from
The Hague by rail. Pepys calls it "a most sweet town, with bridges
and a river in every street," and that is a tolerably accurate
description. It seems thinly inhabited, and the Dutch themselves
look upon it as a place where one will die of ennui. It has scarcely
changed with two hundred years. The view of Delft by Van der Meer in
the Museum at The Hague might have been painted yesterday. All the
trees are dipt, for in artificial Holland every work of Nature is
artificialized. At certain seasons, numbers of storks may be seen
upon the chimney-tops, for Delft is supposed to be the stork town par
excellence. Near the shady canal Oude Delft is a low building, once
the Convent of St. Agata, with an ornamental door surmounted by a
relief, leading into a courtyard. It is a common barrack now, for
Holland, which has no local histories, has no regard whatever for its
historic associations or monuments. Yet this is the greatest shrine of
Dutch history, for it is here that William the Silent died.

Philip II. had promised 25,000 crowns of gold to any one who would
murder the Prince of Orange. An attempt had already been made, but had
failed, and William refused to take any measures for self-protection,
saying, "It is useless: my years are in the hands of God; if there is
a wretch who has no fear of death, my life is in his hand, however I
may guard it."

At length, a young man of seven-and-twenty appeared at Delft, who
gave himself out to be one Guyon, a Protestant, son of Pierre Guyon,
executed at Besançon for having embraced Calvinism, and declared that
he was exiled for his religion. Really he was Balthazar Gerard, a
bigoted Catholic, but his conduct in Holland soon procured him the
reputation of an evangelical saint.

The Prince took him into his service and sent him to accompany a
mission from the States of Holland to the Court of France, whence
he returned to bring the news of the death of the Duke of Anjou to
William. At that time the Prince was living with his court in the
convent of St. Agata, where he received Balthazar alone in his
chamber. The moment was opportune, but the would-be assassin had no
arms ready. William gave him a small sum of money and bade him hold
himself in readiness to be sent back to France.

With the money Balthazar bought two pistols from a soldier (who
afterward killed himself when he heard the use which was made of the
purchase). On the next day, June 10, 1584, Balthazar returned to the
convent as William was descending the staircase to dinner, with his
fourth wife, Louise de Coligny (daughter of the Admiral who fell
in the massacre of St. Bartholomew), on his arm. He presented his
passport and begged the Prince to sign it, but was told to return
later. At dinner the Princess asked William who was the young man who
had spoken to him, for his expression was the most terrible she had
ever seen.

The Prince laughed, said it was Guyon, and was as gay as usual. Dinner
being over, the family party were about to remount the staircase. The
assassin was waiting in a dark corner at the foot of the stairs, and
as William passed he discharged a pistol with three balls and fled.
The Prince staggered, saying, "I am wounded; God have mercy upon me
and my poor people." His sister Catherine van Schwartz-bourg asked,
"Do you trust in Jesus Christ?" He said, "Yes," with a feeble voice,
sat down upon the stairs, and died.

Balthazar reached the rampart of the town in safety, hoping to swim
to the other side of the moat, where a horse awaited him. But he had
dropt his hat and his second pistol in his flight, and so he was
traced and seized before he could leap from the wall.

Amid horrible tortures, he not only confest, but continued to triumph
in his crime. His judges believed him to be possest of the devil. The
next day he was executed. His right hand was burned off in a tube of
red-hot iron; the flesh of his arms and legs was torn off with red-hot
pincers; but he never made a cry. It was not till his breast was cut
open, and his heart torn out and flung in his face, that he expired.
His head was then fixt on a pike, and his body, cut into four
quarters, exposed on the four gates of the town.

Close to the Prinsenhof is the Oude Kerk with a leaning tower. It is
arranged like a very ugly theater inside, but contains, with
other tombs of celebrities, the monument of Admiral van Tromp,
1650--"Martinus Harberti Trompius"--whose effigy lies upon his back,
with swollen feet. It was this Van Tromp who defeated the English
fleet under Blake, and perished, as represented on the monument, in an
engagement off Scheveningen. It was he who, after his victory over the
English, caused a broom to be hoisted at his mast-head to typify that
he had swept the Channel clear of his enemies.


[Footnote A: From "Holland and Its People." Translated by Caroline
Tilton. By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the
publishers, G.P. Putnam's Sons. Copyright, 1880.]


Leyden, the antique Athens of the north, the Saragossa of the Low
Countries, the oldest and most illustrious of the daughters of
Holland, is one of those cities which make you thoughtful upon first
entering them, and are remembered for a long time afterward with a
certain impression of sadness.

I had hardly arrived when the chill of a dead city seemed to fall upon
me. The old Rhine, which crosses Leyden, dividing it into many islets
joined together by one hundred and fifty stone bridges, forms wide
canals and basins which contain no ship or boat, and the city seems
rather invaded by the waters than merely crossed by them. The
principal streets are very broad and flanked by rows of old
blockhouses with the usual pointed gables, and the few people seen in
the streets and squares are like the survivors of a city depopulated
by the plague.

In the smaller streets you walk upon long tracts of grass, between
houses with closed doors and windows, in a silence as profound as
that of those fabled cities where all the inhabitants are sunk in a
supernatural sleep. You pass over bridges overgrown with weeds, and
long canals covered with a green carpet, through small squares that
seem like convent courtyards; and then, suddenly, you reach a broad
thoroughfare, like the streets of Paris; from which you again
penetrate into a labyrinth of narrow alleys. From bridge to bridge,
from canal to canal, from island to island, you wander for hours
seeking for the life and movement of the ancient Leyden, and finding
only solitude, silence, and the waters which reflect the melancholy
majesty of the fallen city.

In 1573 the Spaniards, led by Valdez, laid siege to Leyden. In the
city there were only some volunteer soldiers. The military command was
given to Van der Voes, a valiant man, and a Latin poet of some
renown. Van der Werf was burgomaster. In brief time the besiegers
had constructed more than sixty forts in all the places where it was
possible to penetrate into the city by sea or land, and Leyden was
completely isolated. But the people of Leyden did not lose heart.
William of Orange had sent them word to hold out for three months,
within which time he would succor them, for on the fate of Leyden
depended that of Holland; and the men of Leyden had promised to resist
to the last extremity....

The Prince of Orange received the news of the safety of the city at
Delft, in church, where he was present at divine service. He sent the
message at once to the preacher, and the latter announced it to the
congregation, who received it with shouts of joy. Altho only just
recovered from his illness, and the epidemic still raging at Leyden,
William would see at once his dear and valorous city. He went there;
his entry was a triumph; his majestic and serene aspect put new heart
into the people; his words made them forget all they had suffered. To
reward Leyden for her heroic defense, he left her her choice between
exemption from certain imposts or the foundation of a university.
Leyden chose the university.

How this university answered to the hopes of Leyden, it is superfluous
to say. Everybody knows how the States of Holland with their liberal
offers drew learned men from every country; how philosophy, driven
out of France, took refuge there; how Leyden was for a long time the
securest citadel for all men who were struggling for the triumph
of human reason; how it became at length the most famous school in
Europe. The actual university is in an ancient convent. One can not
enter without a sentiment of profound respect the great hall of the
Academic Senate, where are seen the portraits of all the professors
who have succeeded each other from the foundation of the university up
to the present day.


[Footnote A: From "Sketches in Holland and Scandinavia."]


Our morning at Dortrecht was very delightful, and it is a thoroughly
charming place. Passing under a dark archway in a picturesque building
of Charles V., opposite the hotel, we found ourselves at once on
the edge of an immense expanse of shimmering river, with long, rich
meadows beyond, between which the wide flood breaks into three
different branches. Red and white sails flit down them. Here and there
rises a line of pollard willows or clipt elms, and now and then a
church spire. On the nearest shore an ancient windmill, colored
in delicate tints of gray and yellow, surmounts a group of white

On the left is a broad esplanade of brick, lined with ancient houses,
and a canal with a bridge, the long arms of which are ready to open at
a touch and give a passage to the great yellow-masted barges, which
are already half intercepting the bright red house-fronts ornamented
with stone, which belong to some public buildings facing the end of
the canal. With what a confusion of merchandise are the boats laden,
and how gay is the coloring, between the old weedy posts to which they
are moored!

It was from hence that Isabella of France, with Sir John de Hainault
and many other faithful knights set on their expedition against Edward
II. and the government of the Spencers.

From the busy port, where nevertheless they are dredging, we cross
another bridge and find ourselves in a quietude like that of a
cathedral close in England. On one side is a wide pool half covered
with floating timber, and, in the other half, reflecting like a mirror
the houses on the opposite shore, with their bright gardens of lilies
and hollyhocks, and trees of mountain ash, which bend their masses of
scarlet berries to the still water. Between the houses are glints of
blue river and of inevitable windmills on the opposite shore. And all
this we observe standing in the shadow of a huge church, the Groote
Kerk, with a nave of the fourteenth century, and a choir of the
fifteenth and a gigantic trick tower, in which three long Gothic
arches, between octagonal tourelles, enclose several tiers of windows.
At the top is a great clock, and below the church a grove of elms,
through which fitful sunlight falls on the grass and the dead red of
the brick pavement (so grateful to feet sore with the sharp stones of
other Dutch cities), where groups of fishermen are collecting in their
blue shirts and white trousers.

There is little to see inside this or any other church in Holland;
travelers will rather seek for the memorials at the Kloveniers Doelen,
of the famous Synod of Dort, which was held 1618-19, in the hope of
effecting a compromise between the Gomarists, or disciples of Calvin,
and the Arminians who followed Zwingli, and who had recently obtained
the name of Remonstrants from the "remonstrance" which they had
addrest eight years before in defense of their doctrines. The
Calvinists held that the greater part of mankind was excluded from
grace, which the Arminians denied; but at the Synod of Dort the
Calvinists proclaimed themselves as infallible as the Pope, and their
resolutions became the law of the Dutch Reformed Church. The Arminians
were forthwith outlawed; a hundred ministers who refused to subscribe
to the dictates of the Synod were banished; Hugo Grotius and Rombout
Hoogerbeets were imprisoned for life at Loevestein; the body of the
secretary Ledenberg, was hung; and Van Olden Barneveldt, the friend of
William the Silent, was beheaded in his seventy-second year....

Through the street of wine--Wijnstraat--built over stonehouses used
for the staple, we went to the museum to see the pictures. There were
two schools of Dortrecht. Jacob Geritee Cuyp (1575); Albert Cuyp
(1605), Ferdinand Bol (1611), Nicolas Maas (1632), and Schalken (1643)
belonged to the former; Arend de Gelder, Arnold Houbraken, Dirk
Stoop, and Ary Scheffer are of the latter. Sunshine and glow were the
characteristics of the first school, grayness and sobriety of the
second. But there are few good pictures at Dort now, and some of the
best works of Cuyp are to be found in our National Gallery, [London]
executed at his native place and portraying the great brick tower of
the church in the golden haze of evening, seen across rich pastures,
where the cows are lying deep in the meadow grass. The works of Ary
Scheffer are now the most interesting pictures in the Dortrecht
Gallery. Of the subject, "Christus Consolator," there are two
representations. In the more striking of these the pale Christ is
seated among the sick, sorrowful, blind, maimed, and enslaved, who
are all stretching their hands to Him. Beneath is the tomb which the
artist executed for his mother, Cornelia Scheffer, whose touching
figure is represented lying with outstretched hands, in the utmost
abandonment of repose.


[Footnote A: From "Holland and Its People." Translated by Caroline
Tilton. By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the
publishers, G.P. Putnam's Sons. Copyright, 1880.]


This great basin of the North Sea, which bathes five provinces and has
an extent of more than seven hundred square kilometers, six hundred
years ago was not in existence. North Holland touched Friesland, and
where the gulf now extends there was a vast region sprinkled with
fresh-water lakes, the largest of which, the Flevo, mentioned by
Tacitus, was separated from the sea by a fertile and populous isthmus.
Whether the sea by its own force broke through the natural dikes
of the region, or whether the sinking of the land left it free to
invasion, is not certainly known. The great transformation was
completed during the course of the thirteenth century.

About the formation of this gulf there has collected a varied and
confused history of cities destroyed and people drowned, to which has
been added in later times another history, of new cities rising on new
shores, becoming powerful and famous, and being in their turn reduced
to poor and mean villages, with streets overgrown with grass, and
sand-choked ports. Records of great calamities, wonderful traditions,
fantastic horrors, strange usages and customs, are found upon the
waters and about the shores of this peculiar sea, born but yesterday,
and already encircled with ruins and condemned to disappear; and a
month's voyage would not suffice to gather up the chief of them; but
the thought alone of beholding from a distance those decrepit
cities, those mysterious islands, those fatal sand-banks, excited my

Marken is as famous among the islands of the Zuyder Zee as Broek
is among the villages of Holland; but with all its fame, and altho
distant but one hour by boat from the coast, few are the strangers,
and still fewer the natives who visit it. So said the captain as he
pointed out the lighthouse of the little island, and added that in his
opinion the reason was, that when a stranger arrived at Marken, even
if he were a Dutchman, he was followed by a crowd of boys, watched,
and commented upon as if he were a man fallen from the moon. This
unusual curiosity is explained by a description of the island. It is a
bit of land about three thousand meters in length and one thousand
in width, which was detached from the continent in the thirteenth
century, and remains to this day, in the manners, and customs of its
inhabitants, exactly as it was six centuries ago.

The surface of the island is but little higher than the sea, and it is
surrounded by a small dike which does not suffice to protect it
from inundation. The houses are built upon eight small artificial
elevations, and form as many boroughs, one of which--the one which has
the church--is the capital, and another the cemetery. When the sea
rises above the dike, the spaces between the little hills are changed
into canals, and the inhabitants go about in boats. The houses are
built of wood, some painted, some only pitched; one only is of stone,
that of the pastor, who also has a small garden shaded by four large
trees, the only ones on the island. Next to this house are the church,
the school, and the municipal offices. The population is about one
thousand in number, and lives by fishing. With the exceptions of the
doctor, the pastor, and the school-master, all are native to the
island; no islander marries on the continent; no one from the mainland
comes to live on the island.

They all profess the reformed religion, and all know how to read and
write. In the schools more than two hundred boys and girls are taught
history, geography, and arithmetic. The fashion of dress, which has
not been changed for centuries, is the same for all, and extremely
curious. The men look like soldiers. They wear a dark gray cloth
jacket ornamented with two rows of buttons which are in general
medals, or ancient coins, handed down from father to son. This jacket
is tucked into the waistband of a pair of breeches of the same color,
very wide about the hips and tight around the leg, fastening below the
knee; a felt hat or a fur cap, according to the season; a red cravat,
black stockings, white wooden shoes, or a sort of slipper, complete
the costume.

That of the women is still more peculiar. They wear on their heads an
enormous white cap in the form of a miter, all ornamented with lace
and needlework, and tied under the chin like a helmet. From under the
cap, which completely covers the ears, fall two long braided tresses,
which hang over the bosom, and a sort of visor of hair comes down
upon the forehead, cut square just above the eyebrows. The dress is
composed of a waist without sleeves, and a petticoat of two colors.
The waist is deep red, embroidered in colors and costing years of
labor to make, for which reason it descends from mother to daughter,
from generation to generation. The upper part of the petticoat is gray
or blue striped with black, and the lower part dark brown. The arms
are covered almost to the elbow with sleeves of a white chemise,
striped with red. The children are drest in almost the same way,
tho there is some slight difference between girls and women, and on
holidays the costume is more richly ornamented.


[Footnote A: From "Holland and Its People." Translated by Caroline
Tilton. By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the
publishers, G.P. Putnam's Sons. Copyright, 1880.]


The Dutch school of painting has one quality which renders it
particularly attractive to us Italians; it is of all others the most
different from our own, the very antithesis, or the opposite pole of
art. The Dutch and Italian schools are the two most original, or, as
has been said, the only two to which the title rigorously belongs;
the others being only daughters, or younger sisters, more or less
resembling them. Thus, even in painting Holland offers that which is
most sought after in travel and in books of travel; the new.

Dutch painting was born with the liberty and independence of Holland.
As long as the northern and southern provinces of the Low Countries
remained under the Spanish rule and in the Catholic faith, Dutch
painters painted like Belgian painters; they studied in Belgium,
Germany, and Italy; Heemskerk imitated Michael Angelo; Bloemart
followed Correggio, and "Il Moro" copied Titian, not to indicate
others; and they were one and all pedantic imitators, who added to the
exaggerations of the Italian style a certain German coarseness, the
result of which was a bastard style of painting, still inferior to
the first, childish, stiff in design, crude in color, and completely
wanting in chiaroscuro, but not, at least, a servile imitation, and
becoming, as it were, a faint prelude to the true Dutch art that was
to be....

After depicting the house, they turned their attention to the country.
The stern climate allowed but a brief time for the admiration of
nature, but for this very reason Dutch artists admired her all the
more; they saluted the spring with a livelier joy, and permitted that
fugitive smile of heaven to stamp itself more deeply on their fancy.
The country was not beautiful, but it was twice dear because it had
been torn from the sea and from the foreign oppressor. The Dutch
artist painted it lovingly; he represented it simply, ingenuously,
with a sense of intimacy which at that time was not to be found in
Italian or Belgian landscape.

The flat, monotonous country had, to the Dutch painter's eyes, a
marvelous variety. He caught all the mutations of the sky, and knew
the value of the water, with its reflections, its grace and freshness,
and its power of illuminating everything. Having no mountains, he took
the dikes for background; and with no forests, he imparted to a simple
group of trees all the mystery of a forest; and he animated the whole
with beautiful animals and white sails.

The subjects of their pictures are poor enough--a windmill, a canal,
a gray sky;--but how they make one think! A few Dutch painters, not
content with nature in their own country, came to Italy in search of
hills, luminous skies, and famous ruins; and another band of select
artists is the result. Both, Swanevelt, Pynaeker, Breenberg, Van Laer,
Asselyn. But the palm remains with the landscapists of Holland, with
Wynants the painter of morning, with Van der Neer the painter of
night, with Rusydael the painter of melancholy, with Hobbema the
illustrator of windmills, cabins, and kitchen gardens, and with others
who have restricted themselves to the expression of the enchantment of
nature as she is in Holland.

Simultaneously with landscape art was born another kind of painting,
especially peculiar to Holland--animal painting. Animals are the
wealth of the country; and that magnificent race of cattle which has
no rival in Europe for fecundity and beauty. The Hollanders, who owe
so much to them, treat them, one may say, as part of the population;
they wash them, comb them, dress them, and love them dearly. They are
to be seen everywhere; they are reflected in all the canals, and dot
with points of black and white the immense fields that stretch on
every side; giving an air of peace and comfort to every place, and
exciting in the spectator's heart a sentiment of patriarchal serenity.

The Dutch artists studied these animals in all their varieties, in
all their habits, and divined, as one may say, their inner life and
sentiments, animating the tranquil beauty of the landscape with their
forms. Rubens, Luyders, Paul de Vos, and other Belgian painters, had
drawn animals with admirable mastery, but all these are surpassed by
the Dutch artists, Van der Velde, Berghum, Karel der Jardin, and by
the prince of animal painters, Paul Potter, whose famous "Bull," in
the gallery of The Hague, deserves to be placed in the Vatican beside
the "Transfiguration" by Rafael.

In yet another field are the Dutch painters great--the sea. The sea,
their enemy, their power, and their glory, forever threatening their
country, and entering in a hundred ways into their lives and fortunes;
that turbulent North Sea, full of sinister colors, with a light of
infinite melancholy beating forever upon a desolate coast, must
subjugate the imagination of the artist. He, indeed, passes long hours
on the shore, contemplating its tremendous beauty, ventures upon its
waves to study the effects of tempests, buys a vessel and sails with
his wife and family, observing and making notes, follows the fleet
into battle, and takes part in the fight, and in this way are made
marine painters like William Van der Velde the elder, and William the
younger, like Backhuysen, Dubbels, and Stork.

Another kind of painting was to arise in Holland, as the expression of
the character of the people and of republican manners. A people that
without greatness had done so many great things, as Michelet says,
must have its heroic painters, if we call them so, destined to
illustrate men and events. But this school of painting--precisely
because the people were without greatness, or, to express it better,
without form of greatness, modest, inclined to consider all equal
before the country, because all had done their duty, abhorring
adulation, and the glorification in one only of the virtues and the
triumph of many--this school has to illustrate not a few men who
have excelled, and a few extraordinary facts, but all classes of
citizenship gathered among the most ordinary and pacific of burgher

From this come the great pictures which represent five, ten, thirty
persons together, arquebusiers, mayors, officers, professors,
magistrates, administrators, seated or standing around a table,
feasting and conversing, of life size, most faithful likenesses,
grave, open faces, expressing that secure serenity of conscience
by which may be divined rather than seen the nobleness of a life
consecrated to one's country, the character of that strong, laborious
epoch, the masculine virtues of that excellent generation; all this
set off by the fine costume of the time, so admirably combining grace
and dignity; those gorgets, those doublets, those black mantles, those
silken scarves and ribbons, those arms and banners. In this field
stand preeminent Van der Heist, Hals, Covaert, Flink, and Bol....

Finally, there are still two important excellences to be recorded
of this school of painting--its variety, and its importance as the
expression, the mirror, so to speak, of the country. If we except
Rembrandt with his group of followers and imitators, almost all the
other artists differ very much from one another; no other school
presents so great a number of original masters. The realism of the
Dutch painters is born of their common love of nature; but each one
has shown in his work a kind of love peculiarly his own; each one has
rendered a different impression which he has received from nature and
all, starting from the same point, which was the worship of material
truth, have arrived at separate and distinct goals.


[Footnote A: From "Holland and Its People." Translated by Caroline
Tilton. By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the
publishers, G.P. Putnam's Sons. Copyright, 1880.]


The word "tulip" recalls one of the strangest popular follies that has
ever been seen in the world, which showed itself in Holland toward
the middle of the seventeenth century. The country at that time had
reached the height of prosperity; antique parsimony had given place to
luxury; the houses of the wealthy, very modest at the beginning of
the century, were transformed into little palaces; velvet, silk, and
pearls replaced the patriarchal simplicity of the ancient costume;
Holland had become vain, ambitious, and prodigal.

After having filled their houses with pictures, hangings, porcelain,
and precious objects from all the countries of Europe and Asia, the
rich merchants of the large Dutch cities began to spend considerable
sums in ornamenting their gardens with tulips--the flower which
answers best to that innate avidity for vivid colors which the Dutch
people manifest in so many ways. This taste for tulips promoted their
rapid cultivation; everywhere gardens were laid out, studies promoted,
new varieties of the favorite flower sought for. In a short time the
fever became general; on every side there swarmed unknown tulips, of
strange forms, and wonderful shades or combinations of colors, full of
contrasts, caprices, and surprises. Prices rose in a marvelous way;
a new variegation, a new form, obtained in those blest leaves was an
event, a fortune. Thousands of persons gave themselves up to the study
with the fury of insanity; all over the country nothing was talked of
but petals; bulbs, colors, vases, seeds.

The mania grew to such a pass that all Europe was laughing at it.
Bulbs of the favorite tulips of the rarer varieties rose to fabulous
prices; some constituted a fortune; like a house, an orchard, or a
mill; one bulb was equivalent to a dowry for the daughter of a rich
family; for one bulb were given, in I know not what city, two carts
of grain, four carts of barley, four oxen, twelve sheep, two casks
of wine, four casks of beer, a thousand pounds of cheese, a complete
dress, and silver goblet. Another bulb of a tulip named "Semper
Augustus" was bought at the price of thirteen thousand florins. A bulb
of the "Admiral Enkhuysen" tulip cost two thousand dollars. One day
there were only two bulbs of the "Semper Augustus" left in Holland,
one at Amsterdam and the other at Haarlem, and for one of them there
were offered, and refused, four thousand six hundred florins, a
splendid coach, and a pair of gray horses with beautiful harness.
Another offered twelve acres of land, and he also was refused. On the
registers of Alkmaar it is recorded that in 1637 there were sold in
that city, at public auction, one hundred and twenty tulips for the
benefit of the orphanage, and that the sale produced one hundred and
eighty thousand francs.

Then they began to traffic in tulips, as in State bonds and shares.
They sold for enormous sums bulbs which they did not possess, engaging
to provide them for a certain day; and in this way a traffic was
carried on for a much larger number of tulips than the whole of
Holland could furnish. It is related that one Dutch town sold twenty
millions of francs' worth of tulips, and that an Amsterdam merchant
gained in this trade more than sixty-eight thousand florins in the
space of four months. These sold that which they had not, and those
that which they never could have; the market passed from hand to hand,
the differences were paid, and the flowers for and by which so many
people were ruined or enriched, flourished only in the imagination of
the traffickers. Finally matters arrived at such a pass that, many
buyers having refused to pay the sums agreed upon, and contests and
disorders following, the government decreed that these debts should be
considered as ordinary obligations, and that payment should be exacted
in the usual legal manner; then prices fell suddenly, as low as fifty
florins for the "Semper Augustus," and the scandalous traffic ceased.

Now the culture of flowers is no longer a mania, but is carried on for
love of them, and Haarlem is the principal temple. She still provides
a great part of Europe and South America with flowers. The city is
encircled by gardens, which, toward the end of April and the beginning
of May, are covered with myriads of tulips, hyacinths, carnations,
auriculas, anemones, ranunculuses, camelias, primroses, and other
flowers, forming an immense wreath about Haarlem, from which travelers
from all parts of the world gather a bouquet in passing. Of late years
the hyacinth has risen into great honor; but the tulip is still king
of the gardens, and Holland's supreme affection.

I should have to change my pen for the brush of Van der Huysem or
Menedoz, if I were to attempt to describe the pomp of their gorgeous,
luxuriant, dazzling colors, which, if the sensation given to the eye
may be likened to that of the ear, might be said to resemble a shout
of joyous laughter or a cry of love in the green silence of the
garden; affecting one like the loud music of a festival. There are
to be seen the "Duke of Toll" tulip, the tulips called "simple
precocious" in more than six hundred varieties; the "double
precocious"; the late tulips, divided into unicolored, fine,
superfine, and rectified; the fine, subdivided into violet, rose,
and striped; then the monsters or parrots, the hybrids, the thieves;
classified into a thousand orders of nobility and elegance; tinted
with all the shades of color conceivable to the human mind: spotted,
speckled, striped, edged, variegated, with leaves fringed, waved,
festooned; decorated with gold and silver medals; distinguished by
names of generals, painters, birds, rivers, poets, cities, queens,
and a thousand loving and bold adjectives, which recall their
metamorphoses, their adventures, and their triumphs, and leave in the
mind a sweet confusion of beautiful images and pleasant thoughts.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, Volume 4 - France and the Netherlands, Part 2" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.