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Title: Vanished towers and chimes of Flanders
Author: Edwards, George Wharton, 1859-1950
Language: English
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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.

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 Transcriber's Note

 The punctuation and spelling from the original text have been faithfully
 preserved. Only obvious typographical errors have been corrected.


 [Illustration: The Great Cloth Hall: Ypres]

 [Illustration:

 VANISHED TOWERS and CHIMES of FLANDERS

 _Written and Pictured by_ George Wharton Edwards

 The Penn Publishing Company 1916

 _PHILADELPHIA_]


 COPYRIGHT

 1916 BY

 GEORGE

 WHARTON

 EDWARDS



Vanished Towers and Chimes of Flanders



FOREWORD


The unhappy Flemish people, who are at present much in the lime-light,
because of the invasion and destruction of their once smiling and happy
little country, were of a character but little known or understood by
the great outside world. The very names of their cities and towns
sounded strangely in foreign ears.

Towns named Ypres, Courtrai, Alost, Furnes, Tournai, were in the
beginning of the invasion unpronounceable by most people, but little by
little they have become familiar through newspaper reports of the
barbarities said to have been practised upon the people by the invaders.
Books giving the characteristics of these heroic people are eagerly
sought. Unhappily these are few, and it would seem that these very
inadequate and random notes of mine upon some phases of the lives of
these people, particularly those related to architecture, and the music
of their renowned chimes of bells, might be useful.

That the Fleming was not of an artistic nature I found during my
residence in these towns of Flanders. The great towers and wondrous
architectural marvels throughout this smiling green flat landscape
appealed to him not at all. He was not interested in either art, music,
or literature. He was of an intense practical nature. I am of course
speaking of the ordinary or "Bourgeois" class now. Then, too, the class
of great landed proprietors was numerically very small indeed, the land
generally being parcelled or hired out in small squares or holdings by
the peasants themselves. Occasionally the commune owned the land, and
sublet portions to the farmers at prices controlled to some extent by
the demand. Rarely was a "taking" (so-called) more than five acres or so
in extent. Many of the old "Noblesse" are without landed estates, and
this, I am informed, was because their lands were forfeited when the
French Republic annexed Belgium, and were never restored to them. Thus
the whole region of the Flemish littoral was given over to small
holdings which were worked on shares by the peasants under general
conditions which would be considered intolerable by the Anglo-Saxon. A
common and rather depressing sight on the Belgian roads at dawn of day,
were the long lines of trudging peasants, men, women and boys hurrying
to the fields for the long weary hours of toil lasting often into the
dark of night. But we were told they were working for their own profit,
were their own masters, and did not grumble. This grinding toil in the
fields, as practised here where nothing was wasted, could not of course
be a happy or healthful work, nor calculated to elevate the peasant in
intelligence, so as a matter of fact the great body of the country
people, who were the laborers, were steeped in an extraordinary state of
ignorance.

If their education was neglected, they are still sound Catholics, and it
may be that it was not thought to be in the interest of the authorities
that they should be instructed in more worldly affairs. I am not
prepared to argue this question. I only know that while stolid, and
unemotional ordinarily, they are intensely patriotic. They became highly
excited during the struggle some years ago to have their Flemish tongue
preserved and taught in the schools, and I remember the crowds of people
thronging the streets of Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges, with bands of music
playing, and huge banners flying, bearing in large letters legends such
as "Flanders for the Flemings." "Hail to the Flemish Lion" and "Flanders
to the Death." All this was when the struggle between the two parties
was going on.

The Flemings won, be it recorded.

Let alone, the Fleming would have worked out his own salvation in his
own way. The country was prosperous. The King and Queen were popular,
indeed beloved; all seemed to be going well with the people. Although
Belgium was not a military power such as its great neighbors to the
north, the east, and the south, its army played an important part in the
lives of the people, and the strategical position which the country held
filled in the map the ever present question of "balance"; the never
absent possibility of the occasion arising when the army would be called
upon to defend the neutrality of the little country. But they never
dreamed that it would come so soon.... One might close with the words of
the great Flemish song of the poet Ledeganck:

     "Thou art no more,
     The towns of yore:
 The proud-necked, world-famed towns,
 The doughty lion's lair;"

 (Written in 1846.)

 [THE AUTHOR]
 Greenwich, Conn.
   April, 1916.



Contents


                                              PAGE

 MALINES, AND SOME OF THE VANISHED TOWERS       17

 SOME CARILLONS OF FLANDERS                     41

 DIXMUDE                                        55

 YPRES                                          65

 COMMINES                                       85

 BERGUES                                        93

 NIEUPORT                                       99

 ALOST                                         111

 COURTRAI                                      119

 TERMONDE (DENDERMONDE)                        133

 LOUVAIN                                       147

 DOUAI                                         157

 OUDENAARDE                                    163

 FURNES                                        171

 THE ARTISTS OF MALINES                        181

 A WORD ABOUT THE BELGIANS                     199



List of Illustrations

 The Great Cloth Hall: Ypres        _Frontispiece_

 Title page decoration

                                                                PAGE

 The Tower of St. Rombauld: Malines                               18

 Malines: A Quaint Back Street                                    22

 Porte de Bruxelles: Malines                                      26

 The Beguinage: Dixmude                                           34

 Detail of the Chimes in the Belfry of St. Nicholas: Dixmude      42

 The Belfry: Bergues                                              46

 The Old Porte Marechale: Bruges                                  50

 The Ancient Place: Dixmude                                       56

 The Great Jube, or Altar Screen: Dixmude                         58

 The Fish Market: Dixmude                                         60

 No. 4, Rue de Dixmude: Ypres                                     72

 Arcade of the Cloth Hall: Ypres                                  76

 Gateway, Wall, and Old Moat: Ypres                               80

 The Belfry: Commines                                             88

 The Towers of St. Winoc: Bergues                                 94

 The Tower of the Templars: Nieuport                             100

 The Town Hall--Hall of the Knights Templar: Nieuport            103

 Tower in the Grand' Place: Nieuport                             104

 The Town Hall: Alost                                            112

 The Belfry: Courtrai                                            120

 The Broël Towers: Courtrai                                      124

 The Museum: Termonde                                            138

 The Cathedral: Louvain                                          148

 The Town Hall: Louvain                                          150

 The Town Hall: Douai                                            158

 The Town Hall: Oudenaarde                                       164

 Old Square and Church: Oudenaarde                               166

 The Fish Market: Ypres                                          172

 The Church of Our Lady of Hanswyk                               190



Malines

[Illustration: VANISHED TOWERS _and_ CHIMES OF FLANDERS]



Malines


The immense, flat-topped, gray Gothic spire which dominated the
picturesque line of low, red-tiled roofs showing here and there above
the clustering, dark-green masses of trees in level meadows, was that of
St. Rombauld, designated by Vauban as "the Eighth Wonder of the World,"
constructed by Keldermans, of the celebrated family of architects. He it
was who designed the Bishop's Palace, and the great town halls of
Louvain, Oudenaarde, and Brussels, although some authorities allege that
Gauthier Coolman designed the Cathedral. But without denying the power
and artistry of this latter master, we may still believe in the
well-established claim of Keldermans, who showed in this great tower the
height of art culminating in exalted workmanship. Keldermans was
selected by Marguerite and Philip of Savoie to build the "Greatest
Church in Europe," and the plans, drawn with the pen on large sheets of
parchment pasted together, which were preserved in the Brussels Museum
up to the outbreak of the war, show what a wonder it was to have been.
These plans show the spire complete, but the project was never realized.

Charles the Fifth, filled with admiration for this masterpiece, showered
Keldermans with honors; made him director of construction of the towns
of Antwerp, Brussels, and Malines, putting thus the seal of artistic
perfection upon his dynasty.

[Illustration: The Tower of St. Rombauld: Malines]

Historical documents in the Brussels Library contained the following:

"The precise origin of the commencements of the Cathedral of Malines is
unknown, as the ancient records were destroyed, together with the
archives, during the troubles in the sixteenth century. The 'Nefs' and
the transepts are the most ancient, their construction dating from the
thirteenth century. It is conjectured that the first three erections of
altars in the choir and the consecration of the monument took place in
March, 1312. The great conflagration of May, 1342, which destroyed
nearly all of the town, spared the church itself, but consumed the
entire roof of heavy beams of Norway pine. The ruins remained thus for a
long period because of lack of funds for restoration, and in the
meantime services were celebrated in the church of St. Catherine. It was
not until 1366 that the cathedral was sufficiently repaired to be used
by the canons. Once begun, however, the repairs continued, although
slowly. But the tower remained uncompleted as it was at the outbreak of
the Great War, standing above the square at the great height of 97.70
metres." On each face of the tower was a large open-work clock face, or
"cadran," of gilded copper. Each face was forty-seven feet in diameter.
These clock faces were the work of Jacques Willmore, an Englishman by
birth, but a habitant of Malines, and cost the town the sum of ten
thousand francs ($2000). The citizens so appreciated his work that the
council awarded him a pension of two hundred florins, "which he enjoyed
for fourteen years."

St. Rombauld was famous for its chime of forty-five bells of remarkable
silvery quality: masterpieces of Flemish bell founding. Malines was for
many hundreds of years the headquarters of bell founding. Of the master
bell founders, the most celebrated, according to the archives, was Jean
Zeelstman, who practised his art for thirty years. He made, in 1446,
for the ancient church of Saint Michel at Louvain (destroyed by the
Vandals in 1914) a large bell, bearing the inscription: "Michael
prepositus paradisi quem nonoripicant angelorum civis fusa per Johann
Zeelstman anno dmi, m. ccc. xlvi."

The family of Waghemans furnished a great number of bell founders of
renown, who made many of the bells in the carillon of the cathedral of
St. Rombauld; and there was lastly the Van den Gheyns (or Ghein), of
which William of Bois-le-Duc became "Bourgeoisie" (Burgess) of Malines
in 1506. His son Pierre succeeded to his business in 1533, and in turn
left a son Pierre II, who carried on the great repute of his father. The
tower of the Hospice of Notre Dame contained in 1914 a remarkable old
bell of clear mellow tone--bearing the inscription: "Peeter Van den
Ghein heeft mi Ghegotten in't jaer M.D. LXXX VIII." On the lower rim
were the words: "Campana Sancti spiritus Divi Rumlodi." Pierre Van den
Ghein II had but one son, Pierre III, who died without issue in 1618.
William, however, left a second son, from whom descended the line of
later bell founders, who made many of the bells of Malines. Of these
Pierre IV, who associated himself with Pierre de Clerck (a cousin
german), made the great "bourdon" called Salvator.

During the later years of the seventeenth century, the Van den Gheyns
seem to have quitted the town, seeking their fortunes elsewhere, for the
foundry passed into other and less competent hands.

In Malines dwelt the Primate of Belgium, the now celebrated Cardinal
Mercier, whose courageous attitude in the face of the invaders has
aroused the admiration of the whole civilized world. Malines, although
near Brussels, had, up to the outbreak of the war and its subsequent
ruin, perhaps better preserved its characteristics than more remote
towns of Flanders. The market place was surrounded by purely Flemish
gabled houses of grayish stucco and stone, and these were most
charmingly here and there reflected in the sluggish water of the rather
evil-smelling river Dyle.

Catholicism was a most powerful factor here, and the struggle between
Luther and Loyola, separating the ancient from the modern in Flemish
architecture, was nowhere better exemplified than in Malines. It has
been said that the modern Jesuitism succeeded to the ancient mysticism
without displacing it, and the installation of the first in the very
sanctuary of the latter has manifested itself in the ornamentation of
the ecclesiastical edifices throughout Flanders, and indeed this fact is
very evident to the travelers in this region. The people of Malines
jealously retained the integrity of their ancient tongue, and many books
in the language were published here. Associations abounded in the town
banded together for the preservation of Flemish as a language. On fête
days these companies, headed by bands of music, paraded the streets,
bearing large silken banners on which, with the Lion of Flanders, were
inscriptions such as "Flanders for the Flemish," and "Hail to our
Flemish Lion." On these occasions, too, the chimes in St. Rombauld were
played by a celebrated bell-ringer, while the square below the tower was
black with people listening breathlessly to the songs of their
forefathers, often joining in the chorus, the sounds of the voices
carrying a long distance. On the opposite side of the square, in the
center of which was a fine statue of Margaret of Austria, adjoining the
recently restored "Halles," a fine building in the purest Renaissance
was being constructed, certainly a credit to the town, and an honor to
its architect, attesting as it did the artistic sense and prosperity of
the people. This, too, lies now in ashes--alas!

Flanders fairly bloomed, if I may use the expression, with exquisite
architecture, and this garden spot, this cradle of art, as it has well
been called, is levelled now in heaps of shapeless ruin.

[Illustration: Malines: A Quaint Back Street]

Certainly in this damp, low-lying country the Gothic style flourished
amazingly, and brought into existence talent which produced many
cathedrals, town halls, and gateways, the like of which were not to be
found elsewhere in Europe. These buildings, ornamented with lace-like
traceries and crowded with statuary, their interiors embellished with
choir screens of marvelous detail wrought in stone, preserved to the
world the art of a half-forgotten past, and these works of incomparable
art were being cared for and restored by the State for the benefit of
the whole world. Here, too, in Malines was a most quaint "Beguinage," or
asylum, in an old quarter of the town, hidden away amid a network of
narrow streets: a community of gentle-mannered, placid-faced women, who
dwelt in a semi-religious retirement after the ancient rules laid down
by Sainte Begga, in little, low, red-roofed houses ranged all about a
grass-grown square. Here, after depositing a considerable sum of money,
they were permitted to live in groups of three and four in each house,
each coming and going as she pleased, without taking any formal vow.
Their days were given up to church, hospital, parish duties and work
among the sick and needy: an order, by the way, not found outside of
Flanders.

Each day brought for them a monotonous existence, the same duties at the
same hours, waking in a gentle quietude, rhythmed by the silvery notes
of the convent bell recalling them to the duties of their pious lives,
all oblivious of the great outside world. Each Beguinage door bore the
name of some saint, and often in a moss-covered niche in the old walls
was seen a small statue of some saint, or holy personage, draped in
vines.

The heavy, barred door was nail studded, and furnished usually with an
iron-grilled wicket, where at the sound of the bell of the visitor a
panel slid back and a white-coiffed face appeared. This secluded quarter
was not exclusively inhabited by these gentle women, for there were
other dwellings for those that loved the quiet solitude of this end of
the town.

The Malines Beguinage was suppressed by the authorities in 1798, and it
was not until 1804 that the order was permitted to resume operations
under their former rights, nor were they allowed to resume their quaint
costume until the year 1814.

In the small church on my last visit I saw the portrait of the Beguine
Catherine Van Halter, the work of the painter I. Cossiers, and another
picture by him representing the dead Christ on the knees of the Virgin
surrounded by disciples. Cossiers seemed to revel in the ghastliness of
the scene, but the workmanship was certainly of a very high order. The
Beguine showed me with much pride their great treasure, a tiny, six-inch
figure of the Crucifixion, carved from one piece of ivory by Jerome due
Quesnoy. It was of very admirable workmanship, the face being remarkable
in expression. Despatches (March, 1916) report this Beguinage entirely
destroyed by the siege guns. One wonders what was the fate of the
saintly women.

On the Place de la Boucherie in Malines was the old "Palais," which was
used as a museum and contained many ill-assorted objects of the greatest
interest and value, such as medals, embroideries, weapons, and a fine
collection of ancient miniatures on ivory. There was also a great iron
"Armoire Aux Chartes," quite filled with priceless parchments, great
vellum tomes, bound in brass; large waxen seals of dead and gone rulers
and nobles; heavy volumes bound in leather, containing the archives. And
also a most curious strong box bound in iron bands, nail studded, and
with immense locks and keys, upon which reclined a strange, wooden
figure with a grinning face, clad in the moth-eaten ancient dress of
Malines, representing "Op Signorken" (the card states), but the
attendant told me it was the "Vuyle Bridegroom," and related a story of
it which cannot be set down here, Flemish ideas and speech being rather
freer than ours. But the people, or rather the peasants, are devoted to
him, and there were occasions when he was borne in triumph in
processions when the town was "en fête."

The ancient palace of Margaret of York, wife of Charles the Bold, who
after the tragic death of her consort retired to Malines, was in the Rue
de l'Empereur. It was used latterly as the hospital, and was utterly
destroyed in the bombardment of 1914.

The only remnant of the ancient fortifications, I found on my last visit
in 1910, was the fine gate, the "Porte de Bruxelles," with a small
section of the walls, all reflected in an old moat now overgrown with
moss and sedge grass. There were, too, quaint vistas of the old tower of
Our Lady of Hanswyk and a number of arched bridges along the banks of
the yellow Dyle, which flows sluggishly through the old town.

On the "Quai-au-sel," I saw in 1910, a number of ancient façades, most
picturesque and quaintly pinnacled. There also a small botanical garden
floriated most luxuriantly, and here again the Dyle reflected the mossy
walls of ancient stone palaces, and there were rows of tall, wooden,
carved posts standing in the stream, to which boats were moored as in
Venice.

[Illustration: Porte de Bruxelles: Malines]

Throughout the town, up to the time of the bombardment, were many quaint
market-places, all grass grown, wherein on market days were
tall-wheeled, peasant carts, and lines of huge, hollow-backed,
thick-legged, hairy horses, which were being offered for sale. And there
were innumerable fountains and tall iron pumps of knights in armor;
forgotten heroes of bygone ages, all of great artistic merit and value;
and over all was the dominating tower of St. Rombauld, vast, gray, and
mysterious, limned against the pearly, luminous sky, the more
impressive perhaps because of its unfinished state. And so, however
interesting the other architectural attractions of Malines might be, and
they were many, it was always to the great cathedral that one turned,
for the townspeople were so proud of the great gray tower, venerated
throughout the whole region, that they were insistent that we should
explore it to the last detail. "The bells," they would exclaim, "the
great bells of Saint Rombauld! You have not yet seen them?"

St. Rombauld simply compelled one's attention, and ended by laying so
firm a hold upon the imagination that at no moment of the day or night
was one wholly unconscious of its unique presence. By day and night its
chimes floated through the air "like the music of fairy bells," weird
and soft, noting the passing hours in this ancient Flemish town. For
four hundred years it had watched over the varying fortunes of this
region, gaining that precious quality which appealed to Ruskin, who
said, "Its glory is in its age and in that deep sense of voicefulness,
of stern watching, of mysterious sympathy, nay, even of approval or
condemnation, which we feel in walls that have long been washed by the
passing waves of humanity."

From below the eye was carried upward by range upon range of exquisite
Gothic detail to the four great open-work, gilded, clock discs, through
which one could dimly see the beautiful, open-pointed lancets behind
which on great beams hung the carillon bells, row upon row.

No words of mine can give any idea of the rich grayish brown of this old
tower against the pale luminous sky, or the pathetic charm of its wild
bell music, shattering down through the silent watches of the night,
over the sleeping town, as I have heard it, standing by some silent,
dark, palace-bordered canal, watching the tall tower melting into the
immensity of the dusk, or by day in varying light and shade, in storm
and sunshine, with wind-driven clouds chasing each other across the sky.

The ascent of the tower was a formidable task, and really it seemed as
if it must have been far more than three hundred and fifty feet to the
topmost gallery, when I essayed it on that stormy August day. It was not
an easy task to gain admittance to the tower; on two former occasions,
when I made the attempt, the _custode_ was not to be found. "He had gone
to market and taken the key to the tower door with him," said the
withered old dame who at length understood my wish. On this day,
however, she produced the key, a huge iron one, weighing, I should say,
half a pound, from a nail behind the green door of the entry. She
unlocked a heavy, white-washed door into a dusty, dim vestibule, and
then proceeded to lock me in, pointing to another door at the farther
end, saying, as she returned to her savory stew pot on the iron stove,
"Montez, Montez, vous trouverez l'escalier." The heavy door swung to by
a weight on a cord, and I was at the bottom step of the winding stairway
of the tower. For a few steps upward the way was in darkness, up the
narrow stone steps, clinging to a waxy, slippery rope attached to the
wall, which was grimy with dust, the steps sloping worn and uneven.
Quaint, gloomy openings in the wall revealed themselves from time to
time as I toiled upwards, openings into deep gulfs of mysterious gloom,
spanned at times by huge oaken beams. Here and there at dim landings,
lighted by narrow Gothic slits in the walls, were blackened, low
doorways heavily bolted and studded with iron nails. The narrow slits of
windows served only to let in dim, dusty beams of violet light. Through
one dark slit in the wall I caught sight of the huge bulk of a bronze
bell, green with the precious patina of age, and I fancied I heard
footsteps on the stairway that wound its way above.

It was the watchman, a great hairy, oily Fleming, clad in a red sort of
jersey, and blue patched trousers. On the back of his shock of pale,
rope-colored hair sat jauntily a diminutive cap with a glazed peak. In
the lobes of his huge ears were small gold rings.

I was glad to see him and to have his company in that place of cobwebs
and dangling hand rope. I gave him a thick black cigar which I had
bought in the market-place that morning, and struck a match from which
we both had a light. He expressed wonder at my matches, those paper
cartons common in America, but which he had never before seen. I gave
them to him, to his delight. He brought me upwards into a room crammed
with strange machinery, all cranks and levers and wires and pulleys, and
before us two great cylinders like unto a "Brobdingnagian" music box. He
drew out a stool for me and courteously bade me be seated, speaking in
French with a strong Flemish accent. He was, he said, a mechanic, whose
duty it was to care for the bells and the machinery. He had an assistant
who went on duty at six o'clock. He served watches of eight hours. There
came a "whir" from a fan above, and a tinkle from a small bell somewhere
near at hand. He said that the half hour would strike in three minutes.
Had I ever been in a bell tower when the chimes played? Yes? Then
M'sieur knew what to expect.

I took out my watch, and from the tail of my eye I fancied that I saw a
gleam in his as he appraised the watch I held in my hand. He drew his
bench nearer to me and held out his great hairy, oily paw, saying, "Let
me see the pretty watch." "Not necessary," I replied, putting it back in
my pocket and calmly eying him, although my heart began to beat fast. I
was alone in the tower with this hairy Cerberus, who, for all I knew,
might be contemplating doing me mischief.

If I was in danger, as I might be, then I resolved to defend myself as
well as I was able. I had an ammonia gun in my pocket which I carried to
fend off ugly dogs by the roadside, which infest the country. And this I
carried in my hip pocket. It resembled somewhat a forty-four caliber
revolver. I put my hand behind me, drew it forth, eying him the while,
and ostentatiously toyed with it before placing it in my blouse side
pocket. It had, I thought, an instantaneous effect, for he drew back,
opening his great mouth to say something, I know not what nor shall I
ever know, for at that instant came a clang from the machinery, a
warning whir of wheels, the rattle of chains, and one of the great
barrels began to revolve slowly; up and down rattled the chains and
levers, then, faint, sweet and far off, I heard a melodious jangle
followed by the first notes of the "Mirleton" I had so often heard below
in the town, but now subdued, etherealized, and softened like unto the
dream music one fancies in the night. The watchman now grinned
reassuringly at me, and, rising, beckoned me with his huge grimy hand to
follow him. Grasping my good ammonia gun I followed him up a wooden
stairway to a green baize covered door. This he opened to an inferno of
crash and din. The air was alive with tumult and the booming of heavy
metal. We were among the great bells of the bottom tier. Before us was
the "bourdon," so called, weighing 2,200 pounds, the bronze monster upon
which the bass note was sounded, and which sounded the hour over the
level fields of Flanders. Dimly above I could see other bells of various
size, hanging tier upon tier from great, red-painted, wooden beams
clamped with iron bands.

I contrived to keep the watchman ever before me, not trusting him,
although his frank smile somewhat disarmed my suspicion. It may be I did
him an injustice, but I liked not the avaricious gleam in his little
slits of eyes.

The bells clanged and clashed as they would break from their fastenings
and drop upon us, and my brain reeled with the discord. On they beat and
boomed, as if they would never stop. No melody was now apparent, though
down below it had seemed as if their sweetness was all too brief. Up
here in the tower they were not at all melodious; they were rough,
discordant, and uneven, some sounding as though out of tune and cracked.
All of the mystery and glamour of sweet tenderness, all their pathos and
weirdness, had quite vanished, and here amid the smell of lubricating
oil and the heavy, noisy grinding of the cog wheels, and the rattle of
iron chains, all the poetry and elusiveness of the bells was certainly
wanting.

All at once just before me a great hammer raised its head, and then
fell with a sounding clang upon the rim of a big bell; the half hour had
struck. All about us the air resounded and vibrated with the mighty
waves of sound. From the bells above finally came the hum of faint
harmonics, and then followed silence like the stillness that ensues
after a heavy clap of thunder.

Cerberus now beckoned me to accompany him amongst the bells, and showed
me the machinery that sets this great marvel of sound in motion. He
showed me the huge "tambour-carillon," with barrels all bestudded with
little brass pegs which pull the wires connected with the great hammers,
which in their turn strike the forty-six bells, that unrivaled chime
known throughout Flanders as the master work of the Van den Gheyns of
Louvain, who were, as already told, the greatest bell founders of the
age.

The great hour bell weighing, as already noted, nearly a ton, required
the united strength of eight men to ring him. Cerberus pointed out to me
the narrow plank runway between the huge dusty beams, whereon these
eight men stood to their task. The carillon tunes, he told me, were
altered every year or so, and to do this required the entire changing of
the small brass pegs in the cylinders, a most formidable task, I
thought. He explained that the cutting of each hole costs sixty
_centimes_ (twelve cents) and that there were about 30,000 holes, so
that the change must be quite expensive, but I did not figure it out
for myself.

The musical range of this carillon chime of Malines may be judged by the
fact that it was possible to play, following on the hour, a selection
from "Don Pasquale," and on the half and quarter hours a few bars from
the "Pre aux Clercs." Every seven and a half minutes sounded a few
jangling sweet notes, and thus the air over the old town of Malines and
the small hamlets surrounding it both day and night was musical with the
bells of the carillon.

On fête days a certain famous bell ringer was engaged by the authorities
to play the bells from the _clavecin_. This is a sort of keyboard with
pedals played by hand and foot, fashioned like a rude piano. The work is
very hard, one would think, but I have heard some remarkable results
from it. In former times the office of "carilloneur" was a most
important position, and, as in the case of the Van den Gheyn family of
Louvain, it was hereditary. The music played by these men, those
"morceaux fugues," once the pride and pleasure of the Netherlands, is
now the wonder and despair of the modern bell ringer, however skillful
he may be.

[Illustration: The Beguinage: Dixmude]

Cerberus informed me that sometimes months pass without a visit from a
stranger to his tower room, and that he had to wind up the mechanism
of the immense clock twice each day, and that of the carillon separately
three times each twenty-four hours, and that it was required of him that
he should sound two strokes upon the "do" bell after each quarter, to
show that he was "on the job," so to speak.

I told him I thought his task a hard and lonely one, and I offered him
another of the black cigars, which he accepted with civility, but I kept
my hand ostentatiously in my blouse pocket, where lay the ammonia gun,
and he saw plainly that I did so. I am inclined now to think that my
fears, as far as he was concerned, were groundless, but nevertheless
they were very real that day in the old tower of Saint Rombauld.

He began his task of winding up the mechanism, while I mounted the steep
steps leading upwards to the top gallery. Here on the open gallery I
gazed north, east, south, and west over the placid, flat, green-embossed
meadows threaded with silver, ribbon-like waterways, upon which floated
red-sailed barges. Below, as in the bottom of a bowl, lay Malines, its
small red-roofed houses stretching away in all directions to the remains
of the ancient walls, topped here and there with a red-sailed windmill,
in the midst of verdant fresh fields wooded here and there with clumps
of willows, where the armies of the counts of Flanders, and the Van
Arteveldes, fought in the olden days.

I could see the square below where, in the Grand' Place, those doughty
Knights of the Golden Fleece had gathered before the pilgrimage to the
Holy Land. Now a few dwarfed, black figures of peasants crawled like
insects across the wide emptiness of it. Here among the startled
jackdaws I lounged smoking and ruminating upon the bells, oily Cerberus,
and his lonely task, and inhaling the misty air from the winding canals
in the fertile green fields below--appraising the values of the pale
diaphanous sky of misty blue, harmonizing so exquisitely with the tender
greens of the landscape which had charmed Cuyp and Memling, until the
blue was suffused with molten gold, and over all the landscape spread a
tender and lovely radiance, which in turn became changed to ruddy flames
in the west, and then the radiance began to fade.

Then I bethought me that it was time I sought out the terrible Cerberus,
the guardian of the tower, and induce him peaceably to permit me to go
forth unharmed. I confess that I was coward enough to give him two
francs as a fee instead of the single one which was his due, and then I
stumbled down the long winding stairway, grasping the slippery hand rope
timorously until I gained the street level, glad to be among fellow
beings once more, but not sorry I had spent the afternoon among the
bells of the Carillon of Saint Rombauld--those bells which now lie
broken among the ashes of the tower in the Grand' Place of the ruined
town of Malines.



Some Carillons of Flanders



Some Carillons of Flanders


It is worth noting that nearly all of the noble Flemish towers with
their wealth of bells are almost within sight (and I had nearly written,
sound) of each other. From the summit of the tower in Antwerp one could
see dimly the cathedrals of Malines and Brussels, perhaps even those of
Bruges and Ghent in clear weather. Haweis ("Music and Morals") says that
"one hundred and twenty-six towers can be seen from the Antwerp
Cathedral on a fair morning," and he was a most careful observer. "So
these mighty spires, gray and changeless in the high air, seem to hold
converse together over the heads of puny mortals, and their language is
rolled from tower to tower by the music of the bells."

"Non sunt loquellae neque sermones, audiantur voces eorum," (there is
neither speech nor language, but their voices are heard among men).

This is an inscription copied by Haweis in the tower at Antwerp, from a
great bell signed, "F. Hemony Amstelo-damia, 1658."

Speaking of the rich decorations which the Van den Gheyns and Hemony
lavished on their bells, he says, "The decorations worked in bas relief
around some of the old bells are extremely beautiful, while the
inscriptions are often highly suggestive, and even touching." These
decorations are usually confined to the top and bottom rims of the bell,
and are in low relief, so as to impede the vibration as little as
possible. At Malines on a bell bearing date "1697, Antwerp" (now
destroyed) there is an amazingly vigorous hunt through a forest with
dogs and all kinds of animals. I did not see this bell when I was in the
tower of St. Rombauld, as the light in the bell chamber was very dim.
The inscription was carried right around the bell, and had all the grace
and freedom of a spirited sketch.

[Illustration: Detail of the Chimes in Belfry of St Nicholas: Dixmude]

On one of Hemony's bells dated 1674 and bearing the inscription,
"Laudate Domini omnes Gentes," we noticed a long procession of cherub
boys dancing and ringing flat hand bells such as are even now rung
before the Host in street processions.

Some of the inscriptions are barely legible because of the peculiarity
of the Gothic letters. Haweis mentions seeing the initials J.R. ("John
Ruskin") in the deep sill of the staircase window; underneath a slight
design of a rose window apparently sketched with the point of a compass.
Ruskin loved the Malines Cathedral well, and made many sketches of
detail while there. I looked carefully for these initials, but I could
not find them, I am sorry to say.

Bells have been strangely neglected by antiquaries and historians, and
but few facts concerning them are to be found in the libraries. Haweis
speaks of the difficulty he encountered in finding data about the chimes
of the Low Countries, alleging that the published accounts and rumors
about their size, weight, and age are seldom accurate or reliable. Even
in the great libraries and archives of the Netherlands at Louvain,
Bruges, or Brussels the librarians were unable to furnish him with
accurate information.

He says: "The great folios of Louvain, Antwerp, and Mechlin (Malines)
containing what is generally supposed to be an exhaustive transcript of
all the monumental and funereal inscriptions in Belgium, will often
bestow but a couple of dates and one inscription upon a richly decorated
and inscribed carillon of thirty or forty bells. The reason of this is
not far to seek. The fact is, it is no easy matter to get at the bells
when once they are hung, and many an antiquarian who will haunt tombs
and pore over illegible brasses with commendable patience will decline
to risk his neck in the most interesting of belfries. The pursuit, too,
is often a disappointing one. Perhaps it is possible to get half way
around a bell and then be prevented by a thick beam, or the bell's own
wheel from seeing the outer half, which, by perverse chance, generally
contains the date and the name of the founder.

"Perhaps the oldest bell is quite inaccessible, or, after a half hour's
climbing amid the utmost dust and difficulty, we reach a perfectly blank
or commonplace bell."

He gives the date of 1620, as that when the family of Van den Gheyns
were bringing the art of bell founding to perfection in Louvain, and
notes that the tower and bells of each fortified town were half civic
property. Thus the curfew, the carolus, and the St. Mary bells in
Antwerp Cathedral belong to the town.

"Let us," he says, "enter the town of Mechlin (Malines) in the year
1638. The old wooden bridge (over the river Dyle) has since been
replaced by a stone one. To this day the elaborately carved façades of
the old houses close on the water are of incomparable richness of
design. The peculiar ascent of steps leading up to the angle of the
roof, in a style borrowed from the Spaniards, is a style everywhere to
be met with. The noblest of square florid Gothic towers, the tower of
St. Rombauld (variously spelled St. Rombaud, St. Rombaut, or St. Rombod)
finished up to three hundred and forty-eight feet, guides us to what is
now called the Grand' Place, where in an obscure building are the
workshops and furnaces adjoining the abode of Peter Van den Gheyn, the
most renowned bell founder of the seventeenth century, born in 1605. In
company with his associate, Deklerk, arrangements are being made for the
founding of a big bell.

"Before the cast was made there was no doubt great controversy between
the mighty smiths, Deklerk and Van den Gheyn: plans had to be drawn out
on parchment, measurements and calculations made, little proportions
weighed by fine instinct, and the defects and merits of ever so many
bells canvassed. The ordinary measurements, which now hold good for a
large bell, are, roughly, one-fifteenth of the diameter in thickness,
and twelve times the thickness in height. Describing the foundry
buildings: The first is for the furnaces, containing the vast caldron
for the fusing of the metal; in the second is a kind of shallow well,
where the bell would have to be modeled in clay.

"The object to be first attained is a hollow mold of the exact size and
shape of the intended bell, into which the liquid metal is poured
through a tube from the furnace, and this mold is constructed in the
following simple but ingenious manner:

"Suppose the bell to be six feet high, a brick column of about that
height is built something in the shape of the outside of a bell. Upon
the smooth surface of this solid bell-shaped mass can now be laid
figures, decorations, and inscriptions in wax; a large quantity of the
most delicately prepared clay is then produced, the model is slightly
washed with some kind of oil to prevent the fine clay from sticking to
it, and three or four coats of the fine clay in an almost liquid state
are daubed carefully all over the model. Next, a coating of common clay
is added to strengthen the mold to the thickness of some inches. And
thus the model stands with its great bell-shaped cover closely fitting
over it.

"A fire is now lighted underneath, the brick work in the interior is
heated, through the clay, through the wax ornaments and oils, which
steam out in vapor through two holes at the top, leaving their
impressions on the inside of the cover (of clay).

[Illustration: The Belfry: Bergues]

"When everything is baked thoroughly hard, the cover is raised bodily
into the air by a rope, and held suspended some feet exactly above the
model. In the interior of the cover thus raised will, of course, be
found the exact impression in hollow of the outside of the bell. The
model of clay and masonry is then broken up, and its place is taken by
another perfectly smooth model, only smaller--exactly the size of the
inside of the bell, in fact. On this the great cover now descends, and
is stopped in time to leave a hollow space between the new model and
itself. This is effected simply by the bottom rim of the new model
forming a base, at the proper distance upon which the rim of the clay
cover may rest in its descent.

"The hollow space between the clay cover and second clay mold is now the
exact shape of the required bell, and only waits to be filled with
metal.

"So far all has been comparatively easy; but the critical moment has now
arrived. The furnaces have long been smoking; the brick work containing
the caldron is almost glowing with red heat; a vast draft passage
underneath the floor keeps the fire rapid; from time to time it leaps up
with a hundred angry tongues, or in one sheet of flame, over the
furnace-imbedded caldron. Then the cunning artificer brings forth his
heaps of choice metal, large cakes of red coruscated copper from
Drontheim, called 'Rosette,' owing to a certain rare pink bloom that
seems to lie all over it like the purple on a plum; then a quantity of
tin, so highly refined that it shines and glistens like pure silver;
these are thrown into the caldron and melted down together. Kings and
nobles have stood beside those famous caldrons, and looked with
reverence upon the making of these old bells. Nay, they have brought
gold and silver and, pronouncing the name of some holy saint or apostle
which the bell was thereafter to bear, they have flung in precious
metals, rings, bracelets, and even bullion.

"But for a moment or two before the pipe which is to convey the metal
to the mold is opened, the smith stands and stirs the molten mass to see
if all is melted. Then he casts in certain proportions of zinc and other
metals which belong to the secrets of the trade; he knows how much
depends upon these little refinements, which he has acquired by
experience, and which perhaps he could not impart even if he would, so
true is it that in every art that which constitutes success is a matter
of instinct, and not of rule, or even science.

"He knows, too, that almost everything depends upon the moment chosen
for flooding the mold. Standing in the intense heat, and calling loudly
for a still more raging fire, he stirs the metal once more. At a given
signal the pipe is opened, and with a long smothered rush the molten
metal fills the mold to the brim. Nothing now remains but to let the
metal cool, and then to break up the clay and brick work and extract the
bell, which is then finished for better or for worse."

We learn much of the difficulties encountered even by these great
masters in successfully casting the bells, and that even they were not
exempt from failure. "The Great Salvator" bell at Malines, made by Peter
Van den Gheyn, cracked eight years after it was hung in the tower
(1696). It was recast by De Haze of Antwerp, and existed up to a few
years ago--surely a good long life for any active bell.

In the belfry of St. Peter's at Louvain, which is now in ruins and level
with the street, was a great bell of splendid tone, bearing the
following inscription: "Claes Noorden Johan Albert de Grave me fecerunt
Amstel--odamia, MDCCXIV."

Haweis mentions also the names of Bartholomews Goethale, 1680, who made
a bell now in St. Stephen's belfry at Ghent; and another, Andrew
Steilert, 1563, at Malines (Mechlin). The great carillon in the belfry
at Bruges, thus far spared by the iconoclasts of 1914, consisting of
forty bells and one large Bourdon, or triumphal bell, is from the
foundry of the great Dumery, who also made the carillon at Antwerp.

Haweis credits Petrus Hemony, 1658, with being the most prolific of all
the bell founders. He was a good musician and took to bell founding only
late in life. "His small bells are exceedingly fine, but his larger ones
are seldom true."

To the ear of so eminent an authority this may be true, but, to my own,
the bells seem quite perfect, and I have repeatedly and most attentively
listened to them from below in the Grand' Place, trying to discover the
inharmonious note that troubled him. I ventured to ask one of the
priests if he had noticed any flatness in the notes, and he scorned the
idea, saying that the bells, "all of them," were perfect.

Nevertheless, I must accept the statement of Haweis, who for years made
a study of these bells and their individualities and than whom perhaps
never has lived a more eminent authority.

From my room in the small hotel de Buda, just beneath the old gray tower
of St. Rombauld in this ancient town of Malines, I have listened by day
and night to the music of these bells, which sounded so exquisite to me
that I can still recall them. The poet has beautifully expressed the
idea of the bell music of Flanders thus, "The Wind that sweeps over her
campagnas and fertile levels is full of broken melodious whispers"
(Haweis).

Certainly these chimes of bells playing thus by day and night, day in,
day out, year after year, must exercise a most potent influence upon the
imagination and life of the people.

The Flemish peasant is born, grows up, lives his life out, and finally
is laid away to the music of these ancient bells.

[Illustration: The Old Porte Marechale: Bruges]

When I came away from Malines and reached Antwerp, I lodged in the Place
Verte, as near to the chimes as I could get. My student days being over,
I found that I had a strange sense of loss, as if I had lost a dear
and valued friend, for the sound of the bells had become really a part
of my daily existence.

Victor Hugo, who traveled through Flanders in 1837, stopped for a time
in Malines, and was so impressed with the carillon that he is said to
have written there the following lines by moonlight with a diamond upon
the window-pane in his room:

 "J'aime le carillon dans tes cités Antiques,
 O vieux pays, gardien de tes moeurs domestiques,
 Noble Flandre, où le Nord se réchauffe engourdi
 Au soleil de Castille et s'accouple au Midi.
 Le carillon, c'est l'heure inattendue et folle
 Que l'oeil croit voir, vêtue en danseuse espagnole
 Apparaître soudain par le trou vif et clair
 Que ferait, en s'ouvrant, une porte de l'air."

It was not until the seventeenth century that Flanders began to place
these wondrous collections of bells in her great towers, which seem to
have been built for them. Thus came the carillons of Malines, Bruges,
Ghent, Antwerp, Louvain, and Tournai. Of these, Antwerp possessed the
greatest in number, sixty-five bells. Malines came next with forty-four,
then Bruges with forty, and a great bourdon or bass bell; then Tournai
and Louvain with forty, and finally Ghent with thirty-nine.

In ancient times these carillons were played by hand on a keyboard,
called a _clavecin_. In the belfry at Bruges, in a dusty old chamber
with a leaden floor, I found a very old _clavecin_. It was simply a
rude keyboard much like that of a primitive kind of organ, presenting a
number of jutting handles, something like rolling pins, each of which
was attached to a wire operating the hammer, in the bell chamber
overhead, which strikes the rim of the bells. There was an old red,
leather-covered bench before this machine on which the performer sat,
and it must have been a task requiring considerable strength and agility
so to smite each of these pins with his gloved fist, his knees and each
of his feet (on the foot board) that the hammers above would fall on the
rims of the different bells.

From my room in the old "Panier d'or" in the market-place on many nights
have I watched the tower against the dim sky, and seen the light of the
"_veilleur_," shining in the topmost window, where he keeps watch over
the sleeping town, and sounds two strokes upon a small bell after each
quarter is struck, to show that he is on watch. And so passed the time
in this peaceful land until that fatal day in August, 1914.



Dixmude



Dixmude


There is no longer a Grand' Place at Dixmude. Of the town, the great
squat church of St. Martin, and the quaint town hall adjoining it, now
not one stone remains upon another. The old mossy walls and bastion are
level with the soil, and even the course of the small sluggishly flowing
river Yser is changed by the ruin that chokes it.

I found it to be a melancholy, faded-out kind of place in 1910, when I
last saw it. I came down from Antwerp especially to see old St.
Martin's, which enshrined a most wondrous _Jube_, or altar screen, and a
chime of bells from the workshop of the Van den Gheyns. There was
likewise on the Grand' Place, a fine old prison of the fourteenth
century, its windows all closed with rusty iron bars, most of which were
loose in the stones. I tried them, to the manifest indignation of the
solitary gendarme, who saw me from a distance across the Grand' Place
and hurried over to place me under arrest. I had to show him not only my
passport but my letter of credit and my sketch book before he would
believe that I was what I claimed to be, a curious American, and
something of an antiquary. But it was the sketch book that won him, for
he told me that he had a son studying painting in Antwerp at the
academy. So we smoked together on a bench over the bridge of the "Pape
Gaei" and he related the story of his life, while I made a sketch of the
silent, grass-grown Grand' Place and the squat tower of old St.
Martin's, and the Town Hall beside it.

While we sat there on the bench only two people crossed the square, that
same square that witnessed the entry of Charles the Fifth amid the
silk-and velvet-clad nobles and burghers, and the members of the great
and powerful guilds, which he regarded and treated with such respect. In
those days the town had a population of thirty thousand or more. On this
day my friend the gendarme told me that there were about eleven hundred
in the town. Of this eleven hundred I saw twelve market people, the
_custode_ of the church of St. Martin; ditto that of the Town Hall; the
gendarme; one baby in the arms of a crippled girl, and two gaunt cats.

The great docks to which merchantmen from all parts of the earth came in
ships in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had now vanished, and
long green grass waved in the meadows where the channel had been.

[Illustration: The Ancient Place: Dixmude]

The ancient corporations and brotherhood, formerly of such power and
renown, had likewise long since vanished, and nought remained but here
and there on the silent, grass-grown streets gray, ancient palaces with
barred and shuttered windows. The very names of those who once dwelt
there could be found only in the musty archives in Bruges or Brussels. A
small _estaminet_ across the bridge bore the sign "In den Pape Gaei,"
and to this I fared and wrote my notes, while the crippled girl carrying
the baby seated herself where she could watch me, and then lapsed into a
sort of trance, with wide open eyes which evidently saw not.

In company with a large, black, savage-looking dog which traveled
side-ways regarding me threateningly, I thought, and gloweringly refused
my offers of friendship, I crossed the Grand' Place to the Hôtel de
Ville, or Town Hall, the door of which stood open. Inside, no living
soul responded to my knock. The rooms were rather bare of furniture,
many of them of noble proportions, and a few desks and chairs showed
that they were used by the town officers, wherever they were.

St. Martin's was closed, and I skirted its walls, hoping to find
somewhere a door unfastened that I might enter and see the great _Jube_
or altar screen. In a small, evil-smelling alley-way, where there was a
patch of green grass, I saw low down in the wall a grated window, which
I fancied must be at the back of the altar. I got down on my knees and,
parting the grass which grew there rankly, I put my face in against the
iron bars that closed it. For a moment I could see nothing, then when my
eyes became accustomed to the light I saw a tall candle burning on an
iron ring on the wall; then a heavy black cross beside it, and finally a
figure in some sort of heavy dark robe kneeling prostrate before it,
only the tightly clasped white hands gleaming in the dim candle light;
almost holding my breath I withdrew my head, feeling that I was almost
committing sacrilege. Unfortunately for me, I dislodged some loose
mortar, and I heard this rattle noisily into the chamber below. Then I
fled as rapidly as I could down the dim alley-way to the silent sunlit
Grand' Place. Here I found the verger, and he admitted me to the great
old church, in return for a one-franc piece, and brought me a
rush-bottom chair to a choice spot before the wondrous _Jube_, where I
made my drawing.

[Illustration: The Great Jube, or Altar Screen: Dixmude]

In the silence of the great gray old church I labored over the exquisite
Gothic detail, all unmindful of the passing time, when all at once I
became conscious that a small green door beside the right hand low
_retable_ was moving outward. I ceased working and watched it; then the
solitary candle before the statue of the Virgin guttered and flared up;
then the small door opened wide and forth came an old man in a priest's
cassock, with a staff in his hand. The small, green, baize-covered door
closed noiselessly; the old man slowly opened the gate before the
altar and came down the step toward me. Without a word he walked behind
my chair and peered over my shoulder at the drawing I was making of the
great _Jube_.

He tapped the floor with his staff, placed it under his arm, sought his
pocket somewhere beneath his cassock, from which he produced a snuff
box. From this he took a generous pinch, and a moment later was blowing
vigorously that note of satisfaction that only a devotee of the powder
can render an effective adjunct of emotion.

"Bien faite, M'sieur," he exclaimed at length, wiping his eyes on a
rather suspicious looking handkerchief. "T-r-r-r-r-es bien faite! J'vous
fais mes compliments." "Admirable! You have certainly rendered the
spirit of our great and wondrous altar screen."

A little later we passed out of the old church through a side door
leading into a small green enclosure, now gloomy in the shade of the old
stone walls. At one end was a tangle of briar, and here were some old
graves, each with a tinsel wreath or two on the iron cross. And
presiding over these was the limp figure of a one-legged man on two
crutches, who saluted us. We passed along to the end of the inclosure,
where lay a chance beam of sunshine like a bar of dusty gold against the
rich green grass.

"Oui, M'sieur," said the priest, as if continuing a sentence he was
running over in his mind. "Cassé! Pauvre Pierre, un peu cassé, le pauvre
bonhomme, but then, he's good for several years yet; cracked he is, but
only cracked like a good old basin, and (in the idiom) he'll still hold
well his bowl of soup."

He laughed at his wit, became grave, then shook out another laugh.

"See," he added, pointing to the ground all about us strewn with morsels
of tile; "the roof cracks, but it still holds," he added, pointing
upwards at the old tower of St. Martin's. "And now, M'sieur, I shall
take you to my house; _tenez_, figure to yourself," and he laid a fine,
richly veined, strong old hand upon my arm with a charming gesture. "I
have been here twenty-five years; I bought all the antique furniture of
my predecessor. I said to myself, 'Yes, I shall buy the furniture for
five hundred francs, and then, later I shall sell to a wealthy amateur
for one thousand francs, perhaps in a year or two.' Twenty-five years
ago, and I have it yet. And now it creaks and creaks and snaps in the
night. We all creak and creak thus as we grow old; ah, you should hear
my wardrobes. 'Elles cassent les dos,' and I lie in my warm bed in the
winter nights and listen to my antiques groan and complain. Poor old
things, they belonged to the 'Empire' Period; no wonder they groan.

[Illustration: The Fish Market: Dixmude]

"And when my friend the notaire comes to play chess with me, you should
see him eye my antiques, ah, so covetously; I see him, but I never let
on. Such a collection of antiques as we all are, M'sieur." Then he
became serious, and lifting his cane he pointed to a gravestone at one
side, "My old servant lies there, M'sieur; we are all old here now, but
still we do not die. Alas! we never die. There is plenty of room here
for us, but we die hard. See, myotis, heliotrope, hare bells, and
mignonette, a bed of perfume, and there lies my old servant. A restless
old soul she was, and she took such a long time to die. She was
eighty-five when she finally made up her mind."

I had a cup of wine with the old man in his small _salle à manger_. His
house was indeed a mine of wealth for the antiquary and collector, more
like a shop than a house. I lingered with him for nearly an hour,
telling him of the great world lying beyond Dixmude, of London and
Paris, and of New York and some of its wonders, of which I fancied he
was rather sceptical. And then I came away, after shaking hands with him
at his doorstep in the dim alley-way, with the bar of golden sunlight
shining at the entrance to the Grand' Place and the noise of the rooks
cawing on the roof.

"_Au revoir_, M'sieur le Peintre, _et bon voyage_, and remember, 'Ask,
and it shall be given, seek and you shall find,'" and with these cryptic
words, he stood with uplifted hands, a smile irradiating his fine
ascetic face glowing like that of a saint. Behind the faded black of his
old _soutane_ I could see his treasures of blue china and ancient
cabinets, and a chance light illumined a mirror behind his head, and
aureoled him like unto one of the saints behind the great "Jube," and
thus I left him.

And now Dixmude is in formless heaps of ashes and burnt timbers. Hardly
one stone now remains upon another. There is no longer a Grand'
Place--and the very course of the river Yser is changed.



Ypres



Ypres


Ypres as a town grew out of a rude sort of stronghold built, says M.
Vereeke in his "Histoire Militaire d'Ypres," in the year 900, on a small
island in the river Yperlee. It was in the shape of a triangle with a
tower on each corner, and was known to the inhabitants as the "Castle of
the three Turrets."

Its establishment was followed by a collection of small huts on the
banks of the stream, built by those who craved the protection of the
fortress. They built a rampart of earth and a wide ditch to defend it,
and to this they added from time to time until the works became so
extensive that a town sprang into being, which from its strategic
position on the borders of France soon became of great importance in the
wars that constantly occurred. Probably no other Flemish town has seen
its defenses so altered and enlarged as Ypres has between the primitive
days when the crusading Thierry d'Alsace planted hedges of live thorns
to strengthen the towers, and the formation of the great works of
Vauban. We have been so accustomed to regarding the Fleming as a
sluggish boor, that it comes in the nature of a surprise when we read of
the part these burghers, these weavers and spinners, took in the great
events that distinguished Flemish history. "In July, 1302, a contingent
of twelve hundred chosen men, five hundred of them clothed in scarlet
and the rest in black, were set to watch the town and castle of
Courtrai, and the old Roman Broël bridge, during the battle of the
'Golden Spurs,' and the following year saw the celebration of the
establishment of the confraternity of the Archers of St. Sebastian,
which still existed in Ypres when I was there in 1910. This was the last
survivor of the famed, armed societies of archers which flourished in
the Middle Ages. Seven hundred of these men of Ypres embarked in the
Flemish ships which so harassed the French fleet in the great naval
engagement of June, 1340."

Forty years later five thousand men of Ypres fought upon the battlefield
with the French, on that momentous day which witnessed the death of
Philip Van Artevelde and the triumph of Leliarts. Later, when the Allies
laid siege to the town, defended by Leliarts and Louis of Maele, it was
maintained by a force of ten thousand men, and on June 8, 1383, these
were joined by seventeen thousand English and twenty thousand Flemings,
these latter from Bruges and Ghent.

At this time the gateways were the only part of the fortifications
built of stone. The ramparts were of earth, planted with thorn bushes
and interlaced with beams. Outside were additional works of wooden posts
and stockades, behind the dyke, which was also palisaded. The English,
believing that the town would not strongly resist their numbers, tried
to carry it by assault. They were easily repulsed, to their great
astonishment, with great losses.

At last they built three great wooden towers on wheels filled with
soldiers, which they pushed up to the walls, but the valiant garrison
swarmed upon these towers, set fire to them, and either killed or
captured those who manned them.

All the proposals of Spencer demanding the surrender of Ypres were met
with scorn, and the English were repeatedly repulsed with great losses
of men whenever they attempted assaults.

The English turned upon the Flemish of Ghent with fury, saying that they
had deceived them as to the strength of the garrison of Ypres, and
Spencer, realizing that it was impossible to take the town before the
French army arrived, retired from the field with his soldiers. This left
Flanders at the mercy of the French. But now ensued the death of Count
Louis of Maele (1384) and this brought Flanders under the rule of the
House of Burgundy, which resulted in prosperity and well nigh complete
independence for the Flemings.

The Great Kermesse of Our Lady of the Garden (Notre Dame de Thuine) was
then inaugurated because the townspeople believe that Ypres had been
saved by the intercession of the Virgin Mary--the word Thuin meaning in
Flemish "an enclosed space, such as a garden plot," an allusion to the
barrier of thorns which had so well kept the enemy away from the
walls--a sort of predecessor of the barbed-wire entanglements used in
the present great world war.

The Kermesse was held by the people of Ypres on the first Sunday in
August every year, called most affectionately "Thuindag," and while
there in 1910 I saw the celebration in the great square before the Cloth
Hall, and listened to the ringing of the chimes; the day being ushered
in at sunrise by a fanfare of trumpets on the parapet of the tower by
the members of a local association, who played ancient patriotic airs
with great skill and enthusiasm.

In the Place de Musée, a quiet, gray corner of this old town, was an
ancient Gothic house containing a really priceless collection of medals
and instruments of torture used during the terrible days of the Spanish
Inquisition. I spent long hours in these old musty rooms alone, and I
might have stolen away whatever took my fancy had I been so minded, for
the _custode_ left me quite alone to wander at will, and the cases
containing the seals, parchments, and small objects were all unfastened.

I saw the other day another wonderful panorama photograph taken from an
aeroplane showing Ypres as it now is, a vast heap of ruins, the Cloth
Hall gutted; the Cathedral leveled, and the site of the little old
museum a vast blackened hole in the earth where a shell had landed. The
photograph, taken by an Englishman, was dated September, 1915.

The great Hanseatic League, that extensive system of monopolies, was the
cause of great dissatisfaction and many wars because of jealousy and bad
feeling. Ypres, Ghent, and Bruges, while defending their rights and
privileges against all other towns, fought among themselves. The
monopoly enjoyed by the merchant weavers of Ypres forbade all weaving
for "three leagues around the walls of Ypres, under penalty of
confiscation of the looms and all of the linen thus woven."

Constant friction was thus engendered between the towns of Ypres and
Poperinghe, resulting in bloody battles and the burning and destruction
of much property. Even within the walls of the town this bickering went
on from year to year. When they were not quarreling with their neighbors
over slights or attacks, either actual or fancied, they fought among
themselves over the eternal question of capital _versus_ labor. A sharp
line was drawn between the workingman and the members of the guilds who
sold his output. The artisans, whose industry contributed so greatly to
the prosperity of these towns, resented any infringement of their legal
rights. The merchant magistrates were annually elected, and on one
occasion, in 1361, to be exact, because this was omitted, the people
arose in their might against the governors, who were assembled in the
Nieuwerck of the Hôtel de Ville. The Baillie, one Jean Deprysenaere,
haughty in his supposed power, and trusting in his office, as local
representative of the Court of Flanders, appeared before the insurgent
weavers and endeavored to appease them. "They fell upon him and slew
him" (Vereeke). Then, rushing into the council chamber, they seized the
other magistrates and confined them in the belfry of the Cloth Hall.

"Then the leaders in council resolved to kill the magistrates, and
beheaded the Burgomaster and two sheriffs in the place before the Cloth
Hall in the presence of their colleagues" (Vereeke).

Following the custom of the Netherlands, each town acted for itself
alone. The popular form of government was that of gatherings in the
market-place where laws were discussed and made by and for the people.
The spirit of commercial jealousy, however, kept them apart and
nullified their power. Consumed by the thirst for commercial, material
prosperity, they had no faith in each other, no bond of union, each
being ready and willing to foster its own interest at its rival's
expense. Thus neither against foreign nor internal difficulties were
they really united. The motto of modern Belgium, "L'Union fait la
Force," was not yet invented, and there was no great and powerful
authority in which they believed and about which they could gather.

This history presents the picture of Ghent assisting an army of English
soldiers to lay siege to Ypres. So the distrustful people dwelt amid
perpetual quarreling, trade pitted against trade, town against town,
fostering weakness of government and shameful submission in defeat. No
town suffered as did Ypres during this distracted state of affairs in
Flanders of the sixteenth century, which saw it reduced from a place of
first importance to a dead town with the population of a village. And so
it remained up to the outbreak of the world war in 1914.

This medieval and most picturesque of all the towns of Flanders had not
felt the effect of the wave of restoration, which took place in Belgium
during the decade preceding the outbreak of the world war, owing to the
fact that its monuments of the past were perhaps finer and in a better
state of preservation than those of any of the other ancient towns.
Ypres in the early days had treated the neighboring town of Poperinghe
with great severity through jealousy, but she in turn suffered heavily
at the hands of Ghent in 1383-84 when the vast body of weavers fled,
taking refuge in England, and taking with them all hope of the town's
future prosperity.

Its decline thenceforward was rapid, and it never recovered its former
place in the councils of Flanders. Its two great memorials of the olden
times were the great Cloth Hall, in the Grand' Place, and the Cathedral
of Saint Martin, both dating from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

The Cloth Hall, begun by Count Baldwin IX of Flanders, was perhaps the
best preserved and oldest specimen of its kind in the Netherlands, and
was practically complete up to the middle of August, 1915, when the
great guns of the iconoclastic invader shot away the top of the immense
clock tower, and unroofed the entire structure. Its façade was nearly
five hundred feet long, of most severe and simple lines, and presented a
double row of ogival windows, surmounted by niches containing thirty-one
finely executed statues of counts and countesses of Flanders. There were
small, graceful turrets at each end, and a lofty belfry some two hundred
and thirty feet in height in the center, containing a fine set of bells
connected with the mechanism of a carillon.

[Illustration: No. 4, Rue de Dixmude: Ypres]

The interior of the hall was of noble proportions, running the full
length, its walls decorated by a series of paintings by two modern
Flemish painters, which were not of the highest merit, yet good withal.
At the market-place end was a highly ornate structure called the New
Work (Nieuwerke), erected by the burghers as a guild-hall in the
fifteenth century. This was the first part of the edifice to be ruined
by a German shell.

The destruction of this exquisite work of art seems entirely wanton and
unnecessary. It produced no result whatever of advantage. There were
neither English, French, nor Belgian soldiers in Ypres at the time. The
populace consisted of about ten thousand peaceful peasants and
shopkeepers, who, trusting in the fact that the town was unarmed and
unfortified, remained in their homes. The town was battered and
destroyed, leveled in ashes. The bombardment destroyed also the great
Cathedral of Saint Martin adjoining the Cloth Hall, which dated from the
thirteenth century [although the tower was not added until the fifteenth
century]. It formed a very fine specimen of late Gothic, the interior
containing some fine oak carving and a richly carved and decorated organ
loft. Bishop Jansenius, the founder of the sect of Jansenists, is buried
in a Gothic cloister which formed a part of the older church that
occupied the site.

Another interesting monument of past greatness was the Hôtel de Ville,
erected in the sixteenth century, and containing a large collection of
modern paintings by French and Belgian artists. Of this structure not a
trace remains save a vast blackened pile of crumbled stones and mortar.
In the market-place now roam bands of half-starved dogs in search of
food; not a roof remains intact. A couple of sentries pace before the
hospital at the end of the Grand' Place. A recent photograph in the
_Illustrated London News_ taken from an aeroplane shows the ruined town
like a vast honeycomb uncovered, the streets and squares filled with
débris, the fragments of upstanding walls showing where a few months ago
dwelt in peace and prosperity an innocent, happy people, now scattered
to the four winds--paupers, subsisting upon charity. Their valiant and
noble king and queen are living with the remnant of the Belgian army in
the small fishing village of La Panne on the sand dunes of the North
Sea.

The unique character of the half-forgotten town was exemplified by the
number of ancient, wooden-faced houses to be found in the side streets.
The most curious of these, perhaps, was that situated near the Porte de
Lille, which I have mentioned in another page, and which noted
architects of Brussels and Antwerp vainly petitioned the State to
protect, or to remove bodily the façade and erect it in one of the vast
"Salles" of the Cloth Hall. Both MM. Pauwels and Delbeke, the mural
painters, then engaged in the decorations of the Cloth Hall, joined in
protests to the authorities against their neglect of this remarkable
example of medieval construction, but all these petitions were
pigeonholed, and nothing resulted but vain empty promises, so the matter
rested, and now this beautiful house has vanished forever.

The great mural decorations of the "Halles" were nearly completed by MM.
Delbeke and Pauwels, when they both died within a few months of each
other, in 1891. In these decorations the artists traced the history of
Ypres from 1187 to 1383, the date of the great siege, showing taste and
elegance in the compositions, notably in that called the "Wedding feast
of Mahaut, daughter of Robert of Bethune, with Mathias of Lorraine
(1314)."

One of the panels by M. Pauwels showed most vividly the progress of the
"Pest," under the title of the "Mort d'Ypres" (_de Dood van Yperen_,
Flemish). It represented the "Fossoyeur" calling upon the citizens upon
the tolling of the great bell of St. Martin's, to bring out their dead
for burial.

M. Delbeke's talent was engaged upon scenes illustrating the civil life
of the town, the gatherings in celebration of the philanthropic and
intellectual events in its remarkable history, a task in which he was
successful in spite of the carping of envious contemporaries.

A committee of artists was appointed to examine his work, and although
this body decided in his favor, it may be that the criticism to which
he was subjected hastened his death. At any rate the panels remained
unfinished, no other painter having the courage to carry out the
projected work.

[Illustration: Arcade of the Cloth Hall: Ypres]

The original sketches for these great compositions were preserved in the
museum of the town, but the detailed drawings, some in color, were, up
to the outbreak of the war in 1914, in the Museum of Decorative Arts in
Brussels, together with the cartoons of another artist, Charles de Groux
(1870), to whom the decoration of the Halles had been awarded by the
State in competition. A most sumptuous Gothic apartment was that styled
the "Salle Echevinale," restored with great skill in recent years by a
concurrence of Flemish artists, members of the Academy. Upon either side
of a magnificent stone mantel, bearing statues in niches of kings,
counts and countesses, bishops and high dignitaries, were large well
executed frescoes by MM. Swerts and Guffens, showing figures of the
evangelists St. Mark and St. John, surrounded by myriads of counts and
countesses of Flanders, from the time of Louis de Nevers and Margaret of
Artois to Charles the Bold, and Margaret of York, whose tombs are in the
Cathedral at Bruges. The attribution of these frescoes to Melchior
Broederlam does not, it would seem, accord with the style or the date of
their production, M. Alph. van den Peereboom thinks, and he gives
credit for the work to two painters who worked in Ypres in 1468--MM.
Pennant and Floris Untenhoven.

In my search for the curious and picturesque, I came, one showery day,
upon a passageway beneath the old belfry which led to the tower of St.
Martin's. Here one might believe himself back in the Middle Ages. On
both sides of the narrow street were ancient wooden-fronted houses not a
whit less interesting or well preserved than that front erected in the
chamber of the "Halles." This small dark street led to a vast and
solitary square. On one side were lofty edifices called the Colonnade of
the "Nieuwerck," at the end of which was a quaint vista of the Grand'
Place. On the other side was a range of most wondrous ancient
constructions; the _conciergerie_ and its attendant offices, bearing
finials and gables of astonishing richness of character, and ornamented
with _chefs-d'oeuvres_ of iron-work, marking the dates of erection,
all of them prior to 1616. In this square not a soul appeared, nor was
there a sound to be heard save the cooing of some doves upon a rooftree,
although I sat there upon a stone coping for the better part of a half
hour. Then all at once, out of a green doorway next the _conciergerie_,
poured a throng of children, whose shrill cries and laughter brought me
back to the present. One wonders where now are these merry
light-hearted little ones, who thronged that gray grass-grown square
behind the old Cloth Hall in 1912....

In this old square I studied the truly magnificent south portal and
transept of St. Martin's, the triple portal with its splendid polygonal
rose window, and its two graceful slender side towers, connecting a long
gallery between the two smaller side portals. One's impression of this
great edifice is that of a sense of noble proportions, rather than
ornateness, and this is to be considered remarkable when one remembers
the different epochs of its construction. That the choir was commenced
in 1221 is established by the epitaph of Hugues, _prévôt_ of St.
Martin's, whose ashes reposed in the church which he built: that the
first stone of the nave transepts was laid with ceremony by Marguerite
of Constantinople in 1254; that the south portal was of the fifteenth
century and that a century later the chapel called the _doyen_ toward
the south wall at the foot of the tower, was erected. The tower itself,
visible from all parts of the town, was the conception of Martin
Untenhoven of Malines, and replaced a more primitive one in 1433. Of
very severe character, its great bare bulk rose to an unfinished height
of some hundred and seventy feet, and terminated in a squatty sort of
pent-house roof of typical Flemish character. It was flanked by four
smaller, unfinished towers, one at each corner. This tower, one may
recall, figures in many of the pictures of Jean van Eyck. It is not
without reason that Schayes, in his "Histoire de l'Architecture en
Belgique," speaks of the choir of St. Martin's as "one of the most
remarkable of the religious constructions of the epoch in Belgium." Of
most noble lines and proportion if it were not for the intruding altar
screen in the Jesuit style, which mars the effect, the ensemble were
well-nigh perfect.

Its decoration, too, was remarkable. A fresco at the left of the choir,
with a portrait of Robert de Bethune, Count of Flanders, who died at
Ypres in 1322 and was buried in the church, was uncovered early in the
eighties during a restoration; this had been most villainously repainted
by a local "artist"(?); and I mortally offended the young priest who
showed it to me, by the vehemence of my comments.

The stalls of the choir, in two banks or ranges, twenty-seven above,
twenty-four below, bore the date of 1598, and the signature of d'Urbain
Taillebert, a native sculptor of great merit, who also carved the great
_Jube_ of Dixmude (see drawing). Other works of Taillebert are no less
remarkable, notably the superb arcade with the Christ triumphant
suspended between the columns at the principal entrance. He was also
the sculptor of the mausoleum of Bishop Antoine de Hennin, erected in
1622 in the choir.

In the pavement before the altar a plain stone marked the resting place
of the famous Corneille Jansen (Cornelius Jansenius), seventh Bishop of
Ypres, who died of the pest the 6th of May, 1638. One recalls that the
doctrine of Jansen gave birth to the sect of that name which still
flourishes in Holland.

Following the Rue de Lille one came upon the old tower of St. Pierre,
massed among tall straight lines of picturesque poplars, its bulk
recalling vaguely the belfry of the Cloth Hall. In this church was shown
a curious little picture, representing the devil setting fire to the
tower, which was destroyed in 1638, but was later rebuilt after the
original plans. The interior had no dignity of style whatever. There
were, however, some figures of the saints Peter and Paul attributed to
Carel Van Yper, which merited the examination of connoisseurs. They are
believed by experts to have been the "volets" of a triptych of which the
center panel was missing.

[Illustration: Gateway, Wall, and Old Moat: Ypres]

The Place St. Pierre was picturesque and smiling. Following this route
we found on the right at the end of a small street the hospital St.
Jean, with an octagonal tower, which enshrined some pictures attributed
to the prolific Carel Van Yper, comment upon which would be perhaps
out of place here. On the corner of this street was a most charming old
façade in process of demolishment, which we deplored.

Now we reached the Porte de Lille again and the remains of the old walls
of the town. Again and again we followed this same route, each time
finding some new beauty or hidden antiquity which well repaid us for
such persistence. Few of the towns of Flanders presented such treasures
as were to be found in Ypres. Following the walk on the ramparts, past
the _caserne_ or infantry barracks, one came upon the place of the
ancient château of the counts, a vast construction under the name of "de
Zaalhof." Here was an antique building called the "Lombard," dated 1616,
covered with old iron "ancres" and crosses between the high small-paned
windows.

By the Rue de Beurre one regained the Grand' Place, passing through the
silent old Place Van den Peereboom in the center of which was the statue
of the old Burgomaster of that name.

The aspect of this silent grass-grown square behind the Cloth Hall was
most impressive. Here thronged the burghers of old, notably on the
occasion of the entry of Charles the Bold and his daughter Marguerite,
all clad in fur, lace, and velvet to astonish the inhabitants, who
instead of being impressed, so outshone the visitors, by their own and
their wives' magnificence of apparel, that Marguerite was reported to
have left the banquet hall in pique. The belfry quite dominated the
square at the eastern angle, where were the houses forming the
_conciergerie_.

Turning to the right by way of the Chemin de St. Martin, one found the
ancient Beguinage latterly used by the gendarmerie as a station, the
lovely old chapel turned into a stable! In this old town were hundreds
of remarkable ancient houses, each of which merits description in this
book. But perhaps in this brief and very fragmentary description the
reader may find reason for the author's enthusiasm, and agree with him
that Ypres was perhaps the most unique and interesting of all the
destroyed towns in Flanders.



Commines



Commines


It was not hard to realize that here we were in the country of
Bras-de-Fer, of Memling, of Cuyp, and Thierry d'Alsace, for, on
descending from the halting, bumping train at the small brick station,
we were face to face with a bizarre, bulbous-topped tower rising above
the houses surrounding a small square, and now quite crowded with large,
hollow-backed, thick-legged Flemish horses, which might have been those
of the followers of Thierry gathered in preparation for an onslaught
upon one of the neighboring towns.

It seemed as though any turning might bring us face to face with a grim
cohort of mounted armed men in steel corselet and morion, bearing the
banner of Spanish Philip, so sinister were the narrow, ill-paved
streets, darkened by the projecting second stories of the somber,
gray-stone houses. Rarely was there an open door or window. As we
passed, our footsteps on the uneven stones awakened the echoes. A fine
drizzle of rain which began to fall upon us from the leaden sky did not
tend to enliven us, and we hastened toward the small Grand' Place, where
I noted on a sign over a doorway the words, "In de Leeuw Van Vlanderen"
(To the Flemish Lion), which promised at least shelter from the
rainfall. Here we remained until the sun shone forth.

Commines (Flemish, Komen) was formerly a fortified town of some
importance in the period of the Great Wars of Flanders. It was the
birthplace of Philip de Commines (1445-1509). It was, so to say, one of
the iron hinges upon which the great military defense system of the
burghers swung and creaked in those dark days. To-day, in these rich
fields about the small town, one can find no traces of the old-time
bastions which so well guarded the town from Van Artevelde's assaults.
Inside the town were scarcely any trees, an unusual feature for
Flanders, and on the narrow waterways floated but few craft.

The only remarkable thing by virtue of its Renaissance style of
architecture was the belfry and clock tower, although some of the old
Flemish dwelling houses in the market square, projecting over an ogival
Colonnade extending round one end of the square, and covering a sort of
footway, were of interest, uplifting their step-like gables as a silent
but eloquent protest against a posterity devoid of style, all of them to
the right and left falling into line like two wings of stone in order to
allow the carved front of the belfry to make a better show, and its
pinnacled tower to rise the prouder against the sky.

One was struck with the ascendency of the religious element over all
forms of art, and this was a characteristic of the Flemings. One was
everywhere confronted with a curious union of religion and war,
representations peopled exclusively by seraphic beings surrounded or
accompanied by armed warriors. Everything is adoration, resignation,
incense fumes, psalmody, and crusaders. The greatest buildings we saw
were ecclesiastical, the richest dresses were church vestments, even
"the princes and burghers accompanied by armed knights remind one of
ecclesiastics celebrating the Mass. All the women are holy virgins,
seemingly. The chasm between the ideal and the reality itself, however
idealized, but by meditation manifested pictorially." ("The Land of
Rubens," C.B. Huet).

We sat for an hour in the small, sooty, tobacco-smelling _estaminet_
(from the Spanish _estamento_--an inn), and then the skies clearing
somewhat we fared forth to explore the belfry, which in spite of its
sadly neglected state was still applied to civic use. Some dark, heavy,
oaken beams in the ceiling of the principal room showed delicately
carved, fancy heads, some of them evidently portraits. At the rear of
the tower on the ground floor, I came upon a vaulted apartment supported
on columns, and being used as a storehouse. Its construction was so
handsome, it was so beautifully lighted from without, as to make one
grieve for its desecration; it may have served in the olden time as a
refectory, and if so was doubtless the scene of great festivity in the
time of Philip de Commines, who was noted for the magnificence of his
entertainments.

The Flemish burghers of the Middle Ages first built themselves a church;
when that was finished, a great hall. That of Ypres took more than two
hundred years to complete. How long this great tower of Commines took, I
can only conjecture. Its semi-oriental pear-shaped (or onion-shaped, as
you will) tower was certainly of great antiquity; even the unkempt
little priest whom I questioned in the Grand' Place could give me little
or no information concerning it. Indeed, he seemed to be on the point of
resenting my questions, as though he thought that I was in some way
poking fun at him. I presume that it was the scene of great splendor in
their early days. For here a count of Flanders or a duke of Brabant
exercised sovereign rights, and at such a ceremony as the laying of a
corner-stone assumed the place of honor, although the real authority was
with the burghers, and founded upon commerce. While granting this
privilege, the Flemings ever hated autocracy. They loved pomp, but any
attempt to exercise power over them infuriated them.

[Illustration: The Belfry: Commines]

"The architecture of the Fleming was the expression of aspiration,"
says C.B. Huet ("The Land of Rubens").

"The Flemish hall has often the form of a church; art history, aiming at
classification, ranges it among the Gothic by reason of its pointed
windows. The Hall usually is a defenceless feudal castle without moats,
without porticullis, without loopholes. It occupies the center of a
market-place. It is a temple of peace, its windows are as numerous as
those in the choirs of that consecrated to the worship of God.

"From the center of the building uprises an enormous mass, three, four,
five stories high, as high as the cathedral, perhaps higher. It is the
belfry, the transparent habitation of the alarm bell (as well as the
chimes). The belfry cannot defend itself, a military character is
foreign to it. But as warden of civic liberty it can, at the approach of
domination from without, or autocracy uplifting its head within, awaken
the threatened ones, and call them to arms in its own defence. The
belfry is thus a symbol of a society expecting happiness from neither a
dynasty nor from a military despotism, but solely from common
institutions, from commerce and industry, from a citizen's life, budding
in the shadow of the peaceful church, and borrowing its peaceful
architecture from it. To the town halls of Flanders belonged the place
of honor among the monuments of Belgian architecture. No other country
of Europe offered so rich a variety in that respect.

"Courtrai replaces Arras; Oudenaarde and Ypres follow suit. Then come
Tournai, Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels, Louvain. Primary Gothic,
secondary Gothic, tertiary Gothic, satisfying every wish. Flanders and
Brabant called the communal style into life. If ever Europe becomes a
commune, the communards have but to go to Ypres to find motifs from
their architects."

Since this was written, in 1914, many, if not most, of these great
buildings thus enumerated above, are now in ruins, utterly destroyed for
all time!



Bergues



Bergues


A tiny sleepy town among the fringe of great willow trees which marked
the site of the ancient walls. Belted by its crumbling ramparts, and
like a quaint gem set in the green enamel of the smiling landscape, it
offered a resting place far from the cares and noise of the world.

Quite ignored by the guide books, it had, I found, one of the most
remarkable belfries to be found in the Netherlands, and a chime of sweet
bells, whose melodious sounds haunted our memories for days after our
last visit in 1910.

There were winding, silent streets bordered by mysteriously closed and
shuttered houses, but mainly these were small and of the peasant order.
On the Grand' Place, for of course there was one, the tower sprang from
a collection of rather shabby buildings, of little or no character, but
this did not seem to detract from the magnificence of the great tower. I
use the word "great" too often, I fear, but can find no other word in
the language to qualify these "Campanili" of Flanders.

This one was embellished with what are known as "ogival arcatures,"
arranged in zones or ranks, and there were four immense turrets, one at
each corner, these being in turn covered with arcatures of the same
character. These flanked the large open-work, gilded, clock face.
Surmounting this upon a platform was a construction in the purely
Flemish style, containing the chime of bells, and the machinery of the
carillon, and topping all was a sort of inverted bulb or gourd-shaped
turret, covered with blue slate, with a gilded weathervane about which
the rooks flew in clouds.

The counterpart of this tower was not to be found anywhere in the
Netherlands, and one is surprised that it was so little known.

[Illustration: The Towers of St. Winoc: Bergues]

Upon the occasion of our visit the town was given up to the heavy and
stolid festivities of the "Kermesse," which is now of interest here only
to the laboring class and the small farmers of the region. The center of
attraction, as we found in several other towns, seemed to be an
incredibly fat woman emblazoned on a canvas as the "Belle Heloise" who
was seated upon a sort of throne draped in red flannel, and exhibited a
pair of extremities resembling in size the masts of a ship, to the great
wonder of the peasants. There were also some shabby merry-go-rounds with
wheezy organs driven by machinery, and booths in which hard-featured
show women were frying waffles in evil smelling grease. After buying
some of these for the children who stood about with watering mouths,
we left the "Kermesse" and wandered away down a silent street towards a
smaller tower rising from a belt of dark trees.

This we found to be the remains of the ancient abbey of St. Winoc. A
very civil mannered young priest who overtook us on the road informed us
of this, and volunteered further the information that we were in what
was undoubtedly the ancient _jardin-clos_ of the Abbey. Of this retreat
only the two towers standing apart in the long grass remained, one very
heavy and square, supported by great buttresses of discolored brick, the
other octangular, in stages, and retaining its high graceful steeple.

We were unable to gain entrance to either of these towers, the doorways
being choked with weeds and the débris of fallen masonry. [The invaders
destroyed both of these fine historical remains in November, 1914,
alleging that they were being used for military observation by the
Belgian army.] These small towns of Flanders had a simple dignity of
their own which was of great attraction to the tourist, who could,
without disillusionment, imagine himself back in the dim past. In the
wayside inns or _estaminets_ one could extract amusement and profit
listening to the peasantry or admiring the sunlight dancing upon the
array of bottles and glass on the leaden counters, or watch the
peasants kneel and cross themselves before the invariable quaint niched
figure of the Virgin and Child under the hanging lighted lantern at a
street corner, the evidence of the piety of the village, or the throngs
of lace-capped, rosy-cheeked milkmaids with small green carts drawn by
large, black, "slobbering" dogs of fierce mien, from the distant farms,
on their way to market.

Thus the everyday life of the region was rendered poetic and artistic,
and all with the most charming unconsciousness.



Nieuport



Nieuport


In the midst of a level field to the east of the town of Nieuport in
1914 was a high square weather-beaten tower, somewhat ruinous, built of
stone and brick in strata, showing the different eras of construction in
the various colors of the brick work ranging from light reds to dark
browns and rich blacks. This tower, half built and square topped,
belonged to a structure begun in the twelfth century, half monastery,
half church, erected by the Templars as a stronghold. Repeatedly
attacked and set on fire, it escaped complete destruction, although
nearly laid in ruins by the English and burghers of Ghent in 1383, the
year of the famous siege of Ypres. During the Wars of 1600, it was an
important part of the fortifications, and from the platform of its tower
the Spanish garrison commanded a clear view of the surrounding country
and the distance beyond the broad moat, which then surrounded the strong
walls of Nieuport.

In plain view from this tower top were the houses of Furnes, grouped
about the church of Saint Nicolas to the southwest, while to the north
the wide belt of dunes, or sand hills, defended the plains from the
North Sea. Nearer were the populous villages of Westende and
Lombaerd-Zyde, connected with Nieuport by numerous small lakes and
canals derived from the channel of the Yser river, which flowed past the
town on its way to the sea.

[Illustration: The Tower of the Templars: Nieuport]

The history of Nieuport, from the terrible days of the Spanish invasion
down to these days of even worse fate, has been pitiable. Its former sea
trade after the Spanish invasion was never recovered, and its
population, which was beginning to be thrifty and prosperous up to 1914,
has now entirely disappeared. Nieuport is now in ashes and ruins. When I
passed the day there in the summer of 1910, it was a sleepy, quiet spot,
a small fishing village, with old men and women sitting in doorways and
on the waysides, mending nets, and knitting heavy woolen socks or
sweaters of dark blue. In the small harbor were the black hulls of
fishing boats tied up to the quaysides, and a small steamer from Ghoole
was taking on a cargo of potatoes and beets. Some barges laden with wood
were being pulled through the locks by men harnessed to a long tow rope,
and a savage dog on one of these barges menaced me with dripping fangs
and bloodshot eyes when I stopped to talk to the steersman, who sat on
the tiller smoking a short, evil-smelling pipe, while his "vrouwe" was
hanging out a heavy wash of vari-colored garments on a line from the
staff on the bow to a sweep fastened upright to the cabin wall.

The ancient fortification had long since disappeared--those "impregnable
walls of stone" which once defended the town from the assaults of Philip
the Second. I found with some difficulty a few grass-grown mounds where
they had been, and only the gray, grim tower of the Templars, standing
solitary in a turnip field, remained to show what had been a mighty
stronghold. In the town, however, were souvenirs enough to occupy an
antiquary for years to his content and profit. There was the Cloth Hall,
with its five pointed low arched doorways from which passed in and out
the Knights of the Temple gathered for the first pilgrimage to the Holy
Land. On this market square too was the great Gothic Church, one of the
largest and most important in all Flanders, and on this afternoon in the
summer of 1910, I attended a service here, while in the tower a bell
ringer played the chime of famous bells which now lie in broken
fragments amid the ashes of the fallen tower.

Here was fought the bloody "Battle of the Dunes," between the Dutch and
the Spaniards in those dim days of long ago, when the stubborn
determination of the Netherlanders overcame the might and fiery valor of
the Spanish invaders.

From time to time the peasants laboring in the fields uncovered bones,
broken steel breast-plates, and weapons, which they brought to the
museum on the Grand' Place, and which the sleepy _custode_ showed me
with reluctance, until I offered him a franc. It is curious that famous
Nieuport, for which so much blood was shed in those early days, should
again have been a famous battle ground between the handful of valiant
soldiers of the heroic King Albert and a mighty Teutonic foe.

The dim gray town with its silent streets, the one time home of romance
and chivalry, the scene of deeds of knightly valor, is now done for
forever. It is not likely that it can ever again be of importance, for
its harbor is well-nigh closed by drifting sand. But I shall always keep
the vision I had of it that summer day, in its market place, its gabled
houses against the luminous sky, its winding streets, and narrow byways
across which the roofs almost touch each other. The ancient palaces are
now in ruins, and the peaceful population scattered abroad, charges upon
the charity of the world. Certainly a woeful picture in contrast to the
content of other days.

The vast green plains behind the dunes, or sand hills, extend unbrokenly
from here to the French frontier, spire after spire dominating small
towns, and windmills, are the objects seen. To some the flatness is most
monotonous, but to those who find pleasure in the paintings of Cuyp, the
country is very picturesque. The almost endless succession of green,
well-cultivated fields and farmsteads is most entertaining, and the many
canals winding their silvery ways through the country, between rows of
pollards; the well kept though small country houses embowered in woody
enclosures; the fruitful orchards in splendid cultivation; the gardens
filled with fair flowers and the "most compact little towns"--these give
the region a romance and attraction all its own.

[Illustration: The Town Hall--Hall of the Knights Templars: Nieuport]

Here and there is a hoary church erected in forgotten times on ground
dedicated to Thor or Wodin. This part of the country bordering the fifty
mile stretch of coast line on the North Sea was given over latterly to
the populous bathing establishments and their new communities, but the
other localities, such as Tournai, Courtrai, Oudenaarde or Alost, were
seldom visited by strangers, whose advent created almost as much
excitement as it would in Timbuctoo. It was not inaccessible, but the
roads were not good for automobiles; they were mainly paved with rough
"Belgian" blocks of stone, high in the center, with a dirt roadway on
either side, used by the peasants and quite rutty.

A walking tour for any but the hardiest pedestrian was out of the
question, so I was told that the best way for a "bachelor" traveler was
to secure transportation on the canal boats. This was the warning that
our kind hearted landlord in Antwerp gave us, after vainly endeavoring
to discourage us from leaving him for such a tour.

The canals, however, are not numerous enough in this region, I found,
and besides there are various other disadvantages which I leave to the
reader's imagination.

In addition to the main lines of the State Railway, there were what are
called "Chemins-de-fer-vicinaux," small narrow gauge railways which
traversed Belgium in all directions. On these the fares were very
reasonable, and they formed an ideal way in which to study the country
and the people. There were first, second and third class carriages on
these, hung high on tall wheels, which looked very unsafe, but were not
really so. The classes varied only in the trimming of the windows, and
quality of the cushions on the benches. Rarely if ever, were those
marked "I Klasse" used. Those of the second class were used sometimes;
but the third class cars were generally very crowded with peasantry, who
while invariably good humored and civil were certainly evil smelling,
and intolerant of open windows and fresh air. The men and boys generally
smoked a particularly vile-smelling black tobacco, of which they seemed
very fond, and although some of the cars were marked "Niet rooken" (no
smoking) no one seemed to object to the fumes.

[Illustration: Tower of the Grand' Place: Nieuport]

Here one seldom saw the purely Spanish type of face so usual in Antwerp
and Brabant. The race seemed purer, and the peasants used the pure
Flemish tongue. Few of the elders I found spoke French fluently,
although the children used it freely to each other, of course
understanding and speaking Flemish also.

There were various newspapers published in the Flemish language
exclusively. These, however, were very primitive, given over entirely to
purely local brevities, and the prices of potatoes, beets and other
commodities, and containing also a "feuilleton" of interest to the
farmers and laborers.

There were several "organs" of the Flemish Patriotic party devoted to
the conservation and preservation of the Flemish language and the
ancient traditions, which were powerful among the people, although their
circulation could not have been very profitable. The peasantry in truth
were very ignorant, and knew of very little beyond their own parishes.
The educational standard of the people of West Flanders was certainly
low, and it was a matter of comment among the opponents of the
established church, that education being in the hands of the clergy,
they invariably defeated plans for making it compulsory. But
nevertheless, the peasantry were to all appearances both contented and
fairly happy.

As their wants were few and primitive, their living was cheap. Their
fare was coffee, of which they consumed a great deal, black bread, salt
pork and potatoes. The use of oleomargarine was universal in place of
butter. They grew tobacco in their small gardens for their own use, and
also, it is whispered, smuggled it [and gin] over the border into
France. They worked hard and long from five in the morning until seven
or eight in the evening.

The Flemish farmhouse was generally well built, if somewhat untidy
looking, with the pigstys and out buildings in rather too close
proximity for comfort. There was usually a large living room with heavy
sooty beams overhead, and thick walls pierced by quaint deeply sunken
windows furnished often with seats. These picturesque rooms often
contained "good finds" of the old Spanish furniture, and brass; but as a
rule the dealers had long since bought up all the old things, replacing
them by "brummagem,"--modern articles shining with cheap varnish.

The peasants themselves in their everyday clothes certainly did not
impress the observer greatly. They were not picturesque, they wore the
sabôt or "Klompen," yellow varnished, and clumsy in shape. Their
stockings were coarse gray worsted. Their short trousers were usually
tied with a string above the calf, and they wore a sort of smock,
sometimes of linen unbleached, or of a shining sort of dark purple thin
stuff.

The usual headgear was for the men a cap with a glazed peak and for the
women and girls a wide flapped embroidered linen cap, but this headgear
was worn only in the country towns and villages. Elsewhere the costume
was fast disappearing. On Sundays when dressed in their holiday clothes
these peasants going to or returning from mass, looked respectable and
fairly prosperous, and it was certainly clear that although poor in
worldly goods, these animated and laughing throngs were far from being
unhappy or dissatisfied with life as they found it in West Flanders.



Alost



Alost


The ancient Hôtel de Ville on the Grand' Place was unique, not for its
great beauty, for it had none, but for its quaintness, in the singular
combination of several styles of architecture. Without going into any
details its attraction was in what might be called its venerable
coquettishness,--bizarre, one might have styled it, but that the word
conveys some hint of lack of dignity. One is at a loss just how to
characterize its attractiveness. Against the sky its towers and minarets
held one's fancy by their very lightness and airiness, the lanterns and
_fleches_ presupposing a like grace and proportion in the edifice below.
The great square belfry at one side seemed to shoulder aside the
structure with its beautiful Renaissance façade and portal and quite
dominate it.

My note book says that it dated from the fifteenth century, and its
appearance certainly bore evidence of this statement. It had been
erected in sections at various periods, and these periods were marked in
the various courses of brick, showing every variety of tone of dull
reds, buffs, and mellow purplish browns. The effect was quite
delightful. The tower contained a fine carillon of bells arranged on a
rather bizarre platform, giving a most quaint effect to the turret which
surmounted it. The face of the tower bore four niches, two at each side
of the center and upper windows, and these contained time worn statues
of the noble counts of Alost. On the wall below was a tablet bearing the
inscription "Ni Espoir, Ni Craint," and this I was told referred either
to the many sieges which the town suffered, or a pestilence which
depopulated the whole region. A huge gilt clock face shone below the
upper gallery, at each corner of which sprang a stone gargoyle.

The old square upon which this tower was placed was quite in keeping
with it. There were rows of gabled stone houses of great antiquity,
still inhabited, stretching away in an array of façades, gables, and
most fantastic roofs, all of mellow toned tile, brick and stone.

[Illustration: The Town Hall: Alost]

Thierry Moertens, who was a renowned master printer of the Netherlands,
was born here, and is said to have established in Alost the "very first
printing house in Flanders." From this press issued a translation of the
Holy Bible, which was preserved in the Museum of Brussels, together with
other fine specimens of his skill. A very good statue in bronze to this
master printer was in the center of the market place, and on the
occasion of my last visit, there was a sort of carnival in the town,
with a great gathering of farmers and merchants and their families from
the surrounding country all gathered about the square, which was filled
with wagons, horses, booths, and merry-go-rounds, above which the statue
of the old master printer appeared in great dignity. There was a great
consumption of beer and waffles at the small _estaminets_, and the
chimes in the belfry played popular songs at intervals to the delight of
these simple happy people, all unaware of the great catastrophe of the
war into which they were about to be plunged.

A disastrous conflagration destroyed most of Alost in 1360, and
thereafter history deals with the fury of the religious wars conducted
by the Spanish against Alost, a most strongly fortified town. The story
of the uniting of these Spanish troops under the leadership of Juan de
Navarese is well known. Burning and sacking and murder were the sad lot
of Alost and its unfortunate citizens, who had hardly recovered, ere the
Duke d'Alençon arrived before the walls with his troops, bent upon
mischief. The few people remaining after his onslaught died like flies
during the plague which broke out the following year, and the town bid
fair to vanish forever.

Rubens painted a large and important picture based upon the destruction
of Alost, and this work was hanging in the old church of St. Martin just
before the outbreak of the war in 1914. Its fate is problematical, for
St. Martin's Church was razed to the ground in the bombardment in
1914-15, the charge being the usual one that the tower was used for
military purposes by the French.

This old church with its curious bulbous tower cap was at the end of a
small street, and my last view of it was on the occasion of a church
fête in which some dignitaries were present, for I saw them all clad in
scarlet and purple walking beneath silken canopies attended by priests
bearing lighted lanterns (although the sun was shining brightly at the
time) and acolytes swinging fragrant smoking censers. We were directed
to a rather shabby looking hostelry, over the door of which was an
emblazoned coat of arms of Flanders, where we were assured we could get
"déjeuner" before leaving the town.

As usual, a light drizzle came on, and the streets became deserted. The
hotel was a wretched one and the meal furnished us was in character with
it. We were waited on by a sour, taciturn old man who bore a dirty towel
on his arm, as a sort of badge of office, I presume. He nodded or shook
his head as the case might demand, but not a word could I extract from
him. At the close of our meal, which we dallied over, waiting for the
rain to cease, I called for the bill, which was produced after a long
wait, and proved to be, as I anticipated, excessive. We had coffee and
hot milk and some cold chicken and salad. This repast, for two, came to
twelve francs. And as the "chicken" had reached its old age long before,
and the period of its roasting must have taken place at an uncertain
date, this, together with the fact that the lettuce was wilted, placed
these items upon the proscribed list for us. The coffee and hot milk,
however, was good and, thus revived and rested, I paid the bill without
protest, and having retained the carriage which we hired at the station,
I bundled our belongings into it. I had resolved not to tip the surly
old fellow, but a gleam in his eye made me hesitate. Then I weakened and
gave him a franc.

To my amazement he said in excellent English: "I thank you, sir; you are
a kind, good and patient man, and madam is a most charming and gracious
lady. I am sorry your breakfast was so bad, but I can do nothing here;
these people are impossible; but it is no fault of mine." And shaking
his head he vanished into the doorway of the hotel. Driving away, I
glanced up at the windows, where behind the curtains I thought I saw
several faces watching us furtively. It might be that we had missed an
adventure in coming away. Had I been alone I should have chanced it, for
the old waiter interested me with his sudden confidence and his command
of English. But whatever his story might have been, it must ever be to
me a closed book. Quaint Alost among the trees is now a heap of
blackened ruins.



Courtrai



Courtrai


The two large and impressive stone towers flanking a bridge of three
arches over the small sluggish river Lys were those of the celebrated
Broël, dating from the fourteenth century. The towers were called
respectively the "Speytorre" and the "Inghelbrugtorre." The first named
on the south side of the river formed part of the ancient "enceinte" of
the first château of Philip of Alsace, and was erected in the twelfth
century, and famed with the château of Lille, as the most formidable
strongholds of Flanders. The "Inghelbrugtorre" was erected in 1411-13,
and strongly resembles its sister tower opposite. It was furnished with
loopholes for both archers and for "arquebusiers," as well as openings
for the discharge of cannon and the casting of molten pitch and lead
upon the heads of besiegers after the fashion of warfare as conducted
during the wars of the Middle Ages. The Breton soldiers under Charles
the Eleventh attacked and almost razed this great stronghold in 1382.

A sleepy old _custode_ whom we aroused took us down into horrible
dungeons, where, with a dripping tallow candle, he showed us some iron
rings attached to the dripping walls below the surface of the river
where prisoners of state were chained in former times, and told us that
the walls here were three or four yards thick. The town was one of
beauty and great charm, and here we stopped for a week in a most
delightfully kept small hotel on the square, which was bordered with
fine large trees, both linden and chestnut.

The town was famed in history for the Great Battle of the Spurs which
took place outside the walls, in the year 1302, on the plains of
Groveninghe. History mentions the fact that "seven hundred golden spurs
were picked up afterwards on the battlefield and hung in the cathedral."
These we were unable to locate.

The water of the Lys, flowing through the town and around the remains of
the ancient walls, was put to practical use by the inhabitants in the
preparation of flax, for which the town was renowned.

[Illustration: The Belfry: Courtrai]

It ranked with the old city of Bruges in importance up to 1914, when it
had some thirty-five thousand inhabitants. In the middle of the
beflowered Grand' Place stood a quaint brick belfry containing a good
chime of bells, and on market days when surrounded with the farmers'
green wagons and the lines of booths about which the people gathered
chaffering, its appearance was picturesque enough to satisfy anyone,
even the most blasé of travelers. The belfry had four large gilt clock
faces, and its bells could be plainly seen through the windows hanging
from the huge beams. On the tower were gilded escutcheons, and a couple
of armor-clad statues in niches. There was a fine church dedicated to
Notre Dame, which was commenced by Baldwin in 1199, and a very beautiful
"Counts Chapel" with rows of statues of counts and countesses of
Flanders whose very names were forgotten.

Here was one of the few remaining "Beguinages" of Flanders, which we
might have overlooked but for the kindness of a passerby who, seeing
that we were strangers, pointed out the doorway to us.

On either hand were small houses through the windows of which one could
see old women sitting bowed over cushions rapidly moving the bobbins
over the lace patterns. A heavy black door gave access to the Beguinage,
a tiny retreat, _Noyé de Silence_, inaugurated, tradition says, in 1238,
by Jean de Constantinople, who gave it as a refuge for the Sisters of
St. Bogga. And here about a small grass grown square in which was a
statue of the saint, dwelt a number of self-sacrificing women, bound by
no vow, who had consecrated their lives to the care of the sick and
needy.

We spent an hour in this calm and fragrant retreat, where there was no
noise save the sweet tolling of the convent bell, and the cooing of
pigeons on the ridge pole of the chapel.

In the square before the small station was a statue, which after
questioning a number of people without result, I at length found to be
that of Jean Palfyn who, my informant assured me, was the inventor of
the forceps, and expressed surprise that I should be so interested in
statuary as to care "who it was." He asked me if I was not English and
when I answered that I was an American, looked somewhat dazed, much as
if I had said "New Zealander" or "Kamschatkan," and was about to ask me
some further question, but upon consideration thought better of it, and
turned away shrugging his shoulders.

To show how well the river Lys is loved by the people, I quote here a
sort of prose poem by a local poet, one Adolph Verriest. It is called
"Het Leielied."

"La Lys flows over the level fields of our beautiful country, its fecund
waters reflecting the blue of our wondrous Flemish landscape. Active and
diligent servant, it seems to work ever to our advantage, multiplying in
its charming sinuosities its power for contributing to our prosperity,
accomplishing our tasks, and granting our needs. It gives to our lives
ammunition and power. The noise of busy mills and the movement of bodies
of workmen in its banks is sweet music in our ears, in tune to the
rippling of its waters.

"A silver ribbon starred with the blue corn-flower, the supple textile
baptised in its soft waters is transformed by the hand of man into
cloudy lace, into snowy linen, into fabrics of filmy lightness for my
lady's wear, La Lys, name significant and fraught with poetry for
us--giving life to the germ of the flax which it conserves through all
its life better than any art of the chemist in the secret chambers of
his laboratory.

"Thanks to this gracious river, our lovely town excels in napery and is
known throughout all the world. In harvest time the banks of the Lys are
thronged with movement, the harvesters in quaint costumes, their bodies
moving rhythmically to the words of the songs they sing, swinging the
heavy bundles of flax from the banks to the level platforms, where it is
allowed to sleep in the water, and later the heavy wagons are loaded to
the cadence of other songs appropriate to the work. Large picturesque
colored windmills wave their brown velvety hued sails against the piled
up masses of cloud, and over all is intense color, life and movement.

"The river plays then a most important part in the life on the Flemish
plains about Courtrai, giving their daily bread to the peasants, and
lending poetry to their existence. So, O Lys, our beautiful benefactor,
we love you."

At this writing (March, 1916) Courtrai is still occupied by the troops
of the German Kaiser, and with the exception of the destruction of the
Broël towers, the church of St. Martin, and the Old Belfry in the market
place, the town is said to be "intact."

Whenever possible we traveled through the Flemish littoral on the small
steam trams, "chemins-de-fer-vicinaux," as they are called in French, in
the Flemish tongue "Stoomtram," passing through fertile green meadows
dotted with fat, sleek, black and white cows, and embossed with shining
silvery waterways connecting the towns and villages. We noticed Englishy
cottages of white stucco and red tiled roofs, amid well kept fields and
market gardens in which both men and women seemed to toil from dawn to
dewy evening. Flanders before the war was simply covered with these
light railways. The little trains of black carriages drawn by puffing
covered motors, discharging heavy black clouds of evil-smelling smoke
and oily soot, rushed over the country from morning until night, and the
clanging of the motorman's bell seemed never ending.

[Illustration: The Broël Towers: Courtrai]

To see the country thus was a privilege, and was most interesting, for
one had to wait in the squares of the small towns, or at other central
places until the corresponding motor arrived before the journey could
proceed. Here there was a sort of exchange established where the
farmers compared notes as to the rise or fall in commodities, or
perchance the duty upon beets and potatoes.

Loud and vehement was the talk upon these matters; really, did one not
know the language, one might have fancied that a riot was imminent.

One morning we halted at a small village called Gheluwe, where the train
stopped beside a white-washed wall, and everyone got out, as the custom
is. There seemed no reason for stopping here, for we were at some
distance from the village, the spire of which could be seen above a belt
of heavy trees ahead. The morning was somewhat chilly, and the only
other occupant of the compartment was a young cleric with a soiled white
necktie. He puffed away comfortably at a very thin, long, and
evil-smelling "stogie" which he seemed to enjoy immensely, and which in
the Flemish manner he seemed to eat as he smoked, eyeing us the while
amicably though absent mindedly, as if we were far removed from his
vicinity. As we neared the stopping place, two very jolly young farmer
boys raced with the train in their quaint barrow-like wagon painted a
bright green, and drawn by a pair of large dogs who foamed and panted
past us "ventre à terre," with red jaws and flopping tongues.

Had we not known of this breed of dogs we might have fancied, as many
strangers do, that Flemish dogs are badly treated, but this is not the
case. These dogs are very valuable, worth sometimes as much as five
hundred francs (about $100).

Inspections of these dogs are held regularly by the authorities. The
straps and the arrangement of the girths are tested lest they should
chafe the animal, and, I am told, the law now requires that a piece of
carpet be carried for the animal to lie upon when resting, and a
drinking bowl also has been added to the equipment of each cart. The
dogs do not suffer. They are bred for the cart, and are called "_chiens
de traite_," so that the charge of cruelty upon the part of ignorant
tourists may be dismissed as untrue. There is a society for the
prevention of cruelty to animals, and it is not unusual to see its sign
displayed in the market places, with the caution "_Traitez les animaux
avec douceur_." Rarely if ever is a case brought into court by the
watchful police.

The young cleric gazed at us inquiringly, as if he expected to hear us
exclaim about the cruelty to animals, but catching his eye I smiled, and
said something about "_ces bons chiens_," at which he seemed relieved,
and nodded back grinning, but he did not remove the stogie from his
mouth.

Priests in Flanders seemed to enjoy much liberty of action, and do
things not possible elsewhere. For instance, at Blankenberghe, a
fashionable watering place on the coast, I saw a prosperous, well-fed
one (if I may so characterize him without meaning any offense) dining at
the Great Gasthof on the digue, who after finishing his _filet aux
champignons_, with a bottle of _Baune superior_, ordered his "_demi
tasse_" with _fine champagne_, and an Havana cigar which cost him not
less than three francs (sixty cents) which he smoked like a connoisseur
while he listened to the fine military band playing in the Kiosk. And
why not, if you please?

We remained for nearly twenty minutes beside this white wall at the
roadside, the animated discussions of the farmers continuing, for the
group was constantly augmented by fresh arrivals who meant to travel
with us or back to the town from which we had come. It was here that we
saw the first stork in Flanders, where indeed they are uncommon. This
one had a nest in a large tree nearby. One of the boys shied a small
stone at him as he flapped overhead, but, I think, without any idea of
hitting him. The peasants assembled here eyed us narrowly. They probed
me and my belongings with eyes of corkscrew penetration, but since this
country of theirs was a show place to me, I argued that I had no right
to object to their making in return a show of me. But such scrutiny is
not comfortable, especially if one is seated in a narrow compartment,
and the open-mouthed _vis à vis_ gazes at one with steely bluish green
unwinking eyes--somewhat red rimmed. Especially if such scrutiny is
accompanied by free comments upon one's person, delivered in a voice so
pitched as to convey the information to all the other occupants, and
mayhap the engine driver ahead.

The other train at length arrived, there was an interchange of occupants
and then we proceeded amid heavy clouds of thick black smoke which, for
a time, the wind blew with us. Across the tilled fields are narrow paths
leading to dykes and roads. There are many green ditches filled with
water and in them we could see rather heavy splashes from time to time.
These we discovered were made by large green bull frogs--really monsters
they were, too. Of course we were below the sea level here, but one
cannot credit the old story about the boy who plugged the dyke with his
thumb, thereby saving the whole country.

The dykes are many feet high and as the foundation is composed of heavy
black stones, then layers of great red bricks and tiles, and finally
turf and large willow branches interlaced most cunningly like giant
basket work, such a story is impossible.

My _vis à vis_, all the while regarding me unwinkingly, overheard me
speak to A--, in English.

Then he slowly took the stogie from his mouth and ejaculated,
"_Ach--Engelsch!--Do it well met you?_"

I replied that it certainly did.

"_And met Madame?_"

I nodded.

"_Alst' u blieft mynheer--sir,_" he said. Then he changed his seat and
thereafter related to the others that he had conversed with the
strangers, who were English, and were traveling for pleasure, being
_enormously rich_. I think thereafter he enjoyed the reputation of being
an accomplished linguist. So, pleasantly did we amble along the narrow
little steam tramway through luxurious green fields and smiling fertile
landscape of the Flemish littoral in our well rewarded search for the
quaint and the unusual.

The Gothic Town Hall, a remarkable construction on the Grand' Place, and
erected 1526, has been restored with a great amount of good taste in
recent years, and the statues on its façade have been replaced with such
skill that one is not conscious of modern work.

The great Hall of the Magistrates on the ground floor, with its
magnificent furniture, and the admirable modern mural paintings by the
Flemish artists Guffens and Severts (1875) was worth a journey to see.
The most noteworthy of these paintings represented the "Departure of
Baldwin IX," Count of Flanders, at the beginning of the Fourth Crusade
in 1202, and the "Consultation of the Flemish, before the great Battle
of the Spurs" in 1302.

In this chamber is a remarkable Renaissance mantelpiece, which is
embellished with the arms of the Allied Towns of Bruges and Ghent,
between which are the standard bearers of the doughty Knights of
Courtrai, and two statues of the Archduke Albert and his Lady, all
surrounding a statue of the Holy Virgin.

On the upper floor is the Council Chamber, in which is another
mantelpiece hardly less ornate and interesting, and executed in what may
be called the "flamboyant" manner in rich polychrome. It is dated 1527
and was designed by (one of the) Keldermans (?).

It has rows or ranges of statuary said to represent both the Vices and
the Virtues. Below are reliefs indicating the terrible punishment
inflicted upon those who transgress. Statues of Charles V, the Infanta
Isabella, and others are on _corbels_.

Very large drawn maps of the ancient town and its dependencies cover the
walls, and these are dated 1641.[1]



Termonde (Dendermonde)



Termonde (Dendermonde)


A strange half deserted little town on the right bank of the river
Scheldt, clustered about a bridge, on both sides of a small sluggish
stream called the "Dendre," where long lines of women were washing
clothes the live-long day, and chattering like magpies the while. A
Grand' Place, with heavy trees at one side, and on the other many small
_estaminets_ and drinking shops. That was Termonde. My note book says
"Population 10,000, town fortified; forbidden to make sketches outside
the walls, which are fortifications. Two good pictures in old church of
Notre Dame, by Van Dyck, 'Crucifixion' and an 'Adoration of the
Shepherds' (1635). Fine Hôtel de Ville, with five gables and sculptured
decoration. Also belfry of the fourteenth century."

Termonde is famed throughout Flanders as the birthplace of the "Four
sons of Aymon," and the exploits of the great horse Bayard. The legend
of the Four Sons of Aymon is endeared to the people, and they never tire
of relating the story in song as well as prose. Indeed this legend is
perhaps the best preserved of all throughout Flanders. It dates from the
time of Charlemagne, the chief of the great leaders of Western Europe,
whose difficulty in governing and keeping in subjection and order his
warlike and turbulent underlords and vassals is a matter of history
known to almost every schoolboy.

Among these vassal lordlings, whose continued raids and grinding
exactions caused him most anxious moments, was a certain Duke (Herzog)
called Aymon, who had four sons, named Renault, Allard, Guichard, and
Ricard, all of most enormous stature and prodigious strength. Of these
Renault was the tallest, the strongest, the most agile, and the most
cunning. In height he measured what would correspond to sixteen feet,
"and he could span a man's waist with his hand, and lifting him in the
air, squeeze him to death." This was one of his favorite tricks with the
enemy in battle.

Aymon had a brother named Buves who dwelt in Aigremont, which is near
Huy, and one may still see there the castle of Aymon, who was also
called the Wild Boar of the Ardennes. This brother Buves in a fit of
anger against Charlemagne for some fancied slight, sent an insulting
message to the latter, refusing his command to accompany him on his
expedition against the Saracens, which so exasperated Charlemagne that
he sent one of his sons to remonstrate with Buves and if need be, to
threaten him with vengeance, in case he persisted in refusing. Buves was
ready, and without waiting to receive his message, he met the messenger
half way and promptly murdered him.

Then Charlemagne, in a fury, sent a large and powerful body of men to
punish Buves, who was killed in the battle which took place at
Aigremont. Thereupon the four sons of Aymon met and over their swords
swore vengeance against Charlemagne, and betook themselves to the
fastnesses of the Ardennes, in which they built for themselves the great
Castle of Montfort which is said to have been even stronger than that
called Aigremont.

On the banks of the river Ourthe may still be seen the great gray bulk
of its ruins. About this stronghold they constructed high walls, and
there they sent out challenges defying the great Emperor.

Now each of the four sons had his own fashion of fighting. Renault
fought best on horseback, and to him Maugis son of Buves brought a great
horse named Bayard ("Beiaard" in Flemish) of magic origin, possessed of
demoniac powers, among which was the ability to run like the wind and
never grow weary. Here in this stronghold the four sons of Aymon dwelt,
making occasional sallies against the vassals of Charlemagne, until at
length the Emperor gathered a mighty force of soldiers and horses and
engines and scaling ladders, and, surrounding the stronghold, at length
succeeded in capturing it.

Tradition says that among Charlemagne's retinue was Aymon himself, and
intimates that it was by the father's treachery that the four mighty
sons were almost captured, but at any rate the great castle of Montfort
was reduced to ashes and ruin, and only the fact of Renault's taking the
other brothers on the back of the wondrous horse Bayard saved them all
from the Emperor's fury. So they escaped into Gascony, where they
independently attacked the Saracens and drove them forth and extended
their swords to the King of Gascony, Yon, who treacherously delivered
them in chains over to Charlemagne. These chains they broke and threw in
the Emperor's face, fighting their way to freedom with their bare hands.

History thereafter is silent as to their end. Of Renault it is known
only that he became a friar at Cologne, where his skill and strength
were utilized by the authorities in building the walls, and that one day
while at work, some masons whom he had offended crept up behind him and
pushed him off a great height into the River Rhine, and thus he was
drowned. Years afterward the Church canonized him, and in Westphalia at
Dortmund may be seen a monument erected in his memory extolling his
prowess, his deeds, and his strength.

As to the great and magical horse Bayard, the chronicle says that,
captured finally by Charlemagne's soldiers and brought before him, the
Emperor deliberated what he should do with it, since it refused to be
ridden. Finally he ordered that the largest mill stone in the region
should be made fast to its neck by heavy chains, and that it should then
be cast into the River Meuse.

Bayard contemptuously shook off the heavy stone and with steam pouring
from his nostrils, gave three neighs of derision and triumph and,
climbing the opposite bank, vanished into the gloom of the forest where
none dared follow. Of the immortality of this great horse history is
emphatic and gravely states that, for all that is known to the contrary,
he may still be at large in the Ardennes, but that "no man has since
beheld him."

And now yearly on the Grand' Place at Termonde there is a great festival
and procession in his honor depicting the chief incidents of his life
and mighty deeds, while, at Dinaut, on the River Meuse, the scene of
some of his mightiest deeds, may still be seen the great Rock Bayard,
standing more than forty yards high and separated from the face of the
mountain by a roadway cut by Louis the Sixteenth, who cared little for
legends. From the summit of this great needle of rock sprang the horse
Bayard, flying before the forces of Charlemagne with the four brothers
on his back, and, so tradition says, "leaped across the river,
disappearing in the woods on the further bank."

[Illustration: The Museum: Termonde]

We were fortunate in being at Termonde on the occasion of this
picturesque festival. Songs of Bayard and his prowess were sung in the
streets by various musical societies, each of which carried huge banners
bearing their titles and honors, and some curious frameworks on poles
which were literally covered with medals and wreaths bestowed upon the
societies by the town at various times. These were borne proudly through
the streets, and each society had its crowd of partisans and loud
admirers. Had it not been so picturesque and strange, it would have
seemed childish and pathetic, but the people were so evidently in
earnest and seemed to enjoy it so hugely that the chance stranger could
not but enter into the spirit of it all with them. This we did and
wisely. There was much drinking of a thin sour beer called "faro," which
is very popular with the peasants, and the various societies sang
themselves hoarse, to the delight of all, including themselves. The
horse Bayard, as seen in the market place, was a great wicker affair
hung in wondrous chain armor, and the four sons of Aymon, also of
wickerwork, and likewise clad in armor, each bearing a huge sword, sat
upon his back and were trundled through the streets. There were also
booths in which the inevitable and odoriferous fritters were fried, and
some merry-go-rounds with thunderous, wheezy, groaning steam organs
splitting one's ears, and platforms upon which the peasants danced and
danced until one would have thought them fit to drop with fatigue.

It did not take long to examine the attractions most thoroughly, but
there were two very extraordinary exhibits of enormously fat women (who
are great favorites with the peasantry, and no celebration seems to be
complete without them). Their booths were placed opposite to each other,
nearly face to face, with only about forty feet between them. In this
space crowded the peasants listening open mouthed in wonder at the
vocabulary of the rival "barkers."

As usual, a shower came on during the afternoon, and the decorations
were soaked with the downpour. The wickerwork horse Bayard was left to
itself out in the square, and the wind whisked the water soaked
draperies over its head, disclosing piteously all of its poor framework.
The leaden skies showing no promise of clearing, we called the driver of
the ancient "fiacre," and after settling our score at the "Grande Hôtel
Café Royal de la Tête d'Or," we departed for the station of the "chemin
de fer," which bumped us well but safely along the road to Antwerp.

We came again later on to this little town on the river, thinking that
we might not have done it entire justice, because of the discomfort of
the rainy day. And while we did not, it is true, find anything of great
value to record, nor anything in the way of bells to gloat over, still
our rather dismal impression of the little town in the drizzling rain as
we last saw it, was quite removed and replaced by a picture more to our
liking.

We were constantly finding new and unusual charms in the quaint old
towns, each seeming for some reason quainter than the preceding one.
Here on this occasion it looked so tranquil, so somnolent, that we
tarried all unwilling to lose its flavor of the unusual. There were old
weather beaten walls of ancient brick, mossy in places, and here and
there little flights of steep steps leading down into the water; broad
pathways there were too, shaded by tall trees and behind them vistas of
delightful old houses, each doubtless with its tales of joy, gayety,
pain or terror of the long ago.

The local policeman stood at a deserted street corner examining us
curiously. He was the only sign of life visible except ourselves, and
soon he, satisfied that we were only crazy foreigners with nothing else
to do but wander about, took himself off yawning, his hands clasped
behind his back, and his short sword rattling audibly in the stillness.

The atmosphere of this silent street by the river, shaded almost to a
twilight by the thick foliage, with the old houses all about us, seemed
to invite reminiscence, or dreams of the stern and respectable old
burghers and burgesses in sombre clothing, wide brimmed hats, and
stiffly starched linen ruffs about their necks as rendered by Rembrandt,
Hals, Rubens and Jordaens. They must have been veritable domestic
despots, magnates of the household, but certainly there must have been
something fine about them too, for they are most impressive in their
portraits.

"They shook the foot of Spain from their necks," and when they were not
fighting men they fought the waters. Truly the history of their
struggles is a wondrous one! None of these was in sight, however, as we
strolled the streets, but we did disturb the chat or gossip of two
delightful, apple cheeked old ladies in white caps, who became dumb with
astonishment at the sight of two foreigners who walked about gazing up
at the roofs and windows of the houses, and at the mynheer in
knickerbockers who was always looking about him and writing in a little
book.

One cannot blame them for being so dumbfounded at such actions, such
_incomprehensible_ disturbing actions in a somnolent town of long ago.
In the vestibule of the dark dim old church, I copied the following
inscription from a wall. It sounds something like English gone quite
mad--and the last line, it seems to me, runs rather trippingly--and
contains something of an idea too, whatever it means:

 "Al wat er is. Mijn hoop is Christus en zyn bloed.
  Door deze leer ik en hoop door die het eenwig goed.
  Ons leven is maar eenen dag, vol ziekten en vol naar geklag.
  Vol rampen dampen (!) en vendriet. Een schim
  Eien droom en anders niet."

A small steamer had advertised to leave for Antwerp about 3 o'clock. It
lay puffing and wheezing at the side of the stream, and we went on board
and settled ourselves comfortably, tired out with our wanderings. Here a
bevy of children discovered us and ranged themselves along the dyke to
watch our movements, exploding with laughter whenever we addressed one
another. Finally an oily hand appeared at the hatchway of the engine
room, followed by the touseled yellow head of a heavily bearded man. He
looked at us searchingly, then at the line of tormenting children. Then
he seized a long pole and advanced threateningly upon the phalanx. They
fled incontinently out of reach, calling out various expletives in
Flemish--of which I distinguished only one, "Koek bakker"! This would
seem to be the crowning insult to cast at a respectable engineer, for he
shook his fist at them.

To our amazement he then touched his greasy cap to us, and in the
broadest possible Scotch dialect bade us welcome. There is a saying that
one has only to knock on the companion ladder of any engine room in any
port the world over, and call out "Sandy" to bring up in response one
or two canny Scots from the engine room below. This little steamer
evidently took the place of the carrier's cart used elsewhere; for
passengers and parcels, as well as crates of vegetables were her cargo.
At length we started puffing along the river, and stopping from time to
time at small landings leading to villages whose roofs appeared above
the banks and dykes.

Delightful bits of the more intimate side of the people's life revealed
themselves to us on these unusual trips. We passed a fine looking old
peasant woman in a beautiful lace cap, rowing a boat with short powerful
strokes in company with a young girl, both keeping perfect time. The
boat was laden with green topped vegetables and brightly burnished brass
milk cans, forming a picture that was most quaint to look upon. And
later we passed a large Rhine barge, from the cabin of which came the
most appetizing odor of broiled bacon. Our whistle brought out the whole
family, and likewise a little nervous black and white dog who went
nearly mad with the excitement attendant upon driving us away from the
property he had to protect.

Night was falling when we reached the quay side in Antwerp, and we
disembarked to the tinkling melody of the wondrous chimes from the tower
of the great Cathedral.



Louvain



Louvain


It was in the great Gothic Church of St. Peter that Mathias Van den
Gheyn delighted to execute those wonderful "_morceaux fugues_" now at
once the delight and the despair of the musical world, upon the fine
chime of bells in the tower. This venerable tower was entirely destroyed
in the terrible bombardment of the town in 1914. It is probable that no
town in Belgium was more frequented by learned men of all professions,
since its university enjoyed such a high reputation the world over, and
certainly its library, likewise entirely destroyed, with its precious
tomes and manuscripts, was considered second to none.

The old Church of St. Peter, opposite the matchless Hôtel de Ville, was
a cruciform structure of noble proportions and flanked with remarkable
chapels; it was begun, according to the archives in Brussels, in 1423,
to replace an earlier building of the tenth century, and was "finished"
in the sixteenth century. There was, it seems, originally a wooden spire
on the west side of the structure but "it was blown down in a storm in
1606."

When I saw it in 1910, the church was in process of restoration, and
the work was being very intelligently done by competent men. Before the
façade was a most curious row of bizarre small houses of stucco, nearly
every one of which was a sort of saloon or café, and the street before
them was quite obstructed by small round tables and chairs at which, in
the afternoon from four to five, the shopkeepers and bourgeois of the
town gathered for the afternoon "_aperitif_," whatever it might be, and
to discuss politics. For be it known that this period before the
outbreak of the war, was in Belgium a troublous one for the Flemings,
because of the continued friction between the clerical and the
anti-clerical parties. These bizarre houses, I was told by one of the
priests with whom I talked, were owned by the church, and were very
profitable holdings, but tourists and others had made such sport of
them, and even entered such grave protests to the Bishop, that the
authorities finally concluded to tear them down. But they were certainly
very picturesque, as my picture shows, their red tiled roofs and green
blinds, making most agreeable notes of color against old St. Peter's
gray wall.

[Illustration: The Cathedral: Louvain]

The church so wantonly destroyed in 1914 contained some most remarkable
works of art in the nine chapels. Among these were the "Martyrdom of St.
Erasmus," by Dierick Bouts, long thought to be a work of Memling.
Another painting, "The Last Supper," was also considered one of
Memling's works, until its authenticity was established by the finding
of the receipt by Bouts for payment, discovered in the archives of the
Library in Louvain in 1870. Formerly the church owned a great treasure
in Quentin Matsys' "Holy Family," but this was sold to the Brussels
Museum for something less than £10,000, and upon the outbreak of the war
was in that collection. It is said that most of these great paintings
owned in Belgium were placed in zinc and leaden cases and sent over to
England for safety. It is to be hoped that this is true.

The _custode_ showed, with most impressive manner, a quaint image of the
Savior which, he related, was connected with a miraculous legend to the
effect that the statue had captured and held a thief who had broken into
the church upon one occasion! The townspeople venerate this image, and
on each occasion when I visited the church, I noted the number of old
women on their knees before it, and the many lighted waxen candles which
they offered in its honor. A wave of indignation passed over the world
of art when the newspapers reported the destruction of the beautiful
Hôtel de Ville, just opposite old St. Peter's. This report was almost
immediately followed by a denial from Berlin that it had suffered any
harm whatever, and it would seem that this is true.

The Library, however, with its hundreds of thousands of priceless
records, and masterpieces of printing is, it is admitted, entirely
destroyed! This great building, black and crumbling with age, was
situated in a small street behind the Hôtel de Ville. The town itself
was bright and clean looking, and there was a handsome boulevard leading
from the new Gothic railway station situated in a beflowered parkway,
which was lined with prosperous looking shops. This whole district was
"put to the torch" and wantonly destroyed when the town was captured in
1914. Late photographs show the new station levelled to the ground, and
the parkway turned into a cemetery with mounds and crosses showing where
the soldiers who lost their lives in the bombardment, and subsequent
sacking, are buried.

Remembering the complete destruction of Ypres, one can only believe that
the preservation of the Hôtel de Ville was entirely miraculous and
unintentional.

P.J. Verhaegan, a Flemish painter of considerable reputation and
ability, had decorated one of the two "absidiole" chapels which
contained a very richly carved tomb over a certain lady of the
thirteenth century whose fame is known all over Flanders. The legend was
most dramatically told to me by one of the young priests of St. Peter's,
and this is the story of the beautiful Margaret, called "the
Courageous," (La Fière).

[Illustration: The Town Hall: Louvain]

By the Grace of God, there lived in Louvain, in the year 1235, one
Armand and his wife, both devout Catholics and the keepers of a
travelers' "ordinary" on the road to the coast, called Tirlemont. These
two at length decided to retire from their occupation as "Hôteliers,"
and devote and consecrate the remainder of their lives to God, and the
blessed saints.

Now they had a niece who was a most beautiful girl and whose name was
Margaret, and she had such disdain for the young gallants of Louvain
that they bestowed upon her the name of "La Fière." Although but
eighteen years of age she determined to follow the example of her uncle
and aunt, and later become a "Beguine," thus devoting her life to
charity and the care of the sick and unfortunate, for this is the work
of the order of "Beguines."

They realized a large sum of money from the sale of the hotel, and this
became known throughout the countryside. It was said that the money was
hidden in the house in which they lived, and at length eight young men
of evil lives, pondering upon this, resolved that they would rob this
noble couple. Upon a stormy night they demanded admittance, saying that
they were belated travelers.

The young girl Margaret was absent from the room for a moment, when
these ruffians seized the old couple and murdered them. On her return to
the upper room from the cellar, Margaret surprised them ransacking the
strong box beside the fireplace. So they overpowered her also, but at
once there ensued an argument as to what should be done with her, when
the chief rogue, admiring her great beauty, proposed to her that she
accept him as her lover and depart with him for France, where they could
live happily. This she scornfully refused, whereupon "one of the
ruffians strangled her for ten marcs of silver; and her soul, white and
pure as the angels, ascended to the throne of Jesus, in whom she so well
believed, and there became '_l'unique espoux dont elle ambitionait
l'Amour._'"

It is said that Henry the First sitting in a window of his château on
the river Dyle one night, saw floating on the dark water the corpse of
this young martyr, where the ruffians had thus thrown her, and "the pale
radiance from her brow illuminated the whole valley." Calling to his
consort, Marguerite of Flanders, he pointed out to her the wondrous
sight, and hastening forth they drew her dripping body from the dark
slimy water and bore it tenderly to the château. The news spread far and
wide, and for days came throngs to view the "sweet martyr's" body, for
which the priests had prepared a costly catafalque, and for her a grand
mass was celebrated in St. Peter's where she was laid at rest in a tomb,
the like of which for costliness was never seen in Flanders.

And this is the legend of Margaret, called "La Fière," whose blameless
life was known throughout the land.

I wish that I had made a drawing of this tomb while I was in the church,
but I neglected unfortunately to do so. It was of simple lines, but of
great richness of detail. Of course both it and the beautiful wax
paintings of M. Verhaegan are now entirely destroyed in the ruins of St.
Peter's.



Douai



Douai


Although across the border in France, Douai must still be called a
Flemish town, because of its history and affiliations. The town is
quaint in the extreme and of great antiquity, growing up originally
around a Gallo-Roman fort. In the many wars carried on by the French
against the English, the Flemish and the Germans, not to mention its
sufferings from the invading Spaniards, it suffered many sieges and
captures. Resisting the memorable attack of Louis the Eleventh, it has
regularly celebrated the anniversary of this victory each year in a
notable Fête or Kermesse, in which the effigies of the giant Gayant and
his family, made of wickerwork and clad in medieval costumes, are
paraded through the town by order of the authorities, followed by a
procession of costumed attendants through the tortuous streets, to the
music of bands and the chimes from the belfry of the Hôtel de Ville.

This, the most notable edifice in the town, is a fine Gothic tower one
hundred and fifty feet high, with a remarkable construction of tower and
turrets, supported by corbels of the fifteenth century, containing a
fine chime of bells made by the Van den Gheyns. The bells are visible
from below, hanging sometimes well outside the turret of the bell
chamber, and, ranging tier upon tier, from those seemingly the size of a
gallon measure, to those immense ones weighing from fifteen hundred to
two thousand pounds. This great tower witnessed the attack and
occupation of the Spaniards, the foundation by the Roman Catholics of
the great University in 1652 to counter-act the Protestantism of the
Netherlands, which had but a brief career, and the capture of the town
by Louis the Fourteenth. Here was published in 1610 an English
translation of the Old Testament for Roman Catholics, as well as the
English Roman Catholic version of the scriptures, and the New Testament
translated at Rheims in 1582, and known as the "Douai Bible." This was
also the birthplace of Jean Bellgambe, the painter (1540) surnamed
"Maître des Couleurs," whose nine great oaken panels form the wonderful
altarpiece in the church of Notre Dame.

[Illustration: The Town Hall: Douai]

Douai was, before the great war, a peaceful industrial center of some
importance, of some thirty thousand inhabitants. It has been said that
the Fleming worked habitually fifty-two weeks in the year. An exception,
however, must be made for fête days, when no self-respecting Fleming
will work. On these days the holiday makers are exceedingly
boisterous, and the streets are filled with the peasants clad in all
their holiday finery. But it is on the day of the Kermesse that your
Fleming can be seen to the best advantage. There are merry-go-rounds,
shooting galleries, swings, maybe a traveling circus or two, and a
theatrical troupe which shows in a much bespangled and mirrored tent,
decorated with tinsel and flaming at night with naphtha torches. Bands
of music parade the streets, each carrying a sort of banneret hung with
medals and trophies awarded by the town authorities at the various
"_séances_."

But the greatest noise comes from the barrel organs of huge size and
played by steam, or sometimes by a patient horse clad in gay apparel who
trudges a sort of treadmill which furnishes the motive power. In even
these small towns of Ancient Flanders such as Douai, the old allegorical
representations, formerly the main feature of the event, are now quite
rare, and therefore this event of the parade of the wicker effigies of
the fabulous giant Gayant and his family was certainly worth the journey
from Tournai. The day was made memorable also to the writer and his
companion because of the following adventure.

There had been, it seems, considerable feeling against England among the
lower orders in this border town over the Anglo-Boer War, so that
overhearing us speaking English, some half grown lads began shouting
out at us "Verdamt Engelsch" and other pleasantries, and in a moment a
crowd gathered about us.

With the best Flemish at his command the writer addressed them,
explaining that we were Americans, but what the outcome would have been,
had it not been for the timely arrival of a gendarme, I know not; but
under his protection we certainly beat a hasty retreat. The lower
classes of Flemings in their cups are unpleasant people to deal with,
and it were well not to arouse them. But for this incident, and the fact
that the afternoon brought on a downpour of rain, which somewhat
dampened the ardor of the people and the success of the fête, our little
trip over the border to this historic town would be considered worth
while. Our last view of Douai was from the train window as we recrossed
the river Scarpe, with the massive tower of the Hôtel de Ville showing
silhouetted dim and gray against a streaming sky.



Oudenaarde



Oudenaarde


From the small stucco station, embowered in luxuriant trees, we crossed
a wide grass grown square, faring towards the turrets of the town, which
appeared above the small red and black tiled roofs of some mean looking
peasant houses, and an _estaminet_, of stucco evidently brand new, and
bearing a gilt lion over its door. Here a wide and rather well paved
street led towards the town, bordered upon either hand by well kept and
clean but blank looking houses, with the very narrowest sidewalks
imaginable, all of which somehow reminded us of some of the smaller
streets of Philadelphia. The windows of these houses flush with the
street were closely hung with lace, and invariably in each one was
either a vase or a pot of some sort filled with bright flowers.
Occasionally there was a small poor looking shop window in which were
dusty glass jars of candy, pipes, packages of tobacco, coils of rope and
hardware, and in one, evidently that of an apothecary, a large carved
and varnished black head of a grinning negro, this being the sign for
such merchandise as tobacco and drugs.

Here and there doorways were embellished with shiny brass knockers of
good form, and outside one shop was a tempting array of cool green
earthenware bowls of such beautiful shape that I passed them by with
great longing.

Soon this street made a turning, where there was a good bronze statue to
some dignitary or other, and I caught a glimpse of that wondrous tower
of the famous Hôtel de Ville, the mate to that at Louvain, and soon I
was beneath its Gothic walls, bearing row upon row of niches, empty now,
but once containing effigies of the powerful lords and ladies of
Flanders. These rows rise tier upon tier to that exquisitely slender
lace-like tower crowned with a large gilded statue of the town's patron,
pennant in hand, and shining in the sunlight.

From the Inn of the "Golden Apple of Oudenaarde" just opposite, I
appraised its beauties over a good meal of young broiled chicken and
lettuce salad, and a bowl of "_café au lait_" that was all satisfying.

Afterwards, the _custode_, an old soldier, showed us the "Salle des Pas
Perdus," containing a fine chimney piece alone worth the journey from
Antwerp, and the Council Chamber, still hung with some good ancient
stamped leather, and several large badly faded and cracked Spanish
paintings of long forgotten dignitaries both male and female.

[Illustration: The Town Hall: Oudenaarde]

One Paul Van Schelden, a wood carver of great ability and renown,
wrought a wonderful doorway, which was fast falling apart when I saw it.
This gave access to a large room, the former Cloth Hall, now used as a
sort of theatre and quite disfigured at one end by a stage and scenic
arch. The walls were stenciled meanly with a large letter A surmounted
by a crown. The interior had nothing of interest to show.

On the opposite side of the square was the large old church of St.
Walburga, with a fine tower capped by a curious upturned bulbous cupola,
upon which was a large gilt open-work clock face. As usual, there was a
chime of bells visible, and a flock of rooks circling about the tower.
The style of St. Walburga was Romanesque, with Gothic tendencies. Built
in the twelfth century, it suffered severely at the hands of the
Iconoclasts, and even in its unfinished state was very impressive, none
the less, either, because of the rows of small stucco red roofed houses
which clung to its walls, leaving only a narrow entrance to its portal.
Inside I found an extremely rich polychromed Renaissance "reredos," and
there was also the somewhat remarkable tomb of "Claude Talon," kept in
good order and repair.

Oudenaarde was famed for the part it played in the history of Flanders,
and was also the birthplace of Margaret of Parma. It was long the
residence of Mary of Burgundy, and gave shelter to Charles the Fifth,
who sought the protection of its fortifications during the siege of
Tournai in 1521.

Here, too, Marlborough vanquished the French in 1708. I might go on for
a dozen more pages citing the names of remarkable personages who gave
fame to the town, which now is simply wiped from the landscape. But by
some miracle, it is stated, the Town Hall still stands practically
uninjured. I have tried in vain to substantiate this, or at least to
obtain some data concerning it, but up to this writing my letters to
various officials remain unanswered.

I like to think of Oudenaarde as I last saw it--the huge black door of
the church yawning like a gaping chasm, the square partly filled with
devout peasants in holiday attire for the church fête, whatever it was.
Part of the procession had passed beyond the gloom of the vast aisles
into the frank openness of daylight. Between the walls of the small
houses at either hand a long line of figures was marching with many
silken banners. There seemed to be an interminable line of young
girls--first communicants, I fancied,--in all the purity of their white
veils and gowns against the somber dull grays of the church. This mass
of pure white was of dazzling, startling effect, something like a great
bed of white roses.

[Illustration: Old Square and Church: Oudenaarde]

Then came a phalanx of nuns clad in brown--I know not what their order
was--their wide white cowls or coifs serving only to accentuate the
pallor of their grave faces, veritable "incarnations of meek
renunciation," as some poet has beautifully expressed it.

Then followed a group of seminarians clad in the lace and scarlet of
their order, swinging to and fro their brazen censers from which poured
fragrant clouds of incense.

All at once a curious murmur came from the multitude, followed by a
great rustling, as the whole body of people sank to their knees, and
then I saw beyond at a distance across the square, the archbishop's
silken canopy, and beneath it a venerable figure with upraised arms,
elevating the Host.

Surely a moment of great picturesqueness, even to the non-participant;
the bent heads of the multitude; the long lines of kneeling black
figures; scarlet and gold and lace of the priests' robes against the
black note of the nuns' somber draperies; the white coifs and veils,
through which the sweet rapture of young religious awe made even homely
features seem beautiful: the gold and scarlet again of the choristers;
and finally, that culminating note of splendor beneath the silken canopy
of the cardinal archbishop (Cardinal Mercier) enthroned here like some
ancient venerated monarch; all this against the neutral gray and black
lines of the townspeople; surely this was the psychological moment in
which to leave Oudenaarde, that I might retain such a picture in my
mind's eye.



Furnes



Furnes


The old red brick, flat topped, tower of St. Nicholas was the magnet
which drew us to this dear sleepy old town, in the southwest corner of
the Belgian littoral; and here, lodged in the historic hostel of the
"Nobèle Rose" we spent some golden days. The name of the town is
variously pronounced by the people Foorn, Fern, and even Fearn. I doubt
if many travelers in the Netherlands ever heard of it. Yet the town is
one of great antiquity and renown, its origin lost in the dimness of the
ages.

According to the chronicles in the great Library at Bruges, as early as
A.D. 800 it was the theatre of invasions and massacres by the Normans.
That learned student of Flemish history, M. Leopold Plettinck, has made
exhaustive researches among the archives in both Brussels and Bruges,
and while he has been unable to trace its beginnings he has collected
and assorted an immense amount of detailed matter referring to Baudoin
(or Baldwin) Bras de Fer, who seems to have been very active in
harassing the people who had the misfortune to come under his hand.

The War of the "Deux Roses" was fought outside the walls here, likewise
the Battle of the Spurs took place on the plains between Furnes and
Ypres. Following the long undulations of the dunes from Dunkerque,
overgrown here and there with a rank coarse grass sown by the
authorities to protect them from the wind and the encroachments of the
ever menacing sea, dune succeeds dune, forming a landscape of most
unique character. Passing the small hamlet of Zuitcote, marked by the
sunken tower of its small church, which now serves as a sort of
semaphore for the fishing boats off the coast, one reached the canal
which crosses the plain picturesquely. This led one along the path to
the quaint old town of Furnes, showing against the heavy dark green of
the old trees, its dull red and pink roofs with the bulk of the tower
forming a picture of great attractiveness.

The town before the war had about six thousand population which seemed
quite lost in the long lines of silent grass grown streets, and the
immense Grand' Place, around which were ranged large dark stone Flemish
houses of somewhat forbidding exteriors. All the activity of the town,
however, was here in this large square, for the lower floors had been
turned into shops, and also here was the hotel, before which a temporary
moving picture theatre had been put up.

[Illustration: The Fish Market: Ypres]

These are very popular in Flanders, and are called "Cinema-Américain."
The portable theatres are invariably wooden and are carried "knocked
down" in large wagons drawn by hollow-backed, thick-legged Flemish
horses. As a rule they have steam organs to furnish the "music" and the
blare of these can be heard for miles across the level plains.

The pictures shown are usually of the lurid sort to suit the peasants,
and the profits must be considerable, as the charge is ten and
twenty-five cents for admission. On this square is the Hôtel de Ville,
the Palace of Justice, and Conciergerie. This latter is a sort of square
"donjon" of great antiquity, crenelated, with towers at each corner and
the whole construction forming an admirable specimen of Hispano-Flemish
architecture.

The angle of the "Place" opposite the pavilion of the officers is
occupied by the Hôtel de Ville and the "Palais de Justice," very
different in style, for on one side is a massive façade of severe aspect
and no particular period, while on the other is a most graceful Flemish
Renaissance construction, reminding one of a Rubens opposed, in all its
opulence, to a cold classic portrait by Gainsborough.

The Hôtel de Ville, of 1612, exhibits in its "Pignons," its columns and
Renaissance motifs, a large high tower of octagonal form surmounted by a
small cupola. Its frontage pushes forward a loggia of quite elegant
form, with balustrades in the Renaissance style.

Above this grave looking gray building rises the tower of the
"Beffroi," part Gothic in style.

All the houses on the "Place" have red tiled roofs, and gables in the
Renaissance style very varied in form, and each one with a
characteristic window above, framed richly _en coquille_, and decorated
with arabesques.

Behind these houses is what remains of the ancient Church of St.
Walburga, half buried in the thick verdure of the garden. After
considerable difficulty we gained admittance to the ruin, because it is
not considered safe to walk beneath its walls. Even in its ruin it was
most imposing and majestic. We would have tarried here, but the
_custode_ was very nervous and hurried us through the thickets of bushes
growing up between the stones of the pavement, and fairly pushed us out
again into the small parkway, accepting the very generous fee which I
gave him with what I should call surliness. But we ignored this
completely, after the manner of old travelers, which we had been advised
to adopt.

At one side were stored some rather dilapidated and dirty wax figures
which reclined in various postures, somewhat too lifelike in the gloom
of the chamber, and entirely ludicrous, so much so that it was with much
difficulty that we controlled our smiles. The roving eye of the surly
_custode_, however, warned us against levity of any sort. These wax
figures, he explained, gruffly enough, were those of the most sacred
religious personages, and the attendant saints and martyrs, used in the
great procession and ceremony of the "Sodalité," which is a sort of
Passion Play, shown during the last Sunday in July of each year in the
streets of the town. The story relates an adventure of a Count of
Flanders, who brought to Furnes, during the first years of the Holy
Crusades, a fragment of the True Cross. Assailed by a tempest in the
Channel off the coast, he vowed the precious object to the first church
he came to, if his prayers for succor were answered. "Immediately the
storm abated, and the Count, bearing the fragment of the Cross aloft,
was miraculously transported over the waves to dry land."

This land proved to be the sand dunes of Flanders, and the church tower
was that of St. Walburga. After a conference with his followers, who
also were saved, he founded the solemn annual procession in honor of the
True Cross, in which was also introduced the representation of the
"Mysteries of the Passion."[2]

This procession was suppressed during the religious troubles of the
Reform, but afterwards was revived by the church authorities, and now
all of the episodes of the life of Christ pass yearly through the great
Grand' Place--the stable in Bethlehem; the flight into Egypt; down to
the grand drama of the Calvary and the Resurrection, all are shown and
witnessed with great reverence by the crowds of devout peasants from the
surrounding country. And these pathetic waxen figures were those of
Prophets, Apostles, Jews, Angels, Cavaliers and Roman Soldiers, lying
all about the dim dusty chamber in disorder. Afterwards, from the window
of the quaint Hôtel of the "Nobèle Rose," we saw this procession passing
through the crowded streets of Furnes, and almost held our breaths with
awe at the long line of black cloaked, hooded penitents, bare-footed,
the faces covered so that one could hardly tell whether they were men or
women, save for the occasional delicate small white foot thrust forward
beneath the black shapeless gown.

And finally _One Figure_, likewise black gowned and with concealed face,
staggering along painfully--feebly--and bearing a heavy wooden cross,
the end of which dragged along on the stones of the street.[3]

Outside of this, the Grand' Place, and the old red brick tower of St.
Nicholas, so scorched by the sun and beaten by the elements, and the
rows of quaint gabled houses beneath, Furnes has little to offer to the
seeker after antiquity. The bells in the tower are of sweet tone, but
the chimes which hung there were silent, and no amount of persuasion
could induce the _custode_ to admit me to the bell chamber. Madame at
the "Nobèle Rose" had assured me that I could go up there into the tower
whenever I wished, but somehow that pleasure was deferred, until finally
we were forced to give it up. Of course Madame _did_ rob me; when the
bill was presented, it proved to be fifty per cent. more than the price
agreed upon, but she argued that we had "used" the window in our
apartment overlooking the procession, so we must pay for that privilege.
The point was so novel that I was staggered for a suitable reply to
it,--the crucial moment passed,--I was lost. I paid!



The Artists of Malines



The Artist of Malines


It may not be out of place to add here some account of the artists[4]
who dwelt in and made Malines famous in the early days. Primitively the
painters formed part of the Society of Furniture Makers, while sculptors
affiliated with the Masons' Gild. These at length formed between them a
sort of federation as they grew in number and power. Finally, in 1543,
they formed the Gild of Saint Luke. In 1560 they numbered fifty-one free
masters, who gave instruction to a great number of apprentices. They
admitted the gold beaters to membership in 1618, and the following year
the organization had increased to ninety-six members.

Working in alabaster was, during this epoch, a specialty with the
sculptors of Malines, which soon resulted in a monopoly with them, for
they made a law that no master workman could receive or employ more than
one apprentice every four years. The workers in gold covered the
statues with heavy ornaments of gold, it being forbidden to market
statuary not so gilded. The Gild of Saint Luke chafed under this ruling
of the Gild Master, and surreptitiously made and delivered some statuary
and paintings without any gilding whatever.

Charges being brought against the offenders, they were fined twenty-five
florins, and a law was passed authorized by the magistrate, permitting
domiciliary visits upon certain days known only to the officers, to the
houses of suspected men engaged in art work. Of course reputable workmen
were free from suspicion, it being only those mediocre craftsmen and
irregular apprentices who would engage in such traffic.

It was not until 1772 that any sculptor was permitted to paint or gild
for profit, nor was any painter allowed to model. The profession of an
artist was regarded as less than an industry, being a sort of hand to
mouth existence in which the unfortunate was glad to accept whatever
work the artisan could give him. In 1783 the Gild had dwindled to twelve
members, who finally were absorbed by the Academy of Design, established
by Maria Theresa in 1773. Thus perished the Gild of Painters and
Sculptors of Malines.

The following is a list of the principal artists and engravers,
chronologically arranged, who made Malines famous:

Jean Van Battele, one of the promoters of the Gild of Saint Luke of
Malines, was a successful workman in 1403. He was said to be more of a
painter-glazer than a painter of pictures, but there is sufficient
evidence that he practised both genres.

Gauthier Van Battele, son of the above, was admitted to the Gild in
1426, and figured in the artistic annals of the town in 1474-75.

Baudoin Van Battele, alias Vander Wyck, believed to be "petitfils" of
Gauthier, is mentioned in the chronicles of 1495. He painted many mural
pictures for the "Beyaerd"; the fresco of the Judgment Day in the great
hall of the "Vierschaer" is his greatest work. He died about 1508.

He had one son, Jean, who executed a triptych in the Hôtel de Ville of
Malines in 1535, and illuminated a manuscript register on vellum
relating to the "_Toison d'Or_." This book was presented to
Charles-Quint, and so pleased him that he ordered a duplicate which cost
the artist three years of hard work to complete. He died in July, 1557,
highly honored.

Daniel Van Yleghem was the chief workman upon the Holy tabernacle of the
chief altar of St. Rombauld. An engraver of great merit; he died in
1451(?).

Jean Van Orshagen occupied the position of Royal Mint Engraver of
Malines, 1464-65. The following year he was discovered passing false
money at Louvain. Imprisoned, he died of the pestilence in 1471.

Guillaume Trabukier excelled in the art of a designer-engraver
(ciseleur) in gold. For the town he made many beautiful pieces of work,
notably the silver statue of St. Rombauld which decorated the high altar
of the Cathedral. He died in 1482.

Zacherie Van Steynemolen, born about 1434, was an excellent engraver of
dies. During more than forty years (1465-1507) he made the seals of the
town corporations. Notably he engraved for the Emperor Frederic IV the
two great seals which are now in the museum. He died in 1507.

Michael or Michel Coxie, le vieux, was a greatly esteemed painter who
worked under the direction of Raphaël. His real name was Van Coxciën, or
Coxcyën, but he changed its form to Coxie.

His son, Michel Coxie le Jeune, surnamed the Flemish Raphaël, was born
in 1499, and first studied under his father. He was shortly placed with
Bernard Van Orley, who sent him to Rome, where he might study the work
of Raphaël Sanzio. His work was of very unequal merit, although he
painted hundreds of compositions in triptych form for the churches.
Towards the end of his life he was commissioned to paint a decoration
for the Hôtel de Ville of Antwerp. He fell from the scaffolding during
his work, receiving such injuries that he was incapacitated. Removed to
his home in Malines, he died after some years of suffering, aged 93
years!

His second son, Raphaël Coxie, born in 1540, was a painter of great
merit, whose paintings were ordered for the Royal Spanish Cabinet. He
lived at Antwerp, Ghent, and Brussels respectively, and died, full of
honors, in 1616.

Michael, or Michel, Coxie, the third of the name, was received in the
Gild of Painters the 28th day of September, 1598. He is the author of
the triptych over the altar of the "Jardiniers" of Notre-Dame au dela de
la Dyle. He died in 1618.

Michel Coxie, the Fourth, son of the above, born September, 1604, was
elected to the Gild in 1623. He became Court Painter to the King.

Jean Coxie, son of Michel (above) excelled as a painter of landscape. He
it was who decorated the two great salons of the "Parc" Abbey. The
subjects were drawn from the life of Saint Norbert.

His son, Jean-Michel, though a member of the Gild of Malines, passed
almost his whole life in Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, and Berlin. In the
latter town he enjoyed the favor and patronage of Frederick I. He died
in Milan in 1720.

Jean de Gruyter, gold worker and engraver, came in 1504 to Malines,
where he enjoyed a certain renown. After his death in 1518, his sons
Jean and Pierre continued the work which he began. Jean made seals of
great beauty of detail, but Pierre was condemned to banishment in 1536
and confiscation of all his goods and chattels, for counterfeiting the
state coinage.

Jean Hoogenbergh, born about 1500, was a successful painter of
miniatures; he lived about fifty years.

Jean Van Ophem was appointed Civic Engraver of Seals and Gold Worker. He
died in 1553.

François Verbeek became master workman in 1531, and finally _doyen_ of
the craft. He abandoned oil painting for distemper, in which medium he
excelled, producing masterpieces depicting the most fantastic subjects.
He died in July, 1570.

Hans Verbeek, or Hans de Malines, believed to be the son of François. He
was Court Painter to Albert and Isabella. He died sometime after 1619.

Grégoire Berincx, born in 1526, visited Italy and there made paintings
in distemper of the ruins and ancient constructions. Returning to his
native town in 1555 he was at once made a Gild Member of the Corporation
of Painters. He died in 1573.

His youngest son, Grégoire, became _doyen_, and of him the following
story is told: The great Van Dyck visited him unexpectedly one day, and
demanded that he make a sketch of him (Van Dyck) at once, in his
presence. Berincx accordingly painted in monotone the sketch in full
length, adding the details in carnation, and so charmed was Van Dyck,
that he assured him that he would adopt the system in his own work, "if
he would permit." He died full of honors the 14th of October, 1669.

Jacques de Poindre, born in 1527, acquired a brilliant reputation as a
portrait painter. He afterwards established himself under royal
patronage in Denmark where he died in 1570.

Corneille Ingelrams, a painter in distemper, was born in 1527. He
practised his art successfully in Malines and died in 1580.

His son, André, was admitted to the Painters' Gild in May, 1571, and
died in 1595.

Marc Willems, born about 1527, was a pupil of Michel Coxie (le vieux),
was considered a great painter in his time. He made many designs for the
decorators, and admirable cartoons for tapestry makers. He died in 1561.

Jean Carpreau was commissioned in 1554 to take charge of the
restorations of the "chasse" of the patron saint of the town. Such was
his success that he was appointed Official Seal Cutter and Engraver, a
position of great importance in those days. At the Hôtel de Ville was
preserved and shown a remarkable die in silver from his hand, for the
Seal of the Municipality of Malines.

Jean or Hans Bol, born December, 1534, was the pupil of his uncles
Jacques and Jean the Elder, but after two years of apprenticeship he
went to Germany for a time. Returning to Malines, he devoted himself to
the painting of landscapes with great success. Likewise he sometimes
engraved plates on copper. His productions are many. He died at
Amsterdam in 1593.

Lambert de Vos, admitted to the Gild of Saint Luke in 1563, was engaged
in the service of Charles Kimy, Imperial Ambassador to Constantinople.
He painted oriental subjects in water colors, which were distinguished
for richness of color, and accuracy of drawing. Many of these are in the
Library of Brême.

Jean Snellinck, born about 1554, was an historical and battle painter.
It was he who prepared the designs for the tapestries of Oudenaarde.
During his residence in that town he painted the triptych for the church
of Notre Dame de Pamele. He died at Antwerp in 1638.

Louis Toeput was born about 1550. He was a landscape painter of renown,
but also drew many architectural subjects. In his later period, he
devoted himself to Flemish literature with marked success as an
authority.

Luc Van Valckenborgh, called "partisan of the Reform," was born in 1566,
and in his student days went to Germany, where he practised his art as a
portrait painter. His reputation was made by his portrait of the
Archduke Matthias.

He died in 1625, leaving a son Martin, also his pupil, who established
himself at Antwerp and later at Frankfort. Martin was an historical and
landscape painter, although he painted some good portraits in the manner
of his father. He is thought to have died about 1636.

Philip Vinckboons, the elder, was born about 1550, became an associate
of the Gild of Painters in 1580, and died 1631. His son Maur, the
younger, born 1585, studied painting under his father, finishing under
his uncle Pierre Stevens. He died in 1647.

Pierre Stevens, born about 1550, was an historical painter and engraver,
as well as a portrait painter. This master latinized his name and signed
his works thus--P. Stephani. He died in 1604 at Prague, where he had
dwelt since 1590, under the patronage of the Emperor Rudolphe II.

Rombaut Van Avont, incorporated in the Gild of Saint Luke in 1581, was a
sculptor and painter as well as an illuminator of manuscripts on vellum.
He died in 1619. His son Pierre, born in 1599, was an excellent painter
of landscapes, which were distinguished by a most agreeable manner.
Admitted as a "franc maitre" at Antwerp, he became one of the burgesses
of that town in October, 1631.

Luc Franchoys, the elder, born January, 1574, was admitted to the Gild
in 1599. A painter of remarkable talent, he turned to historical
subjects, which he produced with great success. In drawing, too, he was
most skillful and correct. He died in 1693 and was buried with honors in
the church of St. Jean.

His son Pierre, born in 1606, became pupil of Gérard Seghers of Antwerp,
where he resided for some time. Afterward he lived in Paris, where his
works were eagerly sought and appreciated. He never married, but always
surrounded himself with young pupils to the time of his death in 1654.

His younger brother, Luc, was born 1616. He remained with his father,
working in his studio until he was admitted to the Gild, when he went to
Paris, where he painted portraits of members of the Court, enjoying
considerable renown and favor. He returned finally to Malines, where he
died in April, 1681.

Frans Hals (The Great), was born either here in Malines, or at Antwerp,
in 1584. Accounts differ. His parents were citizens of Malines, at any
rate. He had the honor and glory of introducing into Holland the
"procede magistral" of Rubens and his school. His works are too well
known to need description here. He established himself at Haarlem, where
he died in great poverty in 1666. Not even his burial place is now
known.

[Illustration: The Church of Our Lady of Hanswyk]

Jean le Saive of Namur, son of Le Saive the Elder, was born in the
commencement of the seventeenth century. He painted animals, landscapes,
and historical subjects. In the latter genre he is inferior to his
father; his color is drier, and his drawing less correct. The date of
his death is not recorded.

George Biset, painter-decorator, entered the studio of Michel Coxie
(Third) in 1615. He lived throughout his life at Malines, and died 1671.

His son, Charles Emmanuel, born 1633, was an excellent portrait painter,
enjoying much appreciation at the Court of France. He became Burgess of
Antwerp in 1663, and was elected a Director of the Academy. He died at
Breda in 1685.

Martin Verhoeven was elected to the Gild in 1623. He painted flowers and
fruit pieces which enjoyed great celebrity.

His brother Jean was known as a portraitist of great ability. In late
life he produced some good sculptures.

David Herregouts, born 1603, was elected to the Gild in 1624. Examples
of his work are rare. He died at Ruremonde. His son Henri was a pupil of
his father. David went to Italy, residing at Rome. After traveling in
Germany he returned to Malines, and died at Antwerp at an advanced age.

Jacques de (or Van) Homes, painter in distemper, was a pupil of Grégoire
Berincx (Second) and executed much work in "ciselé" under the direction
of Fayd'herbe. He died in 1674.

Jean Philippe Van Thieleu, born 1618, was an eminent flower and
still-life painter, under the guidance of Daniel Zeghers. He was
patronized by the King of Spain, and died in 1674.

Ferdinand Elle, born 1631, according to some; in 1612, say other
accounts, painter of portraits, went to Paris, where he remained until
his death in 1660(?).

Gilles (or Egide) Smeyers, historical painter, was born in 1635, and
studied under his father Nicholas, later under Jean Verhoeven. In
friendship for his companion and master Luc Franchoys the younger, he
finished many of the latter's incompleted works after his death.

His son Jacques, born 1657, was admitted to the Gild in 1688, and died
in 1732.

Egide Joseph, natural son of Jacques, born 1694, was an historical
painter, as well as a poet. He lived at Dusseldorf for three years.
Obliged to support his sick parents, he did a great deal of work.
Smeyers had a profound knowledge of the Latin tongue, which he wrote
with great fluency and ease, in both poetry and prose. He possessed,
too, a working knowledge of French, German, and Italian. His historical
works are many. At length, sick and helpless, he was admitted to the
hospital of Notre Dame, where he died in 1771. He painted the large
portrait of Cardinal Thomas Philippe d'Alsace, Archbishop of Malines.

Daniel Janssens, born in 1636, was a painter-decorator of the first
order. He adopted the manner of Jacques de Hornes of whom he was the
favorite pupil. After having resided in Antwerp for some years he
returned to Malines, where he died in 1682. He it was who designed and
constructed the immense triumphal arch for the Jubilee of 1680. This
arch is preserved in the Town Hall, and serves to decorate the façade of
the "Halles" on the occasion of the Grandes Fêtes.

Sebastian Van Aken, born 1648, was pupil of Luc Franchoys the Younger.
Later he entered the studio of Charles Maratti in Rome. After painting
in Spain and Portugal he returned to Malines, where he died in 1722.

August Casimir Redel, born 1640. This painter of merit became insane
from excesses and died in 1687. He was also the author of a life of St.
Rombaut (Rombold) and wrote much in verse. He composed an ode on the
occasion of the Jubilee of Malines in 1680.

Jacques la Pla, pupil of Jean le Saive, a master painter of Malines in
1673, died in 1678.

Jean Barthelemy Joffroy, born 1669, was historian, painter, and
engraver. He died 1740.

Jean Joseph Van Campenhout, designer and engraver. He was designer of
the great book of the "Cavalcade of Malines" in 1775.

Antoine Opdebeek, born 1709, author of many paintings of merit, was an
untaught genius. Employed in the hospital of St. Hedwige in Malines, he
taught himself the art, with success, but never reached the height which
would have been his had he had instruction in his youth. He died 1759.

Pierre Antoine Verhulst, born 1751, painter of marines and landscape,
which he executed with great delicacy and charm, died 1809.

Matthieu Joseph Charles Hunin, born 1770, was a master engraver,
producing many plates after Rubens and other masters. To his talent is
also due a great number of original engravings of the Tower of St.
Rombold; the interior and exterior of the Cathedral of Antwerp; the
Hôtels de Villes of Oudenaarde, Brussels and Louvain, etc., etc. He died
in 1851.

His son, Pierre Paul Aloys, born 1808, was a genre painter of great
taste and renown. His works in which the painting of silk and satin
appeared were in great demand. He was professor of the Malines Academy,
and in 1848 Leopold I conferred upon him the decoration of the Order of
Leopold. He died February 27th, 1855. Many of his paintings have been
reproduced in engravings.

Jean Ver Vloet, the _doyen_ of the artists of Malines, died October
27th, 1869, after a long and successful artistic career. One of the
founders of the society "Pour l'Encouragement des Beaux Arts" of
Malines, he was indefatigable in all art movements of the town. To him
was due the success of the magnificent Cavalcades for which Malines has
been famous. For fifty years he was the director of the Academy of
Design and Painting of his native town.

This ends the list of famous painters of Malines, and so far as I know
it is the first and only one in English. Did space permit I might
include the architects who made Flanders famous the world over as the
cradle of art and architecture.



A Word About the Belgians



A Word About the Belgians


The little country called Belgium, it should be remembered, dates only
from 1830, when the existing constitution was prepared and adopted for
the nine southern provinces of the ancient Netherlands. The sudden and
unexpected revolt against the Dutch in that year has been since styled
"a misunderstanding" upon the part of the Belgians, and was brought
about by the action of the King, William I, of the house of
Orange-Nassau, who attempted ostentatiously to change at once the
language and religion of his southern subjects. They were both Roman
Catholic and conservative to the last degree, attached to traditional
rights and forms and fiercely proud of the ancient separate
constitutions of the southern provinces, which could be traced back to
the charters of the Baldwins and Wenceslas.

Undoubtedly the French Revolution of 1830, which closed the Monarchy of
the Bourbons, hastened the crisis. For the Belgians had no liking for
the rule of the House of Orange-Nassau against which they had
discontentedly struggled for some years more or less openly. But
matters might have gone on thus indefinitely had not the French
Revolution furnished ground for hope of support from a people akin in
religion and language, as well as race. The smouldering fire of
discontent broke into fierce flame on August 25th, 1830, in the city of
Brussels, during a performance of the opera "Muette de Portici," when
the tenor was singing the inspired words of Massaniello:

 "Plutôt mourir que rester misérable,
 Pour un esclave est-il quelque danger?
 Tombe le joug qui nous accable,
 Et sous nos coups périsse l'étranger.
 Amour sacré de la patrie,
 Rends nous l'audace et la fierté;
 À mon pays je dois la vie,
 Il me devra sa liberté!"

The immense audience, roused to patriotic enthusiasm, took up the words
of the song and, rushing from the theatre _en masse_, paraded the
streets, attacking the residences of the Dutch ministers, which they
sacked and burned.

The few troops in the town were powerless to stem the revolt, which grew
until Brussels was entirely in the hands of the revolutionists, who then
proceeded to appoint a Council of Government, which prepared the now
celebrated Document of Separation.

William sent his son, the Prince of Orange, to treat with the Council,
instead of sending a force of soldiers with which the revolt might have
been terminated easily, it is claimed. The Prince entered Brussels
accompanied only by a half dozen officers as escort. After three days'
useless parley, he returned to King William with the "Document of
Separation."

The reply of the King to this message was made to the Dutch Chambers ten
days later. Denouncing the revolt, he declared that he would never yield
to "passion and violence." Orders were then issued to Dutch troops under
Prince Frederick of Holland to proceed to Brussels and retake the city.
The attack was made upon the four gates of the walled city on September
23rd. The Belgians prepared a trap, cunningly allowing the Dutch
soldiers to enter two of the gates and retreating towards the Royal Park
facing the Palace. Here they rallied and attacked the troops of William
from all sides at once. Joined by a strong body of men from Liège they
fought for three days with such ferocity that Prince Frederick was
beaten back again and again, until he was forced to retreat at midnight
of the third day.

In the battle six hundred Belgian citizens were slain, and to these men,
regarded now as the martyrs of the Revolution, a great monument has been
erected in the Place des Martyrs, near the trench in which they were
buried.

A provisional government was now formed which issued the following
notice: "The Belgian provinces, detached by force from Holland, shall
form an independent state." Measures were taken to rid the country of
the Dutch, who were expelled forcibly across the border.

Envoys to Paris and London presented documents to secure sympathy for
the new government, while the fight for independence was still going on
fiercely. Waelhern and Berchem, besieged by the Belgian volunteers, soon
fell, and the city of Antwerp was occupied by them before the end of
October.

Then the Conference of the Five Powers, sitting in London, interposed to
force an armistice in order to determinate some understanding and
arrangement between the Dutch and the Belgians, since it had become
evident that the Netherlands kingdom of 1815 had practically come to an
end. By the treaty of London in 1814, and that of Vienna in 1815,
Belgium, after a short interregnum of Austrian rule, was incorporated
with Holland into the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

In the space of a month then the Belgian patriots had accomplished their
task, and on November 18th the National Assembly, convoked, declared as
its first act the independence of the Belgians.

It was now necessary to find a head upon which to place the crown. The
first choice of the provisional government was the Duc de Nemours, the
son of Louis Philippe, but objection was made to him on the ground that
his selection would add too much, perhaps, to the power of France, so
his candidature was withdrawn.

Choice was fixed finally upon Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, who had but
recently declined the throne of Greece by advice of the European
diplomats. A resident of England, this Prince, who had espoused Princess
Charlotte, the daughter of George IV, was well known as a most clear
headed diplomat, a reputation he enjoyed during his whole career.

In his acceptance he said: "Human destiny does not offer a nobler or
more useful task than that of being called to found the independence of
a nation, and to consolidate its liberties."

The people hailed and received him with great enthusiasm, and on July
21st he was crowned King of the Belgians, with most impressive
ceremonies, at Brussels. The Dutch, however, viewed all this with much
concern, and at once began hostilities, thinking that the powers would
sustain them rather than permit France to occupy Belgium. At once Dutch
troops were massed for attack on both Brussels and Louvain. Outnumbered
by the Dutch, the badly organized national forces of Belgium met
disaster at Hasselt, and, realizing his peril, Leopold besought the
French, who were at the frontier, to come to his assistance.
Simultaneously with the assault on Louvain, therefore, the French
troops arrived at Brussels. Great Britain now entered the fray,
threatening to send a fleet of warships to occupy the Scheldt unless
King William recalled his army from Belgium. This settled the matter,
and the Dutch withdrew. The French likewise returned to their own
territory. Jealousy, however, was manifested by Austria, Prussia and
Russia toward the new kingdom, and their refusal to receive Leopold's
ambassadors was calculated to encourage hope in Holland that the reign
of the new monarch was to be limited.

New troubles began for the Belgians, in the presentation of the London
Protocol of October 15, 1831, in consequence of a demand that the
greater part of Limbourg and Luxembourg be ceded. Not only the Belgians
but the Dutch opposed this demand, as well as the conditions of the
protocol. And at once King William prepared for armed resistance.
Leopold immediately after obtaining votes for the raising of the sum of
three millions sterling for war purposes, increased the army to one
hundred thousand men.

Now ensued a most critical period for the little kingdom, but both
France and England held their shields over it, while Leopold's marriage
to the Princess Louise, eldest daughter of King Louis Philippe, gained
for it still greater strength in its relations with France.

King William, however, refused stubbornly to recognise the protocol,
and retained possession of Antwerp, which he held with a garrison of
five thousand soldiers. Antwerp Citadel being the pride of the kingdom,
the Belgians, restive under the control of the powers, demanded that
both England and France help them at once to recover it, alleging that
in case this help was refused, they, with their hundred thousand men,
were ready to capture it themselves. So in the month of November the
French troops, under Maréchal Gérard, laid siege to the Antwerp
stronghold, held by General Chassé, who after three weeks' siege
capitulated, and the Dutch, rather than have their warships captured,
burnt and sank them in the Scheldt.

With the surrender of Antwerp, the French withdrew their army, but the
Dutch sullenly refused to recognise the victory until the year 1839,
when they withdrew from and dismantled the forts on the Scheldt facing
Antwerp.

Naturally the support of the French and English brought about a deep and
lasting feeling of gratitude on the part of the Belgians. Louis Philippe
said, "Belgium owes her independence and the recovery of her territory
to the union of France and England in her cause."

Her independence thus gained and recognised, Belgium turned her
attention to the development of the country and its rich natural
resources. The Manufactures flourished, her mines of coal and iron
became famous throughout the world, and she trod the peaceful path of
strict neutrality among the great nations. Passing over the all familiar
history of Waterloo, one may quote the saying of M. Northomb: "The
Battle of Waterloo opened a new era for Europe, the era of
representative government." And this new era was enjoyed by Belgium
until the Franco-Prussian War confronted the little country with a fresh
crisis, and one fraught with danger. Although her absolute neutrality
had been earnestly proclaimed and presented to the powers, it was feared
that she might be invaded and be unable to maintain her integrity by her
military force.

Leopold promptly mobilized the army and massed it upon the frontier.
During and after the battle of Sedan, a large number of both French and
German soldiers crossed the border and were interned until the close of
the war.... Once more peace descended upon the Belgians, for a fresh
treaty prepared by England and signed by both France and Prussia engaged
the British Government to declare war upon the power violating its
provisions.

After his acceptance of the Crown of Belgium, the Constitution declared
the monarchy hereditary in the male line of the family of Prince Leopold
of Saxe-Coburg, which consisted of two sons and one daughter. The elder
of the sons was born in 1835, and succeeded his father as Leopold II,
in 1865. The Austrian Archduchess Marie Henriette became his wife in
1853, and their descendants were one son and three daughters, none of
whom is now living. The Salic Law prevailing in Belgium, the history of
the female descendants is not of political importance. The only son of
Leopold II dying in 1869, the succession passed to the brother of the
King, the Count of Flanders, who married Mary, Princess of Hohenzollern,
a sister of the King of Roumania.

The death of their son Prince Baldwin in 1891 was held to be a national
calamity. This left the nephew of Leopold II, Prince Albert (the present
King of Belgium), the heir presumptive to the throne. He married in 1900
the Princess Elizabeth of Bavaria; to them have been born three
children, two boys and a girl. Both the King and Queen, the objects of
intense devotion on the part of the Belgians, are very simple and
democratic in their bearing toward the people. The Queen is a very
beautiful woman, and a most devoted wife and mother.... Since the seat
of government has been removed to Havre, the Queen divides her time
between the little hamlet of La Panne, headquarters of the Belgian army,
near the town of Furnes on the dunes of the north sea, and London, where
the children are being cared for and educated.... May not one hope that
brighter days are in store for this devoted and heroic King and Queen,
for the once smiling and fertile land, and for the kindly, gentle, and
law abiding Belgian people?[5]


THE END



INDEX


 Albert, King of Belgium, 102, 207

 Alost, church of St. Martin's, 113, 114
   Hôtel de Ville, 111

 Antwerp, carillon of, 52
   cathedral of, 41, 44, 143

 Archers of St. Sebastian, 66

 Artists of Malines, list of the, 183-195

 Aymon, legend of the four sons of, 133-136


 Baldwin Bras-de-Fer, 55, 171

 Baldwin the Ninth, Count of Flanders, 72, 121

 Battle of the Dunes, the, 101

 Battle of the Spurs, the, 120, 172

 Battle of Waterloo, the, 206

 Bayard, the horse, 133-138

 Beguinage, the, Courtrai, 121
    "        "   Malines, 23-24
    "        "   Ypres, 82

 Bell-founding, process of, 45-48

 Berincx, Grégoire, 186
    "     Grégoire le Jeune, 186, 191

 Bethune, Robert of, Count of Flanders, 75, 79

 Biset, Charles Emmanuel, 191
   "    George, 191

 Bol, Jean, 188

 Bouts, Dierick, 48, 149

 Broël Towers, the, Courtrai, 119, 123

 Bruges, cathedral of, 41
   library, 171

 Brussels, cathedral of, 41
   Museum of Decorative Arts, 76, 149

 Burgundy, House of, 68
    "      Mary of, 165


 Carillons of Antwerp, 52
     "     of Bruges, 52
     "     of Ghent, 52
     "     of Louvain, 52
     "     of Malines, 52
     "     of Tournai, 52

 Carpreau, Jean, 187

 Cathedral of Antwerp, 41
     "     of Bruges, 41
     "     of Brussels, 41
     "     of Ghent, 41
     "     of Malines, 18-19, 41, 42
     "     of Ypres, 69, 73

 Charlemagne, 134-136

 Charles the Bold, 25, 76, 81

 Charles the Eleventh, 119

 Charles the Fifth, 18, 130, 165

 Cloth Hall, the, Ypres, 69, 72-75, 78, 80, 81

 Commines, Philip of, 86

 Cossiers, I., 24

 Coxie, Jean, 185
   "    Jean Michel, 185
   "    Michel, 184
   "    Michel le Jeune, 184
   "    Michel the Third, 185
   "    Michel the Fourth, 185
   "    Raphaël, 185

 Counts' Chapel, the, Courtrai, 121

 Courtrai, the Counts' Chapel, 121
   the Hall of the Magistrates, 129
   the Town Hall, 129

 Cuyp, 36, 102


 De Gruyter, Jean, 185

 De Hornes, Jacques, 191, 193

 Deklerk, 44, 45

 De Poindre, Jacques, 187

 De Vos, Lambert, 188

 Douai, Hôtel de Ville, 157, 160

 Douai Bible, the, 158

 Dyle, the river, 21, 26, 152


 Elle, Ferdinand, 192


 Franchoys, Luc, 189
    "       Luc le Jeune, 190, 192, 193
    "       Pierre, 190

 Franco-Prussian War, the, 206

 Furnes, Hôtel de Ville, 173


 Ghent, the carillons of, 52

 Gild of St. Luke, the, 181

 Gothic architecture, styles of, 90

 Great Wars of Flanders, the, 86


 Hall of the Magistrates, the, Courtrai, 129

 Hals, Frans, 141, 190

 Hanseatic League, the, 69

 Hanswyk, the Tower of Our Lady of, Malines, 26

 Haweis, 41, 43, 49, 50

 Hemony, 42, 49

 Henry the First, 152

 Herregouts, David, 191

 Hoogenbergh, Jean, 186

 Hôtel de Ville of Alost, 111
   "   "    "   of Douai, 157, 160
   "   "    "   of Furnes, 173
   "   "    "   of Louvain, 147, 149 150
   "   "    "   of Oudenaarde, 164
   "   "    "   of Ypres, 73

 Huet, 87, 89

 Hunin, Matthieu Joseph Charles, 194
   "    Pierre Paul Aloys, 194

 Hugo, Victor, 52


 Ingelrams, André, 187
    "       Corneille, 187

 Inghelbrugtorre, Courtrai, 119

 Inquisition, the Spanish, 68


 Jansenius, Cornelius, Bishop of Ypres, 73, 80

 Janssens, Daniel, 193

 Joffroy, Jean Barthelemy, 193

 Jordaens, 141

 Jube, at St. Martin's, Dixmude, 55, 57-59, 62, 79


 Keldermans, 17, 18, 130

 Knights of the Golden Fleece, 36

 Knights Templar, the, 99, 101


 La Panne, 74, 207

 La Pla, Jacques, 193

 Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, King of Belgium, 203, 204, 205

 Leopold the Second of Belgium, 207

 Le Saive, Jean, 190, 193

 Library, the, Bruges, 43, 171
   Brussels, 43
   Louvain, 43, 49, 150

 Lion of Flanders, the, 22, 28

 Louis of Maele, 66, 67

 Louis of Nevers, 76

 Louis Philippe, 203, 205

 Louis the Eleventh, 157

 Louis the Fourteenth, 158

 Louvain, church of St. Peter, 147, 152
   carillons of, 52
   Hôtel de Ville, 149
   library, 149

 Loyola, Ignatius, 21

 Luther, Martin, 21

 Lys, the river, 119, 120, 122-123


 Malines, carillons of, 52
   cathedral of, 18-19, 41, 42
   St. Rombauld, 17, 19, 22, 26, 37, 44

 Margaret of Artois, 76
    "     of Austria, statue of, 22
    "     of Parma, 165
    "     of York, 25, 76
    "     the Courageous, the legend of, 150-153

 Marguerite of Flanders, 152
    "       of Savoie, 18

 Mary of Burgundy, 165

 Matsys, Quentin, 149

 Memling, 85, 148, 149

 Mercier, Cardinal, Primate of Belgium, 21, 167

 Moertens, Thierry, 112

 Museum of Decorative Arts, the, Brussels, 76, 149

 Mysteries of the Passion, the, 175


 Nemours, Duc de, 202

 Nieuwerck, Ypres, 70, 73, 77

 Notre Dame, the church of, Courtrai, 121


 Opdebeek, Antoine, 194

 Oudenaarde, church of St. Walburga, 165
    "   Hôtel de Ville, 164
    "   Town Hall, 17, 165


 Philip of Alsace, 119
    "   of Savoie, 18
    "   the Second of Spain, 85, 101

 Place de la Boucherie, 25


 Quesnoy, Jerome due, 24


 Redel, August Casimir, 193

 Rembrandt, 141

 Rubens, 113, 141, 173, 190

 Ruskin, 28, 42


 St. Martin's, cathedral of, Ypres, 73, 77, 78, 79
      "        church of, Alost, 113, 114
      "        church of, Dixmude, 55, 56, 57, 60

 St. Mary Bells, in Antwerp cathedral, 44

 St. Nicholas, church of, Furnes, 99, 171

 St. Peter, church of, Louvain, 147, 152

 St. Pierre, tower of, Ypres, 80

 St. Rombauld, Malines, chimes of, 19, 22
       "          "     spire of, 17
       "          "     tower of, 26-37, 44

 St. Walburga, church of, Oudenaarde, 165, 174-176

 St. Winoc, the abbey of, Bergues, 95

 Sainte Begga, 23, 121

 Salvator Bell, the, 20, 48

 Scheldt, the river, 133, 204, 205

 Smeyers, Egide Joseph, 192
    "     Gilles, 192
    "     Jacques, 192

 Snellinck, Jean, 188

 Speytorre, the, Courtrai, 119

 Stevens, Pierre, 189


 Taillebert, d'Urbain, 79

 Thierry d'Alsace, 65, 85

 Toeput, Louis, 188

 Tournai, Town Hall, 52

 Tower of the Templars, the, Nieuport, 99, 101

 Town Hall of Brussels, 17
   "    "  of Courtrai, 129
   "    "  of Dixmude, 56
   "    "  of Louvain, 17
   "    "  of Oudenaarde, 17
   "    "  of Tournai, 52

 Trabukier, Guillaume, 184


 Untenhoven, Martin, 78


 Van Aken, Sebastian, 193

 Van Artevelde, family of, 36
  "      "      Philip, 66, 86

 Van Avont, Pierre, 189
  "    "    Rombaut, 189

 Van Battele, Baudouin, 183
  "     "     Gautier, 183
  "     "     Jean, 183
  "     "     Jean le Jeune, 183

 Van den Gheyn, family of, 20, 33, 42, 44, 45, 158
  "   "    "    Mathias, 147
  "   "    "    Peter, 48

 Van Dyck, 133

 Van Eyck, Jean, 79

 Van Halter, Catherine, 24

 Van Ophem, Jean, 186

 Van Orley, Bernard, 184

 Van Orshagen, Jean, 183

 Van Steynemolen, Zacherie, 184

 Van Thieleu, Jean Philippe, 192

 Van Valckenborgh, Luc, 188
  "       "        Martin, 189

 Van Yleghem, Daniel, 183

 Van Yper, Carel, 80

 Vauban, 65

 Verbeek, François, 186
    "     Hans, 186

 Vereeke, 65, 70

 Verhaegan, P.J., 150, 153

 Verhoeven, Jean, 191
     "      Martin, 191

 Verhulst, Pierre Antoine, 194

 Ver Vloet, Jean, 195

 Vinckboons, Maur, 184
      "      Philip, 189


 Waghemans, family of, 20

 Waterloo, the Battle of, 206

 Willems, Marc, 187

 William the First of Holland, 199, 201, 204


 Ypres, the Beguinage, 82
   the cathedral of, 69, 72
   the Cloth Hall, 69, 73, 74, 75, 78, 80, 81
   the Hôtel de Ville, 73

 Yser, the river, 55, 62


 Zeelstman, 19


FOOTNOTES:

[1] Those who are interested in the subject are referred to C.
Lemonnier's "Histoire des Beaux Arts en Belgique" (Brussels, 1881), E.
Hessling's "La Sculpture Belge Contemporaire" (Berlin, 1903), Destree's
"Renaissance of Sculpture in Belgium," Crowe and Cavalcaselle's "Early
Flemish Painters" (1857).

[2] This passion play is described in detail in "Some Old Flemish
Towns." (Same author. Moffat, Yard & Co., New York, 1911.)

[3] See "Some Old Flemish Towns."

[4] The list is drawn in part from the "_Histoire de la Peinture et de
la Sculpture à Malines_," _par Emmanuel Neefs_--Gand, Van der Heeghen,
1876, translated from the manuscripts composed in Latin by the painter
Egide Joseph Smeyers, Malines, 1774.

[5] The author refers the reader to "The Constitution of Belgium," J.M.
Vincent, Phila., 1898; "Belgium and the Belgians," C. Scudamore, London,
1904; "History of Belgium," D.C. Boulger, London, 1900; "The Story of
Belgium," C. Smythe, London, 1902.





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large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
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+ 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.



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